A/N-Ok, Loyal Readers, the votes are in and it's pretty much unanimous for the "Does This Shit Never End?" ending. I asked, you replied, you get what you ask for. And everyone but poor, beleaguered Mary Sue is happy.

Disclaimer---now, dammit, I lost the blasted form for this! Crap on a crutch! Just assume anything you recognize and is good belongs to someone else (HarpWire or Tolkien or one of the other Powers That Be), and anything absurd, crappy, or excessively vulgar is my fault. Maybe I will bother with a proper disclaimer once I find that stupid form. Stinking paperwork......

Obligatory Epilogue, or "Does This Shit Never End?!?!?!"

Acacia was just about to step through the portal when Jay grabbed her arm. "Did you hear that?" Jay asked urgently.

"Hear what?" Acacia wanted to know. "All I hear is the mountain."

But Jay wasn't listening to Acacia. She had her head cocked and was staring off towards the Crack of Doom, obviously straining to hear something. Acacia poked her\ . "I said, 'hear what?'" she snarled. Acacia was not in one of her rare good moods.

"There! That! I hear it again," Jay exclaimed. "It sounds like..swearing?"

"Swearing?" Acacia asked dubiously. "I think you've been in Mordor too long."

"No, I mean it. I hear swearing. And something else, too," Jay protested.

Just then, they both heard a small, unmistakable cry for "HELP!", followed by a long string of vulgarity in at least three different languages.

The Protectors stared stupidly at each other for far longer than they ought to have, given they were in the bowels of an about-to-explode volcano. It's not that they didn't know better (they most certainly did, they were trained professionals after all), it's just that Mary Sue's slow-thinking may have been contagious. Either that or the sacrilegious, scatological and sexually deviant suggestions they could hear mixed in with the cries for help had shocked them senseless. In any case, it took several seconds before Jay finally cried out "Mary Sue!" and dashed toward the edge of the Crack of Doom, Acacia hard on her heels.

"What are you doing? There's no way she survived that plunge!" Acacia protested.

Jay looked at Acacia. "Can you think of anyone else it could be?" she wanted to know.

Acacia just sighed in reply. She got down on her stomach and peered over the edge of the Crack. Sure enough, clinging desperately to the side and swearing for all she's worth, was Mary Sue.

Jay disturbed some pebbles as she joined Acacia. They pelted Mary Sue on the head, attracting her attention upward. "Get me the flying fuck out of here!" she shrieked. "I can't hang on!"

Mary Sue's shirt was torn right across the Batman symbol, exposing a disturbing amount of flesh better left covered. She had her toes dug into some barely-there fissure in the cliffside, while her hands kept slipping on the tiny overhang she gripped. Beneath her, the lava of the crack boiled and writhed, rising steadily. All in all, it was a wonderful end to a terrific day.

"Come ON!" Mary Sue bellowed as the Protectors hesitated. "My friggin' BOOTS are melting!"

While Mary Sue was bitching, Jay was reaching down toward her. It was just a tiny bit too far. "I can't reach you," she shouted over the increasing din of the volcano.

"Use your bow!" Mary Sue screamed.

"What?" Jay shouted back.

"She said something about your ho," Acacia said.

"I am NOT a ho!" Jay protested.

"NOT HO, BOW!! LOWER DOWN YOUR BOW SO I CAN GRAB IT!" Mary Sue bellowed. Her grip was slipping and panic had firmly set in. She couldn't remember how long Mt Doom took to blow according to Tolkien, but in her memories of the old Rankin/Bass cartoon it went up pretty damn fast. "I am NOT going to die here! I will NOT fry in the bowels of Mt Doom! Do you hear me?? I WILL NOT DIE HERE!!!!" she screamed at the cliff she clung to. Talking to the rocks had taken on a life of its own.

Meanwhile, Jay unslung her bow. Acacia stared doubtfully down at Mary Sue. "I think she's really cracked this time. She didn't swear once in that," she commented.

"Forget that. Just grab hold of my ankles. I have no intention of falling in," Jay replied, getting down on her belly to lower the bow to Mary Sue.

"Whyever not?" Acacia asked with mock innocence. Jay just glared at her until Acacia sighed and grabbed her ankles.

"Not so hard!" Jay protested.

"You change your mind about falling in?" Acacia wanted to know.

Again, Jay did not dignify that with a reply. She was busy lowering her unstrung bow. She lowered it just a bit too far, and it thunked Mary Sue on the top of her head.

"What the.??" she spluttered, nearly losing her grip on the cliff. She looked up and saw Jay's orc face grinning madly above the bow. Curses changing to prayers, she grabbed ahold and clung for all she was worth. "I've got it! Pull me up!!"

Jay heaved, Acacia heaved, and Mary Sue swore until she was up enough to scramble onto solid rock. Panting and wild-eyed, she turned to the Protectors. "Let's get the hell out of here before we fry!"

Jay nodded. Acacia bristled; she didn't like anyone non-plant-based giving her orders. She didn't like the plant-based ones giving orders either, but she put up with it. Still, hanging around the Cracks of Doom while they heaved and threatened to explode didn't strike her as the best idea in the world, so she wordlessly opened the portal to Headquarters. "If you're coming, better move now," she snarled at Mary Sue.

Jay just rolled her eyes and stepped through the portal. Mary Sue stared, gulped, glanced over her shoulder at the Crack, and leapt through after her. Acacia went last, closing the portal behind her.

Mary Sue had been brought to PPC headquarters. What was the world coming too?