Chapter 3

Days had passed since Starfire's encounter with the mysterious Red X, and there had been no trace of him since. The tower had once again fallen into a state of restless silence, the alarm sounding perhaps once a day, if even that. In fact, many of the Titans were beginning to believe that there was no longer anything to worry about; after all, Red X had never done anything to suggest that he 'had it out' for the Titans. Not a sadist, like Slade had been; he was more of an anarchist, who liked to do these things for attention. Or, so it seemed; Red X was possibly one of their most elusive criminals, showing up every once in a while without warning, and disappearing for long periods of time in the exact same way.

As for Robin, he had become obsessed with the Warp Diamond and its potentially destructive powers. He was normally holed up in his room, trying to find out more about the diamond and coming up with possible reasons that Red X would want to destroy the city, ignoring his teammates' pleas to stop worrying so much. How could he not worry? He was responsible for Red X. Why couldn't anyone understand that?

And Raven, well, she was still trying to hold on to what little sanity she had left while dealing with it all. She could sense it all—Robin's obsessive fury, Starfire's distress and concern. And who couldn't feel the restlessness emanating from the two boys now battling it out on the couch in the common room?

The empath tiptoed around the kitchen, as not to be detected by the two bickering boys only a room away. She had run out of herbal tea, and had come back to restock her room with enough to last her for another few days. Unfortunately, all she found was one box with only one tea bag left inside, which meant that another shopping trip was in order. Oh, joy.

"Damn it!" Raven jumped at the sound of Cyborg's booming voice, nearly dropping her ceramic teacup on the floor. "Alright, you little snot, I know you're cheating!"

"I'm not cheating," Beast Boy declared triumphantly, and Raven rolled her eyes as she imagined the smug look that was surely on his face at that very moment. "I'm just the king of Mega Monkeys."

"Whatever, man. You are a mega monkey." Cyborg mumbled, prompting a "what?" from Beasty boy and an aggravated sigh from Raven as she poured some hot water into her cup, over the tea bag.

"Want a rematch?" Beast Boy proposed, and raven swirled the bag of spices and herbs around in her steaming cup, watching as the water became murky.

"Naw, man. I've had it with your cheating. I'm gonna kick your ass in Space Race." Cyborg responded, evoking a groan from his green companion. Raven discarded her soggy tea bag and made her way silently toward the door, peaking out at the two boys. Cyborg was up, switching out the games on the console. "That's right, you're going down."

Now, if only she could sneak past without being noticed… She made a break for it, floating a few inches off the ground in order to make less noise. She glanced back at Cyborg and Beast Boy when she was halfway there. Yes! They hadn't even spotted her, and she was almost home free.

"Huh?" Beast Boy looked back suddenly, and Raven's hopes shattered. She'd been caught. "Hey! Raven!"

The green boy raised his hand and beckoned her over, patting the seat beside him as Cyborg looked up at her with a grin. Raven stared at them both with wide eyes. How did they know she was there? She had been completely quiet!

"Hey, Raven, wanna play?" Cyborg asked, holding up another controller. Raven shook her head, but Beast Boy had jumped over the back of the couch and was already dragging her toward the sofa as she tried to keep her hot drink from spilling all over her.

"I said no! Get your hands off of me, Beast Boy." Raven growled, twisting away from him. But, too late, Cyborg had shoved the extra controller into her free hand. With a sigh, Raven closed her eyes and tried to think of reasons why not to knock these two boys out.

"Come on, Raven, just one round." Beast Boy pleaded, plopping back onto the couch beside Cyborg.

"No."

"C'mon!"

"Why don't you just ask Starfire?" Raven asked, trying to give the controller back. Now that she thought about it, she hadn't seen Starfire in a while. That might have been normal for Robin, but normally Starfire was all over the place, looking for things to do.

"Nah, she's actually good…" Cyborg mused after a moment of thoughtful silence, and Beast Boy nodded in agreement.

"What? Why, you—" she raised the controller above her head, aiming precisely for Cyborgs big, shiny head…

"Hey, has anyone seen Star?" the three Titans looked up at the sound of their leader's voice, speechless. Well, this was a shocker; Robin was looking for Starfire. Normally, it was the other way around. The boy wonder stood in the doorway, arching an eyebrow at the strange looks he was receiving from his teammates. "What?"

"N-nothing. Uh, I don't know, I haven't seen her in a while…" Beast Boy scratched his head and shrugged, looking at Cyborg and Raven, who were also clueless as to the whereabouts of their Tamaranian friend.

"Try her room." Raven suggested, figuring that if she was still in the tower she was probably there, or perhaps on the roof. Robin nodded and left the room to search for his friend.

"Dude, what was that all about?" Beast Boy asked, looking back at Raven and Cyborg, who were both still looking at the empty doorway.

"Hell, if I know." Cyborg muttered, turning back around to face the television. Raven shrugged and dropped the controller on the seat beside him and left the room before she could be dragged back into playing video games with the two banes of her existence.

