I wrote this fic nearly 3 years ago to celebrate my 18th. To this day I still think it is quite possibly the best PpG/RrB fic I ever wrote.

For a bit of history, I wrote this a mere couple of weeks before the PpG ep "The Boys Are Back in Town" premiered (and let's not get into that ep, please). Henceforth, the reference to Mojo rather than Him.

I originally posted only part of the beginning at instructing readers to go to my lj if they wanted to read the whole thing. I learned that few people read author's notes anymore. C'est la vie! Here it is, folks, in all its glory. Butch/Buttercup, 17, cocky attitudes, swords, and blood. And a bit of kink. Because it's fun.

(For the record, I've still posted more stuff at my lj than I have here.)


"And dear me, what do we have here?"

Buttercup froze, the familiar voice resonating behind her in the pitch black. 'I knew—I knew—this was a bad idea,' she berated herself, but it was a little late for that.

Fluorescent lights illuminated the room the next instant, and she was momentarily blinded, refusing to blink and steeling her nerves for the inevitable first hit.

Mojo's place had yet to be reorganized after the last heated frenzied scuffle that had taken place earlier that day, furniture still askew and chunks of debris that used to be part of the wall now decorating the floor. It had, expectedly, ended with the carting off of the delusional villainous mastermind to jail once again, and she and her sisters had managed to nail the red and blue Rowdyruffs and send them to juvey.

The green one, however—

His steps were slow, casual, arrogantly relaxed, and his expression equally so as he strolled up-around-and-in-front of her roughly ten feet away, the all-too customary smirk curling along his lip.

GOD, how she hated that.

Her distaste must've shown in her expression, because he gave a short laugh and shifted his weight. "Company. And here I thought I'd have the house to myself for the evening." His smirk deepened into a sneer. "Miss me today?"

Buttercup remained silent.

Butch shrugged, halfheartedly. "Yeah, I would've thought so. Juvey isn't my thing, really, wouldn't you know it. I'm trying to see if I can get through the final year spotless before I become legal and start going to the slammer instead." He directed his gaze back toward Buttercup. "How about you? Any year long goals, resolutions. . ."

At the lack of response he swept his gaze along her still body. "Really. Sounds terribly exciting."

The air was thickly impregnated by tense silence.

"I could do some awful things to you, you realize," he said, his voice soft and dark and eyes glittering. "This constitutes as breaking and entering—even you aren't above the law."

"Funny, you seem to think the opposite yourself." Buttercup laced her arms across her chest and glowered at him, muscles still tensed for the unavoidable first hit.

Another one of those disgusting smug smiles crossed his face, and she bristled. Christ, he was such a bastard.

"I make my own law. A common characteristic of the evil and ill of heart. You could learn a lot from me."

"I'll pass, thanks."

A look of mock wistfulness graced his expression. "Pity." The wistfulness morphed into insinuation. "There's just so much I could teach you."

"And if I don't care to learn?" she shot back, cool defenses all but disintegrating.

"What are you doing here, anyway?" he responded instantly, ignoring her question and coolly examining the hem of his usual green jumper.

She stilled. ". . . I don't see that it's your business to know."

"Hello? I live here."

"Yeah, thanks for reminding me. Gives me reason to get out of here quicker." She took a cautious step back, still poised to strike back if he struck her.

"Hold it a minute," he said, raising a hand. And she wouldn't have, but see, just at that moment there was a something that glinted from his hand, and she just had to.

He had it.

Recognition must've been awash on her face, no matter how hard she tried to suppress it, because that cocky self-righteous look was there again and he laughed. "I thought you'd change your mind." He brought the silver charm to his eyes and squinted at it. "Delightful little bauble, this. From a boy, I take it?"

Buttercup hated that the word "boy" made her blush.

And of course he noticed, and of course he simpered. "I'm good, aren't I? Although, really, you never struck me as the type of girl guys—"

She shot toward him at that instant, and he only barely zipped out of the way. Jeering, his voice escalated to a shout and hollered, "What would your boyfriend say if he knew you liked to beat up guys for no good reason!"

"Who said anything about a boyfriend!" She whirled on him in midair, but only hovered, facing his equally stationary figure across the room.

Even from where she was, she could see his eyes shining mischievously. "Oh, so it's a girl?"

