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Funerals and Life After
Chapter 1: Funeral
Standing just behind her was the team all close to her but not touching her. Nobody except for Oliver, Wally and Roy had been able to get close to her since they had found her. As a crack of thunder sounded from above Oliver wrapped his arms around Artemis, as soon as his arms were around her she buried her face into his chest so that nobody could see the tears that had started to pour out of her eyes. Another crack of thunder and Wally moved forward holding an umbrella up as rain started to fall. Just as Wally did, all guest held up umbrellas. Some villains who had attended started to turn and leave, knowing that they should not ruin this newly founded sacred place. One villain was left, crying into a hero. Roy held Jade close as she cried while still keeping an umbrella over their heads. Just like many he had never seen a crock cry, but here there were two.
Oliver looked down at his new daughter; the second after he had sorted it out he had rushed to his lawyers to become the guardian of Artemis, before she was put into foster care but mainly before her father could. Oliver never wanted Artemis to have to deal with that man again, not after all he had done to her. Not after he had broken her.
Artemis climbed through her window, disposing of her bow and mask; she knew Paula hated her having weapons in the house. Coming out into the kitchen Artemis checked the clock; Paula wouldn't be home for another few hours.
"Hello baby girl" Artemis instantly spun around and looked at her father.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to deliver a message."
"Oh the great Sportmaster is reduced to messenger boy" Lawrence didn't move, only frowned at his daughter from behind his mask.
"The shadows want you baby, they really want you" he started to walk forward but Artemis just stood in her place.
"And they will do ANYTHING to get you. And so I'm here to give you the easy way out. Come with me and they won't do anything drastic." He held out his hand to her, and Artemis took a step forward so that she was face to face with her father.
"I will never join the shadows; get it through your sick head. I will never change sides, I will never join the shadows and I will never join YOU" the last word she screamed, her hatred towards the man seething off every part of her body.
As the words left her mouth, Sportmasters hand shot up slapping her with his full force, splitting her lip. Artemis's head went with the impact jolting to the left, surprising the villain she did not fall. She didn't even cry out, she stood there turning her face back to him so he could see she was still strong.
"Now you listen here" he stepped forward pointing his finger at her,
"I am your father and you will do as I say, you will join the shadows and you will join me!"
"I may have half your DNA, but you have never been my father"
"YOU BRAT!" he swung again at her, this time as a punch, she dodged missing the blow, sending a kick to counteract his attack, kicking him in the side of his head. He attacked again and Artemis flowed with him. Just like sparring they fought, only they were both out to cause as much physical damage to the other as possible.
Sportmaster landed seven good blows to the younger girl, who by now most likely had two broken ribs and many bruises. While Artemis was only able to land five good blows to her opponent resulting in a broken nose and dislocated shoulder.
Jumping backwards to avoid a blow Artemis put enough distance between them for one to have to take steps to attack. They both stopped as a sound came from the front door, keys jingling. This could only mean one thing.
As the older Vietnamese woman wheeled herself into the lounge she was greeted by two bloody and bruised people.
"Well hello Paula, how was work" the woman sent a death glare and her former husband
"What are you doing here Lawrence?!"
"Just talking to my baby girl" at his words Paula turned looking at her worn youngest daughter. Artemis herself was shaking her head, she knew her 'father' was a mad man, and she knew he would threaten her mother. Why did she have to get off early, why tonight?
"Get out of my house Lawrence."
"Now, now Paula. I haven't finished my discussion with our daughter. And I think you could actually help me persuade her." He took hold of his wives wheelchair and forcefully jerked her back. Paula gasped at the rough movement, the woman herself may have had a tough no nonsense persona, but physically she was fragile. Years of being captive in her wheelchair had worn her bones and lost most strength in her muscles.
Artemis tensed, watching the man's hands with a hawks glare. Lawrence ran his hand over the back of the chair, clicking his tongue is a feral manner. As it brushed past Paula's neck she released a sharp breathe her eyes showing the fear and knowledge of what her husband was about to do.
Lawrence reached into his pocket pulling out his 'hammer' (metal ball connected to a handle by a cord) letting it fall to his side. Keeping his eyes on Artemis, he started to swing it back and forth.
