The idea for this story came from some YA Civil War fics I've been reading and something Billy said in Young Avenger Presents #1 about being grounded for not registering, like Cassie.
Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to Young Avengers, except that I own copies of their comic books and I met Jim Cheung. Cool Dude.
Detest for their Side
Billy Kaplan had gone through hell! That was obvious from the scars on his ears and left arm to the nightmares and memories of prison. They haunted him almost every night and refused to let him have a nights rest.
That's right, teenage superheroes did not get a pardon during the Civil War. Wiccan and Dagger had been captured and sent to the so-clean-OCD-people-could-live-in-it prison, just like all the other heroes who refused to bow down to the new Superhuman Registration Act.
Everything there was white and gray. Their prison garb was white, the walls and bedding was white, while the guard wore deep green suits and carried rods that looked like giant Q-tips with electrocuting capabilities on both ends.
It was isolating. Most prisoners were not allowed to converse with each other unless they were cell mates, which most prisons were not. All part of Mr. Tony Stark's master plan to prevent riots and uprisings. According to him if all the prisoners cannot interact than they cannot converse and if they cannot converse with each other they cannot plan an escape or some such nonsense. Billy was sure the man was nuts, likely from too many drinking benders on his part.
Most of the prison rules Billy could handle, the lack of social interaction, however, really put a strain on his health. He would never doubt his mother on the topic again.
The worst part was not just missing his family, or Teddy, nor was it the rights of the American constitution that did not seem to apply to a prison built and run by Americans. No, remembered Billy, that wasn't the worst of it, although it was a close second or third. The worst part above all was how Tony Stark or Mr. Fantastic had apparently nothing better to do than come by his prison cell, with a new speech about how important it was to register.
On one particular day, Billy had remembered he was graced with the presence of Mr. Fantastic, who like the warden at the cube, desperately wanted to know how Billy's powers worked. So every day he would come by and poke the mage with his latest calculating gadget.
The door to his cell slid open and he came in with a small screwdriver like item that reminded Billy briefly of those days him and Teddy wasted watching Doctor Who on BBC.
Reed Richards wore a white lab coat over his blue and black Fantastic 4 stretch suit and black gloves that were glued to his hands.
"Hello Wiccan." greeted Mr. Fantastic. "I do wish you would tell us your name."
"Not a chance, stretch." replied Billy. "I have a right to remain silent, remember."
Richards ignored him as he proceeded to his work. "Please lie down Wiccan. Come now this will not hurt like last time. Please do not make me get the guards."
At that moment Billy terribly wished the room didn't have a power dampener, not just so he could escape, but so he could magically wipe that disgusting smile that Reed Richards had on his face.
Billy obeyed and lay down on the bed in the white cell, in his white jumper. Too much white was hazardous to your health.
"You know you really should register." explained Richards as he began to make small pokes in Billy's arm.
Registering, yeah right, so he could be trained and kept under the government's hand like some criminal on parole.
More blood samples, apparently Reed Richards could think of nothing else to do, but take blood samples, DNA samples, and urine samples and take daily readings of his stats on the health meter he himself designed.
"Oh and why should I?" Billy had asked. "So I could end up like you? Tell me, oh Mr. Fantastic, when was the last time you heard from the Mrs.?"
He hit a nerve there and had gotten a slap. It was worth it to get rid of the idiot for a few days. But he came back and so did Tony and they would resume with their usual tests and tortures. But also the long erroneous speeches about the serving his country, it made Billy sick.
Billy pulled further down on his long sleeve shirt, but it refused to go down past his thumb, if only to hide the small incision marks that had been left on his arm. Thanks for that Reed.
He had to remind himself every time he awoke in the middle of the night from frightening dreams that it was the past. Now he was safe, in his room, in his house, with his parents just down the hall.
The bare yellow walls of his room were a small comfort from the devil white walls of the prison. He was starring at them now, as he lay somewhat peacefully on his bed, attempting to think of anything but that hell-hole.
