Title: Strength
Pairing: Brick/Bubbles (?)
Rating: PG for mentions of blood, the aftermath of violent acts, you know, my standard.
Parts: One-shot
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters! (Only their likeness, in various forms of toys, clothing, and other such sundries.)
Summary: Brick doesn't know it when he sees it.
Notes: For mathkid's birthday. I adore Brick/Bubbles in all forms, romantic or no. Beta'd by juxtaposie.



Brick is shaking as he turns onto his side and spits, his saliva thick and red. Something rolls out of his mouth and clatters against the asphalt; his muscles barely summon enough effort for him to pull back and confirm it's a tooth.

He doesn't have the breath or energy for a scathing retort, which irritates him. Bubbles is still standing, bruised and bloodied with her own broken bones to nurse, but still standing, while Brick wheezes and heaves against the street. Her sisters, who lie unconscious behind her, didn't give Brick this much trouble. His own siblings are spread-eagled on the asphalt just outside his peripheral vision, out cold.

Brick had not expected this. When Blossom and Buttercup had fallen he had seen Bubbles shaking, crying, overwhelmed by her own fear and weakness. She had taken a moment to pull them close to her, as if they might still protect her, and seemingly ignorant of the fact that the fight wasn't even close to over. All that was left to do was to break the cutie. It was like taking candy from a worthless, sniffling crybaby.

Or so Brick had thought.

It is a struggle just to stay conscious. Brick's muscles twitch like they've been immobile for years, like they've forgotten how to take an order from his brain. Looking down the street, he can still see Bubbles standing, still make out the trembling of her shoulders, the fresh tears streaming down her face.

And neither of those, Brick realizes as he takes in that tense jaw and those defiant blue eyes, have the slightest thing to do with fear or weakness.