The Young Justice: Animated Anonymous Fic Meme

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Prompt Post - Part Five [CLOSED TO NEW PROMPTS]
yj_anon wrote in yj_anon_meme

Part one here!

Part two here!

Part three here!

Part four here!

Feel free to reprompt posts from parts one, two, three or four in part five once. If you do so, I'd recommend leaving a link to your fill on the original prompt, in case somebody is tracking the first thread.
Please note that you can still fill over at parts one and two- just don't prompt there! I encourage you all to go through looking for older things to fill.

Welcome to the Young Justice: Animated anonymous fic meme!

How does it work? Basically, you leave prompts, and people fill them with glorious fic. Pretty simple. Anonymity is allowed for those that feel nervous or awkward requesting or filling, but it isn't actually obligatory. Unlike a lot of memes (like kink memes) this doesn't have a particular focus beyond the fandom. Het, gen, slash, femslash, anything else you can think up? Welcome! Crack, drama, angst? Go nuts!

However, we do have some...

Rules and guidelines.

• Animated canon only, please. Crossovers are fine, so is integrating comics/etc. stuff into animated canon, but no outright Young Justice comic stuff, please.
• Be reasonable. Polite. Etc. You may be anonymous, but that is no excuse for being ridiculous.
• Likewise, be considerate in your prompting. Trigger warnings are appreciated (for content that may seriously upset people with past experience, such as rape/non-con, self harm, suicide, etc.- at the absolute least, please make it clear what the fic contains about before someone stumbles across it halfway through!), and please be careful with your wording. Memes like this often touch on some sensitive material. If you feel somebody has posted an actively offensive prompt, please either PM me or use the mod post here to bring it to my attention.
• One prompt per post, please!
• Repeat after me: Your Kink Is Not My Kink. Don't attack people's prompts because they aren't your cup of tea!
• Look, just don't wank up a storm in general. I'm sure we can all manage, right? :)

ETA: Please do not reprompt things until we reach a second part. In addition, I encourage anyone looking for things to fill to go back through previous pages. A lot of people have old prompts tracked, so your fills will still be seen!

This is the 'flat' view of the page; it shows comments in the order they're posted, rather than as threads. Makes it easier to see new fills on previous pages.

I'll look at getting a Delicious or Diigo or something-or-other archive up for filled prompts if it gets to the point we feel it'd be useful. In the meantime, have fun!

ETA: We now have a discussion post if you need one!

ETA: I need help with archiving! Also, we set up a fill post. Can you please leave links to any fic you write there. See the post for more details. Thanks!

ETA: GUYS. I am officially making the 'PM me about offensive prompts' thing obligatory. Please, I have difficulty keeping up without your wonderful help!

Incidentally, being polite includes not telling people they're being 'too sensitive' for being bothered by things. Just sayin'. This place is a safe space, in so much as I can make it one, and I don't really like the rhetoric of 'oh, if you're offended you're oversensitive' that I'm seeing in a couple places? Remember: people may have had different experiences than you that influence their view. Don't assume. :)

ETA: Since apparently it doesn't come under some of your definitions of 'civility':


I don't care if you hate that ditz M'gann, I don't care how much you think Kaldur is sooo boring, I don't care if you think Artemis is a bitch, I don't care if you want Wally to go die, I don't care how much you want Superboy to punch himself into oblivion or how bratty you think Robin is. This is not a place to ask for fic that is for nothing more or less than to satisfy said hate. We have and welcome fans of ALL CHARACTERS here, and it's just insulting and rude to tear them down.

And this is not the same as asking for a single prompt where they're AU and evil, or for a prompt where they mess up in some way, or even where they get called out on something they did if you feel it would make a good story. But come the hell on, guys.

ETA: Please see this recent post regarding certain issues we've been having. Thank you.

ETA: Are you offering anything for charity in the recent fandom auctions for relief efforts? If you are, feel free to promote/browse/etc. here!

ETA: New affilate - DC comics meme!

ETA: At several people's requests - rec post & general finding-things post!

ETA: New affilate - YJ kink meme!

ETA: Since part four seems to be going so fast- poll about the next prompt freeze!

ETA: Okay guys, the next freeze is going to be halfway through this part- at 2,500 comments or so. People have said they wanted it to be a little quicker coming this time! So, yes. And then we may or may not have one before the next part itself.


For the next few days, until the 19th June, DO NOT SUBMIT ANY NEW PROMPTS. Instead, why not try filling a few? We have so many wonderful ones left unfilled. Maybe try looking a few pages back! Or a few parts back, even!

On the 19th June, prompting will resume when I post the next part.

Thank you! And have fun!

In-progress Delicious account.

  • 1

Re: Crime Alley, Story Notes

Okay, firstly, I'm so sorry at how long it's taken me to write this.

Secondly, I'm so sorry for how far afield I went, and how many other prompts I pulled in here. This is basically an attempt to reconcile YJ-canon with both comic canon and all the All-Star universes, including Batman and Robin, so yes, this fills Batman punching Crazy Steve in the face. I'm a canon/continuity nerd, so feel free to ask me if there's something I refer to that confuses you or that you wanna know more about.

I'm not sure if this still even really fills your prompt, and I do hope you get another, more appropriate fill, but, in the meantime, here we go.

A Tale Of Many Dimensions in Five Parts, Based Entirely On T. S. Eliot's The Hollow Men.

and in conclusion, I'm still so, so sorry.
Except for how I'm totally not.

dare not meet in dreams 1/20(?)


Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Part 1: Shape without form

Sometimes, when it's dark and still, the voices come out to play.

On those nights he can't sleep, when he tosses and turns, he can hear them, just on the edge of his consciousness, knowing they're talking, but unable to hear what they're talking about.

It's a familiar sensation.

When Project Kr first gained consciousness, they sedated him. He was awake, but unable to control his body. He could hear the movement and the clickings of the lab, and he could just make out the voices, if he tried. That's how it is now; he knows there's someone there, but it's like they're through the thick, nourishing fluid and behind a wall of soundproof glass.

But he never thinks to mention it, because he's Superboy now, not Project Kr. He's a him now, not an it.

Besides, it's not like it's important, anyway.


“There!” M'gann says, pointing to an empty stretch of corridor. “Did you see that?”

“See what?” Wally wants to know, zooming over to join her. He scans the corridor, and then runs it up and down quickly, just to make sure nothing's there.

M'gann falters. “I saw...I thought I saw....” she trails off

“Ooh, do we have ghosts?” Artemis asks. “I've always wanted to meet a ghost.”

“Don't be silly,” Wally says. “There's no such thing as ghosts.”

“Oy,” Robin says quietly. “Here we go again....”

M'gann is inclined to agree, but she still glances over her shoulder more than once as they head towards the den.


She doesn't ask them straight-out again. She floats up beside one, and says, “Hey.”

Artemis looks up, directly at her, not seeming to notice the misty form in between them. “Yeah?”

“Oh, um. I was thinking, maybe it's time to try a different food. How do you feel about brownies?”


Kaldur walks right through one. She opens her mouth to warn him, but he's already passed through the image, the slight outline that's almost human. It breaks and fades, and she shivers.


Once, she tries talking to one. “Hello,” she says, with her voice and her mind. “Is there something I can help you with?”

Although there hadn't been anyone in the room when she'd started talking, Wally was there by the time she'd stopped.

“Great reflexes,” he grins. “And, if you insist, I'd love to take you out. Around the town, I mean.”

She shivers and looks away. There are more of them outside. “Not today,” she says, trying a small smile. “Thanks.”


“Hey,” Robin asks from the table. “You're not part cat, are you?”

“What?” she asks, startled. “No, I'm not.”

Robin seems unconcerned, balancing a textbook on one knee. He's poking it with the pencil eraser to make it spin, which is apparently far more amusing then actually reading the book. “You keep staring at nothing,” he says. “Cats do it too. Following the empty with their eyes. It's kind of unnerving. Hey, so would something that felt normal be 'nerving'?”

“Cats?” M'gann asks, ignoring the question. Robin's just thrown her a lifeline, and she's grabbing on with both hands. “Why do they do it? What do they see?”

