Hey guys, Starcrossed here. I've only recently gotten back into Teen Titans, so be sure to tell me if I have anything off. Of course, the characters have to be at least a smidge out of character... This is a fluffy one-shot, what do you expect? I promise that I managed to make it believable (in my opinion), and you shouldn't be too disappointed. The rating is T simply because of the... intensity, for lack of a better word. I could feel my face getting a little warmer as I finished this, so I thought that T would probably be appropriate.
With that note and a disclaimer to reassure you that I am not the creator of this series in disguise, I encourage you to read on.
The waning light of the sun began to retreat from the ops room of Titans Tower as another day ended for the Teen Titans. Beast Boy and Cyborg ended their ritualistic game, Raven closed her book, and Robin approached the group after being holed up in his research room for the last hour.
Beast Boy yawned so large his jaw cracked. "Man, I forgot how doing nothing makes me so tired."
Robin smiled at his friends. "Alright team, I think everyone should get some rest," the Boy Wonder said somewhat unnecessarily. "Today was quiet, so we should be all the more prepared for anything that happens tomorrow."
Cyborg waved him off as he and Beast Boy began walking towards their rooms. "Yeah yeah, we got it, Captain Workaholic. Do you ever stop to smell the peace, man?"
Robin shrugged, "That's not in the job description."
Beast Boy grinned lazily as he slouched by. "Yeah, well maybe you should read the instruction manual again. You know what they say – too much work rots the brain."
Raven cocked an eyebrow as she levitated closer. "I think that's TV you're talking about," she intoned pointedly.
The changeling opened his mouth to retort, only to deflate when he realized she was right. Green ears drooping, he sighed and continued dragging himself to his room, muttering. Robin smirked at his green friend before returning is attention to Raven, who hadn't moved.
Dark eyes narrowed at him seriously as the empath continued, lowering her voice so that the sensitive-eared changeling wouldn't hear. "As much as I hate to admit it, Beast Boy is right. You shouldn't run yourself down so much. It's okay to take a break once in a while."
Robin felt the beginnings of a frown etch into his face before she tossed him something, distracting him from whatever he was about to say. Acting on reflex, he caught it easily and looked down to inspect it. It was a hardcover book, one of the ones that Raven had been reading lately. Now it was his turn to cock his eyebrow in question.
"Try relaxing with a book sometime. You might learn something interesting," Raven explained. With a small smile, she turned and retired to her own room.
Hmm. That was… a little unusual. Robin glanced at the book in his hands uninterestedly, barely even looking at the title. He couldn't remember the last time he'd read a book for fun, though he did remember enjoying reading.
Robin tucked the book under his arm and went to turn off the ops room light, thinking about Raven's words as he did. Ever since Slade was defeated, things in Jump City had been quieting down. Criminals did simpler crimes like jewelry store robberies and car jacking, which were a lot easier to take care of than the master plans formed by people like Slade. He had actually been running out of reasons to keep it up in the researching room, finding research material lacking.
He sighed as he switched off the light, expecting to go to bed and have his usual paranoid dreams. But his eyebrows raised in confusion as an eerie green light filtered through the darkness instead. Turning around, his eyes found the source sitting comfortably on the couch.
"Star? Are you going to… stay in the dark?"
Starfire's eyes snapped up to look at Robin, surprised at this interruption. After a moment of processing his words, she smiled excitedly and flew nearer to him in a second… perhaps a bit too close, but she didn't seem to notice.
"Oh, friend Robin, I have been reading the most glorious book about human anatomy. I always knew that humans and Tamarians were similar in body structure, but I never realized how fascinating the differences could be!"
Robin smiled affectionately, taking the book that was in her hands to read the title. His eyebrows raised considerably when he did.
"Advanced Guide to the Human Body, huh? Starfire, where did you get this?" he asked curiously. What Starfire had been reading so avidly and non-stop had been nothing short of a text book. A bland-looking, very well-thumbed text book at that.
