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Not Much of a Hero

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Billy smiled innocently and excitedly as he watched a police car pull up into a parking spot at the front of the pawn shop. The officers stepped out with a business-like expression on their faces and nodded to Billy who was trying his best to act astonished at the sight of the cops.  

 

“Holy moley!” he exclaimed. “The boys in blue!”

 

Well boy and girl in blue. He thought as he saw the policewoman get out of the car. Keep the ball going Billy, don’t lose it. He reminded himself.

 

“I called as soon as I saw. He’s in there!” he said to the officers while he pointed to the inside of the store.

 

It had been easy alerting the pawn shop’s alarm and luckily the owner had been out getting some supplies or something. So that gave the brunet all the time he needed to sneak inside and trigger the alarm.

 

He smirked as the officers brushed him aside and walked into the store.

 

“I saw him hide back there!” he said, pointing to the far end of the store, his lopsided grin never leaving his face. These officers were stupider than he thought.  

 

“There’s no one here.” the woman said when her and her partner opened the supply closet and found it empty. Guess the facade played its role. And Billy had them where he wanted them anyway.

 

Idiots. He thought.

 

“Wow, you really bought that huh?” Billy said. The police turned around, confusion evident on their faces. But it soon turned into realization when Billy closed the glass door and started hopping up and down, trying to pull down the cage usually used for closing.

 

He was trying to trap them.

 

The pair ran to the door, yelling at him to stop, but Billy ignored them and laughed lightly with a huge-ass smile on his face.

 

Stupid cops. He thought.

 

They slammed on the door just as he locked the cage, and being the jackass that he was, he waved happily at them from outside the store and skipped off to their car. Rubbing it in their faces that they had been outsmarted by a freaking teenager. Billy climbed into the patrol car and clicked a couple of keys on the keyboard attached to the dashboard and looked at the name that pulled up. He wrote it down as quickly as he could, along with the address, and was just about to get out of the car when he heard the cops call for backup on their radio.

 

I’ve always wanted to use one of these things. He thought as he pulled out the walkie-talkie thing. “Dispatch ignore that request. Some kid stole our walkie-talkies.” he said confidently into the communicator.

 

The device made that skrrsh sound as the person on the other side spoke. “ Walkie-talkies? How old are you?”

 

Billy sucked air through his teeth after he realized he had been caught. He grabbed his bag and slung it over his shoulder, getting ready to bolt and run before the other cops got there, when he saw a flash of white in the corner of his eye. He turned to see a fast-food bag with the words Geno’s Steaks on it. Billy scoffed.

 

What a great day!

 

He had been having a pretty sucky couple of weeks after escaping from that foster home a while ago, so it was nice to have things go his way for a bit. Even if it was something as small as conning some stupid ass cops, and possibly getting the name of his mother...and a free meal to go with it.

 

“Wait wait wait no kid that’s my lunch!” one of the officers yelled from inside the shop when he followed Billy’s gaze. The brunet smirked mischievously and he gave the policeman a sly look before he snagged the bag and got out of the car. The teen took off running down the street, paper bag clutched in his hand, and he turned sharply into an alley.

 

A laugh escaped Billy as he looked around. Trash bags, dumpsters, and cardboard boxes. The usual alley set up.

 

After spotting a fire escape and rushing over to it, the boy soon found himself on the roof of a building, backpack at his feet and licking his fingers from the salt as he ate fries and the rest of the contents in the paper bag.

 

This was a lucky day for Billy. Last night he had found the perfect sleeping spot on the outskirts of the city, where there was just enough cover to be undetected and safe but also enough plenty of room to move around in, and none of his stuff had been stolen from him, which was always a win, and then he messed with the stupid police people, found a lead for his mom, and borrowed (stole) some lunch! This was turning into a really good day.

 

The teen looked out at the roads and cars and the distant city of Philadelphia and sighed. The cold winter winds burning his cheeks and brushing aside his brown hair as he did so. The white sky hung above him and Billy began to think back to that one day. That one fateful day when he had let go of his mother’s hand. He wondered if this was the day he would be lucky enough to actually find her. He had been lucky today so far, so maybe this was the day the universe would finally pay him back for all of the shit it had put him through.

 

It had to give him that much right?    

 

Billy heard a police siren whoop below him and he looked down, pulled out of his thoughts. There sat a patrol car and out stepped the officer from earlier, looking very disgruntled.

 

“Whelp, better get out of here before they see me.” the teen mumbled to himself. He stuffed the rest of the fries in his mouth and slung his green bag back onto his back. He slid down the fire escape with practiced ease and landed on the ground with a grunt. A flare of pain went up his ankle as the familiar discomfort of an ankle-burn took place. The sudden pain causing Billy to trip and stumble into a couple of trash cans, and a loud BANG resonated inside the quiet alley.

 

“Oh no…” Billy whispered.

 

“Hey!” he heard the man shout. Billy stood up straight and saw a policeman glaring at him, his hands resting on his hips, and before the teen knew what he was doing, he just booked it. He leapt over garbage bags like a long-jumper in track and ran, his feet barely landing on the ground as he flew across the pavement. This wasn’t the first time he ran from the cops, and to be honest, Billy doubted it would be his last.

 

He could feel and hear the heavy footsteps slamming on the ground behind him and the straining huffs from the man as he tried his best to catch up to Billy. The teen smirked lightly and continued running, refusing to cast a single glance to his pursuer. Because if there was one thing he had learned from running away from cops, it was that you never look back.

 

Never.

 

Never ever.

 

Because more often than not they will try to have their partner run in front of you to cut you off, and then next thing you know, you would be at the police station in an interrogation room with your social worker or in some cell at juvie.

 

Both of which have happened to Billy.

 

So the brunet kept his eyes ahead, because he was not going to be caught today.

 

The teen rounded a corner and slowed to a stop, freezing when he saw the other cop car parked innocently by the sidewalk with the woman officer from earlier leaning against the side of it looking around. Billy’s head whipped side to side, looking for anything anywhere to help him hide from the two authorities. His eyes landed on an alley across the street from him and a big crowd of people walking towards him and to the crosswalk.

 

Perfect.

 

The brunet pulled his red hood up over his beanie and slouched into himself as he slipped into the crowd seamlessly. He tried to make himself as ignorable and unremarkable as possible, because this was one of those situations where being a small kid came in handy.

 

He heard the policeman run onto the sidewalk, puffing and heaving loudly and he cursed when he saw that he couldn’t find Billy. The boy allowed himself a small victory smile, but it was short-lived when he heard the officer shout behind him.

 

“Hey, you! Stop!”

 

Billy turned around to see the man pointing at him, a look of determination flashing in his eyes. The brunet spun around and began running again, pushing people aside and out of the way as he tried to get away from the cops who were struggling to close in on him.

 

Apparently Billy didn’t blend in well enough.

 

He exited the crowd, gasping for air and looked both ways on the sidewalk, checking for the alley that he had seen earlier. And there it was, the entrance half-way covered with a tarp and and residing next to a silvery building worn with age. Billy bolted for the tarp doorway and threw the mucky fabric over his head, slipping into the dank alleyway and hiding behind a dumpster. The brunet held his breath, despite how much he wanted to breathe after running so much. He heard the clunky footsteps of the cop walk in front of the tarp and he froze.

 

He prayed that his luck would keep going today and that he wouldn’t get caught. Oh, he did not want to get caught. He was so close to finding his mom and the teen just didn’t have the time today to deal with his social worker and the freaking cops. He didn’t have the time for this crap.

 

But somehow, the universe seemed to hear him, for the officer kept walking and didn’t touch the tarp. Billy let out a sigh of relief and sat there, leaning his head against the wall. He sat there for a moment, catching his breath and recollecting his thoughts, before pulling out his spiral notebook. He opened up to his most recent page and glanced over his handwriting, looking at the name he had written down and the address. Maybe this time it was her. Maybe this time.

 

Billy put away the book, having memorized the address, and sat up, pulling on the green backpack and squaring his shoulders. He began walking to the tarp again, knowing that he was in the clear from the policeman, when a sharp pain erupted in his neck.

 

The brunet stumbled to a stop and his hand shot up to his neck. He hissed and stood still for a moment as he felt for what had caused his pain. He noticed a very  large bump, which stung when he touched it, and he rubbed the sensitive spot. But there was something else, a tickly and tingly feeling began crawling up his finger and Billy snatched his hand away from his neck, and saw much to his horror a bright red and yellow spider clutched to his finger.

 

Yelping in surprise, the teen shook his hand, flinging the spider away from him and effectively killing it when he stomped on the thing. He shuddered as he thought of it crawling around inside his clothes.

 

Fidgeting with his coat collar and beanie, Billy tried to shrug it off and walked away. Throwing aside the tarp and shuffling back onto the sidewalk. He wondered concernedly if the spider was in any way a poisonous one as he left behind the curling corpse of a radioactive spider, laying next to a building with the big bold words Sivana Industries on it’s side.

Chapter Text

Stupid cops. Stupid Rachel Batson. Stupid delicious Geno Steak fries. And stupid random spider.

 

Billy thought grumpily to himself as he sat in a social worker’s office. A miss E.B. Glover was stuck with him, sitting across from the brunet as she flipped through a file, undoubtedly his. Billy had rolled his eyes when he found out that he had been reassigned to a new social worker and immediately he put up another facade; the Aloof, Uncaring Foster Kid.  

 

“A foster home in Pittsburgh reported you missing two weeks ago.” She said, glancing up at Billy through her chained glasses.

 

“You’re sending me back?” he asked, eyebrows furrowing. He hadn’t really cared for that foster home, and while the couple was nice, it just wasn’t what he wanted.

 

Ms. Glover shook her head. “No,” she began. “they don’t want you.”

 

Billy scoffed and smirked. Looking away from the woman so that she couldn’t see the glint of hurt that flashed in his eyes for a second. It was just another foster home that didn’t want him, what else was new?  

“Harsh.” he said, still smirking.

“You laugh, but you’ve run from foster homes in six counties, Mr. Batson. From,” she flipped up the page, glancing at the list of homes he’s been to. “...good people. Who want you, all in pursuit of someone who arguably does not.” Billy’s smirk faded and he swallowed hard, his eyes casting downward. The worker folded her hands together and looked at him, a stern look in her eyes. “It’s time someone looked you in the eye and told it to you straight.”  

 

“I don’t need parents to play make believe with. I got a mom!” Billy argued, his facade melting as he fiercely defended his mother.

 

Ms. Glover waved his black spiral notebook. “Yes, you’re some detective. Seventy-three Batson’s, all between the ages of twenty-eight and forty... and you have crossed off every single one of them."

 

“But she's still out there. I know it!” Billy exclaimed. He just didn't get how social workers like Ms. Glover could be so close-minded. His mom was still out there, worrying about him and probably just waiting for him to come home. She just didn't get it, no adult did. And hell, today was supposed to be his lucky day, but it all turned out to shit.

 

Ms. Glover stood up from her desk and came around, sitting on the edge and folding her hands. She gave Billy a pitying look. He hated it when adults gave him that look.

 

“There's a couple outside Mr, Baston. They run a group home." She said. Billy glanced out of the glass door and saw a Latina woman and heavy set, bearded man, chatting happily with each other. The brunet scoffed and looked away from the couple, feeling frustration boil inside of him.

