-+-A Thousand Shades of Gray-+-

+The Shade of Souls+

"No matter how we see it, whether it's wrong or right

The truth of the matter is, you can't make Black turn White

Or turn White into Black, which ever way it goes

On either side, there are too many foes

But there is hope, I do declare, for I heard somewhere said:

"Beneath a thousand shades of gray, there is a little bit of red.""

Vermillion

Cimple

"Wha – ! That's my car!" Raven shouted as X beat her to the driver's side mockingly jingling her keys over his head, she scowled, while X laughed lightheartedly at her cute pouting face, "X … this isn't funny, Malchior could be in Jump City right now!"

He tilted his head and in a matter-of-fact kind of tone said, "Then I guess you better get in and buckle up, because I'm driving this time."

Raven held her breath when the urge to argue pulsed in her contemptuous veins, glaring darkly at the thief; she tapped her foot on the ground and crossed her arms over her chest. X just blinked innocently, and in the end, her impatience gave in and she hovered over the car to the passenger-side. All the while muttering to herself how much of a bastard X really was. He acted like he didn't hear a word out of her mouth and hopped into the car, putting the key in the ignition he turned it on, revved the engine and nodded in admiration, hissing, "Nice …"

"Can we go now?" Raven sneered. X shot her a side-glance and smirked and chuckled as he maneuvered the car out and back onto the road … however, much to Raven's discomfort he didn't go back the way they came. In fact, he continued down the road passed the funky looking tree, Raven shot him an odd look, "X … Jump is the other way …"

He shrugged, "I know …"

Raven blinked, "Well … turn around."

"We're not going to Jump."

"… What?"

"We're not going to Jump."

The sorceress narrowed her eyes, "What are you up to …"

X glanced at her suspicious glare and chuckled, "Chill, we're just going to visit another friend of mines."

"X, we don't have time for visits! Who knows what Marisa's got Malchior doing, we have to –"

He smiled, and that smile alone cut Raven off, because this wasn't any smile, X knew what he was doing … he had a plan, "Just, trust me, if we do this right, she'll never know what hit her."

"…" Raven stared at him with uncertainty, but in the end, she figured what choice did she have? She didn't have a plan, but X did, and it was probably better then nothing, however considering his reckless streak, she just hoped he wouldn't do anything too stupid. However, considering this was X she was thinking about, anything he did that she considered stupid was considered genius where he was concerned. Especially when he floored the gas petal and without fear maneuvered through the tight narrow curvy road with the utmost confidence that Raven could never have.

Discreetly she gripped her seats when she glanced at the speedometer and noticed that he was near red line. The sorceress gulped quietly to herself and tried not to stare at the blurred out trees, and sudden tunnel vision that engulfed the windshield because X was going too fast to focus on anything outside of the car. Yet, despite her uneasiness, her heart raced with excitement, that made her chew on her lower lip … maybe she had been exposed to X for far too long, but she suddenly felt restless.

The roar of the engine, the smooth twists and turns that posed no threat to the thrill-junky taking over her car. X chuckled sinisterly, "You're enjoying this aren't you?"

Guilty as charged, but she wasn't about to admit that and give X the chance to tease her about it, opening her mouth to protest the very idea. She immediately silenced herself when the thief suddenly slammed on the brake and turned the wheel till it was locked. The car went spinning like a crazy out of control Bay-Blade; nothing was visible outside of any of the windows because everything was blurred out. Raven held her breath to prevent a rising scream, with her panic level rising higher and higher. She almost couldn't take the g-forces until finally X spun the wheel and they drifted out of the woods and onto a main road.

Raven gulped and gasped, "Why the hell did you do that!"

"Scared ya didn't I?" X glanced at her for a moment, but long enough to see the lost look imprinted on her face, which gave him enough reason to break out laughing, "You should see your face."

"Shut-up," Raven snapped with a childish pout, "I wasn't scared … you just surprised me …"

X scoffed, "Yeah right … but now I know what turns you on."

Raven inwardly turned pale, her eyes bugged out and her cheeks blushed beet-red, but that was all within her, outside she just rolled her eyes and sneered, "You're delusional."

"Says you and my ten other shrinks," X smirked and shook his head, then cruised the open road, giving Raven time to relax the rest of the way to … god knows where.

She raised a curious brow, "You never struck me as the type to go see a shrink."

He scoffed, "I don't, they come to me … Lola insists on it, says it'll help me find some common ground with my inner self. Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean."

"So she thinks you're unstable?"

"Apparently," he shrugged, "What about you? Ever seen a Psych?"

"No, never needed one considering the fact I had a few monks watching over my childhood."

