Megafest. That was the name given to the biggest gang party in San Francisco. It was a rave to end all raves - an orgasmic gathering of every ruffian, gangster, and self-titled supercriminal in the city. It was a time to tell war stories, to enjoy the company of the opposite sex and the drugs used to spice up the evening. It was a time to cause property damage in the regions of the city the cops were afraid to go.
A techno beat drove the spirit of everyone there like the beat of a drum. Legions of anarchistic teens and young adults danced about like tribal barbarians in some History Channel documentary. The music drove their spirits into an undefinable bliss that transcended anything a drug could make. But taking drugs at the same time didn't hurt.
Robin looked at the sea of people from a gargoyle perch above. He saw gatherings like this in Gotham City all the time, though the clothing was different. Gotham still adhered to the English and Victorian styles of fashion, rather than the west coast's futuristic designs. Nevertheless, the feeling of pure freedom was the same. And a part of him missed it.
"Man, I wouldn't mind being down there," Beast Boy said through a secure channel. "Watching is no fun."
"They're disturbing the peace. Plus there's illegal narcotics. We can't let this continue." Robin felt like an old man, saying that. He wasn't into drugs, but the party itself seemed like a lot of fun. He wouldn't mind jumping into the fray with Beast Boy and partying until dawn.
"I agree that we should stop the loud noise and flashing lights," Starfire said, her voice bubbling with naivety. "And if there are bad drugs down there, we must stop them from being used."
Robin stood up and put his hand to his ear to adjust his radio earplug. "Raven, Cyborg, are you in position?"
"Yo, you'll have to speak up Robin! I can't hear a word down here!"
"...I'm ready," Raven muttered. "The sooner it gets quiet, the better."
Robin scanned the crowd once more and decided who would go where. "Cyborg will handle the stereo towers. Raven, take out the field lights. Starfire, Beast Boy, you have crowd control. Try to disperse the people without hurting them."
"Easy for you to say," Beast Boy griped. "It's hard for a rhino to pussy-foot his way through a crowd that thick."
"Just do your best. We don't want to hurt anyone. I'll keep an eye out for threats."
"Why do you get the easy job," Cyborg joked. "Oh, that's right. All you got's a polymerized titanium suit and a magic belt."
Robin frowned. "You want to trade? I could probably take out those speakers faster than you can."
"Enough," Raven cut in. It was usually her job to stop a fight between the two biggest egos on the team. "Everyone's in position."
"Right. On my signal." Robin drew a set of nightvision lenses from his utility belt and slid them over his mask before wrapping the lensband around his head. Everything he saw now had a green tint, which would be useful in spotting people in the dark when the lamps went out.
As the techno beat reached a crescendo, Robin shouted the order. "Titans, go!"
In seconds, the speakers died out as they lost power. The dancing crowd protested this immediately, but it was only a precursor of things to come. The massive field lights wired to the surrounding rooftops died next, leaving only the normal street lamps to light the area. The crowd started to panic, even though many of them were so-called criminals.
The panic increased when Starfire appeared as a green glow above the crowd. Her starbolts exploded at random points above streetlevel, scaring most of the people into fleeing. Beast Boy added to the controlled chaos by bulldozing his rhino-self way through the crowd center, parting it like the Red Sea. Robin watched the chaos through his nightvision lenses, keeping an eye out for anyone being trampled or seriously injured in the panic. Luckily, nobody was hurt that bad... yet.
Then, the resistance came. Members of the crowd packing more heat than the others stood their ground and fought back. Laser rifles and pistols (courtesy of the black market arms dealers scattered throughout the city) lit up the darkness as they shot towards Star and B.B. in bursts. Starfire managed to avoid most of the shots by flying higher into the sky and increasing her own rate of fire. By throwing more starbolts, she was able to force the closest enemies into running for cover. But still, she didn't escape unscathed.
Beast Boy's tough hide protected him only for so long. The laser blasts of half a dozen thugs could hurt even an animal as tough as a rhinoceros. Fed up with being used for target practice, Beast Boy charged the closest gunner and smacked him aside by swinging his head like a hammer. He continued the process with the other shooters, quickly dispatching them in turn. Soon, the street around him was pacified, but that was only temporary. The fleeing crowd was regaining its bravado, and they were willing to fight the oppressive superheroes with pipes and chains if need be.
