I would just like everyone to know that this is probably the cheesiest thing I have ever written. But it was written for Christmas so I like to think it all balances itself out. Also, I did a bit of a different writing style with this one just because I use it on some original stories that I write and I wanted to test it out. I'd really appreciate you telling me what you think. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I own nothing except the plot.
It began with a chance meeting on a movie set.
He was playing a spy in a new thriller-action movie and she was the head production assistant. Funnily enough, she was called in last minute when the last head production assistant had quit (something about not being treated as an equal; but hey, that's show biz). Some might say it was fate how the director called her in even though she was fresh out of university and still a bit more than a little wet behind the ears (but neither he nor she believed in something as childish as fate). She was eager and a bit of a hotshot and came from a more than modest background. The director respected that and had appreciated her even more when all her professors had recommended her so the director decided to call for an interview. (Her best friend Megan said it was lucky that it was scheduled for her twenty fifth birthday but she didn't believe in such things.) He hired her fifteen minutes after she walked out of his office. (It would've been ten but he had misplaced his phone – he was a little prone to misplacing things.)
She herself had worked hard every day of her life to get what she needed. She put herself through university and juggled two part times during high school to help her mother with bills. She worked so hard for what she needed that getting what she wanted was rare and something unexpected was even rarer. He, on the other hand, had been given everything he ever wanted. He never really had what he needed but he was too blinded by his wants that he never really noticed. He was given his first acting job at the age of ten with his best friend by his best friend's father. From there, he received a contract for his very own television show which was extended again and again before happily concluding in its eighth season. After that, he dabbled in movies and took a year off from acting to spend some time with his family at his Hawaiian beach house. He signed on for that eventful movie (part of a trilogy and ironically named Day of Fate) when he was twenty five.
Their first meeting was brief and rather ordinary, not what one would think. There were no fireworks or immediate connections. But, hey, what did you expect? It wasn't a movie. They met on Wednesday, their ninth day of filming. She was running errands for the director and was a little lost in the newly opened – or closed, depending on how you looked at it – movie set. They had gotten special permission to close down parts of the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando for the filming. Unfortunately, that meant there was about a mile between each set and trailer and honestly, she was never really good with directions to begin with. She thought she was somewhere at least near the set because she was either surrounded by tourists or extras dressed as tourists. It was difficult to tell these things.
Her director had sent her to get his and the producers' coffees over twenty minutes before and she was getting a bit frustrated. She had pushed her headset off her ears and around her neck – there was only white noise blaring through them where she was meaning she was out of range of anyone useful. A map was clipped to her clipboard which was balanced on top of four coffees in a tray. She studied it and her surroundings for anything that matched up but nothing did.
"You lost?" The production assistant looked up to see a red headed man. He was wearing a suit with a thin black tie and an ear bud in his left ear. He looked like he was supposed to be working for the secret service (minus the sun glasses). His expression was kind and partly concerned.
The blonde shook her head stubbornly. "I'm fine," she responded automatically and went back to her map. She turned to leave but found her way blocked by shiny black dress shoes and looked up to see the red head had sidestepped.
She nodded curtly and tried to turn again but found he had blocked her path. Again. By now the production assistant was getting even more annoyed than she had been originally. She sighed impatiently. "Can I help you?"
He seemed puzzled. "Don't you know who I am?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Should I?"
He began to run his hand through his hair but stopped abruptly, as if realizing what he was doing. He yanked his hand back down to his side. "Uh, yeah." It wasn't as arrogant as one might think but it still made her roll her eyes internally. "I'm Wally, Wally West. Lead actor."
She blinked. "You want a medal or something?"
Wally looked even more surprised by her lack of, well, anything. "It's just, uh, no one's really not recognised me in a while." Wally felt a little flustered and wasn't entirely sure why. He told himself it was the rain cloud eyes that bore into him and the expressionless face.
"I'm not going to apologize if that's what you're looking for." The production assistant herself was getting even more annoyed. She didn't have time for this idle chit chat. She had work to do.
"No, it's... refreshing." He laughed a little, fully aware at how much of a lunatic he looked like. She thought he looked lunatic-y too. He looked down at her map. "You have the wrong map. We're in Islands of Adventure. You've got the Universal Studios map. Here, I think I have one somewhere." He dug through his pockets.
"Isn't it all the same?"
Wally shook his head then grinned when he pulled out the map from his inside breast pocket. He clipped it to her board carefully and pointed. "We're here. The set's there, just around the corner." He dragged his finger from point A to point B.
"Uh...thanks." She said, a little unsure why lead actor Wally West would be helping her.
"You want some help with those?" He asked, indicating the coffee she was holding. She pulled them closer to her instinctively and shook her head.
"I've got it." She said. The production assistant stepped back from Wally and turned to leave the way he said.
"Wait." She turned back. "I didn't get your name."
He crossed his arms. "You know, I was looking for a first name."
To that, she just shrugged with a small smile and continued on her way.
They met again a few days later. He was getting his hair and makeup done while she was running general errands and making sure all the props were in order; the hat, the gun, the ankle holster. Now all she was missing was the bullwhip and she had looked everywhere. The production assistant spotted Wally at the makeup station and strutted over to him.
He looked over at her and grinned. "Hey, Artemis."
"So you asked around for my name. Congratulations," she said dryly.
"Yeah, I just asked who the blonde with the snarky attitude was. The director knew who I was talking about right away," he said with a cheeky smile. The poor makeup artist was trying to work around his constant movements and wasn't really achieving anything.
"Haha, very funny," her words were sarcastic but the smile she was fighting back wasn't. "Anyways, I've come to ask if you knew where the bullwhip prop is. I've checked everywhere."
"Oh shit, yeah it's in my trailer."
"Let me guess. You were playing with it and that's how you got that cut on your chin?" Wally grinned a little guiltily. Artemis rolled her eyes.
"Could you maybe do me a favor and get it? Please?" His smile was sheepish.
It was her job but she didn't really think it was necessary to remind him of that fact. "Sure."
He shifted around in his chair and pulled out a bright yellow key and handed it to Artemis. "Here's the key. Number one."
"Thanks," she took the key and examined its strange colour.
"No, thank you." Artemis rolled her eyes at his honeyed tone. She went off briskly, as she always did.
Surprisingly, she found the trailer easily enough. She thought she'd get a little lost at least but didn't, which was a miracle in itself. It was on the corner of the trailer lot and had a big sign with #1 printed on it in big bold letters. If that wasn't enough, it was the only bright yellow trailer with a big red lightning bolt on the side of it. Artemis had to resist the urge to roll her eyes at it and went to unlock the door. The place was a huge mess but she found the whip on the counter quickly despite that. She snatched them up and relocked the trailer then jogged back to the set so she could get back on time for filming.
Artemis was just on time too. Actors were being called for places and she caught Wally just as he was getting on the stairs that would lead him to the place where he would be acting out a fight scene.
