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Chapter 1

 

Kara held onto her mother tightly as the world shook and crackled around them. She knew, she knew this was the end, that she was being sent away, that the world was ending. She knew this would be the last time she saw her mother or father, her entire world, and she just wanted to hold on a little longer, to never let go. “Kara,” her mother whispered, “Kara you have to let go little star.”

“I don’t want to,” the girl murmured, burying her head into her mother’s chest. “I don’t want to leave you.”

“You must little star, you have to live,” Alura told her, fighting back the tears in her eyes. “You have so much of your life ahead of you. You must live to carry on the memory of Krypton, but also to be there for your baby cousin. Because of Earth’s yellow sun, you will have great powers there, do not be afraid, use them wisely, be a light for the people of Earth, be the guiding light I know you can be, my little star.”

The girl released her mother, wiping away the tears that were falling down her face. “I’ll be brave mother, I won’t let you or father down.”

Alura gave the girl a soft smile and tucked a lock of dirty blonde hair out of her eyes. “You’re always so brave little star, I want you to be happy. I need you to live a long, full life, to fall in love, have a family. Know that your father and I will be watching over you from Rao’s light.” She stepped back and allowed her wife to hug their daughter one last time before they had to let her go.

“Father,” Kara hugged the blonde woman, relishing in the soft hands that combined through her hair.

“My beautiful star,” Lara murmured, pressing soft kisses into her hair. “You’re going to grow up and do great things, I only wish that we could be there to watch you grow.” She took her necklace off and snapped it around Kara’s neck. “Keep this with you always as a way to remember your mother and I,” she told her daughter, kneeling down in front of her. Alura handed Lara her bonding bracelet, the one that had been a fixture on her wrist for the past twenty years. They were wider than most bonding bracelets, covering their entire wrist rather than just a small band. She brushed her thumb over the metal fondly, years of memories flashing through her mind in an instant: meeting Alura as children of the upper houses of Krypton, falling in love, their bonding ceremony, petitioning for a child with the birthing matrix, and choosing to go with a more natural approach when they were informed all of the birthing pods were full. Seeing her wife’s stomach rounded and growing with their child was one of the most beautiful sights she had ever seen, second only to Alura on their bonding day.

Another earthquake rocked through the platform, snapping Lara out of her thoughts and back to the matter at hand, and the precious time they were losing. She had to make sure that Kara escaped, that her and Alura’s daughter lived, that the proof, the beautiful proof of their loved carried on while they could not. She took her own bonding bracelet off her wrist and snapped them around Kara’s. “These will protect you,” she murmured, staring into watery, crystal blue eyes. “The metal used to make bonding bracelets is one of the strongest materials in the universe, much stronger than anything found on Earth.”

“They’re too big Father,” Kara sniffled, clutching onto the bracelets like her life depended on it.

Lara smiled at the girl, “You will grow into them Kara, and they will grow with you. Don’t be afraid, my star, we will always be with you.”

A slight quake followed by a blast echoed through the launch chambers and Alura glanced towards the sound. “Jor-El must’ve sent Kal-El already, we don’t have much time left Lara.”

The blonde woman gave another teary smile and hugged Kara to her. “It’s so hard to let you go,” she choked out, unable to fight back the tears as her wife had.

“We’re running out of time Lara,” Alura said, tears streaking down her own face.

Lara straightened and wiped at her face. “You’re right, Kara it’s time, you have to get in the pod, your cousin has already left.” The smell of sulfur filled their nostrils as more explosions and earthquakes fractured the rocks around them. Lara and Alura helped Kara up into her pod, and tucked the little girl into the pod with her blanket and other items to remind her of Krypton.

“We love you Kara,” Alura gasped out, tears streaking down her face. “But now you must go little star.” The two women pressed kisses against Kara’s face and head before stepping back away from the pod, watching as the hatch closed.

Kara pressed her hand against the glass, not tearing her eyes away from her mother and father as the pod’s autopilot kicked in and started counting down to launch. “I love you,” Kara said through the glass, her own eyes clouding with tears as the pod took off, rocketing her into space.

Both Alura and Lara broke down in sobs as the pod disappeared, clinging to each other for comfort. “We did it,” Alura murmured, pressing her face into Lara’s blonde hair. “We got her out, she’ll be safe, have a future.”

“Yes,” Lara murmured, “Though I wish there was another way, I wish there was more time for us all. I wish we could’ve gone with her.”

Alura smiled sadly at her wife, tucking a few errant strands of blonde hair away from her face, “We made our bed Lara, now we must lie in it.”

The world shook and cracked around them and they clung tighter to each other, both knowing that this was the end, both hoping, praying that Kara got away in time. “I love you Alura,” Lara murmured, pressing her forehead against her wife’s.

“I love you too Lara,” Alura replied, her eyes closing. “We’ll be together in Rao’s light.”

Kara twisted around as best as she could in her pod; she couldn’t grab the controls and risk the autopilot disengaging but she needed to see, she needed to look at her world one last time. Krypton was shining, glowing in the light of its red sun when Kara saw a great fracture ripple through the world, and suddenly it was gone. The silence was deafening as millions of lives were snuffed out in an instant, all consumed by fire as the planet exploded. Kara heard a scream, and it took her a moment to realize that it was her own.

The blast knocked into the pod, sending it careening off course, whirling around through space. Kara braced her hands against the side of the pod, sending prayers to Rao to guide her journey safely, while tears continued to pour down her face as she mourned her parents, her family, her friends. Her eyes widened as the pod jerked, caught in a gravitational field and she looked out, her eyes falling on a dark, swirling vortex. “Oh Rao,” she muttered, her eyes widening.

A black hole. The science guild had been monitoring the vortex for years, ever since it was first discovered just outside of Rao’s system. The gravitational field of the black hole was strong as it pulled in the pod, fighting against the autopilot controls and thrusters that kept attempting to correct the course. Even with their advanced science and technology, no one was certain what happened inside of a black hole.

Kara screwed her eyes shut as her ship slipped into the vortex, darkness surrounding her almost instantly. The pod was tossed around, knocked by rocks and debris and Kara shook in the small space. Suddenly a light appeared behind her eyelids and she hesitantly opened her eyes, gaping at the swirls of light inside the vortex. A force jerked the pod forward and Kara braced herself as the light around her seemed to speed up. The pod was rocketing through the vortex, reaching a speed faster than light, and Kara slammed her eyes shut again.

The shaking began anew as the ship reached speeds it wasn’t designed to, and Kara was knocked into the side of the pod, her head cracking against the glass. Her head pounded as she slumped in her seat, instantly slipping into darkness.

 


 

Diana grunted as her back impacted the ground, a large, dark skinned Amazon pressed into her with a knife held to her throat. “Enough Philippus,” Antiope ordered, causing the woman to climb off the downed princess. The blonde general strode up next to the panting teenager on the ground and held out a hand to help her niece up. “You’re still hiding from your power Diana, you must learn to embrace it,” the woman said, setting her hands gently on the girl’s shoulders.

“I am embracing it Antiope, I want to become a warrior in case Ares returns, what more do I need to embrace?” Diana muttered out, frustrated.

“You are very brave Diana, but very naive in the ways of Man’s world,” the general said. “Now get on, your mother will have my head if you’re late for your tutoring lesson.”

The brunette sighed but nodded and sprinted back up to the palace where her tutor Calliope was waiting for her. “You’re late Diana,” the redhead stated, her hands set on her hips in irritation.

“Sorry Calliope, I was being beaten into the ground,” Diana grumbled.

“Just remember that your mother is allowing the training so long as you keep up with your other studies,” the tutor warned. “Now go get changed, we’re going to be in the library today looking at the ancient scrolls.”

Diana knew that rolling her eyes at her tutor or letting out a sigh would get back to her mother and she would never hear the end of it, so she just silently turned towards her room and pulled on a fresh tunic. Calliope nodded, pleased when Diana returned and the two made their way over to the library, taking a few of the historical scrolls from Mnemosyne before grabbing some of the ancient texts they had collected over the years. While Calliope droned on about the philosophies of Aristotle versus Plato, Diana glanced through some of the history scrolls. She always found the history of the Amazons and their origins far more interesting than the literature that Calliope insisted was important.

One of the scrolls in her stack looked far older than the others she had grabbed as they walked into the library. She had never seen it before, which was remarkable considering she had spent a lot of time going over the histories. It was old, older than the other scrolls Mnemosyne had written; the scroll was faded and cracked on the edges, and made of papyrus rather than parchment like the rest of the scrolls in the library. Diana picked it up and unrolled it on the table, her eyes tracing the foreign symbols and images before her.

“Calliope,” Diana said, interrupting her tutor, “What is this? This does not look like any language I have seen before.”

The woman crossed her eyes in annoyance before glancing down at the scroll the princess was looking at. “I, I’m not sure Diana. It’s an old scroll, but you’re right, it’s not in any language I immediately recognize. Mnemosyne would most likely know though.” Calliope left to fetch the historian while Diana continued to study the papyrus. The pictures were beautiful, decorated with watercolor while the language was written in the margins of the images. People were displayed throughout the scroll, shining people that seemed to come from the sky to Earth. She wondered if this was a story about ancient gods that once walked among men.

“What seems to be the problem?” The Amazon historian, Mnemosyne asked when Calliope returned with the older woman. Diana gestured to the scroll laid out in front of her and the gray-haired woman analyzed the papyrus. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this scroll,” Mnemosyne murmured. “I had forgotten it was in the stack that I gave you.”

“What does it say, what do these pictures speak of?” Diana asked, still transfixed by the images.

Mnemosyne took the scroll and ran her fingers over the written script. “This is a written language that no longer exists,” she said, “This is the only remaining evidence of the Palaic language, a language that died out long before the time of the Amazons. The scroll speaks of a time when beings similar to us came from the stars, not gods, but still otherworldly. They brought with them great magic and knowledge before leaving, none have descended from the stars since.”

“Why did they descend from the stars? These people, does the scroll say?” Diana asked, staring at the pictures intently.

“I can’t actually read this language, so I’m not sure what it says but it does not look like the scrolls tell of why they came, just that they did come and interacted with mankind,” the historian responded. The woman nodded in farewell and returned to her scrolls, leaving Diana to her tutor.

Calliope rolled the papyrus up and returned to the philosophies, but Diana’s mind continued to return to the star people. She wondered if Mnemosyne was wrong, if the star people were like gods in power and appearance, and descended to bring gifts and knowledge to mankind. Her tutor slammed the table in front of her, startling the princess from her thoughts. “Do pay attention Diana, this is important,” Calliope said, her glare stern and dangerous.

Every now and then Diana forgot that the woman was an Amazon warrior, chosen and trained to be a fierce fighter though she had given up that job to be a scholar for the Amazons. The princess saw retribution and punishment in stormy gray eyes and gulped, returning her attention to the writings of Plato. Her tutoring session lasted well into the afternoon until she returned to the palace for an evening meal with her mother and several of the senators. While her mother would wish that she pay attention during state dinners such as this one, Diana’s mind kept returning to that mysterious scroll now that her attention was not diverted by her studies.

The histories and ancient legends always fascinated her, mostly due to the stories of brave Amazons fighting to defend the world. This legend was different though, something about it captivated her interest and she wasn't sure what is was. The queen dismissed her soon after dinner because the moon was rising in the sky and she was not yet old enough to join in the after feast activities.

Eventually the noise of the Amazons quieted down, and Themyscira became still and silent. The silence started to eat at her, echoing in her mind, enough to drive her out of bed. She sparring clothes on and climbed down the walls of the palace, sneaking around in the shadows until she reached the path down along the cliffs. She hasn't needed to sneak out at night since her mother had agreed to allow her to train as a warrior, but her mind was too restless for sleep to come easy.

Diana walked along the cliff edge and stared out at the barrier islands and the magic dome that hid Paradise Island from the rest of the world. She often wondered what Man’s world was like and desired to save them from the evil influence of Aries, but she knew that she had more training to do. Suddenly a dark shape glittering in the moonlight appeared in her vision and Diana watched as the shape hurtled down from the sky towards the sea. She could barely make out a figure slumped over behind the glass on the craft before it landed in the sea. Diana leapt off the cliff into the water and swam to the slowly sinking vessel. She took a deep breath before swimming down to the ship, her hands searching for a way to get to the figure inside.

Frustrated, Diana finally gave up trying to find a latch and settled for pounding on the glass, watching in relief as it cracked and shattered before her eyes. She grabbed the figure as water filled the space and pulled them to the surface before treading awkwardly back to land. When Diana reached the shore, she pulled the person onto the beach, the moonlight shining down allowing the Amazon to get a better look at the figure. It was a girl, one that looked smaller and younger than herself, but Diana knew that appearances were deceiving, especially since she grew up on an island of immortal Amazons. The girl had golden blonde hair streaked with white and silver, and was dressed in a strange white gown, one that covered both her arms and legs. Even while unconscious, her hands clutched tightly at a small bundle and Diana chose to leave it with her out of respect.

She heard a series of hoofbeats striking the ground and she turned to see her mother, her aunt, Philippus, Eubeoa, and several other warriors on horseback riding up to the beach. “Step back Diana,” Hippolyta ordered, her sword pulled pointing at the figure lying on the sand concealed by Diana’s shadow.

“No, mother, it’s okay, she, she needs our help,” the brunette moved away to reveal the full figure of the girl.

When they saw the girl on the ground, they approached cautiously on their horses, and Antiope dismounted to check on the figure. “She’s alive, breathing, but just barely,” the general said after searching the girl’s body for any signs of life.

“We must take her to Althea then,” Hippolyta commanded, waving for one of the waiting warriors to carry the girl. “How did you find the girl Diana?”

Diana pursed her lips in response and glanced out at the sea before looking up at the sky. “I saw something fall from the sky, some type of craft or ship, and I saw that someone was slumped over inside.” She pointed out to the water, “It landed and sank, so I swam out there to get the person. Mother, what if she’s one of the star people?”

“Star people?” Hippolyta asked, her bemused as she pulled Diana on her horse behind her.

The princess nodded, “Mnemosyne has a scroll, she told me the story today. A long time ago, people from the sky descended to the earth bringing new magic with them. She fell from the sky in some strange ship, so what if she is one of those star people?”

“I think that was just a story Diana, but I will tell Althea that she is to do everything she can for the girl. She is only the second child in Themyscira, so it is a blessing she landed here, even if she is not an Amazon.”

The hospital wasn’t far from the palace, so Diana was able to accompany the Amazon carrying the girl. Althea insisted that she look over her patient in private, but the princess refused to leave the hospital until the girl awoke. She paced in the hallway outside of the room where Althea was caring for the girl, while Hippolyta and Antiope stared at her, the former in confusion the latter in amusement. “Why do you care so much about what happens to this girl Diana?” The Amazon queen asked.

“Well I did fish her out of the water Mother, I would like to know if she survives her ordeal,” Diana answered, pausing momentarily to answer before resuming her pacing. “And I have so many questions for her, where she came from… She looks just like us, but what if she’s one of the star people?”

“Diana...” Hippolyta started but she was interrupted by Althea pushing back the curtain and stepping out into the hallway.

“How is she?” Diana asked, immediately in front of the doctor.

Althea looked from the princess to the queen, and Hippolyta just sighed and motioned for her to go ahead. “The girl is recovering,” Althea said, speaking to all three women. “She has a large bump on the side of her head which would explain her unconsciousness. I was unable to detect any injuries other than that and some small bruises all over her body.”

“Bruises, was the girl attacked?” Antiope asked, suddenly interested in the conversation. Children were precious to the Amazon, and although she had been training Diana to be a warrior ever since she was small, Antiope would never consider attacking a child.

The general relaxed minutely when the doctor shook her head but maintained a vigilant presence. Althea thought back to the varied bruises on the girl’s skin, “It’s more likely that she got knocked around a bit, like falling off a horse. We will have to wait until she awakens for us to learn more about the girl.”

“When do you think she will awaken?” Hippolyta questioned.

Althea sighed, “Your guess is a good as mine, my queen. She could awaken tomorrow, in a week, in a fortnight, or never, it is uncertain.”

Hippolyta sighed, “You have done the best that you could Althea, thank you.” The healer nodded and returned to her quarters kept just off of the medical wing. Even though her patient was unconscious, she would monitor the girl until she was no longer in her care. The queen turned to her daughter only to find that Diana had slipped through the curtain and was sitting next to the bed that held the unconscious girl. “Diana,” Hippolyta murmured, walking up next to the young Amazon. “Diana we have to go.”

“I don’t want to leave her alone mother,” Diana told her, not tearing her eyes away from the girl. “What if she wakes up alone?”

“You heard Althea, Diana, there is no telling when the girl will wake, are you planning to stay with her the entire time?” The determined look on her daughter’s face indicated that she was planning on staying next to the girl until she woke from her slumber. “You have decided then,” the queen stated, “You are to be the girl’s guide, protector on the island?”

Diana nodded firmly, “I found her, pulled her out of the waters, saved her, it is only right that I take on this position.”

The queen nodded, “Very well, your training will be suspended until the girl is awake and you will be her guide and protector until the senate and I decide what is to happen to her.”

“Thank you mother,” Diana replied, her eyes not straying from the blonde on the bed. She lingered in the hospital all night, staying strong during her vigil. Her hands found the girl’s and she softly started to run her fingers over smooth skin. It felt different from her own, warmer, softer, though she knew that her own hands have become rough due to her years of training in hand to hand combat and with the many weapons of the Amazon.

Althea had removed the girl’s clothing in order to better inspect her for injuries and had dressed her in a simple shift before placing her in the bed. Diana glanced around and found the blonde’s original dress folded neatly with the bundle she had been clutching to like it was her last lifeline. She contemplated poking around the bundle as a way to discover more about the unconscious girl, but she shook away the idea. Privacy was extremely important to the Amazons, and Diana determined it was better to learn about her new friend from the girl herself.

The morning sun was cresting over the balcony of the medical wing, casting golden rays through the room and falling over the two occupants of the room. The girl started to stir when sunlight fell across her face, catching her golden hair. Diana leaned forward just as eyelids started to flutter, and was rewarded when deep blue eyes opened. She remained still as the girl looked around, and only moved when the girl sat up and pressed herself back into the wall. “It's okay,” the brunette said quickly, “You're safe here.”

The girl responded in a language that Diana did not recognize, and she shook her head. “I'm sorry, I don't understand,” Diana said, frustration evident in her tone. The girl seemed to understand what she meant by her tone, and a downtrodden expression appeared on her face. Diana racked her brain trying to think of a way to communicate with the girl, she had never run into a language she didn’t know so this was a first for her, though it was also the first time she ever encountered anyone not an Amazon.

“Kara.” The girl’s voice broke Diana out of her thoughts and the princess looked up at the blonde girl. She was pointing at herself and staring at her with earnest blue eyes, “Kara Lara-El.”

“Kara,” Diana repeated, trying to copy the fluctuation of the word exactly the way the girl said it. Judging by the way her face lit up, she must’ve succeeded. “Diana,” she said, pointing to herself. “Princess,” she made a crown shape with her fingers, “of Themyscira.” She gestured fingers around in hopes that she was communicating that Themyscira was the entire island and not just the room they were in. Kara scrunched her face for a moment before repeating the words Diana had said, pointing at the brunette as she spoke. Diana nodded with a large smile on her face, eliciting a smile from the prone girl as well. The smile lit up her whole face causing Diana to marvel for a moment at how this girl seemed to radiate with light.

She mentally shook her head before pointing to different objects around the room and reciting the words in her own language, making sure Kara understood what she was saying. The girl would nod, repeat the word, and then say it in her own language. Diana took it all in like a sponge, Amazons were gifted with languages after all, and it seemed like Kara was equally as gifted. She would learn the blonde’s language, and teach her her own, she could do this, she had to.

 

Chapter Text


 

“So this girl, Kara,” Hippolyta started, looking down at her daughter from her throne. “She does not speak any of the languages you know?”

Diana shook her head, “No mother, and I tried several languages. I have started teaching her how to speak, read and write Greek, along with several other languages, and she appears to be gifted with them as well. She is teaching me her language at the same time, and it seems to be very advanced, despite us not knowing it.”

Hippolyta nodded, “This is good, she seems to have the intelligence of an Amazon even if she is not one, have you gathered any more information from her?”

“No, she’s reluctant to talk about where she is from, not that I can understand much from her now anyway. She appears devastated though, as if suffering from a great sadness, and she holds onto the bracers around her wrists.” Diana touched her own bracelets as she spoke.

“She has bracelets as well?”

The brunette nodded, “They’re smaller than mine, but they’re so beautiful mother. I’ve never seen anything like them before.”

“You are building a strong connection with the girl then, that is good.”

“Have you or the council decided what is going to be done with Kara?” Diana asked, “We can’t just kick her out, make her leave, it doesn’t seem like she has anywhere else to go.”

“We haven’t made any decisions yet Diana, but I can assure you that we aren’t just going to kick her out,” Hippolyta assured her daughter, stepping down from her throne. “She might not be an Amazon, but she’s just a child, and children are sacred to the Amazons, as you well know.”

“But she will not always be a child Mother, what will you do when she is grown?”

Hippolyta sighed and set her hands on her daughter’s shoulder, “I do not know Diana. Amazons are immortal, so I do not know what will happen to the girl, to Kara, especially since we don’t know where she is from or really anything about her. Just continue to watch over her and teach her for now.”

“Yes mother,” Diana nodded before striding out of the throne room and out of the palace. After Kara had been cleared to leave the hospital a few days previous, her care had been charged to Pythia, a silver haired Amazon. The woman was a natural mother but unfortunately never had the chance to raise a child when she was mortal, and it was impossible on the island of the Amazons. Her mother sculpted her out of clay and she had been the only child, until she pulled Kara out of the sea.

She reached the house not too far away from the palace and knocked lightly on the simple, wooden door. Pythia answered and smiled at the young princess, “Good morning Diana.”

“Good morning Pythia, is Kara awake yet?”

The woman nodded, her eyes sparkling with laughter, “Of course, the girl rose with the sun. I believe she is still up out on the balcony performing some kind of ritual. She has been teaching me a little of her language, and we have been working more on Greek, but I don’t know as much of her language as you do obviously. Maybe she’ll explain it to you?”

“She is progressing quickly at learning our language, and I am learning hers so perhaps.” Diana gestured up to the second level of Pythia’s house, “May I go up and see her?”

“Yes, of course Princess, she is your charge, I’m just her caregiver,” the woman waved the young Amazon towards the stairs.

Diana took the stairs two steps at a time until she was on the upper floor. She found the blonde girl kneeling on the balcony floor, her face and hands outstretched towards the sun as it shone down on her, bathing her in a golden light. The Amazon princess had never seen someone quite like the other girl, someone who shone with light like the gods, such a kind-hearted soul, but also with a heart wrenching sadness that seemed all encompassing. She didn’t know what to make of the girl, but she was determined to get to know her. There weren’t any other children on the island, so she relished the chance at having someone who own age. “Kara,” she greeted softly, making sure to keep the same inflection in the name that the girl had used.

Blue eyes opened and looked over at her, a small smile on her face. “Greetings Diana,” she intoned, her words holding a thick accent but still recognizable.

“You’ve been practicing,” Diana said slowly, causing the blonde girl to smile.

“Yes Pythia has been… helping me,” Kara replied. She winced a little and rubbed at her ears as she heard sounds from all over the island echoing through her eardrums. She could hear clanging of metal, voices, footsteps and other strange sounds she had never encountered before. Fortunately night was quiet with only the occasional shifting or else she would never be able to sleep.

“Would you like to come out with me today?” Diana asked, “If you are feeling well of course, I could show you the island.”

Kara missed a few of the words but she understood the basic meaning that Diana wanted to show her around. The blonde nodded and took the helping hand from the older girl, allowing her to pull her off the ground. She located the pieces of cloth that Pythia had given her that she understood to be clothes of some sort, though nothing like she had ever seen. When she first awoke in the strange room and saw Diana looking down at her, she didn’t have much to think about other than trying to learn the language the other girl was speaking.

Later, when she was alone with her thoughts, Kara reviewed everything she had learned from the older girl and everything she had already known. Her name, her language, the stars shining at night, she knew these things. She remembered her mother’s voice, the way she would brush her hands through Kara’s hair as she was soothing a nightmare. She knew her father’s laugh, the way the woman spoke and gestured towards the stars, teaching her the stories spoken of in those lights. Kara knew these things as she knew the very breath in her body, but she couldn’t remember their faces, where she was from other than far from Diana and Themyscira, a whole other world.

Tears rolled silently down her face as she sobbed, she couldn’t remember her own parents, her home. They were just blurry memories and shapes, nothing that she could clearly identify. She could hear nearly everything said around the island, all of the sounds, from the softest footstep to the loudest clash of weapons. Every now and then when she lost focus or focused too hard, she could see through buildings, trees, people… It was a horrifying experience, and she pressed her hands into her eyes until she got it to stop. She knew she was different than the women around her, she knew that she came from somewhere else, another world, but she didn’t know why that made her different. She didn’t know what was wrong with her, and she was afraid of telling anyone in fear that they would send her away.

“Kara.” The blonde glanced over towards the door at the sound of her name and found Pythia standing in the doorway staring in at her in concern. “Are you well?” The woman asked, rubbing her back and lightly carding her fingers through blonde hair.

The blonde stiffened slightly at the touch, before sinking into the comfort provided by the older woman. Her skin was hypersensitive to touch, but the soft strokes were soothing and her body relaxed. Unfortunately it also broke the dam holding back the majority of her emotions and she started to sob into her pillow, her tears soaking down into the soft furs and cloth. “I don’t know… I don’t understand…” She gasped out desperately, reverting to her own language. “Nothing is clear, I don’t remember, but everything hurts, the sadness, the loneliness, the emptiness… It’s gone, everything…”

She didn’t know where she was from, she could barely remember her own parents, her home. She didn’t know why she was sent away or why she had abilities others around her didn’t seem to have. She was different, she knew that, she was alone, and it was finally sinking in that she was utterly lost in a strange, new place. Utterly and completely alone.

For the first time in her long life, Pythia was lost as to what to do. She had longed to be a mother, to fulfill that caregiver role for someone, a child, to be able to soothe aches and comfort fears. Now that she was presented the opportunity to care for someone, a child, she didn’t know what to do. “It’s alright Kara,” Pythia murmured, holding a blonde head to her chest. She didn’t know everything that Kara was saying, but she picked up enough of her native language to know that the girl was distressed, that she didn’t understand. The Amazon didn’t know to what Kara was referring, the language, the culture, her own past, but she knew that she had to reassure the girl, calm her. She desperately longed for a child and this was her chance to be a mother, in this she would not fail.

Kara snuggled into her new mother’s touch as she cried, the soft touches soothing on her sensitive skin. When Diana had introduced her to Pythia, she had told her the silver haired woman would take care of her, and Kara understood that to mean the woman was to be her mother. Tears fell harder as she realized that she could barely remember her own mother and father, their faces blurred in her memory, their voices whispers, but their touches, soft and warm, much like the woman holding her at present. She rubbed her face briefly on the silk clad leg, and looked up at the woman, her eyes still red and teary. “Ieiu,” she whispered before her mouth formed around the strange letters, “Mother.”

Pythia’s breath hitched in her throat at the word and tears filled her eyes, but she knew that she had to hold it together, Kara needed her, needed her to be strong right now as she fell apart. “Yes, I’m your mother now Kara,” she said, keeping her words simple, ones she knew the girl would know. “I’ll always be here for you, to help you, comfort you. I can’t replace your parents, but we can be family Kara.”

“Family,” Kara repeated, the word unfamiliar. The sentiment behind the word was recognizable though so she quickly identified the word. “Zehdh,” she repeated, nodding her head. “Family, home.”

“Yes,” Pythia murmured, “Home, you’re safe, you’re home.”

 


 

“Why are you not training like the other… Amazons?” Kara asked, her words, though still slow and spoken with a heavy accent, were much more advanced and coherent than when she arrived on the island over a moon’s cycle ago.

“My training has been suspended while I help you adjust to Themyscira,” Diana responded, gazing out over the field of women her aunt continually trained and kept in top shape. Years ago she stood on this same ledge overlooking the field, and copied the movements of the warriors, wanting to be just like them, wanting to be strong like them. She longed to be able to defend the world of men from the influence of Ares, to liberate them from his evil influence should he return. Her mission was slightly derailed with the appearance of a blonde girl dropped straight from the stars, and while she was displeased that she couldn’t continue training though she fought with her mother for so long to allow her to do so, Diana could not feel displeasure when bright blue eyes gazed up at her in curiosity and wonder.

Kara cocked her head and stared at Diana in confusion, a small wrinkle forming between her eyebrows as she thought about what the brunette just said. Diana fought down the urge to smooth it away with her fingertips, and let the girl think about whatever it was she wanted to say. “Why should helping me keep you from training with the other warriors?” Kara asked.

“It…” Diana paused, trying to discern how to answer the question. “It is partly to do with our culture, but I found you, I rescued you, which makes me responsible for you. My other duties are secondary to my responsibility to you, that includes my duties in court and in training.”

“You should be allowed to train Diana, it’s clear that you love it and miss it.” Kara glanced down at the field, her mind recalling murky memories of a tall woman showing her how to use a short sword.

The princess just shook her head, “No, I will not resume my training until you are fully comfortable here, it would be a dishonor to my name and my mother if I were to fail in my duty.”

“What if…” Kara started, unsure as to how to continue. “What if I was to train with you? Would you be able to train and complete your duties at the same time?”

“I…” Diana paused, “I am unsure, I will speak to my mother about it, and Pythia of course since she has been selected as your guardian. You are not an Amazon, so I am unsure as to how we are to treat you as opposed to the rest of the sisters.”

“I understand,” the blonde replied, ducking her head. “I am a stranger to these lands, I am simply grateful that you have taken me in and shown such kindness to me at all.”

“No Kara, I- We are glad to help you. It would have been wrong for us to turn you away when you needed help, especially since it is clear that you are not of the world of man.”

The blonde tilted her head at Diana’s words; she had heard that phrase before, ‘the world of man,’ ever since she came to the island, but she never really understood what it meant. “What does that mean?” Kara asked, “‘The world of man?’ What is that?”

Diana shifted her eyes from the girl and stared out over the field full of warriors towards the ocean where the waves were crashing against the rocks. “There’s a book in the palace,” she said after a few minutes. “My mother used to tell me the story when I was little, it’s what drove me to be a warrior. It can probably explain more about the history of our world than I can really describe.”

“Why is it in the palace and not the… library?” Kara asked, walking with Diana back towards the palace.

“It is an artifact of our history, one that my mother likes to keep close,” the princess explained. “And it was technically a bedtime story for me, I think it might still be in my chambers actually.” The two made their way towards the palace, running through the streets, Kara keeping up with Diana perfectly, though neither noticed it was at a faster than normal pace. They reached the palace and Diana showed her around the main areas, nodding at the guards as they passed, glaring at them as they continued to look at her blonde friend suspiciously.

She had never brought Kara to the palace in the month that she had been on Themyscira, she usually went to see her at Pythia’s residence. Part of Diana wanted to protect the girl from the scrutinizing looks from the guards, and her mother and aunt as much as possible. She knew that they wouldn’t hurt Kara on purpose, but they might inadvertently hurt the girl by asking questions she can’t answer. “These are my chambers,” Diana said, escorting the girl through the doorway. “It’s a little bare, but I spend most of my time out on the fields before you came anyway.” Diana quickly located the book on her shelf and motioned Kara over to sit on the bed with her. “On our world,” she began, “The gods created everything, including mankind. They were just and good as Zeus created them to be, until the god of war, Ares, corrupted them. They fought, warred against each other, set out to destroy the world. That is when Zeus created us, the Amazons, to turn people back into what they were, and this island, Paradise Island, Themyscira was created. There was a great war between the gods, and they fell to Ares’s blade, one by one, until he was gravely injured by Zeus.” She paused for a moment as she stroked the images in the book, “Zeus used the last of his power to give us a weapon to be used against Ares for when he rose again and started another war, the war to end all wars.”

“So the Amazons are warriors destined to protect mankind, other humans?” Kara asked.

“Yes, most of the Amazons were women that were hurt by men or killed on the field of battle, then resurrected as warriors, my mother Hippolyta is the queen and her sister Antiope is her general. She is responsible for training all of us for battle,” Diana continued, closing the book and setting it aside.

“Including you?” Kara asked, “But you’re so much younger than the others.”

“No, I’m different, I’m the first and only child on the island, before you of course,” the princess explained. “My mother sculpted me out of clay and asked for the gods to bring me to life.” She paused for a moment and ran her fingers along the edge of the book, “I’ll never be like the rest of the Amazons, not like a real Amazon.”

“You’re real to me,” Kara murmured, “More real than most of the people I’ve met so far, other than mother. I haven’t met many people yet though…”

Diana laughed, “Trust me, people are curious about you and have been wanting to meet you, but I think that they’re scared away by Pythia and myself.”

“Why?”

“I am the princess, people typically steer clear from me, and Pythia…” Diana smirked, “Pythia might seem soft, but she is not one to be trifled with.” At the confused look on Kara’s face, she realized that she used a word the blonde wasn’t familiar with, “Um, she’s very intimidating?”

“Ah,” Kara’s eyes cleared, “Well she does seem to be seem to be the strong type, I am grateful to have such a woman as my new mother.” She glanced away and her eyes clouded again, “I only hope that my own parents would approve…”

“Do you not remember anything about them? About where you lived before falling out of the sky?”

Kara shook her head sadly, “No, just feelings, nothing for certain. I remember my mother’s hands, my father’s voice, the world shaking, then bright, spinning flashes of light, flying through air… through space? And then nothing.”

Diana knew, well, more she hoped that this girl was one of the star people in the story of Mnemosyne’s scroll, rather than just someone from the world of man. She had an air around her, something different, something extraordinary that Diana had never seen before, so she hoped that she was more than a normal human. She was, she was someone from the stars, but she couldn’t remember them. The princess didn’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved. Disappointed for herself that she couldn’t learn more about the star people, or relieved because the girl couldn’t remember whatever it was the caused her to come here, something obviously horrific.

“I didn’t believe it when the guards had said that you had returned Diana,” Hippolyta’s voice came, drawing the attention of the two girls. The queen was standing in the doorway to Diana’s room, her outer cloaked had been removed and her stance was relaxed in comparison to when she was out in public.

“Mother!” Diana scrambled off her bed, immediately followed by Kara and the two bowed slightly to the older woman.

“No no, none of that my daughter,” Hippolyta told them, walking further into the room. Diana lifted her head and found her mother staring at her tenderly, stroking her hair softly before her gaze shifted to the girl hidden slightly behind the Amazon princess. She stiffened slightly at the curious, but hard look on her mother’s face as she assessed the girl, and nudged Kara behind her a bit more, an action that did not go unnoticed by her mother. “You’re protective instincts are admirable Diana, especially since the girl is your charge, but surely you would not reject your queen’s desire to know the newest inhabitant of Themyscira?”

“It would depend on the queen’s intentions,” Diana replied evenly, “because it is as you said, she is my charge.”

A slight smile threatened to crack Hippolyta’s face but she pushed it down. “I see,” she replied. “Well, I promise that my intentions are pure, I simply want to know the girl that has consumed all of your free time and caused you to be inside away from watching the warriors train.”

“I wanted to show Kara the history of our people is all,” Diana grumbled, and Kara giggled slightly, releasing her tunic from her desperate grasp to step out from behind the taller woman.

“I am Kara, your majesty,” the blonde replied nervously, her eyes flitting around. Her fingers nervously pulled at the bands on her wrist, drawing the queen’s attention to them.

“Are you settling in well?” Hippolyta asked rather than questioning the girl on the bracelets around her wrist. They looked too large for her, but the queen didn’t doubt she would grow into them. The metal was unlike anything she had seen in her days, it shone like silver but was dark like forged iron. The markings around the bands were also alien to her, but Diana did tell her that the girl spoke a foreign tongue.

“Yes your Ma-Majesty,” Kara winced as she stuttered over the words. The concept of royalty felt odd to her, unusual, like where she lived before didn’t have a monarchy or anything similar.

“Good,” Hippolyta nodded, “My daughter is doing her duty then as your guide? And Pythia was charged with your care correct?”

“Um, yes, she has been a good mother so far,” Kara nodded, “And Diana has been great showing me around, though many do not speak to us when we are out.”

“That would be my daughter and Pythia’s influence,” Hippolyta laughed, “The two can be quite intimidating when they want, and Pythia especially is concerned that someone would say something that would make you think you are not welcome here.”

“Am I?” Kara asked hesitantly, “Welcome here?”

Hippolyta looked startled at the question and Diana bristled at the insinuation that Kara would be unwelcome by them and was set to staunchly refute the thought when her mother beat her to it. “Of course you are welcome here Kara,” the queen stated gently, kneeling before the girl. She set her hand gently on Kara’s shoulder and stared into crystal blue eyes, “You are welcome here Kara, children are sacred to the Amazons. I have no doubt that many of them are just waiting for the chance to talk to you, and are hovering just on the periphery waiting for their chance.”

“You think so?” Kara asked, her face scrunched in worry and confusion.

“I do,” Hippolyta nodded. Her hand left Kara’s shoulder and drifted down to the band around Kara’s wrist, hesitantly touching the material. “Diana has informed me that you do not remember much of your life before, but can you tell me about these?”

Kara glanced down at the metal bands that encircled her wrists loosely, and moved up and down her arm every time she moved. She had thought about taking them off because the movement grated on her already sensitized skin, but a brief, blurry memory halted that line of thought. “They,” she started, unsure about what to say. “They belonged to my parents, my mother and father, they were their joining bands.”

“Joining bands,” Hippolyta murmured, “Marriage?”

The blonde girl nodded, “It was tradition for intendeds to stand before the jewel of truth and honor, swear love and fealty to each other, and exchange bracelets to join their houses.”

“That is a very unique look on a marriage ceremony,” the Queen mused, standing up. “Not completely unlike the ones I have witnessed in the past, though things are looser here on Themyscira.” She gave the girl an appraising look, “You are remembering more of your past then?”

Shrugging, Kara glanced away, “Small things, lessons, culture, nothing important, nothing about my parents or where I'm from, what it was called.”

“I'm sure with time it will come back to you,” Hippolyta assured her. She braced her hand on Kara’s shoulder and stood up, fingering silver streaked blonde hair momentarily before letting go of the girl completely. “As you are a guest on Paradise Island, you have free rein to wander where you choose, except for the sacred places, though Diana knows better than to take you there. After you have settled a bit longer, and more of your memories have returned, the senate and I will discuss what we’re to do with you, though I have a feeling Pythia may fight us all if we do not permit her to continue to care for you.”

“She was a very fierce warrior mother,” Diana nodded, agreeing with the woman.

“And still is, despite the fact that she no longer trains with Antiope’s warriors,” the queen continued before turning back to Kara. “Now, if you’ll forgive me, I must take my leave, there are matters I must attend to.”

“Ah, wait, your majesty,” Kara called to her unthinkingly. When Hippolyta turned to her, Kara flushed and ducked her eyes. “Um, I was wondering if you would permit Diana to continue her training? I know she misses it, it is obvious every time we pass the training grounds.”

“She is your guide,” Hippolyta answered, “Her primary duty is to make sure that you adjust to Themyscira with as little problem as possible. She is responsible for you.”

“But what if I was there too?” Kara continued. “If not training then at least as a bystander.”

“Kara no!” Diana cried, “You could get hurt, you're not… you're not used to our ways, the warriors could hurt you.”

“But you are a warrior culture, the best way for me to fit in is if I train,” Kara countered. “And I could always just be there, you shouldn't have to give up what you love just because you found me after I dropped out of the sky.”

“Silence,” Hippolyta ordered before the two could continue arguing. “You both make excellent points. Kara, I'm afraid that training is something that must be decided on by the Senate and myself once you've settled in more, so it isn't something that I can decide on right now. Diana is right in that aspect, it could be too dangerous, you might get hurt.” Seeing the crestfallen look on the young blonde’s face caused her heart to ache, but the slightly relieved expression on her daughter's would need to be revisited. “However, you also have a point that we are a warrior culture, and to fit in, you need to do more than learn our language and history.” She studied both girls for a moment before continuing, “I will permit you, Diana, to return to training, so long as Pythia agrees to accompany Kara to the training grounds with you, to keep her safe from wayward weapons, and to instruct her in basic self defense. Would this be permissible to you both?” Diana and Kara nodded, and Hippolyta quirked her brow at the two of them, before nodding again and taking her leave.

Kara glanced at Diana, fidgeting slightly, “Are you angry with me? For asking her to let you continue your training? I know you said that you would ask her but…”

“It’s alright Kara, I know you’re concerned about me,” Diana interrupted, squeezing her hand. “I am concerned about you training though since you are not an Amazon, you could get hurt, and how would I face Pythia if I failed in my duties as your guide and protector?”

“I’ll ask Pythia, and I will tell you what she says when you arrive for lessons tomorrow,” Kara bounced.

Diana nodded, “Very well, thank you for thinking of me.” She glanced out the window and saw the sun sinking below the horizon. “It is late, I will return you to Pythia’s for evening meal.”

The two set out from the palace, wandering through the streets as lanterns and torches were lit. Many Amazons were turning in for the night, while others were staying out enjoying the cool weather of the evening and the view of the stars above. “Thanks for walking me home Diana,” Kara said, softly kissing the older girl’s cheek before slipping into the house. Pythia smirked at the dazed princess, and gave her a wink and closed the door on her, leaving Diana standing outside staring at the house, her mind lost.

 



Chapter Text


 

“Why are the trainers so much harder on Diana than anyone else?” Kara asked Pythia from the sidelines as they watched the brunette girl repeatedly getting tossed around the arena and put on the ground.

Pythia hummed a bit, trying to figure out how to answer the girl’s question. She was Hippolyta and Antiope’s oldest friend, their closest confidante, and knew many of the secrets of the Amazons along with the queen and her commanding general. She knew the truth of Diana’s origin and her destiny, but those that did know were sworn to secrecy and the story of the queen sculpting the princess out of clay spread. “She is the Princess of the Amazons,” Pythia said finally, “Hippolyta initially didn’t want her to train, but Antiope trained her in secret. Eventually the queen found out, and she conceded to Diana’s training with stipulation that she is trained harder than any other Amazon.” The woman took in the concerned look on Kara’s face and set a comforting hand on her shoulder, drawing crystal blue eyes up to her face, “Don’t fear Kara, Diana is quite capable, and she’ll make a fine warrior someday.”

“Will she need to be a warrior though?” Kara asked, “This land, it is called Paradise Island is it not? Is there a need for warriors here?”

“There is always a need for warriors Kara,” Pythia told her. “This island may be safe, but the world outside it is not. I am not naive enough to believe that we will always be able to remain safe in this paradise, untouched by the world of man. There might also come a time when those of us might venture away from this island to fight, that is why we train.” She squeezed Kara’s shoulder comfortingly, “You as well may chose to leave us one day, so while the council has yet to meet to decide if you will be allowed to train with the warriors, I will teach you basic self-defense with a staff.”

Kara nodded and took Pythia’s hand as she led the girl away from the field. She took another look at her friend, watching as she caught several arrows before firing her own bow. The blonde hoped that she could learn to be a warrior and make the older girl proud. Pythia led her away from the city and other Amazons out to a remote field that looked like it had been used as a training field years ago but was now overgrown with weeds. “I brought these out here earlier,” Pythia said, picking up the two staves from a small cleared space. “This is where Hippolyta, Antiope, and I originally trained, starting much like you with just staves, though this was back before this land became a hidden island, back before we became what we are.”

She spun the staff around a bit, making strong firm movements, ending in the defensive stance with her feet firmly planted in the ground. Pythia breathed out a sigh at feeling a weapon in her hand again, something she hasn’t done in a long time. “Before you learn how to use a staff,” she said, straightening to a relaxed stance. “You must learn to train your muscles, your endurance.”

The blonde frowned at the new words, but carefully picked up the second staff and adopted a similar pose to the woman. When she swung the staff down, Kara accidentally swung too far and struck the ground. The impact caused the staff to shatter completely as it knocked her back from the collision. “Kara!” Pythia cried, running over to her charge, “Are you alright?” She knelt next to the girl and helped her sit up.

“I’m fine, I am,” Kara waved away her concerns. “I’m sorry I broke the staff though.”

“There was probably a fault in the wood, it’s not your fault, but we’ll skip working with a staff today.” She picked up a large stone that was nearby and handed it to Kara, “Carry this up and down the hill for me and work your way up to a run. It’ll help build endurance.”

Kara nodded and took the rock before starting up the hill, moving quickly to a jog as she reached the top before starting back down. It was difficult, not because the rock was heavy, but because the weight was awkward running down hill and threw off her balance. She fumbled a few laps before Kara figured out how to adjust the rock in her grasp to allow the weight to distribute easily running both up and down hill.

Pythia observed the girl as she completed laps on the hill before directing her to add in laps around the field to her loop. She hadn’t been around children in a long time, not since before the great war between the gods, but the vague memories she had, she knew that what she was witnessing with Kara was not normal. The girl had completed twenty laps up and down the hill, and was on her tenth lap around the field without showing any indication of tiredness or slowing down. She glanced over to where the broken staff lay in pieces on the ground, and her eyes widened at the sight of a small crater left where it struck rock and earth. She knew that she should inform the queen and the senate that the girl was more than she appeared, but Pythia was reluctant to do so. If they knew that Kara seemed different, was different, they might take her away, send her out from Themyscira where neither she nor Diana would be able to find her, protect her. She finally had a daughter, a child of her own, and she wouldn’t let the council or even the queen take Kara from her.

 


 

“I see now that the best way to get you to complete your lessons, Diana, is to make sure you have someone with you that also needs help,” Calliope muttered, shaking her head. “At least I know that you've learned the material through helping Kara, but have you even looked at your own lessons?” The redhead set her hands on her hips as she stared down at her two charges, only one of whom was paying her any attention. “Diana!”

The dark haired girl’s head popped up and she stared at her tutor in confusion, “Ah, forgive me Calliope, but I have been working on my lessons, I’ve been teaching Kara since she finished hers already. She’s been making changes and corrections to them, particularly the maths and sciences.”

“Really?” Calliope murmured, turning to the blonde. “What changes have you made?”

Kara gulped and shakily handed over the sheaves of parchment and papyrus, pointing to where the main changes were made in the logic of the mathematical equations and thinking of Greek philosophers and scientists. She recognized most of what Calliope and Diana had been teaching her from her own studies that floated idly through her mind, many she recalled learning as a child.

“This is remarkable,” Calliope murmured, glancing through the notations. “How do you know such things? They appear correct but they are so fundamentally different than anything we have dealt with here. These are complex formulas and calculations.”

“I…” Kara started, unsure as to what to say. “I remember learning these as a child, when I was younger.”

“You must've come from a society that greatly valued education for you to learn such things at a young age.” Their tutor sifted through a few scrolls before pulling out more of the advanced philosophies, sciences and literature.

“I…” Kara’s voice trailed off. “I think so, I remember learning things, tutors at a young age, some of their lessons flash through my mind but it’s still so cloudy.” She shook her head as if to rid herself of the invisible clouds that fogged her mind. “I wish I could remember more.”

“You remembered something, that is what is important.”

Calliope wasn’t paying attention to the two girls, instead she was reading over the notes that Kara had made to the formulas on the scroll. “I must inform the Queen and the senate of this, you both are dismissed.” The woman hurried out of the library, leaving the two girls at the table with their assignments.

“Is this how your lessons normally go?” Kara asked. It was the first time she had attended lessons with the older girl, Diana felt that she needed to learn more of the language before being subjected to Calliope’s educational ministrations.

“No, normally Calliope takes pleasure in prolonging my stay here with her and the scrolls for as long as possible.” Diana stared after the woman in confusion for a moment before another thought distracted her. “Kara, I want to show you something.”

“What?”

The older girl didn’t answer, just moved to rummage through the different scrolls Calliope had placed on the table. “Ah, here it is,” she said before returning to where Kara was seated. “This is one of the oldest scrolls in our collection. It tells of a time before the Amazons, many believed it to be nothing more than a legend, just a story, but I think it’s true.”

Kara frowned at the unfamiliar characters decorating the papyrus but her eyes stopped on the drawings, and focused on something that was familiar. Her fingers carefully traced over the glyph that was drawn on the chests of the figures. “Wisdom,” she said as she looked at the glyph. “That’s what this means, wisdom, like the search for knowledge.”

“You know this symbol?” Diana questioned, excitement welling within her.

“It looks familiar, and these other symbols,” Kara murmured, looking at the characters that dotted the page. “They’re a language, it’s a language.” Her eyes quickly flitted over the scroll, her mind instantly taking the words as they were recorded. “It talks about these people searching over the world, no… universe, traveling to different… planets, sharing and seeking knowledge. This was one of the last stops before returning to… I’m sorry, the last word is smudge out.”

“But do you not see? You understand these characters, something that the Amazonian scholars haven’t been able to figure out, this proves what I’ve believed since I found you, that you’re one of the Star people.” When Diana saw her questioning expression, she continued, “Star people, it’s what we call them, or used to, they were people that descended from the stars looking for knowledge and expanding our own. It is an old legend, before time when even my mother, Antiope or Phythia were alive, and they are among the oldest here.”

“And you think I’m one of these… Star people?” Kara tested, still trying to understand the unfamiliar words.

“I’d hoped you were, there really isn’t any other explanation,” Diana replied. “I saw a light streaking across the sky, far above me, and then a… a type of ship, flying ship crashed down into the water. I had to smash through glass and metal to get you out.”

“Are you sure I’m not just someone from the world of man?” Kara returned. “It might have changed a lot since you all came to this island.”

“It has only been several hundred years since my birth,” the brunette countered. “Man’s world could not have changed much, especially since the devastating war between Ares and the gods, it must have wiped out many from the world of men.”

Kara didn’t think anything of her friend and protector being several hundred years old, everyone on the island that she has met so far has seen many annuals, she thought it was a common trait for the Amazon. “What other proof do you have?”

“Right in front of you,” she said. “You could not read or understand any of the languages we know from this world, so you must be one of the Star-people, since you can understand their language.” She pointed to the scroll again, “I think you might even have belonged to these people, the ones that came.”

“Is there anything other than this scroll about them on the island?” Kara asked, excitement welling within her. This might be the clue to the rest of her past, to remembering where she came from, her family.

“I do not know,” Diana said. “I have never seen anything, but I have not really been looking.” She bit her lip as she was thinking. “There is one place I know we’ll find something, but I do not know if it is possible.”

“Where?”

“The place where I found you.”

Kara blinked, “The ship? Is it not underwater at the bottom of the bay?”

“Yes, which is why it might be impossible to see if there’s more information there unless we can bring it up.” The blonde deflated and Diana instantly felt cords tugging on her heart, wanting her to find a way to help the girl, to make her smile again. She grabbed Kara’s hand and laced their fingers together, squeezing lightly. “We’ll find a way to bring it up and we’ll find the answers to where you’re from, I promise.”

“Thanks Diana,” Kara replied, squeezing her hand.

Diana smiled down at the younger girl before tugging her away from the table. “Come, let us go before Calliope returns and believes that we are eager to endure more of this torture.”

“It’s not so bad Diana,” Kara giggled and the two left the library and archives, Mnemosyne glaring at them as they left for their giggling.

“You are right, it’s dreadful, I’d much rather be out training with the warriors,” Diana stated. “But mother has made training contingent on continuing my studies, at the very least to learn the languages of the World of Men.”

“How many languages are there?”

Diana crossed her eyes. “Far too many, and more are developing are the time with subtle differences between them that make them difficult to discern, but also beautiful in their own way. Not as beautiful as my native tongue of course.”

“I feel like my native language is superior, from what I can remember of it,” Kara countered, a teasing smile on her face. “Yours is too harsh, not as many lilting sounds.”

The brunette just shook her head and took her friend back to Pythia’s house, but the woman in question was out. “It’s still early,” Kara said, finding a small roll and two boiled eggs waiting for her on the table for when she was done with her lessons. “It’s barely past midday, what are we going to do with the rest of the day, especially since we’re supposed to be with Calliope.”

“If Pythia were here, we could have gone to the training grounds. I don’t want to leave you alone since you are not allowed to train with the Amazons yet.”

“I don’t mind Diana, especially since you love training, I can find something to do until Pythia returns.”

“No, it wouldn’t be right, I am responsible for you when Pythia is not available, plus I am your guide and friend. While training is exciting and exhilarating, it would not be right for me to go train and leaving you here.” She thought for a moment before an idea came to her. “You have not really seen much of the island other than Themyscira, so why don’t we go exploring and I can show you some of my favorite places.”

“I haven’t seen much beyond the city and the field where Pythia is tr-err,” Kara’s voice trailed off when she realized she mentioned something that she shouldn’t have.

Diana glanced at her in confusion before realizing what she was going to say. “Pythia is training you?” At Kara’s hesitant nod, Diana quirked her head, “Well, I should have known, she considers herself to be your mother and under normal circumstances it would be her decision to train you or not.” She shook her head after a moment, “Anyway, we can travel to the forest, there are beautiful glades and waterfalls up around the mountain.”

“Are there any other cities other than Themyscira on the island?” Kara asked as Diana led her out of the house and through the streets.

“Not cities exactly, but there are Amazons that prefer to live in solitude, and some that live closer to the ocean to fish and collect plants from the water,” Diana explained. “We’re, all of us, we’re all warriors, but that doesn’t mean that we’re just warriors.” Diana led her back to the stables where she quickly saddled up her horse. “It’ll be faster to go by horse, and you will get some practice on horseback.”

“I don’t know…” Kara wasn’t afraid of the animals, in fact most of the animals on the island appeared to like her, but she had never ridden on a horse, not that she remembered.

Diana pulled herself up into the saddle and held her hand out for Kara to take it. “You’ll be fine, do you trust me?” Kara hesitated for another second before grabbing Diana’s hand and allowing the older girl to pull her up behind her on the saddle. “Make sure you hold on, Hermes can really fly.” She nudged the horse into a walk before urging him faster as he warmed up.

Kara clutched tightly to her friend until she grew usd to the rocking motion, and she pried her eyes open to watch the landscape pass by around her. The island truly was a paradise, the colors, the calmness around them, Kara almost couldn’t believe that the Amazons were allowing her to stay on the island with them, even if it was only temporary. “Everything is so beautiful,” Kara breathed out. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen colors this bright, the greens and blues are beautiful.” Her mind flashed to images of red light shining down on tall spires and dark purple mountains, casting everything with vivid shades of orange and red. She blinked and the image disappeared, leaving Kara to wonder if the vision was real or not. It was nothing like the island, or the world that Diana and Pythia told her about. This world was full of greens and blues, vibrancy and colors, no spires and buildings that thrust into the sky. She didn’t know if it supported the idea Diana had that she was from another world, one beyond the stars, or if she just imagined the whole thing, a world so entirely different from the one around her.

Her thoughts were disrupted when the rocking motion of the horse was disrupted and stopped completely as Diana pulled him down to a walk. Kara’s eyes widened as she took in the scenery around her. They were in the forest far behind the palace, and the colors of the leaves were more vibrant the further under the canopy they went. The shadows turned them into a rich, dark green while the bursts of light streaming from above highlighted the yellow in the color, causing the trees to glow. A small waterfall cascaded down the rocks behind it, and fell into a pool below, the excess water trickling down a shallow stream towards the fields.

“Wow,” she breathed as Diana helped her off the horse. “This place is beautiful.”

“It’s one of my favorite places to visit,” the older girl admitted. “The waterfall and the pool are too small for others to consider this a bathing pool, and it’s deeper into the forest than the other spots.”

“But you prefer the pools under the palace though,” Kara commented. Diana had taken her to the glowing pools a few times to bathe when she didn’t want to share the blonde girl with other curious Amazons. She knew that they only wanted to get to know the other child on the island, the one that arrived under mysterious circumstances and were basically harmless, but she didn’t want to expose her friend to their prodding and gossiping.

Diana just shrugged instead of answering. “Would you like to explore some more or…?” She turned to look at her friend again only to find the blonde was testing the water with her toes.

“It’s warm! Come on Diana!” Kara stripped her clothes and instantly jumped into the small pool. She stepped beneath the falling water and giggled as the warm stream struck her upturned face.

Smirking, Diana shuked her own clothes and waded into the water after her friend. She flicked her hand in water, sending a wave towards the other girl that splashed on her back and down her legs. “Hey!” She flung water back at Diana, who retaliated just as quickly. The war continued until Diana dunked Kara under the water, and Kara yanked her under as well by grabbing her ankle and pulling her down. They both emerged laughing and trying to push the other under the water before finally deciding to get out and lay on the soft moss around the waterfall.

“How high up does it go?” Kara asked. Her gaze followed the water up the rock until the heavy canopy of trees blocked her view. For a brief moment, she glanced through the leaves and trees, through the water and rock above until she was following the movement of the stars high in the sky. Her mouth drooped slightly as she gazed at the colors swirling in the heavens, but was brought back by Diana calling her name.

“Kara, Kara!”

“Huh,” Kara snapped her head over to her friend and her eyesight refocused on what was around her. “Sorry, I guess I was lost in thought, what did you say?”

“The waterfall, it goes up a bit further before it reaches a small plateau, and the waterfall filters out from an underground spring in the mountain. We can climb up there if you want?”

“Really?”

“Yes, but it will be getting dark soon so we’ll have to hurry. Pythia will give me a sound thrashing if you aren’t back for the evening meal. And that bottomless pit of yours might start protesting as well.”

“It’s not a bottomless pit,” Kara grumbled but followed Diana up the cliff. They ascended easily up the wet rocks until they came to a small, flat overhang covered in moss and grass. The moss felt good against her bare skin, and Kara sunk down into it with a sigh as she looked at the darkening sky above. There was a thin sliver of red and gold on the horizon where the sun was sinking below the earth, while the rest of the sky was a blanket of dark blue and black with stars twinkling into existence.

“That one is Scorpius,” Diana said as she pointed towards a grouping of stars.

Kara glanced at her curiously as she traced a design with her hands. “What do you mean?”

“They’re constellations, Calliope taught me,” the brunette explained. “They have stories, like that one.” She pointed to a different one, “That one is Sagittarius, the centaur archer, he’s pointing his bow at the scorpion’s heart.” She traced her finger over to the constellation she mentioned earlier. “You see that red star? That’s one of the key stars in Scorpius.” Kara looked closer as Diana traced the stars with her fingers and eventually she could see them, she saw the archer in the sky firing an arrow at the scorpion with its stinger poised and ready to sting.

“I think I remember something about this, my… my father taught me about constellations, but they were different than the ones here.” Kara stared up at the sky thoughtfully, “What other constellations are there?”

“Well you can see Heracles over there, and that one is Cygnus, but that one over there,” Diana pointed towards a cluster of stars in the north. “That one is my favorite, Aquila.”

“Aquila?”

“Hmm, the eagle, Aquila was the eagle that carried Zeus’s lightning bolts. Just imagine all of that power clutched in his talons, and he carried it with no problem whenever the gods went to battle and Zeus needed his bolts.”

“What happened to the gods, did they really die in the war with Ares?”

Diana nodded her head, “One by one they fell to Ares’s rage, only Zeus remained, but he used the last of his strength to give the Amazons a weapon to defeat Ares when he returns.”

Kara nodded, having heard the story before. “Do you think that time will ever come? It doesn’t seem like war will ever touch this island.”

“I hope it doesn’t, for your sake at least Kara, Ares is not one to be underestimated, and I don’t want you to ever have to deal with the troubles of war.”

“Sometimes troubles find us when we’re not looking Diana,” Kara told her. “I think… I think my aunt taught me that, that things happen beyond our control but it’s our decision whether to fight or hide away.”

“You’re remembering more about your family,” Diana commented. She rolled over so she could prop up on her elbows to look at her friend.

“Yeah, not a lot though, but something.” Kara shrugged, “You remind me a bit of my mother, she had dark hair like you do.”

“I’ll take that as a complement.” The older girl grinned before realizing how late it was. “Gods, Pythia is going to kill me if we don’t get you home soon.” Diana pushed herself off the ground and walked to the edge. “We just have to scale back dow-” Before she could finish, Kara jumped off the edge, and Diana could see her sailing through the canopy out of sight, followed by a low thud as she collided with the ground. She scrambled down the cliff as quickly as she dared, the entire time worried that she’d find her friend laying on the ground broken, or worse. When she reached the ground, she found that Kara had already dressed and was petting Hermes like she didn’t just jump off a cliff. “Are you alright?” Diana demanded as she approached the girl, grabbing her clothes along the way.

“Yes?” Kara replied, giving Diana a curious look. “Didn’t you say we had to get back quickly?”

“Ah, yes, but you shouldn’t jump off cliffs, what if you hurt yourself?”

Kara just shrugged and a thought entered Diana’s mind, how had her friend jumped off a cliff and not hurt herself?



Chapter Text


 

“So you’re saying that Kara, a child of only… thirteen annuals, was not only able to understand the complex mathematical formulas that you’ve been teaching Diana, but ‘fixed’ them?” Hippolyta clarified as she looked at her daughter’s tutor in confusion. She had been in a meeting with Antiope and several of the Senators when Calliope burst into the meeting room, an excited and agitated look on her face. She initially wondered why the woman was there instead of seeing to her daughter and her friend’s education, but her musings were answered when Calliope started speaking.

“Amazing is it not?” Calliope continued. “The child is extremely intelligent. She has struggled a bit with our languages, but I feel that has more to do with how different it is to her native tongue. Diana has been helping in and in return, Kara is teaching the princess her language. I feel that the girl may be even more intelligent than we know, than she knows, who knows what else is in her head, locked behind the cloud of her missing memories.”

“Does this not concern you Calliope,” Acantha, one of the Senators, spoke. “Why would the girl know such things and how do you know that her changes are correct?”

“Excuse me Senator, but I am the one tasked with knowledge for our people and making sure that it is maintained,” Calliope stated, a hard glint in her eyes. “I may be a tutor now, but do not forget that while Mnemosyne may be the chief historian, I am the one in charge of our knowledge.”

“Of course, my apologies Calliope.” Acantha inclined her head in a show of respect. “But do understand that this situation is abnormal at best.”

“Acantha is right,” Delphi, another Senator, replied. “We know that the princess has grown attached to the girl, but she appeared so suddenly, we don’t know anything about her, other than what she has said or told Diana.”

“She has been living with Pythia,” Antiope pointed out. “Maybe she has observed more about the girl than we have since she has spent more time together.”

“Yes, I will send a messenger to Pythia’s house to collect her,” Hippolyta declared. She summoned the messenger and sent her on her way, but turned a worried eye on Antiope. “I believe we made a mistake in charging Pythia with Kara’s care.”

“Why do you say that sister?”

Hippolyta gave Antiope a wiry smile. “Pythia has always longed for children, and to give her one that might be taken away at a later point… You know the woman and what she can do…”

“Gods,” Antiope chuckled. “She would burn the island to the ground. Truthfully I would do the same in her position, and I would probably sit back and watch as she did it too.”

“Good to know where your loyalties lie sister.”

“Pythia is our oldest friend Hippolyta.”

The silver haired woman stepped into the meeting room, her stance and manner of walking reminiscent of the warrior she once was, reminding all in the room of how dangerous she could be. “My queen,” Pythia bowed slightly before the woman. “You wanted to see me?”

“Pythia, we were discussing your charge, Calliope has brought some interesting information to our attention and we would like to know more,” Hippolyta started, wary of the hard look in her friend’s eyes.

“What exactly would you like to know?” Her voice hard as steel.

“Don’t be like this Pythia, we have to know if they girl is a danger or not,” Acantha stated. “She came to our island unexpectedly, we have to know how and if she means us trouble.”

“And what if she does?” Pythia countered. “What if you perceive her to be dangerous, what are you going to do? Just send her away?”

“If we have to, our duty is to protect our sisters first,” Delphi said.

Pythia scoffed, “If that is what you believe, then you are unworthy of being Amazons, our duty is to protect people, and Kara is under my protection, I won’t allow you to send her away.”

“Pythia,” Hippolyta started.”We don’t want to send Kara away, I think that both you and Diana would revolt, and I don’t want to do that. But you must understand that we have to find out more about her, at least to discover if someone is missing her.”

The silver haired woman sighed and conceded that the queen had a point, despite the fact that she didn’t like it. “I just don’t want anyone to hurt her,” Pythia mumbled. “You haven’t been around her ‘Lyta, Annie, you haven’t heard her screams at night as memories haunt her, you haven’t held her as she cried out in the night. Something terrible happened to her and I won’t let you hurt her even more.”

Antiope and Hippolyta looked at each other; they knew that the situation was dire if Pythia was using their old nicknames. Whatever Kara had been through, it scarred her, left marks deep enough to influence her even without many of her memories, and to effect a battle hardened warrior like Pythia, it must have been devastating. Hippolyta sighed, knowing she would have to make a few concessions in order for the woman to cooperate. “Would you wait outside for a few minutes Pythia?” Hippolyta asked with a sigh. Once the silver-haired Amazon left, the queen looked at the other people in the room with her. “She’s not going to tell us anything until we promise not to send Kara away.”

“But how can we be sure she’s not a danger?” Delphi asked. “We know nothing about her.”

“Kara couldn’t harm a fly,” Calliope stated. “She’s sweet and kind, if a little sad at times and confused by our customs, but she means well.”

“She’s young enough that she could be taught our customs without it being too awkward,” Antiope added. “Though the question is, will they interfere with her own customs when she gets her memories back.”

“It would be impossible for us to know that Antiope,” the tutor retorted. “We are not oracles, we cannot tell the future.”

“But we can decide it,” Hippolyta said. She motioned to the guards at the door to send Pythia back into the room, and when the woman had returned, the queen spoke. “Pythia,” she started. “While I cannot speak for all Amazons, I will promise that I, as queen, will not allow any harm to come to… your daughter, on our island. I cannot promise that she will always stay, she may choose to leave in her own time, but I will not force her to go.”

Pythia glanced around at the other faces gathered. While it looked like a few were not happy, it did not appear that they would go against their queen’s wishes. It wasn’t exactly the reassurance that she was looking for, but she knew that it was the only one she would get if the senate and the queen did not get the answers they were looking for. “I have been training her, Kara,” Pythia started. “Nothing like what Antiope puts the warriors through, or what she puts Diana through, but the basics. I felt it was unfair that her friend was off for training leaving Kara alone, so I took it on myself to teach her some things.”

Antiope smirked and Hippolyta sighed. “Of course you did,” the queen said, glaring at her sister. “Did Kara do anything strange when you were teaching her these… 'basics?’”

“Strange wouldn't be the right word,” Pythia replied slowly. “More like… remarkable.”

“Remarkable how?” Antiope prompted.

“She's… faster than what I'd expected her to be, and stronger. Her skill level was closer to what I'd expect from someone who had been strength and endurance training for a few years. Her speed though, I can't think of anything to explain that.”

The senators murmured amongst themselves while Antiope leaned closer to her sister. “Do you think she is like Diana.” She asked, her voice low.

Hippolyta shook her head, “No, I don't see how that is possible.” She tilted her head, “What was it that Diana said when she found her, that she was one of the star people?”

“That's just a story my queen,” Calliope stated. “A race of people that descended from the sky? The princess was fascinated with the legend when she first saw the scroll, maybe she got confused with what she saw?”

“My daughter wouldn't make up something like this,” Hippolyta said. “Perhaps it is due time that we speak to both Diana and Kara, find out more about how Kara came to be on a hidden island.” She turned towards Pythia, “Would you be able to bring Kara here tomorrow to speak with myself, Antiope, and some of the senators.”

“I do not want to overwhelm her with the full senate,” Pythia stated. “That would just scare her, she's already been through enough.”

“It will just be a few of us, you have my word,” Hippolyta promised.

Pythia nodded and left the room, her thoughts consumed by the girl that she now considered her own. It had only been a short while, but she could not imagine being parted from Kara and would not allow anyone to hurt her daughter, not even her oldest friends. It was dark by the time she returned to her house, just in time to see Diana and Kara riding up on the former’s horse.

“And just where have you two been?” She asked, her brow arched as an unimpressed look crossed her face.

“It is my fault,” Diana said as she helped Kara down from the horse. “I wanted to show Kara some of my favorite places around the island, and we lost track of time.”

“Well, I guess I cannot be too upset since I have just returned myself.” Pythia held out her hand and ushered the blonde into the house. “Are you staying for dinner Princess?”

“No, I should return, I believe that my mother is wishing of my presence.” The brunette nodded her head and led her horse back to the palace.

Pythia shook her head and entered her house. Her child was already rummaging around the cold box looking for food, and she quickly shooed the girl out of the way while she pulled out some salted meat and fruit. Kara set into the food immediately and Pythia stared pensively at the girl. “Kara,” she started after a moment. “The queen summoned me today, she wanted to talk about you and your future here on the island.”

Kara toyed with the grapes in her hand for a moment before setting them down. “Are you going to send me away?” Kara asked, not looking up from the table.

The silver haired Amazon inhaled sharply at her words. “Why would you think that?” She asked.

Shrugging, Kara glanced away, still not looking at the older woman. “I hear things sometimes,” she said quietly. “Things I'm not supposed to hear, things other people don't want me to hear. I've heard some of the other Amazons talking, saying that they're wondering when Diana's mother, the queen, is going to send me away.” Kara finally looked up and saw the thunderous expression on the normally calm woman's face. “I don't think they meant anything by it, I think they sounded sad, almost like my being sent away was an inevitable thing.”

It is not, dear Kara, it is not,” Pythia soothed, taking Kara’s face in her hands. “The queen and the senators, they are concerned about how you came to be here, your past, they want to find out more about you is all.”

“But I don't remember anything.”

“I think you remember more than you think you do, dear one.” Pythia released her and waved her to keep eating. “But either way, I will not allow anything to happen to you Kara, you have my word.”

 


 

“Kara has done nothing wrong,” Diana defended, placing herself slightly in front of her friend to hide her from view of the council present in the room.

“Diana,” Hippolyta scolded. “While the defense of your friend is admirable, we are not here to see if Kara has done something wrong, we only want to find out if she has remembered anything about her past or where she is from.”

“But she can’t remember!”

“I remember a few things,” Kara replied quietly, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. When she saw everyone was looking at her, she gulped. “Ah, um, I remember a bit about where I lived, I think… the sky was red, or the light shining down on everything was red anyway, and the mountains in the distance, they were a purple color. The… buildings rose up into the sky like…” She twirled her finger around, “Like spirals, spires? They were tall, but did not look like stone, not like the buildings here, they were shiny, metal maybe…”

The senators murmured amongst themselves while Antiope and Hippolyta looked at each other. Pythia lightly touched Kara’s shoulder, drawing the girl’s attention. “When did you remember this?” She asked, her voice low.

“Yesterday,” Kara replied. “I was with Diana, marveling at the greens and blues, and I just got an image in my mind, I did not know if it was real or not, but I think it was.”

“Diana,” Hippolyta started. “You said that you saw a… ship falling from the sky and then fished Kara out of the water, can you elaborate any more?”

The princess glanced over at her friend before looking back at her mother and firming her spine. “I had left lessons that day and gone out to the bluff on the north side of the island. It’s a good place to think, but then I saw something shiny streaking across the sky, something metal. It crashed into the ocean, and I jumped in after it to get a better look, that’s when I saw Kara unconscious inside the… craft. I beat on the glass until it broke and pulled her out, and quickly swam back to shore. I don’t know anything else beyond that though.”

“This is why you believed that she was one of the Star People of legend,” Hippolyta stated. “Because she fell from the sky?”

“Not just that, it was… the craft, it was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard about from your tales of Man’s World.” Diana turned to look at her friend again and grasped her hand. “And Kara,” she said after a moment. “Kara felt different, even if I hadn’t really met her yet, but she didn’t feel like anyone else I had ever encountered.”

The occupants of the room murmured amongst themselves for a few minutes before Antiope stood up and approached where Kara, Diana, and Pythia were standing. She squeezed Diana’s shoulder before kneeling down to look into Kara’s eyes, studying the girl intently. Kara stared back, unsure what the woman was doing, but Antiope just nodded and rose off the ground again. “Well Hippolyta, it looks like we know what we have to do,” Antiope said, turning towards her sister. “We’ll have to get that craft off the bottom of the bay.”

“That does appear to be the only way we’ll get any answers,” Hippolyta sighed. “Can you have some of your warriors look into it? And maybe some of the scholars, I imagine it will be difficult to raise from the bottom with water flooding it.”

“I thought you said that we couldn’t get to it,” Kara whispered to Diana.

“We couldn’t, not alone,” Diana clarified.

“And there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to bring this ship up even if we do locate it,” Hippolyta cautioned them. “But we will do our best, we want to find out more about you as much as you do Kara, this I promise.”

“Mother never breaks her promises Kara,” Diana told her. “Never.”

 


 

Kara hugged her blanket to her chest, the same dark blue blanket that was pulled out of the ship with her when she landed. She had kept it with her every night while she slept, and took it with her whenever anything became too much. The weight and familiar feel of the fabric was comforting, and she clutched at it as she watched the Amazons working on the far bluff. It had been over a fortnight since the queen declared they were to find a way to raise her ship from the bottom of the bay, and the Amazons worked diligently during that time to come up with a solution.

“It is alright Kara,” Diana said, grabbing her friend’s hand. “They know what they are doing.”

“I just don’t want anyone to get hurt, not for me,” Kara replied nervously, tightening her grip on the blanket in her hands.

“Althea is present to take care if anything happens.” Diana nodded to where the healer was standing. “But I don’t think anything terrible will happen, maybe just a few bruises. The engineers poured over the issue until they found the safest, and most effective way to raise the ship from beneath the water. They will succeed Kara.”

Kara was about to reply, but a commotion on the bluff drew her attention, and she turned her eyes to the scene. Several Amazons were gathered around a device that the Amazon architect and blacksmith worked together to build from the designs created by the engineers. The Amazons in the water would dive down to the wreckage and wrap chains around it, which would be brought back up and attach to the hoist device on the bluff. The hoist would bring it up to the surface of the water, and then they would push it to shore on logs. There was very little chance for error, but Kara couldn’t help but worry. These women had taken her in, helped her when she had no one to turn to, she didn’t want anything to happen to them.

“Look they are starting,” Diana pointed as several of the women dived down into the water carrying thick chains. The two waited and watched, the surface still except for the slight movement of the waves and the swimmers monitoring the divers in the water.

The blonde didn’t know how much time passed, minutes, hours, days, but she waited, she waited to see the ship she arrived in, the craft that she barely remembered. She hoped that it would hold answers to the gaps in her past, though she didn’t know if she truly wanted them. The images that haunted her at night nearly had her convinced that she was better not knowing. But one thing kept her asking questions, striving for answers, her parents. Kara wanted to be able to remember their faces, their voices, what it was like to be held by them, and why… why she wasn’t with them, why they weren’t with her. She had to believe that they sent her away from them for her own good, and that it wasn’t any other reason, that she ran away or… or that they sent her away because they didn’t want her.

“Kara.” They heard Pythia’s voice and turned to see the woman walking up to them. “They have secured your ship, and will start bringing it up soon. Apparently it’s heavier than they thought, so they are having to make some adjustments with the hoist.”

“Are they alright?” Kara hurried out, a worried look on her face.

“Everyone is fine dear,” Pythia said, using a term that Kara has learned that typically means ‘dear child.’ It wasn’t something that the woman said often, but Kara treasured every time she did. She knew that this had to be hard on Pythia. She had heard whispers that the woman had always wanted a child but it wasn’t to be, so she knew that it had to be hard on her, investigating her past, a past that might take Kara away from her.

Kara grabbed her hand and squeezed it, wanting to give the woman as much comfort as she could. No matter what was found about her past, Kara would be grateful for Pythia taking her in, treating her as one of her own. The surface of the water gurgled before breaking, a large form slowly revealed as it was cranked to the surface. Kara’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of the silver, metalic form hovering just above the surface of the waves. Her mind flashed to an image of the ship, silver and beautiful, glowing in red light, sitting, waiting calmly in a room. She was there looking between the ship and two blurry figures, the world shaking around them as loud explosions sounded in the background. The image shifted to herself, in the ship, looking back at the figures as she was rocketed out of the room, and launched into space; a bright light followed the moment, and the feeling of devastation filled her entire being.

“Kara, Kara!” Pythia said, shaking the girl’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” The blonde had started shaking at the first sight of the ship, and her eyes had a blank faraway look in her eyes.

The blonde snapped her head around to look at the older woman, her eyes clearing up as she did. “I…” Kara started, unsure as to what to say. “I think something bad led me to be in that ship…”

“How do you know?”

“I… I saw it,” the blonde continued. “The world was shaking around me, explosions, my parents… I think… I think I was saying goodbye… There was a great flash of light, and nothing. I felt… I remember feeling sadness… no, something more than sadness, complete hopelessness, despair, devastation…” Her grip tightened around the blanket in her hand, and her other hand held tighter to Pythia. “What happened to me… to my family…”

Pythia released her hand and crouched down in front of Kara, her hands softly holding onto quaking arms. “Whatever happened to you, to your family, just remember that you are safe, you are here, with us, and we want you, we will keep you safe.”

Sniffling, Kara threw her arms around Pythia’s neck and held onto her, her tears soaking the woman’s tunic. Diana looked at the silver-haired Amazon in alarm, but Pythia just waved the princess away to give her some time with the crying blonde. “Kara,” Pythia soothed. “It’s alright, everything will be alright.” She ran her hands through soft blonde hair, the touch meant to help calm the girl down.

Eventually Kara’s crying lessened to sniffles and the tears subsided, and she pulled away from Pythia, her eyes red and puffy. “Feel better?” Pythia asked.

“Yeah,” Kara nodded. “I do not know why I am crying.”

“Sometimes we cry when we’re overwhelmed,” the older woman said. “Some people punch and storm about, some cry, either way, it is good for us to let the emotions out somehow.”

Kara rubbed at her eyes, “How do you deal with your emotions?”

“Oh, I cry, always have, it is irritating, especially when I am yelling at someone,” Pythia teased, squeezing Kara’s shoulders. “Your friend Diana though, and her mother and aunt, well, they are more of the punching kind of people.”

The girl let out a small laugh, a smile crossing her face as she wiped at her eyes. “I can see that, especially the general.”

“Antiope has always been like that, even when we were young,” Pythia whispered, a conspiratorial look on her face. “Do not let her scare you too much though, she is really just a big softie on the inside.”

Diana glanced over at her friend when she heard Kara start laughing, and found that her friend had her head pressed into Pythia’s chest, giggles escaping her. She focused back on the beach where the ship was being loaded on a cart to take it back to the city. When they were finished, she walked back over to Kara and Pythia. “They have loaded the ship on the cart, and they are taking it back to the palace, do you want to follow them?”

“Do you want to see the ship Kara?” Pythia asked. “No one would blame you if you do not.”

“I…” Kara started. “I want to see it, I have to. I have to know the truth, but even if I do not remember anything, I would still like to know where I came from, where it started.”

“Even if the answers bring you pain?” Diana pressed.

Kara gave her friend a wiry smile. “I have learned that if I am afraid of the answers, I should not ask the questions.”



Chapter Text


 

“Well it certainly is extraordinary,” Mnemosyne commented as she circled around the ship that had been brought into the palace courtyard. “Truly, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“This metal is certainly unique,” Calliope commented. “It is unlike anything the blacksmiths have been able to forge here.” She reached out to touch the ship, but as her fingers made contact with the vessel, it shuddered and groaned, sending a spark through the woman’s fingertips. “Ouch,” she hissed, pulling back from the ship. The warriors standing guard around the group instantly had their spears in hand pointing at the ship, ready for any perceived threat. “It’s alright, it’s alright,” Calliope waved them down before they could charge. “I think it has self-defense capabilities.” She turned around to look at the queen standing just outside the circle of guards. “The only one that will be able to safely touch it will be Kara.”

“Diana said she touched it though,” Hippolyta pointed out. “When she was breaking Kara out of it.”

Calliope shrugged. “Maybe it is intelligent somehow, and the defense system was not inplace with Kara inside it.”

“How can a ship, a… a machine be intelligent?” Antiope asked.

“If we’re prescribing to the theory that Kara is from another world, then there is every chance that wherever she’s from is a much older culture that would have had more time to grow and develop. It is possible that they have developed items…” Calliope mulled over the right word to use. “Technology? Yes technology, that they have created such things capable of thought.”

“Remarkable,” Hippolyta breathed. “Is Kara coming though? She was not there when the ship was pulled out of the water.”

“My queen, she was observing up on the bluff with Pythia and your daughter,” one of the guards told her. “The girl appeared to be distressed, so they may be some time.”

“It is only reasonable,” Antiope murmured as her sister paced around. “We forget sometimes because of Diana, but Kara is still a child, I imagine this whole situation has finally caught up to her. She is a girl dropped into an entire new world, one where she did not know the language and had to learn and adjust to being away from her family, and not even knowing anything of her own past. I think… I think we have done a great disservice to that girl.”

Hippolyta didn’t reply, but she found herself agreeing with her sister. The two looked up when there was a slight commotion on the other side of the courtyard, and they saw Kara walking in with Diana and Pythia on either side. The blonde girl was clutching onto her adoptive mother, and staring at the ship fearfully.

Kara froze as she stood in front of the ship, Pythia’s hand warm and firm in her hand, and Diana steady at her side. She squeezed the hand in hers before letting go and slowly moving towards the ship. The blonde slowly studied the craft for a moment, taking in the size and shape, and reached out to touch one of the wings. The gathered guard tensed again, but nothing happened, the ship merely hummed and vibrated and settled down further in the ground. As Kara touched it though, her mind went back to that place, with red light shining down on her and the world shaking. Her vision disappeared and she moved on instinct up into the chamber.

When her body dropped into the seat, it all came back to her, her world, her her home, her parents, her friends, everyone, gone in an instant, a second, in a soundless explosion that reverberated across the universe. She remembered staring in horror as Kal-El’s pod continued towards Earth while she was knocked off course by the explosion and sucked into a black hole, the most mysterious and destructive force in the known universe. Shaking her head, her mind cleared and she instantly started hunting around the pod, looking for any of the hidden items her father would have stored inside for her.

Everything was still waterlogged from being underwater for so long, but the damage was minimal. Kryptonians had long figured out a way to protect their ships from prolonged durations in harsh environments, even if the protective shield was broken. She pulled up the controls on the pod, and checked on the AI embedded in the system. Kex had lost a lot of his functions due to the damage from the black hole and the crash landing, but was already repairing the damage and fixing the shield that Diana broke through to get her out of the pod.

She hit a hidden button under her seat and a tiny, concealed compartment opened under it. Kara pulled out the contents, several different types of crystals and omegahedrons before locating what she was looking for, a projection crystal. Her fingers softly stroked the smooth edges and tears came to her eyes, her parents were truly gone, her mother, her father, her people, her planet, everything was gone. Sucking in a deep breath, Kara hastily wiped at her eyes and climbed out of the pod. Pythia and Diana were waiting for her, concern etched on their faces, especially seeing the fresh tracks of tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Kara…” Diana started, stepping towards her friend slowly.

“Diana,” Kara muttered out before bursting into tears. The brunette quickly enveloped her friend in her arms, one arm settling around her waist, while the other found its way to the younger girl’s shoulders. She ran her fingers through blonde hair while Kara pressed her face into her chest and sobbed, her entire frame shaking with sorrow. “I remember,” she cried as she pushed herself closer to her friend. “I remember everything, my mother and father, they sent me away as my planet was dying. Everything, everyone, they’re all gone and I don’t even know where I am.”

Those gathered around listened as the girl sobbed and their hearts broke for her, Pythia and Diana’s most of all. “I am sorry for having to make you relive something so distressing Kara,” Hippolyta said, approaching the girl slowly. She knew that if she upset the girl now, in her most vulnerable state, her daughter would never forgive her. “Can you share with us what upsets you so? What burdens you carry?”

