Fate Sucks

Disclaimer:
"This is fan fiction for the Whateley Academy series. It may or may not match the timeline, characters, and continuity, but it's fan fiction so I hope it's forgivable.

Estelle Young is the daughter of superheroes, and life is interesting enough for her liking. Too bad fate decides she needs some more excitement in her life.


Moose Lake, Alberta, Canada (20km north of Edmonton)
November 20th, 2007

The first sign of the trouble that would make my already interesting life more so, was when my period didn't come.

If I hadn't been in an all girls school, with zero access to boys or members of the opposite sex, except over the hill professors who were more interested in their books then the hundreds of girls under the care (THANK GOD!!!!), or were very, very gay, I might have panicked. Instead I waited three weeks, until I started getting strange cramps, that while in the general vicinity of the stomach, were much more spread out, low key and stranger then regular PMS. This was more like I had worms and things crawling around my belly, which is a pretty damn uncomfortable feeling. After a half hour of that I visited the school doctor.

“What brings you here today, Estelle?”

It always amazed me that Dr. Parker could remember me, there were over eight hundred students who lived at Joan Everest School for Girls, from all around Canada, the US and Asia. We weren't the best in Canada, but we were always ranked in the top five schools. In my two years there, I only went to the doctor when I had to get a flu shot or some other vaccine, and occasionally to drop something off for a friend or teacher, so I wasn't exactly a common face. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I almost always covered myself in something, so that only my face and hands were exposed.

Climbing up onto the examination table slowly and awkwardly which really isn't my usual way of doing anything, I tried not to throw up. “I'm not feeling good. I missed my period three weeks ago, and now my stomach is feeling really strange.”

With a look of concern, which didn't look good on her pretty face, Dr. Parker became completely professional. She had me lie down and pull up my blouse, feeling my stomach and asking questions looking for anything out of the ordinary.

I tried not to shiver when her bare hands touched my skin. It wasn't that I was attracted to her or anything that made me shiver, it was the simple skin to skin contact. Because of certain family issues (NOT that, my parents are virtual saints and would destroy anyone who tried, as I've told the school counselor repeatedly and vehemently), I'm not used to people touching my skin except for my hands. With two years of being close friends with girls who like doing makeup and facials on each other, I've gotten used to people touching my face, but except for those body parts, I want clothes between me and others.

After fifteen minutes of this, and swearing on a stack of bibles that I hadn't done anything with a boy, she was stumped and my cramps were starting to die down. Dr. Parker wasn't satisfied with my claims that I was feeling fine now, and got on the phone. Within half an hour I was in a school car being driven to the best hospital in Edmonton and my parents had been contacted. Usually we'd have had to set up an appointment at least a week in advance, but when parents are paying 60K a year for their daughters to go to school, and said school teaches the daughters, granddaughters, nieces and god daughters of federal and provincial ministers, business leaders, and the Premier of Alberta who helps decide how much money said hospital will receive, little things like waiting lists are thrown out the window.

Dad was waiting for me at the hospital entrance, I hadn't really been expecting him. We live in Edmonton, and my parents schedule is very fluid, so there had been a chance that both he and Mom would have been there. But the driver had had the radio on and the news had been blaring about an attack by Buffalo downtown. Apparently the superhuman thug was attacking some rival gang members and it had gotten out of hand.

Prairie Sun, Edmonton's strongest super heroine , a speedster capable of a cruising speed of 160km/h, as well as being a level 5 exemplar, was slowly but steadily beating the nearly invulnerable behemoth into a pulp. The reporter was surprised that her partner, and the second of Edmonton's two full time heroes, Fly By wasn't there. He couldn't do as much damage as the speedster, but his flight and telekinetic blasts would have helped keep the idiot brick off balance.

I guess they'd fought Buffalo often enough that they must have figured their daughter was more important. I wasn't sure how to feel about that, it was nice to have the support, but I didn't want to see Mom getting injured because I had eaten some bad eggs or something. Sure she'd heal quickly enough, I've seen her heal from a crushed pelvis in less than a month, but it sure as heck wasn't pleasant to see her like that.

