- A Serialized Novel -

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

Winding Down a Bit

So… It was all over, wasn’t it? Kilbourne was dealt with, and we had nothing but time and questions on our hand. We were just going to have to go home, rest, and figure out where our lives were going from this point on.

I had almost saved myself—it was just me and Kilbourne in that room, after all, and I could have walked out and left him. At the same time, unbeknownst to me, April had made contact with Larabee and gotten the cavalry to us. So I’m not really sure if we have to count that as a rescue. At any rate, now we were… free.


This was kind of like… the end, right?

Okay, no, there were a few things to wrap up first…

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“They are so pissed. I think you just got fired.”

“I thought I quit back when I found out they lied to me all my life,” Clayton said, shaking his head. He hadn’t gone back to work since he’d been kidnapped by Kilbourne’s people the first time. “And I keep trying to tell everyone—even myself—that I didn’t know he was really allergic. I mean, who is allergic to spandex? Like… no one. And deathly allergic? I didn’t even know that was possible. And it’s not like he started choking or gave any signs of real distress. I thought he was kidding! I didn’t think he would die! I had no idea that was going to happen. If I’d known…”

“Clayton, it is not your fault,” April said, trying to calm him down, again. He gave her a small, grateful smile. He didn’t know what he’d do without her. Her patience and rationality during all of this had been invaluable. Of course, her presence also unsettled him because she was pregnant and he was pretty much terrified by the idea of being a father. Still, when it came to helping him cope with the whole involuntary manslaughter thing that had happened, she was the best person for it. “You didn’t know, and you couldn’t trust him. Imagine what he might have done to you if he had tricked you. What he had already done. What he wanted to do to the baby. It wasn’t a risk you could really have taken. If you’d let him go, he could have started the whole thing again.”

“I know; I know,” Clay agreed, closing his eyes for a moment. “I just… I don’t ever think I’ll stop feeling guilty even if I know I didn’t really have much of a choice. Maybe I should have erred on the side of caution, but caution for him could have cost me everything. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“You never knew what to do.”

“Thanks for that, Larabee.”

Larabee shrugged. April glared at him. He went back to the papers he was working on. “It was one of our plans, and our plans never go right. Kilbourne getting caught in that inevitable crossfire was bound to happen, and with that in mind, I don’t think it’s worth punishing anyone over. The authorities certainly didn’t see it that way.”

“You just said they fired him.”

“Right,” Larabee agreed. “But no one arrested him or pressed charges or anything. That’s what I mean. They all agree that Kilbourne’s death was an accident. They’re only angry because they wanted answers.”

“So did we, but we’re not getting them, so screw them,” April muttered angrily. She rubbed her back a little, closing her eyes. Clay frowned, and she pulled him over so she could lean against him. “I’m fine. And the baby’s fine. Remember, they checked us all out. Don’t start panicking on me now. Back pain is apparently normal.”

“I know, but—”

“You don’t have to worry through every single step of this thing.”

“Yeah, the kid’s a future superhero. He’ll survive anything, no problem,” Larabee added, trying to be helpful. Clayton shot him a dirty look.

April shook her head. “We don’t know whether we’re having a boy or a girl yet, Larabee. Stop making costumes.”

“Hey, I can make them unisex. It’ll be fine.”

“I don’t even want to know,” April sighed. She looked up at Clayton. “You’re still worried about the baby getting your ability, aren’t you?”

“Kind of hard not to be,” Clay admitted. “I mean, we know I was genetically modified but not how or why and—Oh, I almost forgot! We do have answers. Maybe. Assuming they didn’t pay attention to the computer…”

“What are you talking about?”

“I told Kilbourne’s computer to upload everything to my online storage account. Since I kept losing computers, I got that huge one, remember? So it should, hopefully, have copied all of that stuff to it. It’s probably encrypted or useless, but we have something, and I don’t know that they know that we have it, which is something in of itself. And who knows if they’ll find what I did or not. The point is, if it did work—”

“Which assumes a lot for us and our plans and our kind of… luck,” Larabee interrupted, and Clayton and April glared at him. He held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, let’s just assume it worked. Even if it only got a few things, it’s more than we had before, and we’re going to go with that.”


“Which means someone—cough—the mad scientist—cough—will have a bunch of data to go through instead of making baby costumes,” Clayton told Larabee with a bright smile.

Larabee stuck out his bottom lip, almost pouting. “But… but… look! Look at the things I could make if I learned to knit!”*

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*to see the sort of knitting items Larabee might make, click here.

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