And finally, the last chapter has finally arrived. While it's been fun writing this fic, I'm glad to finally get this done. As I've said, I would have finished a long time ago if I could do it over again. Anyway, enjoy this chapter and stay tuned for an author's note at the end.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 16: Home
The journey home took a little longer than expected. Once they finally found a map, they discovered they were far northeast of Jump City. Even by car it would take a couple days to reach. Before setting out, Cyborg decided to take the opportunity to recharge his batteries. With a little help from an abandoned vehicle and Cyborg's repair skills, the three remaining Titans soon found themselves on the road home.
The first day on the way back, Robin had recalled that they had heard no word from Titans East since the day of the invaders' arrival. Deciding now was as a good a time as any, he decided to try to contact them on his communicator while they were driving. He was sitting next to Cyborg, who was driving, and Starfire sat in the back seat.
The first couple times were unsuccessful, but finally on the third attempt the signal got through, and a feminine voice answered on the other side.
"Robin, is that you?" she asked in a voice that contained shock, excitement, and frustration at the same time.
"Jinx! You're alive!" Robin almost shouted into his communicator.
"Yes I'm alive, you moron! I'm speaking to you, aren't I?" At least her sarcasm was still intact.
"Where are the others? Are they with you?" he asked, now more collected. On the other line, Robin could here excited commotion as Jinx informed the others he was calling. After a moment, she came back on the line.
"Yeah, we're all here."
"Are you all okay?"
"We're okay. A little tired and shaken up, but we'll live. Poor Aqualad's got a broken arm, though. Broke it in a fight with a tripod. Other than that, we're fine."
"They're okay, guys!" Robin said to the others.
"That is most joyous!"
"Jinx, I need to ask you, just what's going on over there?" Robin asked, this time more collected.
"A whole bunch of things. We were hiding out in this town when we heard more invaders were headed for us. Next thing we know, they never came. We went out and found most of them all dead for no reason. Only a couple of them were left, and we took them out pretty easily."
"It's happening around them, too, guys," Robin told the others.
"Glorious!" Starfire said joyfully.
"Hola, Robin!" a new voice came in over the communicator. Actually, it wasn't one voice, but two.
"Is that Mas y Menos?" Cyborg asked from the driver's seat. Before Robin could answer, another voice came on.
"Speedy? Aqualad? Kid Flash?" Robin spoke into the device. Another feminine voice answered at last.
"Hey, Robin," said the voice, unmistakably Bumblebee.
"Hey, Bee!" Cyborg shouted.
The sound of struggling interrupted them through the communicator, and Jinx's voice soon came back on.
"It's my communicator! Give it back! Hey, Robin. How are things going over there?"
"Fine now. We're heading back to Jump City."
"Hey, I heard you, Cy, and Star. Where's BB and Raven? Let me talk to them!"
After allowing the sinking feeling to settle in, Robin answered her. "They're not here."
"What? What happened?" Jinx asked, now sounding worried.
"We…we lost them."
"No, they're not dead. At least we hope they're not dead. We lost each other one night during a fight. We're still looking for them."
"Oh, Robin, I'm sorry. I don't know what to say. I hope you find them."
"We hope so, too, Jinx."
"Good luck, guys. Take care. We'd all like to chat longer, but we're kind of busy right now. Can we talk later?"
"By, guys," Cyborg called from his seat.
"Goodbye, friends!" Starfire added. After that, silence returned.
The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, but not without some interesting sights along the way. As they drove, they passed large patches of red weed. Only this time, much of it had started to die and had turned gray already.
Later on in the first day of driving, one of the radio stations finally started working again, and the Titans were listening eagerly for news from the outside world. As it turned out, the invaders were all now dying by the numbers. As they listened, they heard an interview with a scientist being played. What they learned all surprised them. When all their weapons had failed, when it seemed nothing could defeat them, one thing stopped them.
"Germs," the scientist said over the radio.
"What do you mean?" the host asked him.
