"Robin," Starfire breathed, and launched herself at him, peppering his face with kisses. He laughed as he overbalanced and they tumbled to the floor, with Starfire sprawled on top of him.
He reached up and placed a hand on her cheek, holding her in place and stopping her frantic kissing. He smiled again and brushed her cheek with his thumb, before attaching his mouth to hers.
She melted into him, her hands trapped against his chest. His hands came round to rest on her waist to pull her closer, before one hand gently roaming up and down her spine. The other buried itself in her mane of hair to clutch at the back of her neck.
The tip of his tongue grazed her lips and she opened her mouth to receive him. He tasted of fresh coffee and chocolate and she savored the flavor as he gave her long, languorous kisses.
He nibbled her lip, sending shivers down her spine and she sighed against him, her splayed hands unconsciously kneading at his blue sweater.
He rolled her onto her back, his weight settling over her as she cradled him between her legs. Robin broke from her lips to leave a wet trail of kisses down her face and licked the skin beneath her ear, before nibbling on her earlobe. She shivered and whimpered in pleasure, curling one knee up to his hip, running her foot along his leg. He pulled away from her neck and captured her lips once more.
Starfire wrapped one hand around the base of his neck, the other digging its fingers into his waist. She was surprised to feel a small patch of bare skin where his sweater had ridden up and brushed her fingers along it. He twitched beneath her seeking fingers as she ran her hand up the inside of his sweater.
Robin caressed the side of her body, running his fingers down the curve of her breast, the smooth dip of her waist and rested on her hip, grasping and playing with the folds of her clothing. She moaned when his hand slipped inside her sweater and splayed across her waist. His thumb brushed against the lace of her bra, sending small jolts of electricity coursing through her body.
Things became heated. Robin's kisses became more demanding, his mouth bruising against hers, and she felt a strange hardness against her inner thigh. His hand crept up under her sweater to cover her breast, his fingers brushing lightly over her skin. Her own hands seemed to have a mind of their own as they traversed his back.
He broke the kiss with a gasp as his back hit the roof. He chuckled lightly and looked at the floor over her shoulder, before looking back at her. "Happy, huh?"
"Yes, very," Starfire replied serenely before floating them down to the floor.
Robin rested his forehead against hers. "I almost lost you," he said huskily, before sliding off her to lie on his side next to her, his hand draped across her stomach.
She reached up, cupping his neck in her hand, her thumb stroking his cheek, her eyes full of compassion.
"I've never been so scared before. You weren't breathing and your heart wasn't beating. You were so still. I…" he broke off, burying his head into her shoulder, his arms clutching at her.
"What?" she squeaked in disbelief, her eyes widening with horror. Suddenly Robin's angst, all her friends' actions and comments made sense. They had nearly lost her because she had died! She couldn't believe that she'd nearly left them all.
"You don't remember?" he asked, his breath tickling her neck.
She shook her head, her eyes wide, her voice clogged in her throat.
"We arrived at the WeatherMan's hideout and Raven wanted to see if she could feel him. She suddenly grabbed us and took us to you, and when we arrived he had you by the neck. You were convulsing and making this strange gurgling sound." He shuddered against her. "You looked so hurt, and I could smell you burning. I had to get him away from you. I threw my birdarang and it sliced through his arm. I… just snapped… I was on him, punching him as hard as I could. I didn't stop until Raven grabbed me with her powers, screaming at me that you weren't breathing…" His voice broke.
Starfire curled her body around his, her hands gently stroking his back, needing to be close to him.
"I started CPR. I tried so hard, but you were slipping…Raven said you were dead, but I couldn't let you go. I wouldn't give up… Next thing I know, Cyborg's shoving me out of the way and Raven's soul is shooting into you. When she returned, you came with her. She's been coming in here every day while you were asleep and healing you a bit."
"We were victorious, and I am still here," she whispered. "We are together. That's all that matters."
He sighed and pulled away from her, rolling onto his back and staring at the roof.
"I could've killed him and I didn't care. I've never felt that out of control before."
Robin sounded so despondent and Starfire knew it was because he'd vowed never to take a life. That vow was part of who he was, a creed so ingrained that it hurt for him to know he'd almost broken it. And then to almost lose her on top of it.
"He was a very bad man," Starfire whispered in Robin's ear, before cupping his chin and tilting his head so that he looked into her eyes. "And you are not. You did what you must to save me. It changes nothing about who you are inside."
