Kyler Harper was a force to be reckoned with, she really was. She was a fantastic marksman, good with swords, and great at hand to hand combat. Not as great as her best friend, Justin, but good enough to get her where she was going. On her team, she was second only to Justin in the chain of command, and outranked Justin in computer work, and mechanic work in general. She was better than Justin at driving, and better with people.
Which is why she was the one who always dealt with the victims families when they couldn't save people before they became victims.
Kyler was dying inside as she placed a hand on the thirty-two year old woman's shoulder as she cried, "I'm sorry for your loss."
This woman had just lost her husband to what the Star City Police Department was calling a random killing, but Kyler called it another piece of the puzzle. Several killings had sprung up around the city, all killed by the same poison. The problem is, it was all the same poison, and this poison was commonly used, so the police didn't think that the total of eighteen killings were connected. Truth be told, Kyler didn't think all of them were the same killer, the poison was very common. Wall plaster.
Several of the men worked in construction, so most of them weren't even labeled as murders. But Some of the men weren't on construction. This woman's husband was a banker, and was clearly poisoned on purpose.
The woman looked up at Kyler, through tear filled eyes, "Why… why are you trying to help? My husband may… have been murdered, but… why should this one interest you, out of all of the murders Star City has?"
Kyler rubbed the woman's shoulder, trying to be comforting. Anger was one of the stages in the healing cycle. "Because, his murder, I believe, is connected to several others, and I promise you, I will find out whose done this, and I will bring them in."
The woman nodded, wiping away her tears, trying to be strong. Kyler respected that.
By the time Kyler was done questioning the woman, she was already two hours past her curfew. By the time she got back to the arrow cave, showered, stitched up a knife wound she got from a street gang, chatted with Ollie, changed, and had gotten home, it was already three hours past curfew.
Her mother wasn't at all happy. "Kyler Harper, where have you been?" Her mother demanded.
Kyler sighed, hanging her coat up on the coat hanger by the front door, and then her baseball cap. She let her shoulder length hair fall down. She had finally stopped dyeing it, and it was back to it's natural chestnut brown.
"Serial killer left another victim. His wife was to upset to get info out of easily, questioning took a long time."
"Well you should have called me!" Her mom said, crossing her arms, frowning, "It's bad enough you're out play vigilante, but when you're late, and you don't call, I nearly-"
"Shut up already!" Kyler snapped, whirling around to glare at her mother, "I have been bruised and cut up by men twice my size, fought my way out of them, and dealt with a serial killer, which by itself is stressful, but I'm the one who always has to deal with the families too! On top of all that, I shouldn't have to come home to your nagging!"
Her mother was taken back, and immediately Kyler felt the weight of the world on her shoulders, "I'm… I'm really sorry, alright? It's just… I'm tired, okay?"
Her mother nodded, sympathizing, "Do you want to talk about it?"
Kyler shook her head, "I want to sleep."
She walked past her mother, who called after her, "Kyler, if there's something to this serial killing that there's not to the others, you can tell me."
"There's not. Good night."
Kyler went to her room, turning on the light, and sitting down at her desk. She was lying, there was something to this one. A note had been left, for her.
She reached into her pocket, pulling out the piece of paper.
I know that of all of the arrow family, you'll be the first to jump on this case. After observing you for several months, I can tell, although you may say you hate serial killings, we both know that serial killings, solving them, are your favorite part of the job.
I've heard a lot about you, young archer. I want to meet you, face to face. Why? You amuse me, so much like your father.
If you're half the detective I think you are, you'll know who I am, and how to find me. Until you do, one person will die, every 6 hours. After 18 hours, the person who dies will be someone close to you.
Good luck, I look forward to seeing how you fair.
Kyler scowled, stuffed pillows under her bed sheets, and jumped out her bedroom window, running across rooftops in her civies until she got to the worse part of Star city, and she took out her phone. It rang a few times, before her dad answered.
"Kyler? Aren't you supposed to be asleep?"
"It's the weekend." She reminded him, "And I need your help, you know all these killings lately with wall plaster?"
"Let me guess, you think it's a serial killing." Roy said, sighing.
"It is a serial killing, and I've got a note to prove it." Kyler insisted. "They seem to be fixated on me."
Roy paused, "Where are you?"
"Star City's version of Crime Alley." She said sarcastically.
"You've been spending to much time with Justin." Roy grumbled, and she heard him get up and start moving around, like he was getting changed.
"Whatever, you gonna help or not?" She asked.
"Don't take that tone of voice with me." he snapped.
"You're turning into Mom." Kyler ground out.
"One more time." Roy snapped, "Talk to me like that one more time!"
"Okay, I'm sorry!" Kyler said, backing down.
"Good, I'll be there soon."
Kyler hung up, frowning. She would bet her two front teeth Justin didn't have to put up with this crap. She hadn't seen Justin much in the past three months. When Conan's dad decided she needed hard core training, she and Snow had set out for Superman's Fortress Of Solitude, going to be gone for five whole months, and they still had three left to go. With Conan and Snow gone, DR had been used less and less. Kyler was afraid DR was through, until last week when Justin had called her in for a staff meeting.
