So before you read, this story has something of a background. See at first I wanted to do this long Fanfic that would build up to the relationship and stuff but then I realized that every time I set myself up to do these large projects I get two or three chapters in and end up giving up and letting it collect dust on my desktop for months before finally breaking down and deleting it. So, to save everyone the frustration, I'll just give the back story and let you continue with the chapter that the idea evolved around.

To begin with, about a year before this story, Brick is betrayed by HIM and loses his powers. The girls find him and he convinces them that he'll come clean if they'll help him get his powers back in order to get revenge against HIM. The Professor gives his powers back but seeing the opportunity, transplants a device in his head that renders him incapable of using those powers for evil. Every time he does, he feels a powerful shock and small traces of antidote X flood his system enough to weaken him and (if he keeps trying to bad things with his powers) make him sick.

With no other choice (his brothers abandoned him once they found out about him rendered effectively useless in the crime department) he helps the girls occasionally. Eventually, he falls for Blossom but because of who he is she doesn't want anything to do with him. But when tension rises between them and finally snaps, they enter into a secret(mostly sexual) relationship.

Eventually, HIM betrays his brothers too and they come back to him and together everyone manages to take HIM down and trap him inside his other dimension for eternity.

But when Butch catches on to their relationship, Blossom finds the stress of the wrongness of it all and breaks it off with Brick.

Some Facts:

Brick and Blossom are both 22.

Blossom is in her second year of college.

Brick and his brothers have taken over Fuzzy's shack as their own.

That's pretty much it. ENJOY AND REVIEW XD

Stockholm Syndrome

The hiss of hydraulics as the doors swished shut and the bus geared up to leave sounded Brick's cue to turn away. He couldn't take watching it go. Watching it carry her out of his life.

He squeezed his eyes shut, pushing back the prickling burning behind his eyelids, holding at bay the image of her leaving, and leaned on the hood of his car. "Blossom," he whispered. Then, "Fuck!" He wiped at his eyes with the palm of his hand, balled it into a fist and slammed it against the hood. "Stupid ... fucking ... heartless ... stubborn ... cold ..." With each word he pounded the car, again and again, until a deep crater formed in the hood and the harsh metal scratched his hand. He reared back to kick it instead. "Bitch!" he finished, leaving a boot-shaped dent in the fender and sending it skidding out into the empty road. He stumbled back, but regrouped quickly enough and stalked forward to kick it again. Then he froze, leg in mid-air. He thought he could feel -

"You wanna say that to my face?"

Brick lost his balance as he spun to face her and fell against the car. He recovered and pulled himself together - half sitting, half leaning against the hood, staring at her like she was a mirage.

Her eyes dropped to his damaged hand. "God, Brick." She took it and examined it. "What the hell did you do that for?"

He stood up and jerked his hand away. "Missed your bus," he said, shoving both hands in his pockets with a wince.

Blossom looked back to where the bus had been, and shrugged. She turned back to him. "Guess you'll have to take me home."

It took everything Brick had not to run to the passenger side and open the door for her, not to sigh with relief and smile and be grateful that she was still willing to have him in her life ... not to hope that this time, things really had changed between them. He wanted to do all of that, make no mistake; but he wouldn't. Not this time. This time, he knew better.

He stood his ground. "Why should I?"

Blossom rolled her eyes skyward, as if she might find the answer in the swarm of bugs buzzing around the lamp post behind him. "How about, because you're the one who brought me here, and you're responsible for getting me home?"

"I paid your bus fare," Brick said. "I did my part. This was supposed to be goodbye. You want me to take you home? Then tell me..." He stepped close to her - too close. He could smell her, smell himself on her, could feel the hum and thrum of life coursing through her. It made her that much harder to resist. His eyes bored into hers as he carefully enunciated each word. "Why ... should ... I?"

Her bottom lip trembled, ever so slightly, and she looked away.

The knife twisted in his gut. He wished he could die from the wound, and to do it before the temptation to throttle her overwhelmed him. Why the hell couldn't she have just stayed on the bus? Then they could both be getting on with their lives.

He didn't die. He didn't throttle her. Instead he brushed past her, towards the bus depot.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"To get you a new ticket."

"Brick -"

He stopped. There was a hitch of desperation in her voice, a pleading that, despite his best judgment, made him think maybe. Just maybe. One more try wouldn't kill him.

Without looking back at her, he said, "Say it, Blossom. For God's sake, just spit it out." He meant the words to sound harsh, but he was too weary. "If you want me to stay, babe ... you know the magic words. Say them, and we can both go home."

He waited. He imagined that the silence that met him must be what it's like in that moment, before you die, when you dissolve out of this world into nothing. Only this hurt a hell of a lot more. He wished she would just kill him and be done with it. It'd be so much kinder than this.

When the silence from her became too thunderous, he continued toward the station. He said nothing. If she couldn't speak the words he needed to hear, then there was nothing more to say.

He wanted to hate her. He tried to remember what that felt like. It seemed so long ago. It'd make this all so much easier, if he could just go back to that, return to what he was before. Before her. But as he reached the ticket line, he knew he had only himself to blame. He should've just pulled up stakes and left Townsville, nice and quiet-like, instead of dragging her into this, setting them both up for such a painful goodbye.

He should have known it would all end like this.

