Chapter Seventeen: The Roof
"HUAH!" Starfire roared as she say the Chiserran lift his hands. She had no idea what his power was, and she wasn't going to risk finding out so soon. A second star-bolt flew from her fingertips and right towards him, this time, no warning. After training her aim as hard as she had, she had no difficulty getting the guy right in his wrist; then the green energy hit, his arm was thrown off-course and to the side of his body, leading a grey-black scorch mark there, but no real damage. Starfire knew how tough they were after seeing how Beast Boy had been fighting them, and she knew the general power of Chiserran from personal experience.
Ures'l didn't even flinch. That man's golden eyes remained stiff and cold as some smoke drifted from his wrist, but his lips did pull back to form a sneer. "Just like a Trog – attacking while knowing nothing." He hissed, but didn't move as Starfire landed on the roof in front of him. She stayed at least twenty-five feet away, but within earshot, to be heard over all the sounds of the battle and the building beginning to break down. The damage hadn't reached the very top of the roof yet.
"I do not wish to fight, but we received few other options," Starfire called out. Her eyes remained bright green and glowing, and a new star-bolt was ablaze in her hand, ready, just in case. "You have taken our friend, you have taken a child! I do not see what other choices you give us when you attack us so!"
"WE are the ones with no options!" Urres'l roared, his eyes ablaze with fury. "We have had everything taken away, all resources, all life! Our one chance remained on your planet, and your selfish kind cannot accept but one sacrifice to save an entire people!" He stepped forward, bringing his hand to his chest again as Starfire hesitated.
Her eyes widened in confusion, shaking her head slightly, registering what he said. "I do not understand," She finally said, but she felt the glow in her hand fade. And unfortunately, Urres'l did as well.
As soon as that glow disappeared, Urres'l's hand lashed out – and from the center of his palm came a bolt of pure electricity, arching its way across the roof straight towards Starfire, faster than she could even react with a shout of surprise. As soon as she saw it, she was already hit, square in the chest, feeling the white-hot electricity blaze through her entire body, from the chest, down to her feet, into the roof.
Starfire collapsed to the ground, her body feeling the after-effects of the attack. It was like hot irons had been pressed to every inch of her insides; she could see smoke lifting up from her body with the slight hiss of burning flesh. The smell hit her nose, too – that of cooking meat. He knew right away that it was her. Thankfully, however, a Tamaranian body could handle a lot worse than a bolt of electricity. Unfortunately, she was temporarily paralyzed as her nerve endings tried to remember now to function properly – right down to her lungs.
The roof started to crumble – all around Starfire, bits and pieces of the roof starts to cave in. First little pebbles, then rocks, then huge, gaping holes began to form, falling down to the ground.
Urres'l walked over to her, calmly, both his hands in his pockets. The look of hatred in his eyes were unmistakable, but Starfire saw something more there – a look of pity, almost. Starfire tried to open her mouth, tried to speech, but her body didn't know how to do that again quite yet. Soon, the Chiserran's foot was only inches away from Starfire's head.
"Of course, you do not understand," He growled, looking down at her with a look of disgust as he lightly shook his head. He knew she couldn't get up, couldn't react to him. But he also knew it was only temporary. "Your kind would never understand, what it is, to have your entire race cursed. To have them locked away, to have watched dozens of your loved ones die, to be left with nothing. You are not even capable of such emotions, capable of being responsible for trying to bring life back to your planet. To bring back the ruler in his new form, to use his pet to begin the revival. None of you could understand this – not a Trog like you, and definitely not the heartless, honorless humans you have surrounded yourself with."
With that, he opened his palm again and pointed it, this time, at Starfire's head. The only muscles she could move were those on her eyelids – and that was what she did. She squeezed them shut, waiting for that final blow...
But it never came.
Starfire's ears were still ringing because of the blast, but after a second, she could make out that familiar, raspy voice shouting over all of the chaos going on around them.
"...Lay a hand on her and your brother's done for! So don't even think about it!"
Starfire's eyes shot open and she felt her lungs finally remembering how to breathe. What she saw was Beast Boy on the other half the the roof, holding up a knocked-out Chiserran over his head with both arms like some sort of prize. He didn't look well; all his skin was purple-black and blotchy, although a small part of his shoulder appeared to be turning gray once more. Starfire gasped, both to get air into her body, and out of surprise at what she saw.
She was so happy! There was Beast Boy, right there, after so many days of worry! Not only that, but he looked fine! Sure, he had some scratches, and his entire uniform had nothing but tattered edges left, and he was missing a shoe and glove, but he was standing, his voice was strong, and he was doing at least a thousand times better than Starfire would have ever expected. She had expected him locked up, starving, or worse, not even alive anymore, from Cyborg and Raven's abysmal readings. But there he was, as strong as ever, and saving Starfire from what surely would have been death.
