Raven had a plethora of things to adjust to during her first week living with the others in Titans Tower. The idea of living with other superheroes more or less terrified her, given her… ethnic background, but a part of her also felt like she finally belonged somewhere as well. Which was a nice thought, except the part of her that belonged was the freaky part, meaning everyone else had to be pretty freaky themselves. And that took time to get used to.
Robin was easy enough to become comfortable around because he kept himself busy and didn't ask anything of her that she wasn't willing to answer, though he did emit a subtle undertone of uncertainty now and then—like he wasn't really sure if it was okay for him to take charge of everyone just yet. His unease put her on edge at times.
Similarly, Cyborg was externally enthusiastic, but despite everything he was still afraid. His human eye still narrowed at anyone he suspected of gazing too long at his robotic parts, and this fear caused him to butt heads with Robin quite a lot. They were both teetering on the edge of this foray into 'being a team,' and their nerves often sparked against each other.
Beast Boy was funny and pretty cute. …For like maybe the first day or two. But once she had made it known to him that she thought so, he suddenly pushed really hard to be really funny, all the time, and obviously he ran out of genuinely amusing material rather quickly at that pace. It was like he was overcompensating for something, or trying to cover something up, and Raven's empathy wasn't well developed enough at the time to get a good reading on what exactly was going through his green head most of the time. A small part of her appreciated him trying to get her feeling comfortable among the group, but most of her was just irritated that he didn't know when to back off.
Raven's initially shy and tentative attitude towards these new companions quickly hardened into a dry and sarcastic shell, if anything just to protect her from all of this new, raw, unbridled energy emanating off of her housemates. Also they sort of annoyed her and she just naturally had that kind of disposition.
Starfire was completely out of this world—both literally and figuratively. On top of her extreme emotional fluctuations, she also experienced quite a bit of difficulty with earth culture. The others were usually patient enough to explain things she didn't understand, though there were a few mishaps where Beast Boy or Cyborg thought it would be funny to feed the alien girl misinformation… (An incident with a confused Stafire, a bowl of soup, and a box of tampons swiftly ended those escapades, however, when a very angry Robin found out was going on and administered a firm punishment to the two boys.)
The cultural gap was more of a canyon than a gap, and Raven already had enough of her own earthly integration to figure out to bother explaining anything to Starfire. Starfire learned to stop asking Raven questions from the indifferent shrugs and tendencies to redirect inquiries towards Robin.
But even still, there were some times when Raven just couldn't leave the golden beauty alone to her own devices. On the first day living together, Raven had to be the one to explain that eating like a starved monster is generally looked down upon in most earth cultures. On the second day, she had to reassure the girl that the toilet was indeed supposed to make those noises when it flushed and was not going to hurt her. On the third day, she had to define at least seven different euphemisms and slang phrases, and on the fourth day…
Jump City boasted mild climate most times of the year, but it was the tail-end of Autumn and temperatures were making a gradual downwards shift. It wasn't anything so extreme that Raven's usual uniform was overly uncomfortable, although every now and then her legs got chilly. Nothing her long cape couldn't handle. She wondered how Starfire could stand the cold in her skimpy purple leather, though. The Tamaranian seemed completely unaware that there had even been a change in weather, and when Raven made a comment, Starfire confirmed her suspicions. Apparently Tamaranians had a thicker skin for extreme temperatures.
So, Raven reasoned, it shouldn't have been so surprising when she walked into the Ops Room one morning and Starfire was there in the kitchen. Completely… naked.
"Oh my god," Raven exhaled, quickly adverting her eyes from her teammate's bare form. "Starfire, what—what, are you even…"
"Good morning, friend Raven!" Starfire chimed jovially, clearly not ashamed or aware of herself in the slightest. "Is it not lovely weather today? I decided to awaken early and prepare our friends a fast of breaking."
"Breakfast, Star," Raven corrected without missing a beat, staring down at her feet. "But more importantly, why are you… why are you…"
"Hm?" The red locks of hair bobbed as the alien girl tilted her head to the side. "Oh! Foolish me! I have forgotten to dress the table in appropriate silverware. Pardon my oversight."
Raven's eyes screwed closed tightly as the only other female on her team flitted from the stove to the counter, placing plates and forks in one smooth motion—still completely naked, in case anyone missed the memo. The irony of a half-demon being intensely panicked by another girl's nudity was not lost on Raven. She didn't blush or flail or anything; shock value aside, this was about as benign as seeing a sister naked. But the possibility of one of the guys walking in at any minute was enough secondhand embarrassment for Raven to grimace and tighten her jaw. How was one supposed to succinctly explain that humans were embarrassed of nudity?