Tension seemed to drain out of him and he pulled her close. "I asked Raven what she did to make you come back. She said that she'd done nothing, that you were already trying to come back, and that I'd given you the strength when I told you that... You really don't remember anything?"
"No, Robin," she replied softly. She propped herself up on an elbow to look at him. "What did you say?"
He cupped a hand against her cheek. "I love you."
Starfire's smile could have blocked out the sun. "I love you too," she whispered and kissed him deeply. She lingered on his lips for a while before pulling away, frowning slightly. "Robin, where are we?"
"Wayne Manor. It was my home before Titan's Tower."
"Where Robin could be Richard?"
"Yes, where Robin could be Richard. It's owned by my father, Bruce Wayne."
Starfire frowned in thought. "Then Bruce Wayne is Batman?"
"Then why are we here? I believed you did not want the identity secret known."
Robin ducked his head, embarrassed. "I'm kinda grounded."
Starfire was confused. "But Robin, you cannot fly."
"What?" he asked surprised, before laughing. "Oh, no Star. That's not what I meant. It's an earth expression. A parent will ground a child when they do something wrong. Usually it means a loss of privileges, like going out with friends and such. For me, Bruce made me… all of us come here for a while."
"What was wrong?"
Robin ran his fingers through her hair tenderly. "He told me he would handle the WeatherMan and I was not to interfere, and I did anyway."
"I do not understand. The message I sent was for you. No one else could have found me."
"I know that," he said as he tickled her ribs. "And it was very clever by the way. I think on some level he knew that too, which is why I'm only confined to the Manor and not my room."
"So, we can only visit places in the Manor?"
"You can go anywhere you like, I'm the one that's grounded."
She suddenly brightened. "Beast Boy claimed there was a heated pool of swimming here! May we swim? Please Robin?"
Robin laughed. "Why don't you have something to eat and I'll go see if Alfred has a swimsuit for you."
Alfred, the ever prepared, had provided each of the Titans with civilian clothes for their stay at Wayne Manor. Starfire was delighted to discover the purple one-piece swimsuit he had placed aside for her, which she wore now, including her ever present e'ara clamped to her arm. Robin proudly displayed his matching one.
Starfire laughed as she dove into the pool, the warm water splashing in her wake. Robin grinned and plunged in after her, chasing her across the pool. She giggled and evaded him, so at ease in the water, it was almost like watching her fly.
He caught her ankle, dragging her backward through the water. She laughed merrily, reached back and grabbed his wrist, shooting from the water into the air, pulling him with her. She held the wrist out in front of her, grinned wickedly and released him.
Robin somersaulted in the air, before stretching his arms out into a dive and plunged downward with barely a splash. Starfire hovered above chuckling madly to herself when Robin reared out of the water, grabbed her arms and pulled her under.
They surfaced laughing, Starfire's arms around Robin's neck and his hands on her waist. He gave her an Eskimo kiss with his nose, before leaning in for a deeper kiss.
"So here you two are," called a voice as Beast Boy, Raven and Cyborg entered the swimming area, each clad in a swimsuit and carrying a towel.
Breaking away from the kiss, Starfire raised a hand and waved gleefully at her friends. "Friends, please join us, the water is most enjoyable."
"Cowabunga!" Beast Boy cried, dashing to the edge and leaping into the air. He morphed into a green blue whale in the air and was suddenly encased in glowing black energy.
Raven walked to the water's edge and tutted, lowering the changeling into the water, before releasing him. "Water stays inside the pool."
A green tentacle encircled the half-demon's ankle, lifting her off her feet and dragging her into the water. She surfaced spluttering and sopping wet.
"Whoo, watch out, y'all, its jaws," Cyborg cried playfully and began to hum the theme from 'Jaws' as a green fin sliced the water's surface.
Starfire giggled as the green shark snapped playfully at Cyborg before stalking Raven.
Raven narrowed her eyes, and a small tidal wave appeared in the water, washing the shark away. Beast Boy surfaced, spluttering.
"No fair!" he cried.
"About as fair as what you did to me," Raven retorted scathingly.
Beast Boy poked his tongue out at her before changing into a dolphin and charged toward her. Raven slipped out of his path at the last moment and grabbed on to his fin, allowing herself to be dragged through the water. Robin could almost see the glee in the dolphin's eyes as he dived, pulling the hapless half-demon under after him.
