.x.

.x.

The glowing, holographic numbers tick away.

0:06

They run.

0:05

Wally begins to accelerate and blurs to a dark streak as soon as the explosive Batarangs go off, expecting to feel an opening from the exit, and the flats of his gloved hands meet cold, intact steel.

0:04

Dick joins him, his body soundly striking where the doors had been sealed. He pounds with his gauntlets incredulously. It should have—…why…

0:03

Wally's emerald-colored eyes uncovered by his goggles peer at the squinting lenses of the Robin mask, reflecting red, and he noiselessly lays his hand over one of Dick's fists hesitating mid-pound.

0:02

The power core of the alien mothership roars behind them.

0:01

Dick's lips twitch apart, mouthing "** **** ****…" and Wally half-shakes his head, gently moving his hand over Dick's loosening.

0:00

Everything lights up blindingly, -painlessly-, and then darkens.

.x.

.x.

And he's still breathing. Wally's heart thuds behind his ribcage fastfaster as he sits up from dozing on one of the couches in the downstairs lounge, sucking in a few noisy breathes. Still alive.

He pushes up his damp, orange bangs from his forehead with clammy-feeling palms.

Alive.

Conner snores breathily with his back to the lounge carpet. The fingers in Conner's right hand shift together with Kaldur's as the Atlantean also sleeps in close vicinity to him, lips puckering together in a semi-troubled frown. Artemis curls on her left side with her pajama-ed knees to her chest on the other couch, one of her arms and hands dangling out and touching around Conner's available wrist near his head. M'gann is nowhere to be found with the others (last he saw her that evening was when Martian Manhunter escorted her trembling form to the monitor room's zeta beam).

A soft, drowsy groan. "Hey…mm…"

Dick sits up, adjusting himself to his knees from his stretched out position — where he had fallen asleep against Wally on that tiny sofa — and fixes the annoying and tilting angle of his sunglasses. "Something wrong, dude?" he murmurs, and then gets a face full of Wally's hair when the speedster hugs him tightly around the shoulders, and doesn't respond to his name being called softly. "It was just an exercise, it's over now," Dick reassures him calmly, firm and soothing when he finally grasps onto Wally's upper arms to catch his attention. "No one was hurt."

"It still…" Wally insists, pulling away, "The virtual simulation felt so real, Robs. Everything. How the walls felt. The snow. The ground when I was running." You.

"It was meant to be like that." Dick smirks a little, dully.

"I remember us trying to get out before the detonators went off." Wally trails off, rubbing his hands over his shirt sleeves, "When we…" Say it. Died.

"I remember that, too."

Dick's laugh — unfeeling, forced — sends a bout of nausea to curdle inside Wally's usually iron-strong stomach. "I was there, remember?" Dick murmurs again, untucking his legs in front of him.

"What did you say then?"

Before we exploded into a million flaming pieces. Dick braces himself and his expression hardens at Wally's question.

"…Does it matter anymore?"

Wally's stomach clenches along with the walls of his throat. His voice barely comes out when he whispers, "It might if it had been the last thing you ever said to me."

A sigh. A tired one. "I blamed myself. For not somehow figuring out what was going on. For Artemis. For standing by when Kal sacrificed himself. For sending Conner to his death and making Megann go through that pain." Dick confesses, finally removing the crooked sunglasses to grind his hands over his eyelids, "For not saving you when I should have."

"You put too much pressure on yourself for a thirteen-year-old kid."

"I'm not a kid." Vividly blue eyes peek darkly through the cracks made with Dick's fingers. "…Don't say something ignorant like that."

"Then you mind chilling the hell out about the whole 'everything has to be my responsibility' thing because no one can live with that kind of guilt constantly and I'm tired of you doing it to yourself," Wally snaps, and the other boy flinches, digging into his hair. "If I died or someone tomorrow for, a freak accident or something, it wouldn't be your fault if you couldn't prevent it."

"I'm going to be the leader of this team someday," Dick mumbles, bent over towards the floor.

"Maybe it's not a good idea when it turns you into a more self-destructive maniac than you already are."

Another one of Dick's laughs echoes the quiet atmosphere of the lounge brighter, more heartfelt — and he straightens up to glance at Wally, amused. "Probably not."

He doesn't mean it… it doesn't matter.

For now, they're back inside their own reality — no matter how much harsher it is on their psyche. For now, they're all still living.

.x.

.x.


All my feelings. All of them.