A/N: I apologize for losing interest so thoroughly in writing this- I just don't know where I originally intended to go with this plot-wise, but at this point I should just crank out some damn chapters.
I again want to thank anyone who has reviewed or favorited or read this bit of nonsense. It's really gratifying. I put some angry, combative cuddles (best kind) at the end for you all. Plus, VIBRATING KID FLASH (more on this in later chapters). For the love of god (the god of kink) he can vibrate why has no one taken advantage of this? I do it because someone needs to! More people need to take advantage of the fact that the dude can vibrate his molecules! Spread the word!
Jinx was never really in control of her team.
She was intelligent. She had the potential to be a good leader. She had plans. She had dignity.
She had a mean right hook and no compunctions about using it.
So how, how on Earth did a stupid boy with too much hair gel manage to hold together a seemingly invincible team when she couldn't even get her own to stop drinking the milk when it was past its expiration date? How did Robin lead despite the fact that he wore shiny green pants? How could they respect him?! It just defied every fundamental law Jinx had set up in her head.
Yet there was no denying the Titans' far superior teamwork. They were damn well flawless. And if she had ever thought they could be torn apart, Cyborg had disabused her of that notion quite thoroughly, thank you very much.
And for all that first-hand experience with them, Jinx could not for the life of her define what made them a team, and what made the Five just a couple of kids just trying to score some free swag with whoever was handy. It was probably something between the Titans' friendship and their loyalty to each other and their dedication to a similar cause, but she doubted the Five could pull off whatever it was even if she did know.
That didn't stop her from wanting to know. She had often spent large amounts of her free time going over and over battles and behavior and books on teamwork she'd read back at the Academy, verging on understanding (or just thinking she was) but never quite finding out the Titans' secret. She would wear herself out emotionally searching for the answer and then be physically drained as well the next day, with a sweet, sick feeling in her gut.
That same feeling made itself known when Jinx woke up at seven in the morning, two hours after she had drifted off. It persisted as she tossed and turned for the next hour, that same sickly-sweet worry that made her feel physically weak. She was an idiot and she was tired and she was in deep shit. Save the team that never followed anyone from the imaginary group of villains that tore up their base that was already half-ruined by Kid Flash, then just run away from Jump City. Marvelous plan. Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous plan by the girl with no brain.
"Wally?" she called, her voice only slightly panicked, as she pounded down his door at eight in the morning. She wasn't going to be able to fall asleep, even though she felt exhausted. It probably wouldn't be a good idea, either- her powers had been leaking again while she slept, and that hadn't happened since she enrolled in the Academy. The knitted blanket she had been under was now half knotted and half unraveled, individual fibers falling apart in some places. She was hoping this was just a temporary relapse due to high levels of stress. If it wasn't, she would leave Wally's apartment immediately. Heaven forbid she hurt the Titans' speedy golden boy.
But it had to be just stress. She would never go back to those hellish days before the Academy again- because even people could unravel and it was a lot messier than what happened to blankets. A lot harder to clean out of the carpet and from under your nails. Ugh.
Bam. Bam. Bam. "Wally? Are you-" the door swung open under her fist. The room was empty.
Damn it! He was supposed to be there, so she could collect on her end of the deal. That card belonged to whatever organization Heatwave belonged to, if he did belong to one. Whoever they were, they thought she had the cat's eye necklace, which they wanted, apparently. Chances were it was another enemy of theirs had taken it- that, or an enemy of hers.
The reality of that destroyed blanket was seeping in slowly but surely. She felt a sudden, intense need to follow through with her plan, as feeble as it was- except that she wanted to find who had stolen the pendant not simply to shut up Heatwave's organization, but for her own personal gain. To do so, however, she'd have to get information from her only lead- Heatwave. She was going to need to do all the research she could and then go to work until seven, since she'd need cash in case she needed to do a quick disappearing act. Her boss just couldn't get her mind around Jinx's insistence on staying there all day instead of working shifts like a normal person, and if Jinx was going to be banned from work for the morning for her health, she was damned well going to use that time to kick some ass.