“How are you feeling darling?” he asked, touching my shoulder with his thin gloved hand. It was bitterly cold outside, but the hospital was kept very warm so there wasn't any normal need for gloves, emphasis on normal. There is very little normal about my family.

His hand felt solid and warm over top my sweater and parka. When I put my hand on his, there was only his leather glove separating us, and it was like touching wood, almost no warmth, no give, no support. I moved my hand away after a second. “I'm a little sick. But I don't think it's anything important.”

The driver double checked my fathers ID, and left us alone while he went to Tim Hortons to grab a coffee while he waited for us. Dad got me checked in, and we were moved into an examination room, where a nurse did all the usual things. Once we were alone with a promise the doctor would see us in no more than half an hour, we could talk freely.

“How's Mom doing?” I asked.

“She's enjoying herself, that's why I'm here.” He saw my skeptical look. “You know her, she always likes a challenge, she'll be fine. We're more concerned about you. Do you have a fever? Anything unexpected happen?”

I was turning fourteen at the end of December, so I was right at the age when most mutants manifested. For the last few months every time we talked there was an odd mix of anticipation and fear. They loved helping people, and the deals they'd made with companies acting as spokespeople and security was lucrative. But like everything it came at a cost. I honestly didn't know if they were hoping I would join them as a mutant and superhero, or if I'd stay relatively safe as a baseline. I'd bet they didn't know either.

“I just had some really weird cramps. They're overreacting as usual.” There was not enough money on earth to make me tell Dad I'd miss my period. And I'd have to be threatened with death before I'd admit it to Mom. There are somethings parents shouldn't be told, especially overprotective ones who can destroy cars by sneezing, don't ask, long story.

He lifted my chin, looking me in the eyes. His own eyes were a dull red behind the contacts, Mom's were a violet colour and didn't even really look like eyes, just blots of fuzzy colour, their constant mark of being mutants. If my eyes were changing colour, we'd know that I was following in their footsteps. I'd already checked my eyes that morning, and hadn't noticed any change from my pretty greyish-blue iris'. As soon as he was done giving me the once over, I pushed his hand away.

I love my Dad, but I hate touching him. His fingers had felt like cold granite. No one else except Mom had that problem, they felt his skin normally, could feel how soft and warm it was, how it was full of life. Something I'd never get to experience.

“Dad, nothing has happened, and I check every time I look in the mirror. Don't worry so much ok. How is Mom doing, are you sure she doesn't need your help?”

He tapped his ear where a devise rested, he and Mom both had it, letting them pass on thoughts, feelings, and even images to each other. The set had cost over three million dollars, with regular six month tune ups at a hundred thousand dollars each time, and they were still paying it off, but in their line of business that type of connection was worth the cash. “If she needs me she'll let me know. Right now she's just hit him with a bus, and is about to pop his kneecap. I give it five minutes before he collapses, he's already fighting with a dislocated right shoulder. How did your English test go?”

We talked about school while waiting for the doctor. It wouldn't look like we were very close to observers, he wasn't holding my hand or patting my leg or arm, or even ruffling my hair like I'd seen fathers do to their daughters. But we were used to it, we let our words and looks show that we cared for each other.

Finally the doctor arrived, looking over the report the school had sent. Dad left and I got to wear the all too flimsy hospital gown and then had the wonderful joy that only women get to experience of cold steel equipment being shoved into places it really shouldn't go into. I was the only girl I knew to have experienced it so far. when I turned thirteen my parents had insisted I get a FULL physical, they explained to me they were worried about GSD and needed a base to see what abnormalities might show up when, if, I manifested. Thanks a lot parents, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Whatever the doctor found, didn't make her happy. I was allowed to put my clothes back on, and was moved to another room, where I got to experience a sonogram. With my shirt up around my chest, she put a freezing cold gel all over my stomach, and proceeded to give my internal organs a massage, which is not nearly as comfortable as it sounds. Your intestines and guts shouldn't vibrate.

