Author: A Concerned Individual PM
Artifacts, independence, meddling Titans, all shadows in Jinx's mind. Unraveling Gizmo's past may prove to be more of a chore than graduation. UPDATED OMG. J x GRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Suspense - Jinx & Gizmo - Chapters: 2 - Words: 9,406 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 07-21-05 - Published: 07-01-04 - id: 1942030
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: It's been more than a year aaaaand… I update!
Anywho, I have made my verdict, and that verdict is, it will indeed be Jinx/Gizmo. Those who wish to continue reading and reviewing may do so now. Those who wish to kill me may do so later. Onwards!
Jinx snorted in disgust as she walked through the dormitory hall. Mammoth was still parked on the couch in the common room, transfixed on the television screen just as he had been when she'd left on her mission. He'd mounted the radar on the TV tray in front of him; or at least, he had once. Now it lay forgotten on the floor amongst some popcorn.
The sorceress rolled her eyes, not even bothering to greet him, because she doubted he'd so much as acknowledge her presence.
"So you got it." He murmured, his eyes never leaving the television screen, as its monotonous sounds lay on the empty air.
Jinx nearly jumped, startled. So he really wasn't semi-conscious after all. "Yes, Mammoth, I got it." She mimicked him, in a slow voice. "The headmaster has it now. He congratulated me on a -" she almost hesitated to say it- "solo mission well-done. Can't say it was easy, though. The Titans may've even foiled my efforts if it hadn't been for their untimely misfortune."
"Midget didn't think you could handle it." the young super-giant mused, his arms crossed as he stared at the figures on the screen. "Haha, I didn't either."
Jinx visibly twitched in irritation. She'd have to remember to get him back for that. "Mammoth, our unit may be promoted because of this one mission. We'll get a bigger dorm, for one, that's for certain. And who knows what kind of missions Blood would have for us then?"
"More of the stupid thieving kind, I bet." He grumped disinterestedly, still focused on the TV.
Curiosity getting the best of her, Jinx edged sideways, to find out what program he was tuned in to. It was the Gotham City News - and they were covering the details of a break-in. Specifically, her own.
She felt her bitterness towards him subsiding. "Ah, so that's what you've been watching?"
"Nah. Just during the commercial breaks."
Figures. She hesitated before speaking again.
"Uh… Where's Gizmo?" Maybe he'd arrived back at the dorm already.
"The pipsqueak piss you off again?"
"I'm just curious…"
Mammoth grunted, engulfing an entire two fistfuls of caramel popcorn. "He's probably upstairs. In his room. Wouldn't bug him again." She noticed a very nasty cut (possibly from a mechanical spider-leg) on his burly forearm.
Jinx shook her head, choosing to ignore his advice as she started the ascent up the stairs. "I can deal with him."
The young super-giant just shrugged his massive shoulders. "Your funeral."
Maybe his warning had left a bitter aftertaste. Jinx cringed as she thought of what Gizmo could possibly be doing in that room that required absolute solitude - her mind had churned out some pretty sick images.
But regardless of whatever horrors she may be risking a glimpse of, she would never be able to rest until she made it to that room. The mission was behind her. Mission accomplished, good job Jinx, and all that crap. Maybe she finally had the confidence to confront him now.
She had questions - questions that had burned in her inquisitive young mind from the first day at the HIVE. There were so many mysteries she was so sure she'd never unveil, and spend the rest of her life speculating over.
And Gizmo… Ha. Everything about Gizmo - other than his otherworldly genius (and yet underdeveloped insults) - was just one big burning mystery.
She was standing on the next floor. It didn't feel like the next floor. For one thing, Gizmo's room wasn't emitting any kind of repetitive, boisterous noises. Brow raised, she glided over to his door, taking a few seconds to redeem her nerves. She was preparing herself for the objects and insults she knew would be launched at her the instant she turned the knob.
