Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans. I only borrow them and play with them for awhile.
It was spring when she came. He remembered it clearly. The air smelled of new blooms, and the breeze had a whisper of warmth from the sun. Everything was new then. It was a new direction, a new city, a new home, and a new focus. He would be the leader of a new team of crime fighters, rather than the young follower of a master super-hero. He knew his team, most of them anyway. But she was a surprise. He saw her walk into the Tower, all wide eyes and cascades of brilliant red hair. Her smile radiated through the whole room, and suddenly he knew what spring felt like. He had never noticed spring before. Then, he realized he wanted to be a leader like no other. He wanted to be the best that there was. He saw her look at him with curiosity, her green eyes filled with wonder at this new world she was in and these people who would guide her in it. And the look she gave him left him almost breathless.
"You must be Robin. I am Starfire."
Her voice was gentle, sweet, kind and lyrically musical to his ears. Her smile, tentative and shy, coursed through him like a bolt of electricity. It was all he could do to get words to form in his cotton dry mouth.
"Welcome to the team, Starfire. " He had said, cursing himself for how stiff and stilted he sounded. Yet from her warm expression, she didn't notice.
Like spring itself, everything was new. He and his new team learned about each other with tentative steps. And he learned more about Starfire. He learned how strong she could be, despite her almost fragile appearance. He learned he could trust his back to her and she would never fail him. He learned that she had a loving heart, and that the thing she feared the most was the loss of her new friends. He learned that she could be frighteningly naïve, and surprisingly intuitive. He felt protective of her in ways, and yet knew that in many other ways she was stronger than he was. The springtime of discovery was a time that he didn't want to end. Everything he learned about Starfire intrigued and fascinated him. And the more he learned, the more he felt the undeniable pull to go further, to learn more, and to feel more.
He remembered summer. The air was hot, the ocean water was cool. Crime took a holiday. The team became friends, and he felt the bond between him and Starfire grow increasingly strong. He knew her moods, even though they were mercurial. By now, her position on the team was secure and had a real purpose. She was the heart of it. She was the peace maker, the one who held them all together. Nothing annoyed Starfire, nothing except arguments between those she loved the most. That she wouldn't tolerate. For someone who was such a fierce warrior, she had the softest heart he had ever known.
Summer meant sunny days, barbeques in the park, evenings out in balmy weather. He found himself showing her the city, and hoping that she would like every thing that he liked. He introduced her to new foods, to amusement parks, to ferris wheels and thrill rides. He grew to long for that astonished look on her face when she discovered some new and exciting thing. He also thrilled in her unique gifts and her courage. She never held back, even when he might wish she would. And he would never ask her to. That would diminish her pride. Her only flaw was her insecurity. He didn't understand it, but he had experienced the panic of her leaving the team once, when a strange Tamaranian physical change caused her to flee earth in despair, afraid her friends would reject her, afraid he would reject her. He and the team had gone after her to bring her back. Then,he had just caught her in time to prevent another departure when her sister had come to town and deliberately tried to steal her teammates' loyalty from her. Feeling abandoned and hurt, Starfire had almost left. But Robin had suspected something and stopped her just in time. His heart had quit beating when he had seen her take to the air to fly away. It had started again, when she heard his voice and drifted sorrowfully back down. He had spoken quickly and surely to reassure her.
"No one could take your place." Her smile had illuminated his whole world. And he knew beyond a doubt that no one would, or could, take her place.
It was at the peak of summer, the heat of the season that he told her how he felt. He was so afraid she would laugh, or worse, frown. But she didn't. Her green eyes grew wide, and the light in them flickered. And she went into his arms. His world was complete. They agreed to keep it secret for fear of upsetting the balance of the team. But it soon became clear that they were fooling no one. In fact, it seemed that everyone had already suspected it. Everything took on a rosy hue to him during that time, and it seemed to last forever. Her smiles warmed him more than the summer sun.
Even as the weather cooled towards autumn, that warmth stayed with him. No matter what the situation, whether they were engaged in furious battle with a powerful enemy, or just loafing around the Tower with the others, just the merest touch of a hand, the slightest hint of a look, would send the warmth soaring through him. Never had he felt so whole. Each day was a new adventure. Each day with her made it all worth while.
Autumn was that first chill in the air, the first drift of fog over the bay in the evening. It was the first drizzle of rain against the giant front window, the first morning with dew coating the rocks outside. It was cozy evenings sharing a blanket on the curved sofa and not caring about the others. It was quiet sunrises breaking through the morning mist, sipping a cup of hot chocolate together in the peace of dawn, before the business of the day began. He had never felt this way before. He wanted to know that it would never end. With a lilting laugh, the humor dancing in her eyes, along with the love, she promised him that it wouldn't.
But winter came. It came unexpectedly, on a regular day. It came suddenly, in the barrenness of a deserted warehouse in the old dock district. It struck in a fury, its cold breath freezing the warmth away. Its frost coated everything in its path, particularly his heart, which turned to a shard of ice. He stood alone, staring down at the still figure with the closed eyes, whose red hair fanned beneath her on the ground. The others had gone after the murderer, her sister. They would stop her. But he no longer cared. She was gone. His world was gone. The warmth was gone. He had nothing left.
"You promised." He whispered, as he dropped to his knees beside her. "You promised it would never end." She didn't answer him. His eyes burned beneath the mask. He reached a gloved hand out and gently took her limp, delicate hand. He felt himself tremble. "You've never lied to me, Star. You can't leave me. You can't." He felt his throat close tightly.
There was still no answer. He didn't expect one. He knew that she was gone because he could sense it in the emptiness of his soul. He bent his head, and let his lips brush her cool fingers. His eyes burned even more. He blinked and hot tears coursed down his face. For the first time since his parents had died, he cried.
When the others came, they found her still lying there. Her hands were gently clasped together over her middle, and carefully placed between them was a strip of black. Raven, her eyes dark with pain and grief, reached out with cold fingers and lifted it from Starfire's unresponsive grasp. She raised her eyes to the others, awareness and shock making her shiver. It was Robin's mask. And as their eyes met, the Titans all knew that they would never see Robin again..