Author's note: This story is a spin-off from my other story, The Champions. The main character is a superhero with stretching powers. She's from LA, but is living in San Francisco, and is dating a female cop. I tried to make the story self-contained, and easy to follow even if you haven't read The Champions. But if you haven't read The Champions, maybe give it a read? All feedback is appreciated.

. . .

After two days, eight bars, and enough alcohol to drown a ship of Irish pirates, I think I've figured it out: I am terrified of commitment.

I've got my new friend . . . uh, I forgot his name. He looks like that guy from Dawson's Creek. Dawson's Friend. What was his name?

Anyway, I've got my new buddy Dawson's Friend to thank for my epiphany.

Pacey! That was Dawson's Friend. That show was so great. 'I don't want to wait – for our liiives to be oveeerrr!' Remember that show? No? You suck, it was awesome.

Anyway. I was talking to Pacey about my problems, and we came to a decision: Women. Fuckin' women. Right? Just forget 'em. They're totally not worth it. I'm a woman, and I'm telling you, we're just not worth it. No matter how much I . . . how much you love a girl, she's not worth it. You just gotta stay free and happy, you know?

"I don't want to wait – for our liiiiiiiiiives to be oooooovvvvvveeeeeeerrrrrr!" Hee.

"Hey, sexy," some guy says. "How you doin'?"

"'How you doin'?' That's your great pick-up line? Heh. That was Joey's pick-up line. You're not Joey, are you?"

"Uh." Oh-oh, I think I made him uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry, Not-Joey. I'm just a little completely drunk."

"Hear hear!" Pacey says.

"You know what I'm talking about, Pacey! You're my best friend!"
"Let's celebrate with another round!" Pacey suggests. Pacey's awesome. I should tell him that.

"Pacey, you're awesome. I love you."

"I love you too, um, you. Especially since you've been buying me so many drinks. Will you do me the honour of making me the happiest man in the world by never marrying me?"

"Oh, Pacey, of course I'll never marry you!"

"OK," Not-Joey says. I forgot he was there! "So, uh, I think I'll just be going now."

"Wait wait wait wait wait! Don't go yet! I want to ask you a serious question. This is serious. You have to answer honestly. It's important!"

"Um, OK."

"Were you coming over here to pick me up for a fling, or were you hoping for, like, marriage and kids and shit?"

"I, uh, a fling, I guess."

"Thank you! See, that's the way to go! Forget commitment. Commitment is for suckers."

"Can I go now?" Not-Joey asks.

"You know, maybe we should go," I say. "You're looking for a fling, I'm looking for a fling. Why don't we go back to your place, and have hot, wild sex?"

"You're drunk. I'm not going to take advantage of you in this state."

"But I want you to take advantage! Besides, I can handle it. I'm a superhero, you know."

"Yeah, sure you are." Not-Joey doesn't believe me? That bastard!
"I am! Really!"
"Hey, sexy," some new guy says. He's pretty big. "If this pussy won't show you a good time, I'd be glad to."

"I don't know. I'm not sure I like you. I like Not-Joey. Even if he doesn't believe I'm a superhero. Which I totally am."

"You're my superhero!" Pacey says.

"Aw, that's so sweet!" Pacey's so sweet. I give him a hug.

"So are we going?" Big Guy asks.

"Come on, man, she's drunk," Not-Joey says.

"I told you I can take care of myself!" I tell him. Am I standing up yet? Yeah. Yeah, I'm definitely standing up. Good. "Hey, Big Guy, make a grab at me."

Big Guy and Not-Joey exchange a look, then they shrug. Big Guy tries to grab me. My plan is to grab his arm with blinding speed and then put him in an inescapable hammerlock. I will move with speed, grace, finesse, precision.

I grab his arm, but then when I move to twist it, I trip and fall to the floor. I sit surprised for a second, trying to figure out what happened. Actually, I know what happened. I'm drunk. So now, I have to figure out if this is sad or funny. My decision made, I proceed to express my feelings. By laughing. Because I've decided it's funny, you see.

"Uh, wow," Big Guy says. "You were right, man, she is really drunk. I think I'll go find some other girl."

"Good idea," another girl says. I look up. Crap. It's my little sister, Marie. "Come on," she says. "I'll take you back home."

"No! Not home! I'm not ready to go home."

