Disclaimers: I don't own anything.
I couldn't believe that Starfire was getting married. I couldn't grasp that she waited until just moments before her departure to tell us that she would be leaving. Forever.
I think I was more hurt that she seemed to accept her fate so willingly than that she was leaving me. Us. Starfire even seemed enthusiastic about marrying a complete stranger. I was crushed. Starfire, the bond that kept the Titans together was willing to marry some unknown man without difficulty. I can't remember any time that I felt so abysmal, watching her eyes light up at the young, handsome Tamaranean man that was our first introduction to her future husband.
He was the complete opposite of me. Tall, intense, this alien man made Starfire swoon at first glance. I can't remember ever making Starfire look that way at me. But it took one glance at this man for her to become a completely willing future wife.
I can't fully describe my feelings when we were introduced to her real fiancé. The oddest combination of relief and terror. Relieved that her future husband wasn't so handsome, and terrified that he was still taking Starfire away from me. No matter what he looked like, if he married her, he'd still be a luckier…thing than me.
The whole trip was horrible. For all of us. Starfire had to marry someone she couldn't even touch without shuddering. I had to watch my best friend prepare to leave me forever. And the rest of the Titans had to watch their friend and comrade throw away her life.
I just refused to accept that the marriage was valid. The fates wouldn't be so harsh to make me watch her marry someone else. I sent Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy on errands to support my desperate theory while I tried to reason with Starfire.
She couldn't even look at me while I pleaded with her. I was grasping at straws, trying to discourage her choice of marrying that monster. I don't think that I was ever more attracted and irritated at the same time with her. Her passion for her home planet was fierce. I convinced myself that her planet was the only reason she was going through with the whole thing. I wanted to believe it so much. I needed to. I needed to know that it would take nothing less than the destruction of her home planet for her to willingly leave me.
No matter how Starfire felt about the situation, I was just as stubborn as she was. I was willing to continue pleading and begging her to change her mind until she said "I do." if I had to. Past then, even. I would have, too, if Blackfire's henchmen didn't grab me and throw me into a containment with my friends.
At that point, I was hitting rock bottom. I was ready to accept defeat. Starfire obviously didn't want to stay with me on Earth. I mean, the Titans. It took my associates to describe the situation for me to feel that burning fire of determination again. I was right. It was a setup.
She didn't have to marry him!
I was so relieved, I didn't quite think it all through about escape. If I had, I could have gotten to her before she even reached the alter. But, she turned down the wedding. She didn't assent to spend her life with the…thing. Just in time.
After Starfire's intense battle for the throne, my relief melted away to defeat. Again. This one trip forced me to feel so many things at once, I was pretty sure that at this point, I was going to need a little therapy when we got back to Earth.
Girls are so strange. If she knew that she wasn't going to stay as Empress, then why did she wait until I was near the end of my sanity to declare it?
Anyways, she came home. To Earth. With me. Us. I was so relieved, again, that I couldn't speak all the way back to the planet. While the rest of the Titans eagerly told Starfire how delighted they were that she was coming home, I kept to myself, listening. And smiling.
We got back to the tower, and threw her a small, but sincere, 'Welcome Home' party. We spent the rest of the evening helping Starfire unpack her things, enduring her songs, and reacquainting ourselves with Earth food.
It was nearly sunrise before our celebration was over. I spent the entire evening avoiding Starfire, save for passing her various foods, and happily asking where she wanted me to put her socks.
I said my conventional good nights, though it was morning, and headed off to my quarters.
I spent the first few minutes in front of my door, silent, waiting for the sounds of the Titans' doors sliding shut. I listened as Cyborg groggily told Beast Boy to leave him alone and to go to sleep, and the shape-shifter's sleepy complaints, before he agreed that neither of them were energized enough for a spin on Space Invaders.
Convinced that my team mates were fast asleep, I opened my door again and stepped out into the swiftly brightening corridor. I was exhausted, myself, but there was something I needed to do, first. I reached into my cloak's pocket, pulling out a single hair barrette that I couldn't ever remember Starfire wearing.
Early in the celebration, I had decided that I needed Starfire to understand how much I appreciated her decision. She'd been looking expectantly at me all evening. I hadn't said a complete sentence to her since we left her planet.
Now, I held the barrette I had confiscated, secretly, and stared blankly at her door. I didn't quite know how I was supposed to express my gratitude, but if I couldn't find the words, then at least I had a reason to be knocking on her door.
I sucked in a large breath and prepared to knock, just as it slid open, revealing a fully awake Tamaranean girl. I froze, keeping in the breath, shocked, staring at the girl who never left my mind since her wedding announcement.
She, of course, was the first to speak. I don't think I could have even breathed until she spoke.
"Robin? What is it that brings you to my room of bed?" Starfire asked, apparently delighted that not everyone was asleep yet. "Has something happened?"
