Author's Note: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all your love and support despite my absence! The past year in a half has been very busy for me. I started my first job last May and it has kept me very busy. I work third shift(11PM-7:30AM[or later]) and I actually thought working third shift would make it easier for me to have time to write. Boy, was I wrong... x_x But I've met a lot of lovely people there despite everything. I met my boyfriend there! Hehehe~ we've been together ten months today! I love him very much. Aaaaand last fall I started going to college part-time. I am on summer break right now(HAPPILY!) And of course I have to spend time with my loved ones. In the past year in a half I've only been able to write/brainstorm a handful of times. \: And I loooove to write and think of ideas. I'm trying to make time for my writing though. I sincerely thank all of you. I have a place in my heart for every one of you. I know this story is taking a long time to progress but I do hope you stick around. I have a lot planned for it! I'm so excited to finally be posting again! Eee~ This chapter doesn't have any Ace and Sasha interaction BUT there's lots of emotional/thinking about you cuteness. Their relationship is so complicated. X_X I'm trying my best to make sure you guys understand how the characters are feeling, the situation itself, what everyone is thinking, and explain Sasha and Ace's relationship. NEXT CHAPTER WILL BE FULL OF ACE AND SASHA CUTENESS! ^_^~ And I'm super excited about chapter ten. That's going to have a lot of goodies too.. ;3 Hehe. Oh and this will be the last flashback in a chapter for a little while. I hope the past year in a half has been good for all of you! I know my writing isn't grammatically perfect but I hope you enjoy it anyways! I cannot thank you guys enough for still loving my story! xoxoxoxo ~Bre
** This chapter takes place on the same day as the previous chapter **
[ I do not own the Powerpuff Girls. I only own my OC, ideas, and the creation of the Gangreen Gang past. ]
"So what's up with this Ace guy?" Misty, another of Sasha's co-workers, asked. The two had been chatting since Sasha returned from her lunch at the Mayor's office. Misty was a cute girl with short brown hair and blue eyes. She was two years older than Sasha and started working for the library a month before Sasha did.
"Oh, him? He's my love slave." Sasha replied nonchalantly, biting her tongue to hold in her amusement.
It only took a quick glance between the two before they simultaneously roared with laughter.
"Seriously though - what's going on? He comes by quite a bit." Misty leaned against the break room counter, looking at Sasha with curiosity.
Sasha, who was sitting on the table that was in the middle of the break room, crossed her legs and tucked a strand of hair behind her lips pursed as she tried to figure out how to explain the situation to her friend. "We..." She paused, "We like each other but we're not a couple."
"Do you want to be?"
Sasha inwardly sighed. It was like she had told Ace on their first date, she had never been interested in anyone until she met him. She didn't want to be with anyone, she just wanted to be alone. It had been that way since she was a teenager. The only time she had wanted to date was when she was a young girl and started becoming interested in boys. She had been closed off for so long that her feelings on relationships had become a cluster of confusion. As a teenager, the world had shown her that there was genuine love and there was empty emotion. She learned that love was something rare. Almost nonexistent. Only a handful of people on the planet can truly be happy. That handful of people will be the ones to find the person they are meant to be with while the rest of the world will suffer from disingenuous love. Her parents and grandparents had been some of the lucky ones but Sasha knew that she would never be lucky like them. Something in her heart as a young girl told her that she wouldn't, she wasn't sure why, but that's just what she felt and the feeling had stuck with her all these years. She closed herself off from that moment on. She decided that she would rather be alone than suffer a lifetime of heartless love. To have someone tell her they loved her but not actually mean it or to be with a man that wasn't meant for her - it was all too heart wrenching for her to bare. Sasha didn't want to take the chance. She was afraid. At the same time, however, her parents and grandparents were her glimmer of hope. As many times as she had told herself that she would never get the chance they got, she wanted to believe that she could be with the man that was meant for her and live happily with him. She wanted to have someone truly love her.
"Sasha...?" Misty spoke up, concerned about the silence and look on her friend's face.
But Ace... he could never love her. He was just as closed off as she was. He was a slime ball who only wanted sex. Once he fully comprehended that he wasn't going to get laid then he would disappear. He was everything she was trying to avoid.
"It's all very complicated but I don't want it to end. If he ever wants to be with me, really and truly be with me, I'll be with him."
Misty looked at Sasha with worry, "You better be careful of him, girlie. He has a hold on you."
Sasha smiled reassuringly, unaware of the emotions that were slowly devouring her, "Don't worry, I'll be okay."
Misty then smirked, "But I can see why you're like this - he is pretty hot."
The two girls laughed their worries about the situation away.
Their amusement was interrupted by the shrill voice of Mrs. Fareweather, "SASHA! Get out here! You got another one of those green-skinned guys askin' for ya!"
Misty and Sasha flinched at the elderly woman's words but quickly filed out of the break room to see who had arrived.
"Arturo?" Taken aback by his presence, Sasha's face twisted in confusion.
Arturo looked up at her and gave a stiff smile, "Oh, uh, hey Sasha."
Misty and Mrs. Fareweather looked at the two questioningly but said nothing. The older of the two sat back in her chair while the other leaned on the wall behind her.
