Artemis raised her hand.
The banana fell from Wally's hand and tumbled towards the tile floor, his mouth still hanging open. Like a freaking fish, Artemis thought bitterly.
"Hey!" Wally exclaimed. As a firm believer in the five-second rule, he quickly bent over and scooped up the banana, righted himself, and turned to Artemis, looking extremely scandalized by her display of produce abuse. "The hell was that... for..." his voice trailed off when he saw exactly who stood before him with her arms crossed, eyes narrowed, and mouth turned down in a sour frown.
He knew exactly the hell that was for.
"You know why I'm here," Artemis sneered. Wally gulped loudly, his Adam's apple bobbing in his throat - the throat Artemis wanted to strangle more than anything. His eyes shifted nervously to each side, avoiding her gaze like he had been avoiding her all morning - leaving the rooms she entered, abruptly dropping conversations when she walked by, skipping mandatory combat training. But now he was a deer caught in the headlights of Artemis' sixteen-wheeler, and she had no intention of slowing down.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Wally said with feigned nonchalance, waving one hand as the other brought the banana to his mouth again. Artemis reached over and snatched the fruit from him and set it on the countertop.
"Oh please - spare me the crap, Wally," Artemis planted her fists on her hips. She leaned forward and, to further illustrate her unbridled anger, she prodded Wally's chest with her pointer finger, taking care to make sure her nail stabbed him with each poke.
"I want answers, and I want them now. Why the hell did you kiss me last night?" Unintentionally, the last words escaped her mouth as a low hiss - not as a whisper, mind you. She wasn't afraid of their other teammates overhearing the conversation taking place in the kitchen - it just wasn't any of their damn business. She spared a quick glance at the doorway, just to be sure that no one was walking by.
Wally shrugged. "Delusion, obviously," he answered, turning away from her and leaning on the counter.
Artemis grit her teeth in an attempt to keep her jaw from hitting the floor. "Yeah right," Her eyes narrowed further, much like when she was taking aim for a perfect bull's eye. How appropriate. "You sped up to me without hesitating and kissed me, and I want to know why."
"No, seriously - it was delusion. Must be a side effect from being around all those Venom chemicals," said Wally. He waved his hand again, as though her words were merely smoke. "The real question here is why are you so angry about it when you obviously enjoyed it?" He cocked his head and peered into Artemis' eyes, smirking so triumphantly that his freckles practically glowed.
"D-did not!" Her voice was high and pinched, and she could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks. God, I couldn't come up with anything better than that? What am I, twelve?
"Did to! Why don't you spare me the crap, Artemis - or was that not a moan I heard you make when I laid one on you?"
Artemis practically jumped back from shock. How the hell am I going to get out of this? Her thoughts were racing - and unfortunately for her, they all were racing to the heinous moment from the previous night's mission, which had been occupying her mind quite frequently throughout the day.
No freakin' duh I thought it was a good kiss - I'd be crazy not to! I mean, God, the way he crushed me against himself - who knew he had the balls to take charge like that? - and turned his head just the right way... The way he ran his hands down my back and held on to my waist... And he knew exactly what to do with his tongue... Mhmm, his lips were soft, too... No! Snap out of it!
"It wasn't! I-it was... I was choking on your disgusting breath!" Artemis was a poor liar by nature, and the added stress of being flustered was not helping her inability to fib. She bit her lip and shifted uncomfortably on her feet. For the first time since they'd met, Artemis was jealous Wally - she'd give anything right about now to have that super speed of his. Then she could zip from the room - and the humiliating conversation - and escape to a far, far away place - preferably a deep cave in a secluded location.
"Uh-huh, yeah, sure," Wally said dryly, his smirk growing ever larger. He seemed extremely satisfied with the way their little chat was going. "Why don't you just admit you're madly in love with me?"
The cocky tone his voice carried drove Artemis insane. He thinks he's won! That little bastard! Oh, you are not getting off that easy. "Me in love with you? Ha!" She threw her shoulders back confidently, practically giddy from the excitement of having a chance to turn the tables. "How 'bout the other way around, Wall-man? I totally saw you gawking at me during the mission."
Wally made a small, strangled sound, his eyes growing wide, practically bulging from their sockets. It was his turn to shift uncomfortably this time. "Like I said; delusion," he shot back with a heated glare, lower lip protruding to form a childish pout. Though not as terrible a liar as Artemis, Wally was fairly obvious when he bent the truth.
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
"Yeah? Well methinks you're a bit on the defensive side, too - eh, Arty?"
"Whatever, we're getting off topic!" Artemis threw her hands in the air. This mess had completely spiraled out of control. And to think, I thought this would be an easy win! She balled up her fists and brought them down, stomping her foot. "Just cut to the chase and tell me why the hell you kissed me!"
"No reason," Wally's voice was strained. "It just... it just happened!" His hands were waving frantically about, and it Artemis realized that he was probably just as confused and frustrated by all of this as she was. Whatever, he started this. He owes me an explanation. "It - I dunno - felt right!" He managed to stammer out after many bumbling false starts.
"'It felt right' for you to shove your tongue down my throat?" Artemis hissed again. She wanted to scream at Wally - at that idiot - but it was bad enough that Superboy could probably hear everything they were saying; giving Robin this kind of juicy info to use against either of them was completely out of the question. "And when exactly did I give you my permission to do that?"