Jinx and Gizmo generally considered themselves friends, or at least the closest thing to friends that you could expect out of such personalities. But Gizmo's curious stubbornness and Jinx's stubborn curiosity didn't exactly go hand in hand. And once Gizmo got fed up, it didn't matter who you were, but you'd be wise to let him alone. Daring to set foot into his turf, still widely unexplored territory, was just asking for trouble, a lesson she had learned from day one.
"You want one on the other arm, chucklehead?"
Jinx flinched in surprise. I've barely even touched the doorknob… Does he have his ear pressed to the door, or something! Still, his intuition wasn't very good. He thought I was Mammoth… how insulting.
Gizmo's door nearly ripped out of its hinges in a pulse of pink light. A PO'ed Jinx stood in the midst of things, giving him a relatively calm but weary glare. The boy genius had backed into a corner and one hand was draped over his tech. Two long spider legs had sprouted from his back.
"Don't you pitsniffers ever KNOCK?" He hissed under his breath.
The sorceress lowered her glowing hands, suddenly remembering that she hadn't (hadn't, she noted) come up with intends to strangle him. She abruptly regained her composure.
"Look, if you're here to whine about how I frickin' saved your butt-"
"Gizmo, where are you from?" She asked, straightforwardly, which was most unlike her.
This obviously took the short one by surprise. He twitched backwards slightly as if having just been subjected to an invisible fist in the stomach.
"You weren't even 10 years old when we joined the HIVE four years ago. Where did you come from? And… and why, why would your PARENTS be sending a child to a nationally-renowned villainry institution, where he could get himself killed overnight?"
Her voice was tremulous from the buildup. Finally, she had him cornered with the question he'd been avoiding for years.
"None of your crap, Jinx." Gizmo snapped, eying her shiftily. "Now piss off-"
"It is totally my business, as of this moment. Now spill it,"
The genius just continued to glare. His eyes were now squinted to such a degree that they looked like little white slits.
"Just retrace your cruddy steps out of my room while you still can!"
Jinx just sighed. His cockiness would be a problem.
A faint twinkle in her eye was the only signal that she was in any way associated with what happened next. A little metal monitor suddenly detached itself from the wall and collided with a conk to Gizmo's bald head.
"I'm just curious - that, I can't help." The smirk on her face was nothing but saucy. "What's wrong with digging up a little background history on my only friends in the world? Afraid I'll reveal some humiliating skeletons in your closet?"
So the direct approach wouldn't work.
Her eyes traveled across the room. It wasn't often she'd get the opportunity to even catch wind of it. As can be safely assumed, Gizmo's room was definitely not the kind of room you'd expect of any normal preadolescent boy. There were all kinds of intricate gadgetry strewn about the floor - from a laser cannon in-progress to something that looked like a mighty winged toaster.
There was so much scrap metal and pieces of debris lying about that she almost missed the only normal corner of the room. There was a normal bed - and directly next to it, a normal wooden nightstand. More surprising was that it looked like Gizmo had actually made his bed. And judging from the rest of the room, he definitely wasn't one of those 'organized' geniuses.
She found herself being drawn to it, curiosity eating away at her psyche.
"Didn't you hear me, Jinx? I wanna be left alone!" He yelled, this time sounding half-desperate. "What do you want! Afraid I stole one of your dollies?" He advanced on her cautiously, spider legs whirring.
But Jinx had already made it to the nightstand, surprised Gizmo had otherwise made no effort to stand in her way. With one slender gray hand she brushed aside some of the loose papers and screws atop its wooden surface, not expecting what she would find there.
"Hmmm? A book? I didn't know you read these, Gizmo."
This time, the boy was quick to respond. Retracting his spider legs, he ran at record speeds to where Jinx stood, nearly colliding into her from the momentum. He reached up and snatched the book away.
"You gimme that!" He growled, swatting her curious hand away with the backside of his palm.
"But I asked you a question, and you won't even give me a vague answer. Where did you come from, Gizmo? That's all I want to know."
He sighed in almost-defeat. "Why would you want to know?"
"Because if our team is going to operate perfectly, we can't afford to keep secrets from each other."
