IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING AUTHOR'S NOTE.
Blowfish: No doubt most of you are aware; this site is cracking down on songfics…for no apparent reason. It really pisses me off, as this chapter was to contain songs, and a future chapter of "Heroes" was to be a song-based chapter. Also, I actually have a songfic. They're threatening account closure, so I may not be seeing you guys here again anytime soon. But if you click my profile, you'll see that I have opened a Media Miner account, where I will be continuing my stories. Most of my fics are up there right now. Of course, if I lay off the songs, they may lay off me. But then again, Galaxy Girl's Zelda musical was deleted months after the script ban…
TtitansFan: Thanks, I like how that came out myself. Damn straight, someone needs to flip that bastard off. Lil' midget gets so much screen time over cooler characters, like Jinx or Dr. Light (OK, he's not really cool…just damn funny, unlike Gizmo, who's annoying as hell). If you want to get on the Main Oekaki at then you have to submit a URL address that links to a picture you have put on the net. I would recommend going to Neon Dragon Art, which has a free-range, easy registration oekaki board. After you've posted your picture, click on it (this will take you to a separate page with only you picture on it—which is VERY IMPORTANT), and copy/paste the URL on the registration page. Worked for me, so I hope it works for you!
Grumbumble: Exactly what I was aiming for. I really want to keep the episodes with the same basic plot just with my own spin—along with more than a little homage to the comics. Glad I'm doing Starfire OK in this story. Her character is kind of a pain to write sometimes (especially when I'm feeling down). You like MY BB better? Wow. That's pretty cool. I like him just fine in the show, but he just can't be used for dramatic stuff a lot (in my opinion, it's his VA—Greg Cripes' BB voice kills all drama; that was somewhat of my little inside joke when he said "my heroic momentum is shot dead"). Forgive me, but he is a tad more…BB-ish in this chapter.
I am writing the dialogue with a "harder edge", as you put it, intentionally. The fact is I want to get more into the "teen" part of Teen Titans. They're thrown into intense situations (standoffs, train wrecks, superhuman brawls, just to name a few) that would probably be easier handled by adults, so I would think there would be a bit more angst. Not an overwhelming amount, but enough. I can't help but think sometimes that there should be more serious eps like "Haunted" and "Birthmark"—not that I don't like the generally "WTF!" eps like "Employee of the Month" and "Fractured" (both of which I am still questioning as to whether the writers were at least a LITTLE stoned), I just think that superhero-ing is serious business.
scathac's warrior: Glad you liked it. There won't be ANY real romance (hints don't count) for a while, especially that of the Raven genre. Sorry.
sugarpony: Ha, I'll be laying off the FMA references from now on, I think. (I seriously need to catch up on that show…should borrow my bud's DVDs.) Can't update your fanfic? That DOES suck.
Xyteron: Good, that's BB's job!
BB: I'm not your monkey! (sneezes and changes into a monkey)
HIVE banter is fun…so is the word "banter". Banter, banter, banter, banter…
Lee: Wow. Not much higher praise than that—not to me, anyway. Spiking 200 reviews, huh? (glances at her "Heroes" story, which has reached a whopping 257 reviews) Heh…hope it's just a really good one. Really hope you like this chapter as much as the last!
TDG3RD: Excellent, that's what I was shooting for. Enjoy the new chapter!
The Foolish Immortal: Glad you're into this sort of thing. I've actually never seen RotLA (you probably just decided to kill me, didn't you?), so actually, I was going pretty blindly. Angelina Jolie was just the first good-looking female celebrity that came to mind—I was just trying to think of who BB would like to be in a movie with, the scoundrel.
Just Saying: OK…I am going to say this in the most polite manner possible. This is not "Fairy Tale." If you have something to say or complain about that pertains to "Fairy Tale," say it IN A REVIEW TO "FAIRY TALE." Do not drag it into this review unless you actually have something to say about this story. Thank you.
Jamer the Titan: I'm really glad you like it, it was great to hear from a fellow TT fan/author on seem rather small in comparison to some other fandoms on the site. (On we're pretty huge.) As for the eye beam thing, that was entirely intentional. Covering "Transformation" doesn't really fit in to what I have planned in this story (it's not, for instance, an arc episode like "Titan Rising"). S'cool that you noticed that though, a few people didn't. Shows you're paying attention.
Sapphiriana: There will be fluff added a bit later, don't worry. But this isn't a fluff fic, so I wouldn't be expecting a great deal of it—sparing amounts. Ha, I used to watch Ren and Stimpy with my brother all the time. Wonderfully freaky show.
Angel Caida: Believe me; I was not attempting to connect Angelina Jolie to RotLA. As said above, it was pure coincidence. I haven't seen Tomb Raider, either. (Heard a bit of the score, though. Good stuff.)
Kai Hagara: Happy you liked it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans. I don't really even own the plot. I do, however, own volumes 1 and 2 of the current series of Teen Titans, and am considering being the owner of the 80's "The Terror of Trigon" TPB. The comics rock far more than you think. Also note that the immature, perverted, and all-around damn funny "Raven has a big c—k" joke and the phrase, "Blow the chunks" are property of Kat and Khandri (in that order) from TitansGO.
'thinking' flashback/French/Tamaranean (found out recently I've been spelling it wrong! nn;)/any other alien language
Note: There is much reference to the comics in this chapter. I did this in order to broaden Blackfire's character and reasons for being the way she is. And it makes for a decent fight at the end.
Blowfish: So…here's SISTERS! Get out your reading glasses, this is one massive chapter…
"Robin, why do you not wish to go to the carnival with us, your friends?" Starfire asked sadly. Robin folded another shirt and put it in the pile of clean laundry. How the Titans had accumulated so much dirty laundry—considering Cyborg had no clothes and everyone else but Robin only had one or two outfits—was a mystery, but Robin was determined to get through this load without succumbing to Starfire's innocent prodding.
"I don't do carnivals," he said simply. "Bring me a stuffed animal or something, I'm not going."
"But duuuuuude," Beast Boy whined. "You have to come! They're only in town for this week. Besides, everybody loves carnivals!"
"Who else is going to keep me sane?" Raven asked in her usual dry tone.
"Why are you even going?"
"Hey, these three need someone around so they don't hurt themselves…or anyone else."
"Yeah," Beast Boy agreed. "I mean, haven't you learned the number one rule of keeping a green changeling around? You've gotta watch me!"
"Yeah. He breaks things."
"You're all mature enough to look after yourselves…" Robin paused. "Actually, yeah—Raven, watch Beast Boy, will ya? I'm not going."
"Can't guarantee I won't hurt him," she said.
"Cut me some slack, huh?" Beast Boy wailed.
"Come on, Rob," Cyborg coaxed. "There'll be cotton candy, and games, and clowns, and a flying trapeze—"
"I SAID NO!"
The room was silent. Robin's fists were shaking now, and he was trying his best to regain his composure. Thoughts from so long ago streamed through his head…
Two shadowed figures falling…
Screams and pointing…
The spotlight blinding him, sparing him the final moments…
"There's nothing you can do for them, kiddo. I'm…I'm sorry, Ri—"
Robin let out a deep sigh. Starfire stood behind him, wondering if he had heard her speak. Cyborg and Beast Boy seemed a little put off by their leader's outburst. Raven's eyes were somewhat glazed over, as she was only observing Robin's emotions through her empathy: Anger, grief, fear, and guilt emanated from him in dire amounts. Starfire took a step closer and put her hand on Robin's shoulder. He looked up at her.
"If you do not go to the carnival with us…who shall ride the wheel of Ferris with me?"
