A/N: This is me just barely sneaking this in under the wire. It has been nearly ONE YEAR since I last added a chapter to this story and I'm terribly disappointed with myself (not with this chapter, it's awesome, but with my woeful update speed for this story). I hope this chapter was worth the wait.
Disclaimer: I still don't own the Incredibles, just the idea for this story.
Violet woke up with twenty pounds of purring feline on her chest, sunlight streaming through the blinds, and a raging headache.
Her powers, unlike the powers of her family members, required intense mental concentration. Her force fields were created and maintained using only her mind; she had to decide on their purpose, their strength, their flexibility, their solidity and more, all of which required extreme mental effort. It had taken many years of painstaking training to make the shields an automatic response on the same instinctive level as her invisibility, so while they took less effort to call forth they still were a great strain to maintain and control for any extended periods of time. It was why she would briefly lose consciousness when her shields were broken; the shattering of her physically manifested mental energy would short-circuit her mind, leaving her unconscious and vulnerable. The upside of the force fields was their versatility and practical application, the downside was the rigorous training and mental strain. She'd overextended the use of her powers yesterday, pushed herself well beyond her limit, and reached into reserves previously unknown. The result of her hard work, the same result she'd always get when she pushed her powers too far, was this splitting headache. A small price to pay, she thought, for no fatalities and few civilian wounded.
Her eyes focused on the sleeping cat, heavy and warm on her body, and she smiled. Borris had been nearly frantic when she'd walked through the front door of Mia's mansion home. He'd mewled in that peculiarly high pitched voice and in a plaintive tone until she'd picked him up and assured him his mistress was all right. She'd had to explain exactly what had happened to Mia, where she was and when she'd be home before Borris had settled and allowed her to lay out his night time meal.
Violet wondered, not for the first time, where on earth Borris had come from. She knew he was a foundling, and that Mia had no idea of his origin, but that didn't stop her curiosity. Borris didn't behave like a regular cat. He always seemed like he knew exactly what was going on, like he could understand human speech as easily as Violet herself did. It was a bit odd, but not unpleasant. Violet had come across many scientifically altered creatures in her time as a Super, usually the poor things were just attack beasts or cruel experiments and exuded the kind of malicious energy their creators so often displayed, but she felt no such unpleasantness from Borris. She knew he'd been changed in some way, his intelligence was a dead giveaway of that, but who had changed him and for what purpose? No matter, he was here now, enjoying a life of peace and comfort with perhaps the kindest most beautiful woman in the world. He protected his mistress, whom he obviously adored, and his home as fiercely as any lion and Violet couldn't imagine why anyone would have tossed him away. Truly, it was their loss.
Still, she was finding it a bit difficult to breathe with his weight crushing her sternum, so she groaned and pushed him off of her. Borris, for his part, rolled freely off her chest and moved to take her place on the pillow completely unperturbed by her shifting. She couldn't help ruffling his fur a bit, standing the fur on his head into a little mohawk. He kept right on purring and butted his head further into her palm. She laughed. He was a good cat, altered or no.
Violet looked to the clock on the nightstand to her left. Mia had told her not to come to the hospital until after lunch, meaning she had at least three hours to spend before reuniting with her girlfriend.
Huh. She could think that now. Girlfriend. Mia is her girlfriend. Violet repeated the words in her head, a giddiness filling her chest and widening her smile. Mia is her girlfriend. Who knew that such simple words could bring her such joy? That just thinking of Mia could bring a smile to her lips and glee to her heart? This, Violet thought, this is what it's like to be in love? This is what those stories talk about? What people feel together? How wonderful, how sweet, how absolutely stunning. It was a wonder people in love ever got anything done, she thought, if they feel half of what I'm feeling now...and my relationship being so young. How are more people not struck absolutely dumb by this feeling? It's, she laughed at the mental pun she was making, it's incredible. She could easily get lost in this feeling, she could lay back and let it wash over her and be entranced for an eternity in this glorious emotion. Amazing.
Just as she was about to get really lost in her wonderment Borris traipsed heavily across her lap and leapt from the bed to land with a thump on the floor. He mewled loudly and swept out of the room. He obviously had better things to do today. And if the swishing of his tail was any indication, he knew Violet had better things to do as well.
Violet laughed again, threw the covers off, and sprang out of bed. Her headache was slowly dissipating, the early merriment easing the worst of the pain, but she would still take some aspirin to be rid of the rest.
She had much to do before picking up Mia and there was no sense in dawdling.
"Look at her Winston," the dark silhouette spoke smoothly, "Is she not beautiful?"
Before the shadow man was a screen displaying video footage of Camouflage from her battle with Iron Spike the day before.
