- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.

An Interlude and a Discovery

So, really, I should probably just jump to the part where I was all healed, we went in and saved the universe—okay, so no, we didn’t save the universe. No one would really expect us to do that. That’s not the way things really work. Still, I could skip over the weeks it actually took me to feel a hundred percent better, the costumes that Larabee made when he was “improving the tracking devices,” and the many bruises that my own beloved wife gave me—I could have passed for someone suffering spousal abuse, sadly enough. Not that the bruises lasted long. I’d go into a random healing shift, and they’d disappear.

This annoyed April to no end.

Honestly, it pissed me off as well. I didn’t exactly enjoy passing out at any random moment. That’s what the shifts were doing whenever they tried to heal me.

Yeah, this new facet of my power? Just as lousy as the rest of it had been.

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“I am starting to think I’m never going to get better. Never heal, at any rate.”

“Well, it would help if you could stop being knocked down all the time. April has no formal training, and she’s still kicking your ass.”

“I am aware of how much I suck, thank you very much, Larabee,” Clayton muttered as he dragged himself back to his feet again. “How long was I out this time?”

“Long enough for me to make this.”

Clayton grimaced, wishing he could rid his mind of that image. “Catwoman. The key word there being woman. That suit… It’s the stuff that nightmares are made of, you know.”

“I made it for April.”

“Then why are you wearing it?”

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“Ready to save the day yet?”

“Ha ha, very funny,” Clayton grumbled, tossing a ball up in the air. He caught it and smiled. “Do you know that’s the first time I managed that all day? What is with my complete lack of coordination? I’m starting to think that could only be a superhero—okay, yes, I know I’m just trying to learn to defend myself, but still—the only way I’ll get that is if I can somehow get a suit that does all the fighting for me.”

“How many times have you watched Iron Man today?”

“Not telling. And I passed out during at least one of them, so it doesn’t count. I had to watch it again.”

April sat down next to him, taking the ball. “Mind over matter here, Clay. You don’t lack coordination when it comes to anything else, so why this?”

“I was created to be a pacifist when I was engineered in that lab?”

“Cute, but if you can manage normal every day activities—walking, talking, eating, brushing your teeth—and just lose control when you’re acting in defense, then something is wrong in your head, not in your muscles.”

“What makes you say that?”

“We’ve never had any problems in the bedroom.”

Clay thought about that one for a second. “Okay, I see your point. Considering how I stressed myself into shifting when we were kissing when we first started dating, if there was something I was going to screw up, sex would be it, huh? On the other hand, that’s… well, fun.”

She laughed. “Yes, but that’s not what makes your basic day-to-day stuff work for you. You’ve convinced yourself you can’t do this, so you’re sabotaging yourself before you even get started.”

“Ah ha. We have it once again—I am my own worst enemy.”

“You are,” she agreed quietly. “But we’re going to fix that.”

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