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literature

Antithesis Epilogue 1: Blossom

Griddles's avatar
By Griddles   |   
9 7 674 (1 Today)
Published:
EPILOGUE

Blossom took a refreshing gasp of air as the hot water splashed across her face from her cupped hands. She rubbed her cheeks, soft skin upon soft skin. The air was humid. Comfortable and homely. She at last felt truly comfortable as she reached for a fluffy pink towel and dabbed her face dry. Another towel, just as pink and just as fluffy, was wrapped into a makeshift turban upon her head. Clumps of drying chestnut hair poked out between the folds. She closed her eyes and tilted backward, holding onto the edges of the bathroom sink.

She took in the near-silence for a moment. The faucet dripped, so quiet that normal ears wouldn't even hear it. The extractor fan whirred overhead, sucking away the last of the misty post-shower steam. Artificial light bathed her, a welcome change from the harsh sun she'd been under for far too long today. Her face had been red in the mirror, whether from the sun or from exertion. There had been more red than that, but the shower had washed it all away. As she gradually arched her back she felt the midriff of her pink and white top sliding up above her bellybutton, away from the waist of her short denim skirt. She'd had these clothes for several years now and they were some of her casual favourites; reliable in the event her duty-dress had been roughed up. But the long white skivvy, striped in two-tone pink along the shoulders and sleeves, felt tight against her chest. The skirt had seen better days too. She was outgrowing them; change was soon needed.

Blossom opened her eyes, studying her cherubic face in the mirror as she stood upright again. All evidence of ardue had been washed away. She impulsively ran her hand up her opposite forearm, feeling none of the pain or damage that had been there before. She always bounced back from harm, a trait she admired in herself. Beneath her clothes her skin was smooth and spotless. She tried to reassure her reflection with a grin. The last time she'd seen her face, it had been transposed in the cracked lenses of Dexter's glasses.

That was when the shiver ricocheted like a lightningbolt down her spine.

Blossom descended the stairs into the empty living space. The first floor, well lit and always meticulously spotless, was as untouched as the moment that morning she'd rocketed out the front door toward the school. Having come back through the circular windows of her room upstairs, Blossom hadn't seen any sign of the Professor thusfar. She had no idea if he was even home. Did he know about Drax's foiled attack? Had he somehow been caught up in the ensuing mayhem and been left stranded halfway across the city?

As soon as her cellphone had restored its coverage once Drax's EMP faded for the final time, she'd checked the news-wires. Reports were only sketchy - most of the news outlets had no idea what the strange metal object and the red clouds in the sky even were. Early reports mentioned only the most minimal of casualties. There was no way she could access police or emergency services lines through her phone to know the true extent. That would be something Dexter could possibly set her up with.

"Dexter..." she muttered, echoing in the hollow and lifeless house she'd returned to.

The couch was soft and inviting. She spread herself out, kicking her bare feet up on the coffee table. Her toes wiggled in the climate-controlled air. The small tablecloth, a recent addition after the previous one had been set alight quite by accident, cushioned her heels. The cool air danced between her toes. It felt nice. The house had a self-contained backup generator, courtesy of the Professor, that ensured everything remained powered in the event of a blackout like today. She wondered how the next door neighbours would be coping; Mrs Asher would probably be cleaning out an entire refrigerator of spoiled food.

Blossom stared up at the lights. She thought of her reflection again, in the cracked lens of Dexter's spectacles. Another sigh, bringing her hand to her forehead. Quite a day. Quite an unexpected adventure.

She had wanted to see his eyes, not her reflection. It was one of the first things she could remember after regaining consciousness. They'd dropped from the fiery sky, bouncing across uneven ground and coming to rest. That's when she blacked out. The next thing she could remember was Dexter steadying her, their eyes meeting. His gentle voice caressing her ringing ears and driving that maddening sound away, "You did it."

Blossom wasn't quite sure what she had said next, but it may have been "No, WE did it." That was when she had caught her reflection and brushed his dirty hair away.  Blossom shut her eyes and squirmed on the couch, bringing her arms around herself as she recalled his eyes behind those fractured frames. She wanted to linger on that memory forever.

Dexter had let her reach for his ruined glasses and slide them off his nose. His face, his clothes, everything was dirty and singed. Didn't matter. Her arm was caked in her own blood, scarred and slashed from Drax's invasive torture device. Their clothes were ripped, their cheeks smudged with grime. Around them, burning debris kept falling and smashing into the parkland. Behind Blossom, an entire treetop was on fire. Whatever hadn't been sucked back into the other world was a raining ruin around them. Again, it didn't matter. Blossom wanted to hold Dexter tight, for no reason other than to show how grateful she was that he was ok. At that moment, she'd remembered what it was that brought her to his laboratory in the first place. She had taken Dexter's hands in hers. His glasses gone, their eyes had met. And she had opened her mouth to proudly say-

A thud shook Blossom from her thoughts - her eyes snapped open as she gasped. She untangled herself, bolting upright and fixing her skirt and skivvy as her eyes darted around to find the source. Another thud, stronger than the first. Her head snapped around to the doorway near the kitchen entrance. Narrow passage beyond, leading to a staircase. Thud had come from below. The level down. The lab!

