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Teen Titans Fan Fiction Jeweled Eyes: Emeralds (C(Rated for safety))

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by Anima, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    so sorry for the delay, everyone. I still don't have a chapter, but my life's been real hectic lately. I'll have a lot more time after this weekend though. Expect the chapter within the next two weeks (hopefully ... :sweat: )
     
  2. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    A/N: Sorry about the long delay... I've been getting home at eight-thirty at night and then having to do my homework so... yeah. I've got the chapter though!



    Chapter 17 :Self-Loathing:

    When Starfire awoke, she was calm, calmer than she had been in a long time. For the first time in what felt like her entire life, she awoke without a feeling of dread and without a sense that something was wrong. She was not Koriand’r teetering on the brink of a total meltdown. She was not K’trina, desperately clinging to life. She was just Starfire, waking up from a particularly restful nap.

    And then she felt the tip of the sword, so close to piercing the back of her neck.

    Suddenly, she was Starfire who was just one wrong step from loosing everything she had ever worked for, so much more than her freedom. And she was Koriand’r, about to be stripped of something that was born for. And she was K’trina, scrambling shamefully away from a past she could not face. She had no more personas to turn to. There was no way she could come from this battle without loosing something.

    That thought, that terrifying thought, was what numbed her, opening her eyes and regarding the blank stone wall coldly. Her insides were ice. There was nothing and no one left to hide behind. She was her only hope.

    “Awake at last, eh Koriand’r?”

    Starfire tilted her head, though was careful of the sword she could not see. “I see that you are finally willing to settle this fight just between us. Or will you hide behind someone else?” she asked quietly. There was a sharp breath from somewhere behind her and the tip of the blade pressed down on her.

    “Aren’t you clever,” Lirain replied through gritted teeth. “Stand up,” he commanded. Starfire pursed her lips and rose, resisting the urge to cringe away from the biting cold of the metal blade. “Take a good look around.”

    She did. She did not recognize the room she was in, but then, she had never claimed to know every room in the Refuge. But strangely enough, the room had no visible entrance or exit. She wondered how they had been transported there. But for the moment it was irrelevant.

    “Where are they?” The simple question had multiple meanings and she did not care which one Lirain took. But she had to know that someone was safe. Everything could not have gone wrong.

    “They are elsewhere. Do not fret over them, Koriand’r. They are safe for the moment and will remain so as long as you continue to cooperate with us. That is a fair trade, is it not?” An involuntary shudder passed through Starfire, and she bit the inside of her lip, knowing Lirain had seen her.

    “What do you want with me?” she asked, and hated the way the question had come out. She sounded uncertain. She sounded afraid. She sounded like a sixteen-year-old girl with the tip of a sword angled at the back of her neck.

    Suddenly, Starfire’s eyes burned her signature emerald and she whipped around, pushing away Lirain’s blow with her metal armbands. She darted backward, never taking her eyes from his and came to rest once she felt there was enough distance between them. She felt sick, disgusted with herself. She was more than just a teenage girl. She was a warrior princess, one whose people depended on her to be there for them (Or did they? She had seen their response at the Peace Talks. Did they even want her anymore?). She was a hero who had braved battles against monsters, both the kind that lumbered and roared and the kind that manipulated and assassinated (But had she really been important in those fights? How much better could the Titans have done without her around to get in the way?). She would not make anyone ashamed of her. Not anyone. Not even herself.

    “What do you want with me?” she asked again, her voice stronger this time. Lirain smirked at her and made no attempt to get any closer. He paced the floor, keeping their distance constant. He did not answer for a moment.

    “Why do you live?” he asked suddenly. Starfire blinked, startled and stunned by the question. She tilted her head slightly.

    “I live because I have a right to,” she answered, surprising herself with the answer that almost jumped out of her. Lirain too seemed surprised, but he recovered. He sneered.

    “How poetic.”

    “What do you want from me?” Starfire asked firmly. “I am through with your games. Do you want me dead?”

    Lirain stopped moving and looked up at her slowly. For an instant, their eyes connected and Starfire felt something in her chest constrict. She blinked rapidly resisting the urge to yelp.

    “No, we have no use for you dead. But get used to the idea, Koriand’r. You may prefer it once we are done.”

    Despite the firm instructions she had given herself, steeling herself against any kind of weakness, Starfire found herself stumbling backward, her back pressed against the opposite wall. Her stomach knotted and she felt sick with dread.

    Because she swore that it was Xuun who stared through Lirain’s eyes.

    -!-

    The Titans, Keenyara, Galifore, and Kilaani all appeared instantly in another chamber, some of them in the midst of attacking an opponent who was not there anymore. Beastboy scrabbled to a stop as a snarling raptor as Robin came down hard on thin air. The rest of the group stilled quickly, looking around in confusion. Keenyara cursed and flopped onto the floor with a groan.

    “Fight was just getting good,” she grumbled and began to lounge. For a moment, the Titans gaped at her ability to transition from vicious warrior to lazy teen, but she snapped at them to mind their own business and they did so.

    “Where’s Starfire?”

    Robin was the first to voice the question as Raven and Kilaani made their way quickly toward Galifore. He had a few deep cuts on his forearms, but otherwise seemed unharmed. “Whoever brought us here must have sent her somewhere different. It seems that the twins are intent on separating us,” the Tamaranian rumbled.

    “So it is them, those two little *ssh*les, who are doing this?” Cyborg growled. Galifore pursed his lips.

    “They are certainly at the forefront, but it does not end with them. The entire military is divided evenly. For that kind of power the rebellion would have to have many more leaders, all of them with more power than Lirain and Forain. Their father, General Ryer’n, General Thr’om, a majority of Rik is on the other side.” Kilaani bit the inside of her lip. The idea of most of Rik going against the Emperor was unheard of and terrifying to her.

    “How are we going to get out of here?” Beastboy asked. He had been sniffing around the perimeter of the enclosure and had found nothing interesting. Keenyara snorted.

    “Um, we don’t,” she answered and punctuated it with a ‘duh’. The Titans looked at each other and then at Keenyara. Annoying as she was, Keenyara usually had answers that none of them would have ever come up with. She peeked at them from the corner of her eye and sat up with a sigh at the sight of their confused looks. “Think, children,” she supplied with mock patience. “They obviously plan on using us as leverage on Starfire to get her to do whatever. Which means that at some point they’ll bring her here or take us to her. All we have to do is wait and maybe pretend that we’re unconscious if they come physically to get us. It’s not that complicated of a concept.” She went back to lounging on the floor once this was said. Raven blinked incredulously.

    “That is actually pretty astute, Keenyara. I guess we do keep you for more than your ability to take up floor space.” Keenyara flicked her off.

    “Like your mother,” she snapped.

    “Please,” Galifore began forcefully, halting the budding quarrel immediately, “we must not fight at a time like this. We must be unified if we plan on recovering the princess and escaping this revolution unscathed.” Raven pursed her lips and pressed her hand, glowing blue, to one of Galifore’s deeper cuts. The Tamaranian winced slightly, but before he could say anything, the pain was gone, along with the cut. She continued along both of his arms and then did one on his shoulder.
    Though she lounged languidly on the floor, Keenyara’s mind was racing frantically. She had little to no time to get to Starfire, to do her part as Starfire transformed. Things were not going the way she had planned it. As much as she hated it, she needed help.

    “Kilaani, come here,” she said lazily. She peeked through her lashes at the timid Seer, who gave her a puzzled look. Keenyara sighed. “It’s *****ing important!” she snapped and Kilaani shrugged and sat down near Keenyara, tucking her legs up under herself. Keenyara rolled her eyes and steeled her nerves. She was definitely not one for communal touch, and yet, she flopped upward and began to comb through Kilaani’s hair with her fingers. Kilaani stiffened immediately and the Titans all
    gave her alarmed looks, but she ignored them. “Yeah, your hair kind of looks like sh*t,” she added, trying to diffuse their suspicion. Kilaani huffed and moved as if to get up, but Keenyara gripped her arm tightly.

    “Play along, stupid! We need to talk,” she hissed. Kilaani suddenly felt the barest brush of the wind against her knee and Keenyara exhaled slowly behind her, continuing to play with her hair. “Try not to move your lips too much. They can’t hear what we’re saying.” Kilaani blinked.

    “You can control what people do and do not hear?” she questioned skeptically. Keenyara did not seem to notice her tone.

    “Yeah. Hearing is just your ear interpreting the vibrations through the air. If you freeze the air particles in a few specific places, you can amplify or mute sounds,” she explained. Normally, she would not have been patient enough to explain any of this, but she really did not need for Kilaani to be so afraid of being overheard that Keenyara could not hear her. Kilaani hummed her acknowledgement of this and so Keenyara forged onward. “I don’t have to tell you that we have a bit of a problem here, do I?”

    Kilaani tilted her head slightly, watching the Titans and the Emperor carefully for any signs that they secretly heard them. “No, you do not. Sunrise is not far off at all.”

    “Do you know how we can get out of here? We have to find her!”

    Kilaani bit her lip as Keenyara pulled her hair into a ponytail and then pulled it back out, trying to buy them time. “As much as I hate to admit it, we may have to do exactly what you suggested. We must wait until someone comes for us.” Keenyara pursed her lips.

    “Kilaani, I’ve been where she’s going, I’ve gone through this transformation once before. It isn’t something you want to go through alone. This kind of change can destroy you if it goes wrong, and we know for a fact that someone is counting on it going wrong,” she countered.

    “Destroy?” Kilaani questioned uncertainly. “What makes you think that this is such a transformation?” Keenyara rolled her eyes and thumped the back of Kilaani’s head.

    “Pay attention, witchy one,” she scolded mockingly. “Your prophecy said that you had chosen your side, but she had not and that she would be awakened by sun’s rise, disregarding the part about her destruction and all of that negativity…”

    “Awakened… this implies that she will be realizing a certain power she had not known of before. She will discover a great power… and then be forced to choose a side to contribute that power, yes?”

    “Eh, in so many words.”

    There was a silence between them for a few moments. Suddenly, Kilaani bit her lip. “Which side did you choose?”

    Keenyara froze momentarily in her actions and then started up again, resolutely. “What?” she asked briskly. Kilaani glanced at her over her shoulder.

    “You said that you too had experienced this transfo—”

    “Did I?”

    Keenyara’s harsh tone was enough to silence Kilaani again. Keenyara rolled her eyes, annoyed at herself for letting something like that just slip out in a conversation. She kept forgetting that these people did not know her and did not have the sense to know that her past was hers alone. This dimension was, after all, a particularly nosy one. Kilaani twiddled her fingers nervously. Keenyara suddenly became annoyed at this and decided to open up if only to get that wounded look off of her face.

    “I didn’t,” she muttered lowly. Kilaani glanced back at her questioningly. “Choose a side. I will not, was not, and will never be tied to any ally. The transformation tore my soul apart and put the pieces back into my body. It was years before I was healed into what I am now. That is an instance of a transformation going wrong.”

    Kilaani tilted her head, imagining what it must feel like to have one’s soul ripped into pieces. What she came up with was not pleasant. “But, why did you not just choose a side, choose good?” she whispered. Keenyara narrowed her eyes and released Kilaani’s hair finally.

    “Because choosing is just another kind of trust. In general, I don’t do trust. Now shut up and act natural!” she snapped. The soft ‘whoosh’ that had encircled them disappeared suddenly and they were thrust back into the general discussion.

    “—was crazy,” Beastboy concluded grimly. “It was impossible for us to tell who was on our side and who was the enemy! And then when Corrai’n turned on us—”

    “Corrai’n?” Galifore exclaimed incredulously. “Corrai’n, second-in-command of the Elite Unit? Surely you are mistaken.” Beastboy shook his head and was about to respond, before Raven cut him off.

    “No, he’s right. Corrai’n and two or three other members of the Unit betrayed us, led us into a trap. Judging from the look on Vel’sura’s face, she had no idea. She was enraged,” she told him. Galifore frowned deeply, looking deeply disturbed and for good reason. The most trusted and influential group on the entire planet had been infiltrated by the rebels. How long had Corrai’n and his fellows been traitors? How many times had be been in the perfect position to assassinate him, or Starfire, or Blackfire? And not even his superior officer had known.

    “Vel’sura is a good woman and an excellent warrior. She has a lot of pride in the Empire and especially in her unit. However, she has a history of allowing her rage to get the best of her. She will have killed them by now.” All eyes snapped upward, incredulously.

    “Kill?” Cyborg questioned, shocked. “Not captured or maimed or something? She would kill them? Isn’t that going to the extreme?” Galifore sighed and rubbed his shaggy beard.

    “I did not say that it was something I condone, but it is not uncommon or taboo here. Traitors are not tolerated in the Tamaranian Empire,” he answered gravely.
    Suddenly, there was a deep rumbling off to the side and the Titans sprang to attention, Keenyara and Kilaani jumping to their feet. The rumbling scaled upward and downward rapidly. The room began to shake viciously…

    And Starfire appeared.

    She appeared directly in the center of the room, clutching her left arm. Her hair was disheveled and singed in places and her skin was splotched with dark bruises. Her right temple had been scraped bloody and her left shoulder was held up at a strange and awkward angle. For a few moments, no one moved as Starfire inhaled and exhaled shakily. Her head was bowed, her hair falling forward to shield her eyes.

    “You have ten minutes to heal her. We want an interesting fight.”

    Suddenly, she fell forward onto her knees, yelping horribly when the fall jostled her shoulder. The motion was enough to jolt the Titans out of their shocked reverie. They sprang forward, Raven and Robin helping her into a sitting position, careful of her shoulder, which seemed to be dislocated. The fall seemed to have snapped her out of whatever trance she had been in. She shoved some hair out of her face, taking them all in. Her face crumbled.

    “What are you doing here?” she whispered hoarsely. She coughed, shying away when they tried to help, holding back her shoulder. “Leave! Now! Leave me here if you must, just go!” Raven kneeled next to her wordlessly and began to heal the abundant bruises. Starfire jerked backward, wincing when she aggravated her shoulder again. “I said to leave!” she snapped viciously.

    “Hush, Koriand’r!” Galifore scolded, grabbing her uninjured shoulder firmly. His eyes were stern as he peered down at her. “Lives have been risked and undoubtedly lost trying to find you and bring you to safety. Have you not been taught better than to turn up your nose in the face of such sacrifice?” Starfire’s face flushed and she bit her tongue hastily. She pulled away and stood, the sudden movement making her waver on her feet. His words had hurt her.

    “I did not ask for this, Galifore!” she retorted. “Can you not see that they are praying on the fact that I would never let someone suffer for me in vain? They are using you, Robin, everything; they are using everything I love against me and if you do not leave now… I cannot… they said… I—” Tears were welling in her eyes as anger and indignation was replaced by panic and fear. The words of Lirain and of Forain rang incessantly in her ears, threats that had nothing to do with her personal safety. ‘I cannot lose you, I cannot lose you, I cannot lose you,’ she chanted mentally, though she could not force the words past her lips.

    Robin stood wordlessly and gripped her around the waist, pulling her close. She tried pulling away, but Robin held tighter and pressed his lips to her unscathed temple. “Shh,” he urged soothingly. He grabbed her hand, pressing it to his chest. “We’re right here. We’re fine, Star. It’s you we’re worried about right now. You’ve got to calm down and let us help you.” He smiled slightly, rubbing his thumb over her wrist. “Do you really think that we would leave you here alone? We’re still the Titans.” Starfire began to tremble, burying her face in his shoulder. The front of Robin’s shirt was quickly bunched tightly in her grip.

