Author's Note: This is for my friend Dicey (civilunrest on .) The prompt for this was 'Cask of Amontillado', which, for anyone who doesn't know, is a story by Edgar Allen Poe where a man is bricked up. Much thanks, again, to itswallie, who helped significantly with some of the science things that pop up at the end. Ohgod, all of it is something she copy and pasted me from a wiki . So I take no credit for the nerd talk, as it is directly from a wiki somewhere, almost word for word.
She comes to with a groan just as the last brick goes into place. It takes her a second to realize what's going on, her eyes glued to the small beam of light in the corner that's slowly disappearing, throwing everything into pitch blackness. And then her eyes are wide and she stumbles through the dark, hands colliding hard against brick and she shoves, hoping that maybe, just maybe the mortar hasn't set, that it's weak enough to give.
Nothing happens and she slams a fist against the wall in frustration, crying out at the pain that shoots through her arm with the stupid move.
Artemis slumps forward against the wall, thumping it again with her fist. What kind of sick fuck walls people up?
There's movement nearby, followed by a low groan and she spins, her heart racing because oh fuckshe's not alone in here and she has no way out and-
"H-hello?" Wally's voice is tired and hesitant and Artemis relaxes, falls back against the wall and slides down to the floor with a relieved breath.
"It's me," she whispers, listening to the movement that she can't see in front of her. His feet scuff loudly against something and she leans back into the wall with a sigh.
"We're trapped," she tells him.
"Trapped? What do you mean we're trapped?" He stumbles to his feet, hands reaching out blindly to grope at the wall.
"We've been bricked up. Whoever knocked us out bricked us up. We're trapped. At least until the others find us." Her eyes search him out in the darkness, finding him just as his foot bumps into her leg. She grabs his ankle, digging her nails hard into him. "Stop moving already."
"S-sorry." He doesn't stop though and she lets go of his ankle so he can continue groping along the wall. His breathing is becoming rapid and she frowns.
"Are you alright?"
There's a thump as he finally stops and drops to the ground. "W-we're trapped."
She rolls her eyes. "Yes, I just said that, Wally."
"O-oh god," he drags in a loud, ragged breath, "We're- we're trapped."
She wants to scoff at him, make some snide remark, but he lets out a choked noise, his breathing still too fast, and she's concerned.She drags herself forward to crawl along the floor towards him. She doesn't have far to go before she collides with his legs.
"Wally?" She finds his knee and squeezes it nervously, licks her dry lips and squints at him. He jerks himself out of reach. "Are you- Are you hurt?"
"Wha-? No, no. I'm- I'm fine." He climbs back to his feet again, nearly tripping over her. "We- we need to get out of here." His voice is entirely too shaky for her liking and she reaches through the darkness to rest her hand on his leg again.
"Calm down. We-" She swallows thickly, "We probably don't have a lot of air. We shouldn't be talking or freaking out or-"
He's still fumbling around, probably doing what she had done, dragging his hands along the wall, looking for give or a crack or something.
"Y-yeah, we should-" he makes a resigned noise and slides to the floor again, "Y-yeah."
She shifts to sit next to him, to let her leg brush his in some kind of reassurance. Minutes pass in silence, and he doesn't once completely stop moving, changing positions several times until he finally draws his legs up against his chest with another shaky breath.
"Are you sure you're okay?" she finally asks, biting back her annoyance.
"Yes." He whispers fiercely, but his voice is tense and odd, not at all like his usual self and fuck he's really starting to worry her now. It's not normaland why is he freaking out so much? She stretches her arm out until her fingers collide with his face. He flinches violently and her frown only deepens as she feels her way down to his shoulder, squeezing it lightly.
"You don't sound okay, dammit," she grits out, nerves already shaken and this really isn't helping, "What the hell is wrong?"
He shakes beneath her grasp and she tightens her hold.
"I'mclaustrophobic." He says it all in one desperate breath, body quivering. Artemis tenses against him in sudden understanding and then moves to kneel in front of him, searching out his shoulders.
"Wally. Wally, look at me."
His hands come up and grip her forearms, trembling, the grip alternating between almost-painful and loose. He hiccups out a breath. "L-look at you? I can't- I can't even seeyou-" It sounds like a failed attempt at a joke, only he leans forward slightly, his hands sliding higher up her arms, reassuring himself that, yes, she's right there, right in front of him.
Artemis slides closer and her face must be inches from his because she can feel his breath.
"Wally- Talk to me, Wally. Calm down and talk to me."
His breath hitches and his fingers tremble against her arms. "We don't- N-not a lot of air- o-ohgod." He's starting to hyperventilate all over again and she digs her own fingers into his shoulders to try and bring him back to earth.
"I- Yeah, but this isn't helping, Wally, you need to- You need to calm down." Artemis swallows nervously, letting her forehead bump his. "And if talking helps then, dammit, talk." His head moves against hers in what she can only assume is a nod. "Tell me about- Talk about your family or- You like science, right? Talk nerdy to me!"
He makes a noise that sounds like it could be a choked off laugh and she grins weakly.
"The- the cortical nucleus is- is involved in the sense of smell and-" He tenses briefly, draws in a deep breath, before continuing. "And pheremone-processing. It receives input from-"
She murmurs his name under her breath, letting her fingers move in small circles along his shoulders and back and over his shoulder blades.
"-and the olfactory c-cortex. The lateral amygdalae, which sends impulses to the rest of-"
His breath comes more evenly the more he talks and Artemis closes her eyes, relaxing as well. She exhales softly.
"-basolateral complexes and to the- to the centromedial nuclei-"
The words are completely foreign to her but he obviously knows what he's talking about and she drinks it all in because she finds it oddly calming.
"-receive input from the sensory systems. The centromedial nuclei are the main outputs-"
His hands find their way to her shoulders to pull her closer and she allows it, falls forward into his lap and a blush briefly colors her cheeks as she realizes he's pulled her into a hug. The hug is awkward and clumsy in the dark and they bump heads several times as she fumbles to return it. Now his breath is against her neck, warm and heavy, and she shivers, realizes for the first time how very cold it is in here.
"Better?" She asks softly, so very happy for the warmth that his arms are providing.
He grins weakly against her neck. "Y-yeah. Yeah. I think I'll be okay now."