She always tries really hard. But she always misses. The bow is big, bulky, and she's clumsy with it with her little fingers. It's hard to fit the nock of the arrows into the bowstring correctly since she's so small.
Her mom tells her dad that five year olds shouldn't be learning archery; they should be learning how to read. But Artemis doesn't understand why her parents are arguing. Her dad tells her she needs to hit the target. He says if she can't hit the target ten times without missing, she's has to practice for the rest of the day.
At school she's tired. She's too tired to play ball with the other kids, and her teachers get angry with her when her hands hurt from writing letters. And when she goes home it starts all over again.
She doesn't cry though. She tried to cry once, and her dad got angry. It made her mom cry too, and Artemis doesn't like seeing her mom cry. So she works harder, she needs to make her dad happy, make him proud of her. Maybe then he'll love her. Maybe then he'll stop getting angry.
Artemis stands with her feet shoulder-width apart, her body perpendicular to the target. She grasps the bow carefully, and removes an arrow from her quiver. She tries to mange the bow and arrow, she doesn't want to drop it ever again. And it's not hard to hold them anymore. She points the bow to the ground and nocks the arrow. She still hasn't dropped it. She remembers how her dad told her to position her arms, and to hold the bowstring and arrow with three fingers. She carefully aims at the target and releases the string. And the arrow flies through the air… and she misses. It flies too far to the left.
She can't stop now. She has to keep going. She needs to hit the target. So she tries again and again through the night. Until she collapses and falls asleep right there on the floor. Her mother finds her curled up with the bow and carries her to her bed.
Her dreams are terrifying. In here, when she misses the target, it grows larger and larger until it's big enough to swallow her up. And when it does the world is dark and all she hears is a voice telling her she'll never be good enough. And then she wakes up to see the bow lying against her bedroom wall.
She gets up and her first instinct is to take it to the shooting range and practice until her fingers hurt. Today isn't like yesterday though, she will make it today. And then Daddy will be proud of her.
Yesterday helped Artemis to be more nimble with holding the bow and arrow and stringing it. It comes naturally to her now. She only needs to hit the target. She takes a deep breath and releases the arrow. It's still; the only sound is the sound of an arrow cutting through the air. Artemis holds her breath. The arrow flies right into the target. It's easy now; she can nock the arrow deftly and aim well enough, and over and over and over the arrow flies straight into the target. Ten times. That was what Daddy asked for, wasn't it?
Artemis sees her mom smiling proudly when she turns to look behind her. Artemis grins, she finally did it. She did it, didn't she? Mommy saw her. But her face falls when Mommy tells her Daddy's not home. Daddy wasn't there to see it. Where was he?
Next time, that's what Mommy says. Artemis knows she can do it now, next time Daddy will see. Next time he can be proud of her.
Thanks for reading :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Young Justice.