“You need to—“
“I know, be careful.”
“Call if I get into trouble.”
A sly smile graced the eldest Parr child’s face as she turned to face the scolding voice. It wasn't like this wasn't something she'd been preparing for during most of her childhood.
“I know what I’m doing, mom.”
Helen didn’t look convinced.
Bob, on the other hand, laughed. The sound reverberated from deep in his chest, filled with a surplus of pride. It radiated off of him like sunshine as he clapped against a hand against his daughter’s shoulder, staggering her a couple of steps as he used it to give her a little shake. "She'll be fine, honey."
The whole debacle had begun about a week and a half before her eighteenth birthday. It had started as a passing thought that only grew more and more favorable the longer she dwelled on it. Celebrating adulthood by taking on the city on her own?There were worse things she could be doing.
“Are you sure you don’t want one of us to go with you?” Helen asked, her voice heavy with tired exasperation as she watched her daughter smooth her hair back with a bright hair-band. One that matched the red and yellow color scheme of her costume.
“I’m fine, Mom.” Violet couldn’t help the sigh that seemed to mirror her mother's exasperation. "It's not like I'm going to be, I don't know, fighting a giant robot.. Again."
Helen's frustration spiked considerably, her arms folded over her chest. "You didn't do that alone. You had your family to watch your back, you weren't fending for yourself in the line of life-threatening danger. This is completely different, Vi, it's—"
From across the room, there was a frustrated groan that interrupted Helen's speech. “—It’s not fair!” Dash hollered, expression twisted sourly as he zipped across the room to pout up at his father. Time had been kind to him, in the height department, but not quite kind enough to put him on the same level as Bob. ”I’m practically an adult, why can I go alone too?”
“Practically is not good enough— We don't even want Violet going out, and— Tell Him, Bob.”
Bob nodded along with his wife, even though he was only halfway listening. His hand settled into messy blonde locks and ruffled them vigorously, much to the chagrin of the boy attached. “Eighteen, sport. You’ll get there.”
“I’ll die first.”
“If you continue to throw a tantrum about it, you won’t be doing any hero work, until you’re eighteen.”
Distracted briefly from her prep, Violet couldn't help but lash a smug smirk back at her brother. Dash threw his arms up in exasperation before bolting out of the room to wallow in his misery in private.
Helen pinched the bridge of her nose. One child at a time. “You have to be on your toes out there. You won’t have any family to look out for you," Helen pointed out, in a last-ditch attempt to convince her to take someone out there with her "You’ll have to do three times the work you usually do.”
"I know, mom."
Her worry wouldn't ease up; How could she possibly be comfortable with letting Violet go off like this? Of course, she had done something not too different when she was Violet's age, but that was entirely different. Do as I say not as I do., or something equally hypocritical.
No matter how many times she promised she’d be fine, her mother wouldn’t trust her until she came home the next day. The only thing for her to do now was to just suck it up and leave, even if Helen wasn't happy about it.
Violet's attempt to walk out the front door was quickly cut off. “—Wait,” Helen called, her hand extending to catch up with her before the rest of her body could.
Her eyes rolled as she stopped, allowing her mother to join her in the doorway. "Yes, mom?"
Helen's hand brushed over her cheek, gently pushing a few loose strands of hair back and away from her face. Her smile was weary, heavy with worry. “I’m proud of you, Violet. Stay safe, alright?”
Relief blossomed across her face in the form of a warm, excited smile. Violet wrapped her arms around her mother, giving her a tight hug. Partially for her, partially for herself.
“I promise, mom."
Violet meets an old family friend.
In a darkened alleyway within the city limits, Violet's back leaned up against one of the graffiti stained walls. Here she was; Alone in the city. An earpiece rumbling static into her eardrum in between reports. This was likely the last down-time she'd fine, the last quiet minute to herself.
God, wasn't that exciting?
Even if Violet had never had the motivation, like her brother had, or the nostalgic draw that her parents had, it still felt just.. Right to be out here. Like this was what she was meant to be doing. It was probably a feeling that came from growing up idolizing heroics like this, but..
God knows, it was just a good feeling.
Her thoughts were distracted by static crackling in her ear followed closely by a voice, “All units be advised, 211S, Downtown Memorial Bank.”
That‘s close! Violet realized with a start. The girl lurched away from the wall, taking off down the alleyway in a sprint. There was such a small window of time to arrive at the scene before the officers arrived, if she wasted any time, she'd lose her first case before it even started.
On the downside; she arrived at the scene a little winded. Sprinting several blocks was easier in theory, but as someone who didn't often run places it took a minor toll on her. There was no time to sit and rest, however.
