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 events of Season 2, but they're all older; Roy is about 24, and Jade is somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or 26 (I always imagined her as being older).

It's A Date

It was early morning, and the golden late-summer sun was sliding through the one window of Roy Harper's bedroom. He'd been awake for a while, watching the woman beside him continue to breathe slowly, evenly. She was beautiful, there was no denying - but in her slumber, her body had taken on a looseness, a laxness, that was never there in consciousness, that made her peaceful slumber precious. Each of her carefully toned muscles was relaxed as she lay on her stomach, dark-haired head resting on the very innermost edge of the pillow he'd bought just for her. He reached out a slow hand to brush a few strands of black out of her face, careful not to let the rough calluses of his fingers come into contact with her angled brow.

She woke up anyway.

"Red," she groaned, dark eyes cracking open lids heavy with sleep. "I don't do morning fucks, if that's what you're after." Her body tensed as she slid her hands under the pillow, muscles returning to their normal tautness, all hints of peaceful relaxation gone.

Roy frowned teasingly. "Looks like I picked the wrong girlfriend, then."

A wicked smile spread Jade's full lips. "Sorry. No returns."

He stretched his long, muscled arms over his head, and noticed how Jade's eyes followed the length of them, before turning and rolling out of bed. He walked, naked, to the dresser and pulled out a pair of old sweatpants, feeling her eyes gliding up and down the back of him. "Hungry?" he asked on his way out of the bedroom. He was ravenous; he knew she would follow if she wanted.

She did a few minutes later, wrapped in her emerald kimono and nothing else. Roy was frying eggs in a pan, eyes skating over the front pages of a hefty stack of daily newspapers, and a small portable radio on the counter was tuned to the local police station.

Jade took all this in with a smirk. "Talk about working from home."

"I'm a multi-tasker. Want to get the toast?"

As he spoke, the little toaster beside the sink spat out two pieces of toast. Jade obliged him, but didn't pass up the opportunity to brush her barely-covered body against his as she passed by. "Funny," her sultry voice purred as Roy stiffened at her touch. "I didn't get that impression from last night."

This was the first time she'd stayed the night; usually, she'd hang around until Roy fell asleep - "I get bored when you're not awake" - but this time, after buying her a pillow and toothbrush and making sure the fridge wasn't empty, he had finally convinced her to stay. They ate their breakfasts at the kitchen counter, perched atop a pair of old barstools, with only the sounds of forks scraping plates and the staticky rasping of the police scanner. When they were finished, Roy washed the plates in the sink, leaving them on a towel on the counter to dry, before heading back to the bedroom.

"I don't know what your plan is," he called over his shoulder to Jade, who was still lounging on her stool, sipping a mug of hot coffee. "But I'm supposed to be at work in twenty minutes."

"Huh." Jade took another sip. "Red Arrow has a day job. Who would've thought?"

He reappeared in the doorway, dressed in dark pants and a green button-down. "Have to pay the rent somehow." He fumbled with clasping a wristwatch on his left arm and quirked an eyebrow at the woman still sitting at his counter. "But I guess when you make tens of thousands at a single smash-and-grab, you don't really have to worry about your next paycheck."

Jade stuck one leg out, stretching until she felt the strain in her foot, smiling at the blue eyes that traced every line of the movement. "No," she amended, "I don't have to worry about paychecks. Is this the part where you kick me out?"

"As long as you don't trash the place or invite any henchmen buddies over, I don't care how long you stay," Roy replied, tramping about the tiny apartment, scooping up a cell phone, keys, and wallet. He stopped at the counter and bent to kiss the dark assassin on the cheek. She could barely hide her surprise at the tender brush of lips on the softness below her cheekbone. "Stay as long as you want."

He was out the door before Jade had formulated a cool response.

That day at Star Industries, Roy barely paid attention to anything he did. His mid-level position at the major corporation was non-demanding enough that he rarely had to exercise more than his basic mental faculties to accomplish the mind-numbingly simple tasks, be they answering emails or writing up sales report summaries for the suits several floors up. That day, though, passed in a blur of offical-looking letterheads and coffeebreaks, and Roy couldn't get his mind off the night before, and the few minutes he'd had in his apartment that morning. Jade Nguyen was, as always, a complete mystery to him. He couldn't count the number of times she had dropped into his place unannounced, and then left just as suddenly. He knew they had to keep their... relationship discreet, for the sake of his caped career and her safety from the League of Shadows, but their erratic routine could be chalked up to more than mere discretion - more than anything else, it was her that kept them from leaving the apartment when she came over, her that chose to sneak out before the rising sun could proclaim its arrival across the sky. He didn't know if it was because she was uncomfortable, afraid, or genuinely uninterested in anything more serious than sex with him. It had vexed him for many months, her tiptoeing out the moment his eyelids dropped closed, but there had been nothing he could do or say to convince her to stay.

Until last night. He didn't even know what it was that had changed her mind, but when he had jerked awake from a dream, there she had been - small body curled around her new pillow, thick black hair splayed out over her bare back as it rose and fell slowly, in time with the quiet breaths that snaked their way through her slightly-open lips.

So he was hardly shocked - pleasantly surprised, but not shocked - when he came home that evening to find that Jade had pushed his worn coffee table against the far wall and was moving fluidly through yoga poses in front of the TV. Some kind of Asian drama was flickering across the screen, in a language Roy couldn't place. It was almost a shame to distract her from her calming - and sexy - exercises, but he knew she had to have heard him come in anyway.

"You're still here."

Jade nodded at the television as she reached her arms down to the floor and stepped through them without any outward sign of strain. "How could I leave when you have practically every channel on the face of the planet?"

He rolled eyes and headed for the bathroom. "By all means," he said, ignoring the happy thrum in his chest. She hadn't left. "Don't get up. I have to go out on patrol in a while."

Jade ceased her stretching exercises and turned, hands on her hips, full lips falling into a comical pout. "Don't you ever take a day off?"

"Crime never takes a day off. Why should I?"

She laughed at his cheesiness, a sound of genuine mirth. "Actually, I get three weeks off a month. Try again."

"You're one little assassin-thief in a sea of petty and organized criminals. Every day of the year, there's some kind of mugging, murder, or heist happening that can't go unpunished, and you want me to take a day off?"

The pout deepened. "Isn't that what your Justice League is for? So nobody has to bust their balls from dusk till dawn by themselves?"

Roy sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. One morning together and she's already nagging him as if she were...

He didn't want to start a fight.

"Listen." He checked his watch. "It's five now. We'll eat dinner, I'll be gone at six, and try to be back before three. Tomorrow is Saturday, so I don't have to go to work. We can spend the day doing whatever you want."

Jade smirked lecherously, and Roy almost regretted having to leave. She really wasn't wearing much, and when she smiled at him like that...

"Whatever I want?"

Snapping back to the conversation, he nodded.

The dark, dangerous woman sauntered her way across the room to where Roy stood in the doorway to the bedroom, inky eyes flashing playfully. He stood, muscles frozen, in the semi-uncomfortable watch-checking position he'd started in, one shoulder leaning against the cherrywood doorframe. She slipped her way between his outstretched forearm and his chest, thin fingers pressing daintily against the fabric of his dress shirt. Her full lips were slightly parted, and Roy found himself staring helplessly at them, a hundred memories of them pressed against his skin flashing through his mind.

"Well," she began, and her husky voice did nothing to calm Roy's quickening pulse. "I guess it's a date."