Up in Flames
The weight atop him had not crushed him, but it did make breathing a rather laborious task. The Brain attempted to wiggle his way out, only to feel the collapsed metal structure press him further against the ground. Choking out a groan intended to convey both pain and despair, the little lab mouse focused on keeping his breaths even. The less unruffled he made himself appear, the less likely he'd suffocate himself in his panic.
If he didn't explode first, that is.
Flames licked the ceiling above him, eating away at the structure as it progressed dangerously closer to the main generator. The basement of BG&E's headquarters had momentarily transfigured itself into an oven. Brain had been attempting to rewire the power company in order to reroute the electricity to the lab. Without access to their precious electricity, the technologically saturated masses would immediately seek him out in order to negotiate a feasible plan that would give them back this necessary power source. A plan that would involve handing over to him complete control of the world.
All he had needed was his own generator, powerful enough to handle the voltage that would be delivered to the lab through the power lines. Rewiring them had been child's play, and he attached them to his portable generator that had been directly implanted into the power plant itself.
The ingenious nature of this plan almost astonished him in its brilliance, but only almost. He was The Brain after all, if anyone were to come up with a formula like this it he'd expect it to be none other than himself.
So why did he now find himself being smothered beneath the remains of his machinery as he simultaneously overheated due to the fire the exposed power lines sparked?
His first instinct would be to blame Pinky, but as the thought of his associate flickered in his mind he was filled with regret. No, it had not been the dim-witted mouse's fault this time. If anything, Pinky's input would have prevented this situation from ever occurring. Brain wheezed from where he lay crushed by the weight of his mistake, literally, his hope of escape dwindling.
The stench of smoke filled his senses of smell and taste, burning his eyes so his vision blurred. The tears were a physiological reaction to the exposure of smoke, not because he was upset. The Brain didn't cry, not over something as insignificant as a failed plot. His intelligence provided avenues of plans, he could easily have something else cooking in his cranium by tomorrow night. Provided he lived to see it.
Brain pawed at the ground in front of him as he tried to claw his way out. The lower half of his body rendered useless. He could still feel his legs, if the agonizing pain was anything to go by, but their movement was hindered by the pressure the rubble placed on them. He was trapped.
He moaned in dismay. There was no one to blame but himself. His own selfish ego led him to this perilous predicament. Too proud and too self-centered to pay Pinky any mind. If only he had listened to him! If only he had looked past his inflated head to see the pain he inflicted upon the blue-eyed mouse, belittling his opinions until he fled in tears.
The pit of Brain's stomach ached. He detested being the cause for Pinky crying, yet more often than not this was the case.
It was a shame, the night had started out so well. He was in a good mood for having completed his generator and Pinky had, at first, been impressed and awed by his latest scheme. The latter never took much effort, but Brain appreciated it more when a scheme was actually worthy of Pinky's praise…
"Egad, Brain! Brilliant!" The taller mouse clapped his paws together as he watched his friend tighten the final screw on the large contraption that took up half the lab. "We can make a giant microwave with all that power! And with a giant microwave, we can have giant popcorn! Mmm, yummy! Narf!"
Brain counted to three mentally before glancing down at Pinky from his perch. Blue eyes were closed in contentment as he licked his lips and rubbed his belly. The Brain rolled his eyes, leave it to his companion to think only of food at a time like this. Feeling particularly giving, however, he merely slid down to the floor to join his companion while gesturing for him to follow.
"Once we have attained control of the earth, I'll have the giant microwave commissioned for you." He promised, folding his arms behind his back as he strode over to the schematics he'd found of the BG&E headquarters. "Our first order of business, however, is to infiltrate the electric company and override their main generator with mine." He pointed over to the large contraption, to remind Pinky of its purpose. "Once we have achieved this, then all the electricity in the United States will practically be in the palm of my hands. The citizens will be begging for their precious power. And with the U.S. in such peril, the rest of the world with surely be affected without its influence and will certainly agree with any negotiations that will put them back on track. Understand, Pinky?"
Pinky nodded enthusiastically. "Oh yes Brain! I've always liked the Electric Company, it was a good show!"
"Yes, always." Brain sighed, but let it lie at that. "Now come, Pinky. We must set out for BG&E at once. It will bring us one step closer to ruling the world!"
