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Biogenesis

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It wasn’t an extremely potent mix— might cause some long-term stomach aches and some indigestion, but nothing that would really ‘harm’ anyone. Venomous figured it’d be rude to create a deadly virus that could cause long term damage to KO’s friends, that would just make the relationship he’d worked so hard to develop melt away. Besides; Boxman always said “We’re villains, not monsters.”

Despite this, the fluid still looked nasty, the dark purple fluid shifting around as it bubbled and fumed. Venomous fidgeted with the stopper keeping the bubbling mix from escaping. It was a slight modification of the virus he’d released to incapacitate Radicles; This time he’d changed the mix to affect any living thing, though toned down to be less violent. If he was going to be working on stuff like this, he’d need to administer a cure to KO to keep him safe if something went wrong. He’d already distributed the vaccine to Boxman last month, so he’d be alright; Fink was created to be immune to disease, there’d be no reason to distribute it to her. Venomous contemplated giving the vaccine to himself instead… but, KO was his son, Venomous could stand a little bit of a rough fever if he caught it.

Venomous made his decision, calling for KO over the intercom. He figured KO would be spending time with his stepdad, a relationship that he noticed had been developing over the last few weeks. He was happy KO was getting along well with Box. The two really ended up working well with each other once they’d been given time to really get to express their feelings about one another; it was charming to see them playing nice together.

“Oh-Oh, KO! Watch out for the edge! It’s sharp, I don’t want you cutting yourself on it!” Boxman pulled the little boy away from a sheet of metal, setting him on a stool as far away from it as possible. “Sit there until I get my gear on.”

“I don’t get it, Dad #2… how does that...” KO pointed at the metal sheet, “...turn into that?” his finger shifted over to a Darrell, who was working on sweeping up metal dust littering the floor. The Darrell turned and waved enthusiastically at KO, before returning to his work. KO giggled and waved back “...and how come some robots are made in the factory, while others are made in here?” KO stuck his tongue out, grabbing the bottom of the boots that Boxman insisted he wore in the workshop.

“Well, this is where prototypes are made. I make everything here first, then test them to see if I should mass produce them for future use. This is where the original bots were made before they were upgraded to where they are now!” Boxman explained as he rolled up his sleeves, slipping on his massive leather gloves. “This is where everything started at.”

“Like Mr. Logic?” KO exclaimed, remembering the barber’s fascinating story about his past with Boxman and his Junkfish. 

“Yes… Like Mr. Logic…” Boxman slipped on his aged Blacksmithing Apron, “Of course, the workshop has become much larger since then. Now, put those on, KO.” Boxman gestured to the extra set of smithing gear, which was a bit oversized for the little boy, the gloves were obviously made to fit an adult.

“KO! Boxman! I need you up at the lab!”

“Shi... Shoot!” Boxman set his welding mask aside before he could put it on, slipping out of his gloves. “Sorry KO, we’ll do this later. Let’s get you to your Dad.” 

KO frowned in reply; he’d been beyond excited to see how Boxman worked with metal. “But, I wanted to make a Proto...” KO hesitated as he attempted to remember the word.

“Prototype, KO.”

“Yeah!”

“Come on, kid. We don’t want to keep Ven waiting.” Boxman chuckled.


 

“KO! Please, just let me give you the shot!” Venomous hollered, frustration growing in his voice. He had been applying numbing cream KO’s arm before the kid ran off from the sight of the syringe. He struggled to hold the medical tool, his bare fingers were numbed by the cream, he should’ve wore gloves.

“NO! I won’t let you!” KO tumbled under a counter as far away from Venomous as he could get, red-faced, as tears streamed down his cheeks. “Needles are SCARY!”

Venomous sighed and set the syringe off to the side, taking a moment to cool down. “KO. This is meant to help protect you from any experiments I make in my lab. Boxman took it recently as well, and he was very brave when he did!”

“Really?” KO perked up at the mention of his stepdad. He looked past Venomous to meet eyes with Boxman, who was nervously tapping his fingertips together. 

