It's late and I have insomnia and I know I said I never write romance but I feel like it now and I'm apparently allergic to commas. Inspired by the word "Spitfire" used for Wally and Artemis's relationship.

Enjoy! Maybe review if you'd like! ~ Iron Woobie


Sizzle

For some, it's hard to remember

That

In the age before the romance sparked

That

In the time before that first kiss blossomed

That

In the months before the hands held hands

That

In the eternity before one heart touched one heart

That

In the earliest moments when Wally first knew Artemis

That

They became friends before they became lovers.

From the start

The one with the fiery red hair

And the one with the fiery red spirit

Did not always embrace in a fiery passion of affection.

Sometimes

Their feelings for the other

Were unrequited.

Sometimes

They were freezing cold

Like twin cubes of ice

Where one would slide right against the other

Rubbing frictionless against the other surface

Which was just as smooth and hard and unforgiving

As itself

Before passing on

Leaving behind a wet and watery trail of regret in their wake

And the other not even phased by the contact

So shrouded in their own frigid shell of apathy

To even acknowledge the interaction

Or the other's existence.

Unrequited.

Sometimes

They were simply warm

But in varying degrees

Actual degrees of temperature

Where the stove was turned on high for one

But only medium-high for the other

One burning the other with almost sadistic glee

The other reeling from the scalds

And ill-equipped or ill-motivated

To deal a blow of equal-or-greater-value

And the imbalance was painful

As the first realized the line was crossed

And felt the weight of guilt fall down upon their head

At the understanding that their jab was too harsh

And the second realized the line was crossed

And felt the weight of shame settle within their stomach

At the understanding that their emotions were too soft.

Unrequited.

Sometimes

They were harder

Hard as a pair of stiff chopsticks

Identical shafts of stubborn wood

Equally as likely to hold firm

As to break

And each fully knowledgeable

Of this mutual durable inevitable fragility

Of the equal laws of probability determining their fate

Of the random chance that the other chopstick would snap

More like a toothpick than like a plank

And pressing and pulling against each other

With an almost paradoxical shared desire

To be the last to back down and splinter

But also to preserve the ongoing existence of the other

Finding themselves at a callous impasse

A stalemate of wills

A deadlock of force

That was both exhilarating

And exhausting

And never led anywhere in the end.

Unrequited.

And sometimes

They were softer

Soft like a pair of thick wooly comfortable soothing winter socks

Silent on barren ground

Flexible to the other's whims

Easily in the other's company

Drawn to each other with the static electricity

Generated by their friction with the environment

Rather than each other

And never conflicting

Never striking blows

Never exchanging sharp barbs of wit

Nor swift blocks of retorts

Always in accord

Always in sync

And never testing the boundary

And it was soft

And it was comfortable

And it was doable

And it too never went anywhere.

Unrequited.

And it was only in a moment of mutual weakness

When both were tired

Just bone-dead tired

Physically and mentally tired

And also drained

In the shadow of the victory against a Light that was nothing more than a new breed of Darkness

And the fatigue pulling on their weary worn bodies

Dragging their heads down to their chests

Tugging on their shoulders to bow down towards the ground

Weighing their eyelids to shut in a pure relief borne of unconsciousness

That finally lit a spark beneath the kettle

Of this frantically-mixed-together-spiced-and-prepped stew of a relationship

And set everything aflame

Melting the shards of ice which had formed two halves of a cold front

Impenetrable

Raising and lowering the heat of two flames to match intents and reactions

Unequal

Snapping the dual chopsticks simultaneously to break the ongoing feud

Stubborn

Shredding the pair of soft wooly socks that cushioned their contact and fended off anything more than ease of presence

Comfortable

Ultimately burning a gaping hole between the two most impenetrable unequal stubborn comfortable hearts

And allowing the most excellent fragrances of affection to escape

And intertwine

Combining into the best flavor

Of a base of broiled humor

And a dressing of just the right amount of snark

(Which was just semantics because there was no such thing as too much snark)

And a pinch of saltiness

And just a squeeze of sourness

And smoked to a crisp in some places

And baked to an ideal golden-brown in others

And left pure raw and uncut and untouched in just the right areas

To allow for the natural meaning of a certain trigger word or a certain buried memory

To stand on its own merit

And unchallenged by the influence or the input of the other

All stirred and placed under the crushing pressure of saving the world on a frequent basis

And resulting in a tasteful concoction of remarkable balance

And imbalance

And compensation

And holes

And filled holes

And imperfection

And completion

That was the most delicious dish of all.

A slow burn.

Shared and well-handled

But burning hot regardless.

And finally requited.

The spit in the metaphorical fire.

And it was really less of the fact that they were soulmates

And more of the fact that they had gone through pain and fire and hatred and despair and sorrow

To reach a state of mere tolerance

And then acceptance

And then teammates

And then friends

And then good friends

And then best friends

And then

And only then

Understanding

Before they even touched the boundary

Of that thing called love.

Unrequited because of differences

But more so because of similarities.

With two people

Like the one with fiery red hair

And the one with a fiery red spirit

There was no other way to reach this state of existence

To reach a kiss

Than by surviving a trial by fire.

And like a fire

Their connection

Grew and lasted and prospered and shone.

Until death snuffed it out.

Sizzle.