Author's Note 2/15/2013: I'm adding a note to all my fics to tell my readers that yes, all fics will be finished and I am writing. Since this past October I've been dealing with a rather serious and scary health issue. I had medical treatment starting in December and surgery in the beginning of January. Even though the outcome was better than expected, there is more treatment and surgery likely to come.
My head and heart just isn't always in my writing, and I refuse to just post something for the sake of it, but there are pieces completed of each fic, so just hang in there for me. Thanks.
Welcome back to my story. As you'll see for those who know the comicverse, especially the New Teen Titans run of the 1980's, I have included some of the lore from the comics as well as the Teen Titans cartoon and the accompanying Teen Titans Go! comics into this story.
Disclaimer: Teen Titans are the property of DC Comics and the cartoon was produced through Warner Brothers for Cartoon Network.
Warning: Rated T.
Adapted from Wikipedia: Fête is a French word that is used in English. While mostly used in the USA for a country fair or other such event, the original meaning of fête is party, festival or celebration.
I've Got a Secret
"Robin calling Cyborg, Robin calling Cyborg, come in Cyborg," Robin called into the Tower on his T-comm.
The rest of the team was gathered on the sofa, awaiting one of their favorite shows, 'Wipeout' that would be on within the hour. "Cyborg here, Robin. What's the situation?"
"The situation is that the Pizza Palace has advised me that they are out of sausage and are hoping you will go with double pepperoni on your two meatlover's pizzas instead." A dire situation indeed.
"Is that the best they can do for us?" Cyborg asked.
There was a pause before Robin's reply. "Our sodas are free tonight." Apparently there was some hard bargaining. At least there wasn't some sort of stand off. Fortunately for all of them, Robin was a practiced negotiator.
"It will have to do. Cyborg out."
Starfire twisted her fingers nervously. She hated her insecurity. Not that Robin gave her reasons to be insecure; well, he did, but not on purpose. Robin did get caught up in being leader, and with certain cases, and in the goings on with the BatFamily back in Gotham.
What tipped the scales this time was that there was something else going on, some other project that was diverting a great deal of his time and energy. She knew it, or at least she hoped that was what it was. Robin had been so secretive about that afternoon, going off on his motorcycle for about three and a half hours (not that she was counting...). Another girl? Never. He was on the internet a lot too... Was that even possible? No, he wouldn't. That wasn't the kind of person he was.
Starfire's mind reeled. Then she brightened at a thought: My present! He knows it will soon be the day of my birth and Earthlings do make such the big deal about the birthday, especially when it is the one of their Beloved! He must have been shopping for my birthday present!
Now she fought the opposite emotion from moments before: containing her joy at the thought of a present from her boyfriend.
Starfire did her best to contain herself, but found it difficult, although even Robin was unaware of her unsettled state. It was quite a raucous pizza dinner as they watched the ridiculous game show as the contestants humiliated themselves on national television. The object of the show was to see who among a group of people could negotiating obstacle courses of increased difficulty and intensity successfully in the fastest time. The contestants, all regular humans without powers, or for that matter athletic ability or much coordination, were all failing miserably to make it through the courses and had to make repeated attempts to do so. It was often quite painful to watch.
After dinner was over, Starfire headed down to the gym. For a Tamaranean who felt emotions so profoundly, worrying about Robin going off doing who-knows-what without a word to anyone and then feeling the joy that maybe he was looking for a present for her, left her feeling something akin to whiplash with a side dish of vertigo.
"There you are," Robin said as he came into the gym. Apparently it was Starfire's turn to be secretive. "I've been looking all over for you. It's not like you to miss a sunset. Is everything alright?"
"Everything is fine, Robin."
"Starfire-" Robin started. He had heard this tone before, the 'I'm-saying-everything-is-fine, but-it-actually-isn't' tone. He wondered if he was about to hear that this was another time that she did not know when people were speaking about shovels.
She turned away, "Oh, I am not fine, I am a little of the off tonight. I must admit that I was upset that you did the disappearing this afternoon and were gone so long. You have been the distracted lately and secretive."
He cupped her chin and turned her face to his and Robin gave her a reassuring smile, "Trust me on this, you," which he accentuated with a kiss on Starfire's nose, "have nothing to worry about." To be sure he thought he better tip his hand a bit, "Not to give anything away, but do you have any idea how hard it is to shop for your girlfriend who just happens to be an alien princess and the most incredible person on this or any other planet?"
Her face lit up like a Christmas tree. Well that should certainly should placate her for a while...
