Author: A Markov
Title: Vanishing Love
Summary: Four years after the death of Syndrome, Mirage has her sights set on a Parr and Helen is ready for a fight. But which Parr is it and why?
Warning: This story contains some explicit language and explores mature themes, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender.
Disclaimer: The characters and locations from The Incredibles belong to Pixar and Disney and are used here without permission or profit.
Chapter 14- Vengeance is Mine
Violet tried a new tactic. She crossed her arms and turned her back on her dad.
"I already told you, sweetie," he said plaintively. "Rick says the guy's calling from the Marina... we're searching the Marina first."
"But Mirage's R and D guys said—"
He cut her off with a raised hand. "I know you two are… uh… friends, but… I've got to go with experience on this one. This is your mom's life we're talking about."
"No 'buts.' We're leaving in about ten minutes."
"You mean, you're leaving in about ten minutes. At least let me help."
"We've gone over that too. Sweetie," he said with some exasperation, "this guy wants you dead. He's got some nasty little devices that he stole from The Agency and the psyches are worried that if he sees you, he might set one of them off and take out the entire neighborhood just to get you."
"Duh! I can become invisible!"
"Please, Violet," Bob said with a sigh. "Stay here where these guys can protect you from him."
"Who's going to protect me from them?" she shouted to the door as he closed it. He either didn't hear her or ignored it. She suspected the latter. She really didn't care what lame excuse her dad came up with to keep her away from the action – locked in a tiny office with two guards posted outside the door was not the way she intended to spend the time until her mother was safe. She began checking the room, trying to find an unobtrusive way out. She needn't have bothered. Less than five minutes after her dad walked away, she heard two muffled thumps followed by the door crashing open to reveal Dash standing in the open doorway between the unconscious forms of the two guards.
He motioned her to follow him out. "Hurry up! They think I'm on my way to search the cannery buildings at the Marina," he said with an impish grin. "Your girlfriend…" (Violet wasn't sure she liked the way he emphasized the word.) "…is waiting for you near the east side entrance. When I'm actually done searching the cannery, I'll meet you guys over at North Bay after I check in with dad."
He grinned again. "Dad and Rick and Uncle Lou say they don't trust the technology, but I think they just don't trust your girlfriend." (Now she was sure. She didn't like the way he was emphasizing the word, but this wasn't the time to call him on it, he'd just saved her a lot of time by breaking her out.) "We need to be checking everywhere mom might be, not just where the so-called experts think she is."
"Thanks, Dash." She caught him off guard and gave him a big hug. Embarrassing him was almost as satisfying as hitting him.
Violet glided through the warehouse as silently as she could, looking for signs of a recent or current occupation. Even limiting the search to abandoned buildings, they were making slow progress. The size of the buildings meant that to check each one thoroughly took her nearly twenty minutes. She also kept her dad's warning in the back of her mind. If Skippy's main goal was to kill her, she didn't want to give him an excuse to set off whatever he had lifted from The Agency's weapons locker. Of course Dash was able to do it a lot faster, and even though he was splitting his time between the two groups, she was really pinning her hopes on him finding the right place. Still every place she looked was one more place her brother didn't have to.
When the call came, it wasn't from Dash as she expected but from one of Mirage's security men. As she made her way to the scene, the blonde's wry comment came back to her. "One of the best things about being rich is that you can afford the things that other people might not be able to. Like your own private army." And Violet wasn't inclined to turn down any kind of help. Dash beat her to the scene, of course, but he waited until she got there before he did anything.
"OK, you know the drill, Speedy." She used his public name for the benefit of the people standing around at the gathering point. Mirage and everyone in The Agency might know who they were, but she didn't see any reason to use their real names in front of Chi Mera's security guards. She held Dash's eye, trying to impress the seriousness of the situation on him. "You stick right next to me, so I can keep you out of sight. It won't be a hundred percent, but it'll be better than nothing. It's going to be hard for you because you're going to have to slow down to my speed until we confirm that this is the right place and we figure out how to take him down." Violet turned to Gil. "Thanks for all your help. Now you and your men should retreat to a safe distance and let us handle this."
The security chief looked uncomfortable. "I don't like the idea of two kids, even if you are supers, heading into a situation like this alone, Ma'am."
Violet grinned. "I appreciate your concern, commander, but Speedy and I can take care of this." In truth, she wasn't sure what would be said once they confronted the rogue agent. He seemed like a monologuer and she didn't want anyone outside of the family to listen in on what he might have to say.
