"I've asked you before. It was a long time ago, but I'm sure you remember." Artemis whispers. Kaldur pauses and his lips part lightly when he begins to inquire what she means.

"I just hope- that nothing changes," Her eyes scan his face briefly before locking on to his own, "I want your answer to be the same," Her hands skim over his Black Manta armor with the intention being to draw him in closer. But his attire was too smooth and bulky- ultimately preventing her from grabbing hold. Instead, her hands settle shakily on his shoulders.
"Even if I'm not who I used to be."

...

The alterations that occur over the span of one year in the depths of the seas could be overlooked easily. The changes that take place are usually insidious and undetectable and the exact time of when the vast transition started alluded them. She's become more calculating and her attacks has become more precise. She's colder these days; when she stares at her reflection, it mirrors the look she held when she first joined Young Justice- distrust was written all over.

It was surprising to know these threats sprouted a intangible link of intimacy between them. It was a complete eyeopener; the realization that comes when she returns from a particularly difficult mission with strangers that were not her usual teammates. The truth that nudges the back of her mind- she did not belong here, and neither did Kaldur. They were in the far depths of the ocean, with no one to come and save them should her identity be discovered. There was no doubt that both she and Aqualad could hold their own at combat. The question that remained was for how long.

We could die, was a thought that crosses Artemis' mind frequently when she sinks onto the tiled bathroom floor, leaning behind the closed door.

Artemis was sure their relation began between the time when close calls gotten closer, or when the plan nearly collapsed, threatening them to abandon it all together. Discrete visits to each other's rooms started becoming a daily occurrence. However, she could be wrong. She had started the habit of pulling Kaldur into tight embraces that allowed her to bury her face on to the crook of his gilled neck long before she made the habit of spending her nights in his room talking. Artemis was grateful for their newfound closeness; it held her together and gave her a reason to cope with the situation as it was.

But today was different. She was close to doing something unimaginable today, something that she would look upon disdainfully for many days to come. She had nearly killed someone today, an unidentified henchman from her side no less. And no matter what the excuses were, and who that henchmen attacked, it was an undeniable fact that the swords she carried were gripped a little bit harder today, raised it at an angle to kill with her posture and proximity ready to carry out a blow that could end him.

He was close to fatally injuring Gar, was a thought she would replay over and over later on, when she retreated with the rest of the soldiers. If M'gann was there she wouldn't display any mercy, she had insisted. Although it had been true, the fact that she was readily able to give up her moral standards was also valid. The panic that coursed over her veins was chilling when she heard the familiar cry of a vulnerable beast boy, who was too weak to change his form to either fight or flee. Hot searing anger flowed through her the next second when she registered the shadow that loomed over the boy, and the outline of a weapon raised to strike. She felt as if she nearly lost it that moment. Her body went rigid for a heartbeat of a second, and and everything seemed to slow into a pause. She would swear that this, this is a moment in which she felt like Kid Flash. Thoughts were thrown out the window, with pure adrenaline taking over her instincts. Swords were raised the next second, and she was about to slash them down.

And then Cassie arrived. Cassie- thank God for her. She slammed into the enemy before she swept Gar away, cradling him tightly as the two fled. A few seconds passed by before Artemis registered what happened and a few more for her to straighten herself up and lower her weapons. She had been rapidly breathing. Why was that?

The battle around her was coming to an end as the rest of Young Justice flooded in, accompanied by a few Justice Leaguers. "Men. Retreat and report back to the submarines." Kaldur's command spoke through her intercom. She couldn't agree more. They had to get out of there-fast. She couldn't stand it when the place was filling up with all her allies, both old and new, with all who made the vow she made when first joining Young Justice. She didn't think she could make it if she ran into Green Arrow, the man she looked dead in to eye when she made the vow. A vow that stated she would never kill.

