There was a time when you let me know

What's really going on below

He didn't normally bother with memories these days, unless they were to help recall important details about the Shadows.

But these were important details of another kind, ones he had strangled with anger and guilt until they were good and buried. He didn't know why they surfaced, or even how, but they were strong and insistent and wouldn't be ignored. He sighed, laid back amidst his papers and tracking devices, and allowed himself to remember.

It had been a long week. A long year, if he was being truthful. Making the decision to go solo had been the right one - if he wasn't going to be respected, then there was no point in staying with Ollie, and even less point to joining the Junior Justice League - but also one that meant a lot of work. He had to build an individual repoire with the authorities of Star City, set up his own equipment caches across the country, and find and fund his own missions. It was exhausting. Which was why he was particularly glad to have returned to his apartment that night to find her waiting for him.

She'd been over several times before, mostly breaking in while he was out - she didn't seem to like waiting or buzzing in from the street - and snooping around his things or running up his cable bill until he came back. This time, though, she'd been lying on his bed with a book, reading, with brows puckered ever so slightly as she concentrated on whatever book it was, one leg crossed over the other and airborne foot jiggling up and down to a secret and erratic beat.

It shouldn't have been as appealing as it was.

She'd tossed the book aside - his stomach had lurched - as he'd entered the room, shedding his bow and quiver as he went, and she had sprung up onto her knees in one fluid motion with a feline grin of greeting.

"Finally," she'd purred as she reached out and reeled him in like he was the biggest catch any master assassin had ever not killed. She'd actually licked her lips. "Your Robin Hood books were getting old."

"I like those books," he'd grunted against her plump and demanding lips, breath already coming in ragged gasps as they both struggled against the movements of the other in a desperate race to tear each other's clothes off.

He hadn't been... overly experienced when Cheshire had snuck into his life, but he was experienced enough to know that sex like this came along once in a lifetime, if you were lucky. At that point, he'd figured he was one of the luckiest men in the world in that department.

"I'm going to ambush your little friends this week."

Except that his fuckbuddy belonged to the farthest-reaching multi-national ninja gang that had ever stalked through the night.

Really, their situation was ridiculous. It was impossible that they'd even gotten together in the first place, but to have maintained their non-relationship for so long was plain old insane. Especially when they laid in bed and chatted about their tailing and ambush plans.

"Sounds dangerous." He might've been more concerned if he hadn't been distracted by the soft touch of Cheshire's fingertips tracing lazy patterns up and down the inside of his arm. It was amazing how those fingers could grip tighter than a vice one moment and flutter lighter than a butterfly the next. "I hope no one's going to get hurt."

"Not likely. Riddler's leading."

They both chuckled at that.

The soft tickling was becoming too much. He snatched her fingers away from the crook of his elbow just as she rolled closer to steal a kiss. It wasn't long before she was straddling his hips - again - and sucking on the throbbing pulse in his neck with the most bizarre combination of aggression and slow tenderness. Just when the pressure was about to overwhelm him, she shifted her lips to his ear and whispered, "I'm thinking of throwing the mission."

They would talk more about it later, but right then and there, that was the single sexiest and most arousing thing she'd ever said to him. Until a short while later, when that title was earned by another but wholly different murmur in his ear.

Or had it been gasped? Come to think of it, it might not have been anywhere near his ear. It definitely could have been shouted or screamed, possibly snarled. Maybe it had been screeched. Cheshire could get very loud when she was... excited.

He sighed and rubbed a hand against his bleary eyes. All he knew for sure was that it had been a while since she had done any of those things. He looked around himself - surrounded by his papers, profiles, maps, and lists - and jolted upwards as if stabbed with an iron poker.

There was no time to sit and remember. He was working on stolen time - cloned time - and every second spent in selfish reflection was a second that he wasn't living free.

But now you never show it to me, do you?

Keeping track of non-Roy Harper things was a luxury he didn't have anymore. He didn't notice how Cheshire slipped away from the apartment more and more. It didn't register that her presence became a rarity in the rooms that were always dark now. The fact that she was frequently gone - sometimes for weeks at a time - went unseen by his night eyes. He never asked, and didn't talk about it. Even when she was around, they didn't talk about much anymore. If they talked at all.