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Sparks Fly

By: T.W. and Rebecca McQuarrie

 

 

Volt stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist.  He stood in front of the mirror, water still dripping off him.  Concentrating, Volt allowed currents to flow through his veins and dry him with their heat.  He ran a brush through his hair until he achieved his desired style.

 

Before he left to get dressed, Volt ran his fingers along the scar between his pectoral muscles.  The scar was still livid and smooth to the touch; the only visible proof of his near brush with death.  Now, more than ever, he was glad that The Dark One did not kill him, for he had the chance to go out with the most beautiful women he had ever met.

 

He crossed the room to a closet where a tuxedo waited for him.  He had bought it yesterday just for the occasion.  As he was fitting on the necktie, Norman walked into the room.

 

“Going somewhere?” Norman asked.  Volt didn’t turn around.

 

“I’m not talking to you until you walk out of this room and knock before entering.”  He looked over his shoulder grinning in a mischievous way.

 

“Don’t tell me you’re going out with that purple heroine who accompanied us with your rescue.”

 

Volt decided to ignore the remark about his rescue. “Fine I won’t tell you, obviously there’s no need since you seemed to have figured it out all by yourself.  By the way: her name is Eve.”

 

“Fine, Eve then.” Norman said nodding, “I still advise against getting emotionally attached to a hero.”

 

“That’s funny coming from a guy who spends most of his time stalking a heroine who’s already married.”  There was an unmistakable edge in his voice, “I don’t want your advice, and I joined this organization so I could live my life how I want, and I plan to.”

 

Norman suddenly became rigid at Volt’s remark.  His mouth opened and closed several times as if trying to formulate a reply.  Volt grabbed his tuxedo jacket and walked past the stunned protector.

 

“Oh, and don’t send anyone to spy on me because, believe me, I’ll know, and I will personally fry them before they can say a word to you.”  Volt said before closing the door behind him.

 

~~~~

 

 

“Zoe, do you have a sec,” asked Indigo Eve.  “I’m going out on a date tonight and I don’t know what to wear.  I really don’t have much besides my hero costume and sweats.  Do you have anything I can borrow?”

 

“That’s funny,” joked Zoe, “I was going to ask if I could borrow your costume for my date this weekend.  I’m sure I have something that will work.  Let’s go see what we can find.”

 

The two female heroes wandered down the hall to Zoe’s small bunkroom.  For a woman who, when fighting crime, cared more about showing up the men than fashion, Zoe had quite an extensive wardrobe packed in her closet…and in her dresser, and under her bed and in the closets and under the beds of some of her groupmates. 

 

“Ok, first question.  Has he seen you in your hero costume?  No wait, here’s a better question, who are you seeing tonight?  How did you meet him?  Oh, and where are you going?”  Those and a half-dozen other questions poured from Zoe excitedly before she could stop herself.

 

With a laugh, Eve said, “Slow down.  I feel like I’m being interrogated.  Yes, he’s seen me in costume.  That’s the biggest issue I have.  My outfit isn’t exactly conservative and doesn’t leave much to the imagination.  Wearing a sweater and slacks around him would seem weird.  We’re going to an Italian restaurant in Skyway, so I think a dress would be appropriate.  Getting a date when you’re purple is a little difficult if you’re anywhere but in Paragon, so I don’t have the stereotypical ‘little black dress’.”

 

“That’s where you’re in luck!  I do.  Actually, I have four, no wait I have five.  You’re a little taller than I am, but I’m sure one of them will do.”  With her head buried in the closet, she continued, “You skipped the most important questions.  What are you hiding?  Who is he?  Have I met him?  Oh my gosh, you’re not going out with Sonic voluntarily are you?”

 

With a look of amused horror on her face, Eve replied, “Good lord, no, I’m not going out with Sonic.  It’s not that I had a bad time when we went to Pocket D, he’s just not my type.  Actually, it was when I was at Pocket D with Sonic that I met Volt.  We ran into each other, or should I say he ran by me, a few days later.  I thought I could help him out, but it ended up that I needed a bit of help myself.  We also went to lunch the other day after I ran into him at the Onami base.  He seems to be a really nice guy, although Deanarys has her doubts.”

 

“Do you trust him?”

 

After a thoughtful pause, Eve conceded, “Yes, I do.”

 

“Then,” said Zoe handing her a dress, shoes, jewelry, and a shawl, “I see no reason why you shouldn’t go and have a good time.  Don’t worry about Deanarys.  How you feel is more important than what she thinks.  Now go try those on.  I want to make sure his jaw hits the floor when he sees you.”

 