Robin smirked when he got an idea about how to spend the evening. After all, they were already in the gym. "Now, why don't we each change into our Gi's and practice our hand-to-hand techniques?"
"Wonderful! I shall be but a moment!" Starfire replied as she flew to the locker room to change. They each loved these sessions but could only have them in the late evenings or when the others were out of the Tower. They started out as a Judo style match, but soon it morphed into something akin to Greco-Roman wrestling. It would wind up with one of them pinning the other down on the mat to engage in some serious kissing. They hadn't been caught yet, but sooner or later a green fly or lizard or an electronic hand armed with state-of-the art surveillance equipment was bound to catch them.
"Aw, come'on Star, we have to have a party. We've never had one for you! Please?" Beast Boy said prior to morphing into his Beast Boy Kitty, the one that usually persuaded her.
It was a few days later and it wasn't the first time the party had come up. She had tried the Earth method of saying "No thank you" and "It is too much trouble". She even moved on to the slightly firmer, "Please do not bother". So far, those tactics were not swaying Cyborg and Beast Boy. Cyborg was itching to man the grill and Beast Boy was dying to try out some of his new jokes on some new unsuspecting victims, or rather, the other Titans.
Starfire had finally said a flat out no, and she had received this argument back. She had trained with the Warlords of Okaaran and could stand her ground with the Oans, the Guardians of the Universe. How could Beast Boy manage not to yield to her?
Starfire loved parties, so that was what confused Cyborg and Beast Boy. It was far beyond the fact that Starfire had no interest in a birthday party for herself. There were no birthday parties on Tamaran, and this birthday, her 18th, well, it was not a day to celebrate, and certainly not with a party. If she were home, her life would be likely to change drastically on that date in a way that she might not want. It would be likely that if she were home that a marriage would have been arranged if she hadn't already been married to some green blob or some snotty prince who already had a girlfriend.
Or, she reminded herself, another life changing decision made might be made for her: She could have become Empress; She could have been chosen to lead the Great Armies of Tamaran; She could have been negotiated away again to serve another more powerful empire to seal a sham of a treaty.
Yes, her freedom had been stolen from her when she was still a child, when she was given over by her own family as a slave to the Citadel. By a combination of will, strength, power, luck, and resilience, she was now free and on Earth. And there was no way that would let anything like that happen again. And she was certain Robin would move Heaven and Earth if she failed to keep herself from being captured again. She was at the age of majority, she wanted to embrace her independence and celebrate quietly with the man that she loved.
Love. In a culture that celebrated love and embraced emotion, to be with the person one loved was not the norm on Tamaran, at least for royalty, especially for the Princess. She didn't dare hope it was permanent at this stage, although occasionally would fantasize that it was, but she did treasure what she had and wanted to cherish every moment she had with Robin.
Lost in thought, she finally was brought back to reality to a soft, inquisitive, meow.
"Pardon me Beast Boy, but I must go."
Beast Boy morphed back, "But Star, you haven't agreed to the party and people wanna come! What am I gonna do?"
Starfire said nothing and ran down the hall, unable to fly after thinking about her days as a captive. Tears pricked her eyes. She hated to disappoint her friends, but a party was not how she wanted to spend the day. If that was her only option, she would rather not want to acknowledge the day at all.
Sensing the emotional turmoil, Raven phased through the floor. Beast Boy let out the yelp of a canine even while maintaining his human form when the half-demon appeared. His pressuring of Starfire to have a birthday party was not doing wonders for the first baby steps of their relationship.
"Beast Boy," she started, working to keep her tone non-threatening: that involuntary submissive peeing thing was so awkward for them and they really didn't want to have to explain it to anyone else on the team. "We've talked about respecting Starfire's culture. Most of the 'fun' things that happen here on Earth she loves. But she's like me on this one. She doesn't want a birthday party. I can feel it, can't you pick up on it? She exudes sadness and apprehension when it comes to that, for whatever reason."
"We've never gotten a chance to give her a party, Rae. And remember, even you enjoyed yours eventually once we-"
"Not the point," Raven said firmly. "Leave it alone. Make sure everyone knows that there is no birthday party because I am sure you've already invited everyone already. Have a Fourth of July Party instead. It's only a month away. But brush up on your history first," Raven remarked, remembering BB's take on things when they fought Mad Mod after he changed the US's history for a time.
