My first shot at an X/Rae oneshot. Not sure how good it wound up turning out, but oh well. I feel satisfied with it.
She tested the name on her tongue, rolled it around in her mouth a few times.
She sighed as she studied herself in the mirror. She was twenty-one now, officially an adult. No longer a child. No longer a teen.
She was considering giving herself a new name. The Teen Titans were no longer so, they were just the Titans now. Beast Boy was the only one who was still in his teen years, but at nineteen he was pushing it. He had grown up quite a bit in the past six years, putting aside his childish tendencies and becoming someone she found she could actually tolerate for more than five minutes.
Cyborg couldn't change physically very much, but emotionally and mentally he had grown into a real adult. He was always calm and cool, always the peacemaker, and always the one who could see everything with an unobstructed view. When he talked to you, it made you feel like you were the most important person in the world to him in that moment. She believed it was an amazing gift.
Starfire had probably changed the least. She was still always happy-go-lucky and bubbly and preppy and cheerful- though, as Raven thought about it, she remembered that she had to be that way. If she got too depressed, she couldn't fly. Raven was glad that she didn't have that liability.
And Robin- Robin was planning on changing to Nightwing soon. He was the leader. The one in charge. The one who overruled whatever you had to say if he felt like it, and didn't tolerate talking back. He was always open to suggestion, but if he didn't like your idea after you finished explaining it, then it was too bad. If he did, then great- you could have a calm debate over which idea to do and he would rationally weigh the pros and cons of both ideas before deciding on one. But if he didn't, and you didn't want to be shut down like that, so you persisted, then you would have a not-so-calm debate involving eventual - or sometimes immediate - screaming, especially if you knew you were right and he was wrong and if he stuck with his plan then the team wouldn't get to do this or this or this, but he was stubborn and firm and there would be threats of removal from the team so you would always acquiesce in the end.
The above was almost a daily occurrence between Raven and Robin. Half the time it wasn't even about hero stuff, or even really important stuff. They would argue about what movie to rent or what brand of ketchup they needed to buy.
It's not like she went out looking for a fight every day. It was just that every single thing he did or said seemed to piss her off because it was stupid and she had a much more logical, rational idea. It was getting to the point where getting kicked off the team wasn't seeming like such a terrible thing. The only reason she hadn't been yet was because she was stubborn too, and had decided that if she was going to no longer be on the team then it would be because she quit, not because Robin kicked her out.
Every day the idea of just getting up and leaving got more and more tempting. And she suspected if she were to leave, she'd want a new name anyway. She could always just go by Rachel, but if she wanted to keep fighting crime in, say, a different city, far, far away, then she'd need a new hero name so no one would - hopefully - recognize her.
Okay, she thought, new hero name. Nightwing was actually pretty cool, and if Robin hadn't already claimed it and it were slightly more feminine, she'd use it.
So, let's see. She was dark. A dark bird. That was how she traveled. Through the shadows as a bird. A raven. That was how she had gotten her first name.
Crow? Lame. And way too masculine.
Darkness and birds. Of words relating to darkness, there were a few. Dark, shadow, night, black, dusk- and as for a bird- well, bird, feather, wing, sky, fly, and soar.
Why did her brain always pick out the stupid things first?
Nice ring, but not quite right for a name.
Great Azar, she was sounding like Starfire.
Not quite. Why weren't there any feminine dark names? Maybe she needed a color that wasn't quite black.
Violet. Violetwing. Violet Sky.
Violet Shadow. No.
Violet. Purple. Midnight.
Hm, Midnight. Flying Midnight? No.
Moon. Lunar. Eclipse.
How the hell did she get from Blackbird to Eclipse?
She looked in the mirror again. "I'm Eclipse."
Oh, Azar, no. It didn't work.
There was a knock at her door. "Raven?" It was Beast Boy.
"What?" Don't let it be important, don't let it be important-
"Robin wants you. It's important."
Damn. "What does he want?"
"He wouldn't say. He just said to come get you. He's in the main room."
She sighed, before pulling her cloak around her, leaving her hood down, and going over to open the door. Beast Boy looked a little sheepish and tense, afraid of what was going to go down today.
"Hey," he said.
She gave him a nod of acknowledgement as she closed the door behind her. "I guess I'd better go face him."
Beast Boy half-smiled. "Good luck."
"I'll need it."
