for those of you totally out of the loop and not keeping up with things, i post every one of my fics at my writing lj first. so this was up over a month ago and everything (THIS IS ADDRESSED TO THOSE OF YOU WHO CONSISTENTLY LEAVE COMMENTS ASKING ME TO WRITE MORE STUFF HELLO YES) at my songbirdjen lj. also located there is a "best kept secret" cookie. erm, anyway.

title: messed up
pairing: butch/buttercup (i never write them healthy; you know that by now.)
rating: r. language and a taste for violence inflicted against one's own person.
disclaimer: i own the powerpuff girls not. same with the rowdyruff boys. which, considering the amount of money/time i've invested in them, perhaps i should (such a lie.)
summary: butch is a little messed up. maybe a lot messed up. he's got a thing for bruises, after all. and no one gives him better ones than buttercup.
notes: both this fic and fashion sense were an attempt on my part to write fic based on the new rrb--these are, in fact, the first 2 fics i've written after their return. boomer came off as an innocent dumb kid, while butch came off as... well, a really dumb kid. a really dumb crazy kid. so i thought, well, maybe he only seems dumb because he's crazy. and crazy i can work with.

Messed Up

Butch had always known he was a messed up kid, but at the same time he'd always thought it was a given, so he didn't really see the need to ever publicly announce it.

Some of his quirks were rather inconsequential, like eating his toast butter side down, or reading the last chapter before he even started the book (not that he read enough for it to make much of a difference anyway). He never publicly announced little things like these, but then again, it wasn't like he made the effort to keep them a secret.

Secrets he saved for the bigger things.

Or, one big thing in particular.

Every time the Rowdyruff Boys got in a "minor scuffle" with the Powerpuff Girls, blood was shed, be it a drop or a pint. Typically, it wasn't Butch—his skin wasn't made for breaking quite so easily, nor did it bruise half as much as his brothers'. At least, not when he was fighting Blossom or Bubbles.

Buttercup was his counterpart for a reason, he figured. She had this way of not holding back, at least not like her sisters, whose punches and kicks were deft and fast, yet just the slightest bit hesitant, as if they were trying to keep their own powers in check.

Buttercup was hardly so. She was ruthless when she battled him, any heroic tendencies or morals shot to hell. He could sense the difference in her fighting skills compared to the other two. She hit him with all she had and then some, like she had everything to lose so she might as well give it her all.

And it showed, simmering up in welts of red and purple and sickly colors staining his skin. Regardless of whoever came out the victor in the battle, once they got their hands on each other he never quite managed to walk away unscathed.

When he thinks about it now, though, he wouldn't have had it any other way.

Butch remembered peeling off his clothes one day after a particularly physical encounter, wincing at the sting despite his best efforts to avoid irritating his skin. Even when he lowered himself into the bath the tepid water burned and seared, sending all his nerves on end, and he bit his already swollen lip and hissed a slow breath through clenched teeth. He felt entirely too tender when he finally worked up the nerve to step out, wounds only just starting to descend into a tranquil sort of numbness.

It happened just as he was doing up a fresh pair of jeans (untorn and unbloodied) and reaching for a shirt when he cast a careless glance at the mirror.

He blinked mid-reach and looked back.

And paused.

Later on he remembered standing directly in front of his reflection, counting the discolored splatters running across his shoulder, dotting his arms, crossing the side of his stomach. He brushed his hands along them, not too hard but just hard enough to register twitches of pain wherever he touched. He studied them for ages, counting freckle-bruises and raw scrapes till his head swam with numbers.

The next day they fought again, him and Buttercup, and when she tackled him from behind and pinned him to the ground she sent a jolt of sheer agony through one certain contusion, and he bit his lip so hard to keep from crying out that he tasted blood on his tongue.

She did that to me, Butch thought to himself amidst the blood and dirt and stars behind his eyes, She did that yesterday and she's gonna do it again today.

And it was going to hurt like hell, and he was going to take forever to heal up now.

