I don't own Naruto or Young Justice
Star City; Seattle; December 6th 2013; 9:31PM
Bernall Jones wasn't just an investigative reporter, he was also a loving father to a bouncing five-year-old baby girl; after the divorce they were forced to move to a small apartment uptown but, they made the most of it. As he tucked his daughter into bed, he kissed her forehead and gave her a smile, "Sleep tight."
"Goodnight, daddy," she responded gripping the covers and pulling them up to her shoulders. This warm and touching moment was ruined when a crimson-substance shot from the open window, sticking to Bernall's back and yanking him out ten stories over the sidewalk.
Jones opened his eyes when he noticed he was suspended in mid-air, hanging by the same force that pulled him from his daughter's room; he looked up quickly in fear to find an intimidating man sticking up right on the wall outside of his window. He wore full-body skin-tight armor with a mask over his face emblazoned with an arachnid, "You were warned, Mr. Jones; no one likes a crusading reporter."
"Please! Please, not in front of my daughter!" Bernall pleaded.
"Oh, sorry," Black-Spider replied with obvious satire glancing up toward Cassie peeking out the window, "No can do, you know how it is, I'm on a deadline…" his eyes narrowed under his mask as he suddenly changed his tone to one of a deadly serious nature, "And so are you."
With that, the assassin released his grip sending the reporter to his death or he would have if an emerald arrow hadn't hit the ground beneath him, releasing large amounts of foam over the sidewalk that caught Bernall safely.
Black-Spider analyzed the buildings across from the sidewalk finding two archers, silhouetted by moonlight, unleashing several arrows at him, each one narrowly missing and digging through brick. He maneuvered around them and spun another web-like substance at a building, using it to swing away but, neither Green Arrow nor Artemis would let that happen, leaping from rooftop to rooftop to keep pace with him.
"I don't suppose you guys could turn a blind-eye and let me go on my marry web-slinging way?"
"Not a chance!" Green Arrow shouted as he readied an arrow a second too late allowing Black Spider to let go of his web and plant his feet on the heroes chest, knocking him to his back with the assassin pinning him; Artemis fired an arrow which Spider avoided by backflipping over her, dodging another arrow which exploded mid-air, and landing gracefully on his feet behind her.
She turned on her heel firing an arrow which expelled a boxing-glove, hitting him in the gut and knocking him back further, "Good girl," Green Arrow announced rubbing his lower-back, noticing his own slowly growing age, "Take the lead on this one!"
Using a nearby billboard to spin a web from, Black Spider swung across the roof attempting to escape until Artemis fired a sub-zero arrow at the web, shattering it and sending him free-falling until she fired a netting-arrow which sent him to the ground back-first. He struggled to get free but, failed miserably squirming in his confinement.
"Bonus points for poetic justice," Green Arrow noted toward the Spider caught in someone else's web giving Artemis a wide smile across her face.
After about twenty minutes they finally made it to the Star City zeta-tube hidden as a run-down telephone booth abandoned behind an old ally-way.
"Did you see the look on that goons face?" Artemis recalled excited about another night as a Justice Leaguer's protégé, "Well, he was wearing a mask but, did you see the look on his mask?"
Arrow chuckled and opened the rusty booth doors, "Right," she responded, "Calming down, see you next week?"
"Wouldn't miss it."
He watched as she was whisked away at light speed, disassembled at the molecular level and put back together somewhere else; it wasn't until she was gone that he spoke up, "Been watching long?"
Red Arrow stepped out from behind him, "Long enough to know she's improving; what did you wanna talk about?"
He turned around to face his former side-kick, "The Justice League had an all-hands-on meeting last week, a vote for new members; with the growing number of super-powered vigilantes around the world, plus the team and this new super-ninja guy…"
"What's your point, Ollie?"
He stepped forward to the young man and placed a hand on his shoulder, "You made the cut, but, do the right thing and join the team first, please?"
Roy turned away but, seeing as how it was his only way into the League, he let out an exasperated sigh of defeat, "Fine."
Belle Reve Penitentiary; Louisiana; December 6th 2013; 9:31PM
Having been given the exact time intervals down to the second, it was more than easy enough for Sportsmaster to work his magic on the prison's defenses; he scaled the wall at the exact moment where rotating camera units were faced away from him. He moved toward a blind-spot and removed a metallic panel he'd been told about in advance, looking within he noticed the maze-like laser grid security. Glancing down to his military-grade stopwatch, it beeped once and the grid shut down without fail.
"Right on schedule, Warden Strange," Sportsmaster crawled through the ducks, making his way deep into the prison air conditioning system.
He dropped down from above in front of the maximum security cell-block for non-meta-humans, swiping an all-access bypass card which opened the floor to him. He approached one cell in particular which seemed average enough but, it was shrouded in darkness.
"You're out of the penalty box."
The man stepped into the light revealing himself as Professor Ivo who had been captured shorty following the Amazo incident back in August; he dusted off his orange jumpsuit with a sigh, "It's about time."
