(I've made this clear enough all along, but just to reiterate, I do not own the Titans. Happy? -Concolor44)

EPILOGUE (Be sure to read Chapter 30 before continuing here!)

near K'Naa, ten months later …

I'm alone on the bridge right now. I wanted to see it first by myself. By my reckoning, it's been three hundred and eight days since Jinx and Raven warped away from Earth, and now here we are on this sleek little number of a starship, blinking out of FTL in K'Naa's general vicinity. I started the subroutine for establishing orbit.

I'm the 'official' pilot. That just made lots of sense, seeing that I can hook my circuitry right into the ship's drive control, and fly it directly with my mind. Eh. It gave me something to do with the time. See, the way it turned out, I was the only member of the Titans who had elected to come along. Crime was starting to pick back up a bit. Terra and Robin felt like they were needed more in Jump City, and Starfire sure as hell wasn't going anywhere without her husband. But I was eyeball-deep in the scientific aspects of the Transition Event right from the start, and I'd be double dog damned before I missed a chance to actually meet K'Naa.

And so here we are, and the thought running around my head like a gnome with its ass on fire is, How are we going to contact them to let them know we're here?

I shouldn't have worried. Raven just appeared – pop! – right there on the bridge. Scared me out of a year's growth.

She was buck naked, which gave me another shock, but then she grinned a little and a sparkly, black leotard appeared on her. Then she shot me a sober look. "You don't know how close you came to missing that chance, Victor."

Ooookay. That was weird. "What are you talking about?"

"Meeting K'Naa. You didn't want to miss the chance. But it was a narrow squeak for everyone."

It's unsettling to have someone pick up on your thoughts that easily. I didn't have time to comment on it, though. The rest of the ship's complement took that moment to make an appearance, trotting in quickly and filling the small bridge. Raven looked around at the group: Wonder Woman, J'onn J'onzz, and four more that I knew she didn't know, two men and two women.

Wonder Woman said, "Raven, I'd like you to meet some people who have become very good friends of ours. This is Jakob Strauss of the European Union, Marianne Heath of the United States, Yu Peng of China, and Cara Feliz of Brazil."

The four bowed to her in turn. Raven shook their hands, a slight smile growing on her face. "You aren't going back, are you?"

We all looked at each other in surprise, and Jakob and Cara shook their heads. She said, "We'd like to stay on, sort of as a cross between pioneer and ambassador. If that's all right with K'Naa."

A gentle wave of love sighed through the cabin, making some of them catch their balance. Eyes round, we all looked at Raven. Jakob stammered, "Wa-wa-was that … was that …"

"That was K'Naa, yes. She would be very pleased to have you stay. That was her goal, you know."

I touched her hesitantly on the arm. I had so many questions. But then she gave me a big smile and pulled me into a hug and said, "Jinx is going to be very happy to see you. She talks about you a good bit, you know."

I had to swallow twice before I could speak in any language besides Cough. "Really? She does?"

"Mm-hmm." She let me go and took a short step back, so she could face all of us. She bowed formally and intoned, "K'Naa sends her greeting to all who come in peace. Welcome, travelers, and rest."

Then we were all standing on a flat area of rock in front of a cave mouth. Several of us gasped, but Raven managed to get us calmed down. We took a minute or so to just look around at the pristine, floral paradise that spread out in all directions.

I finally got my thoughts collected enough to ask, "What was it you meant when you said we almost didn't get the chance to meet her?"

Wonder Woman, I noticed, watched her closely while Raven answered. "When we got here, she was under attack."

That brought some more gasps. Cara said, "Attack? But who …"

"Darkseid." That was from Wonder Woman. I'm still not comfortable calling her 'Diana' even though she corrects me every time.

Raven cocked a curious eye over at her, and said, "Yes. Probably. At least it was a ship of Apokolips. I don't know if Darkseid himself was with them, but I did finally recognize the parademons, much, much later. We had a few brutal hours right after we got here, and didn't really have much time for analysis. And poor K'Naa … they almost killed her. She's still recovering, and will be for many years to come."

"But why?" Cara wanted to know. "With all that love! Who could ever … that doesn't … I can't …"

"We have no idea. We never found out the reason behind it. But we did put a stop to it."

"I can tell you the reason," said Wonder Woman.