"Now Artemis…LOOK AT ME WHEN IM TALKING!" her eyes still did not meet his as he spoke. Snarling Sportmaster smashed his hammer into the side of the chair, causing both the chair and its occupant to crash to the ground.
Paula's cry forced Artemis's eyes to roam the ground then be captured by Lawrence's.
"There we go that wasn't so hard now was it?" the only answer he received was heavy breathing.
"So like I was saying, the shadows want you to join them, and I want you to work beside me again so what do you say?"
"I will never join the shadows and I will never join you."
Time seemed to slow as Lawrence raised his fist and yet Artemis still didn't move.
It came down and so did the hammer, accompanied by a sickening crunch of which
Artemis could recognise as a shin breaking and a scream.
His arm rose again and Artemis lurched forward.
Artemis's assassins training kicked in giving her only one goal, take out the enemy. She aimed her fist at his jaw creating a satisfying crack. She kept on punching, all deadly accurate, with all the force she could. Sportmaster swung his hammer at her, yet she dodged it crashing her fist into his gut.
Her next swing connected with his shoulder, but his own shot connected with her thigh. Without looking down she knew his knife was imbedded in the muscle. Kneeing his gut she pushed off him, effectively removing the weapon. Putting distance between them she moved further away from Paula, into the kitchen. Without removing her eyes from the man quickly approaching her, Artemis grabbed a large knife off the bench.
As he reached her he swung the hammer missing her but destroying to cupboards in the process. Lawrence continued to swing the weapon, destroying the kitchen and causing minimal damage to his daughter. While doing so Artemis continued to swipe at the man, managing to deliver large slices to his skin, which oozed blood.
Jumping over the counter and landing in the lounge Artemis picked up her bow. Turning to hit him she was met with a wooden chair smashing across her left side. Before she could recover she was hit again this time with a human fist.
Lawrence now had her; he was attacking before she could even recover from the previous blows. As she tried to stand, he swung his hammer into her stomach sending her flying across the room. Once again he brought his hammer down onto her.
Dragging her back over to Paula he shoved her head forward so that she was forced to look into her mother's face.
"Now you either join me or I kill your mother."
A tear slipped down Artemis's cheek as she looked into her mother's eyes. Paula herself had tears streaming down her face. Ever so slightly she shook her head from left to right.
"Artemis I love you"
"NO mum, no I won't do it, I can't lose you." As if not hearing her Paula turned to face her husband.
"Artemis will never be an assassin and she will never join you. Not as long as I live"
A chuckled came from the man's throat, one that had always terrified Artemis.
"That can be arranged" throwing Artemis aside; he raised his arm again bringing the hammer down on his ex-wife. The scream that reached Artemis was the only sign she needed, launching herself once again at her father.
But this time she was weak, and this time he was ready for her. He easily kicked her back down. Kneeling beside her Artemis could feel his breath against her ear,
"Now what is your final answer?"
"Go to hell."
Artemis didn't even see his boot coming down on her face until it was crushing her nose. Again it came down this time successfully broke her nose. After a few more stomps Lawrence placed his boot on her neck, soft enough not to injure her, yet hard enough to hold her in place and make breathing hard.
"Now you get to watch as I destroy the only person who truly loves you. Hmph I can't believe I wasted so much of my time on you, you're just a weak, useless, pathetic child"
At his words it all came crashing down on her, her father had her at his mercy, he mother was being beaten, and there she was lying on the floor powerless. After all her training, all those times her father had disciplined her and 'taught' her, she still couldn't do anything to help her mother. And that is when Artemis allowed herself to cry.
She couldn't move, his foot was holding her firmly in place. Every time he swung his hammer more weight would press against her throat, making it harder for the small amount of air he was allowing her to enter her burning lungs. Artemis couldn't see her mother, which she couldn't decide was a good thing or not. Paula's cry's and screams reached her ears which making the young girl wish she was deaf. She could feel a warm liquid leaking onto her back and arms, wishing it were her own.
Artemis knew what her mother would look like; an image of the Vietnamese woman entered her mind. Mouth open screaming, blood oozing from her every limb. How Artemis wished she could move, to run away from Paula's screams and the horrid sound of metal crunching bones. How she wished she could stop her father and take her mother's place.
Then it happened, silence. There wasn't a heavy boot against her throat and her body gasped for the air she could now reach. Coughing she scrambled to her feet and looked at her mother.
