...
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow


Part Five: For Thine is the/Life is very long

And then it's...


His jaw aches, is the first thing he thinks. It hurts like his own fist was behind it, power and precision. It's strange, how when he tries to remember he gets this odd double-vision of both throwing and taking it. Whatever, that's not important anyway.

He needs to get out of this cave and check on the League and the world and Dick.

The cave's in lockdown, which is odd. Why'd he implement a lockdown? There was something, something to do with the kids. With Dick and Wally and Conner and Kaldur and Artemis and M'gann.

He's worried about Dick, but he thinks of M'gann, and something inside him shifts and settles, just a bit. The lockdown lifts all on its own, and he sets about checking on the world without noticing his own dark little smile.


Kaldur sits up with a gasp. His lungs burn until he remembers to drag his gills closed and breathe with his nose, and then he puts a hand to his abused gills and looks around. He's in his own room at Mount Justice, and for some reason, he's surprised at that.

Wasn't he underwater just a while ago? He was dreaming of Atlantis, probably; he can't quite let that go, even now. Except, now, he really kind of can, even if he isn't exactly sure what's changed.

It's strange, he thinks, but he looks around his room and can't help but think it's home.


Roy wakes up, and he's thirsty, and there's an odd itch at the back of his throat, but that awful want is gone. He shudders and if he weren't already seated against a wall he'd've fallen. He blinks up at the ceiling, then giggles. That turns into a laugh, and more and more 'til he's crying, and he doesn't know anything but how much he hates that want, and swears to himself that no matter what, he'll never become that. Not ever.

In fact... he staggers to his feet, and has to brace himself on the wall for a while before he tries walking. From there it's a short walk into the room proper, and he manages to snag his cell from the table it's sitting on. He's got some people he needs to talk to.


Three...


It starts as a tingle in her toes, then her fingers, and then, for the first time in forever, Artemis hears her heartbeat. Her whole body is on fire with pins and needles, and it hurts so glorious and she bites her lip, and the tears streaking down her face are more for the joy than the pain.


Conner glares down at his knuckles, now red. Every flex of his hands drives an odd surge of pain down his arms. He hadn't thought...huh.

He switches his glare to the thin air that, apparently, isn't so thin after all. Finally, he growls a warning at it, gives the whole thing up as a bad job, and goes to find his friends. He needs to know they're safe, and then he needs to ask M'gann to go out with him, because seriously, the world is always ending and that's a reason to live in the now, not an excuse to hesitate.


Two...


Wally skids back into the present and manages to break before hitting the far wall. It's strange; his stopping distance was never that short before. His knees are still pulling, just a little, but running through time like he just did—something feels almost settled inside him.

He tugs his goggles up, looks around, and asks, "So, did we win?"


Robin wakes up on the floor, shards of mirror surrounding him, reflecting and reflecting and reflecting and the thought scares him. He flips up to his feet, careful about where he puts his hands, and kicks the glass. Something catches his eye, and he looks closer at one larger piece, then raises his fingers to his face, and wonders where his mask is.


One...!


M'gann surfaces with a gasp, and opens her eyes.

"What's wrong?" Conner asks, right there in front of her.

"You okay, gorgeous?" Wally asks.

Artemis hits the back of his head and hisses, "Inappropriate, much?"

Robin snorts and comes back with, "Always. Can't take him anywhere."

"How are you feeling?" Kaldur asks

She's sitting up, she realizes, and in a chair, but just for a second she's seeing double. It's almost like there are shadows of everyone behind themselves, and that thought makes her head hurt and her eyes sting, and she gulps air and manages, "You all—you're okay?"

"Sure," Artemis says. "Why wouldn't we be?"

"I...I thought..."

Artemis pushes Conner out of the way rests the back of her hand on the green skin of her forehead. "No fever," she murmurs, and Robin snorts. Wally makes a crack about the core temperatures of Martians as opposed to Earthlings, and he and Artemis get into a heated argument. Kaldur gets sucked into it by dint of 'also being alien', and he drags Conner with him because if he has to suffer, he refuses to go quietly or alone.

"Bad dream?" Robin asks M'gann, tone neutral but a hint of sympathy in his eyes. When she nods hesitantly, he asks, "If you want to talk about it," he offers, and follows up on her second nod with, "What was it about?"

And M'gann opens her mouth, blinks, and then says, completely puzzled, "You know, I can't remember."


...

end

...

...

You know, in the original outline, this ended with, "and Robin is not having with this shit so he demands Time manifest, and she does, and she's a redhead."