For The One Who Almost Lost Everything CHAPTER 3

A/N: The grotto part is based on the fanfiction by Xmarksthespot entitled Home. The memory orbs refer to the Pixar film, Inside Out. The owl themed helmets refer the Court of Owls which doesn't make any appearance whatsoever in my story. The order of who takes off their helmet corresponds with when did that person first appeared in the New 52. The color and the order of each feather like pattern corresponds with what color was Dick's hoodie and when did he wear it in Young Justice. Black, the color of Robin's hoodie in "Failsafe" is excluded because the costumes already have enough black. Wally's anger and breakdown was inspired by "My Sister's Keeper" (Digimon Adventure 01) scene when Tai tells Izzy, Tentomon, and Agumon about how he almost caused Kari to die.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Young Justice, the Young Justice wikia, DC comics, and the other fandoms that are referenced in the entire story.

The search party find themselves in the grotto with the holograms of Artemis, Jason Todd, Tula, and Ted Kord.

"Hello! Chum! Where are you?" yelled Lagoon Boy who kept looking around.

Superboy immediately shushes everybody when he suddenly hears footsteps with his super hearing. "Someone's coming. Get ready," he whispered.

They all get ready to fight but are overjoyed when they see Nightwing coming down the steps.

"Dude! You're here!" Wally exclaimed joyfully. He runs towards him and passes right through him. "What the-"

Robin tries to grab his brother's arm and yells out 'hello' at him but his hand passes through him. Nightwing doesn't react to the search party's presence.

They follow him as he briefly glances at Ted Kord's memorial and stops in front of Tula's memorial. "I wish we didn't have to exploit your death like this but there's no another way," he says to her hologram.

Nightwing quickly makes his way towards Jason Todd's memorial and begins to speak as he stares up at it. The Team gets as close to him as possible.

"Hey Jay. I know how you complain that I should get to the point already so I'll make this quick. I'm here to say goodbye because this will be the last time I'll see you before the Cave is destroyed. There are still photos of you at the manor and my apartment but it won't feel the same."

Nightwing bits his lower lip as a single tear rolls down his cheek. "I can't save Wally's souvenirs but I put already copied Garfield's Hello, Megan! tapes onto blank tapes and I'll put the originals in a safe place since you can't find the episodes online."

The thought of Beast Boy's mom came up. "I'll also have to let a few teammates get captured..."-he pinches his temples and sighed, upset about how Lagoon Boy got himself captured-"FOR REAL this time...I'm so sorry that there's no other way to do this but this is the best that I can come up with. The alternative would've been to fake my own death so Wally and Artemis can continue their normal lives..."

Nightwing slowly swings his right hand through Jason's hologram. Despite having been inside their leader's mind for a few minutes, everyone could feel their guilt increase and were horrified at the last sentence.

Beast Boy lets his tears roll down his cheeks. "I can't believe that he actually tried save my VHS tapes before the Cave was destroyed."

"I can't believe that he actually considered faking his own death if I said no," said Artemis who remembers her internal monologue after Miss Martian fried Aqualad's brain.

Nightwing makes his way towards the memorial for Artemis and stares. "Be safe," he says to the hologram before going up the stairs. The Team follow him to the lounge but he then fades away.

"He's gone. Now what?" asked Bumblebee.

"Hmm...M'gaan, does your mind link work while inside a person's mind?" asked Batgirl.

"Yes it does," replied Miss Martian over the mind link.

"Good. Can you make psychic contact with Nightwing?"

"I'm trying but I can't feel anything. Uggh. It's not working. I guess we'll split up and search for clues."

"Wait, let me check the security cameras just as a precaution." Batgirl uses her holographic computer to hack the security cameras. "Nothing except there's snow outside," she commented. As if by bad luck, a few robots armed with lasers pop out of the snow and blast their way into the Cave. Artemis and Miss Martian start to have a bad deja vu moment. They don't remember why the robots look familiar.

"Guys, come on! To the Zeta-Tubes!" ordered Robin. Everyone did as they were told and when they reached the Zeta-Tubes, the robots have also arrived. Before the robots could fire their lasers, Blue Beetle destroys them all with his sonic blasts. Rocket then quickly creates a force bubble around herself and the others just in case. Robin immediately activates the machine and is surprised by what he sees.

