It was going to happen again. That churning in my stomach, the clench in my chest as my heart seems to skip a beat. Damn. This recipe was supposed to be better and I REALLY don't have time for this shit right now. Eyes scanning the wreckage of what was once an electronics warehouse I search for that damn annoying counterpart of mine, yin to my yang and all that barf. They say there is only a small line between love and hate and let me tell you, they are fucking spot on with that shit. But lemme back up for a second.
My sisters and I, we are kinda superheros. I know, cliche right? It was fucking killer when we were younger and we could whoop scumbag ass and then go home and get candy for a job well done, but they never advertise the many disadvantages to being a hero in those comics we all read but pretend not to. No privacy, no free time, the expectancy of everyone living in Townsville that we will be there to save them anytime of the day or night, never late and never failing...its a big pain in the ass actually. But I'm not supposed to say that. Heroes are gracious, respectful, self sacrificing and all that jazz. Bullshit. We are god damn people just like everyone else and we get tired, frustrated, hurt and damn sure do we get scared. We love and we lose things. But that's kinda getting off subject isn't it.
So as I said, I have sisters. Two of them. The three of us were "born" on the same day, at the same time and in a rather unique way. Born of science rather then any paternal love. Sugar, spice and everything nice. That's us all right. Blossom, the epitome of everything nice, or at least in public. Personally I think a little fire makes someone far better of a person then just straight sweetness, but my way of thinking is a bit off I've been told. Gorgeous, smart, funny, sweet and the perfect student. Our leader by both birth and self appointment. I didn't mind though. She was born for the role after all. Then there is Bubbles, sugar in the basest sense of the word. Shes so damn sweet it gives people fucking toothaches, ever lovable and forgiving to a fault. Kinder then I could ever dream of being. Which leaves me, Buttercup, the spice to my perfect elder sister Blossom and sweet baby Bubbles. I'm not popular, not even well liked actually. Its more like they just kinda put up with me, doesn't really matter that I far surpass both my sisters in strength, courage and determination I still don't belong. The out of place Puff. That's what we call ourselves by the way, the Powerpuff Girls. Blossoms idea from back in the day, and it had stuck through the years even with our combined efforts to change it.
As for me not fitting in..well I would one day. As I said, I'm one determined Puff. Just cuz I have an attitude and am a bit of a wild card doesn't mean I don't want to belong. Want to feel appreciated and loved and like a part of something. Which is what led me to my current predicament. Not the battle with my male other half, but the pain coursing through my body. See, the professor had an idea some time ago. After a run in with the three of them, the Rowdyruff asses that both complete us and infuriate us, my "father" had gone all mad scientist, obsessing over them and their creation for weeks on end. While my sisters and I each embodied one of the elements of our creation, sugar spice and everything nice, the boys had taken it to a whole new level as we grew.
When we first encountered them they were just like us, disjointed personalities that when combined created the perfect team. But as they matured they...for lack of a better word evolved. What one had once lacked they now somehow had found. For example Butch, my own obnoxious counterpart, once just like me, an outsider to the group that was more of just the hired muscle then a real part of the group, had changed over time. His intelligence, while not quite on par with the 'smart' brother Brick, was much higher then anyone ever expected from the brawny boy. He had also become compassionate like Boomer, careful to keep civilians out of our battles and every once in a while I could catch a glimmer of kindness in his eyes. The other two followed suit, Brick becoming better at combat and as caring as Butch had become and Boomer getting smarter and better at fighting as well. Still a team, but now also working well on their own, individual. Something none of us girls had ever been capable of. When separated we seemed to fall apart, missing pieces of ourselves that made us so great. Hence the professors obsession.
We was 15 when he snapped, frustration driving him to work madly for days on end after we had been wounded in another lost battle. We had worried, but there wasn't much we could do according to my sisters. Blossom and Bubbles had continued life like normal, hoping he would come out of the lab when he was ready on his own, but of course my rash and impatient nature would have none of that. As soon as I could I abandoned my portion of our nightly 'patrol' of the city and doubled back, barging into the lab with righteous indignation. Looking back I'm not sure if it was my greatest mistake or my biggest triumph.
Turns out he wasn't stuck on some theory, but was more...indecisive. He had cracked the code, figured out to some extent the formula that had created the boys and seemed to be evolving them into better beings. He was desperate to do trials, but like any father he worried for our safety as we had no idea how this serum would effect us and he had been stewing in his indecision for days. So we had talked, more then I have ever talked in my life. Pros, cons, risks, benefits...you name it. Bubbles...sweet little Bubbles was too fragile for testing. If there was pain she would crumble. Blossom was in a word, perfect. Why risk destroying the one perfect specimen (my words, not his). Then there was me, butch little Buttercup. Best fighter, but far from perfect personality wise. Most people didn't even really like me. So where was there to lose? Plus on the off chance the serum improved me in the same ways the boys had been...I was willing to take the risks. My dad argued for a while obviously, but I was a stubborn shit even then. That had been seven years ago.
