Disclaimer: Do you really think after all these years that anything has changed?! Do you?! Do you?!... I wish that was the case though…. OTL I do have Khary Payton's, Greg Cipes', and Tara Strong's autographs now though! -dances-

Author's Note: It's the end of RobStar Week 2021! And I'm doing another little 'revive an old piece' kind of post (originally drafted this one-shot circa 2018…) for the final day's prompt, which is "Together"... I'm sorry in advance. This one came to me as a quick little burst so to speak. It doesn't have a particular place in the DC Comics continuity, but then really, does anything have a particular unmoving place? No, not really. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. (Warning, grab a box of tissues!) Onto the final story...

-DC-

Anything, But

Her favorite memory wasn't really one moment. It was a collage of moments. All strung together. Of him. Smiling. He had the most genuine smile. And when he smiled at her, when they were together... she knew.

She knew he was her home.

That's why, when he said good bye, it hurt.

It hurt so much...

-DC-

It hadn't occurred to him that he'd be stopping a gang war that night. Nor had it occurred to him that it would be on his way to New York City and on the outskirts of Gotham. Furthermore, it hadn't occurred to him that he would end up fighting alongside one of his hottest friends this side of the planet.

Red Hood couldn't be happier.

Or more trigger happy.

"Nice of you to show up, Star!" He called up to his alien friend, who seemed intent on blasting every gun into a melted mass of indiscernible material.

"I am surprised you showed up at all," She said, her voice abnormally monotoned.

He momentarily raised an eyebrow before finding himself dodging an attacker with a knife in hand.

"That was rude!" He yelled, kicking the knife out of the thug's hand and smashing the back of his heel into the guy's face.

He half expected Starfire to correct him. Saying that if anything, he was being the rather 'rude' one. But there was nothing. Just silence from her as she continued to focus on the task at hand and blast away.

Shrugging off the indifference, he picked the guy up and shoved him into another one of the no-good punks coming at him. He always found it amusing how he would call these kinds of criminals 'thugs' or 'punks' when he was pretty sure that's what Tim and Dick would call him 99% of the time. They needed to lighten up a little. In fact, everyone here did. Jumping up onto a crate, Red Hood let loose a couple rounds.

"So what brings you out this way?" He asked.

Starfire said nothing and Red Hood groaned in annoyance at their attackers before jumping off the crate and knocking out a few guns from the hands of several more goons.

"Hey, I'm talking to you, gorgeous!" He specified, noticing she hadn't replied, possibly not noticing he was talking to her, and trying to get a light hearted answer out of her.

Looking at him quickly before letting loose a couple starblasts from her eyes, it appeared he was right as Starfire seemed to just now realize he had been talking to her, "Cyborg asked me to check in on this place on the way back from San Francisco."

Red Hood kneed a guy in the jaw before replying, "Coming back from the West Tower?"

"Yes..." Starfire told him, "It was just an errand, dropping off some of Beast Boy's things."

"Can't Raven teleport him there to get it himself?"

"He did not," She punched a guy jumping up towards her into the ground hard and continued, "Want to ask her."

"Geez, are they fighting again?" He said, dodging another round of bullets.

"No, I..." She replied, "I do not know what is going on."

Red Hood kicked a trash can over and down in front of him, sending garbage flying into the air long enough to create a distraction to get to the three that were wielding the machine guns that had just entered the fray.

"You okay?" He called up.

"I am fine," She said. But her tone was blank, without any hint of joy, which he was so accustomed to hearing in her voice. It seemed eerily unnatural to him.

Red Hood pulled the triggers on his two hand guns and effectively disabled several of the machine guns.

"You don't seem fine," He said, rolling over, "Something happen?"

Starfire continued to focus on the targets in front of her. But her eyes seemed to be glassed over, like her mind was off somewhere else...

-DC-

Titans Tower West

Starfire landed on the top of the tower. Using the retinal scanner, she gained access and proceeded to make her way through the roof entrance down to the main level. It was quiet and she suspected that the Titans were out in the city somewhere. Or at home. It was a school night.

Carrying over the bag of Gar's things to his room, she knocked before opening the door and dropping it off inside just barely past the doorframe. Heading into the common area, she poured herself a glass of water when she heard chanting coming from down one of the side halls. Walking down, glass at hand, she found the noise coming from Raven's room, door ajar.

Again, she knocked, "Raven?"

Raven was levitating in the center of her room in meditation, but at the sound, opened an eye and looked up at her guest, "Kory? What brings you here?"

Starfire gave a small smile, "I came to drop off some of Gar's things. I thought I would just let you know before I returned home."

