Woot! New chapter!
Okay so, I know I have a gajillion other fics to update, but I've been getting such an immensely positive reaction to this fic, I had to continue it first.
So! I just want to clarify that in this AU, only Dick, Wally, and Artemis are the thieves, everyone else is as they were on the show. Due to the trio not being part of the team, some things are a bit different, such as designation numbers, and their history.
Also, another thing, this AU does not have the "everyone's a Roy clone" plot line, so the Roy in this story is the original Roy, he still has anger issues, and that's pretty much it!
Once again thanking my betas who looked over this, mostly mimosaeyes, xwallartftw, and theravioliyoyo! So thank you guys so much for helping me and catching my silly mistakes!
I still own zilch.
November 4 -6am EST
"Dunno why Batman would have us up so early." Conner Kent rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, whispering to the team leader who stood on his right, Kaldur.
Gar groaned to his other side, barely keeping awake. "They're bats, since when do they have any sense of early or late?" His eyes drooped shut, and he fell into a deep sleep despite the fact that he was standing. But his body still swerved forward, and just as he was about to fall to the ground, M'gann swooped down to catch him, smiling as he blinked rapidly, trying to figure out what had happened.
Zatanna came in behind the Martian, sporting messy bed hair that she was trying to untangle. Raquel was also not too awake, dragging her socked feet across the smooth floors of the mountain, eyes barely open because of the bright light. They were all in their pajamas and socks, creating an interesting sight.
The rest of the Team slowly started filing in, Mal and Karen from the kitchen, Roy barely entering the room as he leaned against a wall near the hallways, arms crossed in his signature brooding pose, Red Tornado and Black Canary entering from the training rooms.
"Recognized: B-06 Batgirl. B-11 Robin. 02 Batman" From one of the zeta tubes Batgirl and Robin emerged, followed by Batman himself. Some seconds later, assorted Leaguers such as Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter came in from another zeta tube, most likely from the Watchtower.
As the Team settled themselves, forming a semicircle around Batman and the Leaguers, a holographic screen appeared, showing an intricately carved green stone, possibly jade, in the form of a rudimentary monkey. Conner emitted a low growl, and everyone understood why. He hated monkeys of any shape and size, and apparently that included stone statues as well.
"This morning, guards at the The Gotham Museum of Art sent out an alert that they were robbed last night of a precious stone, one that would be worth millions of dollars on the black market. The stone currently in the exhibit is a fake, placed by the thieves, and while it could pass off as the real thing, the curator saw through the ruse. With more investigating they were able to discover who was behind this.
"As you can see, the thieves are not garden variety. They're an expertly trained trio, part of the Shadows, and we need the Team to catch them and bring them in." As Batman spoke, three new screens appeared; one showing the Museum building, the next showed a map of Gotham, with a blinking red dot displaying the museum location. The last screen showed three teens, all standing with their arms crossed, wearing costumes and masks of varying colours and types.
"Why us?" Conner asked, crossing his arms. "Why would you need an entire team to take down three Shadows?"
"Well I for one wouldn't mind going in after them," Roy grumbled from his spot, not even looking at them, eyebrows furrowed, a grim expression on his face that could probably burn a hole through the ground if he had the power. It was understandable that he wanted to chase them down; after all, he had a long-standing history with the group they belonged to, the Shadows, particularly with one other member named Cheshire, so it wasn't surprising he wanted to settle the score.
"These Shadows members," Batman continued, ignoring both Conner's and Roy's comments, "are known as Nightwing, Artemis, and Vector. We're not entirely certain on their alter egos, but I'm sure some research will prove useful, and eventually help to apprehend them."
"Then," Kaldur stepped forward, taking advantage of the pause, "Are we to arrest them and recover the stone?"
"No," Batman responded, turning to face the Team's leader. "The stone is probably not in their possession anymore, and it will be up to the League to return it to the Museum.
"This will require a group of you to go undercover to 'help' them in their next job, and then with that, we will proceed to arrest them and recover the artifact stolen."
"Now," Flash spoke up, looking vaguely pale from the little of his face they could see, his voice somewhat strained, as if he was trying his best to keep his composure, "the problem is: who's going undercover."
"Not a problem." Roy straightened, walking up to where the everyone was standing, puffing his chest out a bit. "I'm going."
Green Arrow sighed, "Roy, you can't."
Red Arrow let out a growl, raising his voice. "And why not?" he shot back.
