Chapter 1: Merciful Mother
Maiden Mercy let out a sigh of relief nearly loud enough to silence the last gun dropping down to the floor. It wouldn’t have been a loud enough sigh to overpower the sound of another barrage of bullets aimed haphazardly in the general direction of the heroine all dressed in reds and whites with a touch of accentuating silver. Her tall stature, and the bare, visible muscles of her arms made her an imposing target, but none of the now-silent small arms fire left more than the faintest of bruises.
Of course that didn’t make it any more fun to be shot at. Bullets still weren’t very pleasant to deal with even without taking into account the collateral damage from stray bullets and ricochets. Hopefully the warehouse was still empty of anyone but the would-be thieves, but she still didn’t want them hurt unnecessarily.
She bent down, lifting up the gun and crushed the muzzle shut. The sound of metal crinkling made Maiden Mercy smile before she dropped it back down at the crook’s feet. I really don’t like guns very much. They might not hurt very much, but if nothing else…
It’s just rude.
“If you would lay down on the ground with your hands on the back of your head? That would make things much simpler. We won’t need to bring any more violence into this.” With the attacker’s weapon disabled, the heroine stepped back and crossed her arms over her equally imposing chest as she stared down at the criminal who had already fallen down onto their ass. “Please cooperate.”
No one had ever heard of Maiden Mercy being vicious or cruel to those she’d defeated, but being so soundly routed left the fallen criminal quivering and stammering. Being so close to a demigoddess who had wrapped one of their allies in a metal pipe, and had defeated a super villain by ripping her powered armor apart was not easy to process calmly.
Restraining her laughter took effort, but Maiden Mercy was very genuinely glad they were showing some sense and there was no need to humiliate them further. She watched as they lowered onto their belly, and then brushed off her gloved hands as she heard the familiar sound of sirens.
Sounds like the police have arrived… Maybe cameras, too. She twisted her face as she moved towards the entrance of the building, looking around her to appraise the situation. None of the stray bullets seemed to have damaged anything she could tell from a casual glance even with her mildly enhanced senses. I’d really rather fly home in case Raegan needs any help with her homework and wonders where I’ve been, but there are good things that come from letting everyone know that Maiden Mercy is still protecting them… even if not every definition of ‘Maiden’ works for a mother…
Putting on her best professional smile, she pushed open the front door and greeted a large crowd of patrol cars, news vans, and anyone nearby who was now being pushed back behind the crime scene.
Clearing her throat, Mercy hovered up into the air just high enough to make it easy for everyone to see her at once. After pushing away a quick thought of being glad she’d stopped wearing a skirt when she hit twenty five, she projected her voice with all of the soothing mercy of a mother and a defender of justice both. “Thank you all for your long-lasting support! None of the workers were harmed in this attempted robbery, and those responsible are disarmed and waiting within for their judgement under the law. I’ll be happy to assist in any way.”
Claps and cheers filled the air, and she did her best to make eye contact with each person in the crowd before descending to approach the officer in charge of the scene. Hopefully none of that will be embarrassing out of context…
As she settled, her loose, cascading auburn curls fell over her shoulders, and down over her silver-and-white cape. Her brown eyes peered out from behind her vibrant red mask, shining with the flash of so many cameras at once.
Even while talking with the officer, her eyes kept looking towards the sky in the direction of home. What she was doing was important, but her daughter was graduating soon.
Now that everyone was safe, Maiden Mercy’s priority was her daughter.
Quick flight made it easy to reach her window without being noticed, and easy to close it behind her, too. She waited several moments before doing anything else, listening with her enhanced hearing for signs of anyone approaching her door. It was always locked when the heroine left for a patrol, but she’d mentally rehearsed so many things to say or do if Raegan somehow opened it.
None of them involved revealing her secret and putting her daughter at risk.
The only sounds Maiden Mercy heard were those of her daughter humming as she made her way into her own room and closed the door behind her. She’s such a good kid… No… She frowned and shook her head ae slowly unhooked the mantle of her cape from her leotard. She’s a woman now, and she has been for a few months. I need to stop thinking of her as a child.
