Warning, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeealy long. Reason: It's four articles scwumched into one. And yes, before you ask, scwumched is a word
Monday by Satellites on Parade
Of all the words that Artemis had predicted would describe the start of her second month at Gotham Academy, "bizarre" hadn't even crossed her mind.
Granted, the onslaught of distinctly unamusing texts from Wally (including such sparkling gems as "I'm so hungry" at 8:34 AM, "No, seriously, I'm damn hungry" at 8:35 AM, and "artemis oh god i'm going to die. of hunger." at 8:37 AM) hadn't exactly gotten her off to a favorable start. It was a Monday, which was a bad omen in and of itself, but contact from that squirt was hardly helping the matter. She managed to drag herself through her early morning Chemistry class (Wally would have been helpful if he hadn't been dying of hunger) and had half of her attention dutifully devoted to AP French third period. She couldn't recall what transpired in Pre-Calculus, but she presumed it was something tremendously boring, so it was all right that her memory was failing her.
Morning break rolled around, and Artemis found herself standing at her locker with her forehead resting against it, growling to herself. She was many things – a crack shot, a skilled essayist, a great gymnast, a decent cook – but able to remember the combination to the most basic of high school staples was not one of them. She let out a few choice words and banged it with her open palm, which just caused her to swear some more.
"Having trouble again?"
She jerked her head to her right to glare at the source of the voice in case it was someone unsavory, but it was just Barbara Gordon, staring at her with a raised eyebrow and a poorly suppressed smirk. Artemis and Babs, as she liked to be called, knew each other through orientation, which the freshmen and sophomores had inexplicably attended at the same time. Their mutually cynical natures had allowed them to bond, and truthfully, she was the closest thing Artemis would allow herself to call a friend at the School for Snobs.
"No," Artemis replied with a sarcastic giggle. "No, totally not! Not – having – trouble – at – all!" She punctuated each word with a punch to the locker.
"That's not going to help," Babs said, no longer making any effort to contain her smug grin. "Let me."
She pushed Artemis out of the way (which ordinarily would have warranted a well-aimed kick to the back of the knees, but Artemis didn't want to add "get expelled" to her to-do list) and took the lock in one dainty hand, turning the dial left and right methodically before tugging on it, causing it to click apart. She swung the metal door open with a proudly straight back, beaming at Artemis over her shoulder.
"Uh. Thanks," Artemis muttered before shoving Babs aside in a bit of not-so-poetic justice, pulling out the snack her mother had packed her and her American History textbook. What should have occurred to her several minutes earlier did just then.
"How did you know my combination?" she asked with too much bewilderment and not enough hostility. Babs shrugged, winking.
"Call it intuition. Anyway, bell's gonna ring, so you'd better get on your merry way."
She gave Artemis a sardonically coy wave before vanishing in the crowd with ninja-like skills, and Artemis frowned after her, peculiarly not disconcerted by the redhead's knowledge of her locker combination. She didn't even know it, for God's sake.
Just as Babs had predicted, the bell drilled through the halls, and Artemis groaned as she bit into the apple from the paper bag and, clenching it between her teeth, scrambled across the building toward History, to which she was three minutes late. Her teacher gave her a discerning look through his laughably dated coke-bottle glasses and she surreptitiously slinked to her seat in the back.
Just as she was sitting down, she felt her phone vibrate adamantly in her pocket, and she ground her teeth with limited patience as she set her bag down and pulled out the device.
Wally, of course.
"please send food"
Just as she finished reading it, her phone lit up with another new message.
"or, alternatively, help"
She sighed, rolling her eyes, and opened her textbook, flipping idly through the pages with no chosen destination. The phone buzzed.
With a barely-hidden groan, she snatched it violently out of her lap and shoved the unlock button up.
"if help is a cheeseburger"
She slammed her thumb into the "reply" button and furiously typed back, "Wally, LEAVE ME ALONE. I'M IN CLASS."
"class? we don't need no stinkin' class"
"That's good, considering you don't have any."
"if i wasn't starving to death i'd come up with a crushing reply"
Artemis shook her head, not allowing the tickling hint of a smile to disrupt her poker face as she stared unseeing at her rambling teacher. She put her chin in one hand, holding her pencil to a blank notebook page in the other, and exhaled torturously.