Mom and Dad had no idea where he was or if he was even alive. But media coverage of the first battle provided a small comfort to the Kaplans when they saw Wiccan being taken away in a gurney to one of Tony Stark's hospitals before being taken to Prison 42.
His bed was much more comfortable than the one at the prison, at least the accommodations were civilized, mused Billy. His bed was so much better, though. The mattress was like a soft cloud and his sheets were a deep blue with images of light Blue Mountains. The blanket was black and checkered with lighter and darker shades. It was worm and comforting to him.
Nine days, that was how long he had been home, nine days since the war ended, seven days since Cap had been shot, five since the funeral and four days since he had practically quit the Young Avengers. Did it count as quitting when someone says "I'm sick of this" and leaves in the middle of a team meeting? Billy wasn't sure. He was sure that he loved being a hero and helping people. Why did it have to matter if the government was keeping tabs on him? The government was corrupt and Billy hoped this Act wouldn't last long. Perhaps when the next Senate elections came in and the current majority was replaced change would come. Billy hoped.
Billy glanced over to his book shelf, text books, medical books, legal books. Everything his parents had gotten him in order to help him decide on a prospective career. Now they all looked empty and useless.
"Billy, can you come to the living room?" called Mrs. Kaplan. He didn't want to. He wanted to crawl under his blanket into the big black surrounding it would create and stay there until all the mess was cleaned up and all his terrible thoughts and memories would disappear.
Despite his brain's pleas to stay in bed, under the blanket, he got up and walked into the living room.
He was still in his red t-shirt and comfy chocolate colored pajama pants, despite the fact it was after three in the afternoon.
A deep green carpet covered the floor and a soft gray couch stood opposite a TV set, two matching chairs stood facing the glass coffee table infront of the couch. His parents took the chairs with equally bland gray slip covers over them.
Jeff and Rebecca Kaplan sat in those chairs. He was wearing a white button up shirt and purple tie with swirls and black pants. His glasses were being cleaned through that tie.
Rebecca wore an equally white button up shirt and a soft blue skirt and matching vest. "Honey, sit down." she said. Billy did as he was told.
"Your father and I have been thinking." she began as his dad placed his glasses back on his face.
Billy glanced over at his father who did not seem to share his wife's enthusiasm in the reached decision of their thinking process. "You've been home for a little over a week recuperating from everything…" Ha, thought Billy, that didn't even breach the surface of everything he was going through. "And although we understand you went through something extremely traumatic…" No, you don't understand. You didn't see a sadistic man poke holes in the boy you love why you hung against the wall powerless and had to endure every single second of it. You couldn't understand. No psychology degree or study in the world could make them understand. "We," indicated Rebecca to herself and her husband, "Think it would be good for you and for all of us if you register and go to Camp Hammond so they can train you."
Train him? Yeah right, train, sure, thought Billy. I'll run up right now and say you screwed me up, let me join so you can show me how to ruin other people's lives and mental stability. Camp Hammond was a joke. Sure they trained heroes, but they trained them with their knowledge and their views. The young heroes sent there were just that heroes, not army men, soldiers, or mercenaries. Xavier had the right idea; they never had a brain to begin with let alone a good idea.
Tony Stark made it sound like a paradise island. The chance to train young heroes the way we want them to be. That got Billy mad. "Billy…." called his mother to him.
He snapped out of his thoughts immediately. "No!" he said.
"But Billy it's the law."
"In 1920 Prohibition was passed, how many people obeyed that law?"
"Billy for your own safety you need to register." said Rebecca. Jeff looked grim.
"I cannot join them after what they did to me." said Billy. It had slipped out in a moment of anger. He hadn't meant to share that with them.
"We understand that most of your friends have not registered, but your friend Cassie set a fine example—"
Billy cut her off. "You don't get it. That's the whole point. You don't understand. You have no idea what I went through with them. I can never look at them again and now you're telling me to go up to them and join them. They're monsters, they're the criminals and I will not join a band of blood thirsty superheroes no matter the law. Who cares what screwed up motives Cassie had when she joined."
