A/N: This story is basically a bunch of interconnected oneshots showing how Kid Flash and Artemis's relationship develops over time. For the most part, they should be chronological. It will be updated randomly. Now, without further ado, please enjoy :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Young Justice. If I did, I wouldn't make people wait so long before showing a new episode. I mean, come on, really? Two months of reruns? For a new show? *rant over*
You'd Be North
The Sky that I Fell Through
First impressions are usually pretty important. They don't always make or break a relationship, but it takes longer to reform an opinion of someone after that first impression. So it probably didn't help that he was shirtless and tripped over his own feet. It also probably didn't help that she had a sharp tongue and couldn't resist a jab at him. She didn't know he wasn't paying attention to his feet because he caught a glimpse of her standing next to Green Arrow. He didn't know the snarky comments were to cover her embarrassment for checking him out. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a male Justice League member NOT physically fit, but Artemis couldn't help it if they were parading themselves around in front of her…shirtless.
Their animosity was born from misconstrued messages, but their attraction was not. Unfortunately for them, the damage had been done, but it turned out that this first impression wouldn't really matter in the long run. Though Robin might argue the whole thing was rather whelming, Kid Flash and Artemis would disagree.
Kid Flash was a natural born flirt. He flirted with the homely girls and the girls out of his league, with the human and nonhuman girls alike. If it was a walking, living, breathing girl, chances were he had flirted/was flirting/or was going to flirt with her. The only exception to this rule seemed to be Artemis. The other team members of Young Justice knew better, but they knew the definition of "tough love".
Artemis was a fighter. She challenged anyone and everyone over anything and everything. When people were on the defensive, Artemis had a better feel of where she stood with them and what their next reaction was likely to be; it came from having a sketchy past of always glancing over her shoulder. The only problem came from challenging that idiotic Kid Flash—he was unpredictable.
Granted, Kid Flash usually rose to the bait whenever Artemis decided to start a fight, but his responses were never what she expected and usually left her more frustrated than before.
He also didn't bother to hide his apparent disdain for her taking Speedy's place on their team. She knew her teammates, despite their constant reassurance of being glad to have her on the team and praising her for a job well done on missions, didn't trust her completely like they did Speedy. Artemis couldn't really blame them; she hadn't been entirely open about her past. Still, in a small, sick, twisted way, she found Kid Flash's open hostility…refreshing. He was nothing, if not honest about how he felt. And honesty was not something lost on her.
Which may have been why she stormed off in a fury after he lied to her about Dr. Fate's helmet. Artemis studied body language and voice inflection, and she could tell Kid Flash wasn't telling her the truth when she asked what had happened to him. She didn't know what bothered her more: that he was lying to her or that she cared that he was lying to her.
To his credit, Kid Flash actual felt a little guilty for lying to Artemis about the whole Dr. Fate thing. He wanted to blame it on the grief he was still experiencing over the death of Kent Nelson and on the out-of-body experience that had messed with his logical mind. Nelson's words still running circles in his brain didn't help either. They continually repeated themselves over and over until Wally could swear they were being spoken by the helmet.
"Find your own little spitfire. One that won't let you get away with nothing."
His eyes trailed to the door where the blonde archer stood moments before. "Artemis never lets me get away with anything," he told himself. Wally's eyes widened as the sudden thought came to mind. Desperate for a distraction from that thought, Kid Flash nearly jumped for joy when Megan strolled past, and he did the first thing that came to mind: flirt.
"Heeeeelloooo Megan! Guess who bought two tickets to a magic show…"
Artemis knew Kid Flash did not really enjoy himself at the magic show. How, might you ask, did she know this? Wally told her. Repeatedly. Ignoring the fact that she was in the middle of her morning I-can't-sleep-so-I-might-as-well-burn-off-extra-energy workout in the gym, the speedster recounted the entire show to her, dissecting every act and revealing every trick that had been performed. Artemis was losing count of how many uppercuts she had delivered to the punching bag, imagining that it was Kid Flash's face instead.
"And then he had the assistant stick all these swords into his head, but the box is actually deeper than it looks from the crowd so his head isn't even close to being cut—"
"WALLY!" Artemis thundered, turning to the speedster on the treadmill who hadn't even broken a sweat in his loose t-shirt and gym shorts. "I don't want to know how awful the show was! If you insist on not believing in magic, then don't go see a MAGIC SHOW! I don't want to listen to you complain about it later!"
She was about to start beating the crap out of her punching bag again when she heard Kid Flash sigh and turn off the machine. "I had to go," he said in a quiet, dejected tone.
