Disclaimer- I do not own Young Justice or any of its characters.
So this was inspired by an anon on my Tumblr, who left me this prompt that read as follows: "Who are you," questioned the red-headed knight, as he observed the arrow protruding from the would-be robber's back. "Wouldn't you like to know," smirked his savior, leaning against the trunk of the large oak tree, blonde hair floating out from their hood."
And boom, inspiration hit!
If ever a knight could be said to have paused in the swinging of his blade, Sir Wallace West was a testament to that. And certainly no knight had ever looked more foolish, with his fist clenched tightly 'round the hilt, and his strikingly clean blade quivering in the waning rays of the sun. His garishly red hair stuck out in unbecoming tufts from being stifled inside a metal helm all day, and the smattering of freckled skin stretched across his cheeks, coupled with his look of complete surprise, was enough to make him even the jester's joke.
Wallace's nonsensical stance was lowered at the sound of a husky bout of laughter emanating from the trunk of an old, wizened oak off the side of the hoof-beaten path, and his apple green eyes darted to the spot as a voice spoke.
"I grew tired of waiting. You seemed reluctant to utilize that sword of yours properly, firehead."
A female! The voice was unmistakably so, though admittedly in a far rougher tone than Wallace was accustomed to. It held not the soft gentleness of his mother's voice, soothing him to sleep as a child, nor the caress of sweet, sweet Lady Maegan, whom he had been pining for since she first approached the castle a summer ago.
Nay, this lady's tone was not the same. However, that was not to say Wallace found it an ugly sort of sound, either.
"Show yourself!" the knight demanded, unable to properly observe this woman in the fast encroaching darkness that was swallowing the forest up around them. "Who are you?"
A soft noise of humor, and the lady stepped forward so that the moonlight silhouetted her form. Wallace felt his jaw slacken, but could not find the pride to feel embarrassed or ashamed at the reaction.
"Would not you like to know?" she demanded right back, and even in the all encompassing twilight he could discern the fiery gleam of defiance in her slate gray eyes. He was drawn first to her face, for it demanded it. Soft but proud features; arched brows, plump lips pulled up at the corner in a half-sneer. A quiver was belted snuggly around her torso, over what could only be a man's deep green tunic, judging by the fact it was about five sizes too large for her frame. A deep black bodice was laced tightly beneath her bosom, and more men's clothing—pants and boots—made up the rest of her attire.
She wore a green hood that could not contain the long, long curtain of blonde hair that was escaping, fluttering gently in the breeze and looking like it belonged on the head of an angel with the way the moon's glow fell upon it. Wallace had never laid eyes upon such hair before.
He found himself at a loss for words, of which the lady took swift advantage.
"Well? Are you not going to give me the customary hash about a lady being without the company of a man? Do you not wonder why I walk the paths alone at night's break? Or have you lost your tongue since last you spoke, o' brave knight?"
The sarcastic tone in which she uttered the phrase o' brave knight was not lost on Sir Wallace
The knight shut his jaw tight, but withheld the scowl that threatened to escape; if there was one thing he had been taught, if not by his mother, than by the code of the knight, it was to never be impolite to a lady. Even if she was certainly not acting like one.
Sir Wallace cleared his parched throat and straightened his spine so that he stood tall and erect, hoping to erase the unbecoming image she must have gathered at the sight of him hunched and surprised when her arrow had thudded into the would-be robber's flesh. Everything he had been taught was screaming at him to sheath his weapon away in the presence of a lady, but as his eyes slid from the magnificently carved bow clutched loosely in her grasp and over to the victim of her flawless shot, he hesitated.
How was he to act in the company of a woman who clearly needed no protection, no aid?
His training as a knight had not prepared him for an enigma such as she.
"Are you mute, firehead?"
Wallace gave a start, for she had taken two strides forward and now stood inches from him; she had only to tilt forward a fraction and their noses would brush daintily. His adam's apple bobbed thickly as he swallowed; her features were proud and soft and strong and passionate all at once, and even more to beholden in such close quarters.
He leaned away from her, so that he might catch the breath that had been whisked from his lungs against his will.
"I am perfectly capable of speech, my lady!" he assured her, brows knitting together.