She clenched her teeth and snapped, "You're such a fucking bastard, you know that!"

"Gasp! Language! Woe to my innocent mind! Keep that talk reserved for when you're alone with your boytoy, if you please—"

"What, are you jealous!"

Unmasked horror flooded his face. "Begging your pardon! I'd sooner be jealous of you than I'd be of your boyfriend, if that's what you're implying—"

And that, that just tore it.

She slammed into him first and he slammed back into her and she was practically at his throat and snarling, coolness be damned.

"Just—give—it—back!" Each word was punctuated with a swipe at the hand clutching her, her necklace, and each swipe yielded nothing but air.

"Ah-ah-ah, patience, patience. . . if you want it back, you'll have to take it from me—properly." In one fluid movement he undid the clasp and slipped it around his neck, eyeing her darkly and with that awful, just plain awful sneer on his face. . .

And she knew she should've just glared and flown home, but Buttercup was a girl of action, and pride, with a good helping of stubbornness to boot, and obviously this was not one of those times when she was going to exercise a polarization in personality.

Besides, and this was an odd thought, that necklace looked so much better on her, and he knew it.

"You're a despicable creature!" She hurled an energy beam from her hand with his face as the target.

"Why, thank you! I thought you hadn't noticed!" He responded in a similar manner, only with needless elaboration and a grand flourish of movement. Buttercup didn't see why he had to fight every battle like it was a scene straight out of The Matrix, particularly when there wasn't even an audience, and she was sure she didn't count.

Like she wanted to, anyway.

There had been a great and many battles that had taken place in that volcanic observatory for years on end now, well over ten. In many cases, the damage was immense, near unfixable. Battles fought with an intensity to rival those of the Roman gods.

Yes, a great many battles had been fought.

And all were dwarfed by this one, reduced to mere snowball fights among children—small, small children.

If either had been paying much attention to the furnishings of the room, they might have noticed that. . . well, the room wasn't quite as furnished as it used to be. Theoretically, of course. Theoretically, they also might have noticed that a wall that had been there before, even after the battle earlier in the day, wasn't. Theoretically, they might also have noticed that the fight had made its way to Mojo's lab, what with the shattering glass and oozing chemicals and whatnot.

But, as earlier established, this was all in theory.

Just for sake of argument, another theory should be added. Theoretically, had either Butch or Buttercup been paying much attention to anything at all (besides wiping the floor with each other), they might've noticed that one of the shattered glasses containing oozing chemically stuff spilled on them when Buttercup rammed Butch into the wall, upsetting a shelf above their heads.

Enough about theory, though. They did notice when they both crashed to the floor from a considerable height for no apparent reason, and realized they could no longer fly.

Buttercup furiously rubbed away the liquid on her face and tried to shoot another energy beam at Butch, but apparently those had been switched off too, because, well, nothing. "What have you done!" she shrieked at him, ready to lunge.

A shard of glass had landed in his hair and he gingerly tugged it out to get a better look, dodging out of her way as she plowed for him. ". . . 'idote?'"

Even Buttercup paused. "What the hell does 'idote' mea—"

And it hit her.


Antidote X.

"You. . . have got to be kidding me."

He tossed the shard behind him, where it shattered again. "I'd say 'yes,' but I like to refrain from telling a lie unless it'll benefit me somehow. I'm a man of principles, after all."

Buttercup would've spat out some nasty retort, but as luck would have it, she was reminded of what they had been fighting over in the first place, and she dived for his neck. To her disadvantage, Butch hadn't needed a reminder, and easily tripped her as he sidestepped out of her way.

As she stumbled and hit the ground, managing to avoid the numerous glints of glass dotting the broken tile, she heard a number of footsteps, followed by a clatter and a distinct sheening sound, and twisted her head to get a better look.

Butch had procured a very shiny, very lethal looking weapon in his hands, and he brandished it with a silky grin.

Buttercup went cold at the sight of it.

Visibly too, because his grin widened, and he turned his attention from her to the blade. "Part of Mojo's personal collection of Japanese swords. You wouldn't think it of him, but he's quite the blade enthusiast. Of course, we're not allowed to touch them. But—" He swept the unsheathed sword from side to side, a high pitched, barely audible echo glinting off it as easily as if it were sunlight. "—Exceptions can be made in emergencies such as this."

