I own nothing. Thank you for your time!
"Hey, Superboy!" M'gann called, just as bubbly as she ever was. Wally was sitting on the couch watching TV, trying to keep the boredom at bay until it was time for them to train later on, and he looked up out of curiosity just in time to vaguely recognize the face that was beaming at Connor before she passed into the kitchen were the rest of the team was making their lunches. "What do you think of my—"
Time slowed down for Wally as the dark hair and blue eyes struck something deep inside him, but it took him too long to figure out why.
"M'gann—no!" Wally yelled, but it was already too late, Dick was already turning around and the plate in his hand was already falling to the ground. Everyone startled at the noise, shocked beyond measure that Robin had actually allowed something to slip from his hands on accident.
"Momma?" Robin gave the tinniest little whimper, but nobody understood it, because it was the Romani term of endearment, not the English one.
"M'gann, change back," Wally yelled from the couch, struggling to free himself of the cocoon of blankets and wires he'd somehow managed to wrap himself up in.
"What?" M'gann blinked and floated back a bit in confusion. "Why?"
"Momma?" Dick repeated the word, raising a hand like he was trying to reach out to a ghost. "Mother, what are you doing here?"
"Robin," Wally's panicked voice sounded through the room again, coming from much closer this time, but the damage was already done. Dick was already shaking his head back and forth and starting to back away slowly.
"No," Dick blinked, further scaring the inhabitants of the room.
"Robin?" Kaldur tried to get his attention, but was no more successful than Wally had been.
"M'gann, change back," Wally didn't turn to face the girl as he repeated himself, but the urgency was evident in his tone.
"No!" Dick paled even farther, shaking his head so quickly the others feared he would do damage to his neck. "You're dead! I watched you die! You're dead!"
"Robin?" Superboy tried to grab his attention as well, but to no avail.
"Kid Flash, what is he saying?" Kaldur looked to the speedster for an explanation, hands twitching as he fought the urge to reach for the water-bearers on his back.
"I don't know—" Wally answered, a hint of his own desperation seeping into his voice as he too tried to stay calm.
"I watched you die!" Dick seemed to be stuck on repeat, only this time he spit the words, anger showing in ever fiber of his being. "You died in my arms! Who are you?"
"Robin, please!" Wally begged taking a step towards his friend only to stop at the look of pure hatred that it earned him. Wally faltered for a second as Dick continued to repeat his line of questioning in Romani, before something out of the corner of his eyes caught his attention. "M'gann, I thought I told you to change!"
"You keep saying that," M'gann looked utterly confused as she hovered above the ground uncertainly and hugged her arms around herself. "Why? Is there something wrong with the way I look?"
"Of course not," Artemis rushed to reassure her even as the rest of the room fell further into chaos.
"Who are you?" Dick's anger was quickly fading into something much more heartbreaking and dangerous.
"Because I said so!" Wally snapped at M'gann, still trying to get through to Robin, but to no avail.
"Hey, watch your tone!"
"Now's not the time, Superboy. Just do as he says, Megan! He can explain later!"
"No, momma, please. Momma, please. Please, no. Don't go away. Don't leave me alone."
The whole room seemed to slow down for Wally as he watched Dick reach for his belt, but Wally knew no matter how fast any of them acted, they wouldn't be able to stop him from what he was about to do.
Dick pulled a handful of smoke bombs and batarangs seemingly out of nowhere and the next thing Wally knew, they were all detonating around where his best friend stood and Wally was knocked off of his feet. The room was filled with smoke and debris and the startled shouts of their teammates, but it was all a blur to Wally. His ears were ringing loudly and his head smarted instantly. He looked around for Dick frantically, but he already knew it was too late.
Dick was long gone, and the distant sound of the zeta tube activating and the computer announcing "Recognized: Robin B01" only confirmed his suspicions.
Wally and Dick's teammates were calling to Wally now, asking him to explain what was going on as the smoke started to clear, but Wally ignored their questions just as easily as he had earlier, and had his phone out and pressed up to his ear before he'd finished pushing himself to his feet.
"Kid Flash," Kaldur's voice cut through his mental fog with a startling mix of authority and desperation. "Please. What is going on here? Why did Robin attack us?"
"Robin, didn't attack us," Wally shook his head, not realizing how irritated he sounded as the call went to voicemail and Wally pulled the phone away from his ear long enough to disconnect the line and call back again. "If he attacked us, we would be dead. We're not dead, are we?"
"Hel—" the deep voice on the other end of the line started to answer the phone, but Wally cut them off with a sigh, not realizing that Connor (at least) could hear the other end of the conversation, too.
"Hey, B?" Wally asked, using the only moniker he could for the man when he wasn't sure what persona he was using at the moment—whether he was dressed in civvies as Bruce Wayne, or rigged out in his Batman regalia—and Wally was too scatterbrained to derive any clues from his voice at the moment. Even if he were, he wouldn't take a chance of accidentally revealing too much. "It's Kid."
