Chapter One: Her Protector

Artemis stared forward completely ignoring the Team screaming behind her. "Artemis, don't!" M'gann insists. "Artemis, she isn't worth it!" Wally cries. Artemis ignores them, staring at her older sister. "What will you do, Artemis?" Her sister teases. "You know if you release that arrow I'll jump; I won't attack or dodge, I'll jump. And you'll beat yourself up over this." Artemis's fingers tremble at the nocking feather. "You don't rule me!" Artemis releases the arrow. Jade falls back; off of the cliff, the arrow Artemis shot flew past her mask. Artemis throws down her bow and unclips her quiver in two swift movements before sprinting up to the edge of the cliff and diving in after her sister; into the black water. "Artemis!" M'gann and Wally call out simultaneously. "Artemis!" Robin says seconds after them. "Kaldur!" M'gann commands. Aqualad takes a step forward to go in after her when a Red flash pasts him. The only thing the Team sees is Red Arrow diving in. ""Where did he come from?" Robin requests as everyone stares wide eyed.

Jade twists her body around and is slightly surprised to see Artemis flying towards her. "Wow Artemis, you don't seem like the type to swim." Artemis's heart sinks as she realizes she still can't swim. "Shit!" She spat. Jade enters the water before Artemis does– and their entering periods are only millisecond intervals apart. Artemis reaches for Jade, snatching her hair. Jade is pulled back. Jade kicks Artemis in the torso. Bubbles escape Artemis's mouth as she loses air. Artemis's grip tightens. Jade kicks Artemis in the face. Artemis releases with surprise and loses more air. Then Artemis's eyes widen, and then slowly close as Jade's hand slams into the back of her neck. Jade swims away just as Red Arrow reaches Artemis.

Roy didn't even bother to glare at Cheshire as he always does. He just takes Artemis's underarms in his hands and swims up towards the surface. He breaks up to the surface and pants as he swims to a rock island not far from his position.

Roy drags Artemis's body up into his lap as he sits on the island. Her head is tilted back and to the right. His panting slows and his heart skips a beat as he realizes she's lying in his lap. Then he scowls angrily. Why should I care? She's hard headed enough to leap to possible death without a second thought just for Cheshire. She's so stupid… so headstrong… Roy lifts his hand and pushes back a lock of her hair. "Artemis!" Robin and Wally call as they slide down the side of cliff. Kaldur dives into the water. Super Boy lands on the island; shaking it and M'gann hovers down next to Super Boy. Wally races up to Roy and Artemis. "Is she okay?" M'gann wonders. Artemis moans as her eyes slowly open to Roy's angry face. A smile tugs on the edges of her mouth before she realizes who it is.

Artemis slams her hands into his chest and shoves out of his lap. "What do you think you're doing?!" she screams at him. Flustered and now furious Roy stands. "Saving your life, you should be a bit more grateful!" He shouts back. "I didn't ask for you to save me! I was doing fine on my own!" Artemis counters. "Says the girl who was floating unconscious!" "I may have lost a bit of air, but I was fine!" "You were not, you were as still as this rock!" "Look, I don't need help. Especially not from you." Artemis hisses. This hit Roy harder than he thought it would. "Fine, I won't help you, not now, not ever!" Artemis felt like she'd just been slapped. So she blinks back angry tears and turns her back on him. "I'm better off already!" She replies over her shoulder. Kaldur lifts himself up onto the island to see Artemis fuming off. "Uhm. Did I Miss something of high importance? Is Artemis well?" He requests with confusion. "Yeah!" Roy almost yells. "She's perfect." He mumbles the last part and pushes his wet hair back.

