A/N: Last chapter. Aren't ya'll excited! Oh… it's just me. Haha, well, the time has come… now I must thank those who have been supporting me throughout this story. Here it goes.
AntimatterManticore, Broken-Mask, Cashmeritan, StarfireRobin4ever, MoonFireFire, Stormy Dreamer, Rukato86, Bunny133, CherubTenshi, Starxfire, Light Hawk Sentinel, MirandaOtto, WinterDistortion, RobinRox13, DIWaRrIa, Calisto aka Sailor Serenity5, kp, CrEsCeNt MoN, Queen-Of-Azarath, MOOgoestheCHICKEN, Julia, Loch Ness Monster, Jesus Freak 9, RavenGhost, Rochelleteentitan, Star+Robin, Vash Vicson, Missmatchmaker, marina, Princess of stars, v son saiyan, Gotham Girl Wonder, Mich aka Starfire, anonymous (lol), SocialButterfli, Lance Arkel, Motormouth500, kimpfn, ccabello, antora, Steve-Racer, jin, dancingirl3, Nightbolts101, Garfield Logan, bOb the bUilder, voco, Tameranian Raven, The Mad shoe1, aurorasmist, acrobat216, Starfire fan 09, PrInCeSs-RaVeN-DaRk, odie, Evil Donut Man, amoeba2, Dancer27, Gubba-Gubba, Anonymous (lol), (blank)(lol), SeverineFlower, Neko Starfire, wylkin, Eriks leadinglady, tabbo james22, DarkKnight92, TheDashLikes, BunnyKat.
THANK YA'LL SOOOOO MUCH FOR REVIEWING!
And now… the moment you all have been waiting for…
The last chapter… are you ready?
Behind the Mask
Episode 5. (continued)
Dick Grayson sped into Gotham City the day after battling his nemesis Slade as the leader of the Teen Titans, Robin. And now that his teammate and love interest Starfire was out of harm's way and on the road to recovery, the Titan could finally be at ease… or could he?
He parked his bike at a local diner. "Your waitress will be right with you. Can I get you something to drink?" The hostess asked after escorting him to his table. "Water, thanks." Robin said before whipping out his cell phone. He dialed a few numbers and waited for an answer on the other line.
"Hey Vic." Dick said. A redheaded waitress brought him his glass of water, and the dehydrated teen drank half of it in three sips.
"Robin. You're out. That's why you're using my real name." Cyborg noted.
"Yea. How're Gar and Rae?" Dick asked. He took another sip of water.
"BB and Raven are officially a couple." Cyborg laughed.
Dick almost choked. He hit his chest with his fist, fighting to breathe again "Are you serious!" He asked loudly, almost causing attention to himself.
"Yea. Kinda weird."
"That's an understatement!" Dick muttered. "Uh, what about Ali and Mayor?"
"Both of them are fine. Everyone here's fine." Cyborg assured the Boy Wonder. "What about Batman and Starfire? What about you?"
"We gave her the medicine. She's cured." Dick smiled. "And he's fine, as always. And I'm well."
"So when are you and Star coming home?" Cyborg inquired.
"Um…" Dick didn't want to tell him about Bruce's proposal just yet. He saw the same redheaded waitress walk in his direction and whispered, "Can we talk about that later? I'm getting ready to order."
"No problem." Cyborg replied. "Give me a call later."
"Will do." Dick said before hanging up. He looked up at the waitress and smiled.
"Hi." The redhead smiled back. "Are you ready to order?"
"Hey Babs." Dick greeted.
The waitress raised a brow. "Do I know you?"
"The name on your tag is 'Barbara'…" Dick replied knowingly. "I bet you go by 'Babs', too."
The waitress smiled and shook her head. "The only person who's ever called me that was an annoying little brat named…"
"…Richard Grayson." Both Barbara and Dick said in unison. Dick lowered his sunglasses and grinned. Barbara looked at his two different eye colors and realized who he was.
"RICHARD!" Barbara smiled. "Wow! I haven't seen you since middle school. You've changed! How've you been? Where've you been?"
"Um, I've been good. I'm home-schooled." Dick fibbed.