All Justin did was talk about monthly percentages, concerning the amount of criminals they had to stop every month in order to remain on the team. There were exceptions concerning vacation time, and emergencies like hospitalization, or what Justin called 'grace periods' which meant if it was your first six months at DR, you couldn't be kicked off over monthly percentages.
Strangle, Kyler was sure that it was just about Justin wanting everyone to know that DR was not over with, and that it was never going to be over with. Kyler appreciated that a lot.
Kyler was a good hero, but there was one fatal flaw she had, she didn't like waiting, and when she had to wait for something, she often changed her mind about it.
So she activated her tracer so Roy could find her, and she took off. The deaths had to be connected somehow, they just had to be. Once she was that pattern, she could determine who was next. She had one lead on the last victim, he was a mob banker. For the Gestates.
Getting into their leader's hideout wasn't hard, and waking him up was easy too. Getting the information was also simple, a technique she had learned from Justin on top of Wayne Enterprises worked very well at the top of the man's penthouse.
All she got was that the victim had been having an affair with a recently employed intern who went by the name of Jasmine. She was so new they didn't even have her file yet, but they had a picture. One that the man was happy to show to Kyler.
She nearly dropped him when she saw it. She took it, leaving him on the roof, and running as fast as her legs would carry her to the arrow cave. Ollie was there, and he didn't look happy. "Kyler, your mom just called. Did you seriously stuff pillows under your blankets? Really? Figured you'd be smart than that."
"Look at the picture." Kyler said, feeling strangely calm as she handed Ollie the photo.
He immediately went pail, "Oh dear Lord…"
"What's wrong?" Roy's voice asked as he entered the cave, looking pissed. Pissed at Kyler for not waiting for him. Wordlessly, Ollie handed the picture to Roy.
Kyler sighed, "She's behind the serial killings, and she's taken an interest in me."
Roy took in a sharp breath, terrified that his daughter was now a target of his old girlfriend, Cheshire.
HALF AN HOUR LATER, KYLER'S POINT OF VIEW::
I groaned, looking across at Ollie, tugging on her handcuffs, "This sucks!"
Ollie shrugged, "Roy doesn't want you in the middle of him and Cheshire, he'll take care of her."
"So he handcuffs me to a chair in the Arrow Cave?" I mumbled, fiddling with the cuffs, "He does know I can get out of these, right? Cause that was the third trick you taught me."
Ollie shrugged, "I think it's more about the principle."
"I bet Justin doesn't have to put up with this." I growled.
"Justin doesn't have a father with an insane criminal girlfriend after her." Ollie shot right back. "No stop complaining, you're lucky I'm pulling strings with your mom to make sure she doesn't ground you for the rest of your life."
I sighed, "Ollie, he's treating me like a child."
"Um, normally I would agree with that, but this is Cheshire." Ollie said, looking up from his newspaper. "And, she's ruthless. So no, I'm not helping you out here."
The handcuffs fell to the floor with a thud. "Didn't ask for it."
Ollie sighed, taking a capsule out of his belt, "Alright, here's the story, you knocked me out with this, and then took off. I never saw it coming."
He broke the capsule in his hand, and gas squirted out, knock out gas. He was unconscious in seconds.
Kyler smirked, standing up, to be honest, she loved Roy, he was her father after all, but honestly, the poor guy needed to get his priorities straight, and realize that when it came to Kyler, Ollie was a push over. Grandpa's were like that.
She had only made it halfway into the city when a knife came flying at her head. She reeled back, falling into several hand springs until she came to a rest, glaring up at a figure clad in green and black. "Cheshire."
She stood there, hand on her hip, smirking, "Well, even I must admit, you figured out it was me very fast. Your father came ragging through the city, looking for me. Couldn't find me. That's the problem with Roy, I'm always there when he doesn't want me, but when he starts looking, I'm out of sight."
"I'm not interested in my father's previous relationship with you." Kyler batted away. "I'm interested in getting you to stop the murders."
"You're not going to ask why?" Cheshire asked, one delicate eyebrow raising in confusion.
"I'm not partial to the crazy evil villain speech." Kyler snapped, loading her bow, and pointing it at Cheshire. "I'm just interested in taking you in."
"So straightforward, I can definitely see your father in you." She taunted.
Kyler fired her arrow, and Cheshire deflected it with her knives. "Good shot kid, but better luck next time."
Cheshire dashed to the edge, jumping off headfirst.
"No!" Kyler growled, dashing to the edge, and looking around, seeing no trace of her. "Damn it!"
"Kyler!" Growled a voice behind her. She looked over her shoulder, to see Red Arrow standing there, glaring at her, "What the Hell are you doing!?"
"Uh… midnight jog?"
She was screwed.
Three hours later found Kyler locked into her room. Window barred, Mom pissed off, and her Speedy costume taken away. Didn't stop her from finding out that Cheshire had struck again, she had killed a drug addict not three blocks from her and Kyler's confrontation. If Roy hadn't snatched Kyler up, she would have had Cheshire before she got to that victim.