"Many would assert that MacArthur readily defied the orders of Truman when he confronted China in the wake of its defeat, but, truthfully, the Joint Chiefs stated that they believed that MacArthur had merely… stretched the limits of his orders, not overstepped or violated them. Truman took their advice the wrong way, however, and…"
"Just makes you wanna be a historian, doesn't it?" A snarky whisper emerged from Artemis's left, and she blinked, glancing over to see none other than Dick Grayson sitting next to her. She constantly forgot that she was in a class filled with freshmen because she was a transfer student, and he was not making it any easier with his penchant for following her around.
"Shut up, Grayson. Listen to the lecture," she hissed, and he let out a breathy chuckle.
"Oh, right, Crock. This coming from the most attentive listener in the Gotham Institute for the Deaf."
"That wasn't even funny, Dick."
"Miss Crock! Mister Grayson!" They both jumped at the sound of their names spoken so sharply, and stared guiltily up at their professor, whose lips were pursed as he squinted disappointedly at them. "Would you care to share your conversation with the class, or may I continue?"
At precisely the same time Artemis said, "no, go on," Dick exclaimed, "We were just discussing the overreaction of Truman in response to MacArthur's actions."
"Oh, really?" The teacher didn't seem convinced. "And, uh, what exactly did you conclude?"
"Guy was definitely not feeling the aster in that situation," Dick Grayson said, and Artemis's head whipped around so sharply to look at him that her braid flew over her shoulder. He glanced at her, winked, and sank back into his seat in satisfaction.
"Thank you, Richard, for your… trademark abuse of the English language." The teacher sniffed. "Now, where was I? Ah, yes. MacArthur's final address to Congress in 1951…"
"What did you just say?" Artemis whispered fiercely, feeling her cheeks losing their colour as she spoke. Dick grinned at her, causing his unnervingly icy eyes to twinkle.
"Just answering the question," he told her happily, and promptly opened a new page in his notebook to begin doodling what looked like an angular bird logo. Artemis gawked at him for a few good seconds before the teacher's frequent looks sent her way forced her to send her attention elsewhere.
The remainder of the period was mostly uneventful save for a brief lull in the lecture when the teacher told a girl to spit out her gum, and Artemis found herself unexpectedly surprised when the bell rang to release her and her classmates. She haphazardly packed up her things, grunting as she hauled her weighted-down bookbag over her shoulder. She heard a light, prepubescent snickering from from beside her and turned to glower at the source.
"Something funny, Grayson?" she started to demand, but her sentence dissipated when she saw that the desk was empty. She looked up wildly, but the eccentric kid was nowhere to be found.
Was everyone at this school trained in the ways of… oh, she doesn't even know; Batman? It was ridiculous. And yet, oddly, she wasn't even shocked anymore when someone she'd just been talking to suddenly vanished from sight.
She didn't even give heed to the class's discussion in English, but she forgave herself because they were only talking about All Quiet on the Western Front, which she frankly hated. (In hindsight, she thought that night when one of her absent classmates dared to e-mail her asking for the paper topic they had been assigned, she probably should have been listening.)
The dining hall was crowded and buzzing with activity, and Artemis tried to forge her way through the snobbery permeating the air and find a place to eat her food as quickly as possible. While the scholarship had indeed covered all of her tuition and supply funds, it had failed to include a meal plan, but Artemis didn't care, because frankly, she wasn't in the mood for "Authentic New England Clam Chowder" at the moment, and there was something about her mother's leftovers that let her briefly forget the several hours she had to go before she could return home.
She spotted Babs across the floor, sitting alone at one of the tables in a corner against the nearest window (the entire north and west walls of the dining area had floor-to-ceiling windows), and approached her with relief, weaving easily in and out of the hordes. She was stunned to see that, when she finally reached her destination, Babs was no longer by herself: Dick Grayson was sitting cheerfully next to her, wolfing down a salad.
Artemis grimaced and sat down across from them.
"Hey, young'uns." She saluted them sarcastically and started rummaging through the crumpled paper bag that held her lunch. Babs acknowledged her with a nod, which Artemis was perfectly content with, but Dick set down his fork resolutely and fixed a serious gaze on the archer. It took her a moment to notice, but when she did, she froze, allowing her mouthful of cold cơm tấm to loiter unswallowed in her bulging cheeks.
"What?" she demanded, but it came out a bit more akin to whmff.
"Don't call me a young'un," he ordered, brandishing his fork at her as though this was extremely serious business.
"What would you prefer I call you, Grayson?" Artemis snorted after swallowing the fried egg.
