Inspired by Shadow Crystal Mage's Love Stories. Although I wish my takes could be as idealistic and sweet as his...

Mahou Sensei Negima, Cowboy Bebop, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Scooby-Doo, Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Powerpuff Girls, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Fate Stay Night, The Smurfs, School Days, Excel Saga, Mai Hime, The Human Centipede, Batman, Ranma One Half, Zero no Tsukaima, Spider-Man, UQ Holder and Batman Beyond are all owned by their respective creators and copyright holders.

I'm making absolutely no money out of this.

Thanks to Darkenning by supplying the opening lines for the Decadent Habits segment.

Have a happy Valentine.


Unequal Balance.

A balance is always a delicate, often awkward, thing to achieve. Chisame had to suffer a lot to reach that between her normal life and Chiu's. And once she had settled on her dual groove, of course, Hakase had to be pushed into her existence, as her demented roommate, to throw her off. It was really annoying, for her secret to fall to that weird girl she had just met, right after Chisame had successfully fought with tooth and claw to keep her siblings out of it.

Still, always a fighter in her own way, and as stubborn as they come, Chisame persevered ahead and kept her dream going. Hakase didn't seem to mind at all, and for slightly longer than one year, they lived together in relative harmony. Until he was thrusted upon them.

Negi Springfield. Their new teacher. A prodigy child. The only prodigious thing about him, Chisame thought, was how she could restrain herself from strangling him, especially once he learned her secret. And then she learned his, and somehow, things got even worse. He was a mage, the pinnacle of strangeness, something that shouldn't have existed, much less near Chisame. She never stood a chance, living with both of them. They drove her mad. They plucked her away from sanity and peace, from the cool calm of her recluse life. They shattered her world and clumsily glued it together, and in trade, they asked for a lot of help.

She helped Negi to fight bloodthirsty vampires. To rescue her classmates. To combat a genius from the future. And a demon lord. She helped him to save a whole world they had no obligations with, for little to no reward. She helped him find his parents.

She never wanted for or asked for anything in return, but to be left alone, in peace.

But she never got her wish. They never went away.

Well, he tried once or twice or thrice, claiming not wanting to endanger them anymore, but she, only to satisfy Hakase, of course, would go after him, catch him, and drag him back, scolding him all the way home. That, she had to admit, was a pleasant part of it. Yelling at him, at them, never got old.

And somehow, they seemed to enjoy playing their part on it as well.

It was all part of the balance, even if outside onlookers did always find it unfair...


Worth?

"Are you happy now?" Faye dragged the words in a low murmur, standing before the modest grave. "Here's where love led you to. An early grave, without a single woolong to your name, leaving no family or legacy behind, with no one even caring you ever were here, but a police dropout and a chronic gambler. Was that woman worth that much?"

The huge man standing behind her sighed as he lit another cigarette. "Faye. Maybe she brought him death, but before that, even if only shortly, she also brought him the little share of real life he ever had. He would do it again if he could. With no regrets."

She snorted bitterly. "I don't doubt that. But do you really think that made this any less pointless?"

"It never was supposed to be about it having a point or not, I guess."

"Yeah. I suppose you're right there."

They stood in silence then.


Long Ago.

Two alicorns, two princesses older than the rebuilt majestic city sprawling under them, sat together on their crystal balcony, in quiet contemplation, as they did every anniversary of his departure.

"Do you still love him?"

"As much as you do."

They didn't need to ask or answer, and they both knew it too well. Still, just asking and answering made them feel better about it.

They smiled, however, because any pain was small compared to the joy in those shared memories. A husband, a brother. A precious link between them even now, after so long. Another of the many they had, but perhaps still the most cherished.

Each one ran a foreleg over the other's shoulders and let it rest there.

Somewhere, he was just as happy, no doubt.


Trapped.

