A/N: Thanks to all my readers, even if there was only one review, people read it, and that is good motivation.
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans.
"Damn, I really hope this whole thing works." Cyborg sighed, leaning back in his chair.
"You mean you don't already know all this will work?" Beast Boy shot up from his own seat, looking at the metal Titan incredulously.
"Well there's a lot of factors. He needs to find her, make sure she knows what's up, and then Raven over there's got to be able to reopen a portal strong enough to transport two people across dimensional boundaries." He finished, throwing a thumb over at the purple-haired teen sitting a few feet away. "Not to mention," he continued after a moment, "this plan is so convoluted to begin with, who knows what the odds of its success really are." He sat back up from his relaxed position, again watching the zoomed in view of map of jump city, focused on Titan's Tower, with two glowing dots on it, one red, halfway across the bay, the other blue, inside the tower.
"I can open the portal, as long as you can keep your trace on them." Raven said coolly
"Hey, he's almost to the Tower…I wonder what the other Titans are going to say, I know it'd freak me out to see a second Robin." He said offhandedly to the green Titan at his side.
"Yeah, one is definitely enough."
"Guys, is just me, or has Robin been acting a little strange the last few hours?" Beast Boy asked, staring into his coffee mug; cautiously twisting it, as though it was about to bite him.
"It's just you." Cyborg wasted no time in responding sharply.
"No, I think Beast Boy is right." She paused for a second, realizing what she had said, the other two were taking it in as well. Beast Boy opened his mouth but closed it quickly when Raven glared at him "Never thought I'd say that…but, he's right, something's different with him." She took a drink of her tea and slowly observed her two friends seated with her at the kitchen table.
"It has to be because of Starfire," Cyborg offered, anything that could make Rave agree with Beast Boy had enough merit to convince him "he's just gotten her back, and now he finds out he'll lose her again in a matter of hours."
"How long were they together for?" Beast Boy asked.
"They both had crushed on one another forever, but they were going out almost six months before…well, before it happened." Cyborg explained.
"You guys are missing the point. It's not really Starfire, not our Starfire anyway. Robin's trying to reestablish a relationship with someone who he doesn't really know." Raven set her mug down lightly on the table as she talked in a clam, near emotionless voice."But they're pretty much the same aren't they?" Best Boy scratched his head
"In a lot of ways yes, they are. But there are differences, one of the biggest being that the Starfire who is right here and now doesn't know anything about Robin and Starfire's relationship, and even if she doesn't have one with the Robin where she is from, she hasn't suddenly forgotten that the two Boy Wonders aren't the same."
"But what about Robin?" Cyborg asked her.
"We should find him, make sure he doesn't do anything they both might regret, and make sure he's ok." Raven got up from the table, pushing her chair back as she stood. The others quickly followed suit and they left the kitchen.
Robin lifted his head out of the water and took a breath, allowing him to make another few strokes. He let himself take a glance at his goal, the huge, bright T sitting atop a small rocky island; only another few hundred feet to go. It would have been fasted, if the water weren't so damned cold. He was thankful his uniform was insulated, and glad he had elected to make it quick drying, so at least he wouldn't be sloshing around for too long once he got ashore.
He reached the rock strewn island and realized the part he was at had a seven foot seawall. He cursed loudly and fished around his belt as he treaded water as best as he could with his boots on and only one arm. After locating what he wanted, he pointed the small gun at the top of the cliff face, shooting the small grappling hook up and over it. He pulled the trigger a second time and it began to haul him out of the cold, turbulent swell.
He swung a leg over the side as it hoisted him to the top and clambered over it, snagging his left sleeve on the jagged rocks, and cutting his arm in the process. He rolled over and was lying face up, staring into the overcast night sky trying to catch his breath. He ran his hands quickly through his hair a few times, to shake the water out and then tried to put it back into its original shape, meeting with some success.
Robin stood up, water was still dripping off his boots and arms and hair, buts chest and much of his legs were already fairly dry, nonetheless, the light wind that was constantly blowing made him shiver slightly. He could hear the crash of the waves against the sea wall below him, he looked up and saw the lights of the tower only a hundred feet away, he was right in front of it. He started walking to the door.
