Hello again, faithful readers. Here we are, almost done with Season Six. Whoo! *Ahem* Anyway, Episode 11 is a story about a day in the life of Red X, best thief in Jump City, possibly the world. I hope you gain some understanding of how I believe Red X acts, but if not, who cares? Also, I'm not really a comedy writer, but I tried my best for this story. I hope I was mildly successful.
Disclaimer: Me still no own.
The Jump City Museum had recently undergone a massive security upgrade. After the H.I.V.E. Five had broken in while the Titans had been fighting the Brotherhood of Evil, S.T.A.R. Labs had provided the museum with some new experimental security systems, along with a new computer control system, one that was incredibly difficult to hack. The system had been tested by Cyborg, and it had taken him fifteen minutes to completely break through. The new system also had a flag warning system: suspicious actions would be flagged, and the size of the flag would depend on how suspicious the action was. Send off too many flags in a certain amount of time, and the alarms would trip, alerting both the police and the Titans West. Motion detectors and pressure sensors were set up in the air-vents, and the air-vents themselves were too small to successfully navigate in the first place. All the windows had alarms set to go off when shattered, there was an intricate maze of security lasers, and over fifty security cameras, and each camera was set to detect heat signatures. With all this in place, the museum was a very hard nut to crack. Of course, people still tried; so far, they'd all failed. A very resourceful man, however, might find a way...
The young man did a quick check of his rather varied inventory.
"Okay, let's see," he mused.
"Explosive X's: check.
"Grappling hook: check.
"Constrictive X's: check.
"Adhesive X's: Check.
"Shuriken X's: check.
"X-wrist blades: check.
"Electric X's: check.
"Field disruptor X's: check.
"Cloaking device: check.
"Xenothium power cell: 64%.
"Everything else I can't be bothered to find: double check.(1)" Even having owned the suit for quite a few years, Red X still wasn't sure if he'd found all the fancy gadgets Robin had loaded into this thing.
He nodded. "Well, I guess I'm good to go."
The thief ran effortlessly across the rooftops of Jump City. According to the clock on his HUD, it was exactly 12:14:56 AM. Nobody else was up at this time of night. Of course, Red X knew that wasn't entirely true. There were still those poor souls working the graveyard shift, as well as any other criminal that hadn't been thrown in jail by the Titans. On a whim, Red X checked the communicator he'd borrowed from the Tower while the Titans were in Tokyo. He searched the city for the current locations of the Titans; he'd disabled the locator on his own communicator for obvious reasons. The words NO SIGNAL flashed on the screen. He was probably one of the few people in the city who actually had some idea why. Robin had sent him a message a few days ago, although Red X was mystified as to how the Boy Blunder had figured out that Red X had stolen one of these things in the first place. It had most likely been just a general message to all Titans across the globe. Anyway, Robin said that he was going to be travelling to another dimension for a few days or something; Red X hadn't really been paying that much attention. He closed the communicator and studied it for a few seconds, admiring his custom paint job. The communicator was now jet-black, and the cover now sported a very stylish red cross, not unlike the ones that adorned his suit. He reattached the communicator to his belt and continued on to his target. The museum lights were off, and there were no night guards: they weren't needed anymore now that the fancy schmancy new security was in place. Red X had spent the last two days casing the joint, looking for a chink in the armour that he could exploit. After several long hours searching, he'd finally found one...
Alarms tore through the night air, ripping the silence to shreds. Within minutes, several police cars pulled up and the men inside ran towards the building. The museum owner had been roused, and he unlocked the front door in a hurry, allowing the police inside. After a few minutes frantic searching, though, they found no-one. The owner apologized profusely; it was another false alarm, the third one this year. The cause of the false alarm was eventually found to be a stick. A strong wind had picked up the stick and it had hit the window, not hard enough to shatter it, but it was enough to trigger the alarm. The security system was shut off, and it would have to be rebooted and recalibrated in the morning when they could get one of the scientists over at S.T.A.R. Labs to have a look. The police spread out and set up lookouts in a large radius around the museum, just in case the false alarm wasn't so false after all...
