This isn't new - just a reposting of the Songs of Our Lives chapter that I've deleted. (Not enough material to continue with.) But I still like this story, so I've resurrected it for your enjoyment.
Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealers Wheel
Well, I don't know why I came here tonight.
She was sitting, straight and proud back uncharacteristically slumped over a bowl of ice cream, in the shiny kitchen of the Cave. Looking absolutely exhausted, slouched in an old T shirt and sweats, she was staring off into space. Bruises were visible on the tops of her arms, and there was a small bandage on her forehead where she had been stitched up by Robin on the Team's last mission.
It was late - probably too late to count as nighttime - and Wally had been sick of tossing and turning in his bed at home. He had snacked half-heartedly on everything in his parents' fridge, tried playing a few video games in his room, had even attacked the punching bag in the garage with unusual vigor for such a late hour, but nothing had eased his feeling of restlessness.
Artemis didn't seem startled by his sudden and unexpected entrance. With a sigh, and without looking around, she took a slow bite of ice cream. "Why are you here, Wally?"
He thought for half a second. Why was he here? "I don't know."
She nodded tiredly, either in understanding or in apathy. "Want some ice cream?"
She didn't have to ask twice.
I got the feeling that something ain't right.
Superboy, cradling an unconscious M'gann, was moving hurriedly back towards the Bioship with the others. Wally had sped ahead and was already waiting for them, medkit out and prepped, when the Team arrived in the ship.
"Lay her down," Kaldur instructed, and Superboy complied, eyes shifting nervously as the Atlantean ran his fingers through M'gann's hair, looking for the scalp wound that had knocked her out, and began applying peroxide when his fingers reached blood.
"Does anybody else know how to fly this thing?" Robin asked, peeking curiously at the driver's seat controls. "If not, we'll probably be here for a while."
Superboy's iron fist collided with the side of the ship, and the whole vessel quivered and rocked.
Robin backed away, hands held up defensively in front of him. "Okay. Staying put is definitely a good, solid plan. Get traught, SB."
Wally pushed his goggles up, head flashing from side to side, both surveying his teammates and trying to shake a queasy feeling of trepidation. "Hey, has anybody seen Artemis?"
Kaldur didn't look up from his careful work on the invalid Martian. "She was just behind us after we recovered M'gann. I thought she was following -"
Wally didn't stay to hear the rest.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
"You doing alright, Artie?" Wally called over his shoulder. The two had been separated from the rest of the Team, suckered into chasing down the Joker as he scampered through the high stacks of steel piled through the long warehouse, and had been rewarded for their bravery by being surrounded by a fresh squad of Joker's clowns. They were fighting, back to back - or Artemis' back to a zooming half-circle of Kid Flash, all fists and flaming red hair as he struck each goon, first in the neck, then in the solar plexus, before dealing the knock-down disorienting blow to the ear.
Artemis blew a stray strand of hair out of her face, letting loose another arrow. Of the seven henchmen that had had the misfortune to close in on her side, only one was left standing (not counting the one on his knees, who was attempting to wrench a particularly nastily barbed arrow from his left arm).
"Doing just peachy, Baywatch."
Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you
And I'm wondering what it is I should do.
I hate this, I hate this, I hate this, I hate this...
He almost didn't hear Artemis over the heavy crash of the pounding rain outside.
She was sitting, back against the craggy wall of the shallow cave they were in, gazing pointedly up at him with dark, unreadable eyes. Her long hair was tangled and darkened, sopping wet - she looked like a drowned cat. She'd already restrung her bow, examined all the remaining arrows in her quiver, and adjusted her heavy combat boots during their exile to this hole in the wall that was already feeling like it dragged on for days. She'd been keeping busy while he was desperately wondering what to do.
"What?" Wally snapped, rounding on her.
She jerked her chin at his feet. "You're pacing a ditch in the ground."
He looked down. There was a three inch deep rut marking the path of his anxiety. He sighed.
"I just... hate feeling useless. Like this." He gestured vaguely towards the mouth of the cave. "Especially when everyone else is out there, being useful and putting themselves in danger."
Artemis nodded once and leaned her head back on the uneven rock wall. "We can't help them now. We're supposed to be seriously injured, remember? We have to wait for the signal."
Wally sighed again and plopped himself down on the opposite side of the narrow pocket in the cliffside. He considered his companion with a furrowed brow. She studiously ignored him until he broke the silence.
"How do you do it? Just know what to do, all the time?"
