"Something troubling you?"
Artemis looks up at the inquisitor, and finds herself looking face to face with the atlantean teen.
"No." came her response, before she put her head between her knees. He had not hesitated to take a spot next to her, for he knew there was much more behind her troubled face than she let on. Perhaps one should award him for his boldness when he asked the next question.
"You're thinking about Cheshire are you not?"
It had not been a wild guess, for the encounters of the villain had always left an impact on the archer. Whether she locked herself up in her room in the mountain or head straight home in a hurry without any explanation, Kaldur had noticed. It was unsettling to him as much as it was to her. The fear displayed in her face every time never ceased to puzzle him. How could such villain provoke such expressions on her? The confidence and snark drained out until she just wasn't who she credited herself to be anymore. Her skills slacked and she was more helpless than ever at such times. Of course, she'd always deny it later when confronted by him. No, there wasn't anything wrong. No, she was just fine. No, she needed no assistance. She would avoid confrontation as much as possible.
However, such denial was not printed on her face when asked the question. There was more shock, like a deer caught in headlights. Color seemed to have left her face. Seconds went by and when she finally regained her composure, she gritted her teeth, giving the same response.
No was her favorite answer. It was her best friend.
"Would you like to speak your mind?"
Questions. Just one after another. Robin and Megan would have stopped all attempts by now. Conner wouldn't have been interested anyway. Wally? Forget it. If all the sane people have stopped, why couldn't he? Why was it so important to him?
The look he was given had only one answer to it and it wasn't what he was looking for. The glare itself would make Kid Flash think twice of bothering her and run the other way. At top speed. Thinking that perhaps it was best not to pry, at least for now, he got up to leave. Or, tried to. A small tug was felt when he rose and looking back, Kaldur raised his eyebrows. Her hand had gripped onto his shirt and tightened slightly as he tried to move.
They remain in that pose and silence washed over them. Silent because at that moment, Artemis could not bring herself to speak for her action. What had she just done? Artemis did not know. It felt instinctual, because the thought of her being alone suddenly frightened her. But how? How could she possibly explain why and what she was doing, holding on to his shirt? She refused to tell him anything and yet expects him not to give up on her. Was that even logical? God only knows why he did not quit already. He was just too darn persistent.
She had an inkling to the reasons of what she done. It was because his care shows her that someone was willing to standby her regardless of how difficult it was. The thought of losing it somehow secretly troubled her to no end. She was not ready to share what she felt but she needed to know that he would be there nevertheless. To understand.
He had offered her the help and attention that no one else dared to her many times before, yet they proved futile as she shot down every attempt. How did she expect him to keep doing his duty as leader if she won't let him? How can she expect him to give anymore comfort?
However instead of resigning long ago like he should have or like everyone else did, he managed to hang on for her. Instead of doing everything completely wrong, he had done everything more than right when he broke the silence and finally asked her, "Do you want me to stay?"
It was more than enough for her. She responded by tightening her grip even more, at which he took his cue and sat back down, and pulled her a bit closer, with his arm around her back. She complied by leaning her head on his shoulder and muttering something that may have been a thank you. This may not be a proper yes but it was something other than her usual answer. It was very close to it. And he knows he will wait as long as possible so long as he is finally able to hear her say it.