Artemis was sitting on the couch of their house in Palo Alto, crying once again and didn't really know how to stop it. Everyday it was the same routine, wake up on the couch, eat a small breakfast, cry, get a call from Dick, pet Nelson, watch TV, hug Wally's pillow, cry, get a call from Zee, and then go back to sleep on the couch. Artemis had no idea of how to move on from this, she was considering moving, but that just felt like she was leaving Wally. She couldn't even sleep in their bed, every time she would wake up in the middle of the night and reach for him, but he wouldn't be there so eventually she stopped being in that room all together. Artemis just wanted it to get easier, that's what the Team keeps saying every time she visits the Watchtower, but it never feels like it will get better. Artemis said that she would still be a hero and fight on, that's what Wally would want for her, but she also selfishly thought that he would want to be here with her.
Artemis didn't want to be a hero without Wally, as Artemis or Tigress. It wouldn't feel right, she became a hero and the second she did she met Wally, she has only ever been a hero with Wally on the same team, now he's not on any team. Artemis didn't want to think about much tonight though, tonight marked the one month since Wally… died. It wasn't something she would dwell over, well she wouldn't try to dwell over it, but it was hard not to. Wally was her first love, her only love, how does she move on from that? Artemis just sat on the couch that she had come to call her "bed", she knew it would never be as comfortable as the one in their room, but this was her moving on. She had his pillow clutched against her face and Nelson at the foot of the couch and that's all she needed, right? If that's true then why has her gaze been shifting to the scrapbook M'gann made them for their fourth year anniversary? Reluctantly, Artemis lifted up the book and flipped it to the first page.
There on the first page was a picture of her covered in whipped cream and pie crust, all over her face. Wally stood in front of her, holding a towel, close enough that she could see his eyelashes. Multiple tears fell down her face as she remembered the moment.
"How do you accidentally throw a pie into someones face?" Artemis screeched at Wally as she stared at him with a glare that could scare Batman. Wally stuttered, not knowing what to say as he stared down at the very, very, frightening Artemis. "Um…" Artemis looked into his eyes and glared harder, which Wally didn't even know was possible. "So you accidentally have a pie filled with whipped cream in your hand and you stand in the same place and wait for me to come down the hall and you 'trip' and aim the pie perfectly into my face?" Wally shrugged and smirked slightly, he had a plan, a very, very bad plan, but a plan. It had been two weeks since their kiss on the Watchtower and he was tired of the awkward silences, the withering stares, and the weird stares from the Team he was going to stop it, fix it.
Artemis groaned in frustration and started to stomp off when Wally grabbed her arm and pulled her back, pushing her hip gently against the counter, their eyes locked and she suddenly felt paralyzed. "Let me, I promise I won't get any whipped cream in your eye." Wally held a hopeful smile across his face as he wiped some pie off her face and licked it off his finger. "A little late for that, Baywatch." He chuckled but moved closer, his legs in between hers and he moved even closer, taking a towel from behind her and began to wipe all the whipped cream from her face. He was so distracted by his heart beating so loud he swore she heard it, he didn't even see how she was staring at him. "Wally." It wasn't even a question, almost an earnest way just to get him to look at her. He caught her eye and realized she had been staring in his green eyes the whole time, his beautiful green eyes. Artemis couldn't help staring into them, just as he was staring into her gray ones. They had a moment right then, one that she didn't know what to make of, yes, they did have that kiss, but nothings happened since then and she was getting impatient, so impatient. Wally broke the stare and continued working on cleaning off her face, leaving one small bit of whipped cream on her cheek, purposely leaning down and kissing it off the side of her face and then brought his eyes back to hers and slowly, slowly, he moved closer wrapping his arms around her waist and she placed one hand on the side of his face and the other at the nape of his neck. Wally then gently placed his lips on hers and she felt him smirk as she made a content sound, but sadly the kiss was short lived as they pulled away. "You can't just do that! You can't just kiss me like that, it's been-" Wally cut her off saying, "Two weeks, eighteen hours, fifty-seven minutes, and fifteen, sixteen, seventeen seconds." Artemis stared up at him, completely oblivious, "You've been counting?" He shrugged and she just sighed back, mumbling something about him really being a nerd. "Wally, we can't do this. You can't keep pulling me around like this, I don't even know-" She was cut off again by Wally asking, "Will you go on a date with me?"
