Captain Marvel was at the end of his usual patrol route. His mental Batman grumbled at having too obvious pattern for his daily checks over Fawcett but Billy liked the familiarity too much. It also covered the city perfectly.
He transformed into Cap in the rough-around-the-edges area where he usually stayed and preferred to cover first. Then, he dashed over the outskirts of the city and the quiet neighbourhoods that were usually peaceful but Billy reasoned that you could never be too careful. He also couldn’t forget to pet the rooftop cat that tended to resided there, probably because she knew she’d get belly scratches there once a day. The last step was flying over the heart of the city where he liked hang out as Billy as well. This was his favourite part of patrol because instead of chasing him out of shops and eyeing his ratty clothes uneasily, when people spotted him they usually cheered and waved. From there I was back home.
Billy thought that the afternoon was well spent as he swooped towards his alleyway. He’d stopped a bank robbery, a bus crash and helped an elderly man carry his groceries. That last bit had been the most fun since the man told Cap funny stories about his retirement home as they walked towards it. ‘And there were no giant robots or alien invasions today,’ he mentally cheered. Calm days were the best but they usually didn’t last long.
With one last look, he desperately took in the blue sky as long as he could while lowered himself into the empty alley. Cap glanced around, checking that there were no people around but also memorizing the layout of the trashcans that day and making sure there was nothing to trip over. With a soft sigh, he moved closer to the wall behind him. Not close enough to be scorched by his lightning but at an arm’s distance. “Shazam!”
The smoke cleared but Billy Batson couldn’t see it anymore, he just felt the slight burnt smell leave him. He backtracked two steps until his back hit the brick. Billy turned to his left and with a hand brushing the wall, started slowly walking deeper into the alley. Noises were all around him, a person had opened his window to see where the boom of noise came from and soon closed it with a huff after detecting nothing, cars driving and honking a few apartment complexes over, someone yelling, wind swinging the laundry line high above him, he concentrated on those.
When he felt the rough bump and continued change of texture in the wall, he knew it was time to cross the alley. Only continued practice kept him from pumping into the large dumpster. Billy continued to navigate himself around it and sat down in the corner created between the allay wall and hard metal. It was a perfect place where he went relatively unnoticed. No one passing by would spot him pressed into the corner unless they were actively looking for him.
He tugged his trusty backpack out of the wedge between the dumpster and the brick wall. It felt like it was in the exact same spot as he’d left it in the morning but he unzipped it to check his belonging either way. Billy sat his favourite hoodie beside his knee. It was soft and snug but too warm to wear it in the summer so it was in his backpack. Then he pulled out a noisy plastic package with two cookies inside. After deciding that he wasn’t hungry enough to splurge, he set them down on his hoodie. He pulled out a toothbrush and a broken comb he’d gotten from one of his old foster homes and a pine cone he’d found in the park.
After shifting his backpack, his fingers found the hidden pockets. One of them contained the total amount of four dollars and thirdly nine cents, Billy ran his fingers over every coin to make sure the sum was still right. The second pocket however, contained something much smaller but even more precious to the young superhero. It was just a button, but it used to be on his dad’s coat. Billy remembered when it fell off, C.C. had wanted to sew it back on but after finding out how pleasing his son found its smooth texture, he decided to let Billy keep it.
Just for consistency, he also got his Justice League communicator out from his pocket and rubbed the small device between his fingers before hiding it back where it came from.
He hurriedly pulled everything back into his backpack and clutched it to his chest. Billy leaned against the dumpster in thought. During the patrol, he’d found an empty building that looked easy enough to get into. It wasn’t even that far away but would still probably take him an hour or two minimum. At least he had an advantage of knowing Fawcett like the back of his hand thanks to being the Wizard’s champion. He soared above the city every day and had the map of all the streets in his mind.
Still, the air was warm and he was getting a bit sleepy. ‘I’ll just sit and rest my legs for a bit. Then I can get up and going after that,” he thought.
That didn’t end up happening.
Soon enough, the distant sound of the wind and a dog barking in the distance soothed him into a calm daze. His head lulled to rest on his backpack.