|Beneath the Mask
Author: Kryalla Orchid PM
Spoilers for my story called "Masks". Plus extras. Done for now.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Robin & Starfire - Chapters: 18 - Words: 98,949 - Reviews: 208 - Favs: 97 - Follows: 26 - Updated: 04-24-11 - Published: 03-29-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6854480
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer : Teen Titans are not mine, they belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros.
Broken Record moment: Aussie, spelling, slang, word usage is all different. Blarg.
SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING!
If you have not read up to Chapter 12 in Masks, DO NOT READ THIS. You will spoil it.
Big Fat Warning: Fluff. Boy thoughts. Kry having some fun.
Genre: Romance Comedy.
Rating: M, for Mature audiences. Conatins adult situations and some language.
Chapter 1 – corresponding to Chapter 7 in Masks.
She did this cute little twirl and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt. My Starfire had come to Gotham.
I was shocked. She'd lied to me. She'd disobeyed me. She'd hidden in the background watching. She'd disguised herself. What was her plan? Simply observe? Check that I was okay? Or would she interfere? She'd stayed quiet the whole battle I'd had with Jason before… oooh, did she think that was still me? If she figured out Robin had been replaced by the videos, she would have asked me there and then. But she hadn't. I suppose, if she only saw Jason from a distance she wouldn't be able to tell we'd switched. We looked very similar from a distance.
If she'd gotten up close… then I'd have a hellcat loose and not this little minx.
It was rather brave of her, really. Travelling all this way, not knowing what to expect and then hiding in the shadows in a sexy outfit I'd never seen before, but damn, it looked hot on her. Did she have any idea what seeing her, on knowing it was her, did to me?
I hung upside down on the spiderweb, watching her sprint off. Sprint, not fly. She was taking incredible pains not to be noticed. She didn't want me to know she was here. She'd been really hard to spot; I'd only caught a glimpse of her once or twice, but when I caught a flash of her crawling along the beams, I knew I had to confront the shadow girl following us. She'd turned and fled which lead me to believe she was some sort of spy. We couldn't have word of the switch getting out before Jason was ready, so I chased her down.
I never expected it would be my Star.
I should have. I knew how worried she'd been. I could see it in her face every time I talked to her, I guess that's probably why I stopped talking to her so much. It hurt to lie to her all the time, even if it was Batman's orders. I knew what I wanted, and that was to move on from Robin, but I needed to know the costume would go to good hands. If everything started going well soon, I could go home to Jump as Nightwing.
Also, it was entirely too convenient, Starfire just announcing she was going to Tamaran and then this shadow girl appearing.
Wow, check out that ass. What sculpted leather could do to her form… now I wanted to see what she looked like from the front.
Of course, I would have to catch her first.
Easier said than done. I never really expected her to be so spry. She really didn't want to be caught. So I hid, hiding up among the cranes above the wharf, watching to see what she did. She did what I thought she'd do, hide too, slipping into a shipping container.
Which made it incredibly easy to catch her.
I couldn't blow my cover, not with Jason and Babs flitting around someplace close. I still had a job to do. I missed her so damn much, I just needed to see her.
"Why'd you leave?" Batman hissed in my ear. "They hadn't retrieved the package."
Shit. "Don't come," I told him.
"You'll scare her off!"
"Starfire's in Gotham."
There was silence for a moment. Then a heavy sigh. "What did you do?"
"Me? It's not my fault. You wouldn't let me tell her anything. She's doing what I trained her to do."
"Get rid of her."
"Let me handle this and stay away. Please?"
"Just get rid of her."
I used the teleporter to position myself at the door and just waited. I placed my hands on my hips. Then leant a hand on the container. Then my back and crossed my ankles. I wasn't sure what I'd say to her. I was caught between kissing her senseless, which she wouldn't understand since I was Red X, and scolding her for coming, which she wouldn't understand since I was Red X. Fuck me.
There was movement from within the crate and I straightened, folding my arms on my chest.
