Hello all, I'm afraid I've developed this bad habit of updating at the end of each month or something, it's kind of strange to be honest.
Anywho though, here's the next installment of Oblivious, I think right now I can only see a few more chapters beyond this one, unless I throw some more twists in here somehow….
Well, enjoy, let me know how to improve, or if you feel that this story is missing anything, thanks!
I do not own Young Justice, it is the property of DC Comics.
Alright, so, most of the reviews I got for this chapter liked the 'bro moment' between Kid Flash and Robin, however, there were those of you who thought that Artemis was missing from the equation and should have been in the chapter. Which, I understand, so I thought a little bit more and came up with an alternate version of chapter 6. It still has the exact same conversation as before, I just added on a couple of scenes at the beginning for your reading enjoyment, hope you all enjoy! ;)
Also, a lot of you have been inquiring about pairings, especially after Robin and Wally were teasing each other about girls at the end of this chapter. My answer? I honestly don't know. I've pretty much just been focusing on keeping this story within the general feel of the show itself, but I suppose there will be exceptions here and there. Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm mainly writing about the friendships within the team and how Robin views Artemis and the others as well (as this story is in his POV). So… as far as pairings go… only time will tell. Sorry if that answer was kind of vague – it was meant to be, as it's all sort of up in the air at the moment.
There's something about Mondays that I don't think I'll ever quite figure out. Everyone views them differently, but as I walked through the halls after the first period of the day, I could tell that the general consensus of the students shuffling by me with tired eyes was that they would have preferred to stay in bed than get up for their morning classes.
Pop quizzes on a Monday are brutal, even more so when teachers pull them on us first thing in the morning. All I can say is that I'm glad that I was on time for my Calculus class earlier this morning so that I was able to do a last minute run through of the notes from the previous week.
So far I've kept my promise to Mr. Rankin to be on time for class, but there was a morning the other week that I resorted to getting Bruce to write me a quick note. Actually, I had typed the note and got him to scribble his signature on it quickly when he was only half paying attention while signing paperwork for Wayne Industries.
Pop quizzes aren't that bad if you've been thorough while learning the material, but apparently most of the class hadn't been as successful with that task as I had been over the weekend if the blank stares out the window were any indication. When I handed in the quiz after about fifteen minutes, I noticed that a lot of the papers I walked by were practically as blank as the expressions half of my classmates were sporting.
'If any of them claim tomorrow that they failed because the Injustice League's plants crushed their textbooks, I'll be very tempted to speak up. I mean, come on! We live in Gotham City of all places! Vigilantes and Villains running through the streets stopped being an acceptable excuse in school shortly after I became Robin.'
Turning from my thoughts, I focused on the present as I ducked and wove through the throng of students in the hallways of the mathematics building in order to get to the shortcut across the courtyard to my locker. However, just as I could glimpse the door that opened to the crisp autumn air, an arm suddenly shot out in front of me.
Fighting against all of my training as Robin, I resisted dodging out of the way and let myself fall to the floor after being sloppily clotheslined by another student.
From my spot on the hallway floor, the first thing I noticed was that my books had slipped out of my hands during my fall and had effectively scattered across the floor like I had planned. Next, I took note of the muffled giggles and muted laughter coming from those who sidestepped around me where I was splayed out.
I grumbled under my breath and moved to sit up, but someone's foot landed on my chest and pinned me to the ground. Although I could have freed myself and had my attacker knocked out on the ground in moments, I stayed where I was and contented myself with giving the senior above me an annoyed glare. Sure, I couldn't give him what Wally called the 'Bat Glare', but a toned down version would have to suffice.
Unfortunately, a dialled down intimidation technique really doesn't intimidate anyone, especially seniors. Go figure.
"Can I help you?" I forced out through gritted teeth. Sure, I was supposed to be a bit of a wimp whenever I was at school to keep up appearances and all, but I figured that Bruce wouldn't mind too much if my sarcasm showed through here and there. Besides, what was this guy's problem?