"And I'm sure you get great tutors thanks to your guardian Bruce Wayne." Barbara commented.
"Yea… so you're working?" Dick changed the subject.
"Oh, yea. Here and at the police station. Just for the summer."
"Working side by side with dear old dad. How is Lieutenant Gordon?"
"Well, about three years ago, he's been Commissioner Gordon." Barbara corrected. "And he's doing great."
"AHEM!" The hostess growled at Barbara. The waitress gave a weak smile. "I'll take your order now before I get fired. Hehe!"
After Dick ordered, he asked Barbara, "So you really thought I was an annoying little brat back in middle school?"
"And with good reason!" Barbara explained. "You threw spitballs in my hair!"
Dick smirked. "It's 'cause I liked to see that cute little frown of yours whenever you got mad at me."
"And you used to say if I kept my face that way long enough, it would freeze." Barbara recalled.
"Look on the bright side." Dick kidded. "You'd still look cute."
"Looks like some things haven't changed." Barbara rolled her eyes. "I'll be getting your food now."
Bruce got home from his lunch date. He walked down the halls of his mansion until he made his way to the Bat Cave. He sat down at his computer. 'Almost everything is over.' He hacked into a witness protection program, targeting people particularly from Gotham City. There he found a file on Marcela Sanchez-Fuentes, the supposed murdered wife of James Fuentes.
Alfred walked into the Bat Cave. "You're home early."
"I had to work on something." Bruce replied as he was typing on his keyboard.
"And what is it that you're working on?" Alfred interrogated, now standing beside Bruce.
Bruce looked up at his butler and confidant. "You remember Tony McCormick, don't you?"
"Yes, I do." The butler responded softly. "That crooked businessman that died of leukemia."
"He had a twin brother, Kevin, whom he left his company to." Bruce continued. "But the board members of Tony's company threatened him, therefore he fled to Jump City, and took on an alias by the name of Adam Isle."
"But why did the board members want Kevin out?"
"They thought he would swindle money from the company like Tony had. The board members were also influenced by James Fuentes to get rid of Kevin."
"What was Fuentes' connection to Kevin?"
"Fuentes' wife was Marcela Sanchez-Fuentes. She was on the board and worked alongside Tony McCormick." Bruce looked back at the computer screen and sighed. "It wasn't long after they began working together that they had an affair, and when James found out, he was insanely jealous. It didn't help matters when he thought his wife was pregnant with Tony's child. He shot her in cold blood."
"Oh my!" Alfred gasped. "So I suppose Fuentes wanted Kevin to pay for his brother's sins when in fact, he hadn't done anything wrong."
"It goes to show how mad he truly was."
Alfred stole a glance at the computer screen. "So what does all this have to do with the witness protection program?"
Bruce allowed Alfred to view the computer screen. "Fuentes didn't kill his wife or the child. He thought he had, but they both survived. And, like Kevin, Marcela and her child went into the witness protection program."
Alfred studied Marcela's file. "So Fuentes has no idea she and the child are alive?"
"That, and that the baby that he thought was Tony's is actually his."
"How did you find all this out?"
"My computer hacking skills come in handy." Bruce replied.
"So what is it you're trying to do?"
"I'm making sure that no one ever finds out about this." Bruce took out Marcela's file and pressed the delete button. In a matter of seconds, her file disappeared. "Marcela Sanchez-Fuentes and her child never existed."
"You're a goddamn LIAR McCormick!" James Fuentes screamed in his cell. "Marcela is DEAD! She's FUCKING DEAD! I watched her die! Imade her die!" Tears of anger and sadness streamed down his cheeks uncontrollably. "And the baby! The baby my wife was carrying was Tony's! There's no FUCKING WAY she could have survived…"
The baby is yours.
"That could've been ANYONE'S SIGNATURE!" Fuentes yelled. His voice grew softer and softer with each sentence. "The only reason why I did all of this was to seek revenge on his damn brother… but what if it was all in vain… what if everything was a lie!" His voice was now growing tired. Two guards came in. One held him, and the other got a syringe ready. "NO! Marcela is dead! Tony McCormick is dead!" Fuentes began muttering. "His child that my wife was carrying is dead! That's not my child… that can't be my child… no, that's not my child…" The guard injected the sedative in Fuentes.