Everybody just sat still for a minute or two. Cyborg felt ready to slap his own forehead in frustration. Starfire could plainly not understand that Robin had some sort of issue he needed to work out. It would be best to just leave him be. Beast Boy was somewhat touched by the pleading tone in Starfire's voice. Good intentions aside, Raven thought that Starfire's question was stupid and childish. But suddenly, her empathic radar was picking up something entirely different from the stoic leader.
This was because Robin suddenly found himself grinning. He felt better, for some reason. His hand went up to Starfire's and gently removed it from his shoulder.
"Now what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't escort a lady on her first Ferris wheel ride?"
"All riiiiight!" Beast Boy yelled in delight. "Hey Raaaaveeeen…you ever been on a Ferris wheel?"
"He's got a point, Rave," Cyborg said slyly.
"Azar help me…" Raven muttered as the two boys led her out the door. "Damn you, Starfire, damn you."
"Robin! I am elated that you have chosen to come with us!" Starfire squealed. Robin smiled. "Are you…well?" she added.
"I'm fine. I just have…issues with carnivals, is all," he said. "But it's no biggy. I mean, what could happen?"
"Raven! I won you chicken—a hen!" Beast Boy said proudly, handing Raven the large stuffed animal. She sighed and took it, then examined it further.
"Beast Boy, this isn't a hen."
"Yes it is, Raven! What else would it be?" Raven gestured to the bright red crest on the animal's head.
"Well it's obviously a giant co—" She covered her mouth hastily and turned a bright shade of red, suddenly realizing the double entendre of epic proportions that she had stumbled upon. Cyborg, who was standing next to her, was flabbergasted. Beast Boy was giggling immaturely. After the first few seconds he was howling.
"HAHAHAHAHAAA! RAVEN…HAHAHAHA! HEY CY, RAVEN'S GOT A BIG CO—"
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Cyborg yelled, clamping his hand over Beast Boy's mouth. Raven's face returned to its normal hue, and she glared at the shape-shifter.
"You're so mature," she muttered sarcastically. 'I envy Robin…Star's so freakin' innocent.' She glanced up to the Ferris wheel. "I wonder how they're making out," she pondered aloud. Beast Boy snickered.
"Oh, I imagine they're well into frenching by now," he laughed.
"BEAST BOY!" both of his friends yelled.
Robin and Starfire were nearing the top of the Ferris wheel, where there was a perfect view of the fireworks show that was being put on. Robin was enjoying a tuft of cotton candy while Starfire eyed him quizzically.
"This candy of cotton…it is edible, yes?"
"Of course!" he laughed, popping a piece in his mouth. "See?"
"Oh…well, the last time I ate a piece of cotton, it was white, it did not taste very good…and I…'blew the chunks', I believe is the Earthly term."
"This is different." He tossed a piece in her open mouth. She chewed at it curiously for a few seconds and gasped.
"Yeah," he chuckled. "It'll do that."
"It was very…sweet. Quite pleasurable."
"I used to have it all the time when I was younger."
"Really? Can you buy this candy of cotton at a store?"
"Yeah…but the really good stuff is at the carnival."
"Oh…you have been to the carnival many times?"
Robin paused, looking considerably pensive. "Yeah. I have."
Starfire didn't comment any further on Robin's carnival experiences. She surmised his time there in his childhood was the cause of his "issues" with carnivals. She instead focused on the bright exploding lights in the distance. 'They look just like…'
"Father?" Koriand'r asked. "What are those bright lights?"
father, Myand'r, came to the balcony with a grave expression. He
gazed at the colorful explosions on the darkening horizon. They were
Tamaran's advanced warning system. "It is the Gordanians, my
child. They have returned…but for what, I cannot say."
"Will we be safe,
"In the castle?
Of course," he said softly. "I won't let anything happen to
you, Koriand'r. I promise."
Starfire snapped to attention. "Yes, Robin?"
He looked concerned. "Are you okay? You were spacing out for a minute there."
"You were sort of off in your own little world, thinking about something else," he explained. "You looked sad."
"I was simply thinking of my home planet. They used to have lights like that."
"Tamaran has fireworks?"
"Yes, though we did not call them that."
"Didn't think you guys had that kind of entertainment."
"They were not for our entertainment…they were for our safety. Such lights meant the Gordanians were attacking."
"Oh, those people you guys are at war with?"
Before Starfire could finish her sentence, a gigantic flying bullet-like craft came barreling by them, grabbing the unsuspecting alien with long, metallic tentacles. It shot off just as quickly as it had appeared, a shrieking Starfire in tow. Robin took about five seconds to fully register what had just happened.
Far below him, Beast Boy's ears perked up. "Star's in trouble!" he yelled, running in the direction of the Ferris wheel. Raven and Cyborg glanced at each other before following him. Robin swung down from the Ferris wheel and took off running ahead of all of them.
Starfire, in the meantime, was terrified. She had absolutely no idea what this thing was or why it would possibly be interested in kidnapping her. Scarier still was the fact that its tentacles were holding fast against her Tamaranean strength, and it's hull appeared to be impenetrable—she had already made several attempts to melt it with her starbolts.
Looking behind her, she could see the Titans chasing after her. However, they were fast approaching the docks, and from there on out, only Raven and Beast Boy would be able to follow her. Though she could scarcely see past the front part of the craft, she spotted what appeared to be a purple star streaking towards her.
'It can't be…'
The purple star flew straight through the craft's hull, grabbed Starfire by her collar, and flew back towards the Titans. Starfire couldn't see who was carrying her, but she did see her abductor explode, its metal shards landing in the water. Moments later, she was dropped on dry land.
"T'mok no shan'tk mao nortla, Koriand'r."
Stafire whirled around to come face to face with her raven-haired sister. She was wearing a grin that looked genuinely pleased, yet somewhat smug. The Titans raced over to them.
"Star, are you okay?" Robin asked frantically. Beast Boy stopped dead when he saw Starfire's sister, causing Raven and Cyborg to smack into him and fall over.
"Heelloooooooo there!" Beast Boy said with a feisty grin. He leaned over to Robin. "Who is that red-hot chili pepper?"
"Komand'r?" Starfire asked, not daring believe her eyes. "Komand'r" grinned.
"Ju bow, hal'hk."
"Hal'hk!" Starfire squealed, leaping at her sister, locking her into a hug. Komand'r smiled, came out of the hug, and beat her fist over her heart.
Robin instantly recognized the girl's last word as the name Starfire had originally introduced herself under. He stood up and promptly introduced himself.
"Err…hi. I'm Robin, leader of the Teen Titans, the team…Koriand'r…is on."
Komand'r cocked her head to the side, looking confused. Robin smacked his forehead.
"Oh yeah…you probably can't speak English, can you? Star, will you—"
"Je ne suis pas sûr quelle langue vous parlez, monsieur. Pourriez-vous spécifier le dialecte?" Komand'r asked, speaking perfect French. Beast Boy's jaw dropped.
"Oh yes!" he yelled. "SHE SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE OF LOOOOOVE!" Raven smacked him.
"What did she just say?" Raven asked.
"'I don't know what language you're speaking, tell me the correct dialect,'" Cyborg translated. The rest of them stared at him. "What? Did the rest of you take German in school, or something?"
"I know six languages," Robin grumbled. "Including French."
"Oh yeah! Booya, upstaged by the CYBORG!"
"Shut up, let me do the talking." He cleared his throat. "Je parle l'anglais, madame. Vous parlez l'anglais?"
"Of course," Komand'r said. "Just took me a minute, you know?" She turned to Starfire. "So, little sister, how are you?"
"SISTER?" all the Titans asked simultaneously. Starfire reddened a bit.