She shrugged, two tanned shoulders poking up towards her ears before sliding back down. "Pacing won't help. Whining won't help." He scowled at her. She ignored that, too. "The only thing to do is wait."
Wally sighed again, but it wasn't the same sound of heated and helpless frustration, and leaned his head back, getting comfortable for a long wait.
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face.
The speedster jerked around, completely taken off guard. He'd been scribbling absentmindedly on a piece of his homework that he was supposed to be working on with Dick - weekly study sesh, putting time aside for his best pal - at the steely kitchen counter in the Cave. He could've finished his assignment faster than it took a normal person to tie their shoes, but that wasn't the point of the study sesh.
The Boy Wonder was looking at him oddly over his calculus review. Behind his black glasses, a dark eyebrow was raised questioningly. "Why are you smiling like that?"
"Like - Dude, what the hell?"
"What?" Wally asked again, mystery smile now definitely gone, replaced with a look of confusion and alarm.
Dick pointed with his pen at his friend's paper. Wally followed the line of the pen to what he'd been doodling on the margins of last week's world history notes. The deep, shiny, glaring shade of red he turned would have winned blue at any country fair's tomato contest.
Little arrows, shooting every which way, flew across and filled the white space of his paper. He frantically tried to recall when he'd begun drawing the glorified sticks, but came up blank. He'd just been avoiding writing his history essay, right?
Dick snorted. "That wiped the creepy smile right off your face, KF."
In a gust of displaced air, the paper was gone, wadded up and tossed in the trash under the sink, and Wally sat with his head in his hands.
"Shut up, Dick."
Well, you started off with nothing
And you're proud that you're a self-made man.
"Why don't you ever talk about when you were a kid?"
In the spacious gym of the Cave, there were only two of the Team's six members. Artemis, long blonde ponytail trailing off the edge of the padded body seat, every muscle tensed in exertion as she benched more than the archer could possibly have weighed. A bored and - now - inquisitive Wally leaned against the rail of a nearby treadmill, head cocked to the side, watching his teammate struggle under the strain.
At the question, Artemis let out a particularly scoffy huff. "Because there's nothing to tell."
Wally's eyebrows shot up. "Maybe you hadn't noticed, but becoming a teenage superhero isn't exactly normal. There's got to be something to tell."
She did a few more heaves with the bar before placing it back on its holder. Wally noticed the few streams of sweat snaking their way from her golden hairline down the dome of her forehead. She didn't sit up, just lay there, slowing the heaving of her chest. He tried not to notice that, but, hey, teenage hormones at work.
"Wally," she panted, and he had to force the smirk and swallow the innuendo he was dying to cough up. "I know you love to brag about how you became Kid Crash and everything, but maybe my story just isn't that interesting."
Red eyebrows waggled up and down. "You find me interesting?"
"Shut your fat mouth and hand me a towel."
Trying to make some sense of it all
But I can see it makes no sense at all.
"You love her."
Wally nearly fell off the island stool.
Superboy, despite his impressive size, was possibly the quietest walker the speedster had ever not heard.
The clone was standing behind Wally, thick arms crossed over his steel chest, glaring at the ginger with dark blue eyes as the smaller teen watched Artemis - a safe distance away, visible because of the Cave's lack of real rooms or hallways - with her arrow kit, carefully and meticulously preparing a new arsenal for herself. A stream of blonde hair was all that was really visible - her back was to them - but besides the flashing of tanned elbows and the curve of her spine, the speedster didn't seem to require any more movement to hold his attention.
Wally, attempting to maintain what little dignity he had left after his shock, slid off the kitchen barstool and turned to face his stoic accuser. "I don't know what you're talking about," he tried to say, as coolly and forcefully as possible, but his voice came out far too high.
A black eyebrow kinked upwards on Superboy's chiseled face. The two stood, staring at each other, for several moments. Wally could feel his palms sweating, a blush seeping through his cheeks, and his knees beginning to vibrate as he tried, desperately, to come up with something smooth and easy to say that would convince the half-Kryptonian that he - by no means - had anything greater than semi-friendly feelings towards the infuriating, head-strong, stubborn, sassy, kick-ass, funny, awesome, totally hot -
"I can hear your heartbeat, you know," Superboy informed him, and that sky-reaching eyebrow hadn't sagged one little bit.
Wally sighed, but didn't - couldn't - respond.
After another half-second, Superboy made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat before turning to leave.
"You really are an idiot."