"What are you doing here?" Sasha asked, clasping her hands behind her back as she approached him.
"I need to talk to you about something."
"Oh," Caught off guard by his request, she scrambled to find more to say. A flustered smile escaped her as she composed herself, "We can talk in the breakroom." She signaled him to follow her.
The two entered the break room and an awkward void soon filled the space between them. They yearned to speak but found that their lips had been stitched shut.
Minutes passed until finally Arturo gained the courage to talk.
"First, I wanna apologize for being such a jerk last night. Ace has really pissed me off and I ended up taking it out on you and the other guys. I also wanna say thanks for paying us back that money. You shouldn't have but I appreciate what you did anyways." He met her gaze for a brief moment before looking away uncomfortably.
Sasha smiled, "Your welcome, Arturo. And thank you for the apology."
Arturo gave a small smile in return, "Yeah, no problem. But, uh, I'll see ya around." He headed for the door.
Their awkward start was finally over, making them both feel relieved.
"See you." She called back, watching as he left.
Despite the complexity of the situation and the hesitation she felt, Sasha was looking forward to her time with the Gangreen Gang.
The reality of it was...
She was falling for Ace D. Copular.
"Damn, it's hot." Ace complained as he wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead.
There was a grunt of agreement amongst his friends. It was hard to believe that June had just begun.
Big Billy, Ace, Grubber, and Snake were working on a '67 Black Chevy Impala.
They had brought the classic car back to life two years ago and had taken great care of it ever since. Unfortunately the Impala took some damage during their time in Cityville. They were barely able to make it back to Townsville with all the damage it sustained. The boys had been working on the car since their return and there was only a little bit more they had to do until they could finally drive it again.
Ace clutched the wrench in his hand and looked around at the place he called home. He scanned everything and everyone around him, finally realizing that a certain someone was missing. "Aye, fellas. Where's Lil' Arturo?"
"D'uhhh. Big Billy don't know." Big Billy replied with a smile, feeling as if he had given the correct answer.
"Haven't ssseen him sssince thisss mornin', Bosssss." Snake answered.
Ace grunted in annoyance, "Well did he say where he was goin'?"
Snake shook his head, "I didn't sssee him leave. I jussst thought he went back to hisss room."
This caused Ace to frown but he returned to his work on the car.
The boys continued to work on the car until Grubber's panicked raspberries stopped them.
Ace looked down to see Grubber flailing his feet frantically from beneath the car.
"Whaddya mean ya can't get out?! Ya got under there so ya gotta be able to get outta there!" Ace retorted.
Grubber blew angry raspberries in response.
"See, this is why Lil' Arturo is supposed ta be here! He always works down there!" Ace exclaimed in frustration, despite only noticing Arturo's absence just moments ago. "Big Billy lift da car up." He ordered.
"OK!" Big Billy smiled, happy that he could help. He picked up the car and held it over his head proudly.
Grubber got to his feet and scurried out of the way but not without throwing out some more angry raspberries.
Ace ignored Grubber's grumbling and looked up at Big Billy, "Aye! Now be careful with that, alright?"
The large boy nodded and carefully set the car down.
"Hey, there'sss Arturo!" Snake pointed towards their friend who was walking down the sidewalk.
Ace looked over and called out to him, "Where ya been, Arturo!?"
Arturo stopped in his tracks and held his hand over his eyes to block out the sun as he looked over at the gang. He glared intensely at Ace before barking out, "None of your damn business!"
Ace dropped his wrench and pointed at Arturo, "What the hell did ya just say ta me!?" He yelled.
Arturo rolled his eyes and continued to walk towards the Shack, "You heard me!"
"Why don't ya come ovah here and say that again!?" Ace challenged.
"Fuck off!" Arturo yelled before slamming the door behind him.
"That's it!" Ace began stomping towards the Shack.
"Jussst leave him alone, Bosssss!" Snake grabbed onto him and pulled him back to the Impala, "It'sss not worth it. You guysss jussst need to leave each other alone!"
Ace pulled himself away from Snake's grasp, "Yeah, ya right." He bent down and picked up his wrench before stepping towards the front of the Impala.
However the urge to beat the shit out of Arturo pulsated against his skin, making his heartbeat pound wildly against his chest. His breath was short and quick as his body trembled with anger. He stood still, finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than his rage.
"Dammit!" He yelled, the wrench tossed to the side as he started to lose control of himself.
The three boys jumped, startled by the outburst of anger.
Ace ran a hand over his face in frustration as he ignored their stares, "BB toss me a beer."
Billy reached down into the cooler and pulled out a beer, nervously handing it to him.
Ace took the beer and groaned, "I'm gonna be in my spot. I need ta cool off."
Without waiting for a response, he walked deeper into the junkyard, passing by several staggering piles of debris until he reached the very end of the dump site.
An old, dark couch sat beneath a canopy in the far right corner of the dump. The canopy was an ugly orange color and the couch was an even uglier brown and red plaid. There were several tears along the canopy and the couch had a few springs sticking out of its cushions. Next to the couch was a small, light brown table. It wasn't much to look at but it was his.
