Title: Keep Prying Eyes Away
Rating/Warnings: T (mild violence and abuse, and some sexuality.)
Word Count: 5,028
Character(s): Wally West/Kid Flash, Artemis Crock/Artemis, Dick Grayson/Robin, Kaldur'ahm/Aqualad, Jade Nguyen/Cheshire, Paula Crock, Lawrence Crock/Sportsmaster, M'gann M'orzz/Miss Martian, Conner Kent/Superboy
Summary: You're young and it's hard.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Notes: I've been writing this for I don't even know how long, and I've added things from episodes we've seen and I've added little things along the way, but right now it's turning out really well, and I'm really incredibly proud of this. I hope you guys like it.
(you're six and you are happy)
"Jade," she laughs, holding her stomach and kicking at her older sister as she tries to tickle her. "Jade s-stop!"
"Nope," her sister shrieks, laughing along with her. Their parents watch from the kitchen table, taking a moment away from their planning.
She's happy for a while, but it doesn't last long.
(you're eight and you're naïve)
Her name is Artemis Lauren Crock, and she aches for sleep. She figures if she presses her hand against her left ear and her right ear against her pillow, it'll drown out the noises. Momma's home, Jade's out, and Daddy's mad.
"Jesus Christ, just give me the fucking first-aid kit!" Momma's yelling at Daddy, and it's almost like Artemis can smell the alcohol as Daddy presses it against whatever Momma hurt.
"You're fucking useless, you know?" Daddy's telling Momma that. Artemis just wants to sleep.
The window slides open and Jade stumbles through, hand clutching the sill. Blood pours from her mouth and nose, and she glares at Artemis. "Well get up and help me," she hisses, shutting the window with the hand that isn't holding her nose. Her shirt is ripped, Artemis notices.
"'kay," Artemis nods, slipping from bed, tugging her hair into a bun. "Whatcha need-,"
"Just get out of the way," Jade pushes her, and Artemis hits the bathroom wall with a small thud. The noise in the other room stops, the sisters freeze, Jade's eyes narrowed, Artemis' wide.
"Jade? Artemis?" The door opens and Jade shoves Artemis into their bedroom roughly, whispering something about getting in the shower.
Momma peeks into the room, eyes narrowed. There's a cut on her arm, from her knuckles to her elbow. She looks so old, Artemis thinks.
"What the hell are you two doing in here?"
"Jade is showering," Artemis murmurs, wishing she had her teddy. Her hands fall against her sides, cold. "Momma are you ok?"
"Get to bed," Momma sighs, and not only does she look old, but she looks tired, too. "I'll see you both in the morning." Before she shuts the door, she stomps toward the bathroom door, banging on it twice. "You get to bed too."
There is no response, but Artemis doesn't think Momma expected one, anyway.
"Remember," her momma told her, long before the days were endless and nights short. "Be strong, be smart, and Artemis, you be brave." She told her those words when the sky was blue and infinite.
Jade had laughed, called their mother out on her crap and shoved Artemis from behind. Artemis had gotten a mouthful of sand and a hearty slap for calling her sister a bitch. But she didn't cry, and daddy had never looked so proud.
Later, while Artemis pulled her covers up to cover her neck, Jade had leaned over and apologized. "I don't know why I did it." She'd whispered honestly, and Artemis shrugged and turned to face her sister. "Just don't do it anymore." She did do it again, many, many times, but it didn't matter, because at the moment, Jade had promised. And promises from Jade meant the world.
"Let me read you a story," she whispered later that night, while Artemis stared open-eyed at the ceiling.
(you're nine and you're uncertain)
Something snaps in Momma, Jade tells her. Something strong, something that kept her together.
Artemis doesn't know what she means, but later that morning, when Daddy comes home, dressed in blood and other fluids, she has a pretty good idea.
"Your mother is in jail," he says, squatting down and holding her chin, his callouses scratching her cheeks.
Jade stares at him, glares and scowls, "And whose fault is-,"
"Shut your mouth when I'm talking," He snaps at her, shooting a glare over his shoulder. "Or you'll be the one in that-,"
"Shut up!" She shrieks, and Artemis is forgotten as Daddy smacks Jade across her mouth. Jade falls to the ground, spits blood at his shoes. Artemis has never seen Daddy this mean. She didn't know he was capable of being so mean. Not to them. Not to her and Jade. Her sister doesn't speak.
