Disclaimer: Teen Titans, regrettably, are still not mine. of course, neither is Seventeen. yes. nothing is mine. i'm sure you get that by now.
A/N: this is the second and last chapter. i never meant for it to be long. i don't have the time to devote to long fanfiction when i'm juggling five honors classes AND trying to write original stuff AND applying to colleges. ugh, life is far too complicated for my liking. so i hope you guys don't mind that it ended up being the short and sweet type. just enjoy, i s'pose.
A/N the second: i have a vague idea for a longer RobStar fanfic called "How Long is Never?" (yes, obvious play on "How Long is Forever?", which NO, isn't mine!) so that'll be up sometime. in a month or year or two. tee hee. probably not that long. i hope. sigh
A/N the third: i had no intention on updating this quickly, but since I ran out of patience, i figured you guys wouldn't mind. okay. storytime!
A/N the fourth: wait a moment more. for those of you who find the use of "Rick" as opposed to "Dick" objectionable, er, i'm sorry, but in a matter of personal taste, i'm not going to change it. i hope it won't detract too much from the real point of the story. reviews of any sort (except for flames, which are utterly immature) are always welcome. NOW it's storytime!
Blast from the Past
Rick Grayson left Gotham the following morning quite early, bound for New York City on business. He was gone a month, and when he returned to Gotham, he noticed that things were a little…different.
For one, as soon as he got off his private jet and into the limo with Alfred and looked out the window as they drove down the expressway, there was a large billboard to one side, advertising for something or another. Normally this would not have interested Rick in the slightest, but he nearly fainted when he saw it, for the model's face, plastered larger than life on the billboard, was none other than Kori Anders, Princess Starfire of Tamaran.
Rick gawked like a fool, even going so far as to swivel in his seat once they had passed it, though he knew the backs of billboards were never the same as the front. Still, he thought that maybe…maybe he could see her face again. But all he found was an ad for toothpaste.
For two, once they were in the thick of Gotham, driving through the downtown, they passed a magazine stand. It was handily located at an intersection, and the red light caused Alfred to stop. So Rick glanced out his window, and his jaw dropped yet again. On the cover of some fashion magazine, decked out in whatever fashion was fashionable at the time, was Starfire again, giving that seductive model look with her hair being blown by some model fan.
"Hold a sec, Alfred," Rick gasped, and he jumped out of the limo, rushing to the stand, and snatching up the magazine, unable to tear his shaded eyes from it.
"Mr. Grayson!" the surprised stand owner squawked. "W-what can I do for you, sir?"
Rick looked up, pulled from his astonisment, admiration of Kori Anders gracing the front of a very popular magazine. "How much is this?" he managed, gesturing vaguely to the magazine.
"Which one? Ah, that one," the owner said knowingly. "That girl, she's taken Gotham by storm in the past month. She's everywhere, I swear. Kori Anders here, Kori Anders there…everybody knows her face. Most new models don't get that lucky, I think, but wow…that's what you get for being gorgeous, I guess."
Rick nodded distractedly, noticing that this magazine boasted an exclusive interview with the hot new model. He stared for a second, prepared to offer the man his entire estate just to find out what Starfire had talked about in her interview. "How much?" he repeated, his patience drawing thin.
Rick hurriedly shoved a five into the man's hand. "Keep the change!" he called over his shoulder as he scrambled back into the limo just as the light turned green, and Alfred sped through the city, zooming towards Wayne Manor on the other side of town.
Rick scanned the cover again. Totally exclusive interview with new model, Kori Anders, inside! Pg. 27. "Page twenty-seven, page twenty-seven…" he muttered, flipping through the pages, irritatedly passing ad after ad without page numbers. "Ah, twenty-seven…wow…" he paused, presented with a full page of Starfire, and his eyebrows raised approvingly. Tearing his eyes from her jade ones, he began to read the interview with the most fervor he'd ever read anything, ever. Most of it was usual interview stuff, but he stopped dead halfway down the second column.
Seventeen Magazine: So, tell me, Kori, have you ever been in love?
Kori: Love? By what definition?
Seventeen: The real kind.
Kori: Ahh. Yes.
Kori: And nothing. It just…didn't work out, I suppose.
Seventeen: What do you mean? Do you mind talking about it?
Kori: No…not really. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. I don't pretend to know. Nothing ever happened. If he did love me, he never told me. But that was a long time ago…a few years. Maybe more.
Seventeen: So you don't still love him?
Kori: I wouldn't say that.
Seventeen: What if he were reading this now, then? Would you like to say anything?
Kori: I find it hard to believe that he'd be reading Seventeen. Not quite his type of magazine. Still…if he were…I honestly don't know. You know where to find me, Mr. Sunglasses.
Rick stared at the page, hardly able to believe what he was reading. Mr. Sunglasses? He looked up and out the window again, and again he was confronted with her face on a billboard, and he mouthed it silently to the night.
"Me, Star? You're in love with…me?"
"Oh, Mr. Grayson, I believe the Gotham Portrait called while you were away," Alfred said, dragging Rick from his thoughts. "They seem to think you would be the perfect model for a certain superhero named Robin."