    “Xuun is with them, helping them,” she whispered in shaky Tamaranian. “I can still hear him, and Lirain, and Forain, inside of my head. They know things that I have never told anyone… no one could ever know what they know, and yet they do.” She paused and her grip got tighter. “They said they would kill you.”

    Robin narrowed his eyes, not liking the idea of people like Xuun inside of her head. He kissed her temple again and then her ear. “I’m not going anywhere,” he whispered back fiercely. “I promise.” When she continued to shake he sighed and pressed his forehead against hers. “Trust me. Not them,” he murmured. Starfire blinked and slowly steadied herself. Robin pulled away and looked back at Raven. He nodded at her and she stood, healing the scrape on the other side of Starfire’s head. “Can you tell us what’s been going on? What do they want from you and Blackfire?” he questioned as Starfire sank down to the floor again. Starfire nodded.

    “I woke up in a room like this one. Lirain was the only one there. He… said he had an offer for me, but he did not want to tell me what it was until he had… persuaded me. He and Forain kept switching between Blackfire and I, if they can be believed. They told me that Blackfire had already given up, but they were—” She yelped and swooned a little as Raven suddenly shoved her shoulder back into place. She patted her cheek a little to rouse her. “—lying,” she finished through gritted teeth.

    “How do you know that?” Cyborg asked, sitting to join them. Starfire gave a tiny smile, absently rotating her shoulder.

    “Not only did they continue to exchange posts, but they came back with more wounds than when they left. I do not know why they did not think that I would notice,” she answered. She turned to Raven. “Thank you,” she said with a nod toward her shoulder. Raven waved this apology away. It would be easier just to let Starfire’s body deal with the rest of the injuries. She could handle a few bruises and cuts easily enough.

    “What do they want from you?” she asked, sitting back to see Starfire’s face more clearly. While the world knew Starfire as a bubbly alien girl who wore her emotions on her sleeve, Raven knew that Starfire had, at the very least, the capacity to hide her emotions. Raven knew her to be downright deceiving in her portrayal of her feelings.

    Surprisingly enough, it was Galifore’s eyes that darkened and Galifore who answered. “I am sure that it does not matter what they want of her. They will not get it,” he growled. Starfire looked up at him sharply.

    “You seem vehement about this, my knorfka,” she murmured. Quickly, Galifore flashed Starfire a warm grin.

    “Since when am I anything less than vehement when it comes to my bungorf’s safety?” he answered. Starfire surveyed him tiredly. Instantly, she felt sick with herself for looking at someone whom she loved with all of her soul with such suspicion. Groaning, she scrubbed at her eyes.

    “I think I am losing my mind,” she whispered, mostly to herself. Working her shoulder some more, she stood, shakily at first, but then steady on her feet. She glanced toward the ceiling. “I wish it were sunrise,” she muttered.

    “No you don’t,” Keenyara answered briskly and snatched up her staff. Starfire blinked, surprised and then shook her head. She really did not feel like dealing with the riddles Keenyara spun and instead turned to glare at the wall she had come through.

    “They are ready to return, I think. It cannot be long, certainly less than their designated ten minutes. That would be too generous of them….” She trailed off, looking off distantly. Suddenly, she cried out, her face pale and shocked. She crouched swiftly, clamping her hands over her ears, trembling. Her jaw was clenched and her eyes were narrow, apparently keeping herself tightly controlled.

    “No, no, no, no, no!” she growled through clenched teeth. “Imerg nuw bwog! Get the hell out of my head,” she snarled, starbolts flickering to life in her hands. For a split second, Kilaani thought that she could see a strange, thin pattern twisting around her wrist, faded by the light of the starbolts, but it was gone as soon as she noticed it. For some reason, her mind seemed eager to forget it.

    This time, Raven was the first to her side, crouching in front of her with knowing eyes. Gently, though her eyes were hard, she pried one of Starfire’s hands away and replaced it with her own. Her own eyes widened and then narrowed. She shuddered and jerked away, her face drawn in disgust. Starfire jerked backward at the same moment, cursing and still pale.

    There was a dark chuckle from the other side of the room and seven pairs of eyes focused hatefully upon Lirain’s relaxed form lounging lazily against the wall. Starfire had screwed her eyes shut again and was shaking badly, her hands gouging into the ground around her. Instinctively, the Titans positioned themselves around her, protecting her. Lirain laughed again.

    “What is the matter, Koriand’r? Are you so tired of the company already?” Beastboy growled, his emerald wolf’s body tensing. Lirain spared him an amused glance before focusing back on Starfire, somehow able to see her through her protectors. “But we have not even begun to broach the stickier subjects of your past, have we? Forain is curious to know exactly how far—”

    Several things happened in the next moments, lightening fast; several things that changed…

    Everything.

    Starfire burst forward, snarling hideous curses in several languages, ignoring the Titans who reached for her, urging her to come back, not to be so hot-headed. It was too late, anyway. She was already to the center of the room, hurtling at speeds unknown even to Tamaranians. And then, abruptly, she halted, her hands to her temples once more. She gasped for breath, fingers digging into her scalp. Suddenly, the Titans understood the bloody scrape she had arrived with. It was self-inflicted.

    At the same time, there was a gasp as Raven hurtled into the air, Forain at her throat. With narrowed eyes, she chocked out her mantra, just in time for Forain to dodge and take hold of the back of her cloak. “Sorry, witch, but you have a nasty habit of undoing our damage.” Without batting an eye, he slammed the wide-eyed demoness into the ceiling and watched her fall back to the ground with a smirk. She was out before she ever landed in Keenyara’s arms.

    An unnaturally high-pitched keen assaulted them, one that momentarily disoriented them. Keenyara and Beastboy especially seemed pained by the sound and clamped hands down over their ears. Suddenly, with an ear-shattering crash, four walls of glass erupted from the ground, closing at a point over their heads. The crystal clear glass suddenly went opaque, obscuring Cyborg’s, Beastboy’s, Keenyara’s, and Kilaani’s faces. When it cleared a moment later, all of them had fallen unconscious. Galifore, Starfire, and Robin were alone.

    For a long moment, Robin did not notice the absence of his friends. He was only aware of Starfire, of her ragged breathing as he tried to help her and how weak her arms were when she tried to push him away. When he did look around for them, disturbed by their lack of protest, his eyes darkened and he turned away silently. Forain had come to stand next to his brother, who was suddenly brandishing a long, thick sword. Things were stacking up against them.

    The game was set.

    “Three against two? You have been taught better than that,” Galifore chided suddenly. His large, green eyes were indifferent, unthreatened. He exuded control of the situation. Starfire stood, silently summoning power to the tips of her fingers. She, in contrast, looked furious and apprehensive. “Where are your ridiculous numbers of backup?” he sniffed regally. Robin marveled at his ability to transition so flawlessly into a monarch. It was something he had seen Starfire do a handful of times, something that always caught him off guard. He was never truly prepared for such a transition.

    Lirain tilted his head, throwing both Galifore and Robin knowing smirks. “It will be two against two if a few moments,” he answered lightly. His dark green eyes lingered maliciously on Robin. Starfire’s power blazed brighter, the heat beginning to stir the air and sway her hair. Suddenly, Lirain winked and disappeared. Starfire’s eyes narrowed a fraction of an inch before she disappeared too, a swear in her wake. A slight wind ruffled Robin’s hair.

    Crack!

    Starfire reappeared, crouching protectively in front of Robin while Lirain skidded to a halt a few feet away. “Leave him out of this!” she hissed. Lirain straightened and disappeared again. Starfire followed with a growl.

    Crack, crack!

    “No,” Lirain laughed. Starfire’s lip was bleeding suddenly. She scowled. Watching as Forain laughed and joined the battle. But something was wrong… different about the way he moved. He was moving quickly, but not as quickly as she, not as quickly as Lirain. She had been attributing her supernatural speed and Lirain’s to the contact with Xuun. But Forain was not experiencing it. He was slow. What made she and Lirain quick?

    But no, there was not time to think of things like that. There was time to react, to throw a punch and always to block, but there was not time to think of the reason for her advantages. There was no time to thank X’hal for this “blessing”. But there was time to curse under her breath and to flinch away from the pain. There was time to kill herself a little more inside.

    ‘Just fight, Starfire. Just keep going, Koriand’r. Do not stop, do not rest, K’trina. Do not care. Do not think. Do not notice. Do not feel. Do not love. Just don’t just don’t just don’t. You are a princess, a figure-head, a weapon, a distraction, a misfit, but never, never a person.

    Just fight.’

    Suddenly, one coherent thought burst through this despairing haze.

    ‘Where is Lirain? Where is the sword?’ she cried mentally. With a cry, she rotated, starbolts radiating from her, throwing Forain to the ground.
    Her eyes searched the room, but she could only see the glass tent, Forian’s sluggish body—

    And then Lirain was there, behind her, his hand entwined in her hair, the sword at her throat. He whispered teasingly in her ear, not hesitating to yank her head back. “Your hopes are a fool’s,” he began slowly, “We were serious when we said we would kill.” He maintained a firm grip on her hair and she had no choice but to disappear with him.

    The sword flashed.

    Metal bit flesh.

    “Robin, no! No!” she screamed, but the wide eyes that pleaded with her for forgiveness and for understanding were not blue.

    They were green.


    Galifore’s body hit the floor with a resounding and final thud.
    -------------------------​


    For some reason I can't get it to stop with the italics. Sorry.
     
    #42 Anima, Nov 15, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2007
  3. paranoidguy103

    paranoidguy103 Getting more paranoid everyday

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    WOOT!!!! New Chapter!! AND its FRIDAY!!
    ok, ive gotten that out of my system. Great chapter as always. Its a drag to learn that Galfore is now dead, and that Lorain and his brother, whose name i cant spell, are now incredibly powerful. Its going to be interesting to see how Starfire and Robin get out of this one. I cant wait to see how the next chapters turn out. Till then...
    Peace,
    Paranoidguy103
     
  4. Matoyak

    Matoyak Guest

    Amazing fanfic. 2nd one I've read since I came here (the first one was an old one by a guy named "pressure cooker" and he never finished the story, which was an amazing story). Yours is definitely one of the higher-quality writings on the web. Keep up the good job! I'll be eagerly awaiting the release of another chapter.


    Matoyak


    EDIT: What does "(C(content rated for safety))" mean? Forgive my ignorance. EDIT 2: And "Rated MH" as well? Are they sorta like movie or video game content ratings, like M for Mature, or R for Restricted, or PG-13, etc?
     
  5. paranoidguy103

    paranoidguy103 Getting more paranoid everyday

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    I know what fic you are talking about. Although it wasnt written by pressure cooker, it still was good. I got her to post some new chapters a while ago, and I'll try to see if she can complete it.
     
  6. bishospidey

    bishospidey Never Back Down

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    actually , this a very good story & i love it ,,, i hope that i could write cool stories like u ( amazed):eek:
     
  7. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Hi everybody!!! I'm soooo sorry about the long absence!!! Life just got super complicated, but on the upside, I just got signed to Barbizon Modeling and Acting!! I have six months of training and then I can start working for them!! I'm sooo excited and there's been so much to prepare for so, once again, I'm sorry for the wait.




    Chapter 18 :CheckMate:


    ‘Take me now, Oh Powerful X’hal. May I be struck down where I stand. Have no mercy on me and damn me to my hell, or rather, deliver me from this particular version. Please, just take me now.’

    Starfire was silent as this prayer pounded through her entire being, desperate and agonizing as it was. Hatred twisted a hard knot in her stomach, threatening to make her sick. Frantically, she tried to redirect it. She asserted feebly that it was Lirain, Forain, or Xuun that she hated. It was the sword that protruded so absolutely from Galifore’s chest. But none of their names made it into her silent prayer.

    Hers did. Because even as Galifore collapsed at her feet, coughing and choking on his own blood, a miniscule part of her breathed a sigh of relief. The sense of self-loathing intensified as she shoved this thought to the back of her mind, were it continued darkly. It wasn’t Robin who was dying. It was Galifore. ‘Such a trade,’ she remarked bitterly.

    ‘The daughter of Luand’r indeed,’ something else whispered in her ear, and she ignored it, dropping weakly to Galifore’s side. After all, she had been hearing Xuun’s voice in her head, taunting her with memories he should have had no way of knowing, for hours now. But this was a new voice, a female voice. It was light, and yet rough and dark. It reminded her of Luand’r and Blackfire. It reminded her of strength. It reminded her of the weakness her own voice held in comparison.

    “Kor… Kor- an- er,” Galifore choked out and began a fit of coughing. Blood dribbled from the corners of his mouth and her fingers, suddenly pale, wiped shakily at the tiny rivulets. A broken whimper slipped away from her as thin, trembling hands flitted uselessly over his body. There was nothing for her to do, she realized despairingly. The sword was still in his chest, burning her eyes with every glance. How could she possibly bear to touch it, to pull it out? Somehow, Lirain had managed to pierce two of his hearts in one stroke.

    He was dying.

    ‘I will die with him,’ she vowed solemnly.

    Everything other than the two of them had disappeared in her eyes. She was aware of nothing but the bubbling rasp of his breath and the puttering of his hearts and the steady pounding of her own perfectly in-tact heart. Bitterness rose up in her like a tidal wave, pounding against her sanity.

    “Kori… ander!” Galifore rasped again, stronger this time, and his large hand rose to grip her forearm. Her eyes widened and moistened, and she cupped his face gently in her own hand.

    “Hush now, Galifore,” she whispered, her voice shaking. “I am here, right beside you. There is no need for distress.” His grip on her forearm relaxed slightly, whether from his calm or the ebbing of his strength, there was no way to know.

    “Lo… ve… me… yes?” Her heart broke at his words and she sobbed aloud. It was all she could do to nod furiously, leaning over him. Galifore reached up and cupped her face in his hand. “Shh,” he murmured gently. “Promise,” he breathed and was once again consumed by a coughing fit.

    “Galifore, Galifore!” she moaned against his hand, her heart wrenching with each and every cough and wheeze. “Please, I love you so! Please, this cannot how it is supposed to end!” she was pleading, making deals, hysteria threatening to overtake her. His hand found hers and he gazed up at her with wide eyes. He was afraid.

    “Hush,” he said gently, but firmly enough to stifle Starfire’s sobs. He pulled her closer and she obeyed mindlessly, anything for a last chance to be close to him. ‘Last chance…’ the thought almost began her weeping again. “Promise— me… leave… Tam— ran. Leave Tamaran!” he choked. Starfire’s eyes widened and she opened her mouth to question him, but he placed his hand clumsily over it. “Leave Tamaran… never return. Dy… ing… wish, Kori. Never come back,” he sighed, his eyes were urgent.

    “I…” Shock, confusion, and hurt swirled in Starfire’s mind, making her slow to answer, but Galifore’s strength surged and he gripped her upper arm tightly, his eyes frantic and wide.

    “Promise me, if you love me; if you wish me to go in peace! I beg you!” he demanded. Starfire’s tears had blurred her vision by then and she cursed herself once more. Her last chance, her last memory of the man who had loved her through Koriand’r, K’trina, and Starfire without fail, would be blurry beyond recognition. Maybe it was for the best, though. Did she really want to remember him like that?

    “I promise.”

    Starfire bit her lip after saying this, the oath seeming to reverberate back and forth. She swallowed. “I love you. More than anything, I love you. You are sure of that, are you not?” Her voice broke tenderly as she stroked his hair. Galifore sighed and wheezed and gazed almost obsessively at her face, even as his breathing became shallower and shallower and his eyes began to glaze over. He was still struggling to keep his eyes open as his hand fell weakly away from her. Starfire’s lips trembled as she leaned forward to brush a kiss across his forehead. “Sleep,” she murmured and brushed her fingers over his eyes. They closed. He was silent.

