A/N: hey, sorry I've not been writing lately everyone but here's a new story that I've been playing with in my head for a while. It's mostly inspired by the music I've been listening to lately. I've also been thinking about playing with other styles of writing and so this fic is going to be entirely in Jinx and Kid Flash's point of view. I really hope I've gotten into their heads properly, if any of you feel like I should be writing them a little differently then please drop me a review and let me know, I'm new to this style so all the pointers I can get would be awesome. Anyway, enjoy!
There's only one clock in this room,
And it's broken
Well there's only one heart in this room,
And it's stuck at one 'o'clock
-Julia Nunes, One clock
I've always been different, there's not a single time in my life that I can remember when I've not known that fact, there's the rest of the world and then there's me. Alone. Different. And as anyone who's different will readily tell you, it's one thing to be different and know it yourself, it's quite another to have the rest of the world know just by looking at you. Unfortunately that's the case for me, pink hair, pink eyes, catlike pupils, grey skin, I'm hardly the picture of normality am I? I think if I had to be honest about why I chose the path I did in life I'd say that it would be because I was different and because everyone knew it. My powers made me dangerous and my looks made me weird, people would just look at me all the time, no one ever respected me, ever saw me for me. And then I learnt pretty quickly that it's much easier to make people fear you than respect you, and with my powers who could argue?
My team was made up of people who at the HIVE academy it had benefited me to be with and vice versa, Mammoth was my strongman, Gizmo was our technical expert, Kyd Wykkyd was both a decent psychic and a handy getaway man provided there were enough shadows about for him to work with, See-More helped us with tracking things and with absolutely no pun intended, keeping an eye out. Billy was… well, Billy. He was incredibly useful for those moments when skill wasn't what was needed but when sheer numbers and force were required, he played the odds and did it well, they say if you left a thousand monkeys in a room with typewriters for eternity one of them would eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare. Billy was essentially an unlimited number of monkeys in a finite time, give the boy five minutes and a billion safes and he'd crack at least a few just by brute force attack. And me? I was the firepower, I was the brains of the operation, I was the leader, I had the skills to pay the bills so to speak. I'd thought at one time that those people were more than just a convenience to me, that they were maybe not friends but something close. I was wrong. But nonetheless they respected me, or feared me. I was never quite sure. Possibly a little of both.
I respected Rouge, of course I feared her too but I genuinely did respect her. She was everything I could have been, she was powerful, and I thought at least she was genuinely respected by more people than just me, people feared her name, no one stood in the streets and gawped at her or at least they didn't do it for long. I'd wanted to be like her for so long, to have what she had that when I met her in person she was such a let down. She was nasty and petty and bossy, she didn't see in me what I'd hoped for her to see, she didn't tell me that yes, she too had once been like me, that she knew how hard it was, that I could be like her. And I never wanted to go down that road again, because I knew that if I kept going like I had done, muscling my way into people's lives and making them fear rather than respect me because I thought the two were interchangeable then I'd end up just like her. Old. Bitter. And, if I'm honest, kind of ugly. And talk about stretch marks, eesh.
Of course as much as it pains me now to think about it he had a big part in that. Telling me that I was better than her, better than my team, better than what I was doing. I shouldn't have listened, I should have just ignored him. That's what I wish at least, I wish I could just think that I'd have been so much better of if I'd not met him, but I know it's not the case. He saved my life. And I hate him for it.
"Hey." Raven says from my door. I look up and she's standing there, from the look on her face I've clearly been sitting on my bed spaced out for quite a while and didn't even notice her.
"I knocked but…" She starts sounding slightly uncomfortable, she's so protective of her own space that she really dislikes invading anyone else's.
"It's cool." I smile motioning her over to my bed.
"So… Starfire's pestering me relentlessly about going out to the movies, I was hoping you'd save me the horror." Raven says in that very flat voice of hers as she makes her way over to me. I grin, Starfire seems oblivious sometimes but I think she's really just more perceptive than most and has skin a little thicker than most too. She knows Raven likes her and doesn't let her grumpiness and solitary preferences dissuade her from that sentiment, which is good because Raven needs Starfire's infectious happiness sometimes.
"What does she have in mind?" I ask pulling my knees up to my chest to allow Raven to sit on my bed.
