DragoLord19D: Hope the updates aren't coming too slowly for you. The move was good. Getting used to aussie, not too sure what I think about the constant high temperatures though.
nada129: Good :) it's nice to hear that. Will do, and I had a pretty fantastic Christmas thanks (spend the day swimming with dolphins) Hope you had a great Christmas too!
rest for the wicked: Glad to hear it. It is a pretty good reason to celebrate in my book too :P
discb: Ahah I personally love Disney. The classics anyway. Hate anything they've in the past 10 years that wasn't an animation. HSM for example.
Mttmercado: Hmmm. I think they both might be heading for trouble.
flshgordon003: Hope I didn't keep you waiting too long.
Spikesagitta: Ahah I personally like cliff hangers… so long as I'm writing them and not reading them xD
Stormplains: Good :) Hope I didn't keep you waiting too long for the update.
Dak Hamee: Hmmm… who knows :P
Echo of an Idiot: Ahah that's alright. Yeah the move was alright. Haven't gotten used to the heat yet.
TyrionGreywind: Yeah, looking back I always think "Did I really write that? Did I really think it was good enough to ever see the light of day?" Therefore I'm GLAD you don't remember much. I'm glad to hear it HAS improved!
Guest: Normally I root for Raven/Jinx in your stories, but this time I can't quite bring myself to. The line Bros before Hoes keeps echoing through my head. The titans in this are your bros Raven, and this Jinx is just a manipulative ho.
On the other hand I am enjoying reading it, and am very glad that you are rewriting it. I tried reading the first version and decided to stop and return to your more current works. Kudos on improving your writing so much though!
Ahah yeah, I think bros before hoes should sum up how Raven should treat Jinx this time. I'm glad you're enjoying it, and slightly horrified to hear your tried to read the old version because it is very, very crap. Ahah thanks. It's taken two years of solid writing, and there's still so much more to improve!
mega fan 555:I've read some of your other works and I'm incredibly impressed with this story as much as I am with the others. Can't wait for the next chapter
Thanks :) And glad you're enjoying! Hopefully the wait wasn't too long.
Raven closed her communicator and pocketed it. "Now would probably be a great time to disappear."
Leaving before Jinx had time to reply, Raven was careful to stay close to the roofs of the buildings, keeping her distance from the shadow to decrease the likelihood of her being spotted by the individual. Unable to catch a glimpse of their face, the stranger managing to stick within the shadows of the buildings, Raven turned to her empathy instead, frowning when she couldn't feel any emotions coming from the figure, almost as though she were being blocked out. Her eyes narrowed with worry, noting optimistically that it was at least one more thing to go by in their search to identify the individual. If this was him. Carefully, she tried to close the distance between them to get a better glimpse of who she was following, so focused on the figure that she didn't see the old building in front of them until it was almost upon them. Coming to a stop, Raven watched the shadow disappear into the door of the building.
Levitating back a few inches she studied the front of the building. The old, weathered and unreadable sign stuck to the front of the building told her it had once been a shop of some sort, the lack of floors on the building ruling out the possibility of it being a hotel. She eyed the door, her brain working overtime. She couldn't afford to lose him, not if it was their murderer, yet she was concerned by the abilities the figure had displayed in the short time she'd been following. It was a rare occurrence when Raven couldn't pick up an essence of what an individual was feeling, one of the exceptions being the Justice League's telepath, Martian Manhunter. The fact that they'd disappeared into the door concerned her too, and she couldn't help but think of Jinx's explanation for the shadow's figure. It wasn't like she could ignore the possibility of it being something 'supernatural' – her own existence, and especially the ghostly figures that haunted one of the passages under the old library, proved Jinx's suggestion wasn't all that fanciful.
Within seconds she had landed on the ground, her footsteps soundless as she made her way towards the door. She grabbed the handle then stopped, slowly pulling her hand away before quietly muttering her mantra. Dark energy attached itself to the door, starting off as a small, barely visible dot and growing until it covered the width of the door. She stepped through, the black receding to reveal a barely lit room filled with ceiling high shelves. Raven noted the only reason she could see so well in the fading light was due to the nature of her eyesight, thanks to her demonic heritage. Looking around, she toyed with the idea of going back outside and watching from the air, before shaking her head at herself, walking slowly forward as she tried not to make any noise, listening for the tell-tale sounds that someone was in the building with her; footsteps or fabric moving, even breathing, but it was eerily silent.
Raven jumped as something crashed to the floor, the noise echoing in the silence. She scanned the floor around herself, checking it wasn't something she'd managed to knock over without realising but came up empty. Something else hit the floor, and she turned to face the rough direction the sound had come from, getting an eyeful of shelves. Fighting the feeling that told her she was dangerously close to being trapped, she reached into the pocket of her jeans and closed her hand around her communicator, her fingers finding the three buttons that needed to be pressed simultaneously to set off the distress signal. She pushed them, hoping it would encourage her teammates to arrive quicker. Letting go of her communicator, she started moving forward again, carefully making her way down the aisle opposite the door.