Three times the work.
In quickly surveying the perimeter, Violet was able to locate the source of the break-in. A window with a jagged shattering of glass. One particularly long shard was stained a wet, vivid red. She didn't need to look closer to know what it was. Blood. Whoever had broken in here hadn't had the common sense to be careful around broken glass. Not only that, but they hadn't bothered to try and clean up the DNA mess they had left behind.
Idiots. But, hey. No one ever claimed that bank-robbers were intelligent.
It took a little bit of gymnastics to get through the window to evade the shattered glass. The moment her feet touched down in the building, she went invisible. With her abilities, stealth was the best option she had. She had to play to her strengths, if she wanted to be successful.
Silent; Like a ghost among the shadows, Violet followed the blood trail through the building, lit only by the streetlights outside. The steady crimson drip led her to the back, through an open doorway, and into the underbelly of the bank. The further down she descended, the more clearly she could hear the sound of movement. People hard at work. Violet's transparent figure hugged the wall,
At the bottom of the stairwell, she was left staring down a dimly lit hallway with about four doors. Two ajar. One with light spilling across the floor. Process of elimination lead her to the brightly lit doorway.
Sure enough, her powers of deduction had not led her astray. Eat your heart out, Sherlock.
There were six men inside the room. Each of them worked on a specific task with stiff, mechanical focus. None of them spoke, the silence in the room was absolutely deafening. Her confusion only escalated from there was she crept inside the room. None of these men looked like they had prepared for a bank-heist. Sure, they had matching masks, but none of them had dressed for the occasion, one of them was wearing a muscle shirt that.. Upon closer investigation, Violet discovered, his shirt was stained with blood. An open gash covered the expanse of his arm, from his shoulder halfway down to his elbow. The open wound seeped blood, but he made no attempt to cover it. He didn't even seem to acknowledge the blood seeping down his arm.
Realization dawned on her like ice creeping across her skin. Chilling her to the very bone.
Those weren't masks. They were goggles.
I have to call mom and dad, It wasn't that she was afraid, necessarily. It was just that, maybe, Violet doubted her abilities. Fighting six grown men was already pushing her limits to the extreme. There were just too many pieces here for Violet to handle on her own.
Hastily, she began to back away from the scene. In her fear, her attention lapsed. A fatal flaw for any hero. Especially one who was currently relying on her powers to stay safe. Her back hit the shoulder of a passing thug and like clockwork, all six stiffened to attention.
"Shit.." Violet breathed out as her hands extended in a loose defensive posture in front of herself. Her stumbling had saved her from being grabbed, kept them from knowing where exactly she was, but they knew she was there.
“I thought I heard a Super crawling around here.” Fear escalated to raw panic as she twisted her attention away from the statuesque thugs. Her breath held in her lungs as she spotted her.
Evelyn Deavor stood there, her gaze visibly searching the room for her. She leaned against the doorway almost lazily, like she didn't have a care in the world. Absentmindedly, she tossed a circular, metal object in one hand. Strapped to her face was some kind of mask, one that only covered the lower half of her face. Violet didn't need to see it to tell that she was smirking.
All she had to do was play her cards right. If she could get Evelyn away from the doorway, she could make a run for it before they could catch her. Careful of every little sound, Violet began to creep toward the wall. Toeing around the pools of blood that the man, probably some unfortunate civilian caught up in Evelyn's mess, had left behind.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are." The singsong nature of the words made her sick. Goading her out of hiding wouldn't work, obviously. And Evelyn made no effort to really search the room. Her brainwashed thugs didn't even try. They stood uselessly, awaiting instruction from the woman.
Her breathing was starting to become a hassle as she slipped past one of the men. Wavering, bordering onto hyperventilating with how quickly each breath left her. Maybe if she was able to bide her time, she could wait for backup. Let someone else take care of this woman.
“No? Suit yourself.” Evelyn's thumb pressed into the object. Something metallic clicked within it, before she lobbed it toward the center of the room.
If it was explosive, Evelyn would have been ducking and running, right? Maybe she was counting on the hero she couldn't see to contain the blast, or maybe it wasn't even an explosive at all! The thoughts flew rapidly through her skull as she braced herself, hands raised to contain the blast, should it start to explode.
What she wasn't prepared for was the object to start hissing. The force of the sound made it wobble on the floor, rolling aimlessly in some kind of useless circle.