That's not my child…
That's not my child…
"Mind if I sit down?"
"Not at all. You on your break?"
The redheaded waitress nodded as she took a seat in front of Dick Grayson. "So what have you been doing all summer?"
"Ah, you know…" Dick shifted in his seat, trying to think of another convincing fib. "Riding around on my bike."
"Sounds exciting." Barbara said sarcastically. "You should reconsider going back to public schools, even if you'd get suspended every other week."
"I guess it's just not my thing." Dick sipped his water.
"Why do you still have your sunglasses on?" Barbara asked. "Are you still self-conscious about your eyes being different colors?"
Dick raised a brow. "What! No! I was never!"
"So why are they on?"
"What does it matter?"
Barbara's voice grew cold. "Why are you so stubborn?"
"I could say the same about you!" Dick snapped.
"Just take off the glasses!" Barbara reached for them, but Dick's hand swatted her hand away with a flick of his wrist. Barbara smirked. "Nice reflexes." And in a blink of an eye, her hand snapped out and grabbed hold of Dick's glasses. They were off, revealing a black eye. "Oh my gosh! Dick, what happened to you? Do you need ice?" Barbara asked as she got up from her seat.
"Babs, I don't need anything!" Annoyed, Dick snatched his glasses back and put them back on. His voice went from harsh to calm and soothing when he addressed her once more. "That's exactly why I didn't wanna take them off. I didn't wanna worry you."
Barbara nodded as she pointed to the kitchen. "Okay. But I could steal a couple of ice cubes from the back!"
"Got it!" Barbara remained standing and put her apron back on. "Um, let me get those plates out of the way…" She grabbed his plate, but was stopped by his hands over hers.
"You don't have to!" Dick insisted.
"But it's my job!"
"You're taking a break!" Dick said sternly, now grabbing hold of her hands. "And you can pick them up later!" Dick realized his hands were still over Barbara's, and he drew them back. Barbara put the plates down and brushed her hair behind her ear. "It's no wonder why you and my dad get long. Stubborn!"
"Runs in the family." Dick teased. Barbara threw a rolled up napkin at his head playfully. She rested her chin on the palm of her hands and smiled, looking into her old friend's tinted lenses with her gorgeous blue eyes. "So you still think girls have cooties?"
"Just some girls…" Dick chuckled. "Like this one girl named Barbara Gordon."
Barbara stuck out her tongue. "Gee! Thanks!"
Bruce was still in his Bat Cave, and he typed a few keys on his keyboard. The computer was now picking up a local news station on the screen. "And early this morning there was a terrible accident that occurred outside of Jump City. What used to be caves is now a pile of rubble and debris. The body of a teenage girl was discovered in this wreckage. Police have identified her as ex-convict Terra Isle. Police have not been able to find any other bodies or injured people." Bruce turned the volume on mute and sighed.
'Slade… he's still out there…'
"Master Wayne! I think you should take a look at this!" Alfred called from the doorway of the Bat Cave.
The two made their way to Dick's old room where Starfire had been recuperating from the poison that had been injected to her body. But she was no longer on the bed where she was lying. "I went to go get fresh blankets and the next thing I know, she's disappeared…"
Both Bruce and Alfred turned around. The Tamaranian girl was now standing before them, no longer pale, and looking very healthy. "Could you please tell me where I am?"
"Um, Richard will be back, so, uh, if you'd like to wait…" Bruce said hesitantly.
"I do not know this 'Richard' and would like for you to direct me to Titans Tower, please." Starfire asked politely.
"Um, miss," Alfred began. "You are no where near Titans Tower. In fact, you aren't in Jump City."
"You're in Gotham. It's a city located about two hours away." Bruce finished.
"I thank you for your hospitality and letting me recuperate here, but now I must return home. My friends… Robin… they are expecting my arrival!" Starfire said. Suddenly, her eyes began glowing bright green. "Unless you, too, are working for Slade!"
"Uhhh…" Alfred's face went white.