"Show yourself!" Raven spoke, managing to sound bored despite the storm of worry and adrenaline chewing away at her concentration.
Someone laughed, and Raven faltered for a moment, put off by the sound.
"I'm a member of the Teen Titans, helping the police with a murder case. If you'd present yourself to me and answer a few questions… I'd like to inform you you're also trespassing on private property. Be cooperative, and I might let it slide."
The individual laughed again, obviously amused by Raven's offer, and this time she teleported towards the sound, reappearing moments later in the air behind the dark figure, her boot on a crash course with the person's head. If it wasn't their murderer, she figured she could apologize late, not wanting to take any chances. Her foot reached its target but met no resistance, Raven too shocked to halt her fall as she crashed into the floor.
Slightly dazed and confused, she didn't react as the figure moved to stand in front of her. Cold fingers grabbed her violet hair, yanking up hard, forcing Raven to her feet. She kicked out without looking, but once again her foot found no resistance, her right hand failing to find the person's wrist that she tried to grab in an attempt to lessen the pressure on her scalp. Her eyes searched for the man's face – definitely a man, judging from the pitch of the laugh she'd heard moments before – as she fought against the panic slowly bubbling inside her, finding nothing but a blank canvas of shadow. He laughed once more and Raven aimed a right-hook at his face, this time able to watch as her fist travelled through him as though he wasn't there. A fist connected with her stomach and she tried to hide her pain as she struggled to draw in a breath, winded, her brain screaming at her.
Why can't I touch him?!
The pressure on her scalp suddenly increased, and Raven found herself airborne. She hit the shelves to her left, the wood snapping under her weight, broken planks falling with her to the floor. Several of those planks started to glow with a black light, covered in dark energy, before they went flying towards the shadow, passing straight through him just as she had.
"Haven't you worked it out yet? You can't touch me." He crouched down in front of the titan and grabbed her chin, making sure she was looking at him. "Even if I can touch you."
Raven's eyes widened as he stood with her as though she weighed nothing before throwing her again. Somewhat more prepared, and over the initial feeling of shock, Raven managed to halt her fall, levitating inches in front of the shelves she should have hit.
"The girls? Where are they? Where are you keeping them?" Raven couldn't see him amusement, but suddenly she could feel it, whatever barrier he'd put up between them having crashed down.
"Girls? Surely you don't mean the ones on the news? Even if I was behind it, why would I tell you when I have such an advantage? When there is still so much that needs to be done?"
Her eyes narrowed. "So it is you."
She could imagine his smile, feel it. The shadow jumped at her, and she tried to avoid him by moving to the left, but he still managed to grab hold of her arm, pulling her down with him. "You know, this might be a lot easier than I'd been anticipating."
This time Raven used her dark energy to try and push him away from her, using a large, flat wall that – like everything else – simply passed through him, connecting with the shelving behind him and knocking it over in a large cloud of dust.
"So stubborn. Believe me when I say you really can't touch me."
Her eyes narrowed, and despite the dangerous position it would leave her body in, she tried the only move she had that had never failed her in all her years of fighting. Muttering her mantra under her breath she moved her conscious into the part of her that was all demonic energy, tugging her soul self out of her body with quite a bit of effort. She moved forward, a black mass as dark as his own, while her body lay unmoving, only kept upright by his grip on her arm. She tried to find something she could grab on to as she entered the shadow, the essence of his soul; what she would usually attack to make a man unconscious, but she couldn't find anything. She tried to grab onto his emotions next, his amusement strong, but it was too loud, leaking through the shield cutting off the majority of her empathic abilities, making her own emotions harder to control.
She was aware of other people arriving – her teammates – and panicked slightly. She needed to tell them he couldn't be touched. She knew they found that out for themselves when she began to feel her teammates' frustration and the slow growth of the shadow's amusement. She tried to use that amusement as an anchor once more, though this time to push away from, out of what could barely be called his body and back into her own.
Pain was the first thing she felt, above her right eyebrow, and as the rest of her senses came back to her, she realised he was laying on the floor at the bottom of the shelves, the shadow apparently having thrown her at some point. She sat up, putting a hand to her brow, wincing at the sharp pain, her hand coming away smeared with crimson. She turned her eyes onto her attacker, and even though she now knew he had no more facial features than her soul self forms did, she could feel him watching her, ignoring Beast Boy as he charged at him in the form of a bull, going straight through him to collide with Cyborg on the other side.
He walked towards Raven at a leisurely pace. She could see Robin behind him, yelling something, but she couldn't hear a word, possibly having gone deaf from shock. The creature reached her and continued past towards the door. She turned to watch him as he disappeared through the door the same as when he had entered the building. She was aware of her teammates moving, possibly going to try and chase after the figure, but Raven stopped them, forcing herself to stand and block their path. The sudden movements made her blood pump from her head wound quicker, and she tried to wipe the steady stream from her face before it reached her eye.
"No." She shook her head. "Let him go." She tried to ignore how she must have looked to them, gripping the shelves for support with wide eyes and blood dripping down the side of her face. "We can't touch him. You'll only get hurt."
