He heard her scream. And he had time for one glimpse of her green eyes, wide with fear, before the light of star bolts glowed, filling them, and before something hit him so hard that he had no chance to react. Consciousness spiraled away before he even felt himself hit the concrete. He didn't see the victory, as she threw everything she had ferociously into the fray. He didn't see the others do the same. It was all darkness where he was. And silence. He welcomed it right now. Because somehow he knew that the alternative was pain.
"Robin? Oh, Robin." Her voice was soft and quavering. He could just hear it filtering through the blanket of darkness. "They say that you are badly hurt, Robin. They let me come in to see you for a moment. But they cannot tell me that they can make you well." Her soft voice broke raggedly. He heard a shaky breath. "I must tell you to get well, to not give up. The others wish to see you too. I am sorry, Robin. I should have seen him behind you. I did not, not until it was too late. You must get better Robin, you must. I have never seen you hurt badly before." The numbness that enclosed him eased enough that he felt the sensation of gentle, slim fingers clasping one of his hands. "You are my...my very best of friends. I need you to be here, Robin. I...care for you very much. There are words I cannot say. Because there are feelings I should not have. I only know that without you, there is no place that I could be happy again." There was a hitch in her breathing, and a sound very much like the whisper of a sob. The gentle fingers tightened once on his hand, then slipped away. Then, he felt the brush of warm lips on his forehead, and the sound of soft footsteps leaving. He wanted to tell her to stay, to please explain what she meant. But he couldn't. The darkness pulled at him.
"Hey, dude." A different voice, uncertain, uncomfortable. "You kinda took a fall this time. I tried to catch you, I really did. I just couldn't change fast enough. Uh, Robin, we really need you. This is all kinda scary. I always thought you were sort of indestructible. I mean, all this time and all you ever got were some bruises." An awkward, short laugh followed. Then a heavy sigh. "Starfire is really freaked you know. So, you, like, have to get better. Can't just leave us to mess around on our own. So, see you. Soon. I hope..." A fleeting and hesitant pat on the shoulder, and then more receding footsteps. He felt himself floating there, not having the energy to wonder who they were or why they were talking to him like this.
"Robin." This voice a low, somber, almost a whisper. "You always will try to do the most difficult things, won't you? How often must I tell you, you are human. You are frail in comparison to the rest of us. And you are the one we can least afford to lose. Don't you see how you pull us all together; make us, a bunch of misfits, a team. Without your leadership, we would all be left to our own devices, and it wouldn't be pretty. Or heroic. Consider yourself chewed out now. And now, put all of that annoying stubbornness of yours to work to heal yourself. They won't tell us much, just that no one knows for sure. I know you will try. I tried to heal you as best I could. But I couldn't get to you right away. My friend, if ever I had trouble controlling my emotions, it is now. If I could lend you my strength, I would. Please, come back to us, Robin." The air moved, fanning across his face as if a cloak had swirled nearby. He wanted to say something, but couldn't. Nor could he move. The darkness held him down and kept him silent. Then he heard slow and heavy footsteps approaching.
"Man," It was a deep voice, a voice that was thick with feeling. "We've had our ups and downs, Robin. We've disagreed, shouted and yelled at each other. You know we've nearly come to blows at times. But, we've also been the best of friends. I know you respect me, and I respect you. You're my pal, my buddy. So...don't do this, man. Come out of it. You've gotten hit before. Hard. But you've always come out of it. Hey, I don't want to be leader of this pack of freaks. No sir. That's your job." The voice was halting and cracking. "I've called you names. I've made fun of your spiky hair. And you've played havoc with my system a few times. So I'd call us even. Robin, we aren't the Teen Titans without you, man. Fight your way back now. You hear? I should have been there. I think we're all thinking that right now. Each one of us feels we let you down. Anyway, we're here. We're waiting. We won't go until you're awake." There was the touch of metal fingers on his shoulder. But it wasn't cold. It was warm, like a real hand. Then it was gone and the slow, heavy steps moved away until they were gone as well. He felt himself falling more deeply into the darkness, as if it was swallowing him. And suddenly, he knew he mustn't let it.
Voices. There were voices in the distance and he knew them. They were calling to him. And at the same time there was a light beckoning him to follow it. There was the promise of wholeness, of reunion with those lost long ago. But, that was the past. The voices were the present. He could hear them.
"It's been too long! We must do something! We can't just wait!" A frantic, fearful voice, wavering and rising in pitch. In his mind, a face appeared to match the voice. Expressive green eyes, silky red hair. Starfire.
"Star, calm down." The voice of reason, no less affected by worry, just less likely to show anyone else. Raven. "You can't help Robin by scaring everyone in sight. Waiting is all we can do right now."
"Well, I agree with Star." Came the rebellious voice of the clown, the jester, with no humor in his tone at all right now. Beast Boy. "We need to be in there with him. He shouldn't be alone. This is stupid. I don't care what you guys do, they can't keep me out."
"If you turn into a fly I will swat you." Raven said, darkly. "Lets not terrorize the hospital."
"Raven," Deep and heartsick, Cyborgs voice carried well. "Don't you think we should be with Robin? I think he needs us right now."
I do. Yes, I do need you right now. All of you. Go away, silly light. Time enough to follow you later. My work isn't near done, and my friends need me. They all need me. I want to go back. The blackness clutched and pulled. He struggled against it, fighting with all his will. Guys, I'm coming back.
"Titans!" He meant it to come out a victorious shout as he felt himself break free of the blackness that had held him. Instead it came out a weak croak. It didn't matter. They heard him anyway. The door opened and decorum aside, they rushed to his bed.
"Robin!!" Four different voices exclaimed. He cracked his eyes open, and peered up into each anxious and hesitantly smiling face.
"You guys weren't worried, were you?" He whispered weakly, pretending not to see the glisten of tears in each set of eyes fixed on him.
"No, man. We knew you were tough." Cyborg said
'Worried? "Beast Boy shook his head. "Nah."
"Only about the fact it's your turn to do the dishes." Raven said, crossing her arms.
"Yes."Starfire said, the tears still pooling in her eyes. "Yes we were. And now we are happy. Dear Robin! We have you back!"