I saw my insides in black and white on a screen, I couldn't tell what was what, and the doctor wasn't telling me anything. I could tell something was wrong though, her friendly but professional manner, became just professional as she studied the pictures. Then she called in another doctor and had a whispered discussion together using a lot of words I couldn't understand as I wiped my stomach off.

Then they called in another doctor, and I started to panic. They sent me outside, to wait with Dad. Honestly I don't remember what we talked about, just that we ate lunch in the cafeteria, and at some point Mom came in sporting a black eye, that was visible even with her mirrored wrap around sunglasses, and limping. I'm honestly surprised the police haven't been called for spousal abuse, considering how many times my parents come home sporting bruises and broken bones. She gave me a hug, which had all the comfort of being embraced by a wooden statue, since she was only wearing a light coat and I was in a thin blouse.

An hour later we were sitting in an office facing a confused doctor. The doctor didn't want me there, but my parents insisted. They'd made it a point to not hide anything from me, considering their business they didn't think it would be fair to me.

“Mr and Mrs Young, I'm not sure how to explain this but looking at the sonograms we have taken of your daughter and comparing them to her files, her overies and womb have shrank. Everything indicates she should be healthy and I am not aware of any common medical condition which would do this.” She stopped when my parents didn't react with shock or amazement, just a tightening of their lips and a sad look in my Dad's eyes. The shock was all mine.

My parents stood up, my Mom had to pull me gently to my feet. “Thank you doctor,” Dad said. “We'll send you the name of a doctor in Vancouver tonight, he will be taking over Estelle's case and will require her files as soon as possible.”

“If I may ask, is this a genetic problem of some kind?” the doctor asked looking even more confused.

Mom answered this one. “In a way. We will ask that you respect our privacy, and to give as much support to Dr. Sharpe as possible, when he contacts you tonight.”

With that we headed to the door. Mom called the school and said I'd be out for at least a week, but I was capable to doing homework and to have everything emailed to me. Once we got home, I headed up to my room to read. It was easier for me to escape to the peace and security of my books than to face whatever was happening to my body.

Mom came in a while later, her short, mousy brown hair still damp from her shower, she was moving more easily and her eye was almost completely healed. She was wearing a turtleneck sweater and a thick pair of gloves, so when she sat on my bed, I went over and cuddled in her arms, she was soft to the touch now, unlike at the hospital where her flesh had been unyielding.

“What's happening to me?” I asked.

“You're a mutant. We don't know what's happening to you exactly, but it's probably GSD,” I heard her fighting back tears. “You and I are going to Vancouver tomorrow to see Dr. Sharpe, he works with the Vancouver Heroes Corp. We'll stay with your Uncle Herb while they get a better idea of what's happening.”

Uncle Herb wasn't really my uncle, he was another superhero who worked with my parents on occasion and we would visit him every summer for a few weeks. He didn't get many visitors because of his looks, but he was one of the nicest guys I knew. “Will I look like him?”

“Probably not. But we won't know until the experts can run some tests. It will be ok, your Dad and I knew this was a risk and we're ready for anything,” she assured me. Her kiss on my head should have been tender. Instead it was hard and her hair felt like wires.

My life wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly pleasant either, and it seemed like fate decided I needed a kick in the ass. I couldn't help it, I started to cry.

**
November 21st, 2007

Usually we'd drive to Vancouver, the road over the Rockies while kind of scary in places, you try looking down a cliff that is several hundred feet straight down when your mom is a speed demon and try not to get light headed, but this time we took a plane. Even my Mom didn't like to risk the mountainous roads in the middle of winter. So we had the joy of going through airport security. When I was younger, this was a big hassle, as my parents didn't want to let the MCO know much about them, and I was too young to go through security and then wait for them all by myself. So they'd have to get an airport agent to go with me, or one of them would go through the MCO checkpoint, come around to see me on the other side of the check in, and my other parent would then get checked in. There's a reason we prefer driving whenever possible.

