Two medium gym bags hung from Visage’s shoulder as she walked down the hallway, the edges misshapen by the volume of material inside.. She was again wearing the disguise from the first time they met, with basically the same outfit. It was a nicer apartment complex, and the rent price unfortunately reflected that. She had to use about half the money the Rockers had paid her so far to actually afford Maddy’s signing bonus. Not a huge drain on the bank account all in all, but it was still hard to watch it go. She day dreamed about the nice things she could’ve bought with it as she reached room number 44. After knocking loudly she leaned back on one foot, setting one of the gym bags on the ground.”Coming just give me a sec!”
Maddy would call out as she rolled off the couch and headed for the door. She peaked through the eye hole just to make sure it was who she thought it was before swinging open the door and throwing her arms into the air, she was in a nice clean set of clothes her hair still dripping wet from what one would assume was a shower. ”Visage!”
Maddy exclaimed as she threw her arms around Visage giving her a solid hug. ”This place you got me is actually amazing it smells so nice! I smell so nice! Look smell!”
Maddy grabbed a clump of her hair and held it up to Visage’s face.
Though hesitant at first, Visage obliged in the hug. She had a genuine looking smile when Maddy pulled away, though she scrunched her nose a bit when told to sniff her hair. It smelled sweet, which was better than before. Visage had been insisting that Maddy stay clean, so she assumed she had been asked to smell Maddy’s hair for her own benefit more than Maddy’s. Though maybe she wasn’t actually that conniving. Moving back a bit, she picked up the bag she had set down and moved to enter the apartment. ”I’m very glad you’re enjoying the apartment! I don’t know if you got the text, but did you look up the various parahumans in the area?”
Visage asked, looking over Maddy a bit.
Maddy hopped back onto her couch, that was surprisingly enough very clean much like the rest of the apartment. ”I looked up some of them yeah, though how come you wanted me to do that? You planning on having me kick their asses or something?”
Maddy tilted her head and picked her laptop up off the coffee table that sat next to the couch.”Not even that, believe it or not, though I am glad you’re not squeamish. It’s just for your own safety when you’re out in the field. I don’t want you getting caught off guard by someone like Epsilon.”
She seemed pretty nonchalant about it, though it was hard to tell whether it was because she thought Maddy could fend for herself or a different darker reason. ”Now let's get into brass tacks: Costume and general presentation will be our first section. I had a couple different ideas, but first–um where–do you have a good mirror, darling?”
Maddy placed the laptop back on the table then hopped over the back of her couch and headed off down a tiny corridor that had a door on both the left and right. ”In here!”
She said as she pushed open the door to the left, revealing a rather spectacular bathroom with a huge full body mirror, fancy glass shower and a rather extravagant sink which had its own mirror. ”So what’s the plan? Gunna make me sexy as fuck or something?”
Maddy stood in front of the full body mirror and posed dramatically, her thick brown mane dropped over her shoulders still rather damp. Her shirt wasn’t flattering at all being a baggy long sleeved almost jumper looking thing that concealed most of her petite frame. Her pants were a pair of navy blue tracksuit pants that were obviously made for comfort and not looks and hardly clung to her at all looking as if they might fall off. She made sure to pout her lips to make them look plump, though she failed miserably.
Visage set the gym bags down on the far side of the room, before setting her purse down on the counter. ”Sex appeal is always a nice touch, we’ll see what we can do in that department of course.”
Again, Visage removed the various pieces of her disguise, the beanie, glasses, and wig, and placed them in a side pocket of the gym bag. She grabbed a brush out of her purse next. It was clear when she was in front of the mirror again that she had actually gone a bit heavier on the makeup this time. ”You can brush your hair a bit while I talk, make this more efficient.”
She offered the brush handle first while keeping eye contact through the mirror.
Maddy nodded and took the brush her left eye twitching a little. ”Alright, no problem. A-also don’t worry about sexyness, I’m chill.”
Maddy took the brush from Visage and started running it through her hair, the long strokes getting frequently interrupted by the many knots that had accumulated in Mire hair. The twinges of pain were clearly upsetting Maddy.”Idea number one is simple. You. Don’t. Exist. I act like my power got an upgrade, in the living mist that follows me. When a situation gets dangerous, you’ll be more dangerous, but you’ll also be unseen.”
