Like Running In Slow Motion
"The three of them?" She blinks, stares at Robin and then at Batman and then at Superman beside her. "I… what?"
Superman puts a hand on her shoulder and she feels cold. Red Tornado, gone with the other two. Yeah, he was a robot, but he was part of the League. He was their… their den mother and now… Artemis puts her hands over her neck, tells herself to breathe evenly.
The last hour actually happened.
She wants to believe it didn't, that everything was okay and she was daydreaming or something.
This changes everything, and she absolutely hates change. Red Tornado would be an enemy, at least until they can separate him from his siblings. They'd need a new den mother, if they ever find a new den to call their own. There were damages all over the Mountain, and she knew that their location had compromised to begin with. They all almost died today and—
She didn't realize her eyes had been tearing up until she blinks and everything becomes blurred. She hates crying, hates that she is pathetic enough to cry, and tries to wipe the tears away.
Except that a hand grasps her wrists gently, before she can.
She looks over at Ollie and, yeah, he may not really be her uncle, but he cares just as much as one's supposed to. She kind of needs that right now.
He pulls her into a hug and she doesn't resist. It's quick but he rubs her back a little and gives this tight squeeze before letting go and tells her, "Thank God you're alright."
"You should definitely be proud of her, GA," Robin pipes up, and she looks at him. "She was definitely traught today."
She lets out this laugh. No, she absolutely wasn't, and he did most of the critical thinking and heroism today while she freaked out and yelled at him. But she knows he either realizes this and doesn't care or really believes she kept it together, so she's not going to correct him.
Kaldur meets her eyes and gives this small smile.
He was there for M'gann the entire time, didn't have a care for his own safety, really, since he spent all his energy making sure M'gann was still breathing in that fiery cage. She knew Conner was freaked out about M'gann but she was freaked out about Kaldur and just because he's the leader doesn't mean that he gets to be put last.
So she walks over and just hugs him, drops a kiss on his cheek and squeezes him almost as if to make sure he's real. "I'm so glad you're safe."
"Thanks to you, I am," he replies and squeezes right back.
Kaldur is very much the big brother she never had. They're all her family, even the League in some vague way, and the fact she had been so close to losing any of them shook her up. A lot.
There is an unpleasant crunching as Captain Atom melts the rest of the metal away, enough for Conner to break free. At the same time, Flash cuts the last of the metal from Wally and the speedster tumbles out and circles around them in a fraction of second. "Woo-hoo!" he exclaims, skidding to a stop beside his uncle once more. "You don't know how frustrating it is for me to stay still!"
"That idiot," she mutters, but finds herself smiling despite the fact. If she's being honest right now, she's pretty ecstatic herself.
There was a moment where she pretty much believed that her friends were going to die—that Wally would die. Despite everything she's been through, she had never felt the kind of terror before that she felt when his head went under water.
Don't think that, she tells herself, shaking the thoughts away. He's alive now.
She knows the League is big, but didn't realize how big until she is sitting in the cafeteria of the Watchtower with all of the members around her.
The room was huge, so it wasn't crowded at all, but the number of people that did occupy it kind of surprised her when she first walked in. Dinah had taken her to her room, let her wear her pajamas (a white shirt and blue flannel shorts), and draped a blanket around her. She had been shivering because of the water so it felt nice to finally get dried off and warm again.
Ollie sits her down at a table with a tray full of food, and she hadn't realized how hungry she was until she is suddenly devouring it all.
"Let me know if you want more," he chuckles, getting up. "I have to talk with Black Canary but I'm here whenever you need me."
She nods and smiles gratefully.
He presses a kiss to the top of her head before leaving, and she isn't sure if it was to fit the You're-my-niece act or if he wanted to or both, but it is comforting regardless.
She ate her meal in silence and alone, which was fine. She really needed to get food into her stomach, so trying to chat with someone would just leave her hungry, and it gave her time to just be.
The atmosphere of the League, at least for right now, was warmer than anything she'd ever experienced.