"Listen!" Bruce said firmly, almost growing impatient. "Robin will be back! We don't work for Slade!"
"Do not raise your voice, please! Just let me return home!" Starfire said, now getting angry.
"Master Grayson will be back shortly." Alfred said in a softer tone of voice. "I-If you could just wait until he's returned."
"What is a 'Master Grayson'? I do not wish to wait. I would like answers! I would like to see Robin!" Starfire snapped.
"Hold on!" Bruce rolled his eyes. "Alfred, watch her, please!"
"I'm afraid, sir." Alfred said softly.
"Excuse me, elderly one." Starfire now directed as question to Alfred. "But do you have any mustard?"
"Why, uh, yes." Alfred said uneasily.
"You can have all the mustard you want if you will just wait patiently for Robin's return." Bruce said before leaving the room. He took out his cell phone and dialed Dick's number.
"So you've been offered a job at Wayne Enterprises as an intern?" Barbara asked.
"Yea." Dick replied. "But I'm not sure if I should take it." Suddenly his cell phone rang. He whipped out his phone and saw Bruce's number...
"Sorry. Gotta take this call." He apologized before answering his phone. "Yes Bruce? I'm kinda in the middle of lunch!"
"Take it to go. Come back to the mansion now!" Bruce ordered.
"You're girlfriend's awake." Bruce responded. "And I'm not sure how much mustard we have to keep her satisfied."
"I'll be there!" Dick hung up. He got up quickly and took out his wallet to pay for the food at the front desk. Barbara followed him. "Hey what's going on? You're leaving?"
"Yea, sorry. Something came up." Dick said, getting his change from the clerk. He looked into Barbara's baby blue eyes and smiled. "Maybe we'll run into each other again. It was fun." He was about to walk out when Barbara called him back. Dick turned around.
"You should take the job." She suggested. "It just might be good for you."
Dick nodded. "I'll think about it." He gave her a small wave and left the diner. Barbara watched as he sped down the road until she could no longer see him.
"I have not had mustard in so long!" Starfire grinned as she sipped the mustard through the straw. "Would you like some?" She gestured to Alfred.
"Er, no thank you, miss." The butler almost gagged. She shrugged and continued slurping up the mustard happily.
Dick Grayson ran up the stairs and made a screeching halt in front of his room where Starfire had been staying. He grabbed hold of the doorknob and turned it. "Starfire!" But the room was empty. "Ugh! Where is she?" He began running through the corridors and looking through all the rooms, but found each one empty. He finally ran into Bruce. "Whoa watch it there, shades!" He mocked.
"Bruce, where's Star?"
"Um, in the kitchen with Alfred. What are you doing on the top floor?" Bruce inquired.
"Damn it, Bruce! Why do you need such a big house?" Dick roared as he ran in the direction of the staircase.
Bruce smirked and muttered to himself. "That's why I installed an elevator while you were gone."
Dick, now sweaty and tired, finally made his way to the kitchen, and sitting beside Alfred was Starfire, alive and well, and slurping mustard from a straw. He leaned against the doorway of the kitchen and smiled. There she was. That beautiful, strange alien girl that captured his heart, and waiting for him.
"Starfire." He whispered.
Star turned around and looked at the teenage boy standing in the entrance. She smiled. "Hello." She turned back around and continued drinking from the mustard jar.
Dick was shocked. That's all he got? 'Hello'! "Uh, Star, it's me. Robin."
Starfire turned back around. "You are not Robin! Is this a trick of some kind?" She glared at Alfred and her voice turned vicious. "Elderly one, I thought you said you would bring Robin to me! Was that a lie?"
"Um…" Alfred looked at Dick and shrugged. "I'll leave you two alone." And he left the kitchen in a hurry. Starfire looked at the teenage boy and questioned. "Where is Robin?"
"Star! It's me!" Dick said, now approaching her. "I'm Robin!"
"You certainly do not look like him!" Starfire said now backing away. "What proof do you have?"