But once I turned twelve, even my overprotective parents had to admit I was old enough to do it all myself. The problems didn't end though, because I was still a minor I had to explain that my parents were going through another security check in, as quietly as possible so that the people behind me and in front didn't hear much. As soon as security learned my parents were mutants, it was a toss up if they'd be professional and uncaring, or panic. I couldn't tell them that the people they were so scared of were two of the biggest heroes in the Canadian prairies and had even helped out the better known Vancouver heroes a few times. Or explain to those who were staring at me as if I was about to start shooting fire and killing everyone, that they had probably cheered my parents at a parade or city festival sometime in the last year.

Fortunately for my fraying nerves, the check in was easy, and airport security was professional. Mom met me halfway to the gate and we walked in silence, both lost in thought. I couldn't help staring at my hands wondering if they were hairier then yesterday or the week before. Rubbing my cheeks to feel the scratchy patch of skin, was it from the -30 degree weather and was just dried out, or the beginning of scales. Was I moving more fluidly then before, were my bones turning into jelly, or my muscles becoming stone. I'd seen all of that in my nearly fourteen years. I'd studied the villains my parents fought, not because I wanted to be a superhero, but because I wanted to know if Mom and Dad would be coming home that night, and if they'd be bruised, dazed, or broken.

I'd also met a lot of newly manifested mutants my parents had helped out. Once they were sure the kids were safe, they'd found it helped them if they saw that not all kids would run screaming in terror. Sometimes that was what they really needed to see after they'd been thrown out of their homes or were been terrified of what was happening to them. So I'd met a dozen or so kids from the prairies who needed a place to stay while relatives or foster families were found for them, or needed to have their powers tested and didn't trust the MCO, and even a few kids who needed a chance to heal and were slowly making their way to Whateley, a special school for mutants. A few of the kids had been invited into our family, staying with us in the summer and over Christmas, until they were old enough to live on their own, or found other friends, boyfriends and girlfriends they wanted to stay with. Those ones we'd unofficially adopted, and even after they grew up, we still had big 'family' reunions in the summertime.

And of course I'd met the heroes from the northern US and most of the three dozen or so full time Canadian heroes, not all of whom were pretty or even nice too look at. So I knew exactly what I could turn into and I was terrified since the GSD seemed to be starting inside of me. Growing fur, claws and even scales was one thing. Those could be covered up in some cases, or at least you could live with those like my Uncle Herb did. But when the changes were internal, they were going to be big.

I remembered when I was eleven, a girl was brought to my parents base. As usual my parents asked if I wanted to meet her, but they'd spent half an hour explaining what was happening to the girl, and showing me pictures of her. I'd hidden in my room for the whole afternoon refusing to come out, curled up under my blankets. Finally I realized that the girl was crying and the wide eyed, open mouth expression on her dripping face wasn't meant to be scary, she was trying to scream as her body destroyed itself.

I'd visited her the next day, she was in a daze from the pain medicine they'd given her, but we were able to talk a little. She wouldn't tell me her name, just told me that that girl was dead and would never come back, so I called her friend, she'd liked that. I hadn't shown how scared I was, I even held her hand as she melted. Since her eyes were gone by then, I read her some of her favourite books. My parents wanted me to leave after a few hours, but I didn't, I'd stayed with her until she became a puddle of liquid flesh and the machines told us she was gone. I hadn't stopped reading even after her ears had disappeared. A month later I was put into boarding school.

My imagination put my face onto the girls body.

Quite a few kids and heroes I'd met were happy to be mutants, they thought of the publicity, the ability to be better than everyone else, to do things that most people could only dream of. As I leaned against my mother, on my way to an uncertain future, very carefully not touching any part of her not covered by cloth, I realized I was the opposite I was terrified.

I guess I should explain why I don't touch my parents skin if I have any say in the matter. It's not psychological, I can touch anyone else without any problem, I'm just not used to it and find it strange not having cloth between me and other people. Why my parents feel like stone to me is because they're heroes and have some very nasty enemies.

