Ollie and Dinah follow him out to the Zeta Tubes. He's so focused on keeping himself together he doesn't even notice that they take him back to Ollie's apartment. He's got a constant string of “can't fall apart here” running through his head and it's all he can focus on, it takes everything he has to just walk where they point him until he looks up and realizes he's sitting on the couch next to Dinah with Ollie banging around in the kitchen. At some point he changed into street clothes and he's holding a glass of water that he very carefully puts down on the table.
“You back with us?” Dinah smiles gently at him, but he can see the worry lurking in her eyes, “Ollie's making some chili.”
Chili, the ultimate comfort food. At least in Ollie's world and Roy's eaten enough of it over the years for it to mean comfort to him as well. Only he's not sure he really has and suddenly he can feel the tears coming out of his eyes, feel his hands shaking, and Dinah is pulling him into her arms, “Who am I?”
“You're you, you're whoever you want to be, you're Roy Harper in all the ways that matter,” she whispers in his ear. He wants to ask her more questions, but he can't form them and instead lets her hold him while he falls apart. He didn't have time to deal with everything when he first found out, something he's beyond grateful for because who knows what would've happened if he'd had time to process things instead of just running. Now though there is time and all he can do is cry in Dinah's arms because it's just too much.
Eventually he hears a clink on the table as Ollie places bowls down. He pulls away and Ollie's already back in the kitchen grabbing more bowls full of sour cream and cheese and everything else he thinks should be mixed into chili. Dinah smiles at him and he manages a shaky grin in return before running to the bathroom to clean up his face. When he gets back Ollie's on the couch, leaving the space open between him and Dinah for Roy to sit. It's the sort of thing that would've made him angry a week ago for being treated like a child, but right now he's just glad.
He sits down between them and grabs his bowl, piling the cheese high, and tries not to think about how much of his anger was because of the programming. Martian Manhunter and M'gann spent a good hour hunting down every little piece of the programming and erasing it, but he doesn't want to think about how the Light could turn him on and off like a computer, using his anger to make him go where they wanted. Instead he leans back as Ollie fires up the DVD player and puts on Robin Hood.
It's a week later when he walks into his apartment to find Artemis fletching arrows on his living room floor. She looks up at him with feathers in her mouth and he just sighs. He doesn't feel the urge to throw her out just yet, even if he's still reserving the right to do so later. Instead he grabs two bottles of water out of the fridge and sits down on the floor next to her, “What are you doing here?”
She takes the water and spits out the feathers, “Wally and Robin think that you need your space and I'm not actually sure what Kaldur thinks because he decided to go see his mom or something and won't be back for a few days yet, but I figured we've never been friends so I might as well come over and make a mess here.”
He doesn't say anything for a minute, taking in the fact that Wally and Robin haven't told anyone that he's refused to answer his phone. The knowledge that Kaldur went back to Shayeris throws him and it makes his heart hurt in ways he wasn't aware it could. Kaldur hasn't tried to contact him at all and Roy tries not to think about what it means because Kaldur is just too important to him. Instead he focuses on the mess that Artemis really is making of his living room, fletching shouldn't be this difficult of a procedure, “Who the hell taught you to fletch?”
“No one,” she scowls at him in annoyance, “My dad can use a bow, but he doesn't actually like it very much. When I decided to use it as my primary weapon I had to learn most of this stuff myself. Out of books.”
“Well, you suck at it and you're dad's an idiot,” Roy drinks from his water before grabbing one of her arrows. “Watch me.”
It's surprisingly nice teaching her how to fletch without creating a disaster area, even if she does find him cursing her dad to be funnier than almost anyone should. When they're done she sits back and looks over her arrows, a small grin on her face, before hugging him. She backs off almost immediately and they both stare at each other, equally shocked by her actions. “Um, well, I should get going,” Artemis mutters as she finishes cleaning up. “My mom gets worried.”
“Let me help you with that,” he offers as she puts away her supplies, but she waves him off. It's not long before she's done and they stare at each other in awkward silence. Roy takes a breath and offers, somewhat impulsively, but it's been nice having someone over, “You can come over again if you have anymore questions. About arrows and stuff.”
It sounds stupid, but she smiles at him, “That would be nice. Thanks.”
They walk to the door where she stands and fidgets for a second before blurting out a question so quick he's not quite sure he heard her right, “You're not really dating my sister right? Jade was just messing with my head?”
