Assassin's Apprentice:

The Ruins of a Maze

Welcome to my story. Takes place between s1 and s2. So Dick is 15 and Artemis is 17 and Jason is 13 and that's all you really need to know at this point. Um, no pairing really planed, though Traught might happen, idk, we'll just have to see what the character's want, won't we?

Anyway, on with the story.

It was snowing when Artemis and Dick were walking home.

"This is not acceptable," Artemis complained.

"Why?" Dick asked, not understanding her pessimism as he practically skipped along.

"Snow is not allowed until after Thanksgiving."

"Tell that to Mother Nature," Dick laughed.

"Oh, believe me, there are a lot of things I'd like to tell Mother Nature," Artemis growled.

"Ignoring your womanly functions," Dick said, only slightly repulsed, "snow is great!"

"It is not! It is cold and wet and makes ice!"

"Relax, Arty," Dick laughed.

"I hate cold," Artemis mumbled.

"It's not that cold. And you may be right about wet but it's not even sticking to the ground so I think you're safe on the ice front."

"I'm just glad it's not snowing in Star City. I've got a stakeout with GA tonight and I would not love to sit through this," Artemis said.

"Well, I still have to run around all night in this," Dick pointed out.

"And you will have the time of your little gravity defying life," Artemis countered.

Dick laughed again. "Can't argue with that."

"I'll let you get to it then," Artemis said, going to turn down the road that would lead her to her street and away from Dick's home.

Dick waved farewell, and headed towards the parking lot Alfred always parked in.

The two expected the night to be uneventful, but while on their costumed rounds, both were attacked by an unknown figure, and knocked out.

When Artemis regained consciousness, the first thing she noticed was the cold. The cold of the sterile air that left her throat burned. The cold of the metal chair that left goosebumps where her skin touched it. The cold claw of fear she felt at the unfamiliar surroundings.

She swallowed back the cold and looked around. The room had a gray tiled floor, and white paneled walls. A florescent light shone down and a TV screen stuck out from the wall she was facing. A soft moan broke through her foggy mind. Taking a breath, she turned her head to the right. Robin sat in a metal chair identical to hers. The drugs were wearing off of him as well.

"Robin?" she called softly.

"Hmm?" he answered. He gave his head a shake and blinked his eyes several times. It was then that Artemis noticed that his mask was gone. A brush of her fingers across her face and neck showed that hers had been pulled down as well.

Robin stood up and stretched out his limbs since they had been left unrestrained. Artemis followed suit.

"Any idea where we are or who took us?" Robin asked as he pulled another mask out of his belt and slipped it over his eyes. It was a bit pointless at this point, but it gave him a more secure feeling.

Artemis slid her own mask back up before answering.

"None at all. Why would whoever they are remove our masks, but leave us unrestrained?"

She checked her bow string and counted off her arrow supply. The string was fine and she had the same amount of arrows as when she left for patrol with Ollie.

"And with all our gear intact," she added.

"Static in the communicators," Robin commented. He pulled up a holo-screen. "I can't connect to the Batcave either."

"So we have no way of contacting anyone, and seemingly no way of getting out of this room," Artemis said.

Robin walked over and began inspecting the tv screen. He plugged in glove and tapped a few keys.

"This screen connects to a camera feed not twenty feet away," Robin announced. "And there's a camera on the top of this," he tapped the top edge of the screen. "But that can be viewed wirelessly. Unfortunately, I can't piggyback the signal."

"So whoever has us here is probably watching from the other side of the wall?"

Robin nodded. "And will contact us when they're ready."

Artemis got up on her chair and began inspecting the lights.

"Well, I don't want to talk with them when they do so let's get out of here."

"Great idea, Arty," Robin said with a smile and passed her a mini screwdriver to help with the lights.

"While you do that, let's figure out who has us," Robin said. "I was doing some solo patrol in the packing district. A couple of muggings, the usual stuff. Um, I got a call about a jewelry store," Robin's speech slowed as he tried to remember. "I don't think I ever made it.

"Well, I guess that means we're only looking at one or two people. I was going through the packing district on my way to Star City," Artemis said. With a final twist, the light came loose. "Perfect," Artemis whispered as she began to swing the light down to access the ceiling.

She then cursed loudly in Vietnamese when the light was revealed to be connected to an outlet, giving them no way out from above.

"Fudge monkeys," Robin muttered.

Artemis stepped down from the chair and raised an eyebrow at him.

"You are a fifteen year old boy and those are the words you chose to use?" she asked.

Robin flashed a smile and shrugged.

"I have a little brother now. I have to set a good example."

Artemis snorted.

"Please. He's worse than me. He's been worse than me since he was six."

"Okay, so Agent A heard me use the 'f' word and said if he ever heard me use it again, I wouldn't have cookies for a month," Robin admitted.

Artemis laughed and sat down on the chair.

"And the truth comes out."

Robin faked a huff of annoyance and sat down on the other chair.

"You're dealing with this all better than I would have expected," Robin told her after a moment.

"Thank my dad for his great parenting. I've been waking up in doorless rooms since I was ten," she replied.

Robin's glove started beeping. He checked it and then let out his signature laugh.

"And mine's been teaching me how to get out of them since I was nine. That panel overt there is really a door," Robin pointed to the wall behind Artemis.

They got up and began running their fingers along the cracks between the panel and the others.

"I've got something," Artemis said.

Robin plugged the corresponding cord into the port and his fingers began to dance across the keyboard. In no time the door began to sink into the floor.

