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Miss Lucky Charm
And it wasn't my idea, and I sure as heck didn't place the call. It was all on his dime. I was minding my own business, thank you very much, when he rang to make the proposition. Like anyone else, I was polite and listened. I'm like that. And like anyone else, I thought it sounded a bit, well, it sounded a lot fishy. So I let my attitude show and talked back to the melon-like head on the monitor. "It doesn't look like you have any faith in your own master plan."
He winked at me and replied, unnaturally affably, if you ask me . "No reason for one to be snippy. Paying a lit'le insurance is cheap, compar'd to a lawyah an' jail. Been there, done tha', love."
I turned and looked at the 'Nosy Normans' all eavesdropping behind me. Well, Mammoth didn't think it was a good idea. See-more didn't think it was a good idea. Kyd Wykkyd didn't say anything, but I could tell he didn't think it was a good idea. But when Gizmo and Billy Numerous agreed that they didn't think it was a good idea at all, well, that was a sign if ever I saw one. I turned back to the eager-yet-creepy face on the monitor, everyone's favorite retro-robber, Mad Mod, and gave him my not-carefully considered answer. "I'll do it." Then I got all over him with my clever demands. "But I have conditions. Not. Negotiable. Conditions. One: I want to know what you're doing, the wheres and the whens. You're not going to gyp me out of my fee by claiming I showed up late when you're clear across town when you place the call. Two: no mental monkey business. You pull out any spinning spiral mind-whammy thingamajigs and I walk. I'm not playing 'Twiggy' in your psycho version of Swinging London. Third: I will be paid a fee up front just for hanging around - I'm not rearranging my schedule and making no money, too."
He smiled his bad-English-teeth smile at me. "Done an' done, love. But me plans are for yo'r ears only."
"Figures," I muttered. "So, where do we meet? The usual abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere?"
He gave me an address and a time, and without the boys tagging along and getting distracted by every little thing on the way, I not only got there when I said I could; I was early.
His voice sounded loudly and clear from the shadows. " 'Oo's me fave villainess?" I supposed it was the closest to a 'hello' I'd get out of him.
I put my hands on my hips - it's one of my better 'I'm all business here' poses. "You show me dates and times and cash on the barrel head, Mod, then you can small talk. The meter's running." And, what do you know, he had it already printed out nice and neatly, and also set up on a handy little flash chip for my wrist electronics. I was pleased, but really, these obsessive compulsive crazy super-criminals out to remake the world in their own image are usually very well organized. All those robot armies to build and ship across oceans and hide in dozens of secret depots... You have to be of an orderly nature not to lose the odd battalion or two of automaton henchmen.
So he passed his plans over to me, and I read them, and had a hard time holding in the laughter. But I'm a pro, and those years in HAEYP taught me to keep my mouth shut. I knew right away that I'd better get his fee in cash, immediately, because the Teen Titans would be all over him within the first half hour of population reprogramming. Though I had to hand it to Mod, he didn't skulk and sneak around under the radar; it was like he was daring the Titans to fight him. And 'boo yeah', he'd definitely get his wish.
I gave the papers back to him, and clicked the chip into my stylin' and delicate wrist pc. "Let's get this straight, because I dislike misunderstandings," I told him, "my job will be to make enough of a distraction for you to make a smooth getaway. I don't fight your battles, and am no part of any of your crack scheme, and I decide how I do my job. I don't take requests, and I'm not breaking my parole just to give you another day out of jail"
He smirked back. "Tha's righ', love. But you'd bettah be no more than a minute away when I 'it the panic button, or no payday for the litt'l birdy."
"I'll be there," I answered back. "Now, about my fee..."
"I brought your retainah wi'h me. An' if I need an escape, a fah more gen'rous fee will fly straigh' to tha' lit'le secret nest-egg o' yo'rs in Swisland, me duckling. Speaking of which, if you han' me the conf'dent'l password I'll make sure it all gets deposit'd tout dah sweet!"
I looked up at the ceiling briefly, holding my tongue, I really was, and I really did, before sticking my hand out in the best gimme-gimme tradition. "Lemme see the green."
He plopped a bag printed all over with not-American malarkey and "Bank of England" script at my feet. A heavy, jangly bag. Don't tell me... I knelt down and untied the neck, my hand snaked in, and pulled out... "What in Sam Hill is this?!" It was gold, and shiny and round, and heavy, and just frickin' weird looking.
"Tha's coin o' the realm, ducky. Solid, English specie. Sound as the stones 'neath ol' Albion 'erself."
Maybe I should have listened to Billy and Giz. "Yeah, but what is it?"
"A sovereign, sweetie. An English sovereign."
"Aww, poop, Mod, I can't buy a beer with this!" I tossed the coin into the shady reaches of cluttered, decomposing debris surrounding us on the warehouse floor. I was miffed. "I get real money, or I'm out of here! Capiche?!"
We 'negotiated' for most of an hour. I got greenbacks, but I had to take one sovereign in the payment. 'A matter of principal', said he. I shoved the wad of bills into my stocking, stuck the sovereign into my bra ('no pockets, no purse: no change' is my motto. I travel light) and roared off on my bike behind His Modness.
I parked in a secluded, so-gentrified alley of classy, residential former-sweatshops and walked purposefully toward the sounds of mayhem. Most everyone I passed on the street gave me a wide berth. I was used to it. If they weren't frightened by the pink hair, black couture and evil clown makeup, then when they got to see the eyes, well, that shooed off the rest. The few who stuck around either creeped me out or were gross fanboys.
Yep, even Jinx, The Bad Luck Charm, had fanboys. Pasty, definitely-no-life fanboys. Goth, more-piercings-than-skin-showing fanboys. And I'd really rather have a nice, quiet boyfriend, or a dog, or something to curl up with, instead. But come on, look at me, right? The only ones who aren't bothered by my appearance are other super-villains, and all the bad boys my age are definitely, infinitely gross. Well, that's not really fair. See-More is nice enough, he just doesn't, you know, do it for me. So who does that leave? Superheroes??
Sure, I've thrown myself 'by accident' at Robin, the odd tumble on the street in the middle of a melee - what villainess hasn't? - and that's one hell of a cold response he has. Very well rehearsed. And Stone, uhh, Cyborg... I never had him, really, and once Bee got her stinger in, I wonder if Cy gave her his...
Jinx, you are a catty bitch.
I've earned it. I always got better grades in 'Breaking and Entering' than her, anyway.
By the sounds of explosions and "booyah!'s" I figured the Teen Titans had shown up. I checked my watch: thirty seven minutes. Huh. What do you know. I think they're getting a little lackadaisical in their comfy T-Tower. That's a good ten to fifteen later than they should have. I walked around the corner and sauntered up through the screaming, fleeing multitude, and got myself a ringside seat. Very nice spot, a lovely restaurant on a terrace, right on the edge of Center City Park. Fakey-French sidewalk café ambiance, right down to the umbrellas slathered in European booze names. I should rob this place someday: it's all high class and looks very successful. And from the prices on this menu! Highway robbery. This place is a mint.
I stole a pint of porter from the abandoned bar, kicked up my legs on the railing, illegally quaffed said brew, and watched the show.
They - the Titans - were just classic, fighting in Robin's favorite 2-up/3-down formation. He, Beast Boy, and Cyborg handling the up-close-and-personal ground campaign, while Starfire and Raven floated high above the battlefield, strafing the minions working their way up to the front. Raven was also using her telekinetic powers to scoop up any brainwashed civilians vectoring to join the battle and deposit them far away - presumably safely.
They seemed to be making pretty good progress against Mad Mod's best attacks.
I suppose I should think about what I'm going to do, before Mod hits the rescue button. It can't be anything violent - even a drive-by kinda thing will have two of them after me, and then I'm in jail. I'm not paid so well by the old maniac that I'd give them an excuse to arrest me. Aww, crap, girl, where's your famed improvisation skills when you really need 'em?!
Bleep bleep blaaaaaatt!!! said my alarm.
I was up before I really was conscious of it, and was running before my legs hit the pavement. Out across the street, over the wall, into the field, and now no time to lose, I put it into high and started to eat up the distance.
Annnnd... What to do??! Okay, prioritize, sweetness, what can I do? Bitchy Witch and Starflyer are up up and away, so I can't do anything about them. Robin is a psychotic - I can't affect him at all, and he'll just want to start a fight. Cy... It'll start with an argument, and they 'know' about me and him, they'll end up ignoring me unless I start a fight! Shite! That leaves...
I made a tight right turn, did several hand springs to cut my momentum, a leap and a spin and waiiiit for it...!