"Oh..." Raven said, looking slightly puzzled, "That's odd, thank you though, I mean. But I don't see why if he needed something that he didn't just ask me to go get it..."

Starfire shrugged. She knew Raven and Gar had been in an... on again off again kind of relationship. Right now, assuming she hadn't missed something, she believed they were together again, which Starfire thought was good for the two of them. They seemed to strangely fit together and balance one another out.

"Perhaps he did not want to burden you..."

"Maybe..." Raven said, her thoughts trailing off.

Seeing Raven's reaction though, perhaps she'd been too quick to assume all was well. Maybe something was a bit off for them right now...

"Has he been avoiding you?" Starfire asked, attempting to bring her friend's thoughts out into the open to continue the conversation.

Raven uncrossed her legs and landed, bringing a hand to her chin, "He's been... aloof. Though not just with me. With everyone. He seems to be estranging himself from the whole group for some reason..."

Starfire's puzzled look signaled Raven to continue, "I think it's the lack of... stability. He's afraid that people will die or leave him, just like his family... that might be my fault."

It made a bit more sense when she said it like that. Recently, Raven experienced a near death encounter which had left Gar visibly shaken. Shortly after, to Starfire's knowledge, that's when they had gotten back together last, but... aloofness seemed counter-productive in Starfire's mind.

"If he wants to be with you, why stay away from you?" Starfire inquired, "That is so... frustrating."

Raven let a brief smile slip out as Starfire spoke what she had been feeling lately, but felt she couldn't say. Gently, she provided, "It's scary. For him, I think. For all of us perhaps. He's lost so many people already in his life. Sometimes, losing one more seems so... unbearable, so I think his mind set is that it's better to just watch from afar than get too attached."

Convoluted. That's what that whole way of thinking seemed like to Starfire. You should enjoy every second you can with the living. Every single one. Because if your time is cut off abruptly, then at least you can say you were able to cherish every moment possible. Not just one or two...

"It's okay, he'll come around," Raven said, though she looked concerned, noticing that Starfire seemed lost in thought, "Kory, are you okay?"

Starfire paused for a moment, before looking up at her friend, "Yes... I am fine. I will let you get back to your meditation. Tell everyone I said 'hello'."

"I will," Raven said as Starfire finished her almost water and headed for the exit. The empath folded her arms in thought as she watched Starfire leave. It was… natural for her to without meaning it, get inclings regarding the state of her friends. And Starfire...

Starfire was many things. Emotional was one of them. It was just her nature. It was part of her. So why was it she felt Starfire's emotions coming and going? Like the pull of a tide. It was... unnatural for her. Sometimes strong and sometimes, so…. alarmingly weak.

It was another question she had no direct answer for.

-DC-

Starfire's flight back towards New York was quiet, her thoughts the only thing keeping her at all alert as she passed over mountains, trees, clouds, and planes. She couldn't believe how Beast Boy, how Gar was acting. It was so selfish. Raven was giving so much by opening up to him - he had to know that her opening up to him terrified her due to the nature of her powers. So how could he just be ignoring it? Ignoring her?

She thought about his reasoning, remembering his heartbreak with Terra all those years ago and then after the last incident and seeing Raven not moving in his arms. He had cried, desperately begging her to wake up. It felt almost unreal because she had never seen him cry like that before.

There hadn't been anything any of them could have done as his tears fell on her face. Remembering that, she suddenly understood it and it hit her like a mound of bricks. Gar wasn't alone in his agony. They'd all felt that agony. She'd felt that agony. That fear that the ones you loved would never wake up. That they would die and you would never be able to hold them again...

As those memories flashed through her mind, she was reminded of all of the good times she had shared with her friends. How they had become the family that she had never had a real chance to have before. How much they meant to her... and the fear of watching them all go away. One by one by one. Until she was the only one left. And then just... feeling alone. All alone.

She held her shoulders, holding herself in a hug as if to console herself. She hated being alone. In space, while the warmth of the sun brought her strength, on the other side, the cold emptiness brought her loneliness. She suddenly felt an odd resentment at her ties to her friends, her family. Why had she been so foolish as to become so attached again? Perhaps Gar was right. Perhaps it was better to be more distant, than deal with that pain.

But it was then that a smile and warm hands flashed before her mind's eye.

Immediately, she shut her green ones as she flew, trying to block out the pain, when her communicator rang. It was Cyborg. He told her that there was a gang war likely to go down between two groups, one from Gotham and one from New York City. He asked her to see if she could stop it. She nodded and redirected her route to the path between Gotham and New York. She had found Jason already there, spouting lines and quips like an idiot flying on webs. At least he hadn't changed.