Two nights earlier ...

Bubbles bounded down the stairs, purse slung over one shoulder. "Bye, Blossom!"

"Wait!" Blossom jumped up from the sofa and intercepted her sister at the front door. "You know the drill, right? Call if there's an emergency. And don't trust Robin's judgment in boys."

Bubbles rolled her eyes. "I know."

Sometimes her sister could be too motherly and not enough sisterly.

Bubbles looked back at Blossom. "Have fun this weekend, okay?"

"Sure," Blossom said. "Big fun in store. Professor's gone on a retreat with his lab group, Buttercup's off looking for trouble most likely, and me… well I have nothing better to do with my spring break this sememster."

"Are you sure you don't want to come?"

"Yeah." She forced herself to sound cheerful. "But don't worry. This'll give me a chance to catch up on sleep. Sleep is of the good."

"Right." Bubbles looked doubful, but then shrugged. Blossom had been slamming herself pretty hard studying for those end of the semester exams. It didn't help that she took some of the hardest classes in the university. "Well, however you spend it, just ... try to relax, and enjoy yourself. And don't worry about me."

"That's going to happen." Blossom opened the door and made a "get out" gesture with her head. "Have fun with Robin. And I promise not to be psycho with the phone calls."

"See ya." Bubbles pecked her on the cheek, and left.

Blossom shut the door behind her, then turned around and slumped against it. She'd meant it about the sleep. She had first shift in the morning, so she really should go to bed; but it would still be nice if she had an option to do something else. It depressed her to realize just how little of a life she really had these days. She felt lonely. For just the briefest moment she let herself entertain the thought of going to see Brick, before banishing it from her head. No matter how innocent her intentions, he was bound to take it the wrong way. The last thing she needed was to see that aching, hopeful look in his eyes.

A knot formed in her stomach as she remembered the last thing he'd said to her. "Either you tell your sisters about us, or I will." Nevermind that there was no longer an "us" to tell them about. Or that they hadn't been much of an us to begin with. She supposed that was one good thing about her sisters all being out of commission - she didn't have to worry that they'd talk to Brick.

A knock on the door broke her reverie and she groaned. She didn't need to turn around to know who it was. He had the most ironic sense of timing. Blossom straightened up and opened the door. "You can't come in."

Brick looked startled by the statement. Keeping a wary eye on her, he stepped a toe across the threshold, half expecting one of the Professor's crazy inventions to pop out and vaporize him. When it passed over, he stepped inside, looming over her with a mix of relief and self-satisfaction on his face. "Looks like I can."

Blossom planted a hand on his chest and shoved him back out the door. "I mean it. I'm going to bed. Directly to bed, without passing go. Or collecting any villains," she added as his eyes drifted up the stairs towards her bedroom.

He looked her up and down. "You're back to your old charming self again, I see."

She crossed her arms defensively and gave a little shrug. "More or less."

"I was hoping for more. You recovered enough for some hero action?"

"I told you, I'm-"

"Going to bed. Right. You should. You look bone tired."

"Thanks." Her tone was sarcastic, but she frowned down at her pink kitten pajama-bottoms and ran a self-conscious hand through her sofa-flattened hair.

"Right, then. I s'pose Mojo's hideout'll still be there after you've had your rest. Sleep tight, babe." He leaned in and grabbed the door handle and started to pull it shut.

Blossom yanked it back open. "What do you mean, Mojo's hideout? You found him?" The irritating little monkey had gone quiet in the past year and after a thorough search of the city, they'd found him to be MIA.

"I spotted that van of his. Followed it to a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. I didn't stay to snoop around. Figured I'd leave that part to you."

"Right," Blossom said.

Brick pointed with his thumb over his shoulder. "It's almost dark. Figured I could run you out there, have a quick look-see. But like I said, it can wait."

"No," Blossom said. "I've already waited too long for this. Just give me a minute to go put some shoes on."

"Sure, babe. I've got all night."

Blossom left him standing at the door while she ran upstairs. She did more than just put on shoes. She changed into something less nap-on-the-couch-worthy and more hero worthy: faded jeans and a grey tank top. She'd already touched up her face and was smoothing out her hair before she remembered that she wasn't supposed to care what Brick thought of how she looked. She grabbed her ribbon and pulled her hair back in a loose ponytail to hide any evidence that she'd spent time on it. One last look in the mirror showed that she looked decent enough without looking like she tried. Which was really a stupid illusion to go for, considering Brick had just seen her looking all ratty and would know better. She frowned. Maybe she should change back.

"Hey, Red!" He hollered up the stairs. "We haven't got all night!"

Blossom stuck her head out the door. "But you just said that we did!"

"Figure of speech. Now come on!"

Blossom sighed and grabbed her bag, then headed downstairs. Brick hovered just outside the door, having a smoke on the porch. He dropped his cigarette and ground it under his boot as she reached him, then turned to her. She grimaced, she hated when he smoked.

"Shall we?"

He offered his arm. Blossom resisted the impulse to take it. After a beat, he nodded and took flight. She followed him, and held her tongue when he hovered, waiting for her. She'd come to learn that such small gallantries were just in his nature and it was better not to imbue them with greater meaning. Or to make a big deal about it when they did mean more.

