Chapter One: Rainy Day
November always managed to be an awkward month with fickle weather, filling that gap between the "joys" of December and the crisp starkness of October. The air remained in a constant state of mist, unsure whether or not it wanted to rain. Never cold enough to snow, yet cold enough to be unpleasant and irritating without some form of jacket or coat. Luckily for Jinx, her choice occupation ensured that she always had what she needed. She shoved her hands deeper into the pockets of her black coat as a gust of wind whipped across the rooftop she was perched on.
Hmm, such a wonderful night. She focused on the front of the store she was watching, her eyes easily picking up her surroundings in the murky night. Come on, lock up the store, old man… she willed. The owner of the store was calmly sipping coffee and reading a magazine while he leaned on the counter. The building was a small family owned electronics store, which meant minimal security, if any.
"Gizmo to Jinx, where the hell are you?" crackled an annoying voice over the communicator in her pocket.
Jinx rolled her eyes and snatched the small device, holding down the call button and replying in her own annoyed tone. "I'm working."
"Working? What? Why didn't you tell us?" came that voice again.
"Because it's a one girl job. I don't need the whole damn team here to mess it up."
"But what if the stinkin' Titans show? You can't take them all on your own!"
"They won't even know I was here…especially without you making an ass of yourself."
"Whatever, just don't call me at three thirty in the morning when you're sitting in jail."
"I love you too, Gizmo. Jinx out." She shook her head and shoved the com back into her pocket with a sigh. Looking back at her mark, she noticed that the man had finally started to leave. She watched him switch off the lights and put on his coat and gloves. With his coffee still in one hand, he stepped out into the crisp night air and shut the door behind him. He proceeded to lock the three bolts and turned left, walking slowly down the street.
"Finally," she grinned and made her way to a series of steel steps, vaulting over the railing, landing gently in a crouch down in the alley below. She was grateful she'd decided to leave her boots with the massive heels at home this evening; the dodgey weather would have ruined the leather. That and she just landed in three inches of water and now her flats were soaked. Shaking her head, Jinx peered out and around the street.
The coast was clear. With a smile, she slipped across the street to the alley beside the store, and scrambled up and over the chain link fence. She found that perhaps she should have looked first before leaping over, because when she landed she came face to face with a sleeping Doberman. Oh…damn…Jinx froze. The constant wind had masked the sound of her squeaky-shoes in the landing, but it was only a matter of seconds before the dog noticed her scent and opened its eyes. Biting her lip, she straightened and shifted ever so softly to the right, and tip toed past the dog. Please don't wake up, please don't wake up…Her shoes squeaked.
The dog stirred.
Jinx never knew she could move so fast. In half a second she had leapt onto a trash can, up the drainpipe, and onto the roof before the dog even noticed she was there. She peered over the edge to see the dog patrolling the fence, sniffing, pacing; searching. "Stupid wet shoes," she muttered under her breath as she brushed herself off.
Raven sighed. Why had she agreed to pick up dinner for the team? Oh yeah…because Beast Boy was driving her absolutely insane with his excitement over having a date tomorrow night. He kept going on and on like a thirteen year old with a crush. What should I wear, where should I take her, should I say this or that? Hey Raven, how sexy do I look in this… She was grateful that he had finally given up his pursuit of her, but she didn't want to hear about the girl he was dating. She didn't want to hear about anyone dating, actually. Robin and Starfire were together, Gar had some mystery lady, and Cyborg well…had his car. And who did Raven have? No one. Partly by choice, but mostly due to the fact that emotions and her didn't get along. No, she would walk a lonely road to keep everyone else safe and happy. Someone had to be alone. Right?
A gust of wind whipped past her, and Raven pulled her jacket closer around herself as she walked to the small Chinese restaurant. She had left the tower in an annoyed hurry, grabbing the first form of outwear she saw on her way to the door. It happened to be Gar's track jacket. Why does it smell like a barnyard? Why am I even asking that, I really don't want to know. The green and yellow neon lights of the place shown dully in the darkness, and Raven slipped inside the door.
Jinx peered down the ventilation shaft and groaned. It was so narrow that she wouldn't be able to drag any of the goods back out with her, let alone fit herself. That thing was tiny. Frustrated, she dropped the cover back on and re-latched it, giving it a kick for good measure. She wanted to slip in and out unnoticed; if she was good enough, the store owner wouldn't notice the missing goods for a few days, and with no signs or forced entry, they would look to the employees as their suspects. Dance, puppets, dance, she chuckled under her breath.
"Let's see, there has to be another way to do this…hmm" she glanced around the roof for any other way to get into the building. Her gaze stopped on an aluminum corner of the roof. Upon further inspection, Jinx found it to be a cover to an old trap door that probably led to the attic or crawlspace of the building where the electrical and utility lines ran. She pushed away gravel and leaves from the door and pulled out her lock pick. A few moments later she had jimmied the old bolt lock and heaved the door up and open with a rusty groan.
