He had her at hello.
Not literally of course. She couldn't just throw her feelings at someone from a foreign planet whom she had never met before, although she did throw several other things at him in the beginning. But that was before she knew what "nice" was and how it felt to be around people who were that word.
No, when she thought back on it, it might have been when he told her that he forgave her for acting so hostile and she had explained a little bit of her culture to him.
"Well, things are different here," he had said.
She could still remember the feeling of heat on her cheeks to a point where they must have come out a bright rouge. Although that may have been the first time she had felt "nice,"-for she hadn't felt anything for quite some time being on the Gordanian ship-she wouldn't say that right then was when she fell drop dead in love with the boy. She wasn't that simple. Yet, it didn't take very long after that.
He was her opposite. She was like the day, he was like the night. She thrived in the sunlight; he was at his best when he was among shadows. They were two very different creatures, yet the best of friends.
They would do things that she supposed only close friends did on this planet, such as sit side by side while watching the sunrise, or helping to bake a cake with a mustard filling. She wasn't an expert on Earth culture yet, but she was pretty sure that was what friends did.
However Tamaraneans lived based on their emotions; they couldn't live without them. It was a blessing and a curse. She felt deep emotions for him, so naturally her body wanted to be around him. She often followed him around like a lost puppy, feeding her feelings while keeping them at bay. Everything was strictly platonic though. But she never minded.
Not until he began to do things that confused her. She knew they were close, and she still wasn't familiar with Earthly ways, but sometimes it seemed like he returned her feelings, or was at least aware of the ones she held for him. She didn't want to make a mistake though, because it might only be in her imagination after all. Tamaraneans emotions affect the way they think too.
Anyway, he wouldn't do much. He would rub the back of her hand with his thumb if she was feeling down, or whisper in her ear to tell her something funny or explain something she didn't understand. She knew these were probably normal things and that she should quell the feelings rising inside her, however they were hard to ignore when she could still remember the cool air of his breath on her skin.
Not to say everything was always soft and wonderful. There were times when she felt so disconnected from him emotionally that she thought she could feel her heart strings snapping. She would follow him somewhere, and he would be in a bad mood and tell her to leave him alone. Or she might offer to assist him in work and he would refuse with an answer that was borderline insulting.
She had to remember that he was just stressed out. He didn't mean the things he said and she was just letting her emotions get the better of her.
Like she was letting them right now.
It wasn't like he was doing anything particularly attracting right then; he was just preparing his morning coffee, a newspaper tucked under one arm. Maybe it was the way his hair was tussled from sleep, of his deep voice as he subconsciously hummed as he worked. Whatever it was Starfire couldn't help but watch him, a dreamy expression on her face.
Her eyes were glazed over and her cheeks were slightly flushed. Her hand cupped the right side of her face as she leaned on the kitchen table from across the room; a small smile graced her lips.
The sound of high-pitched chuckling jerked her back into reality though, and her eyes darted to the right where Beast Boy was sitting, his shoulders shaking as he laughed and a gloved hand covering his mouth to muffle the noise.
"Is something the matter friend?" she asked innocently, her eye glancing backwards in Robin's direction before they snapped back. "Do I perhaps have something on my face?"
Beast Boy chuckled harder before removing his hand and muttering, "Just a little drool."
Starfire, not understanding quite what he meant rubbed her chin profusely, causing the changeling to explode with laughter, making the remaining Titans in the room give him looks questioning his sanity.
When he saw the Tamaranean girl blush slightly he gestured for her to lean in so he could whisper to her, once the others had resumed their morning activities that was. Beast Boy cupped a hand to her hear.
"You didn't really have drool on your face, Star," he told her, hints of humor still evident in his voice. "But the way you were checking Robin out you might as well have!"
Instead of getting the reaction he wanted from her, she just gave him another look of confusion. "Please, Robin has a price tag?"
He smacked a hand to his forehead. "It means you think he's a hunk!"
Beast Boy scratched his head until a light bulb shined over it. "You think he's attractive!"
Finally understanding, she blushed a deeper shade of red. "That is preposterous! Why would I think he is physically attractive? Not to say that he is not, he does possess a fine physic. However this does not indicate that I have the feelings for him!"
"I never said you did," he reminded her, his eyebrows raised.
She floundered. "Oh! You did not? I merely was providing an answer, and I did not-I mean I suppose…oh my it is quite hot in here is it not?"
Beast Boy patted her on the back sympathetically however he was trying desperately to keep from laughing. "Star, it's okay if you like Robin. Like, like, like him. I mean what you see in him I have no clue. Usually I'm the chick magnet."
