AN: It's been a while. Wow, it's been a while:p I'm feeling better about myself. I've stumbled a couple times, I've thought bad things about myself. I think I've only cut maybe twice since I last updated. I can't even remember what had happened. I'm just re-reading some of your comments and I remembered that I'm not the only one out there that is struggling. I wrote this for myself, but I just realized that I was kinda writing it for you too. Maybe this will turn into a bit of a guide when it comes to helping someone who is struggling out. At least, I'll be writing about what I wish would happen to me. I'll just stop rambling now and get on with the story.

Also, I love your guyses reviews. I don't care how long they are, or how off topic you may think they are. I just love hearing from you guys. Now, on with the show.

Five: Artemis

After cutting again, in class of all places, I felt like I couldn't go back to the cave. I didn't feel like I could go back and face my friends. How did I manage to go on?

No, stop thinking things like that Artemis! There are people out there for you; your friends, your mentors... maybe not a lot of people, but people nonetheless, I told myself.

That day, after school, I ditched going to the cave and just went home. I set my backpack by the door, I didn't feel like doing my homework, and went to bed. Another thing that I realized is that, when I was depressed, I felt like sleeping. And I've been sleeping a lot the last week. And that's what I was shooting for now.

The usual high that came with cutting didn't last as long this time. I fought the urge to do it again. Maybe the high didn't come when you felt guilty afterwards? I laid in bed and quickly fell asleep. Five PM to 7:30 AM? Sounds good to me.

~~..~~..~~

I tried talking to some of my school friends. They didn't know what was happening to me, so I kind of felt like it would be safe. I had been growing closer to a small group of friends at my school, all in my grade. Mikayla, Ashlee, and Shayla.

Often, though, we had a habit of clashing. They were rich, I wasn't. They had been friends for years, I had only known them for a few weeks. Pain would claw at my heart and my stomach when I would see them talking to each other without including me. I'd feel sick when they would make plans around me, seeming to forget that I was there. But I came up with a little mantra for myself.

Whenever I was feeling, I don't know, a bit depressed(if you can even call it that) I would just tell myself, "It's okay. I don't matter, it doesn't matter."

The sad thing is that I would believe it. Hell, I do believe it. Why should I bother them when they seem to have their own thing going on? One day, I snapped at one of them and stalked off. I saw the other two during lunch, and they seemed to avoid my eyes. When I next saw the friend I had snapped at, I apologized. Even though I'm not really good at it. She said all was forgiven and that everything was okay. Was it really okay, though, I kept asking myself?

Every time it would happen, I would just shrug it off and repeat my mantra. "It's okay. I don't matter, it doesn't matter."

~~..~~..~~

I couldn't look Wally, or anyone for that matter, in the eyes when I got to the cave a few days after I had cut again. When they didn't rush to talk to me, why would they anyways? I just brushed past them and headed to my room.

Robin was in front of my before I could take another step.

"Hey," he said.

I was startled. I felt like this was the first time anyone had talked to me in days. But that didn't make sense, I talked to my mom every morning, didn't I? I felt nervous. I wouldn't look him in the eye when I replied.

"Hi," I said, looking at the ground.

"What's up? How are you doing?" He asked.

I was startle, again. Why did he care?

"I'm fine," I said a bit defensively.

"Artemis, I'm just trying to reach out to you, to make sure you're doing alright. You're not alone. Just let me talk to you, okay?" Robin pleaded with me.

I looked around in surprise. Was he talking to me? Well, your name is Artemis, isn't it? That, and no one is standing behind you, I thought.

"Um, ok." He seemed to interpret my looking around as my being uncomfortable to talk in present company.

He offered his hand. "How about a milk shake? Or maybe a pretzel? New York makes the best pretzels."

I laughed. "Is this suppose to be a date?" Then I internally slapped myself for what I had just said.

"Nope. It's just one friend trying to be nice to another friend. If it'll make you feel any better, you can pay for your pretzel?" Robin laughed good-naturedly.

I thought about my wallet and how empty it was. "No, you can buy me the pretzel."

"Awesome," Robin grinned. He took my hand himself, and started leading me towards the zeta tubes that I had just exited.

"Where you two heading off to?" Zatanna asked. She was a new addition to the team.

"Just some team bonding time. We made a bet and I owe her a pretzel," Robin simply said. After that, we left.

~~..~~..~~

We were standing in line to get the pretzels when I finally had to get it off my chest.

"You don't have to do this for me," I said. Robin seemed to pause. I was terrified that he was going to agree with me, that he would just leave me standing here. Instead, he turned to me with a look of astonishment on his face.

"I may not have to, but I want to," he told me.

My heart felt instantly a little bit lighter. I even felt a little better. When we had found a place to sit and were eating the pretzels, I turned to him, a confession on the tip of my tongue.

"I cut again, a couple days ago," I whispered. More so because I was afraid to say it louder than because I didn't want anyone to hear.

"What happened?" Robin asked.

I was quiet again. He was quiet too, and for a minute I was afraid that since I didn't answer right away that he didn't want to hear about it. Then I realized what happened, and I felt stupid. He was just waiting for me to talk. So I told him about what had happened.

"If people say things like that to you, then they're not real friends," he told me after listening to my story.

I quietly whispered to myself, "It's okay, it doesn't matter, I don't matter," because I suddenly started feeling that sinking feeling in my chest and stomach again.

"What was that?" Robin asked.

I jumped. "What - " I began, but the look he gave me made me stop. "It's just something that I say to make myself feel better."

"It doesn't matter, you don't matter?" Robin asked, surprised.

I didn't say anything.

"That's not true! Of course you matter! It may not seem like it, it may not feel like it, but you matter!" Robin told me vehemently.

I was quiet. I wasn't sure if I was ready to believe that just yet.