Roses are Red, Violets are Troz

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly! Fa la la la la- oh, no, wait, that's not right. Poit."

Pinky scrunched up his nose and looked upwards, a habit he picked up from The Brain whenever he needed to think really hard about something, but it didn't seem to work this time. So he stuck his tongue out for good measure. That didn't really help either.

When did he last sing "Deck the Halls"? And why?

"Oh, right!" He giggled, bopping himself on the forehead. "That's a Christmas song! Narf! It's not Christmas!" Looking down at the armful of red, pink, lace, glitter, and other crafty things, he grinned. "Unless Christmas trees turned into hearts!" For some reason he found that hilarious, and laughed for a good minute or so. "Ohhh… hee hee… poit. Now, let's see… what songs are there for Valentine's Day?"

Again he tried looking upward and sticking out his tongue. Again no answer.

"I know! I'll ask Brain!" He decided, running off in search of his friend, then gasped and skid to an abrupt halt. "Oh no, no, no." Setting down the crafty gizmos he'd been carrying, he made sure to hide them in a secret place before racing off again. "Brain! Oh, Brain!"

"What is it, Pinky?"

As he'd been running past several stacks of books, he'd heard his friend's voice above him. Pinky looked up to see Brain's rather large head peering down at him from atop one of the stacks, his trademark scowl firmly in place. Pinky clasped his hands together, swinging them from side to side. "Oh, there you are, Brain! What are you doing so high up? Trying to find a way to get on the good rides at Disneyland?"

Brain did not seem amused. "No, Pinky. As astonishing as it may seem, experiencing adrenaline-induced joy and-or panic for all of one minute in an overpriced theme park is not my biggest concern at the moment. I am up here for a different purpose entirely."

"What's that then?" Pinky cocked his head to the side, one ear flopping down.

Even from his position at the base of the books, he could see Brain's brow twitch at the gesture. "These are cookbooks. More specifically, books on how to make chocolate. They are here to assist me in my plan for global conquest."

"Mmm! Chocolate! Yummy!" Pinky rubbed his belly and licked his lips. "How are you going to take over the world with chocolate, Brain? Open up a giant factory and only let five people and their grandpas inside?"

Brain's ears drooped. "Alas, my friend, no. That is not on my agenda this evening. My plan for tonight involves chocolate for one reason only. In two days time it will be-"

"-Valentine's Day!" Pinky crowed, clapping excitedly. "Oh, I knew that already, Brain!"

"Really? Shocking since you can't even remember the days of the week." The shorter mouse quipped.

Pinky blinked up at him, placing his paws on his hips. "Of course I do, Mr. Frowny-Pants. There's Sunday and Friday and Sittingday and Toonsday and Pieday and Weddingsday and-"

"Enough, Pinky. You've made your point." Brain rubbed his temples wearily. "And unwittingly drove it into my cerebrum."

Pinky winced at the mental image. "Oops, sorry, Brain. Hope it wasn't too sharp."

"Not to worry, Pinky… nothing about you is sharp."

"Oh, good! Narf!" Pinky wiped imaginary sweat off his brow. "What are you going to do with the chocolate then, Brain?"

Brain folded his arms across his chest and tapped his foot. "If you're done with your irritating contributions?" Pinky nodded. "Alright then. Tonight's plan is to take advantage of this commercially-mass-produced holiday by creating my own brand of chocolates to be consumed by the unwitting populace!" He hopped down from his tower of books to lead Pinky towards his blueprints. "See here, Pinky. Every Valentine's Day, chocolate demand skyrockets. For some reason it has become the go-to gift for insipid humans to display their affections. No one knows why really."

"Because it's yummy?" Pinky offered.

"Yes, that could be part of it." Brain acknowledged, though he shot Pinky a look meant to silence any future comments. "Chocolate's addictive nature and the propaganda perpetuating the idea that women's moods are improved upon consumption could also be reasons why. I am not concerned with the why, however, just the because. For I will design an affordable option for lovers to purchase on this holiday, so affordable they won't give Dee's Candy a second thought. I'll also put them in appealing, heart-shaped packages."

Pinky was astounded by the brilliance of this plan, and said as much. "Egad, you astound me, Brain! But… um, how will this help us to take over the world?"

"Simple, Pinky." Brain gestured to a new set of blueprints. "The chocolates will be filled with a special formula disguised as truffles. This formula will contain a hypnotic fluid that will render them completely witless as well as malleable to any order I issue them! Once enough people have eaten the chocolates, I will assemble them together under my rule and use their obedience to facilitate my ambitions to take over the world!"

"Zounds, Brain! Oh, no, no, but wait. Didn't you already try this with our pancake jamboree?" Pinky tapped his finger against his chin, how this helped people think, he had no clue, but Brain did it so it must be good for something.

Brain growled at the reminder, but managed to retain his composure. "It's not nearly the same, Pinky. I am using a different hypnotic solution, one of my own creation, and not nearly as bitter as the one you speak of. Also, I'm taking precautions and will make the chocolate myself. I've learned not to trust your ability to follow directions in the kitchen."

"Oh, but, Brain. I want to help!" It wasn't any fun when Brain wouldn't include him in the schemes! "Oh, please let me help!"

"Calm down, Pinky, of course you can help." Brain waved away his sniveling associate, walking over to a beaker that contained his hypnotic solution so he could examine it.

This cheered the taller mouse up immediately. "Really?"

"Certainly. You'll be in charge of designing the boxes so that they look befitting of Valentine's Day." The Brain instructed. "I can trust you with that at least, the only guideline you have to follow is that they must be in the shape of a heart. Understand?"

Pinky nodded. "Yessir, Brain! Roger that, Roger! Narf!" He giggled, but stopped himself under Brain's tempered glare. "Hearts, right." This reminded him of Christmas trees turning into hearts which reminded him of "Deck the Halls" which reminded him that he needed to find a song for Valentine's Day which reminded him of the present he still needed to make which reminded him of Brain. Which reminded him that he needed to ask Brain if he knew any Valentine's Day songs. Poit.