Before I was born, there was a wizard/psychic villain called Beaver Man. Yeah it's a strange name, he got it from a legend of the Slavey First Nations. The Beaver Man of legend was a trickster who would confuse and humiliate his enemies and then kill them, the modern one tried to do the same, with more focus on the killing unless you got him really angry. He was, emphasis on was, an eco-terrorist, who killed a lot of people working in the oil sands. Since my parents had a contract with the major oil companies they fought a lot for over a year. Then he captured my Dad.

It took my Mom two weeks to find him, and the fight came close to killing her. Beaver Man got away, and Mom grabbed Dad, who was in just as bad shape, ready to race him to the hospital. Then the spell went off.

The spell is complicated and mixed with psychic suggestions. When they touched the spell activated, it wasn't deadly, but it was malicious. My Mom and Dad can't feel each other. When they touch, its like touching stone, no softness, no warmth, no real feeling. Clothing lessens it, the more clothes between them the more real they feel.

It sounds simple, but think about hugging a statue or a piece of wood, sleeping next to someone who makes you shiver with cold, a gentle pat on the back for encouragement or holding hands, feels like its from a cold, impersonal doll and can even hurt because to them its as hard as rock. To everyone else its perfectly fine, they're warm, soft, gentle, but to each other...

So how does all of this affect me?

When the spell happened, my Mom was unknowingly a month or two pregnant with me. Within a week of being born, I would scream whenever they picked me up unless they were wearing thick clothes. I grew up only feeling my parents if we were both wearing two or three layers of clothing. So yeah, I love my parents, but we don't touch each other much, and I'm never sure of how to react when people touch me.

As for Beaver Man, Dad fought him again two months after the spell, Beaver Man suffered a fatal accident. Mom was pissed that she hadn't been there to help kill him. Too bad for her, she knew I was around and was sidelined for a few months. There was some outcry from the small group of environmentalists who supported the bastard, the guys who were anti-violence no matter what, and of course the groups like H1 who hated anything that heroes did. The majority just said good riddance, since the death was caught on videotape and clearly wasn't an assassination or even an excessive use of force.

Back in the present we were surrounded by people, so I couldn't talk to Mom about anything important, she just read some books, while I wrote in my diary. We both needed to talk, but until I saw this Dr. Sharpe, there wasn't much to talk about except how scared I was.

I hated it, but welcome to my life.

**

A limo waited for us at the Vancouver airport, and we headed straight for Uncle Herbs' place well out in the suburbs. With the privacy screen up, and a day to think about everything I could finally start talking.

“What do you think is going to happen?” I asked.

“I don't know. That's what we're going to find out, but no matter what, we'll be with you. We caught it early so we can limit the damage and help you adjust.” Mom said, gently stroking my hair with her soft leather gloves.

I thought of my friends and the mutant kids who had to leave their homes and schools, hiding who and what they were, like my parents kind of did. “Can I keep going to school?”

“If your change is only internal or small enough, I promise you'll stay at Joan Everest. Even if it's a larger change, we'll try to let you finish the school year.” She saw my hopeless expression. “I'm sorry Estelle, but you knew this might happen. We have to take things as they come.”

My voice turned whiny. “I like my friends, and my teachers. You know how long it took me to make friends and now I've got them. It's not fair!”

Mom gave me 'the' look, making me blush. “I know honey. Believe me, I know. But like everything else, we'll survive. If the worst happens, you can go to Whateley.”

I knew about Whateley, my parents had helped a lot of kids get there, and even paid part of their tuition sometimes. It sounded nice, but it was all the way in New Hampshire, I wouldn't get to see my parents or my friends in Edmonton for most of the year.

She saw my frown. “They've got a lot of experience dealing with kids in your situation. And it's curriculum is as good if not better than Everest. You'll learn how to use your powers and keep up with your education. You can even follow in our career if you want.”

I leaned away, my back hitting the door.

Being a hero was the last thing I wanted. I knew what it had done to my parents, and me. They didn't make a big deal about what the curse had done, but I heard my Mom crying at night in her empty bed, while Dad would stay up late in his own room talking with people from all over the world looking for a way to break the curse. And they both had lovers, they didn't talk about it, but they didn't hide it either. How and why they stayed together I don't know, but they did. I had nightmares of finding myself in their situation, of not being able to touch my own baby without him or her screaming, of watching my future husband die because I'd made a mistake, of having a supervillain capture me and doing... things to me.

