As soon as they crossed the threshold into the center tunnel the door came crashing down and the corridor was plunged into darkness.
Robin and Kid Flash stood still for a moment as the lenses over their eyes adjusted to compensate for the lack of light.
The pair looked around warily, examining their surroundings.
The narrow corridor was covered with what appeared to be metal sheeting; the floor, the ceiling, and all four walls were made of the same smooth material.
"Wow, y'know, in a weird way I'm sort of flattered." Kid Flash murmured.
Robin turned to him with an incredulous look that was lost in the darkness, "What?"
Wally glanced over at him, "This took a lot of planning and all of this must have cost a fortune. Seems like a lot of trouble to go to just to mess with us."
"Dude, he wants to kill us."
"I know, but why? Why now?" the speedster huffed.
"I don't know," Robin grumbled, "He's crazy remember?"
Kid Flash took a deep breath through his nose, "He's not actually crazy, he's a sociopath, crazy people can't tell the difference between right and wrong. Joker can definitely tell the difference, he just likes being evil."
"Whatever KF! Why is this bothering you so much?"
Wally paused to shoot his friend an annoyed look, "Seriously? Maybe because he was going to cut my head off and mail it to my uncle?" the speedster continued ignoring the way Dick's head snapped around to look at him, "Anyway don't you always say figuring out the motive is like the number one thing on a Detective's list? If we can figure it out won't that help?"
Robin frowned at Wally as he began to ramble, "I don't get it. I mean, I guess it would make sense if he was after the big guns, but I don't even have anything to do with him, so I'm not really important, you maybe, but not me, not really. He could've just shot us, or blown us up, or dumped us off a bridge or-"
Dick cut off his friend as his words began to run together, "KF, buddy, stop talking, I think you're delirious."
Wally leaned into the smaller teen's shoulder and sighed heavily, "You think so? My head does feel kinda fuzzy, but I don't hurt as much anymore, everything is sort of numb. I really want to have food though. Too bad you don't carry more snacks in that belt of yours."
Robin patted his friend's back with a strained laugh, "Sorry buddy, when we get out of here you can stuff your face as much as you want okay?"
"Mmmm," Kid Flash let his head fall over until it was resting against Robin's shoulder, "Do you think we have time to take a break?"
"I'm not sure that's a great idea Kf," The Boy Wonder glanced around searching for any hidden traps in their surroundings.
There was nothing outwardly threatening, but with the Joker that didn't mean much, "We probably aren't safe here."
He looked over at Wally and into the darkened lenses of his goggles.
Dick frowned, he couldn't tell if the speedster's eyes were opened or closed and he briefly wondered if Wally ever got frustrated trying to read him without being able to see his eyes.
Then again he always seems to know what I'm thinking.
They continued on in silence, the speedster letting his younger friend guide him and dutifully putting one foot in front of the other.
The tunnel turned out to be longer than they had expected, it curved gently to the left and after only a few minutes it became clear that they were walking up a incline.
The incline was gradual and normally the young heroes would have hardly noticed it, but they were both tired. Their adrenaline was beginning to wear off and Dick was supporting much of the older boy's weight so it wasn't long before they were covered in a light sheen of sweat.
As they continued Wally's breathing became heavier and his free hand was once again pressed to his side.
Robin sighed, giving in to his concern for his friend and ignoring Batman's voice in the back of his mind reminding him of how dangerous it was to stop in the middle of enemy territory.
"Maybe we should take a break, nothing has happened so far so I guess this is as good a place as any. We should probably come up with a plan of action too."
The pair stopped and Wally tilted his head to look at his friend, "I'm thinking we escape before Bozo the Clown offs us."
"Gee, what a great plan, that hadn't even crossed my mind." Robin muttered drily as he positioned Kid Flash so he could slide down the wall to the floor.
Wally grunted as he settled himself on the floor, both hands now pressed against his wound, "Ha, ha, cut me some slack, I'm running on empty."
Dick swallowed a sigh as he looked over the older teen, "Sorry KF, here let me get a look at that."
He reached into his utility belt, fishing out a small flashlight, Wally pushed his goggles up onto his head to avoid being blinded by the small light and Dick switched off the night-vision in his mask before he flicked on the light.
With the flashlight he was finally able to get a good look at his friend without the distortion caused by the night-vision.
