Authors Note: Major AU, Rachel- Raven, Jason-Red X, Kori- Starfire, Karen- BumbleBee; Major OOC-ness, you have been warned... full explanation at the bottom, try to enjoy...
Dedicated to Ray Bradbury(read AN at bottom for explanation), 1920-2012, great author, great guy. Fun fact: He wrote some of his own fanfiction as well! No joke, he couldn't wait for the next book to come out in a series he was reading, so he wrote the sequel himself to lessen the wait! Who woulda thought?!
Now, onto the fic!
To Be Decided
Jason Todd glared at his new partner. Never before had he been so angry at the teacher's stupidity. He could handle the constant tests and notes, he could take spontaneous essays and pop quizzes, he could even see the point of the major semester projects that would count for a large percentage of your grade.
What he couldn't stand was when the teacher's paired kids up for meaningless group activities that would always end up being more trouble than they were worth.
What made this whole predicament even worse was the fact that Jason had gotten the news from his new partner, Rachel Roth, one of the most difficult people he had known since his middle school days.
"It's not that bad," Rachel reasoned, "I mean all she's asking of us-"
"It's not the assignment I'm upset over," Jason huffed.
Rachel got a confused look in her violet eyes. She never had understood Jason. None of the kids ever really did.
"Well there's worse people that she could've paired up, and it's better than working in a huge group. Now we can share the work equally," she beamed.
'Which is Rachel-speak for, 'you're going to end up doing everything',' Jason thought, 'Just perfect…'
The duo had finally made their way to their bus seats, the air filling up with the sounds of tired students chatting about the day's events and becoming polluted with the scent of sweaty jocks and perfume of the preppy cheerleaders.
Taking seats near the back, as was standard procedure for the juniors and seniors, Rachel and Jason continued their conversation, failing to notice the glares from their new bus driver.
"I miss one class, and end up paired with you. Of all the people she could've chosen," Jason didn't try to hold in his contempt for Rachel any longer.
"It's not exactly my fault, I was so ready to pair up with Kori or Karen when she told us she already had our partners picked for us. Then I find out I'm the only person whose partner isn't at school. Do you realize how hard it is to start on a project when your partner's not even there to help come up with ideas?"
'Must've been murder for you to use all of that limited brain capacity of yours,' Jason thought derisively.
"And then, there's the fact-"
"Why don't we just see what you were able to come up with on your own."
"Oh, sure," Rachel said cheerily, reaching for her bag. She shuffled a lot of things around, searching for what she had been working on much earlier in the day.
Jason ran a hand through his dark hair angrily. Looking back on what had kept him from getting to school on time, and making him miss the first three classes of the day, he could pin it all down to one person, himself. If Jason had been studying like he usually had, he wouldn't have had to study so much the night before. He would've set his alarm just like every Sunday night, and would've woken up this morning, on time and prepared for the week. But he hadn't, so now his whole schedule felt completely off; getting this extra assignment was just the icing on the cake, adding insult to injury, rubbing salt in his poor wound.
"Here it is!" Rachel squealed.
"Delightful," Jason grumbled, "Let's see what that brilliant mind of yours came up with."
Rachel handed the sheet of paper over, her eyes sparkling with anticipation. She knew that no one was ever disappointed when they read over her project ideas. People had always told her that she had a great imagination and that her approach was always so original. But then again, she was used to taking the leadership position in these group projects, which usually meant doing a lot of the work while most of the kids stepped aside and let her direct them.
She watched Jason's face for any sign of approval, but wasn't able to read the expression in his dark blue eyes. He kept his face relatively smooth as his eyes scanned the paper; every so often they seemed to twitch, as if they had seen something that stood out to them. Rachel couldn't tell if this was a good or a bad thing, though.
Jason, however placid he may have seemed, was really struggling to restrain himself from laughing out loud. This girl was kidding, right? These would've been perfectly fine topics, if they had still been in middle school. This project was requiring college level assessment, yet all of Rachel's suggestions shouldn't have even been considered once. Must less, written down to be considered by her partner.
"I see your thought process still hasn't changed much since middle school," Jason spoke just loud enough for her to hear.
"Not a compliment. You realize we can use exactly none of this, right?"
Rachel's brow furrowed in confusion. "Why? There's got to be something on there. Are you just having a hard time choosing or maybe we should choose a much simpler topic?"
"There's something simpler than these? You're kidding, right?" Jason carefully watch Rachel's eyes for any sign of a jest, that she was really playing an elaborate joke on him and he had fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker, but no such luck. She looked back very seriously; still not comprehending why Jason wouldn't want to work with one of the great topics she had come up with all on her own.
Jason gave another sigh. "Rachel, these are just not good enough. I know this is hard for you to hear, but your ideas never were the best, and they still aren't now, either."
"Well, if you're so great at these types of projects, why don't you work on the topic and I'll miss a whole class period just to catch up on my sleep!" she glared at him.
"That's not the point," Jason tried to stay calm, but with a lot of the kids, especially ones like Rachel, it was difficult.
"What I'm saying is-"
"Oh, I know exactly what you mean!"
"You do?" He asked skeptically.
"Prove it," he challenged.
"You're saying that I've got no originality,"-'Which is true,' he thought-"I can't possibly be called upon to pull my own weight for our partnership,"-'I did think that at some point' he admitted to himself-"AND I shouldn't be counted on when you need me to cover our butts because you had to miss an important day that was the only chance we had to work on this stupid project in class!"-'That should be the end of her rant now. Maybe I should-'
"I swear, Jason, you have to be the most- ugh! I don't know what!" she huffed as she slumped into her seat, facing away from Jason and out to the moving landscape in the window.
