A/N Special thanks to Black Friar for looking over this story for me! Any and all remaining mistakes are mine.
"KF, it's just a sprain. I can walk."
"No, you can't, Rob. You look like you're going to pass out every time you put weight on that leg. Now, c'mon on, stop being so stubborn and let Supey carry you back to the bio-ship."
"I can manage," Robin insisted, gritting his teeth as he started to limp in the general direction of where they'd parked the ship.
Wally exchanged an exasperated look with Superboy. "Fine," he said, catching up to Robin and pulling an arm across his shoulders, "but you're not gonna walk the whole way on your own, Boy Stubborn."
Robin was apparently too busy concentrating on not falling down, because he didn't respond.
They hobbled along like that for a while, Superboy flanking them and keeping an eye on their surroundings. Halfway to the ship, however, Wally felt Robin sag against him. He glanced at his friend's drawn face; his eyes were closed and his jaw was slack. Wally carefully lowered the younger boy to the ground and checked him over quickly.
"Is he all right?" Superboy asked, peering over Wally's shoulder.
Wally glanced up at him. "I think he did a little more than just sprain his ankle. Good thing he passed out though 'cause now at least you can go ahead and carry him."
Superboy nodded and scooped the prone boy up in his arms in a much more gentle manner than Wally had ever thought him capable of.
"All right, so that means we've got about fifteen minutes before the other truck takes off with the rest of the alien tech, but it's on the other side of town."
"I can't get there that fast," Robin said. "You'll have to give me a lift, KF."
Wally raised an eyebrow, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "You mean, carry you?"
Robin sighed and rolled his eyes. "Yes."
"You sure?" Kid Flash asked with a teasing grin.
"Yes, yes, go!"
Kid Flash turned his back to Robin to allow his friend to hop onto his back. He hooked his arms under Robin's knees and waited for his friend to lock his arms around his neck, before dashing off in pursuit of the other truck.
"Dude! Seriously, do not call me that!"
Robin's cackle echoed long after they'd taken off.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God!"
Wally stared at the blood that was pooling beneath Robin's unmoving form, and he fought the urge to scoop up handfuls of it and pour it back into Robin's gaping wound to try and get some of the blood reabsorbed by his friend's body. He knew all too well the human body didn't work that way.
Artemis dropped to her knees beside him, abandoning her bow so she could fold her hands over the stab wound in Robin's abdomen and put pressure on it. "Wal- Kid Flash, snap out of it!" she yelled at him.
Wally blinked and shook himself. She's right, you idiot! Get a grip!
Robin coughed, a horrible wet cough, and Wally immediately leaned forward to peer into Robin's white face. "Rob? Robin, can you hear me?"
Robin groaned but didn't open his eyes.
"Wally, there's so much blood…" Artemis whispered. "I can't get it to stop…"
Wally placed his hands over Artemis's and leaned his weight on them. "You have to press harder!"
Robin cried out at the pain Wally's added weight caused, and Wally winced. "I'm sorry, dude. I'm sorry."
There was a gasp from somewhere to Wally's right, and he glanced up briefly to see M'gann, Aqualad and Superboy standing there, horrified looks on each of their faces. Aqualad was the first to recover; he quickly knelt on Robin's other side and pulled off one of the boy's gloves so he could press his fingers to his wrist.
"He is very weak," Aqualad said grimly. "What is the nearest hospital?"
Wally shook his head, still pressing down on his friend's wound. "Mount Justice is closer."
Suddenly, Superboy was beside him. "Get out of the way," he said gruffly.
When Superboy proceeded to bat his and Artemis' hands away, Wally was about to snap at him to back the hell off, but when the stronger boy replaced their hands with his own, Wally realized he was just trying to help.
His task suddenly taken away from him, Wally got to his feet and stared at the blood on his hands.
"Kid, how long would it take you to get there?"
"What?" he asked dazedly.
Aqualad placed a hand on both of his shoulders and Wally looked up. "How long would it take you to get to Mount Justice?" the team leader repeated.
"Uh. Twelve minutes. No- ten, I can get him there in ten."
"Good. Take Robin, we will follow in the bio-ship."
Wally wiped his hands on his uniform, suddenly grateful his suit was in stealth mode.
"Ready?" Superboy asked him from where he was kneeling beside Robin.
Wally nodded and Superboy carefully lifted Robin from the floor and placed him into Wally's arms. "Got him?" the other boy asked and didn't let go until Wally had nodded.
