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Of Fears and Friends

By theartofdreaming

Other

Chapter 1

No, not his best friend, too! NO. He wouldn't let that happen... - it was bad enough that he hadn't saved Artemis – hadn't pushed her out of the way, hadn't run in front of her – but he WOULD NOT let these … these aliens take Dick away from him as well!

Wally hurried forward, throwing himself on his stomach and reached for Robin's arm, finally getting a hold of his best friend's wrist.

Still, Wally knew that this wouldn't help much – if at all – but he'd be damned if he didn't at least try.

The dark-haired boy already slipped over the edge, dragging the older teen with him. Wally knew that it was only a matter of seconds before he would be falling, too; as a speedster, a few seconds were all he needed – but he couldn't get a grip on anything. The surface of the platform was just too smooth and there was no way he would be able to hold on to that slippery edge... No!... The redhead felt himself falling...

THUD!

“Aaargh...” Wally groaned, wearily cracking open his sleepy eyes. The fifteen-year old found himself on the floor of his bedroom, his blanket tangled around his body in a quite impressive manner.

Remembering what had happened just before his rude awakening, Wally sat up slowly, concentrating on breathing more evenly and slowly in an attempt to calm himself .

'It was just a dream,' he kept repeating over and over in his mind, 'no need to freak out like that...' It didn't help. He could still see Dick's face before him: the whites of the domino mask not giving away much of his friend's emotions but his mouth slightly open, like he had been surprised.

Strangely, Robin hadn't looked afraid at all. Wally, on the other hand, had been scared out of his mind; a million thoughts racing through his brain, life flashing before his eyes – recalling things he regretted having done, things he regretted not having done...

'I wonder if Artemis is having any nightmares...?' Wally wondered offhandedly, quickly turning his focus back on his best friend instead.

Why hadn't Dick looked frightened? Sure, Wally himself hadn't really been scared when Dick and he had been trapped in the mother ship (at least not so much that he had been unable to hide his terror) – he had known by then that they couldn't survive. Of course, it still had been scary at that time but he had been somewhat prepared for that...

However, during that fall? That had caught him completely off-guard... he had been unable to control his reactions, neither physical nor emotional...

But Dick? He had only looked slightly startled, nothing more...

Then again, Dick had reacted completely collected throughout the entire mission... 'Simulation,' Wally corrected himself, 'it wasn't real, after all...'

How could his friend have been so calm? Though the better question probably was: Had the thirteen-year-old been Dick? Or Robin?

Robin and Dick were very much alike... But there was still a fine line between them, there had to be; no normal nine-year-old kid (the age Dick had been when a certain Boy Wonder had started fighting crime) would be able to handle those disturbing situations Batman's partner had to face in such a screwed up city like Gotham.

Wally knew all that already – of course he did, he had noticed that even before Dick had told him his secret identity...

For a short moment Wally wondered why he had started mulling over this question to begin with when it finally dawned on him: Dick and Robin had very different ways to deal with an issue... Robin was more analytical than Dick. He was the strategist of the team, after all. He approached a problem very rationally, always pushing his feelings aside for the sake of the mission...

But Dick didn't. He was quite emotional. Sensitive. Not in a touchy-feely or whiny way, no. But he didn't bother concealing his emotions as much as others did (for example like a certain Bat...) and he was much more of a kid than Robin was. Sure, Robin would crack a joke from time to time or laugh this weird cackle of his when he pulled another disappearing act – but he still was constantly focusing on the mission at hand, always serious, mature. It was Dick who came up with the strangest words, added them to his wide vocabulary and then actually used them in everyday conversations. It was Dick with whom Wally had played tons and tons of pranks with, driving their mentors (and sometimes Roy, too) nearly insane. It was Dick with whom he played video games with and it was Dick with whom he did all the things that brothers did (at least what Wally guessed brothers did together).

Dick was not only more fun, but also a lot more vulnerable than his crime-fighting self. The death of his parents was ever-present to the thirteen-year-old teen and although he was someone who tried to always look on the bright side of things, he was marked by this loss.

In addition to that, Dick was sometimes plagued by self-doubt; which teenage hero – scratch that – which teenager wasn't? Though with the Batman as his mentor it was probably even harder for him...

Wally realized that his best friend had been in “Robin-mode” the entire time during the simulation – how else could the youngest team member have made the decisions he had made without breaking under the responsibility he had been burdened with? But what will happen when wasn't in “Robin-mode” anymore?

Wally had seen his best friend after they had awoken from their “training exercise” - sweat trickling down his forehead, avoiding his team mates' glances... It had been obvious that the Batman's partner had had a hard time pulling himself together...

Not really aware of what he was doing, Wally practically jumped into his sneakers, grabbed the nearest hoodie in reach and sped in the direction of Gotham City.



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