The scientist went on explaining, "Bacteria have lived on earth ever since the beginning. When other species of animal started appearing, they had to develop immunities to all the diseases caused by them. Mars however, doesn't have bacteria. We already know bacteria don't exist from the samples we've collected from their surface. The Martians never developed any immunities to any diseases. So when they finally came, they were already as good as dead. A germ which might be harmless to you and I would be fatal to them."
"Wow," Cyborg muttered as he drove. "Never would have thought."
"Same here," Robin said distantly as he listened. Starfire had come from a world very much like Earth, so she had no problem living on their planet. Mars apparently was so different that the invaders had no way of stopping their doom.
"So," Cyborg finally asked after some time. "Is it over?"
A brief moment of silence passed between them. Finally, Robin spoke.
"Yeah," he whispered. "It's over."
It was over. The invasion had failed, in the end, because the invaders had overlooked one detail in their seemingly flawless plans. When every weapon and device had failed, they were undone by the smallest creatures which God put on the earth in the beginning. The entire way back, they didn't come across a single tripod. What tripods were still around weren't much threat, and either they were taken out or died by themselves.
The second day, the three of them had to take a stop by the side or the road. When they all got out of the vehicle, they saw a sight that made them all gasp.
In the large valley off the side of the road was a large, flat, gray expanse. It lay lifeless and unmoving. It, surely enough, was the same flying machine they had seen the invaders test-flying only a few days ago.
Finally, late afternoon, a very welcome sight finally greeted the three Titans. As they drove over a hill, the towering spires of Jump City finally came into view.
A wave of joy and contentment filled the three at the sight. Never before had they been so grateful at seeing the familiar place, not even after defeating the Brotherhood of Evil, and that had taken much longer.
As they finally entered the city's criss-crossing streets, none of them could help the wave of sadness that also befell them.
The damage was worse than when they had returned after fighting the Brotherhood. Some buildings were partially damaged, while others were completely demolished, leaving only a pile of rubble in place. It was now a virtual ghost town. By the looks of it, they were the first ones to have come back since the invaders arrived. Everything was still and lifeless.
And yet, it was also strangely comforting too. Just like the feeling one gets after a violent storm has passed. It was bad now, but the Titans all knew it could be rebuilt. They had all come to grips with the fact that they would always face battles in their lives, even if they weren't against villains.
The car they were driving finally came to a stop at the row of buildings overlooking the coast. The three of them piled out and surveyed the scene.
It was very quiet. The only sound came from the birds chirping and the sound of waves crashing against the shore. All of them surveyed in silence the remains of their once-proud city.
"It is good to be home," Starfire finally said after some time.
Cyborg and Robin nodded.
"It's not…what it used to be," Cyborg added with a hint of sadness.
"Things change," Robin said. "But it doesn't matter in the end, as long as we remain friends. As long we have each other."
Starfire and Cyborg both nodded in agreement, a new wave of hope filling them.
The three walked down the street, surveying the scene. Finally, it was Starfire who broke the silence with an excited shout.
"Friends, look!" she said joyfully. She pointed out towards the ocean. Robin and Cyborg both squinted and saw what had caused her excitement.
The entire city may have been attacked, but one thing remained out of it all. It stood like a proud beacon of strength arising out of the ashes.
It was still standing, and from the looks of things, it was still intact. The three of them ran down to the beach and toward the shore, trying to get a closer look to make sure it was for real. When they at last stood at the shoreline, their hearts all leapt with joy. It hadn't been destroyed, after all.
The familiar T-shaped tower stood proudly over the ocean overlooking the coast, hardly any signs of damage at all. Maybe the Martians had looked over it or decided to ignore it, but it was still there. It was almost too good to be true.
Starfire had clasped her hands together in joy and was laughing joyfully at the sight of her home. Robin wore a proud smile of content on his face. And Cyborg…
"Friend Cyborg, are you crying?" Starfire asked him with concern.
The large teen quickly wiped away his tear so she wouldn't notice. "I uh, just had something in my eye."
Starfire merely beamed at him in response.
