A/N: What's this? My first fanfic that isn't Rae/Jinx? (Lies. I have a BB/Rae fic that's over 120 pages hanging around my room somewhere) So yeah, I haven't read many Red X fan fics, so I don't know how my interpretation is going to compare to other peoples (those who read my stuff will know I like to incorporate the comics, hint hint.) Still, hope you enjoy it, and a few critical reviews wouldn't go amiss ;)
Oh, and once again, thanks Concolor for acting as a beta for this thing :)
Most people, especially those that live outside the city, think of the night as a time of silence and peace. Raven had too, before she left Azarath for Jump City. Now, as she flew between the tall buildings that were commonplace at the centre of the city, her sensitive ears were assaulted with the sounds of traffic, police sirens, pounding music from the city's various bars and clubs, and the laughter of people determined to enjoy their Saturday night.
Due to their keen night vision, Beast Boy and the empath typically got to cover the late patrol shifts on Friday and Saturday. Not that they usually had much activity from the city's major criminals during those two nights, the busy streets and constant police patrols harbouring too many chances of being seen and interrupted. But it was a gold mine for pick pockets and petty theft. Add in the occasional drunken brawl, and the police needed all the extra help they could get.
Not that Raven minded. The patrol was usually calm and un-taxing; scanning the crowds, the empath could easily pick out the emotional signs of a fight before it had happened, and walking past at street level, or flying low enough to be easily seen, was usually enough to ensure that there was no fight. Any fight that was happening below on the street was easily pulled apart with a small show of her soul self. It was amazing how the sight of a Titan could sober most people up. It was a welcome change of pace after a week of fighting meta-humans and guys with overpowered gadgets.
Content that the block was free of anything that demanded her attention, she moved to the next one on her route, picking a perch on top of one of the buildings, her feet hanging over the edge of the roof as she watched the street below her. This one was busier than the last, the sidewalk almost overflowing with women in heels too high and dress to short, and men shouting back at forth at friends or particularly scantily dressed women.
There were two casinos on this street – both of which were carefully monitored by Robin in order to prevent any crime lords setting up shop – four clubs, seven bars, and one 'gentleman's club'. It was a street she passed by several times on her patrol due to its popularity.
She watched with a disturbed frown as a woman moved to throw up in one of the street's gutters, a friend standing by her as passersby laughed and stared. Raven couldn't quite understand how a night of poisoning yourself with alcohol could be considered as anyone's idea of 'fun'. The loss of control over your emotional state, and the morning hangover she knew that came the day after from occasionally witnessing her team mates after the parties various Titans sometimes organised had been enough to put her off even trying alcohol.
She kept her eyes on the inebriated woman until the stranger's friend shoved her into a taxi that pulled up, getting in after her. There were more dangers than pick pockets and fights, particularly for someone intoxicated past reason, and more than once she'd had to step between a drunk and their possible harasser. She went back to scanning the crowd, snapping to attention when she caught sight of someone moving down the street almost at a run, her eyes snapping to the man as he shoved his way through the crowded sidewalk. She could feel his tension, and the way he kept glancing behind him told her that, whoever he was, he was up to no good.
As she looked up, ready to drop from the roof top, she saw someone's silhouette run across the tops of the buildings across from her, executing a perfect somersault as he leaped over the gap between two buildings, his gaze fixed on the streets when he wasn't looking ahead. Her first thought was that it was Robin, her eyes picking up what appeared to be a cape being pulled out behind him, until she remembered he had no reason to be out tonight. If there was a situation that had caught the Titans' attention, her communicator would have gone off. Dropping from the edge of the roof, she pursued him, not sure what to make of it.
The man on the ground picked up his speed as he turned onto an almost empty street before ducking into an alleyway out of Raven's sight. She silently cursed as the person travelling across the rooftops dropped down off the edge of a building, into the alleyway the man had run down. She picked up speed, coming to a stop as she hovered over the alleyway, her eyes widening as she watched one of the figures hold the other up against the wall by his neck. As she started to descend, she made a pushing motion with her hands, her eyes flashing white as a sheet of dark energy smashed into the aggressor, knocking him aside, away from the figure against the wall.
The man dropped and stumbled as he made a painful gasping noise, pushing to his feet as Raven's boots touched the broken pavement, and made a run for it back out the alley. She heard the other person get to his feet, and turned to find Red X running towards her. She started to bring up her hands, ready to attack or defend herself, but the thief shoved her aside as he chased after the man who had fled.
