“Hello...? S- Superman?”
Said hero straightened his back immediately and gave his full attention to the communicator in his ear. The call he’d received was from Captain Marvel’s communicator but it became apparent as soon as he answered that it wasn’t the champion on the other end. Clark didn’t need super hearing to catch the distress in the voice of whoever it was, nor how young he sounded, but it did help him pick up on the abnormally ragged breath they had and the hammering of their heart. He couldn’t help but think that they were like a little hummingbird in there before refocusing on the issue at hand.
There was a faint hitch of relief on the other side, which put Superman on the edge even more.
“I- I’m sorry to bother you, sir, but- but- I need help. I’m Captain Marvel’s friend.” Slight suspicion crossed his mind that someone had stolen his teammates communicator and was trying to lure him into a trap with it, before he dismissed it. There was real fear in that voice. He still wanted to know how this kid, a boy if he went by the sound of his voice, had gotten his hands on Captain Marvel’s communicator, though.
Clark mustered as much reassurance into his tone as he could while swiftly making his way towards the Zeta Tube. Monitor duty could wait for now. “Of course I can help, where are you? Do you need me to come?”
“Fawcett City, I...” The kid sounded a bit disoriented before continuing, “I don’t know the exact address but it’s near the park.”
Superman didn’t let the lack of detail deter him and immediately set out the coordinates to Fawcett. He’d ask for more detail once he got there. “I’ll be there in a second. Now tell me, are you alright?” Clark was growing wearier by the minute because the more he listened to the kid’s heavy breaths, the more he felt like there was something wrong with them. It sounded like they were an effort to him.
“I don’t know...” He sounded on the verge of crying, or trying not to cry more, so Clark translated it to: definitely not alright, feeling scared, and sporting an injury that he didn’t know how to identify.
“Well, that fine. I’m going to take a look myself once I get there, okay?” He stepped out of the only Zeta Tube in Fawcett, one disguised as a phone booth, and flew to the slowly darkening, evening sky. There were blotches of green areas reaching all over the city but only one looked big enough to be a park. “Is anyone with you?”
“No...” That could be seen as both a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, if someone was involved in him being possibly injured then Clark thought it was a good thing they weren’t present anymore. But on the other, a child was completely alone and he sounded so scared.
Clark thought it best to try to distract him, if only to slow that little hummingbird heart a bit. “So, Captain Marvel’s friend, huh?” He was nearing the park. Not a lot of people were around because of the late hour but none of the ones he saw were the one he was looking for. “Do you have a name?”
There was a pause on the other end and a slight shuffle, “Billy.”
“Billy,” Superman toned out the breathing in the comm link in his ear and concentrated on the area, looking for his heartbeat. His mind flicked from the evening traffic, to some teenagers hanging out in the park, to an elderly man whistling, to a dog parking his head off, to- There it was. In an alleyway that faced the park.
He swooped there on a speed that would make Flash demand a race and hovered closer to the trashcans that he knew the kid was hiding behind. “Nice to meet you,” he offered while switching his communicator off and assessing the situation.
The kid seemed skittish and jumped at his voice, pressed into his shadowy corner. Judging by his ratty shirt and skinny form, he must be homeless. There were a few fresh bruises on the side of Billy’s face that made Clark's insides lurk a little. A quick glance with his x-ray vision told him that the story was much worse under his shirt, a few ribs were cracked and one poked his lung. He needed to be brought to a hospital now.
Clark took a gentle step forward and held his hands up in what he hoped was non-threatening manner, “I need to pick you up to get you to someone who can help, ok?” He tried to coax the kid into looking at him.
Thankfully Billy didn’t seem wary and nodded faintly but instantly, that usually wasn’t the case with street kids. Superhero or not, they didn’t trust easy. Maybe it had something to do with him knowing Captain Marvel as he said. That raised a couple of questions in him, mainly centred around how Marvel could know this boy and how did he ended up having his communicator.
Billy shifted and looked like he was trying to get up. Clark put a hand on his shoulder and was about to tell him there was no need for that when he got a good look at the kid’s eyes and his words died on his lips. They were blank and grey, staring straight ahead. Compared to his openly fearful and expressive face, they were so dull. He was blind . Oh god, and he was on the streets? Clark wanted to cover his mouth but he needed to help. “Don’t try to move right now.”
He tried to be as gentle as he could while lifting Billy but the kid ended up sobbing in pain anyway. Clark murmured a soft apology and maneuverer the little body in his arms so that Billy’s hands were around his neck in a position that would put the least pressure on his chest. “Do you know which way the nearest hospital is?”
The kids heart rate spiked again at that and he began shaking his head and burying his face into Superman’s chest, “N- no, I can’t go to a hospital.”
Clark frowned at that, there were many... unpleasant scenarios that came to mind for why the kid didn’t want to go. But maybe he just didn’t want CPS to find him. “I’m sorry Billy, you have to.”
“Please no, n- no.” He sounded so scared... Superman found his resolve slowly cracking.
“Hey, it’s alright, I knew another place that can fix you right up,” he soothed and headed back towards the Zeta Tube.
B was going to kill him.