Beast Boy didn't accompany her. Once they reached the end of her hallway, they split. She knew he didn't like when she fought with Robin. Well, none of them did, but he was always afraid that the argument would go into actual fighting. So far it hadn't come to that, but it had gotten pretty close a few times.
Robin was waiting on the couch when she entered. His face was hard and his arms were crossed.
Raven crossed over and sat as far away from him on the couch as she could. "You rang?"
"We need to talk."
Okay, jump right into it. That was good, and she was in no way annoyed by that. "What about?"
"Us." He spat the word like it was poison.
She narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean?"
"You know damn well what I mean."
"Maybe I do. Maybe I don't."
He frowned at her. "Do you always have to be difficult?"
"Do you always have to be short-tempered?"
"Me? Short-tempered? Look who's talking."
She sighed. "Robin, what do you want?"
He took a deep breath, clearly trying to calm himself. "We need to stop fighting." He paused.
She was silent. She knew he had more to say, and if she were to speak now, she knew it wouldn't be anything that would go along with the not-fighting thing.
"We're fighting too much. About too many things. It's not good for the team, and it keeps us both from thinking clearly. We can't even be in the same room with each other for more than a few minutes without pissing each other off. It's not helping us be productive in how we live."
"Okay." So far, she agreed with everything he was saying. "How do you suggest we go about doing that?"
"Well, I was thinking about what caused most of our fights. And I realized it was because we both have very different opinions on things, and we both feel strongly about those opinions."
She nodded, though she was getting a little suspicious. He had a tone in his voice that usually meant he was going to say something she wouldn't like.
She was right. "But Raven- I'm the leader. If we're going to avoid arguing so much, then one of us is going to have to just accept the other person's opinion right away. And since I'm the leader, my opinion needs to be the one that overrules."
"Because you're the leader," she repeated.
"So I'm not allowed to present my own opinion anymore?"
"You can present it, but if I don't like it, then you just need to accept that. We can't go off on a riff about it."
Raven stood up. "So I'm not allowed to make a case for myself?"
"I know it may seem harsh, but no."
"May seem harsh? Robin, that is harsh. You're asking me to be a submissive servant, bending to your every order and will, and to never talk back or even think of the possibility that I might be right and you might be wrong."
"Someone has to be the leader. And that someone is me."
"We can't have a democracy? We can't vote on whose idea is better? There are five of us. It's an odd number."
"We don't have time for a democracy. We're heroes, Raven, it's our job to save the world. Sometimes a wasted minute means someone dies. And what if everyone has their own idea? Then what? You guys tried that when we were fighting Mad Mod, and how well did that work out?"
"The other three aren't leaders. Everyone only had their own idea that time because you weren't there. And that was years ago. Years, Robin. We've all grown since then. I'll have my idea and you'll have yours, and Beast Boy will vote for me and Starfire will vote for you and Cyborg will make the rational decision."
"You seem so sure."
"I'm not sure. I'm positive."
"Well, I'm not." He stood up as well. "I'm not sure, and I guess that's just another thing we disagree about."
"Add that to the mile-long list." She didn't bother to hide the irritation in her voice.
"Why can't you just agree with me?"
"Why can't you realize you're an idiot?"
"Don't call me an idiot."
"I'll call you whatever I damn well want. Oh, wait- I can't. I'm not allowed to speak out. Sorry, Master."
"Don't do this, Raven."
"Or what?" She uncrossed her arms and clenched her fists. "You'll kick me off the team? That threat's getting old."
"One of these days I'm actually going to carry it out."
"Over my dead body. I'll leave before you kick me out."
"You'd stop being a hero of your own free will?"
"I'd stop being a hero working for you."
"You'd turn your back on the Titans, just like that?"
"I'd turn my back on you, in an instant. Cyborg's the only thing keeping me here. Starfire and Beast Boy are nice, too. But not you."
"So now I'm worth turning your back on, just because we argue?"
"Because you're an idiot, and you can't see logic when it's right in front of your face. I figure it would be more productive to go somewhere where my good ideas are actually put to use."
"Most of the time your ideas don't even involve stopping people from committing crimes."
"Charging into every situation without knowing anything about it isn't always going to work."
"Are you insulting the orders I give?"
"Was it not clear enough? I'm insulting your brain."
"I can't allow you to talk to me that way."
"Make me stop, Master."
The two froze where they were. Robin's fist was drawn back in preparation for a punch, and the couch was floating in the air, encased in black energy.
Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy were standing in the doorway to the room, all looking different shades of terrified, apprehensive, and annoyed.