"Like I was saying," he turns back to Artemis, eyes dark like hers. "Your mother is in jail, and she'll be there for a while. Would you like to go see her?"
Jade is looking at Daddy, mouth curled into a snarl, and Artemis squeezes her eyes shut. She nods, "Yes, Daddy."
"Momma?" She holds the phone to her head with both hands, hoping it doesn't fall out of her shaking hands. Momma stares back at her, eyes full of things Artemis can't understand. "Momma what happened?"
Momma's hand presses against the glass and Artemis attempts to do the same thing, "Momma you gotta come home, alright? We'll take you home…"
"Baby," Momma murmurs, and her voice isn't empty like it had been two nights ago when she'd been tucking Artemis in. Now it's full of things. "Baby, I'm not coming home for a while."
"B-but but Momma-,"
"Let's go," Daddy grips her arm so tight she thinks she'll cry. "We're leaving—"
"Daddy no!" She shrieks, trying to pulls from his grasp. "Momma come on let's go!"
"Artemis." Daddy's voice is harsh, loud, and the police men guarding the doors start forward. The ones on the other side of the glass roll Momma away, her whee…wheelchair…
"No…" Artemis breathes, and she doesn't understand what's happening. Why is Daddy being so mean—why isn't Momma coming home? "No, stop! Momma please come back! Daddy lemme go lemme go lemme go!"
Artemis learns her lesson that night.
"C'mon," Jade pushes her, nudging Artemis' shoulder just enough to wake her. The blonde groans, rubbing her face against the pillow. "Jade stop," she mutters darkly, hitting her sister. "It's still dark."
"We can go to the park…" her sister whispers, and Artemis turns to look, eyes narrowed slightly. "…yeah?"
"Yup," Jade grins, and Artemis hops out of bed, stumbling to the ground to search for her overalls. "Yes, yes, yes!" She whisper-shouts and Jade shushes her, because they can't wake Dad up.
The older girl holds Artemis' hand when they cross the street, and she keeps looking over her shoulder, like maybe Dad will come out and hurt her. But that's silly. Jade wouldn't leave without asking permission.
Her hand tightens around Artemis', and she pulls her along. They can just see the park when Artemis hears a shout. A loud, "Get back here—" and then Jade's running, pulling Artemis along with her. Her tiny legs struggle to keep up, and Artemis can hear footsteps behind them—Dad's footsteps.
Jade tugs her faster, murmuring something in French that Artemis doesn't catch. "Jade."
"What's goin' on?" Artemis tugs on her sister's hand, trying to slow her down, but the way Jade looks at her, dark eyes wide and scared, she realizes what they're doing.
They've passed the park and are almost at the tree line of the tiny forest when a hand clasps around Artemis' loose hair, tugging her back. A sharp pain radiates through her skull, and she lets out a shriek. Jade's hand is wrenched from hers. The black-haired girl stops, eyes narrowing, fists coming up. But she can't win this. Even Artemis can see that.
"You can leave," their father murmurs, hands tightening around Artemis. "But just think about who will get it when you do."
Artemis watches Jade hesitate for a moment, her legs tense, and she looks about ready to run. But one last glance at Artemis stops her, and she drops her tiny fists.
"The only reason I am staying," she hisses, sounding so much like Momma for a moment that Artemis almost cries. "Is for her."
"Good to know," is the only reply she gets, before Artemis is being dragged back to the house, Jade following close behind.
"Don't leave me too," Jade bends down, fingers brushing over the bruises on Artemis' face, "Please don't leave me alone."
"I gotta, kid," Jade presses a warm kiss against Artemis' cool forehead. "I'd take you with me, but you'll just slow me down."
"I promise I won't," Artemis' hands shake, and she holds teddy closer. "Please oh please take me with you."
Jade stares at her for a moment and tries to give her a smile, "How about I come back for you?"
"Yes. Yes, okay," Artemis nods, hair falling from her ponytail. "Please come back for me."
Jade gives her another kiss, and leaves the room.
She never does come back, though.
(you're thirteen and you're friendless)
"Home right after school," Dad mutters. He's sipping from his mug when she passes by the kitchen, on her way out. She nods sharply, straightening when his gaze flickers to her.
"Make sure you sit out for today's gym class," he reminds her, like she doesn't know. Like she didn't spend the night wincing from lying on the side he'd shot at her with. Like she hadn't lifted her shirt this morning to see a bruise the size of Europe across her stomach.
