Disclaimer- Do not own Young Justice or any of it's characters.
Sorry for the lack of fics. I'm still very much into YJ and my OTP of OTPs, Wally/Artemis. However, I just cannot seem to write anything here lately. This fic in and of itself was done back in Novemeber, the same day Veggy wrote 'Imposter'.
Basically I'm in a slump.
But anyway, I decided to put this on fanfiction net, the companion piece to Veggy's Imposter fic. You should read her's first, it's superb:
This is a Wally version of similar events. Based on a part from the YJ: Lagacy game
The atmosphere reminds Wally of something he's seen in an old movie once, or maybe a video game. Of course, he doesn't exactly have much time to sit around and ponder the specifics of where he's seen a landscape similar to the one he finds himself in upon shaking his excruciating headache off.
Ugh, too much caffeine, he thinks fuzzily, forcing himself to his feet. Everything is way too bright, pulsing at the edges in sync with his accelerated heartbeat.
"KF, it's about time! We could use your help, you know, like right now!"
The voice belongs to Dick, and the sound of its urgent tone allows him to immediately shake off the pain in his head and take quick stock of the situation. Nightwing is somewhere to the right on the circumference of the floating circle they appeared to be trapped on. A normal person would have questioned the impossibilities of being on a floating, sandstone platform in the middle of a vibrant purple sky, but Wally is a hero, and he stopped asking questions like that a long ass time ago. Well, he at least waits til the danger is past to growl about the illogicalities of it all, at any rate.
Psimon's… head is attacking Dick. Giant floating head. Okay.
At least seeing the pale creep's face floating around confirms to Wally that they must be in some sort of plane inside this guys mind or something.
Weirder things have happened.
"And you are a figment of my imagination who will never change any of that!" comes a feminine, snarling voice that Wally immediately recognizes as Artemis's. He turns and finds her in the middle of combat with a black, smoking being that vaguely resembles… himself?
He doesn't have time to confirm or deny whether the figment is a twisted version of himself or not, because he's really just in time to see Artemis's bow swinging out in a wide arc that slices through the figment's center like it's made out of swiss cheese. Wally can't help but clutch at his own abdomen as if it had actually been him, but he quickly scowls because he'd never hurt Artemis anyway.
"Woohoo, nice goin', babe!" Wally shouts with cupped hands, grinning. She whips that bright ponytail of hers around to smile at him, and Wally kind of grins even wider like a drunken dork.
Then suddenly a green fletched arrow, sizzling and dripping with undulating black smoke that seems to be alive, pierces into a place very near to Artemis's collarbone. She cries out at the unexpected pain, staggering a couple of steps in reverse before tripping and falling onto her back. Her bow flies out of her hand, skittering across the cracked sandstones. Her ponytail dangles off into the abyss below the platform, and she's just gasping desperately for air.
"Artemis!" Wally yells, his heart pounding in his throat. His blood is pumping wildly through his ears as he puts on a burst of energy, intent on getting to her, making sure she's okay, she's got to be okay, it's just near her collarbone, everything's fine-
Wally doesn't even have time to cover his face from the heat of the dark explosion that bursts in a shower of metal at his feet. He manages to catch himself on his hands and feet, sliding back so far he feels his left foot go over the edge, cascading small rock particles into the void. Pulling it back up quickly, he composes himself, yanking his goggles over his eyes and twisting them to heat vision.
Wally finds only Dick and Artemis's heat signatures through the cloud of smoke.
What the… the speedster thinks yet again.
"You're not as bright as you think you are, Wall-man."
A fist collides with Wally's jaw, snapping his head to the side. He splutters, metallic taste spreading over his tongue. He jerks his goggles back up to his forehead, and sees Artemis looming next to him.
Or at least, it looks like Artemis.
You know, if Artemis were the spawn of really gooey sewage and train smoke. The thought is so ridiculous it almost makes him laugh, until he realizes that this smokey Artemis wannabe is the one that put an arrow in the real ones shoulder. He fumes.
The doppelganger smirks at him, but it's not hot or endearing like when Artemis does it. The dimple that digs into the doppelganger's cheek does little to deter from the sinister look in her narrowed, slitted white eyes.
"Never quick enough, are you?," it taunts, gesturing over to Artemis with its onyx colored bow. Wally follows the object. There Artemis is at the end of it, still struggling on the ground, squirming in pain with her palm wrapped tightly around the arrow shaft. Blood coats her fingers. Dick is still preoccupied with Psimon's head, but Wally sees him cast the downed archer a worried look.
"I'm fast enough," Wally murmurs, averting his gaze. He zips forward, intent on barreling straight into the doppelganger, but it's like she's got Artemis's knowledge of his fighting style. She slips away at just the right moment, his shoulder barely grazing her boot as she leaps to one side. Wally skids to a halt, gritting his teeth.
"You'll never be on the same level as the Flash. He'll always run circles around you."
Something slices through Wally's bicep. He clutches at the ripped material of his suit, trying to ignore the burning sensation that envelopes the wound. He feels dizzy all of a sudden, and wonders if the doppelganger's sleek black arrow tips are laced with something. He shuts his eyes tight.
"You think you have a real place on your precious Team? You're just a joke to them, an amusement that can't stop eating two times his own body weight every other hour," the doppelganger hisses, and he can feel it's whispering breath near his ear piece. He tries to drown the words out, clenching his eyes shut tighter.