I shook my head, and smiled my most winsome. He'd caught me, just like he should. Most natural reaction in the world - if a pretty girl jumps into your lap you try to catch her. But his big 'ole monkey hands were holding me like I was goo-covered nuclear waste. We had to do something about that. "Hi, baby," I purred. I leaned into the big ape's green face and gave the confuzzled guy a wet smoocheroo.
Anyway, there should have been a sound effect.
Suddenly, it wasn't Apeman of the Apes holding me, but little 'ole Beastie, and I think we were a wee bit top heavy, because we were swaying and leaning heavy with the wind, and then with a wheezy, falsetto squeak he toppled over like a mighty oak.
Time to take charge. I quickly straddled him and leaned my face down to his. It was the cutest thing! He looked completely scared to death, and he got out another adorable squeak - "Jinx?!" - before my lips covered his.
I figure I'm not the most feminine superhuman chicklet on the block - I'm kinda bony, and sometimes exhibit the smallest of attitudes, and I don't have much practice kissing, and okay, let's examine the obvious, I'm an A-cup in a superchick-bustin'-out-of-her-shirt D-cup world, but I am enthusiastic when I set my mind to it.
Well, what the hell, I was a little enthusiastic. In for a penny; in for a pound, right?
I locked my mouth over his and began to, umm, vigorously chew on his lips. He, of course, was worshipfully appreciative. And... I suppose I should clarify - he was stunned. Kind of like a deer caught in the headlights of a Lamborghini driven by an extremely luscious gal racing to the 90 Percent Off Sale at Vickie's Secret, and she runs right into him, and he's all splayed across the windshield, mesmerized by her beautiful, pink eyes. And by the horrible pain.
Just like that.
So, let's get the conversation back to me, right? When I'm being enthusiastic, I don't pay as much attention as I should to my surroundings, but even I noticed Stone and Starfire talking nearby - and not blasting away at Mod, so the brilliant plan was working. And Robin was off in the distance shouting his head off. He was normally a taciturn, intense fighter, so he must have been shouting about me. Oh. That was when Beast Boy surprised me.
First, let me clarify: it was perfect kissing weather. The sun was shiny and warm, and the grass smelled all freshly mown. I love that smell. The breeze was strong, flapping shade from a nearby tree back and forth across us. My breath was still a bit on the 'heaving' side, it hadn't been more than just a few moments since I had been running, and I suppose I was a bit flushed. I'm sure I was at that moment just the picture of 'fetching'. Then came the Beast Boy surprise. His arms snaked up around my back, and the wiry little s.o.b. clamped me down onto his chest, and the sweet, sweet, little sex fiend started kissing me right back. Vigorously back. And oh my, he really was a beast. This was surprisingly nice, I thought to myself. Extremely nice. I was having honest-to-goodness boy/girl fun with this squeaky, silly little superhero with a surprisingly hungry, good-kissing mouth. I closed my eyes, for real, to hell with keeping count on bystanders, and wrapped my arms up around his head, snuggled down with a shmexxy little wiggle onto him, and purrrred. His hand started to slide down my back, and I was really hoping he'd be a bad, bad boy and not stop until it was squeezing my butt.
That's when Miss Party Pooper put her hand on my shoulder.
Well, she grabbed my shoulder.
To be exact, she clamped an icy cold onto my wingbone and threw me off of him.
I rolled and got up quickly, I was on my feet quickly, I was all on-the-balls-of-my-feet arms-out-from-my-sides fingers-splayed, all here now, completely-ready quickly, and counting off who from the other side was right around me: one - two - three - four - go, I'll be a son of a b-
"Get off Beast Boy." Raven was the closest of all of them, and she said it quietly, and coldly, with barely any motion in that ruler-straight expression of hers. She said it, maybe so quietly, that no one else heard. But the way she said it, it all felt weirdly like she was a cat beating another mouser off of her mouse. This was Raven, right?? I took the time to really look at her. She was tense. She wanted me to know it. This was all really curious...
Robin's voice cut through the tension, sounding very impatient with the whole situation. "What's going on here?!!"
"Yes," Starfire butted in, "does this mean the Jinx is now your girl and your friend, Beast Boy, and she has quit the evildoing?"
"Yeah!? No, wait!" He held his hands up, and he was giving Raven a more than fair share of glances. "I don't know what's going on! I didn't know about this!"