 

“I can take care of myself." He said defensively.

 

“When you're eighteen. Until then, I won't have you on the streets looking for someone who never looked for you." Billy bowed his head and sighed, finally realizing that he wasn't going to get out of this.

 

"Give these people a chance. Cause right now that's what they’re giving you. You’re out of options."

 

Ah hell. Billy thought as he begrudgingly accepted his fate.

 


 

 

When Billy and his new foster parents pulled up into the driveway of their two-story house, Billy wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe some moody teens, a shy little kid, or a weirdo. Who knows with foster homes. But he definitely wasn't expecting a spider-monkey hugger, a ten-year-old gamer, a senior class girl, a heavy-weight Hispanic, and a nerdy as-fuck disabled kid.

 

He had walked into the warm house with the foster mom, Rosa, yelling their arrival. "Hello?” she called into the apparently empty house. When no one came out, she tried again. “We're home!"

 

“That’s what happens when you suck!” a little gremlin looking thing yelled from the dark tv room. He had a large headset on over his head and a microphone stretched down with lots and lots of empty soda cans littering the table next to him. He seemed to be immersed in whatever game he was playing and hadn’t noticed the trio walk in through the door.  

 

Victor chuckled turning to Billy. "Well, so much for a welcome party."

 

“Yeah, that thing growing out of the couch, would be Eugene,” Rosa said just as a little dark-skinned girl entered the room, joy lighting up her chocolate eyes.

 

“Is that him? Oh my gosh! Billy!” She exclaimed as she ran towards the brunet, a wide smile on her face and happiness just coming off of her in waves. She barreled towards the unsuspecting boy and buried her face into his jacket as she hugged him.

 

“Welcome home!” she said as she struggled to reach her arms all the way around his torso. Billy glanced down confusedly, clearly not comfortable or familiar with the physical affection.  

 

“And that’s Darla,” Rosa said.

 

“I’m Darla.” the little girl said, her voice full of happiness and contentment.

 

“Big hugger,” Victor said as he walked towards the tv room.   

 

“I noticed,” Billy whispered, still refusing to hug the little girl back. It’s not that he didn’t like her, it’s just that he didn’t like hugs. Eugene yelled at his computer angrily and told the other players on the screen to ‘die’. Darla turned to Billy.  

 

“He doesn’t mean that. It’s the game.” Billy nodded understandingly, trying to look somewhat interested in what she was saying to him. Victor walked over and lifted the headphones off of the little boy’s head.

 

“Hey, no sodas after dark remember?” the boy looked up from the screen and glanced around the room, noticing for the first time how dark it truly was and how the sun had left the sky.

 

“Woah, when did it get dark?”

 

Billy’s attention was turned away when Darla all of a sudden shouted and released Billy from her death-grip. “Oh the poster, I made you one! Come look!” she grabbed Billy’s hand and the brunet could do little to stop her as she pulled him into the dining room to present a bright pink banner with glittery letters on it saying ‘Welcome Home Big Brother’. It probably would’ve looked nicer though if there weren’t any large weights resting on it.

 

“Oh no, Pedro must’ve been working out,” Darla said. “He’s trying to get swole.” She tugged at the edge of the banner, trying to pull it out from underneath the exercise equipment when the paper tore as Darla tried to pull it out. Rosa mumbled awkwardly next to Billy as Darla offered the piece of paper to Billy.

 

“Here.” she said sadly. The teen took the paper hesitantly. Seemed like this was going to be an interesting family to live with.

 


 

Rosa led Billy throughout the house, showing him where the bathroom was, told some rules, and introduced him to another foster kid, Pedro. The boy grunted and shoved his earbud back into his ears after he met Billy. Rosa brushed it aside, assuring the brunet that he was like that with everyone. Billy had met nearly every single person in the household, and Rosa was beginning to lead him to his room, talking about other things they did as a ‘family’.

 

But Billy didn’t care. Not one bit. He had been in other foster homes before where they had movie nights and family game nights or whatever kind of bullshit that was, and honestly, the boy couldn’t care less. He was ready to crash onto the bed and just go to sleep and ignore every person in this damn house, but his daydream was destroyed when he heard Rosa talk to someone else in the low lit room.

 

There was one more person to meet.

 

Billy groaned internally, his socializing battery having run out hours ago.

 

“Freddy,” Rosa said. “This is Billy Batson. Make sure you make him feel at home. Maybe don’t say anything too weird?”

 

Billy entered the room to see a kid about his age sitting at a desk and doing some kind of schoolwork on the computer. He had black curly hair and wore a superhero logo t-shirt, but Billy didn’t care to know which hero it was, because it didn’t matter. He just wanted to go to bed.

 

“Oh, one weird thing, did you know that the Romans used to brush their teeth with their own urine?” he asked. An awkward silence filled the room and Billy’s face scrunched up. “And apparently it works.”

 

“Right.”  Rosa said as she patted Billy’s shoulder and left the room, leaving the two boys by themselves to do whatever. Billy walked all the way inside and spun around, looking at the room, before walking over and checking outside the window. And the action didn’t go unnoticed from Freddy.  

 

“Oh, it’s a long way down.” Billy turned to his new roommate, eyes flashing in confusion. Did he already know that Billy was coming up with ways to get out of here? “Trust me, I speak from experience.” Freddy stood up on his crutch, which apparently was sitting next to him on the desk, and looked Billy, a serious glint in his eyes.

 

“Victor pushed me. They seem nice, but don’t buy it. It gets real Game of Thrones around here.” he said. Dark brown eyes boring into Billy’s and for a split second, the brunet was worried. A weird feeling settled in his stomach and he felt his mouth go dry.

 

“What?” he asked, voice small.

 

The air was silent between the two before Freddy snorted, the look in his eyes disappearing and replaced with humorous glee. “Dude, I’m just messing around. It’s um... it’s terminal cancer. I have three months.”

 

The air became tense again, and Billy shuffled nervously. What was he supposed to say? Would ‘I’m sorry’ be okay? He didn’t really know what to do in these situations. But before he could say anything, the raven laughed and hit the other boy’s arm. Billy jumped at the contact.

 

“Kidding! Again! You look at me and you’re like, ‘Why so dark, you’re a disabled foster kid, you’ve got it all! Right?’.” Freddy laughed and Billy turned away from the strange boy. He was not in the mood to be joking around or socialize with his new foster sibling. Or more accurately, foster acquaintance.

 

Something gleamed in the corner of Billy’s eye and he turned his head to find a familiar looking device sitting in the corner. Curious, he walked over to it and inspected it.  

 

“Oh yeah, that’s the old Batarang.” he heard Freddy say behind him and he limped over, his crutch making a clicking sound. “I mean, it’s just a replica but...feel how sharp. I could probably kill you in your sleep with that thing.” Billy flickered his gaze to the raven, that unsettling feeling rolling around in his stomach.

 

....

 

”You a Supes guy?”

 


 

 

Billy sat in the bathroom, leaning his head against the cool porcelain of the bathtub and breathed in deeply. He had finally been able to get away from everyone and was able to claim some kind of Me Time for himself. He needed to breathe and collect his thoughts, and what better way than to hide out in the bathroom? His stomach still wouldn’t calm down for some reason, not since talking to Freddy, and he began to feel sweaty and clammy.

 

Billy wouldn’t be surprised if he was getting sick, he had been on the streets for a few weeks and he had just been bitten by a spider earlier that day so that probably had something to do with it.

 

He swung around his backpack and pulled out the black spiral notebook. He read the most recent name and sighed. The boy pulled out a pen and scratched the damn name off of the list. It was seventy-four Batsons now and counting. He let out a heavy sigh and closed his eyes, deep sadness and dread filling up inside of him.

 

It had been nearly eleven years since he had last seen his mom, and Billy missed her everyday. He could barely remember what she looked like or what she sounded like, but Billy knew that when he found her he would know. He didn’t need some false family to make himself feel better. Because what he needed was his real family, his real mom.

 

But… it had been eleven years. Eleven years of dead-ends, running away, and multiple foster homes. Eleven years of Billy being the only person he could count on and eleven years of Billy looking out for himself.  

 

Billy stared at the notebook for a moment and scoffed. Maybe he didn’t need a family or a mom. Maybe he’d be just fine on his own.

 

Who needed a family anyway?

 

“Dinner!” Victor called from downstairs. Billy’s head snapped up and he sucked in a breath. Squaring his shoulders, Billy zipped up his backpack and stood up, he gave the black notebook one last glance before scoffing and throwing it in the trash. Who needed a family anyway?

 

He walked out of the bathroom and shuffled towards his room, stripping off his jacket and gloves. But only if he had looked in the mirror, he would’ve seen how big the spider’s bite had become.

 


 

 

During dinner, which happened to be tofurkey, whatever the ever-loving hell that was supposed to be, Billy began to feel off.

 

His stomach began to feel tight and his legs ached, just like normal growing pains, but then it turned into stomach cramps, unnoticeable at first and almost inconvenient to the teen. But that was before it gradually got worse. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair, trying to play it off as being nervous or awkward in the new home, and consciously relaxed the pained scowl on his face.

 

Rosa eyed him warily the whole time, but when Billy sent her a nervous smile, she backed off a little bit. Sending him a worried glanced here and there. The teen didn’t participate in any of the family’s conversation, feeling too unwell to do so, and just sat in his chair, playing with his food and wringing his hands.

 

Why was he feeling so sick all of a sudden? He had been just fine this morning! Maybe it was the Geno Steaks coming back for a reckoning, maybe it was karma for trapping those damn cops, or maybe it was the spider. If it was the spider, then Billy knew that he was probably fucked. Who knew what kind of side effects he would’ve gotten from being bit by a mysterious insect.  

 

Billy’s heart began to flutter and palpitate uncomfortably. He shifted in his seat again and took a deep breath, reminding himself that all he had to do was last till the end of dinner and then he could go straight to bed. The sweet, soft, and welcoming bed that he so wished to be sleeping in right now. It had been weeks since he had a bed of his own, and he wanted nothing more than to just collapse onto the soft mattress.

 

After what felt like hours, dinner finally ended and Billy shot up from his chair, sped towards the kitchen, dropped off his plate, and then ran towards his new room, leaving a baffled Victor and Rosa behind.

 

The brunet went up the stairs and shuffled into his room, his body shivering and a headache pounding inside his head. He just needed to rest. He just needed to sleep it off and then he’ll be good as new. That was it. That’s all he needed.

 

He climbed up the ladder to his bunk bed and shuffled underneath the covers, not feeling well enough to take off his clothes and change into his pajamas. He shivered underneath the blankets and covered his head. He just needed to sleep, that was all it was. This wasn’t a big deal, he just needed to rest.

 

That was it.

 

That’s all he needed….   

 

Chapter Text

Billy woke up the next morning, feeling weird. His mouth felt fuzzy and his stomach felt like he hadn’t eaten anything in the past couple of days, even though he had had dinner last night. The teen groaned as he sat up in bed, brushing aside his brown bangs and throwing off the blanket.

 

Or at least… trying to.

 

The covers stuck to Billy and the boy looked at them confusedly, he waved his arms and tried to get rid of them, but for some reason, they held onto him. Billy growled and shoved the stupid blankets off of him, which finally allowed themselves to be peeled off of the boy. Billy sighed, he was too tired to deal with this.