"You could have helped me half an hour ago!" Taking a closer look at my 'attacker', I knew that this was the senior I sat beside in Calculus. Although I wasn't in senior level calculus quite yet, this guy had been taking the same calculus class for the past two years. It didn't surprise me when he added, "I really couldn't afford to fail that quiz today, and you wouldn't help me out!"
Frowning, I informed him, "Hey, it was just a quiz, I'm sure it won't-" My attempt to use logic failed as he reached down and grabbed the front of my shirt to drag me to my feet. He slung me around and slammed my back against a nearby row of lockers before he leaned closer. I could smell his horrible morning breath as he muttered, "It does count though, Grayson. But, of course, you're too much of a goody-goody nerd to share some answers, aren't you?"
I glared at him for a moment, thinking through my options and resisting the urge to knock him flat on his back. Before I could let my comeback fly, it appeared that I had been silent for too long. He drew back his hand that wasn't holding me and curled it into a tight fist.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." His fist stopped inches from my face, and I wasn't sure whether to be relieved or concerned that a familiar voice had interrupted my beating. I couldn't see past the guy's turned head, but I instantly knew a friend had showed up as they taunted, "You must be desperate if you've decided that beating up Grayson over a math quiz is a good idea."
He muttered under his breath for a moment before releasing his hold on me and wheeling around on the blonde who had just questioned him. As he stalked into the middle of the hallway towards her, I noticed that a small group of curious onlookers had formed a circle around me, the senior I had ignored since the beginning of the year, and Artemis.
She stood a few feet away from me and was focused on the bully who was approaching her, but she glanced my way and smirked for a moment when our eyes met. Artemis turned her attention forward again and inquired, "What are you going to do, Jeff? Punch a girl – in a skirt – of all things?"
'Oh, so his name is Jeff. Who knew? Well, Artemis apparently did, but-'
I pushed my thoughts aside when I saw Jeff's posture stiffen and both his hands fist in annoyance. I knew Artemis had noticed as well, but she merely raised a mocking eyebrow and threatened coolly, "I'm sure the principal would be so impressed if he heard you not only beat up a girl, but also harassed the school's prized Mathlete."
Her verbal jabs wouldn't go unanswered, and the senior let out an annoyed yell as he dashed towards Artemis. She didn't flinch at the large teenage boy running at her like most students at Gotham Academy would. No, Artemis merely sidestepped at the last minute and threw her foot out to trip the oaf.
Jeff pushed himself up off the floor and rounded on Artemis again, but even though she wasn't facing him because she had moved to walk towards me, she easily dodged the tackle he had aimed for her waist.
I quickly moved out of the way as Jeff hurtled through the air and banged against the lockers I had been standing in front of moments before. I inched further away from him as he stood up slowly, but when he turned around to face Artemis again, I could tell that his face plant into the lockers had done nothing to abate his anger.
"You're dead, Crock." Jeff spat as he stalked towards her, clenched fists at the ready. Glancing up and down the hall, I noticed that the circle of bystanders had grown bigger, and yet there weren't any teachers in sight. 'The one time a fight needs to be stopped.' I thought bitterly as I watched Artemis jump backwards away from Jeff's first wild punch.
He continued to try and hit her, his slowly building rage getting the best of him. The one thing I was glad about was that Jeff wasn't on the ground in pain yet. Don't get me wrong, Artemis could totally take this guy down in seconds – just like I could – but I was pleasantly surprised that she was trying to stay true to her civilian identity.
After a particularly powerful punch that had off balanced Jeff because he didn't hit his intended target, I realized that Artemis had been leading him into the centre of the hallway again the entire time. She took advantage of his unbalanced state and dropped down, twisting as she did in order to swing her leg out and sweep Jeff's feet out from under him.
