Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. I just play with them for awhile and return them a little worse for wear.
To Be Human Again
She was just a little punk smarty-pants with pink hair and a bad attitude. First time I saw her was when the Hive trio tossed us out of the Tower. It was not love at first sight. It only made matters worse that she was with that caveman Mammoth, who wouldn't know a thought if it hit him in the face, and the kid foul-mouth Gizmo. He needs to be tossed into a food compactor.
We didn't run into the three of them again for some time, although, like a really bad penny, Gizmo turned up a few times on his own. Then came this new Hive activity. We all wondered why there was so much all of a sudden. So, Robin and I came up with this plan to let me go undercover at the Hive Academy, and find out just what was happening. It was mostly my plan. Including the robot look alike, and the hologram special effect of making me look like Stone. Robin loved it.
So, in I went. I hadn't expected to catch the attention of the trio right away, but somehow I did. Hey, they just seemed to be out looking for trouble. I'll bet that they made every new guy's first day really miserable. Funny thing though, even though she was laughing along with them, there was something about that girl with the pink hair that I caught that gave me a strange sense that she didn't quite fit in with them. And, after I made sure that they knew I hadn't appreciated them spoiling my lunch by turning into Stone, I could see her staring at me. At first I nearly panicked. I thought she recognized Cyborg despite the disguise. But then I noticed the way she was staring. Dang, nobody had stared at me like before.
I was used to getting the "sympathy" stare. I was used to getting the double take stare. I was used to getting the "I am outa here" stare. I just sure wasn't used to getting the "wow" stare. From a girl. I could feel the heat going up into my face and I was really glad that I was too dark to show a really embarrassing blush. Super dudes do not blush. I got my butt into gear and found somewhere to have lunch, away from that look of hers. Why I cared, I don't know. After all, she was one of the nasty trio that beat us the first time we took them on. She was no more than a mean little witch with funky hair.
But, somehow, she kept turning up. First of all, I had to break out the Stone tough guy persona during the obstacle course, which I got to do with them. Of course they tried to ditch me and make me look like a fool. They had their cute little Greek alphabet codes for their maneuvers. But, after a little setback at first, I managed to get in there and not only complete the course, but save all three of their butts as well. And, dang it all, if she didn't give me that look again. I could feel it even when Brother Blood was oozing his enthusiasm for my performance. But what was really strange was when he turned and started to chew them out, I saw her expression. The strange little witch was intimidated by Brother Blood's anger. She looked frightened, and sad, and sort of…helpless. I had expected to dislike this new leader of the Hive Academy. I hadn't expected to dislike him as much as I did when he yelled at Jinx. And I sure didn't know why I felt that way. After all, she was just as much the enemy as he was.
So, I was in. Next step was fitting in, becoming just another bad guy student at the Hive Academy for villains. Not too hard. Actually, a lot of the stuff was just basic classes in fighting, planning, organizing, self-defense, that kind of training. It was turning out to be fun. But, since I had never finished high school, and never went to college, I was sort of ignorant of certain things. Like initiations of newbies. Where did that torture come from? And, of all things, it was Jinx's idea. I almost got my rear in a sling, since I was having a talk with Robin at the time. Kind of stupid really, walking down a corridor, surrounded by bad guy students, and I'm talking out loud with the Teen Titans to overthrow them? Yeah, smart idea Cy.
But, luck was with me. They didn't notice. But they sure sounded like they had plans for me that I wasn't going to like. I was really afraid they had caught on to me. Actually, it was worse. A week of dressing like an idiot and being the personal servant of Jinx. So I carried her books and stuff and felt really stupid. Except, that, well, she would smile in a way that made me feel not so bad. And she would say nice things about stuff I did for her. I don't know. She wasn't so weird anymore.
Then, I noticed other things. In class, she would turn and smile this beaming sort of smile when I would get things right. So I started looking forward to showing off a little in class, always raising my hand, making sure I had the material totally memorized. Just because, well, I liked getting that look, that smile. Like she was so proud of me she could bust. It didn't hurt that Gizmo got his nose bent out of shape, since he was used to being the class whiz kid. I could see him trying to get Jinx's attention now and then, and man, she just so ignored him.
I can't really explain it. I was away from my own friends. I was pretending to fit into this new environment, to mesh with these people. But it was reminding me a little of what I had missed out on growing up. Having classes, peers to impress or hang out with. Having a chance to show off a little for girls. When you turn into mostly machine, there aren't too many girls who consider you dating material. They usually want a guy with real hands, real arms, not parts made out of metal. So, I missed out big time on all of that. But here I was, back in school, looking like a normal guy, or as normal as any of these dudes. So, why wouldn't I get caught up in it? I was good at everything, folks knew my name. Dude, I fit in here. And I liked the feeling.
Then there was Jinx. She helped me get started, after that initiation thing. She told me that I was really cool for going through with it. A lot of guys just got mad and refused. She told me that it made me special. She said I must be very confident to do something like that and she adored confident guys. Well, dang. She helped me do some catching up with the class material, since I came in sort of mid term. She was pretty smart too. And, you know, once I got to know her, she wasn't a strange little witch at all. She was a very sharp, very intelligent young lady. And, she was also fun. For a tiny little thing she was packing a lot of power. We started working out new attack modes, fitting me into the plays. Gizmo hated that. Mammoth didn't have enough thinking power to care. He just grunted and went along with whatever Jinx said.
