Death of a Titan
The Tamaranean shuttle settled softly onto the roof of the 'T' shaped building in the bay of Jump City. A single person was waiting to greet the red haired, green eyed young woman that stood at the hatch opening. Raven could feel the curiosity and confusion that Starfire was feeling.
"Raven, where is Robin? Why is he not here to greet me?"
"Starfire, something has happened. Robin isn't here, but I can take you to where he is."
Starfire nodded, and took to the air, following Raven. Her curiosity grew as the dark Titan touched down in one of the city's parks. "Raven, I do not understand. What is it that would keep Robin from greeting me at the Tower?" she asked, then gave a happy gasp. "He is having you bring me here to join him in a picnic!"
"No, Starfire, that's not it," Raven said softly as they rounded a corner in the hedges. "This is why."
Starfire froze in mid-step. She gaped at what she saw in the clearing. A life-sized statue of Robin had been erected, and a rectangle of freshly turned dirt was before it. "Raven, I still do not. . ." she began, then her eyes saw the inscription on the pedestal the statue stood on. "In honor of the city's lead hero. He sacrificed himself to save others" "No!" she gasped, "This can not be. I only spoke to him two days ago."
"Do you remember that he was called away at the end of that?" Raven asked softly. "Less than half an hour after he closed the channel with you, he was gone."
"No! You are lying to me!" Starfire shouted as she whirled and grabbed Raven by the front of her cloak. The glow of her eyes, and at her drawn back fist faded as she looked into Raven's eyes as they clearly showed her sadness at what she was telling her. 'I have seldom seen her cry,' she thought. 'As much as she controls her emotions, this is proof of her statements being true.' She released her friend and turned away in both shame and sadness.
"It's alright, Starfire. We tried to reach you, but communications with the ship you were on was impossible."
"Yes, we passed through the outer edges of the Draconis Nebula to get here," Starfire said. "The radiation from the black holes in that area interfere with communications." She paused and looked at the statue, wishing it would come to life. "How did it happen?"
"We're not sure. The call we received was to a Slade sighting, and it turned out to be accurate," Raven said. "As usual, he didn't fight us directly, but sent Sladebots to attack us while he went after Robin. We were all pretty busy, when we heard Robin shout out a warning. There were two large explosions, and when the smoke cleared. . .when the smoke cleared both Slade and Robin were down, and neither survived to make it to the hospital." She took a deep breath, and put her hand on Starfire's shoulder. "Starfire, I'm terribly sorry. I know how much he meant to you, especially since Tokyo."
"Thank you," Starfire said softly, then looked over at the statue again. "If he was recognized by the city as it's hero, why is there no one here?"
"Out of respect for you," Raven replied. "We announced to the city that you would be arriving back from your mission to Tamaran today. Shortly after dawn, the park emptied."
"I see. May I have the privacy to mourn his loss?"
"Of course, Starfire. I just wanted to lead you here, and tell you what I could. When you're ready, we'll be waiting for you at the Tower."
Starfire watched Raven fly off, then turned back toward the grave. "X'Hal, fen shovaka vana chalen, ri hifa kre ve merla. Treva krel a Grimhallen, cro kre relo serana verla. X'Hal, this warrior has fallen, in battle he was slain. Take him to Grimhallen, so he may know peace again." She said, reciting the Tamaranean funeral chant. The third time through, her voice cracked and she sank to her knees, her tears spattering on the bare dirt.
"I share you grief, cutie," a voice said from behind her.
"You!" she snarled as she whirled around. "You dare to intrude upon my privacy, my grief?"
"Athani, Koriand'r," Red X said as he backed up a step, his hands held up in a non-threatening gesture. "Pe va canare quomo Robin delinava na a."
Hearing her own language from Red X caught Starfire by surprise. "What do you mean, you are doing what Robin wished you to?"
