Okay, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this when I first created my account, but I just have to contribute back to the fandom that got me hooked on fanfiction to begin with. I'm going to warn everyone now, all I know about TT comes from the cartoon, fanfiction, and a quick glance at Wikipedia, so I hereby invoke author's rights to ignore and change all aspects of canon that are in conflict with what's presented in this story. You have been warned.
There are several pairings that will be mentioned here, including Robin/Star, Cy/Bumblebee, former BB/Terra, former KF/Jinx, and one-sided BB/Raven. Raven/Jinx will be the main pairing, with my depiction of Jinx inspired heavily by that of the great and powerful SepticMind. Therefore, any hatemail goes to her! The title is, I think, the best summary for this story, so please keep it in mind throughout your reading.
Disclaimer: Was Raven the leader and main character of Teen Titans? If not, I don't own the Teen Titans franchise; it belongs to DC Entertainment, Glen Murakami, and Warner Bros.
Catch and Release
Most people ignore the sky, for there is rarely anything up there but birds and clouds. Anyone in Jump City making that mistake would then have missed the flight of one of their beloved protectors. Well, beloved as a group; few were comfortable around the individual currently in the city's airspace.
Raven was enjoying the solitude as much as her anger and hurt–no, distress–would allow. She rarely had an opportunity to have the city to herself. Each night, the surveillance from 6 in the evening to 3 in the morning was given to two teammates, who would split the city between them as they preferred. Tonight was her night to canvas Jump with Starfire, but the Tamaranean had finally found Earth food that did not agree with her nine stomachs. The curry she had eaten prompted an allergic reaction, and she was releasing small starbolts from her nose—"star-snot" according to Beast Boy—with every sneeze. They were never to patrol alone, but Raven was pushed to the side due to the boys' entire focus being on Star.
It is just as well, thought Raven, I can barely meditate with all the noise in the Tower, let alone properly reflect on my life! While she was normally quite content ignoring her past, here she had little choice. It was only two months to her nineteenth birthday, when she would have been celebrating her Ascension to adulthood on Azarath. It was an important occasion, even though her birthplace no longer existed and she had no one willing to celebrate with her any—
"Stop thinking about it," she voiced monotonously, for she would forever deny that there was even a hint of a snarl in her words. She understood intellectually that the boys cared primarily for the American culture and that Starfire had enough trouble with adapting to Earth customs without adding another, but that was no reason for them to make their lack of interest in her home so obvious. It seemed they were constantly quizzing Star about the ways of her world, especially since her return trip two weeks ago. Bitterness provided her with no salve, but it took them a little more than three years to even learn her birth date; she had a right to be bitter! And she apparently couldn't stop thinking about it.
If it were not for Ascension, she would have an easier time ignoring these unpleasant facts. The time beforehand was meant for reflection, discerning and rejecting the lies of childhood in order to better accept the truths of adult life and take her place in society. She was the last follower of Azar, but that would not stop her from following the precepts; her dutiful reflection was bringing to light thoughts she would have preferred to stay unknown.
Robin had, as time progressed, become more and more like his mentor Batman. While not undesirable in and of itself, the fact remained that Batman was not a 'team player', even in his position within the Justice League. Robin was acting more distant, constantly double checking the activities of the other Titans. He had even requested she dissolve the tenuous mental connection they had shared since his exposure to Slade's postmortem hallucinogens; due to this, she could not verify her suspicions that he was assembling contingency plans covering each of his teammates.
Starfire had mostly adjusted to Earth, but she was facing greater and greater pressure to take the Tamaran throne. Galfore, Star's guardian after her parents' deaths, was still in the position of Grand Ruler, but the population was becoming dissatisfied with his rule due to his lack of blood connection to the imperial family. Her aforementioned visit had been meant for the express purpose of soothing the royal advisors' doubts. Even then, she was now planning on making it a routine event every five and a half months, apparently a time interval that had significance to Tamaraneans. She was in an on-again-off-again relationship with Robin and opposed him less and less with each renewal.
