Didn't mean for this to take so long to get to this chapter. Schedules. Distractions. Yadda yadda yadda. 90 percent of what I wanted just want to post it. Yadda yadda yadda. You've heard it before.

July 14, 2007

A Sladebot, oh great Journal.

A fricking Sladebot.

That's what pulled me away the other day when I was making an entry. A Sladebot got activated in the warehouse district and started trying to take everything from a National Guard armory.

We have no idea how many of the stupid frigging things are out there just waiting for their timers to go off. The goddam psycho's records were inconsistent about how many there were. One set of files said there were seven Sladebots out there. So far five have turned on and gone off on Slade-ish rampages. But another set of files implied that there were 12. Nothing we could find ever said where they were hidden. It really sets off Robin every time.

He's glad I killed Slade. But I know that somewhere in the back of his mind he'd give almost anything to have been the one to do it.

Okay, oh journal. So, last time I was going over the other Titans and my thoughts about them. I finished up with my best friend, Robin. Who's left?

There's Beast Boy, of course. It might be Changeling by next week. Talk about different from Robin. Gar's totally emotionally open. Doesn't make him better or worse, just different from Robin. He seemed like kind of the class clown when I first joined the team but he's a lot more mature now. I think it was always a bit of a front. Reading between the lines of what he's told me, I think that guy Mento, who runs Doom Patrol, was a real jerk who didn't look after Gar very well. Jinx says I'm too predisposed to see everybody's dad as failing him and get mad about it. But Mento isn't Gar's actual father. Still, he should have tried to act like one. And who's she to talk? Anyway, he should have treated little Gar better, like a dad and not just like some impersonal team leader. How do tools like him and Batman not see how rough things are at a time like that for Gar or Dick? So, yeah, part of Gar's response was sort of nervous humor to dissipate all the tension and insecurity he felt.

Well, he's really changed in the three plus years I've been here. He went from being the cute little brother adored by all the fangirls to being, well, to being a pretty boy adored by all the fangirls. About a year and a half ago, he was 5'2" and even skinnier than me with that funny scratchy voice. Now, he's 6 feet tall and the Discover channel wants him to narrate a nature video. He looks so different. At the last young heroes get together on my birthday a couple weeks back, I heard Argent turn to Jinx and giggle, "Look at him now! It's like they took a guy off the catwalk at a fashion show and painted him green."

That's not so far off. I mean, he is a model, sort of. Cyborg almost died laughing. A couple months back he was gone from the Tower for an afternoon. He wouldn't tell us why. Then, a few weeks later, there was something in the paper about Jump City's own Beast Boy appearing in a car company's commercial for its new environmentally sensitive car. We found out when it was supposed to air and all gathered in the great room. Gar tried to go to his room but I sped him back to the great room. Right after one with those spots with the two kids everyone wants to kill, ("I'm into nuggets, y'all!") came the ad for the car. It zipped along winding roads and then they talked about how it was good for the environment. Then, in the last few seconds, the announcer said "Being green can be beautiful" and there, leaning on one of the cars, was Gar, in a dark suit and white shirt but no tie, grinning at something. Everyone razzed him for a good long time, especially Cy.



"Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! I thought Cyborg might destroy some of his circuits with his laughter. But, well, we guys aren't even supposed to say this when it's hopelessly obvious, oh journal, but Gar really had become quite the pretty boy. Good for him.

And better than that, he'd gotten the girl he wanted.

Not Raven.


It's all very hush hush, oh journal, so don't breathe a word of it. The gossip pages don't really know anything about it. And we're going to keep it that way. He can't have any of that, none of that junk they write about me and Jinx. Which two Jump City teenagers was seen at clubs last Friday? Hint, orange and pink. None of that shit.

Gar wasn't even supposed to tell us about it. But,hey, how much can you hide from a super speedster? We're a very respectful bunch, we speedsters. But we do a great job of tailing people when we want to. He was suddenly so happy in such a, I don't know, I guess I'd call it a deep way. It wasn't laughing and joking all the time. It was this quiet smile. All of a sudden he projected this quiet confidence all the time.

Sooooooooo obvious.

Robin just gave me a glance. I knew what it meant. See what's up with him. So, I did. But I lied to Robin. I made up some story about Gar getting another modeling job and being all full of himself at being thought of as such a pretty boy. Something like that. But that wasn't it at all.

