- A Serialized Novel -

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

Every Good Hero Needs a Kick in the Pants

I know what you’re thinking.

Why on earth did this person ever call himself a superhero? Or a hero, period? Well… Sometimes a hero needs a good kick in the pants to get himself going. Or sometimes he just… isn’t a hero. He’s the one that saves the world by accident or with someone else’s help.

I guess you could say I was a bit more like Maxwell Smart, and April had become my Ninety-Nine.
She would have been a very hot version of Ninety-Nine, I have to say.

She had a superpower, at least. It was getting me to do something instead of giving up, and while that might seem very normal to everyone else, it was huge for me. Larabee might have tried to claim the sidekick role, but that really belonged to her.

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“I am just saying that you should put your talent to use, not that you have to wear any of Larabee’s outfits or come up with a superhero name or logo or anything like that,” April said, shaking her head as she knelt next to the bush. “I mean, look at you right now. Why can’t you do this to gather information instead of pout?”

“I could,” Clayton agreed, looking at his hands. He wasn’t sure how she’d found him, but she was good. He would give her that much. “I did think that my gift might be good for spying, even if it wasn’t good for anything else.”

“You’re going to. This isn’t going to help you or anyone.”

“You should have the superpower. Larabee might want one, might have the costumes for it, but you—you would use it.”

She shook her head. “I’m the everyday hero type, if anything, and only because I’m very nearly a teacher. You, on the other hand, need to get off your superhero butt, quit moping, and find a way to use this thing for something. You can get into lots of places when you’re small, and you could listen in and everything. Larabee says he has a holographic projector that might give you a chance to have cover for a few hours—long enough for you to do some eavesdropping of your own.”

“I still don’t know that we can trust Larabee, ad his inventions have a habit of going very wrong. I happen to know this from experience.”

“So you get fired because you’re not working at your desk. Isn’t knowing what they’re doing worth the risk?” She asked, and Clay had to nod. Even if they did more than just fire him, he really needed to know what they knew and what they were going to do with him. He couldn’t afford not to know. “Okay, so, Larabee is going to sweep your place and mine for bugs and surveillance. After that, we’ll make more plans for tomorrow and what you’re going to do at work.”

“Okay.” Clayton crawled out of the bush and started dusting himself off. “Anyone around?”

She shook her head. “Coast is clear.”

He shifted back into his normal form and stretched. “That is so much better.”

“You have no idea,” she told him, sighing as she reached over to straighten his shirt a little. He knew he was a mess after crawling in there, but he’d just needed a place to hide. Now he was ready. Hopefully. “I don’t find what you can do revolting or anything, but I really do prefer talking to you as you whenever I can. Especially with the whole dating thing.”

“Well, you could look at it this way,” he began as he started walking back toward her car. “When I’m all old and stuff, I won’t look like it. And I won’t have to act like it, either. I can love you like a younger man.”

“Ha ha. I’m not so sure I want you running around like a twenty year old when I’m… sixty-four or something,” she said, wrapping her arm around his and leaning her head against his shoulder.

“Will I still love you, will I still greet you, will I still meet you…?” Clayton asked, not bothering to sing because he didn’t have the voice for it. “I certainly hope so, if we both make it through this. I think you’d make a very lovely old lady, and you know what I’d look like when I get older. Not the best, but hey, you won’t be surprised. It would be nice to grow old together.”

She stopped and kissed his cheek. “It’s a little soon for that, you know.”

“What, you thought I was proposing? Or are you objecting to being older?” he asked. “Ooh, I get it, you’re actually repulsed by old people. That’s why you’re going to teach children and—”

She covered his mouth. “Stop. It.”

He took her hand off, lowering it. “If I had been proposing, what would you have said?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Let’s deal with one crisis first before adding any others to it.”

“How is getting married a crisis?”

“It changes everything.”

“It changes some things. It’s an adjustment, but it isn’t the end of the world, either,” he disagreed, surprising himself. Why was he saying any of this? He didn’t want to get married—did he? He had to be kidding. He was not that type. He was also a genetic freak who should not have children, and April was like, the perfect mother. “Wow. How did we go from let’s spy on your boss to let’s argue over getting married when we’ve barely even started dating?”

“I don’t know. Spying first, marriage later.”

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