Gizmo stared up at her through his hollow white eyes. "You actually believe that crud? We know each others' strengths and weaknesses… We can kick the Titans' stink-butts anytime we want! What more is there to know?"
He set the book back on the nightstand, as if daring her to try and snatch it up again.
"Besides, you never told me about your 'secret past'." He snapped, jabbing her in the stomach roughly. "Where's your old bitch, huh?"
Jinx's doll-like eyes suddenly swelled. She held her fist down for the little midget to see.
"You shut your little mouth, braniac. Or this entire room will come crashing down with you still in it."
Gizmo bit his lip subconsciously, knowing he had trodden on a nerve. He wasn't in a hurry to die anytime soon, especially at the hands of an ally - and a girl, no less.
"Sorry," He muttered darkly, but she knew it was the most of an apology anyone could ever expect from him. "Now get out."
"No. I won't."
This time, he reached for the master control on his jumpsuit. The sorceress was faster. She seized his wrists and held them still, despite how hard he tried to wrench free. He burst into a volley of random slang, finding no other way to strike back.
"WHAT'S YOUR… CRUD-EATING PROBLEM… crudhead…?" He managed lamely, struggling with both arms and words.
"I just want to know where you came from."
"The little cruddy house on the cruddy little prairie, that's where! Maybe I don't feel like sharing, sleezeball! You already have your own sucky life to worry about!"
Jinx released her hold, brow raised. She flopped down on his bed, making herself at home, and also helping him understand that she wasn't leaving.
"I can take a hint." She grinned. "I'll tell you about my life, and you tell me about yours. So let's see… I come from a small town in India. One that isn't found on any map, one that you can't find unless you already know where it is…"
"What makes you so sure I wanna hear your entire stinkin' biography? Go see a shrink or something!"
Ignoring him, she pressed on. "I was the middle of five sisters, all sorceresses-in-training… But I was looked down on, because my hexes only caused little misfortunes. My sisters could summon so much mystical power so much earlier than I could, and they were the favorite of so many missionaries in town. They were constantly being sent on little 'errands'… Errands that I was never even considered for because of my 'area of expertise'."
Gizmo was errantly feigning disinterest. "I bet your sisters suck."
"Tell me about it."
She studied his face carefully. Was he just a little distracted yet? He was reluctantly pulling up a chair, seeing as how he couldn't get rid of her.
Jinx casually spread her arms, draping one around the edge of his bed and the other across his nightstand. "One day, they were called over here with a free scholarship to HIVE. I, of course, wasn't included in the offer - but I stowed away in the luggage port of the plane. The baggage-loader was distracted by an unfortunate accident in the background, and was called away to investigate." She chuckled fiendishly, stopping to study her listener. A vague look was beginning to work its way over his face - already, she thought with glee. Maybe it was the larger minds that were easier to manipulate.
Two gray fingers wandered over the book. He didn't notice.
"First was the initiation test - you remember it, right? - where aspiring HIVE students had to get past a predetermined obstacle course before they were accepted. My sisters, just a little out-of-shape and always relying on the brute strength of their elements, failed with flying colors. So, when they found out that I made in, they weren't exactly happy for me."
The next selection of her story was easy to share. It was basically a vent about sibling rivalry. Gizmo seemed caught up in it now though, he even snickered at some of the vivid stories she shared about how they'd attempted to make her life miserable. He didn't even notice as Jinx took the book into her clutches, sprawling it out across her chest and turning to the first page.
The first page was blank. Just like the one after it.
Confusion tearing through her, she quickly thumbed through the book in its entirety. There was nothing, not a single word. The boy genius had in his protective possession a completely blank book!
But that was where he suddenly snapped into realization.
"PUT THAT DOWN!" He hissed, pouncing on the sorceress like an angry bald jaguar. With newfound strength he wrestled it away from her, leaving her to tumble to the floor in a heap. "What did I tell you! My beeswax is my beeswax, and you're being a real pain in the-"
"What's going on, you two?"
It was Mammoth, staggering awkwardly up the stairs, making his way to the doorway in confusion.