There was no way in hell was I going to be a hero.

Mom sighed at my reaction. “You can try other things to. There are groups for almost everything at least when I was there twenty years ago. I was a member of Venus the modeling club, and I'm not sure if they still have it but your father was in the equestrian group. There's a great engineering group, martial arts league, a dance group, their own radio station. You've heard how much fun it is for the other kids.”

“Sure it sounds cool, but what about my friends?”

“Didn't you say the exact same thing when you first went to Everest? If this gets serious, you will need to go somewhere they can teach you how to handle the changes properly. A regular school can't do that for you.” She sighed, seeing that she wasn't getting through to me. “'El, I promise you, if there is the smallest chance of you staying at Everest, we will let you stay there. But you have to face facts, you're life is about to change drastically, hiding from it won't help.”

I hated it when she was right. I still wasn't go to give in so easily. I pulled out my diary and started writing. Mom realized I wasn't about to talk or listen until I was good ready, so she did her own stress relief, bending a six inch long, one inch thick metal bar into a horseshoe.

**

“Uncle Herb!” I yelled, running up to the hot pink, grizzly bearlike person who waddled down from the front porch of his ranch style house that overlooked the Pacific Ocean.

“Kitten! I've missed you so much!" he roared, lifting me up in his enormous paws, carefully keeping his claws from scratching me. I buried my face in his fur, enjoying the feeling. He was like a giant stuffed animal, and when he hugged me I always felt safe. Mom came more slowly, carrying our two suitcases.

“Evelyn, I hope you had a nice trip,” he said, taking one of the suitcases in his devil like tail, which was a slightly darker pink then his fur.

She shrugged. “It was first class, but it was still a plane, so barely acceptable.”

“Well come in, come in, and put your feet up. I set you up for an appointment with Dr. Sharpe tomorrow at eight, so you have all evening to relax.”

He carried me into his house, my mouth started watering as I smelled baked salmon, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes with sour cream and butter. Uncle Herb boomed with laughter as he saw my nose twitch and my head turned towards the kitchen. “Yes, I cooked all your favourite foods. And there's a devils food cake in the fridge for you. I thought you would like it.”

I grabbed the two curved horns on his head, pulling myself up and gave him a kiss on his big sloping forehead. “Thank you!”

“Evelyn, your usual rooms are ready for you, I spent the morning getting everything tidied up. Why don't you go and get your things put away and freshen up, Kitten can help me in the kitchen, with the salad,” he said, putting the suitcase down.

Mom gave him a thankful look and disappeared down the hall, while we went into the spacious kitchen. I went to wash my hands, while Herb put on a pair of gloves to keep his fur out of the food. “I've got everything you need for your special mixed salad, so go nuts.”

Getting three types of lettuce, already washed, I started chopping without much rhyme or reason. My uncle checked on the salmon and started buttering some french bread, the crushed garlic already waiting in a bowl beside him.

“How ya holding up?” he asked.

“Cried myself to sleep last night, and almost broke down in tears on the plane,” I told him.

He grunted. “You did better then me. When I started growing fur, I tore my bedroom apart. Any idea what your powers might be?”

“No. No tingling, no weird visions, no crushed silverware, for all I know the doctors could be wrong and I'm perfectly fine, or just have some weird disease,” I said halfheartedly.

“Well Sharpe is my doctor and he'll figure it out by the end of the week. For what it's worth I hope it's just a mistake, but if it's GSD, it's not the end of the world. And your parents and I will be with you every step of the way.”

“Thanks,” I whispered, wiping my eyes and nose with my sleeve.

He finished buttering the bread and began putting the garlic on top, while I began cutting up an apple. We worked in comfortable silence, and knowing he was close to me and understood what I was going through was better than any hug.