"Some chick flick." She groans slumping down on my bed.
"Gag." I grin at her.
"Agreed." Raven grins slightly at the ceiling.
"Still, it's better than sitting about doing nothing all evening." I shrug. Raven shoots me a look that tells me quite clearly that she very definitely disagrees with me there.
"You know, since you moved in she's been much more insistent about these girl outings. Before it was just me she was trying to persuade but now it's suddenly this 'us' idea that she's got. Like she wants me to paint toenails with her." Raven complains looking at me out of the corner of her eye. I bite my lip. I should tell her.
"She'd actually probably really like that. You should offer sometime." I say instead. Chicken I think to myself.
"There are worse things." I point out reasonably. That's who I am now. The reasonable one, the mediator. Starfire's mood is high as a kite most of the time, full with loving affection for everyone and everything where Raven is solitary, grumpy and complicated. I've become the one who rationally persuades Raven to some of Starfire's more tolerable ideas and the one who stops Star from blurting ideas out to Raven that will just irk her. I've become the normal one, the sane one. Dear god, how screwed up does that make this place if someone like me is the normal one?
I should really say something. How will she take it though?
"Just because I'd rather cut off my leg than my head doesn't mean I should do it." Raven snorts in response to me.
"I want to move out." I blurt suddenly. I clap my hand over my mouth but the words have already come out, I suddenly retract my previous mental opinion, I really shouldn't have said something. Raven frowns and props herself up on her elbows to look at me piercingly. I know the girl gets a bit of a vibe off emotions if she focuses or if it's strong but she can't read minds, but no matter how often I tell myself that when she looks at me like that I don't believe it. It's become something of a mental mantra when I get that look. She can't read minds, she can't read minds. I repeat diligently.
"Will you stay if I agree to paint your toenails?" She asks deadpan as she arches a perfect brow.
"Har har." I say rolling my eyes.
"You're serious aren't you?" She says leaning up fully and looking at me quizzically.
"Yeah." I mumble staring down at the toes of my purple and black striped tights, the fabric has worn thin on my big toe, I pull at it in an attempt to distract myself from that look. She can't read minds. I repeat again for good measure.
"Why? Is it Beast Boy because, you know, we all have to put up with him. You can sort of tune him out after a while, like white noise. Cyborg's good at that. He's not that bad really." She runs on longer than she needs to. I laugh at this, Beast Boy can be annoying but it's hard to be mad at him, he's too much like a little kid. I don't appreciate his jokes but that's more because of the memory of him and that's not Beast Boy's fault.
"Well, why then? I thought you liked it here." Uh oh. This is just what I didn't want. She's taking it personally, she's going to think that I've been secretly hating living with her and living in the tower.
"I do." I insist.
"But?" Raven prompts clearly unsatisfied with this as an answer.
"You lot were a team before I got here, and don't worry, I still want to be a Titan, I just feel like it's you five and me. I'm an outsider." I explain with a sigh. Raven seems to process this for a second, I'm hoping it's an explanation she'll swallow, she knows what it's like to be an outsider, to want her own space.
"That's crap." She says irritatedly. I groan dejectedly. Why is she so damned attentive? She knows I've fitted in just fine here, Robin made every effort to make it so, probably as some half-hearted attempt to make up for his best friend's wrongs.
"This is just because of him isn't it?" Raven snaps annoyed with me.
"I…" I falter at that. I really don't want to talk about this, I feel so weak when I do. But if it'll get Raven to understand why I need to leave, why I just cannot be here then maybe I have to.
"I'm only here because of him." I mumble unhappy about her being able to drag this out of me, then again Raven always was good at dragging my problems out of me, especially ones to do with him. She's heard more than enough over these past two months about him. I look up but Raven's still silent and wearing that face that says that she'd not going to participate in this conversation again until she's satisfied that I've spat everything out.
"I'm here because he brought me here, I stayed to prove him wrong, I'm a Titan because he pulled some strings with Robin. None of this is just me." I sigh leaning back on my headboard. I feel like I've thrown up, all weak and hollow.
"I don't see why you're letting him rule your life. He's not even here, he's not shown his face since he ditched you at our doorstep to just-" Raven stops suddenly as she sees me wince. She knows that's a sore subject.