“You sister?” He stares at her and tries to figure out who the hell she could possible mean, “What?”
“Oh my god you didn't know,” she says as her face shows horror and a hint of fear, “I thought you knew. Everyone else knows now.”
It pings in his head, the big secret surrounding Artemis. He's been half convinced that there hadn't actually been a secret and it was just his programming convincing him otherwise. Half convinced she was Ollie's illegitimate child, but that's clearly not the case, “You can clue me any minute now.”
“Cheshire is my sister,” she doesn't look at him while she says it. Instead she looks at the door and fidgets with her bag, “My dad's Sportsmaster.”
He stares at her and remembers how Cheshire had made sure to look at Artemis when she was kissing him and yeah, it makes sense, “No, I'm not dating her.”
“I didn't think so,” She tries to reassure him, “It's just I wanted to be 100% sure. I thought you knew, but I guess you've had a lot of other things on your mind this past week.”
“I-yeah,” It's a lot to take in, but it does make every little inconsistency about her story that used to drive him nuts make sense. She still looks like she's waiting for him to yell at her and he desperately tries to find something to break the tension in the the air because he's actually enjoyed having her over. Searching his mind for a joke he runs through all the retired or vanished female assassins he can think of, “Next you'll tell me your mom is Huntress.”
He waits for her to laugh, but instead her eyes grow wide and she nods her head, “Yeah, but she doesn't do any of that anymore. Or go by that name.”
They stare at each other for a few seconds before the giggles start.
The next day there's a knock at his door so tentative and weak he almost doesn't hear it from the bedroom. He opens the door to find M'gann, Conner, Zatanna, and Raquel standing there, loaded down with food. “What?”
They stare at each other for a second before M'gann starts talking, “We made food, or really I made food and Zatanna told me I was going a bit overboard, but there really hasn't been anything to do and I cook when I'm bored or nervous or whenever really and Raquel said that there wasn't any room in the cave anymore, even with Wally, so Conner suggested we give some to you and here we are.”
They smile at him; M'gann bright and cheery, Zatanna somewhat nervously, Raquel like she's not sure if she should be here or not, and Conner like he's not sure how, all of them radiating nervous energy. He steps back and gestures for them to enter, “I'm not sure I have enough room for all of that.”
The walk past him and follow M'gann to his kitchen where he just stands back and watches as she completely rearranges his fridge until it's packed full. She then turns her skills on his cupboards and they quickly get made to accommodate all of the cookies and stuff she brought over. He's not entirely sure how he's going to eat even half of it, but he smiles at her when she looks over at him.
They stand there looking at each other kinda awkwardly. He never really made the time to get to know them, never had the time to get to know Raquel beyond a name, and it feels weird to have them in his apartment. Conner clears his throat and they all turn to look at him, “If you ever want to talk about the clone thing,” he trails off and shifts nervously before scowling at the fridge.
“Yeah,” Roy surprises himself by saying it and Conner looks at him in surprise, “I'm not sure I'm ready right now, but yeah, that wouldn't be a bad thing.”
They very narrowly avoid having a moment by Conner seeming to take that as the end of the visit and walking to the door, the others trailing behind him. Zatanna stops at the threshold and turns to him, “You're the only Roy I've ever know.”
Then she's gone and it's probably for the best as he's not sure what he would've said in response to that.
It's two days later when he gets out of the shower to hear the familiar sounds of his fridge being raided. He gets dressed and walks out to find Wally with his head stuck inside the fridge with an ever growing pile of stuff on the counter next to Robin. Robin gives him a cheery wave and continues to munch on some of the cookies M'gann left as he watches Wally rummage. They're both dressed in civies so he knows this is just a social visit and somehow that's more terrifying than if they'd shown up dressed to patrol. He stares at them until Wally pulls his head out of the fridge and notices he's in the room, “Roy!”
“What are you two doing here?” He tries not to let his trepidation show because this is why he hasn't answered any of their phone calls. All he can think about is that he's a clone of their friend and it's hard not to let it show.
“You don't return our calls,” Robin says and jumps off the counter as Wally works on building one of his absurdly huge sandwiches. “What else were we supposed to do?”
“Ollie said you stopped returning his calls too,” Wally comments as he spreads cranberry sauce onto some bread. “Black Canary said that she caught him on the building across the street staring in your windows with some binoculars, like a creepy stalker.”
