"The Crow: Black Robin"

Alternate Ending: "Broken"

Disclaimer: Teen Titans, The Crow, and "Broken" do not belong to me. The first belongs to DC Comics, the second belongs to James O'Barr, and the third belongs to Seether.

Author's note: I know that some people were unsatisfied with how "The Crow: Black Robin" ended and this one-shot is for them. It's also something I thought of after hearing Seether and Amy Lee perform "Broken" together. I just felt that the lyrics fit Robin and Starfire so well. I hope you like it.

Robin sat on his cot in a small room in the place he called his sanctuary. It was a cave, much like the cave in which his mentor Batman spent most of his time. There was one notable exception: This cave had no bats.

Robin stood up and went to his supercomputer. "Huh," he said. "Not so much crime going on anymore."

Of course there wasn't. Slade wasn't around anymore.

Slade, Robin thought. Just thinking of that name brought back memories. Bad ones, mostly.

Robin sat back in the chair facing the supercomputer and began to remember. It had all started when he'd left Batman. The reason he'd left was that he felt that Batman felt that he could no longer trust him to keep himself out of harm's way. It was all the Joker's fault, really. The bastard had kidnapped and tortured him, hoping to pry Batman's most precious secrets out of him. Batman had rescued him before the Joker could discover certain truths, but the experience had left them both shaken, and Robin with scars both physical and emotional.

After that, Batman had forbidden Robin to wear the suit ever again. Robin's response had been to move out of Gotham City and to Jump City.

In the beginning, Robin admitted to himself, it had been all about sticking it to his mentor, proving that he didn't need to be protected, that he could take care of himself. Then he had met Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Starfire and things had changed.

Realizing that circumstances had left each of them as lost and alone as he was, Robin formed them into a crime-fighting team known as the Teen Titans. He had developed deep bonds with all of them, but Starfire was the one who had captured his heart.

Starfire, Robin thought. He fought to hold back his tears at the thought of her. Beautiful, vibrant, filled with life and joy, the very opposite of him: dark, dead, and bitter.

Everything had been perfect until Slade came into their lives. Slade, with his plots and schemes and hidden motives, motives that had not been revealed until the Titans were already trapped in his web. He had tricked them all and trapped Robin into becoming his apprentice, using the lives of his friends to secure his loyalty.

However, things had not gone exactly as planned. The other Titans had figured out what Slade had done to them and why, and Robin had taken on Slade in a desperate bid for freedom. Slade had tried to kill Starfire, to punish Robin for his disobedience, and Robin had given his own life to protect her.

Robin looked at the crow that accompanied him. But I'm not dead now. Thanks to you, I have a second chance.

And how had he used his second chance? He had used his second chance, along with the dark powers he had gained from his unholy resurrection, to hunt down and kill Slade's underlings and finally Slade himself.

In the process, he had found Starfire again and they had shared one sweet night before Robin had had to return to the afterlife, his mission complete. He didn't stay there long, not having been able to bear the thought of eternity without his love beside him. Defying heaven and hell, he had come back to Earth.

Once he had reached Titans Tower and seen her come out, he had lost his nerve. He had quickly slinked back into the shadows and left before she could see him. They couldn't be together, not as long as he was a dead husk of a man, and that was what he would be forever, unless someone killed the crow.

Robin typed a command on the computer and it brought up a picture of Starfire, one he had taken with a digital camera. She was smiling into the camera, her eyes alight with innocence, love, and joy.

Robin began to sing, his mournful voice audible throughout the cave.

I wanted you to know

That I love the way you laugh

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain . . . away.

Robin reached out to the screen and traced Starfire's face on it with his black-gloved fingers.

I keep your photograph

And I know it serves me well

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain.

As he sang the chorus from the song, he could have sworn that he heard Starfire's angelic voice singing with him.

'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away.

Her voice momentarily faded from him and he sang the bridge by himself.

You've gone away

You don't feel me here . . . anymore.

Inside her room in Titans Tower, Starfire was reflecting. Her life had changed so much since she had come to Earth. She had initially come to Earth to escape the war between her people, the Tamaranians, and their age-old enemies the Gordanians, a reptilian race infamous for pillaging other planets and taking people from those planets as slaves.

When she first came to Earth, she was alone and incapable of understanding the language. Everyone had stared at her, befuddled by her strange appearance. Some unsavory men had even attempted to harm her in ways too horrible to describe, but fortunately a boy about her age dressed in red and green with a mask over his eyes and a yellow-lined black cape had rescued her. Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to thank him since she couldn't understand a word he said and was sure that he didn't understand a word she said.

That had ended when she kissed him, absorbing his knowledge of Earth language through the contact of their lips.

After Robin and Starfire, along with three other super-powered teens known as Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy, had combined their talents to stop a dangerous terrorist sect, they had decided to stay together as the Teen Titans. The more time they spent together, the enamored Starfire became with Robin. She wanted so desperately to tell him how she felt, but was convinced that someone so strong and brave and wise wouldn't want anything to do romantically with someone as naïve as her.

