A/N: I'm sad that this fun is ending, but also happy to finish a long fan fiction so I can move on to other fics of mine stuffed into this brain. Here is my last chapter of Switched Lives! Have fun and this is your last chance to review the fic!
Disclaimer: This is the last time I have to say this for this fan fiction! I don't own any Teen Titan characters!
Chapter 29 Bright Future
As if to set the depressing mood that day, the clouds squeezed out every drop of water in them down on the lonely graveyard. The air in the place was humid and gloomy. Elaborate and simple looking tombstones lined the perfectly cut, lush green grass. Flower arrangements overwhelmed a few of the graves with intricate patterns and brilliant colors. Other graves held only one or two flowers to indicate that the person there still wasn't forgotten. The ages ranged from babies barely born into the world, to the elderly who had spent years making a life for themselves.
But the mood was always the same in a graveyard. Life ended here. No one could ever escape death. You could grieve all you wanted, but a loved one would never be brought back. It was the cycle of life. If you live, you ultimately die.
Abe Hess was thinking of just this endless cycle as he stood over his sister's fresh grave. She had been his best friend. The two could be so different but also so much alike. His tears mixed with the rain water on the ground under him as the kid sobbed. This was his time to grieve all he wanted to. He held none of his emotions back as he dropped his umbrella and came to his knees. The mud on the ground soaked into his jeans, but he didn't care. The aching of his heart was too great for him to handle.
Robin watched Abe silently from behind. The rain made his usual spiky hair fall into his eyes transfixed onto the lonely figure by his loved one's grave. Pain was on his face as he watched Abe. Finally Robin couldn't take the sight anymore. He turned to leave, giving up on talking to the boy. There was nothing he could ever say to help the boy struggle through his loss. He bumped into someone with a small gasp. It was James.
"It's okay, kid," James said down to Robin. The teen looked up at James and bit his lower lip, tears threatening to escape his eyes. "It will take us time to pass our grieving stage, but Abe and I will move on. Sure, we will cry some nights at the memories of both the girls in our lives, but we will be fine." He pushed some wet hair out of the teen's face and added with a sad smile, "Just like you, Robin."
"I'm sorry!" Robin blurted out before running away. James grabbed the boy's arm and pulled him back sharply. He crouched down to the teen's eye level and stared at him while holding firmly onto his shoulders. "It's all my fault she is dead!" Robin said. "This whole thing Slade did was for me and…"
"Robin, listen to me," James said to the boy in a stern voice. "This is not your fault! She knew there was a chance she wouldn't live through this and took the chance. This is no one's fault. You need to stop beating yourself up every time someone gets hurt. It will lead you no where. Please don't blame yourself, kid."
"I feel responsible, though," Robin said.
"Don't feel that way," James said while shaking his head. "It will only bring you down. You need to move on. Abe and I will be fine, and so will you."
"Thank you," Robin whispered after a pause. They smiled at each other. "You helped me so many times in the last few weeks. If I can do anything to repay you or Abe, just call me." He grabbed his own communicator from his belt and gave it to James. "I live in the giant Tower shaped like a T," he said with a wry grin. "You can't miss it."
James gave a chuckle while looking at the communicator in his hand. "You were a bit too serious for my liking in the beginning, kid," he said, putting the gadget away in his pocket, "But you grew on me. You turned out alright."
"It's just your weirdness rubbing off on me," Robin said slyly.
"I'm sure," James said.
Robin turned to where Abe was and frowned slightly in the rain. "Are you sure he will be okay?" he asked James. "I just can't stand seeing him this way."
James nodded slowly. "Like I said before, it will take him some time to mourn," He said solemnly, "But he will be fine."
"I think you're right," Robin said. James looked over to the teen and could tell his thoughts were somewhere else. Finally the boy smiled faintly while glancing up at the man. "I need to go, James," he said. "I have a city to take care of and a team to lead." James nodded and they both saluted each other before Robin walked off, disappearing in the mist of the pouring rain.