Kid Flash was sweating, his face was pale and his breath came in uneven puffs of air
A tremor rant through the red head's frame and Dick's heart twinged with guilt and sympathy.
We can't keep going like this, dragging him around while trying to fend off Joker is going be the death of him.
The thought had just been a figure of speech, but his eyes went wide and he shuddered as he realized that had probably been the Joker's plan all along: to wear Wally down, then make them run and fight and struggleuntil the speedster finally gave out.
Joker knew that The Boy Wonder was every bit as stubborn as his mentor, knew there was no way he would just sit back and wait to be rescued, knew he would push his friend to continue.
Suddenly the ridiculously elaborate, repetitive traps made sense: the villain just had to provide the obstacles and Robin would do his work for him, in trying to rescue his friend he would hurt him.
Joker was using his own personality against him, counting on the determination and tenacity that made him a force to be reckoned with on the streets.
Robin shuddered, Wally was right, I was too worried and too busy thinking about escaping to think clearly about the situation. Batman is going to have me train until I drop for this.
As Robin ran his flashlight over his friend's injuries he tried to convince himself that he was over-thinking the situation, but he had heard Joker dare Batman to kill him enough times that he could recognize the madman's desire to drag them down to his level.
And I've been playing right into his hands, he put a hand on Wally's head, smoothing his bangs back so he could get a clear look at his head injury and the speedster grimaced, "I'm sorry."
Wally smiled at him, "Don't worry about it."
Dick's grip on the flashlight tightened and he pursed his lips, unable to tell the speedster what he was really apologizing for.
He pushed his self-deprecating thoughts to the back of his mind and focused on the task at hand.
Robin could see that Wally's condition was deteriorating, with every step they took, That I made him take, the nasty little voice in his head reminded him, he was getting a little bit weaker.
His speed healing was still trying to work, but in their struggle to avoid Joker's traps they kept reopening his injuries and the stab wound in his side had begun bleeding again.
It was slow, but he could see fresh blood darkening the already stained fabric of Kid Flash's uniform, and the normally welcome aspect of his powers was simply draining what little energy Wally had left and wandering around was only accelerating the process.
Robin chewed his lip as he set aside his light and pulled some gauze from his utility belt to press against the wound, He wanted to find Batman and Flash, but I thought I knew better, he fought the urge to break something, So now I think I know what Joker is trying to do, but Wally is right, why? Why him? And what prompted all of this?
He bent over his friend, his free hand settling over his chest, searching for the reassuring the thump-thump of his heart.
Normally Wally's heartbeat was impossibly fast, thrumming away like a humming bird.
Robin knew that when he had been running the speedster's heart actually did hum because the individual beats were too fast to distinguish, but now it was relatively slow, beating at a rate that nearly matched his own.
He pushed aside the urge to hug Wally, making sure to keep the gauze pressed against his side, "I'm sorry," he repeated, not knowing what else to say.
Dick felt the red head shift then a warm hand patting his shoulder and he looked up, meeting the bright green eyes that glinted in the light from his flashlight.
Wally offered him a reassuring smile, "Stop saying sorry, we're gonna be okay Rob."
"KF I..." the words caught in his throat so he swallowed and tried again, "I'm going to get us out of this, I promise."
Wally's smile widened, "I know, we always seem to find a way out of the messes we get into."
The speedster tried to push away from the wall, so he let the flashlight rest on the older teen's lap, freeing up a hand to push him back.
"Stay still, you're bleeding again. I'm going to do what I should have done back when we were trapped in the water room."
Wally wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at his best friend, "What'd you have in mind?"
Robin couldn't help but chuckle, "I'm going to bandage you up idiot."
"I guess that's good too," the red head sighed out, and let himself sink back against the wall and closed his eyes, "What time is it?"
Robin didn't look up from the bandage that he was now winding around Kid Flash's torso to keep the gauze in place, "Does it matter?"
"Gotta be pretty late by now...m'really tired."
"Probably past midnight..."
The red head looked up into his friend's mask, "hm?"
"Oh," Wally gave him a small smile, "Thanks."
"Is it too early for breakfast, or should I just have a midnight snack when we get back?"
"When we get home you can have whichever you want. Heck you can have both, plus lunch and dinner, then breakfast again okay?"