Red X pressed a button on his belt, activating the cloaking device. It was one of the gadgets he liked the most, but it had a few drawbacks. The first problem was that the cloaking field was double-blind; no-one could see inside the field, but he couldn't see out of the field. He'd made a few modifications to the shape of the field, leaving his eyes exposed so he could see. Of course, that meant that others could see his eyes, but he could fix that by covering up his face with his cloak. The second major problem was that it didn't block his heat signature. If the police were using infrared or thermal imaging cameras, he'd be screwed, to put it bluntly. It also was a bit of a drain on the suit's power, but he had plenty of Xenothium stashed away back home, so that wasn't an issue.
Red X waited in the shadows as the alarms rang out. He watched the police search the museum frantically, not even realizing that the person they were looking for was almost right under their noses. When the police had dispersed and the museum owner had left, Red X casually strolled up to the door and did a quick 360, checking that no-one was watching. The only person he saw was one of the policemen. Said policeman was over a hundred metres away and had his back turned. Red X shut down the cloaking field and pulled one of his many lock-picks out of his belt. He slid it into the lock, and jiggled it around, and after about a minute, he managed to open the lock. Red X returned the pick to his belt, and slowly opened the door. As he slipped inside, he glanced back over his shoulder. Fortunately, the cop hadn't noticed, so he was still mostly safe. He gently shut the door and locked it again, for pragmatic reasons: he didn't exactly want anyone else to wander in and find him.
He strolled through the museum nonchalantly, admiring the all the different artifacts and exhibits. Red X came to a stop in front of a rather large diamond, most likely the main reason for the new security. He couldn't remember the name; was it the Diamond of Fanastacore, or the Diamond of Castafiore? He shrugged. Red X was getting paid big bucks to steal it, and that was all that really mattered to him. The diamond was sitting in a glass case, so Red X clenched his fist, causing the X-blade on his gauntlet to shoot out. He jammed the blade in the seam between the panes of glass and pushed, popping the top off. With the case open, he reached inside and lifted the diamond out. He held it under one arm while he used his free hand to press a button on his belt, this time firing up the teleporter. Red X blurred for a second, then vanished completely.
When there's trouble, you know who to call. TEEN TITANS!
From their tower they can see it all. TEEN TITANS!
When there's evil on the attack,
You can rest knowing they've got your back,
'Cause when the world needs heroes on patrol,
Teen Titans, GO!
With their superpowers they unite. TEEN TITANS!
Never met a villain that they liked. TEEN TITANS!
They've got the bad guys on the run,
They never stop till the job gets done,
'Cause when the world is losing all control,
Teen Titans, GO!
One, two, three, four, GO! Teen Titans!
To Catch a Thief
Alan Moore hated going to these early-morning meetings, but they were part and parcel of dealing with the, ah, shadier elements of society. He checked his watch out of nervousness. It was just after three in the morning, the time Red X had specified for the meeting. Moore hoped that the thief had come through. He opened the door to his office—
—and found none other than Red X himself, slouching on his chair with his hands behind his head and his feet on Moore's desk.
"Mr Moore," said Red X. "You're late; I've been waiting here for fifteen minutes."
"Wha—how did you get in here?" demanded Moore.
Red X pointed his thumb behind him. "Through the window," said the thief. "It was a bit of a tight squeeze, but I managed. And that was a freebie, by the way; I won't tell you how I got in next time."
"Whatever," said Moore impatiently. "Do you have the Diamond of Phanastacoria?"
"What, you mean this thing?" asked Red X, pulling the diamond in question out from behind his back. "That depends. Do you have all my favourite dead presidents?"
Moore lifted the briefcase he had been carrying onto the desk and opened it, revealing several wads of cash.
"Fifty thousand dollars, as promised," said Moore.
Red X plonked the diamond down next to the briefcase, rifled through the money quickly, before snapping the briefcase shut with a nod.
"Pleasure doing business with you," said the thief, waving his hand in a quick, casual salute. He grabbed the briefcase and pressed one of the many buttons on his utility belt, and Red X blurred, before disappearing completely.
With a small pop of displaced air, Red X rematerialized in his home. It was a small house, but it had everything he needed. There was a TV against one wall of the living room, with a coffee table between the TV and the sofa. The kitchen was separated from the living room by a counter, and it was stocked with a dishwasher, oven, microwave, and all the other necessities. His bedroom and bathroom were down the hall, and the basement had been converted into a gym, with all the equipment one would expect, as well as a few dummies one could unleash hell upon when one was in a particularly foul mood after a heist gone wrong.
