Hello again everyone. I'd like to thank everyone for their kind reviews of Sweet Affection and, yes, I have decided to write a sequel right now I'm toying around with title ideas but it looks like it's going to be called Confection Kisses. Unfortunately, I am so busy with University that I haven't had time to write. On top of that I've had to do a lot of traveling for a printing competition I was in so that pretty much has consumed my life all this month. So until I can find the time to hash out my ideas and get down to writing I'm going to be posting sporadic oneshots because I love this couple too much to just stop writing. It appears that I'm constantly writing these characters as adults but I will definitely try to write some of when they are part of Young Justice.
I'm not too proud of this piece because it really was a random oneshot that popped into my head when I was writing another but because I promised myself that I would post a oneshot as a birthday present to myself this will have to suffice. This is definitely a lot more dramatic and angsty then my usually fluff so forgive me and critique me. Love receiving and reading everyone's reviews they really get my inspiration going.
Disclaimer: I do not own Young Justice or its characters.
Artemis hated feeling inadequate. She hated feeling inferior. She hated feeling weak. Sighing she looked forlornly down at the crossed hands that rested in her lap. Her fingers itched to pick up a bow to feel the comforting weight and the tautness of the strings. She wanted more then anything to be free.
"How you doing?" a voice asked as a black masked figure settled beside her as she looked out into the inky scape of space. She cast Nightwing a cursory glance before staring at the moon again.
"The truth," she retorted bluntly, "Or the lies I've been telling everyone so they'll leave me alone."
"Given our history I think I'm entitled to the truth," he shrugged, "But, hey, I'm only the person you saved the world with you for five years." She smiled fondly remembering the time when things had been easier and everything had seemed so simple; right and wrong – never any fine lines to walk.
"How do you do it?" she wrung her hands together eyes not straying to his form as he stiffened the feelings of good humor evaporating from his demeanor.
"Do what?" he asked suspiciously.
"Keep up." She could see his reflection in the window and it looked like he was about to respond with something neither of them wanted to mention but he closed his mouth to further contemplate her question.
"I don't stop. Ever." He stated seriously, "It's true. Me, you, Batman, Batgirl, Red Arrow, Green Arrow aren't exactly super-heroes but we are heroes."
"Doesn't count for much does it," she responded bitterly wincing at the crushing grip on her hand, "Not one little bit."
"Artemis," he paused, "He doesn't understand...but he will."
"No, bird boy he won't and even if he did I don't want to be babied."
"You'll get better."
"Low blow," he snapped his mood immediately souring, "Uncalled for Arty." She sighed closing her tired eyes and hoping that when she opened them it'd all be different.
"I know. Sorry. I just...I just can't be this person." Nightwing looked at her.
"You're strong Artemis you won't let this hold you back."
"I think everyone is," he said moving closer so he could put an arm around her shoulders.
"I just never thought I'd be that person you know." Curses. She can already feel the tears pooling in her eyes and if she reaches up to wipe them away there will nothing holding her hand. So she doesn't reach up and eventually they begin pouring down her cheeks uninhibited.
"Artemis you aren't," he emphasized, "You'll always be you." His grip tightening slightly on her slim shoulders.
She finally looked at him sadly before it transformed into an angry sneer, "Everyone else is treating me like fucking fine china."
"I know. You're talking to another mortal being who knows how much it sucks to be treated as the League's charity case. One hit and they think you're worthless; but trust me I'll be the first one to take you on the minute you're fit and able. So get traught." She snorted and eventually it became full blown laughter.
"The last time you said that to me you nearly drowned."
"Ah but I survived."
"You know I'm starting to think you're feeling better," he said cheerily pulling away, "Want to go for a walk around the Tower?" She was about to respond with a yes when the elephant in the room reared its head.
"Don't tell me you're chicken Arty."
"Is that how you get Batgirl to agree to your ridiculous ideas?" she joked, "Because it won't work on me."
"Maybe so but I have some pretty fantastic footage from last year's New Year's Eve party where a certain two heroes decided to make out hot and heavy in the hanger."
She sputtered blushing an unnatural shade of crimson before managing, "You troll...how did you!"
"Please, the bat mobile is both cliché and predictable." She rolled her eyes.