"Beast Boy..." Starfire tried to call out to him, but her throat was still paralyzed. The joy spilled over across her body, however, and she was began to float without even realizing it.
"You lie," Urres'l said to Beast Boy. Though his face was filled with a whole new level of disgust. "If you had plans to harm my brother, you would have not brought him with you and attempted to release the poison his body had created."
"The what?" Beast Boy looked up at the Chiserran over his head once more, and then a look of realization came over him as he glanced at those new, bruise-like markings. "OH, so THAT'S what all that is...Sorry to break it to you, Dracula, but that was only an accident." He said with no guilt in his voice. But suddenly, his voice turned to ice. "So if you dare hurt Star, you lose him. Permanently."
Starfire's eyes widened in concern for a moment, but deep down, she knew it was a bluff. No matter how angry, no matter how spiteful, she knew Beast Boy would never stoop so low as to take a life for a life. But the Chiserran he was yelling at did not know Beast Boy as well as Starfire did.
Urres'l narrowed his eyes, gritting his teeth in rage, panting loudly. That threat clearly shot anger through his whole body - unforgivable anger. Something Beast Boy had said had rattled that man right to the core; he was practically hyperventilating, and his pupils constricted into nothing more but tiny, tiny slits. He snapped, and lifted his arm, so that his palm was pointing right at Beast Boy. "I will lose NO MORE!"
That roar from the Chiressan actually drowned out all other sounds for a moment - the fighting, the building crumbling down to nothing, the sound of air crackling as the electricity flew from Urres'l's palm. In fact, the noise was so loud, neither Beast Boy nor the Chiserran heard the pleasant jingle of Starfire talking flight - so neither of them had noticed her already getting between the two.
When the bolt left his palm, it wasn't yellow like before. This time, it was white-blue, causing a loud crack to go through the sky as it hit. Both Urres'l and Beast Boy's mouths and eyes widened with surprise, when they sat it connect with Starfire's abdomen, rather than Beast Boy. Beast Boy had been in the middle of a morph - ready to turn into a fly to avoid being hit. But the shock of seeing what happened threw his concentration, and he turned back into his normal self just in time to shriek, "STARFIRE!" and watch her spark in the air for a second.
The electricity crackled through her, through her hair, arching across her body, smoke lifting from everywhere. A giant, burn-mark was fresh on her stomach, nothing like the mild burn on her chest; it was open, blooding, oozing, with all the edges charred black. Smoke lifted from her, drifting into the air for a moment as a sizzling sound emitted from her.
For a moment, it really was like the world had slowed down. Beast Boy's arms slipped away from him. He didn't mean to drop Ker'rk, but he forgot he'd been holding the man. He'd planned to morph into a fly, morph into a pterodactyl, and catch him before he hit the ground if Urres'l hadn't gone for him. But that's what he'd been counting on - Urres'l picking his brother. Urres'l attacking him. Urres'l leaving Starfire alone. No matter how many times Beast Boy had imagined it, he'd imagined the chiserran leaving her alone. But now - now there she was. In between the two of them, in the air as though frozen in time as everything around him seemed to finally lose what had been holding it together. Ker'rk was falling down beside him, the roof under his feet was collapsing in on itself. Everything around him seemed to have gone strangely silent, like sound wasn't even working anymore, like nothing else was there, only that sizzling of Starfire's skin.
But Beast Boy didn't realize it. To him, it felt like that was happening inside him, instead. That something - something that had been holding him up - had shattered. Whatever it had been, whatever that foundation was, it cracked, and then crumbled, and he could feel it, inside of him, in his chest, in his gut - all of it, just crumbling away, each tiny piece chipping away and then vanishing into nothing...
And then, as suddenly as it had stopped, time started up again. The noises all hit Beast Boy at once, attacking his ears. The scream, the roof falling onto the pile of rubble below, Urres'l screaming for his brother, the sound of a final blast somewhere to his left. Everything was moving. Urres'l was flying down after his brother, Ker'rk continued his fall, the stones and wood the roof had been made up fell below. Time hadn't stopped. It was still moving. This was all happening.
Then Starfire's eyes rolled back into her skull, and she plummeted towards the ground.
Author's comments: Thanks for all the support, everyone. I'm trying to finish this up. I have work and graduate school applications, which I'm horribly nervous about, but if I get into the school I want, I want to make finishing this story one of my goals before I enter it.
But, reviews help me write better. I lost my e-mail and wasn't getting any; thought no one was interested anymore. Reviews~ :D
Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Robin, Cyborg, Silkie, and pretty much everything but the plot at hand and Chiserran belongs to © D. C. Comics/Cartoon Network/Kids WB