Mojo Jojo was not in the best of moods.
That is to say, he was not happy in the least. At all. Another day, another failed attempt at destroying those accursed Powerpuff Girls, another beating--from Buttercup this time, he suspected the other two were busy at the moment--and another escape from jail. All within 12 hours, no less. And even after a full night's sleep, a good breakfast, and a personal day with his shipbuilding hobby, his mood still hadnt improved.
Mojo rubbed at his strained eyes and looked at the clock. It was seven-thirty-four. About dinnertime, but he wasnt very hungry. Heaving a disgruntled sigh, he put his model ships away and changed into a collared shirt and a jacket and headed out. He was bored and not in a good mood; maybe a stroll around Townsville would lighten the mood. Few people stayed on the streets after dark anyway, and that was how he preferred it. He actually did prefer it when people didnt stare at him when he was simply out walking.
As he predicted, it was a fine evening for a stroll; the air was cool, the sky was mostly clear, and a pleasant full moon illuminated what the streetlights didnt. He inhaled deeply, then sighed. He thought that maybe after he destroyed Townsville, he'd replace it with his own walking garden.
He turned a corner and walked into the area of the park his volcano didnt occupate, and was about to head for the benches when he heard something; it was something that years of experience had trained his ears to sense--the sound of a Powerpuff Girl advancing.
Cursing under his breath, Mojo hid behind a tree as the accursed brats got closer--only to find that it was just one accursed brat.
It was just Bubbles.
Mojo cursed to himself even more harshly. Out of all the Powerpuffs, it was Bubbles he feared the most, and for good reasons. Not only because she had managed to whoop his ass all by herself--multiple times--but also because he had seen what she was capable of when she thought she was him. Not to mention, it's always the cute and innocent ones that do the most damage in the end...
But he digressed; what was she doing here all by herself? Where were her sisters? He watched on as she landed on the ground and took a moment to look around, as though she were being watched, then walked over to a lamp post and leaned against it. She reached up and tugged at the elastic that held her single ponytail up until it came loose, letting her blonde hair fall down past her shoulders and running a hand though it to loosen it up.
Mojo was curious now; was she just here for some alone time, too? In that case, he wasnt about to initiate conversation. He was about to turn around when he saw her reach into her blue jacket and pull something out. He couldnt make out what it was at first, but it became shockingly obvious when she took something short and thin out and put it between her lips.
'No way,' Mojo thought, his eyes widening. Bubbles was smoking!? She was only fifteen! Of all people in Townsville, why would she be doing something illegal?! He stared as she touched the end of the cigarette with the tip of her finger and then blinked when the tip of her finger burst into a small blue flame.
'Oh, and now she can summon fire!?' Mojo screamed to himself. Since when did she have that power!? He was apparently grumbling to himself out loud, because Bubbles turned to his direction and sighed.
"...I can hear you, Mojo..."
Mojo jumped and looked from behind the tree. Bubbles was staring at him, her cigarette a mere inch from her lips. He stepped out from behind the tree. Bubbles gave him a wry, albeit friendly smile. "Enjoying the evening too?" she asked before taking another drag from her cigarette. Mojo merely grunted in reply. Bubbles made a thoughtful noise.
"...You didnt come out here to blow my secret, did you?" she asked. Mojo scoffed.
"Of course not," he retorted. "Why would I waste time following you around to discover some adolescent secrets? What do I care that you're smoking illegally without anyone's knowledge? I care nothing for what you are doing; I merely stepped out for some time to myself, to spend an evening alone, with no one's company."
Bubbles nodded and took another drag. "...You want one?" she offered, holding out her pack. Mojo shook his head.
"Filthy habit," he commented. Bubbles gave him a half-grin and returned the pack to her jacket pocket. There was a slightly awkward silence that ensued for about five minutes. "...Why?" Mojo finally said.
Bubbles, who had long since finished the cigarette and had thrown the butt away in the garbage can nearby but still remained at the lamp post, turned to look at Mojo. "Hm?" she replied, sounding more like the Bubbles Mojo was more familiar with. "Why what?" Mojo's eyes flickered to the almost unnoticeable protrusion in the front of her jacket where the cigarette carton was.
"Why do you smoke?"
Bubbles blinked, then sighed. "...To be honest," she said softly, "I dont really know." She stuck her hands in her jeans pockets. "...I guess I just do..." Her eyes shifted over to him. "...It's not all fun and satisfying, you know..." At Mojo's puzzled expression, she elaborated. "...Being a heroine, I mean...it gets...." Her voice drifted off for a moment.
"...It gets old."
Mojo blinked. Of all the Powerpuffs he expected to hear that from, it wasnt Bubbles. He put his own hands into his pockets. "...So, what?" he said. "Are you thinking of quitting?" Bubbles shifted a little.