They flew in silence, for which Blossom was grateful. He was always so eager to talk, and no matter how much she tried to deflect, their conversations always came back to the same thing. Still, even she could only stand the quiet for so long. "Are we there yet?"

"What is this, a trip to Disneyland? No, we're not there yet."

"We've been flying for twenty minutes. How far out of town is this place?"

"Um ... pretty far." Brick gave her a sidelong glance. "Another ten minutes, at least."

Something in his tone told her not to believe him. God, he was such a lousy liar. "Brick, where are you taking me?"

"I told you, Babe. Farmhouse, outskirts of town. Mojo's hideout. We'll be there soon, just keep your shirt on." He gave her an appreciative glance. "That last part's optional, o' course."



"We're heading down the coast. There are no farmhouses along the coast."

"Oh. Ah ... fuck. Must've gotten turned around."

Blossom sighed. "Okay. What the hell is this?"

"This? This is, well, it's ..." He looked over at her, then rolled his eyes. "Okay, you got me. Consider yourself kidnapped."


"What, again? I've never kidnapped you before."

"No? What do you call last year?"

"Desperation. And you came to my place of your own free will."

"Whatever," Blossom said. "Jerk." To think she could be in bed right now, happily sleeping her stress away. She turned and made to go home when he grabbed her, locking her in his arms with a vice-like grip. She sighed, more irritated than anything and too tired now to be fully angry with him. "Let go."


"Brick, I'm not kidding."

"I think you fail to see the principle behind the whole kidnapping concept, babe."

"Let me go right now, and don't call me babe."

"Look," Brick said. "Here's the deal. You are going on holiday, whether you like it or not. You're going to get the hell away from your life for a while. Away from bills, your job, away from daddy's over-protection and your sisters' drama, and away from the whole hero bit. No responsibilities. Just you, me, and the open road. How 'bout it, Red?"

"I have to work in the morning," Blossom said. "I can't do this. Bubbles -"

"Is staying with a friend all weekend and will be just fine without you."

"Brick, no. I can't just leave like this. Take me home."

"See, that's the beauty of it. You don't get a choice. You're the victim in this, hence you're absolved of all responsibilities and consequences of your absence."

"Oh, my God," Blossom said. "You really put a lot of thought into this, didn't you? How long have you been planning this?"

"Not that long."

"Do you have any idea how messed up this is?"

"Yeh," Brick said, "I do. Just don't care." He looked at her. "Evil, remember?"

Blossom took a deep breath, then calmly said, "Brick, I'm going to give you one more chance before I cause you severe pain. Let me go, and take me home."

Brick chuckled and shook his head. "What part of 'you've been kidnapped' don't you understand, Babe? Look, I'll make it real simple for you." He reached behind him, one arm still clutching her tightly as he rummaged through the deep back pocket of his ripped cargos. She crossed her arms and rested them beneath his collar, almost ready to lay her head down she was so tired. "You can sit back, relax, try to enjoy the ride, and - God forbid - maybe have a little fun and get some fucking perspective about your life. Or..." He bit his lip in concentration as he bent further back, rifling through the mess of old receipts and various other trash in the void that was his pocket.

"Or?" Blossom prompted slowly, her bored tone irritating him as she propped her chin in her hand to keep from laying in on his chest.

"Give me a sec'." He must've found what he was looking for, because his face lit up with satisfaction. "Or," he continued, producing an all too familiar looking toy, "you can go nighty-night and spend the rest of the trip in the trunk." He pushed the button on the taser and made the electric currents crackle for emphasis. They popped with a black light that told her he'd laced the battery in antidote X to ensure it would work on her. How he managed it, she'd never know. But Brick had always proved to be smarter than he let on.

Blossom's eyes widened. "You wouldn't."

He zapped the air between them again. "Try me."

"You psychotic son of a bitch. You're insane, you know that?"

"Only because you drive me there. What's it gonna be, babe?"

"Fuck you."

"Maybe later. Now answer my question."

Blossom just looked at him for a long, hard moment. Then she snatched the taser out of his hand and tossed it somewhere behind him. His advanced hearing heard the distinctive splash as it dropped into the ocean. Brick stared at his empty hand in disbelief as Blossom turned back to him. "Do you know how hard it was to make that?"

She ignored him. "First pit stop, I am so gonna kick your ass for that."

Brick smirked and nodded. "Fair enough." He fought the smile that tugged at his mouth. "But, it'll have to wait. I'm kinda hungry." He said before reaching down and pulling her legs up into his other arm and shooting off into the distance.

Blossom crossed her arms and finally succumbed to her impulse to lay her head on his shoulder. She looked away from him so he wouldn't see her fighting one of her own.

The first pit stop occurred just before they reached the Interstate, where they stopped at a small seven-eleven. Brick's stomach was growling, and Blossom's bladder was full. "So," Brick said as he landed just behind the place (being out of town, they didn't want to draw attention to themselves), "you wanna kick my ass now, or after I eat?"

"Too many people around," Blossom said. "Guess it'll have to wait. Besides, I have to pee." She started to walk away, but stopped. "You want to come with me? Keep watch, make sure I don't call home or try to slip somebody a 'Help, I've been kidnapped' note?"

Brick considered this, then waved his hand. "Nah. You won't do that."

"What makes you so sure?"