"Here," Artemis said, handing it to him.
Wally grinned, "Thanks, you're a doll."
Artemis crossed her arms and cocked a hip. "Excuse me?"
"I mean, uh, just thanks? No doll bit." Wally said quickly. "Sorry?" Artemis settled for whacking him in the back of the head and walking off while he rubbed his head and called out, "I owe you one, Artemis," with that ever-present grin. Artemis just raised a hand in acknowledgement and didn't turn around.
"Mind if I sit here?"
Artemis looked up from her clipboard at the bakery table. None other than Wally West, lead actor wearing ridiculous sunglasses and a baseball cap stood before her. He was holding a coffee in one hand and a croissant sandwich in the other. It was about a week after she had gotten the bullwhip for him and Artemis was surprised that he still knew who she was.
Artemis raised an eyebrow but shrugged. "It's a free country." She went back to her work.
"Thanks." He sat down then grinned, as if he knew some secret. He leaned forward. "Hey, Artemis?" He whispered. Artemis looked up. Wally tipped down his sunglasses so she could see his brilliant green eyes peering over them. "It's me. Wally."
Artemis leaned towards him. "I know." She whispered. Wally cleared his throat and leaned back while Artemis chuckled. "So what's with the getup?"
"I'm in disguise. I don't want any fans knowing I'm here."
"Fans? What fans?" Artemis kept her expression completely confused. Wally frowned and she laughed. "That is way too easy, West. You really need to grow a thicker skin. It was a joke." She went back to her work to see Wally staring down the second half of her croissant. She nudged it towards him with the tip of her pen. "Take it. Consider it a peace offering."
Wally grinned. "Thanks." He picked it up and took a huge bite, then tried to say something.
When all that came out was a jumbled mess that sounded somewhat like "akfhajksdhfajkshf" Artemis said, "Swallow, West." He did as he was told then repeated himself, this time much more clearly.
"So why'd you chose show biz? You work hard, that's obvious. And you went to Stanford. You could've done anything."
"Just making conversation."
"No, I mean how'd you know I went to Stanford?"
Wally pointed. "Your hoodie." Artemis looked down to see she was wearing her faded maroon Stanford sweater. She had forgotten she had put it on that morning. She felt like a right idiot.
"Oh. To answer your question, umm, I guess I've always known. I mean, that sounds so cheesy and cliché but I've always loved movies. I'm going to be a director one day. I've gotta start somewhere." She shook her head at herself. "God, that sounds so cheesy. What about you? Always wanted to be an actor?"
Wally laughed and shook his head. "Nah. I've always wanted to be a chemist. I got an acting job when I was a kid and it kind of grew from there. Not that I don't like acting because it's probably my first choice of a job but chemistry is a very close second."
Artemis shrugged a shoulder. "I don't know. I didn't really peg you for the science type." They fell into a comfortable silence and Artemis guessed it was her turn to pick a topic question. "So, where are you from originally?"
"Central City. My family still lives there too, so I get to go back a lot. What about you? Grow up in Orlando?"
"Nah. I'm from Gotham."
"You know, I thought there was something distinctly big city about you."
"Like you should talk. Your hometown has the word city in it."
Wally held up his hands in mock surrender. "Alright, alright I give."
Artemis checked her watch. "Shit!"
"What?!" Wally asked, checking his own watch. "We still have twenty minutes until shooting starts again."
She started to gather her stuff hurriedly. "You might, but I have to get everything in order for that time slot. You just have to be there. Shit. I really need to get back. Dammit, I should've been back ten minutes ago. I have to find all the props and costumes and actors and if that director has gone to sleep in his trailer again I swear to God... Sorry, West, I've got to go. Please get back to the set on time?" Wally nodded. "Thanks. Shit, shit, shit. See you, West." With that, she bolted off, clip board in hand and messenger bag across her shoulder.
It began with little, insignificant moments that no one would think twice of. They unintentionally courted each other from afar and neither really realized it until they had fallen. By then it was much too late.
One of the first of these insignificant moments was this:
The director had decided he didn't like one of the scenes they were filming (again) and came to the conclusion to rewrite it during his lunch break. Of course, all the writers and producers agreed enthusiastically with this wonderful idea because he was the director who also happened to be paying for half of the movie and the entire rental of the Universal Studios Theme Park for their set. They sent everyone off for an early lunch. Except of course, the director's right hand woman: his head production assistant, Artemis Crock. He sent her off to get their lunch from the popular Mel's Drive-In on the property. Wally, overhearing this demand, volunteered to help. Artemis was grateful; she had no idea how she was supposed to carry all those burgers and shakes and onion rings by herself. Not to mention that it'd be somewhat bearable to deal with all those tourists if she had someone else around. That's how Artemis and Wally found themselves waiting together in the busy fifties themed diner.
They had chosen the furthest line from the door, which was also the shortest, and were getting some pretty strange looks. Maybe they looked important; Artemis with her headset around her neck and her ever present clip board was tucked under her arm and Wally in a suit and sunglasses. He looked like he just stepped out of a Men in Black movie. When Artemis told him this, he did his best impression of K and made Artemis laugh so hard that she snorted (she felt like a moron).
"Look at this." Wally said, wandering over to a Jukebox. Artemis watched as he inserted a quarter then changed the song until he found the one he wanted. "He rocks in the tree tops all day long, hoppin' and a-boppin' and a-singing his song." Artemis watched, laughing, as he swayed his hips and snapped to the beat. She rolled her eyes at him as he began to gain attention from the tourists and instead of stopping, he started singing along. "All the little birds on Jaybird Street, love to hear the robin go tweet, tweet, tweet, rockin' robin. Tweet, tweet, tweet. Rockin' robin, tweet, tweedle-lee-dee."
"People are staring, West." She said through gritted teeth but she was fighting back a smile and he could tell. He just took that as encouragement.
"Go rockin' robin 'cause we're really gonna rock tonight!" At that, Artemis grabbed him and pulled him back into the line with her, trying to keep herself from laughing while Wally feigned confusion.
"Why'd you stop me?!"
"I don't think you have a future for a singing career." She told him bluntly.
"Don't call me Artie."
"Yes m'am." He said with a cheeky salute. Artemis shoved him lightly then moved up to place the order when the cash register was freed.
Five minutes later, when they were on their way back from the food run, Artemis thanked him quietly for coming. Wally nudged her with his hip lightly and started singing Don't Worry, Be Happy. Artemis teased him about his song choice but was fighting back a smile the whole way back.
"Morning, Beautiful." She woke with a start as someone spoke (rather loudly) into her headset.
