Obligatory

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Saw 'Lightspeed' and had to do a fic since it's one of the best episodes of the season. R/R if you like.

When I was a kid, I used to have this thing about fairy tales. I couldn't get enough of them. I remember I used to read them all the time, so much that I knew most of them by heart. But eventually, I started getting older and reading fairy tales wasn't the cool thing to do. I've wanted to be cool all my life. So I gave up reading them, forced myself to grow up and deal with things in the real world as opposed to a fantasy one. But things in the real world, well, they're a little bit too real sometimes. And even though I stopped reading fairy tales, I think some small part of me never stopped believing in them.

The makeup comes off easy enough. The water is cold against my skin as I wash my face off. I grab some paper towels from the dispenser and dry off my face. I stare at my face in the mirror. It's caught in the middle somewhere, a lot like I am. No makeup but my hair's still up in pigtails. I stare into the sink, watching the discolored water slowly circle the drain and then leave. Was that my life I saw in there? Was that my life that just went down the drain? Maybe, I don't know.

This bathroom is awful. Seriously, this place makes me want to throw up and, given the fact that I'm nervous as hell right now, I might take that option. I take some deep breaths and force myself to stare in the mirror again. I left in the middle of the night. I packed a backpack full of stuff including my costume, my diary, and some other essentials. I threw on some jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, and then another t-shirt over it. The shirts only slightly match, the colors definitely not in style this season. I force my hands upwards and undo my hair, tying it back in a simple ponytail. I am standing in the bathroom of a truck stop with no makeup, no real hairstyle, and clothes that barely match and totally aren't up to par with my usual standard. I look like everything I would normally make fun of and, for some completely unknown reason, it honestly feels really nice.

I don't really know where to go from here. I suddenly wonder if the rest of my friends will miss me. Maybe, maybe not. I can do better though, in more ways than one. I want to do better now. It's a cliché and I'm a cliché. I hate that but I guess it's honestly been true all my life. I had a rough life, hung with the bad crowd. I never really had a chance to be good, never wanted one either. If I were to cast myself in one of those fairy tales I loved, I would've been the wicked stepsister or something along those lines. But lately I'm learning that even if I am a cliché it's better that I choose which one I am rather than someone else doing it for me. So if I want to choose what cliché to be then I choose to be the redemptive villain instead of the arrogant, Goth witch. It's my story, my life.

"Not really much of one," I mutter as I pick up my backpack and head out the door. There's a fast food place connected to the truck stop. Not very stylish, not very high-class, and therefore not something I'd usually go for. But I'm not the old Jinx anymore. I traded away that character for someone else. I don't know what she'll be like but I know she'll be better. I can do better than the old Jinx.

The strawberry milkshake tastes good, nice and cold. I check my wallet and realize I don't have much money left. It doesn't matter. All I need is bus fare to get out of here. I'll find somewhere better and start over.

"You look better without all that makeup on." There's a blur of motion and suddenly he's sitting across from me.

"Thanks," I mumble. He's out of costume now though but it's the same fiery, red hair and piercing, blue eyes. And it's still the same mix of cockiness, charm, and overall goodness I've come to expect from Kid Flash.

"Pretty sure I should be thanking you," responds Kid Flash, "I mean if it wasn't for you I'd be Madam Rouge's little whipping boy, wouldn't I?"

"Who says I did it to be nice to you?" I reply, "Maybe I was jealous and wanted you all for myself."

"Touché," he replies with a slightly wicked grin. It makes me blush reflexively and I look away from him, taking another sip.

"But really, thanks," says Kid Flash, dropping the cockiness and devilish attitude as fast as he picked it up, "And thanks for thinking about what I said."

"You shouldn't be here," I tell him, "I'm still a villain. If somebody catches us here, we'll get in a lot of trouble."

"'Stay away from me, I'm no good'," rephrases Kid Flash, "I'll take my chances, Jinx. It's worth it for you."

"You don't know me," I tell him in a slightly exasperated tone, "Hell, I don't even know me anymore. So how can you think I'm worth all that risk? How can you think I'm worth anything at all?"

"You're a person," he replies simply, "Everybody's worth something." I sigh in a defeated tone and just stare at the table, sipping my milkshake in silence.

"Where will you go now?" asks Kid Flash.

"I don't know," I tell him, "I just know I want to start over again."

"You could come back to Keystone with me," says Kid Flash. For a few moments, I entertain that notion. It's a nice idea. I could become a hero there, a real crime-fighter just like the Teen Titans are. I could have him by my side too, the knight in shining armor and his fair damsel. Is this what it feels like to sell out? But don't you have to believe in something first? I sigh. It's a nice fantasy, a nice fairy tale, but I have to make my own way now and not his or anyone else's.

"I'd like that but no," I tell him, "I think it's time I figure out what I want out of life." He nods sympathetically, almost as if he understands all about living up to someone else's legacy or expectations.

"Do you think I'm worth something?" I ask him suddenly. He stares at me with a look that suggests I should already know this answer.

"Of course I do," replies Kid Flash, "You're worth a lot to me, Jinx."

"Why?" I ask him.

"You're smart, good-looking, a good person when you try to be," rattles off Kid Flash, "You're beautiful and I like you." I blush so hard at this that I might as well still have on my makeup.

"Am I worth something to you?" he asks with a suggestive waggle of his eyebrow.

"You're worth every bit of trouble you put me through," I tell him with a smile as I finish my milkshake and get up to leave. He gets up too, walking beside me as I make my way to the bus stop.

"I gotta get going now," I tell Kid Flash as the bus pulls up, "I'll . . . I'll catch you later, I guess." There's more I wanna tell him but I can't.

"You'll be the only one who can," replies Kid Flash with a grin. I turn to go but feel him suddenly grab my hand. He pulls me into an embrace and I feel my lips meet his. Now if this is what it feels like to sell out then maybe I could learn to like it. It's funny. I always thought my first kiss would be some horribly cliché affair. I even had the secret fantasy that it would be just like one of the fairy tales I loved. But standing in front of a truck stop in the dead of night mere seconds away from leaving behind everything I've ever known, I start to realize again that clichés aren't so bad once you get used to them. The ecstasy of his lips on mine, the pure rush of the damsel getting a kiss from her knight, is definitely a cliché I could live with.

"For luck," he whispers as we part. I can only nod my thanks, too dumbstruck and lightheaded to accomplish anything else. I blink and suddenly he's gone.

"I love you," I whisper to the empty night, hoping the wind can carry my words to him fast enough. I sigh and get on the bus, dropping the change into the slot. I don't know where to go or what to do. All I know is that I don't want to be the ice queen or the wicked stepsister anymore. So I'll go somewhere new and try something different. I don't know what but I'm sure it'll be better. I hope I'm that lucky. So in the end, I guess the story of my life is a pretty cliché one complete with a handsome prince who could love an evil witch. But my story's not done and there's still a long way to go from here. As for the ending, you can fill in whatever obligatory, romantic cliché you like. Me? I'm going to be out finding my own way to end the story of my life. Hopefully it'll be a happy one.