[identity profile] empressearwig.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] earwigficmirror
Title: with a little help from my friends
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empressearwig
Pairing/Fandom: Young Justice; Wally/Artemis, Dick/Zatanna, ensemble.
Spoilers: Season one, but nothing specific.
Rating: G
Word Count: ~2200
Disclaimer: I own nothing, this is all for fun. This hasn't happened. Yet. Etc.
Summary: Five times Wally didn't understand his friends (and four times Zatanna didn't understand them either.)
Author's Notes: This is for [livejournal.com profile] torigates, because she asked. A lot.


i.

"I'm bored," Wally said.

Everyone ignored him. Which, okay, everyone was limited to three people and Dick and Zatanna were doing their flirting-not-flirting thing and it wasn't like Wally didn't understand being so singularly focused on a girl that you ignored it to the detriment of everything else even if everything else included your best friend. But Artemis? Surely there were girlfriend-rules that meant paying attention when your boyfriend said they were bored. The least she could do is offer to make out with him or something.

Actually, that sounded like a great idea. He nudged her in the side with his elbow and dropped his voice so that only she could hear him. "Want to go make out?"

"No," Artemis said, clearly amused as she looked up at him. "Watch the movie."

"I don't want to," Wally said, knowing he was coming perilously close to whining.

"You picked it," Artemis pointed out. She passed him the bowl of popcorn. "Here, eat this. We made it for you anyway."

He frowned, but picked up a handful of popcorn and stuffed it in his mouth anyway. He hoped she wasn't taking this as a sign that he was okay with make out denial. Because he wasn't. Not at all.

Still, Artemis scooted closer to him and leaned her head against his shoulder. His arm went around her and she sighed, and okay, this wasn't so terrible as far as consolation prizes went.

They watched the rest of the movie that way, curled together on the couch. Dick and Zatanna eventually joined them on the couches and when Wally spotted their held hands, he smirked at Dick who made a rude hand gesture in return. Wally laughed.

The movie ended and with a considerable amount of reluctance, Wally untangled himself from Artemis. He stretched his arms up over his head and then dropped them to his sides, slapping his hands against his thighs. "Well kids, it's been fun, but I'm out."

Artemis frowned up at him. "Why?"

"Curfew," Wally said, not thinking anything of it. But she looked back at him with a blank look on her face. "You know, a time your parents arbitrarily say that you have to be home by or suffer the consequences? Curfew?"

Artemis still looked blank. "I thought those only existed in movies."

Wally rolled his eyes. Most of the time he forgot just how not-normal Artemis's family was, but then she'd say things like this and he was forced to remember. "Zat? A little help here, please?"

Zatanna nodded. "I always had one," she said. "A freakishly early one, too. Wally's lucky."

"That's one word for it," Dick said.

Wally frowned at him, but before he could do anything, Zatanna hit Dick in the back of the head.

"Hey," Dick said, sounding injured.

"Thanks, Zat," Wally said.

"No problem," Zatanna answered.

"Anyway, like I was saying, I'm out," Wally said. He bent down to kiss Artemis, lingering over it more than he should have given time constraints and that they had an audience, but hey, that's what super speed was for, right?

He finally broke the kiss and stepped back, zooming over to the zeta tubes.

"Good night," he called out as walked into one of them.

He stepped out in Central City and headed for home.

Curfews, he thought as he ran. Seriously, who didn't have one of those?

ii.

Wally walked out of the Zeta tube whistling. His good mood came to a screeching halt when he saw Zatanna sitting on the couch, a crumbled piece of paper in her hand, and tears streaming down her cheeks. Dick, Artemis, and M'gann stood crowded around her, all of them looking completely helpless. This was bad.

"What's wrong?" he asked, skidding to a stop in front of them without even realizing he'd zoomed into super speed. "Zat?"

Artemis gave him a panicked look. "Oh thank god you're here," she said. She got up from her spot on the couch and pushed him down into it. "Help."