 

He sat in his bed, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular, noticing how he certainly felt better than he had yesterday. His stomach no longer ached and he wasn’t shivering anymore, and there wasn’t any pounding in his skull. And besides the fact that his mouth felt dry, he felt completely normal.

 

He looked around the room with tired green eyes and tried to remember where he was. And when he heard the sound of someone groaning below him and bed frames creaking, he was suddenly reminded of where he was. In the Vasquez household. With a new foster family.

 

The brunet moaned and fell back onto the mattress. Why couldn’t he just disappear? Well, at least he had some time to mentally prepare himself for school. Right?

 


 

Billy walked up the steps to the school and entered the building, his heart both heavy and fluttering. He really wasn’t in the mood to go to a new school with new classes and new people and a new social ladder, and Darla’s chattering wasn’t really helpful either. Her comment on how if you viewed all of the kids here as possible friendships instead of a bunch of students was just B.S. And, yeah, he knew that she was just trying to make him feel better, but considering that this was far from his first time at a new school, he didn’t really feel like being comforted.

 

He just wanted to get through the day and go home.

 

Billy was about to walk to his first class, leaving behind his foster acquaintances when Darla all of a sudden came from nowhere and charged at him, wrapping her small arms around him as she hugged him. She squeezed tightly and Billy heard her say, “Have a good day at school big brother.” Her voice muffled by his jacket.

 

The brunet stiffened at the contact and moved his hands to pry Darla’s arms off of him. His hands becoming tingly as they came in contact with her jacket.

 

“Hey, you don’t have to do that. We, aren’t actually brother and sister you know.” he smiled awkwardly and hoped that the little girl would get his message. Her happy demeanor vanished and was immediately replaced with a look of sadness.

 

Billy’s heart sank into his stomach.

 

“Oh,” she mumbled. “Okay. I’m sorry.” she began to walk away, but stumbled when Billy’s hands didn’t leave her jacket. The brunet, chuckling nervously, tugged at his fingers, yet they persisted and continued to stick to her jacket. Until finally, after a split second, they came off.

 

“S-sorry.” he mumbled. “Must’ve.. been some.. glue.”

 

“It’s fine.” Darla said as she walked in the opposite direction, “...probably my fault.”

 

Billy reached his hand out, feeling bad about making the little girl cry, and watched as she walked over to Freddy, who had seen the whole thing, and nudged him.

 

“Hey, you okay?” he asked as they began to walk away from Billy, who was stumbling over an apology.

 

“I, uh, I didn’t mean to make her cry,” he said weakly. Freddy waved him off and walked with Darla down the hallway, leaving behind a brunet in the middle of the school feeling awful about himself.

 

Billy hung his head and pocketed his hands, fidgeting with the compass inside of his pocket. He listened to the sound of lockers slamming and children chattering as they walked to their classes and he squared his shoulders, shrugged on his backpack, and straightened out his beanie. The teen glanced at his schedule and swallowing down the feeling of dread rising in his throat, walked off to his first class. Hoping that this day would be somewhat okay.

 


 

 

His first class, English, started off just fine. He had walked in, sat down, and the teacher introduced him to the class without a hitch. But then he started feeling weird again and his fingers tingled strangely. The teacher handed out the assignment for the day and told the kids to get started on their work, and that in and of itself was no problem to Billy, because what the problem was, was that when it was time to pack up, he couldn’t let go of his pencil or paper.  

 

The objects wouldn’t unstick themselves from his fingers, causing the brunet to scrunch his eyebrows in confusion as he realized that the same thing happened earlier with Darla. He wondered vaguely if there was still glue on his fingers. The brunet flicked his wrist sharply and both objects fell to the floor. Some of the other students looking at him strangely thinking that he threw his assignments and shook their heads as they walked out the door.

 

Billy huffed in annoyance and went over to retrieve his things.

 

Then came biology class.

 

After being introduced to the class again and sitting down in his seat, he got a strange feeling in his head. It was like his ears were ringing and an alarm had gone off inside of his brain. The hair on his arms and neck stood on end and then without thinking the brunet ducked… right when a spitball flew through the air and hit the person in front of him.

 

Billy, seeing the other student react so disgusted, spun around and saw a boy close to his age with a straw sticking out of his mouth, aimed at him. A spitball. He shot a fucking spitball. The boy looked at Billy in surprise, and slowly lowered the straw from his mouth.

 

The brunet shook his head, disgusted, and turned to the front of the classroom. But his eyebrows drew together in confusion once again. How had he done that? He hadn’t known it was coming, and yet he had ducked just in time to avoid it.

 

Billy thought about it for the rest of the class time and was only drawn out of his thoughts when the school bell rang, signaling the end of class and the beginning of the lunch period.

 

Oh, thank God. Billy thought as he packed up all of his stuff. He rushed out of the classroom, and headed towards the cafeteria, wanting to just get out of class for a while and take a moment to breathe. He slipped into the lunch line and got his food, and went over to sit at the closest empty table.

 

After setting down his tray, he set down his bag and rubbed his hands over his eyes. Why was all of this weird stuff happening to him? It didn’t make any freaking sense. The brunet took in a couple of deep breaths before shaking himself and turning to his unappetizing food.

 

He knew that he should eat something since he didn’t have a very filling breakfast that morning, so he nibbled on some of the fries for a couple of minutes before completely losing his appetite. He cast aside his lunch and Billy considered leaving, having had enough of sitting in the lunchroom doing nothing. But before he could do anything his hands got that tingly feeling in them again, and suddenly he couldn’t move them.

 

He wiggled it fingers and shook his hands, trying desperately to dislodge them from the table they were seemingly glued to. He pulled on them until it began to hurt and Billy started panicking. But his panic attack was cut short when he heard a recognizable clicking sound come towards his table. Billy looked up to see Freddy sloppily throw his tray onto the table and sit down beside him, throwing down his crutch on the ground.

 

Billy almost sighed in annoyance. Almost.

 

“Flight or invisibility?” he asked. Billy looked at him confusedly and gave another tug on his hands. “If you could have one superpower, flight or invisibility, what would you pick?”

 

“Uhmm,” Billy began. He wasn’t really focused on what Freddy was saying, he was too busy worrying about ripping his hands off of the goddamn table.

 

“Everybody chooses flight! You know why?” The raven asked, waving his hands. He was obviously invested in the topic and was too busy talking about it to notice Billy wiggling his fingers. The brunet tried to play it cool as he continued to struggle with his hands.

 

“So they can fly away from this conversation?” he asked sarcastically because right now that sounded pretty damn good. If only his hands would unstick. And almost as if God was hearing his prayer, a few of his fingers came off the table.

 

“No, cause heroes fly.” Freddy said. “And who doesn’t want people to think they’re a hero right?”

 

Billy gave his hands a final tug and by some miracle, they came off. The teen hissed in pain, since he basically ripped his hands away from the table’s surface, and rubbed them together to quell the pain. His foster acquaintance noticed.

 

“Hey, you okay?” he asked.

 

“Yeah, just fine.” Billy snapped. The brunet got up from the table and grabbed his tray, walking over to the entrance and throwing away his barely touched food. Freddy followed close behind him, still chattering on about superpowers.

 

“And then they did this study, right? About superpowers, and they asked people the same question, you know, what power you want…” the two boys walked down the hallway out of the cafeteria, with Billy stuffing his hands in his pockets and Freddy clicking along beside him chattering on like a parakeet about studies and surveys and superpowers.

 

Billy suddenly felt a sharp pain on his wrists. He winced and sucked air through his teeth, having to stop himself from inspecting it out in the open and in front of Freddy. If it was anything like what’s been happening to him, with the stickiness and head ringing, then he didn’t want anyone seeing anything.

 

The brunet saw the boy's restroom coming up and he let out a breath of relief. Thank God. he thought as he went to open the door. He almost reached the door when Freddy all of a sudden said something that made him stop dead in his tracks.

 

“You’re gonna run away again.”   

 

Billy turned from the doorway and looked at him. A look of false confusion on his face. “I mean, you stole my Superman bullet.”

 

Billy’s eyes flickered to the restroom and his lips drew into a thin line. Freddy had noticed?

 

“Dude, I get it. You’ve been screwed over way too many times.” The brunet’s eyes glanced downwards at the linoleum floor, feeling slightly guilty.

 

“You don’t trust anyone,” Freddy said, his brown eyes glinting with sincerity and sadness. Billy didn’t understand that look. “But that’s the thing about invisibility. You handle it by yourself.”

 

Billy was silent for a moment, thinking about what the raven had said, before scoffing and donning another uncaring mask. “I didn’t steal your dumb bullet.” he lied as he entered the boy’s restroom.

 

He walked over to one of the stalls and closed the door behind him, his aloof mask melting off of his face. The boy began rolling up his hoodie sleeve and he looked at his wrist. His face turning into one of shock and confusion as he saw a strange white patch sticking to his skin. It glistened in the fluorescent light and Billy’s stomach curled in on itself.

 

“What the hell?” he asked. 

 


 

The school day finally ended and Billy exited the school, his backpack strung onto his back and his beanie pulled low over his forehead and ears. He walked over to the meeting spot and found all of the other foster kids sitting there waiting for him to join them. As he walked past, Mary spoke up.

 

“Hey, how was it today?” she asked. Billy didn’t respond, his mind was occupied thinking of the weird white patch on his wrist and the sticky incidents from today. Mary took his silence as him being rude and replied sarcastically. “That good, huh?”

 

The group walked onto the sidewalk, getting ready to cross the street when a rumbling black truck came out of nowhere and slammed into Freddy. Sending the disabled boy onto the pavement and sprawled out. Students screamed and Mary shouted.

 

“Oh my god! Freddy! Are you okay?”

 

Freddy assured her he was fine when two dick-looking teens exited the car, slamming the doors behind them and making their existence known. Billy instantly didn’t like them. One of them had curly brown hair and wore a leather jacket while the other wore a letterman jacket and had dark ginger hair. The leather dude walked over to the front of the truck and rubbed his hand against a scratch. Undoubtedly caused by them running into Freddy.

 

“Woah!” one of them said. The other picking up Freddy and slamming him into the side, causing the raven to wince in pain. “No way that’s gonna buff out.”

 

“You gonna pay for that Freeman?”

 

“Uh, you mean for the dent you made almost hitting me? Uh yeah sure, do you take these?” Freddy held up his hands and flipped off the bullies, laughing in their faces. Letterman Dude snatched his crutch and Leather Dude threw Freddy onto the ground.

 

Billy cringed, that couldn’t have felt good. The two boys proceeded to kick Freddy and smirked as he curled in on himself. Mary yelled at Leather Dude. “Brett stop!”

 

Oh, Billy thought. Even his name sounds douchey.   

 

“Don’t touch my brother.” Darla said all-too politely to these dicks. Letterman Dude pointed at the little girl.

 

“What you need your fake family to stand up for you?”

 

“Just stand up for yourself man!”

 

Billy turned and walked away. He wasn’t going to watch this or get involved, his day was already crazy enough. The sounds of the bullies kicking Freddy persisted in his ears and so Billy pulled up his red hood to muffle the sounds even more than they already were. He walked down the frosty sidewalk and hunched up his shoulders, he wanted to be ignored and he wanted to ignore everything around him. And he would’ve succeeded too if the bully, Brett, didn’t say something that made Billy stop.