Cyborg was the teammate she trusted most, and perhaps the only one she could trust with anything. Much of his temper had cooled as he grew older, and at 21, he was the peacemaker in the Tower. When he wasn't tinkering on his pampered T-Car or cooling tempers, he isolated himself in his room pursuing his doctorates in robotics and electrical engineering or spent time with Titans East, more accurately with Bumblebee. Even though Raven missed his steadfastness, she sincerely wished them and their fledgling relationship good-fortune.
Beast Boy, well he was quite frankly even more of an irritant than Robin. His self-confidence had been cute in an annoying, childish manner when he was younger, but it evolved into self-aggrandizing arrogance after their battles with the Brotherhood of Evil. He had become the public face of the Titans, if only because his machismo appealed to that segment of the female population that possessed a fetish towards animals or green skin.
Even worse, the minor crush he had once had on her was reappearing. She thought he would take one of his admirers up on their offers, but he had seemingly set his sights on her, even after she made it clear through both words and actions that she had no interest. Or perhaps I am simply overthinking the situation, she admitted. She avoided 'peeking' into others' heads as much as possible, so it was possible there was another reason for his behavior. Something to consider, at least.
Individually, none of her teammates' flaws would be an issue for her, but together? They were enough that she routinely shut herself with her books and scrolls to fortify her dwindling patience and sanity.
Of course, her teammates were not the main issue, not with…
Enough. There is no need to dwell on that, not without further examination.
She focused her attention on the city for the first time in an hour. Down in the jeweler's section, she felt a familiar presence. It was alone, there was no need to contact the others.
And maybe this will help me decide if it's real or my imagination.
A girl gazed upon the jewelry store. There were many indications that she was up to no good: she was awake and walking around town at 2:30, she had carefully positioned herself out of the range of the security cameras, she wore a black bodysuit, and as the orphanage staff had been fond of telling her, no good girl has bright pink hair. No, she was definitely a bad, bad girl.
As much as she would have loved to be sleeping until the early afternoon, Jinx knew that leaving empty-handed was not going to work out. After her messy break-up with Kid Flash, she went back to Giz and Baran with empty pockets and belly; they were not happy. Unfortunately, they had also been losing more and more often to those rotten Teen Titans, so they never had any loot to fence. Ah, the problem with graduating and living in the real world.
But that was all about to change. This was an easy job: get in, grab as much as she could, get out. Quick and dirty, no do-gooders getting in the way, just how she liked 'em!
She flicked her fingers, sending a pink crescent of hex energy at the fire escape of the store next to her target, which she then climbed up to the third story. Taking a deep breath, she hopped onto the rail before kicking off to the roof of the jeweler's, focusing on the building's skylight to keep from looking down. She ran over, using her hexes to pop loose a large pane of glass. While she was catlike enough to land on her feet if she fell through, there would be no way to get back, but that was what the rope she carried was for, right? She tossed one end through the hole, tied the other to a conveniently exposed pipe, and shimmied on down.
Once in, it was easy-peasy to fill a couple of trash bags with as much diamonds and jewelry as they could hold and climb back up. Then it was just a matter of securing the glass, recoiling her rope, and walking to the edge of the building to get gone.
"And what, exactly, is your purpose here?"
Oh, fuuuck. That was just what she didn't need right now.
Yes, the presence she felt was indeed Jinx. Taking in the ambient emotion, Raven "tasted" the chilling mint of her confidence and the bitter chocolate of pleasure. It was quite a boon that she was patrolling alone; Robin would have promptly chastised her for her lack of attention. A few moments longer, and she would have never noticed the thief.
Jinx was not looking in her direction, perfect. She was making this too easy. With a wicked smirk she drawled, "And what, exactly, is your purpose here?"
Gone were the mint and chocolate, replaced with fear's distinct sweet honey. Her demon side was to blame for its appeal; as entities of destruction, her father's people would obviously delight in the terror of mortals, and her empathy reflected those origins.
She floated to the rooftop as Jinx slowly turned in her direction, three plastic bags hanging from her hands. At this range, she did not need to be an empath to see how much panic was filling the other girl's white face. "Well?"