"I think the bleeding has slowed," Superboy offered, before joining Artemis and M'gann, who were both holding on to each other.
"Go," Aqualad said, "And be careful. We will get there as soon as we can."
"Careful's my middle name," Wally said automatically, but there was no lightness in his voice. "I'll get him there safely, Kaldur. He's gonna be okay." Wally nodded at his team mates, tightened his hold on Robin and sped off.
"You hear that, Rob? You're gonna be okay," he told his friend firmly.
"What did you give him?" Aqualad growled, slamming the thug against the wall.
"He was being a pain in the ass, so we drugged him! But it's just a sleeping agent, I swear! We didn't hurt the kid!"
"Yeah, right," Artemis said angrily from where she was kneeling on the floor beside an unconscious Robin. "And this bruise on his face just magically appeared!"
"Now- that- that wasn't me! I swear! It was Donny- the- the guy that got away!" the thug stammered, beads of sweat rolling down the side of his face.
Aqualad wrinkled his nose in distaste. A coward and a back-stabber. "Oh, rest assured that our associates are taking care of him as we speak." He tightened his hold on the man's collar and leaned in close. "Now, if that drug has any ill effects on our friend here, you can be sure it will not only be we who will be paying you another visit," he snarled. "And they, or rather he, will not be so lenient." He slammed the thug against the wall once more before releasing him, letting the man slide to the floor, where he cowered.
"Kid, Artemis," Aqualad said, not taking his eyes off the thug, "escort this man outside and hand him over to the authorities. I will take Robin and meet up with Miss Martian and Superboy. Rendezvous with us at the bio-ship as soon as you are able."
As Kid Flash pulled the criminal up by the scruff, Artemis left Robin's side and nocked an arrow – keeping it aimed at the ground – effectively keeping the man compliant.
Aqualad moved to kneel beside the motionless Robin. Even though Artemis had already established that Robin seemed to be relatively all right, aside from the obvious bruise on his cheek and another, larger one on his arm, he checked the younger boy's pulse and breathing once more to reassure himself. Robin's heartbeat was strong and his breathing was deep and even. He truly seemed to be sleeping.
Aqualad carefully slid an arm underneath Robin's shoulders, slipped his other arm under the boy's knees and lifted him effortlessly.
Robin's dark head lolled against Aqualad's shoulder and Aqualad marveled, not for the first time, at how very young Robin seemed when his usual vibrant personality was absent.
"M'gann, Superboy, were you successful in apprehending the other criminal?" Aqualad asked through the psychic link, as he began to make his way to one of the warehouse's many exits.
"Yep!" M'gann replied immediately. "Is Robin all right?"
Aqualad looked down at the sleeping boy's peaceful face. "I believe he will be."
"Rob, you've been going at this for days, you gotta take a break."
"I don't have time for a break, KF. If I don't figure this out, we'll never get out of here."
"If you get some rest, the answer might just come to you," Superboy suggested reasonably from beside Wally.
"I'll get some rest once we're back at Mount Justice," Robin said, remaining hunched over his wrist computer.
"Rob-" Wally began.
"Look," Robin interrupted. "Do you guys want to get out of here or not?"
"Of course we do!"
"Well, then, just let me work."
Wally looked at his friend's pale face. Robin had been working on this algorithm for two days with barely an hour's sleep and on little more than two bites of food. His gloved hands trembled slightly and Wally wouldn't be surprised if, beneath the mask, there were bags under his eyes. It was time for an intervention. He nodded at Superboy.
Superboy immediately thrust his hands underneath Robin's arms from behind and lifted the boy up in one fluid motion. He quickly shifted his grip so that Robin was trapped against his chest, his arms pinned to his sides.
"Hey!" Robin protested. "What are you doing? Put me down!"
"You need to sleep," Wally told him sternly.
"Didn't you hear what I just said? I have to finish this! SB, put me down!" Robin insisted, trying to twist out of Superboy's grasp. Superboy held fast, not giving Robin a chance to launch into one of his acrobatic moves.
Wally pointed at the makeshift cots on the other side of the room and Superboy moved to set Robin down on the nearest one.
"Wait!" Wally quickly grabbed Robin's wrist and pulled off his glove. At Superboy's questioning look, he said, "Just confiscating his wrist computer or he'll still be going at it when we're not looking."
Robin glared at him; Wally just gave him a toothy grin in return.
Superboy deposited their struggling teammate on the cot. When he moved away, Robin immediately started to get up.
"Don't make me sit on you," Superboy said in all seriousness.
Robin froze, sighed and finally lay back. "Fine. I'll get some sleep, but only for an hour!"
"Of course," Wally said gravely. "I'll give you a wake-up call myself."
After Robin had finally turned onto his side, turning his back to them, Superboy leaned towards Wally. "Are you really going to wake him in an hour?" he whispered.
"Of course not! But he won't know that until it's too late," Wally whispered back, waggling his eyebrows at Superboy and grinning.
"I heard that, Kid Mouth," Robin murmured.
"Superboy! Come on, wake up! We have to move!"
Robin looked around desperately; the debris that was coming down from the ceiling was kicking up dust almost as thick as smoke. They had to get out of there; the building could collapse on their heads any minute.
"Superboy!" Robin pushed, prodded and even resorted to slapping his team mate's cheek, but there was no response. Superboy had been exposed to Kryptonite and he had yet to regain consciousness even though Robin had managed to get it a safe distance away from him fairly quickly. Robin knew the other boy would recover - unless he got pancaked underneath a three-story building when he was still vulnerable.
When a rather large chunk of concrete landed only two feet away, Robin reached under Superboy's arms, grabbed hold and pulled. "Oof!" he grunted as a sharp pain lanced up his back, and he let go immediately.
"Ow. O-kay, that's not gonna work." Thinking quickly, he turned around, knelt by his team mate's head and drew the other boy's arms over his shoulders. He grasped Superboy's wrists tightly and held them together in front of his chest.
Slowly, Robin rose. He gritted his teeth at the massive weight, his legs trembling from exertion. Sweat trickled down his temple as he slowly managed to get moving. The pressure on his knees was terrible and his back and shoulders ached, but he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and on keeping his tight hold on Superboy's wrists.
He estimated the distance to the exit to be no more than thirty feet, and he pressed on, despite his burning lungs, shaking legs and throbbing back. The swirling dust turned his breaths into ragged gasps and the floor shook beneath his feet.
At last, he managed to haul Superboy outside, and Robin gulped in the fresh air. But he knew he couldn't stop there. Robin continued to drag Superboy until he was sure they were a safe distance away from the building.
Finally, he lowered his charge and collapsed to the ground beside the taller boy. Robin shook with exhaustion, his lungs burning in their desperate need for air not laden with dust. Resting his cheek on the cool grass, he closed his eyes briefly in an effort to get the pounding in his head to subside.
Beside him, Superboy finally stirred. He emitted a low moan and Robin opened his eyes to watch him prop himself up on an elbow, pressing a hand to his head. Robin's ragged panting immediately drew his attention to the younger boy. "Robin? What- what happened? Are you all right?"
Robin just nodded, still too breathless to talk.
A sudden, tremendous roar made them both bolt upright, startled, and they watched the building they had been in only minutes before collapse into a mound of concrete, iron and brick. The ground shook as a massive dust cloud rose up from the rubble and Robin suddenly found himself being pushed down by Superboy, who leaned over him to shield him from the dust and debris.
A few minutes later, Superboy straightened and stared at the huge pile of rubble. Then he looked back down at Robin, who was still lying on his back in the grass, breathing hard. "How- how did we get out of there?" he asked, sounding as if he already suspected the answer, but had a hard time believing it.
It took Robin a full minute to gather enough air for an answer. "I gave you a lift."
Superboy blinked at him. "A lift? You mean you- carried me out?"
"Yup. Well. I guess it was more like dragging."
Superboy stared at him incredulously. Then his eyebrows bunched together in concern. "Are you sure you're all right? I'm not exactly light."
Robin looked at him dryly. "Yeah, I noticed. Not particularly feelin' the aster right now and I bet I'll be pretty sore tomorrow, but I'm okay," he said, rubbing at his temple. "How about you? Took you a while to wake up."
"I'm fine." Superboy shifted his gaze to where the warehouse had once stood and then looked back at Robin. "I can't believe you got me out. Thanks."
"Hey, you would've done the same for me."
Superboy raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Yeah, but it wouldn't really be the same." He got to his feet, dusted himself off and reached back to offer Robin a hand up. Robin took it gratefully and rose, groaning when all his muscles protested his movements.
"Oh yeah, definitely gonna be sore tomorrow," he complained. "When we get back to Mount Justice, I'm gonna tell Miss M. to stop feeding you so many cupcakes."
"Or maybe I should tell her to feed you more of them," Superboy remarked, and smiled at the look of intrigue Robin gave him.