[WARNING: This fic is rated R for graphic violence

[WARNING: This fic is rated R for graphic violence. Also, even though I'm usually a stickler for continuity in my fics, this one does contain death. If either of these bother you, then I advise you not to read. That said, enjoy!]

Immortality Syndrome

By: Mark J. Hadley

* * *

The city of Townsville…and in the suburban home of the Utonium family, the PowerPuff Girls enjoy a much-needed Saturday off. Blossom was using the time to catch up on her reading, while Bubbles worked on papering the walls with her crayon drawings. Buttercup was spending time in the Professor's training room, honing her fighting skills. Professor Utonium himself was at the kitchen table, working on his latest theorem, since it was too noisy with Buttercup in the lab to work there. Except for the occasional dull explosion sound from the training room, all was quiet and peaceful in the house.

The doorbell interrupted this quiet. The professor got up and walked over to the door, calling out, "I'll get it!" He swung the door open, and asked, "May I help you?"

He suddenly froze in alarm, as he was not looking at a person, but rather, a large metal foot. Gazing up slowly, he saw the towering form of a giant robot staring down at him. The large glass bubble over the cockpit revealed its pilot…Mojo Jojo. He answered the professor sarcastically, "Ah, yes, Professor Utonium…can the girls come out and play?"

The professor forced a smile, and said, "Uh, well…I'll go check…" He quickly slammed the door shut, bracing his back against it, and called out, "Girls!"

Mojo waited patiently outside, drumming his fingers against the console aimlessly. A few moments later, the girls flew out from the front door. Blossom pointed at Mojo and called out, "What's the big idea? It's our day off!"

"Yeah!" Buttercup added, "Can't you come back tomorrow or something?"

Mojo shouted, "Absolutely not! I did not work late into the early hours of the morning constructing my most powerful Robo-Jojo to date, just to put it into storage! I intend to use it, to see it in action, and if all goes well, it will only see action once, as it will soon be destroying you!"

"Fine! If that's the way you want it…let 'em have it, girls!" Blossom ordered. The three of them immediately shot towards the robot, while below, the professor peered out from the front door. He decided it was safe enough to come out with the girls there, so he did so, and watched them begin their attack.

Mojo immediately opened fire with a spread of lasers from the arms, but the girls nimbly dodged around them. As they got close, he swatted at them with the robot's claws, knocking them into the ground together. As they picked themselves up, he armed a set of missile launchers.

Buttercup leapt up from the ground and shouted, "Yeah! Let's have it, Mojo…" One of the missiles launched directly at her, but she stood her ground. As it approached, she knocked it away into the sky with a punch, where it exploded harmlessly above them. Bubbles flew up next to her, while Blossom stayed on the ground, examining the robot from a distance to look for weak spots…

Mojo gritted his teeth, and said, "Very impressive…but let's see if you can knock this away!" A hatch opened up on the body, and a spinning sawblade shot out, towards Buttercup. She raised her arm, ready to punch it the same way she had punched the missile.

Blossom, shouted, "No, Buttercup! Don't touch it!"

"Huh?" Buttercup said. She leaned to the side at the last second, but the blade clipped her arm cutting a huge gash along it. She yelped, and clutched it tightly…blood was seeping out from around her hand.

"Ha!" Mojo declared, "That blade was solid Duranium! It is strong enough to cut through anything, even you! And there are many more where that came from, as I have specially constructed a large batch of them in preparation for this battle!" With that, he fired five more blades, one after another, out of the body of the robot, spinning towards Bubbles and Buttercup, which quickly dodged out of the way as fast as they could.

Buttercup looped back around, hovering near where the professor was standing. He saw the gash on her arm, and said, "Buttercup, maybe I should take a look at that..."

"Nah, it's fine, Professor!" Buttercup insisted. "It looks worse than it is, really!"

The professor was concerned, but said, "I guess you're right...you'll be okay, but in the meantime, your sisters need your help…"

No sooner than these words were spoken, but Blossom, who had just started flying in towards the body of the robot in order to disable the sawblade shooter, was suddenly grabbed out of the air by one of the robot's claws. She struggled to break the grasp, but couldn't. Bubbles, in the meantime, was tugging on the other arm, trying to break it off from the robot.

Buttercup called out, "Hang on, Red!" and started flying over so she could assist her escape.

Before she could make it over, the robot held Blossom out in front of itself, and Mojo said, "Farewell, Blossom!" The body of the robot shot a sawblade directly at her. Blossom tried breaking free with her full strength, but the claws barely budged.