~~~~

 

Volt arrived at Paragon City; even though he had turned into electricity to get to the shore, his suit was still perfect.  He ran his hands over the material pulling all of the static out of it.  An Arachnos agent awaited him up the road from where he arrived.  The man held a set of keys, which he gave to Volt and then left.  Volt climbed into his old Dodge Viper and took off in the direction of Skyway.

 

The desired location, an Italian restaurant, was not at all hard to find for it was undoubtedly one of the most expensive places to eat in the city.  One thing Volt didn’t want for was money; the billion-dollar corporation of Arachnos supplied everything he could want in exchange for his services.

 

He walked into the brightly lit building passing many rich couples, all much older than he himself was.  The man at the reservation podium spoke in a heavy Italian accent.  “Ah! You want a table for you and your date hmm? Please sir, your name?”

 

Volt leaned forward, “It’s under Volt.”

 

“Ah yes, I see it here.  If you please sir.”  He beckoned with his hand and Volt followed him to a table for two.  Before the man could leave Volt ordered a bottle of his best champagne with two glasses and began to wait.

 

~~~~~

 

The sound of wolf whistles greeted Eve as she entered the sitting room.  Rumor of her date had spread quickly and it seemed as if every male that had any connection to her super group had shown up to witness this event.  There were a handful of women too, but Eve was sure that they were there for support not entertainment. 

 

“I take it you all approve,” she said, turning in a circle so they could get the full effect.

 

This was greeted by nods, smiles, and a few additional whistles coming from Caderly’s direction.

 

“Ok, well, wish me luck,” said Eve as she gathered up her purse and shawl.

 

“How are you getting there,” asked Zoe just before Eve reached the door.

 

“I thought I’d take the tram.  Taxis are really hard to get this time of night.”

 

At this, a small bubble of chaos erupted in the room.  Every hero there voiced their opinion at the same time, and none of them were agreeing with Eve’s decision.

A shrill whistle silenced the clamor, and all eyes turned to the source. 

 

“I’m sure we can discuss this in an orderly fashion,” stated Deanarys.  “Who would like to go first?”

 

“I would,” demanded Eve a little testily.  “I’m a big girl; I can take care of myself.  I rescue people everyday in case you may have forgotten.  I would fly, but then I would get all wind-blown and rumpled.  I’m sure I’ll be fine on the tram.  Now, I need to go or I’ll be late.” 

 

As she turned back towards the door, Sonic, who had been sulking in the corner, said, “Wait.  I’ll drive you.  I’m heading to Skyway anyway.”

 

“Do you really think that’s a good idea Sonic?  It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but don’t you think it would be a little awkward?”

 

“I’m ok with it if you are.  I can be a big boy and admit that I’ve lost you to someone else,” conceded Sonic.  “For now,” he added.

 

“Is this the only way I’m going to get out of here without a hassle?”

 

The reply was a resounding “Yes!”

 

With a sigh, Eve said, “Fine, let’s go,” and walked out the door. 

 

When the two pulled up to the high-class Italian restaurant in Skyway, Sonic put the vehicle in park and turned to Eve.  “Are you sure about this?  You have cab fare for the ride home right?  And you have your cell phone?  Call me if you need a ride or…help.”

 

“I’ll be fine,” responded an exasperated Eve, “but thank you.”  Eve exited the vehicle and walked to the entrance of the restaurant.  Taking a deep breath, she walked through the door and was greeted by the maitre d’. 

 

“May I help you,” he asked. 

 

Realizing she had no idea what Volt’s last name was, or if he even had one, she replied, “Ummm, I meeting someone here.  His name is Volt,” she finished lamely, hoping he had left a description of her. 

 

“Ah, yes, Master Volt.  Right this way Miss.”

 

 

~~~~~

Eve entered the large eating area guided by the same man who was now carrying a chilled bottle of champagne and two glasses.