"That reminds me," he began rummaging around in a rucksack at his feet until he pulled out a collapsible crossbow, "Gift from Barb. She thinks that you could use something to instill fear into your enemies since your stuff has probably been confiscated or hidden by certain friends who apparently think its for your own good." Her fingers ached as they finally dislodged themselves from her compressing grip so they could tremblingly pick up the weapon. Well balanced, string taut, arrow loaded a sense of familiar comfort washed over her as she held the device. At least one part of her psyche had been restored now that she held a bow. It didn't feel as empty.
"Please tell me you didn't give her batarangs." Dick coughed before standing behind her hands firmly gripping the handles, he was accustomed to it in more ways than one.
"No, but might as well get the initial awkwardness over with." She placed the bow beside her before blinking the remaining sadness away and steeling her resolve. "Go." As Nightwing began pushing her he asked,
"Any particular place you'd like to go?"
"The training room."
"How did I know that was going to be your answer," he shook his head smirking. There were weird looks, sympathetic stares, rude sneers as Dick pushed her toward the training room it didn't help that the left wheel squeaked horribly practically announcing her presence in the echoing corridors of the Watch Tower. But she ignored them. Her eyes focused ahead but her mind elsewhere. Her hands once again woven together tightly as she clung to them the way she wished someone else would. That thought almost brought more tears to her eyes but she quelled them with anger. Anger at the stupid Joker. Anger at him. Anger at fate, but mostly, anger at herself. Nothing pained her more then finally understanding. God her mother had been a strong woman. She had to have been and Artemis had never understood. It was always a disability, a handicap – to Artemis something that inconvenienced her because she had to push her mother around. But her mother, her mother had been trapped and tied down, yet still able to smile. Always smiling. She was startled from her musings by Nightwing suddenly addressing her,
"I don't think he's ever going to forgive himself," Nightwing said absentmindedly directing a pointed stare at the back of her head.
"For what?" she asked thoroughly perplexed ignoring the fluttering feeling that bloomed in her stomach.
"He let you go."
"That's not his fault."
"You should try telling him that," he continued pushing her forward, "He hasn't stopped trying to find the sick fuck who did this to you."
"That was over two weeks ago!"
"Not to him."
"Tell him to stop trying to be a martyr."
"That's not the only reason and you know it." She felt her hands quiver before she mentally ordered them to halt.
"Look I've already faced one major emotional disaster today. I really don't want to deal with two."
"I don't think you have a choice," he riposted airily before a shrill voice reached their ears.
"Excuse me. What the hell do you think you're doing!" A red blur materialized in front of the pair. Said red clad hero sharply looked at Nightwing who shrugged raising his hands in surrender from the handles sidestepping so Flash could stand behind her.
"I was just taking Artemis for a walk," he responded to Wally's livid gaze, "Rapunzel needed to leave her tower."
"You do realize I'm not a dog right?" she smirked at Nightwing noticing that Flash's mouth twitched as the attention that he usually craved was directed at another.
"Well," said Nightwing mysteriously, "I'll just leave you two alone remember the bat mobile has cameras." With that he was gone and Artemis suddenly felt ten times smaller then she had ever felt in Wally's presence and she couldn't see his eyes or his hair so it was almost like she was still looking at Barry but the subtle freckles and the red stubble revealed that it really was Wally that was glowering at her.
"You are supposed be resting," he snapped turning the chair back around in direction she had just come from.
"No!" her hands snapped apart firmly gripping the two wheels halting the spin, "No."
"Artemis I know where you're going and you can't."
"You don't know anything about me Baywatch."
"Artemis you are not ok. You are severely injured."
"A wheelchair is not an injury," she looked around to see if they were alone, "Wallace. I'm perfectly capable of getting there on my own if you won't take me." It felt almost good to finally say it, therapeutic. She Artemis Crock was in a wheelchair. She had been shot in the spinal cord in an eerily similar fashion as Batgirl, which was causing the League to double its efforts in locating the maniac. Even with physical therapy there was only a 50% chance she regain mobility and even slimmer she'd ever be able to perform at the same skill level as before her accident. But her mother had done it, Barb had done it, she could do it. She could! If Wally would just let go.
"You are not!" he hollered, "You are supposed to be resting."
"Resting won't help me get better," she stated pushing her hands against the wheels trying to move forward as he held her back.
"You can't," he whimpered before his voice hardened, "I won't let you. You need lots of rest and relaxation and then maybe..."
