EDIT: This takes place after season one and disregards season two
I've gone back and edited some weird typos a tiny bit.
Artemis tried to explain her relationship with Dick and Wally to someone outside the team once.
It didn't go very well.
Before Barbara Gordon became Batgirl, she was on the honor roll, voted most likely to succeed, and very confused as to why her best friend was so secretive about the fact that he obviously had a girlfriend.
And she was absolutely sure that he had a girlfriend. Dick was a funny kid; he was open and welcoming on the surface, it seemed like he wanted to get close with everyone who met him. But Babs wasn't an idiot. She saw how the smile didn't quite reach his eyes when he was entertaining guests at one of Bruce's infamous parties (as the Commissioner's daughter she did occasionally get a invite. She only accepted because Dick was there though). He laughed and flattered the guests and left them murmuring about Mr. Wayne's charming ward.
At school he was easygoing and friendly. He impressed some kids with his knowledge and some with his sense of humor. He never invited them to his house to hang out though. That was understandable: he lived in a giant mansion with a butler and a CEO, it wasn't exactly conducive towards relaxation or fun.
Babs, although not a sentimental person, took the time to feel honored every now and then when she remembered that she was the only person Dick really let into his life. Her… And Artemis.
When the new girl had come to Gotham Academy Dick had singled her out almost immediately. Babs could guess why; Artemis was gorgeous, and later she proved to have a biting sense of humor and a quick wit. (Barbara could admire that in a person, and Dick certainly did).
Artemis didn't seem to like Dick very much though, at least at first. She seemed annoyed and confused by Dick's odd pranks. (Barbara was used to the boy acting like he knew something she didn't though, and had long since accepted it as a part of his character).
Babs isn't sure what happened, but sometime between Artemis' arrival at school and the end of their sophomore year, Artemis had started joining the two of them for lunch, for study sessions in the library, and even sometimes Bruce's parties.
And here's the thing: Babs is glad Dick is finally opening up and making friends besides herself. Any jealousy she might have at not being his special one and only BFF is stamped down by her happiness for him. (Barbara thinks his inability to open up stemmed from a fear of loosing those closest to him after what happened to his parents).
Artemis and Dick started leaving school together sometime after spring break. It wasn't every day, but it was an often enough occurrence to see the two jump into a limo driven by Alfred that Babs took notice. Sometimes they were joined by a ginger kid about their age. Whenever that happened they never took the car. Usually the group walked down the road a little ways before disappearing into an alley. (Okay so Babs followed them once. Purely out of curiosity, and also because she was a little hurt that Dick never told her what he was doing, or who the other kid was.) When she looked in the alley, they were gone.
So Babs had come to the conclusion that Dick and Artemis were probably dating. She didn't bring it up because she hoped that they would come to her with the truth themselves. Every time she saw them playing footsie under the library table (they thought they were discreet) or shoving each other off the lunch bench (what were they? Six year olds?) she only grew more sure in her conclusions.
Eventually they introduced her to Wally, saying he was a friend from out of town. For a friend from out of town he sure seems to be in Gotham a lot, but Barbara doesn't really take notice because she's too busy waiting for Dick and Artemis to come clean.
Once she saw Dick and Artemis kissing.
It was after school, and the library had been empty. They'd gotten the best table, the one behind the stacks. She'd had to leave their library study session early for gymnastics practice. Babs had turned back, remembering she had forgotten her coat, only to see Dick and Artemis kissing over the table. They had sat on opposite sides, like they always did (because that way it was easier for them to play footsie). Artemis was on her knees on the chair, propping herself up with her elbows on the table as she leaned across to kiss Dick. Below them was an open chemistry book and a pencil that was about to roll onto the floor. Babs had left without her jacket.
This is how things got complicated: Dick had a meeting with the Mathletes, Wally had shown up outside the school agin. Artemis met him at the gates and the two started walking. Babs, who always walked to school anyways (and consequently had arguments about her safety with her father almost every day) followed them.
She was ready this time. When they turned into the usual dead end alley she sprinted forward to see how they always managed to disappear.
Instead Babs saw Artemis push Wally against the rough stone wall and punch him in the mouth. With her mouth.
Babs had left after that (and consequently didn't see how the two managed to disappear- she found that part out a little later). Her mind reeled. Artemis was cheating on Dick with the tall ginger kid from out of town. Dick was friends with Wally, this would definitely hurt him.
But Artemis was Barbara's friend too. She couldn't believe the girl would do this, especially since it seemed like she was so into Dick as well.
Babs was rational. She decided to confront Artemis before telling Dick. Unlikely as it was, it might have been a misunderstanding. Maybe Wally had passed out and needed mouth-to-moth resuscitation? Except he had been perfectly conscious when he'd started running his hands through Artemis' hair.
Maybe Artemis and Dick had broken up? Except there hadn't been any visible changes in their relationship.
Artemis had some answering to do.
Babs waited a couple days before asking Artemis to meet with her when school got out. Dick had looked perplexed as Babs grabbed the blonde by the elbow and dragged her away to the side of the school where no one could hear what they were saying.
