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The Life of Billy Batson

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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.

"RUN, KID!" 

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! ~ ~ ~ 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

- - -

 

 

Nighttime in Fawcett City was always something to enjoy. Especially on nights like this, when a cool breeze came from the hills, and an air of calm blanketed the town. Stars shined brightly above the peaceful town, twinkling beside the moon.

Captain Marvel made his usual rounds about the city, flying above buildings and over rooftops as he searched for any sign of trouble. It had been a quiet night so far, with only a possible argument going south to break up.

The hero had become lost in his thoughts, worrying over the upcoming League meeting that warned importance. He had been wracking his brain trying to figure out what it could be about, and even with the Wisdom of Solomon, he was no closer to finding the answer.

Once finished with his nightly patrol, Captain Marvel checked his surroundings before descending into a dark alleyway. He looked around once more, and, finding no one in sight, said the words that would transform him back to his mortal state. 

"SHAZAM!"

Lightning cracked in the sky and smoke billowed up from where the transformation had occurred, and Billy Batson stood in the place the hero had been only moments earlier. The 10-year-old coughed and waved the smoke away, pulling up his hood and unrolling his sleeves. He did so quickly, trying not to look at the raised pink flesh that covers his arms. 

He had had these scars for a while now, ever since he first transformed into Captain Marvel, but it still bothered the boy to see them. It didn't help, either, that whenever the World's Mightiest Mortal got into a particularly nasty fight, extra scarring would show up on his other half's skin.

Billy had thought about showing the League before, back when it first happened, because, at the time, he wasn't sure where the scars were coming from or why he had them. Over time he had learned that anything that would scar Captain Marvel, wouldn't, because of his healing factor. But that didn't stop the scars from appearing on Billy's body. 

His decision not to tell the league had been set in stone when they discovered he was actually a child and had really overreacted. 

Billy shook the confusing and saddening thoughts from his head, continuing on down the dark street. He soon came to an abandoned building, the place he called home. The boy crawled through a hole he had made in the fence, pulling his shirt down when it had come up to cover the scars on his back. 

He walked with his hands in his pockets up the cracked sidewalk, opening the fragile door and closing it behind him. Billy looked around at the barren room of the first floor, then made his way to the staircase that was against the back wall. He climbed it slowly, lost in his thoughts once more.

Once on the second floor, he looked around to find that his things were still there, thank god, though as minuscule a blessing that may be. Billy saw that the old mattress still lay on the floor against the mildew stained wall, a thread-bare blanket laid half-hazard over it. In the corner near the window, there was a red sweatshirt with a hand-sewn lightning bolt on it, a souvenir from a civilian Captain Marvel had saved. 

He couldn't wear the token out in public, for fear of someone questioning its origin, or worse, finding the person who made it and having them think Captain Marvel didn't appreciate the gift. However, that didn't stop the boy from using it at night for extra warmth. He put the sweatshirt on overtop his shirt, smiling at the warmth the fabric gave him. 

Billy lay down on the mattress, staring up at the old ceiling above him. His mind wandered back to his scars, something that had been happening quite often lately, and furrowed his brow. He took a deep breath and pulled off the sweatshirt, shivering at the sudden cold. He pushed through it, taking off his long-sleeve shirt as well. Billy stood, walking over to the mirror with a single crack in it, and examined his body. 

He swallowed thickly as he touched a long, tree-like scar that ran from the edge of his jaw, down his shoulder blade, around and under his armpit, down his side, and disappeared into his pants at the pelvis. the scar branched off at different points, curving around his would-be pectorals had he not been so small, curving around his arms, the left coming all the way down to his wrist, along his spine, and coming just under his collarbone. 

He flinched as he touched the scars, practically able to feel the electricity that lay beneath the surface. Billy sighed, knowing this scar would be one that would never fade, for it was the same path the lighting always traveled whenever he became Captain Marvel. 

The boy moved onto other scars, ones gained through battle, and the ones that reminded him of the dangerous things he did as a lifestyle. 

He gently touched a small pink line just above his pelvis, a mark from where he had been stabbed by Dr. Sivana, the sight bringing back an uneasy feeling in his gut. He focused his attention on a different scar, this one running from his left collarbone to the top of his bellybutton. It reminded him of the particularly painful and rare time that he had been Billy Batson, not Cap, and had gotten this on his own accord. 

Cap himself had been captured by the now long-dead villain Captain Nazi, drugged and tortured to the point he couldn't hold his godly form anymore. He had been forced to change back into Billy Batson, and the man had leaped at the chance to do some permanent damage. 

Billy really didn't want to think of the memory, or of any other memory that came to mind when looking over his scarred body. The thought of it all made tears well in his eyes, and he fell to his knees as he stared at his cracked, broken reflection.

This was the price he paid to protect those couldn't protect themselves, and sometimes, it was hard to live with. Sometimes the memories and the phantom pain were hard to live with. 

 

~ ~ ~

 

Billy woke up the next morning in his bed, both his shirt and sweatshirt on. He yawned, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. The boy scratched at his jaw, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight streaming in through the window.

He swung his legs over the edge of the mattress, bare feet hitting the wooden floor of the room. The boy stood slowly, carefully scratching his back at places he knew there weren't scars. He then pulled on his socks and shoes, and took off the over-sized sweatshirt and hung it over the chair near the window. 

Billy stretched one more time, this time letting out a small grunt. He opened the cupboard against the wall to find it, unsurprisingly, empty. he sighed, shaking his head. The boy then opened the door and walked out of the room, down the stairs, and into the bright morning air. 

What the boy didn't know was that the small, nearly microscopic camera that had been hidden in his room by a very sneaky cowled superhero had recorded everything from the night before.

Up in the Watchtower, Batman sat at a desk, watching tiredly as footage from each of the heroes civilian lives was recorded. He flicked through footages, from Hal Jordan eating dinner, to Clark reading a newspaper and sipping coffee on his balcony. 

That was, until, he got to Captain Marvel's footage. 

Batman paused when he saw the young boy kneeling before a cracked mirror, running his fingers along massive, terrifying-looking scars. They were the kinds of things only grown men or war heroes should wear, and yet, there sat a young man, no older than 10, running his fingers along what looked to be lightning scars.

The caped crusader noticed there were various other scars, from bullet wounds to knife scars, but the most definable and one that shook the man to his very core was the one that looked like plant life, spiraling and running around the small boy's frame. If this was what happened when the boy became Captain Marvel....

Batman had to tell the rest of the League.

 

~ ~ ~

 

The video of the boy examining his scars was played on the massive screen before the group of heroes, the adults staring with mixtures of horror and solemness on their faces. Clark sat silently, staring as the boy flinched when coming in contact with his own skin, as if it burned him. 

The image disappeared when Billy stood up, putting his shirt back on, along with his oversized hoodie. He climbed onto the mattress and lay down, covering up with the threadbare blanket and falling asleep quickly.

Batman stood before the group, his face even more unreadable than normal. "I realize you have questions. But unfortunately I won't be answering any of them," he said bluntly, taking the USB with the video on it out of the League computer. "Whether or not Batson has these scars is none of our business, otherwise, he'd have told us by now." he said, pocketing the device.

"No one is to confront him on this matter, got it? If you'll recall how you reacted to his civilian identity, I believe you'll realize why Billy has yet to tell us of these scars." Batman told the group with a sigh. "If he comes forward himself, that will be different, but NO ONE is to confront him on the matter. Got it?"

The league had been quiet until this point, but the billionaire noticed tensions were growing. Kent's fists were clenched so tight that his knuckles were white, while Diana gripped his shoulder with equal strength. Bats noticed that Cyborg had been noticeably absent, and only now saw that he was keeping an eye on Billy. 

"That's bullshit, Wayne, and you know it." Jordan finally spoke up, drawing attention to himself. "We gotta know if the kid's alright. Barry and I can go check up on him, just like normal, and see if anything's up about his skin. Maybe if we drop some clues he'll open up to us." he said, grabbing the Flash's arm and hoisting him up. 

Batman frowned, wasn't this exactly what he just told them not to do? "No, Hal I just said-" he was cut off by Diana, who hoisted her sword into the air.

"Yes! We need to check up on the child. If his marks are truly that of a warrior's, they need to be celebrated." she said, sheathing the weapon and taking her hand off Superman's shoulder. Clark nodded, a smile on his face. "Yea, and while 'celebrated' is one way to go, we should check and see if they are causing him any problems," he said determinedly. 

"Guys, this isn't-" Bruce was cut off this time by Cyborg, who's eyes widened in surprise.

"Billy's in trouble," he said simply, relaying the video that had probably been feeding through his sensors onto the League monitor. A feed of Billy walking with his hands in his pockets towards an alley gained the group's attention.

 

 ~ ~ ~

 

Billy walked down the sidewalk, a cool breeze blowing through his hair as he kept his gaze down on his shoes. He turned into an alley and looked up to find a teenager, a grimy, pot-head by the looks of it, standing with two other guys against a wall. The trio looked at him and smirked, dropping their cigarettes from their mouths. 

"Well if it isn't the lightning boy." the leader said, his yellow teeth grinning at the boy. Billy tensed, eyes widening as he took a step back. "Harris, I- I don't mean any trouble..." he got out before he was picked up by the collar of his old shirt.

"You got a lot of nerve showin' your face 'round here, lightning boy." the teen spat, jerking his shirt so that it began to tear. This trio of nit-wits had been on his hide ever since they found out about his lightning-induced scar, calling him a Frankenstein freak or the Flash's unwanted sidekick.

Billy's nerves were already on edge, and when the bully did this, he began to thrash. "No- no, please Harris! Not again, PLEASE!" Billy struggled, his small hands wrapped around the bully's fist. he hated having to resort to pleading, but it was the only thing he had left.

The teen grinned like a maniac, bringing up his lit cigarette. "Why don't we add to the lightning, boys?" he asked, looking back to the pair of teens behind him. He ripped the boy's shirt completely, revealing his scarred chest. "Well there it is, boys. Lightning boy's signature marks." he said with a grin. 

"NO, HARRIS PLEASE!!" Billy screamed, eyed widening further when the cigarette was brought closer to his skin.

"Maybe this'll teach you not to try to be a hero, kid." the teen's breath made Billy's eyes burn, and he teared up as he could practically feel the cigarette's heat get closer to his skin. He cried out as the butt was jabbed into his side, making him squirm and tears well in his eyes. 

The boy wanted desperately to call down the lightning that would change him, make the pain go away and keep the bullies from ever messing with him again, but he knew that he could never do that, he could and would never use that power for his own personal gain, or worse, as a scare tactic.  

So, he took it, as best he could, as the cigarettes were extinguished on his soft, vulnerable skin, burning him and making him scream.

 

~ ~ ~

 

The video that played on the monitor brought silence with it in the watchtower. As Billy's screams echoed through the halls, the boy's pain never seemed more real. The heroes stood, stunned at the sight before them.

"Why won't he use his powers? The streets are practically empty!" Barry said, fear written across his face. 

Bruce clenched his jaw, watching as the teenagers burned the defenseless boy. "Because he knows better," he said simply, trying to keep his voice steady. The man glanced to the side to find Diana trying to keep Clark in his seat, though her own anger was boiling close to the surface. 

"William realizes that to use his powers would be taking advantage of them, and that's something he's sworn never to do," Diana said, looking over her shoulder as she continued to keep Superman in his seat. 

The Kryptonian's eyes were glowing a low red, his knuckles white as he gripped his league chair. "We have to help him!" Clark said, standing up and knocking Diana backward. "I won't stand for this, and neither should any of you," he growled, rocketing towards a Zeta Tube. Bruce's eyes widened, reaching out to grab the man's cape as he flew by, only to catch air. 

The computer's voice chimed as the coordinates were set, and Superman disappeared in a flash of light. "Damnit, Kent!" Bruce said, slamming his fist on the table. He let out an annoyed breath, standing and pinching the bridge of his nose. "We have to go after him before he does something we all will regret," he said, walking swiftly toward the tubes.

He paused, glancing back before taking off his cowl. "We need to do this right. If people see the Justice League in Fawcett City out of the blue, they'll think something is wrong. It's bad enough Superman went off in a fit of rage, we don't need the rest of the League to follow his lead." he said, tucking the mask away. 

The members nodded in agreement, following his lead. Hal took off his ring, pocketing it in his flight suit. Barry did the same, costume vanishing with a whirling flash of red. The billionaire looked to Diana, who, surprisingly, was buttoning a light blue shirt over her uniform. She put on a pair of glasses, (great, she must have been taking notes from Kent...) and smiled determinedly. 

"Cyborg, stay here in case of any trouble that needs our attention," Bruce commanded, the man nodding in response. He turned on his heels, grabbing a coat off the wall and buttoning it around his suit. 

Once the location was set, the light enveloped them and they appeared in a dark alley in Fawcett City.

The group of heroes scanned their surroundings, coming out of the alley and onto the sidewalk, where civilians passed them without a second glance. Bruce looked at his watch, setting coordinates for Kryptonian energy source, and followed suit. 

 

~ ~ ~

 

Billy was dropped to the asphalt when the cigarettes were nothing but garbage, their heat extinguished. The boy held his stomach tightly, knowing well it did nothing to ease the pain, but gave him a sense of comfort. 

He winced as he got up on one knee, clutching his stomach with one hand, and balancing himself on a dumpster with the other. The boy hadn't noticed the caped crusader descending behind him and bent down to pick up a torn piece of his shirt. 

It wasn't until he saw the shadow of a man on the ground that he knew he wasn't alone in the alley again. Billy dared a glance back, eyes widening when he saw Superman floating a few feet above the ground. The morning sun seemed to outline the hero in a beam of light, making him look like a godsend.  

The boy came to his senses in an instant, however, and quickly went to cover his chest with what remained of his shirt. "S-Superman! W-what are you doing here? Heh- I uh-" he stammered, avoiding the man's gaze. 

He had expected a disappointed look, an angry glare, or something along the lines of asking why he had missed a league meeting- had he missed a call on his comm? He hoped not.

"Are you ok, Billy?" was what he heard, which surprised him, to say the least. The boy tilted his head and made sure his body was covered before looking back at the hero who had landed in front of him.

"I- What do you mean?" he asked, though he had thought, or, hoped Clark hadn't seen the teenager tormenting him.  Billy swallowed thickly when the man raised a brow, putting his hand on Billy's shoulder. He helped to keep him balanced and avoided the Kryptonian's gaze once more.

"You know what I mean, Billy." Superman replied, giving him a look of concern.

Oh. So that's what this was about. 

"How- How did you-" he asked, only to be cut off by the group of adults in varying forms of casual wear that had appeared at the end of the alley. If the boy was honest with himself, he was relieved to see them, but the question was still there.

How did you know about my scars? 

Billy sighed, rubbing the back of his neck while he held his shirt closed. "Lemme guess...you guys are here for the same reason..." he said, unable to look at them. If they hadn't trusted him before, there was no way in Hell they would ever trust him now. After two secrets kept from them, two big ones, mind you, he knew they'd never look at him the same way.

He teared up, the water blurring his vision as he tried to explain his position. "Listen, before you say anything, I wanna say that I'm sorry I didn't t-" the boy was cut off by warmth enveloping him, which made him panic for a moment. 

It was only when he actually blinked away the tears and saw that it was Bruce of all people who had kneeled down and was hugging him. The boy was speechless, his mouth hanging open as Barry and Diana did the same. He had no clue what was going on, but it wasn't like he was going to refuse the affection. He let himself be hugged by the adults, which by now there were five, and felt his cheeks warm up with a blush.

"I- I don't understand..." he started, only to be stopped by a finger from Diana. 

"William. We saw what happened," she said, her voice powerful, even in her civilian disguise. "And, though you may not wish us so, we fear for you often," she told him with a sad smile.,

"-And, we understand why you'd want to hide....well, you know....from us." Hal chimed in, gesturing with a nod to the child's body. "Hell, there's a few scars I've got that remind me of some pretty dark times," he said, only to be nudged by Barry.

"What were tryin' to say, kiddo, is that you don't have to hide anything from us. We may be a little overbearing from your point of view, but that's cause we don't want to see you hurt. And I know, that sounds like I'm talking down to you, but I'm not. We're a family, and we all get worried about each other from time to time." the speedster said, flashing him a bright smile.

"When you're ready, you can show us them. We won't push you or try to get anything out of you." Bruce said, glancing at Hal and Barry for only a moment. "And if you're never ready- then that's your business." he finished. 

Billy nodded at the information, trying to take it all in. They- they trusted him, they still did, and fully too. They weren't going to push him to tell them about them, which was good, cause Billy didn't know if he ever would be able to talk about them. He realized he was lost in his own thoughts, and managed a smile. "Thanks." he said.

"Come on, why don't we go back to the Watchtower and get those burns looked at. Cyborg will want to give you something for them." Bruce spoke up again, leading the group out of the alley. Billy nodded, following them. 

He inwardly thanked the gods that the team still trusted him, and thanked them even further that, for once, he'd have something good to associate with a scar.  

 

~ ~ ~ THE END! ~ ~ ~

 

 

Chapter Text

 

- - - 

 

Fawcett City Elementary, where young minds go to learn about the world around them and what they can do in it. This was the school young Billy Batson attended, though sparingly as it may be. On this particular day, the fourth graders of the school were taking a field trip to the neighboring city, Metropolis. They were due to tour and learn about the inner workings of the Daily Planet, as well as the people who work there.

 

Billy grumbled to himself as he stood in line to board the bright yellow bus that sat in the parking lot. The school-provided sack lunch was clutched tightly in one hand, his other rubbing the fresh bruise under his eye. 

 

Earlier in the morning, Billy had stopped a group of 6th graders from taking a 2nd grader's backpack and had been rewarded with a shiner under his left eye. He had been late to class because of this and had gotten chewed out by the teacher, Mrs. Briggs. 

 

Now, though, as he rubbed the mark, he began to think about the place he and his classmates were going. Metropolis was known for a couple of things- being a massive, shining city full of urban advances, the newspaper company that branched all over America, and being the home to the Kryptonian himself, Superman. 

 

Billy chuckled to himself as he thought of the look on Clark's face when he walked in with his classmates, hoping he'd forgive him for acting his age and being absolutely fascinated by the man's job- or, looking like it, at least.

 

He took a seat near the front, scooting over until he was against the window. Since the boy spent most of his time delivering newspapers, he hadn't really gotten the chance to know any of his classmates. He took a deep breath and let it out, the air fogging up the cool glass. He pressed his finger against it, dragging it around to make a stick person wearing a cape. 

 

He smiled to himself at the drawing, which was beginning to fade. Billy then closed his eyes and leaned back into his seat, taking the chance to lay down and catch up on some sleep he'd been missing. 

 

He felt a slight lurch and the vibration of the bus's motor beneath telling him that they were now in motion. The boy relaxed in his seat, his eyes closed until he needed to be awake.

 

~ ~ ~

 

Billy was woken up by the sudden stopping of the bus, throwing him off his seat and into the floor. He grunted and pushed himself up, wincing when he hit his head on the bottom of his own seat. The boy rubbed the back of his head and looked up to find his teacher staring at him unimpressed. "If you're finished with your nap, Mr. Batson?" she asked, her tone harsh.

 

Billy looked around to find the other children snickering and not looking in his direction. He sighed, picking himself up and sitting back down on his seat. "Sorry Ma'am," he mumbled with a downward glance.

 

The teacher shook her head, looking at her clipboard. "Alright children, we've arrived at the corner of Fifth Street and Concord Lane, in Metropolis. Can anyone tell me where that is?" she asked, her tone noticeably more light-hearted. 

 

When no hands were raised she sighed, pointing to the building that the bus was parked in front of. "We are here to take a tour of the Daily Planet, a very well known newspaper company. We are NOT here to look for Superman boys and girls, so don't get any ideas," she warned, looking at Billy. 

 

So that was the reputation he had now. See, whenever Billy was in school and needed to Shazam, he would always need to make up an excuse. Him not being a very creative individual when it comes to lying always had the same excuse- "I thought I saw Superman". 

 

The boy sighed when snickers came from the back of the bus and stood when the others did. He made his way down the steps of the vehicle and waited on the sidewalk for everyone to get off the bus and for the teacher to count them all. 

 

"Alright, children! Let's go inside- there should be someone inside to give us a tour...." Mrs. Briggs trailed off, looking at her watch.

 

The group went through the massive glass doors that bore entrance to the newspaper company, complete with a brass plaque that read "THE DAILY PLANET" in fancy writing on it. If he was honest, Billy was actually amazed by the inside of the paper company. 

 

People went from place to place in such a rush that, if he hadn't known the man's actual identity, he'd think one of them was the Flash. The group was greeted by a woman with raven black hair and bright blue eyes, wearing a purple plaid skirt and olive green overcoat. She had a clipboard in her hand and a bright smile on her face, her eyes looking over the group as a whole. 

 

It wasn't until he heard the woman talk that he realized who it was. 

 

"Hello, everyone! I'm Lois Lane, The Daily Planet's number one reporter, and I'm gonna be showing you around the place today!" she said cheerily, her gaze pausing on Billy when she saw him. Her smile faulted for a moment, then returned to its former glory. "If you'll follow me," she said, turning on her heel and heading towards a group of offices.

 

The children followed quickly, as the woman weaved her way through the various people with stacks of papers in their arms. She eventually reached a door with a foggy glass window labeled "REPORTERS" in a Curly black paint. She opened the door wide and walked in, setting her clipboard down on her desk. 

 

The woman turned back to the group and clasped her hands together, waiting for them to all come in. "This, everyone, is the reporter's room. Office like mine and Mr. Clark Kent reside here, away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the company, which you just saw. This place allows us to think clearly and in quiet, so let's make sure not to get too loud in here." she said, using her hands as she spoke. "Would anyone like to meet Mr. Kent?" she asked, definitely looking anywhere but Billy. 

 

The boy raised his hand, a grin on his face as he did so. This may be the only chance he has to see where Superman works at his day job- OF COURSE, he's going to take this chance! 

 

Behind him, some other children raised their hands, so Lois waved them down the hall. "The rest of you are more than welcome to check out the place, but please, don't mess with any papers, ok?" she said with a smile.

 

The raven-haired woman continued down the hall, turning a corner and rapping her knuckles against a door. "Hey, Smallville? You in there?" she asked, putting her ear to the door. You got some special visitors!" she said, her voice rising in pitch. 

 

She sighed with a smile and shook her head, opening the man's door. "Kent?" she asked, finding the man staring intently at his computer screen. "Hey Smallville, you got some people who'd like to meet you," she said, pressing the button to turn the man's monitor off. 

 

Clark's head shot up, looking at her in confusion. "Hey wait- what? What was that for, Lois?" he asked, furrowing his brow. Billy smirked, watching the pair's interaction. No wonder Superman always talked about her. He was desperately in love with her. 

 

The man's view went from her to the group of children and Billy, his eyes widening for only a moment before putting on a smile. "OH- Hello Kids! Uh- My name's Clark, and I can only assume Miss Lane here has told you that I'm a reporter like her. Heh- obviously I'm not as good as her, but I'd like to think I'm pretty ok." he said, rubbing the back of his neck as he leaned back in his chair.

 

"Does anyone have any questions for Mr. Kent?" Lois asked, folding her hands in front of her. Billy gave the man a cheeky look and nodded. "Actually, I do, but it's kind of a personal question. Would I be able to ask him alone?" he asked, putting on his most innocent-looking face.

 

Lois sighed, smiling down at the boy. "I don't suppose why not," she said, ushering the rest of the children out of the room. "Just make sure you catch up with the rest of us when you're done, ok?" she said as she closed the door.

 

Billy broke out into a wide grin, to which Clark nearly matched. "Hey, Batson! What're you doing here?" Clark asked, taking off the fake glasses. He leaned forward in his chair, resting his arms on the desk.

 

The boy scratched the back of his head, looking at a plant in the corner of the office. "Gee Mr. Kent, I'm on a super amazing trip to the Daily Planet with my classmates!" he said with an impish tone, giving the man his best 'golden boy' smile. Clark chuckled, shaking his head. "So- this is what you do with your civilian Identity?" Billy asked, looking around the office. 

 

"I've always wanted to see where you worked," he said, running his finger over a potted plant. "So uh, does she...ya know....know?" he trailed off, gesturing with his head towards the door.

 

Clark smiled, the corners of his mouth turning up only a smidge. "About me? Yes. I didn't tell her much about you, other than you know too." he said quietly, wiping his fake glasses on his shirt. 

 

Billy tilted his head in confusion, looking up at the hero in disguise. "You didn't tell her about me?" he asked. The man shook his head, the smile returning.

 

"Billy, that's not my place to tell. It's not critical information for her to know, so I didn't bother telling her," he said honestly, putting the glasses back on his face. "I think you'd better return to your group- they'll think you're trying to get out of school," Clark said with a devilish smile, shooing the boy off with a simple wave of his hand. "Oh wait- before I forget, Bruce wanted me to tell you that we have a meeting this weekend to upgrade the comms," he said, looking back to his computer. 

 

"Alright, I'll be there," Billy said, opening the door. "Thanks, Mr. Kent!" he said over-enthusiastically, to which Clark smiled and stifled a laugh. 

 

Billy made his way through the hallway and back to his group, where he continued on with the tour alongside the other children. He didn't really pay much attention after that, though, cause the only thing- or, person, he had come to see was already done with.

 

Before he realized, they were boarding the bus once more. Billy shook himself from his thoughts, climbing the steps of the bus and sliding into a seat near the front. He sighed, leaning against the glass once more. This time, however, the boy pulled out a small device, something that looked similar to an earbud without a cord, and turned it around in his fingers. 

 

The device was a couple of months old and had been through volcanic heat, blizzard cold, being buried in sand, drenched in the ocean, fried by magical lightning, and dropped countless times by the boy himself. It was SO time for a newer, better version.

 

Soon the boy found himself falling asleep against the window, so he pocketed the device and let his eyes droop......only to be woken by the bus screeching to a halt and throwing him back onto the floor once they reached the elementary school. 

 

~ ~ THE END! ~ ~

 

Chapter Text

 

- - - 

 

Clouds blocked the sun out and cast down a gloomy light from the sky as Captain Marvel, the "World's Mightiest Mortal" hovered in the air. The day was made even dimmer by the surroundings of the superhero and the team to which he belonged to. The land looked war-torn, trees snapped and boulders overturned. The Justice League had been called into action on the account of a distress call somewhere in Europe, and, having arrived at the location, were promptly thrown into the midst of battle against a muscular man in an outfit that seemed to mirror the Captain's, though in black. 

 

The Captain narrowed his eyes as he narrowly dodged an attack from Black Adam, looking around for something he could use as cover. The caped hero glanced at the ground where league members lay strewn about, in various positions of pain or unconsciousness. 

 

Even Superman, with all his might, was no match for the magical power that he and his pointy-eared opposite possessed. Marvel dodged another attack, diving through the air to avoid a burst of crackling lighting that came towards him. "Adam! Why are you doing this?!" he yelled, trying to reason with the angered man. He wasn't known for being rational, but the hero couldn't help but try.

 

Captain Marvel narrowed his eyes as Adam simply seemed to laugh, giving him a look as if his motives should have been obvious. He decided that since reasoning wouldn't work, the caped crusader would have to resort to another means of taking the man down. He began to circle his arms quickly, the speed of Mercury taking over as funnels of wind formed from them. The tornados that formed around Marvel's arms pulled in everything that surrounded them- boulders, soil, branches- they even had begun to pick up some of the leaguers but failed to move Adam an inch. 

 

The raven-haired hero abruptly stopped the gusts, glancing back at some of the more injured members as he scanned the area in an attempt to formulate a plan. He furrowed his brow as he witnessed Green Lantern and Batman attempting to sneak up on the villain. Marvel's eyes widened at the sight, glancing at Adam to see a smirk growing on his face. "GUYS WAIT!!" He said, launching himself towards them in a flash of light. 

 

Captain Marvel barreled into the pair just as Adam turned and shot a blast of magical energy at them. They successfully dodged the attack, the swirling black energy crashing into the forest line and turning it to ash. The trio was still sailing through the air as the attack met a target, and they were sent crashing into the ground from the impact.

 

The Captain did his best to take most of the blow but didn't manage to take it all. The edges of Batman's cape were singed, and his costume was torn and bloodied in several spots. Lantern looked generally unscathed, except for the part where his very being seemed to flicker.

 

The hero looked back to where Adam watched smugly from the sky, seeming to radiate satisfaction. "The Wizard was a fool to choose a child to replace me." he boomed, his voice echoing through the forest. The members of the League who still had some form of consciousness gave the villain confused looks, looking to Marvel for clarification. He ignored the startled glances in favor of flying up to meet the ancient man face to face. 

 

"Maybe so. But I can and will still take you down, Adam." Marvel said, much quieter. He crossed his arms as the villain laughed, a crooked smile on his face. He had a wicked gleam in his eyes, something that put the Captain on edge. "Give it up. You may have them down, but you and I are equals. There's no need for us to--" The hero was cut off by a punch to the jaw, sending into rocketing through the air in a backward somersault. Marvel was sent crashing towards the Earth, plowing through dirt and rocks until he finally came to rest against the trunk of a tree.

 

The man sat up and rubbed his jaw, looking to the air where static seemed to crackle around Black Adam. "Alright. You won't listen to reason then." he muttered, letting out a breath as he got up and blasted towards the villain. 

 

"Maybe you'll listen to THIS!" He growled, summoning a blast of golden energy. Lightning crackled and swirled around the growing sphere, Marvel's eyes becoming pure light as his anger grew. Adam seemed to hesitate but then smiled at the action. It was then the hero sent the magical energy towards the man, thunder rumbling in the distance as it flew towards him with the speed of Mercury. 

 

The twisted man's smile only seemed to grow as he dodged the attack, the magical sphere clipping him as he swooped out of the way. Captain Marvel's eyes widened at the sphere was sent straight towards some fallen Leaguers, dread filling him at the thought of what that might to them. 

 

He swallowed thickly as he put on more speed than he ever had before, time seeming to slow as he inched closer to the magical blast. He finally made it to the energy, thrusting out his hand in an attempt to recall it. The Universe seemed hesitant to obey his command, the sphere continuing on its path before shrinking and being absorbed by the hero. 

 

Marvel breathed heavily, slowing to a pause as the Stamina of Atlas began to take its toll on him. He smiled tiredly at the fact that the heroes below him, namely Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Hawkgirl were relatively unharmed. He thanked the gods for his luck, looking back to find Adam with his arms crossed over his chest. 

 

He hovered in the air above him, the picture of smugness, giving him a wicked smile. "We are not equals. You are inexperienced. A child. You cannot begin to comprehend the power we possess, and you treat it as a toy. I am your superior in every way." The villain's voice seemed to echo through Captain Marvel's mind, reaching that of his other half- Billy Batson. He clenched his fists in anger, jaw set as he stared up at the ancient man.

 

He flew up to meet him in the sky, taking a glance back down at the ground to find that most, if not all of the Leaguers had begun to regain their consciousness. Thankfully they were smart enough not to interfere, taking one worry off the Captain's list. The pair floated there in silence, staring at each other in a moment of tense peace. Neither dared to move until Marvel raised his head. He looked to the clouds that hung over them- dark and swirling...and definitely not natural. They almost seemed to vibrate with magic, making the lightning under his skin crackle in response.

 

"We may not be equals like I said..." he started, catching a furrowed brow from the villain. "But there is one thing we have in common." 

 

In a flash, (Barry would kill him for that one) he was at Adam's side, his arms wrapped tightly around the man and pinning his arms at his sides. The other man's eyes widened, fear overtaking his features. "Our weakness," he whispered determinedly, before looking to the darkened sky.

 

"SHAZAM!!"

 

Captain Marvel threw back his head and watched as the king of all lightning bolts hurled down from the sky, magic pulsing throughout the bolt. It struck both of them at once, stripping them of their form and reverting them back to their mortal states. Adam seemed to shriek in anger and agony, his muscular form being stripped away to that of an elderly man, then simply to ash. 

 

The villain's screams echoed through Captain Marvel's mind as the lightning struck him as well, the overwhelming magical power being released from Black Adam's demise becoming too much for him. He shut his eyes out of pain, taking a sharp breath as he was transformed back into Billy Batson.

 

 

 - - - 

 

 

Batman had managed to pick himself and Hal up off the ground, pain screaming throughout his body. He winced as blood streamed down his leg, staining his dark costume. He began to look around and found that most- no, all of the League, (save for those that weren't there) had been grounded at some point. The detective looked up to find Captain Marvel as the lone hero to fight his opposite. 

 

He began to help some of the other heroes up, glancing back at one of their strongest as he dueled it out with Black Adam. Once Green Lantern was up, albeit his concentration wavering, they set off to help more of their teammates. When Black Adam started ranting about a child, Hal, along with Black Canary, (whom he had been helping to her feet) glanced up with confused looks. 

 

Batman's eyes widened behind the cowl, swallowing thickly. It was times like this that he may have regretted knowing the good Captain's secret identity. He gave them a shrug to feign dumb and continued helping Aquaman to his feet. 

 

He looked up again to find the hero and villain face to face, Captain Marvel seemingly trying to reason with the man. 'Kid still thinks you can talk to them...' he thought to himself, shaking his head as he guided Aquaman towards the rest of the conscious heroes. That was when he heard an echoing thud, like a hammer striking concrete. Batman's head whipped up to find Black Adam's fist connecting with the Captain's jaw, sending him crashing towards the ground. 

 

The masked billionaire winced at the action, sucking in a breath as the world's mightiest mortal plowed through the earth. 

 

He was up in moments, however, and only seemed to be a bit dirty, and overall annoyed. He heard the man growl out something about Adam listening, and the air seemed to grow denser. It felt electrifying- static crackling in the air around them.

 

Batman wasn't the only one who felt it, however and looked over to find his fellow heroes with varying looks of confusion and tenseness. He finished helping Cyborg up when light seemed to fill the sky. Lightning cracked in the clouds as thunder rumbled around them. The earth began to tremble and the heroes looked up to find a massive, glowing orb of electrifying energy expanding between Captain Marvel's hands. 

 

The Captain growled, Batman noticing from where he stood that the man's eyes were glowing. He took a step back, swallowing thickly as power seemed to radiate from the man. It was intimidating, and they were several hundred feet below the white-caped hero. It was times like this that Bruce felt he was out of his league- that he knew he was dealing with gods

 

The dark knight was pulled from his thoughts when Captain Marvel let out a growl and launched the magical attack at Black Adam. It all happened within the span of two seconds- one moment, the orb was being launched at Adam and the man was laughing, the next it was barreling towards three heroes that were still out, and the next the Captain was guarding them against the projectile and somehow absorbing it. 

 

The man looked down at the trio, who were staring up at him with thankful looks in their eyes, before nodding and rocketing back towards the villain. Adam at this point was boasting, as all villains loved to do for some reason, and the Captain allowed him to talk. Their voices seemed to echo throughout the clearing, booming like the thunder they controlled. 

 

Captain Marvel glanced down at the League, who by this point were in a crowd, watching the pair in the sky. None of the interfered, apparently having the wits to know when they should stay where they are and let a hero handle something on his own. The red-armored man then looked to Bruce, locking eyes with him for a moment before giving him a knowing smile. 

 

Batman's eyes widened, taking a few steps out in front of the group. He watched as Marvel looked back at Adam and spoke to him in a quiet voice. He was then at his side at an instant, holding on to the villain tightly and keeping him pinned. He looked to the sky and saw it darken, the clouds seeming to swirl around the pair as they were locked together in the air. 

 

This kid couldn't seriously be resorting to this to take Adam down, could he? He would reveal his identity to the league- and if they knew they had put a child in harm's way, Bruce knew that Captain Marvel's days as a League member would be over.

 

The caped crusader was brought out of his thoughts by what sounded like a clap of thunder but was really the Captain's voice.

 

"SHAZAM!!" 

 

Bruce's eyes widened when a massive bolt of lightning descended from the clouds, striking the pair with such a force that he was shoved backward. He heard screaming- at first a man's, but then it morphed and became a child's. The dark knight had to cover his eyes with his arm to shield himself from the light but took the first chance to look up at what had happened.

 

Adam was gone, nowhere to be found- and there was something small falling from the sky. Batman's eyes widened when he realized that it was Billy, jumping into action. He shot his grappling hook at a towering evergreen, clicking the trigger and launching himself through the air towards the child. Fear raced through the man's mind as he came closer to the boy, arm outstretched to grab him. 

 

Bruce rocketed past where the boy was falling, grasping onto the boy's oversized red and yellow sweater. He pulled the kid up into his arms, holding his small frame close to his chest as they approached the massive tree. 

 

He landed safely on a big branch, sitting down to allow Billy to regain some sort of composure before having to face the league. "Billy. Billy wake up," he said, shaking him. Bruce pulled back his cowl, staring at the sleeping boy's face. It was strange how alike they looked- both had jet black curly hair and unmistakable cornflower blue eyes. Billy was thin with defined cheekbones, where Bruce had a strong jaw. 

 

 He shook the boy a bit more, trying to get him to wake. "Batson, you have to wake up kid," he said, scooting back when the boy's bright blue eyes fluttered open. Bruce let out a sigh of relief, a small smile on his face. "Thank God," he muttered, watching the child come to. 

 

"Wha....what happened..." Billy asked, blinking hard before sitting up. He held his head and shook it, looking up at him. "Bru- Batman?" he asked, tilting his head. Bruce nodded, glancing back at where the Leaguers were still gathered. They seemed to be coming to a decision, most likely about whether they should come to the tree or not. "Did-" Billy spoke up, looking around. 

 

"Did I win?" 

 

Bruce was taken back- this kid had risked giving up his identity, the thing that could possibly get him thrown out of the League, and he was asking if he got the bad guy? It almost made him want to shake his head in exasperation. "Yes, Billy. Adam's....gone." The older man wasn't actually sure whether or not this was true, but from the looks of it, he'd say that there was little to no chance of the Captain's other half returning anytime soon.

 

"You- you better change. The league is coming and we will have to get down from here and face them." Bruce said, watching as the group slowly made their way towards them. 

 

Billy turned to look at the group as well, his chest heaving as he took in a deep breath and released it. "No.," he said, in almost a whisper.

 

Bruce furrowed his brow, turning his head to look at the young boy completely. He paused, seeing determination filling his features. He had known the boy had a will of iron and a heart of gold, but he had no clue he could be capable of something like this. 

 

"I've kept who I am hidden long enough. You all know who each other are...I think it's time I return that courtesy." he said, giving the bat a toothy, child-like smile before wincing in pain. "Dontcha think?" he asked, looking up at him.

 

Bruce sighed, pulling up his cowl back up. "I don't think I'll ever understand you, Batson," he said with a hint of a grin. Billy smiled at this, a full-on toothy smile. He then stood and let out another breath, looking down at the group that was waiting at the trunk of the towering tree. 

 

"Let's go then, shall we?" he asked, raising his arms. 

 

Batman inwardly laughed at the childish display, picking up the boy per his wordless request. He grabbed the grappling hook and released it, sliding down until they reached the ground. He kept a tight grip on Billy as they descended, setting him down once they were safely touching the earth once more.

 

He stood back as Billy stepped out from in front of him, seeming to collect his courage in a moment's notice. 

 

"Hi. My name is Billy Batson, and I'm 10 years old." Billy seemed to falter, hand pressed against his ribcage in pain, but Bruce put his hand on the boy's shoulder, a silent reminder that he was, and would remain, by his side.

 

"But you all probably know me as Captain Marvel."

 

- - - 

 

To Be Continued...

 

Chapter Text

 

 

- - -

 

"But you all probably know me as Captain Marvel."

 

- - -

 

Billy couldn't help the rush of adrenaline that pumped through his veins as he spoke to the League- getting an overall mixed reaction from his teammates. While Hal and Clark had wide-eyed, unbelieving looks, Barry seemed as if he'd burst from holding his laughter in any further. Diana, Ollie, and Dina all shared various degrees of confusion, and Bats- well let's just say he was amused.

 

It was Barry who actually broke the silence, bursting out into full-on laughter. He doubled over, holding his stomach as he laughed. Billy tilted his head, furrowing his brow in confusion. "Oh man- That- That is hilarious. How much did you pay him to say that, Bats? A hundo? two? Oh, oh- three?" he asked, giggles and snorts sneaking between his words. "I mean, that's rich. Really it is."

 

The scarlet speedster looked up to find the dark knight without a smile on his face, (which wasn't unusual, but something on his face just read 'i'm serious'.) and the laughter ceased. "Wait, you're serious?" he asked, looking back to the child.

 

Billy crossed his arms, nodding slowly. "Yea...?" he said, blinking.

 

The heroes around him exchanged glances, expressions ranging from confusion to guilt, to in Clark's case, rage. Billy caught a glimpse of the Kryptonian's anger and drew in a sharp breath, avoiding his gaze and taking a defensive step back towards Batman.

 

The man seemed to get the message, putting a protective armored hand on the boy's shoulder. "Well, it looks like our work here is done. Adam is gone, so we should get back to the Watchtower to discuss anything further." Bruce's voice left no room for argument, the surrounding adults making varying sounds of agreement. "Come on, Billy. You can ride with me if you like," he said with a ghost of a smile.

 

Billy nodded, glancing up at the people he idolized as they sent him looks of uncertainty or betrayal or even pity. He sighed, tears threatening to well in his eyes. He had hoped this wouldn't be the outcome of him telling them his identity, though the wisdom of Soloman told him that this was the most probable outcome. He sighed, following Batman to a jet.

 

He took a seat in what he assumed was the boy wonder's seat and buckled up. Sure, he could have transformed and met the team there, but that would be kinda awkward at the moment. Instead, Billy rested his arm on the armrest and held his head, looking out the window as they took off.

 

They rose into the atmosphere at a steady pace, Billy biting his lip as he got lost in thought. Batman attempted to make small talk, but after realizing Billy wasn't listening, left him to his own devices. This gave the boy time to think about what his next course of action should be, though that would be tough.

 

He knew that Batman accepted him, which was already a big weight off his shoulders, but after seeing the fury held in Superman's eyes, he wasn't sure what the rest of them would think. He knew he had kept something important from them, but it wasn't wrong if they never asked if he was a kid, right?

 

The boy was so deep within his own head that he didn't even notice when the jet ( which had at some point become suited for space travel ) landed. It wasn't until Batman was shaking his shoulder gently that he realized where they were. "Batson?" he asked, his cowl down, revealing bright blue eyes full of compassion.

 

Billy blinked, staring up at the man who he had come to think of as a mentor of his own. Batman had been the first to find out about his identity after a slip up involving a particularly harsh blizzard hitting Fawcett City and the Dark Knight catching him transforming. He had accepted the boy's reasoning for keeping it a secret and even had helped him with his superhero-ing- training, giving him tips, etc.

 

The raven-haired pair continued to stare until there was a banging at the door of the jet. They both looked up as Bruce helped the boy out of his seat. Billy took in a deep breath as Bats kneeled down in front of him. "Billy, listen to me," he said, licking his lips. He took a deep breath as well, cornflower blue eyes meeting each other. "Whatever happens next..." he said, glancing up at the door, "Just know that you're a hero. I know you are. You always will be."

 

And with that, he pulled his cowl back up, punching in a code that would open the jet door. Billy blinked, a small smile gracing his face. His heart felt warm at the words, and he puffed out his chest in confidence.

 

If no one else believed in him, at least he had Batman on his side.

 

 

- - -

 

 

Billy and Batman were greeted when they opened the door to a very antsy Flash, who gave them both a nervous smile. "They uh- they're waiting in the meeting room," he said, giving the boy a sorry look. "I tried to speak up for ya kid. I mean- Wally's not much older than you, and he's just as qualified to be a hero." Barry told him, managing a sad smile before speeding off.

 

Batman patted his shoulder before taking the lead, Billy trailing behind him as they walked into the massive base. The boy had never noticed before, (mainly because he had never come here as himself) but everything in the satellite seemed to tower over him, making him feel even smaller than he already was. The pair walked down the hall towards the meeting room, passing a ceiling to floor window on their way.

 

Billy paused, glancing out the window and becoming enraptured in the sight. He swallowed thickly, the reality of his situation coming to him. Tears welled in his eyes as he looked out into the ever-expanding reaches of space, for what could possibly be for the last time. If the league kicked him out, he sure wouldn't be allowed to come back here anymore.

 

The boy felt tears running down his cheeks at the thought, wiping them away quickly and leaving the stunning view. He had to run to catch up to the Dark Knight, but eventually managed to gain back the ground he had lost.

 

The pair stood before a massive door marked with a label that read "CONFERENCE ROOM" in bright golden letters. Batman looked down and nodded at him before opening the door. 

 

The chatter of voices coming from the room previously ceased, the room going silent as Billy took the lead. He walked to the center of the room, in the middle of the U-shaped table the League gathered around. Batman took his own seat near the head of the table, beside Clark and Diana.

 

Billy swallowed thickly and drew in a shaky breath, looking around at those he worked with and idolized. These heroes were people he had come to know as friends, as those he could go to to find family when the world felt particularly dark.

 

He had no clue what the future would hold for him now, or how the league would treat him. Sure, the boy was an optimist to the furthest extent, but even he knew when the odds were against him.

 

Billy took a deep breath, pushing back the tears that threatened to well in his eyes. He met each member eye to eye, standing his ground. "Ok." He started, licking his lips. "Let it rip." He muttered, a flash of hurt coming to his voice.

 

The members exchanged glances, some of them looking very unhappy to be there. It was actually Hal who spoke up first.

 

"Look, I'm not one who's ever had a sidekick- I'm not into the whole idol thing. But aren't the Young Justice team, a group of sidekicks mind you, just a little older than 10?" He asked, looking around for confirmation. At some head nods, the Green Lantern continued. "Ok, well then what's the big deal? It's not like he's got the body of a ten-year-old when he's out in the field. He follows orders and has the Wisdom of Salmon or whoever."

 

Billy couldn't help but grin at the man's mistake, a snicker forcing its way out. "I- uh- it's Solomon." He said timidly, making Hal smirk.

 

Green Lantern nodded once and drew in a breath. "Yea- that. Just cause the kid's ten now, doesn't mean he can't be a good hero."

 

Billy felt his chest tighten at the brunet's words, happiness swelling at the thought of a third person in his corner. He watches as some of the heroes talked amongst themselves, a few even nodding at Hal's words.

 

Diana stood up next, her hands on the table as she spoke. "Listen. I realize that Billy here may be a noble warrior whilst he is Captain Marvel, but I cannot in good conscience put a child into the field. We're a battle plan not to go accordingly, who is to say that he will not do something childish and go his own way?" She said, gesturing to the boy as she spoke. "We know not how long he has possessed these powers, and the minds of children are easily swayed."

 

Billy hated the fact that she spoke as if he weren't standing right there, hearing every word. It proved how much things would change between him and the League if he was allowed to stay on. He hoped her mind could be persuaded.

 

Once Diana was seated and the murmurs died down, J'onn stood. He clasped his hands behind his back, looking around at the members. "While I may not have the best grasp on the appropriate age of humans, I do believe that the reason Mr. Batson was conducted into the league was because of his heroic deeds, and the fact that he was qualified as a true hero. I assumed his age was not a factor." He Martian said, furrowing his brow.

 

He looked to the boy in question, tilting his head. "You remind me much of my niece. You are both strong-willed- determined to succeed in what you enjoy." J'onn looked back to the adults and shook his head. "I do not understand why you base one's ability on age, but it confuses me greatly." He said, taking his seat.

 

At this, Clark took the chance to speak, making Billy's heart beat quicker in his chest. He swallowed as the Kryptonian set his jaw, then opened it to speak. "Am I the only one who is livid with the fact that we've been LIED TO?!" He asked, looking around the table angrily. Billy felt his throats get tight, his breath hitching.

 

He had always looked up to the man that was now raving about him, and the thought of his idol hating him for what he'd done ate away at his confidence.

 

Superman looked to Batman, anger in his eyes. "You knew, I assume, and kept it from us? He could have been KILLED, and how would that have weighed on your conscience? Sending a child into battle is DANGEROUS, and the fact that he's gotten away with it already makes me re-think more than just him for membership." Clark let out a breath through his nose, looking to Billy.

 

The boy flinched, taking a small step backward. "And you." He said, narrowing his eyes. "What were you thinking?! Withholding this information from us not only puts yourself in danger but us as well! If the public knew that we sent a child on missions, the Justice League could be put out of commission!" As the Kryptonian ranted on, Billy felt years come to his eyes.

 

The boy's gaze flicked to Batman, who tenses at the sight. His guilt ate away at him, fear catching up to him and making him tremble.

 

At this, Bruce stood, slamming his hands down onto the table. "CLARK, THAT'S ENOUGH." He growled, the eyes of his cowl narrowing at the alien. Superman paused, mouth parted for his next words. "You're scaring him," Batman said, gaze flicking to the teary-eyed, trembling ten-year-old.

 

The anger in Clark's eyes seemed to vanish at the sight, being replaced with shock, then sadness. "I-" the man started, Billy holding up a hand to stop him. He drew in a shaky breath and wiped the tears on his tattered sleeves, blinking up at the man. "It's fine. It- it needed to be said..." he said, voice barely above a whisper. "I can take it. I've taken worse." He said, looking up to fully face the superhero.

 

Superman seemed to be taken back by this, steam that had been fueling his argument vanishing. He took his seat, staring at the table and silently muttering to himself.

 

Billy looked back at the heroes and swallowed, trying to get his breathing under control. "I- I guess it's my turn then." He said, rubbing the back of his neck. "Look- I...I don't expect you to understand. I withheld something vital from you guys, I know this. I guess...I guess I just felt that if you knew, you'd see the Captain as nothing but a joke. I wouldn't be taken seriously, and I- I just..." he sighed, looking to the floor.

 

"I was done with being ignored because of my age. I mean, if an ancient being saw something that was worth giving power to, I guess I just didn't want to go back to being someone everybody underestimated and ignored."

 

The truth was, Billy had been ignored for five years, ever since his mother and father died, leaving him alone and on the streets. People passed him without a second glance, even when he would try and live by his father's rule; do good and good will follow. He was tired of being ignored and hadn't wanted it from these guys.

 

Billy sighed, unable to meet the eyes of those he looked up to. "I understand if you don't want me in the League..." he said, looking to Batman as he managed a small smile. "But that won't stop me from being a hero. This world needs as much help as it can get, and I intend on being one of those to help it. With, or without, your support." And with that, the boy turned and walked to the door.

 

"I'll wait outside until you come to a decision." He said, turning back and giving them a small, nervous smile and nod.

 

Billy took a seat outside the room on the ground, sliding down the wall and onto the smooth tile floor. He pulled his legs up against his chest, wrapping his arms around them and burying his face into his knees. He sighed, letting his thoughts consume him as he waited for an answer.

 

 

 

- - -

 

 

The boy had begun to doze when he heard the door open, Bruce standing there to greet him. "Billy?" He asked, kneeling down and easing the kid back into wakefulness. "It's time." The man said, standing up and walking inside. Billy attempted to gather what shambles of courage he had left, standing up and trying to straighten his worn-out shirt. He gave up after the third attempt, however, and slowly followed suit.

 

The League sat around the table, Batman having taken his seat. Billy walked to the center of the room once more and folding his hands in front of him, looking up at the superheroes. Diana, Clark, and Bruce all stood, looking down at him.

 

"Billy Batson." Clark started, tilting his head, "We have found that, after much analysis, that you have the tendency to be childish, immature, and at times, reckless. This, however, can only be attributed to your mental age." He said, looking to Diana.

 

She took a deep breath and too, tilted her head. "However-" her tone caught his attention, it being one of understanding- if not slight apprehension. "You have proven in the past that you are a valuable and powerful member of this team. You may be wise in times of crisis, and do things that none of us could." Diana lifted her head as if to make sure she was making a wise decision.

 

It was Batman who spoke next, a small, (minuscule really) smile on his face. "That is why, William Joseph Batson, AKA Captain Marvel..." Billy felt his chest swell at the anticipation, swallowing thickly. "We, as the founding members of the Justice League, along with those chosen to join our ranks, have voted to continue your membership with this team."

 

Billy's eyes widened, his theist going dry as a smile crept onto his face. "R-really?" He asked, licking his lips as tears once again came to his eyes. "Y-you mean it?" The trio nodded once, sending the boy's spirit through the roof. He broke out into a full, crooked, toothy grin, a laugh coming to his mouth.

 

"I can stay?!" He asked with a smile. "I can stay!!" The boy whooped and jumped into the air, the picture of happiness. When he noticed the adults watching him with amused grins, he faked a cough and stopped. "I uh- sorry," he said, his cheeks turning bright pink as he blushed.

 

"Why don't I take you home, Batson?" Batman asked, dismissing the group and walking around the table. "I mean unless you'd like to get there yourself?" he asked as they walked out of the meeting room. Billy gave him a grin as they walked to the Zeta tubes, stopping before they entered.

 

"It's alright Mr. Wayne, I can handle getting home on my own," he said, giving the man a nod. "But-" Billy paused, scratching at his neck. "I wanted to thank you....for...ya know, sticking up for me and stuff."

 

Batman breathed a laugh, (a rarity if you'll believe that) and kneeled down next to the boy. "It was no trouble. I mean what I said you know," he told him, looking the boy in the eyes. "I do think you're a hero. And you don't need the League to prove that," he said, standing up. "Have a good night, Billy."

 

The raven-haired boy flashed him a toothy grin and walked into the Zeta Tube, the computer announcing his departure. 

 

 

 

- - -

 

 

Billy was transported to the heart of Fawcett City, into an old photo booth with an "OUT OF ORDER" sign attached to it. He climbed out of the booth and looked around, taking a deep breath before sneaking out of the alleyway.

 

The boy rounded the corner and set on his way home, back to the place he'd been lucky enough to be staying at for the past couple of months- with Dudley H. Dudley, a man whom he'd lovingly dubbed 'Uncle Dudley'. He hurried down the sidewalk towards the apartment building, glancing back up at the sky as he made his way up the brick building's steps.

 

With a grin, he let out the breath he'd been holding in his mind since the battle and opened the door to the apartment complex. 

 

 

- - -

 

 

Chapter Text

(( 2,135 words ))

 

 

- - - 

 

Fawcett City- a town known for its sunshine, pleasant weather, and friendly people is not immune to Winter's icy breath. The first snowfall of the season is always a day to celebrate, with children's voices in the air as they play in the powdery substance, while adults spend their day enjoying each other's company. 

 

A young boy by the name of Billy Batson walked down a sidewalk of the frozen town. He let out a breath, releasing a curling, spiraling burst of warmth. The boy pulled his thin coat closer to his body, rubbing his hands together as he walked. He had been saving money from delivering newspapers for a while now, and was finally going to purchase a pair of gloves and a hat from the corner store.

 

Billy turned the corner, breathing into his cupped hands as he walked into the store. "Hello, Mr. Batson! You enjoying the weather?" the woman at the counter asked, her tone as chipper as usual. Billy gave a small shrug and a nod, looking around for the basket of discount winter-wear. "You lookin' for the scarves and stuff?" she asked, leaving over the counter. 

 

The boy looked up at her, his smile shrinking a bit. "Yea- what happened to them?" he asked, furrowing his brow. 

 

The lady gave him a pitiful look, tilting her head. "There was a whole hoard of people who came in and grabbed 'em all. Sorry kiddo," she said, bending behind the counter. Billy's shoulder's slumped, inwardly cursing himself for not hurrying over.

 

"But..." she started again, straightening out. "I did snag you a pair of gloves before we ran out." Billy looked up at the woman, who was holding out a pair of bright red gloves to him. He smiled, wide and toothy, before accepting the winter wear. "Holy Moley- Thank you, miss!" he said happily, setting his money- three crumpled bills and a couple of coins -on the counter. She chuckled and accepted the payment, as Billy pulled off the tags. 

 

He slipped the gloves on his hands and grinned at the relief they gave him. He waved good-bye to the woman, pushing open the door to the corner store and stepping outside into cool air. The boy shivered slightly at the sudden wall of chill that hit him but grinned brightly. 

 

Billy continued on down his previous path, with more spring in his step than before. He passed a crudely made snowman sitting outside an apartment building, wiping his nose on his sleeve as he glanced at it. The raven-haired boy then turned the corner, making his way towards the city park. 

 

Fawcett City Public Park was pretty big, considering how small the town often felt. It was the only one in the city, so most of its residents came here if they wanted to enjoy nature. 

 

On a day like this, however, people weren't enjoying nature as much as they were the fresh piles of snow and glistening ice that covered just about every inch of the park. Billy walked through the main entrance- a large brick arch that held aloft iron bars and a plaque that read "Fawcett City Park".

 

The boy scanned the area before him, looking at the children playing in mounds of snow, couples holding hands as they walked down frozen sidewalks, and families buying hot drinks from a vendor near a leaf-less tree. 

 

Billy grinned at the sight, child-like wonder welling up inside. "Holy Moley," he said to himself, taking off in a sprint towards a mound of snow. His sprint changed to a dive as he flew hands-first into the pile. 

 

He laughed as his head popped out of the snow pile, looking around to see none other than the team, as Billy lovingly referred to the Young Justice team as, making their way towards him. Panic set into his mind at first, eyes widening at the thought of them having seen him acting so childish.

 

He cast his eyes down as they came closer, but looked up when they stopped. "Uh- h-hey guys..." he said, casting his gaze down. While Captain Merval may be higher ranked than them, Billy Batson was just a homeless 10-year old, one who had just been caught acting extremely childish.

 

Billy mentally slapped himself for doing that, and risked a glance up, expecting to see angry or disturbed expressions, only to find wry grins and smiles. "Hey, Batson. Mind if we join ya?" Wally asked, crossing his arms over his chest. 

 

The boy was taken back by this. The team had never wanted to hang out with him before; granted, until four days ago, they hadn't known his secret identity. He was still on suspension for that one and hadn't been able to explain himself to the team. He was honestly expected to be bombarded with questions and accusations and demands for him to step down and resign from the league but had been met with none of that. 

 

"I- I uh-" he stammered, standing and tumbling out of the pile and onto the ground. He let out a grunt and felt himself being lifted off the ground by gentle hands, looking up to see M'gann helping him up. He shook himself off, straightening his wool hat. "I mean, if you want to be seen hanging with a kid, you can but-" he was cut off by a hand from Robin- er, Dick, and a surprising smile.

 

"Ca- Billy, Conner's like 2, and Wally's 13, so I think we're fine with hanging out with people a little younger than us," he said cooly, a grin on his face. 

 

Billy brightened, a smile appearing on his face. "Holy Moly, that's awesome!" he said, wanting nothing more than to wrap his arms around the teen and hug him, but restrained himself. The black-haired boy instead picked up some snow and made it into a ball, narrowing his eyes with a grin. "Ok then, You're IT!" he said, chunking the mound of snow right at Wally's face. 

 

The redhead was just in time to glance up and see the snow collide with his face, before laughing and sitting on the ground. "Oh, that's it, Batson! You're going DOWN to SNOWBALL TOWN!!" he said, gathering his own snow and making it into a ball. 

 

Billy practically screamed, running to hide behind M'gann and giggle. The martian didn't know what hit her when the snowball collided with her chest, making her stumble backwards and trip over Billy. She fell to the ground with a laugh, and the war began.

 

Billy, M'gann, and Conner on one side, with Wally, Dick, and Zatanna on the other, prepared themselves for war. Each team had made a snow fort and was now hiding behind them and planning out a battle strategy. 

 

They played like this for hours; taking things too seriously, but all in good fun. The team didn't treat Billy any differently, didn't talk down to him like the League had when they'd first found out, and seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time with him. 

 

When the sun began to set, Billy and the Young Justice team had decided that it was time they break up the get-together. "Ok, well- thank you, very much for spending the day with me," Billy said, straightening his cap for what felt like the hundredth time today, and smiled at the teens. 

 

"'Course Batson! It was a lot of fun." Wally said, clapping him on the shoulder. Billy grinned at that, breathing out a laugh. "Well, I'd better get going. See you guys around," he said, shoving his hands in his pockets and making his way towards the park entrance. What he didn't see, though, was the team having already 'left', and secretly watching him from afar. 

 

Billy made his way home, whistling to himself as the cool wind burned his cheeks. He felt warmer than he had in a long time, though, and couldn't get his mind off the day's activities. It had been more fun than Billy could have asked for, though the back of his mind kept saying it had been out of pity. Billy shook the thoughts from his head, not wanting to think like that.

 

The boy turned and walked up the stone stairs that led to an abandoned building, shaking his head as he opened the door and walked inside. Billy had been so wrapped up in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed the tracks that led up the stairs, nor the fact that some of his things had been moved when he stepped into the abandoned apartment he'd claimed as his own. 

 

The young hero pulled off his mittens and set them on an old wood table, then took off his ratty, soaked sneakers and frowned. "Right..." he muttered, setting them in the tub that rest in the bathroom. Billy sighed and took off his wet socks, grimacing as his cold toes were exposed to the equally cold air. 

 

He sighed and set the socks over the back of a chair, walking to his bed; an old mattress that was missing a few springs; and plopped down. He grinned to himself, wrapping up in the thin blanket that lay on top of said mattress. While it wasn't the best situation to find one's self in, Billy had learned over the years not to take anything for granted. He smiled to himself at the meager warmth the blanket gave him, closing his eyes and trying to fall asleep.

 

When there was a crash, Billy bolted upright in his bed and narrowed his eyes. "Who's there?" he called out, looking around. The sun had disappeared over the horizon, the last bit of light only illuminating the room slightly. "H-hello? I'm warning you, you don't want to mess with me..." he said, confidence wavering. While he would never use Captain Marvel to hurt someone for something as innocent as a break-in, especially when it was this cold out, it still gave him reassurance that he wasn't all alone.

 

When he heard a cough and saw Wally stumble out from the shadow, his eyes grew wide. "W-WALLY!?' he asked, suddenly very aware of his home state. 

 

The ginger boy looked hurt; almost sad as he stared at Billy. "Batson, do- do you live here?" he asked, no pity in his voice, just pain and fear. Billy shrunk in on himself. They already knew of his secret identity, they couldn't know about his home life too, he didn't want the pitying looks he was sure to get.

 

"I- I uh-" he said, mouth opening and closing wordlessly. He wasn't sure how to respond to this but was cut off anyways when Robin, M'gann, Conner, and Zatanna came out of their own hiding places. 

 

Billy glanced from face to face, searching for signs of pity. He found none, which confused him. He had expected the team to pity him, tell him how he didn't have to live this way, how foster homes and orphanages could be better, but they didn't say a word.

 

Then he remembered who was in front of him.

 

This was a group that knew heartbreak, that knew what it was like to want to be independent. Many of them had probably felt as he had; not seeking pity, not wanting others to know in fear of receiving it. They were teenagers that had gone through things that would break most adults, and continued to be heroes. 

 

They understood that things could be better, but knew the reasons they couldn't be at the same time.

 

Billy was pulled from his thoughts by a warm embrace, looking up to see Robin enveloping him in a hug. The touch was surprising, but not unwanted. The raven-haired boy returned the gesture, and suddenly found himself at the center of a superhero group hug. 

 

Tears welled in his eyes, a smiled racing his face. They had conveyed understanding, warmth, sadness, fear, and love without the use of words, just by simply hugging him. The boy sniffled, burying his face in Robin's cloak. "Thank you..." he whispered, only loud enough for the ward of Batman to hear.

 

And that was how he fell asleep, the day's events catching up to him in full, unshed tears in his eyes as he clung to Robin, drifting asleep in the warmth that surrounded him and snow clung to the earth around them.

 

I mean, how else are you supposed to spend a snow day?

 

~ ~ ~

 

THE END! 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

- - -

 

MOUNT JUSTICE

TUESDAY,  4:38PM.

 

- - -

 

 

The sun was high in the sky over Happy Harbor, shining on the sand and making it warm. Disgruntled teens shuffled over the sand, backpacks slung over their shoulders and book bags hanging limply in their arms. Dick led the group to the mountain, pressing a button on a small device in his hand. 

There was a whooshing sound and a door appeared out of the rock, opening for the teens and allowing them access to Mount Justice. They trailed in slowly, the hidden door shutting behind them. Cool air wafted through the main room, cooling the teenagers as they tossed their belongings onto the TV room's coffee table.

Artemis plopped down on the couch, leaning her head back as she let out a guttural sound of annoyance. "You would not believe the day I had," she said openly, getting a few nods of agreement from the others. 

M'gann and Conner took a seat in the loveseat, M'gann on Conner's lap as he turned on the TV and began flipping through channels. "I hear that. The coach was being totally unreasonable during class today," he muttered, the Martian in his lap leaning against his chest and closing her eyes. 

Wally sifted through the fridge, growling in frustration when all he could find was a nearly empty carton of milk and some asparagus. "Where's all the food? I'm runnin' on fumes here," he said, crossing his arms. "Miss Rider decided that it'd be a great idea to keep me through lunch and practice trigonometry..." he said bitterly, leaning against the counter that Dick had hoisted himself onto.

"I'm sure it wasn't that bad, guys." Grayson attempted, tilting his head with a smirk. "I mean, it's just school." 

"It's not just that, Dick-" Kaldur said, the water bottle in his hand near empty as he leaned against the wall. "I believe that the stress of both being heroes and taking care of our civilian duties is wearing on everyone's nerves."

Dick furrowed his brow, shaking his head with a disbelieving smile. "You're kidding, right?" he asked, getting confused looks back. "Come on, guys! I've been doing this for years now and you don't see me complaining!" he said, his smile beginning to disappear. 

"Yeah well some of us haven't been heroes for that long, okay?" Artemis snapped, her fingers digging into the fabric on the couch. "Not all of us are the ward of a billionaire- some of us actually have pretty shitty home lives." she spat, glaring at the coffee table.

The tension in the room grew thicker then, putting the heroes on edge as silence came over them. "She's right," M'gann muttered, looking at the floor. 

Conner looked at her, holding her close until she pushed him away. She stood, arms close to her chest. "Some of us have pretty horrible lives." 

Artemis rolled her eyes with a scoff, putting her feet on the table. "Yeah right, like you do?" she asked mockingly. "I bet I have it worse than the lot of you." Artemis sat up then, crossing her arms over her chest. "My mom is in a wheelchair, for Christ's sake! And my dad? He's a supervillain," she bit out, glaring at the other members of the group.

"Try living as an outcast from your people, forced to live with those who can't really understand you," Kaldur said, crushing the now empty water bottle in his hand. "You aren't the only one going through hardships, Artemis. We all are." 

Connor stood then, his mouth twitching. "Outcast? You wanna talk about outcast? Try being the only one of your kind alive, or better yet, the clone of someone who doesn't want anything to do with you." he growled, remote smashing to pieces in his hand. 

M'gann flinched, taking a steadying breath before speaking. "I know what that's like. I've been considered an outcast by all of Mars, why do you think I came here..." she said, tears forming in her eyes. 

Dick shook his head, unmoving from his spot leaning against the counter. "You think I have it easy?' he asked, not waiting for a response. "My parents died when I was 9, and I watched them as they plummetted from an unimaginable height. Yeah, I'm the ward of a billionaire, but that's only because I witnessed my parents' deaths first-hand," he said, taking a deep breath and calming himself.

Wally stayed quiet, a self-depreciating smile on his face. "All I wanted was to be like my uncle. If I don't keep up my food intake, I'll die within the week," he muttered, shoving his hands in his pockets.

What the teens hadn't noticed, was a certain blonde hero lurking in the doorway. She listened to them list off their problems, trying to one up each other. It was true that these kids hadn't lived the easiest lives, some tougher than others, but a certain someone came to her mind as they spoke. Black Canary drew in a breath and steeled her nerves, taking a step into the doorway.

She walked into the room and cleared her throat, gaining the attention of the group. 

"I couldn't help but overhear your....argument..." she said simply, gesturing to the main large couch. The teens each sat down wordlessly as she walked over to them, grabbing a stool from the bar as she did. She set it down on the floor before them, taking a seat on it and crossing her legs.

She looked at them for a moment, taking in the silence around them before she spoke. "You kids think you have it bad," she stated. "While it's true that you have not lived the easiest lives..." Artemis rolled her eyes. "I believe there is a story you all should hear. It might give you some...perspective." 

The heroes looked at each other for a little too long, some making odd facial expressions as the silence rolled on. Canary cleared her throat once more, looking at M'gann. "M'gann, please shut down your telepathic link for a moment," she said, the young Martian complying with a nod.

'Now then," she started, pausing at the thought of just where to start. While it was true that the League knew of Captain Marvel's secret identity, as well as the life the boy has lived, (he had told them himself) the sidekicks young heroes knew nothing of it. She knew Billy had been wanting to tell the team for the longest time and simply didn't know how to go about it.

Now, it was up to her. 

Dinah straightened, a small smile on her face as she started just where Billy had when he first told the League his tale. 

"I know you kids think you've had it rough. But let me tell you the story of a child hero who really knows the meaning of hardship. You see, there's this boy named Billy Batson. He's ten years old and has been a hero since he was 7." this gained some shocked faces from the group, Dick looking intrigued. 

"I know what you're thinking. 'I've been a hero for longer' or 'he's just a kid, how hard could his life be'. But just listen. Billy's parents died in an archeological accident when he was 6. After their death, he was sent to live with a man by the name of Ebenezer Batson. The money his parents had left for him went into the elderly man's accounts, and once everything was settled, he threw the boy out."

At the mention of that, she noticed Superboy visibly tense and picked at a small piece of fluff on her uniform. She was about to continue the story until the computer called out a certain hero's name and number.

"Captain Marvel; 15." 

"Hey guys, I brought some snacks back, courtesy of Bat-"

Dinah straightened, looking to the tall man as he walked cheerfully in. In his arms were stuffed grocery bags, 7 or 8 on each arm. He paused at the sight of them, his smile disappearing on his face and being replaced with one of confusion.

"Uh- am I interrupting something?" he asked, his head tilting slightly to the left in question. 

The blonde smiled warmly at him, standing up. "Not at all, Captain. I was just telling them of a certain 10-year-old superhero," she said, watching as the man set down the bags on the counter and looked back at her with slightly widened eyes.

"Uh- You don't say?" he asked, glancing at the teens before looking back at her. He started pulling things out of the bags- fruit, chips, candy- as the teens watched them silently.

"Yes. Would you like to take over for me? I really need to talk to Ollie." she knew he wouldn't say no, and was kind of putting the boy on the spot, but this was what he had wanted for so long, and she wasn't going to let him back down.

"Oh uh- sure thing. Where are you at in the uh- story?"

"Well, the young hero was just wrongly thrown out into the streets." she said, the hero before her giving her a small, appreciative smile. 

"Alright. I can do that," he said after a few moments, looking back at the teens before grabbing a jar of peanut butter from one of the bags and a spoon. He then walked over to the group and tossed Wally the items, who opened them happily and started eating. "Thought you might be kinda hungry," he said with a smile, sitting where Canary had previously been.

The blonde looked at him and winked, to which the Captain nodded at. The teens between them were varying levels of confused but stayed quiet.

"Well," Marvel said, scratching at his neck. "Let's see... After Billy was thrown out, he hopped from foster home to foster home-" Dick flinched. "Some were good, full of kids to play with and loving people, though they may not have had the money to care for...him. Others..." The man trailed off, a shiver going down his spine at the memory. "L-Let's just say they weren't the best." 

The raven-haired man rubbed his wrists, shifting in his seat.

"Anyways, that went on for years- from one house to another, and then another, an endless cycle of moving, adjusting, moving again, until eventually..." He sighed. "He fell through the cracks."

"At the age of 7, after about a week of living on the streets, Billy came across something that would change his life. You see, at the time, he was living in an abandoned subway station. The place was dark and damp, there were rusty pipes running along the walls and the smell of mildew would soak into his clothes."

"One day, a train showed up, out of the blue, on a track that didn't work. It was white, with a glowing interior and gave off an other-worldly aura."

"Curiosity took over, and the boy boarded the train, which brought him to this massive cavern. There, he met a wizard, that granted him unimaginable power." The Captain stopped rubbing his wrists, glancing up at the teens, who were listening intently. 

"This being gave him the ability to do what no normal person could, to help those that couldn't help themselves."

"After that, he kept living on the streets. But he realized something. With the power he'd been given, he could make a difference. No one would have to live like he did, be alone in the dark, fearing for their life. People could walk the streets safely and not worry about being mugged or attacked."

"So..." Marvel said, letting out a breath with a small smile on his face. "Billy helped people to the best of his ability. He did that for two years, all by himself, while still trying to keep to his moral compass. He chose to live by the words his parents told him, and it's probably what kept him alive."

Wally tilted his head up at the man. "What were the words?" he asked curiously.

The raven smiled. "Do good, and good will follow."

"Anyways, at the age of ten, some people came to him that changed his life even further."

Confusion was written upon the young heroes faces, and it took all the willpower Marvel had not to laugh. "You can probably guess who they are- I mean, they're a pretty big deal." he said, the words sparking a flurry of noise from the teens.

"Wait, does that mean there's a 10-year-old on the Justice League?!" Superboy asked, his eyes wide.

"If that's true, then it's completely unfair for us not to be treated the same!" Wally said, his peanut butter forgotten.

"Why haven't we seen him then? Don't we know every member of the League?"

"I've never even seen a kid in the Hall of Justice, let alone superpowered one."

"There's no way this is possible."

"How could they be so hypocritical?" Artemis growled, sinking in her seat.

"I don't believe that Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, let alone any other member of the League would allow a child into the heat of battle. There's something you're leaving out, Captain." Kaldur said, eyes narrowing on the hero before them.

The hero's face held a quirk of a smile, looking at them with such old eyes that the teens were thrown off for a moment. It was covered in an instant though, replaced with the man's iconic naivety and cheer.

"That's true, Kaldur. I am." 

Before the teens could start another fuss, the man held up a hand. "I know the reason they didn't want you guys in the League," he said, gaining their attention.

"It isn't that they think you're incapable. It's not that you're not strong enough, or skilled enough, or even old enough." This got some eye rolls, which he had expected, but continued on just the same.

"It's cause they care about you. They care too much," he said, his shoulders relaxed as he spoke.

"They wouldn't be able to bear it if they were to send those they spent their time caring for- the kids that they've trained and watched grow up- into harm's way, and if they were to lose you guys..." he trailed off, shaking his head.

"That's all well and fine, Captain, but what does this have to do with there being a kid on the League?" Robin asked, leaning back on the couch.

The man smiled, looking at his boots before back up at the people before him. "I had to prove myself to earn a spot on the League. I've made mistakes and done things that I'm not proud of, but in the process, I've learned what it means to be a hero."

"Recently...I- I've had to prove it again. Moreso, I think, given the circumstances. You see, the reason you've never seen the ten-year-old on the League...is cause he doesn't look ten." he said, standing up and taking a few steps back.

"Shazam."

The teens shielded their eyes from the flash of light with their arms, guarding their vision as lightning crackled and coursed through the Captain's body, creating a bloom of smoke that enveloped him.

When it began to clear, a small boy with a messy mop of raven-black hair emerged.

"That ten-year-old...is me."

The room was silent- you could hear a pin drop. Billy stood before the teens, who had a rainbow of emotions on their faces, his hands behind his back and spine straight. He knew these guys were confused, possibly even angry, but they needed to know.

He glanced down at the floor, about to speak up when his stomach spoke for him.

It growled loudly, and his hoodie-clad arms snapped to his stomach, in an attempt to muffle the noise. He winced at the sharp pain in his core, trying not to let it show on his face. When he straightened back up, he saw the team, tense and seemingly about to spring into action.

"What?" he asked, swallowing thickly and readying himself for a possible attack.

These guys wouldn't hurt him, right? He hadn't done anything wrong, plus they were heroes-

Robin stood silently, walking past him with a swish of his cape. 

But that didn't mean they wouldn't be angry with him.

Billy's shoulders drooped, biting his bottom lip as he waited for someone else to get up and storm off. No one moved, their eyes all silently fixed on something right behind the boy.

He turned and looked up to find Robin holding an apple out to him, crouching down so they were at eye-level.

"Thanks, Captain." he said quietly, setting the apple in his hand.

Billy furrowed his brow, looking down at the fruit for a moment before looking back up. There, he saw Robin smile, ruffled his hair and walk back towards the couch.

"Oh uh- my name's actually Billy," he said, glancing at the apple then to the team.

"Billy Batson."

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

 

- - -

- - -

 

The sky was dark as thunder boomed overhead, ominous clouds rolling towards Fawcett City. The rainy season could be one of the most beautiful seasons for most, but one of the deadliest for the homeless. Sickness spread easier through soaked clothing, cold weather, and howling wind. It was safe to say that young Billy Batson was not looking forward to it. The 12-year old walked aimlessly through the streets of his beloved city, casually checking for any signs of trouble. 

He had already finished his rounds for the day and was heading back to his makeshift home of the week, a small inlet created by the overhang of a diner's roof, the back alley of a bank, and the wall of a building Billy didn't know the name of. The young hero hummed to himself as he walked under a bridge, nodding with a small smile to an older man sitting by a shopping cart.

Once he was out from under the bridge, Billy turned and got back on the sidewalk, closer to his destination. He walked down an alley until he reached the end, the small space near a tattered chain-link fence. There was a worn blanket in the corner, some boxes here and there, and discarded food wrappers littered about. Billy ignored them in favor of plopping down on an old beanbag he had found, the side torn and repeatedly patched.

He looked up at the overhang of the roof, which provided some cover, but not a lot. The clouds had long since rolled in over the city completely, hanging ominously, waiting to release their boon upon Fawcett City’s citizens. Billy sighed, grabbing a blanket and pulling it over himself. Thunder rolled in the sky as lightning crackled, signaling a beginning to the showers.

As if on cue, rain poured from the sky, heavy and bone-drenching. The 12-year-old flinched at the sudden sharp cold of rain pouring off the roof and splattering on the ground around him.

He watched as puddles formed in the alley, reflecting the grim sky above him. He pulled the blanket tighter around his thin frame, shaking as the cold air nipped at his skin. There was a sudden rattling noise, causing the boy to look around for its source. He frowned, his brow furrowed as he realized the sound was above him.

Billy looked up slowly, only to find the overhang of the roof rattling against the side of the building. The overhang itself wasn’t attached to the roof, simply being leftover tin from constructing the building, but it hadn’t ever moved before. 

The boy was pulled from his thoughts by a crash of thunder, the overhang rattling violently before slipping off the roof completely. It was sent crashing down right toward Billy, the boy’s eyes widening as he untangled himself from the blanket and threw himself out of the way of the falling scrap metal.

He fell into a puddle, his hands scraping against the asphalt and stinging his skin. Rain drenched his clothes, making his hair stick to his head. Billy winced, biting his tongue as he looked back at the inlet. It was nothing more than a pile of scrap now, and salvaging anything from the wreckage would have to wait. For now, he had to get out of this downpour.

The boy looked at his hands, palms scratched and bloody, though the rain made the blood run down his wrists and through his fingers. He swallowed and stood up, looking around for possible cover. The rain made it hard to see very far, but he knew the area well and headed towards where he knew an overpass was.

Cold rain pelted his clothes, soaking the fabric as he ran through the storm. Thunder crackled overhead, bearing down on him menacingly. Billy ignored it in favor of running under a large overpass, chest heaving as he let himself pause in the momentary shelter from the storm.

He glanced around nervously, knowing that multiple homeless people made residence here and that the ones that did weren’t too keen on strangers.

The raven-haired child pulled off his drenched jacket, wringing it out the best he could before tucking it under his arm. He looked around for something he could use to cover his head, spotting a discarded newspaper on the ground. He picked it up and flipped it open, smiling softly as he nodded at the item.

Billy tied his jacket around his waist and held the paper over his head as a shield, making a mad dash out from under the bridge and onto the sidewalk. His worn sneakers splashed in the various puddles that covered the sidewalks, the boy ignoring them in favor of keeping his mind on his destination.

He turned a corner and slipped through a loose board in a wooden fence, discarding the paper as he came out on the other side. Rain once again pelted his face, making him squint as he walked up to the object he’d been looking for.

To the ordinary passerby, the lot was empty. If someone stumbled upon the machine, it looked as if was simply an old dismantled photo booth in which rats made their nests. But to those who knew better knew it was a boom tube. Billy took a seat inside the machine, relaxing against the seat and closing his eyes.

He had no intention of initiating the machine, only using the small space to get out of the rain. Billy allowed himself a chance to catch his breath and get his wits in order, wrestling the wet jacket off of his waist and laying it over the back of the seat. While to the average person space may be cramped, to this ten-year-old it was a perfect fit. He turned to the side and rested his back against the wall, drawing his legs in so that his knees were nearly touching his chest.

Lightning flashed through the faded curtain, making Billy look up anxiously. He shook his head at his own nervousness, though the fact that the lightning could never hurt him did nothing to ease his irrational kid nerves. In an attempt to keep his mind off the storm he pulled off his soggy sneakers and set them on the floor of the booth, wriggling his toes inside his still somewhat-dry socks.

Billy bit his lip in thought before sliding his fingers over the wall to his left until he hit a break in the metal. He pressed it gently and a hidden compartment slid open, revealing a thin but dry blanket. He grabbed it and slid the compartment closed, thanking the Gods that there were emergency fire blankets in all the boom tubes.

He glanced at the console, the thought of changing into Marvel and simply going to the Watchtower for a while coming to mind. He dismissed it, however, unable to think of a reason as to why he would be there out of the blue.

‘Hey guys, it was raining in Fawcett City, so I decided to come here and hang out until the storm passed.’

The thought was enough to make him huff a laugh at himself, shaking his head as he wrapped his thin arms around himself. “They’d think I was pathetic,” he muttered to himself, thunder punctuating his sentence.

Billy closed his eyes with a sigh and leaned back against the wall of the booth, blanket pulled tightly against him. He didn’t want pity, not from the foster care ladies, not from tourists, and especially not from those he idolized. With a ragged breath, he let the sound of rain hitting his shelter lull him slowly to sleep.

 

 

- - -

 

 

When he woke up, it was because the thin curtain of the booth had been jerked away, allowing a cool breeze to blow in and cause BIlly to tremble. The sun barely poked its way through the dark clouds that still hung in the air, ready to give way at any moment.

He blinked rapidly and lifted a hand to shield his view as his eyes adjusted, although the action was pointless because of the figure in the door already blocking out the light. A silhouette of glowing sunlight outlines the person, making their features dark as they stood before him. Billy swallowed, his eyes finally adjusting to the sudden light and able to make out the person’s features.

The boy’s eyes widened when he saw Superman standing before him, or rather his civilian identity, Clark Kent. He was in a sharp suit, a notepad in one hand, an umbrella hung around his other.

He was left to gape at the ‘reporter’ not hearing the man when he spoke. Billy shook his head and came out of his stupor just in time to see Clark snapping in his face.

“Kid?” he asked, his voice gentle. It always was when dealing with civilians, only when around the rest of the league did the Kryptonian speak with real strength behind his words. Superman furrowed his brow when Billy still didn’t respond, glancing around the boy at his little setup.

The raven-haired boy too looked around him, licking his lips out of nervousness. “I uh- I’m sorry…” he started, only to remember that Supes had no idea of his civilian identity. For all the man knew, he was just a boy who had taken up residence in the photo booth for the night. But that begged the question...why was Superman here then? How had he known Billy was in there? Was he looking for Captain Marvel?

Billy was pulled from his thoughts by the man straightening his glasses and giving him a fake smile. He had seen the man give the same one to the press many times, and it honestly made him nervous. He thumbed the thin blanket that was still draped over his legs, unaware of the action.

He glanced rapidly around the booth again, looking for something that might give Superman a reason to be here. His eyes caught on a small, tiny really, black dome in the corner of the booth, making his heart stop. Of course they had cameras in the booth, and of course, they’d send someone to make sure a civilian didn’t accidentally discover a boom tube here.

Billy mentally slapped himself for not thinking of it before, looking up at Clark as he eyed the boy. It was only a moment before the taller man spoke.

“Who are you and how did you know about this booth?” The question was simple. The area was cloaked, appearing from the outside like an empty, fenced-off alley. The booth itself was nothing out of the ordinary if found, but if the hidden cameras had been going, (and Billy was positive they had been) someone must have seen him look for and open the hidden compartment.

Billy swallowed, his breathing getting quicker as the Kryptonian continued to stare at him. “I- I didn’t-” he stumbled over his words, unable to think of a good excuse with Superman standing before him. Sweat beaded on his brow as he stayed quiet, looking around for a possible exit. 

Clark sighed, shaking his head. "It seems you know a little too much for your own good. Wait here. I have to make a phone call." and with that, he disappeared around the corner.

Billy stared wide-eyed at where he had gone, sure that the man's 'phone call" was simply an excuse for Superman to show up. He looked around for an exit route like Batman had taught him, only spotting the way he'd come in. 

He could always transform, but if the raven-haired man was still around the corner, or worse, if he saw him, that'd mean the end of his Justice League days. Billy bit his lip in thought, unnoticing of the figure that hovered in front of him. 

It wasn't until the Kryptonian blocked out the sun that Billy looked up, eyes widening a fraction at the sight. Superman hovered above him with his arms crossed, an eyebrow quirked. "My friend tells me you've been up to something." the alien said, unnerving the small boy.

Had he been in his right mind, Billy would've noted how ridiculous that entrance and excuse was, but seeing as how the man before him could kill him with a single blow, his brain was focused on other matters. He swallowed as Superman touched the ground, tilting his head at the boy. 

"Come with me," he said after a moment of intense gazing, which Billy realized must have been X-Ray vision. Boy, was he glad he had left his comm in another shelter.

The Kryptonian grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into the booth, setting him on his lap. 

"Superman. 02, Plus one." The man said, a bright green beam of light emitting from the cracked lens and scanning the pair. Billy braced himself for the warp, tensing when the scan was complete. (Not going unnoticed by the Man of Steel.) In an instant they were pulled from the booth, being stretched and warped until they re-assembled in the Watchtower. 

Superman stood behind Billy, who was sitting on the floor in a daze. He had never gone through a boom tube as himself, and it was easy to say that it was slightly disorienting to have your molecules pulled apart and transported over space. 

He shook his head to clear his thoughts and sight, only to be hoisted up by Superman. "Follow me," he said simply, taking off in a strong stride down the hall. 

Billy glanced around as they walked, taking in the new perspective of everything. They passed a couple of heroes who gave the Kryptonian confused and shocked looks respectively, only to be silenced by a raised eyebrow.

The young boy behind him simply followed, keeping his head down and his hands folded in front of him as he followed the hero. Soon, the pair came to the meeting room, Clark punching in a code and causing the door to slide open silently. Billy swallowed as the man walked in without a word, taking it as his cue to follow.

He walked in behind the Kryptonian, looking up to find not only Superman but Wonderwoman and Batman there as well. 

Billy's eyes widened at the sight of Bruce, fidgeting in in his place. The Dark Knight was the only one who knew his identity and had been the one to show him where the boom tube was. It couldn't have been him who had sent the caped crusader, so someone else must have been on monitor duty for the day. 

He swallowed thickly, coming back out of his thoughts to catch the tail-end of Superman's words. "-does this a lot apparently." The Kryptonian crossed his arms and sighed, noticing the boy's attention was back on them. 

"Listen, son," Clark said, kneeling down to his eye level. “A phone booth is no place to crash if you run away from home. There are muggers and thieves, and while I know Captain Marvel does his best to protect Fawcett City, that doesn’t make it safe for you to wander the streets alone,” he said, having calmed down.

Billy ignored the sharp jab in his heart at the mention of a family to go back to but didn’t mention it. He didn’t want to get put back in the foster care system if he could avoid it.

“Now, I don’t know who showed you where the phone booth is, or how you found it, but we have this device that you’re going to need to be attached to in order to make you forget about it.” he said calmly, resting his hand on Billy’s shoulder.

The boy’s eyes widened and he took a step back, glancing at Bruce, who was keeping his composure well but beginning to fracture.

“B-but I won’t tell anybody, ‘promise!” he said, his breathing beginning to quicken. 

“It won’t hurt ya son, but it’s something that’s gotta be done. If that secret were to get out-“

“But I won’t tell anybody!” Billy argued feebly, on the verge of a panic attack. If his memory of the booth was erased, so too would his memories of the League, maybe even his knowledge of Captain Marvel himself. 

He couldn’t let that happen.

Billy pulled away from the Man of Steel, stepping back until he felt his back hit the wall. Sweat beaded on his brow as a knot rose in his throat. “P-please…” he said, barely a whisper, his eyes shut tight.

Up until this point, Clark had been approaching him slowly. He stopped at the word though, glancing over his shoulder at Diana and Bruce. His expression, once determined, morphed into unsure. He gave them a questioning look before turning his attention back to the child before him.

"I'm sorry kid, but it's too much of a security risk." he finally said, only to be stopped by the Dark Knight.

"Hold on, Superman," he said, standing up and bracing himself on the table. He paused for a moment as if thinking over his words carefully. "I showed Batson here where the booth was," he said, lifting his chin.

Clark furrowed his brow, glancing between the billionaire and the street rat. "Br- Batman, why would you do such a thing? The amount of protocol this breaks-"

"The kid can be trusted. I can swear to that. Let's leave it at that." Batman said, cutting the Kryptonian short. "I'll take you home, kid," he said, stepping down from his place at the table to guide Billy away from Clark.

The Dark Knight guided him out of the room and allowed the door to shut before speaking.

"What were you thinking?" he asked calmly, staring down at the raven-haired boy. The child in question thumbed at the edge of his worn shirt, biting his lip as he kept his eyes fixed on the floor. 

"I- It was raining, and I couldn't think of any other places nearby..." Billy offered, his voice dejected. 

"Billy," he said, kneeling down so that he was eye-level with the boy. "Come to the manor, just for tonight," he said, knowing the boy hated anything he assumed to be pity.

"I don't like the idea of you staying out in this weather all night. It's...it's not healthy," he said, crouching down eye-level to Billy.

"I'm sure Alfred would be delighted to see you again." he nudged, his pleading blue eyes hidden behind his cowl. "He can whip up some soup for you," he said with a finality in his voice, scooping the child up and carrying him into a zeta tube. (Despite some odd glances from various heroes around them)

"Re-Route: Wayne Manor. Batman, 01. Plus 1." he said quietly into the mic, still holding the boy in his arms. Billy would have protested, but at this point, he was way too exhausted to do anything but comply with the Dark Knight.

They appeared inside the Batcave, the cool air making the young boy tremble. "Let's get you upstairs and in some dry clothes," Bruce said, pulling off his cowl and letting it drape from his neck.

The pair stepped into an elevator and went up, the doors opening to an expansive room with a large fireplace, complete with roaring fire blazing inside. "Master Bruce, glad to see you've returned early," Alfred said, tossing a log into the fire and standing up, dusting his hands off. He glanced at the small figure beside his employer and brightened considerably, a smile quirking his features. 

"Master William, how nice of you to drop by," he said, walking up to the heroes. "Allow me to get you some dry clothing. I'm sure Master Dick has some that would fit you," he said, walking up one of the two grand spiral staircases and disappearing down the hall. 

"In the meantime, why don't you sit by the fire over there?" Bruce told him, shrugging off the rest of his costume and hanging it on a coat rack. The sight was strange- Batman's cowl and cape hung half-hazardly on a rack as if it were a coat. Just looking at the objects made Billy giggle.

The billionaire quirked a smile at the boy's outburst, taking a seat beside him on the floor. The older man crossed his legs and braced himself on his arms, staring into the fireplace.

"Mister Wayne?" 

His voice was small as he stared into the fire as well, legs tucked close to his chest and arms wrapped tightly around them.

"I'm sorry I spent the night in the booth. I forgot about the cameras and-"

The raven was cut off by a shrug from the elder.

"Billy, I said it's alright. Everyone makes mistakes. I'd rather you spend the night in that than under a bridge somewhere." he replied, messing with the ring around his middle finger. "In all honesty, I'd rather you stay here than out on the streets..." the last bit was quieter, but not so quiet that Billy couldn't hear him.

He bit his lip, glancing up at the larger raven before looking back at the flames that licked the large logs in the fireplace. "I would, Mister Wayne,"

"Bruce, kiddo. I've told you...call me Bruce."

"Right uh- I- I would, Mister Bruce, but Fawcett City needs me. I got nightly patrols, morning patrols-"

Bruce listened to the boy, nodding at his words. "Why couldn't you stay here and use the Zeta tubes to go between here and Fawcett?" the man asked, tilting his head. "You could still do your patrols, and you'd have not only a place to sleep, but three meals a day, warm clothes, medical attention, and just about anything else you could possibly need." 

The boy seemed to take his words into consideration, biting his lip in thought (It was one of the boy's ticks, he had learned)

"We could enroll you in school..." he said hopefully, knowing for a fact that if Billy lived on the streets, there was no way he was enrolled in the school system. 

"Or maybe a personal tutor, that way lessons could bend to your 'unique' schedule."

The young hero seemed to sink deeper in thought, and Bruce brightened a bit. Perhaps he would get through to him.

"What about Dick?"

"What about him?"

"Well, I mean, he's Robin, don't you think he'd be a little suspicious of me?"

Bruce grinned. "Nah, He's taken a liking to you every time you've visited thus far."

"Yea, but living here... Would you tell him?"

"About Cap? No. That's your secret to tell, when, and if, you're ready."

Billy's brow furrowed, the thumb of one hand rubbing against the palm of the other. 

"Okay...."

Bruce's heart clenched.

"I guess I'll move in..."

 

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Barry drummed his fingers rhythmically against the cold metal surface, his eyes darting between screens. Beside him Hal was currently playing solitaire on said surface, concentrating on the cards. 

 

The blonde leaned back in his chair, continuing his drumming on the arm of said chair. 

 

No one could say that monitor duty wasn't boring, at least.

 

He sighed, gaining the attention of his co-worker/friend. 

 

"You alright there? That's the third time you've dramatically sighed in the last five minutes." Hal said, not looking up from his cards. "Why don't you go get a snack or something? Go stretch your legs. I got this for now." he said, finally looking up.

 

It was hard to see the man's eyes ( impossible even, since it was just white ) behind the mask, but Barry could tell he was silently poking fun at him. It was just what they did. "Yeah alright," he said, standing up and stretching, smirking as his back pops and Hal cringed. "Be back in a-"

 

"I swear to God if you say it I'm going to-"

 

"-Flash!"

 

And with that, he darted off towards the kitchens, smirking as the brunet threw up his hands in exasperation. 

 

Barry slowed to a stop once at the kitchens, surprised to find no one there. There was always someone in the kitchen, whether it be cooking something, snagging something from the fridge, making coffee, or just hanging out- it was a hotspot for socialization.

 

The blonde shrugged and went to the fridge, peering inside and lighting up with a smile at the first thing he saw.

 

He pulled out a large red and blue cake, ( well, a fourth of one at least ) with the corner of a giant yellow diamond in the center. It had been for Supes' birthday last week, and he was surprised it hadn't been finished off yet. 

 

He could fix that.

 

Barry grinned at the cake, grabbing a knife and cutting off a piece. He then put it back in the fridge and grabbed a fork, dashing back to the monitors. He came to a stop just as Hal was packing up his cards, the brunet looking between him and his cake.

 

"And you didn't bring me any?" he asked in mock offense.

 

The blonde smirked and let out a chuckle, taking a seat and digging in.

 

"You ever thought about how every hero had spent at least one birthday up here?" Hal asked, pocketing his cards. "I mean, even Batsy, who I would never have pinned for a party man, agreed to at least have a cake J'onn made."

 

"Yeah, it's pretty cool if ya think about it," Barry said between bites. He licked the frosting from his lips and continued. "We're like one big super-powered family," he said with a chuckle.

 

"A super-powered family with a super-powered family photo album." he joked, using one hand to hold his cake and the other to bring up pictures from everyone's 'birthday' party. ( If they could even be called that. )

 

"24 superheroes coming together and celebrating their birthdays is a pretty weird concept if you think about it." He said as he took a bite from the cake.

 

"Uh, Barry- there's 25 of us." 

 

"No there's not- Everyone's had a birthday here, and there are only 24 photos."

 

Hal furrowed his brow, flipping between the photos. Something about them felt off. He knew one either had to be missing, or a Super hadn't celebrated their birthday there. He kept flipping between them, eyes narrowing as he searched.

 

Barry put down his cake as the brunet looked, furrowing his brow at the thought of someone being forgotten.

 

"I got it!" Hal said suddenly, slamming his hands down on the table. "Duh! Of course? Why didn't I notice? He's the most enthusiastic out of all of us about these things, and he's never even had one up here!" 

 

"Who is it?" the speedster asked, raising an eyebrow at the man. 

 

"Captain Marvel!"

 

 

- - -

 

Batman was in the library, staring at the screen that held the League's villain database. He was running a routine check of jailed criminals' behaviors, making notes by names that seemed to have been causing trouble as of late.

 

He paused when the door to the library flew open, slamming into the wall and echoing throughout the room. The billionaire sighed, closing his eyes for a moment before opening them again.

 

He turned in his chair to find Green Lantern and Flash coming up to him, excitement on their faces. He raised an eyebrow, ( not that they could tell ) at them, and waited for the men to get whatever they had to say off their chests. It was Barry that spoke up first. 

 

"Hey Bats, we were wondering-" he started, glancing at Hal before looking back at the Dark Knight. "Do you know if Captain Marvel has ever had a birthday in the Watchtower?" the man licked his lips, gesturing with his hands quickly. 

 

"Cause we were looking through the pictures of previous ones and didn't find Cap as the star, and we were just curious of the picture was lost or-"

 

Bruce had stiffened slightly (again, not that they could tell) and shifted in his seat. "Captain Marvel has not had a birthday in the Watchtower because his records aren't in the system," he said bluntly, hoping the pair would take that and drop the conversation there.

 

If only he could be that lucky.

 

"What do you mean by that? Everyone's records are in the system! You're the one who's such a stickler for it!" Hal said, shaking his head a bit. 

 

"He's a special case," Bruce replied stoically.

 

Barry raised an eyebrow, tilting his head. He looked like he wanted to ask why, but decided to hold his tongue. "Fine, do you at least know his birthday? We want to know how much time we have to plan a party."

 

Bruce resisted the urge to stiffen further. He couldn't give them a year, even Billy himself didn't know how old the Captain was supposed to be, and telling them the kid's age was out of the question. "January 24th," he said gruffly. Barry and Hal smiled, looking at each other eagerly. 

 

"That's only a couple days away," Hal said, rubbing his chin in thought. "We'll have to inform everyone of the situation, ask J'onn to make a cake- You know what kind he likes Spooky?"

 

The dark knight's face held the smallest smirk. "Chocolate," he said instantly, remembering the boy's excitement when he'd presented him with chocolate for Christmas.

 

"Alright- January 24th, 5 pm. Watchtower. A surprise birthday party for the good ol' Cap." Hal said, typing away on his communicator. "Just remove him from the group aaaand...sent." 

 

"Great. Now leave me to do my work." the vigilante said, rolling his eyes as the pair of men snorted. 

 

"Will do Bats- oh wait, how old is he turning? Gotta know how many candles to get." The blonde asked, stopping on a dime to look back.

 

"Uh- I'll get them," he said quickly, to which the pair simply shrugged and agreed easily.

 

The men walked out of the library, closing the door behind them with a soft click. Bruce was left alone with the monitor and immediately pulled out his phone. He flipped through his contacts, eyes scanning the names until he reached Batson.

 

He put the phone to his ear as it rang, hoping the boy would pick up soon.

 

 

- - -

 

 

Captain Marvel flew through the skies over Fawcett City, smiling to himself as the wind whipped at his hair. It was refreshing, taking some time to himself like this, just being able to soar through the air and relax. No monsters to fight, not criminals to catch, just him and the open sky.

 

He flew through a cloud and laughed as it dispersed, pausing to look back at the smaller clouds he helped to make. He would never get over the feeling, being able to fly. It was indescribable- freeing in a way that nothing else was. 

 

He loved it.

 

The World's Mightiest Mortal descended beneath the clouds, visually scanning the cityscape he called home as he flew close to the tops of skyscrapers. He then started making his rounds, searching for any sign of danger. He watched contently as children played on swings beneath him, smiling and waving when they excitedly tried getting his attention.

 

With a laugh he continued on, warmth bubbling in his chest as he made his rounds. 

 

Suddenly, his communicator went off, making the hero pause for a moment as he fished it out of his suit. Marvel put the device to his ear and answered. "Hello?" he asked, not having bothered to look who was calling.

 

"Captain."

 

It was a single word, said by a gruff, deep voice, and the Captain knew immediately who it was. 

 

"Batman?" he questioned.

 

Why would Batman be calling him? He hadn't missed a meeting in a couple of months, he wasn't due for rotation for another couple of days- so what could he need? "Is there an emergency?" the hero asked, pulling himself from his thoughts. "Something wrong that you need me for?"

 

"No. How old are you?" 

 

The question threw him for a loop. Batman already knew his secret identity, so why was he asking his age? The man knew he was Billy Batson, knew he was just a kid- so maybe that wasn't Batman. Maybe he was being held, hostage. Maybe-

 

"Billy."

 

His alter ego's name snapped him out of his stupor. Batman wouldn't say his name unless he was really alone. "Yes sir?" he asked.

 

"How old are you."

 

"Uh- I'll be turning 11 in a couple of days. Why?" The white caped hero's curiosity peaked- just what was Batman going to do with this information?

 

"Need to update my database." was all he got in response.

 

Captain Marvel nodded, only to realize that the caped crusader couldn't see the motion. "Uh- ok. Is that it?" he asked, trying not to sound impolite.

 

"Actually no. I'll need you to take over monitor duty for Flash on the 24th. be there at 6 pm sharp."

 

"The 24th?" Cap asked, chewing his bottom lip in thought. That was his birthday...he had been saving the money he found to go buy ice cream with his friend Freddy on that day.

 

"That's not going to be a problem, is it Marvel?" his voice was cold, and Cap could practically feel the older man's eyes bearing into him.

 

"N...no sir..." he said, deflated. "Not a problem at all..."

 

"Good."

 

And with that, he hung up, leaving the hero to mull over his thoughts. He chewed on his lip absently, shaking his head as he put away his communicator. Captain Marvel took a deep breath and let it out, stabilizing himself in the air. 

 

"It's alright. You can do it another day. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, so there's no need to get upset." he said, giving himself a small pep talk. "It'll be alright..."

 

His head snapped up and away from his upset thoughts at the sound of a woman's scream, his instincts kicking into action as he flew down towards the streets.

 

 

- - -

 

 

The next couple of days consisted of Barry and Hal gathering party supplies in various shades of red and gold. Knowing glances were exchanged between the pair when they passed each other in the Watchtower ( subtly having long gone out the window for them ) and plans were exchanged via a large group chat. 

 

The day before the party, Captain Marvel zeta-beamed up to the Watchtower, humming to himself as he made his way into the kitchen. There he found Barry and Hal talking at a counter, going over a paper they had in front of them, while Cyborg sat at a table, reading the headlines on a hologram as he sipped his coffee. 

 

Marvel smiled at them, none of them really taking notice though. He walked to the fridge and opened it, peering inside to find some fruit and some yogurt, along with a sandwich that had a Superman sticky note attached to it.

 

The god grabbed an apple and bit into it, looking around at the heroes once more before he walked out of the kitchen.

 

This had been happening quite often the past few days- he'd try to say hello or get the attention of a Leaguer, only to get off-handed replies or quick responses. It was like no one wanted to be around him, and while he knew he shouldn't take it personally, he still did.

 

The man sighed and continued his walk down the hallway, smiling at J'onn and Hawkgirl as they passed. When he got no response he kept walking, trying not to let his feelings be hurt. 

 

Captain Marvel brightened when he saw Superman and Batman walking towards him in the hall, knowing that they (or at least Batman) wouldn't ignore him. He smiled at them, waving with the hand that wasn't holding an apple. 

 

They gave him a curt nod and kept walking, leaving the hero to watch them leave. He swallowed thickly, his shoulders slumping as he walked towards a Zeta tube. He needed to get out of here for a while before he was forced into monitor duty for his birthday, his mood soured as the computer called out his name and number.

 

He warped back to Fawcett City and stepped out of the booth, tossing the core of his apple into a bin and taking off into the sky. 

 

The Mightiest Mortal thought to himself, chewing on his bottom lip as he flew. Had he done something that the League didn't approve of? He couldn't think of anything. Had he missed a meeting? No, but he'd been close, and Superman had given him a disappointed look for that one. What could it be?

 

What had he done to deserve the stony silence, even from Batman?

 

The Captain shook his head and landed on top of a radio tower, taking a seat on the cool metal and watching as the sun began to set over the hills that surrounded Fawcett.

 

He thought about a lot of things while up there, his mind hopping between things he needed to do, people he needed to check on, and finally settling on one thing.

 

His parents.

 

Captain Marvel watched the sun set as a ghost of a smile played on his lips, remembering a time when he was much smaller- before his parents died. 

 

He could almost hear his dad's voice, echoing in his mind.

 

"Look at that! The big 5! Congrats my little man!"  

His dad picked him up and whirled him around in the air, making the toddler fly.

"Da! Gedda cake?" 

The man would stop, gently boop the little boy's nose and smile.

"Of course you get cake! Your momma and I got you the best one we could find."

"chocat?"

"Yes, chocolate! And look-"

He would then point to a bright, circular blue cake adorned with the Kryptonian's symbol sitting on an old wooden table, with red and white paper stars covering the surface.

"Supaman!!"

BIlly would wiggle in his father's grasp, the man setting him down in a high chair before the cake.

"My little boy's growing up!"

His mother- she would smile at him, her eyes the definition of kind and pure. 

They would light the candles- bright red and yellow ones- and would smile at him. They would sing, and Billy would clap along.

He'd giggle, sparking smiles onto the adults' faces.

"Make a wish, honey."

He would smile at his mother- eyes twinkling as he looked back to the candles.

"I wanna be a supahewo!"

His parents would smile to each other and gently help him blow out the candles, his father taking a knife to the cake as his mother snapped photos of them.

"Now honey, Momma and Da are going to have to leave soon, because we gotta go dig, okay?"

His father would try to help him understand, explaining things in a way he could understand.

"You're going to stay with my brother, Uncle E, remember?"

He would nod in response, shoving a fistful of cake into his mouth.

"But we'll be back before you know it."

Something tugged at his chest, telling him that wasn't true.

"We promise."

 

The raven haired man was pulled from the memory with a choked sob, tears welling in his eyes as he came back to himself. 

 

His throat felt tight, and his nose burned. He was still staring at the horizon, the sun long having since gone down. 

 

The Captain blinked, rubbing the moisture from his eyes with his sleeve. He then floated above the radio tower, looking around before flying off towards his home.

 

That night he lay awake in his bed, his small, mortal form staring at the mildew-ridden ceiling of the abandoned apartment building, the memory still fresh in his mind. 

 

 

- - -

 

TBC...

Chapter Text

 

 

- - -

 

The next day, Billy woke up to sunlight streaming in through his window. He yawned and stretched, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he threw the old blanket off himself and got up. The boy sat down on the floor in a lotus position like Robin had shown him, breathing deeply. It had become routine to do this every morning, allowing Billy to not only compose himself, but it had also allowed him better control over his powers. 

 

Since starting this, he had felt faster- able to keep up with the Flash, and his magical attacks felt more focused and powerful. 

 

After thirty minutes of meditation and stretching, (thankfully a watch had come built into his comm) the raven-haired boy stood and took a deep breath. He let it out and smiled, looking at the sunlight that streamed in through the boards that covered the window.

 

Billy then grabbed the crumpled dollar bills he had under his mattress and shoved them into his pocket, pulling on his shoes and practically running down the stairs. He didn't have to go to monitor duty until this evening, so the boy could spend the day however he liked. 

 

He went to the diner around the corner as his first stop, (the lady that owned the place having been giving him free toast every morning after seeing how thin he was).

 

A few minutes later he was strolling down the street, a second piece of toast in hand as he finished off the first with a couple of bites.

 

It was a Thursday, meaning that Freddy would be in school until 4 pm, so if Billy were able to catch him at the right time, he may just be able to spend his birthday with him after all.

 

The boy hummed to himself as he continued walking, pausing at the sound of clattering trash cans coming from the alley. He furrowed his brow and swallowed the food, peering into the dark alley carefully. 

 

Sure, he could 'Shazam up' and become Captain Marvel right then and there, take care of any problem that needed to be solved, but if there was nothing wrong, and it was simply a scared animal or homeless person rummaging, then the Captain may scare them.

 

Billy stepped carefully into the alleyway, looking around for the source of the noise.

 

"Hello?" he called out nervously, beginning to think the sound was nothing at all. He was about to turn around when he felt something heavy connect with the back of his head, and everything went black.

 

 

- - -

 

 

When he came to, Bily found that his head was pounding. He was laying in the middle of the alley still, but there was a strange woozy-ness to everything he looked at. As he tried to gain his bearings, he noticed that the sun had moved significantly in the sky. 

 

Billy winced as he sat up, bracing himself on his arms as he tried to get the world around him to stop spinning. He dug around in his pockets to find that his money was gone, and now that he was able to see his feet, so were his shoes. His shoulders slumped and his let out a breath, sitting up completely and looking in his other pocket. 

 

Thankfully, his comm was still there, and he pulled it out to look at the time. It read "5:43 pm" in bright numbers, the boy being put on edge.

 

He was knocked out for the entire day. He had missed his chance to hang out with his best friend, and if he didn't get to moving soon, he'd be late to monitor duty.

 

Billy grunted and winced as his body protested against him getting up, but he did so anyway, having to stabilize himself on a nearby trashcan. He took a shaky step forward, feeling his legs almost buckle beneath him, but held tight onto the trash can.

 

His entire upper half was in pain, and the back of his shirt and neck felt wet- had he fallen in a puddle or something? He ignored it as best he could, pressing a few fingers to the back of his head and taking a shaky breath, unaware of the red substance that now coated the tips of his fingers.

 

After stabilizing himself once more, he tried again, this time his steps being more fluid and steady. After a few moments, Billy found himself walking out of the alley, his head pounding and vision only slightly blurred.

 

He walked down the sidewalk towards the place he knew the Zeta tubes were, slowly but surely gaining back his balance and non-wobbly walking ability. When he got to the fence, he looked around to make sure no one was there, and ducked underneath, wincing as his head grazed the wood.

 

Once inside the small lot, he looked around once more, just to make sure there was no one around, and shouted the words.

 

"SHAZAM!"

 

Lightning came down and crashed, smoke billowing out as he was transformed into the World's Mightiest Mortal. The pain in his head went away in an instant, as did the fuzzy and swaying world. His mind felt clear again, and for that, Billy was thankful.

 

Still, he should probably talk to Batman about it when he got up there.

 

The caped hero stepped into the Zeta tube as it scanned him, beaming him up to the Watchtower. 

 

 

- - -

 

 

When he arrived, the computer rang out his name and number and he stepped out. The first thing he noticed was that all the lights were out. The Captain furrowed his brow and looked around, narrowing his eyes. "Hello...?" he called out, peering into the darkness.

 

While his eyesight was better than the average human's, he still couldn't see all that well in the dark. He walked over to the monitors and attempted to turn them on, but when they didn't he was confused.

 

Had they had a power outage? Wait, could this place even run out of power? 

 

His mind went back to before, and the urgency of needing to tell Batman what happened. 

 

"Batman?" he called out, looking around. He flipped the light switch, but no lights came on. "Batman, are you here? Something... really bad happened..." he trailed off, unsure as to if there were any other Leaguers, or worse, villains, around.

 

"Batman, seriously, if you're here, I need your help," he said, and assuming no one was in the main area, he walked into the hallway.

 

The caped hero looked around, jaw set as he tried to search for any signs of life. The place seemed to be deserted, the halls empty and dark, save for the light that came in through the windows.

 

Suddenly, he felt a strange, sharp pain in the back of his head, turning to find no one behind him, and when he brought his hand to the back of his head, nothing there. He blinked, his vision swirling for a moment.

 

"Ngh- ...Oh no..." he muttered, holding his head.

 

He knew that Cap could hang on for longer than Billy could- that he wouldn't age in this form, but that didn't keep his other half from suffering from the injuries he had sustained.

 

And if Billy went down, so did the Captain.

 

"Br-" he stammered, taking a couple of staggering steps forward. He braced himself against the window. "Bru-" he tried again, noticing a light coming from the kitchen.

 

He took a ragged breath, really starting to feel the pain from his other half. Everything was beginning to spin, and his steps were becoming more clumsy as time went on.

 

"Ple... Zeus...let it be..t-them.," he muttered a prayer to the Gods, opening the door to the kitchen to find the League standing before him, smiles on their faces.

 

"SURPRISE!!!!" 

 

That was the last thing he heard before he collapsed into the floor, everything going black once more.

 

 

- - -

 

 

By the time Bruce had arrived at the Watchtower, Barry and Hal had already set everything up in the kitchen. The cabinets were adorned with red and yellow streamers, and there were gold and red balloons tied to some of the chairs around the room. 

 

On the counter, there was an array of snacks- crackers, chips, candy, even a salad bar. In the center of it all sat a bright yellow lightning-bolt shaped cake, with red icing trimming and the words "Happy Birthday" written on it in white fondant.  

 

The caped crusader pulled out a small red sparkler candle, putting it on the cake and stepping back. 

 

"No numbers, huh?" Barry asked, walking up to him with a smirk. "Not even gonna give us his age? Bet I can guess." 

 

Bruce raised an eyebrow at him, shaking his head at the man.

 

"24."

 

"No."

 

"28."

 

"No."

 

"21."

 

"No."

 

"He's gotta be in his twenties. He's not in his thirties, is he?"  

 

"Nope."

 

"I'll get it out of you, Bruce, one way or another."

 

"No, you won't."

 

And with that, Barry went to talk to Diana and Clark, who were pouring cups of soda and wine. 

 

The dark knight checked his watch- 5:56 pm. He'd be there soon. His thought seemed to be mirrored by Hal's because he spoke up. 

 

"Alright guys, it's nearly time, let's shut down the power to the main room and the lights to everywhere else."

 

Cyborg did just that, pulling up a video feed of the main area. The heroes watched it intently, waiting for the big red cheese to appear. 

 

When he did, Bruce noticed something...off. 

 

The Captain was immediately put on edge when he noticed the lights off and called out. He seemed to be looking around, checking for any sign of danger. Bruce felt himself smile. Good instincts, putting to use the things he'd been taught by the Dark Knight himself. The Captain then called out again.

 

"Batman?"

 

Some of the group looked at him, and Bruce himself was confused. Why would the kid call out for him first? 

 

"Batman, are you here? Something... really bad happened..."

 

Bruce knew the tone of that voice. When he said something bad happened, he meant something happened to him. To Billy. The hero was still on edge though, looking around for any signs of wrong, anything that could jump out at him.

 

The Dark Knight tensed, his eyes widening slightly. "I should go out there," he said, swallowing thickly.

 

"No man! You'll ruin the surprise." Hal said back, shaking his head. "Let him come to us."

 

"Batman, seriously, if you're here, I need your help."

 

Bruce nearly ran out of the room at those words, the only thing keeping him there being that he was in the center of the group, watching the feed.

 

The hero seemed to pause, bringing his head up to touch the back of his head as he walked into the hallway. The Captain braced himself on the window, his breathing getting shallower by the minute. 

 

Marvel muttered something to himself, looking towards the kitchen. Bruce's eyes widening at the man's obvious pain.

 

How could no one else see this?

 

Suddenly, the feed was cut off, as Cyborg looked towards the door. "He's coming." 

 

Bruce all but leaped up, getting as close to the door as he could before it opened, revealing a swaying Captain Marvel.

 

"SURPRISE!" the heroes voices rang out, just as Marvel went crashing to the ground.

 

Bruce dove and caught the man, keeping him from hitting the hard tile. His breathing was ragged, his eyes lidded shut, his skin pale. Something really, really bad must have happened to Billy for Marvel to be affected like this.

 

He patted the man's face, trying to coax him awake, but he was out cold. 

 

"Superman. Get him to the med-bay. Now."

 

His voice left no room for argument, though he wouldn't get any since none of the heroes had ever seen the Captain go down like this before.

 

The Kryptonian lifted him up and carried him out of the room, Batman running alongside him as they hurried to the medical wing.

 

 

- - -

 

 

Batman stood by the bed where the white caped hero lay, typing on the computer as Superman stood behind him. "Clark, you need to go. I have to get him up, and when I do, no one can be in here." Bruce said quickly, trying to give the Man Of Steel a vague reason why he would have to get out of the room.

 

"Like hell, Bruce. He's hurt, now I don't know what happened, but I'm not going to just abandon the man."

 

Bruce growled in response, finishing what he needed to type and checking the hero physically. "I'm not saying you have to leave. Just wait outside. I have to check his vitals and there's only one way I can do it."

 

Clark seemed to think on it, glancing between him and the demigod. "Fine," he said, walking out of the room, just as the rest of the heroes were coming up. Superman shut the door behind him, and Bruce could hear his voice on the other side of the door. 

 

"Computer shut down the room. Lock the door and turn off the cameras," he instructed, a large metal slate coming down over the door. The Dark Knight heard banging coming from the other side, but he ignored it.

 

He got closer to the man, pulling out a taser. "Sorry kid," he muttered before jamming it into his chest and turning it on.

 

Waves of electricity coursed through Marvel's body, His eyes snapping open and breath sputtering. 

 

"Cap....Cap- Billy," Bruce said, holding onto the shoulders of the much larger man as he tried to gain his bearings. "I need to take your vitals, but you have to power down. Can you do that?' he asked quietly, to which the hero nodded, his chest heaving.

 

"Ye..yea.." he said weakly, giving Bruce a chance to back up. 

 

"Sh-Shazam."

 

There was a flash of lightning and smoke billowed out from where the large hero had previously been. The computers in the room fizzed and shut down, and the lights flickered. Bruce had to cover himself with his cape from the light and heat, looking up a moment later to see Billy laying in the Captain's place, his skin even paler than he had excepted.

 

"What happened?" Bruce asked, coming closer once more and adjusting the boy. As he did, he noticed a deep red stain on the sheet where BIlly's head had been, and his eyes widened. He helped the boy sit up and looked at the back of his head, finding his hair matted to his head with blood. 

 

His scalp looked mutilated- like some kind of animal had attacked his head. Bruce's felt his breath get stuck in his throat, fear overtaking him. He was just a kid. He couldn't let this be the end of him. Billy could do so much more, he didn't deserve this-

 

"Thugs... an alley i think... I- I dunno.. m' sleepy..." 

 

Bruce heard the banging on the other side of the door get louder, but continued to ignore it in favor of propping Billy up against a pillow, the boy's head bobbing forward as he tried to keep his eyes open.

 

"It's alright Billy," Bruce said quietly, pulling out a syringe. "I'm gonna help you." he stick the needle into the small's boy's arm, watching wince and go under.

 

Bruce took a deep breath and set the needle down, grabbing some supplies and setting to work.

 

 

- - -

 

 

 When Billy woke up, he found himself lying in a bed, covered by a thick blanket. It was warm, and he relished in it for a moment before remembering where he was. His eyes snapped open and he looked around the room, finding it empty. 

 

The boy tried to sit up, only to feel a sharp pain in his head. He lifted his hand to touch it and found bandages wrapping his head, his head pressed against his skin. "Wha..?" he muttered, dropping the hand. 

 

Thankfully, he wasn't laying down completely, so he could still make out most of his surroundings. There was a tube leading from his small wrist that fed into a tall IV. The computers around him beeped rhythmically, and apart from their sound, it was quiet.

 

"H-hello?" he called out, his throat scratchy from lack of use. How long had he been out? The last thing he remembered was powering down because Bruce asked him to...

 

Wait.

 

He was in the Watchtower. 

 

As Billy Batson.

 

The boy swallowed thickly, eyes widened in fear. "Oh no..." he breathed out, the words so quiet you could barely hear them. 

 

Suddenly, the door to the room opened, revealing Batman. They shut just as quickly as they had opened, leaving him and Bruce in peace. Billy looked up at the Dark Knight, swallowing thickly. Bruce walked to a computer and looked at it, glancing at Billy before taking a seat in the chair beside his bed. 

 

"How're you feeling?"

 

Billy blinked, confused by the question. "I uh- fine," he said, which for the most part was true. "My head still kind of hurts, but not as bad."

 

"That's good." 

 

The boy glanced at the door, then at Batman. "D-do they know?" 

 

Bruce hummed, glancing up from a clipboard that had made its way into his hands. "I'm the only one who had been in or out of this room," he said, not really answering the boy's question.

 

Billy furrowed his brow, reaching out to take the clipboard from him. "But do they know?"

 

The man sighed, hanging the clipboard back up. "More or less."

 

"Are they mad...?" 

 

"I'm not sure...at the moment, I think they're more worried than anything."

 

Billy mentally berated himself. He'd been so, so careful over the past couple of years, only to have an injury to the head mess it all up. Now the League was going to kick him out- and on his birthday, too...

 

"I wouldn't be surprised if they hate me for this," he said, slumping in bed. 

 

Bruce furrowed his brow, shaking his head at the child's words. "They don't hate you."

 

"How do you know?"

 

His eyes were glistening, tear welling up in them as he stared at the Dark Knight. Bruce couldn't help but feel for the kid- he cared about the team so much, and he knew that Billy would be heartbroken if the League did end up kicking him out. 

 

"You wanna know how I know?" he asked, taking off his cowl. Billy furrowed his brow, tilting his head at the action.

 

The boy stared into his eye, looking for something that would give some kind of explanation that Bruce wasn't telling him. In the end, he settled for a nod.

 

"Computer, disable lockdown."

 

Billy's eyes widened when the large metal slate came up off the door, revealing a regular wooden one instead. He tensed when he noticed the handle turning, the door opening to reveal Flash, along with the rest of the group. (From what he could tell, that is.)

 

The adults seemed to stare at him, with Barry stepping forward first, something in his hands. Billy craned his neck to try and see what it was but was given his answer when Flash set it down on his lap.

 

It was a cake.

 

A birthday cake.

 

The child's eyes widened as he stared at the cake, not noticing how the rest of the group managed to squeeze into the room. He looked up and met the eyes of the heroes, glancing between them and the cake. 

 

"I-Is this for me?" he asked timidly.

 

Hal chuckled, leaning on Barry. "Well, I don't see any other birthday boys around here, do you?" he asked, a smirk on his face. Maybe things wouldn't change, then.

 

He could only hope.

 

The boy blinked, looking back down at the cake. Tears welled in his eyes once more, though this time, they were happy tears. He smiled at them, gratitude evident in his face. "You're not mad?" he asked. 

 

Diana stepped forward then. 

 

"Of course not, Captain. We all have a right to a secret identity, and that includes you."

 

"However-" Clark cut in, arms crossed loosely over his chest. "This is a matter we will have to discuss later."

 

Billy nodded, looking back at the cake. "Oh- um, and my name's not Captain. At least not like this. I'm Billy. Billy Batson."

 

"Make a wish, kid," Bruce said as he lit the candle.

 

The raven-haired boy glanced around him and back at the candle. There was a lot of things he could wish for- a home, new clothes, toys, you name it. But he didn't. He had all that he needed right there.

 

"I already got my wish," he said, giving them a cheeky, albeit weak, smile.

 

 

 - - - 

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

 

- - -

 

 

When you think of Fawcett City, you probably think of picturesque skies, brick and mortar shops with hand-painted windows, barber shops where the door is always propped open and a song wafts through the air. A park where birds chirp, couples walk hand-in-hand, and children’s laughter fills the air. 

 

You imagine it to be happy, you think it would be a safe place, right?

 

Well, you’d be wrong.

 

Sure, Fawcett City used to be like that…but that was in the ’50s. Nowadays, the town was worse for wear.

 

It was in bad shape— it was rare to find a store that hadn’t been robbed before, to find a store that didn’t have bars over its windows. The items they held looked like they were in prison, but it was all shopkeepers could do to protect their goods.

 

Spray paint adorned brick walls, vibrant colors depicting phallic objects or tags or explosions covering each other, all in a cry for the attention their creators so desperately craved. Crime was commonplace, and there was rarely a day where the police weren’t dealing with something that would get put on any normal news station’s channels.

 

Many believed it to be one of the worst towns in the country— some said it was worse than Gotham. Then again, that was what the people who lived there said. Those who didn’t live there— they only knew the sunshine-y, 50’s Fawcett. Not what it had become. 

 

Captain Marvel tried his best to keep order, and he had done a good job since his appearance two years ago— he'd come around when the town had been at its worst, and slowly, ever so slowly, had started to help it get back on its feet.

 

The bright, smiling hero was often seen as a godsend to the people of Fawcett City, something they could depend on no matter what, a symbol of a simpler time gone by where people trusted one another, where you could turn you back to someone and not fear being stabbed in the back (sometimes literally).

 

The Captain looked out for his people— often times he would run himself ragged helping them, but his citizens were always grateful. Underneath their fear and mistrust, he knew they were good people, and that they depended on him to be a beacon of light in the darkness that shrouded the town.

 

As a part of the President’s plan to make the most crime-ridden cities in the US cleaner and safer, the Justice League had been touring the country, assuring citizens and implementing teleports where needed. They held ceremonies at each town and met the people that lived in the towns.

 

Soon enough the time came that it was Fawcett City’s turn, to which many of the Justice League were confused. They were gathered in Fawcett’s City Hall, in a meeting room large enough to fit them.

 

“Surely this can’t be correct, Fawcett City had a reputation of being a picturesque town,” Superman said, looking over a document in his hand.

 

“Everything looked fine when we walked in— though we did come by teleport, I didn’t notice anything particularly off about the town.” Green Lantern spoke up, taking a sip from the cup that was in front of him.

 

Captain Marvel was unusually quiet, sitting in his seat and chewing on his bottom lip. He wasn’t surprised that the heroes were confused, what with the town’s reputation, so there wasn’t much that he could say.

 

He glanced up when the door to the conference room creaked open, a small woman with brunette hair tied into a bun poking her head inside. She smiled at the heroes and stepped in, most of the heroes dismissing her as part of the staff and going back to their conversations.

 

Captain Marvel stood, pushing his chair in to walk over to the woman. “Sheryl, right?” he said with a smile. He did his best to learn the names of his citizens— it was quite a feat, and sometimes he didn’t get them right, but thankfully he had a near-perfect memory. 

 

The woman brightened, nodding her head. “Right again, Cap. I just wanted to come and tell you guys that we were almost finished setting up,” she said, glancing at the door then back up at the hero. 

 

Captain Marvel smiled, nodding in response. “Awesome. Hey, are things getting better for you and David?” he asked in a softer tone, his eyes gentle as he spoke.

 

Her eyes grew sad for a moment then brightened again, a smile growing on her face. “Actually, yes. David’s been getting better grades, and thanks to my raise we’ve been doing a lot better,” she replied, smoothing her skirt. “Thanks for asking,” she said, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear.

 

“Anytime.” Captain Marvel returned.

 

Sheryl nodded and opened the door once more, taking her leave as Captain Marvel turned back to the heroes in the room. “Hey, guys! They said they’re almost done setting up!” he said happily, unable to hide the child-like tone in his voice.

 

He gets murmurs and sounds of agreement in response, no one really paying him much attention. His smile twitched before fading completely, not really surprised by this. Captain Marvel nodded and walked out of the meeting room, moving outside and towards the stage they had set up for the heroes to speak to citizens. 

 

He came out of the door and walked up to the large curtain they had slung over bars behind a stage, and poked his head around to get a view of the crowd. He expected to find a few people there— maybe a dozen or so but was surprised to find at least 300 people there.

 

His eyes widened in surprise, blinking confusedly. Sure, it wasn’t the biggest crowd the league had seen at one of these things, but that didn’t mean it was small, especially for Fawcett City. He slipped behind the stage before he could be seen and ran a hand through his hair, shaking his head. He chuckled to himself, straightening up when the rest of the league began to file out of the building.

 

Superman took the lead and walked onto the stage, the crowd quieting slightly at the sight of him. The main members of the league followed— that being Wonder Woman, Flash, Batman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg.

 

The rest of the heroes that were there, including himself, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Doctor Fate, followed, standing somewhat behind the main members.

 

When his citizens saw him, he wasn’t surprised to see them brighten, and he waved subtly to them as Superman spoke about measures to lower crime rates and other things— to be honest, Captain Marvel wasn’t really paying attention, since they said the same thing at all of these.

 

When the Kryptonian was finished he opened the floor for questions, furrowing his brow when the first one he got was for the Captain.

 

“Right, his city after all… Captain Marvel?” Superman said, looking back and motioning for the hero to come up to the mic.

 

He did and blushed at the size of the crowd. “Hey everybody,” he said, getting cheers in response. This only made him blush further, much to the crowd’s delight.

 

After many rounds of questions and comments from the crowd, Captain Marvel excused himself and Superman took over, closing out the meeting. The heroes dispersed, for the most part, talking to one another behind the stage.

 

Captain Marvel slipped away and went back out front, walking out in the crowd only to be tackled by a bunch of toddlers. The little ones clung to his arms and crawled over his chest as he lay on the ground, one particular little blonde tugging on his cape playfully.

 

He laughed, the sound like warm bells that caused the children to follow suit. Captain Marvel sat up in the grass and plucked a kid off his shoulder and set her on her feet, shaking his head with a smile down at her. A couple of people came over to him, apologizing and gathering their kids with smiles to the hero. He shook his head and chuckled, telling them that it was fine, they hadn’t bothered him.

 

Once he stood, Captain Marvel felt his arm grabbed gently, looking to find some older women— (well, older to him; they were in their early 20’s) tugging on him gently.

 

They chatted him up for a while, going over his hobbies (he told them hero work was essentially a full-time job) what his family was like (dysfunctional, he told them) and if he was looking to settle down (that last one really confused him…) until eventually, he felt a presence behind him.

 

The Captain looked up from his spot in the grass to find Flash and Green Lantern standing behind him, Hal looking particularly jealous of the company he held.

 

“Uh, Cap? We gotta head out.” Flash said, gesturing with his head towards the direction of the teleport.

 

“Oh— uh, right,” he replied, standing up and thanking the ladies for their time. The girls in return told him that they should be thanking him, and he left it at that. He followed the two older heroes to the teleport and followed them in, glancing at the city he protected once more before it was gone in a flash of light.

 

They appeared in the Watchtower after a few moments, Hal and Barry walking off to meet with the rest of the Justice League as the Captain made his way towards the new “Young Justice” sanctioned area of the Watchtower.

 

With the League being needed more often, Superman and Batman had found that having the teens in the Watchtower to look over things while they couldn’t be there could be beneficial to them, so a section of the satellite was dedicated to them. Thankfully, the demigod was still in charge of being "Den-Mother" to the teens. It was relazing to be able to hang out with people who knew his identity- they still treated him the same, much to his delight.

 

The Captain pressed his thumb to the scanner and the door unlocked, walking into the lounge to find the teens gathered together watching a movie. 

 

“Hey guys!” he said happily, smiling at them as he made his way over, the group brightening and making room for him. 

 

“Sup Billy?” Dick said, ruffling his hair as he got comfortable.

 

“How ya been squirt?” Wally asked, nudging him with the popcorn bowl.

 

“Good— wait, where are Artemis and Roy?” he asked, brow furrowed.

 

“They went to spy on the League’s meeting,” Wally said with a mouth full of food. Captain Marvel chuckled and shook his head at the teen, glancing at the door he’d come through.

 

“I’m guessing they’re gonna set up a feed?” he asked, grabbing a pretzel stick for himself from the pile of food in front of them.

 

“Mhm~,” Conner said from behind, M’Gann sitting in his lap with her eyes closed. She looked like she could be asleep but he was sure she was simply resting her eyes, and was completely aware of everyone around her. “Well, that’s the plan anyway,” he said, shifting in his seat.

 

The Captain nodded, pausing when the TV switched from a zombie movie to a camera feed, a shaky one at that, held by Roy as he crawled through the vents. He set the camera down and turned it down so that it faced the meeting the adults were having. 

 

Robin made a motion with his head, that looked like he was concentrating— they must have Roy in the loop for the mind link. The camera stopped moving and the group could hear the heroes below talking to one another.

 

“Wait, Captain Marvel’s not here, you want me to go get him?” Black Canary said, glancing around the room. The teens around him gave him a look that said ‘take care of your shit, man’ but then turned back to the feed when he shrugged- he hadn't been told that he was needed.

 

“No, it’s fine, he’s probably tired from socializing,” Superman said, an edge to his words. “Honestly, the man acts like a child and still somehow gets more respect than any of us from his citizens,” he said, Batman putting a hand on his shoulder.

 

“Have you considered the fact that its because they’re his citizens that they respect him?” the detective asked. "I mean he seems to have a close relationship with them." 

 

Superman shook his head slightly, glancing at the hand on his shoulder. “It’s not just that. I mean, how could the entirety of the questions have gone to him? I mean, its not a big deal, but you think they would know more about the hero that protects them. It just seemed a bit worship-y for my taste.” the Kryptonian said.

 

“I feel that me and Barry found him surrounded by girls, hot ones too, all diggin’ on him. You think he maybe…ya know...”

 

“Shut up Hal.”

 

“What! It's a possibility!”

 

“He’s not banging his citizens' dude!”

 

“You’re no fun Barry.”

 

A bark of laughter calm from the Captain’s bright red side, and he looked to find Wally doubled over in laughter. This made the raven blush further, sinking into the edge of the couch behind him. "It's not funny..." he grumbled, crossing his arms over his barreled chest.

 

He felt a gentle hand in his hair and glanced up to find that it was Zatanna’s, who was giving him a pitying smile. A quick flick to Wally’s ear and his laughter ceased, but he was still bright red.

 

“No, it’s something else.” Wonder Woman spoke up, her hand to her chin. “Younglings tackled him as well. They looked to him like a father figure.”

 

“That man is many things, but a father figure is not one of them,” Superman said.

 

By this point, the air was beginning to grow tense. Everything had gone quiet in the room. Robin fidgeted in his seat, eyes glued to the screen. The group could hear Artemis getting angry as well, as she started tapping excessively on the leather that was part of her costume- a habit she'd gained from Roy, who could also be heard doing it. 

 

“Yea, okay, i’m not listening to this anymore. Come on.” Dick said, standing up suddenly and grabbing Wally’s arm. “We’re going to set this straight,” he said angrily. “Who’s coming with?” he said, fuming.

 

Zatanna stood and followed, along with Connor and M’Gann, and Kaldur after them. “Guys, you don’t have to—“ the raven was cut off by a finger from Zatanna, who shushed him.

 

“We know this, Billy. We also know that the league hates it when we spy on them, but this is more important than that,” she said, making a face for a moment before a quiet voice could be heard on the feed. 

 

“Oh hell no, we’re here for you Baby Bat,” Roy whispered, Artemis nodding in confirmation as the camera was shifted towards them. 

 

Captain Marvel sighed, sitting back down in his spot— when had he gotten up? and grabbed another pretzel stick. “Fine…” he said, munching the snack.

 

The camera was put back in place as the young heroes left, leaving the World’s Mightiest Mortal alone and shaking his head at them.

 

He knew that the league was going to get a scolding, and he didn’t plan on watching it. He grabbed the remote and clicked the channel back to the zombie movie, just in time to watch a zombie eat a young lady’s brains.

 

 

 

 - - - 

 

Chapter Text

 

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Flying for Billy was as close to freedom as he could come. He loved the rush it gave him, no matter how often he did it. There was something about defying gravity and soaring over golden fields and rooftops that made his heart swell. 

 

He had tried to explain the feeling in the past, try to put it into words, but no one really seemed to understand what he was getting at. The ones that could fly had always been able to do so, so he supposed it wasn't anything new to them. As for the ones that couldn't, well, being carried was different than flying on your own, so...

 

Billy whooped as he flew high in the sky, clouds floating be him as he cut through them effortlessly. His smile was wide on his face, closing his eyes as the warm summer sun glowing on his skin. His heart never felt lighter than at a time like this, and he couldn't help the laughter that bubbled up from his throat. 

 

A thought crossed his mind, a memory he thought he'd long forgotten. He smiled at it, remembering his mother and him spending time in a park, a song she used to sing to him coming to mind. It was something he hadn't heard in years- his eyes watered at the thought of his mom... he missed her. He wondered what she'd think of him, of the people he'd helped.

 

He could almost hear his mother's voice as he flew, smiling at the warmth it gave him. He glanced down at his comm, shoulders slumping slightly at the sound. he clicked a button, hoping to turn it on vibrate as he let his memories consume him. 

 

He remembered the words his mother used to sing by heart, his mother's gaze coming to mind. She radiated warmth, hope, kindness-- by the gods, he missed her... He could almost feel her gentle touch on his cheek, urging him to explore, to take a minute to look at the world around him and just take it all in.

 

Perhaps that's why they did what they had for a living...maybe if they hadn't they would--

 

No. He couldn't think that way.

 

His father had always told him to be curious... to look into things even when others wouldn't, to wonder how the world worked. Billy had always been told that curiosity was never a bad thing since it always led to knowledge. He wished they were with him still.

 

Billy put on a brave face, despite the tears brimming in his-- well, the Captain's eyes. He looked ahead, watching the sun as it barely touched the earth's surface, smiling slightly at the sight. It was his favorite... topped anything else, despite being something so simple. He knew his parents were resting easy, Hades had made sure of it- he'd promised they were taken care of... but he couldn't help but think about them. 

 

The scarlet hero came to a stop, floating and watching as clouds passed him slowly. 

 

"Do good...and good will follow," Cap said softly, watching the sunset quietly. 

 

"Don't worry, mama. I'll keep doing good," he said to himself, looking up at the darkening sky and nodding slightly to himself with a small smile. It had been a while since he'd talked to his parents like this. "I've been doing good for two years now. I think you'd be proud. You and papa..." he mumbled. "The Wizard says I've made a difference in the balance- says that Captain Marvel will always be needed, but that I've done good in making him worry less," he said with a chuckle.

 

"Oh, I was looking at that picture of you guys in uniform, and well I noticed that I look like you, papa..." he laughed. "Well, like this I do at least. Marvel looks like you. I- I don't know if I will yet." he mumbled. 

 

"I miss you guys. Its been...f-four..? four and a half years...and some days its easier, but... but some days it just feels dark. Like I know you're happy and safe with Mister Hades but I just... I dunno. Miss Candy says a kid needs his parents... but i.." he started tearing up again.

 

"But I don't have you-- and sometimes I feel like the League could be some k-kind of family, or, or parents but... they always look at me like something's wrong with me when I ask something I guess an adult would know..." he glanced down, fumbling with the edge of his cape. "Batman reminds me of you, mama, he can be stern, but... there's a kindness to his eyes. He never treats me like I'm dumb. I mean.. he's a dad, so it makes sense but..." he trailed off.

 

"And Superman reminds me of you, papa..." he said with a small smile. "He's strong and takes care of others. He makes sure everybody's safe and secure, like...like you did in the accident-" 

 

Tears slid down his cheeks at the thought of the dig site collapse, the one that took his parents away from him. 

 

"If I'd have been Captain Marvel then maybe I... I coulda saved you..." he hiccuped, rubbing roughly at his tears. "Sorry... I didn' mean to cry. I- I should go home. I got a patrol to do." he said, looking up at the silent, unwavering sky. The one that never talked back. "It was good to talk to you... and, heh- keep it between us, right.." his words trailed off, sadness to them.

 

He stood up from the cloud, floating in air quietly before realizing he had gone a ways away from the rooftops of Fawcett. He flew back towards his hometown quietly, unaware of the comm feed buzzing at his hip. The one that was currently live and broadcasting into the Justice League meeting room. 

 

Superman reached over the table and clicked off the communicator silently before sitting back in his chair. He was stunned as everyone else- what exactly did all of that mean?

 

"I...I think we misjudged Captain Marvel." 

 

- - -

Chapter Text

 

 

 - - - 

 

The room was dark, a mildew-y smell permeating through the walls as the heroes that resided in the room struggled in their bonds. Circuitry surrounded them, panels glowing and beeping softly in the dark and keeping track of each heroes unique prison. The villains had done their homework-- The League was completely and utterly stuck, and even Batman was having a hard time figuring out how to get out of his bonds.

 

Not to mention they had somehow captured this new hero-- a man clad in white, red, and gold with a lightning bolt on his chest and no mask. He struggled against his own restraints, though Batman thought that if Superman wasn't able to get out of his, this guy had zero chance. 

 

They had met him when they'd woken up, the hero strapped to a metal table that lay at an angle. He had had a light hanging over his head and a storm behind his bright blue eyes. When they'd asked him his name, he'd stayed quiet-- hadn't even opened his mouth. He barely paid any attention to them- maybe he was mute? Or maybe the villain- whoever they were, had made the glass dome around him soundproof.

 

The hero in red struggled against the thick metal restraints connecting him to the table, looking around at the glass dome that surrounded him, and Batman could tell there was calculating going on behind his eyes- he was figuring something out. 

 

Suddenly, the electronic doors slid open to reveal a bald, elderly man in a lab coat. he stepped into the light and Batman couldn't help the sudden recoil at the look of his face, his eyes hidden behind thick round glasses. "Ah Big Red Cheese, I'm surprised you haven't escaped yet. Have I finally found a way to contain you?" he asked, his voice mocking and nasally-- it almost sounded like Joker in a way. 

 

The hero in red scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Yea right, Sivanna. We both know that's not true. I know why you brought the league here, and you can't get me to do your dirty work." he growled out, his voice proud and warm like Superman's. So maybe he could hear and see them. 

 

"Well then call out to that wizard of yours, prove that you can get out." the villain, Sivanna, replied, light glinting off his glasses.

 

"Yea, not gonna happen, egghead. You really gotta start hiding your wires better. I can see they're connected to the other restraints. I call to the wizard and I might break the glass- but more likely it'll get rerouted and either stored by you or used to power whatever torture you're using on the Justice League. Which, by the way, not cool man." the red hero replied. 

 

So he had a good pair of eyes one him-- Batman had suspected that there was a reason their restraints were connected to the man in red's, and this only served to prove his theory. He glanced around the room, looking at the members of the league that weren't unconscious, and they all seemed to be waiting with bated breath to see what this hero would do. This villain was new to them, they had no idea what he could do, but this 'big red cheese' guy had obviously had run-ins with him before. 

 

"You know though, Sivanna, you let them go, and I'll power down. I know you're always wanting to take a scalpel to my innards. This may just be your best shot." he said confidently. Batman furrowed his brow at the hero-- power down? so his powers weren't permanent. If this doctor couldn't take a knife to his skin like this, then he must be bulletproof as well. The Dark Knight filed this information away and narrowed his eyes at the younger man. Surely he couldn't be that self-sacrificing. 

 

"We both know that as soon as I let them go, you'll power back up and put another dent in my head, Marvel! Don't treat me like a fool!" the villain squeaked. So the hero's name was Marvel then? "No, no no no. I know how short your attention span is. I know how you hate to wait, and I know you know that the longer you DO wait, the more pain the heroes surrounding you are in." 

 

"They're the Justice League. I'm- I'm sure they've handled worse," he said, and Batman noticed him fumbling subtly with something at his side. He couldn't get a clear look at it, and glanced back at the villain; he didn't seem to notice. 

 

"Are you sure? Because my dear boy Lex Luthor himself supplied me with Kryptonite, and I think we both know that to some, long enough exposure is lethal. We don't want a dead Kryptonian on our hands, do we...?" he was teasing, taunting this hero by now. He watched 'Marvel' continue to fumble with something, his expression becoming slightly worried. He suddenly stopped moving his hand, a quirk of a smile on his face before he put on a defeated look. 

 

"Fine." he said, the villainous doctor lighting up with glee. "Finally! I knew I could break you, Cheese." he cackled, smiling crookedly and the hero looked up. 

 

"SHAZAM!" 

 

The man's voice was like thunder- it bellowed throughout the small room despite the fact that the man was under a glass dome. Suddenly, lightning came down and struck the dome, circling it as the doctor cackled. The hero smirked before throwing his head back and calling again. 

 

"SHAZAM!"

 

The doctor paused- he looked worried. "Wait- no, no why isn't it- what are you-" The hero called out again.

 

"SHAZAM!"

 

The glass started to crack. It bulged at bright lightning struck it-- the air was electrified and tense, but Batman never felt a spark touch him. he watched the hero closely, a proud look in his bright blue eyes.

 

"SHAZAM!!"

 

The glass exploded outward, striking the large red hero and filling the room with smoke. Heroes coughed and sputtered, their eyes shut tightly as the machine in the middle, the one they were all connected to, overloaded. They were plunged into darkness, Batman trying to make things out in the dark. He noticed mainly that the big hero was gone, and something was moving quickly in the dark.

 

"YOU LITTLE BRAT!" Doctor Sivanna sounded furious, and Batman finally saw what had been moving around in the dark as the bald man lifted a child, no older than 10, but by the collar of his shirt and up into the exposed air illuminated by red emergency lights, but only for a moment. The boy kicked his legs furiously, gripping Sivanna's hand and thrashing. Batman noticed that the boy had raven black hair, just like the hero-- he was even wearing something similar to what the hero had been-- a red sweater with yellow trim. 

 

"Lemme go you wrinkled old bat!" the kid yelled, continuing to thrash. It was then that Batman realized his restraints had unclipped in the power outage, and he was free. He glanced at his teammates who seemed to realize the same thing, and the Dark Knight stood, stalking closer to the villain. 

 

"I'd put him down if you know what's good for you," he growled, the white of his eyes in the cowl seeming to glow in the low light of the room. The doctor looked at him, wide-eyed, before glancing around the room.

 

"No- no no no what did you do-" he glared up at the boy, who simply smirked- he was taking this very well. 

 

"Come on, Sivanna, I keep telling you not to keep your wires exposed," he said, holding up a piece of coupling that would have attached the large coils to his restraints. The doctor snarled and glared at the boy. "Now you might wanna put me down." the boy said slowly, a warning in his voice. "Unless you wanna get zapped."

 

The raven-haired boy looked up at the ceiling and smiled. "SHAZAM!" he yelled, another lightning bolt coming down and shaking the room. Sivanna had dropped the boy just in time, the blinding light and subsequent smoke making it hard to see as the red-clad hero that had been there previously returned, and was now holding Sivanna by the collar. He glanced down at himself and grinned. "Finally," he muttered before looking back at the doctor.

 

He tsked and walked out of the room without so much of a second glance at the League-- something they were NOT okay with and hurried to follow after.

 

The large group had managed to make it outside, only to find that they were on the edge of a cliff- the entire apparent laboratory they had been in was built there and the hero in red was currently walking towards the edge of the said cliff with the villain's collar still in his hand.

 

Some of the League looked at each other nervously as the hero got closer, not seeming to be about to stop. 

"WAIT!" a voice rang out, Hal pushing his way to the front. "You're not going to throw him off, are you?" he asked, wide eyes staring at the hero.

 

'Marvel' finally seemed to notice them and turned around, lightning crackling and dancing around his body as he held the doctor he dwarfed by the coat. "Huh?" he asked, tilting his head in a childish manner. "You're not serious, are you?" he asked, genuine confusion in his voice. 

 

 "Well you're kinda close to the edge there," Hal replied, worry seeping into his voice. 

 

The hero glanced at the edge and furrowed his brow. "Well- yea. I can fly," he said, demonstrating that he could, indeed, do so. "I was gonna take him to jail. Fawcett City's about what, 7 miles? 8?" he asked, glancing down at the doctor. 

 

"7 1/2, you twit." 

 

"7 1/2 miles." 

 

"You're from Fawcett? I thought that place didn't have any heroes. It's like- the goodiest two-shoes to ever two-shoes." Green Arrow spoke up confusedly. 

 

"Uh, well that's probably cause I do a good job? I mean usually, my villains don't really venture out to other cities or get other heroes involved... speaking of, why did you, Sivanna?" he asked, holding the doctor up a little higher. "Usually you keep this between us- or at least us and Junior." 

 

"I already told you Luthor gave me that damn rock-- he also paid me to capture them. Idiot." the small doctor replied bitterly, crossing his arms. 

 

"Well okay then." the hero replied.

 

"Hold on, dude, what is your name?" Flash asked, crossing his arms. 

 

"Oh! That's an easy one. I'm Captain Marvel." he said with the biggest boy scout smile. 

 

"Well, I gotta get him home. Hope to see you guys again- oh, maybe stop by Fawcett if you feel like it. Bye!" he said before taking off into the sky with Dr. Sivanna in his grasp. 

 

"That's an interesting one, to say the least," Flash said, watching him leave.

 

"I dunno, I think he's kinda cute." Canary piped up, an indignant squawk coming from Arrow a moment later. 

 

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Chapter Text

(( 3,270 words ))

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Family Members

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Billy whimpered in pain, clutching onto his arm in an attempt to stop the blood running down it. He still had fragments of glass embedded into his skin, sharp pain making his vision dance. Tears ran down his cheeks, bright pink and puffy eyes looking down at the damage his uncle had done when he'd thrown the glass vase at Billy. The 8-year-old started to pull out the shards- they weren't that deep, if he could get them out he could wrap his arm in something- and winced when the glass cut his skin further.

 

More tears fell down his cheeks, his quiet sobs racking his frame as he huddled in the dark corner of whatever room his Uncle Ebenezer had thrown him into. 

 

He knew the old man would leave him alone for the rest of the night, he wanted Billy's wounds to fester and get worse. He didn't know why he would want this, but he knew the man was cruel and greedy, so it made enough sense to him. 

 

Bily put a cloth into his mouth and pulled out a particularly large piece of glass, biting down onto the rag as it muffled his cry of pain. The last thing he needed was Ebenezer coming in and making things worse cause billy had been loud.

 

His breathing was heavy and ragged, blood not covering his arm and turning it scarlet. He was scared, partly of his injury since he knew his uncle would do nothing to treat it, and partly because if this was what the man did on the second night of him being here, Billy did NOT want to know what would be done within a week. He stood, swaying on his feet as he took the rag from his mouth and wrapped it around his arm tightly. It stung, especially since there was still small bits of glass inside, but he tried to ignore the pain.

 

The small boy whimpered as he tried to lift the window, more tears escaping his eyes as pain shot through his arm. He managed to get it open and outside of it, only to realize he was on the second story. Billy crawled out onto the overhanging roof, sliding down to the edge and looking down. 

 

It wasn't that far of a drop, but Billy had never done anything like this, and the pain in his arm was really making him dizzy. Blood was dripping onto the roof now as the boy thought about his options, before taking a deep breath and jumping off. 

 

He managed to fall into a roll, sitting on the ground for a moment to re-adjust himself and get rid of the pain that shook his body. He had to get out of here, fast, so he stood up and with a glance back at the house, took off into the warm summer night. 

 

- - -

 People On The Streets

- - -

Billy ran as fast as his lanky legs could carry him, which, to be honest, wasn't very fast. His worn tennis shoes padded against the hot sidewalk as he continued to run, sliding as he rounded a corner and nearly ran into a man with papers filling his arms. 

 

Sweat bead on his brow as he heard the voices of teenagers behind him, their snarky and cruel voices filling his ears with the sounds of threats and uncouth language. Billy felt a stone hit the back of his head and glanced back to find that the bullies were gaining on him, and were now armed. 

 

His eyes widened slightly, swallowing thickly and trying to pick up speed. He rounded another corner and found a diner, ducking into it quickly. He barely had enough time to catch his breath before an angry man came after him, wagging his finger at him and yelling for him to get out. 

 

Eventually, he threw him out- physically picking him up and tossing him onto the sidewalk. Bily skidded along the cement, getting a nasty road burn along his elbows and spitting out gravel as he sat up. The ten-year-old winced in pain, looking at his torn up arms for only a moment before he was picked up by the collar and hoisted into the air. 

 

"Well well well, lookie what we found after all. A street rat." the leader, a slightly pudgy boy by the name of Keeler spat out, grinning wickedly down at the child. His breath reeked of cigarettes, something Billy didn't even think he was old enough to legally buy yet, and his eyes were a dull, ugly shade of gray. Billy struggled in his grip, grunting and whimpering in an attempt to get some sort of adult's attention.

 

A couple passed the trio, Keeler and his grunt Harrison passing the situation off as 'friendly rivalry between family'. Yea, sure, some family these two were. Keeler had managed to clamp a grubby hand over his mouth to keep him from saying anything, and adults simply didn't care enough to look any further into it. 

 

They never did.

 

- - -

The Young Justice Team

- - -

 Captain Marvel stepped out of the Zeta Tube, a mechanized voice acknowledging his arrival in Mount Justice. "Captain Marvel, 15." The scattered teens barely glanced up before going back to what they had been doing, be it reading, watching TV, or playing video games.

 

"Hey, guys, what's goin' on?" The red-clad hero asked as he floated over, dropping down to the floor with a small thud. He didn't get a response, just a roll of Conner's eyes as he lost another level in his game. 

 

"Somethin' you need, Cap?" Wally asked, glancing up from his laptop, one that seemed to be playing a music video of some kind. Robin sat beside him, the pair looking up at the large man- but Captain Marvel could tell they really wanted to get back to their video.

 

"Oh uh- Nah, I was just..." he struggled to come up with something- he had wanted to hang out with the team, that it was kinda his birthday and wanted to spend time with his friends but that would sound kinda weird coming out of his mouth. And he didn't really want them to pity him...they didn't really seem to be in the mood. "I was just wondering if anyone wanted to join me in playing with Wolf on the beach." he came up with something. 

 

"Busy," Conner said gruffly, staring intensely at the TV screen, M'gann sitting beside him on the floor watching. Artemis glanced up from her book and shook her head. "Gonna finish this, it's finally getting good," she said simply before her eyes went back to the pages in her hands. 

 

"We kinda don't really have time to play with you, Captain. We haven't had a day off in like, a week, so..." Robin chimed in.

 

Captain Marvel tilted his head slightly. "How long have you guys been inside like this?" he asked curiously as Wolf came over and butted his thigh. He reached down and scratched the ear of the animal as Wally paused his video again. 

 

"Dude, come on, just cause the League made you our den mother doesn't mean you actually gotta act like our mom," he said, the rest of the team staying quiet. Cap noticed they seemed to be exchanging glances, a couple of them moving their heads as if they were talking, some of them rolling their eyes or making a face as they did.

 

Right. Mind link.

 

"Uh, right. Sorry." Cap replied, rubbing the back of his neck. "I'll just..." He glanced down at Wolf. "Take him out," he said softly, leading the animal to the beachside exit. "Feel free to join... if you're up to it," he said dejectedly before leaving- though before he left he heard something along the lines of "Thanks, we won't" followed by a snicker and a thud.

 

He walked out onto the beach and sighed, shoulders slumping slightly. "It's okay, Wolf," he said as the animal rubbed against him. Cap took a seat beside him and looked out at the harbor. "There's always next year, right?" he asked, a sad smile on his face as he scratched Wolf's fluffy ears. 

 

 

- - -

Foster Parents

- - -

 Billy rubbed his eye as he walked down the sidewalk, the early morning sun bearly over the horizon as the ten-year-old trudged down the street. He had his hands in his pockets and sleep still in his eyes, but continued to walk quietly. There was a large bruise forming on his cheek, along with another on his collarbone and a few scratched between, but the boy had long since cared about them.

 

This wasn't the first foster home to do this to him- to 'punish' him as they always liked to call it and then throw him out onto the streets. It was part of the reason he hated the system and rolled his eyes whenever a case agent said that they'd find him a good home. 

 

If it wasn't an abusive one, it was a neglectful one. A place where they'd put Billy in a room and it was like they forgot about him. Eventually, he'd get sick of it and leave on his own, but it didn't keep a small part of him from asking just what was so wrong with him that no one seemed to want him. 

 

The boy continued to walk, this time being sure that he wasn't gonna get put back into the system. He didn't care how long he had to run, how many people he had to avoid. People weren't gonna treat him that way again. He wasn't gonna be ignored by those who were supposed to be family- however foster they may be.

 

Billy sniffled, putting his hand up to touch the bruise on his jaw with a wince. He should really find someplace to go in the meantime. Maybe he could get an hour more of sleep before he had to do patrol around Fawcett. 

 

- - -

Members of The Justice League

- - -

Captain Marvel made his way through the halls of the Watchtower, the dining hall his destination. He hummed softly to himself as he walked, smiling at a couple of heroes that he passed, both of which pretty much ignored him. He was used to that kind of thing, so he didn't really take it to heart- some of these heroes just didn't really know how to respond to his boyish attitude and constant sunny disposition.

 

Or at least that's what the wisdom of Soloman told him. 

 

Captain Marvel made it to the dining hall finally, smiling at the two or three that were there, leaning against the bar or at tables with a snack or coffee in their hands. The red-clad hero walked up to a fridge and opened it, peering inside to see just what was there. He often took food home that was near its expiration date, things that the League either wouldn't miss or was about to throw out anyway. 

 

He had been running low on food at home, and currently, no one was offering any odd jobs he or his smaller form could take up- which meant no money for food or the like.

 

He pulled out a pizza box and opened it, smiling at the half pie inside. "Score," he said to himself, setting the box down on the counter. He turned back, looking inside to see if there was anything else.

 

"Whatcha doin' there, Cap?" a voice came from behind, gaining the hero's attention. He looked back to find Flash standing behind him, a smile on his face. "Cleanin' out?" he asked, tilting his head. Captain Marvel smiled nervously. 

 

"Oh uh, yeah, I was just seein' what was close to due date, help out the staff a bit," he said, thinking on his toes. "That- that okay?" he asked, obviously nervous if the slight tremble in his voice was anything to go by. Flash seemed like he was about to speak, his expression changing to one of concern before another person arrived. "Cap do you not-" 

 

Superman clasped a hand down on Flash's shoulder. "Flash, come on. We have an assignment." the Kryptonian said, glancing up at the Captain. "Captain," he said with a nod, to which the World's Mightiest Mortal returned.

 

"Yea, I was just-" Flash started to argue, the Kryptonian giving him a look. "No time, leave Cap to whatever he's doing and come on." his voice held no room for argument, and Barry nodded. He glanced at the Captain before following Superman out of the dining hall. 

 

Captain Marvel was left alone, watching the pair and wondering just what Flash was going to ask him. 

 

- - - 

And The One Time No One Could Look Away.

- - - 

Batman was thrown to the ground with a grunt, skidding along the pavement and breathing heavily. He pushed himself up to look at the kid-- he couldn't be older than 8, with a massive, glowing sphere of energy surrounding him. bright glowing veins of energy covered his body, his hair whipping around in the wind and eyes glowing brightly. The child had been causing havoc, it was obvious he was scared and hurt, and had no idea how to control his powers, but no hero had managed to get him to calm down- not even Superman. 

 

Batman struggled to stand, coughing up blood and spitting it onto the pavement. He glanced at some of the downed heroes- this kid was not something to be underestimated. Buildings were collapsing around them, glass shattered and cars nothing more than piles of sharp, twisted metal. It wasn't a pretty sight, and if they didn't stop this kid soon, there was no telling how many innocent people would die.

 

The Dark Knight glanced around, heroes beginning to come back out of their blackouts as more got thrown to the ground. craters in the asphalt surrounded them, and Bruce wiped the blood staining his mouth and looked back up at the kid. 

 

He had managed to not only take out most of the Justice League but most of the Young Justice team as well, leaving both teams struggling to come up with a solution.

 

Suddenly, he saw Captain Marvel land in front of the child, in the middle of the street, in the center of the destruction and scattered, beaten heroes. His cape was torn and he had a bruise on his face, but other than that he seemed to be the least scathed out of all of them. 

 

He had a look of determination on his face, lightning surging behind his bright blue eyes. He could tell the man had a plan, but nothing thus far had worked, so Batman hoped it was a damn good one. 

 

He watched as the World's Mightiest Mortal took in a deep breath and let it out, seemingly trying to avoid anyone in the League's eyes. He glanced up at the heavens, Batman following his gaze before looking back down at the hero in red. Suddenly, he cried out, his voice as loud as the thunder and lightning he seemed to control. 

 

"SHAZAM!"

 

A massive, blinding lightning bolt came down and struck the hero, a cloud of smoke surrounding him and hiding him from view. As it began to dissipate, however, Batman couldn't believe what was before his eyes. 

 

A small boy, seemingly the same age as the one losing control, stood firm in the place Captain Marvel had just been. He was staring up at the kid, whose attention had been gained with said lightning bolt. The Captain-- that was the Captain, right? started walking towards him, looking up and continuing to get closer despite various yells form the heroes around him. 

 

"I know you're scared!" the kid yelled out, looking up at wind whipped in his face. He held up an arm in an attempt to shield himself from the light. "I know that you feel alone and that this is scary." he continued, the boy with glowing eyes paying close attention to him. 

 

He took another step closer, and the energy surrounding the child shrunk, ever so slightly.

 

"The power is overwhelming. It courses through your blood, and sometimes feels like its going to rip you apart. I know." The energy shrunk more, allowing this child to get closer. "And I know, trust me, I know how easy it would be to just get angry at the world, to blame it on everyone else." his voice was starting to waver as he got closer. 

 

"Its a burden sometimes. But we can't become the villains we see on TV!" the Captain yelled, and Batman could see tears in his eyes. "It doesn't matter if no one will accept you! You have to keep fighting, keep pushing, with the thought that you can make this world better!" 

 

The raven-haired boy was only feet away from the one with glowing eyes, reaching out as he continued to speak. "We have to be the ones to make it better! I know this world is scary, and I know what it's like to be alone- truly alone- but you can't let that fear overtake you." 

 

Tears were flowing freely down the boy's cheeks now, as he finally made contact with the glowing boy- the one who finally seemed to be calming down.

 

"You have to do good. And I swear, Good Will Follow." 

 

There was no counting how many times he'd heard Captain Marvel say that exact line, whether it had been in an attempt to get a criminal to surrender and give up on villainy, or just in a simple motivational way.

 

He watched as the black haired boy managed to calm the slightly smaller boy down enough to pull him into a hug, the glow fading from around him, leaving a shaking, crying child that only wanted to clutch to the Captain's thin frame. He let him, rubbing his back soothingly as the pair sat in the center of a large crater.

 

"You'll be okay. I promise. Everything's okay." Batman heard the larger boy mutter, trying to keep the smaller calm. "This is the Justice League. They're like my family... Do you have a family to go home to..?" his words were soft and slow, but not demeaning-- it was almost like he spoke from experience. When the little boy shook his head no the captain seemed to hold him tighter. 

 

Around him, The League was watching closely- some with a studious expression, others with awe or confusion etched into their features. The one thing they had in common, though, was that none could look away from the scene in front of them.

 

"You fell through the cracks," Cap said softly, ignoring the heroes that had begun to converge quietly on the crater's edge. "Its okay, ssh, it's okay, I did too. I know...I know its scary..." he pulled back, looking into the eyes of a boy that was barely a year or two younger than him. 

 

"Can you be strong for me?" the small captain asked, tilting the boy's chin up so cornflower blue eyes could look into warm brown ones. The boy nodded, sniffling softly.

 

"Okay, that's good. My name's Billy. I'm gonna help you but you gotta talk to the superheroes, okay?" he said slowly, the boy in his arms nodding. "I'll hold your hand the whole time, it's okay. I'm here." he said, finally standing up with the small boy holding his hand tightly.

 

Batman stared at the boy, watching him closely. There was no doubt in his mind that this was Capatain Marvel now. The only thing he could think of, however, was just what had happened to him to make him so similar and so understanding of what this boy had gone through.

 

Maybe he should have been paying more attention. 

- - - 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

The pencil scratched quietly along the pad of paper in his lap, the soft graphite moving smoothly over the surface in even strokes as his wrist twisted and moved to guide it along. It was quiet, the only sound being that of the contact of pencil on paper.

 

Captain Marvel sat in a lotus position, hovering a few feet off the ground with a concentrated look on his face. His eyebrows were knitted together, eyes directed down at his work as his tongue poked out slightly between his lips. He sat in front of one of the Watchtower's many floor-to-ceiling windows, his chest to the glass as he continued to scratch lines down on the paper. 

 

It had become a normal sight to find the Captain like this, mindlessly scribbling and doodling in his white notepad in front of the vastness of space that surrounded the League's orbiting satellite. He never showed anyone these drawings he made, and no one ever asked him to-- it was an unspoken agreement that the heroes let the 'Big Red Cheese' have this time to himself and not bother him.

 

Many thought he had ADHD-- his attention tended to drift during meetings, the man often drawing into himself and staring off into space, only to come out of his stupor with a small shake of his head when someone would say his name. He was also known to get almost overly-excited during missions, especially ones that went off without a hitch. Times like this, it seemed, to be a part of what everyone thought. The man would become hyper-fixated on his drawings for long periods of time, only to eventually come out of his stupor and shove the drawing pad into a temporal void without a second thought. 

 

Now, if he was honest, there was a bit of truth to these theories. He did have ADD, or at least Billy did-- well, he thought so anyway. He'd never been officially diagnosed, but his teacher (back when he was still going to school) had told him he exhibited all the symptoms. 

 

Drawing had been a way for him to focus himself, clear his mind, and put down the random thoughts that came to his head. 

 

However, if anyone ever asked to see his notebook, the Captain would start to stammer and get all blushy and embarrassed. Most simply assumed it was cause he couldn't draw very well and thus didn't want others to see- others thought that the man wasn't actually drawing but writing, and it was simply a way to hide his writings of magic and things no mortal should lay their eyes upon.

 

But one thing was certain-- no one but the Captain looked in the book. It was never left anywhere, and if you were to catch a glimpse, the book would practically vanish from the man's hands (thanks to the speed of Mercury) and he would start to try and nervously explain himself. 

 

So far, no one had gotten a good enough look at the book. Not even the security cameras picked up what was on the pages; though the big red cheese seemed to find blind spots in the Watchtower to zone out and go into his little world. It unnerved Batman in particular since he had made sure there was barely any blind spots in the Watchtower, yet Marvel still was able to find them with ease.

 

Captain Marvel continued his drawing, slowly moving the pencil in a smooth shape before pausing and glancing up through the window. He got a sudden small smile on his face, his eyes almost sparkling to reflect the stars that surrounded the satellite. It lasted only a moment, though, before he uncurled his legs and landed on the floor, opening a rift and setting the book inside before leaving his spot.

 

- - -

 

Flash sighed, his head being drowzily supported by his arm as he stared at the monitors blankly. Monitor duty sucked-- barely anything happened and it was rare nowadays that he got a partner with him since Batman said he "distracted them from the task at hand" too much. The speedster pressed a button, flicking through satellite images of space, nebulas, and of various countries around the Earth.

 

Everything was quiet for once, which meant another layer of boredom for the blonde. "There's nothing good on..." he grumbled to himself, a habit he'd picked up to pass the time in situations like this. Flash changed the feed from outside the Watchtower to inside, sitting up slightly and flicking between channels inside. This he deemed much more interesting since there were actually quite a few members of the League on the satellite at the moment.

 

Barry flicked through the feeds, focusing on the training room where Wonder Woman and Green Lantern were currently sparring, the pair dancing around one another before Diana leaped at Hal with a swing of her sword. The brunet rolled out of the way and put up an energy field around himself, a green baseball bat appearing in his hands as Diana sliced at the shield.

 

Flash changed the channel to one of the meeting rooms, where Plastic Man and Firestorm were leaning back in the chairs with their feet on the long table, discussing quips with one another. Barry chuckled and rolled his eyes, changing the channel before he could hear one of the pair's cringe-worthy jokes. 

 

The channel was changed of one of the many hallways, various heroes walking and chatting. He went through a couple of these, spotting Superman and Batman talking with one another in one before he got bored with the situation and changed the channel again.

 

This time the feed changed to a practically empty cafeteria-- there were tables scattered about and a bar and kitchen along the wall, but there was only a single hero in the room. Surprisingly it was Captain Marvel-- he was sitting at one of the many circular tables, his sketchbook resting on the table as he seemingly struggled to stay awake. He was chewing on the eraser end of the pencil, probably thinking, as Barry watched him closely.

 

It was weird to see the man dip his head forward and suddenly jolt awake, only to repeat the action a few seconds later. Most on the League thought the man was a demigod; he shouldn't need to sleep, right? Flash watched as the big red cheese suddenly slumped over, his big arms pillowing his head as he fell asleep on the table-- his sketchbook still out and free for the peeking. Now, Barry knew a once in a lifetime chance when he saw one.

 

His eyes widened and he stood from his spot, disappearing in a flash (haha) and appearing on the monitor screen for a moment before appearing back in front of the monitor with sketchbook in hand. It was heavier than he'd been expecting- the book was bound in a rich brown, almost dark red leather with golden trim. It looked like a spell book, and now that he had it in his hands, Barry wasn't sure if that's what it actually was or not. 

 

He chewed on the inside of his cheek for a moment before coming to the conclusion that one small peek couldn't hurt, so he opened it to the front page. 

 

The speedster's eyes widened at the sight in front of him, blinking and shaking his head to bring him out of his stupor. On the page were sketches, of all things. There was drawing of Superman's symbol in the corner, lightly sketched with a thick, dark grey outline around the shield-like symbol. Small doodles of lightning bolts adorned the page, varying slightly in size and design. There was what looked like a hero's back, the focus being on the cape and how it looked like it was blowing in the wind. 

 

Flash ran his fingers along the drawings, swallowing thickly at the sight. They were really well done- and not the thing he had been suspecting. He turned the page and his eyes widened, head rearing backward before moving back in to look closely. It- it was him. He looked down at the sketch of him in uniform, staring out with a serious expression on his face. Was this how Cap saw him?

 

This- this made him look like a professional.

 

 Flash paused, closing the book and taking off towards a meeting room. He set the book down and sped off through the hallways, grabbing Bats and Superman and putting them in the room before moving on to grab Diana, Hal, and bringing them to the room as well. Once they were all in the room (and pissed off at him he might add) he held up his hands and picked up the book, effectively silencing the coming rants and beratings. 

 

"Cap fell asleep, and I swiped it from the table on the cafeteria table," he said, glancing at Batman before he could ask how he'd gotten it. Superman gave him a look, shaking his head slightly. 

 

"Flash, that's Marvel's personal item. You shouldn't have taken it, man." Kryptoniannian said, his arms crossed over his barreled chest. Flash rolled his eyes. "Come on, Supes, don't act like you're not curious. I've already looked inside and its-" he paused, letting out a breath. "It's pretty awesome." 

 

"What is it?" Diana asked, sheathing her sword and crossing her own arms. 

 

"Its drawings. Sketches. Look at this one he did of me." Flash replied, opening the book to the page with his sketch on it and showing it to the group. Batman made a sound of confirmation, tilting his head slightly. Flash set the book down and looked at it. "Its all drawings I assume. I saw myself in there so I just assumed..." 

 

Hal scratched at his jaw. "You assumed that since Captain Marvel drew you, he might have drawn the rest of the league?" he asked, raising a brow before setting his hands on his hips. "Hey i'm game," he said, turning the page to reveal a drawing of Superman. It was drawn in pencil as well and looked like the man was getting ready for some kind of confrontation. It had almost a cartoon-like look to it, but the lines were smooth and shading even smoother.

 

"That's- that's me," Superman said, blinking down at the picture and touching it gently. "I don't understand. Why would Captain Marvel draw us, of all people?" he asked, looking at the blonde. Barry shrugged in response and Superman drew back, still staring at the page with a wispy look in his eyes. 

 

Barry glanced at the Kryptonian before turning the page, revealing a drawing of Wonder Woman. She stood posed with her hand on her hip and fire in her eyes. The woman in question brightened, smiling down at the page. "The Captain must have been blessed by Athena to draw like this," she said softly. "She is the goddess of the arts, he must be in her good graces," she said with a proud smile. 

 

Superman chuckled and shook his head. "She's got one thing right. Cap is a great artist. I just don't understand why he wouldn't want to show us these. They're great." he said, turning the page and blinking down at the image on its surface.

 

Batman's surly face was staring up at the group, the thin sketchy lines making up his cowl and face. This one was slightly messier- as if Captain Marvel had been in a hurry or like he'd drawn it in the moment. Or maybe he was just interrupted. The angles were sharp and striking with messy shading, all coming together to display a drawing of the Dark Knight himself. 

Batman stared down at the image and the corner of his mouth turned up for a moment before disappearing. He couldn't deny that the man had talent-- though why he chose Bruce as a subject he didn't really understand. This was completely different than what he'd thought would be in the book; it was almost like a dedication to the heroes Captain Marvel worked with on a daily basis.

 

They turned the page and Hal's shoulders slumped at the sight of what looked like a teenage boy; it wasn't finished by the looks of it- that, or Cap gave up or got distracted part of the way through. "that's not me..." he said defeatedly, hanging his head as Batman furrowed his brow and grabbed the book. "That's Robin," he said gruffly, eyes narrowing on the drawing. 

The boy wonder looked to be in the middle of a fight, with what Bruce had come to call his 'concentration face' on. He had no idea why Marvel was drawing the teenager, or the rest of the league for that matter, and started thinking as he set the book back down. Maybe he drew Dick while he was training and the Captain was on duty as Den Mother for the Young Justice team.

 

"Does he just not like me or something?" Hal asked, tilting his head slightly in question. Flash shook his head at the man. "I'm serious! We're friends, right? I- I thought we were buds." Hal got a troubled look on his face. "Seriously why aren't I in here though?" he asked, looking around. 

 

"Dude, auras are kinda hard to draw. And you got a constant one." Flash said as a guess. 

 

Hal pouted, grumbling to himself. "Sure whatever...." he mumbled, glancing off. "Maybe we should just put the book b--" the brunet was interrupted by the meeting room door suddenly sliding open and revealing a panicked World's Mightiest Mortal. 

 

The raven-haired man's eyes were wide, showing off the bright blue irises he had. His hair was mussed, likely from having laid his head against his arms for so long, and his cape was rumpled. "Do you guys--" he started, eyes locking on to the book on the table. HIs shoulders dropped and Barry could almost see the man's heart drop to his stomach at the sight. Suddenly a red blur flashed in the room and the book was gone, held tightly in the Captain's hands. 

 

"I- I'm sorry," he said, swallowing thickly as a blush spread across his cheeks. "You weren't... You weren't supposed to see those..." he said slowly, the book vanishing from his hands as he brought one up to rub the back of his neck. "I- I'll just uh- g-go. Sorry," he mumbled before he was stopped.

 

"Wait, Captain," Superman said, holding out a hand. 

 

Captain Marvel paused, turning back around and waiting. Nervous energy radiated off him in waves, and he stood like a child about to be punished. "Y-yes Superman...?" he asked slowly.

 

The Man of Steel let out a small sigh. "You're a good artist, I hope you know that. You got real talent, son," he said, his eyes warm. "You don't have to be embarrassed, personally, I think its humbling that we're who you decide to draw," he said with a small smile.

 

Captain Marvel blushed harder, blinking in surprise. "I- I-" Flash smirked and stepped in. "Yea man, I mean you really caught my heroic essance." he said, turning the captain slightly more red. "Seriously dude, it's great." 

 

The Big Red Cheese smiled and nodded. "Thanks," he said before leaving the room.

 

"I'm still a little bitter that I wasn't included though," Hal spoke up, only to be slugged in the shoulder by Flash.

 

"Shut up." 

 

 - - -

 

Chapter Text

 

 - Ω - 

5:08 pm 

 

It was dark.

 

Smoke and ash invaded his lungs, making him cough and sputter as he lay pinned under a large metal beam. His eyes burned as debris fell from the charred and decaying ceiling, the metal that trapped him groaning as wooden planks fell onto it.

 

Fire crackled around him, the heat painful to his skin. He shut his eyes against it, coughing as more smoke invaded his nose.

 

the child’s vision was getting blurry, images turning to shapes and color as the smoke around him suffocated him.  

 

The beam groaned again, pushing further into his body and cutting his breath short. He could barely move his chest and his throat felt like it was closing up. For the first time in a long time, a certain thought came to his mind.

 

This is where I die.

 

It scared him, he thought, but as the metal pushed further into him, the closer to reality the thought came. He couldn't breathe anymore- the smoke was surrounding him and the beam pushing into his ribs- he couldn't take it anymore.

 

He accepted his fate- and stopped struggling against the weight. He opened his eyes to stare down the beam- to face it head-on.

 

With a final groan, the metal seemed like it was about to crash down when it suddenly lurched to the side, revealing rays of sunlight with a figure in the middle.

 

The child furrowed his brow, still unable to move as the figure bent down and picked him up. His vision was still blurry but he squinted at the figure, his small frame shaking as he went into a coughing fit. The figure reacted instantly, launching them into the air and out of the burning building. 

 

The pair soared into the clouds and floated there. 

 

Silent. 

 

His vision, while blurry, was still good. He squinted up at the person whose arms he still lay in and recognized them instantly.

 

"C-Captain Marvel?" Billy asked, coughing as he spoke. "H-how.." he attempted to say more, but his throat burned when he tried to speak, and the hero shushed him with the tilt of his head.

 

"We..." The Captain started, as if unsure. "We've got a problem, Billy."

 

The boy stared up at him, pained confused etched into his features as he struggled to remain conscious. Everything hurt and he felt hollow- why was Captain Marvel here and why was he holding him...? Wasn't he Captain Marvel...? 

 

"But you're going to be okay. I'll make sure of it."

 

That was the last thing the frail boy was able to register before darkness consumed him.

 

 - Ω -  

A Few Hours Earlier...

 

Captain Marvel flew through the skies above Fawcett City, the town below bustling as the scent of coffee and breakfast pastries filled the air. The hero scanned his surroundings, a smile on his face when he saw nothing out of the ordinary. 

 

"That might just deserve a pat on the back, Batson," he said to himself, proud of the fact that for the moment, crime seemed to be taking a moment to catch its breath in Fawcett. The paused in the air to look at a park, where children played on playgrounds and in sand pits, content with their lives. 

 

Suddenly, he heard a beeping noise coming from his communicator. He put his finger to the device in his ear and pressed a button, pausing to hover in the air. "This is Captain Marvel, is something wrong?' he asked.

 

"Captain."

 

The voice that spoke was deep and gravelly, and could only belong to one hero- Batman. Marvel tensed, his body rigid as he snapped to attention.

 

"Uh- Yes, Batman sir?" he stammered.

 

“We’re picking up reports of energy spikes just outside of Fawcett. Do you have any idea what that could be?” he asked, his voice flat.

 

Captain Marvel thought for a moment, going over the layout of the city in his mind. After a few seconds, the image of the abandoned observatory popped into his mind. “Of course...” he muttered, his jaw locking and setting his sights on the location.

 

“I don’t know who could be doing this, but there’s an old abandoned observatory just outside of town.” he relayed into his comm, landing on the ground in front of the large building. "This is the only thing that makes sense for power to be coming from." Batman made a sound of agreement, telling the Captain he'd be there soon before hanging up.

 

The observatory had been abandoned years ago due to faulty wiring in the building and a lack of funding from the city to keep it maintained. Thus, it had fallen into ruin and became a hotspot for thugs to gather and plot or test weapons they somehow obtained.

 

Captain Marvel had battled many a goon in and around this building, and with each battle the building became more and more dangerous, verging on the point of collapse. As of now, he could sense the energy that crackled in the air around the building. He narrowed his eyes at it, wishing for once that he had X-Ray vision like Superman. The Captain drew in a breath and floated over to the crumbling entrance, stepping over a partially destroyed door and into the dark, dusty observatory.

 

He decided that staying quiet may be his best bet, hoping to perhaps get an edge over whoever- or whatever was here. He stepped carefully around some broken glass, eyes peeled for any sign of movement. A sudden sound from another room had him running towards it, stopping just outside the door it seemed to have come from.

 

Captain Marvel couldn't hear anything coming from inside, deciding to bite the bullet and open the door. It creaked open, revealing a large room that should have had a telescope in it, but instead had a large, complicated machine instead. The raven-haired man furrowed his brow- just what was this thing?

 

His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden sharp strike to the back of the head, making the hero stumble forward. He glanced back, raising a hand to the back of his head and feeling something lodged in his skin. He plucked it out with a wince and looked at it, vision dancing as he looked down at an empty dart. "Oh no..." he said before collapsing onto the floor.

 

When he woke up, Captain Marvel found himself strapped to a cold metal table. He struggled against the restraints, only to find that they held firm. That didn't make any sense, he should be able to break them- 

 

He looked up at the sound of a snicker, narrowing his eyes as Dr. Sivanna emerged from the shadows. "Well well, Big Red Cheese, how's it feel to be restrained? Held back? To be treated like just another prisoner?" the bald man cackled as the Captain continued to struggle. "Oh don't bother, that drug is enough to keep even Superman sedated." the heinous doctor said, turning to a control panel and typing into it.

 

Captain Marvel craned his neck in an attempt to see what was happening but found he didn't have the strength to do so. He laid his head back down, swallowing thickly. "What do you want, Sivanna?" he asked, brow furrowed in agitation.

 

"What I want, Cheese is for you to feel the way I felt. I was imprisoned among lowly criminals! Me! Doctor Thaddeus Siv-"  He was cut off by a groan from the Captain. 

 

"Yea, Okay, I got that bit but what do you really want, Sivanna," he asked. He really wasn't in the mood to deal with the doctor's ego. Thankfully, if he could stall him, Batman would get there soon and free him before whatever plan the madman had could be put into action. "I'm strapped to the table for a reason- I mean, what for?" he asked, watching the doctor grumble and continue to mess with the control panel.

 

"Well, Marvel, Allow me to tell you," he said, Cap rolling his eyes when the doctor turned away. Oh joy, monologuing. But, if that was what it took to keep the bald man busy, he'd sit through it. It was interesting to see his way of thinking, at least.

 

"On second thought, I might as well just turn it on. You'll see soon enough what this glorious machine does!" Sivanna changed tactics, cackling as he sped up in his movements. Wait no, he needed to monologue- that was the only thing he could think of to stall! "I hope you've made your peace with the Wizard, Big Red Cheese," he said as he cranked some dials. "Because you won't be getting a chance to say goodbye!" 

 

Captain Marvel's heart dropped, a pit of dread forming in his stomach. Where was Batman!? The hero was actually beginning to panic now, struggling harder against the restraints. The machine above him started to warm up, a shrill whirring sound coming from it. "No no no no-" 

 

Cap had one last line of defense- if he transformed, he might be able to slip out of the restraints, but if he didn't move in time.....well he had no idea what this machine would do. He swallowed thickly, the Doctor's back to him as he looked up, sunlight streaming in through the holes in the roof. 

 

He couldn't wait for Batman. 

 

The hero threw his head back as Dr. Sivanna threw a switch, the machine in front of him whirring to life as the magical lightning he called upon came down from the heavens. Captain Marvel's eyes widened as two opposing forces struck him, energy coursing through his body and making him cry out in pain. Something was wrong- very very wrong- his powers weren't supposed to hurt him!

 

Cap felt like he was being torn apart, lights around them flickering and sparking as Dr. Sivanna backed up. "What did you do?!" he yelled over the hero's pained cries, the bald man's eyes widening as he was suddenly running from the room. 

 

He barely registered what happened next, as the machine suddenly blew up, surrounding him in darkness and throwing him from the table. He felt a sickening pull in his stomach and his heart drop, his body growing cold as a fire blazed to life inside the abandoned building.

 

Something was very wrong indeed. 

 

 - Ω -  

 

*NOTE: idk If i'll continue this one in particular becasue i'm not actually sure where it would go xD

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

The wrinkled and balled up papers were spread out across the meeting table, covering the sleek surface in scribbled out words and a mixture of pencil lead and pen ink. To a passerby, the room looked like someone simply hadn't cleared off the large table after spreading their work out. 

 

In actuality, however, the papers were spread out across the table intentionally. Various members of the Justice League stood around the long surface, totaling about seven members in total. Superman and Batman were sharing a look, the former with an unnerved expression written into his features.

 

Cyborg was looking at one of the pages closely, his hand gripping onto the table tightly as his eyes scanned the words. Green Lantern and Flash were leaning against the wall, staying quiet and avoiding anyone's eye contact.

 

Wonder Woman was fuming, pacing back and forth at the end of the table and swinging her sword at the air angrily every couple of minutes while Black Canary was the only one in the group actually sitting at the table. She had a couple of papers in front of her and was looking at them worriedly. 

 

The air in the room was tense, and for good reason, considering the things they had found.

 

"Flash, where did you say you found these?" Batman said, looking from Clark to the speedster leaning against the wall. Flash glanced up from the table to look the Dark Knight in the eyes, shaking his head slightly to clear his head. "Uh- I was on housekeeping duty and found them in Captain Marvel's room," he said quickly. "Some of them were on his desk, and others were in the trash, but they were kind of all over his writing area in his quarters."

 

Batman nodded and glanced at the Kryptonian with a sigh. "Well let's go over everything real quick to make sure we know what exactly we're looking at," he said, stepping closer to the table. Diana glanced up and glared at him harshly. 

 

"Don't, Batman. We are not children, we all can tell exactly what these are, and just what they entail," she growled, pointing her sword at the raven as she spoke. Superman let out a sigh, his shoulders still tense as he spoke. "Diana, Bruce isn't your enemy. Put the sword away." he bit out.

 

Diana huffed and sheathed the weapon as she came closer, leaning over the edge of the table and pressing her weight down on to her arms. Flash and Hal followed suit, coming closer and standing next to the wooden surface. 

 

"Just humor me, Diana," Batman replied curtly, turning his attention to the others. "From what we can tell these are letters- or, at least, attempts at them. They range from simple ideas for letters to topics and starting sentences. There are a few full letters with mistakes and some that were simply scribbled completely through. This in itself is nothing to scoff at." he said, glancing around.

 

"However-" he started again, glancing down at the pages. After running the recipient's name through the League database, we've come up with one Courtney Whitmore, age 16." he said, pulling up a hologram of a young, blonde girl with bright blue eyes and a warm smile on her face. "Straight-A student and animal shelter volunteer- she's not got a speck of criminal record on her." 

 

"Bats lets just cut to the chase. Captain Marvel was writing to this girl, and the things he wrote-" Hal cut himself off, setting his jaw with a huff. He clenched his fists with a small growl. "He's nearly twice her age! He shouldn't be asking her out on a date or complimenting her hair or whatever!" he said angrily. 

 

Flash glanced away, chewing on his lip at Hal's outburst. He did have a point, though. What Captain Marvel was doing... it wasn't right. 

 

Sure, none of them knew his real age- accounts of the World's Mightiest Mortal went back for centuries, so none of them were certain just how old the demigod was, but regardless, it wasn't right. He looked like he was 25, and the public would NOT take kindly to seeing him near a 16-year-old- especially in a romantic way.

 

"Hal, calm down," he said, placing a hand on the Green Lantern's shoulder. "Don't lose your cool, man." 

 

The brunet huffed and yanked his shoulder from Flash's grip, but seemed to cool slightly. He glanced away, crossing his arms over his chest silently. Flash shook his head slightly, turning his attention back to the rest of the group. "Batman, what- what are we supposed to do about something like this? It's kind of unprecedented," he said, resting his hands on his hips. 

 

Clark glanced at the Dark Knight, who had a hand to his chin in thought. "Bruce?" he asked, tilting his head slightly. "Batman," he said slightly louder when he got no response. 

 

"I'm not deaf, Superman. I'm thinking." Batman replied coldly.

 

Flash let the pair do their thing and picked up a page that had been discarded on the table, looking over it quietly. Messy handwriting covered the page, various beginnings of a letter placed about the page with multiple tries crossed out. 

 

"Dear Cou" "Hey Star" "How have you guys b" the handwriting was thick and messy, almost childlike in a way. There were lots of different starters, all scattered about the top of the page before one was seemingly chosen and written down. "Hey Starlight, I know it's been a while". He wrote to her a lot, it seemed, and had for a while. A thought came to the blonde, his brows furrowing. 

 

"Batman, this Courtney girl couldn't be the Captain's daughter, could she? I mean, I've seen people jokingly talk about going on 'dates' before when it's just a family outing. Captain Marvel's obviously a lot older than he appears, so what he's just, ya know, sending letters to his kid?" he said, trying to make sense of everything in front of them.

 

"Not possible, Flash. Courtney Whitmore's father was blonde and died when she was young." Batman replied instantly, crushing Barry's hopes. His shoulders slumped and he let the paper fall back on to the table without another word.

 

The heroes attentions were suddenly captured by the computer's voice ringing out, announcing the departure of a hero. "Captain Marvel, 15." an automated voice said, the group sharing looks. They were gone from the room in an instant, heading to the zeta tubes and looking at where the demigod had gone. 

 

"Says here he went to New York. What business could he possibly have there? Captain Marvel lives in Fawcett." Superman said, stating the obvious. The man's brow furrowed, glancing at the teleporter. "Come on. We're following him." 

 

Flash's eyes widened slightly. "All of us?" he asked, looking up at Superman. The Kryptonian glanced back, nodding at the speedster. "Yes. If the Captain puts up a fight, I'll need backup," he said firmly. Barry couldn't believe they were even considering possibly fighting Captain Marvel. He was their ally, this entire thing could be a misunderstanding- Flash swallowed thickly. 

 

"R-Right," he said softly. 

 

Clark landed on the floor and looked at Bruce expectantly.

 

The Dark Knight sighed, shaking his head. "I'm going along with this because I know you won't give it up until we do. I hope you know that." Batman said, punching in the coordinates before gesturing lazily to the zeta tubes.

 

Superman smirked slightly before looking towards the teleporter. "I know," he said, disappearing. The group followed suit with varying degrees of discomfort and determination. 

 

They appeared in a back alley in New York City, Superman stepping out of the teleporter and immediately flying up to have a look around. Captain Marvel was a hard guy to miss, what with the bright red and blinding gold, and he caught sight of him fairly quickly. He watched the man fly through the air happily before landing back in the alley. "He's heading for Battery Park it looks like," he said, looking around the group.

 

Flash furrowed his brow as he walked out of the Zeta tube. "That where the JSA's base is," he said, glancing at Hal, who was still fuming. "Okay, so maybe this girl- she's a hero? A meta maybe? If she's part of the JSA it would make sense, they don't really have the strict standards that we have set in place," he said, glancing at the Kryptonian. "And it may give him some connection with him, what with us all being heroes..." 

 

"If you can even call Captain Marvel that anymore." Wonder Woman commented angrily under her breath in response. 

 

"Let's just follow him." the Man of Steel was growing irritated, it was more than clear as he grabbed Batman by the arms and lifted up off the ground-- much to the Dark Knight's displeasure. Flash sighed and decided to follow as they set off in the direction of the brownstone. 

 

It took them a few minutes to get there, finding the Big Red Cheese sitting on the edge of a fire escape of a brick building and laughing along with a blonde-haired girl who sat in the window sill. The girl definitely 16- she was petite and still had that glow to her that young heroes had when they were first starting out. They assumed she was just starting out at least since she seemed to be living at the Brownstone.

 

The members of the League positioned themselves around the area, watching Captain Marvel closely and ready to spring into action at the moment something, anything went wrong. Batman had a firm grip on Superman from atop a roof, (which was more of a gesture, really) as the Kryptonian glared at Captain Marvel from across the street. Flash positioned himself around a corner while Hal conjured a car and sat inside it. Wonder Woman joined Superman and Batman atop the roof, and Cyborg set himself up down the street a ways- likely monitoring their words from afar.

 

"I'm just surprised to get a visit from you B," the girl said, kicking her legs as she sat on the white window sill. "Big important Justice Leaguer taking time out of his busy schedule to come see little old me?" she said with a mischevious smile before the man hopped off the edge of the railing and took a seat on the other side of the large window sill. She brought her knees up to her chest and looked at him. "I got your letter you old man- don't know why you couldn't just email me," she said with a chuckle. 

 

Captain Marvel blushed, rub bing the back of his neck as he glanced off. "Come on, Court, you know I don't have a computer." he chuckled, glancing back at her. "Besides, I like writing letters. They're physical and stuff," he said softly. 

 

"Mhm, sure, you geezer." she teased. Captain Marvel gave her a playfully hurt look before shaking his head at her words. Courtney turned her head to look up at the New York sky, letting out a breath as he shoulders relaxed. Captain Marvel turned his body and sat beside her, watching her face as he leaned forward and rest his chin on his arm.

 

"I miss you, B. You never come around anymore," she said, looking at him. "And when you do visit, all I get to see is Captain Marvel. Come on, give me my boyfriend, not the Big Red Cheese," she said with a light nudge and a smile. The man shook his head with a breath of laughter.

 

Flash furrowed his brow- what was she talking about? It made no sense. His brain completely skipped over the part where she called him her boyfriend, focusing on the first part of the sentence with intrigue. Just what did she mean by that? 

 

The blonde glanced up and found Wonder Woman holding her sword in her hand atop the roof- she must have heard the girl's words as well, and chose to focus on the second half- he just hoped the Captain could do something to redeem himself. 

 

Captain Marvel chuckled, glancing down at his hands before looking back into her blue eyes. "Alright, alright," he said before sliding off the window to stand on the metal grate of the fire escape. He glanced around, finding none of the high-rise windows open before he threw back his head with a wide smile. "SHAZAM!" he said, lightning coming down from the heavens to strike him. Electricity coursed through his body and made the World's Mightiest Mortal vanish in a cloud of smoke.

 

In his place stood 16-year-old Billy Batson, black oily hair and cornflower blue eyes to go with his somewhat strong jaw and slightly muscular frame. He shook off the smoke and climbed back up onto the window sill-- much to the delight of the girl who was grinning widely now.

 

"There he is!" she said happily before grabbing onto his faded red sweatshirt and pulling herself out of the window and onto the fire escape to join him. She looped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek, making the raven blush. "There's my little red cheese." she giggled before pecking his cheek again. Billy blushed, giving her a small chuckle.

 

"You know, you calling me a geezer is kinda redundant since you're the older one out of the two of us," he said, shaking his head as he wrapped his arms loosely around her waist. "And how come I can never escape that nickname? You guys, the League, heck, even Sivanna's taken to calling me it," he said with a laugh. Courtney shook her head at her boyfriend, smiling at the way his nose scrunched up when he laughed. 

 

"Maybe if you stop being so cheesy, we'll stop calling you it." she teased again, placing a kiss on the end of he nose before letting him go. 

 

"Eh, yea, probably not gonna happen. It's kind of a part of me if you can't tell." Billy replied, watching her go back and hoist herself up onto her window sill. He joined her quietly, the pair sitting in silence for a few moments. 

 

"Yea I know. Kinda why I love ya, nerd," she replied, looking up at the sky as the sunset off in the distance.  She rested her head against the teenager's shoulder, letting out a sigh. "You know there'll always be a place for you on the JSA, right? Dr. Fate would love to have you back- I think he misses being able to fluently talk magic with someone," she told him, nudging him lightly. "Yesterday he tried to talk spells and grimoires with Johnny, and the poor guy just about fainted." she giggled.

 

Billy smiled, laughing softly along with her. "I bet that was fun for him," he replied, glancing down at her. "But...but I made a commitment to the League, you know that Court. You guys are like family, I- I know I got a home here." He ran a hand through his messy black locks. "But there... I dunno. Sometimes I feel like I got people breathing down my neck. I mean I have just as much experience as them, but..." he trailed off. "Feels like if I just leave, I won't be allowed back in."

 

Courtney sat up and looked at her boyfriend's eyes as he stared at his hands. He was conflicted, even if he didn't show it, she'd learned to read him over the past 2 and a half years that they'd been dating. "B... Do they know?" she asked softly. 

 

"Know what..." he replied, shoulders slumping. He knew what she meant, he was just avoiding the question. 

 

"Do they know about you...about who's really Captain Marvel." she pushed. "I know that you like to keep your identity a secret, B, but these guys are your teammates, right? You told most of us after a while..." she trailed off.

 

"You guys are family. The League are just allies. There's no telling what they'd think of me. I'm already the youngest member at Cap's 23, I can't tell them I'm really 16- they can do math, and they'd realize they let me on when I was 11. They- they'd kick me out, or worse, treat me like a kid. Like I haven't been working by their side for years. All they'll see is homeless teenager Billy Batson." he grumbled, fists clenching as he spoke. "I don't think I'd ever be able to look Superman in the eyes again. I've lied to them for five years, Court." 

 

 

Courtney's eyes were soft as she took the boy's hand and uncurled it to weave her finger fingers in between his. She tried to lighten the mood- it was how the pair worked. If things got too heavy, they'd drop a subject and crack a joke. "Well I mean you are a little immature, B.," she said teasingly, smiling softly up at him.

 

He glanced down at her and stuck his tongue out, his sourness vanishing before her eyes. "Well, sure, I know that- I can't help it, the brooding gets to be a little suffocating sometimes. Barry helps lighten things up but... Like I said, I dunno. I feel like its this big contract-thing, even if it's not. You know how the JSA teams up with the JLA sometimes, I feel like if I just up and quit that it'd make things awkward with you guys and them." he said, not dropping the subject for once- this must really be bothering him then.

 

"I mean, I'm a big hitter, I know. I can go toe to toe with the Man of Steel- that's one of the reasons Pieter pushed me to apply. He said that I had too much good that I could do to not be using my 'gift' to help in a bigger way." he said slowly, leaning his head against the wall of the window. "I just- sometimes I think it was a mistake. Here, I got respect. I mean, I was a core member and- and- I mean sure, only you, Doctor Fate, Johnny and Doctor Mid-Nite knew my identity but..." Billy sighed.

 

"I just don't know. The League's a formality. You guys are family. I mean I miss my family but..." 

 

Courtney yanked him closer, placing a kiss on his cheek. "You got responsibilities, I get it, B.," she said softly. "Pieter recently made me second-in-command, trust me, I feel your pain." She hopped off the window and stood on the fire escape, standing between Billy's legs and wrapping her arms loosely around his waist. "Doesn't mean that this place isn't open to you though. You're always welcome to come home, you know that" she said softly. 

 

Billy nodded, ignoring the blush that had started to spread across his cheeks. "Y-yea, I know. Thanks, Star..." he mumbled. 

 

Courtney smiled at the nickname. "You're a sap, Billy Batson. A little red cheese." she teased him, scooting back and pulling out her staff. "Now come on, we can probably still catch a movie if you're up for it," she said, the golden staff extending between the pair. 

 

Billy smiled and slid off the window sill, his shoes hitting the metal of the fire escape with a thud. "I'd like that very much," he said as she smirked. He glanced back inside and snapped, Courtney's purse appearing slung around his body. He knew that she'd insist on paying for everything, (she always did, no matter how much he argued with her) so he eventually just gave up and let her- (and made sure not to get anything too pricey). 

 

"What a gentleman." Courtney teased at the sight of her purse around him. He often carried it for her, so the sight was nothing new, and she knew Billy was comfortable with his masculinity- though being able to transform into practically a demigod probably helped with that.

 

"My lady~" Billy returned, bowing deeply with a smirk as she turned her staff and sat down on it. It levitated, allowing Billy to climb on behind her. "Yeehaw, cowgirl~," he said with a laugh, getting a punch to the arm in response. 

 

"Your legs are mine. I will break them like twigs," she said with a shake of her head as Billy wrapped his arms around her waist. "Like, Batman style, just go all out with the staff and snap 'em." she joked, glancing back at the raven to make sure he was secure.

 

"Sure, sure, I'll believe it when I see it," he said with a chuckle as they flew off in the direction of the closest movie theatre. 

 

They left in their wake a quiet Brownstone and a group of heroes with a lot to take in. The group reconvened on top of the roof, Flash coming up to find Diana sitting on the edge of the roof quietly, Clark beside her watching closely. Batman was analyzing something in his gauntlet as Hal helped him up, Cyborg appearing behind them. 

 

"So- so what now," Barry said quietly when no one spoke. 

 

"Now we got back to the Watchtower. We act as if nothing happened, and treat Captain Marvel the same as always." Batman replied gruffly, closing the hologram in his gauntlet and looking towards the speedster.

 

"Uh, Spooky, if you didn't notice, Captain Marvel's kind of a kid," Hal said, crossing his arms. 

 

"He's a teenager," Superman said, getting up from his spot by Diana and walking over to the rest of the group. "16, from what he said." The Kryptonian set his hands on his hips. "We've been fighting with him for five years at this point," he said, stating the obvious again. Superman rubbed the back of his head, letting out a sigh. "We let a child onto the League," he said, looking at Batman.

 

"Diana's beating herself up about it, about having told him to act his age on more than one occasion. He is," he said softly. "Batman, we can't just act as if nothing happened here tonight. We have to confront the Captain on this." 

 

"And do what, Clark. Kick him out? Maybe sideline him?" Batman replied. 

 

Cyborg shook his head, looking at the Man of Steel. "There's nothing in the handbook that says we have to reveal our identities. Cap knew that and used it to his advantage. You heard what he said, this is the exact reason why he hasn't told us. We'd question his validity as a Leaguer." 

 

Diana finally joined them, sheathing her sword. "He is young, but that makes him no less of a warrior. If Captain Marvel is blessed by my father to wield his power, then I trust him. Amazonians train from a young age to fight, so- so this is no different." she said, slightly hesitant at the thought of sending a human teenager into battle.

 

"Not to mention he's proven himself time and time again that he's not only an ally, but one hell of a strong one to boot," Flash added. "I mean, the kid can go up against Superman here and come out as the victor 50% of the time," he said, crossing his own arms over his chest. "Not to mention he's the best defense against magic users we got." 

 

"But that doesn't negate the fact that we let a child onto the League, Bruce," Superman said, his tone deadly serious as he looked at the Dark Knight. Batman sighed in reply. 

 

"He's not a kid. He's 16." he countered. Superman glared. "Billy Batson, as you know him, Captain Marvel, has been a hero since he was 7 years old. He was originally in the Justice Society before he applied to be in the Justice League. I looked over his profile and accepted him. I knew how old he was and it didn't matter."

 

Batman glanced at the rest of the group before looking back at Clark. "As I said, we act as if nothing happened. This changes nothing. Regardless of Billy's age, he's a member of this team, and a loyal one at that- and you and I both accepted him. I tried to show you his profile, but you were so focused on him potentially being Kryptonian you agreed without even a glance." he said curtly. "Come on, I have a patrol to get to," he said, waiting for Superman to pick him up.

 

Superman nodded after a moment. "Fine." he said, though the tone in his voice said that he probably wasn't finished on the issue.

 

- - - 

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

The ground around him was strewn with fallen trees and debris, pulled up graze and overturned boulders. The wind blew dust across the now barren landscape, dark, swirling clouds covering the sunlight that should have been streaming down on them. Lightning crackled in the sky as Captain Marvel hovered in the air, electricity thundering behind his eyes as he stared at his opponent. 

 

He was breathing heavily, his cape in tatters and suit with multiple tears in it. Lightning danced around his large and imposing form, his hood still on his head and shadowing his glowing eyes. They'd been at this for too long, the hero couldn't even remember when they'd started this battle, but he knew he was going to finish it. 

 

Blood stained the corner of his mouth and he brought his hand up to wipe it away, dark red smearing on his golden gauntlets. He glanced to his side, looking at his sister Mary, who looked equally worse for wear. Her cape was also in shreds, her white skirt with multiple tears in it. Her hair was ruffled and she had a bruise forming on her jaw. The brunet looked at him and gave him a determined look.

 

"I'm fine," she assured him, a small smile on her face- thank the Gods he had her. her fists were clenched, the same lightning that clung to him circling her form as well. Captain Marvel turned his attention back to the task at hand, a large, monstrous creature that looked like it had leaped straight off the pages of the Book of the Damned. 

 

Long, spindly legs covered in matted, grey fur held up a gnarled, thrashing beast. Claws the size of horses sprouted from its paws, a hellish red glow coming from them as it scorched the earth wherever they were placed. Thorn-like spikes sprouted from its appendages and trailed down its thick, hide-covered spine.

 

The beast towered over the farmhouses that dotted the land, the homes barely coming half-way up its legs. It seemed to glow from the inside out, orange light seeping through cracks in its skin. A pair of bug-like heads sat atop its shoulders, both with glowing red eyes and gnarled, jutting fangs that slid against one another whenever it opened its mouths. Long, blade-like spikes jutted out from its shoulders, cutting down any attempts to get close to the monstrosity at it rampaged, as its long, slick tail whipped back and forth angrily.

 

The twins had shown up after sensing a magical surge of energy, magical energy, in this place, and had instantly been thrown into the heat of battle without a chance to call for backup. The raven-haired man assured his sister that something this big couldn't go unnoticed by the Watchtower's cameras, but no one else had shown up yet, and they'd been at this for too long. They had the stamina of Atlas, yes, but this was getting to be too much, even for them.

 

The beast seemed unphased by their physical attacks and barely bothered by their lightning. Neither of the twins was well-versed enough in magic to do any real harm, so they were left with what they had, and hopes that the League would arrive soon. "Cap, where are they?!" Mary said as she narrowly dodged a swipe of the creature's tail. It was fast, nearly as fast as the two of them, and didn't seem to tire as quickly.

 

"I- I don't know, Mary- My comm got destroyed," Captain Marvel replied, flying under the beast in an attempt to maneuver out of the way of its claws. He ended up getting hit in the back by the tail, sending him flying before his sister stopped his trajectory. He was breathing heavily, but not as heavily as her. They shared the same concerned look, glancing back at the beast. 

 

"How can they not see this...?" Mary asked, fear seeping into her voice and making it quiver. The Captain shook his head- he wasn't sure.

 

"Billy... we can't last much longer," she said, grabbing onto his forearm. Her eyes looked glossy. "I'm scared." 

 

Captain Marvel felt his heart drop into his stomach, glancing at the monster. "It'll be okay," he said nervously, turning his attention back to the creature as it swiped at them, narrowly catching the remains of his cape as he dove out of the way. 

 

The creature roared, acidic spittle spewing out of its mouth and making the ground sizzle. Captain Marvel watched closely, glancing at his sister before catching the creature's attention. "COME ON, UGLY, FOLLOW ME--" he said, picking up his speed and diving directly towards it. He changed trajectory last minute, weaving around the blades on its back and just barely missing glowing paws that threatened to scorch his hair. 

 

He barely noticed the clouds that had begun to gather around his sister, trying to dodge large claws and acidic bile. He maneuvered out of the way of claws for the umpteenth time, crashing into a large tree and splintering the wood, up-ending it before he felt the thrum of magic course through his body. He raised his head, breathing heavily as he struggled to see straight.

 

He looked back at the creature and saw his sister screaming, the magical lightning that transformed them striking her form as she clung to the beast's tail. 

 

Electricity coursed through both the girl and the monster, blackening the beast's tail and changing his sister back into a 12-year-old girl. It stopped the beast for only a moment though, as it quickly whipped its tail and slammed the child into the ground, creating a large crater. 

 

"NOOOOO!!!!"

 

Billy cried out, his eyes wide as he sat up. His blood ran cold, muscles locking up as everything suddenly seemed to slow to a crawl. He felt magic stir inside him, stretching and pulling before he suddenly felt warmth overwhelm him. He knew what this was, what it meant. Soloman told him that magic couldn't be destroyed, only distributed...and absorbed. The hero shook his head, tears welling up in his eyes as he gasped for breath.

 

It couldn't be true, it couldn't be-- she couldn't be gone. 

 

Captain Marvel pulled himself up slowly, standing and staring absently at the crater in the distance with wide eyes as he held his bleeding arm. "Mary..." he whispered, ignoring the tears that streaked down his cheeks. "Mary please..." he watched the crater- he waited- she had to get up, she'd get up and walk out of the hole, she would, she had to- 

 

"Mary... please don't leave me..." 

 

Captain Marvel suddenly felt a presence behind him, the man turning his head to find Black Adam behind him. His face was solemn, eyes full of sorrow and pity. "William," he said simply, his tone gentle and quiet. The elder man took a step closer, letting out a breath and enveloping the child in a man's body. "I'm sorry..." he whispered.

 

"No... no no no, Adam, she can't-" he whimpered, wrapping his arms around the elder man and taking comfort in his warmth. He knew why he was here, the magic they shared tied them together. No matter what the man argued, they were bonded, whether he liked it or not. And when one of them went down... 

 

All of them could feel it. 

 

Billy crumpled in his grip, burying his face in Adam's shoulder and clutching the fabric of his suit tightly as he cried. "She- she can't..." he was silenced by the demigod putting a hand on the back of his head comfortingly. 

 

"Quiet," he said softly, leaving the World's Mightiest Mortal to be held silently in the slightly taller man's arms. "This magic is like a beacon. No magic user could deny its presence. The beast is not sensible through modern technology, but I'm sure your League is on their way now. Other sorcerers will insist upon it." he said simply, pulling back to look Captain Marvel in the face.

 

"She will not die in vain, William. I will be sure of it," he said, electricity sparking behind his eyes. He glanced at the monster, who hadn't stopped in its rampage. "I know what it is like to lose family. I will not lose anymore," he stated. 

 

Had the Captain been in his right mind, he may have said something about Adam considering them family... but he wasn't. He stayed quiet, swallowing thickly and nodding. "We," he said, gaining the elder's attention. He gave a questioning look as Captain Marvel's grew thunderous as well.

 

"We won't let her," he said, anger replacing sorrow. 

 

Black Adam smirked, nodding once before rocketing up into the air. Captain Marvel tore off his cape and let it flutter to the ground, following Adam up into the air and staring at the monster with a new-found fury. 

 

Captain Marvel sensed more people arriving, but couldn't bring himself to care, simply focusing on the creature. He glanced at Adam, who seemed to be figuring out the situation before looking at him as well. Bily smirked, suddenly rocketing towards the monster with a warcry. Adam followed suit, lightning flaring out from their powerful forms as they stuck the best together, moves mirroring one another as they combined their punches directly down onto the monster's back.

 

It let out a pained cry as the pair separated, floating on either side of the beast. Billy growled, watching it shake off the pain. "YOU KILLED HER."  he growled out, his voice thunderous and echoing over the valley. "For that..." he snarled. "I think Tartarus has a spot just for you." Lightning flared up around him as he put his arm to the sky, calling down the firebolts. 

 

He aimed for the blades on its back, yelling out as he sent it towards the beast. Adam rolled his neck as his eyes glowed bright blue, moving his hands quickly as he channeled magic through his body and sent it towards the lightning Captain Marvel called down. The powers struck the creature with a pained cry, electrifying the air and sparking fires in trees and grass that surrounded them. 

 

The Captain felt the energy flow through him, extending to every part of his body as he stared this monster in the eyes. He'd never wished death upon someone before, but no one had ever taken his sister from him. He growled, barely noticing the various sorcerers and magic users adding their energy to Adam's spell. Tears began to bead in his eyes and he tried to force them back but found himself unable to as they trailed down his cheeks. 

 

"She's gone because of you..." he whispered, looking into the hellish, red eyes. "You killed the only family I had left... and for that..." his lip curled into a snarl. "I can't forgive you." 

 

Billy heard someone say something about Adam being there, and glanced at his surrogate family member for a moment, catching his eyes and thanking him silently before turning all of his attention to the beast. His fingertips felt like they were on fire as he lifted his other arm up into the sky, looking up and summoning the Gods themselves to empower him. 

 

"SOLOMON. HERACLES. ATLAS. ZEUS. ACHILLES. MERCURY. LEND ME YOUR POWER SO THAT I MAY CONDEMN HE WHO STRUCK DOWN MY SISTER." he roared, ancient greek spilling from his mouth with such weight that the earth 30 feet below him cracked. His hair whipped back with the wind, eyes glowing white with raw, unbridled power. If it wasn't clear before, it was now. This was the protector of magic. The Champion of the Gods and the holder of their powers. A being of which wrath, fury, and magic itself flowed through like a river and which coursed through his blood, bones, and very soul. 

 

His entire form seemed to radiate light, the air around him buzzing as lightning surrounded him and zapped anything too close. Hair stood on end as he sneered down at the hideous creature. Ancient Greek came from his mouth, few in the crowd actually understand his words as his voice echoed with the force of six Gods behind it.

 

"Foul creature. You have dared to strike a Champion of the Wizard Shazam, and for that, you will be cast down into the depths of Tartarus. Your soul will be shredded and your mindless body tortured for all eternity. For the life you have snuffed out, yours shall be punished tenfold." the ancient voice spoke, Captain Marvel's eyes glowing brightly under his hood as he hovered above the monster.

 

Even the mindless beast seemed to recognize the power as it snarled at him, baring its gnarled fangs up at the bright red Champion. Captain Marvel held his hand out, light flaring outward from his palm and enveloping the creature. It suddenly vanished with a long, pained cry, leaving behind scorched earth in its wake. Once it was gone, the light faded from the hero's palm, lightning striking him from above and transforming him back to his mortal form.

 

The raven was left in a freefall from the sky as thunder rumbled above, the small boy out cold from the expansive use of energy and magic. He sailed through the air before suddenly ending up in the arms of Black Adam, the man holding him gingerly with a small sigh. 

 

"How did i ever question the Wizard's choice..." he muttered, shaking his head as he stared at the unconscious child. He landed on the ground gently, glancing at the League heroes that were only now daring to come closer. "Get him to a healer. He needs rest," he said simply, handing Billy over to Superman. The Kryptonian looked like he wanted to say something, but Batman cut him off with a hand on his shoulder. 

 

Superman glanced down at Billy before looking at Black Adam. "What happened to Mary Marvel..." he asked slowly, pain in his eyes. He knew the answer, he'd seen the Captain's wrath, but he needed it to be confirmed. 

 

Adam looked away. "She will the Gods now," he said simply, looking down at Billy. "You will take care of him," he ordered before taking off in the opposite direction. 

 

Superman's shoulders dropped. He glanced at the large crater that the monster had left behind, looking at Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and gesturing towards it. "Let's get them home," he said softly, floating up off the ground. 

 

- - - 

 

The funeral was small, with less than a dozen people there to mourn. Billy had been released from the hospital only two days before, and Black Adam hadn't left his side since his eyes opened. The pair of ravens stood solemnly in front of the trio of headstones in the graveyard, Mary's stone placed in the same plot as the twins' parents. 

 

The sky was overcast that day, but no raindrops ever fell on the small group, even as thunder rumbled and lightning flashed in the sky. Billy was put in a light grey suit for the service, standing silently as the lone survivor of the Batson family as he pulled absently at his stiff collar. Adam's hand was there to steady him, reassuringly placed on his shoulder as he stood, solid and silent, a constant rock for Billy to lean on. 

 

He'd made sure that Mary was buried with enough fare to cross the river Styx, along with several bits of jewelry and some ornate things that Adam had procured for her- both knew the importance of this and did their best to make her transition into the next life comfortable. 

 

With the service over, Billy and Adam had gone to the harbor, unintentionally leading the group of disguised heroes and low-level (at least compared to them) magic users to a small, quiet beach. The smaller of the two waded into the water, Adam holding out a hand when someone moved to go in after him. Billy waded out, still dressed in his suit until the water was up to his waist.

 

He stopped, letting out a shaky breath and staring at the expanse of ocean. "Blessed Charon, hear my plea. As Champion of Magic and vessel for the power of Olympians, I ask of you one request." he recited, saying just what he and Adam had rehearsed. He felt a chill run down his spine, the water around him turning a darker color. He had the ferryman's attention.

 

Billy swallowed thickly, relaxing his stiff muscles. "I just ask that you make sure my sister has safe passage. Persephone wanted to talk to her..." he said, a sad smile on his face. "She- Mary gets lost easily, she's directionally challenged and lost without a map... so, if you could point her in her direction, I'd be thankful."

 

The water swirled around him, flashing gold for a moment. Billy's smile grew- Charon agreed to help him. "Thank you," he said, beginning to tear up. "Really. Thank you so much." Billy rubbed the moisture from his eyes and began to wade back, shrugging off his soaked suit jacket and tie and handing them to Adam.

 

"He agreed," he said, looking at the former champion. "Thank you," he said softer. "For....for everything." The boy wrapped his arms around the larger man's waist, hugging him tightly and ignoring the stares he got.

 

Adam's mouth twitched up in a small smile. "It is nothing. Like I said-" he was cut off by as shake of Billy's head.

 

"Yea, yea, I know, dumb wizard picked a dumb kid." he joked, his hair being ruffled in the large man's hand at the sass that came from his mouth. 

 

"Precisely." 

 

- - -

  

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

The swingset creaked and groaned as the swings moved back and forth, propelling the child in its seat. He kicked his legs happily, the sky filling his vision as he flew forward, only to be swung backward and get a good look at the earth below him. He cackled with childish glee as he swung, the feeling close to that of actual flight as the eleven-year-old continued his movements. 

 

Billy swung backward, only to point his toes and swing forward quickly and send himself sailing off the swingset and burying his feet in the sand that surrounded the playset. "Ha! Beat that, Freddy! I don't think even Superman could be that!" he said, scrambling up and dusting himself off. He drew in the sand where his feet had landed, making a large indention to mark how far he'd flown.

 

The blonde on the other swingset giggled, tongue sticking out at the raven-haired boy as he continued to swing. "That's easy, Billy- you're just short so you think you went far!" the twelve-year-old teased, getting rolled eyes in response. 

 

"You're just jealous and scared! You can't go that far!" Billy returned, crossing his arms over his chest.

 

Freddy harumphed and propelled himself off the swingset, flailing in the air before landing on his butt in the sand. Billy burst out laughing, running over to the boy and holding out his hand. "You okay?" he asked, tilting his head slightly. 

 

The blonde nodded, grabbing onto his hand and pulling him down into the sand. "Yea because-" he leaned over, smothering himself against the sand and wiping away the existence of how far the younger boy had flown. "I won!" he laughed.

 

 Billy squawked, tackling him and sending the pair rolling into the grass. "That's cheating! I was gonna get the world record for longest swing jump!" he squealed as the pair continued wrestling in the grass. They ended up rolling down the hill, leaving the pair with stained clothes and in a fit of laughter.

 

Twigs stuck out of BIlly's hair and sand clung to Freddy's elbows as they giggled at the bottom of the hill. Billy shook his hair out, plucking a few leaves from his clothes as he stood up and dusted himself off. Freddy followed suit, brushing the sand from his skin and shoving the raven lightly. "I still won." he joked. 

 

Billy shook his head as the pair made their way back up the hill. A sudden shadow being cast on the bright green hill made the boys furrow their eyebrows, especially since there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The pair turned around to find Green Lantern floating in front of them, watching them with arms crossed over his chest.

 

Their eyes widened as they shared a look before looking back at the hero.

 

"Billy? Can I talk to you privately, please." The hero asked, making the raven's eyes widen further. Green Lantern wanted to talk to him? He looked at Freddy, who was smiling widely at him and nodding before shoving him.

 

"Go! Green Lantern wants to talk to you! I'll save you a swing," he said before running off back up the hill. The blonde boy glanced over his shoulder excitedly before continuing his run.

 

Hal cleared his throat, brows furrowed slightly as he landed in the grass and led the boy over to a shaded area. "Dude, what's goin' on? Why haven't you been answering your communicator?" he asked once they were alone. Billy furrowed his brow- what was he talking about?

 

"Batman is furious, and I think concerned, but I can never tell with him," he said, shaking his head and crossing his arms once more. "So just, suit up and let's get going, cause if we keep them waiting we're gonna be in some serious horseshit." He glanced back down at the child, who was giving him a confused look. For a moment he thought he'd gotten the wrong kid, but then thought about it. 

 

He'd seen Billy before, Hell, he'd taken him to see a movie the couldn't get into on his own- he had a mop of black hair, bright, light blue eyes, and a thin frame. He was never caught without his red and yellow sweater (or t-shirt if it was warmer weather) and practically radiated sunshine. One look at this kid and he knew he had the right guy- but why was he acting like he had no idea what Hal was talking about?

 

Come to think of it, Cap hadn't given him that star-eyed kind of look since they first started working together, like, two years ago. Hal furrowed his brow, looking closer at the kid. 

 

"I- I- I don't understand, Mister Lantern," Billy replied, confusion etched into his young features. "Why's Batman mad at me?" he asked, hurt and fear flashing in his eyes. It wasn't the look of someone who feared monitor duty or a lecture from his co-worker, no it was the look of a kid, fearful that one of his heroes hated him for some reason. 

 

Something was not right here. 

 

"Oh hey, hey, calm down, it's okay," he said, rewinding and kneeling in front of the kid. Until he figured out just what was going on, he'd do what came naturally when he saw an upset kid. "Here, what's your favorite animal?" he asked, though he knew the answer; at least, he did if it really was Cap.

 

"A- a tiger..." Billy said nervously, the fear in his eyes beginning to fade. Hal smirked and made a bright green glowing tiger appear from his ring, the boy's eyes widening and fear vanishing. He smiled widely and stepped closer to the animal, reaching out a hand to it. "He looks just like Tawny..." he said softly, catching Hal by surprise. 

 

The brunet remembered something about that name; Captain Marvel had told him about it. "Who's Tawny?" he asked. 

 

"Tawky Tawny is the tiger that sometimes lives at the zoo," he replied easily, petting the green animal before looking back up at Hal.

 

So that was where he knew it from. Green Lantern had remembered something about Cap saying that the tiger was in actuality an animal avatar, a being of magic- he hated magic. Hal looked down at the kid, who was looking up at him. "What?" he asked, confused.

 

"Why would Batman be mad at me?" he asked, tilting his head slightly. There was still fear in his eyes, but it was lessened now, and he could tell the kid was curious. It wasn't like he could really tell him the truth though, right? He had no idea what was even going on with Captain Marvel right now, if he had some kind of amnesia or if this was some kind of clone- He shook his head to clear his thoughts. 

 

"Oh uh- He's not. That was my mistake. Batman's not really mad, he's just- you know, grumpy." he covered. "But he did send me to get you," he said. He may as well bring him to the Watchtower- Clark or Bruce would know what to do better than him. "Lemme just..." he took a step back, the tiger vanishing as he scanned Billy with his ring. His biometrics came up as normal, so not a clone thankfully- there was always something off in the DNA when they dealt with those things.

 

"Batman sent you to get me?" Billy asked, excitement in his eyes quickly being covered by suspicion. Hal had almost forgotten that Billy had been a street kid for a lot of his life; he probably wouldn't be up to trusting instantly.

 

"What about Freddy? He's gonna wonder where I went." the raven said suddenly, glancing back towards the playground. "Miss Vasquez said that we were supposed to come home before dark, and if Freddy goes home without me they're gonna worry," he said, thumbing the rim of his t-shirt. 

 

Wait, had he been adopted? That didn't make a lot of sense, Billy had told both him and Flash that he didn't really have any interest in being adopted- to put it in his words, 'why should he take up space when it could be given to a kid that actually needs it'. Hal chewed on his bottom lip in thought before shaking his head. 

 

"It'll be okay, Captain. Trust me," he said, setting his hands on his hips. The kid gave him an odd look before glancing at the playground again. 

 

"Okay. Wait, where are we going?" he asked as a green field of energy enveloped him. He looked around him with wide eyes, excitement sparkling in them again. "I'm like a hamster!" he said gleefully, slipping and falling onto his butt inside the ball of energy. 

 

"A clumsy hamster." Hal supplied before taking off. "And to answer your question, we're going to the Watchtower."

 

The boy's eyes just about bugged out of his head. 

 

- - -

 

Hal arrived at the Watchtower in record time considering he wasn't using a Zeta Tube and touched down on the landing platform before walking into the large satellite. The entire time Billy had been quiet, staring at the vast expanse of space around him in awe.

 

That, in particular, wasn't anything different for the Green Lantern, as he often saw that in Marvel's face. The man could often be found with his eyes glued to one of the Watchtower's many floor-to-ceiling windows, simply staring at the space around them and taking it all in. There was always this awed expression on his face, and an innocence to it that a lot of heroes took comfort in; the day that Billy became as grizzled and harsh as some of the rest of the League was the day that Hal quit. 

 

He set the ball of energy down and is disappeared from around the boy, who was still looking around and staring at everything in silent awe. "Is that Wonder Woman's jet?" he asked, pointing out a sleek silver jet that was resting off to the side of the hangar. Hal nodded and took the lead, smiling slightly at the boy's small squeak and taking the pair out of the hangar. 

 

Billy followed closely behind the brunet, meeting the eyes of a couple of heroes as they passed before ducking his head down. Some gave them weird looks; sure, it was common knowledge by this point that Captain Marvel was a kid, and that this was what the kid looked like, but he'd never actually shown up on the Watchtower like this. A few, like Plastic Man, stared openly and confusedly before shrugging and walking off without another word. 

 

Billy giggled at the sight of the man in a red unitard, watching him stretch and walk goofily away. "I like him," he said softly from behind Hal, the Green Lantern staying quiet as he led them to the meeting room. He paused just outside of it- Bruce had called a meeting when he'd been told that he found Captain Marvel and was bringing him up, but he hadn't gotten a chance to explain everything- or, anything, at all.

 

Hal let out a breath, turning around and kneeling down in front of Billy. "Okay, listen, Cap, I don't-" he ran a hand through his hair, unsure of what exactly he wanted to say. "Just stick close, okay? I'll do the talking, and you just- just sit there and look cute, okay?"

 

Billy's eyebrows knit together in a pout. "I'm not cute. I'm 11 and three months," he argued. 

 

Hal sighed, standing up. "Right," he said, rubbing the back of his neck as he opened the door. He walked inside, Billy trailing closely behind. His presence got surprised and confused stares, to which the child hid behind Hal from. The brunet walked over to his seat and pulled it out, before realizing he had no idea what to do with Billy. Not only was his seat across the table, but everyone was currently staring at them.

 

He simply sighed again and picked the child up, hooking his hands under his armpits and plopping him down in his lap. Diana's eyes widened from across the table, and Superman was currently giving him the most confused face he'd ever seen. Bruce simply raised an eyebrow (or at least he assumed that's what the slight movement behind his cowl was) and he chewed on his lip for a moment.

 

"So uh..." he trailed off as everyone's attention became fixated on Billy- who was staring back with his own wide eyes. 

 

Batman was the first to snap out of it, shaking his head slightly before clearing his throat. "What's going on here., Green Lantern," he said, his voice gruff and annoyed. Hal opened his mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by Diana.

 

"Captain Marvel, where have you been? You vanish for weeks on end, no communication, then suddenly show up out of the blue, and in this form no less?" she asked, fire lighting behind her eyes. Superman placed a hand on her shoulder before glancing down at the child.

 

"Billy, did something happen? Why'd you go dark?" he asked, his voice professional and calm, a stark difference to Diana's confused and slightly angry. Billy's eyes flicked between Wonder Woman and Superman, confusion carved into his features. 

 

"I- I- I don't understand..." he said, slight fear in his voice. "Why do you people keep calling me Captain? I'm not a baby, you don't have to use some dad nickname on me," he said before shaking his head. "Wait- holy moly Superman knows my name," he said, eyes widening as he stared down at the table. 

 

Superman's brows knit together in confusion. "Billy, what are you talking about?" he asked, tilting his head slightly. Billy looked up, blinking as his cheeks tinged pink. "Why wouldn't I know your name?" the Kryptonian asked with a raised brow. 

 

Billy swallowed thickly, before glancing at Batman- his eyes were narrowed in thought, but he was staring at Billy intently. So intently in fact that the boy must have thought he was mad and turned his hide his face against Green Lantern's uniform. Hal looked up at Batman, finding shock in his features. 

 

"Okay, maybe you should let me explain now, rather than hounding the poor kid," he said, wrapping his arms protectively around billy and rubbing his back gently. The group quieted down, and the brunet decidedly did NOT comment on the phone currently in Flash's hand that was undoubtedly taking pictures. Batman made a gesture for him to continue, and he cleared his throat. 

 

"Right, uh-" he paused. He actually didn't really know what was going on, why had he volunteered for this!? "Well I don't actually know what's wrong with him-" he ignored Superman's raised eyebrow. "Look, I showed up in Fawcett and followed where the ring told me his biosignature was. I found him and some blonde kid playing on the swing set and we got to talking." he glanced down at the child who had lifted his head and was looking up at him. "And uh- well, hey, why don't you go ask Flash over there for his phone and wait outside, alright?" he asked, looking down at the raven-haired kid.

 

Billy gave him a suspicious look before letting his shoulders drop. "Adult talk. Got it..." he muttered dejectedly, his features falling as he slid off Hal's lap and heading for the door. He glanced back before leaving, pointedly not going for Flash's phone. "Sorry if I did something wrong..." he mumbled before leaving the room. 

 

Hal sighed, leaning back in his chair with a groan. "Okay, so he's got amnesia or something. I told him to suit up and he looked at me like I was crazy," he said, rubbing his hands over his face before he sat up. "And he keeps giving me that starry-eyed look he gave all of us when he first started."

 

Batman brought a hand up to his chin in thought. "It'd explain why we haven't had contact with him for so long. If he does have amnesia we'll need to figure out its source, whether it be magical or from some hit on the head," he said, looking around.

 

"Honestly, as much as a lot of us despise magic, I kinda hope that's what it is," Cyborg spoke up, having remained quiet thus far. "It'd be easier to solve than if he was hit. If it's from trauma or a sedative, his system may have filtered it out of him, but if he doesn't know that he's Captain Marvel, I don't know if that's possible," he said as he crossed his arms. "Cap's powers and healing doesn't translate over to Billy, trust me on this, so..." he trailed off.

 

"It's definitely retrograde, from what I can tell. He remembers all of us, but he doesn't see us as co-workers. Right now we're just the big ol' Superheroes he's seen on TV or in the newspaper. He definitely doesn't remember Cap but knows all of us. It really leans more towards a magical origin- get rid of the Captain and you don't have to worry about the kid kind of thing." Hal said, shaking his head. 

 

"What do we do with him while he's like this?" Clark asked, looking around. "He might be in danger. Fawcett is hero-less, and Billy-" he cut himself off. "We can't just let him wander the streets without some sort of failsafe under his belt." 

 

"See that's another thing that points towards it being some kind of magical thing," Hal said, gesturing with his hand. "Apparently he was adopted. Got a foster brother and everything. If it was just some hit to the head or something, it wouldn't change his core personality. B's a stubborn one, he's always been against foster families, that wouldn't change unless someone did some deep scrubbing to his noggin." 

 

Clark nodded slowly, eyebrows furrowed together in thought.

 

There was a sudden knock on the door, it opening to show Green Arrow holding a shaking Billy by the collar of his shirt. "So uh- we got a stowaway of some sort," he said, raising a brow. "He was trying to figure out a zeta tube- probably trying to bring some friends up here to meet the Justice League," he said sarcastically. 

 

Billy was trembling, tears pricking in the corners of his eyes as he looked like he was about to shatter. "I-i'm s-s-s-sorry-" he whimpered, pure terror in his eyes as he looked at the group. Hal was on his feet in an instant, walking over to take Billy into his arms and away from Oliver. The blonde's eyebrows pinched together in confusion, glancing at the rest of the group for some kind of explanation.

 

"That's Captain Marvel, you dipstick," Flash said, shaking his head at the archer. "Wait, why were you trying to use the Zeta Tubes though?" he asked, looking at the trembling kid in Hal's arms. The boy stayed quiet, still shaking at the pilot held him.

 

"It's okay, kid. You're not in trouble, we just wanna know." Hal said gently, surprising the speedster slightly- after all, this was one of the few heroes that didn't have a sidekick, or partner, or whatever. Billy sniffled, rubbing roughly at his eyes with his fists before turning his head and looking at the group. 

 

"I- I didn't wanna be in the way. I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't have snooped but I saw someone come through those tube things and I just thought I could use them to go home and- and I could get out of the way and-" he was cut off by a concerned look from Green Lantern. 

 

"Kid, you're not in the way. We're tryin' to help you," he said honestly. Billy still looked guilty. "Look, I know its kinda scary being up here by yourself-" Billy gave him a look that seemed like it bordered on 'i'm not scared, I'm a big kid' and 'stop talking to me like I'm a toddler' so he paused and started again. 

 

 We- we need you to stay up here with us while we figure this out." he said after a moment. Hal set Billy down and kneeled down so that he was eye-level with the boy. "Look, I know you're a smart kid. You know we wouldn't ask you this if it wasn't serious." Billy looked unsure. "Iknow you wanna get back to the Vasquez's, but we really need you here with us." 

 

"What could you possibly need me here for..." he asked, his breath hitching. "I'm not a superhero." he continued, glancing at the rest of the group before looking back up at Hal. "I'm just some foster kid. What use can I be?" 

 

Hal's shoulders dropped a bit, pain in his eyes behind his mask. "You're right. You're not a superhero." he could feel someone's sharp gaze on him. "But you used to be. You may not remember it, but you used to be a superhero named Captain Marvel." 

 

Billy's head tilted slightly, his brows furrowing in confusion. "Is that why you guys keep calling me Captain?" he asked, his eyes guarded. Hal nodded, a small smile on his face. "But that doesn't make any sense! How could I be a superhero? I'm just a kid. I don't even know how to fight- I can't fly or shoot lasers or breathe fire. I can barely do division!" he argued, glancing around the room. 

 

"Besides, you're the Justice League, you wouldn't let a little kid join you. That's why you got the teen titans, and, and-" he felt tears well up in his eyes. "I- I'm not a superhero, I've never been a superhero. I'm just regular ol' Billy Batson. How would I forget being a superhero?" he asked, his breath hitching. 

 

Hal swallowed thickly, unsure of how to respond. Thankfully he didn't have to since Clark came over and took over for him. "Billy, look at me, son," he said, the boy having pointedly dropped his gaze to the floor at the sight of the Kryptonian. When he looked up and met the man's eyes, Superman gave him a small smile. Not one of his publicity smiles, but one of his genuinely warm ones. 

 

The boy blinked, looking up at him with that iconic awe back in place. If there was one person that the Captain's awe had never wained for, it was Superman. None of them were really sure what it was about the Kryptonian that made him such a hit with the boy, but they weren't going to question it. 

 

"I'm gonna be honest with you Billy, we don't know why you don't remember. We think it may be magic-" he paused at the boy's small gasp; magic was real? and chuckled. "-but you have to trust us. Would we lie to you?" he asked, smiling at him.

 

Billy pursed his lips in thought, looking the group over before turning his gaze back to Superman. "I- I guess not..." he said slowly, chewing on his bottom lip. "But what powers do I have? What's my costume look like?" he asked, suddenly perking up. "I've never been able to do anything superhero-y, even when me and Freddy play superheroes. We just jump off of stuff and swing on our bellies."

 

Hal shared a look with Superman- they might as well tell him. Maybe it would spark some recognition. "Well, uh, you don't actually have any powers. Not as Billy Batson anyway," he said, watching the boy's excitement grow. 

 

"You mean I got a super suit with superpowers built in like Batman?" he asked, eyes wide. Bruce's own eyes widened at the words, brow pinching together to look at the boy. "Is that what you think is going on here?" he asked gruffly, the boy having the decency to blush and lower his head timidly. "S-Sorry mister Batman. That's what my friend told me..." he mumbled before looking back at Superman.

 

Superman chuckled. "No, Batman's just really that awesome," he said. "And no, you don't really have a super suit so much as a super...form? I guess?" he said, glancing around to see if he had that right. None of them had ever really asked, and Captain Marvel had never really been one to explain things unless asked directly, so they only had a vague idea of what went on with his powers. 

 

"You have the powers of the Gods," Diana spoke up, coming around the table to sit down on the floor. Her sword clinked against the floor as she sat, watching the boy. "My father Zeus blessed you with his lightning, for one," she said, smiling at his expression of amazement. 

 

"There are a couple of others, too- I think they actually make up the Wizard's name or something like that? I dunno, I didn't really understand it all when you spilled it to me." Flash said, leaning against the wall. "I know there's Solomon, Heracles, Atlas, Achilles, and Mercury- and that they all give you a different power, but that's about where my knowledge ends."

 

Diana nodded. "Yes- the gods blessed you, their Champion I think they called it, with these powers. Shazam, the guardian of magic, chose you to be the wielder and protector of them." Diana filled in.  

 

Billy's head was flicking from hero to hero as they explained things to him, getting slightly confused by their words. "Magic? Wizard? Gods? This sounds like a storybook." he said in return, and the group shared a look. "Wait, if I'm this 'champion of magic' then why can't I do magic? or- or have superpowers?" he asked.

 

"Well, for one, you usually say 'Shazam' and ya know, poof," Hal said, long having stood up and was now leaning against the wall. Billy gave in an incredulous look.

 

"That sounds made up," he said, crossing his thin arms over his chest. "Shazam's not even a wo-" the boy was suddenly cut off by a thunderous crash and a flash of blinding light at a lightning bolt suddenly struck him. He cried out in pain, a loud crack and flash blinding the heroes around him. 

 

He was left sprawled on his hands and knees on the ground, breathing heavily and staring wide-eyed at the floor. Smoke began to clear in the room, some of the heroes coughing and attempting to clear the air. "Billy are you okay?!" he heard someone ask, but the raven was too busy staring at the hands that were seemingly holding him up.

 

They were big. And muscular. It looked like the wrists were encircled in golden armbands, and a red suit extending up his forearms. Billy blinked, suddenly scrambling backward to stare at his hands. He moved them back and forth, wide eyes looking around at the League before back down at himself. 

 

Now that he was sitting he found that he was indeed wearing a red suit, complete with golden boots and a white and gold lightning bolt on his (very large) chest and a white cape with gold trim. He started breathing rapidly- this couldn't be true, it was way too crazy; he was only 11 years old, not some big Superman-looking guy! "I-I'm-" he stammered, flinching when he saw lightning travel over his large and imposing form.

 

"What happened to me-" he asked, noticing that his voice was much deeper. He looked up at Superman, who was finally stepping closer and looking down at him with a slightly amused smile. "Superman?" he asked confusedly, glancing down at himself before looking around again.

 

"Well, there goes my theory," Flash said, shaking his head. "Thought tapping into that mojo might have brought everything back, but looks like that was a bust." the blonde said with a small shrug. 

 

"What happened to me?!" Billy asked, the lightning jumping a bit further from his body as he started to freak out. Hal stepped forward, his hands out placatingly.

 

"Capt-- Billy, you gotta calm down. This is what we were telling you about, okay? These are your superpowers." he said gently. Billy blinked at him- this was the magic they were talking about? This didn't make any sense! "Why am I a grown-up?" he asked, staring Hal in the eyes nervously. 

 

There was a sudden voice in his head- well, it wasn't so much of a voice as it was a sudden answer to his question that came into his head. He furrowed his brow at the thought. "This is the form that was chosen for me?" he asked himself, stumped by the thought. "I- I don't understand," he mumbled.

 

Hal raised an eyebrow before snapping. "Wisdom of Solomon, right," he said, nodding.

 

"Like that ancient king?" Billy asked, tilting his head slightly. "We learned about him in class. He's not a god," he said confusedly. There was a sudden flash of pain in his head before it vanished, the man shaking his head. "What's the Rock of Eternity?" he asked after a moment.

 

Wonder Woman lit up. "Of course! The Rock of Eternity may be able to fix his memory. It is the source of all magic, the place where he got his powers- perhaps something there can help us." she said, standing up and unsheathing her sword proudly.

 

"Um- I still don't know what that is. Is- It is like an actual rock?" he asked, slowly getting up from the floor. He noticed he was now at eye-level with Superman, and whoa, that was weird, but he tried not to think about it. "And- and how do we get there?" 

 

"The Rock Of Eternity is...complicated." Batman supplied. "There's only two entranced on earth from what you've told me. Kandaq, and Fawcett City. The homes of the chosen champions. From there we can get into the Rock and see if Diana's plan works." the Dark Knight said gruffly. 

 

"And as much as I'd enjoy starting an international incident with Black Adam," Superman said, shaking his head, "Fawcett isn't really an easy place to navigate if you're looking for magical stuff." 

 

Billy perked up at this. "I know Fawcett like the back of my hand," he said happily, unaware of the fact that he'd begun to float when his spirits were lifted. He glanced down and his eyes widened slightly before glancing at the Man of Steel. "How do I stop this," he asked nervously. 

 

Superman chuckled. "It's easy, trust me, I had the same problem when I first learned to fly. Just point your feet downward," he watched as Billy did as instructed, golden boots floating a few inches above the ground. "Okay, now just drop. Take a deep breath and relax your muscles." as he spoke, Billy nodded, letting out a breath before touching down on the floor. He grinned widely at the Man of Steel.

 

"There ya go." The Kryptonian replied.

 

- - -

 

It really took them longer than it should have to decide who was going to accompany Billy to the Rock of Eternity- Of course, Hal would go since he kinda discovered this whole mess and wanted to see how it ended, (plus Billy was still kind of leaning more towards staying near Hal than anyone else) and Diana, since she knew more about this magic and the gods that powered Billy than anyone else on the team (besides Captain Marvel himself that is.) 

 

Green Arrow and Flash were debating who should come out of the two of them, and Cyborg was interested in the physicality of the Rock of Eternity- Billy wanted Superman to come despite his resignation with all things magic, and Batman was trying to convince Superman to come with them. 

 

In the end, everyone in the room came along. It was really the easiest solution when Billy thought about it- in fact, he'd been the one to suggest it. The more the merrier, right?

 

They arrived in Fawcett by Zeta Tube, (which, by the way, left a weird taste in Billy's mouth and made his body feel all tingly) and the heroes walked out of what looked like an abandoned photobooth into a musty alley. Metal garbage tins glinted in the evening sun as a couple of rats skittered away from the visitors. Billy tilted his head at the animals and watched them run off, feeling sorry to have scared them away.

 

"So do we have any idea where the entrance to the rock is in Fawcett?" Hal asked as he walked out of the teleporter, glancing at Batman and Diana before turning his attention to Marvel- er, Billy. "Kid? You got any idea? Solomon tellin' you anything?" he asked, watching the boy stare at something confusedly in the distance. "Kid?" Hal asked, glancing at the rest of the group. He walked closer to the boy in a man's body, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Billy...?"

 

Billy flinched, shaking his head and turning back. "Huh? Oh uh- sorry. I just..." he trailed off, rubbing the back of his neck. "I walked out of that tube thing and there's this warm pull that I feel in my stomach, like- like something was telling me to go over there-" he said, pointing off in the distance. 

 

"It may be the Rock Of Eternity calling to you." Diana supplied. Billy nodded slowly, glancing back in the direction his gut was telling him to go. "Should- should we follow it then?" he asked nervously, getting nods from the group. "Okay," he said, walking over to the fence and gripping onto the metal.

 

Superman cleared his throat behind him, causing the boy to look back. "What?" he asked, letting go of the fence. Superman chuckled, giving him a look before floating up a few inches above the ground. Billy smacked his palm against his forehead, because duh, he could fly now! He blushed, floating up off the ground and rubbing the back of his neck. "Forgot about that." he said sheepishly. 

 

Hal chuckled and shook his head, him and Diana floating up as well, the former enveloping Batman and Green Arrow in a green field of energy as Flash nodded and told them he'd keep up. "Lead the way, Captain." the brunet told him, allowing Billy to take the lead. He nodded, turning towards the source that was calling him before taking off towards it. 

 

It was a weird feeling, flying that is, and he felt giddy as buildings and houses passed underneath him. He smiled down at Fawcett City, catching a few citizens' attention as he flew. It was even weirder to have the Justice League following his lead, something that made him even giddier. He glanced back to find them still behind him, reminding him that this was actually happening before looking down at the ground at a red blur that was darting around buildings. 

 

He smiled widely and continued on, following the tugging in his core. Eventually, he came to what looked like the remains of a subways station. Billy furrowed his brow; this place felt oddly familiar. Sure, he'd stayed there for a while when he was younger- it was a place that had a lot of the friendlier homeless people- but there was something else, something different. He touched down in front of the cracked and decaying entrance, caution tape littering the ground and rolling across the ground as the wind blew.

 

He took a step forward, the tugging at his core growing stronger. He felt a buzz inside his head, pushing him closer to the entrance. "I- I know this..." he muttered, not noticing the lightning that had started to dance around him. He looked around, his mind not registering the League's confused voices behind him. He found his body almost moving on its own as he walked down the steps and into the darkness. 

 

The group was quick to follow, Hal providing a soft green glow as they followed him- not that he needed it, he could see fine. Billy came to the edge of the platform, glancing to his right down the dark, seemingly endless tunnel before looking to his left and hopping down off the platform. Superman said something along the lines of "what are you doing" but Billy wasn't listening. The buzzing in his skull was getting louder, harder to ignore. 

 

He glanced back at the group before continuing his walk down the abandoned tracks. He put a hand to his head, the pulling in his chest becoming undeniable. He quickened his pace, aware of the heroes behind him but not acknowledging them. He felt a pinch in his core before the buzzing grew louder, his breathing suddenly growing more labored. He looked around, slightly panicked before his gaze snapped to a wall. 

 

He narrowed his eyes at it, walking over and looking it up and down before pressing his hand onto the old brick. The seams between the stone started to glow, shining brightly and making electricity jump from him to whatever was behind them. The raven felt a warmth overcome him and he suddenly pulled his hand back, eyes glowing as the entrance to the Rock of Eternity revealed itself to them. 

 

Billy gasped, warmth flooding over his form as the buzzing in his head suddenly ceased. Everything grew quiet as he collapsed, falling to his hands and knees and staring at the stone beneath him. He was shaking, his muscular form moving on its own again and stumbling up before going through the entrance. He felt his chest expand, everything going silent before he collapsed, blacking out as he hit the ground.

 

- - -

 

When he finally came to, Marvel found himself lying on the ground, his head pillowed on something soft. He opened his eyes with a wince, his mind feeling like a groggy mess and his eyes burning at the light around him. "Ngh..." he winced, suddenly seeing Hal in his peripheral. "Hal...?" he asked weakly, confused as to why he was staring worriedly at him. Wait, where were they exactly? 

 

The brunet helped him sit up slowly, the Champion shaking his head slightly to clear it. "What happened..." he said mostly to himself, glancing down at the thing his head had been resting on- Clark's cape? Why was Superman giving him his cape to lay down on? What had happened to him? He glanced around, finally realizing that the entire league (well, the core members and Ollie at least) were surrounding him with worried (or in Bruce's case mildly concerned) expressions. 

 

"What? Why are you looking at me like that?" he asked before looking around. Were they at the Rock of Eternity? "What are we doing at the Rock? What's going on?" he asked, Diana lighting up with a smile. This only made the man furrow his brow further- why was she smiling?

 

Cap brought a hand up to his head, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes before letting it out. Think. What led you to this situation. You have an eidetic memory, you know what happened. He thought about it, his eyes snapping open when he realized. "I- I remember!" he said, a smile spreading across his face. "It worked!" he said, standing up with ease. "Thank the Gods..." he said softly, Superman smiling subtly at him.

 

Captain Marvel blinked, looking around. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put you guys out of the way-" he was cut off by a sudden hug from Hal and a muttered, "Shut up". Cap blinked, staring down at the man clad in green before smiling widely and hugging him back. 

 

"Dude, we're just glad you remember," Hal said, pulling back. "Do you have any idea how you lost your memory?" he asked, stepping back. The Captain's eyebrows knit together, chewing on his bottom lip in thought. 

 

"It's kinda blurry, but yea. I- I think I do," he replied. "I remember that I was fighting one of Sivanna's robots, the usual stuff, but I remember that one of the robots had this- this energy to it, something that, for some reason, I was drawn to," he said, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

"Well, turns out that's exactly what Sivanna wanted, and I got too close- he did something with it- I'm not sure what, but I knew it was magical, and the next thing I know I'm Billy and sitting in front of a foster care office with a lady guiding me to a desk. I mean I couldn't remember anything about being Marvel- the last thing I remembered was I think walking near the building, so I kinda just went with it. I mean, Something just told me to go with it, so I did." Captain Marvel said, glancing around.

 

"Well, at least you're back now," Hal said with a chuckle. "Come on, we should probably track Sivanna down and figure out just what he did so this mess doesn't happen again," he suggested, glancing around to nods of agreement. 

 

Captain Marvel smiled softly. "Right," he said, following the rest of the group out of the entrance they'd come through he didn't know how long ago. "Wait- didn't I get adopted?" he asked, eyes widening and filling with dread. 

 

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Billy woke to a ringing in his ears and a massive headache that made his vision spin when he opened his eyes. He winced at the dim light fixture hanging above him and closed them again, attempting to shift in place only to find that he was strapped down to something cold. Billy opened his eyes despite the pain, glancing to his sides to find that his arms were encased in metal restraints. He furrowed his brow, tugging at them and glancing down to find the same restraints on his ankles.

 

He let out a deep breath, trying to figure out what was going on. It was dark- he couldn't really make anything out around him, other than the occasional colored light that flashed in the dark. The boy was in some kind of room, not too big to feel a draft, but big enough that he couldn't see the walls from where he was. He had a feeling he knew who was behind this since there was this wave of deja-vu that came over him, but he'd learned not to jump to conclusions too quickly.

 

As his eyes adjusted to the relatively dark room, he found that he wasn't alone. Billy's eyes widened a fraction when he saw a group of kids, no older than him, in chains in the corner. Some of them were looking at him while others were attempting to pull the cuffs around their wrists off. Billy felt a surge of anger wash over him as he strained against his own bonds and grit his teeth. He couldn't get out, but maybe Captain Marvel could. 

 

Wait- those kids were still watching him. He couldn't reveal himself like this, there was no telling what would happen if they told people. He lifted his head to stare at the group, chewing on his lip. "It'll be okay," he said reassuringly before looking up. His gaze turned calculating, brows furrowing in thought as he glanced down at his restraints. "Less than an inch thick, steel or iron," he muttered, unaware that he'd gained the group's entire attention.

 

"Hey as long as it's not nth metal, right..." he mumbled, shaking his head. He gave a tentative tug, testing the resistance before letting out a breath. "tlem eseht stniartser!" he said, eyes flashing gold before the metal began to bubble and fall away. He smirked and sat up, rubbing his wrists and reaching down to assess the restraints around his feet. The spell had left him winded, and he still needed to get these kids out of here, so he'd just have to pick the lock.

 

Billy reached into his back pocket, thankful that whoever had captured him hadn't thought to empty them, and pulled out a hairpin. He stuck it into the cuff and started maneuvering it, tongue poking out of his mouth as he worked. He finally got the first one open before moving to the second, getting it open even quicker. 

 

The boy then slid off the metal table and onto the floor, glancing around and looking at the group determinedly before assessing the situation even further. There looked to be about 8 or 9 kids in total, but he couldn't see them very well in the darkness. They looked ordinary- they definitely weren't street kids based on their attire, (one of them was wearing a suit for Pete's sake) which brought him to the conclusion that they'd been taken from their homes.

 

Billy's jaw was set, his eyes hardening at the thought of a villain snatching kids away from their parents. He shook his head and looked around at the group. "You're gonna be okay. I'm gonna get you out of here," he said before moving to the closest kid (the one in the suit) and starting on his cuffs with his hairpin.

 

"Where'd you learn to do that?" the kid asked, watching him closely. This was definitely a rich kid- he had slicked back black hair and bright blue eyes, and his skin was clean without a blemish in sight. His eyes were questioning and calm, though, considering the situation- maybe he'd been kidnapped before? 

 

Billy was confused by the question at first but thought there was probably no harm in telling him. "Batman taught me," he said with a smirk- it was the truth, but it wasn't like the kid would believe him. He glanced up at the boy, who simply seemed confused, a flash of suspicion flashing in his eyes before it vanished. "I'm a street kid. Gotta learn things like this to survive," he said with a shrug, the cuffs falling from the boy's wrists.

 

The boy gave him another confused look before taking a step back and letting BIlly move on to the next kid- a girl with dark brown hair and tan skin. She had a blue skirt on and a red and gold tank top on and thrust her wrists out for him to work on. 

 

This process repeated 6 more times before he finally got all of the kids out, ending on another kid with black hair and blue eyes, this time with thick glasses resting on his nose and a blue Superman shirt covering his small chest. "You like Superman?" he asked as he worked, concentrating on the cuffs. The boy gave him a confused look but stayed quiet. Billy glanced up, noticing the slightly pained and worried expression on the boy's face. 

 

"It's okay, you don't have to answer. There," he said, the cuffs falling off his wrists. Billy let out a satisfied sigh before putting his hairpin away, glancing around the room again. 
"Okay, I'm gonna get you out of here, but you gotta trust me," he said, looking around at the group. "Follow me and stay quiet," he said, glancing towards the large steel door he'd seen from when he'd first woken up. 

 

He walked over to it, reaching up to the panel to look at it. This was way more complicated than something he could understand, and he furrowed his brow at it before settling back down onto the flats of his feet and rubbing his chin in thought. "Okay... that thing's a bit beyond me," he muttered, glancing around the group before a dark-skinned boy stepped forward. He was wearing a grey hoodie and seemed really familiar for some reason. 

 

Billy narrowed his eyes at the itching feeling that he knew this kid- but he'd never seen him before in his life. The boy seemed to recognize him as well, cause he lit up at the sight of him. "Billy?" he asked, his voice very familiar. BUrry furrowed his brow even further- how did this kid know him?

 

"It's me- Victor!" the kid said suddenly. That didn't make any sense, the only Victor Billy knew was-- 

 

"CYBORG?!" Billy yelped, eyes widening to the size of saucers as he stared at the kid. A couple of the other kids in the group seemed confused or shocked, but the 11-year-old ignored them for staring at his friend. "What- how did- you- You're a kid!" he said, astonishment in his voice. "How'd you manage this!? Your tech-" he said, looking the boy up and down before a smile broke out on his face. 

 

"I knew you were familiar," he said with a shake of his head. Billy noticed the kid in the suit staring at him with calculating eyes, his arms crossed over his chest. "How do you know Cyborg? Isn't he a member of the Justice League?" he asked sarcastically, putting an emphasis on the Justice League part. 

 

Billy faltered, blinking dumbly before Cyborg stepped in. "He's a family friend," he said, staring the raven-haired rich boy down. The boy simply rolled his eyes and accepted it- but wait, did that mean Victor thought of him as family? Billy smiled despite himself. 

 

"Wait, so you think you can crack it?" the raven got back to business, looking at Victor. Cyborg smirked in response. "'Course I can. I may not have the actual biotics at the moment, but I remember how to unlock a door." he replied with a smirk. Billy smiled in response, the pair going back to the console as the rest of the group hung back. 

 

"You're taking charge," Cyborg said off-handedly as he started working on the panel, Billy leaning against the wall beside him.

 

"Well yea, these guys are just kids. I got no clue where we are, so I can't call the League--" he paused, remembering who was in front of him. "Wait, how'd you get to be looking like this anyways? People don't just turn into kids," he said, realizing the irony of that statement and letting out a sigh as Cyborg's raised eyebrow. "Well...most of the time," he said with a small blush as he rubbed the back of his neck. 

 

"Honestly, dude, I have no idea. One minute I'm chilling at home with a full box of pizza to myself, I see this really bright purple flash, and the next thing I know I'm waking up in this place," he said, shaking his head as he continued to work on the console. "Honestly I should have realized it was you when you were undoing my cuffs, but I was still kind of in shock," Victor explained, glancing up from the screen to look at the raven before turning back head back down.

 

"Well if you're here, maybe some of these kids are actually adults as well," Billy said, rubbing his chin and glancing towards the group. Most seemed to be looking at the two conversate quietly, though the kid in the suit and the one in the Superman shirt were off by themselves talking on their own. For the most part, they seemed to be taking this really well.

 

Billy let out a breath and chewed on his bottom lip before walking over to the group. "Uh- Hi. I realized I never introduced myself," he said, gaining the attention of everyone- even the pair off on their own. "My name's Billy Batson. Um- My friend here was telling me about what happened to him, and I was wondering... are... are you guys- well, were you guys, adults, before you woke up here?" he asked, waiting as the silence in the room stretched on.

 

A girl furrowed her brow and blinked, standing up and stepping closer. "I was...how- how'd you know that?" she asked, her eyes slightly distrustful as she moved her golden blonde hair out of her eyes. Billy blinked, glancing at Victor.

 

"Uh- well Victor said that he- he was an adult before waking up here. He's Cyborg, of the Justice League- his identity's kind of one of the only public ones, so..." he trailed off, glancing at the girl as she stared at Cyborg before looking back at Billy. 

 

"Dinah," she said, holding out a hand in greeting. She glanced over her shoulder and nudged another boy, another blonde, forward, and he stumbled into view. He was clad in a green button-up and dark grey pants and was currently chewing on his lip. "And this is my boyfriend Oliver," she told him. The boy gave her a look, but she shot back her own and his withered away.

 

"Oliver Queen..." he grumbled, rolling his eyes and sticking out his hand. Billy's eyes widened slightly- Oliver Queen, as in, billionaire Oliver Queen!? The raven shook off his shock before taking the hand nervously. 

 

Another girl stepped forward, shoving slightly to get to the front. It was the girl from before, the one with dark brown hair and a red, blue, and gold outfit. "I am Diana of Themyscera. Er- Wonder Woman," she said, puffing out her chest in pride. Wonder Woman was here too!?

 

"Okay, okay that may be the connection then-" Billy muttered, looking to the ground in thought. "People of influence. a Justice League Member, a Billionaire, a princess-" he mumbled, brow furrowing in thought. "Who are the rest of you?" he asked, looking towards the rest of the kids that hadn't been introduced. 

 

"Hal Jordan." A brunet said cockily, smirking as he looked down at Billy. He was half a head taller than the raven but looked to be about the same age. "I'm a pilot, so...." he said confidently before a blonde kid came up behind him and popped his head over the tall kid's shoulder. 

 

"And I'm Barry- Barry Allen. I'm a forensic scientist- Central City," he said with a wide smile. Billy couldn't help the feeling of familiarity that washed over him at the pair, his brows furrowing slightly before he perked up. "The same city as Flash," he said off-handedly, not noticing the flash of fear that sparked in the blonde's eyes before it faded. "Yep! Love that guy. Great quips." he said before the brunet elbowed him in the ribs. 

 

"Green Lantern's better," he muttered before getting a jab to the ribs back. 

 

Billy shook his head and moved on to the last two- the rich kid and the boy in a Superman shirt. Billy met the rich kid's eyes and suddenly felt himself being studied meticulously, and couldn't help but pull at his collar uncomfortably. "So uh... What- what are your names?" he asked.

 

The rich kid raised an eyebrow as his friend shook his head at him and smiled at Billy. "Clark Kent- I'm a reporter and close friend of Superman," he said finally. Billy noticed his voice had a warm, protective touch to it, even if it sounded like a preteen speaking. He smiled, shaking the kid's hand before turning to his partner.

 

"This is Bruce- he's not the best at making friends, I wouldn't take it personally." Clark supplied, crossing his arms at the kid as he was sent a glare. "Bruce Wayne, if you're wondering," he said a bit quieter. 

 

Billy's eyes widened slightly. Bruce Wayne?! The guy that funded the Justice League?! He swallowed and gave the kid a tight-mouthed smile before turning back to the rest of the group. "Okay, so I have a theory. I think that whoever did this gathered a bunch of people of influence. Billionaires, people close to superheroes, figures of importance. I- I'm not sure why you all were turned into kids, maybe, maybe its a trap of some kind, but we can't really worry about that right now. We don't have the time." 

 

He was about to start on the plan he'd come up with when he was suddenly interrupted by Bruce. "What does that make you then? If its just people of influence in here, and you clearly introduced yourself as really being only 11, why would you be kidnapped- and strapped to a metal table nonetheless?" he asked, brow furrowed and eyes narrowed.

 

Dang, this guy was good. He almost put Batman's detective skills to shame.

 

Billy swallowed thickly, glancing back at Cyborg before turning to face the kid. "Well, I uh-" he started, only to be interrupted by the boy behind him.

 

"Got it!" Victor said as the metal doors slid open. Billy smiled, looking at his teammate thankfully for his superb timing. The raven smiled and jogged over, clapping a hand on the darker boy's back in thanks. "Nice- let's go, follow me," he said, glancing back when none of the kids moved.

 

"Why aren't you moving?" he asked, staring at the kids. 

 

The group stayed quiet before Oliver stepped up. "Look, kid, you said it yourself- we all used to be adults, but you...if you really are some random 11-year-old, we have no reason to believe that following you would be a good idea," he said with a raised eyebrow. Boy did that one sting. 

 

Billy glanced around, his shoulders dropping as he let out a sigh. He glanced at Cyborg, giving him a knowing look. This was what he was afraid of happening with the League. If they knew Captain Marvel was just some little kid, he'd never be taken seriously again. Sure, with these people it didn't bother him as much, he'd probably never see the likes of Bruce Wayne or Oliver Queen again, but it did still sting a little.

 

He barely noticed the punch Dinah gave to his arm before the girl looked at him. "Look, sweetheart, it's nothing personal it's just-" she paused, glancing up as her eyes widened suddenly. Billy furrowed his brow in confusion before she suddenly screamed and hid behind Oliver. The boy was shaking as she hid behind him, glancing down confusedly at himself. 

 

"W-why am I- I- trembling-" he whimpered before Billy turned around to stare at who had entered the room. His own eyes widened slightly at the sight of a large man with a rifle in his hands. He was muscular, with a barrelled chest like Superman's and a strong jaw. The man had shiny blonde hair and bright blue eyes that locked onto Billy. They narrowed and he trained the gun at the child, Billy staring him down as the kids behind him flinched or scrambled back- despite being surprised at themselves for doing so.

 

"How'd you get out." the man grit out, seemingly unhappy to either be there or simply annoyed with the boy. He poked the gun closer to the boy and Billy stared him down, shoving his hands casually into his pockets.

 

"Yea, but you forgot I could do magic, Magnificus," he said simply with a roll of his shoulders. "I take it your dad's behind this?" he asked, bringing a hand up to rub at his nose before glancing back at the group for a moment. He caught Bruce studying him again but ignored it, turning back to the big hulking blonde. "What'd you do to them?" he asked, tilting his head slightly as he brought his hand out of his pocket.

 

He knew the man wouldn't shoot him- he may be the son of Dr. Sivana and lean more towards the wicked side, but he wouldn't shoot a child. "I mean besides the child thing. It doesn't make sense that these guys would cower so heavily in front of a gun; they act like actual kids," he said, looking up at the man. The blonde rolled his eyes, letting out a huff and poking the gun further into Billy's chest. 

 

"Better stay quiet, Billy. I don't want to hurt you." the man said in return, to which the raven looked him in the eyes. "I mean it, kid. I don't want to shoot you." 

 

Billy simply smirked, grabbing the barrel of the gun and suddenly shoving it upwards. Magnificus went to stabilize it and Billy hung on it, sliding down to the floor and landing on his back. He positioned his legs above him and kick his groin before spinning and scrambling out from under the large man. Magnificus dropped the gun, eyes widening as he brought his hands to his crotch. Billy smirked and rolled behind him, using his legs to kick the man over and land on his feet. 

 

The raven smiled as the man went crashing down, landing on the tile floor chin first. Billy suddenly started tying his shoelaces together before putting his hands on his hips and shaking his head. "Come on, Mag, you know better than that- you of all people should know I'm not some helpless kid," he said before he shoved the man head-first into the pile of discarded chains. 

 

He glanced back at the group before rubbing his nose. "Now come on. No arguments, I wanna go home," he said before leaving the room with Victor in tow. 

 

- - -

 

To Be Continued...

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

He glanced back at the group before rubbing his nose. "Now come on. No arguments, I wanna go home," he said before leaving the room with Victor in tow. 

 

- - -

 

Leaving the building proved to be a tad more difficult than he'd expected, especially since the group of what were supposed to be adults were acting like actual 4th graders in a haunted house. He couldn't blame them, if Billy didn't have the power of Shazam behind him and didn't face things like this on the regular, he'd probably be terrified too. To make things worse they had come to what looked like a room for communications.

 

Cyborg had attempted to contact the League along with Diana, but no answer had come. To make things worse Diana's powers weren't working, frustrating not only the princess but Billy as well. The raven chewed on his lip as he thought of how they were going to get out of this mess, frustration practically taking over. Just about everything he thought of came back to transforming and becoming the captain- but with other people in the room, it was a last resort.

 

Billy was leaning against the wall, trying to think of a way to find their way out of the building without running around blindly when Bruce walked over to him. He watched the boy closely before leaning against the wall beside him. "You never finished your sentence back there," he said simply, shoving his hands into his expensive pants pockets. Billy glanced at him, watching as he stared off absently.

 

Why did this guy wanna know what he could do so badly?

 

"Right..." the actual 11-year-old trailed off, rubbing the back of his neck. "Well, I uh- I can do magic," he said. It wasn't a lie- he really could do magic, but he knew for a fact that wasn't why Dr. Sivana had captured him- or why he'd been strapped to the table. 

 

"Hm. That much is obvious, I think." Bruce replied. Billy glanced at him before training his eyes on the floor. "You know, the way you took that blonde guy down..." he said, glancing at the increasingly nervous Billy. "It was almost like you were trained." 

 

Billy swallowed thickly. 

 

"What doesn't make sense is how a 'street kid' as you put it would be trained to take someone down like that." Bruce continued and only now did Billy noticed the suspicious glare to his eyes. He glanced at Cyborg, who was currently talking to Diana and didn't seem to notice him. "Sure, it'd make sense if one of the Justice League trained you to fight, but seeing as how I think that is highly unlikely, I wanna know how you learned to do that." 

 

Billy swallowed again, staring at the billionaire in a kid's body. "Mister Wayne, I don't really have to tell you anyth-" he was cut off by Bruce suddenly grabbing him by the collar and slamming him against the metal wall. Billy winced, his head hitting the wall making pain bloom in the back. "Ow..." he whimpered, looking down at the other raven. 

 

Bruce suddenly must have realized what he did when he saw the pain in Billy's eyes, his own eyes widening as he let him go. By now the rest of the group was watching, and Clark had come running over. "Bruce, what the..." he said softly, staring at the man incredulously. Bruce shot him his own withering glare before looking back at Billy- who was now sitting on the floor with Cyborg kneeling beside him and checking his head.

 

The boy let his teammate check him out, wincing when he touched the now sensitive skin. Cyborg glared at the billionaire while Billy just sent him an uneasy if not guilty look. He glanced up at Cyborg, leaving him off. "I'll be okay," he said with a small, uneasy smile. "Tensions are high, its okay," he said, surprizing the billionaire. 

 

If this kid really was 10, then he was extremely mature for his age. Any other kid he was sure would have started a fight. Bruce wasn't in his own right mind, that was the only reason he could come up with for having gone full bat on a helpless child. Well, mostly helpless. Billy looked at him, giving him a toothless smile. "Really, it's ok. Don't worry about it. I've been through worse." he said and shit, Bruce really felt like a douche now. He'd been about to beat on a kid who had been abused before. 

 

Cyborg helped him stand up wobbily before he was waved off, the kid putting a hand on the back of his neck. "Look, I get it. You're scared, and you know you shouldn't be. I don't know what Sivana did to you guys, but I promise that we'll figure it out." he said to the whole group, eyes landing on Bruce for a moment before looking away. "I'm sure we- er, well, Wonder Woman and Cyborg will be able to get a hold of the League soon, so once we get out of here they can figure out a way to get you guys back to normal," he said confidently. 

 

Diana had been looking through the things that Cyborg had pulled up, and suddenly lit up before looking at Billy excitedly. "Billy, look- blueprints!" she said, seemingly almost giddy at the sight. Billy brightened, jogging over and looking up at the expansive map on the screen. 

 

"Nice," he said softly, scanning over them. He looked at the room they were in, narrowing his eyes and memorizing the path they would need to take to get out of the building before noticing something strange marked on the map. His eyes narrowed, focusing on the words before realizing what they meant. "No..." he breathed, eyes widening. He looked at Victor, fear sparking in his baby blues before vanishing. 

 

"Cyborg, download the map and lead these guys out of here. I need to-" he let out a shaky breath. "I need to see to this." he said softly, staring up at the stark white words "CRACK IN ROCK" written over a specific room in the building. If this was what he thought it was, a small crack in the Rock of Eternity, then Sivana may have just found a way to slip into the center of magic. 

 

"Hold on, I've seen a horror movie or two, and spitting up always seems like the worst option." Oliver suddenly spoke up, crossing his arms over his small chest. Billy looked at him, his eyes hardened.

 

"This isn't up for debate. You guys will follow Cyborg and get out of here. This- this isn't something that concerns you." Billy retorted, only for Bruce to step in.

 

"And how does it concern you? You're just a kid. Sure, you can do magic, but there's no reason that should mean something only concerns you." the billionaire said, Clark nodding slightly behind him.

 

"Like I said. Not up for discussion." the 11-year-old said firmly before glancing at Cyborg. "Get them out," he said before running out of the room. 

 

- - -

 

Billy ran down the narrow corridor, hoping Cyborg would listen to him and get the kids out- he really could handle this on his own, the man knew that, so he hoped he would listen. The raven continued on down the hall and turned a corner, coming to a hallway lined with doors. He glanced around, looking at the various numbers as he passed them. Sivana had never really been one for security since he built his labs in such remote areas and generally didn't trust anyone that wasn't his own family, and for once Billy was thankful.

 

He continued walking until he came to a dead end, the hallway spitting in two. He took the left path and started jogging again- he really needed to get to that room before Sivana could do any damage.

 

He finally managed to make it to the room- the numbers 349 on a metal plate in the door. He scanned the door, looking it up an down. Sivana sure knew his hero- most of the place was made out of metal, save for the floor, so the villain would know where he was if he were to transform. Billy chewed on his lip before getting up close to the door and pressing his ear against it. It was quiet, save for a soft hum and the sweet curl of magic that came from within.

 

So his hunch was right. Billy growled, glaring at the door as his hands curled into fists. "No Rock of Eternity for you, Sivana," he said to himself before looking up at the metal ceiling. "SHAZAM!" he yelled, smirking when the godly lightning came down and enveloped him. There was a tingle that ran through his body as magic enveloped him, transforming the boy into the Champion of Magic. 

 

Billy opened his eyes as the light faded, smoke flowing away from his now muscular and godly form. The man smirked again before punching the thick metal door off its hinges and walking inside, his bright white cape billowing behind him. 

 

He was completely unaware he had an audience just down the hall. 

 

- - -

 

Cyborg watched as Billy ran out of the room, leaving him to deal with the anger, outrage, and fear that swept across the room in his wake. "Is he serious?!" he heard someone say. "This is crazy, he's just a kid!" another chimed in. "This seriously cannot be happening." another piped up. Cyborg was staring at the door when he noticed Bruce Wayne speak up.

 

"Look, we're obviously not just gonna let this kid wander off into danger alone. We may be children right now, but that doesn't mean we have to act like them. We'll go get Billy and drag him kick and screaming out of whatever danger he's about to run head-first into and we'll all escape together." he said firmly before spinning on his heel and heading towards the door. 

 

Cyborg's eyes widened and he slid to block the exit, arms out wide in a panic. "You can't!!" he said nervously. Bruce glared at him. "Look, look I know it seems crazy, but you gotta trust me- if Billy says he's got this, he does. He- he can do magic, remember? He'll be okay." He tried to reason with the group, and Bruce simply stared at him. 

 

"Cyborg, if you really care about this kid, you'll make sure that he is safe. As a member of the Justice League, I would think that you above all others would be itching to go after him. Especially due to him being a 'family friend' as you called it." the billionaire replied, his grey-blue eyes narrowed on the slightly shorter kid. 

 

Cyborg swallowed thickly. "It's not that, he-" he paused, glancing around. He realized that there was gonna be no changing these kids' minds- they'd already been set on going after Billy. "You- you don't know where he went," he said nervously.

 

"You do." Bruce returned. "As I said, I expected more out of the League." he grit out. Yikes, guilt trip. Cyborg's shoulders dipped and he let out a sigh. Hopefully, he had bought Billy enough time at least. 

 

"Fine...let's go.," he muttered before taking the lead hesitantly. 

 

They maneuvered through what felt like a maze of endless hallways, coming to a T at some point and taking the left path. Victor tried to take it slow, but the group was insistent on moving quickly. He must have had the worst luck imaginable since they arrived to Billy assessing the door before suddenly throwing his head back and saying his magic word.

 

Captain Marvel replaced the boy in the blink of an eye, stunning the group into silence. Cyborg could feel the dread welling up in his stomach, staring at the sight as the demigod punched the door in. He ran up to the frame as Billy went inside, ignoring the stunned looks on the rest of the group's faces in favor of watching the World's Mightiest Mortal do his thing. He felt the group join him in watching silently.

  

- - -

 

 Captain Marvel walked into the room, scanning everything carefully with narrowed eyes. "Sivana, I know you're in here," he said simply, looking around for the bald villain. "Come on, Dr. Sivana. We both know why I'm here. You can either let me seal the crack you found peacefully, or we can duke it out for old times' sake." he said, glancing around before suddenly feeling electricity curl up his spine. 

 

He glanced around and narrowed his eyes at Sivana's younger son Junior, who held a taser and was currently trying to shock the World's Mightiest Mortal. Captain Marvel sighed. "Seriously Junior? You realize my lightning is magical, right?" he asked, crossing his arms over his barrelled chest and raising an eyebrow. The young man swallowed thickly, taking a few steps back. The Big Red Cheese walked closer to him, ripping the device out of his hands only to feel a small prick poke his back again.

 

The raven glanced back to find Georgia, Sivana's daughter, gripping a gun tightly and shooting what looked like electricity-infused bullets at him. Captain Marvel rolled his eyes. "Hey look, I appreciate the thought, but bulletproof skin kinda doesn't work for what you're using Georgia," he told the girl, who sneered at him. The demigod let out a sigh and seemingly almost vanished, a red blur streaking across the room. 

 

After two seconds the pair were tied up on the ground, gags over their mouths as the Captain looked around for either their father or the crack in reality the man had found. Captain Marvel walked around, closing his eyes to try and find where the leak was- he opened his eyes, his irises glowing bright gold as he spotted the crack- it wasn't physical so much as it was the way the light bent ever so slightly in the room, the fact that there was the whisper fo magic coming from it, and the growing warmth he felt from being closer to the Rock of Eternity.

 

The demigod smiled and thrust his hand out, muttering in ancient Greek as the portal slowly began to close. He was suddenly interrupted by a sudden sharp pain in his chest, furrowing his brow in confusion as he glanced down at his chest. There was nothing there, but he felt pain- it was sharp and cold, and felt like his insides were splitting. "Oh no..." he breathed, ripping the portal back open. 

 

"Sivana, you're a dead man," he growled before disappearing into the portal. 

 

- - -

 

 To Be Continued...

 

Chapter Text

 

- - - 

 

"Sivana, you're a dead man," Captain Marvel growled before disappearing into the portal.  

 

- - -

 

"He..." Bruce started, eyes instantly narrowed in thought when Captain Marvel vanished. "He's Captain Marvel. It makes sense...too much sense," he said, eyes widening for a moment before his head whipped to Cyborg, who was still staring at the ripple in the air nervously. Bruce was suddenly on top of him, tackling him to the ground and pinning him there. "You knew," he growled, staring the boy down. 

 

"Yes! Of course, I did!" Cyborg bit back. "Back off, man!" he said, Clark pulling him off the slightly shorter male. Victor sat up, glaring at Bruce. "Yes, I knew," he said, standing up. He glanced around the room before letting out a breath. "Now that you know, you can't tell anyone. Ever. He's the Guardian of Magic, but he's also a human being. Telling anyone would ruin him." he said before his eyes stopped on Bruce.

 

"You especially. Everyone knows you fund the League, so don't even think about telling them. If Batman or Superman or any of them catch wind of this..." he trailed off, looking away. "Well, you saw how you acted when he first took charge." Cyborg shook his head angrily. "They'd never respect him again. He's been a hero for 2 years, but that wouldn't matter to any of them." he continued, looking around at the group. 

 

"All they'd see is the kid underneath," he said, hand curling into a fist. "So don't you dare tell the League. Cause I'll know if they figure it out magically," he said, eyes narrowing on the raven-haired billionaire. "And Mister Wayne, I will NOT be as understanding as I am now. Billy's a great kid, and an even better hero. If anything jeopardizes his ability to do good-" Victor looked back at the rift before shaking his head.

 

"Come on. Let's get out of here," he said quietly, taking the lead and walking out of the room. 

 

He managed to lead the group out of the building without incident, the kids making their way out and into the bright sunlight. Cyborg shut his eyes against the brightness, bringing a hand up to shield his view as he looked around. "Well, it looks like we are nowhere near Fawcett," he said, furrowing his brow. "Without my tech, I really have no idea where we could be," Victor said, glancing around at the group.

 

"Diana, I don't assume you have your comm on you, do you? I don't have one, so..." he trailed off when the princess shook her head. "Alright...well, Billy should be done soon- at least I think he should be, he wouldn't tell us to get out without having figured a way to get everyone home." 

 

There was a sudden crash, and the boy looked towards the building to find something explode out the top and send something flying up through the hole it made. He tried to focus on it, catching a wisp of red and white before dread pooled in his stomach. "Cap!" he said suddenly, the group watching as the demigod was sent flying towards them. 

 

The group scattered, kids running around as Captain Marvel crashed into the ground. He left a rut from where he dragged against the ground, laying down on the ground and staring up at the sky tiredly. "Okay... didn't..." he winced, sitting up slowly and touching his jaw, only to wince. "Didn't expect you..." he grumbled, standing up shakily. The demigod glanced around at the kids- thank the Gods they had made it out and managed a tired smile. 

 

"Don't worry, guys. It's okay. I got this." he said before turning his attention back to the problem at hand- a suped-up Sivana. "Alright, Sivana, enough games," he growled, light flashing in his eyes as he rocketed up from the ground and slammed into the bald man suddenly. 

 

The pair were sent tumbling in the air, the raven slamming his fists into his abdomen and head. He was a flurry of fists and feet, a red blur smashing into Sivana quickly and roughly as the scientists tried to mirror the movements- only to move slightly slower and clumsier than the demigod. He managed to get a good punch on the Captain's jaw, but it only served to make him angry. 

 

"Enough!" the raven growled, grabbing the man by the collar and looking up at the sky to summon down magical lightning. It struck the bald man, making him cry out in pain as he was held firmly in Captain Marvel's grasp. The demigod was breathing heavily, focusing his power on the scientist. He held the scientist above his head, looking up and calling out his word of power. His voice echoed through the area, full of power and force.

 

The biggest lightning bolt you could imagine came down, striking the scientist and making him cry out again. The group covered their eyes to shield them from the light, the bolt vanishing and replacing the once buff scientist with a scrawny one in a white lab coat. 

 

Marvel let out a sigh, shoulders dropping as he floated down to the ground and dropped the still groaning man onto the ground. "Ngh... that should not have wiped me out," he said tiredly, hovering above the man as he started to chuckle. Marvel furrowed his eyebrows and looked down at the scientist- what was so funny?

 

"Well, siphoning magic tends to do that." he cackled, eyes wide behind his thick glasses as he pulled out what looked almost like Kryptonite-- Captain Marvel's eyes widened slightly. It couldn't be--

 

Sivana brought himself up into a standing position, his grip tight on the bright red rock. "Modified kryptonite, Cheese. With the help of the Rock of Eternity, I've managed to create a substance that works on you like it works on big blue!" he said gleefully, the Captain's eyes widening further in shock.

 

He felt his chest tighten, his breathing becoming ragged as a wicked smirk spread across the scientist's face. "Maybe you wanna try and take it from me?" he sneered, holding the rock out. Marvel winced, dropping to the ground and collapsing onto his knees. "Oh, feeling a bit weak in the knees, Captain Marvel?" he cackled, taking a step closer.

 

"S-Sivana, please... y-you don't have t-to do this..." Captain Marvel said weakly, dropping onto his arms to help keep him up as Sivana got even closer. "Gah- is this what Superman goes through!? Agh, this s-sucks..." he groaned out, feeling his eyelids droop slightly. "Please..." he winced, feeling his body give out as Marvel's form stripped away from him. 

 

He was left lying on the ground as Billy, breathing raggedly as Sivana stood over him, a wicked smirk on his face. "A little boy shouldn't be playing with the big kids, Billy," he said, dropping the rock onto the raven's chest and making him cry out in pain. He felt like he was on fire- barely able to breathe and definitely not able to move. Sivana tsked, smiling widely as he watched the boy struggle to breathe. 

 

"Hey, jackass!" Billy heard someone yell, turning his head weakly to find Bruce glaring at the doctor darkly. He had a snarl on his face and was holding-- wait, was that a Batarang?! "Leave him alone," he growled out before throwing the Batarang. 

 

Billy wanted to tell him to keep back, that Sivana didn't look like much, but was up there next to the likes of Lex Luthor, but found he couldn't speak, he could barely breathe. He watched as Bruce ran at the man, sliding under his feet to kick him in his ass. He sent the man stumbling forward, right into the waiting (and very angry) arms of Diana herself. "How dare you try to take the gifts my father gave to William! You will pay for this," she growled, glaring at the man as he came to a stop.

 

"Heh, but Diana, you are nothing but a child. All of you are!" Sivana sneered, glaring at the group. "And with the League just a bunch of sniveling children, there's no one who can stop me," he said, a wicked gleam in his eyes. Bruce's own eyes widened.

 

"What...?" he said softly, glancing back at the group. Billy had by this point blacked out, noticing this as he glanced at the kid. "What do you mean..." he said softly to himself before everything clicked. He glanced at Clark, who was already wearing a smirk on his face. "You don't know how big of a mistake you just made," he said, glaring at the scientist as he turned around.

 

"You think I'm scared of children? I fight one on a weekly basis, you bafoon, you are noth--" the man was suddenly tackled by Clark, the raven smirking as he held the man down. 

 

"Justice League!" he said, head snapping towards the group as he put in what Bruce had deemed his 'leader voice' and smiled. "Mind giving me a hand here?" Everything seemed to click within the group, and a few facepalms and laughs later, they had the scientist tied up and growling at them. 

 

"No no no no no!! I will not be humiliated by--" he was suddenly cut off by a hit to the head from Hal, who managed to put his ring on at last. 

 

"God, he's annoying. How does Cap deal with the voice all the time?" he asked, rolling his eyes. Clark chuckled, shaking his head. "Another thing- it's kind of ironic that he got us all together, and like, none of us knew who each other was." he continued, landing on the grass softly. 

 

Bruce nodded, grabbing the bright red rock off of Billy's chest. "Modified kryptonite- Clark?" he said, tossing the rock to the Kryptonian. He caught it easily, turning it over in his hands.

 

"Synthetic- not to mention doesn't do a thing to me. Must be, I dunno, tied to Cap's magic or something," he said, tossing the rock back. Bruce nodded, shoving it in his suit pocket and glancing at the recovering boy who was on the cusp of waking up. He was currently being helped to sit up by Cyborg and Barry, his head lolling forward and groaning softly. 

 

"Well, I take it no one had their communicator on them- hence no 'league' response," Bruce said, looking around. There was a couple of nods and nervous shrugs, to which the raven nodded. "Alright. Someone get him up and aware of his surroundings-" he ordered, gesturing to Billy before glancing at Clark- who had taken to sitting on Sivana to keep him down. The old man stayed quiet, silently watching Billy slowly come back to himself. 

 

"Ngh..." he groaned softly, barely able to lift his eyelids before a wave of nausea came over him. He hunched over, grabbing his stomach and dry heaving onto the grass. He was left panting and sweating, barely able to keep his eyes open as he stared at the ground beneath him, his thin arms weakly holding him up. He suddenly collapsed, laying on the ground and catching a glimpse of Sivana.

 

"I... I gotta..." he winced, his head swimming as he tried to sit up, only to have Cyborg come into his field of vision and take a seat in the grass in front of him. "Take it slow, man," he said softly, rubbing his back as Billy slowly turned himself over and sat up. He was able to this time without losing his (lack of) lunch, but his head was still spinning. 

 

"Billy, take it easy-" Victor continued, the boy ignoring him in favor of trying to stand up. the raven was leaning against him heavily and his breathing was ragged, but he was staring at Sivana with a fire behind his eyes. Billy suddenly shoved him away, glancing up at the sky before whispering a word. 

 

When nothing happened his eyes widened-- and he stared at Sivana in fear. "No..." he said, collapsing back onto the ground. Billy was barely able to keep his eyes open as Victor helped him sit up. "You- you can't do this Sivana..." he winced, a sharp pain stabbing him in the gut. Billy looked up at Victor tiredly. "We gotta... we gotta get to the rock..." he mumbled, eyelids threatening to close as Bruce ran over and kneeled down next to him.

 

"Billy, listen to me- listen to my voice. It's Batman- You can't go to sleep right now, okay? You have to stay awake." he said, putting two fingers to the boy's wrist. "He's cold, and his pulse is fading," he said quickly, glancing back at the doctor. "What did you do to him," he growled, standing up as Diana came over and picked Billy up in her arms. 

 

The bald man simply chuckled, smirking at the tiny heroes. "Poor, tiny, Batman, trying to save the cheese. Magic runs through his veins, dark knight. Without it...." he trailed off, laughing as Superman shoved his head into the dirt. Clark and Bruce shared a look before the Ravens turned towards the group. 

 

"We have to get him inside, find a way to get magic back into him," Bruce said, looking at the paling boy in Diana's arms. "How- How do we do that?"

 

Victor cleared his throat. "There's a crack in reality that Cap was trying to close- it leads to the Rock of Eternity. He was saying he needed to go there, maybe being there will fix him." he supplied. Bruce nodded, leading the way.

 

- - -

 

Clark and Hal stayed with Sivana while the rest of the group joined Diana, Victor, and Bruce in taking Billy back inside the building. Billy was in and out of it, mumbling incoherently and flinching every so often in Diana's arms as she ran. Bruce couldn't help the anxiety and protectiveness that washed over him-- something that he'd usually attempt to quell, but what he could only assume was because of his current state seemed to grow to massive proportions.

 

"Over here-" Victor said, poking his head into the room where the larger group had watched Marvel take on the twins. Said twins were gone, which if he was honest, Bruce was slightly thankful for since he really didn't want to deal with any more Sivanas at the moment. "The rift should be around here somewhere. Look for, I dunno, something weird in the air." Victor said as he threw his arms about.

 

Bruce scanned the scene, his eyes narrowed before catching sight of a small ripple in the air in front of a machine. "There," he said, pointing towards it. Diana nodded and stepped forward, looking and spotting where Bruce had been pointing. 

 

"Yea, I think that's it." She said, reaching her fingertips out and poking the ripple. It exploded outward, enveloping the group in light before suddenly vanishing before their eyes. When Bruce was able to see again, he found himself staring down at grown hands, holding his body up off a rocky floor. He blinked, gasping for breath before turning over and sitting down. He looked at his hands- what did this mean? Was he fixed? How did-

 

He was cut off by Diana grunting, shaking her head as she swayed side to side. She was grown again too, and Billy was still in her arms. "Ngh..." She shook her head again in an attempt to clear away the haze, her eyes fluttering open to look around. 

 

Bruce looked around, finding the rest of the group, save for Hal and Clark who weren't there, having transformed back to normal. "I don't understand," he said softly, more to himself than anything as Billy stirred in Diana's arms. 

 

The boy winced, groaning in pain before his eyes opened slowly. "Wonner...wumn..." he said, his words slurred as he tried to lift his head weakly, only for it to plop back down against her arm. Bruce stood, letting out a shaky breath as he walked over to the pair.

 

He looked down at the kid-- he was glad that his theory on the Captain having been de-aged as well had been wrong, but it was still something to wrap his head around that the guardian of magic was a 5th grader. "Billy," he said gruffly, putting on his best Batman voice. As he'd suspected, Billy flinched, attempting to jolt up before relaxing back into the princess's arms. 

 

"Calm down, its alright," he said as the boy looked over at him sleepily. "You're at the Rock of Eternity. Cyborg said that being here would help you?" he asked, the boy slowly coming back and gaining awareness.

 

The small raven-haired kid shut his eyes tightly before opening them, shifting in Diana's arms before she put him down. His feet touched the floor and he let out a relaxed breath, his eyes opening fully. Bright blue and aware, Billy looked around at the now grown people around him before smiling. 

 

"You're fixed! Oh, thank the Gods. I was dreading it might have been something that I needed to call Mister Constantine in for." he mumbled, rubbing the kinks out of the back on his neck. He suddenly paused, his eyebrows drawing together in confusion. "Wait... how... the Rock... How are we here? How did we-" he turned around confusedly, looking around defensively.

 

Bruce wasn't sure how he hadn't seen it before-- not only did he look like a younger version of the Captain, but he acted like the man-- childish, sure, but inquisitive, curious, protective. The taller raven watched the boy scan the area before noticing something. His shoulders drooped slightly and confusion covered the suspicion on his face. He suddenly was off and running over to a faded red backpack, kneeling beside it and rummaging through it. 

 

Bruce furrowed his own brow, he, along with the rest of the adults, watching him closely. He took out a gem, setting it beside the back before pulling out a couple of small brown tied bags and what looked like a wand with a blue gem incrested in the tip, setting them all down on the rock before suddenly lighting up and pulling out a water bottle full of pink liquid. He shoved the bottle under his armpit and put all the other items back into the bag before uncapping the bottle and downing it.

 

Billy had a large smile on his face as he put the empty bottle back in the bag and turned back towards the group. "Alright," he said, zipping it up. "So we're at the real rock of eternity, thankfully, no illusions- but I honestly have no idea how we got here," he said, putting his hands on his hips. The group was still staring at him- likely because he was acting like this was all completely normal and nothing funky had happened at all.

 

He seemed to register this differently, as his shoulders slumped slightly. "Alright, look, I get it, you're back to being adults do you think that I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. But this is my domain. Magic is my thing, and this place is the source of magic. Come on, we can leave this way-- though I'm not sure where that building was..." he trailed off, glancing back at the group. 

 

"Wait- we're missing two people. Where are Clark and Hal?" he asked, looking around for the two. 

 

"We actually came through a rift, B," Cyborg said, walking over to the boy. "We can go back through that if you can find it. Probably better if we do, so we can get them back to normal," he said, placing a bionic hand on Billy's shoulder. The Raven nodded, looking around. 

 

"Sure, just lemme find it..." he said, walking around the room before poking at the air. "Here it is," he said, grabbing what looked like air and suddenly pulling it open. He gestured towards it and led the way, vanishing through what Bruce could only assume was the rift that would lead them back to where they'd started.

 

- - -

 

They managed to get Clark and Hal back to normal after Diana and Cyborg had told Billy that they had Sivana under control and that he could lead the remaining boys to the rock. Billy had been slightly confused on just how similar Clark looked to Superman, especially with the t-shirt, but he didn't question it-- he was too tired to. They were greeted with smiles when they came back, Billy bringing Cyborg off to the side to talk with him in hushed voices.

 

"Look, I know they saw," he said, staring up at the man. "I could feel your presence in the hall, what are we gonna do? This- this can't get out, they can't tell people-" he glanced back at the group, that almost seemed to be having their own meeting; likely about him. Billy pinched the bridge of his nose. Cyborg looked like he wanted to say something, but stayed quiet.

 

"I- I don't know what to do. It's not like I can threaten them- and I'm not naive, I know a promise isn't worth beans," he grumbled. He ran a hand through his greasy hair before Cyborg put a hand on his shoulder. 

 

"Why don't you go home and get some rest. Diana and I will figure this out. You trust Diana, right? You guys are on the same wavelength." he said, the boy looking unsure.

 

"I don't know. What if she tells the league?" Billy asked, unaware of the irony in his words. Cyborg sighed.

 

"Go home, okay? I'll handle it. You look exhausted." 

 

Billy sighed in return, nodding his head slowly. "Fine... Just..." he shook his head. "I dunno, debrief or something... we don't have something that can wipe memories, do we?" he asked hopefully, unaware of Clark's sudden jerk of the head or how he was struggling not to laugh at the thought of a memory wiping machine-- only in a child's mind, he thought. "I just..." Billy trailed off again.

 

"I don't want the League to find out," he mumbled. "I- I could never face them again, you know that," Bruce and the others were watching them by this point, the child ignorant to the tense air that was coalescing around the group. "Make sure they know how important this is to me, okay? The League can't know. I- I gotta get home, Freddy's gonna be wondering where I am." he said, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

"He may be 13 but he worries like a full grown adult would. I'll, I dunno, see ya later." Billy said, giving Victor a small smile before opening a portal. "Bye, guys. Um...please...keep this to yourselves," he said before vanishing, leaving the group with their thoughts. 

 

"How are we getting home?" asked Hal.

 

 - - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Billy had always been interested in sports- when he was younger he'd been really into baseball, it was his father's favorite game after all, and Billy had always wanted to be just like his dad. As he got older, though, that interest shifted from baseball to soccer, and his parents supported him in the interest. After they'd died, he'd shied away from the activities all together; they were too painful of a reminder of his life before.

 

After he became Captain Marvel, Billy started to become interested in mixed martial arts and boxing. Sure, it was fun, but he was more interested in learning how to throw a punch and guard against attacks from trained villains than potentially getting even against bullies. (Not that he'd ever do that, he knew better, an eye for an eye and the world goes blind and all that.)

 

The only problem, however, was that lessons cost money, and that was something Billy didn't really have a lot of. Ever.

 

That was how he had ended up watching from the outside window as classes went on and trying to replicate the moves on his own. These classes usually went on in the evening, and most of the time the sensei's were so focused on their students that they wouldn't notice him, but one time, in particular, he'd been caught practicing a move in front of the window and had been seen. which led to his small body being dragged into the building and being given a short lesson on his form and what he'd been doing wrong after the class was over.

 

The teacher's name was Darren, and he and Billy ended up striking up a deal. Billy could join his classes if he was willing to help clean up afterward and sweep the floor in return. The boy was more than happy to agree and silently thankful that the man had probably taken pity on him. Most of the time, he couldn't stand any kind of pity, but after Darren had explained that he knew what it was like growing up on the street and not being able to defend himself, Billy was more than willing to accept his teachings.

 

Sure, the man was no Batman, but there was no way the 10-year-old was going to the Dark Knight and asking him to teach him how to punch or kick. He'd probably get laughed right out of Gotham.

 

Plus, he was still kind of trying to avoid the big three after the League had found out about his age and put him on suspension. Without being able to go on League missions unless it was an emergency and kind of being restricted to his own town, Billy found himself really needing to occupy his time, so what better way than actually trying to better his fighting skills?

 

The boy was currently focusing on the punching bag in front of him, breathing evenly as he focused on his target. He centered himself, curling his hand into a fist tightly- though not so tightly that his arm was shaking. He placed his feet apart evenly, squaring them so that he was facing the bag completely and bringing his left leg back. Billy made sure that his hips were turned slightly away from the bag, something Darren had stressed when teaching him and took another deep breath.

 

He coiled his arms up into a defensive position, flexing his fingers as he brought his fists up to guard his face. He stared the punching bag down, imagining it to be some grotesque monster before he swiveled his hips, bouncing back on the ball of his left foot before punching the bag it straight on. His fist landed with a thud, the bag moving back slightly and making the boy feel giddy. 

 

He threw an actual, professional punch! Or, at least he thought he did. He got back into his stance before calling Darren over, who was sitting at a desk and typing into a computer. Class had long since ended, and the pair had gone downstairs to where Darren's desk was and the punching bags here hung. Billy had finished his tasks half an hour ago and the man let him loose on the heavy equipment, the boy putting his teachings into practice.

 

The brunet took off his reading glasses and set them down, standing up from his desk with a warm smile and walking over; he was probably grateful for the distraction from finances and taxes. "Whatcha got, B?" he asked, putting his hands in his pockets. 

 

"I think I did it right? I don't know." Billy replied, setting himself up again. Darren nodded, watching closely.

 

"Make sure you keep your elbows in, you don't want them flying all over the place." he corrected, the boy pulling his boney elbows in closer to his chest. 

 

Billy squared up against the bag, throwing another punch and landing it with a dull thud. He smiled up at Darren, who was still accessing his technique. 

 

"Good, make sure you're hitting with these two knuckles," he said, kneeling down and tapping the boy's first two knuckles on his fist. "You don't wanna hit with the flat part of your fist; sure, it feels like you should, but you risk breaking or bruising them if you hit like that. And make sure you keep your arm in alignment, okay? No superstrength mean you can't absorb the contact that comes from a punch, and you don't wanna put weird pressure on your wrist." he said, standing up and ruffling the boy's hair.

 

"Good job though. You pick things up fast," he said before heading back to his desk. Billy beamed, turning back to the punching back to put what he'd been told into practice. After a while he gave up, his fist beginning to get sore after hitting the bag for so long. It was already dark outside, so Billy really needed to get home and go to bed. He'd do patrol in the morning before the league meeting, wait, as he allowed to go to meetings right now? Well then afterward he could-

 

The boy was pulled from his thoughts by Darren saying his name. "You okay kid?" he asked with a smirk. Billy's gaze snapped up to him before he blushed lightly. "Oh uh- yeah, sorry, I was thinking about the things I need to do tomorrow," he said, the man nodding in return.

 

"I getcha. Why don't you go on home then, get some rest? I'll see you here next week, okay?" Darren said easily, turning back towards his desk to mess with some papers. 

 

Billy nodded and thanked him before leaving the room and going upstairs. He shrugged on his faded red jacket left the building, starting his walk home. He hummed softly to himself as his shoes thudded against the concrete, mind wandering back to what all he had to do the next day. The boy tugged his jacket closer to his body as a chill breeze blew across his face, unaware of the cameras that almost seemed to follow him as he walked.

 

He yawned, a small squeak coming from the back of his throat as he brought a hand up to rub at his eyes. Billy turned the corner, going down an alleyway before coming out on the other side and taking a sharp turn to go into an abandoned building. He yawned again, opening the old rickety door and climbing up the stairs to the apartment he'd claimed as his own.

 

The boy opened the door with a key he pulled out of his pocket, slamming his shoulder into the old wood to get it unjammed. He made it inside and shut the door behind him, shoving his key back into his pocket and letting out a sigh. Billy opened the cupboard, looking around for any food he may have had left-- there was none. "Grrrreeeaaaaat..." he mumbled, rolling his eyes and shutting the doors before plopping down on the mattress in the corner of the room. 

 

He stared up at the ceiling, thinking over just what he needed to do tomorrow. He felt his eyelids begin to droop, sleep quickly claiming him as the small boy curled up into himself for warmth. 

 

- - -

 

Billy was woken up by the shrill sound of beeping, yanking him from his dream and into the waking world. The sun wasn't even up yet as he sprung up in bed, breathing heavily and looking around in the darkness for the source of the noise. Of course, he knew exactly where it was coming from, but that didn't stop his panic at first. Billy let out a breath, trying to calm his heart as he yawned and reached under the mattress to pull out his Justice League issued communicator. 

 

Batman looked to be sending out an 'all hands on deck' kind of alert, much to the boy's surprise. Billy rubbed at his eyes, setting the communicator down beside him before standing up. "Let's hope I don't get sidelined, hm?" he said, glancing over at the small stuffed tiger doll that lay lifelessly on his mattress. It said nothing like always as Billy rolled his neck. "Don't worry, Tawny, I'll be safe," he said to the plush, throwing his head back and saying the word that had changed his life two years ago.

 

"Shazam!" 

 

Lightning crackled in the sky and came down to strike the building, causing the lights around him to flicker and the air to buzz with energy as it enveloped him in light. There was a fraction of a second where Billy could feel the familiar scorching pain that came with being struck by lightning, but it was gone in a flash and his body was transformed into the avatar for the Gods.

 

Clad in a red uniform and white cape, Captain Marvel curled and uncurled his hands before grabbing his communicator and signaling that he was on his way. He pat the small plush on the head, situating it so that Tawny was sitting up, and smiled at it before opening the window and vanishing with a gust of wind. 

 

He followed where his comm had told him to go- Metropolis, home of the Man of Steel, and felt worry begin to bubble in his core as the city came into view. The captain shook his head- he couldn't worry about what the League was thinking or what he'd be told, he had a job to do. He sped up, appearing in the middle of the city to the sight of-- robot knights? That's sure what they looked like, at least.

 

Captain Marvel landed amidst the chaos, looking around and suddenly taking off again towards a small family that was currently being surrounded by a group of what he deemed Robo-knights. He got the tin cans' collective attention by appearing in front of them, waving happily, vanishing with the family, and re-appearing back in front of them all within a few seconds. "Right, what's your deal?" he asked, tilting his head slightly as one of the bots came barrelling towards him.

 

"Whoa, not much for conversation, huh," Cap said as he dodged the attack, grabbing the robot's arm and using his momentum (with a little help from his super strength) to send him flying into an already broken storefront. He barely registered the other heroes that were scattered around about the streets around him, choosing to focus on his own opponents like Darren had taught him.

 

Though he did keep an ear open for anyone that needed help.

 

This was the perfect time to put into action the things he'd been taught since beginning his lessons with Darren, Cap thought as he squared up against one of the robots. He spread his feet and smirked at the tin can, putting his fists up and completely unaware of the Dark Knight that was currently studying him while taking down his own foes. 

 

The machine whirred as it came towards him, Captain Marvel swerving to the right to dodge and bringing his right fist up in a hook connecting to the metal. He managed to dent it and send the robot stumbling, another coming to join as the other gained its bearings. "Right, okay, this so isn't fair," Cap said with a smile. "You guys are really at a disadvantage here." 

 

Captain Marvel chuckled as one of the robots lunged for him, letting the heap of metal cling to his back before he shifted his shoulders and leaped forward, slamming its head into the pavement and crushing it like a soda can. He got up and dusted himself off, turning just in time to bring his leg up and kick the robot that had been heading for him in the head. He knocked it clean off, the disconnected wires sparking at the head sailed down the street.

 

Bruce narrowed his eyes- this was different than how Bi- Captain Marvel usually fought. Normally the man took his super strength for advantage, letting his punches be sloppy and crooked, but this- this was different. His fists were tight, controlled, but still had power behind him. His kicks were vastly improved; especially since it was a rare thing to see the demigod use. He called the Captain over as a group of robots came closer to him.

 

He needed to get a closer look of this.

 

Captain Marvel flew over to Batman, who had thrown a pair of batarangs at some bots that ended in a large explosion. He touched down, putting his back to the Dark Knight and lifting his fists in a readying stance. "You need something from me Batman?" he asked, slightly nervous that Bruce was trying to get him closer in the middle of a fight- he hoped he wasn't being pitied, and that the man thought he needed protection.

 

"Needed help." the man replied gruffly, which made the demigod pause. Batman? Needing help? Tartarus was more likely to freeze over. Marvel gave him a confused and suspicious look, but it was to the back of his head since Batman was focusing on the enemies that were beginning to surround them.

 

He didn't notice Batman's eyes glancing towards his feet and the stand he had begun to sink into naturally, one that Darren had hammered into his head.  Cap simply shook his head and sent and uppercut into another robot, sending it up into the air before he spun, gaining speed in his leg and connecting it to the metal structure of the robot. It dented, sending the now broken machine into the side of a wall. 

 

Captain Marvel paid it no attention though, simply sinking back into his stance and continuing to fight.

 

- - -

 

It wasn't long before they were finished with the fight, Green Lantern and Diana having found a way to get the army to shut down at once, Independence Day-style, leaving some of the heroes like the Captain to clean up the mess left behind.

 

He didn't really mind the fact that he'd been told to help clean up, walking around and picking up messes of twisted and scorched metal, adding it to the stack in his arms and bringing it to dump trucks. It was times like this where he got to think- he still needed to go grocery shopping, now that he thought of it. The fight had lasted until noon, and Billy still hadn't gotten anything in his system. 

 

He was dumping off another stack of metal into a dump truck when Batman called him over. The Dark Knight was standing with Superman, the thought of facing the pair making Captain Marvel's heart begin to pound in his chest nervously. He landed and walked over, glancing between the two. "Yea?" he asked, tilting his head slightly in confusion.

 

"Good work out there." Superman said, nodding once in his direction before taking off. It was surprisingly solemn for the Kryptonian, but inwardly Billy. supposed the man still didn't quite forgive him yet for the whole lie thing. He glanced back down at Batman, chewing on his bottom lip.

 

"I noticed you were fighting differently," he said, his arms crossed over his chest. "Your form's completely different, and your punches are more calculated and controlled," he said, staring Captain Marvel down. " Who taught you how to fight like that?"

 

The demigod swallowed thickly, rubbing the back of his neck. "Well, I uh..." he trailed off. Don't lie, You're still on bad terms with the League for something like that. But you can't tell him you've been going to MMA classes! He'd think you're weird! Tell him, uh, tell him-

 

The raven's internal conflict was interrupted by Batman's sigh. "Look, are you taking lessons or something?" he asked, raising a brow from behind the cowl. "Because it's fine if you are. I would prefer you continue them," he said. "But I can tell you're learning from someone who doesn't take powers into consideration," Batman said, dropping his arms. "Come to the cave. Let me give you a lesson sometime, and see how it goes. Maybe you can stay for dinner or something, Dick would love to have you." 

 

Captain Marvel blinked at the information, flabbergasted by the man's words. "I- I- are you sure that's okay?" he asked, confusion and shock etched into his features. "I don't want to impose," he said, glancing away and chewing on his lip again. He really needed to break that habit of his. 

 

 "Billy, it's fine. Thank your tutor, whoever they are, for me. About time you knew how to throw a punch. You threw like Clark- his movements are atrocious." Bruce said, glancing at the Man of Steel who was currently conversing with Green Lantern- though the man turned his head towards them and raised an unimpressed eyebrow at Batman. "Anyways, this weekend. I assume you're free, so I'll see you then," he said.

 

The demigod said nothing, simply nodding dumbly as the Dark Knight nodded once in return and walked off.

 

Captain Marvel blinked- did he just get a new MMA teacher? And was that teacher Batman?

 

He had to tell Freddy.

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Hey guys!

 

Alright, so I have a couple of questions for you guys, and they're pretty important towards the life of this fic. 

 

Would you guys rather I

      a) continue this fic for as long as it goes, (something like 40-50 chapters or so) 

              or

      b) create a new fic for more one-shots and name it like "Life of Billy Batson Part 2" or something.

 

This is completely up to Y'all, I don't care either way. Would you rather have 2 fics, making it easier to stomach at a time, or one long fic with everything in one place?

 

Please tell me your thoughts below. :)

 

~ Starkvenger

 

- - -

 

EDIT:  So it looks like a majority of yall want this one to go on for longer-- so that's what we'll do. I'll leave this one at about 50 when we get to that point, and probably start a new one after that. Thank Y'all so much for your input!!

 

- - -

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

"I think I need a new comm," Billy said as he turned the worn device over in his hands. It was grey, with small pines of yellow painted around the edges of its circular body. The paint itself was chipped and scraped as he rubbed his thumb over the edge. "I mean, I think the poor thing might have been struck with my lightning too much." he continued, leaning back in the leather couch as he continued to fiddle with the small device.

 

Behind him, John Constantine sat at a small table, a grimoire in front of him that he casually flipped through. The blonde had a cigarette in hand, bringing it up to his lips to drag from it before blowing smoke out lazily. "Mhm..." he said non-committedly, allowing the younger of the pair to ramble on.

 

"I'm serious- Victor told me I keep dialing him somehow, even when it shows that there's no line connected." Billy continued, scratching at a chipped part of the device with his nail. "You think Batman would give me a new one? I mean it's not broken per se, but..." he trailed off, flicking a piece that came off the device on to the coffee table in front of him.

 

"I mean if you keep butt-dialing people, mate..." John replied, not looking up from his grimoire as he spoke. "Up to you. You know how Batsy is though, he's gonna want to know how you broke the damn thing," he said, flipping a page as he took another drag from his cigarette.

 

Billy sighed, tossing the item onto the table and getting up. "Yea, but I think he built them. He'd probably build them to withstand the kind of things we do, ya know?" Billy said, stretching and walking around the couch to peer over the magician's shoulder. "John, I don't want him to think I'm irresponsible-- is that a spell for parting water? Like Noah style?" he asked, pointing to a spell on the page. 

 

John swatted his hand away, making the 13-year-old giggle. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, frowning when he got a face-full of smoke blown his way. "Hey! Rude," he said, coughing and waving it away. 

 

"Mhm. That's me..." John said absently before sighing and shutting the book suddenly. He finished his cigarette and snuffed it out, smothering the end in an ashtray and standing up. "Put this away for me, will you?" he asked, handing the leather-bound tome to the kid. 

 

"Yea, yea yea, grumpy-ass," Billy replied with a smile, heaving the book up onto a shelf in the library they were in. He followed John over to the couch, the magician having picked up his comm and turning it over in his hand. "Whatcha think?" he asked, plopping down onto the couch as the blonde took a seat in a plush chair. 

 

"Dunno, mate. Wouldn't catch me dead carryin' one, I can tell you that much. Wouldn't be able to stand being at someone's beck and call." Constantine said, tossing it back onto the table. Billy simply shrugged, leaning back in the couch and relaxing. 

 

This was a common occurrence for the pair-- ever since their first "team up" John had taken to mentoring Billy in a way, teaching him about the ways of magic and things that other sorcerers wouldn't be able to. He was also one of the only people that knew Billy's, or should I say Captain Marvel's, secret identity. 

 

Where most saw a disgruntled, hard-boiled dark magician, Billy saw a grumpy, caring-in-his-own-way guy. He'd come to think of him almost as a big brother- not that he'd tell John that, the man would probably skin him alive for voicing it, even if he agreed with the statement. 

 

"Sometimes I don't even get alerts until its too late. The sound's been messed up for a while." Billy said, his eyes still shut as he leaned back in the plush couch. John made a sound of agreement, and the boy opened an eye to see he was currently sitting back with his own eyes closed. 

 

Billy decided to let the topic go, staying quiet and letting out a deep breath. It was rare he could enjoy a moment of peace, and he figured John felt the same. The silence lasted all of about 12 seconds, however, as John suddenly stood up and pulled out his cigarette box. He grabbed another stick and shoved it between his lips.

 

"Come on then, Sparks. I know your attention span's like a that of a goldfish, so why don't we start your lessons." the blonde said, lighting up and taking a long drag. "Up, kid." he said, kicking the boy's shoe gently.

 

Billy groaned, opening his eyes to smile up at the man. "Let's just be lazy instead. Class of meditation." he joked, to which Constantine raised his eyebrows mockingly and nodded. 

 

"Mhm, sure. You be lazy, and I'll just go look at transfiguring spells on my own then," he replied, smirking when Billy brightened. 

 

"No way," the boy said, suddenly excited.

 

"Guess you'll never know, huh," John replied, turning on his heel confidently and heading down the hall. He knew what Billy was thinking- he knew he'd be followed. 

 

Billy hoisted himself up, clipping his comm to one of the loops on his pants and chasing after the Hellblazer as he headed towards what had become the unofficial training room for Billy. Originally it was a storage room, but after a few spells gone wrong and a lot of burned items, it had become the room they go to if there were a chance of things exploding. 

 

Which was often. 

 

The pair walked into the room, Billy following close behind Constantine as the man put his cigarette out and left it on an ashtray that sat on a shelf. He looked around for something as Billy started stretching. He'd long since learned that because Captain Marvel was the one that had the affinity for magic and not him, that it took more of a toll on his body to perform spells and such.

 

He'd nearly torn a muscle performing a spell once, and had learned his lesson from it- he stretched before they practiced every time. 

 

Billy had also noticed the static cling that stuck to him whenever he performed magic, or warmed his body up in order to do so, often finding small, blink-and-you-miss-it mini bolts traveling across his thin form. 

 

"Okay but back to the comm-" Billy started back up, touching his toes and holding the pose as Constantine brought a chair over. The blonde groaned, rolling his eyes. 

 

"Kid, come on. Why's it a big deal if your communicator's on the fritz? Just hit it or something, it'll fix itself." John said, shakings his head as he sat backward on the chair while Billy stretched. Billy scoffed, shaking his head with a smile.

 

"Come on, John. Take this seriously. I value my secret identity. I don't want them knowing, okay?" he said, stretching his arms out.

 

John pinched the bridge of his nose, his finger moving outward to rub at his eyes. "Kid, you've already told them who you were twice. I don't know why it's such a big deal to do it a third time. The only difference-" he was cut off by the boy chucking a cold cigarette at his head. 

 

"Technicality. You and I both know that Earth-16 shouldn't count since it was a forced situation. And neither should Earth-22 since they already knew!" he said defiantly, rolling his neck and setting his hands on his hips. "It's a cop out to use that against me. Those aren't even my Earths so-" he stuck his tongue out at the blonde. 

 

Constantine shook his head again, standing up and walking over to the boy. "Sure, whatever you say, Pikachu," he said, petting the boy's shoulder. "Let's just get started." Billy shook his head at the name and looked at the chair, spreading his feet slightly and taking a deep breath.

 

"Alright, now think of what you want this thing to become. You gotta picture it- how it feels, the colors, the texture, hell, how it smells even. Once you got that, and you're sure you got it, its just like the other spells." John said, stuffing his hands into his trenchcoat pockets and watching the boy concentrate. A spark danced around him, joined by another a moment later. The blonde smirked- he'd come a long way from when they'd started.

 

"Riahc emoceb ynwat ykwat!" Billy said, opening his bright blue eyes and commanding the magic he'd been blessed with towards the chair. Sparks crackled in the air, a side-effect of the kind of magic Billy commanded, was followed by a bright flash of light. When it vanished, the chair was gone and in its place- a small, stuffed tiger plush.

 

Constantine raised an eyebrow. "Catch me up, kid," he said as the overjoyed boy ran over to the plush and picked it up. He twirled it around before hugging it close to his chest and looking at John. 

 

"Oh right- this is Tawky Tawny. He's a plush I had when I was little. When I couldn't go on my parents' dig, I sent Tawny with them...and..." he trailed off, hugging the tiger slightly tighter. "I never saw any of them again," he said softer.

 

Constantine let out a breath, ruffling the kid's hair with a small quirk of a smile. "First try. You're gettin' the hang of this, short-stack," he said, glancing around for another object. "But let's try something a little harder." John lit up and dragged a large filing cabinet over, glancing at the boy as he set his new plush down on a table and turned his attention to the magician.

 

"This'll be much harder. We're gonna try something living," he said, a wild, almost excited look in his eyes. "And try not to shock me this time!"

 

- - -

 

Bruce had been on monitor duty when his communicator crackled to life, causing him to raise an eyebrow- especially when no one spoke. He pulled it off his belt and looked at it- a call from Captain Marvel. He furrowed his brow when he heard what sounded like a kid talking- and talking about the comm no less. 

 

The Dark Knight muted his end of the call and narrowed his eyes at the device- was the Captain compromised? The kid didn't sound dangerous, but you could never be sure. He listened as the boy rambled on about how it was broken, the sound somewhat muffled and interrupted every so often by static. 

 

"...said...dialing him--no line connected." Did this kid not know Batman was on the other side? "You think Batman--" Bruce winced at the static. "-broken per se--" Bruce stood, growing more confused and suspicious by the call. He decided to call a meeting on it, assuming that the Captain's comm either had been taken from him or that he had turned it on because of a hostage situation or something of the like. 

 

Bruce sat in the conference room, listening to the device set on the table and narrowing his eyes when the boy's voice was joined by another- this one an adult that sounded oddly familiar. It took him a moment, but he realized who else was talking as Hal and Barry came into the meeting room. 

 

"You--how Batsy--broke--damn thing-" John Constantine's voice echoed through the mostly empty room, Bruce's fist clenching. Constantine was notorious for living by his own set of rules. He'd help whoever could help him in return, be that the heroes of the villains. Bruce couldn't stand the guy, especially since he didn't seem to care about anyone but himself and constantly flip-flopped his views on good and evil. Sure, he'd never attempted to take over the world or help someone do so, but that didn't mean he wouldn't try in the future.

 

"That Constantine?" Hal asked, taking a seat close to Batman. Bruce nodded, making a motion for him to quiet down as the pair talked on the other side of the call. 

 

"-think--built them." The boy said, leaving Bruce to wonder just who this kid was to be hanging around Constantine and in possession of Captain Marvel's communicator. Diana walked in as the boy continued. "-build--withstand--things we do." They must have been talking about the comm itself- maybe they were trying to figure out how to destroy it? Diana gave him a questioning look but stayed quiet, taking a seat at the table.

 

"John--him to think--spell--parting--no-style?" Bruce tensed as the boy spoke- whatever they were talking about, it couldn't be good. It was obvious by this point that they were magic, so it was possible that Captain Marvel had been captured. If anyone could do it, with would be magic users. 

 

They made everything complicated.

 

There was jostling over the other end of the line as Cyborg came in, following by what sounded like coughing and a disgruntled "Hey!" from the kid. Bruce didn't notice Cyborg's eyes widen slightly at the sound of the voice, the Dark Knight too focused on the comm on the table. 

 

Victor took a seat quietly, staring at the communicator warily and hoping that Billy wouldn't say anything to incriminate himself or reveal something he shouldn't.

 

The group heard the kid ask John what he thought, the magician's voice sounding closer-- he must have picked the comm up. "Dunno--dead carrying--able to stand--" there was what sounded like a thunk from the other side, probably from the blonde tossing the device. It only served to make Bruce angrier, and he was staring at the small communicator displeasingly. 

 

Superman walked in as the kid spoke again, gaining the Kryptonian's attention with the words that could be heard. "-don't even--too late--messed up--while." Superman's brow furrowed. He shot Bruce a questioning look, but the man ignored him in favor of staring at the device.

 

"Anyone know what's going on?" he asked, only for Bruce to shush him as the line went quiet. It suddenly crackled to life again when shuffling was heard, and John spoke. 

 

"Come on then--" Static took over the line. "--start your lessons." Clark's eyes widened slightly- John Constantine was teaching someone? Wait, just how were they getting this? Why was it coming through Batman's communicator?

 

"Bruce, what's going on?" the Kryptonian asked as the pair on the line shuffled through static. The raven heard something about transfiguring spells, whatever that meant, but kept his eyes locked on the Dark Knight. "Bruce." he pushed.

 

Batman finally looked up at him tiredly. "I'm working on a theory. This transmission came in through Captain Marvel's line. These two, or at least John, are magic users. I think they might have taken the Captain hostage. That, or they stole his communicator." he supplied, tensing when the static from the comm got slightly louder.

 

More shuffling could be heard, but for once the static seemed to go down. They could hear more of what the pair said as they talked-- though they weren't sure why.

 

"Okay--back--comm." they heard the kid say, his voice slightly strained- maybe he was lifting something? They heard Constantine groan, seemingly wanting to be done with the topic. 

 

"Kid, come on--big deal--communicator's--fritz?" the man said flippantly. "Just hit--something--fix itself." 

 

"-John--seriously. -value--secret--don't want them knowing, okay?" the kid replied, and the group could almost feel him rolling his eyes at the blonde. What was he trying to keep from them though? The fact that they had a Leaguer's communicator?

 

"They may be trying to tap it to listen in on the things that go on here," Hal said, watching the device. "We can always just shut it off remotely, right?" he glanced at Victor, who nodded absently. 

 

"Kid--told them who you were twice--don't know--big deal--do it a third time!" A wave of confusion spread across the table- what were they talking about?

 

"Technicality." the boy said, static clearing up slightly more. "--both know--Earth-16 shouldn't count since--forced situation. --neither--Earth-22 since--already knew!" the kid sounded frustrated, but his words had intrigued the League. They'd been dimension-hopping. This wasn't some normal kid like Batman had suspected, but more importantly, he was someone who knew the League. 

 

"Maybe- maybe its some kind of mix up?" Barry asked, coming to the same conclusion as the others. "Look, I have no idea who this kid could be, but he obviously knows us- like on a personal level," he said, looking around. "Could it be Robin?" he asked, glancing towards Batman.

 

Bruce shook his head- that didn't sound like any of his kids. Sure, the way the boy spoke was familiar, but he was sure he'd never heard that voice before. 

 

"It's a--use that against me--not even my earths." So the kid was from this Earth and knew the League- but didn't want them to know he knew them? 

 

John could be heard sighing before his voice was closer. "Whatever--say, Pikachu." his wording threw the group (aside from Cyborg) for as loop. What was that supposed to mean? "--just get started." 

 

The group listened as John seemingly talked the boy through a spell, though what they were using it on was anyone's guess- Clark hoped it wasn't Captain Marvel himself- and heard the line practically clear completely as the boy spoke.

 

"Riahc emoceb ynwat ykwat!" 

 

They heard the kid get excited, followed by footsteps and muffled shuffling. "Catch me up, kid," Constantine said. The line fuzzed up a bit before clearing again-- what was causing this fluctuation?

 

"Oh right- this--Tawky Tawny. He's a plush I had when--little. When I couldn't go--parents'--I sent Tawny with them...and..." the boy trailed off, a small sniffle coming from the line before he spoke again. "I never saw any of them again..." Great, this kid was an orphan, and in the company of Constantine-- a man who was NOT suited to be a fatherly figure.

 

They heard John sigh and come closer. "First try--getting the hang of this, short-stack." Bruce's fist clenched. "But--let's try--a little harder." There was an unpleasant scraping sound of metal on concrete before John spoke again. "This'll be much harder," he said, metal creaking on the other side of the line. "--gonna--something living."

 

The line was overtaken by static and the transmission suddenly cut out, causing Batman to stand and slam his hands down on the table. "Damnit," he growled, glaring at his comm. "I need to find out who this kid is," he said, clipping it to his belt.

 

"Bruce, slow down, you have nothing on this kid besides his voice. You have no idea where they are, and you got nothing on them." Clark said, watching the Dark Knight closely.

 

"He stole a League-Issued communicator." the raven replied, glaring at the Kryptonian.

 

"You don't know if he stole it, Bruce. It could have come off of Captain Marvel's belt and the kid just found it. Just cause he has it doesn't mean its by malicious means." 

 

"And Constantine? You don't think that if the kid is chummy with that man that it'll go sour fast?"

 

"I don't know John well enough to say, either way, Bruce. You know that." 

 

Bruce gave the man his best bat glare, but like always, it didn't phase the last son of Krypton. "Fine. But I swear, Clark if this backfires on us and the Watchtower becomes compromised, its on you," he said before leaving the room with a flourish of his cape.

 

Superman sighed, shaking his head. "He's the one who called this meeting and didn't even stay long enough to do anything..." he said, looking at the doorway before glancing back at the rest of the group. "Alright, you're dismissed," he said before walking out himself.

 

He needed to talk to Captain Marvel and get this whole situation fixed.

 

 - - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

The mission had practically been a failure. Sure, eventually the League had managed to take down the massive, acidic goo monster that was attacking Metropolis, but not without extensive damage to the city itself and quite a few injuries to civilians. Captain Marvel couldn't help but feel partially responsible, since his lightning had managed to stop the creature, sure, but had also made it explode and send acidic goop everywhere. 

 

Most of the heroes had been sent home after helping with the clean up that normal workers couldn't handle, but the Captain had gone back up to the Watchtower.

 

Living in an abandoned building (and being 12) meant that he didn't really have a functioning oven or fridge, something that the Watchtower not only had multiple of but were always fully stocked and of the highest quality (they were all Wayne tech). 

 

The Captain had recently made a habit of coming to the Watchtower kitchens and baking thing when he was stressed, leaving the goods out on the counter for anyone to grab as they pleased. No one really confronted him on this, though he had an idea that was because no one knew he was the one making things, but that was fine by him.

 

It helped him to de-stress and calm his nerves when meditation couldn't. 

 

The demigod was currently pulling out eggs and milk when he felt a presence behind him. He glanced over his shoulder to find Bruce watching him silently. "Hi Batman," he said, pulling out butter before moving on to the cabinets. 

 

The Dark Knight said nothing as Captain Marvel pulled out sugar, flour, and baking soda, setting them all down on the island with the rest of the ingredients he'd already pulled out. The Captain glanced back at Batman, noting that he was sitting on a bar stool and looking at the bag of flour in his hand.

 

Seeing the protector of Gotham there wasn't anything unusual- he would show up from time to time whenever Marvel was baking something. Every so often he could get the man to taste test, but that was once in a blue moon. It seemed like Batman was really the only one that knew about his baking habits. 

 

"So I noticed that you tend to do this when you're stressed about something, Marvel," Bruce said, watching the Captain grab some peached out of a bowl and bring them over. For a moment, he thought that Bruce was going to say that he needed to stop, but when he didn't say anything further he shrugged.

 

"Yea..." he mumbled in response, skinning the peaches carefully and setting them aside on a paper towel. "I can stop if you want me to," he continued, pulling a saucepan out from one of the drawers under the island and setting it on the stovetop. He turned the dial and started cutting up the peaches before adding them to the pan along with sugar.

 

Batman watched him before shaking his head. "No need, just something I noticed." Captain Marvel nodded and mixed the peaches with a wooden spoon. He reached over to the oven behind him and turned it on before shifting his attention to a glass pan. He cut up the butter and dropped the chunks into the glass pan, going back to stir the peaches and sugar. He took the glass pan and put it in the warming oven, glancing at the Dark Knight watching him work.

 

"Any requests, then?" he asked, raising a brow before pulling the hot pan out, now with melted butter coating its bottom. He set it down as Batman seemed to think, grabbing a bowl he'd gotten and putting more ingredients inside. 

 

"You know how to make cheesecake?" he asked after a moment, watching Marvel pour the coarse mixture he had into the metal pan. At the Captain's nod, he smirked. 

 

"I know how to make just about anything, Batman," he replied, tapping a finger to his temple before taking the peaches and scooping them on top of the dough mixture. "Wisdom of Solomon apparently includes recipes." The scarlet hero said lightly with a shrug. 

 

Batman watched at Captain Marvel took the pan and slid it back in the oven before turning his attention on him. "You seem a lot calmer," he noted. Captain Marvel shrugged again (something he seemed to do a lot) and rubbed the back of his neck. "A little. I might bake some more, though- it helps a lot." 

 

Bruce nodded in return. "Bake away, nothing's off limits." 

 

Captain Marvel smiled widely at him- was he going to regret this?

 

Batman got his answer the next day when he walked into the Watchtower dining hall to find the bar that separated the kitchen and the eating area overrun with multiple pans and plates of cheesecake, cobbler, pie, and cookies. He noticed a small white card sitting beside everything with nothing but a small lightning bolt drawn on the front. 

 

He glanced over at Barry and Hal, who were marveling over the desserts and helping themselves. Batman shook his head at the pair and helped himself to a slice of cheesecake. He looked around for Marvel but the man was nowhere to be found- he was likely in Fawcett if not somewhere else in the Watchtower. 

 

"We have enough of this stuff to start a bakery," Flash said, balancing an entire plate filled with food. "Props to whoever made this stuff," he said, glancing at Hal beside him, who just had a couple of cookies and a slice of pie on his own plate. 

 

"The Bakery of Justice," Oliver said as the pair joined him at a table. Flash slapped the table with a wide smile. "It's genius!!" he proclaimed. 

 

Batman shook his head at the trio and walked out of the dining hall- he had monitor duty soon, so he'd better get there early so he could enjoy this. On his way there, he spotted Captain Marvel walking towards a Zeta Tube. The man's cheeks were flushed- he likely had just gotten a compliment or something- as he walked swiftly to the teleporter. 

 

Diana was hot on his heels though, a smile on her face as she tugged on his arm. "You must show me the combination! Ice cream and your pie will be legendary," she said, making the Dark Knight actually chuckle as she pulled the hulking man easily by his stark white cape. 

 

"O-Okay, Diana-" was all Bruce heard before the hero was whisked away down the hall.

 

 - - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Monitor duty in the Watchtower was usually an uneventful activity. Every once in a while something came up where a hero or two needed to be dispatched somewhere, but even rarer were the times when being on monitor duty meant catching something that meant the entire League needed to be called into action.

 

Flash pondered this as he sat back in his chair, the leather creaking under his bright red suit as he rest his feet on the monitor desk. He yawned widely, watching the screens with disinterest as he tried not to fall asleep. The speedster glanced around the large hub that the monitors sat in, finding that he was the only one there- or at least, the only one in the room, which meant no one to talk to.

 

So boredom ensued.

 

The blonde clicked between screens, humming to himself and attempting to not let boredom sink its claws into him. He wasn't expecting a flash of light to come from somewhat behind him. Assuming it to be Hal or Oliver with a camera, he turned around slowly and gave his best glare.

 

What he saw, however, confused him- it looked like Captain Marvel, what with the strong jaw, styled black hair, and huge-ass muscles, but he was in civvies. He had on a long tan trenchcoat and held what looked like a tan fedora in his hand.

 

Apart from the fact that he'd never actually seen the man in civilian clothes before, (he always managed to somehow duck out when members of the team suggested going out for a drink or bowling) the fact that he was in the watchtower in civilian clothes made it all the more strange.

 

The man had his back to Barry and was looking around in what seemed to be confusion- which, Flash would be too if he just randomly got teleported into the watchtower. The computer didn't even call out his name.

 

"Yo, Cap? You alright there?" Flash asked, getting up and catching the man's attention. He turned around and stared at the hero with wide eyes- wide, green eyes? That didn't make any sense, there was a joke for the longest time within the League that Cap was actually a clone of Superman, what with how similar they looked- black hair, strong jaw, and bright blue eyes.

 

Was this man not Cap?

 

Flash narrowed his eyes when the man took a shaky step back. "Whoa, hey, it's alright. I'm not gonna hurt ya." Flash said, putting his hands out placatingly. The man was still staring at him, though his fear had turned more to confusion as he sized the hero up. 

 

"Where- where's my wife?" the man asked. He sounded a lot like the Captain, though his words almost seemed older, and he spoke in more of his lower register. Something seemed to come to the man, and he dropped his hat- which promptly vanished when it touched the floor. Barry's eyes widened slightly before looking back at the man's bright green eyes. "I- I need to find my son." 

 

Flash swallowed, taking another step closer to the panicked man. "Alright, it ok. Let's take you to the meeting room-" he said, attempting to put a hand on the man's back, only for it to phase right through him. Shaking it off, since really, that was probably the least weird thing to happen within the past five minutes, he guided the 'ghost-man' as he deemed him to one of the meeting rooms. 

 

The man stood there, looking around nervously. Barry picked up his comm and sent a message out that called the league to the room immediately before turning back to the raven-haired man that looked way too much like Captain Marvel. "Okay," he started, glancing at the door before looking back. "Can you tell me your name?" 

 

"I- My name is Clarence- Clarence Charles, but everyone calls me C.C." he said slowly. "I have to find my son, you don't understand." the man said, urgency in his eyes. 

 

"And we will, once we figure out what's going on with you. I've called a meeting with the Justice League- we're going to help you." 

 

C.C. seemed to relax a bit, looking around the room again. "Okay..." he muttered softly. 

 

The room filled up surprisingly quickly, probably due to the fact that Flash never called meetings, especially emergency ones. While there were some shocked faces at the sight of what looked like Captain Marvel in civvies at first glance, everyone stayed quiet. This was most likely what the meeting was about. 

 

Everything was going fine until the Captain walked in with Cyborg, the demigod laughing at something the man said. Eyes flicked between him and the man standing beside the head of the table- said man's eyes widening when he caught sight of Marvel.

 

"Billy!" 

 

Captain Marvel froze in place, skin paling and eyes widening at the sound. His head turned slowly to look at their visitor, tears immediately welling in the large man's eyes. He blinked, letting out a shaky breath as he stared at what almost looked like his mirror image. His voice cracked with raw emotion.

 

"...Dad?" 

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Someone told me...

Right, clear and true about what hurts.

 

The smell of blood freshly staining the ground permeated through his nose as he stood on the ravaged hillside. The man breathed heavily, his body bruised and battered as he stared up at his adversary. He tried to get the stench of fresh blood out of his nose, get it out of his mind, but it was as sticky as it was disorienting. The raven looked around him, taking a moment to look at the land around him that had been torn to shreds.

 

The ground was charred and blackened, trees having been uprooted and fried, leaving behind smoking bark. Heroes and villains alike lay scattered around him in various states of unconsciousness and- he didn't want to think of what else. Exhaustion pulled at the edges of his conscious but he fought against it, snarling at the vile being that did this to his team, his friends. 

 

I write my story with more than words,

For the voice that can't be heard.

 

Marvel wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, glancing down at the blood that smeared across it. He wasn't going to last for much longer, he knew this. Glancing back up and breathing heavily, he'd never felt more tired. Part of him wanted to give in, to finally sleep, but he knew he couldn't. A louder part, the distinctly Billy part, yelled and thrashed, screaming at him to keep going until his last breath.

 

He had to- this being, in all its hubris, was trying to take everything away from him. His home, his friends, his family- he wouldn't let Earth fall. He couldn't. Captain Marvel was its guardian, a God of Gods, someone that, at the end of the day, would do anything to protect those he loved. 

 

Carve my heart into this dirt.

 

Marvel pushed past the pain that screamed in his joints and muscles, pushed past the blood that oozed from fresh wounds and seeped down his leg and abdomen, darkening his suit. He glanced at the prone form of Superman, bound in a Kryptonite collar. His cousin, Kara, lay beside him, bloodied and barely breathing. Wonder Woman was laying on the ground as well, attempting to push herself up onto her arms.

 

Captain Cold and his rogues were either unconscious or on the verge of blacking out, keeping together where they were. Bane was crumpled beside Green Lantern, one barely breathing and the other barely conscious.

 

He glanced at Batman, who was breathing raggedly on the ground as blood seeped from his mouth. Even from here, he could see the man using his body as a shield for an unconscious Robin and Kid Flash, who looked just as bad. His own sister Mary was leaning against a tree trunk a few meters away, unconscious herself with Canary sitting beside her and attempting to help her while keeping her own wounds in check. 

 

Someone told me...

There's Paradise upon this Earth...

 

The battlefield was riddled with heroes and villains in various states of injury- Captain Marvel was the only one left standing- even if it was just barely. He looked up, tears beading in the corners of his eyes as he stared up at the mountain of a man, if he could even be called that, that floated above them and looked down upon the heroes. 

 

"Darkseid-" Captain Marvel called out, breathing heavily and holding his arm in pain. His voice thundered across the landscape, gaining the attention of just about everyone present. Many looked at him in shock, probably since he was still standing, but many, like Batman, looked at him with concern.

 

The page still waiting for us to turn...

For the fire inside that burns...

 

"I can't let you have this world," he said, blood trailing down the corner of his mouth as he started to float. "Earth isn't yours, and it never will be. You've hurt a lot of people, Darkseid...but you won't hurt any more." He winced, glancing down at the heroes that were still staring up at him.

 

He felt tears bead in the corners of his eyes- the reality of what he was about to do just hit him.

 

 

In the ashes that unearth...

 

He wasn't ready to die, but if it meant that those he loved could see another day, he'd do it a thousand times over. Captain Marvel smiled, despite the pain it caused him and the tear that slipped down his cheek. The Raven glanced down at Batman, who was staring at him with wide eyes. 

 

"Take care of them," he said, glancing at his sister. He wasn't going to get to say goodbye. "All of them," he said shakily, letting out a breath.

 

Batman looked like he wanted to say something, but couldn't speak. 

 

"I'm sorry..." Marvel said, looking back towards the invader. "...and you're going to be." 

 

Captain Marvel felt warmth pool in his chest, and he smiled at it- he had the Gods' blessings. His eyes began to glow, radiating a mystical light as he clenched his jaw tightly. The warmth became hot as he held his arms out to pool the power that coalesced inside of him. He started to tremble, letting out a shaky breath.

 

He'd had a good life- 13 years wasn't so bad.

  

The Captain felt a stab of pain, crying out as the heat grew even further. His entire form began to glow as lightning danced around him. It was a familiar sight, the wild and untamable energy that coursed through his blood and gave him his power, coming by one more time to say goodbye. He smiled at it and shut his eyes. 

 

Tears streamed down his face as he felt his magic surge beneath his skin. Power radiated off him in waves-- he winced at the pain inside him, opening his eyes to glare at Darkseid. Suddenly, he felt a pull, like a string, and everything was pulled loose. He forced everything he had, his magic, his lightning, his very soul, through his arms and towards the creature that dared to take Billy's home for his own.

 

Someone told me...

 

Things began to fade, the pain in his body going first. He smiled, his vision growing blurry as he suddenly felt light. Everything was hazy- what was he doing? What was happening? He was warm, he knew that much. Billy felt like he was floating for a moment before he started to fall, wind rushing past his ears. He smiled, letting everything fade to white before he hit the ground. 

 

They were safe. 

 

He could finally sleep.

 

Love has no limits.

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

In hindsight, maybe racing Barry wasn't the best idea. 

 

Sure, it was fun to see Clark fall behind both him and Flash and the pair watched with laughter bubbling from their throats at his frustration. But who was he kidding- a Kryptonian couldn't beat a speedster and someone with the power of the Gods on his side. 

 

As they raced past Superman with a smirk, Captain Marvel turned his attention to trying to beat the blonde. The trio had come together in a race after everyone made bets over who would win- Barry truly thought he was the fastest man alive, but someone just had to mention that the Captain had a literal speed god on his team, so here they were. 

 

"Ya know, Cap, you mighta beat Supes, but you don't have access to the speed force," Barry said conversationally as he ran and Billy flew. "Gives me an edge, don't ya think?" he asked with a smirk.

 

Captain Marvel returned the look. "I don't- cause the speed force has nothing on Mercury himself," he said, speeding up. "Besides- Stamina of Atlas! You'll get tired before I do!" Barry laughed and sped up as well, sparks flying off the both of them. The speedster's image began to blur and the light blue lightning that came off his body caught Shazam by surprise- wait, was that--

 

He didn't get to finish his thought before there was a bright flash of light and he was suddenly thrown backward. Marvel ended up being thrown into a brick wall, leaving a crate in his wake as he fell to the ground. The raven grunted, lifting himself off the sidewalk and shaking the debris from his head. 

 

He flipped himself over to sit on the sidewalk, breathing slightly heavy as people walked around him. When they caught sight of him, a few paused, eyes wide as they took out phones and took pictures of him.

 

Where did he end up? New York? Central City? 

 

Marvel shook his head, standing up and glancing around. "Zack!! Zack can I have a picture please please please!" a couple of girls said, coming up to him with stars in their eyes. Zack? Who was Zack? Maybe that was just one of those internet things he wasn't a part of.

 

"Oh uh- s-sure," he said nervously as the girls pulled out their phones. He gave a small smile and posed with them, and the girls thanked him profusely before taking off giggling. Marvel shook his head, looking around to try and figure out where he was. He really needed a better vantage point- he couldn't tell anything from down here.

 

Captain Marvel began to float, making a woman beside him gasp and stumble backward. Cap furrowed his brow- what was wrong with her? He shot up like a rocket, pausing above the city to look around. Los Angeles? He hadn't ever been there before, he didn't think.

 

"Might as well take a look around before I head back to Fawcett," he said, glancing around the city of angels. "Wonder where Barry ended up..." he said, flying over the city. He saw a helicopter hovering near a building, smiling at it and tilting his head in confusion when the pilot stared at him like he was something from Apokolips. 

 

"You'd think people would be used to us by this point," Cap said with a shrug, flying between some of the few high rises before something strange caught his eye. He paused, floating a few feet from a large billboard. The billboard itself was nothing strange, but what was on it made Cap's heart tremble and his eyes grow to the size of saucers. 

 

The billboard was yellow and the image was of him, in uniform, gum in his mouth as he blew a bright pink bubble. He had a phone in his hands and was leaning against the word "SHAZAM", written in bold, gaudy letters. 

 

"What the..." he muttered to himself, unaware of the commotion of people below him staring up at his godly form. He noticed the helicopter again, this time flying towards him. There was a man leaning outside the side with a large camera on his shoulder, filming him. "Uh- Hi?" Cap said, waving with a slightly confused look on his face. 

 

This was all much too weird for him, so he shot off, leaving the helicopter behind. He ended up touching down atop the Hollywood sign, standing on one of the 'O's and trying to get his beating heart to calm down. What was going on? He didn't remember posing for any billboard or anything like that, and no one but the Wizard and Black Adam knew about the power that the words Shazam held, so what was going on??

 

Billy sighed, hopping off the sign and landing on the ground with a thud. "Maybe Bruce knows what's going on..." he muttered to himself, pulling out his communicator and dialing Batman's league number. 

 

The tone sounded for a moment before there was a crackle of static and someone picked up. "Hey, Bats?" he said, kicking the dirt around his shoe as he started ambling around. 

 

"Very funny, Zack. What's up?" the voice came back- but it wasn't Batman. Well, it was, but it wasn't the gruff voice he was used to. No this was Batman's 'Bruce Wayne' voice, one that he used during press conferences and in public when not in the bat suit. Wait, why was he calling him Zack too? Was he just not privy to something? 

 

"Uh- I uh- I was wondering if you knew anything about this poster I saw..." he said, realizing he hadn't taken a picture. "Uh- just a sec." 

 

Cap flew back to the billboard, taking a photo before rocketing back to where he'd previously been. "I sent you the picture, you know anything about it?" he asked, resting a hand on his waist. If anyone knew something, it'd be Batman.

 

"You're hilarious, Levi, really," Bruce said back with a chuckle. What did that mean? "It's a good poster- really gets the character." What did that mean?! 

 

"Uh- I'm- I'm confused." 

 

Bruce chuckled, which, that was a weird sound. "I didn't think you guys were planning on doing any big publicity stunt besides the carnival," Bruce said, to which Billy furrowed his brow. "How'd you do the flying thing I'm seeing on this youtube video?" 

 

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Batman." 

 

"Alright, sure- why don't you come over and join us for dinner? Henry's already here- We'd love to have you join us. You can tell us how you guys pulled this one off." Bruce said lightheartedly. "I'll send you the details." 

 

Captain Marvel ended up being more confused than when he'd started the call. Was Bruce not at the mansion? Why was he in LA? Who was Henry? Cap shook his head and sighed- might as well. He needed to check and see if Barry was ok, but this was an itch that he had a feeling was not going to go away. 

 

His communicator beeped and he glanced down at it, reading over the address before he felt a cold, metal barrel pressing against his back. Cap glanced back to find a disheveled man in a large overcoat, sneering at him with crooked teeth and breath that practically reeked of meth. "You know that won't work on me, right?" Marvel said simply, resting his other hand on his hip.

 

The man smirked and chuckled. "Give me your money, and you don't die mister superhero," he said, his voice gravelly. He cocked the gun and Marvel rolled his eyes. "Buddy, I'm a little busy right now. If you want me to take you to the police, I will, but as of right now-" 

 

He was cut off by a gunshot. Marvel furrowed his brow, glancing down at his chest as the bullet bounced harmlessly off of it. "Don't you know who I am?" he asked, tilting his head slightly as the ragged man's eyes widened and he dropped the gun. He stumbled backward, pure terror in his eyes as he mumbled about demons. Marvel rolled his eyes- he had something more pressing to deal with. 

 

Marvel began to float, scaring the man even more- not that the demigod noticed. He took off, following the directions he'd been given before landing in front of a large, sleek mansion. Billy hadn't been aware of the fact that Bruce had a home in LA, but here it was. He shrugged and glanced around, making sure no one could see him. 

 

"SHAZAM!" he said, calling down the magical lightning that powered him. He was left in the body of 12-year-old Billy Batson, fixing his hair and dusting himself off before ringing the doorbell. His red sweater still had a bit of ash that he started dusting off again as the door opened. Billy glanced up at the sight of Bruce in a white t-shirt with a dark blue button up thrown over the top and cleared his throat. 

 

"Hey," he said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

 

The man gave him a confused look, brows knitting together before looking around. "Asher, right?" Bruce said, blinking down at the boy. Billy looked around, confusion appearing in his own eyes. 

 

"Uh- what? No. Billy. Are you okay, Bruce?" Billy asked, looking up at the man with concern. Bruce blinked, a small smirk appearing on his face before he nodded slowly. 

 

"I get it- the whole transformation thing right. Where's Zach?" he asked, letting the kid in before shutting the door. So was he calling Cap Zach? And why was he acting like he didn't know that Billy could transform? He'd been the first one to figure it out. 

 

"I- I mean, I could be 'Zach' if you want..." he said slowly- there was a civilian here, from what he could tell from the phone call and mention of 'Henry', so maybe it would be easier to explain how the billionaire knew a superhero than a street kid. 

 

Billy shrugged and took a couple of steps back, making Bruce give him a weird look. 

 

"SHAZAM!" 

 

Bruce's eyes widened as light consumed Billy's small form, making the lights of the house flicker as he was transformed into his godly form once again. The light faded and Captain Marvel was left standing where Billy had been, dusting some of the ash from his cape. He glanced back at Bruce, who was staring at him with wide eyes from the floor. The man was moving back slowly, breathing heavily as he stared wide-eyed at Cap. 

 

Was something wrong?

 

"What?" Cap asked, raising an eyebrow. 

 

"How- how did you- I- W-what-" Bruce said, trembling as he stood up slowly, gripping onto the nearby bookshelf for support. "Where's- I don't-" The man was suddenly cut off by another man appearing in the room- Clark? Wait, Bruce hadn't said anything about the Man of Steel being there. 

 

"What happened in here? There was a boom and the lights fli-" Clark glanced towards him.

 

"Clark?" Cap asked slowly, confusion in his eyes. Was this what he'd meant when Bruce had said Henry?

 

The Kryptonian shook his head and smiled at him. "I didn't think you'd get here this fast, Zach," he said good-naturedly before turning towards Bruce. "You okay man?" he asked, raising a brow. "Is this cause he'd in costume?" Clark turned back towards him.

 

"Wait, why are you in costume by the way? They let you take it home?" he asked as Bruce continued to try and recover. "They wouldn't let me take the Superman suit home, but I get it. Got some Kryptonite though," he said with a smirk. 

 

Captain Marvel had never been more confused in his life. 

 

"He..." Bruce said, staring wide-eyed at Cap. "He-he's real," he said softly, his chest was no longer heaving, but he was still shaking as he stared. "You- you're-" he swallowed thickly. "How is this possible..." Clark gave Bruce a weird look before turning to Marvel. 

 

"Do you have any idea on what's going on here?" the Kryptonian asked, glancing at the billionaire before looking back at him. 

 

Marvel shook his head slowly. 

 

"YO, BEN- YOU GOTTA SEE THIS-" a new voice, a familiar voice, interrupted everything as the front door burst open and a man with wispy black hair in an olive green jacket came in holding up his phone. He paused, looking around at the people in the room before his eyes stopped on Marvel and widened.

 

"No way..." Zachary said slowly. 

 

- - - 

 

Chapter Text

 

"No way..." Zachary said slowly. 

 

- - -

 

 Captain Marvel's eyes widened at the sight of his face- well, the face his magic gave him, staring at him with a giddy look. He blinked, glancing at Clark before looking back at the newcomer. "What's going on here...." Clark said, eyes wide as his gaze flicked between the man and Cap.

 

"I knew it!!" the man in the doorway said, doing a small dance before coming closer to the demigod. "I knew that wasn't some cheap fx shot- I just can't believe you're real-" he said, chestnut-colored eyes twinkling as he stared at the hero. 

 

Captain Marvel blinked, clearing his throat. "Who are you?" he asked slowly. "And uh...why do you look like me?" he asked. It wasn't a complete match- Billy had bright, cornflower blue eyes whereas this man had brown, and Cap's jaw was stronger- he also had a few inches on his guy and was way buffer; though this guy wasn't scrawny by any means. 

 

The man blinked and shook his head, smile growing on his face. "Zachary Levi," he said happily, holding his hand out for the demigod to shake. Cap nodded slowly, reaching out to grab the hand as sparks connected between them. 

 

"Captain Marvel," he said in return, making the man laugh. 

 

"Not here you're not," he said with a chuckle. "You're Shazam here. Marvel has the rights to the Captain monicker now," he said casually, rolling his shoulders. "Oh uh- I'm an actor, by the way. I actually play you in a movie that's coming out soon," he said, gaze flicking to a very confused Henry and a still shaking Ben. 

 

"And those aren't Clark or Bruce. That's Henry Cavill- he plays Superman, and that's Ben Affleck- he plays Batman." Zachary continued, pointing them out. Henry's eyebrow pinched together in thought, still helping Ben to stand.

 

"Zach, are you really trying to sell to me that this is the real Capt- Shazam? That's impossible, dude." the man said, shaking his head with a confused smile. The man beside him finally managed to compose himself, standing up completely and taking a shaky breath. 

 

"He's telling the truth. Did the whole transformation before my eyes," he said slowly.

 

Henry still didn't look convinced but decided to play along. "Okay... how is this even possible? Captain Marvel is a fictional character. A comic book superhero." he said, crossing his arms loosely over his chest. "I don't know, this just seems like something out of a sci-fi show." 

 

"I'm right here, you know," Cap said- he was still in the room, guys. "The answer's simple- magic probably. I was racing Barry and-" he was cut off by an excited noise from Zachary.

 

"Who won?!" 

 

"Uh- no one, yet, cause I'm here," he said with a smile. "Uhm, but yea, I was racing Barry and the next thing I know I'm being thrown into a wall and people are asking for pictures," he said, glancing at Ben when he made a comment welcoming the hero to LA. "Simple fix though- I just have to open a portal to the Rock of Eternity and then go home from there." he said with a smile.

 

"Alright, I'll give you this- you're convincing. But I still don't believe you're an actual superhero." Cl- Henry said, watching him with an amused smirk.

 

"Well- why don't we go outside?" Marvel suggested, leading the group out the front door and into the front yard. He looked around, walking over to a grassy area before holding his hand out to open a portal. He furrowed his brow when nothing happened- that didn't make sense. "I- I can't find the rock," he said, glancing back at the trio. "Okay, its fine. Batman will figure it out- he's Batman," he said, the thought comforting him.

 

"He wouldn't leave me stranded," he said with a nod. 

 

"Still no proof to be seen, 'Marvel', Henry said good-naturedly, getting a light smack to the arm from Ben. "What?" 

 

Captain Marvel blinked, floating about a foot off the ground. "That work?" he asked, tilting his head slightly as Henry's eyes widened before they narrowed. The Captain floated over, smiling at him. "If you're still not convinced, I can take you for a ride." 

 

Henry shook his head, putting his hands up in surrender. "Nope! No no no. That's enough proof for me. I am not a fan of heights." he said, which, was pretty ironic considering who he portrayed on the big screen apparently. Captain Marvel chuckled, his shoulders bouncing. 

 

"Okay, okay. I getcha- flying's not for everyone. First time I tried it I was terrified, but a big part of it is keeping calm and just going with the flow." he said, touching down on the grass. He glanced at Zachary, who was still looking at him with a small sense of wonder. "I take it this kind of things doesn't happen often?" he asked, looking around the group.

 

The men shook their heads. "If something like this were to be documented, people would lose their minds. The fact that superheroes are real--I still don't think I fully believe it." Zach said, shaking his head. "Honestly I think this entire thing might be a drunken fever dream and I am passed out in Yvonne's bathtub-- But I hope that it's not," he said with a laugh. "Cause this is the coolest." 

 

Marvel rubbed the back of his neck. "Heh- not used to being called that, that's for sure," he said in reply.

 

"What, cause you're a kid?" Henry replied, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow. The others glanced at him before he noticed and shrugged. "I read comics too," he said defensively. 

 

Captain Marvel nodded. "Yea, kinda. But I know they care, so it's not all bad. I mean, they put up with me, right? I'm still a part of the League, thankfully, it's just the 'Big Red Cheese' isn't really one for being all cool and stuff like Batman or the Flash." he said with a shrug. "I don't mind really. I get to work with my heroes." 

 

"I am kinda concerned that I can't reach the Rock though. I should always be able to reach it," Cap said, his mind wandering back to his faulty magic. "I mean this obviously is a new earth, sure, but the Rock of Eternity exists between-" the demigod paused, head glancing towards the long driveway that led up to the house as a sports car pulled into it. He tilted his head slightly as the driver's side opened, revealing a man that looked strangely familiar.

 

Which at this point could be anyone.

 

Captain Marvel's eyes widened, glancing at the trio of actors before setting his jaw and stepping in front of them. "Doctor Sivanna?" he asked, looking the man that had gotten out of the car suspiciously. 

 

Lightning arched around his body as he took a step closer, letting a breath out of his nose. "Hold it right there, Sivanna," he said, putting on his most serious face.

 

Zachary put a hand on his shoulder suddenly, tugging on it lightly- "No, no Cap- that's Sivanna's actor," he said, wary of the lightning clinging to the hero's form. Marvel stayed where he was as the man who looked like one of his villains came closer, his hands in his pockets with an easy smile. He glanced back at his doppelganger before looking back at the newcomer. "This is Mark," Zach said, coming around the caped man and bringing the bald man into a side hug. 

 

"Coulda fooled me..." Captain Marvel mumbled, looking the man over one more time just to be safe. he didn't have glasses like Sivanna, and he sure as hell didn't have that manic look in his eyes like the scientist did, so he let his guard down. "Alright, fine." 

 

Mark blinked, glancing between Levi and the Captain. "You weren't lying then," he said, raising an eyebrow at the dark-haired actor. Zachary smiled, giving the Sivana-lookalike an excited face before turning his attention back to the hero before them.

 

 

"Zachary, how many people have you told where I live?" Ben asked, one hand on his hip as the other pinched the bridge of his nose. Zach had the courtesy to look slightly guilty, giving the man who played Batman a nervous smile. 

 

"Just Mark- oh and the kid. But uh, the kid's not coming." 

 

"Wait, you mean there's an actor who plays me?" Captain Marvel asked, his bright blue eyes wide as he poked a finger to his chest. "Like- Like Billy Batson me?" he asked. Zachary furrowed his brow- of course there was. Billy was as much a part of the story as Lois Lane was for Superman. Except you literally couldn't have one without the other in his case. 

 

"Of course. Why wouldn't there be?" he asked, the demigod shrugging in response. 

 

"Cause I'm just a 12-year-old street rat? There's not a story there," he mumbled, glancing off and rubbing the back of his neck. 

 

"What?! Of course there's a story there! Sure, we may be following the new 52 more than the older comics, so they put you in a foster home-" he pretended not to notice the man's distaste for the word, "-with the rest of the kids, but dude, Billy Batson is just as important as Shazam is!" Zachary said, affirmation in his brown eyes. "Or, well, Captain Marvel, in your case."

 

The Captain sighed, rolling his shoulders absently. "I guess if you say so," he mumbled. His head suddenly jerked upright when he sensed something behind him. His magic pinched and twisted and the hero turned around to stare at the small, almost invisible ripple in the air. "Get behind me," he said, narrowing his eyes on the ripple and pushing the group of actors behind his large frame. 

 

What was this? 

 

Lightning began to spark and dance around his form once more as he readied himself for some kind of attack. If this was a world without superheroes, there was no telling what this could be. There was another pinch in his core and he tensed as a portal suddenly opened before him. "What the..." he said, letting his guard down slightly as he stared at the portal. 

 

It looked like a normal boom tube- rimmed with glowing, orange energy and pulsating outwards- only on the other side, he could see what looked like a fuzzy image of the watchtower. It was the monitor room by the looks of it, and his eyes widened- The League had found a way to bring him back!!

 

"That's my way home!" he said excitedly, glancing back at the actors. "I- I gotta go. There's no telling how long this thing'll stay open," he said with a large smile. Zachary returned the look, patting him on the shoulder.

 

"Go home then, man!" he said happily.

 

Captain Marvel grinned, turning towards the rest of the group. "Good- good luck. And thanks- this'll be quite the story to tell."

 

With that, he turned back to the portal and steeled his nerves. This would lead home, right? Don't question it- have faith in Batman. He's Batman. "Okay. Here goes nothing," he said, stepping through the portal--

 

--only to land face-first on the tile in the watchtower. "Ow..." he muttered, shaking his head as someone helped him up. Captain Marvel shook his head, looking around in confusion before his mind caught up with what he was seeing. The League was standing around him with wide eyes and a few smiles. 

 

"You guys miss me?" he asked lightly, trying to diffuse the tension in the room. It melted in an instant, tense muscles relaxing and more smiles appearing on faces. He could see a very guilty looking Bary standing off to the side, but Cap gave him a smile. 

 

"I'm glad we got you back, Captain," Superman said, a hand on his shoulder. "Must've been hard." 

 

"Hm? Oh, Nah, those guys were great. It was really cool actually- I got my own movie!" he said happily. "It was a pretty eventful evening- I met both the actors who play Batman and Superman in their universe, and even met my own actor. It was so cool!"

 

"Wait, evening?" Batman asked, his brow furrowed. Cap was pretty sure he was focusing on the wrong part there, but this was Batman after all. 

 

"Yea- why?"

 

"Captain, you've been gone for a week." 

 

"Oh..." He paused, glancing around- that made the concerned looks make a lot more sense then. it didn't worry him though, he was just glad to be home. He smiled.

 

"So what'd I miss?" 

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

Word somehow got around that Captain Marvel was the one that made the various cakes, cookies, and other baked goods that could often be found in the dining hall. Many of the Leaguers came to hope for more stressful or harder missions, especially if Marvel was called into the fray. Often times it meant they could look forward to the delicious baked goods the man would make in the aftermath. 

 

If there was one thing they had learned, though, was they couldn't bug the man while he was cooking. In the field or anywhere else, Captain Marvel was cheerful, loud, and boisterous- but in the kitchen, he became quiet and concentrated. If you watched him work, he'd get flustered and eventually give up halfway through.

 

Barry had learned this the hard way. 

 

The only person that seemed to be able to get past this was Batman, and the pair could often be seen in the kitchen together- the Captain baking and Bruce either leaning against the wall or sitting and watching. Most assumed it was cause he was Batman and there was no way Marvel would kick him out, but in actuality, Billy knew the man hung out in there cause it was quiet and no one else dared to come in.

 

It was some of the only quiet time the man probably got while in the Watchtower, and it wasn't like he paid attention to or tried to stop the Captain as he worked, so he was fine with the Dark Knight staying. 

 

Unlike Hal or Barry or Plastic Man, Batman didn't try to 'help' or taste everything every four seconds. Sometimes, he wondered who was the bigger kid- him, or the Flash. Captain Marvel shook his head as he cleared the thoughts from his mind, pouring the brownie batter he'd been mixing into a glass pan quietly. Batman was currently sitting at the small table that had long been set up in there, typing away on his laptop while Cap worked.

 

"How's the whole mess with Ebenezer going?" Bruce asked quietly, continuing to type as Marvel poured. 

 

That was another thing- Batman was the only person who had figured out his identity so far, and surprisingly, the man treated him the same. There was no judgment in his eyes, no pity, though he had already been asked twice if he wanted to move into the manor. (He'd politely declined both times.) Bruce didn't push him but made sure the boy knew the option was there if he was interested. 

 

Recently, the billionaire had taken to asking him random things going on in his life. It was nice- something mundane and simple the two shared, and something that, even though he wouldn't say it, Billy secretly really appreciated. 

 

"Eh, still a scrooge. I tried getting a photo album of my mom's when I first got my powers, but I ended up breaking a hoard of lawn gnomes by accident and booking it." Marvel said with a chuckle. "I mean, it'd be nice to have my parents stuff, sure, but if I'm honest with myself it's safer where it is." he continued, setting the empty bowl in the sink and licking the spoon as he carried the pan to the oven.

 

"More likely to get stolen in an abandoned subway than a mansion, ya know?" he said, shutting the oven and tossing the spoon into the empty bowl. 

 

Bruce glanced at him, giving him an accessing look before going back to the laptop before him. "You could store the things here, in your quarters. Or in the mansion, if you don't trust the Watchtower's security." 

 

Everyone on the League knew that Wayne Tech was used for the security on the Watchtower, though it was disguised so that no one could trace it back to Bruce- so it wouldn't make a difference whether he stored things there or in Wayne Manor. It wasn't like he didn't trust Bruce or any of the robins, but he felt that it was safer in a civilian's hands, somehow. 

 

Sure, Ebenezer Batson had a tie to Billy, but he had none to the Captain. Bruce had connections to the League and by association Captain Marvel, so there was always a chance. He shook his head slowly, dropping the clean spoon into the sink and turning it on. "It's alright bats. When I get my own place eventually I'll get them- they are mine by law after all. A couple more years and I'll be able to get a real job-" he said conversationally, washing the bowl in his hands. 

 

"I can save up and get a place with a lock or something." 

 

Batman stayed quiet- he knew the man was listening and just not speaking so he left it be, finishing up the dishes he'd dirtied quietly. "You know there's a dishwasher," Bruce said after a moment. Captain Marvel shrugged, turning off the water and drying his hands. 

 

"I like washing dishes. It's calming." He put the towel on the counter and leaned against it, crossing his arms over his chest. 

 

Both the Demigod and the Dark Knight glanced up when a newcomer entered the room- Dinah, of all people. The blonde glanced at Batman before turning her attention to the Captain with a smile. "You busy?" she asked, catching sight of the pan in the oven before meeting his eyes once more. 

 

Captain Marvel shook his head, pushing himself off the counter to stand up. "Nope- what's up? Need help with anything?" he asked, quickly shifting into work mode. Canary seemed to sense this and chuckled, smiling at him before shoving him lightly with a smirk.

 

"Not like that, no. This is more of a personal request," she said, putting a hand on her hip. "It's no secret that when it comes to the League, you're one of the best bakers. Everyone's figured out by this point that you're the one who makes all those goodies that mysteriously appear on the counters," she said, glancing at the oven as if to make a point.

 

Captain Marvel nodded slowly. Where was this leading to?

 

 Dinah seemed to pause, biting her thumbnail before smiling at him. "Well Oliver and I had been thinking," she said slowly, glancing at Bruce. "We're getting married, you know this, I sent everyone an alert," she continued, turning back to the Captain. "And...well, we were wondering if you could make our wedding cake." 

 

Captain Marvel's eyes widened. Dinah and Oliver wanted him to make their cake? Their wedding cake?!

 

"We'll pay you of course--" Dinah added quickly, taking his shocked look for something other than the astonishment that they wanted him to bake for them that it was. Captain Marvel shook his head to clear it.

 

"What? No, you don't have to do that. It's just a cake," Cap returned, putting his hands up placatingly and shaking them. "I wouldn't want you to have to pay for something like a cake when you got a wedding to take care of." 

 

Dinah raised an eyebrow, giving him a look that crossed unimpressed with amused. 

 

"Cap, I get that you've probably never been to a wedding, but this is something that happens. Wedding cakes are huge and outlandish- and you have to pay for them," she said with a trill of laughter. "Besides- Oliver's a billionaire. If he wanted to, he could have a world-famous baker make the cake-- but we both want you to." 

 

Captain Marvel glanced at Bruce nervously, who was watching the exchange with a blank face but easy eyes. He nodded subtly, a quirk of a smile appearing on his face before it vanished. Batman was encouraging him to do it- in his own way. He glanced back at Dinah, catching sight of the hope in her eyes. 

 

"Alright, I'll give it a shot. What do you want it to look like?" 

 

- - -

 

 Captain Marvel tugged at the stiff, starch white collar around his neck, clearing his throat slightly as the fabric moved against his skin. The suit he wore was one that Bruce had bought him- a dark red jacket that had to be specially made by a private tailor to cover his muscular form. A stiff, freshly pressed white button-up was underneath the jacket, grazing against the Captain's bright red suit--something that was a part of him in his magical form.

 

The pressed pants he had on matched his blazer and a gold cloth stuck out of his suit pocket-- likely an attempt by Alfred, (who had helped him get everything on and figure out how to tie his jet black tie) to make his golden uniform boots at least look like they matched the rest of his attire. 

 

It didn't really work.

 

A single look at the guy and you could tell it was Captain Marvel- he was the only one that you could really tell had his uniform on under her suit, due to the golden gauntlets that encircled his wrists, the golden boots on his feet, and the lightning that danced about his body due to his nervousness. 

 

The story the group went with was that the man had been hired to be security- something that the media ate up since this was the wedding of a billionaire. 

 

Captain Marvel stood beside one of the tables full of 'horderves' as some fancy guy had called it, fidgeting with the cuff of one of his sleeves. He glanced at the cake he'd made- it was sitting in the center of the table, obscured by a cloth that had been strung up around it. He didn't understand the desire for it to be a big reveal, but the thought was making him nervous.

 

With the actual wedding out of the way and everyone coming into the reception room soon- (he'd ducked out when Dinah had started throwing flowers- he did not want to be next) and he couldn't shake the jitters that had come on so suddenly. Cap glanced towards the front door to the room, tensing when it opened, only to immediately relax when he watched Bruce come in, straightening the cuffs of his sleeves.

 

"Captain," he said cordially, walking up to the man and holding out a hand for him to shake. Captain Marvel had nearly forgotten that there were others in the room- a waitress and a DJ, but civilians nonetheless. 

 

"Mister Wayne," Cap said in return, shaking his hand. 

 

"You nervous?" he asked softly, raising a brow up at him. It was weird to see Bruce act so formal- sure, he'd seen him plenty of times without the cowl, but it was always a bit jarring. He nodded stiffly, glancing at the cake that was still hidden. It wouldn't be revealed until the couple pulled the golden rope that drew back the white curtain, and his anxiety grew with every moment that passed. 

 

"Don't be," Bruce said, putting a hand on his shoulder despite the small shock it probably gave him. "I'm sure it looks fantastic." 

 

Captain Marvel hoped it would. He'd spent so long looking at cakes on the internet before eventually giving up- too many of the cakes he saw were adorned with flowers or other such things; that wasn't Dinah, and it sure as hell wasn't Ollie. He'd wanted their cake to be special, to be memorable- he just hoped it wasn't memorable in a bad way.

 

Both men glanced towards the door as it opened again, this time because of Oliver kicking it open. He held Dinah in his arms and had a large smile on his face- though it looked like he was struggling a bit to walk. Canary simply laughed, getting down and placing a kiss on the billionaire's cheek before shaking her head and grabbing his hand. 

 

The bride and groom caught sight of Bruce and the Captain standing beside the table, making their way over as the music kicked up slowly and people milled about. "Captain! glad you could make it," Oliver said, clapping the man on the shoulder. The demigod forgot that they had to keep up appearances sometimes. 

 

"Oh uh- wouldn't miss it, Mr. Queen," he said in response. 

 

"Call me Ollie, please," Oliver said good-naturedly, giving him a reassuring look. Everyone there (or, at least the heroes there) knew that Cap wasn't the best at public events. They didn't know of his alter ego, or if he even had one, and it was easy to tell that the man wasn't used to being in public and 'out of uniform' so to speak. 

 


"We're excited to see your cake," Dinah said with a smile, glancing at Oliver before looking back at him. "Loosen up, it'll be great," she continued, seeing the tension in his frame. "Honest Cap- I wouldn't have asked you to bake it if I didn't have faith it would be awesome," she said quietly. 

 

That was another thing he hadn't understood- Dinah and Oliver had wanted to keep who made their cake a secret, and reveal it alongside the cake- why, the Captain wasn't sure, but he wasn't going to argue. If it kept people from asking him what it looked like, what flavor it was, or all the other things that came along with the job, he'd happily stand in secrecy. 

 

To everyone there (besides Bruce, Ollie, and Dinah) Cap was actually there as security since he couldn't really pass for a civilian, but they didn't want to exclude him from the wedding. 

 

"I think it's time we get to cuttin', don't you?" Oliver said, glancing at his bride before looking at Cap. "Come on," he said, jerking his head towards the table and walking off with Dinah in tow. 

 

Cap shook out his nerves, following suit.

 

"Can I have your attention please?" Oliver said, grabbing a mic off the table (who left that there?) and tapping it. "Yo! Hey! Everybody! Groom talkin' here!" he said. The music got quiet as the people in the room turned towards him. He smiled, opening his mouth to say something before handing the mic off to the blonde beside him. 

 

Dinah shook her head with a smile. "Thank you for coming everyone. We're both so happy that so many of our friends could make it here today. Now I know that I've been looking forward to this, and so has Ollie here," she said, smacking the archer's chest lightly, "-so I think its time for some cake, yea?" she asked, the crowd cheering in response.

 

"That's what I like to hear! Before we reveal this bad boy though, I wanna tell you about the man who made it. You all know him, and you all love him- I mean how can you not, he's a big ol' boy scout." she said, murmurs sweeping through the crowd as Flash suddenly lit up with excitement-- it was a running joke who the boy scout in the League was, by this point. 

 

"He's big, he's cheesy, and he made Oliver's and my wedding cake," she said, turning towards the Captain, who was blushing already. "Captain Marvel, I just wanna say thank you. Thank you for showing up here, for acting as security, and for making our cake. Would you like to do the honors?" she asked, holding out the golden rope to him.

 

The Captain shook his head lightly, blushing profusely with a small smile on his face. "N-no, miss Queen-" he heard a whoop from the crowd. "Go ahead, it's you guys' big day." 

 

Dinah shot him a smirk before glancing at Oliver, pulling the rope and making the curtain fall. A hush fell over the crowd as a jade green and gold tiered cake was revealed. Golden lattices that looked to be hand-made covered the multiple layers, making the cake sparkle like some expensive piece of artwork.

 

Each layer had delicate, golden trimmings surrounding them with a large gold pendant on the front and in the center. The entire cake was topped off with a pair of chocolate arrows dipped in gold, crossed over one another to make an X. 

 

That little detail made Oliver's already big smile become a giddy, overwhelmingly joyful one as he glanced back at the Captain and let out a small, excited laugh. 

 

Oliver & Dinah's Cake -- minus the flowers pictured.

 ( Oliver & Dinah's cake- though in a darker green, and without the flowers pictured.)

 

 Cap rubbed the back of his neck- they were acting like this was some holy treasure when it really wasn't- it was just a cake. "Do you like it?" he asked timidly. The man suddenly felt himself being squished into a hug, glancing down to find Barry hugging his waist-- wait, was he crying?

 

"Y-You have n-no idea h-how long I've w-wa-wanted you to m-make a c-cake..." he blubbered, only to have Bruce pull him off the demigod so that Oliver could pull him into a hug. Captain Marvel blinked- did this mean he liked the cake? 

 

"This is amazing, dude," Ollie said, glancing back at Dinah, who was still staring at the cake in awe. "You cheeky bastard," he said with a wide grin, punching him in the arm for the arrows that sat atop the cake. "Seriously though- amazing. Thanks."

 

The Captain chuckled in response. "It's no big deal, Ollie- go to your wife, cut the cake or something," he said with a laugh.

 

"Will do, Cap-i-tan," Oliver said with a mock salute before making his way back to Dinah, who was only now coming out of shock. 

 

"At least they liked it," Captain Marvel said, glancing at the billionaire beside him. Bruce smirked in response. 

 

"I think they did more than that, kid." 

 

 - - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

"Aw come on!!"

 

"Why is no one on this God-forsaken point?!"

 

Heal me, heal me!!"

 

"NO NO NO IT'S NOT HIGH NOON ITS 8 PM!!"

 

The sounds of angry, frustrated children echoed through the manor, the source of the noise coming from the large gaming room-- one of the mansion's many parlors that had been converted by the kids that lived there. The room held four screens on a wall, each showing a different point of view from a character. In front of the TVs were some bean bags, a couch, a couple of armchairs, and a whole hoard of blankets and pillows. 

 

The four boys, ranging from 10 to 22, sat scattered about, each with a controller in their hands and shouting various things at the screens and to each other. Behind them on the couch sat another young man, 17, who was shaking his head at the group and cleaning a deconstructed gun. "You're all incompetent, I hope you know," he said with a roll of his eyes, only to get a pillow thrown at his head by the eldest in the room. 

 

Dick Grayson, 22, AKA the original Boy Wonder, smirked before turning his attention back to his screen. "You're just jealous you lost in rock paper scissors," he said as his character, a purple-skinned woman in a skintight outfit, ran along a ledge before grappling to a higher ledge and sniping enemies. "And dad hates guns in the house, you know that," he said with a shake of his head as his character leaped off the ledge and onto the ground.

 

"Less talking, more point taking!!" another boy, 15, glared at the two before suddenly turning back to the screen to see his character die from a bomb. "NO FAIR!!" he said, mouth agape. "That's it, I'm switching to Genji," he grumbled, only to get a death glare from one of the youngest boys and suddenly change his mind. "Uh- I mean Torbjorn," he said quickly, changing his character from a cowboy to a dwarf with a spinning hook hand. "Stupid Jason got me killed--" the pillow that had been thrown at the teen with a white streak in his hair was suddenly chunked at the 15-year-old.

 

"Shut up Drake!" the teen who threw the pillow, Jason, yelled angrily. 

 

The two youngest in the room, Billy and Damien, both age 10, rolled their eyes at the brothers behind them and focused on the game-- they'd come up with a buddy system that hadn't failed them yet. 

 

"Okay, I'm gonna launch us, see if you can get a hit in on them- they're converging on the left," Billy said, his character, a pale shirtless man with hair that was on fire, setting off a bomb beneath the pair's feet and sending them flying into the air. Damien's character, (despite him having been playing as a metallic, green and white ninja for most of the game), was a woman in a blue mech suit who let off a barrage of missiles, striking the enemy team down where they stood. The boys lit up with excitement and fist bumped one another as their characters landed near the point and ran towards it.

 

"For future reference, I can fly on my own, William," Damien said as he shot down a large man with a pig mask covering his face. Billy shrugged, not bothering to correct the boy on his name. 

 

"Yea, but my bomb just gotcha higher," he said with a smirk. Soon enough, the game was over, with Billy and Damien's characters standing on the point, Jason's character jumping on at the last second, and Dick's character leaping off the edge of the map in slow motion. 

 

Billy glanced back at the older boys behind them- Dick and Jason were in an argument over the controller, with the latter looking like he was about to reach for a gun while the former was already holding a small staff in one of his hands. Tim, on the other hand, was leaning back in his bean bag and watching them upside-down. He glanced at the younger two and flicked his head towards the exit.

 

"Wanna go get food?" he asked softly, to which both Damien and Billy nodded.

 

The trio snuck out just as the two older boys began wrestling, heading towards the kitchen. The entire situation, from the teenagers wrestling in the other room to the 13-year-old that was making the trio popcorn, to Damien throwing a crumb he found on the counter at Billy's face-- it was all so mundane, and yet, still felt like a dream to him. 

 

Billy had been a part of the Wayne household officially for less than a month, though he'd unofficially been a part of the family for nearly a year. After a particularly nasty snowstorm that made the boy sick as a dog, Bruce had taken him home, fed him, made him better, (with Alfred and the Robin Flock's help, of course) and he'd somehow ended up staying. His home, while it would always remain in Fawcett, came to feel like more than just some abandoned subway where he could crouch for a night.

 

He had a family here- four brothers that looked out for him and each other despite their disagreements, a half-sister that would kick someone's teeth in for just looking at him wrong, a grandpa that made the best cookies in the entire world, and a dad that, while he would never replace his real father, loved him just as much and worked with him out in the field on a daily basis. 

 

Oh, and did he mention that they were all crime-fighting superheroes? Yea, that was a pretty nice cherry on top. 

 

"Batson, why do you keep spacing out?" Damien asked, sitting next to him and studying him with a raised eyebrow. Tim glanced back at the pair from staring at the microwave before looking back at the popcorn inside. "Tt, if you're still thinking about our strategy, I was only--" the boy was cut off by Billy pulling him into a hug. He furrowed his brow- sure, out of all of them, Billy was the most tactile- (and that was living with Tim, who was like a spider monkey sometimes) but this was kind of unexpected. 

 

"Just...just thinking about how lucky I am," he mumbled against Damien's shirt before pulling back. 

 

"Ah." was all the other boy could say. "I suppose that we are lucky to have you here with us as well," he muttered, glancing off.

 

Tim cut the tension in the air by slamming a popcorn bowl full of golden kernels in front of them, smiling widely. "Come on you two, enough sappiness. We all love Billy, yadda yadda, he loves us, yadda yadda. We're gonna be put into matches again soon, and if we don't claim our spots, Skunk head's gonna steal one of the controllers!"

 

 "What have I told you guys about calling Jason that?" 

 

The voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once and sent a chill down the children's spines. All three head snapped to one of the three entrances into the kitchen, when Bruce, fully garbed in the bat-suit (minus the cowl) stood leaning against the doorframe. "He doesn't get to call you demon brat anymore," he said, scowling at Damien.

 

The boys had enough sense to look guilty, Billy with his arms wrapped around the bowl and staring at his shoes. "What are you three doing in here anyway? I thought you all were playing video games." Billy glanced up and made eye contact with the billionaire before immediately dropping his gaze once more. "Are Dick and Jason fighting again? 

 

Bruce sighed, shaking his head. "Alright, come on then," he said, leading the way back to the gaming room. They walked in to find the teens locked together, Dick's bo staffs smacking Jason in the hip while the other boy slammed the butt of his gun against Dick's leg. Both teens paused when they caught sight of Bruce, quickly untangling themselves and sitting on the carpet. 

 

Bruce pinched the bridge of his nose. "When I grounded you all from the cave for the night, I didn't mean for you to start a fight club in the manor," he said, hands on his hips as he stared at his sons. "Get back on your bean bags, put the weapons away, and play your video games," he said, the three younger boys bolting over to bean bags and grabbing their controllers. 

 

Billy glanced back, shifting the bowl of popcorn from his lap to the floor. "Mr. Wayne?" he asked, not missing the flash of disappointment that crossed Bruce's face at the name-- everyone else called him father, or Bruce, or dad, but Billy just wasn't there yet. "Uh- do- do you wanna play?" he asked slowly, his brothers glancing at him before looking to the head of the household. "You'll like it- Jason usually plays Reaper, but you'd probably like him. Or- or maybe Reinhart. He kinda reminds me of you," he said, trailing off quietly when Bruce raised a brow. 

 

"You- you don't have to though! Its uh- sorry," he mumbled, turning back to face the screen and slump in his bean bag. The boys around him were still watching Bruce, and the man sighed. He walked closer to where Billy sat, picking the child up and setting him down on the floor before taking his spot. The boy blinked, looking around fro another place to sit before he was grabbed again and set on the Dark Knight's lap.

 

 "Show me how to play," he said, glancing down at one of his youngest. Billy smiled widely, showing him how to work the controller.

 

- - -

 

"Go go go go!! Get on the point!!" 

 

"Damien, take out the robot, I'll charge the others." 

 

"Yes, father." 

 

"SOMEBODY HEAL MEEEE--" 

 

The group stayed in the gaming room until 2 am, laughing and yelling at the screen and each other. Popcorn was thrown and now covered the floor, and empty cups and cans were scattered about. Bruce glanced down at Billy- the boy was fast asleep, snuggled up against the kevlar of his suit and using his cape as a blanket. His face was at ease, which the man was thankful for. Too often the boy had nightmares, and he would never talk about them.

 

He smiled down at his youngest, glancing around the room to find Dick asleep on the couch with a can still in his hand, Damien and Tim trying to stay awake as they continued a match, and Jason- well, he'd left a while ago; something about covering Batman's graveyard patrols for him. 

 

Bruce stood, making the material of the bean bag squeak as he held Billy in his arms. "Finish up soon," he said to the pair that was on the cusp of falling asleep before walking out of the room with the small raven in his grasp. He walked up the grand staircase and down the hallway to the 3rd door-- it was covered in Justice League stickers and a crudely drawn note that read "NO BROTHERS ALOWED" (except Damein) in red marker. 

 

He shook his head at the spelling errors and opened the door, glancing around BIlly's room. When he'd first moved in, he'd asked if there was a small room that he could take since he felt uncomfortable in large spaces, so he and Alfred had cleared out one of the smaller studies and put the boy's room in there. 

 

He glanced up at the small, lightning bolt-shaped fairy lights that hung loosely above the boy's bed, ducking under them and setting him down. His bed was covered in a Batman comforter, (something Dick got everyone when they moved in but only Billy seemed to use) and red sheets. Bruce set the child down and covered him up, running a hand over his tousled black locks.

 

"Goodnight, Billy," he said, moving his cape from the boy's grasp and replacing it with a stuffed tiger; one of the only things he'd brought with him when Bruce had adopted him. 

 

"Gniiight...da...dd..." the boy mumbled, his words slurred and sleep-filled. Logically, he knew it was just his subconscious speaking, but the word made the Dark Knight smile. 

 

"Sweet dream, kid." 

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

The constant questioning and interrogations were getting old. Whether it was Superman stopping him in the hallway for a little chat or Batman pulling him off to the side after a mission, the league would not stop pestering him about his identity. 

 

He was the only one on the League to not give his civilian identity out yet, and for good reason. There were only so many ways the group could react to finding out Captain Marvel was actually 11 years old. 

 

He sighed as Flash followed him down the hall, zipping from one side to the other in various attempts to get any details out of him. The most the League had gotten was that he lived in Fawcett and that his parents died when he was a toddler- but other than that, the Captain had given them nothing.

 

"Flash, Flash-" he tried to say as the speedster continued to talk. "Flash!" he said, his voice booming through the small hallway as he held Barry still with a hand on his shoulder. "Dude, come on," he said, shaking his head. "You know I'm not gonna tell you anything." 

 

"Alright dude, but I was just trying to save you from one of Batman's training sessions- you know the ones where he comes at you really hard while simultaneously asking you questions, and you're too busy blocking attacks that you give in and tell him what he wants to know?" The blonde said with a smirk.

 

Captain Marvel sighed- he hated those. "I don't understand why you guys want to know my identity so badly." 

 

Flash rolled his shoulders in response. "For Bruce, I think its a security measure. For the rest of us, well, Diana made a good point when she said that if we don't trust each other enough with our identities, how can we trust each other with our lives?" 

 

Didn't that make him feel guilty. 

 

Marvel let out a long-suffering sigh, running a hand over his face. He knew it would come to this eventually- whether through Batman finally finding something or of his own volition he wasn't sure. Better to go out on his own terms, he supposed.

 

It wasn't like if they kicked him out that he would just up and stop being Captain Marvel. 

 

"Fine," he said, glancing down at the speedster who was staring with wide eyes. "Tell Superman and them to come to this address-" a strip of paper appeared out of thin air with a spark of gold, falling into Marvel's hand as he wrote on it with a pen that also seemed to materialize out of nothing. "-next Saturday. My family's having a barbeque, we can talk there," he said.

 

He'd have to talk to Mrs. Vasquez to make sure it was alright, but he was sure his foster mother wouldn't mind a few extra guests. They were fine with him being on the League after all.

 

"You mean it Cap?" flash asked, his eyes still wide as he glanced down at the paper he'd been given. Marvel nodded slowly. "I'll make sure my foster mother makes enough food to feed a speedster." 

 

Flash smirked, patting Marvel on the arm before zipping down the hall. 

 

- - -

 

The group of 6 arrived together, assuming it to be better if they all came together rather than sparingly throughout the day. Everyone was in their civilian clothes, something Marvel had stressed, and were waiting on the sidewalk in front of a somewhat large, tan two-story house. Clark was the last to arrive, Diana walking behind him and obviously having taken inspiration from the Kryptonian's disguise.

 

"Do we just knock?" Barry asked, looking around. Everyone paused at the sound of a child screaming, muscles locking up and training kicking in. It lasted only for a moment, though, since the scream turned into laughter. 

 

"That's cheating Freddy!!" 

 

"No it's not!!!"

 

"GET HIM!!"

 

"I'm gonna knock..." the blonde said, walking up to the door and ignoring the sounds of children playing outside.

 

After a few moments, a woman in her early thirties answered the door. Her brown hair was cut short and she had a light green shirt on with an apron thrown on overtop. Her skin was tan and her eyes a warm brown, and she looked at the group with a slightly confused smile. "Hi, how can I help you?" she asked. 

 

"Uh- hi, ma'am, we're friends of Bill's," Barry said, speaking for the group. She immediately lit up, smile growing wider. 

 

"Oh of course!! I completely forgot Billy was having you guys come over. Slipped my mind." she said, inviting them in. "My name's Rosa Vasquez, and Billy's in the back with the kids and Victor, my husband," she said, leaving the front door open for them to come in before going back to the kitchen. 

 

"I'm currently making a salad, it'll be done in a bit- make yourselves at home!" he voice came from the kitchen.

 

Barry smiled, glancing back at the group, who was looking around. It was a little odd that the woman seemed so young, but Cap had said that she was his foster mother. The speedster looked around the living room, spotting a couple of toys on the ground, a few Justice League members making him grin, and a stack of books in the corner. Comics were piled by the fireplace alongside a baby-sized doll and some hair accessories. 

 

No wonder cap acted so childishly sometimes if he was surrounded by things like this- how many kids did Mrs. Vasquez have? 

 

Clark looked around at the group before leading the way to the backyard. He slid open the glass door that led to it, and Barry smiled at the sight before him. 

 

A man in his mid-thirties, who he assumed to be Rosa's husband Victor, was currently sitting in a lawn chair and watching a group of six kids play in the backyard. He was shaking his head at them with a book laying on his lap as the kids chased each other and laughed. 

 

"Nothing can stop the Flash!!" Barry heard what looked like the youngest girl say as she ran around the yard making whooshing sounds. He smiled and watched her as a pair of boys, one with a mop of black hair and one with blonde hair and crutches, laughed overdramatically like supervillains. 

 

"Mwahahaha!! Nothing you say?" the blond asked, grinning widely as the pair stood on top of a picnic table. How the one with crutches got up there was a mystery to the speedster. "What about this!!" he said, leaning on his crutches as throwing his arms out. "freeze powers activate! WHOOOOSSHSHSHSSHSHH!! Your feet are frozen now Dar-- Flash!!" he said, following the act by cackling and high-fiving the raven beside him. 

 

The boys seemed to be at odds with four other kids- the youngest, who was currently pretending to struggle in ice, was accompanied by an older girl who looked a lot like the raven-haired boy, and two other boys, a hefty brunet and a skinny kid with glasses. 

 

"I'll just use my green lantern ring to break the ice with a jackhammer!" the hefty boy said, holding out a fist and making his own sound effects. The girl giggled and got up, standing with the rest of the group that was on the ground. 

 

"Well, I'll use my lightning powers then! SHAZAM!" the boy with glasses said, straightening said glasses before throwing both his arms out towards the boys who were apparently playing the villains on the table. 

 

"Hey! We said we were keeping Captain Marvel out of this!" the blonde said with a furrowed brow. 

 

"What- when!?" 

 

"He's right Eugene, it's not fair if Captain Marvel's in this fight." the eldest girl said, glancing at the boy in glasses.

 

"Why?" 

 

The entire group looked to the black-haired boy, who simply shrugged. "Hey, I mean if we're playing Justice League..." he trailed off with a snort.

 

"WE KNOW! YOU GET TO BE CAP!" the group yelled back in unison, sending the boy into a fit of giggles. 

 

Victor shook his head, finally catching sight of the people still standing in the doorway. "Oh- I'm so sorry, Hi-" he said, standing up and catching the attention of the group. The children quickly banded together, with the raven giving them wide eyes as he hopped off the table and joined the group.

 

"I'm Victor, I'm sure you met Rosa," he said, holding out a hand for each of them to shake. "So sorry to keep you guys waiting, I was just invested in where this story was going," he said with a grin, glancing back at the kids still huddled up. "You're Billy's guests I take it?" he asked, looking around the group.

 

They nodded, the man giving him a smile before turning back to the group of kids. One of them lifted their head before ducking it back into their discussion. "Billy! Your friends are here," he said, the raven-haired boy picking his head up with a sigh.

 

"Yea, I'm comin'," he said, glancing back at the group of kids with a smirk. He walked up to the adults with his hands in his pockets, straining his neck back to look at them. "Honestly, I didn't think you guys were gonna come," he said casually. Barry furrowed his brow at the boy, glancing around the yard before turning his attention back on him.

 

This had to be some kind of joke, right?

 

"Mrs. Vasquez is making enough food for everyone though." the boy continued, glancing back at the group of foster siblings. "Dunno if you wanna meet everyone, but you can-" he said, glancing back up at the adults. Everyone had confusion carved into their features and it made him laugh. "You don't believe me, do you?" he asked slowly. When he got no response, he simply shrugged.

 

"Whatever, I got nothin' to prove," he said, gesturing for the pack of kids to come closer. "You wanted to know my identity, not my fault if you can't take it," he said, only to be smacked upside the head by the brunet girl. 

 

"Billy! Don't talk to your teammates like that!" 

 

"What?! It's not like they're gonna keep me on the League after this!" 

 

Flash noticed the disappointment and resignation in the boy's eyes as he said this, staring at the girl that could almost be his twin. Flash blinked- if this kid really was the Captain like they were being led to believe, did he really think that? Barry glanced back at his own group and saw the wheels turning inside Superman's head- no wonder the kid thought that. One look at the Kryptonian's face would tell him that too.

 

He swallowed and turned his attention back to the kids, who by this point were arguing. 

 

"You don't know that!" 

 

"Well, it's safe to assume!" 

 

"If you keep acting like an ass, yea, maybe!" 

 

"Go eat dirt, Mary!!" 

 

Flash glanced towards Mr. Vasquez- only to find that he left to go back inside. The speedster blinked and turned his attention back on the kids, quickly getting between them. "Whoa whoa whoa, let's take things slow here," he said, causing the raven-haired child, Billy, to smirk.

 

"Ironic, coming from you," the kid said with a grin.

 

"Yea, yea, haha you're so funny."

 

"Funnier than trying to shock a dude who's main power is electric manipulation. Or, you know, trying to steal Hal's ring when he sleeps, only to get your ass handed to you when he suddenly wakes up!"

 

"YOU KNOW WHAT-"

 

"WHY DON'T YOU TELL ME WHAT, ALLEN-"

 

The blonde tackled the kid into the grass and sent them rolling, wrestling on the ground as the kids cheered their brother on. Billy somehow ended up on top, chest puffed out in pride as he held Flash's arm behind his back. "Dick taught me that," he said with a smirk.

 

The speedster rolled his eyes, glancing back at the raven. "I could just vibrate out of this." 

 

"And hurt a civilian?" Billy asked, mischief in his eyes as he gave Barry another smirk. "I'm surprised at you. Honestly, I expected more." 

 

"YOU ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO A CIVILIAN YOU LITTLE BRAT--" 

 

Billy fell into a fit of laughter, sliding off the blonde and landing in the grass with a wide smile. "Yea, you got me there," he said, dusting the grass off his shirt. He glanced towards the rest of the adults, who were watching the pair with various levels of amusement. He stood up slowly, straightening out his shirt. "You wanted to know," he started off, rubbing at a grass stain on his arm. 

 

"Here ya go." 

 

He grinned up at them, glancing back as Freddy lobbed himself over his shoulder. "You gonna kick Billy out of the Justice League?" the blonde asked, getting a look from the raven he was clinging to. 

 

"You realize they probably have to have a meeting to say officially that i'm out, right?" he said, staring at Freddy and holding onto his arms as he hoisted the slightly smaller boy onto his back. "Unofficially though..." he trailed off, glancing up at the heroes. 

 

"Billy, no one said you were getting kicked out," Bruce said, hands in his suit pants pockets. He got a look from Clark but ignored the reporter. Billy furrowed his brow at the man.

 

"Bruce, we both know you can't override a majority vote from the League." 

 

"Who said it was a majority vote?" Barry spoke up, having stood up. He rubbed his elbow, ruffling the boy's hair. "I mean, I'm not voting to kick you out, if it comes to it." 

 

"Me neither," Hal said, leaning against the wall beside Diana. The warrior shook her head. "I will not either." 

 

Billy blinked- were they serious? His eyes widened slightly as he swallowed, his attention being brought back to Freddy as the kid knocked on his head. 'EARTH TO CAPTAIN!!!" he yelled in his ear, nearly toppling the pair before hopping off his back and hobbling away as fast as he could.

 

"FREDDY I'M GONNA BEAT YOU WITH THOSE STICKS!!" Billy yelled, taking chase after the blonde.

 

Bruce glanced at Clark, who was watching with slight worry in his eyes. "What say you, fearless leader?" the billionaire teased with a small smirk. "He's a good kid," he said, watching the raven tackle the blonde into the grass and start wrestling with him. "If it's any consolation, I knew before he joined." 

 

Clark's shoulders drooped. "Of course you did..." 

 

Bruce shrugged in response. "They don't call me the World's Greatest Detective for nothing." 

 

"Yea, yea, yea..." 

 

"Seriously though, Clark. Billy's an important member of this team. He honestly believes he's gonna be kicked out-- he invited us to a party cause he thinks he's going out with a bang." 

 

Clark sighed. "He's a kid." 

 

"So is Robin." 

 

"And you know how I feel about Robin." 

 

"Look, he's gonna be a hero no matter if he's got the League backing him or not. Shazam gave him his powers cause he saw something in that kid, and he's only ever done good with them. Yea, he's naive, but he's a kid. He'll learn. If we turn our backs on him now we not only lose a precious ally but a friend as well." 

 

"...maybe you're right." 

 

"I know I am." 

 

"Food's ready!!" Mrs. Vasquez said from behind the men, smirking with a large platter of ribs, steak, pulled pork, and hotdogs stacked on top. "Excuse me, gentlemen," she said, stepping between the two as she carried the heavy-looking platter with ease before setting it down on one of the picnic tables on the porch. 

 

"Come on, let's go eat." 

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

If you had told the kid a month ago that he'd be flying over Metropolis looking for the Man of Steel himself in order to get him to have lunch with him and his foster brother, he'd have asked just how many drugs you were on before booking it in the other direction. 

 

Then again, last month he didn't really have superpowers...or a foster home full of new siblings that he was finally coming around to. It was the first time in a long time that he actually, genuinely felt welcome somewhere. Darla's constant physical affection, Mary's occasional hair tousle, Pedro's light punches to the arm, even Eugene's ranting whenever he beat the younger boy at Mortal Kombat. They'd quickly risen from people he lived with to his friends, and were on their way even further up to being considered his family.

 

The one that had solidified it for him though, the one that honestly, kept him from running away in the first place, was Freddy. The crutch-wielding superhero nerd with a nearly shattered kneecap and a mouth so wide he could shove both feet inside-- he was his best friend. 

 

Which, wasn't that a weird thought. Billy didn't think he'd ever had a best friend before. When you were on the streets you couldn't afford to look out for anyone else besides yourself; sure, it didn't really stop Billy from pitching in to help some of the other folk that were down on their luck like him, but there was no way he'd have been able to have someone constantly at his side and not feel guilty.....or annoyed.

 

With the Vasquez's though... he didn't have to worry. They had a house with heating and food consistently on the table, Mr. Vasquez was pretty well off with a bat, and if anything major ever happened... well, let's just say that most superheroes don't appreciate their homes being attacked.

 

Shazam shook the thoughts from his head-- he really needed to focus on the task at hand. 

 

He had been there for nearly 10 minutes already and hadn't seen hide or tail of big blue, and he was starting to get discouraged. Maybe Superman was off fighting some threat in Metropolis that he couldn't see? He'd only been around like, half the city, so it was a possibility. The red-clad hero touched down on top of a golden globe, the symbol that sat on top of the publishing company the Daily Planet's building.

 

The man crossed his arms over his chest and looked around, brows furrowed in thought. He decided to take a seat on the massive golden ball, kicking back and looking around. Metropolis was huge- way bigger than Fawcett, so there was no telling where Superman could--

 

"I don't think you're supposed to be up here." 

 

Shazam froze, his muscles tensing before his head suddenly whipped around to put a face to the voice. His eyes widened at the sight of the Man of Steel hovering a few feet away from him, his head slightly cocked and hands resting on his hips. "Not sure if it's trespassing when its a place most people can't get to, but just to be safe, why don't you join me in the air?" the man in blue asked with a small smile.

 

The demigod blinked before coming out of his stupor and joining Superman in the air. "Its- you- you're really him," he said, looking the man up and down before carding a hand through his hair. Superman gave him a soft smile in return.

 

"Yep, its me. I've seen you on Youtube- Red Cyclone, right? Or uh- Captain Thunder?" he asked, brow furrowing a bit in thought. "Still figuring out a name, I take it?" he asked.

 

Shazam blinked, letting out a breathy laugh before rubbing the back of his neck. "Uh- yeah, we were. But I got it figured out now. The name's Shazam," he said, holding out a hand for the Man of Steel to shake. He'd finally managed to be able to say the word without transforming on instinct and realized that he had to recite it, almost like a spell, for it to work. Well, unless his emotions were all over the place, then there was no telling what would happen.

 

Superman smiled and shook his hand firmly before resting his hand back on his hip. "Well, Shazam, is there a reason for your visit to Metropolis? Or are you just sight-seeing?" he asked, watching the hero closely. The raven could sense an underlying threat that laid beneath his words, one that told him he better not be there to make trouble.

 

"I uh- well I was actually looking for you," he said after a moment, chewing on the corner of his lip nervously. Come on, Batson, pull yourself together and just talk to the greatest hero of our generation already!

 

Superman raised an eyebrow in question. "What for? Do you need help with something?" 

 

"Oh uh- n-no, nothing like that, I mean, there's nothing like, attacking Fawcett or anything but I uh-" he swallowed thickly. "Okay, uhm, how do I explain this. You've probably seen the kid with me in the youtube videos, right?" he asked, getting a slow and confused nod in return. "Right, well, uh, that's my...manager, of sorts I guess. Whatever he calls himself. Point is, he's a 13-year-old foster kid who asked me to eat lunch with him." 

 

Superman stayed quiet but gave him an even more confused look. 

 

"Well, I was kind of an ass to him, and uh...well I was hoping to make it up to him. I was gonna eat lunch with him tomorrow and was hoping..." he trailed off, his cheeks tinging slightly pink in embarrassment. How did this get to become so awkward? 

 

"You uh- you don't have to, by any means, but you're Fr- this kid's biggest idol, and it'd mean the world to him if-" 

 

he was suddenly cut off by a chuckle from the Man of Steel. Shazam snapped his mouth shut in confusion, tilting his head slightly as he stared at the Kryptonian. "Shazam, calm down, there's no need to be so nervous," he said with a gentle smile. "I'll make some room tomorrow for lunch and drop by Fawcett. We can meet up, and then you can take me to wherever he is." 

 

Shazam's eyes widened- was he serious?! He shook off his shock and a billion-watt smile appeared on his face. "Thank you so much Superman- you have no idea how much this means," he said, lightning bouncing around his godly form-- a side effect from when he got too excited. 

 

Superman smiled and nodded in return. "Its no problem. I actually have been meaning to talk to you anyway," he said, allowing the man to catch his breath. "I wanted to tell you that if you ever needed any help, not to hesitate in calling us," he told the man clad in red, and getting another wide smile in response. 

 

"Really?! That's awesome!" Shazam said happily, lightning continuing to dance around his muscular form.

 

"Right- well I have work to do, do I'll see you around," Superman said, giving him one more nod before flying off. Billy took a moment to inwardly freak out before rocketing out of the Man of Steel's town and heading back to his own. He wasn't aware of the pleasant surprise on the Kryptonian's face at the sight of his speed. 

 

The next afternoon, Billy found himself being tackled into a hug by his foster brother after school. They walked home together and Freddy gushed about his excitement and told him all sorts of Superman facts he knew (even if he'd already told Billy most of them before). The raven let him babble, shaking his head and throwing an arm around his brother.

 

He could get used to this.

 

- - -

 

Chapter Text

 

- - -

 

"Before I call this League meeting to order, does anyone have anything they want to get off their chest? I'm looking at you, Flash." The man at the head of the long oval table said, glancing at the speedster in the red suit. The brunet in question smirked and shook his head rapidly in response. 

 

"Nope- nothing here, chief. Totally feeling the mode." 

 

"Right- Well, Batman, what about you?" he asked, turning his attention toward the Dark Knight beside him. The raven-haired man stayed quiet, simply shaking his head. "Alright then." 

 

"Superman. Anything to share?" he asked, looking at the half-Kryptonian beside Batman. He gave a wide smile in return and shook his head before moving his cape out from under him and setting it so that he was no longer sitting on it. 

 

"Nope, all good here Cap!" he said happily. Batman rolled his eyes-- even after all these years, he was still as chipper as ever.

 

"Great, we can get down to business then," Captain Marvel finished, looking around the table and the assorted heroes that surrounded him. "First off, the Watchtower has been getting strange readings from Roanoke, magical discharges and fluctuations. We're going to send a scout out, and if necessary, the rest of the League," he said, glancing around. 

 

Flash was currently tapping his foot at an extremely rapid pace as he listened, which in turn was annoying Cyborg and giving the man a twitch- which the Captain honestly wouldn't have thought possible if he hadn't done the same to the man for many, many years.

 

Booster Gold was busy flirting with Wonder Woman, and the blonde was not having it, while Stargirl gave him a reassuring if slightly annoyed look. Aquaman, on the other hand, was busy quietly conversing with an excited Superman over...something. He never could tell with Kaldur.

 

The man sighed, running his fingers through his hair. Meetings were always like this-- the League was a chaotic and messy group, but they were like a family. Brothers and sisters in arms that never failed to have each others' backs, both on and off the battlefield if the little golden sparks currently zapping Booster were anything to go by.

 

Even though they were a smaller group than the original League, they still did pretty well for themselves.

 

Ever since taking up their parents' mantles and revamping the League, things had been stressful for the young adults. Captain Marvel, being not only one of the eldest, but one of the most powerful and with the most hero experience (though that was up for debate if you asked Damien) had been chosen to lead the team.

 

And boy was it tiring.

 

"Alright, everybody calm down. Give me the next five minutes of your time, then you can all go do as you please in the Watchtower," Captain Marvel said, effectively silencing the room. He got back to business, going over the plan and who was going to be their scout (it was Flash. It was always Flash.) and before he knew it his promised five minutes was up. 

 

Everyone got up and left the room, and the Captain was left walking alone to one of what he had deemed as the planning rooms. The raven walked inside and holograms immediately opened up for him, allowing him to go over his notes quietly and in peace. 

 

He hadn't been expecting the metal sliding door to open again and nearly silent feet approach him. The man clad in red looked over his holograms and didn't pay the presence much mind. "Hey babe," he said, sliding one of the holograms away. Captain Marvel glanced back behind him to find Batman-- though, he was wearing an old suit. Captain Marvel raised a brow at his attire.

 

"You feeling nostalgic or something?" he asked with a small grin before walking closer to the Dark Knight. Batman stayed quiet, which made the Captain tilt his head in confusion. Had he done something wrong? He hadn't forgotten anything... so what was with the silent treatment?

 

"Damien you okay?" he asked, reaching out to unmask the man in front of him-- only to have Batman latch onto his arm tightly. "What the- Damien, what the hell?" he asked with a furrowed brow before yanking his arm away.

 

"I'm not Damien." the man said, his low gruff voice feeling like a sudden punch to the gut. Damien didn't sound like that. His voice was never gravelly like this, it was simply low and cold. There was only one man he knew that had a voice like that-- and he was dead.

 

Captain Marvel took a step back, his eyes wide as he stared. "B-Bruce?" he asked, his voice shaky as the tips of his fingers trembled. The Lazarus pits had all been destroyed, he and Damien had made sure of it, the rock could only restore those who still had a pulse, so what was he--

 

"H-How-" he backed up further, glancing at the door as it suddenly opened and Superman and Wonder Woman walked in as well. Only- the Man of Steel looked like he did when Cap was ten- it wasn't Jon, it was his father-- and beside him, it wasn't Cassandra but Diana. He kept taking steps back until his own back was against the wall-- he was trapped.

 

Faces he never thought he'd see again were staring him in the eyes-- and he suddenly couldn't breathe. He felt like a kid again, staring at his heroes and worrying about what they thought of him, if they were proud of him, what they were going to say. His chest grew tight and he couldn't get enough air in. Everything was suffocating-- he was having a panic attack.

 

Batman's eyes widened slightly at the sight of the demigod suddenly clutching his chest with wide eyes as he stared at the trio, and was about to move closer when the door behind them suddenly opened and...another Batman ran in. 

 

This one, however, had a costume that Captain Marvel recognized. Bat emblem encased in a yellow border. The yellow underside of an arched cape. Smooth chin with zero traces of stubble or blemish. Damien kneeled down beside the Captain and tore off his cowl, grabbing the slightly larger man's shoulders and gripping them tightly. Damien stared into his eyes before cupping his face with one hand. 

 

"William. William, you have to breathe. Come on, damnit, breathe. Deep breaths-- there you go. You're a Wayne, act like it." he said, staring into Captain Marvel's cornflower blue eyes with piercing jade ones. Cap was finally beginning to calm down and he shut his eyes, leaning his head back against the wall as he caught his breath. 

 

Damien glanced back at the trio still watching them and sneered. "Father. Superman. Diana." he said snippily before turning back to the demigod. "Power down. You need to rest. You haven't eaten today and I'm going to force feed you if you don't." 

 

Captain Marvel chuckled weakly. "Heh- th-that a promise?" he asked cheekily.

 

Damien rolled his eyes. "Tt. As if. Transform and then we'll talk." he said, sitting back on his knees. The Captain nodded slowly before a light enveloped him. Thunder could be heard echoing throughout the watchtower, but there was no strike. When the light faded, Billy looked nearly the same-- thought he was the slightest bit thinner, wore a red hoodie and faded jeans, and his hair was an absolute mess. 

 

It was striking to see just how much he'd grown up to look like his magical alter ego. Billy let out a breath and stood with the help of Damien. He ran a hand through his hair before glancing at Bruce, Clark, and Diana once more. "I'll-- I'll just leave you to it..." he muttered, walking off and out of the large room to go find something to eat.

 

Damien was right, he really needed to get something in his system.

 

- - -

 

Billy found himself in the dining hall, grabbing himself a burger and sitting down at a table. Now, it wasn't uncommon to see their leader in his mortal form while in the Watchtowerr, but it had been a while since he'd been like this in front of the League. Despite the fact that he, at the ripe old age of 27, looked nearly identical both in and out of costume (minus the magical lightning that clung to him and some of the more muscular features his magical counterpart had) The others still were super happy to see him like this for some reason.

 

Probably cause they knew it meant Damien was making him take an (albeit short) break and he could relax. 

 

Billy was quickly joined by Bart, who pulled off his bright red cowl and smiled at the raven before carding his hand through his sweaty brown hair. "Didn't look like anything major, Cap-i-tan. Zatanna and I took care of it, no sweat," he said before glancing down at his mountain of pizza slices. 

 

It was surprising how much the speedster reminded him of Barry and Wally sometimes. Billy shook his head and caught sight of Courtney and Cassandra coming towards them and he smiled at the women. 

 

Both took a seat and glanced at Bart's plate before continuing their talk. "So B, what made Damien force you to take a break? We haven't seen you in here in weeks." Courtney said, stabbing her fork into her plate of salad. 

 

Billy had completely put the incident off to the side, but her question got his gears grinding again. How were Bruce, Clark, and Diana here? They- they couldn't be. It was impossible unless time travel was involved...and that made things complicated.

 

"Uh- it's nothing, Court," he replied, eating a fry in the hopes the blonde would drop it. He could tell she was about to ask another question when the doors to the hall slammed open. The small group glanced back to find Booster and Skeets in the doorway, gesturing animatedly down the hallway.

 

"Looks like Timmy's in the well," Cassandra said, making Courtney snort. 

 

"That's the most outdated thing I think I've ever heard you say, Cass."

 

Billy pinched the bridge of his nose. "What is it Booster?" he asked, leaning back in his chair. The blonde squawked before bolting over to tug on Billy's arm. "Booster, dude, use your words," he said, growing annoyed. 

 

"Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman-- inside- WATCHTOWER!!!" he yelled, eyes wide as he brought his hands up to his hair and tousled it out of stress. Billy sighed in response- he really thought Damien could handle this mess, but he should have known better than to leave him and his father alone in a room together. 

 

"Yea...I know." The Raven replied, which made the time-traveler pause.

 

"You do?" 

 

"Mhm. Time travel, probably. It's not..." he shut his eyes tightly, hand curling into a fist at his side. "It's not them," he said softly. Billy felt a gentle hand on his shoulder, glancing over to find Courtney giving him an understanding and empathetic look. She knew the survivor's guilt that wracked him whenever he thought about the old League. 

 

He'd never forgiven himself for what had happened. He should have been able to do something.

 

It was supposed to be a routine mission. It was out in space, against someone neither they nor the Green Lantern Corps had ever seen before. They had been doing well at first, taking out the armada that this- this thing had with it, only for everything to go wrong at the last minute. 

 

To this day, he wasn't sure what went wrong. Perfect timing, faulty wiring, he wasn't sure-- he did his best to keep the images out of his mind, but with an eidetic memory it was impossible. He remembered punching a hole through a ship before there was a sudden flash of light. He glanced to his side to find bright beams emitting from the main ship, vaporizing anything that they touched. 

 

One moment, he was watching in horror as the mother ship exploded, casting light over the small area in the vastness of space that the battle took up, swallowing everything within its light and heat. He felt his skin burn and melt away before his bones were vaporized, crying and screaming out in pain before he was suddenly magically put back together. He was stitched back together piece by piece and took a gasping breath as he gained consciousness, floating in the inky darkness.

 

He glanced around, looking for something, anything, but he found himself alone. The ships-- the things they were fighting, his teammates and friends--

 

They were all gone. In an instant, they had been swallowed up and wiped from existence. The only survivor other than himself had been Hal Jordan, but he'd been so broken after the event that immediately retired when they got back to Earth and never looked back. He'd died from medical complications only a few years later and left Billy alone as the sole member of the founding members of the League.

 

Heroes came and went for a while, lending a hand where they could, but it wasn't until Captain Marvel had finally gathered the courage to go back up to the Watchtower and fix the place up with the help of Damien, who by this point, had finally taken up his father's mantle. The children of Earth's greatest heroes banned together, taking up their legacies and allowing their names to live on.

 

Clark's son Jon became Superman, Diana's niece Cass took up the name Wonder Woman. Bart followed in his family's footsteps and became the Flash. Others followed, and with these people at his side, Billy had managed to construct some shadow of what the League once was. 

 

The man shook his head to clear it, glancing up towards where Booster had come from.

 

There was a sudden crash as a Batarang was thrown into the doorframe and stuck there before exploding. Billy stood in an instant. He told Damien about that! He transformed quickly before speeding off into the cloud of fog and dragging Batman out by his cape. Damien struggled against his grip but the Captain held him firmly, walking back over to the table before tossing the man into a seat.

 

"Damien Wayne-- I told you about throwing those damn things inside the watchtower," he lectured, his bright blue eyes turning icy when he looked down at his partner. "I don't give a shit if Bruce is here. Whatever he said to you is nothing that warrants batarangs flying into walls." 

 

Damien sneered at him, crossing his arms over his chest. Billy swore that sometimes the man acted like he was still 10 rather than 25, and wondered just how he put up with him as a husband for the past 5 years. Cassandra would probably say something about it being true love, but it was more likely that they were both too stubborn.

 

"You are Batman, so act like it. Stand up, straighten your cowl, and set an example." Billy said after a moment before suddenly catching a Batarang that had previously been about to bounce off his shoulder.

 

He glanced back to find Diana, Clark, and Bruce standing in the doorway, and for some reason, Clark had a small smile on his face. Bruce looked...annoyed, and Diana looked distrustful of everything around her.

 

"Never thought I'd see the day that you're the most mature out of all of us, Billy," Superman said with a soft chuckle. Gods, he hadn't heard that voice in years. It was warm and parental and made memories flash through his head-- he shook his head to come out of his stupor before dropping the Batarang down on the table.

 

"Yea, me neither. But you can't really act like a kid at 27," he said, glancing back at Damien pointedly before making eye contact with the three visitors. The sight of them still made his chest pound and his fist curl up instinctively.

 

All he wanted to do was run up to them and embrace them, to hug each one tightly and never let go-- but this wasn't technically his Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. At least, not yet.

 

He was almost certain these were past versions of the big three, what with both Superman and Batman wearing older versions of their suits. Wonder Woman didn't have her shield on her, but Captain Marvel wasn't sure if that was because she had already lost it, or just simply didn't have it on her whenever they were...sent here.

 

"Damien, go find Jon, and keep him away from the dining hall. We really don't need a meltdown," Cap said, glancing at the Dark Knight behind him. The man in question scoffed and stood, leaving the room quietly with a glance towards his father. "Bart, take Booster and go check up on any anomalies in the speed force. There might be something there that'll tell us when these three come from." 

 

The brunet nodded, giving the trio a smirk before grabbing Booster's arm and zipping off and out of the room. Captain Marvel let out a sigh, running a hand through his hair. "Right. Let's talk then, shall we?" he asked, glancing at Cass and Courtney behind him before looking at the big three.

 

"Take a seat."

 

 

- - -