A/N Hey all you guys and gals out there in computer land! This is the first story I've actually posted, if by far not the first I've written. As tacky as it sounds, it came to me in a dream, so it was origonally intended to be a one-shot. However, it is riddiculously too long to post all at once, so I split it into a few chapters. Hope you have some fun reading it!
A Walk in the Woods
The sun was soon going to set over the picturesque natural forest reserve about an hour by car outside of Jump City. Well, an hour obeying the speed limit, more like 20 minutes or so the way Cyborg drives and 15 the way Robin rides, and actually the sun could have been tap dancing for all anyone on the ground knew. The sky was thickly blanketed by dark grey almost purpley greenish clouds which were weeping profusely and showed no sign of stopping any time soon. The T Car and Robin's motorcycle could be seen in the parking lot. Beast Boy could be found in the middle of the old wood deciduous forest blending in rather well as a squirrel (except for the whole 'green' issue) who just happened to leap onto the shoulders of a young man dressed almost completely in black and who was moving rather fast. The squirrel suddenly turned into a large cougar, but the figure in black was a step ahead of BB and swung under a low branch, neatly sweeping him off his back. Sadly for this figure though, he had swung directly into the very hard titanium chest of Cyborg, but he recovered quickly and vaulted over his head using the tall blue shoulder for leverage. Starfire rounded on him now, sending out bolts of pure green power raining down upon the ground just like the clouds and their watery tears. These he countered with a few quipy comments and sharp throwing stars with only four prongs. He next faced what he considered the grand finale, although he hadn't though he'd had finished with the opening acts. But that was okay, he was flexible, as he now demonstrated by kicking the taller Cyborg in the head (they all converged on him). Robin was always his favorite to fight, or really to play will as a cat plays with a mouse in his opinion. Red X smiled maliciously, said something meant to infuriate his opponent and started to have some fun.
The missing act X noticed was actually flying through the pouring rain above the trees. Raven did not expect the Titans to win hand to hand with the notorious Red X, especially in the rain, especially out of their element, all of them being more comfortable in a city setting. She had tried to explain this to Robin on the way. They had to actually think when it came to X; they could not just rely on brute force. She had a few ideas, but no real gift for strategy, she needed her friend's amazing talent, but Robin was too emotionally involved with this villain and would not or could not see the light in order to help her. Still, Raven rammed her plan of ambushing the criminal when he returned to the city down Robin's stubborn little throat and left to take her post, letting the others beat some aggression out. So she was flying alone along the only path she logically thought Red X could take back to town via the forest: following the power lines. She wasn't even sure Robin had heard enough of what she told him so many times to know where she was. But that was all right, Raven considered herself a big girl who could take care of herself, and she always had her communicator, or could just phase back to the group. Raven felt like she had to catch him this time. She had to make up for all of her potential evil, it bled more and more into everything she did recently. She did not see Red X as truly evil, but then she had a skewed view, and needed something morally solid to hang onto at the moment. So she just decided to accept Robin's verdict at face value just this once. This absolute determination overtook her mind; she would rein him in if it killed her this time.
Lightning flashed alarmingly close by. As the thunder pealed, Raven started to wonder if she'd been a bit reckless. Lightning flashed again, and again, and suddenly there was only light, pure white, excruciating, blinding light that seemed to surge through her eyes and through her soul, and then the light turned to darkness.
To a distant observer, the slender girl looked like a wasp that had been sprayed with industrial strength Raid. She plummeted through the trees to bounce horribly to a stop on a large chunk of granite placed there just for this specific purpose, during this specific second, thousands of years ago by a glacier. She finally landed unconscious on her stomach, her right arm twisted beneath her.
Red X was teleporting back to the city. He was indeed following the power lines and traveling in spurts, hopping hilltops so to say, it was easier and conserved zinothium. He stopped nearby Raven's resting place, still chuckling after leading Robin around in merry chase for a few hours. He caught sight of her fallen form, and warily approached, taking advantage of the opportunity to gloat and have a little more fun at others' expense.
"Wasting time on the job are we? Tut tut tut, big mean leader man back there shall not be pleased." He approached further when she did not respond. "Not even going to try? Yeah, I always thought you were the smartest, the first to realize that I'm just better than all of you."
Still no response, something was seriously wrong with this picture, she hadn't given any sign of even being aware that he existed, or of being alive for that matter. He raised his voice.