He shrugs. “No one knows. The stories go that cats can see a level beyond our reality, like they can see spirits and ghosts and stuff.” He starts the textbook rotating in the other direction.

She's turning the information over in her head before she realizes that he's probably waiting for a response. He isn't, though; he's finally opened the book, and is trying to balance the spine on a finger.

“Will you take the cake out when the timer goes off?” she asks, already heading towards the library room.

“Sure.” He watches her go, and makes a mental note to talk to Batman.

He sets the textbook down, frowning at it. He didn't notice it was last year's. He flips through it mindlessly, and when the cake comes out, he idly applies the chocolate icing, doodling little bat symbols into the frosting.

dare not meet in dreams 2/20(?)


M'gann is a little late to the meeting, but she arrives carrying a tray of cupcakes. She moves around the table, handing them out. Kaldur's is chocolate brown with little black swirls, probably meant to be his Waterbearers, and he thanks her quietly. Superboy's is black with the red S, even if the letter's a little crooked. He stares at it for a while, and then pokes it. Frosting sticks to his finger, and he looks at it, bewildered.

Robin accepts the red one with the yellow R symbol, and M'gann moves to give Wally the yellow one with the little red zigzags. He blinds her with a smile, and Robin deftly trades his cupcake for the black one with the yellow bat. Artemis' is green, of course, with a large white arrow. She ducks her head and gives Megan a shy smile.

M'gann's own is the same green with star-shaped sprinkles, as is her uncle's, who thanks her solemnly. Canary's is yellow with a cherry on top. M'gann grabs the last cupcake, does a double-take, and glances at the Boy Wonder. He twiddles his fingers at her, and she has to grin.

She sets Batman's cupcake in front of him, and he stares at the little yellow R for a minute before deciding to ignore the treat altogether.

He waits the minute it takes the others to unwrap theirs, and then says, “The world is ending.”

People choke on their cupcakes. Batman pointedly does not smile.

“There's something happening. We think dimensions are crossing,” he explains. “Reality is...bleeding.

“We have reports of 'ghost' sightings from psychics and magicians all over the world. M'gann, have you noticed anything?”

The girl swallows heavily, but she keeps her head up and her back straight. “Yes. I've been seeing them for a while, now. There aren't many in here, but. But I don't like going outside.”

“I hear them,” Superboy says unexpectedly. “Their voices, I mean. Right on the edge of my hearing, and I can't make out what they say.”

“Makes sense,” Wally says, trying to lick a dab of yellow off his nose. “You spent your life hearing voices in your head. You're probably borderline psychic yourself. Able to receive, but not send.”

“It's a warning,” Batman states. “Something big is going to happen, and this is the spillover.”

“But if it hasn't happened yet, then how is there spillover?” Superboy wants to know.

“Because time travel,” Robin says, and leaves it at that.

“We're trying to determine the cause, or find the incident that is causing this. If we can isolate the event before it occurs, then maybe we can mitigate the fallout. J'onn and I are trying to trace the psychic feedback. If we can find the weak spot, we'll be sending you in to secure the area.”

“Why us?” Artemis asks.

Batman appears to be choosing his words. “Because your impact on the timestream isn't as strong.”

It's Kaldur who translates. “We're not as important as the League. We are not as...established, and we are the covert team, and so not well known. Our time imprint and history are still malleable, and thus less likely to cause more damage,” he guesses.

“Very good,” Batman nods, and Kaldur beams and finishes his cupcake. “When you arrive at the event, you're going to have to improvise. Stay hidden and analyze, if you can, lend a hand if you think it's needed. Since this whole has something to do with time, be very wary of interfering directly or causing paradoxes.”

They all nod. “Very well. Be prepared to leave at a moment's notice; we're running out of time.”

Batman sweeps out of the room, pausing at the door to add, “You baking skills have improved greatly, M'gann.”

She glances at the table, and sees the paper wrapper of the cupcake. The empty wrapper. “Thank you,” she says, blushing, but by the time she looks back at the door, he's gone.

dare not meet in dreams 3/20(?)

It takes about a week before Batman has a location, and by the end of that time, the rest of the team can see the ghosts, too.

Well, kind of.

Artemis is jumping at shadows, Robin stays well above ground level, and Wally speeds everywhere. Kaldur doesn't move if he can help it, and they all learn to look from the corners of their eyes instead of straight-on.

Superboy's got a constant headache that not even the static on the television can drown out. The voices are getting closer, pushing up against the edges of his mind, twisting and twining and still unintelligible. It makes him feel sick.

M'gann's taking to the figures, though none have ever answered her back. She chatters at them, and it helps her cope. If she thinks of them as people instead of, of ghosts or spectres or anything, then she doesn't have to face her world collapsing. Not quite yet, anyway.

Finally, finally, they're called to their briefing. They pile around the table, no cupcakes this time, just twitching and sidelong glances and frowns.

“We found the center of the anomaly,” Batman says, and shifts his weight from foot to foot. This causes Robin to sit up straight, which has the chain effect of everyone paying closer attention.

“We're calling it a shatterpoint. It's one moment, one event, one something, that, if changed, can shatter our universe. And maybe the multiverse, too.”

Kaldur raises his hand, and Batman waves a glove at him. “I'll give you all a crash course in theoretical dimensional physics later. Fascinating, though not widely applicable. But this event, this shatterpoint, we can't pinpoint it ourselves. But we have something that can.”

He produces a bulky square of tech that has about three angles too many. It almost hurts to look at.

“This,” he says with distaste, “will synch with Robin's wrist-computer and M'gann's psychic powers to center on the point. I cannibalized an alien vehicle we found, and shoved in a boom-tube summoner. This entire device is highly theoretical and unstable. Do not jar it. Do not break it. Do not punch anyone with it. Use it as little as possible.”

He passes it to Robin, who takes it carefully, and straps it over his wrist computer. Wally zips over to look over his shoulder, and they discuss it quietly and quickly.

Batman ignores them as says, “M'gann.”

She stands, and J'onn glides towards her. “I will show you how to find and focus on this point while shielding you mind from some of its more...troubling effects.”

She nods, and the two take up residence in a corner, floating crosslegged a few feet off the ground.

Batman gathers the other three with his eyes. “This is of the utmost importance; do not change anything. Whether you end up in the future or the past, lay low. Mingle if you must, observe and record. Try not to interfere. Try not to touch anything or anyone.” He looks directly at Kaldur and says, “Keep an eye on everyone.”

“Yessir,” Artemis and Kaldur and Superboy chorus, though Conner's eyes are unfocused and he's frowning slightly.

There is quiet, for a moment, and then Superboy says, “It's getting worse.”

“I know,” Batman says. “You'd best leave soon.”

Artemis shivers, though she doesn't know why, and Kaldur goes to get water, some to top off his tattoos and some for the others to drink, too.

Robin and Wally rejoin the group, both unusually quiet. “We're ready,” Wally says.

They spend another few minutes, sipping water and sitting in silence, before M'gann's feet touch the floor again.

She looks at them, and everyone looks back. She swallows once, lifts her chin, and says, “I'm ready.”

Robin holds out his glove, and she flutters her hands near it, but not quite touching. A steady whine builds in pitch, growing and growing, and a red light blinks on, though there wasn't one there before. A button pops up.

“Good luck,” J'onn says, and Robin hits the button.

dare not meet in dreams 4/20(?)


Wally maintains that this entire thing was caused by a decimal point.

He wasn't a part of the calculations, but somehow, somewhere, a decimal point must have been misplaced or something, because they fall into reality about six feet above the ground.

Robin has the training to turn it into a tumble, M'gann floats her way down, Kaldur lands on his feet, Kid Flash is up again in seconds, and poor Superboy's fall breaks the ground, instead of the other way around.

But Artemis lands on a person.

She slams into him from above and behind, riding him down to the ground. There's a quiet gasp from a few feet in front of them, and they instinctively look up, taking on battle formation.

But it's just a couple with a kid, him standing protectively in front of her and the boy. M'gann floats forward, since she's the closest, and she holds out a hand and says, “We mean no harm.”

But the lady shrieks anyway, and turns to run, clutching her son's hand and escorted along by the man, and they sprint away.

