The final chapter. It's been a long ride, but I'm so honored you all went along with me. Further notes, behind the scenes goodies, and a questionnaire on my deviantART and Tumblr accounts.
Unedited. Enjoy and, more importantly, thank you.
"End? No, the journey doesn't end here."
– Gandalf, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
"So, picking up the pieces, now where to begin?
The hardest part of ending is starting again"
– Linkin Park, "Waiting for the End"
("The Vicious Cycle")
In the months that followed the defeat of Mojo Jojo, things began to drastically change. The immediate changes came in Townsville first, where the biggest damage had occurred when the takeover had taken place. With the assistance of the girls, the city was rebuilt relatively fast. Though there was still a level of construction going on in the city (the residents of Townsville claimed that rebuilding the city themselves marked their freedom and independence), Townsville Hall had been built first in order to get order reinstated amongst the chaos.
In terms of leadership, the Mayor was placed back in office as he was the last one to hold power prior to the takeover. Though there had been some who vocalized against the Mayor's reinstatement as they felt he was to blame for letting the takeover happen, the general public agreed that bringing back the Mayor would also bring back a level of stability to the already instable environment.
Once Townsville Hall was up and running, the Mayor, Ms. Bellum, John, and the girls quickly decided that the police department, hospital, fire departments, and, oddly enough, the zoo needed to be up and running within the weeks of the Mayor returning to office. As soon as the buildings were built and former servicemen returned to work, the girls deposited Mojo into the prison and the normalized apes into the zoo.
When Townsville was up and running, though mentally scarred by the events that had transpired, the girls had endeavored to get the rest of the world up and running. It was not an easy process. First, reinstating the leaders of the world had been difficult as it became a matter of finding all the leaders. It became an even harder task when information was release that some leaders either refused to return to power or had died during Mojo's reign.
But reinstating leaders was simply the tip of the iceberg. Some countries were not able to peacefully place their leaders back into the government. Some had centuries of internal strife that had not been solved during Mojo's reign. And other countries that were able to place their leaders back in power decided to play the blame game with each other.
The United States took on a large amount of the blame as that's where Mojo originated from. Despite the U.S. government trying to ease the worries of their neighbors and allies, the fear of another apocalyptic attack kept peace from truly returning. The Powerpuff Girls had refused to get involved in the political tension until it became obvious that the world was on the brink of war. Only then did the girls get involved.
At a world summit at the rebuilt United Nations, there were so many raised voices that hardly anybody could hear each other speak. It wasn't until Buttercup managed to get everyone's attention (although Bubbles wouldn't say that unleashing a minor sonic boom was the appropriate attention-getting technique) that the world's politicians settled down enough to listen.
The room had been rather calm for a good thirty minutes before it escalated in noise again. Again, Buttercup applied her "attention-getting" technique, at which point Blossom drew together a compromise that the world's leaders could agree upon. When it became apparent that there were some politicians who didn't want to agree to the compromise, Blossom decided to play a card she seldom liked playing; she used her most threatening tone of voice.
After the political matters were settled as much as they could possibly be (after all, political situations and crises are never truly settled), the various countries turned inward to smooth out whatever immediate problems had sprung up. Issues such as money problems were harder to solve.
In terms of education, there was an eleven year gap that needed to be resolved. In order to try and work out this problem, any teachers that could make a teachers summit all decided that an aptitude test would be the best possible way to figure out where students needed to be placed. Classroom environments would be odd for awhile, they knew, since most had varying ages in the classrooms, but the teachers also knew that once things were normalized once more, the ages would return to the way it used to be. It was only going to take time.
That seemed to be the motto for the entire world: "it was going to take time". No matter how much people wanted to rush the world back to the way it used to be, there was no going around that trying to play catch up was hard. Even simple problems seem to be difficult. The world – even things like weather and ecosystems – were scarred and damaged by Mojo's reign. It was not uncommon to see groups of people demoralized and wanting to return back to the way Mojo ran things for no other reason than it was more simple to deal with.
Despite the demoralization, the presence of the Powerpuff Girls and their aid to all the countries of the world – not just the United States – seemed to keep the world from plummeting into another Dark Ages. Blossom's brilliant mind aided in solving difficult problems, Buttercup's toughness and fierce determination inspired others to persevere, and Bubbles' optimism reminded many of the good times that were ahead if they kept at it. The girls had turned nineteen by the time the world started to resemble its former glory.
