Standard disclaimers apply
CHAPTER EDITED NOV. 24, 2004: With the insight of Aria-Angel.
Epilogue – Guiding Starfire, Guiding Star
The sheets were soft against her skin, protecting her from the slight nip of the air conditioner. The warmth the blanket lent her felt luxurious, especially waking from the sweetest of dreams.
She stirred and the comforter slipped slowly from off her. She sighed softly in complaint, but before she could pull the cover back on, she felt the wonderful caress of lips and tongue on her shoulders. They were unhurried; cherishing and they sent unholy tingles racing down her back.
Starfire smiled in lazy contentment, nestling against the pillows and against him. The scent of him filled her senses and she loved it. She loved recognizing his fragrance from the linens of his bed; she loved waking up and realizing that her scent had mixed with his. It was erotic, and best of all, it made perfect sense.
In the last three months of the four since they admitted their feelings to one another, the bliss of waking from a night of passion with Robin still felt as euphoric as the first night they spent in each other's arms. However nervous they both were on their first joining, it had been an exquisite exploration of one another, made sweet by innocence but fervent by searing emotion. Starfire believed it had been wonderful, however inexperienced they both were, and she had no doubt in her mind that it meant as much to Robin as it did to her. Each time they touched after that, they brought something from their previous experience; they learned to please each other better; more intensely, and while Starfire always believed that her Robin had the capacity to become a breathtaking lover, she never knew what breathtaking was until he was pressed against her, showing her just what a wonder of a boy he was.
No, there is nothing boy about this one, she thought impishly.
A giggle escaped her when his teeth grazed her ear and she turned to face Robin, the blankets twisting around her.
She had expected to touch skin when she slid her hands up his shoulders, but she realized he was quite dressed up, though not in uniform. Her fingers felt the leathery smoothness of a coat and the thick cashmere sweater beneath it. It confused her. Where was he going dressed up so warmly?
She frowned and he chuckled softly, planting soft kisses on her throat.
"What? Don't like the jacket?" he asked in a teasing tone.
Starfire pouted, gently pushing him away. "You are all dressed up! Where are you—"
"Much as being naked with you is the most mind blowing experience of my life, a guy has to put on clothes once in a while, you know."
"Hmph, I have no use for you, then." She feigned petulance and began turning away from him.
Of course, Robin was not about to be outdone.
He caught her and in the process tangling her in the sheets even more. She felt him plop back on the bed and he had her sitting across his lap in seconds. With the way the sheets were wrapped around her, she couldn't exactly get away. He probably planned it like so.
"Don't turn your back on me," he teased. He toyed with her hair and then she felt the tip of something, like the edge of a thick sheet of paper, scraping lightly against her collarbone. He nipped gently along her jaw with his lips.
Starfire wondered if this was another one of Robin's sexy games. She tilted her head to the side, wondering. She wouldn't be adverse to it, of course. She always liked it when he played this way. "Richard, for someone fully dressed, you are quite frisky…"
"Well, that's true, but it's not about that this morning." He took her hand and placed something papery in it.
She arched an eyebrow. "What is—"
"Richard, my love, I do hate to break it to you, but I could not see. I hope this shocking truth does not change the way you feel about me."
He sighed in exaggerated exasperation. "You underlings are all the same. You always need your leader to tell you what to do. Go read it before you go all smart-assy on me."
Starfire stuck her tongue out to him but did as she was told. She was surprised when she felt little bumps on the surface. More importantly, they were dots, and they formed words and letters.
Placing the note on her lap, she skimmed her fingers over it. It read:
To Miss Koriand'r; From Bruce Wayne
Feeling around the corners of the paper, she could tell it was an envelope. She opened it and pulled the card out. This one had Braille on it as well.
It's been a while and I hope all is well with you. You have been sorely missed in the Wayne Manor and while you're probably thinking that's not much considering there are only two people living in it, it's more than I have to say for your boyfriend. The reason I wrote is because the construction of my new art gallery is closely coming to an end. It will be opening in approximately three weeks and it will feature many popular but respected modern artists from Gotham and New York. I would very much like you to be there, if only for the cocktails and good company. I will, however, recommend that you get your eyes repaired just so you don't miss the amazing art. I happen to know a guy, who knows a guy, who could give you exactly what you need, to see again. It's going to require a procedure, of course, and you're going to have to go under the knife, but theoretically it ought to fix your problem real quick. Rest assured, if it doesn't work out, heads will roll. The guy's words, not mine.
I've written to Robin separately about accompanying you and he should have told you already that the moment you receive this letter, you are to pack and head straight to the Wayne Airfield in San Diego. Frankly, you have no time to lose.
I shall be looking forward to seeing you again, Kori, and hopefully in the next few weeks, you will be seeing me, and everyone else, as well.
