"So this is your new place?" Vic Stone raised an eyebrow as he looked around skeptically.
"I know, isn't it great?" Billy Batson grinned excitedly as he carefully hung a framed copy of the newspaper article with the Justice League's first appearance after the invasion on the wall near his mattress.
Vic looked carefully at the faded mattress in the corner, stained covers thin enough that he could almost see through them. "Tell me again why you decided to leave the Vasquez’s and move into this dump."
"I was taking up to much space," while the tone was casual the way he violently threw his schoolbooks on the ground said otherwise.
Vic raised his eyebrow again. While he hadn't actually met the Vasquez’s in person he had done enough research on them to know that they were good people and not the type to say such horrible things.
Billy flushed and mumbled something.
"I'm sorry but you're going to have to repeat that." Vic crossed his arms and waited.
"Fine," Billy sighed. "They wanted to take in a little girl with autism and ms but they didn't have enough room so I figured if I ran away that they could take her in."
Vic smiled sadly. That was classic Billy. He acted like an immature jerk at times but, deep down there was a good person that shone through occasionally. "I'm sorry," his voice was sincere and he would have offered a hug but Billy was doing that thing where his body emitted random jolts of electricity that hurt plus he wasn't really a touching person no matter the form he was in.
"It's fine," Billy shrugged, muttering underneath his breath, small sparks flying from his hands as his things began rearranging themselves.
"I will never get used to that," Vic shook his head, just barely hiding a wince when he saw Billy carefully slide a picture of the Vasquez’s under the flat pillow.
"I like magic," Billy smiled. "I’m going to use it to fix this place up a bit. I found a ton of magic books in the ruins of the Rock of Eternity and they had a lot of cool spells in them. Shazam's going to check them out later and make sure they're safe."
"That's a good idea," Vic nodded in agreement. He hadn't met Shazam often as he was a much older, much more serious version of his friend who preferred peace and solitude to the noise of the world.
"If it makes you feel any better he's not happy about me running away either but he did help set it up so that it looked like a mix up in paperwork and I was getting moved somewhere else."
"You are welcome to stay at the watchtower: there's plenty of room for everybody to stay there if they wanted," Vic checked the support column he was standing next to. It wasn't perfect by any means but it would suffice until someone accidentally flew into it. Vic gave it three days tops before it would have to be replaced.
Billy sighed and rolled his eyes, not even looking in Vic's direction. "Sooner or later they would find out about me. If my age isn't enough to freak them out then the fact that I've got two other people living in my head would."
No matter how much he wanted to Vic couldn't exactly argue against that logic. Batman was overly paranoid and the fact that most of his villains were insane didn’t help any. There was a 75% chance that he would simply treat Shazam the way he did the Joker and the others…they would be uneasy and what trust Shazam had earned would be long gone.
"See even you agree," Billy took Vic’s silence for what it was: an agreement.
"So are you going to keep going to school?" Vic changed the subject.
"Yes," Billy sighed as he pulled off his sneakers. "Shazam said I had to."
Vic nodded in approval. "I know you don't see the point since you can use magic but it'll come in handy one day when you're older."
"Don't you start," Billy whined, taking a step back. "Shazam!" Almost instantly he changed into his super powered form, the restless energy becoming more visible. "Time to fix this place up."
"So have you picked a name yet?" Vic sat down cautiously in the only chair, expecting it to break at any second.
"I like Captain Marvel but Marvel Comics has a trademark on it so you can just stick with Shazam," he flew to one of the holes in the roof and began chanting.
"I still think you should consider telling at least one of them and then tell Batman later after you've proved you can be trusted."
"No way, man," the hole in the ceiling began fixing itself. "Maybe one day," he conceded. "But for now I'm perfectly happy with the way things are."
"Okay," Vic nodded, knowing it was the best he was going to get. "Don’t forget we have a meeting in an hour."
"Another one?" Shazam groaned as he flew to a different hole.
"Apparently," Vic wasn't any happier. Batman took great pleasure in holding meetings almost every single day where everyone reported on how things were going in their individual cities. No one else liked them either; Wonder Woman didn't see the point and even Superman looked bored after the first few minutes. It was pure torture for Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam and Cyborg.
"I swear he's trying to brainwash us," Shazam grumbled as he flew over to Vic, just narrowly missing the unstable support column.
"What are you doing?" Vic asked in amusement as Shazam touched him, a warm spark flowing through his circuits.
"Memorizing your DNA structure so I can add you to the magic wards I'll be placing around the place so it doesn't treat you like an intruder," came the reply.