Her confusion escalated until the smell of something unusually sweet reached her. Fear made her suck another deep lungful in and gave her a feeling not far off from lighting her lungs on fire. A purple forcefield materialized around her body almost on instinct as a series of violent, hacking coughs began to wrack her system. Her body doubled over as each wheezing expulsion made the pain escalate.
Finally, Evelyn left her perch in the doorway. With a swagger to her step and a lazy confidence in her eyes, she approached the edge of the purple bubble. "Somewhere in there, huh? Unless you have some Super Lungs you're not going to last long, even with.. This.."
No matter how she gasped, she couldn't get a breath in that didn't stoke the flames further. Tears brimmed in her eyes as her body curled in on itself, her arms wrapped around her stomach to try and force comfort from the pressure.
“Now.. Wait a second.” A fist hit her field. The bubble flickered like static and materialized closer to her body as she collapsed down to her knees. Desperate, her invisibility dropped. All of her focus went to breathing and keeping the defensive shield around her. "I thought I recognized you! You guys still haven't changed design's, huh? Have to stick to brand loyalty or whatever?"
When Evelyn laughed, it echoed through her skull. The sound felt as though it originated painfully in the center of her mind. There's no escaping it.
Her vision swam around her, darkness chased coherency around and around with every intention of doing so until the dizziness was too much for her to handle. Every muscle in her body felt heavy. She sank further, crumbling like a ragdoll against the cold tile. Her wheezing breaths did nothing to save her now. Tears rolled freely down her cheeks as her field flickered once more, before shattering.
Vulnerable, barely cognizant. Violet looked up at the figure looming over her through the darkness that engulfed her vision. She crouched down beside Violet, her hair back behind her ear. A dark twinkle in her eye betrayed the smile that Violet couldn't see.
“This is going to be fun.”
For the better half of the night, Helen was wide awake. Insisting that she stay in the kitchen, away from her family. Closer to the phone and with a police scanner tuned to local activities. She didn't expect something to go wrong; she just wanted to have every opportunity to be a first responder if it did.
By the time sunlight began to illuminate the house around her, she'd dozed off. Her head rested on folded arms and the dull static working like white-noise, with the occasional chatter that failed to catch her attention. It was Bob who roused her, with a hand that gently shook her by the shoulder.
“..Helen?” He spoke softly, so as to not startle his wife too badly.
Once she found herself vertical, the first words out of her mouth were, “When did Vi get home?” Followed by a yawn.
“You didn’t see her?”
When she stood up, she found herself thanking her lucky stars. If she hadn't been Elastigirl, that position would have killed her neck. “I must have dozed off— Did you see her?”
On the way to the coffee maker, Bob simply shook his head. While his assumption went directly to, she's already asleep in bed.. Helen's first instinct was to worry. Violet had just tried to keep from disturbing the family after a long night. That's all.
Dash's arrival put him skidding into the middle of the conversation right before he hoisted himself up to sit on the countertop beside where his father was making breakfast. "Is sleeping beauty going to be up before I leave?"
“She was out late," Bob replied as he cracked eggs into a pan. "She’ll probably be waking up around the time you get home.”
Helen found herself unable to focus on the conversation. Dash's bickering about his own beauty rest just didn't register, yet. That cold feeling of dread was going to eat her alive if she didn't check on Violet.
For her sanity’s sake.
On her way across the living-room, she past her youngest. She turned mid-step, gesturing to the toddler who was in the midst of playing with dimensional hopping. “Bob— Can you please?”
He wasn’t paying attention, but agreed anyway.
Helen rolled her eyes, adding working with Jack-Jack to her mental-checklist of things she had to get done today. In passing, she ruffled her hand through the giggling child's hair.
She took the stairs two at a time, reminding herself she was just being irrational. There was nothing to worry about; Violet would be fine.
Helen took a breath as her hand rested on the handle. For all the affirmations she'd provided herself, she hadn't prepared for what to do when the room was empty.
The first thing Violet realized, was her chest hurt. It felt like someone had poured fire down her throat and left it burning inside of her lungs for hours. Every breath seemed to stoke the flame and when she took one that bordered onto too deep, her body was wracked with an awful coughing fit that made her body strain to curl up.
Except, she couldn't. It was mid-wheezing cough that she realized she couldn't move. Not well, anyway. Her arms were locked up, secured by heavy metal cuffs that looked to be built into the stiff, uncomfortable chair. Similarly, her ankles were connected to the legs and no matter how she twisted her body, there was no pulling away from their iron grasp.
Her heart thundered in her chest as everything began to fall back into place. Her wheezing breaths desperate to try and regain some form of composure. If she could keep her head, she could think her way out of this.