Red X went to a bench nearby, and motioned for Starfire to join him on it. "I was there, Starfire. I was with him right after the explosion," he said, then looked over at the statue. "He died in my place. He died for me."
"What?" Starfire asked as she sank onto the bench. "I do not understand."
"You were told that he died fighting Slade, right?"
"Yes, and that Slade was also killed in the same explosion."
"You weren't lied to, Starfire," he said seeing the look on her face. "The warehouse was a madhouse. Slade had brought almost a hundred of his robots to fight the other Titans while he focused on Robin."
"Titans, go!" Robin shouted and waded into the midst of the group of Sladebots. Using his staff, he cut a wide swath through them.
"Fire in the hole!" Cyborg shouted as he fired his sonic cannon over and over, doing his part to reduce the number of operational bots.
Beast Boy morphed into a huge gorilla, and with a primal roar started swinging away.
"Azarath, metrion, zinthos!" Raven chanted and shot lances of her power that sliced through dozens of bots, transforming them into piles of scrap.
Despite this, the number of bots kept growing and, soon, the other three Titans found that they were cut off from Robin, and the area they were able to keep clear gradually shrank.
"Hello, Robin. It's good to see you again."
"Slade!" Robin snarled and swung his staff at him, which Slade blocked with his forearm guard. Moving quickly, Robin reversed the swing of his staff, this time landing a blow to the side of Slade's head.
Slade turned his head with a soft popping of his neck. "Very good, Robin. Much bet. . .ugh!" he said, but cut off as Robin landed a kick to his stomach. He grunted a few more times as Robin landed a series of punches, kicks, and blows with his staff, driving the older man across the room.
A moment later, it was Robin's turn to grunt as Slade landed a blow that caused the Boy Wonder to stagger back a few steps. Slade then followed up with a roundhouse kick that sent Robin flying.
"Need a hand?" a voice asked as Robin got back to his feet.
"Not from a thief," Robin shot back. He looked over at his team mates and saw that they were close to being over powered by the bots. "Alright then. We take out Slade, and the bots will back off."
"Sounds like a plan."
Red X looked back at Starfire. "The only reason he decided to fight with me was to protect his friends," he said. "We went back and forth with Slade for a few moments, then I launched an exploding X at him and Robin threw one of his disks. What I didn't see was that Slade threw something in my direction. Robin saw it and yelled at me to look out. The same time he yelled, he lunged at me and pushed me aside." He paused then looked at the ground. "He pushed me away, and placed himself between me and that device, and its explosion. Alone, Robin's disk might have only knocked Slade out, but combined with mine, what was left wasn't pretty."
"And the explosive Slade used?"
"It was powerful enough that it blew most of his bots over, along with the other Titans. Robin landed on top of me, and when I managed to get him off me and sit up, I saw that he wasn't going to make it. He must have known too, because he started talking to me. Telling me things. Things to tell your friends, and. . .to tell you."
"That is how you knew that phrase in Tamaranean, yes?"
"Yeah. He wanted me to talk to you, and knew that you wouldn't unless I gave you a reason not to blast me on sight. There is one other thing he told me to tell you, but it is in English. He told me to say 'Kori, I'm sorry I waited so long to tell you my feelings for you. I wish we had more time together.'" Red X was silent for a moment. "With what he told me, and how he said it, I hope that I can find someone that I can share that kind of love with," Red X stood up. "I've taken enough of your time, Starfire. I meant what I said before. I share your grief. He was a unique person."
"I thank you Red X, for carrying out Robin's last wishes, and for giving me a full explanation of his. . ."
Red X was stunned as Starfire hugged him. "I thank you for doing as Robin asked."
"I owe him my life, cutie. If there's anything I can do for you, all you have to do is ask." Red X said, then walked away. He stopped after he had rounded the corner then looked back. He cursed himself for his curiosity, as he saw Starfire on her knees at the foot of the grave. Her head was bowed and her shoulders were shaking with her sobs.