Disclaimer: I am not the Walt Disney Corporation, Pixar Animation Studios, Brad Bird, or anyone else who owns The Incredibles - but oh, how I would like to be!
Violet Parr rolled over restlessly and glanced at the clock beside her bed. 11:54, said the red glowing numbers.
Six more minutes. She rolled back on her back and stared at the ceiling some more.
Why am I doing this? she thought. It wasn't as though she didn't believe in Santa Claus; she probably accepted his existence far more readily than any of her classmates did. After all, her little brother was four years old and already outrunning trains; so why shouldn't reindeer be able to fly?
And staying up past midnight meant that she'd probably be asleep at 6:00 on Christmas morning; and that meant that when Dash came barreling into her room, full of youthful, supersonic exuberance, she wouldn't be ready with a force field; and that meant that she'd probably be celebrating Christmas with a broken leg.
Still… she did want to see him. She'd wanted to see him since she was three, and not just in the mall. She wanted to catch him in the act, to see him when he was actually putting stuff under the tree. It would be something special, to know that she'd done it. To know that she could do it.
Plus, somewhere in the back of her mind, a little voice was whispering, What good is it having super powers, if all you ever use them for is protecting your glass unicorns from the cat?
She sighed and glanced at the clock again. 11:59.
One more minute to go. She rolled onto her stomach, rested her chin on her pillow, and stared at the clock.
11:59… 11:59… 11:59…
Violet nearly screamed with impatience. If only she had time powers, like Dr. Moreno…
11:59… 11:59… 12:00!
Midnight. Violet jumped out of bed, slipped on a pair of bunny slippers, and made herself invisible.
The bunny slippers didn't turn invisible, of course; neither did her nightgown. Probably she should have left them off – except that the last time she tried a stunt like that, she'd gotten herself grounded for a week. Besides, it was cold… and it wasn't as though Santa was going to see anything, she'd just be poking her head around the corner…
She eased her bedroom door open and listened. She heard Dash's shallow breathing, and Whiskers the cat padding along the hallway. She heard her parents down in the kitchen: her dad's heavy, almost thunderous walk, and her mom's lighter, springier step.
And, just barely, she heard something else. It was hard to be sure, but it sounded like someone was in the living room; it might have been a burglar, except that all the burglars in the neighborhood knew better than to mess with the Parr house.
Besides, it wasn't a burglar. Violet knew that.
Eagerly, she tiptoed down the hallway, not stopping to think that anybody with super hearing would know that she was there; not stopping to think anything, except that he wouldn't be there long.
As she neared the living room, she began to make out part of her parents' conversation. They weren't talking about their guest, which surprised Violet at first; but it's probably not so cool for grownups, she thought.
Now she was only a wall away. Quickly, she glanced down and checked her hands. They weren't there. Good.
She took a deep breath and poked her head into the doorway.
Her hair fell into her eyes, but that didn't matter. She could still see everything: the Christmas tree, slightly squashed on the sides where her dad had lifted it; the firelight glinting off the glass ornament she had gotten from Edna on her first Christmas; and the small, rotund little man sitting in her dad's armchair, eating the gingerbread man she had left out for him.
Violet ducked her head back behind the wall. She had only had a glimpse, but there was no mistaking him. Everything was right: the beard, the suit, the cheeks, even the way his stomach jiggled when he swallowed the milk.
She'd done it.
She scampered back to her room, made herself visible again, and flopped onto her bed. "I knew it!" she whispered into her pillow. "I knew it!"
For about thirty seconds, she couldn't keep still. Then excitement gave way to exhaustion, and she fell blissfully asleep.
Some moments after this, Bob and Helen Parr entered the living room, the latter carrying a plate of Ritz brand crackers.
"Tell me, my dear," said Bob, "were those footsteps I heard going up the stairs just now?"
"Probably," said Helen. "Thanks, Gordon."
"Don't mention it," said the man in the chair, reverting to his normal form of a lean, gray-haired man in a blue-and-purple costume.
"Just like the old days, it was," he added, taking a cracker from the plate that Helen offered. "Back when Avatar was the envy of spy agencies everywhere."
"Well," Bob said, "you are the best."
Gordon took a proud bite from his cracker. "So," he said, "how did you know it was going to be tonight?"
Bob gestured to his wife. "Helen."
Helen grinned. "You should have seen me when I was nine," she said. "My mother told me I had to stay in bed on Christmas Eve, but she never said I couldn't also be spying through the living-room window."
Gordon laughed. "You sound like me," he said. "I can't count the number of times I turned into my brother when I wanted to snitch some of my mother's cookies."
"Oh yeah?" Bob countered. "I'll bet you never hid your family organ in the gazebo so you didn't have to listen to your sister practice 'Winter Wonderland' again."
For the next few minutes, the three of them just sat there, eating crackers and reminiscing about life as a super-child. It was a delightful experience; five months later, when the Parrs were forced to move again, it was this moment that Helen thought of as she turned off the last light in the old house.
But eventually the memories wore thin, the crackers disappeared, and Gordon rose from his chair. "Well, I guess I'd better be going," he said. "Get back to the old homestead, make sure that Lydia hasn't destroyed any important furniture in her anxiety over me."
"I suppose we'd better be retiring, too," Helen said. She yawned broadly and stretched her arms. Her fingers brushed the ceiling.
"You know, I'm never going to get used to that," Bob murmured.
Gordon laughed. "Well, so long, folks."
He slipped a hat and coat over his skintight costume and headed out into the December night.