"Yes, this is my sister, Komand'r."
"I believe the English translation is something close to…Blackfire," Komand'r said. "If that's easier for you, then you may call me that."
"You never mentioned you had a sister," Robin said warily.
"Oh…I am…sorry I did not mention her," Starfire said, though Robin thought that she wasn't being entirely honest with them. Blackfire laughed.
"I'm sure she was just too busy experiencing culture shock. I stopped in a nearby city before coming here, and I have to say, you Earthlings are…very odd." She pulled from behind her back a stunning green gem that dangled on a gold chain. "Got you a present, Kori."
Starfire gasped. "Oh! A Centauri moon diamond! Where could you have gotten—"
"The Centauri Moons, of course. Where else, silly? I saw it, and I thought of you instantly—matches your eyes." Starfire beamed and hung it around her neck.
"These are my friends," said Starfire, gesturing to the Titans. The boys waved, staring at Blackfire blankly. Raven groaned.
Robin snapped out of the trance quickest. "Name's Robin,"—he stuck his hand out and Blackfire shook it—"but they call me Boy Wonder."
Beast Boy shoved him out of the way and grasped the girl's outstretched hand, wiggling his eyebrows. "The ladies call me Beast Boy."
Cyborg grabbed the elfin boy right off the ground and set him down a few feet away. "I'm Cyborg. Nice to meetcha, little lady." Blackfire shook his hand, and he withdrew, rubbing it. "Little lady…big handshake."
Raven sighed and stepped forward, electing not to shake hands. "Forgive them. They're…"
"Males?" Blackfire offered. Raven paused and looked at the other girl, as if sizing her up. Starfire thought about how Raven hadn't even looked at her for the first few days they'd known each other and drooped a little. "Lovely to meet you all. I can see my little sister has been in good hands."
"Soooo…" Beast Boy said, inching closer to Blackfire. "Wanna see our tower?"
"You have a tower?" She glanced at her younger sister. "Born and raised, eh, Kori?"
"Err…nothing!" Starfire said quickly. "We were merely…brought up in a large building, yes…" Blackfire eyed her sister with a mischievous look, and started speaking to her in their native tongue again. (A/N: I'm going to start translating now, so assume anything they say in all italics is Tamaranean.)
"Never thought you were one to take up lying, Koriand'r," Blackfire said conversationally.
"I only wish to be 'Starfire' here, Komand'r. Not Pri—"
"Uhhh…hello?" Beast Boy interrupted. "Ladies? Tower? Se—ow!" Raven smacked him upside the head.
"Yes, let's go," Blackfire agreed. She lifted off the ground gracefully, staring down Starfire the entire time. Starfire watched, stunned.
"Sister! You can…fly…"
"Why wouldn't she be able to?" Raven asked suspiciously. "I was under the impression it was a natural Tamaranean ability."
"I was 'crippled'," Blackfire explained, poison seeping into her tone. "I was 'disabled' from birth…'unfit' by Tamaranean standards. Isn't that right, little sister?"
"I am…happy that you have managed to overcome your—"
"My 'disability'? Isn't that what mother always referred to it as? Couldn't say 'her illness', or 'her defect'. 'She's not different, just special.'"
Starfire's eyes narrowed. "Do not criticize Mother. She always—"
"Don't try and pretend that our country—our planet didn't look down upon me."
There was a long, intense silence.
Beast Boy looked at them. "Uhh, yeah. So…tower?"
"Nice place you got here," Blackfire commented, floating into the living room. "Do you guys have something to drink? I'm parched."
"Hey, I bet you'll like mustard," Cyborg suggested. The alien looked curious.
Cyborg threw her the yellow bottle, and she caught it. She licked the top, and her eyes widened.
"It tastes just like shnark'nf!"
The mechanical man grinned. "Figured you'd say that. Star's crazy for the stuff, says it's like something on your planet."
"It is." She grabbed a straw from the table and began slurping away. Beast Boy came in, a box under his arm.
"Hey Cyyyyyyyyy…I got Galactic Pilots 4!"
"DUDE! PUT IT IN!" Cyborg yelled ecstatically. He grabbed Blackfire and led her to the couch. "It is our pleasure—"
"—as the dutiful men we are—"
"—to introduce you—"
"—to the amazing, enthralling—"
"—badass, and all-around fucking awesome aspect of life on Earth—" The two then took a large breath and shouted in unison:
Blackfire paused and clapped lightly. Beast Boy scooted closer to her.
"You wanna sit out the first couple of rounds to watch, or do you want a crash course?"
Blackfire grinned in an almost seductive way. "Give me a controller. I'm a quick learner."
Robin made his way intently down the halls until he came to Starfire's room. He paused with his fist in the air, but then knocked resolutely.
"Hey, Star? Don't you wanna…come out and spend some time with your sister? I mean, she came all the way to see you, right…? Star?"
Starfire was sprawled across her bed on her stomach, twirling her index finger around on the plush carpet. "Not…particularly," she admitted.
"Why not? I mean, I can see you two have you differences, but she's you sister."
Starfire came out of her room and leaned against the door. "Komand'r and I…have never seen eye to eye. She has hated me from the time when we were young."
"She can't have always hated you."
"Well…when I was small, we would sometimes play. But when I was eight, and she twelve, she suddenly…hated me."
"Is there any reason why?"
Starfire did not meet Robin's eyes. She knew if she looked at him, she would not be able to lie to him. "I suppose I was too…immature for her. And when I grew older, she became somewhat obsessed with being better than me."
Robin felt as if he wasn't getting the whole truth. "You mean it has nothing to do with--"
"NOOOOOO!" wailed a voice from down the hall.
"Beast Boy!" Starfire cried, flying as quickly as she could down the hall, Robin tailing her. They came into the living room, where they found Beast Boy lying on the floor, staring blankly at the ceiling. Blackfire and Cyborg were shamelessly plugging away at the videogame they were playing, though Cyborg seemed much more frantic.
"Beast Boy!" Robin exclaimed, picking the younger boy off the ground. "Are you okay? How many fingers am I holding up?" He held up three fingers.
"She…" was all the stricken green changeling managed to get out.
"'She' isn't a number, man!"
"…She beat me…"
"Somebody has struck you?" Starfire asked, puzzled.
"No…she…she blasted my ship! She actually got me!"
"Friend Robin, I fear our friend is experiencing delirium brought on by severe head injury or—"
"I don't think that's what's wrong, Starfire," Robin said, taking a seat on the couch next to the thrashing Cyborg. "I…I think…"
"SHE GOT ME!" Cyborg howled, clutching his head in his hands disbelievingly. "THIS CAN'T BE! SHE'S NEVER EVEN PLAYED VIDEOGAMES BEFORE!"
"Wahoo!" hooted Blackfire, jumping up and doing a victory dance as the blue spaceship on the screen was blasted to pieces by the purple one in the instant replay. "I wooooon, I woooon, I woooo-ooo-ooon!"
"She beat them…in videogames," Robin chuckled. "Now that's something."
"Oh, it's no big deal. It's just like flying a class eight Tamaranean fighter. Nothing too special, really."
"Oh man." Robin practically fell over laughing.
At that moment, the door swished open and Raven glided in. She took a moment to observe her surroundings: Beast Boy was lying flat on the ground, drooling mindlessly; Cyborg was curled in a fetal position on the couch muttering ("How can it be?"); Robin was laughing hysterically, tumbling off the couch in the process; Starfire was just standing in the corner, not really saying anything; Blackfire, however, was simply standing in the middle of it all, grinning.
"…I'm not even mad," Raven murmured. "I'm impressed."