"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

"I think so, Brain, but "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" doesn't make much sense, I mean, what does love feel like? And why does it have to be tonight? Why not tomorrow? Or next week?" Instead of getting an answer, he got a ruler coming down on his head. "Troz!"

"Did you feel that, Pinky?" Brain asked, his voice pitched slightly higher than normal.

Pinky tried to nod, but his head was all wibble-wobble so he wasn't sure if it looked like a nod. "Yes."

"Good." Brain tossed the ruler aside, his voice dropped back down to its usual register. "No. I was pondering that this plan, this, will finally be what guides me to ruling the world! This plan is almost perfect! Everything is in place!"

Pinky looked around. "Gee, Brain, not everything. The books are everywhere, it's such a mess!"

Brain rolled his eyes. "I'll clean up later, Pinky. I still need to perfect my chocolate recipe. I'm going through all the most popular dessert cookbooks, in that combining a little bit of all their recipes I will concoct the most delicious chocolate the world has known!" He proceeded to climb back up the stacks of books. "So I'd appreciate it immensely if you were to go and start designing the boxes for the chocolates and leave me to my work."

"Right-o, Brain!" Pinky saluted, turning about when he realized he still hadn't asked. "Brain! What's a good Valentine's Day song?"

Atop his stack of books, Brain raised an eyebrow and looked down at his associate. "Why do you ask?"

"Because I like singing! I was singing a Christmas song earlier, but that's not right! So do you know any?" Pinky asked, clasping his paws behind his back and rocking on his heels expectantly.

Brain raised his eyes skyward, Pinky inwardly giggled, then he stared at Pinky once again. "Any love song counts as a Valentine's Day song, Pinky."

"Any?" Pinky gasped. "Egad, Brain, there are a lot of love songs! How do people choose?"

Brain tapped his chin thoughtfully, another inward chuckle from Pinky. "I suppose people just pick the songs that best fit their feelings towards the person they care about." He waved his hand in the air flippantly. "It's a very commercialized holiday, Pinky. Nothing about it is genuine."

"Nothing?" Pinky's heart sank, certainly Brain didn't mean that. Valentine's Day was lovely. It was all about love!

Brain took note of Pinky's sudden depression. "Well, maybe not… nothing. But very few people use it to honestly express themselves. Most just celebrate out of habit." Seeing that his friend had perked up a little at his revised sentiment, Brain crossed his arms. "Any other questions?"

"Not a one! Thanks, Brain!" Pinky skipped off, feeling much better. If he honestly made a present, then it would be okay!

"Remember, the boxes need to be heart-shaped!" Brain hollered after him, rolling his eyes at Pinky's childish fancies before turning his attention back to the cookbooks. This plan would not fail, of that he was certain.

#

Pinky made a list, oh how he loved making lists! His favorite part was checking things off the lists! He took a look at what he'd scribbled so far:

1. Help Brain - make heart boxes

2. Find Valentine's Day song

3. Make Brain's present

4. Find a duck and a hose

He beamed with pride at his list. The things didn't have to be in any particular order, in fact, he wanted to find a song to sing because he still had "Deck the Halls" in his head and that just wasn't acceptable. But it couldn't take too long, he wasn't sure when Brain wanted his boxes by and he didn't want to make him mad by taking too long.

"I can find a song, I know lots of them." He decided, humming to himself as he went off in search of his cassette tape collection.

The only thing that niggled at his mind was that the song needed to fit his feelings. Well, he had so many feelings, how could a song fit what he needed it to? He was sure he'd know if there was a song out there that talked about feeling gushy and narf and fluttery and egad and whirly-twirly and poit. How would he find a song that explained it better than that?

"Naaaarf..." He sighed as he flipped through the tapes. "Somehow I don't think the Jackson 5 will cut it." Pinky tossed several cassettes aside, not satisfied with the majority of them. Not that they weren't good songs, they just weren't Valentine's Day songs.

"Hey! What's with all the noise?" Pinky's ears twitched up at the sound of a familiar voice.

Peering around the corner, he saw Gerry the Gerbil eyeing him from within his cage. "Oh, hello, Gerry! Narf!"

Gerry didn't appear as annoyed when he saw the blue-eyed mouse. "Good, it's just you, Pinky. Thought it was that troublesome cagemate of yours again."

"Brain? Troublesome?" Pinky snorted a laugh. "You must have the wrong mouse! He's brilliant!"

Gerry muttered under his breath, "That's a matter of opinion." Shaking his head and observing the cassette tapes in Pinky's paws, he changed the subject. "What are you doing over here?"

"I'm just looking for a Valentine's Day song." Pinky smiled, puffing out his chest a little. "It's in two days, you know."

"I do." He was well-aware of Pinky's eccentric personality, it was impossible for most of the lab not to notice this, and like the rest of the lab he much preferred the idiot to the megalomaniac. "So, found any good songs?"

Pinky shook his head. "Not yet. Poit. Brain says the song's supposed to match my feelings, but none of these match at all."

"The Brain said that?" Gerry didn't buy it, that mouse was the last rodent he'd expect to have a romantic side. Too bad for Pinky.

"Yep! He told me just now!" Pinky affirmed, jabbing his thumb in the direction of their cage. "He's working on another world domination thingie. It's really good, sure to work this time!"

Gerry sighed, so there'd be no reprieve from this. He should've expected as much. "Joy. Now, umm, back to your song dilemma... your feelings aren't about The Brain, are they?"

"Well, of course they are, who else would they be for?" Pinky giggled. Really, he knew Gerry was no Brain, but even that was too ridiculous for him!

Raising an eyebrow, Gerry continued. "So, it's true then... you're in love with your cagemate?"

Pinky's giggling stopped. "Poit?"

