Dick's apartment building was pretty gross to say he was, I assume, the heir to a bazillion dollars. Because he was secretly Nightwing, a much cooler codename than Speedy, he had this nifty little loft that you could get into by doing something with a roof tile or something. I wasn't too clear on that part, which was why I was running up the public staircase in my full Red Arrow costume, I was Red Arrow now - not that anyone ever bothered to ask. I may as well have just had 'Roy' written on my outfit at this point.
Cloth sack over my shoulder, I got to the front door and tried to open it with my elbow, but it was locked. I heard the big emo sigh and drop something on a plate. Once he got up and took off the latch, I sort of fell into the room...
"Morning!" I bellowed with my most charming grin. I'd just been on a very successful solo mission that I couldn't wait to tell Dick all about it.
Eyes-wide, he grabbed me by the scruff of his neck and dragged me over to his super-secret bookcase, which was another way of getting into his cool loft, "What the hell is wrong with you?" He whispered pretty savagely, swinging the secret door partly open and shoving me inside before I could even show him what was in my sack, "Get changed and come back later... And leave through the roof, you moron."
"Hey, hang on, I..." He closed the bookcase in my face; I didn't even get to finish my sentence.
I pressed my ear to the back of the bookcase door and heard his new girlfriend Melissa ask, "What was that?" from the bedroom. I had the strangest feeling Melissa didn't like me too much.
Dick wimpishly called back, "Nothing!" I called back.
I quickly scrambled up the stairs and dropped my sack on the table with a metallic clunk and started stripping off. My trademark red hoodie had been neatly folded up for me, so I slipped it on with some pants and ran back down the stairs.
Dick was such a sweetheart, as an apology, he'd left an omelette on the table just for me. He was in the bedroom with his girl, so instead of disturbing him with a thank you I just tucked in. I'd almost finished it when he casually peered around the door, he was pretty expressionless, but I had an incline that maybe this wasn't my omelette after all.
"You make one hell of an omelette, my friend," I said, grinning blissfully.
"One, I'm not your friend," Dick snarled, it hurt, "Two, it was my omelette. And three, I know."
"Oh, my bad, I thought it was for me," I said.
"Yes, because I always cook an omelette and just leave it on the table for when you might happen to stroll through the door at god-knows-what-time in the morning," He said snidely, he was way too serious now, I liked him better when he had a sense of humour, "I take it you haven't seen the news today?"
"No, I was a little busy with my own thing, you should see what I..." I began, trying to tell him about my sack.
"Well if you had seen the news," He interrupted, "You'd have seen that Melissa's father died tonight."
"What? No way! Shit, man, is she in there?" I said, genuinely shocked, "And I just walked in here like that... Woah, I am so sorry."
"Yeah, she stayed over," Dick explained, then switching to a quieter tone, he said, "It was them."
"The Owls?" I whispered. They were these weird feathered assassin guys that were giving us quite a bit of trouble.
"So he wasn't one of them after all?" I asked. We were pretty sure before that Mel's dad Raymond was one of the bad guys.
"Oh, he was working with them, I think he just pissed them off," Dick explained, sitting down across from me, keeping his voice as low as possible, "That Scarecrow guy splashed him with fear toxin, and he climbed over the balcony and..."
"Splat," I said, getting to the point.
He raised an eyebrow, unimpressed, and continued, "I tried to stop him from falling, but he shook me off... Melissa saw it happen..."
"I'm sure she knows you did everything you could," I said because that's something that people say in these situations.
"She might have if she'd actually seen the Scarecrow part, and I hadn't been in full costume," He went on.
"Wait, so she thinks that you did it? Not you, but... You..."
"Yep, and she shot me for my trouble."
"Wow... So your girlfriend thinks you killed her father, only she doesn't know it's you. Tough break," I said, trying to comprehend what a shitty situation my friend had found himself in.
"Yeah, thanks for spelling it out, I needed that."
Dick and Melissa left later that day; he had to take her to the station to make some statements. While I had the apartment to myself, just me and my sack, I went upstairs and retrieved it. Lifting the sack triumphantly into the air, I let the item inside clunk out on to the table.
The golden helmet seemed to smile up at me, it was really inviting, like it wanted me to put it on. Ollie told me to see if I could find it while I was in Gotham, it belonged to this old-timey hero named Doctor Fate, who was part of this team that the Justice League totally ripped off – the Justice Society. He hadn't explained why, but he was tracking down items related to the team, so far he'd got a mace that belonged to Hawkman and a staff that was Stargirl's.
"Roy Harper," Something whispered in my head.
I looked around; no one was there.
"Roy Harper," There it was again. It was the helmet; it had to be; it really did want me to put it on.
"Hi, Doctor Fate?" I said, hoping it would answer.
"Roy Harper," It said again.
Screw it, I thought, and squeezed the old thing on to my head. It was then that I realised it didn't have any eyeholes and I was just staring into pitch darkness. At first.
Suddenly a cascade of wild images started pouring in from nowhere and flashing past my eyes, the Las Vegas sign, a Coyote, some World War 2 bunker, a smartly dressed but evil-looking dude. The images got faster to the point where I couldn't see them anymore and then with a tremendous crescendo, I saw a mushroom cloud on the horizon like it was right there in front of me.
I pulled off the helmet and fell backwards on to the floor. Standing above me was Steph, Dick's new partner-in-training. Being flat on my ass in front of her was not great, she was hot in a fiery kind of way, and I had the biggest crush on her.
"What are you doing down there?" She asked, arms folded, looking down at me contemptuously.
"What are you doing up there?" I asked with a grin.
She walked past me and picked up the helmet, "Cool helmet, you going for a new look?"
"No," I said, hopping up and taking it off her, "It's magic."
"Sure it is," She said, sitting down at the table.
I didn't have time to argue. I ran up into the loft and picked up my phone.
"Ollie, it's Roy," I said.
"What is it? Did you get the helmet?" Ollie asked.
"Yeah, I did, and -"
"And you've helped out with the Vertigo situation?"
"Kinda, it's not really wrapped up just yet."
"I don't need the helmet right this second; Vertigo is a Star City problem, the guys in Gotham will need your help on this."
"Ollie, I put the helmet on," I told him.
"Why on Earth would you do a thing like that?" He asked.
"It asked me to."
"I really do wonder sometimes why I trust you with these secret missions," He sighed.
"Because if you asked Dinah, she'd say no..."
"True. What happened?"
"Well, from what I understand, a Coyote from World War 2 with a gambling addiction is going to use his winnings to buy a nuke from an evil guy," Saying it out loud, the visions were probably all separate things.
"Wow. OK. I'll ruminate on that one for a while and get back to you. In the meantime, keep assisting your friends in Gotham," Ollie said, "Then I want you back in Star City. And keep the stuff about the JSA to yourself for now, I don't want this getting back to Batman."
I agreed and hung up. Ollie was the boss, so I'd stick around in Gotham a little while longer, it didn't feel right leaving Dick when he was in such a giant pickle.
Find out what happens to Roy after the events of "Sins Of The Fathers" in "Dark Titans"