"Monks?"

"It's not what it sounds like; they helped me control my powers since they are activated by my emotions."

He spared her a glance, "So that's the reason for the cold persona?"

She huffed, "It started out that way I guess …"

She trailed when she recognized where they were, frowning, she looked out the window and read the plate with the name of the Estate: Willow Grove. Raven blinked, and looked at X, with narrowed skeptical eyes, "X …"

"What?" making note of her worried expression he smirked, "Trust me."

Raven glared out the window to the mansion that was at the end of the driveway X drove up, "That's not what I'm worried about, if Malchior is there, he's probably told Marisa that we've picked up on her scheme."

"Nah."

"X, he's under the influence of the Elixir, everything he knows, she'll most likely know herself."

"Angel," X stopped and parked her car just in front of the mansion, turning to face the sorceress he gave her his best confident grin, "if he's on the side I think he's on, then we really got nothing to worry about."

Raven frowned and glanced out the window, "Well, that's not something I'd gamble on … it's hard to tell with him."

"Hey," called to her attention, she looked back at him and his curious smile, "when all this is said and done … you wanna hang out?"

Sideswiped!

Raven blinked and shook her head as if to be sure she heard right, "Uh … wha? Are you asking me on a … date …?" Please say no …

He shrugged nonchalantly, "You said it, not me."

"…" speechless, Raven found her mouth was open to say something, anything, but she couldn't put thought to words. It was so surreal that he had the nerve to ask her something like this, as if he was living in a fantasy world … she had to bring him back to reality and shook her head, "That's not possible … by the time this is all through with … everything falls apart at the semi and we both have to face up to the truth …"

"Okay then, let's say that doesn't happen … and life goes on … would you?"

"I don't believe we're talking about this …" Raven muttered under her breath, but in defeat she sighed heavily and shrugged, figuring that it'll never happen anyway she huffed, "… I guess … I guess I would."

He smiled, "There, you see, that wasn't so bad … now … let's go."

Without further ado he opened the door and got out of the car, Raven watched him walk around the car to the steps. In serious disbelief that he could be so casual about asking for a date with the sorceress of the Teen Titans and then just as quickly turn around and dive head first into what she thought was a very bad idea. Raven stepped out after him; slamming her door shut she followed him up the steps of the ancient home and up to the dual doors. Sliding in front of him when he reached to knock as if he was just there on a routine visit, she glared at him and seriously growled, "I have a bad feeling about all this."

He sighed and cupped her face in his hands, Raven stayed leaning against the door, refusing to move … however, she should have known X was a cheater. With out hesitation he kissed her, at first uncharacteristically soft and reassuring, slowly deepening it, keeping Raven's mind solely on him. All the while he reached a hand over her and grabbed one of the knockers on the doors, and banged on it three times. Raven jerked herself from his kiss and stared his grin triumphant face in disbelief, "You …"

He shrugged innocently, "Me …"

Duped, and put out, Raven moved from the door to stand beside the still grinning thief, questioning her own attraction to such a sneaky bastard. She even started to question her sanity when the door opened, no one was there to great them … but it opened and allowed them entrance. Raven shook her head, "I really don't like this."

"You worry too much," X strolled into the mansion without even a second thought, causing Raven to question his sanity. Against her better judgment she followed him and entered the mansion, X stopped and glanced around for any signs of life beside the grandfather clock that was tick-tocking away on the side. Raven stood beside him and happened to glance down at the last step of stairs, she did a double take and reached up to tug at the hem of X's shirt, "What?"

She gestured to the last step on the stairs where the Red X suit sat neatly folded with the mask resting innocently on top despite how menacing it looked. X walked up to it, and bent to shuffle through the folded costume. Looking for his belt, he found it and slapped it on himself, Raven raised a brow, "Don't you need the suit to activate the belt?"

He glanced at her and smirked, "Different person, different ideas, I need this thing to work for me under any condition."

"Now that's a crying shame." Raven looked up the stairs; X backed up and out of pure instinct kept Raven behind him, when he saw Marisa leaning against the rail at the top of the stairs grinning down at the both of them. Her jade green eyes glowing in amusement "It would have made identifying who Red X really is much easier … especially since he became a cold blooded killer …"

Confusion swept both Titan and Thief, either of them glanced at one another as if the other knew what was going on, but neither even had an inkling of a clue. X turned back up to glare at Marisa, "What the fuck are you talking about?"

