Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch 2 Complete, Ch1 Pt 1 Revised]

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Re: Puff Most Epic

Postby BeeAre » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:20 pm

she DID return it. in her pajamas.
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最後の撃は。。。切ない。Puff Most Epic.
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Re: Puff Most Epic

Postby Blood Lord » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:25 pm

While topless?

Oh, I get it now. Seriously, I understand what happened now.
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Re: Puff Most Epic

Postby Rough Giraffe » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:49 am

Heh. That seems to be the biggest focus of this part: Buttercup's semi-revealed body.

Well, I thought it was funny and appropriate for her character, since she doesn't really think too much on all the finite details, even in the canon.

I'm working diligently on the next part; you all should be very pleased with what I have to show you. It looks like I might be done with it by the end of my Underway, depending on what work I have between now and then. Anyway, I really shouldn't waste my boat's bandwidth like this, so I'll cut it short for now.

Stay tuned!

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Re: Puff Most Epic

Postby Rough Giraffe » Sun May 09, 2010 9:16 am

Oh, dear GOSH. FUDGE. SHIP.

Oh, wait, I mean GOD FUCK SHIT DINGLEBERRY ASS! It's been a long time since we updated!

Oh, damn. I bet you were all thinking I had died or something. No, but it's been one long day after another for the past two months, and I haven't been very energetic when I get home.

So now, the next part is almost finished, and we should have it posted in the next couple days or so. It's a bit longer than the last few posts, so I think you guys will enjoy it.

To summarize: Look out, here we come.

Edit: Double post.
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Re: Puff Most Epic

Postby Rough Giraffe » Wed May 12, 2010 4:27 am

Part Seven - The Reunion Arena


[][][][][][] The cry reached her, and her spine shivered and her chest quaked, all muscles going rigid. Eyes blank, mouth agape, she couldn't breathe, she couldn't think. She wanted to move. She wanted to think. Yet she could only see. Fresh paint on the wall. Time crawled.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The wrapping tore freely, and peeled away from the cover, revealing her present: a book. She clutched it tightly, smiling as she thanked him.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Winter had come to Townsville in all its white, ebullient glory. Blossom threw a snowball, and the Professor deflected it with his arm, and then threw one back. She ducked but it grazed her bow. He laughed, and she laughed.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The three of them lifted him into the air, soaring higher and higher. He laughed and hollered as they dove in one side of a cloud and out the other, sucking the cloud along their backs as they tore through it. He blinked his eyes clear and laughed harder. He hadn't said a word, but she knew he loved his Father's Day gift.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Hard reality came thudding into her mind. Blossom barely felt the paint roller slip from her grasp and spatter against the newspaper covering the floor.

[][][][][][] She started, and could finally breathe, and it was as if strength were leaving her body in the effort of doing so; she fell to her knees, her hand lightly grasping the fallen roller. She finally turned to the open doorway on her left. Was it really him? Was he home?

[][][][][][] After a moment, she began breathing deeply. She needed to calm down. It took forever, but she stood, and pressed her hand against the right side of the taped-up doorway, leaning over and peering into the living room.

[][][][][][] Their eyes met.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Moments earlier, Professor stared back at Buttercup for another second before smiling awkwardly. "Buttercup." He had to search quickly for his next words. "You startled me." He chuckled nervously; she stared back, utterly astonished. He picked himself up from the grass and brushed off his lab coat with the backs of his hands. "When I heard you and Bubbles were back, I—well, I..." As he tried to find his words, he looked at her clothing. "You're... painting? The house?"

[][][][][][] She glanced at the paint roller, and then back at him. "Yeah." She paused. "We... we patched up the cracks... and now we're... painting. The house." She looked down for just a moment, then back up. "Yeah."

[][][][][][] He stared at her blankly for a moment, and then smiled wide. "This is wonderful! You're doing all your chores! Oh, my little girl is growing up." He got too close and hugged her tightly. Her arms were limp with surprise and her face was a mass of congested emotion pressed against his chest. He pulled back just enough to kiss her gently on her forehead and stepped past her, into the house.

[][][][][][] She paused, blushing, and put her free hand to the place where his lips had touched.

[][][][][][] The professor shut the door behind him, careful not to touch any of the white paint and stepped carefully over the newspapers lest he disturb them. He put a cupped hand to his face, and smiled as he said, "Bubbles! I'm home!"

[][][][][][] After a moment of no response, he looked around, and found her, peeking out from behind one of the cupboards in the kitchen. "Bubbles!" He held out his hands and started walking to her, but stopped when he saw the look on her face.

[][][][][][] "Don't..." she began, fear permeating her quivering voice. "D...don't look. P-please." She disappeared behind the corner. "Please d-don't look at-at me. Please."

[][][][][][] Her plea forced a cold wave up his back and across the hairs on his head. He hesitated only a moment before walking into the kitchen, seeing her and then seeing the mass of metal tubes behind her. He quickly traced them back to their source, and his eyes went wide. "Bubbles! What—?" He knelt down and looked at the arms and the spot on her back where they met. He put a hand to her face. "Who—Why—You're not hurt, are you? Are—are you all right?" Her expression was ill, but she shook her head yes. "Who did this to you?"

[][][][][][] She mewled and rolled her chin to her chest. "I..." She hesitated, and he waited patiently for her to speak. "The... robot... kn-knocked me out, and... I-I thought I was...was dreaming. But it.. hurt. W-when I woke up, I-I was like th-this. I'm s-sorry, Professor. I—" She felt herself being pulled forward, and her eyes went wide as she realized he was hugging her. She blinked, and cried, and hugged back.

[][][][][][] "It's not your fault, Bubbles. It's not." He blinked away his tears. "Oh, I should have been there for you. I'm such a terrible father."

[][][][][][] There was deep sadness in those cerulean eyes as he looked, but she said aloud, "You're a great father," and hugged him tighter.

[][][][][][] They held one another for some time, and then the Professor set her back down, gently. He glanced at the metal tubes, giving them a cursory inspection. "Can you...?"

[][][][][][] She nodded, and one of the arms pulled itself out of the pile, and waved at him. He chuckled, and ruffled his daughter's hair. "Then... for now, we can call it a gift. Okay?"

[][][][][][] She sniffled and nodded, though her smile trembled. After a moment, she looked up at him, and found that he was actually doing a more detailed examination of the grid on her back and the connectors of the arms. He was muttering to himself, making mental notes of how it worked. "...interesting design, some kind of polymer with a non-magnetic base? That's..."

[][][][][][] And then he stopped, and his eyes turned to hers: uncomfortable and pensive. He cleared his throat and stood. "Never mind."

[][][][][][] Buttercup and Bubbles were just staring at him, and he searched for something to say. Finally, he clapped his hands. "Well, it looks like you two are doing a fine job. Need a hand?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup glanced at Bubbles, and they both glanced upstairs.

[][][][][][] He followed their gaze. "I could start upstairs if you haven't already—" His eyes met with those that shouldn't have been, and she darted back into the room. It was—

[][][][][][] It couldn't be. Not her. She was...

[][][][][][] He hardly heard his own voice as the unused name came forth. "Blossom?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup and Bubbles turned to one another with quiet shock. They hardly had time to react when he ran to the stairs, climbing them two at a time, and darted to the open door.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] He's here! The Professor. He's here...

[][][][][][] She clutched the head of the paint roller to her chest. She looked down. Now her hands were covered in pink paint. She cast the roller into the trough and wiped her hands on her coveralls quickly.

[][][][][][] She heard a dozen thumps as the Professor ran up the stairs. She clutched her hands together tightly, and swung her hair forward, draping it over the fake right eye, and adjusted her posture so it wouldn't fall away. She jumped slightly as he came into the doorway, his hand thumping loudly against the frame. He stared down at her, his eyes like saucers, gaping at her. The sides of his hair were silver now, and his face had more lines.

[][][][][][] "No, no, it—it can't. Bloss—Blossom—No—it's not her, she's dead. She was dead, I saw—But she...right here—what... how—can't be. She..."

[][][][][][] He was breathing hard, and he jerked his hand up to his throat, checking his pulse. No doubt his heart was racing, she mused. He swallowed against the fingers at his throat and stared off to the side, focusing on the pulses.

[][][][][][] He grabbed hold of some of the creasing skin on his face between his fingers and dug his nails into it. They both cringed.

[][][][][][] Finally, he slapped his own face. Hard.

[][][][][][] He turned his head, still breathing heavy.

[][][][][][] They stared at one another for a long time.

[][][][][][] "Blossom... is that... really you?"

[][][][][][] She blinked and nodded.

[][][][][][] He inhaled deeply. He seemed to barely keep his balance and leaned against the frame for support. Still he stared at her, his expression a mix of disbelief and wonder. She could only imagine what he was thinking. As they stood there staring at one another, Buttercup floated up behind him, and Blossom could see as she turn her head, looking at Bubbles awkwardly. Bubbles was... on the other side of the wall? She couldn't see her face. How was she reacting?

[][][][][][] He gulped hard, still in shock. He turned his head to Buttercup and Bubbles, floating outside the door. Buttercup glanced at her and nodded to the Professor. He turned back, and opened his mouth again, hesitating. "Blossom?"

[][][][][][] She blinked, and waited for him to speak.

[][][][][][] He was peering at her strangely. "Is it... really you?"

[][][][][][] She paused, staring back at him. "It's me," she nearly squeaked. "I—I'm home."

[][][][][][] His held breath came out all at once, and he nearly staggered back out the doorway. He held on and finally asked her, "How is this possible? You were—the lava—your... your... bones...?"

[][][][][][] It seemed like that was all he was capable of saying. She swallowed hard. "Remember Professor Hardly's knock-off Powerpuffs?"

[][][][][][] "The knock-offs?" He rolled his head back and leaned against the door frame. "He's alive? He... he faked your death?"

[][][][][][] "No, not him."

[][][][][][] "...then...?"

[][][][][][] "Mojo."

[][][][][][] "M...Mojo? But he—" After a beat, he clapped his hand to his forehead. "Oh, my God." The hand slid from his forehead to his eyes. "It's... as evil as it is brilliant."

[][][][][][] She paused. The way he reacted. It was... a typical Professor reaction. One she hadn't heard in so long, it made her want to laugh, made her want to cry, and it made her want to run to him and lock him in her arms. She looked down and nearly smiled.

[][][][][][] "My God," he breathed. "You were gone forever. I was sure I had—" He shook his head. "Oh, Blossom, I'm so glad I could see you again. You don't know how much I've missed you." He tilted his head, taking a more steady look. "Blossom, you..." he began, his voice fraught with unsteady love, so obviously afraid that talking about it might make the dream end. "You've grown! You're beautiful, and tall... and thin. You're so pale."

[][][][][][] She paused, and glanced up and down at his frame. "You're...older. When did your hair... and you seem more muscular."

[][][][][][] The corners of his mouth turned up. "You noticed, huh?" He curled his bicep and put a hand over the muscle covered by his lab coat. "It's all the work I've been doing. Lots of heavy lifting."

[][][][][][] She smiled wanly. "Mojo's Secret Underground Health Spa didn't even have free weights. I'm a bit jealous."

[][][][][][] He returned her smile, but then the moment passed, and her face grew pained.