Red X shook his head in attempt to dispel the headache the teleporting process always induced. The teleporter worked all over the city, but it would only teleport him to a preset location; in this case, his house. Red X dumped the briefcase on the kitchen counter, then flopped onto the couch and rested his feet on the coffee table, careful not to knock over the cage that already occupied part of the table. The cage's occupant was a pet rock, which, all things considered, was about the only type of pet Red X could afford.
"So how was your night?" Red X asked his pet rock.
The pet rock's silence spoke volumes.
"Huh," replied Red X. "That's nice. I robbed a museum."
The pet rock sat in disapproving silence.
"What?" asked Red X defensively. "It was on commission. Anyway, I didn't break anything or hurt anyone!"
If the pet rock had eyebrows, it would have raised one.
"Okay, so I may have hurt the museum owner's pride and dignity," said Red X. "So what? He'll get over it."
The pet rock conceded the point.
"Anyway, another fifty thousand is nothing to be sneezed at."
The pet rock probably would have sneezed at the fifty thousand, if only just to troll Red X.
"Ah, shuddup, you," muttered Red X.
Red X sat in silence for a while, before he sighed and stood up. "I'm going to bed," he told the pet rock. "It's been a long night."(2)
Red X observed the streets from the rooftops. Jump City was usually safe at night, bar the occasional thug or supervillain. In fact, the level of crime actually tended to drop while Titans West were away; if and when Robin found out who had been committing crimes in his absence, those criminals were thrown in jail fast enough to leave friction burns. Also, if Raven was in a foul mood when she got back (usually Beast Boy's fault), things would go very, very badly if you tried something when she was on patrol on her first night back. Of course, this didn't stop everyone; Red X preferred to pull of his heists without the Titans interrupting, but he didn't mind if they found him. He always enjoyed a challenge...
His gaze wandered across the street. He saw a young woman, blonde haired, in her late teens to early twenties, walk across the road. Red X could tell she was slightly nervous; she looked over her shoulder very quickly, and she was travelling at a very brisk pace, almost a jog. Red X also spotted, courtesy of his mask's infrared camera, a group of rather unsavoury looking older men, at least three, maybe one more in the shadows. It was hard for him to read their body language from his high vantage point, but from what Red X could see, they appeared to be carrying themselves in an arrogant, aggressive manner.
The young woman hadn't seen them, but that changed when they surrounded her. Red X jumped onto another rooftop, trying to get closer. Voices drifted up from the street as he approached.
"Wha's a pretty li'l lady like you doin' out here at a time like this?" asked one of the men. His voice was slurred, as if he'd been drinking, and while his voice was soft, there was an underlying menace to it.
"Trying to get home," said the woman. She attempted to push past the man, but he moved to block her path.
"Whoa, lady, what's yer hurry?" asked the man, stepping closer to her. "Doncha wanna spend time with us?"
She stepped back, wincing at the smell of his breath. "No, I'm not interested," she said, trying to push past him again. The man blocked her again, and this time he grabbed her wrists.
"You sayin' no t'me?" he asked. The men behind her grinned, and two of them pulled out switchblades, while the third pulled out a crowbar. Red X had mostly convinced himself that this wasn't his business, and that he should stay out of it, but that all changed when he saw the crowbar.
"Let me go!" begged the woman, and she whimpered as the man tightened his grip.
Red X dropped down to street level silently, and walked up behind the armed thugs.
"Why don't you guys pick on someone who can fight back?" asked Red X. The thugs turned to face him, and Red X lifted his hand and waved his fingers towards himself in the time-honoured 'bring-it-on' gesture.