Marisa blinked innocently and brought a finger to the corner of her lips in mock surprise, her once warm and welcoming smile completely gone. Cold-hearted, and arrogant, Raven just couldn't believe that she was the same girl that she had met at the ball the, sure back then she was still stuck up, but this. This was insanity, "Oh … so you don't remember? Just before Leon left for his business trip to Japan … you not only robbed him of his family's treasure … but you murdered him. It's all over the news …"

With a flick of her wrist and a point of her manicured finger she pointed to the parlor and the TV inside turned on attracting both Raven and X's attention when the woman sitting at a shiny desk reported the breaking-news, "– Multi-billionaire Leon Tyrin Xander was found murdered today in his own home. Police speculate that Mr. Xander was trying to protect his family's treasure, a Baptismal Bowl given to the Xander family by British Royalty worth far more then the entire Hawthorne Garden Estate. Xander was found by his wife with a Red X blade embedded into his chest, it is to believe that the blade had killed him instantly –"

The TV was shut off, and by the time it all sank in Marisa had sauntered down the stairs to stand at the base, her smirk growing, that devious look in her eyes sparking with a wild flame. Raven and X both spun on their heel and turned to face her when she spoke with a giggle, "Ooo, I love a good mystery involving high profile crimes … makes the police work much harder to find the killer."

The temper that Raven assumed X had under tight lock suddenly turned into a ticking time bomb and being an empath, she shuddered when his rage seeped through his soul and swirled around the room. Why, if it was turned into pure energy alone, Raven was sure that X would be engulfed in his own fireball. Subconsciously she leaned away from him trying not to choke at the amount of animosity that poured from the otherwise nonchalant-thief.

And the scariest part of it was … he was smiling, "You know Marisa, I always thought you were a bitch … I just never knew how fucked up you really are in the head …"

Marisa's grin dropped to a disgusted sneer, a hand came up and Raven blinked at the resounding SLAP that echoed through out the mansion, followed by a very pissed off growl, "You have no right to talk to me like that after the embarrassment you put me through!"

"Embarrassment, HA!" X snapped and laughed in her face, and Raven was pretty damn sure he lost his mind right about now, "I wouldn't even waste my time on a pathetic, desperate little girl like you."

"And to think, I'm still generous enough to give you a second chance," Marisa scowled, but slowly, as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath she smiled and tilted her head. Proving to Raven that she really did have something loose upstairs,"Spare yourself the trouble Robin, and come back to me … I can make this all go away and we can live together like none of it ever happened …"

X scoffed and stifled a chuckle, "Somebody didn't take their meds today."

Marisa turned up her nose and jerked her head back to get her beautiful blonde hair from her face, "Fine then, but you're still mine!"

She brought her hand back as if to slap X again, but this time it was charged with energy, powerful enough to knock X's brains loose. Raven saw her time to intervene and powered up, with a glowing black hand she grabbed Marisa's glowing white wrist before she could strike X. The witch blinked back shock, obviously having forgotten Raven was in the room she stared into Raven's eerie white eyes and gawked when the sorceress growled, "Take the hint, you can't have everything you want."

As hard as she could, Raven pulled Marisa off balance then with her free hand threw a right hook; Marisa stumbled at the power placed behind the punch, but then fell back and dropped to the ground when Raven finished with a left upper cut. X grinned and chuckled, "Remind me to never make you jealous …"

Raven shot the thief a dry look, "I'm not jealous."

"Yeah … Riiight …"

The sorceress rolled her eyes and turned her attention back on Marisa when she groaned and propped herself up on her elbows, the corner of her mouth bleeding, she glared viciously at the two then screamed, "MALCHIOR!"

"Oh shit," X muttered to himself, but in her head, Raven thought the same thing. Both stood on edge, X looked around, but just when he had the sense enough to turn around, Malchior moved in a blur and before X knew what had happened he was sent flying out the mansion and rolling down the steps.

Tempted to go and help him, Raven suddenly gagged when Marisa shot up from the ground and grabbed her around the throat, the witch's eyes completely blacked out and glared down at her, "What right do you have to even lay a single finger on me, let alone on my Robin, you filthy little whore!"

Raven wheezed as Marisa squeezed harder, thinking of the only thing that'll get her loose, she reached up and grabbed a hand full of Marisa's hair then gave a good yank practically pulling some strands out. The witch screamed in outage and pain, immediately letting Raven go, to try and get the hand holding her hair to let go. The sorceress caught her breath and pulled Marisa closer then kicked her in the gut hard enough to send her back to the ground.

Raven gasped and massaged her neck, knowing that she'd bruise later she scowled, "The only whore here is you … and Robin isn't yours. Now," while Marisa was still trying to recover from the kick, Raven leaned down and grabbed two fists full of her blouse and yanked her to her feet. With her eyes still glowing white it made her glare far more intense when she demanded, "Where's the counter potion to knock Malchior out of your control, I won't ask again."

Marisa, acting like she was still in a daze, snapped out of it and smirked, "You can't have everything you want."

With a flick of her wrists, she brought her glowing white hands up and shoved Raven off of her with her power alone. Winded, Raven flew into the parlor and into the side of the sofa shoving it out of place slightly. Raven held a hand to her chest when she felt the heat of the energy burn at her flesh. Not hot enough to cause serious damage, but it was there reminding her of just who she was working with.

Marisa snickered, and glanced out her mansion to notice Malchior grab the wrist of one of X's thrown punches. Twirling them around Malchior twisted X's arm and dropped him to the ground, keeping them locked … at least, that's what Marisa saw with just a glance. By the time she looked away, X had slipped from the dragon's hold, back kicked him and ran to gain some room to rethink a different strategy.

The witch sneered down at the sorceress who got back to her feet and hid the pain, "You think you're it don't you? With your nasty hair, pasty skin, and that hideous face of yours … no man in their right mind would even think twice about you. The only reason Robin even puts up with your ugly ass is because you're a Titan … and you know boys and their immature ways, the very idea of being able to score with someone like you is oh-so tempting. So allow me to put you out of your misery …"

Raven took a deep breath and darkened her scowl, "You talk too damn much … Azarath! Metrion! Zinthous!"

The sofa behind her lifted up off the ground and thrown right over her head targeting Marisa, the witch gasped and brought her hand up, shouting out a quick chant she shattered the sofa in a puff of feathers, cotton, and wood. Nearly whiting out the entire room, making it hard to find Raven, Marisa sensed her too late when she saw something else flying her way. It was the TV, then the coffee table, and a rapid fire attack of crystal decorations.

Dodging all of them, and shattering the crystal decorations when Marisa stood straight up and screamed, "You're destroying my house you little bitch!"

"I missed the part where I gave a damn!"

Marisa wasn't prepared to see Raven swoop down to tackle her to the ground. They both went tumbling, and out of sheer panic Marisa kicked Raven off and the sorceress hit the staircase, slumping down and groaning in pain, Raven rolled to the floor and hissed. Hating Marisa for her discomfort, Raven looked up at said witch and immediately forgot about the pain to jump to her feet when she came at her with a knife. Where she got it, it would forever be a mystery to Raven, but when she took a literal stab at using it, Raven saw the time to end this for good.

Using the rail of the stairs as leverage, Raven jumped and kicked Marisa in the face, but charged it with her power and watched the witch blow out of the mansion. Marisa didn't stop until she hit Raven's car and rolled over the hood to drop on the stoned pavement a plastic case rolling out from her person, officially out of commission. Malchior, while at the time hiding in one of the willow trees, waiting for the right time to strike his target, the unknowing thief that was circling the tree looking for him futilely. The dragon grinned, his fangs gleaming under the small beam of light coming through the vines of the tree; he tensed to deliver the final blow.

However, it was not to be.

His head suddenly went light, and vertigo.

The world spun, and the branch he was on was suddenly gone, and even before he hit the solid grass ground, he blacked out. X jumped at the sudden sound of a body falling in a heap behind him, looking down at the dragon, then glancing up at the high branch he had been perched on. The thief scoffed, "Well … how bout that …"

"Robin!" hearing his name, X debated on whether or not to just leave Malchior laying there unattended and figured that the travel back to the house wasn't that far. So with a conscious he decided to drag the knocked out dragon.

Raven sighed and opened the plastic case, revealing a glass syringe with pink liquid; she took an easy breath and leaned on her dented car. Glancing down at Marisa, real tempted to spit on the crazy bitch for wrecking her ride, she instead settled on scowling, "I don't care how poor you are, you're paying for the damages."

"Oh, now it makes sense," Raven looked up to where the voice came from just to see X practically dragging Malchior towards her. Depositing him on the steps of the mansion, he plopped down right next to him and tried to get the dirt, leaves, and twigs out of his hair, "that … was not fun, so not fun."

"Taking care of your ex wasn't so fun either," Raven scoffed and walked around to them. Ignoring X's sneaky little grin she sat beside Malchior, needle in hand, she pushed up the sleeves of his shirt and without hesitation stabbed the needle into his flesh and delivered the counter potion straight into his system. Afterwards she just tossed it over her shoulder and sat back, "I really cannot believe that all this was about revenge … all because you wouldn't marry her …"

X shrugged, "Eh … people do crazy things …"

"Crazy's putting it lightly, she practically said she owned you and wanted nothing more then to make you her personal boy-toy to do with as she so pleased while leeching off of the money she'd no doubly force you to give up."

