A/N: Written for the PPG Monthly Drabble Contest on LJ. The prompt was "Da Capo."
Inspired by Tropical Storm Lee, which hit my area pretty hard.
Word count: Exactly 1,000 words.
Professor Utonium was worried. It wasn't just the pounding rain on his roof, or the water gushing down the street like a river.
"Girls, come away from the window."
He had a feeling they wouldn't listen, so he tried to look as serious as possible. Those who knew him—and his daughters knew him very well indeed—knew that despite his kind voice and good intentions, it wasn't a suggestion.
His girls were huddled against the glass, watching the storm raging outside. They didn't move a muscle, even after their father's non-negotiable prompting.
"I hate this," Buttercup finally blurted, turning away from the window. She looked down at the ground, eyes dark with pent up anger. She was trying to hide just how upset she truly was, but Utonium didn't have to see his daughter's face to know how bothered she felt.
He gave a half smile of concern. The mug he held was full of cold coffee, as the power had been out since the early hours of the morning. "I know you want to help, sweetie, but there's not much you can do right now."
"But the people out there… They need our help," Bubbles reasoned. As adorable as he found her, he'd argue that it was more of a high-pitched whine.
"I need your help here."
"To watch this just… happen?" Buttercup gaped, the bitterness finally winning out. She flopped across the armchair, legs dangling over the side. The Professor had told her countless times to be gentle with it, but he decided to let it slide just this once.
Blossom sighed, crossing her arms. "It isn't like we can do much. We can't stop the rain."
"But… All those people! And the animals," Bubbles said sadly.
The Professor motioned over to her, and she sat in his lap. "Sometimes," he explained, "the only thing we can do is watch, and hope there's enough to salvage later."
Buttercup bit her lip. "I just feel so—"
"Helpless," Blossom finished for her, and Buttercup nodded.
They were silent for a while, Bubbles putting her head on his shoulder.
He understood. Hadn't he created them to help, to make a difference? Yes, that had been his intention from the beginning. Because he felt helpless.
But looking at the rain, he knew that the parent in him would always win out. He couldn't let them out there, exposed to the elements— to the damage the storm was creating in their beloved Townsville.
"When this is over, you can go out," he said suddenly.
"Promise?" Blossom asked, because even though she knew it wasn't possible to do anything then, she felt the same urge to help as the rest of her family.
He nodded, kissing Bubbles on the forehead. "I promise."
The Professor kept his promise, and when the rain finally stopped, the girls left to assess the damage done to Townsville.
He sat by the door, trying to stay awake. It had been hours since Blossom and Bubbles returned, both exhausted. Blossom spent the day routing calls at the police station. She was great at organizing things, but the Professor was fearful that she was getting too emotionally attached to all the families she kept hearing about. Bubbles had spent the day at the veterinarians, helping to keep the lost and injured animals safe until their owners could pick them up. She'd fallen asleep almost instantly, so he supposed that he'd have to wait until the next day to hear about her day.
Buttercup hadn't returned. This was this part of parenting that he hated—the terror and uncertainty. He often wondered if he had anticipated all of this.
Buttercup wandered in around three. She looked dirty and tired, but what really concerned him was the thin red line cutting through her cheek.
"Honey, what happened?" he asked as she hopped up on the kitchen counter.
"Looters," she said, and the detached voice she used scared him. "I was helping people clear their flooded basements. Some guy thought it would be nice to root through Mrs. Blaney's jewelry, and I caught him."
"Then how—?" he inquired as he started to clean the cut.
"Glass. From a broken window."
He put a band-aid over the edges. "I don't think it'll need stitches."
"I guess that's good," Buttercup replied, and he realized that she hadn't really looked at him since she walked in the door. She didn't move to leave.
Utonium realized, like always, that he would have to ask if he wanted to find out what was bothering her. "What is it, honey?"
She looked up, and he saw that the sad, helpless look he'd noticed earlier hadn't left her eyes. Bubbles and Blossom were determined to help, but they saw that they were doing something good and were happy with what they'd done so far. Buttercup just looked worn.
"Why do people take advantage of other people like that? Stealing from people who've lost everything. Why do people do that?" she asked, sounding older and younger all at once.
He shrugged. "I don't know, honey. I just don't know. But at least you were there to help. Did they get away with anything?"
"No," she admitted.
Utonium smiled. "Well, you have that. You can tell everyone that you fought off a vicious thief."
She didn't say anything, and he knew that she didn't feel completely better quite yet, but he hoped that it helped. Maybe.
He held her hands as she jumped down from the counter. "Thanks, Professor."
As he watched her float up the stairs, he couldn't help but call out, "I love you, Buttercup."
She looked over her shoulder and whispered, "Love you too, Dad."
As long as he could hear her say that, it was worth it—the worrying, the fear. It was always worth it. That was enough for him. It had been since the day his girls were born.
And he'd do it all again if he had to, from the beginning.