"I know," she nods, hand gripping the doorknob, and she aches to leave this house. This life.
"What?" She snaps, swallowing back anything else that comes to mind. "I-I mean, yes?"
"Have a nice day."
"I-I can't," she attempts to take a breath, but something grabs her leg, tight in its jaws, and she falls, stifling a screech. Pain laces up her leg, but it doesn't stop her from clubbing the thing—a dog—with her bow.
She hits it so hard she thinks maybe she sees little piece of skull and b-brain. But she doesn't stay long enough to look. Artemis is back on her feet, racing to the end of the arena, racing through the pain in her leg, racing through the thoughts of what her father will do to her after this.
The wall of the arena hurts when she falls against it, palms up, trying to brace her weight. She breathes heavily, shallowly, shutting her eyes at the pain in her leg. This isn't right. This isn't right.
Artemis looks up to see her father nodding to someone, and the training arena darkens. Only a dim light remains as it boots itself up for another round. "Let's try to be better this time, Artemis."
"Right," she swallows.
"Rule Number One?"
Artemis doesn't hesitate, "Do not cry. Crying is something children do, and you are not a child." She learned that lesson after being shot five times with the bullet that made her twitch, and burn, and scream.
"Do not scream, screaming shows weakness, and the weak are annihilated."
"Running away is cowardly, and cowards die." She ran from him, far, far away, into that forest, up into those trees. He found her. He always finds her.
"Embrace pain, live by it or die by it."
"And five, Artemis?"
"Failures are punished." And they are. She's got the scars to prove it.
(you're fourteen and you think it's love)
"Cameron?" She asks when she thinks maybe he's sleeping. In the bed next to hers, his breathing is even and his chest rises and falls slowly. He's really good at pretending to sleep, she'll give him that. Reaching forward, she stretches across the bed and punches him in the shoulder. "Cam!"
Cameron turns, glaring at his friend. "What?" He asks irritably, scrubbing at his eyes with a too-pale hand. "I'm tryin' to sleep here, Blondie."
"I know," she tells him, pulling the blankets around her shoulders. "I was um. I was wondering if you knew when they were going to get home."
His pretty blue eyes stare at her, and she notices how they almost change colours in the different lights. Now, they're bright with sleep. "No, dad never told me," he tells her, then mutters under his breath, "Never tells me anything."
Swallowing, Artemis continues to look at him, wipes at her mouth absently, and tugs on her loose hair. He doesn't turn away from her, but his eyes do close, and the line in his eyebrows disappears. She wonders how she and Cameron got like this; close. Friends, even. How he'd barged into her life, freezing her against that wall like it was nothing four months ago, and how now he knows almost everything about her. If Dad knew…
"Hey," she murmurs, feet pressing against the floor, blanket falling to the ground. She steps forward, and when Cameron's eyes open, glaring, she swallows back an apology for keeping him up and asks, "Do you think I could sleep with you tonight? It's—well. I don't like this place, especially with all these creeps around," she waves a blanket-clad hand around the room, and Cameron sits up to see Killer Frost's hand working under her blanket, Trickster snoring loudly in his bed, Tommy and Tuppence Terror bickering about something loudly, and other teen villains. When he looks back at Artemis, she's still watching him.
Shuffling over and keeping his blankets tight around him, he nods. "Just make sure you've got your own blanket so you don't get too cold, wimp."
Artemis punches him again, but it feels good to lie next to someone.
Her heart pounds in her chest, and she arches into him, moan slipping from her tongue. "God, Cam," she mutters, dragging his head down for another kiss. He lets her, pushing his tongue into her mouth and moving it like…like—
"Yes," comes a breathy whisper, and Cameron chuckles, mouth pressing against her neck. It sends shivers up her spine, and she's so hot but so cold and how is this possible? She doesn't care. Instead, she digs her nails into his back and grins at him.
"C-C-Cam…" her breath fogs as if escapes from her mouth, and she shivers when he steps closer. "We-we-gotta g-g-get outta here," she can't speak; can barely think and…well it's kind of all his fault.
