~* Chapter One: Expectations*~
Life is largely a matter of expectation. – Horace
Main Street was in shambles.
A huge gouge dragged crazily down the center of the road, creating identical ridges of asphalt on either side. Flanking the gouge, cars were crushed and pulped to indistinguishable masses of metal, some of them flattened to the ground. An acrid smell of burning rubber hung heavily in the air, and there was a haze of smoke gauzing the air. Windows were cracked, jagged bolts of fractured glass lying splintered on the ground. A fountain in the center of the downtown area was choked with rubble. Piles of rubble littered the wide street, and a street lamp had been launched through the stained glass window of a church down the street. In the midst of the smoke and wreckage, a huge titanium ship, larger than a tank but smaller than an airplane, was perched lopsidedly on the sidewalk. There was a convenient lack of people, most of them having disappeared moments after the two enemies appeared in the downtown area. A car alarm blared faintly in the distance, indicating the chaos strewn behind them went on for several miles.
Emerging decisively from the hazy smoke at relatively the same time, the two enemies regarded each other with wary, grudging respect. Closest to the fountain stood a tall, lithe superhero, clad entirely in green spandex with a narrow black mask shielding her identity. While her supersuit was bulletproof, stab-proof, and flame-proof, it was still charred at the sleeves and her boots held several inches of dirt. Her coiffed red hair was rumpled and frizzy towards the ends, and the tips of her auburn locks had been crisped. She was breathing hard, and both of her hands were wrapped tightly around the butt of a sleek, snub-nosed weapon. Although her expression was fierce and determined, her hands were shaking and she felt as though she could collapse at any moment.
Across from her, neither winded nor charred, was someone entirely different. A pair of long, elegantly thin legs widened to a solid waist and a powerful torso with broad shoulders. Clad in an expensive black collared jacket, a silver-and-black scarf tossed carelessly over his shoulder, stood Felonious Gru, number two supervillain in the world. His head was perfectly smooth and bald, and his nose was extraordinarily long, resulting in an unforgettable profile which was emblazoned on many Most Wanted lists. Like his enemy, his long fingers were also wrapped around the butt of a bizarre looking weapon, although his hands were perfectly still. A pair of thick eyebrows arched disdainfully over hooded blue eyes.
When the silence became entirely too oppressive, the superheroine took a chance. After all, didn't the superhero initiate the banter? "You might as well give up, Gru," She shouted out, her voice stronger than she felt and firmer than her knees testified. "Good shall always triumph in the end. Come along quietly."
Gru arched an eyebrow. "Like I 'aven't head zhat one before," He sniffed. "FYI, superhero's banter ees terrible. 'Onestly, you would zhink thees supposedly smart peeple vould 'ave wittier comebacks."
A fluttering of delighted triumph tickled her belly. At last! Now, the climactic showdown between good and evil, where good would always win. She had been waiting for this. "Face it, Gru, I'm going to win. That's the way it works."
He shrugged. "Seence vhen 'ave I paid any attention to rules?" He asked. Pleased with himself, he flicked a glowing red button on his weapon, drawing a bead on his opponent. "Zhay goodbye, Supergirl."
Supergirl tightened her grip on her gun and blinked a bead of sweat away from her eye. He wouldn't actually shoot her, would he? This was their first battle, after all! How could he just end things like this? Unless he wasn't interested in having a superhero in his town. Panic clawed at her throat. Every story she had heard from her fellow superheroes, was that most supervillains delighted in having competition. But there was always one ...
Gru paused. "Zeriously, though, vhat kind ov a name is zhat? Soopergirl? You couldn't zhink of anything beeter?" He smirked as though he knew exactly what she had been thinking. Why on earth would he end this already? She had just barely arrived her, after all, and this was only their first battle. It had been quite good, ending up with weapons scattered everywhere, both of them aching in a dozen places, (although Supergirl was far more injured than he), and half of the downtown area wrecked. Most of the supervillains in the world had superheroes now, and the whole I-stole-Mt.-Rushmore-so-go-steal-the-Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa thing was getting old. Not to mention expensive. It was far cheaper and easier to simply find a superhero, especially since he was trying to juggle the lives of his three daughters to boot. And before he had even really made up his mind on the subject, this newbie had shown up out of absolutely nowhere and challenged him.