    No.

    Not silent.

    Galifore was dead.

    “You killed him.”

    This time the voice that accused her was real, tangible. It was Lirain, kneeling behind her, gazing with a morbid fascination at Galifore’s still face. Starfire’s mind froze, numb with her grief. Her breathing caught in her throat. “W-what?” she breathed absently. She was reeling, her eyes still glued to Galifore’s limp body, a miniscule part of her expecting him to twitch, to show her that he was just as indestructible as she had always imagined and taken for granted.

    Slowly, Lirain reached up to push her hair away, hair that he had only moments ago pulled her along by, and kissed the side of her neck tenderly. As he did this, he reached forward casually to yank the sword from Galifore’s body. It gave a sickening jerk at the movement.

    “I said,” he whispered, now against her shoulder as be drew the sword back to drive into her, “you killed him.”

    Suddenly, with an abruptness that startled her, but that she knew all too intimately, it was there. That second access of power that she had known only twice before surged forward and the brokenness that had crushed her into place lifted, fury and loathing in its place. No matter how hard she discounted it and feared it, turned away, rebuked, it was still very much a part of her. It was always there, something like an abusive lover, certain that she would be back. Now, the option was there for her again with her fury at its highest. It would be more potent than ever.

    ‘Fight back!’ she snarled mentally.

    Starfire’s rage exploded.

    Lirain screamed as the waves and waves of green energy burst from her body, surrounding her and protecting her. He was blown backward and the tinkling of shattering glass sounded faintly, seemingly in the distance. Robin’s voice shouted her name and she felt a sudden pang of guilt for her neglect of him. If he were to be killed next…

    No!” she screamed and reached out, into the new parts of her. It was impossible to describe what it felt like when she accessed that part of herself. It was almost as if there was a part of her embedded in each of the emerald tendrils. Each of them were her, and yet they moved without her conscious command to protect her. She was aware of them the way she would be aware of her arm or leg. But… it was so much more intense than that. It was intoxicating, the power that flowed from she to the streamers and back and forth.

    It was the irresistible pull of that power that scared her most of all.

    “You killed him! You killed him!” she shouted, searching for Lirain. She felt him easily enough and lunged forward, flying through the multiple, twisting streams of emerald flame to throw a punch at him. He dodged it barely, apparently not ready for her sudden burst of power. His eyes were wide in awe and he reached almost longingly for the nearest streamer. Starfire snarled and attacked him again, this time clipping him on the side of his head. This snapped him from his reverie and he leered at her.

    With a yell he disappeared and reappeared before Starfire could follow. He reached out and took hold of her wrist, his grip iron tight. He pulled her close. “You are a stupid and naive girl,” he sneered, his grip tightening infinitesimally. “It was my job to kill him, yours to save him. You should have done your part,” he taunted. He smiled nastily at her and shook his head and the rage swelled up inside of her again. She tried to lunge at him; anything to hurt him as much as he was hurting her, as he had hurt Galifore. It was clear that she spared no thought for her skill, or lack there of. The only clear, coherent thought she registered was that she had not killed him. She had not. Her mind said it. Her mouth screamed it.

    But her soul was skeptical.

    Lirain growled and jerked to the side, always keeping his firm grip on her wrist. He managed to twist around to take hold of her other wrist, pulling her along as they disappeared together. Suddenly, he had slammed her against the opposite wall, elicting a cry from Starfire as the emerald banners that protected her so fiercely were forced against her back. They burned her the same way that they burned everyone else. The sizzle of her skin was audible over her snarls or outrage. Lirain pressed against her, pinning her body with his. He reached up to cup her face possessively.

    “You know, you will be mine by the end of the night. I have always found you beautiful, too pure for your own good. I have no interest in Kormand’r and you are too good for my old wrinkly father. Would you not rather to have me instead?” he cooed. Starfire struggled to free her hands, to escape the fire on her back.

    “I would rather die!” she snapped in response. Lirain smirked back down at her.

    “You will wish you did, believe me,” he chuckled. Starfire shoved forward with all of her strength and managed to loosen his hold. That was all it took for her to reverse their roles. Her hand was at his throat before she could really think about it. The emerald banners bunched and converged around them, surrounding them in a cocoon of sorts. Starfire narrowed her eyes, keeping my grip tight.

    “Do you realize what you have done?” she hissed. Lirain did not respond. “Galifore, the Emperor, is dead. You killed him. You have instigated a rebellion, treacherous bastard! You will be put to death and I will be there to issue the command!” He continued to smirk at her in that infuriatingly smug way. Irrational tears sprung to her eyes. Luckily they were full of fire, literally. The muted hiss of her tears becoming steam was the only clue. “Why?” she choked. “The balance has been tipped, irrevocably. My knorfka, my father, is gone forever. How many happy moments did you steal from us?” She released him as she spoke, backing away, her arms wide. “And for what? For this power over this? This damned rock? These petty people? Soldiers who will not hesitate to rebel against you now that you have set the example?” Still he was silent, slumped against the wall where she had left him. Starfier lunged forward, grabbing him, slamming him against the wall. “Damn you, tell me why!” Her voice cracked, unable to withstand the waves of misery that raged within her.

    For a moment, both of them stilled and time slowed, save Starfire’s ragged breathing. The hissing grew louder as her hands shook, her desperation for a reason making her frantic. How she needed to know if there even was a rationale for the tons of despair weighing on her shoulders. ‘Weakness,’ the same mysterious, female voice accused. Starfire’s heart twisted. ‘I can rid you of all such weakness.’ Suddenly, and sharply, her despair faded and she was consumed by malice. The feeling was gone just as quickly as it came, but it frightened her, nonetheless. ‘You remain such a child…’

    Lirain slowly lifted his head and stared into her eyes, a desperate longing there. Gently, tenderly, he pinched her chin, pulling her closer. Starfire’s eyes narrowed, but the look in his eyes kept her from reacting aggressively against him. They were barely a breath’s distance apart when he spoke. The deadly seriousness in his voice made her tremble.

    “You posses power. It will be mine.”

    With more strength than he had ever demonstrated, Lirain pulled Starfire against him, sealing his mouth over hers. She struggled viciously, but he flipped them once more, caging her with his arms. With an inward growl, she called out to the emerald flames, urging them to attack, to defend her. She could feel them flash, feel them start toward her, but then…

    They halted.

    Lirain inhaled sharply as Starfire’s eyes snapped open and she fought harder to struggle out of his grip. But there was something wrong in the way her body was reacting to her commands. He pulled away to breath, but kept up his possessive hold of her, one hand gripping the back of her neck painfully. “Yes,” he breathed and kissed her again. This time, she had no power to fight against him with. She was immobilized. She could no longer control any part of her.

    But Lirain could.

    She felt it more clearly than she could see it, the dispersion of the barrier around them. It felt so wrong, so unnatural, the way they converged and spread, clearing the path for Starfire to see through them. She caught sight of the Titans easily. It seemed that they had incapacitated Forain. Lirain growled and instantly, a tendril of emerald flame licked toward them. With a grunt, she managed to jerk away from him, to weaken whatever twisted connection he had enlisted Xuun to forge between them and I stared up at him with wide eyes. “What are you doing to me?” she demanded weakly. Lirain leered down at her.

    “This power… it’s enthralling, Koriand’r. Ah, I might not be able to give it back. Oh, but don’t worry, princess. I left you something in return,” he sneered, pulling away from her tentatively. As soon as he did, she felt it, the nauseating sensation of memories being forced down on her. The feeling sent her into a panic. This was the sensation that had preceded so many horrible memories, memories that hurt in every way imaginable. She struck out blindly, her vision already swimming. She felt her fist connect with someone’s cheek before she was gone, immersed in memories. Memories that did not belong to her.

    And yet, had everything to do with her.

    They… shocked her

    They hurt.





    ‘X’hal, it hurts!’

    “What are these lies?” Starfire shrieked unseeingly. She felt her back collide with a wall and an impact near her head. She was still trapped in there, though, in those world shattering memories that could not be true.

    “What are you talking about, Koriand’r?” Lirain whispered, his voice so near. Starfire flinched away from him, pressing her hands desperately against her ears. Her hands were removed roughly and she could suddenly feel his body pressing against hers, holding her down. His hands roamed her trapped form and once again, a single coherent thought burst through her frenzied haze. He was touching her. She had promised herself.

    Could this be real? Or was she just stuck in another memory. Were the hands that pawed at her Tamaranian or Gordanian or Psion or had the impossible demands life had presented her finally been too much for her mind? Had she finally gone insane? The memories sped past her eyes at in a painful blur, never ceasing, never offering her a break. Starfire felt herself shaking. “Stop it,” she whispered weakly. Lirain’s lips were on her neck and she would have fought him off, but the price of wielding so much power was high. The backlash was setting in. If she did not pull back the power she had released, it would drain her of what little strength she had left, or worse, she would become too weak to control it and it would explode, it would destroy everything.

    Lirain leaned closer, whispering, “How does it feel, your highness? You are just like me, no you are less than I am. And you have been strutting about the galaxy, feeling high and mighty! Admit it! How many times have you looked upon the throne, the throne that I have coveted since I could understand the concept, and envisioned yourself there? How dare you! You are nothing!” He was screaming by the end of his tirade and with a fury he crashed his lips down on hers again, kissing her fiercely. He forced her mouth open, he bit her lips, he was grabbing her and suddenly she knew. There was no longer any doubt that what she was seeing was absolutely true.

    ‘I was a fool,’ she raged internally, ‘I was their toy, their plaything, their gun. Lirain is not lying… I am nothing.’

    She was no longer in denial; her revelation had stripped her of any rage that she had left. All that remained was despair, hallow and nauseating. She could not breathe, the words of her youth echoing back to her again and again, ‘Fight, Koriand’r… That is not enough… When your sister takes the throne… Insolent… Not good enough… You will never be good enough… The girl… The fool… Nothing… Nothing… Nothing…’

    Tears were in her eyes. Blood on her face, Lirain had bitten her a little too hard. But, she was nothing, wasn’t she? Why… he had said that he wanted her. That she was beautiful. He touched her so differently than Robin did. Robin. Where was he? She wanted him, but he deserved something more than she, more than an aesthetically pleasing weapon. Just for the slightest moment, she kissed him back, needing to know that she was more than nothing just for a moment. She just… needed… she needed…

    “Mother ****er!”

    Robin. Starfire’s eyes snapped open, her vision swimming from who knows how many minutes without air. He grabbed Lirain and threw him off of her, but he underestimated Lirain’s hold. The pair of them crashed to the ground and Starfire felt her head crack against the floor. The room swam around her again and she gasped at a pain in her abdomen.

    “A fractured rib, she’s messed up,” someone muttered. Raven’s voice floated and wrapped around her, both soothing and agonizing her, but her mind was muddled. Too muddled to make sense of her own emotions. She felt a cool touch on her forehead, her temples, and bit her lip, thinking it was Raven. Her head throbbed horribly and the room grew darker with every throb. Everything was hurting…

    “Damn it, Princess, don’t do this **** to me! Wake up, get a grip, just don’t do it this way!” Starfire had never known Keenyara’s voice to be so desperate. But the room was so dark now. It was time to sleep.

    “Not this way.”

    “I do not want to be nothing”

    “Starfire…”

    -!-

    “Wake up, you!”

    Starfire jerked awake with a cry and was immediately and absolutely confronted with herself.

    Starfire blinked in confusion. The girl in front of her could have been her twin, almost. She looked a bit smaller than Starfire was, younger maybe. Her eyes were alight with starbolts, though she did not seem angry. Maybe she seemed impatient. She was crouching near Starfire’s head, leaning close, so that the scars and bruises that marred her pretty face were clearly visible. The bitterness and malice there were not hard to spot either.

    Starfire sat up slowly, watching this new her wearily. Things had gotten very peculiar lately and she knew better than to trust the things that she could not understand.

    “What are you?” she demanded firmly. Her copy gave her a bewildered look, somehow managing to make it look angry. She moved slowly around to face Starfire, her eyes vigilant.

    “A Tamaranian,” she replied matter-of-factly. She tilted her head. “Why, what are you?” Starfire narrowed her eyes and clenched her jaw. She leaned forward into this second Starfire’s face.

    “I am real,” she snapped. “Can you say the same?” This younger version of Starfire did not shy away and instead bristled, her hands balling into fists.

    “Take a look around, princess! Are you sure about that?” Starfire blinked and did as she had instructed. Her stomach dropped. The polished, marble floor in swirling patterns of emerald and sapphire, the color of her eyes and Robins. The green stone walls, sanded to a satin-like smooth. The pristine condition in which it was in.

    The absence of a door.

    But then, she had no use for her own pretenses. She blinked and within one moment and the next, the room destroyed itself, the walls crumbling, the floors becoming scuffed and cracked, the room thrown into disarray. This was the true condition of her mind, cracked and damaged, although the walls had begun to repair themselves throughout her stay on Earth. She had been healing. In one night, her walls had fallen to the floor once again. Lirain, Xuun, Forain, together, they had knocked them down.

    The new her watched silently with a glowering expression as she took in her surroundings. Starfire looked back at her with a new, appraising expression. “I want a straight answer,” she said again. “What are you?” This time, the girl did not look confused or angry. Instead, a fierce, bitter smile stretched across her face and she leaned closer with an intense gleam in her eye.

    “I am the solution, young one,” she whispered intently. Starfire’s eyes widened and she suddenly longed for whatever answer it was that this strange, young, bold version of herself was offering to her.

    “Stop it. Now. You know how this works.”

    Starfire started. The words were in her tone, her pitch, her voice. She whipped around to find another version of her, glaring reproachfully at the other, younger her. This time, the copy of her was identical, with the same maturity, but with a kind of ancient sadness about the eyes. Her skin was smooth and unscathed, her hair hung perfectly down her back. Starfire regarded herself critically.

    Was she was nothing, but a carefully maintained charade? Did none of her old pain make it out through her eyes? Was it possible that she had known all along the lies she had been raised on, and therefore simply built off of them?

    But no. She could not think of that, even here in her own mind. It still hurt too much.

    The two versions of her glared hatefully at each other momentarily, and Starfire could easily see some sort of communication passing between them. However, the moment was over long before Starfire could say anything about it. Both of these intruders stood, simultaneously, and backed away from her. They still had their eyes locked on each other, but it seemed that it was more out of suspicion than to communicate anything. Starfire curled her hands into fists.

    “I am quite tired of being kept in the dark and being manipulated especially,” she growled quietly. “Who are you? Both of you, and what do you want from me?” Both of their answers came instantly, simultaneously, though not identically.

    “We are a part of you. We want to make it complete,” they declared. They younger one’s voice was low, alluring, and dark, and Starfire suddenly identified it as the anonymous female voice that had hounded her throughout her ordeal. Her copy’s voice was lighter, more pleading than intoxicating. Starfire narrowed her eyes, focusing on their last statement.

    “I see. Do you both wish to make me something I am not, too? If so, you may want to join the line, so to speak. What is it that you need me to be? A warrior? A leader, perhaps? Or maybe an incubator to make pretty babies. Or better yet, a whore. None of the responsibility there, you see.” They younger her sneered at her, standing.

