Chapter 1: Prologue
Gotham City-July 6
As he re-watched the recorded video of Fawcett newest hero fighting a gigantic robot rampaging through the city earlier last week, Bruce let out a long sigh.
A few years ago, there were rumors of a white cloaked figure protecting the good citizen of the city. The people of Fawcett (and the majority of the internet) dubbed the figure 'Angel'. Bruce didn't look much into it back then, being caught up with a case at the time and since this 'Angel' did not pose any real threat he'd let the matter slide. After all, he had expected the city to get it own vigilante. But this, this was not what he had in mind. The vigilante in the video was a young boy. A very, very young boy who was definitely younger than Dick.
While most of general public was not concern about such young child being in the heroing business. Batman certainly was.
Fawcett City-July 7
The sound of siren rang in the air as the polices took away the knocked out criminal. Sitting on top of the nearby building, ten years old Billy Batson watched the scene plays out below and smiled to himself. It was late, way past the bedtime of any kid. But then again Billy wasn't normal, at least not with the magical power he possessed.
At first, he didn't think of actually becoming a hero. The thought did cross his mind. But with the loss of his parents at an early age, and moving from home to home until he ultimately becomes a street urchin. Billy was more focused on when then the next meal comes than swinging around the city. And despite the major advantage that his power gave him. Life on the street, especially in winter, was not easy for Billy. Things changed when his friends, Cissie and Scott, got kidnapped.
He knew Cissie back when he still lives at Ms. Minerva's orphanage ( technically it was to be call a group home, but the building still have the word 'Orphanage' dangling on top of its entrance so its hard to not call it that). They were close. But after Scott, their other friend at the orphanage got transferred to another group home. Billy ran away while Cissie got adopted by a wealthy family in Fawcett, the Summerly. The three of them kept contact of course. With Scott and Cissie going to the same school, and Billy sneaking into the said school at recess to play with his friends. They were the first to know about Billy's mystical ability.
The Summerly was notorious for being one of, if not the richest family in Fawcett. Which Billy suspected was the reason why Cissie got kidnapped. Scott was more of an add-on. After three seconds of hearing the news, Billy promptly went off to help his friends. It wasn't hard for seven years old him to find the place where the kidnappers held his friends. Billy had most of the lower parts of Fawcett city memorized in his head and knew a few hobos who would gladly give him the information he needs in exchange of the little food he had.
It was child's play to find the building, and even easier to get into it. The next step posed a problem to Billy, getting his friends out. By the time he got there, Scott was badly injured and Cissie was holding him close. Surround them were three grown men armed with guns. And while Billy had started to develop his magic capacity, his main focus was on how to heal injuries. Not fighting people. So with immense luck and a white curtain nearby, Billy managed to scare the men away. He also somehow started a rumor about a mysterious vigilante protecting the city at night.
Things got better since then. Billy started to go out and help people at night, using the old curtain that he found that night as a sort of cape. Just once in a while ate first then that gradually turn into every night. Eventually earning the name "Angel" from the city (Which was ironic since half of his old foster parents would usually call him demon brat). Along the way, Billy manages to befriend a very interesting man called John Constantine. And eventually got himself adopt by one Dudley H. Dudley, who Billy likes to referred to as uncle Dudley. Yep, think definitely got better for him since then.
The police cars were now a distance away, but Angel stayed still at his seat at the edge of the building. There were still parts of Fawcett Billy had yet to patrol. But the night was young and Billy wanted to enjoy the peacefulness at the moment just a bit longer.
" You could have finished the fight much faster." A voice echoed from behind him, pulling Billy out of his musing. Whipping his body around, Billy got on his feet.
He held up his fist up, ready for a fight. Surveying the area around him. Billy's eyes widen at the sight of the Dark Knight standing on the other side of the rooftop. Oh shoot.
" Back there with the thugs, you could have knocked them all out in minutes. But you chose to talk them out of it." Batman of Gotham walked toward him, his face held an unreadable expression. At this point, Billy was unsure whether or not he should cease his fighting stance. It was unlikely that Batman was going to attack him, he was a member of the Justice League after all. There was no way that Batman would hurt him, right?
"I was trying to give them a chance," Billy held his pose."Why are you here Batman? If you're here to-"
"I'm not here to stop you." Batman cut him off. His voice, even though was monotone, sounded as if he was amuse."But rather, I'm here to offer you something."
"What?" Billy lowered his arm completely taken off guard. This was not what he had expected when he saw Batman and he had expect a lot of thing.
" You have good intentions William," Billy body went stiff when his name come out of Batman's mouth. Of course, the world greatest detective would know his real name. " But you're not properly trained. That itself is very dangerous, for both you and these people you're trying to help. That's why I'm asking you to join the Team."
"Team? What team?" The ten years old asked tilting his head.
" The Team," Batman repeated. " Is a group of young superheroes assigned to undertake covert operation for the Justice League. It would be beneficial for you to become a member."
"I would love to join -." Billy began excitingly before calming himself down. Just wait until Uncle Dudley hear about this! "I would like to join this team."
Batman didn't say anything. Instead, the dark knight fished out a small box and tossed it to Billy, who promptly caught it. He slowly opened the lids, revealing several domino masks laying neatly inside. Contrast to Billy's craft foam one which allows people to see his blue eyes. These dominoes mask actual have pieces of cloth that covered His eyes. " Batman are these for me-"
Looking up Billy blinked, Batman was no longer where he stood. In his place was a piece of paper. The rooftop was empty, no one was there but him. Creepy.
The Cave-July 8
Carefully followed Batman's written instructions, Billy found the abandon photo booth which was a zeta beam in disguise ( Huh, so it wasn't a useless piece of junk ). Now he was standing inside a tube shape contraption. Alongside with Martian Manhunter and his niece(who is a very bubbly green skinned teenager who decided to go with Miss Martian as her superhero name). Waiting to join the conversation between Batman, Aquaman, the Flash and the teenage heroes.
" The six of you will be that team."
"Cool," the smallest boy in the lineup in front of them said, Robin Billy assumes. Only to stop for a moment as if he just realize something. "Wait, six?"
And that was the cue to show themselves. " This is the Martian Manhunter nice, Miss Martian and Angel, Fawcett's local hero."
" Hi." The Martian girl said, clearly shy.
"Hello." Billy put on his most charming smile while covering up this nervous feeling in his gut, silently screaming in his head.
"Liking this gig more every minute," One of the teenage boys, a redhead, told a raven-haired boy wearing a pair of shade. "Welcome aboard! I'm Kid Flash. That's Robin, Aqualad. It's cool if you forget their name."
"I'm honored to be included." Miss M replied as the three boys: Kid Flash, Robin, and Aqualad walk closer.
" And what about him?" Billy pointed at a black haired boy who wasn't introduced. He looked very similar to Superman, not to mention he had a big 'S' on his black shirt.
"Oh that's Superboy," The boy wearing shade, Robin, turned around and gave the other teenager a wave. Signaling him to come over. "Hey, Superboy. Come meet Miss, M, and Angel."
They spend the next few minutes marveling over Miss Martian's ability to change the color of her shirt to match Superboy's. Maybe this was the right choice after all.
Chapter 2: Happy Harbor
Fawcett city-July 17
"...Batman was super nice, even though he was kind of scary." Billy said with his mouth full hotdog. " Oh, and you wouldn't believe it, John."
"Heh, try me kid." Constantine replied, he himself was carrying a plastic bag containing a pot of thyme.
" He asked me to join a team for superheroes, young superheroes." The small boy exclaimed happily as the two of them make their way back to his uncle's apartment.
"Then what do you need this for ?" Constantine gestured at the plant, knowing Billy was going to make some charm with its leaves. "You don't really sound like you need any extra bravery at all."
" Oh, that's for Freddy actually…."
It was odd, their relationship. And boy, did John knew it. What started as John walking in on some street kid letting off a rogue spell, had somehow escalated to him sticking around once every few months to visit the said kid.
John wasn't sure why he was at Fawcett at the time, the memory had slipped through his mind long ago. But he could recall very clearly of his mental indecision, wavering on what to do: help the kid or ignore his impulsive mental thoughts of helping the child. On one hand, it was pretty damn obvious that the kid was untrained, making his magic unpredictable and uncontrolled. Which meant it wouldn't be long until the tyke accidentally hurt himself or worse, hell he wasn't even sure if it hadn't already happened. On the other hand, John and kids don't mix. Not really, not after the Newcastle incident. He could watch a kid for a day or two. But teaching one magic? That's another thing. Moreover, it wasn't his real business so he really shouldn't poke his nose into it.
Unfortunately, he chose the stupider choice and ended up helping the kid. It was a shit idea honestly, but hey John's full of them. One thing led to another and now it was pretty much mandatory for John to visit Fawcett a few times a year. Not that he complaining.
The Cave-July 18
There wasn't much do to around the Cave. With their training not starting until a later date and there wasn't any mission for them yet. But being here, getting to know both his teammates and the base, sounded much better to Billy than watching TV at home or waiting for his batch of healing cream to cool down. Right now they were gathering around a hologram map. He, Superboy, Miss.M, and Kaldur was all dressed in civilian clothes, waiting for Red Tornado's arrival at the Cave in hope that he would have a mission for them.
"Recognize: Robin; B-0-1, Kid Flash; B-0-3"The mechanical voice announced as the two boys rush in. Both also in their civilian clothes.
"Did you asked him?" Robin asked Kaldur. Before the first question could be answered, Kid Flash continued." What did he say?"
"He's arriving now," The Atlantean told the two extremely excited boys. True to his words, a small icon of Red Tornado could be seen moving toward the cave on the Holomap.
"Then what are we waiting for?" With that KF dashed off, followed Robin and Aqualad. Billy sprinted after the three while Superboy and Miss Martian took their time walking, or flying in Miss Martian case, to the nearest entrance. The group made their way outside just in time for their supervisor's arrival.
"Greetings." Red Tornado said once his feet were on the ground. "Is there a reason you intercept me outside of the Cave?"
"We hoped you had a mission for us." Aqualad explained to the machine.
"Mission assignments are the Batman's responsibility." The robot stated the fact simply as if they all should have known this.
"But had been a week and nothing-" Robin tried to convey their wishes for a mission.
"You'll be tested soon enough." Red Tornado cut him off. " For the time being, simply enjoy each other's company."
That was Billy's plan for today, getting mission or not he didn't care. He just simply wanted to hang out with the Team. However, the others didn't seem to share his view.
"This team is not a social club." Aqualad told the robot.
"No," Red Tornado agreed, "But I am told social interaction is important to team building exercise. Perhaps you can keep busy by familiarizing yourself with the Cave."
With that, he walked into the cave leaving them to their own device.
"Keep busy." Kid Flash muttered angrily to Robin.
"Does he think we're falling for this?" Robin asked, not believe what they were told.
" Oh, I'll find out." Miss Martian whispered eagerly. She stared at the machine for a few seconds before giving up. "I-I'm sorry. I forgot he's a machine." The girl apologized dejectedly. " Inorganic. I cannot read his mind."
"Nice try though." Kid Flash offered her a grin. The red-haired teen leaned closer to the martian, obviously trying to flirt with her."So, uh, you know what I'm thinking right now?"
" We all know what you're thinking now." Robin elbowed the speedster's turned back, which earned him a half-heart "Ow."
"And now we tour the clubhouse." Aqualad said, undeniably sour.
"A tour sounds fun." Billy effused. While he could understand why everyone was so desperately wanted to have a mission. A tour around the giant mountain was more appealing to the ten years old than going out for a fight right now.
"Well, Superboy and I live here." Miss Martian looked at the tall, black haired boy. "We can play tour guides."
The rest of them turned to Superboy. "Don't look at me." He responded, clearly not wanted to take part as a guide.
"We won't." Kid Flash reverted his attention back to Miss Martian. "A private tour sound so much better."
"She never said private." Robin protested.
Billy nodded his head in agreement. "And I'm pretty sure we're supposed to this together."
"Team building. We all go." Aqualad said in a stern voice, breaking up all argument. They walked back into the Cave as Miss Martian began their tour. "So this would be our front door.." She guided them to the other side of the Cave, which led them to the edge of the mountain with a beautiful view of the ocean. "and this would be our back."
Once again making their way back inside, Miss Martian continue her explanation. "The Cave is actually the entire mountain."
"It was hollowed out and reinforce by Superman and Green Lantern in the early day if the league." Kid Flash added in the historical fact.
"Then why abandon it for the hall of Justice?" Superboy questioned.
"The Cave's secret location was compromised." Aqualad answered.
"I heard it had something to do with the Joker." Billy piped in. It was a long time ago, but Billy remembered the news being broadcast on Tv. The reporter didn't say much about what had happened but she did reveal that it was Joker who figured out about the Cave and to some extent made the Justice League public.
"So they trade it in for a tourist trap?" Superboy scoffed, still confused "Yeah, that makes sense."
Miss Martian upon hearing that the Cave location was compromise had an idea." If villains know of the cave, then we must be on constant alert."
Robin grabbed her hand, "The bad guy knows we know they know about the place, so they'd never think to look here."
The martian girl now looked even more puzzled until Kid Flash remove Robin's hands from her and make clear of what his friend was trying to say. "He means we're hiding in plain sight."
"Ah, that's much clearer." Miss Martian scratched her head relaxing a conversation about the Cave was cut short when Conner mentioned he smelled smoke. This made Miss Martian's eyes widen. "My cookies!" She blurted out and promptly flew down the hallway.
" Cookies?" Billy beamed at the mention of the treat and he too bolted toward the kitchen. When the young child made it to the kitchen, Miss Martian had already set a tray of burned cookies down on the counter. The rest of the group entered the room a few seconds later.
" I was trying out Grammy Jones from episode 17 of-" The girl cut herself off with a chuckle. "Never mind."
" I bet they'd taste great." Robin assured her, nodding his head to Kid Flash who was stuffing his mouth with cookies. "He doesn't seem to mind."
" I have a serious metabolism." Kid Flash explained himself.
Reaching his hand out, Billy took a cookie and gave it a try. Other than the slightly bitter taste, the cookie was incredibly sweet and crunchy. Overall it was fine. "These are good, Miss M."
A small smile formed on Miss Martian's face." I'll make more?" She offered uncertainty. Hearing this Billy looked up at her with big blue eyes. "Can I help?"
" It was sweet of you to make any." Aqualad assured the girl.
"Thank you, Aqualad." Miss Martian ducked her head slightly, her smile brighten."And of course, Angel."
"We're off duty. Please call me Kaldur'ahm." The every insisted offering her a smile of his own. "Actually, my friends call me Kaldur."
"And you can call me Billy." He took another bite of the cookie. "It's short for William."
"I'm Wally." The redhead speedster leaned on the table. "See? I already trust you with my secret ID, unlike Glasses over there." He gestured to Robin who Billy could tell, despite having a pair of shades covered his eyes, was glaring at Wally. "Batman forbidden the boy wonder from telling anyone his real name."
"Mine is no secret. It's M'gann M'orzz." Miss Martian admitted. "But you can call me Megan. It's an earth name, I'm on earth now." Billy noted how excited she was about the fact.
The only one now who hadn't told their emit name was Superboy, but from what Billy final he doesn't actually have one to armor. It was openly announced to both him and Miss Martian by Martian Manhunter that Superboy was a clone. Grow in some sort of lab from Superman DNA. It wasn't hard to tell that Superman had not yet to accepted Superboy, based from the fact the boy (Billy refused to consider Superboy a clone) was staying at the cave instead of with his mentor. Miss Martian was another story, she had chosen to stay in the Cave on her own free will.
Out of the corner of his ears, Billy could hear the faint sound footsteps. He could tell that Superboy began to walk out of the room but suddenly stopped in his track.
"Get out of my head!" The shout caught the four other boys' attention. All of them instantly realized the source of Superboy's outburst, it was M'gann.
"What wrong? I don't understand." M'gann's voice rang in Billy's head, making him flinched. Just like him, Kaldur's, Wally's, Robin's and Superboy's didn't react too positively to Megan's alternative way of communication. This confused the Martian greatly. "Everyone on Mars communicates telepathically."
"M'gann stop." Kaldur commanded, using the same stern voice he had before. M'gann did, as hurt and confused she might be, she listened as Kaldur explained. "Things are different on Earth. Here, your power is an extreme invasion of privacy."
"Not to mention hearing voices in your head in the human culture is considered a bad thing, " Billy informed her. "A really bad thing."
"Besides," Wally whispered loudly pointing a thumb at Superboy." Cadmus' creepy little psychic G-gnome left a bad taste in his brain."
"I-I didn't mean to-" M'gann tried to apologize but Superboy cut her off. "Just, Stay. Out." He snarled at her, walking over to the sofa and sat down.
The room became quiet, it didn't stay that way for long. "Hello Megan," M'gann smacked herself on the forehead. "I know what we can do."
And with no explanation at all, she took off flying. The three boys in the kitchen looked at each other, with a shrug Kaldur, Wally and Robin followed her. Billy, however, noted how Superboy hasn't moved an inch from his spot, decided to stay behind.
"Hey, Superboy?" Billy began lingering by the door. "Are you coming?"
The teenager didn't answer him, his eyes were gazing at the ground. Letting out a sigh, Billy tried again. " I know you're mad at M'gann, and that's okay. But can you, you know, give her another chance?"
" Why?" Superboy muttered it was as clear as day that he is still held some anger toward the green female.
"Because.." Billy drew out. " M'gann didn't mean it and she was sorry for doing it. Not to mention she's still learning about the whole earth thing, you really can't blame her for making mistake."
It was hard to tell what the teen was going to do, however, Billy refused to leave the room unless Superboy came too. By the time Billy counted to ten, the teen finally stood up. "Fine."
It wasn't what he has expected, but Billy took what he can get.
" It's my martian bio-ship." Catching up with the other, M'gann shown them a red, egg-shaped thing in the hangar.
"Cute," Wally commented."Not aerodynamic, but cute."
" What's aerodynamic?" Billy asked in a whisper, not know what the word means. While M'gann began to 'wake-up' her bio-ship, Robin stated the answer. " It's the way an object shape moves through the air."
"Oh." Billy said simply.
With a wave of her hand, M'gann's bio-ship shifted if shape. Growing in size and forming large wings. Billy tucked Robin's sleeve, pointing at the what now was a large aircraft. "Is that aerodynamic?"
"Well," With another wave of her hand, the bio-ship turned around. A small staircase came off at the back, leading inside. "Are you coming?"
" Yeah!" breaking out a grin, Billy didn't pay attention to the older boys' hesitation. This was going to be so awesome. He'd never ride a plane much less a shape-changing alien one.
Following Miss Martian's lead, Billy's eyes widen even more when seats began to sprout out from the floor." Strap in for launch."
Billy didn't have to be told twice, he settled down straight away on one of the chair. Seat belts assembled himself over his chest, effectively hold him in place. Two bright orbs began to rise up from the floor and into M'gann's waiting hand. The hangar entrance was slowly opened by Red Tornado per M'gann's request. Once it was fully opened the bio-ship took off through the air at an impressive speed, gradually slow down as it glides to the mainland.
"Incredible." Robin told M'gann, impressed by both the ship and her flying skill.
"She sure is," Wally said dreamily as he stared at the green skin girl. Only to snapped out of his fantasy when he realized what he just said. "I-I mean the ship, which, like all ship, is a she."
" Smooth." Billy snickered at the speedster's failed attempt to flirt. Robin too seized this opportunity to tease Wally. "Fast with his feet, not so much with his mouth."
That made Billy break into a fit of giggles, and got a "Dude!" protested from Wally while M'gann let out a small chuckle. However, once the laughter died down M'gann's gaze was on Superboy. She let out a sigh.
" He'll come around." Robin assured her in a hush whispered.
"You guys do realize he had super hearing, right." Wally chimed in, pointing a finger at Superboy who was sitting at the front with Aqualad.
"Hey," Robin changed the topic. "How 'bout show us some martian shapeshifting?"
Miss Martian stood up in the middle of the ship, drawing the attention of Kaldur and Superboy. Steadily, her clothing and hair altered along with her skin. Making her look like a female version of Robin. With a graceful swirled, she changed her appearance. This time into a female version of Wally.
"Is it wrong that I think I'm hot?" Wally stared dreamily at M'gann, who was flexing one arm at him while still being a female version of Wally.
"Isn't that what people call Narcissism?" Billy asked causing the speedster to flustered. Giggle at Wally's reaction, Billy returned to look at M'gann in awe.
Transformations were hard. Unlike creating illusions which are just like cloaking himself with a different image. Transformation, actual transformation. Not the change hair or eyes color kind, but physically shifting and changing every part of your body. Those were impossible to do, well, at least to Billy. John said it was because he wasn't old enough to actually perform the spell, something that had to do which his magic 'limits'. However Miss Martian just performed it with ease. While granted, her transformation didn't look exactly like the original, it was still very impressive.