The door swung open. From her posture, I knew she had not expected that to happen. Nor had she expected me to be standing there. The words slipped from my mouth, "Hello, cutie."
Okay. Red X personality it was to be. At least she knew what she was getting in for with that.
She stiffened, shocked and I let my eyes trail over her. Wow… just fucking wow. Did she really have any idea what she was walking around in? Sex on legs. Looong legs. Catwoman had nothing on her. Yumyum.
Starfire took a step backward and I shook my head. "You don't want to go that way. Robin's that way."
She stopped, which confirmed for me her thought process. She thought the one in the Robin costume was still me. And she knew I'd know her no matter what she wore, so she was avoiding being seen. Clever little minx. She lifted her hands, curling them into fists.
I tilted my head. "Really? You want to play it like that?" I lifted my hands, palms flat and pointed them at her.
She hesitated. Didn't I teach her never to do that? "One of us has to move first," I said, trying to prompt some sort of response.
It was interesting to watch her just go for me. She's usually such a timid little mouse when we spar, but today she was just going for it. It was awesome to watch her contemplate her moves, I could almost see her expression beneath that black mask of hers.
I tested her reflexes out, but when one of my shuriken actually hit her, I decided not to use them again. Lucky for me, she blocked it with her leather braces. She had studs on her fists too, damn they hurt the first time one of them grazed me. I wondered if the blades on her hood were for show or if she'd headbutt me at some point. That could be interesting.
Of course, that sexy corset of hers could have hidden any number of weapons.
And then she ejected blades from her wrists and I realised what she was wearing. Some sort of Tamaranian battle armour. She'd come prepared for something, she hadn't known what, but all my secrecy awakened something fiercely protective in her.
My suit is not stab proof, I wasn't about to let those blade anywhere near me. Of course if she managed to hit me, she'd be so upset about that later and I wasn't going to let that happen either. "Okay," I said, batting her hits away with my palm. "That's cheating."
I hated that my brain picked apart her attacks. Star, that's sloppy, that's an opening, don't drop your shoulder. Every time she did something wrong, I would react instantly, demonstrating where she went wrong, pulling my hits as much as possible. I was trained to react and she ended up flat on her back more times than I could count.
Under normal circumstances, Starfire flat on her back would have been rather appealing, but not right now.
We shifted through all manner of fighting techniques, I was actually quite pleased with how seamless she switched, it was an interesting guessing game for me, because she never went where I thought she was going. No, Star, you don't go straight from a roundhouse to a punch, your balance is all wrong. See how fast you ended up on your back that time?
I could tell she was getting frustrated. Starfire starts clenching and unclenching her fists when she's frustrated. She circled a lot more, her attacks become more powerful and I was forced to leap out of the way more. She probably wanted to plant an eyebeam in my face right about now.
I was enjoying the fight too much. I should have been paying more attention to where Jason and Babs were, so when I saw Babs out of the corner of my eye I knew I'd made a serious blunder. Time to act. Incapacitate, stomach, solar plexus, stomach, into the wall, then spin her arm up behind her back. "Shh!" I hissed, checking around us.
Of course, if she'd known it was me she would have quietened immediately, but she didn't. She planted her foot into the container, I saw it bend beneath her strength and forced us backward. As she swivelled into a kick, I felt her blades slice along my ribs. They stung, but honestly, I was pleased. Gutsy of my girl who hates inflicting pain. Besides, if I had been anyone else, I'd want her to do whatever it took to get free.
I was so surprised by the cut, I nearly missed her boot heading for my belt. Bad, bad if she hits me there. I managed to catch her foot, but not before she'd activated my teleportation. We ended up in the crate she'd hidden in before. Which was really bad, because just before she'd activated it, I'd seen Jason outside it, which is why I was looking in that direction. Which is why we ended up in it in the first place.