"Thank you," Vic was truly appreciative. It meant a lot that they trusted him enough to do this.
"Not a problem," Shazam pulled back and turned his attention to the walls. A mixture of Latin and Greek and some other unidentifiable languages flowed out of his mouth and magic from his fingers. The entire building was glowing as magic seeped into it.
"So what wards did you put in place?" Vic was genuinely curious.
"One for concealment and another one for defense against intruders. I'll add more later but it'll be enough to keep out any low-key intruders for now and you will be allowed to see and enter the building."
"Awesome," Vic reluctantly stood up. "We should get going; I don’t feel like getting another lecture on responsibility from Batman."
"Me neither," Shazam muttered.
"You do have money for food and clothes right?" Vic was mentally going over his old clothes to see if he had anything that might fit Billy as he no longer needed clothes.
"Yes, mom," Shazam rolled his eyes. "I got a job working down at the docks whenever they get a shipment in and Billy does odd jobs whenever he can."
Batman gets an unpleasant surprise when he confronts Shazam during the meeting. Superman reluctantly offers to help Batman uncover the truth behind their teammate.
Shazam and Cyborg were the first two to arrive, Batman and Superman not counting as they had been on monitor duty and were already waiting in the conference room. Green Lantern and Flash came next, in the middle of an argument about football. Wonder Woman was the last to arrive, offering no apology as she slid into her seat. The pleased smile on her face and quiet humming suggested that she had found herself a battle and quite possibly killed a few people. Batman had tried to lecture her on the importance of all lives including criminals but she hadn't paid him any attention.
"Everything seems to be pretty quiet," Superman reported. "Bizzaro stopped by to visit and broke a few Windows but that was it. He'll probsbly show up in another month or so but ever since he found Bizzaroworld he's been doing a lot better."
"The Rogues robbed three banks and the Pied Piper hypnotized the rest of them into throwing an impromptu Pride parade after Captain Boomerang made one too many derogatory remarks. Zoom tried to break out of jail but had a run in with Grodd before he got too far," Flash looked proud of himself for remembering to speak slow enough for them to understand.
"Coast City is all clear. Had a few run-ins with Sinestro in space but that was all," Green Lantern yawned.
Batman nodded in approval before speaking himself. "The Riddler broke out of Arkham, robbed a bank then checked himself back in after reading his horoscope which said he was about to meet a foul end. I'm still not really sure why he believes in that hocus pocus." The look on Batman's face made it clear that he wasn't a fan of the supernatural whatsoever.
"I have a question," Green Lantern raised his hand.
"What?" Superman asked warily. They had all learned early on to dread questions from both Green Lantern and Shazam.
"Why does he get to do that?"
They all followed Green Lantern's finger to Shazam. His legs were folded under him as he floated in the air, a vacant look on his face as restless lightning danced up and down his body.
Batman heaved a sigh. "Shazam!" He snapped. No response. "Shazam!" He tried again. After receiving no reply Batman snarled then got up and stalked around the table to Shazam.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Vic warned.
Batman, being the stubborn Gothamite that he was, didn't listen to Vic’s warning and grabbed hold of Shazam's arm. Less than a second later Batman screamed and convulsed as the electricity crackling over Shazam's body traveled down Batman's instead. Batman fell to the ground, twitching as the electricity began to dissipate.
Vic looked at the prone figure on the floor and shook his head. "I told you not to touch him."
Green Lantern and Flash began laughing hysterically while Wonder Woman sniggered.
"And on that note this meeting is adjourned," Superman stood up and left the room, chuckling as he did so. Wonder Woman followed, her laughter intermingling with Superman's.
"Is the meeting over already?" Shazam sounded confused as he floated down until his feet were actually on the floor. "We didn’t even get to Fawcett City or the problems that occur worldwide."
"Batman touched you," Vic informed his friend, "after I told him not to."
"Oops," Shazam laughed nervously. "Sorry about that."
"So you were paying attention," Flash looked slightly surprised.
"Of course," Shazam sounded offended.
"You just didn't look like you were," Green Lantern may have been a cocky bastard but even he knew the value of not pissing off a magic user that could go toe to toe with Superman.
Shazam puffed up with pride. "It's one of my best abilities. I've been able to do that since I was little. Nothing pisses off grownups like a kid refusing to pay attention but knows what was going on so you can't punish them."
"Oh I bet your teachers loved you," Flash muttered while Vic and Green Lantern bit back grins.
"They couldn't stand me," Shazam sniggered. "If the meeting's over then I need to get going. I've got some magic artifacts I need to track down."
"Want some help?" Vic offered.