By now the other lab animals had overheard the conversation and were listening in. All their eyes focused on Pinky, waiting for his response. The answer to a frequently gossiped about topic within the lab. Gerry glanced around at them, but it was too late to stop now, Pinky was already confused. "You're looking for a song for your feelings about Brain for Valentine's Day. Because you're in love with him, right? I just want to get the facts straight."

Pinky blinked, dropping the cassettes in his paws in favor of clutching his tail. "I... I love Brain, he's my friend. My best friend. In the whole world."

"We know that. That's not what he's asking." A mouse across the way scoffed.

"Right, I mean, why else would you follow him around like a puppy if you didn't love him?" A few other voices joined in the conversation.

"Umm... egad, I don't understand." Pinky took a few steps back, his heart pounding against his chest and his palms sweating.

"To put it simply, you want to mate with him."

"No, that's too base. Being in love goes beyond that, doesn't it?"

"Well, he's already his best friend. The only thing you add to that is-"

Pinky clamped his hands over his ears and ran away. He forgot about the songs, he forgot about his list, he just needed to get away from all those voices. He didn't stop running until he got to the cage, and even then he just hopped on the wheel and ran even faster. Soon the squeaky squeak of the wheel drowned out the voices that kept repeating in his head and his heart relaxed.

He kept running a little while longer just for good measure.

#

The perfect formula for chocolate had been achieved! Brain brushed off his fur, relieved to stretch his muscles after being hunched over those books for so long. He didn't have time to waste, however, he needed to get to the store and purchase the necessary ingredients for his confection. Normally he would've sent Pinky on such a tedious errand, but the supplies he needed were too specific for him to rely on his feeble-minded associate.

Setting off in the direction he'd last seen the taller mouse scamper off in, he figured he should tell Pinky that he was heading out for a bit in case he came looking for him. Also, he wanted to see what progress he'd made on the designs. If they were done, he could get them produced while he was out, though he doubted they actually were at completion.

The Brain stumbled upon vast amounts of red and pink construction paper, glitter, glue, and other odds and ends typical of Pinky's projects, but no Pinky. He arched an eyebrow, it was strange that Pinky didn't clean up after himself, though perhaps he planned on coming back. Nothing appeared finished, more haphazardly tossed about.

"He'd better take his role in my scheme seriously." He groused, leaning down to pick up a piece of lined paper with Pinky's handwriting on it. It was a list. With a bunch of little squiggly hearts all over it. Only meaning to scan it to see just what his associate deemed list-worthy, his chest tightened as he noticed item #3. "A present? For me?" While he was not unaccustomed to Pinky's showering of gifts on Christmas and birthdays, a Valentine's gift was something novel. It also meant something completely different from the other presents... "No, of course it doesn't. Pinky has no idea what the meaning behind Valentine's Day is. It's probably just a symbol of friendship and happiness and narf." He rolled his eyes as he convinced himself of this, letting the list fall to his feet. "At least he knows where his priorities lie." Brain cleared his throat, placing a paw to his chest in hopes that the weight would dissipate. "Now, where did he go?"

The squeaking of the wheel told him where to go.

The Brain glowered when he saw Pinky running frivolously on his wheel. How could he be acting so carefree when they had a plan to put in motion? Actually, it made sense. "Pinky! How are those boxes coming along?"

Pinky hadn't heard or seen Brain come in, so was startled upon hearing his voice. "AAAHHH! ZORT!" He got caught in the wheel and spun about until it came to a stop. "Naaarf... oh, Brain!" Spying his cagemate by the door, Pinky righted himself immediately, flushing a light red as he fiddled with his fur and tail. "Didn't hear you come in."

"Yes, I gathered that much." He scrutinized Pinky carefully, he seemed more fidgety than normal. "What were you doing?"

"Ummm, running." Pinky averted his gaze to the ground, seeing Brain reminded him of his list and running on the wheel certainly wasn't on the list.

Brain frowned when Pinky's attention wasn't focused on him. He snapped his fingers and the other mouse looked up. "Did you design the boxes?"

"Not yet, Brain. I was going to do that next!" Pinky nodded so fast Brain marveled at how it remained attached.

Rolling his eyes, he chose to pinch between them to relieve himself of the pressure gathering there. "What, before or after you found an insipid Valentine's Day song?" His eyes were closed so he didn't see how Pinky paled. "Or that mess you made with the arts and crafts? I need you to focus, Pinky! We only have tonight to get everything situated, the chocolates need to be out on the market tomorrow! Do you understand? You can play later!" When he looked at his friend, he still seemed unnerved, but he took it as a side-effect to his harsh tone. "Look, I'm going to the store to procure the ingredients I require for my chocolate. By the time I get back, I'd appreciate if you had the designs drawn up so we can mass-produce the boxes. Can you do that?"

Pinky swallowed thickly, somehow a golf ball had gotten stuck in his throat and he couldn't remember how it got there. "Yes, Brain. I can."

"Good." Brain nodded. "I'll return shortly."

As he headed towards the window to make his escape from the lab, he heard Pinky scurry after him. "I won't let you down, Brain! Poit!"

"Not intentionally, Pinky." Brain sighed under his breath. "Never intentionally."

#

Pinky tried really hard to concentrate on making the heart boxes pretty, really he did, but he kept thinking back to the question Gerry had asked him. "So, it's true then... you're in love with your cagemate?"

"I love Brain. Of course, I do." Pinky scribbled out an extra line he'd drawn on the heart. "He's my best friend and best friends love each other." Another scribble. "I want to get him a present because he's my friend. And I love him. And it's Valentine's Day, the day for love..." He tried erasing, but it just smeared the graphite. Time for a new sheet of paper. He crumbled his current project and tossed it aside to join other failed drawing attempts.

He tried again. It was just so hard to keep the pencil steady. At least this heart didn't look like a turnip. Pinky drew a big bow on one end of the heart and two lines to show that a ribbon wrapped around the front. It was an important job, the boxes needed to look beautiful so people would buy them. Brain had trusted him with an important job. His tummy did somersaults as he thought about that.

