It was a typical day at the West household. Artemis and Wally were trading verbal jabs at each other, the spark of their battle having been some sort of disagreement over what to watch on TV. Not only had Megan found the display of misdirected adoration amusing, it had also given her the opportunity to discreetly switch the channel to what she wanted to watch.

The Channel 52 newscast was the superhero equivalent to Hollywood's Entertainment Tonight, and there was very little Megan ever wanted to watch besides it.

"Our top story tonight," the show host announced, "the Justice League, abandoning a friend in need? Longstanding League ally Queen Perdita of Vltava is hosting this year's annual UN charity masquerade ball, and is expected to attend despite the recent attempts on her life by a ring of assassins whose motives have yet to be determined."

Megan dashed into the kitchen and came back before the next sentence could be uttered, now holding an open bag of chips. She munched as she listened intently to the story. Queen Perdita wasn't just a League ally, she was an old family friend, going back to when her own dad had saved the Queen's life.

"It has been reported that the Queen's security detail has requested Justice League assistance in protecting their nation's ruler, but so far, there has been no response to the nations pleas, public or otherwise, and it looks like there will be no superheroes in attendance at ball, which will happen on schedule tomorrow night. Coming up after the break, is the Batman immortal? I'm Bethany Snow, and this is Channel 52."

Megan tuned out the commercials as the information sank in. Queen Perdita had asked for help…and the Justice League hadn't offered any? It didn't make any sense to her. Surely this had to be a bluff. A ruse. No way the League would leave someone like Perdita unguarded if she needed it.

The doorbell rang, which didn't seem to stop the West couple.

"I'll get it," Megan announced. Not like anyone else was going to.

Megan raced to the door, undid the lock, and opened it up, not really knowing what to expect. What she didn't expect though, was Connor Hawke, aka Green Arrow, standing on her front porch, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.

"Uh, hey G-A," Megan greeted, slightly confused at a seemingly random visit. "What's up?"

Connor suddenly looked like a deer in headlights as Megan made eye contact with him. Nervous was plastered all over his face. He bit his lip and the hand on the back of his neck slid off. He let out a breath he must've been holding for a while.

"Uh…hi," Connor said, clearly not knowing how to start. "So, Megan, ah…"

"Yeeeah…?" Megan prompted.

Connor cleared his throat. "Are you…busy tomorrow night?"

"I've got a mountain of homework and a math test I should really study for," Megan said. "So no, I'm free. Why?"

"Well, there's this event…sort of like a ball…and, I need a date. Robin said you might want to go?" Connor explained.

Megan scrunched her brow as she tried to understand what was going on. Since when did Connor Hawke go to balls? Since when did Gio think she liked those kinds of things? Why was any of this—

That was when all the pieces clicked together. The UN charity ball. The attempts on Queen Perdita's life. Connor asking her to be his date.

The Justice League wasn't going to be protecting Queen Perdita. Because New Justice would be going instead. And they were asking her to come along.

"Excuse me for just one second," Megan said as calmly as she could. Very slowly, so as not to come off as rude or rejecting him, Megan closed the door, and then with a fist pump she shouted at the top of her lungs, "Woo-hoo!", followed by a brief, high speed, "happy dance".

Clearing her throat and composing herself, Megan opened the door again. "So…where is this event of yours again?"

X

Megan tried to stop smiling.

She'd been dreaming of this since before she could walk though. She was the daughter of two retired superheroes, both legends in the super community. From the day she discovered her speed, she'd known what she'd wanted to be a hero just like her parents.

At age eleven, she'd swiped an old Kid Flash costume and ran to Gotham to accompany her childhood playmate Giovanni on his first night out as Robin. The aftermath of that incident had been Mr. Freeze's capture, as well as both young heroes narrowly escaping their deaths.

Of course, that hadn't done much to deter Megan's determination to be a hero. The recent incident on the Watchtower hadn't helped her parents' cause any either.

And now, here she was, on an undercover mission with New Justice to protect a queen from assassins. Yeah, that stupid grin on her face wasn't going anywhere.

Technically, she wasn't on a mission. In order to get her parents to agree to this, she'd had to label it a date and a favor for her friends. But it was totally a mission.

"Are you okay?" Connor asked.

Green Arrow's uniform had been substituted with a tuxedo rental and a shining green, rounded domino mask that wrapped all the way around his head, rather than simply sticking to his face. Megan herself wore a red dress and an elaborate red masquerade mask, secured onto her face by a string.

