For The One Who Almost Lost Everything CHAPTER 6

A/N: Most of this chapter is partly based on "For the Man Who has Everything" (Justice League Unlimited) and Pixar's Inside Out. First scene is based on I'm Sorry by HomicidalHarley (the story is being rewritten). Dick and Hal Jordan's chat references Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. The first 4 escapees are the Core Four from the Young Justice comics (1998-2003). Dick's dream wife combines Zatanna (head and hairstyle) and Barbara (hair color and everything below her head); her name comes from Starfire's alias. The YJ wikia doesn't mention Tim's parents so for the sake of the story, I used Identity Crisis Vol. 1 Issues #5-6.

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

Center of Nightwing's mind

A very weak Nightwing begins to wake up. He discovers that his gloves and belt are gone and that he's blindfolded. Suddenly, he hears several voices inside his head.

"Miss M? Is that you?" asked Nightwing.

"Yes, it's me but I don't know where you, me and the others are," said Miss Martian. "I'm blindfolded."

The others reported the same thing.

"What are you all doing here?" asked Nightwing. "I thought most of you wanted me gone. After all, that's why I pushed Wally out of the way..."

Everyone was horrified at what he said.

"I don't deserve to live after everything I put everyone through. I wouldn't be surprised if Batman kicked me out of the Batcave and off the Team. Besides, you would've been better off if I was dead. No one would notice or care. Some might even be happy..."

The search party couldn't believe what he said. Nightwing really blamed himself for everything. The words were stated so bluntly as if he didn't think it wouldn't make their stomachs churn with guilt and regret. Nightwing lets his head hang low again.

"Listen to me. We would've been crying and in mourning if we didn't come to find and help you!" said Superboy.


Nightwing was going to point out how they treated him in the warehouse, but Superboy wasn't done. "No. Let me finish. You saved the world, Nightwing. Yes, we felt betrayed and were so furious that we wanted to kick you out, but we now understand why you kept everything a secret. We're all really sorry for how we treated you. That was wrong of us to do when you put yourself through so much."

The others repeated in agreement.

"...But what about the League? What about Batman?" asked Nightwing.

"He and Black Canary approved this mission," said Batgirl.

"He's not mad?"

"He would've been if we didn't rescue you. Speaking of which, how do we get out of here?" asked Bumblebee.

"Wait a minute, I don't feel Artemis or Wally here," said Miss Martian. Suddenly, Nightwing feels an evil presence in the room.

"I see you're wide awake," Zucco said to Nightwing. "Now we can begin."

Zucco turns on something that causes Zatanna and Miss Martian to scream. Their pain could be felt on the mental link, causing Superboy to flip out. With all his strength, he breaks free, pulls off his blindfolds, and smashes his body through the door.

"M'gaan? M'gaan! Where are you?!" he cried mentally as he ran through the halls but there was no answer. Along the way, he frees Impulse, Robin, and Wonder Girl when he passes by their prisons. The 4 escapees see shadow creatures were coming their way, but Wonder Girl wasn't afraid.

"Lemme at them! Lemme at them!" shouted Wonder Girl as the 3 boys grab her and run.

"Your girlfriend sure is feisty," whispered Impulse to Robin.

"Shut up," said Robin. The escapees hide in a room that had Bette Kane in it. When she opened her mouth, she instantly turned into a scary screaming banshee made of fire. The 4 escapees run for their lives.

Memory dump, same time

Raya, Raymond, and Zane wake up at the bottom of a canyon that's littered with faded memory orbs; some of them are dissolving into sparkling dust. When they see this when they wake up and are terrified to see that their bodies become translucent for a second. They run and yell out the names of Nightwing's teammates before tripping over Kid Flash and Artemis.

The couple wakes up and are overjoyed to see that the trio is still alive. The joy immediately evaporates when they realize how far they've fallen and that nobody else is with them.

"We're in the memory dump. It's where faded memories are discarded," said Raymond.

When Artemis discovers that her bow and arrows are gone, Kid Flash suggests that Nightwing's imaginary friends lift them and fly. When the trio tries this, they can barely even levitate a few inches off the ground. An exasperated Kid Flash starts running up a mountain of forgotten memories but keeps sliding down.

"Wally, what are you doing? Stop it, please," said Zane, but Kid Flash doesn't listen. "Don't you get it, Wally?! We're stuck down down here!...We're forgotten."