    “Oh, poor Starfire. She’s been manipulated and taken advantage of, unlike the rest of the people in the universe. Yes, it has been just her who has experienced such treatment, has it not? The rest of the world is a fair, wonderful place, but life just will not stop picking on poor, pathetic, little Starfi—”

    Starfire sprang at her, a snarl that she did not recognize ripping from her. Her hand curled around the girl’s collar and she jerked her forward until they were practically nose to nose. “You speak of things you know nothing of,” she hissed. “They killed him.” To her surprise, starbolts appeared at the girl’s hands, bolts that stung her. She jerked her hands away.

    “Then fight back against them!” the girl shouted and suddenly, Starfire knew who she was. She could see her, writhing in pain and strapped to the medical table. She could see her fighting for her virtue. She could see her pinned under Firrn’s body, and then breaking forth with emerald streamers, breaking everything and everyone in sight.

    Starfire narrowed her eyes. “K’trina?” she whispered cautiously. The girl nodded and leaned closer, her voice low, quick, and vehement.

    “You remember, don’t you? You remember what we did to Firrn and to all of those who dared to claim our body! You remember the feeling when we chased our mother away on Earth. We were powerful. We were the ones in control. And now, now that they have taken the most precious thing to us away, what is it that we will do?”

    Starfire was mesmerized, unable to look away from the blazing emerald eyes that bore into hers. Her own eyes were alight now. “What will we do?” she asked breathlessly. K’trina grinned sinisterly.

    “We will fight!

    The older version of her was on her feet now. “No! It does not work this way!” she shouted. She attempted to force herself between Starfire and K’trina, but K’trina gave her a single blow to the chest and she flew backward, knocking down another wall. Their surroundings were changing again, the sapphire color in the floor dulling and disappearing and the walls darkening. A thin, twisting, silver pattern began to weave itself throughout the floor and the walls and Starfire remembered them with malice as the same patterns that Psions had carved into her skin, their ancient language as they invoked the forbidden dark magic in hopes of keeping her alive.

    “Silence, you!” K’trina snapped at the other copy, tilting her head back blissfully as the outline made its way over her own body. Starfire cried out as the pattern began to circle up her legs, over her hips, her abdomen, her arms, neck and face until they touched her eyes. As soon as they made contact, the dull, silver patterns blazed with the same emerald fire as her eyes. She was there again, with blades carving out her skin, making her into something she had never asked to be…

    K’trina’s eyes were vigilant upon hers and she took Starfire’s hand. “That is it,” she whispered huskily. “You feel it, do you not. They took everything away from us. They shaped us and molded us until we did not know ourselves and made us what we are now.”

    “Abomination,” Starfire hissed. K’trina grinned.

    “You remember,” she answered approvingly. But then her grin disappeared. Her eyes narrowed. “But were they the firsts to destroy us?” Starfire shook her head.

    “I thought… No, they were not! It began so long before,” she answered in a gasping whisper.

    “It began with Tamaran, did it not? It began when they decided that we were nothing but a gun. They twisted us until that was all we could see in the mirror!”

    “Galifore saw more in me…”

    “And they took him away! They killed him, thinking that with him gone, they could take control of us. They could claim their weapon and point us in the right direction. They thought they could, that they had the right, to control us…”

    “Never,” Starfire growled. K’trina grinned.

    “That is what I like to hear.”

    “How to do it?”

    “Give me control—”

    “Starfire, stop this! And you, you know she does not know the rules, she does not know what she is doing!” The second Starfire was back, this time with a limp. For a moment, Starfire thought it was from the blow she had taken, but then she noticed how pale she was, how her red hair had lost its sheen. Something was weakening her. Did it have anything to do with what K’trina was saying to her, doing to her mind? K’trina took hold of Starfire’s upper arms and turned her back to face her.

    “No one ever said I would play fair,” she whispered and Starfire felt a chill go through her. Her eyes locked unyieldingly on Starfire. “They wanted a gun, a power source. I can show them what happens when they choose a weapon they cannot control. I can make them pay.” Starfire’s eyes went wide with sudden longing. Suddenly, it did not matter, nothing mattered except the fact that someone could make them pay.

    Pay for all of the lonely nights. Pay for the blows. Pay for the fights. Pay for the blood. Pay for the nights and days, the life of terror. Pay for the shame. Pay for the agony. Pay for the hands that had touched her when she didn’t want it and for the ones that she did want (The touch on her forehead, the pat on her back) and yet, never got. Pay for the scars, the damage that kept her from being everything she knew Robin deserved. Pay for the glow that lit her eyes and hands and the very call of her anger. Pay for taking away her humanity, so to speak.

    Pay for Galifore’s dead body.

    “Do it. Do what you have to, take what you have to… do it.”

    K’trina smiled triumphantly, and Starfire’s mind began to fade, to shimmer around the edges. She was awakening, returning to the real world. But now, there was a new awareness that Starfire surrendered to, allowing herself to fall away, to forget herself. After all, she was nothing.

    But now, she was revenge.

    She could barely hear what was happening around her, Robin’s cry of surprise, Lirain’s swearing. There was a sickening crunch and the sensation of bone cracking beneath her iron grasp. And through it all, K’trina’s triumphant laughter as she pulled Keenyara, her guardian, close, twisting her arm hard, and whispering intimately. “She is ours now.”

    “You lose.”
    ----

    ^le gasp!! Matoyak, C and MH and everything are ratings for the stories. The complete list is http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=157182(here)
     
  8. Atoragon

    Atoragon *random sound effects*

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
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    Wow... Double Congrats... One for writing such and awesome chapter, and the other for the job at the modeling agency.:)
     
  9. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

    Joined:
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    Wow, guys, it's been a long time, huh? I'm really sorry about the long wait and everything, but things have been really busy and going amazingly well for me. AP exams are comming up and I've got a million other commitments. Just don't feel too neglected. This fic may not be on top of the priority list, but it's far from the bottom.

    Last Time::

    (NOTE: Yes, there is a bit of a time lapse between the last chapter and this one. Think twenty minutes or so. Not a lot, but my betas were confused on it.)

    Starfire’s eyes went wide with sudden longing. Suddenly, it did not matter, nothing mattered except the fact that someone could make them pay.

    Pay for all of the lonely nights. Pay for the blows. Pay for the fights. Pay for the blood. Pay for the nights and days, the life of terror. Pay for the shame. Pay for the agony. Pay for the hands that had touched her when she didn’t want it and for the ones that she did want (The touch on her forehead, the pat on her back) and yet, never got. Pay for the scars, the damage that kept her from being everything she knew Robin deserved. Pay for the glow that lit her eyes and hands and the very call of her anger. Pay for taking away her humanity, so to speak.

    Pay for Galifore’s dead body.

    Do it. Do what you have to, take what you have to… do it.”

    K’trina smiled triumphantly, and Starfire’s mind began to fade, to shimmer around the edges. She was awakening, returning to the real world. But now, there was a new awareness that Starfire surrendered to, allowing herself to fall away, to forget herself. After all, she was nothing.

    But now, she was revenge.

    She could barely hear what was happening around her, Robin’s cry of surprise, Lirain’s swearing. There was a sickening crunch and the sensation of bone cracking beneath her iron grasp. And through it all, K’trina’s triumphant laughter as she pulled Keenyara, her guardian, close, twisting her arm hard, and whispering intimately. “She is ours now.”

    You lose.”

    Chapter 19 : Double-Sided:

    Keenyara felt nothing.

    At least, emotionally. Physically, she was drowning in her own pain. Her left arm was effectively useless, dead weight at her side and only waves of burning pain to remind her she had it. A dislocated shoulder and a shattered wrist, she was sure. The front of her shirt was soaked in her blood, from a gash at her temple that flowed freely down the side of her face and over her neck, in addition to the nasty wound that ran diagonally from her left shoulder to the center of her chest. Bruises splotched and peppered her skin. She was seeing double from a collision head first into a wall. Her body was weak with the waves of pain, but she kept her emotions carefully blank.

    She had failed. It was a sensation she was definitely unused to. Of course, like any other person, she had her share of failed endeavors, but not many, not enough to make it any easier to deal with this one. No matter how much or how often she exaggerated her powers, the fact remained that she was excellent at what she did, and she did just about whatever she wanted to. Failure was foreign to her and so she rejected what was surely supposed to do go along with it.

    She was not sad, she was not devastated, sorry, or even disappointed. Instead, she was resigned. It was done. She had failed, Starfire was lost to the other side and now, she was willing to let Starfire smack her around a bit before the end. Hopefully, the Portal would survive and get out, would remain untainted. The Princess had been lost, and Keenyara was to blame. Starfire was as good as dead. There was nothing left to do but move on.

    She had given herself to the other side, the darker side. She was not Starfire anymore, only a personification of Starfire’s anger, Starfire’s vendettas, Starfire’s hatred. She was nothing but a shadow. And the real Starfire was never coming back.

    Keenyara remembered Kilaani’s vehement refusal when she had told her that the mission was failed, that they were too late to save her precious princess. She remembered Robin’s enraged face as he cursed her for saying such things about her. His face had been strangely pale, despite his words. Keenyara would have snorted with the memory, had she been able to breathe properly. Kilaani, Robin, all of them really, were fools, children in most senses of the word. They was too naïve for their own good, a trait that ran rampant in this strange dimension, one that seemed to have all of the answers laid out in bold and the sharp corners rubbed away. The playroom reality they lived in had made them brazen, foolishly confident in things they knew nothing of. “Perhaps she may be brought back!” Kilaani had pled. “Starfire is too strong to let something like this take control of her,” Robin had snapped.

    They were wrong. Keenyara had lived that life, had been born in the hell that spawned the beast that commanded Starfire’s body now. She carried a part of that evil inside of her. She knew its rage, its sick pleasures. She knew its call and its allure. She knew the immeasurable bond it held on with once it had a hold. Only one person had ever been able to break its hold and that was Keenyara, and even she had been unable to make herself completely free. She still fought it. She still slipped. She still lost control.

    Keenyara remembered the agony it was just to fight away from its complete control. No one had ever done it before. No one had done it since. And Starfire, despite her complicated and painful and strengthening past would not be able to do it now. It was nothing but simple fact.

    She was too weak.

    Keenyara tossed her head, regarding the brilliant emerald eyes that glared so blankly back at her. The hand around her neck, impossibly strong and impossibly warm, contracted again, cutting her air supply. Her hand was still tight around Starfire’s wrist. She could still hear the Titans, still fighting Lirain beyond the wall, still fighting to get to her. Not for long. Starfire was just playing with her now. The beast was flaunting its new body. If she remembered correctly, Starfire’s power coupled with her new owner’s ruthlessness would easily kill her. Perhaps not quickly, but definitely.

    “Do it. Rip my throat out. Fry my brains. Whatever. Make things harder on yourself, I don’t care. She’ll start to fight the moment I’m dead, I’ll make sure of it. So go ahead. I’ll make hell for you on the way out,” Keenyara hissed, the wind swirling protectively around her as she spoke. She waited, wheezing to draw breath as Starfire seemed to think about it. Suddenly, she fell to the ground, her airway unobstructed. Keenyara sucked in air greedily, her hand on her throat.

    “Keenyara, stand.” Keenyara cursed viciously as her muscles bunched, forcing her to stand against her will. “Spread your arms and do not move,” Starfire continued, walking in a very small circle around her. “I must be able to see your hands. You are crafty, I will admit.” Keenyara’s arms snapped out and she found herself immobilized.

    And enraged.

    Who was this, a spoiled princess, too weak and obsessed with her own angst to face the realities of life? She was a child and yet, she had acquired power over her. Keenyara had been annoyed enough by this fact when it was innocent, but now, those idiot angels had handed the enemy the means to her destruction.

    “You must not be allowed to leave. With you out of the way our way to the Portal is clear. You must die.” Keenyara was trembling, her anger mounting, her own darkness wearing on her control. She leaned forward, her eyes narrowed into her trademark scowl.

    “Then kill me,” she hissed, her chilling voice full of venom. Starfire seemed unaffected by this.

    “However, I cannot kill you—”

    “Don’t ******** me! I know what’s really going on here—”

    Starfire suddenly drew into the air, and raised her arms to her sides and then forcing them simultaneously at Keenyara. Blindingly, twin streaks of emerald whipped forward and licked across Keenyara’s wrists, opening several crisscrossing gashes. Keenyara hissed in surprise and in pain, almost silently. “Perhaps an indirect death would be best,” Starfire continued, as if Keenyara had never spoken. She turned, as if to leave as Keenyara turned her wide-mouthed gaze from her bleeding wounds to Starfire’s retreating back, momentarily dumbfounded.

    Her fury exploded with the force of a whirlwind. With a feral snarl that sounded as if it were better suited to come from a tiger, Keenyara shattered the spell and flung herself forward, taking a handful of Starfire’s ruby locks and snatching her backward. The air around them roiled furiously and yet, Starfire was the only one hindered.

    Without any conscious thought, Keenyara drew her staff, swinging it with all of her might. She was hardly satisfied with the sharp crack that resulted. Her sharp, exotic features had been twisted past their normal expression of derision and mock and into one of pure hatred and loathing.

    And rage.

    A stream of words that sounded more like the whistling of storm winds than an actual language issued from Keenyara and her hair was released from its braid, the long strands whipping around her crazily. She attacked sporadically and viciously, forcing Starfire back and to the ground. The ferocity of her fighting was getting through to Starfire, she was reeling from the blows that seemed to come from everywhere. The insane winds were interfering with the emerald banners she called. And through it all, Keenyara’s blood poured from her wrists.

    Ssh’anil hanishiwass! Yaswin ‘shinainsh! What right have you—” The language slipped into a purer form, one that seemed to be the sound of pure wind only as Keenyara’s eyes pulsed into a steady glow. She managed to knock Starfire to the ground, pinning her staff over her shoulders. “Fuanih’issa— my old wounds— aufa rrishi’na lissaia!”

    Starfire’s eyes flared and she heaved, throwing Keenyara off of her. But the wind pushed down harder, keeping the wind incarnate firmly on top of her. Keenyara reached forward and seized the Tamaranian by the neck, mindful of her nails, making sure to use them. She hissed down at her, a long, deep, threatening sound, like a snake. She leaned down and whispered almost sensually in Starfire’s ear, though she shoved her staff hard into her windpipe.

    “Guess what, princess? I may empathize, I may know what you are going through, what you are, but don’t think that stops me. You are nothing to me. I will kill you.”

    Starfire’s previously smooth, impassive face twisted into a momentary look of fear. She blinked, and suddenly she was a girl again, was the true Starfire again. She gasped haltingly through Keenyara’s attack. Her eyes filled with confusion and panic and pain and suddenly, without thinking she shoved, the star fire that bent to her will reacting to her sudden panic.

    Blood spurt forth, splashing across Starfire’s chest as Keenyara went flying. She struggled into a sitting position, surprised at the pain the action caused her. She was aware of her shirt becoming soaked. Looking down, she saw that it was blood that did it. She had a deep wound on the left side of her chest, directly where her heart would be. Keenyara touched the blood and looked up at Starfire, a dark expression on her face.

    And just that quickly, that small display of emotion was wiped from Starfire’s face and she turned, ready to flee. Keenyara, seeing that she was about to loose her chance, grabbed around frantically for something, anything, and flung the first thing her hands laid on. Starfire sneered and disappeared, from the bubble of energy.

    And then she was gone.

    Keenyara never knew what happened next.

    The light that surrounded her suddenly flared, and she was instantly buffeted by the intense heat, blinded by the white energy, deafened by the roar of it all. Keenyara almost stopped breathing with the pain of it all. She had always been sensitive to sounds, even before she knew what she really was, when she was mostly human. She could not even lift her other hand to shield her ears. There was a light pop that sent her reeling in pain again and she felt a trickle over both sides of her neck.