I felt my face heat up, surprisingly, and turned the barrette between my fingers. I glanced down, at my feet, since hers didn't touch the floor, and cleared my throat. "No, nothing's happened." I explained to my indifferent shoes.
A pair of green eyes suddenly averted my attention from my feet, as Starfire hovered, upside-down, to look inquiringly at my blushing face. I blinked, and glanced up quickly as she floated above my shoes, poking them.
"Why do you speak to your feet? Why does your face change colors? Why do you not answer? Robin? What are you doing?"
I had taken hold of her ankles, attempting to turn her upright again. Silly, I know. But I was getting uncomfortable, staring at her legs. She grasped what I was straining to do, and turned, making me tumble into her room.
I scrambled up, and back into the corridor, having felt a shock that I had been in her dwelling. Alone. With her. While everyone was asleep. It felt so improper.
Starfire was still looking at my shoes, as if expecting them to start talking. Why not? I once had a strange clone jump out of my ear. Talking shoes were practically normal.
"My shoes are not possessed, Star." I swallowed, as she gave one last glance at my feet before flying close to my face to examine me.
I held my breath, suddenly aware of everything I had eaten in the past 24 hours, as she studied my head.
Finally, as she began to look in my ears, I grabbed her shoulders, and attempted to nudge her away from the side of my face. Her shoulder was inches from my nose, and I was getting intoxicated from the scent of her hair. I became aware that I probably couldn't move her if I put everything I had into it, and stepped back, instead.
"I'm fine, too." I said, fighting off a small smile at her concerns.
"Then, what brings you to my place of rest?" Starfire questioned, sinking to the floor, and on her feet. My face was finally even with hers, even if I was a foot away. Still, the thought was enough to make me want to discuss what I had come for with my shoes again.
"I wanted to…" I started, forcing myself to look at her nose, instead of at my ankles. How could I explain it without ungracefully going through a load of inquiries of what each word I said meant? What did I even want to say?
I suddenly remembered the barrette, now warm from being clasped in my hand. I held it up, quickly, as if completely devoted to returning it. "I found this in front of your door. We must have dropped it while we were unpacking your things."
She cocked her head to the side, taking it from my hand and her fingers brushed against mine. I returned my hand to my side, clenching it into a fist to preserve the tingles that surfaced beneath my gloves.
"Oh! I thank you, Robin! I did not even know that it had been missing." Starfire said, hovering happily into air again.
I stood where I was, giving a small smile to take place of a verbal remark, stupidly remaining silent. She noticed the awkward silence and glanced inquiringly at me again.
"Robin, there is something wrong! You are not speaking! Someone has taken your communication device?" Starfire asked, worried, as she reached for my mouth, to inspect it.
I knew that even her alien strength couldn't stop me from just flinging myself at her feet and waking up the entire tower with my cries of relief from her coming back, if she were to touch me. I stepped back before her fingers made contact with my lips and shook my head.
"No one has taken my tongue, Star." I replied, suddenly feeling the day's exhaustion fully take its toll. If I didn't go back to my room soon, I was sure I'd pass out where I was nervously shifting from one foot to the other.
"It's just that," I said, looking up at her concerned features. "Thanks. For coming back with me. Us. I'm…We're really glad you stayed." I stuttered, for the first time. I really couldn't remember stumbling over any of my words like this before.
Starfire's face lit up as if she hadn't been hearing my words all night from our friends and she threw her arms around me, nearly knocking me over.
"I am…glad to be home." She chirped happily from somewhere next to my face, and I, again, was greeted with the intoxication that came with her being so close.
Starfire is a very compassionate person. This wasn't the first time we'd exchanged hugs, or our gratitude at something. But, this definitely was the first time she made me want to sink to the floor because my knees couldn't seem to keep me up.
It could have been because I was beyond tired at this point, though.
When she finally let me go, I had to put a hand on the wall behind me to keep myself from falling.
Starfire noticed the action, and started to express her concerns again. Even if she didn't show it, there was no way she wasn't as bushed as I was. How could she be worried so many times and not be tired?
"I'm fine." I said, quickly, before she voiced her distress. "Good night, Star." I yawned, to emphasize how fatigued I was.
"Good night, friend Robin!" Starfire chirped, her worry forgotten as I started to stumble away. The word 'Good' seemed to make her change moods like a switch.
Sagging against the door after it slid shut behind me, I closed my eyes to silently curse my bumbling attempts to make sense of my feelings from the last 24 hours. I'd known from the moment Starfire had wrapped her arms around me in a hug what the combination of feelings meant.
I sure didn't feel the same towards any of the other Titans. Beast Boy's light-heartedness didn't make me dream of him at night. For the past few nights I had been having dreams about Starfire, though I don't much remember what happened in them.
I just wake up thinking of her.
So, assured that I'd be having a long slumber with dreams of the Tamaranean , if any, I happily fell asleep before I even landed on my bed.