The fight was drawing on too long – they needed to stop Killer Croc before one of them got hurt. Reaching into his utility belt, Robin prepared some exploding discs a little too late as their foe began to charge at him. He didn't have time to react as a yellow and red blur sailed in front of him before being death rolled into the sewage below.
The scream escaped his lips and without hesitation he dived in to save his cherished companion. Swimming down, he watched as an object passed him in the murkish water. Upon closer inspection, horror seized at his brain – it was Kid Flash's arm. Swimming harder than he ever had before he found himself grabbing the afore mentioned discs while Kid Flash fought on despite his state. Throwing the explosives, he towed his friend to the surface kicking and flailing.
They emerged, gasping for air, as their team watched in silence. It wasn't until that moment, as he assessed the damage done, that Robin realized what he had missed before. There wasn't any blood.Where there should have been meat, flesh and bone in one horrifying mangled mess there were wires, pistons and small electrical arches. Wally hadn't even noticed, his baffled expression saying everything that needed to be said.
"What's up, guys? Why are you staring at me like that? Is there something gross on me?"
Looking at Robin for support, he noted the stricken expression had even reached his friend and lover.
The pantomime of this thing checking itself for something comical stuck to it was almost as morbid as the idea that they have never noticed it wasn't their friend – if they ever had one to begin with. Robin was the first to speak up, clearing his throat in an attempt to not let his voice crack.
Confused again, Kid Flash checked himself before stopping short. Finally, realization had donned on him. Not bothering to look at his team, he stared blankly at his missing right arm as he said, "I've got a lot of explaining to do."
Back at Mt. Justice, Wally calmly repaired himself while the others watched in a fascinated , horrified silence. After painstaking minutes passed, Robin finally had enough.
"What are you?"
Wally looked up, not really surprised but clearly derailed from his train of thought. Looking back down at his arm as he flexed the fingers, he began – the others watching in silence as the conversation unfolded.
"It's been a couple of years since I first was downloaded into this body. "
"My consciousness. I was dying; you guys remember, right? There was nothing Uncle Barry could do. So, when he got this crazy idea to make me a new body, he decided to give it a shot and he pulled through – we both did."
None of them could have forgotten the day Flash came back cradling the barely breathing Kid Flash. The boy was an inch from dying, the remains of his body a mangled and half charred mess. No matter how fast his healing was, there was no way he would survive unscathed. That's why, two months later, they were all shocked to find that Barry was allowing visitors.
Robin was the first to come in, rushing into the room to find a bandaged but conscious Wally staring out the window adjacent to his bed. It was that moment that he kissed him, just as the wounded boy was turning to face his friend, his irresistible smile spreading across his face. It was that day that he confessed and they crossed the line from friends to more and Robin finally let someone close enough to know who he truly was. Wally had cried, holding his beautiful blue eyed lover close.
Then again, the rest of the team didn't know this. They all had faced that crushing weight of never seeing their comrade again, but Robin had to face the idea that he not only turned down the only person who had ever confessed to loving him, but when he finally felt the same he was doomed to lose them forever. He had become almost comatose over those two months – barely eating and sleeping only enough to keep him alive. Despite the lack of reasoning, Dick blamed himself for what had happened.
Maybe if he hadn't turned Wally down then he wouldn't have been so careless; maybe he would have tried harder to return to him. Now he found out that Wally never truly did. This was a slap to the face – not knowing the one person he loved most from a mere facsimile. Infuriated at himself as much as he was with that thing, Robin began to lose control.
"Who's to say that you aren't some villains toy used to infiltrate our home for surveillance?"
"Ask my Uncle – he'd have to admit it at this point."
"Flash is not your uncle. He never was, never will be. You're not Wally, you sentient pile of scrap metal!"
The look on its face, Wally's face, was almost enough to make Robin feel awful for what he had said. He looked so stricken, like he couldn't believe that out of all the people in the room Robin was the one to say it. Aqualad stepped forward, putting a reassuring hand on Robin's shoulder before saying, "You contact Flash and the League, I'll take the first watch."
Wally's face remained the same well past the moment Robin and the others left the room, silently watching them leave. Aqualad waited for a few moments before he had a seat, sighing softly.
"He did not mean what he said. Robin is…hurt and confused right now; he needs time to think, time to adjust."
"But it's me in here. My organs are the same – the only thing that has changed is the container they are in. How can that be so hard? I'm still me in here!"
His voice cracked at the end, his body shuddering under the weight of his sobs as he slammed his hands down onto the bed he sat on. Aqualad was not equipped for moments like this, not prepared for Wally's tears. Hesitantly, he reached into his pocket and called the only person he knew could help.
"Roy, I need a favor."