DISCLAIMER: I OWN NOTHING, REALLY I OWN NOTHING. I ONLY BORROWED VIRGIL AND MARY FOR THE DCAU FOR A LITTLE WHILE!
Okay I know, weird pairing but the idea just hit me and wouldn't let go. So I took Batman Beyone era Virgil Hawkins/Static Shock and paired him with Batman Beyond's mum Mary McGinnis...I know, Terry beat me up for it too, then he went and hunt down Vigirl for thinking about his mum like that. But you just can't stop Love...or stuff.
IT was going to be a full length story but I didn't know if I was going to do it or not; if I'd have time or even if I was going to use this already written chapter - but I liked it too much to let it rotten away unloved so its now a stand alone unless lots of people like it.
The Joys of Spilt Coffee
Virgil wasn't sure why he was really here, only knowing that it had seemed a good idea at the time.
An art gallery, he had thought, would surly count as social interaction and get Sharon off his back at last. Enjoy it, she had told (or shouted) at him, you're on vacation! Virgil had tried (and failed) to explain to her that it wasn't a vacation (who would go on holiday in Gotham of all places?) but rather a business trip. Yet Sharon (and Adam, and Richie, and Emily...) had been insistence and Virgil had give up in the end, promising to have some fun while away.
And after getting of his plane (God Virgil hate planes, the static interference gave him headache but as he couldn't allow of 'Virgil Hawkins' to not be seen arriving in Gotham without the use of any obvious transportation, private jet it was) and checking into his hotel early he had nothing to waste his time with and it had seem like a brilliant idea to get Sharon 'social hour' out of the way first.
So here he was. In an art gallery. Having fun. Well at least he was out of the rain – He hated the rain, for apparent reasons.
It was his own fault, he thought miserably, he should have gone to the pictures or something...it was just that the flier had made it look more fun – which he was sure it would be if he had someone (Richie for instance) to talk to or at least explain the art to him.
Groaning Virgil rub his forehead, pushing a dread lock of the out before pausing. Sharon said he was too old of dread lock, it wasn't true was it? He glances in a nearby reflective surface (a rather mutilates mirror-thing). A few streaks of grey but not much, he was only in his fifties after all...late fifties...nearly sixties...oh god, he was old!
Trying to distract himself from his misery (which had been working so well up until now) he started to discretely watch the people around him. A few on their own like he was but most were there in small group of two or three with the occasion cluster of people around a particular display.
Boring. Sharon was right, he decided, he was far too out of tough with people. A decade ago – heck a few years ago – he would most likely be the centre of attention, talking to complete strangers like they were life long old friend and cranking witty jokers here and there. Now the idea of talking to anyone made his stutter and pause.
A tiredness had settled on him. A few years ago Daisy would have been wrapped around his arm, laughing at his jokers and scorning him for being silly. Having her here would have made it fun. But she wasn't here now.
That trail of though put an extreme damper on an already depressing trip although he noted hopefully that thinking about his dead wife was no longer excruciatingly painful.
Now it just hurt.
'I give up,' he thought wearily, turning around sharply in his tracks, 'Art just isn't fun without Daisy to annoy.' Virgil knew he was most likely getting a few looks for his swift departure but really couldn't carless. It might be Gotham but he didn't want to spend another minute in this room. Sharon was wrong; it was too early for him to be out and about, too soon.
Vigil was concentrating so hard on not busting into a run that he didn't know he was running straight into someone until he heard a short scream and thud as she hit the floor.
He froze, damn! Several minutes must have passed as he stare down, incomprehensible, at an annoyed looking red head before what was happen caught up with him.
"Oh my... Oh I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going! I'm so sor – " He snapped his mouth closed as his blubber nearly reached hysterics. Reaching down, he tried to help the woman to her feet but she kept trying to wave him off. 'Trying' being the key word because he insistence on helping her.
A rather large water stain appeared on her jacket and the woman groan loudly; at least it was going to come out in the wash. He winced, noticing the tired harassed look on her face and seemed to show that this was only one of a series of difficult things to happen to her that day. She was pretty and the irritated glare in Virgil's opinion seemed to make her look more attractive in a fiery sort of way. She had to be Irish.
