A/N: Haven't written a ton lately, so decided to try something I've had in the writing bank for a while. Short piece, but I wanted to at least attempt something new for me.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


Lasso of Truth

She's trying to pull twigs and leaves out of her hair because Nightwing decided to put a super secret entrance to the new "hideout" behind a big ugly bush; really, why a bush? Disgusted, she drops it all in the trash and fixes her headband before smoothing out her shirt and checking her lasso. Then she turns around and stares right into his unmasked face.

His hair's all short now and he looks entirely different from Red Arrow, so different that it almost terrifies her considering they should be the same person. Should, but aren't. He's a rebel, a reckless mess. Most importantly, he's not on the team. Which makes him something of a threat to the security of their location. And what really scares Cassie is that she can see his eyes, his dead-serious, cold-hearted eyes.

"Y-you're not supposed to be here," she sputters out, pressing herself up against the sink, white-knuckled fingers gripping the edge; she can actually feel her strength leaving marks in the tiles there and has to loosen her grip.

"I just wanted to talk w-"

Her foot lashes out and kicks him against the wall. The sound of his body slamming into the wall is sickening. But while he's limp and recovering, she pulls out her lasso and wraps it around him tightly enough to hold him still but loose enough to not kill him, despite how much she sincerely wants to. "You're not on the team anymore, Arsenal," she reaffirms fiercely to assert dominance before growling out, "So what in the name of Athena are you doing here?"

He cannot lie, not that he has any intention to do such a thing. "I wanted to talk to you, Cass."

"Don't call me that," she snaps and almost pulls tight her lasso so that it could break a bone or two.

"Alright, alright," he hisses and wriggles to try to keep himself from getting seriously hurt. He looks up at her and the dark storm of frustration is already bubbling in his eyes; it freaks her out. He's a loose cannon and her control may only last so long.

Her lips are pursed, and she tries to keep her eyes stern and severe. "What do you want with me?" Cassie does loosen her lasso, really not wanting to hurt him so mercilessly. It wasn't like he was fighting back...

"I wanted to know if it meant anything."

She blinks a couple times at his vagueness. "If what meant anything, Roy?"

"When you kissed my cheek. If you were serious. I just want to know if you were being serious with me, Cassie, that's all." Suddenly, he sounds genuinely desperate and those eyes break into big pools of ocean blue, the brewing storm vanishing as fast as it'd appeared.

Really, she can't figure out what to say. There's a whole lot of things that she meant with that gesture, but explaining it to him... Explaining it sounds bad even as she says it to herself in her mind. And his bionic arm leaves her in a bad position right now.

He spoke up before she could. "I want to find a reason to bring myself back. I'm happy with Sparky and the rest of the gang, they're all fine. But it's not what I want. I want something stable and solid, and they don't offer that. This team does." He looks down for a second. "I can't just bring myself to come back, my honor and a lot of other bullshit. But you might make it worth all that shit. Because I don't want to fall back on Oliver or Roy or Dinah. I want to live with this team. And if I have you here to hold me and help me stabilize, I think I'd be okay. Nightwing wouldn't trust me for a long time, but I'd be better. I'd try to get better."

And she's genuinely choked up. Because he cannot lie.

Now she can't figure out what to say, her own throat feels thick with saliva and she can't find what words she wants to say. Well, she knows what to say and how to help him up to a better place and to bring him to safety again, safety with the team, with family.

But she cannot lie. Her integrity keeps her from doing so. She would love to help him up and carry him and lead him back to the security and love that this team could provide him. But her heart wants Robin, the Boy Wonder. She's intrigued by his mystery and his mask, she's in love with his innocence and unwitting charm, and she's head over heels for his skills and knowledge. She cannot lie to her own heart.

What that kiss meant, in it's entirety, was pity and hope at the same time. Pity because he was such a lost boy, literally and figuratively: no home, no faith, no sanctuary. Hope because she wanted to lift him up and tell him that he wasn't so alone and that he was going to find something some day, maybe not love, maybe not family, but something. There was going to be a future for him, and she wanted to reassure him that he could have something.

She didn't think he'd take her so seriously. And she couldn't imagine herself ever loving him, which deeply upset her. He had a decent heart even though he was headstrong and broken. It would just take some work to really turn him around entirely, but he could do it, and she truly believed that. But she wouldn't be the one to lay her heart out to try and help him and fix him.

"Did you mean it?" he asks again, his voice straining as he can see so many things flickering behind those lovely sky eyes, he's really not sure what she's thinking, but he can see her lips parted slightly, the lower one quivering as if there are words there just hiding from her as she tries to grasp them.

In all sincerity, no, she didn't mean it. And she doesn't want to say that. She'd rather bite her tongue off than tell him the truth. Cassie can imagine him crumbling right in front of her; she wouldn't be able to go to Nightwing, to Conner, to anyone with this. He broke in, he would be in so much trouble, but he wants to try so hard to clean himself up and to get better...

"Cassie," he begs, but he somehow feels like he knows the answer and his fate. "Did it mean anything?"

"No," she murmurs, voice soft and lowered to almost a whisper. Her heart is breaking for him. He wants so much and just needs someone to hold his hand and carry him into his Heaven. But she cannot be his savior. "I'm sorry, Roy."

He goes limp in her lasso's hold. He can't say he's alright. He can't say he's not crushed. So he stays silent to keep the truth from spilling out.

"But I will help you, Roy." Cassie kneels down and lets her lasso loosen around him even though she knows she shouldn't. "I'll talk with Nightwing. I'll see if I can't get you, all of you, help with the League and with the team. If you'll just be patient with me and try to behave for a while-"

"I can't," he tells her softly before beginning to work his way out of her rope's hold. "I won't." And now he can lie, but there's nothing more to lie about. He lets her lasso fall to the floor again.

"Roy-"

"I'm gonna go." He gets to his feet and flexes a little bit to shake the soreness of hitting the wall from his now aching limbs. "I won't tell anyone about anything, don't worry about that, Cass."

She's silent, trying to find words to get him to stay, but nothing's coming to her blank mind.

And he leaves, crouching in the darkness and moving between shadows, finding his way to the secret passageway in the bush and then out into the open Bl├╝dhaven air...

All Cassie can manage to say is "Don't call me that" into the empty bathroom as she fingers her limp lasso. She waits for her legs to remember what it feels like to move, but they are lead.


A/N: Please leave a review? First shot with this pairing, even in just a sort of friendship setting, but I actually like how it turned out. Thanks for reading.

~Sky