Kara sniffled and pushed away from Diana, wiping at her eyes before looking at the queen. “My name is Kara Lar-El, and I’m from the planet Krypton. My planet was dying, we had done too much damage to it over the years, burned through the resources and that left the world unstable. My parents and my aunt and uncle made plans to get my cousin and I away to safety, to Earth, and they put us in these pods.” She gestured towards the ship behind her. “My baby cousin had already left, but I didn’t want to go, I wanted to stay with my mother and father…” Her eyes teared up as she fingered the blanket she still clutched in her hand and the projection crystal in the other. “But they wanted me to go, they wanted me to live and to look after my cousin.” She hastily wiped at her eyes before more tears could fall. “But something went wrong, I was too close as my planet exploded and I was caught in a black hole. I do not know how I managed to survive, nothing survives entering one of those things.”

“So you are from another world,” Diana said. “You are one of the Star people?”

The blonde nodded, “The glyphs on the scroll, those were from my planet, but they are old. It must have been during the time when Kryptonians explored the galaxies.”

“You were not meant to come to us?” Hippolyta asked, her mind still attempting to make sense of what the girl was saying.

Kara bit her lip as she thought. “I do not know, mother told me I was destined to go to Earth, which revolves around the yellow star Sol, since it was still a young planet. If my people had been here before, and the sun in the sky is yellow, then maybe I am where I am supposed to be, but something does not seem right…”

“What is that you pulled out of the… pod?” Antiope asked, looking at the small crystal in the girl’s hand.

“This is a projection crystal,” Kara replied. “My parents left several things from home for me in the pod, but this… this would have been used to record a message for me.”

“We can escort you somewhere private so that you can listen to your message,” Hippolyta said.

“I… I would like that,” Kara told her. “But I know that you would want to hear it as well. I just… can my pod be stored somewhere safe? It needs time to repair itself before it becomes functional again and I can get some more answers.”

“Of course, though Calliope has discerned that once it was out of the water, it triggered a self-defense system of sorts?” Hippolyta stated, looking over at the woman for confirmation. “It shocked her when she attempted to touch it, and I would not want anyone hurt if they accidentally touched it while hauling it somewhere safe.”

“Oh, right.” Kara turned back to the pod and crawled up to the control panel and typed in a new command for Kex to follow. The pod shuddered for a moment before stilling, the metal flashing briefly. “I’ve deactivated the self-defense measures and directed all of the power towards the repairs. It’ll trigger back on once it has fixed itself and returned to working condition.”

“Fascinating,” Calliope murmured and she and Mnemosyne drew closer to the pod. “Do we have your permission to examine this ship more closely?”

Kara hesitantly nodded, “Just um, do not interfere with the controls or anything inside it.”

“Of course, of course,” Mnemosyne agreed, and the two directed the guard to roll the ship on the cart towards the tower where they kept all of the sacred treasures of the Amazons.

Hippolyta lead Kara to her private meeting room, Antiope, Pythia, and Diana following closely behind them. The blonde set the crystal on the table and stared at it for a moment. “I do not know…” She glanced down at the bonding bracelets around her wrist, and held them up to the crystal. It vibrated on the table before a beam of light projected out of it, revealing a 3D hologram of her parents. “Those are my parents, my mother and father.”

“They are both women,” Pythia commented as Kara tucked herself back into her side.

Tears started quietly dripping out of Kara’s eyes as the two women started to speak in a language that was unfamiliar to most of the Amazons in the room. But Diana could understand, Diana knew what they were saying, it was a rudimentary understanding, but she knew. “Dear Kara,” the blonde woman spoke. “We wanted you to know how much we love you, and how sorry your mother and I are that we won’t be able to see you grow.”

“And we want you to grow,” the other woman started. “We want you to live. I know that we told you that you were to look after your cousin, but we didn’t send you away to saddle you with responsibility. We sent you away so that you would live, that you would thrive.”

The blonde nodded, “We know that it will be hard to adjust to a new world, a new culture, especially with the powers you will gain being exposed to a younger, yellow sun. You were chosen to enter the science guild, like my brothers and I, but now, now you have an opportunity to do whatever you want, to become whoever you want to be.”

“Just know that your father and I will be proud of you, we always have been, and we will be watching over you from Rao’s light.”

The recording stopped, leaving just the image of her parents standing there on the table. “Mother, father,” Kara murmured, wiping at her face. She tugged on Diana’s hand and motioned towards the two figures. “This is my mother,” she introduced, pointing towards the brunette woman. “Alura In-Ze, and this is my father, Lara Seg-El. In my society, women take their father’s name as their last name, which is why I am Kara Lar-El.”

“Was it usual in your society for two women to have a child together?” Hippolyta asked, leaning closer to look at the figures better. She could see the features both of them shared with their daughter, so she knew that it wasn’t a case of them adopting a child.

Kara shrugged, “It wasn’t unusual, marriages were arranged among the elite houses, but they were binding. My mother and father were promised to each other when they came of age at thirteen, since they were the eldest from both of their houses.”

“Why don’t you tell us more about your family?” Pythia asked, guiding Kara towards a chair. “About your world, your people.”

“My planet… Krypton, is… was an old world. It circled around a red star Rao that was our father, our god, many of our beliefs and traditions were based on this,” Kara told them. “Science though was the primary focus, studying the world and universe, finding a way to make things easier, smoother for people. This probably was our downfall, this greed…” She shook her head. “Our society was separated into guilds, duties, my father was the head of the science guild, and my mother was the head of the judiciary guild, they handled making the laws and giving out punishments. My two uncles, Jor-El and Zor-El were also part of the science guild, while my aunt, my mother’s twin sister, she was part of the military guild.” Kara cracked a smile as she thought about her aunt, “Every time she came to visit, we would sneak out and she would teach me how to use a sword. Mother was always so mad, but Father thought it was hilarious.”

“So your aunt was a warrior?” Antiope asked, intrigued by the girl’s history.

“She was the general of the army, one of the strongest women I knew.” Kara sniffed and looked down. “I miss them all, so much…”

“You dear, sweet girl,” Pythia murmured, pressing a kiss into Kara’s temple. “I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through, what you’ve lost, it’s more than anyone should have to go through.”

“I think…” Hippolyta started, clearing her throat. “I think that’s enough for today, Pythia could you take Kara home, Diana you may go with them if you wish.”

The two Amazons carefully led the girl away, leaving the queen and the general alone in the room. “What a story,” Antiope shook her head. “Do you think it could be possible?”

“There are many things I did not think were possible Antiope, a girl falling from the stars might be at the top,” the queen replied with a sigh.

“I do not believe I would have believed it if I had not seen so much evidence today.” Antiope sat down next to her sister. “Though our existence is proof that there are remarkable things in the world, given eternal life here on this island by the gods, what if it is possible, on Kara’s world, where women could be together and have a child and it would not be a problem.”

“They seemed so advanced in ways, but others… If what Kara said was true, her people basically destroyed themselves.”

“Is that not what we witnessed though, when we lived in the World of Man, the greed, carelessness, thoughtlessness, they continued to strive to be gods and in their weakness they became vulnerable and attempted to destroy each other.” Antiope stood up and paced. “You and I both know that no one is innocent of these feelings, not even us, we just strive to overcome this weakness. To assume that beings from other worlds are different or superior, that they can override this basic instinct is just ignorance and folly.”

“We both have seen too much of the world to know better,” Hippolyta conceded. “So what do we do?”

“Well we cannot send that girl away, not after everything she has been through,” Antiope declared. “She has lost her whole family, her culture, her entire world, she is living somewhere new, she has adapted to us, or she is working on it. We can hardly send her away when she has nowhere to go, we have given her a family, we are a family. It is our duty to look after her when her mothers… her mother and father cannot.”

Hippolyta gave her sister a wiry smile, “And I don’t think our old friend would forgive us if we sent her daughter away, not after they have bonded and Pythia received the one thing she has always wanted.”

“No, I do believe she would kick us all the way back to the World of Man in order to find her.”

The queen was silently for a few moments as she thought. “Do we know enough about her though, about her culture?”

“I can only counsel you as I have observed,” Antiope stated. “I know all that I need to know for right now. We have time to find out more, it is important that we have that time.”

“Do you think that Kara’s presence might keep Diana here?”

“So you have seen the way that your daughter looks at her friend?”

Hippolyta rolled her eyes, “They are both still far too young, but you and I both know that Diana’s destiny will attempt to take her away from this place, do you think with Kara here, she might stay?”

“Only time will be able to answer that sister, and fortunately for us, we have time on our side in this.”

 


 

“So you are really from up there,” Diana started. She and Kara were laying on the roof of Pythia’s house, staring up at the stars. The older woman allowed Diana to stay the night with them since it looked like Kara needed all of the comfort she could get, and the two had snuck out shortly after Pythia had gone to bed.

“Yeah,” Kara replied. “Well, far away from here really.” It still hasn’t really sunk in that her family was gone, that everything, everyone she knew and loved was gone. She cried and cried all afternoon until she ran out of tears, but even then she sobbed and heaved, her eyes swollen shut and her stomach rolling. Eventually her sobs subsided along with her tears, leaving a hollow feeling in her soul. She knew the sorrow would hit her again and hard, but for this moment, she stared at the stars with her friend. “My father and I used to do this you know,” she said. “She would tell me stories about the stars, Krypton’s ancient past, and point out the constellations to me like we did, though they were different than the ones here.”

“You have two mothers, but you call one father, why is that?”

Kara shrugged, “It’s just the way things were. Children were not, babies were not born in the traditional way, much like you told me how your mother made you out of clay. The scientists on Krypton found a way to make sure that children had the exact traits that parents wanted but would also help the betterment of Krypton. This was called… I don’t know how to say it… The Birth Matrix, the Codex.

“The Codex?” Diana translated.

“Yes, that is it. The scientist would extract… Umm… genetic material from bonded parents, one would be the maternal code, the mother,  and the other would be the paternal code , the father. This was the same for every kind of bonded pair, man and woman, two women, or two men, there was always a mother and a father.”

“So you were created by these scientists with the… birth matrix ?” Diana repeated the foreign words, not completely understanding what they meant. “Was it a type of machine?”

“It was, but no I was not technically born in the… birthing… pods, yes birthing pods. They were only a few operating by the time my parents petitioned the council for the right to a child, so when they were granted the request, they would have had to wait two more cycles around Rao, and they did not want to wait that long. So my father had the science guild members in charge of the Birth Matrix extract what they needed from her to place in my mother. This method, while not frowned on in Kryptonian society, was not done for a long time since they did not know what I would be like when I was born this way, they only knew that I would be a girl.” She rolled over and set her head on her friend’s shoulder. “That must have taken a great deal of love, to want a child so much you would overlook not knowing anything about them in order to have one.”

“From what I understand, most people in the world experience this,” the Amazon told her, but yes I imagine your parents loved you a great deal, for them to risk everything to protect you, to save you.”

“Yeah,” Kara murmured. “I know they loved me, they taught me so much, and risked so much. I just… it is hard to believe that they are going, that they are all gone…”

Diana didn’t want her friend to cry again, to be sad again, so she wracked her brain for another topic. “During the recording earlier of your parents,” she said. “They mentioned something at the end, about waiting in Rao’s light, what did that mean?”

“Rao was our sun, our father,” Kara told her. “The first Kryptonian, and he set the heavens and the world right, bringing order out of chaos.” She hummed a bit as she remembered her history lessons her Aunt Ala, Jor-El’s wife, would teach her when her parents were busy. “In the ancient days of Krypton, there were many gods and goddesses observed and worshipped, though that faded over time as we evolved. We still believe… believed in them, and there was a religious guild that kept track of our culture and traditions, our religious beliefs. I imagine that our focus on science was an extension of the study and worship of Rao.”

“It is not so completely different from our own religion,” Diana replied. “The gods might have fallen years ago, but they are still honored here, on this island. It is a way to remind us of our past and how we came to be. I guess we also study the world around us as a way to honor them for giving us this chance to live.”

“Worlds apart and not that different from each other.” Kara turned  on her back again and looked up at the stars, getting lost in the movement she could observe, the shifting of planets and meteorites far away in the universe. They were beautiful in their own ways, stars shining in the sky, some with their own planets that revolved around them, and planets in this galaxy that would hold life, different than that of Earth or even Krypton. “Do you know what is hard?” Kara said to her friend. “Since Earth was so far from Krypton, I can still see it, the light from Rao hitting it.” She pointed to a spot in the sky and Diana could just make out a reddish star. “That is Rao,” the blonde girl said. “And that,” she shifted hand over to the left to a fainter light. “That is Krypton. It will be some years before the light disappears and reality catches up with what I already know, that Krypton is gone, and I am what is left. I just…” She paused for a moment as another thought came to her mind. “I just wonder what happened to my cousin, if he is out there in this world somewhere or still trapped in space. I have no idea what being sucked into that black hole did since I did in fact arrive at my destination.”

“You said that your ship would be able to tell you when it finished fixing itself,” Diana stated. “Do you know how long that will take?”

“Longer than I would like,” Kara whispered. “I have answers now Diana, answers to my past, but there are holes, gaps, and I do not, I do not know how to deal with that. It might have been better to continue not knowing, I would not have these questions haunting me, wondering, waiting to find out what happened to my cousin. I was the one supposed to look after him Diana!”

“And we will find out what happened to him Kara, you will find him.”

“I just… I just do not want to be alone.”

Diana rolled over and propped herself up on her elbows to look down at her friend. “You are not alone Kara, you are one of us now, an Amazon, we cannot replace your family, but we will be your new family. You will not ever be alone.”

Kara squeezed her friend’s hand and set her head back on her shoulder when the older girl laid down. “Thanks Diana,” she murmured. The two continued to watch the stars before falling asleep wrapped around each other.

 


 

In a blocked off section of the Amazon treasury, Kara’s pod was secured away from their other treasures. Several guards had moved it into the isolated room before taking their leave, the sentries returning to their post at the entrance to the building. The water that had clogged the computer system of the pod had slowly drained away as they moved it and settled it into the tower. The AI unit in the pod, Kex, briefly started in order to calibrate his system to better repair the ship. Letters of the Kryptonian alphabet and basic computer code flashed across the interface, the chronometer and location devices turning on in the process.

Before Kex returned to a dormant state to divert power to the repair functions of the pod, the devices had finished calculating their present location and briefly flashed the results on the small screen.

Earth

250 Before Common Era



Chapter Text


 

1917 CE

 

“Alright Kara, you remember the rules, none of that heat vision or freeze breath thing that you do,” Diana said, a slight smirk on her face. “And no flying.”

“I know the rules Diana, but are you going to follow them?” Kara countered. The signal to start sounded and the two took off across the field towards the first weapon, the bow. They fired three arrows at the targets stationed around the field, before dashing forward towards the sword. Two Amazon warriors charged at them, swords drawn, and they had to disarm them before facing the true opponent for their bout, each other.

Their swords clashed as they fought, the sound echoing around the field. The warriors on the edge of the field by the cliff watched in fascination as the two fought, meeting each other blow for blow. Antiope, Hippolyta, and Pythia observed them from the top of the cliff. The general had left the training to her second in command, Phillipus for the day so she could observe from a different angle. “They have gotten better,” she commented, not tearing her attention away from the two women fighting.

“They have been training with the best warrior the Amazons have ever know for many years now,” Hippolyta commented. “And you of course sister, I did not mean to slight you in any way.”

Antiope rolled her eyes while Pythia barely managed to stifle back her laughter, and turned her attention back to the fight below. “They are both still holding back,” the general commented. “For Kara, I understand, especially after the incident with Mala where she accidentally broke both of her arms because she hit her a little too hard.”

“Poor Kara was distraught for months until Mala healed, and she has been working on controlling her strength.” Pythia shook her head, “Do you remember the first time that fire blasted out of her eyes? I thought she was going to pass out of fright on the spot, she had no idea what was going on.”

“It truly has been an interesting experience having her on the island,” Hippolyta laughed lightly. She glanced over at her sister only to find her studying Diana disapprovingly. “What troubles you sister?”

“The fact that they are both holding back,” Antiope sighed. “As I said, Kara is understandable, but Diana, she does not even know her own strength because she does not want to.”

“She is well trained, you have succeeded where I asked to train her harder and longer than any of the warriors.”

“But you and I both know, well all three of us really what she is truly capable of,” Antiope countered.

“If she denies her powers then Ares will not find her,” Hippolyta said. “It is her destiny to destroy him, but he cannot find her until such a time, war will not touch her yet.”

“We cannot protect her forever Hippolyta.”

“We cannot protect either of them,” Pythia told them both. They looked down and saw that Kara had disarmed the brunette, and pinned her to the ground, both of them nearly out of breath. “Diana is destined to leave and fight Ares, and Kara, well, as much as I would love to keep her here forever, she will leave one day as well.”

Antiope left the two on the cliff and went down to the field, grabbing a sword along the way. “Kara,” she called, approaching the two. “Move.” The blonde scrambled out of the way while the general went after her niece with the sword. “Stop holding back,” she ordered, swiping at Diana.

“I am not,” Diana protested, shifting away from her aunt.

“You are, you are not taking this seriously, you are holding back.” Antiope raised her sword to strike at her niece again when the brunette positioned her hands to block the blow. The sword struck the metal of her bracers, and a small explosion occurred, breaking the sword and sending Antiope flying backwards. Only Kara remained unaffected from the blast, and raced over to check on her friend.

Diana stared down at her arms in horror before looking at her aunt struggling to get off the ground. “I am sorry,” she muttered before running away.

“Diana, Diana wait!” Kara yelled, running after her friend. She used her super speed to catch up with her friend away from the field, and finally caught up with her enough to grab arm. “Diana stop!” She dug her heels in and stopped the brunette from running off again. “Are you alright?”

“Let go of me Kara.”

“No, you did not leave me alone after more of my abilities came through, I am not going to leave you now.” She ran her fingers along Diana’s wrists, tracing her bracers lightly. “Are you alright?”

“I am fine, but Antiope…”

“She is fine from what I saw before I ran after you, she was getting back up anyway. Do you know what happened?”

“No.” Diana glanced down at her own wrists. “I do not even know where these came from, only that they have been there since I was small and my mother told me to never take them off.”

“Maybe they have power, or maybe they have been keeping the power inside of you under control all of these years and it is breaking out.”

“Maybe,” Diana murmured. “Is this what you felt each time one of your new powers developed, scared and out of control?”

“Sometimes,” Kara admitted. “When I started to fly, to blow ice, and fire came from my ice, I was terrified. My parents and the information in my pod all told me that I would have great powers here because of the sun and how Kryptonians had evolved over the millennia, but they were not able to tell me what they would be. It was terrifying each time, I thought I was going to hurt someone.”

“But you never hurt someone like this.”

Kara scoffed, “Antiope is fine, do you remember what I did to Mala’s arms when I forgot my own strength?”

“She still has a bit of a grudge you bested her in hand to hand combat,” Diana grinned. “It is her best field after all.”

“None of your friends like me very much, and you know it,” Kara countered. The two started walking away from the field, letting their feet lead them wherever they may. “They never seemed to get used to me, even after all this time.”

“You are imagining things Kara, they do like you.”

Kara hummed unconvincingly. “Do you want to head over to the baths? I could use a good scrub.”

“If we go to the baths, I will run into Kasai, and I am still not ready to see her,” the brunette replied.

“I still don’t know why both of you split, you have been lovers forever,” Kara sighed. “Well, if you do not want to go to the baths, we can go up the mountain to the waterfall. It works just as well.”

Diana murmured an agreement, but she couldn’t voice an answer to the statement her friend had voiced. Kasai had been her lover, one of her lovers; they never seemed to last long, but her relationship with Kasai had been the longest. It ended the same as the others though, for the same reason as the others, one reason, the blonde walking next to her. She’s wanted her friend for a long time, years, ages, Diana couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t want the beautiful blonde.

But Kara wanted to respect her culture. She told Diana more about her world years ago, about the bracelets around arms, her parents’ bonding bracelets. It was unheard of in her society to ‘mate’ with someone without being bonded to them, and Diana respected that Kara wished to honor the customs of her people. For Amazons, it wasn’t custom to wed, to bond, in such a way, though Diana knew that her mother would let her if she asked. Something held her back though, something stopped her each time she thought about talking to her mother or to Kara, and she knew, she knew it was fear. It was foolish to be afraid, but Kara was her dearest friend, her best friend, and she wouldn’t allow anything to come between them.

The way her stomach twisted into knots though whenever Kara smiled at her, or every time she heard her laugh… it was difficult to bear. The power the blonde held over her was frightening, and that might be what scared her the most.

They quickly ventured up the mountain to the secluded waterfall Diana had shown her long ago, a trip they both made frequently but something that was still just between them. By the time they finished, the sun was descending in the sky and it was time to return for the evening meal. There was a festival that night and everyone was attending. “I have to run home and change, but I will see you later at the festival?” Kara asked, looking over at her friend. It had been difficult in recent time to see Diana during festivals since she was either with her mother or her friends, but they still tried to spend some time together at these large gatherings.

“Mom,” Kara called when she walked into the house. When she didn’t receive a reply, Kara just slipped up to her room and changed into one of her togas, and headed towards the palace.

“Kara! Hey Kara over here.” The blonde turned and spotted a few of her friends seated at the end of one of the long tables, the one closest to the gardens.

“Raina, Trigona,” Kara greeted the two, sitting down across from them. “How long have you two been here?”

“Long enough to watch Oeone making out with her lover in the gardens,” Raina replied, flipping her curly red hair over her shoulder. Kara glanced over towards the garden and instantly picked out the two women hidden behind one of the arbors. Oeone, Raina, and Trigona were three of her friends other than Diana that she has managed to find on Themyscira over the years.

Diana was often pulled into more training by Antiope and the other warriors, and that left Kara alone for long periods of time. Because of this, she ended up meeting other Amazons, ones that were often overlooked or disregarded. Trigona was an athlete, one of the best on the island, but she wasn’t a warrior. A life of fighting prior to the island wore on her, and she gave it up, turned her talents towards sport and games. Oeone and Raina had similar stories, though Oeone turned her attentions to plants, the study of plants, and Raina became a troublemaker, a jester.

The two lovers meeting in the garden detangled themselves and returned to the festival. Oeone sat down next to Kara and stared wistfully after her lover, Aella, as she walked towards the upper table with the other royal guard. “Oeone… Oenee,” Raina started, using the woman’s nickname.

“Huh, what?” The woman glanced around before her eyes fell on the redhead across from her. “What do you want?”

“You have got a little something right there,” Raina said, brushing her chin.

Oeone wiped at her chin, but when she didn’t feel anything there she glared at the woman. “I dislike you,” she muttered, sipping at her goblet of wine.

“I would like to call this festival’s meeting of the misfit table to order,” Trigona started, clearing her throat. “We all remember the rules, if we get a disapproving look from ‘that’ group, we take a drink.”

“I still do not think this is a good idea,” Kara muttered.

“Oh, it will be fun Kara,” Raina chided. “What could go wrong?”

 


 

“Your friends are always very entertaining,” Diana murmured when she sat down next to Kara later that night. The blonde had slipped away from the festival after Trigona picked a fight with Io, the weaponsmith, and flew up to the top of the palace. The noise from hundreds of drunk Amazons had gotten too much for her and she sought the peace and serenity she felt from losing herself in the stars.

“They are a mess,” Kara shook her head. “Were your friends upset about the fight?”

“Sofia, Mala and Io goaded Trigona and Raina, so they are partially responsible for the fight breaking out, so they all deserve whatever punishment Antiope gives them.”

Kara hummed and glanced over at her friend. “I saw you talking to Kasai before everything… and well I wanted to know how that went?”

“You were right, I should have stopped avoiding her before now,” Diana sighed out her agreement. “She is sad and does not really accept our split, but I think she is moving on. She has been seeing more of Pallas recently.”

“Probably because she needs so many of her things fixed because she breaks them during one of her fits.”

Diana bit back a snicker at her statement. “Ah, yes,” she said after a moment. “Kasai’s temper has always been pretty bad.”

The blonde just hummed again, not wanting to say anything bad about her best friend’s former lover. The woman always had a bad temper, but whenever Diana was around, she seemed to control it better. Kara couldn’t ever decide if it was because Kasai was trying to be better for Diana, or if she just wanted her to think that she was better. She just shook her head and turned her attention back to the stars above them. “It has been hard,” Kara whispered, her eyes focused on one distant star. “Seeing them for all this time, looking at them, watching them, knowing that I cannot contact them, cannot tell them what is coming, cannot save them. I just wait for time to catch up to itself and I will look up and see Rao, and know that Krypton is not there anymore.”

Diana’s heart broke at the despair on her friend’s face. She remembered when Kara’s pod had regenerated enough for the AI unit inside of it to fully restart, and the devastation she had felt when she realized she had been sucked into the past, years before Krypton was destroyed. “I know how hard it was after Kex told you where you were, when you were,” Diana started. “And that you could not contact your people, could not warn them of what was to come.”

“The communication system never could reach that far without assistance from the Brainiacs or Kryptonian super computers. There is no way they would accept a communication signal from this galaxy, and I would have to worry about the signal being intercepted by someone, like those Daxamites.”

Diana hummed, having heard stories about the people that lived on Krypton’s sister planet. They seemed like the stories her mother would tell her about the time when Ares governed and influenced the world of man, driving them through greed and selfishness to enter into war and chaos. She wondered if that was the natural state of life, chaos, unthinking of what actions would do to others, if heroes were created and given to people to serve as hope for wait others could be, to give compassion, charity, and mercy. If it was how people were, how life was, then what was the role of Ares in these wars, what roles did gods play when life destroys life?

“Why do you not think your home world would receive a signal from this galaxy?” Diana asked, shaking away her thoughts.

“Just as I am not ignorant to the failings of my home world, I do not ignore their arrogance,” Kara acknowledged. “I do not think that they viewed this world as very sophisticated. I once heard my uncle Jor-El refer to it as practically savage, barbaric.”

“How did they judge such a thing?”

The blonde shrugged, “I believe it had something to do with how advanced science was here on Earth. Some cultures from the past on the world seemed to be more advanced than the ones that came after…” Kara’s face scrunched in confusion. “I am unsure how that is possible, but there were a few worlds that my uncle viewed this way. My father was far more charitable, she said that each planet valued things differently. She taught me to never look down on a culture because they were different, if I had to judge someone, judge them based on their values, on their morality, on how they treat others. That is why she disapproved of Daxam, but not others. She did not approve of how Daxam had slaves, and kept their citizens drunk and drugged to distract them from how the upper class treated them. No Krypton had problems, but we had long evolved beyond such practices.”

“Did you have festivals on Krypton?” Diana asked, wanting to change the subject towards something hopefully more pleasant. “You know that Amazons love an excuse to throw a celebration or festival, what did Kryptonians celebrate?”

Kara hummed, “You know, I do not think we have ever talked about this. Krypton did not hold festivals when I was alive, not as grand as festivals from the golden period, or even in the ancient past. The resources were scarce in my time and had to be rationed, though probably our biggest festivals were small, family affairs with our Name Days.”

“That was the day you were granted your name correct, different than celebrating the day of your birth.”

“Yes.” Kara turned sad eyes to the heavens again. “I just regret that years are so different here, I do not think I will ever celebrate my Name Day properly again.”

“I am truly sorry,” Diana replied. “But we have a new day to celebrate, the day you came to us.” She reached around behind her, picked up a small bundle and presented it to her friend. “Happy Arrival Day!”

“Diana,” Kara giggled. “It has been over two thousand years since I arrived on this planet, do you not think it is time to stop celebrating?”

“Not celebrate the day that my dearest friend came into my life?” Diana wrapped an arm around the shorter girl’s shoulders. “May the gods strike me down if I forget this day.”

“You might come to regret those words in the future.”

“Never.”

Kara ducked her head and smiled, a blush coating her face before she started to carefully untie the package. She carefully pulled out a familiar blue fabric, the material soft under her hands. “Is this my blanket?” Kara asked. She turned it over and a gasp escaped her lips at the sight of stars littering her blanket. “How…”

“I have been working on this for a long time truthfully,” Diana told her. “I know you love your blanket, one of the things that your parents gave you, but I also wanted it to reflect a bit of me as well, your new home.”

The blonde’s hands traced the stars, the beautiful bright white that was now intermingled with the rich dark blue, and she immediately tracked the patterns with her fingers. “Is that… is this Aquila?” She gave her friend a wiry smile, “Sewing your favorite constellation into my blanket now are you?”

“Well, the blanket is from your parents, and the stars are from me,” the Amazon said. “That way you will have us close. Pythia helped me unravel the fabric from some of the old clothing you had outgrown from your world and your blanket, and helped me weave the stars back into the fabric.”

“You said you have been working on this for a long time, how long exactly?”

Diana shrugged, “I am unsure, I lost count, years. I would say centuries because I messed up a lot with other material before attempting on your blanket. I know you put it away long ago because it was too hard to look at, but maybe, this way, it is something new now so you will not have to be afraid to look at it.”

“I do not think I was afraid, maybe just sad,” Kara murmured. “It was my baby blanket, the first thing that my family had given me, and although I wanted to hold onto it forever after I came here, I also wanted it to be far from my sight. It constantly reminded me of what I had lost, of everything that could have been.” She wiped at her eyes and leaned into her friend, “Now though, now it will bring far more happy memories than sad, happier feelings than sorrow.”

“Then I am glad to have stolen it and gifted it back to you with new memories.”

Kara embraced her friend, the blanket tucked in between them. “Thank you Diana,” she whispered in her ear. “I love you.”

The princess’ heart clinched at the words but she fought it down to return the embrace. “I love you too.

An odd sound entered Kara’s range of hearing and she turned her attention towards the noise, a buzzing, sputtering noise. It brought memories back from her uncle Zor-El’s experiments with ancient engine technologies. “Diana,” Kara said, pulling away from her friend. “I hear something, something is coming.”

“Where?” The brunette asked, her eyes alert.

Kara zipped away to stash her blanket in Diana’s room in the palace, re-appearing before the woman could blink. “Follow me, I hear it down close to the beach by the cliffs, near where my pod crashed.”

The two raced to the cliffs, the light from the full moon illuminating the path. They reached the edge and Kara looked out over the water, searching through the darkness and the veil surrounding the island to locate the source of the noise. “There!” She cried, pointing towards a place through the veil. “I can barely see it, but something is there.”

“It is not coming from above then,” Diana murmured. “Do you think… do you think it is someone from the world of man?”

It must be, though it is flying, it is coming from the east, not from above.” Kara watched as the sputtering craft dipped and dived, eventually reaching the barrier separating Themyscira from the outside world. Through the years, she wondered how she managed to get through the veil when it was meant to keep the island protected, but both Pythia and Antiope told her that fate had a way of overriding these things.

They both saw the flying craft burst through the barrier before diving straight down into the water. “There’s someone on board!” Kara yelled but Diana had already jumped off the cliff and started swimming towards the sinking vessel. The blonde was about to follow her friend, when she caught sight of something just beyond the barrier, a dark, hulking shape that billowed smoke and fire. She knew what it was or what it was meant to be, she had seen enough from pictures and stories her aunt had shared with her from other planets to know that she was looking at a warship.

She heard the distant sounds of yelling, the clamoring rush of people, soldiers, arming themselves to follow. Whoever it was that crashed in the bay, they were being hunted. She looked down at the beach and saw Diana had pulled a man out of the water just as boats were breaching the barrier. “Diana!” Kara called down. “Behind you!”

“Diana!” Kara heard Antiope call out and she turned to see a battalion of warriors racing behind her towards the edge of the cliffs. The general jumped off and charged towards Diana and the man, but she was held back by the sight of the soldiers approaching in boats. A horn sounded and the call shook Kara to the core, she knew it was Antiope calling her warriors and the royal guard into battle. Kara stood frozen as people she knew, people she grew up around rushed into battle. The archers on the cliff took their position, and Kara could hear the approaching hoofbeats of the cavalry charging down along the beach side.

Her eyes focused back on her friend just as the man she rescued fired a weapon at the approaching soldiers, dropping several on the beach and in the water. Kara snapped out of her fear as she watched the Amazons die at the hands of these enemy soldiers as they invaded their land. Heat built in her eyes as Antiope was downed protecting Diana, and Kara screamed out in rage. She flew down off the cliff, air rushing around her as she flew towards the ship that had breached the veil. The fire from her eyes had already burned through all of the remaining soldiers on the beach and she charged the ship. Metal broke and burst around her, and screams sounded as she set fire to even more men, their cries of pain falling on deaf ears.

It wasn’t until silence reigned around her, the ship slowly sinking beneath the surface that her rage abated, leaving her feeling hollow and empty. She flew back to the beach and found Diana clutching at her aunt. “You are going to be okay,” Diana muttered, pressing her hand into Antiope’s wound. “I am alright and you are going to be alright.”

“The time has come,” Antiope gasped out, clutching at Diana’s arm.

“The time, the time for what?”

Antiope struggled to breath, to get out the words that were trapped in her throat. “God… killer…” She finally gasped out. “Diana go…”

“Go, go where?” Diana cried, tears forming in her eyes. “Antiope please.”

“Go…” The woman stilled and fell back in her niece’s arms, her eyes closing for the final time.

“No Antiope!” Diana called out as her mother fell on the ground next to them.

“Antiope,” the queen murmured. Seeing her sister lying slan by war that reached their shores brought anger and sorrow to her soul in equal measures.

Kara kneeled down next to Diana and wrapped an arm around her friend’s shoulders. The brunette turned towards her friend and sobbed into her chest. “She’s gone Kara, she’s gone.”


Chapter Text


 

“Is Oeone alright?” Kara asked when Raina found her at morning’s light. “And Trigona?”

“Trigona will heal, I do not know why the fool thing rushed down here to fight, she does not like fighting.” Raina rolled her eyes before sorrow crossed her face. “And Oeone… it will be a long time before she is the same again, Aella was one of the ones that fell in battle.”

“I know,” the blonde whispered, a lone tear running down her face. “I should have done something sooner, I should have acted sooner.”

“It is not your fault Kara, who would have imagined that war would come to our shores? That some of our greatest warriors would fall…”

“But I can do more things than the Amazons, I have greater abilities, I have trained alongside Diana and the warriors for centuries,” Kara cried. “I should have… I should have been able to do something.”

“Kara.” Pythia’s voice came from behind them and Kara turned to look at her mother. The older woman walked up to them as the two stood just outside the palace, a sorrowful look on her face. “Kara, do not take this burden on yourself, this responsibility. The actions of others are not your fault Kara.”

“But I could have done something,” she replied. “I could have saved some of them, I could have saved Antiope if I had acted sooner.”

“Maybe,” Pythia agreed. “Or you might have been killed in the process. We do not know all that you can do, we do not know about these new weapons the outsiders brought with them.”

“But-”

“Hush Kara, no one blames you for your fear, for your not knowing what to do, those that fell were warriors and they fell honorably in battle. Remember them for that, not for who you think you could or could not save.”

Kara understood what her mother was saying and nodded. It wouldn’t do any good to continue to berate herself for not responding sooner. The Amazons were warriors, all of them, and many still continued to prep for war, knowing that one day it might come to them on their protected island. Anything that Kara could or couldn’t have done wouldn’t have changed the fact that war came for them.

“What is going on in there?” She asked, motioning her head towards the palace.

“The queen and the senators are interrogating the man that Diana saved out of the water,” Pythia replied. “They are using Hestia’s rope so there is no way he will be able to lie.”

“I am going to go back to Trigona and Oeone,” Raina told them, stepping away from the other two women. “I will see you later Kara, Pythia.”

“Bye Raina, tell Trigona I wish her well and Oeone… I am so sorry for her loss.” The redhead nodded, and squeezed Kara’s hand before making her way back towards the hospital where Trigona was recovering and Oeone was mourning. Kara’s heart ached for her friend, all of her friends who were hurt or lost someone. She knew what it was like, not the pain of losing a lover, but losing a loved one; at times it felt like her heart was being ripped from her chest, or that she was completely numb to everything or that her body was on fire. It had been over two thousand years since she landed on Themyscira, Kex kept track of the years for her and Diana, but at times it still felt like she had just landed, just lost her parents, her friends, her culture, her entire world. Grief, grieving was different for everyone, she felt that she had not fully grieved her family after all these years, how much more so would it be for the Amazons? Or would they grieve less because they were warriors and they died a warrior’s death?

“It will never be the same for them will it,” Kara sighed as she turned back to her mother. “Oeone’s lover was killed, Trigona’s leg was injured, Raina was…”

“Raina is haunted by the wars we fought in the past,” Pythia replied, wrapping an arm around Kara’s shoulder as she led the girl back towards their house. “Her experiences in war affected her greatly, which is why she chose not to continue being a warrior here. I made the same choice though not for the same reasons. Even though the warriors prepped for war, knowing that we would one day be called on to defend mankind again, that does not mean we were prepared for such a thing to come on our own shores, or that we were ready for it to come.” The older woman hummed as she thought about how to continue the conversation. “Yes, Oeone lost a lover, but she knew that Aella was a soldier, she knew that it might happen, be it today, tomorrow, or years from now.”

“What about Trigona, her leg, she might not ever be able to run again…”

“She is your friend, do you really think she is going to let some injury stop her from doing what she wants to do?”

Kara snorted at the thought, “No, she will probably find a way around it.” She glanced back towards the palace behind them as they walked away from it. “What do you think is going to happen?” She asked. “Why do you think he, they, were here?”

“I see that you are still following Hippolyta’s orders not to listen to anything sensitive,” Pythia observed. “I do not know. There could be many reasons why he crashed in the bay and those men chased after him, but what I do know is that war came to our shores and it is up to the queen and senate to decide what to do.”

“Do you think they will make the right decision?”

Pythia thought for a moment about how to answer. “I think they will make the right decision for the Amazons, whether that is a decision all will be happy with is not for me to say.” She shook her head, “Now, I know you do not need as much sleep as the rest of us, but eat something and try to get some sleep, we have all had a long night.”

Kara nodded and grabbed some meat, bread and fruit from the cupboards before returning to her room. Her thoughts strayed to Diana, and she wondered at what her friend was doing, what was happening in the palace with the stranger. She worried for her, for what had happened with Antiope, and what would happen. Diana was never one to sit idly by while someone was in trouble, it was one of the things she loved about the older woman. “Please be okay Diana…”

 


 

“Kara, Kara!” The blonde’s eyes snapped open and a hand covered her mouth to keep the scream that was about to escape at the sight of eyes right in front of her face.

“Diana,” Kara whispered, ripping the hand away from her mouth. “What are you doing?”

“I need you to help me,” Diana replied, her face grave in the shadows cast by the candle in her hand.

“Help you? With what, what time is it…” She glanced over towards the window and saw that night had come again and the moon was shining high in the sky. “It is the middle of the night Diana.”

“I know, that is why I need your help, we need to go,” Diana urged, tugging her friend from the bed.

“Diana, Diana wait,” Kara said, not bending to the Amazon’s urging. “What is the hurry, what is happening?”

“War, Kara,” Diana murmured. “The man, he is a captain Steve Trevor, he was fleeing from enemies. There is a war happening in the world of man, it is Ares, he is back.”

“How can you know?”

Diana pushed Kara quietly out of the house as she whispered. “He referred as the war to end all war, thousands, millions are dying, women, children. It must be Ares, this is what Antiope meant. We have to get the Godkiller and slay Ares so that mankind will be free from his influence and stop fighting.”

“War is not always caused by Ares Diana,” Kara commented. “War is one of the worst parts of life.”

“This is Ares, Kara, and we have to do something.”

“What did your mother say?”

The brunette glanced away, “She does not want to do anything. She is going to send Steve away without offering aid, without even sending warriors with him to fight Ares.”

“So why do you need my help?”

“We can go,” Diana stated. “We can go defeat Ares, end the war, but I need to get into the tower and get the Godkiller without the sentries knowing.”

Kara thought for a moment before nodding her head. “Alright, I will fly you up to the tower.” She carefully lifted Diana into her arms and pushed off the ground, heading towards the tower.

“I will meet you down by the docks,” Diana said. “Will you grab some supplies?” Kara nodded before taking off back towards the city. The Amazon quickly moved through the tower vault, grabbing Hestia’s rope, a shield, the Godkiller, and armor before quickly leaving through the window where Kara dropped her off. She changed into the armor and made her way back to the baths under the palace, collecting a couple of horses along the way.

“Uh, nice outfit,” Steve commented, gesturing towards her new armor.

“Oh, thank you,” Diana stated. “Now, I will show you the way off the island, you will take me to Ares.

“Deal,” he replied before his brain caught up to him.

Diana nodded, “Good, good, my friend is gathering supplies for us and will meet us down by the docks.

“Your friend… Oh your friend.” An alarmed look crossed his face but Diana didn’t think anything of it and led him out towards where she left the horses. “So that um, your friend with the…” Steve motioned around with his hand, pointing at his eyes and then pointing away forcibly. “The eye thing…”

“Oh, Kara,” Diana replied as she mounted her horse. “What about her?”

“Is um, can all of you do…” He motioned at his eyes with his hand again. “ That thing?”

“Oh, no, Kara is…” She was unsure what to say, if he would understand. “She is from another world.”

“Another world?”

Diana shrugged, “She fell, from the stars, another world. There are legends in our history of others coming before her.”

“From the stars… like an alien?” Steve snorted. “I figured that was the stuff of books, theories. Many claim we are alone in the universe.” An uncomfortable look crossed his face for a second. “So uh, what else can she do other than the… fire thing, flying and basically destroying everything in her path.”

“She…” His words struck her as oddly phrased and Diana glanced at him from the corner of her eye. His face was set, stoic, as they rode towards the docks, but she detected a hint of fear in his eyes and the way he clenched his hands around the reins. The horse beneath him felt it too because it tossed its head in protest and danced a bit on its hooves. Diana didn’t know where this sense of fear came from in the man. When he spoke of war earlier, his features held no trace of fear, only anxiety, an anxiousness to return to his country, his people, to help them however he could.

It is only when they can in view of the dock and Diana saw Kara there readying the boat that she understood where the fear came from. Steve’s eyes flickered, his hands tightened on the reins even more, and his breath came out in stuttered gasps. Kara turned to watch their approach, a curious expression on her face, her bag sitting on the ground next to her, and Diana was instantly struck that this wasn’t a good idea.

“I have packed a few supplies,” Kara said instead of greeting them. “They are already tucked in the boat, I was just making some last minute checks.”

“Oh, ah, yes, Kara was it?” Steve started, shifting on his feet. “Um, thank you, for earlier, on the beach and um… Thank you for the supplies. I’m going to um, I’m going to get on the boat.” He scrambled away from the blonde and threw himself into the boat, checking the supplies and pulling out the map he had stashed in his pocket.

“He is a little spooked, maybe he will calm down when we get back to this war of his,” Kara mused. She reached down to grab her bag but Diana put out a hand to stop her.

“Kara wait,” she said, grabbing her hand. “Maybe this is not a good idea.”

The blonde gave her friend a puzzled look. “You said that it is the Amazons’ duty to defeat Ares, and you need to go defeat him…”

“I know, I know, and I will, I am, but…” Gods help me. “I think maybe I should do this alone, that I should go alone.”

“What? Why?”

Diana tugged her friend away from the docks back on land. “I just think it would be better if you stayed here,” the brunette tried again, unable to look in the blonde’s eyes. “This is your home, and it would be unfair for me to ask you to leave another home-”

“Bullshit,” Kara interrupted. “I know when you are lying to me Diana, and that is what you are doing right now. Just tell me why, why do you want me to stay behind now ?”

“I am trying to protect you,” Diana snapped out. “Look, Steve was frightened of you, of what you could do. I do not want you to leave this island and be hunted, scorned, attacked for what you are, that is not fair to you.”

“Should that not be my choice,” Kara countered. “We have always done everything together since I landed, fought together, should we not face this together as well?”

“Kara! Do not come!” She said finally, her heart breaking. “I do not want you to come with me.”

“Diana, you know the rules of this island as well as I do, if you leave, you will not be able to come back!” Tears were running down Kara’s face at this point, though she didn’t know if they were out of frustration or sadness.

“I know, but I still have to go.” She walked up to her friend and reached out to brush away her tears. “Kara I do not want to-”

“Then let me come with you, I can help!”

“No! I do not want you to come Kara, I do not want you getting hurt!” Diana ran her hands through her hair in frustration. “You are always so reckless, just because you think you are invulnerable does not mean that you are. You saw what happened to Antiope! The humans have weapons now, weapons different than what we are familiar with, and if you come and reveal what you can do, what makes you think that they will not attempt to hurt you as well out of fear?”

“Why go help them at all then if you think they are so bad?”

“They are not all bad, they are being influenced by Ares, you cannot come with me while he is in the world!” The Amazon let out a low growl. “I am done talking about this.”

“So you are going to just leave in the middle of an argument and never see each other again,” Kara stated. “Diana you knew that I would leave eventually to find my cousin, why can I not come with you now?”

“Because it is not safe! Because the humans will be afraid of you and what you can do and I cannot be distracted keeping them away from you while I need to hunt down Ares! You will just get in the way!”

Kara visibly flinched back as if she had been slapped and Diana instantly wanted to eat her words. She wished that she could take them back, that she could tell Kara she was just afraid, that she could tell the blonde to come with her, fight by her side and they would never be separated. But seeing the trace of fear on Steve’s face reminded Diana that as much as she loved Kara, as much as she was raised and treated like an Amazon, she was entirely something else as well, something that would spark fear in hearts controlled by war and chaos. She wouldn’t let Kara be exposed to that, she couldn’t, Kara was too good and pure, full of light and hope, Diana wouldn’t allow the darkness of the world to touch her.

The sound of hoofbeats striking the ground reached their ears and Diana turned to see mother, and several of the royal guards racing towards them. The sight of Pythia riding with them reminded her of another reason why Kara had to stay, she had already been ripped away from one mother, Diana could not take her away from another.

“Kara!” Pythia called out when the group drew closer to the dock, dismounting as she pulled her horse up. The blonde rushed over to her mother and embraced her while Diana slowly turned to face her own.

Hippolyta looked down at her daughter from the back of her horse, wondering when her little girl had grown into the woman in front of her. “I am going mother,” Diana said, drawing Hippolyta’s attention. “Someone must save the world from Ares.”

“I know,” Hippolyta replied after a few moments. “Or at least I know I cannot stop you.” She dismounted from her horse and walked closer to her daughter. “There is so much you do not understand…”

“I understand enough,” Diana countered. “And I am willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, defend those who are defenseless, bleed for those who have bleed too much already.”

The queen glanced over to where her oldest friend was embracing her daughter. “Do you take Kara with you on this quest?”

Diana also looked over and noticed that Kara had stiffened at the words and buried herself further in the silver haired Amazon’s chest. “No,” Diana replied softly. “No I do not want her to come.”

Surprise crossed Hippolyta’s face as she looked back at her daughter. “You know if you choose to leave, you may never return.”

Tears welled in Diana’s eyes, but she blinked them away. “I know,” she said after a moment. “But who would I be if I stayed?”

Hippolyta nodded and softly handed the younger woman the headpiece that once graced her sister’s head. “Make sure you are worthy of it,” she murmured. She reached up and cupped Diana’s face between her hands. “The world of men does not deserve you Diana, you have always been my greatest love, but today, today you are my greatest sorrow.” She pulled her daughter close, embracing her for one last time before releasing her. “You say you do not want Kara to journey with you, may I ask why?”

“You say that the world of men does not deserve me,” Diana murmured to her mother. “I know that they do not deserve her.”

“That is not your choice to make Diana.”

Diana firmed her spine as she stepped away from the queen, “It is today.” She walked away and boarded the boat, and helped Steve cast off the line and shove away from the dock.

Before she could fully leave the protective barrier that surrounded Themyscira, Diana heard her name echoing through the sky and on the waves. “Diana! Diana!” She turned away, not wanting to hear her beloved friend’s cries any longer.

“Are you alright?” Steve asked when he noticed the tears running down her cheeks.

“No,” Diana whispered, wiping at her eyes. “Leaving Kara is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done.”

 


 

Kara sat on top of the mountain where she and Diana often hid away to talk and look at the stars. The sun was barely cresting over the horizon; she almost couldn’t believe it had been a full day since the events that killed Antiope and spurred Diana on a quest that would take her away from Themyscira forever. She didn’t believe Diana’s reasoning for wanting her to stay behind, not completely, not when she could have gone with her and they could have been together.

“I thought I would find you up here.” Hippolyta’s voice sounded behind her and Kara turned her head slightly to watch the woman. The queen walked to the edge where the younger blonde was sitting and lowered herself to the ground. “I found this in Dia- her room,” Hippolyta said, handing over the blanket that Diana had given her only two days ago.

“Thanks,” Kara murmured, taking the blanket. Her fingers traced the freshly woven stars, following the patterns of the constellations.

“She spent a long time learning how to make that,” the queen said. “Badgered the weavers every chance she could at how to unravel the fabric and the stitch in the constellations as she put it back together.”

“She told me, she gave it to me after the festival, it was the anniversary of my arrival here. I am not sure how she has managed to give me something every year.”

“Some years were easier than others,” Hippoylta mused. “I am thankful that for the most part these gifts involved making your favorite food, it took years for Pallas and Io to agree to talk to me again after she harassed them to teach her how to forge a sword for you, I hate to think how long I will be in the bad graces of the weavers.”

“They complain but they loved Diana, they would have helped her make a thousand blankets if she asked them.” Kara gave the queen a mischievous look, “And I do not think Io was complaining when she was helping Diana learn to forge weapons.”

Hippolyta cracked a smile at that statement. “Yes, I believe you are right.” They sat silently for a few minutes before she spoke again. “She will be alright you know.”

“I know that she will be alright but,” Kara sighed. “I just, I want to know why she left me behind.”

“Because she loves you,” the queen replied. “Love makes us stronger, drives us to be better, but in the same instance it can make us afraid, push us to irrational decisions in order to protect our loved ones.”

“She was being stupid…” Kara grumbled and Hippolyta smiled at the blonde.

“One day, you will leave this island too, to find your cousin, or just to seek out your destiny away from here, and you will reunite with Diana, you will be able to air your grievances then.”

“I guess…”

“Your mother will be sad to see you go when you do decide to leave,” Hippolyta commented. “This I speak from experience. I believe my daughter was also attempting to spare you from leaving another mother in your lifetime, not when you still had a choice.”

Kara idly stroked the fabric of her blanket between her fingers, a thoughtful expression on her face. “Why is it that if people leave, they cannot come back?”

“The protective barrier around this island hides us from the world, but also from people looking for us.”

“So it is less that Diana would not be able to return and more that she would not be able to find the island again?”

Hippolyta nodded, “Yes, but for regular Amazons, as soon as they cross the veil, they give up their claim on immortality and become just like the humans.”

The younger blonde looked at the queen curiously. “You said regular Amazons, does that mean that Diana is not a regular Amazon?”

“Diana is… Diana is unique.”

“Is this about her being made of clay and brought to life by the gods?”

“Well she was created by the gods but…” The older woman hesitated for a moment. “I am going to tell you something, something that only Antiope, Pythia and myself knew, know.” Kara twisted around to look at the woman. “I did not sculpt Diana out of clay, that was just a story I told to protect her from the truth. In truth I gave birth to her, she is my natural child, but also the child of a god, Zeus.”

“Oh Rao,” Kara muttered as she put the pieces together. “That is what Antiope meant when she said Godkiller to Diana, she is the Godkiller, not the sword. It is her destiny to defeat Ares.”

“Yes,” Hippolyta nodded. “Only a god can defeat a god. She is the best hope for the world.”

“And you never told her?”

“I wanted to protect her, to give her time to learn and grow. If she knew of her power, Ares would have come for her sooner, and she was not ready.”

“Do you think she is ready now?” Kara asked. “Do you think she will be able to defeat him?”

“I cannot do anything but believe that she is, I have to believe in her, for all of us.”



Chapter Text


 

1985

 

“So the crystals that were with you inside your pod created all of this?” Raina started as she looked around the chamber in wonder. The room was a merging of crystal and the natural rock found on the small island with a small stream winding through the room. Large, crystal statues of Kara’s parents guarded the entrance inside the cave, serving as protective figures for the entire history and culture of Krypton preserved inside.

“Yes, they were used long ago as the base for some of the most amazing architecture in Argo City,” Kara explained. “The crystals combined with the omegahedron, a powersource that my people created, and this whole thing was created.”

“And you built it on that barrier island?” Raina continued. “This whole thing is from that tiny, little barrier island?”

“Well, not the whole thing, but the crystals worked with what was already here,” Kara told her friend. “Half of the island, this half, was the original barrier island, but the other half was constructed by the crystal. It’s blocked off from most of the Amazons though.”

“Why?”

“Because Kara found the loophole for the protections around Themyscira,” Pythia replied, amusement in her voice. “Amazons cannot leave the island and come back, the protections hide the island too well, but Kara has found a way around that by using this Kryptonian technology to always be able to find her way back.”

“I’ve installed Kex to run security so that I will be the only one able to find the island outside the barrier, and only a few select people will be able to access this place on this side, namely you, Raina, Trigona, Mom, and Queen Hippolyta.” Kara’s hands flew over the control pad and several transparent screens came to life. “I wanted a… place to go to, for all of the things that I had from Krypton, my pod, the things my parents gave me before I left, I wanted a place for them, but I did not want to be too far from my new family. And this helps me find my way back when I want to and if…”

“If you find Diana,” Pythia finished. “And she wants the chance to return as well.”

“It has been over sixty years,” Kara said without looking away from the screen in front of her. “Do you not think she would have moved on after all this time, forgotten about us?” The me was left unsaid but the two with her caught the hidden meaning.

Pythia glanced over at Raina and the younger Amazon took the hint. “I am going to head back to the island,” the redhead said, moving towards the entrance of the cave. “I will see you later Kara.”

When the woman left, Pythia turned to her daughter. “You know that Diana did not abandon you do you not? If she could have come back, she would have.”

Kara let out an aggravated sigh. “I know that, but part of me… I cannot help but feel that if she had truly wanted to return, she would have found a way, she would have fought tooth and nail to return to us.” To me.

“When you see her again, you can voice all of your frustrations, the ones that have been building up inside of you for all of these years. But let me impart some words of wisdom, people who have eternity, like you and Diana, they do not forget easily, not for such a short span of sixty years. People who have eternity value it so much more because they are aware of time, so when you do see Diana again…”

“What? Go easy on her?”

“No,” Pythia shook her head. “Give her as much trouble as possible, give her a hard time, but listen to her. Hear her when she talks to you, but on your terms.” Kara just snorted and returned her attention to the screen, taking in the figures that Kex was calculating for her. “Have you received any news about your cousin’s ship?” Her mother asked.

“Kex told me years ago that the rotation of Krypton had been corrupted, and that two years ago…” Kara couldn’t finish the statement. “Kal’s pod should be arriving any day now.”

“Have you thought about what you are going to do when you find him?”

Kara let out a barking laugh, “Every day, I have thought about it every day.” She turned around and looked at the statues of her parents. “My mother and father wanted me to look after him, would have wanted me to look after him if I could, but I do not know if it will be what is best for both of us.”

“What do you mean?”

The blonde bit her lower lip as she thought for a moment before answering. “I have lived on this island for the entire time I have been on this planet. Kex has been able to track what has been happening in recent years, but I have not really lived in this world, I know nothing about it. Kal will need someone who can navigate the culture so that he can grow up being able to fit in, with the best life possible.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I do not know,” Kara replied. “I have to find him first. Everything after that can be decided later.”

“Would you consider bringing him back here?” Pythia questioned. “The senate might have a problem with it, but I know that Hippolyta would be honored.”

Kara paused before shaking her head, “I know that I have the ability to come back if I want to, but I think I need to start living in this world, like my parents wanted me to. I know that I am safe on this island, that Kal would be safe here, but I want him to live. And I would not cause tension here by bringing him if I do not have to.”

“I will be sad to see you go, but I know this is something that you have to do.” The older woman wrapped her arm around the blonde’s shoulders and guided her out of the cave. “It is something every parent goes through, the day when their child has to leave, to leave the nest and find their own wings, to find their own way.” She patted Kara’s arm as they walked, “Just know that you will always have a place to come back to, a home to come back to.”

“Thanks Mom,” Kara murmured, wrapping her arm around the older woman’s waist. “It is good to know that I have someplace to come back to, a place that I can come back to.”

“So what are you going to call this little island of yours? Are you going to give it a name?”

“I was thinking maybe the Island of Fortitude,” Kara murmured, looking back into the cave. “It serves as a reminder that strength lies not only in oneself but also in family, friends, the people you care about.”

El mayarah, ” Pythia said, repeated the common phrase Kara had mentioned throughout the years. “Stronger together, your family motto.”

“Yes, I was always taught to believe that we were stronger together, family friends.” Kara turned away from the cave and gave her mother a sad look. “Being here though, this world taught me a different lesson.”

“What?”

Kara squeezed the older woman’s hand before answering. “Sometimes you have to be apart in order to grow.”

 


 

A soft beeping sound reached Kara’s ears and she immediately snapped into wakefulness, recognizing the source of the sound. “Kex,” she whispered, activating the handheld device connected to the AI unit. “Is it time?”

“A pod has been detected crash landing in what is known as the North American continent, a place called Kansas,” the robotic voice replied.

“I will prepare to leave immediately, thank you Kex.”

“So it is time.” Pythia’s voice came from the doorway to her room and Kara glanced up to look at her mother.

“Yes, Kal’s pod has landed,” Kara replied. She pushed herself off the bed, grabbed her bag, and turned to face her mother. “I guess this is it.”

“Will you be returning, after you find your cousin’s pod? Will you come back here?” Pythia already knew the answer, but she couldn’t help but ask it again.

Kara bit her lip as she thought. “I don’t know, I might come back, someday, no I know I will come back, I just do not know when.”

“There is a big world out there,” Pythia agreed. “It is time you start living in it, to see it, your parents would want you to.”

“Does that include you?”

Pythia smiled at that, and pushed a piece of blonde hair behind Kara’s ears. “I remember Hippolyta telling Diana that the world did not deserve her, and I know how she feels. The world does not deserve you Kara, but I think it needs you. Go, see the world, learn about humans, learn about other beings like you taking shelter in this world, I think this island has grown too small for you.”

“I love you Mom.” Kara pressed a kiss to her mother’s cheek. “I will miss you.”

“I love you too.” Pythia kissed Kara’s forehead, lingering for a few moments. “We will keep in touch through that robot servant you have on your island, so it is not forever.”

“I know.” The younger woman sniffed, “It is just, it is so hard to say goodbye.”

“Not goodbye, just until we meet again.”

“Will you tell Raina and Trigona I said bye?” Kara asked her as the woman walked her to the door.

“I will, and I will give the queen your regards as well.”

Kara nodded and pushed off the ground, shooting into the air and towards her island base. She double checked the direction and location of her cousin’s pod on the larger map Kex had made of the planet, and took off heading due west. It was easier to fly higher in the atmosphere, so she flew above the clouds and used her superior vision to track the ground until she reached the terrain that resembled that of the images Kex pulled up for her.

The damage was the first thing she saw when she reached the small town, aptly named Smallville. People were running around in confusion as others battled fires or cleaned up the damage from the meteor shower that came with Kal-El’s pod. Kara knew that the explosion of her home planet would have been powerful enough to send rocks and debris around to other galaxies. She couldn’t even imagine what damage had been caused to Daxam; even if she did not care for the people on the planet, the way the royal family and nobility treated their subjects, nobody deserved to lose their world, their home.

Most of the fragments that would have followed her pod after the explosion were crushed and destroyed by the black hole that she was caught in. She still doesn’t know how she survived, and Kex couldn’t find any answers in the records other than speculation. Kara tracked the damage outside of town towards several large fields until she eventually found a large crater. It was too big to be from a meteorite and she knew that she had found the landing site of her cousin’s pod, except that the crater was empty.

Her eyes scanned the ground around the impact sight, and she spotted wheel tracks leading away from the crash. “Someone… drug the pod away?” Kara murmured and she followed the tracks through the tall stalks around her. Eventually she came to a small house and barn, and peering through the walls, Kara spotted a woman in the house holding a small toddler and a man in the barn burying the pod under straw. She focused on the woman and the toddler, and watched how she interacted with her cousin, holding him gently and singing to him softly. It brought tears to her eyes as she remembered her own parents singing to her and telling her stories, and her Aunt Dara doing the same thing for her cousin when he was just a baby. She didn’t know what these humans were planning on doing with her cousin, but from the way they were acting, it seemed like they were attempting to hide his arrival.

The man joined the two in the house, and the woman left Kal sitting on the floor with a ball while she and the man talked in the kitchen. Kara used this opportunity to approach the house unseen, and walked up the front steps to knock on the door. “Hello,” Kara greeted when the man opened the door, recognizing the language they used as the one Steve Trevor used all those years ago. “I believe you found my cousin.”

“Ah…” The man blinked, not knowing what to say to the woman. “Martha!” He called back into the house, hoping his wife would come and make sense of what he was seeing.

“What is it Jonathan?” The woman, Martha, replied and walked to the door. “Oh,” she said when she spotted the blonde woman wearing what looked to be armor from ancient Greece standing on the front porch. “Hello, who are you?”

Kara smiled at the people in front of her. “My name is Kara Lar-El, and I believe you found my cousin in that field of yours. Is it alright if I come in?”

Martha was frozen for a moment before gesturing the blonde woman inside, shooting her husband worried looks as the blonde stepped by them. Humming a little bit, Kara glanced around the inside of the house, taking in everything around her. It was so different from the homes on Themyscira, more advanced in ways but also more cluttered in others. The Amazons didn’t really spend a lot of time in their houses, but this house seemed lived in, seemed loved with all of the items spread out of the table and walls.

She saw him peeking around the corner of the doorway, and Kara grinned at the sight of the dark haired boy. “ Hello Kal, ” Kara spoke to him. “ I don’t know if you remember me, I haven’t seen you since you were a baby.

Kal’s face scrunched as he looked at her before a bright grin crossed his face. “Kar’,” he squealed out, running over to her. The blonde bent down to scoop him up and Kal instantly started babbling to her, a mixture of broken Kryptonian, toddler speak, and English that his pod no doubt taught him during the journey.

“So you do know him?” Martha spoke behind her and Kara turned to look at the humans she nearly forgot about. She could see a mixture of curiosity and sadness on their faces as they glanced between her and her cousin.

“Yes, he is my cousin, his father was my father’s brother,” she replied.

“So you’re… did you…” Jonathan sputtered, trying to come up with the right question that didn’t sound too invasive, and Kara took pity on him.

“Shall we sit?” She asked, waving towards the comfortable looking future in the room. “I feel that you have many questions, and I am indebted to you for finding my cousin before something happened to him.”

“Of course, of course,” Martha said, her hostess instincts kicking in as she ushered the girl to a seat. “Can I get you anything to drink? Water, tea, coffee?”

“I have heard of this… coffee, but I have never had any, if it would not trouble you…?”

Martha waved her hand, “No of course not, don’t worry about it. It’ll only take a few minutes for the pot to brew, um, is instant coffee alright?”

“I am not sure the difference, but whatever you have is fine, do not trouble yourself.” The woman bustled out of the room towards the kitchen while Kara sat on the couch with Kal and the man, Jonathan, sat in one of the chairs. Both of the humans seemed uncomfortable, but they were trying to be welcoming and hospitable, which Kara appreciated. Through the information Kex had been collecting, she was a little concerned. Humans didn’t seem very welcoming to each other, how would they take beings from other planets?

“Here we go,” Martha said, setting a mug on the small table in front of Kara when she returned to the room. “Would you like some cream or sugar?”

“No thank you, I think I would like to try it as is.” The blonde sipped at the steaming liquid, and her brow rose as the bitter taste exploded on her tongue. “It is…”

“It’s an acquired taste,” Jonathan supplied. “Especially with it as strong as my wife likes to make it.”

“Jonathan,” Martha scolded, hitting him on the arm before turning back to the young woman. “Where are my manners, my name is Martha and this is my husband Jonathan, we’re the Kents. You said your name was Kara?”

“Kara Lar-El, yes, and this is my cousin Kal-El. We are originally from the planet Krypton.”

“Planet, a different planet,” Jonathan repeated. “I know I found that… spaceship in the corn field, but I still don’t believe it.”

“Jonathan, hush,” Martha started again. “So, if you’re from a different planet, why are you here? And did you come with that meteor shower?”

“Our world died,” Kara murmured, a sad expression crossing her face. It may have been over two thousand years since she experienced the death of her world, but having to watch it over again, to wait for it to happen in order to be able to find her cousin, it had been hard. “We were arrogant, did not take care of our world until we ended up killing ourselves. Our parents knew and they sought a way to save us, so they sent us away before the planet could explode. That force is no doubt what caused the meteor shower that brought my cousin, remnants of our world.”

“You said it brought your cousin,” Jonathan pointed out. “But what about you?”

Kara bit her lip as she thought about what to tell them. “Well that… that is more complicated. Something happened, I left late, watched my planet, my people, die, and I got sucked into a black hole. I ended up on this planet, over two thousand years in the past.” The humans gasped and looked at her with shock written on their faces, and Kara just nodded. “So you can imagine, I have been waiting for Kal for a long time.”

“So what happens now?” Martha asked. “You have found him, will you take him back to where you were living?”

“I do not know,” Kara murmured, scrutinizing the woman. “Why did you take him in? Why did you pull his pod away from the crater and attempt to hide it?”

“I… we…” Martha looked at her husband desperately and Jonathan cleared his throat as he thought of how to answer.

“We… we’ve always wanted a child,” he started, his eyes misty. “We just, we’ve never been blessed with one, so when we found your cousin… It was like it was our chance to finally be parents.”

“We didn’t think anyone would come and look for him,” Martha added. “No one good anyways. Yes, scientist or the government might come to investigate the meteor shower, but we didn’t think anyone from wherever he was from would come for him.”

“You were going to take care of him? Raise him as your son?” Kara clarified, tickling Kal lightly through the slightly too large shirt Martha had dressed him in.

“As crazy as it sounds, we thought we were meant to find him,” Jonathan told her. “Like he was sent to us for a reason.”

Kara was silent for a few minutes while she thought about what they said. This was her answer, this was what she had been looking for. “The people I lived with,” she started. “The people that took me in, they do not believe in coincidence, everything is fated. I was fated to get pulled into that black hole and end up in the past with them, and you were fated to find Kal.” She gave them a watery smile, “Or he was fated to find you. I have been debating on what to do when I found him. I could not take him back to where I was living, it would not be fair to him, but then I could not fully raise him either since I had not lived in this world, not the way that you two have.”

She set Kal to the side and stood before the two humans, her fist pressed into her chest. “The House of El would be indebted to the House of Kent if you were to take in one of ours and treat him as one of your own, to help him in this world,” Kara intoned formally.

Shock flooded their systems at Kara’s words, but Martha couldn’t believe it. “Are, are you sure?” She asked as Kara sat back down. “He is your cousin-”

“Yes, and I will always love him and be here for him, but you two, you can give him something I cannot, something that was given to me by the people that took me in,” Kara said, looking between Kal and the couple. “Parents, a family. I would ask that you allow me to teach him about our world, and have our language be his first language, but I would be… proud and grateful if people such as yourselves were to take him in and raise him.” She wiped at her eyes a little, “Our worlds might have been different, but you remind me of my Aunt and Uncle, both strong, but loving and kind. I believe that they would support me in this request.”

“I, we would be honored,” Jonathan stated. “And we would be honored if you stayed with us as well.”

“Oh yes,” Martha agreed. “You will stay too? For as long as you like to be with Kal, it would be no trouble and would give us the opportunity to learn more about your culture, so that we could help Kal, but also maybe you could learn about ours as well?”

“I…” Kara blinked. That she hadn’t expected, for these people to basically take her in as well as Kal, it was surprising. She had underestimated the kindness present in human hearts, the history Kex had been accumulating for her had only focused on their misdeeds towards others rather than the compassion they showed. “I would be grateful,” she bowed her head.

Jonathan frowned and rubbed at the stubble on his chin, “Now how do we explain you to our neighbors, they’ll notice that a young blonde woman and a toddler randomly showed up at the house.”

“Surely we can pass them off as family Jonathan?” Martha questioned. “Maybe distant relatives that lost their home?”

“But how do we prove it Martha?”

“I believe,” Kara interrupted. “That my AI unit can create any of the paperwork you require, or maybe the one in Kal’s pod can, depending on how damaged it is.”

“Um, AI?” The man asked, his eyes wide.

“Yes, what is the word…” Kara muttered, her mind frantically searching for anything in their language that would explain it. “Artificial intelligence, um, robot?”

“Oh, a smart robot, of course, to be expected.” The man tossed his hands up as he slumped down in his chair, causing the two women to giggle.

“What were you going to name him?” Kara asked a bit later as Kal toddled over into Martha’s lap and curled up to sleep. “When you said you would take him in, you did not know his name, so what would you have called him?”

Martha smiled and glanced over at where her husband had also fallen asleep in a nap. “Clark,” she whispered, a light smile on her face. “After Jonathan’s father. He was a good man, and I hoped that any son I would raise would be just like him, just like his father.”

Kara nodded at the words, “Then that is what you shall call him, Clark of House Kent.”

The woman turned her head towards the blonde, startled. “But what about his name?” She asked.

“He is young, he can adapt to the changes,” Kara stated. “And… and I believe that Kal should adopt something of yours. I could not, would not change my name when I was taken in by my new mother, but my culture and life changed to incorporate my new family. This is a small thing we can do for Kal… for Clark now, to honor you and your bonded, what you are doing for us.”

Arching her brow a bit at the word ‘bonded’ instead of husband, Martha shook away her idle thoughts and focused on what the woman was saying. “I don’t think we need to completely remove his name,” she said. “And I don’t want to. It was the name his original parents gave him, and I am very thankful for them, and you, for giving us this opportunity to raise him.”

“Then what do you propose then?” Kara asked.

Martha hummed, “In our culture, we usually have what we call middle names, between our first name and surnames, Kal can be his middle name, something that we call him at home.”

“So he will be Clark Kal of House Kent?”

“No dear, he will be Clark Kal Kent.”



Chapter Text


 

3 Years Later

1988

 

“I don’t know Martha, is this really necessary?” Kara asked as she watched her adoptive aunt and uncle pack up the few belongings she had managed to collect into large suitcases. Jonathan took the suitcases down and placed them in the truck whenever Martha finished with them, shaking his head at Kara’s attempts to take them out of his hand or prevent his wife from packing her things.

“I think it is,” Martha replied. “And Pythia agrees with me so don’t try to argue.”

Kara rolled her eyes as she nearly stomped out of the room. “Shouldn’t have set up that communication channel with Kex, just never ending problems now, adoptive families bonding,” she grumbled her way out of the house. She found Kal hanging off of the jungle gym she and Jonathan had created for him, built from reinforced steel so that it was sturdy enough for a young Kryptonian. “Hey Kal,” Kara greeted her cousin.

“Kara!” Kal squealed and he flipped off the monkey bars, hovering slightly in the air before dropping to the ground. He still hadn’t gotten ahold of flying, though Kara had strictly warned him off of flying alone until he was older, much, much older. “Is Mama still making you go away?” He pouted, a few tears gathering in his eyes.

“I’m not going away Kal,” Kara sighed. “I’m just… going to college apparently.”

The little boy crossed his eyes, “School…”

“Hey now, it’s important for you to go to school,” the blonde stated firmly. “You’re starting kindergarten in a few weeks, you should be excited, learn new things, make new friends.” Kal just grumbled and tucked his head into Kara’s neck, wrapping his arms around her so that she was forced to pick him up.

Jonathan walked out of the house with more boxes and shook his head as he caught sight of them. “He’s just like you at times, it’s kind of scary.” The man had grown fond of the woman that suddenly dropped into their lives three years previous. She was kind and strong, helped out on the farm when he had broken his leg, not to mention helping his and his wife’s dreams come true by letting them raise her cousin as their son. He gestured back to the house, “Martha is still in there packing up, you better go check on her before she tries to send you with her finest china.”

“She wouldn’t- Martha!” Kara called, handing Kal over to Jonathan and racing back up to her room. She knew that the woman would try to pack far more than she needed, so she sped around her and finished boxing up everything.

“Oh,” Martha blinked. “Thank you Kara, now we can get going and get you to Metropolis.”

“Are you really sure this is a good idea?” Kara asked again. “I can stay and help you both around the farm and with Kal.”

“Kara,” the woman patted the blonde’s arm. “I love that you want to stay and help us out, but we’ll manage. You need to get out and experience new things.”

“But college though?” She grumbled again. “Why does it have to be college? I already know a lot of what they would teach me in college.”

“Then find something that interests you.” Martha shrugged, “College isn’t always about education Kara, sometimes it’s about learning to interact with people, and Metropolis University is one of the largest schools in the country, you will be able to interact with so many different kinds of people.”

“You also told me that it had the widest range of courses and was one of the most respected colleges in the country,” Kara pointed out. “That’s why I applied.”

“It is, and it does, but it will also help you learn more about humans, more than Smallville can really teach you anyway.” She squeezed Kara’s arm before moving away. “And Pythia does agree with me so don’t think you can get out of this now.”

“Yes Aunt Martha.” Kara sighed, there wasn’t any way she could argue against the two women, once they agreed on something, they were in complete agreement. “I really shouldn’t have set up that communication line between you two, now you’re ganging up on me.”

“I needed someone to talk to about raising a Kryptonian, and while the hologram of your parents has been… interesting, Pythia was a bit more helpful, especially considering all the years of experience she has.”

“Are you calling me old Kent?”

“Of course dear.”

Kara huffed and pulled a slim piece of what looked like acrylic glass out of her pocket. Pressing her thumb to the bottom of the device, she quickly moved through the information portrayed on the small screen before activating a small button. A light ring sounded for a minute before a small hologram of Pythia’s face appeared above the device.

“Kara sweetie,” Pythia greeted, smiling at her daughter. “Are you all packed yet?”

“Martha’s basically packing her entire house to send with me to Metropolis.” Kara rolled her eyes, “And I hear that you two are basically ganging up on me.”

“We mothers of Kryptonians have to stick together,” Pythia replied. “And she has been giving me interesting recipes for pies, they are quite delicious in the wood oven. I feel like I have gotten better at cooking them, so I will make you a pie the next time you visit.”

“Chocolate pecan?”

“As long as you bring some of the ingredients, I am already out of several things. Hippolyta gets cranky these days when she does not get her coffee in the morning, so make sure you bring plenty of that as well.”

“How are things going between you two?” Kara asked. The two women had grown closer after Kara left, both of them sacrificing their daughters to the world of men. It wasn’t a relationship just yet, but Kara knew that they were heading in that direction. “I know you both had some reservations about… well, everything.”

“We are… taking things slow, it has been a long time since I have truly been with someone else on a permanent basis and Hippolyta is one of my oldest friends. I believe we are fine with how things are now, we both still have lovers, but if we decide to change that, I will let you know.”

“Thanks Mom, I appreciate it, and I support you both in whatever you choose to do,” the blonde told her. “You’ve both lost so much in your lives, if you could take some comfort from each other, you should.”

“Kara!” Martha called. “We’re getting ready to leave!”

“Yes Aunt Martha!” Kara rolled her eyes and looked back at her mother. “Are you sure this college thing is a good idea?”

“Martha thinks it is, you will get to meet a lot more people, learn new things, and honestly Kara, I think it is a little late for you to be voicing complaints since you were the one who applied to school.”

“I think I was tricked.”

“Kara,” Pythia sighed. “Go, meet new people, see the world, stop being afraid to live, stop being afraid to look for Diana.”

“I’m not… that’s not…”

“Kara, you can fool yourself but you cannot fool me. You traded life on an island for life in a small village-”

“Town.”

“- town, but you are still not really living. Stop hiding.”

“You want me to reveal myself, who I am, who I really am?”

“Nothing so drastic Kara, but maybe you can stop hiding from yourself, embrace the world, learn, grow, do what your parents always wanted you to do, live.”

Kara smiled, “Alright Mom, I’ll go and give it a shot. Maybe I’ll study something new, something other than math or science, the things I was supposed to learn about.”

“Just as long as it is not philosophy,” Pythia rolled her eyes. “I knew Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and truthfully I thought they were a bunch of windbags, to think there is a branch of study based on their words, ridiculous.”

“Kara!” Martha called again.

“Coming!” The blonde yelled back before turning to her mother. “I’ll contact you after I arrive at the school and get settled in.”

“Oh wait, Martha told me what to say in this instance.” Pythia’s face scrunched for a moment before brightening, “Oh right, have a good day at school and make lots of new friends!”

“Thanks Mom.” Kara turned off the device, took one last look around the room that had been hers for the past two years before running down to the Kent’s waiting truck. “So how long is this going to take?”

“Well, if you and John take turns driving, then we should get to Metropolis tomorrow just as move in time starts in the dorms,” Martha answered. “And I will be back here in the backseat with Clark navigating.”

“Alright, so you know what a road trip means?” Kara started. “Tunes!”

“Please Kara, not oldies, please not oldies,” Jonathan protested, but just groaned when the blonde turned the radio on to one of the stations playing rock songs from the 50s and 60s.

“Oh, lighten up John, you grew up with this music,” Martha teased.

“Excuse me Ma’am,” he corrected. “I grew up with good ole country music.”

“Well the trip is long,” Kara grinned. “We might get some country in here somewhere.”

“Lord help me.”

 


 

“Well this is,” Martha started when she looked around the dorm room. “Quaint.”

“I believe the word you’re looking for Martha is small,” Jonathan corrected, setting down one suitcase. “I’ll go get the other suitcases.”

“Oh I can get them, Uncle John,” Kara started but he just waved his hand.

“No no, you stay with Martha before she starts decorating,” he said. “I can get the rest of your stuff. C’mon Clark.” The little boy bopped out of the room after his adoptive father and Martha started to look around the tiny room.

“It doesn’t look like your roommate is here yet, so we have time to get the furniture organized a bit on your side.” She glanced between the left and right sides of the room. “Which side do you want?”

“The left side probably,” Kara frowned a bit before nodding.

“Alright, well you have a bed, dresser desk and…” Martha hummed. “These look like lofts… So what I suggest, we loft your bed up towards the ceiling, and create a study nook under the bed with your desk. The dresser can fit right over here.” She gestured towards where the foot of the bed was going to be.

Kara examined the boards and bed to see how they fit together and she glanced around the tools Jonathan had brought for the right one. “If you watch the door, I’ll go ahead and take care of this.”

“You could wait for John to come back,” Martha started but the whirlwind around the room indicated that the blonde had already started moving the furniture and putting everything together. By the time Martha had finished speaking and moved closer to the door, Kara had already finished and was tightening the bolts on her lofted bed. “Or you could just go ahead and get everything settled. And you even made the bed.”

“It was easier if I just went ahead and did everything,” Kara smiled sheepishly. “I haven’t put my clothes away yet though.”

“Probably because your uncle hasn’t brought them in yet.”

Clark bounded in a few moments later carrying one of the suitcases, while his father followed him not long after, huffing slightly as he walked. “I’ve got this typewriter thing, are you sure you don’t want one of those computer thingies?” Jonathan asked, setting the box down. “It would be a bit of a set back, but if you needed one, Martha and I could do it.”

“Thanks Uncle John, but it’s okay. I find that I’ve come to like the simpler technology.”

“You just think it’s slow and antiquated,” Martha replied as she started unpacking the blonde’s clothes. “Compared to everything that you’re used to anyway.”

Kara just shrugged, “I didn’t really use technology for over 2000 years, but a culture has to start somewhere. Doesn’t mean that I have to deal with it.”

Martha continued to fold and put away her clothes, ordering her husband to hang a few things up and deal with the toiletries in a box under the small sink in the room. Jonathan stammered a bit but complied at his wife’s glare, while Clark just climbed up to her bed and settled down in the mass of pillows Kara had brought with her.

When Kara was putting the last finishing touch on her side of her room, her roommate finally showed up, bursting through the door in a whirlwind of coffee and suitcases. The woman was small, though the way she carried herself gave the other occupants in the room the idea that if they voiced that opinion, they would soon find themselves crushed under the four inch wedges on her feet. Her blonde hair fell just just below her shoulders, and large sunglasses covered half her face, hiding her eyes from view. She dumped her suitcases on her side of the room, and took a long sip of her coffee before turning around to look at the other people in the room. “God,” she muttered. “It’s like I moved to Farmville.”

Everyone in the room heard what she said, and while Kara quirked her brow, Martha and Jonathan just smiled in amusement. “Hello dear,” Martha introduced herself to the blonde. “I’m Martha, and this is my husband Jonathan, we’re the Kents.”

“Cat,” she replied. “Cat Grant.” She shook the older woman’s hand and turned towards Kara. “I’m assuming you’re my roommate?”

“Yes, my name is Kara Larelle,” Kara answered, using the last name that Kex had created on all of her paperwork.

Cat glanced between Kara and the Kents standing not to far away. “Family relation…”

“They’re my aunt and uncle.” Kara didn’t feel like getting into the fact that they had adopted her cousin, so became her family or that her parents were dead. And she really didn’t want to explain that she was an alien and her adoptive mother was living on a hidden island with a bunch of warrior women, and that she had been living on that same island for over 2000 years and had just recently left it to start living in the world of men. She didn’t think it made for a good introductory conversation.

“Good to know,” Cat hummed before setting up her own side of the room.

Martha looked like she was about to ask Cat where her family was but Jonathan caught her arm, and shook his head. “We’re probably gonna go Kara,” she said instead, focusing on her blonde. “We have to get back to the farm.” Cat snorted at that statement, but the others ignored her.

“Alright, I’ll talk to you later.” Kara gave them both hugs, and coaxed Clark down from his perch on top of her bed.

“Do you have to stay here?” He grumbled out, a pout on his face.

“Yeah buddy,” Kara answered. “But I’ll be home during winter break and we can celebrate Hanukkah together.”

“And make latkes?” Clark sniffled.

“As much as we can eat.” She picked the boy up and handed him over to her uncle, and the little family made their way out of the dorm.

“They seem delightful,” Cat snarked, and Kara glanced over to see the girl laying on her half-made bed.

“Are you going to be this unpleasant all semester? It would make rooming together more difficult.” Kara had put up with worse over the years on Themyscira, but she wouldn’t put up with condescending behavior from a human she barely knew, especially one she had to live with.

“Why? You upset with my behavior Kiera?”

Kara just snorted in amusement, and shrugged. “It’s your choice, I just figured that you would like for your living situation to be a bit more pleasant, that’s all.”

“I was supposed to get a single room,” Cat snarled, taking her sunglasses off to glare at the taller blonde. “I had filled out all of the paperwork and put in the extra deposit. It was only when I got here that I found out that my request was denied and my deposit returned, so instead of my nice quiet, single room, I found Dorothy Gale and her charming family inside my room.” Kara wasn’t sure what she was supposed to say, but it didn’t seem like Cat needed her to say anything as she continued. “So why don’t you stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of your way, and we’ll go our separate ways as soon as a single room is available.”

Cat stormed out of the room, leaving her suitcases sitting around still half full as Kara stared after her. “This is going to be a long semester.”

 


 

“I probably should have listened to you about not taking a philosophy class,” Kara groaned, sinking down into the plush chair she purchased for her study nook area under her bed. She had draped fabric around the sides to give her a little bit of privacy and to ignore her roommate’s glares. “It’s really boring, and they have all these new theories out but everything is still just discussing thoughts, and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it through the class.”

“I did warn you,” Pythia murmured, the hologram of her face showing that she was smirking at her daughter. “What ever made you decide to take that course?”

“They have something called ‘general education requirements’,” Kara explained. “Basically have to take a few classes in different areas to get a more rounded education.”

“That seems wise but also could lead to frustration for many people,” Pythia mused. “Though what if you find something in these general education courses that you love to do?” Kara just hummed and the older woman focused the conversation on her daughter’s other classes. “How are you finding your design classes? I know you were intrigued by the architecture program when you spoke to me about the campus fair.”

“So far it seems really interesting,” Kara replied. “I had never really thought that much about architecture before, about buildings, only that they were different, but learning how to design them for both beauty and efficiency, it’s interesting.”

A knock sounded on the door, and Kara glanced over towards it. “I gotta go Mom, there’s someone at the door. I’ll talk to you the next time I know Cat is going to be out for a while.”

“Don’t worry about me dear, focus on your studies.”

Kara turned off the device and quickly opened the door, finding a small, dark haired woman on the other side. “Oh,” the woman said, blinking as the door was opened by a statuesque blonde. “You must be the roommate.” She brushed in past Kara and walked into the room, eyeing everything distastefully as she went.

“Um, can I help you?” Kara asked, turning towards the woman.

