AN: Well, some of you may have already read this fic under the Teen Titans Forum penname, and all the authors were anonymous. Well, not anymore! I, Jacque Nicole, wrote this fic for the TTF Valentine's Day contest and I won! Yay! If you haven't read and reviewed this, you should cuz it's pretty darn good. Also, visit my forum and participate in the next contest.
The is kind of a sequel to The Album, but you don't have to read that to understand this (although you should :P).
Please note that this is a TT animated fic that uses civilian names, don't get confused. It is also kind of AU.
Richard (Dick) Grayson - Robin/Nightwing
Koriand'r (Kori Grayson, in this fic) - Starfire
Garfield (Gar) Logan (small mention) - Beast Boy
Victor (Vic) Stone - Cyborg
Rachel Roth (small mention) - Raven
Karen Beecher (small mention) - Bumblebee
I apologize in advance for any errors found. I'm not perfect.
By Jacque Nicole
It was Valentine's Day, and things weren't going very well for America's favorite business tycoon's son. Richard Grayson nervously combed his fingers through his silky black locks, trying to find any solution to his current troubles. He was deeply and utterly in love with his very beautiful, very pregnant wife, Kori, but there was one problem – he had yet to find a Valentine's Day gift for her.
Dick was never very romantic. Every other year for Valentine's Day he had just brought her the standard heart-shaped box of chocolates, not because he didn't want to put any thought into the gift, but because he could never figure out what she really wanted. Kori was always satisfied with his present, scarfing down the entire box in seconds, but this year Dick wanted to find something truly special for her.
Dick tilted his head back onto the pastel colored wall his broad frame was leaning against in his living room. "So, what do you think?" he asked the man lounging on his couch.
The couch potato leaned back comfortably, propping his legs up on the coffee table. After a moment of silence between the two, he looked at his companion. "Flowers."
Richard knew he should have expected an answer like that. "Vic–"
"No, no, Dick. Just hear me out," Victor Stone, best friend of Dick and resident Captain Obvious, interrupted. "Every woman loves flowers."
"Vic, I don't think you are fully grasping the situation."said the dark haired hero. "This isn't just any woman. It's Kori we're talking about." He directed his desperate eyes at his friend. "I can't just bullshit my way out of this this year, especially since she's pregnant. She'll probably have an emotional breakdown if I just get her flowers for Valentine's Day."
"Hey," pointed out Victor, leaning forward on the couch. "You asked me to come over here because you needed my advice about what to get her because you aren't creative enough to think of anything yourself." He began reaching forward toward the coffee table to grab the remote control, unwilling to disrupt his comfortable position. "I know Starfire isn't like any other woman. I've known her just as long as you have... Obviously not as well has you have..." he said, teasingly. Richard rolled his eyes. "...but I know what she likes, none-the-less. Trust me."
Dick sighed again and sat on the couch next to Victor, who was still attempting to reach the remote control. Fed up with his friend's apparent laziness and lack of focus, Dick sat up, snatched the little plastic device off of the coffee table and tossed it halfway across the room.
Victor fell back into the couch with a huff. "Dammit, Dick!" he exclaimed. "What the hell did you do that for?"
"You need you to concentrate, Vic. I'd do the same for you."
The bulky man sighed. "I know that, man," he replied. "It's just that I'm not really good at this type of thing. I usually just ignore Valentine's Day entirely."
Dick threw his head back in frustration. "I should have known that you weren't going to be any help."
"Hey!" argued Victor. "Don't take your frustration out on me. Like I said – get her flowers. It's a universal gift."
"I doubt my wife's going to settle for flowers, Vic, unless they're from Tamaran or something."
"Well, why don't you just get flowers from Tamaran, then?" asked Victor, as if the entire issue was resolved. He shoved a handful of popcorn in his mouth that he grabbed from the bowl sitting on the coffee table.
"A trip to a foreign planet would be a tough secret to keep from her. Besides, there's no way that I would leave for the long period a trip like that would take, especially since she's so far along."
Victor rolled his eyes. "She's only seven months in."
"So? The baby could come at any time, especially since she's Tameranian. I know nearly nothing about her physiology."
