DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters. All of the depicted characters are property of Warner Brothers, DC and DC Entertainment.

RobStar Week Day 7: Heartbeat

Starfire had lots of quirks as a person that made her stand out from the rest of the Teen Titans. From her often quoting poetry, to her love of mustard and her sleeping on the opposite sides of her bed, she was… peculiar, to say the least. And Robin did not mind these quirks at all. In fact, he appreciated them even more. They emphasized Starfire's winning personality that he fell in love with. They showcased her fun-loving attitude and let people know that she was proud and unashamed of who she was.

One particular quirk of hers that he liked was how she always seemed to place her hand on his chest, right on his heart. He figured that she did it to feel his heartbeat, to know that he's safe. It was a sweet gesture, though he never thought too much of it.

But this mindset changed dramatically one fateful day.

The criminal activity alarm had gone off, alerting the Titans to a bank robbery. They didn't get to see much, just a glimpse of a group of heavily armed men warning the personnel to put their hands up before all the cameras went out.

Robin warned the team before heading out. "We are going in blind and they got hostages. We'll have to be very careful, team. There's no telling what's in store for us. Alright now, let's go!"

They arrived at the bank to meet a team with all sorts of weaponry, from machine guns, to pistols, to even a rocket launcher. Charging in would endanger the hostages. Luckily, the Titans faced much tougher conundrums than this.

Robin already had a plan. "Alright, our first order of business is saving the hostages. I'll infiltrate the bank and find exactly where they are. As soon as I find them, I'll contact Raven to see through my eyes with telepathy so she can memorize their locations and get them to safety through carefully placed portals. Once they're out of harm's way, we'll subdue the robbers."

All of the Titans nodded. "We'll save you some time by distracting them. Green bean here is a master at that." Cyborg eyed Beast Boy.

Beast Boy puffed his chest and spoke in a cocky attitude. "Hey, I can't help it if I'm a master at getting people's attention!"

"You're green, how can you not get people's attention?" Raven deadpanned.

Her snark did not affect him in the slightest. "I'm not just green, I'm a green, mean fighting machine!"

Starfire and Robin giggled at how they kept butting heads. They knew they just teased each other out of love.

"Alright, enough goofing around, we got a job to finish." Robin reminded them.

Starfire placed her palm over his heart. "Best of the luck, Robin."

Robin nodded and then used his grappling hook to get above the building. He entered the air vents from there.

With remarkably little noise, he managed to go from vantage point to vantage point, until he located all the hostages. Four behind the counter, seven lying down on the floor in a row. Some of the goons were distracted by Beast Boy making extremely loud noises as a monkey.

Robin telepathically contacted Raven. "You seeing this, Raven?"

"I got it. Ready when you are."

Robin held his breath for 5 eventful seconds as he pulled a smokebomb from his belt. And then…

"NOW!"

Robin threw the smoke bomb in the middle of the room. With a loud bang, it filled the room with smoke, blinding the robbers, who kept screaming in confusion.

Portals opened on the floor and behind the counter, transporting the hostages to safety. Robin dove in and struck one robber down with his staff, knocking him out cold, before he disarmed another and pinned him with his staff to the wall, as the rest of the gang found themselves under attack by the Titans who burst through the doors.

"Where is your leader?!" he roared.

"What the Hell? YOU are in this city?! I thought this place was supposed to be clear of freaks!" the vermin coughed out.

"You're not from around here, are you?" It sounded more like a statement than a question. "Huh. Sucks to be you. Now where is your boss?"

The thug chuckled. "He's in the safe. And he's gonna make you wish you were never born, you smug little fu-"

Robin immediately knocked him out cold with a swing of his staff. His mouth turned into a very smug smirk. "Language."

With his business done, he found the door to the safe, opened it and entered through it. It was gigantic, looking like it occupied much of the building's floor, with great hallways that spread for almost the entire city block, shelves filled with cash and plaques of gold adorning them.

Robin kept his guard up. There's no telling who this "boss" of theirs could be or what he could do.

He spotted some sacks that were filled up with plaques of gold. He thought nothing of them, believing that the staff could take care of that after he apprehends the boss. Suddenly, the door to the safe closed with a loud sound. He turned his towards the door…

Only to feel a hand clutching his mouth and syringes piercing his neck, pouring some kind of drug into his bloodstream. He was quick to elbow the assailant and turn around to face him.

Robin was mortified to see who he was.

"Well, well, well… Long time no see, Boy Wonder. I never thought you left Gotham for this place. I guess I should have paid more attention to the news that went around in this city before coming here. Oh, well. Not exactly the same as facing off Batman, but I guess your screams of terror will have to do for now."

The grim visage of a hooded man with scythe and a tattered mask in a frightening costume gave him away.

Scarecrow.

"Crane? How are you here?" Robin was trembling, the effects of the toxin quickly taking effect. "Didn't you used to be in Gotham?"

The arch criminal shrugged his shoulders. "I was, but I figured I should try my luck elsewhere." His voice started to become distorted and his eyes started glowing. The Fear Toxin was taking hold of Robin's mind. "Now drown in your fears!"

Robin closed his eyes and desperately tried to clear his mind, but it was no use. Voices kept booming in his head, not allowing him a single moment of peace.

"You'll never be good enough!"

"You are weak, useless!"

"You betrayed your friends for the sake of a criminal!"

"Because of your obsessions, you created Red X, and you still haven't caught him!"

"You let the Brotherhood capture all of your friends out of carelessness!"

"You'll get your friends killed, like you let your parents die!"

"SHUT UP! I didn't let them die, I couldn't do anything, I…"

He was back in the circus.

And his parents were falling again.