The thug with a crowbar charged at Red X. Red X ejected the X-blade on his right gauntlet, and the blade spun like a buzz saw. The thug swung his crowbar, and Red X slashed at it with his wrist blade. There was a shower of sparks as Red X's wrist blade sliced cleanly through the crowbar. Red X slammed his elbow into the thug's face, hitting him between the eyes, and the thug dropped to the ground. The second thug tried to slash him with his switchblade, but Red X caught the knife in his cross-shaped blade, disarming the thug with a flick of his wrist. The third thug charged at him, and Red X sidestepped, elbowing the thug in the temple as he ran past. The leader shoved the young woman he was holding aside, and pulled out his own switchblade. Red X tossed one of his shurikens at the thug, and the shuriken knocked the knife out of the thug's hand. He backed up slowly, his hands raised in a placating gesture as Red X advanced on him menacingly.
"H-hey, it was all just a little fun—oof!" grunted the thug as Red X punched him in the gut.
"Fun?" asked Red X. "You call rape fun?" He punched the thug in the jaw, and then kneed him in the groin for good measure. The thug he'd disarmed earlier had reclaimed his switchblade and charged at Red X. Red X spun and thrust his arm out, palm raised, and a cross-shaped adhesive flew from the small cross on his palm. The adhesive X struck the thug, picking him up and carrying him to the wall, trapping him there. Red X fired off three more adhesive X's, trapping the remaining thugs.
He walked over to the young woman and held out his hand. "You alright?"
The woman nodded, and took his hand. "Wh-who are you?" she asked.
"No-one important," said Red X. The young woman must've been new in town, because nearly everyone in Jump City knew who Red X was. "You might want to call the cops," said Red X, waving at her former assailants.
"Right," she said. "And thank you!" she yelled as he ran off, activating his cloaking device.
Red X shut the back door of his house with a yawn. He never used the front door. In fact, there was only one more time in his life that he wanted to use a front door; that was when they had to carry him out when he died properly. His original civilian identity had already been declared missing, presumed dead, and he hoped they'd get it right the second time.
He walked into the kitchen, and browsed through his fridge. He eventually selected a can of soft drink, and he inserted a long curly blue straw after he'd opened the can. He was paranoid, but he had good reason; after all, if he wanted you to know who he was, would he be wearing a mask?
He sank onto the couch, sipping his drink.
"I stopped a girl getting raped today," he said, answering his pet rock's unasked question. "And no, I'm not going to go back to being a hero. Especially after what he did to me." Red X felt strangely cold as the memories rose up unbidden, of the beating he'd received, the explosion, almost dying.
He shook his head. "I'm better off as a thief," he said to himself. He didn't have to rely on anyone anymore; other people just let you down when you needed them the most. And he'd come a long way from stealing hubcaps. Of course, if he hadn't tried to steal those hubcaps, he'd still just be some small-timer, and he would have eventually ended up face-down in a puddle in one of Gotham's many back alleys.
The pet rock sat quietly, gently inquiring about what happened.
"The girl? Oh, she's fine," said Red X. "Police escorted her home and took the thugs away. I must say, they looked pretty confused when they saw the crime scene." He chuckled, remembering the priceless expression of shock and disbelief some of the cops had at the scene. "Guess I should've told them I'm a thief, not a rapist or murderer," said Red X quietly. "As long as everyone's still kicking at the end of the day, I'm pretty happy." He paused for thought. "I'm much happier if I got what I came for, but that's really just a bonus." He sighed, and tried to ignore the nagging happy feelings being a good guy had given him.
A phone started ringing in the kitchen. That phone rarely rang, but when it did, it was usually a client; he had a separate, less-used phone for his civilian identity. He picked up after about the fourth ring.
"Yes?" he asked. He didn't say his name; if someone had this number, they knew who he was.
"I am speaking to Red X, am I not?" asked the person on the other end of the phone. The only thing Red X could work out from that voice was that a man was calling.
"You are," he answered. "What do you want me to steal, when do you want it, and how much are you going to pay me?"
"There is a painting at the Jump City Art Gallery I want you to steal. The painting I want is an old Japanese piece, on loan from Star City; I'm sure you will know it when you see it. I want it by this Friday, and I will pay you five hundred thousand dollars; half once you agree to the job, half after the deed is done."
"I'll take the job," said Red X. "How will the first half of my payment be delivered, and where do you want me to take the painting?"
"One of my associates will be waiting for you at the corner of Fifth and Elm Streets," said his client. "Once you obtain the painting, take it to the warehouse at Pier 41 on Friday at 1:30 AM. I will meet you there."