Victor wanted to say 'you know a lot more about her physiology than I do,' but he refrained from cracking another joke about his best friend's sex life. He knew he probably wasn't in the mood for that. "Man," he said instead, "your whole life revolves around her." Victor's words were meant to be humorous, but they struck a cord in Dick.
The young businessman stared at his best friend with wide eyes, appalled that his friend would say something like that. "She's my family, Vic. I can't just abandon her."
"That's not what I meant, and you know it. All I want is for you to take out some time for yourself. You're stressing out more than you have to."
"Well, thank you Mr. Psychologist," Dick replied sarcastically. "I just want to show her how much I appreciate her. She's my everything. Now, would you please just help me with what I called you over for?"
"You know," said Victor as he stuffed his face with more popcorn. "You probably should have called Rachel about this. Girls know what girls like."
"For some reason, I didn't think Rachel was the type that actually does Valentine's Day."
"Yeah, you're probably right. Well, Gar–"
"Was not my first choice. You were."
Victor pulled his feet off of the coffee table and leaned forward, his arms resting on his legs. "Well then, I wouldn't want to let you down," he said, rising, albeit slowly, from the sofa. He activated his hologram ring that he now began to wear permanently ever since he'd decided to pursue a civilian life. "As much as I hate to say it..." he began reluctantly. "...let's go shopping."
Dick cracked a smile as he followed his best friend out of the front door. "That's the spirit."
Richard Grayson stood just inside of the entrance to JC Penny with his entire jaw nearly to the floor.
Never before had he seen so many men in the mall, alone. There were hardly any women in sight.
"This isn't natural," the ex-Boy Wonder whispered to himself.
Victor stumbled inside the mall wearing a foul expression that said something akin to 'why me?'. Almost immediately, his face mirrored his best friend's. "See!" he exclaimed, pointing at the travesty. "This is why I hate Valentine's Day! It makes men go nuts!" He cupped his hands around his mouth to amplify his next words. "You're all whipped!" he yelled.
Several men stopped and stared before going about their business with a hasty, embarrassed pace.
Dick raised his eyebrows at his friend's words. "I wouldn't be talking if I were you," he muttered under his breath.
This did not go unnoticed by Victor. "What did you say?"
Dick shrugged. "Nothing," he replied innocently. He began walking down the aisle before disappearing into the perfume department.
"Nu-uh," pressed Victor as he quickly pursued his friend. "I heard your little remark." Dick disappeared around a corner, and Victor followed not far behind, still adamantly denying his friend's words. "I'll have you know that I am definitely not whipped. I – ACK!" Just as the bulk of a man made his way around the corner, Victor was taken by surprise when he was sprayed directly in the face with an especially fruity scented perfume. "What the –"
"What do you think of this?" asked Dick as he lowered the bottle from Victor's face.
"You know," Victor said, internally contemplating if he should throttle his cruel best friend now, or later. He lifted the bottom hem of his T-Shirt and tried to scrub away any remnants of the perfume assault. "For some reason," he said, his voice slightly muffled by the shirt. "I don't think that scent suits Kori very well."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Dick agreed. "Maybe you should buy it for Karen," he teased, dropping the bottle in his friend's hands.
Victor looked at his friend incredulously. "Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" he asked. The young business man pretended he didn't hear him and began walking away. "I'm not whipped!" shouted the muscle man even as he memorized the name of the perfume. 'Tropical Envy,' he thought to himself. He'd come back for it later.
Dick was already out of sight as he exited the department store and entered the mall at a hasty pace. Victor took off at a jog just to keep up with him.
"Whoa, whoa! Why the rush?"
Dick checked his watch. "We only have two hours before Kori comes back home from her lamaze class. We have to hurry if we want to find something for her in so little time."
Victor halted in the middle of the mall path, effectively disrupting traffic. "What do you mean 'little time?' Two hours seems like longer than enough to me."
"Then you obviously don't come to the mall too often."
"Maybe you should just take her out to dinner or something," Victor half heartedly suggested.
Dick approached Victor slowly. "What part of 'something special' don't you understand, Vic? I know you don't really want to be here – I don't either – so the quicker you help me the quicker we can head back."
"Well then," said Vic amongst not-to-pleased mall goers trying to walk around him, "we'd better get a move on."
