Dexter imagined how much blood he would lose through nosebleeds brought about by staring at Blossom's new outfit too long, calculated it against the average production of replacement red blood cells by the bone marrow and compared them by ratio. To his trepidation, he realised that his marrow wouldn't keep up. Such beauty could kill him. Was this the definition of 'fatal attraction'? When she did her little twirl in front of him, her dress hem rising outward with the centrifugal force produced by her spin, showing off those lissom legs and just begging him to make a move, Dexter nearly choked. He was alone with her, here in his laboratory, deep underneath the school and she had decided to exhibit her pinafore ensemble to him and see if she could get his approval. All he was missing was the giant scorecard with the huge '10' written on it to hold above his head. He felt the blood in his veins pumping hard. He knew he was young. But science brought to him certain knowledges that would have otherwise been learnt much later in his life. With such understanding came certain... wants. He hoped Deedee wasn't watching from above right now. Imagine how ashamed she'd be...
"Dexter, you've gone red!" Blossom noticed, her bow-joined ribbons fluttering beside her like the streamers of a dancer, "Are you...?"
Dexter's grip on the swivel-chair's armrests tightened. He cleared his throat, "Uh, yes yes, it's just... a bit warm in here, that's all."
Blossom blinked. Dexter was like Buttercup, and enjoyed warm temperatures in their rooms. But she could have sworn that the lab was still a few degrees above normal temperature, and it certainly wouldn't have been TOO warm for him. She still had a fair bit to learn about boys, but she could already make a fair few assumptions, "You're not.... blushing, are you?"
With a startled grunt, Dexter spun around, facing the enormous monitor before him, "N-No! Of course not! How can you suggest such a thing?"
'Quite easily...' "I guess you like it, then." she smiled warmly, far warmer than the weather outdoors, which again had receded to a near-frosty chill. Buttercup had been right to take the warm weather of three days ago seriously, because it certainly hadn't lasted.
"Y-yes..." Dexter stammered, feeling his eyelid twitching a little. He knew the girl would only grow more beautiful as she aged. Aged with GRACE! He looked forward to that! "Yes, it is more appeasing."
"Oh..." Blossom popped her head around the back of the chair and rested it on Dexter's shoulder, "I bet it appeases you..." Through science, Dexter had learned much. Through Dexter, so too had Blossom learned. Was this naughty? She didn't care, there was nobody to catch them, "Wait until you see the leotards they dance girls get. I might join them, it could be fun... Would you want me to show that to you as well?" She didn't care if he he said yes or no. All she wanted from him was another reaction.
And she got it. He flinched so hard that it looked as though he were about to jump up to the ceiling, "U-Uh... um..." his fists tightened still, and he cursed himself for thinking in such a way. Bad science! BAD! "I-If you want to..."
Blossom bent right in and whispered in his ear, her lips almost touching it, "I do want to..."
Dexter stiffened, needing to change subject, "RIGHT! I called you here because I need to know how your training with Bell is going, AND..." he pressed a button on the oversized keypad and upon the bloated viewscreen appeared a diagram schematic of two humanoid creatures, each featureless in every respect, rotating around a central axis. "I think I worked out some crucial things about Barasia that you will be able to take advantage of." Upon the screen, the humanoid on the left took shape, growing long and billowing hair and clothing itself in a leisure that did not cover her arms. Two eyes appeared on her face and almost everything that had appeared on her turned a sparkling white. Blossom smiled. Bell! How cute! She wondered if you could play KiSS Doll on this thing and dress her up in different clothes. She imagined Bell in a ballroom gown and her eyes took on a delighted, nearly entranced sparkle.
Then the second humanoid diagram appeared to do the exact same thing as the first, the clothes appearing on it and the hair growing out of its head in identical fashion. But instead of growing long and fluttery like Bell's had, it stopped growing just below the shoulders, the remainder tied back into a bushy ponytail. Two long tendrils extended from her forehead, one curling downward like a talon, the other snaking backward into a scythe shape. Its eyes and dress and hair all became a midnight-black. Blossom's sparkle disappeared as she remembered every single connotation linked with that girl right there. Even though it was just a projection of her, those void-like eyes seemed to stare right at her, right through her, and Blossom couldn't help but stare back. They were somehow more haunting than the hollow and glassy gaze Bell had. Something about those eyes scared her. It seemed that everywhere those raven orbs gazed, moments later death would follow. "Anything you have, Dex.... anything that can help stop that monster..." she sounded fearful. Dexter thought it was cute, "Please tell us..."
"I think I have a few things for you. I wish Bell was here, though. She'd be able to remember all my drivel without a problem, but if you forget something, I suppose it can't be helped."
"Are you saying that I'd find you boring?"
Dexter sighed, "Everyone else does."
"And..." she slid down next to him, looking him in the eye. She loved how the red of his cheeks combined with the red of his hair, "And... are you saying that I'm just like everyone else?"
Dexter stared into her magenta eyes as they stared right back. He didn't want her to blink. He wanted to see them for as long as possible. Amidst the strange feelings engulfing him, he whispered to her, "Not at all..."
Blossom tapped him on the nose, making him blink, "So, tell me what you know. I'll do my best to remember what you say. When it's something so important, it's quite easy for me to remember it." she grinned at him, further boosting his confidence in her.
Dexter called over his shoulder, "Computer! Armchair!"
With a whooshing SHUNK noise, a floor panel behind Blossom slid open and she was scooped into the cushiony embrace of a padded guest armchair which bounced her around slightly as it rose into place, the girl squealing in both enjoyment and slight fear, tucking her legs in to her chest defensively as if she were about to be thrown off it again. Dexter snuck in a quick sidewards glance, hoping as all boys did to catch a quick view of that special place when the perfect moment came. Unfortunately for him, her legs were a bit too strategically placed to allow for his goal to be visible. He cursed under his breath. Still, those grey leggings were quite wondrous in themselves, acting in the same way the school-regulation swimwear for girls did in framing that part of the body and aplifying the beautiful curves. With those leggings on, her legs looked like they had been carefully chiselled out of stone. He was happy with the view he had already. When she giggled and relaxed herself into the comfort of Swedish-imported leather-padded luxury, he continued, pressing another button on the gadget in front of him. He considered building a means of access to this place leading to Blossom's house. That way they could just drop on by without going the long way around, coming to the school on holidays and weekends to do 'extended revision' and getting past the no-doubt suspicious librarian. On the screen in front of them, Bell's diagram disappeared off one side of the screen, leaving Barasia there on her own.
"Bye bye Bell..." Blossom giggled. Dexter found her amusement in such things quite enjoyable to witness.