"Well..." Ollie rubbed the back of his neck, knowing they were getting into awkward territory.
Dinah, seeing that Ollie wouldn't give a straight answer, stepped up and answered, "You're too well known." Before Roy could come up with a retort, Dinah added, "Not only are you well known as a hero, but you're also known to the Shadows, because of your unusual relationship with Cheshire."
A snort was heard from somewhere in the Team, and Roy turned, ready to give an earful to someone. Zatanna shrunk away behind Raquel, trying to make herself more inconspicuous.
Before Roy could find the source of the chiding, Batman continued, "This mission requires experienced but unknown operatives, and no," he glared indirectly at the back of Roy's head "makeup won't work. This is a potentially long-term operation, and any inconsistencies or problems could compromise this mission, and get the Shadows on high alert."
Conner cleared his throat, not very interested in the social life of the rogue archer. "So who's going?"
This time, Aquaman responded, his regal voice echoing throughout the room. "Since some members of this Team are well known to the world, it's very hard to send them undercover, unless we were to provide an extensive disguising spell or costume, something which would take very long to prepare. Instead," here he paused for emphasis, looking around at all the teens before continuing, "we're going to send in Miss Martian, who can naturally shapeshift, Superboy, who has proven himself as a good type for undercover work, and Batgirl, who has the experience in undercover work, and is virtually unknown to the public as a civilian."
M'gann, Conner and Barbara nodded in understanding, but Roy was not too happy. "Are you serious? You'd rather put Superman's clone on an undercover mission?"
Conner wheeled around, letting out a huff, arms tensing and ready to tear the archer apart for that comment. M'gann quickly grabbed his arm, and set to talking to him, trying to calm him down. Green Arrow sighed, and walked up to Roy, gingerly placing his hands on the younger archer's shoulders. "Roy..."
"No." He shrugged the hands away, moving towards the zeta tubes. "I'm done with this." With that he turned around and typed the coordinates for his apartment in Star City, and walked into the machine.
"Recognized, Red Arrow, B-02," the machine prompted, lighting up the room with the beam that transported Roy away.
Kaldur let out a long, deep sigh, wondering why his friend had to be so temperamental. This was not the first time Roy left, that had been a few weeks after the Team formed, and when he returned nearly three months later, he was no longer Speedy, but rather Red Arrow, claiming that he was no longer a 'kid sidekick'. During that time he had gone undercover into the deadly League of Shadows, and managed to get into a relationship with the deadly assassin known as Cheshire, supposedly in an attempt to bring the Shadows down from the inside, but she had tricked him, blowing his cover, and that mistake nearly cost him his life. Thankfully he got away with only some bruises and cuts, though his ego was battered. After he had recovered, he returned to the Team and had been fine with his role there, but now that his biggest failure had resurfaced, he took it personally and left in a huff.
"Back to the mission at hand..." Batman stated, taking control of the situation again, looking towards the three Team members that would go undercover. "The three of you will go with Black Canary and Martian Manhunter to get your new identities, and change according to plan. The rest of you will be here, taking care of other missions and have a squad dedicated to figuring out more about the thieves. They've evaded law enforcement teams so far, but now we have the means to apprehend them."
Kaldur cleared his throat. "I'm curious, how did the League come by this information if they're so hard to find?"
Green Arrow answered, smiling. "Robin managed to find a back-door and cracked some of their files."
Everyone turned to look at one of their youngest team members. The boy smiled timidly, and prompted by Batgirl's elbow jab, he raised his arm and waved shyly.
Martian Manhunter cleared his throat. "Whenever you three are ready, we will begin. The rest of you can go eat breakfast while you wait."
Kaldur nodded in approval, and while the League and the three infiltrators left, the rest of the Team went towards the kitchen, getting things ready for a hearty meal.
"So, who wants coffee?" Zatanna asked, looking around the room at all the tired faces. Six hands shot up; the only one who hadn't was Gar, who had claimed the couch the second the meeting was adjourned, and was currently snoozing on it, tail wagging absentmindedly. Mal went to get out bread from some containers, and Karen rummaged the cabinets for cereal. Meanwhile, Kaldur, Robin and Raquel prepared the table, setting bowls, mugs, and utensils. Despite their sleepiness, they managed to get their breakfast ready in under twenty minutes.
