My Dark Angel
I don't own the Teen Titans.
I dedicate and apologize to Star of Airdrie. She was my beta for this fic, but both of us had crazy, hectic lives so hopefully she'll be able to read this and not get too offended for posting this without much of her help.
Robin gritted his teeth and ran his gloved hands through his hair, grasping ebony locks in a tight grip. "I can believe she escaped me again!" Robin thought irately. He glowered at a series of pictures shown on his computer monitor. The "she" Robin was referring to was Starfire, the young apprentice of Slade, the Teen Titans' nemesis.
Starfire was a crafty girl, always slinking through the shadows and striking when necessary; her movements were reminiscent to that of a cobra's. How she was able to elude Robin, whom had been trained by Batman, a man whose dwelling seemed to come from the shadows themselves baffled the teenage hero. Robin clicked on the mouse, the picture changing to one of Starfire snapped by a security camera.
The female thief was hovering over the rooftop of Wayne enterprises, the white light of the giant letters cast an ethereal glow making it appear as if she were awash in a halo. Like an angel, Robin thought with a wry smirk. A dark angel. Starfire, what a fitting name for the girl. Not only did she have a mane of fiery scarlet tresses, but her eyes were blazing emerald, the embers never seeming to dull within. Her hands were encased with that same green fire. Star bolts, Robin remembered with a shudder. He subconsciously raised a hand to his shoulder that had once been grazed by a star bolt. He didn't even want to think about what would've happened had he taken that hit full blast.
Robin went through more pictures and articles depicting Starfire's most recent burglarizing. He had been so close to catching her but the princess of darkness slipped through his grasp like water he was so desperately trying to hold on to. Robin frowned as Starfire's shimmering laugh, so musical and innocent echoed through his mind. No matter how many times they encountered one another, her laughter was never tainted; it never held a malicious tone. A dark angel indeed.
Robin was in the midst of drawing out new tactics to take Slade and his apprentice down when a knock broke him out of his thoughts. Not taking his masked gaze off of the computer screen he called out, "Come in."
His door hissed open and closed. A soft, monotonous voice spoke. "Robin, we need to talk." The Teen Wonder looked up at Raven, the Titans' telepath and empath.
"What's up Raven?" Robin asked. " Are you still wanting to send Beastboy to the center of the Earth?" He grinned mischievously. "Alright, but you're going to be the one who tells the Doom Patrol."
Raven breathed shortly, which Robin knew that was about as close to a laugh he was going to get from her. "No, Robin. What I came to talk to you about was Starfire."
Robin brightened. "Have you come up with a strategy in stopping her? Because I can't came up with anything for the life of me."
"Uh no, I guess I should specify," Here, Raven shifted feeling slightly uncomfortable. "I think we should talk about you and Starfire."
Robin raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me? Me and Starfire?"
Raven nodded. "I've been sensing that you've started to develop feelings for her."
Robin laughed, "Me? Have feelings for the apprentice of Slade? Raven, are your emotions getting the best of you again?"
"My emotions are in perfect balance Robin. It is you who needs your emotions checked." Robin stared at Raven, confusion written all over his face. "Shimmering musical laughter?" The empath prompted. "Dark Angel?"
Robin glared, a scowl twisting his mouth. "Dammit Raven!" He barked. "Have you been reading my mind?"
Raven tried not to let the flustered feeling show on her face. "I'm sorry Robin, I know you appreciate your privacy. It's the mind link we share, I can't help hearing your thoughts."
"Take away the mind link," Robin snarled. "Give it to Beast boy! It's meant to be shared with someone you care about and Cyborg and I both know how much you like the little grass stain!"
It was Raven's turn to glower. "I do not like Beast boy," she said in a clipped voice.
The alarm blared. Robin's head whipped to the computer. "Starfire," he said in a soft growl.
"Remember what I said Robin," Raven said before disappearing in a pool of black energy.
Robin clenched his hands and stared at the ground. "I do not like Starfire."
Starfire lit a small star bolt and carefully burned out a sizable circle in the vault belonging to the west wing of the JCIT, Jump City Institute of Technology. She giggled as she kicked out the circle. Yes, Starfire was gifted with a copious amount of strength, but she preferred playing with fire. She cast a cursory glance at the guards she had knocked out. None of them stirred. Starfire pouted prettily, the armed men looked like brutes, but then again Starfire was no dainty young thing and the men just weren't much fun.
Sighing, Starfire flew through the opening she had created. She came to land in front of a silver computer disk hovering behind a cylindrical prison of red lasers. Having already memorized the override codes, Starfire tapped in the sequences, deactivating the lasers. As soon as her fingers graced the surface of the disk, Starfire heard the roar of a tiger. She grinned, apparently Robin and his teammates came to play.
