Disclaimer: Teen Titans, or any of its counterparts are not mine.
Usual disclaimers apply. Aussie, spelling is different, so is slang.
So, this one is for… peachykay, TheUltimateCokeBear and katergator, who all told me they wanted a one-shot from that tiny little section. Here's that one-shot girls!
Big Fat Warning… wait… there isn't one.
All because of a little rain.
Lightning arced across the night sky followed by the low rumble of thunder. Rain splattered against the windows of the newly built T, positioned on an island by the shores of Jump City. Wind howled through the air, the ocean surged and swelled, frothing at the shorelines and clouds hung fat with rain.
Robin raised his head, cast a bleak glance out into the stormy night, watching the lightning illuminate the city as it flashed across the sky and sighed.
He hated rainy days, and rainy nights were worse. Rain obscured things, made him cold, and made him damp. It played with his senses; there were always too many sounds, the rain on the roof, the trickle of water on the window, the plunk as it splashed to the floor. And too many things playing tricks on his eyes, sudden dark shadows in the corner vanishing as the lightning danced across the sky.
He turned his head, staring at his rain soaked window into the raging night beyond, wondering if he should surface from his room for a while and see what the other were doing, but quickly dismissed that idea.
Robin was a hero. He didn't have time for games and sports. He didn't have time to read books for hours on end. There was always work to be done, criminals to capture. And when he wasn't working on a case, there was always training that needed to be completed. There always had to be something he was doing to better himself. Friendship and teamwork was a frivolous pastime. He'd learnt that from his mentor.
The Titans had only been together for a few weeks and already Robin was wondering why he'd allowed himself to be roped into a team so quickly.
Robin sighed and turned his attention away from the splattering rain against his window and back onto the analysis he was supposed to be completing, his mind turning to his teammates.
He and Cyborg clashed. There was nothing for it. They headbutted each other over the simplest of things, like which computers to install into the Tower, what security systems were best, what pizzas to order, leadership of the Titans. Cyborg believed that because he was older, he should be in charge, something with Robin refuted vehemently.
Robin didn't need the Titans. He could work alone. But if he was going to be part of a team, they needed to understand he was the one that had done hero work before. He was the one willing to complete the paperwork, make sure they trained every day, took the lead in combat, came up with the strategies and the game plans. He was the one trained by the Batman.
Thinking of Batman made his lip curl so he forced his thoughts away.
Beast Boy was a childish prankster. Robin's eyes rolled behind his mask at some of the pranks that had already been occurring around the Tower and it had only been built for three weeks. But he and Cyborg had gelled well and that was nice, Robin guessed. He'd just wished Beast Boy would stop calling everyone 'dude'.
Raven was quiet. She kept to herself most of the time, preferring to stay in her room or quietly read books. But she did seem to take particular pleasure in gutting the changeling every chance she could with snide remarks and sarcastic comments. Beast Boy didn't seem to mind and it only intensified his attempts at making her laugh. Robin was sure she was beginning to rue the day they'd all first met and she'd mentioned he was funny. He had to admit, he did look forward to seeing what sarcastic comment Raven would come up with daily.
Starfire was… odd. Alien, peculiar and out of place. She was pretty to be sure, but her mannerisms were very weird, and the way she spoke confused him at time. She mixed up words and he was forever untangling them for the other Titans. Raven would roll her eyes and ignore her, Beast Boy's eyes would twitch and Robin would be afraid that his brain would explode with the effort of thinking, and Cyborg now simply looked to him for translations.
And he was completely confused about her attitude. She'd come to Earth, hissing and spitting and violently destroying the city, and kissing him, and the next moment she was all sweetness and innocence and cheerily exclaiming her delight at the most simplest of things. Like her latest fascination was flowers… who in their right mind found flowers so enthralling they would stare at them for hours on end and then proceed to bother him for ages with silly questions about how they got their colours and why their petals were so soft?
So what if he'd been nice to her? He was nice to Raven too. That didn't mean Starfire had to latch onto him like a leech and expect him to answer all her annoying questions.
But there was something about the way she smiled. All innocence and naiveté and there was something so alluring about…
He needed to stop thinking about Starfire. He had a girlfriend. Robin frowned. Did he have a girl? Batgirl's last message had been strange, aloof, and she'd suggested that they spend some time apart. Great. That was all he needed. Batgirl to turn from him too, just like…
A sudden sharp flash and a crack of thunder interrupted his thoughts as the power failed and he found himself staring at the dead monitor of his computer.
Robin sighed in annoyance, reached into his belt for his flashlight and headed for the door.
He could hear Beast Boy's shrill voice from the hallway as he walked toward the room that was fast becoming known as the common room. "I was winning! You rigged it! You made the power go out-"
"Oh, grow up," Raven's droned voice. "It's just a game."
"Just a game? Its, like, Mega Monkeys 2, the coolest game ever and Cyborg cheated by-"
"Grass stain, it's not like I made the power go out," Cyborg said as he forced the door to common room open. "It was a surge, that's all."