“Well, uh… yeah! I- was brave!” Boxman chuckled in reply, shrugging at KO. “The quicker we get this over with, the quicker we can get back to the workshop!”

“Wait—Boxman! I told you to keep KO out of there—” Venomous groaned and rubbed his temples. “Okay then, KO—if you let me give you this completely painless shot, you can get back to playing safely with Boxy. In addition, you’ll be immune to any experiments from the lab. How does that sound?” He picked up the syringe again and grinned, looking more menacing than friendly. 

“Fine, I’ll let you do it! Only if Box holds my hand!” KO crawled out from under the counter, reaching out for Boxman. 

Venomous shared a quick look of jealousy with his boyfriend. Boxman grinned back, mouthing, “I think I’m his favorite…” Venomous squinted in annoyance, earning a nervous chuckle from his partner. 

Boxman lifted KO up and sat him on the counter, gripping his hands and squeezing them gently; careful to watch his claws on KO’s sensitive skin. 

“Alright kid, this’ll only take a moment. As long as you stay relaxed and calm, nothing will hurt.” Boxman stepped aside and allowed Ven to approach, and...

“Aaaand you’re done!” Venomous explained. He quickly applied a Band-Aid, which had little snakes patterned on it. “How do you feel?” 

“That… didn’t hurt at ALL!” KO grinned and looked at the bandage before puffing out his chest in pride. “I must be getting really strong!”

“Yeah you are!” both Venomous and Boxman exclaimed in unison. The two chuckling at each other at the coincidence. KO jumped off the counter and tugged on Venomous’ lab coat. 

“I’m sorry for being such a baby, dad…” KO was lifted off his feet as Venomous held him in his arms.“You’re no baby! Everyone is scared of something!”

“In fact…” Venomous paused to give Boxman a mischievous look, “Boxman cried after his shot!”

“WHAT!” KO’s mouth formed a big O as he gasped in surprise, watching Boxman’s face turn pink from embarrassment. “You CRIED!?”

Boxman sputtered as he tried to come up with a good comeback, but was inturrupted as Ernesto’s voice came over the intercom. “Sirs, Fink is back from day camp. I advise that great care is taken as you approach her, she’s had a bad time today.” 

Boxman perked up and looked to Venomous. “Oh, geez. Me and KO will go take care of her, we’ll make sure she doesn’t bother you too much while you work.”

“Thanks Hon, I’ll see you both at dinner.” Venomous leaned over and kissed Boxman on the lips, causing Boxman to blush even more. KO stuck his tongue out and looked away. “Yuck!”

“See you there too, Babe.” Boxman smiled and pulled away from Venomous, his eyes trailing to the door,”We should get going, Fink isn’t the most patient kid.” He lifted KO onto his shoulders. The two left the room giggling, Boxman’s voice trailing as they playfully ran down the hall “Let’s goooooo!”


 

Venomous took his time, slowly mixing the beaker with a glass rod, not wanting to burn himself on the hot plate. He’d gotten an order recently for a very potent pest killer, one would kill everything that wasn’t humanoid. The order had been sent in by Billiam, who’d been having issues with bugs on his yacht, apparently.

Venomous wasn’t usually one to multitask, but he needed to keep an eye on his experimental virus.Luckily, it was calm in the lab, such silence was rare in the factory, between the kids and Boxman, it was a nice treat to finally hear his own thoughts.

“This is bliss…”

“BOSS!” Fink’s shrill voice rang out from behind the door, she was approaching quickly.

“I spoke too soon…”

Fink slammed open the door, a grin spreading across her face. “Boss! I blowed up a kid today! You should’ve seen it!” She rushed over and hopped up on the table. A bit of fluid to splash onto the hot plate; it hissed viciously as it evaporated. “Oh, oops! ANYWAYS!”

“Fink! What have I told you about messing around in the lab? You could really do some damage!” He picked up the flask of sludge, setting it on the table behind him. “I need you to get off the table so you don’t get splashed by boiling chemicals…” Venomous gave her a stern look, she hesitated for a moment, then pounced at him. 

Venomous wasn’t prepared to catch her. 

“Fink! No!” She slammed into him with such force that he toppled over. The Professor’s head smacked against the table behind him as he fell; the flask tipped and released its stopper, causing the bubbling goo to slide out and travel off the edge and onto Venomous’ face. He coughed and sputtered as it stuck to his hair and got its sour fluid his mouth and eyes, stinging and fuming as he attempted to wipe it away. His face smoked and peeled, the solution immediately soaking into the new wounds.  “F-Fink! Bring me a towel and get Boxman!” Fink cowered as she saw the damage she caused, and scampered away to get help, her boots scrambling to gain traction on the smooth tile floor.

“Oh sh-shit, this hurts!” Venomous tried and failed again to get the sludge off of him, but it only caused the stinging to increase. He got to his knees and wobbled up onto his feet, feeling around for his chair. It would be best to sit somewhere away from the slimy mess on the floor.

Venomous lost his balance, slipping on the fluid beneath his feet. “D-DAMN!” He shouted as he felt himself falling forward, stomach lurching as he reached out for something to catch himself on. Fortunately the other table was there; unfortunately, the force of him moving the table was enough to cause the beaker of boiling pesticide to topple off its hot plate, splashing him with boiling hot chemicals. It sizzled and hissed as it made contact with the purple sludge, turning it a sickly black.

Venomous let out a piercing scream as the reaction continued.

Chapter Text

His eyes shot open. Venomous was somewhere, somewhere dark. He panicked, looking around for something, anything, within the pitch black abyss. “H-Hello?! Is anyone there?” He picked himself up and wobbled on his feet, finally finding his balance. He could make out soft voices around him, too garbled to understand.

“What did you do…”

Venomous spun around as a much more prominent sickly voice whispered in his ear, only to be met with more darkness, “Who are you?”

The voice scoffed, “I was you, but now you’ve ruined yourself. Idiot.”

“What do you mean? How are you me? What did I do?” He tried to follow the trailing voice, but it seemed to echo off non existent walls, talking from all around him. “Where am I?”

“You ask too many questions… You’re in your mind, and you need to wake up…”

“My mind?” Venomous waited for another answer, but none came. “How do I wake-” Venomous was cut off as the floor beneath him began to bubble, becoming liquid and unstable beneath his feet. He cried out as he tried to get away, but it sucked him down to his ankles in sludgy goop. “What the- wait, no… no no…” 

“You’ve ruined my plan, Venomous. But it seems you’ve made a new one for me…”

Ven was sucked down to his waist, struggling, scrambling to get out, his hands gained no support from the liquid around him; it only made him fall deeper as he fought. He felt it suck up to his chest, the warm stinging slime making him go numb.

“Please! H-Help!”

He received no answer as the ooze reached his neck, slowly rising to cover his mouth, making him choke on the tar-like substance; it flooded into his lungs, seeping into his stomach, filling his throat and nostrils. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn't fight, he could only drown in the sickening chemicals. 

This is what I deserve...

Then, more darkness. Only Darkness. The kind of darkness that melted your eyes out of your sockets.

Venomous sat up quickly, gasping for air as he took in his surroundings, he wasn’t in that hellish place anymore. “Thank Cob…” He pushed the sweat soaked blankets off of himself, he appeared to be in the infirmary… Oh boy, now he remembered. He felt his face as he remembered the toxic chemicals that had come in contact with him; His face… it felt… wrong. Venomous let his fingers softly brush against the sensitive burns, had his face… did it melt? “No, no way. There’s no way!” he grabbed a metal tray from beside him, throwing the utensils off of it in a desperate scramble to find his reflection.

“NO.”

Venomous felt tears well up as he viewed his skewed reflection, his face splotched with pink scar tissue, contrasting against his purple flesh. In a fit of rage, he threw the tray across the room and pressed his face into his hands; then he felt his hands… they too were splotched with pink scars, remnants of the chemicals that had splashed against him. He felt disgusting. He was disgusting.