After a few steps, he froze, then made two side-steps to his right, and then vaulted himself forward, leaping over an invisible bar. When he had landed he looked behind him, back where he had just leapt over, a small outcropping of rock obscured a set of laser trip wires ad pressure sensors hidden behind them.
"At least the security emplacements are the same." He whispered to himself as he made his way to the door, avoiding half a dozen more traps and security measures along the way. 'Am I really this paranoid?' He asked himself as he discovered yet another device, making his count between the two worlds eight for eight.
He opened up the control panel next to the sealed steel door. It had an eight digit readout and a keypad with a full alphabet and numerical set. He thought for a moment, considering the panel, then typed something out quickly, filling the eight red-lit boxes with the yellow digital letters 'Starfire' and it chimed with apparent success.
"At least I'm predictable to me…" He said to himself wryly. He pressed the button to open the door when it did not slide open for him automatically and the alarm instantly went off.
"Son of a—"
The door slid open quietly. Starfire lifted her head up from where she had fallen on the bed. The pain she'd thought was tearing her to pieces had vanished in an instant. It had to be some sort of awful side-effect of this whole thing, as if being trapped in another dimension and about to die wasn't enough; it had to be a horribly painful death on top of it. Seemed like her luck lately. And at least it's consistent, she thought.
"Starfire, are you alright? You didn't answer and I—" Robin's voice trailed off as he took a couple steps into the room.
Starfire looked to the door, her room was dark, and the light pouring in from the hallway into the blackened space created a stark contrast, putting Robin into a shadow her eyes couldn't discern She tried to focus another second before willing herself to sit up on the bed.
"Starfire, I—" Robin seemed to lose his train of thought, or had decided that what he was going to say was not the correct thing. Starfire leaned over and hit a button on a lamp next to the bed, clicking it to life; Robin took a few more steps forward, and the door slid shut behind him, nearly silent.
"What happened was—" he started.
"Unexpected." This time she cut him off.
"Starfire, please, you have to understand." He sat down next to her on the bed, she subconsciously inched herself away a little. "It just happened, it was a reaction, I'm sorry I freaked you out. I just, it just…felt right."
Starfire blushed, thinking of the moment, and the kiss. It had felt right, nearly perfect, until her brain caught up with her instinct. Then she felt ashamed, but mostly confused.
"It was not without its…appeal." She admitted, her hands in her lap as she stared at the ground.
"Starfire, I've felt this way for a long time." He put his arm around her shoulders.
"But how could you" she shrugged off his arm, she was thinking more clearly about everything now "I have been her not more than three days." She was looking at him in the eyes now, or at least where she could guess his eyes were, behind the mask.
"I've known you forever Star. We were meant for each other. " She stared at him for a moment, her mouth slightly agape. "You're my Starfire." He said it all as though he had been asked for the time.
"Robin, I am not your Starfire."
"But I know you Star, I love you." He leaned in, trying to kiss her again.
"I am not the same Starfire you knew. She is gone, I am not her!" She pushed him back and jumped to her feet, seeing Robin, this Robin, any Robin, in a way she had never imagined he could be, and never having wanted to be so far from him before. She turned on her heal and stalked out of the room as quickly as she could without running, leaving Robin sitting stunned in place for the second time in as many hours.
"Alright, we need to find Starfire, and Robin, and sit down and talk about this. It's gonna be hard, and we might not like what comes of it, but it has to be done." Cyborg said, letting himself go into leader mode as the Titans' second in command, his leader needed help, his friend needed help, and he wasn't about to just let him go off the deep end that easily.
"Right and how do we do that if they don't want to be 'sat down'?" Raven asked as her and Beast Boy walked slightly behind their metal companion, flanking him one either side.
"Well we'll just…we could…there's always…huh, I really don't know." He shrugged his shoulders as he stroked his chin. Just as they were nearing Starfire's room, they heard raised voices, they stopped. A moment later, the door slid open and a confused, angry looking Starfire all but ran out and headed the opposite way down the hall, seeming to not have noticed them at all.