"I'm great!" Megan said excitedly. "Why?"

"You've been smiling like you won the lottery for the last hour and a half," Connor explained.

"Oh, if anybody here's won the lottery," Megan teased, leaning into him and winking, "it's you."

Connor stiffened in his seat, unsure of how to react to even playful flirting. Megan laughed at his discomfort and leaned away, giving him space again. He didn't really relax though, which made Megan chuckle again.

Meanwhile, Robin sat almost anxiously in his seat. For the fifteenth time in the flight, he flicked his wrist to test the mechanism hidden in the sleeves of his Armani suit. Sure enough, a birdarang snapped into his waiting hand, wings extended and ready to throw. He collapsed it, and returned it to its home.

Red Arrow stood in front of the assembled members of new Justice, all in civilian clothing. Behind him, the holoscreens were displaying a picture of a regal looking blonde haired woman in her mid thirties.

"This is Queen Perdita," Red Arrow introduced. "She's the ruler of the nation of Vltava and a close ally of the Justice League. This year, she's also the host of the annual UN charity masquerade ball, and a target for assassination."

"Any idea on who's targeting her?" Robin asked.

"Not yet," Red Arrow said. "And part of why you're going there is to answer that for us. But the main priority of this mission is to protect the Queen. The Justice League does not abandon its friends."

"Then why isn't the Justice League going?" Lian stepped in.

"If the Justice League steps in on this, all we'll accomplish is scaring them away," Red Arrow answered. "They may try again, and we can't protect her forever. That's why this team is going in, undercover."

Lian eyes glinted with surprise. Not the approach she'd been expecting.

"You'll all be attending the masquerade," Red Arrow explained. "Your donation to the charity is being provided for by League benefactor Tim Drake, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. To maintain cover, you'll need to operate in pairs. Robin, you're with Black Magic. Lian, you're taking Help. Connor, talk to Batman after briefing. He says he can find someone for you to partner with."

"Protect the Queen, capture the assassins, and find out what you can from them," Red Arrow summarized. "Any questions?"

"Are you nervous?" Helena asked him.

Robin turned toward her, taking a moment's pause to once again drink in how she looked in the black dress and matching catlike mask she'd chosen. He struggled to find the right word for how she looked. His brain was suggesting beautiful, and he found himself agreeing.

What had she asked him again?

"I don't get nervous," Robin said, dismissing the concept.

"I'll bet the security blanket helps," Helena teased, tugging playfully at the corner of his chosen mask, the very same one he wore as Robin.

Robin moved her hand away from his mask, but with none of the usual lightning fast ferocity he used when normally keeping people's hands off of his mask. Part of him found it odd that he continued to maintain the sole identity of Robin around his team. Megan and Help already knew who he was. Lian probably did. Only Connor and Helena were still in the dark on his real name.

Maybe after this was over he'd show her. Them.

Up front, sitting in the pilot and copilot seats of the Javelin shuttle were Help and Lian. Help had the helm, and though his hands were on the controls, he was actually piloting the ship through electronic control over the autopilot, as well as managing and monitoring every aspect of the craft, leaving Lian with little to do but sit. The robot was a terrible conversationalist.

She pulled at the hem of her green dress to take her mind off the silence up in the front seat. She wished she'd gone with something longer, though she loved the mask she'd picked out, modeled after the Chesire cat.

A thought occurred to her, and she went with it just to break the awkward silence. "Help…you can dance, right?"

Help turned toward Lian, which made her want to yell Eyes on the sky!, but she held it back. Help could probably see through the ships cameras and his own eyes at the same time with breaking a virtual sweat.

"I was designed with the potential to function as an escort to interpersonal events such as this. I was preprogramed with nearly all forms of human dance," Help answered. "Yes, I can."

"Well, that's a relief," Lian said. Another thought occurred to her, and she grinned. "So…can you do the robot?"

"Perhaps that joke could be found humorous, had it not already been used forty-two times prior," Help said. Lian tried to imagine that sentence with different tinges of emotion since Help himself inflicted none, and internally laughed. "We are approaching our destination."

And so the Javelin began its decent. Robin went in his usual "mission" mode, all serious and focus. Megan was trying very hard not to bounce in her seat with anticipation. Helena was smiling, Connor was adjusting his suit's collar, and Lian almost looked bored.

