Here is a new story that was a plot bunny that has been writing itself. The plot bunny attacked and placed me in front of my computer. Part of the story is based on a story I outlined years ago, but fits for this story in the Teen Titans Fandom and once the plot bunny picked that up, we were off to the races... er, the computer.

Time Period: After the cartoon series Teen Titans and the comic Teen Titans Go! has ended. Robin has become Nightwing and has broken up with Starfire after they had been were together since Tokyo. As is canon, his secret identity is Dick Grayson, the first Robin of the comics. I've also incorporated some aspects of the comics including the clever Starfire with a strong warrior side. Although the miniseries comic "Prodigal Son" is mentioned, I've not actually read it cause it is out of print and so, so expensive on eBay, so I've interpreted it very loosely to fit my story.

This is a stand alone piece as I write it now (not related to my stories A Day Off, June Fete and Lavaliere) but it is consistent with Auld Lang Syne and therefore that story can be considered a prequel. I guess the same can go for Lost in the Flood, which takes place right after the cartoon incarnation of the Teen Titans team forms.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. They belong to DC Comics with the cartoon rights owned by Warner Brothers and surprisingly I don't own them either. I do own the 'Jukebox' concept, which will be explained later in the story.

Warnings: T to start, may go up, for adult situations and language. Also, there are some religious references in this first chapter. Please don't flame. If not truly canon there are indications in the comics that Dick Grayson was of Christian faith, most likely Protestant. They are relatively minor to the story as a whole and the assumption I am making is that he has some belief in God. Oh, and there's racism or more precisely 'anti-nonhumanism', 'anti-alienism'.

Main Characters mentioned in this chapter (I know you guys know these players but thought I'd still list them):

Nightwing – Richard 'Dick' Grayson (human)

Starfire – Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran (Tamaranean)

Cyborg – Victor Stone (cybernetically enhanced human)

Batman – Bruce Wayne (human)

Superman – Kal-El of Krypton, with the 'human' alias of Clark Kent (Kryptonian)

Beast Boy – Garfield Logan (human with mutations)

Raven – Rachel Roth (½ human, ½ demon)

Batgirl – Barbara 'Babs' Gordon (human) – this is before she is paralyzed by the Joker's bullet and become Oracle

Sorry, lots of introductory author's notes, shortish first chapter... now on with the story:

Jukebox

Chapter 1

"Man, this is worse than the bar scene from Star Wars", muttered the hero Nightwing, the former sidekick Robin and still leader of the Titans, to himself. It was in fact quite a bit like the bar scene from Star Wars. But this is where he found himself: the ship had to refuel and be inspected, and the station was where you had to do those things in this sector. He could have waited with the T-ship but Cyborg was driving him crazy. Of course Nightwing had broken the heart of the closest thing Cyborg had to a sister. So he wandered off and found the bar.

It wasn't the multitude of alien races or would it be more correct to say, alien species that had him thinking of the famous movie scene. He had spent enough time with people from other worlds as a hero for it to really bother him. Although most of these individuals wouldn't have powers, which was probably a good thing as he felt the undercurrent of hostility between certain patrons. It was the subdued lighting, the multiple languages (everyone in the Justice League and the Titans pretty much stuck with English), and the sleazy bar-ness about the place. One can only guess what went on in this establishment. The worst bar in Bludhaven was much cleaner, much more 'legit'.

He looked around for anyone he knew, although not likely, it was possible. It was a small universe after all. He didn't even notice that many humans, but plenty of humanoids. He briefly wondered why the erect biped was such a universal design. His secular and his scientific side thought of natural selection and evolution but his Protestant upbringing kept him hopeful for an 'in His image' design to the beings of the universe.

He stopped a moment to pray to the God that he really hoped was there, that he wanted to believe was there. He had prayed for guidance and strength frequently in his life. He had prayed for these things in his relationship with Starfire, but this was the first time he remembered praying that Starfire would take him back.

And that's why he was in Outer Space: to go back to Tamaran. He hoped that there wasn't a wedding to stop this time. But Starfire hadn't left due to a betrothal this time – she left because, quite simply, Nightwing had been an ass.