Meanwhile, in the medical ward for injured or unresponsive prisoners, an old and crippled Tio Morrow lied on his back deep in a coma-like state, trapped within his own mind. The mediocre hospital equipment kept his body barely alive but, his expansive brain was lost to time.
Professor Ivo sat down at a metallic chair beside his bed, "Ah, my dear Morrow, how the mighty have fallen."
Warden Strange stood not too far behind Ivo, staring off without a word, he was being paid quite the sum of money to allow tonight's proceedings to go off without a hitch.
Ivo chuckled, "Well, hideous as you are, I refuse to abandon you. In fact, I intend to stop by daily to remind you of your overwhelming failure," he paused for a moment before stuttering, "I-It's my P-P-Pleas-Pleasure…" his head fell and his eyes went white.
Strange walked from behind and pressed a single button on the back of Ivo's neck which rebooted the convincing android, "My pleasure."
Elsewhere, miles from Belle Reve, a white semi-truck pulled away from the prison and made its way to the highway where Sportsmaster and the real Professor Ivo sat comfortable in the back.
"Thank you, Sportsmaster, my liberation was more than overdue."
Gotham City; December 6th 2013; 10:22PM
After changing into a black tank-top, denim jeans, brown thigh high boots, and a brown leather jacket to go over it, Artemis grabbed her cup of tea and sat on the recliner in the living room across from her mother's wheel chair.
"You should have seen how happy that little girl was to have her father back," she said recalling every exhilarating moment.
Paula sipped from her identical cup with a smile, "This life suits you, Artemis, most mothers would be horrified but, for me it's a relief," she looked away obviously thinking of her eldest daughter and ex-husband.
"Thanks, I do try," Artemis chuckled before taking another sip.
"And I was very impressed by that boy you brought over, after he explained what happened he was so well mannered, although; are you sure he isn't a bit too serious for you?"
"Mom!" Artemis stared down into her cup looking at her own smiling reflection, "He's perfect just the way he is."
"He reminds me so much of Batman when he first approached me with Green Arrow about your… activities," Paula closed her eyes sipping tea as though she hadn't said anything wrong.
"Us. You mean how Batman and Arrow approached us after they found out it was me prowling Gotham at night in a hoodie and a wooden bow," Artemis kept her brow raised waiting for her mother to admit she was wrong, hoping she would admit she was wrong.
After about thirty-seconds of silence, Paula sighed, "I am your mother, Artemis; Batman discovered you playing vigilante on your own and confronted me first, I gave them permission to recruit you."
"You talked to them first? What did you say?" She put her cup down quickly and placed her feet on the ground without standing.
"Well, I just begged them to shape you into a her-"
"You begged them!? So, what? I'm some sort of pity recruit?" She stood and headed for the door, grabbing her keys off the hook beside it.
"Artemis, please! You're taking this the wrong way!" Any other mother would have run after their teenager storming out but, unfortunately Paula was forced to watch her leave, trapped in her chair.
Mount Justice; Happy Harbor; December 6th 2013; 10:35PM
Sasuke gave a long breath before flexing every muscle in his body; his chest tightened, veins popped all across his arms and forehead, and his sweat turned to steam as his body heat increased; the holo-ring gauge read 'Error' trying to make sense of the spike in power coming from the shinobi. Blue chakra energy exploded around him, sending surges of electricity across the ring, "Fourth Gate: Gate of Pain, open!"
Naruto cupped his hands to project his voice over the roaring wind of Sasuke's incredible power, "You're doing great! Try to go further!"
His jaw was too tightly wound to respond but, he attempted to push further to the fifth-inner-gate anyways; as he closed his eyes willing his chakra through to the next pool, he felt his body slowly being torn apart. Every cell burning as if it was melting his muscles clean off his bones, "I-I ca-can't!"
The energy dispersed suddenly and sent Sasuke to his knees, huffing for breath, "It's insane, the amount of physical torment Lee must've suffered to go into the seventh gate…"
Naruto tossed him a towel which he just barely caught above his head still looking to the ground, "Yea, It's my understanding that it gets easier the longer you do it; good news is, I can feel your power approaching Madara's, soon it'll be an even fight."
"Soon isn't soon enough," Sasuke muttered standing and wiping his brow from the sweat, "But I think training is over for today."
"Recognized: Artemis B07."
"Hey Artemis," Naruto announced as she stomped towards them without responding. She grabbed Sasuke's arm and pulled him towards the dormitory in the mountain-base.
His bones were still sore, and it felt as though his muscles were on fire, "Agh! What?" he shouted in discomfort, even his healing factor wouldn't kill these pains without a full night's rest.
"We're going to your room and we're having sex."
Naruto blinked, "I'm gonna… go…" his ability to warp through space-time had never been so useful before; reality folded over him sucking his body through the kamui dimension. He'd gotten so proficient at this ability; he could use it without even activating the Mangekyou Sharingan just as Obito Uchiha once did.