The mission had begun.

X

Helena's jaw went slack when she saw the palace. In the very tiny fraction of her life that she could remember, Helena had been to very few places. The Watchtower, the Grotto, and a townhouse somewhere in Gotham. Alfred, the only other tenant, wouldn't tell her where exactly.

Sure, the Watchtower had a view from space, and the Grotto had a view of the bottom of the ocean, but she'd never really seen the outside of either of those places. Right now, she was wondering if it was grandiose as this.

"This is…" Helena breathed.

"So…cool!" Megan finished.

Helena had been going for unbelievable, but she supposed cool worked too. A large procession of guests from around the world were filing towards the grand entrance, and the six heroes followed them in. Setting the example for how to act, Robin and Help linked arms with their respective partners, and Megan took Connor's arm a moment later.

"Welcome to Vltava," the security at the front door greeted, and from there, they were led to the palace's very grand and spacious ballroom.

The party was already in full swing. The air was filled with the sounds of music, laughter, clinking glasses and the like. The center of the room was filled with people talking and dancing, and elsewhere grand buffet tables were laid out with enough food to daunt even Megan.

Megan, Helena, Connor, and even Lian all looked around in awe, drinking it in, and even Help's head swiveled left and right in observation, though his facial expression remained unimpressed. Robin, more accustomed to these sort of things, squinted as he scanned the room for any suspicious activity.

"Spread out and keep your eyes peeled," Robin instructed the others. "You find anything, report it. And remember; blend in."

"Will do boss," Megan said with a mock salute before dragging Green Arrow off in the direction of one of the buffet tables. "C'mon G-A, time to go to work."

"Eager, isn't she?" Lian noted.

"Perhaps we should move towards the dance floor to maintain a better cover," Help suggested, which Lian figured was some robotic, objective-oriented way of asking her to dance. Though the thought sounded a bit amusing, she wasn't in the mood to dance with a robot, regardless of how good he claimed to be.

"How about," Lian suggested, "you get me something to drink, while I go take a look around?"

"Very well," Help said without argument, and headed off in the direction of the table that was serving drinks.

"C'mon, let's dance," Helena invited, leading Robin towards the dance floor. He allowed himself to be tugged along as he scanned the crowd for anyone who looked out of place, but beyond the redheaded girl raiding the buffet table, no one drew his attention.

He wasn't even looking when took Helena's hand and placed his other on her waist, doing it instead out of muscle memory while he continually looked around for the slightest indication of danger. Through the first song, he didn't even make eye contact with her.

"Relax," Helena urged, feeling the tension in his muscles, like a predator waiting to pounce.

"We're on a mission," Robin argued, still on the lookout. "We need to stay focused, be on the lookout for-"

Robin stopped as his gaze inadvertently met Helena's, his brain shorted out, and suddenly the only thing he could focus on was her, and the longer their eyes locked, the more of a fog seemed to wrap around his mind. The mission, the assassins, the rest of the team, everyone else in the room all seemed to just fade away, and the tension in his muscles evaporated.

She smiled innocently under his stare, blushing slightly. "You don't let your hair down that often, do you?"

"Comes with the job," he managed to get out as stoicism ingrained from training battled with a newer, flustered feeling he wasn't at all used to.

"Can't even have a little fun on the job?" Helena asked.

Fifty-five billion different lectures from Batman regarding professionalism, alertness, and the like went out the window with the bat of an eyelash. Robin spun Helena before pulling her back in, close.

"Well…maybe I could stand to loosen up a little…"

Helena smiled, following Robin's much more enthusiastic lead. For a guy whose favorite hobbies were probably brooding and restocking his utility belt, he was a pretty good dancer.

"Robin, Helena, check your two o'clock," Lian's voice cut in over the radio.

Robin's mind suddenly snapped back into focus, fog lifting from his brain with a brief, sharp pain. He looked in the direction Lian had instructed. Through the crowd, he spotted a man wearing a creepy looking, black mask that hid his entire face, faceless except for two glowing green circles for eyes. His sleeves were unusually long, but Robin managed to catch a glimpse of metal in his hand. A sense of danger seemed to radiate from him.

The strange looking man hadn't been in the crowd when they'd arrived, which meant he was a late comer. How had Robin missed him? How had he gotten distracted from…? Distracted with… there was… The more Robin tried to trace the source of his lapse in vigilance, the more he felt a headache coming on, and eventually he cast the thought aside. He had more pressing matters to deal with.

