nada129: Another great chapter from please update soon and keep up the hard work. My Christmas was great I bet swimming with dolphins was awesome makes me wanna learn to swim lol
Glad you liked it. Good :) Yeah, it is pretty awesome haha.
Discb: Yay, even more text :)
Sometimes robin it is better to wait.
Ahah :) Yes, sometimes it is, but you try telling him that!
Ayamehanachi: Hey, I just found this story and fell in love with it. I never was really into the Jynx X Raven pairing, but this fic made me realize that they're really cute together. Chasing a serial killer who can't be attacked physically is also an interesting twist to Teen Titans. Robin is being his usual obsessive self and driving everyone else crazy. I am adding u to my favourite authors list! Please update soon :D
Well then, I'm glad I managed to put the couple into a more favourable light for you! Thanks for the fave, I hope you continue to enjoy this story and I hope I didn't leave you waiting too long for the next update!
Stormplains: Ahhhh what is going on? That dude is freaky but makes me think a little of Negative Man, just the whole shadow part. I want to see how this continues, and good lck with revamping your other stories as well as settling back in. Keep writing strong.
Negative man, huh? Well now you mention it… Ahah thanks – I'll need it!
Spikesagitta: Man that's not fair. He can touch her, but Raven can't even touch him.
It isn't there is it? Stupid shadow.
Dak Hamee: Damn that guy is badass, hehe that feeling came from ur heart raven 3 hehe
Hmm.. he's definitely not good news. I'm sure she'll figure that out soon enough… :P
TheAlchemistXXX: Great story, and better than the original. I do love it
Good; that's what I like to hear! I would hate to hear my writing hadn't improved.
Knight of the Raven: *review not shown due to length* First of all, thanks for the lengthly review. I'm glad you liked the narration and well, the small character things you liked. I must say, an allergy is usually due to an over-reactive immune system, and not due to infection. No reason why she can't get one and not the other. :) As always, thanks for pointing out typos and giving suggestions to improve my writing :)
Deathnoteuser: I'm glad you updated this. I read the old version as well and it's not as bad as you made it out to be. I read it so that I could have some background information on A Stroke of Bad Luck (which I love by the way). This is turning out really well.
Not as bad? Man, it sucks! Haha. I'm cringing, knowing you've read it. Anyway, glad you're enjoying!
Raven approached the common room, one large stack of books cradled in her arms while another pile followed behind her, supported by a cushion of dark energy. She could hear Beast Boy's voice despite being several feet away from the common room, partly due to the fact that the changeling always spoke louder than necessary, partly because her hearing was above average. She knew if it had been one of the others, all they would have head was a steady din that sounded like Beast Boy.
"I think I found something! I mean, I kinda did a random search based on the dude's appearance, and it came up with something about shadow… beings or somethin'. I mean, going by the description, it sounds about right, but-"
The common room doors opened, Raven saying as she entered, "Shadow Men are very similar to your average ghost – they can be disturbing to encounter, but they are harmless."
"Hmph. Ghosts. I liked it when I could pretend they didn't exist." Cyborg grumbled. "If ghosts are harmless, what the hell were those things that attacked us in the tunnels under the library that time?"
"Wraiths." Raven answered, moving towards the large table sat opposite the kitchen, putting down the two piles of books. "They were the souls of past followers of the Church of Blood, brought back with dark magic and twisted. Now, out of the books I have, these are the most likely to hold information on the … man we encountered today."
"Those?" Beast Boy whined. "But that's… I mean, how many have you got there? Twenty? Couldn't you have narrowed it down any more?"
"Once we get some understanding on what he is, yes. I know for certain he is without a soul, which leads me to believe he may have been created by very dark magic. Perhaps even necromancy." She lifted five books from the top of one of the piles and set them aside. "The details of which you'll find in these."
"But Raven, how can you be sure he is soul-less?" Starfire frowned.
"When I attack a person with my soul-self, that's what I attack to render them unconscious. A gift from my father, it's what a body-less demon must do in order to possess a shell." Raven answered. "But his wasn't there. He was just… empty." She paused, before motioning towards the five books left from the first pile. "Going on his physical attributes, and the fact we can't touch him, we have these."
The changeling eyed the books reproachfully. "I think I'll stick to the interment."
Raven pointed at the second pile. "Those ten books are on Demonology. I've never come across a demon that lacks a soul – as twisted as they are – but it's better to be safe than sorry."
