Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Teen Titans. I'm just playing in DC's sandbox.
An: This is my first attempt at a Jinx/Kid Flash story. The plot bunny just attacked me out of nowhere a couple weeks ago and I spent a few days scrawling it all down. It's set between Lightspeed and Titans Together, a kind of what-if? that sheds a bit of illumination on Jinx's relationship (or lack thereof) with Kid Flash and her reasons and motives for eventually working with the Titans.
Thanks go to Le Bibliothecaire and Red Lasbelin for beta-reading.
Fool Me Once...
"You vill not feed him, you vill not speak to him, and I trust you are holding him in a Level 4 containment field?"
The memory floated out of the dim recesses of his mind; Madame Rouge's words to Jinx the day the Hive Five thought they'd gotten him. A smile almost crossed his face. He loved getting under her skin, loved the look on her face when she realized she'd revealed much more than she had intended—
A sudden jolt of electricity, more powerful than the rest, traveled through him and his body shook violently. Wally West, usually known as Kid Flash, was in a bit of a jam. Quite a bit of a jam, actually, since the Level 4 containment field surrounding him prevented the use of his powers.
"Not so cocky now, are you?" a heavily-accented voice mocked. "There is no escape for you this time, Kid Flash."
He could barely make out the tall, imposing form through the bright haze of the containment field. He didn't know how long he'd been here—it felt like hours—but he wasn't sure how much more he could take. A spasm of pain lanced through him and he fought another wracking shudder. On top of everything else, his stomach was rumbling loudly—he'd need to eat something soon.
Unfortunately, Madame Rouge was not as naïve as the Hive Five had been. She knew all too well how to render him helpless and she was fully capable of doing so. Her approach had been a great deal more subtle this time around—so subtle, in fact, that he hadn't realized he was in a trap until it was too late. Much too late.
The woman's arrogant, he thought numbly, and she has a diabolical streak in her. Vengeful one, too. She didn't much like getting one-upped by me…or Jinx.
The containment field continued to pour jolts of energy into his body to keep him from moving and his muscle spasms grew worse. Though he refused to admit it, in the back of his mind he knew he wasn't going to be conscious much longer. And when he woke up—if he ever woke up—who knew where he would find himself?
Kid Flash tried to raise his head but lacked the energy. He contented himself with directing a scowl towards the floor, trying desperately to fight off the wave of black hovering at the edges of his vision. She's still there. His head was beginning to pound.
"I vas not sure you vould fall for my leetle trick again, but you did." Madame Rouge chuckled, a throaty sound that frightened him more than the guttural way she pronounced her words. "I made a few changes, of course; othervise you might haff become suspicious and all my time and planning vould have been for nothing."
She paused, as if waiting for him to say something. When he did not reply, she continued, "You heroes are so gullible—so ready to trust." She huffed scornfully. "You haff brought this on yourself, you know. Haff fun." With a derisive laugh, she swept from the room. The lights went out and he heard a heavy metal door clang shut.
The worst of it was that she was right. He had brought this on himself. He knew that—oh, yes, he knew. Madame Rouge was obviously an adaptable villainess and he fell for her new ploy hook, line, and sinker.
Sweat trickled down off the end of his nose as his head dropped another fraction of an inch, the droplets sizzling the instant they touched the containment field. Most serious villains knew his weaknesses—in particular the fact that he had to eat regularly to maintain his hyper energy. Madame Rouge, however, had found the one weakness she could best exploit: his heart.
Even he wasn't quite sure how it had happened. He didn't make it a habit to fall for villainesses, but there was something about Jinx that drew him from the moment he met her. Maybe it was the fact that the self-proclaimed mistress of bad luck was trying to find something good, maybe it was the fact that she didn't think things could be any different…or maybe it was just the fact that she was awfully cute when indignant. He didn't know.
Unfortunately, his infatuation was obvious—so obvious in fact, that Madame Rouge used it to her advantage in their last meeting. He didn't realize his subsequent attempts to keep an eye on Jinx had been noticed by anyone…but Rouge must have been watching her too. Or maybe, his tired brain faltered, maybe Jinx had truly disappeared and Madame Rouge's game of pretend had been going on much longer than he had thought.
One thing's for sure, he thought, his shoulder muscles burning from keeping himself on his knees. I'll never look at coffee the same way. He blinked, trying to focus his vision. Okay, maybe that wasn't true. It probably wouldn't stop him from drinking it, but he'd definitely take a second or two to contemplate the matter.
The entire fiasco started with Jinx. No, I take that back. His lips curled in a mirthless smile. The entire fiasco actually started with his inability to stop dashing over to Jump City to see how she was doing. From there, everything had spiraled into a cascading disaster of epic proportions.
His conscience gave a little twinge. Okay, fine. Maybe it wasn't a 'disaster of epic proportions', but nobody knew he'd been kidnapped. At least, nobody knew unless he was being ransomed, which he doubted because it was far more likely that the Flash—or any of his friends—would break him out before they'd fork over money. Besides, if Madame Rouge was as smart as he thought she was, she wouldn't even consider handing a superhero his freedom just because she'd been given a lot of money, or the next Weapon of Doom, or makeup, or whatever it was that villains always wanted.
In essence, he was good and stuck.
Pink hair floated through his mind's eye and the darkness threatened to close in on him. In an effort to keep himself awake, he recalled the circumstances that had landed him in his containment field in the first place. Things were a little fuzzy at first, but they snapped back into crystal clear clarity.
