Author's Note: I have spent too long on this short piece. First of all, I typed this up days ago. Then, my brother's computer decided that it would screw me over and not turn on, so I had to re-type this on a different computer. From memory. Then, that computer decided that it didn't feel like having Internet on it. So, I was like, alright, I'll just save the story to a disk. Nope. All my disks suddenly are not compatible with the computer. So, I had to print it out and re-type it. Again. I have proof-read this more times than I can remember, but not on this draft, so I'm sorry if there are mistakes. And typing this story out so many times made me realize how much I really don't like it, but I had to post it. I owed it to myself.

(n.) love: a strong affection; limitless adoration

a short piece

Him. She wanted him and only him. And nothing else. Just him. When he had asked her what she wanted for her birthday in a few days, the answer was so simple, so easy…and yet, she could not tell him. That was what made things complicated.

Things…these things, these feelings that she had for him…they were different to deal with. Happy, sad, she could not name them; she had never felt them for anyone else before. On her planet, they were unheard of. There was a deep affection for someone, which she had felt, but this…this was different. Deeper. Passionate. More intense.

The only thing that she could relate the feelings to was what television had shown her. It had introduced her to the customs of Earthlings when they held an affection that spanned past friendship. They spent time together, embraced, kissed…

A kiss. Thanks to Raven and Beast Boy, she had a better understanding of what a kiss was.

Closing her eyes, Raven mentally counted to ten in an attempt to yield her growing frustration. If Starfire rewound the movie one more time—there! She did it again! For the past who knew how long, Starfire had rewound the same part of the movie that she was watching over and over and over, without fail. It was getting ridiculous. No, it had definitely surpassed the point of ridiculousness.

"Starfire, don't you think that you've seen that part enough?"

Instead of replying, Starfire just rewound the movie again.

That was it. Raven took the remote from Starfire's hands and paused the movie. "Enough!"

"Why?" asked Starfire. "I am merely observing. How else am I supposed to know what it is that they are doing without close observation?"

She glanced at the screen and Raven followed her glance. The two characters on the screen were locked in a tight embrace, kissing. Great. Just great. Of all the things that she had to explain to Starfire, this had to be it.

The others get all the easy ones, thought Raven. "You really don't know what they're doing?"

Starfire shook her head and Raven sighed heavily. "It is alright if you do not wish to tell me," said Starfire, disappointed.

"No, no," said Raven, firmly closing her book. She shifted so that she was facing Starfire and Starfire did the same. "You have to learn." She looked back at the screen. "That," she said, pointing, "is kissing." She paused, knowing that Starfire would have a stream of questions.

Sure enough, she did. "But what is it for? Why are they doing it? It looks rather…messy. Is it unpleasant?"

"It's not unpleasant. A kiss is a good thing."

At that moment, Beast Boy decided to walk into the kitchen, belching loudly. He began to rummage through the fridge. "Guys," he whined, "there's nothing to eat."

"Beast Boy!" called Starfire, her eyes shining. "Come and join us. Raven is explaining to me what a kiss is. Perhaps you are wondering about them as well?"

Beast Boy sauntered over, a cocky grin adorning his face. "I know what a kiss is," he declared, planting himself in front of the couch where Raven and Starfire were sitting. "I've gotten puh-lenty!" He began to flex and slick back his hair. "I'm a ladies' man."

Raven rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. Beast Boy was just too much.

"Then, maybe you can give me one!" said Starfire, happy with herself for coming up with the idea.

Beast Boy stopped flexing. "Wh-what?"

Clasping her hands together, Starfire nodded enthusiastically.


"I have never had one before and I would like to experience it for myself."

"But—but—" It wasn't that he wouldn't like to give Starfire a kiss, it was just that…the idea mortified him. He was no ladies' man and he hadn't gotten plenty of kisses. If he were the right complexion, he knew that his face would betray his embarrassment by turning a bright shade of red.

"Please, Friend? It would mean so much to me! And you have experienced many."

Beast Boy looked at Raven for help, but she just smirked. "Crossing her legs, she said, "Yeah, Beast Boy. You've experienced many." She winked at him, knowing the tight spot he was in.

"Well, I…I…I would give you one, but…"

"I will be most thankful," persuaded Starfire. She thought for a moment and then sprung up, advancing towards him. "Or, I can give you one instead!"