"What's going on?" Bruce's tone darkened immediately at the rushed-ness of Wally's voice. It wasn't uncommon for the speedsters to talk fast—it wasn't uncommon for any of the heroes to talk fast—but both Wally and his uncle tended to stay calm and relaxed in a very blasé way. It wasn't normal for either one of them to carry tension in their voices.
"We're in a Code Black," Wally answered, the words practically tumbling out of his mouth in a code that he desperately hoped Bruce understood with whatever else was occupying his mind at the moment. "Your Grace has Fallen from the Mountain. I repeat Your Grace has Fallen."
There was silence on the line and Wally's stomach dropped to his knees as he feared that Bruce hadn't understood and he would have to find a way to try to explain what happened without revealing either secret identity, but then Bruce's voice cracked over the line in the harshest, deepest snap he had ever heard, and Wally actually felt relieved, "What? Tell me exactly what happened, now."
"We were all hanging out as a team, just waiting for the game to start," Wally explained, making it up as he went and once again hoping that Bruce could follow what he was saying. "I don't know how it happened, but...Megan found a picture and she showed it to him, B. She found a picture of her and showed it to him and it ended badly. Very, very badly."
Wally desperately hoped that Bruce understood what he was saying because they had yet to come up with a code for this exact situation, and judging by the way that Bruce hesitated before speaking again in a much more conflicted tone, he did.
They had dealt with Dick facing devastating reminders of his past before—unexpected pictures showing up in various news articles, the anniversaries of their births and deaths and other important dates that were worth mentioning, heck, the reminders that swirled in his mind every time the boy looked in the mirror and saw a mix of the two of them staring back at him—but they had never thought they'd have to help him through this. Through seeing one of their actual living faces again.
"How did she get the picture?"
"I don't know," Wally shook his head, even though Bruce couldn't see it. "She was looking for…inspiration for her new…Halloween costume, and she must have stumbled across it."
That particular code of Wally's was a little thin, considering it was May, but Wally didn't particularly care at the moment, it was believable enough for the common passersby. He had other things on his mind. He was just happy that when he looked up he realized M'gann had changed her appearance back to the one she normally walked around with and the team had stopped trying to ask him questions, even if they were staring at him as he had one of the most gut wrenchingly terrifying conversations of his life.
Bruce hummed on the other end of the line, and Wally couldn't make heads or tails of the noise, even though he could see Bruce nodding in his mind's eye, before Bruce spoke up again, more contemplative and calm than he had been earlier, "And you said we were in Code Black?"
"Yes, sir," the title was out of Wally's mouth before he could stop it (not that he particularly wanted to). "Have been for about four minutes now."
"He couldn't have gotten far," Bruce sighed again, but Wally had a feeling it was more to himself than it was to Wally.
Code Black meant that one of the boys had run away (most often Dick) and nobody had any intel or leads as to where he had gone amongst the Speedsters, the Arrows, and the Bats.
Dick was referred to as Grace, or some variant of it, depending on the situation, much like Wally was referred to as Kid, or Bruce was referred to as B. It was close enough to his name that those that knew them as civilians would simply assume that Bruce was using a pet name based on his adopted son's given last name or something along the lines, and those that knew him as Batman would assume it was some kind of metaphorical code for his sidekick in hopes to hide the identity of whom he was talking about (or they would just miss it all together). Typically, they resorted to calling him Bruce's Grace (as the code names came out most often when somebody had called to tell Bruce about something dumb or potentially dangerous that Dick was involved in), but other variations like Bruce's Gracie or just Grace or Gracie had been used over the years, too, to help keep people from making any unnecessary connections between their four identities (and occasionally to show their annoyance with Dick, depending on what he'd done).
A reference to falling had quickly come to be the code for Dick having some kind of a flashback or an emotional response due to something concerning his family, his past, or the fall, and the mountain part had been simply to reaffirm that Dick had left given the other syntax of the message as Wally had relayed the code.
"Where are you now?" Bruce asked, turning his attention back to Wally.
"I'm still on the mountain," Wally answered. Again, the code was thin, but hopefully any unwanted listeners on Bruce's end would just assume he was following through on the "falling off the mountain" metaphor they thought they understood earlier.
"Okay," again, he could hear Bruce nod as he slipped into one of his more professional sounding voices. "Unfortunately, I'm at work right now, Kid, and I can't leave. I'm in the middle of a very important meeting and it's still got a couple of hours to go."
Wally vaguely remembered Dick mentioning something about Batman being stuck in meetings at his other job so he'd been stuck inside, bored out of his mind all week, and Wally took that to mean that Bruce was portraying Bruce Wayne CEO at the moment and almost felt bad for calling and interrupting.
