Title: Rift

Pairing: Syndrome/Mirage

Rating: PG-13

Summary: The full extent of Mirage's powers are revealed.

Warnings: Language, sexual references, etc. More as they appear.

Setting: Post-Incredibles

A/N: This is the beginning chapter to my first Mirage/Syndrome fanfic. Yay! For once, no original characters! Everyone rejoice! (And there was much rejoicing. "Yay." :eats minstrels:) It popped into my head during Journalism last week and I haven't been able to get it out. So, without further ado… THE FANFIC! Read and review people!

A single delicate figure is sitting on the charred-black ground of the local neighborhood, head hanging dejectedly, eyes downcast. White-blond hair hangs in her face. Dirty ash dusts her otherwise spotless gray suit coat and skirt. She sifts some ashes between her fingers, and clutches tightly in her other hand the only thing that remains of him, the one she loves, the one she thought loved her - a single, circular white remote, useless now that the robot it controlled is destroyed. It is only a memory, a link to the past, a worthless piece of memorabilia, a reminder of times that were both better and worse than those occurring now.

She did not want him to die. Maybe she had made it seem so, a few nights before; but it was only spite then, only words. Just as his carelessness, his negligent care of her threatened life, had only been spite, only words. She meant something to him, certainly; and he meant so much more than something to her.

The remote beeps loudly as her fingers lovingly caress a button. She ignores the noise, and continues to stare hopelessly at the ground. A tear falls down her cheek, descending gracefully to follow her chin and then slide down her neck, disappearing into the folds of a soft aqua turtleneck. She traces the trail of the tear absentmindedly with her fingertip, the ash below her still swirling, forming beautiful patterns in the wind.

She should not weep, she supposes. He is - was - well, she cannot say evil, will not say evil; he is - was - misunderstood. The word suits him better, she thinks - as well as it suits her. Everything about them is so shrouded in shades of gray that it is hard to say on which side of the line marking good and evil they fall.

Shades of gray. There are so many of them. The pair of them each made up their own unique shade, defined its exact coloring, found the perfect gray-ness to suit each of their personalities, and claimed it for their own. No black and white; no set good or bad. Everything is so simple for the simpleminded; and though Mirage and Syndrome could both be found guilty of many faults, simplemindedness was not one of them.

Complexity is not something that her new friends understand. They are Supers. They are good. He was a Supervillain. He was evil. They know this in their core, even the girl who might have understood, once upon a time. She has taken on an identity, changed, blossomed; she is a Super her family will be proud of.

Mirage feels only disgust.

A shadow falls across the path of dimmed sunlight, a bulky shadow, wreathing her entire small figure. "I… didn't think you'd be this upset," a deep, masculine voice says softly.

She looks up, a frown marring her otherwise perfect features. "Then you didn't think," she says icily. She stands and brushes ash from her skirt. "He was my friend, you know. Not just my employer. Not just some ruthless monster who forced me to murder. He was… much more."

This man, whom she thought she could have loved, once, if his heart were free and if Syndrome had never existed, frowns, as though confused. "But he was evil," he says, and Mirage's heart turns to stone at the sounds of the words. She pitied him, once, pitied his plight and his family and those things he had lost - those things she knew she would never have - and she had rescued him. Where once she had respected him she felt only a cold, raw bitterness, a loathing, and desperation to change it all.

She draws herself up to a great height and meets his gaze dead on. "You and I see things very differently, Mr. Incredible," she says in a deadly quiet voice.

His frown deepens. "I know my duty, Mirage," he says, almost a threat - a warning to her. Tread carefully, or you will become evil, like him.

"I know mine, too." Mirage turns and walks away, her hair glowing blood-red in the last gasping rays of the setting sun.

Mr. Incredible watches her depart, and looks helplessly at his wife. "What just happened?" he demands.

Helen shrugs, catches her husband's arm, and pulls him towards the car. They may discuss, quietly, why Mirage is so upset, explain away her morbidity and sorrow; but they are Supers. They do not - will not - understand that there is so much more to life, to a person, than good and evil - that there are infinite shades of gray, shades named, unnamed, and yet to be.

Mirage knows. She is a wispy, shadowy gray, like smoke in the breeze, there one instant, gone the next. A mirage.

She knows.