I went to see Gar in his room. I told him. I said, "Gar. I followed you. I saw." Even though I hadn't seen anything. I had followed him to this one house over and over. But, I'm no perv. I didn't try and see anything more. I didn't go in. I thought I might get Gar to spill. And he did.

He looked around, as though there might be someone else there in his own room, and then asked, "How much does Jinx mean to you?"

I shrugged. Wasn't it obvious? "Everything."

Gar said that that's what this meant to him and that I had to promise not to tell anyone. I promised. I don't think you count, oh great journal. He almost seemed relieved to be telling someone. He grinned ear to ear.

It was Terra. Despite everything, there were still embers there. He'd tried to get back together with her after the whole Paris fight against the Brotherhood of Evil. But she couldn't deal with any part of the Titans and villains and all of it. She was all but dead for months and months. She didn't want any part of it ever again. None. The thing was, Terra liked him. And, he was still crazy about her. But she only wanted Garfield Logan, not Beast Boy. Eventually, he realized that. There was kind of a cooling off period where he left her alone.

Then, he said he approached her modestly, humbly, and with the perfect gift. The gift was crucial, he said. He sort of smirked at his brilliance in choosing that gift. I asked him what it was, what was so smart? But he wouldn't tell me. I tried to guess like 20 times. They were good guesses, I thought, but he kept laughing and saying "no". I vaguely remembered seeing him in the great room finishing up the wrapping of something. Naturally curious as we Flashes are, I picked it up off the counter. It was heavy, hard and kind of round. The wrapping paper was taped to it a bit haphazardly. I told Gar it felt heavy and hard as a rock. He smiled. But he wouldn't tell me just what it was. That might've been it. But that could've been the gift he gave to Mento. I'm not sure.

Anyway, he said that as perfect as it was, as much as she liked it, she was still sort of noncommital about things. He came back to the Tower. He didn't try to contact her. He let her call the Tower. 10 days later, he said she did. I guess things were on a very strict basis with them. No powers, nothing relating to hero life was to touch her. Nothing. Gar agreed. I hooked him up with Zatanna and she cast a spell that, when he was with Terra, his skin isn't green. So, they can go out in public and have the freedom of any other happy teen couple. Things have changed so much for him. Oh, and now he's thinking of having everyone call him Changeling. He says that answering to Beast "Boy" is kind of demeaning now that he's 17 years old. Tell me about it. I don't really want to keep being called "Kid" Flash either.

I wish we could go on some double dates but Terra's totally against being seen with heroes.

Of course, Jinx used to be, too.

Okay, I just sighed and stared at her sitting in the sunshine of our window reading. I zone out sometimes looking at her, oh journal. Or, I think of a million different things looking at her. And only half of 'em are sex related. Don't look at me like that, oh journal. It's true. Right now I'm thinking of how beautiful she is, even more so for how she got here. Isn't a beautiful flower that you find in the wild on a hillside lovelier, somehow, than the same flower grown in a pot in a greenhouse? She didn't grow up a princess like Wonder Girl with everything set out for her. The world tried to ruin her. And she said 'Fuck you!' back to the whole world. The world called her a freak instead of sighing at her striking eyes or her perfect pink lips or her hourglass shape, her round little butt or perky little um you knows. The world totally got that wrong. Totally. And, the world called her a witch instead of gifted. The world called her an evil leader instead of strong willed and sophisticated. Actually, the world said 'Fuck you!' to her first. She just had the guts to say it right back.

Nobody says things like that to her now. They'd have to say it to me, too. I'd do anything to protect her. Anything. I love her. But it's not like sappy songs or chick flicks make it feel. It's more real than that. There's laughter and lust and competition over some things, sarcasm back and forth and loving how smart and strong she is. It's not all gloss. There's a . . a texture to this life together. It's hard to explain. And there's this tremendous sense of "us". And as perfectly comfortable as life is with her, there's still novelty and excitement all the time.

At first it almost bothered me. It almost annoyed me that I didn't have a clue about what she might be thinking sometimes or why she would do or say something. I didn't understand her loyalty to Mammoth, Wykkyd and See-More. I didn't understand how she could be such a jumble of contradictiions. Gods, what a jumble of extremes she is. She might be the most vicious fighter of any of us Titans. But she luxuriates in bubble baths and reading in the special window seat in our room. She relishes seeing what things she can destroy with pink hex energy. She loves it. But she gets upset if the lace or ruffles of her outfits gets torn or dirty. She's not the slightest bit reserved in bed with me. But she will not speak about 'us' in any way to any of the press and walks away if they ask a risque question. She can be brutal with sarcasm toward me but if Gar or Cy or Robin say anything to me, she's likely to destroy 'em with some razor sharp line.