As Artemis stood and the defeated senior fell, I thought to myself, 'Oh boy. I wonder what everyone else is going to say about Artemis beating a senior….' Looking around the circle of students, I was grateful when I noticed that most of them weren't seniors and wouldn't be holding a grudge against Artemis any time soon – besides Jeff of course – but I still knew some damage control was in order.
I confirmed Jeff was down for the count before I stepped into the circle and asked, "So, where'd you learn self-defence moves like that? Were they teaching that in gym class this week?"
Artemis turned and studied me for a moment, but then she seemed to realize that those who were still standing in the circle were staring at her. Relaxing her posture a bit, Artemis rested a hand on her hip and replied with a smirk, "Nope, we haven't covered that in gym yet." I was surprised that Artemis hadn't grabbed hold of the excuse I had offered her, but she then added, "At Gotham North, you deal with this kind of thing every day."
She shifted her cool gaze around the circle, and as if she had just communicated some sort of silent command, the curious stares of those around us suddenly widened in surprise and even fear. Soon enough, everyone decided to leave. Jeff's buddies stepped forward to get him to the nurse, and traffic in the hallway had almost returned to normal.
Artemis kneeled down and began to grab a couple of my books, and I quickly joined her. Throwing a glance over my shoulder as the group of annoyed seniors disappeared around a corner, I turned back to my blonde friend and asked, "Aren't you worried that they're going to tell the nurse or Principal what happened?"
Standing up with a few of my books in hand, Artemis waited until I had stood up as well before she placed what she had collected of my belongings on top of the pile I already had in my hands. She looked at me for a moment, as though she was trying to figure something out, perhaps she was even trying to place something I had said before she shrugged and countered my question with her own. "Do you really think that they're going to tell the nurse that a girl who was smaller and younger than Jeff beat him up?"
"I guess not…." I trailed off as I followed Artemis to the courtyard door.
When we were outside, I asked Artemis another question, "But what if they do for some reason?"
Artemis glanced down at me momentarily, a gleam in her eye to match her smirk as she stated, "Self-defence."
Nodding at her quick answer, we both entered the school again and headed straight to our lockers. Although Artemis and I both had Physics next and our classroom was just around the corner, the hallway scuffle had taken up more time than I cared to think about. After a quick exchange of textbooks and binders, we both crossed through the doorway of our Physics room just as the bell above our heads went.
I hastily took my seat and tried to ignore the ringing in my ears that the close proximity to the bell had caused. Pulling out my notes, I listened to the teacher begin a short review for our Kinematics test the next day. I jotted down the notes that he wrote on the chalkboard, but my ears perked up when I heard him explaining to a student at the front of the class that acceleration was just the change in the rate of an object's velocity.
Forcing down a mischievous smile, I raised my hand in order to ask a question. Usually it was just my English teacher that I liked to pester with my word questions, but in that moment, I couldn't resist the opportunity that had just presented itself.
My teacher looked up at me and I could tell he was trying to hide his surprise that I wanted to ask a question. "Yes, Richard? Do you have a question, or do you need the washroom pass?"
The odd murmur or chuckle came from some of my classmates, but I just lowered my hand slowly and gave my teacher a quick smile as I replied, "Actually, I have a question Mr. Isaacs."
"Alright, let's hear it then."
Folding my hands together in front of me, I asked, "If acceleration is the change in the rate of an object's velocity, then what would the change in the rate of an object's acceleration be called?"
As soon as the words slipped out of my mouth, I regretted them. I remembered too late that Kid Flash had used this fact as a comeback during our training session yesterday when he had gotten paired up with Artemis.
"Well, Richard, there is a name for that, but you won't need to know it for the test. However," My teacher paused for a moment, adjusting his glasses as he let his grin grow before addressing the class, "The next time any of you call someone a jerk, what you're really telling them is that they're the change in the rate of the acceleration."
I noticed that a lot of the students in the class smiled at the second meaning of the word, and some in the back even laughed a bit, but I was more focused on Artemis's reaction. I looked over my shoulder at her, and decided it was quite…lacking.