"Wow, I don't believe it," Robin said in awe. He could barely bring himself to believe that their home still stood after all this. While they were all standing their, admiring the sight, their high spirits quickly sunk as a new realization hit them. Starfire was the one to speak what was on all their minds.
"If only friends Raven and Beast Boy were here to see this," she said sadly. Their gazes shifted downward. Once again, the only sound to be heard was the waves licking at the beach's edge.
They stood there in silence for their teammates. Out of the silence, Starfire thought she heard something that made her ears perk. The others probably heard it too, because their heads had lifted as well.
"Was that…?" Robin began, but his words got lost.
"Maybe it was just our imagination?" Cyborg suggested. For a moment they heard nothing, but then it came again, this time a little louder. All three of them looked around.
"I definitely heard something," Robin said as his eyes searched.
Starfire's eyes widened. "Was it-?"
"No way. It couldn't be," Cyborg said shaking his head. Nevertheless, they moved in the direction of the sound. It sounded like a voice. The third time they heard it, it was clearer and louder. This time they made out words.
"Hey, guys!" came a voice from the distance.
"No way!" Robin shouted and he dashed off in the direction he heard it.
"It can't be!" Cyborg said again, only this time his voice sounded excited and eager.
All of them had broken into a sprint. Starfire was the first one to see it and she lifted her hand to point.
"Look!" she shouted. "Over there!"
They all looked, and in the distance near the line of buildings they saw two figures. One was darkly-clad and the other was green. Both were waving at them excitedly.
"I don't believe it! It's Raven and Beast Boy!" Robin shouted. His voice had sounded nearly hysterical with excitement, his usual dignified-leader tone now gone.
"NO WAY! Where are they? I'm gonna kill 'em!" Cyborg shouted.
At last, the two figures came into clear view. Surely enough, there stood Raven and Beast Boy, both of them looking dirty and beat-up but wearing huge grins on both their faces.
The two of them now started rushing toward them as well, now closing the seemingly endless gap even faster. Beast Boy had now broken down into a fit of joyful laughter.
"Ha ha! Hey!" he waved.
At last, the group of teens collided in an explosion of hugs and greetings. An endless stream of words was released between the two groups of reunited heroes.
"Oh man! I can't believe you guys are real!" Cyborg said joyfully. Without warning he scooped the two in his huge arms and into a nearly-suffocating hug. "I love you guys!" he cried, a fresh tear rolling down his eye.
Neither Raven nor Beast Boy could respond, as they both were being hugged so tightly they thought their ribs would crack.
"Uh, Cy," Raven choked.
"Woah, Cy! Go easy on them," Robin cautioned when he saw their faces turn blue. Cyborg apologized and let them down.
"Sorry. It's just good to see you guys."
"Yes, it is most wonderful too see you two again! I am so overjoyed that you both are alive and unharmed!"
"Thanks, Star. Great to see you, too," Beast Boy said happily.
"Great to see all of you," Raven added silently, though tenderly.
Robin folded his arms and arched an eyebrow, grinning. "Now where on earth have you two been? We've been looking all over for you!" His tone was light. He was still amazed that they were now standing right in front of them.
Beast Boy chuckled and Raven smiled.
"We, uh, got a little tied up," the changeling said with a grin on his face.
"Oh really?" Cyborg asked with a laugh.
"You don't know the half of it," Raven replied with a slight smirk on her face.
"I don't believe it! This is great! You were both away by yourselves, together, and she didn't kill you!" Cyborg said while pointing at the changeling. Robin and Starfire both chuckled. "This has gotta be a first!"
"Well, uh, she didn't kill me," Beast Boy replied, with a sly wink at the mage standing next to him, who was looking at the ground to hide her blush. Cyborg looked confused.
"But I don't understand. What made you decide to come home?" Starfire asked them.
"Rae suggested it," Beast Boy explained. "After we encountered a dead one in the woods and got word of the invaders losing, we decided to head back. We thought that maybe you'd decide to return home, too."
"Yeah. And it turns out we were right," Raven completed.
