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all of my friends are right with god (let’s cut a covenant)

Chapter Text

There are some things about Bob’s wife that scare him.
The sandpaper-streak in her from three brothers and a regular Teddy Roosevelt for a father, no; the women, no. Without fanfare, hers has always been a military family. Theirs still is, in a way that goes unnoticed even within.
But then again, there’s a lot about Helen Parr that passes under the radar.


It’s not what she is that scares Bob— he’s always been happily consigned to just watch her be, in her fierce, glorious wayit’s what happens after a decade and a half of tamping herself down, it’s the newfound penchant for dead-eyed anger he can’t quite reconcile, something he missed her growing, dark and strange, in the shade.


Helen learns how to fix a car when she turns seven— her brother’s overalls are baggy past the knees and she rolls them up mid-calf so she won’t trip when she runs out to the garage.

“See that, Hel? That’s good American engineering.”


Mr. Truax refuses to retire his old Model T even though the A has been on the market almost three years, fixes it up at least once a week because the Sunday drive into town for groceries is harrowing at best, traumatizing at worst.
She’s still too young to join in with her brothers’ wheedling for a new car— they’ve all fixed up far spiffier stuff, the kind of models that come with radios.

Helen, though, has only ever repainted the T in the same murky forest green— the tins smell, irreversibly, like home. Her father hands her a wrench and she has to hold it in both hands.

“The day you sacrifice quality for appearance is the day you go under, Hel. Always remember that.”


-

Helen squirms under her mother’s hands when she comes back in for lunch, happiness and hard work painted all down her front in streaks of grime.
“Good work today, grease monkey,” her father says in that rare, rich glow of pride he gets in his chest, when she’s cleaned up and kicking her feet out in big, enthusiastic circles under the kitchen table, and Helen feels like the sun, mouth full of peanut butter and bread.

Bob likes watching her work in the garage, hair tied back and pants bunched up at the ankles.

Helen slides out from under the chassis to coo at baby Violet, telling her how poor of a driver her dad is with that rough-sweet Southern voice, like crystallizing honey, and Bob thinks that she’s like the sun.

Helen kisses a girl for the first time in her dad’s garage, pressing her up against the loose-hinged cabinets.
She doesn’t look at the stack of forest-green paint cans, she doesn’t think about the skeleton of the model T out back or its blasphemous replacement or about aneurysms or about her brother coming home from the enlistment office or about Jackie Cochran—

Helen lets the girl scratch at the base of her skull with long, clean nails and soft fingers and thinks that girls taste like the sun.

Chapter Text

Helen has always liked her hair as it looks after running a hand backwards through it— always preferred it short and out of her own mouth when she’s working and heaving dusty lungful of summer air with her tongue sticking, sour, to the backs of her teeth— manageable, just as she’s always liked the singularity of a jumpsuit, a uniform.

Her work clothes don’t stretch easy, and they remind her not to, either.


Helen is not the daughter her mother wants.
(Until Bob, Helen has never really been what anyone wants her to be. But he doesn’t seem to want anything from her, and maybe it’s that she can’t quite reconcile it in her head that’s the problem— Bob Parr has no intention of making her fight the way she’s used to.)

Helen is not quiet. Helen is not delicate.

A branch breaks from under her feet when she’s climbing her favorite tree, and six-year old Helen falls a good fifteen feet to the dirt.
She lands squarely on her ankle, and watches her tibia dislocate from her knee— or she would have, but the twisted leg just rolls back the right way and straightens as her mother is running out from the kitchen to help.
The pop still hurts, and Helen wails to high heaven with her face scratched and her hair full of leaves when she tries to stand, but when her mother’s done cleaning her up and is rummaging for ice, Helen finds she can walk just fine and scares her by running a joyous lap of the kitchen in bare, muddy feet.

It isn’t until her brother breaks his arm a year later falling from the loft that she learns what bones are supposed to do and sears a frown onto her father’s face by twisting her own arm at the elbow to demonstrate how her brother should just do the same, easy as imaginable.
(She sulks in the back of the car on the drive into town, thinking she’s done something wrong, and her brother goes home in bulky plaster and her with the memory of a thoroughly confused family doctor.)