Before I knew what was happening, I was forgetting why I was there. The days just flew by. Between class work and obstacle course training, they were long days. Of course once the work was done, Jinx and I would have dinner, go to a movie, even play video games. I kept my cool, I even let her win now and then. But I didn't have to ease off too much. She was good. I've never played games with someone I could laugh with. With Robin it was all "grrrrrrr" , and with BB it was all "no fair, you cheated!!". So it was so great to play with someone and just have fun.
On days when there were no formal classes, we would work out on the obstacle course, just the two of us. There were a few times that I felt guilty, really guilty. Because, man, Jinx would start talking about what a dynamic duo we would make together. Like, how she was thinking of dumping Mammoth and Gizmo, and just work with me. She thought we could be the most successful team in the history of Hive. Then she would add little things that sort of made me sad. She would say "It's not all about success, Stone. I really love working with you. And, um, I , um, really love being with you even when we aren' working." And she would lower her eyes and blush.
Then, I would go back to my room and agonize over the whole thing. Something in this didn't seem right. I was pretending to be her friend. I was leading her along, when my main plan was to bring her and her friends down. I was starting to feel like a snake in the grass. And, I was starting to make really ugly comparisons to what I was doing with Jinx, to what Terra did to Beast Boy. I wasn't real proud of myself. But by the next day, I would forget how I had felt for the most part. Jinx would be saving me a seat in the cafeteria for breakfast, and would likely have snatched my favorite sweet rolls for me so they wouldn't disappear. She was thoughtful like that. And I would fall back into the routine, and whisper a little thought to myself that maybe there was no big, nasty plan going down here. And I could just sneak away and not hurt Jinx. Okay, so how is that for being a super hero?
What happened next came really close to making me re-think my future. Jinx was waiting for me at lunch one day. She was sitting at a little table for two, kind of noticeably apart from the other tables. She looked nervous. Funny, huh? There was bad girl Jinx looking nervous, and shy and even a little coy. Well, it worked a little meltdown on my circuits, I can tell you that. That should have told me I was in trouble. The next thing I know, she's talking big dance. Like a prom. Like a dress up and take a date kind of thing. And I'm thinking….help. But, she had this little flare of color in her cheeks, and her big eyes were looking at me in sort of a helpless way. Wasn't much I could do about it. I had to ask her to go with me. I couldn't let myself think that right after that big dance I might be ordered to kick Hive butt, including hers. She was so happy, and I felt like a real jerk.
I had never done the prom thing before either. I think that Jinx knew that. She gave me little hints as to appropriate things to do. Like flowers. Like a corsage. Dang, she dressed up real pretty too. I had fun. No crime to say that. I did have fun, and I crossed everything out of my mind that night. No Teen Titans, no super hero stuff. I was just a dude going out with a really cute babe. Yeah.
It was a couple of days later that Robin got a hold of me and gave the order to finish the job and get out. That's when Blood caught me, and he made his offer. I never told anyone how tempting that really was to me. I wasn't pretending at all. I would have given a lot to be human again, to be able to feel things like I used to. I have battled my feelings for a long time about what I had become. The thing is, while I would have given a lot, I wouldn't give my pride or my honor. I was proud of who I was and what I stood for. And if it made my heart break a little, because I had to give up a chance to be really human again, so be it. I would not compromise my values, no matter what the offer was. And I made that decision knowing that it would make me a villain in Jinx's eyes. And that hurt me as much as I knew it would hurt her.
For a time, I wondered if I dared try to turn her, to bring her to my side of things. But then I realized I didn't have the time, and unless something happened in her life to make her see how wrong her way was, it would never happen. I couldn't kid myself. She liked what she did. She had no second thoughts about it. Being a criminal was in her blood. Nothing I could do would change that. And as for comparing myself to Terra, I had to get over that too. My purpose at Hive was to save people's lives, to save Jump City from Brother Blood's evil weapon of destruction. I was not there to betray good friends who had done no wrong. All of those students were criminals, who would go on from here to hurt, injure, steal, and even kill innocent folks. My job was to stop them. Terra had been on the bad side. There was no comparison.
The plan went down. The Teen Titans won, and I played a dangerous hand, but managed to capture the weapon before Blood could use it. I also managed to have my heart broken by the look in a sad little sorceress' face, the tears in her eyes as they reflected her sense of betrayal. There were a lot of things I could have said to her then. But none of them would have made any difference. We were from two different sides of life. Neither of us would change. It never would have worked. But I will never forget staring into her eyes until she disappeared with Blood. I hope I never really have to face her again, on opposite sides of the law. I don't know how I could ever hurt her again. I only hope it never comes to that. Because, although she may have chosen to live a life ruled by crime, Jinx holds a special place in my heart. Because my heart is still human, and she gave me the gift of being able to live, and love, and feel that way once more. For that, I will never forget her.