She regretted it.
The form which lay before her was disfigured in a way Artemis had never thought possible. She could see the collapsed chest where the bodies ribs had all been completely broken, the left arm which was crushed and seemed disconnected to the shoulder, the right arm where the bones of the elbow where seen and noticeable broken. The legs where both covered by blood soaked pants, yet Artemis could see that they had taken damage.
It was the face, Artemis knew it was her mothers, yet it was so unrecognisable. The back of the scalp was crushed and shattered, a mixture of hair, blood, bone and other contents were in the place of where the back of the head should have been and all over the floor.
Looking to her face Artemis saw the fear filled eyes that had belonged to her mother. They were still open making the blood and tear filled face look even more terrifying. It then occurred to Artemis that the last sight her mother had seen was, herself. Herself being denied the action of breathing, struggling against the one they both once loved.
Artemis' pain disappeared and a wave of rage and hatred swirled in her, turning around she screamed.
"YOU FUCKING BASTARD. SHE DID EVERYTHING FOR YOU" she threw a glass bottle at him, which smashed over his head effectively removing his mask.
"WE. NO I DID EVERYTHING TO PLEASE YOU AND IT WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH!" A knife was in her hand and Lawrence knew she was out to kill him. He saw it in her eyes.
"ALL WE WANTED WAS TO PLEASE YOU. FUCKING MUM WENT TO PRISON FOR YOU! JADE LEFT BECAUSE NOTHING SHE DID WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU!" she was swinging at him like crazy, slashing his face. Lawrence pulled out his saber, hoping to block more of the girl's attacks.
"ME! I STUCK AROUND. BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT ONCE I PROVED MYSELF DADDY WOULD LOVE ME AGAIN. BUT NO! YOU COULDN'T DO THAT COULD YOU."
"YOU LEFT JUST LIKE JADE DID! DON'T ACT LIKE YOUR DIFFERENT, YOU WERE WEAK AND COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE." He swung at her leg leaving a large gash down her calf.
"I LEFT BECAUSE I DESERVED BETTER! YOU DIDN'T LOVE ME, YOU DIDN'T CARE. ONLY REASON YOU GOT UPSET IS BECAUSE YOUR LEGACY WAS GONE!" Artemis threw herself forward; Sportmaster quickly moved backwards resulting in Artemis slashing his chest. The cut was deep and painful. And for the first time ever Artemis heard her biological father cry out in pain.
"I FOUND BETTER. I FOUND A FAMILY WHO LOVE ME. I AM PROTECTING PEOPLE AND NOT HURTING THEM. I FOUND A FATHER WHO LOVES ME. OLLIE LOVES ME AND THAT IS SOMETHING YOU NEVER DID!"
"NO!" Lawrence jerked forward plunging the thin sword through the girls' stomach. It all came back to her, the pain in her thigh, her nose, the throbbing in her head, the screaming of all her limbs, and the tenderness of all her bruises.
Pulling his saber out of her, Artemis fell to the ground, with Sportmaster standing over her.
"But the best bit is, that I don't have to hold on to you anymore. I don't love you anymore, and you don't have a place in my life or heart anymore." A weak smile pulled itself onto her face. She watched as Sportmaster slowly turned around and started walking towards the window. She painfully reached her arm out feeling the floor for her bow. Lifting it up she fired a single ordinary arrow out the window. The clatter of the fire escapes metal ladder and a loud thud were all the proof she need that it had met its target.
A shaky breath escaped her throat and Artemis allowed herself to close her eyes.
That had been how Oliver found her, drenched in a pool of blood, bruised, broken and very close to death. It had taken a week for Artemis to be allowed out of hospital and she's meant to be on bed rest for three weeks. That week she was in hospital Oliver never left her side. Roy and the team had spent most of that week searching for Sportmaster. He had disappeared, the only evidence that he was there was the small puddle of blood left in the alleyway.
The rain became heavier and Ollie squeezed Artemis' shoulders. "Come on darling, let's go home." Artemis wiped her face and looked up at the blonde man. Her eyes were red from crying and everything in her face made her look fragile and innocent. How much he wished that he could pick her up and hide her away from everyone. Lock her in a tower away from all this pain and fear. "Alright Ollie."
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