Violet woke up alone.

Normally this wasn't an issue since until recently used been used to waking up alone. Her last boyfriend had been a super, and they lived much too different lives for either of them to even think of spending the night.

Violet yawned and stretched her hand out across the bed where Buddy should have been. The sheets still were warm. A peak at the red LED clock digits told her it was four am. For a moment she considered going back to sleep by her curiously and the health paranoia that all good supers had led her to rise from the bed. A quick pillage in one of Buddy's drawers rewarded her with a large t-shirt that she slipped over her head. It hung down over her knees.

She yawned against and stretched her arms over heard as she padded barefoot down the hall. She had a good idea where Buddy was. If she'd learned anything from the last few weeks was that Buddy was a workaholic. He was probably in his office, either because he'd gotten an idea that he just had to put on paper (but personally, she'd be more than happy for him to trace schematics on her with his tongue again) or because he just couldn't sleep.

She wasn't sure which of them was more nervous about going to her parents, her or him. Maybe he was right, it was crazy and what if they just didn't accept it. Would she be forced to choose between her family and helping Buddy protect Robin? She refused to think of it as choosing between Buddy and her family -- it made her stomach flip and her heart hurt.

Rounding the corner, she heard voicing coming from the office. She recognized Buddy, but not the other. Turning herself invisible as she crept closer.

"Come now, Buddy, be reasonable. I made you a very wealthy man," a deep male voice was an English accent was saying. There was distortion to it, making her suspect the man wasn't actually in the room. "And you were like a son to me."

Violet crept closer and slipped in through the door. A section of the wall was open revealing a screen, a grey haired man with a strong jaw and a patch over his left eye. Xerek.

"Xerek, I will never work for you again," Buddy snapped. "Nothing you can say will persuade me to change my mind. It didn't last time you asked, it won't this time."

Xerek laughed. "My, you sound just like a certain little boy I once knew. So sure, that he wasn't going to help a villain like me. He changed his tune very quickly," Xerek told him, stippling his fingers. "And besides, Pine, it would be a shame if something happened to that sweet little girl of yours. How old is she now? Five? Six?"

"You'll never get your hands on her," Buddy growled.

"Oh please, you're being to sound like one of those damn heroes. They're always sprouting such nonsense. "You'll never get away with this", "I'll stop you, you fiend", "Stop you're killing me"," he shook his head. "So very boring. I don't know why you're being so stubborn about this, and things will go much better for you and your daughter if you simple come back on your own. I promise little Robin will receive the best education, I'll treat her as my granddaughter."

"Like you treated me as your son?" Buddy threw back. "No thank you."

"Planning on your pet super to save her and you?" Xerek laughed. "Oh, yes, I know all about your pretty little super. Does she know who you used to be? I'd be more than happy to let you keep her. I know female supers can be very…appealing."

Violet let herself become visible. "I know exactly who he used to be," she snapped. "And you'll never touch Robin."

Buddy head jerked in her direction, eyes wide and terrified for a brief moment, before he schooled his features.

"Very nice, Buddy," Xerek leered. "I can see why you like her. I do hope you remember what I taught you about sharing…"

Buddy made a wordless sound of fury.

"Oh I see you do, I'm going to look forward to seeing just how spirited she is," Xerek said as he laughed.

"You won't see anything," Violet told him raising her chin. "Because he isn't going to work for you again, and if you try to take Robin, will stop you."

Xerek grinned widely. "I look forward to meeting you, my dear." Then the screen went blank.

Violet snorted. "Okay could he sound more like a Bond villain, or what?"

Buddy crossed the room and had her by the shoulders. "Why did you let him see you?" he demanded furiously. "Did you hit your head or are you just that stupid?" He shook her slightly.

"Buddy! He already knew about me," she protested pushing against his chest. She ignored his insult, even though it stung. He didn't mean it. He was just upset; angry…she looked up into his blue eyes…

"But now he knows what you look like…he could…he could…" Buddy voice dropped to a whisper and his arms fell to his sides.

He was scared.

"He's not," she told him firmly. "I'm a super. I can take care of myself." She assured him, and wrapped her arms around him.

Buddy crushed her against his chest. "I can't protect both you and Robin," he whispered, she could feel his hand tremble in her hair.

"You don't have to," she told him standing up on her tiptoes to kiss him. "I can protect myself, trust me." If he didn't trust her, this wouldn't work, no matter how much they wanted it.

