Title: Everyone Looks Better In The Dark
Rating: NC-17/M
Word Count: 4,000+
Characters: Dick/Artemis, Wally/Artemis, Dick/Zatanna
Summary: One of these days they're going to have to admit that this thing they do here is stupid and wrong. Really stupid and wrong.
Prompt: #137: unhealthy
Other Inspirations: all of the Spitfire, Chalant, and Traught feels from "Depths"

Note: Just… Please don't hate me for this.

Everyone Looks Better In The Dark

One of these days they're going to have to admit that this thing they do here is stupid and wrong.

Really stupid and wrong.

"God, Dick," she breathes, rolling her hips against his. The fingers she has tangled in his hair are tugging at his locks and it hurts in all the best ways possible, which is probably the stupidest thing he's ever thought, but whatever. She does that to him. "Don't… oh, don't… don't touch me like that."

"Huh?" He meets her eyes, but hers are squeezed shut. "What do you mean?"

He digs his thumb over her hipbone where his hand is resting at her waist and her lips fall open as she gasps.

"Like that?"

"Dick…" He does it again and she moans. "You can't…"

He runs his fingers up her side and threads them through her long hair, kissing her neck.

"Okay, Artemis."

... ...

They're having dinner with his parents tonight, and she wears the sweater they bought her for Christmas two years ago and the bracelet Wally gave her for Valentine's Day last month. The fireplace is burning when they walk in, but she still shivers after they're done hugging at the door and they're being ushered inside.

Mary unsubtly brings up marriage and Wally groans, "Mom," because she does this all the time, even if they're still young and in college.

Artemis just laughs like she always does and spoons more food into her mouth.

She doesn't feel guilty about the affair.

Well, not for the "right" reasons. She only feels guilty when they visit like this, his parents laughing and telling stories and insisting she eat more and try this recipe they found, and she thinks about how heartbroken and betrayed they'd be if they'd ever find out.

She doesn't feel guilty about how Wally might feel about it, though.

He cheated first.

... ...

He hasn't seen Zatanna in two days, so he's not surprised when she tugs him into her room at the Watchtower as soon as the meeting is adjourned.

"No offense," she laughs breathlessly as his lips slide over her collarbone, "But Batman knows how to give really boring meetings."

He chuckles and pushes her blazer off of her shoulders before pressing her against the wall. He's kissing his way down her body with every button of her vest that he undoes and relishes in the mewls that come out of her mouth, the way her body arches against him a little and her fingers slide into his hair.

He thinks about how Artemis likes to tug at his hair whereas Zatanna massages his scalp, and that's the last he thinks about Artemis for the rest of the night.

... ...

Until the morning, anyway, because Zatanna calls and tells him that she's going out with Artemis today and he wonders if it's irony or karma or something that the woman he's dating and the woman he's sleeping with are best friends.

Considering he kind of did it to himself, though, it's probably karma.

... ...

She really loves spending time with Zatanna.

It's been a while since they've had gone out like this, away from everything, and honestly, that's what she needs right now.

They spend most of the day shopping (which really means browsing, trying things on and not really committing to buying anything) and have lunch at this Italian place that has the best breadsticks ever, and it's probably the most Artemis has laughed since the last time they hung out.

The only thing is that it's impossible to look at her and not think about Dick, because of obvious reasons.

So she asks the waiter for a glass of wine and is thankful that Zatanna drove.

"I've really missed hanging out with you, Arty," Zatanna tells her. "It's not the same fighting without you on these missions. It's boring."

"Believe me, you have no idea how much I miss it, too."

Zatanna beams at her.

"No," Artemis laughs, sipping more of her wine. "We've talked about this countless times, Zee. You know I can't. I'm trying to leave the life behind. I have school now." Zatanna rolls her eyes and yeah, Artemis knows how unconvincing that part of her argument sounded. "Besides, Wally would have a fit if I came back."

"Since when did you let Wally rule your life?"

She's teasing, of course, and Artemis laughs and smiles and tries not to make it obvious that her words hit harder than she intended them to.

As they're leaving the restaurant, Zatanna slips her arm around Artemis's waist and sets a hand on her hip like she always does when they walk next to each other, and Artemis tries spends way too much time wondering if that's a force of habit or if she picked it up from someone.

(If she picked it up from Dick.)

... ...

Wally has a study session with some friends at their dorm and then calls her around 10:00 to tell her that they wanted to go out to dinner, asking her if she doesn't mind and promising that they'll be home before midnight. She'd laughed and told him of course he could go.

