“What do you mean; you don’t know where she is? She got kidnapped right in front of us!” Roy’s voice is loud, angry, despite the fact that he had never trusted her, he didn’t appreciate the League’s complete unwillingness to save one of their own. He stars up at Ollie, except he wasn’t really staring up because he’d matched Ollie’s height a year ago, and feels inferior, like he’s never going to match up. This is not the time for his insecurities though. There are more important things at stake, lives, for one.
“Red Arrow, we have every reason to believe that Artemis is safe.” Aquaman’s voice is supposed to be soothing, but all it does is remind Roy of the day when he first stormed out of the Hall of Justice. The memory brings up old anger and he’s half-tempted to do the same now.
“What, exactly, makes you think that she’s safe? She was taken right in front of us!”
That doesn’t seem to get through to the League idiots he’s talking to though. They nod patiently like they’re actually listening and considering the fact that Artemis had been taken at knife-point by Sportsmaster. But he knows they’re not. He’s seen the way the League works, heard Ollie complain about it before, they have so much power and are so careful in using it that more often than not they’re too late, acting on the defensive when they should’ve been on the offense. But that’s not how Roy works and maybe that should be a clue.
He knows that Kaldur and the rest of the Team are on bed-rest because of the mission, but he’s fine, and he knows about Artemis’s past. He knows more than the team, and he knows more than Batman, because Artemis had told him, and these idiots aren’t listening when he tells them that Artemis is in danger because they only know Sportsmaster and Artemis from an outsider’s point of view.
He remembers late nights on the shooting range as she tried—and by God, she will continue trying—to earn his trust, tried to explain how she was who, and what she was; how she’s never going back to that, that she’d rather die than go back to that. He remembers how he had admired her for that, if nothing else, remembers how her eyes were bright and serious, and how her voice betrayed a conviction that let him think, just for the briefest of moments that she wasn’t a rat, wasn’t a spy.
He also remembers terrified gray eyes looking at him as she tried to scream through her father’s glove, and her description of what the Shadows does to traitors.
And goddamn it, he doesn’t much like the brat, but he remembers the last encounter Sportsmaster and her had, the one that had ended with Artemis limping away on a shattered ankle that she’d convinced Zatanna to heal before the rest of the team found them. The shattered ankle that never made it into the mission report because she was proud and stubborn, and Roy understood not wanting to appear weak.
“Surely, Sportsmaster will not harm his daughter.” He wonders how Aquaman can be so blind—so naive when his own worst enemy regularly tries to kill his own son. When Black Manta had almost ended Kaldur’s life just the month before. How can he not see how similar the two are?
Roy scowls, turning on his heel, and marching towards the doors of the med-bay. He throws a glance at Aquaman over his shoulder, and despite himself he says, “He already has, you idiot.”
Aqualad is well enough to leave, and the others will follow in due time, but he’s not going to sit here while he can still remember the sound of Artemis’s bone shattering from a blow from her own father, he’s not going to sit here and let that or worse happen to the brat who, he will admit, has grown on him. Not when he can do something. He thinks of the burn phone Cheshire left in his apartment “emergency moons only” written on the back, remembers thinking that she was strange until Artemis had shown up outside of his apartment, worse for wear and exhausted, and of the girl who had begged him to not tell Batman that she had been hurt, who had been trying to earn his trust while keeping her secrets to herself, whose greatest fear was her new family hating her, and brushes past Ollie.
Ollie who has remained silent this whole conversation. He looks at Ollie, “Isn’t she supposed to be your niece?” Ollie looks stricken, and Roy takes a small amount of joy from that.
“Roy! Roy, godamnit! Roy where are you—”
Roy doesn’t let him finish, tired of the League, and finally remembering why he had stopped putting up with their shit months ago. ”I’m going to do something, since you dumbasses, obviously won’t.”
He knows that he’s just thrown away his chance at joining the League, and, honestly, he doesn’t care, because the League will always be there, but Artemis, and his friends, they won’t.