By: Mark J. Hadley
The city of Townsville. It was a Monday afternoon. Underground, beneath the Utonium household,
Buttercup was busy fighting a host of monsters in Professor Utonium's training room. She had been doing great, handling each
monster with ease, and now that the simulation was drawing to a close, she
quickly dispatched the rest of them, and flew out from the room in
triumph. "How was that,
Professor?" she said proudly.
"I'm amazed, sweetheart,"
the professor replied, shutting down the training room computer from the
console. "You handled Level 11
effortlessly that time! Your skills are
"Hah, it was a piece of
cake!" Buttercup bragged. "No monster can get the better of me!"
Nodding, the professor said,
"I'd almost have to agree with you there.
Still, don't forget what you've learned here, because real monsters can be a lot more
unpredictable and dangerous than these simulations."
"Bring 'em on, I say!"
Buttercup exclaimed, punching one fist into her other.
Almost as if on cue, she heard the
familiar buzz of the Powerpuff Hotline upstairs. Dashing out of the lab, she found Blossom already answering it,
"What? Okay, we're on it,
Mayor!" She hung up the phone and
said, "Another giant monster's attacking Townsville…let's go!"
Bubbles flew into the room just
soon enough to hear Blossom's order, and all three of them left the house,
heading towards Townsville. Buttercup
smiled and said, "All right! More
action! I bet I could take down this
monster all by myself…"
"Buttercup, we have to work
together on this, all right?" Blossom said.
Buttercup huffed, "Man, I'm
tellin' ya, there's no monster I
Bubbles said. "We're a team."
"I don't care," Buttercup
yelled. "Team or not, I can take
'em alone! I'll prove it to you…"
Blossom frowned, and yelled back,
"No! Listen, we're doing this the right way, okay? I'm getting sick of hearing you brag about
how good of a fighter you are. This is way too important for you to put all of
Townsville at risk just so you can show off!"
They saw it in the distance. It was a huge pink blob-like thing, with a
single large eyeball in its forehead, a gaping mouth lined with teeth, and
several tentacles sticking out both of its sides. It was currently holding a building in one set of those
tentacles, crushing it.
"Okay," Blossom ordered, "Let's start with attack plan
Buttercup watched as Blossom and
Bubbles circled around opposite sides of the monster. She gritted her teeth and thought, Ah, forget the lousy plans, I'm doin' it my way this time! Instead of
flying high over the monster like she was supposed to, Buttercup just opened
fire on it with her eyebeams.
Blossom looked back over her
shoulder and said, "What's she doing?! Buttercup!"
Ignoring her, Buttercup continued
to fire her eyebeams…unfortunately, they didn't do any good, as they passed
harmlessly through the creature's jelly-like body. Blossom and Bubbles broke off from their attack, and both of them
tried attacking with their own eyebeams, having similar results as
Buttercup. The monster roared and
swatted at them with his tentacles, but the girls all managed to dodge.
Blossom stopped near Buttercup and
yelled, "What's wrong with
you? Why aren't you following
"Alpha-gamma-thirteen stinks, and you know it!" Buttercup said, folding her arms. "That stupid plan never worked before, so why should it work now?"
Blossom narrowed her eyes angrily
and said, "It would have worked this
time! But no, you had to go and disobey
a direct order! I've had it with you! One of these days, your recklessness is
going to get Townsville destroyed!
"Now listen here!"
Buttercup growled back. "I'm not the one always coming up with
some cockamamie scheme instead of learning how to fight! That's what's most
Bubbles interrupted with a shout of
warning, "Look out!" As the
girls looked up, they saw the monster swinging its tentacles at them. Blossom spotted it first and quickly dodged
out of the way. Buttercup's back was to
it, though, and by the time she had started to turn around, a tentacle slammed
into the back of her head, knocking her from the sky.