Dick just rolled his eyes at his friend and continued on his way. Sluggishly, Victor followed.
A half an hour had already past, and the pair still hadn't had any luck. Victor was dragging his feet as he walked through the stores.
"Pick something," he pleaded. "Anything."
Dick filed through rack after rack, nothing standing out to him at all. "Kori would never wear any of these maternity dresses."
"Then why the hell are we looking at them?" whined the muscle man. "C'mon, I'm getting the hell out of this store, whether you're with me or not."
"Yea, I guess you're right," said Dick with a defeated sigh. "We don't have any time to waste. Let's go –" He turned around to see that Vic had already left the store. "Figures," he muttered as he slowly made his way out.
Suddenly, Dick saw something out of the corner of his eye. He turned to look at it, and when he saw what it was he had to stop himself from grinning ear to ear. "That's perfect," he whispered to himself.
Meanwhile, Victor waited outside the store on a bench not-so-patiently. He tapped his feet and kept checking his watch. 'What is taking him so long?' Just as Victor finally got fed up and decided to check to see what was taking his best friend so long he exited the store with a strange smile on his face.
"You know what?" said Victor. "I'm not even going to ask why you left me waiting out here for ten minutes without warning. I think I'm just going to stay annoyed with you for a little while. Does that sound reasonable to you?"
"You are such a whiner, Vic," said Dick as he began walking through the crowded mall. "I'll have you know that I found the... most... beautiful... Excuse me for a second," he said quickly as he disappeared into one of the many other small shops.
Victor was really beginning to hate the mall more than he already had. He looked up at the name of the store. "Miami Massage?" he said out loud. "He'd better not be in there getting a nice back rub or something..." He opened the door to enter just as Dick walked back out. "Well, that was quick."
Dick waved a card in front of his friend's face. "This was all I needed."
Victor raised an eyebrow. "Is that so? Well, aren't you going to tell me tell why you had a sudden interest in massages?"
Dick seemed to contemplate this for a second before replying. "Nope. Let's just say that I think we can head home now."
Victor had to restrain himself from jumping for joy. "There is a god," he sighed, relieved.
Koriand'r Grayson had a long day. Today was a mothers-only lamaze class, and she had missed her husband dearly. She couldn't concentrate on anything the counselor was telling the class – all she could think of was her beloved waiting for her at home.
She walked up the stairs to the porch, supporting most of her weight on the banister. At this point in her pregnancy, she was grateful for anything that could lessen the load that she was now carrying 24/7, especially since her feet seemed to be aching constantly.
She turned the knob on the door, surprised that it was locked. She knocked a couple of times and rang the doorbell, waiting for her husband to open it. She was a little surprised when the door remained shut. She hadn't even heard anyone moving on the inside. Although it was very peculiar, Kori didn't think much of it, simply assuming that Dick was upstairs and taking a nap or shower, unable to hear her.
She rested her purse on the porch banister and began digging in it to find her keys. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but she was able to find them at the very bottom of her bag.
With an exhausted sigh, Kori fiddled with the lock before finally opening the door. She wasn't expecting to see what she saw inside.
From what she could see, the entire first floor of her home was illuminated solely by candlelight. Shocked and amazed, she walked around the room with her hand to her mouth, still not believing what she was seeing.
"Oh, Richard," she whispered, tears of joy clouding her vision. "What did you do?"
She dropped her purse on the coffee table and would have continued exploring the house if the couch hadn't looked so tempting.
She sat on her comfy sofa, reveling in the soft cushions that began relieving all the tension in her back.
As soon as she sat down, it seemed, the doorbell rang. Kori huffed. "They just had to wait until I was comfortable," she complained as she used the arm of the couch as leverage to stand back up. She slowly waddled toward the door and opened it. "Good evening," she greeted the stranger she found on the other side. He was a tall, muscular man carrying a large bag and wearing a polo T-shirt that had the words 'Miami Massage' and his name 'Max' embroidered into it.
"Good evening, Miss," he said, his voice a deep, rumbling baritone. "I'm here to give you a foot massage."
Kori looked at him, slightly confused. "I am sorry," she said. "I think you have the wrong address."
