pI am so, so sorry for how long this took. It's been just under a year since I last updated this story, and honestly, I don't have a good excuse. I've just been incredibly busy in the last year and I've not really had the chance to think about this story much.

Also, I feel the need to point out, that this is probably the wrong time to start picking up old stories I'd forgotten about since I start my GCSEs in just over two weeks, so I'm about to have my life be entirely ruled by exams. So this isn't so much a triumphant return to this story so much as it is a reminder that I'm still alive, and I still know this story exists.

I'm super sorry, but my exams finish on around the 20th of June (I forget the exact date), and after that, I will have an entire summer of no worries and lots of time to write and work on things. This is one of the things that I intend to work on.

Sorry for the long ass authors note, but to conclude; my life is hella booked up due to exams, but I will still try to churn out fiction as fast as possible for all of you lovely people reading this. Enough rambling from me, I hope you enjoy the chapter!/p

pBack at Reds apartment, Arsenal had set up his laptop so that they could see where Luthor was going, and had already started downloading the footage on his arm into the device. He had set up camp in Red's front room- he had bags and tech cluttering his small apartment, and the table was covered in various screens, keyboards and holo-computers./p

p"Please tell me that upload is almost done?"/p

p"I'm just looking through the footage now." Arsenal replied, not taking his eyes off the screen./p

pRed came up behind him to watch over his shoulder, despite the glare that got thrown his way. "I don't like people looking over my shoulder, you know." /p

pRed just laughed. "Yeah, I do know. I know most things about you firsthand, remember?"/p

pArsenal didn't say anything after that, and he probably would have blushed if he didn't get so good at controlling his embarrassment so long ago./p

pThey sat in silence for a while, Arsenal scrolling through a few hours of footage and audio, before they came across the important stuff./p

p"There." Arsenal announced, switching the video from fast forward to normal play, pointing to the large ship that was sailing towards the dock. /p

p"Yes, I know." Red acknowledged with a roll of his eyes. "I can see the giant ass boat sailing right into the shot."/p

pArsenal shot another look over his shoulder. /p

p"Sorry. I was being mean again, wasn't I." It wasn't a question, more of a statement, but Arsenal nodded all the same./p

p"Yeah. Just watch the footage." /p

pArsenal hit play, and they both watched with deep concentration what was happening on the screen. Lex pulled up in his car of darkness with his big goons towering over him, and the small man in the lab coat scuttled off the ship, but it was the next conversation that they were most interested in./p

p"Well?" Lex prompted, causing the small man to flinch slightly. "Do you have it?"/p

p"Oh, yes sir, Mr Luthor!" The man said, his voice an octave or so lower than Red expected it to be. He seemed quite threated by the goons that Luthor had brought with him, which is odd, since people usually only do business with Lex if they're tough enough to survive in the criminal underworld. This guy looks like he could be swallowed whole by a large pigeon and not put up much of a fight. /p

pHe proceeded to open the heavily locked case that he held in his hands, and Red watched his every movement as closely as he could. After he had opened the case, Arsenal rewound the video and replayed that section, slowing it down and zooming in on his hands to see how he opened the case. The was a regular lock that he opened with a key, then a fingerprint scanner, followed by a code lock and another regular lock and key style latch. Except the last lock seemed to be some kind of tech lock, that could only be opened by a kind of encryption key that Red had never seen before. /p

pExtra security was way understating it. This briefcase was more secure than most military volts./p

pAfter that section, Arsenal let the video play at normal speed again./p

p"Is that it?" Luthor asked, smiling and nodding at the little green bottle nestled cosily in the briefcase./p

p"Yes, sir. That's the only vial of it to exist in the world right now." The small man bumbled, pushing his glasses further up his face. /p

pLuthor looked at it with that smile, exuding that happiness that seemed to foreshadow bad things in the near future, then gently placed it back in its maximum security briefcase./p

pThe small man piped up again. "And you said you can reproduce it? It could be extremely powerful in the right hands." /p

