Hello! Yes indeed I am alive! Whoot!!! This is a side story to Running From Sin City. It'll have to do until Thanksgiving break...sorry.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans

Tamarianan Goddess in a Twenty-five-Year-Old's Body

Tula Brooks was known for her petite stature and shy nature which was emphasized by her large doe brown eyes whose sparkle would speak for her in volumes rather than using her sweet feathery voice. Today those eyes gleamed and danced as she happily recounted her date at Jinx's Hex with Wayne Enterprises' Chief Financial Officer Alan Rivers. Little did she know that she was being carefully regarded by a pair of unwavering emerald eyes.

"It's been such a long time since I've seen her this animated," Kory Anders murmured to boyfriend Richard Grayson. Richard wrapped his arms around Kory and rested his chin on her shoulder.

"You're so protective of her, like a lioness of her cub." He observed. "Tula isn't a china doll Kor, I don't think she breaks that easily."

"I am well aware of that, Richard," Kory replied sharply.

He remained unruffled, "If you'd let me finish, I was going to say something bad must've happened in the past for you to be watching over her like this."

Kory grimaced. "Something bad did happen," she began. "During the middle of our sophomore year of college. I wish the event hadn't the catalyst to cement our friendship, but it did."

"Tell me what happened."

Kory hesitated, trying to find the right place to start her tale. "Well at the time Tula had been deeply in love with a man named Jason Mansfield. He was good looking, majoring in accounting and played the saxophone. Personality-wise he was very much like your friend Alan over there." Catching the look of skepticism and warning in Richard's barely seen cobalt eyes, Kory hastily added, "I'm not judging Alan to be a bad person! He just reminds me a lot of Jason, minus the major character flaws the jackass had."

Richard smirked, "Mind telling me what happened?"

Kory nodded, "At the time Tula and I had merely been band mates, she a clarinetist and I myself a flutist. We rarely talked, just an exchange of greeting. I knew her to be a major in music theory with a minor in marine biology. I thought the combo was weird at the time, but later learned that these were just aspects of who she was. I also knew her to be overwhelmingly shy, so I was surprised as was the rest of the band when she started dating Jason. But I suppose it was his charisma and charm that had captivated her. Everything seemed wonderful, the diligent gardener had finally gotten the beautiful bud to blossom…." Here Kory trailed off as she frowned, displeased by the memories that had resurfaced.

"But?" Richard's tenor voice prodded gently. Kory sighed and continued her tale, immersing herself in the memories that had washed over her.

Kory was sprinting down the corridor trying to make it to her study session with Joey and Jenny on time when a wrenching and slightly guttural sob grabbed her attention and forced her to stop in her tracks. She stayed still for a moment, listening intently as she tried to discern the source of the sound. Kory quickly pinpointed the sound to be coming from behind the stairwell on her left. She walked slowly toward the sobbing person hoping not to frighten whomever it was.

Peering around the staircase, Kory was genuinely surprised to find Tula with her thin legs tucked against her chest, her head buried in her arms and was crying her heart out. Not too far away from Tula was a tiny silver ring with a glittering diamond perched atop. Kory's emerald eyes widened. Oh no. Softly she called, "Tula?"

The clarinetist's cries turned into a watery hiccup as she looked up at Kory, her brown eyes red rimmed and puffy. Without asking for permission or demanding an explanation for her tears, Kory knelt down beside Tula and wrapped her arms around her small, shaking frame.

As Kory rubbed her back Tula choked out, "he cheated on me. Right after he gives me that promise ring he cheats on me."

Kory raised her eyebrows at the venom she didn't think she'd ever hear in Tula's voice but decided not to comment on it. Instead she said, "Tell me what happened."

Tula sniffed before saying, "I was going to meet Jason in the music room before we went to lunch at La Tua Cantante." She plucked at her royal blue skirt indicating that it was an expensive place. "I opened the door expecting to see Jason putting away his saxophone like I always see him do but instead I saw…"

"Saw what?" Kory asked, trying to keep her incensed emotions at bay.

"I saw Jason kissing Kendra Carmichael." Tula let out a bitter laugh before adding, "it was a passionate kiss at that." The bitterness gave way into sorrow as she went on, "Kendra had said he had been seeing her for the past three weeks."

Kory remembered Kendra Carmichael. The captain of the dance team. She had waves of honey-brown hair, long legs, mirthless gray eyes, lips always set in a flirty pout and curves that tended to put the rest of the female population's to shame. She was also one of the few who were the farthest from being the sharpest tool in the box.

"Typical male chauvinistic pig," Kory growled. Her eyes hardened as she turned her gaze to Tula. "Where is he?"

Tula looked at her in surprise. "I beg your pardon?"

"Where's Jason?" Kory bit out.