"I don't believe this! There's only one machine working at the other end and it's in Gotham City."

"Then that's where we'll go," replied Batgirl before Robin begins to turn on the Zeta-Tubes.

"Everyone quickly, before reinforcements arrive!" yelled Batgirl.

Rocket releases her bubble. Everyone tightly and quickly packed themselves into the Zeta-Tubes before being whisked away. They all come out of the phone booth one by one.

"Did the other original members notice something familiar about those robots?" Artemis asks once everyone is present. "They look like miniature versions of the ones from that failsafe exercise we had 6 years. You know, the one where Miss Martian turned everything into a nightmare after she thought I died but I actually was in a coma?"

"Hello, Megan! I knew they looked familiar," exclaimed Miss Martian.

"Haven't heard that in a long time," commented Superboy who gave a weak smile. Miss Martian blushed.

"Sshhh! We'll probably be facing more threats the longer we're here," said Aqualad. "Miss Martian, Can you set up the mind link again?"

"Mind link reestablished," said Miss Martian.

"All right. Let's find Nightwing before we could begin to actually fix his mind. Be alert. Remember that everything is an illusion or we will get hurt. We forgot about that back in the Cave," said Aqualad as he led everyone out of the alley. They're shocked to see that everything around them is black and white and in ruins. All around them are floating orbs that are the size of snow globes. Each one is colored yellow, blue, red, green, or purple. Some have more than one color in them.

"Conner, use your telescopic vision. I'll levitate you," suggested Miss Martian. Superboy nodded and was quickly levitated upward. "See anything?"

"I see Gotham Academy. Maybe he's in there!" answered Superboy. Miss Martian lowers him down.

The Team runs for several blocks and stops, facing the front of a deteriorating Gotham Academy. As they slowly walk towards the front doors, Guardian asks, "So Nightwing went to this school? Looks like it's for rich kids." Artemis, Kid Flash, Batgirl, and Robin didn't appreciate the remark, thinking that he meant that in a negative way.

"Hey, he's not a spoiled rich brat," said Kid Flash with a glare.

Guardian holds his hands up in defense. "Sorry. Just an observation. Didn't mean in a negative way."

"It's alright. The longer we're here, the more you'll know, including stuff that those who already know about Nightwing's past don't know," said Zatanna. "But remember that just because you'll find out more about him by being in his head doesn't mean you can just snoop around."

"And no spoilers," said Robin sternly when everyone stopped in front of the doors. Robin glared at Impulse and Beast Boy. Impulse acted all innocent and looked away while Beast Boy replied, "Noted."

Robin and Batgirl open the doors and turn on their flashlights before leading the others down the hallway. As everyone walked, Batgirl, Robin, Zatanna, Rocket and the other original 5 were worried because even though they already knew about Nightwing's past, they were concerned about finding out about things that even they didn't know and weren't supposed to. They were also afraid about the others finding out too much about his private life even though Batman knew the risks and had given his approval.

Miss Martian tries to make psychic contact again but can't feel Nightwing's presence.

"Maybe he's in a different part of the school. Keep trying," suggested Rocket.

Miss Martian tries again and yells out, "Nightwing, if you're here, please show yourself. We're all here to help you."

"Yeah. We don't want you gone. We're all here to apologize and want to help you," added Blue Beetle but there's no response.

"Shouldn't we split up?" asked Rocket.

"No. It might make it easier for any threat inside his head to-" said Artemis before being interrupted by the sight of a broken display that had a shredded photo of Dick Grayson with his mathlete trophy. Then, Robin and Batgirl gasped when their flashlights show 'Artemis this, Artemis that' spray painted in red on the lockers.

"OK this is creepy," commented Bumblebee. "Why would he be upset with Artemis when she stood with him?"

Suddenly, Miss Martian detects the mental presence of 3 unfamiliar people who are hiding around the corner and levitates them out of their hiding place. Before the Team could get a better look at the mysterious masked figures, the trio escape by throwing explosive shurikens at her, which knocks the Team out temporarily. They chase after the trio but those who weren't flying slip on a wet floor when the trio uses explosive shurikens on 2 water fountains. Upon getting back up, the Team was greeted by food based monsters coming from the cafeteria. Aqualad uses his magic to create big hard-water serpents from the broken water fountains to dissolve the monsters.