"Because, I'm angry and I need an outlet!" she looked away and sighed, "or a distraction."
Sasuke pulled his arm away, grabbing the towel he'd dropped and swinging it over his shoulder, "How about we just talk about what's got you upset?"
"Oh yea, the healthy answer, that's what I needed…"
Sasuke rolled his eyes, "Whatever," he turned back toward the holo-ring without a care until Artemis stepped forwards grabbing his arm.
"I'm sorry I'm being sort of a bitch," She led them both toward the living area where the couch, kitchenette, and TV where all waiting for human interaction, "I just found out that my mom practically begged Batman and Green Arrow to let me on the team."
"Yea?" he responded with his stoic, he wasn't fully invested in her problem but, he was trying to get better at worrying about others.
She threw her hands up dramatically, "Yep! I'm officially a charity-case!"
"I don't think anyone on the League would ever bring someone in based on charity," Sasuke sat down on the couch and rested his burning legs, "You were just as skilled as Robin and Batgirl were; the only reason she had to beg was because she's an ex-con."
Artemis plopped down next to him with an exasperated breath, "Sometimes I forget I told you that; I guess I just thought they brought me in because they were super impressed by me."
"You are pretty impressive," he noted as he laid his head back looking up at the ceiling, "I think you're reading too deeply into it; you have nothing to prove."
"You really think so?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes over toward her without moving his head, "Your first mission was on a provisional basis, I decided whether you were right for the team, not Batman, so yea I do think so."
Sasuke chuckled a bit, barely, his face deflating into its usual stoic; he noticed when he caught Artemis staring at him, "What?" he replied bluntly, almost rudely.
"You have such a nice smile," she laid back putting her head on his lap, reaching her hands up to his face, pushing the corner of his lips up to simulate a smile with her index fingers, "See?"
He swatted her away lightly without smiling, "Quit it," she could tell he wasn't serious as she reached up again putting her hand on the back of his neck.
"Ya know," she raised her head a bit and yanked his face down toward hers, "I was only angry before but, now that your sitting here without a shirt…"
He scoffed, "I didn't change my mind," his monotonic tone didn't faze Artemis in the slightest.
"I wasn't asking," she reached for his belt buckle and pushed him over ramming their lips together with passionate lust also knowing them onto the floor.
New Orleans; Louisiana; December 6th 2013; 11:15PM
A damp, rusty, abandoned warehouse in the most rundown district for miles was the only place a number one wanted criminal could truly stretch his legs without fear. Sportsmaster led Professor Ivo through a dark corridor which eventually extended into a large assembly line, long since shut down.
When they finally had some moon-light to work with; Ivo and Sportsmaster were met with Klarion the Witch Boy, his familiar Tinkle, The Brain, and his ape-lackey Monsieur Mallah.
"You aren't Tio Morrow!" Klarion shouted in disgust.
Sportsmaster took a moment to introduce his guest, "Klarion, this is Professor Ivo."
"I didn't order this," the witch-boy waved his hand and turned his nose as though he were in a fancy-restaurant, "Send it back."
Ivo scowled at being belittled in such a way as Tinkle leaped onto the sorcerer's shoulder and mew'd loudly into his ear, "Morrow is in a coma? Did I already know that?" he grabbed his chin trying to drudge up the memories from his trip to earth half-a-dozen decades ago.
"Morrow's skills have been in a coma since the 1940's but, I won't stay where I'm not wanted," Ivo complained closing his eyes and folding his arms.
"Don't get pouty, I invented pouty, literally! I was the first pouty kid; summer, 972 AD."
"Fine," Ivo groaned looking around, "Where is my equipment? And work space?"
"Delivery is in the works," Sportsmaster ensured.
Gotham City; New York; December 7th 2013; 8:42PM.
Artemis sat on the fire-escape just above the disguised teleporter, staring down at it as if it were going to jump up and bite her; "Okay, so maybe I wasn't brought in because I impressed them…" she stood up and grabbed the railing, "I just spent the last four months doing nothing but!" quickly pulling her knees up to her chest, she leaped over the rail and landed next to the booth.
"I've got nothing to prove, I'm one of a kind," she jabbed her thumb into her chest for the personal confidence boost before strutting into the teleporter and vanishing in a flash of light.
Mount Justice; Happy Harbor; December 7th 2013; 8:44PM
Immediately after being materialized and announced by the zeta-tubes, a crowd of heroes were gathered in the center of the holo-ring including Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Batman, Red Arrow, and Pain. The rest of the team were also gathered behind them only, in their civilian clothing, "Artemis, glad you made it! Guess who finally agreed to join the team?" Oliver put a gleeful hand on his former side-kick's shoulder.
Even though Roy looked less than thrilled, everyone around him still seemed excited especially Wally whom practically jumped for joy, "Finally!"