"Oh… Perfect." She smiled wickedly, peering down into the hole. It dropped into a crawlspace, but she could see from a missing ceiling tile that there was nothing stopping her from slipping right into the store.
"I'm here for pick up," Raven said politely to the elderly Asian woman working the register.
"Oh kah, what name?" she replied in choppy English, smiling above the glasses resting low on the bridge of her nose.
"Uhm…Jose Cuervo…" Raven inwardly cursed Gar for being a childish idiot. The woman didn't seem to care, and just looked back and picked up two bags from the waiting shelf and rang up the price.
"Hey, I know you! You live in the tower," the old woman grinned. "Getting dinner for the Titans?"
"We have to eat too," she produced a small smile. After paying, she took a bag in each hand and headed for the door.
"Be careful out there, weather is bad tonight, eh?" The woman smiled and waved. Raven nodded and walked back out into the gloom.
Jinx smirked. One camera was vigilantly watching the register. One. A quick flick of the wrist and a flash of pink shorted out the device before she looked around the electronic store. "So many things for the taking…what to choose, what to choose…" She mocked indecision as she pulled out two black nylon bags from inside her coat and opened them, setting them on a table. She walked over to the shelf behind the counter and pulled off an entire row of boxes that held MP3 players, memory disks, and digital cameras. She packed one bag and zipped it shut, then returned to the shelf and pulled the next row forward so that no one would know that anything was missing…for the moment.
Suddenly a horrible meowing noise sounded out in the stillness. Jinx jerked around and stumbled with a box, spilling memory cards across the floor. She glared at a black cat clock hanging on the far wall; its eyes moved back and forth as it alerted that the time was nine pm. She mumbled expletives under her breath while scrambling to pick up her wayward goods before she returned to her plundering.
When both of her bags could hold nothing more, she was satisfied with her catch. Jinx shoved the two bags up through the ceiling and took one last look around the store to be sure nothing seemed out of place.
A rack of gourmet suckers caught her attention, and she grinned evilly. "I'm such a sucker for suckers," she scampered over and plucked a bubblegum flavored one from its wooden holder, taking her time removing the plastic wrapping before shoving the sweet candy in her mouth as she settled down on the counter. This heist was one of several solo missions she had recently set off on. It was easier to talk yourself into something when you didn't have a team of unorganized idiots holding you back. Not that she didn't appreciate the guys; they were her friends. She just had a feeling they wouldn't take her new idea very well. The idea being she was retiring. Gradually. It was a process. They didn't have the patch for this sort of thing. Just prison.
With a smirk she pulled herself up through the missing ceiling tile and pushed her bags out onto the roof. Careful not to disturb the surrounding tiles, Jinx gently lowered the aluminum door and re-locked it, scattering leaves and gravel back over her trail.
"Ah…Always easier on my own." She took one bag in each hand and peered over the back of the store, looking for a good place to get down. A rusty fire escape and a thirty foot drop were her choices. Well, those or risking the dog again. She nudged the stairs with one foot and decided against taking them. Instead, she took both bags in one hand and slid down a steel drain pipe, crashing down to the ground considerably faster than expected.
"…Oww," she looked down at the brush burn on her hand and the impending bleeding that made its way to the surface of her skin. Jinx plucked a bit of gravel out of her palm, then picked up her bags and sprinted off down the alley.
Raven shivered as she turned the corner and a blast of cold, misty air smacked her in the face. Damn global warming, it's never this cold in California…why doesn't Vic trust me with his car? She mumbled as she continued on down the dark, deserted street. After a few more blocks, she turned left down an alley; a favorite shortcut. Only this time, she didn't expect to slam into the body of another person. I wonder if it's ever going to actually rain or-
The two girls collided and fell backwards, dropping their bags and rubbing their foreheads in frustration.
"Oww, jesus! Watch where you're…" Jinx stared into purple eyes and the already sparse color of her face drained even more. She scrambled backwards on her butt, dragging her bags. Raven, it was Raven. What was she doing there, and in civilian clothes? The feline blinked, eyeing the clothing again with a slight smirk. Definite guy jacket, probably the green one's; dark, wet street pants, Newbalance flats…cute. Much more becoming than that uniform...she looks cold, though...
Raven stared at Jinx in a daze. The other girl looked as if she had seen a ghost. The end of what appeared to be a sucker drooped from the corner of her mouth, which was slightly ajar as her pink cat eyes stared back at her. Her trademark hair was a little limp from the humidity, and her cheeks were flushed as if she had been running. A little bit of soot dusted the side of her forehead. She wore a black nylon jacket and dark cargo pants. On her feet in place of her normal boots was a pair of black Converses, which were soaking wet. The shocked look quickly vanished, replaced with an amused, borderline mischievous look on her face that brought Raven to pause.
She looks…uhm Raven raised a brow at her own thoughts, but quickly dismissed them. The likelihood of running into Jinx at that very moment caused her to immediately question what the pale girl was doing. Her gaze dropped to the two bags that Jinx was pulling close to herself, and Raven looked back up and glared. "I think it's safe to assume that you aren't just innocently walking down the street."
