: Engele :
- Author's notes -

Engele reference to the story
Engele reference to the character

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Engele © began as a random snippit between TT advertisements while munching on cream-puffs oddly named Squiggles. My bare intentions of writing the scene was just to get Beast Boy to say the aforementioned word, yet have no connection with confectionary whatsoever…

It was a good and bad idea to read the script to my TT-obsessed brother (Alexstar Moonlight) on a sugar-high, because it started a chain reaction of everything happening before the naming-the-baby scene to teaching-her-ABCs scene. So the spoof of Squiggles gradually developed into the story of Engele

As my brother gradually began dwindling out of ideas (no, Alexstar, I am not going to make Plasmus ® eat Engele!), it fell to me to make sure that this story became more than just any-other-humour-fic involving Teen Titans + baby insane plot. Unfortunately, since I'm a drama-angst writer with emphasis on character building, it came down to focusing on Engele + Robin + Slade(!) central plot…

: Storyline mood :

Engele starts off with the celebration of new life, complete with fuzzy-warm-happiness… it's really a reminiscence of watching my baby brother (Alexstar, "I AM NOT A BABY!") grow up, so many years ago…

Engele moves on to the celebration of parenthood – more so the relationship between father-and-child… Thus, this is dedicated to our parents, who will forever be the inspiration to model after; and Kei, who looks too cute with a sleeping Elleson (derivative of Allison, pronounced E-le-SAUN)(Kei and I have a way with names… it's more so my weakness, and he goes with it…) in his arms…

Engele later delves into the celebration of growing up as a child, and growing to love those dear to you… It's a magical thing to have your child stay close to you, it's another wondrous moment to have your child actively hugging, kissing and telling you he/she loves you…

Engele ends on a darker, graver note: of character death and the healing after… There's more to the actual passing than meets the eye – there's the aftermath that not many talk about…

note: There's actually no mention of Slade at the end, because it's not about him anymore – it's about the Titans, Robin in particular, and reactions to Engele. For all intent and purposes, I'd like to say that Slade's gone, good and dead… but for some bizarre reason, he has this knack of staying alive (like a cockroach, really – you stomp and stomp and stomp it and there's always another one looking EXACTLY like it scuttling past you a heartbeat later) long enough to plan another devastating assault…

: Inspiration :

TT is one of the few 2D cartoons given a 3D perspective. Asides from the silly things they do that makes a cartoon more comical, here's five superheroes who are – underneath it all – still human (or Tamaranean, as is Starfire's case). They're vulnerable beings finding their place in this world and living it to their best potential – it becomes the reflection of every other teenager in this world, a relatable person turned role model…

While exploring the depth of Engele, I remembered reading one of the interviews with David Slack (writer for TT) saying, "… they're kids figuring out adult problems…" (emphasis mine).

So I decided to push the idea of having them deal with a baby on their doorstep. Robin became my main focus, because he has a kazillion things going on in his life, another oobillion thing flying about his head, and yet he's still everything you've ever wanted in a boy and then some… Robin relates closer to parenthood because he's been on the other end of it before with his mentor / father figure, Batman… It shows parenthood as change, but they're never perfectly complete – more so about being who you are today, and becoming someone else entirely tomorrow, and yet still remaining yourself during whatever point of time.

During the first day, Robin calls her Engele because it's only the initial bonding period. During the days after, he begins to call her my Engele because he's being drawn deeper into the Engele-Robin bond; he also calls her love, which is kinda because it's an effective affectionate term, kinda because he doesn't have a romantic partner and so is using it in the more mutual, familial sense… I had him call her pet, but it was quickly protested against because (i) brother found it weird ("… she's not a pet, she's an angel!"), (ii) Kei stared at me disapprovingly ("… it sounds almost… degrading…"), and (iii) I was turned off it after hearing Mad Mod use it once, S3: REVOLUTION (I've nothing against it, really… but when your enemy uses the same term(s) of endearment, you have the sense of needing to rearrange your vocabulary around it)(I don't think I could ever call anyone duckies…)

Once the Engele-Robin bond was cemented, the story swung to interactions with the other Titans. With Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire (even if Engele does call her 'Mama') and Raven, it's about talking about the lessons learnt and passing them on. Then there's the focus on Engele herself, about learning lessons of her own – of following your heart on what's really right and what's really wrong. The final part deals with the culmination of emotions for someone dear – unexpected partings, then grief, then continuation of life…

There are two ways of gaining experiences: one, through living the experiences on your own, and two, through reading the experiences of others… (adaptation from Kai Do CHIEQ)

: References :

Many, many hours staring at TT episodes to get into the character's heads, reading up interviews and reviews to get into the background's heads, and staring at childcare books to get into a baby / toddler / child's head…

Robin was modeled after Kei, Engele after Elleson. Only… Robin had to deal with Engele by a day-to-day basis, Kei had a few years in between to get use to the idea of having Elleson around. (For the curious reader, no – Kei and I are not married, and Elleson isn't mine… we're just very, very good friends that just happen to be father-and-surrogate-mother, for 2 ½ years on my part…)

Engele's developments were taken from a mixture of childcare books, parenting discussions and frequent questions to my mother ("Ma, she's two, what can she eat, and what can't she eat?" "Ma, she's four – what are you going to say in this situation if you're four?" "Ma, she's seven – can she be relied on to know what exactly she's doing at this point in time?")

Death & healing scenes were taken from personal experiences as well as observations of others during the same time / during similar situations. For obvious reasons, it's rather difficult to get them talking about it, so most are speculative but hold analogous significance…