Title: Just Like the Sun
Rating: K+ or T?
Word Count: 2,000+
Characters: Wally/Artemis
Summary: She'll always find it at least a little bit hilarious when Wally uses a treadmill.
Prompt: #103: morning
Other Inspirations: none


Just Like the Sun


She'll always find it at least a little bit hilarious when Wally uses a treadmill.

It's just… come on, it's funny, right? She thinks it is. He plays soccer for his school, and is on cross country and track, so when it rains or something, he must go to the gym with them and take up all the machines. Obviously he knows how to keep pace and suppress his powers when he's not on the job.

But he uses it at the Cave, too, when he could just run several hundred laps around the base of the mountain for a better workout and… whatever. It's just amusing to her, alright?

Anyway.

She beams into Mount Justice early one morning because she had a little falling out with her mom the night before about missing curfew. It's not too serious, and she'll apologize for being snippy (performing less than satisfactory on missions makes her extra-bitchy) when she gets back, but she's still a little bit pissed and would rather channel that into a good workout instead of another argument.

Red Tornado just nods at her and reports that the others are still sleeping when she passes him in the hallway, and she says that's fine and she kind of expected it.

When she gets to the lockers, she spins the dial on her padlock and throws her small tote inside before shutting it. And, maybe she's just preoccupied with whatever's floating around in her head, but she honestly didn't hear that there was anyone else in there, let alone on a machine, until she walks in.

She tries really hard not to think that Wally looks pretty hot in gym shorts and a white tee.

(What? He does.)

But she doesn't miss the way his eyes kind of linger over her before finally meeting her face, and yeah, she's not oblivious to the fact she's in a cropped tank and yoga pants. She shouldn't feel even a little bit satisfied that he just checked her out, but she does, and that's kind of dangerous.

"Artemis," he greets, feigning slight disgust, and she just rolls her eyes and exhales, "Hey, Bay Watch," before draping her towel onto the treadmill beside his. "Mind if I…?"

He shakes his head and watches as she steps on and starts jogging once everything is set. She combs her fingers through her hair and ties it into a high ponytail as she's running, because that's what she always does, but she can feel him still staring below her face and tries in vain to fight off a blush and shoot him a pissed look, "Excuse you."

He kind of blinks and jerks his head away when he looks up and happens to meet her glare, mumbling, "Whatever."

"Pervert."

"Harlot," he retorts.

She scoffs and he actually flinches when she shoves, but it's mostly harmless so he just laughs and swats her hand away, then sets his speed a little higher.

"I can't believe you even know what that word means," she tells him.

It's his turn to scoff. "I'm not a complete idiot, you know!" he kind of yells; and she really does try to contain herself, but she can't and then this burst of laughter comes out of her mouth and he glares. "You know, I don't need this from you so early in the morning."

"Wait," she exclaims too quickly (for her liking, anyway), snatching his wrist before he can turn the treadmill off. She's not sure why she seems so eager for him to stay, and he notices it too, apparently, because he gives her this look. So she just brushes it off with a laugh as she lets go of him and says, "Calm down, Wally. I'm sorry I hurt your little feelings."

He rolls his eyes but sets the speed even higher, so he's obviously not leaving. This shouldn't make her as happy as it does.

So they just run in this silence for a few more minutes, and it's actually kind of nice. It's really kind of nice. The only noise is their sneaker-clad feet against the hum of the machines and their (mostly her) soft and unsynchronized panting, but it's oddly calming. They're not even interacting much but she thinks she wouldn't feel as relaxed as she is now if she had to work out by herself.

"So," he breaks the silence suddenly, making her look at him, "what brings you to the gym so early?"

"I could ask you the same thing," she reminds.

He's resisting the urge to roll his eyes, she can tell. "But it's barely even six, so I'm guessing something's bothering you and you're here to turn it into a workout, right?" She just looks at him, because it sounds like he's speaking from experience. "What? It's not exactly uncommon."

She shrugs. True enough.

"It's my mom," she says, after a few seconds of hesitating. It's not that she thinks she can't trust him or anything, but they've never exactly had a heart-to-heart before and it's… new.

He nods, and then prompts, "What about her?" after she doesn't continue explaining.

She presses her lips into a line. He's waiting patiently, and she never thought she could use that word with Wally, so consider her mildly impressed. Maybe mornings are when he's at his best.

"We got into a stupid fight last night when I came back from our mission," she elaborates. "She was complaining about missing curfew." He throws up an eyebrow. "I know. It's dumb, right? But, I'm guessing it's because I looked like crap when I came back and it was the worry speaking."

"Oh, yeah." He's looking at her side, where she knows the gauze and bandaging is visible just above the waistband of her yoga pants. "Should you really be running with that injury?"