"I see him," Robin reported back. "Help, this our guy?"

"Running cross reference using footage from previous assassination attempts," Help responded over the radio. After a brief pause, he came back with, "He appears to be one of the- one moment."

"Help? What's wrong?" Connor piped in.

"I am running surveillance of the guests now. I have one…two…four assassins in the ballroom," Help informed them. "Based on previous reports, this leaves two assassins still unaccounted for."

"We've got the one next to us," Robin said, already using his and Helena's dance to maneuver them closer to the assassin. "The others?"

"There is one near Green Arrow and Megan, three o'clock. Two more are approaching the stage now. According to the schedule, the Queen is set to make an appearance any moment now."

"They're getting ready to make their move then," Lian decided. "We need to take them down, now."

"Presenting!" a royal guard bellowed. "Her Royal Majesty Perdita, Queen of Vltava!"

The gathered masses applauded as the Queen Perdita entered the scene, waving politely at her guests. She was handed a microphone, and began to address all those assembled, completely unaware of the situation brewing right in front of her.

Robin and Helena were closing in on their target fast, who was striding straight towards the Queen. Meanwhile, Connor was pushing his way through the crowd to cut off the second assassin, Megan in tow. Help remained back, surveying the room, entrances, exits, and windows for any signs of the other assassins who were still absent, or Lian, who had long since disappeared.

Robin's heart pulsed. He was doing his best to get through the crowd, but if he and Helena didn't reach the assassin fast-

"Long live the Queen!" the assassin shouted just as Perdita's speech ended. He raised his arm high, and all through the room people applauded. He began to lower his arm, leveling it.

"Gun!" Robin yelled, flicking his wrist.

The birdarang was thrown almost instantaneously after it reached Robin's hand, soaring out and striking the assassins wrist just as he pulled the trigger. The shot rang out and cheers turned to cries of terror, but the birdarang had done its job, and the triggerman had missed.

The royal guard immediately surrounded the Queen, yelling for everyone to evacuate, which they did, in a most panicked fashion.

Meanwhile, the assassin closest to Connor and Megan threw out a trio of shuriken which sailed straight toward the Queen. Connor reacted on instinct, diving at the projectiles and batting them out of their flight path with an outstretched arm.

Megan charged at the assassin in a full sprint, zigzagging around the panicked guests who were fleeing the scene. The assassin turned, saw her coming, and waited as she approached him. At just the right moment, he sidestepped and extended his arm, catching her in the gut and stopping her cold.

Winded, Megan was then thrown backwards through the crowd, landing in a heap next to Connor, who was busy pulling a shuriken out of his arm with a grimace.

"You okay?" Megan groaned.

"Ignoring the pain," he told her as he shook out his arm once. "Trick the monks taught me. Look out!"

Megan whirled around just in time to see a shuriken flying towards her face.

Robin's latest birdarang was shot out of the air, but it gave him the opening to close in on his opponent. The Boy Wonder threw a leaping punch, catching the assassin in the jaw, followed by a rising knee. Before he could deliver another blow though, he received a hard kick in the stomach, and was sent toppling backward into Helena, who was about to try a telekinesis spell.

The two ended up on the ground in a tangle of arms and legs.

"Hey," Helena greeted meekly.

Robin only grunted in response, leaping back onto his feet with birdarangs ready. He threw them both, one after the other, and watched as both shattered mid-flight. Seeing as that tactic wasn't getting him anywhere, he switched back to the direct approach, and attacked the assassin hand to hand.

Escorted by her finest guards, Perdita was fleeing the room, keeping her head low when they were cut off by two assassins, both wielding swords.

The royal guard drew their own weapons, but before the fight could break out, a lithe figure dropped down from the rafters in between the two parties, crouching low and facing down the assassins with shuriken in its hands.

"Go, I've got this!" Lian yelled to the Queen, who nodded and incoherently mumbled her thanks as her guard led her away from the ensuing conflict.

Lian turned to the two assassins, glaring at them. They both held their swords at ready, and charged her as one. Lian didn't miss a beat, nimbly avoiding both attacks, ducking under a third, and then retaliating at both her opponents with a split kick.