Artemis slams the door of her apartment shut with her foot and throws her bow across the room with an angry yell. She yanks off her quiver and tosses it at the hook both items should be on. The quiver drops to the floor; spilling out arrows. Artemis wasn't angry because jade got away. No. she knew her sister would be back very soon. She was angry because she'd gotten Roy angry with her. He'd saved her life, and she just yelled at him. Why did she yell at him? All she really wanted to do was wrap her arms around him and say 'thank you'. But she didn't; and she should have. Artemis knew she couldn't help arguing with him, because naturally they had opposite personalities; opposite styles of fighting… she didn't mind that. But she did mind that he thought that she's a mole; and that he hates her guts. She hated his guts too. Artemis peels her mask and costume off before throwing the both of them into her washing machine. Artemis is eighteen now, and moved out of her Mom's place to somewhere in the ghetto of Gotham a year ago. Artemis gets in the shower and slides a tank top on over her chest and underwear on her bottom. Artemis turns on her TV and slides under her covers. She stares at it.

"In other news there's been a string of disappearances in Star City. No one knows why they're being kidnapped or how…" Artemis slowly falls asleep.

"Recognized: Red Arrow, BO6." Roy enters Mount Justice very agitated. "What is it Dinah?" He snaps. "Now is that any way to greet your soon-to-be step Mom?" She retorts acidly. "Well, I'm not in the best mood so at this time it is a way." Roy says. "Be nice," Ollie intervenes. "Why did you guys call me all the way here?" Dinah glares hard at Roy who glares back before continuing. "As you know there have been multiple disappearances in the Star City metropolitan area; where you're supposed to be stationed–" "Don't go put the blame on me Dinah; I've been supervising the Team's missions in secret under orders of your fiancé. In return he's supposed to be patrolling for me. So don't start at me, start at him." Roy interrupts aggravatedly. Black Canary turns towards Ollie; her face demanding answers. Oliver nods, "He's right." "We'll talk about this later." She spat through her teeth. "We aren't sure why, but the kidnapper's been picking up hero females and once realizing they aren't right; dropping them back off. I have no idea why. So I want you to patrol tonight, and pick up clues." Dinah explains. Ropy shrugs, "Sure, I didn't have any sleep to pick up on." And turns away towards the door. "Roy," Ollie warns. "What happened tonight during the mission?" Dinah adds. "Nothing of importance." Roy says, looking at them over his shoulder. "Importance, or liking?" Ollie says. Roy is silent, and then disappears. Dinah sighs. "The tension was so thick I could cut it with a knife." She says. "Now, I have to deal with you."

Roy was pissed. Why did he have to patrol? He was already having a bad day, the last thing he needed was to do detective work. Why didn't they just call Dick? He enjoys this stuff. As Roy moves through the shadows, he notices Rocket. What's she doing out at two in the morning? Suddenly, some man swings a whip at her. It wraps around her body and she can't move. She falls to her knees. What the hell? The man pulls out a device and a skinny slender object. Roy decides that's his cue. He leaps out and jumps onto a car and opens his retractable bow and shoots from the across the street. The man steps out of the way of the shot and looks over at Red Arrow. Roy sticks the man in the face and he drops the two objects and whip. The man flees without a trace. Roy doesn't bother pursuing him he just releases Raquel and picks up the device. "A DNA matcher?" Roy says with confusion. "What did he want?" Raquel wonders. "I don't–" Roy pauses as he realizes what the slender object is. "An arrow?" Roy murmurs and Raquel scoffs. Roy goggles as he realizes whose arrow it is. "Artemis!"

Roy darts off; "Hey wait!" Raquel calls after him. "Red Arrow to Cave," "What is it Roy?" Dinah replies. "They're after Artemis," Roy says. "Artemis? Why?" Ollie wonders. "I don't know, but he was using her arrow and a DNA matcher against Raquel." Roy retorts. "That explains why he only kidnapped heroes with smaller powers." Dinah says to him. "I'm going to warn her," "Wait; here's what you need to do."

Artemis snuggles her head deeper into her pillow, still asleep. Her eyes open into small slits. She thinks to sit up instinctively, but doesn't. She's too tired. She realizes the TV is still on. Instead of turning it off she just closes her eyes to sleep again; deciding that what she thought she heard was nothing.