"The only thing that's a joke here, is you!" he manages, striking out blindly with his fist and feeling his knuckles at last connect with… whatever the doppelganger is made out of. Certainly not flesh; nothing warm and kind and smooth like Artemis has. It barely seems to phase her though, as she's back in stance with another arrow drawn in seconds. Metal slices through Wally's cheek. He pitches forward, holding himself up on one knee and one hand while the other covers his bleeding skin.
Come on Wall-man, focus! This isn't Artemis, nothing she says is even true…
"But it is," the doppelganger says in Artemis's perfect, rasping voice. It's all Wally can focus on all of a sudden. Just the fact that it sounds like Artemis. Artemis's voice is ringing in his ears now, and that's all he can grasp. She's just confirming everything that scares him. "It's all very true," Artemis sneers. "Who could actually fall in love with a cheap copy of the real deal? I pity you. You don't even possess a fraction of the abilities that the Flash does. You're nothing but a burden on everyone you care about."
Artemis laughs at him.
She starts to turn her back on him. Something flares inside Wally's chest.
"No…" he manages, forcing himself up onto his feet despite the world spinning around him. The doppelganger faces him, looking amused.
"Too stubborn to accept how much of a failure you are? That was always another flaw of yours."
"I may not be the most perfect dude," Wally rasps. "But you're right about a few things."
The doppelganger's smile drops. Wally grins.
"Maybe I'm not the fastest I could be," he agrees. He feigns zipping toward her in a burst of speed, then alters his course last second when the doppelganger dodges to the right. He drives his elbow into her abdomen at super speed, and she doubles up in pain, dropping her bow. "But I'm as fast as I need to be."
She looks up at him, snarling.
"And I am a joke." He sweeps her feet out from under her. "I'm thinking about starting a career as a comedian, in fact. You ever got Batman to crack a smile?" He asks, looming over her. He jabs his thumb proudly into his chest, looking pleased with himself. "I have. Okay, so Nightwing disputes this fact with me, but I saw the guy's lip twitch."
The doppelganger looks up at him, hurting and murderous and silent.
"And lastly," Wally says, leaning over the doppelganger and plucking an arrow from her dark quiver. "I am the real deal. I'm not the Flash. I'm Kid Flash! I have my own style, my own life, and my own perfect girlfriend who loves me for reasons; maybe it's because I make her way too many pancakes in the morning so I can eat the ones she doesn't, or the way I leave her corny messages on her cell phone when we're apart for more than an hour, or maybe it's something else I'm not seeing. All I know is waking up to her every morning is the best thing that's ever happened to me and…. why am I even still talking to you!?" he exclaims. "You don't even exist, you're a figment inside my brain… or Psimon's brain… or something! Later dude!"
Wally wraps his hands around the arrow shaft and stabs it into the doppelganger's chest. She dissipates quietly into gently floating smoke that fans out along the sandstones before disappearing entirely. The arrow dissolves in his palm.
His wounds all throb at once.
"Ungh…" the speedster grunts, falling to his knees. He needs to get to Artemis… or help Dick… or something.
Definitely too much caffeine this morning…
His eyes roll up into his skull.
"Babe, open your eyes."
"Five more minutes…" he protests, groaning. A gentle-yet still slightly painful-punch to his bicep. Right where the doppelganger's arrow had sliced.
"Ow!" Wally yells on an impulse, sitting straight up. He grabs at his arm, expecting to see the material still split from the projectile… but there's nothing there. Not even a knick in the fabric. "Um…"
"Are you okay, Kid?" Artemis asks, one brow raised, the other resting on his knee cap. They're on the floor of the circus tent once more, the smell of stale peanuts and animals filling his nostrils with every inhale he takes. The fingers of her other hand squeeze gently around his gloved one.
"Just peachy, what about-YOU!" Wally exclaims the last part loudly, making Artemis recoil a little. He reaches out for her shoulders, pulling her closer to him for inspection. His fingers trace along her unscathed collarbone, trembling a little.
"Wally, none of it was real," Artemis says calmly, grabbing his hands and pulling them gently away from their prodding examination. "I was never hit."
Wally feels such relief. He pulls her head over to his lips and kisses her exposed cheek, then nuzzles his jaw against her own.
"That's… fantastic, babe. You gave me a heart attack."
What an understatement.
"You worry too much," she insists, still allowing him to continue nuzzling her face into oblivion. He doesn't even realize he's doing it, really. "It was non-lethal. I can handle myself, you know."
"I don't doubt that a bit, I just love you like a lot and-"
"Guys, come over here," Dick calls, interrupting. Wally and Artemis give the man their attention at the other side of the tent, where he is currently holding conversation with a dark haired woman. Sandsmark.
Artemis gets to her feet first. "I love you like a lot, too." She says, giving him that dimple inducing smirk that the doppelganger had gotten so horribly wrong. Wally grins at her, taking the proffered hand, not letting go of it as the walk towards Dick and Sandsmark.
"And just so you know," Artemis says in a low tone as they approach, biting her lower lip with uncharacteristic shyness. "I do love those corny little messages you send me on my cell phone."
Wally's heart kind of melts in his chest.