Backing away, Beast Boy blushed furiously. "Uh…"

Amusing as all this was, Raven decided that it was time for it to come to an end. The sooner that this was over, the sooner she could get back to her book. Raven stood, pulling Starfire away from Beast Boy so that she faced her. "Here, Starfire." Quickly, she gave her a peck on the cheek. "That was a kiss."

"Raven," breathed Beast Boy, forgetting about Starfire's previous advancement towards him. "That was kinda…hot."

Raven grimaced. "Never again," she said to herself, gather her book off of the couch. "I am never leaving my room again." She trudged off towards her room, muttering other regret-filled comments.

Meanwhile, Starfire sank back on the couch, her hand to the place where Raven's lips had just been. She took it away and examined her fingers. No residue. Nothing. And it had not been unpleasant…

"What is it for?" she asked Beast Boy, still investigating her hand for any sign of left over kiss.

Beast Boy sat down as well. "What's it for? You really don't' know what a kiss is?"

Hanging her head, she answered. "No. I did not know that it was something to be ashamed of."

"No, I didn't mean it like that, Star," apologized Beast Boy. "It's just kinda weird."

"Is it? We do not kiss on my planet," said Starfire. "It is not one of our customs. Can you possibly explain to me what it is for?"

"Well…" Beast Boy rubbed the back of his head, thinking of how to explain it to her. "You give them to people you like. Like your friends or your mother. It's just a nice thing to do." The TV screen caught his eye. "But that kind of kiss," he said, referring to the movie, "is not the kind of kiss you give to your friends. Or your mother."

"Then who do you give that sort of kiss to?"

"When you like someone, that's the kind of kiss you give them."

"But I like you."

Beast Boy averted his eyes, a bit embarrassed again. "Uh, well, not that kind of like, Starfire. We're friends. Just friends. But that kind of kiss is for when you like someone in a way that's more than friends."

"More…than friends?"

"Yeah. Like when you like, like someone. Y'know?"

No, she did not know. What more was there than friends? What more could there be?

"You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?" asked Beast Boy, seeing the blank look on her face.

Starfire shook her head.

"Don't worry, Star. One day, you'll know exactly what I mean."

So now, as Robin asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she understood what Beast Boy had meant by "more than friends." Now, as they sat on the roof of Titans' Tower, gazing at the stars…now she understood. And it was agonizing.

All she wanted was him. She did not care about anything else the way that she cared for him. He was her very best friend, but she wanted more. She wanted to do what the people on television did. She wanted to hold hands and embrace him. She wanted to kiss him.

But what did he want? Not her, that was for sure. He did not think of her as anything more than a teammate and a companion. Why would he? She was just the strange alien girl who did not even comprehend the simplest of Earthly customs. She was a nuisance, someone who needed constant explanation. But when Kitten had forced him to go to the prom with her…

Jealous. Jealousy like she had never felt. Jealousy like she never knew existed. When her sister had seemed to win Robin over and replace her…

Sadness. A deep, hopeless sadness that drove her to think that she needed to leave the Teen Titans. And when Slade had taken Robin as an apprentice…

Anger. An anger that had threatened to consume her. An anger that had blinded her to the point of no return. She would have done anything to get him back. She would have died for him.

It did not make sense. Why did she feel this way? Where could she find the answers? It hurt, ached almost, to think that he might not feel the same way and yet…she desperately wanted to know.

"Star?" said Robin. "Did you hear me? What do you want for your birthday?"

"I…" She hugged her knees to her chest. "I do not know."

Sensing that something was wrong, Robin placed a hand on her back and spoke a bit softer. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, of course."

Robin knew that tone in her voice. She wasn't alright. "What's on your mind?"

She could not tell him. It would be disastrous. "Nothing."

"C'mon," he pressed, lightly. "Since when could you not tell me something?"

"I am thinking about what I would like for my birthday."

"Is it something that you can't get here?" asked Robin. If it was something that made her sad thinking about it, then maybe it was from her home planet. "Something from Tamaran?"

"No!" cried Starfire, startling Robin and herself.

"Oh." He backed off, removing his hand from her back in an attempt to give her some space.

"I am sorry, it is juts that what I want I cannot get from there."

"Then…what is it?"

"A kiss," whispered Starfire without realizing it.

The little space between them thickened with tension and the silence piling on top of it did not help things. She had said it. Without warning, Robin kissed her on the cheek. This kiss was not quick like Raven's, but it lingered, sending a warm ripple through her. Her heart began to flutter with the sensation of his lips on her skin, but it did not matter. That was the sort of kiss that a friend gave another friend.