"Wait, demons have souls?" Cyborg asked, his voice sceptical.
"I have one, don't I?"
"Yeah, but you're half human." He argued, shaking his head. "Mna, that's messed up."
"Everything living has a soul – should have a soul, anyway. There are ways of getting rid of it, but to live without one? It would be better to not live at all, as far as I am concerned."
"And you think we'll be able to find something in these books?" Robin asked.
"And if we don't?"
"I have a few people I can speak with. Some practitioners and some… who would have more knowledge on those three fields than I through personal experience." Raven answered. "It would be off record, of course."
Robin's eyes narrowed as he asked, suspicious, "These are… friends of yours?"
She laughed, a short, surprised sound. "Hardly. I buy books, scrolls, ingredients and information from them. In return they blend in and behave themselves. A considerably good deal, considering who they are."
Robin didn't reply, choosing instead to change the topic. "There's just one thing I can't wrap my head around. He obviously had the upper hand. Why didn't he finish us off there and then? Why did he leave?"
"Either he did not see us as a threat, or he did not want our deaths." Starfire answered. "I would not fear us in his position."
"Something he said… I think he was surprised when I attacked him ad failed to make contact. He… hadn't been expecting it."
"There are ten women missing, two of which have already turned up dead. Don't you think he would have figured out already that he can't be touched?" Cyborg frowned. "Maybe his body isn't the only thing that ain't all there."
"Or it was a comment specific to you, Raven." Robin suggested, looking worried.
"Don't be obtuse, Robin. There is no reason for him to specifically separate me out. He was probably just trying to mess with us, that's all." She grabbed two of the books off the table at random. "Four books each. We should be finished by the end of the week, and hopefully we will have found something."
"Four books?" Beast Boy looked at Raven like she'd lost her mind. "Not everyone can read as fast as you."
Cyborg sighed as he walked over to the table. "Better get started then." He picked up one of the smaller books on demonology, opening up to a random page and scanning the words before reading aloud, "'The average pregnancy lasts no longer than two months.' Damn, that's fast."
"We'd get though the books quicker if you stuck to reading information that appeared relevant." Raven spoke up, her tone sharp. "The development of newborns isn't going to help us identify the creature. I'll be in my room." She quickly turned and left, her teammates watching her go.
"What's wrong with her?" Cyborg asked.
"Remember when she told us of Scath's identity, and her own involvement all those years ago? We asked if we could search her books for a way to help her, and she rejected our offer, leaving us to do it behind her back to find wards for the isolation room?" Starfire asked. "We know nothing about demons, and Raven has just supplied her with the means to learn more. I believe she is worried the more we learn, the more we will see attributes she gained from her father, and the more we will see her as different. That we will focus on these differences, and forget half of her is human."
"Of course we would not." Starfire nodded, cutting Beast Boy's protests short, "And deep down she must know this, or she would have told us she would look at her books, and deny us when we ask to help her do this. But she is still unsure and uncomfortable with the decision she's made."
The three boys looked at each other, Cyborg reading further down the page, before reading aloud, "'All demons are independent from birth, born completely sentient and fully developed mentally.'" He looked at the door Raven had left though. "Well that explains a lot."
Curiosity overcome them, and Beast Boy and Robin both grabbed a book from the pile on Demonology, Starfire relenting a few minutes later.
The two books Raven had picked up lay forgotten on the bed next to where the empath say, as she fingered her communicator, the number for the cheap phone Jinx was using displayed on screen, a heavy feeling of anxiety weighing her chest down as she recalled the hurt, abrupt tone the voice had held when she'd called. She couldn't explain or locate the source of her anxiety, other than it had something to do with Jinx, but she knew better than to ignore the feeling. The longer it was there, the more damage it would do to the balance in Nevermore, until it would have an outward effect on her powers. She looked up at her door as though any of her teammates might storm into her room at that given moment, despite being able to feel them all still in the common room.
She pressed dial, holding her breath as she waited for Jinx to pick up.
"Well, I wasn't expecting a call from you."
Raven let her breath out at the sound of Jinx's voice, before asking quietly. "…Can we meet up? Just for an hour or so."
There was a pause before the meta-human answered. "I suppose. Meet in the park?"
Raven nodded before remembering Jinx couldn't see her. "Okay."
