Mary Marvel Makes a Wish and Has to Live With It

BY : tooshoes
Category: DC Verse Comics > Marvel Family
Dragon prints: 624
Disclaimer: I do not own the Shazam family of characters, nor any other comic book characters in this story. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Nick Bromfield raised a glass of expensive Merlot with a generous smile, offering a toast. "To a brilliant win!"

Mary and her mom Nora smiled at each other, and the three clicked glasses at the center of the table.

Mary giggled as she took her first sip.

At sixteen years old, she felt excited and a little naughty drinking wine at the dinner table. Daddy told her it would be their secret, and that made it taste even better.

She hadn't felt like this in years.

She never expected for her daddy to show up at her softball game, but there he was on the sidelines with his friends, cheering her on. That made her so happy, like when she was a child, and his friends would come by the house to watch football. She would run into the room during commercials or when he called, and he would gush about her and call her his princess.

She never thought she would feel that way again.

Lately, her daddy either ignored her or drove her to panic. She would make small offerings, like bringing him beer and asking about his work, but he would dismiss her with a wave of hand. Sometimes he would say he was too busy. Other times he would criticize her behavior, her appearance, and her selfishness. Whatever weapon he chose, it always hit her with devastating efficiency.

But not today. It was like the old days. He was charming and generous. She almost ruined it several times, too nervous to smile at his jokes and shivering when he touched her shoulder. She didn't trust herself.

But her daddy disarmed her today by attending her ballgame and treating her like someone special. When Mary made the game-winning hit, she could hear him yelling from the sidelines, and she felt like she had won the World Series.

For one brief moment, her daddy loved her again.

Maybe that game was the start of something special. Maybe whatever was infecting their relationship was clearing up. Maybe she will be the golden child once again. She just needed this one win, and now maybe he'll see her as a winner.

For the last two years, a series of losses had shaken his faith in her. It had shaken her faith in herself. She really needed this.

Her mom was relieved, too. She had done everything she could to help, driving Mary to her softball games, helping her with make-up and keeping her diet under control. Every day was a struggle. Today was a win for her mother, too.

Maybe the future wasn't so bleak after all.

"See, Mary," Nick said as he cut his steak and put a chuck of the red meat to his smiling lips. "I can be gracious."

Mary smiled back and looked down nervously.

Yes, he could be nice. So why was Mary always so upset?

The wine was slightly sour and bitter and wonderfully complex. Mary drank it quickly like she would never get another chance.

Mary's mom touched her arm, and Mary smiled back gratefully.

She bit into a slice of buttered bread and closed her eyes. It was the same bread she ate every day, but today it tasted amazing.

Then her daddy frowned, and Mary swallowed, preparing for disaster.

"My friends were out of line at the ballpark. I know that," he said, surprising her. "They just haven't seen you in a few years. They forgot you were my daughter."

That was a strange defense, Mary thought, and unnecessary. How were his friends out of line? He was apologizing for an offense that she was unaware of.

Mary's mom looked panicked, so Mary felt panicked, too.

Her daddy took another sip of his wine and smiled genially. "Like they say, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need."

Mary looked flustered. Did she not give him what he wanted? What was it that he needed?

Nora tried to fix Nick's broken message by saying, "And sometimes you realize how fortunate you really are."

Mary's daddy glared at her for a moment, and then, suddenly, he was smiling brightly and raising his glass, defusing the tension. "Yes, let's drink to that. We started from nothing, and look what we have become!"

Mary smiled gratefully, and they clicked their glasses again.

While she sipped from her glass, her daddy continued to talk playfully, but Mary knew better.

He asked, "What gives you pride, Mary?"

"Why being your daughter, of course!" Mary replied instantly, sure that was the correct answer. And it was true. She had always felt fortunate that the Bromfields had chosen her.

"No, Mary," he surprises her. "I mean, what is it about yourself that you are most proud of?"

Mary stiffens. She never thought about that before. "I guess ... I don't know. My grades? My skills? What should I feel proud of, Daddy?"

"I don't know, Mary," he says with devastating sincerity. "I don't care about your skills or your grades. I was always proud to call you my daughter while you were growing up. Right out of the orphanage, you dazzled everyone. Everyone thought you were so cute and wonderful. I told everyone that one day you would be a beautiful, special young woman, full of grace and cheer."

Mary's eyes opened wide.

"What happened?" he continued. "Now you are a young woman, and you never seem cheerful. You sneak about like a nervous rodent, trying to prove yourself. You act cold as ice when my friends are visiting. You don't even try to look pretty for them. Why are you as flat as a board? You were supposed to be beautiful! Instead, now you are putting on weight, and that's just not acceptable for my daughter!"