She screamed in panic, "AAAAAAAAAAAA—*…" and her scream was cut off with a loud *SCHLAK* sound. The other girls gasped, staring in absolute horror. The robot turned its claw face down, and released…two separate halves of Blossom fell to the ground. They landed on the street, in a slowly spreading pool of blood. There was no way she could possibly still be alive…

"My god..." the professor said softly.

"BLOSSOM!!!" Bubbles cried out at the top of her lungs, tears welling up in her eyes. Buttercup stared in shock, and couldn't believe what she had just seen…she thought to herself, No, that didn't just happen…she's all right! She's got to be! No!!

Mojo cackled gleefully, and shouted, "Yes!! I have defeated one of you at last! And there is no coming back this time! One down, two to go…it is only a matter of time now before I defeat the rest of you as well!" He didn't have time to gloat long, though, as suddenly, both Bubbles and Buttercup shot towards the robot with amazing speed, both of them screaming with rage. Before he could raise any kind of defense, they tore through the robot's arms, ripping them clear off from the body, and smashed through the glass bubble at the top. With a powerful blow, he was knocked clear out of the cockpit, where he landed on the ground. The robot tottered, then crashed to the ground also, exploding.

As he weakly tried to sit up, Bubbles and Buttercup flew over to him and started hitting him with punches and kicks, as hard as they could. They left him in critical condition, a twisted, mangled mess, barely conscious.

The professor, in the meantime, had run out to the street. A quick glance at Blossom's body was all he needed to confirm the awful truth. She had been severed in half, right across her neck. He still checked her vitals, in quiet desperation, even though he knew there was nothing they could do…

Bubbles, tears flowing down her face, was about to fly over, but Buttercup held onto her arm, keeping her from getting closer, "No, Bubbles…stay here…" Bubbles turned back to her, and hugged her, burying her head in her chest and crying. Buttercup patted her hand on Bubbles' back, trying to comfort her, but tears were streaming down her own face, too. She looked over at the professor hopefully, but he looked back at her, and shook his head sadly.

A moment later, both Blossom's head and body began to glow softly, and after a few seconds, in a blinding flash of light, both halves vanished, replaced by a pile of sugar, spice, and everything nice. That was the final proof; now that she had broken back down into her base elements, she was truly gone.

Bubbles cried softly, "…no…Blossom…"

"I know, kid…" Buttercup said, consolingly, "It's over…shhh…" She closed her eyes, and thought, If only there was something I could have done…I could have kept this from happening…I should had been stronger! I should have attacked it with my full strength the moment I saw it…instead of playing around…

The professor suddenly ran past them, back towards the house. His arms were cradling something. Bubbles looked up through her teary eyes, and said, "P-Professor?"

He hesitated, and turned to face them for a moment…they could see that he was holding the sugar, spice, and everything nice that had been left behind. He said, "I don't have time to explain! I've got to hurry!" He turned back to the house, and ran in through the front door.

Bubbles and Buttercup gave a questioning glance at each other. Bubbles asked, "What's he doing?"

"I dunno," Buttercup said, "but let's find out…"

They flew into the house, looking around, but the professor had already disappeared into his lab. As they approached the door, they heard a loud explosion. Startled, Buttercup quickly rushed forward and opened the door, flying in. Bubbles flew in right behind her.

"Professor, what was that exp--…" Buttercup began, but then both she and Bubbles froze, gasping in alarm. The professor was against the wall, like he had been thrown back by whatever explosion they just heard. But even more important, hovering over a bowl on one of the worktables…was Blossom. She lived…and even more amazing, she looked completely unharmed.

Bubbles and Buttercup flew over in a flash, hugging her tightly from both sides, "Blossom! You're alive!" Bubbles cried out happily.

"Oh man, I can't believe it!" Buttercup exclaimed, "I thought you were dead…"

Blossom, however, looked confused. "Huh? What are you talking about? Where am I?"

Bubbles glanced at her, "In the professor's lab…"

"Don't you remember what happened, Blossom?" Buttercup asked.

"Blossom? Is…is that my name?" she asked back.

"What do you m--…hey…" Buttercup said, suddenly realizing something, "What's my name?" Blossom stared at her silently, and her puzzled look confirmed what she was thinking…

Meanwhile, by the wall, the professor sat up, rubbing his head, "Ughh…" He blinked his eyes a few times to clear them, then saw Blossom. His face lit up, "It worked! I can hardly believe it! It was a long shot, but I'm glad I took it…"

"Professor, what did you do?" Bubbles asked.