“I was beginning to think you overdosed.” The voice came from somewhere behind her. When she turned back to try and see the source, she couldn't. It seemed like the woman was standing just in her blind-spot.
When she winced from pulling at the binds just a little too hard, Evelyn just laughed. A bone chilling chuckle that threatened to sweep the last of her self-control out from under her.
Evelyn took her time in wandering to stand in front of her. Violet couldn't help but notice the sheer exhaustion in her features. It was like time itself had come to life and spit in the woman's face. It wasn't like the last four years could have been easy, right? She was supposed to be in prison all this time.
Violet's arms twisted as she tried once again to free them. At this rate, she'd rub her wrists raw. "Let me go." Something small inside of her was proud of the sheer confidence her voice retained; it didn't even waiver as she stared the woman down.
"Let you go?" She echoed, laughing like the notion was one of the most ridiculous things she'd ever heard. She pointed a finger Violet's way, "You're a funny girl, you know. Like this isn't all orchestrated to keep a girl like you in. And the first thing you say is, 'let me go'. Nothing else. No questions, no accusations. Straight to the point. It must be the novice in you, huh?"
"My parents are going to be pissed." Was it childish to use her parents as a threat? Perhaps. But, when your parents are well-known supers with a track record for kicking the ass of anyone who dared to mess with their family? It just made sense.
Evelyn, however, wasn't disturbed. She made a show of rolling her eyes as she started to pace in front of Violet. "Jesus, that's just pathetic, isn't it? You're a super, aren't you? You're supposed to be able to save the day, save yourself, save everyone around you. What kind of hero are you if you can't even save yourself?" Violet took a breath to try and argue, but was cut off by the tirade that continued. "You're just as dependent on someone else to save you as everyone else is."
"There's nothing wrong with needing help," Violet replied incredulously.
Evelyn's arms threw up into the air as she barked out a bitter laugh. "There's a difference, isn't there? There's a difference between saying, 'Help me with this' and 'Do this for me because I can't'. It's pathetic. Nobody's going to save you, nobody is coming, you either help yourself, or you fucking die." The strain on the word made Violet's heart stop. She didn't doubt for a second that she'd follow through in a heartbeat.
Fear manifested on it's own accord when Evelyn took a step towards her. A forcefield materialized around her, keeping her safely secured inside the center and Evelyn looking through the semi-transparent barrier.
"That's cute, really." Evelyn drawled slowly as she knocked her knuckles against it. "Don't make me pop this bubble."
As long as she had her abilities, she was safe. With a shaky inhale to try and calm her nerves, Violet replied through her teeth. "Let me go."
"And, why do you think you're in any position to be giving orders, little girl?" Her voice lilted with amusement as she went rooting through her pockets. "Last I checked, you were the one in the chair. Not me."
“You're not going to get away with this."
Evelyn's eyes rolled as she raised a sleek remote control, holding it up for Violet to look at. It wasn't anything special, or it didn't look like it. A trio of unmarked buttons on a black and silver device. Evelyn's finger hovered over the one in the middle as she cleared her throat to get Violet looking at her again.
“Suit yourself. We'll just play with this until you decide to listen." She mused, grinning wickedly as she clicked the button.
Violet's entire body seized up as electricity raced through every inch of her body. It reached down to her very bones and throttled her in pure agony. Tears brimmed in her eyes without her knowledge as her mouth opened in a soundless scream. There was no escaping from it, even if she could have willed her body to move. Every time her body jerked under the currents overwhelming sweep, she ended up hurting twice as bad when her body resettled into the chair.
There was no focusing on the outside world; only on the pain that had her nerves shot to Hell and back. Somewhere, in the midst of her thrashing, her control on her abilities fluctuated. As her body strained to maintain the defensive, despite the pain overwhelming her senses, her forcefield flickered like a strobelight. Rapid fluctuations that popped in and out of reality, before finally disappearing entirely.
Just when she thought she couldn't take it anymore, that this would be the death of her and what an agonizing one it'd be, the pain stopped.
Her body slumped back against the metal chair as her body went into recovery. Muscles trembling in the aftermath, her eyes squeezed shut to try and stop the flow of tears that the agony had started.
“What a firework display, really, it was beautiful." Evelyn drawled. Her voice sounded distant. Far away under the quiet sound of Violet crying. She wasn't even aware of her approach until a hand took ahold of her chin and lifted her head. Reluctantly, her eyes opened. Meeting the dark, gleeful gaze of the woman before her. "You understand now, right? If you can't save yourself, no one's going to save you. It's just you and me."