Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Teen Titans. I'm just playing in DC's sandbox.
AN: Welcome back, everybody! Thank you so much for all the lovely reviews—they've really been encouraging. I hope y'all enjoy this last chapter. It's my favorite.
Thanks go to Le Bibliothecaire and Red Lasbelin for beta-reading. Also, I'd like to thank all of you for reading. :smiles:
Fool Me Once...
It felt like he was surfacing from a pool of fuzzy darkness.
Kid Flash gradually woke, cognizant of nothing but the fact that he must have been dreaming about that horrible pain. It was obviously gone. While he couldn't remember the particulars of the dream, he was just happy his subconscious had ceased torturing him. A faint, grateful smile slipped over his face and he nuzzled into his pillow, which was oddly shaped and rather hard…just like a car door, come to think of it…
And then everything crashed back into his mind.
The containment field.
Slipping into unconsciousness.
Kid Flash froze. The last thing I remember is hitting the floor in that containment field. What happened? Where am I? He felt vibrations—which meant he was in a car headed…somewhere. Am I paralyzed or something? he thought, working through a wave of panic. He wiggled one booted foot. No, not paralyzed.
Cautiously, he opened one eye. For a few seconds, what he saw didn't register. When it did, both his blue eyes widened with shock and astonishment. He was in a car being driven by Jinx, of all people, and she was sitting there getting ready to eat a cupcake like driving an unconscious superhero around in the dark was something she did every day.
It took a conscious effort to keep his mouth from falling open. He wasn't sure of anything anymore. If this was an elaborate ruse, it did seem a little peculiar that Madame Rouge would be the cupcake type, but…he'd seen stranger things. What he didn't understand was why, if this was Madame Rouge again, he wasn't in a containment field. I should be dead.
Her reaction was comical. It would have been funnier if he'd had the energy to laugh, but he was still far too drained.
Startled, Jinx dropped the cupcake into her lap. Kid Flash reached for it, but he was too tired to move at his usual speed and he missed. I'm so tired. And, he realized with an internal groan, awfully hungry.
Jinx ignored the cupcake for the time being, choosing instead to fix him with a glare. "About time you woke up."
He smiled at her. "What can I say? We superheroes need our beauty sleep."
She rolled her eyes and retrieved the cupcake. Kid Flash's stomach growled loudly and he blushed. Through his embarrassment, he could have sworn he saw one corner of her mouth twitch.
She motioned with the cupcake to the back seat. "There's a bunch of stuff back there. And don't worry—I paid for it." She cast him a mock-serious look. "I expect full reimbursement, of course."
Kid Flash stared at her a moment, debating whether or not he should trust her. Madame Rouge had burned him badly, and while he couldn't see any reason for her to have released him and then stayed with him, knowing he was probably going to be suspicious, it wouldn't hurt to be suspicious. He opened his mouth to say something, but Jinx beat him to it.
"You're probably wondering if I'm Madame Rouge, aren't you?"
He tilted his head to one side. "Can't say the thought didn't cross my mind."
Jinx tossed him her cupcake, which she hadn't yet bitten into and he caught it reflexively. One eyebrow rose as he looked from her to the cupcake. "Is the fact that you gave up chocolate supposed to convince me of anything? Because I can see Ma—"
Jinx's eyes flashed and the cupcake exploded in his face, showering him with crumbs and cream filling. He gave her a wry glance as he wiped his face. "You really like doing that, don't you?"
She smirked. "Convinced?"
Kid Flash cracked the window and dumped out the cupcake remains. "Mostly." He flicked crumbs off his shoulder. "Madame Rouge could have rigged a cupcake to blow, but there's no way she could duplicate the way your eyes light up." He paused, then asked, "Why—"
Jinx cut him off. "Eat," she commanded. "You look like you're going to pass out again and I can't wait another four hours for you to wake up." She gave him a pointed glare before turning her attention back to the road.
Kid Flash's muscles all felt like they'd turned to mush but he smiled anyway and reached for the grocery bags behind his seat.
"And before you ask," Jinx said irritably, reaching for another cupcake. "Yes, there's mustard."
He laughed then and Jinx didn't need light to know that his bright blue eyes were twinkling at her. Her grip on the steering wheel tightened. If he says one word… she thought mutinously.
Fortunately, Kid Flash's rumbling stomach took precedence over any witty—or half-witty, as far as Jinx was concerned—comebacks he might otherwise have made. It took him less than five minutes to demolish a good portion of what she'd bought and she suspected it would have been gone faster if he hadn't been so exhausted.
Finally, he leaned back in his seat with a small sigh. "Thanks."
Jinx was silent, debating whether or not it was ethical to accept a thank you from him, even though he'd obviously meant it for the food.
Kid Flash smirked. "Awfully quiet today, aren't you?"
"Why'd you bust me out?" His voice was quiet, but a hint of smugness crept through. "Got a crush on me? It's okay if you do." He held a hand up to forestall argument, "Because—"
Jinx growled and the back of his seat dropped down to the floor. His head impacted it with a thud.
"You know…" His voice drifted up from the floor, unperturbed. "Acts of violence like this could be taken as extreme flirting."
Knuckles white, Jinx swerved to the far right side of the road and pulled over. "I should have just left you there!" she snapped.
