DISCLAIMER: I don't own Teen Titans or any of the characters. shakes fist at CN lawyers So get off my back!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is not neccessarily a sequel to my Teen Titans fanfic "It's No Joke". It is a continuation of events after the episodes "Date With Destiny" and "Betrothed", which you probably will need to have seen to understand some of the background of the fic, but you won't need to have seen those episodes to enjoy this fic. Also, this fic supports the Robin/Starfire coupling. So without any further ado... let the fanfic begin!
SECOND AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fanfic was inspired by an idea PM'ed to me by Neo Juste Belmont. Thank you for the inspiration, this fic is dedicated to you.
In retrospect, it would probably be easy to say that Kitten got off easily for her crimes. She had helped her father, Killer Moth, try to take over the city. She had caused a disturbance at her junior prom and had attacked two of Jump City's most beloved heroes, Robin and Starfire. Not only that, but she had aided and abetted her boyfriend Fang, a known jewel thief.
However, despite her many, many character flaws, she certainly knew how to work a juvenile court judge. Her charm and repeated apologies undoubtably affected the judge's final verdict... a lenient one, to say the least.
"Kitten," said the judge, a short man with thick glasses and graying hair, as he sat at his bench, a gavel firmly gripped in his left hand, "despite the severity of your crimes, the court recognizes your status as a first offender and believes your apology to be true and sincere. Therefore, I sentence you to one hundred hours of community service, to be served sometime within the next six months. I hope that I am correct in assuming that you won't be here again."
"Oh, I promise, I've changed for good!" said Kitten, a smile on her face as her deceptive words slowly slipped from her mouth. "I'll never, ever commit another crime as long as I live! I've learned my lesson!"
But as Kitten turned to leave the courtroom, her fake smile of innocence quickly melted into a sly smirk, almost as if she was already planning her next despicable move.
And pretty soon," thought Kitten, "the Teen Titans will learn theirs..."
For the past several weeks, Blackfire had been drifting through the blackness of space. It was a lonely existance, but the only thing that kept her going (besides the daily stopovers at random planets to steal their resources and destroy all life) was a singular, all-encompassing thought. Revenge. Not just on her sister Starfire, who had not only defeated and embarrassed her for a second time, but had ruined her plans to conquer Tamaran and had banished her from the planet entirely, but on all of the Teen Titans. That headstrong, jive-talking bucket-of-bolts Cyborg, that idiotic, disgusting, and all around pathetic Beast Boy, that manic-depressive Goth lunatic half-demoness Raven... and their leader, the Teen Titan who had ticked her off almost as much as Starfire. The spiky-haired kid who wielded a thin black bo staff like it was Darth Maul's lightsaber, the one who had rescued Starfire from the Centauri police and who had stopped the wedding that would have ridded Blackfire of her meddlesome little sister forever.
"Robin," thought Blackfire with contempt, clenching her fist. She had seen the way the Boy Wonder kept fidgeting at Starfire's pre-wedding ceremonies. There was something between Robin and Starfire, some connection, Blackfire knew it... was it love? Was that what Blackfire had noticed between the two Teen Titans? Some connection beyond that of friends and comrades?
Blackfire hovered just one hundred miles above the Earth now, well within its outer atmospheric layers. Just below was the group of friends she'd vowed to destroy... and destroy them she would. Today would be the day.
"Let's see just how strong your love connection is..."
The streets of Jump City were strewn with garbage and refuse, all of which was normally cleaned up during the day. At night, the trash accumulated, and someone had to be there to keep the garbage from getting too out of hand. That someone was Kitten.
In her right hand, she held a long wooden stick with a sharp point at the end. In her left hand, she held a large trash bag. If she were dressed in her beautiful pink prom dress that she loved to wear so much, she would have been noticed by everyone, but in the white t-shirt and blue overalls of a city worker, she was quickly dismissed by the people that passed her by. The city worker who had been assigned to make sure she was working her community service time had fallen asleep long ago, but Kitten continued to work, knowing that the city worker would berate her if a pile of trash accumulated around her feet.
"Lousy community service," Kitten mumbled as she impaled a crumpled-up Burger Barn wrapper and dropped it into the trash bag she was holding. Being quite an ingrateful young girl, she had quickly forgotten that she was lucky not to be in prison. "When I get done with this stupid trash, I'll show those lousy Teen-"
Suddenly, a loud scream blared straight into Kitten's ear. Kitten turned toward the scream and saw a tall girl with long, black hair hopping around on one foot while the other was clutched painfully in her hands.
"How dare you!" shouted the black-haired girl, angrily pointing a finger in Kitten's face. "If we weren't out in public, I'd destroy you!"
"I'd like to see you try!" Kitten shouted, throwing down her pointed stick and pointing her own finger in the black-haired girl's face. "You should watch where you step, and maybe you won't get hurt!"
"How about YOU watch where you're poking your stick?" the black-haired girl responded, her eyes now glowing a bright shade of purple. Kitten gasped and immediately recoiled. As she backed up, her feet slipped on her discarded wooden stick and she fell to the ground, her butt absorbing the lion's share of the impact.
"Your eyes... they... they're glowing..." Kitten stammered, climbing to her feet. "There's only one other girl whose eyes glow like that...."
That girl, of course, was Starfire. Now, Kitten could see the resemblance: orange skin, glowing eyes, eyebrows that sloped in the middle of the forehead... whatever Starfire was, this girl was one too.
The black-haired girl, obviously Blackfire, quickly calmed herself down, allowing the glow to subside and her pupils and irises to become visible once more.
"Look, do you know where I can find the Teen Titans?" asked Blackfire. "They still live at that tower, right?"
Now Kitten's surprise quickly became replaced by anger, anger toward the Teen Titans and this girl, who she had never seen before but was apparently one of them. Kitten would give this girl a memorable welcome indeed.