Mary felt paralyzed in her chair. Insults from her daddy were nothing new, but he rarely hit her so low.

"That's my fault!" her mother rushed in to say. "I've been feeding her too much, hoping the weight would go to the right places."

"That was a stupid thing to do," he snapped at her, but it felt like he was snapping at Mary, too. "It's bad enough that she is unattractive, but she doesn't need you to make it worse for her. She doesn't have curves. Big deal. Don't they make stuff for that, like special bras? A pleated miniskirt or hot pants would show off her legs. A belt around her waist would make her ass look nicer. Some things she can fix, but she can't hide from being fat!"

Mary shifts in her chair, and the chair starts to topple. Before it can fall over, she stumbles to her feet and bolts away from the table. She climbs the stairs two steps at a time.

"Well, now you've done it!" Nora yelled at Nick.

"I've done her a favor," he replied unashamed and loud enough for Mary to hear. "She needs to hear the truth, and she has had enough dinner for tonight, anyway."

Mary grabbed her stuffed Tawky Tawny tiger and dove onto her bed. She had the tiger for as long as she could remember. She pulled the comforter over her body and hugged her plush friend tightly.

She was prey hiding from a predator, but holding onto her tiger calmed her down. Eventually the blood lust of the real predator downstairs faded, and all was quiet, but she was still afraid to move.

She breathed slow and steady. Mary wasn't one to cry. Her daddy would make her feel worse at the sight of her tears, calling her weak. She wished she could cry, anyway. Crying would help her release her pain, even if she couldn't escape it. But she had to hold it in. And that made her feel worse, because her father would say she was cold and boyish. She couldn't win.

It wasn't always this way between Mary and Nick Bromfield.

When Mary was a small child, Nick promised that she would always be his little princess. When she was ten, he promised that she would grow up beautiful and special.

How could he make that promise to her? It had made Mary nervous, but she had believed him, anyway.

And now she felt like he was blaming her for breaking his promise.

Mary had never asked to be beautiful or special, but now she wanted it more than anything, because it was what her daddy wanted. She would do anything for his love.

Instead, his disappointments became her disappointments. She was a late bloomer, not hitting puberty until she was thirteen. Even now, almost three years later, her chest was still as flat as a boy's, and the only thing growing on her was body hair and acne. She was ashamed when her daddy first noticed the brown hair on her legs, so now she shaved every day, even though such diligence was unnecessary. She covered the acne with make-up and tried her best to look pretty.

Whenever she looked in the mirror, she had mixed feelings. She couldn't tell if she was pretty or not, but her body looked like that of a slightly chubby boy. So she overdressed at school and spent most of her free time at home on the computer or pretending to be a hot girl on her phone. It was amazing how some apps could transform her. Some of her online friends actually thought she was beautiful, but they had no idea how hard she worked to create that illusion.

Unfortunately, she couldn't do the same thing with her father. He saw her every day, and he could see through all of her tricks.

Maybe she had always been this way, pretending to be beautiful and special, and that's why he adopted her, only to find out years later that she had always been a fake. He had flaunted her among his friends, and now he felt foolish, as though he was caught passing a cheap watch off as a Rolex.

These days when her daddy talked to his friends about her, usually loud enough for anyone to hear, he called her an "angsty teen who was coddled by her mother."

Her parents were doing all they could to salvage their investment. They hired a famous instructor to teach Mary charm, but she wasn't fooling anyone. Her parents demaned that she excel at school, but she was a B student at best. They forced her to try out as a cheerleader, but she was too late to apply, so they turned her into an athlete instead. She sucked at field hockey and soccer.

But she had a talent for softball, so she put her all into it. Mary desperately wanted for her parents to be proud of her again. Today was the big day, and she knew what the moment of truth arrived, she had nailed it.

So why wasn't that enough?

Because it was like her dad said: You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

So she didn't give her daddy what he wanted.

Mary was a failure.

She rolled in her bed and squeezed her tiger tightly. She buried her head under pillows and pretended like she was someone else, somewhere else, far, far away.

She listened to the fan in her window and the white noise it produced.

It was not a steady sound. The pitch rose and fell with the wind outside, shifting like a wave.

She disappeared into the oscillating noise.

***

She was falling.

And then she stopped. She didn't feel like she hit the ground, but the sensation of falling just stopped.

She lifted the pillow above her head, and the pillow disappeared.

A moment later, her bed and her room were gone, too.

She was lying on a stone floor in what appeared to be a cave.