"Poit. But he always gives me jobs to do... I think." Pinky tapped the pencil against his head several times. "Egad, this is much more than the whirly-twirly feelings. This is the tilt-a-whirl on overdrive after I ate a big lunch." He rubbed his tummy, hoping the butterflies would go away.

He looked around at all the construction paper and glitter, and his list. Brain had seen it, he knew he was going to make him a present, which was supposed to be a surprise, but he didn't seem all that happy about it. He called it a mess. Pinky sniffled, but after careful consideration, he decided it was still a mess so it was alright that Brain called it that. It wasn't nearly ready.

"Maybe he'll still like it." Pinky hoped, adding swirly designs to the heart. "He was probably just being grumpy. He'll be much happier on Valentine's Day!" And while he didn't say it, Pinky wished that he'd be much happier come the fourteenth as well.

"I'm impressed, Pinky. Your design appears worthy of the overly romanticized holiday." Pinky startled yet again as Brain came up behind him. "Pinky?"

Pinky spun around to face his friend, smiling wide at him and ignoring the jolt of shock that sent his heart a-bopping. He didn't even know hearts could bop, but that's what it felt like. Brain had a curious frown on his face, so he'd noticed Pinky's lack of concentration as well. He couldn't blame him, usually his keen sense of smell alerted him to Brain's presence before the mouse spoke or even made an appearance. To be caught off guard once could be overlooked, but twice in the same day?

"Hi, Brain! How was the store? Ready to make some yummy, tasty, delicious chocolate?" Pinky chirped, punching the air with each adjective.

Brain's frown decreased slightly. "Those are all synonyms for the same thing."

"You put cinnamon in chocolate?" Pinky scratched his head.

"Nevermind, Pinky. Can I have those designs, or are you still working on them?"

Pinky handed them over. "It's okay, Brain?"

Pink eyes roved over the paper, honestly surprised that the heart looked like a heart. "Yes, Pinky, this will do fine." He rolled it up, ignoring the way Pinky seemed to brighten all over. "Now all that is left to do is construct these boxes on a mass-market scale and actually create the chocolates."

"Egad, Brain... won't it take an awfully long time all by yourself?" Pinky wondered.

"Nonsense, Pinky." Brain scoffed, pulling his shoulders back. "I've devised a fool-proof method and machine to assist me in this endeavor. I should have enough chocolates by the morning if all goes according to plan, just in time to be shipped out and placed in the grocery stores." He smirked at the exactness of his scheme, but at the same time the exactness could also be their folly. "I can't have any distractions, Pinky. If the chocolates are not ready by six in the morning, we'll miss the delivery truck thus rendering my plan foiled, can you comprehend that?" Pinky nodded, then shook his head, then nodded again. Brain sighed. "It means you cannot bother me for the rest of the night."

"Oh, sure thing, Brain!" Pinky nodded more exuberantly this time around. "I'll be right over here, perfectly out of the way!"

Despite Pinky's reassurances, The Brain was not at all convinced that his cagemate would remain in that spot the entire night, and actually planned for five disturbances at least. As long as there were no more than seven, he was decently sure that he would not fall behind schedule. But he wouldn't tell Pinky that. Perhaps instilling the fear that he'd ruin the plan would cut back on his interruptions.

Pinky watched as Brain retreated to begin making his chocolate, his heart making thumpy-thump sounds. "To put it simply, you want to mate with him." Did he? His face felt all hot and he hadn't even stuck it in the oven this time. Best friends didn't do things like that, but mommies and daddies did. Technically speaking, they were mommy and daddy to Romy, but they hadn't... mated.

He did want to stay with Brain forever though, and he couldn't very well do that if they both had mates. His fur bristled at the thought of someone else spending all their tomorrow nights with Brain and pondering what he was pondering. That was his special thing with Brain! He couldn't lose that! The only way to make sure that didn't occur would be if their mates were each other.

Pinky waited to see if the idea bothered him. It did the opposite in fact, more butterflies frolicked in his belly and he felt all dizzy.

"Oh dear... poit." Pinky needed to sit down, but he realized this a bit too late and fell over on his face instead. "I'm going to have to make Brain's present extra special now!"

Gathering up his supplies, and relieved his confusion had been resolved, Pinky began to make a valentine for his Valentine.

#

"Brain! What's your favorite color?" Pinky twirled around the various beakers and gizmos Brain had set up.

The shorter mouse ground his teeth in agitation. While it relieved him that whatever issue had been plaguing his friend had been resolved, the skipping and prancing and irritation was ceaseless. As well as the pointless questions. "Pinky! Silence!" He snapped, throwing away another failed specimen of the chocolates. The truffles just weren't turning out right, he knew it was the hypnotic filling, but he couldn't quite get the right texture. He wasn't going to risk tasting them, but perhaps he could have his associate try them, maybe the taste could overcompensate for the texture. "Come here, I need your assistance."

Pinky bounced over, a little extra giggly from the fumes of the Sharpies and glue he'd been working with. Glitter stuck to his fur in clumps. Brain sighed and tried to brush them off, only to find them sticking to his hands as well so he resigned himself to looking at a sparkly Pinky. "Will you tell me your favorite color after I help?"

"Pinky, I don't have a favorite color. You've asked me this five times." Brain reminded him tersely, fetching one of his chocolate samples. "I need you to consume this, and report back your opinion of it."

"Oooh..." Pinky held up the chocolate, about to take a huge bite before he paused. "Wait, isn't this the gooey-hypo-dingy chocolate? Won't it take over my mind?"

"It would if you had a mind to take over." Brain snorted, flicking Pinky's forehead. "Your lack of mental capacities should render you immune to the hypnotic component of the candy, for the most part. You may feel a little out of sorts, but it shouldn't be that different from your normal state of mind."

Pinky stared at Brain curiously, then shrugged. "Oh, alright then." He took a bite. "Mmm... but back to the colors, Brain, everyone has a favorite! There's always a color that's... that's liked more than... others." Pinky's eyes crossed as he tried to articulate what was running through his mind, an effect of the mind-control serum no doubt.

