Author's Note: If you know me, you know that when working on a big story, I take breaks and explore small one shots to get new ideas and stuff. This was one of my tangent ideas while listening to music and browsing fics one day. So I started writing it about two hours ago... and just couldn't stop. I haven't had that feeling for a long time. And I was satisfied when it was done and wanted to do a little dance. Haven't done that for a one shot in a while either. So I'm pretty proud of this. Tell me if the last bit with Raven was necessary or notthink of it as an "alternate ending". I didn't know whether to include it or not, but figure you deserved it, you wonderful people. I think I captured Robin and Starfire's relationship well enough. And I hope I said something meaningful in the process. Enjoy.
Summary: Starfire feels helpless and ashamed after she's saved from a date rape. Recovering from the after effects in the back of the T Car with Robin, the leader of the team explains to her the dangers of being a teenage girl in a big city.
She remembered... everything. It was crazy how lucid everything was. She remembered when he picked her up. She remembered Beast Boy pretending to be concerned about curfew. She remembered Robin, who was serious about curfew. She remembered Raven's dislike of him. But she hadn't taken any heed of it, because Raven disliked everyone. She remembered Cyborg's excitement. "My little girl, all grown up!" he'd said.
She remembered the club, and the band that had been playing. He had seemed like a nice guy. And all he wanted to hear about was her and Tamaran. He seemed fascinated by her strange language and he had always been the truest gentleman.
Mostly, she remembered... how much fun she had.
And then she remembered the dizziness. All she had ordered had been a simple tonic water. But something was wrong, very wrong. And she began to swoon when she stood up, and he caught her, and she thought he was being such a gentleman. But she couldn't feel anything. Like his hand, crawling up her leg like a silent black widow. She remembered the swirling colors. She remembered him leading her somewhere, outside towards his car. But first, he leaned her against the wall.
She remembered his face, distorted like a Salvador Dali painting. His hair had seemed like it was on fire and his eyes were fierce. She looked deep into them and she had seen waves of blackness, a sea of madness dancing to the gray moon in the back of his mind. The waters were stormy with blood-red froth. His nose was in the middle of his forehead like an odd bindi. His mouth was drooped on his chin, which seemed to be sliding off his skull like his skin didn't fit his face. But his eyes were where they should have been, a stormy midnight ocean of chaos she felt drawn to, like the tide to the moon.
She remembered that she could feel nothing, but she saw his twisted falling-off lips lean near her. She tried to scream, but lost all energy. They plastered on her face, and when he pulled away, his mouth was gone. Her hands flew to her face to rub off those sick lips. She rubbed until her own mouth was raw and bleeding. And yet, mouthless, his face leaned in again and with invisible teeth bit her fingers. She shrieked as she saw them bleed and all of a sudden, she couldn't use her arms anymore. It was as if they weren't there. She was so numb, she felt like she had no body.
She remembered watching her shoulders slump as she succumbed. The monster leaned back and gave her a mouthless smile. His left arm swept her off her feet and rested in the crooks of her knees. She felt herself fall into his arms. It felt good, to be off her numb feet. She felt like she was melting into his arms. But somehow, she knew some part of her didn't want to. Somewhere, she was screaming. And somehow, someone heard her.
One thing she didn't remember was ending up on the ground. The world beneath her opened up and seemed to swallow her. She scrambled with her spaghetti limbs to grab onto something, so she wouldn't fall, so she wouldn't melt and sink into the sewers through the gutter.
She remembered grabbing something solid and warm. And then, he came toppling down on top of her. She was so lost by then, she didn't know if she had fallen into the cracked earth or melted into the sewers. Her head ached and her mouth burned.
She remembered beginning to feel her limbs again, and all of them joined the chorus of her screams. She imagined each of them with tiny mouths and sharp teeth, like the monster's, and it frightened her. She looked up at the hazy moon and saw her savior's silhouette. He turned his head to her, his eyes mysterious behind his mask. His face was normal. But then, he turned away from her, and she saw him twist the monster's arm. Something snapped and someone screamed, but she couldn't imagine it had been the same person, because the sounds seemed to have come from different directions. But the last thing she knew, someone was running off down the street with a crooked arm.
And then all the colors disappeared and she sank into the open arms of the earth– or was it leather?
She woke up years later, or so it felt. Her head was throbbing with horror. Everything she remembered had come back to her in less than a nanosecond and it made her head hurt to think of it. Her lips felt raw and chapped and her top was stained with blood.
The voice had come from nowhere and she sat up immediately, frightened and helpless. It was then that she noticed she was in the back seat of a car... the T-Car.
"Your lips are covered in dry blood. It will hurt to use them."
