Someone - I'm nearly positive it was ProfessorSpork - once issued me a challenge: to write from Starfire's point of view for once. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this weird little story came to me. I present, from the mind of Starfire:
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans, and I don't even understand what possessed me to write this. I'm a little confused...
It is difficult to imagine I time when I did not love him. It feels now as if I always have, though I never knew it. He is as much a part of me now, I realize, as my own skin. Deeper than that – my heart, perhaps, though I have never understood the Earthly fixation on that particular muscle in matters of love. It is true that my heart rate increases alarmingly whenever we are in contact. And there is that annoying ache when he is gone. More important, however, is the feeling that lives somewhere else; somewhere indiscernible. The… ryathra. The 'soul.' And it is more than feeling. It is knowing. I know. It is one of the only things I can be truly sure of in this world.
It started the day I first sampled pineapple.
It does not sound very romantic, you will say. I would have to agree with you, in a conventional sense. What occurred between us was not romantic. It was a glimpse; a signal. The first sense of what has now become so apparent to me.
It was my third day on Earth, with my new teammates – so long ago, it seems. More than a year. I doubt even Robin would remember the day in any detail, but I remember everything. I had not even begun to acclimate to life in the Tower, and seemed to be a source of great amusement to the other members of the team. It had been a trying day; Beast Boy had laughed a bit too hard at my failure to understand the remote control, and when the toast had popped out of the toaster and I screamed, even Raven had snickered at me a bit. Robin had been absent for most of the day, 'running for errands,' and when he returned, he brought with him several paper bags from the 'store of groceries.'
I remember that I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen. I smelled the pineapple slices right away. I reached for the plastic carton.
"May I test the yellow rings?"
If I were to judge by the confusion on the faces of my other friends, I could say with great certainty that Robin was the only one who understood my intended meaning.
"You'll want to use the word 'try' or 'taste' when you're talking about food, Starfire," he explained with a gentle smile.
It was not until many weeks later that Robin developed the habit of shortening my name to 'Star.'
As always, I appreciated his counsel and attempted to commit the instructions to my memory. I never wanted him to have to tell me something twice. "May I try or taste the edible… um…" I checked the label on the carton. "Pine-apples?"
He grinned at me, beaming as if I had just completed the most impressive task imaginable. "Sure," he said, handing me two large, ring-shaped slices piled onto a napkin.
I gazed down at them. They looked remarkably like bracelets, I thought. Smiling to myself, I carefully broke one side of a slice and pried it open without tearing the ring, slipping it over my wrist. Then I giggled, holding out my arm and admiring the bangle-like adornment I had created.
The others (except for Raven, of course) laughed, but not in the same way that I had laughed.
"Robin, you forgot to tell her she's supposed to eat it!" gasped Beast Boy, doubling over with giggles.
"Man, come on, you know she's hopeless!" Cyborg stated good-naturedly. He was fond of me, I knew. So was Beast Boy. But as I recall, it stung me all the same.
I turned to Robin, then. He had been laughing at first, but now he was glowering at the other boys.
"Guys, couldn't you tell?" he asked, exasperated. "She isn't clueless – she's kidding." He looked at me, and his glare melted immediately. "She just did it for laughs, is all."
They did not believe him, of course, and promptly abandoned us in favor of their video-gaming system. But Robin stayed, studying me carefully.
"You're sharper than they think," he'd said, nodding with finality as if that decided the matter. "That means quicker. Smarter," he clarified, seeing my slight confusion at the idiomatic choice of words.
I remember that I blushed when I understood the compliment. I thought it was a strange thing to tell someone that had to have everything explained to her, but I believed him. I believed nearly everything Robin said; it was difficult not to.
"I sincerely thank you," I said, peeling the pineapple off my wrist and taking a small bite. "Mmmm…" I nibbled all the way around the ring until it was gone, and then devoured the second slice in two bites. "It has a tartness similar in flavor to the zorka berries of my home planet," I said, licking my lips with satisfaction.
Robin was looking at me strangely, trying to meet my eyes. "Does it bother you? The others making fun of you?"
I did not answer. I did not want to lie to him.
Robin was not fooled. "I could tell them to stop."
I was tempted, but did not wish to alienate my new friends. They did not mean any harm.
"Well, if it does bother you… I don't want you to worry, alright? I know you're really someone to be reckoned with. I can tell."
Coming from a warrior such as Robin, I took that as a compliment.