"I'm fine," she answers dismissively. "Anyway, I was obviously a lot less rational and just really crabby last night, so I started yelling back and stormed into my room. I snuck out to transport here before she was up, which I'm sure she's not entirely thrilled about, but whatever. I've done my thinking and I'll apologize when I get back."

She can tell she's not exactly sure how to respond to that, but the, "Good for you," he tells her sounds genuine, so she looks at him and smiles a little before looking straight ahead again.

"What about you? Why are you here to early?"

He laughs, and it makes her look at him. "Um, it's kind of pouring outside."

"It is?" How could she miss that?

(Well, she came from Gotham and beamed right into the Cave, never getting even a glimpse outside, so yeah, she can understand missing that. Never mind.)

"Yeah," he chuckles. "I mean, I don't mind running in the rain. I actually like it, but my mom is paranoid about me slipping and stuff. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to get drench and catch a cold today."

She doesn't mean to laugh, but she does. "You're rambling," she points out, and he looks about two seconds away from being offended again, so she just laughs a bit more and adds, "No, I didn't mean… I kind of love the rain myself."

He grins. She shouldn't find it so charming.

They pass another half hour of running by making small talk, and there're about three or four times that she feels pissed at him for a few seconds at his stupid comments, but that's normal. It's their thing, pushing each other's buttons, even if they sometimes mean things and no one else gets how they can consider arguing being civil with each other, but whatever. They get it, and that's that.

He's off of the machine before her, running his towel over his face and draping it over his neck. She's kind of jealous that he seems completely calm, like he just took a stroll, and she's out of breath.

She replies, "Please," when he asks if she wants water from the fridge they have in here, and powers down her own treadmill as he's walking away.

And maybe she really shouldn't have pushed herself too hard (even though she really was feeling fine when she walked in), because when she hops off and tries walking after him, she gets this really, really sharp pain in her hip that hits her so suddenly she can't help but whimper as she bends over and grabs the rail of the treadmill so tightly her knuckles go white.

There's a small burst of wind as she feels a hand grab the arm that's not holding onto the treadmill for dear life, and she opens her eyes and Wally's on one knee beside her, looking up in concern.

"You alright?" he asks, but when she nods, he just frowns. "Artemis."

"God, stop being my mom," she groans. "I'm fine."

When she tries to pull away, he grips her firmly and gives her this look as he says, "Artemis."

She sighs when she hears that stubbornly determined tone, relaxes in his grasp and lets him lead her to the nearest bench and sit her down.

His thumb brushes the skin above the bandage and she shudders slightly and braces her hands against his shoulder since there's nothing else to grab onto. He doesn't seem to mind it, though, even as she shifts and kind of digs her fingers into him because she feels pain again.

"Let me check." It's more of a command than a request, and maybe any other time, she'd tell him no. But it really does hurt and she's worried maybe she made it worse, so she just nods.

His fingers skim over the waistband of her yoga pants and despite how intent he'd sounded, she can see a blush on his cheeks and slight hesitation. He's looking at her and waiting for some sort of permission, which she finds just a little sweet, so she nods and kind of wiggles her hips to help him pull them down just below the bandaging.

He peels it back and the blood stains on the gauze are entirely brown now. She's not bleeding agains, though, which means she didn't re-tear the wound or anything. But he applies a faint pressure to the purplish and yellowish splotches just around it and she tenses and squeezes her eyes shut.

"You'll be fine. It's just going to hurt while it's still bruised," he tells her, pulling the bandages back into place before hiking her yoga pants back over her hip.

She nods as he sets his hand over her thighs.

"Artemis," he chuckles, confusing her for a second until he adds, "Do you think you can…?" and shifts his shoulders.

"Oh." She releases her death grip and yanks her hands back instantly. "Sorry."

He shrugs.

She blinks a few times. "So, want to spot me?" she asks, nodding towards the weights.

He seems to seriously contemplate this for a minute before shaking his head. "Next time. I think we're done with working out this morning," he says, and she scoffs but doesn't really have the time to begin arguing that even though she's injured she's perfectly capable of taking care of herself, because he's standing up and adding, "Come on. I'll make us breakfast."

She doesn't know what's with the sudden change in pronouns (first we and then us?), but she is pretty hungry, and figures she can try to riddle out what it's supposed to mean later.

"Fine. But if it sucks, you're buying me a real meal."

He rolls his eyes. "Babe, my cooking is physically incapable of sucking." She gives him a look. "Whatever. Are you coming or what?"

It's more of rhetorical question, though, because he holds her hand as she gets up and then walks slowly enough beside her after she refuses to be carried all the way to the kitchen. The others are still asleep, or at least aren't anywhere around to be heard, and Artemis sits on a barstool at the island with a glass of orange juice in her hand as she laughs at Wally attempting to turn breakfast into a Food Network show.

In the back of her mind, she can't help but notice he said "next time," like he knows this won't be the one and only time they're going to do this.

Maybe morning workouts and home-cooked breakfasts can become their thing, too.