Starfire giggled at this, having actually been already familiar with the term. "Yes, I suppose now and then you do 'magnet the chicks.'"
He beamed at this.
"Hey is someone actually laughing with BB?" Cyborg called over from the couch. "Starfire is he holding you against your will over there?"
"Hey can it, Tin Man! I'm hilarious!"
"You're the best part about my mornings," Raven muttered sarcastically, causing everyone to laugh but Beast Boy himself.
Starfire placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Worry not friend, I find you most humorous!"
"That's because most of the time you're laughing at him Star," Robin piped in from across the room.
The Green Titan's ears drooped, and she was about to come to his aid when the alarm went off overhead, basking the room in an eerie red glow. Everyone groaned.
As the Titans arrived at the scene Beast Boy hastily ducked his head as an abnormally sharp ace card flew by him. As he returned to his normal standing position and glanced behind him he cringed. "Something tells me that would have been a really bad paper cut."
At the sound of the changeling's voice, Mumbo Jumbo turned his attention from the ATMs he was robbing and spread his arms wide as if he were greeting a valued crowd.
"Welcome Titans, one and all," he announced grandly, "no matter if you're large all small, either way you all will fall!"
"Great, he rhymes now," Raven droned.
"And I thought this guy's act couldn't get worse," Beast Boy muttered.
"Hey! I heard that!"
"Titans, go!" Robin declared before they could get anymore off topic.
Raven flew up first, using her magic to lift up a street light from where it was rooted into the ground and bend it into a boomerang shape. She flung the weapon at him however he merely took off his hat and sucked it in, only to have it come shooting out again. The empath widened her eyes and produced a force field, effectively blocking her own rebounded attack.
Cyborg charged next and took a might swing at the magician who merely floated up a little higher above the cybernetic teen's reach. Clearly annoyed, Cyborg unclipped his arm from his body as if it were a rock climbing harness. The arm shot off into the air and began rapidly firing lasers at Mumbo who began to look panicked. He flew backwards and waved his own hands about until they popped off as well, new ones already grown in place.
"You aren't the only one with a new trick up your sleeve my blinking friend," he fired cheekily as his separated hands grew in size and surrounded Cyborg's detached arm. "Nevertheless I can always appreciate a fine stunt. How about I give you a hand?" and he did so by crushing his arm to a pulp between his gloved mits.
"Aw man!" Cyborg moaned, tears pricking his eyes as his arm lay in a crumpled heap a few feet away from him. "That was my good arm!"
"If it makes you feel any better Cy, I always thought you were better as a lefty," Beast Boy offered unhelpfully.
"You will pay for what you did to my friend!" Starfire declared, her eyes a blazing green as she soared into the air to become level with the blue-skinned trickster, who squealed in joy at the sight of her.
"Ah! My lovely assistant has returned!" he gushed, opening his arms again. "Well my dear, we're having some trouble with the doves, do you think you could help?"
Just then at least a dozen doves flew from his sleeves and made a small swarm around Starfire, pulling at her hair or pecking at her uniform. Not wishing to harm them, she twisted and turned uncomfortably, swatting them away half-heartedly.
"Oh! I did not realize creatures of your planet were this persistent!" she cried in distress. Beast Boy took the form of a hawk and flew up to assist her, snapping his beak threateningly at the smaller birds.
Meanwhile, Robin shot his grappling hook to a nearby roof top, trying to get on a level playing field with his opponent. He threw a series of smoke bombs the same time Raven tried to reach a black claw out to grasp Mumbo. The result wasn't pretty for an explosion much larger than the two had intended occurred. The force of the impact blew not only the magician, but the other Titans into a crumpled heap.
Mumbo recovered the fastest and placed a hand on his chin as if he was in thought. He glanced around at the dismantled heroes in front of him and finally shrugged.
"Huh, I guess the show ended quicker than I thought," he mused, getting ready to depart.
"That's what you think!" Robin fired back, attempting to get up but only managing to get even more tangled in Raven's cape, much to the half-demon's annoyance.
"Well ta-ta, Titans, it's been fun, but I really should get going," Mumbo Jumbo chuckled, and turned in the air, waving his own cape around himself. "Now you see me, now you don't!"
And then he was gone with a plentiful amount of money.
