a, i. thirteen/fifteen
Artemis hadn’t applied for the Wayne Foundation Scholarship for a reason. She wasn’t a bad student, per say; she did well in school. She’d gotten A’s and B’s at her old school, but Gotham Academy was on a whole other level, and she, as a lowly scholarship student, was expected to be at the top. Lovely.
She pulled at her hair; stared at her math homework and didn’t understand a thing. She sighed. It looked like she was going to need to get some help. She groaned. The last thing she wanted to do was deal with them. They were absolutely horrible and after the first time she’d tried to get them to help her she was in no hurry to attempt getting help again.
She walked down the long hallway that led to Mrs. Parlak’s room as slowly as possible, scoffing at the pretentiousness of the decorations, even after a month of attending.
The door to the room was open, as per usual, and she could hear the vague sounds of nerdery going on behind the door. She sighed, squared her shoulders, and walked in.
Every person in the classroom turned to stare at her.
“I need some help; anyone mind?” The people in the chairs stared at her. She stared back. They stared some more. She narrowed her eyes. Finally, one of the boys in club stood up.
“Sure, what did you need help with?” She recognized him, Richard Grayson, the boy who’d taken her picture on the first day of school saying that they would laugh about it someday. She had the strangest feeling that it wouldn’t be today.
After he’d obviously made an effort to be nice to her, the rest of the group relaxed and turned to continue their discussions. “It’s a little loud in here, let’s go to the next room, it’s quieter in there.”
She shrugged. “Sure whatever.”
Once they got in the next room he started talking. “Sorry, ‘bout that, we aren’t used to people coming in for help, most kids act like we’re beneath them and don’t bother to ask for help.”
“I don’t see why not. Student tutors teach better than adult ones.”
He smiled, and she caught herself thinking about how much of a handsome devil he would be when he grew up. “Thanks. Now, what did you need help with?”
“Um, how about everything? I’m really bad at Math. Give me Languages or Music and I’ve got you covered, Math, not so much.”
He laughed. “I get, I’ve never been the best with music, per say, or Science, but give me a beat or Math and prepare to be amazed.”
She relaxed a little, realizing that he wasn’t about to look down on the poor Scholarship student who was bad at Math.
“Yeah, well, there’s a reason why I’m here on a Music scholarship and not an Academic one.”
“Really? You’re here for Music? What areas, exactly?” He knew he wasn’t exactly being subtle, but Robin wanted to know a little bit more about his mysterious new teammate.
“Well, I’m in Choir, Jazz Workshop, and Composition III Honors.” She said, shrugging.
“Really, all of those?”
“Yeah, it’s a little whelming. What about you?” The conversation came easily, a sure sign of how well they would get along in the future.
“Oh, I’m a Mathematics major, but next year I plan on minoring in Gymnastics. Speaking of mathematics, we should probably get to work if we want to leave anytime soon. Why don’t we start from the beginning of the book and work our way forward, with you telling me what you didn’t understand.” His voice took on a business-like tone as she took out her book.
“Sounds like a plan.”
b, ii. fourteen/sixteen
“How’s math this year?” She looked up from her homework to see the smiling face of one, Richard Grayson, mathlete extraordinaire. He’d gotten a little taller over the summer, his body taking on the gangly look of a teenage boy who had yet to grow into his new and improved skin.
“It’s all right, but just in case it isn’t I still have your number on speed dial.” She smirked, remembering how many late night conversations had been held about math; how bad she was at it, and why Mrs. Parlak assigned so much homework? She’s fairly certain that the only reason she passed Algebra II/ Trigonometry Honors was because of him.
“Yeah,” He said. “About that, um, how is your grade is your grade in AP Composition?” He looked nervous.
“I have a 97, why?” She was surprised; Dick had talked the teacher into letting him into AP Comp with him so they would have a class together, despite the fact that he’d never taken a composition class.
“I’m failing that class so hard, Arty. It’s a disaster, heavy on the –dis.” The phrase sparked some recognition in her mind, but she didn’t really think on it. He ran his fingers through his hair, ruining its neatly gelled perfection, before throwing himself down on the ground next to her.