"Mostly likely he and Kendra are still making out in the band room," Tula replied quietly. "But Kory, there's nothing you--" She never got to finish her sentence for Kory was up and running shortly after the words band room escaped her lips. Sighing Tula got up and chased after the vengeance seeking flutist.Kory slammed the door to band room open. Indeed Jason and Kendra were making out in the empty room, the latter perched on a table while encased in the former's fierce grip. Rolling her eyes, Kory cleared her throat, "Ahem!"

Kendra managed to wrench herself from Jason's lips and turned to Kory. "Oh Kory!" She exclaimed in a sickly sweet voice. "How wonderful it is to see you!"

"Shut the hell up Carmichael," the red-head snapped as she shoved the cheerleader out of the way. "You!" She snarled, while jabbing a finger at Jason's chest. "What on Earth is your problem?"

"My problem?" Jason exclaimed incredulously. "You're the one who's barging in her like a psycho! What's your problem?"

Kory ignored her questions as she yelled, "You dare to sweep Tula off her feet only to leave her like a helpless damsel trapped in a ditch? Tula is a sweet girl, hardworking, yes a little shy, but she's still a wonderful person. Tell me, I'm dying to know, what's your defense?"

Jason looked at the ground, " She just…Tula just…"

Kory became appalled, the jerk didn't even have an answer! "So are you disappointed that her boobs aren't as plastic as Barbie's like Kendra's appear to be?" Jason didn't reply, he just kept staring at the ground. Kory placed her balled fists onto her hips, "Or are you disappointed because Tula actually has a mind of her own?" She challenged scathingly.

"That's not it!" Jason yelled defensively.

"Then what is it?!" Kory demanded. "No, on second thought, don't tell me. You don't deserve Tula, she deserves someone who regards her higher than dirt." Kory smirked. "You and Kendra are perfect for each other."

Jason scowled. "I don't need to take this shit from you!"

Kory shrugged and responded, "It's not shit, it's the truth." Ignoring the incensed stares of Jason and Kendra, she casually strolled out of the band room. Upon exiting the room, Kory heard soft weeping from just to her left. Turning her heard, Kory was mortified to see Tula was crying again and that she was in definite earshot of Kory's little tirade. Oh X'hal, did she hear everything? She hurried over to the weeping clarinetist's side and began to apologize profusely. "Tula, I am so so sorry. What I had done was completely out of line. I am sorry, I shouldn't have ripped into Jason like that. It was uncalled for and--" Kory was interrupted by the sound of laughter. Tula's laughter. Kory cocked her head to the side, absolutely confused.

Tula's eyes were bright with both happiness and relief. Relief that was felt because it was like Kory's audacious words had lifted a burden off her shoulders. Turning to Kory, Tula said, "Thank-you Kory. I couldn't have said your speech better myself. I only wish the words had come from my mouth and not from someone else's." She gazed down at the promise ring balanced delicately in her open palm. The diamond appeared to have lost its luster, it made Tula think the stone had sensed her pain and was affected by it. She folded her slender fingers over the ring and took a few steps toward the band room and peered in. There they were, Jason, the man she thought was the love of her life and Kendra, the one who took him away, kissing passionately. Tula tightened her grip on the ring. She tossed it and caught it deftly in the palm of her hand. "Damn," she murmured. "I'm too timid to even throw this at that monster."

Kory heard her soft words and said with a smirk, "Would you like me to throw it for you?"

Tula laughed quietly, yet she didn't reply. Instead she merely looked down, gazing at herself. In a voice filled with honesty and turning a gaze that was brimming with innocence toward Kory, she asked, "I don't really have a chest like Barbie's, do I?"

Kory chuckled as her memories faded and she finished recounting her tale to Richard. "Wow," he breathed.

She smirked, "Didn't think Tula would have the audacity to want to impose physical violence did you?"

"Well there's that," Richard began. "But I was talking about you."

Kory frowned as she turned to look at him. "What about me?"

"I never realized how fierce you can be when provoked. It truly shows when defending one of your friends."

Kory gave a delicate snort. "You mess with the ones that I love, you deal with me."

Richard laughed, "Nough said." He then continued with, " You're like Hera or Athena, a true warrior and goddess protecting her people. Only you're not Greek, you're…." He trailed off, this time the one to have a frown grace his face. "What exactly is your ethnic background Kory?"

"I'm from Tamaran," she answered. " A country southwest of Italy."

"So you're a Tamaranian goddess," Richard concluded.

"We already have a goddess Richard," Kory explained. "A warrior goddess at that." She suddenly began chuckling at the newfound hilarity of Richard's musings.

The Prince of Gotham quirked a jet back eyebrow at his girlfriend and asked, "mind telling me what's so funny?"

"X'hal," Kory said through her laughter. "A Tamaranian goddess trapped in a twenty-five year old's body."

Okay, be brutally honest. This was complete and total rubbish. I can handle it. *sniff* I'm a big girl!

And to all you Twilight fans out there, did you catch the subtle reference? ;) Nope, don't own that lovely series either. XD

Read and review please!