Kid Flash looks back at everyone staring at him and turns his attention a glowing blue orb. Artemis and the kids follow him as he walks over to it and picks it up. It showed his outburst at Nightwing in the Hall of Justice after the Cave was blown up. Kid Flash sees his own terrifying expression as he yelled at the acrobat. Although the orb doesn't show Nightwing's eyes, Kid Flash could imagine how heartbroken and frightened Nightwing was. After Kid Flash falls to his knees and sets the memory aside, he picks up an orb that shows Dick revealing his identity to him about 18 months before the Team was founded.

"I was the first to know his real name," said Kid Flash as tears begin to form. The next orb he picks up shows when the 3 sidekicks decided to take off for Cadmus 6 years ago. "He was so full of light and joy."

Another orb that he picks up shows Kid Flash and Artemis quitting the Team some time after Tula's death. "I just wanted to have a normal life with Artemis."

When Kid Flash picks the orb containing his outburst in the Hall of Justice, he hugs all 4 orbs before dropping them all and breaking down in tears. He could hear his inner demon repeating the taunts from earlier. Artemis and the kids couldn't do anything except but just stare at the ground with sad faces as orbs around them begin to crumble into dust. As Kid Flash cries, his tears fell on an orb that shows Dick in his Robin costume, talking with Green Lantern Hal Jordan. A curious Kid Flash picks it up and listens carefully. He gestured to the others to come in closer.

"Are there any other Lantern Corps besides the green one?" asked Dick.

"Of course," replied Hal. "There's red for rage; orange for avarice or greed; yellow for fear; indigo for compassion; and pink for love. There's also black for death and white for life. During my time in space, apart from my spaceship crew (Kilowog, Aya, and Razer); I've come across the Red Lanterns; the Blue Lanterns; the pink Star Sapphires; and a selfish, last remaining Orange Lantern. My lover actually became a Star Sapphire."

Dick laughed and joked, "Maybe there should be a cartoon based on your adventures."

Hal laughed in agreement. "Imagine if there were cartoons based on the League and your team."

The two guys laughed together and stopped when Hal commented, "You know. You're seen as the light to Batman's darkness. If you ever get a lantern ring, it would be green or blue because you're such a hopeful person."

"Do the Blue Lanterns have their own oath?" asks Dick.

"All Lantern Corps do," replied Hal. "The blue one goes like this:

'In fearful day

In raging night

With strong hearts full, our souls ignite.

When all seems lost in the war of light,

Look to the stars,

For hope burns bright.'"

A light bulb goes off in Kid Flash's head. "Hope...This whole thing is because Dick has lost all hope."

He turns his attention to Artemis and the redheads. "We have to get back up there."

"Wally, we're not Phineas and Ferb," said Raya. "Even if I had my full powers back, I can't just turn all these memories into some sort of magic school...bus."

Raya suddenly has an idea. She turns on her holographic computer glove and punches a few buttons. "This way!" she tells the others.

"Wait!" yelled Kid Flash who gathered the 4 orbs he had picked during his breakdown. Raymond sucks them up with his elephant bag before everyone quickly follows Raya.

The group of five came across a rusty and battered bus. Once inside, Artemis and Kid Flash discover that the interior is much bigger than the exterior, similar to the TARDIS in Doctor Who. Raymond gives a wind up key to Artemis who unsuccessfully tries to start the bus. Instead, the bus shakes and splutters before the airbags are deployed. Kid Flash punches the airbag and slams his fists on the dashboard in frustration. Everyone gets out to inspect the unusual and rusty engine which blows smoke when the hood is opened. The trio looks at their slowly disappearing fingers and each glance at each other before they nod in agreement.

"We have an idea, but you need to keep an eye on our stuff," said Zane. "Don't want something happening to it."

The trio gives the couple their utility belts, holsters, and elephant bags. They hold their hands in a triangle and their bodies glow with energy that goes to the bus, bringing it to life. Artemis and Kid Flash are overjoyed until they see the increasingly translucent trio. When the couple holds them, Raymond weakly tells Kid Flash, "Wally, we forgive for calling us double agents earlier. We're just glad to have met and befriended you because if we didn't, our lives would've been meaningless. Just promise us that you won't let Dick slip into darkness again, OK?"

When the trio finally disappears, Artemis comforts Kid Flash who tearfully said, "I'll try, you guys. I promise."

The couple grab the trio's stuff and run back to the bus. "Wait. Wait. Hold on. Ahem. Seat belts, everyone!" said a smiling Kid Flash. A confused Artemis raised an eyebrow because her childhood didn't include The Magic School Bus. After Kid Flash explained the reference, Artemis stepped on the accelerator and flew the bus out of the canyon.

