The consensus was that it was a dumb idea. We all knew it. We all agreed on it.
We did not all agree on me doing it.
Strangely enough, I was the only one in favor of that.
I don’t know if that means I finally lost it or if they had just gotten really overprotective after the kidnapping incident, but either way, if I was going to go along with the suits’ plan, I’d have to go against the wishes of my wife (possibly my sidekick) and my best friend (my tech guy and mad scientist.)
So the easy answer was, of course, no.
But nothing in my life is ever easy.
“I am not supporting this idiotic scheme. I didn’t like the last one, and look where it got you, Clayton. It nearly got you killed! You almost died. I love you too much to let you do that again. You don’t have to prove anything with this hero crap. I don’t care how many times we’ve had this discussion, and I don’t care if you are a whiny loser if it means you don’t end up dead!” April shouted, pacing the kitchen in agitation. She was angry and scared, and Clayton couldn’t blame her for that. He didn’t like putting her in this position. He hated it, actually.
“April, please, I don’t have any illusions that I’m going to be wonderful and perfect and a true hero here. That’s not what this is about. It really isn’t. And no, Larabee, I don’t want a costume.”
Larabee looked up from the counter where he’d been busy drawing. “But… I had a perfect new one. Indestructible.”
April glared at him. “Not funny, Larabee.”
“Who said I was joking?” the scientist asked, hurt. He lifted up the doodle he’d made on his napkin, showing it to them. They didn’t really look, used to this routine by now. “See? I’ve got something just like this I can work with and—”
“No. No superhero costumes. No heroic antics, either,” April insisted. She shook her head, fiddling with the chain around her neck nervously. “This is not okay, Clayton. Larabee doesn’t like this idea any more than I do, and you know that’s never a good sign. You can’t trust the suit. We don’t know that anything he told you is true. You are not risking your life for this, okay?”
Clayton sighed. Admittedly, he didn’t really want to do this, either, but the more he thought about it, the more he thought he didn’t have another choice. “My life is already at risk, though it’s kind of funny we’re all saying that because I apparently can’t die—”
“You don’t know that for sure, and I really don’t want to find out,” April told him, and he saw tears in her eyes again. They wouldn’t fall, but he knew the idea of losing him scared her. That was why she was so angry now. “I’m sorry, but no.”
He took her hand, wrapping both of his around it and giving it a kiss. She almost pulled away from him. “Me, either, but the thing is, Kilbourne is still out there. The sadist is with him. As long as they’re out there, I’m not going to have a moment of peace. I am—they are going to come after me again sometime, right? Why not make it something where it’s on our terms? Why let them have the advantage? They don’t know I’m alive yet—if we can believe the suit, and we don’t believe the suit. But all the same, if they do come after me again, for whatever reason Kilbourne wants me for or created me for… You know I don’t want to be any part of that. I need to do something—and this time we’re going to have good equipment that works and backup we trust, and I’ll try and get defense classes again. Anything that I can do to keep myself as safe as possible, but I can’t hide forever. I have to go back out in public again sometime, and when that happens, they can and will come for me. They might already be watching us again. They could know even now. This isn’t over—won’t be over—until Kilbourne is in prison. We are the best people to make sure that happens. We’re all we’ve got.”
April sighed. “Damn, I hate when you actually have a logical argument.”
“Me, too,” Larabee added. “Because this plan sucks.”
Clayton gave them both a pleading look. They needed to understand why they needed to do this, and if they didn’t… He couldn’t really do it alone, but he might have to—or trust the suit. Clay would much rather rely on April and Larabee instead.
“I am very against the Clayton as bait idea,” April began slowly, but he could tell she was starting to warm up to the plan, “but we know they’re coming for him. That means… tracking devices. Real training in defense—and no one we’re paying off the street. We need someone else, someone better—”
“You,” Larabee interrupted her, and April frowned at him. “Come on. You really kicked some ass out there, and that is why you have to teach Clayton. You said we needed someone we could trust, and besides, he’s still too weak to leave here. You two can train while he recovers, and I’ll perfect what we need to make sure that he stays safe no matter what happens. Trackers and radios, and that’s just the beginning—”
“No spandex suits. For the last time, no.”