"Uh, definitely not that, either." Dick's frown tightened and he folded his arms, doing nothing short of pouting. Babs smirked at him. Artemis followed suit.
"How about Dickweed?" she suggested with a laugh, and Babs snickered behind one hand. This half-hearted insult didn't seem to faze Dick.
"How about… Dick Grayson, The Boy Blunder?" Babs asked with a glittering in her eyes that Artemis couldn't decipher. "You do kind of look like that Robin dork…"
"I like the sound of that!" Dick said with a wicked expression. "You can call him Robin One, and me Robin Two."
"Like Thing One and Thing Two," Artemis interjected, staring at the two freshmen with a slightly weirded out expression.
"You okay there, Crock?" Babs asked without the slightest hint of actual concern.
"Yeah, you seem a little nonplussed," Dick agreed, leaning toward Artemis and regarding her with scrutiny that caused her to tilt backward. "Maybe we oughta fix that. I hereby decree that by the end of lunch, Artemis Crock will be beyond plussed!"
"Oh my goodness, Dick, the inventors of prefixes are rolling in their graves."
"Isn't it ironic that the word prefix in and of itself contains a prefix? That's kind of lazy."
Babs shook her head and turned her eyes to the ceiling fondly before returning to her sandwich. The remainder of the meal passed in relative silence, and every time Artemis glanced up at Dick, she noticed him sending furtive glances at Babs's shoulders and hair. They grow up so fast, she thought, and then the familiarity of that thought struck her: hadn't she just said that to Wally a few days ago when Robin had been fawning over Zatanna?
Babs was right. Dick Grayson did bear a bit of a resemblance to Robin. If Artemis slapped a mask on him right then and there, they might have been identical, especially in their mutual disdain for prefixes or any other basic grammatical tool.
Babs said something and Dick laughed, a light, throaty chuckle that Artemis could have sworn she had heard before, maybe on TV. Or maybe Robin and Dick Grayson were long-lost cousins, or something.
Ordinarily, she would have presumed that the boy across from her was Robin, but she told herself that it was too obvious: the sidekick of the world's greatest detective would hardly be that carefree about his secret identity. That sort of high-profile stupidity was reserved for the likes of Wally, who, coincidentally, it seemed, messaged her right then. She slid her phone open.
"what are you eating. tell me so i can dream about it."
She couldn't help letting her expression grow just a little bit less stoic, and rapidly typed a reply before leaning down to stuff the remainder of her bag lunch into her bookbag.
"Another dazzling lunch with—" she started to snark out, but found herself once again staring at an empty space when she came back up. Both Babs and Dick had vanished.
World's greatest friends award goes to…
Unbeknownst to her, both Dick and Babs were spying on her from behind the window of the closed cafeteria doors, giggling discreetly to themselves.
"Dick, don't you think maybe we should go a little easier on her? Bats would kill us if he knew we were even talking to her." Babs glanced sideways at her sniggering companion, who was rubbing his hands together with relish.
"Nah, we can't quit while we're ahead! And besides, Batman can't kill us; it's bad for his image. The kindergarteners would never forgive him."
"Do you ever actually plan on, I don't know, not trolling her for five seconds?"
Dick shrugged, straightening his tie. "Plans are for squares. Oh, crap, she's coming this way. Evacuate!"
They both dashed off in different directions with identical giggles echoing in their wake, and when Artemis finally stepped out into the hallway, all thoughts of the eerie similarities between Dick Grayson and Robin were replaced by pondering the best way to efficiently cut off Wally's fingers to get him to stop sending her meaningless text messages.
To be honest, the latter made her head hurt a lot less.
Tuesday by Jncera
T is for Tuesday
T is for Troll
T is for Testing the Limit of Arty's Self-Control
Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon trolling Artemis Crock at school? Of course it was bound to happen.
The only thing Artemis hated more than Mondays were Tuesdays—they were always guaranteed to be worse.
Tuesdays meant having to lug the memories of Monday, along with shouldering the ennui of yet another day at school. At least on Mondays, weekend memories were fresh, and the sleep-bank was rolling in dough. But by Tuesday, Artemis was already mentally throwing up her hands and wanting to yell out the three-letter phrase that began with "fuck" and ended with "shit".
And to make matters worse, Wally seemed to have established texting her about his empty-stomach agony as a daily and concrete hobby of his.
