A/N: The final chapter is finally here. And you didn't think I'd finish it! But this means that this is your last chance to review my story, all of you that haven't yet... so please do!
Thanks for this chapter go to my dear friend Neal, who is the Queen of Snark and as such served as inspiration for a few lines in here.
"Yes, Mom, I'm fine," Violet repeated for what felt like the seventeenth time, shifting her phone to the other ear. She was beginning to regret even telling her mother about the debacle with the nameless villain earlier that week. Her parents had, of course, been appalled at the idea of their little girl actually facing an actual villain on her own, no matter how horrible of a one he had been.
Rolling her eyes at Buddy, who had the misfortune of being with her when Helen called and was now smirking annoyingly, she returned her attention to what was being said on the other end.
"I'm sorry for fussing so much, honey," her mother was telling her. "It's just that your father and I worry about you, all by yourself out there. And it seems like you're not telling us something."
Violet winced. She had told them everything she could, but…she wasn't about to reveal Buddy's existence just now, particularly not over the phone. That was something that she would leave for later, after he'd gained enough credit as a "good guy" that Bob couldn't go after him. Well, would meet more resistance in going after him, anyway.
"Come on, I'm in college. I can take care of myself," Violet protested. "And I'm not hiding anything."
Across the table from her, Buddy's smirk widened
"If you say so, sweetie," Helen agreed skeptically. "But you know you can tell me if you have a boyfriend, right?"
"Mom!" Violet exclaimed, sitting straight up in a mixture of embarrassment, surprise, and indignation. "I do not have a boyfriend!"
She was pretty sure that it was taking all of Buddy's self-control not to burst out laughing at that last comment.
"All right, all right," came Helen's response. There was a pause, followed by the shout (thankfully not directed into the phone) "No, Jack-Jack, don't—" and a crash. "I'm sorry Vi, I've gotta go. Love you honey."
"Love you too, Mom," Violet replied with a small smile that was both in affection for her insane family and gratitude that she wasn't the one who had to deal with whatever her youngest brother was up to. "Bye."
As she hung up she fixed a stern gaze on the very much amused red-head before her. "Not a word," she instructed.
"Not a word about what?" Buddy inquired, the picture of exaggerated innocence—although she could tell that he was having trouble reigning in his smirk. "Why would I ever want to say anything about the fact that your mother seems to think I'm your boyfriend?"
It was not fair, Violet decided, for someone so evil to have such adorable freckles.
"I doubt she had you specifically in mind," she pointed out in lieu of dwelling on the fact that she found his freckles adorable.
"It would be a nice addition to my master plan," he mused with a mock-thoughtful expression. "Just think what daddy dearest would say."
"Because I would so go out with you just to help you get revenge on my father," Violet drawled sarcastically, somewhat insulted that this was the first thing that came to his mind in association with dating her, but amused at the same time. Still, she was not immune to the fact that this was a truly bizarre turn that their conversation had taken.
Nor was she immune to the bizarreness of Buddy's revenge. Certainly it would be torture for her father to have to stand back and do nothing while Syndrome ran rampant, gaining public opinion. It struck her as strange, though, that despite the fact that he was still clearly out for revenge, Buddy had chosen a route that didn't involve taking her hostage or something similar. It would have been a simple matter to abuse the trust inherent in their newfound friendship to threaten her safety—to trade her life for Bob's, for example.
It rather disturbed her that, even realizing this, she could not bring herself to be on her guard with this erstwhile villain.
"And you would if it had nothing to do with Mr. Incredible whatsoever?" Buddy inquired with a raised eyebrow, and it took her a few moments to connect the question with her previous statement and grasp the meaning.
For the life of her she couldn't determine whether he was being serious.
"What would you do if I actually said yes?" she replied, question for question. Her arms were crossed over her chest and her chin tilted up in challenge. It wasn't that she was saying yes; it was just that she wanted to watch him squirm.
The other eyebrow lifted to join the first. "You mean other than feel like a complete cradle-robber?"
"It's not like you're that much older than me," Violet pointed out for the sake of argument, rolling her eyes. (Something about Buddy seemed to make her roll her eyes a lot, she observed in a distant corner of her mind). "And legally speaking, I am an adult."