"It's just 'Gil.' At least take a radio, we'll be right here if you need us, Ma'am."
"Thanks, Gil, and you can just call me Invisigirl; 'Ma'am' is my mom." She shared a small laugh with him and then turned to enter the building with Dash. They used a variation of their oldest combination move: she projected a force field bubble big enough for both of them and he rolled it around like a hamster in a ball. This time, though she put some extra effort into it and she was able to partially mask Dash as well as herself. Neither of them was completely invisible but they were hard to make out in the shadows of the warehouse.
"Keep your voice down, we don't want anyone to know we're coming."
As quietly as they could, they crept toward the room where Skippy was holding their mom.
"We've got a location, Mr. Incredible."
"No positive ID yet, sir. But the boys have a probable. Agent Dicker said you're to head over while we're waiting for confirmation."
Bob sighed and headed toward the address. It was the third "probable" tonight and he was hoping it would be the right one this time. Rick was on scene when he got there and he took it as a good sign.
"We're pretty sure this is the place, Bob." The older agent said quietly. "And you might like to know that Mirage's private goon squad is combing the North Bay area."
"Really?" Bob asked, surprised. "She really put her guys on the street looking for Helen?"
"Near as we can tell, it's all legit." He paused and considered his next words carefully. "We've even set up a liaison with her head of security… guy named Gil Aguirre... and…" The agent paused again, looking uncomfortable.
"Invisigirl was spotted with one of their squads."
"What? How'd she get out—"
"Of an office with a couple of grunts posted outside the door?"
"Hm, you've got a point." Bob looked around. "Where's Frozone? I thought he'd be here by now."
They were interrupted by a messenger. "Two things, sir, one; Snoops confirm target is not located in this building. Two; Communication from Frozone indicates positive ID of target. Sir." He finished his rapid fire report, saluted and fell into a parade rest stance.
After a few seconds Bob grabbed him and yelled, "Well?"
Confused and a bit frightened, the messenger choked out, "Well what? Sir."
"Where the hell is my wife?"
Dash moved forward silently. From the open door he could hear a high pitched cackling and an occasional muffled word. Thinking that the lunatic must have gagged his mom led his too active imagination down the wrong path. Abandoning any pretense of stealth he accelerated quickly toward the room. Violet, caught off guard, lost control of the force field and dropped both the protective sphere and their camouflage. A high pitched scream came from the room as she tried desperately to regain her balance and follow her brother in. By the time she got there, the screams had subsided. She needn't have approached cautiously. Inside the room were several bums, gathered around a barrel fire. They were all looking at her brother in astonishment. He was kneeling over an unconscious form.
"What happened?" she demanded.
"I didn't do anything! He just fainted when I came in, honest!"
"Did you see anyone else here?" she asked Dash.
"Nah, just these guys," Dash said with a vague wave of his hand toward the group gathered around the room.
"Like I said, when I came in, this guy fainted and I asked him..." he pointed to someone on the other side of the barrel.
"I'm a woman."
Dash gaped. "Really?"
"That's not important." Violet said impatiently. "Where's mom?"
"She's not here. He… I mean… she, said they've all been hiding here for a couple of days. Mom's not here!" Dash was interrupted by the radio Violet was carrying.
"We've intercepted a communication from Frozone to The Agency's coordinator. Elastigirl has been located and identification is positive." On her way to the location, Violet asked one of the security men to bring blankets and some food to the bums her brother had just about scared to death. She figured it was the least she could do.
Helen bit her lip, trying to keep from crying out in pain as she stretched once more. Her head was throbbing painfully and she was pretty sure she'd just bitten through her lower lip but she told herself firmly that it would take only one more push and she'd out of her bonds. She ignored the small voice in the back of her head that insisted on reminding her that she'd thought the same thing the last three times she'd stretched. This time she was certain it would only take one more effort. Ignoring the shooting pain in her skull and the taste of blood in her mouth, she stretched once more and was finally rewarded with a free hand. Her relief was so great; she couldn't keep from letting out a small shout of triumph. She bit it off and suppressed it as soon as she could but the damage was done. Skippy burst into the room and ran a critical eye over her.
"What was that?" he demanded. He looked around suspiciously and moved toward her.
She quickly hid the slack of the rope inside her hands and groaned. "I… I tried to stretch and… it hurt…" she said in a whimper, keeping an eye on him, hoping she wasn't overdoing the acting. Actually, she didn't have to do too much acting. Her head was really hurting.
