Disclaimer: Young Justice is owned by DC Comics, Warner Bros, and [insert expletive of your choice here] Cartoon Network.
A/N: Coming up with a title was so hard. You have no idea how close this story came to being called, "No Sleep, Only Justice."
If you saw the preview on my tumblr you know this was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but I got carried away and it ended up breaking 10k so now it's a two shot.
LATE NIGHT JUSTICE-ING
There is a tenth circle of hell unacknowledged by Dante's Inferno, and it is called boredom.
Cassie slumped on the floor of the main control room. Wolf had partially curled around her, thick tail thumping against the ground. Every so often she gave his belly an affectionate scratch. All the while she kept her eyes trained on Nightwing and Mal, who were working at the holographic control panel. Far away enough to be inconspicuous, but close enough to hear their conversation.
"Where's Karen tonight?" Nightwing was asking.
Mal paused. "Another late-night at the lab."
"Isn't that the third time this week?"
His eyes flicked downwards, betraying his disappointment. "Yeah."
Nightwing gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. Cassie rolled her eyes. She felt bad for Mal, she really did, but she hadn't been eavesdropping for the past hour to hear about his relationship problems.
These days the only action she saw came from training practice, and that wasn't nearly enough. Not that the senior members encouraged her to hold back, but successfully landing a hit on Superboy wasn't nearly the same as punching a bad guy right through the face.
Outside of practice and missions, her options were limited. Wonder Woman was still on her chain gang odyssey so patrol was a no go. Hanging around the Cave got boring fast when you see the same people every day, and she definitely wasn't about to spend time cooped at home with her mom, who would inevitably give the "using powers responsibly" lectures. It wouldn't be so bad if they had a mission or two, but since the Justice League's heavy hitters had gone off-world Nightwing was maintaining strict priority levels. According to him, they couldn't risk their safety or resources when a full-scale invasion was right around the corner.
So Cassie had spent the past couple of days lounging around the control room, ready to be the first person on hand for a mission. Every time the computers pipped she visibly flinched. This waiting business was so not her style. She took out her frustration by rubbing furiously at Wolf's stomach. Wolf's head lolled to one side and he panted happily like a jumbo sized puppy.
"...something about kidnapped sisters?"
Her ears perked up. Mal was zooming in on a luminescent newspaper article with two tiny pictures underneath a bold headline.
Nightwing waved a hand over the interface and brought up the case files. "Already checked it out. I thought it might be related to the recent kidnappings, but it looks like a domestic issue. Girls kidnapped by mom's boyfriend; open and shut custody case."
"It says they haven't been found yet."
"The guy's slippery, but if he's dragging two unhappy kids along he shouldn't be too hard to track down. Even for the police."
Mal inspected the article, thoughtfully rubbing his chin. "The mom is being awfully adamant about the whole thing. Started a local movement and everything."
"They're her daughters. Why wouldn't she be dedicated?"
"Still, missions have been a bit scarce lately," Cassie could've sworn she saw Mal glance in her direction. "Should we send a team anyway?"
Say yes, say yes, say yes!
Nightwing shook his head mournfully. "Can't. Still on priority level red. I'll put out a bulletin, but it looks like we'll have to let the local feds take care of it."
Cassie's head drooped. So close.
And yet the bitter tone in Nightwing's voice continued to ring in her ears. She knew their leader well enough to know that this was killing him. He believed in many things, and doing everything in one's power to help others was one of them. But the team was his responsibility. It was a heavy burden, and one that he had carried for some time. She respected him for it. The ability to separate personal feelings and duties was a trademark skill of his leadership.
I guess it's a good thing I'm not leader then. She grinned to herself. If there was one thing she had learned as a member of the team, it was sometimes you needed to take justice into your own hands. Cassie gave Wolf one last scratch and casually slunk from the room.
Time to find a mission partner, she decided. Solo vigilantism was cool and all, but she still needed someone to watch her back. Plus, it wouldn't hurt to have someone to share the blame when Nightwing figured her out like he always did. She ran through the list in her head.
Nightwing and Mal were out, obviously.
