A/N: Second in the SBC series. This one stands apart from Hands, but I think I'll connect it later. "With You" belongs to Linkin Park


Raven always let Jinx go.

At first, it didn't seem intentional. It was just something that always happened. Ended up happening. Admittedly, it was odd how they never failed to single each other out, how instead of Raven vs. Gizmo or Jinx vs. Robin it was always their eternal pair: Raven and Jinx. Two sorceresses, battling with powers of similar nature: destruction vs. darkness; magenta vs. black. It was almost like they were fighting their own war separate from their teams, wholly concentrated on their own battles, like it was personal.

But really, it was personal. Every time Jinx escaped with that Cheshire grin plastered on her face, every time she smirked and blew Raven a searing good-bye kiss, every time Jinx vanished and left Raven hanging in the air with remnant sparkles of pink magic— every time she let Jinx go was a personal failure for Raven.

Raven didn't tolerate failure.

Letting out an uncharacteristic war-cry, Raven's fist shot forward, connecting with the black punching bag in front of her. That first punch quickly gave way to a flurry of strikes, one right after the other in rapid succession, her attack fueled by the rage and music pounding in her head.

It's true
The way I feel was promised by your face
The sound of your voice painted on my memories
Even if you're not with me
I'm with you
Even when I close my eyes

You— now I see
Keeping everything inside
You— now I see

The way her fist connected with the bag, the ferocity pumping through her veins and tightening her muscles, the satisfaction she got if she closed her eyes and imagined featureless flesh before her . . . she knew it wasn't good, wasn't healthy. She knew she shouldn't enjoy the way her anger flushed through her brain, sweet as fine liqueur, potent as absinthe. Somewhere in the back of her adrenaline-crushed mind, she also knew that she'd been going at this for about two hours, knew that her muscles would be sore tomorrow, knew that it was probably time to stop.

But she couldn't.

I hit you and you hit me back
We fall to the floor, the rest of the day stands still
Fine line between this and that
When things go wrong I pretend the past isn't real
Now I'm trapped in this memory
And I'm left in the wake of the mistake, slow to react
Even though you're close to me
You're still so distant, and I can't bring you back

Jumping back, she paused just long enough to wipe the sweat from her brow before lunging again, colliding with the punching bag. She couldn't stop. Not now. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

She had begun training herself like this weeks ago when, after another fruitless attempt to jail the Hive, she had come to a realization: she was weak.

She had paused in the common room while the others filed towards the showers, paused and held up her thin pale arms, arms that had recently been entangled with others just the same belonging to a pink-haired sorceress, the criminal she'd failed to catch for the umpteenth time. Weak. So fucking weak.

Thus had begun her little ritual: stealing the combat-training tapes, observing Boy Wonder's amazing skills, copying and emulating them at night in the training room with music blasting out all of her thoughts. She didn't think when she was training: the only things she could see were her fists' repeated collision with the bag.

And, occasionally, laughing hi-lite pink eyes.

It's true
The way I feel was promised by your face
The sound of your voice painted on my memories
Even if you're not with me
I'm with you

It happened sometimes, usually after the hour-mark. She would get this heady feeling in her head, the boxer's equivalent of runner's high (1). She would blink, her vision sliding in and out of focus so she always had to pause for a few beats, standing unsteadily on her feet, swaying. Sometimes, in that moment of fatigue-ecstacy, she would squint, and see, like a sweaty ghost, the watery image of Jinx, standing before her and laughing into the pounding music. Her eyes would curve up at the edges, her full-lipped smile sweet and straw-berry looking, her witchy costume hugging her torso as she swayed with her own giggling.

You — now I see
Keeping everything inside
You — now I see
Even when I close my eyes

And Raven would growl. She would narrow her eyes and shake her head and bite back the rising bile in her throat. She would burn with the very flush of her cherry-red face, sizzle in the sweat trickling down her neck and breasts. She would look away from the figure, the laughing cat-eyed girl and focus all her anger and attention on the black bag swinging listlessly before her.

She would strike. And she would not stop until she collapsed.

No, no matter how far we've come
I can't wait to see tomorrow No matter how far we've come
I can't wait to see tomorrow
With you

A sudden, sharp gasp, and Raven felt her knees buckle under her, fatigue taking her down. She hit the mat with a thud, and a fuzzy kind of blackness invaded her head. She swallowed with a sore, scorched throat, wanting, needing water, blinking and struggling to fight the oppressing blackness. She grit her teeth.