The woman kept throwing him annoyed glares but wither it was over his profound apologies or the fact he had knocked her down, he wasn't sure. She eventually gave an exasperated sigh and seemed to look somewhat less annoyed, "Look, it's ok, I get it. You're sorry, it was an accident. Please just stop apologising!" She groaned, rubbing her forehead with a pained expression before leaving to get someone to pick up the glass from her broken tumbler.
He wondered vaguely if she was just eager to pick the glass up before someone got hurt or if she just really wanted to get away from him. He figured it was the latter.
Groaning Virgil suddenly noticed that strange looks he was getting from everyone else and decided to move on quickly before they started asking for an encore. He knew this had been a bad Idea. He was completely unfit for public life.
When Virgil got to the door he was glad to note there were no big burly security guard waiting to asked him any question – although he did get a strange look from the receptionist as he rushed passed her desk.
It was cold outside, although the rain from earlier had stopped for which he was thankful for. It meant he could go on patrol tonight -something he couldn't do if it was chucking it down, stupid electrode based powers.
He hated being limited by the weather, it was something his peers and the Flash took great joy in ribbing him about– No water missions for Static, they'd quickly learned. You'd have thought the Great Richie Foley would have come up with a gadget to fix that small problem – all he ever suggested was Virgil invested some of his millions in a raincoat.
Glancing around, the street was empty except from some parked cars and a few lone drivers on the road. Hovercars, honesty, what was the world coming too? Was it old for him to say he could remember a time where cars stayed firmly on the ground with four wheels, or that he had been one of the first to see the new generation of hovercars, most of which he had help to develop? That he actually owned the first real (limited edition and restricted) hovercar prototype, that went more than a couple of inches of the ground?
It probably was.
Virgil – despite his excitement- still had moments of disbelief and panic when he looked around and saw what had happened to the world and what he had done with his life.
His father, he knew, would be both proud and horrified if he were still around to see what his only son had done. While in later years his father had gotten over his slight phobia of Meta-humans (most because he daughter had married one) Robert Hawkins had never been quite comfortable with them. Virgil had never worked up the courage to tell his father his secret - not that he was Static but that his son was a first wave Bang babies. He didn't know to this day if his father would have accepted what he was or would have had a heart attack over it. Sometime he cursed himself for being a coward – his punishment being to live the rest of his life never knowing because it.
Pulling his trench coat tighter around him Virgil wondered over to a small cafe across the street. It looked warm and he could get something to drink, he decided as he pushed the glass door open. It was small cafe, one of those smallish independence cafes with the old world style – it wasn't full of synthetic metal and plastic, and actually had wood and paper in it. That must have cost a fortune.
Virgil liked it immediately; sometimes he missed how things had been where he was a kid.- Things which seemed a hundred years in the past now instead of only fifty. Quickly snatching a table in the corner of the window, he sat down and started to relax. Or he tried too. It was warm in here and the brief shower earlier meant than the air was moist and steamy, and the soft clatter of cutlery and chairs on wooden floor distracted him.
He slid his coat off awkwardly. It was made of expensive material and was cut in the latest of fashions for business men and the rich.
It didn't felt like him.
But then other than his patrol uniform, nothing in his wardrobe felt like him anymore – instead it seemed to be clothes designed for the great humanitarian, philanthropist and business man Virgil Hawkins and had little to do with wise-guy, would-be –comedian, from-a-low-income family 'Virg'.
He didn't get the new fashion in clothes and it often upset him that walking down the street felt just as similar to the walks he had took down various alien districts during his JLU time. Everything had changed and he missed that past.
The menu was sitting innocently on the table and when he picked it up Virgil couldn't help but felt this was as foreign as the otherworld streets. 'Musho? Isn't at a character in a film? Virgil nearly whimpered. God, how could things change so fast the he couldn't even recognise something on a menu?
Virgil glanced up and nearly freaked out. Even after all his Meta/Bang Babies years... the girl had fury cat ears on the top of her head! After a second he forced himself to calm down, remembering that Splicing had only just been banned in Gotham and the city was still having trouble with rebel kids and Splicer-addicts – if anything Batman was groaning about was true, at least. The girl send him a patience and expecting look - she must get that react a lot- and Virgil felt his face blush a darker colour, oh god how rude had he just been?
"I...umm...Do you just do a normal coffee?" he gave in, waving an exasperated hand towards the menu and sent the girl a pleading look.
The girl smiled cheerfully (scarily like the Cheshire cat) and nodded, "Sure, one normal coffee – that what my Granddad ask for when he comes in too!"
