Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to save the world. She had long blonde hair, deep brown eyes, and a desire to help people. A drive to do good in the world, even though it was pretty hard for her to do that. You see, this girl was trapped. She was defined by her family, by her mother and fathers mistakes. They had done bad in the world, and so, logically, she would only do bad in the world too.

When she was young, her sister used to tell her wonderful stories about another girl. One with long blonde hair just like her, and she found a magical place. She fell down a rabbit hole, and then all these weird and wonderful things happened to her. She wore a blue dress, and sometimes the girl would close her eyes and picture herself in that blue dress, falling down a rabbit hole of her own, and finding some wonderful things. Her sister used to say that they were like Alice and the Cheshire Cat, and the girl used to smile and nod and eagerly ask for another story. The sister would sit in their room for hours, while the young girl listened to her sister tell her the story she loved again,and she would stare at the poster on her wall and put herself into the story as her sister told it.

Once upon a time that all fell apart. The sister's mother was caught for all the bad that she had done to the world, and her father had run. He had run to avoid getting caught, not that the girl would have missed him anyway. He was always mean to them. He taught them how to do bad, and that's not what she wanted. She wanted to do good. She wanted to save the world.

Without her mother there, her sister wasn't trapped anymore. She got out while she could. The girl knew her sister was sad, and that she didn't want to stay here, but if she left, then she would be all alone. She couldn't leave, she had to wait for her mother to get out of prison. Someone had to be there. Someone other than him.

But her sister just didn't see enough reason to stay. She packed her things, and she said her goodbyes, and then she disappeared like she always said she would. Like the Cheshire Cat. The girl knew that her sister was going to use what her father had taught her, was going to do bad. And she knew that if she wanted to, she could too. She could leave, and she could use her skills to get her through life.

But, you see, this girl didn't just want to get through life. She wanted to help people. She wanted to save the world.

So she stayed. She stayed even through her fathers harsh training and mean words, just waiting for her mother to come back.

Once upon a time, the girl was walking. It was nothing new, just a short trip to the grocery store at night, but it changed her entire life. Regular people, they didn't just take walks around Gotham at night, because if you live and Gotham and would like to continue living, you tend to stay of the streets at night. But this girl was different, and since she knew she could handle herself, and since she knew they needed milk, she had made the evening trip anyway.

It was when she was on her way back to her apartment, milk carton in hand, that she stumbled into a little bit of trouble. After all, taking all those alley short cuts was bound to lead her to danger eventually. The man that jumped out at her, he had a knife, and a mask, and demanded she give him her purse. When she politely declined, and he threatened her with the knife, she told him where she thought would be a good place to stick that knife, and then he got angry.

You see, the girl wasn't scared of this man with the knife. He didn't know what he was doing, really, and the second he got close enough to her for her to hit him without dropping her milk, then she would be on her way.

But before she could, someone swooped down to help her. A man, or a bat, dressed all in black, and his colourful noisy sidekick had shown up and before she could even tell them that she had this under control, the man with the knife was out cold. They were too fast for her to say much, but as she watched them swing away through the dark night sky, she had only one thought.

She wanted to be a hero too.

Once upon a time, this girl made a costume. It was a simple costume, pretty much just a green mask and a green cropped shirt, but it meant so much more to her. It was a symbol of something, the symbol of her finally deciding to do good. She was going to save the world, starting small, of course. So she set out, with a bow in her hand and her quiver on her back, and went to show Gotham what she could do.

She went out every night, sometimes saving people, sometimes just watching the bat and the bird do it first. She would go out every night and help people, stop little crimes. She loved it, she loved helping people, but she knew she wasn't saving the world.

Once upon a time, the girl saved some super powered kids from a rampaging robot. Well, that might not be exactly how it happened, but she did stop one of them from being crushed, and it turned out that the super powered kid she saved was one of the Justice League's sidekicks on a covert mission. The man in red was very thankful for her saving him, and she wondered for a second how close the Flash and his sidekick were. It would be nice to have someone that cared about her as much as he seemed to care about his sidekick.

The bat tells her he is impressed, which was as big of a compliment that she could ever hope to get off anyone. There was a man in green, and she thinks she's heard of him, the archer from Star, but she never was as obsessed with the League as everyone else at Gotham North.

He tells her that he's Green Arrow and that he wants to be her mentor, if she'll let him, and that he knows who she is but that doesn't matter to him or the others and he wants to give her the opportunity to help people that the little girl listening to the stories her sister told her never thought she would have. She just smirks because she can't give away to a leaguer and possible mentor just how much she'd wanted all this, acceptance and understanding and someone to appreciate just how hard she had actually worked to get here.

So that night she stays with Green Arrow, who didn't hesitate at all before telling her that he was Mr Queen even though something like that could wreck a person like him. She tries not to get too overwhelmed by the fact that he trusts her so much that he has no second thoughts about revealing his secret identity, and no one had ever trusted her before, and for once in her life she feels like maybe she won't have to go through every thing alone.

She learns that he'd just lost na sidekick, that he had walked out and now he had no one to shoot with, and she worry for a while that maybe she's just the rebound kid and he's just burning time until his real sidekick comes back. But she gets to know him and she learns that Ollie is the type of guy who trusts people, who lets people into his family and it baffles her for a while because she's never known a family like his, but he welcomes her into it with open arms. She meets his girlfriend, Black Canary, who greets her and tells her to call her Dinah, and it's so surreal because she is just legendary and for a while she can't believe that such an amazing woman would let her into her family like this, but then she has to remind the voice in her head that she deserves this because she is damn good at what she does and has worked hard to get here.