"You want to do things for yourself, I get that. But don't you see that just moving because he's been responsible for everything else is just as much an action motivated by him as everything else?" Raven points out logically. I glare. I hate her logic.
"I don't care. It'll feel like my decision. I just want to be somewhere that he was never going to be, that he never should have been." I retort. That's the one thing I hate about the Tower. He should have been here with me. Everywhere I go I see things, things that should have been memories spring unbidden from every space, from every moment. Except they're not memories, they're fantasies of how things should have gone. I have breakfast and see us sitting close together over a book or a paper laughing and talking quietly, I watch TV with the others and feel where his arm should have been around me as he radiated that incredible heat from his body, I feel it as it almost burns my skin and how its lack freezes me. I sit on my bed and see… see things that are now far too painful to think of.
"You're letting him rule you. And he's not even here." Raven sniffs indignantly.
"I know." I concede because it's easier.
"You're going to have to get approval from Robin you know, and he's going to have to construct you a fake ID." Raven points out her voice still showing hints of that irritation.
"I know." I repeat soothingly. Raven falls silent and glares at the floor. I've hurt her, made her mad at me.
"I'll still be here, I'll hang out, I'll see you. I'll do stuff with you and Star, I'll stop her being so… Starfire like." I say reassuringly as I reach out and brush her shoulder through her cloak. I feel her stiffen immediately and then react slightly. She feels abandoned, I certainly know how that feels.
"I think there's that really cheesy zombie movie on at the midnight showing, I might be able to convince Star to come see that with us, tell her it's an important part of our culture that she must experience." I say sweetly. Raven chuckles at this and suddenly we're friends again.
"You're on." She says standing up suddenly and leaving my room with a small smile and a wave. I wave back and the door closes automatically after her.
I lean forward again and rest my elbows on my knees and stare intently at the swirly pattern on my duvet, it's hypnotising if you look at it for a while. It seems to help me think. Raven's right of course, leaving is just as much about him as everything else seems to be. But I just want a clean break. I look over at my clock, it's ten to four in the afternoon, though it's still dark in my room as my thick purple curtains are drawn. I nod my head and resolve that I will not think about this any longer than ten minutes. Come four 'o'clock I will be thinking of something, anything else.
I close my eyes and allow myself to think of him, I've been trying to limit how much time I spend doing this, it's the only way I can ever get over him. So ten minutes is OK.
The first thing that comes to my mind as always is that smiling face of his, shining cheeky blue eyes, that red hair that was streaked with gold, beautiful skin and perfect lips bent like cupid's bow. I hate myself a little there, several months ago I would never have conceived myself capable of thinking such sappy thoughts about anyone. But then he isn't just anyone. He's… Kid Flash, since I'm already allowing myself to think about him I suppose I can think his name now without fear of the thoughts that come tumbling after.
He was… perfect. He was funny and charming, so very very charming. He told me everything that I needed to hear at that time, though it came at such a shock 'You don't have to hurt people to feel good about yourself you know.' He'd said. And I'd practically gawped at that, because, duh, of course you do. Because if you didn't hurt people then they didn't respect you, they made you feel bad, and logically if not hurting people made them make you feel bad then surely hurting them would reverse that, hurting people would clearly make me feel good. It was just logical. Of course it wasn't as simple as that, although that logic was hardly simple… more… convoluted. He'd told me quite simply that helping people made you feel good. He told me lots of things, he told me that I was so much better than the life I was leading, he gave me the courage to follow him out of it. Follow him to a better place, to the life I have now. And I love being a Titan so much, people actually respect me now, for a while I was talk of the town, was it a big hoax on my part or not, was a still a bad girl under it all and so on. But after my very spotless performance these past two months the public have warmed to me considerably. I remember Robin explaining it to me with a wry smile, he said that aside from kicking people when they're down the one thing the media loves most is a good story, and the reformed villain seeing the error of her ways is high up on the list. Good beating evil after all is what everyone wants to hear, and I'm living proof, that internal war waged and judging from my current hero career I guess you could say that good won. As if my life was just some fairy tale or soap story to them, of course the speculation in the press about Kid Flash was huge and… painful. He was the one who'd arranged for the big announcement for me to be made and his sudden disappearance was painfully obvious, and my reaction to it instantly clued everyone into what had happened.