M'gann blinks. “That wasn't very polite,” she says, floating delicately over a puddle and rejoining them.

“You are green and floating,” Artemis points out. “That's not exactly normal.” She's intent on the guy she knocked out, and the gun he dropped. “Low-class hood,” she spits out.

“Right,” Kaldur says, taking charge. “First priority, find out where we are, or when. Superboy, guard that end, Artemis, get high, and I'll—”

The shriek of breaks and tires cracks through the air, followed by, “Mommy! No!” at an impossible pitch and decibel.

“On me,” Kaldur snaps instead, leading the charge down the alley.

They stop just short of the end of the alley, cloaking themselves in its shadows. The woman and man are laying at odd angles on the road, their boy on his knees beside them.

“He couldn't keep up,” Robin analyses, even though no one wants to hear it. “She stopped to let the boy catch up, and the man tried to protect her from the car...” and he trails off, because the result is laying bloody and dead in front of them.

The scene slowly becomes chaos, as people stop to look and traffic comes to a standstill. They observe until they hear sirens; and then Kaldur says, “Fall back into the alley; M'gann and Superboy, mingle with the crowd and keep us updated.”

Superboy scowls, but Megan immediately changes clothes, dyes herself pink and clings onto his arm, looking for all the world like the other young couples out on dates that night.

She links them up, and they see through her eyes as the police arrive, dragging the little boy away from the bodies. Their first priority is damage control, though, and the bodies are unceremoniously dumped on stretchers and carted out of the street.

The boy is wrapped in a blanket that's ratty and faded from use, staring blankly forward. The team feels as M'gann reaches out tentatively, a small tendril of reassurance-coping-hope. They watch through her eyes as the boy raises his gaze, combing the crowd. Then his eyes meet hers, and all of theirs, and the sheer, stubborn, venomous hate in his eyes sends M'gann back a step.

“This kid isn't normal,” Artemis says, but Robin knows those eyes, knows that stare and that anger, and he also takes a step back, thinking no no no.

He rushes back down the alleyway towards the thug. He has some trouble shifting that much dead weight at that angle by himself, but he manages, and he pulls up his wrist-comp. He hasn't realized his mantra of “no no no no no...” has gone from his head to breathy exhalations, but the rest of the team is by his side now, watching him do whatever it is he's doing.

His glove dings, and Robin drags a hand down his face, which is pale and sweating. “We messed up,” he says, staring into the middle distance. “He was supposed to....”

Kaldur recalls Megan and Superboy through the mental link, and they all gather around Robin and the unconscious thug. Robin's tapping furiously, murmuring numbers and figures under his breath.

dare not meet in dreams 5/20(?)

Finally, Robin looks up. “This was the event,” he says a little bit bleakly. “We were the event.”

“How do you mean?” Wally asks, zipping beside him to let his friend use him as support.

“This guy was supposed to shoot them,” he explains, choosing his way through the words slowly. “But they died anyway, so. So maybe we haven't messed everything up, but we should get back. Now.”

“You're sure?” Kaldur asks. “This was the shatterpoint? Our mission is complete?”

“Yes,” Robin says. “They didn't die the right way, but at least they died.” He winces as how cold that sounds.

The others do, too. “That's....” Artemis starts, but Robin cuts her off.

“You don't understand, and I can't explain it, not here, not now. But if those two people had not died, or if the wrong ones had died, our entire universe would be radically different. We might not exist. This was a shatterpoint of the highest order. Trust me, we're done here.”

Because if Martha and Thomas Wayne had not died tonight, then Bruce would not swear vengeance. If only one parent died tonight, Bruce might grieve properly, and not swear vengeance. Or if, god forbid, Bruce had died, well.

Because if Bruce never became Batman, then the world would change. One little boy in Kansas might not be inspired to don tights and the red cape. And so there would be no Justice League, and no heroes, and the world would be a sad, dangerous place. Well. More sad and more dangerous place.

Robin swallows as he activates the boomtube, hoping it'll be enough.

It has to be.


dare not meet in dreams 6/20(?)

And at first, it almost is.

They debrief, and it is not pleasant.

No one volunteers anything, and they sit in awkward silence for a while. “What happened?” Batman finally asks, tapping his fingers impatiently.

Robin's staring fixedly at the table, but the others throw looks at each other. “I'm not actually sure,” Kaldur finally admits.

“Break it down,” Batman orders.

“We came through the boomtube too high,” Artemis says. “And I landed on somebody. It was an alley, in some city, I think maybe—”

“We landed in Crime Alley,” Robin says, quiet, but his voice cuts across the room. “About twenty-two years ago. And Artemis landed on a petty criminal, preventing him from mugging a couple with a young boy.” He looks up, catching and holding Batman's gaze. “Megan made peaceful overtures, but she was still green and floating, so they freaked. They ran, and the adults got hit by a car. Both dead on impact, survived by their child.”

Batman is utterly, unnaturally still, and no one dares to even breathe too loudly.

“But they died,” Robin says, and his voice doesn't break, though it wants to.

“Right, well, let's hope this doesn't change things,” Batman finally says, and, “Dismissed.”

But he doesn't move, and neither does Robin.

“Right,” Kaldur says, and gets up. M'gann follows, and Conner, but Artemis and Wally hesitate.

“Dismissed,” Batman repeats, and everyone exits the room at speed.


And somewhere that doesn't exist, in somewhen that shouldn't be, there's a little boy lost, curled up in a ratty blanket that could not be pried from his hands. He doesn't cry, but his little hands shake, just a bit.

Green, he thinks, and he clings to that thought: green, green, green, green....

“Master Bruce?” an older man asks, holding the car door open. “We've arrived.”

Revenge, the boy thinks. Clean up the streets. Clean up the city. Kill them all.

Revenge, he thinks. And, she was green.


Part two up tomorrow, and just in case it isn't clear, the italics are the spinoff, secondary world.

Re: dare not meet in dreams 6/20(?)

Oh my god, this is SO amazing. I can't wait for more, Author. 8(


dare not meet in dreams 7/20(?)


Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Part 2: shade without colour

Time passes, and little things go wrong.

Time passes, and little things go right.


Once upon a time, there was a boy. He's like a lot of other boys, only for some reason, he has many stories. This is one of them. His story starts back and back, but ours starts here, tonight, at an old, stately manor, under the moon and touched by the wind. And, on this particular night, if you listen very closely, you can hear the sound of him not-crying into his pillow, and the crackle of him reassembling his little broken heart, and the way he whispers Mom, Dad, I'll fix your city, I'll get you justice...

Once upon a time, there was a boy. He's like a lot of other boys, only for some reason, he has many stories. This is one of them. His story starts back and back, but ours starts here, tonight, at an old, stately manor, under the moon and touched by the wind. And, on this particular night, if you listen very closely, you can hear the sound of him not-crying into his pillow, and the crackle of him reassembling his little broken heart, and the way he whispers
green, green, green, she was green...

He doesn't grow up properly, but then, no one's ever accused Bruce Wayne of being mentally sound, or even particularly sane. He was a happy boy, had everything he could have wanted, right up until the day his parents were shot by a petty murderer in a dirty alleyway one night.

He doesn't grow up properly, but then, no one's ever accused Bruce Wayne of being mentally sound, or even particularly sane. He was a happy boy, had everything he could have wanted, right up until the day his parents were run over while running away from a green demon in a dirty alleyway one night.

So when he spends hours pouring over chemistry and math textbooks years too advanced for him, he thinks of the despicable criminals that haunt the city his father poured his heart into. When he smiles at the parties, and leaves Gotham for the wider world, he promises to return, and he swears his vengeance, and he marks his words with his own blood and sweat. When he's too exhausted to lift another weight or throw another punch, he thinks of crumpled bodies on the pavement and blood in the streetlights, and he keeps going. And when he falls into bed, tired and aching and painfully, completely drained, thoughts of justice are there to keep him warm.

So when he falls into bed, tired and aching and painfully, completely drained, thoughts of revenge are there to keep him warm.

And so he grows up, alone and driven, and he becomes a serious man who wears a carefree millionaire’s mask in public. It’s easy, because it can be fun, in it’s own way.