Now, as for the villains of Townsville, things proceeded as such:
Princess Morbucks, for all intents and purposes, was branded a traitor. Though her lawyer had tried to plead with the court that Princess Morbucks was only a minor during the takeover and therefore not responsible for her actions, the jury (and the people) found her guilty when she decided to act on her own – without the consent of her lawyer – and told the entire courthouse that she did what she did knowing the consequences and "didn't give a damn" about anyone else – only herself. On the grounds of aiding and sponsoring Mojo as well as other charges such as battery, assault, harassment, and mayhem, Princess Morbucks' assets were seized and she was sentenced to life in prison.
Unlike Princess Morbucks, Sedusa and Femme Fatale – Johanna and Andrea, respectively – were not branded traitors, but only for the simple fact that the two women had been criminals before Mojo had taken over the world. In a twisted logic, the humans believed that the two deranged women only acted as their moral compass – or lack of one – had commanded. However, that did not mean the two got off scotch free. Both were sentenced to long term sentences in prison for the hunting and capturing of their fellow humans. There was no chance for parole, as far as the Townsville justice system was concerned.
The primates were all scanned by Professor Utonium to be certain that any traces of Chemical X were wiped out of their systems. When John gave the Townsville government the confirmation that the primates were normalized, they were placed back into the zoo. In order to ease the worries of other leaders, Townsville Hall reinforced the security around both the zoo and the animal cages.
Mojo Jojo's case had taken awhile. There had been threats of violence against the once leader of the world. Humans from all around the world wanted to brutally harm Mojo's person for all the strife he had caused them. There was all sorts of talk about what type of punishments to bestow upon the primate – from everything from medieval approaches to modern lethal punishments. As the proceedings went along, citizens of all nations became impatient and demanded immediate action against Mojo. It had become so bad, in fact, that Mojo's police guards were on high alert for assassination attempts came.
Finally, a compromised was released: Mojo Jojo would not be executed because he was to be completely stripped of all Chemical X in his system. To the humans, who never had Chemical X in them, this seemed like a tame and mild form of punishment. To the Powerpuff Girls, however, who understood that getting rid of Chemical X would be reducing Mojo back to a lab pet, knew the severity. And despite Bubbles' bleeding heart and sympathy, she did nothing to interfere with the punishment as Professor Utonium cautioned her that to do so would possibly result in massive riots.
Over a decade after obtaining his gift of intelligence, Mojo Jojo was no more. In his place was Jojo, a simple lab monkey.
The Rowdyruff Boys was another difficult case. Like Mojo, there were some who were hard-pressed in forgiving the boys for their actions. Surprisingly, it was Professor Utonium that had explained to the world that the boys didn't know any better – unlike the others before them – as they had been born in a world where they believed they were doing right. Should they be punished for not knowing any better, he had asked his global audience.
John's defense of the boys caused a rift to be created, with one side willing to forgive the boys (though not without proper punishment) and the other side unwilling to forgive or forget. Things changed again when Brick, who had been quiet and subdued the entire process, gave up all of Mojo's backup files and drives and whatever else he had created to the court without giving the reason as to why he had done so. More people had drifted to the side of punishing, but eventually forgiving the boys.
The boys were eventually sentenced to the Townsville Men's Correctional Facility when, after it seemed like the boys would lose their case, Professor Utonium again came to their defense. He told the court the three boys were powerless – as normal as any human and no longer a threat – and the reason for that was because the three of them risked their lives to save the Powerpuff Girls. Once more, he asked the court a difficult question: could they severely punish the boys that saved their beloved heroes? Could they severely punish three boys who had seen the errors of their way and tried to correct it?
The answer had been no. Thus, the sentencing. Created as another compromise to the world, the boys would serve a few years in prison, whereupon they could be released on good behavior and after they were evaluated. They would not, however, get their powers back. That was too risky for the humans. Needless to say, it was a light and forgiving sentence compared to a majority of their predecessors.
And so, after the last sentence had been carried out, the world decided to move on from Mojo's "Reign of Terror" and go about their lives as much as possible.
