Disclaimer: See, me and the boys were playin' poker, right? The coffee was flowin' fast and free, and I needed a minute to handle the plumbing, and I know - I just know - that they messed with my cards. So, nah. I don't own 'em. But just wait 'til the next game.
And that's why you won't be seein' Red X no time soon.
Now, let's get to this fic, hm?
Artemis shivered, pulling her jacket tighter around her and digging her numb hands under her arms. She'd mistakenly grabbed her lightweight jacket this morning, a rather monumental mistake in a wintery Gotham. This was on top of the fact that she'd missed her bus home, all because one of the teachers felt the need to talk to her about how she seemed distracted and tired during class.
She wasn't sure why the teacher brought it up since she hadn't failed any tests or quizzes. Artemis just figured that the woman liked to hear herself talk and got some kind of self-importance from trying to mentor the scholarship kids. Whatever the reasoning, Artemis had missed her bus and didn't have enough cash for cab fare. The train was eight blocks away so she trudged her way there.
A sudden flash of jealousy for Wally's super-speed washed over her. That was followed by the mental image of the way he ate, and she quickly dismissed her envy as she readjusted her messenger bag.
A blue sports car crept up beside her, and she casually glanced at it, moving away from the street. The windows were tinted, blocking her view of the driver, and unease began to creep over her. Artemis didn't know anyone with that kind of car and couldn't think of why anyone she knew would be following her.
Unless it was one of her Dad's friends.
Artemis walked gradually slower, watching as the car sped up and turned right at the corner. Sighing, she rolled her eyes at her own paranoia and picked up the pace, anxious to get home and out of the cold. Reaching the corner that the car had gone around, her breath hitched a little, not just when she saw the car again, this time parked at the curb, but her sister, sitting on the trunk grinning at her.
"Yo," Jade called out.
"What are you doing here?" Artemis snapped warily.
The last time she'd seen her big sister, Jade had been trying to assassinate a scientist under the Shadows' orders. Before that, it was when she was still a kid, and Jade had abandoned her to their father and run off.
"Is that any way to greet your big sister?" she asked, holding her arms out as if she expected a hug.
"When the sister is you? I'd say so."
Jade smirked and dropped her arms, crossing her legs at the ankles.
"Well, fine then. I suppose that means you don't wanna ride home?"
Artemis' eyes narrowed as she considered. Her sister wasn't the same girl she used to know. She didn't know what she would and would not do. It could be a trap by the Shadows.
"It's got heated seats, you know," Jade added. "Very nice."
"Oh, would you quit being stubborn? I can hear your teeth chattering from here."
At that exact moment, the wind picked up, tearing through her think jacket and flaring up the short skirt of her uniform. Artemis yelped as she held the skirt down and hurried for the car, her sister's laughter chasing her. Jade soon joined her, sliding into the driver's seat, still chuckling. Artemis had already turned the vents onto her hands and feet but paused to send her sister a glare.
"Shut up and drive," Artemis muttered, red-faced from the cold and embarrassment.
"Shut up and drive what?"
"No, I'm sorry. The correct answer is please. I also would have taken 'Shazam'," Jade answered, inordinately amused.
"Ugh. I am so out of here," Artemis snapped, reaching for the door handle.
"Chill out, would you? I'm teasing you," Jade rolled her eyes then proceeded to shift the car into gear and flow back into traffic. "You know. As in making a joke at your expense. You never used to be this sensitive."
"Yeah? Well, a lot has changed."
Jade glanced aside at her sister then shrugged. "I suppose so."
"So what? This your way of apologizing or something?"
"What on earth would I have to apologize for?"
"Leaving me with dad," Artemis counted off on her hand, "knocking me out that one time, blackmailing me, being an all-around terrible role model for my impressionable self. Take your pick."
"There is no reason to take any of that personally."
Jade said and flipped the radio on, and something loud and obnoxious blasted through. It was exactly the kind of music their dad hated, and that was why Jade insisted that she loved it so much. Artemis was pretty sure her sister just liked to be contrary. She noticed her sister's nails, painted deep red, perfectly neat and manicured. Then she looked at her own, bitten short, and felt the calluses on her fingers. Suddenly annoyed, she slumped back in her seat and turned her attention to the window. Artemis leaned forward to spin the volume down.
"Jade, this isn't the way home."
"Sure it is. It's just a different route."
"If this is some kind of trick –"
"How much of a jerk do you think I am?"
Artemis crossed her arms as she turned to her sister. "Honestly?"
Jade rolled her eyes and threw up her hands, steering the car expertly with her knees. "All right, you caught me. I'm kidnapping you as we speak because I just so want to be with your paranoid, bitter self."
Jade turned the car down another street, one that Artemis recognized from her usual route home.
Her sister looked at her aside and said, "I heard Mom kicked Lawrence out."
Artemis heard something in her voice, almost like amusement. She felt a smile tugging at her lips in response as she recalled the event.
Jade slid a sly glance her way. "Was she brutal?"
Artemis smirked and flipped a hand. "It's Mom. What do you think?"
"Wish I could have seen that."
Soon after that, Jade stopped the car in front of the apartment complex. Artemis climbed out, flinching as the cold rushed over her, and dragged her back out with her. She ducked down to peer in at her sister through the lowered car window.
"You know, you can come see Mom for yourself," she offered, unable to quell that tiny hint of hope in her voice. Despite what she said and how she should feel, Jade was still her sister. There was still a part of her that wanted that same kind of relationship they'd had when they were younger. "She'll be home pretty soon."
Jade held her gaze and smiled. "Some other time. I gotta get to work." And she winked.
Artemis watched her sister drive off, waving a little. As she headed toward the door of the apartment building, she didn't wonder about what her teammates would think of her cavorting with her villainous sister, the one they didn't even know about. Instead, she dug around her bag and pulled out the transmitter for the GPS she'd planted in Jade's car the moment she'd climbed in. The only thing she wondered if she'd handle her sister on her own or let the big guns take care of her.
Then again, it was a family matter after all.