"Nothing you do will make this ok," she stated staring him straight in the eyes, "Catching the criminal won't magically give me mobility. Making me rest won't heal me. It's up to me."
"But I have to help."
"No you really don't," she retrorted adamantly, "It wasn't your fault get over yourself." His expression darkened and all of a sudden she was propelled forward into an empty room. "Wally you can't just random send me flying this thing doesn't have brakes!"
His shaking form stood behind her and the ethereal glow from the moon that cascaded through the window formed dark grotesque shadows on his form as he slowly walked in front of her.
"Artemis it was supposed to be my mission."
"You were busy. I volunteered," her hands were together again but they yearned to touch his hair and sink into the softness of his tresses.
"That's no excuse. I should have done the mission. I was being childish and look what it got me."
"If I recall nothing happened to you," she responded dangerously, "I made the choice to go."
"But I shouldn't have let you!" he crumpled to the floor sitting down in front of her head bowed, "Everything horrible always happens to you. Why couldn't it have happened to me?"
"I'm not happy I'm in this position," she murmured contemplatively, "But I'm glad it was me instead of you. I can cope. If you weren't able to run you'd die and that would kill me worse than any bullet"
"But you'll never run again." She sent him a perturbed look.
"Well with that attitude I don't know why I'd want to run again. You suck as a motivational speaker."
"Your mom," he licked his lips, "Was in a wheelchair too, wasn't she? I know when we...found her body she wasn't in it but there was one in your apartment...I'd always assumed you would always be safe but when they found you bleeding to death on the sidewalk all I could think was you had turned into your mom..."
"I'd be proud to be her," she said softly, "She was the bravest person I knew." He pulled his cowl off and ran a hand through his disheveled hair.
"I just keep sticking my foot in my mouth," he sighed sending her a plaintive glance, "Don't I?" She smiled slightly staring out the window.
"It's a disease. I just choose to tolerate it."
"You love me don't you."
She breathed, "Yeah. But I can't keep up with you anymore, not that I could keep up with you in the first place." His head snapped up.
"Doesn't matter," he stated, "I'll slow down."
"Sure you will," she snorted starting to wheel away, "You couldn't slow down even if you tried and I wouldn't want you to." He snatched her wrist pulling her fingers from the wheel.
"Then we'll do this together. I'll be my usual dashing self and we'll put you back together." She shivered.
"What if I can't be fixed?" she asked nervously. He stood from his position on the floor his hand lingering over hers before moving to an arm rest, his other hand mirroring the previous' actions on the opposite side.
"The best part about this chair," he lowered his face to hers to kiss her chastely, "Is that you're way easier to cart you around." He took off thundering through the Watch Tower whipping her hair into a frenzy and causing her peels of surprised laughter to be lost in the wind. When the world stopped being a panoramic blur of color she found herself in the soft comfort of Wally's room. Wally securely locked the door before pulling off his uniform and throwing on a pair of pajama pants.
"Wait you better not be thinking of taking advantage of the situation," she threatened suspiciously as he walked towards her. Picking her up bridle style he placed lazy kisses along the column of her neck as he walked them to the bed. He gently placed her on the covers before laying beside her.
"Other best part is you can talk back but you can't walk back," he taunted before his face feel at her seething, hurt expression, "Woah that came out wrong! Ah you can't escape...I am master of your fate...I get to choose all the vacation destinations..."
"Scratch what I said before you should stick your foot in your mouth and choke on it." She rolled over away from him, pissed off that for some bizarre reason she was more comfortable here then in her own room.
"Artemis, I've never told you but I love you and," he placed his hand on her back before beginning to trace patterns through the fabric of her tank top, "For you I would slow down." She turned back toward him eyes wide. "So forgiven?"
"Wally, I might never walk again." He nuzzled his face into her neck.
"You'll still be perfect," he smiled as she could feel the imprint of his grin on her skin, "You're my heroine Artemis. You give me something to run towards you don't need to keep up because you're the goal." She was pretty sure she was crying by now and although her bottom half was numb and senseless she was also pretty sure Wally was making her toes tingle. Deciding to throw off the depressive spell she pulled Wally's lips from her neck and leveled their gazes.
"So is this like an official invite to date?" she smirked slightly tracing his jaw with her pointer finger.
"It's an official invite to stop screwing around like rabbits and actually tell people we're involved."
"But still screwing around like rabbits?"
"I guess I can live with that."
He wove their hands together and finally she felt complete.