"Uh... guys, we're going to need help down here," Beast Boy said after quickly reverting to human form. "Star and I are outnumbered by about a million people."
"I can't use my Sonic Blaster without hurting anyone. Ray?"
A pair of burning white eyes pierced the darkness surrounding the street. "Azarath, Metrion, SYNTHOS!" The street shook as cars, trucks, dumpsters, and anything not nailed down was dragged to the road. The debris piled up until a massive wall was formed. The mob couldn't get to Starfire and Beast Boy, but this only solved one problem.
"We must calm these people down," Starfire realized. "But how do we do so without hurting anyone?"
"Leave that to me," Robin answered. He leapt from the rooftop and freefell towards the street as he reached into one of his belt pouches. He drew a handful of gas bombs that would put the crowd to sleep in no time, and threw them horizontally so that they would fan out as they fell. Quickly, Robin drew his lifeline and shot it at a nearby building so that he could swing to the ground safely. The gas bombs shattered on impact with the street and dispersed in all directions, catching the mob off-guard. Robin and the other Titans ran for cover so that they wouldn't be caught in the gas themselves. Soon, the crowd was fast asleep.
"Nice work," Robin congratulated. "No casualities."
"Yeah, but I'm going to have a wicked rash from those lasers," Beast Boy complained as he rubbed his side and face.
"Let us recover the bad drugs and get these people out of the street," Starfire suggested.
"Oh, great," Raven sighed. "This will take all night."
"No one ever said being a hero would be easy," Cyborg said. Raven couldn't disagree.
Unbeknownst to the heroes, they were being watched intently by two shadowy figures, both from an alien world.
"Koriand'r has grown up. She is truly beautiful."
"More beautiful than me?"
The other voice chuckled. "Perhaps. But you are smarter and stronger. I like that in my women."
"Daddy will be here any day now to tell Starfire the good news. Soon, you'll be in position to take over the whole planet."
"Yes. Soon, Tamaran and all her treasures will be ours."
** The tune for "Teen Titans, Go!" begins and shows the opening credit animation. **
When there's trouble, you know who to ca~ll! Teen Titans!
From their tower, they can see it a~ll! Teen Titans!
When there's evil on the attack,
you can rest knowing they've got your back!
Cuz when the world needs heroes on patro~l! Teen Titans, GO!
With their super powers they uni~te! Teen Titans!
Never met a villain that they li~ked! Teen Titans!
They've got the bad guys on the run!
They'll never stop 'til the job gets done!
When the world is losing all contro~l! Teen Titans, GO!
1-2-3-4-GO! Teen Titans!
Prince Charming - Part I
[Background Music] *Pump it up... pu-pump it up...*
Robin pushed with all his might to lift the dumbbell off his chest. The weight was more than he was used to, but he had no doubt in his mind that he could lift it at least once. With that goal in mind, Robin used every ounce of strength in his body and pushed. The dumbbell refused to move very far, but Robin kept pushing. Slowly, the bar moved up...
"Robin! Hello!" Starfire said cheerfully as she hovered face-to-face with the Boy Wonder. "Are you doing the 'working out' now?"
"What...does it... look like... I'm doing...?" he replied through gritted teeth. The arrival of Starfire threw off Robin's rhythm, and the dumbbell sank to his chest. Robin took several deep breaths while straining against the weight and tried again to push to a full extension. Starfire cocked her head curiously and watched, still hovering above him.
"Why do you do such a painful activity for such little gain?" Starfire asked. "Is it not easier to bask in the sunlight to gain strength?"
Robin ignored the question in order to keep his focus. Starfire would eventually remember that humans didn't absorb sunlight into their bodies to grow stronger like Tamarans did.
Starfire hovered dangerously close to Robin's face, her lips inches away from his. Robin struggled to keep his focus, but his arms were wobbling rapidly. Starfire looked at Robin's face, then the dumbbell, and back at him again. Robin couldn't help but notice how good she smelled... like strawberries.
"Are you now 'pumped up'?" Starfire remembered Beast Boy flexing his arms when asked about the 'pumped up' status. He then told Raven to feel his muscle - which she didn't, as was her usual response to any of Beast Boy's requests. Perhaps now would be the appropriate time for Starfire to determine if Robin was 'pumped up'. Starfire reached for Robin's arm to feel his muscle, expecting it to be rock-hard.
