"White." A young Super paused, cryptically studying her tanned palm. She fixed her position, straightening her long back with a crack or two, and redrew her hand forward, igniting her power: an energetic disc. Being a member of the revered Teen Titans, she could fling these near the occasional robber, evil doer, or “bad guy,” as Beast Boy would say, to stop them in their place. She could burn the androids, the aliens, and other enemies that could take the blistering green heat. Glaring at her hand, she powered down and studied her hands only to draw herself to her feet, clenched her fingers into a fist, and struck the wall with the light—now a blistering white.
Alone in her bedroom of festooning purples and pinks, she fell back into her seat, perched upon her bed. The room remained unlit besides the tunnel of sun light shafting between the furry purple curtains. Highlighted on the maroon floor was her shadow, suddenly vaporized by the sparking of her starbolt—that blistering core, the twinkling tale, the warmth of gold caressing her cheek. It hurt to stare long enough. She brushed her hands across the empty space, her fingers dancing with the new form of starlight like a mighty wildfire. Yet, it felt as tranquil like the comets, the ones that rarely visit the Earth.
A knock on the door: "Star, you in there?"
With a sudden jerk, she threw away her focus and the light combusted!—her scampering backwards with a squeal, her tumbling off her bedside hit the floor—thump.
"Uh, you okay in there?"
A swift arm into the air, "I am unharmed!” Starfire laughed and quickly rose to her feet, pocketing her hands. She proceeded to the metal door and fiddled with its locks and buttons and various numbers. “Coming! If I can just comprehend the mechanical function of this doorway—”
A swing, a bam, and a crash, the door swung open and a boy groaned on the ground, clasping his head. Starfire gasped, rushing to the floor, giggling, giggling, trying not to laugh, and placed a gentle hand upon his forehead, "My greatest…apologies, Robin! I often forget that the third button causes the door to go into attack mode."
Robin was a serious boy, now becoming a man—grown to a tallish height over the last five years of Titan-hood. Titan-hood, as the people who have come to see the super-group have called it, demanded a leader of immense sincerity, a blank face that barked orders at his team and a bulk of muscles that could do its part and carry the burden of the city. Perhaps he had tried to stuff himself into the composure of the hero Jump City needed. His hair was long now, and in his fits of anger and focus—he glaring into the hyper depths of the interwebs for information—the smoke-like strands covered his face.
“Starfire,” he would warn from the blinding light of the computer late at night—he in a stark silhouette too focused to look back—when she hesitantly seats herself on the floor behind him, a blanket in her arms. He bellows, “I don’t need you in here now.”
She thought about those late nights in the Operation Room as timeless. They happened so often, and will keep happening, she thought. That seemed to be another earthen principal: cycles, repeats, and habits all being a part of human-hood. After all, their planet was in full symmetry—too perfect of a working planet to imagine. How could its people not act in symmetrical patterns? Yet, patterns (pulling angry, stressful late nights when the city demanded it) consumed her friend, did they not? Thinking back, she must have sat there for hours and hours over the years, dozing off to his tapping on the keyboard.
It had been five years since they had met, had it not? Over the course of the five years, it had been noticed that Robin spent most of his time in his uniform. It was not until a day after her coming that the others had provided alternate clothes for Starfire, and she had noticed the earthly custom of changing clothes according to the circumstance. She remembered the first feeling of “cotton,” the itch of “wool,” and the practicality of “spandex.” Sleeping felt nicer on Earth by the comforts of “fabric.” Though, Robin was a serious man—now hesitating to respond to the boyish sound of his own name. Perhaps this wasn’t such an uncommon thing. Beast Boy had passed six feet a year ago and Starfire had overheard him “doing the googling” of new super-names from Raven who was criticizing him on the couch. They had also celebrated the last of year of Cyborg’s teen-hood with a birthday party. Perhaps Robin was only following in the steps of his people, being “the responsible” and what not. However, how daunting could being a The Hero be to not have time to change clothes?
A maturing friend, she thought.
Before she could, rather hesitantly, thumb the black strands from his eyes, he pushed his hair from his face, trying to bite down something—a feeling? A shout? A—smile? Robin clutched his head, glaring up at her, biting a grin from rising between his cheeks.
“You are of good cheers today?” Her voice lifted like a balloon! Cheeks red and blistering, he laughed and shook his head, playfully shooing her hands from his head as she persisted, spurting hiccups of snickering. He pressed his bare hands against his face to compose himself.
