Title: the descent down the rabbit hole
Summary: Among the things Bart had blurted out, slipping out Linda Park's involvement with Wally might have been the worst thing he had ever said.
Author's Note: AU. Not going to be following the timeline for Flash. Happened after Bloodlines. Unbeta-ed, because I'm lazy. :3
It was very odd and disconcerting for Bart Allen to see his cousin Wally West stand beside a girl who isn't Linda Park. In fact, it is even more disconcerting to him look at this blonde bombshell with the same loving look he shares with Linda.
Later, he would blame his speedster mouth for blurting out something that will, without a doubt, change the present. If it would spark the future, he didn't know. Just that at this point in time, he had utterly ruined something greater than curious speculation.
"Wow, look at that. And I thought the only girl you look so sappy with was Linda Park. Blech." And right after Bart blurted this out, his eyes widened because it was only then that his brain managed to catch up with his mouth.
This is so not crash.
"What? Who's Linda Park?" The blonde bombshell look speculatively at him, before turning her attention to Wally. And Wally, poor Wally, looked so confused before it hits him. His face contorted like he'd been punched in the gut.
"Oh my God. Please don't say anything more. I-" Wally looked at the girl in his arms before capturing her in a tight embrace, all the while just repeating OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod.
"I—I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. I mean, this was supposed to be a meet up, and here I am placing expectations just because I know a few things from the future and thinking it would be Linda I would be meeting you with. I thought you're already dating—"
"SHUT UP!" The girl blurted out, clearly in a wild panic before turning to Wally. "Stop speaking things from what you know, okay? It's…" The girl broke free from Wally, although it was clear Wally doesn't want to let go yet. "How about let's get this meeting over, and continue with our present lives, and please just for once stifle the urge to put your feet in your mouth.
"I'm Artemis Crock, currently Wally's fiancée. And if we could just work with that for at least at the present, I hope we get along just fine."
Bart could only bit the inside of his cheek before he could blurt out, Now I know why Wally ended up with sickeningly sweet Linda.
After the godforsaken meeting with Bart, Artemis found herself inside their room, a travel bag out in their floor with her clothes scattered around her before it hit her. She shouldn't be doing this. She's Artemis Crock, she had survived worse than learning that the only man she would ever love in her entire life would end up with someone not her.
(For a moment, she wondered when she became so dependent to Wally that learning they would fall apart hurt more than the hits her father trained her with during her childhood.)
When she was younger, she drilled thoughts like these in her mind on a daily basis and learning that indeed Wally would not end up with her shattered every hope in her chest. Before, she would take herself out of thinking Wally West was a nice guy if one would look past his dorkiness and lovestruck ways. But then, time came when Wally made her realize that there are things worse than swallowing your pride to experience happiness with someone you are not expecting. It makes her feel betrayed that Wally worked so hard to prove himself to her, and finding out that eventually, they would have to live apart. That maybe, trusting him to cherish her forever was too much for her to expect and very wrong of her to expect, to begin with.
She knew hoping for happy endings would only disappoint her.
Right. Happy Endings. Now she knows how Alice felt when she realized Wonderland is only now a memory.
When Wally entered their room after fixing lodging matter for Bart, he thought the world stopped spinning for three heartbeats before a thought came to his head.
This can't be happening.
Artemis's clothes were all over the room. There is her green travel bag, open with clothes haphazardly placed, on the floor and said owner was missing from the picture. Immediately, he darted towards their bathroom and opened the cabinets.
Her toothbrush is still there, leaning beside his own.
He released a sigh of relief. Artemis did not leave him. Or, she has not left him yet.
He knows it's wrong to place the blame on the Future Kid, but he just can't help himself. Just when everything between him and Artemis is going smoothly, someone would have to ruin that peace.
Admittedly, he was surprised to learn that there would be another girl in his life after Artemis. The idea of spending his future with someone else is so baffling that there is cold fear crawling in his chest. The idea of not waking up to mornings without Artemis beside him is enough to send him to an anxiety attack and he just can't—
There is no way he could survive a future like that.
"You know I've been long past my crying years, and it's idiotic to cry over a boy, but can I please just come inside? Maybe have some tea?" was what greeted Jade as she opened their front door, Lian in her arms squealing Aunt Artemis! Aunt Artemis!
She stood there gaping at her sister, looking so forlorn and ready to break at any moment, before she managed to force herself to open her door wider and let the blonde in.
Clearing her throat, she adjusted Lian before continuing. "So, are you going to talk about it, or are we going straight to beating the crap out of Kid Idiot?"
If her appearance is not a sign enough to tell that Artemis was so out of it, the flashing of turbulent emotions in her eyes certainly did her in. Maybe letting Lian roam around the apartment would be the best preparation for an incoming onslaught of pent-up emotions coming.
"We're not going to last forever." Artemis's voice cracked at the word forever and Lian fought a wince.