"Are you... ARE YOU A TEEN TITAN?" Kitten shouted, her fists and teeth clenching in rage. "Because-"
"Of course not!" Blackfire shouted. "I hate... I mean, I just wanted to fight out where they were. You see-"
"Because I hate the Teen Titans," said Kitten. "I hate them with all of my being, and-"
The angry look on Blackfire's face began to subside. In its place was an expression of great interest in this blonde-haired girl that seemed to hate the Titans almost as much as she did.
"You hate the Teen Titans? I hate the Teen Titans," said Blackfire with a bit of a grin. "Let's go someplace private and talk."
Kitten turned toward the city worker, still slumped against a brick wall, sound asleep. Then, she turned back to Blackfire.
"What do you have in mind?" Kitten asked, smiling for the first time all night.
Even though it was late, the Teen Titans were still up and about, relaxing after a relatively easy day of crimefighting. As usual, Raven was sitting in the corner, reading up on chakras and meditation. Cyborg and Beast Boy were busily fragging each other in Haloquake War: Tournament Edition 2005, and Robin was sitting in a chair facing a small table. On the table was a portable DVD player, which Robin was using to review past battles that the Titans were in. He was taking notes and writing down suggestions that the Titans could use in future fights. Starfire walked out of the kitchen with her pet mutated silkworm, Silkie, in her arms.
"Robin," said Starfire, leaning down and smiling at him from across the table. "Is it not customary to take one's bungorf out for a walk?"
"Yes, but... not at 11:30 at night, Starfire," said Robin, pausing the battle footage and looking up into Starfire's eyes as he spoke. He knew that there really wasn't much danger to Starfire from common criminals, even at night, but it was still an uncommon time for Starfire to be leaving the tower, especially to take a pet silkworm for a walk. "Maybe you should wait until tomorrow morning..."
"No... I believe that Silkie wants to go out now, and what Silkie wants, Silkie gets!" said Starfire, smiling and looking up at Silkie, who was smiling and laughing in her arms. She gently poked its stomach with her fingers while cooing softly, "Isn't that right, Silkie? Isn't that right?"
"I wish someone would take me out for a walk," Beast Boy sighed, glancing over at Starfire and Silkie.
"Well, right now somebody's takin' you to school!" shouted Cyborg, blowing up Beast Boy's on-screen character with a rocket launcher. "BOOYAH!"
"Hey, I wasn't ready!" shouted Beast Boy, his attention immediately returning to his screen. "That does it, it is ON now!"
"Like it was on the last nine times Cyborg's killed you?" mused Raven as she briefly looked up from her book of chakras.
"Well then... I guess I'll see you later, Starfire," said Robin, with a hint of friendly warmness in his voice. "Come back soon, all right?"
"I promise it will be a short walk," said Starfire, looking down at Silkie. "Unless my little bungorf wants a long one!"
Starfire giggled as she carried Silkie out of the room. The door closed quietly behind her, and Robin returned to his studying of battle footage. Every time Starfire left, Robin felt a pang of worry that he didn't feel when any of the other Titans stepped out. What was it that made Robin so concerned about Starfire? It was true that over the course of the Titans' adventures, she had been imperiled more than any of the other three. Was that the reason? Starfire was a strong girl, she could take care of herself... probably better than any of the other three Titans, save for perhaps Raven.
Robin declined to mull on the subject any longer. It didn't seem important then, but winning the next battle did, and in order to do that, Robin had to study. Starfire was just going out for a walk with her pet Silkie. What was so dangerous about that?
The grassy knoll under a highway overpass was a strange place for two teenage girls to engage in conversation, but Blackfire and Kitten were no ordinary girls. As they told each other of their tales of woe and defeats at the hands of the Teen Titans, the girls quickly became like old friends, sharing a common bond of hatred and a desire for vengeance.
"So we can both agree that the Teen Titans need to be taken out," said Blackfire, using the purple glow from her hands to light the dark, shadow-drenched expanse under the highway. "Got any ideas? It's not like we can take all five of them at once, head-on. Even I know that."
"As a matter of fact, I do have an idea," said Kitten, "and it will seperate the Titans... in fact, it'll give us a chance to take out Starfire AND Robbie-poo in one fell swoop!"
"Robbie-poo?" asked Blackfire bewilderedly.
"Robin. You know what I mean," Kitten replied. "Anyway, all we have to do is kidnap Starfire and hold her hostage! We can use her to make Robbie-p.... Robin, do whatever we want!"
"That's an absolutely delicious idea," said Blackfire. "I can torment my sister AND her pathetic little boyfriend at the same time. And once I've had my fun, it's curtains for both of them!"
"That's right!" Kitten shrieked. "Wait a minute... curtains for Robbie-poo?"
While Kitten had sworn revenge on Robin as she was being hauled off to jail the first time, she still had quite the little crush on the leader of the Titans. She'd broken up with Fang shortly after having been arrested because he'd tried to pin the jewel theiveries all on her. Now she was boyfriend-less, and she could completely focus on Robin. With Starfire in her grasp, she could DEFINITELY make Robin like her. But she couldn't make him like anyone if Blackfire killed him.
Still, she'd cross that bridge when she came to it. For now, there was a plan in motion, and this time, she'd make Robin love her, no matter what.
"Then let's hit the road!" shouted Blackfire. She quickly flew over to Kitten and picked her up, then began flying toward Titans Tower, which was on the island just outside the city.
"Hey, I didn't know you could fly!" shouted Kitten, immediately realizing that she was scared of heights.
"Look, kid, if we're gonna play the revenge game, you've gotta be fearless," said Blackfire. "Otherwise, I'll drop you right now, and you wouldn't like that, would you?"
"YOU'D BETTER NOT DROP ME!" Kitten shrieked as Blackfire flew rapidly over the city streets. Sweat began to trickle down the blonde-haired girl's face, and as she looked down at the buildings from above, she almost started to feel sick. "Ugh, I..."