Jinx took a moment to rearrange her expression to her customary haughtiness. "I? I was just taking a midnight stroll. And what are you doing here, Ms. Titan, hmm?"
She had to give the girl credit, anyone who was incapable of detecting emotive spoor would very easily be fooled if she didn't have evidence still literally in hand. "And the bags, Ms. Thief?" Of all the enemies the Titans faced, Jinx was the best for quick banter.
"Well, how else would I window shop?"
Raven had no idea where it came from, but an chuckle broke through her mouth. She allowed another at the incredulous stare she then received. "I do not believe that is how that particular practice is performed."
The ambient emotion changed once again. No longer mint, chocolate, or honey, it was instead the empty taste of tepid water. Defeat and submission. "Fine, just cuff me and let's go."
Raven could not have been more surprised if Jinx had spouted off a recitation of her genealogy in limericks. Jinx never admitted defeat, struggling even when it was clear she and her team would not escape. Why would she do so now?
I could always examine her surface thoughts. Raven was once again wrong-footed by her own mind. She would never peer into another person's head; not only was it unethical, it could also become addictive for the telepath and cause great pain for an unprepared subject.
But it is only slightly different from reading emotions. After all, it is not as if I will be examining her memories, only scanning her frontmost mind. Those were good points. And it was not as if it would take long or be detected. With an inner nod, she released some of the tight bindings around her astral form and gently laid a tendril of liquid thought onto Jinx's Anja chakra.
She was reminded immediately why the Monks of Azarath had forbidden her from using telepathy: she was no longer Raven, but Jinx-Raven, simultaneously neither and both. She dissociated her reason from the stream of thought she experienced and 'was'.
...not like it's going to make a difference, she's just gonna chuck me in the slam, again, and I'll have to stick around until Giz or Baran come around to bust me out. Fucking hell, this makes staying with Kid almost worth it. But a leopard can't change her spots, and I'm gonna be stuck doing this 'til the state finally decides to put me down… At least she won't harp about how I'm the "scum of society" that "should do something productive with my life" like her bird-brain leader would.
Raven pulled her thought-limb away, rebound herself, and focused on the physical. She could no more prevent the poignant pang of sympathy than she could turn back time. She, of all people, understood the pressure of being forced down a dark road not of her choosing. And maybe, just maybe, she could give the girl–young woman, actually, now that she was no longer looking at her merely as a familiar enemy to defeat–reassurance that life could change for the better, the same hope no one ever provided her.
Her soulself wrapped itself around the bags in Jinx's hands, lifting them from numb fingers and gently depositing them on the ground at the base of the building. "I see no evidence of any crime, so I suppose I will have to accept that you are, indeed, partaking in an innocuous walk. I would advise you, however, that your record is against you and grounds for suspicion. I really should escort you to your residence." Was it wrong that she delighted in the second burst of honey? She pulled out her communicator and checked the time, 3:05. "However, I am now 'off-duty', so I trust you can make your own way home." She turned and levitated off the roof to fly back to the Tower.
"Why?" She twisted her head to look at the pinkette. "Why are you helping me?"
Raven opened her mouth to deliver a last quip. "Maybe I'm tired of playing the hero?" Where in Hell did that come from?
From me, of course. She whipped her head away so that Jinx would not see her eyes, widened with dread. She would have known if someone tried to sneak into her mind. She detected nothing, which meant that the voice was already there!
Took you long enough to figure it out. Come to Nevermore, my dear. We have much to discuss.
Raven abandoned her plan to fly to the Tower in favor of teleporting. Once she was safely ensconced in her bedroom, she picked up her mirror and fell into her mind.
At least she would not have to search. There in front of her, looking far too relaxed, was a red robed figure with four glittering eyes.
"Let's have a little chat, shall we?"
Next chapter will be the explanation for Rage's presence and civility. We'll also get a better look at the Ascension and what exactly the Monks did to Raven when she was younger.
I must say, I really enjoyed getting into our girls' heads like that. So different, yet so complementary.
Silently Watches out.