A/N I saw the episode Mask, but unfortunately I did not get to see the last five minutes. So I figured I would get a little information on it, then write the ending, and beyond my way. I'm not really sure I liked how they just sort of moved on about what happened. It was like the titans just forgot. I never really felt there was much closure. There had to have been more to that. So this is it, my way. With some sweet Robin and Starfire to it.
Robin was sitting in his room, just staring at the wall covered with newspaper clippings, articles, and all manner of things having to do with Slade. However, he wasn't really seeing them. His mind was else where. His friends had just yelled at him, all except Starfire. She didn't yell, then again, she didn't have to. What she calmly and quietly said got the point across louder than any amount of yelling ever could. And what she said hurt more.
"He did not trust you and you did not trust us."
"You did not trust us."
"Not trust us."
The words were a broken record in Robin's brain. Was that really true? Did he really not trust his friends?
That can't be right, he argued back. Robin trusted them with is life. In fact many times in the past he had put his life in their very capable hands.
However, in this case, his desire to bring down Slade wasn't for anything altruistic as not wanting his friends to get hurt. Is it possible to trust someone with something as important as your life, but not to help catch a bad guy? When it really comes down to it, did he really, honestly trust his friends?
There was a knock at Robin's door, causing him to jump. He frowned at the interruption not in anger or annoyance, but in perplexity. The rest of the titans haven't spoken to him since they all yelled at him. Not even Starfire spoke to him. Of course, Robin hasn't left his room since then, at least not while they were awake.
At the sound of a second knock, Robin realized he'd gone back to his musings.
To say Robin was surprised at that would be putting it mildly. But then he could see why it would be Raven. Being an empathic she was bound to have caught on to some of his feelings. He must be transmitting them at a pretty high wavelength.
Robin sighed heavily and called for Raven to come in. The swish of the door sounded open, then closed. He didn't look up or turn around to face her. Robin just continued to sat at the wall.
"Are you going to come out of your room anytime soon?"
"I don't think anyone is ready for that yet, Raven." His voice was even more emotionless than Raven's. He felt numb in his ponderings, and Robin just wanted to be left alone to think, to sort out all that happened.
"Robin, whether or not anyone is ready does not enter the equation. In order for the healing process to begin we all have to come to terms with what's happened. We need to move on and we can not do that with you stuck in your room."
Robin didn't say anything, just continued staring at he wall. He heard Raven sigh and listened to her cloak rustle as she turned to leave. His door swished opened but not closed.
"Robin. You have to come out sooner or later. The longer you put it off, the harder this will be."
With that last statement Raven fully left Robin's room. He sighed but still did not move. He had to figure it out. Did he or did he not trust his friends? Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven. Starfire. Maybe if Robin could figure out the real reason of why he didn't include his friends he could answer the trust question.
Okay, he did it because getting one person in was easier than five.
He works better alone
If he told his friends the truth, they would not have given they're best effort to stop Red X.
Sometimes, the only way to fool an enemy is to convince a friend.
Okay, so far this was not helping Robin any, in fact it was just proving Starfire right. Maybe he should leave his room and take a walk, get some fresh air, clear his head. Self psychoanalyzing is really nothing more than a headache inducing, dizzying endeavor. Besides, he was only going in circles.
Robin waked out of his room and slowly climbed the stairs leading to the roof. It was empty, but considering it was after one in the morning, he wasn't really surprised. He came to the roof after everyone else was asleep since the Red X fiasco almost a week ago. A week, it seems like it happened only yesterday; and yet like it happened last month, last year.
Robin sat on the edge and stared up at the stars, completely blanking his mind. He didn't feel the light sprinkle of the rain, nor did Robin feel the wind, cool against his now wet skin. In fact, Robin had not even realized he was shivering until he felt a blanket around his shoulders.
Startled he looked back, eyes wide, to find Starfire watching him. It hurt when he saw the apprehension in her eyes as she approached him. Robin knew she was waiting for him to push her away. Again. But he couldn't, even if he wanted to he could not push her away. Right now, Robin realized that pushing Starfire away was the last thing he wanted; needed. Maybe she could help Robin with his dilemma. She was the one who pushed him to it anyway.
"Have a seat Star, I promise I won't bite."
He watched her glide over to the ledge and gracefully sit down, facing out, careful to keep about two feet's distance between them. Robin frowned but didn't say anything. He knew what sat there, or rather who. Red X.
"What are you doing awake, Starfire?" May as well get this party started, thought Robin.
"I am usually awake at this time. I…heard you come out that first night after- well, tonight, I noticed it raining and I thought that you might need…"
Starfire stopped talking, seemingly unsure of what to say. The silence stretched on, and it was a strained silence, filled with tension. Robin hated it, they never felt uncomfortable with each other. Not him and Starfire.
