Disclaimer: Ha- no.
He walked. Walked.
Artemis should have taken heed of this when Wally calmly approached the study, leaned against the doorway, and crossed his arms. But because Artemis' opinion of how fast a person should move in everyday situations was considered tragically sluggish in comparison to Wally's standards, it somehow didn't strike her odd that the team's speedster didn't have the pedal to the metal as he came to her.
Which is why, when he didn't immediately spew out whatever stupid thing he wanted to say as quickly as he possibly could - and without the usual mischievous inflections his voice carried, she noted - Artemis found herself on edge then.
Though the time it took from her not noticing that he was walking like a normal human being to noticing that he was speaking like a normal human being was probably about the same reaction time someone had when Wally was in super speed mode anyway, so Artemis supposed it all worked out in the end. She snapped out of her reverie to respond.
Wally uncrossed his arms to shove his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. "So..." he trailed off, dragging the word out the same way he was dragging his eyes across the walls of the study. The hell? Artemis thought. Is he trying to not look at me? Since when does Mr. Glare Bear do that?
"What do you want?" Artemis snapped when he didn't continue. Wally jerked into an upright position, alert. His hands remained shoved in his pockets, and Artemis couldn't help but think he looked pretty stupid like that. Especially with the way he was staring at the floor like a wuss.
"Look, you know how in Bialya we, you know, didn't want to kill each other? I mean, how we kind of... got along?" He said quickly, though not because he could, or because he wanted her to hear his oh-so-clever thought as soon as possible. It was more like he just wanted to spit it out and get over with it. What in God's name is happening here?
Artemis set down her pencil with a sharp clack and turned in her chair to face her most hated teammate with a look that screamed 'no duh.' "Amnesia, remember? We didn't know how much we hated each other, and-"
He cut her off. It pissed her off something terrible when he did that, but at least he wasn't acting creepy anymore. "Yeah, I know, I know. I'm just... I think we started off on the wrong foot," he said with a shrug.
"No kidding, Wall-man."
"Would you listen for a second?" Wally snapped this time, bringing his hands out of his pockets to hold out in front of him incredulously. He stared her down, right in the eyes, and Artemis glared back defiantly. She enjoyed the dominance that came with sitting.
Wally took a breath before continuing, something Artemis couldn't recall him ever doing. "In Bialya, it was like we met under different circumstances, and we got along okay. I mean, don't you think that if we didn't start out like we did the first time-"
Oh no he didn't.
Artemis didn't exactly remember getting up, or marching up to Wally. But she didn't really give a shit because all she cared about at that point was giving 'Kid Flash' an idea of just how much of a total dick he was, and how happy she was to do so. "You mean the way YOU started out. YOU were the one that didn't want anything to do with ME from the beginning - all I wanted was to be a part of the team."
"I know! And I'm sorry!" Wally sighed. It wasn't as if he had been his usual obnoxiously sunny self during this whole exchange, but now he looked downright sorry - in both the apologetic sense and the pathetic sense.
"That's... what I'm trying to say - that I'm sorry for not giving you a chance. And that if I had, then maybe we could be tight, you know? 'Cause when we were together in Bialya and we got to kind of start over fresh, we had something going. Something good. Maybe we could've... been friends." The sincerity in his voice caught Artemis off guard. It made her feel vulnerable, and so she did the only thing she knew that would make her feel stronger:
"If you hadn't been such an asshole?"
She insulted him.
Wally sighed again, this time sounding not so much forlorn as just plain frustrated. "Sure. Fine," he said with a look of exasperation.
Artemis mentally congratulated herself on a job well done for getting Wally out of that funk.
"Okay. So where are you going with this?" Artemis asked, now genuinely curious as to why the subject was brought up. Though, as she gave her question a second thought, she wouldn't be surprised if he'd mentioned all of this for no good reason, or maybe just to present her with yet another argument detailing every reason why she did not belong on the team.
Wally instantly perked up, and his usual cocky grin was suddenly plastered on his face. Artemis cold have sworn that even his freckles looked brighter; it was as if Wally hadn't just spent the last few minutes with a raincloud over his head.
Yup, it was definitely another list of reasons why she sucked.
He could be so predictable.
"I propose that we pretend like we've never met - new beginning, blank slate, no strikes. Just like in Bialya."
To say the least, Artemis was not expecting him to say that. Suddenly uncomfortable again, she was beginning to miss how stupid Wally looked with this hands shoved in his pockets - at least that wasn't annoying like the way he waved his hands around to illustrate how excited he was about his 'brilliant idea' was.
"Then we can... go from there," he said with a shrug, as if it were so simple.
"So, what, we just forget about everything that's happened these past few months? All the comments and comebacks - every mean thing we've ever said and did to one another?" In the few months Artemis had been a part of the team, she'd heard Wally spout off some pretty hair-brained shit - usually to M'gann who, bless her heart, believed him - but this by far was the most insane.
Artemis looked at Wally like he was crazy - because he was. "That's impossible. Those memories will always be in the backs of our minds, haunting us."
Wally smiled. "I don't believe in ghosts."
"You're impossible," Artemis said with a roll of her eyes and a tilt of her hips.