"Raven." Cyborg's voice was commanding and calm. "Put the couch down gently. Robin, put your hands behind your back."
Subdued for the moment, the two did so. Cyborg came over to the two of them and put a hand on each of their shoulders.
"I think you need some time to cool off."
Raven didn't know who he was talking to, but she jumped at the opportunity. "I agree. I'm going for a walk."
"You can't just-!" Robin's protest met thin air as Raven melted through the shadows.
She came up in an alley somewhere in Jump City, far away from Titans Tower. She knew they'd still be able to find her if they really wanted to, as her communicator held a homing device, but at least it would take them more than just a minute or two. And if she had left it behind, they'd probably be freaking out even more. So it was better this way. They knew where she was, and they wouldn't have to worry about it.
She began walking, and she remembered that she had forgotten to dress as a civilian- people were going to recognize her. Damn. Okay, hood up, head down. Just walk. Don't talk to anyone, stick to less populated streets, and maybe she'd be able to get away with just going on a peaceful, non-autograph-signing walk.
"Hey, aren't you Raven?"
"No." She ignored the random voice and kept walking.
The voice followed her. "You are Raven. Oh, my god, everyone, it's RAVEN! FROM THE TITANS!"
"Shut up if you know what's good for you." Raven turned her steely glare onto the teenage boy following her. "I'm in a very bad mood right now, and I don't know how much control I have over my powers. So please stay away from me if you value your safety." She let her eyes flash white for a second in a hope to scare the kid, and it worked. The kid backed away, but there were already a few extra people coming over to see what he was yelling about.
Raven sighed. She wasn't going to escape this on foot, so she stepped back into an alley and floated up to the roof, where she could watch the confused people without having to worry about anyone. No one was going to be on the roof. It wasn't quite as easy to take a rooftop walk, but if that's what she had to do to get some peace and quiet, then so be it.
"Hey, aren't you Raven?" This was a different voice. It was mocking. And the trouble was, she recognized it.
She turned around and found herself staring down Red X, leaning against a pole with his arms crossed. He was in full costume and mask and belt and all, looking prepared for a fight.
"Hey, aren't you Red X?" There was no way he was going to out-mock her. "I think you have your times messed up. You aren't going to be doing a great job of stealing anything in broad daylight." She turned to walk away from him, but kept her energy focused on him in case he tried anything.
"Who says I'm stealing?" Azar, his voice was obnoxious. Like he was God's gift.
"Then what are you doing?"
"What's it look like I'm doing?" He had pushed himself off the pole, and she tensed as she felt him come nearer, but he only fell into step beside her as she walked along the rooftop. "I'm following you."
She shot him a look. "I'm really not in the mood to fight you, X. If I do, I can't promise you'd come out of it alive."
"Oh, I'm not here to fight."
Raven narrowed her eyes. "Then why are you here?"
"I told you. I'm just following you." They both leapt to the next rooftop.
"You must be either incredibly stupid or incredibly bored."
He shrugged. "A little bit of both, I'd think. I was just standing in my apartment, looking out the window-"
She interrupted him, somewhat incredulous. "You have an apartment?"
"No, I live in a sewer." He sounded amused. "Yes, I have an apartment. Anyway, I saw your little commotion down there, and then you went up to the roof, and I decided hey, that will be more exciting than staring out the window thinking about how bored I am."
"And is it?"
"Is it what?"
"It's definitely more interesting."
"Yes. Figuring out ways to piss you off is fun."
"I'm thinking you're a little more on the side of incredibly stupid."
X scoffed. "Aw, come on, Sunshine. Don't ruin my fun."
Raven glared at him. "Don't call me Sunshine."
"See?" She could practically hear him smirking. "I already found another one. Ways to piss Raven off: Number one, follow her around. Number two, call her Sunshine."
"You have a death wish."
"Number three, list ways to piss her off."
"You really don't have anything better to do?"
"Like what, Sunshine?"
"Stop calling me Sunshine."
"Like you could stop me. Every time we fought I won, may I remind you."
"And may I remind you that the last time we really fought was four years ago, and that was with the entire team, where I had to be careful I didn't hurt any of them while using my powers. In the four years that have passed, I've gotten a lot stronger and a lot more in control of my powers, and we're one-on-one, so I could easily kick your ass."
"You just keep telling yourself that, Sunshine."
"Keep calling me Sunshine and you'll find out first-hand how accurate my statement is."
"Number four, question the authenticity of her ass-kicking abilities."