Something in his voice did not sit well with her at all, which was why when she stood, despite the fact that she was a good distance away, she did so very slowly and with guarded care. She glanced around the lab, lacking in visible exits—the battle from earlier that day, intense though it had been, had not extended past the main room, and the one they had just finished—were still in the process of finishing—had only knocked out the wall between this room and the next.

With the path guarded by a very fatal looking young man tapping a glossy sword at his side.

"It's an original Kai Ginto—stainless steel, heat tempered blade," he continued, as if he were the only person in the room. "Black leather wrapped handle—it's such a nice color—brass tsuba & pommel. . . 26.5 inches long. Excellent sword, in my opinion." He twirled it in his hands and caught the light in it, suddenly aiming it at Buttercup's eyes, and for a moment she was blinded by the gleam—

–and suddenly she was on the ground again, staring directly at the point of a winking blade suspended in place by a smirking green-eyed boy.

She felt her body tense, and she hoped her anxiety wasn't visible.

Casually, he whispered, "I far prefer this to the Nodachi, and the Katana. . . and don't even get me started on the Tantos." The tip began to trace its way along down her face, past her neck, and directed its attention to the top button of her shirt, dancing along the thread.

She definitely tensed then, because she inhaled sharply and the button actually bumped against the sword.

Butch only smirked. Wider, if possible.

"Get up," he said quietly, and despite the very dangerous weapon focused on her, she was action, and pride, and stubbornness (mainly stubbornness, actually), and for a while did not move an inch.

Instead of speaking, Butch merely shrugged and slit the tiny threads laced through the buttonholes. The round bit of plastic slid off her shirt and rolled to the ground.

The blade moved to the next. "Get. Up."

With a defiant glare Buttercup inched up on her elbows, pausing as the blade grazed her skin before fully standing. All along the sword remained pointed at her sternum.

"Thank you."

She glowered at him. "Go to hell."

He flashed her a cheeky smile. "You're absolutely charming, you know?"

"Fuck you."

The smile turned dark, and he arced the blade so that it was vertical and pointing straight up under her chin. He leaned in close (too too close, she thought), and aspirated in a threatening voice, "Promise?"

She didn't even dare grit her teeth. She already felt the summit on her skin, and it seemed like just one breath would draw blood. Kicking him in the crotch was instantly ruled out—she imagined she wouldn't even get the chance to delight in a brief show of Butch-in-pain before the blade sliced through her skin and spilled crimson on the floor.

Suddenly he stepped back, twirling the sword in one hand as he put a bit of distance between them. "New task," he clarified, and flourished the weapon, light catching along the metal and blinking a pattern in the air. "If you—" he pointed the sword at Buttercup "—can take your precious trinket from me and get past me, I won't even follow you home and toilet paper your house when you leave. Oh, and I'll leave your boyfriend alone, just as an added bonus. Maybe. Of course, you have the Kai Ginto to reckon with, too."

He stopped playing with the sword and rolled back his shoulders, grasping the blade in both mitts. "But I promise I'll play nice."

"I'm sorry to say I don't trust you," Buttercup answered in a voice that didn't sound one bit apologetic.

Butch tilted his head and shrugged. "A shame. I already told you, I am a man of principles. Your move."

Buttercup's eyes flickered to the area behind him—freedom, logical reasoning in her brain pointed out—and noted the empty scabbard lying discarded on the floor.

But there's more than one. From where she stood she could see another sword propped in a wooden stand by the lab door, along with other blades of varying shapes & sizes hanging along the wall that had been untouched when they'd barged in.

She was not a swordsman—swordswoman, she mentally corrected. The most experience she'd had was with a fencing class she'd taken on the fly one summer, and that was certainly not the way he was going to fight—particularly when he swept it from side to side so naturally and fluidly; she could not see his actual swordplay as being much different.

But she wasn't about let such a fickle thing as skill prevent her from putting up a valiant fight.

Determination leading the way for action, pride, and stubbornness, Buttercup took a slow step forward, then burst into a sprint, intending to slide at the last minute underneath and between his legs—

Well, that didn't quite work the way she had hoped.