He'd taken a detour and dashed through Jump City on his way home for lunch to make sure the Teen Titans didn't need any help. That was the excuse, anyway. The truth of the matter was that he was looking for Jinx. He hadn't been able to find her anywhere for the past couple weeks and he wanted to take another look. At this point, her disappearance—if she had in fact willingly disappeared—could mean one of several things.
A small corner of him…well, okay, a large part of him…hoped she'd decided to chuck the whole villainess thing. The thought filled him with a warm glow that only served to increase the speed with which he was zipping up and down the streets. And then he'd found her.
Alert for any trace of pink, he'd spotted her hair at once, though it wasn't done up in its usual gravity-defying horns. He didn't know what it looked like exactly, because he overshot the coffee shop where she was sitting and had to zip back. She was tucked away in a back corner up against a window, engrossed in the newspaper. More importantly, she hadn't noticed his entrance.
Unable to help the cocky grin that insisted on making his face its permanent home, Kid Flash slid into the seat across from Jinx. He ignored the surprised stares of the other patrons and leaned forward. "Whatchya reading?"
The newspaper she held lowered just far enough for her to get a look at him. "Oh, it's you." Her voice was completely flat.
"Aww, I'm flattered you remember me." A slight breeze ruffled the pages of the paper and then he was back, dangling a crimson rose in front of her face, one gloved hand splayed on the table. Situated as they were in the corner, no one could see what he was offering her. "Your enthusiasm is killing me," he deadpanned.
Jinx looked at the rose for a few seconds before taking it with the tips of two fingers and dropping it on the table. "What do you want?"
Kid Flash sprawled in the chair, perfectly at ease. "What, I can't talk to you now?" He was happy her eyes didn't flash when she narrowed them at him; he didn't want the chair broken even if he'd never actually hit the floor.
Carelessly, Jinx tossed the paper to the table. "I've gotta go." She rose in one swift, smooth movement and began to walk away.
"Wait!" Kid Flash's hand latched onto her wrist. She stared at him and he smiled easily, blue eyes warm. "I'll walk you home."
"I don't need—"
"Oh, come on. It's not like I don't know where you live anyway."
Jinx stared into his eyes for a few seconds—what felt like an eternity to Kid Flash—and then huffed. "Fine." She shook off his hand and stalked out the door.
Kid Flash had no trouble keeping up with her and maintained a running conversation for several blocks. Finally, as Jinx turned in to an alley with a mumbled, "I can take it from here," he held out the rose.
"You forgot this."
She stared at it and then at him before raising an eyebrow. "What is with you and the roses?"
"They're special. Just—"
"—like me," she finished. "Corny."
He had a mildly taken-aback look on his face. "Actually, I wasn't—"
"Yes, you were." She snatched the rose and proceeded to fumble with her messenger bag.
"I was going to say—"
He never got the chance to finish.
A wave of crackling white energy smashed into him and he buckled to his knees. Blue eyes wide with shock and betrayal, he stared up at Jinx.
She looked down at him with cold satisfaction, a sneer slipping over her features. One pale hand crushed the rose in its grasp and he watched in horrified shock as the bruised crimson petals drifted to the dirty street. "Stupid flower." Her other hand clutched a mechanical device.
Kid Flash couldn't speak. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't form the words his mind was screaming. Jinx! No! What happened? He'd thought—he'd thought she'd had it with trying to impress Madame Rouge. Heck, he'd even thought she was considering leaving the Hive Five. "Why?" he choked out, finally regaining control of his vocal cords.
Jinx laughed loudly. "Poor Kid Flash. You weren't expecting this, were you?"
His shock was quickly fading, replaced by jolt after jolt of unadulterated pain. He belatedly recognized the device she held in her as a much newer, more compact, handset for the containment field in which he was now trapped. "Why?" he forced out through gritted teeth. "Jinx…"
Jinx's familiar form altered, morphing into another, equally familiar shape, and his heart dropped all the way to his toes. Or at least it would have, if he hadn't already been on his hands and knees. "Madame Rouge…"
"Ah, I am pleased you recognize me." Her sneer developed into a full-blown evil smirk. "You vill not get away this time, Kid Flash."
A jumble of thoughts raced through his pain-addled mind. Mingled with the frustration of being trapped by Madame Rouge again was a sudden, heartfelt gladness that it hadn't really been Jinx selling him out. That emotion was quickly drowned by a wave of anger that he had been tricked once again….and there was no one to save him this time.
During the trip to Madame Rouge's lair—a ride that had seemed to last forever—Kid Flash had alternated between berating himself for being such an idiot and trying to find a way out of the containment field. He didn't know where they were going, but that wouldn't matter much when he got free.
Now, hours later, he wasn't any closer to finding a way out than he had been before. It was ironic really, that the same technology used to control super powered criminals was being used to imprison him. Maybe someday he'd even find it funny.
His arms were shaking so badly now he doubted they would hold his weight much longer. The darkness was narrowing his vision; things were getting father and farther away. Kid Flash struggled to stay awake, but the darkness called him, offering a release from the pain. He lost conscious then. His arms gave out and pitched him forward face first towards the floor. With a painful thud, his body impacted the energy-covered stone surface, still twitching from the containment field around him.
There is no escape for you this time, Kid Flash.
Let me know what you think. Next chapter will be up soon.