And really, she believed him when he said he was going to be home before midnight, but…

Well, considering what happened, forgive her for feeling a little doubt in the back of her mind about it.

That's what she hates most about this thing, honestly. She'd paranoid all the time when she shouldn't be. Ever since… ever since, Wally has been really good about being punctual and checking in with her all the time and making sure that she always know where he is and who he's with. If anything, it's sweet, and it would make her feel a lot better if she didn't know the reason behind it.

So she picks up her phone and dials the number she knows by heart.

... ...

He's just getting back to his apartment when Artemis calls him, and he's worried as soon as her name lights up on the screen.

"Are you okay?" is how he answers the phone.

"Yeah," she laughs, sounding anything but, "Everything's fine."


She sighs and sounds like she's tearing up when she tells him, "Wally's having dinner with his friends, is all."

So he stays on the phone with her as she washes up and gets ready for bed, closes his eyes and tries hard not to picture how she must look like lying on her bed with her legs spread and her fingers between them while he listens to her moaning his name over the phone and coming undone.

... ...

She didn't tell anyone about Wally and Linda, other than Zatanna and Dick: Zatanna because they're best friends and she trusts that the girl will support her without confronting Wally (who still believes they're the only two that know) if she asks, and Dick because…

Well, he's Dick. If she hadn't told him herself, he would've found out eventually.

But sometimes she wonders that if all of these secrets just came pouring out, who would come out the most hurt by all this?

... ...

It's a long night at the Watchtower, and he doesn't even realize that he fell asleep at the desk in his office until Zatanna is rousing him awake a little after midnight, smiling at him and telling him in a light tone that this can't be a healthy routine for him. He chuckles sleepily and sits up a little as she takes a few minutes to sort the mess of paperwork into piles and neatly stack them atop the desk.

"You know, every time I go out with Artemis, I realize how much I miss her," she tells him, and he looks up at her.


"Yeah. And I know she misses the life, too. Mundane doesn't really suit her, anyway."

He's laughing a little as he nods. "No, it doesn't."

"You should ask her to come back for a few missions. Oh, let me massage the knots out of her shoulders," she says, and when he mumbles back, "That sounds amazing," he's not sure which one he's referring to.

... ...

She decides to go into the city for lunch because she just turned in a really hard essay and has been working her ass off at work and thinks she's allowed to reward herself for the week. It's a café she and Wally stumbled upon when they got lost trying to go out for Valentine's Day one year, and she loves it.

It's a place she'd never really bump into any of her friends at, so she's kind of terrified for a second when someone grabs her arm.

It's Dick, though, and when she laughs and asks him what he's doing there (after hitting him for scaring her), he just grins and says, "Because."

So they sit on the bench outside and talk, and the only reason why she finds out he's in town for League business is because he takes her back to his hotel room a few blocks away. He has his lips over hers with his hands undoing her jeans before they've barely gotten the door shut, and they don't even make it to the bed when she comes for the first time with her back against the wall and his tongue rolling over her nerves.

And honestly, the severity of this situation doesn't really hit her as hard as it does until her phone rings.

It's Wally, so she obviously has to answer it, and it's probably really screwed up that she's able to sound fairly normal with Dick sinking in and out of her far too slowly for her liking as she's telling Wally that she went into the city for lunch and should be home in two hours, tops.

She slams her thumb on the button to end the call as soon as they've said their goodbyes to make sure the line went dead as she climaxed.

Andshe forgets to think about how she's going to hell for this because Dick is dragging his tongue over her collarbone and mumbling, "You should come on a mission," against her skin before sucking down on her pulse, and the, "Yes," she moans ends up sounding way too enthusiastic.

... ...

But yeah, she just put a time limit on this little rendezvous of theirs, so he spends the rest of the hour making her moan his name more times than she can count so she would still have time to get dressed and fix herself up and actually get lunch from that café so she wouldn't be suspiciously hungry when she got back, and so she'd have a receipt as proof in case he asked (which she knows he won't).

Considering what they're doing, she shouldn't find it sweet that Dick gives her more than enough money in cash to cover her lunch, but she does.

She's really going to hell for this.

... ...

Wally zetas to the Cave to yell at him for at least five minutes when he finds out he asked Artemis to come back for a mission.

Dick knew this is how he'd react, too, and he knew how Wally felt about it. Of course he feels horrible, but obviously not enough to not have asked her because, hell, he knows settling down into a normal life isn't ever what Artemis wanted and he kind of hates Wally for doing that to her.

(Then he realizes that this is his best friend whose girlfriend he's sleeping with behind his back, and yeah, he lost his right to be pissed at him a while ago.)