"Sorry." They squeaked in her ear. Artemis sat up slowly, realizing she had fallen asleep at her podium. Again. She rubbed her eyes as she recalled that she had stayed back for a few hours and worked on one thing or another after everyone else had gone home. She had even stayed long enough to wave the night janitors goodbye. Her heavy eyes met a large coffee that someone had set in the cup holder on the podium for her. She picked it up and looked around curiously for the culprit when she found Wally sitting in the makeup chair. He wasn't facing her but he was looking at her through the mirror with this smile. He winked when he saw her looking and Artemis spotted the second headset on the desk in front of him. He held up a coffee of his own and she held up hers too, tilting it in a mock cheers then taking a long gulp of the scalding caffeine she was sure she'd need to get through the day.
Some kids came to the set one day, which Artemis couldn't say she was honestly looking forward to. She knew she'd end up being the one giving the kids a tour, which would also be on top of all her other jobs and responsibilities, also on top of all the work that the director wouldn't want to do. She wasn't really the best with kids either which didn't help her case at all. Artemis knew it was going to be a long, tiring day and she wasn't looking forward to it.
She met the kids at the entrance and welcomed them all to Universal Studios. She did all the little things her director had told her to do: introduce herself, give some background on the movie, and point certain things out on the way to the set. At the very least they had a tram to put all the kids on because they were such a large group (Artemis was sure at least a few kids would've tried to wander off to explore – it's what she would've done).
The schedule for the day was supposed to be this: Artemis would take them to the set to watch a few scenes, then she would bring them to the costume trailer and the special effects rooms, then they would have lunch, then they would go on a tram tour of the park with a few shows, and finally there would be a cast meet and greet at the end of the day. Artemis was glad she only had forty kids to take around. She was even more glad there were eight teachers to help her.
The set today was in part of the park that they called The Lost Continent. It looked like it came straight out an old archeological-explorer movie with high brown rock formations and half destroyed temples and statues. It looked like an ancient city in ruins with rubble everywhere and a small waterfall coming out of the likeness of some forgotten god. The front of it was guarded by some griffin-fish hybrid that looked a lot more intimidating than it sounded. Basically, the place looked like you had just stepped into an adventure. (Artemis loved it.)
They got to the set just as they were filming a fight scene. Artemis quickly ushered all the kids off the trams and pointed out where they could stand to watch then looked up at the scene herself. Wally was on top of the waterfall god's head while the fighting extras came at him from all sides. Wally had once told Artemis that he loved doing his own stunts for the thrills of it. Artemis told him he was probably going to give his poor mother a heart attack some day.
Wally knocked down one of the extras, who Artemis watched fall off the edge of the cliff and onto the waiting mat below. She made sure the stunt guy gave a thumbs up before she looked back up at Wally. He had grabbed one of the stunt men and pulled him in front of him and was using his body to block the blows of the forth and third stunt men.
When he was finished using the second as a human shield, he threw him down too (he also gave a thumbs up when he hit the mat).Wally grabbed the third stunt man and twisted his arm behind his back and kicked the fourth away from him. Somehow, in the middle of all the chaos, he caught Artemis's eye and gave her a wink. Artemis rolled her eyes at him but he didn't break character otherwise. Instead, he took care of the last two stunt men and looked over at some unseen threat.
"AND CUT! THAT WAS GREAT WALLY! YOU TOO JASON, WILL, THOMAS, AND JACK! VERY CONVINCING!" The director yelled from his chair. Wally climbed down from the rocks and landed in front of Artemis.
"Hi. Wally, these are the kids visiting from West High's film classes." She gestured to the group then addressed them. "Guys, this is Wally West. He's the lead actor of the movie."
"And your co-tour guide." Wally said. Artemis turned to him and raised an eyebrow.
"Don't you have filming to do?"
Wally shook his head. "They're working on some scenes without me today."
"Really? According to my schedule-" Artemis began, flipping through her clipboard. Wally plucked it out of her hands.
"I got it changed this morning. You didn't think I was about to let you watch a bunch of kids by yourself, did you?"
Artemis's face softened, "Thanks."
"Well, that and I love kids."
"Wally! Can I talk to you?!" The director called from his chair. Artemis snatched back her clipboard and Wally sent her an amused look before he went to talk to the director.
Artemis turned to address the group again. "Well, it looks like Wally West's going to be joining us. First we're going to head to the special effects and costume trailers. This way, West can catch up." Artemis led her group. Wally caught up with them at the special effects room. They never really got the chance to talk throughout the day, too busy with all the teenagers and answering all of their questions (they had come with at least a million each on these little recipe cards plus the ones they thought of when they arrived in some places – they were quite the inquisitive bunch).
By the end of the day, both were exhausted. They sent the kids on the bus with autographs and grins then went back to the set. They found it empty so they went to the director's office where they found a small mountain of paper work with a stickie note on top for Artemis. She sighed and picked it all up and put it in her bag. Wally offered to take half but she waved him off with an, "It's my job." They walked back to the front entrance together splitting up when Wally went to go to the onsite hotels and Artemis to the parking lot. She paused and turned around.
Wally stopped and looked over his shoulder, "yeah?"
"What did the director want to know about?"
"The wink. He wants to add it in."
Artemis rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Of course he does. Good night, West."
"Good night, Crock."
Meeting at that bakery, called the Croissant Moon Bakery, had become a regular thing. It wasn't intentional, it just kind of happened. After the first time they met there and talked about show biz and their hometowns, they kind of wordlessly claimed that table and ate there every day.
The bakery itself was charming. It was located in the Islands of Adventure's Port of Entry and had the same sand browns and general Indiana Jones market place feeling. The chairs and tables had little bits of coloured stone that made lovely little pictures and the ground was stone. The cafe sold the best coffee for miles and croissant sandwiches that were so good you could eat them every day for a month without getting sick of them (something both Wally and Artemis did).
Artemis always got there first due to her usual brisk pace and the fact that Wally got changed from his costume for the break. Because of it, she ordered and Wally always timed it perfectly so that when he got there, the croissant sandwiches were showing up at the same moment. Artemis wasn't sure how he did it. During these lunches, they talked about everything and nothing of significance or nothing at all. Despite this, they both began to look forward to lunch even though both were too stubborn (and maybe a bit scared) to admit it.
It was lunch and they were seated at their table. Today was one of those days where they weren't really talking at all, Artemis busy working on her clipboard and Wally reading. That changed, however, when Wally put down his book and stated very loudly, "I want a cake."
Artemis looked up at him, almost used to these occasional random outbursts. "Sorry?" She asked.
"For my birthday, I mean. Everyone is always getting me fancy gifts like cars and expensive suits and stuff-"
"Oh poor you," his companion interrupted dryly.
"Do you know how long it's been since I've had an actual cake for my birthday? Like, five years," he continued as if she hadn't interrupted him, "I don't get it. Is there some kind of rule that says once you turn twenty you can't have cake anymore?" Wally turned to her for an answer but he didn't get one.
"When's your birthday?"
"The eleventh. Three days."
"Huh." Artemis said. She went back to her work then looked up again. "And yes. There is a very strict rule against giving anyone cake on their birthday after they turn twenty," she told him very seriously. Wally narrowed his eyes and Artemis laughed.
The day of filming had lasted longer than usual, due to having to film some night and sunset shots, and it was about ten o'clock when they finally finished. Wally thought it had kinda sucked to have to work late on his birthday but his best friend Dick was supposed to take him to a bar after to celebrate, which he has been looking forward to all day. He hadn't seen Dick in ages and they were due for a visit.
At the end of that long day, Wally found himself walking down the boardwalk when someone called his name. He turned around to see Artemis sitting on top of a short ledge on one of the buildings. She patted the spot next to her and Wally walked over then jumped up onto the ledge too. Artemis picked up a plastic store bag from beside her and handed it to him.
"Happy birthday," was all she said as explanation. Wally raised an eyebrow and reached inside the bag to pull out a store bought cake. It was in one of those plastic containers and was covered in little frosted balloons and a very enthusiastically written "Happy Birthday!".
Wally smiled broadly. "A cake."
Artemis opened her mouth and went into a kind of nervous rant, "It's from the Publix. I know these things aren't usually the greatest and they usually have about six pounds of icing but I'm kind of a wreck at baking and-"
"This is great. Thanks," Wally said genuinely. He looked up and smiled at her and she returned it and looked down into her lap.
Not long after, they had opened the cake and were sharing it. Artemis had forgotten to bring forks or plates(she didn't apologize for it) so they ended up cutting it up with her plastic knife and ate with their fingers straight off the plastic bottom.
They were playing a game loosely based on twenty questions. The only differences were it wasn't really organised and there were a lot more than just twenty questions.
"Something you believe in?" Wally asked.
"Logic," Artemis said."You?"
"Love." Wally answered.
"Something you don't believe in?" Artemis asked.
"Giving up. You?"
"What? How can't you believe in happy endings?"
Artemis shrugged. "I've never seen any. It's a Hollywood cliché."
"You're wrong, and I'll prove it eventually."
"I'm going to hold you to that, West."
"I hope you do. Most embarrassing story?" Wally asked.
"And why the hell would I tell you that?"
"My sister's older than me. She works for a security company – tests their systems. My mom works in an office. Nothing exciting. What about you?"
Wally noticed she didn't mention her father but didn't push the topic. "Classic hallmark family. Too loud, too big, and too embarrassing."
"I think it sounds great."
"It is." Wally said. "Your turn." He ate some cake while she thought.
"Um. First day on a set. I was like, ten, and it was terrifying but a lot of fun. But right now too, I think."
"That's so cheesy." Artemis said, rolling her eyes.
"Hey, it's true. I mean, we're in the middle of a wicked theme park, breaking probably sixty rules, and eating cake on a ledge. On my birthday. I don't know it seems pretty great to me. What about you?"
"Getting accepted into Stanford." She answered without hesitation. "See, I don't come from the richest family and I probably wouldn't have been able to afford university without a scholarship. And maybe now too." She mumbled the last part and Wally smiled a little wider.
Artemis nodded. "Yeah."
"Hey, Wally! There you are! I've been looking everywhere." A tall man with dark hair approached them from the entrance. He was wearing a black t shirt and an amiable grin. He reached them and introduced himself, "I'm Dick Grayson."
Artemis smiled, "Artemis Crock."
"So you're Artemis. I've heard a lot about you." Artemis was about to ask but was interrupted by Wally.
"I thought we were supposed to meet at eleven?"
"We were. It's eleven thirty."
"Really?" Wally checked his watch. "Shit, sorry man. I guess we lost track of time."
Artemis picked up the cake and held it out. "Want some cake?" Dick took some and Wally hopped down. Artemis put the cover back on the cake and ignored the offered hands from Dick and Wally, choosing to jump down on her own.
"You wanna come to the bar with us?" Wally asked her. Artemis shook her head and handed Wally the cake.
"I've got to go. I have some work to do for tomorrow. You guys have fun." Artemis turned to leave when Wally called out. She turned back around.
"Thanks again. For the cake and everything."
"Don't mention it, West. Happy birthday." She walked off and the guys watched her.
"So that's Artemis, huh?" Dick asked with a grin.
"Shut up." Wally said with a smile.
Wally watched Artemis as she worked.
It wasn't as creepy as it sounds, really. He just happened to look up as the costume designer adjusted his clothes and the makeup head touched up his makeup for the next scene.
Artemis was sitting at her podium next to the director, as always. Her head set was on her ears and there was a piece of golden hair that had somehow escaped her ponytail. She kept shoving it back behind her ear but it was prevented from staying by the headset. She was writing with vigor, mercilessly pressing hard into the page. Her podium shook with her enthusiasm and she bit her lip in concentration.
Suddenly, she stopped and looked up straight at Wally.
He tried to keep his smile friendly and not creepy but it looked sheepish at the same time. To his surprise, she returned it (with a bit of confusion and uncertainty but she returned it all the same). That's what counts.
Artemis was wandering down the street. She had just finished up some work in the director's office and was off to have a conscious two hours of complete freedom; something that hadn't happened since before the filming started. She was on the way to the Croissant Moon Bakery where she was going to get a sandwich to go and do something she hadn't had a chance to yet: she wanted to explore the park. Her ID card got her pretty much anywhere so she didn't have to worry about fares.
The reason for her freedom was this: there was a parade going on for Christmas and whoever had scheduled their filming locations had not known there was a parade happening. The parade route conflicted with the filming location and because of that, filming was postponed for a couple hours.
Artemis could hear the parade coming up behind her. She heard the cheery tunes of the parade and turned to see all kinds of Dr. Seuss characters dancing cheerily in un-choreographed movements along the street. Artemis slowed down and decided to watch for a bit (it wasn't like she had anywhere to be). She found herself smiling as the Simpsons passed, then the superheroes. Next came Scooby Doo in the Mystery Machine and a marching band and a dozen roller bladers doing complicated choreography. But then other music could be heard, with someone singing to it on a microphone. Artemis stood on her toes to get a better look but someone moved in front of her. Artemis rolled her eyes at the idiot tourist and went to leave. She still couldn't see the float because she had somehow gotten lost in a sea of tourists, all pushing to get a picture of the upcoming floats. She could hear the music now. It sounded like someone was singing over Mariah Carey's voice. (And not very well.)
"I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need and I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree."
Artemis continued to fight her way through the crowd, which seemed to get thicker and thicker as she went.
"I don't need to hang my stocking there upon the fireplace. Santa Claus won't make me happy with a toy on Christmas Day."
Finally, she found an opening. She could see there was some space between the float with the (bad) singer and the roller bladers. Artemis took the chance and bolted out into the street, crossing quickly. She was almost there too when she finally glanced at the next float. None other than Wally West (lead actor) was jogging towards her as he sang into the microphone in his hand. Artemis tried to make a break for it, realizing his plans to drag her into whatever he had gotten himself into, but the kid was freakishly fast and before she knew it, he had one hand in hers and one on her waist and was leading her in some kind of crazy dance.
"What the hell are you doing?!" Artemis hissed.
Wally laughed and spun her out, holding her at arm's length. "Living!" He pulled her back in to his chest and laughed again at her expression.
"You're crazy!" Artemis told him with a shake of her head.
Wally shrugged, "maybe." He spun her and Artemis had no choice but to go along with it. "You should try it sometime."
"What? Insanity?!" Artemis asked as he continued to spin her.
"I live!" Artemis said with annoyance.
"Yeah, but all you do is work, work, work. Don't you ever get tired of working? Or bored?" He stressed the last word like it was the worst thing in the world. "C'mon, have a little fun."
"I have fun!" Artemis claimed agitatedly.
"Then prove it." Wally demanded. He let go of her waist but kept hold of her hand and pulled her with him to the float. It was a giant Christmas tree with several levels that had platforms that you could stand on. Elves occupied some levels but there was still enough room for Wally to run up, dragging Artemis behind him. She dropped her bag onto the platform as he pulled her up. Wally snatched the mic from his back pocket in time to sing the chorus.
They had to stop in the middle of the stairs, Wally one step above Artemis. He looked down at her and smiled teasingly as he sang, "I just want you for my own. More than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. All I want for Christmas is yoooooou!" Artemis cringed when he hit the high note.
"You still can't sing." She told him. The microphone caught her words and the crowd laughed while Wally said, "I can sing. Just not well."
Artemis laughed and Wally decided he wanted to go back down the stairs. He tugged her after him and before Artemis knew it they were dancing that made-up trot/two step/spinning thing. Artemis was vaguely aware that they kept moving forward with the parade but Wally was still leading so she was busy making sure she didn't get her toes stepped on.
"What about you?" Wally asked as they spun.
"Can you sing?"
"Nope. Nor will I."
"Aw, c'mon Artemis." He spun her out again. This time, Artemis was ready for when he pulled her back in and caught her again. She bit her lip then threw caution to the wind.
"Oh I don't want a lot for Christmas. This is all I'm asking for I just want to see my baby standing right outside my door." She sang. Wally's grin grew (if that was even possible).
Wally joined in with her and together they sang like idiots in the middle of a Christmas parade that Artemis wasn't even sure they were allowed to be a part of. "Oh I just want you for my own more than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. Baby all I want for Christmas is you baby!" She felt like the biggest moron but she was having fun so she ignored to embarrassment for now.
The song ended with Wally dipping Artemis then pulling her pack up and giving her a kiss on the cheek. The crowd cheered as they raced back up the float. Artemis felt a little more than mortified but Wally still had her hand in his grasp and it wasn't as bad as it was before.
"I can't believe we just did that." Artemis said, breathing hard as she clutched her cramping stomach. She wiped a tear from her sudden laughing fit out of her eye.
Wally looked down at her amusedly. "You don't hijack parades much do you?" She shoved him and he chuckled.
"God, I can't believe we just did that," she said again.
"I think you just said that." Wally said. He checked his watch and said, "we still have another hour before we have to start filming again. You want to grab some ice cream?"
Artemis stood up straight and flicked another tear from her eye. "Sure. But you're buying because you dragged me into that."
Wally bumped her with his shoulder, "deal."
"You know, the name suits you," he said one day during lunch. They were at the bakery of course, him eating and her working/eating.
She looked up at him curiously. "Sorry?"
"Your name suits you. You know, goddess of the hunt and everything." He held up his book which was entitled "Greek Gods and Their Stories". "She was stubborn and tough. But you're like Athena too. She was born in her dad's head then fought her way out."
Wally was always early for filming. He liked to be able to take his sweet time in the morning after getting his coffee and breakfast. He liked just being lazy in general. He lived his life in the fast lane and it was nice to just have the morning to be quiet and slow. It didn't hurt that the park wasn't open yet and he had pretty much free roam in the huge, fascinating park.
Wally was on his way to his trailer with his third breakfast (what? He had a fast metabolism.). He put one of his muffins in his mouth and dug around in his pockets and patted down his jeans with his free hand. He finally found his key and opened the trailer door, stepping up inside and kicking the door closed with his foot. That's when he heard it. The shower was running. And on top of that someone was singing. Wally stood there frozen with an extremely confused look on his face. Paired with the muffin that was still in his mouth, he looked rather comical. Wally put everything down on the kitchen counter and approached the bathroom door slowly. The singing became clearer as he came.
"Come in closer to the fire now. I want to see you a little brighter now."
Wally pressed his ear to the door. Whoever was in his shower was definitely a girl. Something about that voice was incredibly familiar.
"We walk a world that's turning love. The destination is the journey love."
The voice continued and Wally backed away from the door, opening the nearest cupboard to the bathroom. He picked up his weapon of choice – a toilet brush – and stepped back. Wally exhaled then slammed his foot into the door, causing the frame to crack and splinter and the door to swing open.
"WHAT THE HELL, WEST?!" The shower-singer screeched before lobbing a bar of soap at him. Wally stumbled backwards as the soap hit him in the forehead, pulling the door shut with him.
"Why the hell are you here?!" Artemis yelled through the door. There was some rustling on the other side of the door, as if she was pulling on her clothes.
"I should be asking you the same question, Artie." He paused. "Artemis, why are you in my shower?" The door creaked open slowly, Artemis standing behind it. She was wearing a dark red shirt tucking into dark was skinny jeans. Her hair was still wet and she was drying it off with a towel.
"My hotel may or may not have hot water?" She said, avoiding his eyes. She sounded almost nervous. She took the towel off her head and let the fat clumps of wet hair fall around her shoulders. "I thought you wouldn't mind."
"Is this the same hotel that takes an hour to get to from here?" Wally stood up, rubbing the spot where the soap struck him. She'd told him about the shit hotel she'd have to get last minute before; he just didn't know it was this bad. "I don't mind. You could've told me."
"I'm not going to apologize." Artemis said while she busied herself with picking up her duffel bag. Wally smiled at her.
"I know. You're not the type." Wally could tell Artemis was fighting back a smile at that. She looked up at him and tilted her chin towards his forehead where the soap had hit him.
"You should get some ice on that. It's starting to swell."
"Yeah, about that. I've never known soap to hurt so much."
"I played softball in university."
"Ah, that explains it."
Artemis had reached the door by then and put her hand on it. She laughed at his comment then turned around and said, "Suck it up, you wimp. It was just some soap." She pushed open the door.
"Artemis?" She paused and looked over at him. "You can use this place whenever you want. Just give me a head's up next time?"
Artemis smiled a little unsurely and nodded then left.