She stared at the patterns on the table and let her long, thin fingers trace over any shape she could make out. She had been sitting here for a good five minutes now, waiting for the officers to get her guest. She was waiting in the normal visitor's room, but nobody else was here. Just her. It made sense, though. With the city still so new and the scars from Mojo's reign still relatively fresh, Townsville Men's Correctional Facility had few inmates. Cynically, she knew that number would eventually grow.
As she turned her attention away from the patterns on the wooden table and focused her attention on her hands, someone sat down across from her. She felt her heart stop beating for a second and her stomach lurch at her guest's presence, but didn't look up just yet. Some measure of fear was nestled in her emotions, a level of shame keeping her from looking up. But she knew she had to look up, to face what her actions had a part of shaping.
Slowly, in a measured pace, she finally looked up at her guest. It had been a long time since she had last seen him. With the world trying to restore order and her participating in the overseeing of said order, she really hadn't had time to see him – or anyone else, for that matter.
"Brick," she said warily, testing out his name and his reception to her.
He didn't fly off the handle like she thought he would at her presence. Instead, all he did was steadily say, "Blossom."
An awkward silence befell the two of them. She studied him during this silence. The correctional facility seemed to have let him keep his hat because it was on top of his head, backwards and hiding his messy red hair. His facial expression, she noticed, was just as stoic was it always was, but there wasn't any level of hostility underneath it like there typically was. He seemed…settled, was the best word she could use. Not defeated and not happy, but settled. Like he expected himself to be here, but wasn't upset about it.
He finally broke the quiet. "Why are you here?"
"Because I wanted to see you," she replied before she had a chance to think up something to say.
She bit her bottom lip. "Whether you believe it or not, I really did become your friend and I really was concerned about how you were faring in here."
He didn't say anything to that like she thought he would've. One of his hands that was on the table simply clenched into a fist and he looked away. She kept watching him when they fell into yet another awkward silence. A minute passed before it was her turn to break the silence. "Did you really give up Mojo's backup hard drives and plans?"
"Yes," he answered.
He shrugged. "I don't know. It just felt like…"
Brick broke off his sentence, but Blossom heard loud and clear what he had meant to say. It just felt like the right thing to do.
Mrs. Torres had been right when she had said that the boys weren't evil so long ago. The Rowdyruff Boys weren't evil. It had taken Blossom a little bit of time to get past the fear and her clouded judgment, but when she did, she had seen Brick in a different light. Then, she had pitied him. He hadn't known any better and when he attacked her after her identity was revealed, it was only because it was the only way he knew how.
She looked down at her hands and found herself wishing that things had been different. That she and Brick had met in a different situation, a better one. Maybe things would have been better between them, smoother. As she contemplated this, Brick said, "They're thinking about letting us out soon. You know…because of good behavior and all that."
Blossom looked up, shocked but pleasantly surprised. "Really?"
Brick wasn't looking at her. "They're not going to give our powers back – no matter how much Butch complains about it." He sighed heavily. "But I expected as much."
"What are the three of you going to do?"
It was Brick's turn to look at the patterns on the wood. "Butch wants to join the military."
Now Blossom was really surprised. "The military?"
He shrugged and snorted. "You know my brother; he likes a good fight. The military will enable him to continue fighting and brawling without anybody telling him otherwise. Better the military, though, than some sport or whatever. The military has orders and a hierarchy. He's used to that and won't go crazy from having no one there to check him."
She nodded slowly, taking in his worlds. "And Boomer?"
"I don't know," he replies with another shrug. "He mentioned something about traveling the world, seeing different sights. I don't think he knows what he wants to do. His occupation choices changes all the time. It's your sister's influence."
His words reminded her of something. With a small gasp of "oh!", Blossom reached into her purse and brought out an envelope. In Bubbles' curly cursive, the front of the envelope read Boomer's name. She slid it across to Brick. "That's for Boomer, from Bubbles."
Brick took the envelope and opened it. Blossom pursed her lips together. Although she knew it was considered rude to go through someone's mail, she was also intensely curious about what Bubbles had sent her counterpart.
The two blonde haired and blue-eyed young adults had kept up correspondence after the boys had been sent to prison, and Bubbles had a habit of sending Boomer an envelope. What was inside was anyone's guess as typically she mailed it to him. This time, though, she asked Blossom to deliver it personally since the redhead was heading to the prison.