"Sure!" The two left, chattering about what artifacts were missing and how Shazam planned to locate them.
"Don’t even think about it," Flash grabbed Green Lantern’s arm as he tried to sneak out. "We have monitor duty now."
"Aw man," Green Lantern pouted. "I was hoping you'd forget."
"I hate magic," Batman groaned as he sat up.
"Cyborg did warn you," Green Lantern pointed out.
"But you didn't listen," Superman added as he reentered the room.
"And on that note we're gone," Flash practically ran from the room, still dragging Green Lantern.
"You know better than to antagonize magic users, especially ones that have never been anything but helpful," Superman grabbed Batman's hand and pulled him to his feet.
"It just irritates me that I can't find out anything about him. I figured out who you are as well as everyone else but not him," Batman scowled. "If I don’t know who he is then I can't figure out his strengths and weaknesses. And if I don’t know his weaknesses I won't know how to take him out if he ever turns on us."
Superman looked at him for a long moment then let out a sigh. "Tell you what: I'll go to Fawcett Cty myself and see if I can figure out anything."
"Will you keep me updated?"
Superman hesitated. "Only if I decide that he's a threat or I get permission from him. For what it’s worth I trust him. He's a bit immature but he genuinely seems to want to help."
"That's what they all say," Batman muttered.
"Has anyone ever told you that you're overly paranoid?" The two fell into step as they headed for the zeta tubes.
"All the time," Batman sighed. "My butler told me that before I left this morning."
"He sounds like a smart man; you should probably listen to him."
Dr. Sivana believes he has found the perfect thing to destroy the Justice League: a legendary being known as Eclipso. Lex Luthor doesn't really care-he just wants to enjoy his day off with Mercy Graves who can worry enough for the both of them.
Unlike comic books the first meeting between Dr. Sivana and Lex Luthor didn’t take place in some abandoned warehouse owned by a dummy corporation but in one of Fawcett City’s three fancy hotels.
Dr. Sivana sat stiffly in a plush armchair, a half finished Scotch on the table next to him. The plaid suit he wore did nothing to hide his overly large ears and misshapen head.
In contrast Luthor practically lounged on the cheaply made bed, a margarita in one hand and the TV remote in the other as he browsed channels. The discarded shoes and suit jacket spoke volumes about his comfort level: although the armed and highly trained Amazon warrior standing on the other side of the door could have had something to do with that as well.
"Have you ever watched Jaws? It's a classic," Luthor took a sip of his drink as he watched a few moments of the movie before rejecting It.
"No," Sivana grunted.
"You really should."
"We have business to discuss," Sivana hissed.
"Oh fine," Luthor rolled his eyes and sat the remote down before turning to face Sivana. "Why exactly did you ask for this meeting anyways?"
"While it’s true that in the business world we are enemies outside of the business world we have something In common."
Luthor raised an eyebrow. "And what would that be exactly?"
"Besides being evil we have super-powered enemies that are now part of the Justice League."
"I’m not evil," Luthor corrected. "I am merely a powerful businessman that occasionally does business with the world's…less savory characters. As for our enemies mine is an alien and yours an overgrown child that possesses magic. They couldn’t be more different."
Sivana dismissed Luthor's observation with a wave of his hand. "While that may be true I have a way that could not only take them both down but also the rest of their pesky little friends."
Luthor's other eyebrow joined the first as he finally directed all of his attention to Sivana. "Do tell."
The grin on Sivana’s face only made him look demented Instead of menacing. "Have you ever heard of Eclipso?"
"Can't say that I have," Luthor took a sip of his margarita.
"Not surprising," Sivana sniffed. "Only a select few outside of the magic community have ever heard of him. He was once a divine being; the Angel of Vengeance until he succumbed to the darkness and was replaced by the Spectre. He is virtually omnipotent which makes it nearly impossible to put him out of commission and he can possess even the strongest of beings, human or alien."
Luthor had straightened by this point, his eyes shining and a wary look on his face. "And how do you propose we gain his help?"
Instead of saying anything Sivana tossed him a folder, the pictures inside sliding out.
Luthor opened the folder, perusing through its contents. "The Black Diamond," he muttered aloud.
"The story goes that when he was cast from heaven his soul was bound to the Black Diamond so that whoever owned it would have complete and total control of Eclipso. It’s been lost for ages but it was recently found at a dig site In Egypt near the tomb of Teth Adam or Black Adam If you prefer."
"Looks like It's coming to America next week and will be on display at one of my museums," Luthor mused.
"If we could get out hands on it then we could use Eclipso to destroy the Justice league and all our problems would be solved," Sivana was practically cackling with glee at the mere thought of it.
