Title: A Scientifically Impossible Thing Defying the Laws of the Universe
Pairing: Greens. Sort of. Not really. Butch-centric.
Rating: R/M, mostly for language and froggy gore.
Disclaimer: This never would've happened in the show. It only happens in my imagination, which is worth less than you might think.
Summary: Sometimes it's the tiniest thing.
Notes: For the past few weeks I've been aching to write a Greens fic the way I used to write them, all sharp edges around each other and unable to get close without getting cut. Not sure it's out of my system yet. I do miss writing them like this; it's been a long time. (Also, do I win for Most Painfully Indie Fic Title or what?) Sloppy and written fast. Fitting, for a Butch-centric story. Un-beta'd.
A Scientifically Impossible Thing Defying the Laws of the Universe
Butch can't believe how tiny it is.
He could kind of see the dark mass of innards through the skin, even without supersight. The frog's skin was so translucent. His lab partner made the cut. Nobody trusts Butch with anything sharp, though it isn't like anyone could stop him if he wanted to pick up a scalpel and start zipping around the room.
Once the skin of their dead frog was peeled back Butch shoved her aside and took to it with the pins, stabbing several into either torso flap and saving another few to poke around. Their teacher didn't bother—no one bothers him, not really—and eventually his lab partner sidled over to join another group.
Butch pulled out the guts first, the little string of intestines unfurling like a worm on the cold tray. He poked into the stomach. Empty. Boredom settled in quickly, and he poked into a few more organs before realizing that the tiny little thing near the top of the neck was the heart.
Now he stares at it, poking experimentally with the pins at the connective tissue around it. It's so tiny. He can't believe how tiny it is.
He gets in close. He wants to pick it up and feel it, pretend to make it beat, see if there's any blood left that'll squirt out when he squeezes it. He has to trade one of his pins for the scalpel; the tissue's tougher than he expected. The little froggy smells strongly of chemicals that push on his gag reflex.
He finally manages to extract it and then sits back, turning the little bean-shaped organ over in his hands. He squeezes, expecting a pop and a squish.
No pop. Just a squish as it breaks in his hands. And no blood, either, but some of the chemically juicy stuff drips onto his shirt. He wrinkles his face. There's not a lot to it. Kind of anti-climactic.
The squishing's all right, but he thinks it'd be better if these things popped too, like bubble wrap. He thinks that would be more interesting.
He mouths the words idly as he tears up the rest of his frog. Pop. Squish. Pop. Squish. Eventually the bell rings, and he gets up to leave, formaldehyde and dead frog juice staining his shirt.
Buttercup's on the swim team. Butch only knows this because his favorite place to smoke is in a tree overlooking the pool where the team practices. He pulls cigs out one after the other from the pack in his pocket, inhaling and exhaling till each one is burnt down to the filter, and watches the team, waiting for pretty girls to show up. Even if they aren't pretty, once they're in the water it's easy to pretend. Watching them move under the glassy surface is enough to get him all bent out of shape.
When Buttercup gets in the pool she takes to the water like a fish, jetting through it like a bullet in real-time. Butch doesn't even get the chance to pretend she looks better underwater; she's through it so fast. She climbs out into the open air and the light catches on her suit, wet and stretched taut over her stomach like skin on a dead frog. Can't see through it, though. Maybe not so much like frog skin after all. She pulls her arms up overhead, back. Sort-of-frog-skin expands to accommodate her big inhale. The cigarette dangles from his lips, and he sucks on it, deep, the nicotine filling his lungs.
He's in the tree another few days before he gets caught. By Buttercup, no less.
Hey, he hears a voice beneath him say, and he looks down. Her arms are on her hips, her expression angry. Frog skin dry.
He pulls away his cigarette after a slow inhale and blows down, hard enough for the smoke to hit her face.
The fuck are you doing up there, she tells him. Tells, not asks. Then immediately, Get the fuck outta here.
He turns away from her and settles back on his branch.
She makes him. It takes several felled trees and a deep dirt trench that splits the park in half, but she makes him, all right.
He wishes he'd saved the frog. It would've been fun to throw a dead frog in the pool. Funner to throw it at her, even.
His tree was one of the ones lost in their scuffle. He takes it personally. Now he sits in plain sight on the roof of the little building next to the pool where the kids shower and change. She glares at him and takes off through the water so fast it's like a bolt of lightning shot through the pool. A scientifically impossible thing defying the laws of the universe.
Yeah. That's what she is.
From his vantage point on the roof he can see more of what goes on now. People are wary with him up there, an unwelcome visitor, but since he doesn't have a dead frog to throw and would rather smoke, he leaves them alone. Buttercup leaves him be, so everyone else stops worrying about him, too. Pretty soon it's like he isn't up there at all.
She generally leaves him to his own devices these days, which he doesn't mind. Unlike her redheaded sister, who's always getting on his and his brothers' asses, Buttercup realized at a young age that the more time she spent chasing bad guys around, the less time she had to live an actual life. As long as they aren't fucking around, she lets them be.
She's always generous with the glares, however. She shoots several at him over the course of practice.
When everyone else forgets, she remembers he's there. That's awful nice of her.
She gives him an exceptionally frosty look when the team files back into the building to clean up after practice. He honors the warning and doesn't move. He can hear the faucets spitting in the building and thinks about frog skin stretched taut and tight and glistening, beads of water hitting it and bouncing like pebbles off a snare drum.
The swim team showers quickly, either with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine or with a teenager's urgent desire to get away from responsibility and obligation. Soon enough students are filing out the other end of the building, fully clothed and chittering with each other like squirrels, eager about the evening's prospects. Buttercup is one of the last ones, and even then she lingers a moment. Butch wonders if she's waiting for him. The prospect bewilders him. He lights up a fresh cigarette—his last one—and starts to stand.
Then she turns and he sees her talking to someone, some guy. Doesn't even look in Butch's direction. Like everyone else, she's forgotten he's there. He pauses before taking a drag on his cigarette. She doesn't glare at the guy she's talking to, doesn't shove him off or snap at him for talking or looking or just being there next to her. She frowns a bit, turns away a bit. Her cheeks go pink. Just a bit.
She says something. Her voice is quiet, soft. Tiny voice, all of the sudden. Butch can't believe how tiny it is.
Butch leans in closer, as if he's trying to listen to what they're saying, but he's got superhearing so he can listen fine; he just chooses not to. He only moves.
Buttercup's frog skin is bunched up in her hands one moment, dangling at her sides the next. She shuffles it from one hand to the other, one side to the other, here, there, doesn't know what to do with it. She's so nervous. Butch feels like throwing up. His cigarette hangs limp from his mouth.
A small smile breaks onto her face, and she looks at the guy and laughs. Butch feels it happen suddenly, without warning, right in his chest.
She wasn't even looking at him when she did it. She wasn't looking when she sliced him open, ripped out his innards, then clamped her hands around it and squeezed. Come to think, she didn't even have to touch him to do it. But somehow, somehow, she reached in and did it anyway.
Funny. How such a tiny thing makes such a mess.