"What's that, Rave?" Blackfire asked, putting a hand to her ear.
"We need to go out for coffee. Like…now."
"Oh, OK. Seeya later, little sister," Blackfire called, flying towards the door.
It had been many hours since Starfire had last seen her older sister, and she was searching the Tower for her. She went to the living room, where Beast Boy and Cyborg were playing Galactic Pilots again.
"Beast Boy, Cyborg. Have either of you seen Blackfire?"
"Blackfire?" Beast Boy repeated distractedly. "Naw, not for a while. Cyborg and I are actually practicing—she said she'd play us in a rematch later."
"Yeah, remember how she whooped our asses?" Cyborg added.
"Err…yes," Starfire recalled. "She did indeed 'open a can of the ass-whoop', as I believe you would put it."
"Err…yeeeeaaaahh. Didn't she go to a café with Rae or something?"
"I believe they came back, but I have not been able to locate them. Perhaps they are in Raven's room! I shall seek them there."
The alien floated to Raven's room, and knocked on the door. The door creaked open, revealing half of Raven's hooded face.
"Is my sister in there?"
"No." She began to close the door, but Starfire stuck her foot in.
"Raven, may I…err…make a request?"
The Tamaranean looked bashful. "Would you like to do the 'hanging out' with me? Perhaps at the depressing café you have become so fond of in these past weeks?"
"Already been with Blackfire. Was open mic, and she wanted to share. Kind of a let down, all the damn younger guys with their crappy wrist-slitting poetry. Blackfire was the only one with any real depth." Raven looked thoughtful. "Your sister's poetry is surprisingly dark." This time the sorceress managed to shut the door quicker than Starfire could react.
Starfire dejectedly made her way downstairs. Perhaps Robin knew where Blackfire was. As she approached the gym, she heard a giggle that she knew belonged her sister and grunts that most likely belonged to Robin. Her eyes widened. They couldn't be…
"Just watch and learn, big guy."
Starfire edged towards the door. A pair of shadows were cast on the wall of the gym. The spiky-haired form moved in, extending its appendages around the other. Starfire gasped and burst into the room just as Blackfire grabbed Robin's arm and threw him over her head and into the wall, where he slid to the ground, dazed.
"Great move for perverted jerks, I've found," Blackfire laughed. "It's intended for enemies who sneak up on you. Learned it from a Ven-Zo master on Tyrus Three."
"Wow," said Robin, rising to his feet. His gaze landed on Starfire, standing in the doorway. "Hey, Starfire."
"Hello," Starfire squeaked. Robin smiled at her.
"Came to train with us?"
"I was simply wondering where my sister had gone,"—she glared to Blackfire—"for she did not tell me where she was off to."
"Aw come on, lil' sis, I can take care of myself," Blackfire laughed. Robin wasn't sure, but he thought there was something almost condescending about that laugh—Starfire seemed to cringe at it. "You can have Boy Wonder if you want, I've got a date with some weights."
"Yes, I hope you enjoy lifting the large metallic objects used for fitness, I must be off, come Robin, perhaps we may find the others upstairs and seek out forms of amusement, such as the watching of the TV, or the playing of the 'Go Fish', or something else I have not yet thought of, yes, goodbye Sister!" She said this all very fast.
"Starfire, what—" Robin managed to grunt before being torn from the gym, dragged along at top speed. They came to a stop at the elevator, which Starfire practically threw him into. She mashed the button for the upper floors. Then, she sat down, breathing hard and fast. "Err, Star? You okay?"
She leapt to her feet. "Yes friend Robin, I am as okay as a person who has recently ingested a florbkar!"
Robin sent her a puzzled look. "…Yeah. Good. 'Cause you seemed like you were a little, you know…anxious."
"I am wonderful! I am in no way experiencing anything remotely resembling anxiety!" She forced a rather crooked smile.
He sighed. "Right. If you say so." The elevator stopped and they stepped into the hallway. Starfire jumped into the air—and stayed up, floating—as she was struck with an idea.
"Come, Robin, I have just come across a glorious way to pass the time!" She flew off to the main room, Robin running after her. They burst into the room to find their three comrades on the couch (Cyborg was giving Beast Boy a noogie for cheating at Galactic Pilots while Raven teased the unfortunate changeling). "Friends!" The trio ceased their activities. "I wish for you to join me in paying to view!"
There was a short silence, punctuated by Beast Boy. "…What?"
"I think she means she wants to watch a movie on Pay-Per-View," Cyborg put forward. Starfire nodded vigorously.
"Which movie shall we view, friends?" asked the cheery alien.
Starfire's bouncy attitude quickly deflated. This was not going as planned. "Err…"
"I've got a better idea." Blackfire slinked over to them. Starfire stared at her. Her sister was wearing her clothes. "I heard on my way here that there was a party going on in this city. Cool crowd, hot music. I thought to myself, 'This is the perfect scene for these guys.'"
"Are—are those my—"
"Mine were getting a bit dirty, thought I'd raid your closet. Don't mind, do ya sweetie?"
"Well no, but—"
"Great. So, whaddya say?"
"Sounds great," Robin said, nodding.
Beast Boy morphed into a gorilla and back again. "I'm a party animal. I will be in my element."
"Absolutely!" agreed Cyborg.
Raven remained unmoved by her friends' robustness. As if anticipating this, Blackfire casually added, "It's also in a creepy run-down warehouse." Raven's eyes darted up. She snapped her book shut.
"Well alright!" laughed Cyborg, taking this as Raven's sign of surrender. "Let's paaaaaaaaartaaaay! I gotta go get dressed!"
"Get dressed?" Beast Boy said. "Since when do you wear clothes all the time?"
"I'd rather go incognito, that's all."
"Dude, you're six-foot-three and eighty percent of your body is mechanical. Who isn't going to recognize you?"
"Well…it just…feels kinda wrong not wearing pants."
"…Ya know, on second thought, get dressed. I've just realized that you've been completely naked for the past week."
Cyborg laughed. "You'd better get out of the spandex, too. Both of you," he added, looking at Robin.
"The mask stays," their leader grumbled. The other boys and Blackfire let out a whoop of excitement. Raven had already gone to her room to change.
"Hello, Earthlings! The queen of the galaxy has arrived!" Blackfire declared, leading the Titans through the seemingly never-ending mass of people.
Hip-hop pulsed throughout the warehouse, sweaty teens bumping and grinding to the rhythm below bright, multicolored lights. The Titans had been trying to attract a great deal of attention, but it didn't seem to work. People pointed and whispered, but most of it was directed at Beast Boy and Cyborg, for obvious reasons. ("Hey, it's the elf and the robot!") Raven looked back to see Starfire trailing at the end of their group. She appeared entirely out of place; unlike her friends, who were either completely drawn into the environment—or just didn't care, as with Raven—Starfire tripped and bumped into people, making many apologies along the way. Raven just shook her head and turned her attention to Robin, who was loosening up a bit and dancing with Blackfire. Beast Boy and Cyborg had been quick to attract a pair of bubbly girls to dance with. Raven's gaze went back to Starfire. Still tripping, still stumbling, still apologizing. This was indeed a lost cause. Starfire finally made her way over to Raven and let out a sigh of relief. Her reprieve was short, however—she saw Robin and Blackfire dancing and immediately drooped.
Raven did not take notice of her comrade's depression. "This party is pointless." A boy with dark eye shadow and a mop of dark, greasy hair hanging over his face that had been standing there turned to Raven.
"Everything's pointless. Wanna go talk about it?" Raven glanced at him. He was cute enough. She shrugged and they left together, leaving Starfire by herself. The alien let out another sigh. As if to make her defeat even more stinging, a pair of boys came up to her. They had been eyeing her for a few minutes and figured it was time to take action.
