A/N: I'm in Australia. It's 8 fucking degrees centigrade. I should have gotten a bonus for showing up to work today (heaters or no heaters, there comes a point when it's just too damn cold to even think about modelling nude) The things I do for money ¬_¬
URGENT! Please read! For the next month (from the 7th of June, until the 7th July), I will be in the outback. Aka, I will have NO internet signal so there won't be any updates. That is all :)
Silently Watches: My, my, how interesting. I'd love to see the rest of Raven's little trip with the guardian of the dead.
No, I think the last portion worked fine. With Jinx radiating sorrow and panic and guilt and everything else she was feeling, it's not at all surprising that Raven would try to comfort her even though she doesn't "do 'comforting'". Of course, the pinkette is going to have to learn not to pull on the tigress's tail like that. First saying only idiots would believe in demons, then ordering her around? Not a good start, Jinxy-cat.
Don't worry, you'll get to see it all. Okay. Good. I was so… unsure about that after I'd written it. And yeeaaah Jinx hasn't really made a good start, has she?
Coot: It's good, Jinx' mini breakdown works very well. She held together until she got to a safe place and then she fell apart. Given what has happened to her it is perfectly understandable that her emotions would break loose like they did.
:) Glad to hear it worked!
Deathnoteuser: Very nice. So you kept it as the cartoon/it's not common knowledge that Raven's a half demon then? I'm hoping that the rest of the HIVE 5 are still alive. It wouldn't be fair if the Titans were the only vigilante group alive in Jump.
Yup. I do like having people know, but I think anyone outside the heroes shouldn't – I mean talking about asking to be chased down with pitchforks! Would be a shame, wouldn't it…
Discb: I liked the last bit. Dark but it's a dark fic. The need for certain foods for Raven problems probably going to make Jinx really throw up if the bodies did. Either way great as always and I envy your diving classes. You're in the best country with best reefs while I'm stuck in the middle of a huge boring rock.
Good. Ahah I'm not sure if I'm going to include that this time or not…. I suppose it does introduce an interesting dynamic…. Ahah saw a shark on my first open dive. It was so awesome =D But yeah, when I get back to England it'll be freezing water and old quarries I'll be diving. Although apparently there are some REALLY pretty kelp forests.
TyrionGreywind: I didn't thinkn the last bit was too much, but that's just me. Is Gizmo alive then, and is it possible that Mammoth and See-More are as well, or is Jinx right? I hope to see the next update soon, maybe it will answer my questions.
Those questions won't be answered in this chapter, but we'll see soon enough!
Robin frowned down at the body, the putrid smell of stomach fluid threatening to overwhelm him, coming from the body's lower intestines and bowls that lay torn open, exposed to the fresh air. At a guess, Robin wouldn't have placed the boy as much older than eleven, his colourless cheeks still holding the gentle chubbiness of left over baby-fat. Robin was glad he hadn't had time to eat breakfast prior to receiving the call.
"So, what am I looking at?" He asked the coroner, wanting this to be over as soon as possible.
"The stomach's been torn into. It looks like it was done by teeth and nails." Red flags raised in Robin's mind. "Human teeth, from the spacing – of course I can't say for sure until I've studied the body back at the lab and taken saliva samples." It was easy to hear the worry in the man's voice, and Robin didn't need to be a telepath to know what he was thinking.
"Nothing's been sighted even close to the city." The leader of the titans attempted to reassure the doctor. "All the same, have the police..?"
"A helicopter should be here soon to scope out the area, or so I've been led to believe. Several armed groups are already searching on foot."
"Was this the only body?"
"Yes, thankfully. We're not sure who he was, or why he was so far away from everything and alone, but we'll know soon enough."
Robin looked back at the yellow crime-scene tape that'd been hung haphazardly around several trees, studying the small band of journalists and reporters that had all ready gathered as he reached for his communicator, hesitating slightly, before he flipped it open.
"Robin calling Raven."
It was a well known fact, thanks to the media and the fact that people usually saw so little of her around officials, that the team's empath had a large role in helping the police and government prepare for the threat heading their way, and he didn't want the press putting two and two together, worried about the kind of panic it could cause within the city, but he knew that perhaps Raven was the only one who could confirm what had attacked and killed the boy there and then.
There was a moment where nothing happened, then the top screen flickered to life, showing Raven. The empath looked washed out, her skin paler than usual and large dark circles sitting under her eyes. "What's wrong?"
"I want you at my location as soon as possible."
She straightened up slightly, suddenly looking more alert. "Am I bringing the others?"
"No, just yourself."