Back in the center

"This place feels a haunted version of the mansion in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends," commented Wonder Girl as she and the other 3 escapees run. "All we need now are some Scooby Doo music and that crazy chase scene with the doors."

"What's Scooby Doo?" asked Impulse. The gang runs into the library where they lose the shadow creatures, but run into a dead end. Wonder Girls pulls a book off the shelf that makes the shelf open, sucking the gang into a black void. When they get back on their feet, they see Nightwing handcuffed inside a pod; a purple plant with tentacles is attached to his chest.

"Looks like a Cadmus pod," commented a scowling Superboy as Robin uses his computer glove to hack the pod's control. Wonder Girl slowly lays Nightwing on the ground.

"It's some kind of plant," said Robin who tries to shake Nightwing, but there's no response.

"He's barely breathing," said Superboy.

"Pupils aren't contracting even slightly," said Robin who points a flashlight at Nightwing's eyes. "Must be cut off from all sensation. Dick, where are you?"

Nightwing's imagination

The alarm clock goes off, waking up Dick. After Dick brushed his teeth and washed his face, he walks downstairs and makes breakfast. The female redhead and 3 little red haired kids arrive.

"Dick, I hope you don't eat cereal at the family BBQ" said the woman. She has a slender and a fairly muscular build. Her red auburn hair is wavy with strands hanging over her ears to frame her face.

"Of course not, Kory. It's only a fast and easy way to burn energy for someone who's constantly burning energy," answered Dick.

Nightwing's prison

"It's called the Black Mercy," said Zucco who was standing at the entrance and now looked like a gargoyle. "It's a telepathic species that Hal Jordan told him about. It reads the heart's desire and feeds the individual a totally convincing simulation of it."

"So he's dreaming?" asks Robin.

"Oh, far deeper than that. All I did was use the same method I used to create your evil clones. I wonder where he thinks he is. Being the center of attention under the big top, wishing he had never met you pathetic excuses for teammates."

A triggered Wonder Girl charges forwards and punches him a few times which does little damage. Wonder Girl looks at her hurt knuckles and thought that Zucco is as strong as Black Beetle or Mongul.

"You don't understand. The lightning and darkness has made me more powerful than your own inner demons will ever be," said Zucco as he walks forward. Superboy tries to punch him but Zucco grabs Superboy's fist and throws him so hard at the wall that he creates a hole to the other room. Robin tries to zap him with a charge from his bo staff but Zucco blast dark energy at him. When Zucco stares at Robin with an evil grin, Wonder Girl lifts Zucco over her head from behind and smashes Zucco's head into the floor.

"How nice of you to volunteer"-Zucco takes his head out-"to be the first one to die." Zucco swats Wonder Girl through the hole in the wall that Superboy made earlier. Impulse goes after them and uses his superspeed to repeatedly punch Zucco which felt like punching Tommy Terror. Robin tries to use a laser pen to cut the Black Mercy in half, but it doesn't work. He hears Wonder Girl briefly yell when Zucco tossed her at a shelf with Kids Next Door style weapons. He tosses Superboy and Impulse at her.

"He'll kill her, Dick, and then he'll kill us all. Snap out of it already! Please," begged Robin.

Wonder Girl, Superboy, and Impulse take up arms and aim them at Zucco who condescendingly asked, "Oh, dear. Are those 2x4 technology?"

"Go to hell," said Wonder Girl before they firing their weapons.

"Nothing's working!" complained Robin after he broke his bo staff by using it to unsuccessfully pry the plant off. Robin hears a few blasts. "Cassie, Conner, and Bart are fighting for their lives, Dick. You've got to fight too."

The weapons have little effect on Zucco who breaks it with his bare hands. Zucco punches the 3 people, grabs them by their necks and says, "First, I'll kill you three and the Boy Wonder. Then I'll break free into the real world."

"You won't win," said Impulse who struggled to breath as Zucco strangles them.

"Of course I will," said Zucco before throwing them on the ground and stomping on them.

"Yes. That's it. Fight it, Dick. Fight it," says Robin as the Black Mercy begins to loosen its hold on Nightwing whose eyes begin to twitch.

Nightwing's imagination

At the family BBQ, Dick hears a voice echoing around him but nobody else hears it. "Fight it," the voice says which gives Dick a headache. His kids, who were talking with Dick's parents, notice this and ask him what's wrong.