But, primarily, her father is beatific in having such a sturdy child, if concerned, and Helen learns she can stretch swinging from that same tree to the others in the copse on the edge of their property.
(She comes to prefer buildings for their tendency not to break whenever it suits them, but it’s several more years before she gets the chance to see a real city so close.)

Helen is fresh out of high school when she learns to fly.
The plane sounds like a wounded animal when she takes off and she’s immediately glad for her sunglasses— it’s like a massive, deafening, infinitely more dangerous car, and Helen has never loved something so immediately the way she does the vicious shred of early autumn-air through her hair, the thump and rattle of her bones with the engine.

-

She’s nineteen and working up the money for a pilot’s license when things go really wrong for the first time.

(1942 is a cold year in retrospect, but Helen is bundled in the heat of excitement: there are rumors of women flying for the air force, down in Texas, and she burns to join them.
Helen’s oldest brother touches down in the Solomon Islands, and the country her father loved for putting itself first won’t respond to the news from Auschwitz for another two years.

But Helen’s mother will, one day, tell a wide-eyed Violet, “your grandpa raised her right,” and god in all Her glory be damned if Helen is not going to Sweetwater.)


This high up, even the July air is cold enough to bite through her bomber, and Helen’s mouth has run dry and hoarse whooping and nose-diving for the girl waiting on the ground for her. The straight shot between school and the military never left Helen room for college, but she thinks more and more on going back when the war is over.

She met her girl at a bar near campus, and she sews a patch into Helen’s jacket to take to Sweetwater— a big, blooming violet— and there are a great many things Helen wants to know when she is done there.

Helen can’t hear her scream from down below when the plane starts to trail smoke and wobble drunkenly, but she knows. She scrunches her face and breathes loudly— her powers have always been a family secret and nothing beyond. The girl is nice, but Helen has never quite trusted anyone to take her in stride— when she vaults herself over the side of the open cockpit towards the flat spread of the open field, it is in a defeated plummet and she lands as a billowy heap, clothes torn and singed.
-

All at once, there on the ground she knows things will be different.
Helen’s life has always seemed to turn on a dime, and she watches the plane smear into a fiery wreck on the ground like some great, big coin.


She doesn’t see the girl again.
She has to dip into the money Father left her to pay for repairs, and uses the rest of it to buy her license the same day. She leaves before rumors spread about her turning herself into a fucking parachute reach her, and the train to Sweetwater is long and lonely.

She won’t go to school when the war is over. The girls in Texas are mostly glad she won’t die in a plane wreck so easy, and she keeps the violet on her lapel until the jacket lining grows worn and thin. The Agency will come to call, soon, but not quite yet.


Her brother dies in Guadalcanal and the letter from Mother comes late late late, when she’s flying east in the belly of a B-26. She misses the funeral, grits her teeth in an increasingly familiar grind, and keeps moving.

1942 is a year that takes, and Helen will not find home, again, for several more.

Chapter Text

There are a great many things Evelyn Deavor is not and has never been.
Growing in the shadow of someone who deserves light makes one feel like they belong there, after all.

(To Helen, the saddest thing about Evelyn is that she’s missing self-worth like she’s missing wisdom teeth.
Never there in the first place, and had it been there would’ve been a removal in blood and a subsequent, sterile wash.

Oh, Evelyn believes in herself. She has faith in her research, she rests on no laurels. Always asleep on her own feet.
To herself, Evelyn is the worst kind of god, entirely inward, self-omnipresent. She has a hunting party of one, and she was born alongside the sun.

But gods are old, and alone, and they only ever have their own eyes to see through.)

Evelyn does not think of herself as someone allowed to touch, someone who ever should be by another.

Who else is there?

It’s deeply strange, to think that Helen might want her.
Objectively, it’s a simple observation. Verbal cues and body language and all that jazz.

But, alone and tuning up a pair of goggles, Evelyn thinks that she has never really been wanted before.