"Pinky, listen, forget about the colors. Tell me how the chocolate tastes." He commanded, paws on his hips as he leaned in towards the taller mouse.

Blinking really hard, Pinky tried to do just that. "Well... it's good, but not fluffy enough inside... fluffy like pillows... And it needs more sugar! Narf! And... and the colors. What's your favorite? My favorite color is pink. Hmmm... like your eyes." He giggled, then spun around, not taking any notice of his stunned friend. "La dee da dee da! Zounds, this chocolate's very good, Brain!"

Brain slapped his palm over his eyes. "Egad... it didn't hypnotize him, it inebriated him."

Suddenly, he found himself being lifted into the air and nuzzled tightly. "Say more big silly-willy words, Brain!"

"I would, if I could get the air back into my lungs!" He wheezed, squirming about in Pinky's hold. "Release me this instance!"

"But I love you!"

The Brain kicked Pinky in the gut from sheer reflex. He dropped to the floor with a thud, but an even more pained "Ow!" sounded from above him. He looked up in time to Pinky doubled over, clutching his abdomen with his face screwed up in discomfort. "Oh dear. Pinky, I'm sorry!" The head was fair game for smacking, but he'd never strike his friend in such a vulnerable place. "It was accident, I didn't mean to kick you. You startled me."

"That really hurt!" Pinky moaned, sounding a bit breathless. The wind must have been knocked out of him.

Brain attempted to remove Pinky's paws from around his stomach. "Just let me take a look." There really wasn't anything to look at, if it was going to bruise it wouldn't do so for quite some time, but he offered his own version of a comforting pat on the afflicted area. Pinky winced at the touch, his hands twitching to go back to his middle, but Brain grabbed them. "I'm sure it was just a little jarring, nothing too serious." It really wasn't, but that didn't stop him from feeling guilty over it, especially now that big, fat tears were leaking out of Pinky's eyes. "Oh, don't cry, Pinky... I'm sorry."

Pinky nodded, taking deep gulping breaths to calm himself, even though it made his middle hurt. "Why did you kick me, Brain?"

Now Brain felt like he'd been kicked in the gut. "I told you, Pinky, it was an accident. You startled me and I reacted."

"But I only said-!" Pinky clamped his mouth shut, his ears immediately laying flat against his head. "Oh... poit."

"Pinky, I-"

"No, it's okay, Brain. Like you said, you didn't mean it." Pinky pulled his paws free and backed away. "Umm... I'm gonna go finish my... umm... narf!" He started to scamper off in the direction of his arts and crafts, but paused when he heard Brain call after him.

"...My favorite color is blue."

#

"Lovers' spat?" Gerry inquired as Pinky moped about the lab.

Pinky frowned at him. It was all his fault he felt all twisty-tangled around Brain now. If he hadn't said anything, Pinky wouldn't have thought about it, but he did say it so Pinky did think it and that's all he could think about now! "No."

"Really? Because you only get upset when Brain's involved." The gerbil pointed out.

Pinky huffed. "That's not true! I got upset when Lamar Odom got traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks. Now I'll never meet Khloe!"

Gerry rolled his eyes and Pinky continued on his way. It was so hard to find a proper place to sulk, he didn't know how Brain did it. Well, technically he didn't because Pinky could always find him. He never went too far. Dragging his half-done valentine behind him, he wiped his nose against his arm as he sniffled. Brain didn't love him, that's why he kicked him. Oh, of course Pinky believed him when he said he didn't mean it, but the fact that he reacted that way at all meant something bad.

"Hi, Pinky!" He looked up to see Billie wave at him playfully, wiggling her fingers. "What brings you tah this side of the lab?" She spied the paper heart he dragged behind him. "Oooh, are you delivering a valentine? Who's the lucky lady?" She started fussing with her fur, she always did that around him, it was weird.

Pinky shook his head. "It's for Brain, but I don't think he wants it."

"Oh." The grey mouse stopped her primping and placed her hands on her hips. "Shoulda figured, you two are inseparable."

"That's not right, we were never attached to begin with. Troz!" He thought for a moment. "At least I don't think so..."

"So, just a valentine for your friend? No love interest on the horizon?" Billie batted her eyelashes, curling her fingers around the bars of the cage.

Pinky looked at his unfinished card, then shrugged. "Well, I wanted Brain to be both, but I don't think he's interested.."

"Wait, what? The Brain? And you?" Billie appeared rather put off. "But you're both boys!"

"So?" Pinky tilted his head, scratching the top of it. "What's that got to do with anything?"

"You're supposed tah be with a girl!" She glared. "You know, like me!"

Well, that thought never occurred to him. "Oh, sorry Billie, but I love Brain."

"But that's not right!" Billie whined, stomping her foot for emphasis. "It's not natural!"

Pinky frowned, feeling particularly grumpy. "Does it matter if he's not a girl or I'm not a girl? Poit. Why must people be so intolerant?" He scoffed, continuing on his way past Billie's cage. "See you later, Billie."

But perhaps that's why Brain didn't want to be with him. Perhaps The Brain only liked girls. He had fancied Billie once upon a time, maybe he didn't want to be with a boy. But Pinky could dress up as a girl real well, maybe that would make up for it! Oh no, no... he had a devil of a time walking in high heels and perfume made him sneeze. That wouldn't work.

As he pondered this, he shoved his card through the mail slot and followed after it. He'd take a walk to settle himself, maybe then he'd know what to do. The card was coming just because he didn't want to lose it, he already forgot where he put the stickers he'd wanted to decorate it with.

#

Even without Pinky to distract him, he still managed to distract him. An impressive feat, albeit irritating. The Brain yanked on his ears in frustration as he accidentally tampered with his own recipe yet again. His focus kept slipping. It had been an hour since he'd last seen his associate, which was fifty minutes too long for Pinky's typical interruptions. What frustrated him even more than not knowing where the other mouse was, was that he cared so much. Instead of taking advantage of the peace and quiet, Brain was intermittently pacing, checking the clock, and wondering if an apology was necessary quite yet.