"Hey girl," the first one said. "Ain't you that alien chick from the Titans?"
"Yes," Starfire said hesitantly. She found it hindering that every boy at this club insisted on having his hair hanging so one could not see his eyes. The other one, whose vision was also obscured by his matted hair, crept up around her, cutting off her escape.
"You diggin' the scene?" he asked, a somewhat perverse grin spreading across his features. Starfire was befuddled by his question.
"I was not aware we were supposed to bring shovels," she said slowly.
"AHA! AHA! OH GOD! I CAN'T BREATHE! THAT IS JUST…AHA…TOO MUCH…HAHAHA!"
The two boys stumbled away laughing. Even worse, a few other people had heard the alien's misguided response and began to snicker and snort. People that hadn't even heard her laughed just because it was contagious. Starfire had never felt so embarrassed in her life.
"C'mon Robin, you can dance better than that!" Blackfire yelled over the pounding noise. The Boy Wonder was dancing a bit stiffly, and kept backing off every time Blackfire brushed him—she had been doing it far too many times to be unintentional. His face was flushed, not just from the dancing.
"Eh, haha! I'm just a bit rusty is all, I don't—I don't do this very—AH!" Blackfire had brushed him yet again, and he had jumped almost two feet backwards to avoid her. "You know, Blackfire, I think I'm going to take a break. I'm kinda tired, ya know?"
"What? I can't hear you!" The music had changed and grown much louder.
"I'm gonna take a break!" he shouted, jerking his thumb towards the makeshift tables made of crates. She nodded, looking disappointed. Robin dashed away, feeling relieved to get away from her. Blackfire was very pretty and not lacking in style, but he was definitely not happy with the signals she was sending off. Flirting had been amusing at first, but now it was getting a bit irritating. Robin found the steps to the roof and went out for some fresh air. After a few gasping breaths—he had worn himself out dancing—he turned and saw that he was not alone. "Starfire?"
Starfire jumped, but quickly calmed seeing who had called her. "Oh, hello Robin! How are you?"
He walked over and sat by her, his brow knotted with concern. "I'm fine. But I get the feeling that you're not."
She gave a false smile. "But I am! Everything is wonderful. The pounding music and blinding lights are most enjoyable."
"Come on, Starfire."
There was a heavy pause. "Everything is not wonderful. I know I should be happy to see her, but…mine and Blackfire's relationship is not so much as a relationship as a competition. At least that is how she sees it. But she would win anyway. She 'rules' at the videogames, and knows how to write deep, impressive poetry, and knows when people are not talking about shovels! …And I am nothing like her."
Robin smiled. "No, you're not. And I…well I think that's why—"
"Hey, Robin!" Blackfire was floating at the roof entrance. She pointed to her head, which was now adorned with a pink wig. "How do I look?"
"Great! I got it off a girl downstairs selling them. Wacky things you Earthlings have."
"Yeah, real cool. You know, we were kind of having a conversation—" The beat of the music coming from the warehouse changed to a quicker, brighter one.
"Oooh! This is a great song, isn't it? Come on, let's dance!" She yanked Robin back downstairs.
Starfire sighed. She slumped and let her head roll back, her gaze turning towards the sky. There was a bright light in the distance…coming closer. Starfire squinted. What could possibly...?
A bullet-like craft, identical to the one that had attacked Starfire before, was zooming straight towards her. Starfire panicked. This was definitely the last thing she needed right now. Regardless, the probe shot out its tentacles, and all the alien warrior could do was defend herself. Despite her earlier attempts to attack it with starbolts failing, she could see no other course of action. She also sent several blasts from her eyes, but to no avail. Two more probes arrived, surrounding her. Starfire was in serious trouble.
Below her, Beast Boy and Cyborg were dancing like there was no tomorrow. The former had been cracking jokes about the latter being able to do the robot, earning a stony face from his friend. Beast Boy muttered something like "party pooper" and continued dancing. He looked up briefly at the skylight and did a double-take. "Hey Cy. CY!" Cyborg glared at him. "No, I'm serious! I think something's going on. I think Star's trouble."
"Hm?" Cyborg looked up. "Whoa! Another one of those octopus things is attacking her!"
Beast Boy looked back up. "One? There was more than…" He looked down at his feet. Something metallic was slithering along his foot and wrapping around his ankle. "Ohhhhhhh crap."
More tentacles shot out and wrapped around his neck, his arms, and his feet. Beast Boy was dragged into the air and away from his companion—naturally, this caused quite a panic among the civilians. Cyborg ran after Beast Boy, only to be broadsided by the third probe. It slammed into him and sent him sprawling. "Aw, it's gonna be like that, huh?" he snarled. "Well that's fine, octupussy! BRING IT!"
Raven was sitting in the back of the warehouse, seemingly unaware of the commotion on the dance floor. She was stirring her coffee, and she was beginning to think coming with the greasy-haired boy had been a mistake of epic proportions. Her notion was confirmed by his next question.
"Sooooo…do you like show tunes?"
"Uh…well…" She cringed, rubbing her head. She felt as if she may have an aneurysm if she spent any more time in his company. Luckily, at that precise moment, a craft went by with a certain green changeling in its clutches. Raven had never been so happy to see Beast Boy. "I'll catch you later. Have to go save someone's life." She bolted.
"Call me!" he yelled after her, putting his thumb and pinky by his face.
'Yeah right,' Raven thought, flying after her captive friend. "Time to save your ass yet again, elf. Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" Several crates enveloped in dark energy levitated and crashed into the probe, jarring it enough to drop Beast Boy. He landed in a pile of crates. Raven looked over to the now mostly empty dance floor; Cyborg was battling another craft, punching it straight in the hull, which seemed to make it go haywire for a few seconds, but had no real lasting effect. Starfire and her attacker burst into the building through the skylight, and the alien shot it with a few more starbolts.
Beast Boy jumped to his feet as a tiger and gave his enemy a swipe with his paw. One hit from a tiger's paw to the head has enough force to kill a man almost instantly, but the craft barely budged. It slapped the green tiger away with one of its tentacles, and headed over to its more important target; Starfire was now backing away from three approaching probes. Cyborg grabbed one by the tentacles and swung it away from her. "Punch the front of it!" he yelled. "That makes 'em loopy for a few seconds!" Starfire followed his advice—of course, with her alien strength, the probe was knocked across the warehouse rather than just a few feet.
Robin and Blackfire had been in the back, so it had taken them longer to notice that people were running out of the building as fast as humanly possible. Robin knew there was something wrong. "C'mon," he said, taking hold of Blackfire's arm. "There's something going on, I want to see if the others are safe."
"I bet it's nothing," she said casually, as if she hadn't just seen a pair of girls go by her screaming bloody murder. "And if it was, they'd handle it, right? Stay here and talk to me!"
Robin looked at her incredulously. "Your sister could be in trouble. She could—Cyborg!" Cyborg flew through the air and landed right next to them. "Are you okay?"
The mechanical man got up and rubbed his head. "Yeah, but we got a problem. You know that thing that attacked Star that BF saved her from earlier? It had friends."
"Naw, man, we could really use your guys' help. They're tough lil' buggers." He ran back onto the dance floor. Robin started to follow him, but stopped. Blackfire wasn't budging.
"Didn't you hear him? Your sister needs help!"