Suddenly, Kitten spotted a flash of red hair and orange skin on one of the streets below. Even from several hundred feet in the air, Kitten would recognize that girl anywhere.
"Set us down!" Kitten shouted. "I saw Starfire, and she's by herself! Set us down!"
Meanwhile, Starfire and Silkie were walking down a dimly-lit street, enjoying the cool night air and the sights and sounds of Jump City at night.
"Isn't this wonderful, Silkie?" Starfire asked, looking down at her pet silkworm, which she had on a loose, thin pink leash. "The fresh air, the city lights, and the pungent aroma of greasy "quick food" left in the street for too long!"
Silkie looked up at Starfire and smiled, enjoying his walk and blissfully unaware of the danger about to befall his caretaker.
"Enjoying your night out, little sister?"
Starfire gasped, releasing her grip on Silkie's leash as she saw who had decided to drop in. Standing down the street about twenty feet away was her older sister Blackfire, illuminated by a flickering street light. Kitten had decided to hide in a nearby alleyway behind a trash can, completely out of view of Starfire.
"Blackfire, what are you doing here on Earth?" Starfire shouted, her eyes beginning to take on a familiar green glow. "If you are here to hurt me or my friends-"
"Nope, little sister... I'm just here to hurt you."
And without another word, Blackfire lunged at her sister, her eyes glowing bright purple. Her hand lit up with energy, which she discharged at Starfire in the form of a lavender Starbolt. Starfire barely had enough time to dodge, allowing the Starbolt to zip past her and slam into the street behind her back, throwing up a huge explosion.
"Blackfire knows that I have already defeated her twice..." thought Starfire. "Why in the world would she want to face me again, one on one? Something is definitely not right..."
Starfire flew at Blackfire and fired a Starbolt of her own. This one was faster and more powerful than Blackfire's previous Starbolt, and it found its mark, grazing Blackfire on her right shoulder.
Blackfire let out a yelp of pain, clutching her shoulder where the Starbolt hit her.
"I'll make you pay for that!" she shouted, lifting up into the air. Her eyes seemed to glow even more intense than they had been just a few seconds ago, and her hands seemed to be on fire as they were illuminated with the glow of stored-up Starbolt energy. She threw a flurry of Starbolts at Starfire, who screamed as she realized there would be no way to avoid being blasted.
"Yaaaaaaaah!" Starfire screamed, using her own stored up Starbolt energy to form a glowing green energy shield. As Blackfire's Starbolts hit Starfire's shield, they exploded, and a huge cloud of smoke quickly sifted over the entire street.
"Geez!" shouted Kitten, coughing on the smoke as it sifted into the alley. She looked out into the street, trying to see what had happened. "Did you get her? Blackfire, c'mon!"
Blackfire was also having trouble seeing anything through the smoke. As she looked for Starfire, coughing and sputtering every few seconds, she tried to use her Starbolt energy to light up the smoky battlefield.
Suddenly, she could see a flash of green light through the fog.
"Got'cha," Blackfire whispered, floating toward the flash. "Now I'm gonna kick your-"
That was the last thing Blackfire said before Starfire's fist crashed into the side of her face, sending her hurtling backward, the smoke dissipating around her as she flew back. Several green Starbolts smashed into Blackfire soon after. She was slammed repeatedly into the ground by the force of the explosions, finally coming to a stop against a tall, brick building, her back slumped against the bricks as she fell into a sitting position.
"Sister?" Starfire shouted, realizing that she'd attacked with far more force than she probably needed to. Out of concern, she rushed to Blackfire's side. "I am sorry that I had to be so violent, but you left me no choice other than-"
Starfire was about ten feet away when she was stopped cold by a dart flying into the side of her leg. She yelped and pulled out the dart, throwing it down on the ground. When she looked up, she could see Blackfire lowering a small, black tube from her mouth and smiling.
"What... what did you do to me?" Starfire asked, now struggling to stand. Whatever strange poison was on the dart's tip was already starting to take its effect on the Tamaranian girl.
"Essence of Zelran, 60-molar concentration... more than enough to knock you out for quite a while," said Blackfire, standing up and brushing herself off. By now, Starfire, quite weak from the poison, was on her knees.
"Yes!" Kitten said quietly, victoriously pumping her fist in the adjacent alley. "That's the way to do it!"
Starfire's eyes narrowed with rage, as she realized her sister's true motives.
"You... never intended to battle me fairly, did you?" Starfire asked, now barely able to keep her eyes open. "You... you..."
"Aw, come on now, I'm much too civilized to fight you with my fists, little sister... I prefer to use my brain instead. Too bad you're incapable of using yours."
Starfire tried to reply to the insult, but instead, she spent her last seconds of consciousness looking up into her sister's sneering, gloating face.
Starfire opened her eyes and looked straight into her sister's own. She quickly realized that she was hanging off of the ground, because her two feet were level with her sister's head. Her two feet were also chained together at the ankles. A shackle made of some sort of metallic material was tightly clasped around her ankles, crushing them tightly together and making movement of her legs impossible because the shackle was attached to a chain that appeared to be anchored deep in the ground, locking her legs in place. She looked up and saw that she was hanging from the underside of some sort of bridge or overpass, and that her arms were shackled over her head, her left arm and right arm chained seperately to different beams on the overpass, resulting in her bound body forming a wide "Y" shape off of the ground.
"Unnh.. what is this?" Starfire shouted, tugging and pulling at the chains but soon realizing that it would be almost impossible for her to even move her arms OR her legs.
"Those chains were specially made on the planet Skethan 8 to restain Tamaranians," Blackfire said, smiling. "Of course, they weren't able to put them on me before I exterminated all the life on their pathetic planet."
"Ex...terminated?" Starfire said meekly, her eyes widening as the horrible thought that her sister had actually committed genocide emerged into her head. "No... NO!"
"That's right, but rest assured it was in self-defense," Blackfire said. "They'd heard of me, and mobilized their entire planetary militia to take me down. Needless to say, they failed."