When I studied her expression closer though, I realized that she hadn't reacted to my question or its answer because she hadn't even heard it. Her fingers were drumming on her desk quietly to a tune only she could hear through her headphones.
As I turned around, I felt more disappointed than relieved that Artemis hadn't heard me – it was definitely a major clue that I had let slip.
"Does that answer your question, Richard?" Mr. Isaacs asked once the class had calmed down a little.
"Completely." I replied, knowing that my teacher had just helped me answer a far more important question.
As the class went on, I tried taking notes and listening as best I could, but my mind kept drifting as I knew it would for the rest of the day.
'Artemis totally didn't hear one of the biggest clues yet that I've let drop around her, and she's really never going to figure it out because she's so, so…oblivious. I mean, headphones in the middle of class, really?' I glanced back at my friend once more as I added to myself, 'If she just missed that clue, how many others has she missed?'
The ironic thing about discovering answers? Those answers almost always lead to twice as many questions as I started with!
'One thing is for sure though, if there isn't anyone to spar with when I get to Mount Justice tonight, I think all my thoughts might finally explode out of me, which is a very, very scary thought.'
- - - - R - - - -
"Oblivious!" I muttered as I swiftly left the empty training area of Mount Justice and headed towards the team's common area. "She's so…oblivious!"
'She doesn't get it, or she's just ignoring it, maybe she just can't see-'
"Who's Oblivious?" turning to my left, a slight breeze shifted my bangs to the side as a blur of red and yellow came into focus beside me. My best friend always seemed to have a knack for showing up whenever I'd prefer not to talk to him – or anyone.
"I really don't have time to explain, KF."
"Come on, Rob," Wally pointed a finger at me that still had the white dust of a jelly donut on it, "There's always time to rant."
"Maybe, but unlike you, I don't have super speed." To explain my point I quickly added, "I don't have enough time to go on about nothing like you do. Besides, I know how annoying that can get." I smirked as Wally gave me a shove in return for my remark.
"Whatever, but you still need to tell me about this oblivious person. I hope you realize that naïve people are so much more fun to mess with." He rubbed his hands together in an evil manner, almost as though he was already planning someone's untimely, comedic demise.
Snorting, I informed him, "She's far from naïve – trust me – she's just totally, completely, and utterly oblivious… of me."
As we turned right and walked through an opening into the kitchen, I noticed Wally raise an eyebrow before he asked, "So… the Boy Wonder finally has a crush and the girl doesn't even know he exists? How tragic…ally hilarious!"
"Wha – what? No, I-" I immediately blurted out, but my 'friend' only interrupted his own hysterical laughter to continue taunting me.
"Wait, wait, okay! So, it must be the brilliant Richard Grayson that's having girl problems?"
"No way, West! I just-" I cut off my train of thought as I noticed the prominent smirk that was probably going to be plastered on Wally's face for the rest night – an eternity for a speedster. 'And no doubt an eternity for me if he keeps pestering me about some 'girl'. I best set him straight or suffer through unbearable teasing for the next month… or until I strangle him. Either way, this needs to end.'
Narrowing my eyes at the redhead who was leaning against the counter across from me, I stated, "Artemis."
Momentarily losing interest in the food bowl beside him, Wally eyed me warily as he questioned, "What does Artemis have to do with your girl problems?"
"Seriously, KF? I don't have a girl problem!" Wally raised a mocking eyebrow in response to my words. Frowning, I informed him, "Artemis is the girl I was talking about a few minutes ago. She's the oblivious one."
"Oh." Kid Flash stated with completely out of character thoughtfulness as he peeled a vibrant banana that rivalled even the bright yellow of his costume. He looked at the half peeled banana for a moment longer before looking up at me with a glint in his eye to ask, "So…¸ what do you think she's oblivious of? I know what I think, but I just want to hear your opinion." I threw him a glance to let him know just how queer he was being, but he just added defensively, "Hey, honest question. I mean, I don't need to tell you how I feel about her, I was just asking you your opinion."