"What?" Rick laughed. "They what? That's hilarious!"
"It is indeed," Alfred replied in his calm voice. "They're doing a photoshoot, a tribute to all the heroes. It's tomorrow. I trust that isn't a problem? I couldn't get a hold of you at your conference."
"What? Oh, no…that's…that's fine, Alfred, just fine," Rick said distractedly, wondering what the next day would bring.
"Here's your Robin costume, Mr. Grayson," said a cheery looking lady with too much red lipstick. "Thank you so much for agreeing to this."
"It's a pleasure," Rick said, smirking and taking the familiar outfit to the dressing rooms, laughing inwardly at the irony of it all. He changed quickly into his old suit, sticking the black mask to his face last, surveying himself in the full-length mirror. Except for the fact that he was taller, he knew that he hadn't changed a bit—that Robin hadn't changed a bit.
He emerged from the dressing room and found his way to the photoshoot area, where he was greeted by the exclamation, "Robin, my man! You're back in action! Boo-yah!"
Rick soon found himself crushed in the metallic arms of Cyborg, or Victor Stone, to be more accurate. "How's it going, Cyborg? Hey, Bee."
"Don't squeeze Robin to death, Sparky," Bumble Bee cautioned, jutting out one hip comfortably.
"Duuuuude! Robin's here!" Beast Boy, aka Garfield Logan, exclaimed, and he nearly jumped Rick.
"Long time, no see, Robin," came Raven's monotone voice as she pried Beast Boy off him.
"Good to see you too, Rae," Rick laughed, shaking Speedy and Aqualad's proffered hands warmly.
"Isn't this just the coolest?" Beast Boy gushed, running around like his old hyperactive teenage self. "I can't believe it! A picture of a Teen Titan reunion! How perfect is it?"
"Very perfect…" Rick said, a little distracted. Where was she? He pushed his way out of the group, glancing around. She had to be here…certainly she would've been asked to be Starfire…after all, she was Starfire… "Come on, Star…" he muttered under his breath. "Where are you?"
And then there she was, walking down the hallway in her old violet Starfire outfit with that slow, swaggering model gait, and her face broke into its signature dazzling smile when she saw him. She rushed over, crushing him violently in a fierce hug, nearly lifting him off the floor. "Friend Robin!" she squealed, and he realized all over again that he was now taller than her. "It is most glorious to see you!"
"It's…amazing to see you," he admitted, smiling at her when they separated, the photographers anxious to begin the shooting. They were lined up in their traditional poses, and then the photographer wanted shots of pairs of them, and it was clear that they were set up in the pairs that the fans had always wanted to see. Cyborg and Bee; Raven and Beastboy; Starfire and Speedy (Rick supressed a growl); Starfire and Aqualad (another supressed growl); and, finally…
"Miss Anders and Mr. Grayson! Your turn!" the director called, waving him over as Aqualad walked off-camera.
Rick walked over to her, stepping in front of the cameras, beneath the blazing lights. Somehow, to him, she looked even more beautiful now than she ever had before; somehow, she just looked right as Starfire. Because she was Starfire. To him, she could only be Starfire. And he supposed that to her, he could only ever be Robin, the Boy Wonder she had fallen in love with.
Robin smiled to himself and to her, and he glanced at the director, who hurried over to put them in their positions. "Now, since you two were especially popular, we're going to be doing a couple shots, a couple poses. First, like this."
Snap! Robin had his arms draped loosely about her waist, her back pressing into his chest, her hair tickling his neck, and their smiles were anything but fake.
Snap! Starfire had her hands on his chest, and he had his arms around her, both of them looking coyly at the camera.
"Okay, last one…now…"
Snap! Robin was holding her in his arms again, kissing her cheek, and she had her arms around his neck, holding her against him.
"Good, good, that was fabulous!"
Robin didn't feel her move right away, could sense her reluctance. "Hey, Star…" he whispered in her ear, which was quite near his mouth anyway. Do it now, he encouraged himself. You can't let her go again...just say it already...
"Yes, Robin?" she replied, her voice soft, barely audible.
Robin took a deep breath and pulled away a little…and tugged off the mask, revealing those oceanic eyes that had only ever met her jade ones. He smiled faintly at her cute but sincere expression of surprise, and he traced his hand down her face, following the curve of her cheek. Despite inhaling a lungful of air, he somehow managed to say breathlessly, "I love you."
Starfire blinked, clearly not prepared for that either, but then a smile tugged at her lips, the slightest glint of tears in her eyes. "I've always loved you," she admitted quietly, and Robin's smile broadened. And he ducked his head, his warm lips softly brushing hers, and she returned the kiss slowly yet confidently, pressing closer, deeper, her fingers meshing in his hair…
And a few weeks later, there was that picture on the front page of the magazines, and the caption beneath it read:
Richard Grayson, CEO of Wayne Enterprises, and Kori Anders, supermodel, announced their engagement yesterday…
Robin and Starfire sat on the roof of the long-vacated Titan's Tower, where he had proposed to her, just lying back and watching the stars.