"the person in front of me has a pic of nachos on their shirt"
"why would they do that to me"
"this is torture"
"must have nachos"
Artemis groaned. Five texts in a row—five texts in a row and it was only 8:32 AM. At this rate, Wally was going to make her phone explode from his whiney vomit by the end of the day. Sure enough, when lunchtime rolled around, Artemis had already received twenty-five messages from him—none of which she had actually replied to other than with a roll of her eyes and extremely exasperated sighs.
And that same plastic cling-wrap of exasperation seemed determined to follow her static electric charge, and to her dismay, seemed to have tagged along to lunch.
Artemis dumped herself at the table across from Dick and Barbara with an exhausted sigh. Both nodded to acknowledge her presence, but remained silent as they watched the TV screen behind her.
Sometimes Artemis wondered if Gotham Academy had such large coffers that they really did not know what to do with all the gold and green. (For example, there was a man-made waterfall next to the outdoor basket-ball courts. Really? How was that logical in the slightest bit?) The cafeteria—or dining hall, as the posh inhabitants were determined to call it—was not only lined with cathedral-like floor-to-ceiling windows, but sleek flat-screen televisions as well.
(Well, it certainly was absolutely splendid to know that Gotham Academy students regularly struggled over which channel to watch during lunch, while her old high-school, Gotham North, struggled with just trying to provide enough desks and books due to budget-cuts.)
But truthfully, she enjoyed the company of her two silent friends—it definitely was a welcome reprieve from the constant buzzing of her phone and Wally's self-proclaimed nervous and physical breakdowns.
Wait—apparently she spoke too soon.
The morning news was replaying on the screen they were watching, and soon Babs turned to Dick and a conversation revolving around superheroes emerged.
Artemis later regretted she had not taken that cue for her to bolt out of the dining hall. Hindsight was always twenty-twenty.
"So Dick," Babs began casually, "Who's your favorite in the Justice League?"
"Mmm, I don't know, Batman is pretty extraordinary," he answered with a grin. "But do you know who adds another 'extra' to 'extraordinary'? Robin."
"Robin? Oh, I think he's more ordinary than extraordinary," Babs teased.
"But what he lacks in powers he makes up for with unparallel intelligence, years of acrobatic training, and a whole lot of charm," he countered.
"Charm? What charm? Lucky Charms the cereal?"
He continued to grin and leaned back in his chair, stretching his arms and then folding them dramatically behind his head in an air of pompous pride. "I heard he's quite popular with the ladies, with or without cereal, because he's 'real' without the 'ce'."
Babs rolled her eyes looked back to her lunch.
Dick nodded at Artemis, who had been half-listening to their conversation while simultaneously eating and shooting daggers at her phone (and telepathically at Wally).
"How about you, Artemis?" he asked. "Got a favorite Leaguer? Or perhaps," he added with a smirk, "A superhero-crush?"
She snorted through her nose mid-chew and looked up at him. "Ha," she replied after swallowing, "No thanks."
He tapped his chin and feigned a look of pensive wonder. "Hmm, I think you're Kid Flash's type."
Artemis practically choked on her pasta and had to thank her talented strength of will in preventing the contents of her mouth from becoming abstract art on Dick's facetious grin.
Dick turned to Barbara and elbowed her in the side. "Right Babs?"
She nodded and focused her attention on Artemis, giving her a playful once-over. "Definitely Kid Flash's type," she agreed, her eyes glinting.
Artemis's jaw dropped, and she could have sworn she almost dislocated it. "WHAT?"
"You both have that spunk going on," Dick pointed out, completely abandoning his lunch and the TV screen for the current live entertainment.
"Spunk?" Artemis repeated incredulously.
"Well," he continued to secretly goad, "Maybe Kid Flash is more 'punk' than 'spunk', but if you two were to ever meet in real life, I bet it'll be love at first sight." He topped off his sentence with a bright ingenuous smile.
Artemis simply stared wordlessly at the boy across from her, unsure if she had just consumed a hallucinogen hidden in her pasta, or those clearly fallacious and vile words had really come from behind that mischievous expression of his.
"I take your silence as agreement," he continued smugly.
Artemis instantly snapped out her silent gawking reverie. "Hell no!" she cried, loud enough to make a few neighboring tables turn to frown at her. "If you take silence as an agreement then I will gladly run through the school screaming at the top of my lungs!"
Dick snickered. "Why? Have you ever met Kid Flash?"