So, she watched as curious as a cat as Brick opened it and out came a stack of pictures. Confused, the two redheads stared at the photos. But they were nothing special, from what they could see. They were simply photographs of average people doing average things. Even the small number of landscape pictures were nothing special, nothing breathtaking. And the oddest in the whole bunch was a small postcard with a picture of the world map on the front.
"I don't get it," Brick said stiffly as he stuffed the photos back into the envelope. "I don't understand them."
What the two leaders hadn't realized was that these pictures were more than just pictures. Back when Bubbles was simply "Amber" to Boomer, she had given him various descriptions of what the world, what mankind, was like before Mojo had destroyed it all. She had painted wonderful, terrible, beautiful, ugly pictures of the reality of humankind and Boomer had been curious about what this life was like. Since he spent a majority of his post-Mojo Jojo life locked up, he couldn't see the world was it was.
Thus, six months into Boomer's imprisonment, Bubbles sent her first envelope. Every chance she got, she took pictures of things she wanted to show him. Pictures of kids running to their dads, masters playing with their pets, people talking and interacting – all sorts of things. And she always included a postcard with it. The postcards were typically pictures of all the major cities of the world, showing him what humans could do, had the power to do.
This last postcard was a symbol, though, and one only Boomer would understand. She was telling Boomer that the world was his to explore. And explore he was going to do.
Brick glanced up from the envelope and stared at his counterpart, perplexed. "And me, what?"
"What are you going to do when you get out?" Blossom asked softly.
He looked back down at the item in his hand. He was quiet for a few moments before he shook his head slowly. "I don't know. I'll figure it out, I suppose."
Blossom wanted to tell him that she'd be willing to help him, but she wasn't sure if that was the right thing to say to him or if it was the right time. Though he was at least speaking to her again, she wasn't sure how well his deep hurt had healed, and she didn't want to endanger the fragile friendship they had.
After a beat of silence, he said, so quiet she might've missed it if it weren't for her super hearing, "But I'd like to seek you out."
And there it was. What Blossom had been seeking for – his forgiveness. This was the closest thing she was ever going to get to him telling her he forgave her for betraying him. His intention to seek her out, to bring her back into his life, meant so much to her. So, with a small smile, she murmured, "I'd like that."
Gradually, she reached across the table the placed her hand on top of his. She stayed like that for a second before she started to pull back, afraid she'd ruin what had just happened. But as she pulled back, Brick ensnared her fingers with his and cradled her hand in his. She didn't move or say anything until his hand gently squeezed hers. With a smile, she gently squeezed back.
I forgive you.
"The girls seemed to have settled in nicely."
John glanced up from the pasta he was boiling to the phone that was switched on to speaker. His lips turned upward ever so slightly and he said, "Yes, Sara, I believe they have."
"I'm just glad that the citizens all seem to accept the girls," Ms. Keane added.
The three were in a conference call and had been talking about important matters that needed to be discussed for the future of Townsville. The retirement of the Mayor and holding the elections for a new one had been the topic they had been on until Ms. Bellum brought up the girls.
"Yes, I am too," John agreed. He stirred the pasta noodles, making sure they weren't sticking to the walls of the pot. "But I am not as naïve as I once was."
"You're not going to trust them anymore, are you?" Ms. Bellum asked.
"No," he replied. "Humans are fickle. One moment, you're every man's hero. The next, you're their villain. And it could be for any reason, really. The reason doesn't need to matter for the people to turn their hero into their villain. My priority is the girls and their happiness and safety."
"Understandable," Ms. Keane commented. "You are a father first."
"Exactly." He paused and collected his thoughts. "Is it true the boys are going to be released?"
"Eventually, yes," answered Sara. "The exact date is unknown, but the boys have proven they are fit to be released. They're good boys. The correctional officers have nothing to complain about. They even seem to like the boys. Though, I don't agree with the fact they'll play gambling games with Butch. Wherever he gets the means to gamble, I'll never know."
John looked in the direction he knew Buttercup was at and cryptically said, "I think I have a pretty good idea."