Blossom shot from the couch, her fluffy pink towel unraveling from her cranium. Her luxurious chestnut hair billowed behind her speeding body, a cape from a comic book. Down the stairs and around the corner she shot, on a comet's tail of magenta light. She skid to a halt on bare feet, nearly tripping over. The giant steel doors of the laboratory were sealed shut. Unlike everything else in the house, the lights and mechanisms upon the steel frame were lifeless. Then came another thud, and Blossom suddenly knew why she couldn't find the Professor.

Her fingers wiggled their way into the seam between the doors; first only a nail, then a full fingertip and finally with a grunt of effort her fingers sunk into the pried gap to the first knuckle. The steel was dense, cold. Blossom had budged worse. Widening her stance and almost roaring at her stinging hands, she shoved the giant doors apart. A hiss of cold air rushed over her. She felt no resistance, no push-back from the doors. Her arms came down and she uttered a sigh. Bathed in glaring white light, the silhouette of a tall man rushed forward and dropped to a knee.

"Blossom!" Professor Utonium was bedraggled, his coat dirty and forehead glistening with sweat, "Sweetheart, are you alright? Those doors, they-"

Blossom lifted her head and met her father's eyes. She was smiling, "You're ok! You were here all this time!"

The Professor ran his hand across his hair, which was greying at the temples, "Well, I was trying to get out again, too, let me tell you! I'd have been out a long time ago but just as I was thinking about a cappuccino and some pancakes, all the lights flickered and the door slammed shut! Of course, that's a security measure in case of remote interference with any of the lab technology but for some reason I just couldn't seem to get the door to op-"

Blossom flung her arms around the Professor, burying her face into his coat "I'm here," she said, "And you're here too. You're always here."

The Professor patted his daughter, shrugging off her elevated level of general affection as mere, unfounded, separation anxiety "Always, my darling. And you know what?" Blossom pushed away at his question, meeting his eyes once more. The Professor smiled, "I'll fix the lab later. I want to hear about your day! How'd it go?"

"Oh," Blossom tilted her head, "it was, um, interesting."

The Professor took her hand, "Oh, now, there's more to it than that I think." They ascended the stairs together. "Now, I know you were feeling rather miserable last night after what happened with Dexter, and I know you miss your sisters. I've no doubt you had a clearer mind this morning when you left to see him. I'm confident in you, Blossom, that nothing would have gotten in the way of the apology you vowed to deliver."

Blossom blinked as they stepped into the living room. She let go of the Professor's hand, "W-Well..."

"Oh, now, Blossom" the Professor's lecturer tone was returning to his voice. He made his way to the kitchen, draping his dirtied labcoat across his seat at the dinner table as Blossom remained in the next room, "Even superheroes like yourself must struggle with the courage to say 'I'm sorry', but I know you have that strength."

"That's not it Professor!" Blossom called out, balling her fists at the frightening thought that he'd completely misread her, "It's just that... stuff came up."

The kettle was whistling and ceramic clinked together. The Professor wanted his coffee. His voice returned, "A moment, dear, and you can tell me all about it."

Blossom sighed, turning away. On the wall beside the stairs to the second floor she saw a photo. Herself, her sisters, a small pink dog in Bubbles' arms and Dexter. He seemed poised. Cold, almost. She shuddered and winced, bringing her hand to her temple and pressing. Something was digging its way through her mind; a thought or memory of the day that seemed out of place. It, too, resembled a photograph. But the girl in the image was one she'd never met before. And she seemed bathed in a soft tone of purple. No... "Pink...?"

"What's that, dear?" the Professor asked, emerging from the kitchen with a steaming mug of something that smelt intensely of dark roast.

Blossom shook the fuzziness from her head, "Oh, it's nothing. Just tired, I guess."

The Professor sat down on the couch. Beckoned. Moments later Blossom was at his side. She balled her fists upon her thighs and stared down at the floor. She could feel herself shaking a little. The Professor took a satisfying sip of his long-awaited coffee and broke into a smile, "I know it must have been difficult for you today. As team leader and self-appointed 'eldest sister', apologising to your family would be difficult enough. But I know you, my darling, would have the strength where perhaps your sisters wouldn't to do so to a very close friend."

"Well, I did." Blossom nodded, not yet meeting her father's eyes. "I told him I was sorry."

Another sip. Another nod, "That's my girl."

"There's more."

"Well, go on. I want to hear everything."

So Blossom told the Professor. She told him about her day. She told him everything.

When her story had concluded, she was slumped against her father's side. To call the ordeal 'exhausting' was an understatement. The Professor, meanwhile, was now the one staring at the floor ahead of them. His mug, now empty, had not once left his hand. His voice was diminished, "I was right. Today was a difficult day."

