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[sita's one and only het fic] [for raven] [originally written 12/7/03] "So I'm stuck in this world of her magic mystique where I'll never be more than her toy of the week."
There's a couple of things I've learned
On the many roads I've taken
Flames are not what get you burned
It's the cold and the ice
Here's a piece of advice that I got from a little bird
The flames can get you stirred
It's the cold that leaves you shaken
"You're going out like /that/?"
The girl clasped the black choker around her neck and whirled around, her long, auburn hair swishing elegantly behind her.
"Yes, Jack, I am. Would you like to continue to bitch about it?" The boy - Jack - frowned and stopped pretending to tune his guitar. He leaned the instrument against the wall and crossed his arms, his eyes narrowing dangerously.
"I'm not bitching about it, Raven/," he spat. "I'm just saying that it's a little... /provocative for a friend's birthday party." Raven rolled her eyes and tugged down the hem of her black miniskirt before kneeling to zip up her black knee-high boots.
"We're going out later," she informed him flatly. She frowned as she stared at herself in the mirror on the wall of Jack's garage. "This shirt looks like crap," she muttered. "Where's the one I left here last week?" Muttering angrily to herself, she began to rummage through the various items around the perimeter of the impeccably clean garage.
"You're going /out/? Where? With who?" Raven calmly removed her silky black shirt and replaced it with a nearly-identical dark red one. She turned to face her boyfriend once again with her hands on her hips and an irritated expression on her face.
"Are you my father now?" Jack gritted his teeth.
"I just want to know who my girlfriend is gonna be around. That's /it/. Is that so much to ask?" Raven sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Blink is taking me to Smalltalk's house. We're gonna pop the surprise party on Mayfly, and then we're going to that new club, Tremors."
"And by 'we,' you mean...?" Raven clenched her fists, and her perfectly-manicured nails dug into her palms.
"Me. Smalls. Mayfly. Lute. Stage. Blink. Pie. Probably Snitch and Specs and Dutchy. Are you satisfied?" Jack didn't answer; he snatched up his guitar again and began picking out the notes to "Teenage Riot." Raven let out a frustrated sigh. "You're an ass sometimes, you know that?"
"Oh, screw you."
A series of rapid honks from outside caught Raven's attention.
"That's Blink. I'm out of here."
"Fine. Whatever." She cocked her head to the side.
"You know, you can come if you want." Jack snorted without bothering to look up from his guitar.
"Right. Like I can stand being in the same room with the psycho from hell for more than twenty minutes." Raven's deep brown eyes narrowed.
"Look, Mayfly's not that bad. You just need to give her a chance. Leave my friends the hell alone, okay?"
Once again, Jack didn't look up from his guitar. He merely extended his middle finger before immediately returning it to its place at his side.
"You are such an /asshole/!" Raven snarled. She stomped out of the garage, her heels clopping loudly on the cement floor. Jack heard a car pull away a minute or so after she slammed the door.
He continued to strum his guitar, dead to the outside world, or at least, pretending to be.
I don't like to philosophize
I just want to tell a story
Always leave when a woman cries
Never look in a woman's eyes
You'll get stuck with a high and rising fever
And then you can't leave her
Please, don't wait, man
It's almost too late, man
"You guys still suck. I just want you to know that."
"We love you, too, May." Mayfly playfully stuck her tongue out at Raven from her place on Smalltalk's sofa.
"You're just mad because you ran out of the house screaming when we yelled 'surprise.'"
"Oh, shut your face, Blink."
Raven smiled to herself and rolled her eyes as Mayfly and Blink proceeded to poke each other in the ribs.
"Morons, aren't they?" Raven sighed and rolled her eyes again.
"Hello, Ditch." Diego "Ditch" Zavala, so named for his habit of sleeping with girls and, subsequently, ditching them, grinned, hopped over the back of the sofa, and settled into the seat next to Raven.
"Come on, can you honestly tell me that you don't think they're morons?"
"Yes, they're morons. Yes, they like each other. No, they'll never in a million years admit it. Now, don't you have something better to do with your time than harass me?"
"Come on, Raven, you know you want me."
"Bite me, Zavala."
"YOU TELL HIM, RAVY!" Smalltalk screeched, from her position on Pie Eater's back. Ditch kept grinning, completely unaffected by Raven's comment. She shot him an icy glare before scooting gracefully towards the far end of the couch.