She seemed to snap out of her trance, and pulled off her pink wig. "Of course! I'm right behind you, Robby." Robin cringed. 'Robby. Ugh'
Starfire flew outside, guessing it would be much harder to catch her in the open; however, she had flown into an alleyway, meaning the three probes could now focus on her with greater ease. A tentacle shot out and whapped so hard she crashed into the opposite wall and fell into a dumpster. One of the probes closed the lid and sat on it while the other two lifted it into the air. Starfire was screaming relentlessly, but it didn't seem like they heard, or cared.
A pair of birdarangs severed two of the tentacles, causing the dumpster to be dropped on its side. Robin pulled out another one and took a fighting stance. "Titans G—"
Three purple starbolts flew over their heads and hit the probes below their hulls. They exploded, and chunks of machinery went flying everywhere. Blackfire landed next to the remains, looking rather pleased with herself. The Titans were very impressed.
"Ma-a-aaan!" Beast Boy shouted, doing a victory dance. "That was awesome!"
"Yeah," Cyborg agreed. "I've never seen anyone shoot like that!"
"Nice," Raven added, nodding in approval.
Robin looked suspicious. "How did you know where to hit them?"
Blackfire shrugged. "Lucky guess. It's easier to attack a mortflap's underside than its shell, ya know?"
"No," Cyborg conceded. "But we could use a mind like that." He turned to Robin. "I know it's your call, Rob, but you can't deny this girl would make one helluva Titan."
"Yeah!" Beast Boy whooped. "Blackfire the Titan!"
"Wow," she laughed. "Me, a Teen Titan? That would be something!"
Starfire, who had only recently crawled out of the dumpster, wore an expression of horror. Her sister, a Teen Titan?
Starfire slid on her backpack, which carried her few possessions. She sighed, remembering how she had entered the tower with it, with all her friends. Now she would be leaving with it, too. She drifted into the air. "Perhaps there really is no place for me here…"
"Yes there is."
Starfire spun. Robin again. Her shoulders slumped. "Robin, I do not—"
"Starfire. You…you can't just leave. Especially not without saying goodbye."
"I…" She landed on the roof. "I do not belong here. I do not belong anywhere."
He put his hand on her shoulder. "You belong here, Starfire. You really, really do."
"Robin, I—" Before she could finish her sentence, a long, green tentacle whipped out and around her. She was dragged screaming onto an aircraft hovering some twenty feet above the tower. A pair of bulky, armored beings stood on it. The one with Starfire in his grasp pulled hard to bring her aboard, but Robin grabbed her foot and was determined to keep her on the roof. With a mighty yank, the armored alien pulled Starfire away from Robin and further towards its ship, which began to move away from the tower.
"STARFIRE!" Robin made a running leap off the tower and towards the ship. His fingers brushed the sole of Starfire's boot before gravity took effect. He fell from her sight as she was brought aboard the aircraft, still screaming like a banshee. Her captor hit her upside the head.
"Quiet, woman!" he shouted at her in an alien language; it wasn't Tamaranean, but it was one that she was familiar with—though at the moment, she was too frantic to think of which one. He threw her in a circle in the middle of the ship, and a force field sprang up around her. Starfire blasted it with energy from her eyes, but it did not yield. Her captor turned to his comrade. "The Tamaranean is secure. We should leave orbit and get back to the main ship as soon as possible."
"Yes," the other one agreed. He began to work furiously at the control panel, but stopped. "Cron?"
"What is that?" he asked, pointing to a small object resembling an anchor or a hook.
"I don't kn—"
Robin vaulted to the deck of the ship, and delivered a spinning kick to Cron's head. The alien stumbled backwards, but regained his composure in seconds. "You are an accomplice for harboring her, and now you dare help her escape? Insolent boy!"
Robin stared at him with a puzzled expression. "I don't know what you just said, but it doesn't matter." He stepped in front of Starfire. "She stays here."
"He doesn't speak our language, Cron," the other sighed.
"I understood him well enough. RAAAAAAAHHH!" Cron swiped at Robin with his large, lobster-like claw, but Robin dodged it and went for the control panel. He pushed the other alien out of the way and crushed it with his bo staff. The force field imprisoning Starfire disappeared, and one of the engines exploded. With only one engine propelling it, the aircraft rocked back and forth before veering off to one side, causing Cron to fall off. Robin kept his balance and grabbed Starfire's arm.
He smiled. "Fly us outta here?" She nodded and they jumped off together. The ship crashed and burst into flames behind them as they slowly descended. Robin's feet dangled until Starfire let go of him and he landed softly on the ground. They had been taken pretty far; they were in the canyon outside the city. Not so far, however, that the other Titans hadn't been able to follow.
"HEY!" Cyborg hollered. He was riding on a large green horse. "You guys okay?"
"Yeah, pretty much!" Robin shouted back. Raven landed next to them. "No one's hurt, don't worry."
"I never worry," she answered stiffly.
Robin's chuckling was cut short by a loud, crunching sound. One of the aliens had climbed out of the wreckage, and he did not seem very happy. But that was nothing compared to the rage Cron, who had found his way to the crash site after landing on the ground, was experiencing. He was panting and his yellow eyes were alight with fury.
"Cron…this is a simple job. You need to calm down," the other alien warned. Cron growled. He reached for his chest plate, and the Titans tensed up. But rather than some dangerous weapon, he held out a very official-looking badge with alien symbols on it. He began to speak in English.
"In the name of the Grand Centauri Empire," he said, with an edge to his voice, "you are all under arrest."
The Titans stared. Beast Boy, now in human form, shifted a bit.
"Uhhh…you can't be the good guys. We're the good guys."
"Yes, well you 'good guys' have been harboring a criminal," Cron's partner huffed, pointing to Starfire. "The Tamaranean has committed high crimes throughout the Centauri System: Thievery, attacking Centauri officers, gambling—"
"I have not done any of those things!" Starfire protested. "I have never even been to the Centauri Moons!"
"You are a liar and a thief, and you will come with us!" Cron bellowed. "I am losing patience, Tamaranean!"
Robin looked thoughtful. His gaze drifted to the jewel hanging around Starfire's neck. "You haven't been to the Centauri Moons…but I know someone who has." Robin took the necklace and threw it to the police. "You've got the wrong girl." Starfire gasped. It was suddenly becoming very clear to her what the purpose of her sister's impromptu visit had been all along. Robin looked over at his shocked teammates. "Where's Blackfire?" he said icily.
"She said she was leaving," said Beast Boy. He looked up. A purple star streaked across the sky. "There!"
"Don't worry, Starfire. She won't get away with this."
Starfire's eyes burned green. "No she will not!"
Blackfire was flying higher into the clouds. If all went according to plan, she would find a Centauri patrol ship parked in the upper atmosphere. With that, she would make her escape. There was just one problem…
"Are you going somewhere, Sister?" sneered Starfire. Blackfire turned to face her sister and feigned innocence.
"Well sis, I really hated leaving without telling you, but you know how terrible I am with goodbyes."
"Yes, I am sure you did not have time to see me framed for the crimes you committed."
Blackfire's sweet smile twisted into a sinister grin. "Oh, that. Too bad, really. I've got a ship to catch."
"It will have to wait, I'm afraid," Starfire growled, sending eye blasts at her sister. Blackfire flew around them effortlessly.
"Tsk, tsk, Koriand'r. So quick to violence."
"Do not mock me, Sister! What do you have against me? What would make you frame your own kin?"
Blackfire laughed. But rather than the casual, loving laugh she had been using, this one was filled with hatred. "What, you ask? An excellent question, with an excellent story to go with it. Where to begin, where to begin… I suppose first we should sit down." She raised a fist and struck Starfire hard enough to knock her back down to the ground. The elder sister landed next to her, grabbed her sister by the hair and ground her face in the dirt. "Isn't this fun, Kori? Just like old times!"