Her demeanor suddenly retreated into one of nervousness. A million middle-fingers to you too, wretched inability to lie.
"I, uh, um, no," she finally sputtered out.
Dick tilted his chair backwards, precariously yet gracefully balancing it on two legs as it mimicked a meditative rocking-chair. "Then how do you know he's not your type?"
Artemis released a slow exhale and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Why are we having this conversation again?" Why are we having this conversation at all?
"Because," answered Babs simply, "Dick and I think you and Kid Flash would make the cutest couple."
Artemis grimaced. "And once again, I ask: why?"
"Hmm, well," began Babs, "It would be a crime to not put two good-looking people as Kid Flash and yourself together."
Artemis looked warily at Dick and Babs's plates. Did she just call Wally good-looking? Is there something poisoning their minds here?
"And I heard he's quite the science-wiz, so you two can join each other in nerd-topia," added Dick.
"I've also heard he has a fiery wit that could match yours."
"He's also apparently quite the charmer—although, not as charming as Robin, of course."
"And you can't deny that toned body!"
As Artemis looked from Dick to Babs as they listed out all their (false! Wholly false!) arguments, a queasy feeling crept into the pit of her stomach. One more peep about her and Wally's "compatibility", and she was going to up-chuck everything until there was no more up to chuck.
"You okay there?" spoke Babs with a tinge of genuine concern. "You're looking a bit green."
Artemis didn't answer, because that would mean she had to open her mouth—an action she currently didn't trust herself on carrying out anytime soon.
"Oh, speaking of green," Dick interjected, leaning forward with a loud clunking noise as all four legs of his chair took root again, "I heard Green Arrow got a new side-kick."
"What happened to his old one, Speedy?" Babs inquired.
"Apparently he went solo and now goes by Red Arrow," he answered, picking up his fork again.
"So who's the new guy?"
"Girl actually," Dick corrected her, "From what I've heard."
Artemis frowned at him. Paranoia replaced nausea, and she finally trusted her sphincter muscles to speak again. "Um, and you heard this from, where, exactly?"
He stabbed a cherry tomato with his fork and waved it in the air while grinning at her. "Neither here nor there, but sometimes everywhere and mostly anywhere."
She narrowed her eyes. There had to be a magical formula somewhere to force Dick Grayson to stop speaking in riddles, and she vowed to find it before she resorted to either punching him, or tearing her hair out. The former was probably more likely, and better on her end (and scalp).
Babs also returned her focus to her plate of food and started pushing her salad around. "So how does the new girl compare to Red Arrow?" she questioned nonchalantly.
"No idea, but I'm sure she manages… Hey! I think she would actually be perfect for Kid Flash!"
And to make matters about an infinite times worse (although Artemis didn't conceive it could actually be possible), Wally had to choose that exact moment to send her a message that just had to say: "so my friends are pairing up superheroes they think would make cute couples and I just want to say I hate you I hate you so much for existing."
Artemis dragged a hand down her face and resisted the urge to smash her head against the table. There was something terribly wrong with the universe today.
Tuesdays: they were always guaranteed to be worse than Mondays—always.
Wednesday by Black Licorice Addict
It was a well-known fact that after Tuesday, the rest of the week read WTF. Wednesday was the poor, unloved middle child, always being overshadowed by the doldrums of Tuesday and the passive aggressiveness of Thursday that eventual led to the golden child of Friday.
It was usually perched on this metaphorical weekly hill that Artemis wished she could fast forward to Friday afternoon.
She arrived at the academy that morning to find her locker stuffed to the brim with "Welcome to Gotham Academy" pamphlets. Then Dick had somehow managed to score her detention in their history period while he got off scott-free, and Babs had swapped out her long, boy shorts for ridiculously short shorts before gym class. Curse that girl and her ability to crack combination locks! Was nothing sacred?
Someone should really grant her wish and make a time machine to spare her this nonsense. Perhaps she could talk the resident nerd into building her one? Speaking of which…
I'm pretty sure the class thinks there's a thunderstorm brewing in the back of the room. My stomach's growling. Again.
Artemis rolled her eyes at the incoming text message. Oddly enough, it was only the third text Wally had sent her so far (she was fairly certain he was still stewing over the comment made by his friends yesterday that KF and Artemis would make the perfect couple).