But first, she needed to shower. It was probably good that Wally wasn't here. She needed time to regroup. She hadn't been meditating lately, and hadn't done so in ages, since her early academy days when that was the first technique they taught her to control her powers. They soon moved her to different techniques, and she had been controlling her powers through discipline and sheer willpower ever since, but such a drastic breech in her control- not that there hadn't been others- made her consider taking the habit up again.
For now, though, she'd just use more mundane methods of relaxation. Grabbing her bag, Jinx paused to give their sleeping hedgehog a pat on the head, then slouched into the bathroom. She felt really crummy all of a sudden, and no wonder- rolling around on asphalt the other day hadn't done her any favors.
She tossed her clothes into a corner, stepped into the shower and released a jet of freezing cold water on herself. She shied away from the water and did the pansy 'how little of myself can I get wet while still turning up the water temperature' thing. The water warmed marginally and she stepped into it and leaned her head against the wall. As the cool tile pressed against her forehead and water streamed down her back to drum on the shower floor, she worked to regulate her breathing and just relax. She then made a half-assed attempt at cleaning herself, choosing the mild-smelling girly bath-soaps and shampoos for today, and then just stood under the water. Her burn was mostly healed, she noted absently. It was just settling into the slightly mottled pattern of a burn scar.
After a moment of hesitation, she grabbed the bar of soap off the side of the tub that Wally used, held it to her face and inhaled deeply. The scent immediately calmed her more than anything else she'd done all morning. She finally felt put-together enough to let her thoughts wander.
To be honest, she didn't feel as guilty about the HIVE Five's trashed base anymore. She had been swallowed up in rage and possessiveness towards a group of boys who were never truly hers, is she was brutally honest, and she had made dramatic promises she didn't feel so enthusiastic about anymore. She would subdue Heatwave's group, if he had one, but it wasn't quite for the same reasons anymore.
If anything, it was for the fact that she couldn't leave Jump City until this was resolved. She knew how obsessive heroes and villains alike could be, and just because she could move on from Jump City didn't mean it would move on from her.
Of course, she still didn't know what side of the law she was on. Mentally, she was straddling a fence that separated the two. That was okay for now, but she knew in some confident part of her that somewhere in this mess, the cat's eye necklace would end up in her hands. And then she'd have some choices to make. For a while there she felt like she would be able to give it back to the museum regardless of personal interest, but after this morning's lack of control, she wasn't so sure. There were compelling reasons she wanted to rid herself of the powers that she very rarely took pride in. Of course, this was assuming that the necklace did have any ability to negate her bad luck.
Even if it was just metal, and it became easy to let the necklace go, she'd have to start making moral decisions sooner or later. She was straddling the fence between the law and the lawless now, but soon she'd have to pick a damn side before her ass got sore.
Jesus, what had her metaphors come to. Jinx cut off the water and stepped out of the shower feeling like she'd cleared her mind a bit. She was slightly calmer, but certainly not happier.
That was what came from long stretches of thinking about herself. Jinx had been told once that if you reflected on your own problems you would just become depressed, and that the best way to get over your own issues was sometimes to stop focusing on them and to pay attention to the problems of those around you.
It was certainly a less depressing prospect than focusing on her own problems. She'd only managed to bungle things with the HIVE Five, and what did Wally need from her? Sure he wanted to help her, it was in his nature, but she was sure he had to regret his actions at least a little by now. She'd barged into his life and his Jump City home and made a mess of things and what was worse, she had groped him yesterday. Twice.
Not that he didn't deserve it, really.
Still mulling things over, Jinx finished tossing on a shirt and jeans. She grabbed her bag, opened the door and-
Too much yellow! Too much red! Gaaaah!
"JINX! You're done! Man, I thought you'd be in there-"
"-forever I- oh, did I scare you? Sorry! Anyway, it's so great, I-"
"Whoa… slow down… I need to…" She knew that 'slow down' wasn't going to register in his little monkey brain, but she tried it anyway. He just ushered her out of the bathroom, tossed her bag aside, ignoring her indignant look, and jumped around, being overly secretive about whatever he had behind his back. She wanted to bring up the subject of the card she'd asked him to investigate right away so she could leave and get some work of the non-civilian kind done, but she couldn't just interject now. He was like an overexcited puppy. She couldn't just kick him. (He was moving around too much. Couldn't get a good shot in.)
