Title: Because Tomorrow's Too Far Away
Word Count: 1,700+
Characters: Wally/Artemis, Barry/Iris, a little Jay/Joan and Bart Allen
Summary: The woman just found out she was pregnant this morning, then learns from her grandson visiting from the future that it's with twins, and then witnesses via news broadcast as her husband, nephew, future grandson, and elderly family friend narrowly avoid certain death. She's allowed to not feel fine.
Prompt: #10: future
Other Inspirations: 2x06 "Bloodlines"
Note: Horribly written and rushed, but I needed to get this out of my system!
Because Tomorrow's Too Far Away
She's just getting off the phone with Wally as she's walking up the front steps and knocking on the door. He was talking fast (big surprise) and now her head's spinning, but she thinks she got more than half of what he was trying to tell her and she just knew she needed to come right away.
Joan is the one to answer, which doesn't surprise Artemis at all.
"Hi," Artemis greets, hugging the older woman before stepping aside so she can close the door. "How is she?"
"Very pale," Joan chuckles softly, though the look in her eyes just tells Artemis how exasperating this all really is to them—to everyone. "She's in the kitchen."
Artemis nods and follows Joan through the house. She knows the layout by heart, but she walks beside Joan in silence because she thinks they both need the extra time to think.
Iris is sitting at her kitchen table with a glass of water and a small plate of bread in front of her. Joan was probably trying to get Iris to eat so that she wouldn't faint on the spot or something, but hell, Artemis doesn't think she'd even be able to stomach anything well enough to keep it down if she were in the woman's shoes. She's kind of dizzy herself right now and this isn't even happening to her.
Iris looks up as they walk in, though, and smiles.
"Hey, Artemis," she greets, getting up, but Artemis sort of rushes to her and gives her a hug before Iris is barely off the seat.
"I think you need to stay sitting," Artemis says somewhat teasingly, but feels immensely better when Iris actually does relax back into her chair.
"I'm fine, Artemis," she tells her, but Joan makes a disapproving noise and no, Artemis doesn't buy it either. The woman just found out she was pregnant this morning, then learns from her grandson visiting from the future that it's with twins, and then witnesses via news broadcast as her husband, nephew, future grandson, and elderly family friend narrowly avoid certain death.
She's allowed to not feel fine.
"How… how are they?"
Artemis gives a soft smile. "They're all fine. They're taking, um, Neutron, to the League and then bringing Bart back to the Cave. Wally said to expect them home in an hour or so, depending."
Iris nods and releases this breath of relief that she probably didn't realize she'd been holding, closing her eyes and pressing a hand over her heart.
Joan pulls up a chair for Artemis, which she quietly thanks her for before sinking into it. Honestly, she'd been kind of paranoid about this entire thing ever since she'd walked through their door with an armful of groceries and Wally gave her this distracted look while he was talking on the phone and said Dick's name.
Then she didn't know what was stupider: the fact that the GBS news crew got close enough to catch an aerial view of the entire incident, or the fact that she watched it on their HD screen while knowing that it would only worsen her anxiety.
And here she thought she'd be done with all of this worrying when they decided to retire from crime fighting. She should've known better.
"Have you eaten, Artemis?" Iris asks suddenly, making the girl look at her. "We put dinner in the fridge. I didn't know how long they'd be out. I could make you a plate…"
"Thank you, but I think I'll manage." Artemis reaches across the table and takes the woman's hand in hers. "Did you want to talk about everything?"
Iris sighs. "Honestly? I wouldn't even know where to begin…" she admits, and Joan walks over to place her hands on Iris's shoulders. "When I first took the test this morning, I thought that my biggest concern was how we'd raise a kid between both of our jobs. I didn't even stop to think how Barry would react. We'd tossed around the idea of kids a lot these past few years, so I didn't think…"
"You don't really believe that Barry doesn't want kids, do you?"
She manages a shaky chuckle. "He loves kids. There was never a doubt that we wanted our own, but the timing—"
"Iris, you should know better," Joan interrupts, her face wrinkling into a knowing smile. "With speedsters, everything is now or never. Why do you think Jay and I got married so young?"
All three women laugh.
Yeah, that sounds pretty accurate.