Seventeen hours after the shower fiasco, Artemis was finally on her way to her crappy hotel. The park was already closed and she was ready to crash but of course she still had another forty five minute drive back to her hotel. She decided she'd better stop somewhere for coffee on the way back as she walked through the dark and abandoned park. She was always last to leave so when the security guard on the golf cart drove towards her she was already reaching for her set ID on her neck lanyard.
"Miss Crock?" He asked.
"Yes?" Artemis said, unsure of how he knew her name.
"I've been given direction to escort you to the hotel."
"Mr. West had your things moved to a suite in the Hard Rock Hotel for you."
"West? As in Wally?"
"Yes miss. Now, if you don't mind I told him I'd get you there by midnight and it's 12:10."
"Oh, yeah. Of course." Artemis walked around the cart and sat in the passenger seat. The security guard drove through the park, taking shortcuts to get to the hotel. They got there a few minutes later. Artemis thanked him and he tipped his hat then waited until she got inside before driving off. The lobby was a clean white and covered in rock star memorabilia. Artemis was pretty sure Supermassive Black Hole was playing in the background. She approached the front desk.
"Hi um I'm Artemis Crock?"
"Ah yes. Mr. West left your key here for you." He handed her the key. "You're in one of our hospitality rooms. Room number is on there. Enjoy your stay." She smiled a little unsurely and took the card, pushing her duffel bag up her shoulder a little more as she approached the elevator. She went to her floor and straight to room B07. Artemis opened it and felt her jaw drop. Room? This place was more like a suite. She dropped her duffel next to the door and walked forward, intent on exploring it until a sudden wave of sleepiness hit her. She saw her bags were all on the kitchen table as she passed. She walked through the living room and passed the patio door until she found the bedroom behind a set of double doors. The bed was huge and canopied. It looked positively lovely. Artemis kicked off her shoes and fell onto the giant bed face first. It seemed the moment she had closed her eyes that she was asleep.
Wally turned to see Artemis running towards him. She was holding two trays of coffee with her clipboard somehow balanced on top of one tray and a box balanced on the other tray. (Wally considered it her super power in how she could balance all those things at once.) Wally stopped and Artemis caught up, panting slightly.
"Hey," she said.
"Thanks," she blurted. "For the hotel and everything. It was really...sweet."
Wally shrugged, "I owed you."
Artemis scrunched her eyebrows together. "Why?"
"You got me my whip from my trailer that one time."
"Whip? Wally, that was like two months ago. It was my job. And you got me an entire suite."
Wally rubbed the back of his neck. "It's not a big deal, really."
Artemis studied him for a minute then bit her lip. "Alright. But I got you a milkshake and one of those huge doughnuts from the Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart." She used her chin to gesture to the box and the milkshake beneath it. "I know it's not much, but..." She trailed off and Wally took the items from her.
"Thanks," he said genuinely. Artemis smiled but it was brief because there was a loud, muffled yelling from her headphones. She flinched then used her right shoulder to press the button on her headphone.
"Be right there, sir." She said into the mic. She lifted her head from her shoulder and held the drinks up. "I've got to go."
"See you," Wally said as she started past him.
Artemis stopped, turned on her heel, and walked back to Wally. She kissed his quickly on the cheek then spun around and practically sprinted to find her bosses.
(They shared the doughnut at lunch.)
Wally sneezed loudly. So loudly, in fact, that he almost didn't hear the knock on his hotel door. He considered not getting the door, too tired to actually get up. Whoever was there knocked again.
"Let me in, West, I know you're in there!" A woman's voice called through the door. Wally smiled at the voice. He stood up a little weakly and walked slowly to the door and opened it to see Artemis standing there, looking impatient. Her expression changed quickly to worry when she saw him.
"The director told me you were sick." She said. She held up a brown paper bag. Artemis awkwardly shoved the bag into his hands and he looked down at it. "I know it's not the same grade as your mom's or anything but I asked around and this place makes the best chicken noodle soup in town. I thought you might want it." Wally remembered a few weeks ago when he had told her how his mom always made him homemade chicken noodle soup when he was sick. Artemis jokingly called him a mama's boy but obviously she had remembered it. Wally looked back up at her and said, "Thanks, Artemis. This is great. You, uh, want to come in?"
Artemis shook her head. "Sorry, I've got to get back to the set. And I really don't feel like getting sick. See you soon."
Wally nodded and sniffled, "see you."
They were extremely busy for the next two weeks, barely seeing each other at all. Even their lunch meetings at the bakery had become rare and when they did get them all they usually did was work and had very little conversation. While neither admitted it, they both missed their banter and conversations.
Their first date was unofficial and completely spontaneous. Neither really would count it as a date until much, much later. It happened on a Thursday, a completely utterly normal Thursday. Only one significant thing happened this day and this one significant thing was so small that it could've easily not happened at all. Maybe if it hadn't happened at all, they wouldn't be where they are today. But more on that later.
The incredibly significant and small thing that happened that day was this: they got the afternoon off due to the unusually more hectic schedule. Because they got the afternoon off, both were heading in a completely different direction than they usually would. Because of the insignificance of a simple afternoon off Wally and Artemis happened to bump into each other, quite literally. She was scribbling on her clipboard and he was fiddling with his iPod, neither really paying attention to where they were going, when they bumped into each other and both fell back onto their butts. They both immediately looked up at who they bumped into (Wally ready to apologize and Artemis the quite opposite). Instead, they smiled.
"Hey." They said at the same time. They both laughed lightly (and a bit awkwardly) at their simultaneous greetings. Artemis noticed all the papers that had flown off her clipboard and went to her knees to start picking them up. Wally saw what she was doing and scrambled to his knees to help her gather all her papers.
"So, what are you going to do today?" Wally asked conversationally.
"I was actually going to go around the park. I haven't really had a chance to explore it yet. What about you?"
"Me too. Do you maybe want to go together?" Wally asked as they collected the last of the papers and stood. Artemis smiled.
"Yeah, sure. Just let me drop this stuff off at the hotel."
"Why don't you just put it in my trailer? It's way closer."
Artemis nodded, "sure."
They went to his trailer quickly and dropped Artemis's stuff off inside. Artemis took a tourist map from a little stand but it was quickly snatched away from Wally.
"We both know how bad you are with directions. No offense. I think I'll take over the map." She would've argued with him but he did have a point. She went along with it (though a little disgruntled). "Where to, blondie?"
Artemis sent him a look then glanced down at the map, "let's hit The Mummy Ride, red." Wally looked up at her and grinned at the nickname. "Well, let's go then."
It was lunchtime and all the tourists were eating, so they worked around the parks going on roller coasters and other rides. (Both were rather impressed with the other's handle on all the roller coasters – not that they said anything.)