"Why not?" Marie asks. "What's wrong?"

"Her girlfriend was talking about marriage," Pacey says.

"Really?" Not-Joey says. "I'm sorry, I didn't even realize you're gay."

"I'm not," I tell him. "I've never been very interested in women before. I'm still not interested in women. It's just Leslie."

"Oh. So you're normally straight, but you're dating a girl?"

"Uh-huh. And now she wants to make it more serious."

"And you want to keep it more casual?" Not-Joey guesses.

"Yeah. Sorta. I don't know. I mean, when we moved in together, I was fine with it, 'cause that's just like having a roommate. A roommate I share a bed with, and who's really, really good at giving me multiple orgasms." Pacey choked on his drink.

"Wow," Not-Joey says.

"But now she's talking about marriage, and I don't know if I can handle that."

"All right, I think that's enough for now," Marie says. She sounds annoyed. "I'm taking you back to my hotel. Then you're going to sleep until you're not drunk any more."

"OK," I agree. I don't want Marie mad at me. And sleeping actually does sound really good.

"Do you want me to help you?" Not-Joey offers. He's so sweet.

"I don't think that's necessary," Marie says. Aw, she should let him help. We go outside, and she puts me in her car. "No throwing up, OK? This is a rental and I don't feel like paying to have it cleaned."

"I'll try. Gasp! I forgot to say goodbye to Pacey!"


"You know, Dawson's friend? From Dawson's Creek?"

"You know someone who worked on Dawson's Creek?"

"No, no, he only looked like Pacey. But he helped me decide womem suck."

"Did you just say 'womem'?"

"Did I?" I laugh. 'Womem.' That's hilarious.

"Jeez, how drunk are you, anyway?" Marie asks.

"I'm pretty sure I'm as drunk as I'm physically capable of getting. It took a looot of booze. I'm pretty proud of myself, actually."

Marie sighs. I knew she would. She's my sister and I love her, and that means I know exactly how to annoy her. It's a gift.

"OK," she says. "I'm not going to talk to you when you're in this state. So as soon as we get to the hotel, you're going to drink some water, and you're going to sleep on the couch."

"Aw, I don't get the bed?"

"I'm paying for the damn room, I get the bed," she says.

Once we're in her room, I try to sneak off to the bedroom, but she's holding my arm. Well, the joke's on her. I'm Elastic Woman. I'll just stretch my arm. But then she tugs on it. I fall down again. That's no fair. This time I don't laugh. "You should have let Not-Joey come," I tell her.

"Who the hell are you talking about?" she asks.

"The guy at the bar. The one who was hitting on me."

"I'd rather keep guys away from you when you're this drunk."

"For your information, he said he didn't want to do anything with me. Even though I told him I wanted to. What's up with that?"

"If he'd done anything with you, it would've been rape," Marie says.

Rape. The word hits me. I feel sick. I'm trembling. "Honestly," Marie continues, "I would think you'd be more responsible, with your-" She stops and looks at me. I look at her, but she's all blurry. I'm pretty sure I'm crying. "Oh, Susan, I'm so sorry." She drops down and hugs me, and I hold her close while I cry.

I'm not sure why I'm crying. I made peace with the rape a long time ago. I haven't cried about it since I was 19. But here I am, crying almost as hard as I ever did. Eventually, I cry myself to sleep.

When I wake up on the couch, there's a brief moment of confusion as I have no idea where I am. Then I remember, and I feel like an idiot. I hear a TV in the bedroom. Marie must be up. I knock on the door before entering. "Hey," Marie says. "How do you feel?"

"Fortunate. One of the great side effects of having a superhuman metabolism: No hangovers. Though I think I almost had one this time." I crawl into bed and snuggle up with her. "I'm also fortunate to have such a great little sister, who takes such good care of me."

"Yeah, well, you've taken care of me often enough. I guess I'm just returning the favour."

"I took care of you in little ways. You probably kept me from getting raped last night. And you were there for me when I did get raped. I think you're in the lead."

"I'm sorry I brought that up last night," she says. "I should have known it was the wrong time. You just always seem to have it so together."

"It's OK. Not your fault I broke down like that. I haven't done that in ten years. I was just a mess last night."

"I can't argue with that," Marie says. Even without looking at her, I can hear the smile in her voice.