 

“What are you gonna do, go home and cry to your mommy? Oh, wait that’s right you don’t have a mommy.”

 

The brunet turned around, a scowl on his face as anger flared inside of him. He saw Freddy’s crutch lying down on the ground and walked over to grab it.

 

“Hey!” he shouted at the bullies. They turned to face him and just then Billy smacked one of them in the face with the crutch, and he crumpled. A feeling of satisfaction filling him up inside as he realized that that felt hella good.

 

He shoved the crutch into Brett’s crotch and watched him bend over. “Man, sorry about that!” he said sassily. “That wasn’t fair, but then again, you guys don’t fight fair so,”

 

The hair on Billy’s neck rose and he heard a nonexistent ringing in his ears. He spun out of the way just in time as one of the bullies got up and tried to slam Billy into the black truck. The brunet swung the crutch like a baseball bat and hit Letterman in the knee, creating a loud crack, and causing the bully to go down.

 

The ringing persisted in Billy’s ears and without thinking he ducked reflexively. Brett had swung his fist and tried to catch Billy from behind, like a coward. But since his target ducked at the last second, the force of the punch sent him stumbling into his brother, and the two bullies fell on the ground.

 

Billy scoffed disbelievingly. He glanced down at his hands, wondering how he had done that when the bullies stood up, rage flashing in their eyes.

 

Oh no. Billy thought.

 

“You’re dead kid!” one of them yelled. Billy took that as his cue to tuck tail and he ran. He ran as fast as he could, his feet flying across the pavement as he did so. He could hear the bullies shouting behind him and their voices growing faint. He glanced behind him for split second and saw the two of them turn into an alley.

 

They were going to try to cut him off.

 

Billy kept running forward, thinking faster than normal as adrenaline soared through his veins. It felt like rocket fuel inside of him and he felt stronger and faster than he ever had before. It felt good.

 

He saw a fence coming up and without thinking, he jumped. The teen cleared it easily, having leaped a couple of extra feet above it and Billy landed on the ground with a roll. He stumbled as he stood up and tried to resume his running. His mind went blank with shock as he wondered how he did that.

 

He had been so distracted, that he missed his turn into the subway station. Billy cursed at himself, realizing that he would have to keep running, and he flew past the building, passing the bullies as he did so.

 

“Hey!” he heard one of them shout at him as he kept running.  He heard the footsteps behind him grow fainter and fainter and Billy smiled. The brunet made a sharp turn and ran into an alley, and without thinking he jumped up and hopped off of one wall and leaped onto the other. His hands becoming tingly again, and this time, they stuck!

 

To the FUCKING  WALL!

 

Billy stared at his hands in shock, freezing in place as he realized that what he was doing was simply impossible and that he should not be able to to do it. Nothing was holding him up except for his sticky fingers, and Billy, eyes wide, looked down at the ground below him.

 

“Holy moly,” he whispered to himself. And as quickly as it had happened, the stickiness stopped, startling the teen and making him fall onto a pile of trash bags and the cold pavement below. He groaned in pain as his back suddenly ached from the fall. But his attention was pulled away from his pain when he heard running footsteps grow louder.

 

Shit. Billy thought. He got up as fast as he could and tried to run down the alley, but his heart stopped entirely when he saw that there was nowhere for him to run. The alley was a dead end and there was absolutely nothing Billy could do to escape.   

 

The footsteps ran into the alley, and Billy could basically hear the malicious smiles on the bullies faces as they talked. The brunet turned around and faced the two, his face impassive.

 

“Well then, now that we have you here, let’s teach you what happens when you fucking mess with us.” Brett said as he strut forward, his fist clenching.

 

Billy felt the ringing in his ears return and the hair on his neck stood up. And then what happened next... he wasn’t really sure was possible.

 

Time seemed to slow down and speed up at the same time, and Billy’s body moved on its own. He rushed forward and jumped, sending a kick to Brett’s face in mid-air and the older teen went down almost instantly. Billy landed and he tucked into a roll, coming up in front of Letterman. The older teen threw a fist that was easily dodged, and the brunet retaliated with a punch to the jaw and kick to his stomach. The bully flew backwards and landed on the cold cement, gasping for air.

 

Billy ran forwards and wall-jumped, leaping from opposite wall to the opposite wall until he landed on a roof and tucked into another roll. He shot up and ran across the roof and before he could stop himself or even think about what he was doing , he leaped from that roof and onto the neighboring building’s.

 

Billy came up, panting heavily and eyes looking like dinner plates. Time returned to its normal pace and the brunet collapsed on the new rooftop, hand going to his head as he sat on the cold roof.  

 

“Holy moly!” he exclaimed.

 

How did he do that!? That was like some kind of martial arts or some shit and Billy never learned martial arts. Absolutely speechless, he looked down at his hands and stared at them. His evergreen eyes were wide in shock. He didn’t know how long he had been staring at them when a thought suddenly came to him.

 

How could he do this? Because like, it wasn’t like he was always able to do this. Something had happened to him recently, and somehow, Billy needed to figure out what. He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes. He focused on calming down his heart rate, because who needs a heart attack when you’re fourteen, and he began to think.

 

Who could possibly help him with this?

 

Who in the entire world, did Billy know who would have some idea as to what was happening to him? Someone who knew the weird and was familiar with strange things happening all the time. Someone who would know what to do and know exactly how to help him. Someone he could trust.

 

Billy’s head shot up as one person came to mind. And thank God that Billy actually knew someone.

 

The teen swallowed thickly and rubbed his shaking hands together, trying to calm his nerves before he stood up. He looked around and finally registering where he was, Billy walked over to the edge and looked down. It was a long drop.

 

“Fuck.” Billy hissed as he realized that getting down was going to be much harder than he thought. He was definitely going to be late getting home. 

 

Chapter Text

Billy crept by the bushes on the sidewalk and glanced at the Vasquez house. The Christmas lights twinkling against the indigo sky, the snow glistening on the pavement, and the colorful wreath on the front door made the whole thing look like something straight out of a Hallmark movie.

 

Billy looked at the house, still crouching by the shrubbery, and bit his lip. He didn’t exactly want to go inside just yet, because what was he going to do if something like earlier happened? What if he started sticking to walls and having those weird reflexes? And if that happened what was going to happen in the Vasquez’s caught him?

 

No, he wasn’t going to risk it. And besides, it’s only been like a day since he’s known the ‘family’. Why on earth would he trust them?

Why would he trust Freddy?

 

Billy sighed and rubbed his gloved hands over his face. This was an absolute disaster, and the brunet had no idea how to handle it. But what other choice did he have? Because he couldn’t really turn to anyone else and Freddy was the closest thing he had to someone he could trust. Maybe even his first friend in a while. A foster friend-acquaintance.

 

The teen groaned and swung around his backpack, taking out a sharpie and pad of paper. He wrote a message on the paper, saying ‘Don’t Scream’,  before looking up at the house again. He tried to steel his nerves, struggling to quench down the immense feeling of anxiety welling up inside of him and began walking towards the house.

 

Billy made sure to keep to the side of the house, staying close to the walls and ducking underneath windows. He could hear the other foster kids talk through the walls, but he couldn’t make out anything they said, their words were too garbled to be understood. He crept up to a large window in particular and quickly peaked inside.

 

It was the kitchen. And Freddy was doing the dishes. The brunet clutched the paper pad harder and evened his breathing. He could hear his foster friend speak frustratingly through the window as he cleaned the dishes loudly.

 

“-hat are you gonna do Freddy? Run after him? HAHAHAHAHA!” Billy heard the raven laugh sarcastically. Then without wasting another moment, the brunet slammed the notebook onto the window and he heard Freddy scream from inside the kitchen.

 

“No, the sign says ‘Don’t Scream’!” Billy said as he pointed at the paper. Freddy stared at him in shock, his brown eyes wide as he saw that it was his missing sibling standing right in front of him.

 

“Billy?” the raven said, a slow smile growing on his face. “Victor! Victor! Victor!” he yelled out of the kitchen. Billy started to panic and the hair on his neck stood up. That weird feeling from earlier returning again.

 

“Nonononono Freddy stop! Stop stop stop!”

 

Freddy looked at Billy confused. “What? Why? You came back.”

 

“Listen, something happened to me and I don’t know what to do and now I need your help! Meet me back out here after lights out?” Billy asked. The soundless ringing resonated in Billy’s ears again and he took the notebook and darted away from the kitchen window just as Victor entered the kitchen. Billy ran towards the back alley behind the house and stopped. It looked like he was going to have to wait a little bit before Freddy got out here.

 

The teen glanced down at the notebook in his hands and deciding that he didn’t need it anymore, took off his backpack and went to put it away. But when he did, the piece of paper stuck to his hand. Billy flicked his hand, trying to throw away the paper, but it still stuck to his hand. The brunet sighed and gave another flick before it finally fell away.

 

Billy shuffled over to a box and sat down on it. He didn’t know how long Freddy was going to be, so he might as well get comfortable. In the cold. In December. On an old box. In the snow. The teen shivered and gripped his jacket closer to his person and he ducked his chin into the red hoodie. He had already been outside for a good couple of hours and apparently these new powers he had didn’t come with cold immunity. Which sucked.

 

But since he had some time, maybe it’d be a good idea to think of how to explain all of this to Freddy? Because how was he supposed to simply explain that he had sticky superpowers, can do martial arts he never learned, and a reflexive sixth sense without sounding batshit crazy?

 

Billy shook his head. He sounded ridiculous. And why would Freddy even believe him? He had no reason to. And besides he’d probably laugh and call Billy a liar. Billy glanced down at his hands, and without really thinking, he took off his gloves and pulled up the sleeve. He looked at the strange white patch on his arm and examined it as it glistened in the street lights.

 

He knew that it was somehow related to his new abilities, but he wasn’t really sure how. As far as he knew, it did nothing special and was just a weird skin anomaly.  

 

The brunet was pulled out of his thoughts when he heard a clicking coming down the alley. His head shot up, and he let out a sigh of relief when he saw that it was good ole’ Freddy. His shoulders dropping visibly as some of the anxiety he felt washed away.

 

“Oh thank God!” Billy said as he ran towards Freddy.

 

“Billy, what’s going on? Why did you run away earlier and why won’t you come inside? It’s freezing out here and Victor and Rosa are losing their minds!?”

 

“Freddy, please listen to me. Something happened to me and yeah, I know we’re not close friends or anything, but you’re the only person that I know that knows anything about this Caped Crusader stuff.

 

“That’s Batman.” Freddy corrected absentmindedly.

 

“What?”

 

“Just….nevermind. But what do you mean? What you’re saying isn’t making any sense and why are you so interested in superheroes now? What does that have to do with anything?”

 

Billy took in a deep breath. “Because now... I have superpowers.”

 

Freddy stared at the teen in front of him, his face in a disbelieving expression, before he scoffed and started laughing. “Sure, okay Billy, you have superpowers and I can walk without a crutch. That’s a good one. Now come on Rosa and Victor are worried, let’s get you inside!” The raven said as he reached to grab Billy’s exposed hand.