**

Supper was just about ready, and my mixed salad of three types of lettuce, apples, pears, shredded cheddar, chunked mozzarella, carrots, cucumbers, sweet peppers and some left over chicken chunks was sitting on the table, when the doorbell rang. Uncle Herb just pressed a button opening the door, so it was someone who hadn't set off his very cutting edge alarm system and was expected.

I heard Mom stand up and exclaim, “Eddie!” followed less then a second later by a loud oomph and the sound of kissing.

“Kitten, come over here and make sure the salmon is done,” Herb said, holding a fork out for me.

Forcing my feelings down, I tasted the salmon, savouring the rich taste. He'd put a thin coating of maple syrup on it as a glaze, giving it a wonderful sweetness. The activity and the flavours helped me gain control of myself. Eddie wasn't just Mom's lover, he was also Uncle Herbs' best friend and a friend of the family. They usually weren't open about their relationship, but sometimes when they first met it got a little heated. I couldn't say anything to Dad, he had a girlfriend in Calgary.

“Let's get everything on the table Estelle, and we can dig in. You have to be hungry I can hear your stomach growling from across the kitchen,” he teased me.

“It's not that bad,” I said, hiding my blush by ducking my head, letting my long coffee brown hair cover my face.

Uncle Herb rolled his eyes. “Sure, sure, I'm just glad I cooked enough to have left overs even with your mother. That might mean I have enough to feed you all tonight.”

“I'm not that big of an eater,” I insisted. Actually I was starving, but I wasn't about to admit it. I've always had a healthy appetite, but my figure was perfect thanks to all the dancing I enjoyed, and Krav Maga training my parents insisted on.

Grabbing the food I moved them to the table, which was already set. Steeling myself I walked noisily into the living room. I felt a breeze from the doorway and a chair creaked mightily, Mom was sitting back down as if nothing had been happening and Eddie was smiling innocently, his normally still antenna waving back and forth as if in a wind. “Hi Eddie,” I said, forcing a smile. “Supper's ready.”

We sat down and dug in. I'm certain that if Uncle Herb had looked even a little human he would have succeeded in his dream of running his own restaurant. Even without his gadgeteering skills, he could make a feast out anything, and with his custom made tools, anything coming from his kitchen was a delicacy. He actually had about fifty patents on a whole lot of kitchen appliances that could be found in kitchens all over the continent. Superheroing for him was mostly a hobby and a way to socialize.

Eddie looked at me with his insect like eyes, which could be called pretty if you liked bugs. “Your Mom told me you manifested yesterday, what can you do Estelle?”

“I haven't manifested anything,” I explained. It was a struggle to keep the annoyance from my face, Eddie always rubbed me the wrong way, and not just because he was with Mom. At least not totally because of that. “I had an upset stomach and they think there's something odd in my body and everyone is talking about GSD and stuff like that.”

“It's frustrating not being sure. But it's nothing to take lightly, kid. I've seen some GSD kids who could have been saved if they'd been caught early enough.”

Have I said I don't really like Eddie? He's the only one who calls me kid anymore. “I know. I've helped out with some mutants who have GSD, and a quick exam showed something odd. Tomorrow they'll probably just say I'm a little sick, or it was a false diagnosis. I haven't done anything special, and except for the upset stomach yesterday I'm perfectly fine.”

Uncle Herb jumped in. “On Thursday, a few of us from the Heroes Corp, are going to be going to a special assembly for several of the downtown schools, would you two like to come? I'm not sure how interesting you'll find it Estelle, but we'll be giving a couple of short speeches, showing some videos of our more interesting fights, and showing off some of our powers.”

“I'd love to go,” Mom said at once. She always liked being in the spotlight, and loved being around kids.

“I'll go to.” I didn't like being in the center of attention, but seeing Mom do her stuff when there wasn't any danger was always fun.

“Do you have a superhero costume? If we can figure out your powers by then, you could be considered a junior hero like they have in New York,” Eddie said with a grin.

Mom and I both gave him a look of death, which is pretty impressive coming from Mom since she still had on her mirrored sunglasses. Somehow she can make them glint just right, it's almost like a superpower. “Not on your life,” I said. “I'm not a hero.”