"You catch on fast, no matter what they say. It can't be easy for you here. But you'll do fine. You have… strength. Backbone."
At this point in my Earth education, and so soon after my acquisition of the language, I could only really understand half of what anyone said. The rest was lost to idioms and double meanings. I remember reaching back and feeling my spine, wondering why Robin was bringing up that part of my anatomy.
"The point is, you're a wonderful person. And you're funny. I like you already. And it takes a lot to impress me," he assured me, wiggling his eyebrows.
I smiled then, and he looked proud of himself.
"So just keep doing what you're doing; it works for you," he concluded.
Then, he picked up a pineapple slice, pried it open, and snapped it onto his wrist. He looked at me, smiled in a silly way, and bit into it. "You know, I think it's better this way," he said thoughtfully, and then burst out laughing.
We laughed together. It was my first time laughing with him.
"I have to go do some work now. Take care of yourself, Starfire."
He pulled another slice from the carton, placed it around my wrist, winked, and was gone.
He had to grab my hand to put the slice around my wrist. It was the first time he touched me.
I nibbled the pineapple ring, losing myself in the wonderful taste, and the lingering feeling of his fingers on the inside of my wrist, as I thought about what had just occurred.
That was the day I realized that Robin was different. The others were wonderful, yes. But Robin was special. I felt that he belonged to me in a way that he could not belong to anyone else – and all this, I was feeling before I knew what love was.
When I think about love, now, I think about pineapples.
Perhaps I am thinking about them too hard, because at this moment, I am certain that I can smell them. Then, I feel the couch cushions indent next to me, and there is Robin, sitting at my side.
"You still like these things, right?" he asks me, holding out a bowl of pineapple rings. "They just came back in season."
He remembers. I cannot believe it.
"I think about that day a lot," he says, with a sort of far-away look. "You made me laugh. I mean, not at you or anything…"
I smile and pat his arm. "I understand," I say.
He is so kind, so good. I love him so much that I hurt.
We both start eating, closing our eyes and savoring the pineapple rings. I think he loves them nearly as much as I do.
"I never laughed before you came," he says. It is almost as if he is talking to himself.
I do not know what to say. I simply squeeze his hand and eat another pineapple slice from my bowl. He does not seem to mind.
"I shall make it my priority to give you laughter often," I say, finally. Then, I take two slices, one in each hand, and hold them up to my eyes like spectacles with extremely thick, yellow frames.
"Hello," I say.
It is quite stupid, I know – but he laughs; deep, rumbling laughter that shakes his entire body. I laugh too, and it feels as if we are back at the beginning again. I remove the slices from my eyes and place them back in the bowl, which I hold in my lap as I lean back on the couch.
"You're wonderful," he says, once he has regained his composure.
Yes, it is exactly like the first time, over a year ago. Except now, I know what the feeling is. I know why I have always felt that he belongs to me. I know why I would do anything for him. I know why I want to make him laugh always – make him happy. I know why the mere thought, the mere smell of pineapples sends a warm, trickling feeling through me, in remembrance.
I understand, now. And I do not know why it has taken me so long.
"You know you're wonderful?" he says again, smiling lazily.
I do not answer him. He has just taken a slice from his bowl on the coffee table, and I patiently wait for him to finish chewing it.
Then, I kiss him.
I cannot remember ever being so incapable of thought. Everything is sensing, touching, tasting. He tastes like pineapple, of course, and that would make me laugh if I were not so full of feeling that I almost want to cry. I do not register that he has begun to kiss me back, brushing his palms over my shoulders and winding his hands through my hair. I do not remember dropping my bowl of pineapples, letting it fall from my hands and onto the floor. Everything is pandemonium, chaos – and everything at last makes sense. He understands, as I do, that we belong to each other. I know he does.
I have to struggle not to lift off the ground in pure jubilation. I rise a few inches despite my efforts, and he breaks away, laughing dazedly.
"…wonderful…" he mutters, and kisses me again – a succession of frantic nips and pecks, because he is laughing and saying things to me between kisses. I think I hear 'love you' at least once, but I cannot be sure. It does not matter. I do not need to hear it to know it.
The kiss becomes long and slow and piercing, and I sigh contentedly. 'It was the pineapple,' I think absurdly, somewhere in the back of my mind. 'It is all because of the pineapple…'
But I know that is not true. It was never the pineapple – it was us. And it was him.
It has always been him.
The End! Well, that was fun. Thanks, Professor!