so the world will never find you

one: work, play

He rolls away, then falls asleep. He wakes once. He sleeps again.

Jade counts his breaths.

Jade does not count the needle marks.

Cheshire dodges backwards with a handspring. Impractical, but fun.

Red Arrow's gaze darts to her thighs. She smiles under the mask, hidden away where he (where she) cannot see. When he looks at her like that, Cheshire and Jade are not two halves of a self.

But the look changes. His lips crook down, grim and dour and angry. She loves his anger.

"Roy," she says. That gets his attention, so she turns to throw a small knife. She buries it two inches deep into solid brick. The LED in the grip blinks green. "Call me."

He turns to look, then stares at her.

She laughs and melts backward into the black.

Sometimes Roy turns up at her father's latest safehouse with an empty quiver and a mouth full of messages that mean nothing to her. If her father thinks he's cracked — or delirious — or needs to keep his hands away from Jade — he never lets on.

Sometimes he turns up and stays. Sometimes he leaves.

He never calls.

Once, he stays the night. He rises before dawn the following morning (which is abominably early if you're in either League, considering he fell asleep just as the sky was brightening from black to charcoal gray) and gets back into costume. That entails him hopping around on one foot as he tries to stay standing and cram himself into something skin tight.

Even dry, smooth, perpetually angry Roy has to pull his superhero leggings on one leg at a time. She smiles.

He heaves up the storm shutter and slides the window open. He does not bother with a goodbye.

So Cheshire warns him.

"Playing both sides is more dangerous than just playing one."

"Is that what you think I'm doing?"

And then Red Arrow is up, out the window, and gone.

Jade says: "Playing both sides is more dangerous than just playing one."

It is as close as she can get to saying she loves him.

Roy says: "Is that what you think I'm doing?"

Then he leaves.

The next time they meet, he fires two netted arrows and a foam arrow. When those tricks work about as poorly as a smart hero would expect, he just fires a smoke arrow at her head.

The mask filters out the smoke, but it's still a mean trick.

"Really, Red? I thought I meant something to you." She keeps her voice light and teasing.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he says.

Then he fires a normal arrow at her mask's mouth.