"I can't believe I got so bad. I mean, I remember that night. I remember Ronnie getting drunk and the guys taking advantage of her. I really should know better than to get drunk enough that I make it easy for guys to take advantage of me that way."

"I'm just not sure why you wanted to get so drunk."

"I was freaked out by Leslie dropping the marriage bomb on me. Oh, god, Leslie. I almost cheated on Leslie. I really wanted to cheat on her."

"Hey, it's OK. You didn't cheat on her, and you weren't really yourself."

I sit up and pull my legs up to my chest. "You know the worst part?" I mumble. I'm ashamed to admit this. "There's a part of me that kinda still wants to cheat on her."

"What?" Marie asks. "Why? Why would you want to cheat on her?"
I bury my face in my hands. "Because I want to feel normal."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" She's definitely upset. "Are you saying being gay isn't normal?"
"It's not for me! I've always been attracted to men! I spent years getting over that rape so that I could have sex without having a panic attack! I wanted dick in me, and when I finally started having sex, I loved having dick in me! It felt like a triumph. Like I'd conquered my demons. It was saying that the rape wasn't going to control my life. Fucking guys felt good, not just physically, but emotionally. Every time I fucked a guy, I felt good about myself as a person.

"And then I started dating Leslie. And she's great. She really is. She's smart, she's strong, she's fun to be around, she's great in bed. I love her."

"So what's the problem?" Marie asks. I let my thoughts drift back three days.

I was in the kitchen, when Leslie got home from work. Leslie's small, but she's strong. She has short red hair and hazel eyes, and one of the warmest smiles I've ever seen for a cop. "Hey, babe," I greeted her with a kiss. "I can have supper ready in twenty minutes."

"Oh thank god," she said. "That'll give me enough time for a quick shower first. What are we having?"
"Spaghetti carbonara."

"The one with bacon?" she asked. I confirmed it. "I love you so much right now."

We sat down to supper 25 minutes later. "So how was your day?" I asked.

"Awful," she replied. "So many stupid people today. I'm trying to investigate a robbery, so I'm getting statements, and everyone I talked to is stoned! Except for one little brat who just jerked me around for twenty minutes. Even some of my normal contacts were acting stupid today. I told you about that big smuggling case we're working on? I was talking to a source, and after almost half an hour, he realizes that he was actually giving me information on a completely different smuggling ring."

"Ouch. I remember what it can be like some days. Days like that make you wish for a bloody corpse instead. At least the corpse won't scream at you for being incompetent."

"Oh, there was one little ray of sunshine in my day," she said with a smile. "On my lunch break, I came across these two guys who were really freaking out. They couldn't find their young son. So I started looking with them, and we found him in a park, playing tag with a bunch of other kids."

"I'm very glad that story had a happy ending," I said.

"Yeah. It did get me thinking, though. About marriage and kids and all that. Do you ever think about that sort of thing?"

". . . What?" I asked. I panicked and couldn't think of anything else to say.

"I'm not saying we need to go get married tomorrow," Leslie said quickly. "I'm just saying, you know, eventually, would you want to get married?"
"This . . . I don't . . . Where is this coming from all of a sudden?"

"Hey, calm down, don't freak out."

"I'm calm!" I shouted. "I'm the very picture of calm right now!" I was lying, just a bit.

"OK, OK," Leslie raised her hands defensively. "I don't even necessarily mean us getting married. I'm just wondering if you've ever thought about if you might one day want to get married."
"No!" I shouted. I had no idea why I was still shouting. "I've never thought about that!"

"Really?" She looked disappointed. "I was hoping to get married some day. Maybe even adopt a child."

"Now you want children?"
"Not now! But, I don't know, someday."

"Oh god," I said. I was having trouble breathing. "I-I-I have to go. I have to get out of here."

"What? Where are you going?" she asked. I could hear her concern, but it didn't really cut through the haze I was in.

"I just need some air. I need air. Gotta clear my head. I'll call you in a bit."

Yeah, all things considered, I probably could have handled that a lot better.

"When she brought up marriage and kids and all that," I tell Marie, "I had a panic attack. I started walking the streets, trying to figure out what happened, why I reacted the way I did."

"And what did you figure out?" Marie asks.

"That I'm terrified of commitment, for one thing. It's been years since I had a relationship last more than six months. I've never had one last as long as I have with Leslie. I've never felt so strongly about someone. I really am in love with Leslie. But when she started talking about spending the rest of our lives together, it just kinda hit me: I would be spending the rest of my life with her."