"Vi," his voice was so soft she could barely hear him. "I do trust you." He kissed her back.

"And I trust you," she told him gently. "Now come back to bed. Morning will be here soon enough. We'll both call our contacts, we'll go see E, then my family."

Buddy rolled his eyes. "Oh, yeah, that's reassuring. Should I tell you what I want on my tombstone now and go ahead and make my will up?"

She smacked his arm. "My father isn't going to kill you."

"Hey, it's your mother you told me to be scared of!" he snickered.

"If they tag team you, then be worried," she told him with a smile.

Buddy laughed, his eyes were still haunted but he was trying. Their fingers tangled together as they walked down the hall and back to bed.


Kathryn Dicker put her feet on her desk and she thumbed through some reports. With Vi out of town, she hadn't had much to do. Sure, she still had Henry to deal with.

And she'd probably just jinxed herself. "God, I need a cigarette," she muttered at the ceiling tiles, contemplating escaping through the air ducts.

Her cell phone rang and she snagged it off the desk, pushing some of her pink hair out of her eyes before she answer. "Kat Dicker, whadya want?"

"God, Kat, do you always answer so professionally?" Violet voice laughed from the other end.

Kat laughed leaning back more in her chair. "When it's my cell, yes. You think I give this number to everyone?"

"You gave it to me and you probably gave it to Henry," Violet pointed out.

"I've known you since we were kids and Henry only knows the number because…I really don't want to explain to the higher ups why I'm getting twenty calls in an hour from one of my supers. Because they aren't going to understand why he got last two blocks from his apartment," Kat snorted. "Now you want to tell me where the hell you've been? You dropped off the freaking radar after you fought the Wizard of the East, oh and thank you ever much for fighting someone with that name. You have no idea how many Oz jokes I've had to suffer through."

"It's not like I picked his name for him," Violet sighed.

Kat slid her feet off the desk and sighed. "Vi, where have you been? I've been fending off both our fathers, and your cryptic little emails haven't been helping. If you were meeting your boyfriend someplace you could have given me the heads up, so I wouldn't be back here scrambling to figure out who that other super was."

"He isn'---wasn't my boyfriend and it's complicated, Kat. Okay? Just, I'll give you the answers you want when I get back stateside. But I need a favor."

"And I need a cigarette." Kat countered, she fished a small device out of her pocket and activated it. They'd have at least ten minutes before someone noticed they couldn't get sound in her office.

"Kathryn, please, this is important," Violet snapped. "You're the only one I can go to with this okay?"

Kat sighed again and rubbed the bridge of her nose. She should have listened to her mother and gone into something less stressful, like teaching high school. "What do you need?"

"I need you to not notice when I get back tomorrow, and not notice the very alive corpse that's going to be with me," Violet said softly. "Give me long enough to talk to my parents without the NSA barging in, okay?"

"Son of bitch," Kat swore. "You suck! You suck, Violet. When I got the description, of both the type of powers and what he looked like…I thought, nah, man's been dead for years and…damnit Vi!"

"I didn't know until he saved me, Kat!" Violet told her. "And how did you know about him to start with?"

"You're one of my supers. It's my job to know who you've fought against. Do you have any idea what you're asking me to do, Vi? I don't care if he rescues kittens from trees and takes in orphans, we're talking about Syndrome. A man that wiped out a quarter of the supers and…" Kat made herself take a breath. "Do you know what you're asking me to do? To you know what you're doing?"

"You got the orphan part right," Violet said with a laugh that sounded rather forced.

"Vi, please." Kat rested her elbow on the desk and her forehead on her hand.

"No, but I think I love him," Violet whispered. "He just wants to protect his kid. I trust him. I wouldn't ask this if I didn't."

Kat didn't say anything for a long moment. This was going to blow up in their faces, she just knew it. "Alright, but keep me posted okay."

"I will," Violet promised. "Uhm, so how is Henry?"

"He's…he's had a good week. No big panic attacks, no flash backs, no forgetting where he is and what he was doing," Kat closed her eyes for a moment. "A good week. Look a pleasant as this is, and as much as I love you. I'm hanging up on you now."

"I'll call you," Violet promised.

"You'd better, I know where you live," Kat said before hanging up.

