Haunted: in my opinion, the best episode of Teen Titans I've ever seen. I love the depths to Robin's character, and I was amazed at how graphic the episode was. This is a one-shot, taking place at the end of the episode and directly after. Mainly some Starfire and Robin interaction, cause you can't go wrong with that.
And I obviously don't own the Teen Titans.
The Tamaranian princess zipped through the basement door and frantically gazed down at the disheveled boy leaning against the wall. His costume was shredded, bloody patches of skin showed through rips in the fabric, and his hand was still limply resting on the light switch.
"It's over, Starfire. I'm okay," he said, ending in an exhausted whisper as she flew down by his side. With a sigh he fell into her arms. She wrapped her limbs around his unconscious form, shifted his head onto her shoulder, and gazed up with worry at the rest of her team, who had appeared in the doorway.
"You mean, someone has activated the mask from outside the tower?" Starfire asked.
"It appears that way, Star. That thing didn't go off by itself," Cyborg said grimly, staring up at the blue screen.
"Does this mean that Slade really is still alive?" Raven put in.
"Don't know. But whoever it was knew about Slade and knew what effect that mask would have on Robin."
"This most terrible. Should we tell him?" Starfire frowned.
"I don't think we should right now, to be honest," Raven said. "He's had enough trouble. I don't think he can handle it. His body is damaged; his heart and brain were under great stress. I think we should wait it out, and see if this outsider contacts or threatens us again. There's nothing we can do to find this person until they make another move."
"You're probably right," Cyborg commented. "And you should check up on Robin tomorrow, because he was pretty beat up- hey, Starfire, where are you going?"
"To check up on Robin now," she answered, stopping slightly and turning to look at her friends over her shoulder. "He is no doubt brooding over these events. He must not be left to his depressing thoughts at a time like this," she said decisively.
Cyborg and Raven watched her tall graceful form stride out the door.
"Should we let her go?" Cyborg asked, uncertain. "Maybe Robin wants to be alone."
"If anyone can get through to him, it's her," Raven said. "Starfire may be naive to the ways of this planet, but she still has tact when it comes to feelings."
Cyborg shrugged. "More power to her, then."
Starfire stood outside Robin's bedroom door and lightly knocked a few times. She waited for a moment, and when no answer came she tried a little harder. Still no answer.
"Robin? It is I, Starfire... Please, I wish to speak with you." Only silence followed her request.
She knocked again, repeating his name several times, and finally decided that Robin was not in his room as he said he would be.
Perplexed, Starfire glanced around and tried to figure out just where the boy wonder could have gone. She floated out into the living room and kitchen. He was not there. The training rooms and roof also proved him absent. Finally she remembered the evidence room, one of Robin's usual haunts, and decided to try looking for him there.
The door slid open with a hiss and Starfire peeked her head inside. There he stood, still wearing his torn costume and leaning over the work table, with a lone bare bulb as the only source of light casting eerie shadows about the room.
"Robin! You should be resting," Starfire lightly scolded as she came in.
"I'm sorry Star... it's just that I want to figure this out," he said absently, resting his chin in his hand as he read for a fifth time the news clipping reporting the supposed demise of Slade, as they never found remains.
"You are injured Robin. Your body needs to heal. Please, let me help you," she said gently, coming up beside him.
"I'll be fine Star. It's just a few bruises and scratches," he waved off.
"You are bleeding all over," she said, pointing to a nasty gash on his leg. Other patches of his clothes were also turning a dark red as blood seeped through. His face still had sticky red trails running from cuts and his right eye was swollen.
Robin sighed, flopped into a desk chair, and held a hand to his forehead. Starfire kneeled down in front of him, resting her hands on his knee.
"Please, you must get cleaned up and then go to bed. No more work tonight."
"I know Star... it's just that something made that mask trigger the chemical reagent. I've got to figure out what," he said, his voice betraying how exhausted he really was.
"You... you know?"
"Yeah. I heard Cyborg talking about it when I was walking back past the room. I checked it out myself, and he's right. So I've got to find out whether Slade triggered it or who-"
"You shouldn't worry about that now," Starfire cut in. "We can figure it out later. Please, go to bed so I do not have to worry about you."
Robin let out a small breathy laugh and patted her hands. "I'll be fine, really."
"Bed," she ordered. "But first we must attend to those wounds. Come with me and I will take care of them," she said as she stood and snatched up his hand to lead him out the door. He submissively let her pull him along to the medical room. Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy had already left. She switched on the soft light and Robin went to sit on the bed. The straps which had been used to restrain him were still in disarray, and he glanced at them with a shudder. He had never thought they would actually have to be used, especially on himself. A shock of just how close to the edge he had been hit him severely and a shiver traveled down his spine. He glanced over at the girl who was digging through the cabinets for bandages and antiseptics.
"Slade ran right by you! How could you let him get away?!"
"Robin, you are hurting me..."
Robin felt a wave of self-loathing assault his conscious. How could he ever do that to Starfire? The girl that was always by his side, always cheering him on, always caring, always sticking up for him when sometimes the others would not... and he had hurt her. She had refused to fight him even when she had a perfectly justifiable reason to: when he was Slade's apprentice, he had been ordered to shoot her. He had pointed his lazer directly at her, and still she had lowered her hand. There was no excuse for what he had done to her.
"Robin, I am telling the truth. There was no one there."
"What do you mean?! I saw him, he ran right past you, damn it. What the hell is wrong with you?!" Robin shouted, gripping her arm tighter. "Are you trying to say I'm lying?"
The tears that had brimmed Starfire's eyes before finally escaped and trickled down her cheek. Robin had never touched her in such an aggressive way, and he had never sworn at her. "Please," she whimpered, her voice filled with hurt. "No. It is just that I did not see him."
Robin released his grip on her arm with a violent shove. Starfire cried out and backed away.
"I don't have time for this. I'll find the generators by myself. Just go find the other Titans." He whipped his arm around in an angry gesture, turned on his heel and stalked away towards the city.
"Robin, please..." Starfire's voice wavered as she called after him, holding out a hand to his retreating back.
"Just leave, Starfire. I'll meet up with all of you later," he said acidly.
Starfire dumped an armload of supplies onto the thin mattress beside Robin. As she did so he saw a faint bruise on her left arm, and the guilt threatened to choke him.
"Star..." he said softly.
"Yes, Robin?" she asked expectantly.
"I am... sorry for the way I treated you earlier," he said, looking away. He couldn't bear to look her in the eyes. "I hurt your arm, and I made you cry." Robin's hands tensed on the edge of the bed.
Starfire was touched by his sincerity and leaned in close, resting a slender warm hand on his cheek. He raised his and held it over her own.
"Robin, I forgive you. Had you not been under the influence of that chemical, you would never have hurt me. I understand."
"I don't deserve your forgiveness," he said bitterly. "But I wanted you to know that I was sorry."
"Robin, no," Starfire said emphatically, shifting around to look him in the eye. "You are most forgiven. Please do not blame yourself."
"How can I not, Star?! I completely lost control over myself. I hurt you. It was..." Robin stopped. An emotion that he was not used to clutched his heart. "Scary."
"It was most frightening to watch you, too. I was very worried Robin," Starfire said, bottom lip faintly quivering. "But I knew in the end you would be all right. Do you want to know why?"
"Why?" he asked curiously.
"Because I believe in you. And we were determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, because we all care about you. We are your friends, and we will never leave you alone, do you understand?" she finished, green eyes shining up into the mask that hid his.
"Ever the optimist, Star," he smiled after a moment.
"And you are too pessimistic. Things will not always turn out bad, Robin. You have friends to watch out for you and make sure to catch you when you fall... literally," she giggled, getting up to dampen a towel.
Robin laughed. "You're right Star. I get way too intense sometimes." The he sobered for a minute. "I guess it's a case of old habits die hard. I didn't always have you to be there for me."
Starfire's grin faded as she gently wiped the warm wet towel over Robin's cheeks, washing away the dried blood that had congealed.
"I do not know much about your past Robin, but I know enough. Even then you still are not alone. All of us have experienced trials in our pasts. I learned of Raven's past when she and I switched bodies. She has felt most isolated because of her unusual powers. Like you, Beast Boy's parents are dead, and he had almost died himself when he was a small child. Cyborg could not find acceptance anywhere because of his abnormal appearance."
Robin was silent.
"And I have never told you about my own experiences." She stopped suddenly, not quite sure whether to go on. Lowering her eyes to the floor, she softly said, "I am sorry Robin. You have told me a little about your life, but I was not so open with you. My powers are not native to Tamaranians."
"They're not?" he asked. Robin suddenly realized he actually had no clue about Starfire's past. While Starfire talked about her planet quite often, it never included her direct involvement. Mostly it was Tamaranian customs and traditions, but never Starfire's home life or personal experiences. He hadn't even known she was a princess until the Tamaranian guards had extremely sharp spears in his face.
"They are not. My sister and I were sold into slavery to the Psions to keep the peace on my planet."
"Starfire," Robin said incredulously. "You were...?"
"The Psions experimented on my sister and I." Starfire had several unpleasant memories spring up in her mind. Searing pain, bodies being poked and prodded, touched, manipulated, cut. Blinding lights and plunging darkness.
"It was a most dreadful experience. In the end my sister and I escaped. The side effects of the experiments left me with the ability to release energy in the form of starbolts."
"Starfire, I had no clue that you..." Robin was so astounded he couldn't complete sentences, and his mouth hung slightly open.
"So you see, Robin, that I too have experienced feeling alone. Blackfire was hardly consolation during that trying period of my life. But I do not let this bother me."
She had finished wiping off the blood from Robin's various wounds and handed him a cold compress for his eye. Then she busied herself with applying bandages.
"I realized that even bad things can turn into something good. Had I never gone through the experiments and acquired my powers, I never would have been able to use them to fight along side with you."
Robin was breathless.
"The fact that your parents died is very tragic, Robin. But then you never would have been taken in by the Batman and trained to fight, and then you never would have met us. See? Something very good has come out of the bad. So no matter how bad things seem to be, I know that something good will eventually come out of it."
She finished wrapping a bandage around his arm and smiled brightly at him.
"You are the most amazing person I have ever known."
"I am not so amazing, boy of wonder. I just follow my heart."
Robin shook his head. Starfire had never revealed so much about herself to him. He would never have guessed that she had gone through something like slavery and being experimented on. She was always so cheerful, always looking on the bright side of everything. He could only conclude that this incredible girl standing in front of him was the strongest person he'd ever known.
"Haven't you ever wanted to... get revenge for what the Psions did to you? I mean, for all the pain they put you through?"
Starfire looked thoughtful, raising a finger to her chin and gazing upward.
"I did not wish to hurt them the way they hurt me. I only wanted to escape from them. To say now that they had done me a disservice would be ungrateful. My powers are what makes me a Titan."
Robin digested this before coming up with another question.
"Don't you... even feel a little bit of regret? If you didn't have your powers, you could have been a normal Tamaranian; you could have ruled your planet and been an empress."
Starfire shook her head. "Robin, I am much happier here. I love my planet dearly, yes. But being a ruler is not always easy. Titles bear great responsibility. I would have to make many decisions that would be difficult, and make sure my people stayed happy. I did not wish to have such pressures laid upon my shoulders. Believe me when I say Robin, that I am most certainly content being here with you. I feel no regrets. I would rather be a Teen Titan than anything else in the world." She smiled again and tapped him lightly on the nose. "You should now go and rest. It is late, and you are weary."
Robin couldn't help the smile that tugged on his lips.
Starfire walked him in companionable silence to his door. He stopped and turned to her.
"Starfire, thanks again, for everything."
"It was my pleasure," she said. Impulsively, Robin leaned forward and gave her a quick awkward hug.
"Good night," he said, cheeks a slight red, as he retreated into his room. Starfire stood outside his door after it had closed, and placed a hand over the grin spreading across her face.
"Good night, Robin," she whispered.
And that's it. Reviews are absolutely spiffy, so please tell me what you think.