[][][][][][] "Professor. There's something else."

[][][][][][] "Something... else?" he repeated.

[][][][][][] If he had already seen Bubbles, then...

[][][][][][] She steeled herself. "I don't know if you're ready to see this..."

[][][][][][] He regarded her cautiously. "Is something wrong?"

[][][][][][] She put her hand to the hair covering her eye, hesitated, and pulled it away.

[][][][][][] His eyes went wide, his mouth agape. He was by her side in an instant. "Blossom! Your eye! What—"

[][][][][][] She looked away, hesitating, the look on her face sad and dour, mixed with the pain of the memory. "It was... a bad experiment... he made it to... to replace the... the one that...that..."

[][][][][][] He cut her off, pulling her close, clutching her head to his chest. She blinked and realized that she was crying. "Please," he begged her, his own bitter feelings causing his tone to go rigid. "No more. Blossom. No. You're here now. You're here, and... I'm still here, too. I can still be your father."

[][][][][][] She hugged him tighter and wept.

[][][][][][] Bubbles watched the two of them, misty-eyed, tears streaming down her own cheeks at the overpowering feeling of love she felt from them. She sniffed hard as she felt a spark of bitterness, and consequently felt self-loathing at what she thought was her own regret at eavesdropping on such an intimate moment. Then she turned her head, and saw Buttercup watching them, her eyes sharp and dazzlingly green through a film of tears she failed to hide.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The rest of the day, they worked on the house. The girls insisted that he relax; he surely needed it after learning of Blossom's revival, even though he told them he would help. They finished painting the walls, and needed to wait for them to dry before they started on the door frames. Buttercup finished her share and started helping Blossom, much to her surprise.

[][][][][][] The Professor poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down on the sofa, and watched the girls.

[][][][][][] Sisters united.

[][][][][][] He took a sip of his coffee.

[][][][][][] Finally, every wall was pristine and wet with paint. Buttercup flew from room to room gathering up the scattered newspapers. Bubbles relaxed all three sets of arms and slumped to the floor, exhausted; she looked ready to crash. Blossom helped her to the sofa, and then took the other side, next to Professor. He set down his cup and wrapped his arms around them, pulling them close.

[][][][][][] Buttercup disposed of the trash in the can outside, and when she came back in, she stopped, seeing the three of them cuddling on the sofa. She slowly hovered to the floor, scratching her head, looking away.

[][][][][][] "So hey, uh..." she paused, looking around. She happened to glance at the clock. It was getting late. "...what's for dinner?"

[][][][][][] Blossom looked up at her, then at the Professor.

[][][][][][] Professor looked at Buttercup, then down at Blossom.

[][][][][][] Bubbles was already asleep.

[][][][][][] "Come to think of it," Blossom said with a weak grin, "I haven't had anything since breakfast."

[][][][][][] "Well, that's no good," he said, half-admonishingly. Blossom was already too thin. "Let's go out for—"

[][][][][][] Bubbles squeaked in fright, suddenly awake, her eyes wide.

[][][][][][] They all turned to her. She stared up at Professor pleadingly.

[][][][][][] Professor pursed his lips. "Hmm." After a moment, he gently separated himself from the girls and rolled up his sleeves, heading to the kitchen. "Sit tight, girls. I'll just be a minute."

[][][][][][] They watched him as he opened up cabinets and drawers rapidly, looking for the things he needed, and to re-familiarize himself. He seemed to be having a very hard time.

[][][][][][] The three stared at one another, very worried.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Finally they ate. Buttercup had not made her trip to the store with the idea of cooking any food more complicated than breakfast in mind, so she had only gotten things she could eat by themselves or with a little bit of stewing. Beef, chicken, pork, tomatoes, carrots, and a couple packs of frozen vegetables... but the Professor made due. The kabobs were grilled to perfection. Professor still knew how to cook after all these years. The Professor poured himself another cup of coffee, and they all sat at the kitchen table with Blossom in the center seat. He smiled at them, watching them eat, as he dug in to his share. He lifted a kabob off his plate and bit into it. He savored the flavor and tang. He watched Buttercup bite onto a hunk of meat and slide it off the skewer with her teeth before shoving it into her mouth with her left hand.

[][][][][][] He grinned uneasily, but kept eating. Tomorrow, he would go to the market and buy enough for a feast. He began making a list in his head.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] A week passed. During that time, Professor tried to spend as much time as possible with his girls, and did his best to help them if need be.

[][][][][][] Afternoon of the second day, he stopped Buttercup in the hall. "Buttercup, is Townsville all right? Shouldn't you be... well, fighting crime, or something?"

[][][][][][] She blinked at him, and rolled her head to the side, staring into nothing. "If the hotline rings, that means we're needed. It hasn't rung since we got back."

[][][][][][] He turned his head to the hotline. It sat there on the stool, covered in a thick layer of dust.

[][][][][][] He paused, hesitating, and finally said, "Have you tried... calling her?"

[][][][][][] She looked up at him quizzically. "What for?"

[][][][][][] He stared down at her blankly. "To see if she's all right?"

[][][][][][] She scoffed, and made to walk past him. "She'll call if she needs me."

[][][][][][] She was about to go upstairs when she felt herself being pulled back, heard the phone lift off the cradle and then heard the buzz of the ringer at her ear. Professor had one hand on her shoulder and was holding the phone to her ear with the other, giving her a stern look. "See if she's all right." It wasn't a request.

[][][][][][] She acquiesced and grabbed the phone. He stood, watching her. She blinked at him, then concentrated on the phone. She perked up when she heard a response. "H-hey, Miss Bellum, it's Buttercup."

[][][][][][] A slinky-smooth voice came through on the receiver. "Oh, n-nothing," Buttercup replied, "I was just—I-I just wanted to see how you were doing. Anything... new?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup grinned weakly at Professor, and he smiled back.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Bubbles' new arms were a concern of his. He had finally gotten up the courage to talk about them. "Bubbles, can I talk to you?"

[][][][][][] She was holding the easel in one real hand and brushes in two of her metal hands. She was sitting on a stool about four feet away from the easel, which was sitting between her and the doorway. She looked up at him as he came into the room. "Okay," she said simply, and continued painting, glancing at him as she did.

[][][][][][] He watched the motion of the arm as it drifted up and down, paint brushes in tow. They moved almost imperceptibly with the fake appendages, weaving in and out seamlessly, never touching. He realized he hadn't said anything in a while, and she was still painting and glancing up at him regularly, almost as if she were waiting for him to speak.

[][][][][][] He cleared his throat. "You, uh... figured out how they work, then?"

[][][][][][] "S-sure," she said, and bit her lip as the arm moved ever so gently to the left, and pulled back. "Look," she exclaimed proudly, and turned the canvas around with a third metal arm, still holding the paint brushes.

[][][][][][] He looked, finally. It was him. How long had she been painting it? Had she just started? Was she always this good? Did the arms help her focus? It was incredible! Was it a side effect or an inherent ability? Could she—

[][][][][][] He blinked, and looked at her. She looked happy. He smiled at her. "It's amazing." It was all he could think of saying.

[][][][][][] The smile fell away from her face. "There's more. You're right. They do help me focus... But... not just on me."

[][][][][][] He paused, and tilted his head.

[][][][][][] She nodded, and her voice quavered, "Yes, but... I have to t-try hard."

[][][][][][] "Hm." He frowned.

[][][][][][] Her free metal arm landed on his shoulder, clutching his shirt. She looked desperate to keep calm. "You're... you're not as—as f-fast as Blossom, but... you are more c-careful."

[][][][][][] He looked at her with such determination and resolution that she relaxed, and began to smile. Her eyes were watery, but she didn't cry. Not this time. The last arm slid purposefully away from his shoulder.

[][][][][][] "Bubbles. The dream you had, when the robot captured you. Tell me all you remember."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] He turned the corner and walked into the room. Bubbles and Buttercup were sitting on the sofa, and Blossom was seated between them, staring at a chess board. She moved the white bishop from e6 to d5, paused, and then moved the black knight from f7 down twice and to the right. She tsk'd, removed the pawn, and stared at the board, hard.

[][][][][][] Professor blankly stared at her, glanced at the chessboard, and blinked. "What's going on?"

[][][][][][] Bubbles looked up at him. "She's playing chess."

[][][][][][] He blinked. "With herself?"

[][][][][][] Blossom blinked and turned to him. "Oh! No. I'm—" she hesitated, but pointed to the eye. The fake one. She told him, "I'm... trying to beat the computer."

[][][][][][] "It's so weird," Buttercup chuckled, "but it's pretty cool, too." She kept watching as Blossom moved the queen to fork the knight and a rook.

[][][][][][] Professor took a seat next to Bubbles and stared at Blossom's fake eye. "Fascinating," he muttered.

[][][][][][] After several moves, Blossom finally threw her arms up in defeat. "Augh! He got me!"

[][][][][][] Bubbles looked sympathetic but Buttercup called her out on it. "Oooh!" She reeled back and pointed at Blossom. "You got schooled by a computer!"

[][][][][][] The professor watched intently, nodding with understanding.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Dinner. The seventh night. He had pulled out all the stops. Mashed potatoes with home-made turkey gravy and chives; grilled barbeque steak with sautéed onions; carefully prepared vegetables; he even had a bottle of sparkling grape juice.

[][][][][][] After he called them down, they stared at the feast one after another, eyes watering with their mouths. It wasn't just the food; they hadn't had a home-cooked meal this good in ages. Now, more than ever, it was like nothing had changed; that they were all there, in the dining room, together, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, and their father, Professor Utonium.

[][][][][][] Bubbles was naturally the first one to sniffle and shed her tears.

[][][][][][] It didn't take much time for Blossom to join her.

[][][][][][] Finally, as if suddenly realizing and immediately trying to hide it, Buttercup.

[][][][][][] Professor's eyes darted between all three of them in fright. "Girls! What's wrong? What's wrong?!"

[][][][][][] Blossom opened her eyes first. "Nothing, Professor," she said emotionally. "We're all just glad we're together."

[][][][][][] They ate. And it was good. So incredibly good. They ate slowly, glanced at one another, glanced at the Professor, and chewed their food almost silently, eyes budding with tears all the while. They each thanked the Professor in turn, and finished their plates. They were finished, and getting ready to clean up when Professor stopped them.

[][][][][][] "Uh, hold on a minute. Blossom," he said, as she returned to her seat. She sat, watching him, as he stared at her seriously. "I was hoping you'd tell me all about... your eye. If you could. Please."

[][][][][][] To his surprise, she looked like she had been waiting for him to ask her.[][][][][][]

[][][][][][] She took a deep breath, held it a moment, and sighed it out. "Sure."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] After the explanation—which had taken well over a half an hour—Professor Utonium was silent, thinking deeply. The silence in the room was only measurable by the tick-tock of the cat clock on the wall, its eyes shifting left and right with each click. The girls kept quiet too, at least after Blossom had finished speaking. When Professor was trying to think, it was best to stay silent. They all knew that. But the silence really was terrible. Blossom found herself counting each tick and tock.

[][][][][][] "Well..."

[][][][][][] When the Professor spoke, the three of them immediately snapped to attention in their chairs.