Spinning around, she looked to get out of the way of what she thought would be his oncoming attack when she saw no one. She was alone. Alone in the middle of the gang war. Where was he? What happened? She noticed the gun fallen to the ground. His gun. Where was he?

There were multiple sounds coming from multiple directions. So many. She wasn't sure where to focus.

Jason hid in the shadows. Out of ammo. How on earth was he out of ammo? 'Idiot, Jay, you idiot,' He scolded himself. He secretly prayed before performing the backflip that he was as flexible as Boy Wonder number one was...

Starfire saw a flash of red and black flip through the air. In her mind's eye, she watched the man fly without wings into the faces of his attackers as three birdarangs left his hand and darted into their upper arms.

She watched as the masked man in blue looked up at her, flashing a perfect, genuine smile at her before he turned away, the smile vanishing at the sight of her. And then, he was gone. Everyone was gone. She felt her heart sink and tears threaten to come to the surface. Why… And then... it all shut down. She shut down. All before any answers could come.

"Hey, Star, could use a hand here!" Jason called. He elbowed someone in the jaw, "Star, come on!"

He could feel his attackers getting the best of him. A little back up really would be... He looked over his shoulders and through his hooded face mask saw Starfire's form, slowly go limp in mid-air. And then, she started to fall.

-DC-

"Kory!" He yelled. He held his breath and released a pepper/knock-out gas bomb that engulfed everyone in the immediate vicinity. Viciously stepping on more than a few forms, Red Hood lept in the air, praying that his long limbs would help him travel the needed distance in time.

They did.

Catching her before she hit the ground, Red Hood took the brunt of Starfire's fall and cradled her as they landed on the concrete. He groaned.

"Star, what happen... ed?" He looked at his friend who was limp, unmoving.

He felt for a pulse, half wondering if Tamaranians even had a pulse in the same area as humans. Nothing. Maybe not? Or maybe he should have just paid a little more attention when Bruce had been teaching him about how to check for signs of life in aliens instead of thinking of ways to sneak off with the Batmobile... 'Yeah, nice going, Jay,' he thought to himself. He felt for a heartbeat, somewhere, anywhere. There-

Thump. Thu-thump, Thump, Thu-thump.

He let out a breath he had been holding. Still alive. Alright. That was good. Time to make haste and get out of here. Picking her up, he saw a few gang members coming around. Wasn't a very potent mixture unfortunately. He'd just have to do better next time. Stepping on their feet, intentionally, he ran over with Starfire to his bike and revved the engine. So much for New York City tonight. Hitting the gas, Red Hood made his way to the nearest place he knew of that could handle a fallen superhero.

The Batcave.

As they rode down the highways at breakneck speeds, Jason held onto Kory close. Her normally animated form not moving, even in the slightest, worried him immensely.

"Come on, Kory. Just a little more..."

As the bike finally screeched to a halt inside the cave, Alfred looked up to see which of the masters had come home for the night. It was too early for Master Bruce, so that meant it had to be one of the boys... That being said, Alfred wasn't surprised to see Jason coming up the steps to the main level of the cave. What he wasn't expecting was a fair lady in his arms, limp... and not wearing a suit that gave as much coverage as he thought young women should have.

"Master Jason?" Alfred raised a brow, "What on earth..."

"Alf, what do you know about Tamaranian physiology?" Jason questioned quickly.

"Tamaranian?" Alfred looked at the woman again and suddenly recognized her, "Miss Anders?"

"Yeah, she fell in the middle of a gang war fight. I don't know if she passed out or was hit or what, but she's not waking up," Jason told him.

Alfred looked over Starfire briefly before grimacing a bit as he delivered what he knew, "I'm afraid that all I know of the Tamaranians is that they gain their natural gifts from sunlight or starlight. I'd suspect it would also rapidly speed up any recovery processes."

Jason looked around the cave. The dank walls and colors not exactly, well... sunny, "Let's get her upstairs then."

Alfred nodded as the two headed up to the manor. Reaching the south side, Alfred opened up a guest room with windows on three sides, "She'll get light immediately in this room and for the majority of the day. I'll bring up a few things to monitor her recovery."

"Gotchya, thanks Alf."

"Oh, and Master Jason?"

"Yeah?"

"Could you do me a favor and put this over her?" Alfred held out a long nightgown that had been hanging in one of the room's closets.

Jason, despite the situation, found he couldn't help but snort a bit in laughter, "Sure thing."

-DC-

By 7 in the morning, the sun had risen over the horizon, casting its light over Kory's limp form and Alfred had managed to give her a basic physical, though it hadn't revealed anything. Jason had since removed his mask and sat down in one of the plush chairs, itching to put his feet up on it, but he knew that if even one of his boots touched the velvet, Alfred would skin him alive. So he waited, rather impatiently at best, but he waited.