“Ven, are you okay?” The door swung open, a worried Boxman stepped over the messy floor and climbed up onto the bed with Venomous. “Oh, babe… I’m so glad you’re alright, I was worried you’d never get up.” Boxman wrapped his arms around him, pressing his face into his boyfriend’s chest. “You recovered well!”

“Stop it.” Venomous pushed him away, earning a look of disappointment from Boxman. “No, no I didn’t… Look at me Box, what did I do to myself?” He pushed his hair back, tears still fresh on his cheeks. “I think you’re beautiful.”

“What?”

“I don’t care what you look like Venomous, you’ll always be beautiful in my eyes. I don’t love you just for your looks, I love you for who you are, and what you represent.” Boxman cupped Venomous’s face in his hands, planting a kiss on his scarred lips. “I did everything to help you, and I did the best I could with what I had available. There wasn’t anything more I could do to help preserve it all. I’m sorry.” Boxman set his hands in between his lap, his smile twisting into a frown. “Everyone was worried about you, especially Fink.”

“H-How long was I out?” Venomous questioned, worried about how long could’ve past.

“You spent all week going in and out of consciousness. I made sure to keep by your side any time I could.” Boxman stood back up, leaning over to pick up the mess Venomous had made on the floor. He worked carefully to return the tray and all of it’s utensils to the nightstand, humming a song Venomous didn’t recognize. “You should be cleared now, don’t be afraid to get up and join me and the kids.” Boxman smiled and squeezed Ven’s thigh, then began to walk to the door. “I’ll come back to check on you in a bit, you need to get up and moving. Alright?”

Venomous nodded, waiting until Boxman was satisfied enough to leave, before burying his face into his hands again.


 

Boxman walked in on pure chaos taking place in the kitchen. He sat in the doorway and watched intently as he took in the scene. Ernesto and Raymond attempted to prepare dinner while Fink chased KO under their feet. Fink laughed as she pushed her younger step brother over, causing him to fall at Shannon’s feet as she stood against the wall, texting away at her holo-phone.

“Do you two ever stop? You two might really hurt each other…”, Shannon flicked her wrist to dismiss the screen, looking down at the two kids. “You aren’t like us , you two can’t be replaced. Hence, why we’re superior…” Shannon flashed a smug smile, before helping KO back to his feet.

“Superior, my ass!”, Fink shot back, quickly earning a gasp from KO. He pointed up at her, “Swear jar! Swear jar!” eventually the other bots joined in, chanting as Fink gritted her teeth and growled.

“Nobody. Cares. About. The. SWEAR JAR. GRRAH!”

“Oooooh, who swoooore!” Darrell-0128 poked his head in through the door, “Oh howdy, Daddy! Didn’t even see you there!”

Everyone in the room looked over at Darrell-0128 and Boxman, realizing their father had been watching the entire debacle. “Sorry…” every bot in the room turned and apologized in unison, excluding the Darrell, who looked beyond confused. Boxman shook his head and sighed, “Sorry about what? Family bonding? You bots didn’t do anything wrong.” He stepped in the rest of the way before he took his place at the head of the island.

“Venomous is up, I need you to treat him with utmost respect as he’s going through a lot right now.” He clasped his hands together, smacking his lips and sighing heavily before continuing. “He’s… suffered from physical changes too, something that couldn’t be fixed. Don’t point them out, it’s a sensitive subject for him right now.”

“What’s a sensitive subject?” Ven’s smooth voice entered the room, he wore simple pajamas, his unkempt hair kissing the sides of his face. “You aren’t telling them to be big softies just because I’m injured, are you?”

Boxman turned in surprise, waving his hands frantically, “Of course not! I’m just informing them of the situation!” Boxman stepped over and gripped his hand, pulling him into the light more. The kids all gasped quietly as they saw his condition, staring at different parts of his body and scanning his face for emotion. Then, everyone stopped and stared as KO began sobbing.

“D-Daddy… are you… are you… okay?” KO’s eyes had welled up with tears, running up and burying his face into his father’s legs. “Wh-Wh-What happened to your beautiful face!?” Raymond visibly cringed at KO from across the room, Shannon held back from telling KO off, and Ernesto simply sweat nervously.