"Star-don't!" But it was too late. She grabbed his arm very gently (for her). It was enough to break the tension in Robin's arm. The dumbbell fell with considerable force, which would have crushed Robin's chest with ease, had Starfire not caught the bar.
"I am sorry!" Starfire said. She held the dumbbell behind her back like a cheerleader's baton, as if to hide the evidence of her mistake. She quickly placed the dumbbell back on the stand. "I did not know that would happen! I am so sorry!"
Robin massaged his aching arm. "Star, you can't distract me when I'm working out. Humans have to work very hard to stay in shape. You can seriously hurt someone if you interfere with weight-lifting."
Starfire gasped fearfully and rushed to Robin's immediate side. "Is your injury serious!?" She grasped his arm and massaged the spot she touched as gently, yet insistently, as possible. "Oh, I am such a vy-glork! I have caused irrepairable damage!"
Robin sweatdropped at Starfire's overreaction. "I'm not hurt that bad, Star. It's just, I could have been hurt. Humans break very easily compared to aliens."
"I sincerely apologize," she repeated. Starfire continued to massage Robin's arm, although he'd said he was alright. Robin didn't complain about the free massage, though.
"On my planet, your abilities would mark you as a Tamaran prince - the man that all the young girls wished to marry. I sometimes forget that you are not a prince." Starfire's cheeks reddened slightly as she visualized herself in a wedding gown, with Robin standing at her side.
Robin blinked, though Star couldn't tell because of his mask. "Um... thanks. But I'm no prince. I'm just me."
Starfire smiled brightly. "I would not want you to be any other way!" She floated into the air and flew to the room's entrance before turning around expectantly. "So, are you finished with the 'working out'?"
"Is that why you came in here?" Robin smirked suspiciously. "I bet you messed me up on purpose, just so I'd go with you."
"You know I would never hurt you, Robin," Starfire said fondly. "But I planned to do the 'wet willy' to make you chase me!" The red haired nymph spun in mid-air as she giggled, then flew out the door.
Robin smiled and ran out the door after her. "You asked for it!" And from there, the chase began. Robin raced down the hall and rounded the corner, only to see Starfire hovering in wait. When she saw him round the bend, she continued down the hall, unable to stop giggling in delight.
A door slid open as Raven walked out of her room, curious at the noise in the hall. "What is going on out here?"
The mystic was nearly hit by Starfire as she zoomed by. Raven turned to 'yell' at her, until Robin shouted a warning of 'Gang Way!' to make her jump aside. Raven breathed deeply to still her beating heart. When she was calm again, a red vein bulged on her forehead in irritation.
"...Kids," she growled. Raven stomped back into her room before the joyfulness triggered her gag reflex.
"Catch me, Robin!" Starfire cheered. She raced down the hall towards the den, where Cyborg and Beast Boy were duking it out on the Gamestation. Starfire wisked past them and hovered in front of the theater screen, just as Robin reached the den entrance.
"Yo Star! Move it or lose it!" Cyborg said. "We're using the screen here!"
Starfire paid him no heed, her eyes firmly set on Robin as he 'stalked' his way towards the couch with a tiger-like grin. She too was grinning in anticipation.
Beast Boy cocked an eyebrow at the giggling alien. "Dude, what's got you so worked up?"
His answer came when Robin leapt over the couch to tackle her, and instead dove head-first into the screen. Luckily, the screen was strong enough to withstand the blow, so Robin just slid down to the floor and landed with a thud. Starfire hovered over to the couch and 'landed' on the crest, her feet barely touching the couch material. Both Beast Boy and Cyborg were staring in surprise at the Boy Wonder.
"Are you giving up already?" Starfire teased, knowing such a comment would inflame Robin's passion for victory even further.
Robin leapt from the floor to the couch with surprising speed and tackled the taunting Tamaran. They landed on the floor, where Robin exacted his revenge for the wet willy that never happened. He tickled Starfire's sides, making her squirm uncontrollably and laugh like mad.
"Ah-hah-hah-hah! Not fair!" she shouted through her laughing fit.
"All's fair in wrestling!" Robin retorted, not letting up.
Beast Boy, now in a playful mood, leapt over the couch and tackled Robin. "I'll save ya Star!" He grabbed Robin in a headlock and wrestled with his fellow Titan. Robin fought back with some moves of his own, each of them going all-out as far as WWE-style combat went.
