When things are bad, Artemis gets quiet.

She's careful not to inadvertently eavesdrop on the others after the incident in the kitchen, before Artemis even joined them; but sometimes it's impossible to ignore the emotions roiling in, around, off of them. Humans may not be telepathic as a race, but they feel just as strongly as Martians do- and sometimes M'gann can't help but pick up more than she's probably supposed to.

She started watching her after the Exercise, and it wasn't particular to Artemis; M'gann kept an eye on her teammates with the anxiety of a new mother, half expecting something catastrophic to rip them from her at any moment. And so it is that she notices that the worse things are, the quieter Artemis gets.


Her eyes change color depending on her mood.

Observation is a valuable tool for any scientist, and Wally, despite appearances, is a scientist of no little ability.

It starts innocently enough. He'd only wanted to know what color her eyes were; the database said grey, but Wally could've sworn that they were brown the first time he saw her in the Cave, and later the ocean seems to tint them blue.

When she's angry, they lighten into a steely shade. When she's happy, her eyes brighten to a greenish blue. Her irises darken to a more somber bluish shade when she's content

girl doesn't know how to let go and enjoy something, just like Rob, always worried, always gnawing on some problem in the back of her head

and spark into more of a hazel when he's drawn her into one of the ridiculously geeky technical debates he and Robin indulge in.

But the database is right; Wally realizes that Artemis has grey eyes on December 30th, when they harden into flint and she tells them, with only the faintest hint of trepidation in her voice, that her entire family are criminals.

Wally West loves bright colors, vibrant shades of yellow and red; but Kid Flash is nothing if not adaptable, and he finds himself cultivating an appreciation of subtlety.


When she's not thinking about it she moves like a Shadow, all deadly grace.

Robin knows what assassins look like.

Watching Batman fight Talia or Ra's al Ghul is a study in efficient motion; not that Robin has much leisure to observe the fights, usually being a participant himself, but the paramount unspoken lesson Robin learned from Batman was this:

Learn from everything.

Failure, success; observation, experiments, fights, intuition. Everything is a learning experience. The reason Batman is The Goddamned Batman is because he's good at pretty much everything; and he's good at pretty much everything because he makes himself good at it. Batman is the single most indomitable human being Robin has ever met. He suspects Bruce might be the most indomitable human being on the planet, Green Lanterns be damned.

Dick watches his classmates, his teachers, the socialites at the stuffy parties Bruce drags him to. Robin watches enemies and friends alike, and he watches Artemis.

She was raised in the life, and it shows. It's remarkably difficult to catch her off guard, even for him; she handles any and every weapon with easy familiarity, and has a certain vicious genius for improvised weapons that almost reminds him of the Joker (almost, because whereas Klarion has nothing on the Joker's brand of chaos, Artemis is all about precision.) Dick loves sparring with Artemis; she moves almost as well as he does, and it's not unusual for Batman to compliment her performance (in his own way. Dick sees the glimmer of approval behind the cowl, the small nods at a particularly well- executed move, the respect in the way he treats her and way he talks about her.)

He watches her closely, and it is for this reason Robin knows Artemis is not the mole, not a threat to the Team. Robin knows what assassins look like, and no matter what she was taught, Artemis isn't a killer.


He watches the way she breathes.

Kaldur finds the differences between the surface world and Atlantis fascinating. He is less exuberant about this than, say, La'gann, but his interest is just as deep. Kaldur researched humans and the surface as best he was able from Atlantis before his first trip to the surface, and once there, he continued observing them with rapt interest.

The humans watch him, too, and he is amused at their preoccupation with his gills. Atlanteans use a variety of means to breathe- many have gills, as he does. Others have modified lungs, able to process both water and air; some Atlanteans are able to respire through their skin. Kaldur's gills are hardly the most exotic means of respiration utilized by sea dwellers. To him, everyone being the same is odd.

He comes to realize that they aren't, not really. Atlanteans aren't quite as expressive in their breathing as humans are; nostrils flaring in anger, panicked hyperventilating, and exhausted panting are not as prevalent among Atlanteans as such behavior is on the surface. When Kaldur does learn this, however, he adds it to his usual evaluation of the people around him.