"Aw, Jinx, you look a little down. But I have something to cheer you up! I don't know why we didn't get it sooner, it's so much more practical."
She stared at him with a bemused expression as he grinned at her earnestly. A smile was already fighting to curve into existence on her face and her worries had all but evaporated. She couldn't believe that just a half hour earlier she had seriously considered distancing herself from Kid Flash because of her powers. She worried about hurting people on accident (on purpose was entirely different) on a regular basis but for some reason, when he was around, she felt invincible. Maybe it was that inexhaustible optimism.
"Okay, okay, get ready. Close your eyes." He flashed another of his wholehearted grins at her. He was practically wiggling with excitement. Thank god he didn't have a tail- he'd have knocked over a lamp by now.
Man, what's got him so hyper? Well, more hyper than usual. "What? No! Just let me see it." She reached out, but he immediately danced out of her reach like it was a game.
"You can't see it until you close your eyes!" he retorted childishly.
"Fine, whatever," she muttered, closing her eyes and mumbling about how dumb this was. She felt pretty stupid, but kind of amused at the same time. She fought to hold in laughter.
"Okay, okay. Okay okay okay. I'm holding it out now. You can open your eyes on the count of three. One… Two… Two and a half…"
"This is so dumb." She opened her eyes.
"Ah! You totally cheated! That was only two and a half!" He whipped the box in his hands out of her view before she could figure out what it was.
"Oh come on, I closed my eyes, let me see it!" She was indignant now for a completely different reason. His energy was infectious.
Insult of insults, he stuck his tongue out at her. "Nope! You cheated. Cheaters don't get gifts."
Her mouth dropped open in outrage. Too far. Now he was going to get it. "You'd better give me my present."
"What're you gonna-"
He didn't manage to say anything else before she tackled him to the ground. She felt an immediate feeling of mild shame, but brushed it off. He had hyped it up, dammit, she wanted to see what it was!
Jinx wrenched the box out of his grasp and bounced back to her feet, making a tactical retreat to the couch as she did so. "Mwa ha ha ha! Foolish Kid Flash, I have obtained the… colored contacts? Oh thank god I'll never have to wear sunglasses again."
Kid Flash didn't stir from where he'd hit the floor, trying his best to look grievously injured. "Oh God, you've killed me! I'm dying. I'm dying. Everything's so cold."
Jinx rolled her eyes so severely she was sure she sprained something. "Okay, drama queen. Did you dent your prom tiara?"
Kid Flash groaned, eyes squinting against the imaginary pain of his death throes. "Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold…"
Jinx ripped the top off the box and tossed it at Kid Flash's prone form, making a sour face at him. "You are such a dork! I cannot believe this is what you were so excited about."
He cracked an eye open and pouted. "If you don't want them I can just-"
"No! They're mine!" Jinx clutched the box protectively. "Now I just need-"
A rush of air, and Kid Flash was standing in front of her, holding out a bottle of contact solution. He watched her intently as she grabbed it.
"Don't do that, you're making me nervous! I've never used contacts before, I don't know how to put them on." Jinx tore the plastic off the bottle of contact solution, averting her eyes.
"Oh, really? I'll help you-"
"And what would you know? I bet you have perfect vision. You just want to try them on for yourself!"
"I always wanted brown eyes…"
"Get your own!"
Five minutes of bickering and a trip to the bathroom later, and Jinx was staring, transfixed, at the pair of completely normal eyes in the mirror. They were dark brown and wholly mundane- the only thing that made them unusual was the fact that they were staring out of her face.
A pair of blue eyes peeked over her shoulder. The only thing that made them unusual was the fact that they were staring out of the face of a superhero. "I like your normal eyes better," said Kid Flash. He contemplated resting his chin on her shoulder but decided that was pushing it.