 

The brunet snatched his hand away from Freddy and took a step back. He did not want to be stuck to Freddy because that would be an utter disaster and it would not end well. But the teen mistook his flinch for something else.

 

“Come on Billy, I’m serious. We’ve all been worried sick about you and I’m pretty sure Rosa called five different police stations trying to figure out where you were.”

 

Billy glanced down at his hand, he saw the white patch, and an idea came to him. Without saying a word, he walked over to the nearest wall with Freddy still calling out to him and placed his hands on the brick wall, high above his head. His fingers becoming prickly at the cold surface.   

 

“Billy? What are you doing?”

 

The brunet smirked, and with a jump, pulled himself up, sticking to the wall. There was silence behind him and Billy turned his head around to see Freddy staring at him, his jaw dropped. The brunet turned back to the wall and with a shaky breath, let go on one side and swung his body around so that he could see Freddy, and waved at the boy on the ground.  

 

“How the fuck are you doing that?!” the raven screamed.

 

Billy leaped down. “I have no idea! That’s why I need your help.”

 

Freddy stared at Billy a second longer, looking him up and down, before snapping his mouth shut and jolting. “What are your superpowers?”

 

“Superpowers? Dude I’ve only been sticking to things for a day, how would I know!” Billy exclaimed.

 

“Okay, can you fly?” Freddy asked. Billy crossed his arms.  

 

“No.”

 

“How would you know?”

 

“Because if I was able to fly, then I would’ve just flown home instead of walking all the way here.”

 

Freddy hummed. “That’s a good point. You wanna try invisibility?”

 

Billy froze. “How do I do-, you know what? Nevermind. Fine, fine, let’s try invisibility.” The brunet walked away from Freddy and stood in the center of the alley as Freddy pulled out his phone. Billy took in a deep breath. How the hell was he supposed to do invisibility?

 

He closed his eyes and tensed up. He didn’t really know how else to try invisibility but this seemed like the best way to try it. A weird, light feeling tingled over his skin, almost like he was covered head to toe in cotton balls. It was really weird and Billy didn’t really know how to explain it.

 

“Oh my god! It worked!” he heard Freddy shout. “Where’d you go?”

 

Billy opened his eyes and looked at his foster friend. Curiosity and surprise shining in his eyes. “I’m right here, you can’t see me?”

 

‘Where?” Freddy asked, his eyes looking blank as they tried to ‘find’ Billy. The brunet started laughing.

 

“Ha! I’m invisible!” he exclaimed. He jumped around from place to place, feeling giddy and excited when he heard a mocking voice shout.

 

“No, you’re not dipshit!”

 

The tingling feeling vanished and Billy turned to look at whoever spoke. He watched as a group of older teens laughed and make fun of him as they walked away. The brunet instantly became embarrassed and turned to look at Freddy who was trying to hold in his laughter.

 

“I-I might’ve been testing invisibility and super intelligence at the same time,” he said. Billy glared at the raven, all of his previous giddiness gone.

 

“Freeman, I’m gonna come over there and beat yo-” his threat was cut short when Billy pointed at Freddy and something shot out of his wrist and struck Freddy in the face. The thing hit the raven so hard, it caused the boy to fall over and land on his back. Crutch clattering to the side and Billy staring in shock, eyes wide. His eyes trailed over the thing that caused all of this and began freaking out internally.

 

“What the shit!” Billy exclaimed.  

 

It was a web. No other way to explain it. A freaking web had shot out of his wrist and was now stuck to Freddy’s face. It looked like a slimy white rope and Billy shuddered as he realized that it was still attached to his wrist. He tore it off and threw down his end of the web and rushed over to Freddy, grabbing the boy’s crutch and lending him a hand to stand up.

 

“Freddy are you okay!” Billy asked. The disabled teen took back his crutch from the brunet and used his free hand to claw the webbing off of his face.

 

“Yuck, ewewewewewewewewewe that’s fucking nasty! What the hell even is that!?” he sputtered as he flung them away from him. Billy stared at the webs on the ground and turned back to his hand, his eyes still wide in shock as he fully took in what he had just done.

 

“I think...those are spider webs.”

 


 

 

“Come on Billy do it again!” Freddy persisted with a grin on his face. Since they discovered that Billy could shoot webs out of his hand, and once Freddy got over his grossness, they moved to a nearby playground instead of staying in the back alley behind their house. When Billy had asked him why they had to move, Freddy reasoned that there were too many people around them for them to safely practice Billy’s new powers. Hence, the abandoned playground.

 

“I don’t even know what I did!” Billy said. Freddy gave him a look and slapped his arm. The brunet didn’t feel it.

 

“Billy, you shot a spiderweb and hit me in the face! Which is just as awesome as it is gross. And I know you can do it again, you just gotta try!”

 

Billy frowned and turned to the swingset they stood in front of. He raised his hand, feeling a little silly, and pointed at it. Nothing happened.

 

“Try again.”  Freddy encouraged. Billy sighed and stuck his hand out again. Nothing happened. “Why don’t you try different hand poses?”

 

Billy groaned before he changed his hand pose and aimed at the swing set again. “Go web!” nothing happened.

 

He changed it again. “Fly.” nothing happened.   

 

“Up, up and away web!” Still nothing.

 

“Shazam.” He heard Freddy snort next to him and he turned to send the boy a glare. Billy focussed back on the metal swing and tried a couple of more times; each time the pose more ridiculous than the last. He even tried a thumbs up at one point and Freddy had burst out laughing, but still, nothing happened.

 

Billy groaned in frustration and was just about to give up when he tried one last time. And this time, the webbing shot out, sticking to the swingset. They both stared at the web and began laughing in excitement.

 

“Dude!” He exclaimed. “This is so awesome! We clearly need to give you a spider-themed superhero name!”

 

Billy giggled and looked back at the web, wondering how he was supposed to get it off when all of a sudden the hair on his neck rose seconds before both boys heard a blood-curdling scream. Their laughter vanished and Billy ‘heard’ the ringing in his head again.      

 

His gaze was drawn to two people struggling with each other, it looked like one of them was robbing the other. Billy stared at the pair, doing nothing when Freddy slapped his arm.

 

“What?” Billy hissed. Freddy gestured to the pair. “Oh! Right!”

 

The brunet began jogging towards the pair, preparing himself for his first mugging, when the raven called out behind him. “Billy put up your hood!” said teen stopped running.

 

“Why would I do that?” he asked.

 

“Secret identity! Obviously!”

 

Oh, yeah. That’s right. Billy thought as he pulled his hoodie low over his face. He felt his hands go tingly again, but this time they felt different than when he stuck to walls. But Billy didn’t pay it any mind as he ran up to the pair.

 

“Hey, you!” He yelled at the mugger. “Back-” He placed his arms on the man and the tingly sensation in his hands grew. It felt like he had been shocked with electricity and Billy yelped at the feeling; but not as much as the mugger. There was a flash of yellow and the next thing Billy knew, the mugger was on the ground, crying in pain.

 

The teen stared wide-eyed at the man and he vaguely heard Freddy laughing giddily behind him.

 

“I-I’m so sorry, I thought, you were the one who was screaming,” Billy said as he turned to the woman. She looked at the teen strangely.

 

“I doused him with pepper spray.” she explained simply.  

 

“Smart move, uh yeah!” Billy bent down and picked up the man again, barely thinking about the fact that he shouldn’t be able to do that so easily. “Hey, Mr. Mugger Guy! Give the old lady her purse back!”

 

The woman scoffed. “I’m not that much older than you,” she stated. “ And he didn’t get a chance to take it because I didn’t let him take it.”

 

“Uh good, yeah good, you’re really on top of this aren’t you?” Billy turned back to the mugger. “And that should teach you that old ladi- regular aged ladies, don’t need your protecting! Right, so get woke bro!” Billy felt like dying inside. This was going to shit, he had absolutely no idea what he was doing.

 

“I’m sorry, kid,” the woman said. “But who are you?”

 

Billy tugged his hoodie lower over his face and gulped. He tried to think up of some kind of name or something, but before he could, Freddy beat him to it.

 

“His name… is Lightning Bug! Hero to the people, with the power of sticking to things, electricity, and spiderwebs all wrapped up in one!”

 

“Dude, that sounds like I'm a firefly.”

 

Freddy stuttered, trying to think up of another name. “The Human Spider!” he said.

 

“That makes me sound like a wrestler!”

 

“Spider power Boy because he’s got all the powers of a spider and sometimes pepper spray can’t protect you against evil!”

 

The woman groaned in frustration and shook her head. “Okay boys, I don’t really care what’s going on, but please leave me alo-”

 

Billy felt the mugger try to slip away and he snapped his head back to the man, his grip unwavering. “Hey hey! What you think you can just wa-” he shoved the mugger away, and much to his surprise, watched as the man flew the air and land a good few meters away from them, on top of a couple of trash bags. Billy stared in shock and glanced at his hand, surprised that he had done that single-handedly!

 

“Electric shocks, organic webbing, adhesive ability, super strength!” Freddy listed off next to Billy. “Dude your stats! You’re almost as cool as Superman! Almost.”

 

The brunet was still too stunned to say anything when the woman suddenly stuck her hand out, a couple of dollar bills held in her hand. “I didn’t see you, I don’t know what just happened here, I don’t wanna know, just don’t hurt me.” she said before she ran off.

 

Billy called after her, trying to correct her and say that he wasn’t going to hurt her while Freddy mentioned something about donation.

“And if you’re ever in trouble just look out for the superhero who still... can’t... turn invisible…” Billy trailed off.

 

“Forget turning invisible man, we just made seventy-three bucks!” Freddy exclaimed. Billy looked at the raven in surprise.

 

“Wait what are you serious? Come on! What do you wanna do with it?” the two were silent for a moment before both of them had the exact same thought.

 


 

 

“Do you know what you want?” Freddy asked as the two boys gazed at the wide selection of junk food before them. Billy shrugged. He had since taken off his hood, so now it was just him in his beanie.

 

“No clue man, it’s been forever since I’ve had money.”

 

Freddy hummed. “Well, I’m getting some sour gummy worms. Can’t go wrong with sour gummies.”

 

“Yeah, that’s true.”

 

The bell of the drug store rang and Billy felt a shiver go down his spine and the familiar ringing echoed in his head.

 

“Get down!” He hissed at Freddy. He pulled the raven down just as they heard shouting and the woman behind the counter scream. The two hid behind the aisle wall and peaked out from behind it. They saw two robbers in black ski masks, aiming guns at the clerk and commanding her to give them all the cash in the register. Billy clenched his teeth as Freddy stared at him, confusion evident on his face. The brunet noticed and gave Freddy a weird look.

 

“What?” Billy asked.

 

“How did you know to do that?”

 

“Do what?”

 

Freddy gestured to the robbers. “To get down before they came in!”

 

Billy narrowed his eyes and thought. “I don’t know. I just did. There was like a ringing in my ears, and something told me to move I guess. I don’t know, it just happened.”

 

Freddy scoffed. “Oh my god, you have like a danger sense! That’s so cool!”

 

“Freddy, now’s not really the time and we’re not calling it a ‘danger sense’, that just sounds stupid.”

 

The raven shrugged, “Okay, but you may wanna jump in right about now. And make sure to put on your hood. We can work on a mask later.”

