Starfire flew silently through the night sky, looking around suspiciously. This city disgusted her. Jump City may not have been perfect, but Gotham was a fetid jungle of concrete and steel, grotesque gargoyles leering from rooftops, buildings terminating in spires, stabbing upwards into the sky as if in defiance of nature, and a constant smell of urban decay and pollution.
Starfire adjusted her armor plating, reforming it to her skin once again. It had been years since she had worn the armored portions of her costume, and the quasisentient metal had lost some of it's fit. On Tamaran, letting armor go unused for years meant only that the owner had died. Perhaps her sister had been correct, Earth had made her soft. Readjusting it once more, Starfire continued into the dark night, the stars occluded by the overcast clouds that always seemed to hover over the city.
Testing Robin's staff in her hands, Starfire tried to gauge it's strength. Though her quarry was in the peak of physical capability, for a human, he was still only human. The staff felt light, but Starfire knew that it's weight belied it's strength. She would have to be cautious of her own power. Starfire landed on the large, flat roof, stepping towards the metal platform in the middle.
The armor gave her an odd focus, something she hadn't felt in years. She was no longer the nice, cheery girl that the Titans knew so well. Wearing her armor reminded her of her training, of her warrior side. Her muscles felt taut, her body tense. Her fingers tightened around the staff, the metal heating from her barely contained energy.
The large electronic fixture stood before her, looming in the dark. There was no one on the roof; no one was watching her trespass here. She looked over the device, searching for some method of activation. It didn't take her long, the switch clumsily hidden behind a support bar. She breathed deeply, reciting the Warrior's Oath of Tamaran in her mind, before switching it on.
Light streamed forth from the cylinder, shining into the sky. The clouds above the stinking cesspool of a city were illuminated with a familiar symbol; a stylized bat soaring through the clouds. Starfire turned, determined to wait as long as was needed for the man to appear.
She jumped as she turned, seeing a black shape crouching on the other side of the building. The man stood, his cape sweeping out sideways in a sudden hot breeze from the streets below. His eyes glowed white, and even Starfire was intimidated by his appearance.
"Turn it off." His voice was low and raspy, and the command was given with no allowance for disobedience.
Her purposes fulfilled, Starfire pressed the switch again, and the light disappeared. Darkness rushed in again, and all she saw of the man was a vague shape, and those burning white eyes.
"Why are you here?"
Starfire gripped the staff, and felt more so than saw his eyes dart to it. She raised the weapon, clenching it with both hands, striking an Okaaran stance. "I am here to issue a challenge. I seek possession of your son."
The white eyes narrowed, and Starfire's eyes could see the man's body tense, expecting combat. "The Terek'shok Duel?"
Slightly taken aback, Starfire tried not to let her surprise show. "You know of it?"
"A Tamaranian courtship ritual in which a parent passes his son to a woman for marriage. It is not needed. Robin is free to do as he likes."
Starfire's eyes flared, the energy burning hotly in them, and trailing glowing lines into the night sky as she floated upwards, clutching the staff. "I will not marry a coward's son! You will defend your son, or I will kill you as you refuse!"
She heard the objects before she saw them, the black night obscuring her sight. She moved the staff with expert precision, relying on her training to defend. The batarangs bounced from the staff with a thin metallic ping, falling to the rooftop of the building, useless. Starfire dodged forwards, swinging a heavy blow towards the unmoving man.
As the blow was falling, the man moved with speed that Starfire would not even expect from an Okaaran master, dodging sideways and grabbing the staff, using her momentum to throw her over the side of the building. Starfire caught herself quickly, hovering upwards, to find an empty rooftop. She narrowed her eyes, landing once more, and walking towards the signal. She watched the shadow of the device, expecting the man to attack her at any moment. However, the shadow didn't move; though her feet were suddenly swept out from her.
Starfire landed on her back, then rolled immediately to the side to avoid the blow from the staff. The next swing contacted on her side, and she felt her ribs nearly crack from the strength of the blow. Flying again into the air, she allowed her hands to light with her powers, illuminating the rooftop with a pale green light. The shadows became sharper, as her hands became the only viable light source. There were only a few places that he could hide now.
A shadow darted from behind the signal, and Starfire reflexively fired a bolt at it. The rooftop exploded under the assault, as the unassuming pigeon barely escaped death. Starfire didn't have time to light her hands again before the thrown bolo from some unidentified shadow wrapped around her body. She strained against the promethium cord, bringing all of her alien strength to bear.
The cord snapped a moment later, with a gunshot sound that resonated across the city. Starfire caught only glimpses as the man moved across the city, aided by his grappling hooks and other devices. Starfire flew after him angrily, humiliated by his cowardice. The policemen who advanced onto the rooftop, checking the smoking crater, fired at her, but to no effect. She was gone before they could truly react.
