Quick author's note: This is probably a terrible idea, since we don't yet know who Artemis really is, but…oh well. If you've found this story months after I posted it, it's probably far, far away from canon. My apologies! Also, I have no idea if Artemis has or uses an archer's thimble, or even if they're common. It's crucial for the plot, however, so: she has one now. Make that two or three.
It happened so fast that she would have missed it, if it had been anyone but Wally. And that was exactly her point.
They'd been arguing, which accurately described the entire time she'd known Wally West, and she'd been slightly distracted by the sight of Superboy bending over to—oh, who cared why—when Wally blurted, "I bet I ninja better than you."
"It's not a verb, and hell, no," she muttered, biting her lip as Superboy unfolded himself, all those glorious muscles sliding over each other like—
"Hell, yes," Wally said, blurring in front of her. "Check Urban Dictionary!"
Wally West, ninja. He was as subtle as a lightning bolt; who cared if he could be as fast. If she did this right, and if he were serious, she'd have a super-speedy porter service for two weeks. No—a month.
So she gave him her driest, least-amused look, schooling her cheeks flat even as he beamed at her. Then she sighed, slowly, blinked, slowly, and cocked her head to the left, forcing herself to count instead of speaking.
She'd only reached four when he continued, as cock-sure as ever. "I bet whatever you want that I can steal your thimbles, and that you won't even notice."
She raised her eyebrows. He waggled his.
"You're going to steal my archer's thimbles."
"I'm going to steal an archer's thimbles."
She made a great show of sucking in her lower lip and thinking. "That's tempting. Really tempting. There's no way you can win, so I can get whatever I want…but you're just so annoying…"
"You could carry stuff for me," she said slowly, as though just considering it. "Without talking. That's it! You'll have to carry whatever I want, bring it whenever and wherever I want it, and without saying anything."
"If that's what you want to bet," he shrugged.
"Complete silence," she said, staring at him, bobbing her head in encouragement.
"I swear," he said loftily, "that if I lose, I will follow your every order for an entire year."
"Dude!" Robin shouted from a corner. "What the hell are you doing?"
"How much time do I have?" Wally asked quickly.
"Wait—what am I betting?"
"I get to keep the thimbles," he said simply. "Souvenir."
"Done," she said, even as Robin, babbling, inserted himself between her and her future indentured servant.
And then Wally West smirked, smiling the smile of the clever son of a bitch who's already won.
The look flitted across his face so quickly that she would have missed it, or at least would have questioned her own eyes, but she was looking right at him, and Wally never did anything by halves, so the look suffused his face so completely in those few seconds that she knew what she'd seen. Ninja, indeed.
Then he disappeared.
She stood, still confused, for a crucial half-second before bolting for her locker. She rifled through her bag, reminding herself that it wouldn't count if she discovered the theft. But he hadn't said what he'd meant by that, had he? He'd just said that she wouldn't notice. How quickly did Wally notice things?
But her thimbles were still there. One, two, three. She clutched them, shoulders sagging in relief.
"You sure care about those things," Wally remarked from just over her head.
She did not jump. If her heart did, just a little…well. He couldn't know that.
"I care about the bet," she grunted, bundling the thimbles and burying them deep in a pocket of her jeans. "I'm looking forward to a year without your stupid chatter." Her lips were a little numb, probably from the shock.
"You'd miss talking with me. What would you do with all that bitchy rage?" He was lounging on top of the lockers, arms folded behind his head. He sounded so damn happy. Smug bastard.
"Who said I'd be quiet?" she shot back, grinning savagely. She willed him to look at her. He did not.
She silently counted to ten. Twelve. He just hummed. Twenty.
"Anyway," she continued, now properly pissed off, "just to clarify: I have the whole week to notice if you've stolen a thimble."
"That wasn't how I understood it," he pouted, still staring off into space. "So, I guess the deal's off?"
"No, no," she ground out. Just like him to back out now. "A day, then."
"Deal!" He hummed again, dangling a foot over the edge of the lockers, twitching in time to some tune she didn't recognize.
"Deal," she repeated, trying to sound confident. She glanced at the clock. Shit.
"So. I'm going back."
"Fine," he sang. "Fine, fine, you're always fine."
"I'm not…I know I 'm not going to lose," she clarified. "But I have to get back to my dorm."
"Go, already," he said dreamily. "Fly away home."
"I'll be back tomorrow morning."
"Really?" he said, suddenly sitting up. "You'd ditch school for this?"
"Oh." He stared at her, finally, with a strange, soppy look on his face. She frowned at him. He smiled back.
"Wally West, you are a strange kid."
"Artemis, you are a bitch," he replied, still smiling. "And a half."
"I'm going home." She grabbed her bag and made for the door.
"I'll be back tomorrow."
She paused in the doorway, trying to dig her nails into the door-frame. It looked like a normal door-frame. But it wasn't. It was made of metal or something. She frowned at it, too.
"Good night, Artemis," he teased.
"Don't sleep too late," she said, trying to make it a cool set-down, but it sounded lame in her own ears. He was probably a morning person, for all she knew. But he didn't reply.
She released the door-frame and left as regally as possible.