It figured that Jinx would have a pink couch.
Lenore pulled Beast Boy- she would have to start thinking of him as Gar, as he was no longer a superhero- closer to her side. But first… "Nice lair, Jinx," Lenore said.
Jinx grinned, Cyborg- Vic- blushed, and Gar still looked confused. "I'll explain later," Lenore whispered. He nodded.
Victor never should have called Jinx's home a lair. Lenore had never seen a lair with a pink couch, unicorn statuettes, and cheap watercolors. Even so, Lenore thought that Jinx's apartment wasn't any more welcoming then Lenore's.
"So… what now?" Jinx's grin faded, and she leaned back in her chair. "I mean, even though the Titans have met up…"
"We're not a team any more," Lenore finished. "And it's my fault."
"No it's not! Rae, c'mon, look at me."
Lenore did, glancing over to the side at Gar. "I left, and things went badly."
"Of course they did, Rae, but we didn't have to let things get so bad. It's not your fault." Vic leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. "You don't have to carry the world on your shoulders, y'know."
"Rae? Why did you leave?" Vic asked.
"You said it was personal. I don't think you should indulge these two lack wits."
Lenore smiled, even as Gar and Vic spluttered denials. "I'll tell you. I think you all deserve that much."
Jinx frowned, but didn't object. Lenore decided Jinx was just as curious as the two men.
"Ten years ago," she began, struggling against the crush of remembered fear. "I was… attacked, I guess, mentally. I lost my powers. At least, I thought I had." She frowned, remembering healing Gar. The rush of pain she'd taken from him had been welcome, strange as it might have sounded.
Shut up, she thought, and leaned against Gar. At least he stayed the same, even when he changed. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders in a protective way; she even had what she wanted, since he was no longer the Beast.
"What happened to the person who attacked you?"
Lenore glanced at Gar, unsurprised at the growl to his voice. By the look on their faces, Jinx and Vic had almost been expecting it.
"I don't know," she answered. "I was afraid. I ran away as soon as I could get my civilian clothes. I didn't even take any money."
She rubbed his arm until he began to relax, and then simply leaned against him.
"So, that's why you left." Jinx nodded. "Not pregnant, huh? Unless you've got a kid you haven't told anyone about?"
Gar tensed again, but this time Lenore knew exactly what to say.
"Yeah, right. And you're going to convert to Catholicism and become a nun."
Gar laughed. "That's not very likely," he said, and relaxed again.
"Guys." Vic stood up and walked over to the window. "This is great, but… Raven-"
"Lenore," she corrected. "My name is Lenore Apollinaris, now."
Vic nodded. "Lenore. Having you here again makes me sorta ashamed of the city, and our poor house keeping."
Jinx stood up, and walked over to Vic. "You should be ashamed. Robin and Starfire are the worst criminals in Jump's history, even counting Slade. Gangs control this city and the police are helpless to stop them. And you-" She poked Vic in the chest. "-do nothing except keep your head down and repair cars."
"Can't say I did too well on my own," Gar said, ducking his head. "I gave up and became the Beast."
"You know how evil wins? When good sits on its thumbs." Jinx folded her arms. "I used to be a criminal, and never considered joining the other side. Today, I'm changing my mind." Suddenly, she blushed a bright, cherry red. "If you'll have me, that is."
Lenore held out her hand. "We're short one witch. I'll help, as much as I can with only healing."
Gar clasped Lenore's hand with his trembling one. "I'm in. Soon as I'm used to being smaller then I used to be."
Jinx looked at Vic.
"You talked me into it. I just need to rebuild my sonic cannon, and then Cyborg's back in town."
Lenore tugged Gar to his feet, and they walked over to the other two. "Then it's decided," she said, voice firm. "We may not be the Titans, but we don't have to be."
"We'll figure it out," Jinx said, and they piled their hands into the center of the group. "But if we have some stupid names and costumes, I'm going to hurt something."
Lenore smiled. "No need. Just remember, come to me if you need healing."
"Sure. But who do I go to, to get pants?" Gar tugged at the blanket wrapped around his waist with a puzzled frown.
Jinx bent over laughing at Lenore's face.
"That was a nice thing you did for Gar," Jinx said.
"Yeah, well, I can afford it." Vic rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, and grinned down at Jinx. "And you have to admit, Lenore's face was priceless."
"I thought you'd insist on calling her Raven."
"Nah. Why bother? She doesn't even look the same. None of us do." Vic's shoulders slumped.