[][][][][][] He didn't notice. "...it's... really a tough situation. I mean, Buttercup's the only one who can really go outside without causing a riot."

[][][][][][] They looked down, and nodded.

[][][][][][] "There's a chance people would overlook Bubbles' arms after a while, but it sure as heck wouldn't be right away."

[][][][][][] They nodded again.

[][][][][][] "The fact that so many people saw... er... your skeleton," he finally said, tentatively, glancing up at Blossom, who once again bobbed her head in affirmative, "that it would be impossible for you just to waltz back into existence without a wave of angry townsfolk demanding to know where you went."

[][][][][][] They all looked away from one another, sighing pensively. He was right, after all. It was a major problem.

[][][][][][] "The thing is," he continued, "you're not exactly a superhero anymore, Blossom."

[][][][][][] All lightheartedness that might have remained was effectively crushed.

[][][][][][] "You're not indestructible... you can't fly or lift cars or anything... setting aside the eye, you're a normal little girl now."

[][][][][][] She blinked and stared up at him expressionlessly.

[][][][][][] "After all this time, we've just found out you're alive..." Professor slowly clenched his eyes shut. "...and I can't ask you to—"

[][][][][][] Bubbles' eyes went wide as Blossom's reply came sharply:

[][][][][][] "Can't ask what? For me to put myself in danger?"

[][][][][][] He looked crestfallen, but nodded.

[][][][][][] She kept going. "Professor, please. It can't get worse for you. Not anymore. You know exactly what is at stake. If you're still afraid that something is going to happen, then I can tell you that you're right. Things will happen. Things already have. I'm not a normal little girl. I never have been. Why should I bother starting? No. No, I'm going to be with my sisters. Because we're the Powerpuff Girls, and I won't let that name die now that we've got another chance for it to be truly alive again."

[][][][][][] She looked at the Professor hard.

[][][][][][] "I won't let it die from fear."

[][][][][][] She looked out at nothing.

[][][][][][] "I won't let it die from despair."

[][][][][][] Bubbles blinked, and looked down.

[][][][][][] "I won't let it die from anger."

[][][][][][] Buttercup stared at Blossom in shock mostly, but creeping across her face was a renewed sense of respect.

[][][][][][] "I won't let it die. Not as long as I am actually alive."

[][][][][][] Buttercup turned her head, looking at the professor curiously.

[][][][][][] Professor stared straight ahead, his eyes fixed on Blossom. She returned his gaze without a word.

[][][][][][] Finally, he sighed, folding his hands at the table. "You really want to make this decision?"

[][][][][][] "It was made by you, nine years ago. Don't you see, Professor?" She put a hand to her chest. "I could have died at any time even with my powers. If you didn't think we could die, then what were you thinking? We were never indestructible, we were just strong."

[][][][][][] He winced.

[][][][][][] "But... your powers..."

[][][][][][] "I've still got some left."

[][][][][][] She tapped her head.

[][][][][][] " I'm still a Powerpuff Girl."

[][][][][][] Professor was agape, the words sinking in slowly, and soon the expression was replaced with a smile. "Were you always a force of will, Blossom? Unfair that you grew up behind my back."

[][][][][][] She blushed, and sat back into her seat. She looked away, then angled her head down and looked up at him. "I had a strong opponent," she told him.

[][][][][][] "Mojo Jojo..." He grimaced, and there was a heavy pause as he inhaled. "Blossom, I'm sorry."

[][][][][][] "I got away. It's alright."

[][][][][][] "No, not..." He held his forehead. "I... was being selfish. Still," he added, "you are my daughter, and I think I ought to be a little protective, don't you?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup crossed her arms. "You're a little too protective, if you ask me."

[][][][][][] "No, you're just reckless," Blossom told her.

[][][][][][] Bubbles giggled, and Buttercup scowled at her. But her expression softened and she looked away. "Whatever."

[][][][][][] The other three chucked. Then Blossom started again. "So... what do you think we should do, Professor?"

[][][][][][] His eyes rolled to the ceiling. "I have an idea."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Mid-morning sun dried the grass and signaled the ants and bees to start their labor. All things proceeded as usual with one exception: The Utonium household.

[][][][][][] In a car parked down the road, Mr. Hobbes sat in the driver seat with the binoculars in one hand and a meatball sub in the other. It was his shift; the next one was in four hours. Mr. Calvin would replace him. Until then, he sat, and took a large bite of his sub.

[][][][][][] Quite some time had passed before he noticed some motion at the house. He re-wrapped the sub quickly and set it down, grabbing the tape recorder, and putting the binoculars to his eyes. He removed them briefly to look at his watch, and then put them back on, lifting the recorder to his chin. The button clicked. "Ten-forty-two, Professor John Utonium has exited through the front, and is getting into his car. He appears to be pulling out of his driveway, and is going—wait, now he's turning around and backing in. And now the garage is opening. His car is halfway inside. He's gone into the garage now." He waited a moment before finishing the report. "No further sign of movement." He clicked off the tape.

[][][][][][] He set the recorder down and picked up the sub again, taking another bite, setting it down, and picking the recorder back up. He didn't have to wait long for more movement. He clicked on the tape and checked his watch. "Ten-forty-five. Buttercup and John are getting into the car. Looks like he's starting the car and pulling out of the driveway. The garage door is closing behind them... I see Bubbles in the back window... she looks nervous." He blinked. "...Aaand it looks like she saw me. Eh, looks like they're heading towards Townsville." He paused. "No further sign of movement." He clicked it off, and dropped it into the seat, next to his sub. He looked at it for a moment, then sat back and pulled out his cell phone.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] "Miss Bellum, this is John Utonium. Fine, and you?"

[][][][][][] Blossom looked up at Bubbles. Bubbles glanced down at her, and then out the window, nervously looking back and forth around the street. She looked positively ill to Blossom's eyes. Obviously, Bubbles was too worried about being seen, even though they had taken the time to hide her arms with a number of thick blankets and sheets. Bubbles glanced over her shoulder at the Professor for just a moment before returning her gaze to Blossom.

[][][][][][] "Don't worry, Bubbles," Blossom whispered. "He knows what he's doing."

[][][][][][] Bubbles just stared at her with her already-wide blue eyes. "There was someone watching us leave."

[][][][][][] Her eyebrows shot up. "What?"

[][][][][][] "Well, not much," Professor was saying into the phone. "I'm back in Townsville and I have something urgent to discuss with you. Can we talk? ...No, not over the phone. In person. It's very important. ...I'm afraid you'll have to see for yourself. Yes... Yes. Uh-huh. Great. Can you open up the lot out back for me? Wonderful. I'll see you in ten minutes. Goodbye." He hung up the phone. "Just hang on, girls, we'll be there in no time. Miss Bellum will know how to handle this."

[][][][][][] The three of them were silent for some time. And then Buttercup spoke. "Is this, like, one of the perks of working for the government or something?"

[][][][][][] He opened his mouth to speak, faltered, looked at her, and then back to the road. "I guess you could say that."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] As they approached the lot, Blossom pulled the sheets down over her body. Professor greeted the guard and drove past the gate to a large elevator. It carried them to the garage, and he quickly found a parking space close to the main elevator. It would bring them right outside Miss Bellum's office.

[][][][][][] Professor dialed the number and put it to his ear. "Miss Bellum," he said into it as she answered, "we're here."

[][][][][][] Bubbles peeked out the window. The garage was empty.

[][][][][][] Utonium glanced at her. "Is everything ready?"

[][][][][][] The speaker above the elevator door came to life with Miss Bellum's voice. There were other speakers scattered around the garage, but this one was the only one that sounded. "I don't know what's so important that you need all these special precautions, but if you need to get up here without being seen, I'll do what I can to help."

[][][][][][] The four of them grinned to one another, and Professor spoke into his phone. "I'll have Buttercup run point. Tell her what to do. We need to go quickly."

[][][][][][] "It's not going to be easy. Why can't you be seen?"

[][][][][][] "I can't tell you yet. You have to trust me on this."

[][][][][][] There was a brief moment of silence. "All right. Let's get you up here."

[][][][][][] John grinned. "We're counting on you."

[][][][][][] Buttercup shot backwards, the way they came, and they carefully exited the car, Bubbles' robotic limbs making a veil shape around Blossom as they moved to the elevator. The jeans Blossom borrowed from Buttercup were a little too baggy and she found she had to hold on to them as she walked; Bubbles' sweatshirt was getting in the way of the arms, and Blossom had to adjust it for her.

[][][][][][] In a moment, they heard their green sister's familiar lilt on the speaker, "Okay, now what?"

[][][][][][] Blossom kept quiet, but nudged Bubbles, and pointed up, then at the Professor.

[][][][][][] "Oh! Professor, the elevators are on the second and third floors, heading to the first floor!"

[][][][][][] "Okay, got it.

[][][][][][] Professor looked down at Bubbles as she spoke, blinked and gave them an awkward smile that Bubbles immediately mirrored. "I don't think I'll ever get used to that." He pushed the elevator button.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum spoke to him through the phone. "Get used to what?"

[][][][][][] "Er... nothing, Miss Bellum. I'm just... a bit overwhelmed seeing Blossom—I mean, Bubbles' powers in action again after so long."

[][][][][][] "I... suppose? John..." She paused. "You still think about Blossom, even now?"

[][][][][][] He looked down at his crimson haired daughter mindfully. "It's as if she never left me," he said with a hint of pride in his voice. They smiled at one another, tears forming in the corners of Blossom's eyes.

[][][][][][] Sara didn't quite understand, but she acknowledged. "Whatever helps you sleep," she told him.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Buttercup threw open the door to the stairwell, and an office-worker bounced off of it and fell to the floor, groaning in pain. As she saw him, her eyes widened a little. "Ooh! Sorry! I—" She hesitated. "I'll help you later!" She bolted away from the injured Mr. Andrew Anderson, who looked over at the slowly-closing doorway, and slumped to the floor where he was, moaning like a beached whale.

[][][][][][] As she approached, someone was already waiting for the elevator to arrive to take him to his destination. He looked at her as she approached. "Oh, hello, Buttercup. What—"

[][][][][][] "Sorry, Pops, I've been sent to tell everyone that the elevator is undergoing repairs. It'll be broke until further notice." She shrugged, gesturing the way she came. "You'll have to take the stairs."

[][][][][][] "What?" He looked at the lights centered above the doors. "But it's working just fine."

[][][][][][] She grabbed him by the collar and heaved in the direction of the stairwell. "Sorry! Exercise is good for ya! So long!"

[][][][][][] He screamed like a frightened chimpanzee as he flew through the air and landed with a rolling thud thirty feet away. He looked up with fear written across his eyeballs, and crawled his way out of sight.

[][][][][][] Buttercup ignored him and turned to the elevator. She glared at the elevator buttons. "Crap... how do I stop it?"

[][][][][][] She shot out the window and back into Bellum's office.

[][][][][][] "The elevator. I need to clear it."

[][][][][][] "Press and hold both buttons for three seconds."

[][][][][][] She was gone and at the elevator again. She did as told, counting out in her head. One... two... three. There was a small beep, and when she pulled her hands away, both lights were extinguished. She stared at them with some interest. "Wow. Didn't know that."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] They got into the elevator.