Okay,Robin thought to himself, we have got to fix this. Raven said that in order for the healing to being, we have to get past this, accept this, and move on. But where do I start?
Luckily for Robin, that was taken out of his hands. Starfire made the first move.
"Robin, I want to apologize for what I said before, I want to say I did not mean them, but then I would be lying. I did mean them, at the time anyhow. But I feel badly for saying them."
Robin laughed, but it was dark and without any humor. However, he did see the opening.
"Starfire, only you would feel bad and apologize for being right. And you were right. I am like Slade. And I didn't honestly trust you guys. I'm driven, and when it comes to Slade, I get, I dunno, crazed. I need it to end. I want him to never be able to mess with us again. At the time I felt that the only way to do that was to create Red X. I know it was wrong, so much of it.
I was told the end justifies the means, so long as the end was how you wanted it. I'm not so sure that is true anymore."
"Robin. Why did you not trust us?" Starfire's voice was quiet, pensive. She wasn't asking out of anger or hurt. Right now she was just curious and wanted to understand.
"At the time the reasons seemed logical. One person could get to Slade easier than five. If I told you guys, you wouldn't fight properly and be convincing enough. But the truth is-" Now that Robin was saying it out loud to Starfire, the truth seemed so blatantly obvious. "-I didn't trust you guys could get him. I thought I was the best person for the job."
Starfire nodded, absorbing this bit of information. She still hadn't looked at Robin throughout his explanation, but now she did. She turned and looked at him. Robin, feeling her eyes on him, turned and face her, each looking into the others eyes. Well, her eyes, his mask. To his surprise, she had a small smile on her face.
"They say here, the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem. I believe they may have been referring to something else, but I find the phrase fits. Yes Robin, you did not trust us. But you now realize that. I understand that sometimes for one to convince and enemy is to fool a friend, but I also understand-why are you laughing?"
"No reason Starfire, I just thought something similar to that as well. Please forgive me, what else do you understand?"
Starfire looked at him oddly, then lightly shook her head.
"I also understand that admitting this is not going to make everything all better. Robin you hurt your friends, you team mates, when you pushed us away. I once read a quote 'it is more shameful to distrust one's friends than to be deceived by them' Robin, no one expected you to go after Slade alone. That is why we are a team. Why did you go after him alone in the first place?"
"Honestly, I thought I was similar to him, even before you said anything, and I didn't like that idea."
Starfire reached over and put one hand on Robin's shoulder, the other under his chin so she could see his mask. Robin hadn't even realized he looked away.
"Robin, admitting you are like Slade is not, how do you put it? The end of the world? Yes, because you are like him does not mean you will become him. Yes you are both driven to the point of obsession, focused on a goal, ruthless at times. But Robin, you are not like him in that you compensate that ruthlessness with compassion. Your goal is usually pure and good, and being driven to finish something is not a bad thing. This is a matter of using these gifts for good and not evil."
Robin looked at Starfire. Granted she was naïve about many things relating to Earth, but that most definitely did not make her stupid. Sometimes he forgot that she knew a lot more than she lets on. No matter where someone is from, there are certain things that are the same. Wisdom and the ability to read people is one of them. At times, Starfire showed a wisdom beyond her young years.
"Sometimes Star, you are way too nice for your, and my own good. Why didn't you yell at me like the others?"
Starfire only blinked at this non-sequitor. Then looked away, and the sadness and regret was back in her voice.
"I knew that yelling would not have the desired effect."
"You were right. What you said, and how you said it did more than all the other's yelling. You certainly know which buttons to push when it comes to me." At seeing her confused look Robin clarified. "You know exactly what to say to me."
"Yes, I do." Robin looked at Starfire again and saw that she was crying. It was so quiet though. Absolutely bewildered, Robin took Starfire's hand, the one she removed from his chin earlier.
"Why are you crying?"
"You are right. I knew exactly which buttons to push with you. I wanted you to hurt. Robin I wanted to hurt you the way you hurt me. I understand why you did what you did, but that does not lessen the hurt. When you shut me out-"
Starfire couldn't continue because she was now crying in earnest. Robin pulled on her arm, pulling her towards him, but she resisted.
"Starfire, come here."
This time she willingly let herself be pulled to Robin. He pulled Starfire to his side and put his arms around her, holding her tightly to him, gently rocking both of them. She buried her face against his chest and cried like her heart was breaking.
"Starfire, it's okay. Really. I needed to hear it. I needed it to be said exactly the way you said it. Only you could have made me see how far I had gone. Starfire, when I became Red X, that was the closest I could have gotten to actually becoming Slade. I was in dangerous territory. You pulled me out. Thank you."