"Yes they would," Luthor agreed. "Since it's one of my museums and everyone knows that we're rivals I think you should have some of your men steal the Diamond and several other jewels so no one figures out which jewel we really wanted and just to keep everyone guessing I'll have some of my men rob one of your holdings as well."
Sivana scowled. "I suppose that would make sense," he said grudgingly.
"Excellent," Luthor grinned.
"I'll contact you when we have retrieved the Diamond and it is in my possession," Dr. Sivana stood up then headed towards the door.
"Sounds good," Luthor waved his hand in dismissal as Sivana left then returned his attention to the television. "I've got the rest of the day off; I might as well enjoy it."
“Is everything all right, sir?” Mercy Graves asked as she came into the room. Despite being a second generation Amazon she had grown tall and muscular like her grandmother no doubt looked. Her father had born on Themsycira and then cast into the sea immediately afterwards where a fisherman who had been thrown way off course by a storm had happened upon the baby and taken him in.
“No need to be so formal,” Luthor chided.
“Of course, Lex,” Mercy smiled fondly at her boss as she sat on the bed next to him. “So what did the troll want?”
Luthor snorted in amusement at her rather apt description before handing her the folder. “He wants to use the Black Diamond to summon a being known as Eclipso and use him to destroy the Justice League.”
Mercy looked up from the folder, her lips and face pulled downward by a worried frown. “This will not end well,” she warned. “There are consequences to summoning beings this powerful: you may not be able to control him.”
“That’s what I have you for,” Lex teased.
“I can’t protect you from everything,” she said sadly. “I’ll get in touch with some of our sorcerers and see if there’s anything they can come up that can help us keep control of Eclipso. I’ll also talk to our legal department and have my boys standing by just in case.” ‘My boys’ referred to the fifteen punks that formed her gang before Lex hired her. They were all skilled fighters (not as skilled as her obviously) and loyal to the bitter end. Although their loyalty ran closer to her than it did to Lex but as long as Mercy was alive and devoted to him then they would be as well.
Lex grabbed the cell phone out of her hands and put it on the nightstand. “Later,” he said in response to her glare. “For now we’re going to enjoy our day off.”
“By watching cheesy movies?” she raised an eyebrow.
“Most likely some greasy, cheap pizza and soda,” he added as she hadn’t said anything.
Mercy sighed then kicked off her shoes. “Fine but I want pepperoni.”
While trying to find out more about Shazam Clark Kent has a run-in with Billy Batson, a local homeless kid who knows more about Shazam than he's willing to let on
Clark Kent emerged from the phone booth, straightening his brown tie as he looked around his surroundings. He had only been here a few times before so he made sure to catalogue his surroundings before picking a direction.
Fawcett City had an air of innocence about it which was rather misleading as it also had the highest rate of homeless people within the USA. Add to that the fact that most of Shazam's enemies were (literally) talking monsters it was a wonder that the man was as cheerful as he was.
Personally, Clark had no issues with Shazam. It was like he had told Batman: the man was a bit immature but helpful and eager to please. Despite his looks Clark suspected that he was closer to Vic’s age than his judging by how well they got along. But he had promised Bruce and he would take a look around if only so he didn’t have to endure another round of 'I need to know his weakness so we can take him down should he turn on us'.
Raised voices caught his attention and he turned down an alleyway, eyes narrowing when he caught sight of a group of teenagers shoving a boy who appeared to be about 13 against a wall.
"Where's your money you little rat?" The ringleader demanded.
"I already told you, I don’t have any," the boy insisted.
"Then you can pay us another way," one of the older boys leered, his eyes scanning over the boy's body.
Having heard more than enough Clark stepped forward, putting on his best scowl. "Leave the kid alone."
"What's it to you?" The ringleader sneered as his cohorts began to back up.
"Do you want me to call the cops?" Clark crossed his arms.
"Don’t think this is over," the ringleader hissed as he and his gang fled.
"Are you alright?" Clark approached the only remaining teenager.
"I'm fine," he glowered, straightening his red sweater. "Thanks for the help though," he added grudgingly.
"Not a problem," Clark tried smiling and got a small half quirk in return. "I’m Clark Kent by the way; what's your name?"
The kid looked at him suspiciously before answering. "Billy Batson. What's a reporter from Metropolis doing here?"
"Glad to know that I'm famous," Clark quipped as he settled on a half truth. "I'm doing a story on homeless kids and since this city has the highest rates of homeless people I thought I'd start here."
Billy eyed him suspiciously before snorting in derision. "And just why do you or anyone else care about us?"