"Well," he replied, climbing back to his feet, "when Blossom broke down into her base components, it suddenly occurred to me that it might be possible to re-create her, simply by mixing them back together again with another small dose of Chemical X. And by golly, it worked!"

"Yeah, but…" Buttercup said, looking at Blossom, who was gazing around the lab, "…she doesn't remember us. She doesn't remember anything."

The professor explained, "She shouldn't. Even though her components are aged, technically she was just created. Other than her basic operational memory and instincts, she won't remember anything she had learned since her original creation." He rubbed his chin, "Although, there's a chance she might recall some of it, if her memory signatures were somehow carried over on her genetic pattern. It's a possibility, but we won't know for sure until it happens."

Blossom forced a smile and said, "Uh, are you guys talking about me? Could someone tell me what's going on?"

"Patience, Blossom," the professor said, "I'll explain everything. For now, I'm just glad to have you back. Girls, take her upstairs and show her around, would you?" The girls nodded, and the three of them flew upstairs. As the professor watched them go, he thought to himself, I can't believe it was that easy to bring Blossom back. I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, though…it feels like I'm granting the girls immortality, here. Well, it doesn't matter…all that matters is that we have our Blossom back with us. She'll be as good as new soon enough…

* * *

The girls sat around the kitchen table, talking to each other. As they continued their discussion, the professor was fixing up dinner. In all the time the spent familiarizing Blossom with her life, they had all but forgotten the horrific events from earlier. They were all beginning to feel better at last.

"We're superheroes?" Blossom asked, amazed at what the girls told her. They had already told them who they were, and the professor, and were now going into the subject of who she was. She was a little surprised to hear that they had superpowers. She already knew she could fly, but she didn't know about the eyebeams, their super strength, or anything else.

"That's right. We're the PowerPuff Girls!" Buttercup told her. She continued, "And, um, I'm the leader, of course...since I'm the strongest fighter..."

Bubbles frowned, "Hey, that's not true! Blossom's the leader, not you!"

Buttercup sighed in frustration, "Bubbles! You ruined my one good chance..." She rubbed her arm softly as she talked, over the spot where she was cut earlier. Man, that's going to leave a nasty scar, she thought. I hope it heals...it'll look pretty ugly.

"Wow..." Blossom said, musing over that last piece of information, "I'm really the leader? That's amazing! Why me?"

"Well," Buttercup said, "I'd hate to admit it, but you're the smartest one of us. I don't know if that's true anymore, 'cause you forgot everything, so maybe..."

"She could still learn everything again!" Bubbles said. Buttercup gritted her teeth, and finally just folded her arms, giving up.

The professor walked over to the table, setting down a dinner plate in front of each of the girls, with a scoop of casserole on each plate. Blossom picked up her fork, and said, "It looks delicious, Professor!"

"All right, let's dig in! I'm starving!" Buttercup exclaimed, grabbing her own fork. She and Bubbles started eating, while Blossom carefully took a forkful of the casserole, examining it. She smiled, and took a bite. While she chewed, she glanced down at her napkin on the table, and thought, This could be a little messy, maybe I should tie my napkin around my neck...

As she thought this, she suddenly froze. Her hands flew to her throat, taking in a sharp breath. Buttercup dropped her fork, concerned, "Bloss! You all right?"

Blossom, still with her hands around her throat, coughed, "…can't…breathe…"

The professor hurried over to her, to check her out, while the girls looked on, worried. After looking over her, she said, "It's all right, sweetie…stay calm…"

"No…" Blossom said, her voice still rough, "…my neck.…I can't…"

"It's okay," the professor explained. He frowned a little, "I was afraid this might happen…what you're experiencing is a phantom pain…your body is recalling what happened to you before, but you're going to be just fine…"

She relaxed a little, coughing a couple more times, and managed to say, "It hurt...it won't keep hurting like that, will it?"

The professor shook his head, "No...it might happen a few more times, but just remember that it's all in your mind, okay?"

"I'll try..." she said. She looked disturbed by the ordeal. The professor felt sorry for her...What a terrible thing to have gone through, he thought, but I'm sure she'll be okay. They managed to continue on with the rest of their dinner uneventfully, although the conversation was kept to a minimum for the most part...