Kat groaned and hit her head against the desk. "I need my head examined," she muttered. She pulled open the drawer of her desk and fished out a box of cigarettes. Getting to her feet, she headed towards the door.

She hit the door out to the courtyard harder than she needed to and stood just outside the door. It was pouring down rain, and she wished she'd grabbed her jacket. She lit up and took the first long drag.

"Your mother would have a fit if you saw you," a voice came from behind her.

Kat blew out the smoke. "Hi, to you too, dad."

Rick Dicker sighed and leaned against the door. "You've got to stop, Kathryn."

"What smoking?" Kat leaned against the wall.

"You know what I'm talking about, you lady. Which one of your supers was it?" he asked.

Kat looked sideways at her father. "I'm not going to tell you that, you realize. Though I'm sure you could guess if you gave it a shot."

Rick watched his daughter for a long moment, and then sighed. "Kathryn, I know she's your friend but you can only go to the wall for them so much."

"Is that what they used to tell you about Mr. Incredible?" Kat asked softly.

He chuckled then reached out and patted her cheek fondly. "Are you coming home for dinner tomorrow? Your mother would like to see you."

Kat shrugged. "Probably. Henry might be with me, is that alright?"

"You don't listen to me at all do you?" He patted her cheek again. "Try to have those reports done sometime today."

"I promise nothing," Kat told him, dropping her cigarette and putting it out with her boot.


Violet stared at the phone dreading the next call she was going to have to make.

To her mother.

She sat down on her bed…well her old bed…she slept in Buddy's bed for the most part now. She picked up the phone again and started to dial with shaky fingers.

"Hi, mom?"

"Violet! Sweetie, we've been worried about you, why haven't you called?" Helen asked her.

Violet sighed in relief that her mother just seemed slightly worried, not we're sending out search teams worried. "Yeah, sorry about that, I didn't mean to be out of touch so long. Some things sort of…uhm…came up."

"Are you going to be home soon?" Helen asked, and Violet could tell by the tone that her mother wanted to know what those 'things' were.

"Tomorrow actually," Violet told her. "That's part of why I called. Someone is going to be coming with me over to the house, well two someones'. "

There was a slight pause on the other end of the phone. "You're brining someone home with you?"

"It's a long story, mom. I just wanted to give you the heads up and…mom could I ask a big favor?" Violet asked carefully.

"Violet Parr, who is it?" Helen asked her daughter firmly.

"He's a good guy, mom. I promise. I just need you to promise that you and dad won't overreact. That you'll hear us out and all, okay?" Violet half pleaded.

"Who is it, Violet?" Helen asked again. "And why would we 'overreact' if he's such a good guy?"

Violet wanted to bang her head against something. "Mom will you just trust me? I wouldn't bring anyone to the house that I thought would be a danger."

"Violet, you haven't called in weeks and you've barely said anything in your emails," Helen pointed out to her daughter. "And now suddenly you want to bring someone home that you think me and daddy will overreact to? Think of how that sounds to me."


"Violet," Robin called skipping into the room. "It's stopped raining, come play with me!" the little girl, climbed up on the bed beside her.

Violet affectionately ruffed Robin's pigtails. "I will when I get off the phone with my mom, Robin," she promised.

"Violet, why did that just sound like a little girl in the room with you?" Helen asked.

"Because it is," Violet sighed. "Her name is Robin and she's five. She'll be coming with us tomorrow. You'll love her mom."

There was almost an audibly sound of relief in Helen's voice as she spoke next. "You've met someone and you're afraid we won't approve. Violet the way you were talking…"

Robin crawled up into Violet's lap. "Can I say hi?"

"Here, mom, Robin wants to say hi," Violet quickly said, holding the phone up to Robin's ear and mouth.

"Hi Violet's mom," Robin said cheerfully. "We're gonna come visit tomorrow, did Violet tell you?"

Violet really wished she could hear what her mother was saying, but it obvious wasn't upsetting Robin.

"Uh-huh, she plays the best games, and me and daddy really like her," Robin said with a nod. "Okay, bye." She looked up at Violet. "She wants to talk to you again," she told Violet.

"Hi again, mom," Violet said hesitantly, wondering what her mother would say.

"Sweetie, you know we wouldn't dislike someone just because they already have a child," Helen told her.

Violet looked down at Robin and stroked her hair. "It's not quite that simple," she sighed then covered the mouthpiece with her hand. "Robin, I'll come get you in a minute, I need to talk to my mom in private. Okay?"