"Now then... um..." as Barasia's blueprint swelled to take up the entire screen her exterior image disappeared, leaving just her outline. Then, to Blossom's amazement, what took its place was an infinitely-complex array of devices and layouts of cable, metal and other features strewn together around and inside a silver frame that resembled a human skeleton. Blossom's face paled a little bit as she saw how unrecogniseable Barasia's innards were. THAT was what was inside her? And Bell too? She shivered involuntarily. Only Dexter would find beauty in such sights. "As you may know... Bell has a block of solid chemical X inside her, right?"
Blossom was unable to tear her eyes away from Barasia's ghastly representation, "Y-Yes..."
"Barasia doesn't have that inside her. Apparently, it was taken out of her when she was retrofitted. I'm going by what Bell knew at the time of the information download, by the way, so anything that has happened between then and now can't be examined. So... if she has a new weapon or... a new implant or something, we won't know about it." Dexter sounded a little perturbed. "Anyway... the box inside Bell allows her to perform the same sort of energy attacks that you are able to do, right?"
"Yep!" Blossom beamed. Bell was more and more like a sister every day.
"The thing about Barasia is... the energies she fires from herself are of a different type to the X-based energies launched by yourself and Bell. Therefore..." his grin was mischievious, "they are incompatible."
Blossom tilted her head, not comprehending what Dexter was implying, "Um.... s-so what?"
Dexter leaned forward, looking over the rims of his glasses at her. Everything beyond about two feet in front of him became a blurr without his glasses, but even in blurriness there was a beauty about the sight of Blossom that Dexter could not avoid noticing. "What was it you told me the other day? Something about... you and Bell, uh... combining your powers?"
Blossom pondered for a moment. She had told him a fair bit recently, mostly over the phone when she could. Of course, if she stayed on the phone to him for any length of time beyond 10 minutes and it became less than a casual chat and more of a suspicious get-together, according to Buttercup, who went to any lengths to pursue the matter the moment Blossom hung up the phone until the three girls were in bet. Buttercup called it "Blossom's Phone Fun" and rubbed it in every chance she had. It was no secret that Blossom and Dexter were fond of each other (at least to the Utonium family it wasn't) but outside of that, it was preferred by both herself and Dexter that such a subject remain under tight wraps. Thus, if Buttercup's teasing got to the point at which she was willing to spread the news to anyone in their class who had even the slightest glint of interest in such a thing, it could get quite out of hand very quickly. Blossom could not think of a worse way for a relationship like theirs to end than a forced-break up due to intense and furious embarassment. Her mind quickly switching back to the subject at hand, she recalled the point of conversation Dexter was referring to, "Yeah, we swap energies sometimes. Kinda just a sharing thing, but I transfer some of my energy to her and it turns white. Looks rather cool. I suppose it's just in case one of us is a bit low of power, so the other just donates a bit of theirs."
Dexter was grinning, hearing exactly what he wanted to hear, "And doesn't it seem weird that your powers can go straight into the body of a machine without causing any sort of problem?"
"That's the thing about the Chemical X box." He tilted his head, "X-Box.... heh, funny... anyway, the idea behind that, Blossom, is that the energy is allowed into Bell's body and into the box where it is converted and stored. Otherwise the whole swapping thing wouldn't work, you understand?" he asked. He hoped she did, because he wouldn't be stopping for question time, "Your energies both have Chemical X at its basis, therefore they're able to interact with each other. That's also part of the reason Bell and her series of designs are so powerful."
"Well, the other part is that this Cranston guy who made them knocked up some absolutely incredible power generators. It's like his knowledge of micro-circuitry and robotics was... unnatural!" Dexter explained. "That's also what sets Bell apart from Barasia. Because Barasia hasn't got one of those boxes inside her, she won't be able to properly absorb Chemical X energy if she had the choice."
"Why would she WANT to absorb it, though?" asked a perplexed Blossom, trying her best to keep up.
Dexter smiled as if anticipating such a question. He tapped yet another button and the image changed again, highlighting several sections of Barasia's body, "See these?" he asked. Blossom nodded. "These are energy exertion points. The most prominent are on the hands, the fingers, the eyes, the chest and the stomach. Bell and Barasia were designed to be able to unleash their stored reserves through these main points, but the most commonly used points are the hands, as would be the case with yourself, yeah?" Dexter remembered that amazing magenta flash that Blossom had unleashed at him on their first day at school together, and how that brilliance had ripped up the ground mercilessly. He wanted to see that again sometime, "The thing about these points is that they are also intakes of particle energy, kinda like solar panels. The Shadowpuffs, as I think they're being called now, were designed to last as long as possible in combat and take as much damage as they could whilst staying functional. The design of these absorbance buffers," the little segments were still flashing in case anyone had been so blind as to not notice them by now, "allows the body of the gynoid to absorb, store or convert some of the energy that strikes it into its own source of power. But therein lies the problem." he winked, finger raised before him lecturingly.
Blossom was amazed that she understood as much as she did, but she still reckoned it best to leave such extensive knowledge largely up to Dexter, "What is it?'
"As I said, if the two girls both possessed the box of X inside them, they'd be able to almost harmlessly trade blows with each other, since their bodies are built tough to start with and the energy would be absorbed and converted. But because we have two different types of particle energy going on here, Barasia could absorb what Bell threw at her, but be unable to do anything constructive with it."
"So... what would happen then?
Dexter leaned back in his armchair. This was where the theoretical side of things kicked in, "Well... there's no telling for sure. But since her power systems lead straight to that brain of hers, I'd say she would be in for an incredible headache. It might be what you need to slow her down."
Blossom sighed. A weakness, yes. A deathblow, no. They'd still need some sort of brute-force miracle. "Alright... I'll let Bell know that. What else do you have?"
Dexter had told Blossom to expect to be with him a while as he explained things, and she had no trouble accepting such appealing terms. He launched into a series of explanations, discussions and demonstrations about Barasia's various tactical features, each difficult to comprehend in their own right. Kids their age would normally have so much as looked at a diagram of what was being represented on the monitor just now, remarking at its absurd complexity, before running off somewhere else to play. Humanity didn't even know this killer machine even existed. That was the ticket to keeping things in order, really. When the world was in the crosshairs of an intergalactic weapon so terrifying that it could annihilate the entire human race with so much as the push of a button or the firing of a single weapon, it served the best interests of the heroes if the humans simply did not know it was happening. For as long as Blossom could remember she had always pondered at the possibilities of life had she been born a normal child with a normal family with normal parents, normal sisters and normal heritage. Compared to how she lived now, there would have definitely been much less action, excitement and popularity. But at the same time, she would know no such stress. She would know no perils and no dangers. And she would not know the utter anguish at watching someone so close to her heart be murdered before her eyes. She had no chance to change who she was, and while she did, at times, envy that one little girl out there in the world who was living the life that she instead should have been living, Blossom knew her goal in the world was to protect those lives. So fragile. So innocent. So vulnerable. Besides, if she didn't confront Barasia, who would?