"I'll be there momentarily."
And she was, a black mass of energy rising up from the ground seconds after Robin clipped his T-Comm. back onto his belt.
"This better be quick." Raven's gravelly voice reached him as the dark energy began to dissipate. "We both have a meeting to attend with the mayor and Commissioner regarding the city's defence in fifteen minutes." She looked at Robin. "So what is it?"
But her nose told her before Robin could, and her amethyst gaze was quick to find the body, only a few feet away from them.
"Not to alarm anyone, but we think it might have been one of those… things from over east. Think you can verify that?" Robin asked, and the empath frowned.
"I'm not Beast Boy – I can't pick up its scent or something." She didn't have to look around to know how many people were there, able to sense them, and she added, "It's not that simple, especially not when there are so many people around."
Robin looked at the Coroner. "Think you could give us a minute?" He didn't look happy, but stood back, the lead of the titans turning back to Raven when he was sure the man was out of earshot. "Can't you just… pull your hood further down and keep your eyes down or something?"
"And what if it is a demon? I need her near the front of my mind for this, and she's… territorial. I know how she'd react, and with the media on the other side of the yellow tape? No."
"You know that usually I would agree with you, but if they're already here, we need to know." Robin stressed.
The titan stared at him for a moment with cold eyes, before she looked around, making sure her back was facing the small gaggle of journalists and reporters as she knelt down near the body, careful not to get too close. Doing as Robin had suggested, she tugged her hood futher down until she was sure the blue material was covering her eyes from those standing. Closing her eyes, she didn't have to do much more than relax her shields to encourage her demon – her rage – to come forward and fill the new space, moving with such intensity that for a moment her shields threatened to fall all together.
She opened her eyes and they found the body, the wound in it's stomach quickly grabbing and holding her attention. The tearing in the flesh meant nothing to her, while an older demon might have been able to use the marks to identify who the threat was, but she knew something was wrong with it, making her feel threatened – something she wasn't accustomed too.
She growled at the interruption, a deep rumble in her chest that was barely audible, and she felt Robin's alarm.
'Serves him right.'
She leaned back on her heels and glanced around them, Raven retaining enough control to make sure she kept her gaze low. She was looking out for movement, for whatever had torn the kid apart.
"Was it a demon?"
She ignore Robin, and had began to stand when Raven hit the brakes. She closed her eyes as the internal fight for control began, a memory of one of her mentors speaking to her as she struggled,
"Centre yourself first – remind yourself of who you are. Meditation can come later."
It was an old technique she'd used often as a child and not much since as her control grew. She silently started to chant several sentences to herself like a mantra, letting the statements ground her.
My name is Raven Roth.
My mother is Arella, formerly Angela Roth and resident of Earth.
I am a Teen Titan.
My friends are superheroes.
I'm a superhero.
When she finally opened her eyes again, her shields were back in place. "Well, for all the good than did. She's not happy, but if it's another demon… she doesn't know."
"She doesn't know?" Robin frowned. "Well is there anything else that might've done this that she'd get territorial with?"
"Of course. Anything of a magical nature. Dragon, sorcerer… you name it."
He scowled. It wasn't the answer he wanted to hear. "Well, what do you think it was? You have a good intuition Raven, when you use it."
Her expression hardened, but Robin could see her worry underneath. "That these meeting on the defence of the city are too little, too late."
Robin kept a tight grip on the woman's wrist, dragging her along as he ran, alternating between streets and alleyways, aware of the few 'followers' they'd gathered behind them. He knew he had to lose them before be could think about stopping and finding a defendable place, but what usually would have been a simple enough task was made near impossible by the civilian he had to protect. Exiting an alleyway and finding himself on a street entirely dedicated to office blocks, he ran for the first door he saw, shouting out encouragements for the woman to run faster. He hit the door with his shoulder, relief flooding through him when it easily and quickly swung open, out of their way.
Inside, he shoved the woman further into the lobby with his grip on the stranger's arm before pulling out his bo-staff and extending it out to its full length as he turned to face the closing doors. He helped them shut before sliding the bo-staff between the long bars that were often found on the doors of commercial buildings in place of turning door handles. For a split second, he panicked over how he was going to keep the bo-staff in place, before he reached for his grapple-hook off his belt and with one hand, holding the red handle between his teeth, he manually unwound the rope device before using the strong cord to tie the bo-staff to the door handles.
Letting it go, he stood back to admire his handy work, jumping as the first demon crashed into the reinforced glass of the doors, half expecting it to break from the impact. Turing away from the creature, he moved towards the woman, not even taking the time to look at her as he took hold of her wrist and continued moving, pulling her along.