"Oh, I didn't mention anything about 'feelings' – you are solely responsible for that topic entering our conversation." I mentally added Wally's slightly flushed cheeks to my endless stash of potential blackmail material before pushing on. "You've definitely said enough to me, the team, and even Artemis about your negative feelings towards her, but newsflash, bud! Actions speak louder than words, and lately your actions have been yelling."
The look on Wally's face was priceless. It was a mix between a fish gasping for water, the blank stare Superboy has when he watches static, and a kicked puppy. Oh, so priceless – and too hilarious not to capture. I whipped out, clicked, and hid my cellphone and its camera before Kid Flash could even register what happened.
"We'll laugh about this one day." I mumbled mischievously more to myself than my confused friend.
Shaking his head, Wally growled at me, "Dude, so uncool."
Shrugging my shoulders nonchalantly, I informed him, "You stop claiming I have girl issues, and I won't blackmail you about Artemis…yet."
"Because that inspires confidence right there." Kid Flash replied sarcastically. I crossed my arms while I waited for Wally to come to the conclusion that I was done joking around for the time being. He gave me an uncertain look as an answer to my actions before he cleared his throat and asked awkwardly, "So… what is Artemis oblivious of exactly?"
I studied my best friend for a few seconds and prepared myself for his reaction as I stated, "Me." Kid Flash was quiet for once, as though he was trying to decipher what that single word meant, but I cut short his pondering by adding quietly, "She's oblivious of my secret identity. I don't know if she even has a clue, KF."
"Isn't that what you're going for, Shades?" Wally questioned incredulously, his tone implying that he was wondering if I had suddenly grown a second, invisible head he wasn't aware of.
Absentmindedly fingering one of the arms of my glasses, I reminded him, "These glasses weren't my idea." I paused to force my hand away from my sunglasses before adding, "I trust you guys."
Wally nodded as he muttered, "But Batman doesn't, I know. You've explained this all to me before, but you've always just gone along with it. Why is it such a big problem if Artemis doesn't know your secret identity?"
Looking past my friend and into the living room behind him, I quickly scanned the immediate area to make sure it was empty and free of our other teammates before I informed him quietly, "She goes to my school."
"W-wait, why would she go to the Academy with you? I thought she lived in Star City with her uncle, the Green Arrow?" I nodded, my mind suddenly whirling as I tried to think up an excuse to protect Artemis' secrets as much as possible. Also, I needed a reason why she would be a protégé in Star City, but also be a student at Gotham Academy like I was.
"Are you sure Artemis goes to your school? I mean, maybe it's just someone who looks like her?"
"It's her." I replied bluntly.
"Oh." Wally looked at me for a moment, as if trying to fill the gaps in the information I had given him. Finally, with a noncommittal shrug of his shoulders, he said, "Okay, so Artemis goes to school with you. That's a little… strange, but why does it matter to you whether she knows your secret identity? She's supposed to be oblivious of that fact – so sayeth Batman."
I resisted the urge to glare at my friend for repeating the facts that I already knew all too well, and instead managed to give him a curt nod as I replied, "Yeah, so sayeth the Batman."
Silence stretched out between us after my comment, and Wally took the time to concentrate on his cast for a moment. He eventually began poking it here and there before he muttered, "At least a teammate goes to your school." I gave the redhead an inquisitive look, but I'm sure he didn't even notice. He kept prodding the cast, as though inspecting it for the twelfth time in the past two days would suddenly make it go away or heal faster.
"Yeah, maybe, but Ms. Martian and Superboy go to the same school together. Artemis and I aren't the only ones." I pointed out, hoping to distract Wally from his arm.
His shoulders heaved from a sigh. Glancing up at me, he stated, "Sure, but they know each other's secret identities, unlike you and Artemis."
"Way to make me feel better, man."
"No problem, I've been told that I can be quite a motivator when I set my mind to it."