A blue and white laser blast completely destroying the vault's door confirmed her thoughts. Cyborg, the Teen Titan who was half man, half robot ran into the room first. "Drop the computer disk Starfire!" The girl shook her head, keeping the grin on her face.
"No, I do not believe I will Friend Cyborg." A green anaconda wove itself around her slim form and tried to snatch the disk from her hand. Starfire quickly flew out of the giant snake's grasp. "I will not have you damage this computer disk Friend Beast boy," Starfire said in a slightly irritated tone. As she flew toward the vent in the ceiling, ropes of black energy shot out of the wall and ensnared the thief.
"We're not your friends," Raven stated, eyes glowing with white energy as she concentrated on keeping the girl contained.
"Even I am inclined to believe this," Starfire said as she struggled to escape Raven's bonds. "Are friends always this annoying?"
"Sometimes," Beast boy said with a shrug.
"Unless they're friends with you," Raven said.
Rolling her eyes, Starfire realized that there was only one way for her to escape Raven's little prison. Inwardly she sighed, she didn't want to use this technique but even her enormous strength was proving to be futile in fighting Raven's magic. "I hope you survive this," she murmured.
Starfire relaxed, summoning all of the righteous fury from within her, focusing on soaking up the warmth that radiated from the panels that made up the chamber she was in.
Raven frowned. The room was starting to get hot. She looked at the criminal she had imprisoned and became alarmed. Starfire was surrounded in a blazing emerald aura that steadily became bigger and hotter. Raven fought to keep the girl contained, but as the blaze continued to burn, it also became a furious red. Soon it had completely ensconced Starfire and had nearly blinded the Raven. The empath barely heard Beast boy telling her to get away from Starfire. As the blaze exploded outward, she faintly felt claws sinking into her cloak and ripping her away. Then darkness hit.
Starfire rocketed upward and crashed through the roof. She gasped as fresh air hit her lungs, burning from being compressed so long. One of the prices she had to pay in using that little technique. She peered into the hole she had created and cringed. There was a massive fire, everything was burned. Smoke billowed out and flames were slowly licking up the walls, coming toward her. The sound of the fire alarm sounded faint as her worry for the safety of the Titans swelled. Yes, she was a criminal, but that didn't mean she had no heart. Starfire had never killed and she didn't plan on starting. She turned to flee the site when the end of a bow staff was thrust onto her chest, halting any movement of hers.
Robin glared at her from the other end. Starfire smiled. "Hello Stalker," she greeted demurely.
"Stalker?" He spat.
"You are a Teen Titan. The leader of the team." Starfire answered calmly. "It is undoubtedly so that you spend your time hunting down criminals like me, obsessively tracking our every move. It is much like stalking, no?"
Robin's glare intensified, but he gave no response.
Starfire frowned softly, "Your friends, did they...?"
"I saw them head back to headquarters not too long ago."
Starfire nodded, relieved that her blast hadn't killed them. "Why?" Robin asked.
She stared at him confused. "What?"
"Why do you stay under Slade's apprenticeship?" Robin elaborated. "I see it in your eyes, you don't want to kill. I really think you don't want to be stealing either."
Starfire frowned, "You cannot save me, Robin, so put your curiosity aside. We are enemies, that is all." Her eyes flickered to the bow staff aimed at her. "Why are you chatting so idly with me Robin? Why are you making no attempt to stop me?" She waved the silver disk in his face. "Surely you will get the satisfaction of arresting Slade's apprentice instead of having the police do it."
Robin smirked, "The only satisfaction I'll have is knowing Slade will not get his hands on this disk."
He shoved the bow staff forward hoping to strike Starfire and knock her out.
Having anticipated the attack, Starfire took to the air, the bow staff completely missing her. She flew behind Robin, kicking out and catching the base of his skull with her boot. As the hero fell to the roof unconscious, Starfire whispered, "I'll repeat this only once, you cannot save me. Not from Slade."
The flames finally began crawling over to the two enemies. Heaving a sigh, Starfire took Robin into her arms and lifted him away from the destroyed building. She flew to an empty campus park and gently laid him on the soft grass. Noting that he was safe, Starfire took to the skies, flying back to Slade's lair.
As Starfire neared Slade's hideout, she wasn't surprised to be greeted by the mouths of laser cannons. Sighing softly, she wheeled and arced through the sky, gracefully dodging the barrage of deadly lasers being fired at her. Mere seconds passed before she swiftly dismantled the cannons with the assistance of both her own strength and her star bolts.
