Characters/Pairings: Holly Mason
Date Written: 2009
Summary: I accidentally a rule!63. Scenes from the life.
Notes: For the kinkmeme. Could stand some expansion but I don't have the energy right now.
The moment they should have known – they, her parents, her family, the world at large – was when she took all the skirts and petticoats off of her dolls, dressed them up like the heroes and villains from the crime and mystery stories she always managed to end up with, child's grubby hands clinging to them when they tried to take them away, give them back to the boy on the corner from whom she'd surely stolen them.
But she never stole, ever. She just had bigger dreams than playing house.
Her daddy takes her to the mechanics shop when she's old enough and she plays with the other workers' sons, invented games like 'catch the spy' and 'save the hostage' but she's never, ever the hostage – little Billy O'Neill, usually, a year younger and a head shorter than the rest of them – and goes home every night with mud and grease stains on her clothes.
The other girls in class tease, but she knows that her clothes are not dirty because she's poor – they're dirty because she earned the stains, because she played hard and long and won. Dirt just means you aren't afraid to put your hands into the guts of the world, her daddy says, and she always giggles a little at 'guts' but she still understands.
"Oh, for God's sake," she says, squaring her hands on the desk's edge. "What is this, the fourteenth century? Do I need to put my hair up under a hat or something?"
"I'm sorry, Miss Mason. We don't admit women to the academy in this district. You may want to try another borough; some would allow you to work in protective services."
She leans back in her chair, drumming fingers across the desktop. Her temper isn't hard to control; she's never had much of one, and it rarely slips its traces. "Be a nursemaid, you mean."
The sergeant doesn't answer – just shuffles her folder away to the top of a nearby filing cabinet. As soon as she's gone, it will be refiled to the trash can.
Two weeks later, she moves to a new place – she's old enough, and it's worth the effort for a shot at this – signs her apartment lease with a man's name, puts her hair up where it can’t be seen, and tries again.
Flying colors, they say, flying colors. It will be years before they realize their mistake.
By then she will have taken her training, tipped her hat and been gone.
When she chooses her costume, and it's not an easy thing because she's no expert in any of this, she realizes that the tunic reminds her a bit of Peter Pan, and the idea is warming. The headpiece covers most of her hair and the effect is good – the costume doesn't hide the fact of her gender, she never wanted that, but it does dispel the idea that a woman adventuring is in it for the glory and the photo shoots and the chance to show off her assets. It's practical and it means business, and so does she, and the criminal underworld figures that out fast.
'Not afraid to put your hands into the guts of the world', he'd said. And she isn't.