Letting a small chuckle, M'gann gave Billy a soft smile as she once again changed her appearance. Billy gasped. The green skin martian had chosen to shift into him. Actually a female version of him, but him nonetheless. "Woah!"
"Impressive," Robin applauded as M'gann returned to her normal form. " but you know you're not exactly gonna fool anyone with those."
M'gann sat back down on her seat "Mimicking boys is a lot harder." she admitted.
"And your clothes?" the Atlantean boy questioned.
"They're organic like this ship." She pulled on her jacket. "They respond to my mental commands."
"As long as they're the only one." Superboy scowled and tense silence followed.
"Can you do that cool going through the wall thing that Manhunter does.?" Billy asked, in an attempt to brighten the mood.
" Density shifting?" M'gann paused for a moment, a frown formed on her face. "No, it's a very advanced technique."
"Flash can vibrate his molecule through the wall." Robin leaned forward and gesture to Wally. "When he tries it, bloody nose."
"Dude!" The speedster protested for what must have been the fourth time that day before twisted his seat faced Billy who was sitting right behind him, hoping to "Well, enough about me. What about you, kid? What's your schtick?"
"My Schtick?" It took Billy a few seconds to realize what Wally was talking about. "Oh, you mean my powers. I, uh, I use magic."
"Really?" The curious look on Wally's face suddenly changed into unconvinced one."Like what? Pulling a rabbit out of a hat?" It was at that moment Billy figure that maybe the topic of magic and Wally don't mix.
"I mean, I don't have a rabbit to pull out so no….." Billy trailed off, unsure of what to do. While yes, he could pull a cat or a rat out of his baseball cap. He was still a little bit shy about doing tricks to people. " But I can do other stuff."
" Can you show us?" M'gann perked up oblivious to Wally's skepticism.
Succumbed to M'gann's pleading, Billy holds his hands in front of his mouth. Whispering a silence spell into it, he let his hand uncurled to reveal a stream of sparkling blue mist. It flowed around Wally before drifting off toward M'gann. From his seat, Billy swirled his finger making the mist split itself off. Slowly, it began to grow to take shape of a pod of dolphins. They 'swam' around Miss Martian in the middle of the room, close enough so she could reach out and touch them with curiosity. Moving to Robin, the dolphins did a couple of lap around him. Only to promptly erupted into million sparkles when he decided to poke one of them in the mouth.
The trick wasn't very impressive like M'gann's shapeshifting, but it was the only one that Billy could think of at the moment. Before anyone could make a comment on his performance, they received an alert from Red Tornado.
"Red Tornado to Miss Martian. An emergency alert has been triggered at the Happy Harbor Power Plant. I suggest you investigate covertly. I'm sending coordinates."
"Received. Adjusting course." M'gann replied.
"Tornado's keeping us busy again." Robin deduced but M'gann has a more positive look at the situation. "Well, a simple fire led you to Superboy. We should find out what caused the alert."
She lowered the bio-ship down into the parking lot, mere feet above the ground when Superboy spoke up. "I think I know the cause."
Everyone turned their head to see what he was talking about, a tornado spun it way in their direction. It slammed into the ship, taking everyone by surprise. The strong current of wind wiped the ship around. Billy shut his eyes closed and focus."elbatS dna ydaets"
The ship immediately stopped shaking, allowing M'gann to regain her control over it. Shooting out of the tornado, she landed it in the parking lot. The winds roared around them as the six of them exit the ship.
" Robin, are tornado common in New Zealand?" Kaldur shouted over the winds for the teen. But he was nowhere to be found.
" He was just here." M'gann looked around to find the disappeared boy. The only trace left of him was the eerie laughs echoed in the air.
"Does he do that alo-" Billy's question was cut off when an explosion could be heard from inside the power plant as all of the building glass windows was blown off. Signaling where Batman's partner was. By the time they made it the main building, Robin was laying on the ground. Superboy leaped down by the boy wonder as he sits up.
"Who's your new friend?" Superboy referred to the giant figured wearing a brown scarf that covered his mouth. The figure had tubes coming from his back and connected to his hands. Basing on the waves of winds radiate from them, it was clear to Billy that they are the source of the tornadoes.
" Didn't catch his name, but he doesn't play nice." Robin warned Superboy as the taller teen charged at the figured.
"My apologies, you may address me as Mister Twister." Finishing his introduction, the now known as Mister Twister send out a strong current of winds against the hero headed his way. Seeing as the winds only slowed Superboy down only by a little bit, Mister Twister changed his tactics. Redirecting the wind he created a small tornado which picked Superboy up and tossed him into a wall.
While Robin stood up from his spot and Wally put his google. Both M'gann and Billy, being the more inexperienced ones, turned to Kaldur. He gave them a nod, and with that, they gathered around Robin. Kid Flash was the first to go down, racing forward and aiming both his feet at Mister Twister chest only get tossed out of the door into the parking lot by the man using a vortex. Aqualad and Miss Martian too was sent flying back when the two of them rushed toward him.
"I was prepared to be challenged by superheroes," Mister Twister mocked eyeing only one left standing, Robin, and Billy. " I was not, however, expecting children."
"We are not children." Robin snapped, launching a small bomb then a disk.
" Well, actually I am." Billy commented thrusting his hand forward and aimed it at the robotic man. "dnuoB miH"
Chains shot up from the ground per Billy's command, wrapping itself around Mister Twister. They pulled downward, making him slammed down to the ground before he could create another tornado. The bomb exploded as it hit Mister Twister's metallic armor but it didn't do any damaged. The disk too exploded once it embedded into the armor. This time the explosion not only made the robotic man stumbled backward but also made Billy's chain lose grip of the man. That, however, wasn't enough to knock him down.
"See, your little friend here agree with me." As Mister Twister regained his composure so does Miss Martian and Aqualad. "Have you no adult supervision? I find your presence here quite disturbing."
"Well, we hate to see you disturbed." Robin bit back. "Let's see if you be more turbe once we kick you as- can."
Right as Robin covered up the swear word (which Billy guess it was because he was there) Miss Martian used her telekinesis to cracked the pipe above Mister Twister open, blinding him with smoke. And just to made sure it stays that way, Billy muttered. "depparW thgis ni ekoms"
The smoke thickened into a blindfold over Mister Twister's eyes. Allowing Superboy to smashed him down to the ground. Before he could attempt to hit Mister Twister the second time, the man ripped off the smoke blindfold and blown Superboy off him. The teen flew off, slamming into a charging Miss Martian who didn't have enough time to doge. As he stood up, chains once again curled himself around him. " That would not work anymore."
Flying upward, Mister Twister tore the chains away. And from his high vantage, he sent off tornadoes at the one who created the chain, Billy. The wind current broke through the flimsy shield that he had set up hastily, pushing Billy backward slamming him into the wall. He winced when the back made contact with the wall. Not that it hurt or anything, after all, he kind of had high pain tolerance. But this would definitely leave a bruise when he got home.
"Indeed. That was quite turbing. Thank you." Mister Twister taunted. And from his spot, Billy could hear loud smack followed by grunts from Aqualad and Robin. By the time, he managed to sit up the villain had already exited the powerplant. Being the first to recover, he moved to help M'gann stood up as the others head outside. Just in time to see Wally getting thrown across the parking lot. He was about to crash into the powerplant if it M'gann didn't use her power to catch him. The dust cleared to revealed Wally hovering above the ground. "I've got you Wally."
"I would have thought you all have learned your limit by now." Mister Twister taunted taking off to the sky.
"What do you want?" Aqualad shouted at the robotic man breaking his normal calmness.
"Isn't it obvious?" Mister Twister narrowed his eyes as he lifted himself further up." I'm waiting for a real hero."
You mean an adult. Billy frowned.
"Read his mind," Aqualad ordered M'gann. "Find his weakness."
"I thought I wasn't supposed to do that." She objected, slightly taken back.
" It's okay with the bad guys." Robin snapped.
Despite being unsure of the order, M'gann did what she was told. Putting one hand on her temple she concentrated. "Nothing, I'm getting nothing." then she knocked her head. "Hello, Megan! Mister Twister is Red Tornado in disguise." Billy raised an eyebrow at that but let the girl continue. "He's inorganic! An Android! And how many androids do you know that can generate tornadoes? "
The theory sort of make sense, however, there was one problem. " But why attack the power plant?" Billy points out. "Why would he do something that could likely hurt the worker?"
"Because it's a test." Kaldur inferred. " Red Tornado send us here."
"Right saying we'd be 'tested soon enough'." Robin added, stretching his arm out wide. "This is his test. Something to keep us busy."
That wasn't enough to convinced Billy. It was unlikely Mister Twister is Red Tornado. With the possibility of the android purposely wrecked a building, and endanger people lives with all of these tornadoes just to test them being next to none. Of course, not that it mattered right now. Red Tornado or not, Mister Twister need to be taken down.
Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Robin walked off to confront the android who in return stirred up a storm.
"Can Red Tornado do that?" Wally asked warily as the sky darkens and ferocious winds began to whip around them. Lightning crackled from the sky.
" You think I'm Red Tornado?" The storm grew more intensely, showing no sign of stopping. " How ironic."
Thunder rang in the area, and Mister Twister directed lightning down on them. Billy pushed through the older teen to get to the front them. "M'i rebbur,re'ouy eulg. llA ruoy kcatta lliw emoc kcab ta uoy."
Instead of striking at the teenagers, the lighting gathered into a ball between Billy's hand. He stumbled a few steps back, struggling to hold it there for a second before blasting back at Mister Twister. That caught him be surprised and he fumbled backward when the lightning hit him, faintly damaged his armor.
"Interesting." Mister Twister mused when he recovered from the attack. The robotic man lowered toward the group, hand cracking with electricity intensely. "Let's see how much your little friend here can handle."
Billy was prepared for another round of lightning when suddenly something invisible placed itself between him and the advancing villain. "Wha-"
A hand covered his mouth, Billy glanced at his side to see it was Miss Martian. He guessed she was the one who placed the invisible thing there. With something concealed the six of them from Mister Twister, the robotic man decided to leave them alone. But made it very clear that he would show no mercy should they meet again. Once he had left, M'gann finally let go of Billy's mouth.
"What was that?" Billy pointed at the invisible thing, whatever it is.
"It's the Bio-ship." M'gann replied. With a wave of her hand, she revealed the huge red aircraft. " I placed it there in camouflage mode."
"It has a camouflage mode?." Billy's awestruck moment was cut short when Superboy decided to demolished some boulder.
"And that's supposed to made it right?" Superboy marched forward. And by instinct, Billy placed himself in front of M'gann. "You tricked us into thinking Mister Twister was Red Tornadoes."
"She didn't mean to." Billy snapped back. " Sides you guys decided to go with it, so you can't really blame all of this on her."
"It was a rookies mistake, we all make them." Robin agreed.
"You are pretty inexperienced," Wally commented at M'gann. "Hit the shower. We'll take it from here."
"And stay out of our way." Super snarled as he walks past M'gann, making her face fall. He took off without another word, Kid Flash and Robin trailed behind.
"I was just trying to be a part of the team." M'gann's bang fell in front of her eyes, her words full of sadness.
"To be honest, I'm not sure if we have a team. " Aqualad looked back before he was about to join the other. "Billy perhaps you should stay with M'gann"
Billy opened his mouth wanting to protest, but one glance at M'gann made him stop immediately. "Okay."
With that the Atlantean boy took off, leaving Billy alone with the dejected martian girl. She was kneeling on the ground now and sounded like she was about to cry. Well, that's not good. He settled down on the ground right beside her, giving M'gann a gentle pat. " It's okay M'gann."
"No it's not," She sniffed. "It's my first mission and I let everyone down."
"Everyone made mistakes every once in a while M'gann. What's done is done, there's no used to be sad now." He tried to comfort her. " So what are we doing now?"
"We?" M'gann tilted her head.
" 'We', you know, you and me." Billy elaborated. Standing up, he extended a hand to M'gann. " We still have to figure out something to stop Mister Twister. Since the guys won't be able to do much, as you can tell."
She took his offered hand. " I can contact the cave using the Bio-ship, maybe we should call Red Tornado for backup."
"Well, that's a start."
"The team really need your help." M'gann concluded their summary of the incident to Red Tornado.
"If I were in intervene, it would not be to help." He paused for a moment. " Still, it's an odd confident that this Twister shares my elemental abilities and my immunity to telepathy."
"M'gann, your powers don't work on inorganic." So while Mister Twister wasn't Red Tornado like M'gann had though. She was right about one thing. "That means Mister Twister IS an android."
"Hello, Megan!" She said her catchphrase smacking her head. Now there was a smile on her face. The ship turned around swiftly, heading back to Happy Harbor.
"I've got a plan but…" Her smile faltered.
" The others need to know about it for it to work."
It didn't take a genius to figure out what she was implying. "It requires you to communicate with them telepathically." Billy gave her a reassuring smile. " It's fine, they'll understand."
It was better than charging in mindlessly at Mister Twister, which was what they had been doing the whole time.
" Listen to me all of you!"
Despite being much more prepared now for the telepathy, Billy still winced at the sheer volume of M'gann's shout in his head. "But maybe not so loud."
" Sorry Billy." She offered him a sheepish smile.
"What did we tell you?!" Even in his mind, Superboy still sounded furious.
" I know, and I know I messed up." M'gann admitted. "But now I am very clear on what we need to do. Please trust me."
"Wh-" Before Superboy could even begin Billy cut in. "Unless of course, you guys have a better plan than letting Mister Twister continuously kick your butt."
There was a paused. "Tell us your plan M'gann." Kaldur decided to break the silence. Excitingly, the redhead girl laid out her plan. It wasn't a foolproof plan, but it's the only one they've got.
Hiding behind a nearby boulder, Billy whispered a little illusion spell. Making looked like 'Red Tornado' was letting of spark as Mister Twister knocked 'him' to the ground.
Mister Twister landed beside him. "Remain still, Android." all his fingertips become computer connectors which fall around the back of Red Tornado's head and neck. "The reprogramming won't take long."
Suddenly Red Tornado grabs the wires, turning his head towards Twister before turning into M'gann's head. "Longer than you might think."
" No." The android took back by surprise. And the older teenager unleashed their assault on him. M'gann launched him back into a mini tornado, which was created by Wally, making him off balanced. The villain was send flying, only to be caught by Superboy. As the superpowered teen grab his arm, he aimed several punches at Mister Twister stomach. Leaving immense damage on the armor, smoke started to emit from it. The final hit was at Mister Twister's head which knocked him into the harbor, right where Aqualad was waiting to strike.
Mister Twister was spat out of the water seconds later, missing an armed. No doubt, Kaldur's work. His other arm was soon torn of by M'gann who levitated the android upward. Robin joined her, throwing several explosive disks as M'gann let go of the android.
Failing to the ground, Mister Twister got up to his knee. The chest opened and a man with white and green suit fell out. Staring up the five teen and a child gathering in front of him, he stuttered. "Foul.I- I call foul."
Billy looked at M'gann. "May I?" He gestured at the man on the ground. She gave him a happy nod, and that was all he needs. Raising his hand as it began to emitted statics, Billy stepped up. With a little spell electricity bolted from his hand and into the man's body, zapping him before he could make a sound. Kaldur's eyes widen. "Billy no!"
" I don't know what your parents taught you," Robin shouted at him. " But we don't kill the bad guys."
Billy returned his yelling with a cheeky grin. " Don't be so shock Robin." He joked with a mocking innocent voice. " How can I kill him when he's not alive in the first place."
Robin blinked in confusion, he eyed the man's 'corpse' only to realize that the body had fallen apart into mechanical bits and pieces on the ground. One of the eyes had popped out to revealed wires inside.
"And that's why I couldn't read his mind." M'gann explained pointing at the android. Wally flashed by the fallen android, picked up his eyes. "Cool, souvenir,"
" We should have more faith in you," Kaldur told M'gann sincerely.
" Although, a robot controlling a robot? Who would do that?" Billy asked out loud as him and the five teenagers walked back to the Bio-ship. The android was levitated onto the aircraft by M'gann.
Billy reached out to poke the machine again. They were back at the Cave now. While M'gann and Aqualad discussed with Red Tornado about the motives behind the attack. Robin, Wally, and Superboy were analyzing android himself. Billy being deemed too young to be included to the discussion and not know knowing anything about the complex technology at the Cave (although Robin promised he would teach him how), was forced to watch the older kids doing their work.
He was kneeling by the metallic table with his chin on its smooth surface. Poking at the android every once in a while as he listens to the discussion couple of steps away from him.
"It created to sabotage or destroy you."
"Is that why you wouldn't help us?"
"No. This was your battle. I do not believe it is my role to solve your problems for you. Nor should you solve mine for me."
"But if you're endanger-"
"Consider this matter closed." Everyone paused what they are doing to look at Red Tornado as he walked out.
"Batman, Aquaman, and Flash. They'd jump right in to fix things." Wally eyed retreating robot.
"Guess if we're going to have a babysitter, a heartless machine is exactly what we need." Robin commented.
"That wasn't a very nice thing to say, Robin." Billy chided.
"And inaccurate." Red Tornado spoke up, turned around to face them. "I have a heart, carbon-steel alloy. I also have excellent hearing."
Robin forces out a nervous chuckle. "Right. I'll strive to be... more accurate."
" And more respectful. " Kaldur grabbed the boy wonder's shoulder bringing his attention to him.
Red Tornado said nothing more as walked away. The other teens began to make the exits too. Just before he could make his way out of the room, Billy could hear a faint "Sorry." said unmistakably from Conner. A small smile tucked on his lips as the ten years old rushed home to tell his uncle about their first non-official mission.
Chapter 3: Drop Zones
The Cave-July 20
The campfire was blazing in the midst of darkness, around which the Team sat. It was Wally's idea that they should go camping in the Cave's backyard. They set up some tents and made s`mores (Billy more or less claimed the whole bag of marshmallow to himself). In substitute for the usual scary stories told around the campfire, origin stories were exchanged. Kaldur told of his assistance with Aquaman fight against Ocean Master. Wally, of how he exploded part of his house when he tried to recreate the experiment that gave Flash his power. Superboy said how the thought of destroying Superman. And M'gann, with great joy, revealed how she became Martian Manhunter's sidekick through winning a contest.
"That leaves you, Billy."
Billy stopped nibbling his marshmallow. He thought over it for a moment. " My friends got kidnapped, I sort of save them and that's how I started."
"Wait that's it? Geeze and I thought Superboy's story was short." Wally commented, Billy only offered him a shrug in return. Kaldur and Megan gave each other a look but accepted his answer nevertheless. He glanced at Robin. The wonder boy raised a brow at him, Billy sucked in a breath. Did he know? Billy wondered. Maybe, Robin was trained by Batman after all.
With a playful smile tuck on his lips, Robin stood up, stretching his arms the older boy excused himself. The night went quietly after that.
Caribean Sea-July 22nd
The Bio-ship speeded through the sky taking them to Isla Santa Prisca, where, their first mission would take place. It was supposed to be a quick mission: get in, see what's happening and get out. Easy peasy.
"Nervous about our first mission ?" M'gann asked telepathically. While telepathic communication was strictly for missions only, Angel had already given her a pass on it.
" Not really." He started to fiddle with his cape. With the custody of Batman, his whole costume got replaced. Reason being it was for job`s safety. Not that Angel minded. Sure his old cape, the torn curtain, may hold a special spot in his heart. The new one that Batman gave him was thicker and much warmer against the chilly winds at night. " You?"
" A little bit." the Martian girl admitted. "I didn't do very well on our last 'mission' as you can remember. "
"It wasn't that bad. Sure you made the wrong assumption, but it was your plan that defeated Mister Twister. So you did pretty good."
"Thanks, Billy." Even though his eyes were on the fleeting clouds in the night sky, he could tell that she was smiling. "Dropzone A in 30." She announced out loud as the island came into sight.
It was Aqualad cue to get ready, standing up he pushed the A symbol on his belt. The red of his costume turn to black. "Ready. "
"Putting the Bio-ship in camouflage mode."
A hole gaped opened in the middle of the ship, allowing Aqualad to dropped out and dived into the water below. Now they wait for his signal.
"Heat and motion sensors are patched," he told the team through his comm a few minutes later. "Data is now on a continuous loop. Move in."
The bio-ship soared through the island below as instruct, halting on top on a clearing in the midst of trees.
"Drop zone B."
The seats faded into the ship's floor as they stood up, lines lowered from the ceiling. Which Angel, following the example Kid Flash and Robin, hooked into his belt. From the corner of his eyes, he could see Wally was, once again, trying to impressed M'gann. This time of how his suit can be changed from the vibrant yellow and red to black and dark gray. Angel could barely see M'gann shifting her own clothes when Robin gave him a nudge.
" You might want to get into 'stealth mode', too." He pointed Angel's pure white cape and the golden pin that's holding it together.