Absolutely never one for prevarication, the empath finally settled with being frank. "Starfire, is there any particular reason that you're not wearing anything?" She had to try to at least be a little culturally sensitive. Maybe cooking naked was, like, some kind of ultimate expression of platonic affection or something on Tamaran, and Raven didn't want to hazard a teary-eyed Starfire. Making Starfire cry felt about as good as dropping a kitten off a roof (unless the kitten was Beast Boy trying to get off the hook for something).
"Huh?" Starfire squeaked, as if she had just been asked something as trivial as why she had a nose. "Oh, well, it was so foggy outside this morning, and it felt most refreshing upon my skin. And my uniform was in need of the wash anyway. So it seemed a good idea."
Raven wanted to die. "Did you—were you outside like that?"
"Only just outside my window, but friend, what troubles you so much about my appearance?" Starfire's little eyebrows scrunched together in perplexity as she began to look over herself for flaws. "Could it be that the shaving is unacceptable to humans? I know there are some cultures on other planets that consider it distasteful, but I find it more comfortable… Oh, could it be that I have some substance stuck in my teeth?"
The girl rushed to the nearest reflective surface to check her mouth for anything offensive. Raven's palm met her forehead with an audible force.
"Starfire," the half-demon mumbled, almost pleadingly. "You look… fine. It's just, humans consider it… inappropriate… to be seen by others without clothing…"
Starfire's mouth formed a small 'O' as she processed this new information. "Oh, dear! I apologize sincerely, my friend! I had no clue… On my planet, clothing is simply worn for style, and for formal occasions…"
'That explains why it's so minimalist,' Raven thought to herself with a roll of her eyes, unclipping her cape and tossing it to her companion. "Just, please go get dressed. Before one of the guys sees you…"
This comment seemed to pique Starfire's curiosity. She accepted the cape with a guilty expression and wrapped it around herself as she asked, "It is more shameful for a member of the opposite sex to view one unclothed? I wish to understand this social more properly so as to not make another shameful mistake."
Raven rubbed the bridge of her nose in aggravation. "I guess. Depends on the… situation and culture. Just, in general, please keep your uniform on around the guys. Only wearing underwear is bad, too."
"But friend, I have viewed girls on the beach in swimwear even more sparing than my own undergarments. This is… theinappropriate?"
Why was this happening. Why was Raven explaining inappropriate exposure. She really wanted to just phase through the floor and drop this conversation completely, but she couldn't risk Starfire pulling something like this again, either. And it really wasn't fair to just leave her with a bare (no pun intended) understanding of the issue, because then she'd be left to fret over the details.
"That's only okay when it's the beach. For some reason. Don't ask me to explain why that makes any sense. It doesn't. Some people of the same gender are okay with dressing and bathing together too, but they have to be close… And the amount of clothing considered appropriate correlates to the weather. So when it's cold like this, you're supposed to wear more."
Raven marveled in retrospect at how confusing these unspoken rules were. For once, she sympathized with Starfire's cultural confusion; humans were kind of weird.
"I believe I understand," Starfire said with a polite dip of her head, as if Raven had just graced the room with a formal educational discourse. "I thank you for explaining this to me, Raven. I shall be careful in the future that my level of coverage is appropriate for the given situation."
"Sure…" Raven turned out of the room, followed by Starfire, both in the pursuit of more clothing.
Right at the junction in the hallway where they were to part ways for their respective bedrooms, Starfire hesitated expectantly, like she had one more thing to ask of Raven, so the empath waited impatiently.
"Um, are undergarments permissible to wear this once while my uniform is in the washer of laundry? I am afraid the only other clothing in my possession is the Gordanian uniform I was wearing on my first day on earth, and I do not wish to wear it again…"
With an understanding nod, Raven said, "That's fine. Keep my cape on if you want, I guess. I have extras. Let me know when your uniform is clean so I can take you to the mall…"
"The maul?" Starfire repeated with big eyes. "I—I am already sufficiently apologetic for my error, friend…! Please, do not do the mauling of me! I am truly sorry!"
"Not maul, Starfire… Mall. As in a store, where you do shopping. Malls sell lots of different kinds of things, including clothes…"
"Oh! What relief. Well then, I most look forward to visiting this mall of shopping with you, friend Raven!"
"Yeah… Just go get dressed, please."