Robin pouted but jumped down off the bed. "Promise?"

"Promise," Violet told her, watching as she left. "Mom, you still there?"

"I'm still here," Helen told her daughter. "Now why isn't it that simple? Is he a super?"

Violet tugged at her hair nervously. "No, but Robin is," she admitted. "It's just… he's a "good guy" now, for the most part, but he hasn't always been. I don't want you, well, I don't want daddy to not give him a chance."

"You aren't going to tell me who he is, are you?" Helen almost sounded disappointed and that hurt Violet more than she wanted to admit.

"No," Violet said softly. "I'm not, but not because I don't trust you. Someone is after Robin to use against him, and I'm not jeopardizing her safety."

"Vi, honey," Helen voice had grown soft. "Do you love this man?"

Violet inhaled sharply. "I…I don't know. I love Robin," she lay back on the bed looking up at the ceiling. "It's…complicated, but I trust him."

Helen was quiet for a long time and Violet was almost afraid that she'd hung up. "I'll talk to your father and try to get him to promise not to overreact to your guest. I just wish you'd tell me who it is."

Violet bit her bottom lip. "Promise not to tell daddy?"


"No, mom. Promise me." Violet insisted.

Helen sighed loudly. "Alright. I promise I won't tell Bob."

"Buddy Pine," Violet said softly. "It's Buddy Pine."

There the sound of the phone hitting something and then there was no response on the other end.

"Mom?" Violet asked. "Momma?"

"You can't be serious, Violet. If this is a joke…" Helen sounded…Violet couldn't remember the last time her mother had sounded this way.

"It's not," Violet whispered her face growing wet. "He isn't the same. He's changed so much. He worships the ground Robin walks on…if you saw him with her you'd know he's changed. He saved my life."

"Oh, baby," Helen whispered into the phone. She was quiet again for so long, Violet started panicking. "I trust your judgment. I can't say I trust….him…but I trust you."

"Thank you, momma," Violet whispered back. "I love you."

"I love you too, Violet," Helen told her sincerely. "I guess we'll see you tomorrow then."

"Yeah, uhm, I'll call before we get there," Violet said. "Thank you."

After they'd said their goodbyes, Violet finally hung up the phone. She lay there for a moment still blinking back tears.

"Violet?" Robin asked crawling back up on the bed. "You okay?"

Violet opened her eyes and tried to smile. "I'm sorry, Robin, took longer than I thought."

"S'okay," Robin curled up next to her. "Why you sad? Did your mommy make you sad?"

"I'm not sad, Robin," Violet assured her, stroking the small child's back. "People cry for lots of reasons, not always because they're sad or hurt."

"Oh," Robin said though it didn't sound like she understood.

Violet kept stroking her back, until Robin started to drift asleep. Her mother's question wouldn't leave her alone. Did she love him?

Did she love Buddy Pine?

"Hey," Buddy voice came from the doorway, soft as not to wake Robin. "How'd the calls go?"

Violet tried to give him a brave smile but it trembled around the edges. "Kat will help, but she's not thrilled with me."

Buddy walked over and sat down beside her, then stretched out so he was half lying next to her. "And your mom?" he asked softly, tracing his fingers down her jaw.

"Well as can be expected," Violet told him and had to blink back tears again.

He leaned over and kissed her. "You don't have to do this, Violet," he told her softly. His eyes were so blue as he looked at her.

Violet turned her head and pressed her face against his chest. She felt his arms go around her and closed her eyes. "Just hold me. Please."

Buddy kissed the top of her head and did just that.


"Are you ready for this?" Buddy asked Violet as they pulled up in front of her parents' house.

Violet shook her head. "No, but we're here," she told him, putting on a brave smile. "And how badly can my dad overreact anyways?"

Buddy raised an eyebrow.

She made a face at him. "It'll be fine," she insisted leaning across the car to kiss him briefly.

Robin giggled from the back seat. She was buckled up in a child safety seat, holding her teddy bear in her lap. "Are we gonna sit in the car all day?"

"Yes," Buddy declared. "It's safer."

Violet smacked his arm lightly and unbuckled her seat belt. "Come on, they're probably wondering why we're sitting out here."

"Fear," Buddy pointed out. "And a sense of self preservation."