Blossom found herself staring at different parts of Barasia's body, mainly the gynoid's arms, as Dexter continued to explain the purpose and layout of the various weapons he had discovered within her tiny frame. Many of them Blossom recognised. There were those twin pop-out cannons designed to drill holes in things faster than an industrial borer that would otherwise be hidden neatly within her forearms. Whoever had built Barasia this way had not wasted any space! Those golden quickfire bullets would go right through human flesh and, if they had the chance, through Powerpuff flesh as well. This data was not recent, so Blossom sorely hoped that somehow, by some miracle, these weapons were no longer a threat. But they weren't the only things she had to worry about. If Barasia was still alive, then no miracle would keep Blossom and her sisters from danger. There would come a time when they would not be safe, and every passing second brought them closer to death or victory. She shivered just thinking about it. She paid particular attention as Dexter went over the schematics for the weapon that Blossom had seen on numerous occasions firing from Barasia's finger. She remembered that horrible screeching sound that accompanied the electric-green light that shot from the black-clad superweapon and although she couldn't quite remember when it had happened, it seemed to Blossom as though she knew the effects of the weapon with frightening familiarity, as though she had witnessed a victim suffering its effects right before her eyes as she held them in her arms. But that had never happened. If it had, she would have never recovered from such a gruesome sight. The power packs for the weapon were buried in the girl's forearm, under the cannon that would pop out and try and deal its own bit of damage. Breannin had broken this part during that fateful fight, and the weapon had bled out. If that could happen again, then the most lethal device in Barasia's arsenal would be out of play. But as Dexter had warned her, things could have easily changed in the few weeks since their last encounter. For all they knew, Barasia had a newer, stronger tool of demolition with which to cause unprecedented carnage.
Eventually they reached the last of Dexter's little presentations, Barasia's particle shield. By the look of it, this was one hardpoint she would not leave home without. It had saved her on countless occasions now and it was the one thing about Barasia that annoyed Blossom more than anything else. Every time the girls threw something potentially damaging at Barasia, that stupid shield was ALWAYS there to stop it working. The emitters for the shield were in the bottom of her wrists and could be called upon in an instant to throw that wall of defensive energy about her body like a cocoon of safety. Three Puffs together wasn't enough to even dent that shield but according to Dexter, a constant battering without giving it the chance to shut off and recharge would wear it down enough to break through. Whilst it sounded simple in theory, Dexter had no idea about the constant drain on the girls' bodies when it came to exerting their powerful attacks. Perhaps by utilising a take-turns basis in which one girl unleashed a torrent of their strongest attacks at Barasia's shield, causing it maximum wear, before the second sister moved in to take their place and raise hell themselves and move onto the next, so on and so forth, they might be able to break through. And yet, that was only if Barasia would allow them to constantly hit her. The black-eyed gynoid's phenomenal agility tended to work against them.
"-pinpoint strike on the shield may cause it to fracture." Dexter finished saying. He seemed every bit as exhausted from explaining as Blossom did from listening. He sat back in his armchair and sighed, "And THAT... is about all I can tell you based on what Bell gave us. She could have voluntarily withheld information, though. She can tend to be... somewhat secretive. Particularly about Breannin."
"That's her right, I guess..." Blossom felt her own will to get up and about slipping away. She just wanted to lounge about in this chair some more, "Any idea when she might be coming? Barasia, that is."
Dexter rested his elbows on the armrests and placed his fingers together in a pondering stance, crossing one leg over the other in a professional manner, "I have my extrasolar scanners set on maximum breadth but even then, it only picks up to about 1500 lightyears away from the planet. In a ship similar to the one she had last time, she could cross into the scanner's range and be in Earth orbit within a day. The moment I see something, I'll inform you." he smiled in his reassuring fashion and Blossom had no reason whatsoever to doubt him.
Blossom looked up at the representation of their great foe, who had once again donned her proper external appearance and was currently going through several animations and movements displaying her agility. She looked rather graceful ducking and weaving, and the black and white of her outfit really contrasted, bringing out the colour of her slightly pale skin and hairclips. She was pretty. Very pretty. It was just a shame that beauty hid what she truly was. "Look at her... on the outside she is so much like us..."
Dexter was smiling and nodding, "And on the inside, she is a brilliant example of advanced engineering! Multi-core central processor, micro-conduits simulating the nervous system, pneumatic joints with duct-oil lubrication systems and a positronic neural matrix! All encased within an aesthetically-perfect outer shell with synthetic fibrous hair and those deep dark eyes.... she may be evil but..." he looked as though he was experiencing his most heartfelt dream, "She's just so cute..."
Blossom blinked, taken aback by what the boy genius had just said and the way in which he said it, "You think... that she is cute?"
Dexter blinked, eyes widening in realisation, "AH! Uh... uh..." he panicked, realising he could have said something rather wrong. "W-What I need is.... from a scientific perspective.... um... well, SCIENTIFICALLY, she's cute, and..."
Blossom was confused, "There's a 'scientific' cute?"
Dexter was frantic, "No! Well, yes, but at the same time it's difficult to distinguish in some cases because of the perspective you may choose to adopt and since in this case I went for an almost-" he was talking quickly and barely taking breaths, trying to cover for himself but only making his panic worse, "-and then you gotta remember that I always see it from that perspective since I am completely-"
Blossom interrupted, keen to know, "Am I scientifically cute?"
"Are you- Yes! Of course yes! You and your sisters, made out of that Chemical X stuff and turned into something so fantastic, so complex, so... so so so..." his eyes lit up and he leaned forward, beaming into her face, "so ALIVE! And the way you act in every respect like a normal person and yet deep down it's clear to everyone that you are beyond normal! BETTER than normal! You're like the forebearers to a new era in humanity, Blossom! That's not just scientifically cute, it's... it's..." Blossom was blushing, "it's scientifically beautiful!"
The boy nodded, his cheeks redder than his hair and sweat forming on his brow, "Would... would I lie to you?" his heart was going a mile a minute, but he felt he had said the right thing.
Blossom's eyes narrowed a bit, "Cuter than Barasia?"
Dexter blurted the first thing that came to mind, "GOD YES!"
Blossom grinned, content, "Good."
Dexter breathed a sigh of relief and wiped his forehead, "And... yeah, that's it, really. Wish I could examine Bell's brain files a bit more. Maybe we'd learn something else."