    And even worse than the pain was the sudden, unbidden panic. She was suddenly blind. Of course, the absence of her eyesight was nothing to her. She was not afraid of the dark. In a former life the darkness had been her savior, her home. She had been without eyesight before and had flourished under the “handicap”. But she had cheated then. As long as she could feel the air, the wind, as long as she had that connection, she had all of the sight that she needed. Even when she looked with her eyes she was always feeling with that other sense. It was a part of who she was.

    But the heat was too intense, it was pitching and rolling the air in strange patterns that disoriented her. And the barrier it posed had cut her off from the outside room, from the outside world. Keenyara’s skin was drenched and her eyes were frantic and for one agonizing moment her mind held nothing but the acknowledgement that she could not see.

    And through it all, she continued to bleed.

    So she cheated again, in a different way. She had promised herself, promised him that she would do this herself, but damn it if she wasn’t mortal. She was allowed her moments of weakness, no matter how rare they were. Maybe she was unwilling to share those moments, sure, but not from him and him alone.

    Everything dimmed. Everything contracted until she was in the darkness once again; reality was nothing but a movie screen in the distance. This darkness comforted her because it meant that no one could see her. Her senses dulled and, for once, she was okay with it. With them went her anger and her fear. It would all be over soon. His calm, slightly cocky presence was instantly surrounding her. She could almost feel his arms around her waist. The sensation intensified as he became fully present, leaving behind whatever reality he was in at her call. They made their own little world together, here. Without a word, she sagged against him, letting him support her.

    I’ve missed you,” his voice whispered from somewhere between her neck and her shoulder. Keenyara smiled, for once, a smile that was void of mocking and dislike. Of course, his first words would never be a rebuke. She reached up unseeingly and ran her fingers gently through his short locks, just as soft and fine as she remembered. She could feel that it fell into eyes now, a touch longer than she remembered it. He kissed her, just below her ear, and reached forward to ghost two fingers from the center of her forehead, over her nose, her lips, her chin, until his hand rested on her throat. She tilted her head back and breathed a sigh of contentment.

    “Of course you did,” she answered softly. She tilted her head until it was resting against his. “I missed you, too.” He smiled against her skin, his fingers moving over her throat tenderly. The action made her grin, made her remember how it used to unsettle her, his upbringing and culture so different than her own. She grabbed his hand and brought it to her lips, kissing his wrist with a small, peculiar sound in the back of her throat. He laughed at her.

    Not that I wasn’t hoping that you would change your mind—”

    “What?” Keenyara interrupted, one eyebrow arched incredulously. He chuckled embarrassedly.

    Well, you just seemed so intent on doing this alone and Icertainly didn’t want to be the clingy, needy one in this relationship,” he answered, ducking his head so that his forehead was resting against her shoulder. Keenyara laughed once.

    “I don’t see why. You absolutely are.” He scoffed at her.

    Yes, well, some would beg to differ, but I still would like to know why the sudden change of heart.”

    Keenyara did not answer for a few moments. Finally, without inflection, she murmured, “I’m dying.” She felt him start and the strange, non-physical way he shifted to peer through her consciousness. Keenyara panicked, reached out and stopped him, barring his way. Of course, he could do nothing without her permission when it came to her side. But he had touched the surface. He winced. “Now was that really the smartest choice?” she muttered, turning to cup his cheek, ready to comfort him if need be. She jumped slightly as she felt him trace the shell of her ear lightly.

    That had to have hurt you. That hurt me. Your ears were bleeding.” Keenyara could hear the pain and concern in his voice and she kissed his cheek to reassure him.

    “You wanted to know why I was here. There you go.” Now it was his turn to pause.

    It is unsettling, isn’t it? No matter how many times it happens, it never feels natural,” he answered thoughtfully. Keenyara did not answer. “If you are here, you must not feel that there is any hope, no chance of fighting your way out. That is very different for you. I have never seen you give up. You are normally determined to the point of stupidity.” His words lost some of their sting with the fact that he was kissing and nibbling just under her chin in the most delicious of ways.

    Keenyara leaned away from him, regardless. “This isn’t a matter of giving up!” she snapped acidly, her face hard. “It has her. I can’t do **** about her ****ing choice.” Instantly, his hands were moving up and down her back and he was kissing her temple.

    Point taken, Bai, I got it. You know what I meant anyway. No need to jump down my throat.” It helped that as he spoke he was running his hands over her shoulders and neck. And he had called her 'Bai.' Keenyara could hardly express to herself how much she had missed the nickname. She huffed and leaned against him again. He took hold of her chin and tilted her face upward. Keenyara felt their noses collide and she leaned onto him even more heavily.
    I will stay with you.” Soft lips moved against hers gently for a moment, but with quickly mounting passion. Keenyara sighed, her hands sliding down his arms. Time lost meaning for her as she waited for her body to give up.

    -!-

    “Starfire! Starfire!”

    K’trina stilled instantly, her new eyes gone wide. The girl, the vessel inside of her, stirred and sharply, K’trina clamped down on her control. It was not hard, of course. Starfire had been dragged through many trials in all phases of her life. There had been darkness in her soul long before the Other Side had come to claim it. The result was that K’trina had a nice, secure nest holding her in place. She had control.

    But apparently, her hold was not as complete as she had thought.

    “Starfire, I know you’re here! I know you can hear me! Star, please come talk to me. I can help you. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let me help you… please.” K’trina pressed her lips into a thin line. She could not remember drawing the boy into the cocoon of the girl’s (of course, she meant her) power. It was not a large matter, however. Starfire belonged to her, now; even the protectress knew it. She had been willing to dispose of the body. This small bump would be quashed. The boy was no threat to her. She wheeled and ran to meet him.

    It was easy, natural, to pass through the bright, burning barriers she had erected around. They were, after all, a part of her. It was no time at all before she had caught sight of him, of Robin. Again, the girl inside of her stirred. Again, K’trina shoved her away. It was almost easier the second time. ‘Good,’ K’trina thought, ‘She’s learning her place.’

    Robin’s eyes went wide as he finally laid eyes on Starfire, his Starfire. She was blood-stained and bruised. Thin, almost delicate-looking, luminous, emerald patterns twisted intricately around her stomach, her neck, her arms, forearms, wrists, and down her legs. She had become a familiar stranger. He knew so intimately those ruby tresses and orange-tinted skin. He knew the large, green eyes that would peer hopefully, angrily, or persuasively, but always lovingly. The blankness that stared out of them now was foreign, however. And even when just a flicker of emotion played across her face, it was rage. It was fury. It was pain.

    She stopped, only a few yards away from him, and though Robin had never in his life feared his best friend (save their initial meeting), Robin found himself instinctively shying away from the darkness that radiated from her body. Robin’s heart was breaking. “You,” he began in a hoarse whisper, “You aren’t Starfire.”

    Keenyara was missing, had last been seen with an emerald tendril snaked around her torso. Her last words had been as much of a warning and a condemnation. Kilaani’s warning echoed grimly in his mind. The palace would come down within the hour. Fact. Starfire was the one who would destroy it. Fact. Starfire was not Starfire anymore. He gulped.

    Fact.

    No hope. There’s nothing left. I am not Starfire anymore. Leave me…’

    K’trina’s mouth twitched as the mournful and unbidden thought whispered in the corner of her consciousness. The presence was weak, and yet, the sorrow washed over her strongly, feeding her power. She smothered the smile quickly, however.

    “How are you here?” she asked, almost conversationally. Robin’s face was slowly was draining of feeling. His expression mirrored hers now.

    “You brought me here,” he answered. “Just like Keenyara.” There was a heavy silence between them. Robin gazed at the blood smeared so liberally across her torso and K’trina stared stoically back at him.

    “Why did you bring him?” She gestured at the unconscious Tamaranian traitor crumpled at Robin’s feet. Robin shrugged, his hand contracting on Lirain’s sword.

    “I was fighting him at the time. Avenging my girlfriend, you know. Neither of us would let go. I think he wanted a piece of you himself. I got a little overzealous. Starfire knows what I mean.”

    K’trina’s eyes narrowed at him. “I am—”

    “No!”

    Robin’s cry was met with shock, with silence. K’trina felt the power behind the words and to her surprise, Robin stalked forward, quickly closing the distance between the two of them. “You aren’t Starfire. I don’t know what you are, but you’re not Starfire.” K’trina’s reaction was little more than instinct, Starfire’s instinct this time. Her fist flew forward, and she opened her hand at the last moment, hoping not to wound him too severely and bring on the vessel’s struggling. What she did not expect was for Robin to dodge easily out of the way, his hand closing securely around her wrist. He yanked sharply on her arm, pulling her closer. His face was suddenly determined, tight with righteous fury, irony not lost on K’trina. “You are, however, using Starfire’s moves.”

    K’trina screwed up her face, giving Robin an anguished look. “Robin, you are… hurting me,” she whimpered, an impressive imitation of Starfire’s words, the night he had grabbed her arm and shook her, screamed at her. K’trina watched with amusement as Robin’s demeanor faltered. She had seen through Starfire’s memories the affect the words would have on him, the affect they would have on him for the rest of his life. Starfire had discovered it the first time after a sparring match. They had been wrestling playfully. He had pinned her. The words had been so trivial to her, but his face had fallen, paled and he could hardly bring himself to touch her for hours.

    Humans. They were so easy to toy with.

    Suddenly, Robin kicked out, knocking her legs from under her and forcing her to the ground. He winced, hearing the sharp crack that was her head colliding with the floor, but he did not let up, keeping a tight grip on her wrists as he pinned them over her head. For some reason, the green star fire no longer needed to be in contact with her for her to control it. Robin was thankful that he would not hurt her at least in that way. “Starfire will forgive me,” he growled under his breath. He leaned down over her, glad that he had decided on making his entire uniform fire proof. He could feel the heat from the swirling tattoos that covered her body. He was thankful for his gloves as he took hold of her face, forcing her to look at him. He was poised to speak, when K’trina leaned up, her face twisted into a snarl, the likes of which had never graced Starfire’s face.

    “So I can’t trick you, huh? What, I don’t make a good Starfire?” she pouted. “Well then, let’s understand each other. Starfire doesn’t belong to you anymore.” K’trina smiled and innocent smile, one that made her look too much like Starfire. “She’s mine. I’ve killed with her hands. They belong to me now.”
    A block of ice dropped into the pit of Robin’s stomach and stupidly, his grip loosened on her wrists. “Keenyara,” he whispered, stunned, unable to imagine the pure force that was Keenyara snuffed out. K’trina was quick. With a jerk, she took her hands back and grabbed onto Robin’s shoulders, slamming her forehead into his. Stars exploded in front of his eyes and he was thrown backward. K’trina was over him quickly, her hands pressing down on his chest.

    “You don’t have to lose her, though,” she whispered. Robin was reeling from the sudden, erratic changes in her moods. She gazed deeply into his mask, her lips never quite coming close to his. “I have friends, friends who would be happy to have your body. You could be his the way she is mine. Would you like that, Robin?” she purred. Robin growled and tried to shove her off, but K’trina took his arm. Her face fell and then brightened. “Perhaps you would rather hear it directly from Starfire? It really isn’t so bad, you know.” Her eyes went blank momentarily and suddenly, Starfire’s eyes were her own again. Robin, however, took no comfort in this.

    Her eyes were wide, panicked. She shuddered and reeled backward, away from him, her eyes glued to her chest, her arms, her stomach, everywhere that was coated with foreign blood. A heart-wrenching sob, tore from her throat and Robin reached forward instinctively, desperate to soothe her. With blinding speed, she recoiled, putting even more distance between the two of them.

    “Robin? What…” tears spilled from her eyes, “What did I do? What have I done…” She was trembling, wiping her hands shakily and unknowingly over her skirt over and over again in hopes of ridding herself of the bloodstains. Suddenly, her back arched and she whimpered. “You promised me— I… I killed… I never wanted— all I ever wanted was to be,” she wailed. Her arms came around herself then, hunching her shoulders, her eyes screwed shut. “Leave me here! Never let her have you! Leave me, kill me, anythi—” A strangled choke cut her off and K’trina reappeared, her lips pursed together in an expression of annoyance.

    “Well she wasn’t very convincing…”

    Robin made several discoveries at that moment, very quickly. Firstly, he knew Starfire was in there, inside of her body, being held hostage. Up until that point, he had been praying and going on a hunch. It was a desperate need to reach her that had fueled him thus far. Now, however, he had proof that Starfire was alive and that she could fight with his help. There was hope again.

    Secondly, he knew that whoever this was who had taken over Starfire’s body was strong. Impossibly strong. Anything that could force Starfire to kill, and kill a comrade, someone Starfire considered herself indebted to, had to have more than just a casual hold over her mind. Starfire would not be able to break free on her own. She needed him.

    Finally, he knew, without a doubt:

    He would never leave her.

    Robin lunged forward, taking hold once more of K’trina’s face firmly, pressing his body against hers. His grip was tight, he was sure to leave bruises, but he could not afford to be gentle. He paused only to rip his mask away, pleased when a shudder rocked through Starfire’s body and K’trina snarled at him. He shoved her down again, sitting on her in the way he had learned to in order to keep his place, and leaned closer, pressing his cheek against hers.
    “I’m not leaving you. I will never leave you,” he whispered intensely. “You have to take back control!”

    K’trina shuddered and stilled, breathing heavily. “Robin?” she mewed as she trembled beneath him. Robin held his breath as her eyes grew wide and she shook her head weakly, gazing mournfully up at him. “Robin… you are a fool!” K’trina snorted in disgust and tried to crack her skull against his once again. Robin drew backward quickly, his eyes searching hers for any sign that he had gotten through. The snarl was back on K’trina’s face. There was no sign of Starfire.

    “Don’t you get it?” she hissed, her luminous eyes flickering and stuttering in what Robin assumed was anger. “She can’t escape me. She could never escape me! She can hardly hear you!” K’trina reached out and took hold of Robin’s shoulder, throwing him away purely with her strength. Robin rolled a few yards and then leapt to his feet, and began dodging the blows K’trina began throwing at him. She fought fiercely, more fiercely than Robin had ever seen Starfire. He quickly began to accumulate bruises on his forearms, all the while trying to concentrate on the words she was shouting.

    “How dare you challenge my power! Why, can’t you recognize me? I am the one she fears, the one she cowered from!” She caught hold of his wrist as he tried to counter her strikes, her grip instantly tightening agonizingly. “I am K’trina, human, and I will rule as my mother told me I would.” Robin finally grunted in pain, practically feeling his bones groan under the pressure. Something in K’trina’s eyes shifted as she continued to rave. “I will be everything she forced me to be and more. I will—”

    She dropped him abruptly, drawing away. The hand that had just released him was clenching and spasming as the other was balled into a fist, pressed into her temple. Her eyes were flashing haltingly. “You can’t— I will never— you took the trade, Starfire!— You will not make me hurt him!” Her eyes pulsed again. “Why do you care for him? He obviously shares no such care for you! You remember what he said to you, to us, how callously he presumed to know of our turmoil over Tamaran? Starfire, we are of the same side, of the same wants and needs and—” Starfire’s body shuddered and the light of her eyes began to flicker once more. “I owe him my life, no matter his feelings toward me,” she whispered. She shuddered again. “I believe you owed Keenyara the same favor, and yet, you are drenched in her blood…”

    Robin watched with wide eyes as Starfire fought for dominance, and suddenly, he knew what to do. He eyed the white hot patterns the twisted around her neck and jerked his gloves off resolutely, ready for one more desperate advance. In one swift movement, Robin grabbed her, hissing as the marks burned themselves into his palms. He pulled her tighter to him, murmured a quick prayer and kissed her.