She reached over her shoulder and flicked him on the nose, not even bothering to bring up the fact that her 'normal' eyes weren't exactly, well… normal. "God, you're weird."
"I want to check something out, though. Come here for a sec." He grabbed her wrist, other hand gingerly rubbing his nose, and dragged her over to the window, positioning her so that the morning sun shined directly into her eyes. Then he covered her eyes with a hand (she hoped absently that it wasn't the hand he'd just been fondling his nose with). She had no idea what he was about. After a few moments, he removed the hand and stared directly at her.
She balked slightly at his close scrutiny and furrowed (where) her eyebrows (would be if she had them) at him. She would have moved back a step but he was holding her still by her upper arms.
"Hmm," he said. "Thought so. When your pupils contract, a little bit of pink shows through on the sides of your pupil. Are they cutting off your vision?"
She grumbled a bit. "Yeah. Easy for you to like my 'normal' eyes when you don't have to deal with them." She'd heard that colored contacts cut off even the vision of people who were blessed with normally shaped pupils - but it wasn't as bad as if the contacts had been opaque (because of her light eye color, that wasn't necessary). But on the other hand those sunglasses had been getting annoying, and they were broken now. "Thanks, though, I'm glad you got these- it may just be paranoia but I think it'd be too obvious if I went out and bought 'em."
"No problem," he said offhandedly (Mentally, he made five clones of himself and danced for joy times five). When she would have moved away, he tightened his grip on her arms and leaned forward, squinting at her. "You look really tired. How much sleep did you get?"
She balked a bit more, eyes wide and invisible eyebrows pulling downwards, but refused to look down. "Not enough," she said.
He frowned at her. "How about you go back to sleep? Sam told me she was banning you from work for the morning. You're not due in until seven in the evening."
"I can't. Listen, I need to collect on our deal, that card-"
"Yeah, ooorr, you could go to sleep and I can find out what you need to know rather than just giving you a name and letting you do all the work," he said.
She remained silent, and, sensing weakness, he raised his eyebrows imploringly and pitched his voice to a near-wheedle. "I'll be gone, so you can have the bed… Think of the warm covers… the comfy pillows… They're calling to you, Jinx…"
At any lesser point of exhaustion she would point-blank refuse the bed. But she was really, really-
"Can't you hear them?" he asked. "Jiiiiinx… Jinx, sleeeeeep on uuusss… We're sooooo comfyyyy… Jiiiiiinx…."
"Oh, fine," she said after a few minutes of just standing there vacantly, drifting off, as Kid Flash watched with a somewhat worried expression and pretended to be his sheets.
"I knew you'd give in," he said, smirking as he put an arm around her shoulders and steered her away from the window.
She automatically relaxed against him, all but slumping to the floor. She was a lot more exhausted than she realized, and she had figured she was pretty damn exhausted. "I ruined your blanket," she mumbled, halfway asleep already.
"Oh?" he paused to move her bag over to the side of the couch, sparing a look for the half-knotted, half-unraveled blanket. "It must have done something very terrible to deserve that."
"Nnh. It was an accident. Leaking…" she rubbed at her face wearily, "leaking bad luck. Hasn't happened since before the Academy."
"Did that happen a lot? Before, I mean?" He had taken her shoulders and was leading her towards the bed again, but she was barely paying attention to her clumsy steps.
"Mmmhm. Before the Academy," she said. "Sucked. Bad things happen when I'm not controlling the luck properly."
He was sitting her down on the bed, and sat down next to her. "You know, Robin could help you with that. The Titans could. They'll teach you to control your power. I'm not pressuring you, and you shouldn't join just for that, but keep it in mind."
"Thought I had it under relative control. Guess not." She shuddered slightly and then flopped down onto the bed.
She sensed that Kid Flash was hesitating, and she cut in regardless of whatever he was going to say. She was so tired. "Don't want to talk about it," she said into the covers.