Blossom shifted her position a little, and as she did she noticed Dexter's eyes flit away from her own and instead direct their gaze toward her legs. Or, more specifically, between them. She felt her own cheeks flare up a little, and his were already red. Despite normally feeling a bit insecure about being looked at in such a way, as most girls tended to be (Buttercup a bit too much), she couldn't help but feel a bit amused by him. He was so cute, and all he really wanted was to have some fun and maybe make another little scientific 'discovery'. He would have to earn it, though. She couldn't believe she was thinking that way. They were both so young and they shouldn't even be thinking about these sorts of things. But they were here, alone, in Dexter's subterranean laboratory where nobody could else could find them. What others didn't know wouldn't hurt them. A mischievious smile worked its way onto her face as Dexter looked back up at Barasia, wistfully. A cheeky question crawled into her mind and she fell to temptation. She batted her eyelids and leaned forward a little, "Dexter... do you want to examine me instead?"
Dexter shrugged, "Well, if it gives me more information, then I-" he whirled, "WHAAAAA?"
Blossom got off her chair and, grabbing Dexter's glove, pulled him out of his, "You know... down here... it's a bit cold..." Dexter was a little bit taller than Blossom but her huge bow poked up another half-a-head higher than his.
Dexter was still red. Blossom could feel the heat radiating off his cheeks, "Hehe... yeah it is, kinda..." he couldn't believe that this was happening. He saw her full beauty filling his vision. If only... if only it was always like this. Her pinafore looked beautiful on her. But something in the back of his head wanted it... out of the way. He knew a way to make that happen and he muttered something without thinking, "Nano..."
Blossom tilted her head, "Hmm?"
Dexter's voice was just above a whisper. He didn't even flinch this time, "N... Nothing..."
Blossom surprised him by bringing her hands to his own, squeezing them a little before working up his arms gently, rubbing the soft white labcoat and deeply wishing he was not wearing it. His own skin would feel so much better. She reached his shoulders and her touch sent shivers through Dexter's body. Every second was adding fuel to the fire that burned within him. He so desperately wanted to take the little wondergirl into his arms and forget about the outside world, about their worries and everything except themselves. Her hands rubbed his neck and he couldn't help but give a small moan in response. Her fingers found his ginger hair and threaded their way through it, making it even more scruffy than it even was. All that time, she hadn't taken her eyes off his. But there was one thing in the way of direct eye contact and when her hands reached his ears, the boy moaning again - a noise so cute that Blossom wanted him to do it again - she slipped the support arms of the glasses off his ears and gently lowered his glasses away from his face. He blinked a little. His eyes were the same colour as Bubbles'. The first time she had seen them, she hadn't wanted to give his glasses back. She could so easily get lost in that stare, "Dex... can't you get contact lenses?"
"I was told I couldn't... had to stick with glasses. Doctor's orders..."
Blossom sighed. His glasses always got in the way, "Well..." she put her hands on his chest and looked up into those eyes, pressing herself against him, "You should try.... some of my medicine..." she leaned in even closer. Dexter's vision was incredibly poor without his glasses to assist, yet he knew exactly what he was looking at. Blossom casually dropped his glasses onto the chair she had been sitting on behind her. This was their moment. It didn't matter that they were young. Once you learned about it, the logical next step... was to explore.
"Ssshh...." Blossom whispered, "Don't talk... n-not yet..." her lips came up to his. He could feel his gentle breaths and his body was tingling. She closed her eyes at the last moment, wanting to see his beautiful gaze. Nothing could spoil such a perfect moment. Dexter brought his hands around her and pulled her against him. She wanted to hear his pleasurable moans again. As her eyes drifted shut, the last thing she saw was him. The only thing she ever wanted to see was him.
Their lips brushed against each other.
An instant later, a blaring alarm forced them apart.
Dexter cursed under his breath, pushing away from Blossom and landing back in his chair before realising that before he could do anything to address the sudden loud warning, he'd need his glasses. Blossom, remembering this and thankful that she did before she had the chance to sit upon them, scooped up his glasses and handed them to him. Blossom sat back down as Dexter turned to his console. The orange/brown haired nymphet sighed and stared down at the floor, "Always something.... just waiting to break us apart."
Dexter blew air out between his lips, astounded at how fast his heart was racing, "Uh... I can't seem to find the proble- COMPUTER SHUT THAT NOISE OFF!" the noise obediently ceased but instead a flashing red light came on, indicating that the warning was still present. Dexter's fingers danced across the keyboard, calling up various displays and readouts but nothing answered the question, "Computer, do we have an intruder in the lab?"
"Negative." came the voice. A calm, sensual female voice. Blossom blinked.
"What is the cause of the disturbance, computer!?" frantic Dexter demanded.
"Perimeter alert!" Computer replied instantly.
"Then where is the intruder!? You just said there wasn't one!"
"Preliminary scans detecting solid object."
Dexter whirled, confused at his computer's jumbled responses. Had someone gotten into his lab unannounced? Uninvited? If so, why was the computer saying no such thing had occurred? "Range to intruder!" he called. Blossom could do nothing but watch.
"One thousand, four hundred ninety-four lightyears!"
Dexter froze. "Franklin's wig...!" he turned back to the display monitor, "Uh... full-range scope, computer..."
Blossom had no idea what was going on but from the tone of Dexter's voice suggested something terrible. As the boy sat down she hoped it wasn't as bad as he was making it out to be. They were having such a beautiful moment together... alone. Then this. This... 'perimeter alert'. She didn't want it to be something bad. Something that couldn't be left until later. She wanted to see his eyes again. Her body was still tingling, but it was quickly starting to shake with not sensitivity but with anxiety. The way Dexter rushed around the moment he heard the computer's voice telling him the distance.... in lightyears.... Blossom's face paled. Of all the things... that could ruin such a perfect moment.... it couldn't be her... no... not her! Blossom felt a shiver shoot down her spine. No.... no....
Upon his screen came the large round radar view, a tiny white dot in the centre with the letters 'E A R T H' underneath it. Every few seconds, a narrow ring of some sort pulsed out of the tiny white dot and spread itself out across the width of the map. Several features were highlighted, including a strange pink/purple splotch labelled 'Pillars of Creation/Eagle Nebula'. As the expanding ring reached a point toward the edge of the radar-like screen, a blip appeared, complete with a pinging noise, little numbers attached to it, gradually counting down. This thing measured out to 1500 lightyears, right? Blossom didn't know how far that was, exactly. Further than here to Japan? Here to Japan was FAR! But the numbers were counting down quite quickly. Whatever that thing was, it was fast...