Honing in on the assassin to her right, Lian whirled, kicking her chosen victim across the face and knocking them out cold. Lain landed lightly on her feet, catching the fallen assassin's sword and using it to block an attack from the second killer.

"Going to have to do better than that," she warned with a smirk.

Help, who was watching the whole scene unfold, suddenly froze as he watched Robin's birdarangs shot out of the air, but not by the Boy Wonder's opponent. Help traced the trajectory of the shot that had hit Robin's weapons, and followed it…right out a window, and into the night sky.

Fifth assassin located. A sniper. Help studied the firing position, and was briefly perplexed. From there, the shooter would have been able to cover almost all of the room, except for the stage, where the Queen would be. The shooter couldn't possibly have hoped to deliver a killshot…unless…

Help brought up a layout of the palace and surrounding grounds, brought up the current position and route of the Queen and her guard, and came to a sudden realization. The Queen would be shot the moment her guard let her out the back door.

"Megan, you must stop the Queen from leaving the palace, immediately," the android warned into the radio. "There is a shooter watching her escape route."

Megan narrowly managed to duck out of the way of a shuriken when Help's message came over the radio, but she figured herself to be busy.

"Got my own problem to deal with," she responded, referring the assassin now facing off against her and Connor.

"I've got this guy, go!" Connor told her.

"But-"

"Go!" Connor repeated. Not waiting for her reply, he charged the assassin, ducking out of the way of incoming shuriken as he advanced.

Megan bit her lip, but decided that arguing was pointless. "I'm on it," she told Help, and sped off, leaving Connor alone against the assassin.

As shuriken continued to fly, Connor moved out of their way with an almost unnatural ease, even going so far as to catch a few of them and toss them aside. And with every dodge, he moved closer, until finally the assassin was out of breathing room, and Connor delivered a single, solid punch to his jaw, bringing him down.

"That's…that…" Connor muttered, feeling a sudden onset of a headache, followed very quickly by a feeling of unsteadiness in his footing. His vision briefly went bleary, and on a hunch, he looked down to his arm, where he'd taken a couple of shuriken. The discoloration he found there was not encouraging.

"Shoot," he muttered.

X

"Ow. Ow. Damn it. Ow. Sorry. Ow- whoa! Sorry!" Megan moved through the palace as fast as she could, but using her powers wasn't something she'd had very much practice with, in quarters as tight as this. Throw in the fact that she was wearing a dress, and it really wasn't surprising that she found herself, crashing, tripping, and making wrong turns every couple of seconds.

Several people found themselves unceremoniously shoved out of the way, and more than a couple pieces of furniture were overturned in the process, but Megan still managed to catch up with the Queen and her guard just as they reached the palace's rear exit.

"You Majesty, wait!" Megan yelled, barreling down at them in a full sprint, even as the royal guards opened the door. There was no time to warn them, so Megan shoved the guards aside and tackled Queen Perdita to the ground, and both of them went tumbling out of the way, just as a shot rang out, and a guard fell.

"Shut the door!" the captain of the guard ordered, and all those around responded. Another guard was shot, but the doors were pulled shut once more.

"You saved my life," the Queen told Megan as she sat up. "Thank you."

"Anytime, your Majesty," Megan assured, still a little embarrassed about her haphazard sprint through the palace. She did her best to manage her hair, which had been whipped into a complete mess by the run. "Anytime."

The young girl stood up, dusting herself off before helping the Queen to her feet and radioing her team. "I've got the Queen, how are things in there?"

Lian blocked a sword swipe that would have decapitated her. The next blow, which she parried, would have opened a hole in her chest. That was the kind of fight she was in when Megan's message came in over the radio.

"Just peachy," Lian replied sarcastically.

Robin meanwhile, was in the middle of performing a backward handspring to avoid getting shot. "Just keep the Queen safe, we can handle things in here."

Lian blocked a series of swings, all of which would have been fatal, and then countered with an expert twist of her blade, skidding it across her opponents, swirling it around, and then disarming the assassin in a clean, upward thrust.

She angled her sword at her assassin's throat. "Go ahead, try me."

"Robin!" Helena called out. He glanced in her direction, the pair locked eyes, and a mutual understanding was reached.

Robin threw out the last of his birdarangs, but not at the assassin, instead throwing them in seemingly random directions. Helena raised her hands, and her eyes shone bright red. The two birdarangs altered their flight path as a red aura surrounded them, guiding them in a wide sweeping turn before finally coming back to strike the assassin in the back of the head.