"I regret to tell you, Master Jason, but that's about all I can do for a Tamaranian. You might want to call in an expert."

Jason, who had been biting his lower lip, cast a side glance at Kory before responding, "She'd be the expert. I don't think there are any other Tamaranians on earth."

"Then perhaps another person familiar with extraterrestrial beings?" Alfred suggested, when he got a message from his comlink, "It seems Master Bruce has returned."

Jason said, "Oh! He'd know something, right?"

Alfred glanced at Jason with a slightly pessimistic look for some reason, before slowly answering, "Well... probably more than us. I shall go fetch him."

"You don't think he'll get mad, do you?" Jason said, tilting his head to the side. He'd already been yelled at about 4 times this month, and it was only the 9th.

Alfred cast aside a look at Kory, "Considering she already knows who you, and everyone else for that matter, are, I... suspect not… hopefully."

The butler left the room, leaving the younger two occupants alone. Jason pulled the chair over and sat cross legged on the chair, looking at the monitors, most of which just told him... zilch. Just that she was alive at least. Watching her, her chest barely moving, he wondered what exactly had happened out there. He'd never seen her falter like that or fall in the past... or anything similar really. Not without warning anyway. And those guys had been small time. Kory was a warrior. She could have taken them all on, with or without his help. So what happened?

Hopefully, Bruce would know.

-DC-

The Batmobile radiated the only heat in the cave when Alfred came down to meet the billionaire vigilante. Once again, he could see new tire marks on the ground. Honestly, sometimes he could swear that the masters enjoyed their various methods of transportation just a little too much. Below on a lower platform, Batman began inputting data for the evening when Alfred came to greet him.

"We have a guest, Master Bruce," Alfred said in his usual drawl.

"Jason, I know," Batman replied, not even looking at the butler.

"And one of his friends who is in need of medical attention," Alfred added.

Batman glanced to his side, indicating for Alfred to explain why he wasn't administering said attention, "The guest is Miss Anders of Tamaran and I'm unfamiliar with her physiology."

At the name, Batman turned to face Alfred with a scrutinizing look, before replying after a moment of silence, "I'll see what I can do. Why didn't you call Dick?"

"He is assisting Master Tim with the Penguin capture tonight. I thought it best not to call him back if they were in the middle of some kind of fray, in the event it was something you could handle," Alfred said.

Batman repressed the urge to roll his eyes under the cowl before getting up to head into the medical wing of the cave.

"She's upstairs, sir. We thought the exposure to sunlight would be of the best help to her," Alfred indicated.

The Dark Knight stopped briefly before he turned on heel. He was clearly displeased, though he said nothing, as he headed for the elevator up to the manor. He didn't like superheroes in superhero attire inside Wayne Manor. As civilians, if they must at all. He preferred solitude instead. As such, he'd skin Jason alive if it was his fault that the Tamaranian was injured, necessitating a need to bring her here. And in the back of his head, he suspected, or rather calculated that it probably was.

-DC-

Kory found herself alone on a deserted street near the San Francisco bay. The waves lapped at the shore far off, but aside from that, the sound of birds calling couldn't even be heard.

"Hello?" She called.

It echoed, which gave her the chills.

"Anyone?"

"Star!" She saw Tim, Cassie, and Kon. She waved when suddenly as the waves hit the shore, they disappeared into the mist.

She ran over to where they had been standing just moments before, searching for any sign of them, "Tim? Kon? Cassie?"

"They're not coming back."

She whirled around to see her sister, Komand'r. Blackfire.

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"They're not coming back. None of them are. And they never will. Just like our parents never will."

"What are you saying?"

"She's right."

Kory turned to see Gar sitting where the others had been before, "They're just going to keep leaving us. Everyone, even me, we'll leave you."

Gar's statement startled her, "How can you say such things?"

"It's only the truth, Starfire."

Komand'r was gone and in her place was Victor. She felt like she was losing her footing somehow, even though she remained firmly on the Earth's ground. Another voice caught her ears.

"Come on, just accept it. We're all alone in life anyway. We live alone. We die alone," Jason said in his normal cynical and sarcastic manner, oblivious to the way this was making her tremble.

"No, we are… we are family. We will always find each other. I know it."

"Please stop saying those things," Raven said, the mist revealing her form in front of her, crouched on her knees, before wobbling as she stood to face Starfire, "You know that won't happen."