He held up his pinkie. "One, there's no one at home to call. And two," he raised his ring finger to join it, "you don't want to be rescued." He smirked at her, then sauntered past her.

Blossom stared after him a moment in amazement. So, he was right on both counts. Did he have to be so damned smug about it? She shook her head and headed inside. How did he know she'd be alone this weekend, anyway? Probably because he made it his business to know these things. Did it really matter how he found out? She was probably better off not knowing. Inside, she turned back to look at him. He had one hand on the counter while he waited for his order(a couple of corn dogs and a soda), while the other one worked his lighter, igniting the cigarette that dangled from his lips, heedless of the "No smoking " sign posted right behind him.

That's my Brick.

She frowned at the thought. He wasn't her Brick. He wasn't her anything. Not anymore. She shook her head and headed to the ladies' room. After finishing up and washing her hands, she stared at herself in the mirror. So then, what the hell was she doing here? They were obviously still something to each other. She knew what she was to him. He made that clear every chance he got, and it never changed. No matter how she treated him. But what was he to her? Sex wrapped in leather, an orgasm waiting to happen? Wasn't he more than that? It would be so easy sometimes to let him be. Whatever else he was to her, could she rightfully call him a friend after everything they'd been through together? Everything she'd put him through?

You'll fight, and you'll fuck, and you'll hate each other till it destroys you both ... She recalled Butch telling her once, a long time ago when he'd found out about them.

"But you'll never be friends," Blossom finished the thought aloud. She sighed, and dried her hands.

She came out of the bathroom just as he was leaving the counter. As he turned, a middle-aged guy with streaks of grey in his dark hair "tsked" at Brick's cigarette and pointed at the no smoking signs. Brick looked at him, took the cigarette out of his mouth, and blew smoke in the man's face. As the man coughed and sputtered a stream of indignant curses, Brick put the fag back in his mouth and sauntered over to Blossom, his body language daring anyone else to try and make him put it out.

"Rude much?" Blossom asked as he reached her.

"Tell me about it. People these days don't know how to mind their own damn business."

"I meant you."

He looked genuinely surprised. "What? It's not like I 'suped out and threatened to kill the fucker."

Blossom considered this, and decided he had a point. You hang with the big bad, you have to pick your battles. This was an offense she could let slide.

He pointed at what was fast becoming an armload of toiletries as they made their way down the aisle. "What's all this, then?"

"Stuff I'm gonna need." She reached for a tube of deodorant. "It's not like you gave me a chance to pack a bag. I don't know what I'm going to do for clothes this weekend."

Brick got distracted by a Frito-Lay display stand at the end of the aisle and went to load up on chips. "Don't worry about that," he said as he inspected a bag of Funyuns. "Everything you need's out in the car." He held up the bag. "You like these, Babe?"

Blossom stopped in her tracks and gaped at him. "You packed me a bag?"

"Oh, no. The Bit -" His eyes widened, and she could see him trying to backpeddle. "Um, that is, the bitch" - his enunciation lingered on the 'ch' - "Butch's ex, see. She left some of that stuff in at our place, and I knew you'd be needing it, so I brought it along." He nodded for emphasis.

Blossom rolled her eyes in disgust as she dumped her items on a shelf easily recognizing Boomer's nickname for her sister. It was hard not to recognize when she was constantly referred to as 'The 'lil Bit' of their group. "I can not believe that Bubbles was in on this."

"No, no she wasn't. She had nothing to do with this. It was all my idea."

"She is so in trouble when I get home." Blossom balled her fists and rested them on her hips. "What did you say to her to get her to go along with this?"

"I didn't -" Brick stopped, and sighed. "Don't suppose I can plead the Fifth?"

"No, that copout's strictly for normal, Human criminals." She crossed her arms and waited.

"Fine." Brick put down the chips and moved closer so he could lower his voice. "Apparently when you went on your little drinking spree the other day, you said something to Bubbles about us."

Blossom squeezed her eyes shut. "Oh, God." She knew she shouldn't have let Buttercup convince her to do that end of the semester part with the girls.

"Not in so many words." He managed to sound wounded and irritated even as he tried to reassure her. "But enough to let her put two and two together. And believe it or not, she's okay with it. Has this silly notion that you and me could actually be good for each other."

"She's blonde. What does she know?"

Brick pointed, as if Bubbles were standing off in the corner of the store. "She knows enough to think that it'll be good for you to get away for a few days. And I happen to agree with her."

Blossom's eyebrows shot up. "Are you telling me that she masterminded this whole thing?"

Brick folded his arms. "I'm not telling you anything. And you didn't hear any of this from me."

"Whatever." Blossom pushed past him and grabbed a bag of Doritos off of the display. "Let's just go while I'm still insane enough to agree with both of you."

A 44 oz. Coca-Cola didn't keep her from getting sleepy. She snuggled into his collar unknowingly and sighed as her hair flew loosely behind them. She'd long since pulled it from its confinement when the tension from having it up so long began to give her a headache.

He maneuvered her so that only one arm was holding her and brushed her hair out of her face. In the moonlight it gleamed almost as fiery red as his. He missed the way it used to cascade over her bare back, but even so, her chopping it off to little more than shoulder length hadn't made her any less beautiful. Of course he didn't tell her, out of fear that she might go and shave her head. He tried to imagine her with the Sinead O'Connor look, and smiled. Still gorgeous.