"Why hasn't the backup generator picked up the slack?" Robin asked, folding his arms across his chest as they came face to face.
Cyborg rolled his eye, his shoulder light activated and casting a beam of light right in Robin's eyes. "A lot of systems aren't running properly yet, Rob, turn that glare somewhere else. Shouldn't take long to fix, just have to go down to the basement, check out what went wrong."
Robin grunted. "Come on then, I haven't got all night."
"Dude, you seriously need to have some fun every now and then," Beast Boy commented as the four of them walked toward the stairwell.
Robin glared at him for a moment before frowning and looked at Raven. "Where's Starfire?"
Raven shrugged. "Haven't seen her since it started raining."
"Raven, can you just do that teleportation thingy and take us all down to the basement?" Beast Boy asked. "Then we wouldn't have to walk down the stairs and I could get back to my game faster-"
In the dim light of the flashlight he saw one of Raven's eyebrows lift. "Are your legs painted on?" she snapped. "I'm going to meditate."
"Sheesh," Beast Boy exclaimed as Raven flew away. "What is her problem? All I said was-"
"Maybe you shouldn't antagonise Raven so much," Robin said pausing in the hallway, his head cocked in concentration as he heard an out of place sound.
"Man, you comin'?" Cyborg asked from the stairwell as he held the door open for the changeling.
Robin nodded, his trained ears following a strange, muted sound. "Be there in a minute," he muttered absently. "Just need to check something."
He saw Cyborg and Beast Boy exchange a glance and shrug before disappearing down the stairs. He waited until the door swung shut behind them before walking to Starfire's door. He pressed his ear against it, hearing the strange muffled sound that had twigged his senses.
He rapped on her door. "Starfire? Are you okay?"
"Robin?" came her shaky voice from inside.
"Yeah, are you all right?"
"I am fine," she replied, her voice wavering. "Please do not concern yourself."
Another crack of thunder and Robin was sure he heard a muffled cry from inside the room.
His fingers punched the override code to her door before he'd even knew what he was doing, the emergency batteries for the door sliding it open. Robin propelled himself through the door and into her room, certain Starfire was in trouble and required rescuing. It was just like a criminal, trying to break into their Tower in the middle of a storm when the power was out. He clenched his staff in his fist, ready to react in a moments notice, his body primed for battle, adrenaline pounding through his blood, sharpening the senses.
Starfire squealed in fright, scrambling off her weird round bed and dragged her sheets to the corner where she huddled in terror.
Robin scanned the room, his masked eyes and flashlight in hand searching for whatever had made Starfire cry out but came up empty. He eyed the quivering bundle of blankets in the corner. "Starfire?" he asked, completely confused.
She peered out from beneath the blankets. "Oh," she squeaked when she saw him and he heard her clear her throat. "Robin." She stood, the blankets held loosely in her hand, seemingly embarrassed and sounding flustered. "Greetings, why have you entered my dwelling? And why are you brandishing weaponry?"
"Er…" He glanced at his bo staff and retracted it, putting it back into his belt. "Sorry, I… thought you were in trouble or something." He angled the flashlight up so he could see her face without shining it in her eyes. "Have you been crying?"
Her eyes darted around. "No."
The sound of the rain against her windows increased as a particularly large gust of wind thrust it against the Tower and Robin saw her cast terrified eyes at the window, before her jade orbs filled with tears.
"What's the matter?" he asked completely confused, before he peered at her in disbelief. "What are you frightened of?"
She looked at him and swallowed, wiping her cheeks on the back of her wrist. "Please, Robin, why is the sky crying? Have we done something to harm it? Is it in pain? Is it angry? Is that why it yells so loud? What can we do to stop the sky from damaging us?"
His mouth dropped open, feeling strangely disturbed and unsettled. How could a fearsome warrior such as herself be afraid of a little rain? She faced the Gordanians, spitting and snarling, and here she was, cowering in the corner because of a few drops of water, a little thunder. What the hell was wrong with her? "It's just rain, Starfire," he said, harsher than he meant to.
She clasped her hands to her chest, looking lost and forlorn. "What is rain?" she asked meekly, her eyes on his face.
"Your planet doesn't have rain?" he asked incredulously.
"Tamaran has no need to cry."
That didn't make any sense whatsoever. "Well, how do the plants survive?"
She swallowed and looked away. "Tamaran does not have the abundance of flora that Earth has. It is a vast desert of orange sand and tall cliffs. We have very few species and they do not require the sky to cry to survive."
Things clicked into place.
This was the first time she'd seen rain. The very first time. And to hear the thunder rumbling through the air, the lightning crack if it was too close, for the first time… it had to be frightening.
He suddenly realised how different the world that she had come from truly was. How strange the people of Earth must seem to her. He remembered the words she'd said when they'd first met. How her people had no word for nice, and the closest thing was 'weak'. She must feel so out of place a planet where people were nice to her, cared about her, concerned for her, were willing to bust into her room in the middle of the night brandishing weaponry in a bid to protect her. Where there were so many strange things she didn't understand and no one would take the patience to explain things to her.
