This may or may not make a lot of sense... It could be one of those things that is logical only to the writer. Here's hoping it's not.

The minor fall, and the major lift

The baffled king composing hallelujah

Nothing had changed.

When he answered a League distress call in New Mexico, it was to find Cheshire and a team of her Shadows cronies fighting tooth and nail against an injured Green Arrow.

"Good to see you, kid," Ollie said with a grin, but grimaced at the pull in the nasty puncture would on his shoulder when he strung his bow. "Watch out for the ninja girl. She's got a great arm with those star things."

He didn't reply because he suddenly became very occupied with dodging very rhythmic sai swipes, and the white mask laughed at him as he twisted and ducked.

To his deep frustration, they all escaped. He would've gone after them, but Ollie needed an antidote for the jellyfish toxin, and the villains had been spirited away in the Shadows' ever high-flying and agile helicopters.

But mostly because Ollie had been poisoned.

"We'll get 'em next time, Roy," the older man said bracingly.

He glared at the disappearing helicopter, swallowed by the thick storm clouds that were approaching.

Yes. Next time.

Nothing had changed.

He had an assassin in his contacts list, but that didn't mean anything. He'd had the number run through the providers' records - prepaid phone plan, purchased in cash the day before the first text. So there was nothing he could do about it until she screwed up and gave something away. Which she would, because at some point, criminals always get sloppy.

There was nothing that could be done, because nothing had really changed.

Next time came a lot sooner than he thought.

Only a few days after New Mexico, he was dispatched to St. Louis. And who was it sneaking around the docks in the shadows?

"How do you keep finding me, Red?" The quiet sound of her voice, and then chills up his spine. Which he blamed on the frosty weather.

"Criminals don't get to ask the questions." Yes, keep the dialogue short. Less opportunity to get tripped up.

A brush against his arm. Did she just touch him?

"Is that any way to treat a lady? Especially after those nice presents I sent you."

Close, close, she was so close. He whirled in the dark and was met with a haunting laugh.

Why didn't this place have street lamps? Damn Missouri.

Might as well keep her talking, then.


"Why what?"

He scowled as he turned as slowly and noiselessly as he could. "The pictures."

Another laugh. It was low and light at the same time - how was that possible? "Let's say I was hoping for a 'show me yours and I'll show you mine' exchange."

A dark shadow, barely perceptible from the surrounding night, flew before his eyes just as he felt a body pressing against his own. He grunted in surprise and took an involuntary step backwards.

"Don't pretend you don't want to, Red," she whispered, and he felt her breath on his neck just before being tugged down by the straps of his quiver.

The last intelligible thought he had was how someone so small could be so strong.

Nothing had changed. Not really.

Well, he had no idea where his pants were. That was an inconvenient development.

But nothing else had changed.

He knew now what happened when you fraternize with the enemy. You end up with a failed mission and MIA pants. And now that his... curiosity had been sated, it wasn't going to happen again.

Phone vibrated against nightstand. He reached for it in a totally cool and calm manner.

'That was fun. We should do it again sometime.'

Nothing had changed. If he was being honest, he'd been thinking about her for months so, technically, nothing was different. The part that he had something to remember - the silkiness of her black hair, the smooth friction of her skin, the feel of her lips, the force of her pushing and grabbing and -

"You okay, sport?"

His neck jerked up so fast that it cricked.

Ollie was looking down at him, holding two coffees and looking much better than he had a few days ago. The Watchtower med bay had learned a while back to keep a stock of toxin and poison antidotes on hand for the League's more... purist enemies.

Ollie handed him a cup. "Bridge duty getting to you?"

He took the cup and rubbed the back of his neck. That was going to start aching soon.

"Yeah. Bridge duty."

Ollie chuckled and clapped a hand to his shoulder. "No need to look so baffled, Roy. It's just technology."

He closed his eyes. Baffled.

Had something changed?