"While that is certainly a very apt description of the general animosity that I feel towards our partnership, it's not why I said we can't use those ideas," he finally stated.
"These ideas are below our teacher's expectations for us. We should be able to take things like this and elaborate even further," Jason went on his own rant about critical thinking and how as juniors they need to start thinking on a level to rival a college students so they're better prepared for when they need to take college level classes.
"You joking? Are you calling me stupid?! Ugh! I knew it! I knew that when the teacher would pair me up with such an arrogant- ugh! I thought, 'Oh, Rachel, maybe he's changed since those days, maybe he'll be okay as a partner this time around, maybe he'll be less of a fathead.' But no, I still get the same Jason who would ridicule all my decisions and poke fun when I'm really in the right and be a total jerk for no good reason other than just because he thinks he's so high and mighty and just so full of himself! Well I've got news for you, buddy, you're not all that! I'm not all that! This is just a stupid project that we need over and done with so we can move on with our lives! So just pick SOMETHING already and be done with it!"
Rachel let out another huff of air that she couldn't possibly believe she had been holding in. With all that she had been yelling and raving about, neither she, nor Jason had noticed that the new bus driver had pulled the bus over to start yelling at both of them.
After her anger had been spent and she made her way back to the front to begin the route to take the students home, Rachel and Jason had more or less made up.
"Look, if it's really bugging you, just… Eeny Meeny Miney Mo?"
"That school yard game that kids used to pick people for their kickball teams? 'Catch a Tiger by his Toe', and all that stuff?" Jason looked at her like she was crazy.
"Well, when I just can't make a decision on something, it's what I use. Sometimes it's just easier to let chance take its course and see what you can make out of it," she tried to reason.
"Whatever, give me that thing."
He snatched the paper away from her, taking a pen out so he could circle his permanent selection and 'be done with it' as Rachel had said, and proceeded to make his choice using the game he hadn't played since he was the one to pick between two kids for a soccer game he played in his elementary school days.
"…My momma said to pick the very best one," his pen hovered over the paper now, "And you are-" the bus screeched to a jolting halt, just as at the same time one of the Senior jocks had gotten up to get off at his stop. As fate would have it, the jock was jerked forward and pushed Jason's arm, causing him to leave a whopping unsightly ink smudge on the paper, which, when he pulled his hand away, had somehow managed to be circling on of the choices Rachel had written out.
"It," Rachel smiled as she finished the rhyme. "Excellent choice, by the way."
"Yeah, remind me to let these geniuses help make all my decisions for me," Jason grumbled, once more returning to his bitterness with having another decision, in his opinion, made for him.
Jason groaned at Rachel's returning mindlessness.
Whether having Rachel as a partner was going to be an okay experience or a nightmare had yet to be decided, as far as Jason was concerned.
"So, I guess I'll see you tomorrow morning in the library? Or we could work on this thing during lunch and after school, but I've got more time in my morning schedule, so that'd really be the best thing for me-"
"I'll be there. Real early. Especially now that I have some incentive not to sleep in any more."
"That's a laugh," Rachel said as she got up to leave for her stop, "See you tomorrow then!"
Jason nodded back. Finally, he had time to relax and try to think over the much more pressing matters in his life, like what he was going to do about the real work to be done for his other classes. But the thought of Rachel as his partner still lingered in his mind, festering like a poorly treated sore. Jason knew he needed to finish this project as soon as humanly possible if he wanted to retain a shred of his sanity.
So that's all! Sorry I haven't updated any of my other stuff yet. I have major writer's block for Behind the Scenes, & my beta hasn't sent over the 2nd or 3rd shot for Living Things, but rest assured, both will be updated asap!
Now for why this came in: This was originally an assignment for English, writing a short story. My focus was verbal irony, or for the layman- sarcasm. You really couldn't tell with all of Jason's remarks, huh? I would've switched the names for Raven's more sarcastic nature, but I'm too lazy, so I just added the last names at the beginning to more clearly define who they were. I used Jason in the assignment I turned in, cause I was reading Mark of Athena at the time, plus that new TT short "Red X Unmasked" had me thinking. I rewatched episode: X and sure as anything, on BB's blackboard in the background, Jason Todd is one of his suspects for who Red X really is (along with the Interdemensional Imp i.e. Larry, Robin's evil twin Nibor, and a Bionic monkey, lol) Raven's name in the comics is Rachel Roth/ Raven Roth/ Raven, etc., etc., & I've always loved her so much, I just used her name for the assignment, plus I couldn't think of anything ^^.
Yes, she was OOC, but this was AGAIN for an assignment, so whatever. Tell me what you think anyways, tell me to get my butt into gear for my other stories, tell me I suck, its all good. this is america- or where ever you other readers may live- do what ya like, I could care less. Reviews appreciated, though! Thanks a bunch to those who have R&R to my other stories, you guys are what makes authors like me WANT to post more!
Also, my teacher's a Bradbury freak, we had to read Illustrated Man over the summer, now we're getting into Fahrenheit 451. I'll admit, I love his works, I just hate how we have to do work over his works. XD Get it? Ha, yeah, this is what i get for having almost zero life outside my fandoms & school... NI! So, if this seems loaded down with syntax & stuff, blame the Bradbury influence, may he rest in peace...
What are you still doing here? Go away & review! Get back to your lives! XP