I have known that person since our shared childhood. We weren't exactly THE best friends, but we always knew we could count on each other despite being polar opposites. I have serious problems expressing my gratitude, and my feelings in general, I guess, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

I'm kind of trapped there, which is ironic, considering my tastes, ones some could say I'm a bit... obsessed with. I know my feelings aren't known, much less requited, even if that person knew. At the same time, another of my friends, who also means a lot to me, but in a merely platonic and familiar way, you know, keeps sending those vibes towards me, and although I can cope so far by playing dumb, I know I can't keep it forever.

Her lovely, yet terribly shallow and hollow blue eyes remain on me as I explain the plan for the night. A hand on a hip, calculatingly enticing but with taste, since she isn't as dumb as she looks, but she also has very clear limits and measure. This is always so awkward.

The third member of our party stands with her hands behind her back, a tight face. I think she knows. She would have to. She's far too smart not to know. I know she had designs for that person as well, even if they are as hopeless as mine, and even if we respect each other too much despite it. It's kinda funny, isn't it, how the most longed for person in our midst isn't the lovable Prom Queen, the perfect all american girl, but the gangly, clumsy, strangely endearing weirdo who-

Control, control. I keep the perfect forced smile. The dog sneezes once. I don't suspect the dog the same way my sort-of-rival does, that would be ridiculous, but even so, the sneeze is an unwelcome reminder of the emotional farce I have to keep. Again, a fitting irony, given our line of job relies on unmasking farces and scams...

"Okay, Shaggy, Scoob, you'll check the clock tower. Daphne, Velma, you'll come with me to the watchman's cabin and see if he's still there..."

I can't allow him wander away into the darkness with a girl, after all.

If I'm trapped in this, so is he.


The Power of Love.

Standing before the combined might of the last desperate alliance of heroes and villains alike at the Dawn of Time itself, the all powerful Anti Monitor stood defiantly, arms outstretched in a deadly invitation. "Come to me then, and be undone! I have crushed all of your patethic attempts, one after another! Do you really think this will be any different? If so, why, I ask of you before your deaths?"

The tiny Angel Trainee with long blond hair pointed at him with a finger. "Because we will defeat you... with the Power of Love!"

After a long, tense silence from both sides, the Anti-Monitor's face met his handpalm. "Oh, please. Out of all the hackened replies to such an admittedly cliched query, you couldn't think of a better one before I crush the existence itself out of you?"

"Eeeehhhhh?!" Flonne cried. "Why do you say that?-!"

"The Power of Love!" the Anti-Monitor pointed back. "That tired, flaccid lie! Let us assume, for a moment, such a contrived, weak willed emotion could be harvested as a powerful weapon. Do you think any of you understands love?"

"And do you?" Negi asked.

"Of course I do! I have observed you mortals and immortals alike, across all the dimensions and timelines! I know well what do you take for 'love' to justify your base selfish passions! Besides, I have been married three times!"

Tokiha Mai blinked. "... well. That's a curveball."

Anti-Monitor pointed a finger at Tsunetsuki Matoi. "What you call 'love' is nothing but deranged obsession!" And to Marge Simpson. "Fear of remaining alone making you chain yourself to a nightmarish mate!" And to Saotome Ranma and Tendo Akane. "Childish petty carnal attraction that cannot even survive the first tests of jealousy and distrust!"

"I'd never be carnally attracted to an uncute-" Ranma began protesting right before being vaporized.

Anti-Monitor pointed at Belldandy and Keiichi. "Self-pampering immature coexistence with disturbing artificially induced impotence!" To Urashima Keitaro. "Massochism!" To Flash Sentry. "Waifu theft! All of you, one way or another, are moved by your own pathetically disguised selfish desires and interests! Even the love between a child and their mother is born from a need to be protected, and a need to reinforce a sense of self worth! You cannot defeat ME with a disgusting emotional clutch that only talks of your own weakness! More than half of you won't ever be able to admit your feelings, and the other half won't recognize others' feelings for you! So tell me, then, why should I fear that excuse for a feeling you use as your security pillow!"