pRed scoffed a little. Luthor was far from the 'right hands', that was sure./p

p"Yes, I'm sure I'll be able to reverse engineer it. Shouldn't be too hard." Lex paused and looked at the man. "You say you got this from the Reach ship?"/p

pThe man nodded, and Arsenal and Red exchanged a glance that basically said "this cannot be good"./p

p"Excellent." Lex muttered absently, still staring at the little bottle even as the man started to close the case./p

pAfter that nothing else was said, and all they could do was watch Lex get into his car and watch the small man scurry back to his ship./p

pThere was silence for a while, Arsenal controlling the holo-screen via the controls on his bionic arm. It looked like he was working on getting up the tracking details on Luthor, and Red was perfectly okay with watching him work in silence./p

pApparently Arsenal was not./p

p"Hey, can I ask you something?" Arsenal asked, out of the blue./p

pRed was tempted to pull the whole 'you just did' thing on the kid, but he remembers how much that used to annoy him when Ollie did it./p


p"Okay," Arsenal started, lifting his eyes from the holo-screen now that it didn't need him to steer it anymore. "I can't out hack Batman, so I can't get into his records. And Ollie's computer system is practically prehistoric," Red snorted, he used to tell Ollie over and over again that it needed an upgrade, "so I've read next to nothing about you and your life."/p

p"Okay..." Red prompted, curious as to where the younger boy was going with this./p

p"It's just... I hardly know anything about you. Do you have a real life? Like with people in it? Do you have a job? Do you do things that aren't superhero related? I mean, I don't actually know what you do with your time, and you can't possibly just be Red Arrow all the time, right? Do you do things as Roy too?"/p

pRed smiles as thoughts of Lian and Jade crossed into his mind. "Yeah, sometimes. Why?"/p

pArsenal's eyes were flicking back and forth between the screen and Red, something seeming to need his attention but wanting to hear the story as well. He seemed good at multitasking, if right now was anything to go by. "Just wanted to know. What sort of things do you do?"/p

pRed thought for a second. "I've been trying to get my life together. You know, sort myself out. I want to have a happy life, that's all, and it was all going pretty well until..."/p

pAn image of Wally's face, smiling and happy, probably planning a stupid prank or something equally ridiculous flashed through his brain, and he found it hard to breathe all of a sudden. /p

pArsenal seemed to pick up on it and changed the subject. "So you found me and then decided it was time to get your life in order again?"/p

pRed hesitated for a second before he answered. "Yeah, but I started trying to sort my life out before that."/p

pThat seemed to surprise Arsenal, because his eyes widened for a second, and he sat up a little straighter, like he knew what Red was going to say and that wasn't it. "Really? Why? Other than wanting to be better, I guess." He stopped and thought for a second. "I thought I heard Ollie say that you were too stubborn to stop ruining yourself over me."/p

p"Well, Jade talked me into it, to be honest." Red said, getting up to go pour himself a glass of water. "You want anything to drink?"/p

p"Yeah, can I have a glass of water?" Red keeps forgetting that they're the same person. Sometimes, they're just so different, they clash with opinions so often that it's so easy to forget that they're the same. It's so easy to forget that he's just a carbon copy of someone else. It was just so easy to forget that they were the same, because they weren't./p

p"So," Arsenal started again, "who's Jade?"/p

pRed stopped for a second and mentally cursed. Shit. No one told Arsenal about Jade. Which probably means that no one told Arsenal about Lian, and this is always an awkward conversation to have. /p

pHe filled both glasses with water, and he could feel Arsenal's eyes burning into his back./p

p"Is she your girlfriend?" Arsenal asked with a grin from the couch./p

pRed walked back over and handed him his glass. "She's my wife."/p

pArsenal's eyes almost doubled in size, but the quickly got himself under control. "Your wife?" He was clearly shocked, that much was obvious, but he tried to conceal it. "Wow. Congratulations, I guess. You're supposed to say congratulations when someone gets married, right?" /p

pRed laughed. "Well, thanks anyway. We've been married for a few years though, so I'm not sure that I still need congratulating."/p