"Damn, that thing doesn't produce a match with the kind of ship that Barasia came on last time. It's heading right for Earth but... it mightn't even be her... I mean... the Intergalactic Trade Consortium sends ships out here every now and then on observation trips... and who knows? Could just be a ship of the Speckled Reich straying out too far..." He tried to convince himself that this was nothing to worry about. Something stabbed him in the gut every time he even opened his mouth. To deny the obvious... to deny logic... went against his common practices. Besides, there was an easy way to confirm it: composition match. Despite his grave fears, there was the slightest chance that indeed, it was NOT what he thought it to be. It was already moving too fast to be one of those enormous Rhinoclaw battlecruisers that sometimes popped into range, and the Reich's ships were made of a complex molybdenum conglomerate compound that set it apart from other types of vessels. Dexter already knew what to compare the intruder to: the ship that had been here before it. If there was a match... then hell would break loose VERY soon. "Computer... run vessel material composition analysis against all know specimens in the database. Alert me when a match is found."
"Affirmitive. Beginning comparison." the computer kindly chirped.
Dexter glanced at Blossom, "I... I'm sorry..."
"For.... heh..." his cheeks went red again, "for not taking you someplace without a computer to interrupt us. We were.... so close, weren't we..."
"Y-Yeah..." Blossom gulped and nodded. She felt uncomfortable looking back on it. Doing it at the time was heavenly, but remembering their interrupted moment was rather awkward. The computer was still scanning. She crossed her fingers. No match... no match... please, no match...
"Maybe something's trying to tell us that it's too early... it's not the first time something managed to split us apart when we were close." Dexter chuckled, more of an observation than a valid point. He doubted things would improve in future, either. As they got older, suspicion about their relationship would only continue to increase. That is... if they HAD a future. As if struck by a premonition of the future, a sinking feeling came over Dexter about what the intruder was, a thought that the computer, only seconds later, willingly confirmed for him.
It beeped loudly and declared, "Hull composition produces match with duro-titanium structure of Liberty Battleship Yukon. Incoming vessel appears to be cruiser variant of smaller size but increased speed output. Estimated time of arrival: One day, four hours, twenty-six minutes, fourteen seconds." a second beep and then the computer fell silent, replacing the image on the screen with a zoomed-in version of the radar map, showing the blip and its rapid transit toward their vulnerable, primitive little world. So many civilisations out there, and this one ship, from that one faraway planet, had decided to make the trip here. Watching the oncoming ship on the screen was like watching a countdown to armageddon. Knowing what the ship's occupant was bringing... almost made it sound that way too.
"The Yukon..." Dexter muttered. His head fell, "Matriarch..." it wouldn't sink in for a little while, he knew. No bad news was ever quick. Even watching his own sister die, the nightmare it had been, had taken almost a week to come to terms with. Every morning after, it seemed, he woke up and expected his sister to terrorise him in his laboratory. But it never happened. And then that time that Blossom was captured and he received the note from his sworn archrival. He read it five times, at least, and every time he looked away from it, it seemed as though it hadn't been there. He almost lost her that time. By some miracle, she had not drowned in Mandark's tank of water torture. In the end, both had escaped with their lives. But one day, they might not be as lucky. He looked up at the screen again, the sinking feeling gradually getting worse. That tragic day might be one day, four hours, twenty-six minutes from now. His thoughts were broken as he heard a light sob, followed by a series of tiny sniffles. He turned to see Blossom, the most precious person in his life, reduced to tears and covering her face with her hands. Not the face... anything but that pretty face. That was the one bit of her he loved seeing over anything else. "Blossom... Blossom, babe, what's wrong?" 'Babe...? Did I just call her...?'
Blossom sniffled, her eyes peeking between her fingers. She didn't want to be seen crying. She was a leader. A big sister of sorts to Bubbles and Buttercup. And to cry in front of a boy just because she was afraid... what was she doing? "Oh Dexter.... I... I can't do it! Not yet! Not now!" she sobbed. "It's her... she'll be here soon..." something stabbed at her gut and she was reminded of that terrible overhead explosion, the one that tore Breannin's angelic body to pieces, "I'm.... n-not ready!"
Dexter stepped toward her, "But you've been training and growing stronger and stronger! And I told you some strategies to help you on your way! Surely this gives you some confidence?"
Blossom wiped her eyes, her cheeks flushed, "Y-Yeah... I guess so, but... I suppose I haven't come to terms with it... I mean, I gotta get myself pumped up for this."
He drew her into a hug, "Is there any way I can sufficiently pump you?" he blinked, their heads on each other's shoulders, "Er, I mean... get you pumped? Ah! Pump..." 'Oh my gooood....' he mouthed, cringing.
Blossom smiled, her breathing shaky. Every time she inhaled she quivered in his strong, labcoated arms, "This... works very well..."
Instinctively, almost absent-mindedly, Dexter's fingers began to rub Blossom's back up and down, tracing her spine. He felt her shiver a little more, her breath coming in a hiss between clenched teeth. Believing such an action to be harming rather than helping, Dexter ceased moving his hands. "S-Sorry..."
Blossom instead pressed harder against him, sighing, "N-No... keep going..." she scrunched his labcoat with her hands, not wanting to be let go.
Dexter's hands dutifully returned to their work and again Blossom started to quiver a little. She felt like a homeless kitten in his arms, shivering from the cold as if abandoned on a street for the night and rescued from certain freezing death. The smell of her hair was intoxicating. He couldn't believe his luck. Him, of all people, meeting a person like Blossom... he knew he had landed himself one extremely cute kid. Before thinking it through properly, Dexter asked a question as his fingers continued to stroke her back and hair, "Blossom... do you like this?"
The little girl whispered, "Your fingers... they are magic..."
Dexter grinned, "Oh Blossom... that makes me happy."
Blossom whispered, "When it's like this... it's as if Barasia... all fear... all problems... the whole world seems to fade away." She sniffled again. She hadn't stopped crying after all. Dexter's heart sank. Her happiness was his happiness. Without it, both felt glum. "I just got a weird feeling that I am gonna lose you soon... in some sort of tragic way which I can't do anything to prevent..."
Dexter wanted to kiss her forehead but he refrained. She mightn't have wanted it. So he continued to rub the soft nylon of her pinafore as he muttered to her, "Nonsense Bloss... we'll be friends forever."
Blossom looked up at him, "Dex... I haven't said this before but you're the nicest friend I ever knew... if I lost you... I'd have nothing to fight for..."