Everything seemed to go black all
at once, just for a moment, although Buttercup got the vague feeling that she
was falling down through the air. She
saw debris flying around her, having crashed through a building or two, but she
didn't feel anything…probably from the adrenaline rush, she decided. She didn't feel herself hit the ground
she thought. All right, that's it! That
monster's history! She tried to get
up, but couldn't budge. She didn't feel
sore at all, but she still couldn't lift a muscle. From the position she was lying in, she could see the monster in
the distance, and saw two blurs, one pink and one blue, slashing around
it. They flew through it from multiple
angles, ripping through its blob form each time, and the monster was slowly
disintegrated completely by it.
Buttercup smiled inwardly and
thought, What do you know…the plan
actually does work. Great, just great. Now Blossom's probably gonna flaunt this in my face for the next
Trying to get back up to her feet,
she still couldn't budge an inch. Man, I must have been hit harder than I
thought…guess I'll just rest here until I'm strong enough to move again. She waited, and saw Bubbles flying over in
her direction. I feel ridiculous. They didn't
even get hurt at all, and here I am, on my back like some weakling.
She could see that Bubbles'
expression was strange, though. Her
hands were covering her mouth in shock, and she yelled, "Blossom!" A moment later, Blossom appeared next to her, and gasped, looking
down at her. What's wrong? What, am I really
badly hurt or something? I wish I could
see myself…I can't move my head, though…
Blossom flew down and grabbed her
shoulders, shaking her. Oddly,
Buttercup felt nothing, not even the touch of her hands. "Buttercup!" Blossom said, looking
like she was on the verge of tears.
"Are you all right? Say
fine, Blossom! Really, I don't feel
hurt at all… It took Buttercup a moment to realize that her words weren't
coming out of her mouth. They were just
in her mind. Confused, she tried
again. Blossom? Can you hear me? Blossom? Again, nothing.
Blossom cocked her head to one
side, listening carefully to her, and said, "I-I don't think she's breathing…"
Bubbles, barely visible off to one
side, said, "Oh my god…I-is she…d-dead?"
No, I'm not! I'm still alive! She tried to move something, anything…her
field of vision changed slightly, and she knew that all she managed was to move
her eyelids slightly.
Blossom said, "Her eyes
moved! She's still alive!" She lowered Buttercup down for a moment,
whose head lolled to one side. She couldn't
see Blossom from this angle, but she could still hear her say, "C'mon,
Bubbles, we gotta get her to the hospital, fast!" From this position, though, she could see
her reflection in a window on a nearby building. She didn't look hurt at
all, no cuts or wounds, but she was hanging limply. Her eyes were partly closed from when she moved her eyelids, and
her mouth hung open loosely. She was
surprised by that, and tried to close her mouth, but her reflection didn't
happened to me? Why can't I move?!
She saw herself lifting off of the
ground, and knew that Blossom was flying, carrying her. Her voice, laced with sadness, said,
"Hang on, Buttercup…y-you're gonna be all right…you'll be just fine…"
* * *
What happened at the hospital
seemed to pass in a blur. She was
wheeled into the emergency room…all she could see as they went down the hallway
were the lights on the ceiling, and an occasional doctor's face peering over
her. They hooked her up to a few life
support systems, something to help her breathe. One of them shined a light into her eyes…it was blinding, but she
could barely move her eyelid enough to close it halfway. The doctor said, "No pupil response…pulse?"
She still couldn't move, still
couldn't feel a thing, as they ran various other tests on her. She couldn't understand anything they were
saying, although "concussion" and "possible trauma" leapt
out. It was maddening, though, not
being able to do anything. She felt
like she was watching it all on television, a moving image of light and sound,
with no other feedback or input, just a spectator to everything that was going
on. Every so often, she tried to say
something, but it did no good…she remained as silent as before.
Eventually, they put her in a
hospital room. They inserted an IV into
her arm, and even then, she felt no pain when the needle went in. After this, they left her alone for a few
minutes. She thought, I need to know what happened to me…was I
paralyzed? I probably was. Am I going to stay this way for the rest of
my life? What a waste! I was just starting to become such a great
fighter, too…stupid monster, had to do this to me! Everything I've been training for, wasted, gone in one stupid
She heard the door open, and some
people came in. As they came into view,
she saw they were Blossom, Bubbles, and the professor, as well as one of the
doctors, whose nametag she could finally see clearly: 'C.EVANS, MD'. The professor and the girls looked down at
her with sad expressions. "Will
she be all right?"
all right, Professor…I can't move, but I'm all right…
"I don't know," Dr. Evans
said. "She suffered a rather heavy
concussion right on the base of her skull."