    -!-

    Starfire’s eyes rolled to the back of her head and she whimpered against Robin’s mouth, her hands moving of their own accord to entwine themselves in his hair. His lips were so soft, his kiss nowhere near gentle, and yet it was caring. Starfire was forced to think of and compare it to Lirain’s kiss. Her lips still bled from his ferocity. But Robin was kissing her as if she mattered, as if she were a part of the kiss too. Starfire felt tears welling in her eyes.

    And then, suddenly, she felt her. K’trina’s presence surged, trying to lock her away again, back into that dark corner of her own mind. Starfire reacted with the ferocity that could only be expected when it came to Robin.

    Starfire shoved. She felt herself, her awareness swell, reclaiming the body that had been changed and manipulated since the age of two. It had always been hers though, no matter what kinds of changes it had been forced through. It had always belonged to her. It would be hers again. When it came to Robin, Starfire did not share.

    It hurt though, emotionally and physically. It felt as if something inside of her was slowly tearing away and the more, the harder she pulled, the more painful the separation became. She could not help but to break the kiss, resting her forehead against his cheek, shaking and whimpering. Slowly, as if it were painful for him, Robin’s grip shifted from the back of her neck to cup her cheek gently, his body still tense against hers. Starfire bit her lip, realizing that he was poised to spring away at any moment.

    “Starfire.” Starfire thought she would burst into tears at the sound of his voice. “Star, baby, please tell me it’s really you,” he whispered.

    Starfire was quiet for a moment, not trusting that her voice would really be hers, and all the while fighting K’trina for control. Finally, she spoke. “Oh, my love, how you must hate me,” she mourned in a whisper. “Please believe me… I never meant… I do not remember killing…” Her throat clogged up at that point, she could find no reserve of energy left in her.

    And through it all she continued to fight. She was weakening.

    Robin caught her chin, forcing her to look back at him, his blue eyes vigilant on hers. “Listen to me,” he whispered, brushing his lips against hers briefly to hold her attention. “I love you. No matter what, I love you. Okay? I love you.” Starfire drew back to see into his eyes, gazing sorrowfully at him. Slowly, he caressed her face with the tips of his fingers. “You’re still fighting her.” It was not a question, but Starfire nodded anyway, ignoring the hair raising on the back of her neck. Robin dropped down to a whisper. “You’re stronger than she is. You can beat her.” He kissed her again. “I’m here for you; I know you can do it,” he murmured.

    Starfire convulsed, all the while wondering how she could explain to him the fact that maybe she did not want to stop her. How could convey that she did not only fight K’trina’s will, but also her words. Her opponent was constantly whispering into her ear, reminding her of their deal, reminding her of why she had given up control in the first place. Didn’t she want revenge, she pressed. Had she forgotten the burn of the star’s fire? Or perhaps the contrast between the cold bite of the floor and the smothering hot bodies that kept her pinned? Had she forgotten what it was like to be killed daily? Had she forgotten Galfore’s body, rapidly growing cold?

    Yes!’ Starfire raged internally. ‘Yes, I want my revenge! No, I could never forget no matter how hard I try, but this is not the way! I know that this is not the way!’

    Do you? Here is your chance to prove it,’ K’trina hissed back, menacingly. Starfire’s eyes snapped wide, a sudden sense of danger vibrating through her.

    It was on instinct that Starfire turned, pushing Robin away and raising her forearm to deflect the blow that came down on her. Had she been more focused on the physical world, she would have dodged, but she did not have time. She also would have remembered that her arms were missing their usual metal arm guards. But her concentration had been so centered in her mind.
    The sword slashing into her forearm was the distraction that K’trina must have been waiting for. As Starfire grunted in pain and then yelped as she was forced out of control. The edge of the sword sliced through the swirling patterns that covered her arms and in that moment, the red tinge of rapidly heating metal spread quickly through it. Starfire hissed as the metal began to warp and the section of is still embedded in her arm peeled off, magnetized to the marks, burning her skin.

    In a moment of rage, her other hand had snatched at Lirain’s throat, her strength there at her call. A few quick jabs had Lirian’s shoulder dislocated, and several broken bones. She snarled as K’trina fueled her anger, flashes of Galfore alive, Galfore dying, Galfore dead. Her fingers contracted, this time of her own accord.

    Murderer,” she hissed in Tamaranian. Lirain choked on his gasp and began clawing at her hand. His attempts seemed laughably weak to her now. She bared her teeth as K’trina whispered quietly through her mouth. “Do you see how I care for you, Starfire? I bring you our knorfka’s killer on a silver platter. Retribution is in the palm of your hand, young one. Take it.”

    Starfire’s eyes were wide, her breathing coming in short pants. Her body was hers again, she commanded each and every muscle. And yet, she could not loosen her grip on Lirain’s neck. She could not tear her eyes away. She could not stop the lust for his blood that was pounding through her veins. She could never hurt Robin, she could never hurt one of her friends or an innocent of her own choice. But Lirain was different. To kill Lirain was not murder. It was revenge, retribution. She could…

    “Stop it, Starfire. Let him go.”

    Robin’s voice sliced through the furious haze. Starfire stopped breathing completely. She yearned for Robin, for his approval and yet, she yearned for Galfore’s death to be avenged. She shook her head. “I cannot,” she whispered. “He killed him…”

    Robin pressed himself against her back, his arm laying across hers and took hold of her wrist tightly. “Let go, Star. You aren’t that person. That is what you said to her, your mother, isn’t it? You are not K’trina.

    Starfire jolted, his words striking something deep within her. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to block out K’trina’s coaxing, trying to find herself again. She knew the right choice. She knew the choice that Galfore would have had her make, but damn it all she was hurting still. She was in agony, betrayed, afraid, and disgusted with herself.

    “Please, do not hate me… whatever happens, don’t hate me.”

    Starfire made her choice.

    She screamed.

    With a shrill wail, darkness streamed from Starfire, from her nose, leaked from her ears, from the corners of her eyes and mouth. She cried out again and again as the darkness pooled and gathered and contracted. Robin clung to her helplessly, oblivious as to how best to help her. He settled for clutching her to his chest, murmuring comforting words. It seemed like forever that the darkness streamed from her, choking her, burning through her nose and ears. Starfire coughed and gagged and wailed throughout the ordeal, until suddenly, the marks marring her body dimmed and disappeared. Starfire collapsed into Robin’s arms coated with sweat, gasping. She lifted her head weakly.

    Slowly, the darkness contracted and swirled upon itself, until it was a vaguely humanoid shape, a woman formed completely of shadow. Her features were indistinguishable all except from her eyes, which glowed a menacing dark green. The woman stood slowly, her form shivering and crawling as she moved.

    “You,” she growled in Starfire’s voice, “Just made the biggest mistake of your life.”
     
    #49 Anima, Mar 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2008
  10. paranoidguy103

    paranoidguy103 Getting more paranoid everyday

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    Ive been gone for a while, but this story kept on calling to me. The chapter wuz totally worth the wait. The ending sorta left me with chills, but wuz really good. Im guessing that the shadow person wuz K'trina? Can't wait to see how this new character starts affecting the story...
    Laterz
     
  11. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    A/N: Hiya! AP exams comming up. I am actually a zombie and have died from over studying. Just thought you'd like to know.

    ------------

    Last time:

    Starfire made her choice.

    She screamed.

    With a shrill wail, darkness streamed from Starfire, from her nose, leaked from her ears, from the corners of her eyes and mouth. She cried out again and again as the darkness pooled and gathered and contracted. Robin clung to her helplessly, oblivious as to how best to help her. He settled for clutching her to his chest, murmuring comforting words. It seemed like forever that the darkness streamed from her, choking her, burning through her nose and ears. Starfire coughed and gagged and wailed throughout the ordeal, until suddenly, the marks marring her body dimmed and disappeared. Starfire collapsed into Robin’s arms coated with sweat, gasping. She lifted her head weakly.

    Slowly, the darkness contracted and swirled upon itself, until it was a vaguely humanoid shape, a woman formed completely of shadow. Her features were indistinguishable all except from her eyes, which glowed a menacing dark green. The woman stood slowly, her form shivering and crawling as she moved.

    “You,” she growled in Starfire’s voice, “Just made the biggest mistake of your life.”


    -------
    Chapter 20 :Responsibility:

    Keenyara jerked suddenly away from his lips, her hands pushing him away. He made a low whining noise, one she would normally respond to, but instead, she ignored him, cocking her head to one side. He leaned forward and kissed her bottom lip lightly, hoping to coax her closer, but Keenyara pulled away, straining to hear.

    “Listen,” she hissed, her eyes quite wide, her body rigid with shock. Her hands clenched suddenly around his waist. “Tyh, listen!”

    Tyh’s brow wrinkled. “I don’t hear any—”

    The sharp, chest-constricting wail echoed suddenly clear around them, and beneath it, intertwined with it, was another, sharper, more sinister shriek. They both knew that shriek. Tyh turned his gaze back to Keenyara. After all, she knew it so much more intimately than he did. “It sounds… defeated,” he whispered. Keenyara finally met his gaze. Her eyes held shock, disbelief, and buried deep, a small, but growing, respect.

    “I’ll be damned,” she exclaimed quietly. “The Princess triumphs.” The wail suddenly seemed to swell. Within an instant, Keenyara’s demeanor changed, changed in a way that made Tyh tense with worry. His grip on her tightened.

    “What are you doing?” he asked warily. He knew the set expression on her face and had come to associate it with something stupid that she did. Keenyara looked up at him, icy blue clashing with neon gold.

    “I am fulfilling my duty as Protectress,” she answered simply, and to his horror, she began to fade.

    [“The fall of mortals was MINE to bring about! And you stole it from me!!”]

    “You’re insane! Your body is too weak to fight—”

    “Then I’ll bypass my body. It’s a loan anyway.” She was fading quicker and quicker as she spoke and Tyh, shifted his grip, to her neck. She paused.

    Things, customs, cultures between them were like night and day, had been since they met, but one thing that he knew, was that her people did not touch each other’s necks. That she allowed him to touch her there spoke volumes about the kind of trust she felt for him. She paused at his grip, though. Habit had made her jumpy and protective when it came to her neck, no matter who it was. It always got her attention.

    “A body in this dimension cannot channel the kind of power that you need. You’ll burn it out,” he tried to reason with her tersely. Keenyara gave him a look.

    “Tyh,” she said slowly, “my body is dying as we speak. There’s nothing left but—”

    “The other one, your other charge, she has healing powers, right? Don’t tell me there’s nothing left, Keenyara. I’m not stupid! This isn’t your fight any—”

    “I love you,” Keenyara interrupted. “I’ll come back regardless, so you’ll know what happened.” She rocked up on her toes to kiss him heatedly. “I love you.”

    And then she was gone. The black void she had shared with him was disappearing bit by bit, a stone slab here, a forgotten sword there. And then, abruptly, she was living in her own body again. She gave one violent gasp as she came back to herself, her body punishing her for her escape. Her back arched and she released a low whimper, trying to disguise it for what it was.

    “Raven, what’s happening to her?”

    Keenyara could feel Raven’s soft, cool hands on her wrists and chest. “I’m not sure. She must have been in some kind of trance. She’s come out of it though.” A gentle, but urgent force peeled back her eyelid. “Keenyara, can you hear me?” Raven’s monotone was slow and clear and, to Keenyara’s complete bafflement, slightly comforting. She wrinkled her nose and tried to swat the hand away from her face, but her arm only managed a feeble flop. The body she inhabited was weak. She needed to escape from it quickly, but elegantly. Despite her nonchalance when dealing with her lover, she really would rather not deal with the consequences of burning out the body. Not at all.

    “Do you… trust me?” she slurred. There was a pause and then Raven’s voice.

    “Enough.”

    Keenyara had to smile faintly. “Good. Just remember that you said that.”
    Her eyes snapped open wide and shone brighter than the Titans had ever seen them. She drew her hands in, clutching them to herself. The words came to her in a flash of intuition: a sigh, a whistle, and a whoosh. She heaved a great sigh and the air seemed to gather and bunch around her before the air exploded in a whirlwind and a Keenyara’s laugh, dark and sonorous, echoed throughout the chamber.

    -!-

    The first thing K’trina did upon exiting Starfire’s body, was to kill Lirain. The deed was done with stomach-turning casualness. Her eyes never even turned to him. She had eyes only for Starfire.

    Years later, when Starfire’s nightmares of control, helplessness, and torture faded away, even when her visions of Galfore, the light that was extinguished from his eyes, and the irrational nightmares in which each of her friends had the same light extinguished in turn, even when those were gone, Starfire would still have nighttime horrors of Lirain’s dead body. She would remember the odd and uncomfortable angle at which his head rested. She would remember his eyes, glassy and absolutely dead. She would remember how quickly the blood came, coating the floor, spreading to her shoes. But most of all, she would remember the surge of pain she felt over his death; the horror that she had come so close to doing just that herself. She would see herself, night and night again over Lirain’s dead body with blood on her hands. And Keenyara’s body. And Galfore’s. And Robin’s. And finally Lirain’s again.

    “We could have been great, Starfire.”

    K’trina’s voice was quiet, nothing but a hiss against the background of her power, these streams of power a deep, absolute black. Starfire kept silent. Her mind, her entire body was numb with pain. The star fire that was finally back under her control longed to be free, to fulfill its nature and expand and explode. Her body was finally cracking under the strain, rebelling against the sleepless nights and skimpy dinners. Her eyes were glued to Lirain’s body. Robin gathered her more securely in his arms and backed away a few steps, his eyes vigilant upon his enemy. K’trina emitted a dark snarl and her form shivered suddenly. She crouched, dimly glowing eyes slitted.

    “Do you hear me?” she screamed. The words almost seemed to echo. “You were the chosen one, the Princess. All power lies within you, and we could have ruled together!” What had been previously thought of as Starfire’s voice twisted and distorted with hatred until it was unrecognizable as anything that could come from Starfire. “The fall of mortals was MINE to bring about! And you stole it from me!!”

    Suddenly, it seemed that millions of questions had invaded Starfire’s mind, all of them spurred on by his dead body. What obsession could have fueled him to commit such crimes? Could it have been such a dark force as had gripped her? If there had been someone to grab him, and shake him, and believe in his strength, would he have come back to himself? What made her any better?

    These ideas only added to her grief, made her more exhausted, buried her under more despair. Distantly, she registered cries of shock and horror. ‘Raven must have found Keenyara’s body,’ she thought mournfully. A wave of misery overcame her and she closed her eyes, trying to fight it. But more than that, it made her angry. She looked up suddenly, her eyes full of fire, her desperate glare fixed on K’trina. “Why did you come here? Why did you take me? Why my planet? Why Galfore?” she cried, levitating through pure force of will, out of Robin’s arms. Her power still came to her, shoving Robin gently, but firmly out of the way. K’trina was her creation. She had to defeat her alone. She was too intent upon her opponent to explain this to him, though.

    And as it had when she was violated, betrayed, alone, anger came to her aid, making her strong and brave. But it was a false, desperate bravery that made her reckless. Her power, intensified by the fury she turned to, coiled around her again and lit her clenched fists. “I was happy before this, before you! You were behind it all!” she screamed.

    K’trina’s power too increased and flowed out from her body toward Starfire as the two circled, pushing a bewildered and worried Robin to the side. “Yes,” K’trina hissed. “I was the one from the beginning. Not me personally, mind, but a part of me has been there since the beginning, before you were even thought of.” K’trina’s form shivered suddenly, violently. “You are a stupid, naïve, vain girl!” she spat. “This was never about your planet, your happiness. It has nothing to do with you. You are merely at tool, a weapon, as you have been since your fourth birthday.”

