A/N: Just hit me really hard. I loved writing it, strangely enough.

Disclaimer: I don't own.

Consolation Prize

She felt the blood seeping between her fingers as it spilled out of his strong, lithe frame. "Don't give up on me now," she hissed through gritted teeth. "Please don't give up on me." Desperation leaked through her words, tone dropping to a pitiful plea.

He was coughing up blood, red dribbling out of the corner of his mouth and down onto his already stained uniform. "Hey, don't beg," he laughed, forcing a smile as life slowly slid out of his broken, battered body. "You're better than that."

Artemis struggled to staunch the flow; she knew it was hopeless, which made it that much harder to keep up with the smiling teen underneath her. "Stop talking." Her eyes tore away from his to search for help in the burning building as a fiery rafters began to crash down around them. There was still an escape, but she wouldn't go anywhere without him. "Save your energy."

"I'll save my energy," he bargained quietly, "if you save yourself." One weak hand closed over the two that covered his red wound. "Go."

"No!" Now fierce and determined, the blue-gray orbs turned back to her teammate, her friend, her love. "I'm not leaving you." She pressed harder on the wound only to hear him give a pained hiss. Letting up again, Artemis felt tears suddenly burning in her eyes: she'd lost all hope.

"Let's get real, Artemis," coughed the raven-haired bird. More blood trickled out of his mouth while his abdomen was renewed with fresh redness. "I'm not going to make it even if there were a doctor on site." He gave her hands a squeeze, wishing so badly she'd get the message. He only wanted her to be safe… "We both know it."

She didn't want to give in, not yet, there was still time- She could, she could-

His chest rose and fell again with another breath, tired and weak. "Artemis, I can't." And he looked so defeated: cape torn, mask ripped to reveal one eye, blood coating his semi-exposed abdomen, the utility belt gone... "I can't. Why won't you wake up and see it?"

"Robin," was her pitiful whimper, a lost puppy crying for a home, "I don't want to lose you."

The blue eye she could see shone in the firelight for a long moment, and he forced a smile. As another burning rafter dropped from the ceiling, that orb went dull and dark. One last whisper passed his cold, dying lips.

"Artemis, wake up."

She jolted upright to find hot tears streaming down her face. A sob leapt out of her throat, ripping through the near silence of the room. Panic gripped her heart, making it thunder in her chest as a storm of pain boiled inside of her.

"Artemis," breathed Wally, "relax." He rolled over closer to her on their shared bed. Reaching out, the redhead took hold of her strong, calloused hand. "I'm here. It's me."

She threw her arms around his neck, desperate for human touch, to know that someone near her was still alive- Artemis pulled him close and buried her face in his freckled shoulder. Humanity. Life.

"It's alright," he whispered hoarsely; Wally was painfully aware of what it was all about, and some part of him wished he didn't know. "Shh, you're fine, you're awake n-"

Through the crying and the torment, Artemis managed to grind out, "I don't want to be awake."

Because Wally was merely her consolation prize. He was the one who'd let her cry on his shoulder. She'd gotten close to him in desperate times, and Wally had merely given in, not knowing what else to do. Artemis clung to him, and they called it love. The rings were enough to seal it.

"He's gone," murmured the freckled man, running his hands though her hair. "I'd do anything in the world to change it, you know that." Just to see her smile again. Because the way she smiled at Dick was beautiful and true. For Wally, the archer forced smiles and struggled through small talk.

Artemis held onto him a little tighter, another sob strangled from her throat. She drank in his scent and silently wished that her husband were Robin. "I know."

Because Wally was her consolation prize. She'd give anything to have the Boy Wonder holding her instead of the redhead.


A/N: It looked a lot longer when I was writing it… Anyways, leave a review?