She almost laughed, she was that relieved. "Superhero names are literal. And anyway, what kind of a name is Gru? Sounds like something you'd find in the trash." Supergirl said dryly, and cocked her weapon. "Are you going to surrender, or am I going to have to drag you down to the police station in cuffs?"
Gru was affronted. "Gru 'appens to be a respeectable name, zhank you very much," He grumbled. "And I am seeing very much talk but no action. Are you going to arrest me, or just stand zhere?"
Her eyes narrowed. From a hundred feet away, Gru's dark orbs of navy blue glared into Supergirl's green eyes. The tension on the air grew steadily thicker, almost to visible opacity, and beads of sweat rolled down Supergirl's temple. Her gloved fingers increased the pressure on her trigger, every second shredding into her nerves. She wouldn't move first – that wasn't her job. She readied herself, her core tense as a coiled spring, every fiber of her waiting ... watching ...
His watch beeped.
In that frozen moment, Supergirl blinked, and watched Gru perform the most mundane of all actions. He checked his watch. Automatically, more out of ingrained habit than anything, she checked her own. Three o'clock on the nose. To her utter bafflement, Gru holstered his weapon and smirked at Supergirl, who hesitantly lowered her gun. "As entertaining as eet vas, Soopergirl, I 'ave theengs to do. Good bye."
He turned and walked away.
Supergirl advanced a few steps, her brows knotted. "Wait!" She called out, and Gru paused, looking over his shoulder. "This isn't how it's supposed to go! I'm supposed to bring you down to the police station, and you're supposed to escape, and I'm supposed to chase you! You ... you can't just ... leave!"
"And vhy not?" Gru asked reasonably. He shrugged. "Even veellains 'ave a life."
Supergirl watched, dumbfounded, as Gru swung himself into his enormous silver tank, the door sealing shut behind him. There was nothing she could do except watch Gru pull safely away, and even if there was something she could do, Supergirl doubted she could shake her utter shock off quickly enough to give chase. This was ridiculous! Since when had villains simply drove away like that? It was supposed to be a dangerous battle between good and evil, resulting in bruises and electric burns and eventual arrests. It was supposed to be dramatic, and showy, and she was supposed to make her mark on this town. She had wanted to make an impression, to scare the other supervillain into submission. She wanted to make a name for herself, and quickly.
This was the most unconventional villain she had seen in her life.
Margo held onto Agnes's hand, tethering her younger sister to the safety of the curb. It was an overcast day, the sort of day which made you think the sky was naturally gray, and the humidity in the air was enough to make anyone sticky and miserable. The eldest Gru child was taller than her two sisters, with dark chestnut hair pulled back into a neat braid. A pair of rectangular glasses were settled on the bridge of her nose, and the sleeve of her dark blue sweater was being badly stretched, since Agnes had transferred her grip to the material instead of her hand. "Agnes, please," Margo pleaded, her dark brown eyes searching for the trademark silver ship which carried her father. Her father. That was still such a novelty to think. Such a precious, rare gift. True, Gru had originally chosen them for his sinister scheme, but he kept them because he loved them. Still, despite all this, Margo felt something was missing. An important something.
Edith was hopping on and off the curb, first on one leg and then on two. There were several occasions where the middle child was in danger of getting clipped by a passing car, and Margo couldn't keep her eyes everywhere. "Edith," She said, exasperated.
The spikey haired blonde glared up resentfully at her older sister. "What? I'm bored." She huffed, and pulled her pink hat a little lower over her eyes. Edith had been wearing her pink hat ever since she had been dropped off at the orphanage – it was a comfort thing. Now, in Gru's household, the hat was more of a fond memento than a reminder of her parents. She had Gru. And who needed anything else? He was cool, with guns and lasers and his secret lab full of explosive things. Plus, he promised that he would never give them up. And that was enough for Edith. She bounced onto the curb a final time and then stayed there, jiggling her foot impatiently as she waited for her father.
Agnes watched a small yellow butterfly perch daintily on a blade of grass. She bit her lower lip, grinning at the pretty little butterfly. Hopefully, it would escape before the rain came. The youngest girl was a cherubic toddler, emerging into her newly minted independence and entering kindergarten. So far, she was thoroughly enjoying herself, although she missed being with Gru all the time. When it came to Gru's attention, Agnes had him completely wrapped around her tiny little finger. And she knew it, too.
