The Reluctant Babysitter
(Or: The Titan Drool Machine)
Raven pulled her hood tightly around her head and stared into his mask, eyes dark and unreadable. "While I am greatly appreciative of everything you did for me in our… time together, let's never speak of this event again."
Red-X laughed, the sound tinny and strange through the voice modifier on his mask. "You certainly did make a pretty adorable kid, Sunshine."
"I said never again."
Red-X should have known it was Mumbo ransacking the city now. He was always cooking up some weird, strange way to be just a general nuisance to Jump, and the Titans especially. They were, after all, his favorite audience. The bright flashes of magic and circus music were heard from two blocks away, filling the thick, summer air with a strange calliope. Red-X stood on the edge of a building, watching the colorful explosions weave through the city, followed by the puff of confetti in the shape of $100 bills from Jump City Bank. The sound of Robin's aggravation could be heard from two blocks away.
"Say what you will about him," Red-X muttered to himself, "that guy has some style. Flashy, but still has style."
He turned to leave the roof and get back to his own job, but was met with a petite figure looking up at him, thumb hanging from her mouth. Short, plum hair framed a pale face and a dark-blue, lace edged dress swung around her knees. She blinked, wide, dark eyes staring up at him in silent wonder.
"Can I help you?" Red-X recoiled, frowning as he stared down into the child's face. Urgh. Kids. The only thing worse than death and taxes. "Are you like… lost or something?"
She just stared at him, chewing on her thumb.
A drop of drool slid down her hand to wrist. Ew. Gross.
"Look, kid. You're freaking me out. Don't you know how to talk or something?" He hunkered down on his haunches and stared into the little girl's face, trying to place the familiar shape of the gem on her forehead. Why did this girl remind him of someone…? No. It was just his imagination. He shook his head and stood up again. "Seriously, what do you want?"
"Found." She opened her other hand and dropped a bright, yellow communicator onto the tar-and-pebble roof. She blinked up at him and shoved her thumb back into her mouth.
Red X picked it up, hearing the screeching of the Titan alarm pour out of a small, abused speaker in the back. He opened the communicator and saw Robin's shocked and concerned face staring back at him. Red-X looked from the small video of Robin to the little girl in the blue dress, pieces finally clicking into place.
Oh. Hell. No.
"Wobin!" The small girl toddled up to Red-X and reached her hands out for the yellow communicator. Red-X pulled back immediately, barely hearing the strange, garbled cursing from Robin on the other end of the communicator. The girl continued to reach out for the small device in his hands.
"What in the hell are you doing with Raven's communicator!?"
"Raven's communicator?" He looked down into the screen, pulling his cape away from the small child's sticky, slobbery hands. She giggled for a second, thinking it was a game and followed him around the roof until he stopped. She fell head-first into his thighs and stopped behind him, still giggling.
Red-X bit back another curse and looked back down into the seething picture of Robin. "Your Raven would have happened to tangle with Mumbo recently?"
Robin pursed his lips, but reluctantly told Red-X what happened. "We lost her in the fight about thirty minutes ago. Mumbo was casting… Wait. How do you know this? Were you spying on us? Are you in league with-"
"Stop. Seriously, kid. You're going to have an aneurysm if you don't calm down." Red-X cut him off and rolled his eyes behind his mask. "The guy is flashy, Robin. He wants all of his fights to be a damn pyrotechnics show for the whole city. You can't miss him when he's fighting you guys." He turned the communicator around so the camera faced the little girl at his feet. "Does this belong to you?"
Her eyes lit up at the sound of his voice and she struggled to her feet, hands stretched out for the communicator in Red-X's hand. "Wobin! Wobin! Wobin!"
Robin swore. "So, Mumbo's spell did work. Damnit." He sighed and rubbed his nose, continuing to mumble under his breath. "And now she's with you. Great."
"Look, kid. I like children just about as much as you like me, so this isn't exactly a picnic for me either." He stared down at Raven, her hands still reaching for the small communicator. "What do you want to do about it?"
"I don't know."
Red-X snorted. "Call the presses, I'm pretty sure that's a first."
"Look, I've got everyone trying to do damage control after Mumbo's outburst this afternoon, he basically tore up the entirety of 10th and 11th avenue. I don't have a spare hand to go pick her up right now." Robin's head fell into his hands.
"Uh-huh. And that's my concern… why?" Red-X continued to stare at him, a dark pit forming in his stomach. He couldn't possibly be suggesting that he stay with the drool monster? Nope. Red-X didn't do babysitting. "No, but, really. What in the world do you want to do with this… thing?"
"She's Raven. Not a thing. She's just… not her normal self right now." Robin snarled into the communicator, his exhaustion evident on his face. "I'll get Jinx working on a counter-curse as soon as I can, but she's not quite as adept at this type of magic as Raven is, so I don't know how long it's going to take her to finish…" He trailed off before narrowing his eyes at Red-X. "I need Raven back though."
"Wobin! Wobin!" She had taken to jumping up and down, her pudgy little hands continuing to try and grab the communicator from Red-X's hand. "Want. Want."
Red-X cringed and took another step back. "Seriously, I am not babysitting your demon teammate."