It wasn't like Artemis had missed his twenty billion texts before 10 AM or anything. Hell no! It saved her a lot of headache and distraction. She could actually recall everything from the first half hour of chemistry class. The last half had been spent doodling lightning all over the margins of her notes…which was entirely due to the fact that the instructor was covering molecular charges…never mind where the circles surrounding the bolts came from…
If anything, she should be thanking Wally's friends for the brief repose. Although she really hoped the similar topic from yesterday's lunch at her table had been permanently dropped, never again to resurface.
But there was something suspicious about the entire state of affairs. What were the odds that Wally, of all people, would be in the exact situation as her at the exact same time? Her statistical knowledge had never been solid, but Artemis was pretty sure no one in their right minds would have bet on it.
She had a theory. A warped, totally cracked, never in a million years could this be possible, reckless theory. A truly dumb idea (Wally would be so proud). And she was going to put it to the test.
For once, Artemis had arrived at their vaguely established lunch table before her two friends. Dick appeared suddenly, as Artemis had grown accustomed to him doing, prime rib and salad in hand. Artemis took a picture of the meal to send Wally, looking up from her phone and finding herself face to face with Barbara, who was digging into her pasta. Time to test the theory.
"So…"Artemis began, the words rolling off her tongue in what she hoped was a casual manner. "I was thinking about our conversation yesterday and—"
"You admit that you and Kid Flash are soul mates?" Dick interrupted, his blue eyes sparkling with humor.
"No," Artemis told him in a tone that left no room for argument, ignoring the vibration of her phone informing her that her picture message had been received by Kid Flash and had not been appreciated. "I think—"
"That Kid Flash and Green Arrow's new sidekick would be perfect for each other?" Babs quipped.
"NO!" Artemis snapped, irritated that the two had started to troll her before she could get a word in edgewise. "If the television reports are accurate, the only person compatible with Kid Flash is Kid Flash's reflection."
"Touché," Dick grinned, looking at Barbara. If Artemis didn't know better, she would have thought they were communicating telepathically, exchanging tactics on how best to torment her. She took advantage of their momentary lapse in attention to continue.
"ANYHOW…I was thinking about what you both said about Justice League couples, and I think Robin would actually look adorable with Zatanna." She paused for effect, minutely observing her younger friends' expressions.
Dick laughed, but Artemis swore on M'gann's brownies that Barbara's eyes had narrowed half a fraction before she turned to face her partner in trolling. Dick, for all his boyish charm, probably did not notice the subtle glare radiating from the red head.
"Why are you laughing, Dick? Do you think Artemis is right?" Bab's voice was almost casual, keyword being almost. Artemis caught the subtle jab—a slight lilt to the tone in which her friend said Dick's name. Artemis mentally chalked it up as a victory in her favor before turning back to the two teens opposite her, lunch forgotten.
"Wha-?" Dick coughed, coming to the slow realization as only boys could that something bad had transpired without his notice. "I mean, they're probably just good friends, right?" The last question caused his voice to crack. Artemis grinned.
"I don't know…" the archer drawled, twirling a loose end of blonde hair. "I mean, have you seen them together on news reports and in the paper? Definitely a compatible couple in my book."
Dick and Babs were doing the silent communication look again, but Artemis could see the distinct discomfort on the boy's face. "Compatible? Naw…They're definitely 'patible. Nothing 'com' about it." Nothing calm indeed.
"And besides, isn't Robin interested in Batgirl?" Babs asked lightly, twirling a fork in her noodles.
"Who?" Artemis quipped, enjoying stoking their fire for a change, letting loose the nest of hornets that didn't belong to her.
"Batgirl," Barbara bit out stiffly. "You know, she works with Batman? And sometimes Robin?"
"I don't think I've heard of her," Artemis lied, and for once, the two younger teens didn't catch it.
"She is pretty whelming compared to Robin—ouch!" Dick yelped as Bab's fist made contact with his shoulder.
"Yeah? I bet she could pwn Robin her sleep," the red head quipped, sending a challenging look down her nose at the boy.
"Sure, if Robin was tied up AND asleep she might have a chance," he grinned.
Artemis sighed contentedly, finally able to eat her lunch without being trolled. Perhaps, if she was feeling particularly snarky, she might even pull the disappearing act and leave the two freshman to their own devices.
Barbara socked Robin in the arm again, and Artemis had a brief feeling of deja-vu before glancing down at the last message from Wally.
I loathe you so much right now.