[][][][][][] Quiet music played, something poppy and only a few months old. Bubbles started humming it, clearly to distract herself. The music cut off, and Bubbles jumped.

[][][][][][] "Okay, I still have a speaker in here."

[][][][][][] "Oh! Good, good. That means Buttercup can hear us, right?"

[][][][][][] Blossom's eyes rolled at the elevator lights. Bubbles blinked.

[][][][][][] On the speaker: "You didn't have to throw him like that."

[][][][][][] "Oh, well! I'll go get him."

[][][][][][] Bubbles squeaked. "Wait!"

[][][][][][] Bellum: "What is it?"

[][][][][][] "There's someone on the floor above this one!"

[][][][][][] "...How...?"

[][][][][][] The Professor interrupted. "It's X-ray vision isn't it, Bubbles?"

[][][][][][] Bellum's voice was skeptical. "Maybe..."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] After her apology, there was relative silence now but for the hustle and bustle of the office behind her. She adjusted the shoulder straps of her green dress and smoothed out the wrinkles around her midriff. She looked up at the lights. They were holding on B2, where the others were, and hadn't moved yet. "Come on, guys. Hurry up."

[][][][][][] Soon enough, the elevator went up to B1. She looked down with her X-ray vision, and saw the elevator, but not its occupants. It was too thick to look through. Then she saw it. A Janitor on the B1.

[][][][][][] "Oh, sh—"

[][][][][][] It was time to move. She bolted to the stairwell, threw open the door, and shot down the steps.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The Professor stood uselessly in front of Bubbles and Blossom, and the doors slowly opened...

[][][][][][] And Buttercup tackled the poor Janitor at Mach 1.

[][][][][][] "DOH-FU-HUAA!?"

[][][][][][] "Sorry!" Buttercup's voice echoed into the distance.

[][][][][][] The elevator party, and Ms. Bellum on the speaker, breathed relief.

[][][][][][] They quietly passed the first floor.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Buttercup sat the Janitor down, thinking wildly.

[][][][][][] "Uh! Threat. Bad! Oh no! Better talk to your boss. Gonna get worse!"

[][][][][][] She shot up the stairwell, and out the window, and was suddenly next to Ms. Bellum.

[][][][][][] "Buttercup, please, let's just—"

[][][][][][] "Uh... Bubbles. I need... a—"

[][][][][][] "We're headed past the first floor," she could hear the Professor saying.

[][][][][][] "Buttercup?" Bubbles' voice peeped over the tinny PA.

[][][][][][] "Yeah, uh... What should I tell people?"

[][][][][][] There was a pause.

[][][][][][] "There's... uh... a bug! A mutant bug. And... It's too tiny. You can see it! Super vision. It's everywhere! Oh no—Ow! Don't poke me."

[][][][][][] The Professor quickly coughed. "Uh, sorry, Bubbles!"

[][][][][][] Buttercup was already gone, out the window and back in going to the second floor.

[][][][][][] She landed in front of the elevator, just before several important looking businesspersons were about to press the button.

[][][][][][] "Buttercup?" One severe looking woman boggled at her.

[][][][][][] "Uh. Mutant... monster bug! Too tiny! It could destroy you! A-booga-booga-booga!"

[][][][][][] They stared at her.

[][][][][][] "I guess we'll go home, then?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup exhaled hard. "Yeah. Or don't. Whatever. Just take the stairs."

[][][][][][] The elevator passed silently, and the trio of suits shrugged and moved to the stairs. Buttercup darted past them, flying up to the third and final floor, peering through the pane of glass out into the room. She saw the doors leading to the Mayor's office at the far end. And then she looked around and cringed. No other rooms for her to herd people into. Just desks, and people going back and forth, discussing details with coworkers and then back to their own desks.

[][][][][][] What to do? She had to think quickly. She flipped on her X-ray vision, and could see the elevator rising.

[][][][][][] She shot down to the floor below, opened a window, and flew out of the building, quickly floating up, just at a slight angle to the window closest to Miss Bellum's office. She pulled back just slightly and then shot forward, smashing right through the window with a spray of glass, hitting the floor and bouncing up, to hit a desk, sending splinters everywhere. "AUGH!" she cried as she hit the window, and after she hit the desk, she twisted on the floor like she were break-dancing, rolling to her feet and clutching her head, whipping her body around randomly.

[][][][][][] The lady whose desk she just destroyed stood up from her chair and tried to make sense of what happened. She had bits of glass stuck in her hair, and the eyes behind her Coke-bottle frames were wide. "Buttercup, what's wrong?"

[][][][][][] "STAY BACK!" She bellowed, "RRRAUGH!!" Her eyes shot open, and the red lasers shot out, making a deep black streaks in the ceiling tile, raining dust from the overhead. People had already started getting up from their desks and backing away, but that wasn't enough. She had to get them all to leave.

[][][][][][] She kept stumbling around clutching her head, and then she charged the green energy to her hand. "AUGH—NO!" She shouted out as her right hand detached from her head and with deadly accuracy, it shot out and blew up a desk lamp, and then she kept rolling on her heels awkwardly, clutching her head and grunting furiously. People were already at the elevator, pressing the "down" button rapidly in panic. She whipped her eyebeams around, slashing deep grooves into the wall and ceiling by several office workers, many of whom took the opportunity to dart into the stairwell instead.

[][][][][][] "MUTANT DEATH BUG! MICROSCOPIC!" she shouted frantically. "GET OUT! SAVE YOURSELVES!! GET OUT NOW!! AUGH!"

[][][][][][] The entire floor of people made a mad dash for the stairs while Buttercup threw another blast of green at a chair, only missing one of the secretaries by about a foot. Just under the screams and thundering sound of footsteps, the elevator let out a ding, ignored by everyone else, and as the doors opened, the last office worker ran into the open stairwell, out of sight. Inside the elevator, the two girls and one Professor stared into the nearly-vacant room, watching Buttercup twist like a freak of nature eyes clamped shut, letting out a fierce growl, showing no sign that she had heard the ding of the elevator.

[][][][][][] They just stared at her. She finally glanced over her shoulder, bolting straight up at the sight of everyone staring at her. She blushed furiously and looked away.

[][][][][][] The elevator door slowly closed.

[][][][][][] She waited a second, but the door did not open.

[][][][][][] Ms. Bellum yelled from her office. "Buttercup, the elevator is going down! Someone pressed the button to floor number two!"

[][][][][][] "Oh, crap!" She bolted to the stairwell, and raced back to the second floor.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Finally, the three of them stepped out to the third floor. "What was all that about?" Blossom asked her incredulously.

[][][][][][] "Well, I—I was trying to get them to leave. I didn't really know how. I just... improvised."

[][][][][][] She sighed. "Well it worked, but it sure looked goofy."

[][][][][][] "I admit," Professor began, "when Bubbles said you were break-dancing up here, I really didn't know what to make of it. But," he added, rolling his eyes up to the ceiling, "it got us here unseen. Mission accomplished, as they say."

[][][][][][] Blossom glared at him. "You're not encouraging her, are you?"

[][][][][][] He sighed. "The point is, we got here without being seen. We can worry about it later. All right?"

[][][][][][] Finally, they arrived. Professor pushed the doors open, and the girls followed, Blossom barely hidden behind Professor's legs.

[][][][][][] Miss Sara Bellum had her head in her hand as the doors opened. "Buttercup," she began, "why would you destroy—"

[][][][][][] She looked up, and her eyes went wide.



Previous: Part Six - Sliding Walls
Next: Part Eight - Circuit Breaker
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Last edited by Rough Giraffe on Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 7 - 05/12/2010]

Postby Birdofterror » Tue May 18, 2010 7:44 am

The amount of great epics and wins in in this powerful puff piece is too much to measure with my minor mental abilities.

As a wise man once said- "It is good, no really- it is. Really good. It is really good." Do want more, WANT MORE!
"It's such a fine line between clever and stupid."

The Chronometal Wars, a fan-fiction taking place in the PPGD Universe. Catastrophe is the only certainty.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 7 - 05/12/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Wed May 19, 2010 2:48 am

THANK YOU for actually posting your comments. I was thinking I would have to wait until I posted the next part to get a review. But just in case, is there anything in this part you felt could have done better? I'm always looking for constructive criticism.

Really, anything. Something you thought was odd or not described enough, or a grammatical mistake that us up slipped? And or too many conjunctions and but and? Please let me know. Again, thanks.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 7 - 05/12/2010]

Postby Musicmac » Wed May 19, 2010 5:12 am

One word, awesomeepicwinofalltime.
...
I swear it's in the dictionary.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 7 - 05/12/2010]

Postby Blood Lord » Thu May 20, 2010 1:22 am

Give me a few days, Ruff. I like to read things a few times and think about it before I give feed back.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 7 - 05/12/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Thu May 20, 2010 4:14 pm

Certainly. I guess I took the previous rapid responses for granted.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 7 - 05/12/2010]

Postby BeeAre » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:23 am

Part 8: Circuit Breaker

[][][][][][] The forecast called for a very favorable day. The sky was bright, the clouds were lithe and pale, and the wind was cool and slight. Buttercup was unusually calm at that moment, staring through the fissure between the two curtains on the open-air stage. She looked up at the sky, bright and blue; and down at the trees, radiant and green; the people, up and energetic.

[][][][][][] And yet there was that lingering feeling in the crowd of uncertainty that she could just barely feel trickling through the crowd and over center stage, nipping at her feet, sending a chill up her spine. What everyone was uncertain about... well, she could only guess. Being called here out of the blue with barely a week's notice was unnatural and suspicious on its own. And when Miss Bellum refused to divulge any clear details, she knew people would have their doubts.

[][][][][][] But when Miss Bellum did something, she didn't half-ass it. Everything she did or didn't was for a reason.

[][][][][][] The click-clack of Miss Bellum's shoes came into earshot behind her, and she turned, watching her approach, followed by Blossom, Bubbles, and the Professor. Buttercup blinked, astonished when she saw Blossom.

[][][][][][] "...and you both know what you're supposed to say. Short of some kind of disaster, there's no way we can mess this up. You okay?"

[][][][][][] Bubbles looked up at her; prior to that, she had been staring down at the floor, watching her feet and rubbing her hands together nervously as she walked. Her eyes showed obvious fear and anxiety. "I'll be okay." She didn't look it, though.

[][][][][][] Buttercup was still staring at Blossom. She was wearing a new pair of blue jeans and long-sleeve white shirt under a padded pink zip-up vest. She had her hands in her pockets as she walked up to Buttercup with a smile.

[][][][][][] However, it wasn't her clothing that caught her eye. It was... the eye. Her right eye looked... just like her left eye. After a moment, she realized that she was staring.

[][][][][][] "What's up?" Blossom asked her. She flicked the left side of her vest with her pocketed hand. "Like the new outfit?"

[][][][][][] "What—Yeah. Yeah, the... the duds. What's—your eye is—"

[][][][][][] "What, this?" Blossom asked, pointing to her right eye.

[][][][][][] She grabbed hold of her right eye and pulled it out. Buttercup recoiled, but relaxed when she realized that it was just a contact lens made to look like her eye. The robot eye was underneath.