Just when the frustration of Margo and Edith reached its zenith, they saw the huge titanium ship cruise luxuriously into view. Gru honked the horn twice, which sounded like the incoming signal from a tugboat, and the doors hissed open. Quickly, the girls scrambled inside.
"You're late!" Edith crowed, dragging her pink backpack up the steps and flinging it onto the seat. Margo and Agnes were right behind her, tucking their bags against the wall of the car.
"What happened?" Margo asked, and caught a whiff of Gru as she leaned forward. Her nose crinkled. "You smell like smoke. Where were you?"
Gru brushed his sleeve absently. "Busy day, gorls," He said briskly, deliberately avoiding Margo's question. "Vhat did you do in cliss today?" He missed the black glare Margo shot him briefly before sinking down into her seat and buckling her seatbelt.
Agnes produced a slightly sticky blob of glitter which was covering every inch of a piece of paper. "I colored a house!" She said, dangling it in front of Gru. "You c'n have it."
"I was the fastest on the monkey bars," Edith reported. "And we planted lima beans. I ate mine," She added as an afterthought.
"Good, vurry good," Gru said absently. "Margo? How was school?"
Margo had piled into the ship without saying another word, and was sitting against the window, her cheek pressed against the glass. "Nothing," She said without looking up. "We read some stuff. All of us have homework," She added, looking at Edith. Her younger sister pouted and slumped lower in her seat.
Gru caught Margo's eye in the rearview mirror. There was something wrong with his eldest daughter, and he hoped it was nothing serious. If she was being bullied, there would finally be a use for his FlameThrower500 (with handy built in telescoping sniper rifle). He would have to discuss it with her later. At any rate, there was dinner to plan. "Vhat do you gorls feel like having for deener?" He asked.
Gru silenced Edith and Agnes with an upraised palm. "Correction: Vhat do you feel like 'aving zhat vill not geeve you a heart attack?" He asked. There was silence for a moment, while Agnes and Edith pondered this.
"Popcorn," Agnes said finally.
"Popcorn for snack," Gru consented. "Anyzhing else?"
As the girls peppered him with questions, Gru had to suppress a smile. Everything seemed to be going right, for once. He had an easier, publicity-fetching job which garnered him more attention then his previous attempts at villainy, and three beautiful girls. His family. He was remarkably, and perhaps for the first time in his life, completely and thoroughly content.
He had no idea how much trouble a superhero could cause.
Her fingers fumbled over the zipper as she toed off her tall black boots. A toothbrush was poking from the corner of her mouth, and her singed hair was neatly brushed. Frankly, there was no time for a shower – her confrontation with Gru had taken more time than she had previously thought. Not to mention her hoverboard had stalled halfway home, causing her to drop out of the air like a stone and crash-land in a convenient line of hedges.
The woman previously known as Supergirl pressed a tiny black button on the frame of her closet door, and the walk in closet whirred slightly. Walls flipped inwards, racks of shoes were tucked away, and a soundproof room completely stuffed with gadgets appeared. Rows of weapons hung neatly secured with pins to the wall: guns that shot nets, guns that froze people, guns that shot darts, guns that shot handcuffs. There was a bulletproof cape, jet-powered Gucci heels, and a thousand other tiny things which every fledgling superhero thought they needed. She tottered over to the silver mannequin which held her supersuit, and stuffed her boots unceremoniously beneath it. Standing flat footed on the chilly tile, she peeled her skintight supersuit off her lean body, kicked it off her ankles, and struggled to fit it over the mannequin. The tight spandex was absurdly difficult to remove, and she soon lost patience with the tight suit. "Oh, forget it," She huffed, and swallowed a mouthful of foam.
Hastily, she pressed the button again, and her walls retracted to reveal her usual gigantic assortment of clothes. Snatching an outfit at random, she wriggled into a skinny black dress which had a slit up to the thigh, and checked herself in the floor length mirror. Vainly, she smoothed her hair down and away from her face, trying to make it mirror her former elegantly coiffed bob, and smiled prettily at her reflection. There – trophy wife smile down pat. She grabbed a pair of black pumps, which were far more comfortable than her ridiculous super-boots, and clasped a string of pearls around her neck. Checking the silver watch on her wrist, she groaned.