As the smoke from the damaged laser cannons curled into the air, Starfire darted into the abandoned clock tower, the ticking and creaking of the gears giving her slight comfort. She danced through the field of knives whizzing through the air, the waltz not entirely graceful for a few blades caught some strands of her crimson hair as they passed and embedded themselves into the wall.
Upon reaching the end of the hall, Starfire slipped into Slade's main control room. Wordlessly she placed the computer disk into his waiting gloved hand.
"Your performance was impressive today my dear," Slade said, never taking his gaze off of the video screen in front of him.
"I thank you Master," Starfire replied in a quiet tone keeping her head slightly bowed.
"I see you've been holding out on me, Apprentice," Slade's voice a mixture of irritation and amusement.
Starfire raised her head at that. "What do you mean?"
Slade replayed a clip of a video showing Starfire releasing that furious wave of Tamaranean energy. "I should have realized you possessed that much power. My question is why haven't you used it when in battle before? Raven has ensnared you in her magic before, so what made today different?"
Starfire remained silent. She didn't know how to answer the question. "I-I suppose it was because I thought it was urgent to retrieve the disk for you."
"But that doesn't answer my question. Why have you been holding back when you have all that power within you? You could have disposed the Titans so much sooner. Actually they are still alive."
Slade turned to fix Starfire with a withering glare. "You're soft Starfire, I don't like my apprentices knowing what compassion is. Perhaps it is you who needs to be disposed of."
Starfire filled her voice with indignation despite the tremors of fear that wracked through her body. "I am not compassionate!" She yelled. "I spare their lives because it would no longer be fun for me to wreak havoc upon the city if there was no one to make an effort to try and stop me. Crime sprees just lose their thrill."
She looked pointedly at her master. "Besides, are you not the one always telling me to leave Robin alive so that you may have the pleasure of watching him suffer at your own hands?"
Slade nodded. "Perhaps you do hold a valid point. But know this Starfire, this isn't always going to be fun and games. The world isn't your dollhouse despite your thinking otherwise."
His words caused Starfire to become passive once again. "Yes Master."
As Starfire wandered to her room, she thought of Slade's words. Of course she knew that the life of a criminal wasn't going to be all fun and games. And did he truly believe she acted as if the world was her dollhouse? She growled softly at his theories. The was a reason she wanted to think that what she was doing, her battles against the Teen Titans were fun. It was a reason she had no inclination to be sharing with her master any time soon.
It was because she was a Tamaranean on Earth who was struggling to cling to an identity she wasn't certain was still hers. Tamaraneans, what little memory she had of her native people, were inborn optimists.
Her actions as apprentice of Slade were a far cry from anything remotely Tamaranean. Starfire reflected on the irony that despite being such passionate people, Tamaraneans were a warrior race. How they maintained such a balance was beyond her, for her own lifestyle was tipping the scale toward the dark side. She was losing herself to the abnormality of being Tamaranean and she had no idea how to get her inner light back.
Starfire's thoughts wandered over to the Teen Titans. They were heroes. The Titans did all sorts of good, stopping villainy. If only she had crossed paths with them when she had first landed on this planet.
Perhaps she wouldn't be feeling so lost and have this yearning desire to know who she was. But fate hadn't dealt her that kind hand. She was the Teen Titans' adversary, not their friend and she didn't know which way to turn.
Starfire was snapped out of her thoughts when Slade called for her on the communicator clipped to her ear. She returned to the control room. "Yes Master?" She queried.
"Look at the screen and tell me what you see."
Starfire glanced at the screen. It showed her confrontation with Robin earlier that day. "I see Robin attempting to thwart my plans of getting the computer disk to you, but he did not succeed."
"And you know why he failed?" Slade asked.
"Because I was too fast for him to stop me?" She answered uncertainly.
"Yes, but you must look beyond that," Slade instructed. "It appears you are not the only one going soft."
Starfire's confusion increased. "I do not understand."
"Robin," Slade answered. "He holds back just as much as you do. For the past few encounters you've had with the Titans, not once had he made a true attempt to take you down. Because he goes easy on you he should be easy to read."
He handed his apprentice the disk. "Lure Robin away from his team. Make sure he's alone. He has a weakness. Find out what it is by any means possible, I'll be watching coming up with a strategy to exploit it."
Starfire stared at the disk for a moment before taking it from Slade's hand. She nodded. "As you wish Slade," she said softly before floating out of the room.
"Wait," Slade said, calling her back. He flicked a piece of red thread at her. "You know what to do." Sighing, Starfire slipped the disk into her pocket and stretched the thread removing any tangles. It was actually a series of microchips that would monitor Starfire's impending exchange with Robin. She laced the red thread into the locks of her hair so Robin wouldn't notice.