So she talks nail polish and recipes and martial arts techniques with Dinah while Ollie sews a big green arrow on the front of her costume, and it's strange, being accepted like this, but it's also nice and she never wants this feeling to end.

Once upon a time, she joined the covert ops team. It was strange, the idea of fighting along side kids her own age, but she tried to make a good impression and when that went to hell, she started being herself. It was hard to be an outcast in a group of outcasts, after all. There was a green girl, who eagerly told her that her earth name was Megan and that they were going to be best friends, and an attractive dark skinned boy who introduced himself as Kaldur, and spoke so calmly that Artemis was pretty sure she could fall asleep to his voice. He seemed to be genuinely pleased at having an extra pair of hands on the team, and she had always loved voices like his, the kind of smooth, soft voices that just melt in your ears. She was pretty sure that she would end up falling in love with him, so she made a mental note to be careful. The bats colourful sidekick happily introduced himself as Robin, even though she could sense his reservations about her. She wasn't sure if he didn't trust her or wether he was just happy with the team that he already had, but at least he tried to pretend to enjoy having her there. The other boy, the one who's costume consisted solely of a black tshirt and combat jeans, didn't say a word to her, offering only a grunt of acknowledgement in her general direction.

She began talking to the team, and she started thinking that maybe she could be happy working with these people.

Once upon a time, she met her Prince Charming. He rushed in carrying armfuls of beach supplies and shouting about a party, and she couldn't help but respond with a sarcastic comment when he tripped and ended up on the floor in front of her. He was cute, sure, and he wasn't wearing a shirt, so hot damn, but he was annoying and loud and rude and childish and not someone she wanted anywhere near her life. He had the opposite of Kaldur's voice; his was loud and flirty and distinctively not calm. She could have punched him in the face, but she settled for slugging him in the shoulder instead. They argued and glared and it got them in trouble, but she kind of liked getting on the wrong side of Kid Mouth.

Then there was Roy, Ollie's old sidekick, who was very angry all the time and doubted her skills which made her very angry at him. She had worked very hard to get to where she was, and she wouldn't have someone like him making fun of her just because she was a girl or took his place with Ollie or whatever. She was good. She had earned her right to be where she was, and had already proven herself to the league. Roy could suck it.

Once upon a time the team became her family. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and for the first time since she was a little girl and she would listen to the stories her sister would tell her, she was really happy. Kid Mouth, as annoying as he was, was becoming one of her best friends and slowly working his way up to being the person she trusts the most. He was still loud and flirty and childish, except now she saw it as kind of endearing, and he had become very important to her. Roy was still a jerk, but was growing less so by the day, and he was actually seeming to calm down a little. He still suspected her of being the mole, which kind of put a damper on their relationship, but she could tolerate him now.

She met Zatanna, and they hit it off almost immediately. They became best friends, and stuck together through everything, no matter what the world threw at them. And man, did the world haul some crap their way.

Once upon a time she messed up. Her mother told her that she had asked, no, begged Batman and Green Arrow to take her in, and that scared her. What if she didn't impress them? They could have just put her on the team to keep the kid with a bow who thinks she can save people out of their hair. What if she hadn't earned it? What if she didn't deserve it?

She got onto a mission with Roy and Kid Mouth, because she had to prove that She deserved her place here. She wasn't sure who she was trying to prove anything to- Batman, Green Arrow, herself. But she had to show that she belonged on that team.

She botched the mission.

Her sister was there, so was her father, and she couldn't tar the chance of them telling the team. Everything that had been building up for so long would fall apart, and then she would be stuck with nothing but her disappointment and rejection. Roy looked ready to kill her, which she could deal with. Angry Roy was just a part of her every day life. What really hurt was Wally's face when he found out what she had done, the look in his eyes like she'd disappointed him, and then having to lie straight to his face while he stormed off because he trusted her.

Once upon a time she let go off her secrets.

Superboy told them that Lex was trying to get him in on the Lights plan, and M'gann admitted that she was being blackmailed by Queen Bee. Superboy told them his real DNA, and it just seemed like the right time to tell them about her... less than stellar family tree. The team understood, and didn't judge her for it, and Wally saw why she botched up the mission and was there for her. Wally and his annoying flirting and terrible eating habits and loud, childish banter. She was so in love with him.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to save the world. She and her team had to fight an entire mind controlled Justice League, Vandal Savage, and Klarion the Witch Boy. But they succeeded, and the world was safe for a while because of them. Because of her.

She fell in love along the way. The annoying, childish, loud, flirty speedster somehow managed to weasel his way into her heart and stick there, and she didn't mind one bit. At the stroke of midnight he scooped her up in his arms and kissed her and she didn't want it to ever end, and it was right now, here in this moment, that she realised just how happy she actually was.

Once upon a time there was a girl who helped save the world. She had long blonde hair, deep brown eyes, and a desire to help people. A drive to do good in the world, even though it was pretty hard for her to do that. You see, this girl uses to be trapped. She was defined by her family, by her mother and fathers mistakes. They had done bad in the world, and so, logically, she would only do bad in the world too. But she outgrew her blood, she overcame her father, and she became the person she always wanted to be. She had good friends that were like family to her, a boyfriend that she loved with all her heart and who loved her back unconditionally, and a job she loved, saving people and being who she wants to be.

She supposed that this was her happily ever after.

No way, she was just getting started.