And of course it reads like a soap opera, boy meets bad girl, turns her good and at the very public pinnacle of her reform leaves her at the alter of heroism so to speak. The tragic crushed love only added fuel to the fire of speculation. Did he get kidnapped by bad guys as vengeance? Was there another girl off on the sidelines? And is said girl any number of heroines about, everyone from Argent to Supergirl was considered, along with the girls in both Titan's east and west. Did he suddenly fall prey to some sudden illness or accident? Speculation is the fondest habit of the press, none of these scenarios are ones that I'd not already considered of course.
It was Raven who finally had the guts to break it to me that the other girl option was the most likely of situations to be true, and having talked to other Titans his reputation for flitting from girl to girl precedes him. I wish someone would have told me before I got involved with him. Boys should really come with a warning stamped on them. Past girlfriends should be able to write on them, things like 'snores in bed' or 'cheated on me' 'cheated on me too!' 'and me!' would be really helpful when you see a guy. To know which ones should be steered well clear of. Apparently Kid Flash should have come with 'relationship expires quickly' and 'runs out on you' warnings, something describing how hard and fast he makes you fall for him would have been really useful too. But of course it isn't like that, we just have to guess and take a chance. And I took that chance, that leap with him, after all I'd already trusted him with my entire career and life what else was it to risk my heart? Apparently it was too much and I ended up abandoned and humiliated.
My eyes are leaking hot angry tears now, I'm so mad that he let me down. It's not just that I'm pissed because we're not together anymore, I'm aching inside because he didn't even have the spine to tell me it was over or why. One day its gentle kisses and sweet nothings and the next day he's gone for good without a word of goodbye. And I find myself always questioning myself, guessing and agonising over what it was that went wrong, what on earth did I say or do that made him back off so much so fast? And it had to be that because if it had been anything else we would have had word now. If he were uncovering some secret evil plot he would have called Robin and I know he hasn't. I had to apologise to Robin after the first month of asking him every day if he'd heard anything from him, I don't ask any more but I know that Robin would tell me the moment he heard anything. They're best friends but I think that even Robin gets fed up with him being so flakey sometimes. I remember him catching me one day in the hallway stifling tears because some stupid thing had reminded me of him and it was once again all too much, he'd come up to me in that ninja silent way that he does and put his hand awkwardly on my shoulder and said that he was really sorry for everything that had happened. I told him that it was hardly his fault but he seemed annoyed and angry at himself all the same. I still wonder how many other girls he's seen Kid Flash do this to and what Robin thinks of it.
I roughly dry my eyes and stare at the clock, it's five past four now. I went over time. Damn.
Later that afternoon I knock on Robin's door and let myself in when I hear his voice through the door asking who it is.
"Hi." I say letting myself in.
"Hi." Robin responds stoically as he leans back on his chair and looks at me in that Robin way that analyses you totally. I wonder if he's trying to work out if I've been crying recently and ergo whether I'm a ticking time bomb. I hate being like this, I hate people looking at me like that, like they expect me to just fall apart any second, I hate people thinking I'm fragile. But then again I am right now, that's part of the thing with having all your internal walls ripped down, usually people break you down and then build you up again, not leave you halfway through with no defences and weak to everything.
"I want to move out." I blurt again. I squeeze my eyes together and curse myself for that, that was supposed to be more subtle the second time around. I open my eyes, Robin's frowning at me.
"You're not happy here?" He asks in a measured voice. He thinks I'm trying to quit the team, possibly even go back to being a villain, I can see him mentally calculating how much I know, how much he's taught me and how dangerous I'd be back on the other side of the fence again.
"No… I want my own place. I still want to be on the team though, if you'll still have me of course." I add carefully, Robin seems to relax ever so slightly.
"So… you're not happy here then?" He repeats although this time both of us know the question means what it says.
"Well, yes and no." I answer honestly as I sit down on the foot of his bed which is right near his desk, "I like being here, I love the team. I like hanging out here. I just… need some space of my own. I need…" I trail off and try to will him with my eyes to understand that I need to be somewhere where the memory of him doesn't linger at every inch.