Robin and Batgirl were a bit too straight-laced thanks to their mentor, and they were busy haunting the rooftops of Gotham anyway.
Garfield would probably jump at the chance to prove himself, but he was immature and needed so much looking after. Plus, a hyper green animal kid wasn't going to help her blend in on a domestic case.
Superboy would have come with her in a heartbeat, but he was looking after Metropolis in Superman's absence. Either that, or he was brooding in solitude somewhere as per usual. Both scenarios seemed plausible since the last time she had checked, M'gann and La'gann were having another of their movie nights.
She sighed. Good rule-breakers were hard to find.
But there was still one option available to her. All things considered, she didn't know why he hadn't been her first thought.
Jaime closed his laptop with a tight snap and groaned. The illuminated screen had left behind a burning imprint on his eyes when he squeezed them shut. One paper down, one to go. He let his head drift lower until he was lying flat on his stomach, face buried into the bedspread except for his cheek which dug into the corner of his laptop. The spine of a biology textbook was wedged partially under his stomach. It was uncomfortable, but he was too exhausted to care.
He often wondered what was the point in being a secret superhero if he still had to go to school. Shouldn't he get special exemption just for zipping around saving lives? Maybe Superman could get away with it, but as long as he lived under his mother's roof it was education or bust.
There was a light tap on his window, barely loud enough to register on his soporific brain.
Intruder alert! The scarab sparked to life. Recommend switching to offensive mode.
"You need to chill, ese," Jaime suppressed the canon setting that was starting to form around his wrist. Even if his sleepy state he was getting better at controlling the suit. "It's probably a bird or something."
Negative, the scarab replied. Scans indicate humanoid life form.
"What? How could -"
He jolted up from the bed. The moonlight illuminated a solitary figure standing - no, floating - outside his bedroom window. A very familiar figure.
She giggled and pulled off the hood of the gray sweatshirt she wore over her costume. Her blonde hair spilled loose and floated lazily in the night air, wreathing her face as though she was floating underwater. Her star-shaped earrings gave off their usual twinkle. Backed by the moonlight, her silhouette was given a silvery outline.
She was a vision.
And he was half-asleep lying in a disaster zone of a room and shirtless.
He held up a finger for her to wait and scrambled off the bed, pulling on the nearest shirt he could find, and thanking God he hadn't been too lazy not to wear pants. Nothing to be done about the room. A quick glance in the mirror showed the red imprint of his laptop was still printed on his cheek, but his hair looked decent. Once he had finished the bout of manly primping, he opened the window.
Cassie floated inside and perched herself on his desk. "How's it hanging?"
"What? Oh, good, it's hanging...good." His brain was working a million miles per second trying to process the situation. "Uh, you're in my room."
"I am. Is that a problem?"
"N-no, no, it's not, definitely not," Jaime dragged a hand through his hair, still thinking. "How do you know where I live?"
Her laughter was throaty and warm. "Did you forget who helped convince you to leave this hick town in the first place?"
Of course he didn't. How could he? That day was a memory he could never forget, down to the last detail. He still remembered his first impression of her. The way she strode right up to him, brimming with confidence. Blonde, gorgeous, a smile that could knock him flat, and talking right to him. He remembered the way she tugged on his sleeve when she talked, and the way they fought side by side like a pair of well-oiled gears in perfect tandem.
"Oh, yeah. I guess what I really want to ask is what brings you to my room at," he checked the glowing numbers on his clock radio. "One in the morning."
"Why do you think?"
He swallowed dry air. "Um...that feels like a dangerous question to answer."
"Fair enough." She stood and put her hands on her hips, chest throw out heroically. "What would you say to a little late-night justice-ing?"
Oh no. This felt an awful lot like when Superboy dragged him off for "a little late-night justice-ing." That time, he had been persuaded by the threat of a senior teammate's muscles and resemblance to Superman. This time, he was being asked by Cassie and she was...well, Cassie. He couldn't decide which of two was more fearsome.
"Is this an assignment from Nightwing?"