“It’s just a little different now, that’s all. Nothing you need to worry about kiddo.” He lifted KO up into his arms and held him close. “Nothing a little makeup can’t hide.”

Everyone in the room sighed in relief as KO and Venomous cuddled.

“Where’s Fink?” Darrell questioned, pointing to where she had once been standing.


 

Fink sniffled and buried herself under her blankets, her mind replaying what had happened. This was her fault, her boss wouldn’t be messed up if it wasn’t for her… he would be happy and pretty purple still. She felt like an idiot. “I don’t deserve to live here anymore… It’s all my fault” Fink sobbed into her pillow.

“Now that just ain’t true.” Darrell’s voice came from outside her protective coconut shell bed, startling her. “Go away, Darrell…”

“You can’t blame yourself all the time, you made a mistake, just apologize for it. Step-Daddy loves you bunches, he’ll forgive you. B‘sides, I cleaned the lab before, he doesn’t use any of the prop’r safety equipment. This is partially his fault too.”

“R-really?”

“Eeyup!”

Fink peeked out from the entrance to her coconut, a soft smile crossed her face as she saw Darrell, “Thanks for cheering me ups. I don’t feel so bad anymore.” Fink cleared up her tears and sniffled, hugging Darrell tightly.

Darrell patted her on the back, “Why don’t we go see if dinner’s ready yet.”


Morning rolled around, Venomous jolting awake when Boxman shook his side. “Come on, we gotta drop KO at the bodega today.” Two days had passed since he woke up in the infirmary, the nightmare he had still haunting him, he could still feel something inside him, sucking, pulling…

Fink’s heartfelt apology was still fresh on his mind, ‘She’d taken all of the blame for the incident’, he remembered Darrell explaining to him. Fink was tough, but was soft at heart. Venomous made sure to reassure her that she wasn’t in trouble, but… she was still grounded from her Videos Games for two weeks. 

Boxman threw a t-shirt at him, taking him away from his thoughts, he read the shirt as he pulled it away from his face. It was faded but still mildly readable ‘Villain’s Arena 199X: Participant’ he stared at it, tilting his head and looking at Boxman. “Where’d this even- come from?”

“I got it back in my youth, I was 20, no… maybe older... I’m not sure, the years just keep adding up. The shirt never fit me, but it seems to fit you perfectly!” Boxman explained. "Wait, I think that was the same year you were born, actually… how funny!" 

Venomous sometimes forgot how much older Boxman was compared to him. 

Carol had always criticized him for dating someone so much older than him, always said that Boxman was old enough to be his father, which was true when he thought about it. He shuddered at the thought of possibly caring for a senile old man one day, then cringed even more at the thought of Boxman’s feathers falling out eventually… Venomous shook off the feeling and pulled the shirt on, then slipped into a pair of casual jeans that Box had set next to him. Boxman had opted for a pair of cargo shorts and by far the ugliest Hawaiian shirt he’d ever seen. Boxman, without a doubt, was the dadliest of dads.

“Raymond is going to flip his lid when he sees that-,” Ven gestured up and down playfully, “-outfit.” 

“Who cares what Raymond thinks! Nothing he makes every fits me right. Always too frilly… makes me look puffier.” Boxman straightened out his top with a tug, emphasizing his point. 

“Raymond only means well, babe.” Ven called from the bathroom, pulling out his makeup bag from the bottom drawer, scowling at his scarred reflection. The sight made him sick, and somehow made him hungry, he couldn't wait for breakfast. Boxman snaked his arms around Venomous’s waist, pressing his head into his lower back, “You look amazing, as always.” Boxman chirped softly. Venomous smiled as he applied purple foundation to each of his scars.


 

Venomous skipped breakfast, a choice he really didn’t expect to make. He was hungry, very hungry, but the smell of cooking bacon and sausage made him retch. Venomous couldn’t pinpoint exactly why he felt like this, he always enjoyed breakfast with the bots. “Maybe it’s just a stomach bug.” KO had reasoned what could’ve been the issue during the walk to the Plaza. “No… I don’t feel sick, food just looks wrong today.” Ven explained.