"I'm so sorry," he's at the opposite side of the cave, pressed into the wall as much as he can. It doesn't warm to cavern up at all, and she sinks to the ground, orange and black costume so thin against the stone floor. "If I try to get us outta here, I'll likely bring to whole place tumbling down. That or you'll end up freezing to death…
Her eyes meet his from across the cave, and she can see what her dad meant when he said that boy will get you killed. She didn't want to believe him; didn't want to admit that he was right but. But now…now she'll likely die because she let herself follow him.
The older boy sits on the ground too, and although he's not in his Icicle Jr. Uniform, he's not iced up; it doesn't warm the place up whatsoever.
She drops her chin onto her knees, teeth clacking together, and she rubs at the paint around her eye. "T-this w-w-on't work." She tells him, and he knows what she means. Understands her.
"I know," he tells her, and she knows she could love this boy if she tried hard enough; if she had just a little more time. But she doesn't, and she won't.
An hour later when her father comes to help them, when he reprimands her for being so stupid, when he withholds meals for three days, she nods at Cameron, and he leaves with his own father, getting the same speech as she.
She tries to make it work.
They manage to see each other every chance they get and she still gets cold and she still makes him hot, but…but it's not the same, and when he tells her, "I found someone else," it's like her heart's breaking. It's like he gripped it and squeezed and it hurts so bad, because…because she's…alone again…
"Whatever," she tells him, storming away.
(you're fifteen and maybe you've got a chance)
"Y-you're…you're home—," Artemis stands at her bedroom door, staring at her mother. Momma—mom stares at Artemis, small smile on her face.
"I'm going to make it up to you, Artemis."
Dad leaves, mom stays, and she'd invited to be a part of something bigger.
Nerves make her jumpy, mom's hand makes her warm, and Green Arrow's smile makes her glad she's accepted. He takes her down an alleyway, and God she's been there before, body pressed against the wall, blood trickling through her fingers. Artemis shakes her head, and follows Green Arrow to a phone booth.
Ten minutes later, and she's the outcast again.
Five hours later, and she sees Jade.
"I felt really awful," Conner confesses after he and M'gann get back from Belle Reve, running a hand through his still-blonde hair. "The way he looked at me…like…like I'd just told him he was going to die, or I dunno. I felt really bad."
Artemis swallows, mouth forming a thin line. "Did he say anything to you? About—about the team or anything?"
Robin looks up at the question, and Conner shakes his head, "Nobody is supposed to know about the team…"
"Right," Artemis nods, rubbing her arm and looking away. "I was just wonderin'."
This whole team thing is really getting old, and she hates being the one nobody trusts. But then the Reds attack and everything is shot right to hell. She's so scared, and she just wants to go home and see her mom, but then it's "Get traught, or get dead." And she's got to do something, because Robin may or may not be dead and… And she's better than that. She's not letting anyone else leave her.
The creepy shrine of souvenirs Wally has are on a shelf in one of the many rooms the Cave has, and she's so, so thankful that she's fallen into that room.
Jade's mask is there. Artemis thinks that when she heard about the new villain Cheshire on the TV at home, she should have assumed it was Jade. But she didn't want to, and neither did mom.
But it's there, and it hurts her in a way she never thought it would, because Jade left to hurt people, she left to kill and she left Artemis.
One minute. Artemis looks at her old arrow, the one she'd saved Kid Jerk with, and she grabs it.
"Hey Kaldur?" Artemis walks up to him, still sore from the India trip. "Can we talk?"
The Atlantean turns slightly, eyebrow raised. "Of course, Artemis. But wouldn't you rather talk tomorrow? It is late."
Artemis swallows, rubs her sweat-slicked hands against her pant legs. "I-It won't take long. I promise."
Kaldur stares at her a moment longer and Artemis wants to look away, but holds her ground. A few moments later, Kaldur nods. "Alright."
They walk around outside, her barefoot on the sand; Kaldur's webbed feet walking in the water. "So what is it you need to speak about?"
She takes a deep breath, ignores the curling in her belly. "I know sometimes I—I'm not the best…teammate." She nods at the words. Her eyes sting with unshed tears. "And I know I'm not the uh…easiest to be around. B-but I want to…thank you for letting me be a part of this team. It-it really means a lot."
Kaldur's staring at her, but she keeps her eyes focused ahead of her. "And I was wondering if you're okay. I know…I mean I'm not sure anyone asked you that today. So I was kind of wondering'."
A hand on her elbow makes her pause, and Artemis turns slightly, not meeting Kaldur's eyes. The older boy smiles at her, his hand warm against her skin. "I am well. Thank you for asking, it means a lot."