Jaime groaned. Yeah, this was definitely a bad idea. "I don't know, Cass. The last time I got pulled into a last minute mission I almost got my butt kicked by a giant outer space golem." He could still remember the golem's pleas for help. For destruction. The cracking, crumbling, and aching of it falling apart, breaking down from the inside. He shook his head, wiping away the memory, and focused on Cassie.
"Aw, come on!" she pleaded. "Just hear me out. It's for a good cause, I swear."
Jaime rubbed the sleep from his eyes and sighed, holding up his hands in surrender. "Fine. Tell me about the case."
She delivered the facts in rapid fire, rattling them from the top of her head. "Two little girls from San Antonio. Kidnapped. Authorities say it's the mom's boyfriend. No demands, no ransom. Possible gang connections. It's a quick beat 'em up, save the day mission."
Such a trivial pursuit is not befitting of our armor, said the scarab. Jaime could almost hear it rolling its eyes.
"And the reason Nightwing didn't give you permission...?" he asked.
Cassie crossed her arms and pouted. "With the ongoing Krollotean investigation he says it's not a high enough priority, but that's bull!" She slapped one hand on his shoulder, making a outraised fist with the other. "We are superheroes! No person is too small, and no job is out of our way! Fighting crime is our job, our mission statement, our purpose! Say you'll come with, Jaime. Please?"
The way he saw it there were two options. Go back to sleep, or go off punching baddies with the pretty girl who was smiling at him and had one hand on his shoulder. He could feel her fingertips lightly curled around the fabric of his shirt. The thin material felt red hot from her touch, or maybe that was a product of the blush slowly fanning from face to chest.
Make that one option.
"All right, I'll -" The sudden creaking of floorboards echoed all the way to his room. It was a noise he had hardwired himself to recognize for years. "Crap, it's my mom!" he hissed. "Hide!"
He pushed her towards the closet with no real success. Without the suit he might as well have been a light breeze pushing against the face of a cliff.
"What, why?" she asked, frowning in confusion.
"Uh, do you want to explain to her how and why you're in my room at one in the morning?"
"Good point." She darted inside the closet before Jaime's bedroom door and his mother poked her head in. Jaime froze in the middle of pretending to be gathering the clothes on his headboard.
"Jaime? Is everything ok? I thought I heard voices."
"Nah," he said with exaggerated nonchalance. "I was watching TV on my computer." He gestured to the bed, hoping she wouldn't realize it was powered off.
His mother placed her hands on bony hips. "Still? Get some sleep already. Es más tarde para usar la computadora."
"Si. Buenas noches."
"Buenas noches, mijo."
He listened for his mother's fading footsteps and waited until the click of her bedroom door sounded before letting Cassie out.
"Sorry 'bout that."
She picked some lint off her sleeve. "Nah, it's fine, I get shoved into closets all the time."
Jaime was so hardwired the joke flew right over his head. "Really?"
Cassie raised an eyebrow at him. "No, of course not, I was kidding. Are you okay?"
Smooth move. He wanted to pinch himself until the embarrassment faded away. "Yeah, no, I was just kidding too. Ha ha!" His laugh was awkward and hollow.
"Right...well, never mind. Now, was that an 'all right' I heard earlier?" Her eyes were wide and bright like the most dangerous puppy he had ever seen.
He sighed. Why did this already feel like a bad idea? "Yeah, you did. Let's go."
In minutes they were sailing through the night air, occasionally looping over each other. It was rare that Jaime got to fly with someone who enjoyed the freedom of flight as much as he did. At one point Cassie flew directly through a fat, cottony cloud and emerged with ice crystals in her hair, spitting out a mouth full of condensed cloud water, and laughing all the same.
The sensor on his wrist beeped. "Download complete." He swallowed. "Are you sure it's okay to be hacking into the Cave's mission files? They'll track us down in no time."
Before he had time to breathe she had swooped in close to read the screen over his shoulder. Her chin nearly rested in the crook of his elbow.
"Relax," she said, squinting to read better. "Mal's probably asleep and Nightwing patrols Bludhaven at this time of night. I know, I've checked."
"You've got way too much time on your hands."
"Ugh, you have no idea."