"We... we are strong," Starfire told her friend, her eyes darting between Gar, Victor, Jason, Raven, and now Roy who had just appeared, afraid that they would disappear like her sister and the younger new Titans, "We all are."

"It's not because of that," Roy said.

Starfire shook her head and whipped around away from their somber faces to find hands around her back and a man kissing her passionately, so much so that she felt as though even space contained more gravity than she felt now. This… for a moment, all the words she had just heard seemed non-existent. Purpose… her purpose, her reason for living… was right here… They parted to reveal his blue eyes, his dark hair, his wonderful person, but all with the face of disinterest.

"It's because I don't want to be with you, Kory," He said.

The words shot into her like a poison. She pulled back to find herself up against Komand'r once more, who grabbed her wrists from behind, "It hurts doesn't it, dear sister? Better to have never known any of them. Better to have never met them. Met him."

"No..."

"Better to never have anything to do with them."

"Stop this, sister..." Kory pulled away and found herself on the lifeless road alone save for her tormentor, but even then, she prayed that Komand'r wouldn't leave her alone. Please… she couldn't be alone...

"It's only for your benefit, dear. Let us all go," Komand'r turned to leave.

"No... please..." Her voice caught in her throat.

She watched as her sister walked off and then, somehow, instead of her, it was him… leaving her… and that hurt far worse.

"Please… do not… do not go..."

-DC-

Kory's eyes fluttered open to reveal a ceiling that she wasn't familiar with. She looked to her right to see Red Hood on his phone, looking as though he was playing a game of some kind. She tried to move, but found it near impossible, so she opted to whisper instead.

"Jason?"

He looked up to see her finally awake and a look of relief swept over him, a happier demeanor now on his face, "Hey, welcome back to the land of the living, sleeping beauty."

"What... happened?" She asked.

"You tell me," He said, standing up and stretching, "One minute we were fighting off those gang members and the next you were falling down like Superman on Kryptonite Celebration Day."

After deciphering what she had just heard, she found herself unsure as to how to respond, "I... I fell?"

"That's what I said," Jason told her.

At her confused expression, he realized that she was still trying to understand what happened. That much was clear. The awkward pause lingered for a moment before he decided to fill her in on what was going on in the present.

"Well, anyway, the big ol' Bat is coming up to check on you since neither Alfred or I are experts on medical stuff. Er, well, he is, but not Tamaranian... medical... stuff," He trailed off a bit, but at the mention of Batman, Kory's ears had perked up.

"The Batman is...?" She started, but she couldn't finish her sentence.

For whatever reason, she always felt that Batman had never really liked her. She knew it was his demeanor to remain cold and distant, but whenever she had met him in the past, he seemed to radiate a distinct impression to her that he was constantly judging her. So now that he was coming up to check up on her, she felt a nervous energy that ceased to be anything but calming or reassuring in her weakened state.

"Yeah, Alf's suggestion. He wasn't sure what Batman would know and I know he's intimidating, but he'd be better than me," He laughed.

His laugh didn't seem to relax her at all, which he noticed, so he continued, "I could call Dick if you'd prefer. He learned a lot when you guys were-"

"No!"

The immediate reply was so quick that it could have snapped his neck had it been a punch. Her voice, though she was weak, was so complete in her answer that it had startled him.

She noticed this too and quickly added, "No... please, do not bother him. The Batman is fine."

It suddenly occurred to Jason that Kory's disposition, normally deep with emotions, seemed strangely shallow. Once again in the past 24 hours, speaking to her was... unsettling.

"You guys are on good terms, aren't you?" He asked hesitantly, hoping not to step on some sort of landmine.

Kory's face turned to one of thought and contemplation before she turned away from him, "Yes. We are. I just do not want to bother him."

"I don't think it would be a bother to him, Kory," Jason told her, "You're his friend and he'd be more than willing to come help. More willing than he would for me anyway."

The silence lingered, "No... it is fine."

You're his friend.

Friend. The word left a bitterly dry taste in her mouth. It was such a double edged sword of a word somehow. To have a friend meant the possibility of losing a friend. To be close with someone and then not close at all. She felt sick and rolled to her side, away from the sunlight. Out of her sight, Jason rolled his eyes, suddenly feeling like he had a pretty good idea of what was going on immediately. He might be ranked number 3 of the Robin's in terms of intellect (a fact he'd never admit to), but it didn't take a genius to figure it out, at least after seeing… that.

He sighed. He wished beyond reason that she and Dick would stop being so stubbornly stupid sometimes. He'd be the first to start a NightXStar fan club if such a thing existed, but at the same time, he guessed it would be years before they'd stop being as he said before, stupid.