Groans of frustration echoed off the walls of the training room as each Titan was forced to do another round of battle enhancing practices, set up by none other than the Boy Wonder himself. He, of course, was not pleased at all that they had allowed Mumbo to escape and was convinced that it could have been prevented. So, in fearing that his team was becoming sloppy he had set up a series of obstacle courses and other challenges that pinpointed each of their weaknesses.
"Again," Robin commanded, sweat dripping down his brow. He wiped it away with determination and surveyed Cyborg's fighting skills for a moment more before speaking again. "You need work on your aim. You're just throwing blind punches."
"Man, it's hard when I only have one freaking arm to punch with! Besides I'm exhausted,"he growled back, while dodging a blow from one of the robots in the simulation. "We all are. You've had us working all day. At least let us get some lunch."
"Or go to the bathroom," Beast Boy added, gripping himself.
Robin inhaled sharply then exhaled with a puff of anger. "The way we fought today was completely embarrassing. Mumbo shouldn't have been as much of a challenge as he was."
"Brooding about it now isn't going to change things," Raven pointed out. "Neither is working us to death."
"That's what you think, but I'm just preparing all of you. If we let someone like Mumbo slip through our fingers, who knows what other villains we might let escape. It's better to stay on our game."
Beast Boy reached up so he could whisper in Starfire's ear. She instinctively bent down to his level, so he wouldn't have to strain so much considering his probably painfully full bladder. "Honestly, at times like these, I don't know what you see in Boy Blunder over there."
Starfire tried to give him a disapproving look, but she had to admit that she was beyond tired at the moment. Was something troubling him other than Mumbo? Maybe if she tried to talk to him-
"Robin, perhaps if we were to take a short break…" she trailed off hopefully, her eyes showing a little bit of that sparkle.
Robin rubbed a hand over his face. "Not right now, Star," he said irritably. "We need to keep working. Beast Boy, you're up again."
Starfire bit her lip. "But something else troubles you. If we were to only recede for just a moment-"
"I said not now!" he snapped.
There was a great moment of stunned silence. Robin almost never yelled like that at anyone, especially Starfire.
"I need to be alone," he muttered, and in a flash he was gone.
The remaining Titans exchanged glances.
"Well, I need to meditate anyway," Raven spoke up finally, and then she too had disappeared.
When Starfire visibly slumped afterwards, Cyborg patted her on the back. "Aw geez, Star, don't look so miserable. That's what we have Robin for."
She sighed. "Perhaps if I had not pestered him so-"
"Hey don't worry about it," Beast Boy told her comfortingly. "Robin just gets all psycho sometimes."
Somehow she didn't look entirely convinced. "Maybe if I went to apologize he would not be mad at me any longer?"
The two boys exchanged glances and shook their heads. There really was no helping the love struck Tamaranean.
"I mean…I guess it's worth a try," Cyborg offered doubtfully. Then a distinct growl interrupted their conversation. "Well, I think I'm going to get some grub."
So the three Titans departed, Starfire making her way towards Robin's room. As she stopped in front of his door, she tried to quell the ball of nervousness inside her as she raised a fist to the door. However the sound of voices halted her actions.
"It's happening again, isn't it?" That sounded like Raven. What was she doing in Robin's room?
Starfire strained her ears to hear his quite response. "I've been trying not to think about it, but that day is coming. It's hard to ignore." He sounded tired and absolutely unlike his fighting self. Starfire had never heard him sound so defeated before.
"I know it's hard. And it's okay to let yourself feel these things sometimes. It's the only way to get over them." That was strange. Raven's voice was…comforting. Not quite all the way to caring, but it was pretty close.
Robin snorted. "Easier said than done."
"True, but it's better than snapping at your friends."
Starfire could tell Robin had paused here, as if he was thinking things over. Finally he spoke again.
"You're right. Maybe I owe her an apology."
"Maybe you do."
He chuckled, "Thanks Raven. You always know what to say. If I'm going to have this bond with anyone…then I'm glad it's with you."
"The feeling is mutual."
Starfire backed away from his door, and moved down the hallway until she was far enough so that she could lean against the wall for support without being noticed. There was a…strange feeling that had built up inside her stomachs and had moved into her chest just now. She wasn't quite sure what it was, but it was unpleasant, and she wished for it to go away.
How was it possible for her to feel sad and frustrated at the same time? She also felt vulnerable, and slightly threatened. The last time she had felt like that was when she had first arrived on Earth. But ever since then, whenever she had faced a problem she had always gone to Robin for help. Then again she supposed that since the problem was Robin she couldn't exactly confront him about it. Suddenly Starfire perked up as someone else popped into her mind.
Maybe she wasn't alone after all.