Needless to say, I do not own Young Justice. Please enjoy and thank you to everyone who has commented on it so far! Always lovely to hear from you :)
Robin needed something to do that would calm his nerves. Food was always a good choice, but his favorite was coding. It just so happened that he needed to update his security for his wrist computer, and while he was at it, he might as well update the mountain's security too. Batman would check it over again, but it would be awhile before he could get to it. So Robin found a nice dark corner to tuck into, where a certain speedster wouldn't be able to find him.
Or so he thought.
His eyes and minds were so focused on the codes that he didn't notice Wally until the boy had gotten his arm halfway around Robin's shoulders. Robin didn't think—he grabbed the offending arm and tossed Wally onto his back, rolling with the toss so that his knee landed on Kid's neck.
Wally froze. It wasn't the first time Robin had been, well, high-strung and it wasn't the first time he had triggered Robin's instincts. He knew that the best thing to do was stay still until Robin realized what he was doing.
"God, sorry dude," Robin said, offering him a hand up. Wally accepted and jumped back up, trying to act like nothing was wrong. He'd have to warn the others.
Robin had turned and was walking off to his room. He raised a hand in farewell and Wally heard him mutter, "You have no idea."
All he was trying to do was walk from his room to the training room. That's all.
He didn't realize that Wally and Artemis had started a food fight in the kitchen and M'gann had joined in.
"Heads up!" Artemis yelled, but it wasn't her voice he was hearing, it was a darker, twisted voice that never really got rid of its laughing tone and Batman was yelling at him to move and he was but bullets still moved faster than he did.
And then reality snapped back into focus. His three teammates were staring at him in shock and he realized he had dove out of the way of the piece of popcorn they had thrown at him. A piece of popcorn.
He didn't say anything, just continued on, but he ran a hand through his hair, feeling the scab from where the bullet Joker had shot at him had brushed against his head.
He knew he shouldn't have agreed to spare with Superboy. He knew he was on edge and that any wrong move would set him off. But Superboy had looked bored and nobody else really liked to spare with him in case he lost his temper. Which he did. A lot.
The sparing was actually going pretty well. Robin was able to keep track of Superboy and predict his moves before he acted on them. But then he started getting angrier.
"Hold still!" he yelled, and rushed at Robin. It wasn't Superboy he was seeing, it was a man with a mask that had never been taken off, holding a knife and Robin was trapped between him and another guy, so he lunged to the side, hoping the other guy wouldn't follow him and-
A yell brought him back out of the memory. Without thinking, he had grabbed Superboy's fist and smashed it backwards. If it had been Artemis or Wally, the wrist would have been broken. For Superboy, it just hurt. A lot. Robin dropped his wrist and jumped back.
"Sorry, I'm so sorry," he said, then jumped onto the side of the sparing arena and jumped for the rafters above, disappearing into the shadows. He rubbed his hand under his hoodie, where his neck met his shoulder. The bandage was wet—it was bleeding again. Time to change it.
"If you add 10 milliliters of .3 moles of HCl to a solution containing 15 milliliters of .15 NH4, what will…" Artemis was reading off her chemistry homework for Wally to help her with. Robin had been sitting on the couch, working on his own homework and it shouldn't have triggered anything but now he was remembering a mall with a ticking bomb and Riddler's voice was calmly talking to him about making bombs, like he wasn't trying to blow everyone up, but was merely teaching a class, but Batman was getting everyone out while Robin distracted the Riddler. Now he was laughing and saying there wasn't any time left, but Robin could still see someone in there so he ran for them and grabbed them, rolling protectively over the kid who had been hiding as the building behind him-
"Dude, you okay?" Wally asked calmly. Robin was on the floor, having rolled off the couch. The scent of burnt flesh was still fresh in his nose.
"Yeah," he said easily, and stood up, collecting his homework. "Just tired. I think I'll go take a nap."
"Alright," Wally said, like he didn't know anything was wrong, like he didn't know what Robin was hiding.
But he felt Wally and Artemis' eyes staring at him as he walked from the room.