Upon exiting, Starfire took out the disk to study it. Something about the flat quadrilateral object seemed off. Instead of the lines that adorned it having their usual silver color to match the base, these lines were black and violet. Had Slade handed her a counterfeit disk? Perhaps she hadn't paid close attention to the disk after all.
Starfire took to the skies, using the time it took her to reach Titans Tower to think of a plan to get Robin to meet her and come to her alone. As she began her descent, Starfire took a few cursory glances through the Towers and saw Cyborg and Raven disappear via the use of the empath's powers.
Starfire landed a few paces from the Titans' headquarters. She pulled out the disk and examined it once more. She still thought something about it was off. As she flipped it over, the disk popped in half. Starfire quickly suppressed her little shriek of horror when she realized that there were actually two disks. One silver, the other having the colored lines. Did Slade know one of them was a counterfeit?
Starfire bit her lip, unsure of how to proceed. She knew she somehow needed to obey her master's wishes. The consequences were…a shudder rippled throughout her being, she didn't want to think about it. Yet Starfire had to know what the other disk did. Doing her best to ignore the thin wire laced into her ruby locks, Starfire removed a palm sized scanner from her belt and slid the disk through the reader.
Starfire's eyes widened and she gasped as she studied the readings. Of course it would be expected of her to follow through with Slade's plans for she was the Titans' enemy. She looked at the Tower for a brief moment before dropping her gaze back down to the two disks in her hand.
Moments later Starfire sighed as she soared through the air. If this didn't lure out Robin to find her, she didn't know what would.
Robin groaned as he returned to consciousness, cringing as pain filtered through his limbs. He opened his eyes to the bright lights of the Tower infirmary, listened to the steady beep of the heart monitor keeping track of his vitals. Robin noted Cyborg and Raven hovering by the computer, reading off charts and lab results.
"How did I get here?" He croaked, his throat throbbing from smoke inhalation.
"We found you at the university's park," Cyborg replied. "Man you are lucky all she did was hit you in the head."
"Kicked," Robin corrected weakly.
The robot hybrid rolled his eyes. "Even better," he said sarcastically. "She's sneaky, that one."
"The worst you'll be suffering is a concussion," Raven reported.
Robin nodded gingerly, wincing at the slight movement. He then asked, "How are you feeling Raven?"
"Starfire is a willful adversary," Raven replied. "I've noticed that she's of Tamaranean origin. Her powers are fueled solely by her emotions. Whatever attack she had used earlier was a complete compilation of all of her emotions. It was overwhelming, that's why I blacked out." She shrugged. "I'm fine."
"Good," Robin said, voice still rough. He sat up, reaching for the pitcher near his bed. His thirst so great, Robin put the spout of the pitcher to his lips and downed its contents. Once his thirst had been quenched, the leader of the Teen Titans asked, "Where's Beastboy?"
"He remained at the university," Raven replied. As Robin raised an eyebrow to her answer, Raven clarified, "To help with putting out the fire. Pachyderm Beastboy to the rescue."
A second later the Titans' communicators went off. Flipping open their devices, the three looked down to see a slightly frenzied Beastboy looking back at them.
"Dudes!" The changeling exclaimed. "Cinderblock and Overload just broke out of prison! Back up would seriously be appreciated."
"We're on our way Beastboy," Robin replied, quickly snapping shut his communicator. He started to get out of the infirmary bed when Cyborg pushed him back down.
"Not a good idea," Cyborg said. "You need to stay here and recover." Robin frowned and was about to protest when Raven raised glowing hands, threatening to bind him to the bed with her powers.
"Rest," she commanded softly. Robin sighed, resigned, and flopped back against the pillow. "We won't be long," Raven said before opening a teleportation portal for Cyborg and herself. As soon as the two disappeared into the darkness, Robin closed his eyes, hoping his normally restless mind would grant him at least a few moments of sleep.
But before long, the brightness against his closed eyelids faded to almost complete darkness. Robin frowned, figuring it was at least an hour or two before the sun would begin to set. Opening his eyes, Robin scrambled out of bed and walked over to the window. A thick plume of black smoke obscured the view of the sun. Fire, Robin quickly realized, a chill slithering down his spine. Was someone trying to burn down the Tower!
His fear was quickly diffused however, when he noticed the smoke was steady, stemming from a concentrated area. Racing down to the beach, Robin threw several ice disks toward the fire, encasing the flames in ice crystals. When Robin finally reached the scene, he noticed a molten lump at the center of the ice formation. Using a small ice pick and tweezers he had produced from his utility belt, Robin removed the lump. Upon examination, Robin noted several familiar marks that had belonged to the disk Starfire had stolen from the vault at the university.