"Yay!" With a cheer and a dance, Pinky skipped along after Brain. "Can I drive this time?"
After a brief argument over why Pinky could not drive them this time, the pair of genetically enhanced lab mice embarked on their journey. They arrived at the power plant in good time, leaving Brain's spirits heightened. Even Pinky, whose mood was usually elevated beyond rational levels, was tickled to see his friend so pleased. Practically bouncing off the walls, Pinky 'ooh'ed and 'ahh'ed over the electrical devices scattered about. Brain let him have his fun as he set up shop, it kept him out of his hair at any rate.
Half way through the rewiring process, Pinky had settled down and sat beside the mouse with the large head while he played with the spare nuts and bolts. "Gee, Brain, there's a whole bunch of gizmos and whirlygigs here! Zort! They must be really important."
"Yes, Pinky." Brain acknowledged as he clipped together two wires. "They provide thousands upon thousands of volts of electricity, powering all the major cities."
"It's what makes the lights turn on, right Brain?" Pinky inquired, watching after him with some trepidation. He was used to Brain singeing himself when messing with wires.
Brain grunted in affirmation. "Exactly right, Pinky. Hand me that clamp over there."
He looked about at the various tools they'd dragged along with them. "Umm… poit. Is it the swishy handle one with the knobby squeezers at the top?"
"Yes, the swishy handle and the knobby squeezers." He knew without even turning around to look. He was slightly disturbed that he knew exactly what those descriptions meant in Pinky-speech.
Pinky nudged it over to Brain and watched him work some more, fidgeting as he was apt to do when something was on his mind. "Brain?"
"If we take all the power from everyone, then they won't be able to turn on their lights." He tested the sentence on his tongue, trying it out before moving on to his real concern.
A heavy sigh escaped Brain. "That's the point, Pinky."
"Or turn on their TVs. Or their other machines." Pinky paused, frowning minutely as he concentrated. "A lot of places need this building. Won't it be bad if they can't use their lights and such for a while?"
"Pinky, if it wouldn't be bad, then it wouldn't behoove them to negotiate with me and make me supreme ruler now would it?" His patience was wearing thin. He knew his friend to be dense, but this was bordering on ridiculous.
Pinky had to admit that made sense, but he still felt unsettled. "What about the hospitals? They need power to work. Will they be okay, Brain?"
Not really paying attention to the exact nature of Pinky's question, he simply responded, "When I say everyone, I mean everyone. Now silence. I need to finish this."
"But Brain!" Pinky gasped in horror, "All the sick people will get even sicker if you take the power from them! That's bad!"
"Sometimes you have to do a bad thing to achieve a greater good." Brain rationalized, hoping that Pinky didn't get all indignant as he was prone to do when he thought something was unjust. Pinky's pure conscience never failed to pick out the questionable flaws in his schemes.
Pinky shook his head furiously, growing visibly upset. "Not if it means hurting sick people! Narf! It's not right, Brain!"
Brain growled, setting down his tools to spin around and face his companion. The quivering lip and desperation on his face surprised him at first, but he steeled himself against it and scowled. "If they have enough staff on hand they'll be fine. There are other ways to treat people beyond the use of electrical appliances. And if they have a battery operated back-up generator, then they'll be fine for the time it'll take for everyone to get their power back. Stop fretting over nothing and let me get back to work."
Pinky's brow furrowed and he folded his arms across his chest. "It's not nothing! Narf! I don't want people to get hurt, that's not a bad thing. And what if they don't have a back-up whatchamacallit?"
"Then it's their own fault for not thinking ahead!" Brain snapped. "Pinky, we're on the cusp of world domination here! I can't let my concern for a few individuals get in the way of my conquest or it'll never happen! Whatever happens, happens. I'm not intentionally attempting to hurt anyone."
Blue eyes filled up with tears. "But you are! You know it might happen and you're doing it anyway!" Pinky sniffled, clasping his paws together. "Please don't do it, Brain. We can try again tomorrow night!"
"Nonsense, Pinky, this is it! This is what will finally get me the world! Don't you get it? Can your incredibly thick, dim-witted mind not even comprehend the simplest of solutions? A yo-yo would understand the gravity of the situation at hand!" Brain shouted, tugging on his ears in frustration, then reached out to yank on Pinky's nose in order to bring him to his level.
Pinky stepped out of range.
