AU, where either no one yet knows that Red Arrow is Speedy's clone, or that Speedy was never in fact cloned and he and Red Arrow are one and the same drop-dead-sexy redhead. Pre-time skip after Season 1, but they're all older; Wally and Artemis are about 21, Roy is about 24, Jade is somewhere between 25 and 26. Some light smut - be kind, I've never tried writing any before.

In his tiny one-bedroom apartment in Star City, Roy Harper sat glaring at his cell phone. The thin, sleek black rectangle sat, mocking him, on the badly scuffed coffee table. He had called her twice and texted four times in the last few hours, a rush of communication unprecedented in their normally blase relationship.

Roy's scowl deepened. He didn't even know if he could call it a relationship, because in real relationships, people don't go for weeks without hearing from each other.

With a sigh so gruff it sounded more like a growl, Roy stood from his tense position on the couch and began trudging towards the bathroom, unzipping the red spandex of his costume as he went. He'd forgotten how long he'd sat in it after getting back that night - morning - from patrols. He was just climbing out of the shower when the muted sound of electronic vibrations against a hardwood surface sliced through the silence of his dark apartment, and he launched himself through the open door of the bedroom to the coffee table.

Incoming call: Wally

Roughened fingers massaging his temples, Roy answered the phone.

"Wally, you do realize that it's four in the morning?"

"Yeah, but out here it's only one, and Artemis reminded me of your obsessive nightly patrols of Star." Chewing sounds puncuated every other syllable.

Roy rolled his eyes at the coffee table and headed back to the bedroom, deftly maneuvering his way around the few pieces of furniture and walls in the dark. "There are those of us left who wear the mask out of a sense of civic duty."

Good-humored laughter came from the other end. "Okay, Roy, your one-per-conversation jab at my lifestyle choices is officially used up." More chewing. It sounded like popcorn.

He rifled through the drawers of his dresser, pulling out sweatpants and a ragged T shirt. "Listen, I'm kind of waiting for somebody to call me, Kid, so if you didn't really have a reason to talk, I'm going to hang up now."

"Really? Who're you waiting for?" Roy could practically see Wally straighten up and push his snacks aside. "Is it that girlfriend of yours?" In the background, Roy heard a husky female voice say something unintelligible. "Artemis wants to know when you'll bring her with you to visit."

"She's not my girlfriend," Roy grumbled before he could stop himself.

"Then why are you waiting for her to call you at four A.M.?"

Roy sighed, running a hand through his hair and dropping down onto a corner of his bed. "I don't know. It's complicated."

Muffled noises came through the phone; voices, sharp barks - was that a dog? - a few dull thumps. "What's so complicated about it?" Artemis' voice demanded. From a distance away, Roy could hear Wally grumbling, "You didn't have to hit," and Artemis pulling away from the phone to snap "And you didn't have to be a phone hog!"

"Artemis, I don't think -"

Roy was quickly interrupted. "Don't try to tell me that you don't feel comfortable talking about her with me, Speedy," the younger girl began. "You know Wally will just tell me whatever it is anyway. Besides, I can probably give you better advice than Kid Inexperienced over here."

Roy considered this for a moment. Wally was a blockhead sometimes, and Artemis was an awful lot like...

He squeezed his eyes shut, laying back on the bed. "Well, we've been seeing each other for a long time -"

"How long?"

He scowled at the interruption. "I don't know." He did. "Less than a year?" Ten and a half months. "Anyway, we've been seeing each other for a long time, but always at my place, and she always leaves before I wake up."

Artemis snorted. He could imagine her covering her smirk with one hand. "Ouch." He heard her pull away from the phone and relay to Wally what she'd just learned. "She doesn't sound like the calling type."

"She usually gets in touch about once a week."

"So no, not at all the calling type."

Roy pinched the bridge of his nose. "It's been three weeks since I last heard from her."

"Ouch!" He felt her wince, and scowled to himself as the blonde filled her boyfriend in. Another muffled scuffle ensued, and after thirty seconds Roy considered hanging up. He'd had a rough night without all this.

"Dude," Wally's voice sounded through the phone, huffing a little. "Three weeks? What did you do?"

"Nothing!" Roy insisted. "Nothing unusual."

"Roy." His friend's voice was low, accusatory.

"Well..." He was uncomfortable. He never usually shared details about his personal life with anyone, not even Wally. He sighed. "Okay. So usually she drops in late on weekends, we have sex, and she's gone in the morning," amused and derisive sounds from Wally, "and she calls or texts in the middle of the week, just so, you know, I know she's okay or whatever. And it's fine, we've been doing it for months and months, but..."