She dreams of Helen over her— unmasked, but still blurry around the eyes, because she only ever dreams of what she knows. It’s not new, to want women, but god, it would be so much easier if Evelyn hadn’t been planning this for years. If she didn’t have to get so close.
If Helen didn’t make her think of giving up on the whole fucking thing.

But Evelyn always, always finishes what she starts.
Hating her own actions hasn’t been enough to stop her before. She’s a legacy to keep, after all.


She hopes Winston will forgive her.
She knows no one else will, and in a way it makes it easier. The more to prepare for, the better— Evelyn is a hypnotist, Evelyn gets results, and an audience is so much less daunting if you know how they’ll react.
-
And so, when it turns out she’s performing for two, it’s terrifying.

How does someone good reconcile someone bad in their own head?
Working with Supers makes the words “good” and “evil” a mush of syllables in her head— Evelyn doesn’t much care for heroes— but she knows she is wrong in the way she knows her own name. Somewhere deep, and warm, and heavy, smelling sweet like long-fallen blossoms and split fruit.
Winston has all the things she’s missing— together, they comprise one functional CEO.

But Helen— Helen is the only other good person Evelyn has ever been close to, lying through her teeth as she is, and Helen is already herself.

She wonders, with the tired feeling of being hollow, what it must be like to be an entire person.
She wonders how one is supposed to ask.

Much as she tries, much as it comes with the job, Evelyn has really only hated one person, and hating someone already dead is like too much food for one stomach.
Either it rots in the cupboards or it does cast ungracefully in the ground, but keeping it in has the added benefit of no one seeing.

Nothing feels good.
There is temporary satisfaction in work, especially good at it as Evelyn is, and then there is a deep, lukewarm gray to return to.

She does not want to succeed the way Winston can, but she’ll do everything in her power to ensure it all the same.

Wanting Helen— now that is foreign.
Helen is deep, crushing red, and all that Evelyn can muster to explain herself is that it must be her favorite color.

She thinks that if she touched Helen, the burn would be less pink and more scar, and god knows Evelyn has been waiting for something permanent. God knows she doesn’t need it to be something good.

Apathy is a daunting thing, when it’s on you.

Evelyn spends her night in holding (before Winston brings her home, with his sad-happy eyes) trying to remind herself that she can breathe.

She is as she has always been. She does not make mistakes.
Helen outsmarted her, and this is okay. If there’s anyone Evelyn can stand to submit lose to, it’s Elastigirl.

But she hadn’t made her oxygen mask. And (thus) her oxygen mask did not work.
No one will know it, and Helen won’t be speaking to her anytime soon, but there had been tears beading in the corners of her eyes.

“No one wants to”— she’d said it as if she herself wasn’t right there, asphyxiating just a little slower, when she kicked Helen back towards the fuselage.
But it wasn’t exactly how she’d planned to go.

Helen’s hand on her face would normally be something to think and curl her toes over in the plush quiet of her own bed, her room with its lofty, distant windows, but her eyes squeeze shut and all she can feel is herself straining for air.
The tightness in her fingertips as cyanosis sets in.
The bottom-of-the-pyramid hysteria of realizing she‘s going to die.
The way her eyes start to roll back, loose, in her ringing skull.

(Helen will pass out first— she’ll crumple lovely as ever to the cabin floor, and Evelyn will keep climbing. Her eyes will keep filling up with white and static, and there will be a fire neither of them will have to feel. Like falling asleep in the snow.)

Evelyn’s ankles are swollen in the back of the police car, and she kneads them quietly, painfully, handcuffs loose and rattling like her mother’s favorite old bracelets.

Chapter Text

Evelyn’s eyes have always been sensitive to light, and she has never quite learned how to give up control.

 

She might as well be in the business of mining kryptonite.

She has to test her first pair of goggles on Winston, and it almost kills her. He’s just so quiet with them on— she panics and claws them back off immediately, and feels nauseatingly guilty when she tells him he passed out on the floor and convinces him to go home.

For the first of many, many times, Evelyn considers giving up. She has never minded using herself as a test subject— just efficiency, she tells Winston, nothing more— and not being able to, this time, should have been a sign.

