HOW TO TRAIN YOUR TAMARANEAN
Batman peered at the communique Robin had sent him, and frowned. It seemed that the Titans had gotten themselves into trouble with wizards from Magical Britain. Well, not trouble per se, but dealing with a known fugitive was problematic. He trusted Miss Martian enough to make a preliminary verdict of innocence, but to get it done properly, he wanted J'onn to do the same thing, with a deeper probe.
And now, apparently Starfire was betrothed to Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. Batman remembered Potter coming up in discussion with Zatanna. Batman found the parallels between his childhood and Potter's disconcerting: orphaned at an early age, subjected to fame since his youth, high expectations made of him…though at least Joe Chill was little more than an ordinary mugger. To be deliberately targeted by the wizarding equivalent of a terrorist was another matter. And Batman had grown up in luxury, while Zatanna suggested that Potter had been raised in somewhat more mundane settings.
There were rumours, according to Zatanna, rumours that the Ministry of Magic in Britain had tried to quash. Rumours that Voldemort had risen again, rumours the Ministry was trying hard to deny and suppress. There was apparently a smear campaign against Potter and Dumbledore, though Batman was especially wary of the latter. He was a headmaster of one of the most famous magical schools in the world, as well as the equivalents of the Speaker of the House and UN Secretary General with his Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the ICW positions respectively. Dumbledore had too much power for his liking.
Clark came up to him. "What's wrong, Bruce?"
Batman handed the printout of the communication to Clark, who read it, and frowned. "Is this true? Has Kori gotten engaged to one of the most famous wizards?"
"It seems so. The godfather of Potter is requesting asylum with us. I want to bring J'onn in to interrogate him. M'gann may have already checked, but…"
"Yes, I know you want to be careful, Bruce. And given that Connor is there, along with Dick, and the others, I can't blame you. Especially with wizards involved."
Batman nodded. Kryptonians were very nearly invincible, but magic was one of their few vulnerabilities. That, and a certain glowing rock known as Kryptonite. "There's nothing we need to deal with for the time being?"
"Not as far as we know," Clark said.
"Bruce, while caution is needed, I don't think this is a sinister plot."
"No, neither do I," Batman admitted. "But neither of us have survived without making sure…"
Titans Tower. An ultramodern monolith of glass and concrete, in the shape of a 'T'. Rather conspicuous, true, but superheroes tended to be anyway.
It was strange, seeing it from so high off the ground, supported by nothing but your own willpower, not from magic, but by the strange abilities of an alien race. And yet, here Harry was, doing just that. He was resisting temptation just to soar through the air as fast as he could, with considerable difficulty, if only because he wasn't used to the whole 'flying without a broom' thing. Plus, Kori was tutoring him in this. He didn't want to go beyond what she was teaching him yet. After all, she was more familiar with Tamaranean powers than he was.
The others were in Titans Tower, waiting for the members of the Justice League sent to confirm Sirius' innocence to arrive later today, it being the morning after their initial meeting. Hermione was apparently raiding the library under the watchful eye of Raven, the Twins had hit it off with Beast Boy and were swapping notes on pranks, while Sirius and Remus were waiting for the members of the League to come here.
"Okay," Kori said. "First, fly ten laps around the Tower. Don't go too fast: we can go at supersonic speeds in an atmosphere, and even beyond light speed in space. But you aren't ready, I don't think."
Harry nodded, before he began to do as she said. The temptation was there to go faster, but just flying at speed was thrilling enough. And instinct did the rest, a combination of (he presumed) his dormant Tamaranean instincts, and his Seeker instincts from Quidditch. He even did a few loops around the arms of the 'T' for good measure, much to Kori's delight.
"Good! Your control is superb!" she said, clapping her hands together in glee.
"Playing Quidditch helped," Harry said.
"Quidditch? Oh, that wizarding sport played on broomsticks! Rachel told me about it. Apparently a sport called Quodpot is more popular here. What position did you play?"