Briefly, Robin eyes flickered over to the frozen fire and saw they held the shape of a star. Cute, he thought wryly. But he wondered why Starfire would burn the disk if she was returning to the possession of the Titans. Was Starfire breaking away from Slade? Was Starfire not even the one to cause the fire? Was Slade or someone else trying to make it look like the alien girl did it so Robin would fall into their trap? Robin gritted his teeth in irritation. He craved answers. As a teen detective he knew that questions needed to be asked, but he lacked the patience required for waiting for the pieces to come together.
Gripping the melted disk, Robin stalked back to the Tower and slipped into the garage, getting on his R-cycle. He raced out into the late afternoon determined to seek out Starfire or whomever had started the blaze. An hour of tedious searching passed before Robin spotted the teenage red head standing on the beach. Parking his bike ten feet away, Robin made his way toward her, growling under his breath as he walked.
"Hello Stalker," Starfire greeted, never taking her eyes off of the jeweled ocean, light from the sunset dappled onto the salty surface.
"Hello Starfire," Robin said, unable to keep the tension from creeping into his voice. Starfire turned toward the Teen Wonder, the barest hint of a smirk reaching her face. "I see you have gotten my message and indeed you have come alone." The smirk became a soft, genuine smile albeit still small. "I thank you for respecting my requests."
Robin said nothing. He studied the girl before him. Starfire was hovering above the coastline, the spray of the ocean hitting her boots but she took no notice. She was looking studiously at the waves, appearing to be deep in thought. Robin noted the way the sunlight hit her scarlet locks making it look like she was caught in a blazing halo. Just like the security photo. If he hadn't ever been in combat, fighting Starfire, Robin wouldn't have believed her to be capable of committing crimes, let alone work for Slade.
Robin mulled over what she had said mere moments ago. I thank you for respecting my requests. Either Starfire was a great actress or she was being truthful. He recalled in his research on the girl that she was of Tamaranean origin. Tamaraneans were an emotional race, they fought because of the passionate rage that fueled them and they flew because of the unbridled joy that they felt. Did Starfire feel joy as she committed crimes? Robin fought to keep his revulsion from surfacing.
"The day is dying," Starfire said softly. Robin lifted his gaze toward her face. He noted that her expression was slightly melancholy. "But a new day shall be born," Starfire continued in that same soft tone. "So the light will not be gone for long."
Robin thought about pointing out to her that the day wasn't necessarily dying, just the sun was moving to the other side of the world. Instead he decided to listen. "The sun is necessary to my people because we draw our energy from its rays," Starfire glanced at Robin. "Much like your Superman."
"Actually Superman is from Krypton," Robin corrected. "But yeah, the sun has the same effect on him."
Robin wanted to know why Starfire had melted the computer disk, but before he could get the reason out of her, Starfire spoke. "But the difference between Superman and I is that he uses his strengths for good while I use mine for wicked purposes." A hard smile worked its way onto her pretty face. "How I am able to fly is beyond me." Starfire dropped onto the sand, patting it as a gesture for Robin to sit next to her.
As Robin crossed his legs, Starfire went on, "Tamaraneans fight due to boundless confidence--righteous fury…" She trailed off and her smile became bitter. "What I do is most certainly not righteous." Starfire felt the usual anger at her actions. She slammed two flaming fists into the sand, glass instantaneously forming beneath her small hands.
Starfire jumped at the sensation of a gloved hand on her bare shoulder. She looked at Robin, blushing slightly for her childish actions. He looked back at her thoughtfully, "I think I know why you fight," he began. "You said boundless confidence. Maybe you are able to feel this confidence because deep down
you're hoping this will be enough for you to break away from Slade."
Starfire stared at the sky, watching as it steadily morphed from orange to royal blue, considering Robin's words. "Perhaps the reason why I am able to fly is because I wish to be like the sun. To escape. Yet as the sun merely slips to the other side of the world, I wish to be free for more than a few hours, I wish to be free of Slade forever."
Starfire looked at Robin. "There was another who had the same dream I have. Her name was Terra." Starfire's mentioning of the fallen Teen Titan ignited both a spark of anger and a wave of sadness within Robin. "Though I knew her for a mere few days, she was my friend." As she spoke, Starfire's demeanor changed. Her head bent, long scarlet hair hiding her face from view. Her whole being radiated sorrow.
"Even as Terra spoke of being proud for defeating Jump City's heroes, deep down she hated it. She wanted to be free…" Starfire shook her head. "But Terra was as I am now Slade's apprentice. His puppet, his slave." She spat the last word. Then continued softly, "Now Terra is free, never to be controlled by Slade or anyone again. She has become one with the earth. It was her gift and her curse."
