Aim and Accuracy
Disclaimer: I unfortunately don't own Young Justice.
A/N: This is the end of Aim and Accuracy. The sequel is up under the title of 'Hit or Miss'. Thanks for those that stuck around for this and for reviewing.
"Now, if they really wanted you to get better, don't you think they'd have sent a doctor to be poking you right now instead of me?" Artemis retorted lightly, a small smirk tugging at the corner of her lips.
Red Arrow sighed in exasperation, his eyes behind the domino mask searching her face for a moment before they began to wander around the med bay. He tried sitting up then, and collapsed weak as a kitten back against the starched white pillow. "So we've both been allowed up to Mount Olympus," he muttered. "Clearly I have a legit excuse, what's yours?"
Artemis rolled her eyes. She crossed her arms and responded, "Yes, because clearly you're so Godlike right now in your surly mortality." He just stared blankly at her until she felt the urge to fidget boil over. She relented with a groan, pulling up a chair beside his bed and fishing through her bag for her League issued laptop. "Ugh, fine Goosey. Batman ordered me to do your debriefing. Let's just get this over with."
"Do you even know how to do a debriefing?"
Artemis fired up the machine and glanced up at him, the wattage of her smile glaringly bright, "It involves rubbing alcohol, raw wounds, and your screaming apologies right?"
He snorted. "That would be the method of interrogation your family prefers."
Trying to quell the frantic William Tell her heart was pounding out, Artemis took three deep breaths and counted to ten before she did anything rash, like clock Goose over the head with Batman's computer. "Look, if you have something to say, just say it. Because I'm getting pretty fed up with your cryptic case of BS."
"You want a debriefing and for me to cut the crap, well I'll give you both. But I'm warning you right now, a flick of my thumb and the League will come swarming in here, so don't think silencing me is going to do you any favors."
"Darn, and I'd so been looking forward to your silencing."
He ignored her and began, "After Taipei, I briefly lost track of Cheshire. Then I remembered her question about you so I did some digging into your past. I called in a favor from Doctor Roquette and discovered who your mother was." Seething and frightened all at once, Artemis buried her face in the laptop as she typed, avoiding his eyes. "It wasn't hard after that to put the pieces of the puzzle together. But there's one thing I don't get."
Artemis glared, refusing to be baited.
"Why does Green Arrow trust you? For that matter, why does Batman? What have you done to make them so completely forget that you're the daughter of two supervillains and the sister of another?"
Completely still, anger and shame lodged within her heart and throat, Artemis coldly whispered, "That's not your business. How'd you find Cheshire?"
He stared at her impassively for a moment and then opened his mouth, "I…" he trailed off, his face suddenly going slack. Artemis quickly put the laptop aside and stood, worried now that he was experiencing some sort of seizure. She made to call for help but as soon as she stood, he swung out of the bed, tubes and wires stretching, and lunged at her. Too stunned to react, Artemis began to scream only to have him wrap his hands around her throat as he straddled her, his weight pinning her arms to the floor.
Purple spots began to dance before her and she felt her body begin to panic from lack of oxygen. As her head swam, images appeared- Dick's boyish grin, M'gann's fresh-baked cookies, a flash of Barbara's fiery red hair, and the warmth in her mother's eyes as she returned home each night. Slowly, the images grew fuzzy and then faded away entirely and she was left with Roy's expressionless face above, strangling the life out of her.
From far away, she heard him say, "You're not supposed to be here…" and then all she knew was darkness.
When Artemis awoke, she found herself crammed into the medical bay's supply closet, her hands unbound but medical tape covering her mouth.
So Goose had gone bananas but still retained enough of his sanity to make jokes… She ripped it off quickly and stifled the screech of pain that begged to follow. She found her laptop where she'd left it on the ground but Roy was gone, his wires and tubes unconnected and the heart monitor still flat-lining ominously.
Expanding her compact bow and positioning an arrow at the ready, Artemis carefully slunk out of the medbay. The hallways were completely disserted and the normal lights that guided you along the floor were out. In the dark, the only light came from the holo windows and the real ones, Artemis not being expert enough to tell the difference but grateful that the power still seemed to be working.
As she approached the main hangar, a pervasive silence alerted Artemis to the eerie scene before she came upon it- the entire Justice League, standing at attention as Goose, now suited up, Cheshire, completely unfettered, and Batman went to the Zeta tube.
"Override. Batman, zero-two," Bruce commanded, his fingers flying over the coordinate pad.
'Recognized,' the computer chirped back as the familiar zeta process initiated. A dark, hulking figure dressed in an immaculate black and red suit emerged from the tube and the computer identified the stranger. 'Vandal Savage, A-zero-four.'
Immediately, all the members of the Justice League and Jade bowed down as one to the newcomer, except for Roy, who grasped his head as though a migraine had just set in. Now seemingly aware of his surroundings for the first time, he staggered backward. "I..I was the mole?" he gasped in shock.
The Vandal Savage character smirked, and stepping down from the tube like a King on his way to inspect his troops, murmured, "Yes, yes you were," and then ignored Roy and the still bowed League to go and gaze serenely out the large windows at the Earth, as though he didn't have a care in or outside the world.