"You need some normalcy." Robin finishes for me. My eyes widen, this isn't quite what I'd been thinking of but then it suddenly sounds so good. Robin is the only one of us with a secret identity, the only one of us with the ability to choose to just walk out of the building and blend into the crowd and just be a normal teenager whenever he wants. Of course he doesn't but still he has that choice. Suddenly I'm so jealous of him and want that, the ability to not be someone on display, to be someone who people speculate about, to instead just be a face in the street.
"Yes." I say sounding a little too relieved.
"A secret identity is a lot of work you know, it's time consuming maintaining it." Robin frowns at me as if he thinks I can't deal with it. I bite back the response that I never see him doing much to maintain his alter-ago.
"I know that." I say instead.
"I don't think you do." He says shaking his head at me. Suddenly I have the urge to hex him. I suppress it, I don't hex people when I think they're not giving me the right amount of respect anymore. I miss it sometimes, I get mad I hex, it was instant relief from idiocy. Now I just have to put up with it. His words about hurting people sneak back into my head. I banish them, I'm not thinking about him anymore.
"I took classes on cracking secret identities remember? I know all the mistakes that people make and exactly what the bad guys do to expose you, I know all the tricks in the book. I know exactly what not to do. Believe me I know." I reply firmly. He smirks at this, he sometimes really likes having my knowledge of the other side of the heroism/villainy coin, I can recognise patterns of crimes in different ways to him, I know how my old side think, I know how they work. I was one of the best after all.
"I'll look into the practicalities of things. You're gonna need your communicator on you at all times still, but obviously it can't be seen. I'll see about incorporating it into a phone or something… watch maybe…" He muses clearly already running through plans in his mind.
"And identity stuff?" I prompt hopefully.
"Child's play. You'll need to see Cyborg at some point if we decide you can do this, he can make you blend in." Robin says waving a hand dismissively at the idea.
"Yes, I remember." I say flatly. I still remember Cyborg conning all of us at the HIVE academy, and if I'll be honest I had a little something of a crush on him, apparently I've always had a thing for heroes. Thankfully no such feelings have resurfaced here but I'm still a little touchy about someone pulling the wool over my eyes. If Robin notices my tone he doesn't say anything, he's already murmuring about compatibility and configurations and I can tell that he and Cyborg are going to have a ball, they always do when gadgets are concerned. I feel a pang and miss Gizmo slightly, the kid was annoying but alright when he wanted to be, smart too which is something I always appreciate.
"I'll… let you get on with that then." I say apparently to myself as Robin doesn't even notice me stand and make my way over to the door. My finger is just hovering above the button when the door bursts open and I feel like I've been hit by a train and I'm landing painfully on the floor before I even have time to remember how to fall correctly. I skin my elbow and I just manage to stop my head cracking on the floor but still it's a second or two before my eyes manage to focus on the face that's far too close to mine. He pushes himself up on his arms and looks down at me.
That face, those eyes, that smile and that laugh, that red hair streaked with gold, that perfect skin, those lips forming into a perfect upward curve. It's him, here, on top of me with his long lean legs tangled up with mine.
"Jinx!" I can't even make my brain coherent enough to work out what emotion that is in his voice. My brain is so consumed with rage. My fist balls instantly and in a split second hex energy is coursing through my body and like a whiplash I punch him straight in the ribs, hard. I hope it hurts.
"YOU!" I scream insanely as I scramble to my knees and make to lunge at him, I think I'll claw his eyes out, on the other hand punching him again seems like a really good idea. I raise my fist and hear the air crackle around it when Robin grabs my arm with one hand and the back of my spider's web collar and hauls me to my feet.
"You BASTARD! What the hell are you doing back here?! Do you even CARE about what you did to me?!" I scream at Kid Flash as he lays stunned and dazed on the floor.
"Jinx- I… that's not-" he stammers at me, I'm just starting to scream again when Robin half throws me out of his door.
"I need to talk to him. Alone." Robin says by way of explanation and closes the door. I scream harpie-like at the steel thing before storming off before I kill some poor hapless passer by, or better yet Kid Flash, but I know Robin wouldn't appreciate that.
I'll miss your smile,
And your haircuts
I miss your style,
Even though it's nuts.