When Pinky avoided him it meant one of two things: 1) He was upset with him or 2) He got himself stuck in something. The latter was likely, but it this case, considering the terms they parted on earlier, he was willing to bet it was the first option.

Glancing forlornly at the unfinished chocolates, and also the clock, he came to the decision that no profitable work would emerge until he could distract himself from this fixation on Pinky that plagued him. So Brain looked for his idiotic companion. And looked. And looked.

"For the love of old mother Hubbard, where has he gone off to?" Brain rubbed his forehead in irritation. Pinky was not typically difficult to find. Yet tonight he didn't appear to be in the lab at all. "That's preposterous, what reason would he have for leaving the lab on his own? He must be around here somewhere."

"No, saw him go through the mail slot myself." Brain growled as the familiar voice of Gerry the gerbil reached him. "What did you say to the guy this time? He looked pretty down in the dumps."

Really? So now the other gossiping, inferior lab rodents were eavesdropping on private consultations between his associate and himself? In Pinky's words, 'how rude'. "What I divulge to my cagemate does not pertain to you in any way."

"Well, sorry. He's the one that was going on about how much he loves you and all. Don't really see it though." Gerry shrugged.

Brain blood began to boil. "You weren't filling his empty head with nonsense again, were you?"

"He's the one who said you were his Valentine, okay? Not me." Gerry shrugged.

Brain eyed him dubiously. "Pinky would make a donkey his Valentine, that doesn't mean anything!"

"Well, I overheard him talking to Billie, and it sounds as if he likes you much more than a donkey." The gerbil couldn't believe these two. They lived together for two years, for goodness' sake, yet they never did anything? Neither of them made a move? Well, they did share a bed... Gerry unfortunately discovered that the last time he had to cagesit for the two of them. There was only one, and surely even Brain wouldn't make his only friend sleep on the floor. Not that Pinky was likely to complain...

"Billie?" Why Pinky would confide in her had him completely baffled. After all, he had been the one entranced by her. Pinky never really showed an interest in her one way or the other, even as a potential friend. He preferred to mingle outside of his species. "Now you're just being ridiculous. And I must say, that really chaps my pelt."

Why Gerry even bothered was beyond him. "Believe what you want. All I can tell you for sure is that he went through the mail slot about half an hour ago. Go see for yourself. I'm sure he left a trail of glitter."

Sending a final glare the gerbil's way, to ensure that he knew The Brain still found him to be irksome, the megalomaniac made his way down the counter and over to the front door. Sure enough, flecks of glitter provided a trail that led right to the mail slot. Brain rubbed his chin thoughtfully, his eyes narrowing. Was there time to go in search of his friend? His plan was only just starting to be unfurled, he required all the precious time he had left! But... Pinky wandering around outside alone... without specific instructions or cause... the thought twisted around uncomfortably within in him.

The last time he ran out unexpectedly... well, Brain didn't really want to linger on that thought. It had been quite unpleasant, though in the end it worked out for the better. Brain slapped a paw to his forehead. "Just because he's an idiot does not mean he cannot take a simple walk on his own. Besides, I am running out of time to seize control of the world! I must get back to my chocolate. That is the priority."

Turning his back on the door, his eyes were drawn to the trail of glitter. Bits and pieces of Pinky's art project had fallen off during his journey, little misshapen hearts cut from construction paper. And little globes. The continents were green blobs that no way resembled the real deal, but that didn't matter, how could it? It was Pinky, the fact that he understood that the Earth was round was a feat in of itself.

Brain picked up one of the left behind blue and green circles, brushing the excess glitter off it. For a moment, he worried he was having a heart attack, the way it skipped a beat and nearly jumped into his throat was a foreign experience. Even when he had attempted courting other mice, never had it sped up like this. The only comparable situation would have to have been... the Christmas Pinky gave him the world on a keychain.

He moved to rub at his face, but stopped when he took note of the glitter that somehow got onto his paws. The Brain pocketed the little paper Earth and resumed his walk back to his scheme.

#

Pinky squeezed back in through the mail slot, holding on tightly to his valentine so as not to lose it. It had been quite chilly out, he "brrred" and shivered as the warmth of the lab contrasted with his current body temperature. He'd picked a good time to come back, for it was just now starting to rain. If it rained on his lovely card, he wouldn't know what to do! Other than make another one, of course. He just couldn't give Brain a soggy present, that wouldn't be very nice. Soggy anything was unpleasant, especially soggy cereal, so he was glad that the card was still dry and sparkly.

His walk had been very productive! He even knew what to do next with his card! Spirits lifted and worries forgotten for the time being, Pinky dragged his card back to his little craft station. He lined the outside with lace and blue ribbon, then pasted on more little globes and hearts to the front, surrounding a big heart-shaped world in the middle. He was quite proud of that bit.

Opening the card to peer inside, Pinky grabbed a special marker and proceeded to write. "Roses are red, violets are..." The strawberry-scented marker stilled, the point pressing into the paper leaving a dark dot of pink. "Violets are... umm... violets are... Troz!" He blinked at his tic, then giggled inanely and wrote: "Troz."

Now how did the rest of it go?

"Ummm..." Something that conveyed his feelings. Well then, he should just be honest! "You make me feel gushy and narf and fluttery and egad and whirly-twirly and poit coz..." Pinky's brow furrowed in concentration as he scribbled it all down. "Cozzzz... I love you!" He made the exclamation point extra big. "Happy Valentine's Day, Brain! Loooooooove, Pinky!" Giggling, he signed the card then hugged the marker tightly. "Oh, I made a poem! Brain's going to like it! I just know it!" Even if Brain only wanted him as a friend... as long as he'd let him stay forever and let him love him forever, Pinky was okay with that. Because at this point, he didn't think he could ever stop loving The Brain.