His finger lightly traced a pattern along her upper arm as he slowed to a lazy hover. A sigh of contentment escaped her lips, and Brick rested his hand on her shoulder. He was crossing a line. He'd broken the unspoken "look but don't touch" rule, and he knew it. Now ask him if he cared. Not even Blossom could be so unreasonable as to expect him to be near her for this long without touching her. Couldn't be done. Her skin drew him like a magnet. He could only resist its pull for so long.

She stirred beneath his hand, then whimpered. Her breathing grew rapid. Here it comes. With a great gasp for air her head jerked up, and her hand shot out and gripped his arm like a vice.

"Shh, Blossom." He rubbed her arm, tried to draw her closer to him. "It's alright, babe. It was only a dream."

For an instant, she relaxed against him, but then she sat up and pulled away to fly beside him. Brick sighed, and put his hands in his pockets. He hated her nightmares as much as she did, if only because it killed him that she wouldn't let him comfort her. It was always the same. She'd awaken in terror, and for the tiniest moment, she'd let him hold her, let him soothe her fear. Then she'd remember who they were - or what they were - and pull away. This was usually the part where she'd get dressed and go home. Except this time, she had nowhere to go.

He glanced over at her. She bit her lip and crossed her arms, looking up at the stars and letting the night wind blow through her hair.

"You okay?"

She shrugged. "I hate that dream."

"Yeh. Me too."

She looked at him, her eyes asking him to elaborate.

"I still dream about dying sometimes."

"Great." Blossom sighed, and looked back out at the passing desert. "It never goes away."

"No." God, he wanted to hold her. Instead he pulled his silver butane out of his pocket. "But the good news is, it stops being so terrifying. Eventually."

"How long is 'eventually'?"

"In my case? About ten years."

"Swell. Something to look forward to."

He dug through his jeans until he found the pocket that held his cigarettes, then dug them out. "We've still got a few hours until sunrise. Then we'll find some place to hole up for the day and you can get a proper rest."

"Sounds like a plan." She sounded a bit more cheerful.

Blossom turned back as he lit his cigarette. Brick stole a long glance at her as she reached for him, only to swipe his mp3 player out of his pocket just as he raised an arm for her. "Here we go," she said pushing the little black buds into her ears and shuffled through his music. "Sex Pistols, ACDC, Ozzy Osbourne, more Sex Pistols ... God!" She turned back around and slumped in defeat, disgusted. "What the on earth ever made you think we'd be compatible?"

Brick laughed. "Believe me, babe, if there's one thing makes me doubt you're the girl for me, it's your taste in music."

"There's nothing wrong with my taste in music. Just because it's not older than I am ..."

"Feh. The trouble with this generation's music is there's nothing new."

"That's not true."

"Yes it is. Everything you hear these days is a throwback to a bygone era, no matter how much they try to spice it up and call it 'modern rock.' It's all been done before. At least the guys I listen to were innovative."

"Right." Blossom nodded seriously. "You should know, as often as you listen to the crazy noise the kids like to make these days."

He gave her a sidelong glare, then shook his head. "I do go to the club, y'know. I know whereof I speak. 'Sides, it's all become so fuckin homogeonized, nobody stands out. I mean, pick any subset of the genre. One band sounds exactly the same as the next. P.O.D., Linkin Park ... who the hell can tell the fuckin difference?"

"And meanwhile Sex Pistols and ACDC sound nothing alike."

Brick suppressed a smile. The girl made sarcasm an art. Sometimes it was hard to tell if she was being sincere. But he knew the difference. He pointed his cigarette at her. "You watch your mouth, missy."

"Fine." Blossom sighed, and resumed shuffling. He was losing her. They were becoming fewer and farther in between, but she still had these little episodes sometimes, where she'd slip inside herself for a while and nothing in the outside world could penetrate. Brick had become pretty good at recognizing when she was about to take one of her mental holidays and calling her back before she was too far gone.

"You don't have to listen to anything, y'know," he said. "We could always talk."

Blossom blinked, coming back to reality. She looked at him, and fear crossed her face. Then she brightened. "Hey! 3 Doors Down!" She paused, arching a brow at him. "Kryptonite? Seriously?"

Brick ignored her. "Why don't you want to talk?"

Blossom looked away from him. "Because I don't want to talk about ... what you want to talk about."

He refrained from rolling his eyes as he flicked some ash aside. "I just meant a ruddy conversation, Red. About anything you want. Doesn't have to be about us."

"Just a conversation?"

"Yeah. Like we were just having not one minute ago."

She considered this, then shrugged and relaxed. "Okay, fine."


"What do you want to talk about?"

"You pick."

"I don't know. You go first."

"Fucking hell, Red!" He threw his cigarette aside for want of anything more substantial to throw. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he looked over at her. "Why do you always have to do this?"

She looked surprised. "Do what?"

"Make everything about a billion times more complicated than it has to be!"

Now she looked defensive. "I thought we weren't gonna talk about us!"

"I'm not talking 'bout us, babe. I'm talking about you."

"I don't want to talk about me," she said. "I'd rather talk about you."

Brick sighed. "Right. Fine. What about me, then?"

"How many people do you suppose you've killed?"