“You are in a great mood, are you not?” She added as he clutched his aching stomach, laughing and laughing. His laughter, the refreshing occurrence in the lives of the Titans, filled the hallway. Falling back to the wall for relief, Robin brushed in sleeve against his forehead and shook his head, “I just can’t believe this is the third time that’s happened this year.”
“You’re still laughing?” She gasped, “Is today not Robin’s best day? Your birthday perhaps?”
“Nah, nah,” he rose to his feet and offered her his hand, “Just a Sunday.”
“Team bonding day!” –this, thought Starfire, had been one of the few things that had stayed the same over the years, only if crime permitted. Robin kept in his uniform just in case.
“We're about to start. You ready? Or…" Robin paused, eyeing around her frame and at the ash thrashed spot on the floor of her room, smoking in defeat. "…should we get that taken care of first?"
She looked back embarrassed and slammed the door behind her. She smiled sweetly, "Oh! No, no. It is not 'the big deal.'" She pulled him forward and down the hall, happily constricting his arm with a tremendous alien strength. "It’s a good day, friend, and we can’t waste it. It was only a spider anyway! What’s the team bonding day’s activity?”
"Baseball, rumor has it."
"To the roof, yes?"
Beast Boy grabbed the baseball and protected it fiercely behind his back when Cyborg lunged forward, flailing his arms to reclaim it. To Raven, who levitated in the corner, the two children were fighting over a toy—a silly toy, one they would definitely lose within the next hour. They might have grown taller, but some things never change, do they?
“You pitched last time!"
"It's. My. Turn!"
A black aura shot out, consumed the ball, and tore it violently into pieces the before the boys, who threw up their arms to salvage the shreds. Raven prompt up from her position calmly fixed three feet in the air, "Last night the remote, two in the morning, the bathroom, this morning the pancake syrup. Must you two always act like children?!"
A simple answer, "…maybe…"
"After the Last Incident,” She shot back a hateful glower and noticed Robin and Starfire coming through the hatch to the roof. She continued, gliding over to the brown sack of bats and baseballs and levitated the ball into the hands of Robin, “Robin will be pitcher. Understood?"
"In the Last Incident, Beast Boy did not mean to set off the fire alarm,” Starfire chimed, placing her hands on the shoulders of the not-so-much-of-a-boy-anymore. She chirped a few “good mornings” to the others.
At Robins command, they huddled: "Starfire, Raven, you two take outfield. Cyborg, you hit first, Beast Boy, you hit second! And we will switch off positions." There was sudden trace of shrewdness in his expression, he tipped his head, drew up a smirk, and tossed his gaze left than right. "farthest hit is excused from chores tomorrow. Worst hit takes the other's chores. If the ball is caught… no count!"
“Oh and if you lose, Robin? You want us to believe there will be no outbursts or change of rules?"
"Hey, hey, hey, I will take the other’s chores. I’m set on my bet."
“Who replaced our leader?”
“Come on guys,” he chimed, rolling his eyes back, “it’s a good day.”
They broke in a scurry—all into their positions: Cyborg grabbed the bat practicing his impression of the World Series swings Starfire and him had watched the week before. Beast Boy was the umpire, Robin at the pitcher's base, and Raven and Starfire, hovering over the tower.
"Hey! No fair! No powers allowed!" Beast Boy whined.
"…just ignore him…" She groaned to Starfire, "Who thought of this anyway?"
"I believe that baseball originated from the French clerics foretold in a 1344 year old manuscri-"
"Rhetorical question, Starfire."
"Oh," she huffed, "Of course!"
Robin rounded up an arm, cupped the ball at his chest, took a mean look at Cyborg, and dragged his leg with the pitch, then…three…two…one…released! The ball hurdled in a spiral motion towards home plate then—
Struck by the shattering bat of the metallic man! "BOOYAH!"
Robin dove to the ground to dodge the shot of the ball and lifted his hand to his face to protect his eyes from the shelling of wooden splinters. Cyborg shot right past him on the second base and rounded to the third. Raven soared fast and plummeted down the tower to catch the ball's pace. It bounced upon the rocks, seconds from her grasp. While Cyborg cheered and bounced in his stride, pumping his arms into a flex, she swung her best arm up to the tower,
"STARFIRE, CATCH!" The ball shot to the air violently, locked on Starfire as she caught it with zeal and zapped towards what her friends nicknamed 'the diamond.' Cyborg headed for home, he collided with the alien—
"YOU'RE OUT!" The green kid shouted.