I was good at hiding it too, missing that sweet genetic that made one feel bad about their behavior or lying. We had decided it would be best to keep the experiment from my sisters. Blossom would bitch and Bubbles would worry or worse, they would demand to be drugged up too since "We are a team and we do everything together" as Blossom liked to say back then. But things chance.
We were right about the pain though. It was almost unbearable at times, only my stubborn pride keeping me on my feet as the serum ran like lava through my veins and the pressure in my head became so great my skull by all rights should crack. Apparently the Rowdyruff Boys had been bred with this serum already mixed into them so the changes came naturally, just like average humans change over time, but me...not so much. My DNA was not designed to change in these ways and it fucking hurt. Blossom probably could have handled the pain but the bouts of insanity, the depression...she would be destroyed. Trial and error helped to improve the doses and make it easier, but every once in a while a change would cause unimaginable side effects like this one obviously was, and I so do not have the time.
Now 22 I had changed considerably, the serum dulling my once reckless and volatile personality into that of an introverted loner. I still had the temper, but it was quieter. My sisters had given up years ago on bringing "me" back, finally accepting that the Buttercup I had been was gone. It wasn't that I didn't love them anymore, but dealing pain, the insanity it sometimes caused, it was easier to do that alone. We were still a team, but it really didn't feel like I was their sister anymore, at least that's what they told me. My development into what I am now was slow and they didn't seem to suspect anything, which I am glad about, but it hurt. I know I did it to myself, but it still hurt that the more I isolated myself the more laughter I could hear. I understood it though. My personality and happiness don't exactly coincide, and that thought right there is proof of my changes. Calm, understanding, reserved and self sacrificing...so NOT Buttercup.
The doses of what we now call serum B had changed me as I had hoped, calming my raging personality and increasing my IQ, even sharpening my senses. The side effects fucking sucked, but it was worth it. I think. At least I hope so. I'm only at year 7 of the 10 year trial, so there is still time for a disaster. If I can live that long of course.
Back to the here and now I'm still scanning the darkness, body bracing for an attack even as internally I writhe in agony. My sisters are elsewhere, taking on their own other halves as I went ahead to confront Butch. Nothing had changed about his need to create trouble, even if he did it on a much smaller scale now, and his brothers would always be there to have his back and distract us. Idiots. Sensing movement I pivot in mid hover, gathering power in my eyes and releasing a blinding ray of green light towards my attacker.
"Long time to see Butterbitch." His smirk pisses me off. One of his arms is raised, hand still glowing a dark green from countering my attack. Ass.
"Butch." Internally I hiss at the weak tone of my voice, breathless from pushing back the crippling pain in my body. "Still as Juvenal as ever I see. Wreaking storage warehouses, really?"
"I do whatever I please, and electronics sounded fun."
"Yeah. I'm sure. Wanna tell me something that's not complete bullshit now?" I hated when he did that. Fed me some bullshit and insulted my intelligence. I am not a fucking moron! (Anymore...)
"Why Butterbitch, you wound me."
"Fuck off Butch." His laugh only increases my ire. I may be way calmer then years past but my temper is the basis of who I am. Nothing could change that. But I know from experience I need to keep my cool and try to avoid a fight. Faster pumping blood meant faster pumping serum, which in turn when its a bad dose mean more pain. Shit. Stuck between a rock and a hard place much. "Just go home before I knock that damn grin off your face myself."
"Nah. This is way more fun." Then he is moving, charging at me in our preferred way of fighting, hand to hand combat. Fuck. Aggressive and swift he is a lethal opponent, his grace in the air almost mesmerizing if it were not directed at me. Its all I can do to dodge while keeping my body as still and calm as possible. If I slip I am so fucked.
"Aw come on BB, you can do so much better then this. Play with me!"
"This isn't a damn game!" I snarl at him, fists moving faster then any human could see to block his barrage of kicks and punches as we dance mid air.
"Sure it is, and I'm winning." An unexpected elbow to the ribs winds me and he takes advantage of my surprise, forcing me to engage him in actual combat to save my own skin. Fuck it hurts. We are moving far faster then I should be, flips and kicks and punches being blocked on both sides. The more I move the harder I pant, skin cold and clammy rather then flushed and heated like it should be from the exertion. As we move I see him assessing me, confusing in his admittedly gorgeous emerald gaze. But before he can say anything my heart thumps painfully, stuttering once before falling silent.
Eyes wide I meet his gaze and watch as the confusion morphs into something akin to worry. Oh...yeah. His senses are as good as mine and he would have caught the glaringly obvious absence of a heartbeat.
"Buttercup?" I'm startled when I realize how close he is now, face inches from my own but no longer threatening. It all happens in the millisecond it takes me to realize whats happening. My heart just stopped. An anguished gasp rips from my mouth and the world blurs and I drop like a stone to the hard concrete below.