"I'm not sure I follow," Marie says.

"I'm not sure I'm ready to be tied down to one person. And I'm definitely not sure I'm ready to be tied down to one woman."

"What does it matter that she's a woman, though?" Marie asks.

"Because I'm not gay," I explain. Or try to, anyway. It's not easy putting how I feel into words. "This thing I have with Leslie, when she brought up marriage, it made me think of us at the altar, and it wasn't me. It didn't feel like who I am. Like it's someone else."

"I think maybe you're overreacting," Marie says.

"Of course I am, but that's not really the point. If I settle down with Leslie, I'll feel like I'm betraying myself. And I'd be betraying the girl who spent years teaching herself to love dick. Because Marie, I really, really love dick."

"You know, that's not something a sister usually wants to hear," Marie says, making a face. Any other time, I'd laugh. But I can't laugh right now.

"I know, I know. But I don't know if I can go the rest of my life without having sex with men. I've been fine for the couple years we've been together, but if we get married, that makes it official. The only sex I would ever have again would be with a woman. I don't think I could do that. I know I couldn't. I know that I would crave a dick, and I would cheat on her. I already want to cheat on her. I love her too much to do that to her."

"So what are you going to do?" Marie asks. "Are you going to break up with her?"

"I don't know. I just don't know what to do, Marie. I love Leslie. I don't want to hurt her. I'm so confused." I'm crying again. Marie hugs me again and lets me cry. She tries to comfort me. I tell her I'm sorry I'm ruining her vacation.

"Hey, it's OK," she says gently. "You're my sister. I love you. I'm here for you whenever you need me."

"Thank you." Eventually, I stop crying. I blow my nose. "God, crying twice in one day? I really am a mess right now."
"It's OK," Marie says. "You lead a stressful life. You've probably had a lot building up."

"I guess. I still feel silly. Shit, I should call Leslie, let her know I'm OK."

"Don't worry, I called her last night. As soon as I put you in the car."

"Was . . . was she mad?"

"No. She was too relieved to be mad. But she's hurting a lot. But you're not going to deal with that over the phone. As soon as you're feeling better, you're going to go home and talk to her."

"You know, you're acting really big sister-y right now," I joke.

"Well someone has to," she shoots back.

"You're right, though. I'll shower and have something to eat. Then I'll screw up my courage and face the music."


"By the way, I was meaning to ask. How'd you find me last night?"
"Wasn't that hard," she says with a shrug. "Just time-consuming. Leslie called me last night telling me you hadn't been home the night before. She said you were really upset when you left. I figured that meant you'd probably gone on a bender. So it was just a matter of checking bars until I found you. Tenth time was the charm."

"I'm sorry to put you through that."

"It's OK. I'm just glad you're OK. I was a little worried that maybe some bad guy had gotten to you or something."

"Things have actually been pretty quiet on that front lately. I've done some jobs for ExTRA, but I haven't tangled with any real supervillains since teaming up with Bigfoot against Destructo."

"That name almost gets worse every time I hear it," Marie says.

"Yeah, I know. He's more dangerous than the name suggests. But it really is a terrible name. Anyway, it's been months since I've tangled with anyone really serious. So it probably is coming up about time for something to happen."

"I love your optimism," Marie says.

We go out to breakfast, then we go back to the apartment I share with Leslie. I sit in the car, trying to prepare myself. "I don't know what I'm going to say to her."

"'Sorry' might be a good place to start," Marie says.

"Yeah. I guess that's true. Do you want to come up with me? Just for a bit?"

"Oh hell no. You're on your own for this."

"Traitor. OK. I'll call you after."

"Good luck," she says, then kisses me on the cheek. I'm not exactly sure what she even means in this case. Good luck with what? With breaking up with a girl I love? I don't think luck is going to have anything to do with this.

I slowly climb the stairs to the third-floor. I could've taken the elevator, but I'm nervous enough that I'm taking whatever steps I can to prolong the inevitable. I wonder how long I'll stand outside our door before I go in.

Wait. The door's already open, just a bit. I open it even more and I stop with shock. The place is a mess. I see a blood stain on the floor, and a bullet hole in the wall. And then it hits me.

"Leslie. Leslie!"