"Sister, I knew that you were mean and deceptive, but I never actually thought that you would stoop so low as to exterminate an entire planet!" Starfire shouted, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I... I love you... why would you do something like this? My own sister!"
"Speaking of love, there's someone here that wants to see you," said Blackfire, peering behind a tree and nodding. From behind the tree stepped Kitten, now sporting a beautiful white dress and a stunning pearl necklace.
"Yoo-hoo, remember me?" asked Kitten, walking up to Starfire and making a cat-like clawing motion with her right hand.
"You!" shouted Starfire, angrily struggling to get free from her bonds. "The Kitten! The Kitten who tried to steal Robin away from m... the Teen Titans!"
"That's right, and now it looks like we stole you!" Kitten said. "But don't worry... you'll be seeing your precious Robbie-poo soon. But not as soon as I will!"
Whatever Kitten and Blackfire had kidnapped Starfire for, it had something to do with Robin. This did NOT please the red-haired Tamaranian girl, who, despite knowing that it was a futile effort, struggled furiously in her bonds as rage quickly overtook her.
"Whatever you have planned you will NOT succeed, do you hear me?" Starfire screamed. "Robin is wise to you and he will not go along with your plan! I do not care what you do to me, but you will not hurt Robin, do you hear me?"
"Would somebody please shut her up?" said Kitten, pointing at the ranting and raving Starfire. Blackfire nodded, and began digging around in a large black bag that she had previously stored under the overpass.
"If you so much as damage one hair on Robin's head, I will morklar both of your farflecking zorblocks, do you hear me? You will pay for this and when I get out, there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth! I will not leave a single man alive, there will be rivers of blood, it is going to be the KILLING TIME!"
As Starfire was shouting this, Blackfire had ripped off a seven-inch long strip of red industrial tape. It was designed to hold large metal objects together, and would certainly be effective at sealing an angry Tamaranian's lips. Blackfire floated up to Starfire and got ready to place the tape over her mouth.
"Oh no, you will not silence me! I will shout to the mountains, and the streets, and the hills and valleys, and the- MMPH!"
Finally, Blackfire managed to press the tape over Starfire's lips. After smoothing down the tape, she floated down to observe her work.
"MMMMMMMMM!" Starfire screamed, struggling against her bonds while trying to move her mouth in order to force off the tape. Both efforts were futile, and she soon resigned herself to the fact that she was going to be helpless for quite some time.
"Kitten, can you hear anything?" Blackfire asked, pretending to ignore her sister's muffled screams. Kitten smiled and shook her head.
"Can't hear a thing!" Kitten said. She held out a small object that appeared to be Starfire's Titan communicator device. "Which is good, because I've got a call to make."
"Excellent," replied Blackfire, floating up to her sister and slowly running her hand down her face, now soaked in sweat from trying to escape her bonds. "Don't worry, sister... if you're worried about Robin, remember... before the end of the night, you won't need to be."
Blackfire's last sentence made Starfire tremble like she never had before.
Robin, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg, completely unaware of their fellow Titan's predicament, were no longer at the Titans Tower. They weren't out looking for Starfire. Instead, they were responding to a robbery call at a local jewelry and clothing store.
"Hello?" Robin called out as he entered the store, whose windows had been shattered. The store appeared to be mostly undamaged, except for the front counter, where a jewelry case had been shattered.
"Are you sure we should've come here without calling Starfire?" asked Cyborg. "I mean, we usually work as a team..."
"I didn't want to disturb her walk," said Robin, "and besides, we'll only be here a short while."
"Robin's right... besides, it doesn't look like the culprits are still here," said Raven.
Robin walked around to the counter. Behind the counter, he could hear a faint, muffled whimpering. When he looked behind the counter, he saw a girl with an orange ponytail lying on the ground, trembling. Her arms and legs were wrapped in layers and layers of red industrial tape, and there was a piece of the tape over her mouth.
"Duuuuuude, aren't you the girl from the video store?" Beast Boy asked. "Because I, uh... kinda haven't returned Wicked Scary yet, and I was wondering if I could get a waiver on the late fee..."
"Mmmhmmph!" muffled the girl, looking up at the Titans with an expression of immense relief.
"Hold on, I'll cut you out," said Robin, pulling out one of his Bird-a-rangs and slicing the tape away from the girl's arms and legs. Meanwhile, Raven reached up to the girl's lips and tried to pull off the tape, which only resulted in a loud squeak from the girl.
"Whatever this tape is, it's incredibly sticky," said Raven, looking down at the girl. "Hold still, and don't be afraid."
"Mm-hmm," muffled the girl, nodding her head and nervously looking up at her saviors.
Suddenly, the red tape on the girl's arms, legs, and mouth began to glow with dark energy. Using her powers, Raven slowly and carefully peeled the tape away from the girl's skin.
"Industrial tape," Robin said. "Contact with human skin can be extremely dangerous."
"That's not what you used when you put that X on my mouth, was it?" Raven asked, glaring over at Robin and recalling the time he disguised himself as Red X. "Because that stuff HURT when it came off..."
"That's the third time in the last two months!" shouted the girl, angrily brushing herself off. "First at the video store, then at the bank, and now THIS? That does it, I'm moving to Vice City. I heard the crime rate was a lot lower there."
Before Robin could reply, his Titan communicator went off.
"That's Starfire," said Robin, taking out the communicator. "She's probably done with her walk. You guys ask the clerk about the robbery, and I'll talk to Starfire."
Raven nodded, and she, Cyborg, and Beast Boy began talking with the ponytailed girl. Robin stepped outside to take the call. He opened the communicator, and was shocked when he saw Starfire bound and gagged on the video screen.
"Mmmph hmmph!" Starfire shouted as she struggled on the screen.
Before Robin could say anything, Kitten's face burst into the picture.