 

Billy scoffed and pulled up the red hood and tugged it low over his face, just as he did earlier. He breathed in a couple of times, quelling his anxiousness, and launched himself out of the aisle. Freddy pulled up the camera on his phone and began videotaping.

 

Billy walked up to the robbers who hadn’t noticed him yet and squared his shoulders. He was about to fix that.

 

“Gentleman!” he exclaimed, making his presence known. The two men spun around and looked at Billy. “Why use guns when we can settle this like real men?” he said lamely, trying to sound like a typical superhero. The men scoffed and trained their guns on Billy.

 

The ringing increased ten-fold in the teen’s head and reflexively, his hand flew outward. Knocking the gun out of the man’s hand and spinning around, he built up momentum and landed a kick on the man’s stomach. Causing him to fly backwards and crash through the glass window. The robber’s partner was stunned for a half-second before coming to his senses and aimed his gun at Billy.

 

“Billy look out!” the brunet heard Freddy shout behind him.

 

Billy, seeing the gun, let his body move on reflex, and he flipped. Backwards. And just then a bullet struck the wall, the same place Billy would’ve been if he had stayed standing there. The brunet landed and shot out a web, covering up the man’s eyes. The brunet crouched low and swept his leg the moment the robber was close enough to him, and the man fell onto the linoleum floor with a hard thump.  

The teen laughed in excitement. This was so cool! Both men groaned in pain as they laid on the floor and Billy smiled. He could hear Freddy laugh as he came out from behind the aisle wall.  

 

“The day is December 8th and this is video proof of authenticity!” the teen announced as he aimed the camera at Billy, who smiled and waved.

 

“Take whatever you want.” the clerk said. It was the first time she had ever spoken and Billy turned to look at her with pleasant surprise on his face. “Thank you, so just tell me whatever you want and it’s yours.”

 

Both boys smiled and Billy spoke before he could think.

 


 

 

“‘All the junk food we can carry.’” Freddy said skeptically as he and his new foster sibling sat at the top of the Rocky Steps, munching on their snacks. “Really dude? We had a chance to ask for beer and instead you ask for junk food.”

 

Billy shrugged. “It was the first thing I could think of! And besides, we might as well get it for free and keep the seventy-three dollars.” the brunet looked out across the steps and took in the amazing sight of Philadelphia’s city lights. “This is a pretty sick view. I totally get why Rocky was training so hard to get up here,” he said.

 

Freddy chuckled and took another swig of soda. “Dude, I like you like this. I mean, no offense but like at first you were kinda the exact opposite of how Darla is.”

 

Billy yawned and reached for another piece of jerky. “You mean a dick?”

 

Freddy smiled. “Your words. Not mine.” They sat in silence for a moment longer, looking out at the city, before Freddy spoke up again. “Alright, well I feel like every criminal is either on drugs or asleep right now. So you wanna head home?”

 

Billy yawned again and shivered. It was cold out and he had been outside for a long time, plus he was tired from fighting bad guys and running away from the Breyer’s, so sleep sounded incredible right now.

 

“Yeah, okay.”

Chapter Text

“So….. how’re we getting inside?” Freddy asked as he and his new foster sibling stared at their two-story house. Billy gazed at the structure, a feeling of dread welling up inside of him.

 

“No clue.” the brunet said. They had just come back from their little superpower escapade, and while their whole night had been awesome and full of excitement, the daunting reality loomed over them. They were still teenagers with a curfew and they needed to get home. Fast.

 

And if what Freddy had said earlier was true, then the Vasquez’s would be waiting for Billy to walk through the door, and give him a big bone-crushing hug that he simply did not want. Too bad Billy wasn’t in the mood to interact with his new parents. The brunet wrung his hands together and the raven scratched his head.

 

“What if we just snuck in through the front door?” Freddy suggested. "Sneak up the stairs while they're not looking and they'd be none the wiser!"

 

“But risk getting seen by Rosa and Victor? Nuh uh, no way. I’m not doing that.”

 

Freddy threw his free hand in the air. “Well then what are we gonna do? Because my leg is killing me and I am not gonna wait any longer to go to bed.”

 

Billy bit his lip and furrowed his brow. But then an idea came to mind, and the teen gave his foster friend a look.

"What?" Freddy asked.

 

"I have an idea."

 


 

 

"You know, this is a dumbass plan made up by a dumbass himself, and I know it is! And yet for some unknown reason, it seems to be our best and only option." Freddy said as he and Billy looked up at their room window from their place on the ground. Billy gave the raven a smile and a pat on the back before he walked up to the house's wall. The idiot placed his hands on the boards and pulled himself up, sticking seamlessly to the wood. The teen breathed a laugh before reaching up and sticking to the wood again. And just like that, Billy climbed up the house and made his way up to the pairs window.

“Here!” he called down to Freddy.

“Yeah, great job man, but how’re you gonna get in? It opens from the inside and it’s locked!”

Billy’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion and he moved his hand to jiggled the base of the window sill. An annoyed sigh left his lips as he realized that Freddy was right. It was locked from the inside.

“Shit, you’re right. What do I do?” he asked.

“Well, how about you try Plan D... for Dumbass.”

“Freeman!” the brunet called down to his friend who snickered. Billy groaned. “You know what? I’m just gonna open it.”

Freddy’s grin wiped off of his face. “What dude no come on! You’re gonna break it!”

“Too bad.” Billy placed his hand on the window pane, sticking to it, and gave it a sudden jolt. The sound of metal snapping in half and clattering to the ground inside the room met Billy’s ear, and the brunet grinned triumphantly. He slid up the window all the way up and crawled inside, landing on his back awkwardly. How was it that just an hour or so ago he had taken down two robbers with ease and now, as he climbed into his bedroom, he had turned back into his klutzy self?   

“Billy?” said-boy heard Freddy call to him. Billy got up off of the ground and poked his head out the window.

“I’m good! I’m good.” He said giving the raven a thumbs up and smiling. Freddy stared at his foster sibling incredulously.

“Well that’s great,” he said. “Now how do you expect me to get up there, huh? I can’t exactly stick to walls, you know.”  

Billy bit his lip and tried to think. But then he got an idea and a mischievous smirk grew on his face. “Hey Freddy?”

“Yeah?”

“So like, just to be sure, I do have super strength right?”

“Wha- you threw a guy across the park earlier! Yes, you obviously have super strength!”

“And I can definitely shoot webs out of my wrists.”

“Yeah you can! So?” a wary look flashed in Freddy’s brown eyes. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh, you know,” Billy mumbled to himself before suddenly shooting a web at Freddy. The curly-haired boy yelped as the webbing hit him and he began to squirm as he realized what Billy was planning on doing. Billy leaned back into the bedroom and started pulling on the webbing, just like how a sailor on a pirate ship would. But lifting Freddy up two stories was actually easier than he thought, the kid weighed like nothing.

It was like holding a couple of grapes.

The top of Freddy’s hat came into view and Billy leaned forward and grabbed the back of his blue jacket. He pulled the boy into the room and Freddy laid on the ground panting.

“What the hell Billy?” he exclaimed. The brunet shrugged, not really caring that he startled his foster friend, but then he noticed something was off.

 

Freddy’s crutch was missing.

 

Billy poked his head out the window again, and what do you know? There it was lying in the snow. Billy huffed before reaching out and aiming his wrist at the metal object.

He missed. The brunet groaned and tried again. He missed again. Billy tried a couple of more times before actually managing to hit it. “Yes!” he exclaimed to himself victoriously. With a flick of the wrist and a strong tug from his arm, Billy snatched up the cane and ducked into the room again. “Got it!”  

“Billy?” a small voice asked from the doorway. Billy’s head snapped at the sound and his eyes widened when he saw Darla standing in the doorway, a tired and confused look on her face as she rubbed the sand from her eyes. Freddy stared at his little sister, still lying on the floor and looking freaked out of his mind. The webbing was still attached to his jacket and the remaining bits of it lied on the floor looking like a silvery rope. It suddenly dawned on him that he hadn’t checked to see if anyone was there or not. Well, why would there be? It was the middle of the night and nobody should’ve been awake! Billy turned to his roommate.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” He hissed. Freddy threw his hands up in a surrendering motion.

“I didn’t hear her come in! And besides, I was a little busy being dragged up here and then getting thrown on the ground!”

Billy huffed in annoyance and walked over to close the door shut, bringing Darla into the room and kneeling in front of her. He didn’t get a chance to say anything when he heard a loud thud and turned his attention to the door...the handle had popped off. Billy sighed at the inconvenience and turned back to Darla.

“How much did you see?” He asked. The little girl yawned.

“I saw you pull Freddy up with the pretty string.” she said innocently. “And then you bringing up his crutch. What was that thing you used Billy?” Darla shifted her tired gaze to the webs on the floor and her eyes sparkled in interest. Sleep no longer lingering in their chocolate brown. “Ooh, pretty.” she said as she bent down and picked up a little bit of it up.

Freddy grabbed his crutch and struggled to stand up. “Okay, Darla, listen to me, you can’t tell anyone about this alright? Not a single soul.”

“Why?” she asked innocently, the webbing still in her hands.

“Because it’s a secret.” Freddy countered. Darla grumbled.

“Is she even good at keeping secrets?” Billy asked.

“Moderately,”

“No.” Freddy answered for her.

“Oh god.”

Darla’s brow furrowed “But why shouldn’t I tell anyone?” the little girl asked, fingering the silver ribbon. Billy took a deep breath and bent over till he reached her eye-level.  

“Because good sisters don’t tell secrets.”

“I’m a good sister.” Darla said, a smile lighting up her face.

“Yeah you are,” Billy agreed.

“But you know what would make you an even better sister?” Freddy asked. He stooped down and picked up the broken doorknob. “Was if you fixed the doorknob.” he placed the metal knob in Darla’s small hands and smiled.

“Yeah, thanks Darla,” Billy said as he opened the door and pushed her out. “Sweet dreams.” he said to her as the door shut.

Both boys let out a sigh, letting their shoulders drop in relief.

 

That was a close one.

 


 

 

The following morning, both boys woke up to find the doorknob duck-taped to the door. Darla hadn’t been able to fix their doorknob completely so she went with the next best thing. But the duck-tape did nothing to keep the structure shut or locked, but it was still nice of her to try.

Billy went down to breakfast, breathing in the enticing aroma of bacon, fruit, and oatmeal. His stomach growled and ached painfully as he realized how hungry he was and once he sat down at the dinner table with everyone else, he wolfed down nearly everything in sight. He came to a stop though when he heard Freddy clear his throat in front of him. Billy, froze, his arm hanging in midair with a spoon half-way to his mouth and he turned to see everyone staring at him in shock. The boy blushed and set down his silverware.

Once breakfast ended, everyone got their bags and put on their shoes and proceeded to head out the door. Billy climbed into the very back of the van and pulled out his phone to scroll through some apps as he munched on a piece of toast he brought with him. Even after eating that gigantic meal, he was still feeling snacky.

Freddy climbed over the seats and sat down next to him. The brunet stared at him strangely.

“Okay, here’s what I’m thinking,” he began. “We sneak out of school, you do that thing you did last night to avoid the hall monitor, and then we get out of there and test your superpowers. Sound good? Also, dude how much have you eaten today? That cannot be healthy.”