Raven stepped over to stand in front of the Amazon, who was quite a bit taller than she. "How do you know?"

"Dr. Fate told me."

Raven's jaw dropped a bit. "Kent? How did he …"

"He got visions. He was the reason you felt it necessary to bring Beast Boy along. He said he sent you dreams."

My old teammate got an irritated look on her face for a second, but that soon turned into a settled resignation. "I guess I can't fault him for that. He's gotta be the most principled sorcerer I know, so he wouldn't have done it if he didn't think it was necessary." She looked back up at Wonder Woman. "So why was Darkseid here?"

"He knew about the Transition Events, and somehow tracked down their origin. He wanted the secret of the long-distance warp technology."

"But it isn't technology. It's all spiritual."

"We thought as much. You'd never be able to convince Darkseid of that, though. Everything is technology, as far as he's concerned." She mulled that for a second. "You know, Hal got a complete analysis of your jump. He's been trying to incorporate what he learned into his ring ever since, and getting nowhere."

I chuckled. "Told him he shoulda come along."

"And you know," retorted Wonder Woman, "how stubborn he can be." She glanced around. "By the way, where is Changeling? You mentioned that you thought K'Naa could cure him. Did she?"

Sadly, the empath shook her head. "We … aren't precisely sure where he is. What we think, after we had time to think, was that he somehow got on board the starship and managed to create a lot of havoc. The ship did practically self-destruct, and from what I know of the tech they use on Apokolips, that sort of thing doesn't happen by accident. It had to have help – a lot of help – and Gar being on board is the most logical explanation."

"I see." The Amazon considered this information and nodded. "Yes, that is very likely what happened. You say the ship self-destructed?"

"That may be pressing the point. There were a lot of explosions, and the ship was crippled. Once we got K'Naa's avatar off it, we … sort of encouraged it to go dive into the sun."

I don't know about the rest of the group, but that floored me a little. "Excuse me? How – and why – did you do that?"

"The 'why' is easy. That ship needed to die."

"But … but you said … you said Green Bean was on that ship!"

She moved away, showed us the back of her head and drew a long breath. "Yes. We think so."

I was having trouble with my vision. "And you tossed it into the sun? Just like that?"

Crossing her arms, still not looking at us, she slowly nodded.

"Damn, Raven!"

The face she then turned my way stopped me cold. I'd never seen her look so forlorn, not even when she thought she was going to go sacrifice herself to stop her father. I could barely hear her say, "I've run back over those events so many times, Victor … so many times. Through everything we did, what we were feeling at the time, what we felt we had to do to save K'Naa. I thought he was here, on this planet. I couldn't find him, couldn't feel him, but I had no way of knowing that he'd be on the ship. I still don't know why I couldn't feel him." She ran the back of one hand across her face under her eyes. "It's barely possible – Jinx says so, but I think she's only trying to make me feel better – that maybe he didn't come with us at all, that he ended up somewhere else. But I just don't know." She hugged herself and shivered.

I moved over to her and took her by the shoulders. "Okay, Rae, listen. If you didn't know, you didn't know. Sounds like you were under a hella stress. You didn't have time to think things through. Am I right?"

J'onn J'onzz moved up next to us. "Are you certain that none of the shuttles made it off the ship?"

She looked up at him quizzically. "Shuttles?"

"Yes. All of Apokolips's ships-of-the-line are equipped with shuttlecraft because they are too large to make planetfall. Did you not see any?"

An expression of wonderment spread on her face. "… We were too busy to look."

I could tell the gears in her head were spinning fast enough to overheat, and commented, "So maybe he got off on a shuttle? That'd be just like him."

"But … we haven't seen any other craft at all until you showed up! Wouldn't shuttles try to set down on the nearest planet?"

"Not after the clock-cleanin' it sounds like you handed 'em. If the shuttles had FTL capability, they'd high-tail it."

She stared off into the distance. We all stared at her. Finally another of those gentle waves of love washed over us, and she gave us a watery smile. "Thanks, everybody. Maybe I didn't kill him after all."

I gave her a quick hug, which she returned gladly, and I said, "I know that's gotta be important to you. You don't have that killer instinct."

"Don't idealize our situation, Victor," she warned. "Killing is sometimes necessary. We'd already killed the parademons that were attacking K'Naa and …"

"Wait." J'onn held up a hand. "You … killed the parademons?"

