Disclaimer: Young Justice © DC / Warner Bros. - Full disclaimer on my profile.

Summary: He couldn't stop, wouldn't stop until he'd exorcised these poisonous feelings. / Drabble; s1. Kaldur'angst.

A/N: I produced this wangsty barf in about half an hour to blow off some steam. Enjoy, I guess. English spellings and words used.

Episodes referenced: "Independence Day"; "Welcome To Happy Harbour"; "Downtime"; "Homefront"; "Alpha Male"; "Failsafe"; "Disordered".

Storm Warning

Left. Right. Left. Right.

Kaldur'ahm gritted his teeth, aquamarine eyes fixed on the centre of the punching bag suspended in Mt. Justice's gym. His shoulders were hunched, the back muscles rolling beneath his skin.

Left. Right. Left. Right.

Occasionally, Kaldur mixed up the routine with a swift kick, but for the most part he kept on swinging fist after fist, the weight of his pent-up thoughts and emotions behind each blow. He grunted at the exertion and his shoulder muscles began to cramp - but he couldn't stop, wouldn't stop until he'd exorcised these poisonous feelings.

Protect us from what, knowledge that might have saved our lives?!

Left. Right.

Garth and I, we are...together.

Left. Right.

You almost died!

And Kaldur hadn't?

The bag spun as a fluke right hook hit it at the wrong angle, his knuckles glancing off. In his current state, this caused Kaldur's anger to spike, and he moved in with sharper, more concentrated hits. He couldn't allow for mistakes.

The Team performed adequately. The problem was you.

Left. Right. Kick.

I was the general, but behaved like a soldier and sacrificed myself. I am not fit for command, and must resign as team leader...

The Team saw him as patient - and he had to be. He couldn't let this...this bitterness overwhelm him.

Is something on your mind, Kaldur'ahm?

It is nothing, my king.

You can trust me. On my word, I will tell no-one.

It...it is my Team. They...can, sometimes, be...frustrating.

I see. That is to be expected.

My king?

Things cannot expected to always go smoothly, especially when many individual minds are involved. Do you believe that the League always cooperate? You must merely make them see sense, for their sake. But, do not let this frustration hinder you or cloud your mind. Do not bottle it up. It is unhealthy. I suggest that you channel it into something harmless, or more productive.

Which is how he'd ended up here, attacking the training equipment with enough force to break the bones of an Atlantean body. King Orin's advice was all very well, yet acting upon it...

He could not deny that this was not, to some degree, cathartic, but some thoughts were hard to let go of.

They're treating us like kids - worse, like sidekicks! We deserve better than this.

Your Junior Justice League is a joke.

The sting of his best friend's callous dismissal had almost been worse than the heat of Red Inferno's fiery cage - searing, burning, closing in closercloser the primal part of his brain screaming -

Kaldur! How's M'gann?

When he'd 'died' in the simulation, had they even mourned?

Left. Right. Left. Kick. Right.

With a final grunt, Kaldur pulled back his arm and let fly a punch that swung the punching bag until it was almost horizontal in the air; the chain snapped and the bag arced, landed and rolled away across the floor. Kaldur stood still for a few moments, regaining his breath, feet spread and arms held at his sides as if he were prepared for a fight.

But worse that the anger, boiling and churning in the pit of his stomach, was shame. Kaldur was well aware of the unfairness of these thoughts. He had kept secrets from the Team, good intentions aside; Garth and Tula could not help who they fell in love with; the Batman's lecture had been justified; of course, M'gann had been the unconscious one, not Kaldur, and so would merit more concern; at that point in the training exercise, they'd believed Kaldur and the other 'victims' to have just been teleported; Roy had had his reasons for striking out on his own, and to expect him to ignore those for Kaldur's sake was pure selfishness.

A traitorous voice whispered: Do I not deserve some selfishness?


Kaldur's body was wound tighter than a screw and adrenaline still spiked his blood - he jerked around abruptly at the sound of a voice from the doorway, where Robin and Kid Flash stared from. Robin's eyes were shielded by dark glasses, but his eyebrows were raised. Wally's eyes were wide and his mouth hung open, a half-empty bag of crisps in his hands. They glanced nervously at the worn punching bag. Robin spoke up. "Aqualad, a-are you...alright?"

Kaldur opened his mouth to speak.

Do I matter to you? Do my own emotions have any weight? After all these years, am I just a taskmaster to you?

Perhaps silence was best.

"Ka -"

Kaldur brushed past them silently and headed down the corridor, eyes averted, leaving the pair stunned in his wake.