Tears were streaming down her face from her huge, bright green eyes. Raven was about to call out to her when the alarm went off.
"He's right at the base of the tower now. Starfire's moving too, she seems to be heading away from him, I can't tell where yet though, it's hard with this thing two-dimensional."
Raven listened to Cyborg's report, he gave them every couple of minutes now, but she barely registered it as she concentrated on keeping the portal at her feet an open gateway between the two worlds. If she lost the connection now, there's no telling how long it would take to reopen it, and Starfire didn't have much time left. Raven opened her eyes and glanced at the clock on the wall. Only 12 hours left, almost within the margin of error; they could have as little as six hours. Robin better hurry, she thought, as she poured a little bit more of her slowly diminishing power into maintaining the connection.
"Hey, I'm getting high energy readings around him now, he's back on the move too, but not inside…I think he set off the alarm."
"Oh, just great." She whispered to herself.
Robin quickly produced the same grappling gun from before, he aimed it straight up, pulling the trigger. It flew in an instant to the top of the tower and hooked it when he gave it a light tug. He pulled the trigger a second time and it started taking him up. Not quite as predictable as I thought, he cursed under his breath.
"Robin, man you there?" Cyborg came in over the small earpiece he had connected wirelessly to his communicator.
"Yeah," Robin grunted as he swung himself over the ledge and onto the roof of the tower. He glanced around, even in the darkness he could tell the long flat surface was identical to the one he knew.
"What the hell is going on down there?"
"I set off the alarm, I got to the roof, I didn't think it'd be good for the other us'es to see me trying to break into the tower."
"Yeah, that'd probably mess with their heads a bit. Starfire is below you in the tower, I can't tell quite were though."
"Right, I can find her. Hey, do you think you could track the other Titans, I want to avoid any contact that I can with them."
"Yeah, let me see, I think, yeah, if I widen the search parameter…got it, I can't tell who's who, but they're all distinct yellow dots on the map. I'll zoom in on the tower to get a better view. Alright, the four of them at below you, at the front door I think… I can see some of the tower's floors on this schematic layout, but not all that well. I'll keep you as posted as I can."
"Thanks, I heading down inside." Robin turned towards the door across from him on the roof, when a voice called out from the darkness.
"Shit, the alarm!" Robin snapped out of his daze, sprang to his feet and ran out the door; and found himself running straight into his large metal friend. "Cyborg! What's going on?"
"I don't know. We came to talk to you…it can wait, the alarm." Cyborg turned on his heal and the four Titans ran back down the hallway, Robin in the lead.
"It's different…" Beast Boy called; raising his voice about the blaring siren they just ran past.
Cyborg checked his arm as they ran "It's the security alarm, the tower has detected an intruder." He hit a few buttons along his forearm to silence the sound, but kept the lights flashing
"An intruder? Where?" Raven asked breathlessly
"The front door, they walked right up!" Cyborg replied, as the Titans all headed for the elevator to take them down to the front door. They stepped inside, all of them barely fitting thanks to Cyborg's enormous frame. The ride down seven floors was silent, save for the soft muzak playing in the background, something none of them could quite place, some Beach Boys song.
They burst out the elevator ready for a fight, but found the small lobby empty, and the large steel front door closed.
"Shouldn't there be bad guys or something?" Beast Boy said, looking around the empty, concrete-walled room.
"Spread out guys, check the whole island." Robin said after they opened the door, again prepared for a fight but finding none. Sweep the inside too, start with the lower floors and work your way up, Cyborg." The Titans left to follow his orders and he stayed moment, something had caught his eye. The foot prints left in the shallow mud outside the control panel, he looked at the readout…only he knew that code, each Titan had their own which would only allow them access, to prevent someone else finding it out and using it. There was only one way someone else could know that code. He looked straight up the tower.
Starfire's mind was awash with emotions. She knew how she should feel, but she wasn't sure if that was exactly what she did feel, but then Robin had just seemed so different, so unlike himself, she didn't know what was going on.
She continued down the hallway, nearly at a run, and only stopped when it ended. She whipped her eyes and cheeks and inhaled deeply trying to calm herself down. It was only then that she noticed the alarm was going off.
