"Is anyone looking?"
Conner shakes his head as a reply, flinging his jeans and inside-out black shirt over his shoulder. He watches his girlfriend smile at him by the outdoor wall of the public changing room, morphing her cardigan outfit into a form-fitting, one-piece swimsuit. One with gray and white stripes. Just like his swim trunks. M'gann beams at the flicker of his approval passing over his smirking mouth.
He would have never thought of taking the Super-Cycle out to Tennessee for their date. To a place called "The Smoky Mountains" to go "zorbing".
Conner had never heard of it. But M'gann had researched into this Earth activity and insisted that it would be fun for them.
He trusted her.
Pretty much with his 20-month lifespan — which Conner was guessing to be the case when all that was keeping them from tumbling down this steep hill with turbulent velocity… was an inflatable, double-layered ball sloshing with some very bright blue-colored and warm water. It wasn't that they couldn't survive an unprotected tumble… he just didn't want to anticipate one. Not with M'gann potentially getting in harm's way.
"Take a risk, Supey. Even if you think it might not be the safest, you should try UNDERreacting." Robin cackles inside his memory, reminding him, "Who knows… you might even like it."
The sun-burned, muscular employee in a fluorescent orange shirt helps M'gann crawl into the hole of the inflatable ball before turning to Conner, cheerfully. "Ready and rearing to go, zorbnaut?"
M'gann sticks her head out to peer at the clone, frowning concerned, "Conner, is everything alright?"
"Are you nervous, young man?"
"No." Conner scowls lightly at the employee and takes M'gann's outstretched, human-pink hand to assist him inside.
The water he sits in feels lukewarm. But the cold weather doesn't bother him. "Was this a bad idea for a date…?" she asks, biting her lower lip.
He shakes his head, grasping this time more loosely onto her wet hand, and rakes the fingers in his other hand through his cropped, black hair.
"No, it's fine. I was distracted."
M'gann makes a thrilled noise into a soft, quick exchange of a kiss before they are shut into the layered, semi-bouncy ball. Her screams during the ride downhill are anything but fear. Conner can hear her heart go so fast. The exhilaration; contagious.
He doesn't even notice until they come to an eventual stop on the straight track and his grinning cheeks are sore.
A minor two-story apartment fire towards the South end of Happy Harbor… a few local high schoolers vandalizing gravestones with spray paint… was the extent of disturbances regarding patrol. With continued, deliberate silence — since the start of the evening — Artemis bends over, kicking away cans and inspecting the dewy grass and bronzed grave plaques.
Kaldur steps closer, taking up the spray cans to support in the crook of his arm. The police sirens fade off, taking with them the protesting vandals.
"You appear troubled," he observes.
"Nah, graveyards aren't that creepy. I've seen scarier things in the dead of night."
"That is not what I'm speaking of."
Her green-uniformed shoulders brace together. "I understand that you are… someone who appreciates privacy…" he continues. She straightens up, looking him dead in the eye without expression. Kaldur attempts a gentle approach, "But perhaps it would benefit you to confide in someone to help ease the burden of your thoughts?"
Artemis's expression switches to outwardly amused. "Who even talks like that…?" she mumbles, but loudly enough that his ears pick it up.
Kaldur's eyebrows bunch.
She twirls her hand at the wrist, waving her hand to dismiss his bemusement; the blonde, cowled girl leans back against a mossy gravestone, still eyeing him, "You promise this stays between us?"
"You have my word," Kaldur bows his head a moment. He stares, eyebrows and forehead bunching up as Artemis gestures out with her little finger to him.
"Piggy promise?" At further bemusement, she cracks a grin. "Here," Artemis tugs at his little finger in his webbed, right hand and wraps it around her finger — not so little compared to hers, "Now you press your fingertip to mine if you swear to keep your promise." It resembles a tantamount to a handshake, signifying a mutual and respected agreement. He does; her fingertip sweat-warm.
What is exposed of her face under the streetlamp and through her cowl drops to the grin, sheepishly.
"I got suspended from Gotham Academy for getting into a fight on school grounds."
Kaldur drops her pinky. Blatant disappointment. "Artemis—"
"Batman already knows and gave me crap about it, and it's two weeks only," she insists, resting an arm back on the gravestone. "Some little freshmen kid had been there to back me up. I still gotta thank him for that."
"You were defending yourself?"
"Do you think I started it?" Artemis challenges back. Her body tenses again.
"…I had not been there to assess the situation for myself," Kaldur finally answers.
"Yeah, I was defending myself."
She reaches up to her neck with a fingerless-gloved hand; a clasp button beneath her cowl unsnaps. "I mean, I said something back and she came at me with her fingernails. It was weak." (He placidly assumes the word's emphasis could be another idiom to add for his knowledge of surface world 'slang'.)