"Friend Raven invited me to use it, since I said it looked interesting. Oh, and it certainly is! She says she bought it to use for healing purposes, but does not need it any longer," she beamed.
Robin felt his lips quirk up at her exuberance. Any other person wouldn't be nearly half this interested in human anatomy just for the fun of it. Heck, Raven herself only kept it for medical purposes. And if Beast Boy came within a foot radius of the thing, he'd probably break out in hives – being as allergic to education as he seemed to be.
But then, Starfire wasn't any other person. She was the most unique, breathtaking, amazing person he had ever met – and he had met a lot of unique people in his short life.
"Friend Robin? Are you the okay?" Starfire peered at him curiously. Robin was instantly snapped from his dreamy ponderings.
Where the heck did that come from? Hmm… I must be more tired than I thought.
"Uh… yeah, Starfire, I'm fine. I'm glad you enjoy learning about the human body so much. It might come in use some day," he said. Starfire positively glowed.
In a moment she had taken the book from his hands and set in on a nearby countertop. The excitement in her eyes was nearly tangible. The way that elated glow focused on him and only him, staring at him through large, almost feline eyes made him loose focus for a moment. What were they talking about? Had she said something? Robin was beginning to feel increasingly heated, and he wondered if Cyborg had accidentally turned off the air conditioning.
"Uh, sorry Starfire, did you say something?" he asked, embarrassed that he hadn't been paying attention. She was looking at him expectantly now.
"Only that I have learned very much about the human body!" she repeated. After a second of nervous hesitation, her smile grew and she clasped her hands together. "I wish to demonstrate!"
Robin was confused again. "Demonstrate?"
She nodded, and then seemed to become very engrossed in his uniform. Robin looked down at himself to see if he had stained his clothing. What was she staring at? He didn't see anything. A second look at Starfire showed that she seemed far-away, as if she were remembering something. Robin's brow furrowed with a mix of confusion and concern. Whatever it was she staring at, he had to fight the urge to fidget under her intense gaze.
Then, out of nowhere, she reached out and poked his left side, just about at the end of his rib cage. He jumped in surprise at the electric response, sucking in a breath. His eyes darted to Starfire's face, only to see her smiling proudly. She seemed very close now. Was she this close before? He wasn't sure, but he was acutely aware of the fact that her finger pads still pressed into his skin.
"This is where your spleen is located, is it not?" she asked in confidence. She rubbed little circles around the area for emphasis, and Robin fought not to blush as understanding dawned.
"Um… Star, you really – "
"And this," she said, poking more towards his core, "should be where the pancreas resides."
"You don't have to – "
"And the liver is here," she rubbed over his abdomen where the dense muscle would be. Robin could have sworn the temperature increased at least ten degrees, but Starfire seemed oddly unaffected. She seemed completely absorbed in mentally dissecting him, and he suddenly felt extremely exposed under her watchful eyes and gentle hands. He knew by now that she wasn't going to listen to any objections, so he just stayed silent and willed his blood to stop racing. She continued to label his stomach, also relating to him the fact that Tamarians actually have nine smaller stomachs. He found the fact surprisingly unsurprising, considering how enthusiastic she often was about eating.
"This is the diaphragm," she murmured softly, tracing an invisible curved line with her fingertips, just above where her hands had been. Robin couldn't help the shiver that ran down his spine, as well as the feeling of dread that followed close on its heels . Sure enough, Starfire looked him in the eye now, surprised when she felt the reaction through her touch.
"You are cold, Robin?"
Most likely accomplishing a record somewhere, Robin blushed even more, by now feeling thoroughly feverish. His thanks went up to Whoever was Up There that it was dark and she probably couldn't see. He was positive that he was as far away from cold as was physically possible.
He cleared his throat in a vain attempt to make it less dry before answering.
"No… I'm not cold." Robin mentally winced. He sounded a bit more… husky than he would have wanted. He pleaded with whatever gods would listen that she would think nothing of it.