Bubbles was looking at him
tearfully, "What's wrong with her?"
Dr. Evans went over some papers on
a clipboard, "Physically, she's okay.
Mentally, though, I'm not so sure.
She's been unresponsive, and it's my suspicion that the blow she
received likely caused her permanent brain damage…"
What? No, I'm fine, I can still think just the
same! I swear it!
"What kind of damage?" the
"The EEG we ran on her has had some
disturbing results," Dr. Evans replied.
"We're detecting very little brain activity at all. Most of it seems to be coming from her
autonomous functions, although even those
have diminished. She can't breathe on
her own right now. Her heart is still
functioning, thank goodness, but just barely."
said, "You can fix her, can't you?"
Evans hesitated, and took a deep breath…it was a bad sign. He finally said, "I admit that the nature of
the injury is somewhat of a mystery to us without further research, but we've
still been able to draw a number of, we believe, definite conclusions. The only time we're reading surges in brain
activity is when her eyelids occasionally move, and there's practically zero
brain activity during any other time."
The professor said, "What does
Dr. Evans continued, "Right
now, the tests indicate to us that she's clinically brain-dead. We don't know the extent of the damage,
but…there might not be a way to restore her back to the way she was. Even if you could repair the damage, she'd still be brain-dead, like you see her now,
unable to move or respond…"
My mind is still okay! You gotta
believe me! I just can't move, that's
all! I'm still all right! Buttercup
tried as hard as she could to move or do anything, but still, all she could do
is move her eyelids slightly again, and that wasn't good enough.
"Buttercup," Blossom said
sadly, clutching her hand. She looked
up at the doctor and asked sadly, "W-we can't get her back?"
"No," Dr. Evans said,
shaking his head. "As I mentioned,
there are surges in brain activity when her eyelids move. We thought this was due to standard motor functions
at first, but the pattern is erratic, and we believe it may just be a pain
reaction. This leaves us in a very
difficult position…if she's in pain, we're forced to ask ourselves if we really
want her to suffer like this."
The professor blanched a little and
said, "You're not suggesting…"
"I only ask that you consider
it," Dr. Evans remarked. "She
can't live out her life this way. We
can keep her alive for as long as you want, on life support systems, but all
this is doing is prolonging her suffering.
The only other option, I'm afraid, is to disconnect her. That may be the most humane option…better
for her to pass on, rather than live mindlessly in pain..."
Though she gave no outward
reaction, Buttercup was chilled inside, and her mind screamed, Oh my god, no! Professor, don't let them do it!
I don't want to die! I want to
Bubbles hugged Buttercup's other
arm tightly, and cried, "No…"
The professor rested a hand on
Bubbles' shoulder in comfort, and looked back at the doctor, "I…I just…can
we think it over?"
"Of course," the doctor
nodded, "I realize that this is a big decision to make. I trust that whatever you decide, it will be
the best for Buttercup." The
doctor walked out from the room, leaving them with Buttercup.
please, Professor…say no, say no…don't let them do it to me…please…
said. She was trying her best to keep from crying. "I don't want her to die…"
The professor said, "Me
either, Blossom…but I…I don't want her to suffer either…"
not suffering! I'm not!! Please, I'm begging you, don't let them do
"No, me either…" Blossom
said, hanging her head sadly.
Bubbles closed her eyes, and
nodded, too. Then, tears streaming down her face, she got up and flew out from
the room. The professor picked up
Blossom, hugging her tightly, and said, "I'll tell the doctor to keep her
life support systems active for a few days…but then, I'm afraid we have to do
what we have to do…"
NOO! Professor, no!!!