"Yeah," she blushes, tossing her blonde hair back over her shoulder. "No problem, Kaldur."
"Artemis, are you listening?" Bette touches her arm, and Artemis shakes her head, blinks a few times, "Huh? Oh. Yeah, sorry, I haven't really been sleeping well."
Bette frowns at her, but continues with her story. Artemis tunes her out, and thinks about the dreams she's been having.
They all start off relatively normal; she's standing at the beginning of a path. It's dark, twisting, and somewhat familiar. There are voices all around her, and though she knows them, she can't hear what they're saying, or tell who they are.
It makes her stomach queasy, and the back of her neck sweat.
She's in a dress; a blue dress with white frills, like something out of Alice in Wonderland, and she's got her hair down in curls.
Something steps off the path, dark smoke curls around her, and she wants to scream, can feel it bubbling up inside her, but she chokes on it just before it comes out. A girl appears with black hair and a green dress, and she's young, so young, but she's got blood down the front of her dress and her throat is slit, but there's this huge grin across her face. Her eyes are completely white.
She always pulls Artemis along, latches onto her hand in a grip that would make Conner wince. She pulls her along, and just before they reach a door, the girl turns to Artemis, blood dripping from her eyes, mouth grinning, and voice hissing, "help me."
The door never opens, but if she really had to guess, Artemis knows. She's known for a long time.
The only bad thing about her new school is the work. It's torture.
She's working on her science homework when Wally speeds into the kitchen. She ignores him, and instead furrows her brows at the question she's currently on. "How does that even make sense?"
"Whatcha doin' Blondie?" There's chewing in her ear, and she finds it incredibly disgusting. Shooting Wally a look over her shoulder, she glares, "Homework. What does it look like?"
Wally hums in her ear, taking another bite of M'gann's cookies. Artemis can smell the chocolate. "Well it looks like you're going to be failing that cla—"
"Holy shit you know how to…?" She turns, eyes wide, and stares at Wally. "Are you…smart?"
The redhead blushes ferociously, eyes going everywhere but her face. "Maybe. I dunno. I think so but you—"
"You can help then?" She knows she'll regret asking this, but she's failing miserably, and she needs help.
Sighing, Wally pulls out the chair next to her, "Yeah, yeah, whatever."
Artemis scoots closer to Wally, fighting off the blush that attempts to rise. She's not moving closer to be…closer. She's moving closer to uh…see the TV better. Yeah, that's it.
Robin had put on some show he'd missed—Vampire Diaries or something weird like that—and Wally had decided to join him. Since M'gann and Conner were out on a date, and Kaldur was doing something back home, Artemis had nothing else to do.
Wally smells good, she thinks, knocking her knee against his slightly. He looks down at it for a second, and then back at the television. "So she's dating his brother and said brother the boyfriend is out killin' people?" Wally turns to Robin, tossing his arms over the back of the couch, one just above Robin's shoulder and the other settling on her shoulder. He blushes, but doesn't move it. She doesn't…she doesn't mind.
"Something like that," Robin mutters, chewing a fingernail. "Now stop talking or go away, I need to catch up."
Wally sighs and stands from the couch, scuffing his shoe on the carpet. "Arty, are you gonna stay here and watch this suck fest? Heh, suck fest…" he laughs at his own joke and stuffs his hands into his jean pockets.
"Well what're you doing?" She asks because maybe it's better than watching Nina Dobrev talk about how much she misses Stefan.
"Go for a walk or something. I don't know," he shrugs and holds out a hand, "C'mon."
Robin glares at the both of them, pointing to the door. Artemis doesn't even have time to think before Wally's pulling her off the couch, away from the birdarang that embedded itself in the couch.
In no time they're outside, Artemis' hand still in Wally's. She tugs it out carefully, rubbing it against her jean-clad leg and looks out at the water. "It sure is pretty," she whispers, and Wally nods.
"I never uh," Wally looks around and begins walking, and Artemis frowns, following after him. "I never thanked you for helping us."
A smug feeling rises in her chest, and she smirks, "Which time?"
"Ha-ha," Wally scowls. The wind blows along the sea, and it ruffles their clothes and hair. "Seriously though, when the Red's attacked, you saved us."
"Yeah, well," she shrugs, scratching at her arm. "You'd do the same."