Except him. He'd been the first to show her 'niceness'. Shown it to her consistently. Which was why she pestered him with questions so much. She was desperately trying to understand his world. And now that he thought about it, she never, ever, asked the same question twice. She always thought about his answers deeply and corrected her words the next time she used them. It wasn't like he was explaining the same thing over and over to her.
Sure, she was odd, had strange behaviour and manners, mixed up her words, spoke of strange creatures and called Beast Boy odd names. She was from another planet and he suddenly wondered how he'd be if he visited her home. Would he be any different if it had been him thrust into her world? She must be in culture shock, so many new things to learn, so many different things to remember.
A flash of light erupted through her window, illuminating the night sky for a moment and he saw her flinch, half-turning into the wall, her eyes squeezing shut when the thunder that followed rumbled across the land.
His heart went out to her. She didn't understand what was going on and she was trying to be brave, trying not to worry him but it was obviously all too much for her.
He crossed the room to her side, placing his hand on her shoulder. "It's okay Starfire," he said quietly, taking her hand and drawing her back to her bed. He sat down, tugging on her hand so she sat beside him before he hesitantly put his hand on her back and rubbed it soothingly. "The sky isn't crying. We call it rain…"
She looked at him with those wonderful expressive orbs of hers as he explained about the rain. She asked a few questions, drawing more information from him, huddling into his side whenever thunder rumbled. His hand constantly stroked her back, soothed her, kept her calm and it wasn't until she gave a tiny contented sigh and relaxed against his hand that he realised he was actually doing that.
Eventually the rain settled down from its gusty squall into a light drizzle, the thunder stopped rolling across the land and the lightning ceased arcing through the sky.
"You okay now?" he asked quietly.
She nodded. "I believe so. It is all very strange, to have water falling from the sky like that. So many different things on your planet."
He chuckled. "Yeah, I guess there would be."
She looked at him, a peculiar expression on her face.
"What?" he asked concerned.
"I do not believe I have heard you laugh before."
He raised an eyebrow. "I haven't?" he asked confused. Surely he'd laughed sometime in the past few weeks.
She shook her head. "You are always so… stern." By the small cone of light caused by his flashlight that he'd placed on the ground at their feet and pointed at the roof he saw her turn to face him properly. She pulled her alien eyebrows together in a frown, pursed her lips and gave him a grumpy looking face, folding her arms across her chest. "This is you," she said, making her voice sound deep and scolding.
He burst into laughter and she dropped her act, smiling broadly before she got the giggles herself, covering her mouth with her hands as she tried to contain herself. "You have a nice laugh, Robin."
He grinned as his own laughter dimmed. "I'll endeavor to laugh more often then, Star."
She cocked her head at him. "Star?"
He felt a blush rising to his cheeks. "Oh… sorry… we sometimes give nicknames on Earth… shortened versions of names. Like Cyborg calls Beast Boy 'BB'."
"Oh… yes… Fyria called me… I understand shortening names. Some names can be cumbersome to say."
He smiled. "Sometimes, I guess. Most of the time for us its just something that friends do."
Her mouth dropped open, her eyes wide. "You… you consider me a friend?"
He frowned. "Of course I do. Why wouldn't I?"
Tears filled her eyes for a moment. "I… never had a friend before."
He stared at her in disbelief. "Really? Never?"
She shook her head, not quite meeting his eyes anymore. "It was not permitted."
That was strange, but he could see she didn't want to talk about it. "Well, I'd be honoured to be your friend," he said, smiling at her.
She beamed at him, her eyes actually twinkling in the light of the flashlight. "That would be glorious."
He coughed, embarrassed now, tugging at the collar of his cape. "Well, er… storm seems to have gone. And I'm beginning to wonder what mischief Beast Boy and Cyborg are up to since the powers not back on yet. You'll be all right now?"
She nodded, her hands clasped in her lap. "I thank you, Robin."
He gave her shoulder a squeeze as he stood. "I'll leave the flashlight for you. Night Star."
"Pleasant shlorvax, Robin."
He smiled to himself as he slid the door to her room shut and wandered off down the corridor to dent the heads of Beast Boy and Cyborg.
He'd never admit it to anyone, but that night, something special started.
The dynamics of the team shifted.
He was still a hero. He still trained, worked, obsessed over things. But Robin found himself listening to Cyborg's opinions more, laughing at Beast Boy's pranks, delving into the world of video games and movies with the boys. He found himself discussing philosophy with Raven, playing chess and listening to her poetry. He found friendship, teamwork and family within the Titans.
That storm had cemented their friendship. She made him look at things with a different light, an innocence and the simple joy of someone truly seeing something for the first time. He made it his mission to help her adapt to Earth and she in turn had become his best friend, his confidant, and eventually his heart.
All because of a little rain.