Mentor Management

My Name: Merry Reese
LJ Name: mildredmilton
Recipient's Name: scheherezhad
Character: Mia Dearden, aka Speedy II (Green Arrow)
Warnings: Strong Language
Spoilers: None

Mia knows she's being a brat. Thinking about it makes her even more of a brat, so she's trying to ignore it. The trouble is, Bart is hard to ignore. He's especially tough to ignore when he makes gigantic sad puppy eyes at her, so she throws an arrow at him and he zooms out of the med-lab. Actually, she realizes, he'd zoomed around the med-lab, put the arrow back in her quiver, and then zoomed out of the medlab. Sometimes he makes her want to yank that stupid floppy hair out by the roots, and cry, all at the same time.

"The pain meds are kicking in. I'm fine." She says.

"Lie. Down." There's a big, metal hand on one of her shoulders. She looks up. The thing about Cyborg is he only has half a face, so she can't tell from his expression if he's pissed that she was mean to Bart or that she's trying to get up, or that he just has to be the resident adult all the time now. Probably all of them. "Superboy!" He just barely raises his voice. He knows Superboy can hear him.

"Here." Superboy gives her a look that says he heard her bitching out Bart, and he's going to take it out on her as soon as he won't feel guilty about pounding on someone who's injured.

"Keep her in bed. I'm going out for a beer. I'll let Robin know I won't be free to baby-sit for the rest of the night."

Cyborg doesn't look at her as he goes. Yup, he's pissed about all three.

Superboy brings a game-boy out of his back pocket, and settles in a chair, not facing her. "Don't move." He says. "I can hear if you do."

She sighs and settles back on the bed. In Team Arrow territory, if anyone hurt her, they'd catch hell from Ollie or Connor, one way or another. Bart seems to be the pet on this team. She wonders if Raven's dreaming up a nightmare for her right now.

At least she'd told them. At least she didn't have to worry about screaming out 'I'm HIV positive! Careful of the blood!' in the middle of a room full of supervillains. Full of a supervillain. Supervillen? It's hard to think of pronouns for a guy who can make copies of himself. She usually hates to think to think of supervillains in terms of their 'cape names,' because she doesn't want to encourage them. Still, this guy or guys, for the sake of her huge headache that isn't going to get better if she tries to figure out the grammar for him/them, she'll just call go ahead and call Exponential.

Anyway, she'd told the Titans about testing positive, and telling the police, and the people at the metahuman holding facility that they'd have to test Exponential for HIV, because his clones or doubles or whatever had been exposed to infected blood, and no one's sure if it can be transmitted via self-proxy . . . well, it was only a little humiliating.

"I want Robin."

"He's in his room." When Superboy doesn't make a dirty joke, you know he's mad.

"Could you just let him know? You'll be back in, like, a second." She remembers the com. She's got the com back now. It's on her uninjured arm, even. "Robin, could you come down here?"

"Five minutes." He makes it sound routine, even though she's never called him before. Even when she should have.

She can tell Superboy is smirking by the slant of his shoulders, and when the 'superhero' in the jeans, and a t-shirt thinks she's too dumb for the business . . . . damn it. She likes these people. They got her out from under a pile of Exponentials (Exponentia?) before her ribs gave out, and they've always ordered her kind of pizza, and these really aren't the people she's mad at. For better or for worse.

Robin comes in through the door the same way he does everything, in a way that makes her think that she's watching TV with the mute button on because it's so silent it's surreal. It makes Superboy seem especially noisy when he gets up and slouches over to the door, never taking his eyes from the gameboy.

"Could you tell Bart that I will teach him archery as soon as my arm heals up?"

"He's probably forgotten already." Superboy says.

It feels wrong to get mad at Superboy for relaxing into a smile. It's not his fault that he's such a sweetheart, and it's convenient for her. Fuck it, she's faked harder things than a smile for worse people.

"If he has? Nevermind."

She can hear him snickering as he goes down the hall.

"None of us knew that Exponential could multiply himself." Robin says, without any kind of preamble. Because he's like a Batman who gets why you're upset and that . . . She isn't mad at these people. "We put you in danger by sending you in to do the recon alone. That was our fault. Letting that replication get your com away from you was. A mistake, yes. But tripping that last one into the museums display case to set off the alarm was an effective recovery. Blinding the primary with the glue arrow was an intelligent move. You did well."

Robin pauses.

"You are not the weak link."

