Notes: Rated 'T' for a graphic description of a death. Done for the "Collateral Damage" challenge over at the Young Justice Fanfiction Challenges forum.

Standard Disclaimer

It's not fair.

Fists of steel hit the punching bag relentlessly. Sweat drips from damp hair and into blue eyes. Four bags are scattered around the training room, stuffing leaking out of them like the blood…

It's NOT fair.

Why couldn't he be faster, stronger, better? Why couldn't Cadmus have cloned him right? He would have been able to save her, been enough to stop the car from crushing her little girl body.


With a scream of rage, Superboy grabbed the haggard punching bag and ripped it from the ceiling, tossing it to the side with all his strength. The bag hit the wall with a resounding thump and rolled across the floor, stopping only when it lightly bumped into his leg.

The only sound in the room was of Superboy's ragged, harsh breaths. He slowly brought up a fist and wiped it across his eyes. Taking in another deep breath, he let out another yell as his fist struck the wall, breaking through, a crack extending all the way up to the ceiling.

It's not fair.

Everything had been going well, for the most part. Batman would be mad that their "observe only" mission had turned into an intervening one, but he'd understand given the circumstances.

The exchange they were supposed to watch had turned out to be one of human trafficking. Needless to say, as soon as this was discovered the team had sprung into action.

The trucks had been broken into easily, the little girls (disgusting, disgusting; how could anyone do that?) being ushered out to a safe area by Wally and Megan, Artemis covering their retreat, taking out the gunmen who were trying to keep their "property" from running off.

Superboy, Kaldur, and Robin were taking down the dirty men with "questionable" (but much deserved) force. There were so many men, however, that it was impossible to coral them. Three men slipped past Superboy, but he managed to grab one and slam him into the compact ground. The other two slipped into their car, started up the ignition, and put the petal to the metal. Superboy kicked off the ground, his body sailing through the air after the speeding car.

Superboy's eyes widened in dawning terror. He was going to be too late. The speeding car was heading directly for a small (oh so terribly small) blond haired girl who had stooped to pick up her tattered teddy-bear. Superboy landed, his fingers millimeters away from the car's bumper when tragedy struck.

With a sickening crunch and a blood curdling wail, the tiny girl rolled up the car and landed on the unforgiving earth. Superboy rushed to her side, and had to hold back a wave of nausea as he took in the sight. Precious blood was spilling out of her from multiple sights. Her left leg was broken, bone protruding out of skin. She was covered in abrasions, her face a bloody mess. Superboy leaned in, hoping and praying for a breath he knew wouldn't be there. The little girl was dead.

A rage like he had never felt before flowed through him, filling his vision with red. She would be avenged. Her murderers would pay.

It had taken the team everything they had to stop his rampage. They still weren't sure if some of the abductors would live. The men in the car were dead. Superboy didn't care.

Why do the young and innocent die horribly? Why were the evil and corrupted so dead-set on destroying everything that is good in the world?

The door slid open with a soft sphkk noise. Superboy whirled around. Batman strode into the room, his mouth a hard line.

"Why am I not like him?" Superboy shouted, his arms flung out at his sides.

"You'll never be like him."

Superboy flinched like he had been struck.

"You'll be better. This is the reality of our line of work; we cannot save everyone. But when we fail, we come back fighting even stronger."

Superboy's eyes widened, taken aback at Batman's words. Batman held out his arm, an object in hand. Superboy stared dumbly at it, before gently reaching out and taking it. In his hand was the little girl's tattered bear.

Blue eyes slowly rose from their staring contest with the bear's red button eyes.


He was alone in the room.