“We can get something from the @Cafe once KO is back with Carol, how does that sound?” Boxman patted him on the back, a warm smile crossing his face as they stepped onto the sidewalk, Venomous didn’t answer; Boxman couldn’t tell if he was ignored or just wasn’t heard.

Venomous eyed the Bodega, “Why don’t we go say hello to Rad and Enid.” KO quickly nodded, jumping in excitement. Boxman followed behind the two, a scowl forming on his face as he stepped into the Bodega. He saw Enid perk up, swinging her legs off the counter to greet them.

“Hey, KO! Is it already time for you to come back over? How was your weekend?” Enid lifted him up onto the counter, giving him a swift high-five. Venomous chuckled and leaned against the counter, chatting it up with the two. “Getting along with heroes… pssh…” 

“Tell me about it…” Boxman jumped, glancing over to see Radicles looming over him. This kid... “Ever since KO started going over to your place, she’s been getting more and more chill with Venomous.” He laid on his side, crossing his legs midair. 

“But, you’re talking to me right now. I’m a villain.” Boxman didn’t look at Rad, too focused on Venomous sharing pictures of KO’s visit with Enid. “Yeah, but like, you’re soft. You haven’t attacked the plaza, in like, what, a month? Venomous almost killed me once, not that Enid seems to care.” He gestured to his co-worker, who laughed hysterically at something KO said.

Boxman clenched his teeth, already beyond annoyed by Rad’s presence. “Really? If you don’t like Enid hanging out with villains, then what’s up with you and Raymond?” The alien’s face flushed pink his ears drooping nervously, “Uh… What do you even know about Raymond, huh? We just… spar sometimes.” 

Radicles pouted, refusing to meet eyes with Boxman, “Sure kid, you can keep saying that but I know what’s really going on. I have no problem with it.” His chuckle evolved into a growl, his voice low and vicious, “But, If you even think about hurting Raymond, I won’t think twice about tearing your arms off…” Rad teetered back on his feet, whimpering in fear, he didn’t say much as he retreated back into the store room; Boxman was too uncomfortable to be around.


 

“Thank Cob that’s over with. Can we pleeease just get to the Dojo before these stupid heroes make me go insane!” Boxman groaned as they passed the bus stop, “I swear, that alien kid keeps trying to impress me or something, ugh.”

“I’m a hero, why don’t I make you go crazy?” KO held onto his stepfather’s talons, his soft smile beamed up to Boxman, making him feel warm and cozy. “Oh, KO… You’re different! You’re my little nemesis and part-time villain helper.”

“-and he’s your stepson, Box.” Venomous added, pushing open the Dojo door. 

“That too! Heh…” Boxman was hit with the smell of incense, it was a potent scent of sandalwood and vanilla; a sickly sweet aroma that matched Carol too well. He always took a moment to take in the interior of the Dojo. Venomous knocked gently the door leading to the office, “Carol? You in the back?” 

“Venomous? What are you-” Carol swung the door open, almost tripping over boxes of paperwork in her urgency. “Oh! Oh goodness! KO! I- I totally lost track of time, I’m so sorry KO!” Carol pinched his cheeks, causing him to giggle. “I had so much fun, Mommy! You should’ve seen me playing megafootball with-” 

“One moment please sweetie, me and your pops need to talk a little.” Carol glaced up and Venomous, giving him a pained look “Come on back, Ven. Boxman, can you watch KO for a moment?” 

Venomous gave her a confused look, shutting the door behind him, “What is it? Is something wrong?”

“Yes! Something is wrong!” Carol pressed her finger into his chest, “On Friday I got an email from Miss Quantum, KO got in trouble at school, multiple fights with other kids! Venomous, he hurt someone.” Carol explained, “He’s bee lashing out in class, that’s not like him! T-This is a TKO thing.”

“TKO? What are you talking about? TKO is gone, Carol.” Venomous gritted his teeth, “You’re trying to blame me for his behavior, aren’t you? I’ve been nothing but good to KO, he doesn’t want to be bad!” Carol scoffed, “Oh, really? Look at this, tell me what all of this is about.” She pressed a sheet of paper against his chest, “Read it!”