“Yes, go find me a coffee,” she answered. “And tell me where your roommate has gotten off to before you go.”

“I’m not going to do either of those things,” Kara replied. “Especially since I don’t know who you are.”

“Calm down Kiera,” Cat said as she walked through the door. “This particular dragon doesn’t need to be slayed, not anytime soon anyway.” She set her purse and bag down on her desk, and sipped at the coffee in her hand. “Hello Mother, so nice to see you, it was real nice to see you for my high school graduation too, oh wait, you never showed.” She sauntered over to where the woman was sitting, “So what’s it been, a few years? I think the last time I saw you was when you shipped me off for boarding school.”

“I have been busy Kitty,” the woman shrugged. “I have been working on my book, and then my book tour, when exactly would I have had time to visit?” She waved her hand about dismissively,” Besides, your father attended, and he told me all about it.”

“Really? So Daddy told you that I was valedictorian and elected graduation speaker? He told you all about my rousing speech towards striving towards success and learning from our mistakes, moving towards the future but also remembering the past as it made us who we are which will shape who we will become?”

“I’m sure he mentioned something about it, but really Cat, you shouldn’t be this oblivious about why I’m here.”

Cat just hummed again before turning to Kara. “Since she did invade our room after all, I think you should be introduced to this fire breathing dragon. Kara, this is my mother, Katharine Grant, mother I would introduce you to my roommate, but since you were ordering her around like a servant, I don’t think you would really care.”

“Journalism Cat?” Mrs. Grant asked, ignoring the statuesque blonde. “Really? You could have become a lawyer like your father, or gone into more creative fields like me, but journalism?”

“It’s still writing mother.”

“Tabloid drivel, definitely not, you’re going to attach your name to some kind of salacious, celebrity gossip, my name?!”

“I’m going to do whatever the hell I want to do Mother, and you don’t have a say in what I’m going to do with my life. I am an adult, my college fund and trust fund are in my control, so why don’t you just go and micromanage your characters instead of trying it with my life.”

Mrs. Grant just scoffed and stalked out of the room, but she turned around to speak to her daughter before she left. “I’ll be in town for a week before I have to leave again, brunch on Sunday at the usual place?”

“I’ll see you there Mother,” Cat sighed, shutting the door behind the woman as she pushed her out of the door. “So,” she said, turning around and leaning back against the door. “We Grants put on a good show I believe, good enough to fuel gossip for a while, though were you hoping for an encore?”

“I’m starting to realize why you approach the world in such a hostile manner, especially if you have to deal with someone like that.” Kara nodded her head at the door Mrs. Grant disappeared out of, leaning back against her bed. “You want to talk about it?”

“I want a drink,” Cat groaned. She stared at Kara speculatively, “How old are you?”

“21,” Kara replied. It was an age she, Martha, and Jonathan had agreed on before she enrolled in university, and she had Kex make I.D.’s to match the information. They all agreed that she wouldn’t pass as a teenager, but the age wouldn’t look to out of place on campus and would allow her more autonomy.

Cat hummed, “You can be my DD then, we’re going to a bar.”

 


 

“Okay Cat,” Kara said, helping the stumbling blonde into the dorm building. “In we go, come on, just have to get in the building and up the stairs.” In theory, it would be an easy task to get Cat into their shared room, but the other girl was drunk and her grumbling and stumbling was making it difficult on Kara.

“I don’t have to listen to you,” Cat grumbled, pulling away from the taller blonde. She took a few stumbly steps away from her, attempting to make it up the staircase to the next floor, but just ended up tripping and nearly cracking her head on the concrete. Kara rolled her eyes and just hefted her roommate over her shoulder and carted her up to their floor. “Did anyone ever tell you that you had the biceps of a goddess,” Cat muttered drunkenly. Her hands started fondling every bit of Kara that she could get to before attaching themselves to her ass. “Your butt is glorious as well, very tight but still squooz-squoz… squoozable.”

“And that’s enough from you.” Dumping Cat on her bed, Kara grabbed a bucket and a glass of water, and set them both beside the bed. She had witnessed enough Amazons after festivals to know that Cat would be sick in soon from drinking herself into near unconsciousness, and would require hydration when she woke up.

Cat woke up periodically through the night, and was vaguely aware of puking her guts out in a conveniently placed bucket and soft hands holding back her hair. She came to when an evil ray of sunlight splashed across her face, sending bolts of pain straight to her head. “Ugh,” she muttered, rolling over to bury her face in the pillow. “My mouth feels like sandpaper and tastes like death.” A low snort drew her attention and she pushed herself up to see Kara sitting in her chair under her bed reading a book. “You laughing at me Larelle?”

“Of course not Grant,” Kara replied. “Just something I read in this book.”

“Oh yes, I’m sure philosophy 101 is a hilarious book,” Cat snarked, falling back down on her bed. She let out a shuddering sigh before deciding she needed to do something about the killer headache currently beating a tempo behind her eye. Slowly opening one eye, she focused on the bottle of advil and glass of water sitting on her night stand. Flashes of the night before raced through her mind as she quickly downed a few pills and chugged half of the water. The fact that her roommate, the woman she had been treating like dirt since the beginning of the semester, cared enough about her to make sure she didn’t die and would recover faster in the morning hit Cat fairly hard, bringing up an emotion she hadn’t felt in a long time, guilt. “So I think we might have gotten off on the wrong foot,” Cat said, the words dragging painfully from her mouth. Kara just hummed and Cat resisted the urge to chuck the glass in her hand at the other blonde’s head. “I… I’m sorry.”

Kara closed her book and set it aside before she faced the repentant blonde. “It’s alright Cat, learning to live with someone new, it’s… it’s hard. But this doesn’t have to be a hostile experience, and you don’t have to walk in here all the time looking like you’re ready to fight someone or conquer a small country.”

“I would never settle for anything less than the world dear, you should know better by this point.” Cat replied flippantly before collapsing back on her bed. “You know, I don’t think anyone has ever taken care of me before when I was sick, not someone who wasn’t paid to do it anyway.”

“Don’t get sentimental on me Grant, I just didn’t want to have to deal with it if you died or puked all over your bed.”

Cat smirked and quirked a brow towards the older woman. “You know Larelle, this might not be a bad arrangement after all.”



Chapter Text


 

The screams were probably what affected her the most. All night, every night, Kara could hear people throughout Metropolis suffering, screaming, asking for someone to help them. She could hear as businesses were broken, children were hurt, and people were violated and murdered. She could smell it in the air when something was burning in the city, when buildings, businesses, houses, burned down, when lives were ruined and homes were lost. Kara could drown them out through the day, focusing on other noises through the city, people bustling around, the hubbub of a busy city. But nights, at night there was nothing but the sound of the two heartbeats in her room, and Cat’s steady snores.

It was easier on Themyscira, everything was quiet except for the murmurs of guards on night duty, the animals rustling, and the sounds of sleeping Amazons all around her. Smallville was a little louder with the movement of cars and how noisy humans were when they slept, but it was nothing, nothing compared to Metropolis. The noise was louder and constant, harder to block out.

Kara managed the first few weeks in Metropolis by just not sleeping; she split her time at night between the library and a small 24 hour diner just off of campus. She didn’t want her roommate to know that she wasn’t sleeping, it would bring up far too many questions about how she was still able to function on little to no sleep. She hated not sleeping; even if she didn’t need to, sleep was still restful and restorative, giving her time to sort out problems of the day.

Leaving late at night and sneaking back in before Cat woke up was difficult now since the two of them were on better terms. Kara knew that she couldn’t keep going like she was, but she didn’t see any other option, she couldn’t sleep, not in Metropolis, not when people were crying out in pain or distress. She was sitting in her study nook under her bed when Cat came slumping through the door, her bag dragging behind her.

“I’m so tired of walking male privilege,” Cat groaned, dropping on her bed. “It’s toxic and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

“Class was that fun hmm?” Kara asked.

“Despite all of the progress made with the various waves of feminism, the world is still basically a boys’ club,” the shorter blonde answered. “There are a lot of successful women working in the field of journalism, but there’s still a barrier.” She stood up and started pacing, “My professor? That arrogant, greasy, walking male privilege told me that I better get accustomed to writing the gossip column when he handed out assignments for our final project today, like I couldn’t handle any more serious topics.”

“What topic did you get?” Kara didn’t know much about the classes that Cat was taking, but she knew that most of them were geared towards writing and being able to research properly.

Cat just waved her hand, “We were all given the same topic, a puff piece about some rich person dedicating a wing at the hospital. Happened a few years ago, nothing new or exciting. Just the way that he said it, still annoys me.”

“Maybe use this opportunity to prove him wrong,” Kara shrugged. “He doesn’t know you, this is your first semester here. Maybe it’s time you show them who you are and that you’re not one to be taken lightly.”

Cat stared at her roommate thoughtfully for a moment as she thought about what she said. “I could dig into the records,” Cat mumbled. “Really investigate this, see if there’s anything else to it other than what was presented. Very good Larelle, wasn’t expecting this from you, but you do occasionally have a devious side.”

Kara rubbed at bit at her temples before smirking at her roommate. “I do have the ability to surprise people every now and then.”

The younger blonde looked at her in concern, “Are you alright? You have a headache, migraine?” Kara just shrugged and Cat hummed unbelievingly. “You’re probably spending too many nights falling asleep at the library, don’t think I don’t notice you’re not here most nights, I’m not totally oblivious. Your workload can’t be too drastic yet can it?”

“It’s not that bad yet, but I like to stay ahead with my reading so that if I do fall behind I’ll be able to manage,” Kara replied. “But I also realized that Yom Kippur has started and I forgot to eat dinner before sundown.”

“I didn’t know that you were Jewish,” Cat commented. “No offense but it doesn’t really fit.”

Kara shrugged again. “The Kents are Jewish,” she explained. “When they adopted my cousin, I decided to observe some of their traditions, including religious beliefs, I did the same when my mother adopted me.”

“So you’re adopted as well?” Cat asked. “What happened to your parents?” Kara just looked at Cat and her brow rose questioningly, and the younger woman realized her faux pas. “That was insensitive, you don’t have to tell me.”

“I just haven’t told many people,” Kara admitted. “When I was living at home with my mother, people just knew and I didn’t have to tell many people there. And when Martha and John adopted Clark and I went to stay with them for a while, I didn’t really make many friends in the town where they lived.”

“Small town syndrome,” the younger girl surmised. “It gets to everyone at some point. While in the first case, you knew everyone and everyone knew you, so made it easy, second case you were a newcomer so were left on the outside. It’s basically the same as in the big city except here you have to know someone or you’re always on the outside.” The two sat in silence for a few minutes. Cat moved back to her bed and laid down, staring up at the ceiling, while Kara resumed reading her book.

“I don’t think my family ever celebrated Yom Kippur,” Cat murmured, her eyes never straying from the ceiling. “I mean, I’m sure that my grandparents did and maybe my father when he was younger, but it wasn’t something that we have done as a family, not that I can remember.” Kara looked at Cat curiously but the smaller blonde just ignored her. “We celebrate Hanukkah and Passover obviously but most of the other ones…”

“The Kents told me that Yom Kippur was one of the most important days for the Jewish calendar, the holiest of holy days, the day of atonement,” Kara replied. “The day is spent in fasting and prayer, seeking atonement and repentance.”

Cat shrugged, “Yeah it’s just not… not something that many families celebrate anymore, outside of the orthodox families anyway.”

Kara was silent for a few minutes as she thought about what Cat had said. “My family, my birth family, the people I grew up with… They all died when I was thirteen in a fire, only I survived. My cousin, he, his parents… I didn’t know where they were so I was sent away, adopted in a different country. I had to learn a new language, new customs, I just… packed away what I was feeling. When I started staying with the Kents, they explained their religious beliefs to me, and the important days during the year. I really connected with the idea of Yom Kippur I guess.”

“How so?”

“I guess I always felt guilty that I survived and no one else did,” Kara admitted. “It was… it felt good to have a day to seek atonement, to meditate, and while I don’t follow the traditions of the Jewish faith in regards to the day other than fasting, I use it as a type of day of remembrance, to grieve, to atone.”

Cat let out a breath as she thought about what the older girl said. “I guess,” she started. “I guess I can see why you would observe the day, I might observe it with you if you don’t mind?” When Kara shook her head, the shorter blonde nodded, “Alright, well, a trade off would be you coming with me to the on campus Hanukkah celebrations, there’s some kind of Jewish organization or something doing something for Hanukkah and Passover in the spring. I wasn’t going to go of course, but since I find out my roommate is also one to observe the traditions, well, I guess I don’t have a choice now.”

“You could just not go,” Kara suggested but Cat just shrugged.

“Might as well, college is all about re-discovering yourself, drinking, Jewish club, pot brownies, same thing.” Kara didn’t know what pot brownies were and she didn’t think she cared to find out. “You know Larelle, you are surprisingly more complex than I thought you were,” Cat pointed out. “It might make this roommate situation more bearable you know, knowing that you’re not the stereotypical American corn field crop.”

“I’m glad I could provide some amusement for you Cat,” the older blonde answered. She stepped out of her study nook and changed her clothes into a simple pair of jeans, knee-high boots, and a hooded sweatshirt. “I’m going to go to the library,” she said, grabbing her bag. “Don’t wait up for me.”

“Don’t spend all of your time studying, it’s not good for you,” Cat called to her before Kara completely left the room.

Kara quickly made her way to the library and stashed her books in her private study area before leaving the building. She zipped up her jacket and pulled the hood up to cover her bright blonde hair and disappeared into the streets of Metropolis, the city still humming despite the darkening skies. Noise vibrated around her, clogging her sense and clouding her mind. It was overwhelming how much noise was present in the city, how much chaos, how much pain. She stuffed her hands in her pockets as she walked, reining her senses in to focus on her breathing, the heartbeat in her chest, the blood rushing through her body.

Walking helped; she was able to focus on her steps, her breathing, and it allowed her to acclimate to the city. Kara didn’t want to have to drown out the noise all the time, she didn’t want to live her life shut-down. She wanted to be able to hear the birds flying overhead, the sound of children laughing in the park, the first declarations of love after an engagement, the first toasts after a wedding, or even the first breaths of a baby. She didn’t want the dirt, noise, and evil of the city to drown out such beautiful things. Kara feared that eventually she would view the world the way the Amazons did, undeserving, unworthy. If people hurting, people in pain, if they weren’t worthy of someone extending a helping hand, then who was?

A slight noise broke Kara out of her thoughts, and she flicked her eyes around, searching for the source of the noise. It was a muffled sound, almost like a cat yelling from underneath garbage, but it was clear enough for her to hear it. There was an alley not to far from where she was standing, and with the darkening skies and the long shadows cast by the nearby buildings, it was nearly pitch black down the corridor. Her enhanced vision allowed her to see passed the shadows to the garbage and filth littering the alley. Hesitantly she stepped down the opening into the garbage filled back street, the muffled noise growing more prominent the further she walked.

It wasn’t until she turned a corner to another side alley that she found the source of the noise. Her eyes lit up with rage when she caught sight of the small group of men surrounding the lone woman they had pressed against the harsh brick wall. Before she knew what she was doing, Kara had knocked the men away, shoving them further down the side alley until they hit another brick wall.

“What the hell,” one of them muttered, stumbling to his feet. His heart nearly stopped though at the sight of a hooded figure with glowing eyes standing above him.

The stench of urine filled the alley and Kara’s face twisted in disgust at the men on the ground. “Leave,” she ordered. Her voice vibrated with power, lowering her voice to sound like an animalistic growl, something she had learned to do on Themyscira during island wide scavenger hunts. “And never threaten anyone the way that you have again.” The three men were running out of the alley before she could finish speaking, and Kara huffed at their cowardice, wondering what she would need to get that smell out of her nose.

She turned around to where the woman had been and found her slumped on the ground, bruises already forming on her wrists and face. Kara carefully scanned the woman to make sure that she didn’t have any more serious injuries. When she was sure that the woman was alright, just passed out from shock, Kara sat back on her heels, unsure of what to do next. She didn’t want to leave the woman here, alone, where anything might happen to her, where something worse could happen to her, but she also didn’t want to invade her privacy by finding help or attempting to take her home.

Kara sighed and took off her jacket, and tied it around her waist and pulled her hair up into a ponytail to get it away from her face. “Ma’am,” Kara tried, not wanting to touch the woman or possible scare her as she attempted to wake her up. “Ma’am, are you alright?”

The woman started to come to, the slight movements and light groans were key indicators, but the spike in her heart rate was a dead giveaway. “Wha- what happened?” The woman asked as she regained consciousness. Her heart started to beat erratically as she remembered what happened but Kara held out her hands attempting to calm the woman down.

“You’re okay,” Kara soothed, her voice low as she spoke. “You’re okay.”

“Who are you?” The woman asked, her eyes focusing on the blonde in front of her.

“I’m Kara, Kara Larelle,” she answered. “I found you, back here in this alley, are you hurt?”

“I don’t, I don’t think so.” She winced and clutched at her stomach, causing Kara’s eyes to widen. Judging by what she saw there when she scanned the woman’s body, she would need to get to a hospital for a check up to make sure everything was okay.

Kara held out her hand to the woman to help her up from the ground. “We need to get you to the hospital,” she said. “You should probably be checked over.”

“No, I’m sure I’m fine,” the woman muttered but winced again as she got to her feet.

“Well I would feel better if you did go to the hospital,” Kara countered. “Those bruises look pretty nasty.”

“Did you scare off the people who…”

“I found you,” Kara said instead of lying to the woman. “The three guys who attacked you ran off, I really would feel better if you went to the hospital, can I help you there?” The woman hesitated before nodded and Kara wrapped the woman’s arm around her shoulder, and helped her out of the alley. “What’s your name?” She asked, hoping to keep the woman talking. She didn’t know about the head injury she observed on the woman, and hoped that if she kept talking, the woman would stay conscious.

“Eliza,” the woman answered. “Eliza Danvers.”

“Well Eliza, what brings you to Metropolis?”

“Sch-school,” she replied. “My husband and I, studying to be doctors.”

“Which school? Medical or…?”

“Metropolis University, and Jer-Jeremiah, my hus-husband, is working on his degree in astro-astrophysics. I’m working on Biology.”

“A couple of scientists, that’s really cool,” Kara commented but Eliza didn’t reply. “Eliza, Eliza!” She shook the woman slightly but she had already passed out. The hospital was still a few blocks away, so Kara carefully hefted the woman into her arms and sped through the back alleys. It didn’t take long to reach the hospital, and Kara set Eliza down, letting the woman’s body slump against her as she assisted her into the emergency department.

“She was attacked,” Kara said when the nurse came out to them. “I found her, I think she hurt her head. She was talking a bit while we were on our way here but she passed out.”

“Do you know her name?” A doctor came up and asked while Eliza was put on a gurney.

“She told me her name was Eliza,” the blonde replied. “Eliza Danvers, her husband’s name is Jeremiah I think?”

“We’ll need to get in touch with him, thank you for bringing her in,” the nurse said as the doctors wheeled Eliza away.

Kara watched her go for a moment before turning back to the nurse. “Is it alright if I stay?” She asked. “At least until you can get in touch with her husband. I kind of feel responsible for her.”

“Of course, though you know we won’t be able to tell you anything…”

The blonde just waved the nurse off, “I know, I just… I would like to stay.” The nurse waved her over to the waiting room and Kara slid down in one of the seats, and leaned her head back against the wall behind her. She inhaled and exhaled slowly, the air filling her lungs and rushing through her body. She could hear the air swirling in her blood, oxygenated cells full of sunlight powering her body, fueling her, keeping her alive.

After she was centered, Kara turned her sense outward, focusing on the people around her before expanding to the rest of the hospital. She could hear a cacophony of sounds, especially in the emergency department. Directing her hearing away, she located the cancer ward, adults, children suffering from similar diseases, hearts beating slowly in their chests, their breathing erratic and heavy. The maternity ward was two floors above, babies in NICU being monitored in their pods, others sleeping soundly in beds watched over by attentive nurses and overjoyed parents, and then others being brought into the world by screaming mothers and steady doctors. It was beautiful and terrifying, listening to the beginnings of life and death in the same place, and it was hard, hard for Kara to make any sense out of what she was hearing with all the noise cluttering her mind.

Kara took another deep breath and focused again, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. She could hear the doctor and nurse with Eliza, taking scans, giving her fluids. It wasn’t long before they found out what she did earlier, and they doubled their efforts to wake Eliza up. Her senses relaxed but she remained focused on the heartbeat she could hear, slow but steady. Listening to it, Kara let her mind relax and she completely lost all sense of time, space, everything but that steady beat.

She was roused from her meditative state when she heard Eliza’s name, and she refocused. There was an agitated man standing at the counter asking after the woman she had saved. “Someone contacted me in my lab, about my wife,” he rushed out. “They said my wife was here, Eliza, Eliza Danvers.”

“Jeremiah?” Kara asked, and the man turned around to look at her, his eyes wide. “I’m the one that brought Eliza in, she told me a bit about you as we were walking.”

“You brought her in, you were the one that found her?” Jeremiah asked, his words and thoughts disjointed.

Kara nodded, “Yes, I wanted to wait and see how she was, though they-”

Before she could finish, a doctor walked up to them and spoke to Jeremiah. “Jeremiah Danvers?” He asked. “I’m your wife’s doctor, I can take you to your wife, I would like to talk to you about her condition.” He glanced over to Kara and Jeremiah latched his hand to the blonde’s arm.

“She comes too,” Jeremiah declared. “She saved my wife, she comes too, I know Eliza would want that as well.”

“Are you Kara?” The doctor asked. When she nodded, he continued, “Mrs. Danvers woke up and asked for you after her husband, so if you would both follow me.”

He led them down the hallway to a private room just outside of the emergency department. Jeremiah rushed into the room first and gently embraced his wife who was awake and reclining against the bed. “I’m okay Jerry,” Eliza murmured, her voice low as she spoke into his ear. “I’m okay.”

“I love you,” he replied, and Kara looked away in embarrassment and shame. These were words that were meant to be shared between the two, between husband and wife, two lovers, they weren’t meant to be overheard by an alien with abilities.

The two broke apart and Eliza noticed Kara standing by the door to the room, shifting uncomfortably from side to side. “Kara,” Eliza called, motioning the other blonde over to the bed. “I was hoping you hadn’t left yet,” she said once Kara got to her side. “I wanted to thank you for getting me here, I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t have found me.”

“It was the right thing to do Eliza, don’t worry about it.”

The doctor cleared his throat, attracting the attention of the three people in the room. Eliza grabbed onto Kara’s arm before she could move away, and she resigned herself to being present for the rest of the conversation. “Mr. and Mrs. Danvers, I am Dr. Nunez, I examined Mrs. Danvers when she was first brought in several hours ago.”

Hours? Kara thought and a surreptitious glance at the clock revealed that it was pushing midnight.

“We ran the normal scans we usually do when dealing with such cases,” Dr. Nunez continued. “Mrs. Danvers has a slight concussion, and we would like to keep her for another 12 hour period for observation.”

Jeremiah nodded, “That’s standard I understand, my father was a GP and I observed many sports related injuries dealing with concussions.”

“I do have some hopefully good news,” the doctor continued. “While we were doing our scans, we noticed something, and I would like to offer my congratulations Mrs. Danvers, you’re expecting.”

“Expecting,” Eliza muttered, still dazed. “You mean, I’m pregnant?”

“Yes, from our scans you look to be about four or five weeks, we didn’t want to go too in depth without your consent. I can set up an appointment with the hospital’s OBGYN if you would like?”

Eliza didn’t respond, just continued staring past the doctor, her eyes glazed and unseeing. Glancing from his wife to the doctor, Jeremiah decided to answer for her. “Can we take a few minutes to think about it, it’s already been a long day for my wife.”

“Of course, I’ll be back in a few hours to check on you.” The doctor nodded his head and left the room, leaving the three people to their thoughts.

Kara knew that the heartbeat she had been listening to earlier was the small life she had detected within the woman’s womb. She didn’t think it was right for her to be there, in the room with the two humans when they received the news. Eliza’s hand tightened on her arm again when she tried to move, so Kara just waited for the woman to finish processing.

“A baby,” Eliza breathed out. “A baby, I’m pregnant…” She turned her eyes to Jeremiah and they immediately filled with tears. “I’m going to have a baby, Jeremiah, we’re going to have a baby!”

“We are,” Jeremiah replied, tears in his own eyes.

“But, all our plans…”

“Take a backseat to our family.” He grabbed her free hand with one of his and brought their clasped hands up to his lips. “This,” he said, placing his right hand down on her abdomen. “This is our future and what we have to worry about. I, we, we can finish our degrees at any point, but this, this baby, he, she, they want to be with us now, despite our plans.” He pressed another kiss to his wife’s hand, “And we have been trying to have a baby, don’t deny that you thought we would never have one together.”

Eliza gave her husband a sad smile, “We tried, for so many months, years, I didn’t think it was going to happen, that’s why we decided to go back to school now and then maybe adopt a child in the future but this…”

“Is what we always wanted,” Jeremiah finished. “Our baby just decided to come to us later than we originally planned but earlier than our others. They wouldn’t be a Danvers if they couldn’t make up their own mind about these things.”

The woman smiled before turning towards Kara. “How can I thank you for getting me here? I don’t want to even think about what could have happened if I hadn’t been able to get medical attention when needed.”

“It’s alright Eliza, it was the right thing to do, I couldn’t very well leave you in that alley alone could I?” Kara squeezed the woman’s hand that was still latched onto her arm, and the woman relaxed her grip. “I need to get back to school though, I’ve got class first thing in the morning.”

“Of course, of course, I would hate for you to miss class because of me,” Eliza said. “Though, would you mind terribly if we keep in contact? You helped me, you were here when we found out we were going to be parents, I can’t help but feel there might be some force wanting you in our lives, wanting us in each other’s lives.”

Kara thought for a moment before nodding, she didn’t have many human friends, and these two reminded her a lot of her father and her uncles with their love of science. “There’s a phone in the dorm hall we can use,” Kara explained, jotting down the number on a piece of paper. “We can’t use it alot, but you can probably write to me, I have a campus mailbox, and if you want to meet up at any time… And this is number for my aunt and uncle in Kansas and their address.”

Jeremiah carefully took the piece of paper from the girl and fished out his own card from his jacket. “We don’t live too far from campus,” he told her. “Maybe when everything settles down and Eliza feels better, you can come over?”

“I’d like that.” Kara managed to leave the two not long after and disappeared out of the hospital into the darkened streets of Metropolis. Her nerves were jittering as the events of the night flitted through her mind. She had protected Eliza, saved her from something terrible, she used her abilities to do that, to help her. It wasn’t an act of a warrior on a field of battle, she didn’t have on a suit of armor to charge in and defeat an enemy, she had on a simple jacket with the hood pulled to cover her hair.

Untying her jacket from around her waist, Kara tugged it on and pulled the hood over her head again. She walked until reached a relatively quiet part of the city and pushed off the ground, rising into the air to set down on the roof of one of the taller buildings. It was quieter high above the city, the noise of the road and people on the streets lessened away from the cramped feeling of the street.

She pulled out her communication device and quickly activated it to call her mother, her hands nervous and quaking, her mind whirling. “Kara?” Pythia’s voice came through as the hologram projector flared to life, the silver haired woman’s face appearing a few seconds later. “What’s wrong?”

“I…” Kara started. “I did something…”

“Are you okay?”

Kara paced around for a few minutes before sitting down, her back resting against the lip around the edge of the building. “I think so,” she replied, letting out a light laugh. “I think I’ll be okay.”

Pythia studied her daughter for a moment, observing the light that sparkled in her eyes, a light that she hasn’t seen in the blonde since Diana left. “What happened?”

“I… I used my powers, sort of used my powers, I saved someone,” the blonde said slowly. “I helped someone.”

“You used your powers… how?”

“You know how I’ve been since moving to Metropolis, everything is so loud, so chaotic, haven’t been sleeping, haven’t been able to find any peace. I usually spend nights in the library or working in my room, but tonight, I left and started walking around the city. I guess I hoped… well I didn’t know what I hoped, I guess I hoped that if I walked, if I was surrounded by the sound, the noise, the chaos, that I would get used to it, that I would settle here. I just kind of… wandered for a while. I heard a noise down an alley, a slight noise, no one else would have been able to hear it, but I did and I looked.” Kara stopped and shook her head. “I found a woman, bit older than how I look, she was surrounded by three men and they were, they were trying… Anyway, I could feel my eyes heat up, you know how they light up and I moved, knocked the men away, slammed them down the alley. I used vibrations to alter my voice, make it deeper, more of a growl, and I scared them away.”

“Did they see you?” Pythia asked. “I mean did they see you?

“No, I had a hood pulled up over my head and the shadows covered my face.”

“And the woman? Was she okay?”

Kara let out a barking laugh, “Yeah, yeah she’s okay. I took her to the hospital and I waited to make sure, her husband came later. Turns out she’s pregnant with their first child. She doesn’t know I was the one that chased the men away, just that I found her, the one that got her help when she needed it.”

“You helped someone, you saved someone Kara, that’s, that’s great. How are you feeling?”

“I… well I don’t really know. I feel nervous, terrified, excited, relief but beyond all that, I think I feel… good, like I finally found something that I can do with my abilities, with my training.”

“You want to protect people?”

The blonde hummed. “You know, Clark has these… comic books, they’re different from regular books. They’re illustrated scene by scene showing the characters and the dialogue is written in the scenes. A lot of times they’re about heroes, superheroes, people with extraordinary abilities or resources, and how they use these abilities to help people.”

“And that’s what you want to do, what you want to be? A hero?”

Kara shrugged, “I don’t know, what I do know is that I was saved from the destruction of my planet for a reason, and sent to a world where I have incredible powers. And I have the power to help people, wouldn’t it be wrong of me to not help them?”

“It would also be wrong for you to take too much on yourself,” Pythia commented. “Your parents sent you to this planet to live, not to spend your entire life helping other people.”

“I have to do something though,” Kara stated. “I can’t just keep listening to things happening around the city and do nothing to help people.”

“Then help them,” the older woman said. “But do not lose yourself in the process, do not take too much on yourself. Humans have their own protectors, their own laws and system of justice, you must also rely on them to do their jobs.”

“So you want me to stand down?”

“I want you to be smart Kara, I want you to be safe and happy. You have spent thousands of years training with us, learning how to be a warrior, to fight armies and enemies, but you won’t be doing these things if you become a hero. You will be fighting for the people, protecting them, but from the shadows to protect yourself as well, this will be very different from what you have learned.”

“This is something I feel I have to do Mom, I feel like I’m meant to be a hero.”

Pythia smiled at her daughter, “I know you will be sweetie, and I am so proud of you. Just maybe try to get some sleep please? For me? I know the city is loud and you do not really need sleep, but it is good for you, a way to process the day, and from what you have told me, you have had a long day.”

“I will try Mom,” Kara replied. “I’ll talk to you later.” She turned off the device and stood up from her place on the roof. Her gaze directed out over the city, one that had brought her hopelessness and pain since she arrived, now it was a place where she would find herself, find who she was meant to be.



Chapter Text


 

3 Years Later

1991

 

“That vigilante has been spotted again,” Cat announced when she walked into her and Kara’s apartment. “Apparently stopped a mugging downtown near that bakery you like with those sinful croissants.”

“Are you still caught up on that vigilante thing?” Kara questioned from her place at her drafting table by the window. “It’s just an urban legend.”

“I thought so too at first, but the details from the eye-witnesses fall in line with how eye witness statements usually go,” Cat responded. “Enough details to notice the similarities, but also vague enough to not leave a great impression.”

“Come on Cat, a figure in a hood with glowing eyes? How can that not be a legend?”

Cat waved her hand dismissively, “They’re probably wearing some kind of reflective glasses to hide their eyes and it just looks like their eyes are glowing.” She dropped her bag on the couch and pulled out her notepad. “I’ve been researching this vigilante, read all of the articles and even talked to a few of the witnesses. I have found a few people who have faked the encounter, too many details, amateurs, but I have noticed a pattern among the people who were confirmed witnesses.”

“A pattern?” Kara questioned, turning back to her table.

“Yes, though not location wise like I thought, pretty much these have been all over the city, though obviously more in high crime areas,” Cat mused. “But there is a pattern in the type of crimes and when. Each encounter with the vigilante has been at night, and the crimes he or she has prevented have been things the police wouldn’t have been able to get to until it was too late, like assaults or muggings. No one has gotten hurt, though apparently the vigilante has scared a lot of the perpetrators.”

“Isn’t that usually how vigilantes work? If this one is real, wouldn’t they keep with standard vigilante tradition?”

The smaller blonde sighed and gave her roommate an unimpressed look. “For someone in an art field, you can have no imagination sometimes.”

“Okay, one, I’m working on an architecture degree, it’s very precise and creative,” Kara countered. “And two, I’m working on a design for your future dream empire, the least you can do is be appreciative.”

Cat’s eyes lit up and she slunk off the couch, draping herself around the other woman. “I am,” Cat cooed. “I am very appreciative, how is that going by the way?” She rubbed her head into soft blonde hair and Kara had to bite back the urge to make a cat joke; after four years of living together, she knew better.

“I’m thinking a skyscraper,” Kara replied, showing her the drawings on the paper in front of her. “Different levels have different departments, might even be able to print in house. For the style of the building, I wanted to design it in a way that it would be a beacon of style and sophistication whenever you’re ready to open your empire, the cutting edge of architectural style.”

“Meaning what?”

Kara hummed, “I’m thinking windows, stainless steel, lots of light, and solar panels on the roof.”

“Solar panels? Really Kara?”

“Solar energy is making great strides Cat and in a decade or more, it’ll be even better. And wouldn’t you want your brand to be on the cutting edge of green technology, something environmentally and eco-friendly?”

“That does sound good though but cost efficient?”

“The solar panels could act as a backup power source if the building ever lost power, and eventually they might be able to run the building itself without any power supply.”

“This is sounding better and better, though I do have one suggestion to make on the name,” the shorter blonde said, pointing to where Kara had roughed in a name on the tower. “You have Grant Industries?”

“I kind of based it off of Wayne Industries in Gotham, you have something else in mind?”

Cat stepped away from her friend and did a dramatic spin around in the living room. “CatCo,” she said, splaying her hands out like she was revealing the secret to eternal youth. “CatCo Worldwide Media, it will be a sensation, I will have television, radio, newspapers everywhere, a magazine, maybe two.” The woman was lost in her dreams of her media empire. “It won’t just cover fashion, but special interest pieces, global news, politics, environment, everything that is news. CatCo will be at the top of journalistic integrity because I won’t settle for twisted facts or pieces bent in particular direction, the news is meant to be unbiased, reported to the people so that could formulate their own decisions.”

It was as a worthy goal, inspirational really, and it was something that Kara admired about Cat. She had never really thought about news, journalism before living with the other woman, and over the past three years, she has gained a new appreciation for it. Journalists weren’t perfect, they had opinions and beliefs just like every other human, but for the most part they did their best to report what was occurring in the world, making sure that people knew had the facts, even if it was just their perception of the facts. She wished there had been something like on Krypton, a group or a guild, people that would have forced the high council to be honest with everyone, people that would have made sure everyone knew what was happening rather than clamming up and letting everyone die without warning.

Two thousand years was a long time to gain perspective, to start to look at things without rose tinted glasses or colored with bitterness and anger. She knew her world had problems, her home had problems, her culture, her people, there were so many problems, some of their own making, and some that seemed to be inevitable. She loved her family, and while the ache in her heart for them lessened over time, the pain faded with every passing year, it would never really go away. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t aware of their faults, or how they contributed to the secrecy on Krypton, to the lies told to people. She had raged at their holograms for their actions, or inaction, enough to last for several lifetimes.

“So this media empire, you’re going to cover every type of news base?” Kara clarified, making some notes in her notebook. “Like TV, radio, newspaper…?”

“All of it,” Cat repeated. “Even something on that, what’s it called, that world wide web everyone keeps gushing over. That, that’s going to be big one day, and it will change the world. CatCo is going to capitalize on it.” She deflated after a moment and flopped down on the couch, “Just need to secure funding for it.”

“You can do it, you’re Cat freaking Grant, you can do anything. And besides, you have that what, that internship thing with the Daily Planet this year, that might be the thing to get your foot in the door.”

“Glorified coffee runs,” Cat grumbled out. “Though I have heard there might be a job opening next summer after we graduate, that will be my way in, I just have to write an article that really speaks to my skills as an investigative reporter.”

“Like what? Are you going to chase down this phantom vigilante and prove that they’re real?”

“I would like to talk to this person, yes, but you’ve fallen into the same trap that most people do, you assume that people want to know the identity of this person, this mysterious hero.” She disappeared into their small kitchen and returned a few minutes later with a steaming cup of coffee. “You see, the thing about heroes is that people think they want to know who they are,” Cat said, sipping at the black liquid. “They think they want to know everything about them from their identities to their shoe size, but they don’t, not really.”

“What do people want then?”

“Ignorance of course,” Cat replied like it was the most obvious answer in the world. “Whether they believe it or not, people like the idea that anyone around them could be a secret hero, could be a secret millionaire, sometimes even a secret criminal, the thought thrills us, gives us something to speculate about, to imagine, to romanticize. Finding out if this vigilante is real and discovering their identity would what, give me one article when many more could be written about their exploits. I’m planning to play a long game Larelle, and to do that, I need to play smarter.” She set her coffee down and started pacing around the living room. “I need something sensational, something that will pull readers, make people want to read that stupid campus newspaper.”

Kara thought for a moment about a possible story for her roommate, something that could help her. She really tried hard not to listen to conversations around campus, nothing that she shouldn’t be able to hear anyway, but sometimes her mind wandered and she couldn’t help it. “I may have heard some… rumors…” Kara started slowly, reluctantly. She didn’t want to do anything about what she heard, what could she do? But Cat, Cat was a reporter, it was her job to track down the truth and expose it, she would know what to do.

“Rumors?” Cat questioned. “Rumors about what?”

“Something about the Dean of Students, that he’s into some illegal things.”

“The Dean of Students…” Cat blinked. “Harton Woolsen, that Dean of Students? The one that just announced his candidacy for governor and is currently sitting on city council?”

The older blonde nodded, “I’ve heard some rumors around campus that he has been trying to clean up something from his past.” Or his present, she thought. She couldn’t tell Cat that though, she couldn’t explain that she had heard Woolsen talking on his phone in his office from across campus. “Some people think he wants to clean up any whiff of scandal before his political career gets any more serious.”

“Hmm,” Cat hummed, sitting on the edge of the couch. “I don’t usually like to take rumors as basis for a story, but where there is smoke, there’s usually a fire. If he really is trying to clean something up before he starts his gubernatorial run, then I will find it!” She jumped up from the couch and dashed to her room, slamming the door shut a few seconds later.

Kara blinked and then glanced back down at her design, and guiltily bit her lip as she thought. She didn’t really know what she had put Cat on the trail of, she didn’t hear Woolsen’s entire conversation when he was discussing cleaning up a mess before he announced his candidacy for governor. Cat could take care of herself though, so Kara didn’t feel like she had to worry. Her roommate wouldn’t do anything stupid, she hoped, she hoped the woman wouldn’t do anything stupid.

 


 

“Hey cutie!” Kara cooed as a naked, squealing toddler ran up to her when she entered the Danvers household. She instantly scooped the girl up and started pressing kissed to her face, “How’s my favorite little girl?”

“‘Awa!” Alex squealed, her face scrunching with laughter as she giggled.

She smelled a faint scent of soap and sweat clinging to the toddler and Kara knew why she had caught the girl running around the house naked. “Did someone run away from Mommy during bathtime?” Kara asked, bouncing the girl in her arms. “Did someone want to avoid bath time?”

“Someone did,” Eliza replied, her tone both exasperated and exhausted when she finally appeared from the second floor. She set her hands on her hips and gave her daughter a disapproving look. Alex just turned around and hid her face in Kara’s neck, and wrapped her tiny arms around her shoulders. “Oh no you don’t,” the mother stated. “Don’t even think you can get yourself out of trouble by using your godmother as a shield.”

Alex let out a muffled giggle and Kara could feel her laughter blowing across her neck. “Mama scawy,” she murmured to her godmother and Kara nodded sagely.

“Yes, Mama is scary,” Kara agreed. “But she is right about bath time, good little girls don’t run away from their bath time, and it is necessary in order to make you nice and clean-”

“For the next time she decides to go outside and play in the mud,” Eliza interrupted, an unimpressed expression on her face.

“Right, so you can be nice and clean the next time you decide to be queen of the mud puddles,” Kara continued, resisting the urge to snigger. She remembers some of the conversations she and Eliza had while the woman was pregnant, especially after finding out she was expecting a girl. The other blonde imagined bows, princess dresses, and tea parties, but instead she has a little girl that enjoys climbing trees, pushing things off of tables and counters to watch how they fell, and exploring every single mud puddle within a square mile. “Why don’t I take you back upstairs and we can slay some dragons in the bathtub, while your mom relaxes down here?”

The little girl pulled back from her godmother, and nodded; she wiggled in Kara’s arms until the blonde set her down, and scampered up the stairs, squealing the whole way. ‘Thank you,’ Eliza mouthed to the other blonde and Kara smirked before following the naked toddler up the stairs. “Okay ‘Lexie,” Kara said, scooping the girl up again. “Let’s see about slaying those dragons hmm?”

Kara filled the tub with warm water and kid-friendly bubble bath, testing the temperature to make sure it wouldn’t be too hot or too cold for her god-daughter. She picked up Alex and eased her into the bubbly water with a few of her bath toys, a couple of boats and a sea monster. “So is this the dragon we’re defeating?” Kara asked, lightly pushing the sea monster with her finger.

“No,” Alex squealed. “Gonna save the pwincess.”

“The dragon is going to save the princess?”

Alex nodded, “Fwom the piwates.”

“Okay, the dragon is going to save the princess from the pirates?” Kara clarified. “Why don’t you tell me about it?” The little girl started jabbering on in bits of English and gibberish, telling a story about a dragon that saves a princess from evil pirates and they live happily ever after with grilled cheese and potato cakes every day. While Alex jabbered away, mostly to the sea monster and boats keeping her occupied in the bathtub, Kara carefully scrubbed at dark red hair and soft skin, wiping away the bits of dirt and grime that clung to red strands and waving arms.

Kara had grown used to being around the fragile human since the little girl was born mid April of her freshman year. Her previous experience with children was limited to helping Martha with Clark, so everything was new and very frightening when Eliza handed over the small pink bundle when she visited the woman in the hospital after giving birth. It was terrifying, hearing the tiny little heart beating in the baby’s chest, seeing her lungs inflate and deflate with small puffs of air, and feeling small arms wiggle around in her hold. She had never felt so scared in her life, not when her parents sent her away from Krypton, not when she landed alone on a strange planet, not when… not when Diana was leaving her, Themyscira, to help the humans, to fight Ares. But when she held that tiny baby in her arms for the first time and a soft, small hand wrapped around her finger, she had never felt stronger.

“Alright sweetie,” Kara murmured. “I’ll need you to close your eyes for me real tight while I rinse your hair out.”

Alex sucked in a deep breath and squeezed her eyes shut tightly while Kara carefully poured a cup of water over her soapy head. The suds washed down her back and face until Alex’s hair was soap free. Kara poured a few more cups of water over her head for good measure before declaring the little girl clean.

“Nooo,” Alex grumbled as Kara pulled her from the water.

“First you don’t want bath time and now you don’t want it to end?” Kara hummed and wrapped the girl in a soft towel. “Not so bad now is it? Let’s get you into your pajamas so you can go to bed.”

“Noooooo,” Alex yelled and she took off giggling out of the room. The blonde could have caught up to the toddler with her super speed, but the thought of naked baby running around the house again was amusing.

“Alexandra Kara Danvers what do you think you’re doing?! Eliza bellowed and Kara zipped downstairs to find the woman chasing the squealing toddler around the living room.

The girl dashed away from her mother and right into Kara’s arms, giggling and wiggling the whole way. “Alright, that’s enough from you,” Kara said. She slipped on a pull-up over wriggling legs, and a freshly laundered onesie soon followed. “Time for good little girls to go to bed,” she murmured, lowering her voice.

“No sleepy Awa,” Alex replied, a yawn interrupting her words.

“You’re not sleepy? Well then…” Kara took a deep breath and started singing ‘Stay Awake’ from Mary Poppins. It was one of the few movies the Kents had in their collection and she had fallen in love the first time she watched it. The song never failed to put Kal right to sleep and Martha never failed to employ it when the little boy was being difficult. When Kara started babysitting Alex for Eliza and Jeremiah, she employed the tactic as well and it worked every time. A few minutes later, Kara was holding a snoozing toddler in her arms and Eliza was looking at her with an expression that was a mixture of gratefulness and fondness.

Eliza held her arms out and Kara seamlessly transferred the girl from her arms to the other woman’s. “I swear I would hire you as a full time nanny if you didn’t have school and your work study job.”

“You wouldn’t be able to afford to feed me every day,” Kara teased. It was a running joke between them, every time she came over, Eliza would joke about feeding two tiny horses in having to feed both Kara and Alex, and Kara would joke about inventing a machine that created food so Eliza wouldn’t have to feed her.

“Speaking of that, I ordered some food, didn’t feel like cooking. It should be here soon if you want to take care of that while I put little Miss here to bed,” Eliza said, gesturing towards the bundle in her arms.

Kara waved her away and got some drinks out while the other woman went upstairs to tuck Alex into bed. A knock sounded on the door a few minutes later, and Kara easily carried the pizza boxes into the kitchen and set them on the counter. Eliza re-appeared not long after Kara had poured her a glass of wine, baby monitor in hand. “She is out like a light,” the woman sighed, slumping into one of the chairs at the kitchen table. “She has so much energy sometimes, I don’t know how she has that much energy.”

“Makes you wonder if we were ever that young doesn’t it?”

Eliza hummed, “Well I know you were, don’t think I haven’t seen you jogging around the neighborhood first thing in the morning in nothing but a pair of shorts and a hoodie.”

“I like jogging early,” Kara defended. “It’s one of the few times when the city is still quiet, sort of quiet anyway.”

“You mean you don’t get catcalled as often.”

“They are so annoying, but since you and Jeremiah helped Cat and I get an apartment off campus this year, it hasn’t been so bad.”

“That was more for other students than for you, dealing with your dorm mates in the counseling center that Cat has verballing eviscerated for disturbing her was getting out of hand.”

“No one can tear someone down like my roommate can,” Kara agreed, sipping at her own wine. “We should have a wine and pizza night more often, Cat doesn’t think they go together.”

The scientist held up her hand and waved her finger, “Oh no, wine goes with everything.”

“That’s what I tell her!” Kara exclaimed. She picked up a piece of pizza and groaned as the cheesy garlic flavor hit her taste buds. “Cat’s not a big fan of pizza though, if you ask her anyway, but when I order pizza, she always eats at least three slices, usually more if she hasn’t eaten in a while.” She quickly devoured the slice of pizza and started on another one, “So how are Jeremiah’s classes going?”

“Good, and with the rate he’s going on his dissertation, he should be done within two or three years.” The woman set down her half eaten piece of pizza and sighed, “To tell you the truth, I’m relieved he’ll be done so soon even if he’s working like mad to get everything done.”

“Why?”

Eliza sighed again, “I don’t want to raise Alex in Metropolis, the city is too large and too… cluttered… Both Jeremiah and I grew up in a small town, and I want that for Alex as well. Room enough to run around without having to worry, a place to grow, a place to conduct those science experiments, somewhere where she can see stars.”

“You don’t have to explain it to me, I grew up in… well not exactly a small town, but somewhere away from clutter and noise,” Kara explained, thinking of her time on Themyscira. “And my aunt, uncle, and cousin live in the definition of a small town in Kansas, so I do understand. Where are you planning to move?”

“Back to our hometown hopefully,” Eliza answered. “Midvale California, nice small little town on the coast. Jeremiah inherited a house and some land from his parents, and my parents still live there. It will be good for Alex, for all of us, to be away from the congestion of the city and out where she can play and be around family.”

“Will you be able to finish your degree?” Kara asked. “And will both of you find work?”

The other woman nodded, “I’ve been working on my coursework, which has been easier since you’ve been looking after Alex when you can, and I’ll be able to finish my dissertation from Midvale. There’s also an university in a neighboring town that has been talking to Jeremiah and I for when we get finished with our degrees, we might be able to find work there. They have growing astronomy and marine biology programs, and they want younger teachers to help build up the college of science.”

“Sounds like it would be stupid of you two not to move once Jeremiah has finished his degree and you’ve mostly finished yours,” Kara agreed. “You have a house, jobs waiting for you, family, you might as well.” She sighed, “Still, California? I’m going to miss you guys, couldn’t you find jobs in the Midvale just outside of Metropolis?”

“I wish, I can only imagine how heartbroken one little girl is going to be in a few years, she’s going to miss having her ‘Aunty Awa’ over every other night to watch her, tell her stories, sing her to sleep…”

“Awe, I’ll miss all of you, and my Alex snuggles, but we still have a few years yet. By that point, hopefully I will have a job and will be able to afford long distance phone calls. Right now Cat’s mother is paying for them so she doesn’t have to come visit her daughter and do check-ins via the phone, but I have a feeling once Cat graduates, we’ll have to figure out another way to pay for it.”

“You don’t think that she’ll keep paying for it?”

Kara scoffed, “The Wicked Witch? I doubt it unless it benefitted her in some way.”

“She must be a delight to deal with.”

“Mhm,” Kara mumbled around the slice of pizza in her mouth. “Which is another reason why I am forever grateful that you and Jeremiah helped us get an apartment in your neighborhood so she will stop popping in whenever she pleases.”

“I suggest keeping a bucket of water around in case the witch appears again, that usually works when dealing with wicked witches.”

The alien smothered down a laugh and quickly downed more of the pizza, eventually finishing off the entire one in front of her. They talked about other things, work, school, possibly taking Alex to the new Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, that was coming out in a month. Kara didn’t think that the toddler would have the patience to sit through the movie in the theater, but every now and then Alex would get entranced by something and would sit still for hours.

Jeremiah returned a couple hours later a little after nine and managed to snag a piece of pizza before the two women could eventually eat through the rest of it. “Did you two ladies have a good evening?” He asked, pressing a kiss to his wife’s temple. “And did the delightful little hellion get to bed on time?”

“Alex is out like a light thanks to Aunty Awa,” Eliza sighed, grinning at her friend.

“You truly are a miracle worker Kara.” Jeremiah shook his head, “What would we do without you?”

“You would manage as best as you could,” Kara grinned as she replied. She stood up from her seat and stretched a bit to give her muscles an opportunity to breath. “I really should be getting back to the apartment, I’ve still got homework and tests coming up.”

“Would you mind watching Alex on Saturday night? I know that’s one of your few nights off but we would really appreciate it.” Jeremiah smiled down at his wife, “It has been far too long since Eliza and I have been able to go out, and I would like to take advantage of a brief respite from our hectic schedules to take my wife on a date.”

“Awe,” Kara cooed and wrapped her arms around both of them. “You guys are so cute!” She squeezed them tightly to her in her exuberance, pulling slight groans from both of them. “Sorry, sorry,” she said, releasing them. “Just get over-excited sometimes, you guys are too cute. I’ll watch Alex, no problem, we’ll probably just watch The Little Mermaid a million times like normal.”

“Alex enjoys all of her time with her Aunt, so no doubt she’ll enjoy it,” Eliza replied, patting her friend on the shoulder. “We’ll see you on Saturday.”

Kara left the house and started walking the several blocks back to her apartment; she tugged her jacket tighter around her and pulled the hood up over her head as she walked, her control on her senses loosening. Just when she reached her apartment building, a faint sound reached her ears before it became a resounding roar setting everything in her mind on alert. “Cat,” Kara murmured, her body turning towards the sound. She started running before she knew what she was doing, Kara was sprinting towards the sound pounding in her ears.

The blonde kept to dark alleys for a while before leaping into the sky and jumping from building to building, zeroing in on the location where she heard her best friend’s muffled shouts. She quickly found the smaller woman being held in an abandoned warehouse at the docks. Kara was sure that Cat would have something to say about how cliché the situation was, but she was more concerned with getting the woman out of whatever trouble she had gotten herself into.

She crept around the warehouse where she heard Cat’s heartbeat and muffled protests, and peered through the walls to better assess the situation. It was an older warehouse, one constructed with lead in the frame that blocks most of her sight through the walls of the building. She glanced up at the windows on the top of the building and pushed off the ground, grabbing lightly onto the ledge when she reached the glass.

The glass was dirty and would have blocked the average human’s view but the lack of lead in the glass easily allowed Kara to see down to the floor. Cat was easy to spot, the dim light in the warehouse reflected off of her blonde hair, and Kara would recognize that bored and furious expression anywhere. She had a gag tied firmly over her mouth, explaining the muffled shouts Kara had heard, and her stony expression was fixated on the three men across from her. Kara didn't recognize them personally but knew the type, she had run into people like them with her work as a vigilante, gangsters, drug-dealers, she didn’t know if there was a difference. How did Cat get mixed up with gangsters and why did they kidnap her?

“Well Miss Grant,” the man in the middle spoke, his teeth glinting in the low light. “Our boss has been anxious to meet you. It seems that you have made some people nervous with your poking around, we’ll have to tell him you’re nothing but an intern.”

The younger woman let out a stream of insults from behind the gag but Kara understood every single one of them and shook her head. “Oh Cat,” Kara muttered. “Don’t encourage them.” The man peaked her interest a bit when he mentioned his boss and that Cat had been investigating something. She just hopes that this doesn’t have anything to do with what she told her a month ago about Dean Woolsen. She had never mentioned it again so Kara was hoping that what she had heard proved to be nothing more than covering up an affair or something morally wrong rather than anything legally troubling. “Need to get Cat out of there before she gets her fool self killed,” Kara mumbled as she floated up away from the window, making sure to stay out of sight.

Staying to listen would have given her more answers as to what was going on, but Kara wasn’t willing to put Cat in any more danger. She sped around the warehouse, looking for any other way in other than the door which would put her roommate in danger, but didn’t find any other entrance. “Looks like I’m going to have to go for an obvious entrance,” Kara mumbled, glancing at the sky-light on the roof.

Cat continued mumbling and spewing insults at the idiots in front of her; she can’t believe that she let herself get kidnapped by the three stooges, if her mother ever found out, she’d never live it down. She had been investigating Dean Woolsen for the past month since Kara had told her that she heard rumors of him trying to hide something from his past, hoping for something more than an affair or a drinking habit. Her investigations had just uncovered a piece of damning evidence, something much more than what she originally hoped for when Moe, Larry and Curly snatched her from the parking lot of the coffee shop just off campus. She could kick herself for being so careless, some of the people she had been talking to must have blabbed about what she was researching. Live and learn, Cat thought dryly, if she managed to live through the present situation anyway.

The sound of glass breaking overhead drew her attention and before she could blink, a lithe figure in a dark hoodie was crouched in front of her, head bowed with one knee and fist touching the ground. The vigilante, she thought, they do exist. The men cried out in surprise and fear at the appearance of the figure, some of it no doubt a reaction to the supposedly glowing eyes the vigilante was said to possess. Cat wished that the figure would turn around so she could get a better look.

When the gangsters pulled guns out of their pockets, she wished that she would learn to keep her wishes to herself. The men started firing their weapons, and her eyes screwed shut at the sound, not wanting to witness the fall of her would-be hero. Everything went silent a few moments later except for a few quiet thumps and the sound of light footsteps making their way back to her. “You’re safe now Miss Grant,” a pitched voice spoke, alternating between low and high sounds. Cat’s eyes crept open and she was met with the sight of the vigilante in front of her, hood pulled low over her head so that the only things clearly visible on her face were her glowing eyes. She was momentarily shocked at the confirmation that the eyes were in fact glowing.

She blinked and in that moment between when she closed her eyes and opened them again, the vigilante was gone, leaving Cat alone with three unconscious gangsters. The bindings around her hands and legs had been untied, so she quickly pulled the gag out of her mouth and left the warehouse. A few blocks away, Cat finally located a pay phone and called the police, giving an anonymous tip to locate the men and evidence left behind. She didn’t stop to wait for them though, her mind was consumed with what had happened, her being kidnapped and then her eventual rescue by the mysterious vigilante. Her mind continued to mull over events the entire way home, which wasn’t as long as it could have been since she caught a taxi when she got back to a main road.

Walking into her apartment well after midnight, Cat found her roommate still up and at her drafting table. Kara turned towards her, her eyes full of questions and concerns, which helped the shorter woman firm her decision. “Kara,” she said, meeting her eyes. “We need to have a talk.”



Chapter Text


 

“Okay,” Kara blinked, setting her pencil down. “Are you going to tell me where you’ve been first? It’s after midnight, I was getting worri-”

“When were you going to tell me that you were the mysterious vigilante?”

“What?” Kara sputtered. “What are you talking about?”

Cat narrowed her eyes and marched up to her roommate, “Don’t even try that with me, we have been living together for over three years now, you don’t think I’d recognize you or what you normally wear? The glowing eyes threw me for a minute but I figured you had a good explanation for that.”

Kara looked away from a moment before responding, “I don’t know what you’re talking about Cat, glowing eyes? Me a vigilante? Did you hit your head today?”

The shorter blonde growled a bit and stormed away from the other woman. “We’re really going to do this? We’re going to argue over something we both know is true? So you’re telling me if I go to the most dangerous part of town in the middle of the night by myself, the vigilante isn’t going to show up when I inevitably attract the wrong kind of attention?” Cat scoffed, “Get serious Kara, I know it’s you, all I want to know right now is if you were ever planning on telling me?”

Sighing, Kara looked back at her friend, her best friend, “You’re not going to let this go are you?”

“You know me better than that by now Larelle,” Cat declared. She sat down on the couch and crossed her legs and arms, “Spill.”

Kara sighed, slowly exhaling through her nose. “Okay, fine, yes I’m the ‘vigilante’ as the rumors have said,” she grumbled out. “You happy now?”

“No,” Cat cried out. “You’ve been putting yourself in danger for three years and I never noticed! I mean, I noticed you weren’t really in the room a whole lot at night, but I just thought you had insomnia, I didn’t think you were out saving people and scaring bad guys.”

“I can take care of myself Cat, I’m a lot tougher than I look.”

Cat scoffed, “Oh I know, I just witnessed you dropping from a skylight with glowing eyes, saving me from a trio of idiotic gangsters, which I appreciate by the way, but the point is that I didn’t know any of this before. I didn’t see it before, despite being this close to you.” She started pacing around, waving her arms. “What kind of journalist am I going to make if I can’t even see the biggest secret in the city right in front of me? Living with me? I can’t believe I missed this much, so close, just argh!”

“It’s okay Cat, I’ve gotten really good at hiding things. I’m surprised that you figured it out at all.”

“I have seen you naked Larelle, those glowing eyes and hoodie don’t fool me.” Her eyes narrowed as she looked at Kara, “How do you make your eyes glow anyway, some kind of glasses?”

“Do you want the easy answer or the difficult one?”

“I would like the truth,” Cat returned. “No matter what it is.”

“Even if the truth means that I’m alien from another planet that has been living on this planet for over two thousand years?”

Cat blinked and sank back down on the couch. “Well…” She started after a few minutes. “That would be an interesting story that I would like to hear.”

“Off the record of course Grant.” The other woman just nodded in agreement and Kara sighed before starting her story. She had only really shared the whole truth with someone once, when she first met the Kents, and she hadn’t really given it any thought at the time when she did. Now that she was a little wiser, Kara realized how fantastic the story sounded, and how absurd it would sound to the average human. She had noticed from living among the humans how sceptical they were, of practically everything. Some wanted to believe more than what they could see, what they could prove, but with the louder voice of many, the some were often cowed into submission and silence.

“So let me get this straight,” Cat started after she had finished her story. “You’re an alien.”

“Yes.”

“From a different planet alien.”

“Yes.”

“Your planet died, and you were sent away to safety and you ended up being sucked into a black hole?”

“Yes.”

“And because of that black hole you were sent over 2000 years into the past to an island that is invisible to… well… most everyone where an ancient race of immortal warrior women live as part of this epic lesbian fantasy.”

“Also yes.”

Cat hummed as she thought about the information Kara presented her. “Well,” she stated. “Normally I would think you were crazy, but the story is just too absurd to be anything but true.” She gave the other blonde an assessing look, “So are there other kinds of aliens on Earth or is it just you?”

“Well the Amazons had records of my people traveling to Earth a long time ago,” Kara replied. “And there are, or were, other species on planets in this galaxy, some that were fairly advanced, so only natural that they would venture to this planet in the past as well.”

“Why haven’t we heard of any of them then?” Cat asked. “I mean, there have been reports of UFO sightings and alien influence on history, but those have been mostly discounted or debunked.”

Kara sighed, “Think about it Cat, humans can barely tolerate each other, you expect me to believe that humans will be open and accepting of aliens from another world?”

Cat held up her hand, “Fairpoint, I see what you mean, human suck, just in general. I mean, slavery still exists in the world, we just got rid of it in this country a century ago but we still can’t treat each other with respect, black, white, male, female. Truthfully I’m more surprised that aliens bother to come here at all.”

“Humans have a tendency to believe that aliens would be these advanced beings and would come to make Earth a better place or to take over,” Kara said. “Jonathan had me watch a bunch of science fiction movies with him over the years. But they never really take into account that with advanced technology, that aliens might be just like humans, suffering from the same problems, same failings.”

“I can see that,” Cat nodded. “So the glowing eyes, how do you do that?”

The older blonde smirked and her eyes lit up, glowing a brilliant white, holding them at the point just before heat beams would fire and burn everything in the vicinity. “It’s part of being an alien,” Kara explained, letting her eyes cool. She moved to sit next to Cat on the couch as she tried to explain about her biology. “My species, Kryptonians, had evolved for thousands upon thousands of years to absorb solar radiation. Our sun Rao was our god, our father, he gave us light so it is only natural that we evolve to absorb its power. Since Sol, your yellow sun, is much younger than Rao, when my body absorbs its light, it manifests in interesting ways.”

“The glowing eyes?”

“Yes, and other things…”

“Such as what?” Cat questioned, her eyes narrowed.

“Let’s just leave that as a mystery for now.”

Cat hummed, “I will get it out of you eventually Larelle.”

“I have no doubt.” They were silent for a few minutes before Kara spoke again. “Those men that took you,” she started. “Do you know why they kidnapped you?”

“They mentioned that their boss wanted to meet me, something about poking around where I didn’t belong. The only thing that I have been researching is Woolsen.”

“I was afraid you were going to say that, I’m annoyed at myself that I got you into this situation by telling you what I had been hearing.”

“It’s not your fault, I was being careless with my poking around,” Cat replied. “I never thought that Woolsen would be involved with gangsters, or mobsters… I can’t tell the difference.”

“What have you found so far?” Kara asked, and Cat just shrugged.

“That’s the thing, I haven’t found anything, nothing damning anyway.” The younger woman moved back to her room to grab her notebook off her desk, and returned to the living room. “The only unusual thing I have found,” she muttered. “Is that he was the swing vote for the new legislation for the harbor, sided for new import regulations, how many times shipments were inspected. Most of the information says that he would have voted against the new regulations, since they would cost more money, but he approved them.”

“Did you find anything else that was weird?”

Cat glanced through her notes before her eyes fell on something she had just recorded in passing. “He purchased a yacht six months after the vote passed…”

“He bought a yacht?”

“Yes, like one of those nice ones, really nice ones, not a simple sailboat…” Cat murmured. “I just made a note of it, hadn’t really thought about it at the time, but it seems odd timing, and his finances never seemed to support the ability for such frivolous spending.”

“You think he was bought off for his vote?” The older blonde questioned. “But he voted for heavier restrictions on imports in the harbor, how would that-”

“They could control it,” Cat interrupted. “These heavier restrictions are just a front to cover for some kind of smuggling operation. If they could get more restrictions placed, they can control what comes in and out of that harbor, sneak in through the new security and inspectors that were hired, plant their own people instead.”

“But who are they? Who would bribe a city commissioner in order to gain control of the harbor?”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to keep digging and run with this,” Cat stated. “I don’t think I’ll be able to find out who is behind this, but I will be able to prove corruption with this information and a few more pieces. Woolsen of course will be hit with a scandal and have no choice but to resign from the city council, and probably the school as well. Oooh, this story will be good, will definitely make the people at the Daily Planet take notice. I have to start working on this right away.”

When Cat made to start pulling out her notebook, Kara held up her hand to stop her. “Cat, it is after midnight, you have been through an ordeal, you need to sleep.”

“Sleep is for slackers Kara, do you know how much I could get accomplished during the time we’re supposed to sleep?”

“Absolutely nothing because you would be exhausted and unable to really focus. You’re adrenaline has been pumping this whole time but when you come down, you’re going to crash, and you’re going to crash hard.”

Cat knew that her roommate was right, she could already feel herself coming down from the high caused by adrenaline racing through her system. “Fine,” she grumbled, heading back towards her room. She stopped before she could reach the door and glanced at the older blonde. “Before I forget, what happened to your friend, Diana? You said she left Themyscira to fight in WWI, but you never mentioned what happened to her.”

Kara froze; it had been years since she really thought about what happened to Diana. She thought about the woman, her dearest friend, all the time, she was never far away from her thoughts, but she tried not to think about how Diana left, about how everything ended between them, ended before it even started. She knew that there was something between them, though it took her a long time to realize it, and time away from Themyscira to figure out what she wanted. The culture she was born in demanded monogamy in relationships, marriage, bonding on intellectual and spiritual levels, but the culture she was raised in, the Amazons, they were more fluid with their relationships.

Sometimes, in her lowest moments, she wonders if she made the right decision, to not try with Diana, to listen to her when she said to stay on Paradise Island, to let her go fight alone. “I don’t know,” Kara replied honestly, a tear slipping down her cheek. “I wish I did.”

 


 

“Kara!” Clark bellowed, charging at the blonde woman when she stepped out of the farmhouse. The boy had just gotten off the bus after school when he saw his cousin’s truck sitting in the driveaway. “I didn’t think you were going to be here in time for Hanukkah.”

“I managed to get everything finished and turned in early,” she said, picking up the eight year old and tossing him in the air after the bus drove away. “How’s Pete? Have you two given Aunt Martha and Mrs. Jones any more trouble?”

“We never cause trouble Kara,” the boy protested. “We just like to adventure!”

Kara hummed and set the boy down, wrapping an arm around his shoulders to lead him into the house. “Really? So when Martha called me a few weeks ago complaining about how you and Pete had taken another scarecrow out of the field and were using Gertrude to practice your jousting…” She glanced over at the small paddock over by the barn and saw the old, dappled gray mare staring at them. Gertrude was brought into the Kent family fold the summer after she went to college, when Kara stumbled across the horse and her owner on the drive back to Kansas. He was an old farmer which was evident by the deep lines on his face and his tanned, weather-beaten skin. The wrinkles around his eyes crinkled when he smiled, showing that while it was a hard life of work, it was also a life of smiles. Arthritis in his knees kept him from being able to ride anymore, and while his daughter was taking care of the farm, she had her own horses to help her herd the animals. He wanted Gertrude to go to someone that would be able to take care of her and keep her active as much as the ornery horse wanted. A few minutes later, Kara was handing over the few hundred dollars she had left after buying a truck, and attaching a small horse trailer with Gertrude in it to the back of said truck. Clark was thrilled with the new addition to the family while Jonathan and Martha just sighed and rolled their eyes.

“Gertrude makes the best knight’s steed,” Clark defended. “We were practicing in order to defeat the dragon.”

“And it was necessary to steal one of the scarecrows because…?”

Clark shrugged, “We needed something to charge at and the scarecrow didn’t move like some of the other things we tried.”

Kara almost asked about what else they had tried to practice with but stopped herself before she could, she didn’t want to know. “Maybe next time instead of destroying the scarecrows, you could just practice with a few bales of hay,” she suggested. “Just stack them up and away you go.”

The boy let out a long-suffering sigh and Kara smiled at the dramatics of his cousin, her Uncle Jor and Aunt Ala would be proud of how he grew up, and would hopefully be proud of the man he would become. “The hay bales wouldn’t be as fun though,” he grumbled.

“Yes, but I wouldn’t be getting exasperated calls from Aunt Martha about having to apologize to Mrs. Jones about sending her son home caked in mud and straw.”

“That wasn’t from the jousting,” Clark defended. “That was from the obstacle course we set up with Dad, we were doing the mud crawl.”

“Were you?” Kara hummed, “Did Aunt Martha know about Uncle Jonathan’s assistance in these endeavors?”

Clark hummed, “Yeah, she was really mad, but she didn’t say anything.”

“I didn’t say anything about what?” Martha asked when she stepped out onto the porch, a large plate of cookies in her hand.

“Cookies!” Clark cheered, using super speed to zip up the stairs and steal the plate from his mother. “Thanks Mom!”

He disappeared into the house and his mother yelled after him, “Make sure you do your homework first before eating those cookies!” She shook her head and look back at Kara, “Boys, I imagine it’s just going to get worse when he hits his teenage years, unless your species manages to avoid puberty?”

Kara chuckled at Martha’s hopeful question, “Sorry Martha, but pretty much every species I know of goes through some growing pains at one point or another during their lifetimes, some even go through a few different stages.”

“Nope, no, I will take a few years of puberty rather than having to deal with it for longer,” Martha replied. “The boy already eats as much as a horse, I can’t even imagine what he’s going to be like to feed when he’s older.”

“Lots of protein and high calorie energy bars should keep him just fine,” the blonde told the woman. “Just make sure he isn’t loading up on carbs all the time, I ran into that problem when I was on Themyscira. Bread is just really good you know?”

“You grew up slowly with the Amazons didn’t you?” Martha asked. She motioned for the other woman to sit down at the kitchen countered and poured both of them cups of coffee. “So how long did you have to go through ‘growing pains?’”

Kara shrugged, “It was hard to tell, I spent most of my days training, learning, or playing with Diana. Every day was pretty much the same, so a month, a year, two, ten, they didn’t really matter. The barrier around the island slowed Diana and mine’s aging until we just stopped.”

“Will that happen to Clark? Will he stop aging or was it because of your time on a magic island?”

“Kex has spent years analyzing different variables and he claims that because of our absorption of yellow sun rays, Kal and I will live for a long time, though there is no real way to know for sure.”

“That must be hard,” Martha murmured. “To know how long you might live.”

“There are many things about life that are hard, things that I’ve had to adjust to in order to be able to live on this planet, to get past what happened to mine.” Kara hummed a bit as she sipped at her drink, “If I was afraid to get close to people because there was a chance I would outlive them, outlive all of them, then I would have kept myself on Themyscira with others similar to me, others that would essentially live forever.” She glanced down at the cup clutched between her hands, “My parents didn’t want that for me though, wouldn’t want that for me. They wanted me to live, and if that means I have to say goodbye to people eventually, then that’s something I will deal with. And it just means that there are even more hellos.”

“You have a… refreshing perspective on life Kara.”

“When you lose so much early in life, you gain an unique understanding of loss. I could either cling to everyone I have and worry about when I might lose them, or enjoy the time I have, each and every minute.”

Martha shook her head, “You look far too young to have such knowledge, but appearances are deceiving in your case.”

A crash from upstairs in Clark’s bedroom broke the two out of their conversation and Kara immediately glanced up through the floorboards to see what was wrong. “Kal-El!” She hissed out. “Didn’t you mother tell you to do your homework before eating your cookies and playing with your toys?”

“Uhh…”

“If you don’t finish your homework, no latkes and sufganyot for you mister!” Martha yelled up at him.

“I’m doing it, I’m doing it!” Kara watched as he lunged for his backpack and started furiously scribbling at his homework.

Martha shook her head, “That boy…” She finished her cup of coffee and stood up from the table. “Well, since you’re here, you might as well help me start on the food for tonight so we can light the Menorah and exchange the first present of Hanukkah.”

“There’s a Jewish baker in Metropolis that my roommate and I usually go to when we want something specific, a few blocks from campus, but his sufganyot was nowhere near as good as yours.”

“Flattery will not get you extra, you will have to make your own.” Martha motioned Kara over to the mixing bowl. “Get to it, with your abilities, I expect you to be able to mix up a lot of the dough needed to feed both you and Clark.”

The two women mixed up what was needed for the potato cakes and jelly-donuts before starting on the rest of the food for dinner. By the time the sun had set, all of the food was done and Jonathan had come in from out in the barn, and cleaned up for dinner. They lit the first candle on the Menorah, and sang a few carols before digging into dinner, the latkes and sufganyot disappearing quickly.

“So are you going to visit your mom for the holidays this year?” Martha asked. “What did you say last year, something for the winter solstice?”

“Yes, they usually have a festival around the winter solstice, though I have been back in the past couple years, too much work to do this time of year.” Kara watched as Jonathan and Clark played with the dreidels, a light smile on her face. “Though I might go home this year, I have time when Hanukkah is over to head back to Metropolis to get some work done, make sure Cat isn’t dead and has eaten, and then fly to Themyscira.”

“What is your roommate mixed up in these days anyway?”

Kara rolled her eyes at the question, thinking of all the scrapes she has had to get Cat out of recently because the woman was like a dog with a bone. “Nothing good, I can tell you that.”

 


 

“Alright Grant,” Cat muttered to herself as she glanced around the room. “You got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out. You are Cat-freaking-Grant, you don’t need your roommate to swoop in and save you all the time.”

Kara had left Metropolis to head to Kansas for Hanukkah sometime early last Sunday morning and wasn’t expect back for another day, so Cat decided to use this time to do some more investigating. It made it easier to break into questionable places when she didn’t have a protective alien with more scrupulous morals monitoring her throughout the city, but there was a downside that Cat didn’t foresee, she didn’t have any backup. “Stupid, stupid, stupid Grant,” Cat grumbled to herself as she darted into a coat closet. “Third unofficial rule of journalism, when you’re doing snooping, always double check your mark’s schedule.”

She wedged herself behind a few boxes in the closet and held her breath, her heart pounding in her chest. She could hear footsteps in the hallway outside of the closet and she barely managed to resist letting out a shriek when the door opened. Her heart was near hammering out of her chest and she clasped her hand over her mouth to hold in her erratic breathing. “Where is that coat?” She heard Harton Woolsen muttered to himself as he rifled through the jackets hanging on the rod in the closet. The coats barely missed brushing the top of Cat’s head, and her heart just pounded louder in her ears, she wondered how he couldn’t hear it.

The doorbell ringing was Cat’s saving grace, she just barely managed to stop herself when Woolsen halted his actions and glanced down the hall towards the door. “I don’t have time for this,” he grumbled, grabbing one of the coats at random before shutting the closet door again.

Cat strained her ears to hear anything beyond the door and the rapid beating of her own heart, but all she heard was the sound of receding footsteps. She sagged down against the wall and the floor, and attempted to get control of her breathing and her heart rate. She didn’t think she would have to worry about her cardio workout later, her heart had been through enough strain already for the day.

A shriek escaped her throat when the closet door was wrenched open and the boxes blocking her from view were pulled away. This is it, Cat thought, I’m going to die, or get arrested my career is ove- Only to be met by the sight of Kara standing in the doorway of the closet, irritation present in her eyes.

“Are you out of your mind?” Kara hissed, helping Cat out of the space she had wedged herself into. “I mean, really, what were you thinking breaking into Woolsen’s house?”

“I was thinking that I needed to find a lead and this was the best way to do it,” Cat countered. “It was either this or his office and I think he keeps his office pretty clean.”

“He was just here Cat, he would have found you if I hadn’t distracted him by ringing the doorbell and he needed to leave anyway.” Kara scrubbed at her face in frustration at Cat’s actions. “What were you thinking?”

“What are you doing here anyway? I thought you were still in Kansas?”

“I came back a couple of days early, I wanted to get an extra day of work in so I can take some time off to visit my mom for the solstice.” Cat just hummed and turned away from Kara, heading back further into the house. “Where are you going?” Kara hissed, “He could be back any minute now.”

“No he won’t,” Cat replied. “I double checked his schedule, he golfs every Sunday and then has dinner with his wife at his club, he only came back early because he forgot his sport coat, and they wouldn’t let him in the club without it.” She glanced down at the watch on her wrist, “We still have two hours to do some snooping, so if you don’t want me coming back here on my own, then you need to help me.” Kara hesitated and Cat sighed, turning to face her roommate. “Look, Kara, we both know that Woolsen is involved with some bad people, bad things, very bad things. Would you rather have whoever he’s working for have a toady in the city council, and let him continue running for governor unchecked?”

The older blonde thought about her words before nodding, “Oh alright, you have a point, what are you looking for exactly?”

“Anything suspicious, hopefully a nice file that says ‘bad guy information stored here.’ That would be useful.” The burgeoning reporter hummed, “I guess anything suspicious would be a good place to star- hey!”

A rush of movement around her disturbed her from her sentence and Cat found herself in the center of a swirling vortex. Papers and objects flew around her, Cat almost wondered if this was what it was like to be in the center of a tornado, an indoor tornado. The wind stopped blowing and Kara stood in front of her with a stack of papers in her hand and a disgusted look on her face. “These are the only things I could find,” she commented, handing the stack over. “We can’t take them with us, so you’ll have to look at them here. If we don’t want Woolsen to know anyone was here, we have to leave everything just as we found it.”

“Then what about the… hmm,” Cat looked around. “You didn’t leave a mess with that tornado thing you did? Interesting, I’ll have to think about this more Larelle, you might be useful in the future.”

“I’m not helping you break into any more houses Grant,” Kara rolled her eyes. “You want to get yourself arrested, that is your business.”

“So you’d save me if I was in danger but wouldn’t if I was about to be arrested?” Cat clarified, “Good to know that your morals are just a bit bendable.”

“Just hurry up, relying on Woolsen to keep his schedule is making me a bit uncomfortable.”

Cat grumbled a bit before she started flipping through the pages, noting the dates for votes, payouts, and the amount paid located in an small ledger. She already knew some of that, but it was good to have her hunches validated. Pouring through the different pages, Cat continued to hunt for the source of the payments, noting the obvious shell companies, non-profits, and other organizations that clearly didn’t exist and a few that she would have to look up. On a scrap piece of paper tucked in a folder, she finally found her answer. “Moxie Mannheim,” she muttered, her eyes widening at the name. “It can’t be…”

“Who’s Moxie Mannheim?”

“Put these back, we need to get out of here,” Cat ordered, shoving the papers into Kara’s arms. “How did you get in here?”

“Upper hallway window,” Kara replied. “The one facing the back of the house, it was unlocked.”

Cat started upstairs before the whirling vortex could start, and just as she reached the hallway landing, she felt arms circle around her and she was suddenly outside. “I am adding flying and speed to your list of abilities,” she grumbled. “I’ll figure you out eventually.”

“I’m sure.” Kara landed a few blocks away, staying out of sight, and the two walked back to their apartment. “So who’s Moxie Mannheim and why does he have you so freaked out?”

The shorter blonde hummed and tugged her jacket tighter around her. “I grew up in this city Larelle, I grew up listening as my father discussed some of the major figures of the city, social, political, criminal… Moxie ‘Boss’ Mannheim fits into that final category.”

“Who is he?”

Cat snorted, “Besides being very well connected in almost every aspect and level of the city, Boss Mannheim is a thug, a gangster, and if the rumors are true, the leader of one of the most dangerous organizations Metropolis has ever dealt with, the Intergang.”


Chapter Text


 *1991/92*

“This Intergang,” Pythia started after Kara had finished telling her everything that had happened since the last time she had talked with the older woman. “Who are they exactly?”

Kara sighed and ran her hand through her long blonde hair as she looked out over the cliff to the clear blue waters surrounding Themyscira. It had been several weeks since she really thought about the information her roommate had dug up by breaking into Dean Woolsen’s house, by her helping her roommate snoop through his things. Once Cat knew where to look, she tossed herself back into research before she started drafting out her story. Her plan was to get it into the school’s newspaper in January’s edition, and was hopeful that her advisor in the journalism department would recommend the article’s reprint in the Daily Planet. She just had to make sure that she had all of her sources and facts triple checked, and that everything was in order.

The Kryptonian was a little wary about leaving Cat in her writing frenzy, but she had already decided to head home for the solstice festival. She left food packed in the fridge to make sure that the younger woman didn’t starve, and sticky notes to remind her to eat. “I’m not as familiar with the ins and outs of Metropolis as Cat is,” Kara admitted. “Yes I’ve been helping people when I could, but I actively try not to listen to everything that happens in the city.”

“So your abilities have improved then,” Pythia mused. “I wondered if they would, if they would grow stronger the more you used them, just like muscles. We have trained your heat vision, cold wind, strength, and speed, but your hearing, the island is far too quiet to really train that.”

“It has been difficult,” Kara admitted. “Everything was so loud when I first moved to Metropolis, very different from Themyscira and even Smallville. I didn’t think I would be able to stay there it was so loud, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think but…” Her voice trailed off as she thought about what to say. “But I think I have a handle on it now, or that I’m getting there.”

“We shall have to test them while you are here, I know that Raina will probably want to test and make sure your fighting skills are still up to par, and Calliope will want to test your knowledge.”

“I should have come back before now,” Kara said. “I should have come back this summer during break, or last year, or the year before… When I went away to school like Martha and Jonathan suggested, to learn more about the world and find my place in it, I guess I took that too seriously.”

Pythia gave her daughter a small smile and reached out to take her hand. “Kara, you may have left here to carve out a future for yourself, a place for yourself, that doesn’t mean that you completely left us behind. This is still your home and will always be your home, you don’t have to come back every time you’re on a break.” She released Kara’s hand and wrapped her arms around her shoulders, “You only have to come back when you feel that you need your mother’s love.” She pressed a kiss to Kara’s temple, “At least we have had that device thing that your little robot servant developed.”

“Kex isn’t… nevermind,” Kara rolled her eyes. Her mother wouldn’t change her stance that she believed Kex to be her robot servant, she would probably lose her mind if Kara had access to some of the robots they originally had on Krypton, or even the fake robots that human science fiction have created over the years. Kex had access to the entirety of Kryptonian technology in his mainframe, if he wanted, he could craft a physical form for himself or for the other currently dormant AI units that had also come in the pod.

“Back to the main subject, who is this Intergang? Are they dangerous?”

“Cat has… told me things, nothing concrete, just vague mutterings around writing her article. The Intergang, they’re basically a large criminal enterprise from what she’s said, but I have no idea what they do. We know they’ve been involved in smuggling, but what they were smuggling, I don’t know.”

Pythia hummed, “Men crave two things, money and power, and usually money leads to more power. The hearts of men are easily corrupted by such things, as are all who live in Man’s World.” She shifted so that she was sitting next to the younger woman and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “I worry for you, out there in that world, what kind of people you’ll be around, what kind of person you’ll become.”

“There are good people in the world too Mom, people like John and Martha who just want to work and raise a family, people like Cat that want to change the world, and people like Eliza and Jeremiah that want to help the world.”

“You have surrounded yourself with good people, and you have being protecting people these past few years, but the question is will you continue what you are doing, stopping simple crimes, or will you do more?”

Kara twisted slightly to look at her mother, “What do you mean?”

“This Intergang, if what you tell me is true, they have gone through the trouble of inserting people that they buy, people they bribe, into positions of power so that they can do whatever they want. They are dangerous Kara, they have obviously proven that they are willing to hurt people to get what they want, but my question is will you do something about it?”

The younger woman sighed and turned back away from her mother. “What do you expect me to do?” She asked, running a hand through her hair. “I’m not… I only started helping people because I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to do something. And then I just… kept doing it, scaring away predators, stopping muggings, that’s it. I’m just a shadow to the people of Metropolis, a rumor, nothing more.”

“Kara, I’m not trying to pressure you one way or another, but what I’m trying to do is make you realize that there is evil in the world, there is greed, hatred, ignorance. You have chosen to fight it a little bit, but when greater evil finds you, will you choose to face it?” Pythia pushed herself off the ground and patted Kara on the shoulder. “You’ll figure out what to do, I’ll be back at the house when you want to come in.” She left Kara to her thoughts on the bluffs and walked back to the city.