After that, they started in the New York section of Universal and worked their way through the parks. They went to San Francisco and to the Beetle Juice show (which was incredibly cringe worthy - and not because it was supposed to be scary) and took cheesy tourist pictures in Jaws' mouth (much to Artemis's chagrin). They hit the Men in Black store and ride and Wally didn't hear the end of it (he was wearing the sunglasses again) until he started to sing to Artemis the Men in Black theme song which made her shut up (he bought her a pug with sunglasses too which Artemis rolled her eyes at – she secretly thought it was adorable). They shared a huge doughnut from the Kwik-E-Mart (Wally ate most of it but Artemis wasn't complaining since it was about the size of her head) and took pictures with the penguins from Madagascar (one of whom tried to hit on Artemis through the suit – Wally was about to step in when Artemis shut him down). They watched the animal actor's show (a bird landed on Wally's head and made Artemis snort like an idiot) and then they went down to the kid's corner where they found the Curious George spray park. That erupted a water war between the two (Wally recruited a bunch of kids against Artemis so she played dirty too and jumped down on top of him from the top of the equipment – both won the war overall). They were lucky the water was cold because it was sweltering hot out and they were both soaked. After they went to the E.T ride (where they were able to dry off a bit) and went inside all the crappy tourist shops on the way (they had to make a quick stop at the hotel to drop off all the crap Wally had bought).
Next they crossed over to the Islands of Adventure which was where they had spent most of their filming time but ironically had seen least of. They took more cheesy tourist pictures by the big lighthouse ("Aw, come on Artemis. Just one more!" – he was lying) then hit all the tourist stores in the Port of Entry. They went to Seuss's Landing where Wally somehow managed to convince Artemis to go on all the kid's rides with him (he couldn't, however, convince her to buy Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts with him – that's where she drew the line) and wandered through the Lost Continent (Artemis bought an interesting looking book on archaeology and Wally had a fit of gallantry and took it to carry it for her – not that he got it without a fight). Then they headed to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (where Wally was so surprised to find that Artemis was a Potterhead that she actually quoted the book – "Red hair? Hand me down clothes? You must be a Weasley." She did a rather good impression of Malfoy with the sneer and the nose tilted in the air and everything). They both bought Butter beers and Artemis almost beat Wally in buying the most useless crap. The wait for the big ride was four hours long but Wally pulled a couple strings and got them to the front (twice). As they were leaving the gift shop, they saw someone propose to his girlfriend in front of the castle...and a guy throwing up in a trash can five feet away. After that they wandered through the Jurassic Park area and got so lost they had to ask for directions (much to Wally's annoyance) and stopped for burgers at somewhere called "The Burger Digs". Then they went to the Jurassic River Adventure (which wasn't such a great idea after the burgers) then went to the Toon Lagoon. They hit the Rip Saw Falls ride (which they had thought ahead for and wore rain ponchos but they were still soaked from the last ride so that the ponchos were completely pointless) and then took pictures with Popeye and Olive Oyl (Wally tried to imitate Popeye and that just didn't end well). They left the Toon Lagoon and went to the Superhero Island where they bought ice cream and wandered in and out of the stores. By then it was eight o'clock and they were starting to get cold in their still-wet clothing. They ended the day at their Croissant Moon Bakery where they ordered hot chocolates and talked (flirted).
It was nine thirty by the time they got back to the hotel and Wally had decided to walk Artemis back to the door. It was then that she got the shadow of an idea that she was missing something. She opened her door and Wally held her bags for her. She took them from him with a thankful smile then bit her lip.
"Thanks, Wally. For the day and the pug and everything." There were a few loose pieces of wet hair that still clung to the sides of her face. Wally reached out and brushed some away and behind her ear.
"Thank you too. You know for the day and the ice cream and," he held up the disposable camera – one of the many that he had bought that day, "the pictures."
"Yeah, speaking of those: if anyone ever sees those I will castrate you with an egg beater."
"And I'd expect nothing less. Good night, Artemis."
"Good night, Wally." He left with a final smile and Artemis closed the door. She dropped her bags and leaned her back up against it.
"Crap." She whispered to herself, realizing exactly what she had been missing. Little did she know, Wally was having the same epiphany in the elevator.
Artemis was packing her bag after filming for the day. It was the 23rd (as Wally put it, "Christmas eve eve.") and everyone was getting the next few weeks off for the holidays. They were going to finish filming the last scenes starting on January 7th.
It was almost seven o'clock and although everyone else had gone home early, Artemis was the last to leave as always. She slipped her bag up on her shoulder and left the director's studio. The studio itself was temporary and moved often, according to wherever the set was that day. Today it was in the old set of a bank that was used in some superhero movie a few years back. She walked across the marble floor and to the door, which she shoved open with her shoulder (the door itself was a bit stiff) then she turned and locked it.
Artemis walked away from the bank set and past the lake. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a man with vibrant red hair sitting on a bench facing the water. Artemis turned automatically and headed towards Wally.
"Hey," she said. Wally looked at her and smiled.
"Hey," he said. "What're you still doing here? Not working, I hope."
"I was just on my way out, actually. Why are you still here? I'm always last to leave."
Wally used his chin to gesture at the lake. "They're rehearsing the light show for tomorrow," he patted the spot next to him and she took it without hesitation, dropping her bag behind her. She kicked off her shoes and crossed her legs on the bench. Wally raised an amused eyebrow at him.
Wally shook his head smiling, "Nothing."
"What?" Artemis demanded.
"You're different, that's all," he said with his eyes trained on hers.
Artemis tilted her head curiously, "I'll take that as a compliment." She looked over at the lake when the lights around them dimmed.
"It was meant as one," Wally said, also turning to the lake. Artemis looked back at him but Wally just said, "Look, it's starting."
The lights show was spectacular, but neither Artemis nor Wally could honestly say they saw all of it. Artemis was too busy looking at Wally (mostly out of the corner of her eye) and the pure child-like joy presented there. She didn't notice Wally stealing his own glances at Artemis's expression of unbridled wonder. (He didn't notice her watching him either.)
When the show ended, Artemis stood then stretched. She pulled her shoes on and pulled her bag over her shoulder. She turned to Wally, "You coming?"
Wally shook his head. "I think I'm going to stay here for a bit."
Artemis nodded, "In that case, Merry Christmas, West."
He smiled, "Merry Christmas, Artemis."
Artemis turned and left with a final smile.
The elevator dinged open and Artemis stepped inside. It was noon on Christmas and she was planning on getting some work down over at the set; that was better than sitting alone in a hotel room and watching Christmas movies on cable anyway. Her family never really celebrated Christmas, but it was still depressing to be alone on it. She thought the work would distract her; that and she'd probably get a lot done.
The doors opened to reveal the lobby and Artemis stepped out, hiking her bag up her shoulder. She spotted something out of the corner of her eye and looked over sharply. Wally was standing at the front desk in a huge winter parka, a suitcase next to him. He was talking to the man behind the desk and shifted uncomfortably in the jacket every so often from the Florida heat.