 

Ms. Kinkaid, 

 This message is to inform you that your son, Kaio Kinkaid, is being placed under In School Suspension for the following week. 

We are concerned over Kaio’s family life, as his violence seems to stem from the need to “Impress Dad”, we’re aware that he is not speaking of Mr. Garcia.

Venomous continued to read down the page, it listed multiple instances where KO had claimed he no longer wanted to be a “stupid hero” and that “classic villainy” was better, followed by an incident where KO had fought with another kid over pow cards, causing injury to himself and others. “I… this is stuff Boxman would say and do...” Venomous’s face twisted into a frown, “I really didn’t expect him to rub off on KO so much.” He rubbed the back of his head as he reread the letter. “Sp- Carol… I’m sorry. I’ll talk to Boxy about this.”

“This is unacceptable, Ven! Boxman needs to keep his mouth shut about these things when KO is over!” Carol rose her voice, “KO hasn’t told anyone about this, I had to hear it from the school. Do you know how embarrassing that is?”

“Yes- I-”

Carol turned away and picked up a second sheet of paper, “Here, take a copy of it, make sure Boxman gets to read- ouch!” She sucked a breath in as a thin slice appeared across her finger, “S-Shoot! Papercut… Oh goodness, It’s bleeding… I’ll be right back.” Venomous stood and watched her rummage around for a bandage, he felt his stomach churn, he was so hungry. The paper was stained with a drop of blood, he stared at it… he could… smell it. It wasn’t like his enhanced smell… it was stronger. 

“What the?” Venomous leaned closer to the red stain, his vision blurring. “What’s wrong with me?” His body felt hot, unsteady, hungry… he squeezed his eyes shut; something was humming inside of him, getting louder and louder, he felt his throat go numb.

Choking on black sludge.

He remembered the dream, everything around him went slow, he saw Carol approaching him; she was talking to him, asking if he was alright, Venomous gritted his teeth as her words became static fuzz on his ears. “Nonono. What’s happening!” His head felt like it was being crushed in a hydraulic press.

“You’re hungry, why don’t you help yourself?”

Venomous shot his bloodshot eyes open wide, gripping the sides of his face. “Guh… Get… Away…” He swatted at Carol’s hands, his insides screaming to grab her. “I don’t know what’s going on!” Venomous felt the walls close in on him. Carol tried again, holding out her hand, caring, loving, bleeding… her bandage… the blood smelled so… good.

He was on her in seconds, unable to control himself; Venomous gripped her arm, pushing her into the table, his teeth digging deep into her neck as she flailed under him, screaming at him to get off. He could only hear the humming in his head, he could only feel her kicking under her, Venomous slipped his claws out into her skin. Venomous could feel someone beating their fists on his back; he blacked out after a blow to the head.

Chapter Text

Boxman and KO watched Venomous retreat into the back room with Carol, “Yeesh, why’d I get left out? I’m also technically a parent!” he shut up when KO tugged on him playfully, “Let’s play with my POW cards! I got one of your variants last time I was at the Plaza, come on!” KO pressed his opened binder into Boxman’s arms, “Look!”

“KO. What is this?”

 

“It’s you!” KO insisted, pulling the card from it’s protective sleeve, “You can have it if you want!”

Boxman accepted the glittering card from KO’s hand, “Lord Box-Max? Special Edition?” Boxman squinted as he read the stats on the back, turning it around in his hand to look at the holographic image of himself, this version of him was more muscular and tall. “Man, I’m happy I don’t actually look like that.” He chuckled, receiving a confused look from KO, “Kiddo, I like this body. It’s great the way it is!” Boxman struck an intimidating pose, flexing his surprisingly muscular arms.

KO continued showing off vintage holographics of various P.O.I.N.T. members while Boxman sat on the floor next to him, trying to look interested. After about 10 minutes of KO telling him everything about his cards, Boxman heard a peculiar sound, startling him as he staggered to his feet. KO didn’t look up from his cards until the blood-curdling scream rang out from the backroom. Boxman ran to the door, ramming it open with his shoulder.