Friend. That was all that they would ever be. Friends. It saddened her.

Suddenly, she was bursting to tell him. She wanted to tell him what she had forbidden herself to tell him. His kiss had stirred things inside of her, things that needed to escape.

Robin watched her, waiting for her reaction. She still wouldn't look at him and the tension between them had only grown thicker. He began to feel bad. Maybe she was thinking of someone else…maybe she didn't feel…

"Robin," Starfire said, slowly. "Please do not kiss me like that ever again."

He'd kissed her on impulse, without thinking and now…she was disgusted by it, maybe even disgusted by him.

"It will only remind me of you wanting to only remain as friends."

Hold on a minute. What was she getting at? Robin was alert.

Starfire was quite nervous; she was about to unleash her feelings to him. She needed some room. Standing up, she walked away from him and stood on the edge of the Tower, wrapping her arms around herself. "When I said that I wanted a kiss for my birthday, I meant the one that you give to someone who you feel for. The type of feelings that go beyond friendship."

Robin too stood but did not walk towards her. Go beyond friendship? Was she saying—

"Robin, you are more than just a friend to me. At first I did not understand the meaning of there being anything more than friends, but I think that I understand now. I care about you all, but it is different with you…" She trailed off, picking her words carefully. "I admire you. I do not know why, but when I am with you, I am happy, elated, and I miss you when I am not with you—you are constantly in my thoughts—dreams—you make me feel like I belong. And to think that you do not feel the same way…" She began to tear up. "It is painful, so I would rather you not say it and spare me."

Starfire felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped, startled. She had expected Robin to silently walk away, away from her feelings, as fast as he could.

"What makes you think that I don't feel the same way?" he asked, turning her around so that she faced him.

Hanging her head, she said, "Because I am me."

Robin knitted his brows. "What does that mean?"

"I am the alien. I am the one who is always ignorant to everything. I am ugly compared to these Earth girls…"

It was true. She was ignorant, but it wasn't her fault. Like she said, she was the alien. She didn't know certain things, but he was there to teach her. He did not mind. In fact, he loved teaching her new things. He loved how curious she was. He loved that she had to know everything about a certain subject. He loved how she had a knack for picking things up quickly. He loved how she always wanted to be helpful and how she didn't hesitate in putting others first. He loved the way she asked him how he was, like she genuinely cared and not like it was just a greeting. He loved her kindness, her sincerity, her courage, her adventurousness…she was beautiful. And he loved her.

"Star," he began, delicately wiping away the tears that were slipping down her face. "It's not your fault that you don't know certain things. You're from another planet. People on Earth go through that all the time, going to new places that they don't know anything about. It doesn't make you different from anyone else. And you're not ugly."

She lifted her head to look at him. "I'm not?"

"No. Just because you look different, doesn't make you ugly. Actually…I think you're beautiful."

"You do?" she asked, incredulously.

"Yes," confirmed Robin, the corners of his mouth lifting a bit. He swallowed, his heart in his throat. "And Star? I think…I think I love you."

Starfire was confused for a moment and then she remembered. Love. Strong affection. No, it was more than that. It was a boundless adoration, a limitless devotion, an enormous feeling, a tender attachment—this was how it had been explained to her. She had not quite been completely able to grasp the concept at the time, but she knew now. She knew that she loved Robin.

"Y-you love me?" stuttered Starfire. All her fears had been diminished and for the first time since he had asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she felt happy. "You love me?"

"Yes," said Robin, nodding. "I love you."

"Then…I love you too!" exclaimed Starfire, joyfully. She laughed, feeling lighthearted and free. She was free, free of the damper that had tied her down for so long. Her emotions were out in the air now. And they had a name. Love.

Robin stepped a bit closer. "So. What do you want for your birthday" he asked, slyly.

Smiling, Starfire threw her arms about him and hugged him, then moved back a little so that their foreheads touched.

Stroking her cheek, Robin softly kissed her, his lips lingering before he pulled away. Starfire quickly closed the gap again and kissed him, hard this time, and Robin gripped her face between his hands, tenderly stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. This time, when they pulled away, they were out of breath. And satisfied.

"I want you, Robin," whispered Starfire. "Only you."

End Note: Yeah, I know. It sucked. I assure you that I will be writing one longer and better than this, when I'm finished with the other fic that I'm working on. I'm not a terrible writer; I promise. Thanks for reading.