Sighing softly, Kara ran her hand through her hair and watched the waves crash against the rocks at the base of the cliff. She knew what her mother was saying was true, from everything Cat had told her, this Intergang was bad news. They had been bribing a city official, probably more, and they had come after Cat when her snooping got too close to the truth about Woolsen. If they thought that a student journalist was dangerous to their plans that they would bother to abduct her, attempt to kill her, then what else could they be capable of, could she sit back and do nothing knowing what she knew about them? It has been three years since she became the shadow of Metropolis, the faceless figure with glowing eyes that stood up for people lost in dark alleyways, those hurting and afraid. The question she knew that her mother was asking her, it had been haunting her for a while too, was it enough, was what she was doing enough?

Unbidden, Diana’s image floated through her mind, and Kara sighed, flopping back down on the ground beneath her. It was hard to not think about Diana, about where she was, what she was doing, what she would think of her now. Diana had left Themyscira, had left her, to go out and be a hero, to protect the world, to save the world, what would she think of her indecisiveness, on not knowing if she wanted to fully commit to being that person, to being a hero. Kara really hated that she still thought about Diana after all of these years, thought about what the woman would say to her, what she would think about her, what she would-

“Get up sleepyhead!” Raina crowed in Kara’s ear, causing the blonde to squawk and reel away from the woman, falling off the cliff in the process.

She caught herself before she could fall too far off the cliff and slowly rose back through the air to find her friend on the ground where she had been laying, clutching her stomach and laughing. “You’re the worst Raina,” Kara grumbled, setting her feet back down on top of the bluff.

“You should have seen your face!” The redhead weazed, still laughing uproariously.

“Go ahead, get it out of your system.” The blonde rolled her eyes as her friend continued to laugh. “What are you doing out here anyway?”

“Coming to see you,” Raina replied, wiping at her eyes. “I mean, you stop in for a visit, and spend all this time with your mom or on that island of yours, without spending any time with your friends? You think I’m just going to take that lying down?”

“I was going to come and see you before I left,” Kara protested. “I’ll be here for another few days at least.”

“Well then that gives us a few days to catch up on what you have been up to,” Raina said, pushing herself off the ground. “And we have time to spar to see if you’re still up to date on your fighting technique, you got out of it last time you visited, what if you’ve gotten rusty?”

“You want to spar? Since when?”

“Since I don’t get to see my best friend all that much anymore.” The redhead tugged the blonde back towards the city. “Not to mention that I have been incredibly bored, though playing with that robot servant of yours has been fun.”

“Don’t tell me that Mom has you calling Kex that as well.”

“What? It works.”

Kara sighed and rolled her eyes. “I have missed you though, you, Trigona, and Oeone, just because I’ve left the island and I’m making a life for myself out in the World of Men doesn’t mean I don’t miss you guys all the time.”

“We know,” Raina replied. “This island was always too small for you. As someone who has lived among the stars, being confined here forever was never your destiny.”

“What is my destiny then?” Kara asked. “I survived my entire planet’s destruction, all of my people, my entire family, my friends. I fell here, grew up here, made a new family here, only to leave it and start over somewhere else, what am I doing with my life, what was I saved for?”

Raina was silent for a few moments before speaking, “That’s really deep for a conversation right now Kar’, but best that I can tell you is that you’re living. That’s what your parents wanted for you and that’s what you’re doing. You’ve gone out in the world, making new friends, finding work, doing something productive, anything you choose to do after that is up to you.”

“I don’t know, you don’t think I should be doing… more? I mean, I’m studying architecture, but-”

“No buts, I mean, you like studying architecture don’t you? I mean your mom told me you did, but do you enjoy it?”

“Yes! Of course, I had to take extra classes to graduate within four years, I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t like it.”

“Well there you go, your parents wanted you to be happy.” Raina slung her arm around Kara’s shoulder, “And while I miss you being here all the time, that’s what I want for you as well, and I know Pythia feels the same.”

“Mhm, speaking of Mom, she won’t really give me a clear answer, are her and Hippolyta…”

“Involved yet?” Her friend answered. “I think so, how much have you heard?”

“Mom told me they’ve been talking, but as far as I know, they’ve been talking for years, have you observed anything happening between them?”

“They’re two of the oldest Amazons, they’re really good at hiding things from the rest of us, but I do think there’s something going on, if they’re not fucking yet, then they will be soon.”

Kara crinkled her nose, “You are so gross sometimes Raina.”

“If you didn’t want to know, then you shouldn’t have asked.”

“I deeply regret it already, I’ll just ask Pythia later when I get home.”

“You mean when Raina and I let you get home,” Trigona commented as she walked up to the two when they came into town. “You haven’t been back in a while Kara, and we have some fighting and partying to do.”

“I have a feeling I’m going to regret coming back for the winter festival.”

Hours later, closer to the sun rising on the next day, Kara finally managed to make it back home. Different muscles and joints in her body ached and screamed at her when she climbed up the stairs back to her old room, collapsing in an exhausted heap on her bed. Her aching limbs cried out in protest at the abuse and she let out a groan as she sunk down into the soft padding beneath her. She heard the soft footsteps padding up to her room before the person sat down on the bed next to her. “Seems like you’ve had a long day,” Pythia murmured, softly carding her fingers through long blonde hair.

“Did I wake you up?” Kara asked, her voice slightly muffled by her pillow. She was far too tired and sore to attempt to turn her head to speak clearly.

“No I’ve been awake, wondering where my wayward daughter had gotten off to.”

“You can blame Raina and Trigona for that,” the blonde said, rolling over slightly. “They decided that I was pretty rusty in my sparring and drinking, so they put me through the ringer.” She set her head back down on her pillow and sighed, “I guess I’m rustier than I thought I was.”

“For Amazonian fighting probably,” Pythia murmured, rubbing her back. “Might not be a bad idea to keep yourself fresh in fighting techniques.”

“And who better to learn from than some of the best warriors in the universe,” Kara replied. She sighed as her muscles relaxed and sank further into the bed beneath her.

“I wouldn’t know about universe.”

Kara shook her head, “Hmm, I’ve been to twelve different planets, when I say universe, I mean universe.”

Pythia shook her head and motioned for her daughter to roll over. “Make room, go on, move,” she motioned, sliding down on the bed next to the younger woman.

Kara grunted in protested but complied and quickly settled down with her head on Pythia’s chest listening to her heart beat, just like she used to do when she was younger and everything was overwhelming. “So how are you and Hippolyta doing?” She asked as her mother continued to play with her hair. “Any progress forward?”

“We’re taking things slow, it’s hard to transition from friends to lovers after so many years.”

“There has always been something more between you two though, something lurking beneath the surface.”

“Like you and Diana?”

Kara was silent for a few moments as she thought about her response. “Yes like me and Diana. There was something there, but I guess we were both too cowardly to do anything about it, or we thought we had time with both of us being here.” She sighed and her voice trailed off, “I guess we were both wrong…” The both laid there in silence for a minutes before Kara spoke again. “Do you think I’ll ever see her again, Diana?”

Pythia hummed, “I think two people meant to be in each other’s lives will find a way, and you and Diana, you were meant to be. You traveled through time and space to be together, here, in this time and on this world, you will find your way to each other again.”

“I thought, out in the human world, I would hear tales of her, of what she’s done, but nothing, there’s no trace of her.” Kara exhaled softly, “Not that I’ve really been looking, what does that say about me? Seven years and I haven’t bothered to even try to find her.”

“You’re not ready,” the silver haired woman replied. “When both of you are ready to see each other again, you will.”

 


 

“Kiera!” Cat cried when she spotted her blonde roommate in the doorway to her room. “You will not believe the kind of things I have dug up, I almost couldn’t believe it, but this conspiracy runs pretty deep. I suspect that Intergang has people throughout both Metropolis and Gotham in positions of authority in every department, waiting to fulfil their master’s dark purpose. Whatever they’re attempting to do, I have no idea, obviously illegal things, but I’m not sure exactly what kind of illegal things, do we have anymore coffee?”

“Did you call me Kiera?” Kara asked, her brow quirked. “Have you slept at all since I’ve been gone?”

“What day is it?” The woman replied, her eyes wide and twitching.

“Thursday… January 2nd, 1992, I left about two weeks ago before Christmas…”

Cat waved her hand dismissively, “I’m sure I’ve slept some, but sleep is for slackers Kiera, especially when I am on the brink of the story of a lifetime!”

“Okay, I think you’ve had enough coffee for now, so why don’t you just step away from the computer and get some sleep.” Kara pulled the three pairs of glasses off of Cat’s face and bundled the unhinged woman into bed.

“There is no time to sleep Kiera!”

“There is always time to sleep Cat, especially for humans.” She carefully tucked the wiggling woman into bed, pulling the sheets tight around her shoulders in an attempt to make sure she stayed there.

“You don’t sleep much.”

“Yes and we’ve already had a discussion that I am not human.” Kara sat down on the bed next to Cat in case the woman tried to make a break for it back to her computer. Dark hazel green eyes glared up at her petulantly and the older blonde sighed as she tried to figure out a way to get her friend to sleep before she killed herself. Before she realized it, she was humming an old Amazonian lullabye, one that her mother had sung to her when the nights were too dark and quiet.

“Sounds nice…” Cat slurred as sleep overtook her brain and she drifted off. Kara sang for a few more minutes to ensure that the other woman was completely asleep, but she didn’t think that an earthquake could wake Cat at this point.

Slowly moving away from the bed, Kara glanced through the notes that Cat had left all over her desk and the article that was pulled up on the computer. The article was mostly complete, detailing information, dates, and evidence of Dean Woolsen swinging votes certain ways to benefit businesses and shipments coming in from the port. Cat never stated in the article that Woolsen was being paid off by the Intergang because she didn’t have any concrete evidence that wasn’t tainted by her snooping around in his house. The organization was too careful to leave behind paperwork or evidence that would implicate them, but other people apparently weren’t as clever.

“She’s going to make a damn fine investigative journalist one day,” Kara mused, focusing her attention on the small pile of notes she uncovered on the desk. Her roommate had been busy while she was away, she had started looking for every scrap of information she could find on the Intergang, every whisper, every rumor, every lead. There was a small post-it note on the stack of paper reading ‘no one kidnaps Cat Grant and gets away with it.’

“I take it back,” Kara rolled her eyes. “She’s going to get her fool-self killed one of these days.” She set the notes aside and quietly retreated out of the room, and moved to check on the state of the rest of the apartment. Whenever the shorter blonde was focused on researching and writing, everything else got placed on the back burner.

The bathroom was clean though a little dusty, and Kara made note to shove Cat in the shower, clothes and all, when the woman finally woke up. Walking to the kitchen, she found the fridge completely empty except for a few old take-out containers that were growing some sort of science project. “I’m going to kill her one of these day,” the blonde grumbled, pulling the cleaning supplies out of the closet.

An hour later, Kara finally heaved out all of the garbage Cat had managed to collect while she was working on her article after cleaning out the entire apartment. “How can someone so small make such a mess?” She sighed, collapsing on the couch. She had flown back from Themyscira earlier that day and she could already feel exhaustion starting to settle in her bones and a growl echoing in her stomach. Another groan escaped her lips when she remembered that the only edible food in the apartment was a can of green beans she located in the cupboard. “I feel like I need to eat ten pizzas.” Her arm flopped behind her searching for the collection of take-out menus that they kept on the table next to the couch, but the phone ringing on the other side of the room halted her quest. She debated momentarily on if she wanted to remove herself from her comfy position on the couch, but the incessant ringing of the phone finally prompted her to move.

Lazily, Kara floated from the couch towards the phone and grabbed it from the receiver, the cord hanging beneath her. “Hello?” She greeted, turning slightly so she was looking at the ceiling while she floated.

“Hey Kara, I was hoping you’d be back,” Eliza’s voice drifted through the phone. “I wasn’t sure when you would get back from your visit home, I tried to call a few days ago, but no one answered.”

“Yeah I got back a couple of hours ago. Cat was here, but she wasn’t like here, here.”

“Working on an article?” After three years of being friends with Kara, Eliza knew exactly what the burgeoning reporter was like, especially after dealing with people in therapy sessions that crossed Cat on a bad day.

Kara hummed at the question, “I just got done cleaning the apartment after making sure Cat got some sleep. I’ll be tossing her in the shower later, I’m not sure when was the last time she bathed, but I’m not taking any chances. There’s no food in the apartment though so I’ll either starve or order some pizza.”

“Why don’t you come over? Alex wants to show her ‘Aunty Awa’ what she got for Christmas, and Jeremiah is working on his dissertation and preparing his classes for next semester.”

“That is the best offer I’ve heard all day.”

“If that’s the best offer you’ve heard all day, you really need to get out more.”

The blonde sighed and shook her head as she replied to her friend, “We’ve talked about this Eliza, I’m not interested in being set up with any of your friends.”

“There’s this really cute fireman that lives down the road from us, single, really nice, I think you both would do well together.”

“Eliza…”

“Or do you prefer women? Jeremiah and I don’t mind either way though I know it isn’t commonly discussed now, but there is evidence of same-sex relationships in nature so it isn’t really a big deal-”

“Eliza!” Kara called again, getting her friend’s attention. “I… thank you, but I’m just not… ready for any kind of relationship right now.”

The other woman was quiet for a few minutes before speaking again, “That sounds like there’s a story there.” Kara hummed noncommitedly, not really wanting to get into it. “Fine, fine, keep your secrets, just get over here and deal with your goddaughter.”

“I’ll be over in a few.” Kara set the phone back down on the receiver and moved her feet to finally touch the ground. Glancing back through the walls to Cat’s room, she made sure that the burgeoning reporter was still asleep, but she didn’t need to, the snores alone were enough of a clue that the woman was still dead to the world.

Grabbing her wallet and keys, Kara left the apartment and started the few blocks over to the Danvers’ house. It was a route she had traveled frequently and usually it was quickly traversed, but she was still feeling sluggish from flying back to Metropolis and cleaning her apartment. By the time she finally slumped her way up to the house, the pizza delivery guy was pulling up with two large pizzas strapped to the front of his bike. She fished cash out of her wallet and took the food from the kid before walking in the house. “I have the food,” Kara called out, barely avoiding the forceful impact of a tiny terror hitting her legs.

“Aunty Awa!” Alex squealed, her tiny arms and legs latching around the blonde woman. “I mis’ed you so much!”

“I can see that, I missed you too.” Kara carefully handed the pizza over to Eliza who quickly claimed the food, and bent down to pluck the child off of her leg. “I missed you so much nugget.”

“Did you b’ing me an’thin’?” Alex asked, looking around Kara like she was looking for a present and Kara just chuckled.

“Maybe when you’re older.”

The little girl pouted and wiggled a bit to be put down so she could go get her new toys to show her favorite aunty. “She has so much energy,” Kara groaned, falling onto the couch next to Eliza.

“The energizer bunny finally quit hmm?”

Kara just glared at her friend, but quickly shifted to a gleeful expression when Alex brought over her new toys, a few Ninja turtle action figures, some Transformers, and a cabbage patch doll. “I’m guessing the doll was your contribution?” Kara asked, looking over at the young mother when Alex was occupied on the floor with her action figures

“I also gave her one of those robot things she wanted,” Eliza defended, sinking a little into the cushions of the couch. “I just… ever since I found out that I was having a girl, I dreamed of cute dresses, tea parties, playing dolls. As Alex gets older, she’s less interested in dresses and more interested in mud and play fighting.”

“That’s not a bad thing Eliza,” Kara told her. “She’s becoming her own person, growing. She’ll be a strong woman one day because of this, you letting her be who she is, letting her become who she wants to be on her own terms.”

Eliza snorted, “She wants to be a Ninja Turtle when she grows up.”

“And I’m sure she’ll be the best Ninja Turtle that has ever been, and next week she’ll probably want to be a Transformer.”

“Mhm, last week she wanted to be a mud-puddle.” The two women looked at each other and then let out a few snickers. “Oh just ignore my musings,” Eliza said when they calmed down. “Just the normal worries of a mother that wants the best for her daughter.”

“She has two loving parents and the best godmother she could ask for, being loved for who she is, that’s all anyone really needs.”

“Sometimes you seem far wiser than your years,” Eliza mused. “Which isn’t fair since I’m supposed to be the wise elder.”

Kara let out a little laugh, “What is it that they say, experience is better than age?”

“Aunty Awa!” Alex yelled. “Come play with me!”

Letting out an long sigh, she glanced over at Eliza, “Duty calls.”

Eliza gestured with her hand and continued to munch on her pizza, “Go, entertain my child.”

The blonde student sniffed and turned up her nose at the woman. “Come on Alex,” she said, grabbing the little girl’s hand. “Let’s go be Ninja Turtles, your mom is not invited.”

“Not invited!” Alex squealed and the two of them flounced off.

Rolling her eyes, Eliza swallowed the bite of pizza in her mouth, “You two are just jealous, I would be the best Ninja Turtle!”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

 

“... I now present you Metropolis University’s graduating class of 1992.”

Kara and her fellow graduates tossed their motarboards in the air and a great cheer went up from all of the attendants in the large gymnasium. The sound was almost deafening for the blonde, but she blocked it out to enjoy the moment. When the Kents had convinced her to apply to go to college four years ago, she wasn’t sure what the point would be, why she needed to go to school, but now in this moment, standing on the basketball court with about a thousand other graduates, she finally understood. It was more than just attending classes and learning, it was about forming connections, making memories and friends that would last longer than anything she learned in classes.

“I don’t know what everyone is so excited about,” Cat grumbled and Kara turned to find her best friend standing a few paces behind her, her hat still firmly fixed on her head and a scowl on her face. “It’s not like all that much is going to change, just transitioning from going to classes to going to low paying jobs no better than glorified interns.”

“Cat, don’t be such a sour-puss, we graduated, celebrate a little.” The shorter blonde just grumbled some more and crossed her arms, a scowl still firmly affixed on her face. Kara shook her head and guided her friend to where she could hear the Kents and the Danvers waiting. Martha, Jonathan, and Clark had driven up the day before for her graduation, and Jeremiah and Eliza kindly offered to house the family in their extra bedroom for the adults while Clark would sleep in a sleeping bag in Alex’s room. Clark was hesitant about spending so much time with a ‘girl’ but Alex merely sniffed and declared she didn’t want him to play with her Transformers anyway. That quickly got his attention and soon the two were squirreled away in Alex’s room, acting out a daring rescue of the cabbage patch princess with mutant turtles and robot cars.

Skillfully winding her way through the crowd, Kara managed to locate her little group of family and friends. “I’m so proud of you!” Martha said, embracing the tall blonde. “Graduating with honors! And you didn’t think that college would be a good idea.”

“No need to rub it in Martha,” Kara rolled her eyes before moving over to Jonathan. “I’m glad you guys were here.”

“We got plenty of pictures you can send to your Mom, and Martha made me record the whole thing.” Jonathan held up the small camcorder in his hand and gave her a thumbs up.

“We’re proud of you too Cat and took plenty of pictures for you as well.” Martha shifted her attention over to the shorter blonde and wrapped her in a hug, causing Cat to let out a low ‘oof.’

Kara snickered at her roommate as Cat’s eyes widened and an alarmed expression crossed her face. Even after four years of living together, the other blonde still hadn’t gotten used to the Kents and the amount of ‘mothering’ Martha liked to bestow on everyone. Martha knew enough about Cat to know that she didn’t have the best relationship with her mother, and while she was only fifteen years older than the blonde, she wanted to give the younger woman as much motherly affection as possible. “Yes, ah, thank you.” Cat patted Martha’s back awkwardly and practically willed the woman to release her.

“Did your mother end up coming?” Martha asked when she finally pulled away from the blonde.

Cat just shrugged and glanced around disinterestedly. “I don’t know, probably not, last time I talked to her she was sipping wine with some author in Barcelona and that was a few days ago. She would have mentioned something if she was planning on being here, I wonder if she even remembered it was this weekend.”

“Well you’re coming with us to dinner to celebrate your and Kara’s graduation, and that’s final,” the woman declared, wrapping an arm around Cat’s shoulder again to give her another squeeze. The force of nature then turned to the Danvers and fixed them with a glare. “You three are coming as well, Jonathan and I are buying, it’s only right since you put us up for a few nights.”

“Really Martha, that’s not necessary-” Jeremiah’s voice was cut off when Martha’s eyes narrowed even further and the man gulped. “Ah, uh, we would love to come with you.”

“Just try not to make it a really expensive place Martha… Martha…” Jonathan called after his wife who started leading the young blonde away. The woman ignored him and continued asking Cat questions about the story she published about former Dean Woolsen and his illegal dealings and how it lead to her upcoming job at the Daily Planet. She had published the article in the university’s newspaper in the january edition and exploded like a grenade. Woolsen immediately denied everything, but the evidence against him was too strong and eventually he caved. He was immediately fired from his position at the University, and was kicked off the city council. Currently the police were investigating the bribes that he received and charges against him were pending.

Because of the attention her article received, Cat was offered a job at the Daily as a junior investigative reporter. It wasn’t what she hoped for, but it was better than what her first journalism professor had predicted for her. While she was sure that writing a gossip column would be interesting for a while, Cat had greater ambitions for her career, most of them involving Pulitzers and a multi-billion dollar company.

Kara felt a tug on her gown and she glanced down to see Alex staring impatiently up at her from the floor. “Up,” the little girl demanded, holding her hands up. “Aunty Awa,” Alex started when Kara had picked her up. “What does gwaduaded mean?”

“Graduated, it means that I finished this particular level of schooling.”

“So you don’t have to go to school anymore?”

“Not unless I want to, but then I would go through a different level of school, like your mom and dad.”

Alex let out an aggravated sigh, “Daddy goes to school all the time, it’s so boring, but since you gwaduaded now, that means that you can play with me while he and Mommy are being boring.”

“I would love nothing more than to spend more time with you, but I’m going to start my new job in a few weeks, and then you’re going to be going to Pre-school in the fall, so you will have less time for me.”

“Ugh, no skool…” The girl groaned, tucking her face into Kara’s neck.

“Don’t worry Alex,” Clark said from his place next to his cousin. “School is actually pretty fun, you can make new friends, learn new things, get out of chores for a few hours of the day.”

Peeking out from her place glued into Kara’s neck, Alex looked suspiciously down at Clark. “Weally?”

“Yeah, I can tell you all about it and the stuff that Pete, my best friend, and I get up to.” The boy scrunched his nose and Eliza and Jeremiah stifled a grin at how similar he looked to Kara when he did that. “Our other friend is around as well, but she doesn’t like to do as many fun things as Pete and I do.”

“You mean that Chloe doesn’t like to cause as much trouble as you and Pete do,” Kara corrected, setting Alex down next to Clark so that they could talk.

They all started walking, following the direction Jonathan, Martha, and Cat had disappeared, Eliza, Jeremiah and Kara trailing behind the two kids. “I take it you two haven’t talked to Alex about the possibility of moving yet when you finish your coursework and Jeremiah defends his dissertation,” Kara commented quietly to her two friends while Alex battered Clark with questions about school.

“We thought it best not to disrupt her with something so far off,” Jeremiah replied. “I did find out that I’ll be able to defend my dissertation early August of next year, so we’ll be moving in time for Alex to start kindergarten in Midvale.”

“We don’t want to disrupt her schooling, if we didn’t have to send her to Pre-School, we wouldn’t, but it would be for the best and it would be easier for me to attend classes while she’s in school,” Eliza told her. “And with you starting work, well we can’t really depend on you to watch her in emergencies any more.”

“Hey, I love Alex, I love watching her, so don’t even think of depriving me of my Alex fix,” Kara told them. “Weekends or when I have a day off, you just call me and I will be there.” She glanced over at where Clark and Alex had finally caught up with the other three members of their group were waiting. “Martha and Jonathan are talking about Clark coming to spend a few weeks with me here this summer, there’s a day camp at Met U he’s been wanting to come to since I told him about it a few years ago.”

Jeremiah nodded, “The Space Camp? My advisor asked if I would talk to the kids one day during camp and I agreed. It’s a great program, they learn a lot and have a lot of fun, I was hoping to send Alex to that camp when she’s old enough.”

“Well if Aunty Awa is still living in Metropolis in a few years, we might be able to send Alex to spend some time with her for her to go to camp,” Eliza commented before catching up with Cat and the Kents.

The group eventually decided to go out to the small diner that Kara discovered her first few months in Metropolis when she was aimlessly wandering around at night. It was a small 24 hour diner only a few blocks from the university but tucked away that most people would miss it unless they were looking for it. The diner and the small coffee shop that she found became havens for Kara when the sounds of the city became too much for her. It had gotten easier for her to sleep after the first year and after she had become the ‘mysterious’ vigilante that appeared and disappeared like a shadow, but there were still some nights that she missed the quiet of Paradise Island when the still rustling city kept her awake.

The food was good, enough so that Cat never complained when Kara dragged her there when she wanted company for a late night snack. The shorter blonde had even located several people who were fountains of information on everything that happened in Metropolis from the highest of politicians to the lowest of criminals. Never underestimate a waitress and a fry cook that have been around since virtually the beginning of Metropolis.

Everyone ate plenty of food, Kara and Clark steadily out eating everyone else at the table, and they stayed at the diner talking for hours. Alex and Clark managed to convince Cat to let them sleepover at her and Kara’s apartment, leaving the other four adults alone at the Danvers’ house. Cat headed out later that night with some of her other friends from the journalism department, while Kara stayed in to watch the kids. She had made a few friends in her classes, but she didn’t feel that she would keep in touch with any of them.

Alex finally fell asleep shortly after 8pm, her stomach full of cheese pizza, and Kara carefully tucked the little girl into her tiny sleeping bag before joining Clark on the couch. “I can’t believe I was ever that small,” the boy frowned, staring at Alex thoughtfully.

Kara stifled down a laugh, “Oh you were, Martha took plenty of pictures and I have pictures of when you were even smaller than her.”

“But she seems so tiny, so fragile.”

“Don’t let Alex hear you say that, she’s pretty fearless, hasn’t turned back from a challenge yet.”

Clark sat for another few moments and just stared at the girl before turning back to his cousin. “Kara…”

“Hm?”

“How do you deal with it?” He asked. “The noise of the city, how do you… deal with living here?”

“Did you have trouble sleeping last night?”

The boy just hummed, “A little, though my hearing isn’t as good as yours yet. Smallville is so quiet at night compared to Metropolis, how have you been able to stand it?”

Kara thought for a moment before motioning to the door with her head. “Follow me, stay quiet though, don’t want Alex to wake up but I will be able to hear her if she does.” Clark followed her down the stairs and out into the alley next to the apartment building. “Have you been able to fly yet?” He shook his head and Kara motioned for him to stand on her feet. “Alright, hold on.” She slowly lifted up and took them to the roof of the apartment building. “Come on,” Kara said, motioning him over to the edge where she sat down, folding her arms on top of the railing. “I’ve come up here a lot since Cat and I moved in, the railing is pretty solid.”

“The view is pretty nice,” Clark commented, sitting down next to the blonde. Their legs swung gently along the side of the building, idly knocking into the bricks.

“It is a pretty good view, can see out further into the city from here. You should see the view from the tallest building in the city, it’s amazing.” They sat in silence for a few minutes before Kara spoke again. “I didn’t handle the noise of the city well when I first moved here,” she murmured. “I was used to the stillness of Themyscira or the quiet murmur of Smallville, imagine moving here to a city that is just on the go all the time.”

“It’s already so loud for me, I can’t imagine what it’s like for you, what it was like when you first got here.”

“I didn’t sleep for a long time, not much anyway,” she admitted. “I got an hour or two maybe once a week when I managed to block the sounds out but it was hard to block everything out. There were so many people crying out for help in the city, still are, it was hard to listen, to hear them hurting.”

“What did you do?”

“I started helping people, doing enough to help them out, lessen the pain in the city,” Kara replied.

“So you think I should do that, start helping people?”

“What you should start doing is learning how to meditate and learn to block it out for now.”

“Awe, Kara, I want to help people,” Clark whined. “Why can’t I do what you do?”

“Kal-el,” the blonde reprimanded, instantly silencing the boy. “You have to think, it’s difficult for people like us, people who are different. Humans don’t even like each other, when confronted with a being so completely removed from what they thought was possible, it scares them. I’m not even fully ready to accept the consequences if I reveal myself, what I can do, because of how it might affect the people I care about, how it might hurt them. It’s not something to be considered lightly Kal-el.”

Clark pouted and sniffed lightly, looking away from his cousin, “I just want to be able to help people.”

“And you might, one day when you’re older, when you understand what it means,” she told him. “But in the meantime, you need to learn to meditate and take control of your senses. It is difficult, but I am sure that you will be able to work it out, you might even eventually be able to master the art of Torquasm-Vo.”

“I read about that!” He exclaimed, “The thingy in my pod told me about it, it’s like a martial arts practice isn’t it? I can be like the Karate Kid or Leonardo.” Clark stood up, stepped away from the edge, and started performing bad martial arts moves that he had seen in movies and tv shows.

“I’m going to pretend that I didn’t see any of that.” Kara rolled her eyes, “And no, Torquasm-Vo isn’t like the martial arts you would have seen on TV, it’s more of a mental discipline. Some members of the Vo family even used it as a way to interact with people on the mental plane, test their abilities and such. Every match through the matricomp with one of the members of the house of Vo had to pass their mental test or the match would be terminated.”

“So marriages really were arranged, I thought that the computer thing was messing with me.” Clark scrunched his face as he thought about it before puffing out his chest. “So what kind of guy would you have been paired with, did he deserve you?”

“You know on Krypton, they didn’t discriminate according to someone’s gender.”

Clark’s eyes widened, “You mean you might have been matched with a girl ? Girls are gross though.” He thought for a moment, face twisting, “I guess boys wouldn’t be much better though.”

Kara smiled, “Maybe one day you will change your mind.”

His nose crinkled again and Kara just barely resisted laughing at his expression. He settled back down on the edge of the building next to her and they continued to look out over the city. “Hey Kara?”

“Hmm?”

“What were my parents like?”

A light puff of air left her nose as she exhaled, not fully expecting that question, not yet anyway. “Your parents,” she murmured. “Jor-el and Ala Ark-Vars, Jor-el was my father’s younger brother. He and Ala were matched when they were 13 as tradition, but they actually broke tradition with you, the first natural born child on Krypton in over a thousand years. Father always told me that Jor-el was a bit of a rebel…” She continued talking for close to half an hour, telling stories about her aunt and uncle until she felt him nod off against her. “One day things will be different Kal,” Kara murmured, pressing a kiss to his head. “I’ll continue to fight at night so that one day you’ll be able to fly in the sunlight.”

 


 

Kara could hear the banging of dishes and pans in her kitchen from nearly a mile away despite the chaotic sounds of the city. The sound filled her with dread and her steps faltered. She debated if she could seek sanctuary at Jeremiah and Eliza’s house rather than facing her irate roommate, but remembered that the little family had gone on a small vacation to Maine before school started in a few weeks.

Ever since Alex and Clark watched Pinocchio one night when he was in Metropolis to go to Space Camp, the girl had been begging to go see real whales ‘for science’ as she claimed. The elder Danvers eventually caved and took a week’s vacation to the coast of Maine for some of the best whale watching on the east coast. They had asked if she wanted to accompany them, but since she had just started working at Harvey and Smith in June, Kara didn’t feel comfortable asking for a vacation after only a month and a half.

The blonde hesitated another moment before a sigh left her mouth, and she finished the trudge back to the apartment. As soon as she walked into the building, Kara could smell burnt cookies and hear Cat muttering to herself, still banging around with the pots and pans. When she finally walked through the front door, she was met with the sight of piles of dirty dishes and her roommate whisking furiously, bits of flour and dough on her face. There were sheets of burnt cookies spread around the small kitchen and on the small table in their makeshift dining room. “Are we baking our feelings again?” Kara asked, setting her bag down next to the door and kicking off her shoes.

“I made dinner,” Cat grumbled out. The hand holding the whisk lifted from the bowl and gestured angrily at the oven, flinging bits of liquidy dough on the kitchen floor. “I also made dessert,” she said, returning to her whisking.

“I can see that,” the taller blonde replied. “Didn’t we decide that I was going to be doing the baking from now on? And most of the cooking?”

“Do you not want to eat the food that I’ve cooked?” The question was almost like a threat and Kara knew from the hard glint in the other woman’s eye that she would find a way to destroy her.

“No, ah, um, everything looks good,” Kara giggled nervously. She pulled the food out of the oven and hid a grimace at the shriveled chicken and vegetables in the pan. “This all looks really good…” She divided the food onto plates, and pulled some seasoning out of the cabinet in hopes to make the angry looking food more palatable. “When in doubt, put some Ranch on it,” Kara grumbled to herself, taking the bottle out of the fridge.

Cat continued to ignore her roommate and dolloped out large spoonfuls of dough onto a free baking sheet before slamming it into the oven. The older woman winced and wondered if this would finally be the time when she would learn what food poisoning was like. Sighing quietly, Kara dug through the dry food as quickly as possible, groaning slightly as the food dropped in her stomach like a lead brick. “I’m going to need to go get some ice cream later to make myself feel better,” she grumbled. “Cat,” Kara tried again. “You want to tell me why you’re trying to poison us with burnt cookies and dry chicken?”

The shorter woman turned another fierce glare at her roommate, but Kara held her ground and returned the glare with an even stare. “Fine,” Cat muttered, setting her bowl in the sink. She grabbed one of the pans of cookies and angrily bit into one of them. She chewed it for a minute before spitting it out, “These are awful.”

“Yes, I know.” Kara pushed the pan on the table away from them, “Probably should find some hockey team that needs practice pucks.”

“You’re hilarious, really, if this architect thing doesn’t work out for you, you should try stand-up,” Cat countered, rolling her eyes.

“And you’re deflecting, now spill.”

“There’s this… other reporter at the Daily Planet,” the younger woman started, teeth clenched. “She’s so infuriating, nosey, bossy, always attempting to out scoop someone else-”

“Doesn’t this sound familiar,” Kara mumbled, but she was silenced by another glare from the other blonde.

“And she just keeps getting all up in my business!” Cat finished, launching a cookie at the wall.

Kara watched in fascination as the baked-good simply bounced off the wall without crumbling and rolled away on the floor. “So,” she said, not wanting one of the cookies to be thrown at her. “What is this other reporter’s name?”

“Angela Chen,” Cat bit out. “She just transferred to the Daily Planet from the Gotham Gazette, so she’s only been there about as long as I have, but she is so frustrating!”

“What’s she doing that’s getting on your nerves so much?”

Cat huffed and grumbled, “Existing.”

“Cat…”

“Fine, she keeps… buzzing around, waiting for someone to drop a lead for a story so she can swoop in and steal it, it’s bad form.”

“Didn’t you sort of do the same thing a couple of years ago though a U Met’s paper with that plagarism ring? Another guy was investigating it but you got the drop on him.”

“Well, that was different.”

“Uh huh.”

“Alright Kiera, if you don’t believe me about how annoying she is, how about this, she’s starting to sniff around your occasional late night activities.”

“What? Why? It’s been four years, why start looking at me now?”

The younger woman shrugged, “I have no idea, I think Chen has a lead or something. Perry White, the chief editor, wouldn’t touch the subject of the ‘mysterious vigilante’ without some kind of proof that he actually existed, but Chen is sniffing around, asking questions, tracking down people you might have saved.”

“What do you think she has?”

“Truthfully? Nothing. She’s probably heard rumors and murmurs like most people and she’s intrigued, wanting to make a name for herself and figured reporting on Metropolis’s own vigilante would be the way to do it.”

A sliver of fear raced through her at the thought of someone as determined as Cat chasing after her, and Kara vowed to be more careful about future exploits if she was going to keep helping people. She didn’t want to be forced out of the shadows, she didn’t want to be branded without any say in the matter. A thought crossed her mind and she glanced over at her roommate in confusion. “Hey Cat,” she started. “You’ve known about me for a while now, and you’ve been working at the Daily Planet for like two and a half months at this point, why didn’t you ever ask me about doing a story about me as the ‘vigilante’?”

“Low-hanging fruit Kara,” Cat replied. “That’s no way to make my career. I mean, yeah, maybe if I was already successful I would think about it, but I definitely wouldn’t do it without your permission. You’re my best friend, one thing to learn about being a good reporter, or just a good person, is to never toss your friends under the bus, not like this anyway. The next time my mother is in town though, you’re going to lunch with her, not me.”

“The demon lady? I don’t think so Grant.”

“Compromise, we’ll both go, and I’ll drink mimosas and you can traumatize Katherine with how much you eat.”

“I don’t think that’s a compromise…”

“Anyway, I’m not going to write about you without your permission and definitely not at this point in my career, not when I’m starting to make headway on my research into the Intergang.”

“I thought your boss canned your story idea?” Kara asked. “I mean, you showed him the tentative links you uncovered for that article, but he said it was no story for a junior reporter and passed on the information to one of the senior reporters.” When the other woman didn’t respond Kara looked at her sharply, “Cat, you did hand over the evidence you found didn’t you?”

“I did,” she replied. “Some of it.”

“Cat!”

“What? Look, I worked hard to get that evidence-”

“You broke into Woolsen’s house, you got kidnapped by the Intergang-”

“All while I was in college,” Cat waved dismissively. “I scared someone so much and I wasn’t even out of school yet, imagine what I can do now?”

“Get yourself killed instead of just kidnapped, and then I’ll have to make rent by myself.”

“Be serious Larelle.”

“I am being serious Grant,” Kara retorted. “But apparently you aren’t. The Intergang, they’re dangerous. I did some research myself Cat and the group… they’re a ghost, they don’t have much of an overt presence in Metropolis but I found some files of old stories from the Gotham Gazette. Drugs, smuggling, assassinations, staged suicides, overdoses, corruption, Cat they’re dangerous, they have already killed people for sniffing too close to them, reporters, cops, federal agents. None of it could be proven. but not like anyone needs proof for this.”

Cat stopped short at Kara’s tone and actually looked at the older woman. They hadn’t really talked much about her best friend’s history, just the brief overview, Cat really didn’t need to know more. Kara was the same Kara she had always been, it didn’t matter if she was born on a different planet and happened to be several thousand years old. There was a look in her eyes though, a look that spoke of regrets, of shadows that lingered in the mind, of things haunting from the past. “You worried about me Kara?” She asked, her voice quiet.

Kara scoffed, “Of course I’m worried Cat, you’re my best friend and you’re just… insane, someone has to worry about you.”

“Can’t you just, I don’t know, keep an ear out for me or something to make yourself feel better?”

“I always keep an ear out for you now since that stunt you pulled getting kidnapped, but I can’t be there all the time. The Daily Planet office is across the city from where I work, not to mention all of the stupid, insane places you’re running off to in order to track down a lead. Even if I hear trouble, doesn’t mean I can be there in time.”

“Well what do you expect me to do? Not hunt down leads? Not be a journalist? Not do what I’ve dreamed about doing for years?”

The older blonde let out a humorless laugh, “No, no that would be a futile endeavor on my part, nobody can tell you what you can and can’t do. I just… I want you to be smart… I want you to stop being so fucking stupid, because I know that you’re smarter than this. You’re already on their radar Cat, they already know that you’re onto that, but the thing that’s saving your life right now is that they don’t know exactly how much you know or what you have. If you’re going to go after them, if you’re going to attempt to take down one of the biggest criminal enterprises in Metropolis, then you need to be smart about it.” Kara waved her hand around a bit, “Do what you always told me was the way of a good reporter, make connections, start small, find the right people to have as informants, sources. You claim that Angela Chen is a hack reporter because she goes for the sensational while stealing stories from other people, then be better than her, work smarter.”

“Fine,” Cat sighed, slumping back into her seat. “I guess you have a point. I’ll table my story on the Intergang for now, but I’m not giving up, I’m totally gonna nab the guy behind the current, you just watch.”

“I’m sure you will.”

“Low blow bringing up that crime to journalistic integrity.”

“It worked though didn’t it?”

“Speaking of the viper, we’re going to need to work on your…” Cat gestured at Kara, motioning up and down with her hand. “All of your you-ness, you can’t keep skulking around in the shadows helping people in a hoodie.”

“Yes I can.”

“You can’t do it in just a hoodie.”

“I’m not going to dress up like someone from a comic book, that’s stupid.” Kara stood up from the table, “I’m going to get some takeout, I’ll be back in a bit.”

“We’re not finished with this conversation!” Cat yelled but the older blonde just waved and walked out of the apartment. The shorter woman grumbled about ‘stupid aliens’ for a while before sinking down to stew over the problem. “Well if she gets to worry about me, then I get to worry about her,” she said, pushing back from the table. She hurried back to her room and started flipping through her shopping catalogues. “She watches out for me, so I’m going to watch out for her,” Cat muttered. “Whether she likes it or not.”



Chapter Text


 

It was amazing to Kara how fast time seemed to pass, and she wondered how it was for humans, for beings with such a short life span. She wondered how fast time passed for them, if they marveled at how one night you go to sleep in August and you wake up to find Thanksgiving rapidly approaching. When she was living on Themyscira, Kara never really paid attention to the passage of time. Everyday was a repeat of the same or similar things, and the only evidence at first of time continuing to pass was that she was getting older. Both she and Diana grew, aged, until they didn’t, and then time became an abstract concept, just something that caused the sun to rise and set every day.

She had thought that her time in Smallville and at Met U would prepare her for the passage of time, for how time affected humans. She watched as Clark grew, little by little every day. She watched as signs of age started to show on Martha and Jonathan’s faces, new laugh lines around Martha’s mouth, a swatch of gray hair at Jonathan’s temples, she thought she had fully prepared herself for how time behaved. She was wrong. She wasn’t prepared for one day dropping off Alex for her first day of pre-K and the next to be watching the final prep for the Thanksgiving day parade, three months had passed without her even noticing.

Kara sat in the shadows on top of one of the buildings around the parade route. The annual parade sponsored by the Kacy’s department store and the Wayne Foundation quickly became one of her favorite Thanksgiving traditions, other than eating large quantities of food. They had a similar festival on Themyscira, but nothing like it on Krypton, not with the scarce lack of resources there was by the time she was born. She watched as workers double checked tether lines for the balloons and finalized the last preparations for the floats. The next day hundreds of marching band members, dancers, and Kacy’s employees will walk the route to the Kacy’s flagship department store and thousands of people would line the streets to watch the parade. None of them had the view that she did though as workers got everything ready for the parade; she imagined that the company believed that if people saw the parade being put together it would ruin the image and magic, but watching the set up just made her appreciate it more.

She watched the workers moving around for a while longer before stepping away from her spot on a nearby building. Tucking her hair back into her jacket, she pulled her hood tight over her head and jumped down from the roof to the dark alley below. Her breath fogged in the air in front of her and she breathed in the crisp, cool air, a tinge of snow tickling the roof of her mouth. It was still far off, far away enough that it might not even reach Metropolis, changing course to hit Gotham or head north away from both cities. The cold air never bothered her the way it did humans but she still felt it, still felt it closing around her, still felt it settling into her bones.

On nights when she could feel winter approaching, Kara preferred to be in her bed in her pajamas curled up with a good book, staving off the chilling winter cold. She wouldn’t be out at all if it wasn’t for Cat chasing a hair-brand story about smuggling in Chinatown. The shorter blonde had an informant that had given her a scoop about a ring trafficking in puffer fish, oysters and other more exotic fish. She had linked the smuggling with a highly reputed restaurant in Metropolis, but needed to ferret out the entire chain to find out who was dealing in the smuggled fish.

Cat’s “informant” was actually the chef at Kara’s favorite restaurant, a small little place in the back of an antiques shop tucked away in the middle of Chinatown. It had the best dumplings in the city, and because of the placement of his shop, Jian heard about everything that happened in the district from the smallest fist fight in a back alley, to the movements of a secret smuggling operation. Chinatown at night wasn’t the safest part of the city, especially with the various gangs and organizations still battling for control. When Kara learned that Cat was going to that part of the city at night, this night, the night before Thanksgiving to get the last piece of information she needed from Jian to finish her article on the smuggling ring, she wasn’t thrilled. For one, it meant that Cat was snooping down in Chinatown at night by herself, and two, it meant that she would have to go out and keep an eye on her to make sure she didn’t get herself killed. She really didn’t want to have to break in a new best friend.

Sticking to the back alleys and shadows, Kara quickly made her way to Chinatown and easily located her wayward roommate. It was almost laughable how easy it was to find her, she would have spotted her even without her abilities. The younger woman was wearing a long beige trench coat that hung down passed her knees. A multi colored scarf was wrapped around her hair and tied under her chin, and a large pair of sunglasses covered half of her face despite the rapid darkness descending over the city. Her hands clutched tightly at the large tote bag that was slung over her shoulder, and Kara momentarily wondered if there was a store for ‘completely conspicuous things to wear when you're trying to look inconspicuous.’

Rather than continuing to follow her, this running the possibility of attracting more attention, Kara ducked down another alley way, unzipped her hoodie, and reappeared in front of the other woman. “Are you trying to get yourself noticed?” Kara asked., her eyebrow cocked inquisitively.

“Um, excuze me mis, I zink zat you have me confuzed wiz zomeone else,” Cat replied, shifting her bodyweight. Her eyes darted around nervously behind her glasses and Kara rolled her eyes.

“That was terrible, what even was that, French? Eastern European?”

Cat growled and lowered the large glasses on her face to glare at her friend. “Must you be so insufferable,” she hissed, her eyes flashing with anger. “I had this under control.”

“I’m sure.” The taller blonde glanced down at Cat’s outfit, “And I’m sure you completely blend in with this interesting choice of clothing.”

“Just go away,” Cat retorted. She brushed past Kara and continued down the sidewalk and Kara filed in behind her, heading in the same direction. Cat turned her head and shot her another glare but it didn’t deter the older woman. “Do you mind?”

Kara shrugged, “I’m just going to my favorite dumpling place, you can do whatever you want.”

“I hate you, I hope you know that.”

“You’re still going to pay for my dumplings.”

The two continued walking though Cat was no longer doing the weird shuffling walk she had been trying to pull off earlier. A few more blocks and they reached the antique store, a small shop stuffed in between a grocery store and a knock-off designer handbag shop. “Well this looks promising,” Cat snarked, glancing distastefully at the obviously fake red and gold Chinese lion sitting outside of the shop.

“Stop being so judgy Cat.” Kara rolled her eyes and entered the shop, waving at the older woman that ran the antique shop.

“If this place didn’t look like a knick-knacks store threw up in it, then I wouldn’t be so judgy,” the shorter blonde hissed.

“I would be careful with what you say Grant, Nuan is Jian’s mother and she’s a master of Kung-fu, best not to irritate her.”

Cat glanced incredulously at the older woman puttering away behind the counter before stepping closer to her friend. “You’re joking.”

“Chinatown is an interesting place, just last week Mrs. Choi flattened out a couple of teenagers that were causing trouble outside her shop.” A worried look crossed her face, “I just hope that she hasn’t attracted the attention of some of the families here. It wouldn’t be safe for her to get on their bad side.”

“The families?”

“Kind of like the Mafia, several different families control areas of Chinatown, who comes in and out. Place like this shop that are in the center of the district are like No Man’s land, but they’ll still fight over them and attempt to assert control through the normal tactics, bullying, blackmail, extortion.”

“You know an awful lot about Chinatown for someone who doesn’t come here for her side hustle,” Cat commented, her brow arched.

Kara shrugged, “I told you, Jian knows everything.” She was quiet for a few minutes before looking over at her roommate, “It’s not that I don’t want to come here and help people, but I feel that if I did I might make it worse on the people that live here.”

Before Cat could reply to what the taller blonde said, they walked into the backroom and she was instantly bombarded with the most incredible scent she had ever encountered. “Oh my god,” Cat muttered, inhaling the aroma. “That smells so good.”

“I know right? That’s Jian, best chef in Chinatown.”

A middle-aged man about the same height as Kara walked out of the backroom and instantly spotting them, a large smile crossing his face as he did. “Kara, you back again.” If Cat was surprised by the strong New York accent in his voice, she didn’t show it. He walked over to greet the blonde with a hug, picking her up slightly off the ground in his exuberance. “And you brought a friend, come sit, I will make you whatever you like.” Jian waved them over to a table and handed Cat a menu sheet. “Do you eat as much as your friend here?” He asked, gesturing over at Kara. “I’ve never seen someone pack away as many dumplings as she does, very healthy appetite.”

“I don’t think an elephant eats as much as she does,” Cat replied. “And I’ll take the dumplings since Kara has told me so much about them.” She pointed out the specific ones she wanted and Jian disappeared back into the kitchen. “He seems nice,” she commented, and Kara nodded.

“His whole family is nice, and his daughter is adorable. His wife is a teacher so that let’s her stay at home in the evenings, but sometimes she has meetings so their daughter comes here instead.”

“Is the daughter as nice as her father?”

“Grace? She’s… she’s complex. She’s a few years younger than Clark but it seems like she has a lot that she thinks about, a lot that she worries over.” Kara hummed, “She’s very sweet though, crazy smart. She talks to me about geometry a lot when I’m here doodling out some designs for buildings.”

“Of course you would find another nerd,” Cat rolled her eyes. “It’s like you attract nerds.”

“What does that say about you then?”

“Leave the jokes to actual comedians Larelle.”

Jian walked out of the kitchen area with trays full of baskets with steaming dumplings, and easily set them down on the table next to where Cat and Kara were seated. “One order for you, and seven for my friend here,” he said, piling the food in front of the women. “And it is on the house Kara, for bringing such a lovely friend but also for helping Grace out with her Spanish homework last time you were here.”

“I was happy to help and it wasn’t a big deal,” Kara waved her hand. “Besides if you keep giving me stuff that’s on the house, you might go out of business.”

“It’s true,” Cat said. She used the pair of chopsticks to pick up a dumpling and groaned as the flavor exploded in her mouth. “Oh my god, this are the best dumplings I’ve ever had.”

“See? I told you,” the taller blonde replied, popping a dumpling into her mouth. “So good.”

“I am glad I have another converter,” Jian laughed.

“As much as Kara as told me about your dumplings, she has also told me on your unique ability to gain information about dealings in Chinatown,” Cat continued, the reporter instincts in her too strong to be undone by delicious food.

The man hummed and rubbed his balding head before pulling a chair over from another table. “So you’re the reporter friend that Kara mentioned,” he murmured, keeping his voice low. “What would you like to know about what goes on in Chinatown? What would a large newspaper like the Daily Planet want with what goes on down here?”

“I go where the story takes me, and the story has taken me here.” The reporter leaned forward towards the man, “What do you know about smuggled fish?”

The two talked while Kara partially ignored them as she ate her food. She was mildly intrigued by the conversation, if only to know who would be dealing in smuggled goods, but she didn’t particularly care about illegal tuna and puffer fish. The topic of smuggling reminded her too much of Woolsen, which led her to thinking about the Intergang again. Since she got Cat to let go of her direct approach to taking them on, she hasn’t really encountered them again, not that she aware of anyway. She did wonder if the drug dealers she saw on the streets, the ones that littered musty corners and dark alleys, if they worked for the Intergang or one of the other factions that battled for control over the city. It’s not like she could question them on their employers, not that she would anyway, she merely observed them from a distance. Part of it felt wrong to her, picking and choosing which crimes she prevent, who she saved, most of the people drug dealers catered to were victims themselves, or ended up hurting others while lost in the high. Didn’t they deserve her protection as well?

“Kara!”

“Huh, what?” The blonde snapped to attention and looked at her friend across from her who was giving her an amused look.

“Were you lost in your fantasies about the dumplings you pretty much ate on autopilot?” Cat asked, her brow arched.

“Something like that,” Kara replied. “Where’s Jian?”

Cat waved her hand back towards the kitchen, “He got a takeout order or something, I got all the information I needed.”

“Oh yeah, did you crack the case on the smuggled fish?”

“Apparently the owner of that fancy restaurant has a cousin that works at the fish market here in Chinatown, and he has connections to bring in the fish under market value and without all the regulations.”

Kara hummed, “I imagine you're going to be checking out this information then hmm?”

“Of course, I wouldn’t be a good journalist if I didn’t double check the information provided to me.” Cat scoffed, “I’d be like that hack Angela Chen, just hoping for the best when I finally did publish my story.”

“Well we can’t have that can we?”

The two stood up to leave, and Cat deposited a few bills on the table before heading back out into the antique shop. She glanced warily at the woman bustling around the store, scooching closer to Kara in the process, and they walked out into the still bustling streets of Chinatown. It surprised Cat how many people were still out the night before a major holiday, but she reasoned they either were out getting last minute supplies for Thanksgiving or they didn’t celebrate the day. She was also surprised that her roommate elected to stay in Metropolis for Thanksgiving, her favorite holiday, when she suspected that the older woman could get to either of her other homes without any difficulty. “You never did tell me why you’re staying for Thanksgiving this year,” Cat mentioned as they started the walk back to their apartment. It was a few miles, but she needed the exercise even if the bottomless pit didn’t.

“Too much work to do, I have to be back at the office on Friday.”

“You and I both know that you could get back here in an instant, so that’s not a good enough reason.”

Kara shrugged, “Fine, I just… I didn’t want you to have to have Thanksgiving alone since your mom is still being an ass.”

Cat scoffed, “I’ll be fine on my own if you want to go home.”

“No no, I already told them I was staying here with you to celebrate Thanksgiving. I can fly home and see them for a day during Hanukkah. And besides, I already promised Alex that I would take her to the parade tomorrow morning.” Kara hummed, “Jeremiah told me that they were planning to go to Midvale for Christmas, I think they’re going to tell Alex that they’ll be moving next summer so spending time with her when I can might lessen the blow just a bit.”

“Yeah that’s not going to work,” Cat told her. “That little girl loves you, she’s going to be devastated when she’s told she’s going to be moving all the way to the other side of the country.”

The older blonde sighed, “I know, but moving is the best for them, letting Alex grow up in a place that isn’t as noisy and crowded as Metropolis, it’ll be good for her and both Jeremiah and Eliza have job offers out there.”

“Have you told them?” She asked, “About you being, you know, not from around here?”

“It’s not exactly something that I can work into conversation,” Kara replied. “And I don’t really see the need to tell people. It’s, my history, my past, it’s private, it’s sacred, it’s painful, why do I need to share it with others?”

Cat shrugged, “As far as I’m concerned you don’t. Some people might see it as a trust issue, but telling people that you’re an… immigrant, well, that is private, and people shouldn’t guilt you into sharing when you don’t want to. But I do think that you will have to tell them at some point.”

“Probably,” she sighed. “They are scientists, so knowing my luck, they probably figured me out already.”

“I don’t know, sometimes scientists miss what’s right in front of their faces, a side effect of being eggheads.” The two walked in silence back to their apartment, both lost in thought. Cat didn’t speak again until the door shut behind them, “You aren’t the first hero, vigilante, by the way, you’re not the first to show up, or the first to struggle with the concept of how much can you do, how much should you do.”

“What do you mean?”

Cat walked back to her room and emerged a few minutes later with a file. “I did some digging,” she said, sitting down on the couch. “I wanted to know if you were the only one… like you or see if I could find any evidence of the person that you never talk about.”

“Cat…”

The other woman waved her hand, “No no, I was curious so I used the vague dates you told me about but I didn’t find anything.”

Kara didn’t know whether to be disappointed or not. She never went looking for Diana, didn’t scour the globe straining her hearing for the heartbeat she had memorized long ago, didn’t rip apart countries looking for the woman. She thought about her, never stopped, the other woman always occupied a place in her thoughts but she… she couldn’t go looking for her, she was afraid of what she would find. Now, knowing that there was nothing to find, well, Kara didn’t know how to feel about that. “What…” She licked her lips, her mouth felt like sandpaper all of the sudden. “What else did you find?”

“A bunch of redacted files,” Cat replied, flipping to a few pages in the file. “Because of the freedom of information act, these files were released to the public, quietly though. I had to go digging through a ton of microfiche files in order to find these things, and the dust, ugh, so much dust, I didn’t realize libraries held so much dust in them.” She shuddered a bit before pulling out a few of the papers, “I couldn’t make out much of what these said because of all of the redacted information, but it sounds like there was a group of superheroes operating out of New York during World War II, they called themselves the Justice Society of America.”

“The Justice Society of America,” Kara repeated. “That’s a bit of a mouthful, is there anything else about them in there?”

“Just their names,” the reporter answered. “Not their real names though, just the names they went by, says here that the founding member was Hourman, but there were five other members at the time, Commander Steel, Dr. Mid-Nite, Vixen, Star Girl and Obsidian.”

“What is with all of these weird comic book names?” Kara rolled her eyes, “What is the point?”

“Think of them as code names I guess, something for people to call you.” She flipped through a few more pages, “See? Even through the redacted information, I could tell that their real names weren’t ever mentioned in the folder, only their hero identities. There’s other information about what they could do, like why they had the names they did, but nothing about any missions they carried out. The file on them was pretty thick though, so they were obviously very good at what they did.”

“What happened to them? I mean, if the file was that thick, why isn’t there more information or why aren’t they still around?”

“It doesn’t say, the file barely says anything at all and it was pushed so far back in the released files it was like they were attempting to bury the information.” Cat shrugged, “As far as I can tell, they disappeared. I don’t know if that means they disbanded or died or simply… simply disappeared, I don’t know if we’ll ever know.” She tapped the folder again before setting it down on the couch between them. “What we do know is that they existed, even if people have forgotten about them or if the majority of people don’t know they existed, they did exist. People like you… not exactly like you, but close enough, they’ve been around, they’ve fought, they’ve helped people. And yes they did it wearing ridiculous costumes with equally ridiculous names, but part of that is the whole idea. Heroes, we have heroes, we know heroes, police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, teachers, soldiers, people who do good, people who help others without expecting anything in return, sometimes without concern for their own safety or well-being, we know them, we’re familiar with them. Superheroes though, people, beings, with extraordinary abilities and skills, they’re different. Even without realizing it, people expect different things out of them.”

“They expect weird names and ridiculous costumes?”

Cat let out an aggravated sigh, “Stop focusing on that for right now! Why are you so hung up on the costumes and the names?”

“It’s just…” Kara scrunched her nose. “It’s kind of weird okay. Clark has comic books so yeah I know about them, but I thought they were just in comic books, just works of fiction. I’m not made up, I’m a real person and I’m trying to help people with real problems.”

“And that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a codename and disguise to help protect your identity,” Cat countered. “They’re to keep you and your loved ones safe so you can keep helping people. Bad guys go after cops, agents, whoever practically all the time because they know who they are, but that’s their job. This isn’t your job Kara, this is something that you’re choosing to do, so maybe you should at least consider it.”

Kara considered it, she did, her roommate didn’t know but she had thought about it. She knew that having a disguise would help protect the people she cared about, her history, who she really was, but the thought of running around in a spandex leotard stopped her short. “I don’t have to wear a plastic costume do I?” She groaned out and Cat bit down a smug grin.

“You really think I’d do that to you?”

“No, but there was that Halloween sophomore year when you convinced me to dress up as She-Ra for that Halloween party at Alpha Kappa Pi.”

“Excuse you, that was a brilliant idea, we were getting free drinks pretty much all night.”

“That didn’t really mean anything to me, and I had drunk frat boys trying to look up that super short dress pretty much all night and they kept asking me if I wanted to see their ‘swords.’” Kara rolled her eyes, “It’s not like I could even hit them for being disgusting because I would probably have broken their faces.”

“Huh,” Cat blinked. “Well knowing now that you’re an alien with freakish metabolism makes a lot of situations in college a lot clearer, I just figured you had a really high tolerance for alcohol.”

“I mean, I might, I don’t really know.” The older blonde scrunched her nose as she thought, “I got knocked around a lot in training on Themyscira, lost my abilities a few times, got wasted at a few festivals. The drinks they have there is also stronger than anything I’ve encountered that humans make, might even be dangerous for most humans.”

“Living on an island surrounded by fierce and beautiful warrior women, completely drunk off my ass,” Cat mused. “What a way to go. Anyway, you disguise as a superhero…” She held up her hand when it looked like the other woman was going to interrupt. “Don’t argue with me, that is basically what you are. You might only be helping little old ladies keep their purses and stopping assaults from happening, but you’re still a superhero. Now, the dark hoodie look you have will work, but maybe stop wearing the same hoodie for when you’re out jogging, it’s like a dead giveaway.” She gave her friend a disapproving look but Kara just rolled her eyes and made a few rude Amazonian gestures that Raina taught her over the years.

“I don’t know what that meant but I imagine it was pretty rude.” Cat’s eyes narrowed and she motioned her hands for Kara to wait on the couch. She disappeared back to her room for a few minutes and re-emerged with a box in her hands. “Some of this was a pain to get so I hope you appreciate what I went through to make sure that your dumbass self doesn’t get caught when you’re out saving someone.” She set the box down on the ground and opened it, pulling out a brand new dark blue hooded sweatshirt. “Here,” Cat said, handing it to Kara. “Don’t ask where I got it, it’s experimental fabric, not quite bullet proof, but pretty close. I know that you don’t have to worry about that, but your clothes do.”

Kara examined the material, staring at the knotted fabric and running her fingers over the surface. It was smooth, not soft exactly, and probably wouldn’t provide a ton of warmth, but that wasn’t something she was really concerned with too much. “Cat, this is-” She was interrupted with something flying into her face and she sputtered a bit, yanking on the object. “What the-” She started, looking at it more closely. “Did you buy me a wig?”

“A very nice wig,” Cat pointed out. “Made of real hair and everything. You need something to cover all of that blonde hair you have, and a black wig makes more of a statement.”

“You’re not serious.”

“Of course I am,” the younger woman scoffed and pulled out the last item in the box, a blue mask that tied around her head to cover her eyes. “You need something more than just a blue sweatshirt to hide your identity, and a wig and a mask will do the trick.”

“I will look so stupid in all of this,” Kara groaned and Cat shot her a withering look.

“No you won’t, go put everything on and we’ll see if we need anything else.”

Kara sighed and retreated to the bathroom, grabbing a black t-shirt and shorts off her bed when she passed her room. She stripped off her clothes when the door shut and tugged on the shorts and t-shirt before hesitantly staring at the items that Cat had purchased for her. “If I don’t hurry up, she’s going to come in here and force me in these anyway,” Kara muttered to herself. She pulled the hoodie on over her head and adjusted the fabric down around her breasts and waist. It was larger than she normally wore her sweatshirts, baggier, but she figured that would work to her advantage. She eyed the wig and the mask for a moment before tying the mask around her face and using her advanced speed to weave the black wig over her own hair. She had seen these types of wigs before, ones that were woven into the hair already on the head rather than pinned, they were a lot sturdier and more realistic, and didn’t run the risk of falling off as much as other kinds of wigs.

In total it took around a minute for her to put everything on but when Kara looked in the mirror, she saw someone totally different from herself. Dark, almost black hair floated around her shoulders and down her back, and the blue mask on her face caused her eyes to pop, nearly glow in the low lighting in the bathroom. She tucked her fake hair into the sweatshirt, letting some of it hang out in the front and tugged the hood up over her head. It wasn’t that much different from what she normally looked like when she was out helping people, just darker. She wasn’t sure she knew how she felt about that yet.

“You sure I don’t look stupid?” Kara asked when she walked out to the living room.

Cat hummed and stood up from her place on the couch to examine her friend more closely. “You don’t look stupid,” she said finally when she finished her inspection. “Nothing intricate like with the JSA members, why did you decide on shorts?”

Kara shrugged, “Easier to move around in shorts, jeans can get very uncomfortable when they get wet and I don’t want to deal with leather.”

“Mid-thigh athletic shorts, not my look but I have to admit, it does work,” Cat hummed. She finished her assessment and stood in front of her friend, “I think this will work, if I didn’t know, I don’t think I’d be able to recognize you.” She taps thoughtfully at her chin, “I guess there’s just one thing missing.”

“What?”

“Well, you’re going to have to deal with whatever name Chen finally gives you.”


Chapter Text


 

1993

 

Kara could hear her before she even arrived on the same block, and she winced at the wails coming from the house down the street. She stepped up into a light jog and reached the house a couple of minutes later. The door opened before she could even step on the stoop and a frazzled Jeremiah poked his head out. “She was fine,” he claimed, referencing the shrieking toddler in the house. “Or she was sorta fine.”

“What set her off this time?” Kara asked, walking into the house behind the man.

Jeremiah seemed to deflate and sank down into the couch, his hands coming up to scrub at his face. “Alex wasn’t… pleased when we told her we were planning on moving to Midvale this summer. Well she was, she excited about the ocean, about the house, about being close to her grandparents, it was a good getaway, until…”

“Until?”

“Until we told her we were planning on living there. She was confused at first, but then she got excited about it, and started listing off different things she would do, and then which room would be hers and which would be yours.”

“My room?” Kara started to see what the problem was. “She thought I would be moving with you.”

“Alex loves you, she hasn’t really known any point of her life so far when you weren’t nearby, so I guess she assumed that you would be going with us.” Jeremiah sighed, “Her face when we told her that you would be staying in Metropolis…”

“I take it that she had a melt-down like a toddler eight hours in to a twelve hour day at Disney World,” Kara finished. “But that was what, after Christmas? That was a week ago, is she still upset?”

The man waved his hands in a desperate way. “I don’t know, she sulked for a bit after her tantrum, then calmed down when we came back to Metropolis, but some stuff just sets her off.”

“What set her off this time?”

“Eliza told her that her ‘Aunty Awa’ was coming to give her her Christmas present, and she was happy for a moment but then just started wailing.” He rubbed at his ears, “That was maybe half an hour ago? She hasn’t stopped since.”

Kara bit her lip, she felt bad that she was causing her goddaughter and her friends to be in such a state of distress. “Should I go?” She asked, motioning back to the door.

“No, that would probably make it worse,” he told her. “But maybe I should take her gift for now until she calms down.”

Kara handed over the small box and glanced up through the floor to see Eliza still trying to deal with the fussy, tantrum-throwing toddler. “I should probably go up there and see if I can help,” she said. Jeremiah just waved her on, an exhausted expression still etched on his face. She softly padded up the stairs and looked into Alex’s room. The little girl was face down on her bed, still sobbing and softly hitting the mattress with her fists, but it was evident that Alex had exhausted herself with her tantrum.

Eliza was sitting next to her on the bed, rubbing her back as she tried to calm her down. She spotted Kara standing at the door and quietly made her exit, closing the door so that they wouldn’t disturb the irritated girl. “I’m guessing Jeremiah filled you in on what has been going on,” Eliza said, her voice tired and strained.

“Yeah, I had no idea that Alex would react the way she did,” Kara replied. “Though I think Cat might have mentioned something about her possibly not taking it well, I didn’t think she would take it this badly though.”

“None of us did.” The woman gave her friend a wiry smile, “I think we all underestimated her attachment to you. You would have thought we told her the world was ending or she couldn’t play with her Ninja Turtles anymore.”

“Do you want me to talk to her?” Kara whispered. “I’m not really sure what I can do but, I don’t know, maybe I can make her feel better about the whole thing. I mean, you guys aren’t even going to move until what, beginning of August?”

Eliza nodded, “This was supposed to give her time to get used to the idea of moving, we didn’t want to spring it on when we needed to start packing up.”

“Good idea in theory, bad in execution I guess,” Kara shrugged. “I really didn’t know she was that attached to me that it would cause this reaction.”

“Kara, Alex, my delightful, precocious, absolutely adorable almost four year old loves you. You’re her ‘Aunty Awa,’ her absolute favorite person, of course she would be devastated when she found out that she wouldn’t get to see you whenever she wanted. This reaction was probably a bit much though, but really Jeremiah and I should have seen this coming and we could have prepared better.”

“Can you really prepare for your toddler having a meltdown at different times?”

The blonde mother shrugged, “Not really, but we might have done a few things differently, maybe not told her in Midvale, and instead waited until we were back here. Hindsight 20/20 and all that.”

Kara nodded, “Do you want me to…?”

“Yes please, maybe help her calm down. She’ll come around to the idea of moving eventually, probably not until we’ve settled down in Midvale, and she’s been enrolled in a Pre-K program there, maybe made some friends.”

“Alex will be fine,” Kara told her friend. “She will adjust, though you might have to cave and allow her to take those karate lessons she wants.”

Eliza gave the other blonde a wiry smile, “I was hoping for a little girl who would like dolls and tea parties.”

“She does like dolls and tea parties, the dolls are just ninja turtle and transformer action figures and the tea parties always end in fights.” Kara smirked as she looked at Eliza, “You are raising her to be able to make her own decisions and be a strong woman one day.”

“I’m an awful parent, truly,” Eliza deadpanned, a grin threatening to break on her face.

“The worst,” Kara agreed. “Go down and see if you can calm down your husband, he looked like he was about to fall apart earlier.”

“Men are so sensitive,” the other woman sighed, rolling her eyes. “His daughter starts crying, and Jeremiah is falling to pieces, thinking about buying out an entire toy store.”

“He might be working on a way to move Midvale closer to Metropolis, and since you guys are scientists, I can imagine that wouldn’t be too difficult for you to figure out.” Kryptonian scientists had figured it out centuries ago, how to relocate large objects, large masses, like cities, from one place to another. It was used to preserve cities with the dwindling resources on the planet, though it had not been done in the last century of Krypton’s existence.

“I’m more of a biologist, moving matter with possibly anti-gravitational devices is more Jeremiah’s thing. I should definitely check and make sure he is not doing that.” Eliza disappeared down the stairs and Kara could hear her bustling Jeremiah into the kitchen to start cooking dinner. She listened to them for a few minutes before turning her attention to the small figure in the room just in front of her. The heart rate alone was enough to tell her that the girl wasn’t sleeping, simply exhausted from the emotional upheaval she had been going through.

She quietly crept into the room and softly sat down on the bed next to the prone form buried in her comforter. “It’s okay Lexie,” Kara murmured when she saw the girl stiffen. “It’s just me.”

Alex let out a little sniffle and rolled over to look at the woman. “Aunty Awa?”

“Hey Lexie,” she cooed. “How are you doing?”

“They wanna make me move,” she started sobbing again. “They want to take me away!!” Alex twisted and buried her face in Kara’s thigh, her little body too tired to fully cry.

“Sshhhhh,” Kara said, easily scoping the girl up into her arms. “It’s alright Lexie, just calm down.”

“I don’t wanna move…” The girl hiccuped, sagging into Kara’s neck.

“Why not Bug?”

“I don’t… I don’t…”

“It’s okay Lex, it’s okay, words are hard, feelings are harder.” She rubbed at the girl’s back, letting her cling to her and cry. “Are you sad about moving or sad that you think you’re never going to see me again?”

“Uh-huh,” Alex nodded, sniffling.

It wasn’t difficult for Kara to figure out which one the girl meant, and she quickly thought of a way to reassure her. “Hey, come on,” she said, nudging the girl out of her shoulder. “What makes you think that you’ll never see me again?”

“I’ll be in Midvale, you’ll be he’e, too much space between.”

Eliza and Jeremiah must’ve showed her where Midvale was on a map in comparison to Metropolis, Kara thought. “Yes there is a lot of distance between here and Midvale, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to see me again. It will just be different than it is now.”

“I don wan it to be different,” Alex slurred, pressing back into Kara. “You’ll be away, what abou’ movee nigh’ or bathtime, or playing with turtles?”

“We will still be able to do all of those things Lex, even after you move to Midvale. I’m going to visit, I’m not going to abandon you just because you’re moving across the country.” She lightly tugged the girl out of her neck again and plopped her into a seated position on the bed. “I know it won’t be the same,” Kara said. She didn’t want Alex to think that she didn’t know that her moving to the other side of the country was going to be a difficult adjustment. “But think about all of the things that you’ll be able to do in Midvale that you can’t do here. You’ll be able to take the martial arts classes that you want to take, be just like Raphael.” She tugged the Ninja Turtle stuffed animal off from Alex’s pillow, the red mask tied to his face an easy indicator as to which one was the girl’s favorite. “Isn’t that exciting?”

“Yeah,” Alex nodded, wiping at her eyes.

“And you’ll be near the ocean, you’ll be able to learn how to swim, maybe even surf. I bet you’ll be pretty good at it.” Kara reached out and wiped at the tears on the girl’s cheeks. “And when I visit, you can show me what you’re learning, and when I call, you can tell me about all of the new friends you’ll make in Midvale.”

“I guess…”

“Hey hey, none of that, this isn’t something to be this upset about Alex,” Kara soothed. “You’re feeling a lot of emotions right now, and it’s scary because you don’t know how to deal with them. Just know one thing, your mom, dad, and I are here for you, you’re going to see me again, just because you’re moving to California doesn’t mean you’re going to escape the tickle monster.” Before the girl could process what she said, Kara was wiggling her fingers along her stomach, pulling loud squeals from her mouth.

Alex let out squeals and scooted back, trying to escape the questing fingers. “Aunty Awa! Stop!!” She laughed.

“Alright, alright,” Kara conceded. “Why don’t you take a nap for a while?”

“Bu’ you were bwingin’ me a p’esent,” Alex murmured, her eyes drooping as Kara tucked her into bed.

“And it’ll be here when you wake up, but you’re still exhausted so naptime for little girls.” She settled the girl down and smoothed back her dark red hair. “I’ll be here when you wake up and if your parents say you can have your present, you can open it before I head home for the night.” Kara scratched at Alex’s scalp and sat with her until her breathing deepened, slipping softly into sleep.

She sat there for another few minutes before easing out of the room, and back down the stairs to where Eliza and Jeremiah were hovering in the kitchen. “She’s asleep,” Kara announced. “I don’t know if she’ll be okay about moving, but I hope that she won’t throw a tantrum about it again.”

Jeremiah looked like he was about to say something but Eliza held up her hand. “No Jeremiah, we’re not hiring Kara as a live in nanny.”

“Why not?” The man pouted. “She can handle our headstrong, stubborn daughter better than we can.”

“Well, for one, Kara has a career that she’s a little attached to at present,” Eliza replied. “And a very evil, clingy roommate that would be upset if we stole her cook from her.”

Kara nodded, “It’s true.”

The man slumped down again, “But what if Alex has a meltdown when we’re living in Midvale and Kara is too far away to help.”

“We’re just going to have to deal with it like all other parents who don’t have a Kara have had to do for thousands of years.” Eliza patted Jeremiah’s head. “We’re going to have to learn to deal with our headstrong daughter, and that means you have to stop caving to large brown eyes.”

“What do you mean? I don’t cave,” he blustered, turning back to check the chicken he had grilling on the stove.

“You always cave, large teary eyes from your daughter are your weakness.” The man just sniffed and ignored his wife, while Eliza winked at the other blonde in the room. “Besides, we can’t afford to really feed Kara enough to employ her.”

Jeremiah glanced over to where Kara was standing and nodded his head sagely. “There’s no amount of money in the world that could properly feed that black hole.”

“Hey!”

 


 

Kara tugged the large hood further over her head, shielding her face from view if anyone took the time to glance in her direction. One of the good things about Metropolis being such a large city, no one really looked, no one really paid attention to other people, too wrapped up in their own lives to focus on what other people were doing. Long dark strands fell out of her hood and settled down over her collarbone and Kara’s nose twitched at the sensation of foreign hair brushing against her neck. She was at least thankful that Cat had purchased a wig made with real hair, she didn’t think she’d be able to stand the feeling of synthetic hair on her scalp.

It was the first time she had really gone out at night wearing the disguise that Cat had purchased for her. She didn’t really have time to do much in December with all of the work she had to do at the firm. The head architects were busy dealing with special projects, hospital, museum, non-profit expansions funded by the wealthy offloading money at the end of the fiscal year. They got a tax break, and most likely will end up with having something named after them from grateful institutions. While the lead architects were busy, Kara and the other low-level designers were left to deal with ongoing projects, smaller businesses, houses, apartment buildings. Nothing interesting, but Kara appreciated the opportunity to get out of the office and go to the actual construction sites to meet with the building foremen working on the different projects.

Before she knew it, December because Hanukkah, Hanukkah became Christmas, Christmas became New Year’s, and New Year’s became January and she was seeing merchandise for Valentine’s day littering every store she passed. Time was a very odd thing. She ducked down a dark alley until she was out of sight enough to take to the tops of the buildings above the street lights rather than under them. It was easier to filter through the sounds of the city from above, easier to stay hidden, easier to ignore the sensation of hair not her own itching on her neck. She didn’t know how humans could stand wearing wigs on a regular basis.

It was still hard, listening to the city, acting as judge on what crimes she responded to, what pleas for help she answered, but talking with her mother gave her some perspective. She couldn’t help everyone, it wasn’t feasible or realistic, and while she had great abilities that could help her help people, she knew that showing more of them too soon would just breed fear and resentment in the hearts of humans. Many humans were good people, like Cat or Jeremiah and Eliza, trying to help others, trying to speak the truth in the face of adversity. Many more still were trying to live their lives as best as they could, raise their families, make a better future for their children.

But Kara remembers a world that sought for a better future, she remembers the persistence for achievement, for furtherment, and the ignorance that grew in hearts from this desire for a perceived superior life. She remembers the isolationist, fearful ideology of her Uncle Zor-El and his creation of weapons to protect Krypton from outsiders, beliefs that her parents quickly decried. And she remembers what eventually happened to that world that searched for all of those things, believed in all of those fears and ideas; she might have been young but she does remember, her time spent on this world, with the Amazons or in the world of Men has not diminished her memory.

A screech of tires and the sound of gunfire broke Kara from her thoughts and she turned her head, focusing her attention on the commotion. It wasn’t the first time she had heard such sounds, a hazard of living in such a large city, but this time was different, this time sounded more… dangerous. Glancing around, Kara quickly pushed into the air and flew towards the sound, landing in a dark alley nearby. She glanced around the corner of the building and saw four men standing around an armored truck in a shootout with the police. She saw pedestrians taking cover behind cars while the two groups continued to fire at each other. Two bodies were laying on the ground by one of the police cars, blood pooling out of them, and Kara didn’t need her advance senses to know that the officers were dead.

One of the trapped pedestrians let out a scream, and a quick look told Kara that the man had been clipped in the side by a stray bullet. Police had the truck surrounded but the men that had taken the truck had more ammunition for their guns, this confrontation was not going to turn out well for anyone involved and more innocent people were going to get hurt. She moved around to another alley, trying to get a better vantage point, trying to find a way inside the ring to defuse the situation.

Everything was too out in the open to approach secretly like she usually did, if she was going to act, it was going to be public. Time slowed down, another flash of light left the criminals’ guns and Kara was already in motion as the raced between the police cars. Bullets floated passed her and she easily plucked them out of the air before reaching the armoured car. She grabbed the guns, crushing them in her hands, and fisted her hands in their shirts, tossing the four men away from the truck. All in all, it only took a few seconds, but in that time, everything had changed for Kara. She was standing over the downed criminals, her hood up, her eyes glowing behind her mask and long black hair floating down around her face. She could only imagine the sight that she was, but she didn’t have to, she could see the fear in their eyes, on their faces.

Kara glanced up at the police and the other onlookers and found that they were also staring at her. Before they could move, she was gone, blurring passed them out of the blockade of police cars and back up to the rooftops above the city. She lingered for a few minutes, making sure that the police packed up the criminals and the ambulances collected the injured and the bodies on the ground. Slipping away from the scene, Kara pulled the mask and wig off her head and tucked them in backpack she had stored away on one of the buildings a few blocks away, and switched her hoodie with the one she had in the bag. She made her way home, adrenaline flowing through her veins but exhaustion was quickly taking hold of her mind. It was close to midnight when she unlocked the door to her apartment and slipped inside.

Cat was asleep on the couch, a newspaper fluttering over her face when she exhaled, reminding Kara of some of those cartoons she watched with Clark and Alex over the years. She contemplated moving the woman to her bed, but reasoned that the couch was comfortable enough for the shorter blonde to stay there. Kara shucked her clothes off and crawled under her covers, settling down into the mattress. Her mind continued to mull over what she had just down, she had publicly stepped in to stop a crime, not just her usual dash-ins to stop a mugging or scaring people from back alleys, she actually stopped a dangerous crime, she protected people.

She wasn’t sure yet how she felt about it.

It was something she had thought about doing, officially helping people, coming out of the ‘superhero closet’ as Cat had referred to it before. Something had been holding her back, keeping her in the shadows, and Kara was ashamed to admit that it was fear. She had learned of the violence of humans, anger and hatred driven by fear, and she was afraid of what it would mean if it was directed towards her, not because she was afraid of what they might do to her but what would happen if people found out who she was, who she loves. Kara was more afraid for her human friends and family than she was herself, she could take care of herself, but Cat, Eliza, Jeremiah, and Alex were vulnerable. As sleep claimed her mind, she couldn’t help but wonder if she made the right choice.

 


 

“Well you really did it.”

Kara jolted awake when a lithe body sat down on her bed, and she rolled over to glare at the offending person. She dropped back down on her bed and buried her face in the pillow, a groan escaping her lips. “Go away,” she muttered, her voice muffled in down plush.

“Nope, you’re not getting out of this one Larelle, guess what I woke up to on the front page of the newspaper I work for?” Cat questioned, crossing her legs as she stared down at blonde buried beneath a pile of covers.

“I don’t know, the Soviet Union reforming?” Kara grumbled.

“Don’t even joke about such foolishness Kiera.” Cat scoffed and then unfolded the newspaper in her hand. “Hot off the presses, the front page article, ‘The JSA rises again, the Birth of the Midnight Avenger!’ Comes with a nice picture of you, but I blame Chen for that awful name, so unimaginative-”

Before she could finish her statement, Kara had ripped the paper out of her hand and was staring at the cover in disbelief. It was just as Cat had said, a full page spread based on her exploits the previous night. There was a blurry photo of her in her blue hoodie with dark hair falling out from under the hood and glowing eyes obscuring her face. She was standing over the criminals and the way that they edited and framed the pictures, it looked like she was an avenging angel with how the street lights backlit her body. It was less than seven hours since she had stopped the robbery of that armoured car, and it was already on the front page. “Midnight Avenger?” Kara repeated. “What kind of name is ‘Midnight Avenger?’”

“It could always be worse,” Cat replied, taking the paper back from her friend. “She could have stuck you with something stupid like Blue Devil, or Angel. Looks like she found the same articles that I did though about the JSA, or some of the articles anyway.” A horrified look crossed her face as she glanced up at Kara, “Oh God, she got a front page article! She is going to be insufferable now, and mark my words, she is going to use your coattails to drag herself into the spotlight.” Her eyes narrowed and she gave the other blonde an accusing look, “Why didn’t you tell me that you were going to come out of the superhero closet last night? I could have mentally prepared myself for Angela and her stupid article, but now I have to go to work and deal with that… that… Argh!” Cat got off her bed and stormed out of the room, muttering about how she was going to ‘show Chen how real journalists work’ and cursing Kara’s name and her ‘stupid impulsive alien behavior.’

Kara rolled her eyes at her roommate’s antics. “If you’re going to go be weird, the least you can do is leave me the paper,” she called, and Cat responded by tossing the rolled up newspaper at her head. She snatched it out of the air before it could make contact, and flattened it in front of her. Skimming over the article, Kara noted that despite Cat’s protests, it was well written and well researched, if a bit fantastical in some areas. Most everything was true, but she was sure that the eyewitnesses exaggerated when questioned about everything that occured in the street. She doesn’t remember pushing the truck back several feet after knocking out the suspects single-handedly, not that she couldn’t but she didn’t remember doing it, or touching the truck at all.

A sigh escaped her lips and Kara flopped back down on her mattress with a low thud, the newspaper slipping out of her hands to land on the floor. She’s out there now, plastered all over the paper, not her exactly, but a part of her, a part of her that she has kept mostly underwraps since she started living in the world of men. They don’t know who she is, they don’t know that she’s an alien, all they know is that she has abilities, and she used them to stop a crime from being committed. Whether she regretted it or not, Kara was in now, she was out there now, and she couldn’t take back the decision that she made. She remembered all of the talks she had with Pythia, her mother encouraging her to follow her heart, be the person the she wanted to be, felt she had to be, and now all she felt was sick to her stomach. Her arm flopped off from where she had placed it over her face, and she stared at the ceiling, only one word coming to mind. “Fuck.”


Chapter Text


 

“I’m telling you,” Cat said, her mouth full of bits of chicken and fried rice. “The smuggled fish was the key that led me to all of this information, and since you introduced me to Jian, I was able to find even more connections and sources.”

“So let me get this straight, you connected the Intergang to one of the gangs running Chinatown through this convoluted path starting with the smuggled fish?” Kara questioned, her voice sceptical as she look at her friend on the other side of the table.