And so he grows up, alone and driven, and he becomes a serious man who wears a playboy’s mask in public. He hates every second of it, because the time could be better spent.

He starts small, and adopts the mantle of a Bat. And one night, when he feels like he’s ready, he tracks down the petty criminal from that night, and though it’s so very hard, he uses restraint and brings the man to justice.

He starts small, and adopts the mantle of a Bat. And he puts out feelers and gathers information, but there aren’t even any whispers of flying green demons. The longer that passes without finding her, the more short-tempered he gets, because he wants his revenge.

Alfred’s always there, with a bandage or a sandwich or a cup of coffee, and it’s Alfred who reminds him that he’s Bruce Wayne, too, not just Batman. The man is like a father to him, and is his anchor. He couldn’t do it without him, doesn’t even want to think how hard it would be without Alfred there to drive and delegate errands and run interference.

Alfred doesn’t talk to him much, these days. But that’s okay; he can do it alone.

dare not meet in dreams 8/20(?)

He throws a party for his birthday, one year. Okay, more like Alfred throws a party and he just signs his name on invitations and things. There are pretty boxes and prettier girls, all in bright colors. He smiles and laughs, and drinks lots of ginger ale while the guests quaff the very expensive champagne. He has to duck out for an hour or two to deal with the Penguin, but he’s back in time to say his thank you‘s and his good night’s.

Nobody comes to Wayne Manor anymore, and that’s just the way he likes it. He still makes the expected appearances at charity balls and the annual society bashes, but he drinks a lot and leaves as soon as he reasonably can. The smiling mask sits too uncomfortably over his face.

And then, one night, he goes to the circus.

And then, one night, he goes to the circus.

Superman saves a schoolbus full of children from crashing into the bank and pounds the jillionth robot into the pavement. Hmm, he thinks, must be a Tuesday.

Superman knows he’s dying, and he feels weak and powerless. But he’s not dead yet, and so there’s hope. He’s not given up, and he most certainly isn’t useless. Not yet.


Dinah Lance pauses outside Oliver Queen’s front door, and hears the  crash-thump-boom that means someone’s broken something else. She sighs, says a quick prayer that Ollie’s not tried to cook again, and opens the door. There’s a badly-muffled burst of laughter, and she navigates around the mess on the floor to find that Roy’s pinned Ollie to the floor, and indeed, there is something burning on the stove. She smiles and shakes her head.

Dinah Lance walks the streets of Gotham at night, looking for bad boys to beat up, and a certain masked vigilante. She doesn’t quite know what she’s going to do when she finds him, but it’ll be something to see. That much, she’s sure of.


Conner sits in his room at Mount justice. He’s got his legs crossed in front of him, and his eyes closed. He breathes in, and out, and in, and out. Batman has suggested meditation, so he figured he might as well try it. After all, he hasn’t much else to do right now, besides work on controlling his powers.

“You like that?” Conner says. “That’s my tactile telekinesis!” He’s floating a good twenty feet off the ground, hands on his hips. The robbers he’s after  start to scatter, and he grins and goes after them. Pounding bad guys, saving the day, ignoring his homework...he loves his life so much.


Roy only stopped by Ollie’s place to pick up that box of stuff he left, but then his mentor offered lunch, and hey, free food. Only he thought Oliver meant sandwiches, though Ollie apparently means to convince Roy to come home through the power of his cooking. Roy tackles him and pins him to the ground, ignoring the collateral damage, but it’s already too late to prevent the imminent food wreckage.

Green Arrow’s been a bit busy lately, and left Speedy a little too unattended for a little too long. Maybe he’s doing it to make a statement, or maybe as rebellion, or maybe just because he’s lonely. He won’t admit it’s a cry for attention. But he ties the tourniquet tight and finds the vein, and grits his teeth.  It’s not like anyone’s gonna care, anyway.


The evening Dick first lands the quadruple is the happiest day of his life. He’s been performing for a while already, but now they’re finally gonna be able to set out a new routine. But for tonight, they’re doing their standard, and he’ll fly without a net, and he isn’t worried, not in the slightest, because there’s not a single bad thing in the whole wide world tonight.

The evening Dick first lands the quadruple is the happiest day of his life. He’s been performing for a while already, but now they’re finally gonna be able to set out a new routine. But for tonight, they’re doing their standard, and he’ll fly without a net, and he isn’t worried, not in the slightest, because there’s not a single bad thing in the whole wide world tonight.


dare not meet in dreams 9/20(?)


The giant robot’s fist smashes into Superman, and he winces. He stops, the flies up and out of reach, and wonders what the heck this robot is, because he’s having a little trouble with it. His punches don’t dent the armor as much as they should, and he’s taking more hits that he normally would. Then he sinks a foot or two, and realizes it isn’t the robot; it’s him.

It’s probably just the Kyryptonian version of the flu. He glances at the robot, then swoops back into the fight. He’ll just take it easy the next couple of days.

Well, he’ll try, anyway.

He’s been looking through this microscope for the past few hours, and he thinks maybe his eyes are stuck in a perpetual squint. Lois’s birthday had gone over beautifully, and at least his work has had some positive impact. He lifts his arms high, stretching out his back, and convinces himself that the ache in his body is all in his head.

Maybe it’s time to leave the lab for a while, wander back into the world and fight crime? He’s feeling a bit better, these days, though he doesn’t know why.

Now, if only he could shake these weird, depressing thoughts....


She has a hard time keeping her eyes on Oliver, though she doesn’t know why. She’s coming home later and later, and being more and more careless. It worries them, she knows, and she sees the questions in Ollie’s eyes, but she looks away and doesn’t answer. She not sure what she would say.

Sometimes, when she rides her Canary Cycle, she feels the urge to open the throttle, pour on the speed, and just go. Somewhere, anywhere. And that scares her a little, because she’s perfectly happy right where she is.

She has a hard time keeping her thoughts on Batman, though she doesn’t know why. She’s coming home earlier and earlier, and being more and more careful. It worries her, and she almost thinks to question it, but she doesn’t meet her own eyes in mirrors and doesn’t ask. She’s not sure what she would say.

Sometimes, when she rides her Canary Cycle, she feels the urge to slow down, to point her bike west, and to drive and drive, like there’s somewhere there she wants, something comforting that she knows is waiting. And that scares her a little, because she’s never been happier in her whole, wild life.


Conner is saying things he shouldn’t say. The other day, in a fit of confusion, he turned away from the bioship to ask where the Supercycle was. Nobody, not even him, knew what he meant.

Or that time with the robbers, when Kaldur said, “Superboy, get them!”

“No problem,” he’d said. “Looks like a job for my tactile telekinesis!” And then there was an awkward moment, before he’d recovered and grunted, “Sorry,” and smashed the pavement in front of the guys with his fists so they were trapped.

From then on, he’d tried not to think about it too much.

Kon-El is saying things he shouldn’t say. The other day, in a fit of confusion, he turned away from the Supercycle to ask where the bioship was. Nobody, not even him, knew what he meant.

Or that time with the robbers, when Tim said, “Kon, get them!”

“Don’t give me orders,” he’d grunted. And then there was an awkward moment, before he’d recovered and said, “Sorry, I’ll just get them with my tactile telekinesis!” and smashed the pavement in front of the guys so they were trapped.

From then on, he’d tried not to think about it too much.


dare not meet in dreams 10/20(?)


Roy’s doing perfectly well, living on his own. He’s taking his own missions, and he’s even still in contact with his old friends, sometimes. He’s starting to make a name for himself, and just the other day, someone called him ‘Red Arrow’ without ‘Spee--’ in front of it. Life is going well.

So he shouldn’t be restless, but he is. And sometimes, there’s a strange, bitter taste in his mouth, and an almost longing for something, but he doesn’t know what.

Everything’s going wrong, and Roy doesn’t know why. Green Arrow is horrified, and, worse, he’s pitying. Well, Roy doesn’t need him anymore. Roy doesn’t need anyone anymore; he’s doing perfectly fine. They just need to stop poking their noses where they don’t belong.

