Written on my iPod, please forgive stupid typos and my terrible editing skills when it comes to my own stuff.
Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese): Tenderly running your fingers through your lover's hair.
Starfire never considered herself to be a vain person. Truthfully, she did fret over her physical appearance, but usually it was because she was worried that if she did not look good in a Tamaranean sense, she would never be accepted on Earth. She had seen movies, like the Mean Girls , and she knew that Earth girls placed very much importance in how one looked, even if they knew it was more important to judge how one behaved. Human eyes had a difficult seeing past the outer layer of physical appearances. It may not have been fair, but it was how things were.
That was why, right now, Starfire was sprawled on her stomach on her round bed, her head buried under her pillow. She wasn't crying, but her current mood was a far cry from content.
"Starfire," came the familiar voice at her door. "Let me in."
"No!" she called, her voice muffled by her pillow.
At this point in their relationship, Robin had access to Starfire's bedroom, even when her door was locked, but he wouldn't enter if she didn't want him to.
"Robin, I wish to be alone."
Any of the Titans should have seen it coming. Starfire was perhaps at a tactical disadvantage because of certain aspects of her Tamaranean appearance. The revealing uniform she wore did not protect her from things like claws or the occasional sharp weapon as Robin's or Beast Boy's did, and Raven at least had her cloak which she could draw about her. But Tamaraneans have skin that is a bit tougher to pierce than humans, and they heal more quickly, as well, so any damage that was done was usually gone overnight.
It was not her uniform that had failed her this time.
"Star, come on," Robin's voice wafted through the door.
Perhaps if she pretended to have fallen asleep, he would go away.
"Fine," he said when she didn't answer. His voice was gentle but firm. "I'll just sit here, then, and wait for you to come out." The sliding sounds against the metal told her that Robin had pressed his back against the door and then sank into a sitting position.
That was too bad, because she really wished to be alone.
This time, it was her hair, which she had always been proud of, which flowed behind her like an odd combination of flame and water when she flew, and as she reached adulthood by Tamaranean standards even burned at the tips when she became angry, that had failed her.
It was only the Fearsome Five, who were formerly known as the HIVE Five. It was not supposed to be anything that was difficult to handle. Raven fought Kyd Wykkyd, Beast Boy took on Gizmo, Robin was engaged in combat with Billy Numerous, and Cyborg was struggling against See-More. That left Mammoth for Starfire.
Mammoth had not only super strength that rivaled Starfire's own, but he was also nearly immune to her starbolts. She had beaten him before, but it seems that the Fearsome Five had become more ruthless than the Titans realized. Consistent losses have that effect on villains, unfortunately.
If it would have been any of the Five, Starfire did not expect it to be Mammoth. Kyd Wykkyd, possibly. See-More, perhaps. Gizmo, a very real threat. But Mammoth seemed the gentle giant.
Until he pulled a knife.
He was unskilled with the weapon, it was clear. He first tried to press the blade against her carotid artery, but her breastplate covered it. So he held the handle in a fist and pointed the tip at her stomach. It was possible to survive a stab to the stomach, and it would not serve the same drama as a wound to the neck. But Tamaraneans have nine stomachs. There was more to hit on her than there was on humans. One hand fisted in her hair, which she tried to ignite but she had not mastered the technique yet, he held her captive. She could not even struggle for fear of jerking into the blade.
The Titans froze. To make matters worse, they had been doing considerably better I their individual battles. Billy Numerous was stemming a bloody nose, Gizmo's machinery leaked blue sparks and black oil, See-More was surrounded by eye pieces that had fallen to his feet as Cyborg disabled them.
"Mammoth," Cyborg said calmly, holding his hands palms out to show that he meant no harm. "Think about what you're doing."
"No, Titans," he growled. "You know me. I don't think."
"Put the knife down," Robin warned.
Starfire's cheeks were hot with shame and she attempted to twist away, but Mammoth yanked her hair painfully. "Leave. Now," he growled.
"All right, Mammoth!" Gizmo cheered.
"Quiet," See-More snapped, his eye clicking furiously from Mammoth to the Titans, assessing the situation.
Mammoth's hands were not even in a position where she could bit them. Elbowing the giant in the stomach had no visible effect, and although she would not admit this, it only served to cause fiery pain to shoot up her elbow. It was like attacking brick.
"Back up!" Mammoth ordered, and the tip of the knife pressed against Starfire's skin, drawing a line of blood which welled against her tan skin.
The Titans obeyed.
This could not continue. Floating, Starfire attempted to knee him in the groin, but her movement made him press the knife against the line he drew. "We get out loot and you get to go free," Mammoth told her, and she definitely was not imagining the apologetic quality in his voice. Not that an apology would make this better.