Karen gently woke Gar up, and they settled down to eat. As they were around halfway through their early meal, the trio of infiltrators returned, looking somewhat different than when they last saw them. The biggest difference was with M'gann, who looked a lot like Tuppence Terror to those that had the displeasure of knowing the villainess. She was sporting long blonde hair tied up in a ponytail, and piercings in her ears, plus a scowl on her face making it really hard to see the sweet Martian that she actually was. Conner looked nearly the same, except his hair was now spiked up, the gel somewhat tinting his hair a dark shade of blue, and the spiky hair made his forehead look even bigger. Babs hadn't changed one bit in her physical appearance, but was now wearing civvies instead of her Batsuit.
M'gann walked over to them and struck a pose, "What do you think?"
"Very cool," Raquel nodded, impressed with the young woman's shape-shifting skills.
Conner just walked up to the table, grabbing a piece of toast from Gar's plate. When the younger boy noticed, he started swiping at Conner's hands unsuccessfully while chuckling, "Hey, get your own toast!"
Conner smirked, holding the toast just above Gar's reach, and in a gruffer voice, scoffed. "Sorry kid, it's mine now." But Gar wouldn't give up that easily, and started jumping up in his seat, trying to reach the toast, that kept going higher each time before Conner just brought it to his mouth, chomping a big bite off it. Gar pouted, but he knew it was all in good fun, and Conner ruffled his hair in exchange while M'gann watched the interaction fondly, glad that Gar was integrating himself so nicely with the team.
Babs went to get a cup of coffee and leaned against the island while Batman came back in with Canary. She spoke up first, while Batman was checking something on the cave's computer. "Now, keep in mind that in order to not blow their covers, you must not recognize them. They are unknown, and it's to be kept that way."
Now Batman walked up, to explain the next part of the mission, and how they'd infiltrate the Shadows' ranks. "They're a closed and exclusive group, so to join them, you need to interest them." Here Batman brought up the holographic screens he was preparing a few minutes ago. "From the hacked files, we know that they're interested in a painting in Metropolis. You are to acquire that painting, and if all goes according to plan, you'll then be contacted for an audience with Shadow's Masters. There, you will soon join the trio and eventually apprehend them during their next mission.
"Meanwhile, the rest of you will formulate a plan to pass along information to the infiltrators, and to catch the thieves when the time comes."
Canary continued, because the Team was starting to look a bit perplexed. "This will also serve as a test, to see how much you've learned, and will now be a solo mission, meaning that we're providing very limited help, apart from what we have already done."
Kaldur nodded. "We will not disappoint."
"See to it." With that, Batman turned around and left the Team and Canary, going back to Gotham. Dinah waited for a few seconds, to see if any of them had any other final questions, and soon left too, the other League members having left when the original meeting had been adjourned.
Kaldur looked around at the silent room, clearing his throat. "Let us clear the table and figure out our plan before we go on our different missions." And in five minutes flat, they were back in their seats, table cleared of their messy breakfast leftovers. Kaldur pressed a button and the table's top center panel slid down a few inches, allowing the light projectors to turn on and start up the holographic screen. This system was a new addition, put together by Robin and Mal while the former was sidelined from missions due to a broken leg. He and Mal were discussing ideas for how a more effective ops center could be put together, and their 6-hour brainstorm turned into a prototype holographic supercomputer that eventually became the Cave's main computer, allowing for the League and Kaldur to establish, plan, and brief missions, and for Mal, the ops manager, to oversee them.
"Now, Robin's the one who hacked these files," Kaldur turned to the younger boy, smiling softly, "Do you care to explain what you found?"
Robin nodded slowly and stood up, looking nervously around at the room before him to see if any of them were giving any silent indications or signals that he was doing something wrong, not quite certain how assertive he should be. He had never been one for being in the spotlight, so this was new ground for him.
"Well, uh, from what I found, the Shadows have a very wealthy client, who has been funding all these heists. We don't know his identity, but Batman said we shouldn't focus on him, and let the League handle the big shots. The trio are based in Gotham, so the apartment we rented for you guys will be there as well. Again, no word on their identities, but we weren't expecting an entire roster of the Shadows to be handed to us so easily. Now, these guys are listed as being on leave for the next week, giving you guys time to get integrated into the Shadows' network before their next mission." He awkwardly nodded, letting his speech die off, not sure what more to say.