"Sure…" Artemis practically scoffed putting her hands on her hips and eating her own words from moments earlier, "Team's needed a real archer."
"We know, we've been trying to convince him for- Agh!" The speedster ceased running his mouth as Robin jabbed him in the side with his elbow.
Sasuke stepped forwards standing next to Batman as Artemis joined the group, "Apparently, Roy is joining the Justice League; his membership here is temporary…"
This brought some relief to her but, not enough to quell the anxiety of loosing what little ground she's gained since her joining this group; Batman approached the holo-computer and the images he pulled up immediately flushed any relief from the archer's body.
"Sportsmaster was spotted coming through Louie Armstrong New Orleans International Airport…" The screen displayed his image and statistics for everyone to see, his mugshot was uncanny.
"In full costume?" Zatanna asked from the back, "Nerve-y"
Green Arrow sighed, "In street clothes…" they pulled up CCTV footage of the mercenary in a jacket and baseball cap, moving through the crowds of the airport.
Batman continued, "Facial recognition software picked up his I.D; Suit up and find out what he's up to in the states."
Pain folded his arms, "All of us? A bit over kill, don't you think?"
Red Tornado didn't hesitate to give his two-cents, using artificial brain to make the most strategic decision, "Perhaps a small group, Ms. Martian's camouflage ability would be useful."
She perked up at being mentioned but, Pain quickly put that idea to rest, "I was thinking less raw meat; Roy, Aqualad, and I can do it alone," he gave long sigh, "I'm not trying to be out all night."
"Tonight's roster is up to you as leader," Batman added.
M'gaan shrugged towards Conner and Zatanna as Wally and Dick also gathered with them, "We could always use the night off? I had plans with Naruto, anyways."
Artemis darted her eyes to the side, tightening her fist, "I want in; other than M'gaan and Conner, no one has logged more hours piloting the Bio-Ship," they all turned their glances to her.
Oliver cleared his throat, "Are you sure?"
Pain deadpanned through his helmet and turned toward the hangar-bay, "Whatever, let's just get this done."
On the Bio-Ship, Pain helped Roy load one of their bikes into a lock that would allow them to fly without it shifting throughout the cabin, He didn't take his single Sharingan off the bike as he spoke, "You could have refused the team and still become a Leaguer but, I know you didn't join for the comradery."
Roy scoffed in return, "Let's cut to the chase, I know Artemis isn't shooting straight, I don't trust her and I don't trust you."
Pain locked the bike and stood upright, "I don't really care what you think of me; my eyes see secrets, I could tell you had ulterior motives."
He folded his arms and glared back, "Is that right? What are your eyes seeing now?" He held out his middle finger and turned around walking away.
M'gaan, Naruto, Conner, Zatanna, and Dick strolled into the main holo-ring with Wolf in tow, "No offense guys but even my boredom is bored," Naruto yawned.
"Maybe a night off wasn't the best idea…" M'gaan sighed as she leaned into the jinchuriki, locking her arm with his.
Superboy rubbed the back of his neck, "Red Tornado," the android turned around from his holographic map that he was marking for another assignment, "Got any good stake outs for us?"
"I do not," he dispersed the hologram and formed a vortex beneath his feet, "You must amuse yourselves," he punctuated his sentence by floating up into his miniature 'apartment' in the ceiling, shutting behind him.
"That's Red Tornado's apartment, right?" Zatanna asked.
"So? Red Tornado doesn't eat, or sleep, or change clothes, or watch TV; so, what does he do in there?"
They all looked up towards the hatch with curious expressions and mischievous smiles.
Orleans Parish; December 7th 2013; 9:52PM
Roy spotted Sportsmaster from a grassy hill a few hundred feet away, dressed in black pants, a crimson sweater, and glasses that analyzed the boat he was loading into the water. He jumped in and lit the engine up, speeding away into the open waters, "Target's heading north," Roy spoke into his communicator as he quickly jumped into a bush where his own jet-ski fired up and took off, following at a safe distance, "Pursuing but, maintain a safe distance. That goes double for you Artemis."
Up in the Bio-Ship, she groaned and glared at the screen, "Thanks, what would I do without you," she voiced sarcastically.
Aqualad pursued beneath the waters, swimming at nearly eighty-knots; Sportsmaster pulled into a swampy area where he jumped out, landing ankle deep in water but, proceeding forwards anyways.
Pain appeared from thin air, as if he'd been following the entire time with no one seeing him, walking on water and strolling next to Roy as they slowed to a stop behind their target, "He stopped," Pain announced, "Hold your positions, I'm going in for a closer look."
He activated his Mangekyou Sharingan and used his flash-step technique to vanish with blinding speed; he appeared thirty feet from the target, lurking atop a tree branch, he noticed the target checking his watch, obviously in wait for something, or someone.