Robin capitalized on this, and ended the fight with a flying kick.

"Robin," Help piped in, "there is an assassin positioned on overwatch on the rooftop northwest of your current position."

Robin turned, looking out the only window that had been broken and staring hard at the rooftop. After a moment, he caught the briefest glint of light coming off the scope of the shooter's rifle. Helena was at his side, looking up at the same spot.

"I can get you there," she told him.

"Good," Robin said, running at the window and, without another thought, jumping out of it.

Back in the palace, Helena's powers once again gleamed to life as her eyes and hands took on a red glow. A matching aura briefly surrounded Robin as he sailed through the air. His jump carried him up and out before gravity began to take over, and just as it did, the red aura flared, and he was catapulted skyward, landing on the waiting rooftop with a flip.

Sure enough, waiting for him there was an assassin, clad in the same mask as the others had been, with a long rifle in hand.

"You may want to give up now," Robin offered.

The assassin yelled something in a foreign language, aiming his rifle at the Boy Wonder. Not missing a beat, Robin performed a quick side aerial, just in time to dodge the shot. He followed up with a front handspring, closing the gap and allowing him to deliver a final mule kick into the assassin, knocking him off the roof.

Robin landed in a crouch, watching the assassin tumble through the air. "You got him?" he asked.

"I got him," Helena confirmed over the radio.

Several bricks along the palace wall glowed bright red before shaking themselves loose and shooting out like homing missiles toward the falling assassin. They assembled themselves into a platform, catching him, albeit not very gently.

"That's looking like all of them," Lian reported over the radio. "Help?"

"All disturbances have ceased," the robot reported. "Surveillance can spot no other intruders. It appears our mission was accomplished."

"See what you can find out from them," Robin instructed. "I'll be down there in a bit. Megan, the Queen?"

"She's fine," Megan said. "Her guards are still kinda looking at me funny because I tackled her, but she's fine. I'm hungry."

Robin stared at the palace windows, wondering how long it would take for him to get back into the ballroom. Not too long, he supposed, even if he ended up walking. Next undercover mission, he decided, he was going to bring his batons. He felt like a cripple without them.

Before he could begin his descent though, something bounced at his feet, rolling to a stop just in front of him. He glanced down, studying the object. His eyes widened when he saw what it was. A grenade.

Reacting on instinct, Robin kicked the explosive away, and seconds later it detonated, still close enough for Robin to be knocked down by the ensuing blast. The wind was knocked out of him, and he ended up on his back, dazed.

"Well, well, well," an arrogant voice taunted. "Looks like somebody wants to play hero."

Robin turned to the source of the voice, and almost couldn't believe what he saw. A man, clad in a form fitting red bodysuit and silver body armor. The man's face was obscured by a silver, full face mask. One of his eyes was an ordinary slit, but the other was a strange, targeting scope. Robin recognized the costume.

Deadshot.

Robin pushed himself up onto his feet and stood ready. Deadshot laughed. "Really kid? I've gone toe to toe with way worse than you before."

"What about me?"

Robin and Deadshot both turned in time to see Helena, riding a platform of bricks through the air towards them. Robin smirked, and then immediately opened up the fight with Deadshot with a flying punch.

The mercenary grunted, but before he could aim his wrist guns at Robin, a brick, flying like a missile, cracked him over the head, and another struck him in the side. He turned back towards Helena as she used her powers to fling bricks and roof tiles from the surrounding structure, and in anger aimed his weapons and fired.

Helena switched to defensive tactics, telekinetically raising her chosen weapons in front of her like a shield. The bricks crumbled upon the bullets' impact, kicking debris into Helena's face and breaking her concentration.

The platform she was riding fell out from underneath her, and she plummeted, landing hard on the roof. Robin reacted, performing a forward handspring for momentum and grabbing Deadshot's shoulders before throwing him into the ground.

"Big mistake," Robin growled, fists clenched.

Deadshot got up, aiming his wrist gun at Robin. "You've got a crush. Cute."

Robin's eyes widened. He was too close to dodge the shot. The gun went off, and he braced himself for the worst. It never came. Robin opened his eyes, perplexed, and found himself staring at a bullet suspended in the air just inches from his face, glowing a faint red.

Helena's eyes were glowing bright, as were her hands. Ancient symbols swirled through the air around her. "Don't. You. Dare."