p"Really?" Arsenal looked actually surprised this time, and wasn't making any effort to hide it this time. "I had no idea." He looked lost for words./p

p"What? I don't strike you as the kind of person who could hold down a long term relationship?" Red teased with a smile. /p

pEvery so often, him and Arsenal could be comfortable around each other. There wasn't hate there like Red thought there would be, like the hate Red had for himself for stealing eight years of the younger boy's life./p

p"I don't even know. I never thought about it. It never even crossed my mind." He still looked a little shocked, but he seemed more relaxed now. "So, do I get to meet this woman of yours?" He asked with a smile./p

p"Probably, I don't see why not." Red answered, taking a sip of his water. Got to stay hydrated in this business. "She'll probably be back some time soon, I asked her for some space because of..." Red trailed off, thinking back to the last time he spoke with his wife. /p

pHim telling her that he needed the space, and that he just didn't want to be around her or Lian right now. That he didn't want them to see him like... Well, the way he was. Jade understood, of course, she was brilliant, and if anyone understands needing space it's her. But she made sure that she told him before she left that she and Lian love him, and that when he was ready they would get through it together. She probably wouldn't be gone for long, he didn't think she would run out on him, not after how hard they worked the first time. They could get through this too./p

p"Because of all the stuff that happened." Arsenal finished for him, nodding sympathetically./p

p"Yeah." Red swallowed the lump in his throat and tried to continue. "I think she'll be back pretty soon, she'll want to meet you. She's kind of the reason that we found you, so you should really thank her."/p

pArsenal raised his eyebrows. "Really? How come Ollie or Batman or Nightwing never brought her up?"/p

p"She helped me off-the-record." Red added, clarifying./p

p"So she's not League?" Arsenal asked. Red knew what he meant by not League. He meant she's not an affiliate of any of the Justice League teams, which leaves few other options and the cogs were probably starting to turn in Arsenals head already./p

p"Depends what league you're talking about."/p

pArsenal's brows furrowed. "What does that mean?"/p

p"She used to be with a league." Red mumbled, taking another drink from his water. "The League of Assassins."/p

p"Wait, what?" Arsenal questioned, sitting up fully straight. "You married an assassin?"/p

pRed would've snickered at the look on Arsenal's face right now, if it didn't seem like such an important time. "Yeah, that's the story in a nutshell."/p

pArsenal looked like he had just been slapped in the face. "Seriously? How did you even meet?"/p

pRed thought back to the first time he met Jade, her Cheshire mask worn so proudly on her face while she killed people. She didn't do that anymore, /

"We met on the job." Red replied with a small smile. He was so stubborn back then, so adamant to work alone and find his own way into the Justice League. That was the wrong way to go./p

p"You mean you stopped her trying to kill someone and you just connected!?" It looked like Arsenal was having a hard time believing all if this, and Red couldn't really blame him. If someone would have told him this six years ago he would have laughed in their face./p

p"It wasn't exactly like that." He wasn't sure how it actually did happen, if he was honest. Whole years of his life were just a long blur, but he could remember certain things. He did have some good memories of that time, even if he was drunk for most of it. He hung on to those memories./p

p"Is there anyone that actually knows about this?" Arsenal questioned persistently./p

p"Yeah, a few people, why?" Red asked, raising an eyebrow./p

pArsenal still looked pretty dumbstruck. "And they approve?"/p

pRed chuckled a little. "Well, Ollie flipped a table when he found out, bu-"/p

p"Wait, hang on." Arsenal interrupted. "Ollie knows about this? And you're still out here living your life instead of wrapped in six layers of bubble wrap and tied to the sofa in his basement?"/p

pRed couldn't help but laugh, since that had been exactly what happened when Ollie had found out about Jade, but he managed to talk Ollie into letting him go. He could handle himself, and Ollie knew that, even if he didn't want to believe it. He had made some very bad decisions over the course of his life, though, so he couldn't really blame anyone for being apprehensive./p