Her knee jabbed into the side of his sore stomach and he couldn't help it; he stifled a sharp groan as the ache surged through every last nerve ending he had. She did that to me.

The really sick thing, he realized, was that he wanted her to do it again.

Butch wasn't too keen on hurting himself, he didn't get much of a rise out of the idea of slitting his wrists or anything of the sort. There was an art to the externally inflicted batterings that couldn't be replicated through individual action, and besides, those kind of kids were messed up.

He knew that was more or less the pot calling the kettle black, but he liked to believe he sounded logical. Besides, fighting Buttercup wasn't an act of masochism. They were temporary medals, his bruises and scars, agonizingly painful medals, but medals nonetheless. He carried them with a sort of twisted pride underneath denim jeans and cotton shirts, and relished the little stings that came from his slightest movements.

All through junior high he did this, up through high school, smirking inwardly at all his little (and big) scratches and scrapes, despondency settling in when the purple and yellow faded away, and all he could do was stare at Buttercup and desperately want her hands on him again.

"What in God's name is the matter with you?!" Buttercup screeched, kicking him off her and shooting to her feet, eyes blazing.

Butch dragged himself upright and looked her square in the eye. They hadn't fought for weeks, and he didn't feel numb or sore at all, and it felt so wrong, so incomplete, and the world just wasn't spinning right anymore, and when he tackled her on the blacktop after lacrosse practice all he wanted was for her to hit him.

"I said Hit me," he whispered, edging close, and she jerked back.

"If you don't leave me the fuck alone, believe me, I will," she threatened in a low voice, and it was like she was practically laying out the welcome mat.

He grabbed her arm and she instantly punched him with her free one, and he let go.

Oh, not enough.

It stung, yes, but only for a few seconds, and his eye wasn't swelling and he didn't taste blood, and no, it wasn't enough.

"No." He shook his head and glared accusingly at her, severely disappointed. "Hit me like you mean it."

"You sick fuck, I don't have the time to pick a fight with you!" she shouted, and took off in the opposite direction.

Butch had seen it coming and slammed her to the ground before she made it around the corner. He didn't like it; the point of them fighting was for her to hurt him, but if it was going to take this much to convince her he was willing to let some of his principles slide.

He flipped her over and pinned her struggling limbs, leaning in and hissing, "I said—"

"Get away from me," she croaked, voice cracking, teeth strangely clenched and set.

"Don't interrupt me," Butch snapped, and knew he had to push the envelope, speed things up, catalyze the situation. He pressed closer and repeated, "I said—"

And suddenly something went right. The next second she was slamming his head against the wall, screaming, "You don't get it! You have to stay away from me, you idiot!" and the words didn't quite register but the throbbing of his head said it all, and he almost sighed in relief.

She stopped pounding his head against the wall but still held a firm grip on his hair, and said in a more subdued voice, "I want you to stay the hell away from me. There's. . . there's something. . . there's a reason I've been avoiding you, and you sure as hell don't wanna know what it is, and the bottom line is you better just leave me alone, because I am not a healthy person." Her hand clenched in his hair, and it hurt so much he almost smiled. "Trust me: you do not want to be anywhere near my hands."

Images of yellowing bruises and sore skin flashed behind the white spots in his head, and he responded without thinking, "Trust me: I know exactly where I want your hands to be."

It might've been the scratch to his voice when he said it, or the venomous curl in his lip, but whatever it was it made her eyes widen, then flare, infuriated, and before he could blink he was thrown to the floor, her hand still gripping his hair and twisting it back against the floor so she could sink her teeth into his neck. They scraped viciously along his skin and he prayed it would leave a mark as she snarled over and over again, "You just don't get it, you stupid shit, you seriously just don't get it," and then those wonderfully sharp teeth of hers were clacking angrily against his, and his head was spinning from the brutality of everything, her teeth drawing blood and her fist in his hair and his shoulder blades bruising harshly against the unforgiving asphalt, and as an entirely new sort of pain began building up somewhere below his stomach he thought yes, he was definitely a messed up kid.

It had just never occurred to him that Buttercup might've been one too.