[][][][][][] "Professor made it," Blossom said, rolling it over and looking at it proudly. "To keep it a secret. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?" She put it back in. As she turned her head, it followed the movements of her eye flawlessly.

[][][][][][] Buttercup kept staring at her. "You look... normal." She paused. "Well, normal for us." And yet she was still staring. Eventually, she had to turn her head away; it was too much. "Geez," she chuckled, fixing her eyes blankly at the far end of the stage. "I was just getting used to it..."

[][][][][][] Blossom contained her laughter and patted her on the shoulder. Buttercup looked back at her in surprise. "It's okay. Normal or not, I'm Blossom, she's Bubbles and, you're Buttercup... we're the Powerpuff Girls. No matter what."

[][][][][][] Buttercup released a breath she didn't remember holding, and smiled.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum stepped up to them with an air of complete professionalism now. "All right, girls, time for me to go on. Buttercup, you're on standby."

[][][][][][] Buttercup stepped aside for Miss Bellum as she deftly passed through the curtain, barely making it ripple as she moved between the two folds. The audience applauded her.

[][][][][][] Buttercup stared out into the crowd between the gap in the curtains.

[][][][][][] So many people...

[][][][][][] In a few minutes, that would be her stepping out to face them.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum was used to it, but she... well, she wasn't. Already, the applause came through like a roar, and she let go of the curtain and backed away.

[][][][][][] A thud at her back. She turned her head and met eyes with the Professor. He smiled wanly at her. "Don't worry, Buttercup. We're here for you. Are you ready?"

[][][][][][] She turned her eyes askance, focusing on nothing. She had been thinking about what to say, and had come up with a lot, but it was really a lot of nothing. It didn't sound good, even to her, and she knew she would mess it up if she tried to make it better on the spot. She was aware of the news helicopters flying overhead, the sheer volume of the audience, the cameras and microphones, listening to every word said, watching her every movement. The loudspeakers were already broadcasting Miss Bellum's dulcet voice to the crowd: "Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for taking the time off to join me on this red-letter day to honor the return of our city's most prized superheroes."

[][][][][][] She looked up at Bubbles, face completely covered in sweat, staring at the floor; and at Blossom, who nodded encouragingly, knowing full well the situation Buttercup was in. She grimaced, but looked into the Professor's eyes. "I think so."

[][][][][][] He smiled weakly. "Well... just do your best."

[][][][][][] She nodded, and faced the curtain, steeling herself. She heard Miss Bellum talking through the speaker. It was her cue.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Just days earlier, they had all stood before Miss Bellum, who seemed not just surprised but downright shocked at the sight of the redhead standing ever-so timidly behind the Professor's legs, clutching them for the merest of support. If they had been able to see the Mayor's eyes behind that thick head of hair... they would be bulging, wouldn't they? Buttercup could only imagine what they looked like right now. She could see her mouth agape, but nothing more.

[][][][][][] Bellum just stared at them; she hadn't moved. She was frozen.

[][][][][][] Buttercup glanced over her shoulder. Blossom stared back at her uncertainly.

[][][][][][] She looked up, at the Professor, who stared back impassively.

[][][][][][] Bubbles' eyes darted quickly between Buttercup and Bellum and Blossom.

[][][][][][] She looked back at Miss Bellum, who still hadn't moved.

[][][][][][] She knew there was a word for this situation, but she didn't know what it was.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum blinked, and seemed to regain some of her senses. She pointed an angry index finger at him; a stern tone tying her voice in knots. "Professor! You told me you would not bring her back!"

[][][][][][] He seemed taken aback. "I—I didn't!"

[][][][][][] "She's dead," she shouted. "You've desecrated her memory with this despicable act! I can't even look at you," she finished, turning away.

[][][][][][] Blossom sighed and came out from behind her father's legs. "He's not lying, Miss Bellum. It's really me."

[][][][][][] She scoffed, tears in her eyes. "You're not Blossom. You're a copy. The real Blossom died... the real Blossom was... she was so beautiful... and whole... and wonderful..."

[][][][][][] Blossom paused, and then took a step forward. "You remember, don't you?"

[][][][][][] Sara swallowed hard. The girls could hear her heart beating faster.

[][][][][][] "You remember my death. You remember it so well because that would be the easier answer. It would keep what I was locked away. That image could be perfect. So unlike what I am, right now."

[][][][][][] Buttercup looked from Miss Bellum to Blossom. She was surprised by the conviction in Blossom's eyes—even the robotic eye looked somehow stronger as she spoke.

[][][][][][] "Miss Bellum... I didn't die. Think for a moment about how I could change. I looked up to you, you know. We were that alike. I loved you for your brilliance, and a day didn't go by that I didn't try to be like you in my resolve as I was like you in my looks. I remember you looking at me, and I had a sense of pride because we could both see each other as heroes. Both of us super, amazing, in our own ways. You remember what I was. Try. Try to imagine what I could be."

[][][][][][] Sara's eyes widened. She muttered, "No... it's just... not possible."

[][][][][][] "Please. Just imagine that Blossom didn't die. Just for a moment. How would she change? How could she not? How could you not let her?"

[][][][][][] The Mayor was crying silently now, tears dripping onto the hem of her skirt as Blossom walked up to her, and pressed warm hands to her own.

[][][][][][] "Look at me."

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum hesitated, but obliged, raising red curls to red strings. She blinked at her tears. "Your eye..."

[][][][][][] Blossom gently lifted Miss Bellum's hands and placed them over her face. Sara blinked and moved her fingers. The right eye felt hard, like metal. The other was normal, which meant...

[][][][][][] She pulled her hands back, and Blossom opened her eyes. The red light from the fake eye greeted her, and she jerked back from it.

[][][][][][] "If Blossom didn't die. If I didn't die. I would have grown. And I might have suffered. But suffering isn't dying."

[][][][][][] Bellum stared from one eye to the other, and finally looked away. She stayed silent for a while, and Blossom seemed to be waiting for her to speak. Finally, "Blossom."

[][][][][][] They all smiled as Bellum hugged her for a long moment.

[][][][][][] "How is this possible?"

[][][][][][] Blossom sighed. "When it comes to evil, Mojo's capable of anything."

[][][][][][] Bellum looked up, and then at Blossom in horror, all of the implications hitting her at the same time.

[][][][][][] Blossom took a step back, and dropped her arms to her sides. Then with a shrug, "So what do we do?"

[][][][][][] She was quiet for a little while. "First," she began, "you tell me everything."

[][][][][][] Buttercup threw her head back. "Not again."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] She had opted to stare into space. She didn't want to sit through the entire explanation again, but she was stuck there, shifting her posture and staring at the wall, the clock, Bubbles, Professor, anything she could think of to keep her mind and sight off of Miss Bellum and Blossom.

[][][][][][] "In Mojo's underg... experiment with my... dissolved... in the cockpit... and then Buttercup..." She didn't bother keeping track of what they were talking about. She was listening every so often to see if they were done, but it was a while till they ended. She yawned, and rubbed her eyes.

[][][][][][] She eventually looked over, and saw that Blossom had finished. Bellum looked a little green.

[][][][][][] Finally, she spoke. "Is... everything you just told me the truth, Blossom?"

[][][][][][] Blossom nodded.

[][][][][][] "There's not... even one thing you'd change... or say differently?"

[][][][][][] She shook her head.

[][][][][][] She made a face. "Well then I doubt Townsville is going to believe all of it."

[][][][][][] Blossom craned her head to the side. "Why not?"

[][][][][][] She raised her eyebrows. "Because they're... well... stupid."

[][][][][][] Buttercup tried to stifle a snicker and failed.

[][][][][][] Blossom didn't comment.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum continued. "I guess the only thing we can do is try to get it through to them. It probably won't be easy, and we've got a lot to do between now and then."

[][][][][][] Blossom looked up at her, courageously, and with purpose in her eyes. "What do you need me to do?"

[][][][][][] But Miss Bellum dashed that purpose. "You need to say hidden. You can't be seen before the ceremony."

[][][][][][] She sighed. "I guess you've got a—ceremony?"

[][][][][][] Sara simply smiled.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Professor and Miss Bellum were organizing the Event, to which Buttercup had initially thought that there would be no need for her to do anything. She soon found out that she was mistaken. "You want me to what?"

[][][][][][] Professor waved his hand dismissively. "It doesn't have to be long. Miss Bellum will call you on and—"

[][][][][][] "Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Hey. Hold on." Buttercup held up her hands defensively and took a few steps back. "You can't ask me to make a speech!"

[][][][][][] He leaned forward in his chair and put a nurturing hand on her shoulder. "We just need you to bring the crowd up to speed with what has been going on. Just from the point where you woke up from your coma. You'll do fine," he added reassuringly.

[][][][][][] She swallowed hard and adjusted the shoulder straps of her dress and rubbed her forearms. "Do I have to?"

[][][][][][] He sighed, and sat back. "Well... we'd like you to."

[][][][][][] She looked at the floor. "...I'll think about it."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The phone rang. Professor answered.

[][][][][][] "Oh, good morning, Honey. How did you sleep last night?"

[][][][][][] He was talking to Blossom. She was staying at Miss Bellum's. She had no doubts that the two of them were having a great time catching up since the last time they had seen one another.

[][][][][][] "Well that's good," he was saying. "Is Miss Bellum up yet? I see. Well, after you two have breakfast, can you have her give me a call back? Thank you. I love you, Blossom." After a moment: "Haha, and I'll never get tired of saying it."

[][][][][][] Bubbles looked at Buttercup. She was nearly trembling, the first vestiges of tears forming at her eyes. She realized, and then blinked the tears back, and skewered several pieces of french toast with her fork and shoved them into her mouth.

[][][][][][] Bubbles frowned sadly, and then turned back to her plate of food, and took another bite.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Town hall; the last preparations before the big day, Bellum and Buttercup stood on the stage.

[][][][][][] "I'll call you out, and you'll wave to the crowd, and then you start your speech. You didn't write one down, did you?" Buttercup shook her head. "Well that's fine. You just need to talk about, you know, 'I was in a coma and then I woke up and beat the robot, and after that I found Bubbles.' But I need you to prepare them for her... arms. Can you do that?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup's face was expressionless. She blinked, and finally said, "I think so."

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum stared back at her strangely and then shrugged. "Well, you have time to think about what you say, just make sure that it's not going to be some kind of ramble, okay?"

[][][][][][] "Uh... yeah." She looked down at the floor.

[][][][][][] Bellum gave a wan smile. "Listen... Buttercup," she began. "I know you're nervous. You don't like public speaking. It's something of a weakness of yours." Buttercup looked like she was hurt by the remark, but Sara held up her hand to hold her words back. "It's all right. We've all got weaknesses, even me. I'm not perfect." Buttercup made a face. "No, I'm not," she emphasized with a terse smile. "The point is, you're gonna do fine. Just relax, practice speaking to the crowd between now and then and think about what you're going to say, but don't think too hard. It's not as important as you think it is. And if you need help, I'll be right there, okay?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup took a deep breath, and then let it out. "Okay."

[][][][][][] She smiled and relaxed. "Good."

[][][][][][] Buttercup bit her lip and looked away for a moment. When she looked back, she asked, "Can I... go see her?"

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum looked astonished. "You thought you needed my permission?"