Violet poked him in the chest. "Then you'll get out of the car," she told him sweetly. She got out of the passenger side of the car and opened the backdoor to undo Robin from the car seat. She was trying to act as if this was just a normal visit but her insides where doing flips and she didn't have a clue how this would go.

Robin scrambled out of her car seat and up into Violet's arms. They were really going to have to stop carrying her so much, Violet thought to herself. "Am I gonna meet your brothers too?" Robin asked.

"Maybe not Dash, but you'll get to meet Jack-Jack. Maybe you'll get to play with him, he's just a few years older than you," Violet told her, before she put the little girl on the ground.

Robin skipped around the car and grabbed Buddy's hand. She peered up at the worried expression on her father's face. "Don't be scared, Daddy. I'm here."

Violet watched Buddy smiled at Robin reassuringly, but she could see that he was scared. Violet walked around and slid her hand into Buddy's. "Come on, like I said my mom's the scary one."

Buddy squeezed her hand gently. "She can't possibly be scarier than you."

"Ha, ha, very funny," Violet snorted, taking comfort in their banter as they approached the door. Her heart felt like it would beat out of her chest, and why did she think this was a good idea?

The door opened before she could knock, and Violet really wasn't prepared for the look on her mother's face. Or the way she looked at Buddy. "Hi mom," Violet said trying to smile.

"Hi!" Robin chirped with a giant smile.

Helen seemed taken aback for a moment then smiled at the little girl. Violet almost sighed in relief. She knew whatever her mother might think of Buddy that at least she'd like Robin.

"You must be Robin," Helen said, bending down slightly.

Robin nodded. "It's very nice to meet you, Violet's mommy," she lisped. "This is my daddy."

Buddy didn't smile but nodded respectful. "Mrs. Parr," he said as way of greeting. "If you're going to punch me I'd really rather you didn't do it in front of Robin."

Helen looked at Violet then back at Buddy and sighed. "I'm not going to punch you, but don't mistake that for trusting you," she told him. "Come in, Bob's in the living room."

"Did you tell him anything, mom?" Violet asked as they stepped inside.

Helen gave her a sharp look. "Other than to keep him temper, no."

Buddy looked decidedly uncomfortable, and Violet squeezed his right hand, even knowing he really couldn't feel it.

"Bob," Helen said. "Violet and her guests are here."

Violet braced herself for her father's reaction, expecting the room to erupt into angry yelling. She was terrified. This was worse than facing any villain, because this was her father and she cared what he thought.

The look on her father's face when he saw Buddy and knew…Violet felt a wave of nausea and started talking before her father could open his mouth. "Dad," she managed to keep her voice calm. "I--well I think you already know Buddy, but this is Robin. His daughter."

Buddy had a protective hand on his daughter's shoulder keeping her close to him. "I'm not here as a threat," Buddy said softly.

Robin looked confused by the body language of the grownups and looked up at her father then at Bob, who was staring at Robin as if he'd never seen a child before. "Are you Violet's daddy?"

Bob seemed thrown for a moment and managed a nod. "I am," he told her.

Violet swallowed hard and looked from her father to Buddy. Her father looked like he wanted to tear into Buddy, and Buddy looked…resigned. "Mom is Jack-Jack home?" she asked, looking at her mother pleadingly. She gave a slight nod at Robin.

Helen caught her daughters meeting. No talking would actually happen with Robin in the room. "He is," Helen said walking over to Robin. "Robin would you like to meet Violet's brother? He's just a few years older than you?"

"Can I, daddy?" Robin asked.

Buddy looked reluctant to let Robin out of his sight but smiled and nodded. "If you want to, Ro'."

Violet watched her mother led Robin down the hall and relaxed slightly.

"Violet, I can't believe you brought him here," Bob said in a low disappointed voice. "How could you betray your own family like this?"

Her gaze jerked back at to her father. "Daddy, please," Violet protested. "You promised you'd hear us out."

Bob crossed his arms glaring at her and Buddy's joined hands. "That's before I knew that you'd lost your mind! What were you thinking Violet? Did you forget everything we taught you?"

"Daddy…" Violet felt her eyes grow wet.

"Did he give you some line about being reformed? Or did you just sell us out completely? I don't even think I know you!" Bob voice got louder and louder.

Violet blinked hard, trying to come up with the words to stop her father's tirade. She knew he was just angry and didn't mean it but it hurt. It hurt so much.