He had not known of Cassie's registration until Tony Stark's second visit. He used her as a fine example of what he should do. Ha! Cassie took the easy way out. On one hand he understood she was scared, after all Goliath being killed must have hit hard for her with her powers and all and she was the youngest of them all. But most of Billy couldn't and did not want to understand her. In a way she betrayed them. She did not even explain, he later found out from Kate and Teddy. And now she had become the poster girl for the Registration Act. He couldn't forgive her for supporting the very people who hurt him.
When she had briefly returned to the team months after the conversation Billy was currently in the middle of she often boasted about everything she had learned at the Camp. All Billy saw was a solider, who at the mere word of the government could be arrested, or sent to some island to help a people who did not need her help from anyone, let alone a fifteen year old girl.
"I know peer pressure can be hard, especially on a teenager—"
Once again Billy cut his mother off. "It has nothing to do with peer pressure. I was a science experiment, a biological curiosity, to the people who claimed to be following the law. I saw more human rights violations than I care to count. I can't join a group that claims to follow the law and blatantly ignores it. "
"I'm sure you misunderstood." hoped Rebecca.
"I didn't!" snapped Billy sharply at his mother pulling up his sleeve so she could see and brushing the hair away from his ear and pointing violently at the scars, "Did I misunderstand these" he indicated his ear "Or these," his arm, "Like I said, you wouldn't understand. You weren't there. You didn't go through what I went through. I don't expect you to get it. But I will never join them. Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Henry Pym, they can all go to hell."
"You…You…you are grounded." said his mom not knowing what else to do. "Until you realize that we just want you to follow the law. We don't want you to vanish like that again."
With those words Billy walked back into his room and slammed the door. He sighed as he buried himself deep inside his blanket, like he had wanted to before.
Wishing, he could go far with that. It had taken him far before. But Billy Kaplan hated running away, now he hated it. Running away did not solve problems, it just delayed them.
If he were to disappear forever that would make the pain go away and it would make him happy.
Tapping on his window pulled Billy out from under the blanket and up to the glass to see who it was.
A flash of blond hair and piercings pushed Billy to open the window and a certain superhero to climb in.
"What are you doing here?" questioned Billy starring at his boyfriend.
"I wanted to check up on you." said Teddy. "I've been really worried."
Billy sighed and sat down on the bed. "My parents want me to register." he said as Teddy sat down next to him. "I can't do it…a…and they don't g…get it. I…I just can't."
With Teddy, Billy could be himself. He didn't have to be the best son or the perfect older brother and in Teddy's case Billy didn't need to act like the perfect boyfriend or the moral or ethical one either. With Teddy, Billy was just that, Billy.
Teddy engulfed Billy into his arms and let him let out all the dark thoughts, through muffled wheezing.
"It's alright Billy." soothed Teddy. "It's over and you're here and not there. You're safe." Billy looked up with soft tears running down his cheek.
"Do you think I'm crazy?"
"No," replied Teddy honestly. "I think you're hurt and you feel betrayed by the heroes you looked up to."
Teddy brought down his lips and gently kissed Billy's cheek. "I'm here for you if you need to talk."
"I know." said Billy. "But I don't want to talk right now. I just….can you just stay?"
"I wasn't planning on leaving." replied Teddy.
Billy kissed him and let the peace fill him. With Teddy around Billy was safe.
He was still hurting, though, and although Billy knew that he wasn't alright and wouldn't be for a long time. He felt hopeful that he would get better and he hoped that one day the people who hurt him, and poked him, and screwed him up, would eventually get what was coming to them and not just for him but for all the other people they screwed with.
SO IDK why, but in the Patriot YA special Billy mentioned that his parents wanted him to register and perhaps I exagerated a few things, but I love how well this came out. Please let me know what you think. I feel really proud of this piece.