Maybe today…No. I open my eyes and it's another underground bunker. I won't complain, I'm a soldier, and this is better than outside. I have to wriggle out of Jason's arms, he's holding on tighter than usual. I bump into Dick as I go. I curse under my breath. I don't want to wake them up. We're all so tired. I pad silently down the dirt tunnel I need fresh air. It's humid and, unsurprisingly, earthy in the cavern, but right now that's stifling.
Too much like being buried alive. I hurt just from the thought. All over. The chill of winter suddenly blasts me in the face and I hug myself.
Hundreds of miles away there's a rotting corpse that deserves to be buried. Startled eyes that beg to be closed. Enemies drawing closer that deserve to be killed for what they've done.
I look out over the frozen waste, I can't see anything in the dark, and there's nothing there to see. There used to be a city here though. This used to be St. Louis.
I make a little sound and want to kill myself for it. If the enemy is nearby they'll hear. Kon will know it's me in a second. I take in a deep breath and scan the horizon, my hand slipping to the gun strapped at my hip. I don't see anyone, but I still begin to walk backwards down the tunnel all the same.
When I get back to our makeshift quarters Jason and Dick are awake. Dick is trying to contact Raven even though we all know she's dead. Jason is cleaning his gun and taking inventory of his knives.
"Where were you?" Jason asks, his eyes are sharp, and I know he was worried. Every time he doesn't have me right there in his arms he thinks I'm dead. I don't blame him; Bruce had slipped away, just like that.
"I can't breath," I answer. Dick looks up at me as if he thinks I mean that literally. Jason understands perfectly though.
"See anything?" he wonders with deceptive nonchalance. He pats the blanket next to him, expecting me to sit.
"No," I reply. "It's snowing h
eavily though, there isn't much I could have seen without a scan."
"We need to move," Dick says. He's tried to take command, to lead us and keep us safe, but he's afraid. We're all afraid. This war was supposed to end. Our parents promised that everything would be alright. But look at us now. Child soldiers forced to hide by day and run farther than we're physically capable of by night.
This reality wasn't supposed to exist and it isn't fair. I can't say it though. I can't. Dick is trying so hard.
"After we eat?" Jason poses hopefully.
Dick doesn't want to answer. His fists clench. "There isn't much."
Jason gnaws his lower lip. "Better than nothing."
"We have to move," Dick repeats as if that will make our hunger lessen.
"Do we know if there are any outposts left?" I inquire.
Neither of them answer me. Dick just reaches into a pack and gets out the rations. One granola bar each. We eat them, even though they taste like shit. They make me want to vomit, but that would make Dick and Jason feel awful. They might do something stupid in an attempt to make me feel better. I'm a soldier too, I can take it.
We head out into the blizzard immediately afterwards. We have all night to find a new place to hide. I clutch at Jason's hand to keep from being lost in the snow, to warm my hand, to be close to him.
I hope I see the sun before I die.
Disclaimer: Birds and Boys may break my bones but DC always owns them.