Ace plopped down onto the couch, pressing the beer can to his forehead in an attempt to cool himself off. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he blocked out the sounds of the city. His body still trembled from anger but he was slowly starting to calm down. His mind once again drifted to thoughts of the bitter reality they lived in.
The boys had become dependent on one another over the years. They needed each Billy could not survive on his own. He needed to be looked after because no one else gave a damn about him. No one else living, that is. Grubber had lived on his own before, in a cave far away from society. However, he could not survive by himself in the city because of his appearance. Snake had always been spineless. He'd never had enough courage to stand up on his own instead he chose to follow others blindly and without question. The trail behind Ace was the only one he knew. Like a child, he clung to the one that he felt could protect him. Arturo only stayed because he needed somewhere to live. He had nowhere else to go, he was stuck here. He had nothing left for him other than his friends, they were the only people in his life. But even that friendship was diminishing. While Ace needed control. He thrived on the power he had over the guys. Being the Gangreen Gang leader gave him strength. It proved that he wasn't worthless and that he wasn't a failure. He could not only take care of himself but he could take care of others as well. The boys fed his ego and he couldn't get enough of it.
Ace took another sip of his beer before setting it down on the table. His sunglasses were pulled off his face and placed next to his drink. He laid down on the couch, resting his head on one armrest while propping his feet on the other.
He was just so damn tired of everything...
Ace became fatigued; his eyes started to droop as he watched the clouds drift by through a hole in the canopy.
The world around him disappeared as he closed his eyes.
He was consumed by darkness and in a matter of seconds he was fast asleep.
"Aye fellas! Watch this!" A young boy with black hair and sun-kissed skin called out to his friends before climbing up the tree that was in his front yard.
His pals, a young Hispanic boy and a slightly older boy with tanned skin, scurried over and marveled at their leader.
The oldest boy perched himself on one of the tree's thick branches, "Don't try this at home!" He joked before hanging upside down like a circus performer. "Ta-daaah!" He carefully held his arms out in order to balance himself.
"Wow! Cool! Lemme try, Ace!" The tiniest boy dashed towards the tree excitedly.
"No!" Only trained professionals can do it!" Ace cried out, flipping himself back onto the branch so that he was sitting on it once again.
Angry tears filled the Hispanic boy's eyes, "You're stupid!"
"I ain't stupid! You're stupid!" The two began to argue and call each other names.
The third boy covered his ears, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" He yelled at them.
The fight between the boys was put to a stop with the sound of a familiar voice, "Ace D. Copular! How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of that tree?! It's dangerous! Get down from there right now!" A woman with long, curly, black hair shouted from an open window.
The oldest boy's cheeks turned red, "But Ma-!" He started to argue.
Ace grumbled as he scrambled down the tree.
His friends snickered, "Haha! You got yelled at!" They teased.
"Shaddup!" Ace faked them out, pretending to lunge at them.
The boys yelped in surprise and dashed across the yard.
Ace grinned, "I'm gonna get ya!" He called out before bolting after them.
The boys ran circles around the plush green yard, taunting each other all the while.
Laughter echoed throughout the neighborhood and the smiles never left their faces.
Ace slowly sat up, his groggy eyes attempting to focus on the world around him.
The golden sun was slowly sinking beneath the horizon and the sky was a mix of pink, orange, purple, and red.
A cool breeze blew past him and he noticed that the temperature had dropped significantly with the setting sun.
He fell back against the old couch with his head propped against the cushion. A sigh escaped him as he closed his eyes once again.
His dream flooded his mind, drowning him in memories. He felt overwhelmed with nostalgia and his body ached with longing.
Ace hunched over, taking a deep breath as he ran his hands through his slicked back hair.
He stayed like that for a few more minutes before slowly sitting back up.
Ace reached for his sunglasses that were on the table next to him and slid them back onto his face.
He wondered if they could ever be... happy.
That single word forced him to remember.
He was reminded of Sasha.
He could see it. All of it. Every single detail playing in his head like a movie.
His body wanting to shake with anticipation and his refusal to show how vulnerable he really was.
Pressing his mouth against hers so wildly and roughly that the ecstasy nearly killed him.
The way she looked at him, that single look that completely maddened him.
That despite all of his effort to not show his weakness, he did it anyway.
"Sasha..." He murmured to himself. His heart clenched once before beating rapidly against his chest.
As the name left his lips, he became frozen.
His eyes widened as his features twisted with disgust.
What the fuck was happening to him?
Why had he remembered that of all things? Why did... Why did he say her name like that?
Sasha didn't make him happy.
She was just another complication in his life; she pissed him off.
He would be happy when he was finally rid of her.
Grabbing the barely empty beer can, he headed back to the Shack.
His shadow trailed behind him, taunting him like it always did.
It was the shadow of everything he kept inside - everything he pushed down and ignored.
The dark outline smirked, inching closer with each step.
Ace came to a standstill knowing that he couldn't escape.
It stood behind him, breathing down his neck.
He avoided its gaze only causing the mysterious creature to grin even wider.
The shadow chuckled callously, placing a thin hand on his shoulder.
"You're changing, you know."