"Ah, the one that catches the…Snitch, was it? Well, that explains your ability, if it isn't your Tamaranean blood," Kori mused. "Well, I'm sure you have the basics of flying down, but keep in mind that it's still dependent on our reserves of absorbed ultraviolet radiation. While we still have reserves of it, we can survive even in the vacuum of space. But if our reserves are ever exhausted, so are we, and we are vulnerable, and I don't know how big your reserves are. In addition, metallic chromium causes something like an allergic reaction. Nothing dangerous to us, beyond what would be considered a bad cold, but we lose control over our powers as we recover. Now, during your time here, I will be training you in combat. Firstly, how to use your Starbolts in battle, and then, how to fight in our martial arts. Normally, I would have Robin teach you the latter, but his martial arts are necessarily earthbound, and while he can fight in mid-air, it is usually while using grappling lines. Tamaranean martial arts, though, are designed for use both on the ground and in mid-air, flying freely."
"I don't think a Death Eater's going to allow me to get close enough to punch or kick them," Harry pointed out.
"Our Starbolts are very much a part of our martial arts, Harry. Avoiding them is very much a part of it. In addition, you can integrate your spells with our martial arts. I am aware, for example, that there is at least one that disarms your attackers. Most wizards and witches would try to retrieve their wands instead of trying to use wandless magic, from what Rachel tells me. Maybe we should try getting you to use wandless magic in conjunction with your Starbolts," Kori said. "Also, keep in mind that humans in general are trained mostly to deal with threats on a horizontal plane. Threats from above take more time to process. Of course, there is a trade-off to flying: it does open you up to more fire from ground forces." She floated forward, and poked him in the chest. "Keep this in mind: you are far more durable than a human being would be, but you are not invincible. We do feel that way in combat, and sometimes, we get reckless. I know I have. We are creatures of passion rather than reason, Harry."
"Figures I'd be a Gryffindor," Harry snarked. On her confused look, he said, "We get sorted into different Houses in Hogwarts according to our attributes. Ravenclaw emphasises a desire to learn, Hufflepuff hard work and loyalty, Slytherin cunning and ambition, and Gryffindor…well, bravery and valour, though it's also a House where fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
Kori laughed at that, a beautiful, musical sound. "Harry, there is nothing wrong with being brave and valorous, or wanting to learn, or hard work, loyalty, ambition, cunning…they're all good qualities. I'd probably be a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff."
"Probably. They'd all be drooling at you, especially in that getup."
She rolled her eyes, laughing again. "Humans, so obsessed with sex, and yet having so many hang-ups about nudity and how much skin we show." She became a little more serious then, still smiling, but something else in her face showing. "You do like me, don't you?"
"Who wouldn't?" Harry asked. "You're very beautiful, and you seem to be very caring. I should be asking you the same question, Kori."
"And what I see so far reassures me. You're pretty handsome yourself, and your actions have shown you to care about what I think. I still want to get to know you better before we wed, but…my heart tells me we would do well together." She then embraced him, kissing him, not the more chaste kiss of before, but her tongue was now probing gently at his lips. After a moment, he returned the favour. Okay, maybe they were moving a bit fast, they hadn't known each other for a day, and yet, it strangely felt right.
Maybe that was his Tamaranean instincts talking. Or maybe just his lust. But it felt right. And so they hung, floating in the middle of the sky, embracing and kissing, revelling in the intimacy of their act, going no further than kissing, but intimate all the same. And warmth was flowing between them, through their joined lips, a warmth more profound than anything Harry had felt before.
Then, with reluctance on both their parts, they broke apart. They were Tamaraneans, creatures of passion and pleasure, but now was not the time for that, they knew. Starfire, blushing, pointed to a target range. "Let's begin our target training. You'll need to learn how to hit targets while flying through the air. We emphasise agility and speed, attacking on the run to avoid counterattacks. Let's get started…"
Hermione looked around in wonder. She had been shown by Rachel into the Titans' library. While nowhere near as large or comprehensive as Hogwarts' library, she was already entranced, all but drooling. "What sort of books do you have here?" Hermione asked.
"Mostly textbooks," Rachel said. "Some at high school level, others at university level. They're on a wide variety of subjects: medicine, criminology, xenobiology, martial arts, and so on. But we've got a few fiction books, though most of us keep our personal books in our rooms. Garfield has all sorts of comic books and zoology texts, for example. I study magical texts, and…well, I also enjoy some fantasy novels," she admitted.