"Okay." His hands blurred, and the covers were out from under her and tucked around her shoulders. "Get some sleep, and don't worry about the luck thing. You were tired out when you fell asleep, and you were fighting Heatwave, and I bet you kept yourself up worrying anyway. It won't happen again."
When he sounded so reasonable she completely believed him. "If you say so" somehow translated to her mouth as "Mhhhh," and her eyes slid closed.
"Don't go to sleep yet. You should take the contacts off," he urged, holding forth a contact case from seemingly nowhere.
She struggled up and complied, barely finding the strength to remove them clumsily before flopping back down. Her hand idly placed the case on Wally's bedside table. "G'night," she said, even though it was morning.
"Night, Jinx," he replied, and a gust of wind heralded his departure.
She opened her eyes slightly to make sure he was really gone, and then she shimmied out of her jeans and bra and tossed them over the side of the bed. They were way too uncomfortable, there was no way she was sleeping in them. As she buried her face in his pillow and burrowed into his blankets she inhaled unashamedly and sighed. That's better, she thought to herself as she drifted off again.
She didn't wake up again until noon. Her body felt warm and heavy, and she glanced at the clock and checked the comforter for any signs of decay due to her powers before closing her eyes again.
At three, she was roused by some instinct that told her she wasn't alone. She cracked an eye and peered over the edge of the bed. A set of feet encased in bright red were standing there, trying not to fidget and doing a really crap job of it. Attached to the feet was Kid Flash.
"Oh finally, you're awake. I'm so bored and I thought you'd never get up." Kid Flash was obnoxiously cheery and awake, as usual.
Her neural pathways were clogged with brain syrup. A sluggish thought dragged its lard-ass across her mind. "…How long were you standing there?"
"Like, two seconds, but I thought I was going to have to wait years. It's three in the afternoon, you bum."
She sat up slowly, moving as if she was underwater. "You said I should sleep," she mumbled. She ran a hand through her hair blearily and then stretched her arms high above her head, joints cracking.
Kid Flash tried, he really tried (he tried a lot, he almost hurt himself from trying so much) to look away when her shirt rode up a bit, but you couldn't blame his eyes for being drawn to the strip of stomach-
All of a sudden his blood ran cold and his jaw clenched as he glimpsed the healing remains of her burn wound. Jinx had mentioned something about Heatwave attacking her, some kind of conflict that had taken place before her running around with Trickster, and he had been meaning to ask her about it, but he hadn't thought-
She noticed the direction of his gaze and hurriedly tugged at her shirt, and the blankets, but in a blur of speed he tugged the covers down and lifted her shirt to her bellybutton as he looked at the burn, horrified.
Jinx's eyes widened and mortification washed over her in a wave. She wasn't wearing pants! Her chastity! Waahh! …At least she was wearing her favorite pair of underwear.
The injury looked fresh… "Where did you get this?" he demanded, voice harsh.
His sharp command shocked her into an automatic response. "V-Victoria's Secret," she squeaked.
His eyes dropped and silence reigned for several moments before he jumped back as if burned and spun around. "Uhmmmm," he said. "Yeah, I was talking about the wound."
"Oh. Oh!" Well. Well. "Oh, uh, Heatwave."
"I know. Er, I mean, I don't know, I just kind of… figured. Not many people, ah…"
"Carry around gigantic flamethrowers," she finished, laughing nervously.
He glanced at her over his shoulder, and she tugged the blankets back up. He turned around again, ears turning red, and scratched at the back of his neck. "So you got that when he-?"
"Yeah. Jumped me. Alley. Cheap shot."
"Ah. Well, I'm going to, uh, go." He'd already started slowly edging towards the door.
"O-ok." She wondered if she would ever be able to look him in the face again.
Sometimes even superspeed wasn't a fast enough exit.
The door shut quietly behind Kid Flash. Left in the silence of his departure, Jinx contemplated this tragedy with disbelief. Normally, her plan of action in a situation such as this was violence, but she hadn't been quite that quick on the uptake this morning, and for good reason. Well, it was over. Nothing to do but act normal and force the last few minutes of her life to disappear by sheer force of will.