"Hey! You, move or be buzzard food." X frowned under his death mask in perplexion standing there oblivious to the pouring rain and how it effectively washed away his good mood. Then he noticed that she was breathing in sharp irregular gasps and was shivering almost indiscernibly. He swore and easily jumped up onto the boulder. Her cloak, draped over her like a blanket, was dark with the rain to begin with, but a wide generally circular patch in the center of her back was nearly black. He flung it away in revulsion to reveal an open, freely bleeding hole in her back just above her belt. Her leotard in the area was in charred tatters, he swore once again and felt the first icy fingers of panic when he took her pulse.
Red X had to be back in the city by midnight to pass off the envelope he carried hidden in his uniform or he was as good as cat meat, and now he had a dying chick on his hands in the middle of the freakin' wilderness! But what happened? He quickly conducted a more thorough inspection and began to wrap his mind around the situation. "Okay" he said to himself "shivering, erratic breathing," he peeled back an eyelid, causing her it jolt a bit and come back to consciousness. "have to...find...hurry..." she mumbled deliriously.
"...dilated eyes, loss of consciousness, incoherency. Right then, shock, probably from blood loss. Assorted bruising and laceration, probably result of impact." Raven shifted her head a bit; he saw a large bloody lump on her right temple. "Ohho concussion! and looks to be a good one. No nonono, stay awake, or you might not wake up again." He took hold of her pointed little chin and gave it a good shake, her eyes opened again. "Damn, what's your name? Raja...Raptor...Rabbit...Raven! That's it. Hey, Raven, talk to me" He had tried to speak to her gently, but winced at the harsh effect of his voice modulator. With one annoyed movement he hooked a finger under his mask and disabled the small device. A very concerned sounding baritone cast around "uh, tell me about you day" he was astounded by his own lack of originality.
"have to go...find him...Robin needs...find him...back to...head him off...have to go..."
Red X whistled at this, she was just hell-bent on locking him away. As she continued to babble feebly, he quickly took in the scorching around her warped slightly melted belt and wound. He also found open sores on the soles of her feet through the burned out bottoms of her boots and a bloody spot on the crown of her head. Also, her right arm was crushed beneath her and probably broken. All of these pieces fell into place with an almost audible click.
"The little fool forgot we're in the mountains, higher up into the storm." He said this as though it was a great and profound discovery, then shook his head at his own folly, in retrospect a blind monkey could have figured that out. A distant crash of thunder seemed to confirm all of this. "Almost serves her right for wearing a metal belt in the middle of a lightning storm. Hey hey, got to keep talking, just stay with me until you're not my problem anymore." She resumed mumbling upon his insistence. X fumbled over her person to find her communicator attached to that dratted belt under her hip. "Damn. How the $#& do you work this thing? It doesn't have any buttons or anything." He managed to extend the antenna and, after smacking it against the rock a few times, the screen came alive. But it would reveal nothing but static and the fact that it was cracked. Red X cursed a bit more creatively.
"What to do, what to do" for starters, he ripped off a strip of Raven's cloak and tied up her broken arm and wrapped the rest tightly around her body over the strike sight. Genius then struck. "Right, I'll just port her back to where I saw them last, drop the chick and get the &$# over to Willy's." He carefully gathered her up, noting in passing how small and fragile she really seemed to be, and shifted until he had a hand free to press the button on his belt, concentrating on the clearing miles away. He disappeared, Raven's form thumped to the ground. X reappeared with a loud and long string of oaths. Of course, the suit only teleported its contents. "Right, now what." he looked at the time, "Sh#, only three hours, already cutting it close."
'You know,' said a little voice in his head, 'you could just leave her, she is fuzz after all.' 'What, go find the rest and bring 'em back here? Good plan except I've no idea where this is remember?' The little voice dropped its forehead into its palm, or the metaphysical parallel. 'No' it explained as if to a small child and not a very intelligent and crafty eighteen year old, 'you leave, and go meet Willy on time and then get on with your life.' 'No! I can't just leave someone to die! Besides, this one's too much fun to torment.' 'Sigh, suite yourself, but don't blame me when you're being slowly boiled in hot oil and the one that caused it is right outside ready to slap the cuffs on.' and the voice was gone. 'Not to mention that you think she's attractive' 'hey, I thought you 'were gone''