Cheshire was fast, closing the distance between herself and Robin in less than a second, sai ready to strike.
Unfortunately for her, Robin was pretty fast too, and had already jumped into the air, kicked off of the wall and smashed his heel into her mask, knocking it askew. Unable to see, Cheshire swung her sai blindly with her left hand as she readjusted her mask with her right. In a second, her vision was clear again.
But Robin was gone.
Cheshire whirled around on instinct, only to receive a boot to the shoulder. She blocked Robin's spin kick with her right arm, but his hand darted out and jabbed at her wrist, causing the sai to slip from her grasp.
Robin pulled away and smiled. So far, things were going-
Cheshire punched him in the face.
"You know, you're a lot hotter in the old suit" Kid Flash said, ducking out of the way of another sword swipe from Tigress.
"Excuse me?" Tigress demanded, pausing in her assault in her confusion.
"Just an observation. I thought you'd appreciate my input. You know, now that you're a sexy super-villainess and all that."
Tigress grunted and resumed trying to dismember him.
New strategy them the speedster thought. If he couldn't stay outside of her range...
"Jeez, if you hate me that much, then why'd you kiss me?" Wally teased, darting forwards and grabbing onto the sword hilt. Now he was too close for her to slash.
Tigress growled and kicked him in the chest, sending the speedster crashing into the side of the hallway. "Just shut up and die already so I don't have to listen to any more of your stupidity, okay?"
Wally grabbed a metal box bolted into the wall and pulled himself to his feet. On closer inspection, the box had a little glass door revealing a fire extinguisher (man, there were a lot of those around here).
"Oh, you'd rather check out my rugged good looks in silence instead of hearing my genius thoughts?" he said with a fake sigh. "I guess I can live with that."
Robin had said to push ALL of Artemis's buttons, mental, physical and emotional.
Tigress charged, stabbing forwards with her blade. Kid Flash smiled and spun away to the left, causing the sword's tip to penetrate the side of the box.
"Nice try" he said, lashing out with a kick that connected with her chin. Tigress stumbled backwards, her hands slipping off of the sword, leaving it stuck in the box. KF moved to push his advantage with a left hook, only to be hit by a flying Robin.
"Dude!" the speedster cried out as they crashed to the ground. "Watch it!"
"Sorry, Kid" Robin said, leaping to his feet and lashing out with a pair of kicks designed to force both Tigress and Cheshire to stay back. Tigress retreated but Cheshire kept coming, slashing at him with her (probably poisoned, definitely sharp) fingernails. Robin dodged and rolled to the side, unclipping his cape and tossing it in Cheshire's face.
Kid Flash turned to face Tigress, only to duck under a bolt from her miniature crossbow, which slammed into the wall.
"Careful!" he shouted. "You might shoot your eye out with that! Or mine!"
Tigress's heel collided with his chin, knocking him to the ground again as she reloaded. Robin somersaulted across the floor, scooping up Cheshire's dropped sai and tossing it at Tigress, knocking the crossbow out of her hand, the blade slicing through the bowstring. The girl tried to recover it, only to get a fist to the jaw from Kid Flash.
"You're seriously starting to get on my nerves, Artemis!" the speedster shouted. "You're our friend, for crying out loud! Why are you making us hurt you?"
"I know, right?" said Tigress as she recovered and began to attack again. "I'm the one who's supposed to be hurting you!"
Kid Flash dodged and did a spin kick, which looked really cool but was easily intercepted, which is to say that Tigress caught it with one hand."Hey," he said as he tried to free his ankle from her grip. "If you're so bad, then why did you unfreeze me, huh? Can you answer that?"
Tigress chuckled as she casually tossed his foot upwards, sending the speedster crashing onto his back. "Wasn't it obvious? The others knew which side I was on. You, on the other hand, had no idea. It would be suspicious if only one of us escaped captivity, but if two of us did, then we could cover each other's backs." Tigress walked over to the downed speedster and put her right hand around his throat, pinning him down. As Kid Flash tried to rise, she reached into a strap on her leg and removing a rather sharp-looking crossbow bolt, twirling it between her fingers. "Assuming the League threw together another little team of sidekicks, I'd still be in perfect position to spy on them and bring them down. I broke you out because you're the dumbest and the easiest to manipulate. How's that for a reason?"
"Dumbest, huh?" Kid Flash muttered as he hooked his leg around Tigress's ankle, knocking her off balance and leaving her open to a right hook to the face. Tigress quickly recovered, but the speedster had rolled away.
"It would have worked perfectly if Red Arrow hadn't shown up when he did," Tigress said, lunging at him, wielding the crossbow bolt like a knife "but I had a bluff ready. Even if it did mean I had to cut and run early. Too bad I couldn't just kill your friends right then, but I trashed your secret hideout, so that has to count for something."