"Nothing wrong with that," Hermione said. "You like reading?"
"Reading and learning in general. It's soothing," Rachel said. "My powers are tied to my emotions, so keeping calm is a necessity for me. In any case, I suppose if I went to Hogwarts, I would be in Ravenclaw. At Ilvermorny, I would lean towards the Horned Serpent."
"I insisted that the Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor…because Dumbledore was in it. The Hat thought I'd do better in Ravenclaw," Hermione mused. "Still, you sound like you learned a lot in Azarath. Was life there peaceful?"
"Mostly. Certainly more peaceful than Earth, though I will admit, it was a bit dull most of the time," Rachel said quietly. After a moment, she asked, "Hermione…do you think Harry would be a good match for Kori?"
Hermione didn't hesitate. "Harry is a good guy, Rachel. Despite everything that's been done to him…and despite the fact that he hates his fame…he tries to do good by as many as he can. I've known that since my first year at Hogwarts, when he leapt onto the back of a Troll for me, to save my life. Frankly, I'm a little jealous of Kori, but…I know Harry sees me more as a sister figure, and I can't really shake off feeling like he's a brother more than boyfriend material. Frankly, he was my first actual friend, Rachel. In all of eleven years, I hadn't made a single friend. I'd driven them away by being…well, Ron called me once a bossy know-it-all. Harry is my friend, and unless he changes for the worse, it will stay that way." Hermione peered at the grey-skinned girl. "You're worried for Kori, aren't you?"
"Yes. In many ways, she is my opposite. True, she has gone through trauma in her past, and you haven't seen her at her cheeriest, but most of the time, she goes through life with what could be considered sunny optimism in a human. But she's Tamaranean. They follow their passions and emotions more than their reason, more than humans do. They're generally peaceful hedonists, but don't mistake a peaceful nature for pacifistic or weak. They are equally as passionate in battle as they are in peace. I've seen Starfire in battle. She takes down enemies hard. But I don't want to see her hurt. Then again, the only way Harry would do that is either by accident…or by getting killed."
"He wouldn't hurt her deliberately," Hermione said. "And at least with these powers, he has more of a chance to take down Voldemort."
Rachel nodded. "True. Voldemort has decades of experience over Harry. He'll need every advantage he can get. Believe me, we'll be training him to make sure he will have a chance. And the offer goes for you too. You may not be part-Tamaranean, but that doesn't matter. We have plenty of training we can put you through. Hogwarts' inconsistency when it comes to Defence Against the Dark Arts may mean your experience is…somewhat lacking. I can help you there. Believe me, I have more experience with the Dark Arts than I'd like to talk about in detail."
Hermione noted the bitterness in the girl's tone, at the surprising self-loathing, and found herself having a suspicion as to why that was the case. A suspicion she kept to herself, as she was sure the Titans already knew. "Well, if you're offering…"
"I am. I'd rather deal with you than those redheads," Rachel said. "I can already feel the migraine coming on, as I'm sure they'll team up with Garfield to do something…"
As if on cue, there was a yelp of surprise (Hermione would later learn it came from Speedy, the protégé of Green Arrow), and a chorus of laughter. Rachel palmed her face. "And there it is…" she muttered resignedly. "I hope they get everything fixed up before the League gets here…"
CHAPTER 5 ANNOTATIONS:
So, Harry's training with Kori, and Hermione's bonding with Rachel. I have to admit, I'm a bit undecided: should I ship Hermione with Raven, or with Robin? I don't mind either way.
Next chapter (which might be a while), the Justice League comes a-calling…
Review-answering time! frustratedbuffalo: Never watched it, never have cause to. So bite me. :P
Guest: Well, regarding Harry's superhero name, that's a possibility.
coduss: They'll put Voldemort into the Phantom Zone, I'd guess.
Fireofargentis: I'd do that if it fits the story, but the only heroic characters I would bash would be Dumbledore, James Potter, and Sirius. Here, Dumbledore's more of a fool than malicious, and he will become a help, while the Weasleys are more guilty of drinking the Dumbledore Kool-Aid than being malicious.
No numbered annotations this time.