"Don't be silly..." he told her. Blossom wanted to remove his glasses but she resisted. He may not have desired it. So she continued to clutch onto him as his gentle voice spoke into her ear, filling her with a warmth that no amount of thick wooly clothes could provide, "You're a superhero and you fight for everyone, not just me. But... I don't know anyone who cares about me as much as you do... if you did lose me, I know you would have done your best for me... and as long as you did that, then I'd be happy." He squeezed her a little tighter, which prompted the tiniest little squeak of surprise. Or was it delight? He whispered, "If I lost you... I wouldn't want to have to wait before I see you again..."
Blossom blinked, "You... do you believe in that sort of thing?"
Dexter sighed, "Not really... but..." he shrugged slightly, "better to be ignorant and optimistic than realistic and hopeless."
Blossom squeezed him in return. A light gasp came from his lips, but she wasn't sure if he was surprised or just compressed a little tight. Either way, she loved that sound so much, "You never know... maybe there is something after death that we can look forward to..."
Dexter didn't reply for a moment and the two remained locked in a reassuring embrace. Dexter felt a warmth flowing through him like none other, as if walls of a damn deep within him had just breached and allowed his blood to surge through him with a new intensity. Once upon a time, he would have not known what to do at all with a girl. Now... now he had something of an idea. He blinked all of a sudden and looked down at her, "Why are we talking about death at a time like this?"
Blossom only closed her eyes and rested her head next to his, "No idea..."
"We'd... better tell the others then..." Dexter glanced back at the screen and the ever-nearer foreign object inbound to their precious planet.
Blossom whimpered, "No..." she squeezed him tighter, making him gasp for air just a little, "Just a little longer..."
He smiled, wrapping his arms around her. Her softness was like a magnet, bringing his embrace around her and trying to take as much of her in as possible. Dexter pondered the likelihood of developing an addiction to it. Would that be unhealthy? When she felt his arms wrap around her again, she pressed her head against his shoulder and sniffled a little, still frightened about what inevitably would come soon. His hands kept stroking her hair and her spine, making her involuntarily shiver. She was too upset to attempt what they had tried earlier. But indeed her softness was overwhelming him and like all addictions, he wanted more. He gently slid his hands downward, caressing her lower back and enticing a cute little moan of some sort from her. Then his hands were at her waist, massaging her sides. Then he took a bolder move. He did not look, but let his hands do the work. Within moments, they gently placed themselves over her small backside. At first, she said nothing. Dexter thought he was home free, and he smiled, his cheeks going red. She was truly the most beautiful creature on this crazy, mysterious planet.
But the moment he moved his hands again, albeit only slightly, Blossom's eyes snapped open, her face went beet-red and she let out a piercing scream, "KYAAAA! NOT THERE!" her arm snapped up without her thinking, aiming right for his cheek.
Dexter staggered backward, their embrace broken and his eyes wide. "Ah.....aaahhhh.... AAAAAAGHHH!" he cried out, bringing his hands to his cheek and doubling over slightly. Blossom rushed up to him and at first it seemed as though she were about to check on him.
But instead she whispered into his ear, "Not there..." her face was furiously red, "Not yet..."
Dexter looked up. The shy redness on his cheeks had faded but the left side of his face blazed with a massive patch of soreness that throbbed with his heartbeat and sent pangs of pain across it. "W...What was that for!?"
Blossom looked a little shocked, "I.... I'm sorry, I didn't mean.... are you ok?"
Dexter stood upright again, his hand against his cheek, "You could shatter bones with those slaps!"
Blossom brought her hands to her mouth in quiet shock, "I'm so sorry... but you... you TOUCHED me!"
"I thought we were a bit beyond needing to ask permission!" Dexter growled, rather agitated and unaware that his comments could hurt Blossom more than any of her disfiguring slaps. "Geez, that's gonna sting for a week..."
Blossom narrowed her eyes a little, "I'm sorry, ok? Just... you surprised me."
"You SLAPPED me!"
"Just..." Dexter sighed, "I'm sorry, too, alright? I got... carried away. And I paid for it real good, too. Computer, outside surveillance! Entry cam! Ow... it's probably bright red, too... people are gonna ask questions..."
Blossom felt her heart sink. Involuntarily, she had ruined what could have been their only remaining chance at a perfect moment. It wasn't his fault. He was curious and no doubt enjoying himself. She just... hadn't been ready for him to venture there. At least he hadn't decided to go elsewhere. She truly loved him but she doubted that she herself was ready for what he might have had in mind. If her sisters ever found out... she didn't want to know what they would think of all this. The screen with the radar, which was ticking down blindingly fast (One day, four hours away...), snapped to a different image. This one Blossom recognised from the rather unmistakable array of bookshelves with the little lists stuck on them explaining the contents of each row. The books were mostly all the same teal colour, and the emblem of Megaville Elementary School was posted underneath. It was the school library - specifically, seen from just above the entrance to Dexter's laboratory. It was a security camera! Blossom understood now. He had to be sure that nobody could unearth his secret, so he used this camera to ensure the coast was clear. There wouldn't be much trouble anyway today, since it was a weekend and only remedial students and the teachers themselves came to school today. By the look of the image feed, the coast was clear.
Dexter was still grumbling, straightening his glasses, "Nyeh... not much of a romantic place anyway... full of... precious experiments... battle suits... secret technology... and a stupid monkey." he rubbed his cheek again, hissing through clenched teeth. He had sorta deserved that hit. He just hoped that it wouldn't get all swollen or something. He was a man of science, but he didn't specialise in biology, so he had no idea if the cellular durability of his cheeks would have withstood such an attack. Then again, what sort of branch of biology dealt with superhuman slaps?? "I'm gonna look like Elephant Man... I just know it..." he grumbled, still annoyed at his own hastiness. He was sure he had some sort of dermal repair device lying around this place somewhere. He wasn't mad at Blossom, he was upset at himself and his own lack of appreciation for Blossom's comfort zone. Now he wore the mark across his face to prove it. He probably had some sort of anti-inflamatory agent left over from when he used to experiment on a weird variety of exotic creatures and accidentally altered their sizes. Deedee thought it was cool, but he had begged to differ. Better not to risk it. He didn't want to shrink half his head, and it probably wasn't that bad after all. The stinging pain was replaced with a dull throbbing ache that he knew would take MUCH longer to go away. The product of his hastiness. At least he had learned a lesson. "Coast is clear, Blossom. Get home and get ready, I guess."
Blossom was still whimpering a little, "Today, of all days... I'm not ready, Dex!"
Dexter was rubbing his cheek, staring down at some of his written notes on a nearby table, "Sure you are."
Blossom clenched her fists, "I'm NOT! I... I'm scared, Dex."
Dexter looked up. His cheek had definitely gained a flushed appearance, "We'll do this the same way we did with her last ship.You got me, too. Nothing to worry about."
