Work Header

Se Manquer

Work Text:

"Wait up, Boy Wonder," Artemis calls, jogging to catch up with him near the edge of the circus grounds. Robin's hands are buried deep into the pockets of his black jacket, but she imagines them clenched into fists even if, as skilled an actor as he is, he has managed to work the anger out of his facial expression.

He turns slightly at the sound of her voice and just barely slows. But the momentary pause gives her the confidence to fall into step beside him and muse quietly, "You seem distraught."

A quirk at the corner of his lips. They head out into the cold night together with no apparent destination. At some point she shivers at the icy touch of snow on her bare arms, then mutely turns down his distractedly proffered coat, remembering the heat of the burning warehouse around them just the previous night and the contrasting chilling worry she felt seeing Robin collapse before her eyes.

He's focused on the colorful posters to their right, eyes searching for red and yellow vertical stripes, and figures in blue all perfectly synchronized, bodies arching and forming accidental congruence. When he actually sees it, however, his sense of dread grows as they approach it, so it seems like fate being simply unkind when Artemis picks just that poster to stop next to.

"I went to see them once, with my parents," she says, and the significance of the plural is not lost on him. "When I was very little. They were great."

And the significance of the past tense almost makes him lose it, right then and there, and he doesn't trust his voice so he remains silent, with the starry atmosphere abruptly frigid in the back of his throat.

"Wonder why they were taken off the roster," Artemis says presently, and the words literally slip out of him, unbidden. "Why?" he repeats incredulously, voice a little raspy. "Every Gothamite knows why. What were you doing four years ago, that you didn't notice?"

Artemis's voice is hard but definitely not unfeeling as she replies, "Counting down the days till my mum got out of jail. I guess I couldn't really notice much else."

His body is facing away from the poster; only his head cranes around to gaze at it. For a while the falling snow seems to tiptoe around these two not quite broken, but definitely breaking, people.

"You really liked this circus, then?" she asks to break the silence. "Came here often?"

"I love the circus," Robin answers her quietly, and then turns and continues walking before Artemis can realize he never answered either question.