Jinx hung up and Raven quickly closed her communicator, dropping it beside the books as she rushed over to her wardrobe, grabbing a pair of grey jeans and a black, long sleeved top to replace her leotard and cloak, changing and slipping her communicator into her pocket. She checked the time on her clock, the hands reading quarter to eleven. She had told her teammates she would be in her room if she was needed, but she knew without doubt they wouldn't see long after twelve before Robin would send everyone to bed and get Cyborg to lock up the tower. She also knew that while Robin would remain awake for at least another three hours, trying to find information on the Shadow, he wouldn't disturb her. No one would notice her absence.
Raven waited impatiently under the same tree they'd met under the first time, her eyes seeing nothing but the path Jinx usually came from. Five, ten minutes passed before Raven spotted the thief, dressed in her usual H.I.V.E outfit. She was able to both feel and see on her face an undercurrent of anger. The empath prepared herself for the rant that was no doubt on it's way when she saw Jinx's expression falter, and felt her anger disappear to be replaced by another emotion.
Reaching Raven, tentative fingers smoothed the skin just below the cut on the titan's brow. "You're hurt."
She hadn't expected to hear concern from the meta-human, and Raven only just managed to stop herself from knocking Jinx's hand away. "It's nothing. I've been hurt worse than this by you." She smiled slightly, but the thief didn't see it.
Raven froze under Jinx's touch as her fingers moved to smooth over the bruise that was beginning to show on her jaw, then over the empath's slightly swollen lips. "What happened?"
"I got thrown around into a few shelves." She shrugged. "The bruising will have come and gone by tomorrow. I'm a quick healer."
"Was it the guy who's been off-ing those women?" Jinx let her hand drop as Raven moved back a step.
"He didn't exactly give me a direct answer, but I think it was." She moved to sit at the base of the tree, Jinx joining her.
"So, why did you call me out?"
"I…" Raven shrugged as words failed her. She didn't want to admit she'd been unable to focus because she was worried she'd upset the thief, but she couldn't think of an excuse to otherwise explain why she'd called Jinx.
"I… understand I may have… upset you earlier tonight." She spoke slowly and quietly. "I'm not sure how I upset you but… I wish to make amends." She kept her eyes on her lap, embarrassment turning her cheeks pink, apologising going against her nature.
"I'm upset because you ignored me. You don't just brush your girlfriend aside when you're on a date. I don't care if you were saving the world, the least you could have done was send me off with a proper goodbye. A kiss wouldn't have gone amiss either."
"Jinx I'm not… I mean you're not my girlfriend. I don't-"
"Save it for someone who believes you." Jinx cut her short, shifting to her knees and moving to sit in front of Raven so the empath didn't have a choice but to look at her. She could see the colour in Raven's cheeks despite how dark it was, and it made her feel slightly better. "Do I have to point out how many times we've met up after I told you it would count as a date if you turned up? I'll forgive you for your appalling manners though, for a kiss."
When it was clear Jinx meant for Raven to make the first move she shifted uncomfortably and chewed on her lower lip as she tried to catch the thoughts chasing through her head. It's not like they hadn't already kissed, but Jinx had always started it. Raven still had that to cling on to whenever she felt guilty about her evenings out with the super-villain. Her movements were too quick and sudden for Jinx to follow, and the meta-human briefly felt Raven's lips pressed against her cheek before Raven sat back, looking almost as though she hadn't moved at all.
"You call that a kiss?" The thief teased. "Nu-uh. That's not good enough."
"Then you'll just have to stay mad at me." Raven huffed, crossing her arms.
"You were the one who wanted to 'make amends'. Not me." She reminded the titan. Knowing she had her, she started to get to her feet. "Have a nice life."
Raven moved without thinking, her hand grabbing Jinx's shoulder to keep her from leaving as she pressed her lips to the thief's, her movements turning from sudden and harsh to slow and hesitant as her mind caught up with her. The meta-human's hand found Raven's un-bruised cheek as she kissed her back, the empath unaware of the smug smile she was wearing. She slowly crawled forward, gently shoving Raven's legs apart so she could get closer to the titan, her hand moving from the girl's cheek to brush the skin of Raven's neck before moving round and holding the base of Raven's head. She caught the empath's bottom lip with her teeth and gently tugged. Something exploded nearby in response, taking both of the girl by surprise, Raven's cheeks burning with embarrassment as she jerked back, her eyes trying to find the source of the noise; to find anything but the thief.
