Raven

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•Five•

About an hour later, he knows everything.

"Now do you understand?" I ask, still holding his hand to comfort him. We're sitting on the couch talking about what I am.

"I think so. So right now, you're neutral?" he looks at my demon chip.

"Yeah. And when you had me on the wall earlier, it took everything I had not to use my super."

"I'm sorry."

"It's fine. I just can't go see a doctor because they'd wonder why all my blood is black, or why I have a piece of metal in my temple. I'd become one of their science projects."

"So is this your way of telling me not to tell anyone about you?" he asks.

"Yes. The hardest part is hiding my demon chip."

"I might have a solution to that."

He takes me to his bedroom and pulls out a drawer full of makeup. Every kind, every color, he has it all. His phone is in the middle of a circular light. I've seen that app before. It's called TikTak. Wait, that's not right. What is it?

"Can I do your makeup?" he sits me on his bed.

"Do I have a choice?"

"Nope."

"That's what I thought."

It doesn't take very long to cover my chip. The only hard part was matching my skin tone.

"I think I got it," he smiles. He grabs my throat and acts like he's going to punch me. I know it changes colors, but he only laughs.

"I guess that means you covered it," I chuckle.

"Yep. Oh! If you want, I can get you started on TikTok so you can show your true self and call it cosplay."

"That's what it's called! I can never remember. So, cosplay is where you put on a bunch of makeup and act like something you're not, right?"

"Kind of. You put on a bunch of makeup and have fun. There are different sounds you can use, too," he hands me his phone.

"Look at some of my work so you can get some inspiration." He goes to his page and I look through his videos.

He dresses as Hybrid.

"This is awesome!" I say. "But where did you get the inspiration for the character?"

"It came to me in a dream. I felt like I just had to do it. Why?"

"Because you dress as Hybrid, the persuader that I told you about."

"I dress as a demon?" I exclaims.

"Yep. Now all I have to do is better my control of my super."

"I can't help with that. Sorry."

"It's fine. I'm going to go on a run."

"Okay. Have fun."


In about an hour, I've run all over town. Just before I'm about to call it a day, I run into someone.

Dad?

"Watch where you're-" he starts. "Alex?"

"I'm sorry, sir. You must have me confused with someone else." I run away, faster than I ever have. I run back to the apartment and hide in the upstairs bathroom.

"Raven? Raven, are you okay?" I hear Timothy yelling. He starts climbing up the stairs. "Raven, what happened?" He's right outside.

I open the door, still crying.

"I saw my dad. I saw him, and I ran into him, and he thought I was Alex, but I had to tell him I didn't know him, and-"

"Hey. Calm down. It'll be okay. I'm sorry that happened to you. I'm so sorry," he hugs me.

All at once, I get this burning feeling in my chest. My eyes sting and my temple burns. My upper arms grow spikes and my wings pop out. I feel my teeth grow and my fingers sharpen. This is not how I expected today to go.

Timothy grabs my head and starts talking. "Raven, calm down. You need to relax or you're going to pass out. Raven, listen to me."

"I am listening," I growl in my demon voice. He grabs me around the waist and carries me on his shoulder to the couch. I just sit there, trying to control my breathing. A few times, my body jumps up involuntarily, and I have to force myself back down. Timothy gets me some water. A few minutes later, I'm calm. My energy drains. He can see the adrenaline flowing out of me. Everything fades.

I wake up the next day on Timothy's bed. He's not here. I walk downstairs, still unstable. The couch holds a sleeping Tim, hair tangled and shirt wrinkled. He's cute when he's sleeping.

What are you doing?! Stop watching him, freak! Avert your eyes!

I look away and search for breakfast. I wonder where Sara is.

"Incoming call from Zoe," my demon chip rings. I touch it to answer the call.

"Raven! Are you okay? Ghost told us you passed out again!" she worries.

"I'm fine. Still wobbly, but alive. How's life down there?" I converse.

"Busy. Since you're gone, I'm the recruiter and the healer."

"Sorry. If I'd have known, I wouldn't have-"

"Don't start. It's just pushing me to work harder," Zoe reassures.

"You sure?"

"Of course. But there is something..."

"Oh no," my mind goes to the worst case scenarios.

Someone died.

They're hiring someone else to take my job.

They're removing my demon chip.

"Hybrid's been acting weird. Ever since you left, he's acted cold to everyone. No one knows where he goes when his shift ends. Even to Ghost, he gets angry super easily now. I don't know what happened."

"I think I might know," I state.

"You do?"

"Right as I got banned, he told me he loved me," I inform.

"Raven, can you help me?" Tim calls from the living room, five yards away.

"Can I call you back later? I've gotta help Timothy."

"You mean College Timothy?"

"Yeah. I found him."

"You have until tomorrow to call me back or I'm hunting you down. Got it?" she threatens.

"Sure. Bye, Zoe."

"See ya."

"What do you need, Timmy?"

"Now that you're not on the phone, can you come here for a second?" he gestures for me to come to him.

"Sure." I go to him.

"Where did you get shot?"

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