She continued reading the articles in silence, placing one hand on his shoulder to keep herself steady as they flew. It took every ounce of self control for Jaime to not cover her hand with his. It would have been so easy to just lift a hand and, with a single touch, convey feelings he tried desperately to keep under wraps. But then he glanced down at his other hand, saw the protective armor shielding it, and clenched his fist instead.
"There," she said suddenly, pointing to a blinking dot on the map. "Just a few miles north, we're almost there." All too quickly, her touch disappeared as she soared ahead of him.
The scarab's mechanical voice echoed indignantly in his head. Your judgment is impaired, Jaime Reyes. Do not trust the Wonder Girl, she -
"Yeah, yeah, biochemical changes, whatever," he hissed quietly. "Why don't you take the backseat here, ese? I know what I'm doing. If you don't like it cover your eyes."
Negative. Surveillance systems will remain operational.
"Stubborn little -" Cassie glanced at him questioningly. "I mean, what's our next move?"
"We land," she said simply. He hadn't realized they were already at their destination.
The darkened alley where they landed was the narrow space between an abandoned store and a bar. The rowdy sounds of their late night patrons could be heard through the dirty brick walls. They crouched behind a line of trash cans, accidentally disturbing a group of stray cats. Cassie casually petted one behind the ears and cocked one head to listen to the rabble.
"Sounds like a good place to pick up some info." She drew her sweatshirt hood over her head and poked her head around the corner. A group of rowdy college students passed by singing drunken renditions of radio pop music. When they were clear, she pulled Jaime out of the alley.
"Okay, act casual," she said, looping her arm through his. Jaime suddenly became very aware that his palms were sweating. "We don't want to be noticed. As far as anyone is concerned we're two college students who just moved to town for the new semester."
"And if someone does notice we're not college students? What are we supposed to do, make out?" he joked.
"If we have to," she answered, dead serious.
Jaime really hoped she didn't notice him swallowing thickly and surreptitiously wiped his palms on his jeans.
Getting in the bar wasn't a problem. If anything, the only problem was keeping Cassie in line. She's having way too much fun with this, Jaime thought as he watched her saunter over to the bartender.
The elderly potbellied man wiping down glasses eyeballed Cassie with suspicion. He could see the man calculating their ages in his head. They were definitely too young for this joint, any moron with an ounce of intellect could tell.
But Cassie had a knack for winning people over. She gave off an aura of confidence, as though daring anyone to believe she didn't belong. None of the patrons blinked twice when she chatted them up. After playfully elbowing one guy and laughing at a ribald joke, she waved Jaime over to speak with the bartender.
She launched into a story as he approached. "Listen, my friend here and I were talking about that kidnapping incident they keep showing on the news. We were so bored and so wasted that we actually made a bet on the outcome. Now, he says the parents are both in on it to cash in the insurance money because he saw an episode of CSI like that. I say he's full of crap and the dad's just a tool. What do you say?"
The bartender shook his head, smiling kindly like she was his inquisitive granddaughter. "Ah, I don't know."
"Come on, you're a bartender!" Cassie insisted. "Every cop show I've ever seen says you guys know the inside scoop on stuff like this. Plus, I've got ten bucks on the line!"
The bartender chuckled and dropped his voice. "All right all right, I hate to break to ya," he said to Jaime. "But your girl's probably got you beat."
Cassie cheered and Jaime gave an affected groan of disbelief.
"Truth is that guy used to come in here every so often, and lemme tell ya he was hanging with all the wrong sorts. Nothing was ever proved but I always assumed he was in league with the local crime gang."
"Oh my gosh," she gasped softly.
"Don't worry. They're small potatoes compared to what they got in Gotham, but they've been running circles around the police for years," he assured her. "I even saw a group of them by the pier once. They was beating on a member who turned tail or somethin' and, boy, it was a fright just to watch."
Cassie raised a hand to her mouth and clutched Jaime's sleeve as though she felt faint. "That's so scary. We just moved here last week for school. You don't think we'll ever run into them?"
"Not a city girl, eh? Don't worry sweetheart, it's not hard. Just avoid the piers and abandoned warehouses and don't wander into no dark alleys and you'll be fine. Besides," he gestured to Jaime with a champagne flute. "You've got a strong-looking fella to look out for ya."
