Hello! Miss me? I missed you!
Ok, here's what I finally came up with for Robin's POV. He turns out to be harder, for some reason. Anyway, in this story let's assume they're older. Like, seventeen or something. Not for any particular reason, it's still just kissing… they just seem older to me.
I don't think it's very good, but then again, I never do (smiles and shrugs). Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans and have not even seen the new season. It's kind of sad.
-Dedicated to sushichica (who brought me out of retirement)
I glance at my watch. 6:07 a.m. This is going to be a very bad day.
It may seem like I'm making a pretty big assumption, since the day has barely started. But here I am, working the punching bag, alone in the gym, and everyone is late to the morning workout I scheduled. Not that I mind working out alone; that isn't the point. They're lazy, all of them. I can't do it; I can't force any kind of work ethic into a bunch of… a bunch of kids.
Starfire. She's the worst. Sure, she's my best friend, but she's always in the way. So concerned with everyone's business. Why can't she just… just grow up? Why is she always there, hanging around over my shoulder where I can hear her and smell her and I'm just trying to work, to concentrate? Why does she insist on wearing that uniform with the skirt, and the midriff, and… and why does she always have to find something to smile about when it is not at all appropriate to be smiling, and why does she have to do that giggling thing where her eyes sort of...
"Robin? Has your bag of punching and kicking angered you in the recent past?"
Ugh. Why does she have to be here before anyone else?
I catch the wildly swinging bag against my body and try to steady my breath. "Star. Hi," I say, trying to look unaffected by her arrival. This is ridiculous. Why is she wearing that outfit? I've never seen it before… a little sleeveless top and long pants. The pants are tighter than I think is necessary and the whole thing is this green color that matches her eyes exactly, and makes her hair look like brighter. Her hair, which is all knotted up with a few strands coming down in front of her face in a really pretty way. I'm annoyed with her immediately. For not being in uniform. Sign of disrespect. "Why are you the only one here?" I ask, still breathing hard.
"Robin… you do not remember?" She smiles brightly and floats over, landing lightly in front of me and leaning casually on the free-weight stand. "Last night, while you were doing your studying of the case files… it was very late and I brought you your dinner because you forgot to eat it with us?"
I remember. She refused to leave the room until I ate everything on the plate. I lost an hour of work time; thirty minutes while I forced down Beast Boy's attempt at meatloaf, and another thirty while I tried to stop wondering why I was still thinking about the way she'd sort of brushed her hand against my face on her way out…
Oh, right. Standing right there. "What?" I say sharply.
She looks taken aback, and against my will I regret snapping at her. Then, I regret regretting snapping at her. She's the one who was late for training, and I'm sure it's somehow her fault that the others aren't here. "What, Star? What were you saying?"
"Well… on my way out I told you of my idea for a new method of training… more personal attention, I explained… It is commonly believed that people respond better to personal attention and--"
"Out with it," I snap. She's doing that thing where she brings her hair over her shoulder and plays with it. It looks really soft. For some reason, this irritates me.
"--and positive reinforcement," she finishes, sounding a little defeated. "Um, the succinct answer to your question is that last night, apparently while you were not giving your full attention to the conversation, you agreed to give each of us private training sessions. I have taken the liberty of informing the others, and here I am."
She looks dejected, sort of sagging limply against the weight stand and looking at the floor. Probably because I was short with her. I feel an uncontrollable wrench somewhere in my chest. See, this is what I mean… she just makes everything so difficult. I should not feel guilty. She's on my team; she should learn to be tougher. It's her fault. It's her fault its going to be a bad day. She's here, everyone else is sleeping, she looks gorgeous, she wants me to spend two hours alone with her, and… and she's late.
"You're late," I say, a little desperately, and then I have a strong desire to kick myself very, very hard. She won't meet my eyes and she looks flushed, like she's trying not to cry, so I do something drastic. I touch her.
Just her shoulder, very gently. This is drastic because outside of sparring, I try to avoid touching her at all. It's definitely not a good idea. I could swear her skin's softer that I remember. "Look, Star, I'm… I'm sorry, alright? You're not that late." She still won't look at me. She always gets like this when she thinks she's disappointed me. She doesn't understand. I'm not disappointed, she just… I get so irritated with her, when she's being… her.