* * *

Nighttime. The girls were getting prepared for bed, after a long day of re-familiarizing Blossom with everything they could. Blossom seemed to be catching on pretty fast, although she still claimed that she didn't remember any of it. They told her about Townsville, about how they save they day and everything. Even though they had gotten over the incident with Mojo, the girls were just overjoyed to be having these conversations at all with her, especially after they thought she was gone for good. Now that the harrowing day was coming to a close, they were looking forward to some sleep, to rest up for the next day.

"So Townsville really loves us?" Blossom asked, crawling under the covers on the bed. "It sounds like they would. I mean, we keep saving them from danger."

"Most of them do," Buttercup explained, also getting into bed, "but you gotta watch out for the criminals. They hate us, especially the big ones like Mojo Jojo."

Blossom nodded, "Right, you mentioned him earlier."

Bubbles flew over to the bed, dropping a big pile of stuffed animals down by her place, and said, "Mojo's a bad monkey. 'Specially after today…there's not a good bone in his body."

Buttercup yawned, "Anyway, let's just get some sleep. G'night…"

The girls nestled into bed, and slowly drifted off to sleep. Hours passed, late into the middle of the night, and for the most part, they were sound asleep. Blossom, though, was tossing and turning a little bit. Images flashed through her sleeping mind briefly, fleeting glimpses that she could not make out. She felt as though she knew them…memories, but too distant to see clearly. However, she could not ignore them, as they continued to flash before her.

Blossom's eyes flew open, and she glanced around. In the darkness, she could see that the other girls were still asleep. Yawning, she flew up out of the bed and over to the bathroom. She filled a glass of water from the sink and drank it. Setting the glass down, she looked at herself in the mirror…her reflection stared back at her, and it seemed strangely unfamiliar, as though she wasn't looking at herself anymore.

She smiled slightly, and ran a hand through her hair. It was so beautiful, better than the other girls'. Especially after all she had heard from them, it sounded like she was the picture of perfection. She was the smartest of the PowerPuff Girls. She was their leader. And to top it all off, she was pretty to boot. Her long hair…those eyes, that smile…even her arms, her neck…

Another image flashed before her eyes. She could see it more clearly now…a towering form of metal. At the heart of it, a twisted, evil monkey…she thought she saw the other girls there, too, but the images were fleeting, switching quickly from one to the next. She suddenly saw herself, her arms pinned to her side, held by that towering monstrosity…she remembered how tightly it held her, even though it still seemed so distant, like a dream. But it was all rushing back to her…she couldn't move, she could barely breathe, as the thing held her…and from its body, she saw something flying towards her, like a spinning wheel of death…she felt a scream escape from her lips, and…

Blossom screamed, falling back from the mirror. She landed on the ground, clutching her throat in pain. The noise must have woken the others, because Bubbles and Buttercup flew into view by the bathroom door, and was joined a moment later by the professor.

"Blossom!" the professor exclaimed, "Just remember, it's in your mind...the pain isn't real..."

Despite the professor's words, Blossom still seemed tense. She shook her head, "No, professor, I…remember…I remember what happened…I remember everything…the robot, the…the pain…" She was crying now. "It was horrible…all of it…Professor, I-I don't want to remember…"

"Easy, Blossom," he said, "you've had a shock…"

Blossom looked up at him through her tears, and asked softly, "Why did you bring me back?"

"Now, sweetie, I…"

"Why did you bring me back?" she shouted, her tears turning suddenly to anger. "I can't take it…I can't get the memories out of my mind...they won't go away! I have to face the horror over and over again! I...I don't want to remember it, any of it...I don't want to!" Before they could say another word, Blossom flew past them in a flash of light, heading downstairs.

"Oh dear," the professor said. "Girls, you'd better go follow her, and talk to her a little bit…"

"Right!" Buttercup said. Bubbles nodded as well. The two of them flew out of the bathroom, looking for her, while the professor thought, Her memories have come back…I knew it was possible, but I didn't realize the impact it would have on her. What have I done? By bringing her back to life, am I just putting her through more torment? Oh, I wish I knew what to do…

* * *

They didn't find Blossom downstairs, and the front door was open, so the girls went out to search for her outdoors. Bubbles searched the woods and the suburbs, while Buttercup soared over Townsville, keeping an eye out for her amongst the buildings. As she did, she couldn't help but think over what Blossom said back at the house. It was a little chilling to see her like that.

She seemed so different, Buttercup thought. I hope she's not going to be like that forever. I'd rather have the old Blossom back…

As she mused over these thoughts, she spotted Blossom, down below, sitting on the edge of one of the rooftops, atop one of the tallest buildings in the city. She was gazing off over the rest of the city, with her head resting in her hands. She looked like she was lost in deep thought. Buttercup landed on the roof behind her, and said, "Blossom?"