"Oh boy," Deadshot muttered.

The bullet traveled backwards along its path, going straight through Deadshot's wrist gun, shattering it. The villain clutched his wrist in obvious pain, and Robin moved in with deft precision. One blow after another, coming from every angle his agility would allow.

The fight, if you could call the one-sided beat down a fight, ended with Robin leaping into the air to deliver a solid roundhouse, putting Deadhot down, groaning.

Robin remained poised in a fighting stance, breathing heavy, not taking his eyes off of Deadshot until he was sure the mercenary was going to stay down. When he was, his stance relaxed just a little, and he turned to Helena.

"Good timing," Robin thanked.

"I heard an explosion, and I was worried," Helena explained. "Guess I had good reason to be."

"Robin, Helena, what the heck just happened?" Lian's voice demanded over the radio.

"We just caught number six," Robin reported, glaring at Deadshot's immobile form. "We might be a little late."

Deadshot groaned, and struggled to sit up. His efforts were interrupted by Robin planting his foot on his chest and leaning in to deliver a Bat-glare. Behind him, Helena watched with interest.

"There are two ways we can do this," Robin told the older, larger man.

After being in the business as long as he had, Deadshot dealt with his share of interrogations. Even a few with Batman. He wasn't afraid of the Dark knight's pint-sized lackey.

"Let me guess Junior; one of them is the 'easy way'?" Deadshot asked, sounding bored.

Robin's glare only hardened and he leaned in closer. In a tone that sent a shiver down Helena's spine, he responded, "No."

X

A few minutes later, Helena and Robin returned to the ballroom with Deadshot and the other assassin unconscious and in tow. Robin had a victorious smile on his face, and he didn't even wait for anyone to ask what they'd learned.

"Deadshot was hired out to kill Perdita and sick the blame on someone else to start a war, which is why he outsourced the other five positions to ex-special forces from Kasnia," Robin shared. "He doesn't know who hired him, but with him caught and the motive exposed, there's no way to fake a political assassination. The Queen's safe."

After a moment, Robin realized that none of the team had listened to his report, and instead were huddled around Green Arrow, who was hanging onto Help for support.

"Uh, guys?" Helena prompted.

"I'm fine," Connor protested.

"You're not fine," Lian corrected sternly. She sounded angry and annoyed, but there were also subtle hints concern, only detectable to someone who had grown up alongside Lian. Or someone trained by Batman. "You're poisoned."

"The poison is not strong, but my platform lacks the proper equipment to care for him," Help informed the group.

"Perhaps I can be of assistance," a regal, accented voice called out, and all heads turned as Queen Perdita came into the room, flanked by her security staff. "I will see to it that your friend is well taken care of. All of you. Vltava is in all of your debt, as am I."

The members of New Justice, Megan included exhcnaged looks, and smiled, though with Connor it was probably more a smile of relief. Megan felt a swell of pride in her chest, a sense of completeness and belonging. Tomorrow, she'd be back at homing, living her normal life. But today, she was a superhero. And it felt great.

DU-NUH!

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As some of you sharp eyed people may have noticed, it has been a loooooooong time since I've updated this story. In that time I've also essentially lost my original beta and all the documentation and notes I had on this story. What I have left is a few sporadic memories, so if I do keep this story going it's going to be back to the drawing board to reimagine all the plot lines and what not. This chapter I found while cleaning out my old laptop, and it was good, so I posted there's enough interest I COULD continue this. But I'm also currently working on a Mock Effect Style Parody of YJ Season 1 and a age-flipped story where Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Flash are the sidekicks and Dick, Wally, Roy, and Kaldur are the adults. (The first chapter of that latter idea is up now, and you can check it out if you think that sounds cool. If not, no big. Still love ya and your beautiful face.) With those two projects going already, I don't want to pour a ton of effort into this fic too if I'm just shouting into the void, ya know?

Serious Question: So really, do you guys enjoy this? I know it's extremely OC centric, but I do my best to make the kids seem a believable mix given their parents and upbringing, and plenty of characters from the show appear about as often and as importantly as the JL in the original show but... yeah, do you guys like this enough to want more, or should I drop it?

Stupid Question: Do you ship anyone in this story yet?

Obvious Trivia Question: Where did I get the channel number of the news station Megan was watching from?

Headdesk Question: What YJ episode is this chapter most inspired by?

Until next time, all!