"I just wasn't expecting that we'd be having twins," Iris goes on, pushing her fingers through her bangs. "As if our lives weren't unpredictable enough…"
"Hey," Artemis says, squeezing their joined hands, "I may know absolutely nothing about parenting, but I do know we're not letting you guys go through this alone. You have me and Wally, Joan and Jay, your sister and Rudolph, the entire League behind you, and the Team."
"There you go, Iris," Joan says, rubbing the younger woman's shoulders. "You'll never go without a babysitter."
"Guys…" Iris's eyes water a little and she wipes at the tears with her knuckle. "The last thing I need to do right now is cry…"
"You're pregnant!" Joan cries. "You're allowed!"
Artemis grins and sort of just watches as Iris wipes more tears from her eyes as Joan squeezes her shoulders. Then she stands up and walks around the table to put her arms around both women, and they're all just laughing and crying a little in the middle of the kitchen because, oh my gosh, Iris is pregnant.
It's a little after midnight when they hear the front door open and Jay and Wally are walking in.
Wally looks perfectly fine, but she can see it in his eyes that it's been a long night for him and all he wants to do is lay down in their comfy bed. She had three cups of hot chocolate (it was cold since she's usually around Wally and he's always warm) and was pretty awake until now. But one look at him and suddenly she's feeling just as exhausted, wanting to climb into bed with him at this very second.
His face perks up a little, though, when his eyes land on her. She's wearing a gray sweater with a large coffee stain on the chest and baggy sweats with the word Stanford across the butt, but he looks at her like she's a million dollars and she'll never get tired of it.
"Hey, babe," he greets, pulling her to his chest and giving her a gentle kiss. "Thank you for coming to help Iris, but shouldn't you be at home?"
"It was cold there," she tells him with a small shrug, and she knows he hears the meaning underneath her words when he laces their fingers together and squeezes.
She nods and leans into his palm when he combs his free hand through her hair.
"Call me stupid, but I was thoroughly convinced that you were done putting me through this."
He laughs lazily. "You can take the hero out of the fight, but you can't take the fight out of the hero," he tells her, and she just shakes her head because that's terribly corny but probably true. Then he runs the pad of his thumb over her temple and she meets his eyes. "Babe, you know I didn't plan tonight at all. And I know how we both felt when we started college, but…"
"I'm going to have to pick up my bow again, aren't I?"
"You don't have to," he tells her, and he sounds completely sincere about it. "You really don't if you don't want to. I just… Barry needs me. With him expecting twins now, and—"
"Wally," she chuckles, slipping her hand from his so she can place them on either sides of his face. "Surprisingly, I don't mind. I probably knew all along that we'd never truly be settling down, so it was nice while it lasted. But… I'm ready to come back, especially if we're needed."
He gives her a pearly white smile. "You're amazing, Artemis," he tells her, and she closes her eyes when he kisses her forehead. "The best, ever."
"Like there was ever any doubt." She grins at him and then looks around. "Where's Barry?"
She looks up in time to see a look flash across his face.
That's when the door is being opened once more, and she hears this voice she's never heard before, young and talking really quickly. She shoots Wally a look but he somehow looks even more exhausted than he did two seconds ago, and when she looks over his shoulder, she sees Barry closing the door behind him and this boy with a head of copper hair and a bright smile on his face.
"This must be our Marty." She manages to keep her voice collected, and Wally gives her this huge grin for her Back to the Future reference like she knew he would. "Uh, what's his real name, again?"
"Bart Allen!" the kid replies, zipping over to them in a few fractions of a second. "But you can call me Impulse!"
"I'll stick with Bart, kid."
He face drops into a frown almost comically so, and then spreads back into this smile as he looks up at her and recognition touches his features. "Hey! I know you!" (She thinks she sees Wally glare at the kid from the corner of her eye before pulling her against him.) "You're Artemis West!"
The house is silent almost instantaneously.
Bart slaps a hand over his mouth and whispers, "Oops, spoilers," behind it.
She didn't even notice when Wally took her hand in his again until she feels him tighten his grip on hers, and she can feel everyone staring at them. There are more tears in Iris's eyes and Joan is kind of crying now, too. Wally's cheeks are almost as red as his hair as he's muttering something under his breath about their anniversary and the surprise being ruined.
Her heart stops beating when he runs his thumb over the base of her ring finger, turns so that they're facing each other and lets his free hand slip into his coat pocket.
If she's crying less than a minute later, it's because she just got engaged and she thinks she's allowed to.