Robin doesn't say anything at first but he can see Superboy's knees trembling under the weight of the fallen ceiling to the automated warehouse, as the clone literally shoulders that weight from crushing them both. The vertical carousals, the industrial racks, the lift modules, the very walls of this building gone — an earthquake — totaled their existence outside that section of the ceiling not being supported by Superboy's palms and muscles — and this should have been something prepared for! If Batman were here… …! Robin cringes mentally at the familiar image of a stern, dark cowl.
It wasn't that the signs weren't there. He checked the readings, and double checked, and triple checked while still working on the mission, but they weren't in danger. And yes, the building was in unstable condition, and yes, the Northeast States Emergency Consortium suspected minor tremors popping up on this side of the state (the body wave magnitude = destructive power scaled only at 3/2 of the power felt by shaking and the difference of magnitude in 1.0 scale is equal to the factor of 31.6 ( = (10 ¹·º)(³/²)) with what could potentially be released) but they -weren't- supposed to have been in danger.
They weren't stupid; they weren't children; the Justice League… Batman… trusted them…
Superboy finally speaks up, crouched above him, and Robin snaps back to attention from drawing in one of his arms lying flat at his side, examining his shredded gauntlet along with somewhat mangled hardwire of his holographic computer. Not concerted. Definitely… disconcerted this time. "No signal?"
"There is a 50/50 percent chance that a distress call went through to HQ." On his back, Robin licks his dry lips, tasting the specks of dirt clinging. He begins to roll to his side. "I could reroute the—" Suddenly, a further sensation of ripping penetrates and resonates through every pore in his body. Through his other glove, Robin feels down along for the cylindrical, metal pipe jutting out from the besmirched floor beneath him, jutting out from him and smeared with his blood from his left side. Appropriately two inches thick in diameter. Maybe about twenty three in length. Missed the lung. Small blessings.
He remembered now. He had fallen. Ha. What a joke. Must have blacked out temporarily from the impact. Less than ten minutes. He didn't feel it before. Huh.
Superboy shifts, ceiling now pushing on his skull, when the thirteen-year-old makes another breathy scream and then falls back, breathing rhythmically and shallowly through the now amplified waves of pain. Lamaze technique. "Don't move."
"…gonna try." Robin regains his voice to answer him, and it sounds sluggish and cracked in his ears, "Fighting shock isn't as easy as it looks…"
The pipe can only be described as an ugly cold inside him burning. Every part of him burning. Crap. This is bad. Behind the lenses of his mask, his eyes squeeze shut and then force themselves open. "I…I might have a tracker. If it still is working, you could…"
Superboy jerks his chin, disapproval lacing his words, "Since when do you give up?"
"Not. Just making a suggestion."
"This entire place will cave."
Robin blinks out the blurry, gray veil threatening to crawl into the corners of his vision. Can't get tired now. He still had adrenaline left to talk at least. "More than enough of a reason for you to get out."
"It won't kill me," Superboy mentions offhandedly, exposed, veining biceps flexing as the ceiling shudders and groans.
"Besides, I'm not leaving you. We're a team, remember?" he adds a little more softly.
It's a lucid moment of understanding. Something so surreal to this worsening situation and Robin doesn't mean for his voice to sound so small, like a child, like he was his own proper age and not the pragmatic and talented protégé to the most feared man to the scum of Gotham City, "… …thanks."
When Robin speaks again, breaking the few minutes of silence between them, his voice carries a stronger note, something oddly astringent, "You can't hold the ceiling up forever, Superboy. There are realistic limitations on your abilities and without the advantage of TTK—"
"—You don't know what I can do." Superboy's expression is not one of anger as he argues, and that proud smirk is anything but feral or doubtful. "I hovered yesterday for a half an hour. A foot."
"Off the ground?" To laugh enlarges the bleeding wound and… Robin regrets nothing. "Asterous."
It's exactly a full minute before Superman punches through the rubble surrounding them.
A minute and fifteen seconds before Batman climbs in to kneel down beside a pale-faced, immobilized Robin.
Two before Robin is free and they all make it out.
Three before the warehouse caves and Robin loses consciousness.
"I'm here, Dick…"
"Bruce… it…h-urts so much…"
"Dick. This is Dr. Leslie Thompkins. You remember me, don't you? That's a good boy… I need you to keep your eyes open a little bit longer and then I promise you'll get some rest…"
"I've got your hand… I'm not going anywhere, Dick…"
"—heart rate up. I'll need that IV line. Listen, I need you to count backwards from fifty in your head now, dear… that's right… here, I'll count out loud with you… forty-seven…—"
Robin's body twitches awake, and a low, whistling breath sucks in past the barrier of his lips. His unmasked, blue eyes blink a couple times to adjust to the darkness of his bedroom before his fists come up to rub slowly at his eyelids. A dream? No. A memory. Like a dream. But not really.