"Much better." Jinx was smiling. "You're forgiven." She sat back down, grabbing Raven's hand to try and get the girl to look at her when she still seemed way too focused on finding whatever she'd accidently broken. Raven's face was still a bright shade of crimson and she laughed. "You know, looking at me won't kill you." After a long moment, amethyst eyes found pink and, impossibly, her face turned an even darker shade of red. "I don't get it; what are you so embarrassed about?" Jinx laughed again.
"I… didn't mean to break whatever I did." Raven answered quietly.
Jinx waved it aside. "Who cares? It's not like it's anything of value. It was probably just a slab of concrete or something. So, did you catch the bad guy or what?"
"We couldn't touch him." Raven told her, the colour fading off her face as her tone displayed concern and worry. "As I found out shortly after I entered the building."
"What do you mean, you couldn't touch him?"
"I literally couldn't touch him. I tried to attack him, and just went straight through him as though he wasn't there."
Jinx's brow creased with her own feelings of concern, her eyes going to the healing cut on Ravens forehead. It already looked much better than it had a couple of minutes ago. "Well, he was obviously able to touch you." She pointed out and Raven nodded. "So what are you going to do next?"
"Try and figure out what he is – because he certainly isn't human – and hope a solution comes along with the knowledge. Everyone – everything – can be defeated and overcome; we just have to figure out how."
Jinx nodded. "Anyway, before the shadowy… thing interrupted us earlier tonight, you were saying something about some mistake you'd made…"
"No. I am not talking about it." Raven quickly shook her head, frowning. "It was years ago, anyway, and it'll never happen again – I won't let it."
"You know you're just piping my curiosity, right? Come on – I mean, it couldn't have been that bad or everyone would know about it."
"Change the subject or I'm going home."
Jinx pouted, sighing when it didn't change Raven's mind – didn't seem to have any effect at all. "Fine. Guess I'll just try again another day. I should probably head back anyway before the boys start to wonder where I am."
Raven nodded and got to her feet, the meta-human standing with her. "It'll… probably be a while before I can meet up with you again."
Jinx grinned. "And after all this talk and threats about you not answering your communicator? I have some H.I.V.E stuff to do anyway. No attacking shadow monsters without backup, okay?"
"So long as you promise to be careful. Robin believes he may have specifically gone after me tonight, and if he did, and he saw you…"
"What makes bird brain think that?"
"Just something the man said."
"Uhuh. Well I have eyes on the back of my head anyway. I'll be fine." She dismissed the empath's concerns with a wave of her hand. "Now kiss me goodbye so I can go home and get my beauty sleep." She stepped forward as she spoke, for the first time certain Raven wouldn't protest. The kiss was short, but none of the less sweet.
She stayed to watch the titan leave, a black portal consuming the girl, before she found herself reprimanding her own actions.
"Get her trust, get dirt on her, and then get reporters on her ass. Come on Jinx – it aint that hard."
Starfire floated down the long corridor to the empath's room, her mind unsettled, unable to forget the speed of which her team mate had left the common room after bringing the books to them. She couldn't help but remember how vulnerable she'd felt, introducing her friends to Tamaran and its traditions, all so very different from the American way of doing things. Despite thinking at the time she would have to leave her friends for a rather unwanted life on Tamaran, she had been worried their differences, shoved in her friends' faces like that, might have alienated her friends from her, and if she could do anything to avoid Raven from feeling the same way about her current position…
Reaching the door, she knocked lightly, waiting a moment before calling out softly, "Raven, it is Starfire. I wish to talk to you."
She knew the chance of Raven being asleep was small, and if she was, that she was a light sleeper. The lack of response worried her – she hadn't come across Raven in any other part of the tower –and she called out again.
She pressed her ear against the door, hoping to hear some response, when the door hissed and slid open suddenly, unlocked, dumping the alien onto the charcoal carpet of Raven's room. She scrambled to her feet, a rushed apology having already left her lips before her eyes had even had chance to scan the dark room, finding it empty.
Just to make sure, she slowly looked over the room again. Everything in Raven's room was neat, from the perfectly made bed to the placement of jars sat on the top shelf of the bookcase, so it didn't take Starfire long to notice the pieces of Raven's uniform hastily scattered across the carpet.
It was rare to see Raven dressed in anything but her cloak and leotard, but Starfire could count several recent occasions where she or another titan had seen Raven in jeans. As the pieces connected in her head, the princess smile, and had decided to sit on the bed and wait for Raven's return when the empath appeared, a blush burning across her face as she caught sight of her teammate, quickly followed by a frown.