He jumped forward and twisted one of his bent knees around her leg just before she went into the slide, hitting the ground hard on his knees and thrusting the sword at her arm. It slit through the fabric of her shirt noiselessly but did not connect with skin, though she felt the cool metal against her arm, and felt a chill run down her spine.

Immediately she twisted away from the sword, freeing her leg and kicking it up and down over his neck, thumping him to the ground and shooting out an arm to grasp at the chain around his neck—

She saw the glint of the blade a moment too soon and shot back as it swiped a horizontal line along her chest, slitting the fabric but again, not connecting with skin. She stumbled back and dropped to a squatting position, heaving a deep breath as she steadied herself with her arms braced on either side. A bit of skin peeked through a tiny nick in her shirt, and she shot a scathing look at its maker.

He only tilted his head from one side to the other, a pleased smile curling his lip, and drew the blade along the ground beside him as he turned, a sharp scrape resonating off the tile.

She grit her teeth, focused on a mental image of his head with little red "x's" where the eyes used to be, and shot forward again.

A good five or ten minutes went by consisting of nothing but her frenzied and failed attempts to snatch her necklace back. Every move she made was almost instantly countered by him and his sword, and even the times she got close enough to grasp his collar she could tell he was giving her a little leeway on purpose, just to make things interesting. His movements were languorous and easy, and the smirk never left his face.

Which just made her all the more resolute to give him a proper thrashing the first chance she got. Then she'd get her necklace back.

Her increase in determination wasn't without its costs, though—the action suffered. She dropped and made a desperate sweeping kick at his feet and didn't give a thought to the sword's location till it was too late, and just as her brain snapped to attention and she jerked away, cold metal sparked to the side of her face.

She staggered back and steadied her footing, feeling the thin line of red rise to the skin of the oddly painless cut along her cheek.

The blade had made the cut so precise that it was still clean.

Butch's eyes twinkled at the drawing of blood, and in a sudden movement, he rushed up to her, leaned in, and let his tongue flicker out to lick at the cut.

Before she had a chance to look mortified, he had already retreated, and whirled his Kai Ginto through the air, the only indication that his tongue had made contact with her skin to taste her blood being his tongue sweeping in an idle tease along his lower lip.

This was all too many awful shades of Hannibal Lecter.

She marveled that more blood wasn't spilling from the cut, as it seemed like her face was an extremely high level of "blush" at the moment.

No, not blush. More like ill-hidden, red-faced, intense, burning rage.

And it only deepened when that sickeningly familiar smile upturned the corners of his mouth.

Her teeth grating against each other, she growled, "What. The FUCK. Was that for."

He transferred his weight from one leg to the other, indolently arcing the sword up to rest along his shoulder. "Just having a bit of fun," he leered. "What's the matter, Buttercup? Afraid of a little swordplay?" He punctuated the last word with a sway of his hips that he somehow managed to make look masculine, and his eyes tapered to slits.

Buttercup's voice was icy and sharp. "Keep me out of your twisted sexual fantasies, you lecherous prick."

"Mm, you bitchy, I likey."

Further infuriated, she leapt at him again, but her concentration was tainted by her wrath, and the blade nicked another painless line, this time to her upper arm. She noticed an increase in movement of the sword, just before Butch leaned down to run his tongue along the new streak of red.

She snarled and kicked at him, but her foot only met air, and she wished fervently, God, if I only had my powers back.

When he straightened a triumphant smile lit his face, and she felt a sudden breeze against her arm. Glancing down, she realized the long right sleeve of her shirt had been sheared at just above the elbow, and was now dangling by a mere few threads. With a growl she ripped the piece off and whirled on him again.

"You're going to pay."

He flashed an oddly beatific smile. "With pleasure."

His payment was long in coming. Clearly unnerved, what with the superpowers lacking and the fact he still had her necklace and the further fact that she was losing badly and the whole licking her blood bit, Buttercup was not at her top performance, and another attempt at reclaiming what was hers resulted in another three slashes connecting faintly with her body—one at the curve of her shoulder, one across the flat of her stomach, and one along her thigh (slicing a wide tear in the leg of her jeans in the process).

The lacerations were so slight it hardly felt as if the blade had touched her at all—the only indication for each was a thin scarlet stripe marring her skin.

