Hello! I feel so guilty for not mentioning my reviewers. I haven't been keeping track, and now it's kind of too late. But, those of you who have reviewed every time (Jemi, Lost Inside, animeluvr, Tameranian Princess, lil' LIK Star, ravensangst, misunderstoodgirl, CHEENAMI Danny…I know there's more of you…darn my memory…anyway, you all know who you are. I appreciate you so much; thanks for being awesome!)
I feel like I stole the pool thing from "Hopelessly Devoted." I thought it would be ok to write it just for the Shrine, but I kinda liked it, so here it is…and I made it as different from the scene in "HD" as possible.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans. And…I like pie. Pumpkin pie. Mmmmm…I'm hungry…
"I still don't see why the tower needs a pool table." Robin was arguing with Cyborg as he carried the old billiards table into the living room and set it up in the corner.
"Because the sports bar downtown offered it to us for free after we stopped that robbery last week," Cyborg replied, taking out the balls and racking them neatly in the center of the worn green felt. Robin shook his head and rolled his eyes, grabbing a cue from the floor and twirling it absently like a bo-staff.
"Friends!" Starfire exclaimed, skipping into the room. Robin jumped and the cue slipped out of his hand. It shot toward Starfire, who caught it deftly in one hand when it was inches away from striking her. She turned it over a few times, running her hands along its length and peering at it close-up, looking for answers. "It's a pool cue, Star," explained Robin, smiling at her intense expression as she examined it. "You use it to play pool." Starfire looked a little confused. "Play pool…as we did at the 'YMC and A' last summer?"
He laughed. "No, Star, not play in a pool…this is different. It's a game, and you play it using that table, lots of little balls, and those long sticks." She nodded, pretending to understand even though she was still unclear as to how the objects were supposed to work together. Suddenly she brightened as an idea occurred to her. "Might you all wish to play the pool with me? I am sure I will understand it much better after a demonstration." She turned to each of her friends, a pleading look on her face. Her eyes fell on Raven, reading on the couch, who simply shook her head 'no' and returned to her book. She moved on to Beast Boy and Cyborg, who had forgotten about the pool table and were currently engaged in an argument over which weapon on Grand Theft Auto could inflict the most damage. With her last ounce of hope, she turned on Robin, smiling her sweetest smile, her eyes widened imploringly. Robin gave a wry half-grin and took her arm gently, leading her over to the table.
After fifteen or twenty minutes, Starfire was finally getting it. It wasn't that she was stupid; she just kept getting distracted by how pointless the game seemed. She kept asking Robin why one would want to use a narrow stick to push the balls when greater accuracy could be achieved by simply pushing them with one's hand. He had to admit she had a point, but explained that those were the rules, and that was just how the game was played. Having convinced her to put her practicality aside, he was now trying to show her how to handle the cue. They stood across the table from each other, and he demonstrated with his own. "Put one of your hands down on the table and slide the cue under your finger like this…" he showed her, sliding the cue back and forth a few times. "You have to bend down to the table so you can aim…" he trailed off, seeing Star's strained attempts to mimic his movements. He chuckled and moved around to her side of the table. "Here," he said gently, moving behind her and putting his hands over her own, so that his arms rested lightly around her body. Starfire flushed and shivered slightly, closing her eyes and trying hard to concentrate on what he was teaching her.
Robin realized his mistake as soon as he found that he had to put his arms around Starfire to reach her hands on the cue. He moved a little to the side, trying to minimize contact between them. Swallowing hard and trying to keep his voice steady, he muttered instructions to her as he showed her how to move. He pressed down on her back slightly, so that she was leaning correctly over the table, and tried to ignore the way her hip pushed into his thigh. He positioned her index finger over the tip of the cue, his breath catching when he felt the smooth, soft skin. He silently cursed himself for taking his gloves off before they began. The scent of her hair overwhelmed him whenever he breathed in, and he was intoxicated by the smell of pineapples and marshmallows (AN: Don't ask me…it's 2:30 a.m. and that's the first thing that came to my head when I wondered what Star smelled like. That would smell good, wouldn't it? Anyway…)
He took hold of her other hand, toward the base of the cue, and showed her how to draw it back smoothly and slide it forward. After a few practice shots, he gathered his composure and drew away from her.
"You've…you've got it now," he assured her, smiling a little shakily as he took the rack off the balls and motioned to the end of the table. "Now, do you remember when I told you about 'breaking?'" She nodded seriously and moved to the spot he pointed to, subconsciously running a finger lightly over the hand that he had been holding moments before. She exhaled in concentration and bent over the table, just as Robin had shown her. She held the base of the cue and drew her elbow straight back, securing the end on the table using a curled finger. Robin placed the white ball directly in front of the tip of her cue and leaned over the table, watching her and waiting. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and moved the cue forward. She heard it knock the cue ball forward, and then she heard a series of clicks and clacks as it broke the other balls' formation and sent them off in every direction. She opened her eyes just in time to see a single ball, the green-striped one, roll into the corner pocket.
Starfire stayed in the same position for a moment, bent over the table and holding the cue. Then, her eyes widened and she straightened up, looking at Robin in a daze. "I was successful!" she squealed, pointing at the corner pocket enthusiastically. "I have sent a ball into a pocket on my first attempt!" She flew right over the table in her excitement, throwing her arms around Robin's neck while still in the air. Laughing, he caught her around the waist and spun her around, finding her joy to be contagious. He set her down on the table, and their laughter quieted, leaving tremendous awkwardness in its wake. Robin took in her flushed cheeks, slightly rumpled hair, and those eyes still sparkling from the triumph of her success. On a sudden impulse, he reached behind her head and pulled her down for a kiss.
Starfire was so surprised she almost fell off the table, but she grasped Robin's shoulder and steadied herself. He sighed at her touch and tightened his hold on her waist, dragging her closer to the edge of the table. Giggling softly against his mouth, she moved her hand up to the back of his neck and into his hair.
Starfire's initial yell of victory had gotten the attention of the other three, who were watching with a mixture of amusement and embarrassment as the resulting scene took place. It wasn't until Robin placed a hand on Starfire's leg and ran it slowly up to her hip that Raven finally cleared her throat. They sprang apart, Starfire almost falling backwards onto the table but catching herself at the last minute. Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy were sitting in a row, watching them with raised eyebrows over the back of the couch. It was Starfire who recovered first. She jumped off the table, using Robin's shoulder as support, and brushed herself off primly. She took hold of a cue, expertly waxing the tip.
"That was a very…informative lesson, Robin," she said breathlessly, ignoring the sniggers from the couch at her comment. "Now it is my turn again, yes? I am 'the stripes' and you are 'the solids?'" He nodded wordlessly at her, watching her aim the cue and thinking to himself that he would never get tired of teaching Starfire new things.