Based on youngjusticeheadcanons on tumblr #113. One day, Artemis arrived at the apartment she shared with Wally to find a young boy with black hair and blue eyes with a gag on the couch. As she got closer to him she noticed a small note on the coffee table. She recognized the scrawly handwriting as Dick's and she eyed the boy as she read out loud, "His name is Damian. Keep the gag on him, trust me. If he manages to ungag himself, I'm apologizing in advance. I'll be back in a couple of hours."
I should probably update my other stories… But this was for a contest… (Not like I'll win, but whatev). I'll try and update my other stories over the weekend. Read and review!
Dick and Wally's friendship was probably the closest Artemis had ever witnessed. They did that whole creepy having-a-silent-conversation look going on whenever they were around each other. And they didn't even need M'gann's telepathy. Fact was, the former Kid Flash and Nightwing had died by each other's side. If that didn't say eternal friendship, Artemis wasn't sure what did.
After Artemis and Wally had officially started dating, Artemis was inducted into their best friendship. Sure, she'd never be as close as Dick and Wally. But Dick was very welcoming and Wally was, well, Wally. The duo became a trio, and Artemis had never felt more included (especially since Dick decided it'd be okay to tell her his secret ID). They all had lunch together ideally twice a week, but with college and Dick's constant superhero-ing, it didn't always happen. But they tried their best.
It was actually a lot easier for them to meet up after Wally and Artemis moved in together. Dick would randomly pop by. Wally was convinced Batman had their house bugged because how else would Dick always know when they were home? Artemis had given him some perspective when she reminded him that surveillance was how Bats showed they cared.
Over the two years that Artemis and Wally lived together, they came to the realization that Dick had practically started living with them. The guest room was never used unless it was by him. Sometimes, the couple would wake up to the smell of pancakes and Dick would greet them with a smile. After a particularly nerve wracking night of patrol, Dick would crash in the guest bed in full costume.
Artemis knew the reason Dick hung around with them so much, though she'd never say it out loud. Dick was lonely since they'd left the team. Sure, Dick had M'gann and Conner and the new team members and Batgirl and the new Robin. But Wally was one of his first friends his own age. After the big revelation, Dick had told her all about the circus. How everyone there was a big family, but there weren't very many kids there. She recalled that one undercover mission to the circus (and wow did she understand why Dick seemed so off while he was there) and how yeah, she hadn't really seen any tiny terrors running around. So Artemis didn't mind that Dick dropped by quite often. She understood the feeling of loneliness.
With how close they'd gotten, she should've expected Dick to do something like this.
Artemis stepped up onto her front porch. A moth lazily circled around the light as she pulled out her keys. She stuck them in the lock, and began the perpetual wrestle to unlock the deadbolt. The thing always stuck so it took a full thirty seconds of jimmying to get the thing open. Finally the key turned in the lock, and Artemis opened the door.
She stepped into the dark house, automatically putting her purse on the table beside the door. Wally wouldn't be home for nearly an hour, so the only light on in the house was the hallway light about twenty five feet away. Shutting the front door, she leaned against it in the darkness. Artemis sighed loudly. It had been a long day. Lingering there for a moment more, Artemis decided to go heat up some leftovers and flicked on the lights.
And promptly jumped ten feet in the air when she saw a head of dark, spiky hair over the back of her couch. Artemis definitely did not just make a 'meep' sound. No way.
Calming her jittery nerves, the archer walked around the couch. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw a kid with his eyes shut, face devoid of all emotion. Except for the fact that the kid was neatly tied up and had a gag in his mouth.
Like something out of a horror movie, ice blue eyes snapped open and gave her such a cold glare that Artemis was pretty sure the entire world froze.
She grudgingly took back her relief. This kid seemed like a devil incarnate.
Finally, after meeting the kid's furious gaze for what seemed like forever, Artemis noticed a teal post-it out of the corner of her eye.
Peeling it off the coffee table, she recognized the handwriting. It was the same as the one that always added multiple sugary cereals to their grocery lists.
Artemis read Dick's note out loud. "His name is Damian." Looking to the kid, she saw no signs that this was untrue. It was pretty close to 'Demon.' Seemed fitting. "Keep the gag on, trust me. If he manages to ungag himself, I'm apologizing in advance. I'll be back in a couple of hours."
"So…" Artemis started. "You a friend of Nightwing's?"
The kid narrowed his eyes, but didn't try speaking around the gag.
"How old are you? Five?" The kid was pretty tiny.
A glint of silver caught Artemis' eyes, and a second later the ropes confining Damian were in shreds. With an angry jerk, he pulled off the gag.
"I am seven, you twat. And Grayson is no friend of mine," he spat in such an uppity and pompous voice that Artemis was just itching to put him in his place.
"Well then why did he assign me to be your babysitter?" Artemis asked, annoyance leaking into her tone.
"I need no babysitter," the kid snarled. "I am Damian al Ghul, Grandson of the Demon! I first killed a man at four years of age. I could easily take you down."
Artemis raised an eye brow and crossed her arms. "Well, little assassin, I'm going to make some food. You're going to eat, too, because Nightwing doesn't know how to take care of a kid to save his life. You never know when you'll get your next meal with him. Or whether or not it will be edible."