She didn't answer…instead, she continued to sit unmoving, never taking her eyes off the city. Buttercup said, "Look…we're getting a little worried about you. Why don't you come back home, so we can get back to sleep, and we can talk over it in the mor--…"

Blossom abruptly spoke up, "What do you see out there, Buttercup?"

Buttercup stared at her, confused, then looked out over the city. "Uhh, buildings?"

"And inside those buildings?"

"Uh, well…nothing right now, it's the middle of the night…"

"Exactly," Blossom nodded. "No movement, no life. The buildings are merely hollow shells, nothing more."

Buttercup scratched her head, "Blossom, what's going on?"

"I was just noticing how much like life this city is," Blossom remarked. "During the day, it's full of movement and energy, but once night falls, it becomes quiet. Still. Dead."

"But that's only until the next morning…"

"No," Blossom stated. "With life, there is no 'tomorrow morning'. When night arrives, it all ends." She looked down at her hands, holding them up in front of her, "Except for me. Thanks to the professor, I have been given another morning…and I know the truth."

"What truth?"

"That the buildings were never really full." Blossom looked back out into the city. "The people that fill them are pointless…for when they have gone, the buildings will still be there, unmoved by their presence or actions. Take them away from the buildings early, and they are still unaffected. Such it is with us. We call it life, but in reality, there is no life…only the stubborn refusal of death."

Buttercup looked worried, "Uh, Blossom, you're starting to scare me a little…"

Blossom turned and stared at her. It was a creepy look, almost like she was looking through her, like she wasn't there. She spoke, "You don't understand. You haven't seen Death. The truth about life, the pain and suffering, is revealed only for a moment before oblivion…but I have returned from that oblivion, and I remember everything. You see, life serves no purpose, other than the brief pain and suffering at the very end. That is all it exists for."

Buttercup shook her head, "No, that's not all there is! What about happiness?"

"What about happiness?" she challenged. "What is happiness, anyway, but the absence of suffering? No, it is just as pointless as life itself. Life is misery…it spreads misery to others, and creates more life, so that it can create even more misery. No, Buttercup, there is only one way to stop it…and that's to put an end to it."

"What?" Buttercup exclaimed. "What are you talking about?"

Blossom stood up and faced her. "As long as life exists, there will be only pain and torment. Life is suffering...and the only way to put an end to all suffering, is to put an end to all life...which I intend to do, myself."

Buttercup took a step back, and frowned, "You're crazy! You've lost your mind, Blossom!"

Blossom shook her head, "Not at all…I finally see things clearly. We're the only ones that can understand, Buttercup…you, Bubbles and I, we have the power to escape the clutches of Death, and see the world as it really is."

"Now, hold on!" Buttercup shouted, "We're not like you, and we'll never be like you! Life is good, no matter what you say!"

Blossom closed her eyes and sighed. She said, "At least grant me this…take a look at the city once more, and tell me what you see."

Buttercup turned, and looked out across Townsville, "Buildings, the same as befo--…" At that moment, while her back was turned, Blossom struck her hard on the back of the neck. She toppled to the rooftop, knocked out from the blow. Still unsmiling, Blossom scooped Buttercup up from the ground and tossed her over her shoulder, and flew away from the rooftop…

* * *

Buttercup's eyes opened slowly. The back of her neck felt sore. She groaned, "Uhhhh..." and blinked a few times until she could see clearly. When she tried to move, though, she couldn't...struggling a little, she looked down and saw that she was lying on a table, and some heavy bands of metal bound her in place against it. No matter how hard she tried to break free, it wouldn't give.

The surroundings were different as well. She couldn't tell exactly where she was...maybe it was in an abandoned warehouse, or some basement. There were a few wooden tables, with several items scattered across it. She saw a set of test tubes and beakers, filled with a black liquid, sitting on a shelf. She also saw something else...Blossom, fiddling with something on the table. She looked up, her back still turned to Buttercup, and said, "So you're awake. Good, it's time to get started."

"What? Blossom, what's going on? Let me go!" Buttercup demanded. She tugged at the restraints again, but they wouldn't budge. What's going on? she thought, I'm not feeling weak right now...this should be a snap to get out of!

"Don't bother struggling," Blossom informed her. "I collected some of Mojo's Duranium sawblades from the fight, and cut them into bands to make those restraints. They'll hold you." She picked up one of the sawblades from the table she was at and examined it. "As you can see, I left one intact, because I have a much more important use for it."