Cat nodded her head, swallowing the food in her mouth before continuing to speak, “Yes! I knew something was… well…”

“Fishy?”

“Don’t make jokes Larelle, you’re not good at it. Look, I knew something was weird when I covered that smuggled fish story months ago, and yeah the restaurant paid a fine, fired their chef, and the distributer was cut off, but the supply wasn’t. I published the article, praises, anger, yadda yadda, but I was never able to find who was supplying the fish, so I kept digging until I followed all of the threads.”

“And you tracked it back to the Intergang?”

“No, keep up Kiera, I tracked the supplier back to one of the gangs that run Chinatown and I tracked them back to the Intergang.”

Kara sat back in her sit and scrutinized her friend, “You never gave up following the Intergang did you?”

“Of course not, no one kidnaps Cat Grant and gets away with it,” Cat scoffed. “No, I did what you suggested, I looked for the little fish, the connections. I want Moxie Manheim, we find proof that he’s the one behind the Intergang, then he is going down.”

“I thought everyone knew that he was the one in charge of the gang?” Kara didn’t know that much about the man, just that he was regarded as one of those old fashioned gangsters. The shorter blonde had told her that he went down years ago in Central City for racketeering but had gotten off on a technicality. He showed up years later in Gotham running an import/export business from the docks, one that also has a location on the Metropolis side of the harbor. It was an open secret that he had started the Intergang and was running the main presence of the gang out of Gotham, but no one has been able to prove it.

“No one really talks about the Intergang,” Cat replied. “It’s kind of like a ghost. Most everyone knows it exists, but they don’t talk about it, just like they don’t talk about Manheim being the one running the operation.”

“If the police and the feds can’t find anything to connect Manheim to the Intergang, what makes you think that you can?” Kara asked, earning a glare from the younger woman.

“Well none of them have my delightful personality and sense of justice when it comes to taking down criminals,” the shorter blonde replied. Kara shot her a dubious look and the woman rolled her eyes. “Okay fine, so I have been making connections, like you suggested, and while I don’t have anything to link him yet, I will find something. I have dug up more of the dealings that have the Intergang all over it though.”

“What about the papers from Woolsen’s house that you were rifling through, surely you can use what you saw there to find the information you need?”

“The papers proving that he had taken bribes were still there when the police raided his place, but apparently, everything mentioning the Intergang or Moxie Manheim was gone. Truthfully I’m surprised the Woolsen is still alive, but they might be laying low. Taking out a high profile target like Woolsen is a good way to bring a bunch of attention to themselves that they don’t want…”

“But making a student journalist disappear would barely raise a blip,” Kara continued. “And now that you’re working for the Daily Planet as a junior reporter in the crime division…”

“I’m still dispensable,” Cat finished. “More dispensable maybe, just a small fish in a big pond, but I mean, that’s why I have you right?”

“I don’t know, I might just let them get to you, put me out of my misery of having to deal with you when you’ve been working on a story for a week straight, not sleeping or showering at all.” Kara hummed and popped a dumpling in her mouth, “Might be a good idea.”

Cat scowled at her friend, “I will paint the living room that awful orange color Tennessee thought was a good color for their school.”

“You wouldn't dare, you would have to look at it too.”

“I am willing to poke my eyes out if only to punish you for being an idiot.”

Kara rolled her eyes but kept her mouth shut. She knew that Cat would double down on carrying out her threat and she really didn’t want to have to look at that orange color every day when she got home from work. “So where is your investigation going to go from here?” She asked instead, turning the conversation back to the original topic. “You’ve got all of these threads, how are you going to pull them together?”

“It’s gonna take some time, especially since my division editor has me on all kinds of busy work assignments,” Cat grumbled. “Doesn’t help that Chen is the new star of the Daily Planet because of all those articles about the ‘Midnight Avenger’ she keeps publishing.

The taller blonde let out a sigh at the name, and continued eating her food while Cat plotted. She still wasn’t thrilled with the moniker that Angela Chen had saddled her with but it wasn’t like she could actually voice her protests. The few times she had encountered the woman at the newspaper office when she dropped something off for Cat left a lasting impression on the alien. The reporter was terrifying, running down everyone in sight for a lead or a story, like a dog with a bone. If Kara didn’t know any better, she would have thought that Cat had managed to clone her personality onto another person. Watching the two women interacting though, they both just radiated energy and tension, Kara wouldn’t be surprised either way if Cat and Chen ended up killing each other or fucking.

“I really wish she had given me a different name, something that didn’t sound like something straight from a comic book.” It had been several months since she had officially come out as a superhero and the article proclaiming her the ‘Midnight Avenger’ appeared on the front page of the Daily Planet. Since then, Kara has stepped in during other crimes when there was a higher chance of casualties and she has seen more articles of her actions splashed across the front page. She didn’t realize how much she valued her privacy and a normal life until she saw herself in the newspaper at least once a week.

Both Aunt Martha and her mother had been extremely supportive of her decision to expose herself more to the public. The human woman had excitedly told her about all of the article clipping she had saved from the newspaper, and had sent copies to her Amazonian mother. The two ended up talking to each other more than Kara talked to either of them every week, though that probably had something to do with Martha being a stay-at-home mom and Pythia being stuck on a hidden, mystical island.

“I want to know if your runaway girlfriend has seen anything about your alter-ego,” Cat said. It hadn’t taken long for her to weasel information out of Kara about the one thing in her past that she had been holding back, that one thing being the most important person in Kara’s life.

“Dia- she’s not- she wasn’t my girlfriend,” Kara muttered, sitting back in her chair.

“You’re right, soulmate might be a better word,” the shorter blonde mused. “But even still, the Daily Planet is an international paper. Well, available all over the world, surely she would have seen something about you.”

“If she’s even still alive,” the alien replied. “Or if she even cares.” It had taken Kara years to be able to fully process all of her feelings about Diana leaving her the way she did. At first, she was just resigned to the fact that the woman did what she thought was right and was trying to keep Kara safe in the process. The more she thought about it though, the more annoyed with Diana she grew. She left her, left Themyscira to go save the world and stop Ares, but she still left Kara behind, chose to go alone with a man she had just met. It was a choice that Diana made, and Kara still doesn’t know why she didn’t go after her. She wants to see Diana again, she wants to clear up the air between them, but she also wants to punch the other woman in the face for leaving her behind. Diana didn’t deserve to make that decision for her, to basically order her to stay on the island where it was safe knowing full well that she might not ever see her again. Kara really wanted to hit her.

“Oh she’s definitely alive,” Cat said before she could stop herself. At Kara’s curious stare, the shorter blonde sighed and moved away from the table to head back to her room. “Don’t be mad,” she said when she returned. “You’ll probably be mad anyway, but just hear me out.” She set a folder down on the table and pushed it over towards the other woman. “That’s everything I could find about your Amazonian girlfriend, though obviously not called that anyway. But I found her all the way back in WWI which is when you said she left that magical island, nothing concrete from that time, just rumors and some eye witness statements, but I also found a photograph. Well, a scan of an old photographic plate. The scan is really degraded, found it in the Wayne Foundation archives.” She motioned for Kara to open the folder and Kara hesitated for a few moments, fear and anxiety getting the better of her.

It wasn’t like she hadn’t thought to look for Diana herself, she had thought about it, but something held her back each time. When she was confronted with a folder of information that Cat had dug up about her long lost friend, Kara finally acknowledged the fact that she never looked for Diana because she was afraid of what she would find. She flipped open the folder, and her eyes immediately fell on a grainy photograph. It was obvious that it was a printed version of a microfiche scan, very blurry and degraded, but Kara could recognize Diana. Her fingertips softly traced over the blurred face, stopping briefly where she saw the shadow of Antiope’s tiara on the brunette’s brow. She was wearing the battle armor she had liberated from the armory along with a large cloak that nearly dwarfed her form. Kara eventually shifted her eyes away and looked at the other people in the photo with Diana. She only recognized the one, the man that came to the island, Captain Steve Trevor, the other three men she didn’t know.

“Where was this taken?” Kara asked, reluctantly glancing up at Cat only to see the woman shrug.

“I don’t know for sure, probably France. There were a few cities completely wiped out by the war, and I think the original photo panel was an artifact from one of those cities.” Cat carefully pulled the file back towards her, leaving Kara the picture. “The man that you mentioned, Steve Trevor, he was declared missing during the war and later declared dead, I couldn’t find any information out on anyone else in that picture.”

Kara stared at the picture a few more minutes before looking back up at her roommate, “Is that all you found?”

Cat glanced back down at the folder, “Ah, no, not… not technically, but I did find something… unusual. The Cold War only ended a few years ago, so a lot of the files are still restricted or redacted, especially anything concerning the Soviet Union, but I did run into something, a brief mention of a woman fighting against a Cheetah-like woman. The reports are from 1984, so nine years ago. There isn’t much information, but all of the clues tell me that your wayward friend was involved with the incident.”

The older blonde pulled the folder back to her side of the table and flipped through the pages Cat mentioned. There were black marks covering almost the entire text on the page, which was a feat since less than half of the page had writing on it. Kara noticed the information Cat found but other than that, the file was completely blanked out. “A year before I left Themyscira,” Kara murmured. “Of course, guess this is our fate then, to just always miss each other.”

“I don’t have time for that pity-party shit Larelle,” Cat replied. “You will meet your friend again in the future and you will both confess your love for each other and live happily ever after, so long as people relax their stance on that kind of thing in the future. But before happily ever after part, you’re going to get mad at her, you’re going to yell at her, you’re going to scream at her, you’re going to get all of those feelings out so that you both can heal and actually be together.”

“How do you even know that she’ll want to be with me, or that I’ll want to be with her after all of these years?” Kara questioned. “She might have found someone else, I might find someone else, the future isn’t known Cat.”

Cat nodded, “You’re right, you both might find someone else to share your lives, but I do believe that you will both end up back in each other’s lives, one way or another. And when you do, you’ll have to figure out what you’re really angry about. You always told me when I was pissed off at my journalism advisor or my mother that I had to identify the anger behind the anger.”

“My mother taught me that,” Kara smiled, thinking of Pythia. The woman was the calmest person she knew, slow to anger, and that was because she had always told her that it was wise to know why one became angry in the first place. “Warriors do not become distracted by emotions, they use them to drive their skill in battle.”

“Right, well, you’re in a battle, not Diana right now, but with yourself because you still don’t know what you want. Do you want to forgive her for leaving you and why are you mad in the first place? Until you can answer those questions, you won’t really know why you’re angry, and you won’t know what to do when the time comes and you see her again.” A thoughtful look crossed Cat’s face, “I should write a book, a self-help book, I’ll have to come up with some kind of gimmick though… be the pencil for their… no that’s not gonna work… be their safe harbor in a storm… too cliché. I’ll come up with something.”

“Already planning your next career after finishing up as a journalist?”

“I am planning to take over the media world Kiera, do keep up.” Cat waved dismissively, “But enough for my royalty ambitions, you have all of the information I’ve been able to find about your wayward girlfriend, now you need to decide what you’re going to do with it.” She finished gulping down her food and retreated to her room, leaving Kara to her thoughts.

Kara set her chopsticks down with a sigh, her desire for potstickers overridden for once by the uncertainty swirling through her. She found having her words turned around on her to be extremely annoying, but knew that it wouldn’t be the only time that the shorter woman threw her own advice back at her. Conflicting thoughts continued to muddle her mind, and Kara glanced down at the photograph on the table in front of her. Why was she angry? She was angry wasn’t she? She never really thought about her emotions concerning Diana, but she knew on some level she was angry. She thought that she was angry about the woman’s leaving her behind, about leaving with a man, someone she barely knew, but she also knew enough about herself to know that it wasn’t the only reason she was angry with Diana.

If she was honest with herself, Kara knew that she was more hurt that Diana took her choices away from her, that she didn’t trust her enough to go with her. Whatever the other woman’s reasons were for going off and telling her to stay behind, Kara knew that it was because she didn’t trust her to make her own decisions. She let out a sigh and scrubbed at her face with her hands, it was too much introspection for one night. She wanted to be anywhere else other than dealing with her thoughts, she wanted… she wanted her friends and her mother.

“Cat,” Kara called back to her friend. “It’s a long weekend for Memorial Day, so I’m going to go home for a few days, spend some time with my mom and my other friends.”

“Bring me back some of that wine you brought last time, good stuff,” the other woman replied and Kara rolled her eyes. Her roommate, the alcoholic. She quickly finished what was left of her dinner, and changed her clothes into something easier to deal with while flying. She grabbed her backpack and took off out the door, locking it behind her absentmindedly. If she didn’t, she knew that Cat would forget to lock it when she was in her room working and anybody could walk away with their TV or her house plants.

Someone could also sneak in to murder Cat, but honestly, at this point, the woman probably deserves it, especially for being so irritating.

 


 

“I love your roommate,” Raina declared. “She sounds hilarious. You should bring her here, I’m sure that I would love to get to know her a little better.”

“No offense Raina, but Cat would probably eat you alive and still have time to do her nails before getting back to her article,” Kara replied. “She’s, quiet possibly, the most terrifying person I have ever met, and I’ve lived with her for the past five years.”

“I can do terrifying, maybe I can get her to relax a bit.” Raina wiggled her eyebrows at her friend and Kara rolled her eyes.

“Right, so I bring my best friend, a woman who is like a dog with a bone to an island full of people that have seen more history than anyone else in the world, and you think your seductive charms will work and keep her focused on you rather than her interviewing every single Amazon on this island.”

“Surely she’s not that bad.”

Kara shrugged, “The few times she’s dated since I’ve known her, she’s always prioritized her writing over… pretty much everything else. She ran out on a guy one time when he was attempting to sleep with her because she got a lead for a story.”

Raina scoffed, “Well, yes, because he was a man, and obviously he wasn’t giving her enough pleasure to drown out her thoughts.”

“Why are we talking about this?” The blonde questioned. “The chances of Cat coming here is very minimal.”

“What, you can’t fly her here?”

“She’s terrified of heights, and there’s not exactly a lot of boats that head in this direction.”

The redhead sighed, “Well, maybe one day I’ll be able to satisfy my dream of being eaten alive.”

“You’re so weird.”

“So what exactly brings you back home from your getaway in man’s world and did you bring me anything?”

“Kind of a spur of the moment trip since I don’t have to be at work for a few days. I was hoping to see my mother but I can’t seem to find her?”

“She's probably off with the queen somewhere, they've gotten cozier with each other as of late, more romantic. They still both fulfill their duties, and of course Pythia is always available for your calls and her talks with that frightening mortal woman…”

“Frightening mortal woman… you mean Aunt Martha?”

“Are you sure she’s not an Amazon? She is truly terrifying, how did you find all of these terrifying women out in man’s world?” Raina shuddered, “She kept asking if I eat my vegetables and wash behind my ears…”

“Aunt Martha is just a very good mother hen, but yes she is frightening. How can some women not be frightening having to grow up in man’s world?” Kara didn’t wait for her friend to answer before shifting the topic again, “So my mother and Hippolyta are… out on a date?”

“They left a few days ago on an extended picnic, probably out frolicking in the forest somewhere, making love under a waterfall…”

Kara scrunched her nose distastefully as Raina’s words registered. “Do you really have to mention it, that’s my mother you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, and I’ve known her for longer than you and she’s hot,” the redhead replied. “Scary and hot.”

“You have a type.”

“Definitely, though let me tell you, some of the newer Amazons had no idea that Pythia was such a badass, since you know she’s all soft and maternal. It wasn't until she beat the shit out of a few of them in training one day that they learned she wasn't someone to be messed with.”

“Do you know when she and Hippolyta will be back from their… date? I kind of want to talk to her.”

“Probably not for a few days but why don't you sit down and tell Aunty Raina all of your problems.” She gestured to a cluster of rocks overlooking the water out towards the island Kara claimed as her own.

The blonde shot her friend a dirty look, “Stop being stupid Raina.”

“I'm not, well maybe just a little bit. Look, you flew here on your few days off work instead of going to see your cousin to talk to your mom. She's off galavanting around the island and you probably don't want to go bother her. However I am here and I am an adequate listener.”

Kara stared at the other woman hesitantly for a few moments, debating on whether she was being sincere or if it would be better to scour the island looking for her mother. Even though she knew the woman wouldn’t mind, she thought better of disturbing Pythia and Hippolyta on their outing. She wanted the two women to spend more time together and if that meant getting advice from her completely insane friend, then sacrifices had to be made. “I…” Kara started. “I think I know why I’m angry at Diana.”

“Uh, you know why, she left you behind for some guy, I mean, that makes me pretty angry and we didn’t even have the whole thing that you two did.”

“I know, and I’m not denying that that’s a reason why I’m angry, but Cat kind of forced me to realize that there was more to my anger than just being made she left me behind.” She took a deep breath and exhaled, saying it outloud would make her feelings more real, more authentic, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. “She left me behind, but it’s more than that. She didn’t trust me, I don’t know if she didn’t trust me to help her or she didn’t trust me around humans with my abilities. Despite the centuries knowing each other, training together, she left me behind because she didn’t trust me.”

“You can’t believe that’s true?”

The blonde shrugged, “I don’t know what else to think, I saw that man’s, Steve’s face when he saw part of what I could do, and then I saw hers. I didn’t register right away what it meant, but I think part of me did, part of me knew that that was why I was so angry. I could forgive Diana for leaving to save the world, to protect people, I have forgiven her for that, but not trusting me? What can we have if she doesn’t trust me?”

“I don’t know what to tell you Kara except that you have time to figure it out. You have time to figure out if you can forgive Diana for everything, and if you do, what you want with her, what you want your relationship to be. You can’t keep dancing around each other the way that you did, and truthfully, I don’t think you should wait for her either.”

“I didn’t- I wasn’t waiting for her.”

“Oh yeah? So all of these years on the island and then out in the world of men, you not taking anyone up on their offers was just a coincidence?” Kara averted her eyes and Raina reached out, setting her hand on the other woman’s arm. “Look, I get it, I know that Kryptonians mate for life, you’ve told us this numerous times and you don’t want to lose any more of your heritage than you already have, but maybe you might need to relax your stance just a little bit.”

“How exactly?”

Raina squeezed her arm and withdrew her hand, “Maybe just open up your heart and mind more possibilities and don’t turn down opportunities because you’re worried about what may come, or what Diana might think. You shouldn’t live your life by whatever other people say you should be, just… follow your heart. If that means you have a relationship with someone else, or you become a super villain, well, then it is what it is.”

Kara let out a barking laugh, “You know, you’re not bad at this advice thing.”

“What can I say? I’m a woman of unfathomable depths.”

 


 

“Are we there yet?” Alex wined, for the four thousandth time, and Kara could see Eliza’s knuckles clenched tighter around the steering wheel and her eyes narrowed.

“Not yet Sweetie,” Eliza replied. “We’re almost to Midvale though, just put your headphones back on and keep listening to your tapes.”

The girl let out an aggravated sigh, the kind that only a four year old could utter, and tugged the headphones back over her head. “Are you sure you don’t want me to drive for a while?” Kara asked from the passenger’s seat.

“It’s fine, and we’re only about half an hour from the house anyway, Midvale is just up ahead,” the woman replied. “Though remind me of this next time I decide to move across country with a small child. I’ll let Jeremiah drive the car, and I’ll drive ahead with the moving van.”

“Is there something you want to tell me about future Danvers, or are you planning to move again in the near future?”

Eliza shot the other blonde a dark look and turned her eye back on the road. “Jeremiah and I talked about that recently,” she murmured, not wanting to draw Alex’s attention. “About having another child in the future.”

“Did you two come to any decisions?”

“I don’t know, we were both only children, so I don’t think we would really know how to parent more than one child. And with how busy our lives are going to be, I don’t want to have more children and then not be able to pay more attention to them.”

“Whether you have more children or not if your and Jeremiah’s decision, and I will support you either way,” Kara replied. “You’re a great mom Eliza, just need to relax a little.”

“Just wait until you have kids,” the woman grumbled.

A faraway look entered Kara’s eyes, “I don’t know if children will be in the cards for me.”

Eliza glanced at her friend out of the corner of her eye, but didn’t say anything in response. They spent the remaining time driving in silence, Eliza driving and Kara fiddling with the radio dial to set them to different stations available in the area. She knew that Jeremiah prefered NPR and talk radio, but Eliza was an ACDC and Queen girl at heart, especially since at four Alex already knew all of the words to Bohemian Rhapsody. It amused Kara to know end to see the girl suddenly stop playing with her toys and start belting out mispronounced words to the song ‘We Are the Champions.’ Teenage Alex was going to be a very interesting experience.

They eventually reached the town of Midvale and Kara’s eyes quickly took in everything that she could see, which truthfully was probably the entire town. It wasn’t huge, probably only a tenth of the size of Metropolis, if that, but it was larger than the farming community of Smallville. It was a coastal town in California, so it boasted of a quaint Main Street with local restaurants and stores, designed to appeal to tourists that no doubt frequented the town during the summer season. Movie theater, diner, arcade, skate park, beach, mountains not too far away, Kara knew that Alex would love growing up here when she finally settled in, would just take a period of adjustment.

Continuing out of town, Eliza head towards the beach and eventually turned along one of the roads that ran towards the bluffs overlooking the ocean. “And there it is,” Eliza said when she spotted the farm style house on the bluff.

Kara quickly assessed the house, it reminded her of Jonathan and Martha’s home, inviting, friendly. There were a few large trees near the house, and one had an old tire swing dangling from its branches. A cleared path ran down to the beach and Kara could just imagine Alex learning to swim in the waves, eventually getting on a surfboard and trying to conquer the waves with the same stubbornness that had her climbing to the top of the pantry looking for cookies. “This place looks great,” she commented when Eliza finally stopped the car next to the moving van. “Definitely looks like a great house to grow up in, I mean, the beach is right there.”

“The house is in really good shape despite being empty for a while, just need to update some of the appliances in a few years,” Eliza agreed. “And this far out of the city, Jeremiah will be able to put his telescope up. It wasn’t quite the same in Metropolis, though he did have access to the observatory at the university.”

“Light pollution doesn’t seem like it’ll be much of a problem out here,” Kara agreed. She never had the same trouble seeing stars as humans did, she could fly up and touch them if she wanted to, though looking at the stars didn’t bring her as much pleasure as it did years ago. She turned around to look at the little girl in the backseat staring at the ocean wide-eyed. “So what do you think Lexie? Still mad about moving?”

“Oshun,” the girl said. “Aunty Awa, de’e de oshun.”

“Yup, that’s the ocean, do you want to look around while your mom talks to your dad about the house?”

Alex immediately started wiggling, tugging at the straps of her carseat, “Oshun!”

“I’ll deal with her for a while if you need a break,” Kara told Eliza and the woman just nodded her head.

“Bless you, I do have to find Jeremiah. Probably somewhere in there with the movers.” Eliza got out of the car and walked into the house, leaving Kara to deal with the squirming four year old in the backseat.

Kara set the girl down out of the van, and immediately steered her away from the beach, she didn't want to chance Alex's desire to run into the choppy surf. They stayed outside for a while, wandering around inspecting the yard and the tire swing. The girl was silent for most of the time and Kara was concerned that she didn’t like the house, she wasn’t normally so quiet.

“Kara!” Eliza called and the blonde turned around to see the woman walking towards her, Jeremiah trailing behind her. “So the movers have finished with all of the large furniture and placed all of the other boxes in the living room, we just need to start unpacking… Where’s Alex?”

The alien whirled around and looked to where she saw the girl only a minute ago only to find the spot completely empty. “She was just here-” A loud scream interrupted her sentence and they all turned to see the girl disappearing off of the bluff.


Chapter Text


 

“Alex!” Eliza and Jeremiah called out, running towards the cliff, but they were brushed aside by a strong gust of wind. When they righted themselves, they glanced up and saw Kara floating down with Alex snug in her arms, the girl’s arms squeezed tight around the blonde’s neck.

“It’s alright Alex,” Kara murmured, rubbing the girl’s back. “You just had a scare, that’s all.” She could feel Alex’s arms tight around her neck and she crouched down, hoping that being closer to the ground would help her recover faster.

“Aunty Awa…” The girl mumbled, her face pressed into the blonde’s neck. “Can you fly?”

Kara glanced up toward where Eliza and Jeremiah were standing only a few feet away, shock etched across their faces. “Yes Alex,” she replied. “I can fly.”

Alex pulled back and stared at her aunt. “Since when?”

“Oh, I’ve been flying for many years now,” Kara answered. “Many, many years.”

“You no tell me?”

“No, it’s a secret Bug.” Kara ran her hands through Alex’s shoulder length reddish-brown hair. “I didn’t want you to have to keep such a big secret.”

“Se… sek’et?”

“Yes, a secret, meaning that you can’t tell anyone, I could get in serious trouble if someone found out.”

“Why?”

The blonde gave the younger girl a rueful smile, “Sometimes people don’t like things that are different, like people who can fly, it scares them.”

“Falling scawed me,” Alex said, her tears filling with eyes.

“Scared your parents too, but you’re alright, probably just need to take a nap.” Alex sniffled and snuggled back into Kara’s arms, her head relaxing against her aunt’s shoulder. She stood up again when she felt the girl start to relax in her arms and soft even breaths hitting her neck. “So…” she started when she focused on Jeremiah and Eliza. “That happened.”

Eliza smacked Jeremiah’s arm and shot him a glare that could curdle milk. “I told you she wasn’t normal,” she declared. “No one that looks like she does and eats more food than a professional eater is normal.”

“I know that, but you were saying she had to be an alien and I said possibly a gifted human,” Jeremiah returned, rubbing his arm. “Did you need to hit me that hard?”

“Stop being such a wimp Jer,” the woman replied before turning back to her friend. “So what is it, alien or gifted human?”

“I… what?”

“Maybe we should take this inside,” Jeremiah suggested. “Put Alex down for a nap on the couch while we talk?”

“Good idea,” Eliza agreed before turning back to the other blonde. “And don’t think this means you’re getting out of this Larelle, I’ve wait years to prove I was right to this nerd who thinks he is on top of everything space-related.”

“I keep telling you Eliza that there is no proven evidence of alien life, but there is evidence of humans born with extraordinary abilities,” the man countered. “Especially with the appearance of the Midnight Avenger and increased interest in the old Justice Society of America.”

“Just because there isn’t evidence of aliens that we know of, doesn’t mean that there aren’t aliens,” Eliza replied.

Kara listened to the two bicker back and forth, still not quite sure what she was to make of the conversation. She softly set the girl in her arms down on the couch and turned back to the other two adults, still bickering. “Hey hey,” Kara called when the two started taking low digs at each others’ intelligence. “Can someone explain to me what all of this is?”

Eliza and Jeremiah glanced at each other before gesturing for Kara to sit down on one of the boxes placed around the room. “So we figured out something was special about you shortly before Alex was born,” Eliza said as a way of explanation. “I started to remember a bit more about that night, and I distinctly remember seeing a figure in a hooded jacket with glowing eyes and then I remember seeing you. At first I thought I was imagining things, but then there were rumors of a hooded figure with glowing eyes showing up around town.”

“That doesn’t explain how you came to the conclusion that it was me or that I had abilities,” Kara replied. “Or your conclusions regarding to my biological status?”

“We are scientists Kara,” Jeremiah told her. “It didn’t take us long to figure out that you consumed far more than the required amount of calories a day, even if you were as active as a professional athlete. How much do you eat a day?”

Kara thought for a moment before deciding to answer, “Somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 calories a day depending on what I’ve done that day. I can get away with less but I need to take other measures.”

“What kind of measures?” Eliza asked. “Is the need to eat more calories unique to your species or just to you?”

“Just to her Eliza,” Jeremiah interrupted. “She’s a gifted human, that’s how that works.”

Eliza rolled her eyes, “Kara, please, put us out of our misery and just answer the question.”

“You have to finish first, I mean, my eating habits couldn’t have been the only thing that tipped you off.”

The other woman nodded, “No, they weren’t, but you have to understand, we know you, we spent time with you, so the things we noticed were over time. We suspected you were special before Alex was born, but we didn’t really know for sure until the Midnight Avenger made her Daily Planet debut.” Kara crossed her eyes at the name and Eliza laughed. “That! See, I mean, it was obvious she was you to those of us who know you really well, but your reaction to her name really confirmed it. I’m guessing it wasn’t your idea.”

“No Angela Chen took it upon herself to give me a completely comic book sounding name, but I guess she took lead from the JSA members, Cat told me about them.” Kara stared up at the ceiling thoughtfully, “I don’t quite understand the need for such fanciful names and elaborate costumes, but Cat did talk me into a mask and a wig.”

“Which is good, you need another level of protection other than a hoodie and the fact that people in Metropolis are completely oblivious,” Eliza told her. “Now please answer our question.”

Kara looked at them for a few minutes and crossed her legs. “My planet,” she started, ignoring the smug look of glee crossing Eliza’s face and the disbelief on Jeremiah’s. “My planet, Krypton, was dying,” she continued when they had gotten ahold of themselves. “My parents and my aunt and uncle tried to stop it, tried to convince people of the eminent destruction, but nobody listened. Instead, they sent my cousin and I away, planned our escape here, to this world. My cousin’s pod finally reached this planet in 1985.”

“You said that’s when your cousin arrived,” Jeremiah said. “When did you arrive?”

“My- I left later than he did, I didn’t want to say goodbye. The force of the planet erupting knocked me off course, and I was pulled into a black hole. I thought for sure that I was going to die, but I survived, a little worse for wear, but I did. I don’t know how, but my pod got out and I landed on Earth, but over 2000 years in the past. I landed near a secret island full of warrior women, and they took me in. They’re basically immortal unless they fall in battle or they leave the island.”

“That’s why we never met your mother!” Eliza realized. “She lives on a secret island! This is remarkable, do you think we can visit?”

The alien glanced over at Jeremiah, “Men aren’t usually allowed…”

“Oh he can stay here, but Alex and I can come right?”

“You don’t mind?” Kara asked, surprised. “That I’m not… that I’m thousands of years old, I’m not from this planet and I’ve been lying to you?”

“Kara, we love you, you’re family, I mean we made you the godmother of our child and we knew that there was something unusual about you then. Your secrets are your secrets, you don’t owe them to anyone, we’re just honored that you finally decided to tell us,” Eliza commented. “And of course settle the dispute once and for all, and declare the fact that I am indeed more observant than my husband.”

“I have so many questions for you,” Jeremiah started. “What was your planet like, what abilities do you have, how do you have these abilities, are you biologically similar-”

“Erp, no sir, you are not hammering her with questions until after we get the house set up, I do not want to be living with boxes for weeks,” Eliza declared, a glare on her face. “I know how you get Jeremiah Danvers, wrapped up in a project that you’re lost down the rabbit hole for weeks, well not this time.”

Kara glanced around at the other boxes in the room spilling over into the kitchen. It was easy to identify the different rooms the boxes belonged to, not only by their contents but also Eliza’s neat printing on the outside. She quickly located the items for Alex’s room and held up her hand, “Give me a minute.” It only took five seconds for her to have all of the boxes of Alex’s things taken to her room, and less than a minute to have the entire room set up. It helped that the bed was already put together, she only needed to set up the rest of the furniture and get everything organized.

When she finished Alex’s room, she moved on to the other rooms of the house except for Jeremiah and Eliza’s bedroom and the bathrooms, they could do those themselves. It only took her about five minutes to get all of the other rooms completely set up and the furniture arranged, and she re-appeared in the living room. She had moved her two friends off of the boxes they were sitting on and set them on freshly unpacked armchairs and they just blinked up at her as she stood in front of them. “Did you just…” Jeremiah glanced around and stared at all of the furniture pieced together around them.

“Are you sure that you don’t want to live here permanently?” Eliza asked. “I’m sure that we can come up with a machine that fabricates food to feed you. You can stay here, clean our house, watch our daughter…”

“I’m not moving to be your live-in nanny Eliza.” Kara rolled her eyes, “Besides, if I moved out now, Cat would be dead in a week, tops. She would either get her idiot self killed chasing down a lead or she would starve, she’s completely hopeless in the kitchen.”

“She can feed herself,” the other blonde argued. “She can make pasta.”

“Pasta and frozen meals, that’s about it,” Kara told her. “And I do like my job, I’ve been given more interesting assignments, so I think I’ll stick with it for a little longer.”

“If you insist,” Eliza rolled her eyes. “But in the meantime-”

“I have so many questions for you,” Jeremiah blurted out. “I don’t think I can wait anymore to ask them. Is the house set up enough for you Eliza?”

“If you think I’m going to let you ask her questions by yourself, you have another thing coming.” Eliza immediately ushered Kara into the kitchen. “Make yourself useful and take the car to go get some food while I ask Kara all about her biology. This is going to be a long evening.”

“Why do you get to ask her questions first?” Jeremiah pouted.

“Because I drove your whiny daughter all the way across the country for the past few days and you owe me one.” The blonde woman pointed towards the door, “Food, go.”

Jeremiah grumbled a bit but left the house and headed to town. If he pouted the whole way, he would never admit it. Eliza waited until he left before turning back to her friend. As much as I want to interrogate you, I’m not going to,” she said. “For one, it would be a gross invasion of privacy. I may be a scientist, but there are limits, and one of the is giving my friend the third degree about her biology. It’s private, but if you want to share, I would really like to listen.”

Kara felt appreciation and affection swelling in her chest and she wrapped her arms around Eliza’s shoulders. “Thank you Eliza,” she whispered before pulling back. “I probably don’t want to talk about my biology with you right now, that does seem a bit too private, but I can answer other questions.”

“You won’t mind talking about your home world? I know you said that you left just prior to its destruction, so that had to be traumatic for you.”

“It was,” Kara let out a sigh. “But it has also been over 2000 years for me. I will always carry that pain with me, but it doesn’t overwhelm me as much as it did when I first landed on this planet. Is this really why you sent Jeremiah away, so that he wouldn’t ask me a bunch of intrusive questions?”

“Well, I really did want to ask you questions first, not about anything scientific though. There’s just been so much that you haven’t said and knowing that you’re from another planet and you’re… ancient does explain a few things.”

The alien rolled her eyes at the ancient part but smiled indulgently at her friend. “So what do you want to know?”

“Everything.”

 


 

Kara wasn’t sure if it was a relief that the Danvers knew the truth about her origins or not, mainly because since returning from Midvale, Jeremiah was calling her every few days to ask questions until Eliza finally put a stop to it. Alex took her aunt being an alien in stride, of course it helped that the girl was four years old and didn’t quite understand the concept. She just knew that her ‘Aunty Awa’ was a superhero, like the Ninja Turtles, and it had to be kept secret. If she not so subtly asked Kara to take her to her lair in the sewer or get her a pair of ‘nun-chunks,’ Kara just rolled her eyes and ignored the requests.

After she had returned from moving the Danvers to Midvale, life continued on for the blonde, albeit a little quieter. She no longer wandered over to the Danvers house whenever she pleased, but she did visit with some of her other friends in the city, ones she made at university and others when she would wander around at night seeking the best 24 hour diner. Most were casual friends, people she could have lunch or get a coffee with, none like her friendship with Cat or the Danvers. She also spent more time in Chinatown, but that was mainly due to Cat chasing down leads than anything else. Cat had officially started using Jian as a source and was following the trail of the Intergang’s movements through the other gangs operating in the region. It was like following a trail of breadcrumbs from one group to another, each one battling for dominance with the Intergang profiting off all of them. Kara followed Cat’s information as best as she could, and searched for clues that would help them expose what the Intergang was doing, put away the leaders for a long time. The city was too loud though, too noisy, too much to listen to, it was hard for her to pin down exactly what she was supposed to be looking for.

It wasn’t much of an imposition for her to spend more time wandering around Chinatown, she’s been able to practice the different Chinese dialects and eat as much authentic Chinese cuisine as she wanted. She wondered sometimes how easy it was for her to fall into a new routine, how easy it was for time to continue passing by with Alex not being part of her daily or even weekly routine anymore. She still talked to the girl regularly on the phone when she and Eliza spent time complaining about their favorite TV shows, though it was hard to determine what she was saying due to the distance and the four-year old continuing to slur her words. Eliza was determined that she was going to have the girl speaking properly by the time she went to kindergarten the next fall, but Kara recognized the stubborn glint in large brown eyes as the same one that entered her friend’s eyes when Jeremiah dug his heels in about something. She knew that Eliza was going to be in for an uphill battle, and decided it was a good thing that the two tabled the discussion about any more children.

Kara sat down on the edge of a one of the apartment buildings just outside of Chinatown, her legs swinging lightly along the side of the building. She pulled one of her containers of dumplings out of the plastic bag that Jian had given her and started digging into her food. It was a little cumbersome with the chopsticks and dipping them into the sauce, especially several stories up, but Kara managed without breaking the chopsticks in her hand. She easily inhaled one box of dumplings and started on another, eating at a much slower pace.

When she wasn’t sitting in Jian’s place, Kara preferred to sit up on top of the buildings to watch people walk on the streets below or stare out at the skyline. It was relaxing in a way, to take a few moments and be detached from the world, to just watch people as they went about their lives. She was just finishing the last of her dumplings when a familiar noise had her jumping off of the building and running back to the restaurant, the sound of bullets flying through the air. It took less than five seconds to reach Jian’s restaurant, but those five seconds were all it took to devastate a life. Kara slammed into the car that was speeding away from the antique shop, her hands pressing the hood all the way down until it collided with the engine. She had the men in the car knocked out before they could do anything else, and stepped through the broken windows into the front room of the shop.

It was a scene of utter devastation, Jian was lying on the ground, blood pooling from his body. Kara didn’t need to use her powers to know that he was gone. Rather than mourning for her friend, she turned her attention to the other two people in the room. Nuan was lying behind the country, clutching at her bleeding shoulder, and Kara did a quick scan to make sure that her wounds were not life threatening. When she knew that the woman would survive, she glanced over to the little girl huddled against the wall. Grace’s eyes were screwed shut, her head buried in her knees, and her hands were thrust out in front of her, a shimmering, semi-translucent shield surrounding her and keeping the remaining bullets at bay. Kara could see the shaking in the girl’s form, and knew that she had no idea what she was doing but she also didn’t think that Grace could keep it up for much longer.

It took less than a second for Kara to knock the bullets out of the air away from the shield and to be crouching in front of the little girl on the ground. “Grace, Grace,” Kara tried, hesitant to touch the girl. The shield around her was unlike anything she had ever seen, and she wasn’t sure what would happen if she touched it. When Grace didn’t respond to her voice, Kara hesitantly touched the shield, trying to breach it to get to the girl. She was first aware of something wrong was happening with a tingling in her arm, but soon that tingling transformed into full on electric shocks strong enough to register on her pain threshold. It had been a long time since she had felt anything that had been able to cause her great physical pain, and the shock of it made her reel backwards, falling away from the girl.

Kara could hear people started to make their way to the scene and she knew that she had to get Grace calmed down before anyone saw her. She couldn’t stay if people saw her, but she couldn’t leave the girl in the state she was in, not with people coming. “Grace I know that you’re scared and you’re hurting, but you need to listen to me, to hear me, you have to calm down,” Kara tried again, crawling as close to the girl as she could get without touching the shield. “Please Grace, you have to snap out of it.”

The shield around the girl wavered and then finally fell when Grace lifted her head from her knees and opened her eyes. “Who…” She started, her eyes and voice filled with tears.

Kara tugged down her hood and pulled off the mask that she had tied around her head. “It’s me, Kara,” she whispered, mindful of people approaching. “People are starting to come, so I need to leave, but I couldn’t leave you the way that you were.”

“Don’t leave…” The girl whimpered, her eyes falling to where her father lay.

“I’ll be back as… as me, but you need to go to your grandmother now and place pressure on her wound, you need to be brave for me, for your father.” Kara reached out and set her hand on Grace’s shoulder, “Can you do that?”

Grace tore her eyes away from her father and look over to where her grandmother was behind the counter. “Yeah…” She nodded, shakily standing to her feet. Kara watched her as she moved over to where her Nuan was laying and started to apply pressure to the wound. She was gone out of the shop less than a second later, just as people started to crowd around the store. The police and an ambulance arrived not much later, Kara guessed that someone called them when they first heard the shots. Nuan and Grace were quickly bundled into the ambulance and sped off towards Metropolis University Hospital, the closest hospital to the area.

The woman watched for a bit, watched as the police officers took the men she had knocked out in the car into custody, bagged the guns in the car and roped off the scene. She stayed long enough to watch them place Jian’s body in a bag. Her heart was hurting, not only for her friend but for the family he left behind. She could stay there and mourn, she could hunt down clues for who ordered the men to shoot up Nuan and Jian’s store, but she knew that she had to focus on the remaining members of the Cho family.

Kara quickly left her place on the roof and made her way back to her apartment to change her clothes. “Cat!” The blonde yelled when she walked in her apartment, her wig and mask in her hands.”Cat!”

“What?” Cat bolted off the couch, the bag of chips in her hand flying everywhere. “What happened?”

“Jian’s store was attacked,” Kara answered, quickly changing her clothes. “He was killed and Nuan was shot. Grace was there when it happened.”

“No,” the shorter woman gasped. “What happened?”

“I don’t know, I stopped the shooters but I didn’t get there in time to save Jian,” she said. “I need to get to the hospital.”

“Wait, drop me off at the office first!” Cat requested, tugging on the pair of jeans she kept by the door. “I want to get on top of this, Jian was my informant, I want to find out who killed him.”

Kara looked at Cat questioningly, “Do you think someone found out that he was your source for the articles you have been working on?”

“I don’t know, maybe, but from what Jian has been telling me, the different factions in Chinatown have been circling to increase their territory, their influence. Your friends’ shop has been a thorn in their side and I guess they got tired of working around it.”

“This has Intergang all over it,” Kara grumbled. “They might not have done it, but you know that they’re pulling the strings and egging them on.”

“We’ll get them Kara,” Cat said, determination on her face. “If not the whole gang, we’ll get the head.”

“Maybe that’s the key, instead of investigating the gang, you look into Moxie,” Kara said.

A curious look crossed Cat’s face, one that Kara knew that signified the woman was physically present but mentally out investigating. “Me, office, now, you, hospital.”

Kara was out of the apartment and up over the city in a manner of seconds, Cat clutching at her back. She could feel the woman’s claws digging into her shoulder and Kara almost thought about making a cat joke, an urge that she hasn’t had in years. She didn’t want to say anything though with Cat’s hands in reaching distance of her throat. The woman couldn’t hurt her, she knew that, but she wasn’t going to tempt fate. She dropped Cat off in an alley near the Daily Planet and sped off towards the hospital, needing to find out the status of the rest of Jian’s family.

“I’m looking for someone,” Kara said when she jogged into the hospital waiting room. “Cho, Nuan and Grace Cho, they were brought in a little while ago.”

The receptionist looked up and stared at the blonde, “Are you family?”

“No, I’m-”

“Kara!” The woman turned around and saw Hannah, Jian’s wife, running towards her. “The police contacted me and told me- what happened?”

“I’m not sure, I was near the store and I saw the police and the ambulance, but I don’t-” Kara hated it, hated lying, but she didn’t know how to tell the woman the truth, that she wasn’t fast enough, wasn’t alert enough, wasn’t… wasn’t enough. It wasn’t like she was sheltered from death, she was confronted with it daily living in Metropolis, having to listen to the sounds of the city, listen to people die from illnesses, accidents, old age, but this was the first time she was assaulted visually with the weakness of humans that she had learned about from the Amazons. Jian was her friend and she wasn’t able to do anything to help him, to keep him from getting killed.

Hannah introduced herself to the receptionist and asked after her mother-in-law and daughter, and the woman directed her to the emergency department. The firm grip the woman had on Kara’s hand let her know that she would be accompanying her. When they reached the emergency department, they found a doctor, police officer and social worker waiting for them. The social worker was sitting with Grace who had been checked out by the doctors, and was waiting for her mother to arrive. She was sitting similarly to how Kara saw her earlier, tucked away, her knees folded in front of her, her head pressed into them, trying to look as small as possible.

Grace glanced up when she heard them walk in and immediately darted to Kara’s side, pressing her face into the blonde’s waist as she wrapped her arms around her. Hannah walked off with the doctor to learn about her mother-in-law’s condition and to speak with the officer, while Kara stayed with Grace. “What’s going to happen now Kara?” Grace whimpered, her voice muffled in the blonde’s shirt. “Daddy is dead and I’m… what’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing is wrong with you Grace,” Kara murmured, tugging the girl over to the chairs. “There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just special, different from everyone else.”

“Like you?”

Kara hesitated for a moment before responding, “Yeah, like me.” Truthfully she didn’t know what to say about Grace’s abilities, she had never encountered a gifted human before but that didn’t mean that they didn’t exist. She wondered briefly if it was a mutant gene, another stage of human evolution, or something more.

The girl tucked herself back into Kara’s side and the blonde turned her eye to where Hannah was still talking with the police officer. She didn’t know what was going to happen to the little family now, but she swore that she was going to avenge Jian’s death, she had to.



Chapter Text


 

“You were the one that told me we couldn’t go running in guns blazing,” Cat said, hands on her hips. “You told me that we had to be smart about this.”

“Now it’s different,” Kara replied. “They killed Jian, you know this, I know this, we need to do something about it. They either figured out that he was an informant or they got tired of his neutrality, interfering in their business. It doesn’t matter either way, we know that Moxie Manheim pulled the strings and ordered the hit or goaded the Triad into doing it.” It didn’t take long for the police to identify which of the gangs in Chinatown that the goons belonged to, their allegiance to the Chinese Triad tattooed along the side of their necks.

“Even if you didn’t think that the Intergang was involved,” the older blonde continued. “You know that they executed the shooters in order to keep them from talking.”

Cat scoffed, “Of course Kiera, I’m not stupid, and neither are the police, but the fact of the matter is that there is no proof, no surveillance, no bullets, no evidence, nothing. There isn’t much for the police to investigate.”

Kara exhaled loudly and pinched the space between her eyes. She knew that Cat was right, there was no evidence, and speculation without evidence wouldn’t lead them anywhere. It had been a few weeks since the shooting at Jian’s store and since then the violence has intensified. The different factions vying for control over the district have started all out warfare against each other instead of the uneasy truce that has been in place in the district for years. The gunmen that had attacked Jian had been members of the Triad, and were most likely trying to take the neutral territory by killing a prominent shop owner and frightening the others. They were later found in their jail cells with their throats slit, the police believed out of retaliation for their attempt to seize more territory. Kara and Cat knew better though, they knew about the influence of the Intergang in the region and knew that the group would do anything to keep their presence unknown. The gunmen had been killed to keep them from talking, to keep them from mentioning the entity that has been fueling the drama and strife.

“What is the Cho family going to do?” Cat asked, her voice hesitant.

“Hannah told me at the funeral that they’re going to move back to her hometown in Georgia,” Kara replied. “She still has family that lives down there, and she and Nuan agreed that they all needed a change of scenery, to leave the bad memories of the city behind.”

“What about the kid?” The younger blonde questioned. “I don’t think she’d be too happy about having to leave her home.”

Thinking about the young girl brought up memories of the conversations she had with her after her father’s funeral. Grace seemed to shut down in the days following the incident at the shop, and Hannah eventually contacted Kara out of desperation in hopes to help the girl. She hadn’t talked, hadn’t cried since that time with Kara in the hospital when her mother went to check on her grandmother. Hannah hoped that the blonde could work a miracle again and at least get her little girl talking again.

Kara tried, she did, but she didn’t seem to have much luck either until the girl’s stone façade finally cracked. With it came an outpouring of regret and tears, and the blonde eventually discerned through the sobs that Grace blamed herself for not being able to protect her father. If she had done something different, if she had known about what she could do, she could have saved her father, he would still be alive and they wouldn’t have to move. Kara tried to console her as best as she could but she didn’t really know what to say. She knew the grief of losing a parent, she lost both of hers and her entire planet, but time truly does numb, if not heal, all wounds. It had been over two thousand years and she didn’t know what to stay, so she just held the girl while she cried. Apparently that was what Grace needed, someone who could listen, because Hannah told her that the girl was doing better, talking more, actually mourning rather than keeping everything bottled up.

It had been almost three weeks since the shooting, two since Jian’s funeral, and the violence in Chinatown has only escalated, it was to the point that the mayor of Metropolis had placed warnings on venturing into that part of the city. “We just can’t keep letting people get hurt,” Kara told her. “We have to do something, it’s getting worse.”

“Reporting the news good or bad, seeking the truth against all odds, exposing crooks, those are jobs for a reporter, saving lives and preventing crimes, those sound like jobs for a superhero,” Cat told her. “So the better question is, what are you going to do about it?” Kara looked over at her friend and the blonde held up her hands. “I can find information to lock Manheim up, but only you have the power to stop him, to keep him from hurting people.” She pressed a finger into Kara’s chest and pushed, “You have the power Kara, stop hiding from it.”

“I’m going out there and stopping what I can, what else do you expect me to do?”

“Are you really doing all that you can though?” Cat replied. “Or are you just doing what you want to, what you’re comfortable with?” The shorter blonde shouldered her bag and left the apartment, leaving Kara to her thoughts. She had more important fish to fry than dealing with a depressed alien. She had a hunch about where to find Moxie’s base in Metropolis, and she needed to hunt down the right information in order to see if she was right.

Kara huffed and fell back against the couch, Cat’s words running on repeat through her mind. She was not afraid of her abilities, not afraid to help people… was she? She rubbed at her face in frustration and let out a groan, she was afraid. She was afraid of what people would do when they found out she was different, more than what they already thought. She was afraid that people would find out she was an alien, would they turn on her, would they find Clark, the Kents, the Danvers, Cat? Her anxieties about the truth of herself being discovered kept her from helping people, truly helping them as she knew she could.

Another sigh escaped her lips, and her thoughts continued to swirl. She didn’t used to be afraid, or she didn’t have any reason to be afraid. Now though, now she had friends, family to look out for, people to worry about, what else was she supposed to do? Diana’s face filtered through her mind and she could almost hear the other woman’s voice telling her to be brave. The thought caused Kara to growl and throw herself off the couch and then out of the apartment. She grabbed her bag with her costume in it as an afterthought and left the building.

She didn’t realize she had changed and was floating over the district of Chinatown until she was already there. Kara could hear the sounds of gunshots, screeching tires, and  elevated coming from the streets below, could feel the tension that wracked the city radiating through the air. People were hurting, and she had the power to help them, more than she already did. Her eyes fell on a group of young men a block from her, just hooligans taking advantage of the drama and chaos, swinging bats to smash car windows and streetlights. She was on the ground and had one of the bats in her hand before she even registered moving. The wood splintered in her hand, and Kara could feel her eyes glowing with heat as she stared at the group in front of her. She could see the hesitation in the boys’ eyes, the internal warring of that fight or flight instinct that all humans have pre-programed in their brains before flight eventually won.

Kara dropped the remnants of the bat from her hand and glanced around, seeing the mess along the streets from the looting that was a side-effect of crime and chaos. Maybe there was a way she could help people, stop the violence and the destruction, one group, one person at a time.

 


 

Cat dropped a few quarters in the payphone and dialed the familiar phone number, her foot tapping as she waited for the person on the other end to answer. “Come on, pick up pick up pick up,” she muttered, tugging the collar of her trench coat closer around her neck. “Kara you better pick up the phone you stupid alien or I’ll-”

“Hello?”

“Kara! Finally, for someone with lightning fast reflexes, you are slow to answer the phone.”

“I was-”

“Nevermind that, I need you to get down to the docks,” Cat said. “Pier… 17. And I need you down here yesterday Larelle.”

The phone on the other end of the line went dead and Cat stared at the receiver, distaste written across her face. “They better come up with a more efficient way to call someone, I swear…”

A knock on the outside of the phone booth caused Cat to jump and whirl around, meeting the eyes of her best friend behind her mask. “Must you sneak up on people like that?” Cat hissed, opening the door. “You could have given me a heart attack.”

“What are you wearing?” Kara asked, looking her friend up and down. “Where do you keep getting these trench coats? And is that a fedora?”

“I am undercover Kiera,” Cat replied, tugging at the collar popped around her neck. “You’re clearly not aware of the style required for undercover operations.”

“You do remember that you were the one that decided on this ‘costume’ right?” Kara replied.

“Let’s not quibble about semantics and technicalities right now,” Cat waved her hand dismissively. “I called you down here for a reason.”

“I hope so, I was two pizzas into a three pizza marathon and I had just finished Beauty and the Beast and I was about to put Aladdin on.”

“You’re several thousand years old and you’re basically a child.” The shorter blonde rolled her eyes and her roommate shot her a withering look. “Maybe eat a vegetable at some point.”

“I can leave you without food for a few days while I visit the Danvers on the west coast,” Kara retorted.

“We don’t have time for this,” Cat said, changing the subject. “I got some information from an informant of mine that is only good for tonight, so we need to move fast.”

“What are we doing at the docks?”

“Right, it’s taken me a few weeks, but I’ve finally track down Moxie Manheim and where the Intergang is headquartered,” the woman replied.

“Really?”

Cat nodded, “Yeah, Moxie slipped up when he ordered the hit of those guys in prison, left a trail of breadcrumbs to follow. The only thing that was proving tricky was finding where the Intergang was headquartered. No one, and I mean no one, knew anything, until tonight that is.”

“What’s special about tonight?”

“Well apparently, the reason we haven’t been able to find them is because they keep moving bases randomly through the city, but today, today they’re supposed to be getting a shipment in of… something, probably guns or drugs, so they’re planning on going underground for a while after.”

“How did you find all of this out?”

“One of the contacts I made while investigating the smuggled fish.” Cat shrugged, “And people made fun of my for crawling all over these docks during that investigation, well I finally hit pay dirt.”

“Try not to keep me in suspense Cat.”

“Right, so one of the fishermen I spoke with told me that Moxie has been spotted shifting between docks, and eventually I figured out a pattern. He’s going to be on dock 19, tonight receiving the last shipment before going dark and showing up in a new city somewhere. Needed to give that guy tickets two different Broadway plays for all of this information.”

“What kind of plays?”

“Tickets to Camelot for the first information, and then Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, do you know how hard that was to get? It just started a few weeks ago.”

Kara shook her head, “We’re getting sidetracked, why did you call me to dock 17 if they’re going to be on dock 19?”

“We can’t show up right on their doorstep Kiera! We have to be sneaky, and besides, it’s not like you can’t see straight to the pier from here.”

The shorter blonde gave her an impatient look and Kara rolled her eyes before directing her attention towards where Cat was indicating. She squinted her eyes and shook her head, attempting to see through the clutter. “I can’t see anything,” Kara admitted. “There must be too much lead around, it is the only material that I’m aware of that I can’t see through, it’s too dense.”

“That makes sense, that’s why have to wear those stupid lead gowns when taking x-rays at the doctor or at the dentist.” The shorter blonde gave the other woman an appraising look, “Guess you aren’t completely perfect, you have your faults, can’t see through lead, I mean really, what kind of amateur are you?”

“Maybe it’s my turn to tell you to leave the jokes to the professionals,” Kara retorted. “So what exactly was your plan? I can go in there and capture them but I don’t think that would serve the right purpose.”

“No and it also wouldn’t do any good,” Cat replied. “You can stop them from doing whatever it is they’re doing, but we need to catch them with some evidence. I don’t know if we’ll fully get Moxie for Jian’s murder, but we can get him for racketeering at least. He’ll be going away for a long time, but we have to play this smart.”

“Alright, so again, what’s the plan?”

“I will figure it out on the way.” Cat grabbed Kara’s arm and started tugging her in the direction of pier 19. “We have to hurry though and make sure to stay out of sight. I have no idea if they’re already here, or when they’re going to get here or if they have a lookout stationed somewhere.”

Kara held up her hand and pointed towards the dock, “I will look around for any lookouts, you make your way to the docks, stick to the shadows.”

“Do you think I’m an idiot Kiera?”

“Sometimes I wonder,” the older woman muttered. “Don’t do anything stupid.”

With that, she was gone, leaving Cat in the shadows created by a blinking street light. “‘Don’t do anything stupid,’” Cat scoffed. “She really needs to work on her exit lines. Maybe something like For Truth, Justice, and the American way… no that’s stupid. This looks like a job for- No, also stupid, what kind of idiot would say that? It’s ninja time! With how much creeping around she does, that might work.”

“What are you doing?” Kara reappeared, causing Cat to jump about a foot in the air.

“What did I tell you about sneaking up on people?” The woman hissed out, one hand on her neck measuring her pulse.

“I thought you would be heading down towards the dock by now,” Kara replied, indicating the distance between them and pier 19. “I looked around, no one is here, so if someone is coming, they’ll probably come soon, it is approaching midnight after all. We’ll have to find somewhere to hide.”

“You’d think criminals would learn to do illegal activities during business hours,” the shorter woman said. “Happens all the time in more ‘legitimate’ businesses.” Cat glanced around when they drew closer to the correct pier and the accompanying warehouses and cargo containers. “Did you see any good hiding spaces that wouldn’t be occupied by a sniper and would still give us a good view of anyone coming in and out?”

“There isn’t a single place that will give us a good vantage point, but I guess we could split up, take different sides? Would make it easier to watch different parts of the dock and the warehouse.”

Cat nodded and rifled around in the back that she brought, shoving a walkie talkie into Kara’s hand. “Take this, call me if you see something, I’ve linked the channels already. I can probably mutter something and you’ll hear it but we’re not all blessed with super hearing.” She returned her hand to her bag and pulled out a camera. “I will be taking some pictures for evidence as well as for the story. We will be catching Moxie red-handed tonight before he can disappear down into whatever dark hole he crawled out of.”

“We spy on him, you get your pictures, and then what?”

“We’ll have to figure out a way to catch him,” the shorter woman answered. “We can’t let him get away, but calling the police might tip them off. It’ll be tricky, but we’ll think of something.”

Kara wasn’t comfortable with how lax everything with the plan was but she knew that it wouldn’t do any good trying to talk Cat into a different strategy. It was better that she was aware that Cat had no clue what she was doing in order to be prepared to clean up the mess, than to think that Cat was prepared when the woman was just going in with another half-baked scheme. Those never worked out well in the end, usually for her since Cat has yet to learn from her stupid ideas. She indicated where Cat could settle herself down to not be spotted by anyone, and made her own way up to watch the warehouse and docks from above, sequestered in an old rundown crane.

The whole dock was rundown truthfully Kara noticed as she glanced around. The pier, the crane, the warehouse, the outbuildings, even the boats waiting just off of the pier were older. She wondered if this was one of the older docks that had fallen out of favor with traditional shipping companies. It was in a weird location in the bay, far from the opening of the harbor, but also not close enough to the highway line to immediately load the cargo into trucks and send out into the city.

She settled down into her spot and heard the crane let out a creak of protest, rusty metal brushing against her back and legs. Waiting was probably the worst thing for her, waiting for criminals to show up and commit crime, waiting to get justice for Jian, waiting for Cat to do something idiotic, Kara has come to hate waiting. Part of it was waiting increased her awareness of the passage of time because waiting seemed to make time slow down. She wondered if she had ever been good at waiting.

An hour passed before Kara heard anything suspicious, and she turned towards the pier and spotted a small boat slowly easing up to the dock. She clicked on her walkie talkie and relayed to Cat that she spotted something before turning it on again. She didn’t want it to accidentally go off, and reveal either her or Cat were there. Once the boat eased into a slip, more people started to arrive to place a ramp up to the boat and several more stepped off and down onto the dock. She saw several cars pull up to the side of the warehouse, each one black with tinted windows. “I’m sure Cat will have something to say about the cliche of what kind of vehicles criminals drive,” Kara murmured to herself. She tracked all of the movement with her eyes before spotting several large cargo crates being carried off of the ship that had pulled up to the dock.

Kara quickly scanned the crates and her eyes widened at what she saw. “Shit,” she muttered. “I’ve got to get Cat out of here.” She turned her head to where she had left Cat near the warehouse and noticed that the woman was gone. “Should’ve known.” Kara took a quick glance through the warehouse, and crossed her eyes as the lead in the old buildings stopped her from truly seeing anything. “Stupid reporter instincts leading her into stupid situations and I should really know not to trust the stupid head and her nine lives.” She grumbled as she left her perch on the crane and quickly made her way to the roof of the warehouse, the familiarity to the first time she saved Cat from the Intergang was not lost on her.

For once Kara was grateful to the dark clothing and wig that Cat had shoved on her for her costume because it allowed her to blend into the shadows as she stared down through the dirty windows into the warehouse. It wasn’t hard to spot Moxie Manheim among the gathering of goons and thugs, the burly figure, tailored suits, bowler hat, Chevron mustache and cigar were clear indicators of who was in charge. Standing just across from him was a group of Chinese men, members of one of the groups that had been terrorizing Chinatown with crime and violence.

The crates that had been unloaded from the ship were pulled into the warehouse and Moxie directed one of his men to open the top box. There, sitting snuggled in a tight foam case, were rows of guns, 15 rifles in a single crate. With the amount of crates unloaded from the ship, Kara knew that having such a large amount of guns was never a good thing.

“Shipment delivered as promised Yau,” Moxie drawled out, talking a long drag of his cigar. He exhaled and thick smoke streamed out of his mouth and nose, giving the man a sinister look that made Kara’s skin crawl. “Do you have the agreed upon payment?”

“You drive a hard bargain Manheim,” the man, Yau, stated. “The price is high, but your support in our endeavor is more valuable, it has been a great pleasure working with you.” He motioned for one of his men to hand over the briefcase in his hand and the man set it down on one of the closed crates.

One of Moxie’s men opened it, revealing large stacks of hundred dollar bills, and when he nodded to his boss, Moxie shot the other man a broad grin. “It has been my pleasure doing business with you Yau, I’ll be sorry to leave such a valuable customer.”

“Yes, I had heard you were leaving Metropolis, returning to Gotham?”

Moxie laughed, a deep barrel laugh tinged with something darker that made Kara wonder if she had entered some kind of tacky action movie. “No, Gotham is still a touchy subject for me, I might try heading west, I hear California has good prospects.”

“And not as many people out for your head,” Yau laughed.

“Indeed, though I will have men here looking out for my interests, and continuing partnerships with such good customers like yourself.” The portly man snapped his fingers and the briefcase with the money was spirited away by one of his men.

Before any of them could say anything else, one of the other man walked into the warehouse, dragging a familiar figure behind them. “Oh Cat,” Kara grumbled as she saw her tossed on the floor in front of the men. “What have you done now?”

“Hey boss, I found this one snooping around spying on us.”

Kara face-palmed and let out a groan. “I should know better, really, I should know better.”

“I think I know you,” Moxie stated, his cigar held easily between two fingers of his right hand. “Cat Grant, reporter for the Daily Planet, you wrote that article about the fish smuggling ring, cost me quite a bit of business.” He took another puff of his cigar and a contemplative look crossed his face. “I think you were also the one that wrote that article about Woolsen years ago weren’t you? Good article, you’re a very good writer, it’s a shame we can’t come to some kind of arrangement.”

“If you’re insinuating that I agree to stop reporting on your activities for some kind of financial compensation, you clearly don’t understand my integrity as a journalist,” Cat answered.

Moxie just shrugged, “Journalist can be bought, same as anyone else, I’ve purchased a few in my career. A good journalist is about as smart of an investment as a politician.”

“Was that statement supposed to be a compliment or an insult? I can’t really tell.”

Kara would need to have another conversation with her roommate about not mocking her capitor. “Well she hasn’t been kidnapped recently, maybe a few more times will have the lesson sink in,” she muttered to herself.”

“That’s a shame,” the gang leader continued. “You showed great promise, oh well, you win some you lose some.” He snapped his fingers again and waved dismissively, “Get rid of her boys.”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Cat started when two goons moved to drag her away. “People know I’m here and the police are already on their way, do you really want to chance it?”

“What is this Manheim?” Yau started, backing away from the two. “Can’t your men scout a location properly?”

The burly man narrowed his eyes and snuffed his cigar out on the ground. “You’re lying,” he stated, focusing back on the blonde woman.

“Are you willing to bet on that?”

Moxie pulled a pistol out of his coat and pointed it at Cat, a dangerous look in his eyes. “Are you?”

Kara was moving before she even realized what was happening. She had all of the men in the warehouse knocked out seconds after bursting through the window she was looking through, and rounded up the men on the dock only a few seconds later. “You do realize that this is the second time I had to burst through windows to save your behind from some stupid stunt you decided to pull,” Kara said. She was tying up the last of the men using some of the rope and chains she had found lying around the dock. “I’ve got glass everywhere, it’s going to take forever to get it out of this sweatshirt and wig.”

“You’ll survive,” Cat waved her hand dismissively. “I was a bit concerned there for a minute that you would miss your cue.”

The taller woman was about to speak again when the sound of cars closing in on where they were drew her attention. “You actually called the police?” Kara asked, looking back at her friend.

“Of course, I’m not stupid, I snuck away after you told me someone was here and called in an anonymous tip. I might have also suggested that they arrive in stealth mode if they don’t want to spook anyone.”

“Did you get everything you needed to prove any of this to the police?”

“I got some good pictures, but I also got...,” Cat pulled a recorder out of her pocket, “everything on tape. I stopped recording as soon as you burst through the window.”

“So you did have a plan before we got here.”

Cat shrugged, “I had a general idea but nothing concrete, and I couldn’t have done this without you.” They could hear cars pulling up outside of the warehouse, and they both turned to see the police jogging up to the building.

As soon as they spotted her, Kara was gone, vanished back through the broken window that she smashed through. Before she left the area and headed home, she heard Cat speak to the officers approaching the warehouse. “Well it’s about time you got here.”

 


 

“... Intrepid, beautiful, vivacious reporter Cat Grant-”

“It does not say that,” Kara replied, snatching the paper out of her hands. “Our own Cat Grant was instrumental in the capture of Intergang leader Moxie Manheim, along with Metropolis’ own Midnight Avenger… Really need to get them to change that name.”

“Well next time you make a superhero debut, pick your own name,” Cat retorted, taking the paper back out of her hands. “I’m a little put out truthfully, my own article about Moxie’s activities was regulated to tomorrow’s paper.”

“You’re getting a lot of interest though,” the taller blonde replied. “People want to talk to you, interview you, probably will do wonders for your career.”

“Yeah, if they didn’t want to ask me questions about you all the time, I might feel better about it.”

Kara winced, “Sorry, I should have left before they saw me.”

Cat waved her hand, “It’s alright, I planned it that way. You’re a curiosity right now, that’s a place you don’t want to be for long. You need to become a symbol, a force, so that if and when they find out the truth about you, they won’t automatically recoil in fear because of all of those stupid science fiction movies.”

“So you dragged me along on your hunt for Moxie to help solidify my image?”

“That, and I also needed backup, and you needed closure for your friend.” Cat set the paper aside and sipped at her coffee, “Have you told the Cho’s that Moxie is under investigation?”

“I told them that Manheim and the Intergang was being investigated for encouraging the violence in Chinatown and leaders of the three gangs in Chinatown had been caught as well thanks to Moxie’s diligent record keeping. Hannah appreciated me telling them, and said that this might help them settle in better in Freeland. Grace is going to be starting back to school in January, and Hannah is hoping that the routine will help ease them all back into a semblance of normalcy.”

“Routine does help with grief,” Cat agreed. “So does time. They won’t be the same as they used to be, but they will heal.”

Kara hummed and sipped at her own coffee cup, “I just can’t believe we finally took down the Intergang, after all of these years.”

“We didn’t take down Intergang, not really, it’s too large and too deeply entrenched in dark shadowy places to fully be ferreted out. We got the head, but someone else will take Moxie’s place. For now, we can count this a win while they retreat to lick their wounds.” She held up her mug in a toast, “So I say to them, until the next time.”

The taller blonde grinned and tapped her mug against Cat’s, “Until the next time.”

 

Chapter Text


 

1996

 

“Aunty Awa do it again, do it again!” Alex squealed, bouncing eagerly in her aunt’s arms.

Kara grinned and softly wrapped her arms around the girl’s middle before tossing her in the air. The redhead let out a loud squeal as she sailed through the air, her arms and legs flapping as she attempted to stay airborne. Kara sent a soft puff of air up to her to keep her aloft for a few more seconds before Alex fell back down to earth again into her aunt’s waiting arms. “Again, again!”

“I thought you were going to show me what you have been learning from your surfing classes,” Kara said, setting the girl down on the ground. “We can practice your ‘flying’ later, I want to see what you’re learning.”

“Fine,” the seven year old grumbled out and started making her way down to the beach before turning to look back at her aunt. “When do I get to go flying for real?” She asked.

“Oh, you want to go flying for real do you?”

“Aunt Ara,” Alex groaned out, stomping her foot a little to send sand flying up. “You know I do, I want to go.”

“Your mom said when you’re older so not until you’re older.”

“How old, when I’m ten or when I’m really old like… like fifteen?”

“How about we make a deal, when you’re really, really old, I’ll take you flying,” 

Alex let out another aggravated sigh, a sound only a tortured seven year old could muster, and continued down towards the beach where she had left her surfboard earlier after her lesson.

Kara smiled as she watched the girl hop down the beach, her bare feet sinking into the sand. Three years of living on the west coast has been good for the girl, for the whole Danvers family really, even if the first few months were a little rocky trying to adjust, though those few months after they moved were rough on the blonde too. With the Intergang’s leadership put away, the gang slipped away into the shadows to recover and recoup, probably in a different city and a different manifestation. Crime in Chinatown dropped to a manageable level, no higher than the rest of the city, so the Cho’s briefly considered moving back to Metropolis and reopening the antique store and restaurant. They ultimately decided against it thought since Grace was settling in well in Freeland, finding friends amongst her classmates. Hannah mentioned that she formed a tight friendship with a girl named Anissa in her class whose father was the principal of the local high school. Kara hoped that the girl would tell someone about her abilities so that she could receive support, and that maybe her new friends would be ones she could confide in. 

Her life calmed down after everything with Moxie and the Intergang. She still helped with crime around Metropolis, stopping robberies, muggings, assaults, and even started helping with some major fires that the Metropolis fire department couldn’t handle on their own. The people of the city started to trust her, she saw little kids dressing up as her for Halloween, and Angela Chen hounded her more than ever. The woman was determined to get an interview with her, especially after she was seen with Cat after the incident with Moxie Manheim. Kara kept managing to avoid her, despite the other woman’s antics, but she wondered how long she would be able to dodge having to speak to the press. 

“Aunty Awa, watch me!” Alex yelled out, balancing on her surfboard in the sand. “The teacher said that we have to have good footing before we can get into the water, and he said that I am almost there!”

“Well having good balance will help when you’re trying to conquer the waves,” Kara replied, walking up to the girl. Her old moniker of ‘Aunty Awa’ given to her by a girl of only two years old had long been replaced by the more grown up version ‘Aunt Ara,’ the only exceptions being when Alex was excited or feeling strong emotions. She wondered if it was something that would stick with the girl as she grew, and hoped that she would still get to hear it for several more years.

Alex continued to talk and demonstrate how to stand on the board and how to paddle like her instructor showed her, and Kara could hear Eliza approaching from behind her. “She’s been wanting to show you her progress with her surfing lessons for weeks,” the woman commented, handing the other blonde a steaming mug of coffee. 

“She looks like she’s going to be able to get in the water soon,” Kara commented. “I bet you’re pleased.”

“Thrilled,” Eliza stated dryly. “Truthfully I am excited for her, though I’m worried what can happen with powerful waves striking such a small body. Her instructor though is good and I know he won’t let his students in the water unless he knows they’re ready, and he wouldn’t put them on the bigger waves by themselves just yet.”

“You’re going to have your hands full keeping Alex off of them though.”

“Don’t I know it,” the woman muttered. “Once she gets finished with showing off her surfing skills, she’s going to start in on what she’s learning in her martial arts classes. She wants to prove that she can be the best ninja in the world.”

“Do they even have ninja classes?”

“Not yet, but they probably will in the future,” Eliza chuckled. “In the meantime, Alex has to settle for karate, jiu jitsu, and taekwondo.”

“Why so many?” The other blonde just shot Kara a dark look and the alien backtracked the question. “Nevermind, so how are you doing with teaching and being super mom with all of these activities?”

Eliza snorted, “I’m just glad that I was able to fast track my PhD before Alex really devoted herself to following in her aunt’s footsteps and being a badass. My students are easy to deal with in comparison to my tiny terror.”

“Alex is not that bad.” Kara glanced over to where she had left the girl and found her striding determinedly to the water with the board clutched tightly in her hand. She sighed and speed over to grab the girl and her board, and returned her to her spot on the beach. “Nice try squirt,” she said. The girl just huffed and stomped back to her board to practice her paddling. Kara moved to stand next to her friend and shrugged, “Okay, so maybe she can be a handful, but really, who has been teaching her to be a strong, independent young woman?”

“You.”

“Alright, you have a fair point, but would you want her any other way?”

“No, but at the same time, I would like to be able to put my daughter to bed without her questioning my authority or if her bedtime is a violation of her rights in some way or if there is any scientific evidence that children need to be in bed by a certain time each night.”

“I just told her to keep asking questions, I didn’t say what to ask,” Kara defended. “That is all you and Jeremiah, and maybe a little Cat I think. I vaguely remember my roommate talking to her for a bit on the phone before I got home, you can blame her for most of it actually.”

“Yes, let’s blame the one not here to defend herself,” Eliza chuckled. “How is Cat doing by the way, you told me she got a promotion?”

“She’s the war correspondent for the Daily Planet now, she’s off running to different war zones around the world, spending more time abroad than in Metropolis really. It’s fine though, great opportunity for her, and I don’t have to worry about her attempting to cook and possibly burning the apartment building down.”

“Might be a bit lonely though.”

Kara shrugged again, “It can be, I talk to my mom more than I did, I call you guys, and Clark is going through that awkward teenage stage and his abilities are developing more so I’m spending more time with him to help him through it.” She scrunched her nose a bit, “Do you know how gross teenage boys are? Imagine that and trying to help one learn how to control enhanced senses and super abilities, I don’t know how Martha deals with him and his friend Pete all the time.”

“Do they stare at your boobs?” Eliza asked. “Babies and teenage boys tend to stare at boobs, some girls too, just part of growing up.”

The older blonde rolled her eyes, “They’re just ridiculous, all of them.”

“Makes me glad Jeremiah and I decided on only one,” the other woman stated. “Alex is a handful enough.” She focused her sharp eyes on her daughter again, “Alex! Put that crab down and go up to the house and get ready for dinner!”

“But mom! We can have the crab for din-”

“Alexandra Kara Danvers!”

“Fi-iinnneee,” the girl grumped, setting the crustacean down. She stomped her way up towards the house, sand flying a bit as her feet sank into the grains.

“Do you want a seven-year old?” Eliza asked, turning back to her friend. “She’s mostly house trained, and very precocious, will definitely keep you company while Cat is off getting shot at or blown up.”

“As delightful of a thought that is, I think you and Jeremiah would miss her too much.”

“That is debatable, would be a nice vacation at least.”

“And I don’t think I’d be able to watch Alex much anyway because I have been giving a new project to work on.”

“New project at work? Anything you can talk about?”

“It’s not like it’s confidential or anything,” Kara replied. “The firm was contracted to design an expansion wing for Gotham City’s History Museum, they received a donation from some senator to expand and include more natural history instead of just Gotham’s history as one of the highest crime cities in the country.”

“Which senator?”

“I don’t remember, it’s in my notes somewhere, I’ve got the design finished for the most part, but my boss wants me to be in Gotham to oversee the construction. I could get a temporary apartment in the city, but it doesn’t take me long to cross the bay.”

“Alex would be great help at a construction site,” Eliza added. “I’ll even toss in a hard hat for good measure, though I doubt she’ll need it.”

“I’m not taking Alex to Gotham with me.”

“You sure? We could call it a cultural exchange program.”

“Eliza!”

“Alright, fine, yes, I’m not being serious, though it does give me the idea that Jeremiah and I need to spend more time together away from our darling daughter. There’s a girl down the road that likes to babysit, needs the money and is able to keep up with my daughter’s stunts, might get her to come over tonight since Alex’s aunty refuses to take her back to Metropolis or Gotham and keep her occupied for the weekend.”

“Eliza, you said that you didn’t want Alex flying with me until she was older, how do you think I got here?”

“Why must you continue to be so logical?”

Kara smiled and patted the woman’s arm, “Come on Eliza, let’s get back up to the house, eat some dinner, have Alex demonstrate more moves before I have to fly back to the west coast.”

“Why am I feeding you?”

“You always feed me, hush.”

“Well what am I getting out of feeding you now since you refuse to take my daughter off my hands?”

A loud crash was heard from the house followed by the sound of something shattering and a bellowed “I didn’t do it” coming from the seven year old.

Kara pointed towards the house and looked at her friend, “I’ll keep her occupied while you make dinner.”

“Deal.”

 


 

Despite living just over the bay from Gotham, Kara had actually never been to the city. She could barely hear it over the constant bustle of Metropolis so she put the looming skyline just across the water out of her mind. Being in Gotham though, she got a first hand look at the city and only three words came to mind, dirty, dark, and depressing. Every day that she had started flying over to the city to work with the Gotham architecture office on the museum project, the sky had been overcast and Kara wondered if there was some curse on the city to keep the sun from shining. 

Kara settled into the Gotham office easily enough, only three other architects since it was smaller than the Metropolis branch. Since it was so small, she had an office to herself which allowed her to let her mind wander while she was working on different designs. The final design for the museum wing still needed some tweaking and it was easier for her to work on it when she could go see how the construction was going. It was during this time in her office that she really found out how different Gotham was from Metropolis. The city was… loud, a kind of loud that was deafening, but also silent, she was shocked how quiet it was. People lived their lives the same way they did in Metropolis, work, school, home, family time, friend time, alone time, the passage of time, but they lived their lives… quieter, like the clouds that perpetually occupied the sky over the city lived in the hearts of its citizens as well. 

The tall skyscrapers of the city cast long shadows on the streets, attempting to hide the garbage and crime that would pile up in back alleyways and spill out into the roads and greenways. It created a darker aesthetic than Kara would have liked, but in order for her design to work, it needed to fit with the overall feel of the museum which matched the city. It was Gotham City’s history museum, so it wouldn’t do for the museum to not completely reflect the city. So as she tweaked the design in her office, she would listen to the city, the bustle of people as they quietly, fretfully, fearful moved about their lives with criminals stalking them in the shadows. 

When Kara wasn’t at the office, she was out at the construction site monitoring the progress of the new wing. She would pop through the museum in order to get a better sense on what the inside of the new wing should look like, so that the entire building would flow together. The museum matched the spirit of the city, dark, foreboding, and judging from the exhibits inside, Kara could see why they wanted to add a new wing for natural history. The majority of the museum covered state and local history, and most of the history of Gotham City was steeped in crime. It was part of the city, part of its history, and it seemed that the citizens of the city were long hardened to the reality of where they lived. She wanted to help the people of Gotham, but she wasn’t sure how. She could fight crime like she did in Metropolis, but she didn’t think that would be enough. The crime rate in Gotham was a symptom of a larger problem, a problem that she couldn’t hit or punch to make it go away.

Kara was sitting at her desk staring out at the city, her mind focused on the murmur of the life present in the buildings around her when a knock came on her office door. “Come in,” she called, turning around to look at the door. 

A young woman around Cat’s age appeared in the doorway, a questioning look on her face. She was wearing a simple white button up shirt, black suit jacket and black skirt, a briefcase clutched in her hand, and her deep red hair tied back into a tight bun. “I’m looking for Kara Larelle,” the woman started, her eyes narrowing.

“Well you found me,” Kara replied, waving the woman into her office. 

“You’re Kara Larelle?” The woman repeated, her eyes darting up and down the blonde’s form. It happened so quickly that Kara thought she missed it, but she detected something in the woman’s eyes before it disappeared entirely.

“You sound surprised.”

“I expected someone older truthfully,” the woman said, stepping into the small office. “But I think I’m getting ahead of myself, I am Lorraine Reilly, I will be coordinating with you on the Gotham City museum project on behalf of the sponsors.”

“Shouldn’t you be speaking to the project foreman then? He is the one actually managing the construction, I am simply designing the expansion.”

“Which is why I will be working with you,” Lorraine replied. “The construction workers are just carrying out the architect’s design, and since you are the architect...”

“Right, so what did you… or the investors, want to talk about.”

“Your firm sent over your preliminary designs,” the woman said. “They included structural designs as well as the design for the facade and then interior of the exhibits.” She pulled the papers out of her briefcase and Kara recognized copies of her own work. “It’s very thorough, so I was curious as to the type of person who would design all of this.”

“I knew the facade and interior of the wing would take more drafts to design, and I didn’t want to hold up construction when they could start building the frame and foundation.” Kara pulled out the drawing and specifications she laid out for the bones of the structure. “By giving the builders this much to start with, they could begin work and would have the frame finished by the time I finalized the exterior design. And the interior could be completed later with input from the museum staff.”

“It’s very Greek inspired,” Lorraine commented. “What led you to that design?”

Kara pointed out at the city, “A lot of the buildings in Gotham are based on ancient Greek and Roman architecture, which is why I was assigned to this project. Those areas are my speciality. I wanted the new wing for the museum to fit with the rest of the building, not stick out like a sore thumb.”

“Don’t you think that having a new wing that looked different from the rest of the building would further emphasize that the content of the new wing were going to be different from the rest of the museum?”

“I beg to differ,” Kara answered. “Having a wing that looks drastically different means that it looks like it doesn’t belong to the museum. By blending the appearance but giving it a new flair, that means it looks like it belongs there.”

“So you are firmly tethered to this design then?”

“I’m committed to the idea yes, but I have made other façade designs to find the best one.” The blonde gestured to the other sketches scattered around her desk and the one on the drafting board behind her. “Are the investors really that concerned about what the final design looks like?”

“You may not be aware of this Ms. Larelle, but my father, Senator Walter Reilly, is the one who raised the money for this particular project, and donated most of the funds himself really,” the redhead answered. “He grew up in Gotham and is very concerned with the image presented by the city. He feels by adding a Natural history section to the museum, that it will drum up more interest from the citizens and shift the focus from the darker aspects of the city’s history.”

“You mean the fact that this city was basically founded on crime,” Kara said. “I may not be from Gotham Ms. Reilly, but I’ve been to the exhibits in the museum and I read the Gotham Gazette daily, not a day goes by that it doesn’t report on one violent crime or another. Donating a new wing to a museum isn’t going to change that.”

“It’s not about convincing people that crime doesn’t happen,” Lorraine retorted. “It’s about giving them something else to focus on, some measure of happiness or curiosity to take their mind off of everything.”

“And part of this is making sure that the building looks right?”

“No, that’s more my father being particular.” The woman pulled another piece of paper out of her briefcase and left it on the desk. “These are our suggestions for the design, I will be seeing you again Ms. Larelle.”

Kara looked down at the list in amusement as the woman strode out of her office. “I guess we will be seeing a lot of each other Ms. Reilly.”

 


 

It was annoying really, to have someone she only knew for five minutes to challenge her outlook, shake it to its very core. The last person to have managed that in such a short amount of time was Diana, and though she had fond memories of the woman, it didn’t work out the way she had hoped in the end. Kara didn’t know what to make of Lorraine Reilly, other than the woman was opinionated, and a consummate professional. Her words, while irritating, did get Kara thinking about the people of Gotham and what they needed. She pulled on the costume that has become a familiar friend over the past three years, and disappeared into the darkened streets. 

Crime was abundant in Gotham, not necessarily more so than Metropolis, but violent crime was higher in the city than anywhere else in the country and Kara could believe it. She heard it on a daily basis from her office, and could see it even more now after the sun had long set under the horizon. It didn’t take her long to find people to help, though sometimes it was difficult to determine who criminal and victim in some of the altercations. In those instances, Kara would end up knocking them both out and dropping them off near the police station in order to let the proper authorities sort them out. 

Several hours and numerous aborted muggings and assaults later, Kara was ready to call it a night. It didn’t feel like she made much of a difference truthfully, for every criminal she put away, it seemed as if three came out of the shadows to take their place. She wondered if this was the definition of insanity, continuing to put people away only to have them be released or put away the ones that emerged in their absence. It was something she had been doing for years in Metropolis but for some reason it felt heavier in Gotham, weightier, like the city had been waiting for someone to try and help it, for someone to care. She was about to leave her spot on top of one of the numerous skyscrapers in the city when she heard the sound of people screaming caught her attention.

