A/N: YES, I am still working on It Only Takes A Moment: Wishes, II. The rough draft is done, and I'm working on filling in gaps to give it the first draft once-over. Now that that big question is answered, this weird little jaunt into drabble-esque one-shot mode was inspired by the song, "Superman" by Five For Fighting. (appropriate, no?)
It was started maybe as long as a year ago, but I just got stuck with Cyborg and Starfire, couldn't write it, but then a month or two ago, I got inspired and managed to write Cyborg's. THEN, a few weeks ago, I tried to force myself to write Starfire's and I came up with a few options, but I wasn't sure I loved any of them.
THEN, today, I saw the prompt over at the LJ Raven/Robin community (Not-So-Super/Mortal) and I thought of this set again. So, I came back to it, re-read it, and decided I liked one of the ones I did for Starfire afterall. So, I posted it onto the comm and am now posting it onto here as well.
Okay, so one more thing – there is no romance even implied in this one. It's a pure character-introspection piece. All characters are explored.
Disclaimer: All the quotes at the beginning of each section come from the "Superman" song. The characters aren't mine either.
"I'm more than a bird / more than a plane / more than some pretty face / beside a train / and it's not easy to be me…"
- Five For Fighting, "Superman"
xxxx Raven xxxx
"I wish that I could cry / Fall upon my knees / Find a way to lie / By the home I'll never see"
She was only a girl.
She was expected to be so much more. She was expected to be cold and intelligent and logical and unselfish, and she pretended to be most of the time, because it was expected of her, but she wasn't really.
Really, she was just a girl. A young girl, with half formed ideas of what she wanted, and an even less solid hold on who she was. She was a child, really, thrust into being something else, something more and sometimes, she wished she could let it all go.
Let go of the tears and cry until she was so tired she fell asleep and the pain became a dull ache or went away entirely.
Let go of the responsibilities heaved on her small, narrow shoulders until she could walk without that repressive weight making each of her steps such a chore.
Sometimes, she wished with all of her heart and prayed to any Gods that would listen for the chance, just the opportunity to let it all go and be normal.
She longed for a life where her biggest worry was whether she had passed her calculus exam or who would ask her to the next dance.
But most of all, in her secret heart, she wished for Home.
xxx Robin xxx
"I'm only a man / Looking for a dream"
He was just a boy.
Of all of them, he was the only one who was lacking, who wasn't enough. They never knew, but he had to be obsessed just to get to the level they start on without even trying.
He was just a boy. Soon to be a man. And sometimes, he didn't know why he did it at all. They didn't really need him. He knew they appreciated him, he knew they relied on him, but they didn't really need him. They would be just fine without him, maybe even better than fine.
Sometimes, he wished he could walk away and leave it all behind him. Sometimes, he wished he could say exactly what he felt instead of what they expected him to say. Sometimes, he wished he only had to think about himself and that his decisions didn't affect so many people.
Because in the end, underneath the cape and the training, he was just a man.
Only a man reaching for a dream.
xxx Beast Boy xxx
"I can't stand to fly / I'm not that naïve / Men weren't meant to ride / With clouds between their knees…"
He hated flying. No one bothered to ask him what his thoughts on the matter were and because he could become any animal, it only seemed logical that when he needed to get from point A to point B in a hurry, he fly there, but he really hated it.
Flying, more than anything else, reminded him of how little humanity there was inside him. Men weren't meant to fly, after all.
But he wasn't really a man. He wasn't even a boy – not really, not anymore.
He was a beast. A thing.
And although flying reminded him of that more than any of the other animal shapes he could take on, in the end, he would do it. He would become an eagle or a pterodactyl. He would soar high above the clouds and look at the world from an angle no normal man could ever achieve, because it was expected of him. Because if he didn't, someone might get hurt.
Because, no matter how much he sometimes longed for it, and fussed about normal things such as girls and food, video games and sports, sleep and time off, told jokes and kidded around like he believed the lie, he wasn't naïve enough to actually forget the truth.