Buttercup didn't like the sound of that at all. She lifted her head from the table to see better, and said, "W-what are you going to do?"

Blossom turned to face her and said, "I tried to convince you before, but I see now that it was futile. You'll never understand what I'm trying to do, unless you first experience what I have." She glared coldly, "And for that, Buttercup, you must die."

"What? No!" Buttercup exclaimed. "Blossom, you don't mean it...you can't do this! It's not right!"

"But it is right. This is the first step to the end of all suffering," Blossom told her, and started to float over to the table.

Buttercup took in a shaky breath, watching her come closer, with that awful blade in her hand. Alarmed, she stammered, "L-listen, Blossom...Y-you gotta think this over...there's g-gotta be another way..."

"There is no other way. This is the only way," she replied.

"B-But, Blossom! I'm your s-sister!"

"And as sisters," Blossom agreed, "we will share a common purpose." She rubbed her chin thoughtfully, and ran her hand across Buttercup's chest, searching for a good place to begin. Buttercup gritted her teeth, watching in horror as she stopped over her heart. Blossom nodded, satisfied at the spot she found.

She's actually going to do it! Buttercup thought. "No!" she sobbed, "Please, don't...please, I'll do anything..." As she pleaded, she saw her raise up the blade, and panicked, "Aah! Oh god, no! Please, Blossom, don't!"

Blossom carefully positioned the blade over the spot. Buttercup started breathing quickly, almost hyperventilating, and her eyes locked with Blossom's. She saw the complete lack of emotion in her face, and at that moment, it really dawned on her that she was going to die...she shrieked, "P-please, no!! NO!!"

Blossom said nothing...instead, she brought the blade down, the sawed teeth cutting into Buttercup's chest. She immediately cried out in pain, and Blossom carefully pulled the blade down, cutting a long incision down the center of her body. It was a deep cut, with the blade buried halfway into her. Blood poured out of the wound, spilling across the table and onto the floor. Buttercup screamed in agony, with all her heart. Through the pain, her thoughts raced out of control: Oh god this is it this is it I'm gonna die this is it it's all over it's all over...

She tried to take in another breath, but she couldn't...as the darkness closed in around her, all she could feel was the pain. She gurgled once, and finally, her head lolled to the side, and she lay still. Blossom watched this impassively, pulling the bloodstained blade free from her and setting it on the other table. She waited.

As she expected, Buttercup started glowing faintly, then the glow grew brighter until it became a blinding flash of light. As it faded, Buttercup's sugar, spice, and everything nice was left behind. Blossom picked up a bowl from the table and carefully scraped everything into it, making sure not to miss anything.

She flew back over to the worktable with all the chemicals, picked up a long-handled spoon, and started mixing the contents of the bowl. As she mixed, she very carefully added a few drops of Chemical X from one of the test tubes. Setting the spoon down, she quickly flew to a safe distance and watched. The mixture suddenly exploded, filling the room with bright light once again.

As the light cleared, she could see Buttercup hovering above the bowl, back in perfect condition. She blinked her eyes a few times, looking around in confusion, "Where am I? What's going on?"

Blossom floated slowly over, still unsmiling, and said, "Listen to me. Your name is Buttercup, and you have forgotten your past. I will help you remember it, however." She pointed to the table with the restraints, and said, "Look over there...what do you see?"

Buttercup stared at the table, and at first was a bit revolted, "Is..is that blood? What..."

"Do you recognize the table?" Blossom asked. "Those restraints?"

"I...don't know...I think..." Buttercup held her head, trying to remember. "It seems familiar...I just..."

Blossom flew over to another table and picked up the blade. She held it up over her own chest, over precisely the same position where she began the cut on Buttercup before. Buttercup stared at the blade, and raised her hand, holding it against her own chest, "That..." She suddenly took a sharp intake of breath, and clutched her chest with both of her hands. She cringed, and slowly hovered down to the ground, landing on her knees, doubled over in pain.

Blossom flew over and stood in front of her. She said flatly, "Do you remember?"

Tears flowing from her eyes, Buttercup nodded without looking up, and sobbed, "Yes..."

"And you remember what I told you before? About life?"


Her eyes narrowed, "And do you understand now?"

Buttercup looked up at her, through her tears, and nodded, "Yes...I do..."

"Excellent," Blossom said, helping Buttercup to her feet. She turned to look out of a window, and added, "We can finally begin, now. Tonight..."