Title: Opposite Side Of The Tracks
Summary: Peace and Battle. They didn't have a love story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sky High.
Authors Notes: This came about from a couple of points in the movie. Layla identifies Warren as 'son of a superhero and supervillain'. Most people seem to have taken this as Battle was a hero then went bad, or had a secret identity that was a villain. Except, in Steve's yearbook, his name is clearly Barron Battle. Which got me thinking - he doesn't have an alias, so what if he was never a hero? What if, he went straight to villain hood from Sky High. Steve does mention that he 'always swore he'd have his revenge on me'. Thus, this. Also, Battles costume and powers are the dude we see in the comic strips. As far as I know, he's never identified, so it's good enough for me.
She doesn't love him.
The first time she meets him, she isn't on call out. She just happened to be in the area when the screaming started. She's fresh out of Sky High, not yet used to calling herself the Peace Keeper instead of Mellissa Peace. By the time she's completed her quick change into hero costume, her palms are already sweating and she's thinking 'oh, god, what am I doing?'
Then his thoughts drift across her mind.
Perfect. It's all going to plan.
Super Villain thoughts, if ever she's heard them.
"Well, hello, gorgeous," his mouth says when he sees her. He's dressed up in orange with two large tanks on his back, and hoses by his wrists, but his helmet is off and his hair is frizzy and wild. She vaguely remembers him acting in a play at school.
Hero: Unknown whispers his mind. Power: unknown. Threat Status: Unknown. Then vaguely incredulously. Pink?
She wants to blush. It isn't her fault that Josie had already taken both turquoise and gold as a colour scheme. Someone with supersonic flight got to choose long before a mere telepath. In fact, by the time it was her choice, all that was left was grey and pink. She doesn't exactly feel threatening standing here in baby pink tights.
"Villain," she says, because for the life of her she can't remember his name. "Cease your games."
His mind springs to action a split second before his body, and that's all that allows her to back flip out of the way as he sprays fire across the ground. Her body flushes cold as she realises, this is real. This is not Save the Citizen. There are no teachers to call Game Over. He is trying to kill her.
"And miss this?" he asks mockingly. He smiles, inviting her to share the joke. It is, she will admit, a nice smile.
"What purpose does this have?" she asks. She is stalling, there is almost no chance she will be able to capture him. Not alone. He has both weapons and size and she is loathe to turn her telepathy into a weapon.
He smiles again, slow burn yet sharp as a knife. "Purpose? Well, right now I'm stalling you until the bomb goes off."
Citizens or villain?
Too late, whispers his mind. She lashes out at it, hoping like hell he built the bomb himself. Yes, yes, there. Blueprints. She grabs and wrenches. He falls with a scream, but she is already running into the building, past the fire and smoke, and pays him no heed.
The second verse is the same as the first.
She knows his name now. Barron Battle. True name and title all rolled up into one. Graduated from Sky High two years ahead of her at the same time as Steve Stronghold, the up and coming Commander.
It looks like he knows her name too.
Hero: Peace Keeper. Power: Telepathy. Threat Status: Minimal, ghosts across her mind from his.
Which, frankly, pisses her off. She foiled him once, didn't she? Stopped the bomb, saved the citizens. Yeah, sure, he escaped, but life is worth more.
"No bombs this time?" she asks waspishly, keeping her mental ears open. Lying always causes a kind of dissonance, easy to pick up on if you're listening.
He grins. "The definition of madness is repeating the same thing over and over expecting different results. I might be a villain, but I'm not mad."
The buildings behind her are burning, but the civilians are evacuating (mostly) calmly, and no one is trapped yet. The city has an excellent fire department, and they're already on their way. She can hear the echo of sirens in the minds of people on the street.
"Some might say you're mad for doing this," she retorts. "You're going to get caught in the end."
"But I'll have my revenge first," he says, implacably and the sheer force of determination rising in his mind knocks the breath out of her.
She's still annoyed when Comet Girl swoops down and saves the day, though.
After that, she gets busy. She gets a desk job in the Ministry of Super Powered Affairs, registering superheros and super villains, documenting attacks, filing insurance paperwork, but best of all, her callouts are approved and counted as company work.
It is so much better than trying to ditch her waitressing job every two hours that she nearly cries with relief.
"Peace Keeper!" Someone shouts on her phone. "We need you!"
"What's the situation?" She's out of her desk in seconds, has flicked her name plate to its 'callout' sign and is striding for the door.
Kim Boomgaard from R&D waves to her on the way out. She replies with a distracted flick of her hand, but everyone in the office knows the rules. When there's a callout, it takes priority.
"We have a hostage situation. Six civilians trapped in a building. He's threatening to burn them to death."
"He?" she questions.
Her stomach drops. Battle has certainly been making a name for himself.
"Has he made any demands?" she asks sharply. She needs to know what she's getting herself into.
"No, not yet."
"I'm on my way," she says, before snapping the phone closed.
"Hello, Peace Keeper," he says.
It is a bad idea. A bad, bad idea.
Maybe if she repeats it to herself enough, she'll start to care.
His hands are soft and his smile full of white teeth and his mind is focused, oh so focused, just on her.
It's still a bad idea.
She's half watching the news at night when it happens. Working at the MoSPA, she knows about Hero-Villain fights before they make the news. She catches a clip of Kim, and makes a mental note to congratulate her on her new freeze ray. It works like a charm.
"Breaking news!" the newscaster says, looking unbearably pleased. "This just in 'The Commander and Barron Battle are dukeing it out in downtown Maxville! Our reporters are already on the scene!"
"Thanks Jeff!" says a perky blonde as the camera tilts and straightens. "As you can see we're in the air above the battle right now. Barron Battle was in the midst of another villainous plot when the Commander appeared to stop him!"
The camera zooms in on them just in time to catch the Commander punch Battle full in the chest. He goes flying into an concrete wall, leaving behind a person sized hole. She winces. Most superheros have some degree of invulnerability beyond that of a normal person, regardless of their powers, but a hit from the Commander had to hurt.
It isn't enough to keep him down, though, because flames come shooting out of the wall. The Commander ducks behind his cape to escape the worst of it. Superhero uniforms are all supposed to be fireproof, but they're tested in labs with normal fire and often fail when faced with a pyrokinetic who can convince flames to disobey the laws of physics.
The cape holds though, and the Commander bounces in through the hole in the wall, to return shortly afterwards with an unconscious Barron Battle draped over his shoulder.
And that, as they say, is that.
When she finds out she's pregnant, she doesn't even contemplate not keeping it. It's too late, she can already feel the tiny mind growing, not aware enough yet to have a concept of 'me' but there all the same.
She does, however, contemplate lying about the father. Or simply, not telling. Except, she's mostly a truthful person and if she lies now, it will last for the rest of her life. So she names him Warren Peace and identifies his father as Barron Battle.
It causes a scandal.
It calls into question her credibility as a superhero (didn't even notice that her lover was a villain) as well as her credibility as a telepath (didn't even notice.) 'Excuse me?' she wants to say, 'he was a villain well before he was my lover.'
Except she doesn't. Because that would call into question not just her credibility, but her judgement. What's worse, not knowing, or knowing and doing nothing?
The callouts come less and less, until one day she looks up and realises - it's been a month.
It's easy to let it go. Easier than trying to force her way back into the hero crowd, trying to overcome the looks and snide thoughts. Easier than trying to earn back trust and respect from the public at large.
Easy to let Peace Keeper fade to Mellissa Peace, secretary.
Warren never even meets his father.