Okay. Not what he expected. He looked at her again. "What?"

She didn't sound upset, or disgusted, or terribly put-off. She kept it casual. "I mean, I figure a few every few months from the time you came back is a pretty conservative estimate, but even then that's like ... a whole lotta people."

"Forty-three, give or take. And you're right. It was a lot more than that. Your point?"

"No point. Just ... so many people dead. Because of you." Her face clouded over, and there was something in her voice he couldn't quite make out. "Sometimes I forget that."

Shit. What brought this on? They were getting along too well, he supposed. Starting to make some forward progress, so she had to knock them back a few steps. This time he was determined to keep his footing.

"'Course," he pointed out, "since pairing up with you I've helped avert three nation-wide disasters. Not to mention all the villians I've bagged since then, and last summer playing superhero with the miniature Justice League. So that's billions of lives saved thanks to yours truly. Kinda balances out, don't it?"

Blossom shook her head. "It doesn't work like that."

"No. Because that would be too simple. So, how does it work? Please. Enlighten me."

She sighed. "Are you sorry for the people you killed?"

"Will my being sorry bring them back?"


"Right. Sorry's a waste of time."

"No it's not!" She made a little frustrated groan. "You just don't get it, and I can't explain it to you. But the only reason you're not still killing people is because of me. If you suddenly decided you didn't want to be on the good side anymore…"


She looked at the road straight ahead. "You know what."

"No, I don't. But I guess I don't need to, do I? 'Cause you're so damn sure enough for both of us."

Blossom looked back at him. "Look, I don't believe you'd turn on us. You've come that far, and if there's one good thing I can say about your character it's that you're loyal."

"Oh, thanks ever so."

"But are you telling me you wouldn't sink your fangs into the first non-friend-of-Blossom human you see?"

He stared at her aghast. "Sink my… am I a fuckin vampire to you now Red?" He growled. She glared at him.

Brick considered this, then looked at her. Looked her in the eye. "No. What I'm telling you, Red, is that I don't know what I'd do."

Blossom just looked at him, her bottom lip pouting just a little, her eyes disbelieving but hopeful all at the same time.

He looked back ahead, and sighed. "I tried it once."

"What? When?"

"After that first argument. I was pissed so naturally, I went to relieve my anger."

"You're not exactly disproving my point, here." Did she sound disappointed?

"I found this girl," Brick continued, determined to get the story out. If she was going to judge him, she might as well know it all. "Young. Tender. Alone and scared. I could smell the fear coming off of her from clear across the street." He smiled a little at the memory. "God, it was delicious. So, I cornered her, and tried to convince her to come home with me..." He paused remembering stopping halfway across the road as her face flashed in his minds eye. He remembered shooting off in a flash of read and leaving the girl quaking on the street corner.

Blossom squeezed her eyes shut. "Why are you telling me this?"

"Because I didn't."

"Because you knew we'd find out."

"Right, yes. But also because as much as I wanted to, I also didn't want to."

"Huh?" She looked at him again, confused.

"I had to talk myself into it." He wasn't smiling now. His voice trembled a little, but he pressed on. "Had to remind myself that I'm evil and this was what I was made for. And all the while ... All the while I kept wondering what her family would do when she didn't come home. How they'd feel when they found her dead body. If they'd hurt as much as I did when you -" He glanced at her and cleared his throat.

"But you still tried to," she said quietly.

"Yeh. But aside from the rush, there wasn't any joy in it. Not like there used to be." He glanced at her, and gave her a rueful smile. "So honestly? I haven't a clue what I'd do."

They sat in silence for a few minutes while Blossom processed it all. Then she leaned back against the seat and sighed. "I hope we never have to find out." She looked at him. "For both our sakes."

Brick held her gaze for a moment. "Yeh. Me too. So." He looked back at the road and smiled. "Your turn."

"Who huh?"

"I just shared a secret. Now it's your turn. Spill."

She raised an eyebrow. "What is this, truth or dare?"

He smiled slyly. "It could be."

"In that case, I'll take the dare."

"Ok then. Next car we pass, show 'em your ass."

She gaped at him. "You can't be serious."

"As a heart attack." He pointed up ahead. "Here comes one now. Better get ready."

"You want me to moon somebody?"

"It's that or answer my question."

"Fine. What's your question?"

"Ah, ah, ah. That's not how it works, Babe. You pick first, and you already picked. Better hurry, we're about to pass this car."

Blossom just glared at him.

"'Course, we don't have to play if it's too much for you."

Blossom continued to glare at him, but she started undoing her pants. Brick grinned. "Atta girl."

Brick changed direction and flew up alongside an open-air Jeep. It was full of people, hard to make out in the dark, even under the full moon. Blossom, her eyes still glaring at Brick (he moved away because if she so chose, her looks could kill or in the very least hurt like a bitch),turned her back to the jeep and sticking her rear end out quickly shoved her pants down. Brick faltered in the air as he caught sight of the creamy, smooth flesh in the moonlight. Hoots and hollers came from the Jeep. Blossom closed her eyes. "Oh, God!" She pulled up her pants and streaked off in front of him, hiding her face from the other vehicle. "Go!"

Brick laughed as he sped after her and went around the Jeep. Blossom hazarded a glance back at them, then shook her head. "I can't believe I just did that."