He let out a sniveling giggle and leaned down to put his face just a few millimeters from her's. "Try it again, bitch and it'll hurt even worse." He straightened up and turned away, still laughing. Helen threw the rope around his neck and, ignoring her own stabbing pain, climbed onto his back. She tightened the rope around his neck and drove him into the ground, bearing down on the small of his back with her knee. She kept twisting the rope tighter and tighter until he passed out. Then she tied hogtied him and went in search of a phone and an aspirin, not necessarily in that order.
Invisigirl and Speedy arrived at the scene in spectacular fashion. About a block away, Dash had misjudged his speed over a dock ramp and they had ended up getting a lot more air than either one had been ready for. Violet was able to modify her force field and make it more bouncy but that just meant that they didn't have any control over where they were going. As a result, they ended up bouncing into the encampment of officers and landing right on top of one of The Agency's crack S.W.A.T. teams. For the second time in less than four hours, Violet found herself apologizing to an agent and adding up damages in her head. Fortunately, they were all professionals and they handled the disruption with a minimum of noise and fuss. The same could not be said for Mr. Incredible.
"What the hell are you doing?" he said through gritted teeth. "You're supposed to be back at headquarters out of sight in case this lunatic decides to blow us all to kingdom come as soon as he sees you!"
"I can stay out of sight if I have to," Violet practically yelled. "I know how to be discrete."
"Oh? Like falling out of the sky in a shimmering bubble and knocking over a whole S.W.A.T. team?"
"That's not fair, we were trying to get here and—"
Bob cut her off. "You're putting everyone in danger by being here."
"And you're putting everyone in danger with your big mouth! Keep your voice down."
Lucius stepped between them. "Bob… Violet… both of you calm down."
"You stay out of this, Lou. You've got no idea what it's like to watch your kid throw away her life with bad decisions."
"I've made some pretty good decisions over the last few months without your help."
"Good decisions like shacking up with Mirage?"
"What's your problem with her, dad?"
"I'm sure you think the two of you are good friends but she's using you! She's gotten inside your head and turned you…" His voice trailed off.
"Turned me what?"
Bob didn't answer. He wouldn't even meet her eyes.
"Turned me what? Is that what this is all about? I'm gay? She didn't turn me gay, dad. That's not how it works. We talked about this at dinner yesterday; you said you were OK with it."
"I am!" He said hastily, "OK… I'm not! You're my little girl. I'm supposed to be protecting you from boys. I don't know what to say to your girlfriend!"
"You could start by saying 'hi.'" Mirage's voice came from behind him.
"Oh, great! How long have you been standing there?"
"Well, I'm not taking back anything I said. I meant it all."
Violet poked him in the chest. "You're going to apologize to her right this instant!"
"The hell I will!"
Lucius tried one more time. "Aren't you two forgetting something?"
"What?" They snapped at him.
"Is this a private argument or can anyone join in?"
"Helen!" "Mom!" Helen stood unsteadily near the entrance to the building she had recently been held prisoner in.
"We were coming to rescue you…" Violet said as she ran to her mother.
"I got tired of waiting so I rescued myself." She welcomed Violet's embrace and a smile lit her face. She winced when Dash plowed into her, but put her arm around him too. "Careful," she admonished him, "that lunatic did something to me, and I'm not feeling too good right now." Bob picked them all up gently and carried them away from the building to the triage tent.
"We were just getting ready to come in and…"
"I could see that." She said with a wry smile and a cocked eyebrow. But the tenderness with which she touched his cheek took the sting out of her words. She found Rick with her eyes. "Your prodigal son is on the second floor near the north end of the building. I didn't touch any of the stuff he had rigged up. I wasn't sure what most of it—" Her voice cut off when she spotted Mirage. "What the hell is she doing here?"
From her vantage point outside the medical area, Mirage watched as three agents muscled the struggling form of Skippy Johnson into the paddy wagon. He shouted and cursed them all, going on about complacency in the face of evil and bringing down the righteous wrath of god on all heathens. He tried desperately to get away, twisting and turning, searching his surroundings with his eyes, trying to find some means of escape. When he saw Violet, he stopped screaming and struggling. He was quiet for a moment and then began laughing. It wasn't the laugh of a madman; it was a laugh of relief. As though a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he had found peace. He raised his face toward the sky and started yelling, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
Mirage watched him intently. He seemed to be looking back and forth between the building and Violet. As he continued quoting from Genesis she grabbed Dicker's arm. "We have to get everyone out of here!"