"Wally?" Artemis asked. Wally looked over and smiled.
"Hey, Artemis. You heading home for the holidays?"
Artemis approached him, shaking her head. "I'd have to drive. Too far and too expensive, it's not really worth it. What about you?"
"Missed my flight," Wally said, gesturing to his suitcase.
"Sir?" The man at the desk said, gaining their attention. "I'm afraid there are no more flights until the day after tomorrow. Would you like me to book one?"
"Nah, that's alright. Thanks, man," Wally said. He walked over to Artemis.
"Nice parka," she said with a smirk. Wally returned it.
"Well, I was going back to Central City today. Four feet of snow last night, which means pretty much all flights are cancelled. And since I missed mine, I'm out of luck."
Artemis sighed, "I miss the snow, as cliché as it sounds." Wally nodded this agreement then changed the subject.
"What're you up to today? Any wild Christmas parties?" He smiled at the last part and Artemis rolled her eyes. She lifted her bag up.
"I've got work to do."
"On Christmas?! No way. Go put that away," he pointed to her bag, "and meet me back here in ten minutes."
"Where are we going?"
He flashed a winning grin, "you'll see." With that, he left in the elevator. Artemis elected to take the stairs and did as he said (she wasn't sure why but she did it anyways). She met him back down in the lobby (he had ditched his parka and suitcase) and he gestured to follow him wordlessly.
"Where are we going?" Artemis asked. They were heading to the dock that they used to get to the park, but it was empty. "The park's closed, we can't get in."
Wally looked back at her, "says you."
Artemis jogged to catch up.
Wally checked both ways then hopped the fence to the dock. Artemis bit her lip then checked the way again. She hopped over the fence after him. He got into a little boat and gestured to her to follow.
"What the hell are you doing, West?"
Wally held up a key, "just come on."
"I'm going to get arrested on Christmas," Artemis muttered under her breath as she followed him. Wally started the boat and Artemis grabbed the rail when it jerked into motion. She sent him a look which he returned with a sheepish smile.
They pulled up to the dock where Artemis jumped off and tied the boat while Wally held it steady. They both approached the gate, which Wally ran at then jumped.
"If we get caught and fired I'm coming after you, West." Artemis said before following.
"Don't worry," Wally said once she had landed, "everyone's got Christmas off. Even security. I checked."
Artemis propped her hand on her hip, "what are we supposed to do in an empty amusement park for a day?"
Wally grabbed her hand and tugged her along behind him, "I'll show you."
They did find something to do in an empty amusement park after all. They acted like little kids but both had so much fun that neither really cared (or noticed, for that matter). They played hide and go seek in the Jurassic park area and Hogwarts. They climbed all over the Lost Continent (which Wally had to do for a scene – he knew exactly where to step and showed Artemis) and they danced in the middle of Seuss' landing to no music. Then they crossed over to the main Universal Studios lot where Wally initiated a game of tag that ended in Artemis tackling him in the middle of a patch of grass. Afterwards, Artemis had helped him up but neither had let go of each other's hand. They wandered through the park hand in hand, both too red in the face to acknowledge their hands or look at each other. Instead they pointed out buildings and landmarks in the park.
Before they knew it, it was seven o'clock and they were on their way out of the park. They made plans to go to the city walk, where they could eat and drink and be merry in general. They were just passing New York when Wally stopped abruptly, causing Artemis to stop as well since their hands were still linked.
"What's the matter?" Artemis asked.
"I- I just. Listen. I've always had what I wanted, you know? Always. It's been given to me and I've never really had to work for any of it." Wally started rambling and Artemis watched a little concerned. "And it's just that I've never had what I needed and I've never noticed until now."
"What are you saying, West?"
Wally ran a hand through his hair roughly then took a breath, summoning his courage. "And what I need, well. I need you." Artemis' eyebrows met in the middle. Needed her? Of all people? He had to be kidding.
But apparently, he wasn't because Wally took a step closer to her. "I should've done this a long time ago." Wally said as he leaned in. Artemis barely managed a "no kidding" before he had attached his lips to hers. She tasted like strong coffee with a hint of vanilla; he tasted like candy canes.
They pulled back after what seemed like forever (in a good way). Artemis looked down at her shoes with an embarrassed little smile. Wally hooked his finger under her chin and gently pulled her head up.
"So, believe in happy endings yet?"
Artemis's face fell a little bit. "Is this the end?"
Wally grinned. "Not a chance." He leaned in for another kiss.
Artemis pulled back when she felt something cold land on her cheek. She looked up and Wally did the same, seeing snow falling down on them.
"What the hell?" Artemis said in awe. Wally looked over to the building where Dick stood, the snow machine next to him. Artemis was still watching in all in wonder as Dick mock saluted to Wally. Artemis looked over at Wally again and followed his gaze to Dick and the snow machine. She laughed lightly and Wally realized the jig was up. (Wally had called Dick when he ran upstairs to put his parka and suitcase away earlier – Dick had better timing than he'd hoped. Besides, if anyone could find a snow machine and put it on top of a building in a few hours time on Christmas, Dick could.) Dick bowed dramatically and Artemis leaned her head on Wally's shoulder with a smile. They both watched Dick turn off the machine then hop down from the building and walk over to them. He threw an arm around Wally and started to direct them to the exit (Artemis and Wally were still holding hands – neither really had plans to let go).
"I believe that you lovebirds owe me a drink," Dick said with his signature trolling grin.
Of course, they were both entirely professional when they got back to the job. Artemis wouldn't let it be any other way. This was her career that they were talking about. (Well, as professional as it got when you make out in closets like teenagers during breaks.)
They kept the entire thing secret until one of Wally's co-stars walked in on them kissing in his trailer once. Everyone knew by the end of the day and they both had to sit through a very long, uncomfortable talk about professionalism with the director the next day. (It wouldn't have been so uncomfortable if the director hadn't been like her uncle).
They were married a year later, on a Wednesday. Wally wanted to have a movie themed wedding but Artemis thought that was too cheesy and vetoed the idea. In retaliation, Wally put a book of the pictures they took in Universal that one day on all those disposable cameras next to the guest book. The wedding wasn't small but it wasn't really large either and they were able to keep it from the press with only some difficultly (and some help from Artemis' journalist friend Zatanna – she had them feed the press false information and feign innocence afterwards).
Artemis reflected that, as she walked down the aisle to Wally (who had the stupidest grin on his face), it was hard to believe that it all started with a chance meeting on a movie set.
I hope you guys enjoyed and a (kind of late) happy holidays to everyone! By the way, I did see someone get proposed to outside of Hogwarts then someone else throw up a few feet away. It was sweet but gross. It's probably not my best work but I wrote the bulk of it in the wee hours of the morning and for that, I'm sorry.