Billy swallowed a bite. “Okay, first off, I’m all for ditching school. And secondly, shut up. I don’t know why I’m just really hungry.”

Freddy nodded and ducked his head, his gaze flickering here and there as he began thinking. Billy decided not to pay him any mind before he snapped his fingers and his head shot up.

“You know what? I bet it has to do with your powers!”

“What, like, super eating? What kind of stupid power is that?” Billy asked as he took another bite of toast. Freddy shook his head.

“No, I mean, think about what you did last night. You fought all of those guys, the robbers and that mugger, and you also fought the Breyer’s, you did some parkour shit, and you also did so much running. And not to mention gaining a superpower or two. Like the webbing and the danger sense!” Freddy ranted excitedly.

“We’re not calling it a danger sense.” Billy interrupted. The raven shrugged.

“Okay, whatever, but my point still stands. I bet that with all of this stuff happening to your body, the powers and all of that exercise stuff, that you’re burning up so many calories and your metabolism has increased exponentially. It would definitely explain why you were so hungry this morning. And I gotta say I’ve never seen anyone eat that much ever outside of a food eating contest!” Freddy said.

Billy furrowed his eyebrows and thought about what he said. It made sense in a funny way because it would explain why he was so hungry this morning. He hadn’t felt that starved since he lived on the streets and hadn’t eaten anything in four days. But if he had to eat more food now that he had a faster metabolism, thanks to his superpowers, then wouldn’t that cause a problem for the Vasquez’s? They probably struggled to feed five kids as it was, they didn’t need a sixth who would eat even more. But Billy did a double take as he finally registered what Freddy said about a food eating contest.

“Wait what?” he asked, but Freddy wasn’t paying attention to him anymore. Instead, he had pulled out a notebook and started jotting things down. Billy tried to look over his shoulder to see what he was writing, but Freddy without thinking, pushed Billy’s face away, smashing his hand against the brunet’s face and shoving him away. Preventing him from reading what Freddy was writing. Billy glared at his friend, but gave up and turned to stare out the window. He listened to the radio fizzling and barely paid attention as the radio caster recited a news story about an attack at Sivana Industries. He listened to the words as the caster began describing the attack, saying how a ‘humanoid-lizard’ attacked the board, but Billy paid no mind to it. It sounded crazy and insane, and all he wanted to do was eat his toast and watch the buildings roll past.  

It wasn’t long before they arrived at school and Billy elbowed the teen next to him. Freddy flinched at the unexpected touch and looked around confusedly, coming to the realization that they had arrived at school. He had been so wrapped up in his writing and in his head that he had forgotten where he was. The raven blinked a few times before putting away his notebook, grabbing his bag, and getting out of the car. And as Billy followed him out, he listened to the last few words spoken by the radio host.

“No one knows who attacked the board of Sivana Industries, but from what we know right now, they should not be engaged with. If anyone sees this creature, they should run away and call the authorities as soon as possibl-”

Billy slammed the van door. “Eh,” he said. “What a bunch of bullshit.” He began to walk up the steps to the school when he suddenly felt a tug on his sleeve. Billy turned to look who had grabbed his sleeve, his shoulders tense, but they instantly dropped when he saw that it was just Freddy. Who for some reason was wearing a crazy smile on his face. And a helmet. With a Go-Pro.

“Hey, Billy? Wanna get back at Breyer’s and test your super strength at the same time?” he asked excitedly. Billy narrowed his eyes at the teen. What was thinking?

 


 

 

Billy watched as the big black truck rolled onto the sidewalk, rumbling loudly. The two Breyer boys stepped out of the vehicle, clicking the lock button on the car keys and began swaggering their way into school.

The brunet felt Freddy shove him forward and Billy stumbled onto the sidewalk. He sent his friend a glare before creeping carefully towards the black car, pulling his red hood up and partially covering his face. He snuck behind the opposite side of the truck, away from the Breyer’s and trying not to think too much about it, Billy gripped the underside of the large truck and lifted.

The truck came up easily, and much to Billy’s shock, it actually didn’t feel like it weighed that much. It felt like a reasonably heavy box and not like the two-ton  car it really was.

The brunet stared with his green eyes wide and he almost laughed in excitement. And thank god he didn’t, otherwise, he would’ve alerted the Breyer’s. Billy heard sputtering from the side and turned to see Freddy waving wildly at him, telling him to get away now. The teen flinched...and dropped the truck.

 

The vehicle crashed down onto the ground, the sound of tearing metal, and popping tires screamed in Billy’s sensitive ears. The teen ducked as the glass shattered and a piece of plastic shot out and cut him.

“Oh fuck!” he gasped. But he was too distracted by the destroyed truck and it’s loud alarm to really care. He heard the airbags go off and a giddy excited laugh bubbled up Billy’s throats. He covered his mouth to keep him from giving away his cover and snickered into his gloved hand.

“Oh my God! The truck!” One of the Breyer’s screamed. Billy giggled.

“Hey guys,” he heard Freddy say. “...I don’t think that’s gonna buff out.”

 


 

Billy shrugged off his backpack and collapsed onto one of the rusty barrels in the warehouse. They two boys had successfully snuck out of school, courtesy of Billy’s new superpowers, and now they stood inside an abandoned warehouse. Freddy sat down next to him and taking out his helmet from his bag, inspecting the Go-Pro, and pulling out his notepad from earlier.

“Alrighty,” he said, clicking a pen. “You got your red hoodie?”

Billy stared at the raven-haired teen. “I’m literally wearing it right now, Freddy. I wore it earlier. I’ve been wearing it this whole time, how did you not notice?”

“Geez sorry, I’ve just been a little busy okay? Chill. And good, now here put this on.” The teen threw something at Billy who promptly caught it and looked at it funny. It was just a red piece of fabric, that was cut sloppily and put together with safety pins.

“What is it?” Billy asked.

Freddy looked up from his writing. “It’s your mask!”

“My what? Why do I have to wear a mask?”

Freddy gave him a deadpan look. “So that no one knows your secret identity obviously. I told you we’d work on it last night remember?”

“No not really, and besides I don’t need a mask. Superman and Wonder Woman don’t wear masks and their identities are safe, so why do I need one?”

“Yeah, but if a supervillain finds out about you then that endangers us, okay, a superhero’s loved ones are like the perfect bad guy target.”

Billy sighed and stared at the rag that barely passed as a mask. Loved ones is that what they were? Freddy had said it so casually and matter-of-factly, that it made the brunet pause. Billy barely knew this foster family, and other than the fact that Billy needed help with his powers, not much was keeping him here.

He looked at the mask.  

 

Nothing was keeping him here...right?

 

The teen sighed, resigning himself to his fate, and slipped on the mask. It felt tight against his head and the safety pins pricked his skin uncomfortably. But it was probably the most useless mask in the world, seeing as how Billy couldn’t see out of it.

“Freddy this sucks,” he stated. Freddy turned around and snorted. The raven shook his head and limped over to his foster sibling.

“Dumbass, it doesn’t go on like that. It’s not that kind of mask! It goes over the bottom half of your face.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know? How many kinds of masks are there?” Billy countered.

Freddy turned on his camcorder. “Technically there are six different types. The cowl mask, domino mask, Zorro mask, bottom-half mask, upper-half mask, and the full face mask. They’re all different and until we get you a suit, we’re gonna try them all. Also, just in case anyone from school watches this, maybe you should take off the top jacket and beanie. You kinda dress like a cartoon character and we don’t wanna make your identity too obvious.”

Billy groaned and pulled down the red cloth until it covered up his nose, mouth, and chin. He saw Freddy aiming the camera at him and gave him a thumbs up. Billy took off his tan coat and beanie and felt a frigid breeze sweep down into the empty building. A shiver went down his spine.

Alright, here we go. Billy thought.

...

 

“Now,” Freddy said, notebook in hand and a giant grin on his face. “Let’s get started.”      

 

Chapter Text

Super Strength Test 1

 

“You sure about this?” Billy called to Freddy. His friend stood a couple of meters away, holding his camcorder and taking notes. The brunet was in front of a large garbage can, trying to stand confidently, and Freddy was recording the entire thing.  

 

“Yup! Absolutely! Just do it, Billy!” Freddy exclaimed. Billy narrowed his eyes at the rusted metal can. He clenched his gloved fist and then without thinking about it, punched it.  

 

It flew across the yard.

 

He and Freddy started laughing excitedly and Billy threw up his hands, Rocky style. The boys had started coming down to this abandoned warehouse/courtyard for a few days now, filming and recording Billy’s powers and limits. And while the first few videos were just them figuring out what Billy’s subtle powers were, enhanced hearing, smell, sight, touch, the whole nine yards, they started getting around to the real shit.

 

So today they were practicing super strength. By punching a garbage can. That weighed ten pounds.  

 

The boys giggled for a moment longer before Freddy got a look on his face. “That was dumb,” he said. Billy looked at him confused.

 

“Why was that dumb? I punched a can across the yard!”

 

Freddy scoffed. “Yeah, a garbage can! You have super strength dude! If we really want to test it, then we need to give you something to actually test it on.” Freddy glanced around the yard, taking everything in. And then his eyes fell on a cement pillar. Freddy turned to look at Billy, a sly smirk on his face.

 

“What? Billy asked.

 


 

Super Strength Test 2

 

“You sure about this?” Billy asked yet again as he stood in front of the cement pillar. He was wearing his fingerless gloves and half-mask that Freddy had given to him earlier, and his green eyes met Freddy’s as his friend nodded.

 

“Yeah, dude! This one is so much better. Just punch it and give it all you got! Don’t hold back Human Spider!”

 

“Why are you calling me that?”

 

“Well, I’m rolling! And I can’t use your real name, so I’m using one of your superhero names.”

 

Billy shrugged. “Whatever.” He turned back to the pillar and narrowed his eyes again. Don’t hold back.

 

Billy wound up, and clenching his fist and closing his eyes, punched forward. Hard. He put all the strength he could muster into this one punch and his knuckles hit the cement with a resounding crack. The rock crumbled beneath his skin and Billy felt something give away. He heard Freddy laughing and shouting giddily and Billy froze in place before cracked open his eyes hesitantly. And the brunet’s mouth dropped open when he saw that the pillar he punched, had a gaping hole in it right where his arm was.

 

Billy drew back and looked down at his hands, eyes wide. He knew he had super strength but this was just incredible!

 

He turned to Freddy, green eyes as big as dinner plates. “You got all of that right?” he asked. Freddy nodded vigorously.

 

“Oh, you bet your ass I did!”

 

“Good, because that motherfucking hurt and I’m pretty sure I drew some blood, owowowow.”

 


 

Webbing Test 3

 

“Alright, the concepts simple enough. Just aim and shoot, you got this buddy.” Freddy said as he slapped Billy’s arm and walked over to his spot. He took out his camcorder and pulled up the notebook, having scribbled some kind of disclaimer warning on it, and he was now using it to warn viewers not to try these things at home. Obviously.

 

Billy nodded and turned to the targets Freddy setup, scratching at the new mask that Freddy made him try on. He was pretty sure it was made from an old tube sock, cardboard paper, and a shoelace. And it really sucked. But hey, at least it kept his identity secret for the video. And he had taken off his gloves and rolled up his sleeves so that shooting webs would be easier.