    As if her words were some kind of trigger, memories of the past Lirain has shown her flooded her consciousness. Starfire’s jaw clenched as she fought against the pain, calling up more anger to fight it. K’trina sneered. “Oh, you know now, no? Looking back, do you feel stupid? Do you feel dense, thinking that you and your sister and your brother were loved equally by your fool parents, when really there was not even affection for a single one of you? Kormand’r to rule, Ryand’r at her side, and there, kneeling at their feet, poised to do their bidding was little Koriand’r, little more than the living gun they pointed in the right direction and set loose. The mindless killing machine. Are you proud that you are living up to their plan? Are you proud that your are your mother’s dau—”

    “I am not! I am not you!” Starfire interjected, springing forward, her power trailing behind her and whipping forward in the last moment. K’trina sneered and merely lifted her hand, bidding her own darkness to lick forward to easily fend off Starfire’s bright streamers. She too lifted from the ground, weaving snake-like between Starfire’s defenses until she had reached her. Starfire was too slow, had expended too much power. K’trina’s pitch black hands were like icy claws as she grabbed her opponent by her shoulders, slamming them both to the ground. The ground cratered around the two of them with the force of the impact, a spider web of cracks emanating from Starfire’s sluggish body. But the assault did not even pause. K’trina did not hit her with her fist, she was above that, but the blows from the ebony tentacles were brutal, like being slammed with blocks of ice.

    “You are correct,” K’trina hissed, a tentacle of power snaking its way around Starfire’s neck. “You are less than I am, than I could ever be. But I could have made you great, Starfire. With my help, you could have been somebody. Now, I have to kill you and waste all of that glorious power.”

    Starfire met her gaze steadily through her swelling and bloodied face, without fear, all the while fighting the tightening grip. “I am not afraid to die,” she declared. “It is what I deserve.”

    K’trina smiled at her, a small, cruel sneer. “Good,” she sneered and reared her hand back, her fingers razor sharp claws, ready to finish her last assignment.

    The light extinguished from Starfire’s eyes and for a moment fear broke through. Fear and shame. Fear and despair and shame. She gazed into the forest of black (for the darkness seemed to have overcome the blazing emerald) so that she was reminded of a night sky, one void of stars and moons. She was reminded of the extreme darkness on her mother’s ship, as she buried her face in Kormand’r’s lap and cried herself to sleep. She was reminded of the Gordanian’s dank, dirty cells where she cringed behind the back of only companion, eyes narrow. She was paralyzed, eyes wide in fear and unbidden, buried memories. She squeezed her eyes shut, unable to bear the weight of her guilt, her power, her responsibility, her remorse, her rage, her life. She waited in turmoil for the end of it all.

    Suddenly though, the air exploded in a whirlwind and a Keenyara’s laugh, dark and sonorous, echoed throughout the chamber.

    -!-

    Keenyara had to laugh, had to scream her joy aloud in that crypt that had hosted so much death. Because for the first time since being thrust into this foreign world, she was in her true place, in her true form. She resisted the urge to be distracted by this and billowed out in waves and currents from her body, carefully calling more of her power into being. She could see (with more than just eyes) her opponent, hovering over them all, her own kind of self looming overhead. She snorted inwardly at the look of K’trina and slid through her element, swirling around the enemy and her captive.

    “Well, ****!” The whisper of her words carried easily from seemingly in the air. “Is this what you’ve been stooping to? Terrorizing children? Being cast out every other day? Was I such a blow to your ego?” With a mocking cackle, Keenyara’s shimmering outline materialized, sneer in place, directly behind K’trina. Her winds whistled fiercely, and miraculously, dispersed K’trina’s darkness, exposing them all. The difference between the two of them was staggering and yet, they held similarities. They were tall, statuesque with long flowing hair, Keenyara’s being freed of its plait. Each glared icily at the other. Both had postures to suggest superiority. Both radiated hostility. But in the end, Keenyara was outlined in light, K’trina in darkness.

    K’trina whirled around, a snarl ripping through her. Starfire’s eyes widened and she summoned a starbolt, breaking K’trina’s grip while she was distracted. But she had nothing left to fight with. Barely, she controlled her fall to the ground where the Titan’s converged around her, their stances protective. K’trina’s voice distorted again. “You!” she shrieked. “The great Murderer of Keikan, back again to interfere. Shall I kill you now?”

    Keenyara’s laughter, if possible even crueler and colder than usual, rang around them and for the first time, it sent a shiver down the Titan’s spines. Her scornful crow held deeper notes of power and danger and darkness. The thing they had perceived as a shimmer now was almost a sputter in the light that framed her. Briefly, Kilaani thought hard about what Keenyara had told her in a fit of openness. The fact that she was not evil had been enough for Kilaani, but perhaps the fact that she was not exactly good was a problem to consider.

    “I wouldn’t waste my time! You can barely hold your form together!” she hissed maliciously. “Why don’t you just… disappear?” Keenyara sniffed. She thrust her arm forward, and a whirlwind suddenly gathered around the two of them, flashes of darkness obscuring the pair, now rapidly sparring.

    Starfire collapsed as soon as she hit the ground, her hands going around her lower stomach. A peculiar and excruciating burning sensation had begun there, deep in her stomach. She gritted her teeth against it, wondering faintly why everything seemed to being going all wrong lately. “Retract that god-damned, mother-****ing power! Will you never learn?” Keenyara snarled in her ear. Starfire jumped, but did not argue and instead called out silently, beckoning her power to rejoin her at last. The burning dimmed. She shuddered and continued. The star fire was coating her skin now, turning her into a creature of light. There was too much of it. Keenyara’s voice was louder now, speaking to Raven.

    “Get out of here, all right? Take my body and for the sake of whatever you may hold dear, don’t let it die. It will reverse everything. Get out of here and out of range of the palace. I can finish this.”

    Raven had already formed the portal, levitating an unconscious Beastboy and Galfore’s body through. Keenyara’s body was next. She looked up sharply at Keenyara’s words, alarmed.

    “You’re crazy!” Robin answered fiercely and Keenyara smiled. “We won’t leave you here alone!”

    “That might be a problem if I had a body,” Keenyara snapped. “Just do me a favor and trust me on this! I happen to be a bit more informed than—”

    With a screech, K’trina burst past Keenyara, sliding through her shield of wind haltingly, more than half of her essence disappearing in the process. But she was quicker for it. “If not her mind, then I will have her memories, her nightmares,” she screeched, hurtling toward Starfire’s bowed form.

    And again, in a series of lightening fast movements, Starfire’s life took another turn.

    Robin lunged, throwing himself in front of Starfire, shielding her with his body, willing to do anything to save her. He would take the punishment for her sins.

    Something inside of Starfire snapped at that moment. She had always been hiding from the darkness, dependant upon others. She had always depended on Robin to support her. She had always needed her friends to guide her and love her. On Tamaran, she had needed Galfore to make her sane, make her whole. But what had that dependence gotten her? Galfore was dead. Her friends were in danger. Robin was in danger. K’trina was approaching too fast. It was impossible.

    But Starfire had been achieving the extraordinary lately.

    Starfire’s resolve hardened and she gripped Robin tightly. They disappeared.

    And reappeared, positions reversed. Starfire held Robin by the front of his shirt, her mouth molded firmly against his. She emitted the tiniest of squeaks as a set of ebony fangs were embedded into her, just were her neck met her shoulder. Her eyes were wide and wild and knowing all at the same time and her hands clutched at Robin. Robin gasped and grasped her by the shoulders, feeling tears against his cheeks, unknowing as to whose it was, his or hers. “I love you,” she mumbled, in a pained voice against his lips.

    Then, she shoved, with every ounce of her alien strength still left to her, she shoved. At the same time one of the last of the emerald streamers whipped out, shoving the rest of the Titans through the portal. Robin collided with Raven, and both of them fell through the portal. Starfire smiled serenely at Robin as he fell away, mouthing her final goodbye.

    “Forgive me”

    And with K’trina still at her neck and her friends out of harm’s way, Starfire let go of the power, and let it all explode.

    -!-

    ‘I made a mistake.’

    There was a pause in the darkness. And then,

    ‘Only you can be truly sure of that.’

    Starfire bit her lip, staring at the decimated room. The marble floors had survived, at least. She was glad. She really loved the way the green mixed with the blue. ‘I am. I was too hurt to know that, before. But I would never had chosen that way if I had know…he would never have wanted that for me.’

    The other Starfire tilted her head. ‘‘He’? Who? Robin or Galfore?’

    Starfire flinched. Galfore’s memory hurt her. ‘Galfore,’ she mumbled. ‘Though Robin would not be have been proud of me either.’

    There was a long silence between the two of them then. Final, the clone Starfire said, ‘So, what is your choice, now that you have thrown off the other side and are officially free. You could go back to that side, you know.’

    The true Starfire met the other’s eyes with a dark intensity. ‘No. That is not who I am. I am not K’trina. I am Koriand’r. She cannot change who I am. I choose this side. I choose your side.’

    The declaration was not met with a large bang or an explosion of lights and sparkles. Starfire thought she saw the marble floors lighten slightly. There was no major improvement. It could have been a trick of her mind. The other Starfire spoke again as the room began to dim once more.

    ‘You realize, of course, that you have a long recovery ahead of you. You will not be whole for some time.’

    ‘I know,’ Starfire whispered. ‘But… I will not… I will not be alone.’
     
  12. paranoidguy103

    paranoidguy103 Getting more paranoid everyday

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    yay!! I read this chapter a while ago, but i kept on putting off writing a comment. AP testing has a way of making me put stuff off... Anway, great chapter as usual, but the cliffhanger is killing me!!!!! Must know what happens next!...
     
  13. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    ;)

    Chapter 21 :The Backlash:

    “Eemok, twarl’ron. Ruth’sa.

    People of Earth, please do not be alarmed. This transmission is being sent to most, if not all, of the major frequencies known to the planet of Tamaran. My name is Empress Kormand’r of Tamaran and as Grand Ruler of Tamaran, it is my right and duty to send this transmission to the leaders of Earth.

    Starfire of Earth, your crimes of abandoning the principles and lessons of Tamaran, of swearing allegiance to an institution other than the Tamaranian Empire, of becoming unfit to rule, of placing a pretender on the throne, of stealing a Tamaranian Craft, of destruction of the royal palace, all carry sentences of death. We do, however recognize your invaluable courage and skill in negotiating the freedom of our planet. Therefore, you have been stripped of all titles and are henceforth sentenced to never again enter the atmosphere or surrounding space of the Tamaranian Empire. If you violate this sentencing, you will be pursued with deadly force. We recognize that you will be making a new home on Earth. As policy dictates, we are obligated to inform your new home of your status as stripped of your title and banished from your home planet.

    Live well, sister.”

    -!-

    The meaning of time changed for Starfire.

    She was alive, at least in the sense that she breathed in and out. Sometimes she was not sure whether she was grateful or resentful of this. When Robin sat close to her late at night and kept her company when she could not bear to dream anymore, she felt eternally thankful. But then, when she finally succumbed to her body’s needs and was gripped by yet another nighttime horror and awoke sobbing, she wished, bitterly, that K’trina had just done as she had promised.

    Though she was sure she would rather be dead than to be back under K’trina’s influence.

    She had begun to hate dreams. She no longer had the slow leisurely dreams that she loved nor did she have the strange, quirky dreams that she and Robin used to laugh and recount to each other. When she closed her eyes she only saw Galfore. When she slipped away, she heard her cries and felt K’trina again at her neck. She had seen horrible things as the palace had collapsed around her, felt the despair of a thousand others. It seemed to her as if it were all stored inside of her head, waiting to replay itself in her dreams and it had to begin at the beginning every single time.

    She was different. She had lost weight in the four weeks since leaving Tamaran. She was afraid to sleep. Her fear made her nauseous. When her friends and teammates did convince her to eat, the food only stayed down half of the time. She had new scars. The metal from Lirain’s sword had cooled into her arm in all of the commotion. The metal was actually a part of her vein and artery walls in some places. It could never be removed. She kept it tightly bandaged. She didn’t like to look at it.

    Keenyara was alive too. But barely. She had lost so much blood in the battle and though her body had healed quickly, her mind was still missing. She had been asleep since the battle. Starfire never stopped blaming herself. Raven had told her something about her body being “burned out” and that she would awaken when her spirit healed, but it had been too little too late to ease her guilt.

    For a time, though, it seemed like she was getting better. She began to talk, to venture out of her room, to smile (though her smile was often forced and rarely met her eyes). But then the transmission from Tamaran came. And it suddenly seemed that the entire world knew her shame. Most of it did.

    Reporters swarmed her whenever she left the tower. So she stopped leaving. There was always someone on the television, judging her about something they knew nothing about. She wouldn’t watch it with them anymore. Some civilians actually petitioned the city that she should not be allowed to protect them, or at least to reveal what exactly she had done. Robin had silenced these protests immediately and efficiently. But she still heard them. They still tore at her already shredded heart. She stopped going on missions.

    And so her days began to take on a numbing kind of routine. She would wake from whatever nightmare it was that night, and then watch her clock or whichever of her friends was in her room that night as they slept. They told her that they did not want her to be alone, not while she was hurting like she was. She heard Cyborg refer to it as a ‘suicide watch’ one night as she pretended to sleep. Normally, it was Robin who stayed. When they awoke, they would try to get her to eat and sometimes she did. Sometimes she even kept the food down. Then, she would spend the rest of the day sitting next to Keenyara. For some reason, Starfire began to feel that Keenyara had to wake up. That Keenyara’s awakening was the last piece that she needed before she could really begin to heal herself.

    But it was four weeks before Keenyara woke up.

    And she was so far gone by then.

    -!-

    “The stupid body is finally healed.”

    Tyh glanced down at her, one eyebrow arched. He somehow managed to make his expression look elegant, while Keenyara knew that when she did that, she just looked like a *****. “You’re the one who burned it out,” he answered in a tone that told her that he had no sympathy for her. “You were showing off.” Keenyara rolled her eyes.

    She had lost count of the days and nights she had spent trapped inside her own head. All she knew for sure was that she did not like being without a body and would not be so quick to force so much power out through her physical self, given the chance. And she knew that Tyh must have loved her as much as she loved him because he came back whenever he could, just to keep her company. She took his hand and pressed it against her cheek, reveling in its warmth.

    “I don’t show off. I don’t need to. It’s all inherently apparent,” she answered loftily. “Anyway, I was trying to fulfill my duty. Who would have known that those jackasses would have given me something so fragile? They know my track record, after all.”

    Suddenly, something changed in the void-like haven they had created together. There was a new kind of power other than just their elemental energy that bounced back and forth. Keenyara recognized it instantly and her jaw clenched. ‘Perfect,’ she growled internally, a strange feeling when she was inside her mind. ‘This is just what I need.’

    “That,” began the newcomer, “was the sturdiest body we could construct, spiritually. You, Keenyara, were just reckless with it. What you did was stupid.”

    Keenyara forced an icy smile and draped her arms around Tyh’s shoulders. She refused to look at this intruder into her mind. “Tyh, my love? Would you tell our dear Archangel that he can kiss my sturdy, spiritual ass?” she asked sweetly. Tyh, of course, only smiled cheekily and wrapped his arms around her in return.

    “Ah, she’s not quite thrilled to see you there, Michael,” he laughed over her shoulder. There was a sigh and Keenyara finally glanced behind her. Michael was glaring stonily at her, his too-long ebony hair swaying, though there was no wind blowing. Thus was one of the perks, it seemed, of being an angel. Your hair moved on its own. Good for appearing majestically to mortals. His huge wings were folded in against his back at the moment and his lavender eyes flashed.