Artemis narrowed her eyes, lowering the still camouflaged Bioship and dropping herself to the ground, dipping behind a tree to avoid being seen. She knew it was dumb but, she had to look good, she needed to prove she was good enough. She peeked at her father slowly and carefully, as to not make a single noise, even silencing her breath as she'd been taught by-
"Hey, sis," a smooth female voice cooed from atop a branch just above her, leaping down to stand in front of Artemis; her wide grinned cat-mask was intimidating enough without her twin sai being waved around, "Long time no 'reveal who you really are to all your friends', right?"
She narrowed her eyes at Cheshire, who leapt and came down with her blade; Artemis didn't hesitate to loose arrows at her, each one being cleaved apart before doing any damage. She blocked the blades with her industrial-steel compound bow, sparks flying as she engaged in close-quarters combat; moving forward with a roundhouse, Cheshire dipped back and swept her feet out from under her, putting her on her backside.
Artemis surprised her by swinging her legs and spinning on her back akin to break-dancing, she landed on her feet and sent a concussive arrow into Cheshire's chest, knocking her back on her heels, "Nice one! Did Canary teach you that? I bet you run out of arrows before I run out of sword! Unless you plan to break out the pointy ones to use on your own sister?"
Artemis lowered her bow a bit and scoffed, "Why shouldn't I? You are working with Sportsmaster!"
She suddenly gained an incredibly serious tone, growling in response and pointing her blade at her, "Not my choice, not my call!"
"Then, whose call is it?"
She regained her composure, "Sorry, just because I know your secrets doesn't mean I'll tell you mi-" she was cut off as a crimson arrow cut through the air, barely missing Cheshire as she dodged to the right.
"Why, Arrow, if you wanted a second date, all you had to do was ask."
Artemis practically popped a blood vessel, "You two are dating?!"
Cheshire rolled her eyes beneath her mask, "Ugh, why deny the attraction, Crimson? After all you're here, aren't you?"
Sportsmaster pressed his finger to his communicator which was connected to Cheshire's mask, "I read you, keep them occupied," suddenly, a train sped through the tracks where he was standing, one of the cars opened up as it passed tossing a suitcase into the mercenaries arms.
Pain appeared on the other end of the tracks as the breeze from the passing train fluttered the tips of his cloak, "I'll be taking that."
"Sorry, it's a priority shipment, can't be late," Sportsmaster dropped marbles from his sleeve into his hands, tossing them at Pain's feet, exploding with massive gusts of tear-gas, or what he assumed was a riot-level deterrent. Pain could still see him as he ran but, he didn't have time to pursue before he was stopped. As the mercenary made his way back to the boat he turned around and launched a hurling disc into the gas. Sasuke effortlessly dipped to the side but, was careless in letting it detonate in front of him also igniting the flammable gas that had actually been released.
The explosion shook the tracks, and gathered everyone's attention from the wooded area, except Cheshire's, "I'm so fond of you both I couldn't stand to hurt you," she dug her swords into the ground, "Much."
Stepping forwards into close quarters, Artemis simultaneously kept herself in Roy's line of sight, ruining his shot whilst keeping her sister at bey. She was managing her own until a surprise shuriken sliced her forearm, forcing her to drop her bow, collapsing back onto her hands. Red Arrow didn't hesitate to shoot the arrow he had prepped with a 99% accuracy rate and, yet somehow, the projectile flew through the gap between her legs as she contorted into a provocative position, "I do yoga." She took this distraction to toss a small group of explosives the size of firecrackers at his feet, stunning him long enough for her to vanish into the darkness.
He took aim, trying to get a lock on her as she surprised him from behind, tackling, disarming and mounting him in under fifteen seconds. She dragged her blade up against his neck softly, "Too bad, lover boy," Taking her mask off, she pressed her lips against his, he didn't pull away but, he didn't exactly enjoy it, either. She made sure her sister recovered and saw them before breaking her connection with his tongue, "But, at least a kiss is still a kiss."
Suddenly, she felt cold steel against her own throat as she pulled away from Roy; Pain was looking off into the distance, following Sportsmaster with his Sharingan, "This is over," he grabbed her by the shoulder and rag-dolled her, tossing her into a tree twenty-feet away.
Instead of focusing on how she split the wood with her impact, she focused on getting away instead; Pain approached slowly, twirling a kunai between his fingers, "You remember how this ends, yea?"
"Oh, surely," she responded using the most subtle of movements to surrender with her hands in the air and also activate a switch on her gauntlets, "It's why I always come prepared now…" he grabbed her arm which sprayed his unfiltered mask with a green acidic substance. It sizzled as he backed away, it singed his skin and lungs, he coughed exhaling it, "Nerve gas; a special formula just for you, I don't remember what Vandal Savage said before he gave it to me but…"
He backed away as Roy and Artemis aimed their bows at her but, by the time they'd readied an arrow for her, she vanished completely.