His bedroom in Mount Justice. The sheets around him still smelled dingily of stale popcorn and orange soda among the other assorted junk food that spilled all over everything from his and Wally's "Brotastic Ninja Horror Movie/X-Box Gaming Night 2011". The night before the mission… that's right…
He and Superboy had been in charge of searching the first hot spot by themselves. Aqualad and Miss M were left with the second hot spot and took shelter in the Bio Ship when the earthquake struck. At the third hot spot, nearest the second, Wally and Artemis were able to locate and disarm the fusion bomb planted. They returned (apparently very noisily and colorfully) to the aircraft around the same time, also taking shelter in Bio Ship. The rest of them had been safe.
When Superman created an entrance into the twisted chaos that was once the automated warehouse, he took over the position of holding the ceiling up long enough for Superboy, Batman, and a very lifeless Robin to get out. Everyone was safe. Batman had to reassure this to a very insistent and heavily medicated but also very genuinely worried Robin the afternoon he gained consciousness after surgery.
Batman was reluctant to let him stay at Mount Justice, even in mostly full recovery, but it had been three weeks. Three weeks of being bed-ridden and without training. Though a tiny part of him enjoyed being babied by his guardian, Robin had missed moving around — a lot — and missed his friends.
The glass on his nightstand is empty. And his throat feels papery. Robin feels along for his mask next to the glass, smoothing the Spirit-gummed edges over his face before scooting from his pile of sheets. He cradles his hand over his left side when it pings sore for the briefest of moments. The same hand lightly massages that bandaged space under his slim, teal-colored shirt when he exits his unlit bedroom for the set of elevators down the hallway.
On the main level, through another hallway, he halts and observes from the kitchen doorway as Superboy leans over the speckled, granite surface of the island and serenely thumbs through a television guide without glancing up at the other boy.
"Hey, Supey…" Robin's mouth scrunches up with mild exasperation. Ick. He sounds so hoarse. Superboy walks away to pop the refrigerator door open and hands him a cold bottle of water, nodding when Robin hesitates. With a broad, amused smile, the younger boy accepts it, taking a long, happy gulp and wiping his mouth. Superboy goes back to the television guide and Robin follows him, invading his space to peer at it from under his arm. "You a fan of late night television?"
"I like this." Superboy's index finger trails across to a program highlighted in orange: Ben 10.
Robin smothers a giggle behind his bare hand. A kid's show about an alien boy. Not at all unexpected.
"Well then I guess we could make snacks or—"
Superboy grasps onto his right shoulder firmly when Robin heads for the entertainment center with the guide in hand, stopping him in his tracks. "—Shouldn't you be resting?"
Robin steps away from him, eager look still in place. "I've been resting. Come on, we still have—" Expressionless, Superboy pushes experimentally into Robin's side, and the younger boy gasps helplessly as the soreness explodes, backing away and wrapping an arm instinctively around himself.
At the astonished, pained look on him, Superboy mutters skeptical, "And you're still injured."
"I had to convince Batman to let me stay overnight at the base, even though I wasn't expecting everyone to leave before I got here," Robin says aloud with an eerie and adult sort of contempt, and his eyebrows wrinkle together. "…I shouldn't have to defend myself to you either."
"You were saying something." His arm unwinds itself from his side as Superboy's eyes lower to stare, something comparable to a rueful fascination flaring his very blue eyes, "Sorry. About hurting you." And just like that, the contempt — disenchanted; consummate — disappears like a wisp of candle smoke.
"Make me a sundae and I'll consider sitting next to you on the sofa." Robin grins.
"You will anyway." Superboy lets himself be yanked by the arm, complaining, "And you'll snuggle."
Robin tells him cheekily, curling up, lifting his knees to press into the cushions and softly to Superboy's knee, "I'm one of the best snugglers you'll ever know, Supey."
"Just don't talk through the show."
"Where's my sundae—mmhhm—" The rest muffled from existence into the curve of Superboy's hand.
For the YJ Fic Challenge on LJ that seemed to have died. The person I got wanted a Robin-centric piece with action and hurt/comfort and I don't really know if they ever saw it. Oh well. My story now I guess. You can interpret Robin and Superboy's relationship in this to slashy if you want but I wrote it feeling like it was more friendship than anything else. I haven't focused on something that wasn't shippy and/or short in a long time so I'm glad I got to do this. I'm really, really proud of the results. :DD Thanks for reading, everyone~