"Considering your familiarity with martial arts, I can only gather that you inflicted more damage to her than she you."
"Nothing to the face."
The hunter green fabric of Artemis' cowl pushes over her ear. With her free hand, she scrapes a fold of silky-looking, yellow-blonde hair from her tannish scalp to reveal a healing scar. "She got me here when she had me against the stairwell. The Headmaster wasn't so happy about that." A bittersweet sort of proud snicker.
Kaldur's thumb hovers over it, absently; she shivers. Not unpleasantly. He shouldn't have…
"My apologies," his voice sounds raspy.
"For what?" Hers does too.
"We're not getting much patrolling done," she breathes. "It's kinda dead tonight." Her nude lips form an effortless curve. Her boots shift against the light glaze of darkened mud in the grass. "There's a new burger joint at Sakonnet Point if you feel like taking a break…?" Artemis suggests, and it would be unwise to call her manner about the subject 'pessimistic'.
Without forewarning, a mental image of Wally leers, "Dude, it's totally obvious that you like-like her, ok? The Wal-man is TOTALLY into letting you date Queen PMS. She's not my speed, ya know?" Artemis gave him a cautious once-over but with smiling uncertainty.
"Ahh," she tilts her head, smile deepening. "Soo… about the restaurant… I won't tell if you won't—…"
Kaldur presents out his little finger in his opposite hand, light blue eyes crinkling.
Artemis lets out a delighted, croaky laugh, breaking through the indifferent silence of the graveyard; she hooks their fingers earnestly.
The phosphor glow of the abandoned monitor room dims as minutes fade off, as does the luminescence of the multiple, enlarged displays of current security footage on all parts of the Cave and outside the mountain. On the floor, emptied snack-cake boxed packages and its individual wrappings along with large, clear-plastic containers. Several banana peels. A distant, aggravated battle cry sounds from the very depths of the base.
Refrigerator-cold ketchup explodes onto Wally's yellow costume from the impact of a full, purple water balloon.
"SONUVA—" he roars, flinging a candy pink one at his giggling target on the retreat. It lands on Dick's caped shoulder — mustard splattering, flecking to the side of his face and bangs — and he should have seen it coming (while running full-force across the orangey, condiment-oily kitchen floor) that this was bound to have… completely non-asterous results.
Dick thankfully did not have an embarrassing face-plant slide, but instead the jut of his left elbow bangs onto the tiles and ricochets with mild pain. Before he can get himself back onto his feet, Wally aims another mustard water balloon — splattering on Dick's tights and calves — and jumps onto the younger boy, pinning down to trap his legs and one of Dick's gauntlets.
"Rrrragh—!" Dick growls, his sticky-feeling cheek pressing to the floor, "Get off me, Kid Lard!"
His arm not pinned is snatched by Wally and twisted behind him. The speedster uses a gleesome tone, "Admit I won and my secretary'll pencil that in as a memo."
Colorless mask-lenses thin.
"You have one more chance before I get mad, KF. Get. OFF."
"Hmm… I don't hear a 'please Mister-I-Got-My-Butt-Handed-To-Me' in there."
"You did get your butt handed to you, don't you reme—mmphhm!" Wally's palm slams against Dick's mouth. With his now freed arm, Dick claws Wally's ungloved hand mashed to his mouth and nose. An instinctive thought strikes him and Dick's tongue pokes between his lips, gliding over the soft, ketchupy skin. A surprised meep from the other boy. With hurried and expert maneuvering, something possibly involving hitting Wally's solar plexus and slipping very awkwardly on the condiment floor, the acrobat manages to pin Wally on his back, trapping his wrists above his head.
The whites to Wally's eyes behind his goggles couldn't get bigger. Dick makes an almost-purr, legs splayed open to Wally's torso… but something seems… off.
Or… hard… and poking the back of his thigh.
He addresses the older and tomato-red boy below him, jaw setting, "If you tell me right now that what I'm feeling is your boner from me licking your hand, I'm going to have to knock you out."
"… …don't hurt me," Wally begs; he begs like he is begging for his life.
They freeze up. M'gann covers her eyes promptly out of embarrassment, and then does the same for Conner with additional morphed arms (and he really just looks like he always does no matter what is happening: half irritated and half constipated—Wally's perspective). Kaldur crosses his arms, displeased with the state of their kitchen nook. Artemis does one of her faces (that bitchy one—also Wally's perspective).
"Could you two keep the weird sex games out of the place where everyone eats?" she snaps.
"This is your fault," Wally declares suddenly.
Dick shoots him a masked, withering glance.
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, Kid Boner."
My entry for the Young Justice Fic Trade/Challenge on Tumblr using my assigned prompt. =3 I hope YOU enjoyed reading~? Yaaay.