With a proud smile replacing her own chastising glare, Mercy tugged off her red gloves, and then her boots. Her powers gave her a physique that hinted at her strength with firm, tight muscles but remained soft and smooth with her large breasts falling into a more comfortable posture as she peeled off her leotard. Her skin was smooth and without the slightest blemish, a gift of her metahuman biology.
Replacing her leotard with a cable-knit sweater and a long skirt hid away her figure and gave her the appearance of an ordinary mother instead of a noble heroine. I wonder if I could skip the mask and anyone would even notice. Few people assume Rachel Rose could be more than just Raegan’s mom…!
Tucking her costume away into a hidden panel in her closet, she moved to unlock her door before a feeling at her face gave her pause. She peeled off her mask, tucked it away with the rest of her costume, and made sure the compartment was carefully sealed before finally making her way downstairs towards the couch at the center of her living room. Sitting on the coffee table was a half read novel, and soon she was lounging back and sinking right back into place.
A single glance at the cover would only further drive home how utterly ordinary Rachel was compared to her heroic identity. Helena Morgan’s name stretched across the top of a mostly-white cover. A faded blue outline of a tree hovered behind it, with the title, “Branching Out Again” written in an almost playful font across the bottom.
Though her eyes were better than most, Rachel still slid them at the same pace as many would across the page. Her brain was no quicker at deciphering the shapes into meanings and words.
It’s so nice to see Monica learn how to have a life of her own again. She started in such a low place… but I’m sure she’ll be very happy by the end of the story.
Her superhuman hearing didn’t help Rachel hear things when she was fully enveloped in the story of a book. She was just about to turn a page when a voice pulled her back from the fictional world into reality.
“And here you go, mom!”
Raegan smiled brightly as she set down a small teacup. Her green eyes smiled just as dramatically as her lips. Her hair was the same auburn as her mother’s, but instead of curls she wore her hair in a side parted lob, her face beautifully framed by her bangs. Shorter than her mother, and slighter, her more subtle curves were still showing signs of following her mother’s example. Wearing a tighter, thinner sweater did more to emphasize her shape than her mother, and the flowing skirt she wore ended just below her knees, revealing a cute pair of short, brown heeled boots.
Her mother pursed her lips, taking a moment to catch her breath before replacing the bookmark and folding the book over her lap. “You… startled me, sweetie. Thank you for…” She inhaled, and her smile grew. “The chai. And you put in milk just like I like it… that’s very sweet of you, though…” Brown eyes drifted down, and her lips quirked playfully as she lifted up the cup. “I do wish you wouldn’t wear your heels all over the house.”
“Sorry…! I came home and was so caught up doing my homework I didn’t even think of taking them off. I’ll fix that right now…!” Dropping onto the couch beside her mother, Raegan bent down and began to lazily tug at her bootlaces. “I didn’t hear you come downstairs. I hope your day is going well!”
“It is, thank you.” Bringing the cup to her lips, Rachel took a slow sip of her chai. “Hmm. This tastes almost… warmer than usual. Did you do something different?”
Raegan quietly hummed under her breath, audibly thinking as she tugged off her first boot. “I don’t think so?” Her hands moved to her other boot as her mother took another sip and slowly swished the taste around her mouth. It wasn’t unpleasant. If anything it was better than usual, the warmth feeling like it was quicker to spread out across her body, almost making her tingle. “Oh, the usual milk you got wasn’t in. It’s not skim, but you really love milk with your chai, so…”
Rachel almost started to frown before she looked down at her teacup. Your daughter was thoughtful and went out of her way to treat you. Do not use imperfection against her. The last thing you want to do is give her a complex. Another sip, and more of that lovely sweetness and warmth, made it easier for Rachel to relax.
It really was very sweet to be brought her favorite drink without even needing to ask.
Raegan was always being so thoughtful.
“Thank you very much, sweetie. Next time you can skip the milk if there’s no skim, but it means a lot to me that you thought of your boring old mother like this.” Giving her daughter the warmest smile she could, Rachel continued to slowly sip at her milk as Raegan tugged off her other boot.