"That's no way to treat one of your best friends, Raven."
"Since when are you one of my best friends? I hate you."
"Keep telling yourself that, sweetheart." He grinned and nonchalantly brushed his hand over her leg.
Of course, Lute McDonaghey chose that moment to blast a shrill high note on her flute directly into Ditch's ear. "Accidentally," of course.
Grimly satisfied at Ditch's yelp of pain and Lute's sarcastic "oops," Raven climbed to her feet and walked calmly across the room, smirking to herself as Lute exchanged a high-five with Stage Notte before returning to her own upbeat version of "Laura."
She cries, and you want to hold her
She lies, and you want to run away
But just give her a minute
I promise you're in it to stay
She smiles, and you'll stay forever
She screams... well, that's the price you pay
But there's no one can make you forget how you feel
For all she can take, you've got more there to steal
So you don't mind a bit of surprise
And she cries
"It's been a blip, bree!"
"Lute, for God's sake, speak /English/!"
Raven smiled at her friends and waved as they pulled off. Cheerfully, she rummaged about her purse for her house key and quickly moved to unlock her front door.
Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. "Guess you had fun tonight."
Raven didn't even think; she simply plucked her mace out of her purse and sprayed it into her assailant's face.
"SHIT! Jesus /Christ/, Raven, it's /me/!" Raven's large, dark eyes widened, and she knelt down next to the boy, who was clawing at his face.
"For God's sake, Jack, what are you doing at my house at three in the morning?! And why'd you sneak up on me like that?!" Jack squinted up at his girlfriend through scalding red eyes.
"I didn't sneak up on you! I was in plain view! I can't believe you maced me!"
Raven, rolling her eyes in exasperation, dragged him into her house and into the bathroom where she unceremoniously jammed his head in the sink. Jack began to sputter and cough as the cold water flooded over him but eventually grew to appreciate the coolness against his eyes.
"Are you okay?" she asked after a few seconds, showing concern for the first time. Jack glanced up at her, his narrowed eyes gradually widening.
"Yeah. I'm okay. I'll live."
"Whatever," he muttered. Raven's worried expression disappeared and was immediately replaced with the exasperated one that she'd found herself using quite often with Jack during the previous month or two.
"So, why, exactly, are you here?" she inquired quietly as they exited the bathroom. Raven settled herself into an elegant, wine-colored leather sofa while Jack leaned against the wall and scowled.
"What about it?"
"I heard Ditch was hitting on you."
"Ditch always hits on me. Ditch hits on /everyone/. Everybody knows that."
"Did you do anything with him?" Raven's jaw dropped and, after a short pause, she rose to her feet, outrage and disbelief emanating clearly from her face.
"Are you seriously asking me that, Jack?" His dark brown eyes narrowed further.
"Yes, Raven, I seriously am."
"That is the stupidest/... I despise Ditch, Jack. You know that. Why the /hell would I sleep with him?!" She paused for an answer that never came. A bitter smile crept across her lips. "I get it. Oh, I get it. You don't trust me, do you?"
"No, I don't trust you!"
"You've never given me a reason to!"
"What the hell are you talking about?!" Jack snorted as he held up a finger to accentuate each reason.
"You flirt with everyone you come in contact with-"
"It's my /nature/! I'm not /serious/!"
"-you dress like a goddamn slut-"
"-and you're always on my case about everything!"
Raven laughed mirthlessly. "And you're Mr. Perfect, right?"
"I didn't say that," Jack said quietly. His voice's lowered volume did little to hide his increasing anger. Raven snorted indignantly.
"No, not outright, but you're always talking down to me and shit, so you must be thinking it!"
"That's not true, Raven."
"Bullshit!" she snapped. Her expression softened slightly. "Dammit, Jack, why do you do this to me?" she asked pleadingly. "I mean... for God's sake, I actually care about you! For the first time in my life, I really and truly care about someone!"
Jack could take yelling and screaming without a second glance; he'd gotten used to them. He could take the snide comments and the sarcasm and the insults.
But he could not take tears.
So he found himself at a loss for words when a small stream of teardrops began working their way down Raven's cheek.