Blossom's lower lip quivered, "I'd be... nowhere without you."
Dexter glanced away, his cheek going even redder but not because of the slap, "B-Blossom, that's not true. You were 'somewhere' even before you met me. I'm still embarrassed about what we did on our first day together."
Blossom giggled, "We tore up the schoolyard..."
"And then that monster appeared..."
Blossom giggled again, "Yeah... hard to think that it's been three-quarters of a year since then..."
"We came a long way, huh?" Dexter murmured, not looking up at his security footage just as someone entered the camera feed's image. "Don't let Barasia stop you."
"I... I won't." There wasn't the tiniest bit of confidence in her voice, the pink puff clearly not believing her own words. "I'm just.... scared... of what might happen."
Dexter understood perfectly well that Blossom was not afraid of herself being killed, but of losing her sisters. Since her time-travel experience with Otto, she had gained new understanding about just how close loved ones were meant to be, as well as the pain one goes through when they lose them. When she had confessed to Dexter about what she had seen, Dexter relented that up until Deedee's death, the strong bonds of brother/sister love had gone almost ignored all that time. All she ever did was play with ponies, go out with her friends and trash his laboratory. Who could love a person like that? Dexter always had, but never realised it. But how could he even come close to the sheer trepidation Blossom must be feeling right now, given that she understood such feelings of love toward her sisters, and Bell as well? Even losing one of them would have crippled her spirit so severely that she might not be able to continue doing what she pledged her life to. But she couldn't let that fear hold her back, even if it was justified. She had to fight. She had to make a difference, despite the risk. She needed reassurance. Some sort of encouragement. But in a situation like what confronted them here, it was hard to find any sort of positive reinforcement. So Dexter did the only thing he could think of.
He lied to her face. "Everything will be fine, Blossom, you'll see."
Blossom heaved in a breath, mustering what little courage was left in her after so many other devastating encounters and stories of Barasia's ruthless aggression. "I... hope so." she fidgeted for a moment, unsure of what to do or say. She knew Dexter was upset at her now because she had hit him. She regretted it but still believed it was deserved. If only she could do something to make it up to him though. "I... Dexter, I...." she murmured.
Dexter looked up at her. He seemed casual about himself now. His cheek was still red. Blossom felt bad about it. Better than a kick between the legs, though. She had no idea how something like that felt, but from what she had seen on America's Funniest Home Videos, it HURT. She wanted to say something to make things better. She couldn't think of anything that would not seem sappy or rushed. The longer she hesitated, the longer he would be suspicious of what she was thinking. He pierced her with those azure eyes behind his large glasses and Blossom felt a tingle down her spine. She didn't know if it was a good or bad feeling, but she had to say something. Anything!
"Dex... I'd better go..." she whispered, and turned toward the door.
"Make sure that you-" Dexter looked up at his surveillance screen just as Blossom made her way to the slight staircase up to the hidden entrance to his lab. The coast was no longer clear as the camera showed the rather bloated head of an unwanted bystander near the entrance. He growled, "Crap, Throssell." He spun and ran up to Blosson before she could head up the stairs which would trigger the release of the locking system, allowing the bookshelf ahead to slide aside and reveal his greatest secret. He seized her by the shoulders and spun her, provoking a squeal of fright from her as though she were being attacked. Dexter stared into her eyes, his large frames the only thing between them. For a moment, no sound was made. Blossom's cheeks flushed a little from the staring. She always felt uncomfortable if someone looked at her too hard. Dexter muttered, "Don't leave yet." Blossom blinked, flushing more. Had Dexter realised that letting her go was a mistake? She hoped he could forgive her. What she did had been... stupid. But no, he wasn't keeping her for that. He turned her in the direction of the giant screen, and Blossom immediately knew the reason for the delay.
Upon it, surrounded by the bookshelf and looking enormously misproportioned due to the camera angle and its convex lens, was the head and upper body of a man that by sight alone would make many people think twice of approaching. He was balding on top with leather-brown hair around the sides of his head. He wore a pair of silver-framed glasses with surprisingly small lenses, his nose was pointed and he had a slight overbite. His mood seemed particularly grumpy and by the look of how his head reached the level of shelves that it did, he was rather tall. Mrs McKinnon, the proudly Irish librarian who believed that the key to a successful and prospeorous future involved a combination of books and today's youth, was not on duty during the lead-up to Christmas because she took long-term leave around this time. Therefore, this man was brought in. He was tall, grouchy and British, defiantly stating that entire libraries in America and other English-speaking countries would not even exist if not for his people and their language. Aside from his grumpiness that came from his natural dislike of children, he was particularly annoyed at having to work here this close to the holiday period and also on weekends. Usually he'd only fill in if Mrs McKinnon was absent with illness, but since she started taking the holidays off for extended leave, this man would grow more and more bitter. Thus, discovering a secret lab beneath his library and an entrance which would disturb the melancholy boredom of silence within his precint would send him into a blind rage, presumably. Dexter didn't want that. He'd much sooner stay here until night, and if Blossom was with him, that didn't seem so bad.
The fill-in teacher was Mr Everett Throssell. To the kids of the school, he was known as a timebomb waiting to blow a hole in something. That had happened once. Throssell had been so annoyed at constant talking in his sanctuary of silence that he tripled overdue-book fees for an entire month. To find that something as big as an underground lab existed beneath the library would certainly provoke Throssell into sending Dexter's family broke with needless fees and charges. Even though his parents now knew about the existence of a lab, Dexter could not let anyone else find out. He was still reluctant to have let Blossom's sisters in on the secret. If word got out....
Blossom whimpered, "Oh... s-sorry, I didn't check..."
Dexter let go of her. Throssell was busy scanning the binder tags on the spine of each and every book on the shelf with a small reader similar to the ones you find in supermarket check-outs, making sure that each book was in its correct place. He thrived on perfection. Lived on it. Obsessed on it. Thankfully he never pulled the books off the shelves but instead only adjusted them for neatness. The book that held the hidden release to the lab's door was already perfectly positioned, aligned and never moved, since it was surrounded by no less than seven others of the same kind, therefore justifying why it was never borrowed out. Their secret was safe. But being the over-conciencious substitute teacher he was (the student term was 'Book Nazi'), he would scan and re-scan to make sure, meaning he could take almost half an hour in this section of the library. Dexter was too impatient for that.
"Know what, I'll just Transys you home..." he didn't even glance at her before heading back to his desk.
"Get on the platform, Blossom." he sighed, pointing to the nearby transporter machine. "You know how your sisters suspect things if we stay together for too long."