It bothered me, at first, that I didn't completely understand her. And then, it just sort of washed over me. Acceptance. I wondered why I was trying so hard. I just sort of accepted it. It didn't matter if I didn't understand exactly why she is the way she is and does what she does. I just accepted it. It wasn't a plan. It wasn't some decision to go along with some alcoholics anonymous thing about accepting what you can't change. I only realized it after the fact. She had surprised me with her reaction to something and caught myself just smiling at it.

Maybe, oh journal, I'm such a nerd that I'm kind of obsessed with figuring things out. The whole superhero biz doesn't exactly suppress that, you know, what with all the pressure to do detective work. It's a part of me. Fine. I'm a nerd. I love figuring things out. I feel a need to understand. But I love her so much I just set it aside. I don't need to know. I don't need to understand. She's Jinx, my wife. Does that really have to be explained?

It probably can't be explained, anyway. Some of the things she does are so off the wall. For instance, the storytelling. She tells me stories. Horrible stories. She tells me these reach into your gut and pull out your spleen emotionally devastating stories. True stories. Teachers calling her a freak. Kids all in a circle around her in the schoolyard, shouting and calling her names. Not being treated like a human being. Nowhere to go. Everything but a parade of villagers with torches to burn her family's double wide. And, she tells me these stories at the most incredible times. I don't know if it's intentional for the contrast. She's such a creature of extremes. Or maybe the point is to tell them when they have the least power, when the feeling between us makes them more irrelevant to her life than at any other time. Whatever the reason, sometimes after we make love and we lie down to sleep, me holding her in my arms, the two of us warm with affection as much as literal heat. I'll just settle into a comfortable breathing rhythm and then she'll start. No warning, just bam! Spleen ripping story.

"One time in first grade . . "

And these stories just tear me up. The shit she went through! A couple times I've gasped. And my eyes get . . . But, it's understandable, journal.. Just a little girl. God. She showed me this picture of her in first grade. Six years old. It's one of the few pictures ever of her not in 'Fuck you, world!' mode. This beautiful little girl with pale pale skin and pink hair and her expression is trusting and hopeful. She's got her eyebrows a little raised as if asking, "It's gonna be okay, right?" She said the photographer talked her into that mood and that expression, a rare glimpse of vulnerable young Jinx.

I almost wish she hadn't shown me that picture of that beautiful little girl because it kills me to think of people ganging up on her and all calling her names, throwing things at her and trying to ruin her. I tense up and when she finishes I always kiss the back of her neck and hold her tight. I tell her that no one will ever hurt her again. And somehow it's like she discards each terrible episode from her life at that moment. She goes on right away but I'm totally tensed and rigid, flexing every muscle. It almost seems like it's harder on me. I know she knows because she usually runs a hand over me feeling flexed muscle below my skin. She can feel what it does to me to think of her being hurt and all those assholes pushing her to be the way she was in response. But that's one of the things about being with someone, being with them all the way, that you have to experience or you don't appreciate it. I didn't.

But, I can get hurt now and I don't like getting hurt. I mean, I don't want to be slammed into a brick wall or electrocuted or punched in the face. But I can move past me getting hurt. When . . when someone hurts Jinx? I go wild. I can't take it. I just can't bear to see her hurt. And it's not just me. I thought she might hex Cinderblock to ashes when he got lucky and smacked me into the side of a warehouse. I didn't know masonry could burn, not just smolder but burn. And what a smell it gives off!

Well, she's spent most of her life reacting to assholes, and giving them back what they deserved. She was strong enough to do it. I don't know if even she knows how it affected her. I mean, she's honest with herself, but she's got all these habits of being aggressive and guarded and just having things bounce off her that she picked up at the academy and before that. So, one moment she might be really open and trusting and the next kind of wary the way she learned to be as some habit, some pattern of doing things or looking at things she'd built up.

I know, guys are supposed to want to fuck then get the hell out of there. But even when we just started seeing each other I never wanted to leave. I wanted to hold her. She was so fascinating and precious to me. I wanted to feel her skin against mine, even not . . . doing it. I just wanted to hold her, beautiful, brilliant Jinx who cared about me. Jinx looked at me so funny that first time, both of us were grinning ear to ear, so happy. It'd been great. I zipped back from the bathroom and wrapped my arms around her. She felt so good. Then, she got this slightly puzzled look on her face. I could see it in the mirror. We dropped down to the bed but she got back up.