"Um.. Babs? What's this about?" asked Artemis, looking perplexed.
Barbara opened her mouth and realized she was at a loss for words. Everything she had rehearsed in her mind, the speech she had prepared about faithfulness and misunderstandings, floated just outside her grasp. "I-um… I…"
Artemis would have raised a critical eyebrow at anyone else, but this was Babs, and she was acting worryingly out of character. "Are you okay?"
Barbara collected herself. "No. I'm actually not okay. Why were you kissing Wally when I happen to know for a fact that you have something going on with Dick?"
"You saw me kissing Wally?" asked Artemis "When?"
"The- the other day. I saw you two go into an alley and kiss!" said Babs, silently praying Artemis wouldn't ask why she had seen them go down that particular alleyway when it was in the opposite direction from her house. "And I saw you kissing Dick that time in the library when I forgot my jacket so don't try to deny anything."
It was Artemis' turn to be at a loss for words. Babs thought she was cheating on Dick. She had no idea how to explain the fact that she was seeing both of them. Could she even explain it? The three of them hadn't even agreed on telling anyone outside the team yet. A quick glance at Barbara showed Artemis that she had to say something quickly.
"You don't think I'm cheating on anyone, do you?" she asked, realizing how stupid that sounded. Of course that's what Babs thought, she'd seen Artemis kiss both of her boyfriends.
"Okay, stupid question." backtracked Artemis. "The truth is…" Here Babs raised an eyebrow. It was clear that she had begun to doubt Artemis' character. (That hurt, because they had been on the fast track towards becoming really good friends).
Artemis sighed, thought: fuck it, and decided to tell the truth, consequences be damned. "Okay, look: I started dating Wally on New Years Day. He and Dick have been best friends for years. I figured out that they're actually in love with each other too and now all three of us are dating."
Finally Babs said, "All… three of you? Are dating… each other? Like a threesome?"
"Yes!" shouted Artemis, relieved. "Except not a threesome like we're sleeping together, but like I'm dating both of them."
"Isn't that polygamy?" asked Barbara. She was having trouble wrapping her head around what Artemis was trying to say.
"No!" said Artemis waving her hands in front of her for emphasis. Babs was their friend; it was really important that she understand what Artemis was trying to communicate to her. "Dick is dating Wally and I. Wally is dating Dick and me. We all like each other equally. It's.. it's" Artemis cast her mind out for the word Dick had used to describe their relationship once. "It's Polyamory!" she finished proudly.
"Don't lie to me." Barbara said coolly. "If you cheated on Dick- or Wally- or both, I don't know, just tell me the truth."
"I am!" said Artemis, exasperated. "You've got to believe me. I would never do something to hurt either of them like that."
Babs was silent as contemplated Artemis' proclamation. If that was true, then Artemis hadn't cheated on either of them. But it seemed so crazy. Why would they be sharing… each other? Was Artemis just trying to save her skin so she didn't look bad? There was only one way to find out.
"I'm going to talk to Dick." Babs announced.
Artemis was quiet as she followed Babs around the side of the school. She nearly crashed into the redheaded girl's back when she stopped short. They had been talking for so long that the school grounds were empty except for Wally and Dick, who were standing by the gates. Kissing.
"Oh." said Babs.
Artemis said nothing because she was too busy fighting the smug smile that graced her face every time she was proved right about something. Or saw her boyfriends kissing each other. Either way, it was turning out to be a good day.
"Uh.. sorry." said Babs, turning around. She was blushing faintly. "I guess it was a misunderstanding after all."
"It's okay," said Artemis, inclining her head. "I'd probably have thought the same thing if I were in your shoes. "
"So… how did that even happen?" asked Barbara Gordon, nodding towards where Dick and Wally stood. The two had broken apart now. Dick was waving at them as Wally leaned against the iron railing with a dazed smile on his face. Babs was struck with the realization that Dick had anticipated exactly what she had been thinking when she had pulled Artemis way. That little shit. "You're a pretty lucky girl to have someone like Dick. And Wally seems like a great guy too."
"Yeah," said Artemis fondly, "I know. I'll… explain how exactly it happened later. I've kind of got to go."
"Oh yeah," Babs startled. "Don't let me interrupt your date."
Artemis smirked over her shoulder as she left Barbara to go meet her boys. "Something like that. See you on Monday."
Babs was watched Artemis join the short black haired boy and the gangly ginger. She punched them both lightheartedly in the shoulder before they each placed a kiss on her cheek, one standing on his tip toes and the other leaning down.
Huh. Thought Babs. Then she slung her back back over her shoulder. She left the school yard, but she had only gotten a couple feet down the sidewalk before she stopped, glancing over her shoulder at the three forms that were retreating down the sidewalk in the opposite direction.
Hmm, she thought, I wonder… Barbara Gordon turned around and started following them discretely. This time she was going to see how they disappeared from that alleyway. She was sure of it.