"Where were you when I needed you?" she muttered darkly to her pants as she pulled them on, feeling betrayed.
Pointedly dressed, Jinx strode out of the bedroom combing her hair with her hands, looking completely unruffled. She locked eyes with Kid Flash on the couch, and silently willed him to realize that as far as she was concerned, they had gone back in a time machine and redone the scene in the bedroom.
Kid Flash got enough of the message, apparently, because he cleared his throat and gestured to a tray set up on the coffee table. On the tray was an assortment of croissants and sliced french bread flanked by butter. "I sorta got hungry today and ate everything in the apartment, so I brought you breakfast from this really great little bakery in Paris. It's owned by this pair of adorable French grannies, and their bread is delicious, especially warm. You were asleep though, so it cooled a bit. And I ate some." He grinned sheepishly.
"Oh no! My fresh bread from France has gone cold, how will I go on?" She covered the 'o' of her mouth with a hand as she strode over and somehow managed to sit down sarcastically. She took a bite of croissant, closed her eyes in pleasure, and then went on in a prim tone, "I will have you know that this is unacceptable, Williamsworth. You know very well I will have only warm bread in the morning. As punishment for your grievous error-"
"Alright, alright. I'll take that as a 'thank you very much for breakfast.'" He stuck his tongue out at her snicker, disappeared into his room for a moment, and reappeared almost instantly dressed in civilian clothes.
He returned to his place on the couch, and Jinx ate croissants and savored the morning's- err, afternoon's- relative quiet (there were horns blaring outside somewhere, but that was normal). She could see Wally start to fidget in the corner of her vision and knew it was only a matter of time before his inability to sit still got the best of him.
She swallowed a mouthful of croissant and asked "So where do you keep your costume?" to keep him occupied.
For a moment she thought she had overstepped the line. She knew enough of his secrets already, she berated herself, but Wally's eyes brightened and he reached out to drop a gold ring into her hand.
Jinx narrowed her eyes and tilted her head down at the ring resting against her palm. Wiping the other hand free of crumbs on her jeans (oh-so-civilized), she picked it up and turned it in the light, examining it from all angles. The only place she could imagine the costume being was underneath the lightning insignia on the top (subtle), but the circular area on which the raised pattern was placed was thinner than a quarter of an inch. No way. He had to be messing with her.
When she turned her inquisitive look on him, he just put his feet up on the coffee table and crossed his hands behind his head. Figure it out, said his body language.
She attempted to do so while munching absently on her breakfast. There had to be some kind of release mechanism…
Ten minutes of intense battle with the ring later and it had failed to reveal its secrets, although Jinx and Wally had managed to decimate the croissants. Jinx was frustrated with herself- she'd tinkered with enough of Gizmo's inventions to consider herself a mild expert at figuring out little release triggers.
Wally seemed amused enough watching her try to figure it out. Finally he reached over and made as if to take it, but she batted his hands away and slipped the ring on. She would prevail!
She made another pass of the sides of the crown of the ring upon which the lightning insignia rested, lightly using her nails to search for a seam. There seemed to be one, and- was that a set of grooves on either side? She slipped her nails into the depressions and half a cry of triumph escaped her lips before Wally's suit exploded out of the ring, turning her cry of triumph into a cry of shock. She hadn't really thought his suit was going to come springing out of that tiny ring.
Wally, of course, began laughing uproariously, so she threw the suit at him.
"Your face," said the monster under the uniform, words accompanied by sporadic laughter.
"Hilarious," she said.
He pulled the eye-blinding mass of red and yellow off himself, in the process managing somehow to make his hair look messier than it looked following one of his sessions of running around at mach 5. "Yeah, what's really hilarious is trying to get it back into the ring." His eyes crinkled at her muffled snort of amusement. "I'd tell you how it works, but I think I've revealed enough of my deepest darkest secrets for today."
He had been expecting a responding smile at least, but was met with a shift in the way Jinx sat and her suddenly averted eyes. He winced.
"If your mentor ever finds out about me, he'll kill you." Jinx frowned into the middle distance. Moodily.