Blossom sobbed, resting her head on
the professor's shoulder, and softly said, "I understand…" The two of them left the room, leaving her
alone once again. Buttercup's mind
raced, No, no no no…oh god, this can't be
happening…I want to live…I want to live… Although she shed no tears, she
cried inwardly for the remainder of the day…
* * *
The next few days passed painfully
slow. Doctors and nurses came into the
room from time to time, and she occasionally got a few bits of information from
listening to them. She found out that
the professor had set that Friday, at eleven o'clock PM, to be the time. It was unsettling to hear them discussing it
so casually right in front of her. They
had no idea that she understood every word they said.
will this nightmare end? she thought to herself. Of course, she already knew the answer to that: Friday
night. It would end, and all be over,
and the knowledge of that fact terrified her beyond belief. One moment, she was on top of the world…the
next, she was waiting helplessly for her death sentence to be carried out. That's all it really was. She wasn't being put out of any kind of
misery like they thought. Was this some
bizarre way of her paying for the way she treated the others? If she had been nicer, would this have even
happened? All of these thoughts wracked
her brain endlessly. She couldn't help
but think about them…what else could she do?
Occasionally, she moved her eyelids
to try to see if she could get any attention from the doctors and nurses. Why did that have to be the only thing she could move? Every time they saw it, they just thought she was in more
pain. It seemed like it was doing more
harm than good.
Eventually, she gave it up, and
spent most of her time in quiet thought, reflecting over all the things she had
said and done in the past. She
regretted a lot of it, and it occurred to her that there probably wouldn't be
an opportunity to make it up to them.
She wished, at the very least, that she could say she was sorry, but
even that was impossible.
The professor and Bubbles visited
her on Tuesday. They had a long talk in
front of her…Bubbles kept asking the professor dozens of questions, about what
was going to happen to Buttercup and where she was going, and the professor
tried to answer them to the best of his ability. After a while, though, Bubbles stopped asking questions, and then
suddenly said that she didn't want to see Buttercup like this anymore, that she
didn't want to remember her this way.
The two of them stopped by one more time on Wednesday, but only for a
minute, because that was all that Bubbles could bear before flying out of the
room, crying. Buttercup didn't see her
again for the rest of the week.
Blossom was a different story,
however…she visited her after school every day. Each time, she stayed by her side, quietly, just holding her
hand, sometimes for hours. Just before
leaving, she would give Buttercup a big hug, and she could always see the tears
flowing from her eyes. Buttercup wanted
so badly to hug her back, but couldn't, and each time, she was sad to see her
go. She desperately wanted to cry. Her unshed tears were burning a hole through
her, and she couldn't take it anymore.
* * *
Friday arrived. Buttercup hadn't gotten much sleep in her
condition during the past few days to begin with, but she hadn't slept at all
the previous night. She felt more and
more like a prisoner, waiting for her execution. Only they usually got a
last meal, or some way of reconciling their actions. All she could do is
wait for it silently.
Blossom came after school as usual, and she looked
more distraught than ever. After
sitting by her side for an hour, she finally said something, for the first time
on any of these visits. "You know,
Buttercup…" she said, lost deeply in thought, "I-I'm sorry for
everything I've done. I've been pretty
mean to you in the past, and bossy at times…I didn't realize how important your
opinions are to me. I was so stubborn
about being the best leader I could, that I didn't listen to your advice, just
because it sounded brash and unorganized.
Sometimes your ways really were the best…and I was too blind to see
She sat back and, although still
showing an expression of sadness, chuckled a little to herself, "Why am I
even saying this? You can't understand
me…I guess it's more for myself."
She looked back at Buttercup and said, "I wish…I wish I could
change things, I wish I could have had the opportunity to value your opinions…I
don't want to see you go…" Her
eyes filled with tears, and she said, "I promise to try and live up to your potential in the future, and
consider your methods instead of ignoring them…would you like that?"
Buttercup wanted to say something,
anything, but could do nothing to respond except move her eyelids a
little. Blossom seemed to take that as
a 'yes', and smiled, "I'm going to miss you, sis…more than you'll ever
know. Bubbles, too…she's cried herself
to sleep every night, and I know she feels the same way. Whatever happens…" Her voice became
choked with emotion, "…whatever happens, I hope you'll be happy where you
end up…and that you'll…you'll watch over us…a-always…w-will you do that?"