"I have that effect on people, I attract the crazy ones … you're not so bad."

Raven picked up a pebble with her power and flung it at the thief's head, not expecting it he winced when it hit him hard, but kept a straight face and sighed, "I'm just glad this is pretty much over with …"

She spoke too soon as a shadow loomed over her and without looking up she already knew who it was, especially when he leaned over her so close that he practically forced her to lay back onto the steps. Yet, despite the uncomfortable step digging into her, arching her back, all she was aware of was their fingers when his clasped them together, how close he was, and that devilish little smirk of his. A chuckled tone to his voice as he whispered, "Let's celebrate …"

"…" he leaned in for a kiss, and guilt took over, she turned away and stared at the stairs, unable to look him in his hypnotic obsidian eyes she gulped, and muttered, "I said, pretty much …"

He pulled away, giving her room to breath and room to scooted up the stairs when he sat below her, scrutinizing her, "So what's the catch?"

"I called Bumble Bee," she was honest, straight out; she couldn't beat around the bush here, because, hell, he was going to find out sooner or later. So having the guts enough to look him dead in the eye when she said it, she just prayed that for once he wasn't able to see through her indifferent mask, "her and her team will be here any minute."

Then, he smiled, "Damn … why'd you have to be such a good girl?"

Raven wasn't exactly expecting such a joking reaction from him, but then again, this was X she was dealing with; he usually did everything unexpected of him … so she responded the best way she thought how. Sarcastically, "Because then a bad boy wouldn't have anything to corrupt."

"Good answer," that smile turned back into that devilish grin and before Raven knew it she was sitting – practically straddling – him. Temptingly he hovered close enough to kiss, but he was waiting for her to make the move. Raven knew he was teasing her, and damn her pride that wouldn't allow for her to move in even if she wanted to, and lord knows she wanted to.

All it took was some building of her courage, and just as she was building up that courage. About ready to swallow her pride, the unthinkable happened … Bumble Bee suddenly appeared, hovering in the sky over them staring at them in utter disbelief. How Raven knew Bumble Bee was there despite her drunken state of being sucked into X's influential aura, the black and yellow clad Titan called her name, "Raven?"

She froze and turned beet red, X snickered and whispered in her ear, "You so look so cute when you blush …"

Trying to swallow her embarrassment, she sneered and glared at the grinning thief, "Bastard." Scrambling off of him she straightened herself out and looked up at Bumble Bee and tried as hard as she could to appear innocent and failing miserably as the black girl touched the ground and crossed her arms over her chest. A brow raised, she shot both her and X suspicions looks, Raven gulped, "Bumble Bee … um … I know this looks bad, but X really wasn't the one behind any of this … it was Marisa."

"Who?"

Raven opened her mouth to respond, but X stood up and took her place, "Marisa, the girl lying passed out next to the car, she had been controlling Malchior over here into using my suit to do all kinds of things and tarnishing my name."

Still lost Bumble Bee shook her head, "Your whaaa … suit? You mean … the Red X suit? You're Red X …?"

"In the flesh."

Bumble Bee gave him a one over, doubt clouding her mind as she raised up a hand to measure his height and give him her opinion, "I imagined you'd be shorter."

"Holy damn …" Speedy gawked when he appeared with the rest of his team at the scene of the crime with a steel-armor bus to take away the bad guys. Having heard what had just transpired, he smirked and glanced at Aqualad, "I told you, didn't I tell you."

"Shut up," Bumble Bee snapped and turned back to X, "So … you're X … you going to put up a fight, or you're going to come quietly?"

X shrugged and held out his wrists, "Go a head, slap the silver bracelets on sheriff, lock me up and throw away the key."

This is too easy … Raven frowned as Bumble Bee approached X cautiously and put his hands behind his back then hooked on the cuffs, facing Raven he winked then followed Bumble Bee as she lead him to the truck. Aqualad took care of Marisa, even though she was knocked out he cuffed her and carried her into the truck right along with X, leaving Speedy to take care of Malchior, working beside Raven he glanced up at her, "So, how long have you been with him?"

Raven blinked out of her suspicion to stare at Speedy with a blank look, "Excuse me?"

"You and X," Speedy cuffed Malchior out of precaution and about to drag him to the truck looked up at her, "how long?"

The sorceress's defenses shot up and she sneered, "None of your business."

"… Riiight …" he smirked and picked up the limp body of the dragon, with the help of two officers one male, one female, with their hats down low enough to hide their faces both took a hold of Malchior and placed him with X and Marisa.