    “What? Did I hurt your feeling?” Keenyara snapped. She was still angry over Raven and Starfire’s unswerving control over her and was sure that this was just the angel that had dreamed it up.

    “You get more and more like your mother every day,” Michael he told her calmly, knowing he had gotten to her. Keenyara bristled.

    “My mother is a B**ch!” she growled and Michael fixed her with a withering glare.

    “Case in point,” he snipped in return. “Now quit interrupting me. Tyh, control your mate!” To her chagrin, Tyh was shaking in silent laughter.

    “Let him talk, Bai,” he snickered, nuzzling into her neck. “He might end up saying something you like for once.” Keenyara growled, but kept her thoughts to herself. Silence reigned momentarily before Michael began to speak again.

    “As I was saying, what you did was stupid, but it ultimately saved the Champion—”

    “Starfire,” Keenyara interjected smugly. Michael glared again.

    “We do not leave debts unpaid. You are to be rewarded for what you have done.”

    Keenyara blinked. She had not expected that. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “Say again?” Michael’s face was screwed up in distaste, obviously unhappy with his message.

    “Reward,” he said again, enunciating clearly. “You may have anything you want, save the release from your duties. That alone cannot be reversed. I’ll ask you to be quick in your decision. I have more important things to do and you have your duties now that your mistakes have finally been fixed.”

    Keenyara almost rose to that bait, but the allure of having anything she could imagine at her fingertips was a little bit more important to her. She began to play with Tyh’s fingers as she thought. And then the answer was all too apparent.

    “I want Tyh.”

    Tyh gave her a confused look. “You already have me, Bai,” he told her. Keenyara rolled her eyes.

    “I’m aware,” she snapped, though without any of the venom she had used when speaking to Michael. “I meant, you know, physically. Come stay with me. Come visit me. Something! That’s what I want.” She stood very still as she finished, staring at Michael, daring him to deny her request. He sneered delicately.

    “Touching. It is done.” He fixed Tyh with a piercing stare, one that Tyh returned casually. “Tyh will know what to do.” Tyh smirked in return.

    “You two are so needlessly dramatic,” he laughed. Keenyara pinched his arm.

    “You could be a little bit more on my—” Tyh ducked down and kissed her, effectively cutting off her complaints. Michael’s presence was abruptly gone, leaving the two of them alone. Keenyara cursed his being just one more time before falling for Tyh’s charms. When he finally released her, the pair of them were breathing heavily.

    “That’s really sexy, you know,” Tyh breathed, still kissing under her jaw. Keenyara pouted. She needed to go… but then, a few more minutes would not kill anyone…

    “What is?” she asked, falling more heavily into him. She felt him smile against her neck before he pulled back, settling for hugging her tightly.

    “You could have had anything in the world, anything in the universe, Keenyara. It’s really sexy that you chose me.” Keenyara smiled and reached up to comb her fingers through his hair. He released her then and stepped back, though his hands were still resting on her hips. “I know you have to go. I’ll miss this. It was nice.” Keenyara smiled. She would miss it too, though she would never admit it. But that was one of the things she loved about him. He knew she would never say it and he didn’t care.

    “We’ll do it again sometime,” she answered. “Hopefully in person…” She began to fade again and this time, he did too. There was no need for elaborate, drawn out goodbyes. She knew he would come if she called and she knew she would do the same for him. Really, it was only ever a matter of time. “I love you,” she whispered as she slipped away.

    “Of course you do.”

    She grinned as she let go of him completely, finally allowing herself to fall into her body. She was surprised at the unfamiliarity of the gesture, though she supposed she really should have expected it. Her body had lain completely still without her and in her mind she was uninhibited. The stiffness in her joints combined with her being accustomed now to being totally free to make a truly panicking moment, but the fear was gone just as soon as it came and followed by a wave of happiness. Her body was truly hers again.

    She went slowly at first, taking control of her breathing, increasing the pace just a touch. She tried her hands then, flexing her fingers delicately and then making a weak fist. It took a few tries, but she could still do it. It hurt though. She would have to think really hard before she tried to pull that particular stunt again, no matter who’s life was on the line. She was even more hesitant as she tested her powers, opting to simply be in the wind, sensing it as it moved naturally. Her senses told her that she was in a room that she had never seen before, but then, she did not presume to know even her own room in Titan’s Tower very well.

    Her eyes took a little bit of concentration, as comfortable as her body had become with sleep. Finally, though, she managed to blink them open, squinting against the bright shaft of light that streamed in through the window adjacent to her bed and sliced directly into her weak eyes.

    “…F**k…” she murmured, though the curse came out more like a groan. She chuckled weakly at the pure sound of her own voice. It was absolute heaven to actually be hearing again.

    Someone in the room inhaled sharply and Keenyara pondered the sense of déjà vu she was suddenly swept up in. She turned her head minutely to see Starfire staring at her as if she were a ghost. The girl looked a lot skinnier than she remembered.

    “Are you gonna sit on your ass and stare or do you think you can dim it down in here?” she demanded. The power was starting to come back into her voice, luckily, and the air swayed slightly with her annoyance. The corners of her lips curled upward slightly. ‘I think I’m back,’ she gloated.

    Starfire just stared. For a moment, she rose from her chair slowly and Keenyara thought that she would head toward the window, but then she had tripped unsteadily to her bedside, plopping down next to her, her hand going to Keenyara’s face.

    Keenyara caught her wrist before she made it, wincing. “Wha—”

    “I thought I had killed you.”

    The declaration had been so soft, barely even a whisper. If she had not have been what she was, wind elemental, Keenyara doubted she would have heard it. And had she not been what she was, her eyes may have softened, she may have offered a smile to Starfire’s obvious distress.

    It was not in her nature, however.

    Keenyara scowled. “You almost did,” she answered darkly, pushing her wrist away. “You were too damn close to screwing up everything, Princess. And don’t give me that look, all right? We all took our turn against the darkness. You’re lucky you came out of it with your soul in one piece!”

    Starfire almost seemed to cave in on herself as Keenyara spoke and withdrew from her as each accusation slammed her in the chest like a sledgehammer. Her mind screamed at her to run, to get away from the pain, but her heart kept her still. She had heard it in her mind for four weeks, from the very moment she made her choice, the wrong one. She wrapped her arms around herself, waiting for the next tear at her heart. It did not come. Instead, Keenyara remain very still, looking at her with the strangest of expressions.

    “Well?” she prodded, miserably. Keenyara’s eyebrow arched questioningly. “That cannot be all you have to say on the matter. I… I twisted your arm until it dislocated! I picked you up and threw you into a wall and… and your wrist has not even healed all of the way yet! Even after we had escaped, you still came so close to death… there was so much blood… I did that! I did all of it! I did!” she whimpered. “No one else… the others do not want to say it, they will not blame me for this. But I did not hurt them the way I hurt you! You alone know how weak I was in resisting her. So please, yell at me. Scream and rage and tell me how useless and worthless and repulsive I am! You are the only one that will.” She was aware that she had not spoken so much at one time since the battle. Her throat hurt because of it.

    Keenyara blinked. “Do you regret, then? Is it hurting you on the inside, the fact that you almost took a life with your hands, regardless of who was in control at the time?” Starfire gaped at her, her eyes filling with tears.

    Yes! How—”

    “Shut up and listen, then, Starfire, because I’m not going to repeat myself,” Keenyara growled in a rush and Starfire’s mouth clamped shut. The tears in her eyes began to spill over her squeezed shut eyes as she prepared herself for the worst. “Look at me,” she snapped. Slowly, Starfire’s eyes opened and for a moment, Keenyara was touched by the raw agony she saw there. But she steeled herself and her frown deepened. This was not going to be fun…

    “I’m pretty damn impressed with you,” she told her quietly, her voice nothing but a soft murmur. Starfire froze, her mind rejecting a statement so illogical. But there was no trace of sarcasm, of malice. Keenyara’s eyes burned intensely, but they did not hate her. Starfire blinked.

    “What… what?”

    Keenyara frowned and grunted as she shoved herself up into a sitting position. Her strength was coming back to her, now, and she would need it if she really was going to go the route she wanted. On the up side, the sun was out of her eyes as she watched Starfire quietly, taking her in rationally for the first time. Now that she was awake, she was seeing things that she did not like. The slump in Starfire’s shoulders and the mournful note in her voice. The shadow deep within her eyes that was so damned familiar to her. But then, that was the part that gave Keenyara such pause. It was no more than a shadow, a shade that Starfire easily outshone, or at least, she would, if she had the proper tools and information. Keenyara had been left virtually alone with no one who understood. She may not have been kind and at times she was even cruel. She would not leave Starfire in the dark the way she way, though, if only to claim that she had been more compassionate than the others before her.

    “I used to be like you,” she said, mostly to herself. “I used to feel disgusting; that I was weak for believing in something so horrible and wrong. I used to feel so wrong and so pissed off that no one understood how wrong I really was and tried to keep me around anyway.” Keenyara reached up, finding that she had been dressed in a generic, paper-thin hospital gown that buttoned down the front. She lifted a hand to play with the neckline of the gown, contemplating just how open she could be.

    “When I came to this world, to this universe, to this set of being, there were choices I made without even choosing them. I was given a new body, one that had been wiped clean of my old scars and my old limitations.” Her fingers grazed lightly, unintentionally, over her wrists and knuckles and one across her temples. “But there are some scars that I would never just wish away.” Gently, almost reverently, Keenyara pushed down the shoulder of the gown. A twisting, intricate pattern was there, seemingly burned into her chest, almost directly over her heart. Again with untold gentleness, Keenyara traced the pattern without looking at it, though her finger did not make a mistake. Her eyes, despite her motions, were hard and tense, almost angry.

    Starfire’s eyes were wide and unblinking, shocked. As if in a trance, her hand went to her right forearm, unwrapping the bandages there. She had first seen the mark, scar, brand (The Titans all had their own way of referring to it, all when they thought that Starfire was not within hearing range) the day after returning to the tower. To the rest of them, it was nothing. It was a simple, random pattern that twisted and wound halfway down her arm. But to her it was a message.

    It matched Keenyara’s, though hers was larger.

    “How… did we… did you…?” Keenyara raised an eyebrow, reaching up to massage her temples wearily.

    “I got mine the same way you got yours, Princess, and we are the only two in two universes with them. They called on me to save my world. The darkness stood against me just like you. And I gave in to it. Like you did.” Starfire lowered her head, her cheeks heating up. Keenyara leaned forward, suddenly intense though. “Stop it,” she snapped. “This is important. Pay attention. Starfire, before me, thousands— millions had given in to the darkness. None had ever come back from it, understand? I was the first and the only one to find my way back to myself. And even then, even now the darkness is still here. It claims half of me while the other side claims the other half. I can balance it, control it, contain it, but for the rest of my existence I will never be free of it.

    “I was exceptional for that victory. My will is legendary now because of it. That’s why when I saw that you had made the stupidest mistakes anyone can ever make,” she paused to glare, “I gave up. I didn’t fight back. I let you win, hoping that you would take whatever revenge you needed for me failing and then you would kill this dumb body so that I could get on with the rest of my life. I thought you were too weak to ever come close to what I did. I was… wrong.” It was as close as she dared go to an apology. “I’m impressed, Starfire, because you did what I did and then surpassed it. You forced the darkness out and went back and claimed your body— all of your body. Your soul is yours and will be whole again in weeks, months at the most. Mine took years and will never really be my own again. You did something great, Starfire. You did something that no one before or after you has ever done or will ever do.” For a moment, she the intensity faltered and her trademark arrogance was there again. “You did something that even I couldn’t do.”

    For a long time they sat in silence, Keenyara waiting for Starfire to react and Starfire waiting for herself to understand. “Does… that mean that you are forgiving me?” she managed finally. Keenyara folded her arms and arched an eyebrow again.

    “That means that I know that you wouldn’t have come close to doing that much damage if I had actually fought back. So really it’s my fault,” she answered. ‘Damn, I’m good at lying!’ gloated internally.

    Starfire chewed her bottom lip, deep in thought. “You should not…” she began hesitantly, wrapping her arms around herself. “K’trina went after Robin and I protected him the only way I knew how. I did not do anything worthy of praise.” This time, the corners of Keenyara’s mouth twitched upward in the barest hint of a smile.

    “And though my love doth outshine that darkness, it hath turned my love to the blackest of hate and in that suffocating dark I am lost and cannot find the way back. Love me, love me, love me though I hate and perhaps you would be the warm candlelight in the distance, that I might claw my way out of the chill only to come back to you.” Starfire gaped at her and Keenyara smirked in earnest. “My… hmm, what would I call it… let’s go with mate. My mate wrote that for me a while after my choice. He’s a dork, so it’s extremely cheesy. The point is that I did something worthy of praise, and I did it for the same reasons you did. Stop making it smaller than it was. What I did was amazing and therefore, by default, so was what you did.”

    Again, Starfire was shocked into silence. “Mate?!” she blurted before she could stop herself. “As in ‘husband’?” Keenyara just shrugged.

    “It’s a lot more complicated and a lot simpler at the same time.”

    Starfire struggled to imagine Keenyara in love. It was not hard for her to envision this woman forcing her way out of bondage on pure will alone, but because of a man? It seemed utterly unlikely. But she quickly managed to close her mouth, remembering her manners (Manners? How long had it been since any of that mattered?).

    “It still hurts…” she whispered finally. “If I did such a wonderful thing—? Please, just tell me how to stop the pain,” she whimpered.

    Keenyara stilled and slowly her gaze drained of hostility and anger and defensiveness. She glanced briefly, understandingly, at a girl in whom she saw herself, as if the scars that had been wiped from her body had been reborn inside of Starfire.

    “I’d say that it was the truth, the ‘why’, that got me through it. But that just pissed me off. You know how that gets me off of my ass though,” she murmured mostly to himself. She seemed wistful, almost longing. “Go find Robin, Starfire. The pain won’t stop,” Keenyara’s frown grew more pronounced, “not yet. But it will ease. And Robin will be the one to hold it at bay. Go find Robin.”

    Starfire bit her lip, still hesitating. “What if—”

    Keenyara raised a hand, slumping back down into the bed. “Shut up,” she interrupted matter-of-factly. “You do a lot of whining. He forgave you already.” Starfire looked startled, but Keenyara just smiled knowingly. “Now get out. I need a damn shower. We’ll talk again… we’ll do a lot of talking about this. But get out for now.”

    ‘I am back,’ she crowed internally, noting smugly when Starfire managed a thin, nostalgic smile. To her surprise, Starfire surged toward her, locking her in a crushing hug. She spluttered in a very unattractive way.

    “I am so glad you survived, Keenyara. I am happy that you have forgiven me. I am happy that you are here to be my…” her forehead wrinkled slightly “my protector. The job suits you.”

    Keenyara was taken off guard. She was not one who normally got compliments. Or was used to physical affection (not exactly counting her mate). She shoved Starfire away again. “Touchy brat,” she grumbled. “Bye,” she enunciated, looking pointedly toward the door. There were things she wanted to say so badly, but she couldn’t. There were things that Starfire would never believe and that she needed to remain ignorant of in order to serve her purpose.

    That the pain would fade slowly, eventually. That her soul would heal. The Champion’s power would lie in wait. The war would continue.

    The final battle would come.

    ‘Eventually. The battle always comes eventually,’ she thought darkly and the air shifted agitatedly around her.

    ‘You’re ready though, Princess.’
     

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