M'gann and J'onn were laughing to themselves, playing a game of checkers with Oreos as their pieces. Ollie and Dinah are pretty much aware of nothing but each other at the moment. Wonder Woman stands beside Superman, his arm at her waist and her arms around his shoulders, and watches as he and Conner talk somewhat casually (a work in progress). Robin is laughing over the video chat on his phone at some girl named Barbara. Flash and Aquaman are mingling with their fellow members. Kaldur seems rather content as he is talking with this girl in this weird magician's outfit and top-hat.
Given the circumstances that brought them all here, the place looked like a family reunion of sorts. Various League members even come up to her and tell her how worried they are, that they're glad she's safe, and some even hug her. It's kind of amazing, actually.
"You want to finish that?"
She looks up and sees Wally standing beside her table, changed out of his Kid Flash costume and into a Flash tee and gray sweats. (First of all, Flash would have his own T-shirt. Second of all, do all of the League members have pajamas in their offices? She'll have to make a mental note to ask Ollie that later.)
"Didn't you just eat?" she asks.
He shrugs and reminds, "Fast metabolism," which is true, so she pushes the tray slightly towards him.
He gives this sort of (cute) smile and pulls back the chair beside hers to sit. His hair is still kind of damp from the water so some of it is long enough to kind of be in his eyes if he tilts his head like he's doing right now. She smiles a little and just watches the way he looks around. Then she remembers all of the things he said while being trapped and almost entirely under water and lets out a laugh.
"Red Tomato and Red Onion?"
"Hey, that was a good one!" he protests.
She waves her hand dismissively. "Only you could come up with things that cheesy on the verge of doom."
He rolls his eyes. "Cheesy?" he scoffs. "Please! If the circumstances weren't so life-threatening, you knew you'd be laughing."
"Believe what you want, Bay Watch," she says, taking a bite of her pizza.
He shakes his head but doesn't say anything else, which slightly surprises her, but it's understandable. Wally is still Wally, but getting attacked, trapped, and nearly drowning by water and dying by lack of oxygen can get to a person.
"How do you feel?" she asks.
He shrugs. "I… better, I guess. I'm fed, so I'll get my energy back."
"Wally," she says kind of slowly, giving him this look, "You know that's not what I meant."
He sighs, pushes a hand through his hair. "Yeah, it's been a long day." He scratches the back of his neck. "How do you feel?"
She laughs humorlessly and takes another bite of her pizza. She is aware of the way Wally is looking at her, and she kind of hates how it makes her nervous. Even when she was freaking out just a few hours ago, she hadn't felt as anxious then as she does now. Her heart seemed to be picking up speed for a whole different reason. God, she hopes he can't tell that sort of thing.
"Like hell," she mutters.
"Well, you look fine to me," he tells her, and yeah, she feels a little self-conscious because she's wearing Dinah's pajamas and her hair is down and in a damp braid. "Better than fine, actually."
He added that last part very quietly but she still heard it. "That's… what?" she asks, just looking at him now. She's all but lost her appetite.
He meets her eyes for a second and looks away, exhaling loudly. She follows his eyes and sees where Wonder Woman is walking away with Superman, and Conner is walking over to M'gann. He smiles this smile of total adoration as M'gann giggles and tells him something, pulling him down to sit beside her. Their lips meet in the middle in a sweet kiss, and Conner brushes her hair away when they part.
"I'm not like, sad or anything about it," he says, fully aware that she's watching. "I'm happy for them. They're obviously crazy for each other, right?"
"Right," she says, wondering where this is supposed to be going.
"And, I don't know," he continues, still not looking at her, "I guess everything's okay because she's a Martian and I'm human. At least Conner's a clone and it makes more sense for them to be together. You know what I mean?" She shakes her head but he doesn't see it. "And I kind of saw them making out while they weren't aware, and I wasn't as crushed as I expected to be. I guess it's because of you."
She thinks she imagined that last part, especially when he doesn't say anything else and still doesn't look at her.
But then he turns to face her and she's positive that the surprise is all over her face. "Me?"
"I almost lost you today," he says too quietly. "For a second I really thought you were handing yourself over and… I just don't want to imagine what they might've done. To you, I mean."