Starfire looked back at the night's first stars peppering the dark. "Perhaps I shall become a star," she mused. She then laughed. "I am sorry Robin, this was not my intention, to keep babbling like so."
Starfire reached into her pocket and pulled out a silver computer disk. "I take it you realize that this is the correct disk?"
Robin took the flat object from her. "The one earlier," he began.
"Was a virus that would have hacked into your security systems and infiltrated your airways, vents I believe you call them, poisoning the atmosphere, killing you at a rate much faster than carbon monoxide," Starfire explained. Robin growled and clutched the disk.
"And on this?" He asked holding up the disk.
"Plans for the city's water passages." Starfire began. "Slade planned on releasing the poison into the water, eventually evaporating into the air creating a vicious cycle of poison."
She looked at Robin. "You were merely a prototype."
"You mean guinea pig," Robin spat. She smiled guiltily.
"Perhaps. However, now Slade is unable to proceed with his plans." A pause. "Well perhaps I should say he is unable to proceed for now."
Robin smirked and nodded. He made to leave when Starfire asked in a quiet voice, "Robin?"
He looked back at her. "Have you ever wished to be free? To have such a craving of independence that it overwhelmed your entire soul?"
Robin remained standing, trying to pick out the appropriate things to tell Starfire. He sat back down beside her, but kept his eyes on the now dark ocean. "Yeah, yeah I did have that desire to be free," Robin began. "Before I came to Jump City, before I met any of the Titans, I had a mentor. He was…is a great hero. But as the years passed I became tired of being his sidekick, his shadow, so I broke away."
Starfire looked at him wryly and Robin became abashed, his face growing red. He stammered, "Sorry. I just realized that our uh, situations are uh, entirely different. Sorry."
"I do not believe your hero mentor had you on a 'collar and leash' so yes, our circumstances are opposite."
Silence lapsed between hero and criminal, Starfire angling her gaze to look at the stars. As his companion kept her eyes on the heavens, Robin studied the disk, twirling it over with nimble fingers. There were so many questions he wanted to ask the Tamaranean girl. He settled on one, hesitant in asking because he was sure it was to be a touchy subject for her but it was the one question that prodded his mind the most.
"Starfire?" His voice completely betraying his hesitation.
She turned to look at him. "Yes Robin?"
"H-how did you...why...?" Robin became angry with himself. He dealt with interrogating criminals many times before in the past. What was it about Starfire that made it so difficult for him to ask her a question?
Starfire smiled at him encouragingly. Swallowing he asked, "How did you come to work for Slade?"
Her smile became sad. "When I came to this planet, I was lost and alone. After many hours of wandering from my crash site, I stumbled across a building with bright lights and loud noise. I later learned that this place is a nightclub. Afraid to approach the people of Earth, I hid in a dark, dank corner waiting to seek out someone of authority. Two men came toward me. Their intentions were," she swallowed. "Not honorable. I was rescued by a boy not that much older than you," Starfire said as she eyed Robin speculatively.
"He carried me to a hospital where I was treated for my wounds. I found out the boy's name was Franklin." Here, Starfire blushed. "He became my boyfriend. I lived with him for a time, but during my stay with Franklin, he disappeared for hours at a time during the night." She barked a bitter laugh. "I should have known what he was up to, how I despise my naiveté."
Robin interrupted, having a hunch he knew where this was going. "But you were so new to Earth. How could you have possibly understood that Franklin was up to no good?"
Starfire looked at Robin straight in the eye and said, "Evil is an intergalactic aspect. It cannot be avoided no matter where one goes." She continued with her tale. "Franklin claimed to be attending evening classes at the local college. Naturally I believed him. One night when Franklin came home from his 'class' he had been severely wounded, blood dripping from his injuries. I ran through the streets in a panic, carrying Franklin's limp form in my arms. I managed to reach the hospital, but barely, Franklin's breathing had become shallow. The doctor treating him doubted that he would live though the night.
"Desperate, I begged the doctor to do everything he could to save Franklin. I told him that I would do anything. If only I had known what I was getting myself into. As you can probably figure out, the doctor was Slade, Franklin his lackey. I cannot remember what it was that Franklin had done to betray Slade. Perhaps it was for harboring me."
Starfire's voice grew thick. "Franklin paid the ultimate price. As to why Slade kept me, not only was I indebted to him, but I suppose once my catatonic state over Franklin's death passed, I was of use to him because my powers were restored and his apprentice had been disposed of." She winced at the choice of words she used for her fallen friend.