"We can't stop yet. Hopefully this'll give us enough of a lead that'll be able to get you some place safe without them following." He glanced back at her, taking in her startled brown eyes, feeling slightly sorry for the woman. "You ready to run again?"
She silently nodded, but Robin could tell the woman was out of breath, breaking into a fast jog instead as he lead them through the building, following the signs that pointed them towards a rear fire exit. He didn't have to stop moving to open it, the lock releasing with one downward push on the horizontal bar, the green door swinging out to clatter against the brickwork of another alleyway. He started to run, the woman quickly speeding up to match him, and they cleared the narrow lane in seconds, crossing straight over the empty street and into another alleyway. Robin glanced over his shoulder, relieved when he couldn't see any doughy-skinned, yellowed eyed creatures following, but didn't relax.
"Just a little bit further." Robin encouraged as they followed the alleyway round the back of a building, the Boy Wonder stopping when he came to a man-hole over and removing it before looking at his new companion.
Expecting to have an argument on his hands he'd started to open his mouth, ready to convince her the sewers was their best bet, but when he looked the woman had sat down on the edge of the man-hole, her feet searching for the ladder leading down into the tunnels. Finding them, Robin watched as she quickly lowered herself into the sewers before following, pausing to put the cover back in place above his head, plunging them into darkness.
Robin grabbed the small, compact flashlight he kept on his belt and switched it one before moving further down, making sure the woman wasn't directly below him before dropping down the last few metal rungs.
Her voice was shaken, but still managed to sound confident as she replied, "Yes. I… I think so."
"Good. We've got much further now, then we can rest. Hopefully they wont follow us down here." He started walking, carefully lightly the way, able the hear the woman stumbling behind in the ankle deep water and things he didn't want to think about. But he was –for once – glad it was there, knowing he'd be able to hear the demons if they found their way down here before they'd see them.
"What are 'they' exactly? No-one on the news ever gave us any real specifics. Are they aliens?"
"Not exactly, and I'm not sure you'd believe me if I told you." Robin quickly answered. The lack of specifics had been the Justice League's fault, and the Titans had quickly moved to back their decision, able to predict the public's reactions if such knowledge got out, and not having wanted to see any of them. "I don't believe I got your name."
"Oh, right, Of course. I'm Katie. I know who you are. You're Robin."
Unseen to her, the man rolled his eyes as he reached for his communicator off his belt. He came to a stop when his hand found the metal of his belt, quietly swearing as he looked down at his belt.
"I've long my communicator. Must have dropped it in the hotel room. I'll have to go back for it later." He started walking again, this time moving much slower and he searched the walls with his torch, studying them for anything that might help him place where they were.
"Was it important?" The woman asked uncertainly.
"It just means I won't be able to use it to contact the rest of my team. I was going to use the city map on it too, but luckily I made the effort to memorize the surrounding area of where we're going. I made sure we were close to it before I took us down here and-" his torch found the top corner of the tunnel and it joined onto a larger one. There was a chip missing out of it, quite a large chip, revealing some of the metal reinforcement that had rusted orange from the damp. "-luckily I know where we are."
Katie looked around them, her nose crinkling at the stench, more put off by it now the levels of adrenaline in her body had settled. "So, where are we going?"
"Somewhere safe." He neglected to tell her more. "Were you in the city on your own?"
"Yeah, on a badly timed business trip. End of the world or not, contracts have to be made. Besides, the government said they had it under control – we though it would've blown over within a few days."
Robin glanced back in time to see her small, self mocking smile, and found himself happy he'd found her, and not a wreck of a person. "Are you aware of how far it's spread?"
"I know it started in the state of New York." The woman shrugged, and Robin turned his eyes back to the tunnel in front of them.
"As far as we can tell, they've reached pretty much all of the USA. Canada too. And we've had a few reports from overseas." Robin decided to tell her after a moment of internal debate.
He quickly clicked onto her line of thought, and looked back at the woman, offering her a smile. "No. Not if the Titans can do anything about it. We will stop this. But first things first, we need to get you to safety. We'll search out the others and then get you to the camp just outside the city. You'll be safe there." Coming to a stop, he turned to face one of the walls of the tunnel, Katie frowning as he removed one of his green gloves and held his hand against the slick wall. "Do you know how to fight?"
She watched with wide eyes as a segment of the wall popped out, displaying a keypad. "I… uh, I mean I punched a guy in fourth grade."