"What're you doing?" she asked.

"What do you mean what am I doing? I'm holding you."

She gave me that skeptical Jinx look. It's practically the Jinx look, and actually asked,"You're not trying to control me, are you?"

I jumped to my feet. "What?! Of course not. I-I just like holding you."

She eyed me through a squint, then sighed and muttered "okay".

I wrapped my arms around her again and we dropped down to rest on our sides on the warm sheets again. I relaxed completely, breathing in the smell of her skin and pressed my lips to the back of her neck. But I could feel that she wasn't relaxed. She was tense. A few seconds later, she jumped up out of my arms again and gave me another of those Jinx looks.

"What now?!"

"If-if you think that I'm your-your damsel in distress and you're the-the knight in shining . . spandex or something and that you're protecting me well, you can just forget it because I'm strong enough to-"

"Jinx!" I jumped up and took her by the shoulders. "I . . . I just like holding you!"

Her Jinx look of skepticism flared then slowly melted. " . . . really . . . ?" she asked in a tone I'd never heard from her. Her voice was so . . innocent, somehow, saying that one word.

I quickly wrapped my arms around her. "This doesn't feel good to you?" I whispered.

She sort of stammered out a sigh. We dropped down to the bed again. This time she relaxed.

"Well, you are kind of warm. It's . . . good."

The truth is, I am warm, I mean, literally. My body temperature's 100.6 normally. It's a Flash thing. Probably has something to do with being a living singularity, with my body being a sort of doorway to another dimension from which all this energy comes into ours and powers my super speeding. But Jinx's temperature is normally 96.6. Might be that her powers are sort of electric based and electric charge is more efficient at low temperatures. Who knows? Whatever the reason, it feels really good to us to be together. Her slight coolness never stops feeling good to me. It's like it's what I really need. I think she feels the same way about my being warm. She won't say it though.

I can't really complain. A lot of times I don't say things. A lot of times neither of us says anything. We . . we have a weird thing between us, an unspoken understanding. Sometimes we'll talk and talk and talk. She's a book nerd like me. We'll talk and talk about this funny book or that hilarious story or this amazing novella. Did you read that Patricia Highsmith thing I gave you? Oh gods, that Letter to the Earth was fricking great! How 'bout that Flaubert, huh? Jesus is a giant canary! Oh gods. And on and on and on. We don't like all the same books and stories but there's a lot of crossover and we at least accept each other's different choices. There's nobody more challenging to talk to or more fun to talk to than Jinx.

But a lot of the time we don't say a thing, not a syllable to each other. We've gone up on the roof in the middle of a raging thunderstorm and then come down to our room and made love all night long and not said a single fucking word the whole time. We have a whole shorthand language of glances between us now. We do it in clubs all the time. The music's pounding in your ears. You can't hear anyone 5 feet away. Doesn't matter to us. I see some goth fanboy go up to her and gush about how cool she is. You're this. You're all that. Yadda yadda yadda. Seen it a hundred times. And she'll just glance over to me. And I know that that glance means "You belive this wuss, Speedster? And what is with that shirt. Gothboy in polo? WTF? Meet me by the kitchen exit."

I'll go there and she'll appear 30 seconds later and we take off without it being even the least bit noteworthy. Her mother talked about it too. "Say something!" she shouted at us once from the porch of her farm and then, later that night she wanted us to stop talking about The Devil's Dictionary and H.L. Mencken and go to sleep. Eventually we did sleep.

I'm looking at her in the window right now. She's got on one of those intricately lacy blouses she's so fond of, that just begs you to touch her. And she's reading from some old leather bound book. The sun's shining down on her pink hair and her cat eyes are focsed on it with her entire soul. She gives a little sigh of comfort at the window seat and the sun and everything and . . well . .

I've saved hundreds of people. Maybe it's thousands. I've pulled 'em out of buildings and cars and trains. I once super sped into a crashing plane and pulled people out before they were crushed or burnt. I've caught bullets in the air and taken uzis out of killers' hands before they could shoot the bullets. I've saved little girls and little boys, old men and women, strong and weak and short and tall. But more important than getting any of them out of the path of some bullet or away from some flames was getting the little pink haired six year old girl who looked up hopefully into that school photo camera here to the window, where she belongs. I love her.