When Wally arrived at the cave the next afternoon, he was the last to arrive. Everyone else stood around the training platform as Black Canary used Robin as an example for teaching the rest of the Team how to be light on their feet. When he arrived he noticed the quick expression on Artemis's face turn from concentration, to happiness, to anger in a matter of seconds before she turned away from him. He rolled his eyes and stood next to Conner and M'Gann. Conner ignored him, but M'Gann looked hesitantly between Wally and Artemis. Wally was pretty sure the whole team knew that they were fighting, even if they didn't know what it was about.
When Robin was able to flip over Black Canary's head to avoid a grapple, she took him down before praising his progress. She asked the rest of the Team what they noticed how he was able to move into her blind spot so quickly. Garth raised his hand to answer, at which point Wally interrupted, "Yea, well, we all know he could compete in men's gymnastics, I don't see how that works for the rest of us."
"Maybe if you weren't so bull headed you could learn something." Was the smoky reply he got from his right.
He turned his head to reply but before he could say anything BC tried to intervene. "Artemis, how about you next?"
Wally watched his girlfriend move her crossed arms to her hips as she said, "with pleasure. Kid, how about me and you?" Even though it sounded innocent enough, Wally knew better. Unfortunately, BC did not; obviously glad in thinking their spat was not a full-blown fight.
"Great idea!" Horrible idea.
When he was sprawled on the floor, Artemis next to him after he caught her ankles to pull her down, he was breathing heavy and nursing his broken nose. "Okay, I think that's enough for today." Black Canary was finally able to manage control over the situation by letting the two of them battle it out. When the rest of the team left and Artemis and Wally made to get up she turned on them, "What was that?"
Wally just shrugged and Artemis looked down before answering, "Why don't you ask him."
Dinah looked to Wally who was only able to offer a frustrated portrayal of 'I have no idea' as he spread his arms wide. It seemed they were in for couples counseling as she spoke again, "you expect to have a healthy relationship when you can't even talk about what's going on between the two of you? You know each other's secret identities, you know what its like to live this life. Don't hide from each other when there's no reason to." It wasn't the first time Artemis had heard advice from Dinah about Wally. As the only member of the league to be in a serious relationship with a fellow hero, besides Green Arrow obviously but he was quickly becoming too much like a surrogate father for her to talk to him. Which also meant Dinah was filling the space of second mother. The two were growing very close as time wore on, and Artemis took her words to heart.
"He made me look like an idiot." She said, quietly, focusing on the reason she'd convinced herself she was angry.
"I didn't make you look like an idiot!" He was quick to shout, but Dinah's warning gaze made him clear his throat and try again, "I said I was sorry about that. It just came out, I'm trying to stop that, but it's me. It's part of my charm," even though they were having this conversation he couldn't stop a wink from escaping.
Artemis rolled her eyes, but he took her lack of comment as a good sign. "You can't just flirt your way out of this, Wally. It's what got you into it to begin with." Or maybe not.
He sighed and held his arms out, "what do you want me to say. I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it, you should know that! I made a flirty joke to your friend, everyone knew it was just a joke. I thought you did too, so why are you so angry about it?"
As Artemis tsked and looked away, she saw that Black Canary was no where in sight, obviously leaving them to talk it out amongst themselves.
But this wasn't a conversation she wanted to have in a room that echoed. Even though no one was around it was too eerie, so she nodded for him to follow as she led them to the kitchen. Knowing sooner or later he'd want to stuff his face with something anyway. When they arrives she stood in front of the counter and he came up behind her, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"What is this about, Artemis? Because I know its not what you're pretending it is. This isn't about the joke, this is about something else. I know you, you're focusing on something inconsequential so you don't have to fess up. Knock it off, because all you're doing is pushing me away, and I don't want that to happen to us! We wasted too much time already."
"Wally-" She reached out and cupped his cheek, she's never heard him spill his heart out to her before. This was a huge moment for the both of them. She was still getting used to the two of them. To being able to kiss him when the feeling overcame her, to not be afraid someone would see her smile his way. And he goes and- and what? Admits how he feels about her? How deeply he feels about her? She reached up and kissed him. "I'm sorry. I'm not used to this." She confessed. They weren't going to have a relationship with secrets, not when there was no need to.
"I'm not either, but I think you're worth learning something new." She chuckled and let her hands find his. He gripped her fingers in his own. "Now are you going to tell me what's going on?"
She felt her forehead crease in worry before pulling away slightly and looking around them. She knew everyone was gone, but she had to check. "I'm not-." 'No, better go a different road with this.' "What you said the other day, about getting a room after homecoming. It just-"
Before she could finish that thought, he interrupted, "I knew that's what this was about! Artemis, I swear, if you're not ready, we don't have to! It's up to you, completely. I'll be here when you are ready, I'm not going to leave you or anything."