The sorceress blinked, eyeing the dark woman up and down again in thought. "…I could say the same thing to you," she calmly replied, playing with the blue sucker in her mouth.
"I have Chinese food. Why do you look like you just robbed a convenient store?" Raven replied with a tired sigh.
"No need to be rude," Jinx stood with her bags. "I thought you'd think a little more highly of me. I'm way above robbing the quickie mart. It smells funny in there."
"Mmmhmm…" Raven looked down at the bags again.
"You can't just assume I've committed a crime because you bumped into me," Jinx murmured. She didn't want to fight. The heist was going so well up until now. She had to play it smart if she was going to make it home with her loot unscathed.
"You really want me to believe you, Jinx?" Raven almost whispered.
The thief gave a pathetic little shrug, smiling coyly. "Maybe."
Raven grew silent. She really wasn't in the mood to fight. She was cold, hungry, and tired. Jinx looked the same. A clash of thunder sounded out in the night, and the skies opened up, pouring rain down upon the city.
"Great," they both mumbled. Jinx smiled a little, and Raven shifted uncomfortably.
"Are you cold?" the thief quietly asked.
"You're always fine, aren't you…" Jinx drawled, raising one brow. "It's thirty-five degrees out here and you're standing there in thin little jacket, soaked to the skin, telling me you're not cold. Some would say stoic, but that's pronounced 'stubborn.'"
"My, aren't we clever."
"When it suits me…" Jinx replied playfully as the realization of holding a conversation with Raven sunk in. What the hell were they doing? Whatever it was, it was rather…enjoyable. "I'm just full of surprises."
"I'm well aware, Jinx," Raven almost smiled.
The sorceress did a double take, still not entirely certain she saw the finite expression or not. "You have a nice smile, I bet," Jinx shifted from foot to foot.
An awkward silence fell. Nothing but the heavy drumming of raindrops on the corrugated steel roofs around them and the whisper of the wind down the alley. The two pale girls just stared at one another. Jinx smiled. Raven looked so cute with that uncomfortable look on her normally guarded face. Wait, wait. Back up. Cute?Really? She looked again. Yep. Really cute…hmmm…Jinx shook her head. Well that's…unexpected, she suddenly grinned. She really was full of surprises.
"Mmmk, then. Carry on, I'm going home before I freeze to death," The pink sorceress walked forward and past Raven, disappearing in the night.
Raven peered around the corner with a frown on her face. Why am I letting her go when she obviously has stolen goods? She shivered, turning to look back at the spot were Jinx last stood. For a strange, long moment, Raven oddly missed the other girl's presence. She blinked, I miss her? The empath picked up the food, slowly heading down the alley, lost in thought.
Why did she let me go? Jinx thought as she slowed her pace. She was confident that the Psion wasn't following her and to be honest, she was exhausted. She ducked down a dark street and scrambled up the iron steps to a black, chipped door. She shoved her key into the lock and almost fell into her apartment. Slamming and locking the door, Jinx slid down onto her leather sofa with a sigh.
"I'm home," she mumbled to the empty flat. She stared at the two bags of stolen electronics on her grey carpet. A crystal drop of rain water slid down her forehead and dripped off her brow; she watched it fall onto her arm, splashing across the waterproofing on her jacket. Hmm. Rain. She didn't care that she was probably ruining the leather.
Her mind was too preoccupied with the little run-in with Raven. It sparked memories here and there from her past encounters with the dark Titan, how the two always ended up paired together in opposition. They rarely sustained any damage as they blocked and parried both physical and magical attacks. In fact, their fights were much more a mental game, at least for Jinx. As soon as the Titans would show up to thwart her team's plans, she'd have to admit to smiling. Smiling as that cloaked mystery headed straight for her. They'd exchange the occasional words, always wit filled and almost playful…
"Okay, so I respect her," Jinx stood, shrugging out of her jacket. "We respect each other…" she hung the damp coat over the back of a chair. "Why did she let me go…" the lithe woman yanked the curtains aside and stared out into the gloomy night. What was most bothering about the entire situation was that she left…she wished she was still standing in the rain with Raven.
Shivers raced across her skin and she decided it might be intelligent if she took a shower and got into some dry clothes. Might help to clear her head too. With a sigh, she walked into the bedroom, grabbed a towel and continued on to the small connected bathroom. Bright, pink eyes look at her reflection in the mirror. Her face was a little dirty and flushed from the cold. Her hair was droopy and lopsided, and only the stick of the bubblegum sucker remained in her mouth. She smiled and gnawed on the plastic stick, rubbing at the soot on her temple as the water warmed up.
I wonder if Raven made it home… What am I talking about, of course she made it home. She's Raven, after all. Mysterious, elusively striking Raven…wait. I need to stop thinking these things…Jinx rubbed her eyes, peeled off her wet clothes, and hopped into the shower. I mean, she's Raven...right? What does that even mean...I want to find out.
I hope you guys enjoy the new, re-written Violently Happy...