Raya, Raymond, and Zane. When you three were born, they were the happiest days of my life. When I first saw your beautiful little faces, your tiny fingers squeezed my hand so tight, like you never wanted to let go. I've watched every step, every struggle. But I- don't think you're real. I don't think any of this is real.

"Don't say that, Daddy. Please. You're scaring us," said Zane.

No, no. I don't want to scare you, Zane," said Dick. "You, your siblings, my parents- This is everything I ever wanted in life.

"What's going on here?" asked Mary Grayson.

"Dick, what's wrong?" asked John Grayson.

"Mom. Dad. I'm sorry, but I've got responsibilities. I have to go now," Dick said tearfully. The entire place is dissolving into rainbow bubbles as the group comes together for a big hug.

"Daddy," said the kids in unison.

"Dick," said Dick's parents in unison.

"I promise you, I'll never forget."

Nightwing's prison

"Yes!" exclaimed Robin as the Black Mercy finally lets go of Nightwing.

Suddenly the plant attaches itself to Robin who turns away from Nightwing before falling on his knees; he tries to resist but fails. He hears the echo of Batgirl yelling, "Get back to the house, now! Your dad is next!

Robin's dream

Tim runs upstairs as fast as he can, stripping away the Robin costume. Once he enters the kitchen, Captain Boomerang bursts through the door with a big boomerang in his right hand, but Jack shoots Captain Boomerang's right hand. Jack lunges forwards, grabs Captain Boomerang's right wrist, holds it up high, and begins to repeatedly punch him.

"Yes!" exclaims a smiling Tim as Batman puts both hands on Tim's shoulders. Jack alternates between punching him in the face and stomach.

The prison

Dick snaps out of the trance when he hears heavy pounding. Upon seeing that the Black Mercy was attached to Robin, Dick becomes so enraged that he doesn't pry it off of Robin's chest. Instead, he quickly hacks the prison security system to release the remaining prisoners and quickly flew towards the source of the heavy pounding.

Superboy and Impulse are down, and Wonder Girl slowly gets up. Zucco was about to finish her off when a black blur slams Zucco. Wonder Girl was dumbstruck by what she's seeing.

"Get the Black Mercy off of Robin! That's an order!" Nightwing yelled as he repeatedly punches Zucco.

"Got it, boss!" she said before Nightwing slams his fists on Zucco so hard that Zucco falls through the floor. Wonder Girl groans as she quickly walks because the beating from Zucco has made her too weak to even levitate a few inches off the ground.

"Do you have any idea what you did to me?" Nightwing asked in a soft and deadly tone. Nightwing punches Zucco a few more times before Zucco kicks Nightwing in the stomach with his feet.

"I used your friends' powers to create a prison that you couldn't leave without sacrificing your heart's desire. Must've have been like tearing off your own arm," said Zucco before grabbing Nightwing's head.

When Wonder Girl arrives, Robin was on his knees facing away from her so she tries to call out his first name.

"Happy early birthday, circus brat. I give you oblivion," said Zucco as he strangles Nightwing.

"Burn," replied Nightwing as he fires electricity from his eskrima sticks.

Wonder Girl hears Zucco's scream echoing before getting up and walking over Robin. She tries to pull the plant off of Robin's chest with what little strength she had left which was difficult even for her.

"Tim!" she cries out.

Robin's dream

"Get him, Dad, get him!" cheered Tim as he and Batman watch Jack punch Captain Boomerang 5 more times before Tim hears the echo of Wonder Girl desperately yelling out his name as loud as she can.


Jack punches Captain Boomerang 4 more times before Boomerang gains the upper hand by kicking Jack in his crotch.

The prison

The secret couple fall backwards away from each other once the plant finally comes off of Robin's chest. Robin watches as Wonder Girl struggles to keep the plant from attaching itself onto her.

"You should have stayed in whatever happy fantasy the Black Mercy granted you," said Zucco before he charges at Nightwing who trips him. Nightwing quickly grabs Zucco by his ankles and tosses him at the wall before repeatedly punching him in the face.

"Happy?! Do you know what I've lost?! What I had to put up with?!"

Zucco punches Nightwing in the stomach and was about to blast him with dark energy.

"Excuse me," said Wonder Girl who was with Robin, Impulse, and Superboy. "But I think this is yours." She throws the Black Mercy at Zucco but he destroys it with his dark energy before it could attach itself to him.

Soon the other prisoners have arrived, ready to fight until a yellow and black minibus smashes into Zucco.

Read and learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube with the beginners method. If you're patient then it can be learned in an hour.