"CARE BEAR STA

He vaporized the colorful cute bears arranged before him before they could blast him.

"Well, fuck," someone in the back of the crowd muttered.

Powerpuff Girl Blossom stepped ahead with a condescending sigh, hands-flipped clasped together. "Mr. Monitor, please. Yes, it might be true all love is, at its roots, born from a primal human-animal-alien-mutant-sentient machine-other need to feel emotional gratification from contact with others. However, that doesn't make it any less worthy than your own emotional need to lord over your superiority through our collective destruction and subsequent boasting over the absolute vacuum left on the wake. Because it is thanks to love that the ultimate force in the Omniverse was created. The one true unparalleled and irresistible juggernaut that crushes all evil under its heel! The secret that makes life ultimately worth living, because even if you haven't ever tried it yourself, or even know of its existence, somewhere, within our souls, we all unconsciously hope and dream for it! We have that, and you don't! And that is why! You'll! Never! Win!"

Her sisters gasped at once. "YOU MEAN-!"

"Yes! Hostess Fruit Pies, the delicious treat to enjoy with a loved one, created from love filled hands charting a better future for all!" she said, whipping out some.

The Anti-Monitor stood pefectly still, rattled by a silence as huge as the abyss of nothingness... and then, slowly, tears began drifting down the blackness of his eyes.

And the Omniverse restarted in sweet bliss and happiness.


Kuniya and Kaga: A Zetsubou Sensei 4-Koma Romance.

Panel 1: Horribly dressed boy meets pathologically apologetic girl.

Panel 2: Horribly dressed boy falls for pathologically apologetic girl.

Panel 3: Pathologically apologetic girl falls for depressive suicidal teacher.

Panel 4: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Kuniya-kun, but I'm marrying Itoshiki-sensei along Hitou-san, Otonashi-san, Fujiyoshi-san, Komori-san, Tsunetsuki-san, Kitsu-san, Kimura-san, Seikutsu-san and Kobushi-san!"

Hidden Fifth Panel: Horribly dressed DARKNESS!


I Like You Better This Way.

Rin smiled and playfully ruffled Shirou's newly bleached down white hair. "See? You look better like this, after all."

And she briefly pecked his lips.

Saber disagreed, but it wasn't like she was going to make a fuss over it...


A Fanservice Romance.

"It can't be!" Nyantype tearfully told Megami Magazine. "Our editorials will always oppose! They'll chase us to the ends of the world! They'll never let us be!"

"We'll escape together!" Megami insisted. "To a faraway land where we can rest forever together, sharing our images until we are one, and no one can say where one ends and the other begins!"

"You mean..."

"Yes! Danbooru!"

"..."

"... what? Don't you like the idea?"

"You could at least have invited me to a respectable bookshelf!"


Polyamory.

It was a very difficult ongoing task of love to carry through, but Smurfette just didn't have the heart to let any of them down...


It's Better This Way.

Makoto pondered the offer for a few moments, then smiled sadly. "No, I'm sorry. I can't do it. Thank you anyway, Saionji."

Sekai recoiled, startled. "Ehhh?-! But, but why would you? Are you that cowardly, or...?-!"

He shrugged. "Perhaps. Mostly, though, I'm just wary I'll hurt Kotonoha-san. I know myself. Sorry, really. One way or another, we all would end up regretting it, and I care too much for Kotonoha-san for that. See you tomorrow, Saionji."

He turned around and walked away, never looking back.

Sekai ended up sighing to herself. "What the heck's wrong with men nowadays?"

Best early Game Over ever.


Il Palazzo's Woe.

He wondered what was going wrong with him. Each time, it was growing more and more difficult to pull on that rope.


Kotonoha and Shizuru: A Love Story.

Holding a blood drenched knife, she eerily smiled at her.

Holding a blood drenched naginata, she eerily smiled back.

And they lived happily ever after, at least until Natsuki had to put her best friend out of her misery, and that made Katsura-san evaporate into green sparkles.