Brain froze. Never had Pinky actively avoided him. Hundreds of bops to the head, yanking, pulling, dragging, whacking, throwing, and pushing… and now he chooses to pull away? Brain trembled, his fury reaching new heights. Never had Pinky been this obstinate! He clenched his fists at his sides and glowered at the tearful mouse.
"Fine. If that's how you want to be. Get out." He pointed towards the exit stiffly, trying to keep his voice level.
Pinky's breath hitched as his tears actually started spilling over his cheeks. "B-but, Brain-!"
"If you don't want to support me in my moment of triumph, then I have no need for you!" Brain snarled, inwardly surprising himself by how much it hurt to say that. How hurt he felt that he didn't have Pinky's support… something he'd come to think of as eternal. "Just leave! Go back to the lab! Go to Asia! Go to the moon! I don't care!"
"Fine!" Pinky bawled, hugging himself as he lost control, crying helplessly. "Just stop yelling at me!" All thoughts of protecting the hospitals fled in the face of Brain's fury. Pinky's chest ached, partly from his sobs and partly from how awful those words made him felt.
For as long as he'd known him, Pinky wanted nothing more than to stand beside The Brain and give him all the support and love that he could, because he deserved it. He never doubted Brain's abilities, and never wanted to. But at the cost of hurting others? Pinky buried his face in his paws. What was the right thing to do? Be a good friend to the only one he had or be a good mouse and stand up for what he believed it?
It didn't matter now, Brain made the choice for him. Choking on his tears, Pinky fled from Brain's side, leaving behind a second broken hearted mouse.
Kicking a bolt in anger, Brain fought back the urge to run after the taller mouse and apologize. He quashed the hurt feelings in his chest, exchanging them for an enhanced determination to see his scheme through to the very end. He didn't need Pinky's help. He could rule the world all on his own.
His breaths came in shallow pants, the smoke now assisting the weight in depriving him of air. He couldn't cough, even with the burning in his throat, for he would not be capable of retrieving enough air to make up for what he lost. His eyes stung, his dry lips forming a "p" before cutting himself off.
In the end, as they never failed to do, Pinky's words pushed down the barriers Brain's ego formed around his heart. The thought of innocents dying, people losing loved ones, and so on tugged at the corners of his mind as he struggled to work past it. He probably sabotaged his own plan subconsciously, unable to live with the guilt should he actually succeed.
The wires in his paw had sparked, not meant to be connected that way, creating an explosion that sent him careening into his portable generator, bringing it—as well as several other large pieces of machinery—down on top of him.
So this was it. The fact that he was actually allowing himself to cry was testament to how weak he had become. Intelligence couldn't save him now. Brain was physically incapacitated and the fire was growing fierce. His ribs ached, certainly broken, and his legs started to tingle from lack of circulation.
"I'm sorry." He whispered to the smoke. "I'm so sorry…"
The only regret on his mind was not his failure in making his mark on the world. Being supreme ruler of the earth, or lacking to be, didn't even cross his brilliant mind. No, his regret centered on a pair of blue-blue eyes and the fact that the last time he saw those eyes were when they were glistening with tears due to his own fault. His last words, that Pinky would carry with him for the rest of his days, were lies.
Brain strained under the pain and the urge to sob. His chest was surely being crushed into dust. He couldn't breath. His paws scratched against the floor, one final act of desperation, before his arms fell limp in front of him.
He hardly registered the weight that settled on his exposed paws, until an unpleasant jarring sensation had his shoulder nearly dislocated. His pink eyes flew open wide, focusing on the white blur before him surrounded by bright red and black. The tugging continued and a rush of sound filled his ears as his vision cleared.
Blue eyes bored into his own, his heart swelling at the familiar sight. "Stay with me, Brain! Please don't go to sleep! Stay with me!" Pinky pleaded, giving up on simply yanking Brain's arm loose to instead try to dislodge some of the rubble around his legs. "I'm going to get you out of here! Don't worry!"
Brain started crying harder, thanking whatever powers that be that he had a chance to right his regret. "Pinky…"
"Narf!" The frantic determination etched upon his face appeared foreign, but the little mouse was intent on freeing his friend. "I'm here, Brain. Don't worry!"
Feeling some of the metal around him move, he cringed when Pinky accidentally jostled a piece that nearly crushed them both. "Pinky…" He wheezed again, growing dizzy from the effort it took to talk. "I'm sorry… you're… not useless…."