"If you ever want to see your precious little Starfire again, Robbie-poo, you're going to do EXACTLY as I say. First, no talking to your friends. Secondly-"
"Let her go right-" Robin began to shout before Kitten's face slid away and the screen shifted to Blackfire, pointing the palm of her hand at the side of Starfire's head.
"Shut your mouth, or I'll shut Starfire's... permenantly," said Blackfire coldly, staring straight into the screen. Kitten then slid back into the screen.
"Now, the second rule is that you're going to come to Le Bistro De Gaulle, the fanciest French restaurant in town, and we're going to have a wonderful evening, just you and me!"
Had Robin been gripping his communicator any tighter, it would have broken into a million pieces. How could he have been so careless? He let Starfire leave the tower, and now she was hanging from some bridge somewhere in the city, bound, gagged, and in position to be obliterated at any second.
"I'll be there," said Robin through clenched teeth. "But if you hurt Starfire in any way-"
"Trust me, as long as you do exactly as I say, she'll be fine. You can trust me, Robbie-poo... after all, I'm your GIRLFRIEND! HAHAHAHAHA!"
Robin took one last look into the robbed store, where the other three Titans were still speaking with the clerk. Kitten and Blackfire were keeping the communication line open, they could see (and hear) everything Robin did. Trying to contact the other Titans would be too dangerous. Robin would just have to go it alone.
He hopped onto his T-Cycle and sped off into the night. Until he found out where Starfire was, he would just have to do everything that Kitten said... no matter how painful it would be.
When Robin arrived at Le Bistro De Gaulle, he left the T-Cycle with a valet and began attempting to concoct a plan.
"Right now, Starfire's safety is the most important thing... in order to keep tabs on me, they'll have to keep Starfire's communicator focused on her at all times," Robin thought. He looked down at his communicator, and sure enough, it was focused directly on Starfire's gagged face. Blackfire had been holding the communicator in one hand, while keeping another hand poised to blast her sister at any time Robin failed to obey orders. "At least I know she's not hurt..."
Robin walked into the bistro, where the maitre'd was already expecting him.
"Ah yes, Robin... a girl came in here a few minutes ago and reserved a table for two, just you and her... is she your girlfriend?"
Robin could hear a muffled scream coming from the communicator, which he had placed in his pocket. He quickly lifted the communicator and looked into the screen. Blackfire's palm was pressed against the side of Starfire's face, and it appeared to be glowing brighter by the second.
"Say it, Robin," came Blackfire's voice from the communicator.
"Mmph!" Starfire screamed, clenching her eyes closed, awaiting the end that could perhaps come at any moment.
"Yeah... she's my girlfriend," said Robin.
"It's nice to finally see such a fine young man has finally chosen a suitor," said the maitre'd, leading Robin to a table toward the back of the restaurant. "You know, nearly every girl in the city is after you."
"But I got him," said Kitten, looking up at the Boy Wonder with a huge grin on her face. "Isn't that right, Robbie-poo?"
Robin sat down without a word, staring at Kitten with a look of contempt on his face. As the maitre'd set down two menus and walked away, Kitten began to speak.
"With the money I took from that jewelry store, I rented out the entire place just for our special night!" Kitten said, smiling.
"I figured you had something to do with that when I saw your pearls... and the tape on Starfire's mouth," said Robin. "Same color, same consistancy-"
"Ah yes, Starfire... you know, maybe she should join us this evening," said Kitten. "Take out your communicator and set it down facing us, so she can watch this magical evening unfold!"
Robin did as he was told, removing the communicator from his pocket, opening it, and setting it down on the table. Starfire was still on the screen, and when she saw Kitten with Robin, her eyes narrowed, and she began screaming through her gag.
"MMMMPH! MMHMM MMMPH MMPH! Kitten, you are a dumark and a grimclork and I will not let you hurt Robin in any way!"
"You've got me, now leave Starfire out of this," said Robin. Kitten smiled and shook her head.
"You silly, that's exactly why we DO have you in the first place! If we let Starfire go, you'd have me thrown in jail on the spot, and you know that, don't you?"
Robin opened his mouth to speak, but quickly realized that Kitten was right.
"The second that Starfire's out of danger..."
"C'mon, Robbie-poo... relax, we're on our second date! We're going to have dinner and a movie and it's going to be absolutely magical!"
Robin didn't reply. Instead, he continued to scowl at Kitten from across the table, not even pretending to have a good time. Quickly, Kitten's smile disappeared, and she pounded the table with the palm of her hand.
"Listen, Robin... if you don't start enjoying this right now, and give me a smile... a REAL smile, not that fake crap you tried to pull on me at my prom, I swear I'm gonna have Blackfire blow Starfire back to Tamaran. Do you hear me?"
For a split second, Robin wanted to lash out, to reach across the table, grab Kitten by the collar of her dress, and demand to know Starfire's exact location. But his calmer side quickly prevailed, and he was able to compose himself long enough to offer a genuine fake smile.
"Kitten... my sweet... this is going to be a magical evening," said Robin.
"That's right, Robbie-poo!" Kitten replied, clapping her hands. "If you have any trouble remembering where you are, just pretend I'm Starfire. You certainly have no problem being happy around her."
"Well, I'm sure it would be a lot easier pretending you were her," said Robin, his smile quickly disappearing, "if you weren't a mean, vicious, conniving-"
"MMMPH!" Starfire shouted. Robin looked at the screen and once again saw Blackfire's palm pressed against Starfire's cheek, quickly realizing that the heat from Blackfire's energy was actually causing Starfire a small amount of pain.
"Stop! She's hurting her!" Robin said, turning to Kitten and pointing at the screen. "Please-"
"Then say you're sorry," said Kitten, smiling. "And MEAN it."
"I... I'm sorry... Kitten, I'm so sorry," said Robin. A muffled sigh of relief from the communicator indicated that Blackfire's palm had been removed from Starfire's cheek.