(Not that Wally knows this, but still.)

"You're supposed to be my best friend," Wally tells him.

And Dick hates how easy it is to forget all those years he's been friends with Wally, how close they've been and all of their memories, and instead remembers how Artemis looked when she showed up on his doorstep, wet from the rain and eyes red from crying, the night she found out about Linda.

So he's not sure if he says it as Wally's friend, Artemis's friend, or as Team leader when he says, "It's Artemis's decision," and leaves it at that.

... ...

She's in the middle of making dinner when Wally walks through the door.

She knows who he went to talk to (well, yell at) today, and she wonders how it's possible for her to feel guilty about coming between two best friends and not feel guilty about cheating on Wally, especially since he and Dick are best friends, and so are she and Zatanna, and this affair will pretty much break everyone's hearts.

"I'm not happy about this," he tells her.

She closes her eyes. "I know, Wally. But it's not… It's not a permanent thing. I just want to stretch my legs, kick butt with Zee, like old times. That's all."

He still doesn't look pacified, but he still sits down and eats dinner with her like they always do. And when they climb into bed, he wraps his arms around her from behind and mumbles against her shoulder, "I know how much you love it. I just don't want to lose you to it."

She turns in his arms and puts a hand over his cheek. "You're not going to. I promise."

... ...

When he falls asleep, she wonders if losing her to the rush is what he's really worried about. She knows that Wally knows Dick kind of had a thing for her when they were younger, because Dick told him as much and Wally told her. But she also knows Wally doesn't think anything exists between them now.

Then again, Wally is a lot better at hiding things than she expected.

... ...

She's a bit rusty, which he expected, but Zatanna is by her side the entire time and he knows she'll keep Artemis from getting herself killed.

They're protecting a shipment to STAR Labs and they see more action than you would think, because people are stupid and think they can rob the trucks to make a few hundred dollars on the Black Market. It's an easy fight, really, and one they could've done as that odd group of teenage sidekicks they were before.

But yeah, Artemis is a bit rusty and doesn't see someone coming up behind her, and he has to step in and help her. His hand slides over her hip just above the waistband of her pants when he tugs her out of harm's way, and he knows exactly what she's thinking when he meets her eyes and she's kind of just staring into his, his thumb absently moving over her exposed skin.

God, she can't look at him like that and expect…


Zatanna is on the other side of this truck and for the first time since they started, he's beginning to think this affair of theirs is really wrong.

... ...

There's a bruise on her shoulder from a delayed reaction, but other than that, she comes home with no scratches.

Wally kisses that bruise, though, as soon as she steps out of the shower and he can actually see it, and neither of them seems to care that she's still wet as he's tugging her to the bed and pressing her back against the mattress. He pulls the towel out from around her and skims his lips down her torso, runs his tongue over where her desire is building up.

She threads her fingers into his hair and actually feels bad about making him worry. She didn't really feel it before, when she left, but now…


She rolls her hips against him and guides his hand upward when he's about to place it over her hip.

Dick always liked to touch her hips. That part of her will always be his.

... ...

She has coffee with Zatanna and for the first time, ever, can't look the girl in the eye. All she can think about is how awful and confused she feels about everything, and somehow, after everything, it's not Dick or Wally she's afraid of losing.

She's afraid of losing her best friend.

"Hey," she says softly, reaching over and wiping a tear from Artemis's cheek. "What's wrong?"

"I'm… I'm in love with Wally," she whispers, and god, it's true. It really is. That's why everything makes her feel guilty all the time now, when it didn't before. She didn't realize she was in love with him then, and she hates it because she knows how her best friend secretly thinks of him after finding out he cheated.

"Oh, Artemis," Zatanna whispers, and they're sort of laughing and crying when Zatanna drags her chair closer to hers and they hug each other tightly.

She has to tell her.

She has to.

... ...

She hears a loud moan on the other side of the door before she gets the keys into the knob, a decidedly female moan, followed by Wally's voice.

And really, she wanted to believe it was just a coincidence that she saw a car parked across the street that usually isn't there, except of course it's not. Why would it be? That'd make things too easy for her. So she gets back into her car and steps on the gas way to hard while trying to see through her tears. It's dangerous and will probably get her into an accident, but she just doesn't care right now.

... ...

"He found out," is the first thing she says to him when he opens the door and finds her standing on the other side of it. There are tears in her eyes and he thinks about the first time Artemis came to him when she'd found out about Wally and Linda.


She shakes her head, invites herself in (he wasn't going to let her stand out there, anyway) and kicks the door closed behind her.

"I don't want to… god, Dick, just make it go away."