I shoved her away from me. "Damn it, you kicked my belt," I muttered, spinning for the door in the hopes I could stop Jason from locking it. "This is so not where I wanted to be. We need to get out of here before—"
Everything went dark as the door slammed shut and there was a metallic jangling. The chain on the outside of the door. Damn. "I got them!" Jason called, triumphant. "He has a sidekick; they're trapped in a container."
Starfire wasn't going to like being called a sidekick. I chuckled as I imagined her face and reached for a light stick so I could see. "S'all right, cutie, I'll get us out of here."
Starfire growled at me, which surprised me. She hadn't spoken before and I couldn't help but tease her. "So you have a voice after all," I quipped. My movements made my chest hurt, and I gingerly inspected the wound. Three nice, neat lines. Not too deep, I suspected she'd done that to shock more than anything. "Nice moves."
She felt bad, I could see by her posture. It was Starfire, after all, she felt bad over every little injury. Personally, I was applauding her. Half watching as she retracted her wrist blades, I extracted a bandage from my belt.
"Would you mind?" I asked. Yes, Starfire, put your hands on my chest. I missed your touch.
She folded her arms across her chest. Of course she minded, she was being all badass, badass don't help heal people.
I chuckled at her. "Fair enough," I said as I applied the bandage, hissing in pain.
We couldn't get caught in here. Batman would be angry if I just allowed myself to be captured without making some sort of effort to escape. Plus, I didn't really think Starfire wanted to be here and honestly, I didn't want Jason to get his hands on her thinking she was a criminal. Going through the walls wouldn't work, not only would we be stopped before I'd cut through them, but Starfire'd get a good look at Jason. She probably had come just for a look. I wish I could've asked her.
The floor would be better, except that I was pretty sure it was reinforced concrete below us. I'd have to use my whole supply of explosives on one blast and hope that'd create a big enough indent. If I weakened the floor first, that'd help. I started clearing space. "You helping?" I asked as Starfire just stood there watching me, her arms wrapped around herself. I needed the tiger back, she was more help than the timid mouse. She's probably second guessing herself right now. I kicked one of the boxes aside. "Or do you want to fight Batman?"
It seemed to be the right prompt as Starfire began moving boxes aside. I wondered why she wasn't talking, but then, she knew her voice patterns were a dead giveaway. She probably didn't want Red X to figure out who she was either. She probably didn't intend to stay long. Why was my mind analysing every little thing? Couldn't I just enjoy being with her?
Judging the space we cleared, I squatted beside it and activated the buzzsaw X's in my gloves. "Stand back," I warned her as I began slicing the metal floor in a square. Sparks flew as I cut my hole. When that was done, I peeled back the metal and then began to weaken the concrete so my explosives would be more effective.
As I reached into my belt, I looked up at Starfire, judging her costume. Not bullet proof, for certain. Looked like just normal leathers, not much protection against a blast. Which was okay, my cape could shield her too, if she let me near enough to her.
Surprise was the way to go with Starfire. I stood, stepped over my hole and grabbed her shoulders, tossing her toward the back of the crate. Before she could move, I was forcing her against the metal wall. "Cover your head," I snapped, making my tone harsh so she was more likely to obey and tossed my explosives at the weakened concrete.
Starfire covered her head with her hands, but she wasn't low enough. I crouched behind her, shoving her head lower and swung my cape up to protect her from the blast.
The whole container rocked from the force of the blast. Smoke and concrete dust filled the air. Stacked boxes crumpled toppled from their stacks. "Move," I snapped as I shook us free of debris. "No way they didn't hear that," I finished and darted back to the hole.
I swore under my breath, the blast hadn't been enough. Clumps of concrete still hung against metal bars. I could teleport us down there, but then it'd be straight into the ocean, which would be no fun. And I'd destroy the chip and then I'd be in so much trouble.
The door jangled and Starfire lunged for it, twisting the locking bars in on each other. I reached for my staff and began to bash the concrete stuck on the bars in the hole. "I'm out of explosives," I grunted as she turned back to me. "Quick thinking with the door. Can you do anything about these bars?" Well, of course she could, but I was pretending not to know it was her. Just two criminals helping each other escape.