She had only just noted that her clothes were gradually losing their typical. . . body-covering capabilities when Butch slammed her to the floor and took advantage of her momentary dazedness to lick at the three new scars lining her body. She vaguely noticed the unnecessary lingering of his tongue this time, its warmth pressing and teasing her skin, and she turned her head to the side and caught a glimpse of the second sword on the stand not a foot away.

Noting her lack of instantaneous fury, he lifted his face to hers and breathed, "What's this, you surrender?"

At that moment she bucked her body hard, tossing him off sharply, and twisted for the leather handle, fumbling with the act of unsheathing it before he recovered and succeeding to some degree. When he snapped his head up, an insane look of perverse thrill had lit his face, and it only deepened when his eyes alighted on the second sword, loosely shuddering in Buttercup's grasp.

Her breathing was deep and labored, nerves on edge with a fury she hadn't been permitted to release.

"Well," Butch exhaled, tongue briefly flickering between his lips, "this is going to be interesting."

A momentary suspension in movement and speech passed before two words were formed on Buttercup's lips.

"Your move."

It was the cue he'd been waiting for.

Even without superpowers he was quick as lightning, and Buttercup barely had the chance to lift her sword in defense when his blade suddenly flashed in the air above her head. The two weapons crossed in an X from shoulder to shoulder, and she kicked back when his blade pressed too close.

"What's the matter, Buttercup? Afraid of a little skin contact?"

I'd sooner concern myself with your tongue, she thought, but instead muttered, "Are you going to fight, or are you going to fight?"

Butch lowered his eyelids menacingly. "I am fighting, but that doesn't absolve me of my right to. . . have a little fun while I'm at it."

And he moved for her again, his sword glimmering in the fluorescent light.

Buttercup had been right about her skill versus his—it didn't compare offensively, not by a long shot. But her natural quick reflexes lent themselves to her rudimentary defensive abilities, and not another nick was made in her body, though a pant leg or two did not go undisturbed. When the left leg of her jeans was half severed, she took advantage of an uncustomary pause in the fight to slice the rest of it off—it didn't make any sense to fight when a potential risk for tripping yourself up existed.

She wasn't the only one whose clothing was in a state of disarray. She had managed a few lucky carves herself in his jumper, and he had a number of new tears in his jeans—loose fit, so they hadn't been so difficult to make. Every chance she got to aim a good offensive blow, she hesitated, one reason being that despite her unreserved hatred and loathing for the guy she could not bring herself to plunge the blade in his body, and her skills weren't confident enough to manage the fine-haired cuts he'd inflicted on her.

There was a degree of comfort, though, to be found in the awareness that she was holding her own, and putting up quite the fight. The smirk was only present in brief moments and instances now when she had a close shave, and sweat lined his brow as much as it did hers.

"You—" he hissed, but in a manner more admiring than it was threatening, "—you're just full of surprises, aren't you?" Their swords clanged heavily against each other, and with a swooping motion he pushed her sword to the side and stepped back, panting a bit for breath.

Buttercup, starting to feel a little drained from all the fighting—how long had she been gone, anyway?—summoned up as much energy as she could and thought Thrust thrust, parry parry and drove her weapon at his, hoping to disarm him

He snapped to attention and jumped away, but not before her blade scratched a weak mark along the side of his leg.

Her reaction was impulsive, a reflex.

She lunged forward, bending her head down, and tracked the thin red streak with her tongue, tasting the rusty flavor of blood with rough denim scratching at her lips.

Just as her tongue disappeared back between her teeth he gasped and jerked back, eyes wide and chest heaving with arduous breath, dumbly watching her as she straightened and swiped at her mouth with the back of her hand.

And while most of her tensed and screamed WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT FOR! the rest of her just lifted her head defiantly and said in an undertone, "It's only fair."

A maniacal sort of shimmer illuminated his eyes, and she shifted from one foot to the other, a part of her shirt collar slipping a bit down her shoulder. His eyes darted to the slight movement, then back to her face, and he grinned maliciously and murmured, "I was right. This is going to be interesting, and you just keep on surprising me."

With a second careless glance at her shredded clothes, he swept the sword around his own body, slicing away the remnants of the now tattered green jumper. The fabric peeled away and slid down his torso to the floor, and he flourished the sword again and smirked, not so much as a frayed edge on the white shirt that had been underneath.

