Author Notes: This is the first Red Arrow and Cheshire story that I'm putting up, so I hope you enjoy it. I wrote this just after Salvage premiered and now I'm uploading it. I hope you enjoy it and reviews of all kinds are very much appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own Young Justice. It belongs to DC Comics and Cartoon Network.
Trying Not to Fall Apart
Jade stood there in the half-cleaned apartment.
The floor was swept and the walls were finally repaired, but the furniture was still beat up and the fridge was mostly filled with Chinese takeout from two nights ago. It wasn't perfect, but it was supposed to be home. It had to be home.
Roy walked in from their bedroom. He'd just gotten Lian to fall asleep in her crib. Now, he walked to the kitchen to get a drink. He didn't even glance at her as he walked past.
Jade narrowed her eyes, glaring at his back. Roy had been acting distant since she'd come back. Since she'd snuck into their old apartment in the middle of the night. Since she'd told him that she had a lead on Speedy. Since she'd shown him his daughter.
She knew it was a lot to dump on a guy, but she had to tell him. And in a way it had helped. He'd shaved and cut his hair. He'd cleaned up his act a bit. But she knew it wasn't for her. It was for Lian. He'd done it for his daughter, not his wife.
She wanted to ask what had happened to him. Why had he given up on life for so long? Why hadn't he cleaned the apartment in months? Why did he act like nothing had gone wrong?
Why was he acting like he didn't love her anymore?
But she knew she shouldn't ask any of that. She'd only been back for a week. It was too soon.
So instead, she turned and took a step forward as he tried to walk out of the kitchen with a glass in his hand.
She knew how to play his game. If he wouldn't come to her, then she'd just have to remind him why he fell in love with her in the first place.
She positioned herself in front of him so that he couldn't get past her. It was a small apartment; there was no room for him to just step around her and leave the kitchen. She smiled mischievously as an idea dawned on her.
She looked up into his eyes and asked vaguely, "Do you remember that kiss?"
"Which one?" he replied, sounding bitter, "There was our first kiss. If I remember correctly, you tried to kill me and then threw a smoke bomb in my face. Then during the chaos, you tackled me, pinned me down, took off your mask, and kissed me in front of your sister. Yeah. So incredibly romantic," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"You used to think it was funny. We used to laugh about it." she said quietly, uncertainly.
No, she thought.
She couldn't show this kind of weakness. She had to stay strong, confident. Her father had drilled that lesson into her mind since the day she was born. It was one of the few things that he had taught her that she actually agreed with.
She gave a quick shake of her head and flashed a cocky smile.
"No," Jade said, "That one where I was arrested and you had to bail me out."
Roy raised an eyebrow as if to say, That happened a lot.
"The first time it happened." she clarified.
"Refresh my memory." he replied, placing on the counter the glass of tap water he'd been holding.
She took a deep breath before beginning.
"It was just after we'd officially started dating, rather than flirting while we tried to kill each other. I'd gotten caught, I don't even remember what for. You came to get me out, saying it was official Justice League business… Which it kind of was.
"I was alone. Some police officer led you to my cell. You were dressed as Red Arrow, in full costume, playing the hero. I was decked out in full assassin garb minus the weapons and the mask. We were on opposite sides. But I was bored. I wanted to have some fun.
"I gave you this coy little smile and you understood. You walked toward me until you were only about a foot away. I reached through the bars of the cell, grabbed the strap that ran across the front of your costume, and pulled you close. You had to grip on of the bars to steady yourself. You didn't fight back. You played along, but you let me run the show.
"The idiot officer took a step forward like he was afraid I was going to kill you just by touching you. But, of course, I didn't. I leaned in and closed my eyes. My lips met yours. You kissed me back. Warm, powerful, real. The bars of the cell were the only thing that separated us."
She groaned inwardly at her own description of the kiss. It sounded sappy and childish… But it was all true. She allowed herself that one slip in her tough girl façade as she continued,
"When we finally parted, you cracked a quick smile that only I could see. Then you went back to being your usual serious self, and turned to the officer. He was in total shock; the look on his face was priceless. Then you said in a completely deadpan voice as if nothing strange had happened, 'Let her out. League orders.' He didn't know how to argue with that, so he let me out and we left.
"I think the only reason we got away was because he was still in shock. In our lives it was totally normal, but to anyone else, it was completely insane. If he'd been thinking straight, he would have stopped us in a heartbeat.
"But that didn't matter. We got away. And that kiss… perfection." she almost sighed.
"That was a long time ago." Roy said, forcing himself to look anywhere but into her eyes.
"It wasn't that long ago."
Jade reached out and grabbed the front of Roy's black t-shirt, pulling him close. He placed one hand on the kitchen counter to steady himself. He didn't reach out for her; he barely even touched her.
She looked up at him through her thick eyelashes. Her dark eyes met his blue.
"Can you still kiss like that?" Jade asked with a slight grin.
"Maybe." Roy replied, turning the corners of his mouth up in the smallest smile possible.
"Show me." she tempted in a barely audible whisper.
She wanted the old Roy Harper back. The one she'd met in Rhelasia, five years ago. The one that stopped her from being an assassin. The one that showed her what life could be like if she wasn't a criminal. The father of her daughter and the love of her life.
She wanted her Roy back.
"Show me." he whispered again, not exactly pleading but with a longing in her voice that meant she wanted this kiss more than almost anything else in the world.
She leaned forward, closing the small amount of space that was still left between them. She lightly pressed her lips against his. She wasn't going to force him to kiss her; she was just going give him some direction.
She waited for a moment. Wishing, hoping, praying for something to happened. Anything. He didn't pull away, but he didn't respond either. Nothing.
Jade was just about to pull away and leave the room when she felt Roy kiss her back.
The fireworks exploded in her mouth.
She felt the pressure of him wanting this just as much as she did.
She let go of his shirt and wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt his strong arms around her waist, keeping her close.
She wanted to stay like this forever. She never wanted it to end. The warmth of his embrace, the sweet taste of his kiss, the pounding of his heart against her chest. Perfection.
At that moment, the small rundown apartment was the most beautiful place in the world.
And then a single sound shattered the moment like a thin sheet of glass.
Jade and Roy's lips parted, but they still held each other. They both looked over at the door to their bedroom.
Lian was crying. She'd woken from her slumber and was calling her mother.
Jade let go of Roy and walked away. She went and held her daughter in her arms. She sang softly to quiet her.
As she sang, she looked up and saw Roy standing in the doorway smiling kindly at her. She smiled back and continued to sing a lullaby to quiet their daughter.
They would make this work. They weren't going to fall apart. Not again.