Chapter 102

                “Bring on the fashion show!” Violet had made a bag of popcorn, which she now scooped out a handful of and hurled at the bathroom door. Since it was her room she was throwing popcorn in, no one could reasonably object to the mess. “Come on, we want to seeeeeeeee.”

                “I’d really feel more comfortable doing this alone.” Camille had to raise her voice to be heard outside the bathroom, yet it still managed to maintain its usual soft tones.

                “Look, I did my best to sew the fabric that Will made, but I’m not so damn good that I think I got it perfect,” Jill replied, stealing a few bites of Violet’s popcorn. “So get out here and let me see if I need to make alterations.”

                “It appears fine,” Camille said.

                “That’s nice and all, but the fabric isn’t all that stretchy. If I made a mistake you might pop a seam when you get all active during a fight. I’m pretty sure you don’t want that to happen, do you?”

                The bathroom door opened and Camille sullenly emerged in her new battle outfit. The color was a dark navy, while the style looked as if someone had sewn a t-shirt and bike shorts together into a onesie. It was extremely tight; however, Jill had managed to pad the fabric a bit in some of the places she knew Camille would want modesty. It made those spots ineffective for power use, but it was a fair trade-off in that it allowed the damage absorber to deal with actually being seen in the garment.

                “Damn girl, you look good.” Violet showed her ultimate sign of fashion approval by not throwing popcorn. “And it’s not even that slutty. If anything it looks like an extra-covering swimsuit.”

                “I don’t like parading around in a swimsuit,” Camille reminded her friend.

                “You won’t be parading in this either,” Jill said. “It’s for use in combat, meaning worst-case scenario is that your opponent gets caught up in ogling and you can get in a surprise attack. Now come over here so I can check the stitches.”

                Camille obeyed, walking over to her friend putting up her arms, allowing for thorough examination.

                “How did Will ever crack this thing, anyway? To me that looks like regular fabric,” Violet said.

                “I didn’t entirely understand, to be honest. He said that, along with especially conductive materials, it had something to do with making the fabric super-porous, so that even though it looks solid there’s still flesh on flesh contact,” Camille said.

                Jill turned the smaller girl around, examining the seams along the shoulders and armpits, places most likely to give out due to stretching or acrobatics. While Will handled the tech of Jill's suit, she’d been the one who had to learn to sew everything together. “Lift your arms higher, all the way over your head.”

                As Camille obliged, Violet took one of her fingernails and scraped it carefully down her own forearm. She had to shift the density a bit, but soon it began to leave the faintest trail of blood across her skin. That done, she reached over with a hand still coated in popcorn butter and carefully pushed an index finger against Camille’s ribcage.

                “Feels like solid cloth to me, let’s give it a test-run.”

                The small girl closed her eyes, a bit grateful to slip into her mind amidst all the poking and prodding. She could feel the connection to Violet, not as vibrant as it would be with pure skin-on-skin contact, but there all the same. With a push of willpower Camille drew the recent injury into herself, casting it into the well of suffering that housed all the other broken bones and torn flesh she’d accumulated throughout the years.

                A quick flick of light raced across Violet’s arm, and the scratch was gone. She pulled her hand away from Camille and used it to scoop more popcorn. “Yup, still works.”

                “My brother might be a stick in the mud, but you can always count on his inventions to work. Well, at least the ones he’s willing to show other people.” Jill finished her examination, gently pushing Camille’s arms down to a resting position. “It seems like everything will hold; I got the measurements spot-on. That said, there’s no real way to be certain until you test it out under extreme conditions.”

                “Do you need me to do some stretching or something?”

                Jill shook her head. “You’re way more active when you fight; you rely a lot on size and maneuverability.  If we want to be sure you won’t pop something loose and accidentally put on a show, then we need to check how it holds up in a real battle.”

                “I’ll take her on,” Violet offered. “Even if it does get shredded, she doesn’t have anything I haven’t seen on myself. At least, I hope not. Camille seems like the type who might be hiding a vestigial tail or something.”

                “If I were, you’d definitely see it in this thing,” Camille replied. She appreciated the padding Jill had built in; there was just no way around leaving most of the ensemble skintight. Not if she wanted to use her power through it.

                “Then maybe it’s weird birthmarks, or scars. Oh, oh, I know! Tattoos. I bet under that pristine act you’re inked like the Sunday paper,” Violet said.

                “You caught me: I’ve got seven lower back tattoos, they stack all the way to my ribcage.”

                “See, I know that’s a lie because I saw you in the sports bra and shorts,” Violet countered.

                “Following a conversation with you two is exhausting,” Jill said. “And as a heads-up, I’ll be in the sparring match as well. Violet can hit you up close and I’ll stick to ranged attacks. We want to see as full a spectrum of motion as possible.”

                “I figured you’d be there anyway, since you’re the one who has to see what breaks and what causes it,” Camille said.

                “Glad we’re all on the same page. Combat cells should be empty this evening, so give me a minute to go grab my suit and we can head over to a lift location.”

                “Do you ever wonder what normal girls do on weeknights?” Violet asked, finishing off her bowl of popcorn. “I can’t imagine they gear up to try and knock the crap out of one another.”

                “No, I suppose they probably don’t,” Jill agreed, briefly pausing her walk to the door.

                “Sounds like their loss.” Camille treated her friend to a rare expression of confidence, even going so far as to try and pop her knuckles as she’d seen Roy do countless times. It failed miserably, but the sentiment was still appreciated. “Normal has got nothing on us.”