A/N: I am so excited to be posting my very first Young Justice fanfic; but at the same time, I am nervous. This idea came to me after re-watching Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray's, "A Cinderella Story" for the millionth time. I really loved the chemistry between Princeton Girl and Nomad, and it got me thinking about the realm of online dating and friendships, and how they can be a rock or a bomb for many people. Then, I got the crazy idea to combine it with my favorite Young Justice pairing: Spitfire. From there, the concept of this story was born.

Now, I must warn you all…this story is VERY dark and will cover subject material that is sensitive to many of you out there. This story will deal with the severe crimes of child abuse, neglect, prostitution, and rape. Why have I chosen such dark materials, you may be wondering? Well, I myself was sexually assaulted, and I found comfort in watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU. There was something encouraging to me about seeing episodes in which victims are given the justice they deserve, and criminals are fully punished for their crimes. I especially love when victims gain their confidence, and they can overcome the darkness in their lives, to find happiness once more.

So, if this story is going to offend you in any way, I do not suggest reading it. However, if you are curious as to how I will attempt to empower a victim, of a crime that I myself have been a victim of, I encourage you to read on. For there is a light at the end of each tunnel. You must hang on, or you will never be able to bask in its beauty.

Disclaimer: I do not own Young Justice, Young Justice: Invasion, or Young Justice Outsiders. All three series were created by Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti and were written by a team of writers consisting of Greg Weisman, Kevin Hopps, Andrew Robinson, Nicole Dubuc, Jon Weisman, Tom Pugsley, and Peter David.

I am the sole creator of the plot and all original characters featured in this story. DO NOT REPRODUCE THIS STORY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, FORMAT, OR POSTING. I created this story. Therefore, all rights belong to me.



"Once Upon a Time"

Once upon a time, there was a family of four that lived in a small suburb outside of Gotham – Canton. The family didn't have much money, but they always managed to get by somehow, even in the toughest of times.

The patriarch of this little family was Lawrence Crock, a bulky man standing at six-foot-two, who looked as though he lived at the local gym. He had blonde hair and gray eyes, the latter of the two features being the most prominent, especially when it came to his trademark scowl. Lawrence kept to himself and had a small circle of friends. It was rumored throughout town that he was involved in illegal activity, but it could never be proven. He worked security at the docks on the southside of Gotham and just barely made enough to feed his family.

Lawrence was married to a sweet woman by the name of Paula, much to everyone's surprise. Paula came from a small village in Vietnam when she was just eight years old. She adjusted to life in America rather well but held onto her Vietnamese culture. She met Lawrence after his late shift on the docks. She had been waitressing at a small diner on the outskirts of Canton, and the two had hit it off immediately. Paula was very soft spoken and subservient, according to those who knew her. She was also a great cook, a poet, and she lived each day like it was her last.

This odd pair managed to fit together despite the differences between them; and from their union came two beautiful daughters three years apart in age.

The eldest, Jade, was the spitting image of her mother. Unfortunately, she inherited her father's infamous scowl and hard attitude. In contrast to Jade was little Artemis, who inherited her mother's beauty and her father's blonde hair. Despite their age difference, Jade and Artemis got along well and were inseparable. Jade looked after her little sister – beating up bullies, teaching Artemis to braid her long hair, and reading Artemis "Alice in Wonderland" every night before bed. Paula loved her girls dearly and saw to it that their bond would remain strong. Afterall, the love between two sisters should be undying and unconditional, right…?

It was in the wee hours of the morning, on a chilly night in October, when a six-year-old Artemis was shaken awake by her sister. Jade held a finger to her lips, her eyes wide in the darkness of their shared bedroom. Artemis opened her mouth to question her sister, but Jade shook her head and tugged Artemis from the safety of her quilt. Jade wordlessly ushered Artemis into the closet as the sounds of shouting and smashing glass could be heard outside their closed door.

Artemis clung onto her sister's shirt as she heard her mother screaming. What had happened? Had someone broken into their home? Were her parents under attack? Why had Jade chosen to hide in the closet instead of contacting the police? So many questions were racing around in the child's head, and she was unsure as to what to do with them all.

After ten minutes, the house was silent, and Artemis was desperate to go to her mother for comfort. The closet was dark, and their old house made scary noises at night. A set of heavy footsteps could be heard moving outside the bedroom, drawing closer to the bedroom. Artemis pushed herself even closer to Jade, her fingernails tearing small holes into her sister's nightshirt.

The closet door was yanked open and there stood Lawrence Crock looking out of breath, his eyes wide, but his mouth closed. Without muttering a single word, he grabbed a suitcase off the top shelf of the closet and ordered the girls to pack their things. The questions from before were racing through Artemis's mind, but she kept silent, and helped her sister gather what they could.

It was an hour or so later, when Lawrence was busy driving the girls into Gotham, that Artemis asked the question she so desperately needed answered – "Where's mom?"

Lawrence said nothing and continued to drive through rain, his eyes focused on the road ahead. Tears filled the little girl's eyes as she tried to make sense of the last two hours. Her mother had been there to tuck her in. She had even done the liberty of reading from Artemis's favorite book. She had made sure Artemis's quilt was tucked tightly around her. She had moved aside Artemis's bangs to press her lips against her forehead, all whilst whispering, "tôi yêu bạn con gái tôi," words that displayed how much she genuinely loved her little girl. So why was it that she was not riding in the car alongside them?

Ten years would pass before Artemis would learn the truth, but a lot can happen in ten years. Relationships are destroyed, trust obliterated, safety nonexistent, and fear forever present. Gone was the focal point that Paula's presence brought to Lawrence's life; and in her absence, a dark presence filled the Crock home.

Abuse, neglect, depression, anxiety, self-hatred, loneliness…all these things were born and created a hell for Paula's girls; and in the end, the sisterly bond that Paula had instilled in her daughters was not enough to battle the dark cloud looming over their heads. Before long, Artemis was left alone to weather the storm. Still, in the darkness surrounding her, Artemis managed to hold onto her light, to her hope that someday she would find her mother. Someday, she would find her happily ever after.

A/N: The prologue is complete and now the true story can begin to unfold. I must warn you all, this story is very dark, and it will not be easy for many of you to read. Still, I encourage all to give it a chance. Sometimes reading about others' darkness and pain is enough to spark a bit of light into the lives of others. Overcoming darkness is true strength, and I hope that is a message you all will gain from reading my story.