A.N.: Short chapter is short and not much happens, but I'm trying to get back into this story, so please be patient? RL has been unkind.


Thankfully, Cap was not the type to freak out. There was no security staff in the house that he knew of. Neither Mr Wayne nor Alfred had mentioned anything like that, and, so far, there hadn't been an alarm. The house was way too quiet for that, there was no sign of the police or anything.

Okay, that meant either the camera was already broken or the tapes were more for documentation than anything else. So they might get checked at some point by someone, but no one was watching the live feed. Good.

It was kind of a weird set-up for a security system, Billy thought, especially for someone who had enough money to hire an entire army of security guards to keep him safe, but the important thing was that this meant Billy had a window.

Time to do something about that tape. Now all he had to figure out was what exactly he could do.

Billy floated above the house, frowning in concentration. He wanted to get rid of the recording, destroy it, call down the magic lightning and melt it into a puddle. But that wouldn't do, he realized.

If the recording was gone, people would notice sooner or later.

The thing he had to erase was himself. He had to get himself out of the picture, and while there were probably a number of convoluted technological ways to accomplish that goal, Billy had access to a much more effective and, most importantly, easy means to accomplish his mission.

Magic.


"Zatara! Thank God you're here!" Okay, so maybe he had been a little freaked – strictly on the inside, of course. But seeing Zatara made that boulder of worry roll right off his chest. Things were going to be okay!

"Captain?" Zatara turned to face him, a mug of coffee halfway to his lips. Behind him Black Canary looked up from her monitor, curios.

"I really need your help!" Cap was next to his colleague in one big leap. He was whispering urgently, aware of Black Canary, who was frowning at him and probably this close to getting up and coming over. He really liked her, but the last thing he needed was more people getting involved in his mess. With some trepidation Billy watched the magician's eyebrows shoot up until they practically touched the rim of his shiny black top hat.

"What happened?" Zatara asked, and from the shock written all over his face it was clear that he expected some major crisis along the lines of Fawcett City having been swallowed by a black hole. Billy felt like kicking himself. Way to overreact. He should have played it cool and subtle.

"Nothing! I mean nothing big! I just-" Captain Marvel stared at the ever deepening crease that had manifested between Zatara's eyebrows and swallowed. The magician did not look happy. In fact, he was starting to look kind of annoyed. "Um, can we talk somewhere?" Cap finished lamely. "In private?"


"You want your image erased from the camera footage?"

They were in the conference room and Zatara was shooting him a mildly quizzical look over the rim of his mug. Cap just about managed to suppress a sigh. A little more urgency would have been better after all.

"No, I need to get it erased, Zatara! If anyone sees that video, my secret identity is not secret anymore… so it's not going to be a secret identity, just a regular identity and—"

"Captain." Zatara raised his eyebrow again, this time just one though. It reminded Billy of several teachers he'd had over the years and made him feel a little more flustered than Captain Marvel ever should. Still, this was serious!

"Sorry! But you can do that, right? Get me out of the picture without anyone noticing anything?"

"Yes, of course. All you have to do is take me to—"

"No!" The word had erupted from his lips before he could reign himself in. Zatara almost dropped his mug. "I mean, I can't! You can't go there," Cap added hastily, trying to salvage the situation somehow.

"Why?" Billy hadn't thought it possible, but the eyebrow rose even higher. Zatara was suspicious, that much was clear.

"Because… because you just can't. Trust me on this, please?" He was begging now, more or less. If there really was no other way, maybe he could take Zatara to Wayne Manor… Except, no, he really couldn't. Bruce Wayne was famous and Zatara would surely ask Cap what he'd been doing on that particular roof in the middle of the night.

And also… well… Batman might still be around. Running into him with Zatara in tow because Cap had messed up? No thanks. Plus, there was no way Bats would just let this slide; he'd want to know everything, and since he was Batman, he would find out. "There's gotta be another way!"

Zatara frowned at him, those sharp green eyes seemingly looking right through the hero and at the boy. Billy had to swallow a sudden onslaught of nervousness; he was Captain Marvel; he was safe, hidden behind a shield of strength and courage.

Whatever happened, Cap could handle it. He just had to believe.

Bravely, he watched Zatara's frown deepen and steeled himself for what was to come.

It was a sigh, a sound caught somewhere between relief and resignation.

"Well," Zatara said as he set his mug down on the shiny surface of the big conference table, "there might be another way, Captain."