The leader of the Titans typed in the pass-code, and a section of the tunnel wall rose up, disappearing into the ceiling. "I'm going to give you something to defend yourself with – I'll do my absolute best to keep you safe, but I'm only human, and I don't want to leave you defenceless." He shone his torch into the revealed room, the light bouncing off the gadget-lined walls, and found the light-switch, flicking it on and flooding the small space with a harsh fluorescent glow. He ushered Katie inside, before checking the tunnel behind them and closing the door. "There should be bottles of water towards the back of the room if you're thirsty. We'll rest for a moment before heading out again, or if you'd prefer, you can stay here until I've located my team – you'd be perfectly safe."
The woman pusher her auburn hair away from her eyes as she studied the room in something close to shock. "I'd… rather come with you, if you don't mind but…." She tugged at the pencil skirt she was wearing with a frown. "You don't happen to have anything more practical that I could wear lying around?"
Raven chewed on her bottom lip as she studied the drier that had been shoved into the small kitchen along with a matching washing machine. Unlike Jinx, she was loath to use the items in the apartment, more than aware that they belonged to someone somewhere, but her clothes had gotten soaked from the spray of the shower while comforting the meta human, and she was beginning to feel cold. Deciding to use the drier, she began to strip but paused, blushing as he looked around her for something to wear in the mean-time, her uniform having already found it's way into the trash, the empath too uncomfortable with herself to consider talking around in any state of undress while someone else was around. The kettle had finished boiling during her silent dilemma, and Raven decided to make it her main focus as she turned her back on the drier and made a fresh mug of coffee before taking it to the thief, who was huddled on the sofa in nothing but the towel Raven had draped around her.
"Here." She passed Jinx the mug, making sure the girl had a good grip on it before letting go, not missing the way Jinx fought to look at anything but her.
The thief cleared her throat before forcing her tear-sore eyes to look at the empath, offering her a small smile. "Well…. This is awkward."
"It was a natural response. Expected, really." Raven offered with a small shrug. "You have no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed."
"Easy for you to say – you didn't have a breakdown in front of the enemy."
"I think, under the current situation, we are on the same side. Agreed?"
Jinx's smile widened slightly and she nodded. "Agreed." She took a sip of her drink, before her eyes narrowed and she regarded the titan suspiciously. "How did you know? I thought I was being quiet."
"I could feel your distress. I'm an empath."
Her eyes widened slightly. "No fair! That's so cheating."
Raven rolled her eyes. "You should get dressed before you catch a cold."
"Hey – I haven't finished my shower yet."
"Well make it quick. We've already been here too long, and I don't like to think of what might have found our trail. I want to get moving as soon as possible."
Jinx didn't argue as she got to her feet, taking her coffee with her. "Any ideas on where we're gonna find a generator, because I really do think it'd be a good idea to get one."
"We have spares back at the tower." Raven told her as she moved back over to the kitchen and pulled the drier door open. "But how about we focus on the other things on our list first? We can survive quite comfortably without a generator, and if we find my teammates within the next day or two, we won't need one."
The empath waited until Jinx had shut herself into the bathroom before quickly undressing and shoving her clothes into the drier before she could change her mind, setting it on it's highest setting, knowing they wouldn't be dry before they left, but deciding damp clothes were better than soaked.
She stood with her arms awkwardly crossed over her chest , her eyes watching the bathroom door, until she heard water flow through the pipes in the building, letting her know the shower had been turned on. Relaxing slightly, she decided to take the time she had to have a better look at her injuries, studding her bruised ribs first with her eyes, and then with her fingers, alarmed by how black the bruising still was, and able to feel one of her lower ribs was broken awkwardly in several places, not needing a doctor to tell her that would never heal properly. The cuts and scrapes on her legs from the fall had already almost healed, though there were a few new raw spots where Raven had dug gravel out of her skin during her shower and she gave them only a moment's notice as she ran her hands over the skin, making sure she hadn't missed any bits.
Walking over to the backpack, she searched through the packets and tins Jinx had packed in before reaching her belt and – beneath that – her communicator, bundled up in a small patch of her cloak. Raven placed her belt on the kitchen counter before unravelling the broken communicator, gingerly opening it and staring to the cracked screen as though it might flicker to life despite the wires hanging out it's back.
"It's waterproof, and practically heat proof." Raven muttered to herself. "You think they would have made it shock resistant too."
Turning it around, she completely ripped the back off before digging through it for the locator device, pulling out a chip the size of the nail on her little finger, the thing bent down the middle, almost broken into two pieces.
"So much for that…"
She did her best to fit it back where it belonged before she started to fiddle with the broken wires, trying to reconnect them all. She didn't hear the shower stop over the noise of the drier, nor did she hear the bathroom door open minutes later. It was Jinx's voice that grabbed her attention.
