FriendsA (mostly) Captain Marvel Story
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. In fact, this one isn't exactly owned by anybody any more. Or rather he's owned by lots of folks. DC, Marvel. Faucett, whoever. But the way I see it, if they can share with each other they can share with me. So there!
Slash: (Off stage, but with underage implications. Sort of.)
Pairing: Captain Marvel and....I don't want to spoil the surprise.
Sequel to: Looking for William Batson
Archive: Ask first
Ten PM. Black leather. Jagermiester. Back booth at the Tattered Jack. Not my usual choices, but I like the variety. After your first half century in the sixth grade, that change of pace starts to become important.
I've been here longer then I expected. Longer then anyone in here expected. Hell, I know what I look like. I've had time enough to become intimately acquainted with this form. Normally I'm out of here before I'm even really in. Even when I go booth rather then bar. Tonight? Tonight is ... different.
I'm on my third beer - which must be a lifetime record. If alcohol affected me, I'd have to start tapering off about now. As it is? I take another look around the narrow room. The bar-stroll floor show has mostly given up on me, and the looks from the other tables are going from hungry to curious, and are gonna start edging into suspicious. Still... wisdom of Solomon. When it isn't right, it isn't right.
I'm actually thinking of calling it a night and heading back to Billy-ville when he walks in.
Green as grass and tender as chicken. I can actually hear the breathing stop when he comes through the door. Sable hair, ink-blue eyes, built like a 1920 Charles Atlas, and not a damn idea of what to do with any of it. If he's not a virgin, I'll... well, I'll be very lucky.
Three heart beats and the breathing has resumed - a bit heavier this time.
The kid is standing in the aisle - not quite at the bar but looking. Two of the regular 'trade' have moved apart to make space. They know it's his place even if he doesn't. Half the table crowd starts reaching for large bills. It's isn't polite to buy the drink before your mark orders it, but they sure as hell aren't going to risk slapping down a five. This guy is crisp hundreds and 'let the kid keep the change'. The other half? They're not virtuous - they just have club tabs. From the not-quite-discrete hand-signals, the kid is suddenly on most of them.
Damn. I meet the bartender's eye and give him a look. My tab too, and the others can just write it off. Joe knows better then to even hesitate. I out mass the rest of the place by at least a quarter, and while I may bottom I am damn-well nobodies bottom. A few would-be 'masters' had to be reminded the hard way, but after that? A real polite respect for human diversity reigns in this club. Reverend Jackson would be proud of us.
So tonight the kid drinks with me. Not that I'm gonna get a damn thing for my dime.
Kid has finally eased up to the bar. Sort of. Not actually touching, but close enough not to shout when he orders a 'beer'. Probably his first time for that, too. He might be over 16 - has to be, with that much muscle - but not by enough. He is nowhere near twenty-one. So even if he's 'legal', he's not legal. Damn. There are days when it really sucks to be one of the good guys. Unfortunately, in my case they didn't make it optional. So? Here goes two people's lovely evening shot to hell.
I slide out of the booth and head for the bar. Five steps. I'm not the first to start, but I'm the only one to get there. The other boothies have the brains to sit back once they see the score. A few waves and shrugs as I pass. No hard feelings. I want the kid, he's mine. Like I said, I'm known. This is a nice neighborhood shack, and at ten no one's stoned enough to be seriously stupid. Although if there was a guy worth being seriously stupid for?
Joe slaps a beer on the counter and the kid gives it the 'do I have to drink this' look. I solve the problem by picking it up myself.
"Joe?" I signal the bartender. "My friend here will have a Soder."
Damn again. Up close the kid is even hotter. Deep chest. Narrow waist. Shoulders like a young Superman. Unfortunately, the operative word there is young. Too young. Quivering eager, but cherry-fresh and too damn young. It's like hitting the Warrior's Vegas buffet when you're on a diet. Self control. I force my eyes back up.
"You can't..." The kid makes a face and bristles, although I get the clear feeling he's just as relieved to have something he'd like to drink without having to play the dweeb and ask for it.
I give him my best Saturday-cartoon-idol idol smile."You want Zesti? You looked more like a Soder guy to me."
"Look, I don't know ..." His words falter as he gets a good look at me. I'm used to it. I have that effect on most people - even when I'm not wearing my leathers. Actually, especially when I'm not wearing my leathers. Although the big red cheese outfit usually gets the stutters without the interesting diversion of blood. Oh, yes, I can actually feel things like variant body temperature if I focus. Used to make a fun distraction during dull JLA meetings.