Yours, in humble service,
When Starfire was done with the note, she wasn't quite sure if she had to say something.
Robin could only take the silence for so long. "Hey, say something. Anything."
"Do you—do you think it is possible, Richard?"
She felt his fingers running idly through her hair, tickling her spine as the pads of his fingers touched the skin of her back.
"Bruce won't act all cocky for nothing, you know. When he gets this way, it means he's certain of results." His tone was gentle and understanding. "I know it'll be hard to deal if it doesn't work out, but you know I'll be right there for you. Don't be afraid."
She nodded, allowing herself a small smile. There was some fear. She had spent the last four months living her life without the benefit of vision, and she had, on several occasions, told herself that she could live the rest of her life that way. She had entertained no thought of ever seeing again, not because she was bitter, but because it was more productive to accept that difficult possibility. And now here was hope, and it was spreading all over her so quickly. She knew, deep down, that if it did not work out, she would be painfully disappointed.
She sighed, leaning against him for support. She burrowed against the crook of his neck and shoulder, closing her eyes to listen to the even pattern of his breathing.
He shifted, leaning against the headboard and cradling her. They were silent for several minutes until Robin spoke. "Are you ready to do this, Kori?"
She nodded, in spite of her fears. "Yes."
"I can't believe we've gotten so used to your condition that a chance… a change, like this becomes daunting."
"It is strange, is it not? We contend with other, more overwhelming circumstances yet we still find ourselves hesitant to undertake simple life matters."
The ever so slight tensing of his shoulders suggested he gave pause to think. "Speaking of life matters…"
"I caught a signal this morning, while I was making the routine scans for your sister."
It was her turn to tense. Having told Robin about Blackfire, she had decided that she would tell the rest of the titans. It was, after all, a matter that had many implications. The notion that Blackfire was planning to conquer Tamaran was largely presumption and they had a responsibility to make sure she wasn't planning on overrunning Earth, instead; that and the fact that she might have quite possibly kidnapped two scientists from Earth was reason enough for them to be vigilant.
After their initial shock of her revelations, they immediately attended to the matter professionally, coming up with programs to find Blackfire's whereabouts in as wide an area as they could cover in space. They placed an alert with the Justice League's Watchtower and the most state-of-the-art observatories all over the world. Cyborg gathered them all in a network he created and the Titans took shifts watching the signals.
In the last four months, they've picked up nothing; not even a plasma trail. It was as if Blackfire had been wiped off the face of the universe—at least within a radius of thirty light years. And now Robin was telling her he had picked up a signal, and he was relating it to "life matters". She was also surprised that Robin wasn't making a bigger deal of it. He should have sent the entire tower on alert by now.
Starfire arched an eyebrow. The situation was strange. "What kind of signal?"
"It was sent to all frequencies. I got messages of its arrival from everywhere. I didn't know what it was, at first. It was in a different language; a bunch of unfamiliar symbols, but I ran it through the database and I came up with your profile. It was in your language, Kori."
Her brows knotted. "Was the computer able to translate it properly?"
"Barely, but it told me enough to classify the message as a False Alarm. I didn't tell them what the message said. I just told them to ignore it."
"What did it say?" Her voice was soft. She wasn't sure if she wanted to know what the message said, but she was compelled to ask.
"'Seeking you. Sender: Galfore.'"
Ah, she thought painfully. Life matters indeed.
Her stomach knotted at the thought that followed. "Did—did you answer it?"
He said nothing until a few seconds later. "No."
She breathed a sigh of relief. "I do not want them to find me."
"Kori, why not? Not even for Galfore? You told me you love him like a father."
"I do, but if I tell him, he would have to tell my parents. I cannot make him lie for me. That would be too cruel."
"What did they do to you to make you hate them so much?"
"Hate is… harsh. I—I do not want to be ungrateful, but what they did—I simply cannot forgive them, so rather than returning to them with anger, I removed myself from them. I owe them that much."
He sighed and they sank back into silence. For several minutes, they said nothing.
Starfire began to feel the tension melting away; it was so comfortable being in his strong embrace. He had to be the one to break the silence.
"Do you need help packing?"
She smiled, stifling a sigh of disappointment. At the same time, she was glad Robin had changed the subject. "No, Richard. I will be fine."
"Do you need help getting dressed? Please say yes."
"You spoiled boy…"
"I was a billionaire's ward…"
Starfire laughed softly. "Well, I'm a princess, and I order you to go away or we will never get to the airfield on time."
He swatted her behind and got away from her before she could retaliate.
"I will get you for that!" she yelled.
Robin gave a mischievous chuckle. "That's something to look forward to. I'll see you upstairs when you're done."