"Robin..." thought Starfire, staring at him through the screen of her own communicator. "They are merely using me to control you... at the end of this night they will hurt you... they will.... they will.... Robin, you must find some way to escape their control, please, do not worry about me..."
As the meal progressed, Robin played the part of the good boyfriend, engaging in friendly conversation with Kitten, every word irking Starfire more and more.
"Oh, Robbie-poo, I seem to have some juices from the filet mignon dripping from my lips... could you please wipe them off with your napkin?"
"Yes, honey," said Robin, reaching over and gently dabbing Kitten's lips with the napkin.
"Hrrrrmmm..." growled Starfire, glaring angrily at Robin and Kitten on the screen. She didn't realized it, but throughout the 'date', her concern for Robin was quickly being replaced with immense jealousy toward Kitten, and... even a twinge of anger at Robin. "Am I... am I actually thinking like this? Robin is merely dating and being nice to the Kitten in order to help me, is he not? Of course he is... Robin, do not let the Kitten jerk you around!"
"I think our guest is getting pretty angry," said Kitten, glaring over at the screen. "Don't worry, you'll get to come along with us to the next place we're going... the movies! Isn't that right, Robbie-poo?"
"That's... that's right," said Robin.
"That's right... what?" Kitten cooed, her eyes staring longingly into Robin's. "You remember..."
"That's right... Kitty-bitty boo boo bear," Robin said, smiling.
"Awww, I love it when he calls me that!" said Kitten, smiling happily. She turned to Starfire. "Don't you love it when he calls me that?"
"Hmmmph!" Starfire muffled.
"From now on, don't call me Kitten, call me Kitty-bitty boo boo bear, okay, Robbie-poo?" Kitten asked sweetly.
"That's fine, Kitty-bitty boo boo bear..."
"GREAT!" Kitten shrieked, hugging Robin tightly. "Oh, thank you thank you thank you! You're the best boyfriend ever, Robbie-poo!"
"MMMMMMMMMPH!" Starfire screamed. All she could do was stare at Robin and Kitten over the video screen, helpless to stop her best friend from doing everything Kitten told him. "This is terrible..."
When dinner was over, Robin, Kitten, and Starfire (on Robin's communicator) walked just down the street to the large octoplex movie theater. Kitten now had Robin's communicator clutched in her right hand, closed so as not to show Starfire's gagged face and attract attention. Though Blackfire could no longer see what Robin was up to, she could still hear everything that was happening on the date, which kept Robin from trying anything even while the communicator was closed.
"Two for Love, Kisses, and Emotion please," said Kitten, smiling at Robin. "You like romance movies, don't you, Robbie-poo?"
"I sure do, Kitty-bitty boo boo bear," said Robin, reaching out to take his ticket. As he and Kitten walked into the movie theater, Kitten re-opened Robin's communicator and smiled at Starfire.
"Robin and I are at the theater, about to watch the most romantic movie ever," whispered Kitten. "Now, during the movie, remember to be extra-quiet, got it?"
"MMMMMMMMPH!" Starfire shouted, offering up her loudest gagged scream. Through the red industrial tape over her mouth, it could barely be heard.
"Nice try, but this movie got some pretty bad reviews, which means that even if you weren't gagged, there's nobody here to hear you! Just me and Robbie-poo!"
If Robin couldn't say anything to Starfire or do anything to help her, he could still do something to calm her down. He looked into the communicator and quickly mouthed 'Don't worry, Star, I promise I'll get you out of this.' She apparently got the message, because she quickly nodded her head.
"I know you will, Robin..." Starfire thought. "No matter what the mean Kitten makes you do, it won't change anything... I know how you really feel."
"Let's sit down in the back of the theater so we can make out during the kissing parts!" said Kitten. "Okay, Robbie-poo?"
"But there's no one else in the theater," said Robin. "We don't need to sit in the-"
"We're sitting in the back, riiiiiiiiiiight, Robbie-poo?" Kitten asked again, and while she was smiling, the look in her eyes indicated that she was clearly losing her patience. And if Kitten lost her patience, Starfire was in trouble.
"She's smarter than she looks... she knows that if we sit in the back, she can keep the communicator open without having to worry about someone sitting behind us and seeing Starfire in trouble..." Robin thought. "Okay, Kitte... Kitty-bitty boo boo bear."
Robin and Kitten sat in center of the back row of seats. Kitten smiled and held Robin's communicator in her lap, allowing Starfire to get a clear view of Robin and Kitten sitting together in the theater.
"Robbie-poo, I just love when my boyfriend holds my hand during a romantic movie," said Kitten.
"Let's hold hands then, Kitty-bitty boo boo bear..." said Robin, reaching over and grasping Kitten's hand in his own.
Again, a pang of jealousy began flowing through Starfire as she watched Robin and Kitten hold hands during the movie.
"Oh, this is so beautiful... they're in love just like us!" Kitten said, pointing at the couple who was kissing on screen. "Don't you think we should kiss like that, Robbie-poo?"
"MMMPH!" Starfire shouted, her eyes growing wide. "Hmmgh mmmph! MMMPH! Don't you dare make him kiss you, Kitten! Your lips are more vile than the underside of a Screaming Sarbillian Kerflap!"
"I'd really rather n-"
"You'd rather WHAT, Robbie-poo?" said Kitten, again gaining the familiar look of impatience on her face. "You'd rather... kiss with tongue? Just like a real couple?"
"Yes, Robin... yes, I will go to first base with you, Robin!" Kitten shouted.
"MMMPH! MMMPH! MMPH MMPH MMPH MMPH MMPH!" Starfire screamed, rapidly shaking her head. "Robin, you will NOT KISS HER, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? I don't care what happens to me, do not kiss Kitten!"
But Robin quite obviously had no choice. He closed his eyes and puckered his lips, leaning in and awaiting the horrible moment when Kitten's mouth would meet with his own. But just before the two could kiss, a bright light shined on the young 'couple'. Kitten quickly closed the communicator as she saw an usher standing in the aisle next to them.
