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I'll Write You A Tragedy

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Clark leaves Kara with the Danvers. He doesn’t know what to do with her, a thirteen-year-old cousin who came twenty years too late, both of them out of their depth. She’s alone and scared and traumatized and Clark doesn’t know how to fix it without making her feel worse so he takes her to those he knows will do right by her.

Kara screams and shrieks as he tries to leave; mostly in Kryptonian. Clark my not speak the language but he does get the gist of it: how dare he betray her; how dare he leave her with strangers. They are the only kryptonians left. But Clark has never known Krypton, and cannot give her the solace she seeks. He leaves.

(She screams COWARD COWARD COWARD at his retreating figure in the sky until her voice runs hoarse. She does not speak to anyone for several days, when she decides to begin speaking, it is in stilted English, but only to Jerimiah).

Alex hates having a sister, especially an alien. Kara hates Earth, and hates that she cannot be a hero like Clark even more. She fluctuates between sheer idolization of him, and utter hatred. Kara saves a child from a car about to explode, bears Alex’s fury, and wears the lead lined glasses Jerimiah gives her. She has been living with the Danvers for a week. She has been on Earth for two (the first spent in Smallville when she crashed during the Harvest Festival).

Kara is thirteen, and has learned enough English, and adjusted to the translator she wears to fill the gaps well enough that they think starting her in school is a good idea. Arguably, because the Danvers need to work, and not give Kara time to practice her powers or aggravate Alex into possibly strangling her. They want her to have a chance at being normal they tell her. They enroll her into Alex’s freshman year class, so have a familiar face. Alex is seriously aggrieved. Kara stays silent, though inside she is screaming that this ISN’T normal, not the way she knows, lived it, craves it. Normal doesn’t have yellow suns, or a lack of space travel. Normal doesn’t have her living with a family that barely wants her, while her only family remaining has picked a girl (Lois Lane) and a city (Metropolis) and a job (reporting) over her (his last remaining blood in the Universe).

Kara knows more math and physics than the entire human race has even discovered. But she can barely pass history or write an essay. Morals, culture, numbers, alphabets.

Everything is different. She has a learning curve greater than anything Clark ever had to face. They say to sop comparing herself to Clark; she thinks she’ll stop when everyone else does.

High school is daunting. Alex ignores her. She is taking Advanced Placement Physics and Advanced Placement Calculus and is nearly bored to tears and frustrated to tears in equal measure. Because she’s known more than half these concepts since before Krypton died, and she keeps forgetting that there are theorems and proofs and constants she cannot use, simply because humans have not discovered them. She has learned their existence and application, but never learned their proof, does not have anything but her memory to prove herself right. Like an earth child who understands gravity, but could not show it mathematically. Mentally converting Kryptonian numbers to Earth ones takes more effort than the actual math does, but she doesn’t set anything on fire with the glare of her eyes, so the Danvers consider this a success.

English is another story all together. She has only just begun to learn the language. Human sounds and linguistics in general. She has a translator and an eidetic memory, but even that is not enough to translate idioms and expressions and lifetimes and decades of pop culture and references and a hundred dozen little things she can understand literally and not understand at all. Writing is different, letters are different, beyond even just grammar and spelling. English, with a seemingly infinite list of rules and contradictions and expectations folding in on itself, is not something to master in the course of six months. They put her in remedial English for English as a second language students, and she still manages to be the worst in the class. History is no better, and in many ways worse. All the language barriers, topped with a simple fact that she does not have the fourteen years of earth and American culture experienced that her classmates do. Even the most basic of facts she fails, simply for never having encountered them.

Kara hateshateshates it here. She wants to go to Metropolis with Clark. Wants to be a hero. She doesn’t want to play-act at being human when she isn’t. She can fly, She can stop a bullet. She can do anything Clark can do; between the two of them, she has less experience but more knowledge. She knows more than he does of aliens and villains and mechanics od their powers. She knows how the yellow sun affects them down to their molecules. But he gets to save lives and she gets to stay in Midvale with a not-sister who hates her, a not-mother who doesn’t understand her, and a not-father who is gonegonegone. Sometimes Kara wants to leave. Sometimes, she wants to rip the world apart with her bare hands, because why should this primitive and impossibly cruel planet exist when Krypton cannot? There are days where she agrees with Lex Luthor more than Clark Kent. Lex, who was not so much on the precipice of becoming a villain, but already on his fall to being exactly the man he didn’t want to be. She thinks maybe its Clark that pushed too far. She thinks Lex’s fall wasn’t only one from grace, because she sees the way Lex and Clark look at each other. But Smallville, Kansas is a long way from the rest of the universe, she knows this better than anyone. She knows they are stubborn enough to still be friends. But not enough to ever push to be more, too scared of themselves and each other. She knows her arrival may be the last straw that breaks everything. Clark says he doesn’t know what to do, but Kara never asked for him to know, she just wants him here.

Kara leaves one day. She has been with the Danvers for a short while and long enough. The first time Clark tells her he’s leaving her, before she even gets to Midvale and screaming, she runs to Lex Luthor, the only man who knows what it feels like to be betrayed by Smallville’s golden boy. Clark is too human for his own good. And Kara cries and rages, and its Lex Luthor who comforts her about going to Midvale. Superman is the hero, and Luthor is the villain. Sometimes, that not a line easy to remember, when Lex has been nothing but kind, and Clark has abandoned her.

But now, a year into being human, or as human as she can manage, Kara has only just started being close to Alex. They’ve solved the murder of her only friend, Kenny. And Lex is in prison. She can’t run to him a gain. Can’t run to Clark, because he’s out being a hero or he’s out being with Lois and all it boils down to is he doesn’t want her, doesn’t want Krypton’s memory. Clark likes being human, feels more human than anything else. Kara cannot fathom it. But he was raised on Earth. They keep comparing her progress and powers to his, but they are fundamental differences that will never change. Clark may have powers, but Kara is the only Kryptonian left. Some days, she’s tempted to be the monster Lex expected Clark to become, if only to get them, either of them, ANYONE to notice her as more than Kal-El’s little (older) cousin. She hates calling him Clark, a reminder of everything that went wrong.

She’s a senior in high school, and four years into Earth bound living before the hate and hurt she feels to Clark fades back into Idolization. He’s her last remaining family, she’ll take what she can get. He visits, and he speaks to her, and its more and better than what she got at thirteen. She loves him, even if she still can’t really stand Lois all that much. When the counselor’s start asking about colleges, she picks Metropolis University and studies journalism. She wants to be a hero like her cousin, might as well be like him in this too. There are not many options where he gaps in knowledge or unique skillset will go unnoticed or unchallenged. She gets a job working for Cat Grant, who used to work with Perry White, and who hates (and admires) Lois Lane. It feels like the right choice. It feels like being human.