Everyone was probably hoping I'd get the next chapter of 'Stage Presence' out this weekend, but I just couldn't. I'm beginning to feel the weight of my heavy schedule take its toll on me, and I was overwhelmed with a strange sadness this weekend that I couldn't seem to fight off. Not even the new episode of Teen Titans was enough to lift my mood. If I had tried to write on 'Stage Presence', the chapter wouldn't have come out the way I want it.
Instead, I offer you this one-shot. When I'm depressed, my fics tend to reflect that. I had been toying with the idea of what Starfire would do if she ever encountered gun during battle, and this was how it came out. It's got angst, and fluff, etc. I hope you enjoy.Fear Unknown
She faintly recalled the scent of steel and flint, heady and strong in the coolness of night. She could still feel the gun, its barrel caressing her temple seductively in a manner she had never known before that moment. The brazen whispers of lust from her would-be assassin still rung in her ears; his breath still traced her tender skin, his body still pressed against her own.
That night she had tasted death.
It had been a routine patrol: a group of small-time thugs taking their chances at a local jewelry store. The break in had been stopped in a matter of seconds, all three men tied and ready for a ride to the police station. But in their fervent attempt to end the night quickly the Titans had let one man slip from their gaze.
Perhaps it was the fact that she had her back turned to him when he'd chosen to make his move, or perhaps he had chosen to make his move because she had her back turned. Whatever his plan had been, Starfire had been thoroughly surprised when someone sprang from the shadows, his knee digging painfully into her back, a gun pressed tenderly to her left temple.
"Are you scared, lovely?"
His breath was hot, and her stomach lurched in repulsion. Digging his knee deeper into her back, he chuckled as she grunted in pain.
"Answer me!" He demanded, the gun grinding against her skull. Not bothering with words, she charged her hands.
There was a flash of green, the sound of shotgun, and pain.
Starfire had not been afraid when the unknown man had her life in his hands, his gun teasing her auburn locks. But as she lay against the wall, barely feet away from her attacker who was now joining his friends, she felt the fear wash over her. She felt the blood run down her cheek, it's damp warmth soaking her hair, and she watched in horror as red obscured her vision.
"Starfire!" Robin's voice broke through her weary haze, and she felt his arms lift her to a sitting position.
His embrace was pulled away though, and she recognized the feel of Cyborg's mechanical hands as they carefully touched a spot at the top her head. She was amazed at what little amount of pain she was feeling. After a moments silence, he breathed a sigh of relief.
"It's just a surface wound. The bullet barely nicked her."
The rest of the team released a baited breath she had not known that they had been holding. They all seemed relieved at her condition and yet…she was still uncertain of her fate.
"I am not going to…. I am going to live?" She couldn't bring herself to say the word. Cyborg chuckled lightly as he stood.
"Yeah," he assured, stooping to lift her in his arms, "You're going to be fine."
They left the store in silence, Robin leading them back to their vehicles. He was silent, which was normal for him, but he carried himself differently. As if he had extra weight sitting heavily on his back. Carefully, Cyborg slid her into the passenger's seat of the T-Car, reaching around carefully to buckle her in. But the door was left open, and soon Robin was at her side. A heavy piece of fabric was pressed against her head, and he led her hand up to it.
"Keep pressure on it," he ordered, his voice demanding. She nodded in agreement, trying to hide her disappointment at the boy wonder's callousness. But something in his voice told her that he was deeply trouble by the events of that night, and she began to fill with an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
"And meet me in the infirmary as soon as we get home." Those words too were as sharp as any blade. She nodded meekly, allowing him to slam the door of the car. She caught the faint sound of Cyborg's scolding voice, followed by the telltale sound of Robin's cycle pulling off into the night.
He was gone.
The car ride home had been relatively silent. The other's had been afraid to disturb Starfire, not sure how to approach her. They all, at one point or another, had had a gun pointed in their direction since joining the Titans, but this had been Starfire's first encounter with one. And while she knew what one was, she had never faced one before tonight.
When they reached the Tower, it was evident Robin had already arrived. His motorcycle had left tire streaks across the garage floor, and his helmet lay haphazardly on the floor, abuse evident on its glossy surface.
Stepping out of the car, she floated through the front door, happy that at least the dizziness had worn off. Situated just inside the door was the infirmary, put there for the occasions when one of them came back in a condition similar to her own. She glanced at the door before making her way to the elevator. The other Titans chose not to comment on her blatant disregard for their leader's orders, something she would have to thank them for later. The bleeding had slowed down to a slow trickle on the ride home, and she felt a shower would be a much better use of her time.
And it had been.
The hot water eased her aching muscles, her body relaxing under its constant attack. It had always been her remedy for a long night's battle, and it never failed to do the trick. But as her blood trailed down her body, mixing with the water as it drained, she couldn't help the tremors of fear that flared up her spine. Leaning against the cool tile of the shower stall, she wrapped her arms around her shaking form. It was a strange feeling looking death in the face, and she felt as if she had done it repeatedly that night.