No, she thought, and it echoed disturbingly in her head. No. Don't you fucking dare lose consciousness. She swallowed again, cringing at the pain it caused her. Water. By themselves, her hands groped around on the mat, searching. Where had she put her water bottle?

Perhaps it was her delirium, her lack of sensory organization, but for some reason she didn't feel or notice someone crawl over her, suspending their weight over her body. She just continued looking for her water bottle, fingers blindly dancing across the mat in a directionless, haphazard search. Water. Where—?

The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and she froze as a voice directly above her greeted smoothly:

"Hiya, Sunshine."

Weakly, Raven blinked. That voice. She recognized that v— hell, how could she not recognize that voice?

Slowly, painfully, a single word crawled like a dead spider out of Raven's throat.

". . . Jinx."

"Aawwwh. You remember me." Pink hair and a pale face swam into vision.

"Juh— Jinx." Good Azar, her throat hurt. "Wha . . . get off. . . ."

"Why?" she asked sweetly, voice lilting upwards at the end of the word.

Raven grunted, trying to shift her leaden legs. She groaned when she realized that she couldn't move them. Wonderful.

"'Uhhh' isn't an answer, sweetpea. Geeze, and they say you're the intelligent one. I thought I was gonna get a chance to talk to a scholar here, not Rocky Balboa. But that's okay; we don't have to talk if you don't want to."

Raven felt pressure on her legs and abdomen as Jinx lowered herself to fully straddle her. Lightly, the pink-haired sorceress folded her arms over Raven's collarbone, staring at her with an innocuously cute half-smile. Suddenly, all of Raven's senses came back on high, hitting her forcefully; her cheeks flared.

"Get off," she commanded in a scratchy voice.

"How about not."

Before Raven could reply, Jinx leaned forward and captured her chapped lips. Startled, Raven's eyes widened; her blood spiked as she felt what she knew to be a soft pink tongue press at the edge of her mouth, and she closed her eyes as she let it enter. Jinx's tongue slid over hers, sweetly, wetly. Her mouth filled with the taste of Jinx, strawberry-brandy cream alternating with sugary cotton-candy. Heat rushed through her body, made her feel light and airy, and she and Jinx weighed nothing, were kissing on a pink-tufty cloud in the air—

Raven's mind did a traumatic somersault as Jinx's tongue pulled out of her mouth and the witch pulled back. Raven breathed unsteadily, staring at the girl on top of her with unreadable, mixed-up eyes.

Jinx smiled, her star-pink cat-like orbs unwavering, smile like two pink petals. Raven's breath hitched inaudibly as Jinx leaned in, licking light and long across Raven's jaw. The demonness didn't move, didn't dare, tried to fill her gaze with calm reproach as Jinx pulled back again. Their noses were inches apart; Raven could feel Jinx's hot, sugary breath on her cheeks, her sensitive lips.

"Gonna let me go again, Sunshine?" Jinx asked softly. She blinked leisurely, and Raven saw that she had pink eyelashes, ghostly-pink, lighter than her hair.

Raven swallowed.

And suddenly, she was staring at the gymnasium ceiling.

Brows furrowing, Raven's mind raced. She focused on her arms, her legs, tried to get up, groaned when she realized that all the onerous weight had returned to her body threefold. It took a serious amount of effort to pull herself up from the floor into a sitting position; when she gripped the punching bag and used it to hoist herself into a standing position, her muscles screamed. A headache pounded in her brain.

Stumbling with soreness, Raven collected her water bottle, her towel, and headed for the showers.


She had been right in assuming that she'd be sore for days afterwards. It took the better part of a week for all the stiffness to completely go away.

The memory of the fantasy didn't fade so easily.

Three weeks later, when the Hive broke into the Northeast Jump City Bank, Raven was the first to jump out of the T-Car and get to the scene.

She strode into the bank, her team mates a glancing seven feet behind. People were all huddled close to the floor, hands over their heads, but they looked up fearfully as she entered. She surveyed them all, not letting a trace of emotion flicker across her face. Her violet eyes traveled from the frightened people to the single (blissfully) unconscious policeman a few feet from her; then over to the counter where the attendants were crouched down beneath the desks; then to the main door leading to the vaults, where a trio of familiar figures stood, a grin on all of their faces.

Mischievous pink irises met cold indigo ones.

Cotton-candy lips parted in a singsong smile:

"Hello, Sunshine."