"Neither can I." Brick couldn't stop laughing. "I never thought you'd go through with it. Color me impressed."

"Color me embarrassed," she muttered.

"Oh, relax. Believe me, Babe, your ass is nothing to be ashamed of."

"Thanks, I guess." She pouted. "Maybe next time you can wave your bony white ass at them instead."

Brick glanced behind them, then nodded. "Well, if you insist." He turned back and started undoing his belt buckle.

"What? No! I wasn't serious!" She reached over to slap his hands. "Stop that!"

"Fine!" He gave it up and turned back to resume their leisurely flight. They flew for a moment in silence, then they both burst into laughter.

"So, did you see the looks on their faces?" Blossom asked.

Brick shook his head. "Too dark. Yours was pretty priceless, though."

"God, what if there were kids in the car?"

"Then you probably traumatized them for life. They'll spend years in therapy trying to forget about the blurry bare ass that was inflicted on them. Poor children."

"Shut up." Blossom put a hand over her eyes and shook her head, though a grin remained on her face. "I've never done anything like that before."

"Why doesn't that surprise me?" He smirked at her. "Guess I'm a bad influence on you, Red."

"Yeah." She looked sideways at him, and smiled. "You really are."

His smirk melted into a genuine smile as he held her gaze for a moment. The mood was broken by a set of extraordinarily bright headlights coming up behind them a bit too fast for comfort. The Jeep was right on them, practically ready to run them over.


Blossom turned to look at them. "What do you think they want?"

"Forget we're not in Townsville, babe? No superheroes in this district."

Blossom looked around, then shook her head. They sped up, but the glow of their similarly red streaks didn't aid them in losing the jeep.

Brick rolled his eyes skyward and sighed. "Humans." He snorted derisively. Just as he was about to grab her arm and speed off, the Jeep passed them. "Um, nevermind." He said as she pulled her arm free. It sped past them, then got back in front. "No, on second thought -" The Jeep slammed on its brakes, forcing Brick to grab Blossom again and swerve off of the road, just barely missing them. They fell and skidded to a stop in the sand, ending up about twenty feet from the road, facing the highway. "Brilliant," Brick muttered. He looked over at Blossom. "Are you okay?"

She looked shaken, but unharmed. She nodded, then looked at the Jeep. "Okay, what the hell was that? People have mooned me before, it never made me want to go all Fast and the Furious on them."

"Yeh, well, that's 'cause you're mostly in your right mind," he said as several figures unloaded from the Jeep and started towards them. "Something tells me these fuckers can't say the same. Ok then. If it's a fight they want ..." He looked at Blossom, and grinned. "They picked the right team, didn't they?"

Blossom just looked at him. "I'm not fighting. I'm on enforced holiday, remember?"

"I don't think we have much of a choice, babe."

"Oh, I've got a choice all right. It was your idea to pull that stunt back there. Why should I stop them if they want to kick your ass?"

Brick stared at her. "You know, Red, I can't tell you how comforting it is to know that when I'm down, I've got you to watch my back." He drawled.

Blossom rolled her eyes. "Fine. Let's do this." They did try to run them over after all.

The five shadowy figures formed a semi-circle in front of them, shadowed by the headlights. Blossom stood. Brick followed her lead, brushing his shirt off as he stalked towards the group. He tried to look menacing. She tried to look apologetic. "Hey, look. We were just playing around back there. We really didn't mean to offend -"

"Oh, we weren't offended," a deep voice said. The voice's owner took a step forward, and she could make out a pair of snakeskin boots poking out from beneath leather chaps. The light illuminated his giant belt buckle. "Roy" was engraved across it in big letters. "My posse and I enjoyed the show. Thought we'd catch an encore."

Blossom took a second to glare at Brick. He rolled his eyes and started patting his pockets. Great. He was going to smoke. Again. Was that his answer for everything? "Sorry." She looked back at Roy. "That was an exclusive, one-time engagement. But thanks for your interest."

"Come on, don't be that way," he said. "Showing us a nice piece of white meat like that, you can't let us go away hungry." He stepped all the way into the light, revealing his monstrous features.

"Oh, you've gotta be kidding me," Blossom muttered. She held up her hands. "Look, guys. I'm on vacation. What do you say we all just get back in our cars and forget we ever saw each other?"

"Right. That's gonna happen." Roy grinned as his "posse" moved into the light. They were all dressed similar to Roy, like they'd just come from some kind of monster rodeo. Blossom squinted at their faces, half expecting to see Ace among them.

With a sigh, she slid into fighting position.


She looked at Brick just in time to see a bat flying at her head. She reached up and stopped it in her palm. "Thanks!"

It snapped in her grip and the others all took a step back. Roy's grin faltered, but then it widened. "I've always wanted to take on a Powerpuff girl."

"I'll bet you have," said Brick. He threw a punch that landed square on Roy's nose, knocking him back a couple feet. Roy recovered and spun around, aiming a kick at Brick's midsection. Wonderful. Roy knew how to fight. Well, so did Brick. Blossom decided to leave them to each other for the moment and turned her attention to the other four. She made the decision a split-second too late. One grabbed her from behind, pinning her arms behind her. Two more rushed her, while the fourth hung back and watched the action with a deer-in-headlights look plastered on his face.