"This." And Dick grabbed the Tamaranian in his arms and stroked her hair back away from her face. "This is my proof." And he kissed her lips softly. To her surprise, she kissed him back. Dick pulled back. "I'd been wanting to do that for a long time." He took off his sunglasses and revealed his two different color eyes. Starfire gasped. "It is you! Oh Robin!" She hugged him. "It seems like it has been an eternity since you held me in your arms!" Dick hugged her back and ran his hand through her hair. "I'm so glad you're okay."
Suddenly, a shock ran through his body, and he pushed Starfire away. "R-Robin? What is the matter? Are you ill?" Dick looked down and shook his head. "Yea… I think I am."
Dick had been in his room for the remainder of the evening. He was thinking about what happened in the kitchen earlier that afternoon. What was wrong with him? 'Starfire's cured. She's safe now.' He thought to himself as he lay on his bed. 'Slade's no longer a threat.' He rolled over on his side. 'So why do I still feel guilty?'
There came a knock at the door.
The door opened. "Robin, why are you lying here in the dark?" Starfire asked quietly.
Dick sat up and turned on the lamp on the bedside table. Starfire entered the room and sat down on the bed beside him. "I am so jubilant." She purred as she rested her head on his shoulder. She could feel him tense up as she touched him, so she looked into his eyes and tilted her head. "So why is it you are not?"
Dick looked down. "Starfire…"
The Tamaranian lifted his chin and kissed him softly. When Dick finally responded to her kisses, she began to intensify them, and when she did, he'd respond just as passionately. But he kept hearing the past come back to haunt him…
"Your little girlfriend... will be dead in hours... The poison Slade gave her will consume her body... eat away at her insides... And you... you'll regret ever loving her... Because of you she's suffering... and because of you... she'll die..."
You'll regret ever loving her…
Dick pulled away from Starfire, and when he did, he got up from the bed and walked towards his window. Starfire came from behind him and asked, "What is happening?" The teenage boy shook his head. "I don't wanna talk about it." The alien girl put her hand on his shoulder. "Please talk to me. We are still friends. You can tell me anything!"
… Because of you she's suffering…
Dick's shoulders tensed up at her touch. He gently moved her hand away with his and sighed as watched the sun set over Gotham. "I don't know how to say this. It's hard."
… and because of you… she'll die…
Dick turned around and faced Starfire. "But I have to do it. I have to keep you safe."
"A-And what is it you are going to do?"
Dick's eyes watered. What he was about to do would break her heart. But he would rather see her broken-hearted because of him rather than on the brink of death because of him. "I can't be with you."
Starfire's expression looked blank. "Then I will leave the room."
"That's not what I meant." Robin corrected her. "I can't be with you… uh, romantically speaking."
"I do not understand…" She began.
Dick grabbed her shoulders. "I don't want to risk putting you in danger. If our enemies knew that we were involved, then that would mean putting you in harms way again, and I'd never forgive myself if something like this happened to you again. Everything that you've been through has been my fault."
"That is not true! Not if I wanted to be with you as well!" Starfire protested. "I care so much about you, Robin! And I know you care for me…"
Dick shook his head. "Caring about you was never the issue. I care so much for you. But… I just can't do this!"
"Cannot do what?"
"Be with you like this! Maybe if things were different…" Dick sighed. He sat down on his bed, and there was a moment of silence. There was no easy way he could explain to her without hurting her. 'When you break up with someone, it's inevitable that their feelings will be hurt.' Dick thought to himself. He continued. "You're safe now. And I want it to stay that way. And being with you would jeopardize that."
"Robin!" Starfire began. "I am well aware of the consequences. Please do not treat me like a child!"
"Then stop thinking like one!" Dick snapped. He saw the tears form in her green eyes. "Star, this is hard enough for me as it is! Don't make it harder on yourself!" Starfire didn't say anything. "I'm doing this because I care about you so much that refuse to put you in this position again."
"That is where I think you are wrong!" Starfire whispered. "Every relationship goes through problems. I believe you are doing this because not willing to try to work things out. I believe you do not care as much as you say you do, because if you did, you would try to see this through." She looked over at Dick, who remained silent. Starfire continued, tears fallings freely from her emerald eyes. "But what I think does not matter, because I think like a child. Therefore, I cannot fully comprehend the motives of one so mature!" Starfire was about to walk out of the room, but Dick called after her.
