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As Natural As Breathing

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It was such a gradual shift that no one really noticed Sue spending more and more time invisible.

She didn’t notice herself. It was as natural as breathing for her, to disappear from sight. At first, she only became invisible when by herself. Some instinct kicked in when her children needed her. That instinct faded.

“Mommy,” Valeria asked one day, “why are you always gone?” Valeria said this without much gravity as she built a small generator with Legos on the floor.

Sue, curled on the couch with a book, said, “I have work with the Fantastic Four, you know that honey.”

Valeria glanced over at her and then looked back at her Legos. “I mean invisible.”

Sue looked down at herself. She saw the book, and she saw the couch, depressed where she sat. She didn’t see her body.

“Franklin says you didn’t used to be all the time.”

“No, honey, I suppose not.” Sue concentrated, and her body flickered into view. But it took more effort than she was willing to expend, so she let it go. She disappeared once more.

Maybe she should have asked Reed about it, but he hadn’t noticed anything either. Of course he wouldn’t. And Valeria and Franklin didn’t seem bothered, and she felt like herself. She felt very comfortable. Sue decided with a shrug that it wasn’t anything to worry about and went back to her book.

She experimented a few times with wearing regular clothing, not made of unstable particles like her uniform, but an empty suit walking around tended to alarm people. It was easier to maintain a force field that gently pushed people to the side to avoid collisions.

Johnny and Ben, once they realized, both said they found it creepy. As they discussed it, Sue in the room with them, Reed stuck his head in from around the door.

“What’s creepy?” he asked.

“Sue bein’ invisible all the time,” Ben said. “Gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

Reed frowned. “Maybe I should run some tests-”

“I’m perfectly fine,” Sue cut in. “Save your tests for yourself, Mr. Richards.”

The surprise in Reed’s face told her enough. Without another word, Sue left through a window, one Johnny normally used, and glided down to the street on an invisible force shield.

Whether Reed ever got used to it, Sue didn’t really care. She cared even less for Ben and Johnny’s opinions. Franklin and Valeria didn’t mind; they knew when she was there and where. That was all that mattered to her.

She could still turn visible when she wanted. Now, though, she didn’t feel like there was any point. It took no effort at all to use her powers. She wondered if she should feel it was somehow divine, but she could not remember feeling more at ease.

One evening, impulse struck her. She encircled herself in a protective sphere and walked into the ocean. She walked until she reached Atlantis, its spires rising up toward the surface from these depths. She walked through the streets, passing by strange and beautiful buildings to the royal palace.

She walked past the guards, and she walked right into a study where Namor sat poring over some Atlantean tome.

He looked up sharply as Sue adjusted her sphere to include him. Water dripped in rivulets down his body.

“What-” he began, but Sue was at his side then, placing a hand on his shoulder.

The tension fled from his body. “Sue,” he said, softly. He reached out and found her cheek, cupping it. She leaned in, as did he, and they shared a kiss.

When morning came, Sue slipped from Namor’s bed. She kissed his forehead and said, “Thank you.”

She turned to leave, but she felt his hand around hers. She looked down to see him looking up at her. His gaze was just a little off, but Sue was charmed all the same.

“Will you not stay?” he asked.

“That’s not how this works,” Sue said. “But I’ll come again, if you’ll let me.”

He raised her invisible hand to his lips. “Always.”

She walked back the way she had come. No one turned an eye toward her, either in Atlantis or in New York. As she stepped into the living room, where Valeria and Franklin were doing their schoolwork, they both looked up towards her and said, “Hi, mom.”

She wrapped them in her arms and kissed their heads. “Hello, my angels.”

This was Sue’s new normal, and it made her feel as light as air.