Cassie nodded gratefully, but Jaime could see her lips drawn back in a smirk. He had to bite back a smile of his own. The day Cassie Sandsmark relied on a man to beat up thugs for her would be the day Jaime stopped believing in aliens.
She slapped Jaime on the back - a bit harder than she intended no doubt for he could already feel a bruise forming - and slung an arm around his shoulders. "Come on, let's go decide what you're going to buy me with the ten bucks I just won."
Jaime laughed. "You mean pizza?"
"Ooh, you read my mind." She turned back to the bartender and flashed him a thousand watt smile. "Thanks for humoring me, we'll come back some other time."
"My pleasure. You be careful now. Take care of this one, ya hear?" He shook a friendly finger at Jaime.
"You got it." He considered putting an arm around her waist to play along, but she was already shuffling him towards the door.
Outside the building Cassie sucked in a long breath of smoky night air. "Phew," she breathed. "I think that went well."
"Really well," he nodded. "What a relief. We didn't even have to...y'know."
The moment the words came out he knew it was the wrong thing to say.
Cassie froze and wheeled around, glaring fiercely. ""What? Make out?" Venomous sarcasm dripped from her words. "Yeah, you really dodged a bullet there."
"No, that's -"
She turned away dramatically. "Sorry about that, wouldn't want you to kiss someone like me."
"Wha - ? No, no, I didn't mean...I meant, I would love to - I mean, you're really..." He slapped a hand to his face. "Please forgive me so I'll stop talking."
To his enormous relief, she started giggling and socked him lightly in the shoulder. "It's okay, I know what you meant. I just wanted to make you suffer a little."
"Yeah, well, you deserved it." Her smile hadn't burnt out, but her voice still stiffened. Jaime winced. He made plans to make it up to her later.
"I did, I did," he relented. "But seriously. Where did you learn to act like that?"
"Nowhere, I've just always wanted to do that." She shrugged shyly. "If only my mom could see me now, chatting up bartenders in seedy bars and chasing down crime gangs. She'd blow a blood vessel."
"Same. I think my mom would have locked me in confessional until Dios himself came down to forgive me."
She laughed appreciatively. "Nice to talk with someone in the same boat."
"Yeah. Nice." He held her gaze for a moment; his face stuck in a permanent silly grin. The moment held.
Cassie broke the connection first and set off strutting back towards the alley. "Well, we've got our heading. Wanna go check out that pier?"
"Lead the way." Jaime liked how she always asked his opinion before making plans. It was such a different dynamic from normal missions when they stuck to following orders. Why can't every mission be like this, he mused, watching the golden hair stream behind her.
After a few minutes of flying they touched down behind - Jaime couldn't believe it - an abandoned warehouse on the edge of a pier. They had hit the jack pot.
Cassie was thinking along the same lines. "All this place is missing is a neon sign that says 'we are bad guys,'" she commented.
"Do you think he's holding the kids here? What about the gang?"
"For all we know they could all be in on it."
"But they're just kids, niñas, why would a crime organization be interested in them?"
A dangerous glint entered her eyes. "Dunno. Let's go ask."
"Ask? Ask who?" He followed her gaze and saw a man in dark clothes fingering what was unmistakably a gun holster. "Oh no, no, no. It's too soon for punching answers out of people. Let's get some altitude." He pointed to the rooftop.
Cassie wilted visibly. "Fine. Spoiling my fun," she huffed.
He elbowed her slightly. "Let's find the girls first, then you can punch as many bad guys as you want."
"I'm holding you to that."
They floated up to the roof where Jaime activated his scanner. The glowing white-hot figures of no more than forty bulky men strolled around the complex in shifts.
"Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but domestic kidnappings don't usually involve a warehouse of men with guns. Right?" Jaimed asked uneasily.
"Something's definitely up," Cassie confirmed. "Do you see the girls?"
A few more sweeps revealed two smaller blobs, clearly tied together with their backs against a pole, where at the center of a wide room. He could see the outlines of boxes, weapons, large machines with conveyor belts, but no men.