"Oh, uh, right." Did his costume even have that feature? Angel didn't remember Batman ever said anything about colouring changing. After a few seconds of poking at random spots on his suit, Robin decided to take pity on him.
" Here." Robin tapped twice on Angel's golden pin, making the bright colour swirled into pitch black that matched with his shirt.
"Thanks Robin." His interest went back to Miss Martian commenting something about Superboy's clothes. How 'it totally works for him' which was follow by an 'In that, you can totally do good work in them'. Which make it sounded like she had a crush on him or something. It ended with Superboy looking away and a blushing M'gann covered her face with her hood, making herself invisible. Yep, definitely a crush.
They exited the Bio-ship as quiet as can be ( most of them at least) and made their way through the island, accompanied by the eerie cry of the local birds, with Robin in the lead.
There was no exact appointment of leadership in the mission briefing, so that was left to settle between them. The topic hadn't been mention once ever since they've left. But based on the current situation and on the imprinted grin on Robin's face, the older boy was the leader for now.
"Did you hear that?" The group stop abruptly at Superboy's question,
"No, wait," Kid Flash raised a brow. "Is this a super-hearing thing?"
"You do have great ears." Miss Martian commented. Normally Angel would have started to sing 'sitting in the tree' song, but he was more focused on the other problem they have on hand. There was no sign of Robin anywhere near. "Uh, guys. Where's Robin?"
That caught the attention of the rest of the team. Unlike when he'd disappeared back at the power plant, this time the boy wonder's laughter did not fill the air.
"Man I hate it when he does that." Kid Flash groaned. He was hesitant on what to do, fortunately, Aqualad was tuned in with their situation.
"Superboy, Kid, switch to infrared, see if your being tracked." He commanded through their comms.
Kid Flash did as he was told, putting on his google as they turned red. "Got a squad of armed bozes incoming."
"Two squads." Superboy corrected, narrowing his eyes. "But they'll meet each other before they find us."
Echoed of gunfire commenced, proving Superboys' theory. "No super-hearing required now."
"Swing wide, steer clear." Aqualad ordered but Kid Flash brushed it off. "Yeahh-yeah, just as soon as I find Rob."
The redhead boy dashed through the trail ahead, but lose his footing a few seconds late. He slid downhill, and as Angel could tell, right into the middle of the gunfight. Well, that wasn't good.
A fight broke out as expected. Well, from what he could see. It looked more like the two group, that would have fought each other, ganged up on Kid Flash. By then Aqualad's previous order was now thrown out the window. With Superboy in the lead, the rest of them (or what left of them) headed down. While Superboy went straight for Bane, Miss Martian and Angel took care of the goons. "dnuob meht"
The three men nearest to him yelped in surprise when they got dragged down to the ground via chain. While the other four could barely make a sound before Miss Martian threw them into trees.
The thugs were rounded up in minutes, tied to trees. And through deep analyzation, or as Robin helpfully point out. The men who wear a red uniform are from the cult of Cobra, and since Batman didn't seem to know that they are running around in Santa Prisca. He concluded that Cobra had come to toss out Santa Prisca's goon.
" Mystery solved. Radio Bats and we'll be home in time-"
" These guys aren't on Venom! Cobra is hoarding this stuff. We don't leave, not until I know why. "
" Until you know why?"
An argument broke out. Angel raised a brow at the two bickering teen then turned to Aqualad. "Do they do that a lot or is it just because of the leader thing?"
The Atlantean boy sighed and that basically summed up the answer. "Unfortunately it is because of the position of leader. They are usually more….cooperative with each other."
It sure didn't sound appear so now, with Kid Flash and Robin's bickering getting even louder. It wasn't until they heard Bane's chuckle that the argument stopped.
"Such clever, Ninos. But you only know half the story." Bane offered to take them into the factory by his secret entrance. It was a good offer, too good Of an offer. It was clear as day that it was a trap. However, with Miss Martian failed attempts to read Bane's mind. The team was resorted to following the man's lead. Well, almost all of them are.
" Angel, you stay back and watch the rest."
" We are not sure of the danger inside the factory, it would be better to have one of us outside."
Ugh, he can't believe they're leaving me behind, again. As frustrated as Angel was, he obeyed the command. Sort of. Once the team was out of site, he glanced at the tied up goons. So fine, he wasn't allowed to go. But that doesn't mean he can't do his own investigation. Scanning through all the tied up men, he decided to go with the one who had sat next to Bane. He should know something.
" So Mr do you by any chance know what is your boss planing? I would appreciate it if you tell me." While he was sure that wouldn't get the man to talk, but you never know. Surely enough, the man spat out something in Spanish that Angel could tell go along the line of 'no'. The alternated method it was.
Digging through his charmed pouch ( a birthday gift from John and the only thing that Billy reused from his old costume), he pulled out a box of matches. Lighting one up, Angel watched as the tied up man flinched back. " Don't worry I'm not using this to hurt you. It's just going to help me look into your mind a little."
By theory, the spell would work better if Angel used a hag stone. But he didn't have one ( he probably should though), so improvisations needed.
"Htiw srae dna seye dna sthguoht lla eerf, laever lla ruoy sterces ot em."
The faint smoke from the tiny fire grew and swirled into a circle in the air. A flashback played in it. Of how Bane was beaten by a skinny guy who turned into a giant after getting injected with something. Of how they planned to take back the factory. And how Bane was going to 'play along' and get what he needs from them. Didn't take a genius to figure out what it implied.
The match was blown off. There wasn't much surprised there with Bane's plan to betrayed them. It was obvious. Now, what to do? What to do?
Angle was a good kid and he usually does what he was told, usually. He was only ten after all, ten years old and 'follow orders' tend not to mix. So instead of staying back in the clearing or go back to the Bio-ship, he tracked down the so-called secret entrance and waited among the tree branches. He didn't have to wait for long until Bane's figure appeared at the tunnel entrance. The brute of a man seemed to be…...setting up explosive? Oh, no.
" etavitcaed eht seviolpxe." Angel mumble once Bane step out of the tunnel. The tiny green light on the explosives flickered before stopping completely. Angel let out a breath, good. All that left was the man himself.
Still hidden in a tree, Angel put all of his focused on Bane. " dnoub mih."
Chain shot up from the earth abruptly, binding the man as commanded. Making him dropped a device he was holding. And before he could get himself out, Angel cast the second spell. " peels won!"
It came out as a shout but worked. Bane was fast asleep in a matter of seconds. Just in time for the rest of the team to came out from the factory too, perfect. Getting down from his high vantage point, Angel gave them a wave. " Hey guys, found anything?"
Aqualad took a look at the tied up Bane then to Angel. " I assume Bane had betrayed us. Hasn't he?"
" Oh no, he was just trying to bury you guys alive." Angel pointed at the explosives that were still above their head, panting because performing two spells at once was hard.
There was a long, suffering sigh let out but they ended up moving Bane to another part of the forest. Tied up, of course.
Miss Martian, summed up the thing he missed. Sportmaster as a partnership with Cobra, the Venom being ship out of the island and Kaldur's official role as leader. A plan was devised to hopefully stop the Venom from leaving the island. Which this time included Angel.
Waiting in the shadow alongside with Robin for their cue. Kid Flash ran distraction while Aqualad and Superboy took care of Cobra's giant henchmen Mammoth. As Miss Martian sneaked into the ready to lift helicopter of Sportmaster. Robin and Angel would handle Cobra himself.
Bolas were sent to the closet standing henchmen ( or hench- girl in this case) of Cobra. The cult leader glared at them as they moved closer in.
" nrut sih shtolc otni gnidnib."
Funnily enough, he had learned this spell on Youtube, through a clumsily filmed fight between Zatara. Since he was stilled tired out from putting Bane asleep white-skinned man's cloak tore into ribbons and warped themselves around Cobra. Not what he had intended but it was distracting enough to Cobra and gave Robin a chance to kicked him straight in the face.
That, however, wasn't enough to knock the man down. The anger in Cobra's eyes grew as Robin snark. " I know you hate getting your hands dirty."
" True, " The man herded his cloak with ease, Angel was definitely practicing that spell after this. " But sometimes even a god stoop to conquer."
It was two against one, so naturally, the battle was more favourable on their side. It was still a bit of a hassle with Cobra's skills in combat ( it would have been easier if Angel used the sleeping spell, but Robin was too close to Cobra and Angel didn't exactly have the fineness control over the perimeter of the spell). Slowly they did manage to push Cobra back.
" I'm plagued by mosquitoes."
" Good, " Robin sent him another kick while Angel sent a bolt of electricity at him. Unfortunate, Cobra dodged both. " because this mosquito mighty concerted over your pain!"
Cobra backed into the shadow of the forest. " Another time then."
Robin rushed after the cult leader, so did Angel but they only found an empty clearing. The great of the team had already finished with their part of the plan and had gathered around, with a burning factory in the background.
" How?" So he DID head a faint sound of an explosion as he chases after Cobra.
" Helicopter crash, " Kid Flash explained, rubbing the back of his head. " This is going to make an awkward debriefing with Batman."
The Cave-July 23
An awkward debriefing with Batman indeed. The Dark Knight had them all lined up as Kaldur, their leader, explained everything to him. The rest of them just stood in silence.
"A simple mission. Observe and report." Batman repeated the mission goal, he sounded as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You'll each received a written evaluation detailing your many mistakes."
Then Batman did a complete 180. " But until then good job."
Batman then proceeded to praise them for their plan and how they adapt to the situation. Billy wasn't sure if it was because Batman is in a good mood or dumb luck. But he felt strangely relief and glad that Kaldur wasn't in trouble for all of this.
Chapter 4: Lessons and Fear
The Cave-July 24
" So, how's my favourite Hellblazer's apprentice doing?"
Apparently of all the things Billy was known for, being 'Hellblazer's apprentice" was one of them. The term 'apprentice' was quite a stretch when it came to Billy's relationship with John, but Billy supposed it make sense. John taught him magic once every month, although nowadays Billy did most of the learning by himself. And they saw each other multiple times every other week, either when Billy's help was needed ( John had a habit of angering people, demons, and mystic deity alike) or when John felt like taking Billy out for a joyride ( coughDemon huntingcough).
" I'm John's only apprentice, Zee." Billy poured Zatanna tea as they sat down at the House of Mystery's living room. While her father and John moved to another room to discussed business. " Technically, anyway." He added.
" Which makes you makes you my favourite." She ruffled his hair, before scooting her chair even closer to his. " What do you wanna do while they talk? Eavesdrop? Or many we can go shopping?"
Their meeting always went like this. John and Zatara would leave Billy and Zee unattended. Zatanna and he would do something crazy and more often than not got scolded for it after the two adults finished whatever they were doing. The cycle repeated each time and despite Zatara complaints, the man had never really mind Billy playing with Zatanna.
" Umm, how about a new spell. You said you would teach me that flying spell you showed me last time." After a few incidents with lighting, fire, burning books and a scorched sofa. Zatanna was banned from teaching Billy any offensive and defensive spell.
" Then flying spell it is."
They moved the chairs and tables out of the way before Billy settled on the floor while Zatanna stood in front of the fireplace. She did a quick demonstration for him, repeated the spell a few times then tried to instruct him on how to do it himself.
" Don't focus too much on it. Relax, be as light as a feather."
" Light was a feather." Billy repeated, breathing out as he sat cross legs on the floor. He relaxed his mussel as she told him to.
" Good now say the spell."
"Etativel." Nothing happened, but Billy could feel a small tingling sensation underneath his skin. "Etativel" he repeated again.
Same feeling but no movement.
" Try to really relax yourselves," Zatanna advised. " Give it another try."
Relax, relax, relax. Billy repeated in his mind. " Etativel"
It worked by the fifth time he tried, lifting Billy couple of inch off ground. " Look Zee, I did i- Oof!"
Suddenly Billy fell flat on his butt. Zatanna chuckled. " Not quite yet, kiddo. But you're close."
She muttered a spell and cushions from the sofa float over to them, covering the floor underneath Billy. " Here, this should help. Now let's continue."
They kept going at it. With Billy try to hold himself off ground a bit higher and a bit longer before fall on his butt, and Zatanna trying hard not to laugh when Billy pouted at his failure as she encouraged him. By the time John and Zatara were finished, they entered the room to see Billy at least a feet of ground and Zatanna cheering him on.
" Huh, they didn't trash the room. " John muttered, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette only to get it smacked out of his hand by Zatara. " Not in front of the children."
The Leaguer then cleared his throat drawing the attention of the two children. Billy, still floating, waved excitedly at the two men. " John! Mr. Zatara! Look what Zee taught me!"
"I can certainly see that she had taught you something." John smiled at the ten years old enthusiasm." But you'll have to get down now. Zatanna has to go home and so are you. It's dinner time, wouldn't want to make your uncle wait."
And as much fun as he had levitating off ground, Billy came down. A bit wobbly and slow, but he was getting the hang of the spell. Giving Zatanna a goodbye hug before she left, Billy whispered to her. " Think he'll let you join the team if you ask again? It would be great to have you there with me."
" We'll see." She replied back. They both were sure of the answer though. Zatanna was Zatara's only child and therefore was very protective of her. The idea of letting her join the team and went on dangerous missions earned a definite 'no' on Zatara's mind. But it wouldn't hurt to try ( again), right?
Salt Flats-July 25
He was three when uncle Ebenezer kicked him out because he was a good for nothing brat. Because Billy wasn't worth it. Was it true? Billy thinks so, it was why he always got sent back to the orphanage from his foster homes. It didn't matter how good he tried to be. He wasn't worth it in the end. He wasn't even sure if he was worth anything to uncle Dudley or John or his parents or his friends.
John only stick around for so long because he felt guilty for Astra. And Uncle Dudley….
Billy blinked out of his thought as Robin continued to shake his shoulder a few more times. " Ugh, what?"
" Glad your back with us." Robin smiled letting go of Angel's shoulder.
Angel frowned a little at this strange sensation in his mind. It felt as if the fog has been lifted from his mind. Things started to come back to him now. The Team was sent to Salt Flats to stop Psycho-Pirate, who didn't dress that much like a pirate much to Angel's disappointment, from stealing Plutonium. He wasn't sure what plutonium was, but base on what Robin and Kid Flash had said about it, it was bad. Unfortunately, Psycho-Pirate had the Medusa Mask in his possession which, unlike what its name suggested, control people emotion. He forced them to fights civilians. And the next thing Angel knew, things went blank.
" I'm just gonna assumed that Psycho-Pirate with his mask causes that very convincing daydream section."
" Something like that, " Robin commented, he then moved on to help Miss Martian snap out of her trance while Angel tried to get a reaction from Aqualad. It didn't take long for Superboy to wake up too.
They all head out to help Kid Flash get back the Plutonium in the hands of some skeleton-like man.
" We can't let him open that canister, " Robin commanded. " Automatic Skull uses plutonium to powered his own energy. Not to mention all the radiation it'll release."
Aqualad and he set on distracting Automatic Skull, with Angel binding him while Aqualad surrounded his head with water. Shifting her hands into a tentacle, Miss Martian attempted to grab the canister but failed when Skull shot a green beam out of his head. She let out a shouted, the beam must have hurt lots. Luckily Superboy landed a punch on skull before he could hurt Miss M even more. The punch sent Skull out of Angel's hold and flying into his aircraft.
The aircraft that he promptly entered and fly away. Sending a beam at Superboy as a farewell gift, knocking him down. The new flying spell would do some good if Angel had more control over it that is. So instead he went over to Superboy to check on him. Leaving the chase to Miss Martian.
" Are you okay?" He asked as he helped the Kryptonian teen stand up alongside with Aqualad.
"Fine, " The answer he got was curt for Superboy was more concern with something else. He pointed to the sky, of which no aircraft was seen. " He's gone."
" Guess this one an even slit. Got one bad guy, but the other got away." Kid Flash commented he held up the plutonium he had gotten from Automatic Skull. " But I guess we did manage to get the highly deadly hunk of plutonium stuff out of Skully's hands."
" Yeah, " Angel flinched when he suddenly found Robin's hand on his shoulder. " We'll find him."
He turned to give Angel a playful smile, Angel returned it. " Eventually."
Fawcett City-July 25
There was something wrong with his nephew and Dudley wasn't sure what. It started when Billy got home from the Jr League thing. The boy smiled and greeted him as usual, but it didn't hold the usual cheerfulness and looked rather forced. When asked if was there anything wrong, he had gotten a quick ( too quick) reply of " Nothing."
It happened again at dinner when he found the child started at him strangely. Billy hadn't even touched his food. The same question was once again asked, and Billy's answered stay the same.
" Nothing, nothing is wrong, uncle Dudley."
Now, Dudley H Dudley himself might have never gone to college. But he knew something was up when he saw it. And whatever was up with Billy is not good. After two years of living with the boy. Dudley could tell what different 'nothing' means. There were 'Nothing-I-brought-home-stray-animals', 'nothing-I-might-have-cause-shenanigans' and 'nothing-something-bad-happened'. This was definitely a 'nothing-something-bad-happened'
And unfortunately, Dudley also knew Billy well enough to know that unless the child was comfortable enough to tell. There was literally no ways he could coax it out of the boy. He'll just have to wait and calm Billy down for now.
Peering through the boy's bedroom door, he could see the boy laying on his bed, scribbling something into one of his notebooks.
" Hey, Billy?"
Confused blue eyes lifted up from the notebook. " Yes, uncle Dudley?"
" You have been practicing that 'four queens' trick I'd taught you right?"
" Yep, just like you asked."There was a hint of excitement in Billy's voice. Good.
"Well, let's see how good you've gotten and maybe we can move on to another trick." In an instant, the notebook was left on the bed as the ten years old grab his deck of cards and rushed out into the living room.
Dudley's career as a stage magician was short live, however, he had learned quite a lot sleight of hand skills in that time ( skills that would be later used for scamming people's money when performing show wasn't making enough). It still served him some good even though his performing was long gone. Mostly to bond with his nephew.
It wasn't the kind of magic Billy was used to see, Dudley's sure. There weren't any glowing hands, flashing eyes or a strange spell. But Dudley supposed these tricks were still magical enough to light Billy's eyes up with amazement. It was last winter when the whole teaching thing started. It was like usual, Dudley, pretending that he was still a stage magician, performed his 'magic' as he watched Billy's eyes wide up. That night the boy shyly approached him wondering if Dudley would teach him some tricks. The answer had obviously been 'yes'.
"...and when you show them the top card you'll use your thumb underneath to pull the planned card in the bottom. Got it?"
" Uh huh."
As the lesson went on, Dudley paid close attention to Billy. Despite, the enthusiasm showed, Billy's mind wasn't quite into it. He must have noticed Dudley's starring and gave in to it somewhat.
" Uncle Dudley?" Billy didn't look up from the cards in his hand. " Am I - you-you're not gonna leave me, are you?"
Ahh, so that's what wrong. Dudley gently put one hand on Billy's shoulder and the other lifting Billy's face up to look at him. " Never kiddo, not on my life."
And that was the honest truth, Billy knew that. The boy relaxed, somewhat eased as far as Dudley could tell. He tucked Billy in that night, just like he did every night, but this time he stayed longer and waited until the child fell asleep. As an extra reassurance.
Chapter 5: Schooled
Fawcett city - August 1
With the Spelling Bee Contest began in minutes, the Fawcett auditorium was filled with people. Most of them were parents and family members who were there to cheer on their child. There were also some children there too. One of which was Billy Batson, who was currently sitting on the third row away from the stage. Chatting away with his friend Cissie as his hand wandered off to steal some popcorn from his other friend, Scott.
" Can you believe it? One more month until school starts!" Cissie stretched her arms out in excitement.
" I know right?" Billy popped the stolen popcorn into his mouth. " I can't wait for 5th grade."
" You don't have to remind me." Scott groaned, his mouth full of popcorn. "Summer doesn't last long enough if you ask me."
It earned him a light smack on the shoulder from Cissie. " Chew before you talk, Scott. And stop complaining, school isn't that bad."
A small ' sorry mom' was heard from Scott, sending Billy into a fit of giggles. " School is that bad, horrible in fact. You guys only like school because you're both nerds." Scott paused for a moment, his eyes strayed to a giggling Billy. " Well, at least you are one Cissie. Billy here is a dork."
" Hey, " Billy protested. " I'm not a dork. Sides if I'm a dork the what's Freddy?"
" A nervous wreck." A new voice spoke up that Billy instantly recognized at Kit Freeman. The brunette squished through the rows of chairs and settled down right beside Scott.
" Freddy? Nervous? I don't buy that one bit." Cissie did have a point. Freddy and nervous were never meant to be on one sentence.
" It's true, " Kit smiled, amuse. " Grandpa is trying to calm him down backstage. He sent me here to….uh…give Freddy some space."