"You trashed the Cave?" Kid Flash shouted, retreating down the hall. "Dude! That's so not cool. You so need a time out!"
"FOR THE LOVE OF..." Tigress snapped. "I betrayed your team, poisoned you with Joker Toxin, sabotaged your base and AM CURRENTLY TRYING TO KILL YOU! What about this situation is so difficult for you to understand?"
"Gotcha!" said Kid Flash, coming out of nowhere and striking her on the cheek. She countered his next blow and he retreated again.
"Well played" said Tigress, wiping a bit of blood from the side of her mouth. "Maybe you're not quite as stupid as I thought."
"I get that a lot" said Kid Flash. "But you still haven't said why you kissed me. Don't tell me your dad ordered you to do it. That would just be creepy."
Tigress smiled, like a crocodile. "It's amazing what sacrifices this job calls for, just to ensure that you can get some trust. But I do get to do this." She twirled the bolt around her finger and threw it. Kid Flash barely dodged it, receiving a cut to the cheek.
Then Tigress smashed her fist into his chin.
Meanwhile, the air between Robin and Cheshire was obscured by the blur of their rapid blows and counters.
"You're... pretty good" Robin conceded, breathing pretty hard.
"Do you honestly expect to last much longer?" Cheshire asked, blocking a blow and landing a kick on Robin's chest.
"I dunno" Robin replied, stopping his fall with a roll and rebounding to his feet. "You two fight pretty well. I assume that's your dad's training showing itself?"
Cheshire grunted and lunged at him but Robin spun away, ducking under a kick from Tigress and grabbing her leg.
"Oh, right, I forgot. You two hate your dad. It's a shame. He must be sooo proud of you for following in his footsteps."
Tigress pulled her foot from Robin's grasp and threw a punch at his head. Robin backtracked, only to be intercepted by Cheshire, lashing out with her 'claws.'
"Wait, no, I forgot" Robin continued, ducking low, grabbing his discarded cape and using it as a matador would, guiding each of the blows away from himself. (He really was going to need a new cape after all of this) "Sportsy probably doesn't care. Never mind." Robin kicked Cheshire back, reattached his cape and spun to face Tigress, who had just floored KF again. "But I bet it's your mom who's really impressed of you."
Tigress roared, snatching her sword out of the fire extinguisher box and lunging at Robin. "My mother's dead you son of a-"
"Artemis!" Cheshire cried out, suddenly panicked.
"Such language!" Robin remarked as he dodged a vicious set of slashes. "But I don't think that's why Cheshire's concerned, Tiggy." Bouncing off the wall again, he leaped over Tigress's sword range and flipped over her, sending her stumbling to the ground. "After all, you just let the cat out of the bag, as it were."
"I appreciate the pun, dude..." Kid Flash said, getting to his feet and using the brief interlude of violence to check his injuries. His breathing was heavy, it definitely felt like he'd bruised a rib or two and his muscles were on fire, but somehow he wasn't dead yet. "But what exactly are you talking about?"
Tigress and Cheshire looked at each other, as if silently debating what to do, or trying to figure out if they'd really just done what they thought they'd done. Robin decided to put them out of their misery.
"You see KF," he said "Artemis's mother, Paula Crock, is alive and well. As of two days ago, anyways. Yet Tigress seems to honestly believe that her mother is dead. How can this be?"
Tigress lunged at Robin again, but he was too fast, moving underneath her strike and landing a kick on her chin while simultaneously robbing her of the ammo pouch strapped to her thigh. Kid Flash took advantage of the assassins' focus on Robin to pull the fire extinguisher from its box. Not the lightest weapon, but it would have to do.
"Let's see what we've got in here" Robin said, glancing through the variety of bolts for the now broken crossbow kept in the pouch. Tigress slashed at him but he evaded once again and, pulling a bolt from the collection, tossed it at the ceiling, where it promptly exploded.
A kick from Robin sent the sword clattering out of the distracted Tigress's hands as the sprinklers went off, soaking the hall.
Cheshire was unfazed by the water and lashed out with another kick, striking Robin in the small of his back and sending him tumbling forwards. Tigress tried to punch him, but Kid Flash slammed into her.
"Now, where was I?" said Robin, picking himself up and dodging some more attacks from Cheshire. "Oh, yes. Your little screw-up. Don't feel too bad, Tigress. It's not like you really gave anything away. I've known, or at least strongly suspected, since we first met. You just gave me the last little piece I needed to be sure."
