Artemis is drawing on herself and it’s altogether distracting.
The pen is blue and the shapes range from geometric to whimsical, and Babs had invited her over so they could study for their looming Trig test, and she was trying to, really, but how could anyone concentrate when Artemis was sprawled casually on her bed, inking pretty patterns over her palm, down her arm, on her wrist, hand hanging limp and fingers curled gracefully.
“What?” The pen has paused in its fluid journey, and Babs drags her eyes up to find Artemis looking back at her. She chokes on her own tongue and feels her traitorous cheeks flush violently.
“Nothing, I just—” She casts around desperately for something, anything, and wonder of wonders, the Trig book in her lap comes to her rescue. “We’re supposed to be studying, not doodling.” She holds up the textbook for emphasis, or maybe as a shield.
Artemis rolls her eyes in a decidedly Artemis-like fashion, but a smile tucks itself good-naturedly into the corner of her mouth. Babs stares in fascination.
(Well, not stares, she’s only looking at what’s right in front of her. Really. She’s not staring. Well, only a bit.)
“I already finished the next problem set and thought I’d take a break. Work too hard for too long and you lose your edge, you know? At least when it comes to school work, anyway.”
Artemis is looking at her intently, unwaveringly. On anyone else it might seem creepy, or awkward; anyone else might not look so directly for so long, choosing instead to focus on some vague middle distance. With Artemis though, it simply means she’s set her sights on you and is giving you her full attention, no games or false coyness. Babs has wondered if perhaps this is why Dick consistently goes out of his way to show off around Artemis, just so that she’ll look at him.
She thinks she understands.
Babs finds herself suddenly unable to meet that steady gaze any longer, and her eyes dance away self-consciously. Internally, she’s panicking, because she can’t think of a single thing to say, and god, Artemis must think her so stupid, and she’s not, she’s really not, but there’s just something about this girl that makes her unexpectedly tongue-tied, and it drives her absolutely batty, and why had she thought it would be a good idea to hang out with Artemis by herself, without Dick to provide a safe and impishly agreeable buffer—
“You look like you could use a break too. Here, I’ll get you started.” Before Babs can react, Artemis grabs the redhead’s extended leg and pulls it into her lap. Babs jerks her eyes back up to find the other girl giving her a very different look, deliberate and mischievous. Still holding her gaze, Artemis casually hooks a finger into Babs’ sock, pulls it under her heel and leaves it there; her fingernail scratches a light, blazing trail that leaves Babs’ mouth abruptly dry.
She feels her jaw drop, feels her chest expand sharply, but can’t think what to do about it.
Artemis finally looks away, down, at the foot held unresistingly in her loose grip. She begins to draw, much as she did on herself: swirling lines, stars and diamonds and triangles, and even little bows and arrows. The pen leaves its scrawling trails of ink, scraping lightly over pale skin. The fingers of her empty hand rub absently up and down, up and down, up and down, teasing and soft and sending pleasant tingles all over her body.
Artemis cups her hand over Babs’ ankle; when she takes it away again, she can see a carefully drawn heart with an arrow etched through it.
Oh, she thinks softly.