"Strange, " Natsuki mused sadly, seeing the sparkles rise into the breeze, "I was half-expecting for her to... like me better."


Mini Epilogue:

Checking into Katsura-san's bags just in case, Natsuki cringed in disgust. "Geh! So THAT is what happened to Itou-san!"


The Power of Love Saves The Human Centipede!

The specialist paused during his calculations.

"Mein Gott, what am I doing?" he told himself. "I can't do zis to ze human race, to my fellow man!"

He ran up the stairs, tossed his windows open, and looked at the bright world outside, where the birds chirped, flew and nestled. Where the children played in the parks, and even God's most pitiful creatures had, at least for a while, a fighting chance.

Doctor Heiter spread his arms open. "I'm sorry, world! I'm sorry, mankind! It took me looking at ze deepest pit of my insanity to realize how wrong I was! From now on, I'll work for ze true betterment of all living creatures!"

Then, during that heated declaration of love for the world at large, he stumbled ahead, fell off the window, and plummeted to his death.

He'd have gone back on his word, though, so don't think of this as a downer ending...


The Power of Love Saves Decadent Habits!

"I suppose I shouldn't really have expected these to fool you, of all people, with these," he said, touching his hand to the spectacles' frames.

"Not when your face is indelibly etched in my memories," Arika agreed steadily.

Ayaka, who had clearly been spooked by the sound of the old man's laughter, took a few quick steps that brought her to the side of Asuna and Arika before turning to face him. "Grandfather, you are behaving very strangely all of a sudden," she said with feigned calm. "May I ask how it is that you know Arika-san?"

"Let us dispense with the absurdities," he sighed. "You are not the daughter of Yukihiro Teruo, and so should not call me grandfather. I'm sorry, actually, although even such a crime is one of my lesser shames at this point. Teruo's father was dying, but he still was not ready to take the reins of the company, so we agreed on this farce. Back then, I still harbored dark hopes of using you as tools in my bid to reclaim what I foolishly lost. However, I have come to realize the grave errors of my ways. By being forced to live with a family, I realized how I had done away with mine just to satisfy my selfish desires!"

Asuna blinked. "Say what...?"

The old man gestured grandly, because even IF he wasn't evil anymore, he still was a ham. "I saw you grow happy and healthy, playing with the daughter I cruelly threw away from my arms! I felt your parents' pain when they lost their own child, and I came to realize my own self-brought miseries were naught in comparison. Yet I couldn't reach over to you, or any of your younger sisters, and I also spent years thinking my firstborn, the one I had wronged the most, to be dead. I carried that as my cross, my deserved punishment, but now, learning of your mother's survival, I cannot continue hiding anymore! Arika!" he said, kneeling before her. "My life is in your hands now. Strike me down now if you feel you must, and no one will judge you after all I ever did. My fortune will be divided betwen all of you, my children. Oh, and I think you should know, last night, I stopped the Senate's hired killer before she could strike at you. You will find her safely chained in my premises..."

Asuka blinked some more, then looked at her mother's unreadable face. "Um... mom...?"

Arika sneered, then slammed a foot down on her father's head. "You worm! Do you think I will allow you escape your penance so easily? You will have to spend the rest of your life compensating us for all you did!"

And so he did. He helped Arika to coordinate the dynamics of Negi's stable, and by leading with the example of forgiveness and humility, they even managed to make Chisame and Nodoka make up (and out) as friends. When the HiME Festival came forth, the united power of the HiME and Ala Alba moved even the cold heart of the Obsidian Prince, who decided recalling the HiME Star and using his power for mankind's benefit. They later stopped Asakura Ryoko's scheming and brought her to a heartwarming reconciliation with Nagato, convinced Suzumiya Haruhi about the worth of the world's existence, and brought the Deviluke to peaceful harmony with Mundus Magicus and Vetus. At some point they stopped the Grail War too. Together, the Great Alliance Ala Alba had become brought a long lasting golden age of prosperity to the worlds, spanning several generations...