[][][][][][] Buttercup held her head and groaned, "Yeah. I did."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The local and network stations gathered early to set up and test their equipment. Buttercup didn't really count them, but there had to be more than a hundred reporters and crew members to broadcast the whole event. People from all over the country vied for the best places in the crowd, setting up microphones, cameras, teleprompters, and made sure they were hooked up.

[][][][][][] Ralph lifted the camera to his shoulder, and sized up the shot, stepping to the left and back just a little. "We're live. Prompt should be in about ten seconds. Ready?"

[][][][][][] He nodded to the cameraman, and waited, listening for the "Go" in his earpiece.

[][][][][][] "Thanks, Kris! Well, we're here, at the Townsville Town Hall Outdoor Auditorium, awaiting the announcement by Mayor Sara Bellum. Apparently, there are details from the destruction of the robotic menace known as the Khagan, Dragoon, or Tektite from two weeks ago that need to come to light and Mayor Bellum has gathered us here for that reason. No further details have been released, but according to our sources, Bubbles and Buttercup are going to be making an appearance as well. We'll just have to wait and—" He glanced over his shoulder as he heard the thundering applause from the crowd. "—Mayor Sara Bellum has just taken the stage, let's get a closer look." Soon, he faded off, replaced by a shot just off from the stage, as Bellum walked out and addressed the crowd.

[][][][][][] "Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for taking the time off to join me on this red-letter day to honor the return of our city's most prized superheroes. Buttercup and Bubbles Utonium. The Powerpuff Girls."

[][][][][][] The crowd applauded, for this was good news.

[][][][][][] "As you know, Buttercup was in a coma from her last fight, and was still unconscious when her sister was kidnapped. When I heard Buttercup had regained consciousness, I knew in my heart that she would find her and bring her back, safe and sound. And she delivered."

[][][][][][] Once again, the crowd applauded.

[][][][][][] "And, good citizens, Buttercup has said that she would like to come here today, and tell us what she found after her climactic battle. And so, without further ado, Miss Buttercup Utonium." She clapped her hands with the now-thundering crowd, and stepped aside.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] And as she stepped onto the stage, she blinked away the sunlight and stared into the gathering. Some people applauded with respect and pride, others stared back at her with eyes of mistrust or anger. Her eyes went from eye to eye reading the expressions. Finally, she took her place at the podium, cheeks red.

[][][][][][] The thumping of her heart, the roar of the crowd, the heat of the sun, the sweat on her brow...

[][][][][][] It was an overpowering wave, the feeling of being completely insignificant, and she would have begun to tear up if she didn't know that everyone was staring at her. She pinched the skin of her arm behind the podium, hard. She tensed up and held herself frozen, but made no indication that it was painful. Quickly, sensation erased emotion, and she felt ready. She adjusted the microphone, cleared her throat and finally spoke.

[][][][][][] "Good morning, everyone. I'm glad I could be here. Being in a coma... well, I don't even know. I might as well have just been in a really deep sleep, you know? Uh..." She swallowed hard. "After I woke up and heard that Bubbles was missing... I began looking, and found that... that robot... on the way. Taking it down... was tough, but I had something really important to me on the line, you know? I already lost one sister, and I sure as hell didn't want lose another. I didn't... want to be alone. I guess... no one does."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Professor glanced at Bubbles. They were watching the live news feed, listening to Buttercup's words, and Bubbles was crying. "Bubbles? Are you all right?"

[][][][][][] She sniffled and sobbed, "She... really loves me?"

[][][][][][] Blossom smiled, and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "She always loved you. She loves all of us. She's just... embarrassed to let us know."

[][][][][][] "Hm." They looked at the Professor. He covered his chin and spoke into his hand. "I did it again, didn't I?"

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Buttercup took a breath, and sighed, and looked at Miss Bellum.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum smiled and nodded encouragingly.

[][][][][][] She cleared her throat again. "I guess the most important part about that day was that... once the thing was destroyed... I found her. I found Bubbles."

[][][][][][] The audience applauded weakly.

[][][][][][] She went on. "Bubbles... she wasn't..." She faltered. "I mean, she was... uhh..." She groaned in embarrassment and looked at Miss Bellum pleadingly.

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum leaned next to her, her hand on the mike, and whispered in her ear, then stepped back. Buttercup nodded, and cast her eyes down at the podium, then up at the crowd. She felt uneasy, but she steeled herself.

[][][][][][] "I guess the best way to say it is... Bubbles... had... been experimented on."

[][][][][][] There were horrified gasps from the crowd.

[][][][][][] "She's all right... mostly, but... she's not... really the same. I need you all to look at her now, for the person she is, and not for... well, you get the idea."

[][][][][][] Miss Bellum's lips curved down slightly, and Buttercup happened to glance at her just in time to see it. She shrugged at her, and Miss Bellum glanced at the crowd, and then shrugged as well, and jerked her head towards the curtain. She glanced over and then nodded before returning her attention to the crowd. "So, uh... may I re-introduce... my sister, Bubbles."

[][][][][][] The audience applauded hesitantly, and the curtain was still for a while, so the applause slowly died down to a murmur. Buttercup looked at Bellum, and then took a step hesitantly towards the curtain.

[][][][][][] And then she saw a featureless hand slide into view.

[][][][][][] She stopped and waited, as the hand slid further into view, followed by an arm, and then by Bubbles, poking her head out.

[][][][][][] Her eyes were red with all too familiar shame from her fear. At the same time, however, a hint of Bubbles' ever-present and pressing sense of duty—and maybe even some flicker of courage, but Buttercup couldn't be sure—slipped out of her eyes, and finally, she wandered all the way into view, holding on to the edge of the curtains timidly.

[][][][][][] The audience's silence was tense, but was broken when an old woman in the front row began clapping for her, followed by more of the crowd, until finally the crowd was roaring with the applause she so desperately needed just then.

[][][][][][] Buttercup saw Blossom's hand tap her sister on the shoulder. She looked back, and then at the crowd, and then down at the stage. She clenched her eyes shut.

[][][][][][] One metal arm pulled itself through the curtain and took a position in front and to the right of Bubbles, eliciting a strong gasp from the crowd. But she knew Bubbles wouldn't, couldn't stop there. Another arm came to the left side to mirror the right one, and then Bubbles lifted herself off the stage, and into the air, supported by all four of her robotic arms as they carried her forward, her eyes closed and her arms out, and Buttercup imagined that she looked very much like a blue angel right now. She looked out into the crowd.

[][][][][][] They were horrified.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Robin's wide eyes were locked on the television screen. The spoon slipped from her fingertips, splashing into the bowl of cereal and milk.

[][][][][][] "Bubbles..." She went sad. "Why didn't you tell me? I'm your friend. I could have helped—" She stopped. How would she have helped? What could she do? Would just being there be enough? She had no idea what Bubbles was going through. Maybe she would have made it worse. She groaned, and sat back, taking another spoonful into her mouth.

[][][][][][] She watched the silent crowd on her screen. "Why isn't anybody saying anything?"

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Oh dammit, she cursed inwardly. Not one face in the crowd looked anything less than afraid. She should have known this wasn't a good idea. Any minute now they would run screaming, she could feel it...

[][][][][][] "Oh, my goodness."

[][][][][][] Buttercup cast her eyes to the source of the voice. The old woman who had started the applause before fell to her knees. She was crying now, and rubbing her eyes.

[][][][][][] Through her sobs, she spoke. "This is... too terrible for words. Who would do such an evil thing to such a beautiful girl?"

[][][][][][] Now murmurs of sympathy started in Bubbles' favor. Buttercup's eyes widened. "Holy crap," she muttered. She watched as Bubbles sunk down to the crowd, her arms keeping her level while she addressed the audience. "I'm back," she said to them, tears in her eyes, smiling, as if she had just come back from a long vacation. "Did you miss me?"

[][][][][][] The audience was a mix of sobs and chuckles, so much that it was hard to tell the two apart. The old lady came to her feet and extended her arms to Bubbles, and they embraced in a very touching spectacle before everyone's eyes. "Oh, Bubbles... Bubbles... We missed you more than you know. And don't you worry," she said as they parted, "we won't judge you."

[][][][][][] Buttercup blinked. She might have missed it if she had been paying a little less attention, but the old woman's tone was one of challenge to anyone who dared mock this girl's plight. Even now, more people gathered around her, offering her words of sympathy and understanding—though too many of them clearly didn't mean it. Buttercup recognized the sad smile on Bubbles' face; she could see right through the words. Bubbles didn't seem upset by it. Real tears were falling.

[][][][][][] After a little while, Miss Bellum nudged Buttercup, and pointed to the microphone. She nodded. They weren't done yet. She grabbed the mike. "Hey... everyone!" She was met by a wave of stares and faltered for just a moment, but leaned back in. "Uh... sorry, but that's not all I have to say."

[][][][][][] Bubbles gave the elder one last hug and pulled herself back onto the stage. Buttercup patted her on the shoulder as she passed, and she stood at the near side of the curtain's part, coiling her arms behind her. Buttercup glanced up at Miss Bellum, who nodded to her, and then to Bubbles, who mirrored Miss Bellum. Buttercup took a breath and held it, facing the crowd. "Going back to when I beat the robot..." She hesitated, but forced herself to continue. "After I destroyed it and started breaking it apart, I found out that the battery for this thing was... a person. There was a human being at the core." She had been told to let this information sink in, and as she paused, there were disgusted grunts and outraged talk amongst the citizens.

[][][][][][] "Yeah, the same person who did this to Bubbles trapped another person. And... I rescued her, and she said she wanted to come out today and tell everyone what happened to her." She clutched the side of the podium and gulped hard.

[][][][][][] "So, here she is."

[][][][][][] The crowed began a procedural applause...

[][][][][][] ...right up until they saw who it was.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] "My God," the reporter said, his voice conveyed by nearly every working radio in Townsville; in each home; in each office; in each car. The broadcast that echoed throughout the city, though delayed by several seconds due to processing the signal. It brayed over the airwaves, and everyone listening was just as startled by the news as the reporter. "Bubbles is back... but she was experimented on by some sort of madman. He gave her... it's terrible... she has metal arms coming out of her back. This is... whoever did this is sick."

[][][][][][] His editorial left unchallenged, he cleared his throat and continued. "She's back. Bubbles is back. Any average citizen knows that this is a boon on our fair city, and furthermore a boon to the Utonium household, and especially their father, Professor Utonium, who we hear is backstage, supporting his girls as any good father should. Buttercup has just told us that there was someone else she found that day. Apparently a girl, being used as a bioelectric core inside the robot another crude twist in this heinous tale of macabre. Buttercup has just called her onstage. I see—"

[][][][][][] A gasp cut short the words on his tongue, and for several seconds and then several more seconds, his stunned silence sizzled through nearly every radio in Townsville; in each home; in each office; in each car; in the sole truck carrying a full tanker of hydrogen fuel that was headed past Town Hall at the exact moment of the radio's broadcast. The stunned silence led to the perfectly astonished, breathless words that stopped all thought across the city...

[][][][][][] "It's... Blossom."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The diner was packed this afternoon, and Shelly checked the order on the slip. One pepperoni pizza, hand-tossed. She loved doing this. She took a handful of flour and rubbed her hands together. Picking up the dough, she slapped it from hand to hand, then with a twist, tossed it into the air. It spun like a frisbee and stretched. She caught it one-handed, keeping the motion, and threw it into the air once more.