Starfire smiled softly and moved her hands again, though her eyes stayed on Robin's mask this time. Her slender appendages now came to rest flat against either side of his chest.
"These are, of course, the lungs. Humans have a larger lung capacity than Tamaranians, but they are still located similarly in the body," she informed. Robin noticed, through the blood pounding in his head, that her voice also seemed different now. Where before she sounded completely caught up in what she was saying, now she seemed to be reciting the information mechanically, paying little attention to the words coming from her slightly parted, very soft-looking lips –
Robin blinked in surprise at the path of his thoughts and pulled his gaze guiltily back to Starfire's bright eyes. What he saw there made him let out a breath that he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Aside from the naturally exotic beauty that her eyes held and that he had become accustomed to, he saw something… deeper. It was an emotion that was passionate, like when they were in battle, only not as fierce. And it was warm. He was very conscious of the warmth in her eyes, because it seemed to be contagious. It spread through him deliberately, so that he could no longer blame the temperature on the room. Yet, warm was too weak. It was fiery, but not raging… more like a glowing bed of coals that didn't look as dangerous as the roaring fire but were just as hot to the touch.
Subtle, he thought suddenly. That was the word. It was a subtle, heated passion that still managed to maintain the characteristic innocence that was always present in Starfire.
Just as Robin began to notice that this was a particularly long pause, Starfire moved her hands one last time to rest… directly over his frantic heart.
Immediately he looked at her for a reaction. Surely there was no possibly way that she could ignore his heartbeat now. He felt like he had just finished running around the world, his heart was pumping so hard; yet he knew for sure that he hadn't moved so much as a millimeter since Starfire had begun her 'demonstration'.
He realized he was holding his breath again as he waited for her to speak, vaguely recognizing the feeling that was blooming in his stomach. It was terror. Robin would have gulped if there had been any moisture left in his mouth whatsoever.
"And this is your heart," she said softly, barely above a whisper. "of which I know practically nothing".
Robin got the distinct feeling that she was no longer talking about the biological organ that was pumping blood through his veins faster than the T-car could drive.
As the masked boy looked hesitantly back to her eyes, Robin wondered how he had been able to look away in the first place. The green embers he had so aptly named before seemed to shine in a way that he had not anticipated. They filled his vision, burning with that distinct hue, heated emotion and… desperateness. There was a desperate kind of melancholy glimmering in the embers that affected him in a way that the heat didn't. He wanted to shield her from it, every fiber in his being instinctively wanting to protect her from anything remotely saddening. That look was etched into his mind until he noticed nothing else. He saw nothing else, felt nothing else… nothing but unadulterated Starfire. By now their noses were practically touching, and their breaths mingling inseparably.
Her eye lids were drifting closed, and he felt the pressure of her hands on his heart increase. In response, it thumped louder, as if to shout emotions that he had never voiced, not even in his mind. The brilliant emerald coals burned brighter, and he lost himself in awe and wonder of this incredible alien girl.
He closed the distance in a split second and in an eternity, feeling a new kind of tumultuous heat spiking through him like adrenaline. It was his first real kiss, no language to be exchanged. It was… amazing. It felt like he was dive-bombing off a building, but there was no threat of fatal impact with the ground. It was natural, like this was where he belonged.
With Starfire. And no one else.
His hands moved to her hips instinctively and he pulled her closer, holding her and remembering that ghost of desperateness in her eyes. He didn't want to see it ever again.
As if sensing that she was protected in a way she hadn't been before, Starfire began to melt into him, losing any and all defenses. Robin felt her make a kind of contented sigh against his lips, and he swore the he had never felt so humbled and so important at the same time in all his life.
It was broken as quickly and as slowly as it had happened. The two stood, foreheads connected, as the aftershock wore off.
Robin found that a big, goofy grin had somehow plastered itself onto his face. Starfire, in turn, shined brighter and happier than he thought he had ever seen her. They shared a moment of silence, and Robin was content to recognize that the shadow of doubt was completely erased from her eyes.