Virgil watched dumb struck as the girl made her way across the room in a rather graceful manner and wonder if the girl realised that she had just insulted him. Was he that old? He picked up that sugar bowl and tried to examine his reflection in it. He didn't look that old (only few more grey hair here and there) but then he wasn't exactly young anymore.
'Granddad - oh my god, kids today!' he checked his watch. He still had a few hours to kill before he had an 'introduction' with Bruce and patrol with the kid, great. He knew the get-together with Bruce would be cool even if they had to pretend not to be anywhere near as close as they really were (Bruce was, after all, his civilian mentor) and the kid was fun to hang with, even if things were weird at times – Virgil still had memories of Terry from his childhood and now being with him and teaching Terry felt so...weird.
There was loud clatter and a bang as the sugar slipped through his fingers and hit the table sending it everywhere.
Virgil groaned, what was it with him today? Grabbing a hand full of napkins he tried to clean the white grains up as quickly and fully as he could without making another scene. It was hard; the sugar was small, fiddly and fine and in the end Virgil gave up, discreetly flicked a wrist and static-ed the powered in the bowl.
No one saw him and he looked less like an idiot now – or at least he hope so. Standing up to look around the high ceilinged room - the Cat-Waitress had vanished, presumably to hand over his order but he noted several young girls in similar outfits were gathered near the counter. Assuming one of them would be willing to give him a fresh bowl, he got to his feet, garbing the bowl and made his way over to the counter, weaving between tables with a grace that belied his clumsiness.
His plan, if it could be called that, had been to tap one on the shoulder and explain what had happen – only he never even got that far. He walked straight into the woman in front of him when she suddenly turned around.
The result was her slamming straight into his chest and overbalancing. He tried desperately to stop her from falling, grabbing her arm to steady her and only succeeding in knocking the cup of fresh hot coffee out of the woman hand and all over her already water stained jacket.
He wondered what the chances of knocking the same person over twice within a matter of minutes. Oh just his luck...
The redhead woman hissed in pain as the black liquid burn into her exposed skin and dyed the baby blue coat a disgusting murky brown. Virgil pulled the woman close against his chest as his hero instinctive kicked in before he jumped back. "Sorry! Sorry- I'm, so, sorry! I wasn't looking where I was going...again. Are you ok? You need any help?"
"You make a habit of this, I take it? Or are you really just that unfortunate?"
Virgil blushed at the woman sarcasm, "Here, let me help you."
He quickly help the redhead out of her jacket before she could protest too much and steered her over to his table, leaving the sugar bowl, broken and forgotten on the floor. He grabbed the remaining napkins and the small jug of water and helped the woman get the cooling coffee off her hand and wrists. The woman protested some more but it was only half heartedly and she appeared too tired to be mad instead choosing defeat and to let his fuss over her.
The girls at the counter were quickly to clear up the mess Virgil had made and the Cat-Waitress brought a extra fresh cup of coffee with Virgil's, which he insisted on paying for. Looking around Virgil tried to think of something to say to the woman but his mind was blank of anything barring more apologises. Which he was sure she was sick of by now.
'I don't think this was what Sharon had in mind when she said she wanted me to social,' he thought wearily. But then again Virgil didn't consider pouring scolding coffee over a woman and knocking her to the ground twice to be 'sociable' either.
At a lost he studied the woman nursing the coffee at his table. She was young – or at least younger than he was, early to mid forties at the oldest, with short natural red hair and almost too pale skin with the faintest smattering of freckles across her nose. She was wearing at dark blue dress with a black cardigan (over which she had been wearing a now stained blue raincoat) – no buttons visible but that was the fashion. She was rather attractive, very attractive in fact and Virgil noted that she had no wedding band on her finger.
"Umm," He cleared his throat awkwardly, the woman's head snapping around to his "If you want I'll pay to have it dry cleaned...your jacket I mean." he grinned sheepishly under the woman rather intense glare. "I'm normally not this clumsy, really." he offered weakly.
The woman (he really needed to get her name) smirked, eyes swimming with amusement, "I'd dearly hope not or you're going to end up hurting someone... yourself most likely." she took a small sip of her coffee, pretending to ignore Vigil's embarrassed blush as he crinkled.
"Uhuh...I- um I'm Virgil." He extended his hand. The woman smiled at him and Virgil felt his heart miss a beat. She might be younger than him (a lot younger than him) but she was very pretty.