"Oh, save me!" Star said, in mockery of the helpless damsel-in-distress that seemed so common in Robin's collection of Earth movies.
Beast Boy managed to flip Robin over with a suplex, stunning the hero momentarily. The green Titan held his arms up towards an imaginary audience.
"And Beast Boy goes for his ultimate move!" Cyborg said as the announcer.
Beast Boy hopped four times in a circle, with Cy' shouting the letters 'W-O-R-M' in time with the hops, before turning into a giant squiggly worm himself. He wiggled his way across the floor before changing back to normal and elbow-dropping Robin in the gut. Cyborg laughed his metallic socks off, while Robin lay there in imaginary agony.
Starfire held up Beast Boy's hand, declaring him the winner of the wrestling match. The four Titans all had a good laugh and applauded each other on their performance.
Raven stood at the den entrance, her hands on her hips. "You guys... are idiots." Raven picked up the book she was always reading (the 'Epitaph of Twilight', adapted by Takeru Takaishi) from one of the tables and went down the hall towards her room.
Cyborg scowled at the hallway. "That girl needs a boyfriend. Or some Prozac."
"Worry not about Raven's seeming lack of humor," Starfire said as she floated to a stool in the kitchen. "She is simply a quiet person. I have shared laughter with her on occasion, and we have even done the girl talk!"
"Seriously!?" Beast Boy shrieked. He zipped to Star's side, and his ear inflated to five times its size. "You guys tell secrets? What kind of secrets? Anything about me?"
"They would not be secrets if I spoke of them," Starfire replied with a mischievous grin. "But she would be especially mad if I told you."
Fireworks went off in the mutant's mind. Beast Boy gave a thumbs-up. "Your silence speaks volumes!"
*Knock, Knock* The sound of knocking played from the speakers, indicating that someone was literally knocking on their front door several stories below.
"Alright, our pizza's here!" Cyborg cheered. He pushed a few keys on the theater remote to connect with the door camera, expecting to see the pizza guy waiting. To everyone's surprise though, someone much more imposing was waiting there. It was a muscular, well-dressed man in elegant robes and wearing what appeared to be a crown of olive figs.
"...Did you order from Little Caesar's by any chance?" Beast Boy asked.
Robin picked up on an important detail. On the man's forehead were two red dots, not unlike Starfire's peculiar marks. "That man is an alien."
Starfire looked up at the screen, not having paid attention. Her eyes bugged out of their sockets when she saw who it was. "It is my father!"
Lightning struck in Robin's mind. "Your WHAT!?"
The man impatiently knocked on the door several times more, much louder than before. Through the camera, the teens heard his complaints. "Open this door now! I demand to see Koriand'r!"
Starfire literally shrieked with delight. "I must prepare for my father's arrival!"
"Wait Star! What do we-!" Robin's question was cut off by Starfire zipping down the hall at light speed, leaving a dust trail behind. The knocking grew louder and louder still.
"Open this door!!" the man shouted. His patience was growing thinner by the second.
"You go answer it!" Beast Boy cried to Cyborg.
"YOU go answer it!" Cy' cried to Beast Boy. They went back and forth like this until Robin stepped in, his face dripping with nervous sweat.
"...I'll go answer it," Robin said. He headed for the elevator, which shot down to the bottom floor.
Beast Boy and Cyborg watched the elevator descend like a casket. "Nice knowing you, dude."
Robin stepped to the front door at the bottom floor, only to be blown back as the door was slammed down by the Tamaran's foot. The man stomped into the entry hall and towered over Robin like a demonic force.
"Where's my DAUGHTER!" he demanded.
"Calm down, Mister! She's upstairs!"
"'Mister'!? I am Myand'r, King of Northern Tamaran! You will address me as such!"
Robin did a double-take. "Wait. You're Star's father... and a King? Doesn't that make Star a..."
"Bring me to her, NOW!" His bellow shook the very foundation of Titans Tower.
"Y-y-yessir!" Robin scrambled for the elevator and frantically pushed the button for the fourth floor. Myand'r stomped inside with Robin, and the lift whisked to the upper stories. The door opened into the den, where Cyborg and Beast Boy were waiting.
"Hi, Starfire's dad!" Beast Boy said with a wave. "How's life in the Vegan star system?"