Cyborg swung his arm through the water, splashing Robin and Starfire. "Opps," he said with an innocent smile. "Did I do that? Silly me."
Robin laughed and launched his own attack of water.
A massive water battle followed.
Robin heaved himself out of the water and sat on the edge of the pool to watch his friend's splash. Starfire was giggling constantly at the antics of Beast Boy, who was busy turning himself into all sorts of marine creatures, trying to discover which one splashed the best. So far the seal was winning. Even Raven seemed to be enjoying herself, even if she was just shielding herself from the splashes.
He smiled slightly as he watched Starfire play with her friends. He had maintained an almost constant vigil by her side while she had recovered, even sleeping by her side at night. He had thought she would never wake even though he knew she was held in a deep sleep by Raven's powers.
To have his friends, to have her in his home, to be able to show them all what lived beneath the mask was an incredible feeling of freedom. He'd wanted to share with them who he was before, but was always held back by his mentor's veil of secrecy.
And now his father had torn away that veil by demanding that he and his team return to the Manor to recuperate. Sure, he'd been berated fiercely for his behavior and had been grounded, however futile and childish being grounded was, but it was worth it. Batman would never have found Starfire in time. Batman would never have known that Starfire would not be caged and would risk everything.
There was a soft footfall behind, but he didn't need to turn around to know who stood there. "Bruce," he said in greeting.
"Dick," came the reply. "Starfire is looking better."
Robin nodded. He lifted one leg out of the water and placed it on the edge, resting his hand on his knee.
"I still don't know how you found her. I'm guessing it has something to do with that band on her arm and the fact that you have a matching one."
Robin shrugged dismissively. "Something like that."
"You're not going to tell me, are you?"
The man sighed. "You've done well, Dick. You have a good team there."
"Yeah, the best."
"But, Starfire is your Achilles heel. You'd better be careful."
"Don't you think I know that? But she is the glue that holds us together too. She's seen the future, what it would be like without her, and she's determined not to let that happen." He sighed. "And I won't keep anyone at arms length anymore. I'm tired of concealing who I am to them. I'm not hiding in anyone's shadow any longer."
"No," replied Bruce softly. "No, you're not. And it suits you."
Robin felt his heart catch. He'd never heard his father say anything to that effect before, and it was somewhat mollifying.
"Eww, BB," Cyborg yelped as suddenly both Raven and Starfire shot into the air, Starfire dragging Cyborg out of the water with her.
Beast Boy's head surfaced. "What?" he asked as the water suddenly blackened with ink. "What'd I do?"
"That's just gross, Beast Boy," Raven complained dryly, heading for her towel.
Robin wrinkled his nose and drew his other foot out of the water. Bruce's only reaction was to give an aggravated sigh.
"I do not wish to know where that substance originated," Starfire commented, carefully placing Cyborg on the pool edge and floating beside him.
"Does she fly all the time?" Bruce asked.
Robin shrugged. "Her flight comes from happiness."
Bruce's lips twitched. "Gave her something to be happy about did we, Dick?"
Robin felt a blush creep over the back of his neck, and silently cursed his father for knowing him too well.
Bruce simply laughed.
Starfire turned at the sound and Robin could see a sudden hesitance in her hovering stance. He beckoned to her, standing up. She obediently flew over to where he stood and he reached for her hand once she arrived before turning to his father. "Bruce, this is Starfire, Starfire, this is my father."
Starfire dipped her head happily. "Greetings k'norfka Bruce. It is glorious to meet you. Robin has regaled us with many wonderful stories about your adventures."
If the ground could have swallowed him them, Robin would have been thankful.
Bruce raised an eyebrow to his protégé, a small smile on his face. "Hello, Starfire. I trust you are feeling better?"
"I am well," she replied, bobbing up and down in the air. "I thank you for the use of your pool of swimming, and allowing us to stay in your home."
Bruce waved his hand dismissively, before walking away. "This is Dick's home too. His friends are quite welcome here. You can thank him."
"Yeah, Dick, thanks!" Beast Boy cried teasingly as he swam to the edge.
"Yeah, Dick, you're the best!" Cyborg echoed cheekily.
Robin fought not to cringe. "They're never going to give that up, are they?"
Starfire nudged him with a smile. "That is what friends are for."
He turned and smiled at her, before leaning in for a kiss.
There is a sequel to this story called 'Orange coloured cliffs' Rated M for violence and adult situations. Read at own risk.