"Be sure of what?" Tigress shrieked, kicking Kid Flash's feet out from under him and lunging at Robin, who spun away. "What do you think you know?" she shouted. Kid Flash noticed that the two assassins were throwing everything they had at Robin, while practically ignoring the speedster. Their moves were getting more and more sloppy and they were clearly enraged, terrified or some combination of both. Obviously, Robin had found the right button to push.
"Man, fighting in the rain like this sure reminds me of when Red Torpedo attacked the Cave" the Boy Wonder said, tripping Tigress and sending her sprawling. "Specifically that time when Artemis saved me from him in the library. Oh. Wait... That's right. That was the other way round. I. Saved. Artemis."
Cheshire grabbed Tigress's sword and swung at Robin, only to be intercepted by Kid Flash, who blocked the blade with the fire extinguisher. "Wanna tell me why that's important, Rob," he grunted "or why these two are freaking out all of a sudden?"
Cheshire kicked the speedster in the chest, knocking him back. By this point he was prepared for that sort of thing and turned his landing into a backwards roll, bringing him to his feet a safe distance away.
"Well, KF" Robin replied, striking Tigress in the chin. "A while back, Tigress had a little chat with me, Rocket, Aqualad and RA about how she had decided to be evil now. We talked a bit about some stuff that had happened and I asked about the time she saved me from the Reds. Artemis laughed about it, apparently unaware that my facts were off."
Cheshire had almost reached him, going for a stab with Tigress's sword, but Robin parried and kicked the blade from her hand.
"Even when I made my report to Batman, I never specifically mentioned who saved who. It just wasn't important. Artemis and I are the only people on the planet who know what happened then. And guess what? Tigress didn't know."
"Ah! Now I see where you're going with this" said Kid Flash, swinging the fire extinguisher at Tigress like a club. She easily blocked and slugged him in the jaw, sending him stumbling backwards.
"It was just a mistake!" Tigress shouted, lashing out at Robin. "Don't you ever make any of those?"
"Not really, no" said Robin, catching her wrist and throwing her at Cheshire, who moved to the side and caught Robin off-guard with an uppercut, sending him flying down the hall, skidding on the sprinkler water building up on the floor.
"It seems you do" said Cheshire, crossing the distance between them at a speed which would have made the Flash himself proud before pouncing on Robin, pinning him down and choking him.
"I really think you need to be quiet" she said, her claw-like fingernails at his throat. "Forever."
Robin tried to kick her, but Cheshire shifted her body weight and countered. For once, Robin's small size, so useful when he needed to dodge things, was not in his favor. In another second, he'd find out exactly how toxic Cheshire's nail polish was, assuming she didn't slash his throat outright.
Tigress rose to face KF, Cheshire's
discarded sai in hand. "Please die now, okay?" she growled.
"Dying's overrated" the speedster replied, pulling the pin on the fire extinguisher and blasting Tigress with high-pressure foam. She shrieked, distracting Cheshire for a moment.
Wally West knew a lot about running. It was kind of his thing.
He also knew a fair amount about physics, both because of his powers and because, well, he liked physics.
One bit of physics he'd found especially useful was momentum. In particular, conservation of momentum.
Kid Flash dropped the fire extinguisher and ran. It wasn't at superspeed (he still couldn't do that, unfortunately) but it was still a good sprint.
After a second, he dropped to the floor, sliding on his side on the wet ground, still coated in water from the sprinklers.
His feet slammed into Cheshire like a bowling ball, knocking her over and giving Robin the chance to simultaneously knee her in the stomach and free himself from her grasp.
The end result of this was, of course, that the three of them ended up in a big pile of limbs and wet clothing. Robin reacted the quickest and slammed his fist into the stunned Cheshire's face, knocking off her mask.
Robin and Kid Flash got to their feet, using the walls and each other for support. Cheshire tried to get up, but the world was spinning pretty bad. Half-blind, she reached out and grabbed Kid Flash's ankle. On instinct he stomped on her temple with his other foot, knocking her out.
The sprinklers had stopped, and for a second, the hallways was quiet, save for the panting of Robin, Kid Flash and Tigress. They were wet, sore and exhausted. They'd pounded each other quite a bit, and any one of them who didn't die in the next 24 hours was going to have some serious bruises.
"So, let's summarize" said Robin in between deep breaths. "Tigress wasn't present when the Reds raided the Cave, while Artemis was. She claims her mother is dead, a statement which appears to be honest, yet Artemis's mother is alive. So what can we conclude?"
Tigress sprinted towards them and lashed out with a hard left hook, but her rage made her strike sloppy, and Robin easily caught her wrist before landing a hard jab to her solar plexus. When Tigress was able to breath again, she was on the ground, Robin strategically placing his relatively light weight to keep her pinned down.
"Tell me" Robin growled, his elbow pressing hard against her trachea.
"Where is the real Artemis?"