[][][][][][] She wasn't really listening, but she heard, "It's... Blossom."

[][][][][][] She turned sharply. And the next instant, her world was dark and smelled like yeast.[][][][][][]

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] "It's... Blossom."

[][][][][][] Professor pursed his lips. Good luck, girls.

[][][][][][] Hands clasped together, his eyes clenched shut, he began to pray, hard. Something... let something happen so the girls are accepted as they are. Something. Anything.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The wind was cold against her sweaty brow as she stared into the sea of faces before her. She hadn't really been looking forward to this; she was just as nervous as Buttercup. But she put on a smile even as the blush spread across her cheeks, facing the citizens of Townsville as they gawked, breath still in their lungs, too stunned to breathe.

[][][][][][] She wanted to tell them everything all at once... after all, she had left them, at least in their eyes—but she knew enough to take it slow. They were a simple group of people, though she hated to admit it, and they got angry over trifles. Being too quick about it would only exacerbate the problem. But she knew it had to be done. She had to silence them quickly.

[][][][][][] There was also the eye.

[][][][][][] Thankfully, Professor had made her a lens to cover it. Every idiot in Townsville could and would think she was simply a cyborg, created to emulate the real Blossom. The lens was a great; it matched her other eye perfectly, and hopefully it would help delay any stupid rumors.

[][][][][][] The silence was excruciating. Is it time to speak yet? She had to be careful. She looked out into the crowd, and found not one familiar face. Didn't any of their old friends come to see them? At least Bubbles, or even Buttercup? Did they have school? Were they even still in town?

[][][][][][] And then she realized, people were starting to whisper among themselves.

[][][][][][] It's time. Now they might understand, as long as she kept the details short. She turned to Miss Bellum and asked a silent question.

[][][][][][] Sara looked back at her, winced her own right eye and shook her head gently. Just don't talk about the eye.

[][][][][][] She nodded, and faced the microphone, grabbed it and spoke strongly. "Everyone, please, I have something to tell you all." The whispering died down a little, but not all the way. "Please listen to me; I have much to say." She waited a moment.

[][][][][][] The crowd went quiet. The looks they gave her were empty. Unbelieving. She had to fix it.

[][][][][][] "Everything I am about to tell you is true."

[][][][][][] She swallowed hard and curled her chin to her chest. She was acting as if she were pained by the memories in hopes that no one would offer any questions further. Finally, she raised her head to the crowd with purpose in her eyes. "The skeleton was not me. The corpse of Mojo Jojo was not him. We both lived, to complete his last scheme."

[][][][][][] The realization was fast and slow all at once. It made careful, pointed sense, but infuriated and incensed them with what it entailed. Before the crowd could roar, she spoke again.

[][][][][][] "I don't think he survived his last experiment. A computer smarter than him, and a robot stronger than me."

[][][][][][] The crowd wavered, their object of hate stolen from them by what they must have thought might be some poor sort of justice.

[][][][][][] "The computer had only one real weapon. A robot with me as its power source. What you know as the Khagan, the Tektite, the Dragoon: it was Mojo Jojo's last attack against humanity. But its first target was Mojo Jojo himself. He wasn't smart enough, and I believe it killed him for it."

[][][][][][] The people wept as the sounds of her voice washed over them. It had changed as she had. As they had.

[][][][][][] Behind her, Bellum and Bubbles wept, and Buttercup held her head down to hide any tears that could drop. Backstage, her father kept a hand on his forehead, all effort expended on retaining his composure.

[][][][][][] She refused to let her voice crack.

[][][][][][] "As the robot, I kidnapped Bubbles when Buttercup was unconscious. When she woke up... Well, Buttercup was stronger than I was, and broke the robot."

[][][][][][] She breathed, and easily skipped over the details.

[][][][][][] "We found Bubbles. We went home." She paused. "That's everything."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Kelley O'Claire drove carefully down the street. She and her daughter Melissa were heading home from school. "Did you have a good day, Sweetie?"

[][][][][][] "Yeah! Hey, guess what Mom! Guess what! Guess!

[][][][][][] She chucked. "What, Honey?"

[][][][][][] "Tomorrow there's going to be a field trip to the... Na-tuh-rul Hiss-tor-ee Moo-see-um!

[][][][][][] "The Natural History Museum! That sounds nice. And you need my permission, is that right?"

[][][][][][] "Ooh! Yes! Mommy! Hey, how'd you know? Are you psychic?"

[][][][][][] She just laughed. "No, no. I'm not. I used to go on field trips too, when I was your age."

[][][][][][] "You were young, Mommy? When, huh? Was it a long time ago? Where was I?"

[][][][][][] Mrs. O'Claire faltered, and glanced up to look at her in the rear-view mirror. "It was a long time ago... 'Lissa, how about I turn on the radio?"

[][][][][][] "Ooh, music! 'Lissa loves music! Hehe!"

[][][][][][] She's so adorable. Kelley's hand brushed against the radio and began shifting stations.

[][][][][][] "...today and has caused quite a stir. Again, if you're just joining us, Blossom of the Powerpuff Girls is alive, here, today, in Townsville!"

[][][][][][] Her jaw dropped and she stared at the radio. "She's... what?"

[][][][][][] "Who's Blossom, Mommy? Is she a new Powerpuff Girl? Was she hurt? Mommy? Are you okay? Hey. Hey! Mommy?"

[][][][][][] But she was frozen. The shock had already robbed her of her thought, and she sat, transfixed on the radio.

[][][][][][] "MOMMY LOOK OUT!!"

[][][][][][] She gasped and slammed on her brakes.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] And that's when all hell broke loose.

[][][][][][] Six cars plowed into one another, ripping sounds of warping metal through the air. The crowd turned their collective heads towards the scene, and that's when Blossom saw it: A tanker up the street from the crash was trying to stop, and he was fish-tailing. The wheels caught and the entire truck toppled, and skidded across the asphalt.

[][][][][][] Blossom's eyes went wide.

[][][][][][] "Buttercup! Stop the tanker! Bubbles, save the people!"

[][][][][][] They turned to her, their eyes matching hers.

[][][][][][] What're they waiting for?!

[][][][][][] "GO! GIRLS! GO!"

[][][][][][] Buttercup launched into the air.

[][][][][][] Bubbles was suddenly in the crowd, using all her limbs to gently but swiftly clear a path, sliding through with unconscious precision. Her eyes were if possible, even wider, incredulous at the ease.

[][][][][][] Another car slammed into the group from behind, the window shattering on impact, and mashing the other cars closer together with a spray of smoke and fire. The tanker hissed as it slid closer.

[][][][][][] Buttercup streaked towards the tanker, and dug her feet into the road, and caught it head on. It pushed her back several feet, but she stopped it and relaxed, if only for an instant. "Whoo." She stood, one hand still hanging on to the groove she had made in the tank's hull. "That was close." She turned her head.

[][][][][][] She stared openly as Bubbles approached the cars, and with her robotic limbs, gripped the roofs, and pulled.

[][][][][][] The metal tore easily.

[][][][][][] She pulled bewildered people into her real arms, and glided backwards on the fake to drop them gently into the grass by the road. It was mesmerizing.

[][][][][][] "Bubbles... when did—"[][][][][][]

[][][][][][] "BUTTERCUP!"

[][][][][][] She looked over. Blossom was pointing up the road from the— "AHH!!"

[][][][][][] Quickly, she grabbed the tank and heaved it into the air, and was instantly hit by the car that would have hit the tanker.

[][][][][][] Blossom knew Buttercup would be all right and turned towards her other sibling. Her eyes went wide. "BUBBLES!"

[][][][][][] Bubbles looked up suddenly. An oncoming car, about to run her over. Her metal arms were propped against cars. She panicked, and threw out her hands.

[][][][][][] The car's front end caved in; its back end lifted off the ground from the sheer force of the stop. The engine was destroyed in an instant. The driver's head bounced off the steering wheel, and he held his face for just an instant before the air bag went off and knocked him out. She paused, wide-eyed, and stared at her hands.

[][][][][][] Buttercup lifted the car off herself and wiped the blood from her mouth. The driver got out, frantic at having hit her. "Geez! Are you all right?"

[][][][][][] She ignored him, and looked at the tanker, flying into the air. Her eyes widened. "Aw, man!" She raced towards it.

[][][][][][] Blossom finally saw the label printed on the side, and shouted, "Buttercup! Get clear of it! It could blow at any second!"

[][][][][][] "There's still someone inside!"

[][][][][][] Blossom slapped her forehead. "Oh, man, the driver!"

[][][][][][] Her sister ripped off the door, pulled the unconscious man from his seat, and got clear. Still flying, the driver slung over her shoulder, the truck still tumbling through empty space, Buttercup waited for the blast.

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] Blossom watched the truck soar higher, but it wasn't exploding. It flew still higher and higher, then began to slow.

[][][][][][] If it didn't blow up now, it would when it landed.

[][][][][][] She had no choice. She put her right hand to her eye. Focus.

[][][][][][] The eye charged at her will.

[][][][][][] She locked on to the truck.

[][][][][][] She waited until it reached its peak.

[][][][][][] She fired. "Ah...!"

[][][][][][] The crimson bolt pierced the tanker's hull in that instant. The shock wave pulsed through everything for half a mile. To the people in the crowd the instant could have lasted several minutes, but for those watching the live feed around the world, the chaos was over in under thirty seconds. The explosion sent fire outward and upward, sending the broken halves of the truck flying in opposite directions. The thousands of people in the crowd shielded their eyes and tumbled to the ground. One half of the truck landed in an empty span of the park, and the other in the road, roughly fifty feet from the pile-up. Bubbles stared at it, and then at the rapidly burning fuel that seemed to be turning into a huge cloud of steam before their eyes. She glanced into the crowd, and then over to Blossom, ducking behind the podium.

[][][][][][] Blossom shook her hand painfully; firing her laser made her contact lens burn hot. She couldn't see it to know if it had melted. Carefully, she tested its heat against the back of her hand. It had cooled just enough. She pulled it out and looked at it. It wasn't burnt, fortunately. It was strange, though: She never felt the eye itself get hot the other times she used the laser. What was different?

[][][][][][] Buttercup landed at Blossom's side. "Bloss, are—" Blossom turned her head when she stopped, and found Buttercup staring into her robot eye. She blinked, and quickly finished. "Are you okay?"

[][][][][][] "Yeah." She paused, then gestured towards the crowd, "How are they?"

[][][][][][] She glanced over. "Some cuts, bruises... the driver of that truck was out cold, not sure about him. Everyone else seems okay." She turned back to Blossom, gesturing at the lens. "What's with this?"

[][][][][][] "I'm just checking for damage. Wouldn't want the camouflage to go to waste."

[][][][][][] Buttercup glanced at the crowd, and whispered, "Then you better put it back in while they're looking the other way."

[][][][][][] She nodded and reseated it, blinking experimentally. It seemed okay. Bubbles landed next to her, and offered her a hand, which she accepted, and let her sister pull her to her feet. Standing now, she looked from Bubbles to Buttercup, and smiled. "You guys were great. Buttercup, that thing where you threw the truck into the air..."