He wanted to do a hundred, a thousand things. He wanted to hug her, comfort her, do what he could to help her. He wanted to scream and fight and kick. He even wanted to cry with her.
So, he did what seemed to be the most logical plan of action.
He turned and walked out of the house, leaving Raven with a shocked look on her tear-stained face.
I don't like to admit I'm wrong
I believe in guts and glory
But it's time I should change my song
I've been here just a bit too long
Always thought I was much too strong before hating
And still I keep waiting
And while I'm resolving
That door keeps revolving
Raven took a different route to her locker on Monday morning in order to avoid Ditch's amorous advances as well as to avoid seeing Jack. Her close friends sensed that something was wrong, but even Smalltalk and Mayfly, two of Raven's loudest companions, retained enough tact to know not to mention it.
Jack's friends, however, did not possess the same tact.
"So you just left her?" Racetrack inquired. Jack sighed before settling into his spot on the front steps of the school, his hands clasped tightly over his knees.
"What else was I supposed to do?"
"You could have talked to her," Snitch suggested. Jack stared blankly at him.
"She was /crying/."
"Which was exactly why just leaving her there was a really bad idea," Blink replied, solemn for once in his life. Jack scowled at the floor.
"You're just pissed because we're right."
"Shut up, Race."
"Aren't we touchy?" Blink muttered.
"I am not touchy. I just..."
"I just don't know what to do," he admitted reluctantly. The other three boys exchanged amused glances.
"I'm sorry, I think I misunderstood you," Snitch said, grinning, as he cupped his hand around his ear. "Did you just ask us for help?"
"In your own weird, egotistical way," Blink added.
"I am not egotistical."
"Keep telling yourself that." Jack glared daggers at his friends for a few seconds before sighing and raking his fingers through his hair.
Then, for the first time in his life, Jack Kelly swallowed his pride.
"Yes, I need your help," he forced out.
Racetrack, Snitch, and Kid Blink grinned at each other.
"Good. Then here's what you have to do."
The more Jack listened, the less he liked what his friends were saying. It would involve apologizing, something that he did as little of as he could manage. It would also mean revealing the fact that he actually cared about Raven much, much more than he let on. But, when he actually took time to consider the positive effects, it definitely seemed more appealing. It wouldn't hurt to let Raven know how much he cared about her. It might be a blow to his ego, but he could manage. And, although he'd never admit it to anyone else, he knew that he'd been irrational. He knew that he'd made some assumptions that probably weren't true, and he silently acknowledged that it would be a relief to get rid of the overwhelming sense of guilt surrounding him.
When the bell for first period rang, Jack found himself walking towards his sociology class in a slightly better mood.
She cries, and you want to hold her
She lies, and you're halfway out the door
But you never can do it
She'll make you go through it once more
She smiles, and you'll stay forever
She sings, oh, she's got you now for sure
And each time that you swear that you will not give in
She'll throw you a stare that'll show you can't win
It's amazing how hard each man tries
But she cries
Although she'd been pretending that she didn't give a damn, Raven found herself watching for Jack out of the corner of her eye. She absent-mindedly poked at her undercooked spaghetti and lost herself in a daydream until Mayfly leaned over and bit her.
"... must you do that?"
"Yes. Yes, I must." Mayfly beamed and collapsed back into her chair.
"You doin' okay, Ravy?" Smalltalk asked. Raven sighed.
"It's that asshole, isn't it?"
"Lay off him, May."
"I hate him so much." Raven let out another exasperated sigh as Mayfly flew off into another one of her famous rants. Smalltalk snickered and proceeded to jab her in the arm with a fork.
Raven rolled her eyes before lifting her styrofoam tray and dumping it into the trash. Her friends were geniuses at cheering people up, but when it came to actual serious conversations, they had no idea what to do. Unfortunately, serious conversation was exactly what Raven needed.
She walked calmly out of the cafeteria into the stone courtyard where most of her fellow juniors resided after lunch. She immediately stretched out across the bench next to the well in the center of the courtyard and stared down into the still water.
No one knew why the well had been built; it'd simply been there for as long as the school. Even Mrs. Buras, who'd been teaching practically since the school opened, couldn't remember the courtyard without the large, stone well in the center. However, students of all ages had come to know it as a sanctuary. It was understood that when someone was at the well, they were not to be disturbed for any reason, by student or teacher. The well was like an oak tree: old, strong, sturdy. It had a strange calming effect.