He threw his hands up in the air. “Ok, ok, it was just an idea. Right now we're still trying to decide who will go. Herb is definitely going, and we're debating between Mermaid and Mo Shu Shi.”

“Why not both of them? Mermaid is cool, and Mo Shu Shi has the mysterious wizard thing going for him,” I said.

Herb shook his shaggy head. “We've heard that there's something brewing in the shadows. We wouldn't even do this, but it was set up a couple of months ago and we don't want to disappoint the kids. So we're doing it with the minimum number of people, and keeping it to no more then two hours. Frankly having you guys show up is really helpful, if you're ok with it Evelyn we'd like you to be on call. With your speed you can relax and enjoy the party, but join in if things get out of hand.”

“Sure,” Mom said without any hesitation. “You've got my spare suit and weapons at your headquarters right?”

“Yeah, we've got your crowbar waiting for you,” Eddie said chuckling.

No one ever said Mom was subtle, when she wanted someone hit she wasn't going to be tricky about it. “Can I take some video for the Edmonton Duo's website?”

That got a blush from Mom. I wasn't the creator of the largest fan website to my parents, or even a big supporter, but an occasional embarrassing story or picture that couldn't be traced to me or give away their identity would sometimes make it to the administrators. I usually only did it when I thought things were getting too boring, or they set up business on my birthday, and occasionally I would threaten them with something REALLY embarrassing when I really wanted something. I couldn't do that last one too often, they always made sure to get me back for it, and sometimes they called my bluff.

The two guys started laughing. “Tell you what, kid, I'll get you some of the official videos with the blessing of the mayor,” Eddie promised.

“Thanks. Now what type of guinea pig am I going to be tomorrow?”

“First, you aren't a guinea pig,” Uncle Herb stated. “Sharpe is a professional devisor who took the time to get a degree as a doctor, and he has never experimented anything that isn't perfectly safe on people. What he will do is probably have you sit in a bathtub of goo which will scan your entire body, checking your blood, hormone levels, tissue, and everything else you can think of. Don't worry I've been in it a load of times and it's actually pretty relaxing, but if you get too nervous he can give you some regular anesthetics so you sleep through the whole thing. By the afternoon he'll know exactly what's happening.”

Gulping, I had a sudden concern. “Isn't that going to be expensive?” Devises were super expensive because they were usually one of a kind, this could put a significant bite even into my parents ready funds.

“He has a special deal with hero types so that we only pay for his time and resources. He'll be able to buy a decent car out of this, but it won't be a big problem. And if you do have GSD, he's willing to waive all fees if he can study the progression and has access to all your medical files if you go to another doctor at any time. He really wants to cure GSD.”

Smiling bleakly I tried to look on the bright side. “So I guess I'll have the rest of the week to relax and have some fun.”

Eddie gave a snort. “Only if there is nothing going on. If you have something that catches his eye, he will keep you in his office as long as possible. Don't worry though, he has great food and will remember to feed you.”

I noticed that Mom was looking at me oddly. “What's wrong, Mom?”

“How many pieces of fish have you had?” she asked.

“Not much, I'm still hungry. One or two pieces, I guess.”

Uncle Herb rolled his eyes back in thought. “Eddie's had one, I've had four, your Mom's had six, and you've had four, along with a big bowl of salad, eight scoops of potatoes, and three cobs of corn.”

I looked at my plate and realized that it was true. “Dammit!”

**

Mom and Uncle Herb spent the night keeping me occupied. Eddie disappeared, but whispered something in Mom's ear about meeting her later (gag). They told stories of some of the funny things they did, and of course had to embarrass me by pulling out baby pictures. The first one was of me as a two year old sleeping curled up on Uncle Herbs' stomach, which is where I got the nickname Kitty. Then we watched some tv until I was yawning and staggered off to bed.

But I found I couldn't sleep. Even with my five favourite stuffed animals piled around me. I kept staring at my hands wondering what I was going to look like in the morning. With all I'd eaten at supper there was no question about it, I was a mutant.

Dammit.



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