"Wally…Wally…HEY! KID SLOTH! WAKE UP!" Wally's eyes shot open as a hand impacted the back of his head. The living room was missing. In its place was the bioship.
He looked back at the culprit, Artemis.
A very fifteen-year-old Artemis.
She was sitting back in her chair and fiddling with her bowstring. M'gann was trying to pilot the ship and glance at him at the same time. The others looked at him with various mixtures of curiosity and amusement. Where was everything he'd just been looking at?
He turned to the console and found a reflective surface. It confirmed his suspicions. Looking back at him was fifteen-year-old Kid Flash, old costume and all. He focused on a date/time display – nine days had passed since the Halloween conversation in the Cave.
"We're about twenty minutes out," M'gann's voice intruded on his thoughts. "Artemis thought you'd want to be awake for it."
The archer's head was down as she adjusted the string on the bow again, though Wally could see a faint tinge of pink on her cheeks.
The Martian returned her attention to controlling the bioship. Conner was pretending to not stare at her. Kaldur was staring out at the ocean over which they were flying. Robin and Zatanna were conversing quietly, with Robin casting furtive glances toward him and Artemis occasionally.
The magician's presence brought Wally's memories back. She had been reluctantly permitted by Zatara to join the team on a probationary basis. They were now on their way back from some random mission; the details were still stuck in the cobwebs of slumber that Wally was still shaking off.
But what of the memories of his life with Artemis? Had that been nothing more than a dream?
He felt a tap on the back of his collarbone. He turned to face Artemis, who was still fiddling with the tension controls on her bow after Harm had cut the last string. She was leaning in close enough that he could hear her even though she was speaking softly.
"So, Baywatch, what was so good about that dream that it had you pulling a Rip Van Winkle?" She was trying hard to appear disinterested, and, in Wally's opinion, failing abysmally.
Well, two can play at that game.
He regarded her with a thoughtful expression. "What makes you think I was dreaming?"
The look she turned to him was one he'd seen often in the dream, and it roughly translated to You are not fooling me; I know what you're thinking better than you do. Most of the time, the dream Artemis had.
The real Artemis responded, "Seriously? No one smiles like you were while they're sleeping. Not unless it's a really good dream. So, spill."
A torrent of events and feelings slammed into the speedster's memory. "I think…a piece of heaven."
Artemis snorted. "What, you get locked for a month in a never-ending junk food buffet?"
Her eyes widened at his reply, and she noted the faraway look and the soft smile on his face.
Wally could tell she was curious. "It all seemed so real."
Now she was clearly intrigued.
He turned to her. "I'll tell you about sometime. Later."
She chewed on her lower lip as she thought it over, then slowly nodded as she sat back and stared out the window, her bow forgotten.
Wally watched her for a few seconds, then glanced over at Robin and Zatanna, who were becoming more animated as they talked. He thought about the dream and the life he'd apparently imagined with Artemis. He decided that maybe he wanted that. At least, he wanted to give it a chance.
The speedster made another quick decision.
When they landed, he would take Robin aside and find out if there really was a diner on the far side of Gotham called the Colonial Inn.
A/N: Well, I actually made my deadline! Please don't kill me for the twist at the end. In case anyone's confused, the Prologue and the Epilogue are real, while Chapters 1-3 are Wally's dream. Hope you liked it. If you did, please leave a review. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.