"Would the two of you please leave the theater?" ordered the usher. "You're being disruptive."
"But there's nobody else here!" Kitten shrieked.
"Yoohoo, down here," called someone from the front row, raising his hand. "I'm trying to watch this movie so I can make fun of it on the Internet later. Do you mind?"
"But he... we didn't, we-" Kitten stammered.
"Out!" shouted the usher.
As Kitten and Robin exited the theater, Kitten thought she could hear muffled laughing coming from the closed communicator clutched in her hand. As soon as she and Robin began walking down the sidewalk, she opened the communicator. Sure enough, Starfire was giggling, even with the tape still tightly pressed over her lips.
"You think us getting kicked out of the theater is funny, do you?" shouted Kitten. "I'll show you what's funny. Come here, Robbie-poo!"
Before Robin could react, Kitten grabbed him in a tight, crushing embrace, her hands clasping the back of his head and tugging slightly at his hair. She pressed her lips tightly and inescapably to his own, forcing her tongue down his throat.
"Mmbgh!" Robin screamed against Kitten's lips, barely able to struggle as she held her mouth against his own. All Starfire could do was watch the horrendous spectacle unfold, screaming loudly and desperately through the tape over her mouth.
"MMMMMPH! MMPH MMPH MMPH! ROBIN! NO! NO! NO!"
"Mmm...mmm..." Kitten moaned, holding her lips against Robin's for more than twenty seconds before finally releasing her embrace and allowing the Boy Wonder's lips and tongue to get a well-needed rest.
"That... was... the... most..." Robin said, gasping for air and preparing to finish his sentence with 'horrible thing I've ever experienced'.
"What was it, Robbie-poo?" Kitten said, staring straight into his eyes.
"Wonderful thing... in my life," said Robin, a smile returning to his face.
"MMMMM!" Starfire screamed, helplessly observing on the screen of her own communicator. "Robin, why? Why did you kiss her? I cannot believe that you would... would..."
Starfire quickly mentally berated herself. Of course Robin would kiss Kitten, if it meant that it would save her own life. Everything Robin did, he was doing it for her. Starfire. The one he promised he'd never let anything happen to.
"That's right, Starfire... Robin's MY boyfriend now. In fact... I don't think he likes you at all, do you, Robbie-poo?"
"What do you mean by-"
"You hate her... don't you? DON'T YOU?" Kitten half-asked, half-shrieked. She slammed the communicator shut and dragged Robin into an alley.
"What are you planning to do?" Robin shouted.
"It's not what I'm going to do... it's what you're going to do," said Kitten. "You're going to tell Starfire exactly how you feel... personally."
"Does she mean... she's going to take me to where Starfire is?" Robin thought. If so, then he would finally get a chance to save her. It would probably be the only chance he would have... but it definitely wouldn't be easy. Kitten and Blackfire would make sure of that. "I see... then let's go."
"That's right, Robin. The last thing Starfire will ever hear is you forsaking her for me. Forever."
Starfire had been bound and gagged for more than two hours now, and her arms were becoming sore from being held in one position for so long. But the pain in her arms was nothing compared to the pain that had been in her heart ever since she realized the extent of Kitten and Blackfire's plan. Her mind had been racing back and forth between concern for her own safety and concern for Robin, her best friend and perhaps the only person who truly made her feel welcome on Earth. She had many wonderful friends, and she deeply cared for Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy... but Robin she cared for on an entirely different level. She'd began to realize it when Blackfire first visited Titans Tower. Starfire truly felt alienated from her friends, she had been ready to leave Earth, but Robin had shown kindness to her unlike anyone had ever shown, not even Galfor on Tamaran. What Robin had said to her, that she would always be welcome, that she would always be a friend... Starfire knew that what Robin had said truly came from deep within his soul. From that point forward she felt different whenever Robin came near. She felt like she truly belonged, that nothing could ever harm her...
And now, her sister, whom Starfire had learned just hours ago was not only capable of thievery, deception, and attempted murder, but also genocide, wholesale massacre of the populations of entire planets, was going to try and use the bond between Robin and Starfire to destroy them both. It was vile, it was despicable, and it was something that made the Tamaranian girl want to cry whenever she even began to think about it.
"What's the matter, little sister?" Blackfire said mockingly as she stared into her sister's defeated, melancholy eyes. "Don't worry, you'll be seeing Robin in just a few minutes... in fact, there he is now!"
Starfire looked up and saw something that filled her simultaneously with hope and dread. Robin, accompanied by Kitten, was walking onto the grassy knoll under the highway overpass where Starfire was being held captive. As soon as Robin set eyes on Starfire, he felt a familiar twinge of anger and clenched his fists. His adrenaline began to pump, and his fight-or-flight reflexes automatically kicked in.
But Robin wasn't here to fight, at least if Kitten had her way. Instead, he was here to inflict a brutal coup-de-grace on top of the mental anguish Starfire had already suffered that evening. Without a word, he picked up a ladder which had been placed on the ground, set it up next to Starfire, and climbed up the steps. When he reached the top, he was face-to-face with her, and for a brief second, the two could express their true feelings, the fear and sadness both of them were feeling... and the special something that made them friends. As Robin stared into Starfire's eyes, she stared back with a combination of fear and longing that nearly brought a tear to Robin's eye, but it was a tear that he held back, because he knew what he had to do.
He leaned forward... and spat in Starfire's face.
"That's right, Robbie-poo! You tell her how you really feel!" Kitten shouted.
During the moment that Robin's saliva came in contact with her face, Starfire shut her eyes, not believing what her best friend was doing. She forgot completely that Robin was under Kitten's control, forgot that he was only following orders to save her... and instead, could only focus on the fact that Robin, her Robin, had just spat in her face.
"I hate you, Starfire," Robin said coldly. "You are a pathetic, whining, cowardly little wench who only brings misery and pain to my life. I love Kitten now, and I never want to see you again. If Blackfire destroys you now, it'll be too soon."