Artemis paused, but decided not to let him off without a snarky remark. "What? Couldn't pass up an opportunity to go on a date with Megan?"
"It's not like that!" Kid Flash yelled angrily, flailing his hands, his voice echoing around the empty gym. Artemis's eyes widened in shock. She'd never seen the happy-go-lucky speedster this upset.
"It's not like that," he said more quietly, running one hand through his windswept hair. "It's just…I can't really explain…Do you want to get out of here for a bit?"
His last question caught her off guard. "Get out of Mount Justice? Now? Where would we go? It's four in the freaking morning!" Artemis asked incredulously, hands on her hips.
"C'mon. I know a place," Kid Flash responded, grabbing her wrist and not waiting for her compliance.
"Wally!" she protested, "I'm covered in sweat, I need a shower and a change of clothes, and it's FOUR in the freaking morning!"
Wally eyed her sweat-drenched tank top and her baggy basketball shorts, wondering what was wrong with what she had on. She still looked beaut—er, nice. "You look fine." She snorted in disbelief. "C'mon, Artemis." He looked her in the eye. It didn't come out begging or demanding, just a civil request.
Artemis hated to give in, but if he wanted to hang out with her of all people, then whatever was going on had to be bad. "Fine! But make it quick," she snapped.
Kid Flash smirked. "Remember who you're talking to."
Artemis rolled her eyes, but allowed him to continue dragging her to the transporter. She wondered how the others could still be asleep with all the noise the voice made when announcing their departure.
"Recognized, Kid Flash. B03. Recognized, Artemis. B07."
The two were zapped out into the broken phone booth in Gotham, which was too small for the majority of the Justice League males individually, much less two sweaty, smelly teenagers. They quickly burst out into the crisp Gotham morning, the sky still dark, and the skyscraper lights aglow.
"Gotham? You wanted to go to Gotham?" Artemis demanded.
"I just pushed the button to take us wherever the last person went," Kid Flash shrugged. "It's not like I can't take us somewhere else."
"Like where?" Artemis asked, hands on her hips.
"Hop on, and you'll find out." Kid Flash smirked, bending down slightly.
"Seriously? You're joking right?" Artemis scoffed.
"C'mon Blondie, you're gonna start burning daylight."
"Argh!" Artemis threw her hands up in the air. Kid Flash waited patiently for the frustration to blow over. Sure enough, she jumped on his back, arms wrapped around his neck. Kid Flash's smirk became more pronounced.
"Wipe that grin off your face, Baywatch, I can see it back HERE!" Artemis's rant was cut short as Kid Flash took off. Everything became a blur, and Artemis could feel the rollercoaster swooping sensation in her stomach. She buried her face in his neck, hoping she wouldn't become dizzy when the world stopped moving.
Almost as abruptly as Kid Flash took off, he came to a screeching halt. Artemis still had him in a vice-like grip, afraid she might fall off.
"We're here," he told her, grinning like an idiot at her reaction to traveling at super speed.
She let go slowly, fearing that a bout of vertigo would render her temporarily vulnerable. As soon as she was stable with her surroundings, Artemis socked him in the shoulder.
"Oww!" Kid Flash rubbed the sore spot. "What the heck was that for?"
"For being a jerk," Artemis spat, taking in the scenery. Fields and fields of sunflowers stretched for miles in every direction. Artemis looked behind her to find a highway adjacent to an old fashioned 24 hour diner that had been converted into a truck stop. "What is this place?"
"Kansas," Kid Flash told her as he headed for the diner. "This place has the best milkshakes ever."
Artemis followed him, stunned. He ran them all the way to freaking KANSAS? She was still in shock when they plopped down into a booth and a waitress brought them their milkshakes. "I can't believe you brought us all the way to freaking Kansas!"
"Shhh! Not so loud Artemis," Kid Flash told her as he glanced through a menu. "It's always open, and they have better food here than in Gotham."
"That's so not true!" Artemis argued.
"Is too. For milkshakes at least," he mumbled. The tired looking waitress came back and took his order, moving slowly toward the kitchen.
"Wow, she looks dead on her feet," Kid Flash remarked off handedly.
"What do you expect, Baywatch? It's almost three in the morning here," Artemis said, sipping on her milkshake.
Kid Flash glanced at his watch, which automatically reset itself to the local time. "Huh. So it is."
The superheros sat in silence, occasionally sipping on their respective milkshakes. Artemis waited for the waitress to bring out the rest of the order before speaking.
"So, Wally, are you going to tell me why exactly I'm out here, in Kansas, at two-something in the morning, instead of Mount Justice's gym?"