“I don’t see why you even took that class; you could’ve easily signed up for Vocal Jazz.”
He pouted; his blue eyes did things to her stomach that she didn’t want to think about. She sighed. “Hey, no reason to be so dramatic, I’ll help, you saved my ass last year, this is the least I could do.”
“Oh thank you great goddess of the hunt for your favor upon us mere mortals.” He hugged her leg, and quickly became aware of what color underwear she was wearing.
She hit him on the back of the head before standing up, leaving him on the ground in the perfect position to see under her skirt, but this time he averted his eyes.
Oh, if only he were more like Wally. If he were more like Wally he would be thinking about how her long hair would look spread out on his bed sheets, her mouth whispering sweet nothings in all the languages she knew—he stopped that train of thought immediately. Now was not the place or time.
“We should go the one of the practice rooms, and work on it.” She smiled at him; just slight enough that he had no doubt he was the only one who could see it. It was a smile he’d gotten used to seeing, and one she rarely used. He blushed, remembering his previous thoughts; the pink stood out against his pale skin.
Artemis turned from where she was, already halfway to the Music Building “Something wrong Shortstuff?”
He shook his head, clearing it from the thoughts that had suddenly come over him. He loosened his tie and ran after her. “Stop calling me that!”
She started running full-stop. “I’ll stop calling you that when you stop being so short!”
c, iii. sixteen/eighteen
“Good morning, Artemis.”
She looked up from her book, to see someone handing her a cup of coffee. She shaded her eyes against the (ironically) bright Gotham sun. “Do I know you?”
He laughed. “Not biblically, but you do know me.”
She looked him over, taking in the fit build. “Well, I’m sure that we can change the first part.”
He choked on his own coffee. “Oh my God, do you really not recognize me?
She took a second look, again appreciating the fit body, dark build, and… blue eyes. Oh.
“Dick!” She stood up and hugged him, being careful of both cups of coffee. “I didn’t recognize you!”
“Well, obviously. How was your summer Arty?”
He didn’t really need to ask that question. She’d spent most of her summer around Mt. Justice in various states of undress thanks to the hottest weather in a century in Happy Harbor. It had been, distracting, very distracting, and had nearly doubled his portion of the water bill because of it.
“It was all right, I spent most of it with some friends in Happy Harbor.” She blushed slightly at this, but quickly willed it away.
It wasn’t quick enough to escape Robin’s notice. “Did you learn anyone, biblically, Artemis?” His voice dropped the octave, and it went straight through her body.
“No, stop teasing. Besides, if I had, why would I tell you?” She smirked up at the, now, taller boy.
“Because, Artemis…” He trailed off, only just realizing how close they were. She became aware of it too, and moved even closer, so that their bodies were touching.
“Why don’t you tell me, Robin?”
He returned the smirk. “Perhaps we should take this somewhere else, my bikes in the parking lot.” She took the coffee, and sauntered towards the parking lot, her skirt swaying behind her.
He followed close behind, watching how well the uniform suited her. She finished her coffee before climbing onto his bike like she wasn’t wearing a skirt. He had to take a second to appreciate the picture she made. “So are we blowing this popsicle stand or not Boy Wonder?”
He climbed on, enjoying the feel of her body against his, and set out to get to Wayne Manor as fast as humanly possible.
The sound of his door locking was loud in the almost silent room. Artemis smiled up at him from her spot on his bed; he was reminded of the fantasies that had kept him company over the summer.
“How long have you known?”
She stretched out on his bed. “You’re not exactly subtle, Boy Wonder.”
He could feel himself blushing at the promise in her voice, all the earlier bravado gone now that the object of the majority of his fantasies was lying in his bed. “That’s not an answer.”
She stood up. “First day of tutoring, aster. Second week of tutoring, traught. Third month of tutoring, whelmed.”
She pushed him against the wall. Her lips pressed against his pulse. “Is that it or did you want to,” Her hips rolled against his. “Talk some more?”
“Good. See, that was easy, now wasn’t it?"