"Only fair," he muttered, the vividness in his eyes betraying his muted voice. He scraped the sword harshly along the tile as he swung it up in a vertical line along the middle of her body, narrowly missing the remaining buttons holding her shirt together.

Buttercup veered to her right, countering the blow, and realized she had completely forgotten what it was they were fighting over.

The chain around his neck caught the light and winked at her, and she thought torpidly, Oh, right.

She attributed her absentmindedness to the exhaustion slowly beginning to wear on her from all their skirmishing, because it certainly wasn't due to the fact that she might actually be enjoying this.

With a mantra along the lines of The necklace the necklace the necklace recurring in her mind, she thrust the sword again in his direction in an effort to try and faze him. He instantly countered it, the flats of their blades viciously colliding, and he stepped up as he arced them to their sides and drew himself up against her body, breathing low and haggard, and here he was so close Buttercup could count the rivulets of sweat streaming along his brow. . .

What were we fighting over again, she dimly mused, somewhere in the back of her mind.

He rounded his sword away from hers and suddenly it was between her legs, drawing a dangerous line up along her inner thigh. Buttercup didn't even flinch away.

He drew closer to her, mouth distressingly close to hers, and suddenly wrenched back, his sword slithering along the leg of her jeans that was still there, and she was vaguely aware of the fabric ripping and another delicate band of blood forming across the inner length of her thigh.

Only fair.

Her sword clattered to the ground when he suddenly had her on her back against the tiles, and her body arched and a breathless sigh escaped her lips when she felt his tongue along her skin again, warm and pulsing and this was all so. . .

Unreal, her head bleated as he drew his body up flush against hers, vivid green eyes dark and a little wild as they took in her languid figure flattened beneath him. She suddenly felt too worn out to move, yes, that was it, she told herself, I'm exhausted, too tired, too tired to stop him. . .

Butch brought the blade up, the tip directed at her throat, and sunk it just to the left of her neck, another narrow line of red forming after the metal passed. Buttercup shuddered and squirmed against him when his hot mouth pressed itself to the cut, and her mind reeled a little desperately when he kept it there longer than usual, his teeth scraping against her neck.

He tossed his head up, flecks of sweat jettisoning from his hair, and saw that she wasn't fighting back and she wasn't stopping him and her mouth was red and parted and there was a hint of that wild light in her eyes too. . .

No trace of a sneer on his face whatsoever, he slowly lifted the blade to her face and pressed the flat of it to her lower lip.

As he pulled the sword away, another fine stream of blood following its wake, Buttercup tried fervently to remember what was the point again, because it was quite obvious she'd completely lost the plot.

His eyes closed but hers stayed dimly open as he opened his mouth (tasting of her blood and her sweat) and dragged his tongue in a purposeful, teasing lick at the new cut, and then for some cloudy reason her tongue met his and then there was incredible pressure everywhere, in her mouth on her chest and there there there was where the pressure was the most intense. . .

He kissed her with a violent, reckless sort of abandon that she would've expected, yes, she would've expected him to kiss her exactly like this if she had ever given any thought to the idea of them kissing in the first place, and now she obviously had a lot of thinking to catch up on, provided she could even remember what there was to think about with his teeth biting at her tongue and hips nudging a little desperately against hers, and it struck her that if he was really aware of how anxious he seemed he would be all too many degrees of mortified.

Of course, she was a little mortified herself, seeing as how she wasn't putting up much of a fight.

. . . If any.

Still gripping the sword in his hand, albeit a little loosely, he pulled his mouth away from hers, panting a little, and his breath pooled in warm, heavy wisps on her neck. The pendant swung down from underneath his shirt collar and dropped against her neck, and through a haze of. . . of twisted, crazy, completely mental recollections of swordfighting and blood and licking, she thought to herself, That's mine. And I should get it.

Her thoughts were interrupted, however, by another rough kiss, and her mind swam, striving desperately to focus in an attempt to formulate some sort of plan.

Inspiration struck, and she assured herself as she shoved her teeth against his and bit greedily It's all part of the plan, it's just the plan, I just want it back, I just want to go home, is all. . .

With uncharacteristic smoothness her hand wove down between their bodies and clutched hard and sudden between his legs.