The 'us' confirmed Clark's suspicion as he said, "Because everyone, regardless of who they are or what they've done, deserves to have a home and a family. If I can help by making people aware of your situation then that's what I'll do."
Billy peered at him through his black bangs before pushing the hair out of his face. "What exactly do I get for helping you?"
"Lunch" Clark said promptly. "Maybe some cash as well if the info is good. I'll keep your name and picture out of the article if you want."
Billy considered Clark's offer before nodding his head. "That sounds reasonable enough" he agreed. "As long as you don't report me to social services" he added as an afterthought.
"I won't," Clark promised. "Anything good around here?"
Billy nodded eagerly. "There's a diner not far from here that has the best waffles."
Clark checked his watch, confirming it was still technically breakfast time for most restaurants them grinned. "That sounds great. Take me to your leader."
Billy burst out laughing, his entire face lighting up. He was a fairly good looking child when he wasn't scowling. He didn't look like a homeless child; his face was rounded, not gaunt and his clothes were fairly decent, meaning that if he was homeless it was something that had happened recently. The wariness in his blue eyes told a different story however as did the way he carried himself as if itching for a fight.
"Do you go to school?" Clark asked.
"For now," Billy shrugged. "I'm not making any promises about next year but I do plan to finish the year out if I can. Turning 18 and not having to worry about social workers won't do me any good if I can't figure out how to get an id and a job."
"Very true," Clark was willing to admit that he was surprised this kid had given any thought to his future beyond today. Hal had enough trouble trying to figure out what he wanted to do right now let alone in a few years.
“Shazam said he'd help me if he could though," Billy added then let out a small squeak when he realized what he'd said.
"You know Shazam?" Clark raised an eyebrow in surprise.
Billy had a deer caught in the headlights expression as he mumbled, "Maybe. I mean a lot of us homeless kids know him. He brings food and stuff when he can and sometimes he helps us with our homework if he's not too busy."
"That's very nice of him," Clark wasn’t overly surprised. He had noticed that Shazam always tried to sneak out extra food and medical supplies when he thought no one was watching.
"We don't usually accept charity but he uhh, he said that he had been in our situation before so it's ok if he does it." Billy stopped as something occurred to him and looked at Clark, panic written all over his face. "You won't put that in your article will you?"
"Of course not," Clark assured him. "Cross my heart and hope to die."
Billy appeared slightly mollified and happily pointed out the diner.
Clark followed the boy, filing away the new info he had gathered about Shazam. Batman probably wouldn't be getting that piece, he had promised Billy after all.
Once inside Billy claimed a booth next to the spacious windows and as Clark slid into the other side a waitress appeared, handing both of them thick menus. "Do y'all know what you want to drink?" She asked.
"I'll take an iced tea," Clark told her.
"And you?" She turned to Billy.
"Coke please, no ice," Billy looked at Clark who nodded and he relaxed minutely. "He doesn't want the special," he informed the waitress.
Clark shot him a confused look even as the waitress sighed. "If you're sure, Billy. I'll be back in a few minutes with your drinks."
"Do I really want to know what the special is?" Clark asked once she had left.
Billy flushed. "The special means that I'm in danger and she'll add belladonna to your food. Not enough to kill you but it will make you sick and while you're throwing up I'll have a chance to slip out and get away."
Clark blinked. "That's certainly an interesting way to get people out of danger," he admitted.
"She and Shazam came up with it. He gave her the belladonna and showed her the correct dosages so she wouldn't accidentally kill somebody."
Billy was about to say something else but before he could Clark held up a hand. "Let me guess-you don't want that in the papers either."
Billy grinned sheepishly. "Sorry I haven't been able to give you much help so far," he apologized
"It’s all right, besides if the waffles are as good as you say it'll be well worth it."
"They are," Billy promised.
After they placed their orders (2 plates of waffles, sausage and bacon and coffee for Clark and milk for Billy) Clark began his line of questioning, taking notes in his handy notebook. He literally had two dozen more in his car along with an entire box of ink pens and a disposable camera just in case he needed a picture taken and Jimmy wasn't with him.
Billy's story was all too common: abandoned at birth and spending his life moving from foster home to foster home. He had run away at 7 and spent several months living on the streets before being picked up by the police and put back into the system. His last foster home had been the only decent one that he mentioned and he had ran away from there because they wanted to take in another kid but couldn't with him there. That explained why he didn't look homeless quite yet. His goal was stay in school for as long as he could. Shazam had offered to play ' guardian' for awhile; apparently he did that for a couple of homeless kids that still attended school.
