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Heartwarming / Dire Worm

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  • Chapter 1.4, Dire's Internal Monologue:
    Damn it all, they were kids. They were kids, and they'd had to go up against a worthless piece of trash villain who revelled in collateral, thought nothing of putting civilians at risk, and utilized lethal force at every opportunity.
  • Chapter 1.5, Dire's reaction to Grey Boy's eternal torture.
  • Chapter 2.1, Taylor thinks: "[Dire's] smile was honest and open, and her approval actually felt good. How long had it been since someone who wasn't my dad had approved of something I'd done, or said? Had shown it? Paid me a compliment, even by gesture?"
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  • Chapter 3.1, more of Dire's Internal Monologue:
    Skitter... The girl had been through some sort of crisis of faith lately, and come out of it stronger. She stomped in here one day practically shaking with fury, left with Tattletale, and came back in the middle of the night bruised all to hell and back. It was thoroughly enjoyable, watching her develop, gain confidence, grow. I likely had little to do with it but I took pride nonetheless. She reminded me of myself in some ways.
  • Chapter 4.1, in which Dire begins rescuing Grey Boy victims. She does get paid well, but...
    So small. So pale. And those eyes, those eyes had seen the end of sanity and pushed through it. They found mine and I looked away. But her voice chased me, as the gurney reached the stairwell. "Thank... Y..."
    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't moved.
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  • Chapter 4.5, in which Dire takes New Wave to task for neglecting Panacea.
  • In the Act IV Intermission, Dire manages to win Circus' loyalty from Coil, simply by being a decent person.
    If he f***s up, am I going to end up in the Bay?
    Her eyes shifted back to Dire, propped up on her electric throne, the very posture of arrogance, and power. And compared it to the picture of the lanky, smiling woman who'd shared cheap subs with her, and pelted her with a sandwich wrapper, as a joke.
    And somehow she felt better.
    No. She won't kill me.
    It made for a nice change of pace.
  • Chapter 5.2. A bit mild for "Crowning Moment", but Rachel making friends with Beta:
    Rachel sat there with him for a little while, thinking about what he'd said.
    He didn't chatter, he didn't swamp her with useless questions, he didn't make much noise at all. He was just there.
    Every now and then when she looked at him he'd look back. Otherwise he was just content to sit there, and let the wind blow through his hair.
    It was... Nice. She could maybe see why Dire kept this one around.
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  • Chapter 5.5, after Dire mentions dating Danny Hebert:
    Taylor: "You wouldn't-"
    Dire: "HA, NO. RELAX. TOO MUCH ROMCOM POTENTIAL FOR DIRE'S TASTES. BESIDES, IT WOULDN'T WORK OUT. DIRE'S GOT A CAREER TO THINK OF, AND HE DESERVES A RELATIONSHIP THAT'S MORE LONG-TERM AND WITH LESS DEATH RAYS AND EXPLOSIONS. HE IS A GOOD MAN, THOUGH. NEVER DOUBT THAT."
    "I never have."
  • Chapter 6.4:
    ...young villains were usually best dealt with as equals until you could figure out what their deal was, and subtly help them get to a better spot, whether or not that was becoming a better villain, or getting out of the game entirely.
    Some were beyond help, but most responded well to an authority figure that wasn't trying to screw them over. I'd mentored my share of young villains, in my time. Hell, a few of them had gone on to switch sides and be heroes, and that was all right, too. They'd gotten to a place where they were happy with what they were doing. It was worth the occasional drama-laden showdown, or destroyed lair.
    Young heroes, though, were a different story. It set my teeth on edge, whenever I saw a parent, or a guardian, or whatever pushing kids into fights. Laying the responsibility of the cape on shoulders that weren't finished growing. Forcing them up against, well, the likes of me. Or worse than me... How many had WEB killed over the years? How many had the Screamthief gotten before the Outsider had figured out the mirror trick? How many had tried to deal with zombie outbreaks, or Atlantaen incursions, or worse, and found out that you're only invulnerable until you're not?
    Villains at least get the luxury of staying out of fights if they want to. Heroes don't.
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