At that, Starfire looked up at Robin with startled, tear filled eyes. Her brows were furrowed, and when Robin saw her open her mouth to protest her placed a finger over her lips to silence her.
"No Star. I needed it, and I needed you. You brought me back from the edge I was on. So I thank you."
Robin bent his head and kissed Starfire's cheek, tasting her skin and her tears. He pulled her closer to him and held her just a little bit tighter.
"You know, I don't think I ever said I was sorry to you. I am sorry, for everything; for lying to you, for pushing you away from you."
"Robin. It's alright. I forgive you." They were said quietly, but there was so much emotion behind those words. It was then that all the feelings Robin kept bottled up for the past week came out. He held onto Starfire and buried his face in her hair, and quietly let the tears fall.
He wasn't ashamed of crying, although Robin was immensely relieved Cyborg and Beast Boy weren't here to witness it. He knew tears were a way to cleanse one's self and treated it as nothing more significant as a cough or sneeze, or any other way the body purged itself. After all, right now, this was a time for purging one's self, cleansing the soul, and heart. Robin could think of no better person to do this with than Starfire. Somehow being with her made this easier.
Starfire pulled back a little and held Robin's face in her hands, staring intently into his masked eyes. She used her thumbs the gently wipe away his tears. When she smiled, it was without the earlier worries and grief. It lit up her eyes; her whole face.
"How are you feeling now, friend Robin?"
Robin raised his hands from around her and placed one on her cheek and the other he tangled in her hair, seemingly absently twirling it around his fingers. He smiled his first real smile in a week, perhaps since before then. And it was because of Starfire.
"I feel lighter. Do you think the others will forgive me?" Of course they would, maybe not now, but eventually and Robin was willing to do anything to ensure it.
Starfire lightly looped her arms around Robin's neck and brought his head closer to hers until their foreheads were touching. Speaking very quietly, hardly above a whisper, she answered.
"Oh Robin, they forgave you a long time ago. They understand why you did it, too. However, forgiving you and trusting you again, they way it was before are two different things. Give them time, your friendship with them has seen a lot, and it has been built on a strong foundation. Nothing was broken, only a little cracked. I am sure our friendship will be the stronger for it. The only way for us to become stronger is to be tested. This was a test, and I have faith we will come out the better for it."
Again Robin was amazed at her. Really, he was saddened to admit, but everyone tended to underestimate Starfire. She may seem childlike in her insatiable curiosity and playfulness, but there was a heart that was pure, and an acumen the others didn't possess.
"You are very wise, Star."
"That is because I have a good teacher. You seem to bring out the best in me."
Her eyes were half closed, and she was completely relaxed in Robin's arms. The blanket was around them both, although the rain had stopped, but neither one were in any hurry to leave.
"If I bring out the best in you, then you most definitely bring out the best in me. Thank you for being my friend. You manage to bring me out of the dark."
Robin thought he should stop before he said anything else, especially something totally sappy, like you're my guiding star. He smirked at that. Right, like that would happen. But still, it did fit. Robin's musings were cut short when he felt Starfire kiss the corner of his mouth. It was light, but he felt it nonetheless. He pulled back so he could see Starfire's face. She still had her eyes closed, but there was a small smile on her lips.
Robin couldn't think of anything to do other than to kiss her back. He slowly lowered his mouth to hers.
She was warm, and her lips were soft and inviting. When her arms tightened around Robin's neck, he sunk further into the kiss. It was closed mouth, but no less passionate because of it. Slowly they broke apart, but not far. Their breath mingled, and they could feel it on their lips. No words were spoken, but then, none were needed.
Starfire was the first one to break the silence. But she whispered, afraid to totally shatter the cocoon they created.
"Robin, we really must have some sleep this night. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Imagine the possibilities."
Robin smiled at her as she glided up, grabbing he hand and pulling him up too. Together Robin and Starfire walked hand in hand back down to the sleeping quarters. At Starfire's room door, they stopped and faced each other. Robin brushed her hair out of her face, and place it behind her ear. Then he slowly leaned down and kissed her again. This one more chaste than the first, not meant to stir any passion, but to bid good night. Again no words were spoken, all was said with smiles and touches.
Finally Starfire went into her room, and Robin left. He felt lighter and like things would work out. Starfire was right, as usual, the titans have been through a lot. This was just a bridge to cross, and when they got to the other side, their friendship would be that much stronger. Tomorrow is a new day, and for the first time in a week, the sun was going to shine.
A/N wow, that got away from me a little. I just sat at my computer and started typing, and this is what came out. Anyway the quote comes from Duc De Francois La Rochefoucauld. I found it the day the episode Mask came on. I figured it was kismet and got the idea for this story. Please review and let me know what you think. I don't know if I should write anymore to this one or start a whole new story. Let me know.