 

He glared at the targets Freddy set out for him. A couple of soda cans set up in a pyramid, a single fast food soda cup, and a broken lamp that he somehow managed to find. Each one of them ranging in different distances.

 

“Alright, let’s do this.” Billy said shaking his shoulders, arms, and cracking his neck. He lowered into a crouching position and raised his good hand, the one that didn’t get hurt from punching a power pole in half. He aimed at the soda pyramid and shot out a web. He missed. Billy growled in frustration and huffed. Why was this so damn hard?

 

He aimed again at the pyramid and shot a web. It was a lot closer this time and Billy let out a small smirk.

 

“Maybe aim a little more to the left, man!” Freddy called from the sidelines. Billy snapped his head to look at his friend.

 

“What you wanna try it? It’s a lot harder than it looks!” he exclaimed. Freddy shrugged and turned back to his camcorder, which was still recording. Billy sighed and looked back to the cans. Narrowing his eyes in determination, the brunet raised his hand and carefully aimed. And a web shot out. And hit it’s intended target.

 

“Yes!” Billy shouted victoriously pumping his arms. Freddy whooped from the side and laughed.

“That was awesome Spider Shock! Now do it again but this time on the lamp.”

Billy glanced at the lamp, which was even farther away from him than the pyramid, and cast a look at Freddy. “Seriously?”

The raven nodded and Billy groaned, shaking his head. Whelp, he thought. Practice makes perfect.

 


 

Danger Sixth Sense Test 1

 

“Freddy I’m not entirely sure about this.” Billy said as he stood a couple feet away from the superhero enthusiast, blindfolded. He heard Freddy scoff and scuffle around.

 

“Oh please, you’re gonna be fine. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about! Now stand still while I throw shit at you.” Freddy said. The curly-haired boy reached into his school bag, smiling mischievously and pulled out some of his hardback textbooks. This was going to be fun. Mainly for Freddy, not so much for Billy.  

“Algebra!” he yelled as he threw the book at Billy. The brunet leaned to the side and dodged it, gasping.

“Science!” he flung another book at Billy’s head. He avoided it.

“English!”   

“Health!”

“Pencil bag!”

“Paper!”

“Water bottle!”

 

Billy dodged every single one, his blindfold still remaining where it was, and with each item that was thrown at him, his sixth sense came to the rescue and told him where to go. It was strange and cool having an internal warning sense. And just as Freddy suspected it warned his new brother of oncoming danger. Whether it be a robber or a piece of crumpled up paper.

 

Billy grinned when he sensed that nothing else was coming at him and stood up straight. But unbeknownst to him, Freddy still wanted to try one last thing.

“Hey, Freddy we good?” Billy called out.

“Nope, just one more thing!” the raven said as he doused one of his notebooks in gasoline. Where did he find the gasoline? Don’t ask.

Freddy lit the book on fire and then chucked it at Billy, who ducked low when he felt the sixth sense ring stronger than before. The brunet heard thump behind him and turned around. He took off his blindfold and stared at a notebook on fire. He turned to Freddy.

 

“Really? Are you serious?!”

Freddy shrugged. “What I had to make sure!”

Billy got a look on his face and started stomping his way over to Freddy. “Oh shit.” the raven muttered as he began to limp away from his angry foster brother.

 


 

Sticky/Adhesive Test 2

 

“Okay! Let’s do this!” Billy exclaimed from his spot. He jumped up and down and shook his shoulders and arms, warming up for the next testing. He stood a couple of yards away one of the walls in the warehouse and he and Freddy were gonna practice his sticking ability. Freddy stood to his side, as always, aiming the camera at him. Billy had his hood up, and the half-mask again. He found that he liked it better than the other one. And besides, it was only a temporary mask before they found one he actually liked.  

 

“You good Freddy?” He asked. Freddy nodded and gave a thumbs up.

“You know it!” He clicked a button and held up his disclaimer sign. “Alright in three, two, one, GO!”

 

Billy ran at the wall at full speed and when he got close to it, he jumped. And apparently, the two boys had no idea Billy could super jump, for the brunet leaped a good ten feet up the wall and then he stuck to it.

 

Billy gasped and looked down. “Holy moly!” he blurted before he could stop himself. He heard Freddy guffawing behind him.

“Super jumps! You have super jumps! Holy shit man this is awesome! We’re gonna have to make a whole new video, but right now just stick!”

“What do you think I’m doing!? Geez.” Billy shook his head at his friend's antics and began scaling the wall. Sticking and unsticking with ease. He climbed all the way to the top of the warehouse and pulled himself up into one of the shafts. He sat down on one of the horizontal bars, and being the dumbass teenager he was, decided to hang from his knees. So Billy hung upside down, his arms hanging down loosely and his face growing red.

 

“Hey, Freddy!” He called down. The disabled boy had the biggest smile on his face and Billy guessed that if there had been a chair, he would’ve collapsed in it out of excitement. Billy returned the smile before glancing around.

How was he going to get down? He could always stick again, and he was planning on doing that when he saw something out of the corner of his eye.

 

It was a spider. And it was building its web.

 

Billy watched curiously as the little arachnid swung from one silky ribbon to the another, making a big leap that otherwise, it couldn’t have done on its own. How curious. Billy looked around and found some chains hanging nearby, and a cunning smile spread across his face.

“Hey Freddy!” He called down again. Freddy looked up from his recorder, having been inspecting the footage, and looked at his brother curiously. “You may want to get this.” Freddy’s eyebrows furrowed as he pulled up his camcorder again, wondering what Billy was planning to do as he turned it on.

Billy looked at the chains taking in a deep breath to steady his nerves, and before he could fully think through what he was doing, wound himself up and stretched, reaching for the chain. Freddy yelped in surprise and Billy gripped onto the cold metal, sticking to it instantly so as to not lose his hold. He swung from the metal chain, feeling his stomach drop in a strangely pleasant sensation, and the cold winter air bit at his cheeks. The teen whooped in delight and leaped from the chain and onto another one. His body flailed uncoordinatedly, but still he swung through the air with a large smile on his face. And it wasn’t like anyone could see it, he was wearing a mask after all.

His experimental joy ride came to an end as he landed on the railing on a walkway. He let go of the chain and jumped down onto the steady ground, panting. He turned around to find Freddy staring at him with his eyes wide and mouth hanging open. A shaky laugh escaped Billy lips that soon grew into an all-out belly laugh, which Freddy joined in on. He turned off his camera and ran a hand through his ebony curls.

 

“Fuck Billy! You nearly gave me a heart attack! What the hell were you thinking!”

Billy tried to stifle his giggling. Freddy scoffed and shook his head, smiling. “Damn, you got some balls freaking me out like that. But,” he held his hand up and Billy looked at his friend, intrigued. “You did just give me an idea.”

 


 

“Oh nonononononononoonononononoonoo absolutely not!” Billy said as he stared at the building in front of him. His mask and hoodie was down and he not a beginning superhero, but instead a boy wearing a thin red hoodie in the middle of winter in Philly.

“Oh come on Billy!” Freddy persisted.

“NO!”

“But think about it!” the raven began. “You don’t have any other way to get around the city, we don’t have cash for a cool spider-cycle or Batmobile or some shit like that, and you can’t fly, so how else are you going to get somewhere quickly? Would you rather take the subway in your super suit and get to a crime scene thirty minutes late, or would you rather get there just in time to stop the crime?” Billy scrunched up his face and groaned. “Come on it makes sense! And besides, you gave me the idea when you swung from the chains! So really, this is all on you.”

 

Billy curled his lip and cast another glance at the building. The very, very tall building. He gulped. He hated how right Freddy was.

“And besides,” Freddy said. “If you fail it’ll make for a great fail compilation!” The raven slung his arm across Billy’s shoulder and the brunet gave him a look.  

“That doesn’t make me feel better, you know.”

Freddy shrugged. “Eh, oh well. So! You ready?”

Billy took in a deep breath. “About as ready as I’ll ever be.” Freddy smiled.

“Great! Now let’s go.”  

 


Swinging Test 1

 

Billy and Freddy stood on top of the roof of the building, panting heavily. The moment they stepped into the building and asked to go to the roof, the receptionist looked at them strangely and threw them out. So instead of going through the obvious way, Billy just climbed up the building’s wall. With Freddy clinging to his back. The climb was slow and stressful and Billy didn’t know how on earth he had managed it, but thank God he had super strength, otherwise, he would have collapsed with the extra weight. But he could not emphasize how stressed out he was that Freddy was going to lose his grip and fall to his death twelve stories down.

 

Freddy sat down on the roof’s ledge and heaved a sigh. “Whoo damn, that was fucking scary! I never wanna do that again.” Billy breathed a laugh and sat next to him.

“Agreed. But sadly we’re gonna have to do it later to get down.”

Freddy groaned. “Man, we didn’t think this through did we?”

“No, we didn’t.”

Freddy took off his backpack with a muttered “fuck” and rifled inside of it, taking out his camera and notebook.

“Alright!” he said. “Swinging Test number one! Let’s do this thing.”

 

Billy breathed in a deeply before pulling up his mask again, pulling it over his nose. He pulled up his red hood and with a nod stood up and turned around to face the ledge. He peered over the side and gulped. It looked a lot higher from up here. Billy glanced at Freddy, who gave him a thumbs up, and turned back to the street far, far below.

He swallowed thickly and then jumped up. He felt his heart flutter nervously and his stomach curl uncomfortably. Billy had never been a huge fan of heights. He’d never flown in a plan before, never had access to high buildings, and he spent most of his time on the ground, looking up instead of looking down. It was a little off-putting to him, which made this whole experience even scarier.

“You got this Billy,” Freddy said encouragingly. The brunet nodded, still not moving from his spot. He stood there for a minute. Then two minutes. Then three minutes. For some reason, he couldn’t find the courage to jump off of the ledge. He knew that he was going to be fine as long as he shot one of his webs. Probably.

 

Billy shoved up his hoodie sleeves and shifted his gloves. He took another deep breath and shifted his feet. The brunet heard Freddy groan exasperatedly. “You know what?” he said. “Forget this.” and with that, Billy felt the raven shove him from behind and the teen lost his balance.

 

He started falling.

 

The wind hurt his cheeks and ears, and Billy could hear screaming in his ears. But it sounded distant as the wind whipped his voice away from him the farther he fell. He felt his stomach leave him behind and his heart thundered in his chest.

He was falling and he was panicking.

But the sensible part of his head told him to look around, to look for anything to grip onto. And so the brunet whipped his head around, looking for anything to cling onto. Then he saw an empty window wiper’s carriage.

YES. Get it! Billy frantically thought. His arm shot out and a web flew from his wrist, glinting silver in the winter sun as it hit his mark. Billy felt a strong tug on his shoulder as his directions were suddenly switched, and the plummet to his death changed from a suicide/murder to a pleasant swing. The boy laughed in both excitement and relief. But it soon disappeared as he realized that he was swinging straight towards a Starbucks.

Billy winced in embarrassment as his feet knocked over tables, plates, napkins, and chairs. But he let out a sigh as his feet found secure footing on a chair. Letting out a puff of air, Billy let go of the webbing and dropped down onto the ground, walking away and pretending like nothing had ever happened.

 

Freddy better have gotten all of that. He thought. Because I am not doing that again.