"Hey, I didn't hear you protesting," said Wally matter-of-factly. His stupid face wasn't smug like it had been when he accused her of liking the kiss the first time; he wasn't playing games anymore, Artemis knew, though she didn't know whether she should be relieved or worried by this change of heart.
"Because I couldn't! Not while being muffled by your fish lips - and then you even had my arms pinned down, so I couldn't shove you off!" It was a pretty weak argument, but Gotham be damned if Artemis wasn't going to fight tooth-and-nail until her dying breath.
Wally scoffed. "Oh, come on, we both know that's a load of shit - you could snap my arms like twigs if you wanted to!" The hell? It was very weird indeed for Wally to admit to such a thing. He was always making up some ridiculous excuse to explain why Artemis handed his ass to him during combat training, and yet here he was declaring it loud and proud - and without a hint of sarcasm, to boot.
"And risk the mission by putting out one of my own teammates? Please, I'm not an irresponsible idiot like you!" Artemis flipped her ponytail over her shoulder and crossed her arms. Whether Wally was being his usual dick-headed self or not was the least of her worries; she had her pride to maintain.
"Just admit you liked it and that you're only pissed because you don't want to say you've got the hots for this 'irresponsible idiot'!"
Artemis gasped. "That is so not why I'm pissed!"
"Then what is?"
"You ruining this!"
"This!" Artemis gestured between the two of them. She struggled for a clearer explanation when Wally titled his head to the side like a sad and confused puppy. Not in a cute way, she added mentally. "The way we argue! I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not exactly a little cream puff like M'gann - I don't do the nice thing. If we don't have this, we have nothing." Artemis hands fell to her sides. She felt drained, as though she had just sprinted around the entire base of Mt. Justice.
"So then you're scared of having nothing being between us?" Wally asked teasingly. The expression on his face was weird, like he was hesitating. Either way, the burning desire to punch out the speedster's lights welled up inside Artemis again.
"That's not what I meant!" She hollered.
"It's what you said!" He yelled back.
Artemis had always found Wally to be so incredibly infuriating, but this was an entirely new level for him. "God, you are such a pain in the ass!"
"But apparently you like that about me!" To Artemis, it seemed very evident that Wally took much pleasure in throwing her words back into her face and rubbing them in, despite the apparent lack of joy anywhere on his person.
How is it possible for someone to be so damn immature?
"What does it matter anyway? You're still going to try and change things!" Artemis' voice was quaking as she made every effort possible to not do one of two things: 1) use Wally's many freckles as targets during training, and 2) cry out of frustration. She decided that, if she did happen to lose her cool, the former option would be one that she regretted less in the future.
Wally gaped at Artemis and held his hands out in exasperation. "I never said anything about changing!"
"You didn't have to! Your damn kiss said everything!"
"It did not!"
"Then what did it say, Wall-man?" Artemis sneered, resting her hands on her hips. She was ready to unleash a biting verbal attack, no matter what stupid story Wally tried to feed her next.
"It said that I wanted to kiss you! Even though you're a sorry replacement for Roy, even though you're a snippy, bitchy she-troll, even though all you do is call me out, make fun of me, kick my ass - I wanted to kiss you!"
Except that stupid story. If she allowed herself to be totally honest, Artemis would have been thrilled to hear him say that - and not only because he broke first.
She folded her arms over her chest and surveyed Wally with a wary eye - his hard breathing, his flushed face, his stubbornly set jaw, his green eyes piercing through her.
He'd better be telling the truth, or so help me God I will murder his skinny ass. She could feel her own heart pounding inside her chest and it was practically impossible to stop her fingers from shaking.
"Well, even though you're a clumsy screw-up and an immature, cocky jackass, and even though all you do is rag on me and insult me, I-!" Her rage was slowly dwindling away from stage fright. She made a choked sound before mumbling, eyes turned away, "I wanted you to kiss me."
"Then I guess we're on the same page," Wally said quietly. Both were looking everywhere but at each other.
Artemis whipped her head and glared at Wally. She took a step towards him and raised a threatening finger. "Not yet, we aren't. Don't ever even think of kissing me like that again - I'd rather die than someone see me in that position with you."
Wally rolled his eyes and snorted. "Don't have to tell me, sister. Biggest mistake of my life. You were all sweaty and gross and shit- ugh."
"Oh, and you weren't? Besides, I wasn't the one with pepperoni breath."
They exchanged twisted grimaces before Artemis brushed past Wally, casually knocking the banana off the counter as she went. She heard faint grumbling from behind as she approached the kitchen exit.
"So, Artemis?" Wally called after her. She stopped at the doorway and glanced over her shoulder. Wally had already inhaled half of the banana. "I take it that means you did like it?"
Artemis clenched her jaw and rolled her eyes, shaking her head as she began down the hall.
Whew! It's done.
This part caused me great turmoil - I wrote three drafts before settling down on one, and even then I was uncertain if I liked it. I was so concerned that I was being unclear in their motives and that the two were horribly out of character and that a situation like this would never happen in the show and that this part didn't fit with the style that I wrote the other two in - but then I stepped back and thought that, by golly, this is a fan fiction, not a freakin' episode. So yeah - I'm still a little unsure of it, but I feel like I got the main point that I wanted to make about the Spitfire ship across in the end.
I'd like to give a big 'thank you' to everyone who has read this story, and a big thank you to those of you that reviewed. It was really encouraging to hear your positive feedback and words of advice, and I appreciate it all so, so much. Again, thank you!
Well, I hope you enjoyed! It's been a fun ride - definitely felt the aster.