Maddy tilted her head and puffed up her cheeks, she looked like she was thinking about it rather thoroughly. Then her expression changed to one of uncertainty, ”I don’t know…””There’s other ideas, don’t worry if one doesn’t strike your fancy. My next idea was to do a yin and yang type situation. We wear inverted colors, and. . . I only got as far as the look honestly.”
She paused, considering for a moment.
Maddy straight up shook her head at that idea. ”No thank you, that sounds kinda cheesy and lame. No offense.”[”Offence taken, but I’m strong, I’ll take it in stride.”
Visage said, her jaw barely twitching before she stopped it by adjusting her mouth. Cheesy, says the bitch who chose the ‘underwhelming’ filter when decorating her body.
Taking a small breath, she spoke again, completely composed. ”I don’t quite know the precision with which you can control the mist or your mistlike form, or if I should even refer to the two as separate things. I feel like you could easily be a shadowy figure following me, or a general shadow. Might tie in a bit with the first idea, I’m not sure on the details with that idea either.”
Maddy grunted as she forced the comb through a particularly matted part of her hair then paused. She tapped her index finger on her lips ”Hmmmm, I mean I’d have a lot more freedom that way for sure. And I could easily squash myself down like that, and the mist shouldn’t affect anyone. Well unless they decide to shove their head to the floor but at that point the fucker is asking for it.”
A small bubbly laugh escaped Visage’s lips, ”I agree. Not right now, but I would like to experience the mist at some point. I want to know what we’re subjecting others to, and be able to warn you if it is affecting me in the future. Would you like to play off you being a shadowy figure as an extension of my power, or do you want your cut of the limelight?””I want people to know that it’s me kicking their ass! Though I’m fine with being a shadow, but I want to be a shadow with a name. I’ll not be forgotten.”
Maddy’s tone had gone serious, something that Visage hadn’t been exposed to yet. Though Maddy’s expression went back to a childish smile after a little moment of tension.
A small nod came from Visage, and she offered to take the brush from Maddy. ”Alright shadow sounds good, but being a shadow is also aggressive, plus I don’t know if it is exhausting. Do you want an actual costume as well?””Wait how could me being a shadow on the ground be aggressive? Actually I could be very aggressive. And a costume could be nice but I’m not sure, maybe just a mask? Actually a full costume would be good, just something so people don’t know my face and stuff. Unless I’ll be a shadow all the time, then I don’t need a costume.”
Maddy smiled and handed Visage the brush. ”I’ll be plenty comfortable as a puddle on the floor, it’s not uncomfortable or anything.”
Nodding slowly, Visage considered it. ”I think a costume still might be a good idea. A nice halfway point between your civilian identity and Mire.”
She said, smiling slightly with eye contact.
Maddy tilted her head ”Oh? What did you have in mind? Greys and blacks I assume?”
Maddy smiled back at Visage, then she suddenly twitched. ”Ok what the fuck was that?”
She looked from side to side with a slightly agitated look on her face.
Visage had to change gears a little bit, as she was about to answer the question when Maddy had a moment
. ”What was what, honey?
She asked, trying to read Maddy. She also started considering the only escape route, just in case push came to shove.
Maddy let out a short hiss before sighing. ”Nevermind, the fly fucked off. Anyway, what are your costume ideas?”
Maddy’s mood had shifted to that of an excited child. ”Playing dress up might actually be pretty fun!”
The breath Visage didn't know she'd been holding was let out in a small sigh. ”First things first, let's establish a theme.”
She said as she recalled Maddy's node to the front of her mind. With dissonance dialed to max, she changed into the costumed persona of Visage. ”I want it close enough that it's clear at a glance that we're the same side”
Maddy squinted in the mirror looking at herself and at Visage, she tilted her head as Visages’ look completely changed. She then had to take another moment to analyze Visages’ new look.”So I should have blue on and show off my tits?”
Mire looked down at her chest and then back at Visages. ”Yeah that’s not going to work well, at least not the boob part.”
Leaning forward, she grinned and set her hands on Maddy’s shoulders. ”You’ll be surprised how much you can do with only a little.”