"And the teachers don't recognize him?" Clark was surprised.
Billy shook his head. "He uses magic to disguise himself," he explained.
That certainly made sense and Clark said as much before getting a refill on his coffee and ordering mixed berry cheesecake for the both of them. He also had the waitress box up what was left of their food so Billy could take it home and eat it later.
"Thank you for the food, Mr. Kent. It was really good," Billy said once they were standing on the sidewalk in front of the diner.
Clark smiled down at him. "I'm glad you liked it and thank you for the info you gave me. Hopefully this will raise awareness of situations like yours and maybe more good people will be willing to help."
"Maybe," Billy sounded rather doubtful but waved cheerfully at Clark before sprinting off in the opposite direction they had come from.
Clark watched him go with a smile then turned and headed back towards the phone booth. He had an article to write.
Shazam gets a cold and connects a few dots
“Why does the Wizard continue to send a child to fight his battles instead of coming himself?" Black Adam demanded, throwing yet another punch which Shazam easily dodged.
"How the hell should I know!" Truthfully Shazam was curious about that himself. He had tried asking several times but the remnant of the Wizard that remained in his mind and very rarely took over would not answer. Surely if the guy could create a separate consciousness and live in Billy's head (occasionally manifesting his own form) then he should have no trouble whipping up a body and taking on Black Adam.
"You are his champion so you should know," Black Adam countered even as he got ready to cast a spell.
"Not really my choice," Shazam snapped, bracing himself for whatever was in store for him as Black Adam cast the spell.
A bright light blinded him so he hastily covered his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something when he yelped in surprise as cold water hit him. He opened his eyes long enough to see that he was in a large body of water before something grabbed hold of him and pulled him below.
Instinctively Shazam kicked at it even as he began gathering lightning in one hand, enabling him to see what had hold of him. It was an octopus creature, its head and upper torso looking human while the bottom half was nothing but tentacles. Judging by the large bouncing breasts it was obviously female and very unhappy to have him in her territory. He punched her with his fist of lightning and watched in satisfaction as she shrieked in pain before swimming away as fast as she could.
"You have got to be kidding me," he groaned when he saw half a dozen more swimming towards him.
"Where's Shazam?" Batman demanded when he walked into the monitor room and saw only Cyborg.
"I don't know," Vic shrugged. "He was supposed to be here over an hour ago but I'm not getting any response when I try to call him."
As if on cue lightning cracked and then a soaking wet Shazam materialized in the middle of the room. "I hate Black Adam," he grumbled. "Sorry I'm late but I got stuck in a magical lake with octopi creatures. Half of them wanted to bear my children and the rest wanted to feast on my flesh."
Batman blinked and wondered if he was supposed to take that seriously or not. Just as he opened his mouth to scold the magic user Shazam sneezed and one of the computers exploded, flames hissing as Vic tried to put it out.
"I thought you couldn't get sick," Vic asked in confusion as he finally put out the fire.
Shazam shrugged. "It was a magical lake and some magic can affect me."
"Lovely," Batman groaned as another sneeze turned two computers into dancing flowers.
"Well you can't go back to earth until you're better," Vic sighed.
"Goody," Shazam looked as excited as Batman felt.
"Sorry but we can't risk you accidentally destroying anything because you have a cold," Vic patted his friend on the shoulder in consolation.
"And what about the watchtower?" Batman scowled. "Not all of us can survive without breathing."
"I put some basic magical spells on the watchtower so this won't destroy it," Shazam assured him before letting out another sneeze.
Vic carefully felt the pink afro on his head and sighed. "Since it’s a magical cold will it heal faster?" he asked hopefully.
Thankfully Shazam nodded. "It'll go away in a couple of hours."
"That's good," Batman said through gritted teeth as a disco ball appeared on the ceiling.
Two hours later Shazam's cold had yet to let up. Hal and Flash had not been very thrilled when a sneeze turned them into very buxom versions of themselves.
Superman had laughed until he became a white dog that could fly. Shazam had dubbed him Krypto even as he frowned at the older hero muttering about a magical signature. Batman was now a bat and Diana had not appreciated the pink frilly dress and old fashioned hairstyle she was now sporting.
Other than the afro Vic hadn't been affected although most of the computer systems and furniture had morphed into living, singing creatures.
"I can't wait until everything's back to normal," Hal grumbled as she crossed her arms.
"I don't know," Flash looked down. "I think I'm starting to get used to this body."
"Well don't," Hal snapped. "Once he's no longer sick he's going to turn all of us back to normal."
"It's not just the cold," Shazam sniffed. "Magic itself is anxious. Something bad's going to happen soon, I can feel it."
"Wonderful," Diana groaned.
Shazam let out his loudest sneeze yet and smoke filled the room. Seconds later it cleared, the Justice League members having been returned to normal. "All better," he said cheerfully.
"Yes!" Hal cheered as he began checking his body to make sure that everything had returned.
"You didn't change," Batman pointed out.
Flash shrugged. "I honestly don't mind this body. In fact I think I like it."
Shazam poked the speedster then said, "Since he wanted to keep this form he was able to retain it and can now change forms at will."
"Really?" Flash blinked then blurred before reappearing as a guy. "Cool."
"I am very confused," Diana frowned.
Batman heaved a sigh. "I'll explain it to you."
"This ought to be interesting," Superman commented.
As the other heroes listened to Batman Shazam frowned and inclined his head before stepping into the hallway, Vic behind him.
"What's wrong?" Vic asked.
"I think Bats and Superman are trying to figure out my secret identity," Shazam frowned.
"Honestly I wouldn't be surprised," Vic shrugged. "But what makes you think so?"
Shazam looked around quickly before whispering in Vic's ear, "Superman interviewed Billy today after conveniently saving him from a bully."
Taking careful notice of how he had said Billy instead of him Vic concluded he was probably talking to the middle personality before saying, "That doesn't mean he knows who you are-you do live near the zeta tube after all."
"Fair enough," Shazam sighed. "I should probably get going now: I've got a lot of homework to do tonight. See you tomorrow," Shazam waved as he exited through the zeta tube.
"My life is so complicated," Vic sighed before deciding to retreat to his room rather than listen to Batman and the others explain transgender and gender fluid to Diana.
Luthor and Sivana set their plan into motion by summoning Eclipso
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Why do I have to wear this ridiculous costume?" Sivana snapped. He was wearing a long brown robe that had obviously been meant for someone shorter.
"Because we want Eclipso to recognize us as his masters," Luthor reminded him. He was also wearing a robe although his fit better due to the several inches he had on Sivana. Mercy stood just behind him, arms folded behind her back. In contrast she wore a red dress that stopped mid-thigh and a long black coat and boots. Her long blond hair had been braided and dark sunglasses were perched on her nose. Although she was a no nonsense woman and possessed very little jewelry a golden pentagram hung around her neck and matched her earrings and bracelets. Lex wore a matching necklace as well as bracelets.
The right side up pentagram would protect them from getting possessed especially as they had been blessed by a priest that used his magical abilities strictly for the protection of others. Sivana had no use for such 'trinkets' as he called them and neither Mercy nor Lex cared enough to insist.
The sorcerers performing the summoning ceremony had far too much confidence in themselves, at least according to Mercy and her boys. Fortunately the ceremony didn't require a lot of magical power (Mercy could have done it herself but Lex had insisted on finding someone else to do it just in case things went wrong) and anyone more skilled might have actually been capable of stealing control and destroying them.
Mercy had her boys standing by outside in case of an emergency but she doubted that they would be needed. She was confident in her ability to protect Lex. Sivana could look after himself, she thought derisively.
"Silence," one of the sorcerers ordered, shrinking back a little when the three of them glared at him. "Please," he added as an afterthought.
Once they had acquiesced to his demands he turned back to his compatriots as they began chanting. Mercy looked pained at their stupidity as they hadn't even bothered make sure that the magic circles were drawn right or that the pronunciation of the incantations was correct. She stepped closer to Luthor as the circles began to light up and a figure appeared in the center of the group.
"Who dares to summon Eclipso?" a growl emanated from the figure as it became more solid. He appeared to be Luthor’s height with pointed ears and a blue and red stocking cap on his head. His face was blue on one half and flesh colored on the other, each looking like a perfect half-moon. His clothing also appeared rather old-fashioned and jester like as it mirrored his face.
'We do," Luthor said as he and Sivana stepped forward.
Eclipso sneered at them. "What could puny humans such as yourselves offer me, the god of revenge? You certainly can't offer me vengeance on God, the one who threw me out nor can you help me wipe out mankind."
"We seek revenge on the ones who stand in our way of global domination," Luthor answered.
Eclipso raised an eyebrow. "The two of you are trying to take over the world? Hmm. Perhaps mankind is more ambitious than I had given them credit for."
"Enough!" Sivana snapped. "We hold the Black Diamond and it controls you so you'd better shut up and listen to us!"
"I don't care for your attitude," Eclipso scowled.
"Ignore my colleague; he has no people skills to speak of." Luthor ignored Sivana’s squawks of outrage and continued speaking. "Seeing as how we possess the Black Diamond you are required to answer to us. However, I see no reason for this to get ugly. After you finish the task we give you then we will set you free."
"I did not agree to this!" Sivana howled.
"Mr. Luthor is talking," Mercy’s hand Clamped down on Sivana’s shoulder. "Once he finishes or you are addressed then you may speak but not before then."
Sivana wanted nothing more than to kick her but reconsidered. The momentary satisfaction he felt would not be worth the inevitable pain and possible death. He'd heard the stories of what happened to Luthor’s last business associate that had slapped her on the ass. He was now a monk living in Tibet and missing a hand.
"What do you want me to do?" Eclipso asked. "I May agree to your terms after i know the full extent of your plans."
"We need you to take down the Justice League," Luthor handed Eclipso a file. "They are the so called heroes of this world. There are seven of them: Superman, he's an alien. Wonder Woman is from Themsycira, Cyborg is half-man and half-machine. Batman has no superpowers and Green Lantern had a power ring which is limited only by his will power. Shazam-"
He was cut off by Eclipso who snarled, his face twisted by anger and hatred. "That pesky wizard is still around?! No wonder you needed my help."
This…could work in their favor, Mercy mused. Maybe.
“Wait a minute,” Eclipso frowned as he pulled out some of the pictures. “This isn’t Shazam; it must be another one of his champions. Oh well. They’re still fun to torture even if they’re almost impossible to kill,” he smiled fondly.
“You mean I can’t kill the Big Red Cheese?” Sivana looked beyond furious at the thought. “That’s not fair!”
Mercy rolled her eyes. She had cautioned Lex against using Sivana for particularly this very reason: the man (if he could even be called that) was an overly dramatic person complete with temper tantrums and nervous breakdowns. The only reason there were even any stockholders left was most likely due to his undeniable brilliance and the fact that they were genuinely scared of him. Mercy had met his children and felt an immense amount of pity for them all, especially Beautia who was a good-hearted creature that devoted most of her time to raising her three younger siblings.
Eclipso looked as annoyed as Mercy felt as he glared at Sivana and said, “I didn’t say that it was impossible to kill him only that it was difficult. His champions are always beyond difficult to kill, especially in god form. They possess a human form and a god form which they can turn into at will. If they aren’t killed then both forms can last for an eternity. It’s easier to kill the human form but it’s even more difficult to find as it doesn’t usually resemble the god form at all.”
“That explains a lot,” Lex frowned. “He acts like a child but I always just assumed that he had brain damage or something but you’re saying that he may actually be a child after all.”
“That’s correct,” Eclipso nodded. “As long as they can say the name of the wizard their age doesn’t matter.”
“Wonderful,” Lex groaned even as a frown appeared on Mercy’s face. They were villains true but both she and Lex drew the line at killing kids.
“This will be a challenge,” Sivana chuckled, rubbing his hands gleefully.
“Superman’s weakness is magic and kryptonite,” Lex informed Eclipso. “Shazam is fair game but if you absolutely have to attack him you are not allowed to do it when he is in human form.”
“Hey!” Sivana snapped. “He’s my villain, not yours.”
Mercy squeezed Sivana’s shoulder tightly. “You will treat Mr. Luthor with respect or you can lose your tongue. If you wish to kill Shazam you can do it on your own time but I warn you, if you try to kill him before this partnership is over I will break every bone in your body and grind them into a fine powder which I will sprinkle on my supper. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Sivana growled through gritted teeth. Once Mercy had removed her hand he winced before rubbing at his shoulder. He was definitely going to have a bruise there.
“If you require anything from us let us know,” Lex ordered.
“I doubt you can help me but I’ll go ahead and get started,” Eclipso grinned then disappeared in a plume of smoke.
“Well this wasn’t fun,” Sivana grumbled as he left, the sorcerers having already slipped out.
“Keep an eye on him,” Lex ordered once Sivana had disappeared.
“Already on it,” Mercy pulled out her phone. “I’ll have the boys follow him and make sure he doesn’t try to do anything stupid. Should I contact Spec and have him see if he can learn Shazam’s identity?”
Lex considered then shook his head. “I highly doubt he’ll find anything and I don’t want to tip off the Justice League.”
“Of course,” Mercy nodded. “You have a meeting in thirty minutes with Ted Kord.”
Lex sighed. “We’re getting something to eat first.”
“Of course, sir.”
Here's the next chapter. Just a heads up: I finished outlining my next story and I can't seem to recapture the inspiration for this one so you may not see anymore chapters for it. I will do my best to write more but I highly doubt it.