Winston replied, speaking to the figure's back, "She is, Master."
Small, old, bald Winston, who'd been in his lord's service from the moment his lord was born, stood stooped in the room's only doorway. Always he had served his master's family, given to his master as a caretaker and teacher on the day of the young man's birth. Gradually his role had gone from teacher to servant, as it was meant to, and here he stood now twenty seven years later a faithful follower of his master's whims. She was not the first girl his master had taken interest in, nor even the first Super, but she was the first young lady he'd ever gone to the trouble of having Winston fetch video of.
"You see her brutal efficiency, Winston?" his master spoke with great excitement coloring his tone, "One attack and the man was downed! She broke him as easily you would a twig! Very decisive. She did not mess about there."
"Indeed not, Master." Winston intoned.
"And look there," the master said wistfully, his fingers stretching out to caress the figure on the screen, "See how she transforms from righteous warrior to merciful savior? Is she not perfect?"
"Would she not make a most fitting bride for me, Winston?" The tone was politely questioning, but there was an underpinning that provided the only answer the master wished to hear.
"It is as you say, Master." Winston spoke with no inflection.
"Yes, it is," his master agreed. He continued in a firm, commanding baritone, "Then, Winston, I have made up my mind."
"She will be mine," he said in a lofty manner, as though this was a foregone conclusion. Winston chanced a glance up at his master, catching the man rising from his chair, a hulking form backlit by the screen. He turned his head just far enough for Winston to see the gleam of his teeth, a predator's grin stretching his lips in a face still bathed in shadows, "I will make it so."
"I've had to move a lot of your meetings," Allison informed her recumbent boss.
Mia huffed, "I don't see why I couldn't have kept those meetings. I can go in to work."
"Not until the doctor says your concussion is cleared up. You know he said to wait a week, at least, before attempting any strenuous mental activity," Allison used her best admonishing mother voice and then slipped seamlessly into professional assistant mode, "And from the clients that were scheduled, you'd be doing an awful lot of mental work. Tell me again why we had all your most trying clients scheduled for the same week?"
"You know why. Get all the stressful people out of the way at once and the rest of the year is smooth sailing," Mia smiled. She loved her work, she really did, but sometimes dealing with the people was more pain than it was worth. Thankfully she only had a few clients that really pushed the limits of her patience, and they only met with her once a year. She preferred to get them out of the way as quickly as possible and make way for more pleasant pursuits, like her charities or a root canal.
Allison merely grunted to express her displeasure with that particular set of people, the matter was closed. "So," she began, "You're dating one of the most famous authors in the world who also happens to be one of the most famous Supers in the world and who will be living with you for the next several weeks while you heal, how does that make you feel?" It was said in a slightly sardonic tone, but it was obvious that Allison was genuinely curious. Despite what she'd heard of Mia's checkered past last night, Mia was still her closest friend and she was determined to be there for her no matter what. It was also of interest that Violet happened to be Allison's personal favorite author and a genuinely sweet person and she'd be loathe to see either of these two women hurt or unhappy. So she would offer her sympathetic ear and hope that if trouble came their way she'd be able to spot and avert it before any damage was done.
"Nervous," was all Mia said.
"About…?" Allison knew Mia had been a bit of a recluse, but had hoped that she'd be a little more forthcoming since the emotional conversation they'd had last night.
"Everything," Mia looked at Allison, her eyes haunted and voice subdued, "I've never been with a younger person before, much less another woman. I have no idea what I'm doing. I've never felt like this. About anyone. I don't know what she thinks of me, or what she will think after weeks of taking care of me and seeing me at my weakest. I don't know how I'll be able to handle her Super activities. I already worried about her before we were dating, but now, now I'm sure I'll just turn into an absolute mess! I haven't been in a relationship in ten years, and that wasn't a healthy one, I've no idea what I'm supposed to do. And-"
"Stop!" Allison commanded, "Take a breath."
She watched as Mia took a deep breath, "Now let it out."
The air whistled out from between Mia's lips.
"Okay," Allison said, "Now tell me what you're really worried about."
Mia looked stricken. She blinked and her brow furrowed. She closed her eyes, squeezed them tightly shut. When she opened them there was years of sorrow and uncertainty in her pleading gaze, her voice was soft and scared, "What if I'm not good enough for her?"
Violet drove her car up to the gates protecting the palatial manse and rolled down the window to meet the vid-screen unobstructed.
"Who's there? Who is it? Who's there?" All Violet saw on the television was the very top of a black crowned head, massively thick glasses, and a pug nose.
"It's Violet Parr, Edna," she announced clearly to the screen.