Wally knew that Bruce would always look at Dick as more important than his civilian job, and Wally would be lying if he said he didn't agree.
Little did Wally know, Bruce was literally in the middle of one of those meetings when Wally had called, and he was now sitting in a room full of stiff looking men in business suits, wearing expressions on their faces ranging from bored to indignant to mildly concerned as he talked to Wally, and his current secretary-of-the-month was attempting to glare a whole in the side of his head as she staunchly disagreed with his decision to answer his phone in the middle of a business meeting.
And a personal one at that.
Naturally, Bruce didn't care at all.
"So, what do you want me to do?" Wally asked, already knowing that at least Bruce already had a plan for if a Code Black hit while he was away on CEO business. Wally just needed to know his part.
"I want you to call around your friends in Star and Central City and see if Grace has told any of them what went wrong. If he's talking to somebody that's good, isn't it?"
That was Bruce's way of telling him that he wanted him to go to Star and Central Cities and see if he could find Dick in any of their usual hiding spots. Much like the code for something happening to Dick, the codes for how they communicated how they wanted each other to respond was a little less clear, but they'd figured out how to understand each other pretty effectively after a year or two of trial and error.
It would be weird for Bruce to tell someone to go to different cities as though he expected them to accomplish it within the hour, and if Batman gave an order like that, it could only be assumed that he was talking to a speedster (or someone of similar powers). Bruce or Batman telling him to just go talk to someone wasn't specific enough for what he wanted out of Wally (or Barry), but using the old slang "call around" was just right. Common and worded so that the average listener would assume he meant it in the literal sense, to pull out a phone and make a couple of phone calls, while Wally or Barry would know he meant it in the older, more metaphorical sense, of physically go where I'm telling you to.
The "friends" part wasn't an official part of their code, even in a vague sense, but given the context and the way that Bruce followed it up with "see if Grace", "any of them", Wally knew that Bruce wanted him to check and see if Dick had holed up somewhere in one of the semi-familiar cities. The question at the end of the order was a way to ask Wally whether he understood the order or the chance to ask a question, if he had one.
"It is," Wally agreed with Bruce's statement, conveying that he understood.
"I'll reach out to Red, and send him to Gotham," Bruce continued to explain the plan, taking Wally's word for it. Red was the Code Name for Roy, even back when he had just been Speedy. "See if he can get a hold on him there."
So, that meant Bruce thought Dick was in Gotham if he was expecting Wally to cover two cities while he only sent Roy to one. There was only one problem.
"I thought Red was on that church retreat?" Wally questioned, saying the only thing that both a hero and a regular kid could have that came to mind. Even super villains and corrupt businessmen understood and respected religion, right? Really, he had no idea where Roy was, but he had been under the impression that he wasn't up for communication at the moment. Bruce only hesitated for the briefest of seconds before he answered.
"It got cancelled," Bruce explained in a voice that Wally knew meant 'I know what I'm talking about, It's all good, Don't argue with me, You don't have to worry, Trust me' given the circumstances. "He's been visiting family in the area instead. The last I checked he was only about five minutes outside of the city."
That was Code, or partially at least, meaning that Roy was in fact in Gotham, but he was there on vigilante work, and not actually seeing family. Wally didn't ask and Bruce didn't say, but Wally had a feeling with how quickly Bruce had come up with the plan, Bruce and Roy were in cahoots about something and that was why he was in Gotham.
"Okay," Wally nodded his once again, his mind already away from the subject of whatever Roy was working on and back to worrying about Dick. "Sounds good. Anything else I should know, B?"
"No, that's it for now, Kid," Wally could practically hear Bruce shaking his head over the phone. "Let me get off of the phone, so I can give Red a call."
"Sure thing, sir. I'll let you know if I find out anything."
"Please," is all Bruce says in response before the line cuts dead and Wally's left on his own again. There were a couple seconds of silence in which Wally pulled the phone away from his ear and hung it up with a small sigh before the voice of the computer rang out through the room.
"Rob?" Wally felt a flash of hope flare through his chest before the computer continued and Wally was simultaneously let down and relieved in a different way.
"Hey, guys!" Barry strolled into the room, forcing himself to stay calm and slow, at the same time that Red Tornado came hovering down from his hole in the ceiling. "We saw the emergency alarms going off, and I just wanted to stop by and…"
The Flash trailed off as he looked around the room and saw the shell-shocked expressions on most of the Team's faces—and the quite-frankly distressed one of his nephew—and his suppressed worry quickly broke through to the surface, even though he still tried to put on a calm face for the kids.
"…Kid Flash? What's wrong? Are you hurt?!"
Before he had even finished, he and Wally had met at the edge of the kitchen and collided into each other, Wally's face buried into Barry's chest like he was still a kid.