Roy was in Gotham; moving fast. He ran up the stairs to Artemis's apartment with his arrow nocked. He's relieved once he sees the door is closed. He retracts his bow and unlocks the door with his arrow before putting it back in his quiver. He silently closes the door behind him. Artemis's apartment is small; and almost exactly how he imagined it. The living room, to the right, a table and kitchen to the left and a short hallway dead ahead. He walks in long strides; unsure on what to anticipate. He stops at the open bedroom door. Artemis's blonde hair is the first thing he sees. Her bedroom is lit up by the blue light of her TV.

Artemis could've sworn she'd heard someone this time, so when she flies up out of bed; she's mortified at what she sees. Roy, at her bedside, watching her sleep. "What the hell is the matter with you!" She hollers. Roy is surprised to see her awake. She was sound asleep two seconds ago; literally. "You perve!" Roy glares. "Don't flatter yourself sweetheart, I'm here to warn you!" "That what?! That you were going to kill me in my sleep?! How do you know where I live?! How do you know my identity?!" Artemis demands, her face flushed. "Someone's looking for you. And it isn't for a birthday party," "Hate to burst your bubble, but I don't have friends. Or ties. Except for the Team but I don't trust anyone, especially not you."Artemis says as she climbs out of bed to face him. He looks down at her. "Even after I saved your life today?" "Hah!" Artemis snorts. "You aren't the only one who's saved my life before." "And that just proves what level you're at." Roy hisses. "You think you're all big and bad because you quit the Team? You know, abandoning your friends doesn't make you the best archer in the world." "No, but hard work and skill does. Something you wouldn't know anything about since you were put on the team as a sloppy replacement." Roy glares as he spoke. "Don't talk to me about hard work. You have no idea what I've been through to be on the Team." Artemis could feel tears building. "Get out." Roy' eyes narrow. "How do you expect anyone to take your seriously in Victoria's Secret?" he sneers. Artemis blushes with fury. He turns away to leave. Artemis follows him to the doorway. Roy comes to an abrupt stop, making Artemis bump into him. "I closed the door…" He murmurs. "What part of 'get out' don't you–" Artemis gasps loudly. She had turned to get her handheld cross bow when she sees the ginourmous gnome in her bedroom. She's frozen in place–petrified. But why? Why is she scared? She's never scared.

"Artemis, move!" Roy snakes his arm around her waist and yanks her into the hallway with just a red beam shoots at her. She screams with shock. Roy pulls her into the kitchen behind the counter. Artemis is panting and sweating and looking like she's about to faint. "Artemis, Artemis," Roy tries to croon. He'd never seen her like this, terrified. Or any emotion that wasn't smug or anger related. "Listen to me. Where's your gear?" He requests, willing to get it for her. Artemis understood this, and it comforted her. Helped her relax. Her bow, yes, her bow could save her, like it always did. "My bow–" Artemis stops and her heart flutters. "My bow." She realized she'd thrown it somewhere due to her anger at Roy. It's all his fault. Roy could see in her eyes something had happened and she couldn't place where it was. "Come on out baby girl," Artemis stiffens even tighter at the sound of her Dad's voice. "You know I'm impatient." "Sportsmaster," Red Arrow spat angrily. "Here, you take the gnome," Roy slips off his quiver and hands her his bow as it opens up. "I'll take Sportsmaster. You'll be okay." Artemis nods and a spear sticks into a cabinet and few inches next to them. Artemis goggles at it. Roy teaks her wrist and pulls her away from it as it explodes. They both fly forward as it explodes. They slam into the wooden floor. Roy groans and touches his head. He suddenly leaps back as Sportsmaster's fist sticks through the floor where Roy was. Sportsmaster yanks his hand out of the floor and springs at Roy.

Artemis groans and sits up, she leaps away as another beam is shot at her. Artemis pulls back an arrow and shoots at the gnome. The gnome growls angrily as the arrow sticks in his head. Artemis looks over as Sportsmaster punches Roy across the face. Roy recoils. Sportsmaster leaps up and kicks Roy, then knees him and punches him. Roy attempts to punch him but gets struck again. Artemis glances back at the gnome before shooting an arrow at her Father.