After her shower, she pulled on a pair of soft pajama bottoms and a purple tank top, her red hair hanging in damp curtains around her face. Her first intention had been to head for the infirmary to meet Robin, an explanation already ready for her lateness. He would, no doubt, disregard her cleansing detour as he did most of the mistakes she would make. But somehow her wandering feet had brought her to the training room, and Starfire was pleased to find it empty.
The room itself seemed so lifeless without her teammates there, making their normal racket as they sparred with one another. Making a circle around the room, she traced her fingers across the sand bag that Robin would beat relentlessly, a vision of him shirtless rising to her mind.
She shook the unbidden image away, turning instead to the CD player Cyborg had set up in there a few months back. They had turned it into a form of game: Two names would be chosen from a hat and those two people would spar. Whoever was declared the winner would pick the music for the following training session. The others hadn't been all too thrilled when she had finally claimed victory. Not many people liked to work out to Phantom of the Opera soundtrack.
An early birthday present from Robin.
He was always an ever constant thought in her mind. Just as she thought she had moved onto something new, he would come again, filling her heart with that strange sensation of apprehension and longing. There was an unspoken connection between the two of them, and as much as she tried to ignore it, telling herself it wasn't right to feel such things for her leader, she couldn't fight off the emotions her heart was pushing her to embrace. Constantly she was pulled in two opposite directions.
It was especially difficult at times like these; when all she needed was him to comfort her and tell her everything would be alright, and he could never find those words. Robin was unfeeling, hiding all his thoughts and emotions behind black fabric. It was something Starfire had come to accept, knowing that in time he would trust her with whatever his heart was hiding from her. But it didn't stop hurting.
"I told you to come to the infirmary."
She smiled, not surprised that he had found her. It was a talent they shared.
"I know," she confessed, her hand flipping a dial on the radio nervously. He was angry, and it was at times like these that he was unpredictable. She felt him drawing closer, wondering silently which way he would sway tonight. Covering her hand his own, he pulled her towards the workbench almost pleadingly. She complied, allowing her body to lower to a sitting position.
Opening the first aid kit he had brought with him, he began the slow process of dressing her wounds. From time to time his hands would stop, and she could feel his eyes inspecting her with a critical eye. As he neared completion, she glanced up to meet his masked gaze.
"A gun, Starfire! For Christ's Sake! Do you know what could have happened to you?"
"I am well aware of the dangers involved with a gun, Robin. You do not have to explain it to me again." She had been expecting the lecture, and was halfway impressed he had gone this long without yelling. But she was not stupid and would not be treated as so, especially by him.
"Damn it, Star! That's not good enough! You have to be more careful!"
She sat quietly as he continued on in his berating, but she wasn't used to having him yell at her for such a prolonged amount of time. He had always been so patient with her, and now she feared that he had finally lost his trademark patience with her. She found she could not stop the tears as they pooled in her eyes. With the sight of her crying, his anger dissipated, his eyes seeking solace in her own.
"It's….it's just." He took a shaky breath, reaching up to touch his brow. His voice held a haggardness that she herself did not seem to feel, and she wondered how that could possibly be. There had been nights where they had gone ten times as hard, and Robin had looked as if he had just woken up from a refreshing nap. Starfire had begun to think that the Boy Wonder didn't get tired at all. But then it dawned on her that, perhaps, emotions were much more difficult for some to cope with than they let on.
Reaching out to cup his cheek with her hand, she smiled encouragingly. "You know you can tell me anything, Richard." She used his real name, a habit she only took up when in conversations such as this one.
"I almost lost you…" he whispered, pressing his hand against hers, trapping it against his face. She nodded solemnly, before leaning in to press her forehead against his own. "I couldn't do anything about it either…" he voice his self-hatred. "That bastard…he would have shot you the second I moved."
"I know, Richard, and I do not blame you."
"But-what if he hadn't missed. What if he had hit you? What if you had-" he stopped himself from going on further, his other hand reaching down to grip her waist. Without hesitation, he leaned, pressing his lips against her own with a hungry force she had not know him to posses. She stiffened at first, but soon melted into his embrace, returning the kiss with equal passion.
Robin was a superhero; he did not fear death. Willingly, he will place himself in dangers way for the sake others, not once flinching in pain. He was a living icon, a hero to every boy and girl, a model to every man and woman, a promise of pain to every crook and fiend. Robin did not know pain, nor love. For all he knew, they could be the same thing, and he would never be the wiser.
But tonight was different.
Tonight he needed an assurance that she was there, feeling, breathing, and moving with him. He needed to forget the fear and abandonment of that night. He needed her there, and she would give him what he needed.
If only for tonight, he would fear death.
Not much to say except that I'm mentally and emotionally spent for the night. This one took a lot out of me, and I'm not sure why. Please don't forget to leave a review.