"But?" Wally prompted, and the chewing noises were back. "What was different last time?"

Last time... Roy covered his eyes with his arm as he thought back to the last time he'd seen her, three weeks ago.

It had been a sleepy, uneventful night in Star City, and he had returned early from patrolling the streets. The clock on his stove had read only two A.M. when he unlocked the door to his apartment. He'd plugged his iPod into it's dock on the counter, letting it play on shuffle as he'd crashed onto the couch, relaxing to the low, sweet notes emitting from the mesh of the compact speakers.

He'd just closed his eyes when they snapped open at the sound of the window sliding upwards.

"Is it Friday already?" he asked in the darkness - his apartment was often in darkness - somewhat surprised to see the small, lithe, feminine form sliding in through the open window.

"Saturday," the intruder returned with a feline smile. "But I can leave if you'd rather be alone."

In spite of himself, Roy scrambled up from his prone position on the couch. "Now why would you threaten me like that?"

Her smile widened. "Don't you know?" she asked, voice low and seductive as she closed the distance between them. "Cats like to play with their prey."

Jade Nguyen, while a master of subtlety and finesse, did not play around when it came to sex. At least, not sex with Roy Harper. For ten months, she had been breaking into his apartment - the location of which he hadn't disclosed to her - on her nights off or when she was in the neighborhood. The hero didn't seem to mind that much; he'd been surprised, of course, that first night when he'd emerged from the bathroom, toweling his ginger hair dry, to find the world-class assassin de-masked and lying naked on his bed, but ever since a certain one-on-one pursuit through Beunos Aires, he had come to expect surprises from her.

But that night had been different. Instead of tearing each other's clothes off, slamming their backs into walls and doors and furniture, or grasping at each other with rough, demanding, almost desperate hands, the two had slipped quietly into the bedroom, though still not bothering to close the door. Roy had patiently stood and watched as she untied her emerald kimono and draped it on top of the dresser, revealing the impractical but oh-so arousing black lace bra and panty set she knew he loved. She let him peel her thigh-high spandex-and-leather boots off, and, for the first time in ten months, even removed the two twin dagger sheaths that were hooked to her two garters.

Then she had given him a pointed, bossy look. You're turn. He had no power to refuse her.

When they had both been effectively stripped of their respective costumes, all weapons laid trustingly on the dresser with the rest of their effects, Roy had reached for her in the darkness, tough and calloused fingers connecting with the smooth skin of her bare neck. Jade's inky black eyes had looked unblinkingly into his sky-blue ones, and she shivered at the intensity of his gaze. Besides the usual lust, there was something else in them, something deep and true and completely unknown to her. Not willing to admit the fear she felt, she reached up on her tiptoes - he had a good eight inches on her - and latched herself onto his lips, brushing her tongue against them.

He had groaned, her favorite, and dropped them onto the bed, not even protesting when she had hooked a leg around his and rolled him onto his back. Normally they would spend a good portion of the evening locked in the most convincing arguments either can think up in the battle for who gets to be on top, but tonight, Roy didn't want conflict of any kind. "You're really beautiful, you know," he told her, voice uncharacteristically soft.

Jade sat up straight, strong thighs straddling his waist. "So they tell me."

Roy shook his head. "No, I mean you're really beau-"

"Oh, shut up," Jade grinned, leaning down for another sloppy kiss. She ground slowly against him as she did, and though Roy Harper prided himself on being a man of discipline and control, all bets were off with her, and he let out a sigh against her lips. He could feel her warmth through the thin barrier of black lace, and not waiting for her to do it herself, he pulled them off, wrestling with her knees for a moment before tossing them across the room. Before she could distract him - her hands had been gliding down his chest and past his stomach - he gently flipped her with a leg roll of his own, and covered her compact body with his long muscled one, all the while never breaking contact with her full lips.

He ran his hands over her shoulders and down her arms, pausing at a thin white scar on her forearm, stroking the puckered line. "You can stay here tonight, you know," he'd said casually, and watched her reaction in her eyes.

Like always, they were unreadable.

"There's food in the fridge," he continued, and ducked to press his lips to the scar. "I could make breakfast."

Her dark eyes stared back at him, unresponsive.

He sighed. "You're impossible."

She tugged his face up to kiss him again in reply.