Grabbing a different colored marker, Pinky started doodling inside the card, laughing to himself as he worked.

#

Brain, on the other hand, wasn't made aware of Pinky's return. When he glanced up to check the clock, the rain outside did not escape his notice. Oh, if that idiot was still out there... Brain wrapped up the box he'd been filling with chocolate, tying it off with a pink bow, before he hopped off the counter and stormed over to the mail slot. It wasn't worry he felt, merely agitation that his friend was such a moron. He was making it so that he had to waste precious time by going out to search for him!

He was almost to the door when he heard the stifled, albeit familiar giggles of his associate. It angered Brain how much the sound pleased him. Still, Pinky was fine and not out in the rain or on any kind of bridge... He was just going to check on him to make sure he wasn't wet and dripping water everywhere.

"Pinky!" Brain snapped as he pulled himself over the top of the counter. "Where have you been? We have a plan to implement!"

He raised a brow as Pinky desperately flung himself over his project, absently fingering the little paper globe he still had with him. Grinning sheepishly, the taller mouse waved. "Hi Brain!"

"Yes... hello, Pinky." He rolled his eyes, though he couldn't help but feel relieved that Pinky didn't seem to be upset any longer. "When you're through playing around, I require your assistance."

Pinky righted himself immediately. "I can help now! I'm ready, Brain! Narf!"

"Of course you are." Brain sighed, gesturing for the other mouse to follow. "Come, Pinky."

"Yes sir, Brain!" Pinky saluted, dragging his card behind him to keep it out of Brain's sight, chest puffed out in pride over his work of art. Oh, he would love it!

The two mice came upon Brain's chocolate workshop, all the chocolates lined up and prepared to be packaged. Pinky reached for one of the truffles to snack on, but Brain batted his hand away. A vat of liquid chocolate sat off to one side, a hose attached to it that led to a dispenser unit.

"Don't touch anything until I say so, Pinky." Brain reprimanded. "I need you to be very careful. The slightest alteration to these truffles could make them very unstable and virtually inedible. Understand?" When Pinky nodded, Brain continued. "I'm going to pour a little of the liquid over in that vat over these chocolates to mask the flavor of the hypnotic fillings while retaining their decadent texture. There's a property in there that can disrupt the ability to hypnotize, however, so if too much is added then my entire plan will be foiled. That is why you can't touch it. Your job will be to package up the finished chocolates in the little heart boxes. Am I being clear?"

"Clear as bananas, Brain!" Pinky affirmed as Brain slapped his forehead.

"Why me?" He muttered, taking hold of the hose and dousing the individual chocolates with a dollop each. "Only package the ones I've worked on, Pinky."

"Right, Brain!" Pinky replied as he plucked up one chocolate at a time and situated them in the boxes.

Things were going quite smoothly at first, Brain's excitement mounting as he got through more and more of the candies. Suddenly, the flow of excess chocolate ceased. Frowning in confusion, Brain calculated the amount of chocolate that should still be in the vat before he even turned around to check. He wasn't out. What was the problem? Grumbling, he twisted the nozzle, searching for a clog in the dispenser.

Pinky noticed the chocolate stopped coming out. "I'll help you, Brain!" He offered, taking hold of the end of the house closest to the vat of chocolate.

"No, Pinky, just don't touch it." Brain growled, tugging on the hose to keep it out of his grubby hands.

Pinky latched onto it anyway. "But I want to help! It's just jammed, is all!" He pulled really hard, twisting the hose this way and that.

More of a reflex than anything, Brain pulled back. "No, Pinky! Let go!"

"Okay!" Pinky released it, but Brain had been tugging so hard in the opposite direction, that the hose came loose from the vat. The chocolate burst out from the vat over all Brain's truffles, the chocolate that had been in the hose exploded everywhere, spattering the two mice and effectively ruining Brain's entire Valentine scheme.

For a moment, The Brain could only gape at the mess, unable to believe that in just a few short seconds, excess chocolate had been his downfall. He stared at the broken hose in his hands, his grip tightening exponentially as he ground his teeth together. Why couldn't he just listen?

"PINKY!" he bellowed, "Look what you've-!" His voice caught in his throat as he spun around to pound some sense into the simpleton, taking in the look of horror on his face. "...Pinky?"

The chocolate had exploded all over his valentine present. Pinky's eyes welled up with tears as he plucked up the only dry corner of the card, dark liquid dripping from the paper to the counter top. "Poit..." he whimpered, lip quivering and tears falling freely down his cheeks.

Brain froze, his hands still clenched around his half of the hose. "Pinky..."

"I'm sorry, Brain!" Pinky wailed suddenly, projecting his distress in violent waves. "I'm sorry! I messed it all up!"

Whether he was talking about the card or the plan, or both, was beyond Brain, but that didn't really matter in the face of Pinky's abject misery. "No, Pinky... It's fine, I can-" But the taller mouse had already dropped the card, it fell to the ground with a slick slap, and was running off. "Pinky!"

Brain sighed. Curse that stupidly big heart of his. Why did he have to care so much about Valentine's Day? It was a waste of a day, commercial, in-genuine...

There was no salvaging the card, it was completely soaked through. All of Pinky's hard work and planning gone to waste. He supposed he could understand the disappointment over that, he was no stranger to plans going awry. For example, this one was now a total flop. The chocolates had been contaminated, the hypnotic properties tampered with and who knew what the effects would be?

Back to the drawing board. The Brain eyed the mess of chocolate with a combination of distaste and curiosity. To dispose of it all would be such a waste...

#

The two mice didn't see much of each other the next day. By the time Pinky crawled back to the cage that morning, Brain had fallen asleep propped up next to his sardine tin. Pinky tucked them both into bed and they slept for a good four hours before the scientists split them up for testing.