"Mary." she took his hand and he couldn't help but notice how small and pale it looked in comparison to his. Smooth too, so whatever she did it must not involve a lot of physical labour and there was a slight dryness of someone who used a lot of water- someone who washed a lot of dishes.
"I hope your husband doesn't get too upset over your jacket." He lied through his gritted teeth, reluctantly letting her hand go.
The woman's eyes seemed to dim slight and Virgil had a small sinking feeling at her expression. "My husband's dead... well my ex-husband. It's just me and my sons' now." the woman looked away. Virgil coughed and decided to cover it with a long drink.
"I'm sorry." he offered after a few minutes of silence, "I lost my wife too. Cancer, a few years ago. I have a son too and a daughter – although they're all grown up and left me on my own." He sounded only a tad annoyed and bitter at that. He knew he hadn't been the best father to them after Daisy died – hell he hadn't been great to anyone at that time, never mind himself.
But a small part of him, okay a big part of him, had always felt that his kids blamed him for not being about to help her – for not being able to save her like he had so many countless others.
Natural that had put a lot of strain on their relationship and try as he might Virgil just couldn't seem to be able to close the growing gorge between them.
He had never doubted or questioned his father's ability to raise him and his sister on his own, nowadays he wished the man was still here so he could ask him how the hell he had done it so well and where the hell Virgil screwed up so badly.
Mary nodded slowly, "I'm sorry, I can imagine how hard that must have been on you."
Virgil mimicked her nod before faking a smile. "So," he changed the subject away from the treacherous waters, "What do you do for a living?"
"Hmm, I work for Astro-Tech – paying the bills I suppose. I've always wanted to do experimental work though, maybe in Wayne-Powers or something but...well..." She shrugged and Virgil got what that meant. Sometimes you have to let go of dreams to deal with reality. "...You?"
He grimaced, "Nothing so exciting. Executive. I mostly deal with business proposals and stuff – not exactly what I had imagined when I was a kid but... It pays the bills." He shrugged. Technically it was the truth – he just opted the part where it was a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate and he owned the company. Well him and Richie.
He so owned Bruce for that one.
"So what about your kids?"
Mar smiled and launched into a half annoyed, half amused rant about the antic of her two boys and how she was so annoyed at her teenage for son for always being busy and how proud she was of him and his big job, and about her youngest and his obsession with superheroes (Virgil nearly laughed out loud when Mary swore if Mattie made one more theory about who batman was she was going to scream).
It's amazing how much time can pass when you just sit back and let all you worried go. In Virgil's case he sat back and listened to Mary's problems and to her life in general, offered his own advice now and then before taking his turn.
He talked about his frustration at a business deal; his own charity work (which seemed interlinked with both his public persona and his vigilante one) and the trouble it caused him and the kids. He blurted out everything about his own awkward family and his lose to fix growing distance between him and his kids.
He whispered his fears of never being able to fix it and of be a failure as a father only to realise from Mary's tales of her wayward eldest and her own inability to deal with it, that he wasn't alone in that particular fear.
It was strange, him just pouring his heart out to complete stranger but it felt ... well it was weight of his shoulders, finally being able to admit the things he could never tell his friends or family. Mary didn't judge him for his human fault, not the way he feared his friends would. So he wasn't divulging his deepest secret but the smaller problems in his lives were a start. And he felt some satisfaction that maybe he had helped Mary a little too.
"Oh my god, I'm so late for meeting up with the boys – Terry will be so upset. I'm sorry Virgil I have to go." Mary jumped to her feet, grabbing her things and franticly looking for her jacket.
"It's okay, no problem...I mean it was nice talking to you and all. Here's my number, if you call me and tell me how much the jacket costs I'll sent the money over. Or we could meet up again –if that's okay with you. I'll be in town for a while and I don't really know that many people..." He trailed off half hoping.
Mary stopped and he could see the red hear weight the pro and cons of taking the business card. He hoped she knew that there were no strings attached to her taking it, as much as he hoped she'd call and ask to meet up.
The brown eyed woman tilted her head to the side and smiled brightly at him, "I think I'd like that Virgil. I'll call next time I'm free..."
Suddenly Virgil felt like that trip to the Gallery was such a bad idea after all.
"...But no coffee okay?"
Review and tell me if you want more Mary/Virgil love. .