 

Volt stood quickly, a lump suddenly in his throat.  It had just occurred to him that he had never been on a date before this moment.  What if he did something wrong and ruined it?  The doubts ran through his head, but Volt shook himself out of it.  Acting totally on instinct, he moved to Eve’s side and pulled out her seat as the waiter poured the champagne.

 

Eve’s breath caught in her throat.  If someone would have told her a month ago that she would be on a date, in an expensive restaurant, with a dashing, well-dressed man, she would have laughed.  When Eve thought about it, it wasn’t the atmosphere or the well-cut tux that made her heart race; it was the way he looked at her.  Taking the seat he held for her, she quickly tried to regain her thoughts.  She tried to come up with something intelligent to say, but the best she could come up with was “Hi.”

 

Before answering Volt cleared his throat to make sure his voice would not crack on him.  “Hi” he said keeping his voice as normal as possible.  He took the seat across from her and mentally ran through a list of things to say that wouldn’t sound artificial.  Nothing came to mind; their eyes held for a moment and, feeling awkward, they both simultaneously grabbed for their menus.

 

He wanted to say something clever, smooth, and charming but nothing came to mind.  He decided to wait for her to say something to break the ice.  At the moment the menu looked totally unappetizing considering the tension.  By the way Eve was playing with her necklace; he could tell she was thinking the same thing.

 

Sighing, Eve set down her menu and said, “This is ridiculous.  Why are we both so nervous.  I mean, technically, this isn’t a first date.  We had lunch the other day.”

 

“You’re right,” said Volt with a relieved laugh.  “I think the difference is that this time it was planned, and we used the ‘D’ word.”

 

“Well,” decided Eve, “we won’t make that mistake again.”

 

Panicking slightly, thinking she meant that this would be their last date, Volt asked, “Mistake?  You think this was a mistake?”

 

“No, not being here with you.  Calling it a date.  Being with you is never a mistake.”

 

Stunned, and desperately trying to catch the words that flew out of his head, Volt just stared.  Regaining his composure and trying to fight back a rising blush, he cleared his throat again and picked up the menu.  Glancing, what he hoped appeared to be casually, over the menu he said, “The chicken sounds good.”

 

Eve laughed and said, “Is that your idea of ‘breaking the ice’?”

 

“It just opens up for easier conversation.”  Volt said, smiling, “I hate extended silences, and we won’t get anywhere if we just stare at the menu.”

 

“So what would you like to ‘converse’ about.” Eve said resting her chin on her hands, her azure eyes fixed on Volt.

 

He took a deep breath and then let it out; surprisingly a chill ran down his spine.  “Well,” he said hesitantly, “I’d like to know more about you.  Where did you grow up?  What brings you here?  Oh, wait, before we begin.”  Volt motioned to the waiter.  Speaking to him, he said, “At the moment neither of us are prepared to order and will not be for some time.  I will motion to you again when we are ready.”

 

The waiter looked at Volt for a second, clearly not used to being spoken to in such a way, then left.  Eve raised her eyebrows, “My, my aren’t we forward?  You must be very high up in Hero Corps to afford all this.”

 

That caught Volt off guard.  Didn’t she know he was a villain?  Didn’t the black and red armor with the Arachnos symbol kinda give it away?  Well she hasn’t been here long.  In a desperate attempt to avoid an unwanted moment, Volt stood, muttering something about the bathroom.

 

Upon entering the men’s room he turned around and leaned on the door.  He crossed the small area to the wall mirror and watched as his icy blue eyes turned to a bright white as he gradually lost his practiced calm.

 

“Enjoying yourself?” came a voice from behind.

 

Volt started and turned around.  Facing him was Norman, looking very much like Aaron in a tux, wearing a pair of black sunglasses.

 

Volt let out his breath, “Whoa, you scared me Agent Smith.  Luckily you don’t look a bit a like Aaron.”

 

“She doesn’t know you are a villain does she?”  Norman was checking the stalls as he spoke.  They were all empty.

 

“What makes you say-”

 

“Why else, would you skip out at a time like this to stare at yourself in the mirror?  I know you Volt; you’re not the vane type, at least not in that kind of way.” He allowed himself a small smile.  “Want some advice?”

 

Volt gave him a withering glance but didn’t, in fact, discourage the help.

 

“Just tell her,” Norman said, “If she walks out and leaves: fine.  Don’t let secrets ruin it though.”