"Rae, that thing is totalled. Even Giz would struggle to repair it."
The titan dropped her communicator onto the kitchen surface as she crossed her arms, doing her best to cover her chest in a way that she hoped wasn't too obvious. Jinx didn't miss it though, and she grinned, enjoying the titan's embarrassment.
"So, you really are grey all over, huh?"
Raven did her best to ignore the villain as she moved over to the drier and stopped it, pulling out her damp clothes and quickly getting dressed, not enjoying feeling exposed and – despite knowing she was anything but – defenceless. "You ready to start moving?"
"Sure." Jinx nodded, dropping her towel on the floor and moving for the backpack as Raven fastened on her bet over the black leggings and blue tank top that'd replaced her uniform. She walked over to Jinx and put her broken communicator back into the bag.
"Those are some nasty bruises." Jinx commented, having noticed the full extent of Raven's injures during the girl's state of undress, slightly worried about them.
"Nothing I can't handle." Raven shrugged.
"Speaking of which… how'd I get this?" Jinx brought the thick scar on her lower arm to the empath's attention.
"One of the demons had a grip on your arm when I hit it with a wave of black energy." Raven answered, making her way towards the door. She focused on the shoe-box Jinx had placed in front of it, and imagined it sliding to the side.
It moved across the laminate flooring almost effortlessly, Jinx slightly put out by how easy the empath made it look after she'd struggled to put it there in the first place. "So, where we going first?"
"We'll fill up the rest of this bag using the apartments on this floor, then go and empty the backpack." Raven replied, and Jinx nodded.
"Lead the way. Just take your time. I am not looking forward to the whole teleporting thing. I didn't like it the first time, and the feeling aint improved much over the years."
"The first time?" Raven frowned.
"Yeah, when you dragged me outa your tower after we kicked your sorry butts."
"Oh, yeah. I'd almost forgotten about that." Raven mused.
"I hadn't. It was hell creepy."
"Well she's not here. You sure this is where she fell, Star?" Cyborg asked as he studied the street in front of them.
"Rae's not here, but this is." Beast Boy pointed out the body of a doughy-skinned lesser demon. "And it's the only body on the street. She was here."
"BB, see if you can sniff her out."
"On it." The changeling nodded before he shifted into a bloodhound and lowered his nose to the ground.
It didn't take him long to sniff out Raven's scent, as unique as it was overpowering. He followed it to its strongest point, finding himself stood over the fallen demon, and he reverted back into his human form before looking at his two friends.
"She was definitely here."
"Pleas say she left a trail for us to follow." Cyborg said desperately. "If she teleported, we'll never catch up with her."
Beast Boy shifted back into his bloodhound form and searched the area around the lesser demon's body, coming to a stop and backtracking before he barked at his teammates and being running down the street.
"I believe he has found Raven's scent!" Starfire told Cyborg as she moved to follow the changeling.
"They followed Beast Boy onto Main Street, where he took a right and made his way towards the Town Hall, where the evacuation should have taken place. Cyborg and Starfire studied the street around them now they had the time to look, both shocked by the body count of both humans and demons.
"Where did they all come from, and why does there already seem to be so many in our city?" Starfire asked quietly.
"They did move pretty quickly." Cyborg acknowledged. "Maybe there's more than one place their usin' to cross over or whatever Rae called it?"
Beast Boy slowed down as they reached the forgotten buses before he started tracing a path the other couldn't see, taking it several times bath and forth, back and forth.
"What's wrong B?" Cyborg asked, doing his best to keep his eyes off their surrounding and on Beast Boy, unlike the Tameranian princess, who couldn't seem to look anywhere else.
"It is almost the Déjà vu, no?"
Beast Boy reclaimed his human form before commenting, "I think I preferred it when it was four-eyes' fault. I mean, we might've been totally useless but at least Rae kinda knew what she was doing. Not to mention stone people don't smell half as bad."
"What was with the pacing?" Cyborg pushed, reminding the changeling he was waiting for an answer.
"Oh, yeah. Raven's been here. Twice."
"How can you tell?" Starfire frowned.
"Because like over here-" he pointed to his right, "-it's just her, but over here her scent's mixed up with someone else's."
"Who's?" Starfire and Cyborg both demanded, hoping he'd say Robin.
"I'm not sure. It…" He crinkled his nose and frowned slightly. "It smells like Jinx."
Shorter than the last chpt, but like I said, I'm gonna be away for a month, and I wanted to get something posted.