Watching their breathing is especially helpful in dealing with Robin and Artemis. The only just- humans on the Team are perhaps a bit too stoic when injured, especially Artemis. While both are too smart to endanger their teammates by ignoring injuries, or overestimating their own capabilities when wounded or sick, Robin and Artemis both tend to downplay damage and understate pain. Both put the mission before themselves, and sometimes it worries Kaldur. He deals with this worry by watching them closely.

It is not a hardship. Humans in general are interesting, heroes moreso, and his friends most of all. Robin and Artemis are remarkable people; Kaldur watches the way they move, their grace, their precision. He recognizes fellow warriors. Robin is at home in the air the same way Kaldur is in deep water; Artemis glides through the forest with the ease and beauty of the goddess she is named for.

Their martial dance flows through a battle with the comprehensive grace of water. They are like a current, Kaldur thinks; a force unto themselves, distinct from and yet undeniably an intrinsic part of the fight around them. Robin and Artemis integrate themselves into battle with a natural familiarity. Artemis' every movement is a study in the most efficient way to neutralize an enemy; Robin seems incapable of being caught off balance, or caught at all.

Kaldur watches them; he watches them draw deep, even breaths, and each one disperses any worry he might have felt for them.


He hears her when the others don't- when they can't.

Conner listened to their heartbeats that first night after the Exercise, memorizing each one.

He finds himself listening for them: the strong, fast pace of Wally's heart; the steady, comforting thrum of Kaldur's; the ever- varying beat associated with M'gann; Robin, muffled slightly through his ever- present layers but reassuring by its presence; and Artemis, loud and vital.

When he's listening for the heartbeats, Conner picks up on other sounds associated with each of his friends. He becomes intimately familiar with the sound of their breath, their footfalls.

Conner comes to realize that Artemis has a habit of timing her shots between heartbeats when she can; that her step is only a little heavier than Robin's; that he can hear the whisper of her hair. He realizes that when she concentrates, she is at the very threshold of human hearing. He hears the faintest hints of an accent in her English, and the source is revealed one day when one thing too many goes wrong and she looses a glorious explosion of profanity containing pretty much every curse word and impolite, physically impossible suggestion about what the universe could do with and to itself in a rapid- fire combination of English, French, and Vietnamese.

And after particularly grueling missions, ones in which things got a little too close and none of them can bear to leave the Mountain after debriefing, Conner hears her at night.

Artemis does not scream with nightmares. She doesn't stay up all night reviewing mission reports obsessively, making and refining contingency plans; she doesn't roam the beach with a blank expression and screaming eyes; she doesn't bake obsessively, or pick halfheartedly at overflowing plates of impeccable food. She doesn't blast music in her headphones or shut herself up in her room.

Artemis goes quiet, intense, and scarily focused. Artemis' heartbeat actually calms when she's at her most dangerous, and she trains herself to exhaustion. Artemis takes to the streets and empties her quiver, empties the gas tank on her bike, and comes back with raw knuckles and blood- speckled boots.

Artemis does not scream with nightmares. Conner can tell she's woken when he hears a gasp and a galloping heartbeat; he can hear quiet breaths, in through her nose and out through her mouth, the same way she breathes when she's about to take a shot. He does not hear the rustle of sheets, because when she's frightened Artemis holds herself small and still and silent, and stays that way even after the fear has subsided.

Conner listens, and waits; and when he hears the door open, he does not crowd her. Her breath, her heartbeat, her eyes, the set of her shoulders, her tread; all of these things let him know whether he should offer to spar, or give Wolf a quirk of the eyebrows that sends the giant canine over to her, whuffling in the way that has come to mean that he wants to go out, that he needs a forest to go be a predator in.

Conner waits, and he listens when she talks with her fists, her weapons, with quiet words. He waits, and he listens for the zeta system to announce she and Wolf are back, both smelling of rich earth and bark and leaves.

Conner waits until she's okay again, but he never stops listening.


A/N: I started this a long time ago (back when Season 1 was still airing), so that affected the characters included and probably characterization as well.