She realized that the voice had come from the front seat. She looked up and saw black hair and masked eyes staring at her out of the rearview mirror. Slowly, she raised her hand to her face to feel her lips. They were swollen. When she pulled her fingers away, she noticed they were stained with blood. They were lined with teeth marks, but none deep enough to break the surface. The blood on her fingertips had come from her lips. She had done this to herself.
And despite all her effort, despite scratching at her mouth and tearing at her own flesh, she still felt his stain course through her veins, as if he had melted into her and marred her flesh and soul with his black contempt. There was something horribly wrong with her now. She was broken somehow, wicked, wasted... She couldn't stand to look at him.
He swallowed hard. "I... I called you. And you didn't answer. I called three times, and then I got nervous. So sue me, I worry too much. I... I came down here to check on you and see why you weren't answering. It seems my concern was justified."
She wanted to speak. She wanted badly to tell him how incredibly sorry she was, how she wished he had never seen her like that, how she didn't know what happened but she knew it had been wrong. But just parting her lips stung and her voice was hoarse a dry. It was almost as though his wickedness had stolen her freedom to speak. It had stolen her freedom to do anything anymore. She was a slave to the filth that coursed through her.
"Starfire..." he whispered, and she looked up, amazed that such an angel spoke her polluted name. "I can only imagine how you must be feeling or what thoughts are going on in your head. And all I can think to say is I am so incredibly sorry that I ever let anything like this happen to you."
She was startled. Was he apologizing to her?
He sighed and she saw him look down. "You are far too good for this to happen to you. I can't help but blame myself."
She had to speak. She didn't care if it burned her lungs or her lips fell off. She had to say it. "I... am sorry... It is... my fault..."
Her lips burned, but she ignored it. The words had sounded scratchy but they had been clear. When she looked up with tears streaming down her face, she noticed that he had turned around in the front seat and was staring straight at her, his face the perfect portrait of admiration and regret.
"Oh God, Starfire," he said, shaking his head. "Oh no, no. You have nothing to apologize about. I apologize because maybe there might have been something I could have done to prevent it. I should have heeded Raven's warning, but you know her... I should have listened to my own instincts, I should have never let you go. But you... this isn't your fault. You're the victim here, Starfire. It's sad, but this happens all the time. To girls all over the city."
Starfire looked appalled, but she dared not speak again after it had hurt so much before.
"Yeah," Robin said with a reassuring smile. "I know. Unbelievable how some guys can be so barbaric. But you were one of the lucky ones. He might have gotten you into his car and taken you God knows where and I would never be able to forgive myself for what he could have done to you. But I'm so glad I came down here tonight. My God, if I hadn't he could have done worse and I.." Robin's throat constricted, but he shook it off. "Starfire... Sometimes, these things happen. But that's why you have to be all the more careful."
"I am glad you came, too," she said, averting his eyes.
He smiled and climbed into the back seat and sat beside her. He tilted her chin up and wiped away her tears.
"You didn't deserve this," he said. "But it will never happen again."
She shook her head and sobbed. "My powers... useless..."
He wrapped his arms around her and she buried her face in the nape of his neck. "Sh, I know," he said. "Those drugs, they do wacky things to you. I know. But trust me, Starfire, I've already called the police and they'll be looking for him. Bastard. Sh, Starfire, it's OK, I'm here. I'm here. I'll always be here."
He rocked her back and forth as she cried and she never wanted him to let her go. When she was in her arms, it was like the poison in her blood disappeared, like she was finally clean again. Robin was the antidote and his touch radiated past her skin and through her body. She was safe in his arms. But the tears still flowed. She had never felt this pain in all her life. Her stomach was twisted with nausea and her head was threatening to burst, but her heart felt like something was squeezing the life out of it. And she cried and let the hurt pour from her eyes and lips as she quivered in his embrace.
An hour passed, or maybe two, and the tears had stopped, but he hadn't pulled away from her, not for a moment. He pulled back a strand from her ear and whispered soothingly.
"Starfire. It's five o'clock. Let me take you home."
He felt her nod on his shoulder, but didn't move. He waited for her to pull away first. She didn't, so he stayed there. Finally, after about five minutes, she pulled away, her eyes dry and her lips still swollen from the scars and from the sobbing. She nodded at him and he nodded back with a reassuring smile.
He got her home and into bed. Luckily, the others had gone to sleep. He pulled the covers up to her neck and she clutched at them like a child's teddy bear. Gently he kissed her forehead, and closed the door.
Starfire smiled as his kiss seemed to finally chase away the monsters that haunted her.
Raven caught Robin by surprise when he went back down to the kitchen to get some water before going to sleep.
"What happened?" Raven asked, with a curious cock of the eyebrow.
Robin looked at her long and hard a moment, glass of water in hand. But his expression was as blank as freshly fallen snow.
Finally, he shrugged. "Nothing," he said, and took a sip from his cup before walking back to his room.