[][][][][][] "Yeah, I know, it was dumb."

[][][][][][] She grinned wickedly. "Actually, you set a new standard."

[][][][][][] "Hey!"

[][][][][][] Bubbles laughed. Blossom laughed. Buttercup faltered and finally realized she was joking and laughed as well.

[][][][][][] She capped Buttercup's shoulder with her hand. "Seriously, you did awesome."

[][][][][][] They smiled at one another.

[][][][][][] "THAT WAS FRICKIN' SWEET!!"

[][][][][][] Blossom turned sharply, facing a small boy at the front of the crowd.

[][][][][][] The countless faces before them hung with baited breath, and when they saw the girls, uninjured and together, really together again, those faces filled with emotion.

[][][][][][] Then they heard it ripple, from every home with a working television set, every window, and every skyscraper. Every farm, and every bystander watching the jumbo-trons downtown. Then it reached the crowd.

[][][][][][] Townsville, all of it, erupted into nearly simultaneous applause.

[][][][][][] She waved proudly to all of them.

[][][][][][] Buttercup nudged her, and she grinned.

[][][][][][] "Now we're back."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] They all sat at the table, all time stopped in the dimly-lit room, business momentarily halted. They were real gangsters: the five of them ran their own select parts of the country.

[][][][][][] They were at their monthly gathering, and news had just arrived on the small screen at the far end of the room. Feelings were mixed; the tall one calculated; the thin one's eyes bulged from their sockets; the squat, ugly one made a rude noise; the short one twitched nervously; and the last one was getting close to choking on his own drool again.

[][][][][][] "Hey Boss! Boss," the short one cried. "This is bad, right? You know?"

[][][][][][] "Nah..." He thumped his hand on the table pointedly. "Nothin' ta worry about." He turned to the thin one. "Deal 'em again, Snake."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] The girl watched with great interest. The live feed, broadcast and rebroadcast around the world clearly showed the world what was happening. Her eyes were wide. And the next instant she was trembling.

[][][][][][] She stood, stepped over to the television, craned her head and listened closer.

[][][][][][] "And so, for the first time in years... the day is saved... thanks to Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup... the Powerpuff Girls."

[][][][][][] She gave the television a bemused smile, and tore it sideways, dashing it to the floor with a billow of smoke and a loud resounding crack.

[][][][][][] She glared at it, her lips curving up into an anger-laced grin. It was a moment before realizing that she was there, leaning against the the door frame, arms crossed. She turned and glared at her.

[][][][][][] She ignored the tone of her eyes. "Those things aren't free, you know. They cost money."

[][][][][][] She hmph'd, reached into her left pocket, and threw it at her like a shuriken.

[][][][][][] She pulled the stack of bills out of the air effortlessly. Pocketing it, she stood, gauging the girl's expression. She was silent several seconds before she spoke. "Blossom's alive? Huh."

[][][][][][] She nodded, and looked out the window into the dreary gray sky. Her grin was almost psychotic, and she couldn't help but think of all the things she wanted to do with this new information.

[][][][][][] Soon the much older woman gave the real reason for being there at this early hour. With a flick of her hair that had nothing to do with the motion of her head, she told her, "It's time for your morning training, Princess."

[][][][][][][][][][][][] * * *

[][][][][][] "It has begun..."

[][][][][][] He sat back, his hands in the shape of a temple as he stared at the soundless television screen. He reclined just a little. What, if anything, should be done? He pondered for a long time, and sat in silence.

[][][][][][] He sighed, sitting up, and pressed the button on the intercom to his secretary. "Miss Blake? Get my brother on the phone."

[][][][][][] "Yes, General."


END CHAPTER TWO


Previous: Part Seven - The Reunion Arena

-

Table of Contents
Snafu Comics' Forum Alpha Bro, Staff Writer, Editor, Image, and Keeper of the Jar Brain of Secret President. RIP Ku Ku Ku \(-^.^-)/ U Wuz A REAL N***A!!!!!!!
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:53 pm

END OF CHAPTER BONUS
Code: Select all
A file has been recovered from the Professor's Archives. Replaying now.

*Tup... tup... tup... tup... tup*
"Professor, you needed me for something?"
"Ah, Blossom, there you are. I finished the contact for your eye. Here."
"Uh... Professor?"
"Go ahead, try it on."
"But... this is for a green eye."
"Oh, I know. Just try it."
"Ngg..."
*Klik* *Slkkt*
"Oh, that is just adorable. Now, try on this green dress, and say 'Desu.' "
"Professor, what is all this?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, what is this supposed to be? Is this... Rozen Maiden?"
"Uhh..."
"…"
"...didn't think you were a fan."
"I'm not!" *Slkkt* *KRISHT*
"…"
"…"
"Mm. Blossom, would you happen to know the exact hexadecimal for pink?"
Code: Select all
End of Archive.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby BeeAre » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:53 pm

non canon thnx
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Blood Lord » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:04 pm

So Blossom lost her powers due to whatever process Mojo did to her?
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:31 pm

That's correct.

I wish I could say more, but that would be defined as a "Spoiler." A big one.

But enough about that. Any critiques on what has been written? I enjoy learning about my shortcomings if it means I can grow off of them.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Shadowed State of Mind » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:51 pm

After much procrastinating, I read the first page of updates. *sigh* Boy oh boy where the hell do I begin?

I'm TRYING to find something to critique on despite being piss-poor at that but I'm taken aback by the mood and setting. Confusion does not begin to describe how I feel about some of the first chapter right now but I guess this is the type of fanfic where you gotta read more to find out exactly how their lives seemingly swirled down the drain.

Buttercup and Blossom I managed to tolerate, and certain parts implied that the latter might've been captured, depowered, got an eye replaced, and hooked to a robot for some reason or another, but then in comes Bubbles and her...the computer running those arms are mind controlling, right? And psychic? Mindcasting? I'll go with both until things get clarified but I also presume that the illusions are individualized since Blossom notices her cybernetic eye. Strangely, we only know this in part four as opposed to say...during the part where we're told just how emaciated she's become. Hmm...

Also, Bubbles' extremities are limp and aimless. I'd like to assume quadriplegic but with any luck I might read on and know for sure. One thing I'll single out is how each girl has their own 'section'. Which is to say, they each have their own 'over-the-shoulder narrative' so to speak. Seen it happen before but not on the same chapter, let alone the same part. Interesting, but I'm on the fence. Does that/will that prevail throughout this whole story?

Overall, I hope for some decent explanations on all this. Who knows, they might be the deciding factor on whether or not I become a frequent reader of this...er, unique take on the PPG.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby BeeAre » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:07 pm

well if you keep reading, you get your explanations, shad, so stick with it. I think I'll let RD respond to you in more completeness.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Shadowed State of Mind » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:16 pm

Normally I'd keep silent about those and simply wait but it seems that for now, the fanfic is trying too hard to be dark. Or is it grimdark? I haven't skimmed further with the aid of "ctrl-f" just to satiate that nagging curiosity, which is a good sign. Still surprised that I said as much as I did. I tend to reserve that for Griddles' fanfic. Well, sometimes. And last I checked, RuffDraft is a bit scarce (in the Navy with limited access, yes) so I don't expect a response from him for quite some time.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby BeeAre » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:30 pm

He's in the navy but he has a computer so he'll respond within a few days.

This story is not trying to be overly dark. You should attempt more comprehensive reading. :)
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:24 pm

I'm land-bound right now, and for the next 5 months or so. I've been moving into a new room so as to be closer to my school, so my internet activity has been sparse recently. But I'm still here, so...

Keeping in mind what has already been written, I will try to explain without giving too much away.

Initially Bubbles' psychic power was being controlled by the computer on her back. It controlled the arms by proxy of Bubbles' psychics. The computer itself was under the influence of Him, as evidenced by how Blossom and Buttercup both saw Him in their dreams.

As the computer on Bubbles' back was destroyed, the power that forced her psychic connection was broken, and the arms went limp; she had no control over them because she no inherent knowledge of how they worked. In the second chapter, she begins to figure it out and Blossom helps her control it.

This story is supposed to be like a world of dark, dreary charcoal sky with a small light of hope flickering in the horizon. As we learn more about the world, it becomes brighter, little by little, slowly but surely. There's still the overwhelming evil that approaches and encroaches on the burgeoning good of the world, but it's being pushed aside by those that actually wish to do something about it.

So it's not a darkfic, otherwise we'd have started with all the characters being present and dying off one by one, each death more horrifying than the last. And the last character that remained would be so stricken by the loss of everything they lived for in the world that they would have taken their own life. And then the story would have been over.

What fun is that?

Code: Select all
C:\>Is this a fun idea?
BAD COMMAND OR FILE NAME.
C:\>Guess not.
BAD COMMAND OR FILE NAME.


In this story we can see the girls interacting, badly, as they slowly get used to the idea that the others have changed dramatically since they have known them. This is how it should be.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Blood Lord » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:23 am

RuffDraft wrote:But enough about that. Any critiques on what has been written? I enjoy learning about my shortcomings if it means I can grow off of them.

Forgive me then. I have no critiques of your story at this time. Just the unfortunate acknowledgment that I can't wait to read the next update, and hope that I'm still here when you do update again.

I'll reread it in a few days, and see if I can't find anything.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:52 am

Still here? Are you going someplace? Dying? Becoming the subject of unknown and invasive brain surgery in which strange devices planted inside your head at the behest of some mad scientist named Forrester who constantly and effectively plots your demise on a daily basis?

Perhaps that was too specific. Anyway, what's that mean?
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Shadowed State of Mind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:20 pm

Okay, just finished reading chapter one. Sort of. I was trying to make out what was going on after the illusion got dispersed. Might be the writing style making it hard to keep track. Or I'm just a bit sleepy right now. Maybe both. The near lack of dialogue during the narrative tour through the house managed to set a melancholic mood, so kudos for that. Still, I had to reread a certain part twice to figure out that it was from Bubbles' view (this random switching of 'over-the-shoulder' narrative feels unnecessarily gimmicky to me. Maybe. I don't know, I'm no real critic). Robin's appearance surprised me though, so I wonder if any other minor characters will show up. Sara Bellum being the Mayor is the most tolerable change so far.

So from what I can gather from what I've read so far and sheer guesswork, Blossom went missing and somehow, everything went to hell from her home to the whole city in general. Once a certain cluster of very vital questions gets some answers things should be golden. Or not.

Long story short: don't worry, I'm still reading though I'm still not even 50% on whether I LIKE what I'm reading. Then again, the fact that I even bothered to say all this... :?
The Life and Times of Shad Staydamind PPG fic; finished. part 1/3
Dual Minds Think Alike PPGD fic, part 2/3; finished (trilogy is on an indefinite hiatus)
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby arcon3 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:40 am

A good story so far, although I think it'll take reading through it a few times to get wat all's happening.
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Re: Puff Most Epic - [Latest: Ch. 2, Pt. 8 - 06/25/2010]

Postby Rough Giraffe » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:29 pm

Hm. The general consensus seems that it is somewhat difficult to read at times.

I will have to consider this in depth. Thank you for your input. If there's anything else, regardless of how negative it might seem, please let me know.
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