p"Yeah, I managed to explain everything to him." Red replied with a smile. It wasn't quite as simple as that, but it was a very long story that Red just didn't feel like divulging. Ollie would probably tell him eventually, anyway./p

p"Wow, so one of the League of Assassins was partially responsible for saving me." Arsenal took another gulp of his water. "So, any other bombshells your waiting to drop, or..?" He trailed off at the end, and Red knew he wanted to know. It was probably a trust thing, the kid did seem like he had trust issues. /p

p"Well, there is Lian..." Red thought he'd mentioned Lian before, but if Arsenal didn't know about Jade, then the chances of Red having brought up Lian and Arsenal not asking question after question about her, were very, very low./p

p"Lian?" Arsenal asked, tilting his head slightly in confusion. "I think Ollie mentioned her before. What is she, an ex girlfriend serial killer or something?"/p

pRed rolled his eyes. "I don't have a thing for murders, idiot." Arsenal just raised his eyebrows. "Sorry. I'm being mean again, right?"/p

p"Yeah, but I kind of asked for it that time." Arsenal muttered with a small smile. "So, who is Lian?"/p

p"She's my daughter." Red said, turning away from Arsenal's face to take another sip of water. When he turned his attention back to the younger ex archer, he had to stop himself from laughing and spitting water all over the computers in the table in front of them. Arsenal was sat with his eyebrows knotted together, staring right at him like he was waiting for Red to say 'haha, fooled ya!'or something equally as Ollie-ish. Red stopped himself laughing, but he couldn't keep the small smile from meeting his face. He was waiting for Arsenal to talk first, but it didn't look like that was going to happen, so Red spoke anyway. "What?"/p

pArsenal continued to look pretty dumbstruck. "I don't know. It's just... You're not just messing with me, right?"/p

pRed laughed. "It'd be pretty lame prank."/p

pArsenal continued to look gob smacked. "It's just weird... Never mind."/p

pRed raised an eyebrow. "What?"/p

p"No, it doesn't matter." Arsenal almost whispered, shaking his head./p

pRed narrowed his eyes, but decided to drop it for now. "Okay, whatever." Red sighed with a shake of his head, deciding not to question it anymore. For now, anyway. "Is that thing done yet or what?"/p

p"Just a couple more seconds..." Arsenal trailed off towards the end, typing something into the holographic screen floating in the air. Red hated a lot about the holo-computers, but if there was one good thing about them, they were space savers, that's for sure. You wouldn't believe the amount of storage that had been freed up since everything went holographic./p

p"It's done." Arsenal announced, his claim supported by the little ping of the computer finishing its search. "That took forever. Your tracking tech could use a lot of work."/p

p"Hey, I'm not Batman, okay? Take what you can get or get out of my apartment." Red barked, before he came up behind Arsenal to look at the results on the screen./p

pArsenal turned away from the results just to raise his eyebrows at Red. /p

p"I'm being mean again, right?" Red asked with a small sigh. He really didn't mean to upset the younger boy, or anyone really, but he had a habit of using his snappiness to pushbr /

people away, and since he recently lost one of the only people to ever see past his snappiness (he tried to not let the pain show on his face as the thoughts of Wally passed through his mind again), he had started making an effort to dial it down, in an effort to stop pushing people away (like Wally said he should)./p

p"It's okay." Arsenal replied with a smile, turning back to the matter at hand. "So, it took a little longer, but I got Luthor's entire route plus where the car is parked now. Also as a bonus I checked all the security cameras in that surrounding area and managed to piece where Luthor went on foot from there, so I can say with about ninety six percent certainty that he's hiding out in this warehouse."/p

pArsenal had pulled up a map of an area in downtown Star, showing a seemingly abandoned warehouse just within the borders of the Glades. Lex wasn't the type of villain or man to conduct any sort of business in a place like that, usually opting for a LexCorp building or a high security office despite how obvious a headquarters it may appear. But for Lex to be working off the grid like this... It must be something really big./p

pSomething much, much bigger than any of them./p