Their relationship was good for a long time, or so he thought. But he would later realize he started to take advantage of Starfire's giving nature, ignoring her for days at a time, allowing himself to become obsessed or just self-focused. Always being heroes first. Taking for granted that she would be there. But her love for Nightwing and her loyalty to him and their relationship was tested far too many times. And when he got glimpses of the warrior that she truly was along with the side that was his beautiful princess, he would jump to conclusions that she would not be able to contain that side of herself. He would yell at her, even pull her off of duty, although she never went over the line. Starfire always held back, there was simply no choice and she was fine with it. She knew that heroes didn't kill and she knew she was far too sensitive to let that happen. For pity's sake, she apologized to Cinderblock after attacking him on more than one occasion. Raven might be the team's Empath, but Starfire truly had empathy for all things, even the occasional inanimate one.

Then there was when Bane had injured Batman so badly, leaving Nightwing's mentor's body broken. Batman was only human, and Bruce Wayne needed to heal like a human. Well, like a human with the best of the best medicine and technology the universe had to offer.

So Nightwing came home, back to Gotham, back to the Bat Family. A Prodigal Son? Perhaps, but Bruce Wayne's love was much more conditional than the father in the parable from the pages of the Gospel according to Luke. But in his own way, Bruce was happy that Nightwing, or rather Dick Grayson, had come home in his time of need.

Taking up the mantle of Batman had been hard on Dick. It had been harder on Starfire. It wasn't just the physical distance. Dick modeled Bruce's behavior more than ever now that he wore the cowl. He became darker, more of a loner. He no longer enjoyed the sunrise or the sunsets. He became the night.

It didn't help that quite frankly, Bruce Wayne and even his Batman persona was xenophobic. He tried to explain it as he didn't trust anyone, that he was always that paranoid. But when Dick finally really thought about it, Batman (and Bruce) always had kryptonite with him. Superman was a fairly close friend, as close a friend as Batman has, and a member of the core 7 members of the Justice League. But Batman never trusted him. Not fully. Even before he temporarily turned evil. Not so secretly, Bruce believed aliens couldn't be trusted.

Bruce never liked Starfire. Not that he thought that dating a teammate was ever acceptable, but he really didn't want Starfire to be with Nightwing, or Kory Anders to be with Dick Grayson. He hadn't been crazy about the time when, still as Robin, Dick dated Babs, who was Batgirl. But Bruce wished he hadn't discouraged it. She was older than Dick and he dismissed it at the time as puppy love, but at least she was human. Still even when they were team members, and there should never be dating within the team as far as Batman was concerned, Babs was definitely the lesser of two evils.

But that was how Bruce felt and not how Dick felt. But Dick let Bruce influence him, always wanting to please him, and after those months back in Gotham, things got worse and worse with Kory. He cursed himself for it, but he had spent time with Babs that was not just work or Bat Family time. Not that he cheated on Kory physically, but perhaps emotionally. During that time he found himself thinking of Kory more and more as an alien and less as his best friend and girlfriend. It was a betrayal that he would have to admit to Kory if she took him back so that there were no secrets. Boy, that was a conversation that when he thought about it, he practically shuddered. It didn't help that Babs had made more than a few sexual overtures, although Dick did not give in to temptation. Things might be completely lost if anything on those lines had happened.

TtTtTtTtTt

Here you have the first chapter. All set up, no dialog, sorry but hopefully its an interesting enough premise. Please review and let me know what you think!

Next up: Nightwing returns to Titans Tower and things get off on the wrong foot:

"I would like to do the forgiving of you for ignoring me, your girlfriend, since your return home, but our friends have made an effort to welcome you back to the tower, back to the role of leader of the Teen Titans, and you sit here in your office like a klorbag."

Klorbag. Perhaps not her best choice of words, no matter how accurate it described him at that moment. It was another reminder that Starfire was different, an alien, and all the reasons why that was what made them a such a special couple were forgotten. He got defensive.

"I don't care about a party, Starfire! I've been getting my butt kicked all over Gotham for months and now that I'm back, I've got to make sure everything is in order here with the Titans."

"If there was difficulty for you in Gotham, why did you not call me or the Titans or the Justice League for assistance?" she countered.

Because Bruce would never do that.... he thought as his eyes narrowed. No matter how beautiful she was when she was angry, and those glowing green eyes made it obvious she was angry, he began to fall into the trap of having to win the argument, no matter what the cost...