" Speaking of the devil." Billy pointed a finger over Kit's shoulder, right at the approaching elder Jacob Freeman. Kit and Freddy's grandfather. " Guess your brother must have calmed down."
The Spelling Bee started as soon as the old man reached their little groups. The scarlet curtains pulled open to revealed twenty children under the age of thirteen from all over America. Scanning through the rows of kids, Billy spot Freddy sitting right next to very peculiar a brown-haired girl.
Once it was her turn, she introduced herself as Mary Bromfield.
Billy blinked, despite being a distance away he could clearly make out the feature of her face. He may not recognize her name but the pointed chin and high nose that looked….familiar in Billy's mind. Very familiar and yet Billy couldn't figure out why.
Suddenly something freezing cold touch Billy's cheek making him yelped. "Ah!"
" Good, you're back."
It was Cissie's doing, apparently, she had been trying to get his attention for the last couple of minutes with no avail. So she decided to grab the ice cold can of coke she was supposed to give him and dabbed it on his cheeks.
Holding out the same can of coke, Cissie gave Billy a smile." Here."
" Thanks, " Billy took the offered can but didn't open it. His eyes moved back to the stage. It lingered a few minutes at a very not nervous Freddy before altered to the girl who sat next to him. Who was she?
Billy sunk back into his chair, he would ignore Mary for now. Familiar or not he was here to cheer on Freddy not looking at some girl. It was probably just his mind playing tricks on him after all Fawcett's summer heat was still intense. Outside or in.
The Cave- August 3
Seeing as the Team's first training section was happening that day. Added to the fact that most of Billy's friends were out of town for one reason to another and uncle Dudley unexpected over time. That led to Billy arriving at the cave early, three hours and eight minutes early than need, to escape his boredom.
Skipping happily into the Cave, Billy figured that he could finally make use of his assigned room at the cave. Moving some books here from his overflowed shelves back at Fawcett, maybe set up a few wards around the place, practicing a few spells. Perhaps that would entertain him long enough until training started.
But putting away the books took only a few minutes and set up the wards just a few minutes more. While he did spend a good twenty minute looking around his room, memorizing and figuring out every nooks and cranny that could be used as some kind of secret hiding place ( there was a few). However, he still had a good two hours to kill. Which led him to laid lazily on his bed, flipping through the yellow pages of his leather bound spell book.
Let's see what he'll do today. Perhaps nothing big since he wanted to save energy for training later. Cause fear? Well, it was a useful spell but he had nothing to practice on. Alternating gravity? Sounded cool, however, Billy had just put everything in its place he doesn't want to clean them all up. Frozen shards? Already got that one down. Nightmare Illusion? Nah. Solidify? Nope.
Flipping from page to page, Billy scanned over the calligraphic texts. Only stopped when something caught his eyes: Arcane Whip.
According to the description, the spell was supposed just the user concentrating their energy into a form of a whip which sounded easy enough.
Exactly twenty minutes later, a loud crash was heard from Billy's room. Making M'gann, whose room was right across his, paused the video on her laptop and went to check up on the child.
" Billy are you okay in there?" She knocked on the metallic door.
" Ya, I'm fine just uh dropped some stuff." Came the boy muffled voice from behind the door. " You can come in if you want."
The door slip open to revealed Billy picking up his table lamp and its shade from off the ground. Behind him, M'gann could spot a few books sprawled out on the floor. " What happened?"
" I was practicing a spell, let's just say I might have been a bit too excited." Billy put the lamp back, he gave M'gann a small thank you when she picked the books. "Sorry if it bothered you. Although, I didn't know you were here. I kinda thought you and Superboy were off hanging out somewhere."
" Hanging out? With Superboy?" A faint pink spread on M'gann's green cheeks. " Oh no, Superboy's out in Metropolis. I was in my room watching 'Hello Megan'."
" Oh my uncle loves that show, " Billy commented, changing the subject and pretending he didn't notice the girl's blush. " I've watched it a few times with him. It's a good show."
M'gann's eyes widen, a smile formed on her face. As it turned out she was a big fan of the show, a really big fan of the show. Probably because she looked similar, if not straight out the same, as the main character Megan. And it answered the question of why she wanted her earth name to be Megan. And also her catchphrase, he knew he heard it somewhere.
They continued their talk of the 80s sitcom with Billy sitting on his bed while M'gann floated cross legs right beside him.
"...and I was so glad when Megan figured out Conner was okay." The martian girl squealed, tightening her hold on the pillow Billy lend to her. They were so into it, neither heard the echoed of M'gann's name from a certain Boy Wonder
" M'gaaannn? M'gannn? M'gann! There you are!" Robin's head popped out of the door. " Billy! You're here too, good. Wally's planning kick Kaldur's a- uhh butt."
" You know you can say ass, right?" Billy raised a brow at Robin. " I really don't mind if you say it."
The other black-haired boy paused for a moment before continuing his speech. " As I was saying, Wally's planning to kick Kaldur's ass in air hockey. Virtual air hockey. Wanna watch?"
Billy gave M'gann a look as if asking if she wanted to come and see, she gave him a smile in return. " Sure, we're both down for it."
" Great, meet you in the training area."
And with that the boy dashed off, leaving M'gann and Billy to follow his tracks. As it turned out, Robin had somehow figured out a way to reprogram the training system in the training area to make a virtual function air hockey board. With pushers and puck and everything.
Between Wally who claimed he was the champion at air hockey, and Kaldur who got the rules explained to him by both Robin and Billy. The match was surprisingly even, with a not very experienced Kaldur trying his best to win and Wally being very relaxed as he played the game while eating a banana. Robin, M'gann, and Billy stood and quietly watch.
However as much as Kaldur tried, he lost to Wally one point behind before Superboy came storming pasted the hologram board, ending the game.
" You'll win next time." Billy whispered, patting his arms. The Atlantean frowned a bit but smile regardless.
" Perhaps so."
Superboy continued to march across the room, not stopping even when M'gann tried to make small talk with him. " How was Metropolis?"
Billy wasn't sure if it was something his mind made up or maybe he was that good at reading people ( or maybe Superboy was easy to read). But he could swear, from Superboy's forceful steps he was angry at something. Superman perhaps? It was the obvious reasons. The older did go to Metropolis and Billy doubt it was for sightseeing.
" Ahem, " the group, except for Superboy, turned to the approaching Black Canary and Martian Manhunter. " Ready for training everyone?"
" Black Canary! Uncle J'onn! " It seemed like M'gann was more focus on her uncle than their teacher herself as she flew over and hugged her uncle. Martian Manhunter too, was joyed to see his niece, returned the hug. Billy didn't fail to see how the displayed affected Superboy, who scowl deepen as he promptly walked away.
" Stick around," Black Canary called out, also noticing Superboy's retreated. " Class is in session." Which stopped Superboy, who still didn't look too happy.
As she moved into the center of the ring, Black Canary removed her jacket and continued her speech. " I considered it to be an honor to be your teacher. I'll throw a lot at you. Everything I've learned from my own mentor." Her jacket was lowered to reveal the bandage warped around her arm, she winced at the wound but continued to slip off her jacket. " And my own bruises."
" What happened ?" a worries M'gann asked.
" The job." Black Canary answered simply, moving on with the lesson before anyone could ask more about the wound. " Now combat is about controlling the conflict. Putting the battle on your terms. You should be acting, never reacting. I'll need a sparring partner."
Not wanting to volunteer himself, Billy stood still. Billy might mainly use magic in battle but he could fight using his hands, granted half of what he knew isn't even the right or proper way to do it. But he could probably knock some thugs out with it. Still, there was no way, in all of burning hell, was he going to fight against Black Canary. THE Black Canary. He'd had seen the woman fight on TV, it was not something he wants to go against.
" Right here, yeah!" Wally, now finished with his banana, volunteered himself.
" After this." Stepping up, be aimed the banana peel in his hand at the trash can. " Swish" It landed at its mark. " I'll show you my moves."
If the last line was meant to be a joke or actual flirting, Billy didn't know. Whichever category it fell into, it didn't bother Black Canary. In fact, she seemed to be amused by it, with narrowing eyes and knowing smirk. She instantly giving him a quick jab which Wally blocked, only to get knocked off his feet and hit his back on the ground with a thud.
That got to hurt. Billy winced, glad that he did not volunteer himself.
" Ugh, hurts do good." Wally groaned from his spot on the floor, confirming Billy's thoughts.
" Good block, " Black Canary complimented, giving Wally a hand. " But did anyone see what he did wrong?"
" Ooh, ooh. He hit on teacher and got served ?" Robin, in all of his excitement from watching the fight, offered.
" He got distracted?" It was something Billy noted from the fight but he didn't know if that's the answered Black Canary was looking for.
" Yes, yes and, " The woman stretched out the last word. " He allowed me to dictated the term of-"
"Oh please, " An annoyed Superboy interrupted her. " With my powers, the battles always on my terms." He jabbed his thumb at his chest as if emphasize his point.
Like that's what happened with the battle with Mister Twister.
The situation was heated enough now and Billy doesn't want to add fuel to the fire, so Billy wisely kept his mouth shut. Once again, Black Canary had the same amused look on her face. She turned to face Superboy. " Prove it."
It was a challenge and a very subtle taunt.
One that got Superboy by surprise, but he took it nevertheless. Walking into the ring, he stared at the older woman. The fight ended quick, quicker than Wally's. With Black Canary throwing him across the ring by using the teen's weight against him.
Robin burst out laughing, only to elbowed by Kaldur and Billy on both of his sides. Getting back on his feet, Superboy ignored Black Canary's attempt to advised him. He once again charged at the older woman, only to be forced to his back. Again.
By the time he was ready to stand, Black Canary already is, offering her hand but Superboy ignored. "That's it." He growled, marching away. "I'm done."
"Training is mandatory." Canary placed a hand on Superboy's shoulder before he could leave. She would have pressed more on the matter if it weren't for Batman calling. "Batman to the Cave."
A holescreen opened up with the man's face, frowning as always. "A new menace attack Green Arrow and Black Canary. The attacker was capable of studying, the duplicating the powers and abilities of its opponents." The man went straight to the point, reporting in details about the threat and his ability. How it took right leaguers for hours to dismantle what apparently is an Android. Which caught everyone, except the two leaguers present, by surprise.
"An android?" Robin questions. "Who built it, T.O. Morrow?"
"Good guess, Robin." The frown on Superboy's face deepened at Batman's praise. "But Red Tornado doesn't think so."
"The technology bears the signature of Professor Ivo."
Professor who? While Billy prided himself as a somewhat expertise on Superhero, with most of his knowledge came from the news, listening to John occasional rant about 'the yoga pants club', and eavesdropping with Zee on her father. He didn't know all that much about the rest of the costumed world. And based on the whole Robot attacking thing, maybe this Ivo was a bad guy?
"Ivo?" Baldur sounded shocked. "But's Ivo is dead."
Black Canary sigh. " Or so we thought or hope."
A supposed to be dead scientist? Yep, villain material alright.
"To make certain this threat is permanently neutralized, we're sending two trucks carrying the android parts to two separate Star Labs facilities in Boston and New York for immediate evaluation. Every precaution is being taken, " Another screen popped up, showing the route that will be taken on a map as Batman went on to explain their mission. "There will be four additional decoy trucks to create confusion in case Ivo, or anyone attempts to recover the remains. You will be split into two undercover teams to safeguard the two real trucks."
The missions itself appeared to be easy enough, but on look at Kaldur and the flashback of the last mission started to play on Billy mind. Hopefully, things won't end up in an explosion this time. And as Wally cheerfully put it.
" Yes! Field trip."
Please let it be that and just that. No explosion this time, please.
"So now we take out your trash?" Superboy, still angry, questioned.
"You had something better to do?" Batman countered, his voice left no room for argument.
"Coordinates received. On our way." Kaldur stated and with that, they rushed off. All but Superboy.
Litchfield County- August 3
"We'll go at a pretty fast speed when I start this thing so hold on tight, okay?" Robin warned Angel as he put on his helmet.
In order to blend in a bit more for the mission, team members were supplied with a motorcycle. Except for Angel was too young to drive so Robin sat him at the backseat of his motorcycle.
" Okay." Angel nodded wrapping his arms around the older boy waist. It was seconds after that the signal was given for them to move out.
A sense of excitement bubbled in Angel's stomach when he felt the vibration of the machine being started. It took all of his self-control (if he has got any) to not squealed when they dashed off after the truck. It was so fast and Billy had never got a chance to ride a motorcycle before, it was just like he'd imagine it would be.
Holy Moly this is awesome!
"If dislike is the opposite of like, is disaster the opposite of aster?" Robin asked out loud, he went on to explain. " See, instead of things going wrong, they go right."
" I guess?" In a way, Robin's reasoning did make sense. " What do you think Superboy?"
The boy didn't answer, instead, he stared intensely at the road ahead of him.
" Canary, " He finally growled out after a moment of silence. "And what business does she have teaching combat skills to a guy with super-strength?"
" Other than the fact she knows how to beat up guys with super strength?" Billy offered.
"Sides taking down stronger guys is part of the gig." Robin add-on. "Canary learned that the hard way. Same with Batman and, Sup- well me."
Despite Robin's best attempt to covered his slip up, Superboy processed what he was going to say. The touchy subject at the moment, other than Black Canary, the Man of Steel's name. Revving up his motorcycle Superboy shot passed them, clearly not wanting to continue the conversation. Well, at least he didn't snap at them.
The thoughts of Superman had brought mixed feeling for Angel. He had looked up at the man for a long time, Superman was who he tried to be. He was Angel's much-needed role model before Uncle Dudley came into the picture. He felt like whatever Superman do, it would be for the best. And yet the way he seemed to treat Superboy began to raise some red flags in Angel's head.
It was understandable for the man to be in shock when he found out he got cloned. But it had been almost a month since then, why wouldn't Superman at least try to get to know Superboy?
" Looks like we've got company," Robin announced, cutting Angel's musing. Echoes of monkey-like laugh entered his ears. Wait, monkey?
Stretching upward, he looked over Robin's shoulder lo and behold a horde of flying robotic monkeys were latching on to their truck. While Robin activated the motorcycle's battle mode, which Billy didn't actually see since he was more focused on Superboy and the slightly bent handlebars in his grip.
" I hate monkey." A faint ( not really) muttered was heard through the wind, before off Superboy go. Jumping off his motorcycle and landed on the truck in front.
Using Robin's shoulder Billy pushed himself upward " etativeL!". The force combined with the spell lifted him upward and he flew forward. Time to join the party wagon
He landed with a tumbled onto the truck's roof right next to Superboy.
" Note to self, practice landing." He mumbled just as the robot monkeys started swarming him, their high pitch laughter rang over the roaring wind as if mocking him if his failed attempt of landing.
Now, this was where the arcane whip would come in handy, except Angel was sure he was more likely to hit Superboy with it rather than any of the robots. Well, he would always have opportunities to field test it later.
As monkey got closer, he whipped his hands at them with a chilli sensation moving through in fingertips. " Eci drahs, ezeerf dna ezorf"
Ice flew through the air, a few found it's target, making a hole in the monkey's mechanical bodies. Most of them though got evaded and in return shot lasers at him. It his turn to dodge or, as he chose, continued to attack. Fighting on a moving vehicle was difficult, not only did Angel need a firm footing or else the wind would literally liftmen off his feet. There wasn't a lot of space he could move to without bumping into Superboy or the monkeys.
As he went on to simulating dodging and firing ice at the robot monkey, the crowd of monkeys moved in closer. A few managed to grab him by the arms." Hey!"
They began to drag him upward toward the sky. Fortunately, trying to destroy the monkey up close was easier than from afar. Clapping his hand together as electricity crackled around his body, Angel mumbled. " Tel gninthgil yortsed esoht ohw dleh em."
The monkeys tilted their head in curiously, they didn't have much time to analyze it before an outburst of the electricity washed over, destroying them in the process. Seconds later, Angel was floating on the sky freely. He could see Superboy tearing the robotic monkeys that were holding him up in the air to pieces, free falling as the last of them were demolished. Rushing downward to aid Superboy, or really just letting go of the spell and freefalling, he awkward held the boy up by the armpits as he struggled not to fall straight to the ground by the sear weight of the boy.
It didn't help that Superboy kept violently moving. " Superboy please stop-"
The boy slipped through his grasp and landed down completely unharmed. Oh, right, invulnerability, how did he forget about that?
By the time his feet touched the ground, the truck was flipped to its side, smokes coming from its engine. The driver, luckily, was lying on the grass not far behind it. Robin too was fine, helping the poor driver stand up. The robotic monkeys were flying away, holding to the Amazo parts.
Which leave, "Superboy are you okay?"
There were burn marks on his face, Angel noted. They were adjacent to his eyes and if it weren't for the fact that they look fine he would have offered to heal them. But once again invulnerability got it covered.
" Fine!" Was the short reply he got before the older leap past him, over the surrounding field and following the escaping robots' path.
"Please don't-" Too late, seconds later Superboy disappeared from his sight.
" Please don't tell me that our teammate is gone." Came Robin's voice from behind him.
"After our lost cargo? I won't." he tried to call Superboy back through the comm in his ears, however, there were no answers. " But I think he might have ditched his comm."
They didn't have time to lament on that fact when Aqualad contacted them.
" Aqualad to Robin. We've lost our cargo. Did you-"
" Also gone." said an exasperated Robin. " Alongside with a no comm Superboy. We think he ditched his comm."
" And he's out of my telepathic ranged." Miss Martian admitted.
" Super! Now we can't even track him." Kid Flash joined in sarcastically.
Well, the mission is going great, wasn't it?
" This professor Ivo, or whoever sent those robots, clearly they were prepared." Angel finally said turning to Robin. " Maybe we should contact the League."
" or Red Tornado." Miss Martian added on.
"No, " the Atlantean insisted. " the mission can still succeed if we recover the parts before they're reassembled."
"Well, that's a great plan, " Kid Flash drew out." except for the part about us not knowing where to look!"
Robin's brow furrowed for a moment until his attention was drawn to the less damaged body of the robotic monkeys laying on the road. " Maybe we do."
The boy fiddled with the robots for a moment, inserting some sort of wire into its back as he began to explained his theory.
"We'd have heard by now if the decoy trucks had been how did these monkeys know exactly which trucks to target?" Robin punched some button on his glove as a screen emerged from it. The older boy came to the good news that the monkey has GPS signal which meant he could track them.
"Looks like both sets of parts are converging on…" A map popped up on the screen "Gotham City."
"That far south?" Aqualad questioned, shocked. "M'gann and I won't get there anytime soon. Angel do you by chance know any teleportation spell ?"
" Yes, but I can't transport to Gotham." he needed to be in the place in the past for it to work. And that at this moment sucks, big time. "I can transport us back to the cave if that helps."
"Very well, you, M'gann and I can take the Zeta beam from there to Gotham. I'm sending Kid Flash to pick you up, Robin. You two will head there first. Aqualad out."
Angel turned to Robin. "This is a disaster, isn't it?"
"Heavy on the dis"
After Robin left with Kid Flash, other than a couple of cars passing through it was silence for a long time. So with little to do, Angel found a sitting spot by the side of the road. He didn't notice when Aqualad and Miss Martian arrived, too busy focusing his magic in preparation for the upcoming spell.
"Angel, we're here."
If it weren't for Aqualad announcing their presence he would have just stayed seat for the rest of the day.
"Oh, uh right." That was embarrassing.
"I tnaw ot tog eht evac, I tnaw ot tog eht evac, I tnaw ot tog eht evac."
He chanted as he holds out his index and middle fingers while the rest clenched toward his palms. Bright sparks form lines followed his fingers movement. Swiftly he drew the sigil. It wasn't a complicated one, however, he could feel his energy leaving his the finish symbol in place, the sigil swirled. Lines smashed together and open from it a pathway the Cave's training area. Angel was breathing heavily with sweat break out from his forehead, but still, he holds the portal in place for his teammates to walk through. Before he too staggered through it.
Aqualad quickly set the coordinated for the Zeta tube, typing on the holo-screen. Miss Martian, however, noticed how Angel stumbled behind them.
" Are you okay, Billy?" She asked and Aqualad lifted his head up from the screen. " You look tired."
" I'm fine." He replied even though he was indeed tired. " Just a bit out of breath."
A small smiled from him assured both of the team and they headed for Gotham
The first thing he took in when they left the Cave for Gotham was that it seemed normal. On the news or the paper, the city was portrayed as some sort of intricate place. Complex technology, fancy skyscraper, and its mysterious protectors. Then there was also the city's reputation of being a hellhole. Because you wouldn't have had a man dress in a bat suit running around at night if weren't for some truly madmen in the city causing chaos and destruction.
And yet standing here in some back alley near the disguised Zeta Beam, the city almost looked peaceful. He just wished he had more time to explore it, however, they still got a job to finished.
