Here we go again!
Artemis stared at the small stick with a mix of emotions boiling in her gut as she waited for its conclusion. She'd blamed the morning sickness on bad food but Wally knew her too well and, subsequently, a recently bought pregnancy test was waiting for her in the bathroom on her day off.
Evie was downstairs dancing to a new CD; so Artemis knew she was free for at least as long as it lasted.
Her thoughts wandered back to the last time she'd been in this position. Losing the baby had been one of the hardest moments of her life. Was she really ready to try again? Wally hadn't been pushing for another child, even though they had talked of multiple children when they got married. Things had changed since then.
Artemis didn't know if she could trust herself to carry another child. She had failed as a mother, it wasn't something you ever really got over. But it was too late for those kinds of decisions if she was already pregnant.
The archer glanced down, her chest contracting painfully as the results stood out clearly on the device.
Positive. She translated from the symbols, a hand resting over her lower abdomen.
Artemis wouldn't fail this child.
She would keep this child safe.
"Daddy!" Evie's cheer rang over the muted sounds of her music and the sound of the front door opening.
Artemis dropped the test on the counter and went to sit on their bed. She knew why Wally was home early, he was the one that had left her the test after all. The sounds of laughter and squeals died down and Artemis found herself counting the thud of each step Wally took up the stairs. She felt oddly numb, a result of her warring emotions.
"Artemis," The redhead spoke softly as he nudged the door to their bedroom open. His eyes darted momentarily to the bathroom where the light was still on before taking a few long steps to the bed, "Hey Babe," Wally kissed her forehead as he sat down, pulling her onto his lap.
"Hey," Artemis smiled, leaning her head against his shoulder. Speaking was difficult with the buzz of thoughts running through her brain.
"How are you?" He asked, his hands running through her hair.
"Don't you mean; are you pregnant?" The archer gave a half-laugh. It was a sore attempt at a joke.
"No," Wally's response was simple and Artemis noticed she had been playing with his wedding band, "I want to know how you're feeling. What's running through that beautiful mind of yours?"
Artemis leaned fully against him, calmed by the scent of her husband. A mix of latex gloves from his job at the lab, flowers from Evie's shampoo (a result of his constant coddling of the girl), and what could only be described as fresh air. She nearly forgot why she had been emotionally disrupted, why Wally had come home early, why the small stick sitting in the bathroom was both her enemy and her friend.
"I'm scared," She whispered, because no one else could know.
"What are you afraid of?" Wally held her close, guiding her face to rest on his shoulder. He already knew; but on the off-chance he was wrong, assuming fears could bring complications into play.
"I'm not a good mother. What if I can't keep this child safe? I've failed before," Artemis's voice cracked and Wally's heart broke at the sound. Wounded by the knowledge that his love was upset and he had yet to mend her.
Then her words caught up to him.
Artemis was pregnant. His mind instantly filled with the joys of having another child, of giving Evie a sibling. But Artemis shifted against him and Wally was reminded of her current state. His unborn child was safe with her at the moment, and he was sure they would continue to be safe. There was no need to celebrate now. Artemis came first.
"Artemis," He whispered back, squeezing her hand gently for support, "You are a wonderful mother. The situation was out of your control, you fought your hardest. You only fail when you give up, we learned that years ago. And you never gave up." He lifted her hand to his lips when she began relaxing, pressing delicate kisses to each of her knuckles, "We can be extra careful if you want to, Babe. But I have faith in you."
"You always have too much faith in me," Artemis paused, "Except during missions."
Wally chuckled, ducking his head to stare into his wife's eyes, "I'm allowed to worry about you on missions," It was meant to be playful, but neither of them could hold back the memories of all the times they had thought they'd lost each other.
"I am pregnant." Artemis breathed, her face a blank slate.
Wally grinned and kissed her nose. "I know."
The redhead placed a gentle hand over her lower abdomen, though there was nothing to feel for. Artemis covered his hand with her own, closing her eyes and just listening to his breathing, feeling his thumb rub tender circles beneath her palm.
They would keep this child safe.
"Josh call me a sissy!" Evie exclaimed, "Cause I play with Nora!" recounting her story of her afternoon with the neighborhood kids. Artemis had already heard the story from Josh's mom, but the boy's mother had been a bit biased with the tale.
"No way!" Wally yelped between bites, "So what did you do?" He asked. Evie grew enthusiastic and set down her silverware to hold her hands dramatically on the table.
"I hit him!" She said with exaggerated narrowed eyes, "Nora nice. Josh mean,"
Wally pulled a face, "Uh, I think that was a bit...much," He stated. The redhead turned to glance at Artemis for back up but she paid no attention and continued eating.
"But Daddy," The girl shot up in her chair in surprise, "Josh push Nora down!"
Artemis frowned, "When?"
"Before I hit him," Evie explained easily, picking up her fork to shovel some food into her mouth, pausing at her mother's pointed glare and eating slower.
"Oh!" Wally gasped, "Well then he definitely deserved it," He nodded sagely, holding his hand out for a high five that his daughter happily accepted.
"Yes, good job sweetie," Artemis smiled, "Does your hand hurt?"
Evie shook her head, "Nut-uh. I hit like you teach me," She grinned proudly.
"That's my girl!" Wally laughed, scooping up everything left on his plate.
The conversation continued a little longer until finally it was time for dessert. Wally took everyone's dishes to the sink as Artemis took some brownies out of the fridge, the two sharing a look as they sat back down at the table.
"Evie," Artemis started, Wally taking hold of her hand underneath the table, "Have you ever wanted a sibling?"
Evangeline paused with her hand reaching for the dessert, blinking her eyes before looking thoughtful. Wally helped her out and put the brownie in front of her since her arms weren't working, "I dunno, maybe," She shrugged.
"Well we have some news for you," Wally grinned, "Your Mom is pregnant, and you are going to be an older sister!"
"What a suh-prize," Evie rolled her eyes, making Wally's jaw drop.
"You taught her that," He accused, turning to his wife, making the two blondes laugh.
"What do you think, Evie?" Artemis asked.
"They can be my sidekick," The girl nodded decisively.
Wally and Artemis had agreed that missions were out of the question, but Artemis was still going to be on monitor duty. All that was left was to inform the League of the decision.
"Are you sure Evie's going to be fine?" Wally whispered in her ear as they made their way to the cafeteria of the Watchtower.
"Yes, you worrywart," Artemis rolled her eyes, "Roy Junior has babysat her before, you know that,"
"Babe, you know he hates being called that," Wally reminded her while holding back a smirk.
The archer shrugged, "Hey, technically he's the younger one. It's how I specify,"
"There you are!" Zatanna grinned, running up to the two, "We're all here, what's this about?"
"Hold on, we're telling everyone at once," Artemis explained as they entered the room.
The chatter stopped and Zatanna ran back to her seat next to Rocket, all the heroes looking expectantly at the couple.
"Uh," Wally started, letting out an awkward grin, "Hey, guys,"
There was no response.
"I'm pregnant," Artemis smiled, unconsciously leaning into her husband's arm wrapped around her waist.
Well that certainly got a response.
Wally's first instinct was to pick up the blonde and make a mad dash for the zeta tubes (which, undoubtedly, would be a successful plan) but Artemis snuck her arm around his torso and kept him still.
"You avoid them now, they'll hunt you down later," She hissed into his ear.
"Let them try and catch me," Wally taunted, although he knew there was no way out of this.
So the two merely grinned, watched the clock, and tried to make up excuses for a leave.
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Love, Veg and Geeky