But sometimes, only rarely, there are a few moments when he’s happy, truly happy. He feels like everything’s going right, and it’s more addicting than any drug. But he doesn’t know why, or how to get that feeling, so he just shoots up instead.


When Dick moves into the Manor, he doesn’t talk, not at first. He’s scared of what he might say. He’s grateful for his mentor, even if Batman is odd and his methods are strict. But it’s a change for revenge, it’s a chance to move on, and it’s a chance to change the world.

He’d have been a fool to say no.

When Dick moves into the Manor, he doesn’t talk,not at first. He’s scared of what Bruce might say. He’s grateful for his mentor, even if Batman is odd and his methods are strict. But it’s a change for revenge, it’s a chance to move on, and it’s a chance to change the world.

He’d have been a fool to say no.


Bruce takes the boy in. Their stories are so similar, he can’t help but feel for the boy. The least he can do it give him a home, at least for a while. He can give the boy somewhere to recover, and, if he wants it, somewhere to grow up. The second back basement’s ceiling is high enough for a trapeze set-up, he thinks.

And, maybe one day, he can give the boy a chance to get his own justice. Every hero needs a sidekick, right? Maybe, if the boy chooses that path, maybe they won’t have to be so alone anymore. Either of them.

It would be nice, having someone else who understands.

Bruce takes the boy in. He’s always known this war was too much for him alone, and he’s been looking for other people, other soldiers to fight by his side. He needs someone who understands, someone young enough to mold into the perfect soldier. The war is more important than anyone’s childhood. The war, and his revenge.

So when he sees history repeat itself, he knows it’s fate. He grabs the Grayson boy (trained acrobat, blackbelt, top of his class) and he tosses him in the Batmobile and takes him to the Batcave. He’ll bring the boy up right, a soldier and a pawn.

And he smiles, because he’s just gained another weapon for his private war.


The three of them break into a lab, and the four of them break out. they defy orders, and they form a team, and they complete a successful mission, though not so successful on the ‘inconspicuous’ part. They band together around Superboy, and not even the scoldings of their mentors can break them apart now.

Batman shrugs, and lets it go. It’ll be a good opportunity for all the young heroes to grow, and he has been a bit worried about his ward recently. Maybe some friends he can relate to will help.

Batman grins, and gives the go ahead. And now he’s got a whole covert team at his disposal, to deploy as he sees fit in the war on crime. He sets about planning his new recruits’ training.


“This is my niece, M’gann Morzz,”  the Martian Manhunter says.

Batman nods, and says, “Follow me.”

“This is my niece, M’gann Morzz,”  the Martian Manhunter says.

Batman growls, and wraps his fingers around her pretty little green neck.

part 3 up soon!</i>

Re: dare not meet in dreams 10/20(?)

Oh my-

hnnnng this is so good.

dare not meet in dreams 11/20(?)

Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Part 3: Paralysed force

“—so she said—” Artemis is saying, but stops mid-sentence. “M’gann? Are you all right?”

M’gann frowns, lifting one hand to her temple, and the other to her throat. “I...I don’t know. I don’t feel so—”

He squeezes tight, and doesn’t let her breathe.

Dark green bruises start to form on her neck, in the exact shade of fingers.

“What’s going on?” Kaldur asks, alarmed. They all crowd in around her, but no one can tell what’s happening.

Superboy confirms that it’s not a psychic attack, and Robin says she’s not choking on anything.

Kid Flash is suddenly there, and Batman lets the demon go, just for a second. Just to catch the yellow bug buzzing around him, and stop it from annoying him. And he tranquilizes J’onn, too, while he’s at it. Just for good measure.

Wally gasps and crumples, his knees folding the wrong way. Superboy catches him.

“My legs...” he gasps. “Ow.”

And in the split moment everyone’s attention is on him, M’gann faints. Robin catches her on dint of being between her and the floor, and more like falls under her and cushions her rather than properly catching her.

“What’s going on?” Superboy asks, panicked, and Robin comms Batman.

“We're under attack,” he gasps. “Assailants unknown, no visible clues.” He runs out of breath, because M'gann isn't particularly light when she's not awake to keep herself afloat. At least, heavy enough to weigh down a young boy.

“Sit-rep,” Batman barks. “Robin? Robin report!”

He rises, bringing M’gann with him. She's quickly scooped up by Kaldur. Robin swallows a lungful of air, and says, “M'gann was attacked, and it might have been psychic, but she manifested the physical symptoms of—of choking, and Kid Flash, he's been kneecapped, and he's not doing very well, and none of us saw anything--”

“Breathe,” Batman advises calmly. “Breathe, Robin. We're on our way.”

“Right,” Kaldur says, and hefts M'gann in his arms, her head lolling and arms flopping. “I''ll take her to the infirmary,” he announces. “Robin, you look after Wally. Superboy, Artemis, guard.”

Superboy spares a thought for the protection of their leader, but shrugs it off, because Aqualad can take care of himself, even weighed down as he is. Instead, he goes prowling around the perimeter of the room, looking for what, exactly, had caused this. No one hurts his friends and gets away with it.

Artemis strings her bow, and takes up her stance next to Robin, who's on his knees, whispering comfort to Wally, who's only not screaming because he can't catch his breath. The computerized voice finally announces the arrival of Batman and Black Canary, and Artemis lets out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“What’s going on?” Batman demands, and, swear to god, Black Canary blushes. Artemis blinks, but the red is still there, and Dinah’s eyes are still on Batman, and okay, she really can’t deal with this now.

Wally is making gulping sounds, the sounds that people make when they’re really, really trying not to cry. She keeps her eyes up and scanning, and lets Robin babble out their situation.

Red Tornado enters the room, as well, and stops in mid-step. Literally, one foot is off the ground, and he just pauses. Then Red Tornado enters the room, and he continues, as if he hadn’t just frozen for a few seconds.

“It’s worse that I thought,” Batman says grimly, and he smiles so happy, because he’s gotten his revenge at last.

He moves to check on Wally, but the boy cries out and tries to crawl away from him. This, of course, is not beneficial to his knees, and he’s shaking and shivering and biting his lip and still trying to pull himself away from this insane creature that he used to trust.

dare not meet in dreams 12/20(?)

Batman stops, and cocks his head. “Wally?” he says softly.

Batman bares his teeth and laughs, turning away from the broken boy. He’s got more important stuff to do.

Conner goes after him, and picks Wally up, careful of his legs, and holds him gently, like a broken doll. Wally is pale behind his freckles, but he’s also strong, and he can feel the shards of his kneecaps trying to realign under his skin, but he’s strong.

He doesn’t cry. He never cries.

“I’ll take him to the infirmary,” Conner says, and then frowns. Why does that feel so familiar?

“Hey, guys.” Robin says. “Where’s Kaldur?”

No one responds; they trade looks, and make a mad dash for the hall.

M’gann is lying sprawled on the floor in a puddle, and their leader is nowhere in sight.


Everything is wrong now. Instead of proper shadows, there are ghosts of themselves following them, and it’s like looking in a cracked mirror; everything is frighteningly similar, only weirdly different.

They still can’t interact with the ghosts that fade in and out of their shadows, but they’re coming in more often now, staying longer. They’re almost tangible, and everyone waits with horrified anticipation, wondering what will happen when a careless hand brushes flesh instead of cold shadow.

Everyone deals differently; no one takes it well.


Batman is doing research, trying to figure out how it all went to hell, and how to put it right. It’s daunting, but Robin is there to help, and he keeps remembering the look on Wally’s face as he pulled his broken body across the floor, and he works harder, longer, and keeps at it until his mind is slow and his eyes blurred with exhaustion.

Batman is out on the streets every night, coming down hard and harder and harder still, with a joyous violence that he hasn’t shown before. Robin is at his side, obeying his orders, but where Batman leaves them broken and bleeding, Robin just ties them up. The criminals thank him for it. And Batman is working his way on up, no regard for anything but setting this city to rights, and he remembers the way the green demon had looked, laying still and dead on the floor, and he smiles wider.


Artemis is the least affected, at least at first. Her form remains settled, and she doesn’t feel the need to scream random lines, or the urge to do something insane. So all she can really do is watch everyone else as they deal, and they’re all so wrapped up in their own problems that there’s no room for her to help.