Kara dropped down to one of the lower buildings and darted off towards the screaming. She stopped short and her eyes widened at the sight that greeted her. A woman in a black and yellow leotard with flaming blue-ish white hair had hold of a man that was clutching a baseball bat in his hands. The woman’s eyes were glowing white and her free hand was shooting fireballs at people as they ran away from her. 

“You think you can vandalized people’s possessions, their businesses, take away their livelihoods and get away with it,” the woman hissed out, her voice low and gravely. “You think you can hurt people and get away unscathed, unpunished.” The hand fisted in the man’s shirt tightened and before Kara could move, it caught on fire, instantly burning through his shirt and down to his skin. 

The screams the man let out echoed through her ears and Kara jumped down from her spot, kicking the woman away from her hostage. She caught the man before he fell down to the ground and quickly pulled the remnants of his charred shirt away from his burnt flesh. The skin was already blackened from the flame and Kara knew that she would have to get him to a hospital before infection set into the burn. She looked up and glanced around for the woman, but she had vanished, something Kara didn’t think was possible for a woman with fire coming from her hands and head. 

Kara dropped the man off at the nearest hospital before returning to her position overlooking the city. She stretched her senses out as far as they could go with all of the noise and older lead-lined buildings, but she couldn’t find any trace of the woman. “I guess my time in Gotham just got a little more interesting.”



Chapter Text


 

“A burning woman, are we sure that we’re not talking about a festival in the Nevada desert?” Cat asked, her voice garbled through the phone. “Because remember I went last year for an article and it was rather boring, let me tell you.”

“She wasn’t burning exactly,” Kara replied. “It was more like she was producing fire. Her hair was fiery and she shot flames from her hand, but she wasn’t made of fire. I wasn’t really sure what to make of her.”

“She shot fire out of her hands, you shoot fire out of your eyes, what’s the difference?”

“Cat…”

“What? I’m trying to figure out why you’re concerned about this woman, when she doesn’t seem all that different from you. You said she flies, she must have strength if she lifted that man up, and she’s made of fire. What did she say about the man that she caught?”

“He had a baseball bat in his hand and she claimed he was smashing property, typical vandalism. There was a group of them and he was probably the first one she got to when she reached them.” Kara hummed as she thought about what she had witnessed the day before. “I can understand stopping them, even using a little bit of force to do it, but burning him? She almost killed him if I hadn’t stopped her, and I doubt that she would have stopped at just the one.”

“Don’t tell me that you’re one of those wilting daisies that don’t believe in ending your enemies in a permanent manner.”

“If you remember Grant, I was raised by a race of warriors for over 2000 years, they are completely in support of smiting enemies before they have a chance of becoming worse, but this was different. These humans weren’t enemies, they were just criminals, and they didn’t deserve to be killed for busting a few cars and windows.”

“That is true, I’ve definitely seen worse here and these people are still up and walking around,” Cat replied. “Some are even soldiers, though I will say that war does awful things to people, truly awful things.”

“How much longer are you going to be there anyway, and where are you?”

“Classified, and I’m not sure how long I’m going to be here. There’s something funny going on here, a story just under the surface of all of this war and chaos.”

“You’ll keep me updated though if you need assistance right?”

“Obviously, what are you going to do about your little problem? Are you going to look for this mysterious woman, or are you going to wait for her to show up again?”

Kara sighed, “I don’t think I have much choice, I looked everywhere for her after she disappeared, but she just… vanished. If I didn’t witness that man’s burn with my own eyes and have to take him to the hospital, I wouldn’t be able to say she actually existed.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I’m going to be working in Gotham for another few months until the museum project is completed, so I’ll be in the city to keep an eye on things, poke around, find out more information about this woman. I haven’t heard anything about her in Metropolis, but just because there hasn’t been any reports doesn’t mean she hasn’t been hanging around.”

“Setting people on fire?”

“Well, I feel like if she had been doing that, we would’ve heard something by now,” Kara mused. “Have you heard anything from Angela? She’s usually the first to know about things like this.”

“You know that we haven’t spoken in several months, not since our… disagreement.”

Kara snorted, disagreement was an interesting word for it. Cat and Angela Chen had such a contentious relationship that she believed that the two would end up killing each other or sleeping together. Fortunately, or unfortunately for her enhanced senses, it ended up being the latter. They had an on and off again relationship, kept quiet of course, until a few months ago when Cat was offered the war-correspondent position. Angela didn’t want Cat to put herself in that much danger, while Cat wanted to continue to gain experience, to climb the ladder. The argument that came about as a result was the stuff of legends, explosive, the end result being Cat accepting the promotion, and Angela leaving to take a position with the Daily Planet’s TV News station as one of the morning anchors. “It wouldn’t kill you to apologize you know.”

“It might,” Cat groused. “I have to go, I’ve occupied the phone too much as is. I’ll see about calling you in a few days.”

“Don’t go dying on me Grant, I hate to have to break in a new best friend.”

She could hear Cat snorting through the phone. “I could say the same thing to you Larelle.”

 


 

“I’m not interrupting your lunch am I?” Lorraine stated, strolling through the door of Kara’s office. “Though it’s a bit early for lunch isn’t it?” She made a show of looking at the watch on her wrist and Kara rolled her eyes, knowing that it would show that it was just after 10 o’clock in the morning. 

Kara set down her chopsticks and pushed her container of dumplings and sauce to the side of her desk, and looked up at the other woman. “How can I help you today Ms. Reilly?”

“I took your design to the sponsors of this project, and they approved of the idea about making sure that the wing matches the rest of the building but they would prefer if there was some distinction in order to capitalize on the new direction they’re trying to paint for the city.”

“I see…” It wasn’t the first time that Kara has had to deal with clients wanting to have their own influence on the design, but it was the first time that she was dealing with an intermediary rather than the actual clients. She figured that if anyone had specifics about what the new wing should look like, it would be the director or curators of the Gotham City museum, not someone representing the people that funded the project. “What do they suggest then?”

“I have a list of suggestions for both the exterior and the interior of the wing,” the redhead replied, taking a folder out of her briefcase. “I’ve already spoken with the director of the museum and he approved whatever was decided.”

“Of course you have,” Kara sighed. “What are your ideas?”

Lorraine started discussing the different designs that had been suggested for the project, and Kara returned to eating her dumplings while she listened. She interrupted the other woman a few times to point out problems with some of the designs, but overall she was content to just let her keep talking while she finished her brunch. “Should I leave you alone so you can finish your food?” Lorraine asked, her eyebrows arched. “You sound like you’re really enjoying it, should I leave you with some alone time, or are we going to be professional now and actually start working this out?”

Kara set down her chopsticks again, having finished her dumplings, and wiped her mouth with one of the napkins she kept in her desk drawer. She glanced at the clock and found that the other woman had been in her office just over two hours. “Why don’t we continue this over lunch,” the blonde stated, grabbing her purse and jacket. “I’ve been in this office for long enough, and I think better with a sandwich.”

“You just finished eating an entire bowl of dumplings!” Lorraine protested. “You can’t still be hungry.”

“Problems with a fast metabolism, follow me Ms. Reilly, we can walk and talk at the same time.”

She walked out of her office and she could hear the other woman scrambling for her papers in an attempt to follow her. Normally she wouldn’t be so abrupt with someone, but it had been a long few days since the woman’s first visit and Kara was just done with the week. The redhead eventually caught up with her, and the two women left the office building. “Where are we going?” Lorraine asked after they had walked a few blocks. “If you were looking for a sandwich, we passed several decent restaurants.”

“Yes, but none of them are near the museum,” Kara pointed out. “There’s a food truck that parks down the block from the museum and the construction site, probably the best food in the city. We go, grab a sandwich, and then head over to the site so you can have a better idea of what kind of design ideas will work.”

The other woman’s eyes narrowed at the blonde’s words. “I have the specifications of the building, and the location, why would I need to see the construction of the frame? It’s the façade that I’m concerned about, not the base structure that you designed and is currently being constructed.”

“Sometimes seeing the whole project puts things in perspective,” Kara answered. “Seeing it with your own eyes anyway and not just from blueprints and pictures.”

They continued walking for another few blocks before they finally came to the Gotham City museum, and the construction site for the new wing just on the eastern side of the building. Lorraine stopped and took in the side of the poured foundation and beams going up for the new wing. Her head swiveled from the new construction, to the museum building itself and the surrounding structures. “I see what you mean,” she said, her eyebrows scrunching as she took in everything around. “Some of the suggestions for the façade didn’t take the other buildings into account.”

“And the city’s fire rules,” Kara added. “I’ve been researching them extensively as I have redrafted the design in order to comply with all of the restrictions. Maybe we can save some time and take out all of your ideas that won’t work, and focus on the ones that could be incorporated into the design that I have been working on with the foreman.”

Lorraine turned a glare on the architect and Kara pretended not to notice as she continued walking another block to the food truck parked on the corner of the street. The blonde handed a few bills over to the man in the truck and waited for their food, the best Philly cheesesteaks in Jersey as advertised on the truck. She hadn’t tried all of the restaurants in the city, but she hadn’t found any others that actually served Philly cheesesteaks so Kara was forced to agree with the food truck’s were the best in the city, not that it was a difficult feat.

A few minutes later, the man placed two baskets with loaded cheesesteak sandwiches on the counter, the cheese oozing off the sandwich and onto the pile of fries at the bottom of the basket. “I’m not eating that,” Lorraine declared when Kara set the two baskets down on one of the small tables the food truck places out for lunchtime. “There has to be at least 3000 calories there.”

“You can walk off some of it on your way back to your car if you feel like you have to,” Kara replied, biting into her own sandwich. “It’s really good, you might regret not eating it really, and you might make poor Nick think that there’s something wrong with his food.”

“Tell me how an architect from Metropolis gets on a first name basis with a food truck vendor in Gotham after only being in the city for a few short weeks?”

Kara shrugged, “Nick parks his truck here for lunch, so I’ve been stopping here on days when I’m over here discussing things with the foreman. Isn’t hard to get on a first name basis when you see someone basically every other day.”

“Are we going to be on a first name basis Ms. Larelle?”

“If you keep showing up unannounced at my office, probably not,” the blonde retorted. When the other woman shot her a dark look, Kara just shrugged again and kept eating, she really was done with this week.

“Fine then, Kara,” the redhead started. “Why didn’t you just tell me all of this, about the fire code and the other buildings in your office before I started detailing the different plans?”

“I’ve had a long week,” Kara said, popping a fry in her mouth. “And I wanted a cheesesteak. You really needed to see the site, so I thought might as well kill two birds with one stone.”

“So now that I’ve seen the site…”

“We can have an actual discussion about your ideas,” the blonde stated. “Save some time by eliminating the ones that will not work. I don’t mind incorporating some of your ideas into the final design, especially since you represent the sponsors of the project, but I have a certain reputation as an architect, I cannot do something that will harm that reputation.”

“Basically you’re saying nothing stupid then.”

Kara shrugged again, and finished eating her sandwich. “Here, give me your files,” she said. “I’ll look through them while you work through your own food.”

Lorraine narrowed her eyes and glanced between Kara, the sandwich in front of her, and her briefcase before removing the papers and handing them over to the blonde. “Just know, I’m only eating this because I’m hungry, so I’m doing this under duress.”

The blonde just hummed and glanced through the papers in the folder, her mind easily cataloging the different design ideas and which ones would be best to incorporate into her overall design. She voiced some of her thoughts to the woman across from her as she glanced through the papers, though mostly she was talking to herself as she thought. After a couple hours, the two settled on a design and Kara roughly sketched out the ideas in her notebook before putting it away.

“Well that was settled easier than I thought it would be,” Lorraine said, leaning back in the chair. “And that sandwich was really good.”

“Best in the city,” Kara agreed, gesturing towards where the pronouncement was emblazoned on the side of the truck.

“I don’t think anyone else sells a Philly cheesesteak in the city.”

“That’s what I thought, but if that’s true, then I guess the statement works.”

Lorraine just hummed and studied the woman across from her intently. “How did you get started with architecture?” She asked, the question blurting out without warning. “It doesn’t seem like something someone like you would be interested in.”

“What do you mean someone like me?”

“Wel-l,” the redhead stammered. “I mean someone like… well, you’re just very beautiful, and it doesn’t seem like a field that someone who looks like you would major in and seek a career.”

“What career does it look like I should be in?”

“A model perhaps,” Lorraine replied absentmindedly, distracted by the clear blue eyes piercing into her own. At the questioning look the blonde was sending her, the woman scrambled to recover from her blunder, “Ah, um I just mean you look… You could easily be a model if you wanted to be one, or any kind of celebrity really.”

“I guess I’ll take that as a compliment,” Kara replied. “But really I like designing buildings, for clients, for myself, for fun. I might decide to do something different in the future, but for right now, I enjoy doing this.” She leaned back in her chair and studied the woman across from her, “What about you, did you always want to be… the go between for an investor group and an architect?”

“I actually work for my father if we’re being honest,” Lorraine admitted. “Senator Walter Reilly, I’m one of his staffers, and he asked me to oversee this project since he’s the one driving it.”

“What’s that like, working for your father?”

“It’s… it wasn’t my idea. I graduated from law school, fully intending to get a job at a law firm and then go into politics after gaining some experience, but my father told me that working for him would be better experience than being an underling at a law firm. I didn’t disagree that working as a Senate staff wouldn’t be fantastic experience, but I would rather that it wasn’t my father.”

“Difficult working for family?”

“You could say that.”

The two left the table soon after that and started making their way back to the office building where they started. The afternoon sun hung low in the sky, causing the shadows cast by the tall buildings to grow longer with every moment the sun sank further on the horizon. “How long have you lived in Gotham?” Kara asked, not wanting to keep walking about in silence.

“Pretty much my entire life,” Lorraine replied. “Except for the few times when my Dad was stationed at a particular base, he’s a retired army colonel.”

“Army brat?”

“For a while, until my parents divorced and I moved back to Gotham with my mother. My father stuck it out with the military until I graduated from high school, he ended up missing the event which might have been a wake up call for him.” The woman stopped short at her own words, “I have no idea why I just told you that.”

“Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger than someone you’ve known for a long time.”

“Well, what about you, since I’ve spilled some heavy secrets, seems only fair you do as well.”

Kara shrugged, “Orphaned at a young age, adopted by a wonderful woman when I was a teenager and I spent my formative years on the island where she lived. Moved to America to find what was left of my biological family, found them, and they encouraged me to apply for school at Metropolis University. The rest is, well, history.”

“Oh,” Lorraine murmured. “Now I feel bad about my sad divorced parents story.”

“Don’t be, it’s been a long time.” Longer than you know. “And my adoptive family is wonderful.” Kara decided to change the conversation before the woman started asking more questions than she really wanted to answer. “So if you’ve lived here a while, what can you tell me about that fiery woman that attacked a group of hooligans the other night?”

“You heard about that?”

“I saw it,” Kara said. “Or I saw her anyway. I was looking around for a new place to eat before heading back to Metropolis and I caught sight of her.”

“Hmm, well, nobody really knows anything about her except for her name. She calls herself Firehawk,” Lorraine said. “There have been plenty of speculation in the Gotham Gazette, comparing her to Metropolis’s Midnight Avenger, but I’ve never heard of the Midnight Avenger shooting fire out of her hands.”

“Nobody really knows anything about her, where she’s from or what she’s doing?”

“It’s pretty obvious that she’s taking care of criminals, so we really don’t need to know that much about her.” The woman let out a sigh and turned to look at the blonde, “This city, it’s a lot different from Metropolis or wherever else you’re from. It’s dark, gloomy and hard to live in, we need all the help we can get to just deal with living here.”

“If you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?”

“For as many problems as there are with this city, I love it, dirt, shadows and all,” the redhead murmured. “It’s home, and if I leave, I just give into fear that continues to grip this city. I want to do what I can to try and help this city, help the people, and I can’t do that if I leave.”

“But you can do that working for your father?”

“Maybe not right away, but eventually I can work on legislation to help the city, help crack down on crime, improve conditions for everyone that lives here.” The took another deep breath and exhaled, “It might not be enough, but it’s what I can do.”

“I think it will be very interesting to get to know you over this project, Lorraine.”

The woman sent the blonde a wiry smile, “Right back at you Kara.”

 


 

Kara found Lorraine’s words running through her mind as she flew back to Gotham from Metropolis later that night. When she left the redhead hours earlier, she was fully intending for a quiet night at home, watch a few movies or whatever was on the few channels she could get with the antenna. The conversation she had with Lorraine kept circling in her mind though, making her unable to focus on what she was watching. Before she full registered what she was doing, Kara had changed into her costume and was speeding out of the house and into the air.

Flying was one of her favorite parts about having powers. Meeting her mother, her family, friends, Dia- everyone, they were the best things to come from being sent away from Krypton, the best things from landing on Earth. But her powers, they were a side effect of landing somewhere with a sun younger than Rao, and it took time for her to grow accustomed to them. Flying, flying was the best of them, the one that offered her the most freedom, the one she loved to use the most, and unfortunately, the one that was the hardest for her to use living in the city. Becoming the Midnight Avenger granted her the freedom to fly when she wanted, though her mother had advised her not to reveal too many of her powers in order to continue to maintain the upper hand in case a strong opponent appeared. It was a tactical advantage, she knew that, but she missed the days of taking Clark flying over Smallville to look at the stars or soaring over the streams and mountains on Paradise Island. She missed… many things, but dwelling on them just made it worse.

She softly touched down on top of a tall building just on the edge of the city, her mind sorting through the chaos she was hearing. Gotham was different than Metropolis, the size, the structure, the sounds the city made. With the larger number of skyscrapers in the city, sounds bounced around more, echoed from one area to another, and it gave Kara a slight headache whenever she focused in on them. It didn’t take her long to find what she was looking for and she soon kicked off from the roof to make her way towards the noise. 

Three armed robberies and two assaults later, Kara was in the middle of handling the assailant involved in a car jacking when a blast of fire knocked her over, dropping the man in the process. She righted herself immediately and saw Firehawk holding the man she was apprehending, the fire around her hands dangerously burning through his clothing. “Firehawk,” Kara called, drawing the woman’s attention. “Let him go, you don’t have to hurt him.”

“He is a criminal,” the woman’s husky voice growled out. “He is a stain, a virus that keeps infecting this city. To be cleansed, the infection must be cut out at the root.”

“He needs to be stopped yes, to be punished yes, but that is not our job,” Kara countered. “He needs to answer for the crime he committed, and that is for the courts to decide.”

The woman snorted, “Then what? He goes to jail and then he’s back out on the street committing even worse crimes? It’s best to stamp him out now before he gets the chance.” The flames on her hands flared and the man’s whimpers changed to screams, forcing Kara to act. She bolted towards the fiery woman, easily ripped the man from her grasp and blowing out the flames licking at his skin. 

Before Kara could turn around, a body was hurtling into her side, and slammed her into one of the nearby buildings. She pulled herself out of the crater, shook the concrete dust off of her and launched back at the woman. Kara grabbed Firehawk by the suit she was wearing and took off into the sky, pulling the other woman along with her. She could feel the woman hammering against her arms, fire attempting to burn through her clothing to scorch her skin. Heat licked at her arms and face though she pushed the sensation back in her mind, and finally released the other woman, tossing her into the air. 

Firehawk righted herself in air, her burning eyes glaring down at the other woman when she regained her bearings. She looked ready to charge again when she cocked her head and focused on something in the distance. A piercing screech left her mouth and she threw another fireball in Kara’s direction, blinding the blonde for a few brief seconds. When the fire cleared, the woman had vanished, leaving Kara alone floating over Gotham City with more questions than she had answers.

 

Chapter Text


 

Kara blinked, “You want me to what?”

Lorraine rolled her eyes, “You heard me, I want you to come with me to my father’s fundraising dinner tomorrow night. It’s a bit last minute, but really I didn’t even think about it; you could meet some of the other sponsors of the museum’s new wing at the same time.”

“Which is good I guess, but why do you want me to come along?” Kara asked. “I can always meet the sponsors at the next museum board meeting, I have no doubt that some of them sit on the board or are acquainted with board members enough to be at the meeting to discuss the new wing.”

“Er, well yes, but I think this party will be a better venue for meeting people, and you can meet more of the rich and famous of Gotham elite than at a board meeting.”

“Good connections yes, which I’m sure I could gather, but I do most of my work in Metropolis rather than Gotham. Seeing as they’re in two different states, I would get more out of connecting with the rich and powerful present in Metropolis.” Her eyes narrowed as she stared at the redhead across from her, “What is the real reason you want me to attend with you?”

“Fine,” Lorraine sighed. “I do think it would be good for you to go, to make more connections, but I… I need backup, or a buffer really…”

“A buffer?”

“It’s my father, he has certain… aspirations… plans… hopes for me. He wants me to settle down, find a nice young man from a good family, one that could help me further my political future. He has his eye on a few, he’s dropped a few family names and occupations to me recently. I keep telling him I’m not interested, but he doesn’t listen. There will be a few of his top choices at this dinner, and I need someone to help me dodge them. You’re… you so there’s no way that they won’t be drawn to you, taking some of their attention off of me.”

“I’m going to take that as a compliment in hopefully the spirit that it was intended rather than something else.”

“That wasn’t what I meant, you’re beautiful, intelligent, interesting, who wouldn’t pay attention to you?

Kara thought she detected… something behind Lorraine’s words, something that showed in her eyes for just a fleeting moment, but it wasn’t there long enough for her to figure out what it was or what it meant. She decided to put it out of her mind for the moment, but she would have to watch the other woman carefully if she saw a hint of it again. “So this dinner,” she started. “What do I have to wear?”

“Thank you so much Kara,” Lorraine said, relief coloring her tone. “It’s formal evening wear, so if you have a gown or something, that would be great.”

The price tags that she had seen on evening gowns in the store when she was looking for a nice dress to wear for her graduation years ago made her wince, and Kara doubted that they had changed all that much in the intervening years. “Evening wear, right, I’ll find something, where is this dinner located?”

“The ballroom of the Preston,” the redhead replied, referencing the most prestigious hotel in Gotham. “It’s owned by the Wayne foundation, probably the richest family in Gotham. The son just resurfaced after years away partying, touring the world; he’s taking over the company to continue his parents legacy, part of which is dealing with politics.”

“And is he one of the people your father…”

Lorraine shrugged, “Maybe? He’s kind of a playboy, so I don’t know if my father would appreciate that, but he definitely wouldn’t mind if I went it that direction. He just doesn’t understand that I’m not interested in me- in getting married right now.”

The blonde caught the slight hesitation in her voice when she spoke, and she wondered what the woman originally planned to say. “So I have to distract the rich and famous in Gotham away from you so your father doesn’t get any ideas, sounds like it will be an interesting dinner, tell me at least that there will be something good to eat?”

“The caterer was ridiculously expensive, so no doubt there will be several courses with tiny little portions.” The corners of Lorraine’s eyes crinkled as she witnessed the dismayed look on the other woman’s face. “I’ll buy you a pizza afterwards as thanks for me forcing this dinner on you.”

“Deal.”

 


 

Kara smoothed down the fabric of her gown for what felt like the 100th time as she walked up the steps to the Preston hotel. She had flown back to Themyscira for her mother’s help with an evening gown since she was unable to afford the nicer ones in the department stores. Pythia was able to adapt some of her formal Amazonian gowns into something that resembled what human designers would have made. She had given Kara several different options of colors, but ultimately the blonde settled on a silvery white dress that flowed down her like liquid fog. The gown wrapped around her torso before flaring out at the waist slightly allowing more movement in her legs. The slit on the left side all the way up her thigh also allowed more movement but Kara was doing her best not to think about it. A single strap wrapped around her left shoulder, leaving her other shoulder and back completely exposed, and her leg flashed out a little from the slit on the side of the dress. 

The attendant at the door of the hotel opened it for her and Kara stepped into the lobby, her eyes tracking upwards to take in the entirety of the splendor. It was clearly a hotel meant to cater to the upper-class, people that were used to and could afford the finery around her. Everything was crisp and clean, a live cellist and pianist were playing soft music in the corner and plus armchairs and sofas were placed around them so people could relax while listening to music. 

A large chandelier hung just over the lobby with hundreds of glass crystals dangling and sparkling in the light. Kara could see a bar and restaurant to the left just outside of the lobby and could hear the low murmur of voices and the clinking of glasses. “Kara,” Lorraine called and Kara turned towards the voice, spotting the redhead walking towards her. “Wow,” she murmured when she drew closer to the blonde. “You look beautiful.”

Kara blushed, “Thanks, you look beautiful too.” 

Lorraine just scoffed and rolled her eyes, tugging at the long sleeves of the black dress she was wearing. “I mean, this dress is nice and all but nothing compared to…” Her voice trailed off and she gestured to the liquid silver wrapped around Kara’s frame. “And how high are your heels? How can you walk in those?”

“Practice,” the blonde replied, taking Lorraine’s arm. “Now why don’t you show me where this dinner is being held.”

“Oh right, let me take you and introduce you to my father, he’s just talking to a few of his senior staffers before more of the VIPs get here.”

“You saying I’m not a VIP Reilly?”

“You are to me,” the woman murmured before shaking her head. “Right, anyway, we’re just up on the mezzanine floor in their large ballroom/event room.”

“So you came down to get me?”

“Er, ah, I was watching for you, didn’t want you to get lost, so I came down when I saw you walk in.”

Kara smiled and squeezed Lorraine’s arm lightly, “It wouldn’t do for your distraction to be late or to get lost in the lobby of a hotel.”

“Distraction?”

“For your unwanted suitors.”

Lorraine blinked, “Right, suitors, them, of course. I don’t know where my brain is at right now.”

“Well you have been working overtime on the re-election campaign and scheduling in time to oversee the design and construction of a building wing. I imagine that takes a lot of time, planning, and mental prowess.”

“It takes a lot of time and energy that’s what it takes,” Lorraine grumbled, leading Kara into the event room. 

The blonde glanced around, taking in the large chandelier hanging over the room and the numerous tables set up with silverware, glasses, and elaborate floral arrangements. Over a dozen people were already spread around the room conversing with each other. Everyone was dressed in their best clothes, and Kara could instantly spot the other staffers for the senator because of the way they carried themselves in their evening wear. Wealthy socialites, businessmen, and practiced politicians were used to mingling at such types of events to create contacts and build goodwill within the community. If they were uncomfortable in their clothing or with the event, it did not show on their faces, and that made it easier to spot those who were unused to being in such a setting.

Lorraine led them over to an older man who stood a few inches taller than the blonde. His graying hair was cropped close to his head, no doubt a leftover from his army days, along with the firm way he carried himself. The piercing look in his eyes had Kara narrowing her own trying to make out what kind of person was Senator Walter Reilly. “Daddy,” Lorraine greeted, leaning up to kiss the man on his cheek. “I see more of your donors have shown up.”

“Yes it’s looking like it will be a very good event, many people have donated which will serve us well during next year’s election.” His gaze drifted from his daughter and fell on Kara, revealing nothing as to the emotions behind the man’s stare. “Would you introduce me to your friend?”

“Daddy, this is Kara Larelle, the architect of the museum project you’re spearheading, you’ve probably heard me mention her since I’ve been working with her for the past month,” Lorraine said. “Kara, this is my father, Senator Walter Reilly, army colonel retired.”

“Ah yes, I remember Lorraine mentioning the name and seeing it on the designs that we viewed.” The expression in the man’s eyes changed slightly, though Kara still had trouble reading him. Even with her superior senses, she could only detect minute changes in his facial features and body posture, further indicating his military background. “You’re much younger than I thought you would be, the designs that we looked at seemed to be from a more seasoned architect.”

“I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or not,” Kara replied.

The man just hummed, “Yes, well, enjoy the dinner. There will be other sponsors for the museum project here tonight, and I’m sure they will be delighted to meet you. If you excuse me, more of my donors are coming in and I have to greet them.” Senator Reilly nodded his head to Kara and then looked to his daughter, “Lorraine with me.”

Lorraine looked at her friend apologetically, “I have to go. I did get you a good seat at dinner between Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox, both very influential, and while Bruce is a bit of a playboy, Lucius is interesting so you should have a good dinner.”

“We shall see,” Kara murmured when the other woman walked away. The blonde spent the hour before dinner sipping champagne and mingling with the Who’s Who of Gotham City. She used this time to observe the people around her, focusing mainly on her red-haired friend and her interactions with her father. Kara really didn’t know what to make of Senator Walter Reilly; at best, he was difficult to read, his real intentions and feelings anyway. He presented a good show to the others around him, laughing and joking with everyone in the room, but the emotions never reached his eyes. The ability to hide one’s emotions made for an excellent military career and was probably even more useful for a politician, but it didn’t help Kara understand what kind of person he was.

Dinner was announced and the attendees soon found their seats, and Kara found herself between an older man with dark skin and graying hair and a young man with dark hair brushing down over his right eye. She instantly recognized Bruce Wayne from the article that Cat had written about him over a year ago. It was news even in Metropolis when the heir to one of the largest fortunes in North America reappeared after having been missing for several years. In his interview with Cat, the younger man claimed that he was on a spiritual quest searching for himself. Seeing him in person and the hardness in his eyes, Kara wondered what it was that he had found about himself.

“So you are an architect?” Kara turned her attention to the man seated on her left. Lucius Fox was the current CEO of Wayne Enterprises, and was someone she had encountered before since he was on the board for the Gotham City museum. He studied her for a moment before recognition entered his eyes, “Of course, you’re the architect working on the museum project, I knew that you looked familiar. You’ve attended a few of the board meetings when we discussed the project.”

“Yes, though I don’t think we’ve ever actually spoken.”

The man chuckled, “No, while being on the board of the museum is one of the few things I enjoy doing, I don’t often have time for it. I have had my hands full managing the Wayne Enterprises and getting young Bruce Wayne over there up to speed on the workings of the business.”

Kara turned her attention to the younger man next to her when she heard him scoff and she looked at him just in time to see him roll deep blue eyes. “He calls it catching up,” Bruce muttered. “I call it doing grunt work. I just managed to get out of the mailroom and now I’m making coffee runs.”

“We all have to start somewhere,” Kara said. “Even the heir to a multi-billion dollar corporation.”

“And where does an architect start out?” Bruce asked. “Designer dog houses?”

“That definitely would have been more interesting than what I was doing,” the blonde replied. “I started off fetching coffee during an internship, then drafting up cookie cutter houses and apartment buildings after I got a full time job. Nothing exciting, but enough to get experience and build up enough respect with my bosses. Maybe that’s what Mr. Fox is attempting to do with you, help you build up respect with the people that work in your company and to help you understand every single person that works for you.”

“I’ll have to bow to your superior wisdom in this instance Ms. Larelle,” Bruce told her. “Lucius has told me a bit about the expansion for the museum that you’re working on, but it would be interesting to hear about it from the perspective of the one who designed the wing.”

Kara studied the young billionaire’s face for a moment to determine if he was sincere before she started describing her current project. They kept talking, discussing her work and what Bruce was learning about his family’s company with occasional comments from Lucius about other projects the Wayne family foundation financed through the years. The final course was being brought out when Kara decided to change the subject away from work. “I understand you were away from Gotham for many years,” Kara said. “What was it like coming back to the city after all of that time?”

“It was… different,” Bruce answered. “But at the same time, it was exactly the same.” He was quiet for a moment before he continued, “After everything that happened with my parents, I grew up in this city with a different view of it than I had previously, the darkness. I had hoped that when I came back it would be different, or that I would view the city differently but… It’s not different, there’s a darkness over this city, a darkness in it, something that seems to encourage violence.” He tapped his fingers on the table in an irritated gesture, “Even this woman that has emerged to try and stop criminals gives into the same darkness that plagues the city. It’s disheartening.”

“There’s a saying that goes ‘the only thing evil needs to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing’,” Kara said. “If evil is happening around you, the best thing you can do is fight against it, to do good, whatever you can.”

Before the man could reply, one of Reilly’s staffers tapped his glass, and the senator stood up. With the speech and words of gratitude that followed, Kara wasn’t able to talk with Bruce again for the rest of the night. Lorraine quickly returned to her side once dinner was over and people started trickling out of the room, signaling the event was winding down. “Sorry for abandoning you during dinner,” the woman said, a remorseful look on her face.

“It’s alright, I had a good time, Lucius is pretty interesting and Bruce Wayne has more depth than I thought a billionaire playboy would.”

“Really? He always struck me as a bit shallow, but maybe I’m not his type.”

Kara shrugged, “I don’t think I’m his type either, I just think he was intrigued with my work. I also think he was looking for an outsider’s perspective on Gotham, he asked me a lot of questions on what I thought about the city, the people.”

“And what did you say?”

“Ah, girl has to have her secrets.” Kara winked at her friend before glancing around at the remaining people in the room. “Since the dinner is winding down, I think I’m going to call it a night.”

“I have a room upstairs,” Lorraine rolled her eyes. “I figured I would be far too tired after arranging this whole thing to drive home and I don’t like taking taxis. I can walk out with you though, I think I can leave the rest of the event with the other staffers.”

The blonde didn’t want to explain her lack of a car so Kara was quick to present a different option. “How about I walk you to your room? We can decompress for a bit before I have to get back to Metropolis.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” Lorraine sighed. “I could use something stronger to drink, these events are always exhausting. Will you be okay to drive home if you stay for a drink?”

“I have a pretty high tolerance so I’ll be alright,” Kara replied. “And I only drank water at dinner.”

“Always a wise idea when dining with the too rich and scandalous,” the redhead admitted. “Something I’ve learned after years of working for my father.” The two made their way up to the fourth floor where Lorraine had her room, and she let them both into the suite and immediately moved to the mini-bar. “There’s not much here,” she said, taking out two glasses. “But whiskey is whiskey.” She poured some of the amber colored liquid into the glasses and handed one to her blonde friend.

“To a successful event,” Kara cheered, clinking her glass against Lorraine’s.

“To an event that’s over,” the woman corrected before downing the whiskey in one gulp. “Do you want any more?” Kara shook her head and Lorraine poured herself another few fingers of whiskey before knocking it back as well. 

“Is this what you normally do after one of these dinners?” Kara asked when the redhead finally settled down on the couch with her third glass of whiskey.

“Just the stressful ones,” Lorraine answered. “Which is all of them truthfully, but especially the ones where my father decides he’s going to play matchmaker and attempt to introduce me to the sons of his friends or other influential people.” She downed the rest of the whiskey in her glass and poured another, “He’s barking up the wrong tree really.”

“Not interested in aligning yourself with one of the sons of the rich and powerful in Gotham?”

“Not in their sons anyway,” the woman muttered, her eyes tired as she sipped idly at her drink. 

Kara did her best not to react to the statement, but she was surprised. Acceptance and tolerance were gaining ground, but sexuality was still something that wasn’t discussed, especially with the military’s adoption of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy a few years ago. “I’m assuming your father doesn’t know,” she asked softly.

“What, that I like women? Of course not,” Lorraine snorted. “Truthfully I don’t really know how he’ll react. I know he knew a few women in the army that were inclined that way, but it’s different when it’s your own daughter.”

Despite living among humans for over a decade, the things they placed priorities on, the things that they cared about, the things that bothered them, they continued to baffle Kara. They moved onto other topics, discussing the different people at the dinner when the blonde noticed her friend’s eyes were drooping the longer they talked. “I think it’s time I go,” Kara said, standing up from the couch. “It’s late and you’re exhausted.”

Lorraine roused herself from her doze and rose from the couch. “I’ll walk you out, though you don’t have to leave on my account.”

“I’m going to visit my goddaughter for a few days,” Kara said. “Since the museum project is going well, my boss gave me some time off so I can visit them before starting other projects.” 

“So I won’t be seeing you for a few days,” Lorraine commented, an odd look present in her eyes.

“Not until next week I think.” 

Kara was about to open the door when a hand on her arm stopped her. She turned back around and saw the redhead right behind her, the odd look still present in her eyes. The blonde waited as Lorraine seemed to debate with herself for a minute before leaning closer. Soft lips pressed against Kara’s and her eyes drifted shut at the contact. It was just a brief brushing of lips, but it was intimate, soulshocking, breathtaking. They separated only a few seconds after they first kissed, and Kara opened her eyes to see Lorraine standing in front of her, her own eyes still closed. Her eyes fluttered open after a few minutes and dark blue eyes met her own. “So I guess I’ll see you when you get back,” she murmured, her eyes darting away shyly.

“Yeah,” Kara agreed. “I’ll see you when I get back.” She stepped out of the door and it softly shut behind her, leaving her standing in the hallway. She exhaled and leaned back against the wall, her mind whirling. “Well,” she muttered to herself. “That’s something.”

 


 

“So she kissed you,” Eliza said, setting her drink down. “Like actually kissed you, and she wasn’t drunk when she did it?”

“If she was trying to get drunk, she wouldn’t have been drinking whiskey,” Kara replied. “She was tired, a bit more open, but definitely not drunk.”

“How do you feel about it, her?” 

Kara sighed, “I don’t know, Lorraine is so kind, intelligent, beautiful, who wouldn’t be attracted to her?”

“I didn’t ask that, I asked how you felt about her.”

The blonde alien just shrugged, “I really don’t know, I like her, and I am attracted to her, but part of me is still getting used to the idea of… of being with someone.”

“Have you never…”

“It’s complicated,” Kara sighed again. “My culture… on my planet, bondings were for life. People were bonded and that was that, there was no such thing as dating, no such thing as ‘fooling around,’ no such thing as divorce. For a long time I thought that I had to keep that tradition, but I don’t know anymore.”

“Well I remember you told me that before on Krypton you had arranged marriages or a type of marriage computer thing that told you who your bonded was,” the other woman said. “Everything was automated, even children, so there wasn’t any need for dating, or really any need to figure out if you’re compatible with someone, physically, emotionally, spiritually.” 

“In a way it was easier,” Kara groaned. “I didn’t have to worry so much, I didn’t have to feel… things… I didn’t have to worry that I was letting people down…”

“Letting who down? Lorraine?”

“Diana,” Kara breathed out. “There was always something between us but we never got there, not really, and I still… I still have feelings for her, in spite of… well, everything.”

“You spent what, 2000 years with each other and nothing happened?”

“It’s complicated,” Kara repeated, rubbing her head. “I was still holding onto my culture and views about mating, while the Amazons were far more relaxed about that. Diana had several lovers through that time, I didn’t, but there was… something between us… something different than what we had with anyone else.”

“Sounds like you had the emotional aspect of a relationship without actually having a relationship,” Eliza commented. “You want my advice?”

“Only sometimes.”

“Well this time you’re going to take it,” the woman stated firmly. “Kiss Lorraine, date her, sleep with her, do whatever you want to do. You still have feelings for Diana, I get that, part of you will always love her, and eventually you might find your way back to each other and sort out… whatever it is between you two, but for now, she’s not here and you need to start living life instead of worrying about a culture long gone or a potential love unfulfilled.”

“That’s your advice, you want me to… something with Lorraine even though I love someone else?”

“You don’t think I’ve loved other people in my life other than Jeremiah?” Eliza asked. “He wasn’t the first guy I dated you know, I was very popular in high school, a cheerleader and a nerd, dangerous combination.”

“I can imagine.”

“My point being I liked the guys I dated, even fell in love a few times,” the other blonde murmured. “And a part of me will always love them, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not helplessly in love with my dorky, idiotic husband. You like Lorraine, you obviously have feelings for her and that’s confusing you because previously you’ve only had feelings for Diana. It’s okay to like Lorraine, it’s even okay to fall in love with her if that’s what’s in store for you both. Love, heartbreak, falling in love again, it’s part of life Kara, part of being human.”

Kara snorted, “I’m not human Eliza.”

“Maybe not biologically, but I like to think that we all have a little bit of humanity inside of us, even aliens.”

They heard the front door slam open before Kara could reply and a loud voice bellowed out “Aunty Awa!” 

Eliza sighed as they heard the little girl drop all over her things and rattled around the house, searching for her godmother. “My precious, beautiful little demon is home from school.” She pushed up from her seat on the rocking chair on the back porch and turned to head inside. Before she opened the screen door, she glanced back at her friend, “Do think about what I said, you’re allowed to have more out of life than what you’ve been living.” She opened the door and a wiggling Alex pounced on the blonde still seated in a different rocking chair, her mouth immediately jabbering at a blistering pace as she attempted to tell her aunt everything that happened since she last saw her at breakfast that morning. Eliza smirked and shook her head, “Also you’re on babysitting duty for the rest of the day.”


Chapter Text


 

Kara grunted as she took another fireball to the face, the force of the impact pushed her back a few feet. She shook her head and the fire cleared long enough for her to dodge the next fireball flying straight at her. Firehawk came flying in right after the fireball, her fist flying towards Kara’s face. The blonde blocked the hit with her arm and countered with a kick to the other woman’s sternum, sending her back into one of the buildings below them. In one of her previous confrontations with the other woman, Kara had learned that she was stronger than the average human and her punches could leave pretty nasty bruises. 

It had been a while since she had been through a fight that was vicious enough to leave bruises. She rarely sparred when she visited her mother on Themyscira and the Amazons had been the only ones with the power to really hurt her. Even then it would take hours of sparring before exhaustion fully settled into her bones. Now it seemed as if she were dead weight in the air flying back to Metropolis after a fight with the fiery woman. She assumed it was the combination of using her abilities, working all of the time, and fighting with Firehawk a few times a week.

The blonde was mentally and physically exhausted, and even now, facing down a woman trying to burn Gotham to the ground one criminal at a time, all she wanted to do was fly back to her apartment, get in her pajamas and curl up under a blanket and sleep for four days. Firehawk charged at her again and grabbed her ankle, and flew them both towards the ground, throwing the woman into the asphalt and concrete below. “Why do you keep trying to kill them?” Kara asked, her dry throat causing her voice to take a gravely tone. “They’re petty criminals, vandals, thieves, they don’t deserve to die for those things.”

“Where do you draw the line?” Firehawk responded, pushing herself out of the rubble. “They may be limiting themselves to vandalism and theft now, but where do you set the limit? When they start assaulting, raping, murdering people? Where do you decide that enough is enough and stop them permanently?”

“You can’t punish people for something they haven’t done,” Kara replied. “And not everyone that commits petty crime goes on to commit violent crime.”

“But there is the chance that they could,” Firehawk countered. “It is better to eradicate the infection before it is allowed to spread, to erase the stain on humanity before it fully sets in.”

“You have no right to play judge and jury and decide what someone will or will not do in the future, you don’t have that power.”

“You don’t have the power to stop me.”

The woman launched herself at the blonde again, fire flying from her hands, and Kara braced herself for the impact. She quickly blew out cold breath to staunch the flames, causing a dense fog to rise between them. When the fog cleared, Firehawk was gone and Kara was left wondering how she had managed to lose the woman again. Kara scrubbed at her face in frustration, and tugged her hood further over her head before leaving the deserted street behind. Her feet carried her through the backstreets of Gotham, the shadows concealing her presence from the few people she encountered littering the alleys. It didn’t matter much though, Kara had noticed that the people of Gotham paid little attention to her no matter what she did. 

In a way it was a welcome break from all of the attention she received in Metropolis. After years of stopping crime in the city, and the near constant hounding from the press, it was hard for Kara to stay mostly anonymous. The persona of the ‘Midnight Avenger,’ vigilante superhero, was getting harder to maintain, and truthfully Kara was grateful. She couldn’t keep up this particular hero identity forever, it was too much ingrained in secrecy and skulking around in the darkness, not something she would want to do for a long period of time. It wasn’t in her nature to hide in the dark, but it has been good while she adjusted to the reality of life away from isolated Themyscira or quiet Smallville. 

Kara continued walking through Gotham, the slow pace giving her time for her mind to wander as her feet did. It had been several weeks since the fundraising dinner for Senator Reilly and she hadn’t seen Lorraine at all in that time. Originally she had been worried that the other woman was avoiding her because of what happened after the dinner, but Lorraine called her office phone and left a message that her father had been called back to D.C. for a special meeting. As an invaluable member of the Senator’s staff, Lorraine was forced to leave Gotham only the day before Kara returned from Midvale. It was disappointing; after her working through her issues with Eliza, Kara had wanted to talk to the redhead about the kiss, but she didn’t want to do it over the phone. She just worried that by the time she and Lorraine actually got around to talking, she wouldn’t know what to say anymore.

When she got tired of wandering, Kara pushed up off the ground and rapidly rose through the air and above the clouds that always shrouded the city. She lazily drifted over the clouds, her feet skimming through the tops leaving hints of moisture on her shoes. Lightning crackled in the clouds beneath her, lighting up from cloud to cloud causing electricity to sizzle in the air. Inhaling the crisp air simmering with energy, Kara shot down beneath the clouds and headed towards her apartment, the pizzas in her freezer and her pajamas calling her name. 

She was in her apartment less than a minute later, and had a pizza baking in the oven while she pulled on her pajamas. Kara hummed as she shifted on her feet in the kitchen, impatient for her food to finish cooking. She could have zapped the pizza with her heat vision, but she found that it was better at cooking raw meat rather than any product that used dough or batter. The oven dinged and Kara quickly pulled the pizza pan out and set in on the pie. She was halfway through her second slice when her tablet communicator vibrated from where she left it on the couch. Kara glanced between it and her pizza, debating whether it was worth it to answer or to simply ignore the whoever was calling her in favor of finishing her food.

The communicator vibrated more violently and Kara sighed, abandoning her pizza in the kitchen in favor of answering the device. “What?” She asked, seeing Cat’s face on the screen. “I thought this was for emergencies only?”

Cat rolled her eyes, “Right, of course, I’m calling you in the middle of the night because I wanted to discuss the weather. This is an emergency Larelle, stop being stupid, it’s unattractive.”

“What do you want? Where are you?”

“Colombia,” Cat replied. “How quickly can you get down here? There’s something I want you to take a look at.”

“Colombia, Colombia South America Colombia?”

“Yes, that Colombia, what did I say about being stupid?”

“Hasn’t Colombia been a war zone for the past few decades?”

“A very boring one, low-intensity is what I was told .” Cat scoffed, “I guess Perry wanted me to take it easy for a while, but he definitely didn’t know about what I’ve found…”

“Cat, what have you gotten yourself into?”

“Just get down here, yesterday.” Cat’s image cut out, leaving Kara staring at the blank screen.

Kara looked regretfully at the pizza she had left in the kitchen and let out another sigh, “The things I do for you Grant.”

 


 

“What am I supposed to be looking at?” Kara asked, glancing at the ruined huts and houses around her. “This looks like an average village wiped out by conflict, probably find similar looking places all around the world.”

“I know that’s what it looks like?” Cat replied. “I’ve been to some of the other places that have been caught in the middle of the conflict when it gets more intense, and that’s what I thought this place was when I came here to get pictures but… Something is weird here.”

“What kind of weird? And what are you wearing? You look like the character from the upcoming Tomb Raider game Alex has been telling me about.”

Cat sniffed and tugged at her white tank top, tucking the hem down into her khaki pants. “I have been working in the field, as much as I like looking stylish, it is impractical when digging around the wreckage of towns and trooping around cities.”

“I’ve never seen you in hiking boots ever, it’s… odd.”

“I left my stilettos in my other pair of pants, now quit being weird and help me figure out what’s weird here!”

“You keep saying weird, but what do you mean by weird? It looks like every other village torn apart by conflict.”

“That’s what I thought when I originally passed through here,” Cat said. “But when I stopped to take pictures, some muckety-muck in a suit stopped me and ripped the film out of my camera and said no pictures. Fortunately it was a new roll so I didn’t lose anything, but still, why would he do that if he wasn’t trying to cover something up?”

“What did he look like, other than wearing a suit?”

“Tall white male, faceless individual, nothing unique about him at all. Black suit, tie, sunglasses, obviously American, but you know we have to have our noses in everything…”

“You know,” Kara started slowly. “From the way you were describing him, it sounds like some kind of government agent from a movie.”

Cat blinked and then smacked her head with the palm of her hand. “Of course, why didn’t I see it before, he looked like a cheesy Hollywood style government agent because he wasn’t a government agent, they’re not all that creative with their clothing. This village wasn’t torn apart by the conflict, but something that the American government is involved in, it’s a cover up!”

Kara was about to reply when a sound reached her ears and she turned her head in the direction she could hear approaching cars. “Cat we need to hide,” she murmured. “Someone is coming.”

“Shit, where are we supposed to hide, in a burnt out building?”

“Back there,” the older blonde said. “In the trees.”

“I won’t be able to hear from there!”

“I will, now hurry up before I decide to fly the both of us out of here.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Don’t test me Grant,” Kara hissed. She pushed Cat into the forest and settled them both on thick branches several meters off the ground. They were close enough to see the village with the scant moonlight shining down, but far enough away that they wouldn’t immediately be spotted by anyone coming from the road.

“If you make any quips about cats in a tree, I’m going to strangle you,” Cat growled, her arms clutching at the tree trunk next to her.

“Shhhh.” Headlights flashed through the trees and bounced along the road towards the village, eventually emerging into the slight clearing to reveal three black SUVs. Several men in suits got out of the first two SUVs while armed men wearing black tactical gear emerged from the third one. 

Cat reached over to where Kara was perched on another branch and poked her. “That’s suspicious,” she whispered, her eyes narrowing. “I can’t see, is one of the men in the suits tall, dark hair, and looks like walking male privilege?”

“They all look like that,” Kara answered.

“It is the government.” Cat poked the other woman’s arm vigorously, “What are they saying, tell me!”

Kara crossed her eyes in annoyance, “Will you shut up, I can’t focus on what they’re saying if you’re distracting me.”

The other woman continued to grumble but Kara blocked out the sound as best as she could and focused on the men stalking around the village. “There was a journalist with a camera here earlier,” one of the men stated. Kara focused on him since he was most likely the person that Cat ran into earlier, and her assumptions were proven correct with his next statement. “I ripped the film out, but she seemed to be the type that would come back poking around where she shouldn’t.”

“Why come out and do this in the middle of the night then?” One of the other men asked, “We could just make it so that she disappears if she does start poking around, wouldn’t be the first time.”

“Not with a journalist though, too many questions are asked when journalists disappear. No we have to make sure that every trace of what happened here is gone before she decides to come back.” He gestured to the men wearing tactical gear. “Burn it all, leave no trace that this village ever exist.”

“What about the forest?” Another one of the men in suits asked, “An unchecked fire could lead into it and cause more devastation.”

“It’s a risk, but it will help us cover our tracks.” He motioned to the men again, “Go ahead, we’ll leave you to it, don’t leave anything left.”

The agents left, two of the black SUVs retreating down the road while the men stayed and started torching the wreckage of the village. “We have to follow them,” Cat said, glancing to where the SUVs were disappearing. 

“We can’t leave yet, not until we know that they’re not going to burn down the entire forest,” Kara replied, gesturing to where the men were putting together large flamethrowers. 

Fire burst out of the canisters and the five men started directing the flames towards the already burnt out building. “You can’t let them burn down whatever evidence was left behind to what happened here,” Cat stated, whacking Kara in the arm. 

“What do you want me to do? I can’t exactly go over there and punch them, that will be a dead giveaway that we’re here.”

“You have to do something.”

Kara crossed her eyes in annoyance before glancing around to figure out how to deal with the men. The forest they were hiding in wrapped partially around the village and provided good cover from anyone looking into the trees. She dropped from the tree she was in and floated silently to the southern side of the village, right in front of where the men were burning. Inhaling quickly, Kara held the air in her lungs for a moment before exhaling quickly, the speed great enough to blow out the fire without stoking it into a raging inferno. 

The men appeared baffled by the great gust of wind and immediately started into the forest to investigate the source of the sudden wind. Kara shifted to a different location and blew out another large gust of wind, blowing out any of the fires that she missed the first time. The same pattern continued for close to half an hour, the men growing more and more spooked as the sudden wind came from all around them. It wasn’t long after that that the men abandoned their task and fled the area, mumbling about ghosts or the forest being haunted.

Before Kara could move back to where she had left Cat, she heard the other woman shimming, falling really, out of her tree, and plodding her way back into the clearing. “They gone?” The woman asked, stumbling up behind Kara.

“Looks like it, but I don’t want to stay here for very long in case they come back,” Kara answered. “Let’s get to investigating to see if we can find whatever it is they were willing to burn down the forest in order to hide.”

They quickly started searching through what was left of the village, Cat focusing her flashlight on everything she could see and Kara using her enhanced vision to look for even the smallest clue. She wasn’t sure what they were looking for, and she didn’t know if they would find it until she spotted something on one of the walls still partially standing. “Cat, over here,” Kara called, drawing the other woman’s attention. When Cat made her way over, Kara carefully touched the burn mark on the wall, “This looks exactly like the scorch mark that Firehawk makes when she throws one of her fireballs.”

“Does that mean that your nemesis was down here and burnt down this village?” Cat wondered, “And what does she have to do with those government types and why would she be in a random village in Colombia anyway? I thought she was busy terrorizing Gotham?”

“She is…” The older blonde murmured. “And truthfully, I don’t think she was able to come here, burn this village to the ground, and get back to Gotham within the same 24 hour time period. I’ve been dealing with her nearly every night, and while she’s fast, she’s nowhere near as fast as I am or even some of the Amazons. It would be… impossible.”

“If you’re right about that, then we have even more questions, such as who torched the village and why is the government trying to cover it up?”

 


 

“Hey you.” Lorraine’s voice came from her office doorway and Kara spun her chair around to see the redhead leaning against the door frame. 

“Hey,” Kara answered, waving the woman inside. “It’s been a few weeks, how was the Congressional session?”

Lorraine let out a long-suffering sigh, “Same as always really, just a lot of posturing and backroom deals, not getting a lot of things done, currently on a break for the holidays though. The budget was passed successfully, so don’t have to worry about last minute hang ups unless the president doesn’t agree to it.”

“He probably will, won’t want this hanging over him through Thanksgiving and into the Christmas season.”

“You have any big plans for Thanksgiving?”

“I actually agreed to watch my goddaughter for the holiday,” Kara answered. “So I’m going to be picking her up at the Metropolis airport the day before Thanksgiving, probably go to the parade. Why do you want to know?”

“I was wondering if we could see each other maybe over the holiday weekend,” Lorraine suggested. “I’m having dinner with my parents on Thursday of course but other than that…”

Kara studied the other woman for a minute, trying to determine if she actually was implying what she thought she was. “So you finally want to talk about it,” the blonde murmured, setting her pencil down. Lorraine glanced towards the door nervously, and Kara knew immediately what she was thinking. “Don’t worry,” Kara said. “No one else is here today, but you can close the door if it’ll make you feel comfortable.”

Lorraine’s eyes darted towards the door again, and she hesitantly got up and closed it. “Sorry,” she replied, sitting back down. “It’s just, I’m not… nobody knows about…”

“Nobody knows that you like women,” Kara finished. 

“Exactly,” the redhead breathed. “It’s not something I’m ashamed of, but it’s not something that I’m open about either, especially with my parents.”

Kara exhaled sharply, “Your father is ex-military and part of the military affairs committee in the Senate, with their new Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy…”

“It’s not something I really want to talk about with him,” Lorraine confirmed. “People are starting to be more accepting, more open but it’s still… it’s still hard for people… for people like me, to find jobs. Sometimes it’s better to not talk about it, to hide it.”

“You didn’t hide with me,” Kara pointed out. “You… outed yourself to me.”

The redhead placed her head in her hands and groaned, “I know, I don’t know what I was thinking. I was tired, slightly tipsy, and you’re beautiful, intelligent, kind and just too much for my poor lesbian brain to really process. I’m really sorry that I… well, pushed myself on you.”

“You didn’t really push yourself on me,” Kara replied. “If I didn’t want you to kiss me, trust me, you would not have been able to.” Lorraine looked at her curiously and Kara sighed, trying to figure out how much to tell the other woman. “Where I was born… and where I grew up, it didn’t really matter… well, the gender of a person didn’t matter, the society was more concerned with the status or who your family was. After my parents died and I was adopted, my new family, where I was living, it didn’t matter. And now, the friends, people I surround myself with, to them it doesn’t matter either, so I guess I’ve taken it for granted that not everyone lives with such accepting people.”

“So you’re…”

“Gender doesn’t matter to me,” the blonde finished. “It’s not a priority I really think about, the person is more important.”

Lorraine blinked and looked down at the hands clenching in her lap. “This has never happened to me before,” she said. “There were a few girls in college of course, but we all wrote it off as experimentation, just until graduation. I mean, there hasn’t… I haven’t encountered a beautiful woman that actually like women as well… or who was willing to… I don’t really know what to do now.”

“Are you ready to be out?” Kara asked. “To tell people about your… preference?”

“Honestly? Probably not,” the redhead admitted. “I want to, I don’t want to be this person that’s afraid to be who I am, but I’m scared of disappointing my father and my career…”

“Then is there really anything for us to discuss in this? We can’t date, not really, we can keep being friends…”

“I don’t know if I can be friends with someone I think about kissing,” Lorraine admitted. “But I can try, and really not being able to date, that’s on me.”

Kara hesitated another moment, thinking about what Eliza had said to her about giving it a try, even if her heart still yearned for Diana, and even if they couldn’t really be open with… whatever was happening between them. “Maybe we can work something out, we can’t go out on romantic dates, but we can still go out, save the romance for private, if that’s where this is heading.”

“I want it to head that way, do you?”

“There is… someone from my past that I have unresolved… feelings for, and sometimes that makes it difficult to get involved with someone else.”

“Kara, I don’t know where this might go, especially since it has to stay private, but I do want to at least spend more time with you, no obligation. If something develops, something develops, if not, then we will have spent more time together as friends.”

“Didn’t you just say you didn’t think that you could be friends with someone you thought about kissing?”

“I did,” Lorraine nodded. “But I also said I was willing to try, so are you willing to try at a… relationship with me? Even if you still have feelings for someone else?”

The blonde thought for a moment, weighing whether Eliza’s advice was worth following or if she still didn’t feel like she could. A memory flashed through her mind, the last time she saw Diana, boarding a boat to leave Themyscira, leave her. Annoyance briefly ran through her system but was quickly replaced by determination. If Diana could make her own choices, so could she. She looked up at Lorraine and met her eyes, a wiry grin on her face, “We can give it a try.”



Chapter Text


 

“I missed watching the parade live,” Alex commented as she and Kara walked back to the blonde’s apartment, her hand snuggly entwined with the older woman’s. “TV is okay, but it’s not the same… somethingness.”

“Not the same energy or atmosphere,” Kara provided. “And you’re right, sometimes the TV is better, like if the weather is bad, though it also does give a good view and you don’t have to wait to see the parade, but the energy of the crowd, the people waiting, the people in the parade, they make it worth it to watch in person.”

Alex jumped over a grate in the sidewalk and looked up at her aunt, “So how come you aren’t spending Thanksgiving with your family this year?”

“Well you’re here so I thought I was spending time with family.”

“Aunt Ara!” The girl huffed and stomped her foot, “You know what I mean!”

“Do I?” A groan emerged from the girl beside her and a sharp tug on her arm had Kara grinning and acquiescing to Alex’s not so patient demand. “Yes I know what you mean. You know that I usually spend Thanksgiving with you and your mom and dad. I will see Martha, Jonathan and Clark in a few weeks for Hanukkah, and I will visit my mom on the winter solstice. Thanksgiving and Christmas are for you guys, and since your mom and dad asked me to look after you while they got some work done, we get to have all kinds of fun over the weekend.”

“Are you going to take me flying?” Alex whispered, her eyes darting around to make sure no one was listening.

Kara stifled a smile and knelt down to look in the little girl’s eyes, “You remember what your mom said, you have to be older before I take you flying.”

“But I am older, older than the last time I asked,” Alex protested.

“Well how about this, you have to be taller,” Kara compromised, standing back up. “You have to at least come up to here,” she said, pointing to her chest. “So you have what, over a foot more to grow.”

“You just wait, one day I’m going to be taller than you.” The girl huffed and stuck her nose in the air, “And then you will have to ask me to take you flying and maybe I’ll say you have to be taller.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Kara chuckled. “So what do you want to do now? Go home and start cooking, or wander around for a little while?”

“We’re not having the traditional Thanksgiving dinner are we?” Alex made a face. “Mom always dries out the turkey, and I don’t like having to dig around the bones to find the meat.”

“No turkey, shameful Thanksgiving I know, but I do have everything to make homemade pizza and banana splits for dessert.”

“Pizza and nana slits for Thanksgiving?”

“Of course if you’re looking for more of a traditional meal, I’m sure I could find turkey and mashed potatoes somewhere, maybe even some sweet potato pie.”

“No, pizza is great, can we go home and make it now?”

“You sure, you don’t want to go to the park first?”

Alex hesitated, her desire to run around in the park warring with her desire for pizza, but her need to run won out in the end. “Park first, pizza later,” Alex stated with a decisive nod. 

Kara started heading towards the park that was located closer to the city center of Metropolis. It was a famous park, one that attracted both residents of Metropolis and out-of-town visitors alike. With it being a holiday, the park was full of people with families, some participating in spontaneous games of flag football, and couples wanting to take a romantic walk in the crisp autumn air. She could taste the snow in the upper atmosphere, but knew that the moisture wouldn’t reach the ground, not with the dry wind blowing through the naked branches of the trees. They wouldn’t have any snow this weekend, but Kara wouldn’t be surprised if they had some within the next week. 

The redhead was quickly pulled into a tag football game with some other kids in the park and Kara quickly located their parents not too far away from the group. She stopped in and made idle chatter with those watching, commenting on the weather, holiday plans, who she was to Alex, normal questions with a slightly intrusive hint to them as the other adults assessed her as a newcomer. Kara watched Alex play with the other kids for a little over an hour when the parents called an end to the game and gathered their disgruntled children. Alex raced over to where Kara was waiting and grabbed her hand, her eyes bright from the exercise but her clothes dirty from the few times she skidded through the dead grass and leaves. “I’m gonna have to burn those jeans, I have no idea how to get grass stains out,” Kara murmured to herself, her brow furrowing as she tried to remember what Martha did to remove stains from Clark’s clothes. “Probably should call her later.”

Eventually her youthful energy started to wear out and Alex was dragging behind Kara as they walked back to the blonde’s apartment. Before she could get whiny, Kara motioned for the girl to climb on her back and gave her a piggy-back ride for the rest of the walk. Alex was dozing lightly by the time she walked up the steps to her apartment building, she could feel a small amount of drool hitting her neck, and she grinned at the familiar habit. Briefly she wondered if it was hereditary because Eliza drooled as well, though the younger blonde would deny it until her dying breath, probably taking the person that dared to suggest it with her as well. 

Alex started to wake back up when Kara shifted slightly to open her door, and by the time that Kara had set her down and placed a glass of juice in her hand, she was back to normal. The blonde pulled out the ingredients to start making pizza dough and set Alex to beating the eggs while she sorted out the rest of the mix. With her abilities, it didn’t take long to get the dough mixed and tossed into three large pizzas. She left one for Alex to fix as she like and she had the other two finished and set in the oven with her preferred toppings. The redhead lost interest about halfway through the pizza, so Kara finished it for her and set it next to the oven to wait its turn. 

Kara popped Fox and the Hound into the VCR and Alex splayed out on the floor, her eyes trained on the TV screen. The blonde watched a little of the movie, but her mind eventually grew restless and she picked up her sketchbook to occupy her hands. Sketching was a habit she picked up in college in her free time from the numerous drawing classes she took for her elective courses. It helped her with her architecture degree, but it also helped to connect her back to the Amazons on Themyscira. Nearly every Amazon participated in the arts in some way, mainly due to the fact that their patroness’ brother was the god of the arts.

She started sketching Alex as she was lying down watching TV, doing a few rough drawings before adding more details to the image. The oven dinged and Kara quickly switched the pizzas, and let Alex eat some of hers while she kept drawing. The girl transformed into a fairy princess in a fairy ring, a knight facing a dragon, a pro athlete on the soccer field, pages after pages of the girl in different roles in her sketchbook. Kara set her pencil down when the movie ended and switch it out with The Rescuers Down Under and Alex remained glued to the TV, munching on her own pizza this time though. 

The blonde hesitated for a moment as she thought about what to draw, nibbling on the end of her pencil before she decided to set the tip to paper. This time, as she drew, her mind wandered back to a time long ago when she lived under a red sun and looked up at different stars each night. She drew Alex in traditional Kryptonian garb, clothes that she wore as a child, designs that she barely remembers but are imprinted in her mind. She drew the spires of Argo city in the distance, the hall of the science guild, and bare outlines of constellations in the sky. 

“Whatcha drawing?” Alex’s voice broke her concentration, and Kara snapped her sketchbook closed when she looked up to see the girl sitting in front of her staring at her curiously. 

“You,” Kara answered, flipping back to the first sheet in her pad and held it out to the girl. “Look for yourself.”

Alex looked at the first two, brief sketches of her lying on the floor, but once she got passed them she grew more interested in the drawings as she saw herself in the different roles Kara had imagined for her. “Whoa, these are so cool!” She crowed, admiring the picture of herself battling a fierce dragon. She flipped a few more pages and came to a drawing Kara did with Alex in traditional warrior attire of the Amazons. “I know this one! This is the island where you lived for a long time, Themmyskira right?” 

“Themyscira, and yes,” Kara replied. “This is the armor of the Amazons, I’m sure they would love to train your combat skills one day.”

“Oh snap, that would be amazing,” Alex grinned before flipping to the last drawing. Her brow furrowed as she took in the unfamiliar clothing and background, her eyes tracing the image to find anything recognizable. “What’s this one from?” She asked, handing the pad back to her godmother.

Kara took the pad back and lightly traced the drawing with her index finger. “This,” she said. “Is where I grew up, Argo City, on Krypton.” She pointed out the spires and other buildings in the background before moving to the clothing, “These are what I would have been wearing when I was your age.”

The little girl clambered up on the couch next to her godmother and looked down at the page. “Will you tell me about it?”

“You sure?” Kara asked, surprised. “Wouldn’t you rather be watching movies?”

“I can watch Disney movies any time,” Alex scoffed. “But how many times can I hear about a world that was thousands of miles away?”

“Well alright, settle in then.” The girl scrunched in closer, curling up against the older woman and Kara smiled down at her. “Let me think, Krypton was… a beautiful place, very different from Earth.”

“How so?”

“Well for one we had a red sun and the atmosphere was one that we had purple skies instead of blue…” She spent the rest of the evening regaling Alex with stories from her childhood, before she landed on Paradise Island, before she knew about the chaos on Krypton, before she really knew anything other than her parents loved her. Later, when she was tucking the girl into bed after she fell asleep brushing her teeth, Kara smoothed her hair away from her forehead and placed a soft kiss on her brow. “Thank you,” she murmured, careful not to wake Alex from her slumber. “For letting me relive some good memories.”

 


 

Despite knowing the woman for several months, Kara had never been to Lorraine’s apartment. Of course she had never invited the younger woman to her apartment either, but that was more that it was across the bay in Metropolis rather than not wanting her to visit. Lorraine’s apartment was located on the south side of the city in a nicer neighborhood and should, more accurately, be described as a condo. Usually if they were going to spend time together, Lorraine would come to her office or they would meet each other for lunch or dinner. Now that they were blurring the lines between friendship and… something else, it was preferable that they meet away from prying eyes.

It didn’t take long for Kara to locate the three-story building and the corner condo that Lorraine had mentioned. She was quickly buzzed in by security and jogged up the stairs to the third-floor condo. She didn’t know if security called up and informed Lorraine she was coming or if she heard her in the hallway, but the redhead opened the door as soon as she stopped in front of it, a wide smile on her face. “Hey,” she greeted. “Come in, come in, it’s bad manners to leave guests lingering in the doorway.”

“I wasn’t exactly lingering since I just got here.” Kara followed Lorraine into the condo, her shifting to take in everything around her. The layout was simple, a basic two bedroom, though much larger than the one she has off-and-on shared with Cat for the past few years. The living room looked almost… sterile with off-white sofa, recliner, and carpet complementing the crisp white paint on the walls. There was a splash of color here and there, gold cushions, beige rug, but for the most part, everything was white. The condo didn’t really look lived in, but Kara guessed with all of the running around her friend did, she didn’t get to spend much time at home.

“Your place is nice,” she said, turning to see Lorraine standing at the kitchen island pouring two glasses of wine. 

“You can go ahead and say what you’re thinking.” Lorraine handed her one of the glasses and took a sip of her own. “It doesn’t look lived in,” she said after a moment. “I mean, I’m barely here, but the least I could do was put out a picture or something, leave a blanket on the couch.”

“You have a lot of time for reading or watching TV?” Kara asked. She had a blanket tucked on her couch for those reasons, but figured that the other woman didn’t have much time for anything. The senator no doubt kept her busy all of the time, and unlike a traditional 9 to 5 job, Lorraine couldn’t get away from work or her boss very easily. 

Lorraine snorted, “I don’t really have time for anything outside of work. The only reason I have enough time to see you is that I unplugged my phone and turned off my pager.”

“Just wait until cell phones improve from the giant bricks they are right now,” Kara commented. “Then you might never get any time off.”

“I’m just hoping by then that I’ll be calling the shots with my own staff rather than still be working for my father.” 

“Are you planning to go for the Congress like your father or are you geared more towards state positions?”

“Senator Reilly has a lot of power to the name, but Governor Reilly also has a fun ring to it.” The redhead winked, “Truthfully I haven’t thought about it, though I imagine that I’ll start out in the House, usually Reps are younger, and with my father’s connections, I should be able to raise the funds for my campaign. That’s the ten year plan anyway.”

“So working for your father and then starting your own political career? Nothing else outside of that? Nothing for yourself?”

Lorraine sighed, “I want to be able to have a family with someone I love, maybe not kids exactly but a wife, maybe a dog or a cat, a home in my district to come back to, not just a house or a partially lived-in condo. I just… don’t see that happening right now.”

“It’s not like you’d be the first openly gay person to be elected to public office,” Kara countered. “What about Harvey Milk?”

“And that worked out well for him didn’t it?” Lorraine shook her head, “No it’s… I don’t have any doubt that things are going to get better, they’re already getting better now, not great, but better. In a few years, it’ll be a new millennia, a time for new ideas, new thoughts, new values, I have hope that things will be different.” She took another sip of her wine before speaking again, “Enough about that though, you came over for dinner.”

“I came over to spend some time with my friend,” Kara corrected as Lorraine waved her over to the small table in front of the large window that looked out over the condo’s small balcony. 

“I hope you like pesto chicken, I know I offered to cook, but I realized that there’s only a few things I can cook really, well, that I’d offer to a guest anyway.”

“When you live with someone who’s prone to burning everything she cooks, you learn your way around a kitchen pretty quickly,” the blonde replied. “And this looks good, so I’m sure it tastes amazing as well.”

Lorraine lifted her glass and held it towards Kara, “To old friends, new friends, and unburnt chicken.” Kara rolled her eyes, but clinked her glass against the other woman’s and took a sip of her own wine. The sweet flavor of the bitter liquid hit her tongue but behind the flavor she could detect the sharpness of a highly acidic grape.

“Speaking of old friends,” Lorraine said, drawing Kara’s attention. “You going to tell me more about this old friend of yours, you know, the one that got away?”

Kara groaned, “Do I have to?”

“Oh come on,” the redhead goaded. “If I had someone like that in my past, I would tell you, but I don’t so I have to live vicariously through you.”

“Argh, fine.” Kara cut into her chicken and took a few bites as she thought about what to say. “Her name was, is, Diana, and she was my best friend growing up. We did… everything together.”

“What did she look like?” At Kara’s expression, Lorraine shrugged, “What? I want to know if you have a type.”

“Dark eyes, brown hair, tall, muscular, beautiful.”

“Hmm, okay, keep going.”

“She was… my best friend, my everything really. We did everything together, for so long, I just took for granted that she would always be there, that we would always be together.”

“So what happened?”

“She left,” Kara shrugged. “Something came up and she felt she had to leave. We never made any promises to each other, never really talked about what we were feeling, so it’s not like I was jilted…”

“But it still hurt,” Lorraine finished and Kara nodded.

“Yeah, I guess I always thought… well, it doesn’t matter what I thought.”

“Do you think you’ll see her again?”

“The world isn’t that big of a place, I have no doubt that I’ll see her again one day, but I don’t want it to be that I’ve been waiting for her. She hurt me, whether she meant to or not, she did, and I have more pride than to just jump into something with her when I do see her again if she wants to try something now, after all this time.”

“Her loss is my opportunity then,” Lorraine replied, sipping at her wine again. 

“Maybe,” Kara said. “I haven’t decided either way yet.”

“Well, you’re here, so we’ll see how dinner goes.”

Dinner went just like any of the other times they had shared a meal together. They talked about work, as much as they could since many of the things that Lorraine dealt with as part of a senator’s staff were classified. Kara talked about the projects she was working on; with the favorable reception of her museum design, she was getting more serious projects, including some interest from the Wayne Foundation for a renovated design of their current skyscraper. 

“So the Senator from Delaware said ‘if con is the opposite of pro, then is Congress the opposite of Progress,’ completely silenced the whole floor. I thought for sure his career was over, but he was re-elected last month, won by a landslide actually, I guess his constituents like him.”

“He basically announced on the congressional floor that the entirety of Congress was useless,” Kara snickered, wiping at her eyes. “That’s amazing, that takes a special kind of courage.”

“Or stupidity,” Lorraine shrugged. “Either way, I guess it worked out for him.”

Kara’s eyes shifted away from her empty plate and partially empty salad bowl to look at her friend across from her. The candles in the center of the table that Lorraine had lit earlier danced in the slight draft created by the condo’s heating system, causing shadows to shift across the other woman’s face. Light played on red strands of hair, causing them to glow a brilliant amber color against the rest of the dim lighting in the apartment. She was struck with a sense of familiarity, a brief glimpse of something but it was gone before Kara could fully assess what it was. She didn’t know why, but the blonde felt as if she was missing something important, something significant.

“Do you want more?” Lorraine asked, breaking Kara from her thoughts.

“I’m sorry?”

“More food,” the woman added. “I know you like your food, and I didn’t want you to go hungry so I made extra.”

“You must think I just pack away the food,” Kara commented, accepting another plate of food.

“I do wonder how you manage to stay in shape with the amount of food you consume on a daily basis, but also it’s a compliment if you like my cooking enough to eat a second plate.”

Kara finished chewing the bite in her mouth and answered, “It’s good, not as good as my cooking though.”

“That sounds like a challenge to me, well you’re on Larelle, you’ll have to make dinner for me now so we can compare.”

“Just name the day Reilly,” Kara chuckled. The rest of the meal passed in a similar manner. The candles had burned down enough to leave melted puddles of wax on the candlesticks by the time Lorraine had pulled dessert out of the fridge.

“That was really good,” the blonde sighed, polishing off the last of her chocolate mousse. “I’m going to need that recipe, that was delicious.”

“Well that just gives me an excuse to not give it to you,” Lorraine countered. “So I can make it for you again.” She grabbed the wine bottle off the table and gestured towards Kara’s glass, “Do you want some more wine?”

Kara glanced out the window and noticed that the sun had fully set and she could see the glow of the city against the darkness. Another quick glance at the clock in the apartment revealed that it was well after 11:00; both of them had lost track of time while they ate and talked, the hours slipped by unseen. “I would but I really should get home,” she said. “I have work tomorrow and I have to get back across the bay to Metropolis.”

Lorraine sighed, “All good things come to an end. I should call it a night as well, I have a lot of calls to make since Congress is gathering again before the end of the year. Lots of policies to still decide over, deals to make, agreements to broker.”

“I’m glad it’s you dealing with it and not me,” Kara said, standing up from the couch. They had drifted away from the table when Lorraine brought in the dessert and ate the chocolate mousse glasses in the living room while they sipped on the last of their wine. Despite the overly clean looking white decor, it was surprisingly more intimate, talking and eating together on the couch than the candlelit dinner at the table looking out over the balcony. 

“And I’m glad that it’s you designing buildings and not me,” the redhead added, walking with Kara to the door. “I’m also glad that you came over tonight.”

“I had a good time, really.”

“Good enough to maybe do this again sometime, in a slightly less friend sort of way and in more of an official sort of way?” Kara’s breath caught in her throat at Lorraine’s question and her heart started pounding in her chest as she thought about how to answer. The other woman gave her a soft smile and carefully pressed a kiss to the corner of her mouth. “Just think about it,” she whispered before quietly closing the door. 

Kara let out a puff of air and leaned against the wall, letting her head fall back with a thump. “I am in so much trouble.”

 


 

“I have been trying to arrange a meeting with you,” Bruce Wayne commented and Kara looked up to find the man leaning against her office door. “Never did I imagine it would be so difficult.”

“Well last week was Thanksgiving,” Kara replied. “And I’ve been working back in the Metropolis office instead of over here in Gotham. I have been in contact with Mr. Fox though over the phone and he’s couriered over details about the project he wants me to do for Wayne Enterprises.”

“Yes, we have discussed it and I okayed it, but that’s not why I’m here,” he said. “May I sit down?”

Kara nodded, “Of course, come in, you can close the door if you want.” The man walked in, shut the door, and took the extra seat in the tiny office. “So what can I do for you Mr. Wayne?”

“I thought it was just Bruce.”

“When we’re both at a fundraising dinner for a senator, it’s Bruce, when we’re at my place of work, it’s Mr. Wayne, so what can I do for you if this isn’t about the project for Wayne Enterprises.”

“I wanted to talk to you about the conversation we had at the dinner,” Bruce started, folding his hands together as he leaned forward in the chair. “I wanted you to clarify more on what you said.”

“About… doing what is right? Fighting against evil when you see it?” Kara vaguely recalled the conversation. As a Kryptonian, her memory was nearly perfect, but even then some things just slipped through, especially if she wasn’t completely paying attention. 

Bruce nodded, “I wanted to know if you meant it, if you actually believed that people could make a difference, fight against injustice, crime, when they see it?”

“I believe that everyone has the ability to make a difference, some more than others though. Crime is a problem in this city, I don’t live here and even I can see that, and the police are overwhelmed, particularly with some of the more... exotic criminals. The people need help, they need hope, they need something to give them hope.”

“So vigilantes,” the man said. “That’s what you’re saying, you’re in favor of people taking justice into their own hands.”

“Justice implies doling out punishment and that is not what I’m saying.”

“So what are you saying?”

The blonde shrugged, “Maybe less of a vigilante mentality more like a protector, a guardian or a… a knight. People that help others by protecting them, stopping crime when they see it happening if they have the power to do something.”

“How is that different from a vigilante?”

“Maybe it’s not, maybe it’s just a choice to do something right for other people rather than doing something right because something needs to be done.” She gave Bruce a curious look, “Why did you come here to ask me?”

“It was an interesting discussion and I had been thinking about it since we talked, so I wanted to hear more about what you thought on the subject.” He leaned back in the chair and sighed, “Truthfully, since returning to Gotham, I have been… unsatisfied by how little has changed in the city, other than crime continues to rise. I have been thinking about what I could do, but I haven’t come up with any plans.”

“If you really want to help this city, just do something,” Kara told him. “Help people, protect them, give them something to hope for, or inspire them to fight for themselves.”

A thoughtful expression crossed the man’s face and he nodded, “You’ve given me a lot to think about Miss Larelle.” 

Before Kara could respond, a slight sound pulled her attention and she glanced where she left her communication device and saw Cat’s name on the screen. “I would love to keep talking with you, but I just remembered that I have to make a phone call.”

“No, no, it’s alright, I have to leave anyway.” He stood up and opened the door, “I can’t wait to see what you have planned for the project you’re working on with Lucius.” Bruce nodded at the blonde, and Kara let out a sigh of relief that he was gone and she made it so that the communication device let out a small supersonic sound whenever someone was trying to contact her.

The noise sounded again and Kara quickly grabbed the thin device and answered Cat’s call. “What. Do. You. Want.” Kara hissed, “I am at work.”

“I know, do you take me for an idiot Keira?”

“Sometimes.”

“Shut up, I need your help with something.”

“What?”

“I was in a meeting taking care of something when I spotted one of those stuffed shirt douchebags from the burnt out village. I want to find out more about him and who he’s working for, but I need to get some information.”

“You’re a journalist, that’s what you do, I don’t see how I’m supposed to help you.”

“I need help getting into the place where the information most likely is.”

“Why do I feel like I’m not going to like this…”

“You probably aren’t.”

“Cat…”

“I need you to help me break into the American Embassy.” 



Chapter Text


 

“This is very, very illegal,” Kara grumbled from her spot tucked down on the roof of one of the buildings a few blocks away from the American embassy in Bogotá. With her enhanced vision, she could see the fence around the building with the words United States of America Embassy printed on boards over the U.S. seal. Guards with assault rifles stood by the gates and even more patrolled on the inside of the fence. 

“Oh come on,” Cat sighed, rolling her eyes. “It’s the U.S. embassy of Colombia, what’s the worst that’s going to happen if we’re caught?”

“Jail,” the older blonde quickly replied. “Jail for both of us, a Colombian jail, I lose my citizenship, you lose your job…”

Cat waved her hand dismissively, “We just have to make sure not to get caught, which is where you come in.”

“I don’t know how I let you talk me into coming down here to help you break into the embassy,” Kara grumbled. “How do you even know what you want is in there?”

“I told you, I saw one of those goons in suits that we saw when we were hiding just outside of that burned out village. I’m pretty sure it was the guy in charge or someone who was a stand in for the guy in charge, but either way, I saw him in one of the offices when I was dealing with an issue at the embassy.”

“How do you know it was his office and how do you know he keeps important information in there if it is his office?”

“Where else would someone keep sensitive information?” Cat huffed. “Not everyone has secret caves disguised with otherworldly cloaking technology. And besides, the embassy is the perfect place to keep secret information because it is guarded all the time, monitored, and if the information needed to be transported, it could be delivered in diplomatic pouches, something which nobody can mess with. Perfect place for nefarious purposes.”

“So you want to commit all kinds of felonies, possibly treason, and break into the American embassy on a hunch?”

“A deductive hunch.”

“Whatever, still a hunch.” Kara scrubbed at her face, “Of all of the stupid things you have gotten involved in, this is possible the stupidiest.”

“Does that mean you’re not going to help me?”

The older blonde let out a groan, “I think I have to help you because you would do it anyway, and would definitely get caught.”

“Glad that you’re seeing things my way, now first things first, we have to get in the building and not get caught by… any of those guards or the security system.”

Kara crossed her eyes in irritation before peering back towards the embassy building. “Do you remember which office he was in?” She asked, searching through the building. “There are several, and it would give me a hint to figure it out before trying to get in.” Cat described where she had been on the first floor in the office space and Kara quickly focused her attention on those rooms and away from where the ambassador’s residency space was located. It didn’t take long for Kara to locate the room that Cat described and the correct office she indicated, but she immediately noticed several problems that would be tricky to get around when trying to break into the building.

“I found the office,” she said. “But we have security. The entire building is crawling with guards, wonder why… and I can also see some of the security system, cameras, sensors, the place is like a fortress.”

Cat snorted, “This is the embassy for Colombia, not like this is Russia or something, somewhere dangerous.”

“Colombia is in the middle of a pretty bad civil war, that’s why you’re here, as the war correspondent for the Daily Planet.”

“Details, details, now how are we going to get in…”

Kara thought for a few minutes before muttering at the younger woman to wait there and she quickly flew over to the embassy. She flew high enough to stay out of sight of the guards and the cameras and checked the roof for any sensors or cameras that would make the first part of her plan more difficult. There were cameras facing the ground around the building but nothing that monitored the roof itself and Kara couldn’t see any devices or wires that would indicate sensors along the tiles. She flew back to where she left Cat and quickly grabbed her, wrapping her hand around her mouth to keep her from screaming. 

She released the blonde a few seconds later onto the roof of the embassy but kept her hand around her mouth and pressed her down so that she couldn’t be seen over the lip of the building. “Do. Not. Scream.” Kara said, her eyes monitoring the guards around the building rather than watching the furious expression on her friend’s face. “And keep talking down to a minimum, I’m not sure what kind of auditory sensors they have. I can see heat sensors and motion detectors, but I don’t know what else is here.”

“You could have warned me that you were just going to pick me up like that and fly over here in the blink of an eye,” Cat hissed. “Nearly gave me a heart attack.”

“This whole situation makes me a bit nervous, so I want to get in and get out pretty quickly. Best way to do that without getting caught is to move faster than their sensors can detect.”