“What the?!” Boxman ran to pull Venomous off Carol, she was screaming for help under him, blood rushing from a wound on her neck. “I’m here! Ven- What’s wrong with you?! Let go!” He reeled his arm back and sent a blow to the back of Venomous’ head, finally knocking him to the floor. Boxman lifted Carol into his arms, rushing past KO and kicking the Dojo doors wide. He cried out for help, calling everyone’s attention to the situation, panic and fear flooding his voice as various heroes came to aid Carol.

His clothes were soaked in red as he put pressure against her neck, trying to stop the bleeding; finally someone pulled him away so she could be carted into an ambulance, doctors quickly treating the wound.


 

Venomous squirmed under the sheets, his head was throbbing and he felt his stomach churn. He opened his eyes, adjusting to the light. “Where…?” Venomous was becoming tired of waking up and feeling lost. He turned his head with a groan, seeing the IV drip in his arm, making him wince. He jerked his head back as the door to his room opened, a blurry figure stepped in and began humming softly, approaching him; slowly coming into focus.

Venomous wanted to jump out the window once he recognized her. The woman was tall, long tail trailing behind her, ears poking through her short electric blue hair; she let off a soft neon blue glow, complementing the dark fur accents tipping her paws and ears.

“Well, would you look who’s finally up.” She stood at the foot of his bed, a smug look pasted across her face. “I thought you knew more about Lab Safety, Professor.” She took the clipboard off the railing and flipped through it, reading the information recently recorded.

“Hey, Desdemona… How’s the job treating you.” Venomous let a fake smile cover his face, addressing her with a strained voice. Desdemona had been a student at his night school classes on bioengineering and villainy. She was top of the class, until she failed to use proper lab etiquette, causing an explosion that blew up his classroom. Venomous always promised the cat-like rabbit woman that she’d get a second chance, but she took off rather than retaking the course. “The Job is fine, Professor. I just wish I could be working on something more interesting than cleaning up after sick weirdos like you.” Des turned away, pulling back the curtain next to him to check on another patient. 

He immediately recognized her, straining to see what had happened. Carol was awake, her neck wrapped up and braced for support, watching Des write down her vitals. Venomous gulped, feeling confused and unsure of the situation.

“How you doin, bub?” Venomous snapped out of his thoughts, meeting Carol’s gaze. She looked horrible… Almost like she’d aged by about 30 years.

“I… I’m fine. I’m more concerned about you.” He looked away in guilt before Carol could finish, “Well, other than you nearly bleeding me out, I think I’m good.” Carol smiled, the gap in her teeth showing.

“Also, we apparently both have the same disease. Not sure what that’s about.” Venomous felt feverish, thoughts processing the information he was given. “Disease? No… No it’s a virus.” He had a hard time remembering everything, but he did remember his lab incident. The sludge, the coma, the fever, the heightened awareness of blood. It added up. “Oh No…”

Desdemona cackled a bit, spinning on a stool over to him, stopping to hold her hand to her chin, “Yeah, your little boyfriend mentioned something about a biochemical spill, considering that lines up with the timeline of your attack, I’d say you’ve created a pretty potent mind altering virus of sorts.” She grinned holding her hands out in front of her in a mocking fashion, “It’s almost like you’re a zombie… those new chemical burns even make you look like one.” Desdemona spun back to Carol, “I’ve known the Professor for a while. Knowing his work, there’s a chance you’ll become a ‘zombie’ too. I recommend working on getting that taken care of before it’s too late.”

Carol glanced back to Venomous, her eyes wide with worry as she expected him to disagree with Desdemona’s hypothesis.

Venomous let the thought sink in, “Zombies? The virus should just be a simple fever… unless.”

“You accidentally combined two types of malicious chemicals, causing the virus to become more effective?” Desdemona finished for him, “Yeah, I remember what you taught me.” Her smirk turned into a toothy grin, causing Venomous to feel a shiver go through him.