Overcome, but unable to cry,
Buttercup moved her eyelids, as her way of saying that she would. Blossom sniffed, and said, "You
will?" Buttercup immediately moved
her eyelids again.
Blossom's expression abruptly
changed as she took a small, sharp intake of breath. Something was showing in her face and eyes, something that wasn't
there a moment ago…almost like recognition, or comprehension. She suddenly leaned across Buttercup, almost
face-to-face with her, and said, "Buttercup! Move your eyes if you mean
'yes'…is my name Bubbles?"
In shock, Buttercup realized what
Blossom was trying to do, and remained perfectly still. She continued, "Is my name Mojo? How about Fuzzy?" She stayed still. "Okay…how about, Blossom?"
Buttercup moved her eyelids. Blossom gasped, and her face suddenly wore
an expression of joy.
understand me!" She quickly moved
her eyelids three more times, and Blossom repeated it aloud, softly, "Yes,
yes, yes…" She flew out from the room
in a flash of pink light, shouting,
"Doctor Evans!! Doctor Evans!!"
Buttercup was ecstatic…She knows!
She knows I'm all right! Way to
go, Blossom! I-I'm going to live after
* * *
Nobody could believe the timely
discovery that Blossom had made, until they witnessed it with their own
eyes. By simply moving her eyelids,
Buttercup could answer any yes-or-no question.
When Bubbles and the professor found out about this, they were
overjoyed. The professor went to work
in his lab to build something that would help Buttercup communicate
easier. The doctor was also intrigued
by the case. All signs had pointed to
brain damage, but instead she was merely paralyzed. He ordered a few more tests to determine what had happened, but
this time, he didn't want to take any further chances on guessing at the
Powerpuffs' physiology, so he had EEGs taken of the other two girls as well,
Now that they knew she understood
what they said, they were able to fill her in on everything that had been
happening while she was gone. Blossom
and Bubbles had to stop another bank robbery on Wednesday and another giant
monster the day after that. She also
learned that the citizens of Townsville had been deeply concerned for
Buttercup, and had been waiting and listening to find out what would happen to
her. When the news hit them that she
had a chance of recovering, they were overjoyed, and waited for the test
results just as eagerly as the girls did.
By that night, they were able to
see her again. Blossom and Bubbles kept
asking questions, and Buttercup kept answering them, happy that they knew the
truth about her. While they were asking
these questions, the professor showed up finally, with a pile of equipment. Blossom asked, "What does it do, Professor?"
"Let me set it up, and I'll
show you how it works." He
carefully attached a few wires with sensors on the ends of them to the muscles
just above Buttercup's eyes. He
swiveled two small screens around in front of her…one facing her, the other facing
away. A row of alphabet letters
appeared on the screen facing her.
Indicating them, he said, "To
start communicating, Buttercup, simply move your eyes as before, and a cursor
will start moving across the row of letters.
When it reaches the letter you want, move your eyes again. Continue doing this to spell out what you
want to say, and move your eyes one last time when it passes over 'END' to
finish. It will be displayed on the
opposite screen to the people you're talking to. Do you understand?"
Buttercup moved her eyes a few
times. It was a little bit of a
time-consuming process, but the other screen eventually displayed: YES
exclaimed. She stepped in front of
Buttercup's field of view and said, "How are you feeling?"
After a few minutes, the screen
displayed: OK CEPT I CANT MOVE
Dr. Evans nodded, "The results
from the tests should be back any minute now.
You aren't feeling any pain or anything?"
Buttercup displayed: NO
Smiling, Bubbles said, "You
really had us scared, Buttercup…I thought…"
She stopped talking when she saw
that Buttercup was working on a message, and waited to see it. After a few minutes, she displayed: I WAS
"You're not still scared, are you?" Blossom
Buttercup displayed: A LITTLE BUT
The professor nodded, "Well,
I'm glad to see this is working properly.
I'm even happier to see that you're all right, Buttercup."
After a few moments, she displayed:
LOVE YOU GUYS
Everyone tried to hold back their
tears of joy, but the silence was interrupted by Dr. Evans' pager beeping. He looked at it and said, "I'll be
right back, they have your test results."