Blossom sat upright and stretched, letting out a long and dawdling yawn. Sleep was nipping at her heels; her eyes blinked out of sync a few times. "I guess maybe it-" she broke off, yawning like an exhausted puppy, "it hasn't all sunk in just yet?"

The Professor tussled his daughter's hair, "Not for either of us. The parallel world, back again. That thing in the sky, knocking the entire power grid offline... I've got this Dregs to thank-"

"Drax."

"DRAX to thank for shutting me in the lab all day. And as for you and Dexter, well..." Their eyes met. Blossom gave a tender smile. The Professor joined in, and it was again with the hair tussling, "You certainly are a brave girl. The bravest girl I know."

Blossom beamed, "I'm gonna follow your example always, Professor!"

The Professor smiled curtly, "Of that I've no doubt, my dear. And I'm happy to know that. But, I also have to know - are YOU happy, Blossom?"

Blossom stared off ahead of herself again, lost in thought. She saw it all before her - the skyscraper of steel rising from the tear in the sky, a melted half-face twisted in maniacal malice, the blood pouring down her arm, Dexter's face when she held his hands in the aftermath and told him that HE was the true hero. What followed from that. It felt like eons. But less than two seconds had passed before she responded to the Professor, "You know... I am." she nodded and met his eyes again, "It may seem weird but... I am happy. And I know Dexter is, too."

The Professor drew her into a warm hug, the kind reserved only for a father to give to his treasured child. "That's all that counts." he told her. And then his watch lit up. "Oh my, already?"

"What is it, Professor?"

The Professor tapped his watch curtly, "Bubbles and Buttercup are nearly home! Remember the beacons that circle the edges of town?"

"From..." Blossom paused, "from Dexter?"

The Professor nodded, "A father can never be too careful of where his precious girls are. Well, now they're telling me they're crossing into Megaville from the north. Fast, too!"

Blossom hopped up off the couch, "If they're going fast it must mean they miss you! Or Buttercup REALLY wants to watch Space Tow-Truck."

The Professor extended his hand, "Well, no matter the reason, I'll be glad to have my family together again. It's been a crazy day, by the sound of it." he took hold of Blossom's smaller hand, squeezing it gently, "You'll have quite the story for them over dinner." They made their way to the front door, Blossom rushing ahead. Reaching for the doorknob, she hesitated and turned. The Professor was smiling, leaning gently against the wall. His eyes were sparkling with some sort of wonder.

"What is it?" Blossom asked.

The Professor shook his head, "Oh, it's just... it feels like you're growing up more and more every day. You and your sisters. What you did today, well... you always make me proud Blossom."

She blushed.

"One day there'll be no more bedtimes, no more city limit beacons, no more dinners around the table as a family. You'll have lives of your own, someday."

Blossom tilted her head with a reassuring smile, "We've got a little while before then, Professor."

The Professor smiled in return and nodded, "I know, my baby girl." In the back of his mind, though, Professor Utonium was already seeing a more mature, more independent Blossom. Today she'd taken another step. And he feared that she would be the first one to move on without him.

Blossom seized the doorknob and spun it. Her smile was the biggest it had been all day. As two flashes of radiant blue and green dropped out of the sky ahead, Blossom threw the door open wide.
© 2017 - 2020 Griddles
Part one of a three-part wrap up.

I'll try to be quicker.
Comments7
anonymous's avatar
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dreamwalker44's avatar
dreamwalker44Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Will you be posting parts 2 and 3 ?
'Cause I need to know how this ends
pretty please?
:-)
Griddles's avatar
Haha I never got around to completing them yet! But if people like yourself are interested I guess I should!

i've not done any writing lately because I figured nobody was interested anymore. Am I wrong?
dreamwalker44's avatar
dreamwalker44Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well......u kinda disappeared on SNAFU which led me to believe u were not interested anymore and stuff. But given the gist of what I know...um... I guess I understand why u left.
It kinda sucks how people treated u there....so yeah...
i just hope u gain the inspiration to continue Anithesis....it's a pretty nice story which got me invested on both Blossom and Dexter as characters I deem well-developed(?)/characterized(?)
....yeah.......i enjoy how u write and world build and stuff....it would be really nice if u finished this series

(btw, Drax was the reason I read ur fics tbh....he has that sort of appeal I can't quite point out yet....regardless, his lines are very much appreciated)
Griddles's avatar
Aw thanks! Yeah the snafu discord was a shitpit. Glad I'm no longer there.

I enjoy writing Drax. He won't always be around but I hope I make good bad guys. I'll get around to finishing this story and commencing another.
dreamwalker44's avatar
dreamwalker44Hobbyist Traditional Artist
bunneh icon14 
(yes.......and I'll probably be around to draw fanart :) )
arcon3's avatar
An excellent start to the end. The family moment was well appreciated. It's nice to see your portrayal of the Professor not letting his fatal diagnosis from Reunification keeping him from being a good father to his girls.
chasbanner's avatar
chasbannerHobbyist
Good stuff
anonymous's avatar
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