"I'm not asking you to. I'm asking you to sit still until I can get her."
"Want!" Raven slammed her foot down on the roof, and a venting unit across the space exploded in a shower of metal shrapnel and dust. What the hell? Red-X stood there for a few seconds, looking at the destruction the diminutive girl had caused, and immediately dropped the communicator into her hands. She giggled with delight and plopped down on to the roof, staring into the communicator's screen.
"She has her powers." Red-X called out, maneuvering his body to look over Raven's shoulders and into the communicator screen.
"I see this." Robin sighed and rubbed his forehead. "She can't be outside if she can't control herself… can you…" He groaned and leaned his head back, staring at the ceiling above him. "Can you just bring her back to the tower? I should have Jinx and Flash here by the time you get here and they can take care of her."
"Wait. What? You think I want to babysit your resident demon in child-form? Yeah. No." His voice was dripping with sarcasm. "Look. I really don't care what the hell you do with her, I just don't want to deal with her, which means I am not taking her to the tower."
Robin gritted his teeth. "Please. I don't have anyone who can help you right now."
"Your problem, Boy Wonder, not mine." He crossed his arms over his chest.
"Wobin?" Raven sniffled, as if sensing the angry emotions between them, and wiped at huge crocodile tears rolling down her cheeks. "Wobin?"
Robin recoiled, eyes widening behind the mask. "No. No. No. Damnit!"
Before Red-X could understand what the hell Robin's outburst was about, Raven let out a high-pitched wail, her cries sending a black ripple of magic over the rooftops. Red-X ducked in just enough time to avoid being thrown from the roof, but ended up with a mouthful of tar and pebbles. Raven sat there and continued to cry, rubbing at her eyes, all the while random objects kept exploding and moving around her.
"Make her happy!"
"What?" Red-X glared. "You want me to what?"
"Make her happy, idiot! Just hold her or something, or she's going to bring down the whole damn city if you don't."
Red-X scooped up Raven and propped her on his hip. She cried for a moment more, more objects and shreds of building levitating around their heads. Red-X awkwardly patted her back, cringing with the touch. He tried to coo to her, but it ended up as an awkward squeaking of words through his mask. "There, there, little… demon… thing… don't cry. Seriously. You're going to kill all of us if you don't."
Raven whimpered again before burying her head into his shoulder, stubby arms wrapping up in the heavy fabric of his cloak. A few more sniffles was her last reaction before calming down. Red-X glared into the communicator on the roof.
"See?" Robin's smarmy smirk stared up at him. "You're a natural."
"I hate you." He glared down at the screen as he felt Raven snuggle deeper into his arms. His face fell and he grumbled under his breath. "No, really, Robin. I hate you. What the hell are you leaving me with?"
"Raven's powers are tied to her emotions." Robin sighed and looked up to the ceiling again. "If she gets too mad or frightened, her powers will react."
Red-X stared at him, his expression deadpan behind his mask. "You're telling me that a ticking time bomb is stuck in the mindset of an emotionally volatile toddler?" He swore under his breath. "I hate you. Oh, god, do I hate you."
"One 'Get Out of Jail Free' card."
"What?" Red-X nearly dropped Raven out of shock, and she squealed with excitement and surprise, thinking it was another game. He gathered and readjusted the weight on his hip, ducking down with his free hand and picking up Raven's communicator. Was he serious? Robin never offered rewards for… anything. Red-X stared into the screen, trying to contain his excitement. "I'm sorry… what?"
Robin sighed in defeat. "Your next heist will be Titan-free if you bring her back unharmed."
"And keep the city in one piece… which means keeping her happy and content." His eyes flicked over to the small body still perched on Red-X's hip. He gave another smarmy smirk at the sight. "Which you seem to be doing just fine."
"I hate you." He sighed and placed Raven on the roof by his feet. She immediately started to play with the tattered edge of his cape again, humming as she tugged on the fabric. "Fine, kid. Just for the reward, I'll bring your little lost Titan back to the tower. But, you can best believe that I am taking full advantage of the reward."
"Good." He looked behind him and said something to someone off screen before looking back at Red-X. "Kid Flash and Jinx will be at the tower in a few hours. Just get here and you can be free from her."
"Fine." Red-X slammed the communicator shut and looked down at Raven, who was peering up at his with a quizzical expression in her large, dark eyes as she continued to chew on her thumb. What in the world did he just agree to? He hated kids as much as he hated Robin, and trying to keep this one entertained was going to be the worst. Especially since she could kill him at any moment with a push of her powers. No, this wasn't dangerous at all.
"Up." She stretched her hands up to him.
"Can't you fly or something?"
She just grinned and stood on her tiptoes. "Up."
Red-X ran a hand over his face. This was going to be a long night.
Hi, Friends. I will admit that this is just something I started as a fun joke in response to some lovely art I found on Tumblr by kohng. There is a fabulous chibi-Raven series and it just inspired this. It'll be a few short chapters here-and-there, so nothing I'll work on seriously.
If you want to see some great art, check out kohng . tumblr . com
Thanks for reading, Friends!
See you on the other side.