"No, it's not that I'm… not ready. It's just that. I want to take things slow for once. With you." She looked up and hoped he understood what she was saying. Blurting out 'I'm not a virgin' just sounded so juvenile to her, but she'd be damned if she could think of another way to say it.
It dawned on him then. "Oh." She closed her eyes; she didn't want to see it, not from him. It was an automatic reaction from anyone, but then she felt his hand cup her cheek. She looked up and he smiled, "I'm assuming it wasn't too long ago since you're only fifteen," he wasn't mocking or patronizing, he was teasing, but the poor thing didn't know how to tease in these new uncharted waters. She smiled back. He wanted to know her. Everything about her. And this was a part of her story.
"I was fourteen," she shrugged not really wanting to divulge too much, namely the boy's name. "We were bored, and alone, it just sort of happened." She'd also never put much weight on it. She grew up in a bad part of town, she knew the corner girls' names by the time she was 10. She'd never been taught 'wait till marriage.' Sex just… wasn't a big deal to her. She knew that was very different from Wally's Bible belt homegrown roots, as sweet as he was being.
As she looked in his eyes she knew he wanted her to tell him more, with a heavy sigh she continued, "it wasn't a big deal. Then, a few months ago there was this other boy, Tomas, and a few days after that, I put on green and went to fight bad guys." She hoped it didn't need saying that she had only slept with Tomas because she'd wanted to feel complete; something being a vigilante gave her, something she'd thought she could find in guys. Luckily she'd snapped out of that phase quick. She guessed she would probably be a field day to some psychologist: as many Daddy issues as she had but she was able to pull herself out of it with only one run down that road. Out loud she only said, "I figured out no one can make you happy if you're not happy with yourself."
"So Tomas was number two. Who was number one?" It didn't matter that he didn't know Tomas, or that he was figuring he didn't know Cameron. It was her list and he wanted to know who was on it. But she couldn't. As much as he was accepting of her, as much of her history he knew, she didn't want to go down this path with him. Not yet, maybe not ever.
"It's not like it even matters, because we're not doing this." She pushed him away. "Now you know why I've been upset, happy?"
He was jarred by her sudden change in attitude, she could feel it, "What are you talking about?" She almost wanted to laugh at the lost look on his face, knowing he'd gotten his hopes up on where their conversation was leading. "Look, I don't care who you lost your virginity to. I just care that I want to give mine to you." He whispered into her temple.
"That's- Wally. You don't understand. I can't."
He pulled back, "Can't or won't? Because we've already established that you can just fine." He cringed automatically, "That came out so wrong."
She couldn't even bring herself to fight him on that one, "It's not that I don't want to with you. Well, okay, it is." He looked heartbroken, and she actually felt herself laugh, "I'm sorry. What I mean is. I want this" she gestured between the two of them, "I want it to be special. I want it to go right. I want to wait, and go through it all, and not mess this up, because this is something that's actually going right for me, and I can't imagine fucking it up again!"
He just stared at her before pulling her close and breathing in her scent, "You couldn't fuck this up, Artemis. I won't let you. I don't care about all that waiting and abstinence crap. I love you and dammit, I want to show you how much."
She stiffened in his arms, and he mirrored her reaction, letting her pull away, "what?" She asked, harsh tone and taught brow.
"What?" It came out almost as a squeak.
"Did you just-"
She grinned wickedly, "Yes you did. I heard you."
He sighed and dropped his arms, groaning he said, "Yea, fine, okay. I love you." He couldn't even look at her and his face was turning a brighter red than his hair.
"Wow, make me swoon why don't you." She laughed as she put her hand on his shoulder. "You mean it?"
His blush was fading as he turned to her, "yea, I do," pure determination in his eyes.
She smiled softly and ran her fingers through his hair, pulling his lips to hers. But before she let them touch she whispered, "I love you, too, Kid Idiot." His hand skimmed from her naval to her hip and his other hand cupped the nape of her neck, adjusting her angle on his lips. She moaned into his mouth and he pressed their bodies closer together.
Artemis ran her fingers to his neck then down his back as far as she could before pulling her hands across his shoulders, down his chest, and around his waist, letting the tips of her fingers skim the skin at the hem of his shirt. Wally heard a growl escape his throat and gripping her hips, picked her up and placed her on the tabletop. Artemis never let go of his shirt and with their new angle, had pulled it up to reveal his lower torso. Her nails skimmed his defined abs and she felt him shudder, his own fingers running under her top and across her back. He pressed himself in between her legs as he reached her bra. He began to unclasp it, and she let one hand escape his tempting abs to grip his hair as she moaned in anticipation.
"WOAH!" They sprang apart and turned to the door, where Zatana was standing, large eyes, red cheeks, and gaping mouth, before turning on her heel and walking away, "you might want to find a room for that!"