___

Starfire sighed as she rearranged the clothes in her closet. She was bored out of her mind, but for some odd reason she didn't feel like meditating with Raven or playing games with Cyborg or trying to talk to Robin. For some reason, she just wanted to be alone. And that was strange, for Starfire. She held up a pair of yellow shorts that she couldn't remember buying and placed them in with her other shorts, between an orange and a green pair. Her closet had been organized by brand name, but she was now arranging them by article type and color. Sure, it wasn't exactly a "normal" thing for a teenager to do, but she there was nothing else to do.

Hearing a clicking noise, she looked up to see that her window was open, blowing her sheer lavender curtains about in the soft breeze. She narrowed her eyes; she hadn't opened her window. Enveloping her fist in a starbolt, she approached the open window with caution. She stuck her head out and glanced about quickly, and, seeing nothing decided that it must have just been one of Beast Boy's silly pranks. With a sigh she pulled her head back into her room and shut the window, locking it. Now, where was she… oh, this white v-neck—

"Hey there," a familiar voice drifted smoothly from behind her, and she turned around with a surprised gasp, her hands aglow with green energy. "You're a really lucky girl, you know that?"

"How did you—" She caught sight of her curtains from the corner of her eye, rippling in the breeze. Then, his statement seemed to sink in. She narrowed her eyes. "I am… lucky?"

Red X chuckled softly and took a step forward, almost casually.

"You're lucky that it's just me, and not someone more dangerous." He clarified, but her face contorted into an adorably confused expression. "Maybe that Cyborg should update the security around here."

Not someone more dangerous? In all honesty, Red X was an extremely formidable opponent, and very dangerous. Potentially, at least; now that she thought about it, he had never really physically hurt her. Perhaps that was what he meant? That he wasn't dangerous to her. But it still didn't make sense. Why was he doing this? Her eyes darted toward the door. On the wall, beside the door, was an alarm switch.

"Gonna call your friends on me?" he asked, and she could hear the smugness in his voice. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. What did he want? If she rang the alarm, he would be gone before her friends would get there and she would never find out. She was on her own, again.

"No." she sighed, but her hands remained cloaked in the bright green glow of her starbolts. Behind his mask, Red X's smile widened. "What do you want?"

"With what?" he asked, almost innocently.

"Why did you steal the Warp Diamond?" she specified, and he pulled the necklace out of his utility belt, holding it up in front of him.

"You mean this?" he shrugged. "Just heard of a few other criminals who wanted their hands on it, and figured I'd beat 'em too it."

Starfire stared at the necklace, the green light of her starbolts sparkling in its cut surface. For some reason, that just didn't seem to compute; weren't criminals supposed to do things for personal gain? Perhaps they were desperate for money, or just thought they needed extra cash… or maybe revenge had something to do with it. Not just because they wanted to "beat someone to it."

"Why?" she asked, still confused.

"Because, I'm a thief. I steal stuff. That's just what I do." He answered her with a laugh, then tossed the necklace to the side, where it landed in the middle of her bed. Starfire finally lowered her hands, no longer glowing with green energy. Now she was even more confused than ever. "I did it because it's fun."

She looked at him through bewildered, wide eyes. He'd come back to return the warp diamond? She couldn't make sense of anything, but for some reason she felt that there was something heroic about the act. Red X couldn't be the bad guy everyone thought him to be. He actually had proven himself to be as good-natured as herself, or any of her friends, despite his rather lawless acts in the past. But how could anyone find pleasure in stealing things? Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at her door.

"Starfire?" Robin called from the other side of the steel door, but she didn't reply. Her gaze remained on the mysterious masked criminal standing before her. From the looks of it, he wasn't worried by the fact that the leader of the Teen Titans was on the other side of the door; instead, he looked rather calm (or at least, as much as Starfire could tell, with the mask obscuring his face). "Star?"

"Just a minute!" the red-head called frantically, turning her head to face the door. Then, she heard Red X's voice, almost as low as a whisper.

"I'll see you around, Cutie."

When she turned around to face him again, the spot where he had been standing was empty, and the curtains were still blowing softly in the wind. She shook her head and quickly went to close the window, locking it again. She was going to have to bar that window, or something… she went to answer the door when she remembered the necklace. Oh, how was she going to explain this one? In the blink of an eye she was hovering over her bed, snatching up the necklace and shoving it beneath one of her purple pillows, thinking it best to keep it to herself, for now. Then, she went back to get the door.


Hey, everyone. Wow, it's been… about five months since I last updated, and I'm afraid I haven't been following up on my promises to update quicker. The truth is my social life is a lot busier this year than it normally is, and school is still kicking my ass (excuse my French). But, since it's the break I decided that I would give everyone as many chapters as I can cram into a week. Hopefully it'll be more than just a couple, but I don't want to break any more promises. Anyway, I want to thank everyone for their support. I've been getting a lot more recognition and reviews than I thought I would, and you all have no idea how much it means. Cause it means a lot.

I only have one request for you all: if you have any suggestions on how I could improve my writing, they would be greatly appreciated. Like all writers, my aim is to get better at it, so I'll take all the criticisms you can throw at me. Even flames, if you must. Thank you all for your support, patience, and reviews.