A/N Hi... it's been... a while *laughs nervously*. It took me a while to figure out Artemis's reaction even with reviewer help, and my little sister has discovered Minecraft, so I barely get to use the computer. Thanks for waiting. RememberTheMuse, readingisdabest, and Kamil the Awesome all reviewed again last chapter, which I appreciate TONS. Thank you! Now, I think you've been waiting long enough, so here's chapter three:
After Ms. Waller knocked, Wally flinched slightly. He was irrationally terrified of seeing his girlfriend after being presumed dead for forty years. As it turned out, he had nothing to be afraid of: Artemis wasn't home.
Wally was insanely relieved. Now all he had to do was convince his two companions to give up on the Artemis lead and go talk to someone else. "Oh well, no one's home. I guess we'll have to try again with someone who won't want to kill me. Such a disappointment-"
"We aren't going anywhere young man," interrupted Tiffany. "We're just going to stay here until she gets home." That being said, the woman sat down on the steps leading up to Artemis' apartment with a posture that said, 'just try and go against me'.
"But we're in Gotham!" exclaimed Wally. "Isn't it still dangerous here?"
"Of course, but you're a big, bad superhero," said Hayley. "You'll protect us."
"Quit being such a pansy. She's not gonna kill you. I mean, how violent can a sixty-ish woman be anyway?" said Hayley.
"Plenty violent," interrupted an old woman holding a bag of groceries out on the sidewalk.
Wally's eyes widened as he realized who the woman was. The once blond ponytail was now tied up in a tight gray bun, and she had quite a few wrinkles, but Wally knew without a doubt this woman was Artemis. She seemed to know who he was too.
"Wally?" asked Artemis.
"Wait, who's this?" asked Hayley.
Wally completely ignored his younger companion and nodded with a completely terrified expression on his face.
The old woman's face changed from one of happy bewilderment to one of complete and utter fury in the space of five seconds.
"Where have you been?"
It terrified Wally how calm Artemis sounded. He knew from experience this particular combo of furious face and scarily calm voice meant extreme pain on his end.
"Well, you see, it's kind of a funny story," Wally stammered.
"Funny?" Artemis slowly placed her groceries on the sidewalk, and bent down to grab something out of one of the discarded bags. At first, Wally feared it was her bow but, as it turned out, that something was a carton of eggs. Wally had a bad feeling in his stomach as she opened the carton with a slightly sadistic look on her face. She took one of the eggs and started to calmly toss it between her hands.
This action was the tipping point that caused Tiffany and Hayley to simultaneously realize who the old woman was, and to understand why Wally was so opposed to using her as a verification source. The two females silently inched away from the redhead as to not get caught in the crossfire between man and angry girlfriend. They had gotten away just in time too, because Artemis seemed to have shaken out of her calm period and had begun to pitch eggs at Wally.
"Tell me. IS THIS FUNNY?"
Wally was trying his best to avoid the eggs, but Artemis's aim trumped his speed. He frantically shook his head in a vain attempt to get her to stop egging him. It didn't work. When she ran out of eggs, she began throwing other groceries, this time with added insults.
"JERK-FACED LOSER!" Wally dodged a cabbage.
"LYING SNEAK!" A stalk of broccoli hit the speedster.
"MADE." Block of cheese.
"ME THINK." Two bags of chips.
"YOU WERE." A couple stalks of asparagus.
"DEAD!" A box of cupcakes.
After Artemis had finally run out of groceries to abuse Wally with, the man felt it safe to approach her. "Artemis? It's not my fault, I-"
"Not your fault!? How is this not your fault!? You disappeared for forty years! You disintegrated! You- you- you left me!"
Wally probably shouldn't have been surprised to see tears start coming out of Artemis's eyes. He also should have tried and comforted the woman. Or even have just kept his mouth shut. But old habits died hard, and Wally still valued food over most other things. He walked back to the porch and scooped the slightly dented box of cupcakes up. Then he returned to Artemis's side.