"Where is this coming from?"
His expression shifts. "I… I mean, I think it's been there for… a while. Kind of since Bialya. I mean, I know we fight and everything, and—"
"Eat this," she interrupts, sliding the plate with her pizza on it in front of him. He blinks, looks at it, and then back at her. "Just… I want to say something. Can you just eat it?"
He looks utterly confused, but picks it up and takes a bite. (Hey, food is food and she insisted! What else was he going to do?)
"I heard what you said to the others about me," she tells him. He nods, and she figures that Rob filled him in on their end of the situation if he knows what she's talking about. "I know we didn't get off to a great start, and frankly you tend to get on my nerves most of the time"—he snorts and rolls his eyes—"but you're… important. And your souvenir helped a lot."
"Really?" The hope in his voice shouldn't make her feel giddy, but it does.
"Yeah," she says, "I mean, technically it was my arrow to begin with, but you kept it, which was… sweet. I…" She looks at him. "I'm not really good at this kind of thing."
"You were doing fine."
She chuckles. "Did you finish eating?"
"I… guess so," he answers, still confused, "but what does that have to do with—"
"Because now we've both eaten pizza, so it makes it alright for me to show you what I'm pretty good at," she cuts him off, and when he opens his mouth to speak, she melds their lips together.
They're in a roomful of Justice League members, so yeah, probably not her best idea. But when Wally lets out this little groan and pushes his hand through her hair, untangling her damp braid, she figures she could care less right now. His free hand drops onto the small of her back and her hands fall onto his biceps, sliding up to settle on the back of his neck and pull him closer to her.
Someone clears their throat loudly and they part to laugh and catch their breath, leaning their foreheads together.
"I can't believe it took you so long," she says against his lips.
"Me? I was the one that pretty much confessed first," he protests. "Indirectly, but still."
"Yes, but you didn't kiss me!" He chuckles and strokes her cheek with his thumb, kissing her lips. "Stop that, it won't let you off the hook."
"You should've kissed her first, KF," a cackle comes from beside them, and Robin is there with his arms crossed, looking smug. "Now you look like a bad boyfriend."
"How long have you been standing there?" Artemis asks.
"The whole time," he replies. "Well, mostly. Definitely long enough to know that I won the bet!" Turning, he points to Barry and Ollie. "You owe me $50 each!"
"Uncle Barry!" Wally exclaims at the same moment Artemis cries, "Uncle Ollie, how could you bet on my love life?"
The two adults grimace as they retrieve their wallets. "It was… interesting," Ollie admits.
"What did you bet exactly?"
"Uncle B said that Wally would be the first to give in, and Uncle Ollie said Artemis didn't like Wally like that," Rob informs. "And I predicted everything perfectly! So pay up everyone!"
Beside him, Batman has the faintest traces of a smile as he shakes his head. And, much to their—at least Artemis's—horror, a majority of the room began fishing around for their wallets.
Conner kisses M'gann's cheek and slips her a few dollars while her Uncle J'onn slides over his plate of Oreos. Hawkwoman hands money to Dinah. Hawkman pulls out a few bills and gives them to Superman and Wonder Woman. Captain Marvel and Captain Atom hand a few to Aquaman, who laughs heartily and hands the cash back. Zatara slips a few to the beaming, dark-haired girl Kaldur is laughing beside.
"Unbelievable," Artemis mumbles, shaking her head.
Wally laughs and grasps her chin to make her face him. "Let it go, babe," he says before bringing their lips together again.
Okay, maybe she'll let them all off the hook this once. She's too preoccupied to scold them, anyway.
A/n: This was written because I JUST HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT "HOMEFRONT"!
How amazing was it? Confirming the Cheshire and Artemis relationship, the whole Team being featured again, the five seconds of Dick/Babs, Artemis and Robin being the only two humans and having to save their friends, that cliff-hanger with Red Tornado... Obviously, I had many more comments and thoughts, but I'll stop there. It just made my entire weekend so much better.
So you read it. Love it? Hate it? Please review it!