"I don't know," he whispers, and before she has a chance to ask, her phone is vibrating in her pocket. She digs her hand into her jeans and pulls out the device, pressing the green talk button.
There is no answer for a moment, only static, and Artemis glances at the phone. The line is still connected... "Mom? Are you there?"
Static fills her ear again, and her mother's voice rings out, "St-stay at the …-tain tonight."
"What? Mom? Mom—are you alright!" The line goes dead, and Artemis can feel something curl in her stomach. She dials the number again, ignoring Wally's gaze. The answering machine picks up, and Artemis hangs up before the beep.
"I—I need to go home-," she's running then, back to the mountain, boots extremely uncomfortable as she sprints across the sand, and her stomach in knots. Wally's keeping pace, "What do you mean? What's going on? Is everything okay!"
"It's my mom," she manages to croak out.
"Be quiet," she whispers, hand resting on the doorknob. "And stay out here. Don't let anyone see you, okay?" She looks at Wally and Robin, eyes hard. "I'm serious. No matter what happens, stay here."
They frown at her, but nod nonetheless.
Taking a deep breath, Artemis twists the doorknob and pushes the door open. It's dark inside the apartment, and she shuts the door behind her with a soft click. She twists the lock and deadbolt too, just to make sure the boys don't try and sneak in behind her. And if they do, she'll hear it. Her heart pounds in her chest, and fear rises in her throat. Let her be okay, Artemis thinks, squeezing her fists together. Please.
"Right on time," a voice murmurs, and the hair on her neck stands up on end. Turning slowly, Artemis comes face to face with her father.
"And how are you?" He asks her, leaning forward to tip her chin up. She backs away in a panic, slipping on papers that'd fallen to the ground. Her butt hits the floor with a thud and she winces. Lawrence frowns at her, tilting his head to the side.
"What are you doing here?" Her voice comes out more like a whisper, and she nearly winces as he squats down in front of her. "Now, is that any way to talk to your father?" His brown eyes shine, and they shouldn't be as pretty as they are.
For a second, Artemis wishes Wally and Robin would hear them in here. She wishes they'd charge in and beat the shit out of her father. But then she remembers she locked the door and they'd probably never win.
Instead of answering, she spits at him.
"Where's my mom?" She grits out before he has a chance to slap her. His eyes flicker, and she scrambles away before he can hurt her.
"Asleep, you little brat." He scowls, wiping the spit from his face. "Where have you been?"
"Out," she mutters, getting to her feet. She swallows when he does the same, and he's so much bigger than her.
"Is mom alright?" She steps away from him, but he moves forward, hand coming up to grip her ponytail. He twists the end around his hand and tugs. Artemis lets out a yelp, reaching for his hands so she can untangle them. "Stop!" Her voice is shrill and loud, and she can hear Robin and Wally banging against the door.
Her father hears too, because he looks over there, eyes narrowing. "You brought friends?" He murmurs, grin creeping up his lips. He tugs again, dragging her body against his, and she feels tears prickling behind her eyes.
"Just leave," she mutters, struggling to get away from him. She needs to find her mom. She needs to make sure she's okay—
"I just wanted to warn you," he hisses in her ear, free hand tightening around her throat. She's sure she'll have bruises. A whimper escapes her and the pounding on the door increases. "You're my daughter, and you can pretend like you're normal, but you're not. You'll be like me soon enough."
"You're—you're fucking sick," she cries, a sob making her throat hurt. "God you're fuckin' insane—"
"Oh shut up," he tosses her to the ground, and she hits her head on the floorboards hard enough to see stars. The tears come, huge sobs wracking her chest, and she can see…oh God. Mom. Paula's lying on the ground just beyond the couch, wheelchair turned over, unconscious, and how did she not see that before?
Before her father leaves, he kicks her and mutters, "See you around." The window is hefted open, and he's gone in a matter of minutes.
Artemis' chest burns, and so does her throat and the tears don't stop as she crawls toward her mom. The door splinters, and comes crashing down, and the boys run in.
"Arty-?" Wally and Robin freeze when they spot her and her mother, Paula's head cradled in Artemis' lap, the blonde's fingers checking for a pulse. It's there.
"Thank God," Artemis whispers, hunching over her mother, tears dripping onto her grey shirt. "I'm so sorry."
Distantly, she hears Robin radio Batman, and Wally crouches down next to her.
Part two will probably be up within the next day or so :)
Please tell me what you thought!