Kid Flash raised his seat up again. When he spoke, there was no trace of humor in his voice. "Why didn't you then?" She stared at him and he continued, "I mean, it's not like anybody knows what happened to me." He swallowed. "I'd probably be dead if you hadn't saved me, Jinx, and what I—what I'd really like to know is why?"
Jinx's eyes were narrowed at him, but the fire gradually leaked out of her. "Madame Rouge caught you by pretending to be me." One white hand clenched into a fist. "I couldn't let her get away with it." She didn't realize he was now munching on one of her cupcakes until he tossed her one. "Hey!"
He quickly changed the subject. "How did you find—I mean—" He shook his head. "How did you even learn she'd gotten me?" A few cars whizzed by and he admired the slim curves and planes of Jinx's face as the headlights' illumination slid past them.
Jinx shrugged. "I go to that coffee shop when I can't stand to be around—" she stopped and glared at him. "I go there sometimes—I used to anyway." Her glare deepened. "Now I have to find another restaurant."
"Why? Because of Madame Rouge?"
He shook his head. "Aww, you don't mean that."
She snorted. "You have no idea. I don't need you to start up with the roses again. And I don't want that creepy feeling of being watched I had all the time either."
"Is that why you disappeared? Because you didn't like the roses?" His voice was overly casual. "You could have just said something."
Jinx folded her arms across her chest. "Like you'd get the point?"
"Hey, I thought you liked them!" He looked adorably confused.
"I do!" she shouted, before smacking her forehead as she realized he'd tricked her into revealing more than she had intended yet again. "Ugh, why do I even bother?"
"So, you went to this coffee shop," he prodded, changing the subject before she decided to hex him again.
"…and the waitress mentioned you and that I'd already been there. Madame Rouge is the only person who could impersonate me. And you!" She twisted in her seat and jabbed a finger at him. "You are the only person who'd actually fall for that!"
Hours earlier, he'd been thinking the same thing, but now Kid Flash allowed his eyebrows to disappear into his hairline. "What, like the Hive Five would know the difference either?"
"Of course they wouldn't—" Jinx stopped short. "Good point," she admitted grudgingly. She scowled. "That doesn't change the fact that you let your guard down way too often."
He shrugged, watching her.
"I'm a villainess, for crying out loud! Did you think I wasn't capable of dealing with you on my own? Did you just dismiss me—Madame Rouge as me, I mean—as harmless?"
Kid Flash eyed her with mounting alarm. One minute she was criticizing him for letting his guard down and the next all but accusing him of being chauvinistic. "Wait a minute-" he started, waving his hands to get her attention. "It was stupid of me to be so trusting, but I didn't think you'd try to hurt me," he blurted out.
Jinx stared at him, her cat-like eyes reflecting the headlights of the cars zooming past them. "What," she asked finally, a scornful tone in her voice, "gave you that idea? Is it because you think I can do better?"
She laughed derisively. "Were you always this delusional or did that containment field screw you up further?"
Kid Flash leaned towards her. "Jinx, like it or not, the fact that you drove all the way out to wherever I was, tracked me down, and rescued me says a lot about you." There was a decidedly amused tone in his voice now that Jinx wasn't altogether convinced she liked. "You could have just let it go. You could have let me go."
Jinx saw the opening in his argument and pounced on it. "And let Madame Rouge win? I don't think so!" She started the engine and merged into traffic.
Kid Flash watched her for a few minutes, a smile playing around the corners of his lips. Just keep telling yourself that, Jinx.
Once they reached the outskirts of Jump City, Jinx pulled over again. "You can let yourself out here," she said stiffly, her eyes fixed straight ahead.
He didn't move.
"Or," she continued idly, "I can hex you out."
"My heroine," he teased, unbuckling his seatbelt, which he belatedly realized she must have put on him when she wrestled him into the car. Jinx scowled at him and he tripped climbing out of the car. "Ow. Thanks a lot, Jinx."
She sniffed and prepared to drive away, but before she could pull out, her car door stood wide open and Kid Flash was there, dangling a rose in front of her face. She opened her mouth to tell him off, but the completely serious look on his face silenced her.
"I meant it, Jinx. Thank you. I don't know if I'd still be alive if it hadn't been for you."
Jinx took the rose grudgingly, uncomfortable with the intense look in his eyes. "Maybe you'll leave me alone now," she shot back. "After all, if you can't be sure I'm really me…"
Kid Flash actually have the nerve to smirk at her. "Oh, I think I'll be able to tell." Before she could so much as blink, his lips were on hers in a gentle kiss.
Jinx's eyes went wide with surprise, and then threatened to slip closed. Can't have that.
The next instant, Kid Flash was sprawled incongruously on the pavement, his red hair askew. Jinx held both hands in front of her, eyes still flashing pink.
Kid Flash picked himself up with a chuckle. "See, told ya. Madame Rouge'll never be able to pull that one off."
Jinx closed her eyes and counted to five. When she opened them, he was still standing there, watching her, and she pinched the bridge of her nose. "Just, go away now, will you? Go do superhero things—or whatever it is you do."
Kid Flash sketched a bow. "As you wish, milady." He grinned at her and was gone.
With a shake of her head, Jinx started up the car. She glanced over at the rose and was not surprised in the least to see two twenties lying beside it with a note that read:
Thanks, Jinx. See you around.
Unable to resist a tiny smile, she drove home.
I hope y'all have enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again for reading and reviewing.
Until next time.