I don't catch her before she hits. I wanted to, but I'm fucking frozen like a moron for those few precious seconds it takes her to crash. Her gasp before she fell...I've never heard a sound so filled with agony. Then panic thaws my blood and it processes in my muddled mind that her fucking heart just...stopped. My jaw clenches. I'm by her side the next second, pulling her into my arms and curling them around her protectively before taking off with so much power I leave a crater in the ground. Building blur as I put on the speed, racing towards our sibling as a panicked bellow rips through my restraint. "BLOSSOM!"
Im sweating, body shivering as my energy wanes. We had been at this for at least an hour, Brick toying with me to keep me occupied as his asshole brother no doubt causes damage to something or another. Damn Ruffs. As I pull in a lungful of air and prepare to release my ice breath into his smirking face a sound reaches my ears, the voice cracking in anguish and very familiar to the both of us. "BLOSSOM!"
Butch? Why the hell would Butch be calling me? Doesn't matter. That tone...this isn't one of their tricks. Butch is in a panic and he is calling out to me. Without thinking it through I turn and race towards the sound, ignoring the sharp call of my name from Brick as my heart pounds against my ribs. Its urging me for reasons I cant even begin to guess at to fucking HURRY. Don't think, don't argue...just go!
We nearly crash into one another, but luckily we both register the others presence in time and slam to a halt. That's when my head empties, because cradled in this annoying Ruffs arms is a familiar onyx haired figure and from what I can tell...she isn't breathing.
The scream is nearly supersonic and has me gasping for breath. No. Blossom has never sounded so...broken. No. Buttercup is the best of all of us when it comes to fighting. No. NO.
My eyes must have closed as I desperately tried to deny the clenching in my gut because when they pop open to meet Boomers I can see the panicked worry that tells me what I heard is real. NO! My mouth opens on a crystalline scream, the power of it exploding the streetlamp lights for blocks. I crumble, barely registering the familiar and somehow comforting strong arms of my counterpart catching me before I hit ground. He sweeps me up and takes off in the direction of my sisters voice as I shatter.
All the medical knowledge I had been ravenously devouring just for moments like these is lost to me as I rip my sisters limp form from Butches arms. What do I do? What do I do? Gently as possible I lay her flat on the ground, hands running frantically over her searching for something, anything to show she is still alive. My eyes are blurring as tears fall in unstoppable streams down my cheeks and I lurch back to my feet, uncharacteristically snarling at the man standing before me. "What the fuck have you done! What did you do?!"
"Her...her heart...it just...stopped." His emerald eyes don't leave Buttercups still form as he answers me, and I'm too lost in my own panic to notice the broken quality of his voice. All I know is that answer is not good enough.
"BUBBLES! BUBBLES I NEED YOU!" I'm frantic, scooping my broken sister into my arms again and disappearing in a flash of pink. The destruction my trek is coursing...I could care less. For once I could give a shit less how much damage we cause, how many homes we demolish and how fucked up the street is going to be from the power I radiate as I fly so close to the ground. The darkness is broken suddenly by a bolt of cobalt, so bright and hopeful against the bleakness around us.
"Bubbles! Go get the professor ready! Please, we have to hurry!"
She doesn't respond, just shimmers for a moment before disappearing in a bubble like pop of blue energy. I've always wished I could do that, pop from one place to another, but right now I would give up even the powers I did have to make this all go away.
We can barely keep up with her. I've never seen Blossom move this fast, never seen her act this frantic. But then again, I've never seen any of them come even close to dying before. Holy shit how had this spiraled so far out of control? Yeah, we were asses to them, constantly causing trouble and working against them. But really how else were we supposed to get their attention? Those girls were so damn oblivious it was mind boggling, even with the crazy schedule they keep. I mean for fucks sake, could they really call themselves women when they couldn't even tell when a man was in love with them? Shame on us for being those men though. We kinda love their obliviousness. Or at least I do. Boomer was just annoyed by it and Butch...well he had some strange ass courting tactics.
"The fuck happened man?!" I was the "leader" of our little rag tag group, but Butch was really the one who masterminded a lot of the shit we do. I just went along to see Blossom. Evil had gotten boring fast and most often we spent our days actually doing good things on the side, not that we would ever admit it. I let Butch take the lead of our more nefarious schemes because he was almost desperate to impress Buttercup and I understood it all too fucking well.
"I...I don't even fucking know Brick. It was going just as planned and then her heart literally stopped all on its own." He stops suddenly, his breathing choppy with panic. I watch the blur of pink energy disappear and spin back to face my brother, eyes widening at the desolate look in his eyes. "Fuck Brick...what am I gonna do if she dies?"
My fists clench at my sides and as much as I want to answer...I cant. What would he do? What would any of us do? If Blossom died...I know I would lose it completely. I'm supposed to have the answers, but there isn't anything I can say right now that can fix this. So I say what I can.
"I promise, we are gonna do everything we know to keep that stubborn brat alive."