"Nothing you can provide me with will be sufficient for my tastes, plebian," Damian said, turning up his nose in disgust.
"That's just too bad, then," Artemis replied haughtily, walking into the kitchen. Surprisingly, Damian followed her.
He stood in the doorway as Artemis moved about in the kitchen reheating some mac n' cheese from the night before. Damian crossed her arms and Artemis glared at him.
"Sit," she ordered, pointing to the small table in the center of the kitchen.
Grudgingly, he did, muttering something about "ignorant fathers."
Finally, Artemis stuck a spoon into one bowl of mac n' cheese and slammed it down in front of him.
"This looks absolutely terrible. I refuse to eat it."
"You will eat it," Artemis growled. Realizing she was losing control of her temper, she began again, more gently. "It tastes a lot better than it looks. Some of the best food around."
Damian made a distinct tt sound as Artemis stared at him. He slowly put the spoon into his mouth and tasted the food, face not revealing anything.
Artemis took some time to grab her own bowl and begin eating. They ate in relative silence. Artemis was still itching to know why Dick had dropped him off here. And why this kid went from angry and impolite to distant and quiet so quickly. Seriously. Now the kid was staring into his mac n' cheese thoughtfully, eyes not really seeing. Lost in thought, obviously.
They finished their meal and wandered back into the living room.
"You, uh, you wanna play a board game?" Artemis asked, finally finding something the kid might want to do. Kids like games, right? Artemis could do this. She thought of it as practice for when Lian got older.
"Why would I want to do a childish thing like that?" Damian retorted, but there wasn't as much heat behind it as before. Maybe the kid was beginning to like her…?
Fifteen minutes later, they were playing Monopoly. Four turns in and Damian already had a clear lead.
"I was raised to take over a worldwide enterprise once I come of age," Damian gloated. "You cannot defeat me in this game!"
It was then that Wally got home. He did a double take when he saw Damian.
"Babe, did you have a kid while I was out?" He asked skeptically.
"Tt, of course not, West. That is physically impossible," Damian sneered.
"This is Damian," Artemis explained offhandedly as she bought States Avenue. "Dick, uh, asked me to watch him."
"Since when does Dick have a kid that we need to watch? I thought that was just your sister. And since when do you play board games?"
"Since now," Artemis quipped.
Wally blinked, then shrugged, deciding that this battle was not worth fighting. He went into the kitchen to grab a box of crackers before claiming the role of banker in Artemis and Damian's game.
An hour later and Artemis only had $267 dollars left and 3 properties. Damian had over $7,000 and 21 properties. There was no way she was coming back from that. Oh, the humiliation of losing to a seven year-old.
Nightwing walked through the front door, grinning.
Everyone turned their heads to look at him. Damian whispered "Grayson!" excitedly, and both Artemis and Wally pretended not to hear the pure adoration in his voice.
"Hey there Arty, Walls," Dick said smoothly. He went over to the couch where Damian was sitting before sweeping the boy up. Damian ended up hanging upside down by one ankle from Dick's grip. The kid flailed for a moment before crossing his arms and glaring up (or down?) at the older man and crossing his arms over his chest.
"Grayson. Put. Me. Down," he hissed, like an angry kitten. Artemis could practically see the little claws and lashing tail.
"Not yet, Little D. So, how was he?" Dick said, directing the question to Artemis. "Are all of your limbs intact?"
Artemis cocked her head. "He never hurt me. Some rather rude comments, but no attacks."
"Wow, good job, Little D," Dick praised. The lightest shade of pink dusted the boy's cheeks, but that might have been because of being upside down.
"Who is he to you?" Wally asked.
"He's actually Bruce's son," Dick admitted. Two sets of eyes widened in shock. "His and Talia al Ghul's. He was raised an assassin, but ran away a couple of months ago. Bruce wasn't ready to deal with him and Tim is currently Robin, so I took him in. To be honest, the kid's been through a lot. Practically rejected by Bruce and his mother basically disowned him for turning to the good side. I'm still teaching him right from wrong, that's why I tied him up. Last time, I left him with Batgirl and she came out of it with a nasty cut on her arm."
Damian yawned involuntarily. Everyone noticed. Dick shuffled him around and Damian ended up piggybacking Dick's back. Damian pressed his face into the back of Dick's neck.
"You know, Arty… He didn't hurt you. I think he likes you," Dick said with a grin.
"Hey, back off the girlfriend, kid," Wally joked.
Dick felt Damian's face heating up against the back of his neck.
"I've been training him. What do you think of the name 'Little Wing' for my sidekick?" Dick asked.
"That's terrible," Artemis laughed and Wally nodded.
"It's a work in progress. I'd better get him home. Thanks for watching him," Dick said.
Wally and Artemis said their goodbyes before Dick left.
Now that Dick had someone living in his apartment with him, he probably wouldn't come around as much. He had someone to keep him company, even if Damian was a bit prickly.
Artemis pulled Wally into a slow kiss. Somehow, she didn't think she'd mind a bit more alone time with her boyfriend.