"I am afraid," Starfire admitted. " I am afraid of losing myself. I fear that soon I shall lose my identity as a person working for Slade and become nothing more than a tool. I do not want that but I do not know how to break free." She then realized why she was comfortable talking to Robin and for such a prolonged period of time. It was because around him she knew she would never lose her identity as individual, as a living being. He merely listened and wasn't judgmental. At least not on the surface anyway.
She was startled to find that was sitting so close to her. Robin looked at her intently. "You're not a tool Starfire. You're not someone's possession and you never will be."
Starfire realized too late what was happening,. "Robin," she began sadly. "You--" She was silenced by a pair of soft, warm lips covering her own. Swallowing her tears, Starfire gently kissed him back. The kiss was brief, ending when Starfire pushed Robin back. "Robin, I have told you this before," she said mournfully, "You cannot save me."
Robin didn't say anything, but lifted her chin with his thumb and forefinger, kissing her again. He then clamped his hands around her arms to prevent her from moving away. Starfire knew that she could easily escape his grasp but decided that she no longer cared. Throwing caution to the wind, Starfire wrapped her arms around Robin's neck and kissed him back with fervor. Robin deepened the kiss, dropping one arm to wrap around her waist, his free hand snaking into her thick locks.
Once again Starfire pulled away. "Robin I'm sorry," she said, grabbing his hand. "But I cannot. We cannot do this," She laced their fingers together and raised them to eye level. "A relationship, love is so precious but," she shook her head. "But with Slade out there and me under his control, there's so much at risk…"
"I'm a hero Star," Robin said. "Heroes fight and they fight for what's right, I'll get you out of this, promise."
"You cannot promise me that," Starfire answered. "It is too big of a promise and promises break so easily. But it is alright." She nodded, sure of herself. "Everything will be fine eventually."
She looked down at their joined hands, then looked at Robin. "One last time," She whispered. Running her fingers through Robin's hair, Starfire pulled him in for a tender kiss, conveying all of the emotions, that she, as an apprentice of Slade was forbidden to feel.
Pulling away once again, Starfire closed Robin's fingers over the computer disk. Looking at him, peering so intensely at him, seeing past the barrier of the mask, Starfire whispered, "Goodbye."
As Starfire flew into the starry night, Robin stared pensively after her for a moment or two before hopping on the R-cycle and headed back to the tower. "I have got to find a way to save Starfire. She doesn't deserve this, she never deserved this."
As Robin wracked his mind for ways to take down Slade without jeopardizing Starfire's life, he pulled into the garage belonging to Titans Tower.
When Robin entered the OPs room, he was bombarded by Cyborg and Beast Boy. "Where have you been man?!" That was Cyborg.
"Yeah dude, we come back from kicking Cinderblock's butt and when we went up to the infirmary to go check on you, you pull a Houdini!" Beast Boy exclaimed. "Do you have any idea how worried Raven was?"
Said empath rolled her eyes. Focusing on her leader and friend she asked calmly. "You went to see Starfire, didn't you?" Before Robin could respond, the boys rounded on him.
"You saw Starfire? Do you have any idea how dangerous she is?!" Cyborg demanded. "She's the one who put you in the infirmary in the first place! You could've been killed!"
Robin was relaxed as he answered his irate teammate. "Starfire made no show of attack the whole time I was with her."
"She could've been talking you down, making sure your guard is down for a later attack," Cyborg pointed out. "She is a pretty girl, she could've tried to exploit some weakness."
"You watch too many Disney movies," Robin growled. "Listen to yourself. Starfire could've attacked me. Could have. But she didn't. Starfire did all of the talking, I hardly said a word. She's trapped, helpless. She's Slade's slave!"
He directed his next statement to Beast Boy. "You as well as I should know that she doesn't deserve this." Robin swung his glare back to Cyborg. "Besides, had Starfire lured me into a trap, wouldn't I just be a body in the street by now?"
Robin looked at Raven, his tone becoming slightly softer. "Besides, what villain would genuinely care if she had harmed her adversaries and be upset by it?"
"The sick ones who are disappointed that their adversaries are no longer fun and are out of commission," Beast Boy said in a surprisingly monotonous tone. He was still recovering from the sting of Robin's subtle mentioning of Terra.
"Wouldn't they just kick them while they're down?" Robin asked rhetorically. "Finish them off? If that's the case, then why are we all still standing here?"
When none of the other Titans contested Robin's words, the leader muttered, "I'm going to bed." As he whirled to face the door, Raven spoke. "Robin, what's that in your hair?"
Frowning slightly, Robin rifled through his jet black spikes, pulling out a long piece of red thread. He stared at it, the beginnings of a conjecture overwhelming him. Robin raced to the lab, with shaking hands, he placed the thread on a slide, nearly shattering the small rectangle of glass. Adjusting the powers to reach one hundred, Robin peered through the eye piece of the microscope. It was just as he thought.