"Got 'em. They're in a main packaging room. Totally deserted. Looks like all the men are guarding outside the room." He turned to his partner. "Should we go in?"
Cassie tapped the W on her chest, switching to stealth mode. "Like you have to ask?" She went into a rocking motion, clearly readying herself to crash through the ceiling.
Jaime yelped and pulled her down. "Not like that! What if they hear us and shoot the hostages?"
"That's the beauty of a surprise attack!" she insisted. "We'll hit them before they have time to shoot."
The Wonder Girl's logic is sound, the scarab said approvingly.
Jaime resisted the impulse to slap his own armor. He was never one to be rational and plan things out, but this girl was a loose canon. Even the scarab was agreeing with her! And that was a bad sign.
"No, it's not! I mean, it's too risky. We should sneak through the back."
"If you haven't noticed, neither of us are too great at the whole stealth thing. You're blue and beetle-y, and holding back is not my strong suit."
His mind searched for a solution. How best to convince a superpowered battle nut to power down? A light bulb idea sprung to mind. "But that's what makes it a challenge," he said with a daring smile.
She mulled over his words for a moment, then a wicked grin spread over her face. "I like the way you think. Back door it is. Come on, bug boy, let's get to it."
"Bug boy...?" But he let it go. Cassie was already sprinting ahead.
The lone patrolling guard in the back entrance was a rotund man. Not especially threatening in appearance, but the AK-47 he had hoisted over his shoulder spoke for itself. Peering over the roof edge, Jaime held one arm out to steady his eager partner and pointed at the security camera below them.
"Override the cameras," he ordered. The suit complied. A few sparks popped from the camera and it fizzled out.
The guard jumped in surprise and turned to look at the camera. It was still buzzing with loose electricity. He reached for his radio, failing to notice Cassie landing behind him. She disarmed the man in one stroke. He struggled and swung his arms clumsily to no avail. A single whip of her lasso and he was all but hogtied, dangling in the air like an oversized piñata. Cassie deposited him on the roof at Jaime's feet.
One look at the Blue Beetle and the man broke into pails of sweat. He opened his mouth to scream. Jaime made the suit's wings extend with a snap, his eyes glowing wicked orange.
"Don't even think about it, ese," he warned.
The man's jaw trembled. "G. Gordon Godfrey was right!" he panicked. "The Earth is being invaded by aliens!"
"Hey!" Jaime protested.
Cassie stepped in front to cut him off. "That's right, buddy, my friend's an alien. And if you don't tell us what we wanna know, you're going home with an alien beetle inside your brain that'll eat you from the inside out!"
"You...you ain't serious."
"You really wanna test that theory?"
Jaime unsheathed a bulky scanner to illustrate her point. It was non-lethal, but the fat, sweating guard didn't know that.
"Now," she said, her smile sickly sweet. "Where are the girls, who kidnapped them, and why? Answer quick, I don't know how much self-control my friend has."
The man held up his hands in surrender, his eyes glued to the scanner in terror. "It was all the boss, ok? The chick he was shacking up with had kids - nosy kids - and apparently they was snooping and overheard something they shouldn't've. They was about'ta take it to the cops before the boss...y'know...kidnapped them. But only because they heard some real damaging information!"
Jaime repressed a shudder of disgust. "What kind of information?"
"I don't know, man, they don't tell me this kinda stuff! I just watch the supplies!"
"And you're doing a bang-up job. What supplies?"
The guard hesitated. Sighing, Jaime activated the scanner, which started glowing a menacing white-hot blue light.
"Okay, okay! It's guns, lots of guns! Shipment goes out at dawn!"
"And what about the girls?" Cassie demanded.
"Well...once the deal goes down the boss won't need them no more, right? There's no ransom neither an' they've been getting on his nerves so..." He shrugged.
The taught scowl on her face deepened. "Right. Thanks for your cooperation. At ease, soldier." She swiftly chopped the back of his neck and he crumpled to the ground.
Jaime sheathed the scanner. He regarded the unconscious guard warily. "Cassie?"
"Yeah, Blue?" She knelt on the ground, busy swiping the man's keyring.
