Prompt from YJ Anon meme. "Post-Infinite Crisis Tim Drake meets Superboy. Take it in whatever direction you want to." Set between future episodes of Young Justice and events of Red Robin #5. Not absolutely necessary to have read the Red Robin comics. All you really need to know is that Tim Drake was hurt and fell unconscious in that universe. Comments/questions would be lo~oovely~
Alternative dimensions weren't anything new as far as Superboy understood them.
From what he had heard earlier that week… the League had a run-in with an unstable, 'telepathic' projection of a man dressed in a very sparkly black bodysuit and with a grizzly, brownish beard who claimed to be from the future. Was very chipper about it. He apparently asked Superman — before flicking out of existence, and expressed a great amount of concern about the topic — if Earth-16 served milk with their Sloppy Joes at their local sanitariums.
Only this time Superboy could tell this wasn't just a projection standing alone out in the middle of the empty, sunlit street — he could hear it in the way the stranger's heart pulsed with a rapid and sputtering intensity, of the way the stranger smelled underneath the massive padding and leather and the alarming amounts of coppery blood spilling out of his body.
The man with the round, black cowl approached him with an unwavering stride. A gleaming trail of that blood being left behind on the street, his weak voice barely above a whisper.
"You can't be…"
Superboy took a cautioned step but felt no further need to be defensive. Not a particular reason whathaveyou… he just didn't sense any danger from him… and who was… 'Kon'…?
"—I lost you…"
The cowl dropped away as the man stopped a few paces from him, exposing a head of straight black hair that brushed his earlobes and emotionally-charged blue eyes that narrowed dazed at Superboy.
"—and my dad…"
The man's lips pressed together into a single line for a moment, stilling the hint of trembling.
"—and at the ceremony they asked me why I changed it, but it was for you… all of it was for you…"
A hand pressed into his hairline fretfully and those (pretty) blue eyes were vivid; crestfallen; insatiable; tired.
"—I mean— god— I tampered with your DNA trying to bring you back, but it never—…"
Superboy interrupted warily, not liking how the unpleasant scent of the man's blood was becoming stronger in his nostrils, "Who are you?"
"I'm…" A meaningful pause. "Robin." Sincerity. Warmth. "Your Robin."
"My Robin isn't tall as you," Superboy said, frowning. The man's breathing shuddered. His heart rate was increasing again. The blood. "You're injured. I don't think this is where you are supposed to be."
The other Robin glanced at himself, down to the angry wound blackening his ruby tunic and leaking down his thigh. Those tired (pretty) blue eyes lifted up and the edges of the man lightened into transparency. "Iraq… No. Not. This is a nice dream. If I can remember it," he mumbled to himself, dark eyebrows furrowing.
"What did you call me?"
Superboy waited until the other Robin found the strength to speak again, "…Your name. Your name is Conner."
"Conner…" It felt somehow… good on his lips.
Superboy blinked but did not move away as a fully transparent and faintly cool-feeling glove touched his face, the knuckles pressing to his cheek.
"… …I miss you…so—…"
The whites of blue eyes rolled, showing bloodshot veins, and before Superboy could catch him, the other Robin fizzled out of existence before his shivering body could crumple limply onto the sunlit street.
"Hey, where've you been all day, Supes?" Not the other Robin — real Robin — asked this curiously when the clone stepped into the kitchen area, swinging his thin legs out in front of him on the chrome stool. When Superboy did not answer him and resumed his dented spot on the couch, Robin spoke up again thoughtfully, "…Hey, have you ever thought of getting a name, Supes? Do you ever get ti—?"
"—Conner." His lips tingled. Good.
Robin's smile grew with obvious approval and he cackled. "Nice! Where did you hear it from?"
"A secret friend?" A teasing note in Robin's voice. Superboy shrugged.
His… heart, it hurt… why would…it…
"I don't think I'll see him again."
He heard the smaller boy get on his feet. Robin's arms folded against the back of the couch as he tilted up on his toes to lean in next to Superboy's head. "Did you two have a fight or something like that?" He examined the clone's guarded expression turned from him and made a dismissive noise in his throat. "Well, he'd be stupid not to be friends with you, seriously."
"Are you my friend?" This time Superboy did look at him mildly.
"Ha." Robin flipped himself into the empty cushion beside him, elbowing him gently. "…Always, man."
Superboy's lips tilted up.