A/N: Yay for my random thoughts keeping me up until 4 am! So anyway, I know Robin was a bit out of character. But hey, he had a reason to be. This story is inspired by a picture I found on Tumblr with this quote on it:
"I always thought the reason why Robin was always catching Starfire was because he doesn't want her to fall like his own parents did. He now has the chance to save the person he loves instead of watching her fall helplessly like he did with his parents."
And Might I just say, this quote is amazingly beautiful. So I decided to write a story inspired by that. As always, reviews are loved, constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, and you are all amazing. Enjoy the story!
He didn't catch her this time. She had slipped right past the tips of his fingers. And Robin, the Boy Wonder, blamed himself for that. Of course, it wasn't his fault that Starfire had fallen in the first place. But if Robin had only been a little faster, or jumped a little farther, he would have caught Starfire; he wouldn't be sitting next to her hospital bed, hands folded tightly together in his lap.
Robin leaned forward and let his forehead rest against her arm. His hand gripped her wrist, hunting for her faint pulse. When he found it, he kept his thumb pressed against it, willing her heart to pump her blood a little faster. Begging her green eyes to open. But neither happened, and Robin stood up in frustration, nearly knocking his chair over.
"Robin, you have to calm down. A monotonous voice said. Robin looked up and saw Raven, hood down, walking into the Tower's infirmary. Her lips were set into a frown, and her eyes observed him with care and sympathy. She knew what he was going through. It was what they were all going through as they waited for Starfire to wake up. To give them a sign that she was okay. Except Robin's emotions were ten times stronger than the other Titans'. And whether it was because of his feelings for the Tamaranean girl, or because he had been two centimeters away from her when her head hit the concrete, Raven didn't know. But she imagined that it was a little of both.
"How can you tell me to calm down? It's been a week, Raven. A week. And Starfire hasn't made any progress. If I had only caught her-"
"But you didn't, Robin. You can't go back and change that, and you certainly can't blame yourself." Raven interrupted, placing a hand on Robin's shoulder. He met her eyes briefly, then averted them back to Starfire's frozen body.
"We all want her to wake up, Robin. But beating yourself up over this won't help you. And it certainly won't help Starfire."
"I should have been there for her."
"No, Robin. There was no way you could have saved her. You tried. Starfire's strong. She'll make it out of this. But she'll need you when she wakes up. And at the rate you're going, I'm beginning to wonder if you'll be able to be there for her."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Robin almost growled, even though a part of him knew this was true.
"You're tearing yourself apart, Robin. You have to get it together. Your team needs you. She needs you." Raven responded, turning towards the door. She waited for Robin's voice to come again, but it didn't, and she decided that it was better to leave him alone than argue with him any further.
As soon as Raven had retreated from the room, Robin turned his full attention back to Starfire. Her chest rose and fell lightly, and Robin found a sliver of hope in this. At least she was breathing. And as long as she was breathing, she was living.
"Maybe Raven's right." Robin whispered, shaking his head to clear his jumbled thoughts. Once again, his mind flashed to Starfire falling, sliding right past Robin's fingers as her head made contact with the concrete below. He clenched his jaw.
"Why couldn't I catch you?" Robin snarled, sitting back down in his chair. This question seemed to be the only thing running through his mind for the last week, and Robin allowed it to tug at his brain and stomach now. He had always been able to catch Starfire, no matter what the circumstances where. It seemed his arms were the perfect spot for her body to land, and as he stared at them now, he could picture her in landing safely in them.
Through all of their battles, Robin catching Starfire was the one thing that remained constant. All it took was one leap, and he was holding her in his arms, protecting her from what could have happened if he hadn't caught her. But this time, Robin had been distracted. And by the time he leaped, body flying for Starfire, it was too late. He could still feel the fabric of her skirt grazing his fingers, and hear the loud thud as her body connected with the ground.
"Starfire," Robin mumbled, laying his head back on her arm. He led his hand to her wrist again, but let it fall into her open hand this time. He didn't bother hunting for her pulse. He didn't want any more reminders of how badly he had screwed up, "I'm so sorry. If you can hear me, I just want you to know that. And I need you to wake up. I need you to open your eyes and talk to me." Robin said, running his thumb along the inside of her palm. He threaded his fingers between hers, and glanced up at her face.
"I know I should have caught you, Star. But I just... I couldn't. I let you down. I let you fall." Robin continued, unsure as to why he was letting all these words flow from his mouth. It was as if he no longer knew how to work his brain-to-mouth filter, and every thought he had came tumbling from his lips.
"I'm really not sure why I always catch you. I guess it's because when you fall... I'm reminded of what happened to my parents. And, well, I don't want that to happen to you, Star. I don't want to lose you."
Robin gripped Starfire's hand a little tighter, and ran his other hand down her cheek. Her skin was silky smooth, the same as it always was. That was his Star: soft and innocent. The poster girl for beauty and kindness.
"You're my best friend, Star. No, you're more than that. You're so much more than that. I wish I could explain it. But I'm not very good with words. I never have been." Robin pushed himself up slightly, and kissed Starfire's forehead lightly, letting his linger on her skin for a moment. Then, he dropped his head to her shoulder, keeping their hands connected.
"Please, Star. Give me a sign. Something. Anything. I need you here." Robin whispered against her shoulder. The sounds of the room filtered into his mind: the beeping of Starfire's heartbeat. His own deep, shallow breathing. And the quiet, short sounds of Starfire's breathing. Robin remained silent for several moments, keeping his eyes closed and his ears opened. He was determined to be there for Starfire this time. He was determined to be there when she woke up.
He was determined to- Robin's thoughts froze as he felt a slight pressure against his hand. He kept his body still, waiting for the pressure again. It came a few seconds later, the slightest squeeze of his hand. Robin jerked his head up, and his eyes were met by two wide, emerald green eyes.
"Robin? What-" Starfire began to ask, but Robin silenced her quickly with his lips, sealing the thousands of apologies he had made in the last week with a single kiss.
"Wh-what was that for?"
"That was a promise. And an apology. An apology that I let you down. And a promise that I'll never, ever let you fall again."