"Dahling! It's been too long!" The gates swung open before Violet's car, "Come in, come in! Don't make me wait!"
The television abruptly shut off and Violet chuckled. She drove through the gates, seeing them swing shut in her rearview mirror. She followed the wide curving drive right up to the foot of the staircase leading to what many in the fashion world considered a holy temple: the home of Edna Mode, greatest creator of fashion in the last sixty years. Edna had dominated the world of fashion since crashing onto the scene in her youth. She'd designed for models, celebrities, royalty, and Supers. She was the pinnacle of fashion, the height all designers aspired to (despite being so short herself). If one got the nod from Edna Mode their career was made. The eccentric designer lived large and made no apologies. She was a force to be reckoned with, and if one was wise one listened to what she said for she had yet to set a foot wrong. She was an intimidating woman, domineering but kind in an odd way, and she looked favorably upon all Supers.
And yet, she always made Violet nervous. She looked at you as if she knew all your secrets, like there was nothing that escaped her perception. As a teenager Violet had always dreaded coming here for fear of what Edna might see or reveal (though she'd had no secrets, Edna might have found some anyway that even Violet wasn't aware of), but now she knew her teenaged fears were misplaced. Edna loved Supers and the Parr family in particular. She was one average extraordinary human the whole of the Super community could consider a friend, and it was in that capacity that Violet came to her now.
"Come in, dahling!" Edna said as Violet reached the doors at the top of the stairs.
"Hello, Edna," Violet smiled down at the most fearsome little lady in the world as she followed her into a drawing room, "How are you?"
"Fine fine," Edna waved her hand dismissively, "You did not come here to discuss the life of an old woman. You need something, don't you little Violet?" Edna turned a gleeful smile on Violet, always eager to be presented with new challenges, "A new uniform perhaps? Ready to strike out on your own? Sit sit."
"Not quite yet, Edna," Violet said, easing into the offered seat. Edna had been itching to design each of the younger Parrs a Supersuit of their own, a design not in the family theme. She'd been trying, for years, to get even one of them to strike out as a solo hero just for the opportunity to create more Super outfits. Thus far she'd been unsuccessful, but one day it would happen and Edna would be a very happy woman. "I actually came to ask for something for a friend."
"Oh?" Edna ran a searching gaze over Violet's features, "Tell me."
"You saw the news last night? Iron Spike?"
"Mm," Edna confirmed, "I did. You dealt with him quickly. What of it?"
"Before I took him down he dropped a building on a friend of mine. She's got a broken leg." Violet stated, "I was hoping you could design some office clothes for her that would fit over her cast."
"This girl," Edna began, eyes studying Violet keenly, "She is more to you than a friend, yes?"
At Violet's startled look Edna laughed boisterously, "Don't think you can fool Edna Mode, girl. You've never asked favors like this before and the only reason I can think you'd start now is if the girl is very special to you. So, tell me. Give me a reason to do this thing."
Violet smiled ruefully, "You're right. She is more to me than a friend. I love her, and I want to help her."
Edna grinned at the much younger Violet, "Ah, young love. How sweet. So, who is this girl? I want to know all about her."
And Violet told her. She knew that not telling her wasn't an option, Edna would wring it out of her eventually, and Violet was eager enough to talk about Mia.
Edna watched Violet as she spoke. She saw how Violet straightened and her eyes lit up. She saw the smile on her lips grow with every word. She saw the light blush rise on the young woman's cheeks. She saw all this and she knew this was the real thing for Violet. She'd seen the girl go through relationships she'd believed were love at the time, and never had they taken her like this. This was the effect of love on a person. She could practically feel the joy radiating from Violet like a tangible thing. Violet spoke of Mia as Edna spoke of fashion, passion and fondness combining to form an all consuming love. It was a wondrous thing to see it happening for Violet as she'd seen it happen for her parents and as she'd seen it happen for countless other young lovers over the years.
She listened to the girl speak of Mia Rahj, of her beauty, her grace, her poise, her humors, her attitude. She listened and got a sense of this woman she'd never met but had seen at countless celebrity functions, their paths crossing as their client lists did. Already her mind was abuzz with designs, yearning to mold fabric around that shapely form, hands itching to put needle and thread to cloth. She would enjoy this task her young friend set before her. She was happy to help, especially if it meant she would get to see more of Violet in this enamored state. She could feel the girl's happiness and energy, contagious as it was, filling her up and making her feel young again.
When Violet wound down, breathless and grinning, Edna had only one question for her, "Which leg is the cast on?"
After that Violet left with the promise to return in a week to pick up the first of the garments Edna had planned.