Visage said, quieter and closer than earlier. ”Plus I have a utility belt and a mask, we can’t just write those off. Important for breaking up the flow.””You’re the master of disguise, costume me up girl!”
Maddy stood in a T pose ready for Visage to sort her out. ”My body is ready.”
A small giggle escaped Visage’s lips. ”I’m gonna walk you through the basics first. Try to think of your costume in layers.”
Visage changed her appearance again through the node. A thin gray strapless tube top covered her torso now, the bottom of which stretched over the gray leggings she now wore. It wasn’t conservative in the least. ”As an example, this is the first layer. I can wear a thicker tank top if the weather is less than favorable.”
She said, before changing her appearance again. Now she was wearing the bare minimum of her tight suit, but it seemed a little off in terms of proportions. ”This is the second layer without the mask. It’s not quite decent though, so I add a third layer that is held in place by the second.”
Now she was wearing her full suit, with the proportions rounded out. ”Small bits of padding her and there so I don’t have a camel toe or anything else unsightly,”
Visage changed the node one last time, and her porcelain mask appeared, covering the top half of her face with cut outs for her eyes.”So we need to decide a first layer for you. It probably needs to be thin enough to not be seen through the costume. If you want to go for sexy, a pushup bra is obviously an option, but that’ll be a bit uncomfortable as I’m sure you know. You also could try to emphasize your ass more, which would be the more comfortable route, but I don’t know if you’re okay with that. Even if we don’t go the route of giving you sex appeal, we still need to emphasize fashion over form, since your smoke form won’t have to deal with the consequences of your style decisions. Though fashion is going to come along with later layers as well, this is still the foundation.”
Maddy watched as Visage continued to swap appearance, her clothing just changing on the fly. This was the first time Maddy had been able to see a power in play this close up, at least in a non aggressive way. It was pretty interesting to just see something like that happen. ”So if my first layer isn’t going to be seen… You think some black leggings and shirt would work? I don’t know fashion.”
She then poked her own chest. ”Just forget the boobs. That’ll be your thing.”
Visage frowned, but it was clearly not genuine. ”Too bad. What kind of shirt do you want?”
She asked, moving over to unzip one of the gym bags. The pressure being reduced meant some of the contents threatened to fall onto the floor. It was absolutely stuffed with various clothes, along with a couple different masks on top of the piled in wardrobe.
Maddy glanced down at the gym bags and was a little lost in the sheer amount of clothes. ”I-uhhh. Maybe a long sleeve one?”
Maddy was so used to having super dirty and worn out cloths at this point. ”It is just the under layer, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not fancy right?””Doesn’t really matter, nope.”
Visage searched through the bag without much care for the organization, leading credence to the thought that she hadn’t.bothered to. ”Gotta be thin though, otherwise you can see it through the costume.”
She pulled out a thin light gray shirt that looked like it had been mixed with a hoodie. ”We can take the hood off of this and use it, if you’d like?”
Maddy clapped her hands together like a giddy child. ”Oooo this is so exciting! I’ma look like a badass.”
Maddy then started wrestling with her jumper as she struggled to get it off.
A quick glance confirmed what Visage already expected. Underwhelming
. She pulled some black leggings out of the gym bag, and black socks. ”We can move on to the next layer once you put these on. The appearance won’t really be final with this, because I still need to remove the hood, but it should be a good indicator.”
She stood up, and leaned her back against the bathroom wall, not bothering to avert her eyes.
Maddy finally got out of the jumper, throwing it to the floor then flipping it off. She then glanced at the hoodie. ”Don’t worry I’ll get rid of it.”
Maddy suddenly shifted to her breaker form, being sure not to let her mist come into contact with Visage. She then morphed her left arm turning into a savage looking blade, she also made an extra arm grow underneath her bladed arm so she could properly hold the hoodie in place. Then in one quick motion Mire slashed the hood off of the hoodie, quickly retracting her blade arm into her body, the extra arm she sprouted shifting up to replace it. ”See, easy.”
Mire then shifted back into human form and slid into the grey hoodie
. After that was done she slipped off her shorts and put on the black leggins and socks. ”Ok so that’s step one. What’s next?”