 

“Wow,” Volt said nodding sagely, “that’s deep.  Wonder where you scrounged up such insight.”  He lifted an eyebrow quizzically.  “Well thanks for the advice, and I’m being sincere.”  As he walked out, he finished “And sorry about insulting you earlier.”

 

As Volt sat back down across from Eve, she suddenly turned a deep purple and tried, unsuccessfully, to control her giggling.  It took Volt a moment but he finally caught on. “You know don’t you?”

 

Taking a deep breath Eve steadied herself.  “I’m sorry, I am so sorry.  I didn’t mean to tap into your mind like that, I was just curious.”

 

“I was going to tell you…”

 

“I know you were,” Eve said in a meaningful voice, “And I’m glad you weren’t going to hide it from me.”  She put her hand on his and let the moment linger before she began her story. “I’m not sure where to start.  Normally when I have this conversation, I start with the standard question of ‘Do you know what it’s like to be different?’  I think that answer is obvious this time around.” 

 

Volt confirmed this with a nod of his head. 

 

Taking a deep breath, and a large leap of faith, Eve continued, “My real name is Evening Skye Anderson.  No, my parents aren’t hippies.  When you have a child who is purple, what’s the use of naming them Susan or Jennifer?  You might as well give them a fitting name, and my daddy always said I was as beautiful as the evening sky.”

 

“Your daddy is right.  You are,” said Volt, finding that he was addicted to the shade of deep amethyst that her cheeks turned when she blushed. 

 

“I was obviously different from the start.  When I was five, my parents bought me a puppy.  One afternoon my dad walked in on me telling Misty that it was time for her nap and saw the dog fall asleep.  He asked me how I had trained the dog to do that and I said ‘It’s easy daddy’ and hypnotized him.  My mother came home and started yelling at him because he was taking a nap when he should have been watching me.  They had one heck of a fight before it was all figured out.”

 

At this, Volt laughed and said, “I can picture that.  You must have been a handful.”

 

“Have you ever heard the saying ‘little kids, little problems; big kids….”

 

“Big problems,” he finished.  “I can only imagine what you were like in high school.”

 

“Thankfully, my parents caught on early and raised me to respect other people.  Unchecked, I would have been a terror.  As it is, the popular girls feared me because one day, when they were making fun of me, I revealed all their dirty little secrets to everyone within earshot.  And I have to admit that I did use my abilities to skip class once in a while.  Otherwise, my life growing up was pretty normal and boring.  Sunday dinners at my grandparents, softball for my high school team, opening Christmas presents in our pajamas as soon as we were allowed.”

 

“So why did you leave it all?  Why give that up to come to Paragon?”

 

“I’m still not sure.  I’m beginning to get a few ideas though.  I think this is where I was meant to end up,” she answered with a knowing look.  After a couple of minutes, she was able to tear her eyes away from his and asked, “So, what about you?  What’s your story?”

 

Volt leaned back in his chair, “Well lets see, what won’t the Hero Corps profiles tell you?” he smiled and began.  “I was born Michael Wallis.”

 

Eve seemed interested as soon as she heard Volt’s real name.  She leaned forward intently, her hand still rested on his.

 

“My father was a lawyer, my mother: a doctor.  So you can imagine that I had the best education possible.  My life before my powers wasn’t interesting in the least so I became a troublemaker, a prankster and anything that would put some interest in my life.  I became addicted to building and inventing so much so that my father and mother would supply me with parts in order to make new household inventions.

 

“As I was going through my freshman year the Rikti attacked and leveled the entire city.  I was the only survivor.” Volt grit his teeth; it was curious how after all these years of dealing with his loss, as soon as he tells his story he loses control.  Eve was wide-eyed, and looked ready to get up and comfort him, but he pressed on keeping strict control over his emotions.

 

“I went to Paragon City to take the fight to the Rikti but the police turned me away.  I lived on the street becoming a pickpocket until I discovered my powers and became a leader of the Skulls.  I would steal, I would even kill in those days, without a second thought.”  Eve’s eyes now seemed to penetrate his every thoughts.  He broke eye contact and stared at the white table cloth.