Cyborg elbowed him hard and whispered a warning. (They're at war, man! Life probably sucks right now.)
Myand'r glared at the mutant, excentuating the point. Beast Boy laughed nervously before changing into a turtle and shrinking into his shell. Cyborg sweatdropped and groaned.
Starfire dashed from the hallway and carried several dozen video disks and a stack of photo albums to the couch. When she saw her father, she exploded with joy (almost literally -- her starbolts lit the rug on fire with her happiness).
"Gipuu!" she shouted in the Tamaranian language.
"Vargna!" The man's temperment did a 180-degree turn, going from stern and mad to utterly joyful. The two Tamarans flew across the room and tackled each other in a mid-air hug. The two of them looked so happy to see each other, that it was incredible. Disney films didn't have this much joy in them.
Beast Boy reverted to normal when he saw the mood change. "Wow. He must be really happy to see her."
"The Vegan star system is very far away," Robin said, smiling at the rapid exchanges between father and daughter. "And Tamaran's subspace communication devices can't transmit at that distance. So Starfire's only contact with her father has been through interstellar mail."
Cyborg finished putting out the rug fire with a bucket of water. "Starfire's only been here a year. But I guess that feels like an eternity when you're away from home."
Starfire and her father floated to the ground once they finished their initial reunion. Starfire clung to her father's arm like he was a giant teddy bear. "Friends! I must introduce you to my father!"
"I have heard so much about you all," Myand'r said with a bright smile. "I hoped to cause more chaos with my initial bellowing, but I didn't anticipate your politeness."
"Wait a minute," Cyborg said. "You were faking all that anger?"
"Of course. Is it not customary for an Earth father to storm into his daughter's co-gender home that way?"
Robin and Cyborg crashed to the ground in exasperation. Beast Boy looked at them as he scratched his head. "Starfire had to get her loopiness from somewhere, right?" Both faceplanted teens groaned.
"This, is Beast Boy!" Starfire said cheerfully.
"Nice to meet you!" Myand'r bellowed politely. He grasped Beast Boy's hand in a crushing grip, making the mutant gasp in pain.
"Same here," Beast Boy whimpered. His hand was now devoid of bone matter.
Starfire brought her father to Cyborg and introduced him next. Cyborg held out his hand to shake, but Myand'r went into a series of hand slaps, fist smacks, thumb twists, and half-grabs in an attempt to do the stereotypical 'cool handshake'. Cyborg, reluctantly, let him finish his handshake on his own.
"How's it going, my brother!" the king said in closing. Cyborg glared at Star, who blushed and smiled apologetically.
"Ecstatic," he replied eventually.
Myand'r turned to the final teenager in the room. The king smiled knowingly as Starfire introduced him. "This, is Robin." Robin grasped hands with the man and shook firmly.
"I have heard so much about you," Myand'r said. "My daughter speaks often of your talents, and your kindness in helping her adapt to your planet's culture."
"Just doing what I can to help a friend," he replied. Robin turned to said friend. "You never told us your father was royalty."
"I... did not want to complicate things. I wish to be a normal Earth girl, not a dee-nee-tary in a foreign land."
"Dignitary," Robin corrected.
"Not right now, thank you," Starfire said. Robin sweatdropped, and gave up.
"There appears to be a Titan missing," Myand'r noticed. "I remember two Earth birds being on your team, yet only one is here." Cyborg laughed at Robin's embarassment at the comment.
"Raven is here somewhere," Starfire said. "I shall get her!" The alien girl 'bee-beeped' like the Roadrunner and zipped off at high speed, leaving the gathering of men to be amazed at her energy.
"If you don't mind me asking," Robin said, "why are you here on Earth? Even for a Tamaran, flying here takes more than a week. A king leaving his planet for that long can't be normal."
Myand'r nodded grimly. "My planet's civil war is reaching an all-time high. The prince of the Southern continent and I have been working hard to stave off total genocide, but nothing has stemmed the passions of my people. The Tamaran are a proud warrior race with strong emotions."
"So we've noticed," Cyborg said. Starfire could get pretty mean when she was angry, and yet could be the purest soul ever to grace the planet only seconds later. It bordered on psychotic.
"The prince and I believe that the only way to stop the war between our people is to unite our royal families. Our people place great value on the bonds of friendship and family."
