title: Careless Talk
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Roy, Dinah
rating: G
warnings: mild swearing
summary: Dinah and Roy chat.
notes: compelled by the power of Smitty, i offer you a Billy Joel title fanfic... dealie. yup. just took a shine to this one when i say it on the list. hope it works.
continuity: takes place in outsiders somewhere, tho i confess i haven't been reading for a good long spell, so this takes place sometime after Roy gets injured, but before the point where i stopped reading. ^_~

It was the first bit of quiet time he'd gotten since he'd first woken up in the hospital. At least, it would have been, if the monitor wasn't beeping every few seconds, and the ventilator wasn't clicking as it inflated and deflated, and the machine dumping meds into his IV wasn't making that noise every few seconds...

Roy hated hospitals. He hated that they filled his bloodstream with morphine and he didn't have the chance to refuse it. He hated that he had tubes running up a place that was not made for tubes, and that he couldn't control or even feel his bladder. He hated all the tubes, and the medicines, and the machines, each one like a thin layer of gauze, covering his eyes so that he was blinded. He felt disconnected from his own body. How was he supposed to heal like this?

He'd tried to tell Dick to let him go to the reservation hospital, but it was useless. The reservation was too far away, and he could see it in Dick's eyes. His condition was bad, and the reservation's medical care wouldn't be up to snuff. Never mind that it was his choice, if Dick decided it wasn't up to snuff, it just wasn't.

He couldn't even get comfortable. Hospital beds were designed for everything except patient comfort. He'd been on this thin mattress for two days now, and there wasn't a single spot where he couldn't feel the metal bars beneath digging into his body. Perhaps patients were supposed to be too full of morphine to care, but he fuckin' ached.

He wanted out.

He tested his upper body strength, just trying to pull himself upright by grabbing onto the side rails of the bed. That was a dismal failure. His whole chest felt like it was on fire when he tried, and he pulled on his chest tube, which was not a good idea. Fine. He sturdied himself and tried to push up with his feet. Another failure. He couldn't get traction, and he couldn't get himself positioned right.

He had managed to slip down in the bed, though, so now his head wasn't even on the pillow.

Fanfuckingtasting.

"Men make the worst patients," sighed Dinah, holding the door so it didn't make a sound as it shut. "Look at you. If you wanted to work up a sweat, sweetie, you could have just called for the nurse. I think it's about time for you to be taking short walks, right?"

Roy gritted his teeth. "Already went today. Just want to sit up in this fucking thing."

"Watch your language," she reminded absently. "I really need a second person for this, but hold still and I can sort you out." She leaned over the bed, grabbing the bottom sheet firmly from each corner. Roy looked up balefully, reminding himself that this was Ollie's ex.

Smirking, he murmured, "Nice view."

She pulled the sheets up, lifting with her legs, so that his head was at the top of the bed again. "Can it, mister, or I'll put you over my knee."

"Promises, promises..." Roy whistled, gratefully lifting his head so she could slip the pillow underneath.

She thwacked him with the pillow before fluffing it quickly and placing it carefully for maximum comfort. "If you make me vomit while I'm standing here, you're going to regret it. You can't duck with all those tubes and wires."

He frowned at her just a little bit. "Yeah. 'Bout that. Narcotics?"

She shrugged, pulling up a chair to his bedside. "Couldn't be helped, squirt. You did do quite a job of yourself, you know."

"Wasn't my fault," he grumbled, squirming around to find a comfortable position.

Dinah smiled less than civilly at him. "Yeah, next time, look first, 'kay?"

He glared at her.

She beamed. "I'm proud of you, you know."

Roy blinked. "What?"

Shrugging, Dinah sat back in the chair. "I'm proud of you. I'm proud of the hero that you are. I'm proud of the man you've become. I'm proud most of all of the father you've become... Don't know if I've ever known a better one."

Roy was speechless, and mostly certain that his face was the same color as his hair. "Where the hell is this coming from?"

"Nowhere," Dinah smiled enigmatically. "Just the truth. Was thinking the other day... wasn't sure I'd said it. So now I have. It's been said, ok?"

Roy nodded slowly. "Yeah. Ok. Thanks..."

She leaned forward, and took his hand. "That being said, you make me hold that baby girl as we wait in some emergency waiting room, no damn clue what's going on, again, and I'll murder you myself."

"Dinah..."

"I get that you are fighting to make a better world for her. I do. I even get the part where you are keeping on eye on your closest friends, making sure they don't get all... batty. Really. But Roy, she's got only you. She can't lose you."

He watched her carefully, watched how her mouth got pursed, and for a second, you could almost see her age. Watched her eyes blaze with at least eighteen different kinds of love. Watched her expression flicker with pain as the last few days washed over her.

He squeezed her hand as best he could. "If something does happen... No, Dinah, stuff happens to Dick and Jane Nobody, yanno? If something does happen... she'll have you, right?"

She bit her lip. "Damn you, Harper. Just... damn you."

He grinned at her, as only he could. "C'mon, babe. I've always been able to count on you. More than just about anyone else I could think of, really."

"I could think of one or two other people," she sighed, looking up at the door to his private room.

He didn't have to ask how he'd managed a private room. "Yeah, well... she's gonna need you."

"She needs her father, Roy."

"You want me to quit?" He wasn't being defensive. He wasn't being argumentative. He really wanted to know.

She considered it. "I can't imagine living my life without it. Honestly. I can't imagine any set of circumstances that would cause me to put it all away for good. So I can't tell you that you should. But there are some risks you don't need to take, you know."

He nodded, quirking a grin. "I know. Hell, this wasn't in the plan... always my luck is all."

She blinked, involuntarily pulling her hand away as it dawned on her. "That's why you needed him. Why you wanted him to be the leader. You never intended to go down with the ship."

"Partially," he agreed. "Partially because I need to keep an eye on my friends. Partially because I trust him more than I trust myself."

She shook her head. "I am proud of the man you've become." She stood up to kiss his forehead. "But I'll deny it if you try to tell anyone."

He winked. "No one'd believe me anyway."

She held onto his hand for a moment longer. "Take better care, ok? I hate waiting room."

"Gotcha, babe." He winked. "No worries."

She shook her head. "Men..."

He watched her slip out. Worst thing about hospitals, bar none, was the guilt.








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