She stares at the ceiling. "That's not what's bothering me."

"You. I. Oh. I anticipated . . . . I didn't mean my speech to indicate that . . . . Your set of skills is unique. And valuable." She stops staring at the ceiling so she can see Robin turn red. "I would never send Bart in to do a reconnaissance mission, for example."

"Fine!" Bart says, from behind him, and then there's a woosh and Bart's gone again, a clattering quiver of arrows propping open one of the doors.

"Oh man, Rob. Just when I got him happy again. You know what? You two versus me, in the training room next weekend. Bring ice-packs." Superboy runs a hand through his hair, and heads off in what, Mia guesses, would be the direction Bart took.

Robin's kind of purple now, but he can still focus on what he's trying to say.

"I remembered my concerns about my contribution, as a non-meta, to Young Justice and the Titans. I didn't mean anything."

She smiles a little. One way to get rid of a bad mood is to transfer it, and it's working. "Okay, that's not all that was bothering me."

"I won't hazard another guess."

"Have you ever had any close calls? Fuck, don't answer that. I know you have. I've heard about a few of them."

His face closes down.


"What were you thinking about?"

"Mostly ways to get out of the situation."

"What else did you think about?"

"When I'm facing death, I don't often get that much time to think."

"Well, what about those times when you do?"

One of the good things about having seen the absolute worst of human nature, is that she doesn't get that intimidated when a little guy in a cape narrows his eyes at her, even if he was trained by Batman.

"See, the med-lab is white, and your costume is black, yellow, green and red, and your face is still a little bit pink. So you don't blend in with the walls, Robin."

He ducks his head. No he doesn't. He looks at the open door. And batarangs the quiver of arrows out of the way so it slams. A lot of people here can still hear him, but she guesses it's the principle of the thing.

"My . . . . I think of the people I care about. And Batman, I think about how I've let him down. I think about the people I didn't save."

"Thought so." Is it bad that she makes that sound like an accusation? The way Robin looks at her means that yes, it is. "Hero thoughts."

"I take it that those weren't your thoughts."

"I was pissed."

"Not surprising. And often quite useful. Sometimes being angry at the perpetrator can - well I'm sure you know about adrenaline."

"I was pissed at Ollie."


"I was pissed because I didn't want to join the Titans. No I wanted to join the Titans, but he was the one who kidnapped me and dumped me here. And because I wanted to work on hand-fighting with Connor and he was all, 'One thing at a time.' I was pissed because he keeps lecturing on getting overconfident, and hamstringing my training until I can freaking make and bow and arrow out of bamboo and a rock. Half the time he's pushing me, and the rest . . . ."

"I don't think there's a rule-book for final thoughts, Speedy."

She looks at him, and he's doing that thing where he's tightening his mouth and thinking it's a smile.

"You pick this to joke about? This?"

"Perhaps I'll just be quiet again."

"Yeah. You do that." She settles back for some serious ceiling-staring. "He gave me everything. If he hadn't been there . . . . I'd be dead, or the sort of person you'd have to pick off for mugging little old ladies and girl scouts."

"You're allowed to make jokes?"

"Yes. He gave me everything, except Speedy. I had to work for that. I had to. I had to fucking force him to train me. And then I go down being so damn mad at him I can't even think."

"You're not down yet, Mia. You're alive."

Robin's looking at her like she's missing something really important.

"Yeah, so next time I'll work on going down all 'I regret that I only have one life to give for a bunch of people in silly outfits.'"

"You need to work on not, um, going down." Robin looks at the door for a second. "Hmmmmm. Either Superboy's not listening, or he realizes this is a solemn moment. Back on the subject; you can exert some control over your training. There are many reasons to make sure you're trained by a variety of different people. Some of them are emotional as well as physical."

"There aren't that many people who can train me in Star City."

"Paris has a few dojos you could consider."

"Ollie won't let me go to Paris."

"'Let' isn't the word you should focus on."

"You're shitting me. Ollie would kill me. Or fire me."

"I'm reasonably sure he wouldn't. A limited rebellion can sometimes be very useful."

"No. Thanks. I'd rather just go home and have Ollie bite my head off for getting hurt."

"Or I could tell Batman that you are best served by being trained only by Green Arrow, he would pass along the message, and by the end of the week Oliver would import a dozen teachers."

"See, there are two horrifying things about that. One: you're manipulating Batman. Two: Batman and Ollie would talk to each other."

"I suppose."

"So Paris, huh?"