"Again, we've noticed," Beast Boy said. Starfire put a great deal of effort into maintaining and starting friendships - sometimes too much effort.
"How are you plannin' to unite the royal families?" Cyborg asked.
Robin bowed his head solemnly. Being a super detective, he already knew the answer. "...Starfire has to marry the prince." Cyborg's and Beast Boy's eyes bugged out of their sockets.
"That is correct," Myand'r said. "I am glad you understand so easily. This will make things easier."
"Starfire can't get married!" Beast Boy shouted. "She's like, young and hot! Only old people get married!"
"Watch what you say about my daughter," the king snapped. Beast Boy jumped into turtle form and shrank into his shell again.
"What he means," Cyborg cut in, "is that Starfire is an integral part of our team. If she leaves, the Teen Titans will be a whole lot weaker. Besides, she's our friend. We don't want her to leave."
"I understand your concerns," Myand'r replied. "But I am afraid there is no other choice. With her sister an outlaw, Koriand'r is the only member of the Northern Tamaran royalty that can save our planet from genocide."
Cyborg crossed his arms indignantly. "Isn't planetary warfare what the Justice League is for? Robin, say something!"
Robin's head was still bowed in solemn thought. He gently spoke up. "How long do we have until she has to leave?"
"We must leave as soon as possible to return to our planet. The war has paused due to a period of religious fasting, but that period will end in a week's time. We must be ready to end the war by then. But... I will wait until the next morning so that you can say goodbye."
Robin looked up. "Thank you." He walked towards the hallway, his body dragging under the weight of this news.
"That's it!?" Cyborg yelled. "Aren't you going to argue for her to stay or something!? She's your friend!"
"...That's why I'm not arguing." He slowly disappeared into the hall like a shadow in the night.
Myand'r turned to the two stunned, downtrodden Titans before him. He smiled brightly. "Anyone up for the 'B-ball'?"
That night, Robin found himself reclining on the rooftop next to the outdoor pool, staring into the sky. San Francisco's smog and lights made it difficult to see the stars, but a few managed to break through the distracting lights and the pollution. Robin identified each star from memory, and wondered how many of those stars had alien girls like Starfire living around them. He decided that none of them did -- Starfire was unique on a universal scale. He sighed in lament.
"Robin?" said a gentle voice. Starfire walked over to the poolside seats and took the one next to him. She leaned back and stared into the sky as well. It was silent and tense for a moment.
"How many of those stars have you been too?" Robin asked. "Or is it hard to tell from down here?"
Starfire looked carefully at the sky, then pointed at a star in the eastern quarter. "I went to that one, right before I landed on Earth. I believe I had to do the 'pitstop' there." She looked again, and pointed at one a bit north of the previous star. "And there, I stopped to absorb sunlight so that I would not be tired when I landed."
"It's too bad I can't see Tamaran from here," Robin said. "At least then, I could look at your home and remember our time together."
Another tense silence. Starfire found it difficult to choose her words, since this might be the last time she and Robin ever spoke face-to-face. She wanted her last words to be extra special.
"Robin, I... I wish you could go with me."
"That'd be even worse," he said. "Because then I'd have to watch you get married to some guy I don't even know."
Starfire couldn't help it. Tears fell across her cheeks as her feelings got the best of her. She jumped onto Robin's chair and hugged him fiercely. "Oh Robin, I do not wish to leave! I want to stay here with my friends! With... you."
The young man hugged her back, despite how awkward he felt. Being emotional wasn't one of his talents. "Me too, Star. Me too."
"There are so many things I've wanted to do - wanted to see - since I've come here." Starfire sat up and looked at Robin's face through teary eyes. "I've been so happy here. I don't want our friendship to end."
Robin delicately put a hand on Starfire's damp cheek. His touch felt so cold because of his glove, and yet so warm because of the feeling behind it.
"Just because you're going back home, doesn't mean our friendship has to end. Someday, we'll see each other again."
Starfire grabbed his hand with her own and closed her eyes. She tried to preserve the warmth in his hand in her memory. "Even so, things would not be the same. The [Rakmah] - 'the Drifting' - will occur. And I do not want to drift away from you."
Robin knew how true that was. If she left, their friendship would change forever. Not to mention that marriage would vastly change their relationship.
"I propose a bonding moment," Starfire said, in a slightly brighter tone. "Let us make a fond memory together, so that we will never forget each other."