Suddenly Buddy was physically between her and her father. "Don't talk to her like that! You want to yell at someone, yell at me. But leave her alone, the only thing she did wrong was actually believing you'd listen to us!"

Bob crossed the room until he and Buddy were face to face. "What did you do to her? Brainwash her? Threaten that little girl you claim is your daughter?" Bob turned his head and looked a Violet. "What did he do to you, Violet?"

"Nothing! Dad, please!" Violet pleaded feeling helpless. "He didn't do anything to me."

"Nothing she didn't like at least," Buddy smirked.

Violet could have smacked him herself, but Bob had him by the neck and slammed him into a wall.

"Bob!" Helen angry voice came from behind them. "You promised to keep your temper!"

"Did you know she was bringing him?" Bob demanded.

"Oh for the love of god, Bob. Put the boy down and have some trust in our daughter," Helen snapped.

Violet held her breath until her father had released Buddy. She hurried over to him, sliding an arm around him. "You okay?"

Buddy nodded. "You were right, your mother is the scary one," he told her softly.

Bob ran a hand over his head, looking from his wife to Violet in exasperation. "Has everyone in this family lost their minds?"

"I told you he wouldn't listen," Buddy muttered. "Come on Violet, we don't need their help."

Helen scowled. "Robert Parr, so help me you will sit down and you will listen to him and to your daughter."

Bob looked at Violet and his face softened slightly. "Vi, honey, it's not that I don't trust you. I don't trust him. Look whatever he's done to you, we'll fix it."

"My feelings for Buddy are not something that needs to be fix," Violet spat at him. The hurt of her father's mistrust was quickly turning to rage. "If you won't hear us out or help us, then we'll leave."

"He's a monster, Violet. He tried to kill you, your mother, and your brother!" Bob yelled, throwing his arms up."He's a cold-blooded mass-murdering psychopath!"

The sound of a sob from the hallway doorway drew everyone attention.

Robin stood there, tears streaming down her face. Seven-year-old Jack-Jack stood behind her. "She heard everyone yelling…," the boy said looking distressed.

"Robin," Buddy said softly walking over to his daughter. He knelt down and held out a hand to her. "It's okay."

Robin hiccupped out another sob. "Is it true?" she asked. "Did you---did you do those things? Did you hurt people?"

Violet could only watch the anguish on Buddy's face as he nodded. "I did," he whispered.

Robin took a step back from him shaking her head. "I--I thought you helped people like Violet does--I hate you!" she sobbed. "I hate you!" She turned on her heel and ran down the hallway.

Buddy just stayed where he was, looking like someone had plunged a knife into his chest.

Violet didn't look at her parents. If she looked at her father she might exploded at him. Might say something she'd regret. "Buddy," Violet said softly kneeling down beside him. "I'll go talk to her, she didn't mean it. You know that."

His face was an unreadable mix of emotions when he looked up at her.

"I'll help you look for her, "Jack-Jack offered."I know all the best hiding places."

Violet was shocked to see her younger brother glare at their father. She got to her feet and walked down the hall with her brother to look for Robin.


Buddy chest felt like someone had cut his heart out and shoved it back in after stomping on it. He got to his feet, vaguely aware that Violet had gone to find Robin.

Someone touched his shoulder and he was surprised to see Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl, looking at him in sympathy. "Children see things as very black and white," she told him soft. "But she doesn't hate you." She headed down the hall as well.

Buddy looked over at Bob Parr, walked over to a chair, and sat down. "I guess this makes up even then, doesn't it Mr. Incredible?"

Bob sat down across from him after a moment. "Why do you say that?" He looked oddly guilty.

"I tried to take your son from you, and now you've taken my daughter from me. Makes us even, I'd think."

"Synd--Buddy," Bob started then sighed. "Is she really your daughter?"

Buddy shook his head. "Adopted, about three years ago. Doesn't mean I don't love her," he rested his head against the back of the chair. He'd hoped Violet had been right and he wouldn't have had to go through with his plan, but it looked like there was no other way. "I know you won't believe me but I do care about Violet."

Bob snorted. "I'm not sure you care about anything but yourself."

"Just get it over with and call the NSA," Buddy told him. "I'd rather not prolong that wait. And don't try to tell me you hadn't planned on it. We'll both know it's a lie."

Bob stared at him in shock. "You planned on it didn't you?"