"Well, it doesn't matter anyway. We're home again," Robin told them.
"And we are together," Starfire added. All of them nodded in silent agreement. Despite everything, that was what mattered most. They were home at last, and they were together.
"So what did you guys do while we were gone?" Robin asked the empath and the changeling.
Raven folded her arms. "It's a long story. I can tell you right now we weren't taking nature hikes the entire time."
"What did you guys do?" Beast Boy asked in return.
"It's a long story," Robin replied, quoting Raven. "Tell you what, we can talk later. Let's get home first."
No one protested. The five of them made their way toward Titans' Tower together.
Home at last.
16 months later…
Not long after the Titan's arrived back in Jump City, the government officially pronounced the threat over and things were finally allowed to start turning back to normal.
As it turned out, most of the central United States had been spared from the invaders' onslaught. The coastal areas and borders were the areas hardest-hit. The Martians in fact had decided to obliterate the edges of the country first and work their way inward. The same thing applied to the other continents on the globe. The hardest-hit areas were Europe , East Asia, and North America, though no country got off lightly from the invasion.
After peace had finally settled, cities around the world started rebuilding. The battle was far from over, especially for the Titans. They helped in the rebuilding of Jump City, and the chaos created by a sudden lack of law made it necessary for them to help in restoring order. Nevertheless, people started returning to their homes and rebuilding their once-proud city.
After finally assessing the damage, the Titans were a little relieved. It was still much worse than the destruction it had suffered before, but it wasn't as bad as the Titans had thought. Many buildings and homes had actually been spared from the onslaught. The Invaders must have figured that once all the people were gone, there really wasn't much need to demolish the buildings. Especially given that their main goal was to kill the people themselves. Nevertheless, it was staggering the amount of damage they had been able to cause in the short amount of time they had been alive. Even still, after the last Martians had been wiped out on earth, they had neither seen nor heard any sign of them since. No activity was even seen on Mars' surface. The Titans all held a cautious belief that that was the last they'd see of the invaders. The invasion had been nothing short of a cataclysmic disaster for the Martians.
When Beast Boy and Raven had learned the reason behind the Martians' sudden defeat, both were shocked, especially Beast Boy.
"It was germs that killed 'em?" he had asked in bewilderment. "Man! I'm never gonna wash myself again!" He had thankfully been kidding.
Now, almost a year and a half later, the city was still rebuilding, though things were well on their way to turning back to normal.
It was Christmas now, and the city wore a fresh blanket of fallen snow, something that didn't happen often in Jump City. It was the second Christmas since the invasion, though it was the first they had actually really celebrated since then. The first Christmas, things were still very busy with the rebuilding, and most stores had yet to be rebuilt anyway.
Now, however, things had gotten back to normal just enough for them to have a real celebration. All were gathered in the common room around a brightly lit tree, laughing and talking as they all exchanged gifts.
"Hey, that one's mine!" Beast Boy shouted excitedly.
"Hey man, back off!" Cyborg warned. The changeling stuck his tongue out at him again. The cybernetic teen had now momentarily taken the roll of Santa Claus and was distributing the presents. Starfire and Robin were sitting next to each other on the loveseat, while Raven and Beast Boy were sitting together on the couch on the other side.
The metal man held up a small orange package, shook it a little, and looked at the tag. "This one's for Starfire!" he beamed.
Starfire took the package eagerly with the anticipation and excitement of a child. "Oh, glorious! I am most excited to see what Santa Claus has brought me!" She looked at the tag. "Oh, it is from Robin!" She turned and grinned widely at him, who was blushing slightly. "Thank you very much, boyfriend Robin!"
The boy wonder still couldn't help turning red every time she used that phrase.
"Here's one for Raven!" Cyborg said in his St. Nicholas voice. He held up a blue package and handed it to the mage.
She took it and took the time to read the tag. "From Beast Boy," she remarked. She glanced over at the blushing changeling. "Thanks."
"Err, no problem. I hope you like it?"