"I'm getting the feeling this is a lot bigger than we thought. I don't know, maybe we should call Nightwing."
"Sure, we could do that," she said distractedly.
He frowned. "Why do I have the feeling that's exactly what we're not going to do?"
"It's like you're reading my mind today, Blue." She straightened and began stretching her arms. The joints in her shoulders gave a hollow pop, eager to be active. "How long until sunrise?"
"Maybe four or five hours." The very thought made him yawn widely.
She smacked him on the arm. For her it was a light tap, but his arm wouldn't stop tingling for several minutes. "How can you be tired! We're about to blow this mission out of the water."
"Can you blame me? It's already two in the morning."
"Justice doesn't sleep, and neither do we."
"Estás loca. You really think we can take down a whole warehouse of armed thugs before dawn?"
Cassie grinned. "I'll race you."
It took them a grand total of two minutes to get caught.
"You there! What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Cassie froze in her tracks. Jaime stumbled to a stop, nearly tripping around the corner.
"Hi!" she said, flashing a guilty smile. "We were looking for the - um - bathroom?"
"Really? The bathroom?" The guard who caught them gave a sardonic smile and unclipped his holster. "That's the oldest excuse in the book."
Cassie gave a theatrical sigh. "Yeah, you're right, I should've just gone with the direct approach," she said as she brought her heel down on his man's head, smacking him into the ground.
Jaime slipped by at her signal, pausing to admire her work. "Chica, you are dangerous."
She shrugged. "Tell me something I don't know."
There was something liberating and free about zipping down hallways with Cassie at his side. No coms, no orders, no alpha-beta-gamma nonsense. Just the hazy idea of a plan and the loud thumping of adrenaline fueling their brains. Nothing to do but bust through, knock some heads, rescue some hostages, and save the day-
But it's amazing how the worst laid plans tend to blow up in one's face.
Jaime and Cassie broke through the doors and met a welcoming committee. Specifically, they found two squirming hostages, three dozen guns, and one very undeserted room.
His thoughts began wildly pounding against his brain. This doesn't make sense, he thought, bewildered. They were supposed to be guarding outside. Why -
The men were drawing closer, weapons cocked and ready.
"Well, well, looks like we got some super brats on our hands," a particularly ugly one sneered from the front line. "Stand down."
"A few guns won't hurt us," Cassie scoffed. Her fingers were itching by the lasso tied to her belt.
"True." The man grabbed one of the terrified girls by the pigtail and buried the muzzle in her dirty locks. "But I can't promise the same for the brats." Tears streamed down the girl's face as she struggled to scream against her bonds.
Cassie swallowed visibly. Their worst case scenario was coming true, it seemed. She raised her hands in surrender. The glare of disgust and anger in her eyes could have burnt through iron.
What now, what now?! Jaime's brain ran through the laundry list of weapons. Was there one that could incapacitate an entire room? Plasma cannon, razor blade, heat ray, sonic cannon, jet pack - no, that's not a weapon - Cassie!
Her hand was clamped to the side of her neck. With her other hand she had managed to deck the man who had snuck behind her who was wielding a thick hypodermic needle. It smashed to the floor, spilling a clear viscous liquid. Whatever it was, Cassie was not entirely immune. Jaime could see her strength waning. She began to mouth some kind of violent interjection, but her knees gave out too soon. In a second Jaime dropped all pretense of guard and dropped to catch her. She slumped in his arms, eyelids fluttering weakly.
"Wonder Girl? Stay with me, don't pass out, come on, Cass..."
The scarab seized its chance. You are compromised, Jaime Reyes. Grant me control of - !
Too late. There was a sickening crack as the back of Jaime's head burst with pain. For a moment, fireworks of light fizzled in his eyes. All fell dark.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed part one! Part two will be up next week, either Wednesday or Thursday.
Handy Dandy Spanish Glossary
[Hopefully most of these are common knowledge but I felt obliged to translate them anyway.]
ese = Spanish equiv. of bro, dude, etc.
Es más tarde para la computadora." = It's too late for the computer.
mijo = my son (affectionate)
niñas = little girls
Estás loca = You're crazy.