Allison was dumbfounded. Not good enough? How could Mia ever think she wouldn't be good enough for Violet? Hadn't Violet herself sought Mia out? Hadn't Violet just last night professed her love? "Of course you're good enough."
"You can't know that." Mia protested quietly, shaking her head, "She's so sweet, and noble, and perfect. I don't deserve her. I'm not good enough."
"Nonsense! Mia," Allison said, steel in her tone. She reached out and gripped Mia's hands, catching her eyes in an intense stare, "Mia, there's no way to determine what 'good enough' is. And as long as Violet thinks you deserve her, as long as she wants you, you have nothing to worry about. She loves you, Mia. You have to trust in that."
"But what if she stops?" Mia asked, "What if she stops wanting me? Stops loving me?"
"I don't see that happening," Allison said simply, "I've seen the way she looks at you, Mia. She's completely devoted to you. And you know that? Where is this coming from?"
Mia shook her head in frustration, tears starting in the corners of her eyes, "I don't know. I just…I feel, all of a sudden, like nothing I do or have done or could do will be enough. Like she's so far out of my reach. As though she's only stepping down to my level to sate a curiosity. How could a Super ever love a person like me, someone who's contributed to the deaths of dozens of other Supers? There's no reason she should feel anything for me, much less love! And I know that's all wrong because that's not the type of person she is, but I want so badly to be good enough for her, to be worthy of her, and I have no idea what to do to make myself feel like I could be."
"All you can do is love her with all of your heart." Allison said, "I think the fact that you love her, and that she loves you, is proof that you're 'good enough' that you're 'worthy'. Though those are silly ideas for you to have in the first place; love has no concept of worth, it just is. It happens whether a person thinks they deserve it or not. And Mia, of all the people I've met in my life, you deserve love the most. You just wait until Violet gets here. She'll make you forget you had any of these doubts in the first place."
"You really think I deserve love?"
Mia's answer was lost as Violet stepped through the door carrying two bags, one of which was emitting a most tempting smell, and one flower. She smiled a greeting to both women and presented Mia with the flower, a purple carnation, "For you, my lady."
Mia smiled in delight. Allison had been right; Violet did make her forget any doubts she might have had. No doubts could stand up to Violet's smile, or the look in her eyes, or the soft brush of their fingers meeting at the flower changed hands. "Thank you," Mia blushed and scented the flower, hiding her shy smile behind its petals.
"What's in the bags?" Allison asked, curiously leaning forward, hoping that some of that food she could smell would be for her.
"First," Violet replied, "Is Mia's change of clothes. Just sweat pants and a t-shirt."
"That's fine. Thank you," Mia was grateful the clothes were so simple. Her leg was in a great deal of pain, despite the medication she'd been given, and anything more complicated or tighter than sweats would be too difficult and taxing to get into.
"Next, is lunch," Violet said, "Chinese. For all three of us."
Mia and Allison gave little cheers while Violet dragged the bed tray over and laid out their food.
They passed the meal in pleasant conversation, Violet telling them about waking up with Borris crushing her sternum and asking Mia how she was feeling. She didn't mention Edna making Mia clothes, wanting that to be a pleasant surprise for when she'd be allowed back to work. Allison told the other two about how her youngest child had waited up far past her bedtime for Allison to come home and read her a story, and how she'd had to read two to make up for being late. Mia didn't have a story, she'd been asleep most of the time since everyone had left the previous night, but she was content to listen to her two favorite people tell tales until the meal ended.
After lunch everything happened in a whirlwind of activity. Allison started the discharge process at the nurse's station while Violet got Mia changed and, with the help of an orderly, moved into the wheelchair they'd be taking back to Mia's home.
Mia sat with her hands in her lap, her casted leg elevated in the chair, the flower spinning gently between her fingers. She was extremely uncomfortable; the jostling of the move had jarred her leg and woken her pain. She was happy, at least, to be wearing modesty preserving pants and looking forward to getting home.
It was only a few minutes after all that that Mia was wheeled out of the hospital and deposited gently into Violet's car, prescription pain meds in hand and care instructions for Violet to read to help Mia heal.
A short car trip later and Violet was pulling in front of Mia's familiar home and settling her into wheelchair, lifting and transporting her much easier and gentler now that she was free to use her powers since they were no longer in danger of being discovered.
Mia was swiftly settled in her own bed, her cat curled against her side, and pain medication ushering her into sleep. Before she dropped off into slumber she felt Violet place a soft kiss to her forehead and heard her whisper, "Sleep well." Then, with a smile on her lips, she surrendered to her dreams.
A/N: And there it is. Hopefully future updates won't take so long. So, was it worth the wait? Please review.