"She was wired?!" Cyborg yelled.
"Dude, of course she was wired." Apparently his team mates had caught up with him. "But Rob," Beast Boy began. "If you're saying there was no fight between you two, then how come you have her wire?"
Robin thought back to the kiss that couldn't have been more than an hour ago. Starfire was looking down at their clasped hands, then ran her delicate fingers through his hand before kissing him. The kiss must have been a distraction as she intertwined the wire with his hair. He wondered briefly as to where the wire had been located on Starfire then remembered running his own hands through her hair. The wire must have come loose.
"Yeah, she was wired," Robin started, a triumphant smirk beginning to etch itself upon his face. "But now we know where to find her!"
"Wonderful," Raven said in her monotone, an underlying hint of sincerity. "But do you have any idea how to stop Slade?"
Robin's smirk faded and his expression became so serious it was reminiscent to that of his former mentor's. "I'll find a way," he began. "I promised Starfire I would save her. She doesn't believe me but I'll get her away from Slade's grasp by any means possible."
Starfire soared, dipped, curled and arced her way through the evening skies. She wasn't surprised by the fact she was flying, and not plummeting to the ground out of the fear of Slade punishing her. Her love for Robin kept her buoyant as she sailed across the starlit darkness. Oh sure, a kernel of rationality deep within the recesses of her conscious pointed out that it might not be possible for her to stay with the Teen Wonder, but Starfire merely silently shushed the voice and continued to fly back to Slade's lair, dredging up as much righteous fury she could muster, preparing herself for her master's wrath.
Laughing, Starfire twirled through the laser cannons and waltzed past the flying daggers. She landed soundlessly, the weight of the exchange about to take place came to light. Yet Starfire held her head up high, shoulders squared, refusing to let fear or trepidation affect her stance. She walked, not only with the boundless confidence that came with rebellion, but was buoyed by Robin's (if forbidden) love for her.
"So tell me Starfire," Slade began upon his apprentice's entrance. He kept his gaze on the "snow-filled" videoscreens. "What have you learned about Robin?"
Find some other hussy to flaunt her feminine wiles Slade," Starfire declared brazenly. "I am through."
Slade chuckled, a near muted sound. "I beg your pardon, but I thought you said--"
"I did not trip up in my speaking," Starfire interrupted. "And your hearing is not damaged. Get yourself another girl, I'm through."
"And what pray tell my dear," Slade began. "Possessed you to believe you to believe that you are free to take your leave?" Slade's laughter became louder. "You work for me, you belong to me. You. Are. Mine."
Starfire fought to suppress a shiver as she hissed, "I belong to no one Slade. You took me in because I was broken and you saw I was of use to you."
Starfire rose in the air, her clenched fists encased in blazing orbs of emerald. "I know better now, I am stronger now and I am no one's tool!" She let loose a star bolt, the alien energy just barely missing the villain's head. She continued to speak in a low, deadly whisper, "I can destroy you."
Slade remained unfazed during his apprentice's little rant. He smirked underneath his mask. "You do have the power to destroy me Starfire, but you don't have the heart."
Irked at his observation, Starfire snarled before unleashing a larger star bolt, this one clearly aimed at Slade's head. When the smoke cleared, Starfire saw to her annoyance that Slade had avoided her attack. Before her lips could form the first syllable of the Tamaranean curse she had in mind, Starfire found herself in a choke hold.
"You cannot touch me, Little Girl," Slade snapped. "No apprentice has ever surpassed this master before, don't think you'll be the first!" He threw Starfire across the room.
"You cannot break me," Starfire gasped as she struggled to rise. "Besides, O oneness," Starfire continued acidly. "You cannot beat Robin. He has no weaknesses! And he's gonna...!" Starfire flinched when she lifted her gaze and saw Slade looming inches away from her face.
"I believe he does have a weakness my dear," Slade ran a gloved hand through Starfire's hair increasing her desire to scream. "I truly believe he does."
I gotta be honest, while the majority of this story is mine, I did reference a lot of sources that aren't mine. Starfire's personality at the end of this is based off a movie I love. Points to those who can figure it out! The thread in Starfire's hair that was a series of microchips is a concept taken from a Justice League novel and was actually used to protect Wonder Woman. Franklin, Starfire's boyfriend was actually from the comics universe. A brief synopsis of his story is that he was hired by the H.I.V.E to infiltrate the Titans and discover their secret. He was eventually murdered by his employer due to a falling out. So, no, no connection to Slade whatsoever...that I know of.
This story also isn't done. It might be continued into another chapter, I just don't quite have an ending for this. If anyone has any suggestions let me know please!