"Helen needs medical attention and we need—"
"—to get everyone as far away from here as possible! Don't you see?" She pointed at the ranting man. "He's playing for time… As soon as he saw Violet, he started this long-winded diatribe." Frustrated, she grabbed the aging man and shouted at him. "He's talking about mass destruction!"
Realization dawned on him. "You're right." Moving faster than she thought possible for a man of his age and demeanor, Rick began rounding up his troops. "Every body move out! Fall back to the outer perimeter and clear that building!"
The words were barely out of his mouth when the warehouse exploded.
Bob swatted aside several large hunks of detritus and piled a couple of rescue vehicles on top of each other to shield the triage area. Then, with a glance at Helen to make sure she was all right, headed out into the maelstrom to help where he could. Violet initially tried to put up a field around the entire building, but she wasn't able to contain the blast, so she set to deflecting debris or encapsulating people who were in danger. Within seconds, the main danger had passed and they fell into a search and rescue routine with Speedy finding victims and Mr. Incredible digging them out while Invisigirl provided extra support to areas under threat of collapse.
"Two more right here!" Speedy called.
"What do you think, Sweetie?" Bob asked Violet as they surveyed the pile. It was nearly fifteen feet high and looked unstable.
"Looks like most of the weight is supported on that beam right there, I'll brace it from this side, when you take that out… It should divert any loose rubble off to that side and I can probably hold it up for a good thirty seconds."
"Plenty of time for me to get in and get them out. Speedy, get two oxygen masks and let the medics know where these guys are." As Dash sped off, Bob turned back to Violet. "Ready?"
"Ready to die!" Skippy Johnson emerged from behind an overturned car. He pointed a clear glass rod at her and a beam shot out.
Mirage shook with frustration. The problem with being blonde and beautiful was that no one seemed to take her seriously. By the time she finally got the message through Dicker's thick skull it was too late. The building exploded and she dived behind Mr. Incredible as he worked to protect his wife from the flying debris. She narrowly avoided getting her head smashed in by a flying cinderblock but didn't move fast enough to keep from getting her arm slashed open when a piece of plate glass spun by her. She turned toward the medical area but thought she saw someone skulking behind a partially downed wall. She shook off the attending medic and looked around for Skippy and his escort. She couldn't find either.
Realizing there was no one attending the psychopath, she began running around trying to find him. No one else seemed to be interested in the prisoner or in good enough shape to do anything about him, if they were interested. She finally spotted him sneaking around behind some overturned cars. He looked like he was stalking something. When she heard Violet's voice coming from the direction he was looking she began running as fast as she could.
Suddenly he stood up and pointed a glass rod at Violet. "Ready to die!" he shouted.
"No!" Mirage screamed and threw herself in front of Violet. She grabbed her and tried to push her out of the way. Pain seared through her back and legs. She looked up into Violet's face and saw fear.
Violet instinctively threw up a force field, but somehow, the energy from Johnson's weapon penetrated her shield and struck Mirage. It flowed right through her force field and through the blonde woman and into her chest. Gasping, she shot out a solid force into the rogue agent's chest, knocking him off balance. The pain mercifully stopped and she looked down into Mirage's eyes and saw the life draining out of them.
When Mirage opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was Helen Parr. She closed her eyes again. She wasn't sure exactly what she'd done wrong in her life, but she was pretty sure she'd been sent to hell. It didn't sound like hell, though. It sounded like a hospital room. It smelled like a hospital room too. Maybe she was in a hospital and just having a bad dream about Helen. She opened her eyes again, hoping to see something different, but was disappointed. A quick glance around, showed her that she was in a hospital room, and Helen was in it with her. The woman didn't seem to be injured. She was wearing street clothes and sitting in a visitor's chair. Mirage tried to tell her to get out of her room, but no sound came out of her mouth.
The voice was different. She sounded concerned and somehow contrite. Mirage worried about what was going on, she wanted to call the nurse, there was obviously something wrong with her medication. She tried to call for the nurse but, again, nothing came out.
"Don't try to talk." The voice was still filled with concern. She was feeling more awake now. But she couldn't shake the feeling of wrongness. Why wouldn't her voice work? What hospital was this? Why was Helen acting nice? Mirage tried to get up but her body wouldn't respond properly. She felt panic rising in her chest.