She’s almost afraid that when her change starts, it’s going to be worse.


Roy's got shakes and chills and he's sweating, and it hurts, and it hurt-hurt-hurts, and Ollie doesn't make it go away, and Roy wants. He wants, he wants the—He has no idea what he wants, but he needs it, because it'll make the hurt go away.

He’s huddled in an alley alone, because he can’t quite work out which way is up, never mind which way is home. So he’s cold and wet, and he doesn’t know why, he doesn’t understand, because he chased that feeling of happy right into the prick of a needle, and it’s so nice to just sit here and watch the colors spin by...

It’s so hard to concentrate when the wind sings and the rain cries, and there’s nothing wrong in his whole city tonight, not with the taste of yellow sunshine everywhere, and he thinks he’ll just sit here forever.


dare not meet in dreams 13/20(?)


Artemis goes to pick up a glass of water. Her hand passes right through it.


Conner is just trying to keep in touch with everyone, and is clinging a little, he knows, but with Artemis becoming insubstantial and Kaldur randomly popping in and out of existence, he just wants to be sure that he knows where everyone is, even if that’s totally Tim’s job, and he really shouldn’t have to, maybe he can just make sure he keeps an eye on Robin, who’s got eyes on the rest of them.

Kon-El is confused, but he can’t show that, so he’s a little louder and a little brasher. He briefly thought of asking Superman what was going on, but then grew angry that he hasn’t talked to him yet, but he’s not sure why, and it’s building, almost like he’s both himself, and not himself, and okay, he really just thinks he ought to find his friends. You know, just to make sure.


Artemis is having trouble staying solid. Apparently, she doesn't have a shadow, or something, and she’s slowly fading in and out, and it’s hard to get a grasp on reality when it slips through your fingers like silky cobwebs.


Robin manifests a few new bruises and a handful of new scars, and a bullet hole that pulls when he stretches, but that's it.


By the time Batman calls for an emergency League meeting, it's far too late.

No one's been able to find J'onn, not for ages. Batman smiles, and knows why, but it's his delicious secret to keep, and he's not sharing, especially not with this bunch of clowns he doesn't even particularly like.

Aquaman is not much more useful; he's not sure where he is, or why, or even when, really. Something's messing with his memories. Half the stuff he says doesn't make any sense, and the rest makes far too much. So they don't listen to him, not even now.

Green Lantern doesn't show up. He's still a bit sore over the whole “painting a room yellow” thing, and he's kind of got his own, galaxy-wide crisis going on right now.

Diana is there, but she keeps shooting hostile looks at Aquaman, and she still doesn't get what's going on here. As of yet, no one's been able to find a good way to explain it. Well, except maybe Kaldur, but no one can really find him anymore.

Oliver and Dinah are still looking for Roy, and it isn't helped by the fact that they're having a bitter argument over infidelity and wandering eyes. Green Arrow calls in, offers nothing, is distracted, and finally, Batman kicks him off to go find his protégé. He always thought Oliver was a waste of oxygen, anyways.

Superman has retreated way across the world, entering his Fortress of Solitude and locking the door behind him. No one knows why. Bruce thinks back to their conversation, about how he wasn't feeling well, and the possibilities he'd suggested, and his worry ratchets up another notch, and he smiles.

The Flash is really the only one present who’s actually present enough to help. The flashes deal with theoretical science enough that he gets the idea of what’s happening, and he does have an idea. It might even work. But...

But everyone sees the way Batman's shoulders rise and drop, and the way five-o'clock shadow manifests, and a grin that is downright disturbing. And everyone wonders whether they can actually trust this man who they know so little about, and Barry doesn’t say a word, and nothing gets done.


Everyone tries to wake M'gann up.

No one can.


dare not meet in dreams 14/20(?)

Wally is walking again. Well, hobbling, and gasping and wincing, but he insists on getting up and helping. He's not sure how, exactly he can help, and wishes, for a brief moment, that he could send out scouts like Bart.

He tries to run only once. Grimacing on the cold floor, he decides not to try that again, not until he's really healed.

But now he's faced with the problem of yards of floor between him and the bed, and legs that are shattered beyond recognition and that most certainly won't bear his weight.

Baring his teeth, he starts dragging himself back across the infirmary floor, both hoping that someone will come upon him and help him, and desperately hoping not to be seen like this.

The door hisses open, and he looks up to see Red Tornado. Well, if it had to be someone, this was probably the best option.

“A little help, here, please?” he asks, and Red Tornado approaches, hesitates, and says, “Kid Flash?”

“That's my name,” Wally confirms, and uses Red Tornado's leg to pull himself up.

And then Red Tornado takes a step forward, sending Wally crashing back down. “Traya?” he says, sounding a little lost. “Traya?”

“Ow,” Wally gasps, biting back tears. It hurts so much and it's all his fault, but he's strong, gotta be strong. “Red Tornado?” he gasps instead, desperate for something else to focus on. “Hey, RT, you all right, buddy?”

“You're annoying, Bart,” Red Tornado says, and “Wallace. Wait. Wa-a-a-a-it. Overload. Overload. Unable to pro-o-o-o-o-o-o-cess. Engaging Paradox Safety Mode.” And he freezes.

“Red Tornado?” Wally asks, still crumpled on the floor. “Hey, no, I could really use some help here...”

But the mandroid is shut down, and Wally doesn't know how to wake him up, or how he's gonna get back to his bed.

But he does know that he's not gonna cry.


dare not meet in dreams 15/20(?)

“What are we gonna do?” Robin asks.

They’re sitting in the Batcave, and, for once, the massive bank of computers is off. Batman has just briefed Robin on everything that he’s been able to learn so far.

“So the world is ending because Artemis fell on a bad guy,” Robin sums up. “And there’s no way we can fix it?”

“It’s deeper than that,” Bruce sighs. His cowl is down, but his hair is still matted down flat on his head. “That action caused this dimensional ripple effect, and now, I think...I think I’m the cause.”

“Everything’s coming up Batman,” he sighs into the empty cave air. There’s a whole new slew of criminals in jail, and Blackgate is already jammed far past capacity. It’s a good night’s work.

Bruce sighs, and Dick shakes his head. “You’re not the bad guy,” he says stubbornly. “You can’t be. just doesn’t work that way.”

As always, he sits in the dark, and remembers the give of skin under his thumbs, and savours the the sweet thrill of revenge and the heady sense that comes from holding life and death in your hands.

Bruce smiles, reminded that his ward is only thirteen, after all, and still believes that the sun rises and sets on Bruce’s shoulders. “Right,” he sighs. “I’ll remember that. Thanks, Dick.”

Dick smiles, and it’s so hopeful and bright that Bruce almost doesn’t want to do what he’s about to. “Hey, why don’t you go get us some sandwiches, and then we’ll lay out a campaign plan, okay?”

He cracks his knuckles, and looks around. Something seems off, just a bit, but the cave is empty and dark. Dick’s upstairs, sleeping off the hard night they’d just had. The boy has surpassed all his expectations, and is now invaluable. His absolute loyalty is a nice perk, too.

“Sure,” Dick says, and bounces off up the stairs to do that.

Bruce watches him go. The boy still has energy to burn, even now, even after all this, and Bruce doesn’t know how he does it. And then Dick is through the door, and it closes behind him.

“Computer,” Bruce says quietly. “Activate lockdown code Zero-Alpha-Three.”

Steel panels slam down all through the cave, and the computer echoes, “Zero-Alpha-Three initiated. Lockdown complete.”

Batman stares at the computer; Zero-Alpha-Three is a protocol designed to hold Batman himself, and can only be undone with the authorization of select Leaguers, and, of course, Robin. He can’t hack it, or override it, because the computer will no longer recognize him as a valid user.

He is, effectively, trapped in his own cave.

He yells and paces and pounds on the panels.

“It’s no use,” Bruce says, and wonders vaguely when talking to himself became so easy.

“Oh, just you wait,” Batman growls. “You’ll see. I have a mission. I’ll get out of here, and then I’ll find you and all your little friends, and I’ll show you the meaning of ‘nightmare’.”