She gasped and then laughed as she climbed to her feet and took it all in.

What she saw didn't make sense. Rust covered railroad tracks cut through the cave. Seven odd statues lined the walls of the cave on either side. She inspected each statue carefully. They were amusing and demonic at the same time, sending a shiver through her body.

She walked deeper into the cave, which was well lit despite having no light sources.

What did Mary expect – logic from a dream?

She knew she was dreaming, but it was so vivid!

Maybe she was just going crazy. That made sense, at least. She couldn't take the stress of living anymore, so she was losing her mind.

Somehow, she was so transfixed by the shapes in the wall, she didn't notice that she was approaching a throne at the end of the cave, and she jumped when a voice on the throne called out her name.

"Mary Bromfield," the voice of a white-haired old man in a black robe boomed. His voice echoed throughout the cave. "I have summoned you here because you embody innocence and obediance."

Mary laughed. And then she laughed harder. "You have to be kidding!"

He ignored her incredulity and said, "You have been tempered by hardships, but you have kept your heart soft. Your life has prepared you to be a hero."

That was even crazier than the idea of her being innocent, but Mary stopped laughing. This old man was clearly insane, but they had that in common. At least he believed in her, and that gave her a strange feeling of hope.

He continued, "You are powerless and wanting. The gods had forsaken you, but no longer. Now the gods will bless you as they did the heroes of old," the old man declared like a prophet. He held forth a staff and slammed the end of it into the ground, sending an echo throughout the chamber.

"I don't understand," Mary said, feeling stupid for expecting logic from a dream.

"Whenever you say my name, the gods will bless you with great abilities," he clarified.

"Say your name?" Mary asked, snickering but curious. "What is your name, sir?"

"My name is Shazam!" he said and slammed the staff down again. "For each letter of that name, you will be given the power of a goddess.

"You will receive the goddess Selene's all-seeing eye.

"Hippolyta's immense strength.

"Athena's strategic mind.

"Zephyrus's speed.

"Andraste's vigor.

"And Minerva's boundless wisdom."

He waved his staff in the air like a magic wand, and a spectral image Mary wearing a hero's costume appeared between them. Shazam meant to impress her, but all Mary could see was a reflection of herself with her flat chest and boring body barely hidden by the loose top and long skirt.

Mary sighed. "This is amazing, sir, but really, none of that matters much to me."

Shazam stared at her without judgement. "Well, child, what does matter to you?"

"I just want my daddy to love me," she replied like she was making a wish. "I want to be beautiful and fun. I want to be the daughter he wants, not the daughter he needs."

Shazam was somber. "Is that your price to be my champion?  Will you give up raw physical power, an eagle eye and a brilliant mind?  In exchange, we offer you the lures of Suadela, the delights of Hedone and the passions of Aphrodite. Because sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you get what you need."

He waved his staff again, and the spectral image of the heroine changed. The costume turned as soft as silk and draped revealingly over her now pert but ample breasts. The skirt shortened to reveal gorgeously sculptured legs and thighs. The face still looked like Mary's, but somehow beautiful and sexy, like how she changed her appearance for social media.

She looked gorgeous!

Mary smiled and reached out to touch her airbound reflection, but it disintegrated and became one with her.

She glanced at Shazam, confused.

"It is done," he replied. "Remember: my name is the key to unlocking your destiny."

The entire cavern was shaking, collapsing.

She reached out to touch him, but she was falling away.

A ton of stone broke free from atop the cave and fell on the old man, crushing him instantly!

And a split second later, Mary was sitting up in her bed, still fully clothed and wide awake.

The sky outside the window was dark, and footsteps approached her bedroom.

The door was open, and her mother entered the room wearing her pajamas.

She asked, "Honey, what is wrong? And what was that noise? You woke me up."

"Noise? I – I didn't hear any noise," Mary replied.

"Then why are you sitting, smiling, there rather than sleeping?" Nora asked.

"Am I smiling?" Mary asked, utterly confused.

"Of course, honey!" Nora said and sat down beside her. "My, that wine really did a number on you. You ran up here after dinner and in no time, you were sleeping like a log."

"Oh," Mary muttered.

The mother and daughter sat quietly on the bed, saying nothing.

It felt weird, but it also felt normal. There were a million things to say, but this was how they coped. By saying nothing.

She gave Mary strength.

They were a team. Nora was like an orphan, too, being Daddy's second wife and Mary's third mother. Together, they struggled to keep Daddy happy.

"Are you sure you are feeling okay?" Nora asked hopefully.

Mary nodded. She hugged Nora, saying, "Thanks, mom, but I think I'm going to be fine now."