Raven sighed and rested her forehead on the well's cool, stone edge as throngs of idly chattering students clambered past her.
"For once in my life, I don't have a damn clue what I should do," she murmured to herself. She knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to track Jack down, beat the crap out of him, and then kiss him like crazy. However, she knew that that probably wouldn't be the most intelligent thing to do. "He's a jealous asshole," Raven muttered. "I shouldn't care about him so much. This shouldn't tear me up like it is." She lifted her head to stare at her fellow classmates. For the first time, she found herself noticing just how many had paired off.
And, for the first time, she found herself wondering how many of them were actually happy.
"I don't wanna lose him," she said quietly to her reflection. "I don't/. But I don't want to take his shit any more, either." She placed her elbows on the lip of the well and rested her chin in her hands. "What do /you think I should do?"
The dark-haired girl in the water offered no reply.
A few seconds later, Raven saw her reflection break and ripple as a single tear fell into the water.
All of a sudden
You fall for her charms
You promise to stop all her tears
All of a sudden
She's back in your arms
And the walls start closing
And blocking out the light
And changing all your dreams
And right before your eyes...
Raven soon discovered that the easiest way to cheer herself up was to stop thinking about the whole predicament altogether. It worked surprisingly well for the rest of the day. Her afternoon classes passed rather quickly. So quickly, in fact, that she was rather surprised when the three o'clock bell rang, and she found herself speeding away from school in her black T-bird, the rain pounding around her.
However, as soon as she reached her empty house, thoughts of Jack came rushing back at her with the sound of the door slamming echoing around her. Without the distractions of school and her friends, she was alone with her thoughts.
"I'm not gonna do this to myself." Her determined voice echoed through the deserted house. "I deserve better than this. I should've listened to my friends from the start. Jack's an ass, and I shouldn't waste my time on him."
Who are you trying to convince?
Raven ignored the question bubbling up from her mind and popped a CD into the stereo. Then, she stretched herself across the leather sofa and let her mind wander.
She was so lost in her thoughts that she almost didn't hear the doorbell ring. It chimed faintly across the back of her mind. The second ring brought her, head over heels, out of her imagination and back into her living room.
"Who the hell is that?" Raven muttered, irritated, as she trudged towards the door.
Her jaw dropped as she pulled the door open.
Jack stood calmly in the pouring rain without so much as a jacket. All traces of the animosity he'd been showing were completely gone. There was a hint of a smile on his face as he handed her a bundle of what looked like black roses. However, when Raven looked closer, she realized that they were actually a deep violet.
"/Purple/ roses?" she breathed. "Where did you get these?"
Jack just smiled. "Now, look, you know I'm not good with these things, so I'm just gonna say it and get it over with. I'm... I'm sorry." Raven heard him stumble over the phrase slightly but found herself extremely proud of her boyfriend for managing to pronounce the word "sorry" at all. "I know that I've been kind of a jerk for the past couple of weeks. The thing is... I care about you, Raven. A lot. I care about you more than I think I should, and that kinda scares me. But that doesn't mean I can go around being an ass to you when you don't deserve it."
Raven stared at him, shocked. Finally, the corner of her mouth quirked upwards.
"Thanks for the flowers."
The two smiled at each other as the rain hammered down. Both found themselves soaked to the bone, but neither seemed to care.
"Can I come inside?"
Still smiling, Raven stepped aside to let him in, still carefully clutching her roses.
Outside, the rain roared on, and lightning crackled menacingly through the sky.
But neither Jack nor Raven realized or cared.
She cries, and I don't know the answer
She spies, and there's no place I can hide
When I look in the mirror, there's nothing but fear here inside
I run, and still she's right behind me
I fall, the chasm is too wide
So I'm stuck in this world of her magic mystique
Where I'll never be more than her toy of the week
But each time I prepare my goodbyes
She catches me looking
And she opens the floodgates
And she cries
Author's Note: This is one of the only hetfics I've ever written, and it was done in honor of Raven's half-birthday. You know I love someone when I'm willing to write het for them. But she's fantastic and she deserved it. However, as it is something that I write very little of, I would like some feedback, even now, a year or so later.