Aqualad led them to a private school. And in the middle of its gym stood the android just like in the clips Batman had shown them. It was currently throwing Kid Flash halfway across the gym while Robin and Superboy were collaborating on attack some old man carried by the robot monkeys.
That had to be professor Ivo.
" So plan?" He turned to Aqualad but it was Robin who answered.
" We're playing get the Professor ." The older boy tossed some birdarangs at the scientist.
Glances were shot at Aqualad who simply nodded. And now there were six people trying aiming attack at Ivo.
The old man, even the help of his monkey, was still at a large disadvantaged. And having narrowly dodged a brick thrown at his head grew to frighten.
"Amazo, protect your master. Priority Alpha." Ivo commanded as Robin landed a kick on him. Immediately, the android turned to them.
" Access: Superman."
A laser was shot was shot at Angel's when he got closer to the professor. It nearly burned his feet off if he didn't move back in time. Kaldur took that opportunity of its distraction to aim a punch at Amazo.
It reacted quickly, tapping into its Martian Manhunter's base power and turned intangible. However, it didn't anticipate Superboy followed soon after with his own punch. As his hand went through its head, the android turned back to normal. Its face begins to spark and zap blue electricity before it exploded, knocking Superboy back. Its headless body falls flat to the ground with a loud thud.
While Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad rushed to dismantle the android, Angel dropped to his knees. The teleportation spell took a lot out of him, adding with the intense simulating dodging he just did only made him even more worn out. And still, they had to deliver these parts to the lab.
" Guys?" He called out after making a quick scan around the gym. " Not to be the bearer of bad news but Professor Ivo is gone."
The Cave - August 4
It was one in the morning he thinks. But despite being thoroughly tired after the mission, he stood still for the debrief. It was a miracle really that he was standing at all.
"- Ivo escaped and since he originated the tech, he is arguably more dangerous than the android." Kaldur explained to Batman and a few other League members.
"Capturing Ivo will be a league top priority," Canary assured them.
"But we understand that your mission encountered other complications." Martian Manhunter continued. Glances were given at Superboy.
"Complications come with the job." Batman stepped towards them "Your ability to handle them, as well as face danger head on for your team, has impressed the league."
"The whole League?"
"Given time, yes. Kryptonians, as you know, have hard heads."
Billy blinked at that statement. Was that a joke?
He knew that he should be happy for a chance of Superman bonding with Superboy. But for some strange reasons ( he blame sleep diverted) the statement was strangely funny. He could barely stifle a laugh before Batman went on.
"Of course there is no shame in asking for help. That is why the league exists because there are even some problems we can't handle individually."
"Yeah right." A cross-looking Robin reached into his pouch and pulled out an arrow that Billy didn't know he has. " If we needed help we'd never get the chance to ask! Look familiar? You were following us. Babysitting! You still don't trust us!"
Batman took the arrow into his hands, examining it for a second before handing it to Green Arrow "We didn't follow you."
"…And that's not your arrow." Robin noted, noticing that Green Arrow's tips were much more jagged than the arrow he'd handed them. "But that means-"
"Speedy!" Wally finished the sentence, pleased.
"He's got our backs." Kaldur added.
"Souvenir!" Wally snatched the arrow away from Green Arrow.
" Is that going to be a thing from now on?" Billy raised a brow at the redhead.
Wally stopped for a moment and stroked his chin as if he as thinking. " You know what little dude? yeah. In fact, I'll get a whole room just to store these babies."
The smile on Billy's face faltered. 'Little dude', no one had called him that ever since he left the Winston's household. It wasn't the worst foster home he had been to, but Billy rathered not remembered the isolated feeling he felt when-
"-illy, Bill. Billy." Wally's voice snapped him back to the current world.
"Sorry, I uh spaced out." He offered Wally a sheepish smiled. " Did you say something?"
" Bat dismiss us." Wally jabbed a thumb over his shoulder at the said man. "We can go now."
Oh right. Let's see he'll have to head back to Fawcett and made sure nothing bad was happening. His bedtime in the summer was three o'clock so uncle D shouldn't be too worried. Still, he was glad to finally be able to go home.
Chapter 6: king Kull, Bullets and somethin else
Fawcett city - August 5
With his back against the cold cement column, Billy in his Angel costumed tried to calm his breath down.
" Come out you puny coward!" Screamed Angel's newest problem, one beast of a man.
It started simple enough with a caveman appear out of nowhere, and in retrospect, it wasn't the weirdest thing Angel had seen ( trust him Fawcett had weirder things). But things usually get complicated when terrorizing people and properties getting destroyed got involved.
" what are you, a caveman?" he had asked, taking notes of the rampaging man odd choice clothing and overall appearance.
His question was answered with an angry. " Caveman?! Caveman?! I am was once the ruler of all man, you insolent peasant. I am King Kull, boy! and you will fear me!"
So after getting trees and boulders thrown at him. Tried and failed to bound King Kull many times and chucking as many ice shards at the man as Angel could until the man pissed off and chased him to an abandoned construction site, far away from the civilians. He was here, standing in the foundation of a building underneath its unfinished first floor.
Glancing over the edge of the column, Angel watched as King Kull marched forward his direction, punching a hole through an unfinished wall outside.
" I had made the mistake in my previous conquest of not getting rid of the rebels when they first arise. For that, I was overthrown and imprisoned in ice. But not this time! Thanks to that egg-headed man I am free once again! And this time I will get rid of those who stand in my way, starting with you boy!" King Kull grumbled as he walked closer.
Egg headed man?
Adding that to the lists of things to look into if he got out of here alive. Pressing his body even closer to the beam, he felting like screaming. Maybe because he was panicking and mostly because of frustration.
King Kull walk passed him, the ground trembled with each of his steps. Angel shifts his body, trying to get out of King Kull's site.
Assessing the situation, there wasn't much Angel could do. The man had super strength which ruled out any plans of getting close to him. Not to mention he had this ray gun thing that turned things into steel like metal. So Angel had to watch his back even at a distance away.
Whatever arcane tricks he could summon at an instant are practically useless against King Kull. He could hold him still for even a second to sick a sleep spell on him. All Angel had was this unfinished building and miscellaneous material around, which consisted of pieces of wood and bags of sand…. Wait a minute, sand. That was it!
" if this era had nothing but weaklings and cowards then it would be easier to conquer it than I thought ." King Kull laughed, he could not found the boy in white and had assumed he had fled." Not that it would be any challenge for I, the destined ruler of this planet, King Kull."
" Gee whiz, ego much?" A child's voice rang out but King Kull couldn't pinpoint where. Wind swooshed to his left, immediately he aimed his ray.
There was nothing it a fleeting image of a white cape fluttering before disappearing.
Another swoosh to his right, once again no boy, just his cape. It repeated a few more times, and every time King Kull's ray missed.
" You're only drawing out the inevitable, boy!" the brutish man yelled, running in circles. " I had defeated men who can lift a mountain with one hand what makes you think you can defeat me?!"
" Simple really." King Kull turned to face the young boy. He stood a good distance away, what few rays of light that managed to pass through the cracks of the upper floor illuminated his body. " I got one thing they don't have."
" And what's that?" King Kull wasted no time and immediately shot the boy. A red beamed left his gun, it flew through the air and passed right through the boy.
The boy whispered something that King Kull could not hear and suddenly he was blinded. Millions grain of sands found its way into his eyes. Dropping his ray in favour of rubbing his eyes, King Kull growled out in anger. " You dirty cheater !"
" Thank you, now Esaelp peels."
Angel grew tense when King Kul struggled to stay awake but ultimately fell with a thud on the ground. Very carefully, he approached the man's fallen ray. While the thing was barely the size of King Kul's hand, it took Angel using both of his hand to pick it up. Surprisingly it was very light.
With a bit of shoving, Angel pushed the whole ray gun into his pouch. He probably should hand over to the police, however, he didn't have enough faith in them to lock King Kul away and dealt with his raygun at the same time. He knew for a fact that Fawcett's police force, to put lightly, did not have the means to deal with people like King Kul. Nor could they keep the ray gun from being stolen.
So with a long look at King Kul's sleeping form, Angel let out a long sigh and began to drag the man out in the clearing for the police to find.
Between the dishwasher's thrum, the song from the TV and the crickets from her Grandmother's rocking chair. Amber Joyce found it extremely hard to focus, much less read or memorized her play script. Still, it was here at grandma's or her house. But her house was just so quiet that it made Amber feel weird reading out her lines there. There was a third option.
A small house in the airfield that her mother owned. Amber crashed there sometimes. And while the airfield is much quieter at night. Her mother, Deanna Barr, was having some sort of party there and Amber is willing to bet that it would be blaring there. So she supposed here would do.
Amber tried to read the line out loud again (she knew her grandmother wouldn't particularly mind) but found she doesn't have the focus needed to remember it. Putting the stack of papers down, she turned to the clock. It look like she should take a break, it was half past seven already. Which means…..
" The news should be on Grandma." She reminded the old lady as she settles down on the sofa next to her.
Watching the news was a thing her family did religiously every day. It started with grandfather she things, and he was still alive the channel would have been changed hours ago and they would all wait for the news to come on.
" Oh, that's right." Her grandmother grabbed the remote right next to her and slowly Susan Barr clicked the button.
The screen of the Tv changed from the 90s comedy show to their local reporter Helen Fidelity announcing the latest events in the city.
" Earlier today a metahuman was rampaging through the northwest of Fawcett city. Witnesses stated that he was dress in the fashion of a caveman. Captured images of this said man confirmed it to be true."
A picture was shown on the screen. It was black and white and the man in the picture was almost ape-like especially with the wild hair underneath a horned helmet, snout-like nose.
" The metahuman rampage went on, as the witnesses claim, for two hours and brought to an end at the on freeze construction site of Shire library. By the time the police arrived on the scene, the man was apprehended by Fawcett city's newest hero Angel."
Now a video was shown of a small costumed child crouching on a metal support beam, it was colored but blurry. Much like Angel's first debuted video. Speaking of Angel.
Despite being labelled Fawcett new hero, Angel was anything but new. He existed for two years now as far as Amber knows. But it felt like he was a part of the city for a long time. Whispers on the streets about a ghost of some dead kid going around and help people. Whispers turned into rumors and once that rumor reached to teenage ears it was seconds until the whole city knew it.
She had believed that rumor, because why not? Fawcett was a grim, not Gotham death and madness grim. It was just grim, hopeless she should say.
With an annual crime rate that could rival Gotham, massive homeless issues especially concerning children, a fair share of corruption and did she mention the city has a horrible problem with child homeless?
Things hadn't look up in the city ever since the Bullets retired.
So if there's if there's really an angel helping people. She welcomed it.
" He's getting braver." She commented as Helen went on to announce the metahuman prison sentence to Belle Reve.
"Or perhaps the news finally noticed him." Her grandmother hummed still focused on the news. " He has his work cut out for him either way."
" What do you mean, grandma?" Amber asked, curious.
There was a paused, her grandmother looked down from the screen and finally, she spoke "Fawcett is a big city, honey. It's not a one person job to protect it."
The "I should know" was left unsaid. When the old woman looked up, Amber could see she was contemplated about the old days. Back when her grandmother wasn't just Susan Kent-Barr, but also Bulletgirl. Back when her husband James Barr, or Bulletman, was alive and kicking. But that had been a long time ago.
Susan didn't continue with the topic, instead, she looked up at her granddaughter. "I almost forgot. Amber, there's a box up in the attic that I need. Won't you be a dear a grab it for me? It's the gray one with a circle on it, should be near where we put your old bike."
Having nothing better to do she complied, shifting through put-away items in the dust-filled attic. It wasn't as easy as grandma had implied since Amber could not found any box that had the followed description anywhere near her rusty old bike.
There was, however, the shiny cone shape helmets is a glass case. Amber knew well what it was, the Gravity Regulator helmets. She hadn't seen it since she was a child.
Strange that is here, she had thought that grandma or mom would just give it to the Fawcett museum or star lab. Not letting it collecting dust up here.
Pulling case out of the mess of things, Amber examined it. The two helmet was as beautiful as she remembered them to be.
Her grandparents had once let her played make-believe with it. But when the government forced them to retire from being the Bullets, the topic of superheroes was rarely brought up and either was the helmets.
" I should put it back." She said but did not move, eyes still studied the glistening objects. But she should she really, really should.
Minutes later Amber came back down, she reported to her grandmother that she couldn't find the box. The old woman only nodded and said nothing.
Stopping right in front of his door, Billy checked over his body for injuries. Making sure that there were absolutely no bruises left on his body. He didn't want to make his guardian worried.
Absolutely sure that he looked fine, Billy opened the door. " Uncle Dudley, I'm home."
" In the kitchen Billy." The man called out.
Walking to the kitchen Billy could see uncle Dudley chopping of broccoli. There was a pot on the stove with steam rising from it near the man.
" Need any help, uncle Dudley?"
Billy was ready to roll up his sleeves when uncle Dudley replied. " Nah, I'm good here, kiddo. Why don't you go clean up?"
Before Billy could take a step out of the kitchen, his uncle called out for him again.
" Oh and a package came in for you earlier, you might want to check that before taking bath."
His first thought was John. But, no. If it was John Uncle D would have said so.
" Who is it from?" he asked.
" I'm not sure, kiddo. I didn't recognize the name."
A sense of curiosity rose inside Billy. He didn't know anyone who would send him a package. He didn't order anything. Naturally, uncle Duley and any of his friends were cross off the list. His last relative Ebenezer Batson was way too cheap to even give him anything. Beside the old man probably thought he's dead by now. So who could it be?
Uncle Dudley left the said packaged on Billy's table, scanning through the label Billy's widen. "Shiruta, Kahndaq. That's - what?"
He'd expected someone in the state, but Kahndaq? That was halfway across the earth!
Continue reading only leave more questions, the package was from a Saied Kadesh. Even though he felt like he should, Billy did not recognize the name. As careful as possible Billy cut the tape around the box, the contains of the box included a letter and a worn out leather book.
Billy traced the cover the book, despite the catches and darken discoloration on its left side, it was beautiful.
Turning his eyes away from the book for a second, Billy opened the letter, curious for an explanation to all of this.
" Dear Billy, " the letter began and already Billy had another question to add to the list. Clearly, Saied Kadesh must have known him, well enough to be aware of Billy preferences on not being called William. " I know you probably don't remember me. It had been a long time since we last seen each other and you could barely say my name back then. But I am a friend of your parents and worked on their last digging trip in Kahndaq and recently I was made aware that your mother, Marilyn, had forgotten one of her notebooks in my house. At, I assume, back when your parents stayed at my house during the trip. I'm sorry I could have not returned the book sooner. As I said before I was not aware of its existence until recently.
It was my wife who found it actually, she said she remembered it was left on the floor and assumed it was mine. It was placed among my other books for quite some time until I noticed it
Unfortunately, I am unable to travel to America to handed you this book myself. However, I was lucky enough to get a hold on your address after a long time of searching. " Here there was an 'I'm terribly sorry' crossed out from the page. " I hope that this package would make it to you well.
Billy stays quiet for a moment before quickly rereading the piece of paper. There wasn't much he could recall of Saied, in fact, nothing at all. But it didn't sound like the man was lying in the letter. Still, he need to confirm this.
Flipping open the tattered book, he was greeted with a neatly written ' Property of Marilyn Batson'. It was his mom's handwriting he was sure.
He spent years without anything but graves from his parents, not even a picture. Because when uncle Ebenezer kicked him out of the house he also got rid of anything from his stepbrother and his wife. A lot, if not, everything was burned.
But now he had something, something he could keep and it was just-
Tears rolled down his cheeks and out of habit Billy hand immediately shot up to wipe it away. There was no time cry now. As desperately as he was to get through the notebook, he had to clean up first. Then Billy was going to tell uncle Dudley about this.
Chapter 7: A peaceful day
Fawcett city - August 5
The man growled at the screen in front of him, showing that day events with a large bold text of ’ metahuman stopped by mysterious local hero’ at the bottom of the screen
His frustration only grew when he heard of the metahumans imprisonment in Belle Reve.
” No! No! No! No! No!” He screamed and with one motion, swiped every of his table. Turning to his assistant who stood quietly beside him and much taller, he yelled at the man. ” How did this happen?! I ordered for him to be captured and brought back to the lab!”
“ We tried sir,” his assistant replied. “ But even our most high tech bots couldn’t stop him.”
“ then why didn’t you hijacked the police car and bring him back?!”
“We tried that too but it seems like the caveman escaped before we could.”
“ What?!” The man screamed once again, jumping up and down in anger. Before he refocused back at his assistant, yelling at an impressive volume and pointing at the door “ Why are you just standing there! Go find him you, useless idiot!”
The assistant quickly left the room as he mumbled about how he ‘ didn’t get paid enough for this’, leaving his boss to continue to cursed out in anger.
“ Those imbeciles, I gave them and small task and what do they do?! Screwed up and let what could be my ace got away! And that ungrateful savage, I freed him from the ice and in return what?! He-”
“ Be calm Dr, Sivanna.” A voiced rang. It was muffled but Sivanna knew exactly where it was from. Open the closet door beneath his table, the took out a machine. It had what look like a speaker attached in front of it, and in the middle a small lighting bulb shape gem.
“ We may have lost the beastman, however, our plan can still move on without him, my friend.” The voice rang from the speaker.
“ But his engineering skill-”
” Is worthless if we can not translate the last pieces of text, as you remembered. We first need to open the right portal if we wish to gain access to the weapon and then this world will be yours and I am free to go home.”
The words calmed down Sivanna. It was so close, he could feel it. Soon, everyone, including that damn Luthor, would bow down before him.
Fawcett City - August 6
“ Well?” Cissie whispered harshly at him and Billy began to thinking his chance of changing his hiding spot in the middle of a very intense ( in his mind) game of hide and seek.
“ Well, what?” He whispered back, sitting up to look over the bushes they were hiding behind. No one was there, good.
“ Aren't you gonna tell me about your side job yesterday?” She asked, clearly annoyed.
“ Cis, your grandad is the own the biggest media outlet in the city, it’s not to far fetch for you to get a report on what happened yesterday.” He pointed out. “ Sides I think Freddy and Kit figured out where we are so I’m gonna made a run fo-”
“ Oh no, you don’t.” She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt before he could stand up and pulled him back on his knees. “ Billy you went to gymnast class all tired this morning and you nearly fell asleep doing a handstand, I’m worried.”
“ I’m fine Cissie,” he insisted. “ Just stayed up late yesterday, I got this book from my mom and-”
“ Found you!” Kit announced, popping his head over the bush. “ How Freddy couldn’t find you guys are beyond me, you two were loud.”
“ Well, we would be quieter if someone wasn’t in the mood for chitchat,” Cissie respond was to elbow him on his side. Kit snort at their interaction before dragging them back to the picnic table set out in the front yard, saying it was present time.
As the pair followed the brunette, Cissie leaned in. “ So what’s this about your mother’s book?”
“It’s more of a notebook.” Billy eyed Scott and Freddy who was already at the table alongside with Mr. Freeman. “ I’ll tell you later.”
“ You better.”
They sat down as a very excited Kit carefully open his present. From Cissie, the girl got Kit the action figure of Black Canary that Billy might have told her that he was looking for. Books about historical figures from Freddy. And then it was Billy’s gift. Inside the wrapped box, Kit pulled out a pair of sunglasses. It has circular lenses with a dark red tint and a thin frame.
“ It thought it goes well this.” He gesture. At the boy’s outfit. “ White sweater thing you got going on.”
“ Thank Billy.” As Kit put on his new glasses. A very distinct sound the phone rang from inside the house. Freddy made a quick run for it inside the house, before running back out. “ It for you Billy, your cousin I think.”
Cousin? He did remember that uncle Dudley mentioned something about a sister but nothing about nieces or nephew. Still, he went and answered the phone.
A voice Billy didn’t recognize rang from the other side of the line.“ Hey Billy.”
“Uh, who’s this?”
A laugh echoed from the phone. Wait a minute, he knew that laugh. “Robin?”
“ The one and only.” The other laugh some more.
“How? Why are you calling me, Robin?” Billy asked, looking back outside where everyone else is, making sure that no one could hear the conversation.
“ You weren’t answering your comm. So I have to track you down. Which remind me, we have a training session in thirty minutes .” Robin answered. “ Sorry for making you leave the party early.”
Billy didn’t comment on how the boy knew about that, instead, he let out a sigh of disappointment. “ It’s fine, I’ll be there.”
Ending the call, Billy made his way outside once again. Kit was in the middle of open a small package, as he carefully tears open the wrapping he didn’t notice that Billy was walking toward the table. Approaching Freddy, who stood opposite to his brother on the further side of the table. He tugged at the older boy sweater.
“ I, uh, have to leave.” he whispered, still no one else noticed that he was here.
“What? Why?” Freddy ask raised a brow.