Evelyn does not believe in God, but she understands omens.

Winston drives her personally back to the house. Evelyn wonders if it’s just for him to look at her in the rearview.

 

God, she loves Winston so much it hurts.

“Stop staring at me, Win. You look like a basset hound.”

She is not so great at verbalizing.

 

“What happened, Evelyn?”

Outside of business, they use each other’s full names so rarely. Winston’s voice is not especially cold, but it’s hollow, and that scares her even more.

 

“Can we not do this right now? I got sucked out of a plane and I haven’t showered in three days.”

 

“Fine.” They drive on in horrible, testy silence. The day he doesn’t argue when she’s being petulant is a long one, indeed.

The long-awaited shower is glorious, and self-indulgent in the way Evelyn usually isn’t. It’s good, to let herself be run raw and red by something cleaner, and the pipes be her saint John-- she thinks her mother would be proud with a ceremony this trivial, even-- she cries and breathes in steam and stays until it hurts, and feels rather like a hermit crab. Small and ever the coward, waiting to find a new shell until it’s dark and quiet.

But Winston won’t leave until she tries his new herbal tea, and she hasn’t found home yet.

 

“It’s supposed-”

 

“-to help you sleep, yeah. Got it.” Ever on his quest to cure insomnia; it’d be the understatement of the century to say that Evelyn gets easily frustrated, but she only really tries not to for Winston.

She pauses, closes her eyes. “Thanks.”

 

He turns off the burner with a pleased, but unenthusiastic hum, like a cat.

“Please drink at least the whole cup- there’s more water on the stove, if you want.” It scares her how impersonal he sounds, like she’s a client they’re about to drop.

 

Evelyn does not like to say thank you frequently. Why one doesn’t seem to carry over towards more favors, she has no idea. She takes a sip.

(It’s terrible.)

 

She watches, as she always does when someone exits, as his hand reaches for the doorknob.

“And Evelyn?”

 

Tired eyes flick up towards his face. He still looks like a sad dog, about to melt there on the rug.

“Don’t come back to work until you’re ready to talk, this time.”

 

She makes some incoherent sound of protest, but he cuts her off.

“Please. For me.”

 

Evelyn envies his ability to leave a room without taking (fearful) notice of reactions.

With her, at least, Winston knows she’ll do it.

 

The tea is awful, and she sits curled on the sofa in her robe until it’s gone.

There are a lot of things that Evelyn does wrong, but let it never be said that she’s a bad sibling.

 

But god, he hasn’t ever spoken to her like that. Not even when Mother died.

 

Dying of heartbreak-- now there was a fun way to put it.

Evelyn doesn’t let the officer sent to her door feed her that, but she does let him to Winston.

She doesn’t much lie to Winston, and likes to even less, but with things going the way they are, she’ll need to practice.

 

She pays to keep it out of the newspapers. It was bad enough they reported on Father, but no amount of hush money would've kept the dead CEO of DevTech off the front page. And Evelyn has always been a champion of free speech, but she has priorities in the short-term.

Keep Winston going, ensure a smooth transfer of power, quietly re-allocate some funds for her new project. She can spare the press one more exploitation of her family, at least for now.

-

The Deavor family has a private cemetery a little closer to the coast, and she’s panicking the whole time— arrangements, ceremony, and everything— because the company is out both of its interim CEOs and in its most chaotic state in decades.

She lets Winston stay longer, but he’s back after only two days-- the family cemetery is creepy as all hell, all aboveground marble and unruly grass. The concept isn’t much better- Evelyn will never understand what’s appealing about knowing where you’ll be dead before you have to think about when you’ll get around to being dead. She hopes Winston won't ask to be buried there; she certainly won't be.

 

In those days, Evelyn was better- she slept at night, and she remembered to eat most of the time— and much as she’d have loved to tamp down even more unmanageable feelings, she pressed Winston to talk about Mother. God knows she didn’t want to invest in a medium.

He cried, and she handled things until he stopped, and they were okay. They became their singular, competent CEO, and they carried on.

 

Father, they didn’t talk about.