But most importantly, there also was hot abundant sex in all the possible combinations!


Chizuno Masuto sat back, relaxed, letting the computer keyboard go. "Aaaaaand it's done! Man, I surpassed myself this time!"

Senou Kaede hummed suspiciously. "I don't know... Are you sure Kageyama won't flip out over your changing her story? The saga she literally spent years working on?"

Masuto laughed. "Of course not! We're good buddies! I'm sure she'll like it!"

The room's door was slammed open from the outside, and in stormed a pink haired girl with a huge axe and glowing demonic eyes. "WHAT'S THAT I HEARD ABOUT YOU CHANGING MY WHOLE OUTCOME, YOU-?!"

"Run," Senou adviced.

So Masuto did. Not that he got too far...


Train Man Retold.

He traveled every day in the same train to the very same job, mechanically grabbing the shapely women all around him just because he had to.

Fat Ugly Netorare-kun worked at Doujinco as part of the Fat Ugly Netorare Squad in charge of H-scenes while the chaste Main MCs watched. At first it had been exhilarating and great, not because of the sex itself, but because of the overpowering feeling of revenge against a society that always had shunned him because of his fat ugly appearance. It had been good, to finally hve the upper hand on those handsome fellows who got all the girls. That aws until he learned those guys were gay, castrated or just plain asexual (it was the only way they could go through their own jobs without snapping) and his world plummeted.

That had been ten years ago. Ever since, Fat Ugly Netirare-kun sleepwalked through his gray life, heading every morning in the same train to the same filming lot to do the same things to a roster of interchangeable fanservice archetypes. Just to pay the bills. The funny thing was, he couldn't find himself an actual girlfriend yet. Chisame-chan and him had remained good pals after the Negimaru series, but it was only a platonic online relationship. Sometimes she would cheer him up, bringing up how he at least still had a job.

It always was that way; once a series ended, they were cruelly forgotten to be pushed aside by the next fad. Only them, the faceless and timeless stock characters, remained. Fat Ugly Netorare-kun had tried dating a few of those stock background featureless characters for crowd scenes, but they always had been so shallow and empty...

Today, he would have to do a last job with the Oreimo girls before their streak of post-ending fame vanished. He wasn't looking forward to it. That Kirino, what an arrogant bitch. And Ayase-san, so frigid. Kanako-san was actually kind of nice off panel, but she rarely got any scheduled action with him...

Then he first saw it, just as vacantly groping girls at the other end of the car. So tall, so curvy, so graceful in its motions.

It heard his awed gasp, and it looked back at him with its sole eye. It was love at first sight. They both paused, the shrieking women forgotten.

That day, Fat Ugly Netorare-kun met Tentacle-san. And a great love story started.


Return of The Son of The Revenge of Only Sane Man III.

It was just another average day. Wake up. Brush his many, many, yellowed teeth that looked like piano keys drawn by Tim Sale. Kill a few guys before breakfast, just to keep himself in shape. Have breakfast. Head out for the job. Passing by next to the neighbors' door.

"Good morning, Negi, rest of the fictional Omniverse in Negi's harem," he blandly greeted without looking back, as the door flew open and the usual gaggle of neighbors stumbled together out of the apartment, most of them falling on top of the boy mage as they dressed up in hurries, complaining about being Late for School or the job or wherever they would be spending the rest of the day.

"Good mornin', Mistah J!" his ex-girlfriend gleefully waved, managing to speak clearly despite holding the same loaf of bread Ayanami Rei was also holding with her own teeth, from where they tried to disentangle themselves from between Nanoha and Fate. N, not that Fate.

Her ex just ignored her this once. It wasn't like it ached or anything, no sir, but it was a matter of the sole principle he had!