"Nice job, Rob," Artemis said.

"Oh yeah, I'm resplendent," Robin bragged.

"Can't argue with that," Artemis laughed, pulling at his brightly colored cape.

The door was slow, only about one fourth of the way down. Artemis carefully peeked over the top.

"It's too dark to see anything," she said. The only light in the next room was bleeding over from the light fixture in their room. And that light wasn't too bright to begin with.

With the door a third of the way down, Robin decided it was best not to wait until it had finished. He stepped back a few paces before hand-springing through the opening. He landed soundlessly on the floor and moved to the side so Artemis would have room to follow him. She did a few seconds later.

Robin hit the night vision setting on his mask. The room was long and narrow with a very tall ceiling. A catwalk stretched across the top of the wall in front of them. There was a door on the left side wall, but no stairs leading up to it. There were two doors, about 25 feet apart, under the catwalk. There were various sized crates scattered across the floor, with some stacked on others. Robin and Artemis were currently behind one of those many crates. Artemis got to see more of the room as the door finished opening.

There was a bang as a spotlight lit up the space between the two doors.

The door on the left opened, and an older man with a stark white pony tail walked out onto the cat walk. He was dressed in orange and black. There was a sword strapped to his back and an eye patch over his right eye. He stopped in the middle, where the spotlight hit him.

"Why don't you children step out where I can see you?" he asked, motioning to the lit spot on the floor.

Robin and Artemis shared a look before complying. Artemis had and arrow knocked and Robin had pulled out three bird-a-rangs.

"Deathstroke," Artemis spat.

"Slade Wilson," Robin growled at the same time.

The white haired man smiled.

"Welcome, Artemis Crock and Richard Grayson. None of those confused looks. You had your masks off when you got here. It is clear I know who you are."

The two stopped with their faked confusion and shot the man a glare.

"What do you want, Wilson?" Artemis called.

"Congratulations, you have both qualified to be my apprentice."

"Pass, seems more like a demotion to me," Robin interrupted.

Deathstroke continued as if Robin hadn't spoken.

"Unfortunately, there is only one spot available."

"Before you go any further, I'd just like to point out how cliché making us fight to the death would be," Robin interrupted again.

"Loyalty is something I admire, Richard," Deathstroke said. Robin did his best not to react to hearing his real name. "Fighting to the death may showcase your survival skills, but would hardly make me think you were loyal to the people you work with."

"So could you combobulate us on how you do plan to test us?"

"Behind those two doors is a maze or obstacle course of sorts. I will judge your performance and my new apprentice will be chosen from there. The loser, if they're still alive, can return to their lives."

"And just what makes you think we are going to go along with this?" Artemis asked, aiming her bow at Deathstroke.

He didn't react at all other than to call "Wintergreen" towards the door.

A man a bit older than Deathstroke himself came out. He had a boy of about twelve with him who's had a gag over his mouth and his hands tied behind his back.

Artemis and Robin couldn't hold back their gasps of surprise as they realized the boy's identity.

"If you don't go along with this? Hm, now there's a thought." Deathstroke took out his sword and began looking it over as he spoke. "I can't think of any reason why either of you wouldn't want to become my apprentice, but I supposed you've had those morals drilled into your heads from a young age." He glanced up at them. "Or at least Richard has."

Jason was struggling against his bonds and glaring daggers at Deathstroke.

"You were just talking about Jason, weren't you, Richard? Your 'little brother' did you call him? Though, I believe Artemis knows him as well."

Jason was still struggling, but was now trying to yell profanities at Deathstroke around the gag. The man sent a glare back at the boy before swinging his sword around at him.

"No!" Robin cried.

Artemis let her arrow go, but it ricocheted off Deathstroke's shoulder pad.

The sword stopped right before it hit Jason's throat, effectively stopping his struggling.

"If you don't comply, the sword will continue moving, and the world will have one less street rat to worry about."

Robin was sending a patented batglare at Deathstroke, and Artemis was going to break her bow in half if she clenched her hands any tighter.

"I see we have reached an understanding," Deathstroke said with an evil smile.

"I understand you're going to get an arrow in your remaining eye the moment Jason moves out of your reach," Artemis growled.

"Please, Artemis. Wintergreen may not look it, but he is just as capable as killing the boy as my sword is."

As if to prove his point, Deathstroke put his sword away to show Wintergreen's hand wrap around Jason's throat.

The two teens gritted their teeth in frustration, but lowered their weapons. Deathstroke signaled and Wintergreen removed his hands and began leading Jason away.

Before they left through the door, Jason got the gag and shouted "Kick the bastard's ass!"

"Told you he was worse," Artemis commented to Dick. He was still tense and glaring at Deathstroke. If they were going to make it out with minimum damage, Dick was going to have to focus.

Dick's glare lessened and he seemed more focused.

"For this portion of the test, I will allow you to use all the equipment you have at hand. The doors lead to two identical mazes. You each have an hour to reach the end. Your time starts now." And with that final note, Deathstroke left through the door.

Artemis started for the door in the left and Robin follows after her.

At her questioning glance, he replied, "He never said we had to go through different doors."

Artemis smiled at his quick thinking before opening the door and heading through.

Slade smiled as he watched the screen. Of course Robin would suggest working together. Despite being trained by the hero most famous for working alone, Robin would feel most comfortable in a partnership where he could protect his teammate.

Yes! First chapter complete. And for the first time I actually have my story planed out start to finish, all I have to do is type. I also have a sequel planed for this, so we'll see how that goes.