Buddy shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not."He watched as the man he'd once idealized, the man he once hated, and couldn't find it in him to do either. Bob picked up the nearby phone and made the call.


Violet was holding a sleeping Robin. The girl had worn herself out with crying and Violet hadn't been able to do more than hold her. She was grateful to have her brother on her side. Jack-Jack had declared that he didn't care what their dad said, if she trusted Buddy Pine that was good enough for him. Violet had never loved her brother more than in that moment.

"Violet, honey, you'd better come here," Helen said from the doorway of Violet's old room. Violet jumped slightly, when had she fallen asleep?

Violet sat up slightly. "Mom? What's wrong?" There hadn't been any yelling from the living room and she'd hoped that her father and Buddy had actually talked. Robin was asleep beside her on the bed.

Helen walked over and sat down on the bed. "Your father called the NSA, Vi. They're here for Buddy."

"What? No!" Violet was on her feet before the words were out of her mouth. half ran down the hall and out the front door. She skidded to a stop, watching in horror as Buddy was being led away in retraining cuffs.

Her father was a short ways away watching.

She wanted to scream. This wasn't fair, she didn't even get to say good-bye and this wasn't fair! She must have made a sound because Buddy turned his head and was looking at her. He smiled at her.

Violet wanted to slap him. Why was he smiling? Why was he just letting them do this?

Most of the NSA agents were ignoring her and she took a step towards where Buddy was.

Two more cars pulled up outside her parents' house. Kat got out of the first one, to Violet surprised ignored Violet, and stalked across the lawn to the agents who had Buddy. "You boys are out of your jurisdiction," Kat said calmly, pulling out a badge. "We'll take it from here."

Rick Dicker exited from the second car, but Violet ignored him.

Violet couldn't hear what Kat was saying but her and the agents were arguing about something until Rick stepped in.

Violet's mother put a hand on her shoulder. "Violet, I'm sorry."

Violet opened her mouth but couldn't get the words past the lump in her throat.

"This might be for the best, honey," Helen tried to reassure her.

"How can you say that?" Violet asked, staring at her mother. "You don't even know what's at stake."

Kat approached them, nodding to Helen. "Mrs. Parr, I need to speak with Violet alone, please."

"I trusted you," Violet hissed at her friend before he mother had barely stepped away.

Kat gave her a disgusted look. "Don't even give me that shit, do you have any idea the amount of spin I had to put on all this. Or how much shit we're going to get for intervening like this? Not that we don't enjoy stealing the national branches fire."

Violet looked past Kat to where Buddy was being led to the back of one of the cars. She didn't understand why he was just letting them do this. With his zero-point energy controllers, he could easily get away. "I want to talk to him."

"You can't," Kat told her firmly, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Your best bet if you don't want to be hauled in as well is to go with what my report will say. That you lured him here so he could be captured." Kat's voice was pitched so just Violet could hear her.

"That's a lie," Violet protested.

Kat made a frustrated sound. "I know, but I'm trying to save your ass. And what's going to happen to the kid if they arrest you too?"

Violet blinked, she hadn't thought of that, she stroked Robin's hair. "Can't Robin say goodbye to him?"

Kat shook her head. "I'm sorry," she said looking distressed. "I tried Vi. I did, but I don't have much power in the agency. I'm just Rick Dicker's little girl to most of them. If your father hadn't called…"

Violet nodded, anger at her father building.

Kat pulled a cigarette out, rolling it over her fingers before finally lighting up. "You could have told me about Xerek. And don't ask how I figured it out, it took a lot of digging and I'm going to have to do a lot of very fancy footwork to keep this from blowing up in our faces."

"I'm not going to let him stay in prison," Violet hissed.

"Vi, has it occurred to you that he might want to be in prison?" Kat pointed out softly. "I've got to go back with them and you need to go deal with the kid. I'm going to do what I can, Vi, just don't do anything stupid in the next few days."

Violet watched Kat walk back to the cars and climb inside one. She couldn't even see Buddy because of the dark windows. This was her fault; she'd been so sure her father would listen. She'd risked everything on it.

As the cars drove away, Violet crossed her arms over her stomach. Slowly she turned back to the house, ignoring her father who attempted to reach out to her.

She had too much to think about to deal with him. Whether Buddy liked it or not, she wasn't going to let him rot in prison.

But first, she had to figure out how to talk to Robin.