Beast Boy and Cyborg rushed forward, the changeling attempting to support her while Cyborg tried to check her scalp wound but she pushed them both away.
"What happened?" Cyborg asked, sounding worried. "We came through the door and you were just dangling from his hold."
"We though…" Beast Boy took a deep breath, clearly shaken. "You were so still."
"I'm fine. I'd left my body in an attempt to take him out. When I discovered I couldn't touch him physically, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try and attack him mentally. It just didn't work."
"He threw you aside when he saw us. We had been expecting him to try and use you as a shield." Starfire informed her. "Although it makes sense, now knowing that somehow he avoids our every strike. Is he the killer we have been searching for?"
"I asked him where he was keeping the women. He… didn't own up to having them, but he did ask me why I thought he'd tell me if it was him, and something about there being so much more work to do." Raven answered. "I think it's him."
"Come on, let's get you back to the tower so I can get a proper look at your injury." Cyborg took control, moving to lead her out of the building. "We can talk about what happened after we stop you from bleeding over everything."
She sat as still as she could while Cyborg dabbed the wound with a cotton pad that had been dipped in disinfectant. Raven knew it was overkill, but no matter how many times she told him she didn't get infections, he still insisted, coming out with the phrase, 'better safe than sorry.'
Beast Boy was the only one why wasn't in the infirmary, having excused himself, saying between the overpowering stench of anti-septic and Raven's blood, he was starting to feel ill himself. No one had questioned him; he'd always avoided spending time in the infirmary, and Raven could remember the first time she'd ever received a deeper than skin wound during a fight. Beast Boy had been certain the empath had a seriously advanced case of blood poisoning from the scent of her blood, despite all the evidence that she didn't. It was the first time she through her identity had truly been compromised, ever having only counted on them questioning the physical attributes that they could see. She hadn't even considered the idea that Beast Boy's disease tampered senses might pick up on the other things that marked her as being not completely human. Cyborg, as usual, had deflected the changeling's questions away from Raven, mistaking her anxiety for feelings of hurt.
"What happened?" Robin asked. "I told you not to engage with the target."
Raven's eyes found her leader. "He went into the building – we couldn't afford to lose sight of him. Besides, we didn't know if he was our killer. I only meant to question him."
"Raven, you went against direct orders. You shouldn't have been near that part of town any. You promised us you wouldn't go there without the company of someone else."
The empath brushed Cyborg's hand away and stood despite the robotic teen's protests. "You act as though none of us have ever chosen to listen to our own judgement over given orders." She decided not to rise to his second statement. Technically, she hadn't been alone, but she didn't feel like sharing who she had been with.
"You could have been seriously hurt." Robin stressed, following her as she left the infirmary.
"I did what I believed to be the best course of action at the time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to meditate."
"We need to discuss what you found out about your attacker. You said you attempted to disable him with a mental attack. Did you-"
She stopped in the hallway and turned to face him. "Robin, I don't want to talk about it right now."
"We're chasing a serial killer Raven – we have to act upon information when we receive it, not when it suits us."
"You want to know what I found out?" Her anger seemed to rise out of nowhere, but Raven knew it stemmed from the small feeling of fear slowly gnawing away at her. Rage never did like it when Timid managed to find a foothold. "I found out he's not human, and nothing we can do will make even a mark on him. We don't know what he is or how to stop him, and until I can concentrate enough to consult my books without forgetting everything I've read, I need you to back the hell off for five minutes! Is that really too much to ask for?"
She turned, not waiting for an answer, and left an almost speechless boy wonder as she sought out her room, closing the door and locking it behind her. Raven's communicator suddenly started buzzing at her, and she tore it from her belt, throwing it across the room. When the ringing didn't stop, she moved to pick it up, not needing to check the caller ID to know it was Jinx. Raven flipped it open but didn't say anything, staring at the blank screen that usually would have held a picture of the titan calling her.
"Raven! You're okay? Was it whoever's been killing those chicks?"
"I'm fine." She answered quietly after a long pause. "I'm… not sure. Didn't give me a direct answer, but I'm pretty certain it's him."
"Him?" Jinx asked, and Raven nodded, forgetting the thief couldn't see her.
"The voice was definitely male. Jinx, I need to go – I've got a lot of work to do and-"
"Yeah, yeah. Just one last thing. Don't you dare run off like that again." Raven was surprised at the hint of hurt she could hear in the girl's voice, unaware that surprise was mirrored in Jinx. "I mean it."
Raven didn't quite know how to respond, and was struggling to think up an adequate response when Jinx hung up, leaving Raven with the dial tone. She stared at her communicator with a growing sense of restlessness, the beginnings of worry mixing in with the fear eating away at her, though she couldn't have said where that feeling of worry had come from, only that Jinx had caused it.
This and chapter 9 both used to be one chapter. That chapter used to be just under 3000 words. They're now both roughly 3000 words and separate chapters in their own right. I knew I was re-writing this for some reason.