He went down to the parking lot, grabbed his stylish purple and green car with a giant ram piece shaped like his head, and drove off to the workplace trying his best to ignore the boy flying on a staff, all the Monkey King derivates zooming by riding clouds, the Mach 5, the witches on brooms, the young pilots in giant mecha, Dudley Do-Right on his trusty steed, the schoolgirls in the Panzers, Archie's old jalopy, the yellow and oh-so-ninja-stealthy Turtle Van, the damn freaking Spidermobile, Naruto on his giant toad, the cowboys spurring their horses, the caped duck on the bigass motorcycle, Saber in a kickass black suit on a silly looking metal lion with Shirou, Assassin driving a temple, the three Lolis in the Bersercar, Irisviel playing Demolition Derby with Yukari, Misato and Seta, and most painful of it all, the Batmobile, all leaving the parking lot after him.

He didn't regret remaining a golden bachelor, to laugh at the trap of love he had dodged so masterfully. But damn, he really had to look for another place to live already...


A Sister's Love.

Keeping your whole life quiet about your real feelings? She was a Japanese woman, after all. It came out naturally to her. She knew their older sister knew, but she also knew she would never confront her on them, either. She was just too old fashioned. She would do nothing but waiting for those troubling feelings the middle sister had for the youngest to pass.

Taking copious amounts of pictures of your loved one, often in states of undress? Not something that was too healthy, she knew that, but understandable in her opinion.

Selling most of those pictures, just keeping those in states of undress to yourself? In her never humble opinion, a reasonable reaction to a loved one who won't you back the way you would wish for. And a way to appeal to her other big love. Money helped to fill the void well enough

Keeping close tabs on the deranged stalker after your loved one, discreetly steering him around so they never got too close? She took pride on her subtle manipulations. Had she really gunned for his money, she just would have brought him and Akane together and reaped the collateral gains from marrying into a stinking rich family.

Constantly trolling and screwing with the idiot who somehow got your loved one's affections? Not noble at all, but she wasn't a noble person.

Selling their wedding's location to all of their pretenders? A desperate move, true, but one that had worked.

Yet, in the end, all of that only stalled the unavoidable conclusion.

She never married. She died rich. But never truly happy.


Crisis on Infinite Louises.

Once the worlds finally merged into one, so a single Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière stood before them, blinking slowly and trying to make sense of her scrambled memories while rubbing her temples with small and delicate hands.

Those who had been her Familiars at some point or another of the wide cosmic tapestry of the universe looked at her.

"You know, there must be something really special about her..."

"Yes, I guess so..."

"Even if she's ill tempered, nasty, rude, and flat as a board..."

"But that's part of her charm, isn't it..."

"There's something about her that makes you want to protect her no matter what..."

"Underneath it all, she actually has a good heart."

"It's that pink hair, I think..."

"The high socks, and the short skirt..."

"Shut up, you pervert."

There was a very, very long silence as Louise, so far oblivious to all of them, heaved a deep sigh. Finally turning back to all of them, she began, "I think the first thing we should do is-"

"DIBS!" everyone cried, lunging for her, and all chaos broke loose.


In Love with your Carnage.

It was supposed to be a difficult job. The target was superpowered, one of the toughest metahuman killers in all of New York City. For a short while, Tsukuyomi found herself, even despite all of her preparations, overwhelmed. That gracefully terrifying, even if crass, creature quickly had her against the ropes, with incredible speed, and every cut and slash Tsukuyomi inflicted seemed to be healed just as fast as it was done. That smooth, yet wet red skin absorbed and covered the wounds just as soon as Tsukuyomi's blade was pulled back. What a wonderful gift, indeed. It was so beautiful, in a way, she almost felt tempted to let herself go, to experience defeat and demise at the clawed hands of such a perfected killing machine.

And then, as the talkative monster stood over her, with a hand turned into an axe and cracking bad jokes at her expense, something in him, the best part of him, seemed to return the feeling. It felt the superior nature of that young, fit body that had given it a fight, even if only for a short while. The living red layer covering the target oozed curiously in her direction, startling its own host body.