The male sat with the prisoners; while the female closed both the doors and walked to the driver's side, climbing in she started up the truck and saluted the twins, "Buenos tardes, muchachos."

The twins waved her off, and the truck headed off to the station to process the criminals … however … to bad for all of them, the truck would never make it. Inside, Marisa started to stir, head throbbing and everything, she startled herself awake when she felt the cuffs on her wrists and the truck jump when the driver hit a pot hole, "AH! Wha … what the hell! Where am I?!"

"In the back of a prison van."

Following the voice her burry vision cleared and she stared bug-eyed at Robin as Otto dressed in a police uniform uncuffed him, and Malchior who was wide awake and grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He winked down at Marisa and Marisa sat up, "Wha – what's going on?"

Otto shrugged, "Oh nothing, we're all about to die a horrible and terrible death."

"WHAT?!"

"You heard right," Robin smirked, and Marisa was struck with nothing but fear and terror at the sound of his unnaturally happy tone, "The only thing is … you'll be the one to never see the light of day ever again."

--

Still at Marisa's mansion helping Bumble Bee and the police clear up a few things with this extremely odd case, involving some high-valued Baptismal Bowl, a chemical Elixir, an inheritance and the Red X suit. Bumble Bee's brow arched and she eyed Raven carefully, after she said everything she thought she needed to say. The leader of the Steel City Titans scrunched her face into a look of doubt, "So … let me get this straight, despite him – Xander, Red X – being one of you guys' biggest villains, you want me to tell the DA to plead him out?"

Raven huffed and smoothed back her tangled violet hair, her violet eyes shinning with nothing but frustration and irritation; she looked up at Bumble Bee and said, "No, I want the DA to give him a light sentence on position of stolen property, the suit, that should be enough punishment. As for Malchior, let him off, the only reason he had anything to do with this was because Marisa put him under the influence of the Elixir, the same drug that I was on."

"Rae, Rae, Rae," Bumble Bee held up a hand to stop the sorceress before she hyperventilated, putting her hands on her shoulder she sighed, "it's not that I'm against you here, I mean, by what I'm seeing and what you're telling me this X guy seems worthy enough for me to be on his side. However … considering who he is, Robin Xander has a record, he's become a repeat offender. There's really nothing I can do for him now, I'm sorry."

"Bumble Bee," Raven weakly tried to reason with the Titans East leader, even knowing full well that she was fighting a loosing battle. She knew the law well enough to know X stood no chance against a jury, and judging by the evidence against him, the Judge might as well post sentencing the moment he walked into the court house.

Bumble bee held up a finger to silence her, when someone called to her attention in the house, "Hold that thought."

Leaving Raven standing in the middle of the driveway, the sorceress huffed tiredly and felt like sitting down on something, but didn't want to contaminate a crime scene. So she settled with massaging the sides of her head to avoid getting a migraine, not even quite sure why she was stressing over this. She just felt like she had to do something, anything to make this right again. She closed her eyes, but even with her eyes closed, it didn't take a psychic to sense Aqualad's approach. His liquid smooth aura reaching out trying to comfort her, Raven looked up at him and his reassuring smile, "Don't beat yourself up too bad … you only did what you had to do."

"Yeah …" she sighed, "and it's never enough."

"Uh … you guys!" Speedy shouted for all the Titans attention, including Raven and Aqaulad, they both looked up at the breathless Speedy who held up his communicator and with four simple words Raven's heart nearly stopped beating, "We got a problem."

Bumble Bee zoomed passed Raven and Aqualad straight to Speedy, "Start talkin' carrot-top what's the problem."

"It's the police van; it got into a freak accident. Passed by a construction sight and one of the steel beams were knocked loose … and … yeah …"

As discreetly as possible Bumble Bee glanced back at Raven who perfectly hid the shock and worry that churned at the pit of her gut when the leader of Titans East asked, "The prisoners … were they all accounted for?"

"…" Speedy, knowing the deal between Raven and X, tried to say in a low enough voice so she wouldn't hear, but Raven wasn't half demonic for nothing, with her heightened senses she heard it, "The prisoners and the guards … according to the officers on the scene … no one survived."

What do you say to that?

Even Bumble Bee was speechless.

Talk about your crazy coincidences …

Aqualad placed a hand on Raven's shoulder when it slumped and she bowed her head to stare at the ground when a sudden chill raced up her spine. No survivors … Raven had a feeling X would pull off a stunt like this … but how the hell does anyone fake being impaled by a steel beam? It seemed impossible … so much so … that there was no way this could have been staged. So now what was she supposed to feel?