Completely stone faced, Visage masked the small amount of horror she felt. The main reason she had suggested she could do it was because she knew it had to be sewn shut after she was done, but now it was a bit late for that. Maddy did not treat clothes well apparently. "Next would be the actual costume layer, the first layer that will be seen by the public. Color is a lot easier for us than the Protectorate, we get our choice of darker blues, almost any shade of red as an accent, blacks, greys, and even dark greens. I'd suggest dark blue to match me, but if you want any accent colors that won't really be a problem either.
Sounding slightly disappointed, she added "No sex appeal in your costume then? I feel like everyone could use a little. Makes you stand out more in the news."
Maddy frowned. ”You can be the sexy one, I mean you already are. And then I’ll be the scary one! They’ll do stuff for you cus you’re hot, and they’ll do things for me because they want to keep their fingers.”
Maddy smiled up at Visage. ”Hmmm. What if I had a black shirt with dark blue accents or something or maybe even the other way around!”
Maddy tilted her head as she looked up at Visages, kind of like a puppy looking for approval.”People don’t do things for me because I’m hot. It doesn’t hurt though.”
Visage said. She put on a show of thinking about the colors, but she had already decided. After a nod of approval was given, she started searching through the second gym bag, which was just as filled with clothes as the first. Swiftly, she found a thick black shirt with a diamond shape cut out of it around halfway down on both sides.. Setting it aside, she started searching again, this time pulling out dark blue shirt that was a bit thinner and much tighter. Visage tossed the shirts to Maddy, before returning to her search for some sort of leg wear.”And what kind of mask are we thinking?”
Visage asked, setting a few down on the bathroom floor.
Maddy caught the suit and shirt, holding them against herself and looking in the mirror. She nodded with an exaggerated “Pacha ok” look on her face. ”This looks like it’ll come out nicely.”
Maddy then took a moment to quickly get into the shirts. ”Ok this looks pretty good. I gotta admit.”
She said as she posed a few times to get a good look at the costume. She frowned as she realized she was still just in leggins. ”Ok I know you’re the expert. So what’d you say to black jeans? Like tight ones to bring out my butt? Since you seem to like thought of my costume having some sex appeal.” ”I just like the thought of you having more sex appeal. Black jeans might be a bit hard to maneuver-oh wait, you don’t have to worry about that! Hell yeah.”
Visage said, finding some black jeans pretty easily in the first gym bag. After pulling out another mask, she moved them so they were in a line. The first one was a demon thing
, white base with red teeth and black thick lines. It looked like it was from an Asian country, but Visage just got it because it looked cool. There were also a couple masquerade masks of different colors and descriptions.
Maddy kinda blushed a little at the comment lightly swinging a leg back and forth. ”D'aww shucks.”
Maddy slipped on the black jeans with a fair bit of effort, they were right tight albeit not in a bad way. And they definitely made her butt look big. Maddy didn’t bother wasting time on giving the masks a through look, her hand pointing straight at the demon looking one. ”That’s obviously the best one.”
A self satisfied smile crossed Visage’s lips when she saw Maddy’s reaction to her compliment. Easy peasy. It disappeared however when Maddy chose her mask. Why did I bring that one?
She thought, but decided not to speak up. The costume had really come together honestly, and the jeans helped the outfit border sexy without being indecent.”Alright we’ll talk etiquette on the cab ride there, Mire.”
Visage said, pulling out her phone to call a cab.”Groooooaaaaan! Etiquette is so boring. I just gotta not stab people and not speak with my mouth full right?”
Maddy said as she slipped on the mask. ”Oh yeah I already feel more badass.”
Quickly, Visage gave the address to the cab company, and closed her phone, idly looking at the completed costume that Mire was now wearing. ”Cab should be here in ten, then it’s about a thirty minute ride give or take until we get to our destination,”
She said, smiling a bit.
Maddy kept looking herself up and down a few times, she did like this look. Even the slightly jagged cut where the hood used to be, it felt like a nice touch. ”So only thirty minutes away? Not that far away then, I thought we’d be in some kind of abandoned factory out of town or something. So where is out destination exactly?”
A small shrug was Visage’s response. ”Rocker HQ, you get to meet the boss.”
She said before walking out of the bathroom.