I decided my job was done, and a quick, confusing exit was better than hanging around and letting Robin add one and one together. "Well, if that's what you want your friends to think, Beast Boy..." I brushed past Raven - too closely, of course, she's not going to give me any attitude - and stomped away. They didn't have any warrants on me today, I'd been good for months, well, I mean I hadn't been caught, so that's just about the same, now, don't you think? Anyway, parole is parole, and it gave me a free pass today. So I shouted back at him, over my shoulder, all pissed-off sounding. "You came to me, Beastie! When you're ready to talk to me - and your friends - about us, you'll know how to find me." Then I was out of there, head held high, long relaxed strides, ground growing between me and them. I heard Robin shout out a "Titans, go!" but they were too late: Mad Mod was out of there by now, and I was going to get paid an outrageous sum for five minutes work.
And that's that.
I just can't leave you out in the cold. I'm good like that.
About three months later I'm back down at the park, incognito this time: black hoodie, black shades, black miniskirt and Doc Martins and my beautiful hair tied in a boring pigtail. Sometimes, I just want to look like a run-of-the-mill teenage freak, and not have everyone fleeing for their lives just because I showed up.
Reputations are a bitch.
I was out in front of that restaurant, the one I stole the brewski from, with the sidewalk café, the one with the outrageous pricing policy. Okay, you know where I mean. I had stopped there to watch a sidewalk artist. He was good. He was jaw-droppingly good. He turned a few chalk lines and smudges on concrete into real, living, breathing, three dimensional art. And his unicorns! I was jealous. I was watching him, how he was drawing, and when, and I couldn't make out any logic in it at all, and I was thinking to myself that I was either too dense to figure out his technique or his sparks of inspiration were far more profound than mine, and so I was deciding whether to be depressed about it or n--
I felt the cold paw of Witchy Bitch on my shoulder. "Jinx," was all she said. Quiet, not a touch of tone or feeling in her voice. Typical. I refused to give her the satisfaction of making me react the way she thought I would. "Listen, girlfriend," I wasn't very nice, I'll admit it, "hands off, right now. We're in a big crowd, and I'll make an especially vindictive effort at tossing hexes around if you even think of trying to arrest me."
"Okay," she said. And that was it. I waited for some sort of follow up, but there was nothing, just that dead kind of 'okay'. I abhor a vacuum, so I had to speak. I turned in place, shaking her hand off of me, and I gave her a glare: a turned-head, raised-eyebrow, crossed-arms, drumming-fingers type of glare. "Come with me," she said, then she just up and turned, heading across the street to the park.
"And good frickin' morning to you, too." This really wasn't helping my mood, and sparring with a Titan - this Titan in particular - was not on the itinerary. But there she was, walking away, head looking so very definitely away from me, so very Miss Superior, and I bet she was expecting me to just come running after her.
Just like those Titans, goody-goodys who think they're judge, jury, and executioner, and everyone has to hop on their say-so, because they know best, the self-righteous bitchy, bitch-bitch!
The hell she's going to just show the heck up out of the blue, out my identity, order me around, and walk away. She needs a good yelling at, and I'm the girl to do it!
I followed her through the crowd.
Which was pretty easy. She was in costume, and I've never heard that she dressed in anything else. Jeez, when we raided the Tower that time, I checked out the girl's closet, and there was nothing but the same crappy leotard and cape outfit, like, fifteen deep. It was weird. It was 'special kid' weird - I can see her, just babbling away: "This is my cloak, this is my leotard, I need to wear the right cloak, it's Tuesday..." Blah blah, et cetera. You know? And I suppose the obviously gray skin would give her away anyway, so why buy any civvies, right, and with her rep, it's not like people would pointlessly bother her. And she is as friendly as a rock falling on your head, so I suppose it's all to her liking anyway.
So, I caught up to her, and before I could rip into her like she deserved she turned and said, "What kept you?" It wasn't exactly friendly, but it was more, umm, real than I expected.
"What kept me? What kept me?!" I was trying to work up to livid, but she kept throwing distracting curve balls. Like this one...
"Did you lose this?" She held up one of those sovereigns of Mad Mod's. Flashback time hit me, and I remembered the coin falling out of my top when Raven ripped me off of Beast Boy. She spoke again. "I guess you did." I realized my hand had jumped up to my chest, like I was holding something under my hoodie. Stupid reflexes.
My face went fake-ily cheery. "So, thanks for volunteering at Jump City Lost and Found." I'm not too bad with the comebacks. "You gonna hand it over, now?"
"You were working for Mad Mod." It was a statement, not a question.
"And you guys all gave Beast Boy hell for weeks afterward." I sounded triumphant, but inside, it didn't actually give me many warm and fuzzies. And no, I didn't know why.