Red X stopped at the entrance to the alleyway, cursing loudly as he looked up and down the street to find it empty. As Raven recovered from her surprise, she walked towards him, her arm pointing towards one of the dumpsters sat against the walls.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" She moved her arm forward, towards Red X, and the dumpster flew through the air towards the thief.
Having heard her mantra, Red X ducked, only just missing the large projectile as it skinned the top of his head and hit the road behind him with a loud crash. Turning to face the Titan, he pushed forward into a sprint as he saw her motioning towards something else, managing to yank the young woman's hood over her eyes before he tripped her up.
"Sorry Sunshine, but I don't have time to fight you tonight."
He moved towards a nearby fire escape and leapt up, only managing to climb several rungs before the ladder came loose from the wall and fell. Landing on his back, Red X tilted his head back to look at Raven in time to see the white light that usually accompanied the use of her powers leave her amethyst eyes.
"My name is Raven."
Seeing something move towards him out the corner of his eyes, he quickly rolled, a trashcan hitting the floor where he had been.
"Not that this hasn't been lovely, but I really don't have time for this." Red X leapt to his feet before throwing one of his X's, the unusual projectile created by the man's stolen xenothium powered suit expanding as it made its way towards the heroine, the centre of the projectile hitting Raven's sternum and pushed her back into the alley wall, where she stuck despite her attempts to escape, her feet hanging just above the alley floor and arms trapped by her side.
She raised her feet up and tried to push off against the wall as she squirmed, before looking up to glare at Red X. "Let me down. Now."
"So you can attempt to beat my ass while I'm meant to be after some other guy's ass? No can do. Don't worry; I'll let Bird Boy know where you are."
Her expression darkened, and the thief suddenly found himself airborne. He hit the wall behind him, dropped to his hands and knees, somewhat startled by the attack. "Now." She repeated, her voice almost a growl.
He stared at the empath for a moment, before getting to his feet and dusting his suit down. He'd picked up quite a lot about each individual Titan during his time fighting against them, and on occasion alongside them. He didn't have to be a mind reader to know the empath would find nothing more embarrassing than having to be 'rescued' by one of her team mates. It was an embarrassment he would share if he ever had to have help getting out of such a situation. He walked over to her, and pulled a small canister off his utility belt. "You owe me one."
"For letting me out of a trap you put me in? I don't think so." Raven frowned as the thief sprayed the large X that was keeping her stuck to the wall with whatever was in the can.
He stepped back, the emotionless skull mask disturbing Raven slightly, covering the smile she was certain he was wearing. "Don't think about following me. That stuff should take about five minutes to work." He saluted her as he backed up. "See you around, Sunshine."
Raven watched him leave the alley, before she tried to throw her body weight forward, eyes narrowing with determination as she heard the sticky substance pull away from the wall, giving her a small amount of room for movement. She pulled forward again, this time planting her feet against the wall to give her better leverage, determined to catch up with Red X.
She could feel the strange substance begin to dig into her skin where it cut across her ribs but didn't let it put her off as she continued to lean forward, pushing off from the wall. At that moment she couldn't care less about whoever he was after, focused only on finding the thief and giving him a taste of his own medicine.
The red substance gave way a little more, before completely coming away from the wall, dumping the surprised empath onto the alley floor. She got to her feet and carefully pulled the X away from the fabric of her leotard before dropping it onto the floor and levitating, gaining height until she could see across most of the roof tops within her view, scanning each one for the shadow of Red X, unsurprised but no less irritated when she came up empty. He'd always had an infuriating habit of being elusive.
Moving back to the street she'd been watching before she'd caught sight of the thief and whoever he'd been chasing, she continued her patrol route with a permanent frown etched into her face, harbouring almost no attention for the civilians of the streets below as she kept an eye out for the masked anti-hero.
Feeling more anger than he had in a long time, Red X didn't wait long after leaving the Titan to take to the rooftops again, knowing he stood a better chance of finding his target up there than he did down on the streets. Of course, the bastard could have gone anywhere in the time it had taken him to deal with Raven.
"Of all the times for one of the Titans to show up." Red X muttered, before smiling slightly. Of course, I'd take her company over Robin's any time.