Pain's mask was melted, revealing half of his burnt face, "She's not afraid of me anymore…" He turned on a dime and grabbed Artemis's shoulder pointing her in her Father's direction, "Artemis, Sportsmaster's boat, tracer arrow, now!" He slowly recovered as she took aim but, sighed as he was too far for her projectile to reach.
"He's out of range…" she was interrupted as Roy stepped forwards and pushed them both out of the way.
"Ugh, move," he took aim at a different angle, fired the arrow hitting the top of a tree and getting enough air to fire a small rocket-powered tracer that propelled it to his boat engine.
Roy immediately jumped down to the swamp-side as he got back on his jet-ski, "You're abandoning-" Artemis was interrupted by the engine.
"I'm prioritizing," Roy responded rudely over his shoulder as he took off after Sportsmaster.
He was gaining on his boat; he turned and narrowed his eyes at the crimson-archer and tossed miniature marble explosives at the head of Roy's jet-ski, sending him forwards into the water. He used his arms to shield his head from the debris of a flaming four-hundred pound vehicle, one piece of the wreckage did manage to hit him in the head, stunning him.
Sportsmaster stopped for a moment and looked around before narrowing his eyes down into the water; walking to the back of the boat he picked the tracker off its engine and tossed it into the water along with multiple explosives. Aqualad reached out and grabbed the tracer, not seeing the explosives that came with it until it was too late, detonating around him.
His Atlantean skin protected him for the most part but, he still felt the sting of combustion, even underwater; he quickly swam thirty feet to the bottom of the lake, grabbing and pulling Roy upwards to safety.
They resurfaced as Aqualad dragged his long-time friend onto the lake-side, "You will not leave me yet, old friend," his tattoo's begun to glow bright blue which pulled the water in Roy's lungs right out of his chest. He sat up quickly with a long gasp for air, coughing a bit afterwards as Kaldur splattered the water into the dirt.
"Thanks, I guess that's two I owe you."
"Who's counting?" Kaldur smiled and helped him up.
They looked around as Aqualad concocted a plan that just might work; "Aqualad to Pain, I have an idea."
The shinobi took a few seconds to listen as he nodded in agreement, "Problem, she already disappeared," he deadpanned into the communicator.
"You mean Cheshire? I put a tracer on her sword, no big-" Artemis was cut off, expecting a tad more praise.
"Never mind," he corrected, "We have her traced, rendezvous back here."
Pain walked away, closer to the edge of the lake where Aqualad and Roy would eventually turn up, she'd spent a long time with Sasuke and could actually tell when he wasn't paying attention. In fact, she could plainly see he wasn't taking this entire mission seriously, at all.
Another train zoomed passed behind her, turning as she saw it, she figured if she led them to a dead end and solved the mission herself, she would be praised. Not to mention feeling partially responsible for the sins of her family; she turned on her heels, readied, and fired another tracing arrow in the span of three seconds. The tracker hit the side of the training, giving her the perfect wild goose for her team to track.
Pain, Kaldur, and Roy discussed the happenings as Artemis joined them moments later; "So, Artemis got the tracker on Cheshire," Sasuke looked to her as she integrated into their huddle, "Good work."
She pulled her tracker from her belt and showed it to them after glancing once at it, "Cheshire is heading north…"
Roy folded his arms, "Sportsmaster was going south, kinda like this mission."
"Maybe she'll double back, maybe he will…" Artemis defended.
Kaldur intervened, "Regardless, they will eventually reconvene, and when they do, we will be ready."
Pain spoke for the first time with a casual sigh, "I saw Sportsmaster get a duffle from someone on a train, we need to find out what he's smuggling."
"Maybe, if you stayed on the Bioship…" Roy frowned.
She scoffed, "I saw Cheshire sneaking up on you."
"Then you radio a warning," he said a bit louder stepping forwards as she followed his example.
"And if she found you by hacking our comms?" She stepped up.
He growled, "I could have handled it…"
"Didn't look that way when she mounted and kissed you in the middle of a mission!"
"That is so not on me!"
Suddenly, everyone froze with a powerful wave of killing intent wafting over the area, unseen darkness over whelmed all three of them, "Enough!" Pain flashed his Mangekyou Sharingan, "Another word out of either of you and Sportsmaster will be the least of your worries."
Kaldur nearly had to back away from the sheer anger flowing off of their leader, "I am very clearly in a bad mood, tonight; so, if everyone wants to keep their heads on their shoulders, I'd suggest we cooperate." After a half a minute of silence and scoffs, he reiterated himself, "Am I making myself clear?"
Roy rolled his eyes, "Crystal."
"Yea, we're clear…" She muttered under breath, having a significant other as a superior could be a tad vexing at times.
Artemis narrowed her eyes with a determined glare, took the tracker from her belt, and tossed it into Roy's hands, "Here, since I clearly can't be trusted, you track her."
Roy went to hand it back and say something sarcastic or frustrating but, when he went to point it in her face, it was gone. Pain held it, handing it back to her politely, "You made the tracker stick, you track them."