She smiled, but soon the smile was erased from her face as it soon turned serious, she looked away, trying to hide her tears, but that didn't stop Wally from seeing it, "I can't." Then she was gone, running down the hallway and he didn't even try to go after her. Too shocked to figure anything out Wally just kept staring at the now empty hallway. Artemis didn't know what to think, what to do, how they would get passed this. She was just complaining about him not doing anything and now here she was in the communal bathroom, gripping the sink until her knuckles turned white. She needed this, the Team and if she got in a relationship with Wally, what would happen then? The Team was her family, her home and she didn't want to mess that up.
Artemis looked into the mirror, tears streaming down her face. Weak. She always heard her father's voice in her head, haunting her, judging her and if he was here right now she would be on the floor unconscious by now. Emotions are a weakness, never an advantage. They break you and only get in the way of a mission. Artemis groaned and punched the mirror she was staring at, but as she pulled away Wally was standing in the reflection. "Artemis!" Wally walked up to her and grabbed her wrist before she could protest and examined her hand, glass shards and blood all over it. Before she realized she was being dragged in super speed to the med-bay.
"Kid Protective, really I'm fine. Promise." Wally didn't respond as he lifted her up and onto the bench, starting to gather supplies to bandage her and remove the glass. He started to work on her wounds as he started to get angrier and angrier. "What the hell, Arty?" She shrugged and he shook his head, not knowing how to respond to that in a polite manner. "Y'know, I've always wanted a home?" Wally looked at her as he heard her words, suddenly very curious. "I mean, yeah I have my mom and that's pretty cool, but she was in jail most of my life and my dad, well you know how that turned out. I guess I'm trying to say is that, I feel like I finally found it, in you, in the Team and I really don't want to mess that up." She chuckled slightly at his smirking face before smacking him upside his head. "I just don't want to mess it up and what if we do date and then it ends badly?" Wally looked up at her from her hand and smiled his "flirting smile", "It won't. Wanna know how I know that?" She shrugged as he continued, "Because I'm charmingly handsome. And… you're hot. So, I think it will be just fine." He smirked right before he got hit again.
"I'm serious! What if my dad shows up and tries to hurt the Team, hurt you. Just because I'm attached to you guys. He used to tell me emotions are a weakness, you guys are my home and that's an emotion, love. If you haven't realized." Wally finally finished and took both of her hands in his and smiled it up at her. "We're super heroes, shit happens, Beautiful. Weird shit sometimes, but we'll get through it and to be honest if your dad kidnaps me and I punch him in the face at least once before I die, I'll feel pretty good, 'cause he's a dick." She smiled before he continued, "And about the other stuff, if we're a home, to you, then all you have to do is wait. My mom used to say, 'If ever you get down or upset, just wait. Family will always be there. I will always be there. Wait for me to come home.' I always believed in that, so just wait. I promise."
Artemis looked up at him smiled, hugging him, quickly. "So, I'm gonna ask again, Will you go on a date with me?" She nodded and seconds later his lips were crushed against hers.
Artemis smiled at the memory as more tears fell down her face as she hugged the pillow that was already losing the smell of him. Sandwiches and his favorite cologne, which she used to hate, but now she would give anything just to have it on him and near her for just one more minute. Artemis flipped through more pictures as her eyes landed on the one from their first date, which was probably taken by a trolling Dick, pun intended. Most of these were taken that way, but the memory just made her cry more and more.
"Tada!" Artemis looked around at the blanket spread across the sand and the candles around the picnic basket, but then her face turned serious and she turned back to Wally. "Are you aware that you just said tada?" Wally flicked her arm before guiding her to the blanket as they sat together and he handed her various foods and many beverages. "So did I do good?" She looked at him as they had just finished eating and they were laying next to each other, his arms around her as they stared at the stars. "You mean, after it took you two more weeks after you asked me out to actually plan anything and M'gann made all the food besides the sandwiches. Oh yeah, top notch." He chuckled, but kissed her temple and suddenly sat up, "I got you something." She sat up, intrigued by the thought of a present. Wally held it up, right in front of her face. "It's a necklace." Wally glared at her, "Not just any necklace, it's a heart-shaped locket." He opened it to show her a picture of the whole team, but really it was just a close up of her and Wally with Robin in the corner making a face… almost like he knew. "Wally this is so sweet. Thank You." She leaned over to kiss him and he kissed back whole heartedly. "This way if we can't come to you immediately you will always have your home with you while you wait for us." Artemis surprisingly attacked him and kissed him while he laughed.
Artemis clutched the heart-shaped necklace around her neck that she has worn everyday since and she was sobbing now, as she turned the page and looked at the picture of their first kiss and a sob racked her body.
"I should have done this a long time ago."
She stared at the picture for a few minutes as she continued to sob until she heard a knock at the door. Artemis slowly got up and walked to the door, remembering every single moment with Wally and as she opened the door, there he was.
"Wait for me to come home."