Kid Flash laughed lightly, "That sounds awesome," he watched Dick's hands securing the bandages around his ribs as he spoke, "So, what's the plan Boy Wonderful? Because I'll bet you twenty bucks that Joker and a horde of his henchmen are waiting for us at the end of this tunnel."
"Or another death trap."
Wally flashed him a mischievous grin, "Wanna bet?"
Robin laughed and offer his hand to the speedster, "You're on."
They shook on it then burst into laughter, allowing themselves to forget everything just for a moment.
After their laughter had died down Dick moved to sit beside his friend with their shoulders pressed together.
Dick nudged Wally with his shoulder, "Okay, here's what I'm thinking: we were in some sort of sub-level which is why we're on an incline now, but the incline is pretty subtle to I think we're just returning to the ground level."
Kid Flash nodded, "I'm with you so far."
"Right, so this is a pretty big building and like most factories it has open levels so we should have a clear shot to the ceiling."
"So, I think that our best bet is going to be grappling to the upper level and trying to get out through the roof. Once we get out we head right for the Batmobile. If we can get to the car then we can get out of here."
"Solid plan, but why do I feel like that's easier said than done?"
Robin smiled ruefully, "Maybe because with Gotham's bad guys it always is?"
The younger hero stood and leaned down to help Kid Flash to his feet, "Come on, lets get this over with."
"Sure, but I don't suppose you have any pick-me-ups in that utility belt of yours do you?"
Dick latched onto the wrist at his shoulder, holding the red head against his side, "I do have a shot of adrenaline, but I don't know how effective it will be on your metabolism."
"Hmm, how much you got?'
The boy wonder shrugged, "Enough for about three doses for me. I don't know what that equates to for you though."
He looked up, watching as even in his exhausted state the speedster did the calculations in his head, "Well with my metabolic rate, which is lower than usual right now since my energy is so low, and the fact that I weigh more than you I'm guessing it would last me around eighteen minutes, give-or-take a couple minutes."
"Okay, well that should at least give us time to get out once we get up there, we just have to time it right."
"Yeah," the speedster shot him a small smile, "So we have a plan, that's good."
"It's not much of one."
Wally shrugged, "Better than nothing."
They continued in silence for several minutes, every sense on alert for another of Joker's surprises.
Eventually, they came to a door with a single sputtering fluorescent bulb casting the area in a sickly light.
The door had been hastily painted, one half red, the other black, with crude diamonds of opposite color accenting each side.
The young heroes looked at each other and Kid Flash shrugged, "Harley? Those are the colors she wears right?"
Robin shook his head, "Can't be, she's in Arkham. I arrested her and dropped her off there myself a month and a half ago."
"Does that really mean anything? These kinds of bad guys escape all the time. Just try to keep a Rogue locked up for more than a month or so, it's tough."
"Well, it's a little late to reconsider now."
The Boy Wonder reached into his belt and, at a nod from his companion injected the adrenaline into the speedster's leg, then he replaced the syringe and pulled out a tazer that he pressed into Wally's hand, "Just in case."
Kid Flash nodded, "Good idea, thanks."
After a moment Wally felt the injection begin to take effect and he let go of his companion, to stand on his own.
Robin noted that the red head was still a bit unsteady, but some of the color had come back to his cheeks.
The each took a deep breath as Robin wrapped the fingers of one hand around the paint-splattered door knob, his staff held ready in the other,"Ready?"
The Boy Wonder yanked the door open, blinking rapidly to help his eyes adjust to the sudden light from the next room.
Both young heroes took a step into the next room, their faces set with determination.
Kid Flash glanced at his companion out of the corner of his eye, "Dude, you owe me twenty bucks."
AN: Well, that's Dick for you. That guy always blames himself when things go wrong. Sorry it took me so long to get the next chapter up, I'm getting ready to graduate from college this semester and I've been caught up dealing with life, and a of a sudden it's been a year since I wrote anything for this story! I hope people are still interested because I do intent to finish this. Also, please don't even get me started on how Invasion ended. I'm trying very hard to forget that last episode exists so I can leave it at that. I...really don't want to talk about how much DC hates Wally. Anyway, I hope this chapter was good! I went back and re-read the previous chapters to make sure it flowed well, but comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.