"Why can't we stay, Jakey?" Valentine whined to her older brother. He loaded the box she handed him into the back of the rental car. He sighed and turned back to his sister. "I don't want to move out of the city!"
"We aren't moving from this city, Val," Jake muttered. "I saved it for goodness sake. I'm not leaving it."
"Then why not become a Teen Titan, stupid?" Val asked boldly.
Jake frowned down at her. She stared back up at him. The battle of the stares was on! They narrowed their eyes as their faces went serious. Jake bent down to her eye level as his frown deepened. It was Jake who cracked first. He growled out of frustration and stood back up. Valentine smiled evilly up at him.
"Cough it up, softy," she commanded.
"Things are too complicated, Val," Jake tried to explain. "I'm too much a thief to go geeky superhero on everyone. I…I'm just not like that. I don't naturally do good to this world. I steal, that makes me a thief, which makes me not the good guy."
"But you're the not the bad guy like Slade," Val pointed out.
Jake opened his mouth to say something against her, but he just couldn't come up with anything. "Go get another box," he finally said sharply to her. With a scowl, Valentine stormed back into the run down apartment building. Jake sighed with his appearance deflating. His perpetual headache was returning. Closing his eyes, the teen sat down in the car's driver's seat with the door open.
"Leaving so soon?" a voice called from above. Jake looked up with some shock to see Robin sitting casually on the edge of the roof to his apartment. "Without even a good bye?" he asked with a wry smile. "I somehow predicted this from you."
"What do you want, kid?" Jake spat back. "Arresting me wasn't part of Raven's and mine's deal. Go back to your Tower and leave my life alone. I mean, don't you have a city to clean up? Those robots destroyed a lot of it. Go busy yourself with your job."
Robin jumped off the building and landed in a graceful crouch. He was in civilian clothes, a pair of old jeans, a red polo shirt, and tennis shoes. Not being his in costume for so long had forced him into a liking of normal clothing. But his scars from his battles with Slade still showed. Bruises and scars covered his arms.
Jake was in the same boat. When he came back to school for a day, everyone asked about his small injuries. He had complained about a migraine to the school's nurse and was sent home early. He didn't go back to school after that. He blocked the building and the people in it from his mind a long time ago. He didn't know why he ever went back. He would just find a new one.
Dave, his friend, was a different problem. Once the guy found out Jessica had been murdered by a Red X when reading a newspaper one morning, he had called Jake, cursing Red X for killing his ex-girlfriend. Disgusted with his former friend, Jake had hung up on Dave. He had called later and told him he was moving and switching schools. After that, he had deleted Dave's name from his contact list…which now was completely empty.
Now the two look-a-likes were standing before each other. Robin put his hands in his pockets and stared at Jake with his face emotionless. Jake stood up and gave the other teen a frown of annoyance. Finally his face softened and he asked, "What are you here for, Robin?"
The boy shrugged. "I just wanted to talk," he finally said seriously. "Where are you going? Slade won't be easily fooled for too long. He will come after you sometime."
"I don't want to leave Jump City," Jake said quietly. He smiled slightly as he looked around his block, remembering all the memories he had in his city. "Private schools will keep our tracks hidden for awhile. I'm going to actually get a job." He gave a nervous chuckle and added, "More like a few jobs. Ended up that Slade didn't pay me for the great job I did playing clone boy for him."
Robin smiled as he imagined Jake being him for two weeks. "I forgot to ask you about that," he said jokingly. "How did it go in the Tower? Did you like my life and playing me?"
"I couldn't believe how much Cyborg and Beast Boy fight over tofu and meat!" Jake said. Robin's smile widened. "And Starfire is too happy all the time. She also hugs people too frequently. I still have the bruises to prove it!" By this time Robin was cracking up. Jake finally got serious and said, "But your team is great. You are very lucky to have them."
"I'm very grateful for them. But everyone in this world has the same amount of luck," Robin said. "It just shows up in different ways with each person. You are a lucky person, Jake, you just don't see the riches in your life yet."