“I have to leave.” Billy repeated and refused to elaborate. Freddy didn’t ask more, he knew Billy well enough not to, but instead, the boy promised to save Billy a piece of cake.
The Cave - August 6
Black Canary was going easy on him, Billy was sure. With her quick takedown of both Miss Martian and Aqualad on their level assessment. Adding with Wally and Superboy last train session.
He had spent a minute, maybe two, of his assessment in this combat training session dodging the woman and keeping his distance. And she was getting faster with her moves.
Putting the battle on your term was easier said than done.
He couldn’t punch her because Black Canary had much longer arms than his and could definitely hit him before his hands could get anywhere near her. Same problem with kicking. Keeping his distant his safest bet, however, it got harder when Black Canary moved faster than Billy can react. The woman aimed a fist at him that Billy barely blocked with his forearm. Before switching side and strike on his right, of which Billy duck left. Taking advantage of Black Canary’s lowered body he directed a kick at her closest body part, her neck. Unfortunately, the other woman caught his leg before he could strike and threw him to the other side of the arena.
If he was Robin ( Or maybe Cissie. Is Cissie even flexible enough to pull off that kind of trick?), he would do some sort of flip to get back on his feet. But he wasn’t Robin so Billy just let his body flew through the air for a second before landing with a thud. Well, that was fun.
Sitting up Billy found Black Canary offered him a hand of which he took.
“ You kept your distance and that’s good a good plan but you can’t stay defensive forever. Also, we need to work on your kick.” She commented, however, she paused for a second before asking. “ Billy, you said that you had never learned how to fight, right?”
“ Yes,” Because how else do you explain to people that you got hit so much at the orphanage you used to stay in that some older kid decided to take pity on you and teach you how to throw a punch by beating you up themselves. “But I, uh, watched people do it all the time on the street when I go on patrol .”
Black Canary’s bow scrunched but didn’t say anything but rather she sends him back to stand with the others and called up Robin. As Billy walked back and passed by Robin, the other boy gave him a hive-five.
“Are you okay Billy? ” M’gann whispered as he stood between her and Wally. “ It looks painful when You fell.”
“ I’m fine,” Billy admitted. “ Nothing broke.”
“ Relax Meganlicious, Billiam here handle himself.” Wally joined in. Billy let out a chuckle at the nickname, that was the first. “ Why, just yesterday he took down a caveman by himself.”
“Yes, but how did you?”
“My aunt is in the news business, not to mention you’re getting pretty popular online.” Wally winked. All three of them turned their attention back to the match before them when Kaldur cleared his throat.
The boy wonder lasted much longer than the rest of them. Skillfully dodging with flips so graceful that it was like he was flying and traded blows with Black Canary just as competent. However like the rest, Black Canary got the best of him. Pinning him on his stomach with his hand behind his back.
They got paired up for the rest of the afternoon, Billy was with M’gann. Dodging her punches, Billy shuffled around her and kicked the back of her knee causing her to fell. The action added on pointed for him on the holo-screen. on the other side of the area Black Canary frown, however, Billy didn’t notice it.
She dismissed them for the day not long after and informed them about the next training dates.
Billy eyed the clock, it was half past five by now. The party was probably over by now but still, he wasn’t in any rush to get home yet. A different story could be said for Wally who was gone in a flash the moment training was over. It was just M’gann, him and Superboy who stayed.
“Besides baking and watching statics do you guys do anything else for fun.” He asked, eyeing Superboy on the couch as he stopped M’gann from putting in a cup full of salt into the cookie mixture.
“Well, I watch earth’s shows on my laptop sometimes,” M’gann confessed. “ There’s not much to do around here.”
“ You guys can go patrol with me in Fawcett.” Billy offered. “ I could use some extra hands.”
“ Are you sure your fine with that? I mean it’s your city after all.” M’gann
“ I don’t really care that much and it’ll be fun!”
“ Sure.” Superboy stated nonchalantly not looking away from the static playing TV.
“I guess I’ll tag along.” M’gann said, her cheeks flushed a light pink.
The ten years old went on to a chat excitedly about the patrol area of the city while he helped M’gann places the cookie dough on the baking sheet. All of the was recorded and watch by Black Canary and Batman on the other side of the cave.
“ You don’t approve. “ Batman stated simply.
“Of course I don’t, what kind of ten years old that knows how to fight dirty? “ Black Canary crossed her hand as she paced around. “ At least with Robin, you were there to watch him. But with Billy, he’s alone. What were his parents thinking? Letting him go out like that?”
“ His guardian wasn’t aware of his activities until last year.” The dark knight explained.
“ And they still let him do this? ” Black Canary raised her voice.
“ From what I gathered there wasn’t much he could have done to stop him, considering Billy would and could have sneaked out no matter what .” He turned to the holo-screen which showed live footage from the kitchen. “ That’s why I brought him here to the team, he needs training Dinah. The training we can provide.”
Black Canary let out a long sigh. “ True.”
“ Ready to go ?” Billy in costume entered the code for Fawcett city holo screen as M’gann and Superboy came near.
“ Yes.” Superboy said with folded arms, still unexcited. Miss Martian, on the other hand, was much more enthusiastic. “ All ready.”
“Then come on!” The zeta beam swirled with light, as Angle tugged on Superboy arm toward it.
Chapter 8: NOT UPDATE art+aesthetic
Chapter 9: Patrol
Warning: death, child homelessness, implied child abuse
Fawcett city - August 6
It was a nice peaceful night, humming happily Angel walked down the street with Superboy and Miss Martian followed behind him. Civilians didn't bat an eye at the site of three, in fact, almost everybody didn't notice them. Those who do just simply greeted Angel, seeing the two teenagers and greeted them too with the same friendliness. The three walked through the city's streets ( or in Miss Martian's case floated), stopping occasionally for Angel to pet stray cats and dogs.
" Hello there Oatmeal." He crouched down to, scratching the cat who curled up against his leg. " You're much fatter than the last time I saw you, had somebody been feeding you?" he cooed.
Superboy raised a brow at the interaction."I don't see how this is patrolling. All you do is walking around and petting strays."
" And also wouldn't be faster if we take the Bioship?" Miss Martian added.
" First, we also went to the convenience store for supply." Which were granola bars and water bottles that he had put in his pouch much to the surprise of Miss Martian and Superboy. "Second, yes we would cover more grounds if we take the Bioship, but since it's good for the civilians to know I'm here so I walk."
It was also easier for him to notice things, things that he could prevent.
A paired of dull eyes stared at him, what left of her neck was blurred out. The paragraph below it told of a woman found dead in one of Fawcett's alleyway. A woman whom, despite having multiple cuts over her face, Billy recognized as one of his old prostitute neighbours.
His hand gripped tighter on the newspaper. The alleyway was in the most guarded by policies in the city. How did this get through them?
' because they don't care, she doesn't matter to them. She was just another low life.' a voice whispered. ' but you do, you can help like you did with Cissie and Scott. You can stop this from happening.'
"Billy," Miss Martian whispered worryingly in his mind, he must have spaced out. Pretending he didn't hear her, Angel move to the next subject. "Finally, how can I not pet this adorable little thing." He gestured at Oatmeal as he continued to pet her. "Look at her, isn't she the cutest thing?"
The cat moved away from his hands and sauntered over to Superboy's legs. She sniffed it before rubbing her cheeks all over his leg. " I think Oatmeal likes you."
Angel bent down and picked up the cat, he lifted her up and hold her in front of Superboy. Superboy just stared at him, giving him a ' what do you want me to do?' look.
" Do you want to hold her?" Seeing as Superboy was still giving him a confused look, Angel motioned him to hold out his arm and gently placed Oatmeal on them. He pushed Superboy's arm so that now he was holding the cat near his chest. Oatmeal leaned up, rubbing his face against the boy's chest and purred. Holding his hand, Angel directed it so that Superboy was stroking her head.
"Do you want to pet her too, Miss Martian?" The green skinned girl nodded and float over to pet the cat.
They continued with the patrol route, with Superboy still holding Oatmeal, as shops began to decrease in number and in their place are apartments. They were having a small conversation about the variety of cats when Superboy suddenly stop.
"Is there something wrong Superboy?" M'gann asked, concern.
"Somebody's crying." He answered looking at a back alley of one the apartments across the street
Angel immediately dashed off. Looking up the fire escape by the side an apartment building, he could spot the tiny form sitting on the third-floor balcony. Jumping from the nearby dumpster, Angel grabbed onto the fire escape ladder and rushing upward to the sound of crying. After two sets of stairs, he found himself looking a small boy.
"Hey there." Angel stood still as the boy looked up, he couldn't be older than five. It was hard not to miss the bruise on his wet cheek and the locks on the window behind him. He looked over the other boy making sure that there were no injuries on him. He didn't acknowledge Miss Martian or Superboy when they arrived.
" Are you here to steal me away?" The child asked, more tears swell up in his eyes. He too didn't pay the two teenagers any attention. Rather his eyes were focused on the boy with the white cape in front of him.
" We'll see," Angel replied, even with his back against her Miss Martian could practically see his worried face. While he slowly held out his hand and reached out to the child, Angel whispered reassurance that he wouldn't hurt him. Even though he was hesitant, the boy nodded allowing Angel to touch his cheek. A faint glow of yellow radiant off Angel fingers tip and in a flash the bruise was gone. " Isn't it a bit too late for you to be out?"
" I was bad." The boy simply answered, sniffing as turned to look at the shut window before lowering his head.
Miss Martian was literally thrown back by the sudden emotion from Angel. She should have expected it, Uncle John had explained that humans emotions are much wilder than Martian's, children especially so. Waves and waves of anger rolled off Angel, they were stronger than the sadness she had felt earlier and could easily rival Superboy's but as quick as they came they were replaced by something gentler. " What's your name buddy?"
A whisper. " Eugene."
" Well, then Eugene, would you like to be stolen?" The boy, now known as Eugene looked up with a quizzical look and blinked a few time before he slowly nodded.
" Wait, you're not ser-." Superboy having seen Angel turned around and kneeled down for Eugene to climb on his back, cut himself off. " Nevermind."
"Billy, what now?" Miss Martian asked telepathically while levitated him, Eugene and Superboy down the fire escape.
"We'll call the police first of all, maybe after I get some photos evidence."Angel reached down into one of his pouches and pulled out a piece of candy. He offered it to Eugene, the little boy eyes widen as they laid on the golden wrapper and happily took it. " Although this means the social service would get involved, and I rather ….."
"Rather what, Billy?"
Rather keep him out of the system.
He wasn't comfortable telling her that, at least not yet. "Nothing M'gann. There's a phone booth not far from here we can use that. "
" Why are you and the green lady making silly faces at each other ?" Eugene whispered from behind his back.
"We're in the middle of a contest to see who can make sillier faces." He lied, noting how Superboy raised a brow at him.
"That's silly." A small laugh escape Eugene lips, that brought a smile on Angel's face. Setting Eugene down on the sidewalk when the phone booth was insight, he handed Superboy and Miss Martian a piece of paper and a quarter that seems to appear out of nowhere.
" Just call this number and say you're looking for a Muscles McGinnis and give the tell receiver our location and say it's from Angel. Hang up after that if you can." He instructed the two.
Superboy, who still have Oatmeal on one of his arms, took the items with his free hand while Miss Martian voiced her question. "What about you Angel?"
Jabbing his thumb at Eugene sitting on the sidewalk, he simply said. "Evidence."
During the time that the two teenagers making the call, he kneeled down in front of Eugene. He made a show out of pretending to looked through his pouches before finding the right one. Tugging it out of the pouch, Angel wrapped around Eugene.
"We're going to be doing something very strange," With a practiced movement he pulled out a match from behind Eugene's ears, earning him a look of amazement " But I promise you it's not going to hurt you, but I need you to stay calm, okay?"
Eugene nodded and Angel lit the match. Smokes grew, and images flashes as the whispered the spell underneath his breath much as he did in Santa Prisca. This time though, from out of one of his pouches he took out pieces of white paper. He took in a deep breath with his nose, inhaling all the smoke before releasing them through his mouth on the paper. The images in the smoke, of screaming adults and a crying child, now formed on the paper. Slowly, but very clear, making as if these pictures were photos that were taken from a high tech camera.
The moment colours shown themselves on the papers, Angel quickly moves to shield them from Eugene's sight. He doesn't need to see them. Angel put the pictures in a pile face down using one of the nearby rock to hold them down.
"What's that?" the younger boy asked, eyes filled with curiosity.
"A little bit of magic." He gave the other boy a wink. "In fact, here."
After a few quick words and a blow of air, a glittering blue mist swirled in the palm of his hand. As it swirled, they began to split up into three different balls each began to shaped into butterflies. They flew toward Eugene, leaving little sparkles of dust as the flapped their wings and danced around the little boy.
With Eugene nice and warm, the evidence photos nearby and a police car driving near, Angel dragged Superboy and Miss Martian to hide in the close by bushes.
" Shouldn't we be out there with the kid?"Superboy asked as he peeked over the bushes.
" Yeah, but uh " Old habits you know. " I don't have the best rep with cops." Time to change the subject. " You're still holding Oatmeal.
" I like her." Superboy scratched the cat's chin, he turned to Miss Martian. "Can I keep her?"
" If that's fine with Angel." she deflected the question.
" I mean, she is a stray, so really you can take her in if you want." He petted the cat as he watches Eugene talk to the social service person who just arrived. If he was completely honest, he would have preferred that Eugene didn't get in the system but there wasn't much he could do.
After the car left their sight, Angel walked Miss Martian and Superboy to the Zeta beam " Thanks guys for coming. Maybe next time there'll be vampires."
Superboy and Miss Martian gave each other a look before simulating ask "Vampires?"
" It happens." Angel shrugged with a grin. Miss Martian entered the Zeta Beam first, the Superboy who after exchanging a few words with Angel about responsibility and how to take care of a cat, took Oatmeal with him. With to flashes of light, they were gone, Angel waited until the lights died down before continued with his patrol. He trusted Miss Martian and Superboy, ( at least enough to not sleep with a knife underneath his pillow near them). But he wasn't sure showing them around Fawcett's property infested areas is a good idea.
There was an abandoned subway in the west of Fawcett since it's shut down the entrance was supposed to be close off. But the city never sees to it. Nowadays it acted as a shelter for many homeless people in the city. Angel should know he set it up that way. It was his way of helping.
He visited the place often, dropping of foods and other necessity alongside with check the sigils.
It was a lot of work and research, but he managed to put some sigils on the wall that would work as simultaneously a heater and a cooler. Tracing the wall with his fingertip and he could feel the light tingling of magic around his fingertip. The sigils, painted with black paint on the wall shimmered gold for a moment, confirmed that the heating magic was still working.
Soundlessly he walked through the tunnel, leaving granola bars and water bottle by people on the ground. Most of the folks we sleeping, not a surprise it was pretty late after all, but a few still have their eyes open. One of them, Angel noticed, was a little girl who sat not far from where he was.
Pulling out a piece of candy, the one with golden wrapper similar to ones that he had to give as Eugene. He made it glow a little bit, drawing her attention. Tapping it three times, the little girl's eyes widen when glittering dust spiral on both sides of the candy and shaped into little wings.
He let go of the candy and watched as the wings carried it to the girl, it landed in her waiting hand.
Angel took in the girl's appearance brown eyes, tan skin. The memory of him healing a broken arm did help with remembering her name."Hey Jenny. You doing good?"
She nodded happily as she pocket the candy and looked even more so when he handed her the other goods.. "Can you stay with me for a while?"
"Of course." It was a common request that people had asked him. Sitting down next to her on the ground, he tucked her in the best he could while adding more items he needs to get on his next haul. Some blankets would be good.
For now he would stayed beside her.
Chapter 10: Infiltrator
August 7 - Fawcett City
When there were knocking on their door that morning and the boy no longer out in the fire escape, the Harrington had expected the police.
They were ready to tell them about how innocent they were (they had done this before when the other kids got the attention of the neighbour, this was not their first time). A look through the peephole though revealed a small child with a red hoodie, the hood covered his face.
"Just some weird brat." Mr. Harrington grunted.
" Oh, I can assure you, sir. I am not some weird brat." A voice rang out behind him as their door slammed open. The strange boy walked in, no longer in the hoodie but rather a cape with hood arranged on his shoulder. And even under the sun lights pouring into their apartment, the feature underneath the hood was obscure.
The Harrington had a sense of dread that they know who he was, that did not stop Mrs. Harrington from demanding. " what do you think you're doing?! Get out of my-"
" Woah there, no need to yell." With a snap of his fingers, their door alongside with their window shut close. A clicking of locks could be heard. " In fact, take a seat."
Another snap of his finger and the lights turned themselves on. Seeing as the adults were not making a move, he continued. "So Dean and Fiona Harrington, according to my findings in May 2008 you fostered Eugene Choi. You had foster two other kids in previous years both you had returned before. I assume this is correct?"
" Yes, and what about it?" Mr. Harrington answered he did not sound as confident as his wife. Because he knew that nothing good could come out of this, he had heard stories. Of course, he had written them off as just fantasy, but now that it was in front of his eyes, fear began to consume him.
" Well, nothing much except for the facts I that I heard very nasty things from your kids."
" We were only disciplined ungrateful bra-"
The light bulbs shattered before she could continue, the glass burst into pieces flying everywhere underneath the flickering light as the ground shaken underneath their feet.
" Discipline?! You call treating kids like some kind of slave discipline?! Making up chores for them to do on a whim and then lock them outside when they can't do it is discipline?" Both Harrington took a step back, for through the flashing light they could see the red orbs shining beneath the hood strays of electricity could be seen crackling at the edge accompanied by a thundering voice. "Listen and listen very carefully, I know what you did to Eugene, I know what you did to your previous kids. And frankly, I don't tolerate that."
Pieces of glass shards lifted themselves up from the ground, sharp-edged pointed at the couple.
" I'm gonna give you a second chance here, make it right for Eugene or I will be back."
The shards swirled, placing themselves back to their original place, mending with each other. The flickering of lights stopped and the ground stilled. The red eyes underneath the hood were now gone, reverting back to being unseeable.
" Well, good talk." The boy said cheerfully as if he hadn't threatened them seconds before. He opened their window, and before taking a leap out through it he turned back. " Oh and the CPS is coming in five minutes, I would suggest not lying to them. And remember, whatever you do, I will know."
With that, the boy left the couple, quiet and shaken. Not noticing a sigil, meant for enhancing illusions, fainted in front of their door.
August 8 - Fawcett city
Sitting cross legs on the sofa, Billy looked up at his uncle with a card in hand while the man himself was closing his eyes with both hands on his temple, pretending to be focusing.
" The card in your hand," uncle Dudley opened one of his eyes. " Could it be Jack of clubs?"
" Yes!" Of all the tricks Uncle Dudley had ever performed this was Billy's favourite. Mostly because he could never figure out how uncle Dudley could tell which cards were which. He also liked how the old man made a show out of guessing the card. " How did you know ?"
From what Billy could tell uncle D didn't mark his cards so this was very much a mystery.
"That's a secret for another day, kiddo." Uncle Dudley gave him a pat on his head, before putting on his coat. " But I have to go now. There's leftover in the fridge, I'll be back before four."
" Bye uncle Dudley." Billy waved goodbye to his uncle as the man walks out their apartment door leaving him alone in the house like every other time.
Billy contemplated spending the rest of the day lazed on the sofa watching TV, however, decided against it. Lifting his butt off the couch, he made his way to the small balcony with a cup of water to tend to his equally small improvised garden.
He supposed he should be enjoying this moment of peace. But as he watered each of the plants his mind refused to let him enjoy the sun and warm air, instead, it wandered off to the events that occurred recently.
First, there was Eugene, who was put into a group home yesterday since his foster parents were arrested. Guess his threat against the Harrington stick in a way. Billy did manage to catch the house address of the couple who took Eugene in as he watched from outside. ( He was stalking, totally stalking). The couple, a middle age woman and her large husband, acted very nice in Billy's opinion and it seems they would take good care of Eugene but it wouldn't hurt to check on the boy.
Then there the looming threat that was King Kull, especially since he was still on the loose. Adding with the fact he hadn't made a straight line back to the city screaming for Billy's head is suspicious. He seems like the type who would do so. Although he might have a clue, at least, to who was responsible for King Kull.
" It had got to be him." With King Kull's hint and what witnesses had said. HE was the only who could-
" It had got be who?" And before his mind could catch up with his body. The cup was already out of his hand and fly toward whoever just spoke.
Thankfully it was only Robin, and thankfully the boy caught the cup right before it hit his face with trained ease. " Nice aim."
" Robin! What are you doing here?" And what was it with Gotham's heroes sneaking up on him?
" You know how M'gann and Supes never went to the beach?" Robin handed him back the cup. "Well, Kaldur decided it would be a great bonding activity if we all go to the beach. I'm just dropping by to tell you."