"....I'd be lying if I said no," she replied. Mojo saw her jaw tighten. "I mean, it isnt just the fighting, it's the stupid roles everyone puts us in that we're supposed to fill in..." Her voice took on a sarcastic undertone. "Blossom is the smart one; she comes up with all the plans; she's the leader girl....well who the hell made her the leader, anyway!?
"And then there's Buttercup. She's the tough one. She's the hardcore one. If you need an ass kicked, then call Buttercup, because she's the one for the job!" Bubbles let out a bark of laughter.
"And then there's Bubbles..." Her tone made it seem as though she was repulsed by the sound of her own name. "The sweet one. The innocent one. The one that can do no wrong. The one who's only good for saving cats in trees and old ladies with stolen purses..." She scoffed, her hands reaching for the packet in her jacket. She took one of them out and held it just at her lips for a moment, and almost angry thoughtful look on her face. "...Screw 'em...." She pressed the tip of her finger to the end of the stick and Mojo saw the same blue flame spark from the tip and light the cigarette.
Mojo stared at Bubbles in an almost admiring awe. He almost felt like laughing. How had he not noticed it? He did know that there were now three separate Hotlines, which were supposedly put into place because of the girls' busy schedules, but now he understood that they were now calling them by intensity of the situation. Bubbles was obviously called for the most minor of crimes, and that was why she called her work unsatisfying and old.
...Poor thing, Mojo couldnt help but think. Did Townsville really underestimate her that much? He once did, and ended up in traction for almost a month because of it. For the love of Him's domain, she could apparently summon fire!
"How do you do that?" he found himself asking. Bubbles gave him an inquisitive look. Mojo pointed to her cigarette. "How do you summon fire like that?" Bubbles looked at her cigarette, then her eyes brightened a little as she raised her free hand and held it palm-up. Mojo watched with fascination as a blue flame wisped forth and sat calmly on her palm.
"I discovered I could do it when I was thirteen," she said. She took a drag of her cigarette. "I was really pissed off for some reason--I cant remember--and I punched a big tree. A big blue flame came out of my fist and burned it right to ash..." She closed her palm into a fist and the flame spread over her whole fist. "...Not like I have the opportunity to actually use it, though..." Her eyes lost the little sparkle it had just held and the flames died away. "I think I got it right after Him crashed our thirteenth birthday...He hit me with some kind of attack and I think it had some kind of effect on me..." She took another drag of her cigarette. "No one but you and Him know about it. I havent bothered to let anyone else know."
Mojo quietly contemplated everything he'd just heard and seen. He felt baffled, awed, and even a bit angry. He was angry for Bubbles because he knew how strong she was...but like she had said, no one else seemed to care.
At the same time, he felt elated...smug, even. He knew how strong she was...but no one else did. Not even her sisters. Neither Blossom nor Buttercup were much of a match for him these days; they were not the only ones staying on top of their game. He had taken these years to learn different martial arts, and even a bit--but not significant enough--of telepathy. Having a lot of brainpower was a blessing, after all.
But he felt elated because he found a match--a suitable equal, he thought. Two underestimated 'jokes' that could create a battle the likes of which would stupefy everyone...even Blossom and Buttercup. For a moment, Mojo thought about asking Bubbles to join him, but he knew better. As fed up with her life as an underappreciated superheroine she was, he knew that she wouldnt turn to a life of crime. He sighed a little. Oh well...
"Damn..." Mojo looked up to see that Bubbles had dropped her unfinished cigarette and was looking anxiously at her watch. "Damn, she repeated, "Professor's gonna be so mad, I'm late for dinner!" She flew up about ten feet off the ground, then looked down at Mojo and smiled a little. "...Thanks for listening to me ramble," she said sweetly, pulling her hair back up into a ponytail. "Enjoy your evening, Mojo!" With that, she took off toward her home, leaving a blue flame-like trail behind her.
Mojo watched her leave, then sighed at the quiet that now rang through the park. He turned to leave, but his eyes caught sight of the still-lit cigarette on the ground. Curiosity override common sense for a moment, and he knelt down to pick it up and look at it. Where there should have been red at the tip, there was instead a light blue. He stared at it for a few moments before putting it to his lips and taking a light drag.
It wasnt half-bad, he thought, though not a habit he'd pick up any time soon. He leaned against the lamp post where Bubbles had just been a minute ago and absently finished the cigarette. When he was done, he threw the butt away and began to trek home. On the way, he thought about Bubbles and the inevitable and satisfying battle they would have; it was so delicious a thought, he actually licked his lips. Whilst doing so, he paused in thought, then smiled.
They tasted like sugar.
And there you have it, my first Powerpuff Girls fic. I plan on a sequel called "Sweet". Maybe. Eh.