Starfire found herself once again searching this hive of humanity, though now she felt that she was being hunted as well. Hunted was the wrong word; she was being watched. He was hiding, striking from the shadows like a coward. "You will show yourself! You must complete the Terek'shok!"
The darkness gave no response. The city's sick life pulsed around her. She could hear traffic and gunshots from below, a scream piercing the night as some person met their end in the same dark streets in which they had lived it. She hated the city, but her quarry loved it. Her hands glowed as she scowled, her eyes flaring once more. Summoning her fury, she fired a bolt at a nearby building. The long-abandoned structure flared brightly with the impact; old, dry wood caught fire and lit the night with flames.
As if sensing her intent, the bat struck, leaping from a nearby rooftop that she had been certain was empty only a moment ago. The staff struck her powerfully, knocking her senseless as the man landed on the rooftop adjacent to the burning building. Starfire lowered herself unsteadily to the surface of the building, her head spinning from the impact. She saw the black shape, silhouetted against the flames behind him. The cape spread itself out in the updraft, forming terrible wings around the man, and obscuring his movement. She gasped as his punch connected, tumbling sideways along the roof. She lay still, as she felt his footsteps approach. She opened her eyes quickly, firing a powerful bolt of energy at the man.
He staggered backwards, the glancing blow still burning through his plated armor vest. Starfire flew at him, passing him and wrenching the staff from his weak, human grip. The fire lit the rooftop sharply, providing nowhere for the caped man to hide. Starfire descended again, feinting to the left, then striking hard where she expected him to dodge. The blow connected, and she felt his arm crack under the blow. She hovered in front of him, a dangerous smile crossing her lips.
The man gripped his injured arm, pulling the bracer upwards, holding his bone steady as he stood, stalwart. Starfire landed, her eyes glowing brightly. She bent the staff sharply, tossing the now useless weapon into the burning fire nearby. She stood at the ready, knowing that she held her opponent at a disadvantage. She stood resolute, the bruises he had inflicted on her ignored.
She circled as he did, each combatant gauging the other. His movement showed his extensive training, and Starfire was no longer confident that his broken arm provided her any advantage at all. When he struck, she was almost unaware that he'd moved, until the pain from her arm reached her brain. She reacted, striking out in a wild kick, only glancing from his armor.
The man rolled with her blow, and she found herself off balance, a child's mistake on Tamaran. She knew the consequence, and found herself correct, as he used her poorly executed attack to send her falling to the ground again. However, she was no mewling child. He pressed his foot on her back, trying to hold her down. She shot upwards quickly, relying on her flight and incredible strength to throw the man backwards. Starfire saw the grappling line latch onto a nearby gargoyle, and took the chance, firing a bolt of power at the stone fixture, shattering it.
She lowered herself to street level, watching the man struggle to his feet. He was a skilled warrior, but his humanity limited his effectiveness against her. Starfire was aware of the citizens nearby, watching dumbfoundedly as these champions fought. Looking back to where the man was, she suddenly realized he was gone.
Starfire backed into the street, casting her eyes from place to place, counting too many shadows and too many hiding places. She heard a whistling in the air, and turned, expertly catching the batarang in her hand. A beeping noise caught her attention, and she suddenly realized that it wasn't just a piece of metal. She barely had time to drop the weapon before it exploded; the concussion blasting her into a nearby alleyway. She stood, feigning dizziness, but truthfully almost unfazed by the concussive disc. They had obviously been designed to stun humans, not any race as hardy as hers.
She saw him coming, her feint working. She sidestepped his punch, grabbing his injured arm and twisting the bracer quickly. He shouted out, and she pressed him to the wall, holding his broken arm behind him. "H'tall bk'tr! Relinquish him!"
The man hesitated, seemingly thinking of an escape plan. Starfire heard the police and fire sirens wailing nearby; heard the clamor of the local citizenry over the combat. She could feel the man surrender, his body relaxing. "H'tall tk'r, Koriand'r il Robin."
Ignoring the question of where he'd learned the proper response, Starfire shoved him against the wall again, with his arm. He inhaled sharply through clenched teeth, and she smiled cruelly. She backed away from the wall, and lifted once more into the air. She looked down only a second or two later, and saw the police entering the empty alley, guns drawn. He was already gone.
As she flew across the city, Starfire saw a small glint of metal on the police headquarters' rooftop. She landed, ignoring the smoldering crater, and picked up the batarang. A trophy. She took one more look around, at the steam and smoke rising from the dirty city. A smug expression crossed her face, and she flew into the sky, away from the smog and clouds of Gotham, and towards her newly won fiance.
A/N: Thanks for reading another one-shot by me. I hope you liked my rough stab at action. Thanks in advance for any reviews of course. Also yes, I made up all the Tamaranian stuff, because most of Tamaranian culture is never expressed in the comics or the show. Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing!