"It is not the burn of your eyes…"

Bubbles Utonium, age 29, flipped nimbly out of the way of the cutting scythe singing though the air. She whipped a burning blue energy blast at her assailant, who just as nimbly evaded, pressing her attack. Cold red eyes met Bubble's bright aqua, as the scythe slashed out again, closing the distance between the two women in nanoseconds. Bubbles blocked the hard wood of the scythe's handle with her forearm, pulling the weapon and its wielder forward into a vicious kick. The red-eyed woman rammed a dagger into Bubble's side, making her scream as the enchanted blade pierced her flesh. Instinctively she backhanded her attacker, sending the woman with red eyes flying into a pile of wreckage with a resounding crash.

Bubbles stood unsteadily, breathing hard, as she held her heavily bleeding side. And kept her eyes on the wreckage, as her opponent emerged, unscathed. Her red eyes still cold.

"It's not the poison of your glance…"

"How much longer do you really think you can keep this up?" The woman asked in a low, sensuous tone, black lace wrapped around steel. Her elaborate, gravity-defying black dress revealed nearly enough skin to be considered indecent. But then, this woman was now the ruler of Hell. She had brought the fires of the Underworld onto Earth proper, consuming all of the mortal realm. In her hand she wielded the scythe of the Grim Reaper himself… Once her husband and dark love, now destroyed utterly in his attempt to stem his beloved's mad rampage across the multiverse.

"Don't know," Bubbles admitted, her breathing labored. The empress of Hell smirked in her dark, humorless way.

"You never were very bright," she murmured, her emotions hidden as they were back in school. Bubbles could still clearly recall the girl she'd once called friend. Beautiful, with a unique, horn-like hairstyle, large expressive blue eyes, a lithe form usually covered in a pink dress. And always, always, a look of anger, of disgust adorning her otherwise gentle features.


"Nor the acid in your tongue…"

"You can't talk me out of it, Bubbles," Mandy replied quietly. "Nothing you say or do can change what has happened, what is happening, and what will, inevitably, happen."

The blonde empress of Hell looked over the ragged woman, in her dirty jeans and torn T-shirt, messy blonde hair barely covering gashes and scars running across her nose, cheeks and neck. Bubbles was a warrior, pure and simple.

Her sisters had fallen first in the empress's conquest of the mortal realm. Blossom, fighting desperately alongside her husband, Dexter, as hundreds of refugees escaped through one of his various, fantastic dimension-crossing inventions. Blossom had been carrying their third child, and had not fought a real battle in years, but she had laid waste to fully two-thirds of Mandy's army before finally falling at the hands of the empress herself. Her husband, in grief and rage, sealed the lab and engaged the self-destruct, hoping to take the murderess with him.

It had failed.

"And not the way your breath hitches at my face…"

Buttercup, the strongest fighter, had died while trying to take Mandy into the sun's core with her. It had been desperate, beyond desperation, but who could kill one who was the mistress of Death itself?

And so, Mandy had continued bringing death, to all.

The good…

The Professor… Atomic Betty… Jack… The Kids Next Door… Danny Phantom…

The bad…

The Rowdy Rough Boys… Mojo Jojo… Father… Nergal… Aku… Zim…

The famous…

Godzilla… The Teen Titans… Monkey…

The infamous…

Timmy Turner…Jimmy Neutron… Dib… Megas… Belle…

They were all taken. All gone.

She was all there was left.

"But the tightness of your fists, once open and kind…"

"Then why have you paused?" Bubbles asked, wondering if she really cared what the answer was. Mandy said nothing.

Bubbles shook her head.

"I'm all that's left. The only thing left in your way." Bubbles winced, gripping the wound in her side harder. "That's all anyone is to you, after all… A means to an end. That's all… It ever was." The woman felt the urge to cough but suppressed it, even as the metallic taste of blood touched the back of her tongue.

"Yes," Mandy answered calmly. Bubbles rolled her eyes, figuring that if she was going to die, she was going to do it getting out what she'd been holding in for so long.

"But that's not the truth, is it, Mandy?"

The empress of Hell said nothing.

"You are human, Mandy. All the magic in the universe can't change that. You loved once… Loved me… Loved Grim..."

"I never did," Mandy returned. "You should know better than anyone. I left you, used you up and left you in the gutter. Just as I'd always intended." Bubbles laughed hollowly.

"Really? Is that what you've convinced yourself happened?" Bubbles stumbled up to the empress of the underworld, not caring if these were her last moments, not caring that she was in no shape to fight… All that mattered was the truth.

"And the smile that no longer reaches your eyes…"

"You left me, all of us, who loved you, because you were afraid," Bubbles spat. "Afraid… Of feeling. You'd locked it down so tightly inside yourself, refusing to let it affect you, trying to convince yourself, that you were above it, beyond it. But the truth is, Mandy, you didn't suppress your feelings out of arrogance… But out of fear." Bubble was now right up in Mandy's face, blue eyes to scarlet, animated, scarred flesh to pristine, immortal.

"I love you, you know… I always will. I can't help it. I tried to block it out, like you did… Tried to never think of you again, to fill my heart with hate… But I realized… That I was weaker, wasting all my time and energy on binding up my feelings. That I was afraid." Bubble's tone became deathly calm.

"That's all you are. Afraid. A frightened little girl, destroying the world so she doesn't have to face what's inside." Bubbles shook her head one last time, before smiling at Mandy. Still stone-faced, but with a gleam in her eyes that wasn't there before.

"I love you…" Bubbles murmured, before she finally fell, a peaceful smile gracing her face as she gave in to Death. Leaving Mandy standing over her, scythe in hand, as the skies above churned blood red and fire orange.

The empress of Hell, victorious, looked down at the prone body for countless moments. What did time matter to one such as her, after all?

She then turned away, and walked smoothly away. She made no sound, as a few drops of moisture hit the rubble under her strides.

"I can hope forever to see your heart return…"

Mandy shut her bedroom door with a deep sigh, and leaned back against it. Her first day of school at Megaville Elementary had been, as usual, a complete waste of time. The new students were a bunch of empty-headed goody-girls, who were apparently some kind of moronic superheroines trying to mop up the crime and jaywalkers for society. Like they had a chance.

One in particular, named Bubbles, had been the most annoying. Reaching out to her, talking kindly… Granted, she'd been smarter than she had first appeared, but she was still another part of the scum that was humanity. She'd given her an invite to her birthday party, the little ditz. Mandy, naturally, had torn it up and tossed it in the garbage before heading home, pointedly ignoring Bubble's tears of disbelief and hurt.

She instinctively reached out, her fingers groping for the lightswitch. The sudden illumination of the room only blinded her for a moment… Then she saw the figure sitting on her bed. Mandy, used to bizarre happenings, was nevertheless shocked by this latest encounter.

"Hello, Mandy," the tall, demonically-dressed blonde woman spoke in an eerily familiar voice. At her side was Grim's scythe. In her hand was the birthday party invite, perfectly intact.

"We need to talk."

"Or I can help you find it yourself, and see that it gets back home."

A/N: A little add-on to bleedman's fantastic doujinshi universe. The poem is mine.