Gizmo was flustered at all the attention. He turned his head in the giant's direction, yelling so loud now that there was a definite strain on his voice. "And YOU, gargoyle! Get away from my room or I'll tear a hole in your other arm!"
Unfazed, Mammoth retaliated. "You let Jinx in."
"Because-" His voice died down for a minute, as he fumbled clumsily with his words. "Well, she invited herself in…!"
"But you never actually hurt her-"
"Can't say I wasn't about to."
Jinx lifted herself from the floor, dusting herself off, retaining her poise. Wordlessly she made her way over to the doorway next to Mammoth.
"I guess it was wrong to force an answer." She decided abruptly. "But please tell me someday, Gizmo."
The sorceress paused, awaiting his response (something along the lines of In your dreams, snot-brains, she expected). But he didn't say anything.
She could've sworn she saw him give a feeble nod. But it was probably just her imagination.
Mammoth shut the door on him, and began to plunder his way back downstairs. Rolling her eyes, Jinx made her way towards her own quarters, leaving Mammoth to whatever program he'd been glued to since noon that day. In arrived in a few swift strides, locking the door behind her and collapsing on her bed in silence.
Jinx's TV sat propped up on a little shelf. It was rather small and poor-quality; she'd had to nip it in a hurry, after all, and she was a small girl. The remote rested a few feet from her bed, on the nightstand. She lifted one arm to switch on the news.
"-Back to our top story tonight. Just an hour ago, resident psychic Mistress Rita "Ritanya" Burns, 83, was witness to an ambush that took place inside her store."
The TV flashed with blurred footage of the encounter. Apparently, there had been an old and near-dead security camera in the raided shop. Jinx's fuzzy figure, distinguishable only by her hair, made her appear as some graceful demon.
"After falling asleep past closing and not bothering to head for home, she was greeted with a rude awakening as a young witch, apparently no more than 18 years old, demanded the whereabouts of Burns' most valuable possession, which the police have chosen not to disclose. The Teen Titans arrived on the scene, long enough to save Burns' life but not to stop the witch from escaping with her spoils. All efforts have been made to track her down, to no avail. More on this when we return."
The screen faded out after that. It instead began to show a missing childrens' ad.
Jinx considered switching off the TV after that, but for some reason, the missing children ads were always a little enticing. Sometimes she recognized the kids in the photos. Occasionally, children were taken by the HIVE for a ransom. It was one of their school's "fund-raising" techniques.
Presently, the screen came up with a picture of a cute little kid, maybe eight or nine. He had brown hair and vacant eyes- and his mouth was taut into a frustrated pout. The caption at the bottom of the screen revealed the age of the photo
"Anthony Gillespie has been missing for four years, and until last week, presumed dead. Last Monday, August the 14th, his parents received a call from someone who claimed to be their son. He told them to pick him up at the Interstate Bridge. Upon arrival Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie - Anthony's stepmother - saw a boy standing on the rail, who waved to them before tipping backwards and plummeting the 65-foot drop to the ocean below. The body has not yet been found, and authorities are still stumped on Anthony's suicide motive. Please call this number if you've seen this boy in the past. Did he run away, or was it a kidnapping? Any information would help us solve this case."
Why are they wasting their time? The kid's dead either way. Still, she kept her eyes on the boy's face - something bugged her. She had seen him before… somewhere. But then, she'd seen a lot of people. People screaming, running, or just walking down the street, unsuspecting.
Then a blonde girl with her hair in barrettes appeared on-screen, her smile forever plastered to a lonely photo.
"The headless body found on I-84 last week has been identified as Sarah Ellen-Andrews, previously missing for two years…"
Jinx shut off the TV.
At 7 AM, the dorm kitchen was deathly silent. Pink dawn etched its way through the sole window, filtered through a white curtain before casting an overglow on the counters and tile floor. It was, without a shadow of a doubt, Jinx's favorite time of day. Within fifteen minutes she'd prepared a beautiful stack of pancakes, and promptly began to chip away at her golden-brown tower. She loved how the tired world seemed to freeze-frame at such an hour. And everything was still and quiet, and she was all alone, and it wasn't quite so bad at all…
The imagery shattered as small footsteps plodded towards her, interrupting the lovely nothing. It was shocking seeing Gizmo up so early; he seemed so out of place in a peaceful world. He almost never awoke before 10, thanks to his nefarious habit of late night gaming.