"The girl got you beat, dude."
"My most apologies, Cyborg."
"…girl, you better hope B.B strikes out on this one…"
"Will not!" Beast Boy bit his tongue.
Cyborg grabbed the mitt and crouched behind the not-so-much-of-a-boy-anymore and Starfire cheered in the distance, "Please show us 'what you have,' Beast Boy! The World Series is cheering for you!"
"It's comin' straight for ya gals."
Raven rolled her eyes, “Strike him out!”
Robin once again, drew up his arm, his leg following through and one…two… three… Released—"STRIKE ONE!"
"What that was so a ball!" Raven shot a hateful glare. "…fine, fine… it was a strike."
Robin pitched once more—"STRIKE TWO!"
"Oh come on!”
Robin, this time armed with a smirk, drew up his head, whirled his right arm, and released, sending a curve ball his way. A crack! A shot! The sound of a ball shooting through the air! The ball went flying from the tower, out into the open, destined to be the winner, unless a fast-flying alien could stop it. Beast Boy stopped and stared in pride, glorifying himself with a victory dance.
"RUN GRASS STAIN!"
Fast she flew through the air, gaining distance to the 'ball of base.' With a outstretch hand, her fingertips grazed the knit, so close, so close—
Look out Starfire.
A scream from the tower! There was a shadow, a big shadow, a huge shadow the threw her and the ocean around her in darkness! She threw her body over to the sky, split her spine at the sudden jolt, and shot her eyes to the sky—what was that? An eclipse? A star? A meteor dropping down to her!
She gasped in awe. "…X'hal…" and let herself plummet just inches before it, eyeing it with wonder building upon fear. The city? The city beneath here! Reacting upon Tamaranean-Titan reflexes, she blasted herself to the heavens. Grazing the side of hurdling boulder, she made contact with the surface with sudden resounding boom; her body pined to the mass by the rushing gravity. She tilted her head back to see the Jump City emerging in distance with each passing second. Raven! Beast Boy! Cybrog! Robin! Must still be on the roof!
With a second wind, she struggled up from the dent she made and pressed her back to defy Earth’s oppressing gravity—no good! Time slipping through her control, she hucked her spit into her palms, and exerted a severe amount super alien strength that ate at her arms and choked her limbs—her head about to burst, her chin like a dagger to her chest. With sudden relief, the meteor slowed until it weighed one on one against the alien in still flight. She hefted. Her limbs pumped. She huffed and huffed: "I… CANNOT… HOLD IT… MUCH… LONGER!"
Underneath the pressure, pulsing against her, the meteor continued to thrust down towards the earth.
Robin screamed, "RAVEN! HELP HER-"
Raven zoomed passed, gained enough speed to slap the moisture from her eyes, and shot into the alien, and violently knocked her from the force of the—thing? Starfire fell with the boulder before Raven could catch her, bringing her up above the ocean. Huffing and huffing, they watched the piece of space drop into the Jump City Bay—a mighty splash. There was an outcry of cheer from the people somewhere far off in the city. The city’s waves roared and built as they received the massive object, sparing the city from potential harm. The water consumed the object, leaving a small metallic island exposed to the open air for the team to investigate.
From the tower, they saw Beast Boy as a jade pterodactyl carrying Robin and Cyborg to the girls. The five descended down together upon the object that screeched with a metallic scream as their feet fell upon the surface. Beast boy shifted into his man form, "Does this mean I win?"
Robin ran passed him and collided with Raven, taking Starfire into his hands, shaking her shoulders, “Are you alright?"
She gasped, huffed, and tried to speak, though exhaustion pinned her voice to the bottom her stomach. So she fell to the ground, and gagged, throwing her head against her knees pinned to the metal. A breath, a breath, she took a full breath, and nodded. But, her eyes caught the weird marks in the alien craft—the burn marks gnawed at her knees and she moved back from its blistering heat. “W-Where did this contraption come from?"
"Cyborg?” Robin went to his knees, clasping a hand on her back, “Do you think you can investigate the-"
"My God.” Cyborg stopped in his pace, frozen, horror-stricken. He clasped his palm to his mouth, biting down on his lip, eyes wide, wild, and anxious while his turquoise scanners grazed against the metal flashed and flashed, computing a blinking code on his robotic arm. The others ran over—