“Of course,” Bruce says mildly.

Batman howls to the ceiling, disturbing that bats, and snarls again, “Just you wait.

“You’ll see.”


Part Four may take a little longer; haven't quite finished it yet, sorry!

dare not meet in dreams [16/22]

Yes, I am so sorry it took this long, yes, I suck, and yes, it's done. Sorry sorry sorry!

The hope only
Of empty men.

Part 4: gesture without motion

Dick hums a little under his breath as he comes back, tray held carefully in both hands. He says, “Cave override, door open,” and the computer beeps acknowledgement and does exactly nothing.

He frowns, and frowns and shifts, and says, slower and clearer, “Cave override. Door open.” The computer beeps again, and completely fails to open, again.

The cave computers have never not responded before, and there are damn few things that could disrupt them, even now.

He drops the tray carelessly and almost rips the control panel out of the wall.

He tosses and turns. Something’s wrong, he thinks, eyes shuttering back and forth under closed lids. Something’s off. And it hurts.

“No, no, nonono, open up,” Dick mutters, tapping furiously.

“Lockdown Zero-Alpha-Three activated,” the computer informs him politely.

His fingers freeze, and he stares beyond the keyboard. Zero-Alpha-Three?

The Zero-Alpha series of codes are designed to hold the Bats, if they should become compromised. If Bruce thought he was the problem, which he clearly did, then no, he wouldn’t hesitate to implement a Zero-Alpha code.

But the level? Level one is timed. Two could be released by Robin; two-zero by Robin and Alfred. Three needed not only Robin, but the codes of three other major Leaguers as well.

And that’s going to be a problem.

Superman had retreated across the world, incommunicado; Aquaman was in no state to do much of anything, really, and had returned to Atlantis. Dinah and Ollie wouldn’t agree on anything, so he could count on one of them, at most. J’onn was still in a coma, and no one had heard from Green Lantern since he left Earth before this whole mess went down, but that was really only to be expected.

Diana. Diana would come. Diana would...would be two, at most.

There was no way to gather three, not until everything was back to normal. It hits him like a punch to the solar plexus, knocking him breathless and down, and he exhales hard, watching horror behind his eyes and in his brain, and it is so much scarier than reality. Right up until he wakes up, and it isn’t, not really.

He slid down to the floor, staring at nothing in particular, and then looked up at the ceiling, hoping the angle would stop the tears from falling.


Once, when Kaldur’s back in Atlantis for a short time, he finally swallows his pride. Asking Tula and Garth and the queen for help hurts, because Garth is only who he is sometimes, and it still hurts to see them together.

But the world unravelling at the seams is so much more important than his own heart, so he bites down and gathers them up. They stand on Reef’s Edge, looking down into the dark abyss, because it seems like a good place to represent what’s going on.

He hasn’t done magic in a while, not thaumaturgy or even ritual, so he gathers his strength and passes it along to the queen.
Even here, he’s little more than a glorified battery, someone to be used. But the world is more important than him, always has been, so he dredges up every last bit of will he’s got, and casts a net down through his soul to make sure he got it all. Then the queen raises her arms, and the spell starts, and he’s sucked right along into it.

Oh. He hadn’t expected it to hurt quite this much.

But the queen is performing the most delicate, the most graceful, and hands-down the largest weaving spell he’s ever seen, and the world is always more important than him, so he opens up and lets her draw power directly from his soul, his heart, his spirit and will-to-live.

It hurts, it hurts so very very much. He grinds his teeth and endures. He’s good at that, so good that he doesn’t pass out until the spell lets him go.

Kaldur finds out much later, in the ghostly double of Mount Justice, that the spell, the one he gave so much of himself up to? It hadn’t done anything at all.


dare not meet in dreams [17/22]

Conner is standing in the living room, staring at air. He’s frowning at it, and occasionally waves his hand through nothing at all.

“Hey, buddy,” Wally says, coming back from the kitchen and wielding his crutches with expert ease. “You okay?”

Conner grunts, and Wally frowns, and glances at the tv, still blaring static. “Hey, you know, you don’t have to stay here in Mount Justice, if the noise is too loud. You could...come home with me again?”

“It’d be worse outside,” Conner says, quiet and certain.

Wally doesn’t really know what to do with that, so he just kind of stands there for a second. Then his communicator beeps, and the channel opens before he can even touch it. “Wally—” Robin’s voice is high and thin and absolutely destroyed. “Wally, he—and I—”

“Breathe,” Wally says, standing carefully still. “Breathe, buddy. Come on, tell me what happened, Rob--”

“Don’t call me—! Oh, god, Wally, I just—He activated a Zero-Alpha, he locked himself in the cave without me, he is out of the game and I don’t know—

It hits Wally like a runaway supervillain. If Batman, if their main tactician has taken himself out of the equation...well, shit.

“Hold on, hold on, R—just hold on, okay? I’ll be there in—soon, okay?” He mutes the channel to the sounds of Robin hyperventilating, and says, “Hey, Supey, can you—”

Conner lets out a growl of helpless fury, and punches straight out, with all his might.

“Wait, what are you—Robin needs us!”

He fires off another punch, hitting thin air that’s getting thicker by the second. His fist is connecting, as he pounds away on nothing at all. “I was happy!” he growls, pulling his fist back to his shoulder and putting his entire body behind it. “Give me back my life!”

“Ooookay,” Wally says, trying to back away on crutches. “I’ll find my own way, never mind.” He turns, and something pops, splashing water all over him as a limp, unconscious Kaldur falls three feet and hits the floor.

Wally trips backwards, falling, and, somewhere behind him, Superboy screams.


M’gann dreams.

In her head, she wanders down the split, tracing the fault in the world. She sees where this is going and it’s painful to think about, so she doesn’t. It’s a thin little line, and for a while, she flits back and forth over it, unable to find a physical body on either side.

But now the line’s getting darker and thicker and pulling apart, and she sinks herself into it. It’s just a crack, and maybe she can be the glue to keep it in place. So she grabs a metaphorical handful of either side, and pulls.

She can’t quite manage to bring it back together, but she can maybe stop it from spreading.


Artemis is so pale now, even when she’s there. She has to concentrate now in order to stay; she has to think herself real.

No one’s been able to hear her for a while now. She’s shouted and screamed, and Robin has tried and Conner has tried and Wally has tried, but she’s phasing away from them. There’s nothing for her to shoot, and nothing for her to punch, and she hasn’t felt so helpless since Jade walked out their bedroom door.

She goes to sit with M’gann. At least there, she can pretend that Megan doesn’t see her because she’s not awake.

A short while later, Wally awkwardly drags Kaldur down the hall, the older boy being tugged along limply on a sheet tied across Wally’s chest, and Artemis jumps up to help.

Wally walks right through her, biting his lip and looking like only sheer stubbornness is keeping him upright. She stares after him, then follows, watching while he huffs and puffs and gets Kaldur onto a bed. He trips a few times, and bites his lip harder and harder and mutters under his breath, until their leader is finally sprawled across one of the beds.

Then Wally sits down, rests his head in his hands, and definitely doesn’t cry, not even a little. Artemis, frustrated and helpless, unthinkingly turns her head to give him privacy. To pretend not to see him.

The sheer irony crushes her under its pressure until she laughs and laughs and laughs.

dare not meet in dreams [18/22]

And somewhere, deep down in the dark and the silence and the nightmares, Batman prowls, screaming and laughing and making dire, dire promises.

“Shut up,” Bruce says, jaw clenched and fists tight. He's got patience, yes, but he's also got a temper, and Batman is fraying his control by never shutting up.

“Make me,” he taunts,
and Bruce sighs and makes a concerted effort to open his hands.

“I'll start with that Aquakid,” Batman says. “Cage Six oughtta do; it's so very dry. See, I do my research, too,” he singsongs. “I know aaaall their weaknesses. The whole damn League. Because anything you know? I do, too. And that, that's why I'll start with the children.”

Bruce does not rise to the bait. He's too busy listing inventory in his head, deciding what they'll need to make more of,when the world makes sense again.