Groggily, he prodded with a fork at Jinx's proud pancake pile, wordlessly, save for a few incompetent grumbles.
Jinx finally broke the sounds of his mindless chewing with a sarcastic "good morning."
As if he had just awoken seconds prior, he rubbed his eyes and blinked towards the morning skies. "Woah… what… time is it?"
Eyes on the flapjacks, she responded dully. "7:30."
He suddenly snickered, startling her a bit. "Wow, I didn't know this was your morning routine. Makes sense to eat before Mammoth's awake, though."
She smiled a bit, lifting her gaze and locking their eyes. "I've been doing this every morning for four years..." She paused. "Except for that one time, where-"
Gizmo smirked. "Blood sent us on an all-nighter and you swiped some guy's breakfast burrito."
This time she laughed aloud. Sweet sounds of laughter and memories in the early morning… why, why couldn't the day always stay this way…
"You know, I can't wait to get out of here." She sighed, though still smiling.
"Me too. We've got to be the only school where every student wears a different uniform." He snickered. "And half of them look cruddy ridiculous."
Jinx knew he never kept these things to himself; top student or not, he wasn't a popular character around school, not in the slightest.
"It's the authority that bugs me." She went on, ignoring his remark. "It feels good to get a job done, but I bet it'd feel cooler finishing a mission without being told exactly what to do first."
"Save it for the shrink. You'll be listening to Blood boss us around for another year whether you like it or not." Pause. "Unless you feel like dropping out… seeing how long you can survive before Blood catches up to you. And then…"
Jinx stared down at the table. What if she failed the following exam? And then the next, as well? "Gizmo, have you ever thought about what would happen if we got stuck here another year? Two, three? Ten?"
He shrugged, and said nothing for a while.
"Well, uh…" Finally speaking up, he spoke hesitantly, which surprised her. "Don't know where you'd go. Your pitsniffin' sisters are probably in no hurry to welcome you back."
"As if I'd ever be able to hunt them down again." She chuckled darkly. "I haven't heard from them since I was admitted into HIVE… and I doubt they returned home. Who knows where they are now. No, I wasn't ever very close with anyone… ever."
"…what about now?" he asked.
And then she gave a slow nod. "Well, it's definitely better now…"
The repetitive sounds of a video game drifted through Titans' Tower. The door slid open and in stepped Raven, engrossed in a book as usual. She stepped past Beast Boy and Cyborg and the merciless symphony of button mashing, frustrated grunts, and victory chants.
"Darn it! Cyborg, that was luck, pure luck, you know that right?"
"Aw, taking it a little hard, huh?"
Raven took a seat at her favored couch, able to tune them out completely thanks to years of experience. Starfire was already beside her, unusually tense.
"Something wrong Star?" Raven asked, without taking her eyes off the book.
"No, um, except…" She twiddled her thumbs worriedly. "I have not seen Robin at all this day. I worry that he is most too hard on himself once the bad guys have gotten away."
"Yeah, well, that's Robin. He's wired a little differently than the rest of us."
The Tamaranean eyed her for a few extra seconds before snapping her fingers. "Oh, I understand! Robin's "inner circuitry" is not programmed to tolerate failure? Must Cyborg do the sprucing up tohim as he often does unto his 'baby'?"
This time Raven looked up, as if confirming that the little alien was 100 percent serious. "You know what, Starfire… never mind."
"Robin's just a sore loser." Beast Boy grumped, still fiddling with the controls.
"Ha, look who's talkin', small fry."
Starfire opened her mouth again. "Cyborg - from what I understand, by referring to Beast Boy in such a way, you are indicating that he is fit for consumption?"
Wordlessly, Raven closed her book and headed straight for her room.