For a moment, I let go. Whatever it is that's always nagging at me these days when I'm with her, I let it take over, and suddenly I've slipped my arm all the way around her and I'm holding her rather tightly to my chest. She's against me, and she's got her arms around my waist, and she's squeezing me but very gently… And somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I'm almost ready to acknowledge that my irritation with Starfire might have something to do with this; with the fact that I have to physically stop myself from wrapping both arms around her, from kissing the top of her head, from kissing her cheek, from…
That train of thought is scaring me, and I let her go abruptly, giving her a little push so that there can be no lingering of the embrace. "Let's get to work, alright?" My voice comes out gruff. "Sparring first; you need to work on your agility more than your strength."
Her face is almost unreadable. She's looking at me in the strangest way… maybe a mixture of hurt and defiance. With her, the two rarely come together. "Yes, Robin," she says, and her voice has an odd, hard edge to it. She charges her starbolts and roots her stance. "As you are sometimes inclined to say… 'Bring it?'"
I extend my bo staff and face her, still a little thrown and wishing that the others were here. I give a sharp nod, and we begin.
Sparring with Starfire is always interesting. She uses 'low-watt' starbolts, so to speak, but the things still hurt like hell when I can't deflect them. Her sweeps and blocks can be a little sloppy, but she's got speed and fair accuracy. And one of her roundhouse kicks, even without her alien strength, packs quite a punch.
She's starting with the bolts today. For some reason, that look of fury on her face doesn't seem as forced as usual. She lets out a yell and sends a fierce volley of starbolts straight at me. I dive and roll to the right, regaining my feet just in time to avoid another attack by flattening down into a deep bow stance, my staff out in front of me. In an instant she's on the ground. She crouches low and fakes a punch to my abdomen, then springs up and swings an outside kick right into my shoulder. In combat, that kick would have been aimed for the head. I have the strange and disconcerting suspicion that she wants to kick me in the head.
I react fast, catching her leg at my shoulder and pushing, hard. She flips back, landing neatly a few feet away. I advance, spinning my staff toward her shoulder. She dodges, leaning gracefully back, and I move the staff swiftly over and around her, catching the backs of her knees.
She's caught off-balance and falls, giving a little scream of annoyance that is entirely unprofessional and a little distracting. Then, she somersaults and kicks both feet into my stomach. Clever; she's definitely getting better. I stumble back, and by the time I right myself she's in the air again, raining down a shower of bolts that seem a little hotter than usual. I deflect a few wildly with my staff, ignoring the crashes and sizzles that indicate the increasing damage to the gym equipment. Then I leap up and catch her with a flying back kick, forgetting to hold back on the power of it. She gasps and flips in midair, crashing hard into one of Cyborg's machines and completely leveling it. She's on her feet before I can be concerned for her, slicing through the air and throwing a fierce punch, which actually does connect with my jaw. I ignore the throbbing and hook-kick around to her lower back, a sneaky move that I usually like to avoid. This is getting kind of out of hand. I feel like there's something important that can be resolved today, right here, right now; but I don't know what, and it's driving me mad, and if I can just finish this fight…
We just keep going, and I'm exhausted, and she's looking drained too. Finally, I notice that she's a little off-balance, from her last kick. I find my opening and backsweep her leg out from under her. She falls back, and I stand over her, holding the staff to her throat.
"Game, set, match," I say with a weak smile, trying to make light of the altogether odd and frightening way the sparring floor had turned into a battlefield. We're both struggling to breath; her chest is rapidly rising and falling, and she leans up on her elbows and glares at the staff-end aimed at her neck It hurts hold it, after that last kick she hit my forearm with. I can already see the bruise forming. My shoulder is still sore, and it's a little hard to talk through my stiffening jaw. "You ok?"
"Fine," she says. "Help me to get up, please."
I feel my stomach twist anxiously. Star doesn't typically need help getting up after a sparring match, and here she's asking, even though we're fighting. Or I think we are, anyway. There must be a reason we just ended up injuring each other.
I return my staff to my belt and lean down, taking her hand and pulling her to her feet. I see her wince and wonder which one of my attacks caused that particular pain. When she's almost regained her balance, her left knee collapses suddenly and she falls against me. I remember her landing hard on that knee, now that I think about it, and I'm not surprised that she has trouble putting weight on it. Then I'm not thinking about much at all, because she's in my arms and I wasn't ready for it.