A pile of something was shoved into her hands and she supposed they were her clothes. Robin had a tendency to scatter them to the four corners of the room and she was grateful he collected them for her. She accepted them.
"Here's the communicator." He took her hand and gently placed the palm sized radio in it. He took her other hand and gave her the walking cane. "Call if you need any help. You gonna to be alright?"
She nodded. As fiercely independent as she was, she liked it when Robin fussed over her a bit.
Starfire palmed the walking cane and grinned mischievously. When she felt his lips on her forehead, she extended the cane and moved like lightning, attempting to touch him with its tip. He dodged it with acrobatic precision, but she was expecting that. She double-backed and before he knew it, its tip was pressed to his calve.
The cane promptly burst out in song and Starfire sang with it, giggling madly and dancing a bit for effect. "Everybody was Kung Foo Fighting! Those cats were fast as lighting!" Her singing was bad, of course. If some people's voices made angels sing, so did Starfire's but only so they could drown out the God-awful sound. Thankfully, Carl Douglas' voice and music was loud enough to provide the tune. Further in the background was Barry White with his commentary about how Robin probably didn't kill your brother, father or master, but that he could still kick serious ass. Meanwhile, Starfire continued to sing horrendously. "In fact it was a little bit frightening, but they fought with expert timing…"
"Argh!" was Robin's predictable response. Ever since Starfire learned about what the cane had to say about Robin, she couldn't get enough of it. She delighted in surprising him with it and since she did it so often, he had began to see it as a test of reflex. Most times, she couldn't get him, but there were those rare moments that she got what she wanted and it drove him insane.
This time was no different. Robin jumped Starfire, sitting on her while he tickled her senseless.
Starfire was strong, but he had a way of keeping himself in place and she couldn't push him off. She shrieked with laughter until she looked so winded that she didn't even need to plead for him to stop. He let her go, laughing in spite of himself.
"God, I hate that song," he said, grinning.
She gasped for breath, rolling on her side to curl up into a ball. She smirked. "Even when I sing it?"
"Kori, I love you, but especially when you sing it."
She stuck her tongue out at him again. Of course she knew that she was no song bird, but she did not have to admit that to Robin. She preferred to drive him crazy. She wrapped the blankets around her more securely and motioned to get up. She was held back when she felt Robin's grip around her wrist.
"Kori, I couldn't be with you in Gotham the whole time. Three weeks is too long to be away from Jump City. I have to come back here, probably every three days or so, and stay here for five days before I go back there."
She sighed. She figured it would be something like that. As much as it disappointed her, she understood why it had to be that way. "I will miss you when I'm alone in that ridiculously big house."
His arms were around her, his chin resting on her shoulder. "Well, I'll miss you when I'm alone in this ridiculously big tower."
She felt at least that she was entitled to some pouting. "You will not be alone. You will have everyone else with you."
"I couldn't kiss and cuddle with Beast Boy, could I?"
"He is the cuddliest one, though, especially when he's a Bengal tiger."
"I'm going to pretend I didn't just hear you imply that you do cuddle with Beast Boy." He sighed, stroking her arms reassuringly. "I may not be there all the time, but I will be there when it's time to find out if the operation worked. I promise you that."
She nodded, smiling. His promise would have to suffice. "It would be wonderful if the operation worked and your face is the first thing I see."
"Then it's official. I'll have a zit on my face the size of—"
She giggled. "Oh, hush Richard. Don't ruin it."
His embrace tightened and then he let her go, leaving the bed. He gave her a leisurely kiss and Starfire thought she could get him to stay for another half-hour, but he pulled back, probably wise to her little seductions and laughed softly. Again, he told her he would see her upstairs before he finally left.
Alone, Starfire finally allowed herself to consider the possibility that she would be able to see again. She let the hope surge as visions of sunsets and city lights against the sky line flashed in her memory.
She would see Robin again; and the rest of her friends. It was a sight she might have missed more than she realized.
She would see Alfred and Babs and hopefully Diana. Even Bruce Wayne would be a fascinating sight, for she had only seen his face in pictures. The world would seem brand new to her again and she thought that would be a glorious thing.
Indeed, if the operation failed, her disappointment would be great, but for these moments of pure hope, she would be willing to brave it.
She was Starfire, after all; mighty; fearless; Titan.
Hope lit her smile as she gathered her things and got ready to leave for Gotham.
End, Part one.
Coming up "Guiding Star: Path to Tamaran"
Closing notes: Hehe. On to part two, yes? It's going to be fun! No point in saying goodbye because there's still a lot ahead. I'll read you guys soon, okay? Check out my bios for my Writer's Cuts. Again, I warn you of its contents. Ready your bottle of Clorox. It's ugly.
Also, read my thanks.