- A Serialized Novel -

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

What Price Victory?

I have to admit, that moment left me rather… stunned.

I hadn’t figured on him telling the truth. It never worked that way. It was supposed to be a big trick. A joke. I don’t know—everything with spandex seemed like nothing more than a big laugh for us. So when this came around, we had to figure—okay, I was the only one there—I had to figure it was just another joke.

It was Kilbourne, so it had to be another trick.

Didn’t it?

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“Dude, nice work, Clayton.”

“Uh, not so sure it’s good. I think he might be dead.”


“Death by spandex,” Clay whispered, shaking his head in disbelief. Larabee shot him a dirty look as he went over to Kilbourne. April came up to him and wrapped her arms around him, but Clay didn’t feel much comfort at the moment. “I think I killed him. I know he made me a genetic freak and he nearly killed me—well, let someone else do it, actually—and he threatened us and the baby, but I didn’t actually mean to kill him. I can’t even believe I hit him that much. That wasn’t me. Well, it was, but it didn’t feel like me. It was like that saying about how anyone’s capable of murder? Yeah, I guess I am when my wife and child are threatened, but I didn’t mean to do this. He wasn’t supposed to die.”

“You can’t kill someone by spandex, Clay,” April said, shaking her head. She tightened her grip on him, leaning against him and closing her eyes. “I am so glad you’re you right now. I didn’t know what we’d find when we got back to you.”

“Oh, he injected me with something, but you know how drugs work with me—never the way they’re supposed to. So I don’t know how long I was out, but I woke up a bit high, found he’d undone the restraints, started copying his computer, and then confronted him when he came back.”

“Wow. Sounds like you had it all under control.”

“Larabee, I killed the man by tying him up in spandex. Exactly how is that under control?” Clay demanded, lowering his head. “I mean, it makes sense now—I hated spandex because he was allergic to it, and he created me, but I thought he had to be kidding.”

“He was. Death by spandex is impossible,” April insisted. She turned around. “Isn’t it?”

Larabee shrugged. “I don’t know. He’s definitely dead, though, so there goes all the answers we were going to get from him.”

“I don’t know that I care so much about answers,” April admitted. She pulled Clay’s arms around her and put his hands on her stomach, and he tried not to freak out about that. “We were doing well enough without knowing about the experiments or what Kilbourne was doing, and he can’t do it anymore. This is a victory. Not the greatest because someone died, but still, it’s over, isn’t it?”

“More or less.”

“I think I’m going to be sick,” Clay muttered, letting go of April and moving back to the sink to throw up for a second time.

“You know, she’s the pregnant one.”

“Larabee, leave him alone. Kilbourne may have been a bastard, but that doesn’t mean Clay is just going to be okay with the fact that he’s gone,” April told him, moving over to rub Clayton’s back. He shuddered a little, not sure if he was heaving or trying to cry. He didn’t know what to think or feel at the moment. Oh, and there was that other thing…

“How are we supposed to be parents? We can’t be parents. I can’t be a parent. Look at me. I’m one big screw up from start to finish. Kilbourne made me to be something I’m definitely not, I have a lame superpower, my job and most of my life is all a careful manipulation by people who didn’t have the decency to inform me that I was a science experiment, no plan ever goes right for me, and I just killed a man using spandex.”

She kissed his cheek and took his hand. “I know our plans never work, but you know what? We’re used to that. That actually makes us better prepared than most people who go into this with great plans for what they’ll do and who their children will be.”

“Yes, but most of them aren’t genetic freaks.”

“Okay, if this baby decides to have a random growth spurt and pop out of my stomach like that alien thing in that movie, I’m going to hurt you. A lot. But then again, it took two of us to make it, so you know… we’re in it together. Just like we agreed we were when we got married.”

Clay reached over and touched her face. “Can’t you just tell me you were kidding? And that he was? It would kind of be nice if this was a joke. At least the death by spandex part.”

“This isn’t a joke.”

“Oh, right. This is my life. And it still sucks.”

“Clayton, do not make me hurt you right now. I know you’re upset and worried, but do not say that,” she warned, and he sighed, trying to find a way to make this better somehow. He had no idea. He couldn’t fix it.

“Maybe we should just go home.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” Larabee said, putting his arms around both of their shoulders, herding them toward the door. “See, you’re going to need a lot of stuff if you’re going to do this, and I think I have the perfect solution—”

“No way in hell are you being our nanny, Larabee.”

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2 thoughts on “What Price Victory

  1. ganymeder says:

    Death by spandex, eh? Poor guy.

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