She scoffed in his face, turning around, "No, it's fine, I'll just scope from afar in the Bioship since I'm clearly a spy sent here to destroy the heroes," Artemis threw the device into Roy's arms and turned back towards the foliage, approaching the camouflaged Martian ship.
Pain looked Roy dead in the eyes, "Whatever your personal issues are, if they interfere with the mission or worse, hurt my teammate," his Mangekyou was fully active and spinning in his pupils, "I'll kill you…"
Roy gulped and wiped a trickle of sweat from his brow as Pain turned away, only maintaining his composure for the moment, "Are you sure you aren't letting your feelings cloud your judgement? Can you know for certain there's no traitor?"
He glanced back casually, in deep thought but, didn't respond instead using body-flicker to vanish into the branches of the trees.
New Orleans; Louisiana; December 7th 2013; 10:15PM
Finally, Sportsmaster arrived at the factory with the package delivered straight from Atlantis; enclosed within a glass cylinder was a shred of a star-fish, a massive one from the looks of the fragment, he placed it on the table in front of The Brain, Klarion, Ivo and Mallah the Ape.
"Oh! Goody!" Klarion shouted as his face shifted into a more demonic expression, pupils flashing red and his canines elongating.
First, Ivo took a vile of some sort of liquid he concocted and poured it over the fragment, then Klarion blasted it with chaotic mystic lightning with a cackle. Madara smiled, this time, the Infinite Tsukuyomi would be absolutely perfect in every way.
Sportsmaster left the room without a second thought, his job was done and that's all that mattered.
Artemis pushed open a glass sky-light, dropping down from above into a darkened storage facility, clearly for some sort of parade event with stands and props all around. From the shadows, her tracker slid across the ground hitting the side of her boot.
"I pulled it off my sword about two minutes after you put it there…" Cheshire stepped out into the moon light where Artemis aimed an arrow between her eyes, however; she didn't at all seem scared or otherwise intimidated, "I figured you'd want it back since it goes so well with the one Red Arrow gave you…"
Artemis turned and saw she was telling the truth, pulling a small red tracker from her quiver, her sister mocked her, "Somebody on your team doesn't trust you…" she sang pulling out a tablet displaying Roy approaching a shutter door where he knew Artemis would be.
She widened her eyes when Cheshire zoomed out and used infrared to show her Sportsmaster lining up to impale Roy through the wall with a javelin; she noticed the shutter door on the other side of the facility and quickly fired an explosive arrow blowing the door open, sending Roy onto his back.
"If you're done resting," Pain walked passed Roy and through the smoke, into the facility where he totally ignored Sportsmaster; he dipped left and right to avoid the spear-like weapon before catching it with one hand, his opponents strength was completely useless, "You bore me, I'm interested in something else entirely," he pulled on the javelin, sending him over head and ten feet away from the recovering Roy.
Cheshire swung her sword downward intercepted by Artemis' bow, however; she still couldn't keep her sister from dipping down and swiping her feet out from under her. She hit the ground with a loud groan, it appeared that her own sibling was going to impale her with her sword until an explosive arrow detonated inches from her face.
"Red Arrow to Aqualad, Pain and I have located Cheshire and Sportsmaster; rendezvous at our coordinates!" Roy turned on a dime and fired an arrow at him who cleaved it apart with his spear.
Suddenly, Pain went wide eyed, turning around and facing the other side of the factory, behind several walls near the docks, "Madara…" he vanished into thin air leaving Artemis and Red Arrow to fight back to back against the father-daughter duo.
Pain leapt through an open window, appearing above them on the ceiling rafters; the moment he entered the room he began gathering Nature Energy for Sage Mode but, it would still take him a few minutes.
Madara placed his hands on his hips as he looked at a job well done; Ivo had just placed the canister in a duffle, throwing it over his shoulder while Klarion opened a portal, "Toodles!" he shouted, transporting away Ivo, Brain, and his Ape associate leaving the ancient shinobi by himself.
"There's no use in hiding, I can see you…" He announced as Sasuke leapt down from the beams above.
He scoffed, "I know."
"Are you going to say something?"
Sasuke shook his head, "Nope," he vanished in a flash of blinding speed, Madara was barely capable of pulling his guard up and defending with his forearm. The shockwave sent air pressure through the room, sweeping it clean of furniture, "You have gotten faster, Sasuke!"
Reacting just quick enough to land firmly and duck underneath a lethal round-house that could have decapitated him; whilst Madara set his foot down for traction to make another move, Sasuke had already formed a Chidori, swiping upwards and cleaving his opponent in two.
"You knew I was a wood-clone from the start, didn't you?" Madara suddenly lost all color in his armor and skin, turning into a wooden statue, "I never was quite as good at them as Hashirama."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes beneath his mask, he couldn't track the chakra to the original spite his effort; "Just shut up already…" he turned and swiped again, slicing him in half as the statue toppled over, inanimate.