Was she supposed to feel numb … because she couldn't even feel Aqualad's hand on her shoulder, neither could she feel the window brushing against her face caressing her hair and bringing it down to shield her now glossy eyes. Numb … cold … emotionless … talk about going back to square one … Raven didn't even have a chance to know who the real Malchior was. Life wasn't fair … and this proved what Raven always knew, she could never have it her way.

--

2 months later

--

They say that time heals everything …

That with time everything will all get better …

They say …

Well did 'they' ever specifically point out just what 'everything' means to 'they'?

Did 'they' even know what the hell 'they' were talking about when 'they' wrote down 'everything'?

Who the hell is 'they' anyway?

What did 'they' know about 'everything'?

Stop it, Raven scolded herself in thought and shook her head, concentrating on her book, she re-read over the same line she went over about ten times already and tried to process the information being shared with her. The book, she tried to reason with herself, was a good book, a really good book, good enough to knock the past right out of her head. So far … it wasn't working … the book couldn't talk back to her, neither could it say stupid things just to get a rise out of her. The book was nothing but a cold unfeeling hard cover with pages, and jumbled letters thrown together to spin elaborate intricate tales of stories long since forgotten.

The book … was just that … a damn book.

Stop it! Raven shouted at herself, and once again almost literally buried her nose in the pages burning holes into said book with her intense gaze determined to focus and understand the story. The sorceress would have no luck, especially when Jinx showed up and found her sitting comfortably at the corner of the couch supposedly reading. Jinx put a hand on her hip and smirked amusingly, "You know, no matter how hard you stare at it, it ain't going to convince anyone around here that you're actually reading that crap."

Raven gave up and marked the page before she slammed it shut and glared at the pink sorceress who sauntered her way with a catty grin on her doll up face, "Who let you in."

More of a demand then a question, Jinx ignored the sharp tone she used and slid on the table to sit before Raven, "Oh, I let myself in. Apparently you were so engrossed in that old thing you never even heard your teammates take off for the Beach Party. Starfire asked you about twenty times, but when you didn't answer Robin pulled her off and they decided that you didn't want to come so they left you here … all by your lonesome … depressing really."

"Beach Party?" Raven arched a brow and sat up, just now taking in Jinx's apparel, a dark pink bikini top with matching bottom, barely covered up with a colorful tie-dye, wrapped around her lower waist and tied at her side in a knot, "I was never told about any Beach Party."

Jinx grinned, and in a sing-song voice said, "Just goes to prove to everyone that you're still moping."

Raven sneered, "I'm not moping."

"Yeahuh, and brown cows produce chocolate milk," Jinx chuckled and jumped off the table, snagging Raven's wrist she pulled the girl up on her feet, "come on, you're going."

"No." Raven pulled her wrist back and glared, "Even if I wanted to go out anywhere, I'm not going to any Beach Party."

Jinx shot her a dry look, "Uh, yes, you are."

"Says who?"

"Robin."

"…" Raven eyes Jinx carefully, "Robin did not say that."

Jinx shrugged, "Suit yourself, you get in trouble because you didn't do as he says, not entirely my problem."

"… Jinx …"

"You don't want to go, so … who am I to force you …"

"Jinx …"

"See ya –"

"Fine!" Raven growled and marched to her room, "But when I get down there, I'm going to drown him in the ocean."

Jinx's grin grew as she followed her friend to her room to get dressed for a beach setting. Since Raven wasn't as out going as any of the other Titan girls she chose just a black average bikini top, matching bottom under black trunks that still hugged her figure nicely. Jinx tried to get her into something a little bit more promiscuous, but Raven absolutely refused and thus the girls headed off for the beach.

Tying her violet hair back and up in a high ponytail, allowing for a tendril of violet hair to fall and frame her face. Raven took to the air with Jinx, Jinx pointed to the pier, "Go to the pier first."

Directed, Raven swerved and in no time at all, they were at the pier entrance where people of all shapes and sizes, age, and origin walked in and out. Holding balloons, licking ice-cream to avoid the heat, munching on cotton candy … Raven practically picked everyone out, but what she was missing was her friends. Where were they if this was a beach party? She glanced at Jinx who was taking out her pigtails and smoothing out her hair like she hadn't a care in the world, Raven started to grow suspicious, "Jinx … where is everyone?"

"… Huh?" the pink sorceress blinked, then glanced left and right and smirked, "Oh, they're at the Beach Party, I heard it was a nice movie."

"… What?" Raven blinked and stared at Jinx in utter confusion when the pink sorceress shrugged.

"The Beach Party, it's a movie …"

"Then what the hell are we doing here!"