"Oh Robin! I love it! Thank you so much!" they heard Starfire shout. They looked up in time to see the alien pull Robin into a tight hug and plant a kiss on his cheek.
"What'd he get her?" BB asked. They looked over to see Starfire holding a large jar of her favorite brand of mustard, which she had not had for over a year. Meanwhile, Robin had just opened a rather fluffy red and green striped sweater from Starfire.
"Thanks, Star," Robin said while grinning back at her and trying to sound sincere.
"You are most welcome, Robin."
Raven noticed Beast Boy's eyes widen and his face contort as he struggled desperately to contain his laughter. Raven shot him a warning glance.
"No comments, Beast Boy," she warned silently.
"Aw, Raaaven," he whined.
She ignored him and decided to open her gift. Meanwhile Cyborg had handed a green package to Beast Boy.
Raven tore apart the wrapping and tossed it aside to reveal a thick hard-back novel entitled "From Burns to Poe: An Essential Collection of Romantic-Era Poetry."
She stared at the gift she held in her hands. Faint traces of pink appeared on her cheeks. "Beast Boy, this is um, wow. Thanks."
He didn't look encouraged. "Uh, sorry if you don't like it."
Raven glanced over at him. "Are you kidding? I love it." The changeling beamed at the compliment.
"Thanks. I mean, you're welcome."
"Now open yours."
"Hey it's from you. Thanks, Rae!" he said excitedly as he tore it open. Meanwhile, Cyborg had taken a break from distributing to unwrap one of his presents. He was now admiring a container of engine oil for his T-Car.
"Wow! This is the best kind! Thanks, guys!"
Beast Boy finally unwrapped his gift and let out a slight gasp at seeing what it was. Everyone looked over to see what it was.
In his hands Beast Boy held a videogame entitle "Battle for Earth 3: Red Fury." Below it, the sub-caption read: "You are Earth's only hope. Wield dozens of high-tech weapons, gadgets, and vehicles as you stand against the invaders."
Beast Boy stared at the game silently as if in awe. For a moment Raven actually looked worried. Finally the shape-shifter broke the silence with a loud shout.
"ALRIGHT! THIS IS AWESOME!" he yelled as he jumped up in excitement, while at the same time causing Raven to jump in surprise. "Oh my god! I love it I love it I love it! This is like, the best game, I heard! This is so cool! I've heard the multiplayer on here's the best! This is so awesome!" He finally settled down again and sat next to the empath.
"Thanks, Raven," he said sweetly while giving her a puppy-dog look. She surprised him by placing a quick kiss on his cheek.
"I knew you'd like it."
Beast Boy's cheeks turned rosy again.
"Sweet, BB. You and I gotta play it," Cyborg said from across the room.
"Hey Rae, you should play it with us," Beast Boy suggested. "What do you think?"
She merely shrugged at him and actually seemed to be considering it. "Maybe. But I don't need to play it, Beast Boy. I've lived it."
The room erupted in laughter.
At last, it's finally finished! While this was fun to write, I must say it's a relief to get this finished, especially considering this should have been done months ago. At first, I was planning on ending the story right after the beach scene where they finally reunite. Instead, I decided to just add an extra scene for a little more closure, and I think it ended up better for it. Yeah, I'm aware Robin getting Starfire mustard was probably a tad weak, but oh well. (and it's meant to be funny anyway) Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to review, especially Invader Johnny, Windy Days, and Hhgbh.
Author's Note: A few chapters back, I said I was toying with a new TT fic but was unsure whether or not I was going to post it. After thinking about it, I've decided that I will post it, and I'm actually excited about writing this one. It's going to be completely original, not a crossover, will most likely be a fantasy, and it will contain a few of my own characters! And yes, as of right now there will be romance, mostly BB/Rae. (it's not my fault, I'm fond of the pairing) However it won't be posted for probably a few months, as I still need to finish my KOTOR fic, and after that I'm going to take a break from writing. In the meantime I'll just keep reading and reviewing other fics. Once again, thanks to all who have read and reviewed this story. Until then, keep writing! So long!