He left the room. Bubbles was
about to say something, when she noticed Buttercup was busy writing. The screen displayed: CAN I TALK TO BLSM
The professor nodded, "Sure
thing, sweetie…" He patted Bubbles
on the shoulder and said, "Come on, let's leave them to talk." Bubbles nodded and left the room with the
Blossom hovered over by the edge of
the bed and sat down. She smiled at her
and said, "So, uh…hi, Buttercup…"
Buttercup displayed: HI RED
Grinning, Blossom said, "I
hope they find a way to fix you up, 'cause I'd really like to have you on the
team again. We haven't really been the
same without you this past few days."
After many long minutes of writing,
Buttercup finally displayed: THANX FOR VISITING ME EVERY DAY IT MEANT A LOT
Blossom bit her lip and nodded,
"It's the least I could do. You're
Buttercup displayed: I PROMISE ILL
BE NICER FROM NOW ON
Wiping a tear from her eye, Blossom
said, "Me too, Buttercup…"
She hesitated, looking at the ceiling for a moment, and said, "Is
there anything I can do for you?"
Buttercup displayed: IM DYING FOR A
Blossom laughed at that,
"Yeah…you probably are getting sick
of this IV stuff, aren't you? Tell you
what…if you ever get out of here, I'll buy you a dozen corn dogs, how does that sound?"
Buttercup displayed: COOL
Leaning forward, and being very
careful not to dislodge the wires the professor had set up, she hugged
Buttercup and said, "See you soon…"
She turned to float out of the
room, and stopped to read Buttercup's message as it was displayed: CYA BLSM
* * *
As it turned out, Buttercup was in
luck. According to the tests, the blow
she took had damaged the portion of her brain that controlled almost all of her
muscles, except for a few autonomous ones.
It was extremely close to the thinking center of her brain, so close
that it had initially baffled the doctors, because it wasn't a standard type of
paralyzation. It had given every
indication that it was the thinking center of the brain that was injured
instead. The lack of brain activity was
also puzzling, but when compared to the other girls' tests, it began to fall
At first, they had thought something was wrong with
those tests, because Blossom and Bubbles both had almost zero brain activity as
well. It was then that they found the
reason: the Chemical X in their bodies was interfering with the scans. Its concentration was particularly strong in
some areas, and fairly weak in others, which is why they could still pick up
brain activity when she moved her eyelids.
Those readings were erratic not because of pain, but because there was
still some mild interference, and also because they were a little damaged, like
the rest of her motor functions.
Luckily, the damage wasn't
permanent. Thanks to her own Chemical X
physiology, the affected brain cells were extra receptive to chemical
treatments, and were successfully treated in no time. Buttercup had to undergo some physical therapy before she could
move around easily, though, but she was glad to be back on her feet again. After about a week of this physical therapy,
the doctors decided that she was well enough to leave, but it would be best if
she didn't fight any monsters for at least a few weeks or so. She whole-heartedly agreed, and just decided
to take it easy for a while.
With that agreement, she was
released from the hospital. She was so
happy that she was making a full recovery; Blossom, Bubbles and the professor
also couldn't be happier for her. When
she got home, a large gathering of citizens from Townsville waited for her
outside the house to cheer her and welcome her home. In their room, she found a huge assortment of flowers and cards…as
well as a plate of twelve corn dogs, from Blossom.
All in all, it had been a
frightening ordeal, but had given Buttercup time to think and reflect on
herself. She really felt like she had
come out of it as a changed person. During
her resting period, she worked with Blossom on a few new formations and
strategies, and Blossom took all of her ideas and suggestions into
consideration, as she had promised.
Buttercup was a lot more cooperative…she got along a lot better with her
sisters, and they didn't have heated arguments like they used to. She still occasionally made fun of them from
time to time, but she made it clear that she was just joking around, so they
Yes, it was a terrible thing that
happened to her, and the experience was very trying, but when she thought back
on it, over what she had gained, she decided that she wouldn't change a thing
of what had happened, even if she had the chance.