***

Mary was upbeat, even excited.

A few hours ago, she doubted that she'd ever get over the disaster at the dinner table, but now it felt like a distant memory.

Mary undressed and put on her pajamas. She went back to bed, but not to sleep.

She grabbed her cell phone. She visited her favorite YouTube channel "WhizBoy", which was run by one of her classmates at school, Billy Batson.

It wasn't quite 11 PM, so Billy was still broadcasting live. His nightly show really didn't have a theme or any production value. Just a boy with a laptop computer. He merely did whatever popped into his mind, which might be him playing video games, reviewing a movie or just messing around with his friend Freddy. Mary even appeared on a couple of his shows herself.

WhizBoy wasn't widely seen, getting only a few hundred views per day, but that's not too shabby for a show produced and performed by a sixteen-year-old boy!

Mary made a point of watching every video, either live or recorded, and then she would share her thoughts with Billy and Freddy the next day at school. They always had something to talk about.

There was something about Billy that put Mary at ease even if she was stressed out.

They were both orphans, and Mary once thought that she was the lucky one, being adopted by a prosperous family as a small child while Billy bounced from foster home to foster home. But somehow, Billy was the one who came out happy and well adjusted.

He was special. He was the only one who could always bring her out of her shell.

She laughed while he read dirty jokes submitted by subscribers. She laughed more at his reactions than at the jokes.

The night was already getting late, and Billy was just wrapping up his show for the night.

Mary didn't want it to end, so as soon as the live feed stopped, she called him directly.

He answered on the first ring with, "Don't tell me you are chickening out! I won't take no for an answer!"

"No!" Mary replied, but she had completely forgotten that they had made plans for tomorrow. For the whole weekend, actually. "I've just been having the weirdest night, and I need to talk."

He laughed, knowing he got her flustered, and then he said, "No problem. I'm glad you called. So what is so weird, weirdo?"

"Well, it's really stupid," she said, suddenly feeling embarrassed.

"Have you seen my show? Lay it on me!"

"Well, it started after my softball game. My dad was in rare form, even for him," Mary didn't need to elaborate; she knew he understood. "So I ran up to bed and just laid there for a while, and the next thing I know, I guess I fell asleep, and I had the weirdest dream."

"Really?" Billy said excitedly. He loved talking about dreams or anything out of the ordinary.

"Yeah, but the weird thing is that it didn't feel like a dream. I mean, I never remember much about my dreams, but this one – jeesh! I remember everything. I was in this cave, and it was really spooky looking with like sculptures of demons on the walls. A really old man was there, and he told me that I could be a hero if I just mentioned his name. Shazoom or something. Anyway, I would get all of these amazing powers and stuff and I guess anything I wished for."

"I'll bet you asked for bigger boobs," Billy blurted out laughing.

"No!" Mary said indignantly, but felt embarrassed because Billy was pretty close. He knew her too well. "I just ... oh, I don't know. I didn't know if I wanted to be a hero. I mean, why did I dream about that, anyway? Don't people dream about what they wish for? Wanting to be a hero is more your dream than mine."

"Damn right!" he agreed. "But I think you'd make a great hero. You just have to save yourself from your jerk dad first."

Mary winced. "I don't want to talk about that."

"Okay. Just don't sell yourself short. You can be anyone you want to be," he insisted.

"I just can't be who my dad wants me to be," Mary whined and immediately regretted it.

"I'll tell you a secret," Billy said and then whispered for effect. "Nobody could live up to your father's standards, because he doesn't want you to. He wants to keep you under his thumb."

Mary stopped talking.

"Hello?" Billy asked, thinking maybe she had hung up.

"I'm here," Mary choked out, and then she realized that she was crying. She hadn't cried in years. She admitted, "I think you are right."

"I know I am," Billy said enthusiastically. "So get out from under his thumb and be who you want to be, and if he doesn't like it, I think my foster home has room for one more."

Mary wiped her tears and laughed. "Really? I think they already have their hands full with you and Freddy. And can you imagine Freddy and me living in the same home?"

Billy laughed, too. "The perv is right here, you know! And yeah, I definitely can. You could be yourself here."

Mary smiled, but the moment felt like too much. She didn't expect it to get so serious.

"Hello?" Billy asked again.

"Sorry..." Mary replied. "I'm getting pretty tired. I think I need to get some sleep."

"Yes, we have a big day tomorrow," Billy agreed. "We should get some sleep, too."

"Okay ... I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, Billy. And say goodnight to Freddy."

"Goodnight Mary," Billy replied, and she can hear Freddy repeat the wish in the background.

 



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