"Thank you," Kaldur nodded, letting Robin know he could sit down. The latter did just that, relief washing on him. It wasn't that he didn't feel adequate, but rather, he felt like he was being tested. He had joined the Team a couple of months ago, not too far after the previous Robin had died, and he felt the entire Team was comparing him to the old Robin. Babs had often quelled those fears as best she could, but Tim still felt that he was being scrutinized.
His thoughts were interrupted by Kaldur starting his report. "As you can see, we still have plenty of research to do so, of the group that remains, Beta Squad will be researching. In charge of that will be Robin, Rocket, Bumblebee and Mal, and I will be in charge of keeping the infiltrators, Alpha Squad, informed, along with Zatanna and Beast Boy, as part of the Gamma Squad. Does anyone have any questions thus far?"
Everyone shook their heads, and Kaldur continued. "Now, we will meet again in a few days, after the three of you," here he turned to the Alpha Squad, "have acquired the painting. Beast Boy will deliver the location to your apartment so be ready for it. We will also deliver any other pertinent information if we find it. The three of you can leave now, and get your stuff ready to move in to your new home."
The members of Alpha Squad nodded and stood up. M'gann went and hugged Gar while Barbara ruffled Tim's hair. Conner looked to Kaldur and said, "See you in a week then." After they were done saying goodbye, they left; Conner and M'gann went to their rooms to gather some bags and clothes, while Barbara went back to Gotham to gather her stuff. They would then meet at their new apartment and work from there.
"Meanwhile, I think we could benefit from changing out of our pyjamas, and then we can get started." Kaldur smiled, getting a good look at everyone's assorted sleepwear.
Nov 4 -11am EST
Artemis stirred awake, slowly untangling herself from Wally's grip, heading towards the bathroom. She sat down on the toilet and smiled as she remembered last night's victory. Ra's had been very impressed with their process and success, so much that they got a bonus on top of their promised payment. They were now free for the next week, free to do whatever they wished.
For now, all she wanted was a good cup of coffee, one that she could smell was being made. Dick always woke up first - a habit he had picked up long before meeting Wally and Artemis. On the bright side, since he woke up early, he made their breakfast coffee. It didn't bother him to do it, and Wally and Artemis were thankful, because the first and only time either had tried, they had to rush out to buy fresh coffee because the machine was toast.
They had been very lucky in that the payoff from one of their first jobs had been enough to buy an apartment house in the richer part of Gotham, a 2-floor loft with a small mall within the first floor of the apartment building, which allowed them to buy necessities without having to leave the building, an especially great resource during those cold winter days.
Their loft had the usual - two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, and an office space. They had originally been worried about how they'd figure out the sleeping space, but they had agreed that none of them were interested in a romantic relationship with each other, so instead of having to decide sleeping arrangements, they'd share a large bed, using the second room as their operations center. They didn't really mind sharing the bed; it actually made for very comfortable sleep.
Artemis flushed the toilet and stretched with a yawn, then made her way downstairs to the kitchen, where Dick was sitting on the counter. Typical, since Dick hardly ever used a chair, except on those rare occasions that Wally and Artemis tied him to a chair to eat dinner - literally. He always had been an active kid, and with his growing up in the circus, he was hypercharged, and it made simple things like sitting down or being still very hard for him.
Artemis grinned, walking over to the coffee machine. "Morning, handsome." Even though they had sworn off on relationships, they flirted without inhibition. It made them more comfortable around each other, and looking at Dick's body, no one with hormones could resist him. Sculpted body and floppy charcoal hair with his dark blue eyes made a killer combination.
Dick chuckled into his coffee mug. "Nearly afternoon, Sleeping Beauty. Sleep well?"
Artemis nodded, walking over to the coffee machine. "A successful mission always gets me into a deep sleep." She poured herself a hearty mugful of coffee, and then went to add some milk. "So what do you think our next mission will be? Ra's was very secretive, but it seems like it's going to be a big one."
The hacker didn't answer right away, but his forehead scrunched, showing he was thinking about it. "Nothing comes to mind, but I can find out."
Before Artemis could answer, a yawn made them both turn their heads, and there they saw the recently woken up Wally, sporting a truly wonderful specimen of bed-head. "How d'you guys gettup s'early?" he grumbled, words slurring together, eyes barely open, shuffling his way straight to the coffee machine.
"It's nearly 11:30, Wally."
The speedster glared at Dick, not even giving him a response.
Artemis smiled into her cup. Morning Wally was always a riot, especially when Artemis and Dick ganged up to prod him. Dick drank the rest of his coffee, downing it in one gulp and jumped down from the counter, landing in a squat. He straightened and put his cup into the sink. As he left the kitchen he called back, "I'm gonna go put the money away and then get to researching our next mission."
