A/N: I'll just start this. I'm doing another Artemis series, this one focusing on her daddy issues. I'm limiting myself at ten chapters and anything beyond that is just going to be extra and/or sporadic. I've got at least five in my head, but the others will come, I can promise that. Artemis inspires me.
Let's start with something dark…
Disclaimer: Still do not own.
His howl rang through the building, shaking the floorboards and even the bed she hid under. "Where is she?" he snarled, knowing very well his smaller offspring was sheltering herself from his outburst. "Where is that damn girl?"
The tears streaked down her face, leaving wet trails along her cheeks. She knew her teddy bear's head was ripped off; the stuffing was scattered across the floor: shrapnel.
Light poured down on her from the bathroom's open doorway as her father lifted the bed she was shivering beneath. He seethed rage, spitting as he demanded, "Where's Jade?" His nose was crinkled up in anger, his forehead creased, and anger boiled in his eyes. "Where's your damn sister?"
Artemis couldn't help but curl up tighter, if it was possible. She was just trying to protect herself from his dangerous blows. From prior experiences, she knew how much his fist could hurt or the toe of his metal-plated boots. The girl's voice came out as a whimper. "She- She left."
Lifted to her feet by her ponytail, the girl's shriek was loud enough to wake the dead. Then her hair was yanked back so she was staring up into her father's enraged orbs. "Where did she go?" he hissed through clenched teeth.
Why did the neighbors not call the police? Couldn't they hear her scream? "She didn't say!" Her innocence was all that kept her from getting the bad end of the stick before, but it did dump all the danger onto Jade. Now Jade was gone and there was only one daughter to hit. "She left, Daddy, I'm sorry!"
She'd tried so hard to get her sister to stay. She just wanted their family to stay together, to be able to draw pictures of happy people for her teachers and to keep her head up. Everyone knew her mother was in prison and that her father was an ex-convict. Jade had received the worst end of that deal too, finding no friends to be made with such a record. Now Artemis had to pick up the slack for everyone, trying to piece together the lost pieces of the puzzle.
He let go of her hair and paced back to the upturned bed on the other side of the room; disgust laced his features. Jade was the girl he should've been keeping an eye on because he knew she'd try to run. When had been the only question left in his mind.
He'd missed her.
He'd lost his daughter.
Crock turned back to his daughter and let loose the coldest laugh imaginable, looking at his small, tear-stained daughter as she clenched her fists at her side and stood tall and proud. She was the bravest of all the weaklings he called a family. Why had he even bothered with Jade? She was physically capable and easier to train, but Artemis was mentally stronger, more determined.
She could learn. She would learn. He'd have a new assassin whether the girl would like it or not. He couldn't give Jade to the Shadows now, so his youngest would have to suffice as payment. His voice smoothed itself out, saying, "Artemis, I'm sorry."
"No you're not." Her face was set in stone, features angry, hateful. She knew why Jade had run away; for being so young, she was brighter than her father could ever imagine. Artemis stayed to see her mother again. She loved her mother. And in five or six years, maybe she'd be out of prison on probation and she'd come back home and take care of her lost daughter again. Both of them, if Jade came back. "You're not sorry. You hurt her. She was afraid of you. Jade doesn't want you anymore, and she almost took me with her."
Lawrence had to suppress it. Jade had almost taken his newest apprentice, the damned girl. How could she have possibly been his daughter? Artemis was much better anyways, younger, more impressionable. Artemis could be trained. He knelt down, getting to her level. "Artemis, your sister may come back one day, and she'll want to hurt you and I."
"You hit her."
The fatherly instincts had never come naturally. Reaching out his arms to his youngest daughter, he had to accept it when she shied away like a cornered tiger. "You should learn how to defend yourself."
"Against you." More tears were bubbling from her eyes. She'd already lost her mother and now her sister and her father was being insane by thinking she'd go to him now. They lived under the same roof and shared the same blood, but that did not mean she wanted anything to do with him. All Artemis needed was food and water. Beyond that, her father meant nothing.
"Artemis, I love you, baby." He even cracked a smile, his greatest illusion yet. "You've always been my little girl." He only needed to coax her into his arms… He needed to have her close, to show her who was really in power…
She swallowed hard. As much as she wanted to keep their family from falling apart, she would have to use him as her tool. Until her mother came back, her dad was all she would have. The girl stepped forward, accepting but just out of reach. "I want to keep us together. Everyone." She kept up her brave face no matter how hard it was when she was staring Danger right in the eye. "You, me, Mom, Jade. We're a family whether you like it or not."
He moved forward and took his baby girl into his arms, tucking her tightly against his chest and letting her cry. "I'll keep us together, Artemis. I'll teach you things," he promised, "and you and I can go find Jade. Together."
His biggest lie.
Unaware, the girl merely whimpered in his arms, "Daddy…"
A/N: Review? More to come soon, possibly tomorrow so I don't forget these ideas…