"Get…off me…you clor—"
Blackfire gasped and slammed her sister's head into the ground. "Oh! Naughty little sister, cursing her betters! You should know better, after how our parents taught us—OH! Yes, that reminds me, I was going to tell you why I despise you so. Listen, will you?" She turned Starfire's head so her ear was facing upwards and continued to talk.
"You see, once there was a little girl named Komand'r. She was beautiful and smart, and everybody would have been so happy when she was born, except that was the day Tamaran, her home planet, was attacked by the vicious Gordanians. Much blood was spilled on that day, and many said it was because of Komand'r, that she was a cursed child. All bosh, if you ask me. But then, her parents, the Grand Ruler of Tamaran and his wife, the queen, found out that their little daughter was indeed cursed—she could not fly, and that was the most cherished ability that all her people shared, all but her. They tried everything, but nothing worked, so they gave up. They knew that because she was 'crippled,' Komand'r could never be a proper ruler, so they resolved their next child would be the heir to the throne.
"When Komand'r was four, her parents had another child, a girl they named Koriand'r. There were no horrible, costly battles on the day she was born, so throughout the kingdom, everyone rejoiced. Two years later, they also had a son, and they named him Ryand'r. And for a long time, everyone was happy, except Komand'r. She was always a little less happy than everybody else, because while her little sister and brother were flying about the castle while their mother and father praised them, she was always looked down upon. But she loved her brother and sister, so she played with them and taught them all sorts of useful things, always having been the most intelligent of her siblings.
"But when Komand'r turned twelve, the age at which she would have normally been declared the heir to the throne, she found that her parents intended to pass that honor along to her little sister Koriand'r, who would have normally been the second in line. Komand'r knew what an injustice this was, and that it was by no means her fault. From that day on, she envied her younger sister, and resolved to best her in every field. That would be the only way to seize the crown." Blackfire's expression hardened. "But when they trained together, everyone always praised Koriand'r much more, she was always fighting for the 'right reasons,' and Komand'r was just a fool fighting for the 'wrong reasons—"
Starfire kicked Blackfire off her and went into a fighting stance. "You only wanted to know how to kill," she snarled. Blackfire's eyes were burning purple to mirror Starfire's green flames.
"Yes, to kill! To kill YOU, sister! I was tired of being denied my birthright!"
"That is not my fault!" she shouted, throwing several starbolts at her sister. Blackfire met them with her own starbolts, and sent a punch at Starfire, stopping right in front of her face. She took advantage of Starfire's confusion to do and upwards kick. It connected with her younger Starfire's chin and her head snapped back. Then Blackfire grabbed her by the wrists and body-slammed her into the ground.
"I wasn't finished speaking, you know." The twisted grin was back, and the purple light in her eyes danced wildly. "The story isn't over. You see, after I couldn't best you in traditional combat, I decided to go for the alternative: The psychological approach. I promised myself I would make you, Mother, Father, and Ryand'r suffer" Starfire growled and forced Blackfire off of her again.
"I see. You tried to frame me, to throw me in jail. Now what have you done to them? Or is it enough to shame me?"
Blackfire laughed. "This? This is trivial. I would never get revenge by such petty means, oh no. Mine was a plan far more clever, more complex, and much more…cruel. After having devised it, I knew there was turning back. But first…I wanted something I'd been deprived of for a long, long time."
"Flight," Starfire said quietly.
"Yes," said Blackfire in low hiss. "I can still remember that first time. I could finally see why everybody around me was so happy. That first breath of fresh sky." She breathed in deeply. "But now that I had what I'd longed for, there was only one more thing to do: Get my revenge. It was time to come after you, little sister. The people that helped me fly were the ones I needed. Aren't you curious, Kori? Haven't you wondered where I got my long-denied ability?"
"Not really," Starfire lied.
"Surely you at least ventured a guess. No? Come now, Koriand'r. You aren't too daft, are you? The most acclaimed scientists in the universe. I see the hint of recognition in your eyes. Still haven't got it? How about…the Psions? Oh, what's this I see? Fear in the eyes of the great Koriand'r? Does their name stir up your memory, sister? Does it make your blood run cold?"
Starfire hurled more starbolts at her sister, which were deflected easily. Blackfire was advancing quickly, parrying every attack thrown. Soon she was upon Starfire, hitting and blasting. She grabbed her by the hair again, but this time forced her head up to meet her eyes.
"I needed their help, Kori. And for them, I needed the Gordanians." At the very mentioned of their race's sworn enemy, Starfire began to twist and struggle under her sister's grasp. "They were quite unwilling at first. But if there's one thing I know, it's that you can't get something for nothing. And I knew there was only one thing they'd be interested in." Starfire stopped struggling and stared at Blackfire. "Catching on, are we?" Blackfire stroked her chin with her free hand in mock thoughtfulness. "When was that, anyway? Hmm…how old was I? Oh yes, sixteen. And you were twelve, that's right. The age when you would be declared the heir to the throne. Ahhhh, what a glorious day for Tamaran. Oh wait—it wasn't. I believe that was the day the Gordanians somehow broke through the supposedly impenetrable Tamaranean defenses and killed many soldiers and civilians in a way reminiscent of the day I was born." Starfire had an odd expression one her face, as if she had just been told she was missing an arm. "Everybody knew that only select Tamaranean military personnel were given the codes to shut down the defenses. Everybody knew that somewhere in their mist, there was a traitor." Starfire's eyes could not possibly have been more wide with horror.
"Hahaha, yes, Koriand'r. Me. I, who had so long been looked down on by my people, who had so long been denied everything, who despised her younger sister, her inferior, YES, KORIAND'R, I! I DID IT! IT WAS I WHO TOLD THE GORDANIANS TO ASK FOR YOU, TO ONLY TAKE YOU AND LEAVE THE REST OF OUR FAMILY, LEAVE THEM TO SUFFER, LEAVE FATHER TO STEW IN HIS OWN GUILT OVER HAVING TO CHOOSE HIS KINGDOM OVER HIS DARLING, PRECIOUS PRINCESS KORIAND'R! AND I ENJOYED IT SO MUCH, WATCHING YOU BEG, WATCHING HIM SQUIRM, WATCHING YOU SUFFER! AND I DID, I MADE IT SO, I DID IT! IT WAS ME WHO HAD THE GORDANIANS TAKE YOU INTO SLAVERY FOR THOSE YEARS, AND HAD IT BEEN I FACED WITH THE DECISION, I WOULD HAVE MADE IT THE REST OF YOUR MISERABLE EXISTENCE, BECAUSE I HATE YOU, KORIAND'R! I HATE YOU, SISTER! I HATE YOU!"
Starfire was not entirely sure what happened next. It was as if something deep inside her that she fought to keep hidden had suddenly and painfully snapped. There was no right or wrong anymore. There were no morals, no police, no framing. There was only her and Blackfire.
Starfire hit her sister with force that she would have never thought possible. Blackfire was knocked backwards into the canyon wall, about a football field's distance away. Starfire flew straight towards her and slammed into Blackfire with every ounce of her strength. Now the elder sister had been forced four inches into the canyon wall. Starfire let out a cry of rage and pummeled her until her fists were covered with blood.
Starfire looked down at her sister. She had a broken nose, a busted lip and was bruised and bleeding in other places, too. But that grin, that sick, malicious grin still remained. It was now short a few teeth, but it was there. And that was enough to make Starfire's insides twist and burn. Even worse, Blackfire was somehow still conscious—and still talking, albeit slowly.