Robin turned red slightly. "...What are you suggesting?" The word 'bonding' conjured up images that are probably best left undescribed. Starfire blushed a bit, reasserting Robin's naughty imagery. This could get complicated.
"Since I have become a Teen Titan, I have had one secret wish that I have been unable to ask, until now." Starfire looked fondly at the Boy Wonder, who was starting to sweat nervously.
"What is it?" he asked.
"...Your eyes," Starfire said shyly. "I have wanted to see your eyes, just once."
Robin frowned. "You want me to take off my mask?"
His reaction sent Starfire scrambling to the opposite side of her chair, frantically apologizing in one long breathe. "Of course, I understand if you do not comply. Your identity is a secret, and your mask is a symbol of your leadership and your abilities as a warrior. It is rude of me to ask, and I am sorry."
Starfire heard rustling behind her, and slowly turned around. Robin reached up towards his mask and slid his fingers along an imperceptible wire holding it to his face. He bowed and gently lifted the wire over the back of his head. The mask dropped into Robin's lap, his head still bowed and his eyes closed.
"Robin...?" Starfire turned around, her eyes fixated on her friend in anticipation of what she was about to see.
The teen slowly raised his head, and opened his eyes. A pair of bright blue orbs looked back at Starfire, shining with the gentle innocence of a little boy. They were not the eyes of a warrior, but the gentle eyes of an artist or musician.
Starfire was amazed. His eyes were so different from what she imagined, and so beautiful compared to his gruff personality. And they were so sad, like a puppy dog's eyes.
"Is this what you were expecting?" he said.
"No," Starfire said truthfully. She slowly reached out with two hands and held Robin's cheeks, quietly admiring this strange, yet familiar face. Slowly, Starfire removed her hands and folded them in her lap. She turned away bashfully. "You can put your mask back on now."
"Not yet," he said. "I'll leave it off until I get my wish."
Robin stood up and held out his hand. Starfire took it and stood up as well, unsure of what was about to happen, but tingling nonetheless. Starfire stood a few inches taller than the Boy Wonder, but her eyes were fixed on his. Robin rarely stood this close to her... it felt good to be near him, she realized.
"Close your eyes," he said faintly. "And promise to remember our friendship."
Starfire closed her eyes, and whispered a response. "...I will."
They kissed under the moonlight, gently and fondly. Neither knew how long the kiss really lasted. Because to them, it felt like it lasted forever.
Starfire left the next morning with her father. Her goodbyes were quick, because she knew she wouldn't be able to leave if she spent too much time crying. Myand'r said a grateful farewell and told the Titans how proud he was to know that Earth had heroes like them. The Tamarans flew towards the sky, with Starfire tearfully looking over her shoulder.
"...There she goes," Raven said, as cold-sounding as ever. She closed her eyes, which were obscured by the shadow of her hood. "Never to return."
"She'll come back," Beast Boy insisted. "She has too! No way Star will be satisfied as a housewife - even a royal one."
"She's saving her people the only way she can," Cyborg said strongly. "We would've done the same if we were in her shoes."
Beast Boy frowned. "Yeah, I guess so. Sacrifice yourself for the good of the people. That's what being a hero is all about."
Robin left without saying a word. The others thought they should say something to console the one closest to Starfire, but none of them could think of a good thing to say. It's hard to console someone else when you are sad yourself. The remaining Titans dispersed in search of something - anything - that could take their mind off of what just happened.
Robin made his way to his personal chambers, where he kept all of his Slade memorabilia and newspaper clippings. He locked the door with the keypad, walked slowly to his work bench, and stared at it. His anger rose to the surface, and he slammed the desk with a ferocious yell. The junk cluttering it fell to the ground. Robin sank to his knees, and his face fell into his folded arms. He didn't want this to happen, but you couldn't fight politics and tradition with brute force. And that was all he had.
A viewscreen on the wall activated as a call came in. A familiar face appeared on the screen - a face covered by a dark mask and a grim exterior.
Robin groaned. Of all the times he would call. "...What is it," he muttered without looking up.
"I'm too late, it seems. The girl has already left."
Robin looked up, now curious. "You mean Starfire? You knew she was leaving?"
"Gather your friends," Batman ordered. "There's trouble in the Vegan system. And your friend is falling into a trap."
TO BE CONTINUED...