Quickly jumping across from one building to the next, he kept his eyes glued to the streets and alleyways, looking out for the slightest bit of movement. He wasn't expecting the man to have run too far, probably thinking he was safe from both the anti-hero and the Titan. He slowed his pace to a walk as he considered the irritating possibility that he'd lost the man. After all, Red X would have no way of telling if he'd ducked into a building. Coming to a stop, he gazed over the edge of the roof at what looked like some sort of loading bay, his eyes narrowing slightly as someone entered the space at a slow jog, the man glancing back over his shoulder before moving forward.
The thief crouched down as he tried to get a better look at the person, head tilted slightly to the side, not sure whether to believe his luck or not. The man paused in front of two large loading bay doors and looked around again before pushing them open, the amount of noise they made informing Red X that they hadn't been used in a while. He glanced around from his perch on the edge of the roof, realising with a frown that he wasn't completely sure where in the city they were, having moved with little thought on where he was going. He waited until the man had entered the building and reclosed the doors before turning and stepping backwards off the edge of the building, falling for a moment before he grabbed hold of a passing windowsill to halt his decent, pushing off from the wall slightly so he moved away from the building as he dropped the last few feet, narrowly missing the fence that cut between the two properties as he landed in a crouch.
Straightening up, he turned and moved towards the two large doors, studying them for a moment, before easing along the wall until he found a broken window large enough for him to squeeze through, wanting to keep the element of surprise that he had. Red X picked the last few shards of glass out of the frame before he climbed through, scanning the room around him.
It was some sort of storage room, though nothing much remained other than a few empty boxes, confirming his suspicions that the building had been abandoned. He moved to open the door leading out of the small room, walking out in a crouch and sticking close to the wall when he saw how large the area was, unhappy about the amount of old equipment still laying around. It wouldn't make his job any easier, especially if the man had come here in an attempt to hide.
An old, rusting conveyor belt stuck out from the wall he had been following, cutting off his path. Red X slowly stood to his full height, his eyes still moving back and forth across the room. He saw a shadow flit across one of the windows of light that hit the back wall and moved forward as quietly as he could while keeping a good amount of speed, easily jumping over the conveyor belt that twisted its way through the room, dodging the boxes and broken bits of machinery that littered the rest of the floor.
He knew he was catching up with the man when the sound of his target's footsteps became louder. Red X picked up his pace, no longer worried about how much noise he was making, confident the man couldn't out run him. He skidded around a corner and his target came into sight, only a couple of feet in front of him. Throwing his hand forward, the palm of his hand glowed red in the shape of an X before a projectile similar to the one he'd thrown at the Titan sped forward, hitting its target with frightening accuracy.
With no wall to catch him, the man toppled forward from the force of the attack, sticking to the floor face down. Red X slowed to a walk as he closed the distance between them, crouching next to the man before grabbing a fistful of his dirty blonde curls and turning his head so the man was looking at him.
"W-what do you want?"
"We have a slight dilemma." Red X told him, amused at how the man boggled at his skull mask. "That shipment your boss had you and your friends intercept wasn't yours to intercept. You're lucky I hadn't got any deals lined up with anyone. So, next time you see your boss, Bob, let him know, an' we might be able to clear this up. No hard feelings an' all that."
"Aint nothin' to clear up." The man replied. "You against all of us?" He didn't see the young man's eyes narrow behind his mask.
"Well, if you'd prefer to do it the fun way, feel free to tell me where you guys have set up base."
"What do you think I am? Stupid?"
The thief decided not to answer, instead reaching into the man's coat pocket and pulling out a semi-automatic pistol. He'd seen the bulge in the man's jacket the moment he'd started following him, and hadn't had any illusions about what he was carrying. He pretended to study it, carefully placing a small tracer on the butt of the gun.
"9mm huh? You must have small hands, Bob. Or maybe you just didn't feel the need to pack anything bigger." He ejected the magazine and counted the number of bullets. "You carrying one in the barrel? You can't be a real thug if you're not carrying one in the barrel." When the man didn't reply, he slid the magazine back into place and checked the safety was on before putting it back in the guy's coat pocket. "You know, I think you're the first I've come across here carrying a good, old fashioned firearm." Red X stood up and stepped back from the man. "I'm just gonna leave you there. Someone'll probably find you, an' if not that'll wear off eventually." He motioned towards the large red X keeping him flattened to the floor. "See you around, Bob."
The thief quickly left the building, moving to sit on the roof for a moment while he checked that the tracker beacon was working, reaching for a small grey device on his belt and turning it on, smiling slightly when a red dot blinked at him, giving him a position on the city's blueprints that showed on the screen.