"Hush, Brain!" Pinky snapped, his heart racing as he searched for a way to save him.
Brain wanted to laugh and cry and glare at Pinky for that brusque response, but couldn't manage a single one. "No." His voice cracked like the fire eating away at the walls around them. "…were right, shouldn't have… the hospitals…" He noticed Pinky's pause, striving even harder to keep on going. "I do… I do need you, Pinky… 'm sorry I yelled… didn't mean it…"
"Brain." Pinky's voice wavered somewhere above him, he felt his arms wrap around his shoulders.
"Go, Pinky… get somewhere safe… 'fore it's too late…" Brain ordered. He surmised it would be the last he'd give him.
Pinky hiccupped, biting his lower lip as he stared wide-eyed at his defeated friend. "No. No, I won't leave you!" Forcing himself to work harder, Pinky dug around the metal encasing Brain. "I won't! You can't make me!"
"Pinky, it's hopeless…" He winced, his chest couldn't take it anymore.
"Don't say that! Don't give up, Brain!" Pinky cried out, choking on some of the smoke. "You never gave up before, you can't start now!"
Brain didn't answer. He couldn't. It didn't feel like his body belonged to him anymore. He was aware that he was watching Pinky struggle to free him, injuring himself in the process, but his vision was tunneling. Pinky turned to check on him, his face falling as he registered what was happening. Soft paws cupped his face, it felt heavenly in comparison to the pain the rest of his body endured.
His eyes slipped shut as Pinky called out to him, his words rushing over him like a river. No discernable words, but a comforting sound that carried him away rather than the roaring of the fire and the cackling of electricity.
"…and luckily the fire was put out before any harm came to the major power generator. While significant damage has been done that will result in costly repairs, BG&E are thankful that it wasn't worse. The cause of the fire is still unknown, though officials suspect that faulty wiring is the culprit…" The news reporter droned on, but the rest meant nothing to a certain blue-eyed lab mouse.
He turned away from the TV, leaving it on only to have some noise to fill the otherwise unbearable silence. Scampering over to the cage, he hesitated at the entrance. Pinky felt like crying again, the sensation hardly left him since the previous night when he'd first left Brain's side to wait out the frustration they'd both been feeling. Clearly that had been a mistake, he knew that the moment he saw the smoke and flames billow out from the windows at the base of the building. A huge mistake. A mistake he shouldn't have made, even if his feelings had been hurt. If he had stayed, perhaps the fire never would've happened…
Scrubbing at his eyes with his fists, Pinky's chest heaved with suppressed emotion. He took a few gulps of breath to calm himself, then stepped into the cage and softly crept to his and Brain's beds.
Brain lay sprawled across the cedar chips, his legs heavily bandaged as well as his tail with his left arm in a sling. His head had been wrapped up and his scrapes cleaned. Pinky's gaze honed in on the ragged rise and fall of his chest, the most concerning in his opinion. He had yet to sleep for fear that those shallow breaths would cease.
He'd experienced that scare three times already on their journey home, cradling the injured mouse against his chest, careful of the injuries he sustained. Since arriving at the lab, Brain had continued to breathe albeit with difficulty.
Pinky dropped his head next to Brain's, feeling the puffs of air brush against his fur. Gently arranging himself around the unconscious mouse, Pinky settled for spooning against him as he waited for him to wake up.
What was the right thing to do? What was worse? Potentially hurting a lot of people he didn't know, or losing his most important person forever?
Pinky didn't want to answer it out loud or in his head even, for fear of sounding selfish, though in his heart, he knew he already had.
"I'm here, Brain."
This just happened. No rhyme or reason, I sat down at the computer and it happened xD
A pretty dramatic piece if I do say so myself, but I tend to gravitate towards the overly dramatic and the overly fluffy. This ended up having less fluff than I originally intended, but it just seemed like a fitting place to end here.
I hope this turned out okay, especially structure-wise. I like the idea of starting in media res, or "in the middle of things". It's always fun to play with structure, and I think this was a good story to play with, but I'd like to get other opinions on it.
Oh, and just a quick note, all the power company stuff was just off the top of my head. I know it's not realistic, but this is one of Brain's plans after all, and when have any of them been realistic? ;D
Thanks for reading!