Prompt seven: Trust
Okay, that other idea didn't work out so well. I have a detailed outline though, so I might finish and post it here someday. In the meantime, this is the last (official) chapter. Thank you to everyone who's reviewed, faved or alerted!
Also, here is where we see the meaning of the title. Woot!
The final type of gate is the AND gate, also known as an equivalence gate. It only returns true if both the inputs are also true. If one or both is false, then it also returns false.
Kaldur looked up as the computer announced "Recognized. Speedy. B06."
There was growling response. "It's Red. Arrow." He had attempted to update it three times now, but either a bug or someone else –Kaldur suspected Robin—kept changing it back.
The computer was unresponsive, and Roy just walked away from the Zeta beam. When he reached Kaldur, he crossed his arms.
"We need to talk."
Artemis leaned against the door and let the sounds from inside wash over her. Kaldur and Speedy were chatting behind closed doors, and while the team leader was dependable and trustworthy, Roy was…
He just was.
Wally turned the corner and saw her standing against the door. She nodded at him, then waited for him to pass. After Bialya, they had reached a more comfortable level of conversation, but that didn't mean they were best friends.
Thus, Artemis tried not to react when, rather than passing by, Wally took a spot on the wall next to her.
His shifting was a strong contrast to her own stillness, and it grated on her.
"Well?" she asked.
"Well, what?" he didn't meet her eyes. Artemis glared at him. Well, you have something to say, just spit it out already.
"Can I help you?"
She was so distracted by his flustered and completely incoherent answer that she didn't even notice the voices in the room had ceased until the door she was leaning on opened and she fell backwards.
"You." Red Arrow's voice was accusatory. Artemis couldn't help but be glib. She held up her hands in mock surrender.
"You're not Green Arrow's niece. I was willing to let it slide before, but you're lying, there's a mole, and you were listening in."
By this point the rest of the team had also shown up. Given that one was a telepath, one had superhearing and the last was trained by the Batman, Kaldur had since given up on trying to keep this quiet. Now, he'd settle for keeping it non-violent.
The way Artemis was clutching her bow, he wasn't too confident about that, either. But nothing was set in stone. He watched the rest of the team, looking for guilty expressions or hidden satisfaction at not being found. He saw the same things he had when he had explained the events of Taipai.
M'gann looked worried but guileless. Superboy looked mildly suspicious. Wally looked contemplative, which was odd, given the circumstances. Robin was unreadable.
Artemis and Roy just looked angry.
"You said Sportsmaster knew about Santa Prisca. Artemis wasn't part of the team during that mission," Wally said.
"Yes, but Sportsmaster was there," Robin pointed out. "He wouldn't have needed a mole, then."
"For team dynamics and how we did poorly? He would. All he saw of us was when we were kicking their butts."
Now Artemis' angry expression was gone, replaced with something like shock. Kaldur nodded.
"We'll keep the possibilities open, but that's a good point. And," Kaldur spared a stern look for Roy. "We still don't know if there is a mole. Sportsmaster may have been trying to cause dissent within the team. If there is a mole, it might not be a person."
Now Artemis looked angry again. Her knuckles were white as she clutched her bow.
"Causing dissent is a good possibility. Sportsmaster… is good at manipulating people." Artemis sighed before adding, "I should know."
Everyone on the team suddenly went still.
"Explain," Kaldur said.
"He," she nodded at Roy, "wasn't lying. Green Arrow's not my uncle. Sportsmaster is my father, and Green Arrow lied about it for me, for obvious reasons."
Robin's mask-slits went wide.
"That's why your file on the Bat-computer is classified!" As the team plus Roy all looked at him, he shrugged. "What? Batman keeps his files pretty secure."
After a moment, Roy shook his head.
"This doesn't solve your problem. You don't know how he got the information."
"We don't. But for now, all we can do is wait. This meeting is done."
As he indicated that the rest the team should disperse, Artemis said "Wait. What about me?"
"I understand why you wouldn't wish us to know, but you've proven yourself as a member of the team." Kaldur smiled and put a hand on her shoulder as the others nodded. "Thank you for your honesty with us now."
As the team actually started to leave, Artemis pulled Wally to the side. She crossed her arms.
"You were the first person to defend me. Why?"
The speedster looked uncomfortable at being confronted.
"It just made sense. Logically. Santa Prisca and all." He shrugged and tried to walk around her. She moved into his path again.
"You don't even like me. And the Santa Prisca thing is pretty thin."
"Look, I just… I know I can trust you. As a member of the team, I mean," he said quickly.
"Why?" This was the thread she couldn't put her finger on. Wally shrugged again as he finally dodged around her.
"I just do. Are you going to try to convince me I'm wrong?"
She smiled as he walked away. By the time she answered, he was already gone.
"They suspect there's a mole. Aqualad was trying to investigate it quietly, but Red Arrow let it slip."
Cheshire smiled at the information.
"I'm sure you were the first suspect. How did they react to your real identity?"
"Who says they know? Sure, I was the first suspect, but they don't have any proof."
"Oh, they know. Don't try to lie to me." Cheshire's smile got wider. "Anyway, I have the information I need. See you next week."
Artemis' eyes narrowed. "What do you know?"
"Really, didn't Daddy teach you anything?" Cheshire's voice was equal parts pity and mockery. "Even if he kept the best tricks to himself, he must have at least given you the basics. You can't trust spies. If you could, they wouldn't be double agents."
Artemis' eyes widened.
That's why you should always have a second source.
"Who?" she demanded. But Cheshire was gone.
The cold night air was chilly as he stood in the shadow of the building, waiting for his contact. Tonight was especially miserable; it had rained earlier, and everything was covered in a slick coating of mud.
As they did before every meeting, Wally's fingers moved to the back of his neck. Near his spine, he could feel a small bump; it was an unwelcome souvenir from their adventure to Cadmus.
"I can kill you with a word. I can kill the others, too, but they don't need to know that yet. Simply do everything I say, and you'll be alright."
He didn't even know if it was a nanochip or something else completely. It was too much to hope for that it could simply be removed.
"It'll be alright," he whispered. It had to be true, or all this was for nothing.
The click of footsteps behind him alerted him to the arrival of his contact. Per his instructions, Wally didn't turn around and just waited for the familiar command.
Wally closed his eyes.
"We didn't have any missions this week, but Ka—Aqualad suspects there's a mole…"
Okay, be honest, who saw that coming? Also, as the last chapter, this is your last chance to review! Tell me what you think!