Captain Marvel was pouring over a spell book, missing the Wisdom of Solomon now more than anything. It was startling, to realize how much he’d relied on that aspect of his power set. Billy relived the motions over and over again in his head like a mantra. He was usually able to do it without having to voice the spell out loud but though it better to stay safe. The connection he had with magic was shaky at best. The champion sighed and set the book down on the beanbag beside his leg.
Two and a half weeks into his stay at the med bay he’d been cleared to move back to his own quarters after showing no signs of getting worse. He’s recovery was dragging on but he was at a point where he didn’t nap for most of the day. There was still a bone deep fatigue in all his limbs and he could only walk a couple of steps at a time before collapsing, so bed rest it was. The Leaguers were by his bed side for most of the day. Billy had noticed a pattern in how they came and had a sneaky suspicion that they agreed on a schedule amongst themselves. The thought made him bristle a bit, because it wasn’t like he needed then to be with him . It was just... nice, that’s all.
Not having access to his powers was making him restless. Batman had stated that until he was in his usual peak condition again, he wouldn’t be allowed back on the field. While he understood the reasoning, he didn’t have to like it. He was taking up their time constantly, every time Superman came to him with some new reading material (because according to him, spell books don’t make for interesting stories. Billy was sure that the guy only said that because he didn’t know half of how many cool charms he could conjure with the grimoires he had in his room-), when Flash brought him food and made sure he ate everything being offered, and when Green Lantern would gather as many people as he could so they could play Clue (even though everyone knew Batman always won). The amount of care they showed him made him feel warm warm warm. Cap was constantly taking up their time and attention, with nothing to give back for it. It made him feel a bit selfish. Covering their backs on missions should be the bare minimum he should do, right? So-
Sitting up a bit in his bile of pillows and bean bags, he struck out a hand and chanted. There was a soft sensation at the front of his mind like always, just fuzzier and less clear. Slight sparks of electricity danced around his finger tips and Billy could have shouted from joy. The cheer quickly disappeared when lightning didn’t ascend from his hand and the sparks died down.
Cap felt devastated, even though he knew it was such a small thing. It was probably expected, seeing how much magic it took to keep up his Captain Marvel form and his connection to the Rock of Eternity was basically non-existent. Still, magic was his domain. What if he never got it back? What it the gods decided that he was a terrible champion and took their gifts back? He’s never going to be a hero again, the League is going to realise sooner or later that he won’t be the same anymore and kick him out, and he’ll be all alone again-
He was working himself up to panic and curled in on himself. The bad thought were getting to him when the door slid open. Martian Manhunter walked in, he always took his steps so seamlessly that Billy felt like he was floating. “Captain.”
Feeling faintly embarrassed, he straightened himself and sniffled. “Hey J’onn, what’s up?” While the Martian did visit him in the med bay, it wasn’t often, his presence was usually very valuable at the deck, cooperating missions. As much as Billy wished today would be one of those days when he would bring his work and do it by his bedside while Billy enjoyed the calm and reassurance he brought, this could be about something important.
“I felt your distress and thought it best to check up on you.” Oh, that. When Captain Marvel first joined the League then J’onn had freaked him out a bit. Mostly because he had been afraid the Martian would read his thoughts and figure out that he was really a kid. He’d consulted Solomon on how to shield his mind from telepathy, and then figured out pretty quick that J’onn was pretty good at respecting people’s privacy since Billy felt no one hanging out in his consciousness. The Martian just felt their minds passingly at a distance and didn’t linger, he knew how important it was to humans. Something told Cap that Batman had driven that lesson home.
Some time ago he would have been nervous about being near him without the ability to raise his mental defences but now he was use to relying on the League. J’onn wouldn’t do anything to him, this would always be a safe place. “I was just trying something...”
The Martian tilted his head, motioning for him to continue. “Well, I’m used to magic being as easy as breathing, but now I can’t even cast lightning anymore! I feel useless like this- What if my magic won’t ever go back to normal?” Billy didn’t know how to explain the absolute terror that thought filled him with, instead he tried to project it loudly in his head and hoped that the other would be able to sense it. Apparently it worked because J’onn nodded slowly, almost sadly, and sat down cross legged in from of him.
“Everyone on this station has their own power that they utilise to be a hero, losing that would be devastating.” He agreed. Sometimes J’onn felt like his abilities were the only things giving him purpose these days, that is until one of the core members drag him out of his depressive state. Unable to return home, he felt a kinship with Captain Marvel, who almost radiated similar sorrow. “But you are recovering, are you not? It is too early to plan a retirement.”
Cap shook his head, “But look!” He summoned his energy and tried to strike lightning to the ceiling but only harmless sparks derailed down his arm. He slumped. Not only because of defeat, the effort failing that spell took more energy out of him than he’d like to admit.
“Is that not progress? I remember you being in a much more severe condition weeks ago.” The Martian hardly wanted to recall it. Even now a teammate in such a state, unable to perform a task that used to be so simple before was making him ill at ease.
“It’s going to take forever,” mumbled Billy, wincing at the memory of the hard weeks he had had. Who knew how many more there would be? Why couldn’t he just pounce back up from this, like Captain Marvel always did? He didn’t feel like Captain Marvel now. “I wish I could go to the Rock of Eternity. Being in the centre of magic would probably help.”
J’onn hummed. “What’s stopping you?”
“Are you kidding?” Billy huffed out an easy laugh, “Creating a portal would probably kill me right now if I can’t even get lightning right.” Technically, there was a way to get there without magically exerting himself if he had bothered to remember the proper rune signature. There he went again, relying on the wisdom of Solomon too much. Billy swore, the second he got his magic back to working order, he’d write it down for himself. If he knew them now, then he’d simply have to carve the runes onto the nearest door seven times and boom; a working portal.
“So I take it there’s no physical entrance there?” The concept interested J’onn, since that should be impossible but he’d long since learned that when magic was involved, anything was plausible.
“Yeah,” Billy sighed, “Magic generally exists on a different plain of reality. The Rock of Eternity is the only place of magic, the source of it all, to have links to earth at all. It’s connected to Fawcett, that’s why everything tends to be a bit wacky there sometimes-” he stopped in his tracks as a thought struck him. The only time he’d entered the Rock through a physical entrance was the very first time. At the train station, being chased by bullies. That’s where it had all begun! Billy wondered... was it still there...? Or had it closed after he had no need for it anymore? No, it had to be still there! “J’onn, you’re a genius!”
Giddy with excitement, Cap started getting up when a wave of dizziness forced him to slow down. That served as a rude reminder that he wouldn’t get far on his own. Much to Billy’s chagrin, J’onn had a solution. “I’ll get a wheelchair.”