That night, despite all Jade's attempts to ignore his invitations, Roy had made sure to go slowly, carefully, gently. Once he was inside her, he took his time, only allowing her to finish after running his lips up and down every vein and tendon in reach. She'd hugged him to her as she came, and for the first time, had called his name - quietly, but he'd still heard it.

And something had changed. He'd stayed inside her for a long time - much longer than normal - wanting to memorize the feel, the warmth, of her. She hadn't objected, just wrapped her legs around him and closed her eyes as he buried his nose into the sloping curve of her neck and breathed in the scent of her. He didn't want to move, to roll off her and fall asleep - he knew she would just gather her clothes and leave through the window again, just like every other time. He wanted her to know - to feel - this, the heat rolling through him in languid, lazy waves.

Afterwards, he'd tugged his sheets up around them and propped his head up on one hand, watching her as she steadied her breathing. It only took a minute or so for her chest to stop its rapid pattern of rising and falling. She turned to him.

"I'm not spending the night, Red."

He nodded. He hadn't expected anything else after such a chilly reception to his idea. To be honest, he was just glad she hadn't whipped out her katana and sliced him a new one. "Okay."


He jerked his head up, arm flying from his face. "Yeah?"

"I said, what was different last time?" Wally's voice sounded amused, like he knew exactly why Roy had zoned out.

"Uh..." This was awkward. He'd been friends with Wally for years, and they'd talked about a lot of things, but not a lot about sex. He cleared his throat. "Well, I told her she was beautiful." Wally let out a small chuckle. "And I told her she could stay the night, if she wanted." He could hear Artemis cooing "How romantic!" and tried to ignore it.

"Then what? Did she leave?"

"No." Roy rubbed his eyes. It was really getting late. "We... had sex. Except it was different."

Snickering. "Different how?"

"Slower?" He couldn't believe he was telling Wally - and Artemis - this. "And we only did it once. Usually it's... More intense. No -" He was saying it wrong. "It was still intense, just..."



He could hear the smugness in his friend's voice; it was seeping with triumph at being the more worldly man. "That's called making love."

It sounded so corny and... old. He would've burst out laughing if it hadn't so aptly covered what he was trying to describe. As it was, he was ticked off, and more than a little embarrassed. "What would you know about that? You're just a kid."

"Maybe. But a kid who's been coming home every night to the same gorgeous woman for the past two years to make love to her would know more about it than a lonely -" He was cut off abruptly, and from the sound of it, probably by Artemis launching herself at him.

Roy listened, slightly disgusted, to sucking-face noises made by the two unabashed college kids.

After a moment, Wally was back on the line. "Roy, I'll have to call you back." His voice was already ragged.

"Yeah, sure," Roy replied, suddenly very tired. "Don't forget to use protection."

"'Night, Speedy!" Artemis said breathily, and the line went dead.

Roy stood, tossing the phone onto the bed on his way to the bathroom to brush his teeth, when a dark shape moved out from the shadows in the doorway. He reached for his collapsible crossbow on the nightstand, and had it unfolded with his finger on the trigger before the shape had shifted into the faint light coming from the bedroom's one window.

"Whoa, there, Red," a voice said, and Roy visibly relaxed.


She leaned casually against the doorframe and he disarmed the bow before returning it to its place. "How long were you standing there?"

She cocked a black eyebrow. "Long enough. Do you always kiss and tell?"

He stepped into the bathroom. "That was just my friend."

"Mmhmm." She didn't sound convinced, but waited for him as he brushed his teeth and came back. He stood a few feet away, watching her as she stared right back.

"You left," he started, and couldn't keep the hurt from his voice. "You didn't even call."

Jade chuckled, a dark, sultry sound. "Don't be like that, Red." She stepped closer. "Not when I came all the way here just to see you." She reached for him, and it took all of Roy's self-control not to bend down for her.

He felt her smile against his jaw. "Okay, tough guy." She dropped to the corner of the bed and began taking off her long boots. He crossed his arms over his chest. "But if you're going to be that way, you're not allowed to touch me all night."

He raised his eyebrows as she unstrapped her thigh sheaths and laid them on the nightstand next to his crossbow. "All night?"

She lifted the sheets and crawled underneath, kimono still wrapped around her. "All night," she returned, and laid her head on one of the two pillows - the second had been purchased for her special use a month ago. This was the first time she'd ever used it. "I'm assuming you still have food in the fridge? I'm going to want a veggie omelet with coffee in the morning."

Roy didn't even try to hide the wide grin that spread across his face as he climbed into bed next to her.