“I need to be able to search the office so I can’t speed past all of the sensors, so how are we going to get inside and not trip those sensors?”

“Carefully,” Kara muttered. She peered through the ceiling and down to the second floor where Cat claimed to see the man disappearing into his office and quickly located the room on the north side of the building. A little heat vision and freeze breath could warp the window enough to damage the lock without it appearing suspicious, but Kara knew she wouldn’t have enough time to create the right conditions without being spotted. She huffed in frustration and continued to glance around the roof, trying to figure out a plan now that she had fully committed to Cat’s crazy idea.

She caught sight of something out of the corner of her eye and turned her attention towards it, studying it throughout the entire building. “I have an idea but you’re not going to like it.”

Cat focused her attention on where Kara was looking and immediately blanched. “Oh no, no way.”

 


 

“I can’t believe you got me in this thing,” Cat grumbled as they shuffled their way through the narrow air vent. “I feel like such a cliche, like I’m in the middle of a bad spy movie.”

“You’re the one that wanted to break into the U.S. embassy, you are in a bad spy movie,” Kara shot back. “Now be quiet.”

“You already looked through the rooms and didn’t see anyone in this part of the building.”

“Yes, but sound carries through these vents, so unless you want to be immediately arrested when we finally get out, be quiet.” Kara could still hear Cat grumbling about bugs and dust, but she was muttering under her breath so the sound wouldn’t be noticed by anyone would didn’t have enhanced hearing.

The vent they were crawling through was narrow, narrow enough that Kara winced everytime she felt the metal giveaway around her as she continued to move through the passageway. Cat was following along behind her, but her slight build made it easier for her to shuffle along without brushing up against the sides of the shaft. A few more feet and another turn, and Kara was easing open the grate in the office, careful not to let the metal clatter to the ground. Before dropping out of the shaft, she flooded the room with a blast of cold breath and a few low powered bursts of heat vision to confuse any temperature sensors that might be in the room. 

“Short of smashing anything, that’s the best I can do, and since we don’t want anyone to know we were here...” Kara floated out of the vent and help Cat climb down to the floor.

“Show off,” Cat grumbled, brushing dust off of her sweatshirt as she looked around the room. “Now why don’t you use your show-offy abilities and keep watch while I investigate.”

“Just hurry up,” Kara urged, her eyes flicking around to monitor the people in and around the building.

The shorter blonde glared at her as she fixed a headlamp around her head, and tightened her gloves around her hand. “This is investigating Keira, this takes precision.” Kara shot her another glare and Cat just hummed as she quickly started leafing through papers and folders stacked neatly on the desk. 

As she moved through the folders, she was careful to leave everything exactly where she found it. They went through all the trouble to make sure that no one knew they were in the building, and it would ruin it if she left everything a disarray inside the office. Cat methodically sorted through everything on the desk before moving towards the drawers down the right side of the desk. The top two held things of mild interest, intelligence on assets working in Colombia and talks with the current administration to resolve the conflict, but she bypassed the information. It was too well laid out, too perfect, as if it were planted for anyone that came looking for it. 

The final drawer on the bottom was more promising since it was locked, something that quickly changed with a few twists of one of her bobby pins. “So easy,” Cat muttered to herself. “Might as well have just put up a sign saying ‘I’m stupid, please break into my office and ransack my papers.’”

“Have you found anything yet?” Kara asked, her attention focused on the guard making his rounds around the inside of the building.

“Nothing significant yet, false trails but oh…” Cat’s voice trailed off as she felt through the last drawer. There hadn’t been anything interesting in the papers in the drawer either but she felt something as she was putting them away. “There’s a false bottom on this one.” She tapped along the edge until she was able to dislodge the false piece of wood hiding the rest of the contents of the drawer. “Ooh, a hidden folder, I love hidden folders, they always contain the best secrets.” She flipped it open and was immediately met with pages of redacted information. “Oh for the love of Carol Burnett, Keira, I need you to read this folder, I can’t see through blacked out print.”

Kara sighed and shuffled away from her spot near the door and glanced at the papers Cat was holding, her eyes easily discerning the different layers of ink. “This seems to be about a top secret military project called Romulus.”

“Romulus?” Cat questioned and Kara glanced over at her.

“The founder of Rome. He and his twin brother Remus are usually credited with it, but it was really Romulus after he killed his brother to assert control, establishing Rome’s history as an empire forged in blood.”

“I know who Romulus is historically, I was just wondering why they had a military project named after him.”

“Probably more of a symbolic thing,” Kara murmured, continuing to read through the documents. “This says that the original project took place over 20 years ago, sometime in the early 70s, and… there’s reference to the JSA here as well.” The blonde’s brow furrowed, and she quickly read through the rest of the file. “From what I can gather, Project Romulus was a plan by the military to make super soldiers, people with incredible abilities similar to those of the JSA or other meta-humans that they encountered, but with strict loyalty to the US Government, people with powers that could be controlled.”

“Sounds like this was the first step in genetic warfare,” Cat mused. “What else does it say?”

“The first few trials were unsuccessful, none of the adults tested reacted well, scientists theorized it might be because of the deterioration of the genetic structure with age so… oh Cat, they started experimenting on kids!”

“What?” The shorter blonde exclaimed, looking at the pages. “Where?”

“Towards the end, they talk about one child that didn’t have an adverse reaction to what they were doing, unlike the adults, but the child never developed any abilities beyond that of an average kid. Backers in the government grew impatient with the lack of results so they discontinued the project.” She took another glance through the pages, “Oh wait, there’s another page stuck at the end, a memo from secret meeting a few years ago with the Congressional committee of military affairs. They authorized the resumption of project Romulus with the appearance of… the masked vigilante in Metropolis…”

“So they’re back to experimenting on people, probably kids again,” Cat mused. “And if that burned out village in the jungle is anything to go by, they probably succeeded and lost control of whoever they were messing with and were probably trying to cover up evidence lest Congress or the press find out what’s going on.”

“It’s my fault,” Kara murmured, handing the papers back to Cat.

“What do you mean?”

“You heard the file, they only started this project up again because I started saving people in Metropolis, it’s my fault that people are being put through this again and even more are dying because of it.”

Cat scoffed, “This is in no way your fault. I’m familiar with people who do these types of things, they were looking for an excuse to restart this project. You are not to blame for someone else’s decision.” She packed away the folder and put it back in the hidden section in the drawer, making sure everything was exactly as she found it. “This does make me wonder if there was a connection between the original Romulus project and the Congressional committee that reinstated it. They wouldn’t have decided out of the blue to have this project started again, someone would have brought it up, and I can only think of one person on the committee that would have had a connection to the original project.”

“Who?”

“Your new friend’s father, Senator Walter Reilly.”

 


 

Kara pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration as she read out the list of questions Cat wanted her to ask the Senator. After they had finished their late night escapade breaking into the US Embassy, Kara had flown home, hoping that Cat went back to her actual job of writing about the Colombian conflict. She knew that the other woman wasn’t going to let this go, not now that they had more information, but she hoped that Cat would wait longer than less than a day. She hit the button to contact the other blonde and waited impatiently for them to be connected. 

“Did you get my list of questions?” Cat asked as soon as her face registered on the screen.

“Yeah, and I’m trying to figure out what you expect me to do with them?”

“Well I thought they’d make a nice nursery rhyme, you ask them Keira!”

“Who exactly am I supposed to ask, the Senator? We’re not exactly friends, I’ve only met him once, so how exactly would I ask any of these questions? Just pop down to D.C. and interrupt the congressional sessions like excuse me, can I ask you about your knowledge of Project Romulus?”

“You don’t have to go all the way to D.C. to ask him, he’s still at home dealing with issues, he won’t be back in the capital for a few days at least.”

Kara gaped at her friend, “How do you know this and I don’t? Lorraine told me that they were supposed to be back in session this last week.”

“Reilly is one of the leading members of the senate, it’s always reported in political news when he gets caught up with something and doesn’t report back right away.”

“Okay, but I still have the same problem, do I just go to his office and start firing away on these questions?”

“I think his home may be better, you do have an ‘in’ after all.”

“Cat!”

“What? Look, I would fly back and ask him myself, but I am working on a lead here.”

“What kind of lead?”

“Stuffed shirt had a map in his office, caught sight of it when we were leaving, there was a place marked on it, something that doesn’t show up as anything significant on regular maps. I think it’s the base for whatever they’re doing, and I’m going to look for it. I need proof for my article to really expose what they’re doing, and I can’t really use what we found in the folder because it was a slightly illegal search.”

“Slightly illegal,” Kara snorted and then sighed. “Fine, and I will see about getting to Reilly to ask him some questions, but you have to be careful. I can’t be here asking questions and there making sure you don’t die at the same time.”

“I’ll be fine, you watch your back though, you’re not exactly Nellie Bly.” Cat disconnected the call, leaving Kara staring at her own reflection in the flat surface. 

“Argh, that woman,” Kara huffed, tossing the device down. She scrubbed at her face in frustration before glancing around her apartment. “Well now what am I supposed to do?”

 


 

“Thanks for this Lorraine,” Kara said as she followed the woman through the doorway of the large house. “I really appreciate it.”

“It’s no problem,” the redhead replied. “I know that you said your friend was a reporter, the war correspondent for the Daily Planet, what does she want from my father?” Comprehension dawned on her face, “Oh, nevermind, he’s on the military affairs committee, forget I asked, I’m not thinking.”

“Are you alright?” The blonde asked. “You don’t look well.”

“I’m fine, I’ve just been pretty tired lately, probably from all of these late nights I’ve been working trying to work deals on the upcoming policies that need to be decided,” Lorraine answered. She had bags under her eyes, and her face was paler than normal, pointing to recent stress that the woman had been under. 

“Anything I can help with?”

“Just being around you helps.” The woman glanced around really quickly before tugging Kara in by her hand and placing a quick kiss on her lips. “I already feel ten times better just seeing you.”

“Good to know,” Kara replied, a smile teasing across her face. “Now you go work out those deals while I ask your father these really intrusive questions my best friend wants me to ask him.”

“Just come find me when you’re done and we can leave together, maybe get a late dinner?”

“I’ll come find you,” the blonde promised before Lorraine waved her into her father’s study. She knocked and waited for a muffled ‘enter’ before walking into the enclosed space. Kara’s eyes immediately fell on the gray-haired man sitting behind his desk, his steely eyes locked onto hers. “Good evening Senator Reilly, thank you for-”

“I’m doing this as a favor to my daughter,” he interrupted, his eyes hard as he leaned back in his chair. “I usually have no desire to answer reporter’s questions, especially when they come through a go between, but since Lorraine asked me to answer your questions, I will allow it, just this once.”

Kara exhaled slightly, irritation twisting in her stomach, but she ignored the desire to roll her eyes at the man’s brusqueness. “My friend,” she started, taking the chair across from the desk. “Is the war correspondent for the Daily Planet, and she’s off on assignment right now. When she found out that I was working with your daughter, she wanted me to ask you a few questions, just to clarify something that she had found. You were in the military were you not, before you started your political career?”

“US Army retired, colonel,” the Senator answered. “Next question.”

“When did you retire and start your new career?”

“I took early retirement in 1983, started my political bid with a stint in the House before running for Senate in ‘86, all of this could be easily found out through some basic research, what kind of reporter is your friend?”

“When were you placed on the Congressional military affairs committee?” Kara continued, ignoring his quip.

“Almost immediately, they viewed my 20 years of service to the military as an asset on the committee.”

Kara nodded, “Last question then, what do you know of a secret military project called Romulus?”

It took less than a second for the stern politician façade to drop, and the hard military man to reveal himself. “What did you say?” He asked, his voice tight as he leaned forward to place his elbows on his desk.

“What do you know about Project Romulus?” Kara repeated, her eyes narrowing as she stared at the man across from her.

“If such a project existed, it would be classified information.”

“So you would be okay with an article being published about the government covering up war crimes in Colombia? Because we have evidence of that.”

The senator scoffed, “You’re bluffing, you wouldn’t be here if you had evidence.”

“Either that or I’m here to get your side of the story, to get all of the information before anything gets written.” The man stood up from his desk and walked to the window, his back facing the room, indicating a desire to end the conversation. “I know that Project Romulus was originally in the 60s and 70s,” Kara pressed. “I also know that it was a plan to create super soldiers, until they realized that the people being experimented on were dying. And then they found that children were more resilient to the treatment, but the one child that was used for the experiment never showed any signs of developing abilities.” The brief tightening of his hands folded behind his back indicated more than anything he could have said. “It’s only a matter of time before we dig further and find out the truth from someone other than you.”

Reilly’s continued silence had Kara rolling her eyes in irritation. She grew up around military leaders, first her aunt Astra long ago on Krypton and then the Amazons on Paradise Island, and his posture was reminiscent of both Astra and Antiope. The strong, silent type with the weight of the world on their shoulders, something she admired about the two women, but in this instance, with this person, she found it extremely irritating and melodramatic.

She felt her communication device vibrate in her bag and she quickly checked the message while she was waiting to see if Reilly would answer or kick her out. ‘Don’t be mad, but I found the base where they’re conducting they’re super creepy experiments, and I managed to sneak in. They’ve got a few kids in here, but that’s not the important bit. I’ve found the original files from the first project, Reilly’s wife was one of the scientists on the first project and the kid they originally tested on was Lorraine Reilly, they used their own daughter in their experiments.’

Kara’s mind went blank as she read that statement and then it started whirling as she thought about the implications. She thought that Lorraine reminded her of someone when she saw her face and hair in the flickering candlelight when they had dinner, and now she realized who she reminded her of. “Firehawk,” Kara breathed, turning her attention back to the senator. “You used your own daughter as your guinea pig, but when she didn’t develop any abilities, you shut down the project. Did you know that she would turn into a being set on destroying Gotham, one petty criminal at a time?”

“What are you talking about?” Reilly asked, turning to look back at her.

“Your daughter is Firehawk, her abilities took longer to develop, and now that they have, she’s attempting to clean up Gotham, though I don’t understand why…”

The man groaned and returned to his seat, slumping slightly on the desk. “If what you say is true, then she probably doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

“What do you mean?”

“It was part of the formula, an element of control to make sure that they didn’t randomly attack with their abilities.”

“Well obviously that worked out well with Firehawk constantly attempting to set people on fire, and whoever else you have locked up in that facility in Colombia burning down random villages.”

“There is a way around the control part of the treatment,” the Senator said. “A particular frequency, so high that humans don’t hear it, higher than a dog whistle. It was a problem that they weren’t able to figure out, but ignored it since it wasn’t a common frequency, but if what you say is true…”

Kara thought back to the times she encountered Firehawk, and realized that she had heard a high pitched frequency before meeting the woman. She had tracked the frequency to one of the new experimental towers in the city to support the new mobile cellular devices, but the sound didn’t last long so she learned to ignore it when she did hear it. Before she could reply, Kara heard the faint, high pitched frequency and an icicle of dread raced down her spine. “Oh no…”

A ball of flame erupted through the door and Kara knocked the Senator down under his desk. Lorraine walked through the door, her eyes blazing and her hair the color of Firehawk’s, her attention focused on the blonde woman on the other side of the desk. “Lorraine…” Kara started, her heart in her throat.

“Dredging up that which does not concern you,” the woman hissed, her hands blazing. “Threatening to expose the government for perceived wrong doings…”

“Lorraine, you’ve got to snap out of it, this isn’t you.”

The woman didn’t respond, just tossed another ball of fire at the two, which Kara met with a burst of freeze breath. Before Lorraine… Firehawk could counter with another attack, Kara’s foot met her sternum and she knocked her out of the room, through the wall and outside.

“You…” Kara heard behind her and she turned to find the Senator maneuvering to get up off the floor, his left hand clutching his right shoulder. He shook his head to keep himself from finishing whatever statement he was going to make. “A shock,” he finally said. “A massive electric shock has seemed to be the only thing able to counter the mind-control aspects of what was done to her, acts as a basic reset for the brain.”

“Wouldn’t that kill her?”

“There’s always that chance but-” He let out a small hiss as he jostled his arm and Kara could see the dislocated tendons and bones quivering just under the surface. “I didn’t do right by my daughter, let them use her for their experiment as a way to advance my career and for a cause that I don’t fully believe in. Please, don’t let her continue to be this… this mindless monster, please save my daughter.”



Chapter Text


 

Kara didn’t wait around for the senator to say anything else, just took off out of the building and into the street. The whole she knocked Lorraine through took out the front door and part of the molding around it and she winced at the splintered wood scattered around. She pulled out her communication device and contacted Cat, waiting impatiently for the other woman to answer. “Pick up, pick up, pick up,” Kara muttered, pacing around.

“What part of ‘I broke into a top secret military facility’ did you not understand?” Cat whispered, her face appearing on the screen barely a second later. 

“How did you, nevermind, are you okay?”

“Oh yeah, I’m fine, they don’t know I’m here yet,” the younger blonde replied. “I’ve been getting some good information and pictures, and I’ve already cleared the story with my editor.”

“You’re not going to write anything about Lorraine are you? This could ruin her life, I imagine it’ll already be devastating when she finds out the truth.”

“I’ll leave her out, will have to leave out Senator Reilly too, but I’m pretty sure I have enough stuff here already without his input, so it doesn’t matter. Have you gone to ask him the questions yet? You don’t have to now since I have all of this information here.”

The older woman rubbed at her head in frustration, “I wish you would have told me this an hour ago…”

“Why?”

“Because I’m at his house, when I was asking about his involvement with project Romulus, Lorraine was triggered and went into full burning woman mode.”

“What?!”

“Yeah, Firehawk, that’s Lorraine, but apparently she doesn’t remember anything about being Firehawk. Reilly told me that a specific high frequency pitch sets them off, but there’s a mind control element in the treatment that they don’t know what they’re doing.”

“Well… shit… So what are you going to do?”

“He said that a massive electric shock would negate the effects of the mind control, but it could also kill her.”

“An electric shock, now there’s an idea, got to go!”

“Wait, Cat, Cat?” The only thing she saw on the screen was her own reflection and Kara let out a growl before slipping the device back into her bag. “What do I do now?” She muttered, rubbing her face. She should have seen it, Lorraine and Firehawk, she should have known, same build, similar hair color, what through her off was how they carried themselves. Lorraine was assertive but also frazzled at times, harried and stressed from having the job as senior staffer for a US Senator. She was unfailingly polite, even when dealing with some of the worst examples of privilege and entitlement in the country, and diplomatic with dealing with slimy, corrupt politicians. Firehawk though was aggressive, dominatinating, leveling out her own version of justice when handling the tamest criminals. The two were like night and day, and if Kara hadn't seen the evidence with her own eyes and heard it from Senator Reilly’s mouth, she still wouldn’t believe that Lorraine could be the woman she had been battling for months.

She could hear the familiar crackle of fire balls as Firehawk… Lorraine, rained down fury and righteous vengeance on the criminal population of Gotham, deserving or not. The senator’s words on how to stop her, how to deactivate the mind control and reset her brain filtered through her mind and determination welled within her. Lorraine wouldn’t want this, wouldn’t want to be this person, be someone that hurts other people. She didn’t know how the other woman would react to knowing she was a meta-human, or even what would happen if she managed to shock her enough to reset her brain. 

Kara pushed off the ground and flew into the air, quickly changing into jacket, wig, and mask before flying towards where she could hear Lorraine tossing fireballs. Above all of the sounds of the city and all of the noise created by the other woman, Kara could hear the same high-pitched frequency that started this mess and she glanced over to where the cell phone tower was placed. Just beyond the tower, she could see one of the barrier islands that sat in Gotham harbor, and an idea floated through her mind. That particular barrier island held the power station that fueled most of the power for the city, if she could lure Lorraine out there, away from the city, she would minimize damage the woman could cause and also have the means to deliver a massive electric shock. And hopefully not kill her.

Changing course, Kara flew towards where she could hear Lorraine and landed before the woman. Somewhere between when Kara knocked her out of the house and she found her again, the clothing Lorraine had been wearing earlier were discarded in favor of the costume that Kara normally saw her in as Firehawk. “Stop,” Kara said, landing between the woman and her latest target. “You don’t have to do this anymore, you don’t have to be this way.”

“These people are criminals, they deserve to be punished,” Firehawk stated, her eyes hard and cold despite the fire burning around her. “They have broken the law, justice needs to be served.”

“By who, you? What authority do you have to serve justice?” The blonde countered. “And what have they done that is so bad, vandalism, trespassing, jaywalking?”

“All of those things are against the law.”

“But serving out punishment for breaking the law is not your job. People like us, people with abilities, it’s our job to help people by stopping crime, combating hatred, not punishing criminals however we see fit.”

“Where do you draw the line then, where do you draw the line of how best to protect people? You place more value on the lives of criminals than you do on the lives of their potential victims?”

Kara’s eyes flashed and twin beams of heat vision blasted through one of the nearby fire hydrants, causing water to blow into the air. “If you want to find out the answer to that question, you’ll have to catch me,” she hissed, taking off into the air. She could hear Firehawk tearing after her, and she focused her attention on the island just inside the bay. As much as she tried to push them away, the other woman’s words kept echoing through her mind, where did she draw the line? Did criminals lives matter the same as the people they hurt, how would she feel if someone got hurt because she didn’t do whatever was necessary to stop someone?

Before she could think more about it, she was in the middle of the power plant and Firehawk was barreling towards her. She could have moved out of the way, she could have gotten to the power plant long before Firehawk did, with her abilities it would have been so easy to just grab the woman and throw her into one of the towers and be done with the whole thing. Firehawk would be gone and she would be able to go home and crawl into her bed and forget this entire night, but she didn’t know what that would do to Lorraine. She had to be smart, if something happened to Lorraine while trying to rid her of what was controlling her, she’d never forgive herself.

Firehawk flew at her, a growl building in her throat, her fists flaming. Kara dodged and quickly grabbed the woman’s leg, tossing her down towards the ground. She hit the ground with a loud bang and a clap of dust, the impact cracking the concrete underneath her. “You don’t have to be this way,” Kara stated again, floating down in front of Lorraine. “You don’t have to act like this, let me help you.”

“I’m not the one who is the problem,” Firehawk replied, pushing herself off of the ground. “You’re just as bad as the people who commit crimes, what you do to stop them is too little too late. You do nothing to prevent future crime, just treat the symptoms of a problem.”

“You can’t punish people for something they haven’t even thought of doing. Making threats or a clear decision to commit a crime, that can be addressed, but killing a thief because they might murder someone down the line, how does that make us better than them?”

“By taking a firm stance against evil and doing whatever it takes to stop it.” The redhead’s eyes started to glow and the flames on her hands burned hotter, brighter. “How long will it take for you to go rogue, to go from standing by while potential threats walk around, unchecked to someone that commits crimes themselves?”

Rage flooded through Kara’s body and before she knew what was happening, her eyes were heating up and heat vision was firing at the other woman. Firehawk dodged and retaliated with a burst of fire straight to her face. The external heat caused Kara to lose her concentration, and she snapped away, countering with a swift kick to the redhead’s sternum. Firehawk wheezed as she was tossed back, her hand holding her chest. “Did I come too close to the truth?” She coughed out, her eyes burning as she looked up at Kara, “Did I make you angry when I verbalized what you yourself must be thinking, how long until this world, these people you claim to stand for, how long before they corrupt you?”

“You need help Lorraine,” Kara said, ignoring the woman’s words. She saw her eyes widen for a moment before narrowing, it wasn’t much, but it was enough for Kara to keep pushing. “You know don’t you, Lorraine, that’s your name, that’s who you are. You’re not this person that carries vengeance on people calling it justice, you create laws and policies to protect people, you dream about changing the world.”

Firehawk blinked and shook her head, her eyes hardening, “Your words don’t anything to me, all you’re trying to do is distract me from seeing you as you actually are, someone weak, someone just as corrupt as the people you’re supposed to stop.”

Time slowed down, and Kara watched what unfolded almost as a spectator, her mind disconnected from reality. The woman charged again, this time her fire burning hotter than before, fingers stretched out like claws. Kara knocked away the flames, her clothing smoking and skin tingling from the direct heat. She kicked out at Firehawk again, this time solidly connecting with her side, sending her careening into one of the large transformers. Firehawk hit the metal with a sickening thud before electric sparks started shooting through her body. Kara could see her body seizing from the electricity, but before she could do something to get the woman away from the transformers, sparks flew out of the top and the power blew.

Lorraine dropped to the ground, and Kara immediately moved her away from the still smoking transformer and out of sight of anyone that would come looking for the cause of the power outage. “Lorraine,” Kara called, kneeling down next to the woman. “Lorraine can you hear me?” Her heart was heavy in her stomach as she waited for any sign of life from the other woman, but her form was still. “Come on Lorraine, please, I know you’re not going to give up like this.”

It was there, a brief notion, barely a flicker, but Kara heard it all the same, the sound of a heart struggling to start back up. “Guess I’m going to have to finally thank Martha for making me take those CPR classes,” Kara grumbled as she started chest compressions on the prone woman. She counted out 30 chest compressions, her mind following the rhythm of the song ‘Staying Alive’ like her instructor taught her before blowing two quick breaths into Lorrain’s mouth. She repeated the process once more before she heard the stuttered in Lorraine’s chest sound again, and oxygen rushing into her lungs as the woman gasped. Her eyes opened and Kara saw the familiar blue shade of Lorraine’s eyes rather than the angry, fiery gaze of Firehawk. “Oh thank Rao,” Kara muttered. “Lorraine are you okay?”

“Wha-?” The woman started, her dazed eyes focusing on Kara. “Who are you?”

Kara tugged her hood back and pulled her mask down, leaving her wig in place, “It’s me, Kara, are you okay?”

“Kara?” Lorraine struggled to sit up and glanced around, looking down at herself in confusion. “What happened? Where are we? Are we at the power station? And why are you dressed like that?”

“That is a long story,” Kara said, helping Lorraine to her feet.

“I’ll make time,” the other woman replied.

“Well, I don’t really know the whole story, I think your father is the only one that can tell you the whole story.”

“Just tell me what you know,” Lorraine demanded. “And if you are who I think you are, given the way you’re dressed.”

Kara knew she would have to tell Lorraine everything, she just didn’t know how the woman would take it.

 


 

“‘Terror in the Amazon: Secret Government facility running illegal human testing,’” Cat read, a satisfied lilt to her voice as she clutched the newspaper in her hands. “Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I’m going to get a Pulitzer for this, I know it. This is pulitzer level material, I can picture it now."

"Don't you think you overdramatized it just a bit?" Kara asked, glancing through her own copy of the paper. "'Single-handedly freed the children being used for the experiments and took down a corrupt government project?'"

"Excuse you, while you were up here tossing your girlfriend into power lines, I had real work to do.”

Kara winced a little as she thought about Lorraine. She hasn’t seen the woman in several weeks, not since that night when everything came out in the open. The rest of December passed in a blur as she finished up projects for work, headed home to spend Hanukkah with the Kents, Christmas with the Danvers, and finally New Years with Cat in their apartment. Cat had returned from Colombia a few days after Kara’s confrontation with Firehawk and immediately chained herself to her computer in her office at the Daily Planet to get out the story before anyone else got wind of it. 

“I still can’t believe you used your taser to zap the kids they had locked up and managed to free them without anyone noticing you were there,” Kara commented. “Was it the worst guarded base in the history of secret organizations or what?”

Cat just waved her hand and picked up a different newspaper, one of the later articles she wrote detailing different aspects of the investigation that couldn’t fit in the first article. “Truthfully,” she said, taking a sip of her coffee as she read. “I heard murmurings that some of the people at the base had deserted because of ghosts in the forest. I guess they spread stories about what happened that day they went to dispose of the remains of that village and we interfered.”

The older blonde snorted and shook her head, returning to her dinner. A knock sounded on the door a few moments later and Kara got up to answer it since Cat was absorbed in nit-picking every single article she wrote about the conspiracy in the past few weeks and all of the resulting articles. Kara opened the door and was met with the face of a familiar redhead. “Lorraine?” She exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”

Lorraine let out a hesitant laugh, “Well I was in the neighborhood…”

Kara stood there for a moment before her brain kicked in, “Ah, right, um, do you want to come in?” She glanced over to where Cat was sitting at the table and saw her looking up at her, an intrigued look on her face.

“No actually, I want to talk to you, and I was wondering if you would be willing to go on a walk with me?”

“Right now? In the dark?”

“Well I don’t think either one of us has much to worry about in that respect now do we?” Lorraine’s voice held a hint of teasing but Kara could see that her eyes were dull, her heart wasn’t in the statement.

She heard Cat stand up from the table and felt her move around behind her to stand next to her in the open door. “Ah, Lorraine, I don’t know if you’ve met my best friend and roommate, Cat Grant. Cat, this is Lorraine Reilly,” Kara introduced, glancing between them hesitantly.

“I know who she is,” Cat said. “And I want to say Miss Reilly that I’m sorry for what you’ve been through.”

“Thank you Miss Grant, and congratulations on the success of your article.” Lorraine shifted on her feet and Kara could feel how uncomfortable she was.

“Lorraine and I are going out for a bit,” Kara said, grabbing her jacket off of the chair closest to the door. “You need anything?”

“No, I’m fine,” Cat waved them out. “I’m probably going to head out in a bit to work on my new assignment, you kids have fun.”

Kara pulled on her jacket and followed Lorraine out of the building and down to the sidewalk. The two walked in silence for a while, following the sidewalk and street lamps as they led to a nearby park, the same one Kara visited with Alex over Thanksgiving. “So,” Kara started after the two had found a bench to sit down. “I haven’t seen you in a few weeks.”

Lorraine let out a hollow laugh, “Yeah, sorry about that, things have been… things have been kind of crazy.”

“I can’t even imagine.”

“No, the strange thing is I think you probably can understand a bit more than anyone else.” She sighed and scratched at her scalp, running her fingers through her hair. “These past few weeks, everything has been kind of a blur with the fallout over the article and talking with my dad, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do.”

“And have you figured it out?”

The redhead took a deep breath before turning to face Kara, “I’m leaving Gotham. I’ve already quit my job, resigned as senior staffer for my father. I just… I can’t do it anymore, not after he lied to me for over 20 years.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I’ve got savings, so maybe I’ll take a vacation for a while, somewhere remote to clear my head, get this desire to set everything on fire under control, and then I’ll start looking for work somewhere else, Central City, Star City, maybe National City, they all have prestigious law firms so I’m not too worried.”

“Where will that leave us then?” Kara asked, hesitation in her voice. She had been hesitant about her relationship with the other woman, but she didn’t want it to end this way. The mournful look on Lorraine’s face indicated that she wanted more as well, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“You’ll always be my could have been,” Lorraine whispered, brushing her lips against Kara’s in a soft, farewell kiss. “But you know that too much has occurred, between us, in these cities. Too many memories, emotions, feelings, it’ll be better for both of us, if we just leave ‘us’ in the past with those memories.”

“Another could have been,” Kara let out a small laugh. “I seem to be collecting those.”

“For what it’s worth, I hope you find the woman that you’re still in love with,” the redhead told her. “I hope you work it out, maybe it’ll turn out better than you and I ever could.”

Kara stood up from the bench and tugged Lorraine up into a fierce hug. “I do love you,” Kara murmured into her hair. “And I hope that you find what you’re looking for.”

“Thanks Kara,” Lorraine replied. “So I guess I’ll see you around sometime?”

“Do you want me to walk back with you?”

“No it’s alright, recently I’ve found I like the quiet.” 

Kara watched as Lorraine walked away before eventually disappearing out of sight as the sidewalk in the park curved away. The blonde sighed and scuffed lightly at the sidewalk with the toe of her shoe before deciding to keep walking through the park. She walked for a while before eventually she decided she needed a good run, and took off, her feet pounding on earth and pavement. It didn’t take her long to get to the forest area outside of Metropolis and she sat down on a hill overlooking the city. “Another could have been,” Kara sighed, repeating her earlier words. “Seems to be a theme I’m dealing with in my love life.”

“Kara Lar-el,” a voice spoke her name and Kara froze before glancing up to identify the source. A being in a blue and black suit with grayish skin descended to land on the ground in front of her, the blue glow around them fading when they touched the ground.

The blonde studied the being in front of her before her memory kicked in, “It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered anyone from Astonia, not since I visited the planet since I was a child.”

“Yes I imagine it has been a long time for you,” the being, man, chuckled. “I am Bro’Dee Walker, though many call me Saint Walker, I am a member of the Blue Lantern Corps.”

“The Blue Lantern Corps?” Kara repeated, “What do you, they, want with me?”

“We are aware of your history, Daughter of Rao. You escaped the destruction of your planet only to be pulled in the heart of darkness itself, a black hole, where all light is trapped. But you emerged most unscathed, sent back in time to be claimed as a daughter of gods on this earth,” Saint Walker continued. “We have watched you since you emerged from the hidden island, and have seen your ability to inspire great hope in people so I have brought this for you if you will accept it.” He held out his hand to reveal a clear case with a blue ring shining brightly inside it.

“Me, a Blue Lantern?” The blonde scoffed. “I don’t think I’ve inspired much hope in people recently.”

“No?” The lantern questioned, withdrawing his hand. “So you’re not the one who donned a hood and a mask to help protect the people of your city when you saw that crime was a problem, giving them hope that someone was looking out for them? You’re not the one that helped stop your friend from committing greater crimes than she already was, giving her hope for a better understanding of herself? And you’re not the one that inspired a young man to start doing what was right for his city, eventually to become the greatest hero that Gotham has ever seen?”

“Who… you don’t mean Bruce do you?” Kara questioned. “He didn’t strike me as the type to be a hero, a vigilante, though he did ask me a lot of questions about what I thought about it…”

“His fate was left undecided until he met you. Now though, now he will do a lot of good for the city, and suffer greatly for it, but he will give the people hope, because you gave him hope.”

“And that qualifies me enough to be a Blue Lantern?”

“Enough for the ring to accept you, but as for why we want you specifically…” Saint Walker hesitated briefly before speaking again, “Your training as a warrior, your experience as a vigilante, well, we need your help.”

“My help? With what?”

The lantern paused for a moment, “There is a war right now, a war between the lanterns. The Red Lanterns are gaining power, and a new lantern power source has been found, orange, for avarice. It is causing great chaos in the orders of the lanterns, and I fear that it will only get worse. While not the strongest lanterns, blue lanterns are charged with bringing hope to the universe. Though the will of the green lanterns is very powerful, sometimes hope is far more powerful than will, because just when we’ve lost our will, hope pulls us back from the end.”

Kara read between the lines of what the lantern was saying. “So you want me to be that hope,” she clarified. “You think I can help with this war, to pull everyone back from the end?”

Saint Walker gave her a wiry smile, “I have hope.” He handed her the small container, setting it carefully in her hands. “Think about it, I will be back here in a few days to hear your answer.” His ring lit up and the blue glow around his form returned. He pushed off the ground and quickly shot into the sky, eventually disappearing from her sight just outside the upper reaches of the atmosphere, leaving her standing alone on the hill with many questions in her mind.



Chapter Text


 

“So this intergalactic space police force want you to join them?” Eliza asked. “Is this a great honor?”

“Depends on how you define honor,” Kara replied. “They really want me to help them with the chaos among the lantern orders, to help sort the mess out, but the lantern corps, they’re complicated.”

“What do you mean by complicated?”

The Green Lanterns are the ones in charge, sort of, they wield the power of will, which is the strongest emotion, so they say. The Green Lanterns are instructed… ordered, by the Guardians of the Universe, a very old race of beings from the planet Oa. The Guardians believe that they know the right path for the universe and created the Green Lantern Corps as a way to police that path, keep other beings from stepping out of line.”

“That seems…” Eliza really didn’t know how she wanted to phrase it so she just let her voice trail off.

“Immoral, self-righteous, pretentious?”

“Yeah those.”

“Well you wouldn’t be wrong, and throughout the centuries, several planets have thought so, including Krypton. But anyway, because the guardians harnessed the color green from the light spectrum, the color for will, to power the Green Lanterns’ power, it opened the door for other lights to be harnessed, for good or evil, and that has happened, and is still happening.”

“What other Corps are there?”

“The disgraced Green Lantern Sinestro created the Sinestro Corps, harnessing the yellow power of fear, the red lanterns use rage, the star sapphire use love, the indigo lanterns compassion, and the blue lanterns use hope. Originally the blue lanterns were created to strengthen the green lanterns but I’m not sure anymore, especially with the orange lantern of avarice being harnessed…”

“What does this mean, long term for the universe?”

“Means that all of these powers are heading for a collision course that doesn’t bode well for anyone,” Kara replied. “Too many people with that much power, thinking they know everything or know what’s best, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

“Well then you have to go,” Eliza declared.

“What?” The older blonde exclaimed, turning towards her friend. “I didn’t think you’d want me to go.”

The other woman snorted, “Of course I don’t want you to go, you’ll be going across the universe to places that I’ve never even dreamed of, and I don’t know if I’ll even have a way to contact you, will your little devices even work that far away?”

Kara thought for a moment then shrugged, “I don’t know, Kex might, and might be able to make something stronger, but this doesn’t really convince me that I should go.”

“I don’t want you to go,” Eliza stated again. “But I know that you need to go, you need to do this. If you think this is important, then this is important. Alex is going to grow up in this world, a world where people will realize that we’re not alone in the universe, and I’d rather have you out there making the universe safe for her and people like her to continue to live.” The younger blonde wiped at her eyes and shot the other woman a smile, “I’m going to miss you, but we’ll have to look at the bright side, think of how jealous Jeremiah is going to be.”

The alien let out a barking laugh and wiped at her eyes, “He’s going to be super jealous.” She was quiet for a few moments, thinking about the choice that was before her. “I don’t want to leave Alex,” she murmured. “She’s still so young.”

“How long do you think you’ll be gone?”

Kara shrugged again, sighing, “I don’t know, could be a few months, could be a few years. Conflicts like these, they’re never as simple as first presented.”

“Nothing ever is,” Eliza replied. “History of humanity has taught us that wars are never simple or straightforward.” She sighed, “Even if you might be gone for longer than I would like, I still think you should go. Knowing you’re out there, making the universe safer for my daughter that dreams of touching stars, well, it’ll make me feel better.”

“You’re going to make me cry Eliza,” Kara murmured, wiping at her eyes. “Can’t make me cry like that, it’s not fair.”

“Yeah, well, you’ll have to deal with it because I’m going to cry too and I don’t like crying alone.”

Kara heard a gaggle of little voices talking as a bus slowed rolled up the road and stopped at the head of the driveway. A familiar heartbeat bounced off the bus and bolted up the driveway, feet rhythmically striking the ground. “Alex is back,” she said. “What do I tell her?”

“You tell her the truth,” Eliza answered. “You tell her that someone came for your help from across the galaxy, and that that means you might be away for awhile. But you’ll be fighting to keep people safe, people like us. I’m not going to lie and tell you that she won’t be upset, but Alex is a smart kid, if I do say so myself, she will understand.”

The front door banged open and the loud exuberance of a seven year old greeted her ears. “I hope so,” Kara muttered. “I sure hope so…”

 


 

“So you’re leaving,” Clark said, kicking lightly at the rocks at his feet. 

“I’ve been thinking about it but it looks like I might be,” Kara replied. “How do you feel about that?”

 Clark just shrugged, “I don’t know. Is it something that you want to do?”

“Not if you think that you need me here.” The boy didn’t reply, just kicked at another loose piece of gravel, this time hitting it hard enough to send it in the nearby corn field.

After Kara had spent a day with the Danvers, and consoling a deeply upset seven year old and an even more upset grown man, she flew to the Kent house in Smallville on her way back to Metropolis. She had spent Hanukkah with her adoptive family, but she hadn’t really spent much time with Clark one-on-one in the past few years. Once the boy got closer to his teenage years, he didn’t think it was ‘cool’ to hangout with his older cousin, and started spending even more time with his best friends Pete and Chloe. Kara would stop by every now and then to help him learn to control his abilities, or teach him more about his culture, but she could tell that he slightly resented the lessons the older her got. She couldn’t force him to learn about Krypton, but she knew that if he did have questions when he got older, the A.I. unit in his ship would be able to answer anything he needed to know.

“I don’t want you to turn down saving the universe,” Clark said. “Not because of me. If this guy came all the way here, it’s because he thinks that you’re the best one to help them.”

“I just don’t want you to think that I’m abandoning you,” Kara murmured. “Especially with your more… difficult powers starting to come in now that you’re older.”

The boy huffed a bit when she mentioned powers and kicked at another rock, this time forceful enough to take down a row of corn stalks. “I wish I didn’t have these powers,” he grumbled. “I want to be able to play sports with some of the other guys.”

“You play basketball with Pete at his house.”

“It’s not the same,” he replied. “I want to be able to play football on the school team, with the rest of the guys, be someone… cool, not be seen as a nerd or a dumb farm boy anymore.”

“Clark, you know it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks, you don’t have to play football to get other kids to like you, and if you think you do, maybe they’re not the right kind of kids.”

Clark let out an aggravated sigh, “You don’t understand Kara, you didn’t have to go through high school at my age.”

“No,” Kara admitted. “I just had to deal with losing my entire culture and trying to adapt to a new one on a completely different planet.”

Her comment took the wind out of his sails and he deflated in front of her. “Sorry,” Clark muttered. “I didn’t mean that…”

“I know, but Clark, you have to remember that the reason you have these abilities is because your parents wanted you to survive the destruction of Krypton, to live. It was just our luck that we ended up on a world with a yellow sun and that the natural process of our biology would absorb the radiation and transform the excess into super abilities.”

“I just wish I could be normal,” he said. “So that I could fit in with everyone else.”

“It would make things easier in some ways,” Kara admitted. “Not having to hear things, see things, though you haven’t developed that one yet, it would be a relief, but being able to fly, that makes up for it.”

Clark huffed again, “Can’t do that one yet either. It’s kind of unfair that you got all of these abilities at once and I have to ‘grow’ into them. If I’m going to have powers, I’d like to actually get to use them.”

“It’s a lot of responsibility,” Kara said. “Weren’t you just saying that you’d rather be a normal kid, playing football with the guys at school?”

“Well yeah, but you know, it would be really cool to be able to do what you do, protect people, fight bad guys.”

“One thing that I’ve learned, doing what I do, especially recently, you have to be able to accept the good and bad of being a hero. I get to save people, and that’s a really good thing; but I also have to deal with people reacting to what I do, what I can do, and hurting others because of it. Realizing that that, that their actions were not my fault but the result of their choices was a hard lesson to learn, one that I’m still learning,” Kara admitted. “It’s been a hard lesson, but necessary.”

“I don’t know if I could deal with that,” the boy muttered. “Somebody hurt others because of the powers you have? Why would they do that?”

Kara shrugged, “Usually because they were scared, and when humans are scared they try to solve the problem of being scared by being stronger than what scares them, or pretending to be stronger. You’ve seen bullies at your school right? Sometimes they hurt others because someone is hurting them, it gives them a measure of control in their life. The same is true for when people are grown.”

“Maybe I don’t want to be a hero then if I have to deal with people like that.”

“You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do,” Kara told him. “If you don’t want to use your powers in the future when you finally get them and have control of them, you don’t have to, you can be as normal as possible.”

“But I never will be normal,” Clark replied. “Not really.” He scuffed his foot against the ground again before taking a deep breath, “You should go with the lantern, go be a hero. What you just told me says that you know more about being a hero than many people ever will, so it has to be you out there protecting the universe.”

The blonde stood up from the swing where she was sitting and wrapped her arm around the boy’s shoulders. “You’re going to be a good man one day Clark,” she said, squeezing him lighty. “And I’m going to be back to make sure that I see it happen.”

 


 

“Mom,” Kara wheezed out, her voice nearly a gasp. “You gotta let go, I can’t breath.”

“No,” Pythia muttered, squeezing the girl tighter. “I’m not going to let you go.”

“Thia,” Hippolyta murmured, setting her hand on the silver-haired woman’s shoulder. “You didn’t give Kara this much trouble when she decided to leave for the World of Men.”

“Because she wasn’t going to a different world,” the woman replied. “I knew that even if she left, I would be able to contact her or she would be able to come home. But now…”

“Mom, if you don’t want me to go, all you have to do is tell me.”

“I don’t want you to go.”

“You don’t mean that,” the Amazonian queen stated, rubbing her lover’s back.

Pythia sniffed and pulled back from the younger woman, wiping her eyes to rid herself of her tears. “No, I don’t mean that,” she said. “I don’t like the idea of you leaving the planet, but I’m not going to stand in your way.” She sniffed again and let out a ragged breath before speaking. “I guess it’s only fitting, you came from the stars, so I knew that eventually you would have to return to them.”

“I’m not going to be gone forever Mom,” Kara told her, wiping at the woman’s face.

“I know that, logically I know that, but… when you become a mother, logic doesn’t always apply, especially when your child is in danger.” 

“Mom…”

“And why do you need to be the one that goes?” Pythia continued. “Why did this lantern come all the way through space, passing untold numbers of planets to find you? Why my daughter?”

“For the same reason that my daughter had to leave,” Hippolyta answered, drawing their attention. “Her destiny was too big for this island, and though I would have loved to have kept her here, protected, always, it wasn’t what was meant to be.” The queen turned her attention to Kara and squeezed the younger woman’s shoulder, “You came here from another world, sent to keep you safe from the death of your own planet; it only makes sense that you would be called to save other worlds.”

“You’re supposed to be on my side Hippolyta,” Pythia scolded, narrowing her eyes at her lover. 

“I am on your side,” the queen replied. “I’m always on your side, but you know that this is bigger than both of us.”

Pythia nodded and wiped at her face before turning back to her daughter. “You’ll keep in contact won’t you? When you can?”

“When I can,” Kara agreed. “Kex should be able to boost the signal on the communicators for whenever I’m within this galaxy or a nearby one. It should work if he uses back channels on the satellites the humans have in orbit, or even using the moon as a natural satellite.” 

“Mnemosyne and Calliope will be fascinated if you capture images of other worlds,” Pythia murmured and Kara nodded.

“I’ll take pictures when I can,” she said. “But I don’t think I’ll be able to do that much, especially if Walker is correct about the state of the Lantern Corps.”

“I expect you to come home safe,” the woman demanded. “Hippolyta and I want both of our daughters to come home safe.”

“I will Mom, promise.”

 


 

“I’m going to have to get my money back from Hollywood for every stupid movie about aliens that I paid to see,” Cat said as she watched the gray-skinned alien in a glowing blue suit descend to the top of the apartment building where she and Kara lived. “He doesn’t look like a man-eating reptile.”

“I’m an alien and I don’t look like a man-eating reptile,” Kara pointed out.

“You’re a domesticated alien, you don’t count,” Cat replied in an off-handed manner.

“Is a domesticated alien even a thing?” The shorter blonde just hummed and Kara turned her attention to her friend. “Are you going to be okay Cat?”

“With what? Non-reptilian aliens?”

“No, with me leaving. I’m going to be gone for who knows how long, and you aren’t going to have anyone here to keep track of you.”

“Ex-cuse me, Kara Larelle, but I can take care of myself,” Cat retorted, a haughty sniff leaving her mouth.

“I wouldn’t imply otherwise.”

Cat narrowed her eyes at her friend before looking back at where the blue lantern was waiting. “I’ve been thinking,” she started finally after a few minutes. “I might switch jobs at the Daily Planet, take a different assignment than war correspondent… Or I might even pursue my dream and move west to start building my media empire, something that will surpass the Daily Planet in prominence.”

“The project I did for my architecture final…”

The shorter blonde nodded, “I’ve been thinking about it and I want to build it. Newspaper, magazine, television, even new markets that I haven’t even thought of yet, I want it all. I’m going to build it, and I expect you to come back and help me do it.”

“Consider me your first investor then,” Kara said, handing Cat a sheaf of papers. 

Cat glanced through the papers and gave the older woman a blank look. “What is this?”

“Money, obviously,” she replied. “Well, some of the dividends for the investments I’ve made over the years and access to the rest as the stocks continue to grow.”

“You’re not serious,” Cat muttered. “You invested in Apple and Microsoft?”

Kara shrugged, “Kex did anyway, he’s been monitoring human money system and was able to invest in the stock market using some of the money I obtained while living in Smallville with the Kents and what I sold by finding a few precious gemstones around. Both Martha and Jonathan though it would be a good idea for the future, so I left it up to Kex to decide which stocks to purchase. I even have some that belong to the various businesses that the Wayne Foundation runs.”

“These different stocks, do you know how much money you’ll have if they keep growing?” Cat’s eyes were wide as she attempted to crunch the numbers. 

“Money that I won’t really need while I’m off world,” Kara pointed out. “Look, when you get close to realizing your dream, creating your media empire, and you can’t find the right investors to help you, the money is there for you to use. Kex will keep monitoring the stock market, buying and selling stock, but he’ll funnel dividends and money that he’s not using for this into this bank account, which I’ve given you access to.” She held up her hand to forestall any argument that Cat could come up with. “Don’t start, I’ve already decided, I want to do this, to at least help you stay out of trouble while I’m gone.”

“You just don’t want me to have any fun without you.”

“Your type of fun probably.” Cat just rolled her eyes and Kara grabbed the woman into a tight hug, giving her a firm squeeze. “Be happy Cat.” 

She released the shorter blonde and walked over to where Saint Walker was waiting for her. “All you need to do is accept this ring,” Walker said, holding out a container with the blue lantern ring. “If the ring accepts you, recite the oath of the Blue Lanterns to charge the ring and claim your status as a lantern.”

Hesitantly, Kara opened the container and the ring immediately flew to her right hand and settled around her middle finger. Words filtered into her mind and without fully realizing what she was doing, she started to recite, “In fearful day, in raging night, With strong hearts full, our souls ignite, When all seems lost in the war of Light, Look to the Stars- for hope burns bright!” Blue light swirled around her and in an instant, her clothing was replaced with the uniform of the Blue Lantern Corps. Kara examined the uniform closely, feeling how the fabric clung to her skin, much more closely than she was comfortable with truthfully. She turned around to where her friend was still waiting and gave her a small salute before pushing off the ground and into the air, following Walker out of the atmosphere and away from Earth.



Chapter Text


 

It had been a long time since she had seen her face, outside of her dreams anyway. Outside of the haunting images that plagued her mind, she had not seen her face, her image, the person that was never too far out of her thoughts. She had resigned herself to never seeing her again, to just living with her fantasies and memories for the rest of her long life. She made her choices and she didn’t regret many of them because she learned so much about herself along the way, but there was one choice she did regret and she would live with the consequences of that choice.

She had resigned herself anyway, until a magazine one of her colleagues brought in had her dropping everything and making arrangements for time off. Now she was lurking around the edges of a gala, clothed in formal evening wear, trying to find the perfect moment to slip away and break into a billionaire’s storage. She blended into the crowd, attempting to look as if she belonged there without attracting too much attention. It reminded her of a gala she attended long ago, but with hopefully more successful results this time.

She waited until her unwitting host was busy with other guests, longer than she wanted to really. Despite his notoriety, he was able to slip through the crowd, from person to person without lingering too long with each one, his eyes constantly examining each person and the entire room. It was almost unnerving how his eyes scanned his surroundings, almost as if he were waiting for something, remaining vigilant for any threat without letting his guests know. So she waited until she found the perfect opportunity to slip away undetected. 

Security was surprisingly lax for such a wealthy and powerful man, but it also might have had something to do with how determined she was to reach her goal. Two floors, three floors, one, two security doors, one safe, and there she was, standing tall in pride of place in the center of the vault.

“Beautiful,” Diana murmured as she moved closer to the sculpture, her eyes drinking in the entirety of the piece. She slowly circled around the marble work, taking in the flow of the fabric, the positioning of the body, the slight pull back of the upper body, and finally the expression on the statue’s face. 

When she first saw notice of the sculpture’s discovery by one of the archaeological digs funded by Bruce Wayne, she didn’t pay much attention to it. There have been digs all over the Grecian world in the century since she had been living in the World of Men that have found artifacts that she learned to only be interested if the artifacts ended up in her care. It wasn’t until the sculpture was restored and featured in The Archaeology Reader that Diana realized what it was. “Nefeli did a beautiful job,” Diana murmured. “I know I wasn’t supportive when she initially chose to leave Themyscira, I didn’t understand, but now I’m glad she did.” Diana didn’t remember much about the artistic Amazon that chose to leave Paradise Island nearly two thousand years ago, but she recognized her work.

“She’s beautiful isn’t she?” Bruce’s voice didn’t surprise her as much as it might have the average person since she heard him coming. She is surprised though that he knew she was there at all. “You know I usually have trouble with a different kind of cat burglar,” he commented, moving to stand beside her.

“Is that why you chose not to call the police?”

Bruce just hummed, “I didn’t recognize you at the gala, so I was curious to see what you were after since you came uninvited. I didn’t realize that you were only going to come and gaze on my recent acquisition.”

“You seem fairly calm for someone who just had his private vault broken into.”

“As I said, I’m used to a particular sort of cat burglar,” he replied. The man walked over to move around the sculpture, his eyes roving over the marble, taking in every feature the artist carefully created. “You didn’t answer my question earlier.”

“I did not realize that you had asked a question, just that you did not ask what I was doing down here.”

He hummed again and fixed his gaze back on the sculpture. “You know, when I financed that dig, I didn’t really expect for them to find anything so magnificent, just some pottery fragments, maybe remnants of a few buildings, things to add to the historical discussion. When this was pulled out of the mud, almost protected and preserved in a hardened shell, I was surprised, that might be why I insisted it was brought back here for cleaning and preservation. The Aphrodite of Ephesus, that’s that they decided to call her.” Bruce tilted his head and gazed at the figure with thoughtful expression before shaking his head, “If you took the trouble to break in, her beauty must’ve brought you here.”

“With how calm you’re being about someone breaking into your vault, I’m guessing she enchanted you as well.”

“Not as much enchanted as… she reminds me of someone I knew,” he answered. Diana was about to say something else when he turned slightly to the left and seemed to be paying attention to something else. She could hear a voice speaking in his ear, mentioning something about his target arriving. He nodded at her and excused himself, leaving her standing unaccompanied in his vault. 

Amusement filled her as she realized the man left her, a stranger, standing in a room holding his private art collection. Her eyes drifted back to the sculpture and regret instantly flooded her mind. “Aphrodite of Ephesus,” Diana murmured, her eyes never straying from the statue’s face. “Fitting.” She stood there for a few moments, waiting, thinking, before tearing her eyes away. “I’m so sorry Kara,” she said. “I wish… I wish things had turned out differently, I wish that I had done things differently… I wish… I wish I had asked you to go with me.”

She walked out of the room, carefully locking it on her way out, and returned to the gala. Lingering close to the edge of the room, Diana instantly spotted Bruce standing in the far corner of the room speaking with Lex Luthor of all people. “What are you up to Bruce Wayne…” 

 


 

It didn’t take long for Diana to figure out that Clark Kent was the famed hero of Metropolis, the one that fought off an alien invasion and saved the world from the menacing General Zod, the one the Daily Planet had dubbed Superman. Kara’s cousin. His identity wouldn’t be obvious to everyone, no one would ever mistake the mild mannered reporter for the bold superhero coursing through the sky. She knew who he was, despite how he acted. His powers were identical to Kara’s, though not as developed, and the air around him pulsed with a similar energy. The dead giveaway though was his eyes, both Clark Kent and Superman have Kara’s eyes.

Diana wondered what the blonde would think, seeing the baby cousin she spoke of all grown up and flying through the skies of Metropolis, saving people, protecting people. She wondered if she would be proud that he’s helping people and carrying on the legacy of Krypton emblazoned proudly on his chest. She also wondered if Kara even knew he had landed, that he was on Earth at all or if she was still on Themyscira waiting. Diana couldn’t help but think what if she had set aside her fear and asked Kara to leave with her all those years ago. The blonde would have been around for her cousin growing up, would have been able to raise him, to teach him the things that she learned as a child.

Just as she starts to slip into the fantasy of how things would have been different, would be different now if she had had the courage to ask Kara to come with her. Memories of the war though kept her regret from fully consuming her. The carnage she saw, the things she did, she didn’t ever want Kara to see her like that, to experience death and destruction like that again. The humans called it the Great War, the war to end all wars, and she could believe it, until it started all over again ten years later with even more devastation. It made her miss the mostly peaceful existence she lived on Themyscira with her mother, her friends, Kara… But not helping the humans when she had the power to do something, the power to help them, to stop Ares, she would have regretted that just as much as she regretted not asking Kara to go with her.

The blue and red clad superhero flew passed her hotel balcony, breaking Diana out of her thoughts. She stepped out of her room to watch the man, a cup of coffee clutched in her hands as she leaned over the railing. It was odd watching him save people and how they just flocked to him. He was so much like Kara, but in this, in the essentials, he was so different. Kara wouldn’t have allowed people to view her as a god, treat her like a shining beacon placed on a pedestal. She could tell that he was uncomfortable with the attention, but she knew that his cousin would have reached out to embrace them, sharing their weaknesses and hardships.

She knew it was wrong to compare the two; she didn’t know what kind of life Clark Kent, Kal-el, had on Earth, she didn’t know how he grew up, who raised him, the people around him. Kara though, she knew Kara, she knew her better than anyone else in this world, including herself. She knew how Kara spent her days on Krypton, the different sciences and mathematics she learned at a young age, the games she played with her aunt, the dreams she whispered under a red sun. She knew the devastation Kara felt when she remembered what she had lived through, she knew the tears she shed year after year on the anniversary and Diana knew what it was like to hold the blonde in her arms. She knew how she spent her days on Themyscira, she knew the training Kara received, and she knew that Kara extended her hand to everyone, friend, foe.

So it was wrong to compare Superman to Kara, knowing what she did about his cousin, it wouldn’t be fair to the man. Her eyes continued to track the hero through the city until he flew back across the bay to Metropolis, returning to his own territory and leaving Gotham to the protection of its own hero. She though it might have seemed unusual to some that Superman was in Gotham that night instead of Metropolis, but with how close the two cities were, it probably happened more than she thought. She was aware of the destruction caused by Zod and his forces the previous year, she could still see the remnants of different construction projects around the city to rebuild what had been destroyed.

Her sharp eyes caught the slight movement of a cape fluttering in the wind that constantly plagued the city, and she focused on the Dark Knight of Gotham, barely visible against the darkness. Diana snorted at the sight and downed the rest of her coffee before returning to her room. It was a little more difficult to figure out that Bruce Wayne and Batman were one and the same, she could see why people in Gotham who interacted with the billionaire would be fooled. Much like Clark Kent and Superman, the two personas were very different. Bruce was a charismatic, detached, arrogant playboy, and Batman was the distant, hard, merciless protector of Gotham. Two distinct separate personas but were two sides of the same coin. 

After breaking into Bruce Wayne’s private vault and encountering the man himself, she sought to understand the air of danger that seemed to accompany him, it was partly what prompted her to stay in Gotham rather than returning to her life in Paris. The desire to stay close to the ghost of Kara and keep track of her cousin was the main reason why she lingered, she wasn’t ready to let go yet, not when she has seen her face again for the first time in almost a century.

What puzzled her though was the hatred Batman and Bruce Wayne seemed to hold for Superman. It was less difficult to discern than Bruce’s secret identity, but she did not understand the animosity held by the man. Diana let out a sigh and settled back into her bed, her mind drifting to more pleasant times. She would keep track of what was happening in Gotham with Superman and Batman, for Kara’s sake. Her mother taught her to be a warrior, to protect people, to help people, but she didn’t think she had it in her anymore.

 


 

It was like watching two superpowered toddlers fighting, Diana thought as she watched Batman and Superman throw each other through buildings. She was concerned when she saw the files that Bruce had collected on people with superhuman abilities, mainly on how he was able to dig up information of what she did during WWI and again in 1984. She wondered why he collected the information, and was worried that he planned to hunt them down just as he planned for Superman. But now, watching the two men trying to kill each other, she knew she didn’t have anything to be worried about. Two grown men, grown toddlers, having a pissing contest over a misunderstanding about each other’s character, Diana couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

She continued to watch from the shadows, keeping her presence hidden from the two idiots fighting. Her eyes narrowed when she saw Batman fire a canister at Superman that started to release a green gas the moment the other man caught it. Green light glowed through his veins and he stumbled to the ground as he inhaled the gas, his loud gasps signifying weak attempts to choke down any amount of oxygen. It was strange to see someone so strong, so powerful struck down by something as simple as a green gas. She wondered if it could affect Superman in such a way, would it do the same to Kara?

Batman continued to circle around the downed alien, taunting him, and Diana rolled her eyes again. The rain was doing a good job washing away whatever the gas was, but she could tell that is was still affecting him. His strength was zapped and his speed greatly diminished so he couldn’t dodge the blows that Batman rained down on him, or move away from the final kick that sent him through a few floors of the building below. Diana repositioned herself as best as she could to see into the building, but she lost track of them for a few minutes until another burst of green smoke caught her attention. She saw Superman fall floor after floor through the center building, weakened by the gas until he landed on the ground with a sickening thud. The Dark Knight followed after him, a hard look on his face as he let out ragged breaths. 

The Amazon positioned herself just inside the building, close enough to intervene if necessary, but far enough away that neither noticed her presence. She knew that if Kara was there, she would have put a stop to this before her cousin could get hurt, she would do almost anything to protect the people she loved. But Kara wasn’t there, Diana was, and she viewed this whole fight as utterly pointless and thought that both men needed to be dealt a good thrashing for such a useless display of testosterone. 

Her back stiffened and her eyes narrowed when Batman pulled out a spear glowing the same color as the gas he used to down the Kryptonian. Its purpose was clear, a weapon designed to kill Superman; she wouldn’t let it get to that point, she wouldn’t allow a weapon that could potentially harm Kara to exist in the world. Even if she never saw Kara again, even if the blonde never encountered the element, Diana would make the world safe for her, it was her penance for leaving Kara behind.

Before she could move from her hiding place and break the spear over Batman’s head, another woman rushed in and got between the two. Superman’s… no, Clark’s mother was kidnapped by Lex Luthor, and Luthor demanded Batman’s life for hers. It was exactly what she expected of the man based on what she knew of him. He was a scientist, a businessman from a wealthy, infamous and powerful family, Diana knew his type. If he wasn’t the one at the top of the food pyramid, the top of the food chain, the one with all of the power and all of the cards, he would do whatever it took to be the one that came out on top. She also knew though that he was someone that preferred not to get his own hands dirty. His endgame was obvious, pitting Superman and Batman together, and his mysterious movements with the wrecked Kryptonian spaceship in Metropolis, he was making his bid to take control, regardless of the collateral damage.

Diana slipped back out of the building on the side and started pacing, her feet splashing through water and rubble in the slowly sinking port. Making sure that Kara’s cousin, the last remaining member of her blood family was safe was one thing, dealing with whatever psychotic plan a power-crazed billionaire invented in his twisted little mind was something else altogether. She has fought for years, each time hoping that humanity is going to be different, that people are going to be good and kind to each other, but after the conflict with Cheetah years ago, she gave up. She retreated into her life of studying, working, dealing with artifacts from her history, keeping her mind engaged and away from dangerous thoughts like regrets.

She should not have come to Gotham, she should not have gotten involved with Batman, Bruce Wayne, and she definitely should not have been checking in on Superman, Clark Kent, Kal-El, Kar- her cousin. She was lured by a siren’s song and now she was trapped in a dilemma she had thought she had long put away, to act or do nothing? Her mother would understand her hesitance to continue to help mankind since they have proven that they would not change. The story about Ares influencing them into war and conflict was just that, a story, a myth, humans war on their own without the assistance of outside forces. Fear, greed, hatred, pride, all of the weaknesses of mankind that drive them to committing acts of evil against each other. They didn’t need an outside force convincing them to hurt each other, they did that all on their own. Her mother had told her as much, and would understand after fighting so long to bring peace wanting to let them suffer from their own choices and mistakes.

The woman stopped pacing when another face entered her mind, Antiope. Her aunt would have beaten her all the way back to the time of the gods for abandoning her duty as a warrior. She would have beaten her to Tartarus and then tossed her to the gods for punishment for being such a coward. Diana dug at her eyes with the palms of her hands, gods she was a coward, about many things, sometimes justifiable things, but still a coward.

She heard a rumbling sound from the other side of the port, and the woman glanced over just in time to see a large figure take down a small flying vehicle, one of Batman’s toys. The plane crashed, leaving Batman exposed to the figure stalking him. It was a split second decision, a choice made as she watched the figure start to puff up and glow red with molten fire, a choice she wasn’t even fully conscious of making. The beast blasted out a wave of fire and suddenly Diana was between the blast and Batman, her Amazonian shield holding steady despite the intense heat from the creature.

When the fire stopped, Diana shifted from her crouch, slowly rising from behind her shield to stare down the creature. She felt Batman’s eyes on her and heard Superman land behind her, but she ignored the both of them to keep an eye on the monster in front of her. 

“- a monster from another world,” she heard Superman say and she focused an eye back on him. “My world.”

This creature, monster, thing, was from Krypton, Kara’s Krypton? No, it wasn’t from Krypton, the history might be from Krypton but it was from the sick, twisted mind of a human bent on dominance and destruction. “I’ve killed beings from other worlds before,” Diana said, quickly drawing her sword.

“She with you?” Superman asked, turning towards Batman.

“I thought she was with you.”

Diana ignored them both, the idiots. Antiope had told her that men were idiots, but she hadn’t fully seen that proof until she started dealing with both Batman and Superman. They were intelligent, she knew that, she witnessed it first hand, but they were also idiots. She charged forward with a yell, her sword clutched tightly in her hand, and passion and irritation burning in her heart. She couldn’t let the beast continue to exist, not with the amount of damage it was already causing in a mostly abandoned port.

The monster spit out a blast of fire again, but she dived underneath it and sliced at it’s legs. She saw Superman and Batman out of the corner of her eye battling as well, but nothing they did seemed to hurt the creature. Diana dodged another punch and jumped up, slicing through its arm on the downward stroke. It yelled out, whether in pain or annoyance Diana didn’t know, but the hand immediately started to grow back, emerging out of a thin skin sack. “This thing,” she murmured, pulling back from the monster to where Superman was standing. “It is just taking whatever we do to it.”

“It is from Krypton, so there is one thing here that can kill it,” Batman replied. Before he or Diana could move, Superman was shooting in the air and flying back to the ruined building. Diana didn’t have to think about what he was doing, she knew, he was retrieving the spear. Even though it could hurt him, leave him in a vulnerable state, she knew that he felt that this was his responsibility. It was a creature from his world, a monster no doubt created to destroy him and wreak as much havoc as possible. This is as much his responsibility as Ares was hers, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t help make his task a little easier. She picked up the lasso at her waist, and quickly threw it at the monster, subduing its arms to its body.

The creature struggled and Diana screamed out as her muscles strained and pulled continuing to hold the monster. A few seconds later, a cloud of green smoke erupted around the beast, causing it to cough and wheeze just as Superman did when exposed to the same smoke. She looked behind the monster to where Batman was standing with his gun and tightened her hold on the rope in her hands, this was it. Superman collided with the creature, thrusting the glowing green spear deep in its chest. The feeling of the spear piercing its chest was enough of a shock that the monster let out a few erratic movements, causing the rubble underneath Diana’s feet to crumble and her grip on the rope loosen.

She didn’t have to see what happened next to know it was going to occur, but she watched anyway. She watched as the monster raised its partially formed hand, and stabbed Superman through his chest, the green spear weakening him as well. Superman, no Kal-el, let out a cry of pain, but his face twisted in determination. He grabbed onto the beast’s claw and continued to pull it forward, allowing him to push his own spear through the creature. A great burst of green light erupted from where the spear was lodged in the monster, and Diana had to shield her eyes from the sight. When the light faded, the creature fell, Superman still clutched tightly in its hand.

Diana moved closer to the mountain of rubble, but glanced behind her when she heard another pair of footsteps coming towards the area. The woman from before that got in-between Superman and Batman before stood there, a question on her face. The Amazon knew that look on her face, and knew the answer to that unasked question but couldn’t bring herself to answer. Batman shifted Superman’s body to the edge of the rubble and used his cape to slowly lower him down into Diana’s arms. She set him down on the ground and shifted to the side, allowing this woman to come closer to say her goodbyes. The two heroes stood vigil over the fallen form of their ally, giving time for his loved one to grieve.

 


 

Diana stood away from the people gathered to mourn the loss of Clark Kent, she didn’t feel she had the right to stand with them. She failed her, she failed Kara, for once she is grateful she might never see the blonde again, she didn’t want to explain to her how she let her baby cousin die, not when she was there and could have done something. She was rusty, she knew that, she hasn’t dealt with conflict in such a way in thirty years, and it caused her to miss key moments in the battle that she could have prevented this, could have taken his place.

She saw Bruce standing away from the crowd and walked over to stand next to him, both looking on as Lois Lane sprinkled a handful of dirt over his coffin. “Circus back east is burying an empty box,” Bruce mentioned, not tearing his eyes away from the cemetery.

Part of Diana wondered how he accomplished that, removed the body from Metropolis so that his family could bury him here in peace, but she knew with his resources he could do almost anything, including a traditional Kryptonian funeral. Kara had spoken of it once long ago, close family members would say prayers of the dead hoping for safe passage into Rao’s light and coffins would be sent straight into the red sun himself. In times of old, the dead would be placed on funeral pyres and would be set alight when Rao rose over the horizon, their ashes mingling with his rays. “They do not know how to honor him,” Diana said, her mind returning to the present and away from memories from long ago. “Except as a soldier.”

“I failed him in life,” Bruce replied. “I won’t fail him in death.”

“You take too much on yourself Bruce, we both failed him.”

Bruce shook his head, “I didn’t trust him, I allowed myself to be manipulated by a weasel spewing words already in my mind, I did that, and now the world has lost its greatest protector.” Without bidding, Diana’s mind flashed to Kara; she was stronger than her cousin, trained as a warrior just like her, would she become the world’s greatest hero if she knew? “There are others like you,” Bruce continued, pulling Diana’s mind away from idle musings. “People with extraordinary abilities, help me find them.”

“Perhaps they don’t want to be found.”

“They will,” he said. “They’ll have to, we’ll have to stand together.”

Diana crossed her arms and sighed, “I spent 70 years fighting for mankind, struggling with them, but over time I learned that no matter how much I fight, mankind does not change. They still find ways to hurt each other, so thirty years ago I walked away, left mankind to stew in the mess they had made. They have made a world where standing together is impossible.”

“Men are still good, we fight, we kill, we betray one another, but we can rebuild, we can do better, we will, we have to. If we don’t, we will dishonor his memory, dishonor everything he sacrificed himself for.”

The Amazon turned to face Bruce, “The others like me, why did you say they’ll have to fight.”

Bruce was quiet for a moment, a pensive look on his face. “Just a feeling,” he finally said. “Just a feeling.”



Chapter Text

Chapter 29

2015

“What are we to do my Queen?” Delphi questioned. “We have guarded that box for millenia, since the first age, and now we have lost it as well as a legion of our best warriors.”

“They died valiant deaths,” Hippolyta replied. “Their names will be recorded in the halls of heroes, and songs will be sung about their bravery.”

“Yes, but what will we do about Steppenwolf?” Acantha continued. “It has been an age since we have faced him and even then we were only able to drive him back. And that was with the combined forces of humans, Atlanteans, Amazons, Gods and Lanterns.”

“These forces are scattered,” Phillipus said. “The Atlanteans banished to the depths of the seas, their empire collapsed. The gods are dead, the humans weak and the lanterns-”

“The lanterns are dealing with a crisis of their own,” Pythia interrupted. “That is why my daughter had to leave this world, to help another with a war.”

“It’s been close to twenty years and Kara has yet to return,” Hippolyta said. “We lost communication with her a decade ago, so we cannot count on the lanterns to help us with this matter, we must rely on our own resources.”

“And how do we do that?” Delphi asked, “We dare not leave this island, and Steppenwolf made quick work of our finest warriors at only a fraction of his power, if he succeeds in combining the power of those boxes…”

“We must light the beacon,” the queen declared. “That is the only way.”

“Who would remember the old warning signs?” Phillipus asked. 

“Diana will know,” Pythia said, realizing what her lover was thinking. “Diana will know what it means, and she will seek out allies. With Kara gone, she is our last hope.”

Hippolyta, Pythia, the royal guard and several members of the senate left the council area for the tower citadel. The queen took the large bow from its stand and pulled the string taut before picking up the accompanying arrow. Phillipus carefully lit the end of the arrow with a torch, and stepped away, leaving the queen holding the bow and flaming arrow. She pulled back the cord and closed her eyes, picturing the temple of the Amazons in her mind. “Hear me Diana,” she murmured, the feather of the arrow brushing against her cheek. She released and they all watched the arrow speed away towards its destination, disappearing high into the clouds.

The group dispersed, leaving Hippolyta and Pythia staring after the arrow, the royal guard standing a discrete distance away. “In times like these,” the silver haired woman muttered, leaning into her lover. “I wish I had told Kara not to go.”

“If my memory serves me correctly, you did tell her not to go.”

“I wish I had really meant it. I don’t know how you have done it all of these years Lyta, not knowing if Diana was alive and well out there in the world, if she was hurt, if she was happy, if she needed you.”

“I try not to think about it too much really, I had other things to focus on, such as Kara and you, now this business with Steppenwolf…” Her voice trailed off as she tried to think of a way to ease her lover’s concerns. “I could feel in my heart that Diana was alive and living. She is part of me, deep in my bones I can feel her and that is why I know that she is out there and will see the message.” She shifted so that she was standing in front of Pythia, and cupped her face in her hands. “You might not have given birth to Kara, but she is as much a part of you as Diana is a part of me, you would know if something was wrong, you would feel it in your heart.”

“I know that she’s still out there,” Pythia murmured. “I know that she’s still fighting, I know that, my heart knows that she’s still alive, but my head keeps coming up with all of these reasons as to why she hasn’t been in contact, why she hasn’t come home, why-”

Hippolyta carefully placed her finger over Pythia’s mouth to stem the concerns and doubts flooding out of her. “All we can do is hope and believe that she’s okay, and that she will return one day.”

"And maybe when she does, she'll finally reconnect with Diana and both of us can get our daughters back," the silver haired woman murmured, taking Hippolyta's hand in one of hers.

"That would mean that they would both have to admit how they feel about each other, and that really would have to take an act of gods.”

 


 

“You really need to do] something with this place,” Diana commented as she strolled into the batcave, startling both Bruce and Alfred. “It is just so… dark, dreary, maybe some nice curtains or throw pillows, some color dotted around to lighten up the general atmosphere.”

Bruce turned to Alfred and shot the man a dark look, “I thought you said that you upgraded security.”

“I did, doesn’t mean that is has any effect on her,” the British man replied, returning his attention to the computer screens. 

The younger man rolled his eyes in irritation before looking back towards the Amazon. “What are you doing here Diana?”

“You were the one who said that you were putting together a team of people like me in order to take care of problems in the absence of Superman,” Diana said. “And yet, a year goes by without any word from you, and problems keep showing up.” She wandered over to one of the screens and analyzed the images of the bug creatures appearing all over the world, and a mural that shows three boxes at the center of the destruction of all things. “Interesting art collection you’re starting, I hear that work depicting the end of the world was coming back into style, especially after this past year.” She took a closer look at the image and recognized familiar symbols that she had learned under the persistent instruction of Calliope, “Where did you find this?”

“When I went out looking for our underwater friend known as the Aquaman,” Bruce replied, walking over to where Diana stood. “I know that it has something to do with these creatures that have been attacking people, but I haven’t worked out what these boxes mean…”

“They are the mother boxes,” Diana said. “Split up to keep Steppenwolf from returning and regaining his power. One given to my people, the Amazons, one given to the Atlanteans, and one given to humans. The Amazons and Atlanteans were given charged to guard their boxes, while the humans hid the one they were entrusted with.”

“I’m sorry, Steppenwolf, mother boxes?” Bruce questioned. “It might be better if you start at the beginning.”

“This was before my time of course,” Diana said, sitting down in one of the chairs. “My mother, my aunt and my tutor told me stories though, stories of a time of war and chaos, when men were brave, Atlanteans were noble, and the gods were alive. These creatures,” she said, pointing to the images depicted on the screen. “Are called Parademons, they are soldiers of the armies of Apokolips, a planet on the very edge of reality, one created of destruction and evil. They are much like other beings from that place, feeding on fear and despair, hopelessness.”

“Why are they attacking now? And what about that other one you mentioned, Steppenwolf?”

“Steppenwolf?” Another voice questioned as a younger man flashed into the room, lightning still clinging to his clothes. “Is that a band? A step/rock hybrid? That would be pretty dope, are there tickets? When’s the concert, any albums already out?”

Bruce pinched his nose and mumbled a bit under his breath, “I should’ve stuck with moody, acrobatic teenagers.” He waved to the newcomer, “Barry Allen, Diana Prince, Diana, this is Barry, though he also goes by the Flash.”

“I run really fast,” Barry said. “I don’t flash people, except that one time, but that was an accident so that doesn’t count, wow, you’re really, wow as in wow you have more muscles in your arms than I have in my body not wow you’re really hot, but I mean, you are really, um, hi, I’m Barry.”

Diana looked back to Bruce and gave him an amused look, “So you did manage to find one.”

“I’m working on it,” the man grumbled. “Now get back to what you were saying about Steppenwolf, who is not a band.” He shot Barry a pointed look, and the younger man made a motion across his mouth like he was zipping his lips. 

“Steppenwolf is a monster,” Diana said simply. “A power hungry being from Apokolips set on reshaping worlds in their own image, meaning the destruction of all things. He is driven by the desire of the Mother Boxes, the three cubes on the mural you found.” She pointed to the cubes, tracing the space between them. “Their true power is unknown, but they have the power to create and destroy, to give life and to take.”

“So these boxes wield an energy and that is the source of this Steppenwolf’s power?” Bruce asked for clarification.

The Amazon shook her head, “He is dangerous without the boxes, but they’re what he needs to takeover the world, to destroy it. That is why they were taken and hidden long ago.” A frown crossed her face and her brow furrowed, “My mother sent me a message, I believe that Steppenwolf has already attacked Themyscira and retrieved the box there, though I am not sure how…” Worry set in her mind as she realized what Steppenwolf attacking Themyscira meant; that something was wrong, Kara was no longer on the island.

“Whoa,” Barry murmured. “But why is this Steppenwolf back now? Why not like 100 years ago?”

“I do not know everything that has changed, but I do know one thing more recently that would have encouraged his returned,” Diana replied, looking over at Bruce.

“Superman died,” another voice spat out. Diana turned around and saw a large, muscular man walk into the room, his wavy hair and beard falling around his shoulders and chest. She recognized him from the video that she had located in Bruce’s files as the Aquaman, but he didn’t have any luck recruiting the man earlier, why was he here now.

“Alfred, we really need to work on security,” Bruce groaned before the larger man stopped in front of him.

“Superman died,” the man continued. “And you had something to do with that didn’t you Batty?” He stepped away from Bruce and started looking around the room, “You have any beer down here? Oh and I smashed all of those camera things outside.”

“It would seem sinking down to the bottom of the ocean has really affected Atlantean manners,” Diana mused. “I have heard stories about how noble the warriors of Atlantis were, I guess the fracturing of the kingdom had more of an impact than previously assumed.”

“Can’t agree with you more lady,” the man replied. “Bunch of bloated fish heads, and I’m only half Atlantean and grateful for it.”

“What are you doing here Arthur?” Bruce asked. “I thought you didn’t want to be a hero.”

The man, Arthur, looked over at the older man, a hard expression etched on his face, trident clutched tightly in his hand. “That freak tangled with me when he went to retrieve his box from the Atlanteans, and I was reminded that someone I cared about would have viewed it as her responsibility to chase after the bastard.”

“I hate to interrupt,” Barry said, holding up his hand. “But if what pointy fork guy said is right, then he only needs to find one more box.”

“The box given to Mankind,” Diana murmured. “But where is it?”

Before Diana had finished her questions, the computer screens around the room flashed for a few seconds before going dark. “Alfred,” Bruce started, walking over to the man. “What’s happening?”

“It appears we have someone hacking into our system,” Alfred replied, his brow furrowed as his fingers flew across the keyboard in front of him. His brow furrowed even further as he attempted to repel the hacker from the system but he eventually pulled back in defeat. “They are too fast for me Master Bruce, they’re already completely within our servers.”

The screens flickered again and an image of a young man with a hood drawn over his head appeared from the blackness. One eerily red mechanical eye illuminated his face despite the shadow the hood cast, and his remaining eye focused on them with a hard expression. “Victor Stone I presume,” Bruce questioned though it sounded more like a statement.

“You should know,” he spoke, his voice carrying through the speakers in the room. “You are the one that has been searching for me.”

“A task proven difficult since according to all records, you are dead.”

Victor scoffed, “Sometimes I think I wish I was; more machine than man these days, a language in my head I can’t understand.” He shook his head, “What I want to know is why are you looking for me?”

“The world needs people Victor,” Diana said, drawing his attention. “People with courage to fight for it.”

“And people with abilities to tackle greater threats,” Bruce added.

“If you had asked me only a day ago, I would have turned you away, but today…” He shook his head, “My Dad is missing, along with several of his coworkers from Star Labs, taken by a few of those… things. I want you to help me find them.”

“Star Labs? That place is so cool, I always wanted to work there, but well, yeah,” Barry said, scratching the back of his neck. “Why did Dancingdog take them?”

“Steppenwolf,” Diana and Bruce corrected, not looking over at the younger man. “The Parademons must have caught scent of the Mother Box,” the Amazon continued. “And taken people that had the scent on them.”

Bruce grabbed a map that he received from Commissioner Gordon and looked at the dots marked on the picture. “Eight employees from Star Labs were taken,” he said. “Nine including your father. Gordon has been trying to track the Parademons but he hasn’t been able to find a connecting point between the two cities.”

“Let me see that,” Victor stated, and Bruce held the map up to the screen. “The points don’t connect on land, but the lines all lead back to Gotham Harbor.”

The screen went dark after he muttered the last word and returned to the program that Alfred had been working with before the hack. “Huh, he just-” Barry started before looking around and realizing the other three people in the room had already left. “They just all disappeared like that, just wow, that’s rude.”

“One gets used to it Master Barry,” Alfred said, returning to his program. “One gets used to it.”

 


 

“We are completely fucked,” Arthur muttered as the group pulled their way out of the tunnel and the wreckage they made of Gotham Harbor. “If that was the first round of us tangling with that dude, I don’t even want to know what the next one will be like.”

“We rescued most of the hostages, that is what matters,” Diana stated.

“But we’re no closer to finding the lost box of mankind,” Batman muttered.

Victor landed just a few feet away, his hand holding onto a large object. “Not as far away as you think,” he said, revealing the last mother box in his hand. 

Batman stared at the object for a few moments before gesturing with his head. “Not here,” he said. “Back at the Batcave.”

The five made their way back to the secret bunker where Batman kept most of his equipment and machinery. “It was found during WWI,” Victor started, setting the box on the table. “The British found it, studied it but couldn’t get much from it, until Superman’s battle with Zod two years ago, then it started to wake up, almost like it was afraid.” He stepped away from it and fixed his eyes back on Bruce. “They gave it to Star Labs where my father recognized it as a perpetual energy matrix.”

“Well that sounds better than nuclear bomb,” Barry muttered. He held up his hands when the group turned to glare at him and motioned for Victor to continue.

“The box creates as much as it destroys, a living sentient force but different from how we would normally view sentience. My father thought it was the key to unlimited energy, until my accident.” Victor glanced down, “I should have died, but he used the box to rebuild my body beyond something either of us could understand. It lit up like a Christmas tree the day Superman died and I should know, I was in the room when it happened.”

“It was afraid of Superman,” Diana murmured. “The Kryptonians, when Superman died it must have sensed the greatest threat to it was gone and started to summon Steppenwolf back to Earth.”

Bruce struck out and hit his fist against one of the nearby tables, “Luthor was right, I didn’t know what he meant when I saw him after he was jailed, but he was right. He mentioned that the cry was sounded across the universe that the ‘god’ was dead.”

“Do you think he meant for that to happen?” The Amazon asked. “To leave the world vulnerable to extraordinary forces?”