He wouldn't have been surprised if Buttercup was catering to her counterpart (he's not surprised any of his girls are catering to their counterparts, despite the fatherly side of him disliking his pretty, young daughters receiving attentions from the opposite gender). Like Bubbles, who remained in contact with Boomer, Buttercup visited Butch as often as she could. She'd visit him whenever she was free and they'd play a round of poker or whatever card game they fancied at the time.
"Their friendship as certainly grown," hummed Ms. Keane. "It's good. An honest friendship is what Butch needs and someone to keep with her is what Buttercup needs."
Ms. Bellum speaks up. "John, I'm concerned about a resurgence of criminals. Townsville wasn't exactly the haven of peace and innocence before the girls came along. It was filled with crime and criminals. What if that comes back? Moreover, what if someone tries to do what Mojo did? You know that there is always someone out there strong enough and willing enough to take up the torch."
John nodded, though he knew the two women couldn't see him. "I understand, Sara, but let's take this a step at a time. We can't get ahead of ourselves just yet."
"Besides," Ms. Keane added lightly, happily, "the Powerpuff Girls are always ready and willing to help."
John looked up towards the roof. "Yes, yes, they are." He was quiet only for a moment, before he said. "Now, about the new Powerpuff communication system I wanted to talk to you about. I was thinking that we…"
Ms. Bellum, Ms. Keane, and Professor Utonium continued to speak about the hope and future of their city, and would continue for as long as they were able.
The girls were laying on the rooftop of their home. Below them, they could hear their father working in the kitchen, talking with Ms. Bellum and Ms. Keane in a conference call about important matters pertaining to the city. The smell of spaghetti drifted out into the night sky and the girls' stomachs grumbled in anticipation of their evening meal.
When Buttercup's stomach growled the loudest, the three of them began giggling uncontrollably. As their laughter died down, Bubbles suddenly said, "Wow."
"What?" Blossom and Buttercup asked in unison.
The blonde smiled. "Nothing. Just admiring how different our lives are. Two years ago we were barely scrapping by on a floating rock and now look where we are. We're lying down on the roof of our home, staring up at the stars, and waiting for Dad to call us down for dinner."
Her two sisters considered her words, the weight of Bubbles' observation washing over them. However, that level of seriousness was wiped away when Buttercup's stomach growled loudly again and caused the other two to break out into laughter. The green-eyed girl rolled her eyes and said, "What! I'm hungry, okay?"
Bubbles propped herself up on one arm and faced Blossom and Buttercup. "Do you think this peace will last?"
Blossom's quick response threw the blonde off guard. Buttercup, on the other side of Blossom, snorted. "And you call me a pessimist, Bubbles?"
The redhead shook her head. "I'm not being pessimistic. I'm just being realistic." She sat up. "You both can see it, I'm sure. We're being called out more and more lately to stop whoever decides to attempt to ruin the city. New villains are popping up all that time."
"That red fruit loop is the worst one," Buttercup grumbled, crossing her arms. "Who laughs like that! No, no – who dresses like that!"
"'Red fruit loops' aside," Blossom continued, shaking her head at her sister, "we're in a vicious cycle. We can stop one villain, but someone stronger –" ("Or more stupid," Buttercup snidely added) "– will always come along to try their luck."
Bubbles laid flat on her back again, looking up at the stars sadly. "That's horrible."
Blossom nodded. "Yeah, but we'll always be there to make sure that they never succeed, that the world doesn't get taken over again. This is our home and we're going to protect it."
Her sister's words forced a smile on Bubbles' face. Even Buttercup had to grin at her leader's semi-inspirational words. Yes, the three of them had come far. Not only in that they were now living comfortably in Pokey Oaks suburbs, but in how their sense of responsibility had grown. Their powers had matured and an understanding that they could not run away from their problems had developed keenly in them.
So, yes, the Powerpuff Girls were in a vicious cycle, but their sense of responsibility, inability to run away, to face their problems head on, and a sense of duty, protection, and loyalty kept them from shying away from that vicious cycle.
From the distance, in the night sky, a bright pink heart was formed.
Seeing the Powerpuff Signal, Blossom stood up and turned to her sisters. As they stood up with her, the redhead smiled at them and said, "Let's roll!"
Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice.
These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girls. But Professor Utonium accidentally added another ingredient to the concoction – Chemical X.
Thus, the Powerpuff Girls were born.
Using their ultra super powers, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil.