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After weeks of delivering newspapers to get enough money to buy the uniform, finding the time to go to all the practices, and making double, no, TRIPLE sure that he had no league business to tend to, the day had finally come.
The sun shone brightly in the sky, the perfect day for a classic baseball game. Billy had signed up at the community rec. center on a whim a month ago, not expecting to enjoy the game so much. He was assigned to "The Sparks", which, when he first found out, he had thought the universe was playing some kind of joke on him. Now, however, he simply saw the name as something that was just meant to be.
The young boy shook his head to clear his thoughts, choosing instead to focus on the ball his teammate was winding up to throw at him. Today was the day of their final game, one the team had worked very hard to get to. He watched as the baseball came flying towards him, and he tightened his grip on the bat. The black-haired boy swung, and with a satisfying *CRACK* the ball went flying.
Billy laughed as the projectile flew over the fence, landing in the grass outside. Timothy, the boy who had been pitching to him, groaned playfully. "Come on, Batson! that's the third time today! why can't you hit like this during the actual game?" he asked, to which Billy simply shrugged and blushed.
"I'll go get it." he offered, dropping the bat in the dirt and running through the gate. The 10-year-old ran up to the ball, picking it up before heading back towards the field. It was then that he saw a man, with slicked-back dark hair, standing around with a group of other adults. Billy couldn't quite put his finger on it, but the group seemed oddly familiar. They hadn't noticed him yet, so Billy decided to leave the matter be and continue into the field.
The boy tossed the ball back to his teammate and picked up the bat, readying himself again before their coach blew his whistle. "Alright, boys! Into the dug-out!" he yelled, the children running to the coach in the bright red t-shirt. "Ok, listen up." the man said, once all 13 children were seated. "We have to go hard against this team, ok? They're the best in the county, so they won't be taking no for an answer. Hart, you're up first to bat, then Batson, then Marshall. The rest of you, you're watching and waiting your turn. Ready?" the older man asked, putting his hand out.
The boys were eager to play, some practically jumping in place. They all put their hands in, and chanted the motto they said before every game. "The team that wins with all its parts is the team that plays with all its heart!" they said, raising their hands with a shout of "GOOOO SPARKS!". Billy laughed at the motto, as cliché as it may sound, and grabbed his bat.
He watched as the opposing team dressed in blue and grey, something that he just noticed offset his own team's red and yellow, (Yes, Billy found that hilarious too, universe...) take the field. Some of the boys on their team seemed a little older, but it wasn't like that mattered to him. He was fine playing against anyone so long as they played fair.
Billy took a deep breath and stepped out of the dugout, stepping into a ring of chalk and practiced swinging. He caught a glimpse of the crowd, which was a surprisingly good turnout, and paused on the group of adults he'd seen earlier. The young boy furrowed his brow, finally able to see their faces.....which were watching him.
He mentally face-palmed, realizing why they seemed so familiar. Billy couldn't help but smile widely as he looked at the Justice League, dressed in what he assumed was their alter-egos, sitting together and watching him get ready to play. They must have noticed this, cause the group waved casually.
Billy had to keep himself of laughing out loud because the Justice League, his teammates, and team of Superheroes, had taken time out of their days to come to see him play little league baseball.
He was shaken from his thoughts when there was a loud voice that cried out "SAFE!". Billy looked back to see the ump picking up a bat and moving it out of the way, gesturing for him to come up to bat. The 10-year-old pushed the league from his mind and ran to home plate, setting himself up as he always did. He took a deep breath and tried not to let the voices of his teammates cheering for him make him lose his concentration.
He eyed the ball in the pitcher's hand carefully, licking his lips as he tightened his grip on the bat. He waited until the perfect moment, and swung, hard. He missed, the ball hitting the glove of the boy behind him with a snicker. Billy shook his head, taking another breath and calming his nerves.
He felt the air around him get sharper and fill with static, and it seemed the heroes in disguise noticed this as well, for they quieted down a bit. He tensed, trying to get the electricity to fade, and missed another ball that had been thrown.
Clenching his jaw, Billy watched the pitcher closely. he raised his bat, a sign of readiness, and watched as the ball came flying towards him. He swung, pausing when there was a loud *CRACK* and the ball went flying. All the boy could do was stare at it as it went flying, only coming back to his senses when he heard Bruce's voice out of the crowd.
