Disclaimer – Do they look like they're mine?

A/N – This was originally supposed to be just a drabble in Word Vomit, but it grew too big for that. Since the UK only just finished showing Season Three, and I got hold of a copy of The Terror of Trigon last weekend, I'm playing loose and fast with how the Season Four finale could go. Consider this hypothetical speculation, given this sort of thing will never happen in canon. KidsWB aren't keen on pyrrhic victories, unless they involve one-season characters like Terra.

Feedback – Always welcome!

End of an Era

© Scribbler, June 2005

Bumblebee sat with her back against the exposed steel struts of a wall. The metal was too warm, making her sweat and her skin stick uncomfortably, but she was just too stinking tired to care. The sky over Jump City was deep red, and even though the edges were starting to fray to bruised purple, the memory of the battle that had just taken place meant she would never forget that colour.

She didn't mind coming to Jump, even though it wasn't her hometown. The Titans were here, and they were friends. Possibly the first she'd ever had, before Titans East. The first proper friends, at any rate – people who'd accepted her and let her prove she was more than just a mole or double agent. They'd let her become someone who mattered. Which made the devastation of their city that much worse to look at. Buildings were half-collapsed. The river had dropped a few inches, parts of it still boiling. Smoke and steam billowed like the capes of ostentatious supervillains, engulfing huge chunks of an urban landscape that now just looked like so much landfill.

She was glad most of the people had been evacuated. Calliope and Steel Cities were starting to get used to the extra population coming in and out every time there was a big-ass crisis over here.

She felt strangely numb, like she hadn't recently watched Raven, one of the founding Titans, disintegrate under the force of a spell she'd kept to her breast since early childhood – a spell she gave her teammates at the last possible moment, and which they had tried not to use until there was no other option.

Raven had been a good friend. Bumblebee hadn't thought it would be like that, at first. She'd thought maybe Starfire would be the one she could call up and confide in about being the only girl in a tower that smelled of boy. Starfire was bubbly and perky and vibrant. She didn't always understand everything, but she was a compassionate creature, while Raven always seemed aloof and unapproachable. Yet Raven had been the one who ended up giving the good advice, who listened on the phone when she needed to vent, and sometimes visited when Cyborg did. She never admitted Bumblebee was anything but an acquaintance, but Bumblebee had always nursed the idea that maybe Raven enjoyed their talks.

Raven, whose father, Trigon, was a demon she had defeated in her mind again and again.

Trigon, who had lurked under her skin until she scratched it all away and wore his colours until they were burnt off her back.

By her teammates.

By her friends.

And Bumblebee had helped.

All of Titans East had come running when they heard what was going down, but Bumblebee felt more responsible than the rest. They hadn't been invited. It was a kind of unspoken etiquette that each Titans team dealt with their own problems without interference. But when they got wind of how Raven was missing and Robin had ordered the evacuation of Jump, Bumblebee had been possessed of an irresistible urge to do something. She had given the order to go. She had told Aqualad and Mas y Menos to get them there as fast as possible. She had yelled at Robin when he wavered about what he had to do. And she had instructed her team to keep the resurfaced, but oh-so-changed Raven busy, to distract her while the original Titans readied the spell that would be her death sentence.

She remembered once, in October last year, when Mas y Menos tried to help with the laundry and ended up torching all of her civilian clothes. She'd bitched and whined and complained about it to Cyborg when he called, but he didn't really get clothes shopping. Understandable, really. A metal body doesn't really lend itself to modern fashion. Then, the next day a speed-courier arrived with a parcel of barely worn civvies – mostly loose things in dark colours, a few bits of velveteen, skirts, pants, jeans, and even a top that was only marginally too big around the bust. The attached note read only 'You may as well get some use out of them, because I won't'.

Someone stumbled through the rubble to her left. Bumblebee raised her eyes and blinked wetly through the smoke. Pink hair. Ragged dress. Laddered tights. One boot was missing, the sole of the remaining one all burned off.

The arrival and help of some previous members of HIVE had been a surprise, if only because nobody could figure out how they'd known what was going on, or what their agenda was. But in the deafening quiet that followed the battle, Bumblebee had forgotten they were even there.

Jinx spotted her, eyes lit by suspicion and uncertainty, though her shoulders were square and pushed back. She was clearly searching for someone – probably Mammoth or Gizmo. Those three had always been a Trio with a capital T, even back at the Academy. Bumblebee remembered how they argued to be lab triplets until 'Stone' arrived.

A part of her wondered what Jinx felt like now; whether she felt victorious that Raven was gone. She'd helped take down a Titan. That had to mean something to someone like her. There had never been any love lost between her and Raven, so she was probably ecstatic. Jinx was vicious and sneaky, with a mean streak a mile wide. Maybe she'd convinced the other HIVE leftovers to help out jus so she could settle some old grudge, not save the world like some of them claimed.

Immediately, Bumblebee felt like she ought to hate Jinx even more than herself, or Trigon, or the priests of Azarath who had given Raven the damn spell years before she even came to this world.

From the way Jinx was sagging against a pile of rubble, she was none of those things. She looked exhausted, maybe even frail. Her face was a mess of cuts and contusions, and her left eye was turning into a real shiner. Her hands couldn't clench into fists because her palms were scorched and blistered, and there was a necklace of burns around her throat where a loop of Raven's power had tried to throttle her when she got too close.

"I'm not - " Jinx began, voice scratchy.

"Save it, girl." Bumblebee couldn't be bothered to wave her hand. It was too much effort. "I'm too fucking tired."

Jinx didn't look surprised at the slack. Instead, she looked at Bumblebee with an almost disturbing sense of understanding – of empathy, even. And that was just too creepy to even think about right now. "Yeah," she muttered after a moment. "I'm too tired to fight with you, too." Then she wobbled over to the wall and sank down into a sitting position. "Too … fucking … tired."

They could hear people moving about far away. Once, Starfire streaked overhead, something wet plipping to the ground in her wake. Bumblebee wondered if Jinx knew that Tamaranean tears were green.

"We should probably be looking for our people," she said at last.

"Yeah," Jinx replied, listless.

Neither of them made any move to get up.

The sky slowly turned from red to purple, then grey, then finally to black with a smattering of white specks. Smoke and ash of all kinds still bulged everywhere like an overfull balloon, obscuring most of the constellations.

"Heh," Jinx said, with no humour or trademark sarcasm in her voice. "Fancy that. The sun went down and we're still here."

Bumblebee looked at her, then at the sky. "Some of us are."