"So late, so late, so late," She mumbled as she fled her closet and darted through her expensive bedroom. Had she time to notice, she would have realized that there were dozens of candles on every available surface. Not lit, but waiting expectantly, fresh waxed wicks standing stiffly to attention. There was a single crimson rose on the fluffy white pillow on her bed, along with a sealed note. But she didn't notice any of these things, she was far too busy on trying to run in heels and patting her hair nervously.
She burst clumsily into the dining hall, where dozens of heads swiveled in her direction. The woman ducked her head, blushing furiously, and walked carefully up to the table at the head of the hall. Talk gradually resumed, and she was grateful for the outrageous amount of people. At least not all eyes would be on her, although she strongly suspected her late entrance would fuel the gossip for a few moments at least.
At the head of the table, a tall, attractive dark-haired man looked up at her. "Hey," He whispered, and sounded relieved. "Where were you, Jen? You okay?" He asked as she sat down next to him, smoothing her dress beneath her.
"I'm fine, Richie," She whispered back. Jennifer reached for his hand beneath the table and squeezed it tightly. He rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand, and he must have felt the puffy, shiny burn which she had gotten from Gru. Richie raised her hand and brushed his lips against her knuckles, but Jen knew he was studying the welt on her hand.
"Sweetie, are you sure this isn't too much?" He asked in his gentle voice. Jen squeezed his hand even tighter. Richie was so considerate about this, and whenever he looked at her with those big, soulful brown eyes, she just fell in love with him a little more. There was a reason she was married to his man, she reminded herself, and it was because he was an amazing, wonderful person.
"Richie, I had so much fun," She told him excitedly, keeping her voice low. Well, perhaps fun wasn't the right word. "It ended weird, though. He just sort of walked off without finishing the battle." She frowned, pouting a little. "I wanted him to stay, that way we could do the whole big showdown."
He stroked her hand. "Jen, be careful," Richie said softly. "I know you want to help the world and everything, but can't we just donate a little more to the cancer research society?" At the appalled look on Jen's face, he sighed. "I just don't want you getting hurt."
She leaned forward and pecked him on the lips, giving him a blinding smile. "I have never been more happy," Jennifer said seriously, although her playful green eyes were full of delight. "This is ... indescribable. I love the whole process, you know? Getting dressed, picking out the weapons, challenging him, fighting him, the banter, everything! It's so ... perfect."
Richie relaxed visibly when he saw the impassioned look in her eyes. "Just so long as you're careful," He told her, kissing her lightly, "I don't care what you do. Just so you're happy."
Jen put a hand on his leg, stroking with the heel of her hand. "Besides. Tomorrow I get to fight Vector! The other villain in this town. They say he's the best superhero in the world, but I don't know. I mean, he relies on a lot of gadgets, and I've been doing my homework and I really just think he's –"
A disapproving look from one of the tables in front of them silenced her. Richie caught the hand stroking his leg, and looked up at her with those big brown eyes. "You do know tonight is our second anniversary," He said, and his deep voice was impossibly smooth.
Jen's sly smile curled the side of her mouth. "I'm supposed to be resting for my fight tomorrow," She said, poking him teasingly in the ribcage.
"I'll give you plenty of time to sleep," He promised, but there was a wicked gleam in his dark eyes. "First, though, let's pay attention to the speakers and try not to miss anything."
The young couple faced the front again, Jennifer picking at her food, Richie holding her hand.
How would Gru react when he discovered his new superhero was just a rich girl playing with a new toy?
A/N: Firstly, forgive me. I make no excuses. I fell hopelessly and ridiculously in love with Despicable Me the other day, and I am doing what I ALWAYS do: write fanfiction for what I love! :) So here is what I've got.
I don't have a beta for this story currently, so all mistakes are my own. I'm having trouble with Gru's accent like the rest of us, I've been listening to the movie while I write this and I'm pretty much just spelling everything phonetically.
Reviews and criticism always appreciated~! The more reviews I get, the more inspired I am to continue writing! Please tell me what you think of Jennifer (aka Supergirl) and Gru, and all the rest. :)
VERY IMPORTANT: Supergirl and Gru are not a pairing. I have another OC in mind for Gru. Supergirl and Gru's relationship is strictly business. ;)