Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans, nor their AU counterparts.
"Raven, it's a group project. We need a fourth person."
"There's got to be someone other than her."
"You do realize that I can hear you, right?" Jennifer Hex leaned over Raven Roth's shoddy wooden desk, the words 'Jump City High: Home of the Titans' etched in the top right hand corner of the surface.
"I want you to hear me," Raven responded pointedly, eyes hard. "You are not working in our group."
"You have the transfer student working with you!" Jennifer argued heatedly, pointing at one Kori Anders who stood at Raven's right. "Does she even speak English?"
"I am capable of speaking your language quite well, although I am still acquainting myself with some of your more unusual American terms, such as the baffling liger that I am told is famous from a popular pointless film." The red head smiled pleasantly and Jennifer rolled her eyes.
"If you'd spent more than an accumulative week in school this year, you'd know that Kori can probably speak better English than you," Raven spat venomously, her gaze boring a hole in Jennifer's head.
"Hey, don't talk about her like that. She's smart," Wally West cut in, obviously attempting to figure out the best way to make everything work. "It's not like we have any other options anyways. All the other groups are obviously in place." One glance around the classroom proved his point, but Raven was not about to give up her fight.
"Can't we trade her or something?"
"Kori," the dark teenager turned to her friend, regarding her with an almost condescending look. "You haven't been here long enough to really know Jennifer. She recently quit a gang, a group of really bad, violent people who thrive on destruction."
"The operative term being quit," Jennifer interjected, but Raven continued.
"She's repeating her junior year here at Jump City High because she missed so much school last year, and she hasn't been doing much better until lately."
Wally banged the desk with his fist, "Would you just lay off-"
"She's failing all of her classes-"
"Three of them," Jennifer growled, her patience wearing thin, "and only because I haven't been trying until recently-"
"One of them being history," Raven finished, pointing at the ornate sign on the door. "This class."
"I'm not an idiot, okay? I just screwed up," Jennifer cringed in remembrance. "Badly."
"And what, pray tell, caused the change of heart?" The dark teen tilted her head to the side, and under her scrutiny Jennifer's eyes unwillingly flickered toward Wally, who half-smiled to encourage her. Before her classmate could say anything, Raven snorted with amusement at the small interaction she'd witnessed. "She changed for a boy. How sweet. With all due respect, Wally, that's not exactly promising."
"I didn't change for him," Jennifer snapped angrily, finally letting her irate temper get the better of her, "I changed because of him. Because he told me that I was above the mess I was making of my life."
Raven leaned back in her chair, voice softening at the outburst.
"Look, it's nothing personal, okay? I just want a good grade on this project because it's worth a lot of our final grade. I mean, we're not going to carry you, and do you really think you'd do the work if we assigned it to you?"
"Yeah," Jinx hissed, eyes narrowed, "I would. Because I know that other people are depending on me to do the damn project. And whether you like it or not, I'm obviously in your group so I need you to please just deal with it." With that, Jennifer turned away and stalked toward the door.
"Hey!" Raven called after her, "If you want us to trust you on this you can't just ditch class-"
"Bathroom," Jennifer spat over her shoulder before storming angrily out the door.
Wally found her sitting on the floor around the corner of the classroom mere minutes later, her knees drawn to her chest and her arms wrapped around her folded legs to keep them in place. Her head was buried in her upper thighs; the ultimate sign of Jennifer Defeat.
"Jen?" No response, so he sat down next to her. "Jennifer? Jinx?"
"Don't call me that," she muttered, in reference to her former gang name.
Wally sighed, "You gonna be okay?"
"…I have no idea," Jennifer responded after a long pause.
"Don't listen to Raven, okay? She just has some trust issues after her friend Terra stabbed her in the back and accused her of cheating or something. Plus, she can be pretty anal about her grades."
Jennifer turned her head to the side so she could look at Wally, her cheek resting on her knees. "I had no idea."
"Seriously, she's just saying all that stuff to make you want to switch groups or something."
"Bur she wasn't just saying stuff," Jennifer's eyes were vacant. "Everything she said was true. I was in a gang. I do have to repeat my junior year because I missed so much of last year. I am failing three of my classes," she laughed darkly. "Shit, I almost burned down the school last year, one of those nights I broke in with Gizmo and Mammoth." It had all been true; everything Raven had said. Maybe that's why it hurt so much to hear it.
"So?" Wally put a hand on her shoulder. "You've changed."
"Just because I've changed doesn't mean I didn't do all those things," she paused. "Most people around here think you're certifiably insane for not avoiding me like the plague. Even teachers give us weird looks when we walk around together. I'm starting to think that maybe they're right."
"Just give them time, Jennifer. It's only been a couple months," he smiled. "Besides, would I ever abandon you?"
"Only because you're too stupid not to," Jennifer grumbled, rising from the floor and watch Wally do the same. "And I can take care of myself when it comes to Raven, thanks. I really don't need you to defend me in front of her. It just makes me look more stupid."
"Sorry," Wally shrugged, "I get a little carried away. You should be flattered. It means I like you."
"I took down a gang leader. Rouge was not someone just anyone could deal with," Jennifer narrowed her gaze. "I think I can deal with Raven." There was a moment of silence as she contemplated her own words.
"…It's gonna be okay," Wally said quietly, moving forward and hugging her tightly.
For the first time since they'd met, his embrace gave her little comfort, but she smiled in spite of this. The idea that someone – anyone, but particularly Wally West – was there for her provided her with a little bit of hope.
And sometimes a little bit of hope could go a long way.
I know that I kind of wrote Raven as a royal bitch, but think about it this way (in non-AU terms): She's been betrayed by Terra, someone who really worked at gaining her trust, and Malchior, who had treated her kindly and helped her (at first). These are people who were nice to her before they screwed her over. Now think about Jinx, who terrorized her friends, took over her home, and was an all around villain until Kid Flash. I think it's reasonable to assume that she would not be very open to the idea welcoming her into the Titan family. At all. So yeah.
This actually spawned from a personal experience of my own, in which one of my friends indirectly told me that she didn't think I would do the work, so she chose another partner for some history project because I wasn't trustworthy. While I readily admit that I'm lazy, I would never every let a group down. It sucked, I was pissed, but whatever. Writing is just my little form of therapy. If anyone's read Just Friends, my TTHSAU Homecoming themed fanfiction, you might be interested to know that the Raven in this story is the same person as the Kori in Just Friends. She wasn't even close to being as bitchy about it as I wrote Raven in this fic, but the mistrust was still there. We've moved on, gotten over it, whatever. It was last year. But then came Homecoming.
Bleh. High School.