At the end of the day, he wasn't normal.
He wasn't even a man.
xxx Cyborg xxx
"I'm just out to find / the better part of me..."
Sometimes he thought he wasn't worth the sum of his parts.
His ribs, his hip bone, his right eye, and several veins and capillaries were all that was left of him that was truly human.
Sure, most of his skin was human, but that didn't really count.
What was more, if one were to take the value of each prosthesis, each cybernetic muscle, each reconstructed tendon, or the sections of synthetic skin that looked just like the real thing into account, it would be worth more than the White House. More than a private jet. Almost more than every gadget and gizmo piled into their T shaped home.
His body was worth more than a small country.
Victor, the person, couldn't possibly measure up.
He hadn't been worth saving back when his father had done it, and sometimes he thought he still wasn't.
He didn't want to be a hero. He wanted to go back to being a normal kid in a normal life suffering from the normal worries like who he'd take to prom and whether they'd beat the rival school's football team in the upcoming match.
He wasn't like Robin who was compelled to do what he did by some inner Boy Scout gene, or like Starfire who was raised knowing she was meant to lead and protect those she cared for. He had nothing to fight for and nothing to prove like Raven. Hell, he didn't even take the pure pleasure in the adrenaline or thought fighting bad guys was fun like Beast Boy.
He was just Victor. Football jock and smart-ass whose father didn't know when to let him die.
All this machinery, all this genius and marvel could have been used to save someone else.
Someone who had something more to give to this world than his smarmy jokes and mechanical savvy.
He played at being a hero, but he wasn't really one. He didn't fool himself. He saw the passion and determination on the faces of his friends. He saw the way Robin would run himself into exhaustion to figure out something that would stop a villain, he saw the way Raven put herself in danger to protect a child, or the way Starfire protected them all. He saw the way Beast Boy didn't give up, no matter how tired he was or how much he might whine about it afterward.
In contrast, he was no better than a mindless robot, set on auto-pilot. He did what he did because he could. Because he figured if he had these abilities, if this power was given to him, it would be wrong not to use it to help people, but his heart even the human bits wasn't in it. He didn't want to be there, wished he did not have to be there. In his heart, he wished, sometimes in the silent moments when they were all abed and he was left alone to stare at the wall of machinery that kept him charged and alive, that Robin had never found him.
His father had once told him it was his heart that mattered, his heart that was worth more than the monetary value of any of the pieces his body was made up of. His heart – the one thing his father hadn't replaced or somehow changed.
His father had said despite all the expensive machinery and science that kept him alive, the best part of him was his very human heart –
Still, Cyborg couldn't help but wonder at how this best part, this wonder and marvel of humanity, sometimes felt like the most mechanical part of him of all.
xxx Starfire xxx
"It may sound absurd / but don't be naïve / even heroes have the right to bleed…"
Starfire never bled. No one seemed to notice this fact, that it was beyond her physical makeup to actually shed any of the liquid essence that ran through what could be compared to veins in her Tamaranean structure.
More than the beams from her eyes and hands, more than her strength or her ability to fly – more even than the fact that she had three stomachs and found mushrooms one of the most amusing human organisms she had ever been exposed to, the fact that she could not bleed set her apart from her friends.
Even Raven could bleed. Cyborg, even though 98 of his intravenous system was made up of synthetic veins, could bleed. But then again, they were all human.
No matter how much Starfire might want to show her friends how much she loved and cared for them, she could never do it the only way that mattered, beyond words or puddings – she could never bleed for them. Robin took a blow to protect Raven and bled as evidence of his loyalty; Beast Boy grabbed Cyborg as he flew uncontrollably through the air and skidded on the asphalt, and even through his thick dinosaur skin, he bled.
She could never show how it hurt her to watch their lifeblood shed and she not be able to sympathize – she did not know what it felt like to have the layer of skin fissure or break, she could not feel their pain when she had never known it.
She never would.