"Should you really have disrespected the cupcakes like that? I mean, I understand being mad at me, but why take it out of this box of sweet, sugary deliciousness? What did the cupcakes ever do to you?"
Wally was relieved when Artemis didn't punch him. In fact, the former archer did almost the exact opposite. She leaned over and gave the egg-covered speedster a light peck on the cheek and started laughing through her tears.
"I missed you so much," she whispered.
Wally and Artemis were oblivious to the world around them as they tried to catch up on what they had missed in each other's lives. At least, they were until Tiffany coughed slightly.
"Not to break up this touching reunion, but can I take this reaction to mean that this man really is Wallace West, and you are his former girlfriend, Artemis Crock?"
"Yeah, you can," said Artemis, her tears and smile instantly gone. Apparently, time hadn't changed her wary nature. "Now why do you need to know?" Before Tiffany could respond, Artemis continued. "You know what? I have the feeling that this will be a long story, so why don't you guys come in and Wally can clean up before he starts talking. And he will talk."
"But what about all the food?" asked Hayley. "We can't just leave it out here."
"You wanna clean it up? Go right ahead. But there are worse things than egg on Gotham streets, so I don't think anyone will mind," said the woman. Hayley nodded in understanding, and the trio followed Artemis into her apartment.
Once inside, Artemis immediately directed Wally to her bathroom. After he left the room, she turned to Hayley and Tiffany. "Do we really need him here for your part of the story? It'll probably go a lot quicker if he's not interrupting every three seconds."
Even though Hayley had only known Wally for a few hours, she had to agree. "Nah, let's get started. Alright, so it all started a couple months ago, when Bart went back to your time…"
As Hayley told the story of their afternoon, Wally had a lot to think about while he showered. He had reunited with Artemis, which in and of itself was a mind-boggling thought: what had passed as a day for him had been forty years for her. And of course, there was also the fact that his girlfriend was now sixty, whereas he was still only twenty-one. It made for a potentially very awkward relationship- if they could even still have one.
There was also the question of whether or not he'd ever get back to the past. His present. 2016? Even with his understanding of many complex principals, the science of time travel had always confused him. Anyway, even if he did get back, would he even remember his time in the future? And if he did, how would the twenty-one-year-old Artemis respond. As crazy as her sixty-year-old self had acted, Wally knew her well enough to be sure that her reaction in 2056 would look like a nice hug in comparison to how badly 2016 Artemis would injure him.
But what if- Wally stopped his train of thought. He was starting to get a headache, and besides, he had already been in Artemis's shower too long. He turned the water off and dusted his clothes off into her trashcan. The egg wasn't really coming out of his t-shirt, but most of the rest of the food Artemis had thrown in her temper tantrum hadn't stained it at all.
Once he finished dressing and looked mostly presentable Wally walked back into the living room. He arrived just as Hayley was finishing her tale.
"… and then we showed up at your house."
Wally took a seat on the couch next to Hayley. Even though they had only known each other for an afternoon, they had become a sort of team.
Artemis was silent. Wally and Hayley nervously exchanged glances. "Well?" Hayley ventured.
"I think…" began Artemis while everyone leaned forward. "That we should find this Nathanial Tryon person and try and get Wally back to 2016."
Wally and Hayley high-fived, and Tiffany gave a slight smile. Wally had known she would warm up to him eventually, and now it looked like she was along for the ride.
Suddenly, a thought occurred to Wally. "Hold on. We?"
"Of course. You didn't think I'd let you do it alone, did you?" replied Artemis, smirking.
Wally broke out into a huge smile. With Artemis, Hayley, and Tiffany on his side, he would definitely find Nathanial and make it back to 2016… he hoped.
A/N Tada! Chapter three done and posted. If anyone has any suggestions or questions, please leave them in a review. Now to start working on the next chapter before someone finds out where I live and hunts me down ;)