Father, they washed the office of.

 

Evelyn, as a rule, doesn’t call.

She knows Winston knows this, and she can outsiege him. This, too, he knows.

 

But they wouldn’t be siblings if he didn’t try all the same.

-

Really, she doesn’t even need to leave the house.  They’ve had groceries delivered longer than she and Winston have been alive, and the maid, blessedly, doesn’t try to talk to her makes acceptable company.

She digs through old projects— god, had everything gone by the wayside these past years— and settles on restructuring her goggles to use for sleep hypnosis. Now there's something she'd make a good subject for.

That would require the police to unseize her blueprints, though, or, more feasibly, require her to scrounge for her backup copies in that one hatch in her office floor, the one squarely beneath her desk. (She still doesn't like lying to Winston, but she'll count it as pre-existing.)

 

Something decidedly achievable, but not when she's under self-imposed house arrest.

 

Fuck projects, anyway.

-

Unsurprisingly, she forgets to eat. A lot. 

Or, better yet, she'll shuffle downstairs to make something and give up halfway to the fridge. Drink enough water until she doesn't feel hungry, and pretend that counts. Winston never realizes when he tries to help, but unhealthiness is as much a method as the opposite, sometimes. Encounter problem, find variable, solve. No one ever said the solution had to be a good one. 

She sleeps in these awful, two-hour naps, and never in the same place twice. There's a classical radio station that filters with great difficulty into the house, and it seeps into her dreams, random strains and always, always that one Chopin waltz everyone plays, the one that sounds like Starry Night. 

Evelyn dreams like she used to, before. Of herself as a Super— she can't quite remember the name, but it had something to do with electricity— and all the things that ruin around her. She arrives to her home to find Father with his throat cut in a horrible crescent, and his blood gets all over her boots; she's little, and she touches her fingers to her mother's big fishtank and watches them all surface; she puts a hand to her mother's wet face as she sleeps, and stops her heart. When she wakes up the inside of her mouth tastes like ozone, and she has to do Winston's stupid breathing exercises until she can see straight.

She dreams of the ocean rising to meet her, always closer, never touching— there's a hand around one of her ankles, and a voice is asking her if the water is warm enough yet.

She decides to concede to Winston when she loses track of what day it is, is about to steel herself, whatever that means these days, and call, when she gets a visitor.

 

And this is when she realizes she couldn’t ever have won this game (man, she’s really on a losing streak), because Winston cheats.

Winston cheats, and Evelyn is fucked, because he sends Helen.

Chapter Text

Easy as it is to get strung along with the narrative, and much as the NSA would love to tout him as such, Bob is not a military man.

-

Robert Parr is born quiet and sickly in New York — his childhood is one to worry over by his parents, and he does not hit that singular, monumental growth spurt until high school.

In fact, he almost dies very early on, before he is old enough to remember.

 

1922 is quite the last stand for most diseases, and a city like New York is no place to avoid it. That strangling angel comes to Robert before his first birthday, and his throat swells like a bullfrog’s.

 

After the best efforts— honey and warm water and windows open to the November street below— fail, the nurse at the hospital doesn’t bother to recommend intubation, at first.

“He’ll be dead in a day or two,”— it is not said unsympathetically, but there are other patients, with less daunting esophagi.

 

After Robert hangs on for a week, however, by some near-miracle, their tone shifts. There is hardly a small enough tube for him in the hospital, but he makes it.

It is the first of many times that Bob holds on when he should not be able to. He holds on— with a sort of unconscious wisdom, like he’s waiting for December— and Mr. and Mrs. Parr hold onto him with the same fervor.

He is an only child, still small, ever enduringly quiet, and it will be a great many years until he can wear red.

In his golden days, the NSA quite likes Mr. Incredible as a patriot. He’s taciturn enough for it to be assumed, and it won’t do to dissuade the public— there’s a war on, after all.

His new job is decidedly unlike his old— long, dusty hours at his father’s firm— and work does not feel so much like work when he’s so divinely suited for it.