She seemed of the same mindset, crouching down and put her foot in the hole. I wondered if she knew how sexy that was with her leg extended like that, especially in those pants. She kicked a couple of times, the concrete shattering beneath her strength and the metal bending away.
"Nice work," I said, offering her a hand. She didn't take it, not that I really expected that she would as she lowered herself through the hole.
I watched as she swung and then disappeared from view. I turned my head, watching Jason struggle with the door for a moment before I entered the hole. I was pretty sure I'd seen the end of her that night and I was more than a little disappointed.
Strangely enough, Starfire stood on a support beam, waiting for me. Holding onto the column beside her, she stretched out her hand to me. Now, that was very interesting. I wondered what she was thinking.
I swung and released, stretching for her. I could have made the jump easy, but it was nice of her to offer her help. She grabbed my wrist and effortlessly pulled me onto the beam, releasing me as quickly as she could.
"Thanks," I said and studied the surrounding and the other beams around us. We really needed to be out of here as quick as possible. I nodded at the next set of columns. "Those look too far to jump. Want a lift to shore?"
She tilted her head at me, obviously inquiring how.
"Line of sight teleportation," I said, feeling cheeky. "Shh, it's a secret." I stretched out my arm toward her. "We have to cuddle."
Her head reared back in surprise and then she hugged her arms to her chest and shook her head.
Damn. What would Red X do? Probably just leave her there, he offered, she refused. Damn. I forced myself to shrug. Fine, go to the shore, hide, then follow her to see where she goes. "Suit yourself. Seeya round, cutie." I lifted my fingers to salute her, my other hand going to my belt. Moments before contact, she lunged at me, tearing the satchel from where I'd tied it to my belt.
It was too late to stop my teleport and I appeared on the bank. I couldn't help laughing, sneaky girl! So that was her plan. I twisted, seeing her floating back up to the hole. Surely she couldn't think to be giving it to Jason, he'd attack her first without asking questions.
I teleported back onto the beam. "Hey!"
Starfire lowered herself back down.
"That was mine."
She had the audacity to wag her finger at me and shake her head.
"Did you just give it to him?"
And he didn't react? Wow. Jason had matured. "Huh."
Starfire's head jerked up, then her body was pulled back through the hole, and the down again in very quick succession, reminiscent of someone receiving a blow. She was jerked back up again, her head colliding with the concrete wall.
She'd left the satchel, not given it. Damn it, I should have been quicker in figuring that out. I launched myself at her, catching her by the waist. I twisted, shooting one of my x's through the hole so Jason would release her.
We dropped and I turned my gaze to the bank, hitting the teleport again. Starfire collapsed against me as landed, her body listless. I heaved her up, one hand on her back, the other under her knees and used her hip to hit the teleport pad again.
I just wanted to get her away from Jason.
I jumped several times, pushing the teleport range of the belt to its limits, before I stopped to check on Starfire. I gave her a little jiggle. "Hey, cutie."
No response. Odd. I glanced around, we were on top of an apartment building across from the plaza. Pretty safe. I placed her against the roof and patted her cheek. "Hey, cutie, are you okay?" Still no response. Taking a gamble, I lifted her mask.
The right side of her face was red, a boot imprint. I cringed and swore softly under my breath. Jason had kicked her face. He'd kicked my girl in the fucking face. I balled my hands into fists, then forced myself to take a calming breath. He hadn't known. He hadn't.
Bastard anyway. I'd kick his ass later, first Starfire needed me.
I knew she'd heal quick, she never seemed to bruise much, but she couldn't stay out in the open. And she'd probably panic if she saw me. I pulled the hood back down, just in case she woke and then looked for pockets in her suit. She had to be staying somewhere.