Starfire charged a starbolt as the members of the Fearsome Five began stacking wooden crates to bring back to their base. She had never tried this before. She didn't know if it was possible.
She grabbed her hair as though she were about to pull it into a ponytail and she let a starbolt form in either hand. Tamaranean hair was nearly fireproof, being that it generated fire itself. The starbolts needed to be very hot. The strands sizzled beneath her fingers, and the green energy was almost too hot against her scalp.
But it worked.
The moment she was free, the Titans pounced with renewed energy, all at Mammoth. Starfire didn't know if the other members had been apprehended; she was too ashamed to be of any assistance and she Berliner for the Tower and for her bed.
It had been several minutes since Robin had said anything, and hesitantly, Starfire lifted the pillow from her head.
"Robin? Are you still there?"
"You may enter," she told him, although she hurried to throw a blanket over her head to cover the charred, uneven ends of her hair, which hardly reached the nape of her neck anymore.
The door slid open, revealing the bright lights of the hallway as compared to the darkness Starfire created in her room by turning off the light and drawing the curtains, and Robin stepped into the threshold.
For a moment he stood silently, looking at his girlfriend hunch over beneath her blanket. Then he hurried to sit next to her and he pulled the blanket apart at her stomach.
"Are you alright? It didn't look like a deep cut, but—"
She had patched up the wound across her stomach with a first aid kit that Robin insisted they keep in their rooms. "I am fine," she assured him, and tears jumped into her eyes. "I am sorry for failing."
"Hey," Robin soothed, holding either side of her face between he his hands. "It's okay. It happens. If I had to write a list of all the times I screwed up with-well, you know-it'd reach from one end of the hallway to the other."
"I had to sacrifice my hair," she said, and tears jumped into her eyes.
"It's okay, Star. It's not so bad." He gingerly slipped his fingers under the hood she had created out of the blanket, but she pulled the material tight against her scalp before he could see.
"Please," she choked around a lump in her throat. "Do not."
"Well, I'm gonna have to see it eventually, Star."
"No, you do not. Perhaps Raven may purchase a wig and I will use that until my hair grows back."
"Starfire." The word was not a reprimand. "You're being silly."
"I truly do not wish for you to see," she told him desperately.
He draped his hand and sighed helplessly. "Relax, okay?" He tilted her chin up and kissed her softly, a reassuring gesture. "You know I love you."
"I know," she sniffed, and then she added, "I love you, too."
"Can I please see?" he asked gently.
Biting her lip nervously, Starfire jerked the hood back and the blanket fell open around her shoulders. The two long pieces that hung in front of her ears and her curled bangs remained the same, but bits of charred hair, all at different lengths, hung sadly around chin level, sometimes dipping down shoulder length. Combined with the tears in Starfire's eyes, it looked, well... sad. But Robin smiled and traced a line from behind her ear to the end of a strand of hair. "You're beautiful, you know that?"
Blinking made tears run down her cheeks, and Robin wiped at them with his thumb. "I'm sorry that happened, Star. We'll have to prepare for things like that in the future. But you know, this isn't so bad. A little uneven, but Raven can cut it for you so it's all... you know... styled, or whatever."
All she could do was nod. Gratefulness made her blink back tears. "Th-thank you," she managed when she had herself under control. She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Robin's neck, squeezing perhaps a little too hard but he didn't say anything.
"No problem, Star." He threaded his fingers through her hair and traced lines along her scalp down to the charred ends. "It'll grow back, soon enough, but I kind of like it this way."
She placed her hand over the top of his on her scalp. "Perhaps I will learn to, as well."
Robin touched his knuckle to her chin. "That's the spirit." He stood and, backing toward the door, he said, "Let me go get Raven for you."
Well. That was surprisingly angsty, considering the prompt. Seriously, I could have gone the complete opposite way with this. But I didn't because I love angst, apparently. I don't know how that happened, by the way. Remember when it was November and all my stories were sickeningly fluffy? Remember?
Also, sorry about the formatting, I was kind of unsure of what to do. There was a flashback (I generally hate flashbacks, guys, because I have no idea how to go about writing them, but I've done them twice in this little drabble series thing, imagine that) but I didn't want to mark it with ellipses like I usually do because it wasn't entirely separate so I just put an extra space and… *flails*
One more quickie quick note (quickie is actually a word according to Microsoft, is something I learned just now), I think I'm going to be updating more frequently? Possibly once a week? (Don't hold me to that.) I've grown fond of drabbles lately, and I usually bookend my writing sessions with them.
I talk a lot more than is necessary in my author's notes. It's endearing. (It isn't.)