“Except Dick, of course,” Batman muses. “He'll be last. And it'll be slow. And he'll beg so pretty like he does, and wonder the whole time, where's Bruce, where's Bruce, and you won't be there, because I will be.”

So Bruce does the only logical thing he can, and punches the both of them in the face.


Robin wanders through the halls of first Wayne Manor, and then Mount Justice, and broods. Everything is falling apart around him and he can’t do anything to help anyone and his friends are disappearing and Bruce is gone and he slams his fist into a wall in frustration.

Robin wanders through the halls of first Mount Justice, and then Wayne Manor, and broods. Everything is falling apart around him and he can’t do anything to help anyone and people are disappearing and Bruce is gone and he slams his fist into a wall in frustration.

It doesn’t help.


It hurts now, it hurts, but M’gann holds on and digs in her nails and pulls with all her mental might. The edges are jagged, yes, but slippery, and it’s hard to get a hold on them. Her hands are bleeding now, but she knows that her team and the League are going to fix this. She knows that, and believes it, and they need her. They need time, she knows, so she clenches her fists harder and pulls tighter.

She blinks rapidly, and starts singing a little, an old lullaby, and it is a distraction but it doesn’t stop the tears.


Robin and Wally are sitting in chairs around the infirmary, because M’gann isn’t awake, and Kaldur still can’t get out of bed.

He’s awake, though, kind of. Awake enough to ask, “Where’s Conner?”

Wally shrugs, and says, “I think he’s trying to break reality by sheer force.”

“Can he do that?” Robin blinks.

“I dunno, but he’s sure as hell trying,” Wally sighs, “but guys, listen. I have an idea.” Robin sits up, Kaldur manages to get his head pointed in the right direction, and Artemis sits down beside them. Just because they can’t see her is no reason she can’t participate. “Okay, so theoretical temporics is not my strong suit, but here goes. So, the timelines are stretching in a way that time was never meant to move. Here, imagine a rubber band.”

Robin, still quiet and subdued, produces one and hands it over.

“Thanks. Okay, so imagine this rubber band is time.” He loops it around his thumb and pinky, applying only enough pressure to keep the band from falling off. “So, there are millions of alternate worlds, spun off of every major choice, every accident, every death. Lots and lots of rubber bands, stretching to infinity. All different colors and shapes and widths, but all inherently rubber bands.

He rubs his hand through his hair, and tries to explain. “Okay, he says, “So, there are millions of alternate worlds, spun off of every major choice, every accident, every death. Any time something happens, somewhere, it happened differently. We think we’re crashing up against one of these, or something, somewhere where everything is similar, but not the same.”

“Like, we start with a red band, and every one after that is one shade of red lighter, gradually shifting colors, like a rainbow. But we changed something drastic, and Time is trying to fix it.” He moves his thumb and pinky apart, and they watch the rubber band tighten and thin. He tucks his middle finger under one side, and pulls up.

dare not meet in dreams [19/22]

“So now our timelines are diverging from this point, see? This event, our shatterpoint, is the epicenter. So now the timelines are resonating, they're changing, trying to catch up to each other and remove the divergence. But our change was fundamental; we stuck a green band in the middle of the red ones. So what we need to do is remove that change, and let time snap back into place. Before our rubber band breaks under the strain.”

“The world is stretching in ways it was never meant to, so it’s fraying,” he sums up.

They continue to watch the band looped around Wally's fingers, and he sighs and flicks it at Robin's forehead.


Wally snickers, and even Artemis finds she still has a little smile left, after all.

Kaldur shifts on his bed, wincing. “But how do we remove the change?” he asks.

“Well,” Wally says slowly. “It was caused by time travel. Theoretically, we could fix it by smoothing out the paradox.”

“And how do you propose we do that?” Artemis asks. No one hears her, but then Robin asks the same thing, and Artemis slams her hand on the table in frustration. No one hears that, either.

He bites the inside of his lip, and then says, “The Flash and I could run.”

“What?” Kaldur asks. “How would that help?”

Wally sighs. “We're back in the theoretical bits. Technically, if we could run fast enough, the Speed Force should catapult us through the time barrier. We should be able to get into the crack between dimensions, and maybe we can fix them.”

“It’s not certain,” he says, and sighs. “But then, what is, anymore?”

Kaldur's still not convinced “That...sounds very dangerous.”

“That's because it is,” Robin says. “And you're not doing it. One, it's theoretical, and we're not testing it on you. Two, your legs may be healed enough for walking, but we're talking loads of stress, which can't be good for them. And say you could break the time barrier; do you have any guarantee you could get back out? No, this is seriously a bad idea.”

“The Flash is already talking to the League about it,” Wally says, and he's so calm it's a bit creepy. “Besides, from what I’ve learned from who I could be, it seems plausible.”

“No,” Kaldur says. “We’re in a bad enough spot as it is; we can’t afford to lose anyone else.” And, with a slight gasping pop, Kaldur disappears, leaving a fairly large puddle of saltwater behind instead.

Everyone stares for a second, and then Wally says, “Any other objections?” and Artemis bites her lip and Robin glares, but there’s no heat behind it.

“Good,” Wally says, getting up. “Besides, it’s not like there’s anything to lose by trying, right?”

He smiles at them, and tries hard to feel like he isn’t saying goodbye. And most of all, he smiles, and smiles, because he doesn't dare do anything else.

The plan is approved, and the Flashes are sent off by the few remaining, with worried glances and wishes of care and speed. And it turns out Wally's wrong; there's always something to lose. In this case, it was the Flashes. They don't come back.

At all.

dare not meet in dreams [20/22]

Kaldur is gone, even when he's there. M'gann is still in a coma. He hasn't seen Artemis in days. Conner is still punching that one spot, over and over, and getting nowhere at all. And now Wally's gone.

He's waited as log as he can, but first Bruce, then Bruce, then his teammates, his friends, and now Wally, and he, he just can't, okay, it's just—

He tears through his room, leaving a giant mess, uncaring. He rips off his mask, because he can't be Robin, not without Batman—

He leans over the sink in the bathroom, and splashes water on his face, then looks up to meet his own gaze in the mirror.

The world is breaking, and he knows this and it hurts.

“No,” Robin says.

“No,” Robin says.

“I won't let it,” Robin says.

“I won't let it,” Robin says.

But Robin doesn't know how to stop it, and all he can do it look in the mirror, watching the dimple on his cheek fade and manifest, fade and manifest.

But Robin doesn't know how to stop it, and all he can do it look in the mirror, watching the dimple on his cheek manifest and fade, manifest and fade.

He reaches out, resting his fingers on cool glass—

He reaches out, resting his fingers on cool glass—

he thinks no no No No NO NO NO.

And the mirror falls apart as he reaches through the glass and grasps a hand that grasps back just as tightly.

The world shatters.

And, finally given a focal point, finally given a constant, time snaps back into place, orienting on Robin and Robin, pulling from his memories to make fact.

This is the way the world ends, he thinks.

This is the way the world ends, he thinks.

with a bang but a whimper.

dare not meet in dreams [21/22]

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, 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. He needs to get moving, start the recovery process, start counting the casualties and the consequences.

Casualties.... He thinks of the League, shattered and broken, and of the kids, confused and alone. He remembers the horror on M'ganns face when she fell, and the loud sound of kneecaps snapping. He remembers the reflection in the mirror, with the scruff and the slouch and that grin, and then he shuts it all down because he really can't afford to break right now.

But he thinks of M'gann, and something inside him shifts and settles, just a bit, and he starts the grim process of rebuilding without noticing that 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 horrible want is gone, and 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.




It starts as a tingle in her toes, then her fingers, and then, for the first time in forever, she hears her heartbeat, and 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 gives it a warning growl, 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.


dare not meet in dreams [22/22]



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.




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.”

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 girl’s forehead. “No fever,” she murmurs, and Robin snorts and Wally drags Artemis into a heated argument over the core temperatures of Martians as opposed to Earthlings.

“Bad dream?” Robin asks, tone neutral but a hint of sympathy in his eyes. When she nods hesitantly, he asks, “What was it about?”

And M’gann opens her mouth, blinks, and then says, completely puzzled, “I have no idea.”

Again, apologies for the long break, but thanks for reading~!

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