She had discovered the depths of her feelings for Robin and his for her when Slade had forced Robin to become his apprentice under penalty of death for his friends.

She remembered it so vividly, as if that awful night had only happened yesterday.

"Stop!" she had ordered Robin, her glowing hand held out to impede his escape from the Wayne Enterprises building. "Do not move."

Robin had said nothing, just pointed the wrist-mounted thermal blaster at her in response to an unheard voice. It had been a stalemate for several tense seconds, both of them wondering who would be the first to fire. Then Starfire had dropped her hand.

I just couldn't do it, she thought. How could I hurt him . . . when I love him?

"Robin, you are my best friend," she had said to him. "I cannot live in a world where we must fight. If you are truly evil, then go ahead. Do as you must."

"Starfire, no!" Robin had exclaimed, lowering the blaster. "I ---" He had never gotten a chance to finish before an agonizing pain had torn its way through her. It had felt as though something was burning and melting her from the inside. She had fallen into Robin's arms, just conscious enough to hear him beg an invisible entity to stop.

"I'm sorry," he'd said before reluctantly opening fire with the thermal blaster and resuming battle with the other Titans. Like their previous encounter with him, he had fled afterwards.

They had returned to Titans Tower and Cyborg had scanned all of their bodies, including his own. They had discovered that Slade had infected them all with nanoscopic probes that would kill them if activated. Realizing that this was why Robin had joined Slade, they had come together to save their leader. Slade had responded by shooting a high-intensity laser set to kill at Starfire. However, Robin had tackled her out of the way and the blast had hit him instead.

"Please, stay with me, Robin!" she had pleaded. "Oh, why did you do it?"

"I couldn't let him hurt you," Robin had answered. "I love you too much."

"I love you, too, Robin," Starfire had said. Then Robin had died, and she had screamed his name in tearful anguish.

One year after that, a mystical crow had brought Robin back to her, but he had changed so much. Gone was the light in his soul, replaced by a dark, vengeful wrath that had spared no one, Slade especially. However, she had been able to find remnants of the boy that she had loved in this new Robin and he had still loved her.

But he is gone now, she thought. He has returned to the land of the dead and I do not think he shall return this time.

In her sorrow, she had begun singing a song and when she had sang the chorus, she could have sworn she heard Robin's mournful voice singing along with her.

She sighed. It was just wishful thinking; even she knew that. But she couldn't help but feel that he was still in this world, somehow.

She began to sing again.

The worst is over now

And we can breathe again

I wanna hold you high, you steal my pain away.

Yes, the worst was over now. Slade was gone now, his wretched life taken by Robin's hands, hands that had forced all the pain he had inflicted into his mind. Robin had come back into her life and with one look into her eyes, he had stolen all her pain away until there was nothing but joy in her heart.

There's so much left to learn

And no one left to fight

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain.

Robin and Starfire sang the second chorus together, despite the fact that neither one was quite aware of the other as anything more than a delusion on his or her own part.

'Cause I'm broken when I'm open

And I don't feel like I am strong enough

'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away.

Robin felt Starfire's voice coming in stronger as he sang. He could no longer delude himself into thinking that he was just imagining her, because he was feeling her soul, too --- lonely and yearning for its other half, just as his soul was.

"Robin?" Starfire wondered. "Is it truly you singing with me?"

She decided right then and there that she would find him. It wasn't just a delusion concocted by her lonely mind; it was really him singing with her, and he needed her just as much as she needed him.

Starfire opened her window and flew away from Titans Tower. She didn't know what direction she was headed in, or where she was going, only that Robin would be there waiting for her.

Robin exited his cave and took to the rooftops of Jump City, his crow flying ahead of him. He could feel Starfire, waiting for him, needing him as badly as he needed her.

As the separated lovers raced along their separate yet connected paths, the urge to sing overtook them once again.

'Cause I'm broken when I'm open

And I don't feel like I am strong enough

'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away.

They finally found each other on the rooftop of Fire's Star, the club where they had danced together on the night they had encountered each other again. Without a word, Starfire flew into Robin's arms and he held her tightly, stroking her hair. Once more they began to sing.

'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away.

You've gone away

You don't feel me here . . . anymore.

Robin and Starfire looked into each other's eyes, pale lapis lazuli meeting bright emerald.

"I love you, Starfire."

"I love you, Robin."

Their lips met in a gentle yet passionate kiss, and they poured all their love and need for each other into it. In that moment, nothing mattered, nothing but each other, and this time neither one would let go of the other ever again.

The End

End Notes: I borrowed Robin's cave from Nightwing in "How Long Is Forever." I had a feeling that it might have been where Robin first operated from before he formed the Teen Titans. Believe it or not, I completed this story in less than two hours. Hopefully, you'll like it.