Roy reeled for a moment, staggering under the weight of this revelation before the opportunity hit him and he hightailed it into the zeta tube, disappearing. Jade made no move to stop him but asked the cave guy if he wanted her to follow him. Savage turned serenely to the awaiting League and declined her, instead ordering Green Arrow, Flash, and Aquaman to chase him down.
Creepy Klarion the witch-boy next appeared, and by this time, Artemis had decided that lying low would serve in her best interests until she found an alternative route off the Watchtower. She made her way as stealthily as she could down the levels, having to double back several dozen times over the next few hours until she finally found the hangar bay. She saw Elastic Man moving some crates but as he was one of the Leaguers she'd witnessed making homage to Savage, she stayed in the shadows, trying to find any ships or hidden zeta transporters accidentally lying about.
Artemis just about had a heart attack when Kid Flash came out of nowhere and implanted something into Elastic Man's neck, rendering the extra stretchy pile of spandex comatose.
"Kid Flash!" Artemis hissed as loudly as she dared. He whirled around, his expression mirroring her own astonishment.
He supersped over and tackled her with a fierce hug. "Artemis! Wedidn'tknowwhathadhappenedtoyou! … RedArrowcouldn'trememberwhereyouwere!"
"Wally!" Artemis hugged him back and couldn't help but grin at his superspeed speaking. She pulled away and turned to see M'gann, Conner, Wolf, Aqualad, Zatanna, and Robin running over to join them.
Her eyes finding Dick's beneath the domino mask and casually flicking over his torso where she estimated his wounds to be seeping blood under the bandages about now, she put a hand on her hip and asked, "Would someone like to catch me up to speed here, Wally not withstanding, so I can understand why the League is now working for some Neanderthal and witch-boy?"
Aqualad stepped up, "Red Arrow is a clone of the real Roy Harper. He was programmed to infiltrate and infect the League with the nano-tech engineering we have seen over the past several months. We have managed to deactivate Black Canary, and she, Red Arrow, and Red Tornado are going to try to create a diversion for us on the main level while we use Red Tornado's reverse engineered Starro-tech cure and vaccine to pick off the League one by one and retake the Watchtower."
Artemis flicked out her compact bow. "Sounds like a party to me."
The team split up- Zatanna and M'ann clearing the levels between the hangar and the main deck while Wally and Kaldur handled the ever-increasing amount of Leaguers flooding into the hangar. Artemis went with Robin, Conner, and Wolf to the primary deck.
Before they'd even made it past the medbay, they were accosted by Hawkgirl, her Thanagarian mace swinging by so dangerously close to Artemis's face that should could feel the hair on her cheek tingling.
With their telepathic linkup, Artemis heard Conner shout, Down! And ducked right as Wolf tackled the angel-woman to the ground. Artemis swiftly planted one of the vaccine patches on her neck and jumped up in time to see Wonder Woman herself now barreling down on them.
Artemis and Robin lobbed several explosive tipped arrows and batarangs at the Amazon but she easily deflected them all. Conner jumped over them to meet her and attempted to get behind her long enough to put her in some kind of hold, but it was no use, she was too strong for him.
Conner, help Robin! Artemis ordered, notching a new arrow and letting it fly at her heroine. As she hoped she would, Wonder Woman caught it before it reached her face and the gas grenade on the end of the arrow exploded. As the Amazon began to cough and wave the vapors away, Conner threw the acrobatic Robin at her and he rolled under her and then popped up to plant the patch before she knew where he'd gone.
There was no time to celebrate however because before Wonder Woman had even hit the ground, Batman was looming over Artemis and Conner and Superman had appeared behind Robin.
Momentarily frozen, Artemis could only watch as Conner propelled himself at the Man of Steel with a fierce cry, Wolf gamely following. Robin likewise launched himself at their mentor, throwing several smoke pellets to create a cover.
As the two engaged in a martial display that was well beyond her own capabilities, Artemis aimed her bow and began firing sludge bombs under Batman's feet in an effort to slow him down. It worked for a time, but eventually Batman used her own arrows to mire down Robin and hooked him so hard, he fell through the hole down to where she could glimpse Conner lying, limp and beaten.
Batman turned to her then and Artemis was left to fire her arrows, what she had left, regardless of type, at him, as fast as she possibly could in order to keep him at a distance. Within half a minute, he had broken through her line and gave her such a powerful right hook that she thought her jaw must have surely shattered. She fell to the ground, reeling, only to see Robin fly into Batman like a red and black cannon, punching the Caped Crusader into the wall. As he fell, Robin twisted and planted the vaccine into Batman's neck.
She shuddered at the sickening thud Bruce made upon his impact with the ground as Dick spring-boarded off him to land gracefully on his feet. Conner had finally gotten Superman into a chokehold, but it was extremely tenuous. Robin grabbed a tiny black box from Bruce's utility belt and looked at the straining Superduo.
You sure about this?
"JUST DO IT!" Conner screamed.
