| September 5th, 7:50 PM (Bialyan Time)
Their escape goes suspiciously well after they destroy the first few enemy aircraft drones. When not even Superboy could hear the sound of another aircraft in pursuit, Robin runs a final radar scan of his own on his wrist watch. It takes ten seconds for the radar to come up with a clean sweep, empty of any red dot indicating enemy presence within miles.
"We're clear," he says, but there is an uncertain scowl on his face. This has been far too easy; Bialya has more resources to spare than just a few fighter droids and there's no reason not to use them. The team has just destroyed millions of dollars in technology and left with some of Queen Bee's more guarded secrets stored away in Robin's mind. That's something that would normally enrage a villain enough to pull out all the stops. It couldn't be this easy.
"We are fortunate...for today."
The oddity of the situation is apparent, but for now, he does not look the gift horse in the mouth. They are safe and together; that is the most important conclusion. Kaldur's attention turns to Robin who has a hand pressed to his own forehead, lips pursed tightly to keep back a groan. Racing paranoid thoughts attracted headaches, who knew?
"I'm fine," the boy insists, ignoring Wally's look of disapproval, and turns to M'gann. "You said you can fix my memories?"
"Yes, if you'll let me into your mind." She glances at Artemis, and quickly adds, "I'll be in and out before you know it. Last six months only."
Robin nods his approval even with lingering apprehension in his eyes. The bioship is put on autopilot while M'gann approaches Robin, cupping his head with both her hands and pressing close, forehead to forehead. Robin closes his eyes, and M'gann's glow green.
A jolt of familiar memories is all Robin needs for the memory gaps to fill in. In their shared mindscape, she brings up the most poignant ones - their first encounter at Mount Justice, Batman's mission briefing for the mission, their initial failed attempt at reconnaissance on Psimon - and the rest comes rushing back by Robin's own mind. M'gann begins to pull out, not wanting to invade her friend's privacy, but one scene sucks her in through the sheer amount of pain it radiates, morphing the mindscape into a dark alley that she can only guess as part of Gotham City.
Robin is hunched over near a wall, trembling, and briefly, M'gann is worried that Gotham's villains will finish their assault on the injured boy.
But the alley is empty. No villains are anywhere in sight.
Confused, M'gann turns back to the panting boy wonder. He is clutching his stomach, sweat trailing down his forehead as a mantra repeats on his lips - "I'm okay, it'll pass. It's all mind over body, like Batman always said. I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay."
He pauses when the communicator in his ear buzzes to life. Batman. There's fear and weariness radiating from Robin to the point of being second-handedly distressing to M'gann, but somehow, Robin answers with a steady voice, "Batman? East Gotham's all clear."
"There's activity in West Gotham, return to meeting point six."
"Got it, ETA is five minutes."
When the communicator clicks off, he continues his mantra again, even as he stumbles out of the alley towards Batman's location: "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay," but it's clear that he isn't.
M'gann pulls out of his head before she intrudes even further, and returns to the sight of Robin collapsed in her arms.
"See!" Wally bursts out, unable to hold it in any longer. "Something is wrong with Robin!"
"Chill it, Baywatch," Aretmis says, but she does not look any less concerned than the speedster she is holding back. "He's probably just tired. It's been a long mission."
A single thought from the Martian transforms Robin's seat into a makeshift bed, and two black straps loosely hold the unconscious boy in place when she deposits him into it. "Artemis is right," she tries to reason, although the image of Robin curled over in a ball of misery lingers in her mind. "He's had too much mental stress, with Psimon and Queen Bee and now this."
"He doesn't...sound right." Superboy is out of his seat, tilting his head to lean towards Robin. "His heart rate...it's...different."
"A bad different?" Artemis asks, confused.
Kaldur is as unsure of the situation as Artemis and Superboy, but what he does know is that it is not a matter that can be ignored. Even if Robin looks deceivingly peaceful if not exhausted on his make-shift bed.
"We will address our concerns to Batman when we arrive at Mount Justice. For now, we should allow Robin his rest."
| GOTHAM NEWS NETWORK
| September 6th, 9:00 A.M.