"Artemis, forever is such a long time and no one expected the two of you to last a month, you know? The two of you is like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. I don't get why you thought you would even last fifty years."
Artemis could only croak out Jade's name before the tears flooded out. "He's going to be with some Linda Park girl, and I have no part in his future. And oh God, Jade, I love him. I just love him so much. He's the only one—Only one I had ever loved and I'm all in in this and we're talking about our wedding the other night. How we would function as a married couple, the bills, the workload, the chores, the children, the fucking white picket fences… And oh Jade, how can I just say goodbye to the best thing that ever happened to me? "
And at her last statement, Jade knows the crux of the matter is that after years of being cheated upon by life—the villainous father, the betraying sister, the handicapped mother, her entire childhood—the only thing Artemis had ever wanted and had was Wally West, and even that, Life was taking away from her.
"I decided that I'm just going to ignore what Future Kid said, and continue with our life until whatever happens, happens." She lightly traced patterns on his chest, her head on his shoulder, feeling the calming effects of not-so-much-as-make-up sex with Wally. She can feels him tracing her spine, igniting the expanse of her skin he traced with desire and she thinks to herself, how can something this good, this right, even come to an end?
"Yeah? So you were really considering ending it with me after hearing Future Kid talk about it?" He took note that she also used the nickname he had for the kid, feeling elated that there are some things that just connects them and they still amaze him after all these years with her. He knows that out of all the people in the world, maybe the two of them are the most mismatched couple. But out of all the coupled in the world, he knows that there isn't any other that has the same amount of passion and excitement as they have. And he thinks to himself, how can he even think about leaving someone like Artemis and something like what he have with Artemis?
He knows that if he would end up with someone else, and what with Kid Future not knowing who Artemis is, it would be because of him.
"Well, maybe I was just checking my bag and see if I could fit all my clothes in there just for fun." He knows that if she's starting to spout sarcasm out of her lovely, thoroughly-kissed mouth, then all's good between them.
"Yeah? Maybe we'd really need the travel bag for some travelling. What do you say? Vacay? Wanna go?" He nuzzled her golden hair, smelling her distinct lavender scent and Artemis and once again, it baffles him how he could ever live without her in his arms ever again.
"Hmmm. That would be nice, in theory."
He raised himself by his elbow, raising an eyebrow which went unnoticed by Artemis. "In theory?"
"Well for starters, I have work. And you have yours. Not to mention your incoming missions. So yeah, a vacation would be great in theory."
He let out a chuckle before he climbed on top of her again. Her eyes fluttered open, surprised, before swatting him playfully in his arms. "What? Again?"
"Well, yeah! You know I have a big appetite." He wiggled his eyebrows, a sly smile upon him. "And maybe I've handled the team issue thing and the work thing, so maybe we could head off to, say, Caribbean? For the weekend? How does that sound to you? Totally free of all my other commitments, babe." He said, before showering her neck with light, fluttery kisses that Artemis feels down to her toes.
Her hands burrow in his hair, delighting in the feel of his soft red locks before surrendering to Wally. As always. "Fine, Baywatch. I'll just drop by the student's office tomorrow."
For some reason, Artemis felt something was off the following morning. There was this ominous feeling lurking in her chest, like something really bad is going to happen. Sometimes during some missions, she would get this feeling right before a gun shoots off in her direction or when she's about to get kidnapped for about ten minutes. But that morning, she just knew there is something that is about to happen that will utterly change her life and she dreads it so much.
She walked into the lobby of the Student Affairs Building in her university, with Wally in tow. Wally insisted they spend the day out before packing up for their Caribbean trip. And to be honest, she's deathly afraid of living her life without Wally that she would take up any chance to spend some time with him. Inside, she berates herself for being so clingy.
Artemis, since when did you start being so dependent on Wally?
As per protocol, she had to leave Wally for a short while in the lobby before heading towards her employer's office. She had been working as a student assistant for a while now to shoulder some of their bills. It wasn't stressful, which is a plus for her because who knew Journalism was such a very stressing career path.
Upon reaching the dean's door, she heard an unknown young female voice laugh before she knocked.
She peeked inside the room to find the dean chatting up with a young Asian girl before he spotted her presence. "Oh hey, Ms. Crock! I was expecting you, come in!"
The girl smiled at her politely before she stood up. "I should get going, Uncle Pete. It's nice to see you again."
"Yeah, me too. Remember to drop by our place if you're free. Thanks again for the visit, Linda. Take care of yourself."
Artemis turned just in time to see the girl exit the door, smiling at her as she took note of her stare.
"By any chance, is her name Linda Park?"
Dean Oliver could only look at her curiously before nodding. "Yes. That was my niece, Linda Park. Here to stay for a while in our university. Just moved in from… I really forgot where. I'm such a bad uncle." His booming laughter did nothing to dissuade the feeling of dread that settled upon Artemis.
Author's Note: Again, not following the timeline for Flash.
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