"They've got a nerve block on you. There was extensive damage to your back and legs, but you're going to make it." There was relief in the woman's voice now and she was advancing on the bed. Mirage was panicking; her eyes darted around the room trying to find an escape route. Suddenly the blonde woman found herself encased in a heartfelt embrace. Something warm and wet was dripping on her neck and she realized Helen was hugging her and crying.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. The embrace was strong now, with a slight tremor. Mirage decided she really needed a nurse now. Helen had obviously gone off the deep end.
Helen released Mirage and pulled back to look at her. Her green eyes were wide and full of fear and confusion. "Do you remember what happened?"
Mirage shook her head.
"Skippy tried to fry Violet with some super weapon they had at The Agency and you protected her."
Mirage looked around frantically.
"Don't worry. She'll be fine," Helen said soothingly. "You're going to be all right too, even though you took the main brunt of the blast. Violet got some of it, but you took most of it. You lost a lot of blood… uh… fortunately there was a donor with your blood type nearby..."
Mirage looked at her sharply, sensing there was more to it than that, but unable to speak or even move her arms. She looked around again, this time more slowly and pointedly.
"Violet's upstairs." Mirage's face must have given away her distrust because Helen continued. "You saved Violet's life. No matter what I think of you, no matter what our past, I… It's not about me. It's about Violet." Helen turned away, unsuccessfully trying to hide her tears. "Look," she finally said. "Now that you're awake, they're going to come in here and throw a battery of tests at you. When they're done, Violet will be allowed to come in and see you. I pulled some strings to get them to let me thank you in private for saving my little girl's life." She started crying again and hurried out of the room. As soon as the door closed behind her it opened again and for the next hour, people in scrubs came in and took samples of her blood and hair and saliva and other things she didn't want to think about. They poked her with sharp things and hit her lightly with dull things. They shined lights in various cavities and exchanged meaningful glances with each other. There was a lot of "hmm"ing and a few arched eyebrows, one snort and possibly a cough or two. Finally one of the doctors stood next to her and gave her his full attention.
"We're really happy with your progress Ms. Mera. You're recovering nicely and we should be able to remove the nerve block and restore you to full mobility within the next twenty-four to thirty-six hours." He smiled and jumped up. There was another flurry activity and for a short time it seemed as though every doctor and nurse in the hospital was in her room. Then, suddenly, they all filed out and against the wall was… It was she! Mirage's heart leaped in her chest and she wanted to jump out of bed and run to her.
Instead the dark-haired beauty glided across the floor and, eschewing the visitor's chair, sat down on the bed next to her. "Rick told me about the deal they had offered you and the leverage they used to make you to accept it. He also told me how you called him up yesterday and told him you weren't going to do it." She reached out and lightly touched the blonde woman's cheek. "I'm sorry I doubted you." Violet gently embraced her and instantly Mirage felt that all was right. Violet made to get off the bed and move to the chair but Mirage shook her head.
"You want me to stay here?" the girl asked. "Are you sure it won't be too uncomfortable?" With a smile, she curled up next to the blonde and within minutes the dark-haired girl was snoring lightly. Mirage wanted to stroke her head but her arms still weren't working correctly. She settled for rubbing her cheek against the girl's hair. Most of the night's events were still a blur. She tried to sort it all out but couldn't really get a handle on anything. Every time she tried to go through what had happened, it got all mixed up. Finally, she just closed her eyes and inhaled the younger woman's scent. Tomorrow was time enough to sort out the past. Right now, she had love and companionship. Everything else was inconsequential.
Next Time: There is no next time! This is the end! (I know I said that after chapter 9, but this time I really mean it.) This has been a fun and interesting exploration of the Incredibles' universe for me. I hope that you all enjoyed the ride and that it wasn't too bumpy for you. I'd love to hear what you thought of this tale and which parts you either enjoyed the most or could have done without. Drop me a review or visit my profile page for more information about how to contact me.
Thanks for reading,
Author's Note: I'd like to thank the people who supported me while I wrote this. Notably, King in Yellow, who pushed me to expand the horizon and then go to it. EagleRay, who never failed to provide support and encouragement when I felt like I might falter. Rack, who went through everything with a fine-toothed comb to help me make it readable. And to everyone who responded with reviews or e-mails, especially the ones that pointed out my mistakes. Without all of you, this story would have been much different and nowhere near as good.
Author's Note 2.0:There is now a sequel. (I know that a paragraph ago I said this was the end but I'm pretty sure I didn't really mean it.) It's called "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" and it can be found right here on ffnet in the Incredibles' section.