She’d been happy before, Artemis told herself when the undercover mission began. In fact, it was the mantra that she repeated each morning.
Telling herself that she’d been happy allowed her to have something to fight for. It gave her something to get back to, because she had been so happy with Wally, and getting back to that life that they had shared was absolutely worth biting down her temper at each slight that came her way through her newfound companions. It was absolutely worth swallowing back her revulsion at each terrible act that she and Kaldur couldn’t stop in order to keep their cover.
The mantra was a good one, and its familiarity drowned out the quiet memories of being restless during the repeated reality shows, prompt dinners, and college courses that were a part of her mundane new life.
But then Kaldur was hurt, and Artemis could barely manage to even think her old mantra without wanting to smash the image staring back at her from the mirror.
Artemis wasn’t sure what had changed - this life was worse than ever before, and she should want to get back the life she’d loved so much, shouldn’t she?
It took an innocent walk into Kaldur’s mind to figure out what had changed.
That figured, didn’t it? Kaldur always knew them better than they’d known themselves.
A simple brush of an image, something so delicate that Artemis couldn’t even reach out and touch it. She stood to the side, murmuring “together,” in Atlantean and in English, in the hopes that it would matter.
She wished that she could remember the Atlantean word for “happy,” because she would offer that promise, too. Someday, they’d find that too, just as the image suggested that Kaldur wanted.
If she could find the words, she would make that be her new mantra.