Stealing the painting had been disappointingly easy. Red X was quite surprised at how little security there was in the Art Gallery; of course, he might just be used to cracking very heavy security. Either way, it didn't matter; he had the painting, and he would soon have the rest of his money.
He entered the warehouse cautiously. The only person he could see was a man, his hair a distinguished gray colour, dressed in an immaculate suit.
"Do you have it?" asked the man.
Red X passed him the canister he was carrying. The man opened it, and emptied out the rolled up painting. His client unrolled the painting and studied it for a few seconds.
"Do you have my reward?" asked Red X, feeling slightly uneasy.
His client rolled up the painting and took a step back. "I have your reward, thief," he said.
He waited in silence, obviously expecting something. After a pause, a bird-a-rang slammed into the ground at his client's feet, and Red X's communicator beeped. Mystified, Red X answered it.
"You owe me one, X," said Robin darkly.
How does he know I took one? thought Red X.
"Kill him," said Red X's former client. Armed thugs moved out of the shadows, drawing their pistols. Red X fired off a grappling hook, and the hook wrapped around one of the support beams. Red X hoisted himself up as the thugs fired, the bullets whizzing past him. There was an open window in the roof, so he swung himself towards it. He misjudged his leap, though, and his hand missed the ledge—
—and it was grabbed by a green-gloved hand. Red X looked up into Robin's masked eyes, and the Teen Wonder helped the thief onto the roof.
"What are you doing here, Bird Boy?" asked Red X.
"I got an anonymous tip that you'd be here," said Robin, throwing another bird-a-rang and disarming one of the thugs. A bullet smashed into one of the closed windows, shattering the glass, and Robin ducked back out of the way.
"When I arrived, I found this guy here," continued Robin, pointing at an unconscious, hand-cuffed man. A sniper rifle lay beside him. "I took him out and watched the scene. I'm going to guess your client tipped me off in case his thugs didn't kill you."
"Most likely," said Red X, tossing a shuriken X down at the thugs. "So now what?"
A car's engine roared to life, and a black car tore out onto the streets.
"That would be my client," said Red X. Robin threw another bird-a-rang, and it landed in amidst the thugs in the warehouse, releasing a green cloud of knockout gas.
"That should hold those guys for a while," said Robin. "Now, let's have a chat with your client."
"Sounds good," replied Red X. The two ran in and leapt off the building, using their grappling hooks to slow themselves down. Once they hit the ground, the two sprinted in separate directions, jumping onto their motorcycles and tearing off after the car.
"So, where've you been the last week?" asked Red X, pulling up alongside Robin.
"You know Killowat?" asked Robin.
"The blue-and-purple guy? The lightning guy?"
"Yeah," said Robin. "He's from another dimension. We were trying to get him home, but we, uh, got a little sidetracked."
"What do you mean, sidetracked?" asked Red X.
"Tell you later, X," said Robin. "We've got more important things to worry about right now!"
Red X looked forward, spotting his former client's car up ahead. A window wound down and an arm popped out, and bullets started to fill the air. One of the bullets scored a gash on Red X's motorcycle, and he moved to one side, trying not to get hit.
Robin flipped a switch on his handlebar, and two compartments opened up, revealing a pair of hidden laser cannons. Robin pressed the trigger, and yellow blasts ripped through the air, tearing gouges out of the back of the car. One of the tyres burst, and the car spun out of control, crashing into a streetlight. Red X and Robin pulled up and advanced towards the car. Red X clenched his fist, and his wrist-blade shot out. He jabbed at the window, shattering the glass, and pulled out the driver. He was unconscious from the crash, and had broken his nose when his face had hit the airbag.
"This one's still alive," said Red X after checking the man's pulse. He dropped the man beside the car while Robin pulled out one of the passengers.
"So is this one," Robin said, confiscating the man's gun and dumping him with Red X's captive.
"Now then," said Red X. "Let's have a look in the back seat, shall we?" He yanked the back door open, and the door promptly fell off.
"I don't think the insurance covers that," said Robin.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," muttered Red X. "Well, look what we have here," he said in a louder, mock-sweet voice as he pulled out his former client. "If it isn't my traitorous, two-timing client. Have fun trying to kill me?"