Wally's grim expression slowly turned into a sly grin as he straightened up and stretched as though he thought he could touch the kitchen's high ceilings. Crossing his arms awkwardly behind his head because of his broken arm, he leaned against the counter behind him once more. "But seriously," He began as his arms returned to a more comfortable position at his sides and his sarcastic smile disappeared. "Just be thankful that you have a teammate at your school whether they know you or not. It's good to have a fellow hero nearby – I don't exactly have that luxury at my school – y'know, unless Kaldur suddenly goes to my school and no one told me."
"KF, your school doesn't have a pool, let alone a fountain."
Wally let out a snort before retorting, "Sorry, I forgot that there's an Olympic sized pool at your school with an optional water show setting."
"Yeah, that is kind of overkill, even for my school." I shook my head from side to side for a moment, wondering how we went from talking about an oblivious teammate to debating what kind of school our team's Atlantean leader would attend – if he ever for some reason decided to enroll in a surface school.
That's the thing about my friendship with Wally though; we can talk about anything or nothing and still get a kick out of it. It's when more serious matters need to be discussed that our communication skills often became… lacking.
Noticing that the fruit bowl to the left of Kid Flash was being steadily depleted, I motioned to the fridge beside me and asked, "So, after I left the training room, did you come after me to eavesdrop on my muttering, or did you really come this way to refuel and I just happened to be between point A and B?"
"You know me too well, Rob."
"That's what I thought."
Wally just shrugged before walking past me to the fridge. He grabbed the handle, but paused, as though there was something else he wanted to say. It had to be important if it was delaying him from attempting to satisfy his rampant appetite.
I saw him visibly will his hand to let go of the smooth handle, and a brief look of trepidation crossed his face. I felt my eyebrows raise in question, but before I could get a question out of my mouth, Wally whispered, "You're not the only teammate Artemis is oblivious of."
I blinked in surprise as I tried to process my friend's sudden insight, but KF chose that moment to live up to his name and disappear in a flash – in the blink of an eye even.
A quick scan of the room confirmed that the redheaded speedster had up and disappeared. 'Seriously?' I thought to myself as I ran a hand through my raven hair. 'I let him know what was bothering me, I suffer through his comments, and just when our conversation began to be normal again he drops information that's the equivalent of a bombshell going off.'
"Typical KF." I muttered in conclusion. Glancing around the room once more, I let out a sigh and grabbed an apple from the nearly empty bowl on the counter that Wally had been attacking earlier. Walking into the living room, I vaulted over the back of the couch to settle down and do some serious thinking.
"Umph!" I practically rolled right off onto the floor thanks to unexpected noise that came from the person I had just landed on.
"Gah!" A surprised gasp escaped my mouth as soon as I looked up from my spot half underneath the coffee table when I realized who I had just rebounded off of.
"There isn't enough 'dis' in the world to properly describe this…" I muttered, preparing myself for what was bound to be the greatest test of my training yet.
'Oh yes, I'll have to tap into the lessons from Bruce for this!'
It was a tad shorter than usual, I know, and I realize it shouldn't take a month for me to crank out an update. Believe me, I'm working on it. (Slowly but surely!)
Besides, after the chapter ending I just gave you, I think a quicker update is definitely in order this time around!
Let me know what you think in a review – even if it's yelling at me to update quicker :P (I do really appreciate the input though, comments and questions from others are honestly what helps a writer improve!)
Well, I definitely enjoyed typing up the new beginning, and hopefully it gives a little bit more context / background why Robin was so annoyed at the cave after school. I mean, come on – it's a Monday, pop quiz, almost getting beaten up while in his civilian identity, and Artemis of all people saving him, and top that all off with Artemis being totally oblivious :P
Anywho, hope you all enjoyed, and that extra scene added to this chapter, and not the opposite. Chapter 7 should hopefully be up sometime after this coming weekend – I've got a road trip planned that I'm hoping to take advantage of when it comes to typing!