Blossom slammed her head into the face of the one holding her. He hollered in pain, but loosened his grip only enough to allow her some maneuverability. As the other two reached her, she kicked her foot up and planted it on one's shoulder. Using it as leverage she swung her other leg up and kicked the second monster in the face. Her momentum carried her up and over Number Three's head. She held on to his arms as she went, and heard his screams of pain mixed with the satisfying pop of his shoulders as she wrenched them out of their sockets. Her feet hit the ground and she was free. She reached down and grabbed Number Three by the hair, yanked him back and into the air. His scream faded as he was hurled some fifty feet behind them then silenced as he landed in the ocean with a splash.

Before she could straighten up, Number Two grabbed her by the arm and flipped her. She landed badly, her left ankle giving out as it hit the ground. Still, she rebounded and brought that foot up, kicking Number One in the side of the head. She yelped as the impact sent pain shooting through her leg and foot. She didn't lose any momentum, though, and finished the spin, bringing her glowing fist home right through Number One's tacky fringed leather vest.

Number Four looked like he was finally working up the nerve to join in. Blossom took a step towards him and stumbled. A pair of arms caught her from behind, then lifted her in the air and body slammed her onto the hood of their jeep, knocking the wind out of her and leaving a sizable hole.


She looked over at Brick just in time to see fear become rage. He stopped screwing around and suped out, really laying into Roy. She just lay there for a second, slightly dazed, watching Brick fight the other vampire from the vantage point of hanging her head backwards off of the jeep. It looked like some kind of upside down ballet. Or professional wrestling match. Roy got him in a headlock. Brick responded by sinking his teeth into Roy's forearm. He elbowed Roy in the gut and broke free, then pulled up a glowing red fist.

Just as it was getting good, Blossom felt a hand tangle in her hair. She looked up into the grinning face of Number Two. He yanked on her hair, dragging her off of the car, but she brought her legs up over her head and locked her knees around the monster's neck. She twisted until she heard bones crack, then flipped him forward. He flew over the car and landed in a heap on the other side, groaning. Blossom sat up and slid off of the car, stretching her sore ankle.

She stood up and looked over at Brick. He was brushing Roy's remains off of his clothes to her annoyance. He started towards her, but stopped when he noticed the remaining chump. Blossom noticed him too. He looked back and forth from her to Brick, then turned around and took off running. Blossom was about to tell Brick to let him go, but he was already hot on the monster's heels. She sighed and went after them.

She made it about fifty yards from the jeep before she decided to just sit down and wait for Brick. Her ankle hurt like a bitch. She could make out the back of his head, short red ponytail waving at her in the moonlight, as he tackled his prey. Then they both disappeared behind a boulder. Blossom sighed, and took in her surroundings. She leaned back on her elbows so she could look up at the stars. Last time she'd seen them shine so bright was when -

She paused. She couldn't remember. Closing her eyes she sighed and fell back, feeling the burn from her pain fade as she healed, feeling the ocean breeze brush over her.

She opened her eyes to see Brick trudging back towards her through the sand. "You get him?"

"Yeh. He, uh ..." He looked back the way he'd come, then looked back at her and shrugged. "He's dead."

"Sounds exciting."

"Oh, it was. You should've seen it." He squinted down at her. "Why didn't you? You okay?"

"Yeah." She took his extended hand and let him pull her to her feet. "Just - ow!" She grimaces as she put too much pressure on her still healing ankle.

"You're hurt."

"Sprained my ankle." She waved a dismissive hand. "It'll be fine."

He looked skeptical. "Can you walk on it?" She nodded, and took a step towards the road to prove it. Pain exploded through her entire lower leg, and she stumbled. Brick caught her before she fell. "I'd call that a 'no'. Here." He wrapped an arm around her waist and bent to put his other arm behind her knees.

Blossom hopped back a step. "What are you doing?"

"What's it look like? I'm gonna carry you to the jeep."

"I don't need you to carry me. I said I'm fine. And we can fly, we don't need the jeep."

Brick sighed, stood up, and held his hands in the air as he backed away from her. "Suit yourself, Babe. You want to limp back, be my guest. And we've been flying all day, gettin' kinda put out myself."

He started ahead of her and she took another step forward. "Aah!" Her ankle buckled and she went down on one knee. "Brick ..."

"That's what I -" He cut himself off as he stooped down and swept her up into his arms.

"Brick -"

"Shut up, Red."

She frowned, and looked towards the jeep. "I was just gonna say thanks," she said as they reached it.

Brick just looked at her. Blossom suddenly became intensely aware of his nearness. Slowly, she turned back to face him. When her eyes locked on his, her heart took off like a jackhammer. She knew he could feel it. She licked her lips and swallowed. It was an unconscious gesture that she became aware of only after the fact. In Brick's arms, her mouth an inch away from his, his shoulders flexing beneath her arm, adrenaline from the fight still coursing through her veins ... it was a very bad place to be.

Actually, it was a very good place to be. Hence the problem.

His eyes drifted down to her mouth. Without thinking, she parted her lips. His ruby eyes met hers again, and without a word, he set her on her feet. With one arm still around her waist to support her, never taking his eyes away from hers, he opened her car door.

"You're welcome," he said softly, then helped her inside and shut the door.