"I can answer that," Raven spun around and glared at the supposed stranger – hottie stranger – with an opened white flannel shirt giving Raven a good look at his toned body and white trunks, he was mouth watering delicious. Especially with that devilishly familiar smirk and autumn brown eyes heightened by the frameless oval shaped transition glasses that darkened under the heat of the sun and dyed black hair spiked neatly in place. Yet, even through the new look … Raven recognized him in a heartbeat … it was impossible to mistake that unique aura of his.

He mouth fell open, and Jinx giggled, "I'll leave you two to catch up, hey Donnie!"

Raven turned on Jinx then followed her line of sight to see this 'Donnie' and despite his different look, she knew who he was the instant he flashed a peek of his fangs, his long black mane still blowing in the ocean breeze even if it was tied back. Dark shades hiding his now cinnamon brown eyes, and looking as mouth watering as the guy standing behind her, now sliding his strong arms around her. Pulling her against his chest with his hands resting on the flesh of her stomach, just feeling how soft her skin was.

Raven chewed on her lower lip when he breathed down her neck, and kissed it, keeping her head together, she sighed, "You know … going to your burial was no fun at all."

"No, you went to Robin's burial," he corrected with a grin in his tone, "granted he was my real identity … but he can't exactly come back from the dead."

She looked over her shoulder close enough to brush her violet hair against his face, she asked, "So … who are you now?"

"The names Clyde Drake, younger brother to Donnie Drake … but I'm all yours."

"Okay now lovers," 'Donnie' with his unchangeable English accent stepped up to the two and slipped off his shades to slide them on top of his head, Raven looked up at him and gulped when he winked, "there's a time and a place for whatever it is you have on the mind. Right now, and right here isn't the right time … besides …" he held out a hand for Raven to take, and without any hesitation she slid her hand into his and held her breath when he kissed the back of her palm, "… I would like to have a proper conversation with my sweet little Raven before she's taken away by my younger 'brother'."

Jinx chuckled and wrapped her arms around Malchior's arm when he pulled away from Raven, "Ooo, now here's an interesting situation … do I detect old flames burning?"

X held Raven possessively close and rested his chin on top of her head, he chuckled jokingly, "The only thing burning will be Mal's hands if tries anything funny."

"Settle down Romeo," Jinx smirked, "I promise I'll keep Malchior at respectable distance, this is the whole reason why you invited me along on your little double date."

"Mm-hmm," X wrapped an arm around Raven's shoulder and lead her into The Pier.

The Titan, still chewing on her lower lip couldn't stifle a small chuckle as she glanced back up at the Thief, and shook her head in astonishment, "… You are really capable of anything … aren't you?"

"… If you say so."

"So Leon … is he …"

"Nope, after I found out that Mal had something to do with this, I made sure Leon and Lola were vacationing at Miami."

"Everything … everything was planned …"

"Tessa took care of the details, Danny … well … she's actually a 400 year old dragon cursed to a child's body, and she takes care of the media surrounding anything dealing with the people that deal with me. Jerry's the tech, he works all the special effects and anything else needed to help us out with any mission I'm under … so you see … you really had nothing to worry about."

Raven pulled away from him and gave him a dry expressionless face, "It's scary how well you do your 'job', frightening … truly frightening."

"Yeah, but admit it," he loomed over her once again teasing her with a kiss that she'll have to take for herself, loving how he tortured her using her own pride. It was so cute to see her hate to love what he did to her, "you like me like that …"

--

END

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Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, but I do own the poem, Marisa, Lola, Leon, Jerry, Jamie, Otto , Tessa, and Danny and many more things that you know full well DC don't own but I do, so don't make me come lookin' for you when a law suit lands on my door step.

A/N: I AM SOOO SOOORRRRYYY THIS TOOK SO LONG!

I really have no excuse this time, I slacked, I couldn't help it damn it, I was enjoying sleeping till noon and staying up till morning and Partying like a frickin' rock star! Nah, that last part was for show, I was enjoying myself, and I'm sorry for that, but believe it or not I was thinking of ideas for new stories or to finish my old ones.

You don't have to believe that, but it's the truth and I'm stickin' to it.

Anyway, I'm sorry if this ending didn't suit your tastes, and I'm also SOOO SORRY for all the terrible mistakes, I know I can do better, I try to catch as many as I could, but I'm not perfect. PLEASE, please forgive, forgive … I'm bowin' here (bow, bow, bow) I feel bad enough as it is for not updating fast enough, please, please, please forgive me …

I love you guys

I love you all for faving me and reading this story

I REALLY do love you

So here's a cyber cookie to thank you

OXOX

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