This really is warm… Mm… I can feel it going down, almost like alcohol, but it doesn’t burn, it’s more… soothing…? Rachel quietly purred, her eyes fluttering as she shifted into the couch. I really should be eating healthier, but… this does taste very… nice.
“It was nothing, really…!” Raegan smiled, leaning in to gently kiss her mother’s cheek. “And don’t worry, I made plenty… so don’t worry about running out!”
Rachel laughed shaking her head as she turned to kiss the top of her daughter’s head. “Thank you, Raegan. Do you need any help with your homework? Is there anything you want to ask while your mother is all buttered up on delicious chai?”
“Nope, and nope!” Raegan hopped up to her feet, smiling down at Rachel proudly. “I just wanted to be nice…! I’ll come back in a bit and top up your cup… my homework’s all done! Enjoy your book!”
Before Rachel could get out a response, Raegan was already skipping away.
Thinking of her as an adult would be easier if she was a bit less… cute… but I shouldn’t hold that against her. Smiling to herself, Rachel took another sip before returning to her book.
If it was less usual for Raegan to be occasionally sweet Rachel might have questioned her stated motives. Plenty of her friends’ daughters would do the same when they’d done something wrong, or were trying to prepare them for some outrageous demand.
Thankfully, Raegan was always going the extra mile.
I’m so lucky that my daughter and I are always on the same side.
Except for the occasional ship of chai, Rachel soon lost herself back in her book. Monica, the protagonist, was getting rid of a fancy portrait that her lover had always displayed prominently and reaching out to reconnect with her friends in the art industry. It seemed like in no time the once down-on-her luck artist would be throwing her own parties as the very center of attention that her lover had always been before.
It was a very indulgent fantasy, and one that made Rachel smile more and more as the woman empowered herself.
The feelings of bliss she felt melted so seamlessly into the sensations of the tea as it melted across her body, spreading a warmth that lidded her eyes. Every breath she took was gradually turning slower, and she was slumping lower and lower down into the cushions of the couch beneath her.
Her eyes continued to move across the page, but every so often, for just a moment, she would blink and find herself needing to go back and start the page from the beginning again. I feel so calm it’s… Rachel sighed, slowly turning a page that nearly slipped from her grasp. Easier to let the stress of the day fade away, but… did I already read this page…? I thought Monica already said that to Cecelia… Huh…
She flipped back a page, and then another, before taking a long sip of her tea until the last of it was gone.
Ceramic against ceramic clinked together as she struggled to gracefully set down the cup. Once again her enhanced senses allowed her to hear with perfect clarity every small graze, but her attention was largely focused on the book. What little remained was far less observant than usual.
She even missed when Raegan was suddenly back in the room, pouring more chai into her cup once it finally settled. Unlike her mother, she managed to do so without making a sound that any ordinary woman would be able to perceive.
Cup filled, Raegan stepped back into the doorway she’d emerged from to bring the chai. Silently, she watched as her mother raised the cup to her lips, her slow sip much longer than before.
Mm… There really is something very special about this taste… Rachel purred as she set down the glass, rereading a paragraph idly for what could have been the third or fifth time. It feels like… like I could just curl up and take a nap, like… Mm… I got such a workout at the warehouse, dealing with that power armor, but now it’s like I didn’t even patrol today…? I’ll need to thank Raegan for being so wonderful to me…
The next page slipped from her fingers as she tried to turn it, and Rachel scrunched up her face as she took a longer drink.
Is there alcohol in this…? She shook her head, quietly yawning as her big brown eyes hooded more. They were glazed, and so much more vapid than they’d been behind the camera flashes at the warehouse. That would be silly… Where would a girl like Raegan get booze…? I don’t keep any in the house, and she’s such a good girl…
Her tea emptied even faster than before, but it was refilled just as quickly.
This time, Raegan didn’t scurry back away.
Instead, she settled down onto the couch, her hip brushing against her mother’s. Something in her smile was a little different, but Rachel couldn’t figure out what it was.
Whatever’s on her mind… Rachel’s smile lazily spread across her face as she sipped her drink yet again. The warmth tingled its way down her throat, and demanded a sigh of relief as more of the day’s stresses drained away. I know I can always rely on Raegan to be a good girl.