Kid Flash set his hamburger down for a few moments, and looked out the window next to them. "Have you ever been so sure of something that you were completely convinced nothing could ever shake that belief?" His voice sounded as far away as his gaze.
Artemis thought of her relationship with her father. She nodded almost imperceptibly.
Kid Flash saw her nod from the corner of his eye. He turned to look at her, his gaze intense. "And then, when you find out you're wrong, you try to do everything possible to convince yourself that there's been some mistake. That what you just witnessed couldn't possibly be true. Am I right?"
Artemis nodded again, finding his gaze too intense and looking down at her milkshake instead. He had no idea just how much he was preaching to the choir right now.
"And when you can't convince yourself anymore…" Wally's glance dropped to the table, "What then?" They met each other's gaze briefly before Wally looked down again, clenching his hand into a fist on the table. "What am I supposed to do?" he whispered to himself.
Artemis, in an act of compassion that she would later attribute to sleep deprivation, placed her hand on top of his fist. This startled Kid Flash enough to look up into her eyes once more. "Sometimes…you can't let your head make all of the decisions, Wally. Some things you just know in your heart to be right, and sometimes that means ignoring what your head is telling you."
Artemis thought about her decision to leave her old life, the only family besides her mother that she had ever known. She gave Kid Flash a small, sad smile. "You'll know what to do when the time comes, Kid."
Wally gave the archer a genuine, grateful smile. He'd never seen Artemis this openly honest and serious. So of course, he had to blow the whole mood with a smartass remark.
"Wow, Artemis. I never figured you for the intellectual, touchy-feely type."
Artemis kicked him under the table and withdrew her hand from his. "You just had to go there, didn't you?"
Kid Flash shrugged and devoured the rest of his sandwich, pretending that Artemis stealing his french fries and glancing out the window like they were going to be ambushed wasn't bothering him at all.
"Oi! Blondie! Quit stealing my fries!" He finally pointed one of the spud sticks at her threateningly.
Artemis raised one eyebrow, accepting his challenge, and snagged the fry clean out of his hand. Kid Flash watched dumbstruck as she chomped down on it. She stole it, STOLE IT, from his HAND!
"Not so fast now, are we Kid?" she taunted. Quicker than she could blink, all of Wally's fries disappeared along with the rest of his milkshake and her milkshake.
"Did you just—"
"Finish off your milkshake?" Kid Flash asked, crossing his arms and looking smug. "Why yes, yes I did."
Artemis, deciding not to argue now that Kid Flash seemed back to normal, yawned and replied, "Touché, Baywatch. Touché."
"Ready to go?" he asked, standing up.
"Yeah," she replied, scooting out of the booth, suddenly feeling more tired than ever. Wally paid at the counter, and the two teens walked back across the road and into a nearby field that shielded them from view.
Kid Flash leaned down once more, and Artemis, finally out of energy, climbed on his back without complaint. He secured his arms around her legs before shooting off into the night once more.
Rather than heading back to Gotham to use the transporter, Wally headed straight toward Mount Justice's back door overlooking the ocean. The first slivers of dawn peaked over the water when the two stopped.
"Hey, Artemis, look," Kid Flash whispered.
Artemis pulled her head from the crook of his neck and peaked over his shoulder, watching the faint light appear over the horizon.
Neither one moved or said anything, just simply watched the dawn unfold. It was Wally who broke the silence first. "Sooo…are you going to climb off now?"
Artemis squeezed his neck tighter. "No, I think you can carry me to my room."
"WHAT? Why should I? You've got two working legs!"
"Because I'm tired, I let you drag me halfway across the country to play Dr. Phil, and I can think of six different ways of knocking you out from back here. That's why," she said, a smug grin on her face.
"Yeah yeah," Wally grumbled. He ambled back to the base, still carrying Artemis on his back. Cringing at how loudly they were announced back inside, Wally wondered what would happen if their teammates saw them like this.
He didn't have to wait long. "Morning, Robin," Artemis called to the Boy Wonder as her and Wally walked past the kitchen bar counter. Robin stopped scrambling the eggs in the pan and stared open-mouth at his teammates strolling past, observing the stray sunflowers stuck in Artemis's long pony tail.
"Hello…Artemis, KF. Tough morning?"
"You have no idea, dude," Kid Flash told him as he disappeared from sight, toting the blonde archer behind him.
Robin shook his head as though to clear his vision and began moving the eggs around the pan once more. Either he was going crazy, or things had just become more interesting.
A/N: For those of you who are unfamiliar with ridiculous therapy shows, Dr. Phil stars on his own daytime television show and bascially counsels people through their problems. The man does help people, but I become irate if forced to watch it or other similar shows for prolonged periods of time.