Raven stopped, and turned to face him. "X." She didn't bother hiding the intense irritation on her face. "Look over there. Do you see that pole?"
He looked. "Yeah?"
"With a single thought, I could wrap that around you so tight you wouldn't even be able to reach your belt. And then I'd leave you there."
He sighed. "Someone's in a bad mood."
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"I'm asking what's wrong with you, Raven." He sounded serious, and he used her real name, so she was more inclined to believe that he was. "You're not usually so- violent."
"Yeah? Well, how about you try living with Robin and then tell me how good of a mood you're generally in."
"Ah, is Boy Blunder getting on your nerves?"
She clenched her fists. "You have no idea. We fight almost every day. Sometimes more than once. He seems to be the only one of us that didn't get a smarter brain through growing up."
"So what, he's still acting like a fifteen-year-old?" He sat down at the edge of the building.
"Something like that." She sat down next to him.
"Or maybe you just grew up a lot and have an infinitely superior intellect."
"So you guys are fighting a lot?"
"Yeah. And just today he told me that all the fights were my fault because I was the one talking back and he was the leader and I was the follower and a bunch of other crap."
"Why haven't you just challenged his leadership? You could take over as leader."
"I don't want to be the leader. I don't want to lead. I just want to do my own ideas."
"So you're a solo-type gal."
"Yeah, I guess. Robin keeps threatening to kick me off the team and I keep actually thinking about letting him. Except I want to be the one to quit."
"Why haven't you?"
"I'm getting there. It's not like I want to stop being a hero- I couldn't turn my back on being good. So if I quit, I'll just go to some city far away and be a hero there by myself. And I'd need a new name, too. A new identity. I'm getting a little tired of Raven, but I can't think of anything."
"Aw, off by yourself? Then you won't have a nemesis. I'll have to come with you."
Raven was amused. "So you can be my nemesis?"
"Well, yeah. Your nemesis that you're secretly attracted to even though it's so, so wrong."
She snorted. "Attracted to? In your dreams."
"Indeed." His voice was suddenly a lot lower, a lot more silky, a lot more rich. "You'd be surprised what's in my dreams."
She shivered despite herself. "Stop."
"Stop what? I'm telling the truth. Isn't that what you'd want, from a thief like me?"
She could feel him shift closer to her, silently, in a hope that she wouldn't know, except she did, because she could sense everything, just like she was sensing the way his hand was slowly creeping up to the back of her head to pull her hood down.
And she let him. She let her hood fall back in his slight grasp, let her face be revealed.
He let out a quiet hiss. She knew he had never seen her face before, and she suddenly felt self-conscious, until he spoke.
She blushed. She couldn't help it. She wanted her hood back up to hide it, but then he lifted a finger and touched her face, gently tracing her cheekbones.
"What are you doing?" She was furious at herself when her voice quavered. "This is wrong."
"I know." His fingers slid down to cup her chin. "So, so wrong," he repeated. Then he lifted his other hand to pull off his mask, much to her shock.
Green eyes. So green. Dark hair. It looked soft and silky. She wanted to run her fingers through it. And those lips-
"It's only fair," he said. "I've seen your face, now you can see mine."
"Since when were you about the fairness?"
"Since I decided it might be a good idea to kiss you."
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how she looked at it, that statement didn't really register in her brain until after he was already kissing her. And by that point, there wasn't too much going on in her brain other than Azar, he was a good kisser. And she knew it was wrong, wrong to be kissing him like this - this was Red X! - but the wrongness of it didn't do anything but turn on her demon, which meant that there she was, responding to the kiss, and then his other hand was on her hip, pulling her closer to him-
Raven jerked away from him immediately at the sound of her communicator going off. She pulled her hood back up before opening it up, not trusting that her face wouldn't be beet red or her lips slightly swollen. "What is it?"
"Get back here. Now." Robin's steely voice made her wince. "You've had quite long enough to calm yourself down."
"Damn," X whispered from beside her. "He is a bastard."
Robin frowned in the communicator. "Who was that?"
"No one," Raven snapped. She shoved the stupid device back onto her belt. "I have to go," she said to X, standing up. She meant it in more ways than one. What had just happened could never, ever happen again.
"I'm sure you do." He stood up as well, and before she could react, pulled her in for another lingering kiss that she continued to feel even after he pulled away. Then he leaned over to her ear. "Black Swan," he whispered.
"What?" His husky voice was making it very hard for her to think straight.