He looked up at the sound of the door opening, revealing Batman in the entrance, cowl off for once. Starfire had heard it too and had looked over. Meanwhile, Jason smiled full heartedly and turned to the big bad Bat.

"Heyyyyy, long time no see, knight of nights," He said, his nickname for his mentor off just enough to make Batman look at him in question.

"What did you do?"

Jason was taken aback, "What do you mean, what did I do? Not everything is always my fault."

"It is about 88% of the time," Batman countered, walking past him to the bed where Starfire was, "Good Morning."

Her eyes glanced up at him and a small mumble came out, "Good Morning, Batman, sir."

Jason raised a brow. He always felt that 'sir' was something only Alfred said. To hear it coming out of someone else begged the question of what universe this was to him. But regardless, he kept his mouth shut and let them talk... for as long as he could anyway.

"What do you remember before falling?" Batman asked, cutting straight to the chase.

Kory thought and answered, "I remember attempting to break up the gang war... but nothing much after."

"No impacts from an attack, large or small?"

"No, nothing..."

Batman's eyes narrowed and reviewed the screens of medical data Alfred had brought in earlier to monitor her body's systems, "Your vitals are all low, as though you're not producing enough of the core elements that allow you to sustain yourself at full capacity. Have you been doing anything different as of lately?"

Starfire gave a brief shake of her head, "No... nothing."

"Diet? Exercise? Sleeping hours? All the same?"

She nodded. He sighed. So much for an easy answer.

"Have you been up late?"

Again, she shook her head, answering him without words. The Dark Knight looked down for a moment in thought, when he spoke to Jason nearly out of the blue, giving him an order, "Call Nightwing; he'd know more about her people's biological makeup than I would."

Jason was about to reply in the affirmative along with a quick quip over the fact that the great Batman didn't actually know everything and what a shocker it was when he caught sight of Kory's eyes looking almost panicked. Wordlessly, her lips read "no".

"Um, I uh, I would, but I think he's on an espionage sort of thing-"

"He was helping Tim with the Penguin case tonight. They probably finished twenty-three minutes ago. If anything he's ready to sleep now. Call him."

That shot down that poor excuse.

"But, uh..." A thought came to him, "Wait a minute, I know her just as well as he does, well maybe not just as well, but well enough! You always do this, you know, passing over my intellect for his. You say you don't play favorites, but you so do, Bruce. I mean, just last week you called Tim in for backup when I was like, right around the corner."

"And drunk," Came the comeback, which, unbeknownst to Jason, radiated out from a rather perturbed and annoyed looking Batman.

"So what?! Honestly, I'm insulted that you'd think to call him when I'm standing right here!"

"Would you give us some privacy, Jason?" The Dark Knight snapped.

Jason looked at Kory with a smile, despite her rather confused and worried expression before throwing his arms up in the air and making his exit, "Just don't come crying to me when even he can't figure out how to help her-"

Batman slammed the door shut so fast that Jason jumped and was surprised he didn't get his foot stuck under the doorway. How did he even get over to the door that fast anyway? At least his distraction worked.

Or so he thought.

Batman released his grip on the door handle and made his way back over to Starfire, where he sat down to have a frank discussion with her. Jason, he had to admit, was getting better at getting what he wanted in the most subtle, and yet most socially unacceptable manner possible. The kid was such an oxymoron.

Not that it got past him, but he'd let Jason think that if it would make him be quiet for once. He turned his attention back to the young lady in front of him.

"Miss Anders," He began, "I apologize for the noise. Let's continue."

-DC-

Once again, the sound of an engine bringing a new guest into the cave disturbed the bats above. A couple let a few excretions drop, probably out of nerves. Alfred couldn't have been more thrilled. Really, they should be used to this by now. He called down to the eldest young master.

"That was quick," He said from a level above.

The acrobat flipped up over the steps and landed neatly in a crouch before speaking, "Tim figured out what Penguin was planning about 7 hours ago, so I was just along for the ride. Nice break, but it got boring after a while. Just sat there waiting mostly."

"To think such a motionless statue such as yourself would think that," Alfred ironically remarked in his usual dry manner.

Dick smiled sheepishly, "I was honestly just heading home to sleep when you messaged me. What's Bruce need me for?"

"I'd assume to help with a guest we have with certain medical needs that you might be more familiar with than any of us," Alfred informed him.

"Medical?" Dick raised a brow. He knew how to treat wounds, sure, but open surgery wasn't really something he could claim he would ever be best at, at least between him Bruce, and Alfred. Especially Alfred. Frankly, he wasn't sure if he knew anything Bruce didn't know about the human body.

"They are up in the end room on the south side, third floor," Alfred told the young man as he headed for the stairs.

