Three weeks and two days.
That's how long it had been since he'd acted normal around her. Everything had been so perfect; Starfire thought she could die of happiness.
Then in the blink of an eye, it had vanished. Robin stopped showing affection to her. He was stiff as a board, and wouldn't look her in the eyes (although he wore a mask, she could always tell). He spent most of his time holed up in the crime lab, and worst of all, he had changed his identity to Nightwing. Starfire had always feared Nightwing. He was so sad and unreachable, and she hated to see Robin (sorry, Nightwing), that way.
She wondered if she'd done something wrong. After all, there had been no move by Slade or anyone else recently, and crime rates were down. What would Nightwing have to worry about? She must've done something to make him this way. But what? One part of her wanted to ask him, but every time she approached him, she… what was the phrase…? Chickened out. Maybe that was it. She was too unearthly. Four years after she had come to Earth, she still managed to stick out like a…. like a…. sore thumb. Starfire sighed. Maybe this whole thing was hopeless.
Starfire poked her zucchini and mustard. Normally, this was her favorite Earth food. Today, though, she could barely bring herself to touch it.
She was pulled out of her thoughts when she noticed Nightwing sit down next to her at the dinner table next to her. She raised her eyebrow at him. He gave her a small smile. "What, am I not allowed to sit here?" He asked, almost jokingly.
"I suppose not," she said weakly, and turned back to her untouched zucchini. It occurred to her that the zucchini didn't nearly have enough mustard on it, and reached for the bottle. As she did, she brushed Nightwing's hand and felt a shiver run down her spine. She remembered how Robin used to take her hand, shyly, and absentmindedly rub his thumb in a circle on the back of her hand. She loved it when he did that.
Where has that Robin gone? She asked herself again. She imagined what it would be like if Nightwing ever let that side of himself show again – how they would take long walks on the beach, cuddle up together on movie night, and how he would hug her warmly when he came home from training with the True Master and say "Hello Starfire," in the sweetest, most welcoming voice she'd ever heard.
Having drowned her zucchini in mustard, Starfire dragged the mustard bottle around her plate to form the words Hello Robin. She set the mustard down.
Nightwing watched Starfire intently. He could tell she was upset, and he had no doubt in his mind that it was because of him. He knew how much he had distanced himself from her recently, but he had to in order to keep her from realizing what he was up to. He had spent the last three weeks collecting metals that could withstand enormous amounts of heat so that he could fashion them into a ring for Starfire. It had turned out beautifully – three Centauri moon diamonds surrounded by a silver-looking metal that he'd bought from a merchant on the way to get the diamonds. Now that he had the ring, though, he had a bigger problem to face – his nerves. He had just spent three weeks scouring the galaxy for just the right materials and creating the Nightwing persona to throw Starfire off his trail, and after all that trouble, he found himself too chicken to get down on one knee. What if she refused him? After all, he had been distant lately. Maybe he should let things cool for a while? He sighed, unsure of what to do. For now, he was at a loss for words.
He watched as Starfire leaned over her plate a little more. She seemed to be….. writing something? She pulled away, and he saw what it was.
Nightwing saddened. He knew he'd been a little distant, but was it really so bad that Starfire felt incapable of connecting with his new self? He hit himself mentally. It should've been obvious by the slight crease of her eyebrows, and if not that, the downward angle of her mouth. How often had he seen Starfire like that? Not very often.
Nightwing grabbed the mustard and Starfire's plate. He didn't know quite what he was doing at first, but then he decided that now was as good a time as any to rebuild the bridge between himself and Starfire that he had burned down. And so, with the mustard, he wiped off Starfire's message and replaced it with his own.
He set down the mustard and looked over at Starfire to see her reaction.
Star's eyebrow shot up. She looked over at him hesitantly, as if asking for permission. Nightwing chuckled to himself. She was so adorable.
Star grabbed the mustard and plate from him.
How are you?
Nightwing wrote back.
What a stupid thing to ask. He didn't know what to say though.
Fine. You are taking "the break" from work?
What if I just want to spend time with my beautiful girlfriend?
That one had been kind of hard to write on the plate. It was worth it, though. He thought he caught Starfire blushing.
That would be glorious.
I missed you.
I missed you too.
Starfire felt giddy. So he did still care! Judging from the smile on his face, he cared a lot.
Now it was Nightwing's turn to drift off into his own little world. This little "chat" with Starfire was going over great, even though they'd barely said anything. He wondered if he should take her out on a date tonight and ask her to marry him. Where would it be? The beach? A restaurant? The park? How would he say it?
Much as Starfire had, Nightwing began to trace words on to the plate absentmindedly. Only, his read…
Will you marry me?
Nightwing realized his mistake when he heard a small gasp from Starfire. Hastily, he pulled the ring out of his belt and stumbled down to one knee. He was dismayed when Starfire turned away from him to… grab more mustard?
A few seconds passed. Then, she presented him with the plate.
Mustard had never tasted so sweet.
Don't really know where this one came from. And it's probably not my best work. But I kinda like it. It's cute.