So he presses her against the door and kisses her as they slide each other's clothes off, and his lips are against her neck as he works his fingers against her. He feels the vibration from her throat as she moans, asking for more, and he swipes his tongue along the underside of her jaw when he finally dips his fingers into her, pressing his thumb over her nerves and watching her eyes fall closed and her mouth fall open as she silently releases.

He doesn't even wait for her to calm down, either, and her fingers tug on his hair harder than ever when he sinks into her. He places his hands at her waist and kisses every inch of skin he can as he starts to move, and he can feel her around him still shuddering from her first orgasm.

He waits for her to tell him to stop as his fingers trace patterns over her hips, but she doesn't.

She just rolls against him and sighs, and it makes him smile when it really shouldn't.

... ...

He's not sure how late it is, but it's still completely dark out when they're lying in his bed, breathless and staring at the ceiling and not talking. He finds it kind of weird how they're not touching at all, or lying close to each other, considering how they just spent the last few hours. But he doesn't voice this thought.

Instead, he says, "This really needs to stop"

He rolls his head to look at her, and she'd nodding, twirling her hair around her fingers and still looking up.

Then he says, even quieter, "You're in love with him, aren't you?"

"Yes," she sighs, letting her eyelids fall closed. If anything, she looks exhausted. "And you're in love with her." It's not a question, it's a fact.

"Yeah, I am.

"This is all so stupid."

And despite everything, they both laugh at that because it's pretty much true.

Then she finally turns to look at him, and she's smiling a little bit when she says, "You realize I can't spend the night here, right?"

"I figured you wouldn't want to."

"Not that I don't want to," she corrects, "I just can't."

(Yeah, he understands exactly what she means.)

She just watches him as he rolls over and pushes her legs apart, and then he's flattening his tongue against her nerves and her eyes are falling closed. She shifts her hips upward, but he pulls away. "At least let me pay for your hotel," he says, and she makes this sort of strangled noise before he drags his tongue very lightly against her folds and she's moaning, "Fine, you can pay for the… oh …"

He chuckles and rolls his tongue over her desire, smiling against her when he hears the sigh of relief that falls from her lips.

He makes her come twice, one right after the other, because he doesn't know how to say goodbye to her, nor will he ever really want to.

... ...

He goes to Zatanna's apartment in the morning and tells her that he loves her, and then sits her down and confesses about Artemis.

He sets the small velvet box in her palm and closes her fingers around it, and she looks him in the eyes when he tells her that he understands (god, of course he does) if she wants nothing to do with him after this, but he really is in love with her, and she absolutely deserved to hear the truth.

And he's willing to bet that they're both crying as soon as he makes it onto the elevator.

... ...

There's a text on her phone from Wally when she wakes up, telling her that they just really need to talk in person and asking when she wants to.

She wants to be mad at him. She really does, except that she's totally not.

So she calls him and tells him that yes, of course they can talk, but not right now or today at all because they both need the time and she has something to take care of first. He sounds choked when he tells her that he loves her, and she's wiping tears from her eyes as she says, "God, of course I love you, too."

... ...

She wasn't really expecting her to be home when she drove over, so she's kind of shocked that she answers the door when she knocks. She can tell Zatanna has been crying, and she looks plain exhausted, so there's no doubt in Artemis's mind that Dick told her.

"Hi," Artemis says lamely.

She actually gets a smile in return. "Hey."

"I just… Zee, I'm so sorry about… about everything," she stumbles out, voice shaking.

Zatanna reaches up and wipes a tear from Artemis's eyes, and that's when Artemis notices the glistening band around her finger. It makes her smile. "Don't be, Artemis. I… Oh, gosh," she cries, throwing her arms around the girl in a hug and squeezing tightly. "I love him, Artemis. Please don't hate me for this."

"I could never hate you. And please don't hate me for everything."

"I could never hate you, either."

Zatanna's crying as she pulls back, and Artemis kind of has to laugh because this is all sort of really ridiculous. She doesn't want Artemis to judge her for being in love with a person who's been sleeping with her best friend behind her back, and Artemis won't, because she knows Zatanna didn't judge her for staying with a boyfriend who cheated on her then, and she's not judging her for being in love with that same guy now.

They end up on her couch, crying over a marathon of Extreme Makeover: House Edition and then falling asleep because they're just drained.

She wakes up from their nap with a text from Wally on her phone, telling her that he's talked with Dick and they think the four of them should talk this out together. Artemis sets her phone back down without replying, closes her eyes and wonders if it's bad that she doesn't feel worried how all of this is going to end.