"Heh…heh…heh...I was so mad when I heard…that the Gordanians had sold you to the Psions. I knew their procedures were painful…but I thought…you might get more powerful. Looks like…I was right. You got the same starbolt powers I got as a side-effect…of the operation that helped me…to fly."
Starfire punched her. "You…you cannot possible have a heart beating inside you. It is…not possible for someone who has one to…they could not—!"
"That's always been your major flaw, Koriand'r. You think too much of people. You think they will not got to the lengths they go to in order to get what they want. You're un-jaded…guess that's why Mother loved you so much. Cried when Father did it. I saw. She would have never cried for m—" Starfire cut her off with another punch. There were tears in her eyes.
"You will not speak of her. She will not have her name dirtied by the likes of you!"
Blackfire spit out some blood and smiled again. "Five years, Kori. I'm actually impressed you made it out without killing yourself. Or going mad. That's what they say happens to the ones that survive the Psion experiments. Did you cry, little sister? Did you pray to X'hal to deliver you?"
"SHUT UP!" Starfire punched her several more times, breathing harder. "YOU WILL BE QUIET AND YOU WILL NOT SAY ANY MORE! YOU WILL NOT…YOU WILL...NOT…INSULT…X'HAL."
Blackfire looked up at her again, but this time, her face was strangely blank. "What's the use of praying if there's nobody who hears?"
Starfire growled and murmured something about faith and strength.
"I prayed to X'hal every day when I was a child," said Blackfire. "I prayed for flight, mostly. But She never answered me. I grew up and realized the only thing you rely on is yourself. You can't just hope for miracles to drop out of the damn sky, you've got to do something about it. So I did. And you really aren't that different, are you? You broke out of captivity because you decided it was time to act. And don't say you got strength from Her," she added just as Starfire was about to repeat herself. "It's all crap. You get strength because it's necessary to survive. Be strong and survive." She grinned again. "Be strong…" She kicked Starfire hard in the stomach. "…or die."
Blackfire jumped up and gave her adversary two strong hits to the jaw, followed by a blast from her eyes. Starfire came back swinging, though. She delivered many more punches and kicks, and then blasted Blackfire in the back with a starbolt, which knocked her to the ground. She managed to roll over to face her sister, but it was safe to say she would not be getting back up, at least at the moment.
Starfire could only look on, seething. "You…you evil, vile, abhorrent—" She held up her energy-charged hand, ready to strike.
Blackfire just lay there, grinning insanely. "Going to kill me, Kori? Going to blast my brains out, spill my blood on the rocks? Going to stamp on my corpse until I'm dust?" Starfire's hand twitched a little. Her eyes stopped glowing. "It would feel good, wouldn't it?"
"What? Hate me? I know that!"
"It is easy to hate."
"It would be so easy…"
"But it would not be…it would not—"
"Be what? Right? Don't give me that crap. You want to do it." Her eyes narrowed. "You need to do it."
"…I…" Starfire's hand lowered. "I will not."
Blackfire threw back her head and laughed. She slowly and shakily got up, but only managed to get to her knees. "You're such a fool, Koriand'r. You say you won't do it, but the truth is you can't do it! You don't have the g—"
Blackfire fell forward, her back smoking. Cron was standing behind her with some sort of gun. He looked at Starfire. "We apologize for the mix-up, ma'am. This is indeed the person we are after."
"What did you—"
"It's a lightning gun. Standard issued Centauri Police weapon. She's just unconscious…but it looks like she may need medical attention. You do this?" he asked, gesturing to Blackfire's injuries.
"I suppose I did," she responded flatly.
"Thank you for subduing her. Guess that makes sense, your pal back there told me you guys are some kind of 'crime-fighters.'"
"I suppose we are."
"..Right. Anyway, sorry I didn't get here sooner," he said, picking up Blackfire and putting her over his shoulder for easier carrying. "I only hope you will press no charges for our misconduct—"
"I will not," she sighed. "How long will she be in prison?"
"Hard to say. A pretty lengthy period, I'd wager."
"…Right. Your companions are over there," he said, pointing to the ridge. The Titans stood observing them silently. Starfire wondered how long they had been standing there. "I'll call our ship down here and we'll just be on our way."
Starfire sat on the roof by herself. Her friends had been almost completely silent on the way home; they could tell she didn't want to be given the third degree. She had gone up to the roof almost immediately. She needed time for everything to sink in. Her sister had betrayed their planet, all for the purpose of hurting her. And she had put up such a front, she had made herself so irresistible to the Titans—she was interesting, funny, and by no means naïve like Starfire. 'It would have been so easy,' Starfire thought. 'It would have been so easy for her to just live here and kick me out. And I would have let her…but not now. Not after all that she has done.'
Starfire turned. This was the third time Robin had caught her sulking on a roof today. "Hello, Robin. What is it that you wanted?"
"Just to see if you were okay," he answered, sitting down beside her.
"No, I am not. And I fear I will not be for some time."
"…Oh." There was a heavy silence.
"Did you see me fight Blackfire?" she asked. She couldn't bring herself to call Blackfire her sister.
"Not all of it. But it was kind of obvious who got the most hits in." There was a pregnant pause. "I'm sorry."
Starfire was surprised. "What for?"
"I—we believed she was a good person. We were really fooled, I guess."
"And worse, because of that, we weren't paying enough—if any—attention to you. It was a sucky thing to do. We weren't being good friends."
Starfire smiled a bit. "I am to assume you have had one of the 'team meetings' with the others and came to this conclusion and they sent you to talk to me?"
Robin looked embarrassed. "Well, yeah. We felt like jerks. But I came because I was going to anyway."
"Yeah. To apologize personally."
"You have already—"
"No, it wasn't about that. It was…I saw you with your hand up, standing over her. I thought—it was just for an instant, but I thought…I thought you were really going to kill her."
Another silence weighed down on them. "…So did I. But then I realized that, physically, it is easy to kill. It is just as easy to kill as it is to hate. But it is like a sword with a sharpened edge on both sides…as much as you hurt others, you are bound to hurt yourself."
Robin smiled. "That's true. It…eats at you. But I was wondering…what is it that you and Blackfire were so angry at each other over?"
Starfire sighed. "That is a matter which must remain only between me and her."
He nodded. "That's fine. You didn't pry, so neither will I."
"Thank you. And now, I must apologize to you."
"What? You don't need to apologize for anything."
"I thought not at first, but now I see…with friends like you and the others, I feel guilty for ever thinking that you would…"
"Take Blackfire over you?"
"I am just glad that I was not replaced."
Robin looked shocked for a moment, but then smiled again. "She can't replace you, Starfire. She was…interesting, but she couldn't take your place. No one could ever take your place."
Starfire smiled and hugged him as they turned to watch the sun's first rays creep up over the horizon.
Blowfish: HOLY SHIT THAT WAS LONG. JESUS. A vein in my one of my fingers is pulsing. Seriously.
Anyway. Since I didn't say it at the beginning, I'm sorry I'm a lazy bitch who writes sporadically. But seriously. Never again. At least not THIS long. What was it—APRIL? APRIL? Daaaaaaamn. I REALLY suck at this.'
Hope you enjoyed that chapter, and I hope the extra fighting and background wasn't too much or too crappy. I took Starfire's history from the comics and decided to jam it in there because it'll make good stuff for the later Tamaran story. At least, that's how I hope it's going to go. And I hope you all didn't hate it with a fiery passion. Yeah.
Next time: Leadership problems lead to a huge dispute between Cyborg and Robin. The two hotheads get into a huge argument, and Cyborg quits the team in a rage. How will the Titans go on without their "big brother?" And worse, how will they deal with the goo-like mutant Plasmus one team member short? This could get messy…