Chapter 8

As soon as Starfire woke up she knew she was in the infirmary. Still suspended between sleep and conciousness she had a second to wonder why. Then she tried to sit up, and remembered, thanks to the sharp pain in her side. She dreaded the thought of having to explain all that to the other Titans, so she decided not to think about it. She looked around the room instead. It was night, and the room was flooded with the dark, except for pale streams of moonlight that came through the gap in the curtains. An incessant but faint beeping came from a machine next to her, which she decided was monitoring her pulse. She looked down at her self, she was in her pyjamas, presumably Raven had put them on her, but she could feel to tight bandages encasing her ribcage. Her clothes were stacked on a chair on one side of her. A small noise drew her attention to her other side. Starfire jumped when she saw Robin, asleep, in a chair facing her bed. She stared at him for a moment, his hair was in dissaray, but apart from that he looked quite peaceful. Starfire remembered when she first arrived in Jump City and joined the Teen Titans. He had been so kind and understanding, yet brave and strong. He hasn't changed much, Starfire thought before she could stop herself. Starfire frowned and concentrated on noticing the differences between this Robin and the one she had fallen in love with. His uniform was similar, but with slight changes here and there. He still had the big, steel-toed boots and the green trousers, which looked a dark, rich jade in the dark. Though his cape was longer than it used to be, and his shirt now had full-lengthed sleeves with long black gloves running up to just below his elbow, and instead of being all red, it was black with red. The old yellow "T" was still there, though.

The door opened a crack and Raven peered in.

"Oh, you're awake." she said. "How are you feeling?"

"I am feeling very sore and it hurts to breath." Starfire answered.

"Yeah, it'll be like that for a couple of weeks, give or take. How fast do Tameranians heal anyway?"

"Not much faster than humans." replied Starfire sullenly as Raven checked her progress on the various machines. "How long have I been asleep?" she asked.

"About eight hours, I'm only up because I had to go to the bathroom, another joy of being pregnant."

"And how long has Robin been here?"

Raven checked her watch, "About seven hours and thirty-five minutes." she said, smiling faintly.

Starfire nodded and looked at the man in the chair across from her.

"He was really worried about you, you know." said Raven.

"Yes, I remember him carrying me and telling me I was going to be alright."

"Well, try to rest some more and I'll check on you in the morning."

"I will." Starfire said with her eyes still watching Robin. She heard the door close and she adjusted herself for sleep. She lay with her head on the pillow, facing Robin, until she fell asleep. Then she started to dream,

She and Robin were on the roof watching the sunset. They weren't talking, but they could each feel the other one, close enough to touch, but still too far apart. She saw Robin turn his head to look at her out of the corner of her eye.

"Are you happy here, Star?" he asked.

"Oh, yes. Earth is most exciting, it is a wondrous place." She replied.

"No, I meant with us."

"I am also happy with the Teen Titans, you have all become my best of friends."

"No, I meant with me, and you." There was something in his voice that made Starfire turn to look at him.

"What do you mean?" Robin laughed, and reached out to trace his fingers along her arm, making her shiver, before letting his hand fall.

"These four inches between us. So small, and yet neither of us is willing to cross them. We've fought countless enemies, and won countless battles. Why is it so hard to just close this small distance?"

"I do not think I understand, friend Robin" He sighed,

"Do you ever think we could be more than just friends, Starfire?" He said, fixing her with an intense stare. Starfire remained silent. Robin shook his head and stood up. "Forget I mentioned it." he said, and turned to go back inside.

"Robin, wait" said Starfire getting up as well. She reached out and grabbed his hand. Electricity ran up their arms and Robin turned, with a look of amazement on his face. Then he started to grin, he twisted his hand an entwined his fingers with hers. "After all these years, you still have the strength and courage that I don't." he slowly pulled her towards him. Still grinning, Robin moved even closer, pressing their bodies together. He wasn't smiling anymore. He kissed her, and Starfire could feel everything, she could feel his lips on hers and the solid press of his chest with a very un-dreamlike precision. Mimicking his movements, she kissed him back. Then their kiss took on a passion neither of them thought they had and they kissed fast and furiously, ignoring the need to breath. They kissed as if it was the air, and they were drowning. His hand found the back of her neck, while she wrapped her arms around him. They fit together perfectly, and still they kissed, faster and harder, completely losing themselves in each other………

Starfire woke with a start, slightly panicked. She could still feel his kiss on her lips and his chest beneath her hands. She flexed them repeatedly and wiped them on the bed-covers, trying to eradicate the lasting traces of him. She glanced worriedly over at the chair, but it was empty. She exhaled slowly and tried to relax. Then the door opened and in came Robin, and the dream came flooding back to her, she tried frantically to push it away before he noticed her. He was carrying a tray with breakfast on it. He glanced towards the bed and stopped.

"Oh, you're awake." he said. Starfire only nodded. "Raven told me you woke up during the night, but I was asleep." Again Starfire could only make a small "mmhmm". He stopped abruptly and put the tray down. "Look, if you're mad at me for kicking that guy then you can forget it because like hell I'm going to apologise. He had it coming." he said. Starfire frowned remembering the day before. Robin sat back down in the chair, and there was a short silence. "How you doing, Star?" he said quietly. Starfire considered her answer carefully,

"Raven tells me I will be well again in some weeks." she said.

"I didn't mean physically."

"Oh." she said. This was dangerous territory. But Robin kept looking at her expectantly. She sighed, " I am… confused."

"Yeah, you and me both." he said, then it was like a dam broke. " How did you end up with that guy? Why didn't you fight back? How could you take that from him? I just can't understand it." he said. Starfire bristled,

"I appreciate your concern, Robin, but I do not think my life is any of your business." she said.

"I thought you might say something like that." replied Robin, sounding jaded.

"Then why did you ask?"

"Because I need to understand. I need to know why you … I wanna say "left" but I know that, why you stay with him."

"Why do you care so much about me?" said Starfire protectively.

"Because I care so much about you." said Robin, before looking away. Starfire was quiet for a moment, with Robin's voice still ringing in her ears.

"What do you want to know?" she almost whispered. Robin looked at her.

"Why are you with him when he beats you? And cheats on you? And why did you leave me for doing less? Do you love him?" Starfire, again, had to consider her answer before speaking. She looked into Robin's eyes and saw that he didn't mean any harm. She sighed.

"I suppose I am with him because… I do not want to be alone. It makes me feel better to know that somebody knows who I am, and where I am, and cares for me." Robin was about to interrupt, but Starfire held up her hand to stop him, "Yes I know he does not love me, but he would look for me if I did not come home, if only to do his laundry and cook his food. And he did look for me, didn't he?" Robin didn't say anything. "As for his… infidelity, he may sleep with disreputable girls he finds in bars, but it is me he comes home to."

"So you do love him." said Robin sadly. Starfire shook her head, "No, as much as I do for him, I cannot bring myself to love the man who does not love me." Robin breathed out a sigh of relief, but seeing that Starfire had noticed, quickly distracted her with, "Why did you leave me then? I never hit you, and I loved you."

Starfire looked down at her bed covers and began fiddling with a loose thread. "Earlier that day, Blackfire came to see me. She wanted to stay with us in the Tower but I told her no. So she started saying these things."

"What things?" asked Robin.

"She said that you did not love me, that you were only with me so as not to get bored. She said you would "drop me like a rock" as soon as you found someone better."

"Oh Christ, and I walked right into it." said Robin, distraught.

"Yes, by making love to you she did two things, she proved that you were in fact only with me so as not to get bored, and she proclaimed herself to be better than me." Tears were forming in Starfire's eyes. "Also on Tameran there is a saying" here she said something unintelligible in Tameranian, " it does not translate into english but it basically means that a person will always belong to their first lover, and that no other will ever have all of that person." Starfire choked back a sob, " So, now, you are Blackfire's, and you will never be mine."

Robin was dumbfounded. "Starfire, I had no idea, I …" he sighed, "I think it's time I explained to you why I slept with her. I didn't tell you before because I thought it would sound like I was making excuses, and you hated me anyway so I didn't think it would make a difference." Robin got up out of his chair and knelt next to Starfire. He took her hand in both of his. "I thought she was you." He said, he waited for a reaction but when it came it wasn't quite what he had expected.

"You… cannot even……tell the difference…between us!" she said angrily. Robin shook his head quickly,

"No, no, she looked like you, exactly like you. It was a trick she'd picked up on the moon of something! But I only found that out after you ran away, I swear. I would never have slept with her if I didn't think she was you! And I know I should have been able to tell anyway but I guess I just wanted it to be you so badly that I ignored my own senses. I hated having you mad at me so when you came to me, and you forgave me, and kissed me I just… lost my head. You were so beautiful with your hair shining in the moonlight, I wanted it to be you so badly." he finished. He eyed Starfire warily, "Do you forgive me?" he asked.

Starfire thought about the last three years of her life. She thought about her ugly, small apartement seven floors up off a filthy street, she thought about Luke who beats and insults her, she thought about the degrading job she has back home. Then she looked down at the man at her side, begging her with his eyes to stay with him, because he needed her. Then she looked towards the door and thought about all her friends, Cyborg who never let anyone down, Beastboy who could always make her laugh, and Raven, she was going to have a baby soon. Didn't she want to stay and see the baby? She realized the only time she had truly been happy was when she had been a Titan.

Starfire turned back to Robin.

"Yes, I forgive you." she whispered.

"And you'll stay, with me?"

"Yes, I'll stay, with you."

The joy Robin felt at that moment overrode any self-control he might have had. He whipped Starfire up in a giant hug, causing her to yelp and push him away, rubbing her injured ribs. They were so close, yet neither of them dared move an inch. That was when Starfire remembered her dream. She slowly raised her hand and laced her fingers with his.

"Oh, I forgot. What was it Luke said that finally made you fight back?" asked Robin. Starfire blushed,

"He accused me of still loving you." she answered.

He smiled at her and she pulled him down for a kiss, but he stopped and whispered against her lips "I shall always be yours, completely". Starfire nodded and without moving away whispered back at him "I know." then she jerked him down and kissed him with the passion three years apart will give you.