Red X's former client mumbled something incoherent, dazed from the crash.
"What'd he say?" asked Red X.
Robin shrugged. "I got no clue. But it doesn't really matter." Robin pulled a pair of hand-cuffs out of his belt and slapped them around the man's wrist, and dragged him over to his goons. Red X retrieved the painting he'd stolen earlier, which, amazingly, was still in one piece. He rolled it up and slipped it into the canister he'd used earlier. He walked up to Robin with the canister under one arm as the Teen Wonder finished hand-cuffing the thugs. The two of them looked at each other, then at the painting, and then back at each other.
"I've got a stolen painting," said Red X, doing the math out loud. "And I'm a wanted thief. You're a superhero."
Robin nodded. "This can only end one way," he said, finishing the equation as he pulled out a collapsible bo staff.
Red X placed the canister on the ground, where it would hopefully be out of the way. "Winner takes the painting?" he asked. Robin nodded.
"Is this really necessary?" Red X asked, trying the diplomatic solution, just in case.
Robin sighed. "You knew that as soon as we met up, we'd end up fighting each other sooner or later."
Red X nodded. "Unfortunately, you're right. Oh well." Red X clenched his fist, and the blade on the back of his hand shot out, and he thrust his fist at Robin. The Teen Wonder blocked the blade, twisting the staff and shoving Red X to the side. The thief retaliated by swinging at Robin as he went past, but Robin dodged the blow and smacked Red X in the side.
"Oof!" The breath left Red X's lungs in a rush. That's gonna be a good bruise by tomorrow, he thought.
"You know, you could surrender," advised Robin.
"Aw, hell no!" shouted Red X, swinging a kick at Robin's head. Robin ducked and swung his staff at Red X's support leg, but Red X jumped over it and slashed at Robin with his X-blade. Robin managed to catch the blow with the end of his staff.
"That would mean you'd take me to jail!" continued Red X.
"Yeah, so?" asked Robin as he forced the thief back.
Red X ejected the blade on his other hand and jammed it against the Teen Wonder's bo staff, trying to keep Robin back. "I don't want to go there again!"
"Why not?" asked Robin calmly.
"The food was good, but the service was lousy," deadpanned Red X. The thief dropped onto his back, and when Robin overbalanced and fell on top of him, Red X shoved him up. Robin flipped through the air, and managed to execute a perfect three-point landing. Robin spun around and swung his staff at Red X, and the thief blocked the staff.
"When did you go to prison, anyway?" asked Robin, taking another swing.
"Oh, it was years ago," said Red X as he stepped back, the staff swishing past his face. "And, technically, it was only juvie, but—"
Robin swung at him again, and Red X slashed at the staff, slicing it in two, and Robin's momentum carried him past the thief. "Why am I telling you all this again?" asked Red X, slightly confused.
Robin pulled out a bird-a-rang and threw it at Red X, but the thief deflected it, sending it arcing back to Robin's hand. "Because I asked you," Robin replied as he caught the bird-a-rang.
"Fair enough," said Red X with a shrug. Robin pulled out a second bird-a-rang, and he pressed a button on each of the bird-a-rangs, and a blade shot out of the middle of the bird-a-rangs, forming a pair of knives. Robin charged at Red X, and the two of them exchanged a series of blows, Red X slashing with the X-blades on his gauntlets, Robin countering his attacks with the two bird-a-rang knives.
"Not bad," said Red X. "You been practicing?"
"Yeah," replied Robin. "But you'll never believe me if I told you who with."
"Try me," challenged Red X as he continued to trade blows with the Teen Wonder.
"You asked for it," replied Robin, slashing at Red X's face. "I was practicing with Slade."
"Bullshit! (3)" yelled Red X as he blocked the blow.
"I did say you wouldn't believe me," said Robin.
"Oh, shut up, Bird Boy," said Red X.
The two of them swung at each other a few more times as Red X tried to work out why the hell Robin would willingly train with Slade again.
"Wait a minute," said Red X slowly. "Was this when you were travelling to alternate universes?"
"Yeah," said Robin. "We sent Killowat to the wrong universe, so we went after him to bail him out."
"How'd he get here in the first place?" asked Red X.