She started to turn back, but then stopped mid-stride. Let them handle it, she thought, it's their tower after all, it's not like I'll be around long enough to care. She again noticed something she had missed as she turned around, and opened the door to the stairs, solving her question of where to go next.
Her steps quickened as she raced to the top, taking the stairs two steps at a time, her alien strength, speed, and agility propelling her up the few long flights in less than a minute. She reached the door and slowly turned he knob, opening it. A blast of cold air hit her as she did, it was at least 20 degrees cooler than the last time she was up here, probably only about 50 degrees outside now.
It was dark on the roof, the moon was nearly full, but its light was almost totally obscured by the heavy clouds that had recently rolled in, blanketing the entire area. Then, against the city, she saw a familiar shape shuillouted against the intense city light behind it.
"Who's there?" She called.
"Starfire? Is that you?" Robin's voice responded. He stepped forward, away from the edge. He reached into a side pocket on his belt and pulled out a glow stick, he cracked it and tossed it forward, its orange light forming an illuminated circle a few feet across in front of him, just as it landed, Starfire stepped into it.
Robin stared open mouthed for a moment. Even in her current state, in the dim orange light, as it bounced off her same color skin, and reflected in her huge green eyes, with the wind, much stronger at height than the light gust on the ground betrayed whipped her hair long red hair around her head and shoulders.
"Robin?" She asked, guarding herself even as she stepped into the light, clutching her hands into fists, but keeping them at her sides.
Robin walked forward into the light himself, the wind blowing even harder, throwing him slightly off-balance as it made the few fixtures on the roof creak under the strain, causing clunks and clinks behind him near the edge of the roof.
"Robin, is it really you?" She asked, hope flaring in her chest.
"Yes, Starfire, it's me, I came to get you out of here." He smiled broadly in the low light, "Cyborg, I found her." He said, tapping on his ear to active the hair-thin microphone along his cheek, a strong sense of relief in his voice.
"Alright! You did it—Robin behind you!" Robin spun on his feet in time to see the large, steel tipped boot swinging for his head, and only just managed to dodge by leaning backwards out of the way. A second later another blow came at his legs, knocking them out from under him. He fell onto his back and rolled out of the way as a series of kicks tried to catch him on the ground.
He finally got out of striking range and flipped himself onto his feet, staring into the darkness, trying to figure out which Titan had attacked, when his mind swiftly settled on the only real one that fit. As he caught his breath, two green glow sticks cracked to life and were tossed halfway between him and their point of origin. He stepped into the light at the same time his attacker did.
Even though he'd been expecting it, the effect was still profound. He was staring into a near perfect image of himself. The other Robin seemed to be having the same reaction and they just stared at each other, occasionally waving a hand to make sure it wasn't really a mirror.
"Holy shit…" They both muttered, which seemed to snap them out of their reverie. They jumped back out of the green sticks' glow and tried to find the other first, to get the initiate in the attack. They circled around one another in the low green light, like boxes trying to find an opening.
Then all at once they both lunged forward into attacks. Punches and kicks flew faster than Starfire could see them, especially in the low light. She watched from the edge of the orange light as the two Robins battled back and forth. Neither drew any weapons, they were going on pure fighting skill alone, and were the epitome of evenly matched. Neither landed a single blow that didn't simply glance off the blocking arm or leg as they spun around the small area, dodging each other's attacks. Quickly the small area of combat expanded. One of the green glow sticks got kicked, and skidded along the flat roof to the darkness that lay in between the two light points, now there were three small islands of light in the darkness of the roof.
The wind whipped around them wildly as they went at each other with everything they had. The city in the distance glowed a light yellow while they fought tooth and nail around the roof. Neither could gain the upper hand in the fight. Rain suddenly began pelting them mercilessly, as the clouds finally gave up their water. They grappled for a moment, then threw apart, stopping for a moment to catch their breath.
"I know why you're here!" Robin yelled, the sound of the wind and rain muffling the sound "you can't have her!"
