Disclaimer: If I did own Young Justice, it would not be on hiatus right now, I can tell you that much.

Note: This is an AU where Artemis is a member of the League of Shadows, but not as Tigress. Takes place shortly after episode 6 "Infiltrator" and assumes that Roy and Jade have met before their confrontation in episode 10 "Targets."


Prologue: The Deal

Cool night wind whipped through the assassin's hair, penetrating the holes her mask and crawling up along her neck. She sprinted across the roof of a high-rise apartment building, keeping her body low to the ground to avoid being seen by any civilians, though not many were out this late at night. According to the slip of paper she had found folded around an arrow the previous night, the rendezvous spot was just around the corner. She reached the edge of the roof and skidded to a stop. Gravel skittered off the edge where it clattered rhythmically down the fire escape and disappeared into the black night.

"You're late," said a low, clipped voice.

She straightened, not bothering to turn around. "Maybe you're just early. Then again, you always were an overachiever, weren't you, Roy?"

Red Arrow stepped out from the shadows of the roof's entrance, arms crossed and a scowl firmly etched on his rugged features. He'd be a lot more handsome if he smiled once in a while, she thought.

"You're the one who called me out here," he said. "You could at least show up on time."

"Aww," she purred. "Anxious to see me again?"

"Enough with the games, Cheshire. What do you want?"

"Just making small talk. I come in peace, I swear," she raised her arms in mock surrender. "But since you want to cut to the chase, let's get right to it." She lifted herself up onto a large pipe feeding into the building and perched there with her knees crossed. "I want to make a deal with the Justice League."

A fierce gust of wind punctuated her words, rattling empty cans littered on the ground and sending the hem of her dark green tunic flapping furiously. In seconds he was at her throat holding a collapsible crossbow under her chin.

"What are you playing at? What could you possibly want with the League? Better yet, what makes you think they'd trust you?" The corners of his mouth were pulled back in a fierce snarl.

Cheshire glanced with no real emotion at the arrow tip resting on her collarbone and sighed. "Always so quick to attack, aren't you? I know what you're thinking, but it's not a set-up. I'm not on a mission for anyone. The Shadows don't even know I'm here. This is my own personal request."

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't just end you here."

"Oh, I can think of one." She looked down pointedly. Roy followed her gaze to find one of her kunai knives, sharp, glistening, and pointed directly at his heart. He hadn't even seen her draw it. There was no choice but to withdraw his crossbow. "There, now, that wasn't so hard. Besides, we both know if I wanted to kill you I would've done it already."

He scoffed. "Unlikely."

"Agree to disagree." She slid her knife back into its pouch and hopped down.

Roy moved back several paces to keep a safe distance between them. He knew it was dangerous to stand too close to her without a weapon. The girl was unpredictable, to say the least. "Fine, tell me about your deal. I'll be the one to decide whether or not the League needs to hear it."

Her tone of voice held none of its usual mirth. "Fair enough. But I assure you, it's an offer they won't be able to resist." A thin manilla folder was conjured from nowhere. She tossed it to the ground in respect of his caution. "The details are in there."

Curiosity got the better of him. Roy picked up the folder, keeping his eyes fixed on the assassin's movements the whole time, and scanned the first page. His eyebrows mounted higher with the surprise the more he read. "This is..." He smirked. "Huh. Just when I think I've got you figured out."

Cheshire shook her head. "I'm one puzzle you don't want to solve." She crouched by the nearby fire escape, poised like the cat she had named herself for. "You still know how to reach me, I take it? Because I'll be needing an answer right away. Tell them it's a limited time offer."

He snapped the file shut. "What proof do you have that it's not a trap?"

"Oh, it's a trap all right. But not for you, and not for the League."

The archer regarded the assassin standing before him. Her faceless mask was half illuminated in the slivers of moon light. He could only imagine what kind of expression she was making under there. "I still don't trust you," he said firmly.

"Smart man," she replied before melting into the darkness. Roy would later chalk it up to the night air playing tricks on him, but he could have sworn he heard a touch of sadness in her parting words.

A/N: My first fic! This is a really exciting achievement for me. And because Young Justice is currently destroying my heart from the inside out with the hiatus, this is currently filling the void. Please tell me your thoughts! Any insight is good insight for a first-time fic writer. I feel like this was a bit short, but then again it's just the prologue. Things will really start happening in chapter one, so stick around :)