Wally looked up, a bit more awake after having drank some coffee. "We already have new specs?"
"No, but we're curious."
Dick grabbed the duffel bag from the office room, and made his way upstairs. The second unused room they had was the master bedroom, and they had transformed into their operations center. The hallway of the upstairs floor was an open balcony in the shape of an L. Straight from the staircase was their bedroom, and turning the corner and down the hall was an array of bookcases embedded into the wall. Dick made his way to those bookcases and on the middle one, he found Ian Fleming's Casino Royale and took it out. He reached into the cavity in the bookcase and found the button hidden on the top. As he pressed on it, the bookcase swung inwards, revealing the master-bedroom turned ops-center. The room had one light table, as well as other various gadgets, gizmos and other collapsible structures. It was a dark room, the windows neatly boarded up to avoid prying eyes, and it served their purposes.
He moved towards the back of the room and prodded around the floor to get the fake floorboard open. Once he wedged it free, he took out the safe box with their savings, stored underneath. They didn't trust banks with their work payments, since any decent institution would get suspicious about their monthly deposits of tens of thousands of dollars. So they kept the money with them, taking out quantities as needed.
He opened the duffel bag and the box, and transferred the money from one to the other. Once he emptied out the bag, he organized the various stacks of bills so they all fit into the box, and then took out a few hundred bucks to cover their expenditure for the next couple of weeks. Dick then closed the box once again and carefully put everything back in place, finally stepping on the floorboard to shift it back in place.
By the time Dick went downstairs, Wally and Artemis were both done with their breakfast. The three made their way to the office where they settled down, and while Wally split $200 for each of them, Dick got ready to dig up some more on their next mission.
Nov 4 -5pm EST
Conner sighed, sinking into the couch. He had just moved in boxes upon boxes of equipment, and bags with clothes and other necessities. The apartment was miserable - one bedroom with two small ratty beds, a small bathroom with chipped tiles, and an open area consisting of a living room and a kitchen, the counter serving as a dinner table. It certainly wasn't any kind of paradise, and Conner scrunched his nose after taking a whiff of this house's smell. Clearly the previous owner wasn't big on personal hygiene, or air fresheners.
He was in charge of bringing everything, and M'gann would set everything up, while Babs was preparing for their mission to Metropolis. Though it would've been easier to set up camp in Metropolis for that, the main focus of their mission was in Gotham, so here they were, Gotham North, unpacking their stuff in this dingy apartment while Conner gradually went insane with the smell.
"I'm going out to get some air freshener before this stale air chokes us, does anyone need anything from the store?" Conner walked into what had been made the girls' bedroom, since he had insisted that he was perfectly capable of sleeping on the couch, and didn't want to impose on either of them.
M'gann was currently sorting her clothes into the drawers, and Babs was sitting on the mattress of her bed, furiously typing on her laptop. She didn't even look up when he came in, just shook her head no.
M'gann however, stopped what she was doing and started thinking, trying to remember if there was anything they needed. "Oh! You might also want to buy us some dinner on the way back, the oven isn't working too well either from what the landlord said. It could be a couple of days till it's fixed."
Conner grunted in response, turning around to leave, and M'gann smiled. He supposed she was trying to convey sympathy, but looking at her now, it looked more like an evil smirk, though he imagined that was part of the look. Since M'gann was usually the sugar sweet and cheerful kind of girl, this was somewhat jarring for him.
As Conner made his way to the door, he grabbed his trusty leather jacket, shrugging it on. Walking to the store, he went over their plan. Tonight they'd work on how they'd acquire the painting, and tomorrow evening they'd steal their loot, hoping to gain an audience with the Shadows, and then the big mission, where they were going to try and con some of the best con artists in the Shadows, and bring them to justice. Piece of cake.
And that was chapter 2!
As you can see, the trio has their own lifestyle, and no, this will not turn into a love triangle. They're friends, they flirt, and they get along together. They sometimes have their disagreements and arguments, but no love.
And yes, the dead Robin Tim mentioned is Jason, I thought it'd give some backstory to Tim's shyness, trying to be the second Robin and not mess anything up.
So, next chapter will probably be out sometime this month, I don't want to make promises, but it's half-written, ish.
Thanks for reading and everything, don't forget to leave a review!