Disclaimer: I don't own Young Justice. I just mess around with the characters.
They ducked their heads, swiftly moving through the humid marsh. Aqualad was at the head of their line, pausing every so often to look around, checking the perimeter. Robin stalked beside him, reaching up to wipe the sweat off his forehead every few minutes and pushing his damp hair to the side. Zatanna was behind him, swatting at the flies around them, followed by Kid Flash and Artemis.
The two lagged behind the rest, each following their teammates in a listless manner, eyes unfocused and faces bearing identical looks of apathy. Artemis reflexively slapped the back of her neck, killing a mosquito that has just landed on her skin.
Zatanna frequently found herself glanced back at the pair worriedly. Ever since the incident, Miss Martian revealing her white Martian heritage and kidnapping a wounded Superboy, the two had been alarmingly quiet. She didn't really know what to expect from Artemis since she always kept to herself, but Wally's silence was unnerving. It didn't take long for Zatanna to become friends with the energetic speedster, so she had anticipated a much more … verbal response. Instead, he was the opposite – causing her to reevaluate her previous stance on the young hero. Obviously he wasn't the static, always eager character she thought he was.
She sighed heavily, turning back to look at them for what felt like the hundredth time. If there was any time she felt out of the loop, like a noob of the team, it was now. Determined to get answers, Zatanna sped up so that she was walking at the same pace as Robin and Aqualad.
They immediately noticed her presence, Aqualad glancing at her from the corner of his eye while continuing to move forward. Robin peeked from the side and smiled, which she briefly returned before setting her sights on the team leader.
In a low voice, since they were on a mission, she murmured, "Is this normal? The whole zombie like behavior?" She signaled to the two in the back.
Kaldur looked at them for a moment, contemplating. "I am not sure. I have only known them since the team was formed. They are obviously hurt by Miss Martian's betrayal."
Robin suddenly appeared by Zatanna's side, startling the novice magician. "Yeah since none of us thought she was the mole. She was always so nice," he commented, his voice trailing at the last part. She was tempted to ask about this 'mole' situation, but decided to return focus to the matter at hand.
They had arrived at their destination: a lab hidden among the flora and fauna, suspected of being used by the League of Shadows. The three turned around to quick repeat each other's objectives before separating.
The moment Zatanna turned around, though, Kid Flash walked right into her, heads smacking hard against one another. She hissed at the pain, rubbing her throbbing forehead.
A second later and another thunk was heard as Artemis shambled into a crouched Kid Flash, still nursing his head wound. The two flew to the ground in a heap, the blonde's body completely covering the red heads. Robin glanced back with a frown, followed by Kaldur's reprimanding stare.
"Guys," Robin hissed, "if you haven't noticed we're kind of on a mission here." He looked around to see if they had drawn any attention.
Artemis answered with a groan, propping herself up using her elbows. Wally waited for her to get up, clutching his forehead and glaring at the girl on top of him.
"Well I wasn't the one who didn't watch where they were going," he retorted, finally managing to get up but still grasping his forehead in pain. Artemis seethed with anger, her finger jabbing at her teammate's chest.
She answered through clenched teeth, "I wouldn't be talking if I were you, especially since you just bumped into Zatanna!"
The two were head to head now, squared off and completely oblivious to their teams' whispered pleas to be quiet. Zatanna wanted to slap herself on the forehead; if they weren't on a mission right now she'd be talking about how perfected suited they were for each other. Stubborn, overdramatic, independent... the list could go on forever.
Kaldur decided after a few minutes of their non-stop bickering to put an end to it, standing up and placing himself between them. "Stop this. Now," he commanded, his tone edged with authority. They immediately shut up, eyes wide at the sudden interruption. Kaldur gave them each a hard look, his eyes showing his blatant disapproval.
"I understand there have been unease ever since Miss Martian and Superboy's disappearance."
The teen heroes simultaneously tensed up, all looking in different directions, as if trying to avoid thinking about it. Artemis griped one of her arms like a clutch, staring at the ground with great intensity. Kid Flash seemed to tone out, his green eyes looking straight ahead, lost in memory.
"However," Kaldur continued, "we must overcome this and work together as a team. We must focus on the mission at hand. This is not the first difficulty we've encountered," his eyes passed over Artemis as he went on, "nor will it be the last." He made a point to create eye contact with every team member, whom answered with a nod.
The rest of the mission passed in silence. The teens entered the facility, obtained the necessary data and equipment, and exited in complete stealth. Since Miss Martian was AWOL, the team no longer had the bioship at their disposal. Instead they had to rely on the transportation the League prepared. Their pickup was to arrive in ten minutes, so they remained close to the area while staying covert.
Despite their previous argument Kid Flash and Artemis stood close to one another, including throughout the mission. Zatanna never saw or heard them communicate to one other; it was like an unspoken bond that neither of them knew about.
Robin stood next to her – Aqualad was hidden elsewhere – and caught her watching. He joined her, studying them. The itch to rip off his mask and see what was going through his mind suddenly seized her and she felt her hand twitch in anticipation. Zatanna realized what she almost did and felt herself flush in mortification, but thankfully he hadn't noticed.
"They're here," Aqualad called out and they all moved out to the approaching helicopter. Aqualad and Robin boarded first since they carried the data and equipment. The remaining three began to board when Wally yelled, "Artemis!"
The team turned back to see their archer being dragged off by masked men, her bow and arrow throw onto the ground. She appeared to be unconscious, her head flopped to the side.
The copter had already begun to move as more masked men appeared, ready to give chase. Before anyone could object Kid Flash was off the boat and on the ground, racing after Artemis' captors.
A/N: Thank you for all the reviews on the last chapter! Several more await, but I can already see the end of this fic. Today I was seized with the feeling that I have to end this - to give it a conclusion. But don't worry, we will soon be returning to Artemis and Wally romance! Once again, please continue to leave reviews x)