"Then you might think about speaking," she said crisply, eyes narrowing dangerously; he had the distinct feeling that she was scrutinizing him intently, and felt unnerved for it. "Will you not answer my inquiries?"
Wallace watched her as she bustled passed him, some of her absurdly long strands of flaxen hair whipping out to strike him on the cheek as she did so. He raised an eyebrow.
"Who are you?" he asked again, the words slipping from his mouth before he could smother them. It made him wince; he had never before been so uncouth to a woman in all his life, to demand her identity before he gave his own, or to demand anything of her, at that. This mysterious hooded woman was having a most bizarre effect on him, one that was sure to have made Lady Marie West faint if she could see how her offspring was behaving.
The lady continued to ignore him, examining the body. Wallace watched her with mild interest as she yanked the crude wooden arrow from the man's chest and inspected it with a practiced eye. At first, he thought it had no tip, but then she twirled it and it caught the moonlight; a thin sliver of metal caked in blood, as long and deadly as the quill on a porcupine's back. She nodded in satisfaction and stood up, dropping her hood fully and pushing her hair back.
"He is not dead, by the way," she told him, dropping the arrow back into her fine leather quiver without even having the decency to wipe off the blood beforehand. "Just paralyzed." And to prove her point, she nudged him none-too-gently with the toe of her boot. The man groaned like a dying mare yet remained motionless. She looked satisfied with her work, and so turned her gaze back upon Sir Wallace. "What sort of knight are you, anyway? Are you sure you are one?" she asked, laughing coldly. "Your sword shines as though it has never once touched the blood of another man."
Wallace's face heated up.
"Now wait just a minute!" he spluttered, offended. What worse way could a knight be insulted, than to have his very ways questioned? And by a lady, no less! A lady who was hardly behaving as a lady should at all! "Since when does a man's title of knight depend on his ability to kill, might I ask, fair lady?"
He stressed the word lady. She didn't seem very phased, which, much to Sir Wallace's chagrin, only served to intrigue him further.
"It does not," the lady said calmly, though Wallace was certain he detected an unexpected venom in her voice. She fished one of her arrows from her quiver and ran the tips of her fingers over the sharp edge fondly. "Yet I have never met a knight who was not adamant to behead any adversary who dared to question his integrity."
"Then," he said simply, locking his eyes on her, "you cannot possibly have been fortunate enough to meet very many decent knights."
There was a silence between them. An owl hooted solemnly somewhere off the path, and crickets began to chirp their evening serenade as the sun dipped completely away from the trees and left the two of them alone in the darkness. The lady snorted derisively after a time, surprising Wallace enough to make his brows shoot up to his hairline; he had never heard such a noise emanate from a woman, at least not from any of the ones he lived with in Castle Allen.
"Oh, believe you me, firehead, I have met my fair share of knights," she told him, and Wallace was struck by the sudden malice laced within her voice; suddenly it made him wonder, vaguely, what had transpired in her life. He knit his brows. She flicked her hood back over her face in one smooth motion, an unmistakable signal of dismissal. "And I have come to the conclusion that you are most assuredly the worst testament to your kind. A knight that stays his blade in favor of peaceful courtesy first? Such a thing does not exist!"
Sir Wallace felt as though he had been physically slapped by the words spilling from the lady's mouth. Her voice had grown steadily louder and more wavering with each syllable, and by the light of the moon peeking through the leaves of the trees, he could just make out a faint stain of pink across her cheeks, born of either embarrassment or fury, he wasn't sure.
Her wild, piercing gaze bore into his very essence, as if she were daring him to try and defy her perception of knights. Wallace opened his mouth to say something hotly, but floundered and let it snap shut as a strange feeling of unpleasantness unfurled to writhe in his stomach. Once more, the archer took advantage of his silence.
"You are most welcome, by the way," she snapped, pointing with her index finger. The knight blinked his eyes away from her lithe form to see the still unconscious body of his would-be accoster.
"What—" Sir Wallace started with conviction, turning back to face the lady.
But she was gone.
And Wallace was left on the path alone, with a single arrow buried deep in the dirt betwixt his plated feet.
More to come... hopefully. I'm making no promises, you guys ought to know by now that I never keep up with multi-chapters.