Crimes of the Heart

Summary: Love hurts, all too often, as four of our Titans discover the hard way. At least three tragic love stories wrapped into one. Bb/Rav, Sf/Rob, Rav/Rob.

Prologue: Root for the Winning Team: Cyborg's Story

"The heart may freeze, or it can burn. The pain will ease if I can learn, there is no future, there is no past. I live each moment as my last. There's only us, there's only this. Forget regret or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way… No day but today." – Mimi, RENT, by Jonathan Larson

It was obvious to me from the first day why Beast Boy's antics often rose to new levels whenever Raven entered the room. And I could tell that look in Starfire's eyes whenever Robin gave her a playful smile. I once knew both those things, which is probably why I could recognize it in them.

It was a shame, though, because I saw no such sparkle in Robin's eyes when Starfire tried so hard to please him. Raven's irritation with Beast Boy grew more and more obvious each day. I knew eventually these things would cause problems with the team, but for now I just had to let them slide. We all learn the pain of heartache eventually.

My own heartache occurred years ago, before the accident.

Her name was Sandra. She was on the cheerleading squad. The classic high school romance: the head cheer leader and the star quarterback. I liked her because she knew about sports. She supported the Red Skins, which was ludicrous in my mind, because the year I loved her, they were doing horrendously.

"It's not about rooting for who's winning," she told me once. "It's about staying loyal to a team you grew up with. It's remembering that first time you saw your dad's favorite team score a touchdown. That's why I like the Red Skins."

I always chose to support the winning side. I never understood what she meant before I became a Titan. Winning, to me, had been everything. Until I lost her.

I knew all the typical, clichéd signs. My heart really would flutter when she kissed me on the cheek. I hung on every word whenever she spoke, for every syllable was musical. My stomach did somersaults when she did anything cute. I could fall so deep into those soft brown eyes. She was my girl, my Sandy, and I was proud of her.

After what happened, Sandy could barely look at me. She tried so hard to be there for me, and be my friend, but I knew things could never be the same. The accident and what it had done to me bothered her, although for months she chose not to admit it. Finally, I woke up and she wasn't there. I guess she couldn't handle the pressure. I never saw her again.

I guess she was trying to stay loyal to the team she loved, despite the ridicule she got at school for dating "Metal Man." She clung on to the desperate hope that maybe we could be a normal couple again.

And maybe the Red Skins would win the super bowl.

I should have expected she'd leave. She spoke to me the night before she left.

"I'm just a kid," she'd told me with tears in her eyes. "I can't deal with something like this."

"Sandy, I love…"

"Don't say it," she said suddenly, pulling her jacket tighter around her. "Please, it will just make things harder for me." She looked at me with earnest eyes. "I love you," she said. "I always will. But please don't tell me that you love me. Just pretend I was never here. Forget about me and what I ever meant to you. Just let me go, but know that despite all this, I love you."

And with that, she walked out the door. She walked out of my life forever. I don't know why she didn't want me to say it. I guess she didn't want to feel any guiltier than she already did for leaving me. She wanted to think that I didn't love her, so that she wouldn't feel as bad about leaving me here alone. I don't know why, it was futile. She knew I loved her, whether I said it or not, and it would always plague her mind as it plagued my own.

"I love you, Sandra," I had said to the closed door.

So that's my story. It's sad, but I moved on because I could understand why she left. I always rooted for the winning team. It would have been harder for her to get over the whole thing, though. She didn't like to give up on her team so easily. But she doesn't appreciate how hard she fought to keep our relationship normal, as I do. I wouldn't have fought that hard for her.

It's sad to see my friends walking around this tower, lovesick or oblivious to the emotion all together. But as much as I'd like to, I can't interfere. So this time, I am condemned to sit and observe as my friends tear themselves apart with this violent emotion in their hearts.

There is no winner in this repetitive game.