Daddy's Girl X

Getting away from Coil had not been easy for Taylor. Eventually they both decided to part with each other after finding out the futility of doing anything else. Coil always had that monster called Noelle at his reserve while Taylor had Lung covering her back. She supposed she was lucky she got away with it knowing how Coil's powers worked and his real identity. Discovering that Coil was not only a long time PRT associate, but also what he had hidden deep within his vault had scared her quite enough.

She needed to reflect on what she learned.

Taylor sat on the roof of a store, watching the placid Atlantic Ocean. "Hi mom."

Her mother wasn't here, she wasn't anywhere. Yet when Taylor was younger, she always imagined her mother was still out there, drifting, watching over her daughter. Now that she was a little older, Taylor lost some of those delusions, but it was still nice to imagine.

"I learned a lot of things ever since I got my powers. Bad things. Important things. It's.. worse than I thought."

A morbid laugh escaped her lips. "It's so funny, it's sad. I tried so much to escape from my school, only to find out Brockton Bay is nothing different. You've got the gangs, bullying the citizens and keeping them down. The only source of authority that can do anything against supervillains are the Protectorate, but like the teachers at my school they're too afraid to act, more concerned with popularity than the well being of the people they are supposed to protect."

That was absolutely unforgivable to Taylor. How many people were crying out for help, only for the Protectorate to turn a blind eye? Scum like the Empire Eighty-Eight were allowed to bully the people with impunity, only to occasionally receive a slap on the wrist if they were being stupid about it. And even if the Protectorate managed to capture a villain, they always transported them to the Birdcage in lightly guarded convoys that just begged to robbed. And it was all for what?

"The worst part of it is how the Protectorate goes along with this garbage. They fixate on the Endbringers so much they completely forget the real victims. I'm glad I didn't join the Wards. I will never become a part of their organization. They're nothing but paper tigers. No, if I want to do anything to help the city, I have to do it myself."

Taylor had been blessed with power for a reason. She was not about to waste it by playing the game that other heroes and villains participated in. No, she was going to embrace her power, break the rules and free Brockton Bay from the filth that destroyed it piece by piece.

"I swear I'll make this city better, mom. I won't let anyone suffer from bullies like I had. No one was there at Winslow to save me when I needed it most, but that doesn't mean I can turn my back on others. I'll be a hero in my own way. I'll show the phonies at the Protectorate how it's really done."

She stood up, and after sparing a final glance at the bay, she left.

Elsewhere, Danny Hebert took another gulp of his bottle of beer, only to realize it was empty. He pushed away the useless container and picked up the picture frame on his table. It depicted his budding family at its prime, when his wife was still alive and his daughter still a sweet young girl.'How could it all have gone wrong, Annette?'

Back then, everything was better. The ferry sailed each day and other ships kept the docks busy. The Endbringers were something scary, but a distant threat at most. Then, slowly, everything went to hell.

The world kept taking pieces out of his life. First the livelihood of his workers. Then his partner in life. Now, finally, it took his most precious possession, the one thing he couldn't bear to be without: his daughter.

"I'm sorry, Taylor, I'm sorry." He cried, bursting into tears at the suffering she had gone through. He went through her notes himself before he handed it over to the PRT, and it made him realize for the first time how completely he failed as a parent. "I didn't know.. if I knew.. if I made you tell me without hitting you.. oh God I wish I hadn't done that.."

Nothing could bring back his daughter now, not after what he'd done. Not even after the PRT got off their lazy asses and got the school and police to do something about the three harpies that made his daughter's life hell. The letter he received earlier this morning didn't help matters either. The formally worded apology flew right past his head, and the generous compensation they gifted him felt like blood money.

'It's too late.'

Danny felt disgusted by it all. Not only at the impotence of the school and the authorities, but also at his helplessness. He couldn't do anything to save his wife or his daughter. Even now, knowing that his Taylor was running around, replacing him with other men who didn't deserve to have her as their child, he could do nothing to bring her back. 'It's the city. It's taken everything from me.'

He couldn't take it anymore. He had to get away. He placed the frame back on the table, went over to the phone and called a colleague.

"Hey, I'm sorry for calling you so late. I just wanted to inform you of my decision. I'm.. resigning from the Dockworkers Association. I can't bear to live in Brockton Bay anymore. I hope you understand."

Danny was not going to let the city take anything else from him. He was going to cut ties and start a new life as far away as he could with his money. 'I'm sorry Taylor. I can't stay here in this empty house. I can't suffer this silence in the eventual hope you'd come to your senses and come back to me. You're right Taylor, I'm just not strong enough to be there for you. I.. I hope you're happy with your new dad, whoever it may be.'

The tears flowed anew, but he had more than enough to shed.