Robin flipped open the box, revealing an emerald glow that could only mean Kryptonite. As the Superduo passed out of consciousness, Artemis scrambled up and quickly planted the vaccine patch on Superman. Robin helped up a rather shaky Conner and the three of them sprinted as best they could to the command deck to find Savage, Cheshire, and witch-boy beating a hasty retreat and the rest of the team catching up behind them.
Red Tornado, his arms and legs shredded from his torso, craned his neck and robotically intoned, "Congratulations team, you have won the day."
Hip hip hurray… Artemis thought grimly as she surveyed the scene of chaos and destruction, heroes lying hurt, confused, and unconscious all around them.
At that moment, the computer flared to life and announced, 'Happy New Year, Justice League.'
Shrugging at the glitch (because Thanksgiving was actually nearer at hand), Artemis turned with a smirk to Dick, prepared to bring on a sequel of their Halloween liplock, only to find Wally next to her instead. He smiled shyly, and before she had time to protest, had lifted her into his arms and kissed her. It was a nice pressure, and while her lips were slightly parted out of surprise, he didn't try to make it into anything more before pulling away.
"Happy New Year," he whispered with a small smile.
"Happy Year," Artemis replied breathlessly.
He set her back down but his eyes didn't leave hers. Nor did his arm that was wrapped securely and rather warmly around her bare waist. Unnerved, Artemis sought out the rest of her team to find them engaged in similar activities. For M'gann and Conner, this was hardly surprising, but for Robin and Zatanna, Artemis nearly howled.
Robin mercifully broke off the kiss first, holding her at arms length but he was grinning a stupid boy grin. Artemis couldn't hear what was said, but she knew that if the opportunity arose in that moment that Zatara was allowed to switch the Helmet of Fate with his daughter, Artemis would not have felt the least bit of remorse.
But the jealousy quickly cooled as soon as Robin's eyes locked on her and Wally behind his domino mask and they narrowed before he released Zatanna entirely and staggered before falling.
Forgetting about everything else in that instant, Artemis ran to his side and grabbed his gloved hand, clutching it tight. "I was going to ask how you pulled all of this off with your wounds, wonderboy."
Grimacing, with his breathing coming in shallow bursts, Dick muttered, "I may or may not have convinced our new Batgirl to give me a shot of adrenaline and sneak me out before you know who realized I was gone."
"He's going to be very cross with you," Artemis said before she turned to Conner. "Help me take him to the medbay, I think I can find it."
Aqualad put a hand on Artemis's shoulder as she prepared to follow the two, "Make sure he is stable before you come back. The rest of us will manage with helping the League."
She nodded. "I will."
With Conner gone, Artemis felt no shame in stripping Dick down to his pants. He or Barbara, or the both of them, had wrapped his wounds excessively tight and had obviously doubled the wrapping, but fresh blood was already pulsing under the layers of linen and Dick's face was whitening to an alarming pallor even as she watched him.
"Taking that shot was a very stupid thing to do," Artemis said matter-of-factly as she methodically unwrapped his soiled bandages and hunted around the closet she'd woken up in to find some suitable replacements. "And I didn't think you were stupid. And just how is it that you're always getting nursed around?" She applied some topical dressing and went to re-wrapping. "Stop getting hurt all the time, it's really no fun for the rest of us."
"But you're getting really good at the nurse thing…" Robin weakly pointed out. When Artemis scowled at him, he closed his eyes and sighed. "Plus, there was no way I was going to sit this out when Wally told me what Red Arrow had said."
"Well, I guess kudos for heroing up to save the world and all, but if you had died it wouldn't really have…"
"No," he whispered, taking off his mask and opening his eyes- his extremely blue Dick Grayson eyes- and catching her off guard. "It was the part where he'd said you were still on board the Watchtower with Savage and a mind controlled League, and he wasn't sure what he'd done to you or where you were or if you were even still alive, that had me raiding Alfred's medical cabinet and forcing Barbara to shoot me up with adrenaline."
"She has good aim. You could have died."
Dick cocked his head to the side on the pillow, regarding her thoughtfully through half-closed lids. "Is it the aim or the accuracy that counts in the end?"
"I think it all depends on if your target was worth hitting."
"I think Tommy and Trinity targeted us for a reason, Artemis." The way his voice faded away on her name, combined with the way his blue eyes seemed to be drilling into her own, Artemis felt her stomach flutter, in a very revoltingly girly way- and, it occurred to her, in a way that Wally's kiss had not.
Feeling a shakiness that had nothing to do with her exhaustion or sores, she breathed, "You're on a roll, Mr. Grayson, don't let me or Bruce's untimely arrival stop you now."
He grinned. "Zatanna grabbed me before I could wish you a Happy mission success."
Artemis looked around them conspiratorially, "You could always wish me well for auld lang syne… I mean, that never gets old, right? Plus, I'm very curious why you keep bringing up Tommy and…"
Dick placed both his hands on either side of her face over her ears and dragged her mouth down to his. It was an odd angle and the medbay was somewhat cold and definitely sterile, but as soon as their lips met, nothing else really mattered. Artemis supposed that's what hitting the right target was supposed to mean.