A slow, evil smirk danced across Artemis face. She observed the pair across from her, still arguing Robin vs. Batgirl, before quietly leaving the table and making her escape. Suddenly, her ridiculous theory didn't look so farfetched. She typed a message back to Wally.
Revenge is a dish best served on Wednesdays.
Finally, Thursday by Liahbsixteen
Thursdays were just plain stupid.
They shouldn't exist - they served only to lengthen the time until Artemis was able to free herself from Gotham Academy's ridiculously shiny hallways, and therefore from Dick Grayson and Babs Gordon. Or, as she now privately called them, Robin and Batgirl.
Artemis's phone buzzed, an extremely irritating noise, and she opened it with a sigh, already knowing the general gist of what she'd been sent.
bring me breakfast (8:34)
four pieces of toast and an egg (8:34)
screw that bring an entire chicken (8:34)
i am withering (8:36)
i will blow away in the wind (8:36)
i need food (8:36)
help me please (8:37)
Artemis snapped her phone shut, refusing to answer such stupid texts from Wally. She shoved it into her bag, and walked down the hallway to whatever stupid class she had first, hoping to avoid anyone she knew.
No such luck. Although she'd bypassed her locker, Barbara Gordon was standing outside their World Literature classroom, rifling through her own bag. Cursing the fact she took classes with Babs, she stomped over to the red-head, ready to be subjected to mental torture for the rest of her day.
To her surprise, Babs's usually calm face was filled with anger, as she glared ferociously at he floor.
Artemis stood next to her for a moment, feeling quite awkward, until she finally nudged the other girl. "Are you okay?" she asked hesitantly, silently hoping the girl would just say yes.
Babs spared a look at Artemis before returning to her attempt to melt a hole in the floor of the corridor. "No. But I'll be fine."
Artemis raised a brow. "Coming from a shit liar, that was horrible," she drawled, slightly amused. She had an idea of why Babs was cranky, but she wanted to see if she was right.
Babs's glower lessened for a moment, and she cracked a grin. "It's just- complicated. I mean- he just- I want-"
"Dick troubles?" Artemis asked cruelly. She had no intention of letting Babs and Dick off the hook, after all they'd put her through, but she need information, and having Babs as an ally could prove useful. Artemis felt her phone buzz as Wally continued his narration of his dreadful, tortured life.
Babs's startled gaze flew up to meet Artemis's. "How-?" she gasped out, before a sardonic smile creased her face. "That obvious?"
Artemis nodded. "Give him time," she suggested as the teacher arrived (finally) and they filtered into the classroom. "He'll get over Zatanna eventually."
She savoured the shocked silence from behind her as she checked her phone.
SOS food (8:39)
i think I can feel my body eating into my heart muscle (8:39)
what is wrong with you why aren't you helping me (8:40)
dying here (8:40)
like a tree without water (8:41)
and I am the tree (8:41)
and the water is food (8:42)
Artemis simply replied with a tasteful 'you're stupid Wally' and sat down in her assigned seat.
"She knows!" Babs's hurried whisper cut through the happy rumble of lunch-goers, and her wide eyes expressed her distress. Batman would kill them. He'd kill them. He'd kill them dead for even talking to her, let alone letting her learn their identities!
"No way," replied Dick, placing his books into his locker. "I mean, she didn't even know who Batgirl was yesterday. There's no way-"
"Trust me, she knows. She said today-" as Dick watched, Babs's broke off, turning as red as her hair. "Well - what she said doesn't matter. But trust me, she definitely knows."
Dick's phone buzzed, and he slipped a hand into his pocket, already knowing it was Wally complaining about his school lunch. With a quick glance he read the text - 'why do you get steak and salad I get mystery meat I hate you so much' - and was beginning to text back a reply when he froze, looking up at Babs.
"Wally just told me he was jealous of my steak and salad lunch," he said calmly, mind racing to comprehend the situation, and limit the damage.
"Uh, yeah," Babs said, looking confused. "And that's unusual for what reason -"
"Wally just told me then. And I haven't told him what our meal is yet," he replied calmly.
A look of comprehension dawned on Babs's face. "Oh. OH. So that means-"
"Yep," Dick finished, a grin on his face. "And I have the perfect plan."
Artemis was unsurprised to see Babs and Dick appear within blinking time, both with the salad and steak in hand. She'd already texted a photo to Wally, and in return had had a stream of abusive and/or pleading texts from the speedster. There was a certain edginess to how the two younger students sat, Artemis realised as she ate smugly. Probably because all secrets are now out in the open here. Well, most of them, anyway.