There was a keycard in a hidden pocket of her corset. I really hadn't liked the idea of feeling her up while she was unconscious, but it was inevitable. I swore when I read the name of the motel. "Really? What the hell were you thinking?"
Possibly she hadn't been. Possibly she'd been looking for something specific from the air. She hadn't known what Gotham was like, she had no idea what a death trap that place was.
I hated the necessity of using my supply of Xenothium to teleport her across town, but I couldn't get her there any other way. Besides, Wayne Enterprises had cornered the market on it, to which Bruce had not been happy in the least that I'd allowed a suit powered by it to be stolen. But we knew the real Red X would never be able to power it and I had a limited supply of it for this test.
I managed to slip into the motel itself unnoticed, wrinkling my nose at the place. I couldn't believe she'd want to stay in a place like this. The chain was on the door, so I teleported us inside. Good thing too, she'd booby trapped the door with some of my pellet bombs. I smiled when I saw that.
I gently placed her on the bed, propping her head up with a pillow and stared disdainfully at the wall of the room next to us at the moans and groans echoing through it.
God, what a dive. Everything was broken, the bed looked uncomfortable. Why the hell did she pick this place? I glanced back at the door. Locked, from the inside, she'd left, how? Ahh, bathroom. I wandered into the bathroom. The only window to this place. Hopping up on the counter, I glanced through it. Third floor, no fire escapes of any kind, a normal person wouldn't be able to reach. She probably thought she'd be safe here.
Something crashed, broken glass and someone shrieked. I was not about to leave Starfire here.
Checking that she was still out, I double tapped my earpiece to let Batman know I was available to talk.
"Well?" he asked a moment later.
"You'll never guess where she's staying."
"Why is she here, Dick?"
"Don't know," I snapped. "She's unconscious right now. Jason kicked her in the face."
"If she was with you, he was supposed to," Batman rebuked.
"Yeah, yeah, I know." I sighed. "I'm guessing she's here because she was worried about me. She took great pains to hide herself, she's not even in uniform. She's in some sort of full body black armour, everything's hidden. She's not flying, she's not using starbolts. I believe she just wanted to check that I was okay."
"She didn't interfere, she just watched and ran when she was discovered. I don't see the harm."
"Gotham's a dangerous place."
"Especially where she is right now. She's in fucking Crime Alley."
"What?" Batman sounded a little worried, which was good. Perhaps he could be made to see reason.
"She doesn't know Gotham. She probably just picked this place because it was cheap and they wouldn't look too closely at her. But I'm not leaving her here alone."
"I want her out of Gotham."
"Tough." I wasn't about to let her leave now.
"I beg your pardon?" Batman's voice was chilly. He seemed to have forgotten I'd been leading my own team for years and wasn't a child anymore.
"She's here now. Personally, I would have been disappointed if she hadn't come at some stage, all those fucking secrets you're making me keep. You know what? I bet you a thousand dollars she'll be out again tomorrow night watching Jason. She'll cotton on that he's not me, and then you'll have a hissy Tamaranian on your hands, demanding answers and all your secrets will be blown. I'll distract her and keep on testing Jason. He thinks I have a sidekick anyway. I bet I can con her into helping me. Then we can get past that door at Hendersons you keep bugging me about."
"And I bet you a thousand dollars you can't last one night without trying to tell her who you are."
I smirked. "I'll take that bet."
Batman sighed. "I thought the lost puppy phase ended when you were ten."
I laughed. "She followed me home, dad, can I keep her?"
"Better her run around Gotham with me than leave her unprotected," I reasoned.
"You can't tell her your identity. That's the rule. It hasn't changed. Use the same cover we're using on Jason."
The same ruse? We were trying to get Jason to crack a fake organisation as part of his test to become Robin. I'd been dropping all sorts of clues about it, but he was yet to even check the computer. "She's going to know it the Quicksilver Hand is bogus."
"Hold the ruse, or I run her out of town, your choice. Just keep her away from Jason."
"Fine. But, I'm staying here tonight. I need you to arrange something for me."