"A new name. You said you needed one."
"I said I might need one."
"If you quit."
He pulled away from her. "Go. Boy Blunder's waiting."
She nodded, and floated into the air. Just before dashing off, though, she did a quick study of the man below her.
The reality of what had just happened hit her, and she had to turn away and start flying before he could see the emotions on her face.
She had just kissed- no, made out with Red X.
What in hell was she thinking?
What in hell was he thinking?
And not only had they kissed, but they had actually held a conversation in which they had communicated with each other without fighting. Without her attempting to capture him and turn him into the police. Which was what she should have been doing. But no, she sat down on top of a building with him and told him about her life problems.
And he listened. And they actually talked.
They talked. They didn't fight.
Now, what's wrong with this situation? She spends ten minutes with Robin, her leader and partner-in-hero-ship. They end up yelling at and almost attacking each other.
She spends ten minutes with Red X, number one on Robin's wanted list, and they end up kissing.
What wasn't wrong with that situation?
"I'm Black Swan," she murmured despite herself as she landed on top of Titans Tower.
She liked it. But that was soon forgotten as she saw the anger of Robin waiting to meet her.
"You were with Red X." His voice was accusatory, furious, and disappointed all at once.
She crossed her arms. "Excuse me?"
"Don't play stupid. I know it was him."
"You have no idea who it was. You didn't even see his face."
"I heard his voice. And by the way you reacted, insisting it was no one, I knew it had to be someone you didn't want me to know about. And judging by the look in your eyes and the state of your lips, you had just been kissing- which would mean that it would have to be someone close enough to your age for you to consider doing that, so all it took were a few voice comparisons on the computer and bingo, we found our match."
"Has anyone ever told you that you're insanely OCD?"
"Raven, you were kissing Red X."
"I'm quite aware of what I was doing."
"You were fraternizing with the enemy." His anger was rising. She could feel it. "You're supposed to be one of the good guys. Raven of the Titans. And you're going off and kissing our mortal enemy."
"I'm not Raven anymore." She didn't know why she said it. "I'm Black Swan now."
"Whatever. And I'm Nightwing. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, can we get back on topic?"
"You want to get back on topic? Fine. Yes, I was kissing Red X. I was fraternizing with the enemy."
"I can't allow you to do that. Ever. Again." His teeth were clenched.
"Make me, Nightwing." She had mastered the art of mocking others' names, no matter how cool she secretly thought they were. "You have a problem with it? Fine. Whatever. You won't need to worry about it anymore, because I'm leaving."
"You heard me. I quit. I'm leaving the Titans. End of story." She pulled her communicator out and threw it to the ground, effectively breaking it. "I can't do this anymore, Richard. I'm sorry."
"Rachel- I- I didn't want-"
"I'm making my own choices now. And let's face it, me being on this team isn't working out too well for either of us."
"Where will you go?" His voice was quiet now.
"I don't know. Away. Far away. To some city that needs me."
"There's nothing I can say to change your mind, is there?"
"Don't leave without saying goodbye to the others."
"I won't." She turned away from him as she began to melt into the shadows. "Goodbye, Richard."
The last thing she saw on his face was a mixture of anguish and acceptance.
-(Two hours later)-
She didn't know what compelled her to do it. She really didn't. She just wrote it off as a spur-of-the-moment thing, and really, who was there to deny her spur-of-the-moment things now? Not Robin, that was for sure. She was her own person now. She could do whatever the hell she wanted.
It was that mindset that led her to kicking open X's door with two suitcases floating behind her.
He was lounging on his couch. He was in costume, but his mask was off and resting beside him, revealing his those perfectly shaped lips once again. Not that she cared. Oh, no. Not at all.
He blinked up at the sight of her standing in his doorway. "How the hell did you find me?"
"Wasn't hard." Yes, it was. "I knew your apartment was in this general vicinity, since you said you saw me from it. Then I just tracked your aura."
"Uh-huh." He looked at her suitcases. "Is this what I think it is? You're finally running away? You're finally quitting?"
"Yes, I am." She threw one of the suitcases down to the ground. The clasps weren't shut, so it fell open at his feet, showing it to be empty.
He raised an eyebrow at her.
She scowled and crossed her arms. "Are you coming or what?"
He gave her a smirk. "I thought you'd never ask."
Review if you wish, let me know what you think. Were the characters too OOC? Was it believable? Probably, and probably not. But then again, this is fan fiction. I don't know.