Dick's hands are unsteady, slippery with blood.
"You're an idiot, KF," comes out more like a raspy, emotion-tight breath, than a heartfelt insult.
Artemis shouts orders in the background. Wally can't remember how they got here, or what mission they had, or why everything smells like gasoline and woods.
They have to run hospital tests back in the med-bay. He technically has a severe concussion. Bright, angry spots growing in his vision and noisy ringing in his ears.
(Mom's gonna be pissed when she hears about this. Or even worse—Aunt Iris.)
The constant, thudding presence of his headache makes Wally irritated, as does having to stay in a cot. Staying still sucked major ass when your brain felt like it could go a kajillion miles a minute. It also sucked being babied by Black Canary and his team leader, and even friggin' Batman. Though, "babying" for him meant giving Wally stern, masked glares and clear-cut, no bullshit instructions about no physical activity and no deployment in the field, until this-time or that-time, and…
Damn it to hell, arghh.
After a half an hour, Conner peers into the med-bay, blank-faced, and nods wordlessly to him. Few seconds pass. A lime green-colored balloon floats in.
Wally stares at it with distrustful confusion, head feeling weighed down with his bandage, as it floats nearer. He shifts around, bunching the hospital sheets to his waist.
Okay, but really… where did Supey get the balloon? From M'gann's humongous stash, leftovers of the last birthday bash they had? And what age was he, three? Wally didn't need a stupid balloon to cheer up; he needed an excuse to leave the bay, or at least a pretty good distraction.
He grasps at the twined string, yanking it over his head.
There's something inside the balloon.
It had better be a miniaturized e-m pulse generator to take out the security cameras, because that's seriously the only thing that's gonna help Wally evade the ever-watchful vigilance of the adults. But no such luck when he slips the knot of the balloon open. Glitter, rainbow confetti trickles onto the blah, soft sheets.
Wally's teeth grit. He's about to chuck what's in his lap, and then let his face burn with embarrassment and disappointment, when Wally notices the tiny, folded note.
A near-giddy laugh falls from Wally's lips.
A cheat code. The cheat code he really needed—and the one that Dick refused to give him for weeks and weeks, the springy jerk. He picks up his lime green, handheld game console from the foot of the hospital cot, whopping in victory and thrusting ball-up fists midair as Wally beats the next level Boss in minutes-flat.
…Maybe he'll share Aunt Iris' famous butterscotch cookies with that jerk later.
Nightmares aren't usually this vivid, even while recovering from concussions.
Wally finds himself shuddering and gasping awake the first night, with help from the adult on-duty to keep an eye on him, stomach emptying onto the tile-gleam floor.
There's a red scarf, gem-bright to the dull, white surroundings and flying around Dick.
He circles and spins on his toes, neck arched and face tilted. He's human warmth and perpetual motion, one and everything. Light snow flecks the ragged material. When he stops, everything else spins around him, laze-paced and dreamy. Dick's hand reaches upwards, towards the blackened, faint glow-moon, pale fingers towards its eeriness.
Like Dick can pluck it right out of the sky if he wanted to.
Fear grips Wally, ripping through him in tiny, non-physical barbs. He doesn't know what will happen to Dick if he does touch it, but doesn't want to find out.
He steps forward, yelling for his best friend, preparing to use his superspeed to race over and pull him away.
And, Wally never does.
Not before everything melts into nothingness and agony, drumming like his own heartbeat.
The vomiting sessions let up in another day. But Wally's head is killing him.
"Brain scans are coming back normal, kiddo." Uncle Barry rubs his shoulder, frowning and concerned. "You need some sleep."
"Except that I'm not really normal," he says, muttering, swallowing down another crawl of heat and nausea in his throat. Wally would rather take Harley Quinn's mallet to his skull, and bust it open again with the now semi-healed wound along his right temple. That would be better than trying another night of sleep. "So, that argument doesn't actually work."
Wally can go home. The med-bay reeked, anyway. But his parents are no better, fussing over him, confining him indoors and with chores.
No super-heroing. No visiting Mount Justice. Not until Flash and Batman give him the OK.
It's incredibly unfair if you ask him, not that anyone was going to… but, what could he really do about it?
Dick's never in uniform, when he spins and spins in place, his red scarf fluttering to now snow-thick wind. His eyes were always glassy, open blue looking up.
And the round, black moon above weighs heavy, so heavy.
