Edited July 4, 2013
Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF IT WAS YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH?
What would you do if it was your last day on Earth?
Would you spend it with tears in your eyes, or worse, broken down in despair, cursing your fate?
Or would you embrace the day, thankful that there had been some warning before it was time to go?
It hadn't come as a terrible shock: Starfire knew in her heart that Tamaran would someday call their Princess home, and she also knew that she would heed that call, returning to her people, her homeland, Tamaran. In her heart, and her her mind as well, she knew she had to: for her people.
It was her father and not the people of Tamaran who had enslaved her at the Citadel and when she escaped, returned her there. It was her sister and not the people of Tamaran who would deceive Starfire in many ways, preying on her compassion – her greatest asset, yet a times her greatest weakness – and pull Koriand'r into an alignment with her, to use her, and to later betray her. Over and over again.
The people were aware of some of this, perhaps, but had no actual or perceived power to help her. No matter, when they called for her, it was her duty to go.
... For her people ...
Robin watched Starfire carefully as she told him about the call. She told him first of course, as she would have at any point during her time on Earth. He was her best friend and had been from the beginning. He was now also her boyfriend, and quite recently he became her lover.
Reading people was among the skills that the World's Greatest Detective had taught him. And Kory was hardly a difficult read, both because she was Tamaranean and because they were so very close. Soul mates, Kory had always been certain, a couple so fated to be together that it had never mattered that their worlds were 26 Light Years apart.
The conversation, like so many important one in their lives (that hadn't taken place in Tokyo), took place on the roof of Titan Tower.
Sunsets were always theirs together, but sunrises were generally spent apart. Robin would go to the roof when he could, but Kory needed to rejuvenate by absorbing the Sun's rays, and this was done with greatest efficiency without clothes in her room as the sunlight came in through special glass that offered no UVA or UVB ray protection.
It was sunrise and seeing Kory there hardly had shocked Richard. She had been out of bed very early, arising on one of the rare occasions before him. He had worked through dinner and late into the night. It was the first night he had done that in a while, and through the years, Kory knew that it was not necessary for his health or sanity to remind him to take a break from working a case until about the third night. That was for his health and sanity, not hers.
So he arrived in their bed and snuggled up next to her, gathering her up and pulling her close. He was asleep before it registered that there was dampness on her pillow. Starfire awoke early, and opted to go up high into the atmosphere to gather her energy from the sun.
There was no difficulty with her flight – in spite of the call, she did not lack the joy necessary for flight. Robin had provided enough joy for her for a life time. It had little to do with the decision to go anyway. Was it actually even a decision for her? To her, it was her duty.
"You were up early," Robin greeted her with a broad smile, never tiring of watching her descend from the sky and then light onto the tower's roof.
"Indeed," she responded, returning his smile. "I chose to gather in the rays of Sol more directly today."
Sure, she had done this before, but for a quick fix to gather a lot of energy in a short amount of time. Richard searched her eyes. "Is everything all right, Kory?"
In her younger years, she would have denied it and within a sentence or two, admitted that she did 'not know when people were speaking of shovels'. Now she was more direct. "No, it is not." Her voice solemn, her eyes remained locked in contact with his. "I am returning to Tamaran."
... Duty ...
Robin gave a sharp nod after less than a second to process this. She was Princess. Galfore ruled in her stead, and before that it was Blackfire, well he always knew she was a manipulative gremplork not worth-
He stopped his mind and refocused on his princess. He cupped her cheek. "What's your schedule?"
Richard listened with intent as she explained that Blackfire had overthrown Galfore, but that the people had risen up and there was an assassination attempt. Blackfire was left alive, but very crippled, unable to fly, or even walk at least for now, her prognosis unclear.
Galfore had been injured as well with a severe neck injury at Blackfire's hand. His prognosis as well was unclear for recovery, even for survival.
But the uprising was no coup d tat, and there was no leader to run the planet. With so many predatory peoples leaving on planets within the Vega Star System and nearby, Koriand'r was there only hope.
There was a modicum of calm there at the moment, and Kory chose to take advantage of that time to get her affairs in order and to prepare to go home to Tamaran, to likely go home forever.
Starfire had nine days, a little over a week. 216 hours. 12,960 minutes. 777,600 seconds. So very, very little time. There was so much to do, and there was so much more to say.
Most women would expect their boyfriends to beg them not to go in the given situation, but Starfire was no normal woman.
Most men would expect their girlfriends to refuse to go, or to at least try to find an alternative, but Robin was no normal man.
Starfire knew that had to do it for her people, that it was her duty. And boy, did Robin understand the concept of duty.