Jake smiled slyly while saying, "I'm not here for deep touchy speech crap from you, kid. Saying your team was great was the best I could muster. Now, if you have nothing else to say then leave."
Robin shook his head with a sad chuckle. "You keep pushing people out of your life," he said. "Stop pushing and let others in. The Titans talked long and hard about this, but we concluded that we would want you to be an honorary Titan." He took out a communicator from his back pocket. "This is yours, Jake. All you have to do is take it."
-1 year later-
Preston High was your normal expensive private school. It was big, rich, and snotty. If you didn't have the money for them, your kid would never set foot in the place. It was like a castle in a story book, placed on a hill on the outskirts of Jump City. It was clean every second of the day. If a kid dropped trash onto the floor, they would be serving detention at the end of the day.
A kid's uniform had to be washed by someone at least three times a week. A kid had to be washed seven days a week. The school prided itself in being the cleanest school and building in the city. The kids weren't the happiest when they found this out when their parents signed them up. After a while detention wasn't so bad to some.
Jack William nodded his head to the heavy metal music coming from an iPod's head phones on a guy sleeping next to him. He glanced up quickly to the teacher over looking the detention class that afternoon. The woman was deeply involved into her cheap romance novel, softly crying and dabbing her eyes with a tissue. Jack chuckled at the stupidity of it. She wouldn't be catching him using his cell phone, though, and that was the only productive part of her crying.
The teen put his feet up on his desk with a bored sigh. He read the text message from his girlfriend and started to send one back. He wished he could talk to her now, but he wasn't allowed to talk during detention. His fingers flew over the buttons to his phone. He sent his invitation to dinner to her and smiled. His younger sister was sleeping over at a friend's house that night. They would have the house to themselves. Now all he had to do was learn how to cook.
His girlfriend's message was quickly sent back to him. It said…
Luv to. Alarm went off.
Want to help? Could use u.
Location in com.
Jack drummed his fingers on his desk, thinking over what to do. It didn't take long for him to decide to help them. It would mean sneaking out of detention and pulling on his uniform, but that would be the fun part. He wanted to surprise Raven by just showing up. That would make her happy. He smiled at the thought of him making her smile.
The teen got up from his desk while pocketing his cell phone. He grabbed his backpack that had some useless homework and his uniform in it. This whole time he kept his eyes on the teacher. Suddenly somebody grabbed his arm as the boy slowly tip toed backwards toward the open window at the back of the class room.
He looked down to his friend and smiled slyly. "Bored," he mouthed to him. Some other kids sharing the same fate were looking his way with envy or interest on their faces. His friend shook his head with amusement and then gave Jack the thumbs up sign. Jack nodded and continued to make his way to the back of the room, a smile creeping to his face.
Fresh afternoon air brushed lightly over the teen as he came to the window. He could see all of Jump City from this view point. His smiled widened as he thought about his perfect home he was so thankful to have now. He had good school friends, a breathtaking girl at his side, a healthy and happy little sister, and all the bad guys to kick the crap out of.
This was the life Jake White had been striving for. It wasn't perfect, but it was just what Jake wanted. He closed his incredible blue eyes as another breeze swept peacefully over him. He hadn't been this happy in months. Of course he worried about Slade at times, but his confidence overpowered the worry. He had his life back, and he didn't want to waste it thinking about Slade.
Jake/Jack slipped silently out the window and expertly climbed down the brick building from the second floor. He pushed off the wall when near the ground. He did a flip in the air and landed like an acrobat on the grass. After changing behind a dumpster quickly, the boy was ready for action, playing his favorite identity.
He was now Red X.
A/N: It's done! Oh, I'm so happy with my ending! It was sad yet also happy. I left the ending open because I like doing that to everything. Thanks for reading and especially to those who reviewed! It wouldn't have gone anywhere without those reviews and hits. If you liked this fic, please check out my brand new one called Project: Mockingbird. Well, there you have it. No sequel planned, so this is my goodbye. See you people around! Please review!