"Well," he panted lightly. "I have the feeling we both learned something about hearts… outside the textbook."
Starfire giggled breathlessly and slowly pulled away, not wanting the moment to end but feeling suddenly fatigued. After retrieving her cherished book of human anatomy from the table and hugging it to her chest, a dark shape caught her eye. Bending down, she picked up the object that had fallen by Robin's foot. It was a book.
Giving it a curious glance, she handed it to an equally inquisitive Robin.
"What is it, Star?"
"It is a book," she stated, holding it out to him. Blinking, he took the book from her hands and distantly remembered Raven giving him a book less than an hour ago. Had it really been that long? It felt like a year.
"It is yours?" Starfire asked.
Robin nodded. It must have fallen from his grasp while… well…
Instead of finishing that thought, Robin opted to answer.
"Um, yeah. Raven said that I should stop worrying so much and should start reading instead."
Starfire nodded solemnly but with a happy glint in her eye.
"I believe she is most correct." She stated. With warm familiarity, she gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek. Robin was suddenly suspicious that someone had swapped out his knees for jello.
Noticing his dazed and happy reaction, Starfire withheld a giggle.
"Would you, I mean… can I walk you to your room?" Robin asked, attempting to regain his composure. Starfire nodded immediately, and Robin noticed that she was beginning to float ever-upward.
"Hey!" Grabbing her hand quickly, Robin pulled her gently until her feet were on the ground. Starfire blushed and looked bashful, but no less happy.
Robin cracked a lopsided smile. "If you didn't want me to walk with you, you could've just said so."
Starfire shook her head as he began leading her to the personal rooms, holding his hand even tighter.
"It was not that at all! I am simply just so…" she trailed of, not knowing an English word that would express her feelings right now. On her planet, with a people ruled by feelings, this emotion was quite common and was called lantog. It was the greatest feeling of joy and energy that any Tamaranian could possibly hope for that did not come from their sun.
"I know, Star… I know." He assured her with a soft smile. She knew that he knew she wasn't trying to escape, but was comforted by his hand lightly squeezing her own all the same. They walked a few moments in comfortable silence, treading the well-known path. It seemed to Robin that they only thing that mattered right now was her hand in his. He no longer thought that his dreams would be the usual dreams of paranoia that had haunted him so much lately.
Starfire, for her part, had trouble keeping her feet on the ground. She knew that if Robin were to let go of her hand that she would begin to float again. The unbridled joy that she felt was overwhelming! She thought she could fly at the speed of light!
Seeing that they had reached her door, Robin stopped her with his hands on her shoulders. Without thinking, he brushed a thumb along her jaw, marveling at how natural this all was. It was as if they had always been together… even though the fact remained that if someone had told him about this as breakfast this morning, he probably would have sprayed the person with whatever was in his mouth at the time and regarded that person as if he or she had admitted to being Slade.
Before he lost whatever had come over him tonight, he pecked her lips quickly, murmuring a soft "good night" against them. She nodded silently, blushing, and slowly released his hand. As her door opened and she began to go inside, she turned and waved once more over her shoulder.
"Pleasant shlorvaks… friend Robin." She whispered. The emotion behind the word 'friend' was not lost on him, and it was as if the same word held an entirely new meaning. He smiled back at her, captive where he stood until her door closed. When it did, Robin half expected for some wash of cold to race over him, as if a spell had broken. But it didn't. He was still… whatever he was.
Walking back to his own room, Robin quickly stripped himself of his uniform, eager to be in bed and sleeping. Flopping down in comfortable clothes, he flicked on a lamp and studied Raven's book in his hands. There was no title on the cover, but on the spine…
He squinted in the dim light momentarily, eyes adjusting. He blinked at the title in surprise as he read it, then let out a startled chuckle. Who said Raven didn't have a sense of humor?
Advanced Guide to the Tamarian Body.
People often think that Raven is all doom-and-gloom, but I find her sarcasm and dry humor immensely entertaining. ;D Tell me what you thought, constructive criticism is welcomed.