"But wouldn't that be endearing if you weren't so annoyed by it?" Wally fired back in what he probably considered his 'debonair' voice that made Artemis want to cringe from it's sheer stupidity every time he used it when talking to M'gann, Black Canary, Wonder Woman, the chick who worked at the diner the team liked to chill out at, the old woman who manned the cash register at the super market down the street...
"Ugh!" Artemis shot him a quick dirty look and turned her back towards him. She figured she could take this time to collect her thoughts and make a rational decision, but there weren't many options to choose from; either decline and forever hate each other, or take him up on his offer and make peace.
Artemis threw her hands up in defeat. "...I guess we can't get much worse than we are now."
"So is that a yes?" Wally was grinning when Artemis turned around. She couldn't believe she was letting him have this one.
"I guess. Just don't make me regret this."
"You got it." And with that, Wally disappeared from the room, only to reappear a second later. Uh... okay...?
"Hey! So I guess you're new on the team, huh?" Wally stuck out his hand towards Artemis for her to shake. She took it hesitantly, still wary and slightly confused by what exactly was going on. This isn't some sort of elaborate trick, is it?
Wally pumped her arm up and down enthusiastically. "The name's Kid Flash, or Wally if you prefer. How 'bout you, gorgeous?"
"Gorgeous?" Artemis didn't really know how to take the tacky term of endearment: on the one hand, he says things like that to girls so often that he's probably developed a weird habit; on the other, she did love having her ego stroked, even if it was a shallow compliment. There was the third option, too, that all of this really was just a trick, and Artemis was more than happy to keep that option open as an excuse to stay on guard.
"Oh, sorry, you don't like being called that? I just figure every girl deserves to know they're beautiful," Wally smiled and leaned against the doorway with an air of confidence that he was severely lacking earlier. Or was Artemis even supposed to be thinking about that? This is exactly why I thought this wouldn't work.
"No, it's fine, I guess... I'm Artemis." She was doing a poor job of playing along, she knew it, but who could blame her? This was all too weird - and why did he have to be so damn friendly?
"Artemis? Oh, right, you're Green Arrow's apprentice - goes with the archery thing, I see. Clever." Artemis was honestly surprised he caught onto that. Sure, Wally was smart, but he was a science geek, not a lit nerd. "So where you from? Around here?"
Finally, a real reason for her to be on the defense. "That's... personal," Artemis answered tentatively, a touch of caution in her voice. If he poked around in her private business, she'd have grounds to start hating him again. Which was definitely, beyond a doubt, what she wanted. No question. Right?
"You got the whole secret identity going, too, huh? Rob's the same way - won't even take of the shades around the team. But hey, that's cool by me," he shrugged nonchalantly. "I won't pry."
"Uh, thanks." Relaxing her shoulders - Was I that obvious? Good God. - Artemis decided that maybe being friends with Wally wouldn't be so bad - looking for openings for her to start hating him again was becoming tiring, anyway. "No problem. How 'bout I show you around town sometime?" Artemis was surprised that she didn't have to remind herself to not be grossed out by Wally putting the moves on her, never mind that he was a very brief celebrity crush of hers pretty much up until she met him the first time and her dreams were dashed against the walls. Okay, if I can pretend we've never met, then I can pretend that period of my life never happened, either. "It'll only take, like, half a second," Wally continued when Artemis didn't respond.
"Yeah. Thanks. That sounds good," Artemis said mildly with a slow bob of her head. "It doesn't have to be at the speed of sound, though - I've got nothing better to do lately," she found herself saying. Did Wally have another super power that she didn't know about? Some sort of feel-good pheromone secretion? There had to be a reasonable explanation as to why Artemis didn't think a day around town with Wally wouldn't end in voluntary manslaughter - no way was she going to accept "he's actually a nice guy" or "you really just want to be friends with him" as the answer.
"Cool. Then it's a date," he smiled. The smiled he used when he was laying it on thick for M'gann, the one that made Artemis gag. True, it wasn't as sickening when on the receiving end, but it was weird and Artemis wasn't quite sure if she liked it.
"See?" Wally held out his arms as if to say 'look at what my genius mind produced!'. "That wasn't so hard."
Artemis smirked. If you're gonna play the game, you gotta play by the rules.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she replied in a very convincing confused tone.
"You know, the whole 'let's pretend we never met' idea of mine. Pretty good, huh?" He crossed his arms across his chest, clearly proud of his cleverness. Artemis was more than happy to wipe that arrogant smirk off of his freckled face.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she persisted, forging a perplexed expression. "We have never met."
Wally's jaw dropped. He stood silent for a second, his eyes becoming narrower with each second until he was squinting at her, impressed. "...Oh, you're good."
"And isn't it endearing now that it isn't annoying?" Artemis threw back, loving the cruel irony she was dishing out.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Wow. I haven't written in a long time. This probably sucks a lot more than I think it does, but I'm happy to submit it anyway.
I tried a completely new approach to writing with this story, in order to raise the word count and make the actions taking place within the story a bit clearer. No one proofread this, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's too lengthy and everything gets jumbled up.
But at least I tried, right?
So yeah, Artemis and Wally. How can you not ship them?
Hope you enjoyed! I'd be happy to hear your feedback.