"Hey Artemis," Babs said, looking almost too casual as she ate her lettuce, eyes blank. Artemis nodded in reply and smiled at Dick as she finished her mouthful.
"Did you think on our conversation yesterday?" asked Artemis sweetly, loving the way Babs tensed slightly and Dick blinked awkwardly.
"Not really," Babs replied without any hint of a lie. Well, besides that absolutely blank face and the way she was ignoring Dick. Artemis bit into her lettuce, enjoying the crunchy feeling of it beneath her teeth. Revenge was extremely sweet.
Wally wasn't really sure what was going on. See, he'd texted Artemis on Wednesday with pleas for her to help save his life, and as usual she'd sent him a photo of her beautiful, delicious, succulent meal of prime rib and salad (there was a reason he'd named her She-Demon in his phone), when she'd sent him the most puzzling text.
'Revenge is a dish best served on Wednesdays.'
Now, Wally prided himself on being the most logical of the team. It came with the 'science prodigy' part of him. So when he received a text stating 'Revenge is a dish best served on Wednesdays' and he didn't know what that meant, it frustrated him. Therefore, he was going to find out.
The team was currently gathered at the cave, readying for 'bonding time' as Kaldur had called it. Artemis was sitting on the couch reading something, and M'gann was cooking something in the kitchen. Everyone else was either getting changed or relaxing.
Wally sidled over the couch, eyes bright. "What did you mean by the Wednesday thing?" He asked Artemis quietly. No one else knew that the two were texting, and Wally wanted to keep it that way.
"You wouldn't have understood," she replied, just as quiet as he was, turning a page of what seemed to be a French text book. Damnit. She was playing hard to get.
"Just tell me," he whined softly, leaning over the edge of the couch so his mouth was close to her ear. "Please."
Artemis looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "It was just a joke. You wouldn't understand."
Wally bit back a groan. He wanted to know. He wanted an explanation. Explanations were what Wally lived for - one of the many reasons he loved science. Science explained absolutely everything. "Just tell me please-"
Wally jumped a foot backwards as Robin suddenly appeared in the room. He watched anxiously as the acrobat walked across and cave and plonked himself down next to Artemis, afraid he had noticed Wally's position moments beforehand.
He relaxed as the younger boy said nothing, simply read over Artemis's shoulder intently. He'd started to walk towards the kitchen (and M'gann) when he heard Artemis shriek and turned to see Robin holding a small black mobile phone, scrolling through something with a cat-got-the-cream smile on his face.
"Contacts," Robin read aloud, grinning. "Crock, Paula. Gordon, Babs. Grayson, Dick. Home. Boring." The grin was beginning to fade when it suddenly came back full force. "Who's 'The Fricking Food Monster'?"
Wally stared at Artemis, suspicious of who 'The Fricking Food Monster' might be. As a blush ran riot across her face, he realised he was right, and bit down on his indignation.
"Just.. A friend from my old school," Artemis stuttered, sure she'd be caught. If Dick found out she texted Wally - the consequences would be dire.
"Oh really?" Robin, raising his eyebrows above his shades. "Is that so?"
M'gann entered the room, carrying a tray of freshly bakes cookies. She'd opened her mouth to speak when Wally waved her silent. This (sadly) was more important than food right now.
"Um, yes," stuttered Artemis, swallowing. Please let him buy it, she thought valiantly.
"What's his name?" asked Robin, leaning down to stare earnestly into Artemis's eyes as well as one wearing shades could.
"Uh... Um..." Artemis's poor brain scrambled to think of a name - any name! - as Kaldur and Supey joined them in the living room, all staring interestedly at the scene before them.
"Oh! Lookie here! You've sent quite a few texts to this guy today! How about I read one out, hmm?" Artemis went white, and attempted to grab her phone from the boy's hand, but he was out of her range in a heartbeat.
"Here's the most recent," Robin cried, looking down at the phone. "Here it is: 'you're stupid Wally'."
There was a deafening silence before M'gann let out an excited squeal. "I knew it!" she cried, eyes bright, nearly dropping her cookie tray.
Kaldur chuckled lightly and Supey just looked confused. Robin threw Artemis her phone and walked past the white-faced girl, towards the training room. As he passed, he leant down and whispered in the dumbstruck girl's ear.
"Just a hint - never try and troll a troll."