Red Arrow backed away, dodging a mace swinging Sportsmaster as Artemis and Cheshire duked it out in the background, behind several large props. She kicked her in the side followed by one aimed for her head, blocked by her forearm left her open for Cheshire to front kick her sister through a plaster-horse.
She approached, twirling her sai, until she was interrupted by a flicker of light appearing before her, swiping through the air, he precisely cut-down both of her blades to stubs. He turned and back handed her through the air, tumbling across the ground in a heap.
Sasuke turned to look down at Artemis with his Mangekyou Sharingan still spinning from encountering Madara, this instilled great fear within her, "We need to have a talk."
They would have continued the fight but, both Cheshire and Sportsmaster dropped down into portals against their wills but, likely all planned out to the tiniest details.
Mount Justice; December 8th 2013; 2:12AM
Pain unlatched his mask and pulled it off, with his team lined up behind him and the members not attending the mission on the sidelines, "Let me make myself clear, we failed tonight; the Injustice League is in custody and yet Madara isn't done playing games with the Light," he turned and looked at Artemis and Roy specifically, "You two can't learn to perform as team mates, therefore, you won't be anymore."
"Excuse me?" Roy said with an attitude.
Pain turned with his Sharingan flared up, cracking his helmet apart in his grip out of anger, "Did I stutter?!" he shouted as even Roy backed down, "Madara Uchiha is planning on taking over the entire planet and I was so busy focusing on you two, that I let him complete yet another part of his plan."
"Wait, you were focusing on us?" Artemis asked.
He looked her in the eye with a much sadder expression, "Of course, I watched you lie to my face and endanger Roy's life by sneaking away," he turned to Red Arrow who looked away with a scoff, "And I noticed you plant a tracer on her as well; spending the entire mission watching her instead of your surroundings, its why Cheshire kicked your ass."
Conner, Dick, Wally, M'gaan, and Zatanna watched as their friends were scolded; trying best not to redirect his anger at any of them.
"Both of you are suspended, benched," he announced as they both reacted unpleasantly.
Roy threw his hands up, "Who cares? I'm heading to the top with or without this team."
"Let's see how that goes when I give Batman my mission report…" Roy was suddenly less confident as Sasuke turned around to walk away, giving his final word.
Artemis reached out and grabbed his arm but, he turned and showed her his eyes were completely normal, average onyx pupils, "You lied right to my face, just to make yourself look good, even after I told you-"
"Sasuke, you know that…" she looked over at the team still watching, "You know why I did what I did."
"I do," he announced, pulling his arm away harshly, "That's why you're suspended."
He walked away, leaving her speechless, Roy stormed off and the rest of them approached her, "Are you going to be okay?" M'gaan asked, "I'd ask Naruto to talk to him but, I can't seem to find him."
"It's fine…" she said to herself, "I have nothing to prove."
Meanwhile, Naruto flew through the air, practically skipping across land at several thousand times the speed of sound; he kept as good a distance from the enemy that he could but, he found it harder and harder to grow the gap between them.
He clasped his Mangekyou Sharingan shut, bleeding profusely he knew he could only jump through space once more but, he'd need the collected chakra that Kurama hasn't molded yet, "C'mon, we have to tell Sasuke what we just saw! We have to warn them!"
Kurama looked exhausted as he planted his fists together, "I'm going as fast as I can, kit," He took refuge behind a massive slab of rubble, presumably hiding him from his enemy, although, this enemy had particularly good eyes.
"Faster!" his rude nature was excused by an explosion going off nearby, shattering his hiding spot and sending him into the dirt; "If we don't get away-"
Madara Uchiha approached, his crimson armor matching his intense eyes; "You can't run forever! And if you try to space-time jump, I'll catch you for sure," he looked directly at Naruto, scrolls in hand and staring down the killer of his world.
"You think… you know everything… but," he glanced to the ground with just the slightest hint of suspicion and Madara jumped, having triggered a C4 explosion beneath him, it gave Naruto the precious seconds he needed.
"Fire Style: Majestic Destroyer Flame!"
Sasuke approached the teleporter as he tossed the pieces to his mask across the ground, clattering while the team approached to comfort her.
"AGH!" Naruto shouted as he was practically thrown through dimensions, tumbling into the dirt, he was burnt nearly to a crisp.
"Naruto?!" Sasuke announced body-flickering to his aid in a single second, half of his body had third degree burns but, it was obvious that Kurama was healing his wounds already, "Ittai nani ga okotta no?"
M'gaan screamed when she finally got a better look, "Someone get him to the infirmary!" Conner shouted as she floated across the room to be next to him, clasping his hand.
"Madara… he's planning something… something that will… destroy everything…" he tried getting words out through short breaths, his body going into shock, "We can't let him call them…"
Naruto huffed in pain as he was picked up telekinetically, just before he was floating far enough up to move him, he grabbed Sasuke's cloak, "O-O… Otsutsuki!"