"Yeah…" Jinx frowned. It was stupid, but it had been bothering her. "Vic, who's Lt. Nora Richards?" Don't say girlfriend, don't say girlfriend…
"My police contact," Vic said, looking surprised. "I went to her wedding."
Jinx relaxed. "Ah. Okay then." She looked around for something to distract him, so he wouldn't ask why she cared. "Hey, it's about dinner time. Want to hit that Swiss Chalet?"
"Only if we, ah, go looking for trouble later." Vic grinned, and held up one hologram covered arm. "Only took a few turns of a screwdriver."
Jinx laughed. "I could go for that." As they started to cross the street, she added, feeling wicked, "this is gonna be some date, Victor Stone."
Gar at first didn't know why he woke up. Protectterritorymatewhat? He shook his head, and listened. It had to have been a noise. If it were a rat he was going to-
It was a whimper, and it was coming from Lenore's bed room.
Gar didn't think twice. He should have; it was Lenore's- Raven's- room. If she didn't throw him out a window for this, it would only be because she didn't have her powers. And wasn't that a weird thought!
He eased open the bedroom door, eyes adjusting to the lack of light. She was still asleep, but even as he stood there staring, she whimpered again.
He crossed over to the bed, and brushed her hair away from her face with one hand. God, he'd missed her. Even when he'd been Beast, when he shouldn't have missed anyone or anything… he'd missed her. The smell of her, the look of her, sometimes the feel of her arm beneath his hand.
He was half afraid it was all a dream. He'd wake up, and he would be Beast and alone again.
But no dream had Starfire throwing him into a wall.
Lenore whimpered again, and clutched a fistful of blankets to her chest. He could smell her distress, which made him distressed.
"Raven… Lenore. C'mon, calm down. It's alright, honest." He eased down onto the bed beside her. It was small, even for one person, but he got himself balanced and rubbed her shoulder with one hand. "You're safe, I'm here. I won't let anything hurt you." He'd become Beast before anything hurt her again.
She began to relax, but the moment he got up to leave she was distressed again. He sighed, and sat back down.
When Lenore woke up, there was something warm pressed up against her back. She glanced down and saw a green arm thrown over her side.
Her eyes widened in shock, even as she fumbled at her alarm. She didn't need or want it going off at the moment, and besides, she was only up three minutes early.
She held her breath when Gar nuzzled at her neck like a puppy. He was asleep, he had to be asleep, oh that tickled!
He stopped, and eased back just the slightest bit. Lenore began to slip out from under the covers- and his arm- when she felt him wake up.
She blushed, and looked over her shoulder. "Go back to sleep," she told him.
Eyes half closed, he grunted, and rolled over to face the wall.
She was halfway to the bathroom when she heard him hit the floor with a thud. "What the hell happened last night, 'cause I think I want to remember!"
Lenore rolled her eyes.
Joey was a new recruit.
He was a Meta, of course. Everyone in the Knives gang was. Joey noticed things; it made him an ideal lookout. He could tell you how many eye lashes a person had with a glance. Because he noticed what other people missed, he knew when a shadow moved within a shadow.
But he didn't see the guy dressed in black leather dropping down just behind him. He didn't hear him, either.
"This is what you want to do with your life, kid?"
Joey spun around, and stuttered. Black leather, dark blue bird decal on the chest, mask, and way too many muscles, he noticed. Joey suddenly wished he didn't notice so much.
"What do you want, fucker?" he asked, politely. It wasn't a good idea to be rude to guys wearing that much leather.
"We wish for you to leave this gang," someone said behind him. Once again, Joey spun around, taken by surprise.
He recognized her, from old newspaper clippings. Red hair, glowing green eyes, and a lavender outfit that left literally nothing to the imagination. "Y-you're Starfire, aren't you?"
"Who she is isn't the question, kid. The question is, you want to be in a gang for the rest of your life?"
Joey turned so he could keep an eye on both wackos at once. "What the hell- why're you asking me this?"
The guy in black leather continued, as if Joey hadn't spoken. "You're going to have a short life, kid, and you know what'll happen? Someone will kill you, and no one will give a care because you're nothing but lowlife gang slime. There are ten, fifteen people who can replace you right now. But if you leave, you can make something of yourself."
"Look, freak, I don't know who or what you are-" Joey jabbed his finger at the guy in black leather.
The guy in black leather caught Joey's wrist. "I'm Nightwing," he said, and casually twisted his hand until Joey's wrist snapped. "And I'm going to take this city back."
Joey did the smart thing. He fainted.
That's it, folks. That's all she wrote- except for Stoneking, where gangs are fought, relationships develop- for better or for worse, no one knows- and developments unfold.