"That's what I thought." And she turned and started walking away. I don't know why, but I wasn't exactly happy with that ending. I shouted the first stupid thing to cross my mind. "You didn't think so when Beast Boy was all over me!"
She stopped. Good. She turned. Uh-oh. She walked back toward me, her head hidden in that hood of hers. "You were all over him."
"Nah-ah." I knew I could win this one. "I was on top, but he was all over me. You saw - remember his hands?"
She just stood there. Not a peep. Curious. Curiouser. And I get that vibe again. I wonder... I propped a hand on my hip and with the other casually emphasizing, I took a wild stab. "He is cute, and he won't wait for you forever, chickie." Not a reaction. Not a sound. Not a move. And, to coin a phrase: not a peep. Now that speaks volumes. I was going to move in for the kill, when a flock of Ravens descended on us.
Fast Fact: a flock of ravens is called an 'unkindness'. Betcha didn't know that. And there was nothing kind about this gaggle of cawing females.
If you're not from Jump, you'd probably have no idea what was going on. For some reason - which annoys me and probably appalls her - Raven has acquired a bevy of teen and preteen imitators in Jump City, called, ominously enough, 'Ravens'. They dye their hair (the color palette seems to be any color except natural) and cover themselves in matching cloaks. They do 'good deeds'. They show up at the most embarrassing moments for the people they're 'helping', and make it worse. I've seen gals who have to be my age participating in this idiocy. It's an embarrassment to my sex.
So, a flock of these giggling, screeching, hero-worshiping girls descended like locusts upon us, and every one had something appropriately shallow to say, and they all said it at the same time. It was my cue to get out of there. A spin on my heals, and I was ooof! "Oww!" Where'd the roadblock come from?
The roadblock was ten years old, I guessed, and her parents believed in braces. "Hey! Are you a Titan?"
"No!" Dumb question. "Why?"
"You have funny hair--"
"--And so do you."
"--Yeah, well you have funny skin and you're wearing sunglasses and it's cloudy and you're talking to Raven and she's like talking to you too, so there!" That's a lot of talking without a pause for a girl with braces.
"Maybe I'm a bad guy."
"No way! If you're a villain you'd be fighting Raven, and you wouldn't be talking to me!"
"Maybe I'm undercover. I'm actually ... Mad Maud."
"No. I'm actually Pink X."
"Darn it! You are a Titan, that just proves it! What city are you from? Are you really undercover?"
This had gone on long enough. "Yes, I am. Now stop blowing that cover, ok?"
She nodded, and with a conspiratorial wink she turned to rejoin her posse of annoying rightness. I set my interrupted walk to head back to my motor-sicle - I figured the festival was ruined for me now, and I should quit while I was ahead. And I had almost gotten out of the park when I heard that very same roadblock of a 'Raven' shouting at my heels: "Lucky Charm! Please wait, Lucky Charm!"
'Lucky Charm'?!? WTF?? I turned, and saw Raven-of-the-braces running after me. Oh, for the love of Pete... "What did you call me?"
"Miss Lucky Charm! Raven told me it was your name! Was that right? Was it a secret? Shouldn't I have said it? I hope it wasn't a secret, you being undercover and all..." This went on for a bit longer, but, you catch my drift. Anyway, "...And she asked me to give you this!" She held up the sovereign. I snagged it right away. I'd found out it was worth real money the day after that whole Mad Mod thing. Can you believe it? "And Raven had a message! She said this was... 'for the advice'! Okay?"
"Yeah. Thanks." And the kid nodded, smiled like she done something awesome, and ran back to where she came. "Advice?" That was a puzzl... Oh, the 'won't wait forever' thing. Hey! "I'll be a son of a bitch. She does like him." That was an understatement. I supposed I could use that info against her some way, sell it to the Brotherhood of Evil, or something. It's not like chinks in her armor are all that common. I looked at the coin, and remembered that kiss Beast Boy gave me, and ... I supposed it'd be in my personal, long term, best interest for something, for anything, for any one to melt the ice-queen-bitch-witch's heart. And Beastie is a good kisser. If she let him get that close, I could probably count on her being distracted for up to six months. Hell, if I came home to that every night, I'd be distracted too. It'd be too much fun not to be.
That sounded like a plan. Miss Rae-Rae's secret would be my secret, too. I shoved the coin into the pocket of my hoodie (okay, you got me: I do own something with pockets) and was O-U-T of there.