Author's Notes: I wanted to write something Spitfire related, but gosh darn it, my fanon OTP won't let me go. Just a rushed little fanfic to soothe the ravenous plot bunny who was eating out my brain.
November 9, 13:04
'You have here by been cordially invited to attend Richard Grayson's fourteenth birthday soiree.'
Artemis rereads the bold, cursive writing adoring the cover of the cardboard sheet well over twenty times; however, the words do not suddenly shift, or disappear, as much as she wishes it. The card was obviously handmade-with great care no less, if the hand-drawn Robins singing cheerfully on each outer corner are any indication-and the handwriting is beautifully scripted on both the envelope and invitation it's self.
Scoffing, she crumples up both items into an unidentifiable wad, before tossing them into the nearest trash can. Despite sharing two classes with Bruce Wanye's adoptive son, she knew how these things worked- she would be invited to the party, where everyone from the Academy would be, and be doused with pig's blood before the end of the night.
"I think I'd rather spare myself the humiliation." Artemis mutters bitterly, ignoring the haughty looks she's receiving-most likely for talking to herself-by a group of girls as she stalks past.
From the opposite corridor, Dick watches the scene with a dishearted frown.
November 11, 18:30
Alfred rushes about the mansion busily; directing the movers who amble into the dining area with a lengthy pine-wood table that's been draped over with a pearly white doily. Directly after, the butler sets up multiple rolls of red streamers along the base of the ceiling, that accompanies the red helium balloons taped to nearly every wall on the first floor. Dick had offered plenty of times to aid his old friend in setting up the decorations, or preparing appetizers-even if Bruce has strictly banned anything involving flambe and fire-anything to keep him from fidgeting anxiously with his tie. The black suit, while admittedly dashing on him, is far too uncomfortable for his taste. However, Alfred had him set on wearing it, and he couldn't possibly deny the man that- not when he was putting in all this work.
Dick recalls the image of Artemis throwing away her invite with a sour disposition; tinged by his wounded pride, and faintest layer of hurt that she would so carelessly dispose of the card he'd created himself. He knew he could never reveal his identity to her, but taking the extra time to craft four baby Robins-two hours of extra time, to be exact. He was a hacker, not a master artist-on the sheet, had been a specific hint that had gone right over her head.
"She's not even coming." He whispers to himself, pressing his lips together in hopes that it will keep his emotions off his face enough to keep anyone from questioning him.
"Master Richard, I do believe I heard the doorbell! Your first guest has arrived!"
He sighs in agitation, before forcing out his best smile. "It's show time."
Bruce had taught him how to charm a room early on, before there ever was a Robin. It was a skill he had mastered without issue- accepting birthday wishes humbly, cracking jokes when appropriate, and thanking everyone for having attended. He'd been on his second circle around the entertainment room when he spotted her, lingering outside the open doorway with a look of pensiveness.
He murmurs a half-hearted, "Excuse me,"to Madison Farms from Bio class, and strides over to Artemis with a glass of soda in hand. In the four seconds it takes him to cut through the lofty crowd, he's gone over a million different ways to approach her.
But rather than bid her a hello, his tone is snappish when their paths cross. "Artemis." Clearly his sore feelings won out against his ability to be friendly.
"Dick," She nods solemnly, eyeing all the young ladies wearing ballgowns that must of cost more than a month's rent at her home apartment. "I didn't realize I was so under dressed." She's clad in a simple pair of navy jeans, and a forest green hoodie that obscures most of her sightly figure. Under her breath, she hisses, "Guess I should have known better."
He rolls his tongue around in his mouth, choosing his words carefully, and deciding to ignore her previous statement. "I didn't think I'd see you here tonight."
She cocks her head, but her eyes tighten the faintest bit around the edges. "Why not? I was invited, wasn't I?"
"You were," He spits. "And yet, after seeing you throw your invitation in the garbage I'd assumed you thought the idea was rather unappealing." The rational part of his brain informs him that he really has no right to be feeling angry- Artemis Crock is a friend of Robin, not Dick Grayson. Had Robin been the one to request her presence at the party, she'd have come with bells on, he's sure. Although, he finds it easier to be mad, then venture back into the swarm of adolescents and make small talk all evening.
She cringes. "You- You saw that, huh? It wasn't anything against you, personally, I just-"
"Why're you here, Artemis?"
He knows he's hit one nerve too many; the way her cheeks puff out as she holds in a breath to steady her composure, how she shuts her eyes for the briefest moment, and finally chooses to stare at a costly painting above his head instead of his piercing eyes.
"I don't know."
"You don't know who I am, do you?" He narrows his eyes at her, stalking toward her and feeling the slightest bit of pleasure when she staggers backward a step.
"Of course I know who you-"
"No, Artemis. I mean, really." Dick growls out, dark and angry- even if for all the wrong reasons. He's had enough of this game. Of her not knowing who he is. It's gone on too long, and the prank is no longer funny when he's the only one laughing. "You make me so distraught!"
It's like he can hear the words sink into her brain, churning the information, before her mouth forms an oh shape and her eyes widen. "You- Ro-" Before she can fully utter out the word, he's swept her out the french doors leading outside, to the spacious backyard. The snowfall they'd received previously has painted everything a downy white, giving it the impression of a winter wonderland with it's multiple trees and small pond in the center that's turned to crystal.
As they stand in utter silence, Dick berates himself for ever being furious for her in the first place. He'd been upset with the entire situation, not her. (Not to mention Batman will positively strangle him, should he find out about the slip up. He already had to deal with getting his mentor to accept the fact that Wally knew, and that was hard enough.) He had only prayed she would choose to attend the celebration on account of the fact that he knew it would bore him to tears- it was not his first choice on how he wanted to be spending his birthday.
Before he can make any sort of move to apologize, a snowball has suddenly walloped him in the cheek. The icy slush stings as it proceeds to run down his neck and soak the shoulder of his tux, but instead of feeling outraged, he fixes her with a mischievous grin that she whole-heartedly returns.
Ducking as another ball is sent his way, he loosens his tie and rips off the suit jacket before cackling at the blonde who's taken refuge behind the large oak tree. "Oh, it's on now, Crock!"
It's nearly forty-five minutes later when Alfred finally stumbles upon the duo; sitting side by side in the snow, panting heavily and shoving each other playfully in the shoulder.
He clears his throat, catching their attention. "Master Richard, while I hate to interrupt, I do believe it's time for cake."
At the mention of the dessert, Dick's eyes light up. He turns to Artemis. "Stay for cake?"
She sends him a small, breathless smile, followed by a laugh at his childish expression. "Well who am I to pass up on eating cake with a bunch of snobs who hate my guts?" She pauses, sheepish. "Not that you-"
He waves his hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah. I'm a rich snob. Now c'mon!"
She ends up shoving his face into it the second the candles are removed, much to the horror of every present guest. However, he just laughs- billowy and carefree, before flicking some of the blue icing in her direction. They don't mention the fact that she's aware of his secret ID, especially not to Bruce, who arrives just in time to see everyone out and appraise both of their soaked and cake-slathered appearances.
As she slips out the front door, she presses a kiss to his cheek, and his eyes turn the size of saucers. "Happy birthday."
It's one of his better birthdays, to say the least.