"What, the Flash? Nah. Phase me halfway through a wall and leave me there, maybe. And then bring my dad in to lecture me while I'm trapped."
"Is he that bad? Your dad, I mean."
"Well, let's just say we don't quite see eye to eye. Not to mention he's really pissed at me right now. I'd say I'm about… three quarters of the way through the legal process of being disowned at this point, at least in his head."
The prospect of finding out what terrible things Wally must have done to annoy his father was cheering Jinx slightly.
"So… What did you do?" As usual, her intents to stay clear of Wally somehow ended up with her asking him intimate personal details about his life. How did that keep happening??
"Do? You just assume I did something? Maybe he is just bad-tempered and I am the poor, innocent victim of-"
"Please. Don't look me in the eye and say you are completely innocent when I am seconds away from digging up some dirt on the most angelic, heroic, gold-hearted do-gooder of the damn century."
She meant it as the gravest of insults, but Wally looked mildly surprised at her words, and whatever he was about to say came out as a soft, happy hum. He proceeded to watch her out of the corner of his eyes, smiling in a slightly embarrassed but undeniably pleased manner. Jinx had more than half a mind to wipe the goofy smile off his face but oh, he was pathetic. It was best to let it go- after all, she did think those things, even if they were negative traits in her estimation.
…Furthermore, why not take advantage of this? If he wanted to sit around and be flattered, that was his business… That thought in mind, Jinx scooted slightly closer to Wally, who was now scratching the back of his neck and averting his eyes.
"Seriously, though…" Having gained his attention, Jinx leaned in slightly, expression open and imploring. "Why don't you tell me? I mean, I know I… definitely know too much already…" She inserted an abashed laugh here, and bit her lip, seemingly feeling guilty, "but it would make me feel better knowing that you're a hero and still, well… not perfect."
Wally swallowed shakily. He had been startled to find her suddenly invading his personal space, and her nearness was shepherding him firmly away from rational thought. He could already feel his will weakening… it was another one of those situations where he knew he was playing into her hands, but couldn't help himself. Her words, however, seemed to instill some sense into him, and he smacked his palm against her forehead, face deadpan. "Nope! Not gonna fall for that one."
Over her shock in a second, she brought a hand to her forehead, soothing its wounded pride. "Damn! I almost had you… Alright… We'll bargain for it. No? How about a card game? I'm good at those-"
"Geez, do you really want to know that bad?" He was back to rubbing his neck again.
"Yes! I want to know so bad!" She laughed at her own eagerness. This information was too valuable for pride.
He sighed and relented. If she really wanted to know, she'd get it out of him eventually. He had almost spilled two seconds before. Might as well just cut his losses. "Fine…" His back straightened and he began to examine his nails daintily, affecting a debonair tone. "I have entered a momentary state of suspended animation regarding the prestigious facility of my academics."
"Suspended animation meaning I am suspended."
Blank, pink stare. Followed by an almost offensively excited "Really? You? Suspended? You… are kidding me. No way! No way!"
"It's not that unbe-…"
"Ahaha oh my GOD you have GOT to be kidding me!" When no 'just kidding' seemed to be in sight, Jinx slowly came around to the idea that he was, indeed, telling the truth. She came around to this idea by laughing in disbelief.
"You already said…"
"No, no, don't even talk to me! That is ridiculous! I refuse to believe that." She laughed some more, helplessly, and wiped a few tears away from the corners of her eyes. "Look at me, I'm crying. Look what you did. Oh, man."
His resigned look had settled into 'mildly offended.' "Are you done now?"
"No! I am so far from done! How did you get suspended? How on earth did the golden boy get suspended?" At this rate she was going to turn into an insatiable gossip, but she had to know. Her mind was already working at breakneck pace to puzzle out how circumstances could possibly have led Wally West to be suspended from school like… like some kind of delinquent! "You were framed, right? You had to be framed. Or it's one of those lame little suspensions that you get for doing stupid stuff, the two-day ones."
"No, I was not framed. It is a longer suspension than that, let me assure you. And that is the end of how much I'm going to tell you." Wally sat back and crossed his arms. Case closed.