That was all it took for the boy to come back to his senses, and he took off towards first base. His teammate was already approaching third, so Billy took a chance and rounded the first base. He set his sights on second, picking up a little speed as he feet touched the cloth bag. He looked up to see the ball still flying, and took off again towards third base. He could hear various voices coming from the crowd, though a couple stood out from the rest.
Billy ran around third base, his shoe touching the bag before sprinting towards the home and final base. He heard the cheering swell, and though his lungs were on fire, he kept running. There was a distinct thud as he dove for home, sliding in as the dust was kicked up.
Billy coughed, trying to wave away the cloud of dust currently being sucked into his lungs. He looked up at the Ump, who was shaking his head. "OUT!" he yelled, looking at a child out in the field with ball in hand. Billy sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. 'So much for impressing the league,' he thought, standing up and dusting off his yellow pants.
Just then he heard an angry, no, furious voice come from the crowd. "WHAT!?" he looked up to see Hal Jordan of all people, standing up, his hands tense of the fence. "THAT IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT!!" the man yelled, causing Billy to flinch. This couldn't end well.
Billy stood quickly, looking between the furious Green Lantern and the now growing impatient Umpire. He ran to the fence, shaking his head. "Hal, Mr. Jordan, It's ok! it's not big deal, just an out! I promise its fine!" he said, only to be shoved away by the Umpire.
"Listen, buddy, you got something to say about my judgment, you can pack up your happy ass and get out before I call security." the man said, as Billy hit the ground with a thud and a grunt.
The black-haired boy widened his eyes when he looked back to the crowd because by then the entire group had stood up, with varying degrees of shock, anger, and fear written on them. Billy stood once more, putting himself between the Ump and Hal. "Hey! It's ok! I'll just go, I don't want to be the cause of this ending badly. Please!" he said loudly, causing the Ump to take off his mask and look down at the boy.
"You know this guy?" he asked, and Billy looked back to Hal, whose anger had frozen, and was not shaking his head insistently.
"Yes," Billy said honestly, facing the man in front of him. "Yes, I do. I'm sorry, sir," he said, only to be dismissed by the older man.
"Get out of this park. I don't want to see you, or your temper-mental friend here again. You got that Kid?" he asked, anger reaching his temples as a vein practically popped out of his head. Billy nodded slowly, looking to the ground with a deep sigh.
"Yessir. I'm sorry sir." he said, picking up his bat and heaving it over his shoulder. He walked past the gate that led towards the crowd, past the dig-out, and opened the gate that led out to the parking lot. He walked through it, ignoring the voices that were coming from behind him. He continued walking, fully aware that he had an entire group of adults following him, and that, to any passerby, it probably looked enormously strange, but he kept walking.
Billy hadn't even realized he'd reached his "home" for lack of a better word until he had ducked under the CONDEMNED cautionary tape. He looked back at the self-loathing face of Hal Jordan, along with the five other adults that stood behind him. "Look, before you say anything, know that it's fine," Billy said, leaning against the rickety door frame.
He shrugged, rolling his shoulder and holding the bat in his hand a bit tighter. "I know you meant well, Mr. Jordan. It's alright," he said, making the man look even more guilty.
"Listen, Kid, I didn't mean-" he sighed, scratching his head. "It's just that- We all know you hit that base before that kid laid his hands on the ball, and I just..." he trailed off with a sigh.
Billy gave him a smile. "Like I said, Mr. Jordan. It's ok. It's just baseball." he said with a slightly sad smile. While it was true, the game had been very fun, he knew it couldn't last forever, and Hal had just given him a reason to focus on more important things.
"Well, let me make it up to you." The man replied, taking a step forward. "Why don't we..." he paused, thinking. A smile grew on his face, his eyes shining with an idea. "Why don't we play a game of Super Baseball?" he asked, a grin on his face.
Billy wasn't sure what this implied, but he was beginning to like the sound of it. He took a step down on to the front steps, tilting his head. "What do you mean?" he asked, though he was pretty sure he had a good idea.
"Let me explain. How about over ice-cream? You guys up for that?" Hal asked, lifting the boy onto his shoulders.
The group nodded and set off down the sidewalk towards the ice-cream parlor on the corner.
~ ~ ~ THE END! ~ ~ ~