I panic. She's sweaty and bruised and she's an absolute mess but she's Starfire, and I'm holding her, and she's overwhelming me. I pull back, but not all the way. I don't have enough energy for that; not now. She's looking at me, with an expression of exhausted frustration. She's confusing me, always confusing me… I won the fight, but it doesn't really feel over. Nothing is fixed. I place a hand gently on her cheek.
"Really, Star. I'm sorry. I don't know why that happened." She doesn't ask what I'm talking about; we both felt the loss of control, and we both have bruises and twisted joints to prove it.
We're standing here, looking at each other, and I'm still holding her and touching her face. I think one of us is leaning closer, but it's probably my imagination. She's staring, searching my eyes, and I feel myself staring back, gently tracing a small bruise on her cheek with a finger. I have to say something. Someone has to say something.
"Your stance was too easy to throw off," I say, finally. "You need a lot of work."
Her eyes widen, and then narrow. "Robin--"
"I'll see you at breakfast. I think we're done," I say, quickly. For a moment I wonder why I haven't left yet, and then I realize that I still haven't let go of her. Sighing, I step away from her and turn to leave, still feeling a distinct and inexplicable desire to hit something.
Before I've taken two steps, I hear a growl and suddenly, I'm on my back.
"Nice sweep," I shakily tell Starfire, who has her arms braced on either side of me and her knee against my chest, holding me down. "That hurt a little. A lot, actually."
"You…" she said, her eyes a little wild. She moved her face closer and glares. "You… you are the one who needs work."
Somehow I know she's not talking about my sparring skills.
"Robin, you… are infuriating."
"Yeah, well… so are you!" It occurs to me that that remark, while true, was a bit childish. It also occurs to me that I probably shouldn't be arguing with a girl who has me trapped against the floor.
"Me? Infuriating? Me!" She leans down further, and I draw back, eyes wide. "I cannot read you, Robin, and I am tired of having to try! Sometimes I think I have figured you out, I think that finally, you've realized… but then, no, it seems as though I imagined it, that it never happened…"
"That what never happened?"
"Everything! I mean, nothing! I mean… I do not know anymore…" She slumps a little, folding her arms almost casually over her thigh and leaning on them. "Many things, that were not quite something, but still… most definitely not nothing."
I valiantly try to have no idea what she's talking about. "I don't know what you're talking about," I say, very convincingly.
"Fine," she says, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't buy it. "But I am telling you right now: a crucial characteristic of all members of the Tameranian race is our inability to tolerate in-betweens and halfways and almosts. I understand that you are satisfied with all that is undefined between us, and that you could go on forever punching your bag and being angry with me, but you must understand that I am not planning on doing the same thing."
"Then what are you--"
She answers my question before I can even finish it; She moves her knee off my chest, takes my face in both hands, and kisses me. Suddenly everything is tingling and I couldn't give a damn about my thousands of bruises, because she's moving her lips not-so-gently against mine and the lose strands of her hair are tickling my neck, and now her hands are in my hair. I seize her shoulders and I lean up into her; I don't remember even thinking before kissing her back. I always sort of knew I wanted to, after all. It seems like I could do this forever. I sigh happily, wrapping my arms around her waist and sitting up further.
"Ow!" I'd forgotten about the damage done to my back during one of Star's kick combinations. I fall back weakly with Star on top of me, both of us laughing helplessly.
"I am sorry," she says, giggling and trying very hard to look sorry. "I used too much of my strength on you during training."
"Yeah, and then you tackled me," I remind her breathlessly, grinning.
"Well, the Tameranians are also known for being a warrior race," she says, her eyes shining. "I could not just let you win."
I chuckle. "Yes, fine, you win. That was… definitely better than trying to kill each other."
She laughs and finally releases me, and I realize with regret that it's probably time for breakfast and the others are most likely awake. We help each other up clumsily, gingerly avoiding each other's injuries. I can feel a ridiculously huge smile on my face, and when I look at Star she's beaming back at me. We'd finished the fight, finally, and it ended up having nothing to do with winning or losing. Completely unfamiliar territory. No wonder I couldn't figure it out. We make our way out of the gym to the kitchen, leaning on each other. Still smiling, I glace at my watch.
8:01 a.m. This is going to be a very good day.
The end? Wow, those sentence fragments nearly killed me.