And every day that I'm away,
I miss you more than the day before
-Julia Nunes, One clock
"You have one minute to explain yourself." Robin says in that voice that says I'm in major trouble. I'm lying on the floor still and Robin folds his arms over his traffic light coloured uniform and looks down at me angrily. I sit up feeling numb and start explaining everything at a million miles an hour, there's no way I can get the whole thing out in under a minute with Robin still able to understand me but I manage to get the important things out, the things that will make Robin listen to me. I say the words and see the change in Robin's face. I try not to think about it, I stare at my red booted feet, I count to one hundred in my head forwards and then backwards, I try to keep everything inside my head and not think about the words I'm saying because I really need to keep it together.
At some point I realise that my mouth has stopped moving. I must have finished talking. I look up at Robin and he's looking down at me somewhat despairingly, the look that says that he gets why I've done what I've done but still is annoyed with me all the same. That mixture of pity, understanding and disapproval all rolled into one horrible look that I really hate being given.
"You should have called." He says to me. Right, like I'd want to do that.
"It wasn't exactly top of my list of things to do." I say sourly. Robin sighs at this and gives me that look again.
"I get that, I do. But we could have helped you, I could have helped you." He clarifies, "at the very least I could have been forewarned to stop Jinx attacking you like that." He adds.
I rub the sore spot on my ribs, it feels like my muscles underneath are burning and spasming when I touch it. I try not to think of it now, I try not to think of her face when she lunged at me. I squeeze my eyes shut and see it anyway, brightly glowing furious eyes, her face contorted with rage and hatred, the air around her sparking off randomly with her bad luck powers, and of course that punch. It was hardly the welcome back I was expecting. It really doesn't help at moments like this when you see things in such high speed that you remember everything in perfect detail.
"She'll understand you know." Robin says looking at me. My eyes widen at that, there's no way I'm telling Jinx, there's absolutely no way at all that she and I will be having that conversation. Not in this lifetime.
"I don't want her to know." I say shaking my head at him.
"What?!" Robin splutters staring at me with eyes as wide as saucers, "But- you can't not tell her!"
I can too not tell her and I can also demand that you not tell her either! In fact… don't tell anyone." I snap angrily.
"You really hurt her you know. She hates you now, you know that right? If you don't explain…" He says quietly to me, I wince at this, that much is obvious from her reaction.
"Maybe I'll explain later, I just… I really can't now. I can't." I mumble staring down at my feet and feeling small.
"How do you even say something like that to someone anyway? I know how she'll look at me when I tell her and I can't stand it, I can't stand having anyone look at me like that. You're the only person I can tell, you don't react like everyone else does." I laugh bitterly.
"Gee. Thanks." Robin snorts sitting down in his office chair, I throw him a look like, I didn't mean it like that you dork.
"I understand, I won't tell anyone. I promise." He adds with a weary sigh. He clearly doesn't want to make this promise but he's doing it anyway, for our friendship, for me. I feel slightly touched at that.
"Thanks Rob." I smile at him, his face hardens suddenly.
"I'm not saying I agree, because I don't. At all. But… I do understand, and I know you, you'd never intentionally hurt someone. You're welcome to stay here with us for as long as you want, I can't promise Jinx will be fantastically nice to you, and I wouldn't advise staying here with her. She's still living here and I don't think it'd be a great idea to have you both under one roof." He says sternly, I smile a little despite myself, he suddenly looks a lot like Batman.
"Worried about what Jinx and I'll do to each other?" I grin at him teasingly.
"No, I'm worried about my roof." He shoots back at me snarkily. I grin back at him, it feels good being here with him, talking, joking. It feels normal and normal is really good right now.
"It's cool, I've still got my old place anyway. I liked Jump, I'd really like to stay here rather than go back to Star city." I agree, it's probably not best for me to stay here all the time anyway, goodness knows Jinx always needed to her space and if her recent reaction to me is any indicator of how she feels about me then I'm sure it's for the best. Robin doesn't say anything but gives me one of those scrutinising looks that's oh-so-very Batman.
"Okay, well… I've got stuff to move back into my place here. I should probably be making myself scarce anyway, and probably getting this rib checked out." I say standing up and making my excuses to leave. In less than a second or two I'm already back at my apartment. I sort of lied about needing to move stuff back into here, the whole place is exactly as it was the morning I left. My breakfast is still on the table, or what was my breakfast two months ago anyway, ew. I empty it into the trash and try and clean up the place so I don't have to think about Jinx lunging at me and how much she clearly hates me.