Beast Boy took a deep breath and started right in, "So the Tea Party was in 1492-"
"The Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773," Raven quickly corrected, "when American Colonists refused to pay for or return boats full of taxed tea to the British, but instead they tossed into Boston Harbor in protest. It was one of the Colonists many acts of defiance against the British. The Fourth of July or Independence Day is considered America's birthday and is based on the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776."
Beast Boy leaned over and gave Raven a kiss on the cheek, "I love it when you're smart".
"You know, if I didn't know better Star, I'd think you were avoiding me these past few days," Robin said as he hugged Starfire from behind. He was thankful for a recent growth spurt that allowed him to rest his chin on her shoulder, and with his steel-toed boots on, he even had to stoop a tiny bit.
It was late and Robin found Starfire on the roof. Of course it should have been the first place he looked and she had headed there as she always did when she was upset. Starfire looked out over the night sky toward the ocean. She looked that way more often than she did toward Jump City, and she always looked that way when she thought about her home world.
Starfire gave a sigh that was not completely content but her body relaxed in a way that let Robin know that he was needed. After she remain quiet for a few more minutes he said, "I will pay six grubfar for your thoughts."
Starfire giggled softly and turned and hugged Robin tightly. At least she had finally figured out that human were breakable and her hugs were much less painful. He soon felt her tears. "What's wrong, Star?"
Ready for another shovel discussion, Robin was pleased with Starfire's directness, "I do not wish to upset or disappoint our friends, but I do not want to have a party of birthdays. Beast Boy insists but I do not desire one. Is it something I must do to become 18? Is it an adult passage of the right? Am I a bad friend?"
Robin chuckled at the garbled idiom and hugged her closer before loosening his hold so he could look her in the eyes. "No Star, you don't have to do anything you don't want to. It isn't part of any 'rite of passage' when you turn 18. If you don't want a party, we won't have one. It's your decision."
"Thank you Robin," she said softly and hugged him tightly again. He was certainly curious as to why she was resistant to a party, because Starfire certainly enjoyed any and all get togethers, but he decided know was not the time to ask and he would pursue it later.
Robin was suddenly concerned, did she not want to celebrate at all? She seemed like she wanted to at least acknowledge the day, didn't she?
"Kory," she always brightened with the use of the nickname from her birth name, "is there anything you'd like to do on your birthday?"
She blushed and smiled at Robin, "May I spend it with you? I-I mean alone, just you and me?" she replied tentatively.
"Absolutely," Robin said smiling at her, his eyes alternating between looking into her eyes and then at her lips, "and you know what?"
"What?" she managed softly, anticipating for the inevitable kiss that normally went along with the way Robin was looking at her right then.
He leaned up and whispered into her ear, "That's what I had planned all along."
Starfire let out a bit of a happy squeal, and then in a low, purring tone, she answered in his ear, "That makes me very, very happy, Robin."
Not willing to wait for Robin to initiate a kiss, she followed that up with a kiss that showed just how happy she was.
Raven had spent much of the next day's down time, that is the time between alarms, keeping Cyborg and Beast Boy quiet. Just when one was behaving the other brought the party up again, hoping to browbeat Starfire into capitulating. Robin was in his office and was of no help at all. Had he been aware, perhaps things would have been different, Raven kept thinking, but she chose not to pester him.
Starfire began to see the entertainment value in Raven's bolts of black energy, wedgies courtesy of a black energy claw, and black energy X's as muzzles. It was a good way to distract herself: as much as she would have hated her birthday if she were still on Tamaran, she couldn't remember a time she was more excited in her life.
To further distract herself, soon Starfire started using ministarbolts to deflect a stankball or two to influence the game Beast Boy and Cyborg were playing; apparently 'Referee Raven' never saw them. The same tactic worked well in Foosball and pool as well. It certainly would have had a spectacular effect on it, but Starfire knew better than to try anything like that with the GameStation.
Missions broke up the monotony – or was it the breaks between the missions? Finally the point got across and a dejected Beast Boy and Cyborg made plans to have a MegaMonkeys 3.2 tournament and cover the city with Raven on Starfire's birthday rather than have a party, so all was not lost.
And the nights, well the nights were special as they had been for the previous few weeks. As was accepted in Starfire's culture if not expected, once they had declared their love, Robin and Starfire spent their nights together in Robin's room. This was certainly fine with Robin, who was painfully aware he might not see much of his alien princess otherwise. She found that the peculiar way of elevating one's head on a pillow rather than allowing it to dangle off the side of the bed was actually comfortable. Robin was relieved that she was content that way because it was much easier to snuggle when they were able to be side by side.