"You're right, you don't know. I do." Hoisting the kid's former mug, I take a sip. Not quite Jagermiester, but the house draft is drinkable. "I know what you came here looking for, and it's not the beer. So... my booth is the right rear."
Tough kid. He's layering on the attitude, but his pupils are dilated like crazy, and it isn't just from the lousy lighting in this place. He's interested. I give him another smile.
"Or you drink your Soder and go."
"Big man, eh?"
I bend forward, ostensibly to put a ten on the counter, but actually to let 'little Billy' brush against his leg. "What do you think?"
He pulls out a bill. "I can pay for my own drinks."
"OK." I make a half-gesture as he steps out before me. "Joe? Bring the young man's change to my table."
There are the usual envious glares as we make our way back to my spot. I'm almost tempted to return them. Almost. After all, if they were lucky they'd be lucky, and I most likely am going home alone. But frankly the view is too good to waste on distractions. It's not a crime to look, and the view of that boy walking in front of me is definitely worth looking at. I don't know what sort of workout he does to get an ass that looks like you could bounce small planetoids off it, but whatever it is he should keep doing it.
What the hell, I decide suddenly. Maybe I can take the kid's name. Even his phone number. Call him sometime. A year or two from now is not that long, when you've been around as long as I have, and there's something to be said for advance planning.
I hold out my hand. "I'm Billy."
"Connal." He has a nice, firm shake. Not wanna-be limp, but not trying to bust my knuckles either. Just confident and polite. A lot like the kid would be anyplace other then this.
He slides into a bench and I take the other side. Not without regrets, but I am a good guy. As I so painfully remind certain less virtuous parts of my anatomy.
"Friends call you Con?"
He scowls at that. "Some of them."
"What do your folks call you?"
"Nothing. I don't have any."
Not likely. He's got that fresh scrubbed look that practically screams mall-brat middle-America, and that vitamin-groomed body is covered by the type of casual sloppiness that set someone back most of a thousand. Three hundred plus for the fancy leather jacket at minimum.
I give him a 'stop bull-shitting' look. "Awfully nice jacket for a street kid."
"I'm not..." He hesitates, then leans forward, uncertain but determined. "Look, I'm not a pro, if that's what you're thinking. I'm just... independent. But if you have a problem..."
"I don't have a problem." Well, none but the one that keeps reminding me that it's been a long time now, and couldn't just this once we forget about the 'relieve the problems of the world' stuff and start relieving something a little closer to home. "I just want to make sure you don't. This place is nice enough, but... things can get rough."
"Nothing I can't handle."
"So they all say. How old are you? And don't try to lie."
He practically levitates to his feet."Look, if I wanted a grandfather I'd be in Kansas. Thanks for the Soder but I'm outta here."
"Sit down kid."
My finger grab his shoulder and - for the first time in years - do not hold. He pulls away as if his skin was coated in some magic Teflon.
"What the..." I look at him, shocked. "You shouldn't have..."
He is rubbing his arm, his expression wavering somewhere between awe and horror. "How could you..."
The truth dawns slowly, but it dawns simultaneously. I watch the pain slide over his face, and I feel it on mine.
"Who are....NO!" He backs away, shaking his head slowly. "I don't want to know..."
I could let him go. I think I would have, but suddenly all the pieces fall into place. Fall like a glass vase that somehow manages to shatter in just the right pattern, and that pattern spells 'Krypton' in glowing green letters.
"It's OK, Kon. I'm not here for your brother.. or father... or whatever you call him. And I'm not one of the bad guys. I'm not..."
"Who are you?"he whispers.
I answer carefully. "I'm Billy. William Batson." My finger lightly traces a lightning bolt on the table top.
"You're..." I see his lips form the words he can't quite bring himself to speak. "And you're...."
"Not quite as white bread as you thought?"
He doesn't answer. Can't. He's to busy putting his world back on it's axis. Maybe I should just end it here, but that feels wrong. Which means it is wrong. Besides, I really don't think the kid should be flying after the shock he just had.
I drop a twenty for a tip. Not earned, but it will keep the waiter happy. That's important in a place like this.
"Bar is no place for this. Why don't we go back to my place?" I watch his face pass from pleasure to denial to fear. "We can order in a pizza and talk. Just talk. And maybe later go out flying or something."
Kid looks down like a man who's floor just dissolved to leave him standing on a tight rope over a pool of sharks. But he also looks happy. Strange, I know, but there it is.
"You don't want to...?" he asks.
"Sure. Eventually. Maybe." I shrug. "But I can get laid any time. Tonight, I think maybe I've found a friend."