The man took out a small card from his pocket, looked at it, and then looked at the house number. "No, I'm pretty sure this is the right address, and you look like the young woman the young man who hired me described."
Kori was still skeptical. "Are you sure it is me?"
The man chuckled. "How many tall, pregnant, red heads live at this address?"
"Only one," she said. "Please come in."
The massage she got from Max was unbelievable. Never before had Kori felt more relaxed. She never wanted it to end. But, alas, after a short while, Max announced that his hour was up and it was time for him to leave. Kori did not want to see him go but she was alone once again before she knew it.
Not long after she closed the door on Max did she hear the door bell ring again. She performed her perfected maneuver to get up from the couch and went straight for the door, wondering what could be waiting behind it for her this time.
She opened the door and found herself face to face with a delivery man. "Hello," she greeted.
"Hello madam," said the man, handing her a clipboard. "Please sign here," he said, pointing to a line, "here, and here."
"Um... alright," said Kori, taking his pen and signing her signature in the designated places. "May I ask what I am signing for?"
"I'm sorry, miss," he said. "I just deliver the packages."
"It is fine. I like surprises," she replied, handing the clipboard back to the delivery man. He gave her a rectangular shaped box. "Thank you, sir."
"No prob, miss. Congratulations, by the way," he said, gesturing to her stomach. "I've got three of my own." He began walking down the steps and toward his truck. "Enjoy your package, miss!" he called back to her.
"Thank you!" she shouted as she closed the door. She against it after she shut it, the box still in her arms. "Richard," she whispered to herself. "What are you planning?"
Not willing to risk sitting on the very comfortable couch again in case someone else decided to knock on her door, Kori waddled into the dining room and sat in one of the chairs. She began opening the package wrapped in brown delivery paper. A card fell out.
Kori picked it up and began reading the message.
"'My dearest Kori,
Open this box and put on what you find inside. Afterward, meet me upstairs for a magical time.
Your loving husband,
Kori sighed and opened the box. She gasped out loud when she saw what was inside.
Meanwhile, Richard waited patiently in their candle lit bedroom upstairs. He could hear his wife moving below him ever since she had gotten home. As he heard her footsteps making their way up the staircase, Dick felt his heart beating more intensely in his chest.
He had no idea why he was so nervous. 'This is my wife,' he tried to calm himself. 'There's no reason to feel insecure with her.'
Dick could hear her footsteps coming down the hallway and everything he told himself flew out the window.
The door knob in the bedroom jiggled, turned, and finally opened. Dick could have prepared himself for what he saw even if he had tried.
Kori entered the room in what seemed like slow motion to Dick. The silky black dress fit his wife just the way he envisioned. Loose fitting fabric fit her in such a way that disguised, but did not completely erase, the roundness of her stomach, preserving the maternal look that Dick had fallen in love with. The lengthy, layered gown flattered everything on her perfectly.
Kori tried to open her mouth to speak. She had so much she wanted to say to her husband, but she could only bring herself to utter one word. "Richard..." she sighed.
Dick got off of the bed and held his arms open. At the invitation, Kori fell into her loving husband's embrace like a missing puzzle peace. "Kori..." Dick sighed.
Kori pulled her face out of the crook of his shoulder, but before she could do anything she found a familiar pair of lips planted on hers. She easily welcomed the kiss, and even began a forceful response. She felt one of her husband's hands trailing lower on her back to pull her even closer and the other moved up to hold her head in place. She nearly lost all feeling in her legs when she felt Dick's tongue discreetly sliding into her mouth. The last thing she wanted was for this kiss to end, but unfortunately, her lungs began to cry desperately for air.
They reluctantly separated, but settled on leaning their foreheads on the other's. With slightly labored breathing, Dick managed to say, "Do you realize how much I love you?"
"Maybe," she replied with a smirk. She gave him one last peck and pulled away completely, much to Dick's annoyance. "But however much it is," she continued, "I am certain it is not as much as I love you."
"Somehow," said Dick, pulling her closer, "I seriously doubt that. Happy Valentine's Day, honey."
Kori smiled, remembering all of her husband's wonderful gifts to her. This day was definitely special, but there was something that was still bothering Kori. "Yes, happy Valentine's Day, Richard," she said, "but... where's the chocolate?"