As far as the romantic side of things went, they weren't progressing quickly, but kissing Robin gave her more joy than she could have thought possible. Who knew kissing offered something beyond the utilitarian aspects of language acquisition? At this point, it was hard for Starfire to imagine the feelings that would accompany anything more intimate. She was honestly a bit scared to find out, and Robin certainly wasn't pressuring her. They had discussed it and he had basically the same feelings she did, that taking it slowly was working for them and with both of them on board with the status quo, things were as uncomplicated as possible at least in that department for two teenagers.
Starfire barely gave it a second thought when she woke up on that Monday morning June 4th to find the other half of her bed empty. It wasn't unusual that Robin was up before the sun, whether readying the course for combat practice, organizing files, completing police reports or any number of other tasks. She had missed the sunrise, as she sometimes did, having chosen to sleep in. As it turned out, everyone got a present that day: in honor of Starfire's birthday, combat training had been canceled. She imagined that no one would see Beast Boy for hours.
Her morning routine began with a shower and all the related beautification that went along with it. Next, Starfire put on a rather small bikini and began her ritual of soaking up the sun's rays. The sun rose in the East, so Cyborg had replaced her windows with one way glass, so that no one across the Bay in Jump could observe her as she faced in their direction.
Because the UV radiation provided Starfire with the energy that she used for some of her powers, it was more efficient for her to do this naked. Soon after they began to share a room, Robin walked in on her to find her floating and naked. Needless to say, he got a very nice view. She often thought of that time with a grin. Robin was so adorable when he blushed; I still cannot believe how Earthlings react to the nakedness. It took him a number of seconds to move or say anything. I thought Robin was somehow damaged by the sight of me unclothed. Fortunately, I soon found out that this was not the case...
Since that time she wore the bikini, needing to increase her time absorbing the sun's rays by about 10% to compensate for the surface area of her body that was covered. On that morning, she was still in her bikini, a sight that Robin would both appreciate and have to contend with, when she heard a knock at the door.
"It's me, Starfire, can I come in?" Robin asked.
Robin let himself in, balancing a tray table.
"What is all this?" Starfire asked, as she eyed the tray laden with a number of dishes, some covered with silver lids, a bottle of mustard and a vase with a dozen red roses.
Robin grinned. "It's an Earth tradition known as 'breakfast in bed'. I had hoped to have things together before you got up but I had to referee the usual meat verses tofu nonsense..." and then under his breath, "I really have to figure out a proper reprimand and get them to stop, that has gone on far, far too long."
"Robin," Starfire said, interrupting his tangential train of thought, "can you tell me more about this bed breakfast?"
Robin placed the tray on her bedside table and turned back to Starfire, taking both her hands, giving her a sly smile, "Well, it's generally a romantic gesture, when one person brings the person they love their favorite breakfast to eat just after they awaken. It is usual done on a special occasion, to mark a birthday or anniversary."
He let go of one of her hands so he could rub the back of his neck in embarrassment that he missed the mark with the timing. "I'm sorry I was late," he stepped in for a lingering kiss and then lead her back to the bed and helped her under the covers. She decided she already liked the tradition very much and his tardiness didn't make any difference to her at all.
He picked up the tray and opened the legs and settled it over her knees. He set the flowers on the bedside table, and then went around the bed to his side, and settled in next to her. He then proceeded to go over what had been prepared for her.
"First, because we are out of zorkaberries at the moment, we have your favorite substitute, cranberry-grapefruit mash."
"Mmm, that is wonderful Robin!" Starfire said, doing her best to hold her Tamaranean table manners in check.
Then Robin lifted one of the plate's silver covers, "Next, we have another favorite of yours, a swordfish, onion, peanut butter and pineapple omelet."
"Robin, it's my favorite breakfast treat! I cannot believe you remembered! And you must have made a special trip to the fish market!"
Like I could ever forget that combination. "Anything for you, Star," Robin said as he snuck in another lingering kiss. He needed to be sure to get that in before she actually started to eat the omelet. "And there is also your, uh, well done wheat toast with gravy and orange marmalade." Crumbled and black, it wasn't considered toast as far as Starfire was concerned unless the fire alarms had gone off.
"Thank you, thank you! This is such a spectacular idea!" Starfire leaned in a gave Robin a particular impassioned kiss that left them a bit breathless.
Robin cleared his throat on the second attempt and said, "Well, I guess I'm going to come up with more special occasions to serve you breakfast in bed if that's the kind of response I get."