They chose to keep things to themselves that first day, knowing that Cyborg and Beast Boy were not going to take it well. Raven would understand; in fact, it was likely she was at least aware that something major was up.
Without a word, Richard lead Kory back to bed and they spent the morning and well into the afternoon making love. Little was said. Words failed neither of them; it was just that words weren't necessary.
There was no reason to state the obvious. "I'm going to miss you", well of course. "I love you." Ditto. "I'll always love you." No, really?
The klaxon of an alarm brought them back into the universe beyond their own. And to the realization that they were both hungry but that would have to wait. Anyway, a battle with Plasmus is never a time to think about food, and if they had eaten, well... let's just say there were no ill-effects from not eating.
Not that he would have expected things to have been different in how Starfire performed during an alarm, but as team leader, Robin had to keep a special eye on Starfire during the fight. If there was anything off, it was understandable and allowances could be made.
But there was nothing off, not at all. She was singularly focused on the task at hand. The other teammates did not notice anything different about Starfire's performance on the battlefield. Cyborg did notice Robin watching Starfire more than usual.
Cyborg's voice was curious yet questioning. "What's wrong, Rob? You're watching her like a hawk. Or like Control Freak. Star's doing great out there!"
"Nothing's wrong, Cy. Just enjoying the view," Robin replied with a mischievous smirk. He occasionally showed that side of him now, and it was also good cover.
It had been a while since the team fought Plasmus, but they had their standing ritual when it was over with: Go home, shower, regroup, pizza.
During dinner, Raven certainly knew something was up, she had all day, but she did not say anything to either Robin or Starfire, especially in front of, as they were known as more and more these days, 'The Boys.' But sadness was setting in, and that was visible even if the signs were subtle at dinner that night. But as per usual, the war over the Omnivore versus the Vegetarian kept BB and Cy preoccupied.
Yes, in battle, Koriand'r could be in the fight completely. The Tamaraneans were a warrior race, so the singularity of the goal to fighting was innate. And the Warlords of Okaara made sure that focus remained.
But the thoughts about leaving crept into other parts of her life. She was sad, she had regrets, she wanted to 'pull a Kitten' and yell 'Why, why, why?' She wanted more time. On Earth. As a hero. With her friends. And with him.
Robin couldn't shake the empty feeling. Starfire made him whole. Without her, he could be lost to the darkness. Without her, would Warp's future come to pass? Without Starfire's friendship, would the rest of the team's world fall apart?
But each held their thoughts close for the moment. Starfire went on a solo trip to the mall of shopping. A previously planned trip to 'compare and choose some new outfits for the ritual of the date of Saturdays', was scaled back to the choice of one outfit and the painting of the toenails.
Robin handled the situation by training. Hitting a heavy bag offered little satisfaction, and the harder he hit the bag, it only served to make his grunts grow louder. His frustration remained. His frustration, that at the moment at least was not at her leaving, but rather frustration in himself for wanting to ask her not to go. She had a duty and it was to her people. The needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few (or the one, as in, for him).
The break came rather quickly. Starfire had taken the path by the training room to get to the laundry. She sat down and cried after the third load. Was she going to even bring home or even need any Earthen garments? BB's gift for her 19th birthday of a shirt of T's that said "F the F'ng F'rs!" - was that really appropriate for royalty to wear? Was any of it? Cut off jean shorts, belly shirts, bikinis (Tamaraneans swam naked), Robin Logo underwear?
She had held up like a champ going through much of her room, her mementos, her closet, that was until she looked at her old prom gown, but now, she couldn't stand it anymore. She didn't want to go. Heading back with her folded 'fresh, clean' smelling laundry she passed the training room again. It wasn't a normal training time for Robin; she assumed he was in the office.
His sounds were familiar but there was a desperation in the angry, frustrated grunts as he tried to destroy the heavy bag. She had only heard that tone when Slade's mask had made him think Slade was there. What a horrible night that was. It was the only time Robin had ever physically hurt her.
He stopped punching but kept his back to her, his shoulders slumping. He remained silent except for the pull of air into his lungs, as he struggled to get in enough oxygen, having overworked so he didn't have to think. Not that it worked.
He was shirtless, and Kory could not help but stare at him, hypnotized by the rhythmical expansion and contraction of Richard's chest as he breathed. It was rare when he was out of breath. It was fascinating to watch.
She realized that he had neither turned nor spoken. "Robin?"
Robin couldn't turn, he just couldn't. It was hard enough not to break down into sobs. He could not let her see his tears.