"She isn't some object for you to possess, I don't know what happened to your Starfire, but it doesn't give you the right to take mine!" Robin launched into another attack. They passed in and out of the green and orange light. Starfire watched helplessly from the side, unsure of what to do, or if to intervene, and if she did, which one was she supposed to help, they looked the same. As they passed through the spheres of light and dark she couldn't pick out anything to tell them apart.
"Why would she have come then?" They broke apart again "fortune smiled on me and saw fit to send me back my love."
"You really have lost it! Haven't you ever heard of bad luck?" He watched the other Robin back up a few steps, but not lower his guard. He stepped on the glow stick he had thrown and was off balance for a moment, and Robin saw his chance. He leapt forward and was on top of him in an instant; he swept his legs out from under him and got him in a choke hold with both arms pinned. He had been too stunned to struggle out of it quickly enough.
Starfire watched, all she could hear was the harshly blowing wind, but she could tell they were talking to one another. One of them backed up, stumbled, she saw it just as the other Robin did, and knew the fight would be over here. She saw him trip his doppelganger and lock him in a hold. Just as she hoped it was her own Robin winning the fight, another tidal wave of pain cascaded through her body.
This time it did not start in any one place and progress, this time it occurred simultaneously all over her body, inside and out. He flesh felt like it was searing off, her mussels and organs felt like they were melting, every nerve ending in her body screamed in agony as the rain pounded on her, only amplifying the pain. She crumpled to the ground.
Robin looked over to the organ light and saw Starfire fall to the ground "Starfire!" he released the hold and scrambled over to where she lay on the ground. Just as he got to her side and knelt next to her, a disc exploded on his shoulder, sending him tumbling away across the roof.
"I can't let you take her!" The other Robin had recovered from his near loss and was on his feet, only a couple yards from where Starfire lay.
"She can't stay here!" Robin yelled back, pushing himself up of the ground, his scrapped and bloody arms shaking under the pressure. He got to his knees and brushed a hand across his ear.
"I need her!"
"You're killing her!" He got halfway to his feet when the other Robin attacked. Robin half-stepped to his left and leaned forward into a roll, arriving at Starfire in a fraction of a second "Raven now!" He yelled as he wrapped his arms around her and felt the ground beneath him give way and he began to fall. The last thing he heard before the silence of the transport was his own voice crying in a sorrow filled rage.
A second later they were back in the middle of the circle, Robin lying across Starfire, her legs bent underneath her to her left. He got off her almost at once but realized she wasn't breathing. He started compressing her chest immediately, ignoring everything around him as he stared into her placid face.
He kept pressing hard on her chest with his overlapped hands. His vision began to cloud, darkness bit at the edges. He felt himself growing weaker, but willed his arms to keep going. Just as the darkness too the last of his vision, he saw her buck beneath him and cough.
Starfire's head was killing her… She felt pain, that was a good sign, she might still be alive. In comparison to the pain from before, she all but welcomed it. She opened her eyes, and found herself staring at plain, white ceiling tiles. 'Well at least I know I'm not in hell' she thought. She turned her head slowly over, her neck cracking into the soft, white pillow. Robin was lying in a bed next to hers, only a few feet away, reading a book.
"Robin." She croaked out a whisper, her throat was extremely dry. She tried to swallow but got virtually nothing.
"Starfire!" He said quietly, but with obvious elation.
"How long have I been—?" She started to ask.
"About eight hours. Not too bad considering you were almost destroyed by quantum physics." He smiled. She returned it weekly.
"Thank you for saving me." She pulled her right arm out from under her blankets and extended it out halfway across the divide, palm up.
"You know I couldn't leave you behind." He took her hand and squeezed it tightly. He sat up sat up slightly in bed and she did the same. They leaned in over the two foot gap, they locked eyes even behind his mask, they drew closer, their noses brushed and their lips were only centimeters apart when the alarm went off. The stopped a moment, drew back an inch in reflex, then went back into the kiss.
"When we're done. I'm ripping that thing out of the wall." Robin said breathlessly.
A/N: I really liked writing this story, so I hope anyone who's made it this far did too. But if you are using this as an example of what not to do, thanks for reading anyway.