I don't own Young Justice. This was a minifill for a prompt on YJAM, inspired by a quote from a movie: "Sometimes I can't remember if there is anything redeemable about me. But I realize that even if I don't see anything, too many people love me for me to be pointless." And it has absolutely nothing to do with the time elapsed since the last new episode of YJ. None at all.
The Cave is empty.
In two days, it will have been exactly two months since their last mission.
No one is sure why they've been forgotten like this. Maybe the grown-ups are still shaken after the fail-safe training exercise turned out not to be so fail-safe. Maybe someone on the team has been hurt and no one is allowed to talk about it, so they just have to wait for the wound to heal. Or maybe they've just been disbanded.
It wouldn't be the first thing everyone forgot to tell Conner.
He's standing in the training room, staring at the grey walls, at the dormant zeta-tubes, at the gaping, empty hole in this mountain where his team first took form. M'gann left three days ago to work with J'onn, saying she just couldn't stand to feel so useless anymore, and while he doesn't begrudge her the departure, it does leave all the uselessness for him to enjoy here in the empty, echoing halls of Mount Justice.
He's tried going out on his own, seeking out cities to wander at night, looking for trouble, but it's not the same. These cities don't need him. They have their own defenders, their own traditions, their own expectations, and while he does some good, in the end, it's no good at all. This world doesn't know his name. And why should it?
He wanders outside, to the beach. The moon is waning, not like the bright, full moon that came out to greet them the night he was born (and he does consider that night his birth, for though he may have breathed before then, he doesn't consider that existence living). Somewhere under this same sky, his teammates are out there, fighting the good fight. But he is not. He has nowhere to go, no role to fill, no place to belong, and it renders him hollow as the mountain itself.
Training once gave him direction. Missions once gave him purpose. The team once breathed life into his meaningless existence. But it's all slipping away, or maybe it already did, and he just didn't notice, and there's nothing he can do. Like a forgotten part for a scrapped machine, Conner is waiting for someone to pick him up and dust him off and put him back where he's supposed to be, lest he slip into desolate disuse for good.
But the sea ripples, and the moon shines, and some quiet, uncertain part of his brain thinks that can't quite be right, because it's not just the missions he misses. It's not the training. It's not even the team.
It's his teammates.
He misses M'gann's inexhaustible cheerfulness, how she has a smile for everyone, and means it, too. He misses Kaldur's boundless patience and the way he always knows exactly what to say. He misses Robin's teasing and his irritating laugh and all the mayhem and the mischief that comes with it. He even misses Wally and Artemis's endless bickering. The Cave is empty, but it's not just the Cave; Conner's world is empty while this group is scattered across the planet like this. And it eats him from the inside out.
Just as he turns to go back inside, a flicker in the sky catches his attention.
It's the Bioship.
He doesn't bother to go through the Cave – in a single bound, he's on top of the hangar; in another, he's landing beside the ship itself, staring up at its belly impatiently.
The hatch opens. M'gann catches sight of him, and her eyes widen in surprise as he jumps up to wrap his arms tightly about her, crushing her in a close embrace. He doesn't say anything, but he doesn't let go, either. And after a moment of surprise, she responds in kind, and he closes his eyes, satisfied.
He doesn't know what his purpose is, not yet anyway.
But while he has these people, nothing can be a total loss. Not even him.