"Sorry, Kory. I'm just having a weak moment here."
"Weak?" He appeared, as always, in incredible shape and had been hitting the bag with some force. She had observed him doing so.
"Yeah. I have no right..." His words drifted off. He could not say it. He could not ask her.
He hadn't turned so she approached him and placed a slender tan hand on his shoulder. He turned toward her and his face told her everything.
She pulled him into a tight hug, as many of the hard planes of his body interfacing with the soft ones of hers. "I feel the same," she murmured into his hair.
The meeting with the other three Titans went well considering he topic. Raven knew already, not that emotion would have been shown of course. But Starfire knew Raven was a friend and gone were the days where she actually meant that 'people come, people go'. Cy was the brave big brother, wanting to take care of his little sister, to help her, but he was coming apart at the seams as he watched her hold herself together. Beast Boy was both brave and well behaved. If people were in a joking mood, it might have been remarked that his behavior was a sign of the Apocalypse.
And the days marched on for there was no stopping them. Starfire insisted on going on alarms and there was no reason for her not to. Richard hated to think about a replacement, but he had to – Starfire was too important and the team needed a fifth member, another powerhouse to replace her. He would call Donna Troy. But not until after Kory returned to Tamaran. No one needs to be replaced while they are still there. So it would wait, wait until after she was gone.
They chose not to tell Titans East and by extension, the Titan Network. Kory recorded digital messages to her close friends that would be sent after her departure, and she also recorded a message for the other heroes, the Outsiders and the Justice League.
BB, Cy and Raven chipped in together to send Kory and Richard to an exclusive resort for the last weekend before she was to leave. Touched by the idea, Kory asked them to request 'the returning of your funds': "I wish to be with you my friends, with you my family during my last days on Earth."
... Soul Mates ...
And in those last days, Robin and Starfire, as well as Richard and Kory, grew closer. Each had private thoughts of how a baby could to tie them together forever. But it would be ultimately dismissed by each as being unfair to their future child, and to the other, even thought those thoughts were never discussed. And as for their bond: they were already bonded inextricably and that would not change. Ever.
And the last day came, and the last chance to say those things. It was, more than likely, Starfire's last day on Earth.
There was no desperate clinging, no crushing kisses, no breathless screaming professions of love. There was no drama. Hell, there was plenty of that in their lives, what would either of them do with more drama?
What would you do if it was your last day on Earth?
Kory and Richard shared the day, at peace with what would be.
Starfire had a duty to her people, and Robin had always known this day would more than likely come. Not liking it wasn't going to help.
And they knew where they stood with each other. Sure, it was likely they'd drift apart, being no longer 'geographically desirable'. Twenty-six light years cuts into impromptu picnics. It would also interfere with standing Saturday night dinner dates likely to be held at the latest restaurant everyone is talking about or their favorite little bistro where the chef will hide mustard in a mug so when Starfire drinks it no one stares. Well, she'd be stared at, but not for that reason.
And in the final minutes before departure Kory felt something had to be said. She knew Richard knew how she felt, but she decided to say the words. She did not want to appear feel... rutha, weak. But she would not be true to herself or her emotions if she didn't say it.
She may never have the chance to say the words again. "I do not wish to be apart from you."
He smiled with that lopsided smile she had always loved. "And I can't stand the thought of being apart from you."
They shared a brief sensual kiss and Richard placed his forehead to hers. "I'll miss you, more than you'll ever know."
"And I you, and I will love you forever."
"I'll always love you, Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran," he gave her a wink, "soon to coronated Grand Ruler Koriand'r of Tamaran."
She gave him a sad smile. She was up to the task of Grand Ruler, there was no doubt but was so sad to leave, and he read all of that in her eyes.
There was a flash in his eyes as his mind processed a new thought. The flash was very subtle, and of course had he left his mask in place she'd never have known.
What would you do if it was your last day on Earth?
In Koriand'r's case, you ask the love of your life, "Will you come with me, with me to Tamaran, Richard?"
She bit her lip. She had not wanted to pressure not burden him but she needed to ask him. She would always regret it if she didn't.
Richard looked at her carefully, just making sure he was right about how she felt. His face was serious and Kory's heart began to sink. Unbidden tears came to his eyes and then the corner of one side of his lips curled the slightest bit upward. Her heart recovered.
He didn't answer verbally. Again, not because he didn't have the words, but because they weren't necessary.
So when a tear fell and Robin kissed Starfire, she was certain of not only depth of his feelings and what he wanted for their future.
Thank you for reading and please review!
Robin's answer? I know what I think it is... but I'll let you decide...