Robin and sleep had never gotten along. Before he had become Robin it was dreams of his parents, calling out his name, reaching for him even as they fell down, down, down. Then it was a mix of villains and his parents, everything blending into each other until he avoided sleep as much as possible. So he wasn't surprised when he woke up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath, the adventures of his last weekend still echoing through his mind.
Well there was no point in going back to bed now. He might as well get up, grab a snack, and then get some more work done on his computer. Or his homework.
Half his body was in the fridge, trying to move aside all of Wally's snacks to get to his own when he felt someone move behind him—his hair stood up on the back of his neck and his muscles automatically tensed. As soon as his ears had pinpointed where the person was, he had a bird-a-rang in hand and threw it, only pulling back at the last second, remembering all his false alarms.
The room lit up blue as Kaldur quickly activated his tattoos. He easily deflected the bird-a-rang, which bounced off his shield and embedded into the wall. Robin sighed and leaned against the table.
It hadn't been Kaldur he'd been sensing behind him, it had been the assassin someone had hired to take him out, creeping through the house. His house. The one place where he felt completely safe because no one, no one, could break into that security. Of course, he hadn't been able to do more than yelp and run off into the darkness. After getting so much distance, he had moved into the shadows and gone and got Bruce so he could go play Batman and save Bruce Wayne's young ward.
"Robin," Kaldur began hesitantly. "Are you alright? The team has been saying that you are…" he trailed off as he searched for the polite term to use.
"High strung?" Robin asked. There was no need to beat around the bush.
"Yes. I heard you get up and merely wanted to make sure you were alright."
"I'm fine Kaldur, it was just a really hard weekend in Gotham. That's why I'm here, you know? Batman wanted me out of the city for the week, to relax my nerves." Robin laughed humorlessly. It wasn't the whole reason—Dick was supposed to be under League protection until the caught whoever hired the assassin. "Looks to be going well, huh?"
"Would you like to talk about it?" Kaldur offered. Hey, he had always wanted an older brother. Too bad there wasn't anything he would actually tell Kaldur.
"No thanks Kaldur. I'll settle down eventually. I always do," Robin said and began to move off back to his bedroom. He raised a hand in farewell. "Good night Kaldur."
"You too Robin," Kaldur responded, watching him until he left.
M'gann had never thought she'd see the day. Someone managed to sneak up on Batman. And not just anyone—her.
Of course, it hadn't been her intention to do it at all. She had heard the computer announce Batman's arrival and since Wally and Artemis had dragged Kaldur and Superboy off to town with them to introduce them to human activities, M'gann thought it was her job to approach Batman about Robin. She had seen the way he twitched at sudden noises and flinched away from contact. She had seen it in her friends and family back home with the civil war—quick instincts, high-strung nerves.
"Excuse me," she began softly. If she hadn't been watching Batman she probably wouldn't have seen it. Batman's whole body straightened even more as his muscles tensed and his arm twitched down to his utility belt. The arm dropped down and his body relaxed slightly as he turned to look at the girl impatiently. "I just wanted to, um, make sure everything is, uh, okay with Robin."
She could never say what she wanted around him! How did her Uncle do it?
"What do you mean?" She wished she learned to speak "bat" as Wally called it. Maybe she would know what he was looking for in her answer.
"He's just, uh jumpy. High strung. I just wanted to make sure that-"
M'gann could swear that Batman just relaxed a little. Surely he should be more worried about Robin?
"Robin will be fine. It was a…difficult weekend in Gotham for him." Batman turned back to the computer screen. Hadn't Robin just updated the security here? He turned to leave, startling her out of her thoughts. When he got to the transport, he stopped and looked back at her. "Make sure he relaxes. He's here to cool down." And then Batman activated the beam and was gone.
M'gann realized, as the laser powered down, that maybe there was reason she had been able to sneak up on Batman. Maybe it hadn't been a bad weekend for just Robin—maybe it had been one for Batman too.
M'gann turned back to the kitchen, determined to make the rest of her friend's stay as easy going as possible.