"Goood evening Gotham City, this is Vicki Vale reporting at you live from GNN headquarters. We're back on air after over twenty-four hours of a mysterious communications the source of the attack has yet to be confirmed, but authorities claim that they are already taking steps to prevent such an attack from happening again.
"Earlier this morning, Wayne Enterprises, the leading network provider for Gotham City, has issued a press statement assuring that this is not an isolated incident within their network. The whole country has felt the effects of the crash from Washington to even the famed Justice League. The Wayne Electronics division, like many other companies, have reaffirmed their dedication to increasing encryption measures for their services. Lex Corp has been the quickest of the contenders to jump on this, claiming to have already had such an update in the making for months.
"However, neither Lucius Fox, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, nor the famed president, Bruce Wayne, has been available for comment on these new developments..."
| MOUNT JUSTICE
| September 6th, 9:10 AM
Robin wakes to the sounds of murmuring voices hovering over him, and he hones onto the familiar deep sound of Bruce's voice. It keeps him from darting up immediately, because Bruce has always been associated with safety...or as much "safety" as a superhero life allows. The moment reprieve clears his mind enough to allow the situation to seep in - Bialya, the mission, Queen Bee, The Light.
His eyes snap open.
"Batman," he calls out, snapping to an upright position and almost immediately regretting the rush of blood that leaves him dizzy. "I...I need to talk to Batman."
His guardian is by his side in an instant, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Robin. What you need to do is rest. You've-"
"No, this is important! There's going to be a break-out in Belle Reve, the ice villains, the connection! It all makes sense now!"
Robin's eyes clear enough to notice that several of the Justice League members and his team are staring at him like he's grown an extra head. Wally presses especially close, almost in his face to the point that he can see the freckles on the redhead's questioning face.
"Dude, what are you talking about? Are you-"
"Kid Flash," Batman warns with a glare, causing the speedster to step back from his friend. The league similarly backs off, more out of respect for Robin's weary watch and Batman's protective stance over his ward than intimidation. His attention returns to Robin. "How did you find this information?"
"In Bialya, when Queen Bee was controlling me, she also gave me a look into all her files and it finally makes sense. Mr. Freeze is going to petition to be declared legally sane in a few days, landing himself in Belle Reve with the other ice villains. That's when it'll start: the biggest prison break-out ever."
"But I thought Icicle Jr. was sent to the juvenile detention center, not Belle Reve," Superman interrupts, listening in on the conversation from afar with little difficulty.
"No, Camer..err...I mean Icicle Jr. petitioned to be tried as an adult in court, he's being transferred to Belle Reve in a week."
Artemis becomes the new subject of everyone's stares, and immediately mentally curses her outburst. Almost referring to a villain by first name? Not suspicious at all. There are a few raised brows, but she does not know if it's from her information or from the slip-up.
"We keep track of our own villains," Green Arrow explains, and the staring eases, only to be redirected to Robin when the boy groans out in pain.
Everything became too much too fast. The sharp pangs around his abdomen returned at full force, but when he reflexively clutches the area in defense against the unknown attacker, his world begins to distort and every sense is fuzzed over in an obfuscating haze. He tries to find Batman, the one figure who has always been an anchor to him ever since that day four years ago. The black isn't hard to spot, and he reaches out, feeling cool fabric in his hand - a brief comfort that is quickly overridden by more pain pain pain.
"What's...what's wrong with me?" He manages to groan out before fainting once again. And this time, Wally is not the only one to panic.
A/N: Sorry this took so long. I'm actually working on my DC Big Bang project (basically a challenge to write a 10k+ word fic which will probably be YJ related) and another pet project of mine, a YJ-HP crossover (you can find snippets of it on my tumblr), so my writing's been lagging a bit. Thank you all for the lovely feedback (and episode links) and reminding me to get back to writing this even though it is only a small-ish update.
Happy belated birthday to that one anonymous reviewer who mentioned that his/her birthday is this week! Also hiatuses make me sad and lol wtf is going on with this website and all the changes?