"You mean that Buttercup suspects things." Blossom tilted her head. She hated it when Bubbles got dragged into things that were entirely Buttercup's fault. But still, Dexter had a point. Better safe than suss. "She says the dumbest things. She once claimed I cheated in that card game... uh... Solitaire."
Dexter blinked, tapping a button or two on his console, "But it's impossible to cheat in...."
Dexter gestured at the platform, "Get on."
"You're not mad at me?" Blossom asked, hesitating.
Dexter didn't look at her. "Of course not." he muttered but he did not sound sincere enough for Blossom's liking.
"Are you sure? I'm sorry that I did what I did..."
"No problem." Dexter said flatly, still not looking at her, "My fault anyway." He glanced up at her, but she was not standing on the Transys' glowing floorplate. With a jerk of his head, he gestured to her to get on.
With a loud, zipping WHOOSH a flash of pink sped toward Dexter and from is Blossom emerged, throwing her arms around the surprised boy and pressed her face into his shoulder from behind, sobbing lightly. A smile came to Dexter's face. Even if it was just an act to seek attention, he could not possibly dislike this precious girl, even if she did make him feel stupid about his mistakes. He muttered, "Don't worry about it. I forgive you."
Blossom hugged harder, constricting his shoulders. "Dex... you're so great..."
Dexter reddened, "Tell me that AFTER we deal with that little black flossy coming toward us." he glanced up at the screen. Throssell was stroking the spines of a particular book on the shelf in front of him as though it were a kitten. Dexter shuddered involuntarily. Some people, he believed, went too far. "Tell your sisters about what's happening and how long we have. Tell Bell too, of course."
"Bell IS my sister."
Dexter felt a strange tingle down his spine at those words, "Of course she is..." He turned his head and found that his nose was less than an inch from her cheek. His first reaction was to swiftly inhale and go bright red. After a moment needed to compose himself, he asked the clingy girl, "Please... I need to get you home."
Blossom relented and let go, "I... hope it doesn't hurt that much."
"Nah, it's fine." He was lying. It was aching like a truck had just hit him. "Uh... take care of yourself ok?" his hand found hers and squeezed it, prompting a smile from Blossom, "I won't lose you to a girl like Barasia. That's not the way I know this sort of thing works. You're four and she's only one. And you have me. You'll always have me." He saw a tiny new sparkle begin to flicker in Blossom's eyes. He knew that there was a new speck of hope growing within her thanks to those words. "We'll get nowhere if we stay in this lab all night though."
Blossom blushed, "I'd prefer that to fighting... HER again..."
'You and me both...' Dexter's mind chuckled. He merely nodded in reply though, "Come on Blossom... have a good night, ok?"
"Ok..." the little supergirl muttered, turning around and stepping herself onto the watertank-sized relocation device. Dexter gave her one last wistful look as their eyes met, again only obstructed by his glasses. The moment he hit the small green button before him, the sight of his lover-to-be would be encased in brightness that would force him to look away and, when it had cleared, she would be gone. He wanted her to stay. He wanted her to be here to finish what they started. The fuzzy feeling within him had not gone away, but neither had the throbbing ache on his cheek. He took another look at that pair of young legs that seemed to go on for days. Every millisecond he took to observe her, the longer his finger dangled precariously above the phase-out button. She, too, noticed the hesitation. She wanted to say something. Something other than 'Good night Dexter'.
Dexter beat her to it, "I love you, Blossom." he said, but not to her face. Blossom blinked and opened her mouth to reply but as she did, his finger fell on the activation button. Her words were lost to a sudden loud buzz and, a moment later, her body too was lost in a geyser-like column of electric light. He hung his head and closed his eyes as the humming died out. He hadn't forgotten anything. Blossom knew how long she had and what she had to say to her sisters. He didn't want her to go but if she didn't, bad things might have happened. He reopened his eyes and looked into the Transys pod, where the body of the little girl was no longer present. He didn't want to think about the distraction that new uniform of hers would cause in class. Lapse in concentration, effective distraction... how would he explain a possible slip in his marks to his parents? And if Blossom DID join the dance girls...
Dexter whacked himself hard over the face, "Stop it!" he yelled to himself. He blinked a couple of times, registering the pain that had flooded across his cheek, opposite to the one Blossom had swatted not long ago. Now all of his head hurt. He chuckled to himself. Either he had hit himself excessively hard, or Blossom hadn't struck him as roughly as he originally guessed. His chuckled turned into a soft laugh. Together, they did some silly things. He believed he was getting her quite immersed into comics and fictional superhero genres, perhaps moreso than he himself was into them. That was in the yard at lunchtime, surrounded by peers. But alone, what they did was more enjoyable than even the greatest issue of Justice Friends. But lunchtime was a time where they could do anything they chose. Right now, though, there was no such liberty. That little dot on the radar was the proof. "Computer.... proximity readout." The image of the bloated librarian's balding head was instantly replaced with the large radar scope. The dot had barely moved due to the extreme distances but the numbers continued to count down. Definitely no random survey patrol. Who would have thought that such a tiny flashing speck could be so frightening? He wouldn't be seeing the little girl in person. If he did, then that would mean she was revealing herself HERE, in this lab. She'd be the last thing he ever saw, if that was the case. He didn't want to die. Not here. Not in that short amount of time. He wanted to live a fulfilling life. Make discoveries, win Nobels, have a family, retire, see the world, and die in a warm bed at an extreme age that he could reach thanks to his own life-prolonging research. To do that, he'd need to survive. The planet would need to survive. He'd be stuck here in his laboratory whilst the girls go up to confront the midnight-coloured menace. He had personally come face to face with her before. And then, there was that time he was glad he had not been there. If he had have been there at that one point...
He would have witnessed Breannin's death.
But he felt guilty. Blossom had seen Deedee's death. It was only fair if Dexter saw something along those lines too in Blossom's family. Then, perhaps, he'd be able to understand her agony a bit better. But her agony was barely visible nowadays, if it still existed at all. And surely, when they were together, it was the best medicine against it. He would never give that up. His cheeks still hurt. But it was worth it. It was up to Blossom to inform her family, whilst Dexter decided that, for maximum efficiency, he should find out more about that incoming ship. His fingers flew across the keyboard as he scanned Barasia's expansive archives. As he sat down to work again, his cheek suddenly throbbed, again reminding him of Blossom's vicious and involuntary attack. His other cheek was not as sore anymore. The slap of a supergirl lingers twice as long. 'But it's worth it. It was so worth it....' Dexter's mind chuckled as he pulled open a file called "Dominatrix" and began to read, 'I will suffer a thousand slaps before I decide against it! Hehehe.... I got to touch her butt...'