She stopped walking and stood in the doorway, her back facing him. Silence.
Dick continued. "I love you. More than you'll ever know. You may not understand it now, or you may never understand. I know what I have to do to keep you safe."
Starfire didn't turn around, but replied sadly. "When I said you meant the world to me, I did not lie. That is why I will respect your wishes. I will return to Titans Tower tonight without you. I love you as well, but I do not like you at this moment. Understand that."
"Give Cyborg this." Dick said, now getting up from the bed and handing her a folded piece of paper. Starfire wiped the tears away, turned around, and took hold of the paper. "May I ask its contents?"
"It's a letter. It says that I'm staying here for the remainder of the summer."
"Because you do not want to be with me." Starfire concluded.
"Because I've been offered a job here that I can't refuse." Dick corrected. "I'll be back in the fall." Starfire nodded. "I await your return in the fall." And she left. Dick shut the door behind him and fell on his bed. 'God, how I wish things didn't have to be like this! She looked so hurt…' He thought. 'But what was there left for me to do? I did what I had to do to ensure her safety.'
"I believe you are not willing to try to work things out…"
'I did the best I could!' Dick argued with Starfire's words that echoed inside his head.
"I believe you do not care as much as you say you do…"
'I did all this because I care!' Dick argued once more. He looked outside his window and saw the Tamaranian fly in Jump City's direction. "I'd be selfish to risk putting you in danger by putting my feelings before your safety."
The worst is over now and we can breathe again
I wanna hold you high, you steal my pain away
There's so much left to learn, and no one left to fight
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain
'Cause I'm broken when I'm open
And I don't feel like I am strong enough
'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome
And I don't feel right when you're gone away
You're gone away; you don't feel me here anymore.
Dick entered the Bat Cave and found Bruce in his Batman uniform. "What's going on? Alfred said you wanted to see me."
"Have you made your decision?" Batman asked.
"I have. Starfire's left for Jump City. We broke up." Dick paced the floor.
"Sorry to hear that." Bruce said monotonously.
"But you were right." Dick continued. "What happened can't ever happen again. I won't let it. I have to keep her safe, and that was the only way. I tried to explain to her, but she…"
"Didn't understand…" Batman finished. "Happens every time."
Dick shrugged. "Yea. Well, I figured Star probably doesn't wanna see me for the rest of the summer, I've decided to stay and get a job at the Enterprises, patrol with you at night… that is if your offer still stands?"
Batman nodded. "It does." He held out his hand for Dick to shake. "So we have a deal?"
Dick grabbed hold of Batman's hand and firmly shook it. "So you're going out on patrol right now?"
"And I hear there's a new suit for me?"
"Try it on."
Minutes later, Dick was in a suit that looked almost identical to Batman's, only a red "R" was in the middle of his chest, and a red utility belt with red gloves and boots. "It's kinda tight and itchy… the built-in body armor thing is cool!" The new and improved Robin said as he examined himself in the mirror. His mask was different, too. It was still black, but it had a red trim and it covered more of his face. "I could get used to this." Robin smirked.
"C'mon!" Batman ordered Robin. "There's someone I want you to meet."
"Oh yea? And who's that?" Robin asked. Both Batman and Robin got inside the Batmobile. Batman flipped a switch that turned on the car as he replied. "I guess you could say she's been my sidekick ever since you left for Jump City."
"'She'! A female sidekick? And I get to meet her tonight?" Robin asked excitedly. "What's her name?"
"She calls herself Batgirl." Bruce replied as he sped out of the Bat Cave.
"Hah… 'Batgirl'?" Robin mocked. "How original!"
A/N: Done! AT LAST! Well, I have yet to decide whether or not I'm gonna make a sequel to this, so I need ya'll's help; what do you think? Write me one last review helping me figure out whether or not I should.
Anyway, I hope I'm inspired once again so I can write another successful story like this one. Hm… well, I guess there's nothing left to say but thanks for reading & reviewing, and have a good summer. I'm out. Peace!
ps, I disclaim Seether's (feat. Amy Lee) "Broken"! lol… buh bye for now!