" Couldn't you just call through the comb?" Or his phone, Billy was pretty sure that Robin knows his phone number.
" Now where's the fun in that?" Robin quickly changed the subject." Sides you haven't answers my question. It must have been who?"
" No one." A lie, a simple one that slipped out of Billy's mouth before he could even think. " I'm gonna go get ready."
He went to the beach before, he thinks. Not with uncle Dudley but with his parents. It was a good time, he could faintly remember building a sand castle with his mom and dad. There was someone else there too but Billy couldn't recall. ( Then again he couldn't even remember what his parents looked like )
Retreating inside the apartment, he absently tossed a towel, his one-piece swimsuit, a change of clothing and other miscellaneous items in an empty backpack. Peeking back out at the balcony, he had assumed that Robin would be gone but no. The boy wonder was still there, leaning back and resting his arms on the railing. " you're still here?"
" Aw gee Bill, I didn't know you hate me that much." The older boy was only teasing, Billy knew. Still, he was flustered.
" What? No! It's just, I kinda thought you would, you know, disappear, like how you always do on missions."
The smile on Robin's face grew bigger. " A fair assumption then."
Not only did Robin stayed until Billy finished packing, but he also walked with him or rather quietly looming in the shadow behind Billy as he made his way to the Zeta beam. Together they arrived at the cave, where their teammates were waiting.
" So," He did a quick headcount of his teammates as he walked out of the Zeta tube with Robin " Where's Wally? I thought this was a team thing."
" It is. Unfortunately, Wally is busy facing man's worst nightmare: first day of school." Robin said dramatically.
" That's a speedster for ya, everything is faster for them. Including school." Robin shrugged as the joined the rest of the group.
"Good Morning everyone," Despite the greeting, Billy moved right through the teenagers and straight to the cat in Superboy's arms. " Hello, Oatmeal. You're getting fatter, have Superboy been feeding you ?"
" Twice a day, I've got her a scratch post too." Oatmeal purred under the older boy's touch.
Robin, noticing the slight distraction, steered them back to the current objective. " Guys, there's a beach waiting for us in our backyard !"
Begrudging Superboy left Oatmeal in the cave as they headed out to the promised beach.
Between Superboy, Robin and Kaldur who all wore swim trunks and M'gann with her bikini, Billy felt a bit overdress with his one-piece which had long sleeves that covered miscellaneous scars he earned through foster care and crime-fighting ( for some reason he could never made them disappear).
" Hello, M'gann." M'gann cheered pointing at the blue ocean in front of her. " We should hit the beach every day."
" But first a moment of silence for our absent comrade. Robin said with his head down and fingers on his sunglasses ( when did he even put them on ? )
" Poor Wally." M'gann agreed.
Poor Wally indeed. " There's always next time."
As M'gann, Robin and Superboy went ahead to enjoy the water. Billy stayed behind to help Kaldur set up the umbrella and laid down the towels, although he got distracted midway by Kaldur's tattoo. He had never really paid attention to it before. He knew that it glows whenever Kaldur tried to control water and could feel it in his gut that it has magical properties. Studying the thick black lines on the Atlantean skin, Billy could make out the shape of some kind of snake, eels perhaps?
" Is there something wrong?" Kaldur's question snapped Billy out of his musing. He must have been staring.
"Nothing." Billy turned his head and looked away, resuming in laying down the towel. Praying that Kaldur didn't notice the focus of his staring.
Unfortunately, he did. " You are curious of my tattoos."
" A little bit, they are very….. interesting" Great job, Billy thought, totally didn't sound like a creep. " Do they mean something?"
" In a way yes, I earned these markings in my time as a student in the Conservatory of Sorcery. They a-"
" Holy Moley, there's a magic school, Atlantis? That's so cool, we don't have any up here. Well, we do but most of them are in Europe and the ones in America are….." Billy perked up as he cut the boy off. However realizing how rude his gesture was, he lowered his shoulder and ceased his ramble. " Sorry, please continue."
" It is fine,. As I was saying, I was given these markings as a student in the Conservatory. They are meant to assist me in my learning of the mystic arts." Kaldur displayed the tattoo on his hand as he explained.
" So they're like a conductor." Billy said trying to sum up the whole explanation.
" To put in the simplest term, yes." Kaldur nodded. " While I would be very happy to tell you more about them, I do believe we've come here for a reason."
" Beach, ocean, swim, fun." Hastily Billy flattened out the towel, then proceed to finish the rest of the setup. Before running toward the body of water with a quick 'Thanks, Kaldur'
August 8 - The Cave
It was Robin who told them that Batman wanted them to suit up for a meeting, who then proceed to get smacked right into his face from M'gann ( unintentionally of course ). The older kids were in the middle of a volleyball game, while Billy was resting underneath the umbrella going through his mother notebook.
Changing into his costume, Billy couldn't help wishing he could spend a bit more time at the beach. He had so much fun! From buried Superboy under a mountain of sand to enjoying hotdogs with the others, it had helped him relax just a bit. Even though he eyed the crocodile floatie in Robin's bag every so often ( Billy liked animal, but he draw a wall when it came to crocodiles after an 'incident' ).
" Hey, Robin. Can I borrow your phone?" Billy walked into the training area, hair still damped and one glove off. He stopped midway at the site of a new face. Standing next to Green Arrow was a girl with a similar outfit. " Who's this?"
" The name's Artemis." The girl introduced herself, voiced full confidence.
" The Greek goddess?Cool name." Billy commented.
" And you are?" Artemis asked, eying him.
" Angel," Short and simple. " It's very nice to meet you Artemis."
She kept her eyes on him, it wasn't until M'gann begin talking that she looked away.
Nudging Robin, he repeated his previous question. " Can I borrow your phone please?"
The boy rummaged through his utility belt and pulled out one, shakes his head and stuffed it right back in. He then pulled out another and handed it to Billy.
Admiring the phone in his hands, new, slick a with a smooth screen. Billy raised a brow at the masked boy." Gee Robin, how many phones do you even have?"
" Wanna guess the lucky number?"
Robin let out a laugh. " Not even close."
Entering the number, Billy tapped his feet and waited for his Uncle to pick up. He did say that he'll be back before four and it's half past three right now, so he should be home. Much to Billy's disappointment, the call went into voicemail. Leaving a quick message of ' Hey Uncle D! I'm with the team right now and I might miss dinner. Love you, bye.'. He gave Robin back his phone.
" Shouldn't Wally be here?" Billy asked. " You know with team introduction and all."
Robin frowned, typed something into his on his glove screen and a then with a smirk on his face told Billy. " He'll be here in 5, 4, 3, 2,1..."
As Robin finished counting down, the Zeta beam swirled to life. And true to his words it was Wally. The teenager was wearing a swim trunk and carried many beach items. It was easy to tell what the boy had hoped to do.
" The Wall-man is here!" Wally only took a couple of steps out of the Zeta Beam before promptly tripped on his feet and fell down with a thud. The ball in his hands fell and bounced all the way to Batman's feet.
"Wall-man huh? I love the uniform." Artemis teased. "What exactly is your power ?"
Wally, clearly annoyed and confused turn to Robin. "Who's this?"
"Artemis, your new teammate." Artemis replied still sounding very confidence, although her grip on the bow tightened.
" Kid Flash never heard of you." Wally snapped back.
Green Arrow, sensing the tension between the two, chimed in " She's my new protégée."
"What happened to your old one?!"
The robotic voice rang, announcing the arrival of Speedy. "Well, for starters, he doesn't go by Speedy anymore. Call me Red Arrow."
With the timing being absolutely perfect, Billy wouldn't be surprised if Spe- Red Arrow had planned this.
" Should we do something?" Billy whispered to M'gann, who merely shrugged not entirely sure what to do either.
" Roy, you look-" Green Arrow began but Red Arrow cut him off, marching straight pass the whole team.
"Replaceable." It went on with Green Arrow try and failed, to calm Red Arrow down as the other man taking it out on Artemis by questioning her necessity. Artemis on her side was not backing down.
" Who are you?" Wally asked again, gesturing at Artemis. The question was answered by "I'm his niece." "She's my niece" from both Green Arrow and Artemis.
This response gets a smirk to grow on Robin's face. "Another niece?"
"But she is not your replacement." Kaldur assured Red Arrow the grump and it seems like he was actually listening to him. "We have always wanted you on the Team, and we have no quota on archers."
"And if we did, you know who we'd pick." Wally piped up, earning him a scowl from Artemis.
This is going to be the start of a great friendship.
And then finally, finally, with Green Arrow prompting, Red Arrow finally reveal the reason for his visit. Dr. Serling Roquette.
Typing away on his hologlobe, Robin pulled pictures of the woman "Nanorobotics genius and claytronics expert at Royal University in Star City- vanished two weeks ago."
"Abducted two weeks ago by the League of Shadows ." Red Arrow corrected.
Billy wasn't sure what the League of Shadow is, looking up to M'gann for an answer he found none.
Wally and Robin, however, seems to have a general knowledge of them judging from the smile breaking out on their face.
"Whoa. You want us to rescue her from the Shadows?"
Their excitement as short live though when Red Arrow stated that he had already rescued her. "Only one problem. The Shadows had already coerced her into a weapon,"
More screens with data on the weapon were pulled up "Doc calls it the Fog, comprised of millions of microscopic robots, nanotech infiltrators, capable of disintegrating anything in their path- concrete, steel, flesh, bone.- but it's true purpose isn't mere destruction. It's theft. The infiltrators eat and store raw data from any computer system and deliver the stolen data to the Shadows."
" Which means they can access information on a weapon design, tech and science research super easy." Billy summarized after weighing on how bad this was.
"Not to mention strategic defence and classified files making them perfect for extortion, manipulation, and power broking." Artemis continued "Yeah. Sounds like the Shadows."
"Like you know anything about the Shadows." Wally grew even more annoyed at the sight of Artemis' smirk, it was as if she knew something he didn't." Who are you?"
"Rockette is working on a virus to render the Fog inerted." Red Arrow interrupted them
"But if the Shadow's know she can do that they'll target her." Robin's eyes widen.
"They already are. Right now she's off the grid. I stashed her at the local high school's computer lab." The location of the school was shown on the holo-screen.
"You left her alone?" Green Arrow voiced
"She's safe enough for now." Red Arrow snapped back.
Billy had doubts about that if the woman was hunted then shouldn't she be staying somewhere with much more security? Then again, not many people consider a high school as a normal hiding place.
With Oatmeal picked up and currently rest nicely on Superboy's shoulder. As Green Arrow and Red Arrow exchange a few more words, Billy tried to reach up to pet her. Superboy was nice enough to lower himself so that Billy can actually touch the cat.
If it weren't for Batman, it seemed like Green Arrow would have gone on trying to convince Red Arrow to stay for the mission.
" You brought this to the team" He concluded. " It's their mission. Which means it's hers now too."
Red Arrow scoffed. " Then my job here is done."
He turned and marched out of the cave, not paying any attention to Billy, Superboy, or M'gann. How rude!
With much hesitation, M'gann spoke up. " Welcome to the team, Artemis."
August 8-Happy Harbour High School
" Yep." Miss Martian asked telepathically from her lookout spot from outside with Superboy. The voice rang clear in his mind, but Angel didn't pay much attention to it. Instead, focus on scribbling strange markings on his hand as he sat on one the table.
Still, he couldn't help to overhear Dr. Roquette's complaining. " Coding a distributed algorithm virus on a kiddy computer with less ram than a wristwatch is hard enough. Now I have to hear teen think in my skull?"
The sound of typing ceased. She was stressed, he could tell from her, and afraid too.
" Lady, do you always complain when someone tries to help you?" Accompanied with his thought in the mind, Angel could hear the crunching of granola bar in Kid Flash's hand.
" Pot, kettle, have you meet?" Artemis retorted.
"Hey, hey, I do not need attitude from the newbie who drove Red Arrow off the team."
Not wanting an argument to start, which he suspected would with the great friendship blooming between the two, Angel cut in.
" Really, guys?" Angel asked out loud, finding it much less distracting than using midlink. They were all in the same room after all. " We're in the middle of a mission, with a person's life at stake might if I might add."
" She started it!" Kid Flash defended out loud and without the mindlink, Angel could feel Dr. Roquette's urge to bang her head on the table.
" How about I just help Superboy and Miss Martian patrol the perimeter? " Artemis suggested.
" Good idea." Aqualad and Angel spoke up at the same time as the girl left.
Zoning out once again, Angel barely caught the small conversation between Robin and Kid Flash. Turned out it was Artemis who saved Kid Flash, that's nice. Still, he had to focus, he had a job to do. The room was quiet for a moment then Aqualad turned to him. " Are you ready?"
The plan was, as they discussed before the team left the Cave, to make sure Dr. Roquette didn't draw more attention to herself. In substitute of having the woman tracking the Fog down, Angel would do it with a spell.
" Almost." He wasn't sure if this would work. The spell had to cover a large area, much larger than what Angel was used to. However as John would have said, he should put some faith in himself if he wants to make magic.
Adding the finishing touch to the sigil on his hands. He placed the washable marker on the table. Curling his hands into fists, he watched as the marking glowed blue and a tingling sensation spread through his hands.
Now he just needed the Doctor. Approaching the woman, who turned her head to him as he does so. " What?" She snapped
" The virus is useless if we can't track the Fog," He rubbed his eyes, think would be so much easier if Dr. Roquette is younger. " And we're going to do something incredibly weird."
Dr. Roquette raised a brow at him.
" Just please give me your hands ma'am." Angel offered his open palms to Dr. Roquette, despite eyeing the lines on his hands with skepticism she obliged. " I just need you to focus on your Fog for this to work."
" We're doing some Voodoo bullshi-" Dr. Roquette quickly corrected herself. " Cow Poop, aren't we?"
"Well, actually this isn't Voodoo and it's very stereotypical for anyone to assume any type of magic equals to Voodoo." Angel stopped himself from continuing the rant. " But that is beside the point, just focus on your creation please."
Robin popped up a hologram of the earth in the middle of Angel's and the Doctor's hand from his glove. As the lady squeezed her eyes shut, Angel recited the incantation. The black lines on his hands glowed for a second before a small dot popped on the projection. It had worked.
" Coordinates lock." Robin confirmed, with a few clicks the globe zoomed into the area the dot seems to mark. It was moving.
Aqualad who had been watching the whole process gave a command through their psychic link. " Miss Martian. The Fog had been tracked. Reconfigure the bioship for Superboy and Robin pursue."
" Now what?" Letting go of Angel's hands, Dr. Roquette turned her gaze to Aqualad.
" We'll continue to protect you." He replied.
Not a second after Robin left. A thought from Artemis can be heard. "Mmm, that boy."
Angel found familiarity with the way the statement was present. Having heard so many like it with a similar tone, especially from his many older foster sisters.
" He can hear you. We can all hear you!" It was hard to figure out who she was referring to. Although since Miss M sounded upset so perhaps Superboy?
" Oh, I know."
" Then please keep this line PG. Wouldn't want to teach a ten years old the wrong kind of stuff." Kid Flash reminded her. The implication was clear on who he was talking about.
Play dumb, play dumb, play dumb.
" What wrong kind of stuff? She's just complimenting someone, right?"
Resisting the urge to laugh out loud, Angel leaned on a table right next to Dr. Roquette. He looked up at Aqualad with the most innocent look he could muster. The old woman snorted but didn't say anything, Aqualad on the other hand just sighed.
" No, Angel." The Atlantean answered. " You will understand once you are older. Nevertheless, Kid is correct. Please be mindful of what you're saying, everyone."
By the time Robin and Superboy were gone, KF had already left the room in order to guard the hallway. The room was quiet for a few moments.
" You embarrassed Superboy." Miss Martian voice rang through the mindlink, still sounded upset.
"Didn't hear him say that." Artemis responded nonchalantly.
" Must you challenge everyone?"
Artemis scoffed."Where I come from that's how you survived."
" But this isn't where you come from," Angel reasoned. " Survival is fitting in with your surrounding not arguing with everyone."
" What do you know about survival, kid?" She growled and Angel couldn't help but look down at his shoes.
More than you know " Just enough."
Silence engulfed the room once more, no one was talking and the only thing he could hear was the constant clicking of the keyboard. Out of the corner of his eye, the door creaked open and objects, too fast for Angel to see, sliced through the air. Aqualad jumped to intercept it as they headed straight for Dr. Roquette's head, which ended u with two shuriken embed into his skin.
Wasting no time, Angel set up a shield around the doctor as more shurikens were hurled at the woman.
A woman busted through the door, in her hand a gleaming sword and a mask on her face." Ooh, that had to hurt."
" My Atlantean skin is quite dense." Aqualad replied, plucking the shuriken off his chest, with his free hand forming a sword.
" And my shurikens is quite poisonous."
The two clash with each other, both equally skilled. But Angel could see how slow Aqualad reacted to the woman strikes. Much slower than his usual speed, the poison must be acting up.
"M'gann, Kid, Artemis. We're under attack in the computer room." Aqualad commanded. Getting affirmation from Artemis he continued." Angel keep protecting the doctor."
As Aqualad ducked underneath the blade of the assassin, she aimed a few shurikens at the Dr. Roquette head. Which bounced harmlessly off Angel's shield.
"So close." The Shadow commented. Still, she continued to dodge Aqualad blows with ease. "Poison slowing you down."
" Jellyfish toxin. I'm largely immune." That wasn't true, from what he could see Aqualad's movement began to become stiffer with each seconds passing.
" Aren't you going to help him?" Dr. Roquette hissed behind him, she to must had notice how much of a hard time Aqualad was having against his opponent.
" Aqualad can handle himself." I hope. " Just keep working."
With a kick, the Shadow knocked down the Atlantean. "Largely." She repeated his previous word mockingly. Before she could take her eyes off Aqualad unconscious body, a chair fly toward her side. Slamming her into the floor.
Slowly, the Shadow lifted her head. The chair that had hit her was floating off ground, coated with a blue aura, almost white. And not far from it, right in front of her furiously typing target stood Angel. One of his outstretched palm radiated a scarlet hue, similar to the hemisphere that was covering him and the doctor while his other glow blue much like the chair.
Connecting the dot, she tutted." Didn't your mommy teaches you that it's very rude to hit a lady, little boy?"
In a flash, ( speaking of which where is Kid?) she on feet and seeming out of nowhere took out another sword. It was hard to hold two spells at once, and even harder to hit a rapidly moving target, more so now since he had lost the element of surprise.
Angel tried to maneuvering the chair to stop the assassin in her dash forward, however, the woman with great ease slashed the wooden object in half. Literally cutting it from his control.
Luckily, where the flying chair had failed, one shot from his newest teammate managed to do the trick.
The Shadow ceased in her movement when the arrow embedded itself in front of her.
"Don't move." Artemis growled out a warning, an arrow already notched in her bow, its head pointing straight at the masked woman.
Part of Angel was relieved to see her, but where was Kid and Miss M?
"This gig is getting interesting." The Shadow stepped back, hand reaching for another sword. Only to be stopped by wooden chains wrapping themselves around her arms and legs pulling down. "Too interesting."
A few sharp cuts with her sword and a smoke bomb were all the Shadow needed to escape, disappearing with pieces of wood on the ground as Kid Flash and Miss Martian entered the room.
" Gone." The speedster grunted. A quick sweep around the room confirmed it to be true so Angel lowered his shield.
" Is she-is she still here? " Dr. Roquette asked, breathless and still furiously working.
" No, she's gone now." 'but she'll be back' was left unsaid.
A sign of relief passed through the woman's lips, her face buried in her hands. Averting his attention away from her to his fallen teammates. He could see that Aqualad was getting himself up, his movements still stiff. Wasn't hard to tell that the poison hadn't completely left his body.
" Here," Walking over, he helped the older boy got on his feet. With a hand on Aqualad's chest and some mumbled word, Angel drew out a few drops of black liquid from Aqualad's body. There wasn't much he could do for the super hard stuff like leukemia or the like, but Billy knew his way around poisons. He wasn't a proficient healer or anything. John didn't know much about healing magic, opted to send him books to read about the subject instead. And the occasional tips from Mr. Giovanni did help. " Better?"
" Much, thank you." Aqualad replied, flexing his wrist. " Although, I was not aware that you are capable in the medical field."
" Just the basic." Angel admitted.
Aqualad nodded. " It'll be useful in our future missions."
On the other side of the room, Kid Flash was yelling at Artemis.
"This was all your fault. You were on the perimeter! How'd that Shadow get in?" He demanded. Artemis just narrowed her eyes and maintained her composure.
"That's not really fair." Miss Martian pointed out. "I was outside too."
"Outside being distracted by her, besides I can't be mad at you." He reasoned. "You gave me mouth-to-mouth."
Wait what? What happened? Did Kid drown? Was that the reason why he was late?