 

But Elastigirl, she works , and he is in awe of her.  (Later, he will come to learn that meeting her at all is the third of his life’s miracles— Helen Parr is well-traveled in a way only familiar to him by virtue of his parents.) 

1946 finds them, inexplicably, in the same place— Helen is stationed by the coast, and Bob, in some rebellious streak, dregs up the courage and the money to go to San Francisco in search of work— accounting is by no means exciting, but the wartime boom is not something to ignore, and the East Coast feels more stifling with every passing day.

With the war over, she hits him like a train, one big rush of South-sweet honey and fire and liquid-smooth confidence.

 

In their golden days, San Francisco is large enough for a whole host of Supers to run different circuits. They overlap, sometimes, and Bob is not hesitant in admitting she’s better at their job than he is. Not to her face, as often, but he knows it.

There’s a glorious window of engagement, an admiring media, and a NSA both overconfident and more than willing to pull out certain stops for two of its favorite figureheads. Helen is comfortably stationed where she’s been, and Mr. Incredible takes up his hobby of meeting trains where they are on the tracks.

 

1947 is not such a kind year. 1947, sly as it is, hits from behind.

The name Violet is not one that takes long to settle upon. Helen has the flower carefully removed from her jacket, in anticipation, and things feel so right before they take a decisive turn into wrong.

 

She’s considering retiring from the military when it happens, and God in all her mercy, it is so hard to let go of her anger.

 

At Bob, for being squarely in the wrong place at the wrong time— this lasts too long, long after she knows it’s undeserved, and there are a few long, slow nights on the couch.

At herself, for not asking him to come home earlier. This lingers into the next decade, quiet and behind her eyes,

At him— the Helen of 1947 understands suicide far less than she will come to, far less than she will come to know with the postpartum of so many things.

At herself, again, for believing she could be comfortable.

-

There are fights that they survive, fights in the way of two people angry at the same thing in different ways.  Before the NSA relocates them for the first time, they take baby Violet to the ocean, where she starts to make small, soap-shimmery bubbles that hover in her little hand before dissipating. Edna’s first gift to them is a set of deep-purple clothes that, Bob learns with great difficulty, disappear when she does, and the frantic call to Helen that their daughter went missing in the middle of the kitchen results in a much angrier one back to the Mode office. There’s a solid minute of cackling before Bob, nursing his ego, gets his apology.

 

It’s often that Helen counts her lucky stars to have her husband, particularly when they start to travel again.  He is all too willing to pack up and follow wherever the NSA manages to quietly re-station her and find them a house, and Violet learns to walk in dim hotel bedrooms, sees so very much of the country before she can remember it.

(In retrospect, maybe that’s why stasis thoroughly fails them, in the end— there are two generations of the Truax-Parr family that grow on the high of what is new , and how to help where they end up.)

-

Bob is a good husband, a better friend, an even better father, and he nearly snaps Dicker’s neck when he finds out Helen is being watched.

 

The NSA begins to turn with the rest of the government— what a missed opportunity it is, not to fly the flag of good, salt-of-the-earth, American Supers in times like these, indeed.

Helen manages to hold on for a few more years. McCarthy doesn’t start really running his mouth until 1950, and the Air Force doesn’t mind having Elastigirl in their ranks— there are a good number of Sweetwater girls taking calls, still, and there’s hell to pay when investigations start— until they’re made to.

-

(Helen’s favorite color has always been purple, and what a bastardization it is when she starts to fear it.)

 

Helen is fired in ‘52, and honestly it is a wonder it wasn’t sooner.

To think, she says through tears to Bob, listless in the kitchen, that all the things he married her for are all the things she can’t be.

 

Bob is a good husband, Bob meets her in her twenties with her hair longer and unruly, unafraid as she is of just being and with no intention of stopping her.

Bob is a good husband, and they never quite get around to being exclusive.

 

Bob is her best friend, and it kills him to watch her shut herself in the house. It kills him to watch her soak up her mother’s diatribe with dead eyes, when she loses her penchant for long nights out.

 

The Cold War has been colder than Helen ever wants her children to know, and she can’t really blame Bob when he starts driving the streets in search of that old, sweet fire.

-