Neither got a chance to speak to the other all day, heightening Brain's nerves as the night approached. Having been deposited in the cage before his friend, he paced to still his thundering heart and grumbled as he wiped his sweating palms against his thighs. This was ridiculous. Why would anyone in their right mind willingly subject themselves to this irritation? Further proof that humanity was incapable of being the dominant species. He ignored the fact that he was fighting back the very symptoms of attraction that he detested.

The anticipation only worsened once Pinky was returned. There was no trace of his sorrow, greeting Brain with a warm smile. "Hi, Brain!"

How did that lump come to form in his throat? "Hello, Pinky."

It was still the 13th of February. Pinky ran on his wheel, Brain read a book. At the stroke of midnight, Brain set the book aside and took a moment to gather himself. This was stupid, really. When he looked up, he jumped back with a choked gasp as he found Pinky hovering near him. Arms clasped behind his back and shy smile playing on his lips. How long had he been standing there?

"Narf! Brain, I-"

"Hold on a minute, Pinky." Brain ordered, holding up a hand to silence him. He attempted to stroll leisurely over to his sardine tin. "Close your eyes."

"Why?" Pinky asked, following after him.

"Just close your eyes!" He barked. "Peanut butter follows directions better than you!"

With a laugh, blue eyes snapped shut. "Peanut butter! Troz!"

"Yes." Brain rolled his eyes. How did this happen? He was smarter than this, wasn't he? His heart said otherwise as he turned away from his tin to see Pinky waiting expectantly.

"Can I open them yet, Brain?" He asked, tail wagging.

"In a moment." With shaking hands-this was ridiculous, the future leader of the world acting like a school girl with an insipid crush-Brain held out the chocolate heart he'd forged for his friend. "Happy Valentine's Day, Pinky."

With a gasp of pure, unbridled joy, Pinky opened his eyes and gaped at the present in awe. It embarrassed Brain that his friend could look so excited over shaped sugar, at least that's what he blamed the uncomfortable warmth flooding his face on. Pinky's hands came out from behind him to press against his cheeks as he laughed, and Brain caught sight of a simple white envelope in one of them.

"Oh, Brain!" Pinky cooed, his entire body squirming now. "Really? Is it really for me?"

"No, Pinky. It's for Gerry." Brain rolled his eyes, couldn't help the smirk that formed as Pinky laughed harder. "Of course it's for you."

"Thank you, Brain!" Pinky spread his arms wide, as if to engulf him in a much too happy hug, but stopped when he realized he still held something. "Oh! Oh! Oh! Zort! Here, Brain!" His excitement almost rendered him speechless as he bounced up and down. "Happy Valentine's Day!"

Brain exchanged the chocolate heart for the little card, his heart beating wildly. Pinky had gone back to make him a new card after he'd ruined the first one. The one he'd been so proud of. His name scrawled childishly on the front in crayon, but it was spelled right. Taking a few deep breath as his slid his fingers along the crease of the envelope, The Brain was surprised at the lack of flashy colors and glitter and hearts. There was only a slip of plain white paper with writing on it, also in crayon.

Dear, Brain. I love you. Narf!

That's all it said. That's all it needed to say. No flowery words, no over-the-top exclamations, no typical Valentine's Day fluff. "Dear, Brain", the proper start to any letter. "I love you", statement of fact. "Narf", Pinky.

"Poit." Brain had to exert a strange amount of will power to tear his gaze away from the card to stare at Pinky. The taller mouse had that shy smile back, eyes looking a little worried since Brain's reaction was quite a bit more... subdued than his own. "Did I not make it honest enough, Brain?"

"Pinky..." Nothing about you is dishonest. He wanted to say, but his mouth was too busy impersonating that of a fish out of water. He settled for yanking him down into a tight embrace. "It's good. It's-" Perfect. "It's good."

Pinky hugged him back, careful of the chocolate still in his hands, but still managed to squeeze most of the air out of Brain's lungs. "Oh, hooray! I'm so happy you like it!"

"I also like being able to perform respiratory functions properly." He wheezed, the tone of his voice rather than his words were what made Pinky put him down. "Thank you..." Brain cleared his throat, meeting Pinky's blue-eyed gaze. "Really, Pinky, thank you. I-"

He was cut off as a pair of lips pressed against his, his face burning as his brain tried to process that Pinky was kissing him. Pinky was kissing him. Too stunned to even manage to respond, Pinky pulled away rather quickly anyway, his own face bright and flushed.

"I love you, Brain."

It was said with such seriousness, Brain could hardly believe it was his friend speaking. But his heart didn't stutter like this for just anyone, so it couldn't have been anyone else. The Brain placed the card back in the envelope carefully, setting it down on his sardine tin. He motioned for Pinky to set down his chocolate heart as well, though he did it reluctantly.

"Brain, wha-?"

Pinky's question was stopped in it's tracks as he was tugged down to be eye level with Brain. "Because, Pinky," he informed him, already having anticipated his inquiry, "In order for me to initiate the manner of osculation I wish to engage in with you, we'll need our hands free."

With that said, he connected their lips in a far deeper, considerably less chaste kiss that left Pinky's head swimming and his heart dizzy. Their hands roved up and over and around, unable to find an appropriate place to settle. Finally Brain ended up caressing Pinky's cheek with one and gripping the back of his neck with the other, while Pinky splayed his across his back. Brain had to pull away when he realized he'd stopped breathing at some point and air was a necessity, but Pinky leaned in after him, sending both mice toppling to the floor of their cage and Brain figured air was overrated anyway.

"Be my Valentine, Brain?" Pinky half-whispered, half-giggled as he peppered small kisses along his jaw.

Brain rolled his eyes and bopped Pinky on the head. "Don't ask stupid questions, Pinky." Then he cupped his face and drew his attention back to his lips.


Happy Valentine's Day (belatedly)

I meant to upload this yesterday, but it was my birthday and there was much merry making festivities going on, I just got busy and forgot all about it. But here it is now, ready for action! I thought about separating it, but I really like it all as once piece, so here you go! Shameless P/B fluff!

They're just too cute, I couldn't resist.