 

“After PhoenixHawk captured me, he got me out of the Zig and trained me to be a hero.  When he died everything went wrong, every good deed I did was covered by bad publicity.  I ran from Paragon because those I used to protect wanted to see me back in prison.  I took a lot of time coming to terms with my past, and I wanted more and more power to control the events in Paragon City; to go back as a hero not a criminal.”  Volt took a drink of his champagne, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands together as he often saw Recluse doing when in thought.

 

“Your views may differ from what I discovered in this last part, but what I saw remains true to me.  I was struck by lightning, and my powers were altered renewing every molecule in my body and giving me limitless, uncontrollable power.  Hero Corps had been lying to me, dampening my abilities to remain in control.  Limiting powers to fit under their desired archetypes.  I sought the help of Norman, the Rogue Isles Protector.  You may remember him, he was the guy dressed as I was in the caves.”

 

Eve confirmed with a very slight nod, her face was a pale purple, but was regaining its lovely color.  Volt decided to finish quickly, “So, I went under intense training becoming a Rogue Isles Protector, though my allegiance varies to what I think is right.  I follow my own morals and laws which is what I think anyone should do above all else.”

 

All she could do was stare, he had such a dark past but she was slowly starting to understand him.  Volt read her expression and knew he had to get her mind off of his story.  “And now,” he said, “I think it would be good for us to eat.”

 

The rest of the night started out slow but slowly gathered interest and excitement.  Volt was able to make Eve laugh, telling her stories about his missions as a hero.  Eve who had a low security level clearance was drinking in all his knowledge with good-nature and a smile.  Volt seemed to have been a very high security level before leaving, and would listen to Eve’s stories, saying things at the same time like, ‘And the Freakshow got back up,’ laughing and nodding as he had experienced the same thing.

 

The night wore on.  People began to leave and Volt and Eve were still talking about subjects that really had no relevance to anything.  Finally, the two got ready to leave and Eve pulled her cell phone out of her purse.

 

“What are you doing?” Volt asked politely.

 

Eve cast him a sideways glance, “Calling Sonic to come pick me up.”

 

“No need.  I’ll take you home.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Wholeheartedly,” at that moment a sports car pulled up with leather interior and a spotless paint job.  Eve was, again, at loss for something to say.  Volt opened the door for her and Eve wordlessly stepped into the car.

 

“Where do you live?” He asked.

 

“In King’s Row,” she said sheepishly, “It will be a little bit of a drive.”

 

“If we followed speed laws, it would be.  But in this car I estimate about ten minutes.  If you get cold…” he began and took off his jacket placing it over Eve’s shoulders. “…and I would be much obliged if you didn’t scream and just enjoyed the ride.” He grinned mischievously at her and Eve instinctively grabbed at the door.

 

The top of the convertible came up covering the two occupants; Volt rolled down his window and threw the Viper in gear.  Ten minutes later, true to his word, Volt pulled up to her apartment.

 

Volt opened the door and in a single leap jumped over the car and opened the door for Eve.  He walked to her to her door saying “No one is harming you on my watch,” which was an absurd comment, and he knew it, since the door was not that far away and she was a licensed hero.

 

“Sorry if you didn’t enjoy the ride,” he said as they walked up the stairs, “next time I’ll drive slower.”

 

Eve, not knowing if her heart was racing from the ride, or from the company, replied “It takes a little more than bad driving to scare me off.”

 

“Bad driving?!?!  That was superb handling of a high performance vehicle,” exclaimed Volt.  Seeing her cheeky grin, he realized she was just giving him a hard time.  “At least I don’t drive like a woman.”

 

Taking mild offence at this, Eve light-heartedly smacked him with her purse, knowing it wouldn’t hurt him.  “You’re awful,” she said.

 

“I’m not awful.  I’m good,” he muttered, as he leaned a little closer.  “Very, very, go….” 

 

Volt was unable to complete another thought, let alone his sentence, as Eve had closed the gap between them in what was to be the first of many kisses.

 

“Mmmmm….you’re right,” whispered Eve.  “You’re good.” Backing towards the door she said, “Goodnight.”

 

Slightly dazed, Volt turned and walked back to his car.  As Eve watched him go, she called out, “Oh! Your jacket!”

 

Volt turned around, “Keep it, you can give it back to me next time we,” he paused avoiding the word ‘date,’ “spend an evening together.” He finished with a smile and a wink then drove away.






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