I hate you, Starfire. The words hit the girl like a slap to the face... no, like a thousand slaps. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. The other words were inconsequential, only those first three mattered. I hate you, Starfire.
A single tear trickled down Starfire's face. Then another. And then, she let out a muffled scream of anguish, which, had she not been gagged, would have probably been loud enough to wake everyone in Jump City.
"Now show the world how you feel!" Kitten shouted.
Robin reached down to his utility belt and pulled out his bo staff. He extended it, then looked at it for several seconds.
"Do it, Robbie-poo!"
With great hesitation, he raised it over Starfire's head.
"What am I doing?" Robin thought. He looked into Starfire's eyes, and could see that tears were now streaming down her face.
"If you don't hit her, I'll blast her," said Blackfire. "All you have to do is hurt her. If you don't, I'll destroy her."
Robin continued to hesitate. Suddenly, his staff began to glow with dark energy.
"AZARATH, METREON, ZINTHOS!"
The staff flew from Robin's hand and impaled itself in the ground at Kitten's feet. Kitten turned around and gasped in horror. Standing across the grassy knoll were Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg in fighting stances. Silkie, whom Raven had found on the same abadoned street Starfire was kidnapped from, was on Beast Boy's shoulder, licking his face.
"You tricked me!" shouted Blackfire. "I warned you not to call them, and now Starfire's going to pay the-"
Blackfire was quickly cut off when Robin's staff smashed across the top of her head, disorienting her.
"Mmmph!" Starfire said, her eyes widening. "Robin!"
"I'll have you free in a few seconds, Star... are you alright?" asked Robin, gingerly trying to peel the tape from Starfire's lips. It took him about ten seconds, but he was finally able to remove the tape, albeit very, very slowly.
"I am fine... do not worry about me, go help the others-"
"I've been worried about you for the past three hours now, Star," said Robin, pulling a blowtorch out of his utility belt and using it to break the shackles around Starfire's wrists and ankles.
"And I was worried about you too, Robin..." thought Starfire. Once he'd freed her from her shackles, she collapsed into his arms. "Thank you so much..."
Robin climbed down from the ladder and set Starfire gently down on the ground.
"Star, the things I said to you-"
"Robin," said Starfire, raising her fingers to his lips, "I-"
Suddenly, a Starbolt slammed into the back of Starfire's head. Starfire turned around to see Blackfire, a long tube already in her right hand.
"Think fast, little sister," said Blackfire, raising the tube to her mouth and blowing out another poisoned dart. This time, Starfire was ready. She caught the dart in her hand and broke it in two, dropping the fragments to the ground.
"You tied me up and gagged me, you made Robin spit in my face, you made him falsify hatred for me, and worst of all, you made Robin kiss a disgusting grimclork! NOW YOU ARE GOING DOWN!"
Blackfire tried to fly off, but Starfire quickly tackled her to the ground, slamming her face into the muddy grass. As Blackfire tried to get up, Starfire pushed her down again, repeatedly rubbing her sister's face into the dirt.
"You will apologize to Robin and then you will apologize to me, and then you will apologize to Robin again!"
"Never!" shouted Blackfire, rolling over and spitting into Starfire's face. "And unlike Robin, I meant it!"
"Are we quite done here?" asked Raven. She was standing next to Kitten, who was lying on the ground with her elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles bound tightly with the red industrial tape. Two pieces of tape had also been placed over Kitten's lips in the shape of an "X".
"MMMMMMPH!" Kitten shouted indignantly.
"Dude, I thought that tape wasn't supposed to be in contact with human skin!" shouted Beast Boy.
"What Kitten did tonight doesn't exactly qualify as 'human'," said Robin, who then looked down at Blackfire, who was lying on the ground, her arms pinned behind her back by her younger sister. "And that goes for you, too."
"Cram it, bird boy," Blackfire said haughtilly, realizing she had been beaten. "I'll get you next time, little sister..."
A few minutes later, the police arrived to take Blackfire, who was bound with the chains that had once bound Starfire, as well as gagged (like Kitten) with two red pieces of industrial tape, and Kitten, who was still tied and gagged with the tape, to jail. While Raven, Beast Boy (with Silkie still on his shoulder), and Cyborg talked to the police, Robin and Starfire sat on top of the overpass, looking out over the city. Both of them had been through a great ordeal that night, and both of them knew it would only bring them closer together.
"I know... that everything you did before saving me, you did to protect me," said Starfire, looking into Robin's eyes and smiling. "I know that you do not hate me."
"I don't, Starfire," said Robin, "but saying that I did, even knowing that it was only because Kitten and Blackfire were telling me too... it still... I mean-"
"It felt terrible, did it not?" asked Starfire. She bowed her head and began twiddling her thumbs, as if trying to erase that particular memory from her mind. For a few seconds, she truly thought Robin meant it, especially because he'd said it so convincingly. But... while Robin's lips had pronounced the words, his eyes had told a different story. For at that moment, as Starfire stared into Robin's eyes while he was mouthing 'I hate you', his eyes said the exact opposite. What his eyes were trying to say, was...
"I... I... Starfire, I..."
He removed his gloves, then reached over and took Starfire's hands in both of his own. To Starfire, Robin's hands seemed warm, and as he tightly gripped her fingers in his own, his eyes again said everything that she needed to hear.
She needed to say something too. For most of the evening, a piece of tape had sealed her lips, but now that she finally could speak to Robin, she couldn't find the words. But there was something she could find. Throughout the universe, even on Tamaran, a kiss is the most sacred, blessed expression of love that existed.
She leaned forward, and Robin responded in kind. Both Teen Titans closed their eyes, preparing for a moment that had been drawing inevitably closer ever since Robin and Starfire first met.
And as her lips met Robin's, Starfire could only thing one singular thought, a thought that synched up perfectly with what Robin must have been thinking.
"I love you too, Robin..."