It's been two weeks since the failed mission to collect data on the Light. Two weeks since she last talked to Wally, and to be perfectly honest it was starting to get to Artemis. To say that Artemis is frustrated about the whole thing would be an understatement. Just ask the punching bag she is currently shredding into a pile of fabric. With each kick she imagined Red Arrow at the receiving end, each punch was meant for Cheshire, and each knife slash was for Sportsmaster. She is incredibly pissed, and now she's pushing herself, working herself to the bone to get rid of this emotion.
Insecure my ass, Artemis thought to herself, That little pervert is the insecure one. I don't need to prove anything to anyone, especially not Wally Fucking West or that asshole Speedy.
With one final roundhouse kick the bag's support broke from the ceiling and nearly fell on top of Artemis. Fortunately she jumped away before being crushed by 50 pounds of stuffing. Even the equipment is out to get me great.
As Artemis was silently fuming to herself about inanimate objects, she never noticed a certain ginger standing outside the doorway of the gymnasium. In fact, Wally stood there watching her for the majority of her workout, which had been roughly four hours, contemplating how he would even begin to talk to her. He felt bad about what he said, or maybe how he said it, or maybe the fact that he'd been completely ignoring her on their other missions. Regardless, he felt the need to at least talk to Artemis again before he drove her to quit the team or do something else that's stupid. So being the Oh-So-Fearless man Wally is he plucked up enough courage to walk all the way over to the training room. But once he looked in the doorway he nearly ran away when he saw the girl cut deep into the punching bag's side, making some of its stuffing come out. But he didn't run, probably because Wally's a little bit stupid; he just decided to wait it out, and being the ADHD kid he is, he nearly died from having to stand still for so long. His fingers twitched slightly when she brought down the punching bag, knowing that some of her anger towards that bag was meant for him.
Artemis started to breathe heavily after she had jumped out of harms way, her eyes closed and she turned her face upwards. She looks almost calm for a brief moment. She must have smelled his fear or something because once she took a deep breath inwards her eyes snapped open and they located his immediately. They stared at each other for a minute, like a hunter and its prey, and in this situation Wally was definitely the prey. Eventually Wally couldn't take the staring contest anymore and made the first move.
"I'msorryforsayingthatyou'reinsecuebutwhydidyoudoit?" He spoke too fast and he silently cursed himself because he knows Artemis didn't understand a word he just said, he barely understood a word he just said and he'd been the one to say it. Before he spoke again, Wally made sure to take in a deep breath before he re-stated his previous jumble, "Why did you do it?"
Artemis is furious all over again; she doesn't want to explain to him, he doesn't deserve an explanation, he's been ignoring her for weeks, and now all of a sudden he wants to understand her?
"I don't have to answer that."
"No I guess you don't." Wally rubs the back of his neck nervously, smiling forcedly at her for a moment.
There's an elongated period of awkward silence between the two, where Artemis is trying to stare down Wally but he's too busy looking at the ceiling to acknowledge her death glare. Once again Wally is the one to break the silence.
"I-uhm, I'm sorry, like, really and sincerely, for what I said."
Artemis is taken aback by the statement; she wasn't expecting an apology, more of an interrogation from Wally, so this took her for a complete loop.
"It-It's okay. I mean if I were in your position I would call me insecure too." Artemis is looking down now, at her nails and picking at the dry and calloused skin around them.
"No," Artemis looks up at Wally when he says that and sees that he's practically shaking, angry, "don't- don't ever belittle yourself like that okay? I knew you were insecure about Roy joining, and I know that you think you have to prove yourself to everyone at all times, and I know that one person's approval isn't enough for you. I know you had your reasons, and I know they go beyond just proving yourself to the team and to the League. I just wish I understood what they are."
"You were upset because your approval wasn't enough for me?"
Wally stops shaking, and gives the girl a quizzical look. "Out of all of what I just said, that's what you take out of it?"
"It's true though, right?" Her jaw started to tighten.
"Well yeah I was kinda miffed about it, but I got over it eventually." He didn't see the tell-tale signs of Artemis gradually returning to anger-mode.
"You ignored me for two weeks because I hurt your ego?"
"Hey no that's not-"
Before he could finish, Artemis started to march out of the room, slightly less furious than before but still furious all the same. Unfortunately the pest talking to her could move at practically the speed of sound and therefore was able to block her escape route. Artemis quickly settled for a slight pout and her arms crossed over her chest defiantly.
"Look, all of that came out wrong. Yes my ego was a little bit bruised, but it's more than just that, I got over that like a week and a half ago."
"Then why have you been ignoring me?"
"Because I didn't know how to apologize. I also didn't know how well you would react to me talking to you again."
"Oh." Artemis deflates her tough exterior, and for the first time Wally sees how truly worn out she is. There are large purple bags under her eyes from apparent lack of sleep, her shoulders are slumped in a completely un-Artemis way, and her hands are bruised and slightly bloody from previous fights that she hasn't bothered to clean up from.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I've just been going out more often with Green Arrow." She shrugs, and there's a tightness in her shoulders that wasn't there a moment ago. She's lying, Wally thinks to himself, instead of saying anything though he just nods to acknowledge what she said.
They're silent once again, but the air between them is slightly more relaxed, less challenging and wary. Artemis sits on a bench on the side of the room where her water bottle is, and Wally follows and plops down next to her.
"I'm not going to tell you why I did what I did you know. We already had this discussion." Artemis glances at Wally out of the corner of her eye before she takes a long swig of her water bottle.
"Dang. I was really hoping that you'd actually open up for once."
"Was all this just a clever ruse to trick me into trusting you so I would tell you all my secrets." Artemis is only half joking when she says this, and luckily Wally is quick on the uptake.
"No nefarious plots here. I swear." He puts his hands up in mock defeat and smiles his megawatt smile that he usually reserves just for M'gann, and for some reason when he uses it on Artemis he actually manages to make her blush.
"Good. " There's the barest hint of laughter in her gravelly voice, and it sounds like music to Wally's ears.
She may not trust me completely, but I can live with this for right now. I can deal with her quietness about her personal life. I know eventually she'll open up, and when she does I'll be there for her. I'll make sure of it. Wally thinks to himself as he looks at how she just relaxed, and didn't look worried for the first time since joining the team.
For a moment Wally got lost in the way the corners of her eyes crinkled when she smiles, even if it's just barely there, and how nice and pretty she smelled despite having just worked out for a ridiculous amount of time, and he wondered if her hair would be as soft as it looks, or if her skin would taste as good as it smells, and before he knew it he was leaning into her, her hand was on his thigh, his eyes were half-lidded, and they were kissing. He put his hand in her hair and was able to feel how incredibly soft it is. She tasted like vanilla and sweat and for some reason that tastes incredible. Her lips felt so soft and nice, and Wally almost stopped because he felt bad she had to be kissing his dry and windburned ones. But, in fact, it was not Artemis nor Wally alone that stopped the kissing, it was the joint effort of breaking apart at the sound of Robin's cackling and a click of a camera shutter.
"I'm gonna kill that boy." Artemis growled, but her hand was still on Wally's thigh, and she didn't seem inclined at all to go chase after Dick.
"We'll get him later, I promise." Wally laughs, and slides his hand through her hair before pulling her back into the kiss of the millenia.