"And perhaps I shall make the bed breakfast for you sometimes," Starfire purred.
Robin did his best to not let his face reflect the visceral response to that thought and to cover for himself he leaned in and gave her a kiss that made him forget about Starfire's cooking or for that matter, food in general.
"On second thought," Starfire said in a light tone as soon as she recovered from that kiss, "I will ask Cyborg to do the cooking for the bed breakfast for you until I gain a better grasp for the cooking of Earth food. This is supposed to be a pleasant experience, is it not?"
Robin chuckled, "Yes it is." He loved her ability to use self-deprecating humor. She was fitting in on Earth more and more.
"And Robin, what is under the other silver cover?"
"Well that would be my breakfast," Robin said and added in a teasing tone, "you wouldn't want your boyfriend to starve, would you?"
"Certainly not!" Starfire added, doing her best to feign shock. "Nor do I wish to break the fast alone."
After breakfast, Robin told Starfire that she should wear jeans and comfortable shoes, and to meet him in the garage. After changing into an outfit as instructed, she met him in the garage where he was waiting in similar attire by the R-cycle, packed and ready to go, and she smiled as she eyed the picnic basket.
It was a perfect day for a motorcycle ride. That part of California tended to be dry and that particular June day was not too warm, so the protection of a leather jacket didn't mean becoming overheated.
As much as Starfire loved to fly, there was something so incredibly enjoyable about riding with Robin on his R-cycle. Sure they had ridden together for literally years before they were a couple, but now that they were a couple, it was far better than she had ever fantasized it would be as she snuggled as close to him as she wanted. And Robin had no complaints either.
After a leisurely drive out into the canyons, Robin took Starfire to a secluded nature preserve and park that he had discovered while driving out to visit the farm. It was lovely there and they hiked for about an hour and a half and then enjoyed a light lunch. Being that it was not close to any residential or industrial area and that it was a weekday, they were the only ones there, and for the first time in weeks, they were out in public and actually had privacy.
Once back on the road, Robin headed toward the farm, but because it was a surprise, said nothing but rather simply headed in a northeasterly direction. Soon, Starfire tugged on Robin's sleeve, their way of communicating that there was something important to talk about, something that was better said while stopped at the side of the road rather than shouted over the engine and road noise.
Once Robin had pulled over and turned back to face her, Starfire said, "But Robin, the Tower, our home is the other way," the concern in her voice was coupled with a cock of her head in confusion.
Robin took off his helmet and gave her a dashing smile and touched her chin in front of the helmet strap, "Starfire, did you really think that your birthday celebration with me would end with a hike in the canyon and a picnic lunch? Not that we haven't had a wonderful time so far, but you deserve much more."
"There is more, really?" Starfire enthused, clapping her hands in excitement.
Robin chuckled, he was so pleased he was making her happy, "Yes, Star, there is. Shall we get back on the road and see what our next stop is?"
Starfire had rarely seen this part of the area, and when she had, it was from the sky or at night. She took in the beauty as the colors changed, as the vegetation grew sparser. On their hike and picnic, she had observed numerous lizard, bird and rodent species she was unfamiliar with, and she wondered what other animals were here in this environment. The land was different than she had seen, but so beautiful in it own way.
Further into the canyons, the rust color of the soil with areas completely devoid of vegetation was not so different from the purple-brown steppes and plains of her beloved Tamaran. This left her both joyous and melancholy. She had expected no place on Earth to look remotely like her Tamaran, and she knew that some day, some other time, she would need to come out here again and reflect. But now was not the time. It was her birthday and her wonderful Robin was spending the day with her, and she could not imagine of a more wondrous gift.
Lost in her thoughts, Starfire didn't see what was ahead of them until Robin had stopped the R-cycle at the entry to the long tree-lined drive that lead into the horse farm.
Robin turned back in time to catch Starfire's reaction. She read the engraved royal blue and kelly green sign, "Falling Leaves Farm?" She paused as she looked over the vista and out toward the paddocks and fields. She gasped, "There are horses here! Are we going to see them? Close up?"
"In fact, we are going to spend the day here. We can do whatever we want. If you are up for it, you can pet them, brush them, and you can even ride one."
Star's eyes were wide, she couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Really?"
"Yes, really Star," Robin assured her.
"Robin, this is the most incredible thing anyone has ever done for me, thank you!"
"You're welcome. Now let's get down there, and introduce you to some horses."
To Be Continued...