It was only until they retreated and piled into the submarines that Artemis felt eyes upon her. She panicked that moment, with the bizarre thought of Green Arrow in mind. She glanced up to meet them. They were grey. And they belonged to the only ally she had in the depths. She and Kaldur never strayed too far away from one another. They fought by close proximity. And now, as she stared into his grey eyes, she knew that he had saw what he wasn't meant to see. It was unmistakable. He saw the poise she held before, the swords that were ready to strike and he assumed the livid expression she wore. He captured her at her breaking point. And he knew as well as she did how deep the vow was suppose to be.

...

She knocks softly on his door later during the dead of the night. At least, she assumes that it was night time. It was always dark underneath the depths so she could never really tell. But everyone else had retreated to their quarters, with only a soldier or two patrolling the halls. She knew that he wouldn't be asleep anyway, and her assumption was confirmed by the small click the door makes when he opens it.

"Artemis," He greets by nodding curtly. He side steps, allowing her to come in. She settles down by the edge of his bed, unsure how to address the issue of what happened earlier on in the day. Faint clinking could be heard as Kaldur rinses two cups, getting ready to prepare tea.

"You didn't even change from your uniform yet." Artemis mutters. If it had been another night, she would have laughed by the sight of Kaldur, clad in his Black Manta uniform brewing tea.

"I just arrived back from a meeting with my father. I apologize if it makes you uncomfortable." He smoothly replies back as he brings the two cups over. She takes one gratefully, taking a small sip.

"How'd it go? The meeting I mean."

"My father still doesn't suspect a thing. He mentions the Light and their plans, but doesn't go into specific details." Kaldur pauses. "He wants me to fully join the Light and recite my devotion and alliance to them." They both sit in silence as Artemis contemplates.

"You should join. If you do, it would give us the leverage we need. Nightwing can finally a an inside scope to what's actually going on." She finally responds, stirring her tea.

"It was the first action that occurred to me. Yet...I must admit that I am conflicted."

"There's no time to be Kal. This is could be the chance that we're waiting for."

"It could pull us deeper into danger. My father may have expressed his allegiance to me, but the Light is more than wary. They are suspicious of my actions already, given my past."

"We already put our lives in danger by being here. If we don't act sooner, their plans will be carried on with or without us."

"I know that this has to be done. There is no other way around it. I just happen to feel a moment of uncertainty," The cup of tea settled in his hands were getting luke warm. "When I state my commitment to anything, I am sincere."

The cup in Artemis' hands seemed to lose it's warmth. She turned to face him slowly.

"For the good of the team as well as the world, I know that I will have to accept my father's offer. However, I feel conflicted doing so." Kaldur murmurs. His words are already drowned out in Artemis' ears when the issue comes up. She doesn't know what to say as he gets up to pour out his tea. She sets her own by his bedside table.

"You saw didn't you?" Her voice his small and almost sounds weak. Aqualad turns back to look at her with his expression being unreadable.

"I didn't know- didn't think I could feel that way. But he was so close- Kal- so close to hurting Gar." She stands up suddenly, and her eyes are pleading him to understand. "It happened so fast...All I could feel as the impulse to stop him. I knew Gar wouldn't have made it through the attack. And I-I just couldn't let that happen to him." She drops her gaze and stares down empty hands. The same ones that held two twin swords. The same ones that felt unbelievably warm holding the tea he made for her. She doesn't realize his sudden movement until he is right in front of her.

"I've asked you before. It was a long time ago, but I'm sure you remember." Artemis whispers. Kaldur pauses and his lips part lightly when he begins to inquire what she means.

"I just hope- that nothing changes," Her eyes scan his face briefly before locking on to his own, "I want your answer to be the same," Her hands skim over his Black Manta armor with the intention being to draw him in closer. But his attire was too smooth and bulky- ultimately preventing her from grabbing hold. Instead, her hands settle shakily on his shoulders.
"Even after today- even if I'm not who I used to be."

"Will you still accept me, even with all my faults?" She asked him in a quiet whisper.

His hands gripped hers as he removed them from his shoulder. He unlatched the upper part of his armor, removing it. The look of desperation she casted him earlier replayed in his mind. His hands cupped her face, and as she stared at him, He knew he would make sure this would be a devotion he would truly mean.

"I will if you do the same for me."