"Oh, Uncle Al! Thank goodness you're here! Robin is gone and B can't get out of work and we'reinaCodeBlackandthereweresmokebombseverywhereandandand—"
"It's okay," Barry hushed him, wrapping one arm around the young boy's back tightly as his other hand came up to the back of his head. Barry's code name was by far the riskiest of them all, but there were a lot of things that "Al" could be short for. "I'm here. You're not alone anymore, Kid. Tell me what happened, so I can help. Where's Robin?"
Wally took another couple of seconds to calm down—the equivalent of a couple of minutes for the two of them—before he finally forced himself to take a deep breath and push himself far enough back to look up at him, "It's a Code Black, Uncle Al."
"No," Barry took a sharp breath in and clenched his jaw. "When did it start? How long?"
"I'm not sure exactly," Wally shook his head. "Five minutes, maybe? Six and a half at most."
"Okay," that seemed to calm the Flash down some. "He couldn't have gotten far then. We're losing time, though. We need to get out and start looking before he can disappear."
"I know," Wally nodded. "Red and B have already started with Gotham. B wants me to check Star and Central."
"Good," Barry nodded, too, focusing more on the first half of the plan than the second for the moment. "What caused it?"
"He took a fall."
"Figuratively," Wally bit his lip and Barry cursed, completely shocking the rest of the room.
"How?" Barry demanded, tightening his grips on the upper half of Wally's arms to an almost painful level. "I thought we had stripped the mountain of all triggers."
"We had," Wally hung his head in desperation and Barry realized he needed to reel his emotions in before he ended up upsetting the boy even farther. "But Miss Martian was looking for a disguise for a mission and I guess…I guess she came across a picture on the internet or something and…and she turned into her and she got to Rob before I could stop her."
"It's not your fault," Barry pulled the boy back to his chest as he sniffed and blinked back tears. "You did everything you could. Are you positive it was her and not just somebody that looked like her?"
"No; I didn't get a good enough look, and she wasn't in the uniform," Wally shook his head, sniffing a little bit more. "I'm pretty sure it was her, though."
"Alright," Barry nodded, carding his fingers through the boy's hair absentmindedly. "Are you going to be okay to go out on your own? Robin needs you right now."
"I know," Wally forced himself to take a deep breath as he pushed himself away from his uncle once again and brought his hands up to run them over his face. "And yeah—yeah, I'll be good. I should get going, though."
"Yes, you should," Barry agreed gently. "Why don't you go ahead and head out and I'll finish up things here and check the Watchtower for any leads before I meet up with you guys in Gotham?"
"Okay," Wally nodded his head, steeling his emotions away and getting ready for what he had to go do. "Sounds good."
"Let me know if you find anything or need help."
"I will," Wally nodded his head again, already shifting away towards the zeta tubes. "Thanks, Uncle Al."
"Not a problem, Kid," Barry spared him a smile as his phone started ringing, before the boy was zipping off after his friend.
"Recognized: Kid Flash B03."
Barry had the phone out and up to his ear a second later, as he watched the zeta-tube flash and his nephew disappear, "Hello?"
"I just got a text from Red saying Gracie took a fall," Ollie didn't even bother with small talk. "What's going on? He okay?"
"Not really," Flash answered him with a sigh, as he made his way over to the computer to wipe the security footage of the incident. "We're in a Code Black."
"Code Black?" Ollie repeated before trailing off in a stream of muttered curses. "Not again. Let me call and cancel my massage for the afternoon. Does B know?"
"Yep, Kid called him first."
"That's good," there was some rustling on the other end that sounded like papers being moved around. "How far into it are we now?"
"Approaching eight minutes," Barry answered, initiating a security sweep of the mountain, just in case Robin had never left in the first place. He would run another one on foot in a minute, but it never hurt to be overly thorough.
"Alright, Al. Give me ten and I'll meet you at the Watchtower."
"Sounds good, Archie," Barry responded before pulling the phone from his ear and ending the call at the same time the confirmation of the deleted footage popped up on the screen.
This wasn't the first time this had ever happened, and it probably wouldn't be the last, but they all took their quirks as they came, and they would all be damned if they let something else happen to Dick on their watch. They just had to find him.
A/n: There was a lot more that I wanted to add to this with the rest of the Young Justice members, and Wally or Barry explaining things to them, but I just couldn't get it to work the way I wanted it to. M'gann came across Mary's picture completely by accident. She was searching through archived newspapers online for inspiration for an undercover alias for an upcoming undercover mission and came across a picture of a bunch of young adults celebrating something in a public square. A younger (and by younger I mean five or six years before she passed away) Mary was in attendance (as a civilian, not as a Flying Grayson), and the photographer had caught a very flattering angle of her, even though she wasn't the focus of the picture. Since she wasn't the focus of the picture and her name wasn't associated with it, it slipped past the filters that Bruce had put in place.