A collective "We heard that!" Rang through the mindlink. From her spot in front of the computer, Dr. Roquetted mouthed something along the line of ' Fucking teenage hormone'.
The speedster's eyes widen as the realization hit him. "Dang it!"
Storming off to the corner of the room, Kid left Artemis to be comforted by Miss Martian.
"I didn't do half as well in my first battle, and I know you can't have been Green Arrow's sidekick for very long." The Martian girl said. Before Artemis could reply or she could continue, Aqualad spoke up.
"Focus, everyone. The Shadows will be back." He reminded them. Just in time for Robin to report back in their comm.
"Robin to Aqualad. We're over Philadelphia. We've located the Shadows' next target, STAR Labs." There was a pause before his voice turned solemn. "We're too late. It's destroyed, totally. The Fog decimated it."
"This is bad. STAR Labs is cutting-edge science, and now their secrets are in the hand of the enemy." Robin sounded on edge and over the comm they could hear his typing.
Superboy, equally frustrated ask. "What's our next move?"
"Keep following the Fog," Aqualad commanded. "We're moving the doctor. Kid scout out the area, find two points with a workable computer for the doctor preferably far away from each other."
" Got it boss." In a blink of an eye, Kid was gone and as fast as he left, he returned.
So turns out, Dr. Roquette really like staring at him. Well, it was more of taking a glance every now and then as he crouched on the ground.
" Is there something wrong?" He asked a piece of chalk in hand jotting down runes from memory. They should help out with setting up the shield
It was just him and the Doctor in the room, the rest of the team was crowding far away with the decoy. Far enough so that Miss Martian couldn't contact them telepathically. Which means no call for backup if the Shadow woman ( Cheshire, Kid Flash informed him about her name alongside with various other facts ).
" Aren't you a bit too young -" the woman began and Angel at an instant can guess what she was asking.
" To be doing this kind of stuff?" He finished the question at the same time with his runes. Now he just needed a few more materials. " In my opinion, no. No, I'm not"
" But your like what? Eight? Do your parents even approve of this?"
The true question is, would they?
Although still focus on her work, Doctor Roquette couldn't help but look at the boy in front of her. It was bad enough she couldn't get the Justice League, must the put a child in charge of protecting her. Couldn't one of the teen do it?
The child ( even her youngest nephew was older than him ) stayed silence. He took out a bowl of some kind and a handful of vials each with different colour and their own labels. Still, he didn't answer her.
Even when he broke the silence as he dumping all the content of a vial into the bowl, he was hesitant." To be honest, I don't know."
( And if she was paying good attention she could hear his voice shakes )
" But," He said randomly grabbing vials and pour substances to the mixture before unceremoniously dumping it staring one the written runes which glowed for a second. " that doesn't matter because I'll protect you."
" Uh Huh." Roquette grumbled sarcastically. And Angel to great offence to that.
" I'm serious, I'll die for you if I have to."
Taking a deep breath, Roquette pinched her nose. "Please don't."
She really didn't need a dead kid on her head. Honestly, who thought it would be a good idea to let a child be a vigilante?
The door creaked, and Roquette flinched. She was expecting knives being aimed at her. Luckily it was only Aqualad.
" The Shadows are here, we must hurry." He announced.
" I've almost got it!" Dr. Roquette was furiously typing.
Thudding echoed on top of them, wasting no time Angel activated his shield. Covering him and Dr. Roquette in a dome shape. " We have company."
Aqualad too prepared himself, drawing his water swords.
"Uploading now." Dr. Roquette announced and immediately puts her hands on Angel's shoulders as if looking reassurance. " And by the way, you said you would protect me."
" Even if I have to die, yes I remember."
As Aqualad watch the front door, Angel eyed the other possible entrance to the room, the vent opening. There was a gleam of something in midst of shadow, and as fast as he could Angel spelled a chair right at the vent. Successfully intercepting three blow darts in their path.
At the same time, the front door was exploded alongside the vent cover. With great ease, Cheshire dropped down from the ceiling.
" Such a killjoy." She purred.
" Keep protecting the doctor!" Aqualad commanded and with that, he clashed against Cheshire. Without the poison affecting Aqualad, the battle was much more even. Every time, Cheshire got closed to knocking Aqualad down he turned the table on her and vice versa. Still, it wasn't enough. There was still close call where Cheshire's poison covered blade missed Aqualad by an inch.
" Just a bit more," Dr. Roquette whispered. " It's nearly done."
Aqualad too needed a bit more. Without compromising the shield, Angel focused a small amount of magic into his hand. This shouldn't need much. " Srelknirps no won."
Water poured down from the sprinklers above, and Aqualad, armed with more resources he can draw from, was able to subdue Cheshire more effectively. It was when Aqualad cornered her to the front door that Dr. Roquette yelled. " It's done!"
" So you finished the Virus, eliminating the reason for your elimination ." Cheshire hummed swirling the blades in her hands. " And it's no fun when you have a shield around you. Oh well, perhaps my next appointment with you Doctor will be more entertaining."
Before anyone could react smoke engulf the room.
" moor morf raelc ekims "
It was too late, Cheshire was gone. The front door was blown open.
The tight clutch on his shoulder relaxed and Angel's shield falter." Is she?"
"I'm not sure, Shadow could still be around." Aqualad inched forward, pressing his back by the side of the door peering outside. Water gathered from all corners of the room to the twin hilts in Aqualad's hand. He raised on them as he watched whatever was outside, narrowing his eyes. The grip on it tightened, before…
" It's fine now."
Dr. Roquette let out a huge breath behind him and Angel retracted his shield, not before the stopped the sprinklers of course. " Are you okay Doctor ?"
She let her hands slip off his shoulders. "I still have a head on my shoulder."
Angel nodded " And you Aqualad?"
"I'm unharmed," Aqualad answered before he rang Robin through the comm. "Robin report statues."
"The Fog has been neutralized. And just in time too" Came Robin voice, relieved. "We did it!"
A smile broke out on Aqualad's lips. As quickly as they could, the three of them moved out of the building hoping to regroup with the rest as fast as possible.
At the sidewalk, they were greeted with arrows sticking out of the ground and Artemis with bow lowered.
" Artemis, what happened ?" Aqualad inquired
" The assassin, she got away." Artemis gritted out, her gaze lower and her hands clenched.
She didn't get a chance to explained further when Kid Flash dashed up out of nowhere. " Oh? From you? Big surprise." He jabbed a thumb back as Miss Martian float down with their tied up group of villains."Notice? We got ours."
Not letting Artemis retorted he flashed right past her and picked up Cheshire's fallen mask, claiming it as his souvenir.
" The mask," Angel took it out of the older boy's hand, tracing the wide and toothy smile on it with his finger. " Did you see her face?"
" It was dark." She explained, shrugging. Well, he couldn't really blame her, it was dark out and the lack of streetlights does not help.
" That's fine," Angel assured her as he gives Kid back his souvenir. " I mean, everything is okay now. The Dr. Roquette is safe and the Fog was stopped."
" No small part thanks to you." Aqualad continued. " Welcome to the team."
She seemed surprised by that statement but welcomed it with a smile nevertheless. Kid Flash, on the other hand, sneered, likely to make another comment about Artemis if it weren't for Angel elbowed him in the leg.
" Yeah, welcome." Kid muttered
Teenagers, Angel rolled his eyes, are weird. He wondered if he was going to act like this when he reached thirteen and how Uncle D would react if he did. Wait, Uncle Dudley!
" Does anybody know time is it?"
August 9 - Fawcett City
Christopher 'Kit' Freeman was cold, Billy noted. He was cold now despite the thick sweater he had on. He was cold the last time Billy invited him over. He was cold the first time truly Billy met him. ( They were classmate before, yes, but Billy didn't really get know Kit until Freddy invited him to the Freeman's house for his fish funeral. Turns out watching your brother,best friend in Billy's case, cry over his goldfish was a great get to know activity.)
It was peculiar how his skin was always freezing at the touch but at the same time seems like it was the way things should be. Cissie often teased Scott and Billy on how the only reason why the boys like to hang out with him so much was because Kit is a walking ice cube. Which, okay, was partially true. Neither of them has Air Conditioner, and it wasn't like Billy could wave his hands to magically ease Fawcett's summer heat ( well, he could but shush). Sides they asked Freddy to come along every time so that had to counts for something.
Not to mention, nearly every time they hang out they stayed outside playing heroes. Occasionally there were slow days, like today for example were Billy is tired from his nightly activities and want nothing more than to take thing slow.
The three of them were cramping on Billy's bed. He was laying down comfortably with his head on Kit's stomach with a crochet hook in one hand and yarns tangled between the fingers of the other. Kit, on the other hand, had his back against the wall and Scott leaning on the left shoulder. Despite being in the middle of the two boys, Billy didn't think that Kit mind. The book in Kit's hands was held low, its spine resting against Billy's head as Kit and Scott read. It was Freddy's copy of "How to Train Your Dragon", and once in a while, the two boys let out a laugh as Billy worked on his crochet project.
He was in the middle of making a bracket and would have finished it long ago if he wasn't rubbing his eyes every two seconds. He probably wouldn't be like this if he had got home early last night. ( Wasn't his fault that he accidentally switch to writing Latin two third of his report and had to rewrite them. )
" Rough day?" Scott noticing his friend drowsiness asked.
Before Billy could muster an answer, Kit asked a question of his own. " Or was it a long night ?"
Billy hitched a breath but tried to calm his tense muscle nevertheless. Scott passed him a look, eyes wide and all.
" Yeah." Billy replied and didn't point out the wording of Kit's question. He had never told the Freeboy about Angel or his abilities ( although Kit might have figured out). He wasn't even sure if he should tell them. He trusted them as much as he trusted Scott and Cissie, having known them for two years. But at the same time, he couldn't. He tried before, Cissie and Scott were there the last time for emotional support, but words just refuse to come out of his mouth.
I should tell them.
Chapter 11: Sharing
August 9 - Fawcett City
Eyes from invisible figures followed the boy in white cape as he rises high in the sky and then descended to the empty rooftop. Most times the boy stumbled as he land, but once in a while, he managed to balance himself as he came down.
" It's been hours, Kid. I don't see why we still have to watch him?" One of a watcher, an old man in white, yawned as he leaned on the balcony. " It's not like he's causing any harm."
"He's not and he won't," His companion, a young boy who appeared to be the same age as the other boy on the rooftop across the street replied. "I just want to make sure he's fine that's all."
He too was dressed in all white save for his red glasses, belt alongside with his black gloves and boots. He was also leaning on the balcony, eyes trailing the boy with the white cape. He knew that boy, of course, it didn't take much for Kit Freeman to figured out that it was his friend Billy Batson underneath the cape ( He may or may not had followed Angel to an alley one night to find out about that).
"I don't see why you should," Mr. Keeper let out another yawn. "He can handle himself and besides I don't think there's anything out to hurt him."
"I know." Kit, although he supposed he was Kid Eternity now in this ghostly form, answered. " Still..."
A particularly strong wind blew passed the two, but it did not affect them. While Mr. Keeper, was dead and the only reason why he wasn't in heaven enjoying his eternity of bliss was because Kid dragged him down to keep watch on Billy with him. Kid, on the other hand, was supposed to be dead, or in a way, he wasn't. He died once, three years ago. He passed away alongside his parents in a car crash only to find himself being told he was not meant to die and got sent back to earth with powers on numbered days ( He tried not to think about that).
Another gust of wind blew by, much stronger than the last one. It pushed the caped boy off his courses, sending him crashing down on the concrete.
" Billy!" Kid yelled, but the other couldn't hear him. Not because of the distance between the two but rather because Kid was non existing now. Apparently, his power asset included being a ghost among other thing.
A second passed, then two, then three. Kid was ready to come over to check on his friend when slowly, painfully so, Billy pulled himself up and immediately take off to the sky, resuming in his attempted to perfect his landing.
" See." Mr. Keeper gestured at the action like it had proved his point. And Kid supposed it did but still.
Kid would like to think that all of this would be easier if he had just come clear with Billy about this little secret, but that would force Billy to reveal his secret. Kit Freeman was a good friend, he'll wait.\
August 10 - Fawcett City
Wearing glasses was a strange new experience for Eugene, having got the pair just the night before. The glasses felt weird on his face, heavy and broad. Still, the world is much clearer through the two lenses, so he supposed it was all that bad. Though having taken them off every night was a bit of a hassle.
With his new foster mother calling from downstairs, Eugene lazily reached down the side of his bed where he had placed his glasses before bed last night to only grasp a hand full of air.
Alarmed, Eugene jolted upward from his comfortable bed. He couldn't afford to lose his new glasses now. Victor and Rosa seem so nice, the boy didn't want them to be mad at him.
Looking for your lost glasses is hard when it has the same colour as the floor. Maybe he shouldn't have left then down on the floor. After a moment, Eugene was ready to give up on his search when he spotted it on the nightstand. With great relief, Eugene quickly put his glasses on before turning his attention to familiar candies wrapped in gold laid on his nightstand.
That was strange.
August 10 - Fawcett City
" Something wrong, sport?"
" It's nothing, Uncle Dudley." Billy shook his head and took the plate down from the cabinet, his shoulder burned as he does so. And despite the swelling in his pain in his shoulder, Billy continued to set up the dishes for lunch before excusing himself to the bathroom.
His shoulder was bruised when he examined it. It hurt under the slightest touch. Healing it was not an option, with Billy still tired out from last night patrol. So having little choice left, he put his jacket back on and sat through lunch with his uncle, he really couldn't let his uncle know. Uncle Dudley didn't need to know about this it was just a little bruise after all. ( And he reasoned he can grab something to treated it later.)
Though soon, the pain was once again forgotten when lunch started. It wasn't until Billy entered his talkative mood when the pain flares back up.
" ….. And then Robin did a quadruple somersault, like four twists straight in the air." Billy told the older man, hand wildly animated motion in the air and maybe he was overdoing because his shoulder started to hurt again.
" Something wrong, sport?" Dudley asked as Billy slowly retracted his arms, ceasing his story.
"It's nothing, uncle D." The older man was not convinced, raising an eyebrow when Billy tucked on his jacket, not looking at him. A few minutes passed before…
" It's just a small bruise." Billy mumbled, resign to his situation.
"Just a small bruise?" Dudley repeated his words but not believing it.
" Yep." They stayed silent for a few more seconds, and then Billy continued to speak. " It's nothing really, I'll fix it right after lunch, promised."
Uncle Dudley looked like he was inwardly sighing. " Billy, we've talked about this, if you get injured you have to-"
"Tell you, I know. It's just, I didn't want you to worry." Great, Billy thought to himself, it was just a tiny bruise and you can't even hide it.
" Billy, it's my job to be worried." Billy was familiar with that line, they had talks like this before, many times in fact. Sometimes Billy improvised his way out of Dudley's concern gaze but most of the time the older man catches on quickly. Still, uncle Dudley didn't continue with the subject.
They returned to their lunch as Billy changed the subject to the notebook he had received last week. Quietly speaking about how he had sent the kind man a thank you letter.
August 10 - The Cave
He didn't think that anybody was at the Cave that afternoon, except for M'gann and Superboy since they lived here, imagine his surprise when he saw Artemis and Robin sparring with each other.
Artemis, Billy noted as he watched her trade blow with Robin on the sideline, seemed to favor a more offensive approached while Robin gracefully maneuvered around her blow. He didn't think that they saw him walking in, too focused on each other.
Walking over to the Superboy and M'gann, he waved at them and gave the last spectator on the other side of the room, Wally, a smile " Hey, guys! Who's winning?"
Superboy was leaning against the wall, Oatmeal purring between his legs. " Robin is two points behind."
It was at that moment where Artemis managed to land a kick and a screen popped up displacing their score.
"Make that five," M'gann commented as Wally yelled encouragement at Robin. " What brings you here today, Billy?"
" Just grabbing some stuff." He replied, rubbing his shoulder, it was aching less now. Still, he quickly made his way to his room, the cream for his bruise wasn't the only thing he needed to get. His mother notebook had been sitting on the table for a few days now with Billy being distracted by various things and hadn't read any more than the first couple of pages. Billy would like to read further.
His room was far from the training area however he could still faintly hear Robin's and Artemis' fighting as he walked away. Robin might have the upper hand now but Billy wasn't sure. After making sure that his shoulder is nice and heal, Billy settled onto the bed the leather book nested in his lap. Mom was excited when she wrote in her notebook since her writing was much more jumbled in contrast with her neat scripts on the last few pages. She wrote about discovering evidence of a temple architect of sorts, apparently the discovery could be groundbreaking. The writing then switched to Marylin noticed how her husband's having an uneasy feeling about the project, although he was not sure why.
And maybe it was the excitement but when a clunk echoed behind his door, Billy let out a surprised yelp as he suddenly fell down to his bed.
The notebook flew off his lap as he landed, disorientedly he looked down at the beds, hands pushing on the soft cushion to make sure that it was real.
Did I just, did I just float?
He didn't dwell much on that question just as a voice rang.
"Hey, are you okay in there?" It was Artemis.
Opening the door, he came face to face with her. Scratching the back of his head as he answered her question. " Yeah, I'm good. So uh... How did the fight goes ?"
Artemis averted her eyes as she clenched her hands into fits and gritted out. " It was a draw."
Clearly, something went wrong and Billy wasn't willing to poke further. Instead, he eyed her blistering red knuckles.
"Do you want me to take care of that?" He gestured at the injury.
"Uh, sure? that would b-"
Before Artemis could finish her sentence, Billy slammed the door close before reopening it just as quick. She looked quizzically at the coffee jar in his hand, barely making out the jumbled letters on the small label attached to it as Billy unscrew its lid. It took her a few seconds to comprehend what happens before she placed her hand on his open palm. While Billy applied a thin layer of cool black substance on her hand, Artemis kept her focus straight on the boy.
For a moment back there, Artemis had thought he was playing some trick at her offering to help only to slam the door on her in a twisted sense of humour. Like her father did a few times in her youth.
"Couldn't you just abracadabra this away?" She asked.
Finishing applying the black substance, he replied. " Sure, but I'm kinda out of it right now. Sorry."
The thin black layered on her hand cleared, seemingly absorbed by her skin, revealing her now normal hand. Once again the door was slammed on her before opening wide with Billy by the doorway. Curiously, she let her eyes trailed into his bedroom. It was like the rest of the bedroom at the cave, but unlike M'gann's poster filled room there were books, notebooks, a few jars of herbs littered around the room and she also spotted a couple of pens on the ground. While it was a bit of a mess, it was much more lively than her room back at Gotham.
"I didn't know that you live here." She commented. Artemis didn't know much about Angel just that he works in Fawcett.
He seemed surprised by her question, before filling her gaze into his room and with a laugh answered her question. " Oh no, I don't live here. It's just a few books that I don't have space for in my house."
"Just a few books?" She repeated his words. " This is literally a library."
" It's not that many books." The boy muttered.
Silence fell on them, after a few minutes of squirming in his spot Billy spoke again. " Not to be rude Artemis" he paused and advert his eyes away from her. " but shouldn't you be hanging out with M'gann? Since she is giving you a tour around the Cave and all."
"Change of plan." A brief moment the look of displeasure return to her face. "I can leave if you want."
" What no," Billy quickly clarified." I didn't mean it like that. It's just, I didn't think you would want to spend time with me, being a kid and all."
" I don't mind." Artemis shrugged and mumbled something, something about a mouth.
"Cool, wanna come in?" Billy moved aside allowing Artemis to entered. She made herself comfortable in his chair, spinning it around a bit and resting her hand on the handle while Billy resettled back on his bed.
"What is Star city like?" Billy asked.
Artemis opened her mouth, a quizzical look on her face before her eyes widen and quickly replied. " It's windy."
"I've heard the beach view is beautiful ." He commented," But you probably already know that."
"The beach is okay, I guess." Artemis shrugged before changing the subject. " What about Fawcett? What it's like?"
" Fawcett, well, it's very nice. There's this big park in the middle of the city that had these gigantic trees, our museum has a whole exhibit on golden age heroes and we have like the best sunset."
"Really?" Artemis chuckled. "That's a bold claim."
"It's true!" Billy replied, pouting when Artemis gave him an amused look. " Ok, I might be a little bias but the sunset is really beautiful. You can come to see it for yourself if you want. Are you free next Tuesday? M'gann, Superboy and I are going to have a patrol hang out in Fawcett if you want to join."
She thought for a moment, Artemis had looked like she wanted to say yes but at the last moment changed her answer. "Maybe not, I uh have some family business. Sides I don't think Miss Martian and Superboy would like for me be 't think M'gann and Superboy would like it for me to intrude on the met up."
"Why not? You're our teammates, which makes you our friend. I'm sure they'll be glad to have you join us." Billy reassured. But if you can't make it I understand."
Artemis raised her brow as if she was surprised by the statement before giving him a curt answer. " I'll see if I can manage."