Despite the murder, Kyler wasn't blind to the fact that since Cheshire was now killing whenever opportunity struck, she was getting nervous. Cheshire had expected Kyler to be like Justin, to take it on her own, but unlike Justin, Kyler wasn't afraid to ask for help when she needed it, or when she was scared. She also wasn't afraid to admit she was scared.
And she was scared, she didn't want any Cheshire drama in her life, she honestly didn't. She never wanted Roy Harper to be her father, and unlike Justin, didn't use her last name like a model used weight loss pills. But, she couldn't just complain about it. As much as she wished her stepfather was still around, she had Roy, as tiresome as he might be, he was still her dad.
This was a problem she was going to have to face on her own, and no matter how much Roy tried to fight her battle, Kyler wasn't going to let him. She sighed to herself, getting up and walking over to her closet, taking the titanium case down, and tossing it onto her bed. It had been a long time…
"Black Guardian." She mumbled, taking out the costume and pulling it on slowly, "I can't believe I'm doing this…"
She also couldn't believe that after five more hours of patrolling the city, Cheshire was nowhere to be found.
Kyler sighed, rubbing her eyes, "Only one hour left until that tramp kills again… and then she'll be going after someone I know… God I hate my life."
"Oh trust me." A voice snapped behind her, "You've got nothing to complain about."
Kyler wheeled around, seeing Cheshire, glaring at her, looking like she was ready to kill.
"Cheshire, you're under arrest." Kyler said, aiming her bow at her. "You have to right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand your rights?"
Cheshire rolled her eyes, "So uptight."
"Yeah, well the job requires it." Kyler snapped.
"Which one?" She asked, "The hero part of your job, or the murdering part of your job?"
Kyler froze up… Cheshire was fishing, she couldn't know about… that. "Are you going to come quietly, or not?"
Cheshire rolled her eyes, "Oh give up the act kid, I know about that little incident, before you quit the Titans. Roy tried to stop you, but of course, sins don't skip a generation."
"What are you talking about?" Kyler snapped.
"You're even wearing the same costume you used that night. I thought I'd never see the day where Oliver Queen's most guarded child would ever stray from the path." Cheshire smirked, "Even when he crossed the line, you stayed on the straight and narrow. Until you're brother and sister were in danger anyways."
"What you're suggesting is totally and completely false." Kyler snapped. "And I assure you, I'll find out who fed you false info. I'm sure Black Hood will want to know as well."
"Oh yes, you're partner in crime. Tell me, has she still got some of that serum on her? I could use it. Need to find a new way to dispose of bodies you know."
Kyler fired her arrow, and Cheshire dodged. Kyler ran at her, trying to punch her, but Cheshire locked, flipping Kyler over her back, and over the side of the roof. A jolt of panic rushed through Kyler, which she quickly fought off.
She grabbed the edge of the fire escape, swinging herself back up onto the roof, and high kicking Cheshire in the chin. Her mask flew off, landing several feet away. Kyler found herself staring into big, sad green eyes.
Jade's eyes, were not something Kyler was prepared for. They were filled with betrayal, and longing.
Kyler didn't have time to deal with that though, she had to jump out of the way of a throwing knife, and then fall into a back flip to get away from a sword tip. She pulled out an explosive, hurling it at Cheshire, catching her arm.
Cheshire stumbled back, looking at the small red little dot clinging to her shirt sleeve, "Oh, you little-"
When the smoke cleared, Kyler stood straight, staring at Jade, who was trying to stumble to her feet, but her arm was badly burned, and she was just barely able to keep her screams of pain at bay.
"You… you're nothing but a child, you shouldn't have been able to… you were not supposed to be this good…"
Kyler rolled her eyes, "Cheshire, I've been told a lot of horror stories about you over the years. How I'm not supposed to talk to you, how I should be afraid of you, but you know what? You're an idiot, and you underestimated me."
Cheshire raised an eyebrow, and opened her mouth to say something, but there was a heavy thud that made Kyler wince a little, and Cheshire fell to the ground, unconscious. Michael stood there, decked out in his white Catholic church robes, smiling. "Ya know, I could get used to this, coming down to Star City on field work with DR, it's really fun!"
Kyler rolled her eyes, "Michael, just help me get her restrained."
THE NEXT WEEK:
Justin frowned as me and her walked down the main hallway of DR, stopping in front of an empty trophy case. "So, Cheshire was planning on killing your mother?"
I nodded, "I went through her notes, she'd been watching me for almost a year. It was creepy."
Justin sighed, "Well, you ever found out why?"
"She was angry after what happened to Lian, that Roy could still have a daughter, but she couldn't. She was plotting to kill me in the end." I explained, lifting the lid off the trophy case, and placing Cheshire's dagger into it.
"So, what was so important about it you had to call me down?" Justin asked.
"She knew about the dog serum." I explained, "She got her intel from someone else."
Justin frowned, "If she knew about it…"
"Then who else does? And who's providing people with info?" I finished.
"More importantly, how much else do they know?" Justin pondered.