“She left off the creepy stalker part,” Robin says and offers Roy some cookies. “She thinks you just need some time to process and you'll talk to us when you're ready.”
“We think that's stupid,” Wally actually turns away from his food to look at Roy as he says it. “You're our friend.”
“Am I?” He whispers it as he nervously destroys the cookie in his hands, getting crumbs all over the kitchen floor.
“Duh,” Roy's pretty sure that if he could see Robin's eyes he'd be rolling them. “If you'd talk to Ollie you'd know that they've pretty much figured out when you replaced the original Speedy.”
He says it so casually Roy's breath catches in his chest. The original Speedy. The original Roy Harper. The real Roy Harper. He's so afraid he almost can't ask, “When?”
Robin takes the remains of the cookie out of his hands and frowns at the crumbs on the floor, “Apparently the only time there was enough time was during some school trip you took to the mountains to go ski.”
He remembers that trip, or not because he hadn't gone, “But I didn't go on that trip. I got the flu and stayed home.”
“Nope,” Wally says around a mouthful of food. “Ollie says he was sure you went on the trip, but Batman hacked the records and talked to some people and apparently the school thought you were home with the flu.”
“Oh,” it's all he can say because what else is there to say. He replaced the original Roy Harper during a week away from school. No one even realized Roy had been missing. He's not sure what he should be feeling, but he kind of wants the cookie back so he can have something to do with his hands. He turns and walks out to the living room instead.
“You know what it means though right?” Robin asks as they follow him and sprawl on the couch. “I'd met the original Speedy all of once at that point and Batman hadn't even let us sit down and talk.”
“I've never met him,” Wally chimes in as he swallows the last of his sandwich. “You're our Speedy, our Red Arrow, our Roy Harper 2.0.”
He has no idea what to say to them. He'd never thought about the possibility that he hadn't replaced their friend. The idea that he was their friend, the one and only and not a replacement, feels weird inside of him. Like he's still stealing Roy Harper's life because they should've been friends with the original.
Robin sighs, heavily and like the world is a cruel and unfair place, “We'll help you find Speedy. We're your friends and that's what friends do, but we are your friends. Maybe we'll be his friends as well, but we'll have to wait and see.”
He doesn't know how to respond to that and Wally saves him from having to by grabbing the Wiimotes off the charger, “And now we play Mario Kart.”
Later, after they leave, he calls Ollie.
He honestly can't say he's surprised when he comes back from patrol with Ollie and Artemis the next night and finds Kaldur sitting on his fire escape. His heart feels like it stops beating for a second, but he manages to let Kaldur into his apartment without making a complete fool of himself. He doesn't get the chance to say anything before Kaldur starts speaking, “I owe you an apology. I ran back home rather than staying with you. My cowardice is inexcusable.”
“I-what?” Roy's almost used to be confused by these conversations, but this one makes the rest seem normal. “Why are you apologizing?”
“I left you,” Kaldur stands at attention and looks over Roy's shoulder. “Rather than waiting and facing the truth like I should have, I left you to deal with it on your own.”
And Roy gets it. This thing between them was still so new, so new they hadn't told anyone yet, even if they both admitted they'd been flirting around it for ages. They'd barely started dating when everything fell apart. Kaldur freaked out and ran home to deal with the fact that his boyfriend is a clone and Roy can't blame him, “You don't need to apologize.”
“I do,” Kaldur responds and finally looks directly at Roy. “Wally and Robin told me how long-”
He cuts himself off and Roy smiles because this he understands too well, “How long I've been around?” How exactly do you talk about when he replaced the original? No one's figured it out yet.
“Yes,” Kaldur lowers his eyes and this time Roy knows it's in shame. “I've never known any Roy but you, but I let myself think otherwise.”
“It's okay,” Roy says as he walks over and hugs Kaldur. “I get it and I'm not mad.”
He can feel Kaldur start to shake his head before he finally relaxes into Roy's arms. They stand like that for what feels like ages, but is probably only a few minutes before Roy steps back and grabs Kaldur's hand. He gestures to the bedroom, “Come on, let's get some sleep. Everything else can wait until morning.”
Kaldur smiles at him and grabs his hand tight, like he can't possibly believe he's being forgiven for abandoning Roy in his time of need. Roy snorts and pulls him towards the bedroom. They still had issues to work out, but for now he was just happy Kaldur came back to him.