The butler smiled momentarily at the notice of Master Richard's decision. Of course. This one liked the stairs.

-DC-

She was alone with the Batman… joy? As soon as he had forced Jason to vacate the room, she had felt the dread coming up in her system. But then suddenly, it left without warning, as though it didn't matter that she was in a room alone with one of the most terrifying men on the planet Earth. No, it didn't matter... Not even as he drilled her with various questions.

"Before you passed out, do you recall any strange sensations? For instance, vision, smell, fatigue..."

She mulled it over in her head. She didn't think so. It was just the usual thing when… And she remembered, "I... I thought I saw Jason, I think, without a full mask on. Smiling. He had just flipped over some criminals I think... He looked like he had been flying and…"

She paused, choosing to neglect the mention of… the blue instead of red attired, "But that couldn't have been right..."

"What were you doing before the fight?"

"Flying home," She answered.

"Where were you?"

"Titans Tower, in the west."

"Do long flights normally wear you out?"

"No," She told him honestly.

Again, the questions stopped for a moment.

"Did anything significant happen over there?"

"Not... particularly. I saw Raven. we talked, then I left."

"What did you talk about?"

Kory paused, "We talked about Garfield- Beast Boy. She was worried he was withdrawing from her."

Batman nodded, "Did that bother you?"

"Hm?" She said, surprised, "Um, I... I did not understand it all that well. But I do not think I would call that a 'bother'. It was not impacting me after all..."

Batman's eyes narrowed before he stood up, "Tamaranians find fuel in their emotions, yes?"

"That is correct," Kory affirmed.

"And how are those?"

"What?"

"Your emotions?"

Kory couldn't answer. She was normally very in tune with her emotions. As though their constant presence was like the calming sound of a hummingbird. But right now, even as her mind listened for her heart, she found... silence. Like there was nothing there. Inside her soul, she felt herself spinning around, her fingers outstretched trying to grasp something. But like that soft, black hair that she had seen dancing around during the fight in her hallucination… everything, anything that was there seemed to slip away until... she felt her eyes heat up and tears threaten, then unleash their warm sting down her cheeks.

It was an emotion. But it wasn't one she wanted to feel at all. The Dark Knight didn't look at her and frankly, she was glad he didn't. She didn't want anyone to see her this way. Crying for no reason. And yet, somehow, she felt a bit stronger even as she wept. Perhaps at least there was something there...

From the hallway, Jason listened ever intently. He felt the pit of his stomach fall. He hated when Kory cried. It made him sick. She was a good person. She didn't deserve pain, whatever that pain was from.

Inside, Batman finally spoke, "Your body needs to feel emotions, Koriand'r. Despite my inclination to advise otherwise, your emotional pain should not be 'repressed' or 'ignored'."

Through wet eyes, Kory glanced up at her current doctor, near aghast at what she was hearing. Her pain was good? How could he say such a thing? How could... her eyes fell to a family portrait on the bedside table. Mr. Wayne and four boys. Well, two boys and two young men. And one of them, his blue eyes... She choked back a sob and buried her face into the pillow. She hated this part of her, envying Raven suddenly for being allowed to feel nothing and be at peace physically.

Without a word or a sound, Batman stood up and went to the door which he opened and closed with a click, leaving her alone. Not to his surprise, Jason stood outside.

"That's cold, man, even for you," He said, grabbing his mentor's arm who had moved to return down below, "What makes her deserve to feel pain any more than any of us?"

Batman glared at him, "Nothing does. It's her burden and it's not fair. But no one ever said life was fair. Life, oftentimes, is anything but."

He forcefully removed Jason's hand from his person and left, leaving Jason to decipher his mentor's intent and words. Kicking one of the tables nearby, the vase on top of it fell off and cracked, shattering. He leaned against the wall and slid down the side. Alfred would probably have his hide for that later too, but he didn't care. As anger fueled up inside him, he rubbed his hands and wrangled them together, unsure of what to do with himself. Though he wasn't listening anymore, he knew Kory was probably still sobbing. But there wasn't anything he could do... What would make her cry? Why would she cry? When had he ever even seen her...

And it dawned on him as light footsteps made their way closer to the doorway.

"Jay?" Dick asked upon seeing him, "You're here?"

Jason said nothing. Noting his adopted brother's usual quiet attitude, Dick shrugged it off and continued unfazed, "Well, have you seen Bruce? Alfred said he wanted my help or something? Something medical related?"

Jason stood up and straightened his jacket, looking his elder squarely in the eyes, saying nothing.

Dick awkwardly laughed the glare off, "I mean, not that I'm any good with that sort of thing. I honestly thought that this could have been a joke of some ki-"

Smack!