Butch tore away from her, choking out a strangled sort of groan, and gasped, "Jesus Christ!" and Buttercup shot up and sank her teeth in his neck, the cool taste of metal hitting her tongue. Ripping her mouth away, she propelled herself down, coasting past him and twisting up the moment she was out from under him, rising to her feet and curling her head back to look at him.

He was still crouched where they'd both been a hair of a moment ago but with his head turned to her, an astonished look on his face. His breathing was still shallow, and she noticed his teeth clenching when he swallowed. Thickly.

The chain had snapped and now dangled brokenly from her closed mouth. Eyes still on him, she opened her mouth and the chain slid wetly between her lips, collecting in her upreached hand. Lifting it so the pendant hung in the air, dripping with saliva, she focused her gaze on him and muttered resolutely, "I win."

She didn't budge an inch when he hastily stood up, a look of something in his eyes that was partly anger and partly shock and partly another thing she couldn't quite place, and flicked her eyes unashamedly over his entire figure, not the least bit put off by his obvious excitement considering what she'd just done.

His breathing was beginning to slow, and he pressed his lips together and boldly returned her stare, the tip of his sword turned to the ground. For a long, breathless moment another battle took place, the air laced with tension and daring and something that may have been lust but Buttercup pushed that thought away and focused instead on the tension.

It was broken by a sudden, bitter curl of his lip, and he threw the blade down, where it spun to a stop at Buttercup's feet. "Fine," he hissed, and shifted his weight, crossing his arms over his chest.

Buttercup watched a tiny drop of sweat carve its way along the line of his neck, and surreptitiously flicked her tongue out between her lips because they're dry, she told herself.

The pendant knocked gently against her leg, a whispered reminder, and she blinked and turned away, tucking the chain into her now tattered pocket.

"Déjà vu," he called after her scornfully, and was that a hint of resentment she detected in his voice?

She stopped and easily turned. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"It means 'walk away like you always do,'" he responded simply, strolling lazily toward her. She didn't move away, not even when there was barely an inch separating them again, and not even when he bent his head close to her neck and moved his lips against her skin, whispering, "You promised, didn't you?"

She scoffed, but didn't push him away. "Don't get your hopes up."

"I'm not." His teeth scraped at her neck, and that was in no way erotic, she assured herself. "But why don't you try finishing what you started for once?"

His voice was low and husky, and she repressed a shudder, because his breath tickled, yes, that was it, his breath tickled. She thought of five year olds and stupid schoolyard fights and feebly said, "You hit me first."

"You kissed me first," he responded instantly, and he was right. He lifted his head and looked directly into her eyes. "And I know why."

Her eyes were hard, narrowed. "Why?"

A playful flicker danced in his gaze. "Because you can't control yourself when you're around me."

Buttercup squared her shoulders and said quietly, "Is that so?" and did not give him a moment to answer before shoving him to the floor and straddling his hips, lips working feverishly over his. There was some sinful kick she got out of hearing him moan into her mouth, and slid her hands down the length of his body, touching and stroking and other things that in the back of her mind she knew could not possibly be legal, not in a million years.

You can't control yourself. . .

Butch was prodding his hips against hers as she drew his shirt up and let her hands dance along the expanse of unnaturally smooth skin, her touch a light, teasing caress that made his breath catch in his throat and when she heard his hitched gasps she knew that he was wrong.

It wasn't because she couldn't control herself.

But it did have everything to do with control.

She gripped him again, and he threw his head against the tile and struggled to breathe without making those needy little sounds that were so not him, and she realized the horrid thing was that she wanted to hear those sounds, wanted him writhing underneath her and begging, and it was wrong, so wrong, because to want something like that, something like this. . .

. . . was evil.

Her lip curled as she pulled out of a vicious kiss, tasting blood and dimly horrified that she liked it.

"N-No," he breathed, and that triumphant little smirk was on his face because he thought, he thought he knew. "You—DEFINITELY—can't control yourself."

He thought he knew.

He was so, so wrong.

Buttercup glowered at him, trying to keep the sneer from her expression.

I can't control myself, can I?

"Watch me."

In the blink of an eye she was out the door and running to another boy with the taste of Butch's blood lingering in her mouth.

Butch didn't follow.