Wally's eyebrows shot straight up as he tried to stop himself from falling into Zatanna's side. He wasn't sure he'd ever heard someone thank god that he was there when there were tears involved before. "What happened?" he asked, looking around at the rest of them. "Come on, one of you has to know."

"I think it's about the notice we got for parent-teacher conferences," M'gann said hesitantly. "She seemed upset after school and I told her that Red Tornado would come if she wanted, and then she started crying and wouldn't stop. So I called Robin and Artemis. I thought they could help."

"We tried," Dick said. He looked panicked too and it would have made Wally laugh if Zatanna weren't still crying next to him. "Fix it."

"I'm going to remind all of you about this later," Wally said, giving each of them a pointed looked before turning his attention to Zatanna. "Hey, can I see that thing in your hand?"

Wally didn't wait for her to answer but reached over to pull it out of her hand, tugging carefully to avoid tearing. He smoothed the paper out over his knees and read it. Like M'gann said, it was a notice of parent-teacher conferences and Wally shook his head. Really, were his friends this dim?

"Seriously, none of you got why she was so upset?" he asked. He waved the paper at them. "You don't think she would, you know, want her dad to go to this?"

He was met with blank stares, and if this night ended without Wally knocking their heads together, he'd be really surprised. "Who goes to your parent-teacher conferences for you, dumbasses?"

"Red Tornado," said M'gann.

"Alfred," Dick answered.

Artemis still looked blank. "No one?"

Wally sighed heavily. "Go away," he ordered, and the rest of them fled with relieved looks on their faces.

"Thank you," Zatanna said, her voice still thick with tears. "I couldn't figure out how to make them leave."

Wally put his arm around her shoulders and squeezed. "They're idiots," he said. "Well-meaning idiots, but still idiots."

Zatanna laughed a watery laugh and wiped her sleeves over her face. "Yes," she agreed.

"You miss your dad?" Wally asked. He nodded his head towards the school notice still spread across his knees. "I mean, I assumed."

Zatanna nodded. "I mean, I always do. But it's worse when I get stuff like this, stuff that I'm not expecting, stuff that he should be there for. He was always there and now he's not and..."

Her voice trailed off and she looked like she wanted to cry again.

"And it sucks," Wally finished for her. He squeezed her shoulders again. "I'm sorry."

She sighed and leaned her head against his shoulder. "I know."

They sat there in silence for Wally didn't know how long. He tried to think about what he could do to help, knowing that there really wasn't anything. He couldn't imagine losing one of his parents like Zatanna lost her dad, and having that be her only parent, well, Wally couldn't imagine it at all. That she managed to get out of bed every day sort of amazed him.

But then he had an idea, and maybe it was a terrible one, but he had to try something to help. His mom would want him to try to help. "So," he said hesitantly.

Zatanna sat up and turned her head to look at him. "Yeah?"

"I have an idea," he said. "It might be a terrible idea, but I thought I should mention it."

"Now I'm curious," Zatanna said. "Spill."

Wally shifted uncomfortably in his seat, suddenly nervous. "Do you want one of my parents to come? I'm sure that they would. They practically adopted Conner after we found him. I'd just have to ask."

Zatanna's eyes filled with tears again but to Wally's considerable relief none of them fell. She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. "You're a good boy," she said into his ear. "Thank you."

Dick chose that moment to stick his head around the corner. "Is everything okay now?" he asked.

Zatanna pulled back and gave him her best smile. "Yes," she said. She reached over to squeeze Wally's hand. "Yes."

Wally grinned. He was going to remind them all of this forever.

iii.

Wally and Artemis stood on opposite sides of the kitchen, fuming at each other. He could practically feel her cutting into his skin with her eyes and while he was firmly against the idea of committing violence against girls, even girls who could kick his ass, he could only hope that she was feeling a similar twinge.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Zatanna about to come into the kitchen. "Zat!"

"Oops," Zatanna said, already trying to walk backwards away from them. "I was never here."

"No," Artemis said, folding her arms over her chest. "Stay. I don't trust myself to be alone with him."

"Yes, stay," Wally said. "So you can tell her how ridiculous she's being."