"He was in trouble in his home universe, and Raven sensed it, so she pulled him into our one," said Robin.
"How'd she even sense him?" Red X asked sceptically as he blocked another blow from Robin.
"Beats me," said Robin with a shrug. "I don't get it either. Anyway, where was I?"
"Rescuing Killowat," supplied Red X, stabbing at Robin.
"Thank you," said Robin as he dodged. "Yeah, when we went to rescue Killowat, we ended up in a universe where the Titans were evil, and Slade was a good guy."
"Wow, that's messed up," said Red X. A thought struck him. "Did you find out what I was up to in that dimension?"
"Didn't find you, sorry," said Robin. He swung his bird-a-rang knife at Red X, but Red X blocked it with his X-blade and twisted Robin to the side. He swung at Robin with his other blade, and Robin blocked it with his second knife, and their weapons locked together. The two of them struggled against each other, pushing back and forth.
"This isn't working, is it?" asked Red X.
"Nope," replied Robin.
"We're too evenly matched, aren't we?"
Robin nodded. "Yup."
Behind his mask, Red X smirked. "I still have a few tricks left." He shoved his arms outwards, pushing the bird-a-rang knives out of Robin's hands. Robin punched him, but Red X dodged, sweeping past Robin. Robin reached down to pull out another bird-a-rang—
—and his hand brushed against plain fabric. Stunned he spun to face Red X. The thief was holding his utility belt, in a manner not unlike the way Robin had held Red X's after their fight in Chang's lair, so long ago.
"Looking for something?" asked Red X tauntingly.
A grin spread slowly across Robin's face, and he shook his head. "All right, Red X," he said, holding his hands up. "You win this round."
Red X bowed extravagantly. "Why, thank you, good sir," he said. He scooped up the painting and tucked it under his arm. He rummaged through the pockets of Robin's utility belt, eventually pulling out Robin's communicator. He tossed the yellow disc to Robin, and the Teen Wonder caught it easily.
Red X waved a casual salute at Robin. "Later, buddy." The thief blurred for a second, before the teleporter kicked in and whisked Red X away.
Red X finished adjusting the newly mounted frame. Instead of a picture, it housed the belt he'd stolen off Robin. He stepped back.
"Whadya think?" he asked his pet rock. The pet rock examined the framed belt critically.
"Yeah," said Red X thoughtfully. "I think you're right. It does look good there."
The pet rock lapsed into an expectant silence.
"What?" asked Red X defensively. "Are you expecting me to break the fourth wall and tell the readers what I've learned today?"
The pet rock's silence indicated that yes, despite the fourth wall breakage, that would be good.
"Well, how about this one?" said Red X, turning to stare at the reader through the monitor. "I've learnt that I need psychiatric help because I'm talking to a rock!" As he said so, he turned and delivered an excellent death glare at the pet rock.
The pet rock, fittingly, said nothing.
1. The only gadget listed here that was not listed on the Teen Titans Wiki was the cloaking device, but everyone assumes he has one, so I decided, "Sure, why not?"
2. The pet rock is a tribute to the story Once a Thief, an absolutely hilarious story by The Red X. It's kind of old, so it might be hard to find, but if you do find it, it will be well worth the time, I promise you. Also, writing pet rock's "dialogue" was hard: you try to come up with original ways of saying "The pet rock said nothing." You'll stare at a blank page for quite some time, I almost guarantee it. Pet rocks are also useful for providing exposition.
3. You may not believe me, but I do try to avoid swearing. So far, I haven't even clocked up double digits in the swearing department.
Of course the pet rock gets the last word. I have the feeling that pet rock is going to be the most popular character in the story. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?
There are several hints to Red X's real identity in this story, mostly of the 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' variety, but they are there. Can you guess who I'm hinting he is? You could cheat, and check my profile page, because I wrote my opinion there, but please don't until after you've guessed. That will ruin the fun.
The next two episodes will be the finale episodes of Season Six, and will lead directly up to Titans Reunited. Those two episodes are: Episode Twelve, 'The Long Goodbye', in which Starfire leaves for Tamaran, and Episode Thirteen, 'Titans Alone', the story of what happened to each of the Titans between Starfire's departure and the beginning of Titans Reunited. I'll see you then.