"Well, since it seems that you're so determined to convince me and I'm feeling gracious, go to dinner with me tomorrow. Six pm." He stood up in the conversational vacuum his command left behind, planting his hands on the table and leaning towards her to add, "And don't even think about canceling."
After that, the wide-eyed Violet was left sitting alone wondering what had just happened.
X X X
Their dinner together wasn't quite what she had expected.
Not that she had really known what to expect. She certainly hadn't expected him to ask her on a date in the first place. Nor had she really seriously let herself think of him in a romantic context before, although there had been moments that she would acknowledge that she found him attractive.
This being the case, she was a little surprised at the way that the date—good gracious, had gone on a date with Syndrome—turned out.
She had thought that it would be awkward. It really hadn't been; they had conversed as though this was a perfectly normal situation. She certainly hadn't thought that Buddy would act like a gentleman. He had; everything from opening doors for her to refusing to let her pay even though the restaurant was on the pricey side.
She hadn't expected that when he dropped her back off at her residence hall she would give him a peck on the cheek before scrambling out of the car. She had. She hadn't expected that this dating idea would be more than a one-time thing. She found, however, that she wanted to date Buddy for real.
Of course she felt guilty for it—increasingly so as the spring semester grew nearer to its conclusion. This was a man that had tried to kill her father—who had succeeded in pointlessly killing who knew how many others—who had almost ripped her family apart. And there she was, becoming romantically involved with him.
But she rather thought that he wasn't the same as before. He was still arrogant, still contemptuous in regards to her father, still bent on getting revenge. At the same time, though, she could see him growing used to life as a civilian, perhaps even growing happy with it. His revenge was now dependent on him not being evil or playing dirty tricks to gain the public's support; he would have to carry out more than one grand rescue for that, and he couldn't possibly cheat the number of times that it would require.
And obviously he had rescinded his loathing of all things Super, because if he hadn't then what on earth was he doing going out with her?
"I'm going to have to tell my parents about you eventually, you know," Violet observed casually one warmish afternoon sitting on the quad several dates later. He was leaning against the bole of a particularly large tree; she was leaning against him, his arm around her shoulders.
"I would hope so," he returned, looking down at her. "Seeing as it would kind of defeat the purpose of all my careful planning if they didn't even find out that I was still alive and kicking."
"You know what I mean." Violet scooted away from him a little bit so that she could look him in the eye properly.
"Oh, you mean tell them about us," Buddy exclaimed, his revelation too over-exaggerated to be mistaken for sincere.
"Thank you Captain Obvious," she muttered, the corner of her mouth angling upwards in spite herself.
"In that case," he continued, pointedly ignoring her acerbic interjection, "I hope you plan on waiting until after I've got a little reputation going for me. Otherwise you'll be out a boyfriend before the day's over."
Violet snickered a little bit. "I'm not sure you'd be safe from my dad's wrath even then. Or my brothers'. Maybe my mom's, if I talked to her first and managed to convince her you're not completely evil."
"On second thought," Buddy suggested with a wince, "how about you just don't tell them at all."
"Nice try," she drawled as she brought her knees up to her chest and looped her arms around her legs. "But they're going to find out eventually whether I tell them or not. At least if I'm the one breaking the news I can do some damage control."
Buddy heaved a heavy sigh, close enough to her that she could feel the expansion and deflation of his chest. "Fine, you win," he conceded, clearly not happy about it. "Just make sure you let me know beforehand so I can start running. I hear Mexico's a nice place to go into hiding."
She grinned at his melodrama. "I think I can probably get them to spare your life," she teased. "If you ask me really nicely."
"How magnanimous of you," he snarked, casting his gaze skyward.
"I could always take the offer back…" she suggested, quirking a challenging eyebrow at him, to which he responded by rolling his eyes and leaning down to kiss her thoroughly.
"That nicely enough for you?" he wanted to know after he had pulled away.
Violet grinned in response. "I guess it'll do."
And, she decided as she leaned back into him once more, her parents could wait to learn about her love life. There was no guarantee that this relationship was going to go anywhere—and wasn't that a strange thought, having a serious relationship, given their history—and in any case, there were more important things to worry about right now, like the finals that would be starting next week. And after that…
"Hey Buddy," she asked, sitting up suddenly to look at him again, "what are you going to do over summer break?"
His sly smirk was answer enough to that question.
Violet had the feeling that it would be an interesting summer.