"Do I have to?" Zatanna asked, clearly already dreading the answer.

"Yes," Wally and Artemis said in unison.

Zatanna sighed. "Fine. What's wrong?"

"He is being unreasonable," Artemis snapped.

"Me?" Wally said. "I'm the one being unreasonable?"

"Yes," Artemis said.

"Still not sure what's going on here," Zatanna said, rolling her eyes at them. "Wally? Explain. You get 30 seconds."

"Fine," Wally said, still glaring at Artemis. "My mom asked me to invite Artemis over for dinner. Artemis flipped out. The end."

"Artemis?" Zatanna asked.

"He's telling the truth," Artemis said, sounding like she begrudged saying every single word.

Zatanna looked at her, baffled. "So what's the problem?"

"Hey," Artemis said, shifting her glare to Zatanna. "Aren't you supposed to be on my side? Isn't there some sort of code? Isn't that what you people keep telling me?"

"Well, yeah," Zatanna said. "But not when you're wrong."

"See?" Wally said. "I told you."

"Shut up," Zatanna ordered.

"Shutting up," Wally said, drawing his finger across his mouth like a zipper.

Zatanna laughed. "God, you're ridiculous. Both of you." She turned back to Artemis. "It's just dinner. What's the big deal?"

"It's dinner," Artemis said, like it should be obvious what the big deal was.

Wally disputed the obviousness, but his lips were still zipped. He gave Zatanna a beseeching look.

She nodded. "I've got this." She looked back at Artemis. "You're going to have to be more specific."

"I don't know," Artemis said. She sounded frustrated and panicked and it made Wally want to reach out and touch her, but he knew she wouldn't want him to. "It's just -- it's just -- What if they hate me?"

"They're not going to hate you," Wally said, unable to keep from talking any longer. He reached over and pulled her into his arms, staring down at her face. "God, Artemis, how could you think they'd hate you?"

Artemis shook her head. "I don't know."

"You idiot," Wally said affectionately. He leaned down to kiss her and Artemis let him, winding her arms around his neck.

"And my work here is done," Zatanna announced. "Later, losers."

Wally waved goodbye over Artemis's shoulder.

iv.

"Do you and Artemis want to come to the movies with me and Zee?" Dick asked.

"That sounds suspiciously like a double date," Wally said, cracking one eye open and peering over at Dick. "I thought we weren't going to do that."

Dick made a face and Wally assumed he was rolling his eyes beneath his sunglasses. "It wasn't my idea."

Wally laughed. "Whipped."

"Do you really want to go there?" Dick asked.

"You make a good point," Wally said. "But anyway, I can't."

"Why not?"

"No money," Wally said. "I don't get my allowance until next Friday."

Dick looked at him blankly. "What's an allowance?"

"Dude, seriously?" Wally asked.

Dick stared back at him.

Wally sighed. There were times he strongly doubted his choice of best friends. "I hate you."

Dick cackled.

v.

The mission was only supposed to last a couple of hours, but then they got stranded in the desert and a couple hours became overnight and that meant that Wally needed to call his parents to check-in. When he said this out loud, the reaction was mixed.

M'gann said aw. Conner shrugged. Kaldur's expression didn't change. Zatanna nodded.

And Dick and Artemis looked confused.

"What?" Wally asked, a little uncomfortable. "They worry."

"It's sweet," M'gann said. "Ignore them, Wally."

Wally winced. "Don't say that."

"What?" M'gann asked. She looked perplexed. "Sweet?"

"Yes," Wally said. She still looked confused. "I'll explain later."

"I'll explain later," Zatanna said. She threw Wally a phone. "Here."

Wally looked down at the phone and then back at her. "Where were you hiding that?"

Dick punched him in the arm. "Stop wondering."

Wally held up his hands. "Done," he said. He nodded his head over to the side. "I'm just going to go --"

"Go," Artemis said. She offered him a small smile. "Tell your mom I said hi."

Wally grinned. "Will do, babe."

He stepped away from the group and dialed a number from memory. The phone rang and he waited for someone to pick up on the other end.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Mom," he said.
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