"We did. Jinx and I. We had to. They were killing K'Naa, destroying her on the planet, setting her on fire. We learned later that she endured pain that would have killed thousands of ordinary people. We had to stop them. They deserved it and I don't regret it."

"No, you misunderstand. The fact of the killing does not bother me either, given what I know of them. Evil brutes that delight in others' pain. What I am confused about is … how. Were they very few in number?"

"There were around a hundred and twenty thousand of them on the surface when we got here. We took a count of the bodies … much later."

J'onn sputtered. "And you killed them all?"


"Just like that?"

"Yes. It wasn't difficult. Took around ten minutes, if memory serves." She chuckled wryly. "We were, ah, very upset."

He stared at her, open-mouthed, for a moment and then turned to Wonder Woman. "You were right, Diana. K'Naa is in good hands. It will not be necessary for the League to help with any sort of guard duty."

The Amazon nodded, covering a slight smile.

Jinx took that opportunity to show up. She did that pink-streak thing again, so I didn't actually see her move, but there she was … and just as bare-assed as Raven was at first. She chattered, "Hey, you guys, you gonna stand around outside all day? K'Naa wants ta meet ya!"

I gave her a wide grin and said, "Y'all must not have a mall here, 'cause I know you can afford some clothes!"

She looked down at herself and said, "Oops!" Then she was surrounded by a pink mist for an instant, and when that faded she stood there in an exaggerated Playboy-Bunny outfit, complete with whiskers. "This better?"

I don't think anybody in the group didn't smile.

Raven pulled Pinky into an embrace and then looked at us. "She makes a good point. Would you all like to go in and meet her now?"

And so we did.

The End

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Author's End Note:

I'd like to take just a minute to explain what prompted me to write this story, and why it is framed and plotted the way it is.

I've been fond of yuri for a few years now (basically ever since I discovered it). My favorite pairings are:

[Teen Titans] Raven/Jinx (obviously), Raven/Terra, Raven/Starfire, and Terra/Jinx

[The Incredibles] Violet/Mirage (again, obviously)

[Harry Potter] Hermione/Luna, Hermione/Fleur, Hermione/Ginny

[Kim Possible] Kim/Shego

[X-Men] Kitty/Jubilee

[Percy Jackson and the Olympians] Annabeth/Clarisse

The thing about yuri is that it makes so much sense. I mean, come on! Why wouldn't anyone be attracted to a girl, as opposed to a guy? Girls are soft and smooth and they curve in all the right places and they don't pick their ears in public. They're simply nicer and better looking than guys. {That being said, I consider myself very lucky to be married to a woman who REALLY likes guys (specifically, me) and DOESN'T have any interest in girls. Yay, me.} But on to my point.

I've read a lot of yuri. I mean, A LOT of yuri. Not as much as my daughter, who seems to breathe the stuff (when she isn't reading Harry/Snape yaoi) but several hundred different stories, all the way through, and SEVERAL hundred more just to get the flavor before deciding that a taste was enough. There's a lot of that last category. More than I like to think about.

Anyway … while many of the stories were well written and contained compelling characters making their way through an interesting plot, it must be said that in most of these cases, when there was overt sex involved, it seemed to me to be … well … gratuitous. As in, either the story is about nothing BUT sex, or the sex was superfluous and could have been left out completely, and the story would not have suffered. In some cases that would have improved the story.

So when my Muse knocked me over the head and left Transition stuck to my brain, what she wanted me to accomplish was writing a yuri that included sex because it was necessary to the progression of the plot: an integral part of the story, one that couldn't be left out without detracting from the story significantly. At the same time, I wanted the sex that was presented to be as realistic as possible, as bound up in the emotion and meaning of the relationship as possible, and not come across as mechanical.

Not that the mechanics of lovemaking aren't important because, believe me, they are! I think (and here let me just snag a soapbox to stand on) that if everyone knew how to make love, that is, how to make his/her partner really, really, REALLY want for you to "do that some more, if you can", and at the same time consider whatever it is that his/her partner likes to be "nice work, if you can get it" … then I think a lot of the world's problems would dry up and disappear. Call me a cockeyed optimist if you want, but a relaxed and happy and sexually satisfied public is a much less violent public. Just sayin'.

Only you can be the judge of whether or not I succeeded in my goals. But believe me, I did try.