Third Wheel Syndrome


Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. R/R if you like unrequited love.

Emotions are strange and complicated things. It's something I am only now learning, now that I can let myself feel again. People take feelings for granted. But I guess that's the way people are, always taking what they've always had for granted. But for someone who has never allowed herself to feel anything before, emotions are complicated. Especially the emotions you feel for other people. Those are more complicated than any others. Sure you can figure out how youfeel about yourself, that's easy. But figuring out how someone else feels towards you or how you feel towards someone else is more complicated than you think.

Robin talks to me a lot. We have a strange but strong bond, stronger since we defeated my father. I look back over the time I've known him. I've fought with him, risked my life for him. I went inside his head once. He has risked so much for me. He went to Hell to save me. He believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. But still, there's a peculiarity to our relationship. He talks to me about things, things he'd never dare tell his other teammates. I'm flattered by it, grateful that he can bear his soul to someone who is so unworthy of it. But most of the time, he talks about . . . Starfire. It stirs up a host of odd feelings in me. He asks me questions. He asks me what she thinks of him, what sort of signals she's giving off. He understands that I'm empathic and that I can read people as well as I can read books. At first I wasn't sure what exactly he was getting at. Was it his detective's curiosity or something else? But as the topic became more frequent I began to read things more closely. He cares for her and she cares for him. But where do I fit into this grand puzzle? It's a question I cannot answer. Part of the reason I'm so empathic is that I've never let any of my own feelings get in the way. I'm the clean slate, the blank canvas. People pour their emotions out onto me. But what about my feelings? I have them now and I don't know how to react to Robin's affection towards Starfire.

He still talks to me. I thought after what I did, after endangering this whole dimension by allowing my father to come here, he would stop. But Robin's hard to read and my own affections for him are blinding me. Am I jealous? Is that it? Jealousy is perhaps the most confusing of all emotions. It makes you act irrationally, it blinds you to facts, it consumes you if you let it. It's love turned backwards and inside out. But it feels so . . . justified. What about my feelings? Robin walked through Hell for me. Doesn't that mean he loves me? But he doesn't act around me the way he acts around Starfire. He is awkward with her, nervous and unsure. He gets tongue-tied. He blushes. He tries harder than necessary to ignore the fact that he has feelings for her. But it's not the same with me. He is open and honest with me. He communicates everything so perfectly. So what does that mean? Does it mean that I am the one who can crawl past his barriers, deactivating them until he has no choice but to be his true self around me? Or does it mean that he feels he can be open around me because there is no fear of rejection? Which means love, nervous awkwardness or open honesty? If he loves Starfire then what am I to him? Am I just the best friend, the listener, the sister?

Emotions are a complicated thing. Yet people take them so much for granted. But I know my feelings and I love him. But it doesn't matter what I want or what I feel. She is better for him. She can bring him out of the dark and into the light where he truly belongs. And I will sit alone in the dark and watch. I will observe and listen as I always do. My feelings don't matter, I never needed them before so why should I now? So go, Robin, go be the dashing hero and save the innocent princess. I'll be here withering away while you do, waiting for you to get back so you can tell me all about what I can't have but she can.