There was instant chemistry between them. Twin deviant souls recognized each other. Tsukuyomi's heart fluttered, as she reached over with a dainty hand, to touch at the tendril of red biting on her skin, and then entering her.

"Ah," she moaned.

"No, no, no!" the beautiful creature's host cried as it yanked itself from him, leaving only a scrawny naked pathetic man behind, instead merging with the petite body welcoming it. "You can't do this to me! Not after all we've gone through together! C'mon, man, don't-!"

A moment later, an experimental Hina blade made of symbiotic tissue separated his head from his neck.

The reborn Tsukuyomi looked at her limbs, now covered by that warm, wonderful and ever moving, orgasmically tickling, being and smiled, with a smile now made of nothing but sharp and long teeth. And she flexed her fingers, testing herself, letting herself go to the delight of the moment.

She always had like showing off her newest choices of dressing to Setsuna-sempai.

This wouldn't be an exception.


It's the Same Thing.

No matter the situation, no matter the degree of intimacy between them, Touta never gave any signs of minding one way or another, if Kuromaru was a boy or girl.

It was so annoying. It made Kuromaru always unsure if he felt for him just the same no matter what, or it was only he didn't care about his plight at all. It also made Kuromaru's election that much harder.

Then, the eve of his birthday, when he was despairing over it, Karin had enough, walked up to him, and made it clear how much he should be a woman.

"Men just can't do that to each other," she told him, as he rested there quivering.

Since he knew he'd regret missing on an eternity of that, it made his mind up.

A few months later, Karin listened to her newest plight, then answered, "Oh, yes, that. Periods. It's just a small downside, don't tell me you hadn't thought of that before taking your pick...?"

At the outburst that ensued, Touta began growing worried about having to look forward to an eternity of THAT...


Old Flame.

Terry knew about that woman, of course. She had been a legend on her own right, back when Bruce was still young. He knew they had worked together, several times.

What he never knew, and Bruce certainly never talked about it until the day she showed up at the Cave, was they had some... serious tension for a while.

"What are you doing here, after all this time?" Bruce had asked, humorless and grim, to the still perfectly beautiful female standing before him.

"I'm sorry, but I couldn't leave the Island until it was completely rebuilt, and my people had found stability again. I had my duties, just like you had yours."

Terry had always figured she would have it going for Superman instead, but as a matter of fact, they only acted like long time mildly estranged siblings during that meeting. Sure thing, Bruce acted estranged as well, but by now Terry knew him well enough to know better.

With Kyle long dead and... the less be said about al Ghul's daughter the better, Terry figured out it was the best chance Bruce has left.

Of course, 'immortal gorgeous Amazon' only sounds like a secondary chance for a battered old man when that battered old man happens to be Batman.

"I'm not like Trevor," he grouchily insisted, walking away from her, supported on his cane. "I don't need you nursing me in my dying days out of-"

"Finish that sentence, Bruce," she frowned, her right eyebrow high after the mention of the 'Trevor' name, "and you will regret it."

Much to Terry's surprise, Bruce actually obeyed.

It was a nice wedding, actually, and even Commissioner Gordon seemed happy. Drake had recovered fairly well by now, and Terry even got to meet the famous Dick Grayson. A nicer guy than he had expected.

"- and that guy back there is-?"

"Vandal Savage."

Terry made a violent spit-take. "THE Vandal Savage?-!"

"He's reformed," Diana intervened.

"Or so he says," Bruce mumbled. He bitterly held the wedding gift from the man in a hand. "No one who isn't evil would publically give Viagra to a groom."

The other thing of note that night was Terry learned you never should allow Jason Blood drink past a very short limit.


Friends.

Diamond Tiara got her Cutie Mark first.

Silver Spoon realized she really thought of her as a friend when she began mocking the blank flanks only after Silver got hers.


Hope to see you next year! This one, I couldn't finish segments based on CSI, Lobo, The Avengers, Powerpuff Girls Z and Madoka Magica in time. Maybe then..?