Wally yells for him.
Headaches fade. So does the wounds.
The new school year is in full-swing, and Wally comes home straight after, chewing loud on two handfuls of peanut M&Ms. He stares longingly at his unlit comm.-link.
Wally could call Dick. Say hey. Ask what he's been up to and anticipate the familiar, amused scoff on the other end, because—it's secret Bat business, Freshness. And then scoff back, rolling his eyes and knowing on the other line Dick can sense it somehow—ah duhhh, I've been cooped up for a month; give me a break, will ya?
It's been a shitty month.
Wally's friends are cool, and have been there for him through a lot. He invites them over for videogames and their 80s movie fest. He hangs out, but they don't get it. They can't. They can't understand what it's like to miss being a part of something so important than being just a teenager, to protect their city, to serve a bigger cause.
How much it sucked to miss people who are like you.
Not like Dick—Robin does.
Wally's nostrils flare. He turns over on the quilt to his mattress, flopping on his back and sighing.
The comm.-link stays off.
Dick's bare fingers curl around the moon. Tendrils of black-glow pulse between fleshy crevices, gently creeping like small, living fibers until they consume Dick's jacketed forearm.
It feels like hours of panic before Wally snaps out of it, and hurries over. He wraps an arm around Dick's chest, heaving the younger boy against him. Keeping them both upright. Wally cradles his hands around Dick's slowly encasing with that monstrous, viscous-feeling energy. It yawns up Dick's shoulder, and then creeps along Wally's hands, electric-hot.
A trembling, warm-puffed exhale leaves Wally. He grins widely at Dick's surprised expression, and leans in, pressing to Dick's back, nosing strands of dark, snowy hair.
"If you're going, I'm going," he whispers, voice fortunately calm.
And it's never been a more wonderful sound when Dick laughs, trembling against him.
On Tuesday afternoon, sunlit and early still with damp fog, the world ends.
(Well, some people believed it might have if Superman hadn't seen the devastating huge asteroid coming in fast. He steered it off its course, without breaking an alien sweat.)
News television programs celebrate surviving another possible disaster, and then everyone goes back to their scheduled lives, complaining about gas prices and military-government phone tapping. As if nothing had been wrong in the first place. Wally jogs up the built-in staircase in the lower levels of the base, coyly winking at M'gann and beaming.
She returns his enthusiasm with a slight hand-wave.
The upper levels are comfortably quiet. "Sup, Arty?" he crows out, watching the blonde girl pick up the last of M'gann's chocolate butter-cream cupcakes. She expertly ignores his existence, walking around him in the kitchen for the circular sofa, and for the blaring television. Wally gives up, digging around the fridge for an untouched cup of yogurt.
"Good to see you, too," Wally says, more or less mumbling this to himself, twisting up his face as he reaches in deeper. "S'not like I disappeared or anything…"
"Let's underwhelm the drama, all right?"
The top of Wally's head slams to the interior of the fridge, as it registers that someone was behind him.
He winces, rubbing fingers through his mess of red hair.
Dick's masked lenses narrow, slow. "Yeah, let's not have you hospitalized again," he says, dryly.
"And you've been straight up avoiding me, dude," Wally tells him, accusatory, but without malice. Freckled cheeks dimpling with a smile.
There's still a deadpan in Dick's voice, but his lips quirk up.
"Been busy, more like," he says to Wally, accepting the clinging, gruff nature of the hug around his caped shoulders. "Geez, you're such a complainer."
"Shaddup, you missed me," Wally teases, poking the muscles of Dick's relaxing back.
A soft cackle.
"I feel the love, too, bro."
Young Justice is not mine. Today is the anniversary of my writing account coming to life, and it has been a whole TEN years. I'm both amazed and realize I'm a total dork. So, I let you guys who decided to vote tell me what the gift-fic should be: YJ won for fandom and Birdflash won for pairing. It was a very low turn-out for votes, sadly. But I really wanted to gave my readers the ultimate decision. It's YOUR gift! And so, it doesn't matter if you just came in and read one fic of mine, or if you've been reading anything of mine for years… just now that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.
Thank you for being here, and thank you for sticking around. My happiest days are hearing from you, and of course, doing the writing. I hope you enjoyed this unapologetic fluff.
YJ Kink Meme prompt:
"During a mission, Wally received a nasty head injury. Ever since, he's been having headaches and strange dreams."