Nightwing stumbled backward, holding his jaw. Did he hear a bone crack? He blinked a few times before looking up at Jason who was holding his wrist and rubbing it after the impact of his fist had made contact with Nightwing's face. Had the guy gone mad again?

"The heck was that for?!" Nightwing demanded.

Jason jumped down low and swung a leg out, but this time Dick was ready, dodging and flipping over the vigilante with ease.

"Are you- insane?" He said as he landed.

Dumb question. Probably.

He reached around Jason in an attempt to restrain him when Jason, out of nowhere, rammed them both into the wall. Dick felt the air in his chest being pushed out and in the split second it took for him to recover, Jason had turned around to grab him by the front of his suit.

"Don't. You. Ever," He seethed, the sound of his friend's tears still fresh in his mind, "Make me... listen to that... again."

"Wha..."

"Shut up!" Jason yelled, pulling Nightwing close, "I'm serious, if you... if I ever have to hear her cry again... I'll kill you, Grayson."

Her?

Jason released his elder and marched off down the hall, leaving Nightwing alone, his lower lip bleeding. He looked after Jason as he walked off before his eyes met the crack of light coming in from under the door. Gingerly, he stood up and took a step towards the door. His general happy countenance had vanished from before. Replaced by a face of complete, uncomfortable guilt... It didn't take a genius to figure out who Jason had been referring to.

He held the door handle and leaned against the door, as though waiting for his hand to move on its own and twist the doorknob.

He closed his eyes.

And heard a laughter. And saw a smile. Fiery red hair and the most beautiful green eyes he had ever seen. A heart that loved him unconditionally. A heart he loved so unconditionally.

Inside, Starfire clenched her eyes shut as tears fell. It made sense now why Raven and Beast Boy's troubles bothered her so. Because they reminded her, they reminded her of all that she was missing everyday that she wasn't with him. They had the chance to be together but she and Nightwing… it seemed impossible for them, no matter what they did. Life and the ruthlessness of fate just seemed determined that they would never be together. And she couldn't understand why. So she just cried.

He let go of the door handle and slowly made his way back down the hall. He had proved it so before, that he wasn't good enough for her. And that he never would be. So it was better this way, even if Jason couldn't see it or understand it. It had to be. Even as she cried and his own heart ached… It... had to be better this way. She was better off without him. Anything was better than risking her, but… No, it had to be this way… It just had to be. He had to just accept it and let her go… Because them being together… it was just something that was anything, but meant to be.

-DC-

A/N: …:(

Dang it, I kinda feel guilty ending RobStar week like that. Maybe I should write something extra that's nice and fluffy to make up for it…

I know the prompt for today was "Together" and in the end here they are most certainly NOT "Together", but I have to admit that I did that intentionally. I think we all long to be with the person who completes us and when we're not with them, in a weird way, we come to appreciate so much more when we are together with them. Thus, why I went with this story - where they both have to face that emotional struggle of not being together, with all of its pain. For without pain, we can know no joy.

And for the record, I know I rag on DC A LOT for not letting these two be together, but… I still have hope deep down that one day, they will finally let this amazing couple be together, be whole, and be complete and that we'll all be able to share that happiness for them, fictional though they may be. (And on that day, we'll all happy cry and commission wedding dresses based off of Star's attire for that happy day XD ).

Also for the record, I love Spider Man, just saying. I also think I need to stop writing sad romances. (Yep, definitely gonna have to write a fluff piece lol). Can we all agree by the way that Dick Grayson has serious commitment issues and needs to own up to his feelings and understand that it's OKAY TO BE IN LOVE AND EMBRACE THAT LOVE? Like father, like son I guess.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts and please review! I'll eventually be posting thoughts on writing this as I have and will for the rest of my posts for RobStar Week 2021 on my blog, which you can find on my profile (those previous stories were "Ikebana", "Pretty", and "Slow Dancin'"). Hopefully they're good breakdowns of a writer's process.

I think I mentioned this before, but I just moved and as such, I've been reorganizing and figuring out how to display A LOT of old comics again, while also going through a lot of old memories… many of which (along with RobStar week) have seriously sent me through nostalgia feels, so… hopefully the Titans and Batman inspiration will continue to come? :D Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens! :) Till next time and many thanks to tumblr's robxstar for hosting RobStar Week again this year!

Later,

~Rena

PS. If you need something super sweet and happy after that btw, sending a shout out to Tari Silmarwen who's done a fantastic job this week (as always might I add) and a lot of it has been on the awesomely wonderful RobStar sweet side. Read her stuff, it'll make you happy. ^_^