"NO! No, not again! Never again!" He ran as fast as his legs would allow him, but the faster he ran, the farther they seemed to be out of his reach.

They fell to the ground with a sickening mix of a crunch and a thud.

He screamed in horror, his throat burning. He fell to his knees, crying and sobbing.

"You should have known better, Robin. You know that everything you touch dies."

No, not him… Not now!

Slade.

He was holding his beloved Starfire by the throat, trying to choke her to death. She swung her legs helplessly, her hands clawing against his armored gauntlets, letting out stomach-churning gurgles and weak gasps of air.

"Ro…bin…" she managed to choke out.

"Star, I'm coming, I'm-!" He suddenly found two pairs of arms restraining him before he could move.

It was his parents. They reeked of blood that was adorning their faces, bones jutting out of their heads and limbs. But that was nothing to the horrifyingly unnatural grins on their green faces.

He thrashed l and struggled like mad, trying his damndest to get out of their grip, but it was no use.

"I told you Robin. I promised you that I would kill your pathetic little friends and I would make you watch."

Starfire's struggles were getting weaker. "Robin… help… me…"

"LET HER GO RIGHT NOW!" For all his efforts, he was completely immobilized. He wouldn't make it in time. "GET OFF OF ME! I HAVE TO SAVE HER! STAR! STAR, PLEASE HOLD ON! Please… please…". He couldn't bear to watch.

Star's breaths were getting softer, her limbs going limp. "I… loved you… why… why did you… let him…?"

Her eyes rolled into the back of her skull and her head lolled into the side. Her breathing stopped. She was gone.

Robin's heartwrenching screams echoed throughout the landscape.

He let her down. He failed her.

"Why…? She didn't deserve this! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?!"

"Because I made you a promise, Robin. I will never rest. And neither will you."

He tossed Starfire's lifeless bodyinto a great pit, where the bloody corpses of the other Teen Titans lay.

His "mother" grabbed him by the hair and forced him to look at her. "You let us die, my little robin. Now it's time to return the favor."

With that, his "parents" tossed him into the pit.

He accepted his fate as he fell to his death. The only thing he could do was to be close to Star in his final moments and so, he caught Starfire in midair and put his hand on her heart, as he did the same for her hand on his heart. He closed his eyes and braced for the deadly impact….

But here was a heartbeat.

"How did she have a heartbeat?!"

He opened his eyes to see… Starfire's worried face?

"Robin…" Her voice was faint, but growing in volume. "Robin… Robin! Please, fight it! Wake up! You are stronger than this! I know you are!"

Suddenly, the pitch black pit turned into… the infirmary of Titans Tower?

He found himself strapped on a gurney, the concerned faces of his friends surrounding him, Cyborg near his heart monitor, Raven on a chair to his right, sweating from exertion of her healing powers, Beast Boy holding her hand and standing close to her and Starfire to his left, eyeing him with worry.

He couldn't believe it. They were still alive? Is this another hallucination of the Fear Toxin? Or did he die?

He looked at Starfire's scared face, her eyes brimming with tears. Hesitantly, he spread his arm and placed it on her heart.

It was bumping, filled with life. She was here. She was real.

"Star... you're alive…" His lip quivered.

Her tears flowed free. "Yes, I am." She squeezed his hand, feeling his stabilized heartbeat. "And I am here for you."

He sighed in relief, his whole body trembling. He couldn't take it anymore. The sight of his beautiful girlfriend, alive and well, surrounded by his family…

His tears flowed through his mask.

In a swift move, Starfire embraced him and let him bury his face in her shoulder. He started sobbing violently, his whimpers echoing through the room.

The rest of the Titans were quick to hug him as well. In that moment, he felt truly blessed to have such great people around him. And it made him cry even more.

He lifted his head carefully. "What about Scarecrow? Where is he?"

Cyborg eyed Starfire with a small smile. "We heard your screaming from the safe. As soon she heard you, the little lady here tore open the safe door and took off like a rocket to come get to you. As soon as she found Scarecrow, she broke his arms like toothpicks and blasted him into unconsciousness." Starfire blushed as Robin looked at her with admiration." Luckily, we searched through your records of past villain encounters and found the ingredients for the antidote. She kept you company the whole time, while Raven tried to heal you."

"Dude, this was so scary. Never seen you his afraid since the time Slade's mask drugged you." Beast Boy admitted. "You OK?"

Robin looked Starfire in the eyes and let out a relieved smile. "I am now."

Starfire laughed in relief, recognizing just what that meant.

Beast Boy snorted. "Dude, you guys are shameless."

Raven let out a small smile of her own. "We'll give you some time alone now. Come on, Gar."

She took his hand and led him out the room, Cyborg following suit.

Starfire crawled next to him in bed, after letting the straps loose.

"Do NOT do anything like this ever again, Robin! I was so worried…"

"It's alright now, Star…"

"No, it is NOT!" she blurted out, her outburst catching him off guard. "I never saw you this close to death! Your heart stopped beating, Robin! And I could do nothing!"

He stared at her. "Star… you saved my life. I wouldn't call that nothing."

"Robin…" she ran her fingers through his hair.

"Oh, what would I do without you…" he remarked. He put his ear on her chest, letting the sound of her heartbeat sooth his mind.

"Please, hold me close…" he begged the memory of his fears gnawing at his mind.

"I will. And I will never let you go." She promised. She kept one of her hands on his chest, feeling the rhythm of his heart. And he couldn't feel more grateful for getting to experience that again.

He fell asleep into her arms, finally feeling safe.

From that day onward, they always made sure to feel each other's heartbeat. Not just to make sure they were still safe and well. But to let each other know, that they will always be in each other's hearts.