Everyone goes into the cafeteria where upon entering, they are greeted by delicious smells. Impulse and Beast Boy grinning like crazy and smacked their lips as they drooled. Their eyes begin to twinkle.

"Beast Boy. Impulse. Control yourselves. Miss Martian, try making psychic con-" ordered Aqualad before he was interrupted by the doors suddenly slamming themselves shut. Several tables and chairs are levitated and thrown to block the entrance. Birdarangs that were all over the serving area suddenly turn on and broadcast Nightwing's old childish laughter. Rocket immediately creates a force bubble around herself and the others just in time.

The force of the fiery explosion sends the bubble to the outside front of Gotham Academy. The school is destroyed and all that's left are color-coded floating orbs. Rocket releases her bubble and The Team gets back on their feet.

"That was so not crash. I didn't even get a single taste," complained Impulse.

Kid Flash, with rage in his eyes, suddenly slams his cousin against a tree before strangling and lashing out at him. "The school is gone and we're still nowhere closer to finding Nightwing but all you could think about is food?!"

"Wally, please stop! You're hurting me!" cried Impulse as he struggles to breathe. He was too terrified by his cousin's rage to vibrate his way out of his grip.

"Wally, what's gotten into you?" demanded Artemis as she tries to pull her boyfriend away from Impulse while Blue Beetle rebukes his scarab's suggestion of attacking Kid Flash.

Kid Flash immediately lets go as if all of his rage instantly evaporated. He takes a few steps backwards and looks at his terrified cousin. He also looks at his shaking hands before falling to his knees.

"Bart, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that. It's just that...I didn't get to apologize to Nightwing after I blew up at him."

Those who knew how close their friendship were shocked that those two would even fight.

"After the Cave was blown up, I became furious about the extreme risks Nightwing took. We thought that faking Artemis's 'death' wasn't enough to help with Kaldur's mission. When he apologized for my souvenirs getting destroyed, I lost it because I was actually worried about Artemis and that Kaldur might be a triple agent. Before storming off, I told him that he only has himself to blame if anything else goes wrong. Things got worse when I found out about M'gaan's kidnapping, but what really kills me is that despite all that, he still sacrificed himself to save me. After that whole thing with Black Canary, I now know how stressed out he must've been from carrying such a heavy workload."

Wally briefly wipes the snot running from his nose.

"That's him. That's Nightwing," said a sniffling Kid Flash. "Always worrying about those around him. He wouldn't be like this if I hadn't treated him so horribly but he just took it all in. He never thought about himself. He never does!"

"Because he cared…" replied Impulse as he watches his cousin break down in tears.

"I'm his best pal! I'm supposed to look out for him!...That's what I'm supposed to do!" cried Kid Flash as tears rolled down his cheeks.

Everyone was silently crying after listening to his speech before Wonder Girl breaks the silence. "But there's one thing I still don't get. Why didn't Nightwing tell us about his plan?"

"He-We kept this a secret because 6 years ago, Red Arrow turned out to be a Cadmus clone and unwitting mole for the Light who put the League under Savage's control. Nightwing's fear was that you guys would've made the Light suspicious if you held back during fighting," explained Aqualad.

A few seconds of contemplation passed before a female voice asks, "Do you really mean all of that, Wally?"

"Yes, I-" Wally suddenly realizes that it was an unfamiliar voice-"Wait. Who said that?"

"I did," said a female voice in the tree that Kid Flash had slammed Impulse against. Two other people are with her. The trio does a quadruple back-flip before landing on the ground. The search party gets ready to fight when they recognize them as their attackers.

"No stop! We're not here kill you guys, at least not anymore..." said the girl.

"Who are you guys and why did you want to kill us?" asked Wonder Girl. "We're only here to help."

"I'm Raya," said the girl. She takes off her helmet which sort of looks like an owl's head. The helmet has a white front with a red owl beak and a red pattern that surrounds the eyeholes, extending slightly past the top like owl tufts. The red parts make the white front look like the face of an owl.

"I'm Raymond," said a boy. He takes off his helmet which is exactly the same as Raya's helmet except the beak and the pattern are green.

"And I'm Zane," said the other boy. He takes off his helmet which has a blue beak and pattern.

"We're Dick Grayson's imaginary friends," they said in unison.