Jinx turned to face him, kneeling eagerly on the couch. Case not closed. "You can't just leave me hanging like that!" she said, past the point of subtlety.
"Oh, but I can," he said, also past the point of subtlety. He even had the nerve to smirk at her.
She was dealing more with the smartass, impertinent Kid Flash side of him now, so there was no way she was going to pull him in with another bit of acting, especially after her last performance fell flat. This left intimidation, her favorite!
"If you want me to hex you into an unconscious stupor, sure, you can," she said, eyes mocking him condescendingly.
He laughed outright and forgot his intention to not antagonize her… too much. Instead he launched headlong into the confrontation, leaning forward and lording his height advantage over her, noses inches away. "Frankly, if all I'm up against are a few pink fireworks, I'll take my chances."
Which was how he found himself flat on his back yet again, Jinx pinning his wrists to either side of his head. Honestly, how did she keep pulling these tackles off? He could watch them happen in slow-mo, sure, but it was ridiculous how effortlessly the motions seemed to come to her- she must have practiced incessantly at the HIVE for her physical retaliation to be this reflexive.
Unfortunately, no amount of practice would help her prevail against his speed. Faster than her eyes could move, Jinx's wrists were firmly within Wally's grip. Wally pressed her backwards, forcing her to rear back slightly, and her hands sparked in reaction to her spike in temper.
"Ow!" Wally winced as one of the stray pink sparks flared against his skin. A moment later, Wally's hands were gone, leaving Jinx to fall against his chest. She tucked her powers away again as her blood ran hot and cold. Okay, no more using her powers for petty fights when she was as out of control as she had been lately- someone only got hurt… usually Kid Flash.
Just as she braced her hands against him to push herself up and opened her mouth to apologize, her speedster opponent decided that if she was going to use her powers, fine. Turnabout was fair play. So he slid one arm around her back, holding her against him, and settled the other one likewise with his hand resting comfortably on the nape of her neck, and sent a wave of vibration down his body, from his fingertips to his toes.
Jinx wasn't sure what she had been expecting when he looked down at her with that wild edge to his smile, but it certainly wasn't that. Disoriented and pressed against someone she wasn't sure anymore she should provoke, she had been forced to lie still as his hands hummed against her, goosebumps rising in response along her arms. "I vibrate, you know," replayed mockingly in her head as that same unendurable hum traveled down his body and, as a result, down every inch of hers, reverberating in her bones.
She was sure it had only been a few seconds, but it felt like much longer. When his legs stopped buzzing against her enticingly, she immediately tried to push herself up again. He let her get just high enough on her shaky arms to let him drink in her shell-shocked expression.
Jinx, who had never been one to blush, felt her face suffused in heat. Her limbs were trembling shamefully (traitors), her heartbeat was hammering in her ears and she was curiously short of breath. None of these symptoms measured up to the shock that raced up her spine when she locked eyes with Kid Flash.
His expression was as intense as she'd ever seen it, and the last of her bravado fled in the face of his eyes, darker and somehow sharper than usual. His head was tilted, and he was watching her with a look of consideration. The twist to his lips said that he knew exactly what he was doing to her, and the edge to his expression said he was still acutely interested in how she would react.
She shivered, once.
Instantly, he broke the spell, eyes lightening and hands suddenly righting her and setting her gently on the couch. Jinx was grudgingly grateful for the help, and did her best to quell the slight tremor still thrumming through her. Kid Flash, on the other hand, bounced up as if nothing had happened (Jinx wasn't sure if she felt insulted or relieved- oh wait no, that was definitely relief, no uncertainty there), and held his hand out to her.
She narrowed her eyes, confused- the proverbial fish offered a bicycle. A flying bicycle.
"So, I guess we should go track down Heatwave's cronies?" he supplied.
She grabbed his hand with a bit more force than necessary, and a lot more force than someone recently recovering from what Jinx privately thought was a stroke should be able to exert, and pulled herself up. "What do you mean we?"
And thus round two began.