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Paranoid

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None of the others understood Robin's habits. They couldn't understand why before every mission he would bring out his grappling gun, check to see if it worked four times and then check it five more. 'Just in case.' He would always say.

They would never know why he always left a room first and entered it last. They wondered why he always triple checked the lock on his door or why he always had his back to the wall but still had a direct route to the nearest exit. 'I don't like to be snuck up on.' Was the younger boy's explanation.

They thought that he had just inherited the Bat's paranoia.

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Wally didn't.

Wally knew that Robin constantly checked his grapple because every time he used it he was terrified it would snap and he would fall, just like his parents did.

Wally knew that without Bruce there to convince him otherwise, the thought that being left alone with someone else in a room meant that he would be beaten and that at any moment he could be jumped from behind was always in the back of his mind. Juvie tended to do that to a kid, especially at nine.

They thought that Robin the most paranoid kid they knew.

Wally thought he was the strongest.

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It was hard, sometimes, to fit the image of Earth that she gained from sitcoms to the teens she saw almost everyday. In that image the worst thing that could happen was being dumped by your boyfriend, all children had to worry about was what game they were going to play or which sibling to annoy first, true love just happened and the world always made sense again at the end of the day.

But instead she was faced with the fact that Conner could die, and nearly has, Robin had his childhood stolen from him and threw birdarangs instead of Frisbees, it was a battle to get Connor to even accept the concept of love let alone admit he felt it and at the end of the day, the world had just become more messed up than yesterday. But no one else seemed to feel as alien as she did most days so she just put a smile on the face she was still getting used to and pretended that things were just peachy, even when everything felt as if it was slipping right through her fingers.

But, she supposed, that was ok. She had to play pretend everyday anyway, one more part to her role wouldn't make any difference.

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He really should have been paying more attention to Dick when he had been talking about the glitches he hadn't fixed in the new electronic locks. He really wished he had, because if he did then this whole situation would never have happened.

The day had started out innocently, the team was just hanging out after a training session with Black Canary when the open bottle of coke had been knocked onto the floor during the mock-wrestling match between Dick and Wally. Feeling partly responsible for the mess, Wally had offered to find a mop and speed-clean the spilled soft drink. Finding the nearest broom closet hadn't taken long (it helped when running through the entire mountain only took a minute or so) and it was when Wally was inside and rummaging around for a bucket to go with the mop that he had found when it happened.

The door and slid shut behind him, a glitch causing the door to open from the outside only. Wally was locked in with no way out.

Suddenly the shadows seemed that much deeper, the walls that much closer and the air that much thinner. Hyperventilating, vibrating and altogether falling apart Wally swore that he could feel the food he ate five minutes ago being respired into the energy that at any other time he would welcome with open arms. But now he wished he was starving because there was nowhere for that energy to go and he could feel it building up and up and up, threatening to consume him with its demand for release.

He didn't realise that he was banging on the door and screaming his throat dry until the door suddenly slid open and his fists had been held still by gentle hands. Wally threw his arms around his saviours, crying and babbling and vibrating as uncertain hands encircled him.

"Shh, Wally." Artemis murmured softly. "It's okay, just breathe."