“Who really knows what he was thinking, the man was insane. Brilliant, but insane,” Bruce responded. “Did he mean to hurt all those people as he awakened Doomsday to kill Superman? Did he mean to do that much damage to both Gotham and Metropolis? Did he mean to leave the world defenseless to outside forces? He might have wanted to plunge the world into chaos as a way for it to resemble his twisted mind.” He pressed both hands into the table, facing away from the mother box, the others, his mind whirling. “You said your father used the mother box to create a new body for you, one made out of a machine.”

“I’m mostly machine now,” Victor admitted. “I don’t understand this body, the things in my head now, and I can barely control it.”

“This mother box was designed to reshape planets, to recreate life on a massive scale, more than any human could handle,” Bruce muttered, walking around the table. “But what if you were stronger than a planet?”

Diana immediately knew where he was going with his thoughts and her mind flashed back to the previous year, what she felt watching Superman, her cousin, die. She knew that Kara, wherever she was, would be grieved to know her last living blood family was gone. She blamed herself for Superman’s, Kal’s, death, for not being fast enough, strong enough, just enough. The chance to undo it, to bring him back to life was tempting, almost too tempting. But she also knew how Kara would feel if her cousin was disturbed in this way, brought back with unholy means and science beyond what any of them knew.

“No Bruce,” she said, looking over at the man. “We have no idea what this will do, what this mother box could do.”

“What it could do is bring him back to life,” Bruce persisted. “Our best hope at defeating Steppenwolf and saving the world.”

“Or it could bring back a monster like Lex did, we don’t know what we’re dealing with here.”

“It is science, we don’t have time to test it thoroughly, the world doesn’t have time, this is our only chance.”

“Why do you have to do this?” Diana asked. “To alleviate your guilt? Superman is dead Bruce, and the only one at fault for that is rotting in prison.”

“Superman was a beacon of hope,” Bruce continued. “How many of us can say that about ourselves? Or what about you Diana? You can inspire people to be better, to do better, but I’d never heard of you before until you broke into my private vault. I had to dig to find redacted information about someone matching your description in the early 80s, but that is it.” He paused and ran a hand through his hair in frustration, “We are not enough, we have flaws, issues, problems and we cannot do this on our own. Steppenwolf is out there planning to burn down the world, and here we are talking about ethics.”

“He’s right,” Victor said, interrupting the argument. “The probability of this working is high, while the probability of us succeeding against Steppenwolf without Superman is… very low.”

Arthur moved around to stand near Diana, “You lose something when you die, mind, soul, if we bring him back, there’s a good chance that he won’t be the same.”

“I have a contingency plan for that,” Bruce replied.

Diana scoffed, “If you’re the first thing that he sees when he wakes up, you’re going to need it.”

 


 

The Amazon stepped quietly along the edge of the building watching as Barry and Victor escorted Clark Kent’s coffin through the gates to the Kryptonian ship. It still felt wrong, this whole thing. She wanted to help Kara get her cousin back, wherever she was, she wanted to be assured that if Kara appeared, she would know that her cousin was alive, safe and healthy. But not this way, not using something as wild and unknown as the mother box, a device crafted in Apokolips, one that is ruled by its own desires and purposes. 

She thought Bruce felt guilty over what happened with Superman the previous year but she knew that she carried the same guilt within her. She should have done something, she should have protected him. She was rusty and she knew it, she just didn’t want to admit it to herself. It was why she spent the past year helping people, protecting people, she wanted to atone, she wanted to try to be what Superman was for people, a symbol of hope. Bruce was right though, she wasn’t a symbol of hope, she wasn’t a symbol of anything except for how to ruin the best things in her life by making stupid decisions. 

“I’m here for him,” Diana murmured to Bruce. “Not you.”

They easily evaded the guards and security around the ship and escorted the coffin through the wide corridors. The Amazon looked around, her mind cataloguing everything that she saw. Kara would have loved the ship, would have loved to see the remnants of the culture she left behind long ago. She watched as Arthur lowered Kal-el’s body, untouched by time and decay, into the amniotic fluid in the heart of the ship, and Victor took control of the robotic arms. “The circuits are fried,” Victor stated. “Probably when Lex woke that monster and took out power to half the city. There’s not enough charge to wake the box.”

“Ah, hm, I might be able to do it,” Barry hesitantly replied. “If I have enough room I can build up enough charge.”

The cyborg hummed and glanced over at the speedster, “It’ll have to be incredibly precise, you’ll have to charge the box the second it touches the fluid.”

“Right, I can do that, this, right, I’ll just go…” He flashed out of the room to the end of the ship while Victor rigged the box to fall directly in the center of the pool where Kal-el’s body was submerged.

“This is a bad idea,” Arthur muttered as Victor started counting down.

Diana agreed, it was a bad idea, but it was too late to turn back. Barry hit the box has it touched the fluid, sending a large electric pulse through the device. The box glowed briefly before sending a shockwave through the center area of the ship. A beam of light shot out of the fluid, tearing a hole through the ceiling in the process. When the light cleared, both the box and Superman were gone. “I told you this shit was a bad idea,” Arthur groaned.

“Where did he go?” Barry asked, unsteadily climbing to his feet. 

“He’s not far,” the Amazon murmured. “Just outside, at the old memorial.”

“You all go and check on him,” Bruce muttered. 

Arthur, Barry and Victor sprinted out of the ship to find the wayward Kryptonian, leaving Diana as the last one in the chamber with Batman. “Are you all right?” She asked, staring at him in concern.

“Yes,” he answered, pressing a few buttons on his wrist. “Just activating Plan B.”



Chapter Text


 

It was odd, being back on Earth after so many years away. Of course the years she spent away from the planet could not compare to the time she spent on it. She floated above the Metropolis, her cloak billowing around her with the slight breeze. She could have gone anywhere as soon as she arrived back in the galaxy; she could’ve flown down to Themyscira and seen her mom, or flown to Smallville to see Martha and Jonthan, check in on how they were doing and see how much Clark had grown. “Rao, Clark,” Kara murmured, imagining her cousin. “He’d be over thirty now.”

It had been a while since she thought about her cousin, thought about anyone on Earth. The Lantern Wars took a long time to resolve and in the end left scars deep in her soul, scars just as deep as the loss of her entire culture. If she thought about Earth, about those she left behind, about those she wanted to see again, she would be distracted, and any distraction during the wars could’ve cost her her life.

 She settled down on the roof of one of the skyscrapers and stared out over the city. Returning to Metropolis was almost like retracing her steps, returning to where she was before she left, though eighteen years later. It was almost cleansing, to take it back to where everything started, meeting Saint Walker in this very city, and leaving with him to go fight in the Lantern Wars. She couldn’t get that time back, she didn’t even know if she would be able to integrate back into life. Too much and not enough time has passed, she couldn’t help but feel disconnected from everything. The people she knew have grown up, aged while she… it would be difficult.

The sun continued to rise over the city, glittering on the glass and stainless steel of the numerous skyscrapers that dotted the skyline. She stretched her senses out, taking in the familiar aspects of the unfamiliar city. She could hear people out bustling around on their way to work, cars clogging the roads, horns blaring as a result. The subway lines rumbled underground, clattering and clacking just underneath the surface. She didn’t heart Cat’s heartbeat at all, and wondered if she realized her dream of building her own media empire. She was about to push off the roof of the building and head home, wherever home was, but another sound stopped her in her tracks. It was a heartbeat, a very familiar heartbeat, but one she hadn’t heard for nearly one hundred years. “What is she doing here?” Kara murmured. She quickly located the location of the heartbeat and flew towards the sound, staying just out of sight of anyone who would be watching. “What is a Kryptonian warship doing here?” She wondered, staring down at the ship in confusion.

It had been a long time since she had last seen the type of warship that was wrecked in a semi-abandoned part of Metropolis. She has seen remnants of Kryptonian warships strewn throughout the universe during the Lantern Wars, leftovers of Kryptonian acts of dominance before the Great War centuries ago. The ships were mostly being used for hideouts and rebel bases after having been stripped of useful technology. The ship on the ground though was a General’s warship, the last time she saw one she was just a child and her aunt had taken her on a tour of her own flagship. The markings weren’t the same as on Astra’s ship, but they were still familiar to her.

The heartbeat was coming from inside the ship with several others so Kara settled down on a nearby building to wait. There was a structure built around the wreckage, and a chain fence with guards patrolling the perimeter. She only had to wait a few minutes before a burst of light shot out of the center of the ship, and a man appeared, floating over the city. It took her less than a second to realize it was her cousin all grown up, but she didn’t know what was going on or why he emerged from a wrecked warship where she heard her heartbeat. 

Before she could move from where she was hiding, Clark flew down and landed in front of the ruins of a monument, one that she doesn’t remember from when she lived in Metropolis years ago. He looked around, his movements unsteady, confused, like he didn’t know what was going on anymore than she did. Four figures landed at the base of the monument near him, and Kara felt her heart stop when she caught sight of her. The visible effects of time have missed Diana just as they dodged her, but she could see the changes in the way the other woman carried herself, presented herself. She wasn’t the determined, optimistic, self-sacrificing woman that Kara had last seen sailing away on a boat to fight in man’s war. She was… older, harder, changed by her experiences much like Kara had been changed by hers. 

Kara forced her eyes away from Diana to the other people with her, if she continued looking at the woman, she knew that she would do something foolish. The man on Diana’s right reminded her of a bear, hairy, large but his armor and the trident he was wielding brought to mind the ancient people that lived deep in the waters of Neptune. She remembered learning about them on Krypton when she studied this galaxy, though because of how deep the waters, the race had not been seen in eons. The blonde turned her attention to the two men to Diana’s left. The one immediately to her left seemed more like a boy in a man’s body; his nervous fidgeting and shifting from foot to foot was a clear tell that he wasn’t a trained warrior, but the lightning arcing off his body when he appeared told Kara there was more to him than first appearances revealed. The last was a cyborg, the red hum of his body producing a very distinctive sound that hinted it at a wild energy, one that he had yet to tame to his will.

“Victor,” the man in red spoke, his attention on the cyborg. “Victor what are you doing?”

The cyborg, Victor’s body twitched and his arm transformed into a weapon, a missile blaster powered by the same energy that powered the mechanical portions of his body. “It’s my armor’s defense system,” Victor hissed out, grabbing at his arm. “It’s been more powerful since- I can’t control it.” Kara rolled her eyes at his words. She learned the hard way that control was in the mind, especially control over oneself. His body, his armor was apart of him and he could learn to control it if he tried, but it looked like he would also be learning that lesson the hard way.

Whatever had happened in the 18 years since she left, Clark learned to use his powers and he was running purely on instinct. Anger twisted his face after the missile exploded behind him, striking one of the remaining monoliths erected as part of the memorial. “Kal-el no!” Diana called out and Kara slammed her eyes shut at the sound of her voice. It was different in a way she really couldn’t identify; deeper, darker, tired, it was all of those and more. She remembered Clark’s name, the name her aunt and uncle gave him when he was born, and the name she used when she spoke about waiting for him while she was on Themyscira. She started calling him Clark in her mind years ago when she accepted he was more Clark than Kal-el, more human than Kryptonian. It wasn’t bad, she taught him what she could about his home planet and he could speak Kryptonese perfectly, but it wasn’t his home. She was similar in a way, she was more Kara of Themyscira, daughter of Pythia than she was Kara Lar-el. Though since the Lantern Wars, she occasionally wondered if that was even who she was anymore.

Kara’s eyes opened again at the sound of groaning and she glanced down to see Clark bat the bear-like man away with ease. Diana caught his arm with a rope and she recognized it as the lasso of truth when it started to glow. The brunette pulled Clark forward a few steps, but he wrapped his hand around the cord and pulled her back towards him. “Antiope is probably rolling over in her grave,” Kara winced. “She taught both of us better than that.”

Clark jerked her forward, and grabbed her by her armor. Kara leaned forward, ready to intervene if necessary. She might have complicated feelings about seeing Diana again after so long apart, but she wanted the opportunity to explore those complicated feelings, she wouldn’t let Clark hurt her. The nervous man in the red suit started running and Kara clocked his movements, nearly laughing at the alarmed look on his face when Clark turned his head towards him. He wasn’t the first speedster she encountered, but they all believed they were practically invisible when they were running, until they encountered someone just as fast or faster than they were.

She watched her cousin toss the three people around him away and the man in red tripped on his own feet in surprise as Clark followed his movements. “Well this is just embarrassing now,” Kara groaned, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Unbelievable.”

Another man appeared at the memorial, just at the edge of the long reflecting pool. Kara studied the man in the dark suit and cowl, her eyes easily seeing through the material covering the majority of his face. “Bruce?” She gasped, “I guess he took that conversation about vigilantes to heart.”

Her cousin started to walk towards where Bruce was standing, but Diana landed in between them, determination etched on her face. “Don’t make me do this,” she muttered, her arms raised. Before she could clash her bracers together, Clark grabbed her arms and headbutted her in the face.

“Ouch,” Kara winced as Diana answered the move with one of her own, only to end up in the ground a few moments later. “I could have told her not to do that, Clark always had a hard head.”

When she looked down again, Clark was floating a few feet off the ground clutching Bruce’s face in his hand. “Tell me,” he growled. “Do you bleed?”

“Clark!” Another voice called out his name and Kara saw a red-haired woman stepping out of a nearby car. “Clark…” He dropped Batman and floated over to where the woman was standing, touching down on the ground in front of her. “Clark,” the woman slowly embraced him. Kara could hear the rapid pounding of both of their hearts, though it sounded like Clark’s was stuttering a bit, as if seeing the woman caused him to both forget and remember how to live. They quickly shot in the air away from the wreckage around them and disappeared, heading south.

A beam of light appeared from the sky back towards where the Kryptonian ship was held, and a figure appeared from the beam. Kara looked over towards him and saw as he grabbed a glowing cube, pulsating with the same energy coming from the cyborg, Victor, before disappearing back through the light. 

“Steppenwolf,” she heard Diana’s murmured whisper. “He has the last mother box.”

“What in Rao’s name is going on…” the blonde muttered to herself, determined to find the answers, starting with her wayward cousin.

 


 

The Kent farm was in a shabby state of disrepair with a foreclosure sign posted on the drive near the road. Jonathan would never have let it get to this point, so Kara wondered what else she had missed in the years she was away. Clark and the woman stood in one of the fields near the house, her cousin still shirtless and staring around at the world like he had never seen it before. The woman was doing her best to look anywhere other than at Clark, though her eyes constantly returned to him. Kara spotted the diamond engagement ring on her finger, and her brow rose close to her hairline. “Well that explains some things,” Kara muttered to herself, so low that not even Clark could hear her.

She slowly stepped out from behind the house where she was watching the interactions between Clark and the woman, and walked towards them, her cloak pulled tight around her and her hood covering her face. It took less than a second for the man to notice her and another second for him to appear in front of her, his body in-between her and the woman. “What are you doing here?” He demanded, his eyes close to blazing.

“Looking for answers.” Before she could say anything else, he was in front of her again, his hand reaching out to grasp her cloak much like he did to Diana, but Kara had spent too long in wars to be manhandled by her baby cousin.

His arm was in her grasp before he could touch her and she pushed him back a few steps. She could feel the shock rolling off of him in waves, but his face only reflected the stern determination and anger she witnessed earlier. Anger could be an asset in a confrontation if one could control it, it helped to focus the mind on the issue at hand. But most anger was uncontrollable, especially in the heat of battle; it evolved into fury and rage which blinded people and led to sloppy mistakes. She knew about anger, rage, she knew what fighting with them was like, knew what fighting against them was like, and she knew that the anger her cousin was feeling was clouding his mind. Of course Kara also reasoned out that he needed to have some sense knocked into him by having the stuffing knocked out of him.

Clark charged at her again and she dodged, lightly tapping him on the back as he passed her, annoying him further. He spun around but before he could do anything else, she had him face first into the ground, her knee pressed in the center of his back to hold him down. “Hey!” The woman yelled, running up to them. “Let him go!”

“Honestly cousin,” Kara hissed out. “It’s almost like you forgot everything I taught you.”

“Did you just say cousin?” The woman blinked and Kara felt Clark stiffen beneath her fingers.

Kara slowly moved away from the man, her hands at the ready in case he acted again. Clark turned over and stared at her curiously, his eyes searching for her face still partially hidden under her hood. She rolled her eyes and tugged down the hood, blonde hair revealed with the movement. Clark kept staring at her, disbelief in her eyes so she rolled her own. “It’s like you’ve never seen an alien before.”

“Kara!” 

The blonde let out a low ‘oof’ when her cousin grabbed her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, squeezing her in a tight hug. “Clark, Clark,” Kara wheezed out. “Too tight.” She pushed him away and let out a loud breath as she felt her lungs expand, “Last time I saw you, you were too cool to hug your older cousin.”

“The last time I saw you, I was a teenager and didn’t really understand what you were going through, what you were leaving to do,” Clark answered. “Now though, things are different.”

“Um,” the woman started, drawing the two Kryptonians’ attention. “Hi yes, remember me, what exactly is going on here?”

“That’s what I’d like to know too, so you,” Kara pointed at her cousin. “Go put some clothes on, while I have a discussion with Ms…?”

“Lane,” she responded. “Lois Lane.”

Kara waved her cousin away and he looked between the women for a moment before vanishing into the farmhouse looking for any clothes his mother might have left behind. “Now,” Kara started, staring at the other woman. “We both have questions, though I think yours will take less time than mine.”

“Depends on the answers,” Lois countered. “So who are you exactly?”

“Kara Lar-el,” she answered. “Head of the House of El, last daughter of Krypton. Kal-el, Clark, is my cousin, my younger cousin. And who are you?”

“Lois Lane, reporter for the Daily Planet.” Lois blinked when Kara’s words sunk in. “You’re Clark’s older cousin? But how, you don’t look a day over 25, 26?”

The blonde shrugged, “I don’t really know, something to do with how our cells process sunlight on this planet, and it’s a bit more complicated for me now but that’s not really relevant to the discussion. Just know that I’ve looked this way for a long time.”

“Okay,” the redhead stretched out slowly. “If you’re Clark’s cousin, why hasn’t he mentioned you and where have you been with… everything that has happened.”

“What has happened exactly?”

“I asked you first.”

Kara resisted the urge to sigh and roll her eyes. “Reporters,” she muttered under her breath, remembering the dogged way her best friend used to chase answers. “Eighteen years ago I was approached by a member of an intergalactic space organization about helping with a coming war. I agreed and I’ve been fighting ever since, until a few months ago when everything finally came to a head. It’s not completely resolved, it never will be, but it’s enough for now that I felt that it was time to come home.” Her brow furrowed and she turned her attention back towards the farmhouse where she could sense Clark standing just out of sight, waiting for them to finish their discussion. “So much has changed though.”

She could see the questions just line up in Lois’s mind, poised on the tip of her tongue, but the woman managed to restrain the urge to ask them. It was the mark of a good reporter, knowing when to ask questions and when to stay silent. “So,” Kara continued. “I answered your question, now I think it’s time that you answer mine.”

 


 

Kara sat on the porch swing, her legs swaying a bit with the movement. “What a mess,” she murmured when Lois finished her tale. Clark appeared part way through her explanation to hear what had changed since his death the previous year. “This Bruce is certainly different from the one I knew years ago,” Kara said. “Older yes, but also darker, harder.”

“You met Bruce Wayne before?” Clark asked.

She nodded, “The architecture firm I was working for in Metropolis was hired to complete a project in Gotham. Through that project, I ended up meeting Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne, even left them plans for a new office building before I left Earth.”

Lois gasped, “Of course, Kara Lar-el, Kara Larelle, you were the architect responsible for designing Wayne Enterprise's main headquarters and CatCo worldwide media. I know that Perry wanted to contact you to redesign the Daily Planet after seeing the CatCo skyscraper but no one could find you. Being off world makes sense.”

“So Cat managed to create her media empire?” The blonde mused, “I’m glad, it was just a dream when we were in college, and I designed it for my final project, altering a little as I grew more of my own style.” She could see that Lois had even more questions building in her, but they needed to focus on the problem at hand. “So, you died,” Kara said, turning to Clark. “And then these… heroes resurrected you using alien technology from Apokolips and Krypton, resulting in you being a little dazed and confused as your mind caught up with your body.”

“Apokolips?”

“Hmm, I recognized it when I saw the figure descend to retrieve the box and Diana uttered his name. We both learned about him when we were children on Themyscira, him and the great war that brought together humans, Amazons, Atlanteans, and the Lanterns in an attempt to defeat him.” Kara let out another hum as she thought, “That is probably why they resurrected you, they knew they needed help to defeat him, and as you said, you were the strongest being on the planet.”

“Diana… you mean your Diana? The woman with the rope and the sword, that’s your Diana?” Clark continued, his face scrunched in confusion. “The one who-”

“Yes, that’s my Diana, we don’t really need to get into it.”

They heard a truck pulling up the drive and the three turned to see the old Kent truck lumbering up to the house. “You called Mom?” Clark turned towards Lois who nodded without a word. He moved from the porch down towards the driveway and approached the woman who had shakily stepped out of her truck. 

If it wasn’t such a solemn moment, Kara would have laughed at the expression on Martha’s face. Clark had told her that Jonathan died just after he finished high school, and she was sad to hear about the loss of a man she had come to view as family. Seeing Martha again though brought back memories of helping both of them on the Kent farm, teaching them about Krypton, language lessons, and helping out with Clark. Neither of the Kents ever managed to fully grasp kryptonese but they tried, for her and for Clark.

Kara stepped away from the porch and also approached the two, keeping a respectful distance until they stopped hugging. Martha turned her attention towards her and her eyes narrowed for a moment before widening. “Kara Lar-el, as I live and breath, another one back from the dead.”

“I wasn’t dead Martha,” the blonde rolled her eyes and hugged the woman. “And I love what you’ve done with your hair, gray really suits you.”

“Oh hush,” Martha replied, smacking her lightly on the shoulder. “And you were as good as dead, your mother still calls me by the way, checking in, hoping for updates if we’d heard from you, and nothing. 10 years, not a peep, wait until I call her later and-”

“Wait Martha, don’t call her, not yet, I want to surprise her if I can,” Kara said. “But first, we have to take care of something.”

Clark exhaled slowly, “Bruce…”

“He was pretty insistent that it was important,” Lois said when she walked over to join them. “Fate of the world and all that.”

“And it is,” Kara answered, her voice low. “Because if we don’t stop Steppenwolf, there won’t be a world anymore.”

 


 

It didn’t take long for the two Kryptonians to locate Steppenwolf’s base, an old rundown nuclear facility in northern Russia. The area around it looked mostly deserted due to a reactor meltdown but Kara could still hear the heartbeats of a few inhabitants within the range of Steppenwolf’s destruction. The ragtag group that attempted to resurrect Superman, as her cousin called himself, was already present in the area.

“So what is the plan exactly?” Clark asked, hovering high in the atmosphere next to her. 

Kara waved her hand down towards where she could see Steppenwolf and Diana fighting, “They’re sort of hopefully expecting you, so you go down there and intervene while I hang back for a few moments to get a better idea of what we need to do.” Clark nodded and she watched him fly down to hover silently behind the taller being. 

“You’re all too weak to see the truth,” Steppenwolf hissed, glancing down at the fallen heroes.

“Well,” Clark started, floating behind him. “I believe in truth, but I’m also a big fan of justice.”

“Oh Rao,” Kara groaned, shaking her head. “He did not just say that, what is this? A movie?” She looked down at the ring wrapped securely around her finger and sighed, “I guess it is time that we step into the fight, one last time.” The ring started to glow and Kara uttered one word, “Live!” White light engulfed her form and Kara dove down, pounding Steppenwolf down into the concrete as she went. She flew back up to where Clark and Bruce were standing, leaving the groaning puddle in peace for a few moments. “There are civilians heading east,” she said, turning to look at Bruce. “I think your speedster friend is going to pick up a few, but he’ll need some help. Superman?”

“I’m on it.” He nodded and was gone.

“Bruce, you go put your cyborg friend back together and get him doing whatever it is he was doing to the boxes. I’ll handle Steppenwolf.”

“I- what?”

Kara stared at him patiently, “Honestly Bruce, when we had that conversation about vigilantes years ago, I never thought you would actually become one.”

Before she could say anything else, Diana jumped up to the platform where they were standing, her eyes wide and fixed on the blonde’s face. “Kara…”

“We don’t have time for that now,” Kara said before she could keep going. “We have to focus on stopping Steppenwolf from bringing about the end of the world and creating a new Apokolips on Earth.” 

She flew down to where Steppenwolf was pulling himself out of the rubble and he growled at her. “A lantern! I thought all of the lanterns were preoccupied with internal strife.”

“A bit behind on the times,” the White Lantern replied. “The Lantern Wars have been over for several months now. And I was in the area so I thought I would ruin your day.”

“You don’t understand the truth I’m trying to bring to this planet,” he replied. “The truth that Mother demands to be told.”

“The only ‘truth’ you tell is one of destruction,” Kara retorted, her eyes glowing.

Steppenwolf grinned, his arms raised. “Yes, destruction, beautiful destruction that leads to rebirth. This world will thank me for allowing it to become a host for Apokolips.” At his words, the parademons charged, their screams piercing the air. Kara instantly summoned constructs with her ring, giant eagles swooping and picking at the demonic bugs. While she dealt with the parademons, Diana and Arthur charged at Steppenwolf again and Victor started messing with the mother boxes.

“I need a little help here!” Victor yelled, and Kara left the birds to chase after the parademons while she went to where the cyborg was standing. “Oh,” he blinked when she showed up. “I was hoping for-”

“What do you need?”

“I need you to pull apart the boxes when I tell you when, do you think you can do that?”

“Any blow back?”

“Probably.”

“Alright, just let me know when.” She held up her fist and pointed her ring at the combination of three boxes, encasing the mass in a brilliant white light. At his signal, she used the power of the ring to pull the boxes apart which also contained any blow back that might occur from separating the three engines. The boxes separated and Kara could see waves of energy rattle on the barriers. She quickly wrapped herself and Victor in the power of her ring and kicked off the platform just as the boxes broke through their containment and burst outward.

Kara lowered them both back down to the platform and the cyborg fell to his knees. “I want to hurl,” he heaved, his voice raspy. “I don’t have a stomach and I want to heave, I don’t even know how to figure that one out.”

“Children,” Diana murmured. “I work with children.”

Steppenwolf sat up gasping, his face twisted in rage. “I am the end of worlds,” he hissed, grasping his axe in his hand. “This world is my right! Who are you to deny me my conquest!”

The blonde rolled her eyes in annoyance, he was starting to sound whiny at this point, like a toddler denied their favorite toy. She could tell that Diana was getting annoyed as well because she kicked her sword up into her hand and charged at the figure without hesitation. Diving down, the brunette dodged the swing of the large axe and sliced at Steppenwolf’s side as Kara blew a gust of freeze breath towards the fiery weapon. Ice crystals quickly solidified on the surface and down through every crack and imperfection of the axe. On Diana’s return strike she jumped up and brought her sword down, spintering the axe from the force of the blow. 

“No,” Steppenwolf gasped. “This cannot be.”

“You recognize that smell?” Arthur said, standing next to Bruce.

Bruce nodded, “Yeah, fear.”

The few parademons that were left after Kara’s eagles ravaged their numbers hissed and descended on the figure. They bit and clawed has his body and he ineffectively swatted at them, trying to drive them away. “Alright, enough of this,” Kara stated. She aimed her ring at the group clustering on the fallen figure and hurled them through the portal that appeared above them. 

The area grew quiet, the air still. Kara walked over to the edge to peer outside. Plants were growing in abundance in the area that was once scarred with radiation and destruction. Life thrived, taking over every inch of the ground and then the ruins of the buildings abandoned by humans left to rot and decay. She heard footsteps walking up behind her and Kara didn’t need to turn around to know who was there.

“Kara…” Diana murmured, her voice thick and rich with an emotion neither could quite place. There was relief, guilt, admiration, wonder… and something Kara wasn’t certain she wanted to acknowledge yet. She slowly turned around and she was face to face with the woman who left her behind for the first time in close to one hundred years. They stared at each other, unsure as to what to say. Kara thought about this moment for a long time, thought about what she would say to Diana when she saw her again, what she would do, what she would feel. None of it actually prepared her for the moment though, prepared her for the feeling of words leaving her mind and air catching in her lungs. Nothing could have prepared her for actually seeing her again. 

“Kara…” Diana repeated, stepping closer. 

The blonde slammed her eyes closed and her whole body quivered. “I,” she said finally, her eyes squeaking open, blue clashing with brown. “I can’t do this, I’ve got to- I’ve got to go.” She bolted into the sky, leaving Diana staring after her on the ground.

Diana stared after the blonde, her heart twisting inside of her. The irony didn’t escape her, she was the one left behind and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Clark walked up beside her and gave her a curious look. “So you’re that Diana.”


 

Chapter Text


 

Kara didn’t know if it was possible for her to have a panic attack while flying, but she was definitely close to hyperventilating. Her time with the lanterns taught her that no matter the species, everyone was subject to mental health issues like panic attacks, post traumatic stress. She knew that she suffered from both, some moments worse than others, but she coped as best as she could. The past few hours were close to pushing her limits though; returning to Earth after being gone for so long, seeing Diana again, finding out her cousin had died and was resurrected, seeing Diana again, fighting Steppenwolf, and coming face to face with Diana after so long, it was too much.

She touched down on a scraggly cliff overlooking crystal clear blue water, and fell to her knees, her chest heaving. Her hand shot to her neck searching for her pulse as she tried to suck in air, a habit she picked up from Cat after watching her old roommate meltdown over various issues, usually something dealing with walking white male privilege. She started counting backwards from 100 as a way to calm herself down, and she finally felt like she was making progress when she reached -1236. 

Shifting a little, Kara sat back on her ankles, her eyes staring out over the water. None of this was what she expected when she made the decision to finally return. She didn’t expect to be leaving one warfront only to fall into another one, though she probably should have expected it. The universe was changing, and all the planets in it were changing along with it. Something was churning just beneath the surface, a new awareness that caused ripple effects throughout the cosmos, effects like the Lantern wars, Steppenwolf, even the destruction of Krypton. An awareness of what though Kara couldn’t identify, awareness of self, awareness of each other, awareness of the infinite…

The sound of hoofbeats broke the blonde out of her thoughts and for the first time, she really focused on where she had landed. She glanced down from the cliff where she sat and her eyes immediately fell to the white sands of the beach below, the place where her life diverted twice from what she had known. The first when Diana pulled her out of her pod as it sank beneath the waters of the cove, and the second when mankind invaded the mostly peaceful existence she led on Themyscira. She didn’t know if it was a coincidence or a twisted bout of irony that her body subconsciously took her there, to the place where her life changed so much.

She knew that the sound of hoofbeats approaching behind her was most likely the forward guard checking on the intruder, and that she should wait until they reached her before flying towards the city. Reasonable thought left her mind though, and the only thought left for her to focus on was that she was here, she was home. Kara pushed off the ground and into the sky just as the forward guard crested the hill where she had landed. She ignored their shouts and veered towards the city, following the sound of a single heartbeat echoing in her ears.

The sound took her over the city, not to the house where she spent so many years nurtured in a loving embrace, but to the palace at the heart of the Amazonian civilization. She knew that her mother and Hippolyta were involved, had been for years before she left, so it didn’t surprise her that her mother would be at the palace. She touched down on the floor with a loud crack, the marble beneath her feet splintering slightly with her haste. The white suit around her disappeared as her ring powered down, leaving her in a loose tunic and pair of pants she picked up the last time she went undercover on a planet.

Pythia froze for a moment in her place next to Hippolyta, her mind attempting to take in the sight of her daughter standing in front of her. Her legs responded before her mind could and they carried her right in front of the blonde. Her hair had lightened from the honey blonde she knew to more of a cream, almost white blonde, most likely from constant exposure to light. “I knew you would come back,” she murmured, her fingers brushing along the shorters locks of hair framing Kara’s face.

“I’m here Mom,” Kara said, tears forming in her eyes. “I came home.”

The Amazonian woman reacted in the only way a mother could, a mother that was in constant communication with Martha Kent that is. “How dare you not call me for 10 years,” she yelled, the tears in her voice causing her throat to swell as her words came out in gasps. “Do you know all of the thoughts that ran through my mind when you just stopped calling? I thought something had happened, that you weren’t coming home again, that you had died! How dare you do that to me!”

“Mom, Mom, I’m sorry,” Kara returned, dodging the swift pokes from the older woman. “The communicator broke in a scuffle with the Sinestro Corps, and I didn’t have any material to fix it and there wasn’t time with- well…”

“That’s not an excuse, if there was a chance your communicator could break, you should have taken an extra one, and then a backup for the extra one, you can’t just leave the planet and not have extra ways to contact me in case something happens.” Pythia stepped away from the daughter and started pacing. “Martha has told me about these… cellular mobile telephones that really caught on after you left, and they have a place for emergency contact information, and you really need to work on something like that, an emergency contact plan because this was unacceptable!”

“Mom… Mom,” Kara started but the woman just kept talking.

“Or some kind of super tracking device thing, and don’t tell me that that’s impossible, Martha has been showing me… reruns of Star Trek, so I know. If humans could figure that stuff out, I’m sure your robot servant could manage to figure it out.”

“You do know that Star Trek is fiction right?”

“That is beside the point.”

“Mom, I’m sorry that I didn’t think to take an extra communicator with me when I left,” Kara said, setting her hands on the older woman’s shoulders. “And I’m sorry that I made you worry, but I’m here, I’m home, and that’s what’s important.”

“And you’re going to get your communicator device fixed before you go back to fight in any more intergalactic space battles?” Pythia pressed, “With emergency contact information?”

“Yes Mom, with emergency contact information.”

“Good, good.” The silver haired woman nodded before her body started shuddering with silent sobs. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she gasped, placing her hand up by her mouth. “I don’t know why I’m behaving like this.”

Kara glanced over at Hippolyta before embracing her mother. “You were concerned,” she said. “It’s natural.”

“I guess I got used to being able to reach you, being able to talk to you, hear from you if you needed me.” Pythia squeezed the blonde’s shoulders as she pulled away. “But looking back, ten years is nothing compared to the time Hippolyta has been separated from Diana.” Realization dawned within her and she pulled away with a gasp, “Diana, Hippolyta, Steppenwolf, Kara you have to-”

“Already taken care of,” Kara interrupted.

“Did you see Diana?” Hippolyta asked, hurrying over to them.

“I did.”

“Did she say anything?”

“Ah, eh, I might have flown away before talking to her?”

“Kara!” Pythia scolded.

“Why don’t we get something to eat and I tell you the whole story?” The blonde held up her hands. “I don’t know about you guys, but I am starving.”

 


 

Diana sighed as she set her lasso down in her apartment, and shucked off her armor, letting it fall to the floor in a heap. She picked her robe off of the back of her couch and shrugged it on. Tying the belt around her waist, she took a glass out of her cabinet, filled it with a decadent red wine, and moved to the chair on her small balcony. The view from her apartment overlooked the heart of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and always brought her a sense of peace after a long day. Unfortunately she had more long days than short ones, and the long ones of recent were harder than most.

It had been a week since her world turned upside down and restarted, and it was all she could do to return to work, return to her normal life. She would not have predicted that she would see Ka- her again during the fight with Steppenwolf; she knew that Kara wasn’t on Themyscira anymore, not with how Steppenwolf attacked the island to retrieve his mother box, but she would never have expected for her to show up, a hero in her own right and wipe the floor with the monstrous being. 

She couldn’t deny that watching Kara use her powers, the powers that she spent so long training, honing, along with her abilities as a Lantern was incredibly alluring. The betrayed, angry, haunted look in Kara’s eyes though when she turned to look at her sent Diana crashing back to Earth. Kara was hurt, Kara was furious with her, and she couldn’t blame her. Having Kara flee and leave her behind after the fight with Steppenwolf caused unimaginable fury to course through her before quickly dying out, leaving an empty feeling behind. It wasn’t the same situation when she left the blonde years ago, but in any situation, being left behind hurt , especially by someone she lov-

A soft ‘swish’ caught her attention, and she took another sip of wine, her mind still mulling over the mess that was her life. “You can come out Superman,” Diana said. “I can hear you.”

The dark haired Kryptonian slowly floated down into view, a sheepish expression on his face, and Diana was grateful that she lived on the top floor of her apartment building. Explaining why Superman was floating around above her flat wasn’t something that she really wanted to do. “What can I do for you Kal-el?” She asked, her eyes focusing on the man. 

“Ah, well, I didn’t just want to drop by unannounced,” he said, setting down softly on the balcony. “And you can call me Clark, the only one that really calls me Kal-el is Kara and only if she’s upset with me.”

Diana shifted slightly in her chair at the mention of Kara’s name, pulling her robe more tightly around her. “I can see that,” she said finally. “She always was a little faster with her temper than I was, though it fizzled out quicker than mine.”

Clark stared at her for a moment before averting his gaze, fidgeting slightly with his hands. “I just can’t believe that you’re her, you’re that Diana.”

“You’ve said that before, what exactly do you mean?”

“Well, I mean, Kara never said anything to me about it exactly, but I overheard her talking to my mom and-”

The Amazon held up her hand, stopping the rambling word vomit coming out of the man’s mouth. “Why don’t you start at the beginning, you’ve known Kara for a while?”

“Oh she’s been around… basically as long as I’ve been on this planet. She found me shortly after my adoptive parents found me. She let me stay with them since she knew that my parents would have wanted me to be raised in a loving environment, and my parents, well, they couldn’t have any kids of their own so… Anyway, since she’s my cousin, she became their niece and my Ma and Pa, they basically adopted her into their family, and Ma adopted her mother too, Pythia? They talk all the time on these communicator things that Kara gave them to keep in touch.”

It was borderline too much information, a human woman from the world of men and a legendary Amazonian warrior communicating like family without any difficulties. The communication device intrigued Diana, a way to communicate with Themyscira, to talk with her friends, her mother, what she wouldn’t give to see them again… “So Kara was there for you while you were growing up?” Diana repeated. She knew that Kara had been waiting for her cousin, had been looking for him, but it never really occurred to her that the blonde would leave Themyscira, or that she would leave earlier than she thought.

“For a while,” Clark confirmed. “Then she left to go to college, and she started working, became a vigilante superhero, one that apparently inspired Bruce to follow the same path from the way he tells it. She had to leave in ‘97 though, someone came and asked for her help, so she left Earth to fight in a war.”

Diana was silent for a few moments before voicing the words that were whispering traitorously in her mind. “Why didn’t she come look for me?”

“Kara never really talked to me about you, not exactly. She told me about growing up on Krypton, the culture and traditions, and then its destruction. And then she talked about living with the Amazons, her mother, her friends. I think she referred to you, talked around you, but never exactly mentioned you .” He took a deep breath while he thought of what to say, “But I heard her a few times talking with my Ma, and then Ma talked about it with Kara’s mom, so I kind of heard the whole story, Kara’s version anyway.”

“That doesn’t explain why she didn’t come looking for me,” Diana pressed.

“I think it might have hurt too much,” Clark replied. “My cousin is the strongest person I know, but even then, she still has moments when she’s afraid. She knew you were out there in the world, somewhere and she could have scoured the world looking for you, but I think fear stopped her from really looking.”

“What could she have been afraid of?”

“Fear of what she might find.”

That stopped Diana short and she thought about how she left Kara all those years ago, and she really thought about how it might have looked to the blonde. She was leaving with a man she had just met, leaving her behind, implying that she was afraid of what the world might think of Kara, and she was afraid, still afraid, constantly afraid. “Nothing happened,” Diana told him. “Between Steve and I.”

“Steve? Was he the one you…”

Diana nodded, “Nothing happened between us, though there was a moment where something could have happened, and it probably would have happened if Kara didn’t exist, if I didn’t know her, if I hadn’t constantly been thinking about the look on her face when I left her behind.” She shook her head, “It wasn’t something that I could forget.”

“You love my cousin, don’t you?”

She was quiet for a few moments. “Not a day went by that I didn’t think about Kara, at least part of me wondering how she was doing, if she was well, if she… if she had forgiven me. I don’t think I ever really said it outloud, at least in the way that I wanted it to mean. It wasn’t until I saw her again that everything really hit me full force and… and I love her, always have. Sometimes I might not have admitted it to myself, or wanted it in the way that I do now, but I love her, and I want her, everything. I won’t settle for just memories, or a part of her, I want everything.”

“Then you’re going to have to fight for her, fight with her,” the man urged. “Fight to be forgiven, fight to be part of her life, fight for what you want. I know that Bruce accused you of hiding away from the world, but really, you were hiding away from Kara and what you could potentially have because you were afraid you were going to be denied.”

“Wouldn’t you be?” The Amazon countered. “If you left Lois behind purposefully and didn’t see her again for a long time, wouldn’t you be afraid of being rejected when you saw her again.”

“I would,” Clark admitted. “But I would be more afraid of not having her in my life.” The wind blew out of her sails, leaving an empty feeling inside Diana with that one statement. A life without Kara wasn’t something she ever really considered; she always assumed she would see the blonde again one day, though in her mind that day was far in the future, not the previous week. “Just don’t hurt her again,” the Kryptonian continued. “Because if you do, I’ll have to toss you into space.”

Diana rolled her eyes at his statement, “I’d like to see you try.”

 


 

Kara inhaled softly, the scent of earth and salty sea air entered her nostrils, settling in her lungs, her heart. The soft, cool moss shifted slightly against her back as she wiggled a little and sunk further down into the patch, her eyes transfixed on the stars above her. She spent so long out among the stars fighting, traveling from planet to planet, galaxy to galaxy, it was a wonder looking up at them brought her any peace.

It was different on Earth, she reasoned out to herself. The stars were the same wherever she went but the constellations were different, the stories were different, the memories made under the stars were different. She once flew through the galaxy where Krypton used to be and witnessed the stars that she spent her formative years under. Immigrants from the planet Daxam were showing up in other galaxies, and she went to investigate why, when she was just a Blue Lantern still trying to inspire hope in others, before she lost hers. Rao continued to shine in the center of the galaxy, blessing all those who looked upon him with light and wisdom. Seeing the vacant hole where Krypton used to be and the ravaged, decimated state of Daxam made her want to rage against the red star, the one who was supposed to protect them, give them life. All she seemed to find under his care was destruction.

She inhaled again, and lifted her hand to slowly trace the constellation she was staring at. “Aquila,” Kara murmured, her hand falling down next to her. Diana’s favorite constellation. It had been an age since she really thought about it, but now she couldn’t stop thinking about it, about the times when Diana laid on the moss with her and pointed out the stars, spoke of their stories. 

“Are we lost in musings again?” Raina asked, plopping down next to the blonde. “Thinking about seeing Diana?”

Kara sighed, “More like I can’t believe I saw her again, and I can’t believe that I just ran away like that.”

“I would’ve slapped the shit out of her and then kissed her, then probably slapped her again for good measure.”

The blonde groaned, “I’ve thought about what I would do when I saw her again, if I saw her again, and running away wasn’t considered. I think with everything, the Lantern wars, returning to earth, finding out my cousin was dead but was resurrected, the battle with Steppenwolf, it was all just too much and speaking with Diana was just more than I was capable of doing at that moment.” She slapped her hand over her eyes and let out another sigh, “I still can’t believe I just ran away without really saying much of anything.”

“There there,” Raina patted her head and Kara removed her hand from her face to glare up at her friend. “There’s always next time, if you ever decide to leave the island again.”

“Okay, while you’re out here having your little existential pity party,” the redhead started, pushing herself off the ground. “I’m going to head back to the actual party. You know the one, the celebration of your return and the end of Steppenwolf, one of the most ancient evils the Amazons have ever faced, that party? I’ll see you later Kara, hopefully back at the festival.”

The woman left, leaving Kara to her thoughts as she stared up at the sky. “I know you’re there,” she said after a few minutes. “You’ve been there for a while.”

A low chuckle reached her ears and Saint Walker descended into view, touching down softly on the ground next to her. “I was in the galaxy and I wanted to see how you were enjoying being at home,” he said, shifting his gaze from the blonde on the ground to the sky above them. “But I can see that you’re attempting to find peace.”

“As best as I can,” Kara replied. “But after everything that happened in the wars, the green lanterns, Laira, the white lantern ring… I don’t think I am the same person I was when I left this planet.”

“We never are the same as we once were,” Saint Walker told her. “Time has a way of changing us, sometimes in ways that we don’t expect. For better or for worse, we are always changed by our experiences, how we reflect that change though is up to us.”

“Sometimes your wisdom annoys me,” Kara sighed, pushing herself off the ground to wrap her arms around her knees. “It makes too much sense.”

“You should catch me on one of my off days,” Walker laughed. They both stared up at the stars for a few more minutes before the blue lantern spoke, “Have you made a decision?”

Kara sighed, “I have, it’s been hard not to think about it since I came back, but I have made a decision.”

“And?”

“I’m going to stay here,” she said. “On Earth. I don’t want to leave again unless I have to, policing the galaxies is not for me.” She slid the lantern ring off of her finger and held it out to the other alien. “Here, you can take this and find someone else worthy to wield its power.”

Walker held up his hand and shook his head, “No, your blue lantern ring has already found a new bearer, this ring is one that came to you because of who you are, it will never have another to wield it.”

“This all sounds very Lord of the Rings.”

“Excuse me?”

“Book series, it’s nothing,” Kara shook her head. She looked down at the ring in her hand and her fingers slowly closed around it. 

“Anything else on your mind?”

“Just wondering what I’m going to do with myself now. It’s weird being back after so long, I can’t just pick back up where I left off. So much has changed, people have changed, gotten older, while I-” She inhaled sharply, “I’m a little lost at what to do.”

“Do what you did after the incident with the red lanterns and Laira, you pick up and move forward as best as you can,” Walker advised. “And just know that if you get lost with your place in this world, the lantern corps will always welcome you back.” He pushed off the ground and took off through the air, cutting a bright blue streak across the sky.

Kara watched him leave for a few moments before looking back down at her hand, unfurling her fingers to stare at the ring clutched in her palm. “A lot of things are changing,” she murmured. “And I’m not even sure where to start adjusting to how different the world is.” A face flash across her mind and she tilted her head, “Well, maybe there is one place I could go.”



Chapter Text


Cat Grant growled and marked vigorously through the article in front of her, her red pen leaving trails of rage across the page. The article was sloppy, full of assumptions and grammatical errors that would see the reporter getting demoted from headlines back to tabloids where he belonged. “He was supposed to be writing about Superman’s return and the battle in Siberia, not write a drag column about Wonder Woman’s legs,” she seethed, tossing the whole article in the trash can next to her desk. “The only legs he’s going to be writing about for the next year are chicken legs.”

“In his defense,” a voice spoke from her balcony. “They are very nice legs.”

Cat was reaching for the taser she kept in her desk before the familiarity of the voice registered in her mind, halting her movement. She slowly turned and her eyes landed on the blonde standing just outside of her balcony door, shadowed in the darkness of the city outside the building. The other woman was almost exactly the same as when she last saw her eighteen years ago, seemingly untouched by time, except for the wiser, tired look around her eyes. “Kara,” Cat murmured, still processing the sight in front of her. The other blonde smiled, walking into the room and Cat rushed from her desk to embrace the woman. “You’re back.”

“I am,” Kara replied. “Hopefully for good this time.”

The shorter blonde pulled back and whacked the taller woman on the shoulder. “That’s for leaving for so long,” she said before hitting her again. “And that’s for coming back and not telling me right away, and another one for not immediately coming here and giving me the scoop of the century about what went down with you and the other heroes.”

“How did you even know I was there?” Kara asked, pulling away from the woman to rub at her abused arm. Even though she was basically invulnerable, Cat still had a way of hitting that stung a bit. 

“Do you take me for an imbecile?” Cat retorted, returning to her desk. “Blonde woman showing up with Superman and beating the stuffing out of the entire army of demented bugs and their poorly dressed leader, well it didn’t take long for me to figure out it was you. The shining white suit though was different, last I saw you were glowing blue.”

“That’s a long story,” Kara sighed, slumping down on one of the couches in the office. “One I don’t really want to talk about yet.” She glanced around at the large office and into the dark space on the other side of the glass doors. “But let’s talk about you, Catco Worldwide Media, Queen of all media, you did it, you achieved your dream.”

“Well of course, was there ever any doubt that I would claw my way to the top and establish myself as the rightful queen?” Cat retorted, crossing her legs. “Of course, the start up capital you lent me when you left was just the thing I needed without having to borrow from men who would attempt to control my voice and my vision.”

“I bet that was pretty helpful,” Kara replied. “If you didn’t need investors, do you have a board?”

Cat nodded, “I let people invest when I took the company public, though I vetted everyone before they were able to buy in and be given a seat on the board. Only 30% of the shares were made available, the other 70% are still controlled by me.” She gave Kara a thoughtful look, “Though I guess now that you’re back, 35% of those would be yours.”

“What?”

“Don’t what me, it was always going to be like this, remember? My planned takeover of the media, you designing me an empire and then we would be working together, that was always the plan. Just because you took off across the universe, doesn’t mean the plan changed.” Cat waved her hand dismissively, “I’ve held your shares in trust for you while you’ve been gone, but now that you’re back, you can have them. Though I’ll retain the voting rights for them since you never did seem like the boardroom type.”

“You didn’t have to do that Cat,” the older blonde said softly, moving to stand next to where her best friend was seated. “You didn’t even know for sure if I was coming back.”

“Yes, well, you must have rubbed off on me over the years because I had hope,” the other woman responded. “Besides, you promised you would come back, if you didn’t, you know I would go out there, find you, drag your dead carcass back here, bring you back to life just so I could kill you myself.” 

Kara let out a barking laugh, “I could see you doing that too, you’re resourceful enough to figure out how to manage it.”

Cat sniffed haughtily and stared down her nose at Kara as best as she could. “With the contacts I’ve made over the years and the dirt I sniffed up as an investigative journalist, there isn’t much that I can’t do.” Cat’s phone rang from her purse and she sent an apologetic look at her friend before turning around to retrieve it. “Hi Sweetie,” she said when she answered the phone. “Yes, I’m coming home, an old friend dropped in and I lost track of time.” She turned to look back at Kara, an odd look in her eyes. “No, don’t have Jessie order dinner, I’ll pick it up on my way home and I’ll be bringing someone with me.” She paused another moment, “Carter, I know you don’t like meeting new people but you’ll like her, trust me.” She ended the call, and started gathering her belongings, clearing her desk. “We’re not finished with this conversation, so you’re coming home with me, I think it’s time that you meet your nephew.”

“Nephew?!”

 


 

“A son?” Kara whistled as Cat’s driver drove them both back to the other woman’s penthouse. “How did that happen?”

“Well, I don’t know if things are different for aliens, but when a man puts his dick in a woman and-”

“Alright that’s enough, you don’t have to explain that bit,” Kara said hastily, slapping her hand over Cat’s mouth. “I meant how do you end up having a kid? Last I knew, you were set on having a career and didn’t have time for a family.” She gave the other woman a pointed look, “Not to mention that on and off thing you kept having with Angela.”

“I did eventually want a family, it’s not like I never wanted one,” Cat defended. “I was just always very career focused, that’s all. And the thing with Angela cooled down a lot once I left Metropolis for good. We’ll meet for coffee if we’re ever in the same place, and we’ll snipe at each other in interviews, but nothing serious.” The shorter blonde let out a sigh, “No, after you left, I pretty much tossed myself into work, developing contacts to create my empire. It wasn’t until after you fell out of contact that I realized how lonely my life was. You were, are, my only friend, kind of pathetic isn’t it?”

“Cat…”

“No no,” the other blonde said, waving her hand. “None of that, I don’t want your pity, I was just stating a fact. After you fell out of contact ten years ago, I realized how lonely I was. A few dates later with a walking man child mistake, and I woke up with my face buried in the toilet puking out everything I’ve ever eaten in my life. Eight months later, I was handed a tiny human that I was responsible for and it was utterly terrifying.”

“I’m sorry you had to do all of that alone, was… is your son’s father still in the picture?”

“Jeffrey,” Cat bit out, rolling her eyes. “Is still around unfortunately. He is an overgrown manchild, but he is a good father. He has Carter, my son, every other weekend and they go on trips during school breaks, other than that, he’s with me.”

“What’s he like? Carter I mean, not your… whatever he was.”

“Carter is nine, he’ll be ten in a few months. He loves comic books, and pretty much everything space related. He’s a little shy though, doesn’t quite understand social cues when dealing with other people, but he is a good kid.” She shot Kara a look, “I’ve told him all about you, our adventures in college and after, and then you out in space. I didn’t know exactly what you were doing, so I had to make it up, but you are like a legendary, mythical figure to him. He’s going to be so excited to meet you.”

The driver turned off the road and into the parking garage for a large apartment building. “Thank you Charlie,” Cat said, opening her own door instead of waiting for the man to walk around. “You can head home for the night, I’ll see you tomorrow.” He nodded and Kara followed Cat out of the town car. The shorter blonde walked over to the elevator and entered a key card into the slot. “Perk of living in the penthouse, private elevator from the parking garage.”

“You definitely have come a long way from our tiny two bedroom apartment in Metropolis hmm?”

“I may be the queen of all media now, but don’t you forget I am fully prepared to raid secret government compounds in the forest for a story, so best not to underestimate me.”

The elevator doors opened into a small hallway that ran through the middle of the top floor. Kara could see another set of elevator doors and another door that led to a staircase. A short hallway with a door at the end ran to the right of the elevator but Cat walked to the end of the long hallway and turned to the left. “I thought a penthouse apartment was the entire top floor of a building?” Kara asked.

“Usually, but not always,” Cat replied. “The other apartment is empty, has been empty since Carter and I moved in here a few years ago. I’ve thought about buying it and converting the entire top floor, but that is just more space than we really need.” Cat unlocked her door and was immediately greeted by a twenty-something brunette waiting just in the living room.

“Ms. Grant,” the younger woman greeted, gathering her things.

“Thank you for staying late Jessie,” Cat said, pulling a few bills out of her purse. “Where’s Carter?”

“He went to his room after he got off the phone with you,” Jessie replied. “Before that, we finished up his homework for the night and he played video games for about half an hour.” The brunette took the bills that Cat handed her and gave her goodbyes as she headed out the door.

“Carter is probably upset that I brought someone home with me,” the shorter woman sighed. “I told you he is very shy, he does not like it when I surprise him with someone new.”

“I can wait outside,” Kara offered, pointing at the door they just walked through but Cat just shook her head.

“No no, he’ll love you, I know it. I’ll just have to tell him that it is you that is here, not some meaningless whoever he thinks I’ve brought home.” Cat set her bag down on the island in the large kitchen and waved her hand around. “Make yourself at home, I’ll be back after talking with Carter, maybe look through the takeout menus we have in the drawer and order dinner. Carter eats pretty much everything, so don’t worry about what you order.” The other woman walked away, leaving Kara alone in the kitchen.

Kara glanced around, her eyes taking in everything around her. She hadn’t really thought about visiting Cat after the encounter with Saint Walker on Themyscira, she hadn’t really thought about anything. She originally was going to stay(hide) on the island for a while, but after saying goodbye to Walker and locking her lantern ring away in her fortress, she was left feeling an odd mixture of relief and loss. She had only been a lantern for eighteen years, a brief time period considering how long she has been alive, but a lot happened in those years. She changed a lot, grew a lot, and even though she knew that she was done with that time period of her life, it was still hard to let go. 

It was instinct that had her flying to her mother when she saw Diana again, seeking out comfort and security, but after letting go a large part of herself, she needed guidance and direction, she needed her best friend. That impulse drove her to seek out Cat with some assistance from Pythia, and it led her to the tallest building in National City, a building that was very familiar to her despite never seeing it in person.

“-but Mom,” Kara heard a child’s voice from one of the rooms on the left where Cat had disappeared. “I don’t want to have dinner with someone new, can’t I stay in my room?”

“No Carter, you’ll like who is here, I promise.” 

Kara realized that they would be coming out soon since it appeared that Cat was wearing down the little boy’s resolve, so she quickly located the stack of takeout menus in one of the kitchen drawers. She found the phone and placed a large order of potstickers and some well worn favorites for Cat and Carter, judging by the state of the menu. It had been years since she had potstickers, or any kind of dumpling, and she was desperate to eat as many as she could. “Food is coming,” she called out to the other two. “It’ll be here in 30 minutes.”

“Thank you.” Cat’s voice was closer and Kara turned to see the woman walking into the living room, a young boy trailing after her. He was still small, about half the size of Cat, with brown hair sticking out around his head and falling in his eyes. Kara could immediately tell that he was Cat’s son due to the look in his eyes and the expression on his face. Other than the hair color and the eye color, everything else was all Cat and Kara thought he was the most adorable thing with his khaki pants and button down shirt. “Carter,” Cat said, turning slightly to set her hand on the boy’s back. “This is my friend Kara, Kara this is my son Carter.”

Carter’s eyes widened, and he hesitantly stepped around his mother and approached the tall blonde woman. “Are you…” he started, hesitation and shyness coloring his voice. “Are you the Kara?”

“I’ve never been called the Kara before, but I am Kara, your mom and I went to college together, and she’s my best friend. When I got back, she insisted that I had to come meet you.”

Green eyes widened even further and a bright grin appeared on his face before the boy attached himself to her arm. “I’ve heard so much about you I have so many questions,” he rushed out in one breath. He started talking a mile a minute, throwing question after question at the blonde.

Kara turned her gaze to Cat and the other woman just smiled, “I told you he would love you.”

 


 

“Well Carter is finally asleep,” Cat said, sitting down next to Kara as the other woman finished her seventh box of potstickers. “He was so excited, I didn’t think he would ever fall asleep.”

“I didn’t think he would ever run out of questions,” Kara replied, swallowing the dumpling that was in her mouth. “I can definitely tell he is your son, always an inquisitive mind, searching for the truth by asking a barrage of questions, overwhelming his opponent with relentless inquisitiveness.”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” Cat feigned, examining her nails on her left hand while she swirled her wine glass around with her right hand.

Kara hummed, shook her head, and opened her last box of potstickers, slowly savoring the delicious dumplings. “So tell me,” she started, picking through the last of her food. “What else have I missed? I’ve seen… well, you know, and then I went to see Mom, but I haven’t really checked in with anyone else.”

“I’m guessing this ‘anyone else’ means your friends the Danvers and their delightful daughter?” The taller blonde just glared at her friend and Cat stifled back a grin. “Fine, fine, I will tell you what I know about Alex. I kept in touch with the Danvers as best as I could, I couldn’t replace you of course, but I could keep track of Alex and help her out where I was able. She graduated from high school early and went to college to become a doctor; she actually lives in National City now, and is a primary research doctor at National City General.” Cat took a sip of her wine and her eyes gained a faraway look, “If I remember correctly, she is one of the leading doctors for metahuman and extraterrestrial medical care.”

“That’s incredible,” Kara breathed out, thinking about the tiny auburn haired girl she once comforted after having a meltdown over moving across the country. 

“Obviously she was thinking of you when she chose her career choice,” Cat continued. “Though the started with researching metahuman medical care since metahumans are becoming more common. People really didn’t know about aliens until Superman showed up a few years ago, well people outside of the government anyway.”

“Still, that’s pretty specific and to make a name for herself that way,” Kara shook her head. “That’s amazing.”

Cat hummed, “It is, I think she was requested to speak at a medical conference in Geneva about the ethics of treating metahumans and aliens, the conference was scheduled for this last week but with all of that craziness with the people disappearing, bug aliens and all that recently, I don’t know if the conference was actually held or if they cancelled it.”

“Well, even if they cancelled it, it is still amazing that they asked her to go and speak.” Kara’s eyes grew mournful as she thought about what she missed, “She’s grown up so much now, probably resents me for being gone for so long.”

The other blonde snorted, “I don’t think that girl has it in her to resent you, she loves you too much. She might be annoyed and irritated that you’ve been gone so, like me, but I also think that she knows that you wouldn’t have been gone that long if you had a choice.”

Kara nodded absentmindedly, her thoughts lost in the past. “There were so many times I wanted to come home, I wanted to just leave. Some of my darkest hours where I nearly lost myself and the few times that I did, I remembered everyone here, they wouldn’t recognize me if I gave up, if I quit before everything was done.”

“There’s nothing wrong with quitting when you’re tired,” Cat murmured, setting her hand on Kara’s arm. “I know that I repeated the mantra my mother used over and over again, quitters never succeed, quitters never prosper, quitters are weak.” She sighed and set her wine down, “But while I was building CatCo, working as a journalist, radio host, TV host, there were times that I failed, times where I had to quit and start over. There isn’t anything wrong with quitting, sometimes it’s the only way to keep yourself sane.”

“It took me a while to figure that out too,” Kara sighed, her gaze unfocused. “It wasn’t until I got back here that I realized it was okay for me to quit being a lantern, to let go of that part of my life. The weight of carrying a lantern ring, of wielding its power, it’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of pressure, it builds on a person the longer they hold it.” She turned her eyes to her friend, “It’s hard, being a lantern, the universe expects a lot from you… you expect a lot from you…”

Cat hummed as she looked at her friend before taking another sip of her wine. “So, you turned in the ring, now what are you planning on doing?”

Kara’s head cleared from the fog that settled around her brain and she finally lifted her own glass of wine. “Now, well, anything is a possibility I guess, I hear that I have recently come into some shares of a large media corporation, so I can always see what that’s about.”

“Just as long as you remember that I’m the one in charge,” Cat retorted. “But what about your architecture career, you loved doing that. With buildings like the Wayne Foundation office and CatCo headquarters in your design resume, people will clambouring all over to get you to work for them.”

“And I haven’t aged in… well, a long time. Do I really look like I completed an architecture degree over twenty years ago?”

“Not exactly, but we can work with some makeup or something.” The media mogul tilted her head as she thought, “Or you can live off your investments and the account I opened for you as a shareholder, and, I don’t know, run an architectural blog for CatCo online.” She set her hand on the other blonde’s arm again, “You can do anything you want Kara, you have the resources, you have options.”

Kara let out a barking laugh, “It is odd to have options, for so long I was used to not having any, but now… now I have many options but no idea what to do.”

Cat raised her glass and held it towards Kara’s. “Here’s to options then,” she said, tapping their glasses together.

The two sat in silence for a few minutes before an odd sound reached Kara’s ears, one of a roaring engine thumping out of rhythm and hundreds of people shrieking. “What is that?” She murmured to herself, her eyes scanning outside of the building.

Even after eighteen years, Cat knew when her best friend was listening to something odd somewhere else in the city, and she reached for the remote to turn on the TV. Whatever Kara was hearing, one of her news stations would be on it. “-breaking news, Americana airlines flight 2374 originating from Geneva is experiencing engine failure above National City. The pilot was preparing to land the plane when-”

“Did he say Geneva?” Kara turned to look at Cat, her eyes wide.

“You can’t know if Alex was on that flight.”

“No, but even then, I have to help, I have to do something.” Kara was launching herself off of Cat’s balcony before the other woman could blink and was rocketing her way up towards the plane rapidly descending over the city. 

It didn’t take long to find the jet following the sound of the sputtering engine and crying people. Her eyes quickly scanned the craft, searching for any weak points that she would have to monitor when her eyes stopped on a passenger flying in business class. Eighteen years older but Kara still knew that expression, face twisted in determined concern as she consoled the passengers around her, auburn hair cut short around her jaw line. “Alex,” Kara murmured, pulling her eyes away. She needed to get that plane down safely, for everyone on the plane, for the little girl she left eighteen years ago, she had things she needed to tell her, things she needed to explain.

She flew to the right side of the plane and tilted the flaps of the wing down, trying to guide the craft away from the city towards a safe area. The airport was on the east side of the city, too far away to safely carry the breaking plane, but the bay was closer on the western side. When she was flying around the city earlier, looking around before stopping in to see Cat, she noticed a long barrier island just on the inside of the bay, long enough to hopefully, safely land the plane. She wasn’t in the mood to fish the plane out of the bay, so she hoped that the pilot would be able to control the landing on the sandy strip.

The plane tilted and turned towards the small island, and Kara flew under the jet, helping to maintain its altitude as the pilot tried to control its rapid descent. She hissed as she felt the metal buckle under her strength, but she kept pressing with her entire body to keep the plane lofted until it cleared the city. The metal shudder and vibrated around her, groaning as she continued to push, but Kara held firm, determined to get the craft safely away from the buildings. 

It only took a few seconds to clear the city and start descending towards the small island, but she could feel every single one of those seconds pounding in her chest. The pilot must’ve seen the small island Kara had pointed them towards because the plane straightened, and the flaps on the wing went down to help slow down the speed so that the craft doesn’t overshoot the sand and end up nose first in the bay. She moved in front of the plane when the wheels bounced down on the sand, and grabbed hold of the nose, pressing backwards as the brakes skidded uselessly against the sandy surface of the island. She could see the pilots’ eyes widen when they saw her, and she knew that she probably looked like a fright. Her hair had partially come out of her ponytail, and was flying around her face, coated in soot and powder from the burning engine.

The cone shaped nose crumpled in her hands as she pushed against the momentum of the plane. She could hear the tires still spinning and the remaining engine powering down. Once the plane had stopped and was settled, Kara flew back to where the engine was still smoking and blasted it with a burst of cold air, squelching the last of the flames. She settled on the wing of the plane for a moment, and she could see Alex peering out of the window at her, a questioning expression on her face. Kara lingered there for a moment before shooting into the air, veering past the different helicopters that came out to inspect the plane. She banked back around the city, quickly losing the spotlights that were following her and landed back on Cat’s balcony without anyone seeing her.

Cat was on the phone when she walked into the apartment, and the TV was on replaying images of the falling plane with a picture of her standing on the wing. “Yes, keep it running,” Cat said, nodding when she saw Kara. “Report one what we know, absolutely no speculations, I hear any hint of a rumor that started from CatCo and the person responsible will be reporting on weather conditions in the Sahara.” She clicked off the phone and turned to look at her friend. “Well, if you were hoping to retire from the hero business into anonymity, I think that ship has sailed without you.”

“Shit.”

 


 

“Diana… Diana?” 

Bruce’s voice broke the Amazon out of her thoughts, and she turned to look at the man. “Ah, I’m sorry,” the brunette said. “Something else was on my mind, what were you saying?”

The man shook his head, “That can wait if you need to talk about something.”

“Developing a team to fight for justice and protect the world from dangers can wait?”

Bruce stared at the other woman for a few minutes, his eyes seeing everything that Diana wanted to hide from him. That was probably the most annoying thing about the other hero, the way he could see through her façade to the fears and worries she hid deep inside. “You know, when I was younger, before I became the Bat of Gotham, there was another vigilante that walked the streets, mainly in Metropolis but she came to Gotham a few times. She inspired me to help, but it wasn’t until I spoke with someone at a fundraising dinner that I really started thinking about why the vigilante inspired me to help Gotham.” He shook his head, “It wasn’t until I saw Kara fighting Steppenwolf that I realized the vigilante and the woman who inspired me was the same person.”

“You’ve met Kara before?”

“I told you when we first met that the Aphrodite of Ephesus reminded me of someone,” Bruce told her. “I’m guessing that the statue looked like Kara because the sculptor based her on Kara?”

“She was an Amazon,” Diana said. “She chose to leave to really practice her talents as a sculptor, and Kara left an impression on her I guess.” She glanced over at Bruce and narrowed her eyes, “I guess she left an impression on you as well.”

“I won’t say I didn’t think about it, my 20 something year old self wasn’t blind, but I could tell that she was more interested in… someone else.”

“Who?”

Bruce shook his head, “You really need to talk to Kara, not me.”

Diana let out an aggravated sigh, “Don’t you think I know that? I want to talk to her, I need to talk to her, but I don’t know where she is.”

“Seems to me like that is just an excuse,” Bruce pointed out. “You knew where she was during WWI after you left Themyscira, why didn’t you go back for her?”

“The island is hidden, those who leave cannot find it again.”

The man scoffed, “Did you even try? Or did you just assume that because that is what you were told? Seems like another excuse to me?” Diana reacted before she even knew she was moving, her fist flying out and colliding with Bruce’s jaw, sending him flying a few feet backwards. “I probably deserved that,” he groaned rubbing at his jaw. “But I’m not wrong either, you’ve been pretty passive with your relationship with Kara, reacting instead of actually acting. You need to actually start doing something.”

Diana thought about hitting him again, just to get the infuriating man to shut up, but she knew that he wasn’t wrong. She didn’t go looking for Themyscira after the war, Steve… she didn’t try to find a way back to Kara, she was too ashamed to face her. She let that fear and shame bind her, kept her from looking for the woman she loved, kept her isolated rather than proactive. “You’re right,” she admitted, the words tasting like vinegar as they left her mouth. “I didn’t go looking for her, I didn’t even try, and I haven’t done anything since I last saw her after the fight with Steppenwolf, but I need to change that.”

“Good,” Bruce nodded before picking up his phone. “An notice came on my phone earlier alerting me to this event that was currently happening.” He pulled up a poor quality video showing a plane flying precariously low over a city, and a woman flying around the plane trying to stabilize it and guide it in for a safe landing. 

She instantly knew who the woman was, she might have been covered in soot and wearing regular clothing, but she knew that it was Kara saving the jet from crashing into several buildings. She looked down at the information scrolling across the scene and saw that the story was breaking news out of National City. “National City,” she murmured. “That is on the west coast isn’t it?”

“It is,” Bruce answered. “Southern California. Now you know where she is, question is, what are you going to do with this information?”

Diana thought for a moment, her mind whirling through several possibilities. “Looks like I’m going to be putting in for a transfer.”



Chapter Text


 

“You don’t just happen to catch a falling plane Kara,” Martha said, her face stern in the hologram of the new communicator Kara had Kex develop while she was visiting Themyscira. “You made a choice to catch the plane, you didn’t just go out flying and all of a sudden a plane fell on your head and you figured might as well?”

Kara whinced, “Alright, you made your point, but I couldn’t just not catch the plane, all of those people were in danger and besides…” She hesitated a moment before continuing the statement, “Alex was on the plane.”

“I’m not saying you didn’t do the right thing saving the plane,” the woman continued. “Just that if you wanted to have some time off from being a hero, that was not the way to do it.”

“Has Clark taken up being Superman again?” Kara asked, trying to change the subject. She felt slightly guilty that she hadn’t checked in on her cousin since coming back from Themyscira. Truthfully though, she didn’t have time to check on him between seeing her mother and then immediately flying to see Cat. She hasn’t even had time to check on Eliza and Jeremiah though she needed to, especially since she just saved Alex from that plane crash.

“He’s still settling into being alive again, being home with me and Lois.” Martha hummed a bit, “That nice Bruce Wayne managed to convince everyone that Clark had been in a coma and misidentified, so the death certificate was overturned. No one has put together that Clark and Superman are the same person, but people do tend to miss the obvious explanations.”

“Doesn’t seem to be something unique to humans I’m afraid.”

“And stop trying to distract me, what are you going to do about that stunt you pulled?” The other woman continued, “People are going to be expecting a hero.”

Kara let out another sigh, “I know, I barely retired from being a lantern and now this happens.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know, Cat bought the other penthouse apartment in her building and basically forced me to move in, bringing all of the stuff I left behind out from storage. She’s trying to convince me to come up with a costume and let her brand me, but the last time that happened, I was stuck with a dark wig, hoodie, and the ‘Midnight Avenger’ moniker.”

“Interesting look, not the best name though.” Martha hummed as she thought. “You leave the costume outfit thing to me and Pythia, can your little communication devices beam things like they do in Star Trek?”

“No, that would take a transmatter portal, and I don’t have the right materials to build one… probably… Kex should have a few stealth drones available to carry small objects back and forth, but what is this for?”

“Never-you-mind, now don’t you have some people to visit?” 

“What?” Before she could ask any more questions, Martha turned off the hologram, leaving Kara staring at a blank screen. “I shouldn’t have connected Martha and Mom,” she groaned, setting the device down. “That is just going to lead to a world of trouble.” And heartbreak , she thought. She didn’t think too often about the limited lifespan of humans compared to herself and the Amazons living on Themyscira. She has lived thousands of years with time barely touching her, only war leaving physical evidence on her body. Humans had a finite number of years, something she had been thinking about since returning from the lantern wars and finding out that Jonathan Kent had died while she was gone. That and the evidence of age on Martha’s face was enough to remind her that humans had a finite amount of time. Cat, Martha, Eliza, Jeremiah, Alex… they would all continue to get older while time left her untouched.

Kara settled down on her couch, the same couch she had in the apartment she and Cat shared years ago, and let out a sigh. It had only taken Cat a few hours to buy the other penthouse apartment in her building and arrange for her things to be delivered from storage. She referred to it as a way to repay Kara for her help with starting CatCo, the base design for the building, but Kara knew it was a way to give her a place in the city, roots that would keep her there. It was scary how well Cat knew here, how she knew that she was feeling disconnected from the world after being going. It wasn’t just time distancing her, but experiences… memories, they hung around her and onto her like chains, it was hard to form new roots with the past binding her.

She sighed and shook her head, trying to rid herself of the cobwebs and woes that settled in her mind. She didn’t have time to sit around and stew about the passage of time and decisions she has made. She had people she needed to see and a new apartment she needed to fill, the empty space around the couch was starting to bother her. 

 


 

The house was the same as she remembered, slightly worn white paint, lace curtains, sitting peacefully on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Alex’s bike and surfboard were gone from the yard, replaced instead by haphazardly planted flower beds with flowers and shrubs sticking out in awkward places. “Jeremiah never had much of a green thumb,” she murmured, instantly recognizing the man’s work. She remembered that he had mentioned something about growing a garden when they first moved out to Midvale, but nothing ever came of it. Judging by the freshly tilled soil, they were more recent additions to the property. 

Kara touched down softly just out of view of the house behind one of the large trees in the backyard. The tire swing she put up for Alex still hung from one of the branches, showing signs of wear and years of use. She could hear movement in the house, Jeremiah was  hammering something in the kitchen and Eliza was doing her best to direct him, muttering about men and their constant need to use power tools. The familiarity of it made her smile, no matter the time apart or the time between, her friends had remained the same. She stepped away from the tree and walked up to the front door, her steps slow and hesitant as they carried her closer to the house. Before she could give it more thought, Kara had raised her hand and she was knocking on the door. 

“Just a minute,” Eliza called out. A few minutes later, the woman was opening the door, her brow furrowed as she looked at the woman standing on her porch. It only took a second for realization to dawn in her features and a loud squeal erupted out of her mouth. “Kara!” Eliza exclaimed, yanking the woman into the house and pulling her into a hug. “I knew as soon as we heard about what happened with that creature in Russia that you were back, and then when Alex called us, well, too much to be a coincidence.” She pushed Kara away and looked at her with accusatory eyes, “That was weeks ago though, so where have you been? And why haven’t you come to see us?”

“Cat said the same thing when I went to see her,” Kara sighed, a small smile on her face. “There was just a lot going on when I came back, that I went home to decompress for a while, see Mom. Then I got the urge to see Cat, so I flew to National City.”

“And Jeremiah and I were very grateful that you were in the city to save Alex and all of the other people on that plane,” Eliza said, hugging her friend once more. She pulled back after a moment and discreetly wiped at a tear that was making its way down her face. “Where are my manners, come in come in, you have to see Jeremiah. Ignore the mess though, since Alex moved out to attend college and started a life of her own, he’s been shifting from one home improvement project to another. The house has been in a state of chaos for years because he would start one project and then start another before finishing the first one.” She gestured out towards the yard, “You’ve seen the dismal state of my yard right?”

Kara nodded, “The new flower beds were… interesting…”

“Diplomacy won’t change the fact that my yard and my house are disasters,” the other woman groaned. She stepped over pieces of flooring that were ripped up from the hallway and Kara could see that there were three distinct types of flooring scattered through the hall and into the living room. “He’s been working on replacing the flooring for about three years now, decided the bathroom shower needed to be retiled, and so when he came back to this he changed his mind about the flooring he picked and went with a different one.”

“Did he ever finish with the shower?”

“I put my foot down on that one by withholding sex,” she replied. “You’d be surprised what you can get men to do by telling them they aren’t getting any. I can live with the floor torn up and the yard looking like a hurricane hit it, but I refuse to use the outdoor shower when I have an indoor bathroom.”

“How long did it take him to get it done?”

“Two day,” Eliza smirked. “Nothing like a motivated husband.” Another banging sound rang out through the house, and she winced again. “Now of course he has wrecked the kitchen, which means dinner has been either takeout or out of the microwave in my office.” She walked back to the kitchen and pushed Kara in front of her, “Jeremiah, look who I found standing on our doorstep.”

Jeremiah stopped hammering, kitchen cabinets strewn all over the floor and turned to look at the two women, his eyes blinking behind his goggles. He squinted, studying the two blondes before his smile widened and he pushed the goggles up off his face. “Kara!” He exclaimed, setting his hammer to the side, causing another set of cabinets to fall over. “I can fix this,” he said before moving to hug the alien woman. “Later of course, not right now.”

“Not ever I’m guessing,” Eliza grumbled.

An offended look crossed Jeremiah’s face and he crossed his arms, “No, I will get this done, though the carpet in the bedroom does need to be replaced…”

Kara watched her two friends bicker back and forth and a smile crossed her face. She missed this, this normalcy. The two humans looked older, silver streaks were woven through Eliza’s blonde hair and Jeremiah’s temples were touched with a bit of gray. Life lines creased their faces, though the energy and youthfulness of their movements and expressions belied the fact that the two were approached fifty. “I’ve missed you two,” she said, tossing her arms around both of them and squeezing them as tight as she could without causing any harm. “I want to hear everything that happened while I’ve been gone.”

“You’re going to need to let us go first because I can barely breathe,” the blonde woman wheezed out. 

Kara released them and they sucked in comically large lungfuls of air. “Yeah yeah, very funny.”

“You have to tell us of some of your adventures too,” Jeremiah said, rubbing at his ribs. “What planets did you see, what species of aliens did you encounter, how did you travel, what-” Eliza slapped a hand over his mouth to stop the incessant questions bubbling out. 

“We would be glad to listen to whatever you have to tell us about your time away, but don’t feel like you have to.”

“I… I’m not ready to talk about all of it, but I will tell you some about the places I’ve seen, planets I’ve explored,” Kara replied. “Parts of the universe I had never been to before. But first… can you tell me about Alex? Is she alright?”

“Oooh, wait let me find my scrapbooks,” Eliza exclaimed, turning towards the living room. “Oh right, Jeremiah dismantled the bookshelves, what did we do with the scrapbooks Jerry?”

“Um… are they in your office?”

Eliza ran upstairs and returned with two large sketchbooks clutched in her hands a few moments later, and tugged Kara in the living room. “I know you were around for her first years, but it’s always nice to look at Alex’s baby pictures,” she explained, flipping the first scrapbook open.

“Awe, look her first smile,” Kara cooed, looking down at the chubby cheeked baby in the picture. “And her first steps, first words, first birthday party.”

“She was so cute,” Eliza murmured, flipping through the pages. “I’m not sure what happened.”

“Eliza, don’t try to trick me, I saw her on the plane, she’s beautiful.”

“She is now, don’t get me wrong, but you missed those awkward teenage years.” She stifled a smile and flipped further through the scrapbook. “She was all braces and acne with an attitude for a few years, I thought for sure that I would have to kill her before she turned 15.”

“She’s still alive and well from what I can tell so you obviously didn’t kill her.”

Jeremiah snorted, “Came close a few times, like when she went off with those friends of hers from the lacrosse team and ended up drinking an entire case of beer.”

Kara gasped, stifling down laughter, “She didn’t.”

“She did,” Eliza rolled her eyes. “Little shit. She was grounded for over a month for that stunt, and I made her give up lacrosse, not like there was much left of the team after the principal got a hold of them. She switched to soccer and that proved to be a better decision for her in the long run.” Eliza picked up the other scrapbook and opened it, revealing a picture of Alex posing in a soccer uniform, ball held casually in her hands.

“I see she grew out of the braces and acne,” Kara murmured, softly fingering the page. Soccer balls dotted the next few pages in the book with pictures of Alex during her games, with her team, even two pictures of her holding a large trophy. “She won the championships?”

“Twice,” the other blonde nodded. “The second time was her senior year and she was team captain, ended up earning a scholarship to Stanford, graduated with a 4.0 GPA and incredible test scores which guaranteed her a place in National City University’s medical program.”

“She’s done well for herself, Cat told me that she was pioneering the field in medical care for metahumans and aliens.”

“Alex always had an interesting sense of justice and fairness, truthfully I thought for sure she was going to go into law enforcement,” Eliza admitted. “But she made it clear she was going to be a doctor and she wanted to pioneer research into medical care for beings who aren’t able to receive the same kind of care that humans do.”

“You two made a good kid,” Kara said, flipping through the pictures. 

Eliza wrapped an arm around Kara’s shoulders and gave her a small squeeze, “We had a lot of help.”

 


 

Hospitals on Earth were something that Kara was never able to get used to, not even when she was in the medical wing of Themyscira when she first arrived. They were complicated, sterile places where people went to be healed but were met with more questions and even illness if they weren’t careful. The people who worked in the hospitals, doctors, nurses, janitors, they did the best that they could, but they were still limited by materials, knowledge, technology… they were limited by people who cared more about notoriety and money then about helping people. 

Many planets were the same, just different levels of greed or pride governing their actions. Krypton wanted to be known as a beacon for the universe, a shining example for all to follow. They created technologies to cure illnesses, developed ways to prevent deformities and disorders, but they did nothing to truly care for each other. She traveled to a vegetation based planet once that did not have advanced technology but relied on herbal remedies to heal the sick. Not all of the people survived, but they were cared for. She thought that worlds must lose something as they advance, but then the ability to be cruel was present in every level of civilizations so there’s no explanation for why some succeed in caring for each other and others do not.

Kara glanced around the hospital waiting room once more while she waited for one of the nurses to check and see if Alex was available. Eliza and Jeremiah told her that the girl, woman, had returned to work the day after the plane crash, and Kara rolled her eyes. She was just like her parents, a workaholic. The nurse walked back into view and Kara stood up when she saw her. “I’m sorry,” the woman said. “Dr. Danvers doesn’t really see people directly without an appointment, can I leave her a message?”

The blonde hummed, she figured it would be a bit complicated getting through hospital protocol and Alex’s schedule. “I know her parents,” she said finally. “When they found out I was going to be in National City, they wanted me to stop by and check on her to see how she was doing.”

The nurse wavered for a moment before motioning Kara to walk back towards the desk. “Let me call Dr. Danvers again, she may let you come up knowing that her parents sent you.”

“Have you ever met Eliza and Jeremiah?” 

“Oh yes, sometimes they drive down to visit Dr. Danvers, they’re lovely.” The nurse pushed a few buttons on the phone and waited. Kara could hear Alex’s voice through the receiver, a curt ‘Dr. Danvers’ leaving her mouth. The voice was older, more mature, but it still held that self-assured tone that the blonde was very familiar with. It brought back memories of nights playing monopoly or candy land where Alex was sure she was in the right with the set of rules she was playing by, whether they were in the official guidebook or not. She stifled back a laugh at the thought and focused on the nurse in front of her. “... Alright, thank you,” the woman said, putting the phone back down. “Dr. Danvers will be down in a moment, if you just…” She motioned towards the waiting room and Kara returned to her seat. 

The television in the waiting room was playing the news and Kara saw pictures of her carrying the plane through the sky flashing across the screen. It has been a few days since that event and she was hoping that with the lack of any other sightings of her flying around they would lose interest and focus on something else. Cat though was working against her wishes and kept the public interested in the event with different speculations about the ‘mysterious figure,’ where she had come from and why she disappeared. She was just grateful that the woman hasn’t given her any kind of stupid name for the press to call her, she still has not forgiven her for allowing that ‘Midnight Avenger’ thing to go without saying something against it.

She heard a familiar heartbeat coming towards her and she turned her head, locating the young woman immediately. She was tall, taller than Eliza, almost as tall as Jeremiah, but still shorter than herself. Her hair was darker, more of a deep, dark brownish red than the lighter, auburn color she had as a child. It was cut short around her ears, styled in wavy locks that shifted slightly when she moved. She could tell the moment Alex spotted her, her head turned in the direction the nurse indicated, and her mouth dropped open as a gasp escaped her throat. 

Kara stood from her seat and walked over towards the desk where Alex was standing, her heart thudding in her ears. “Jackie, I’m going to be heading back to my office, my pager will be on but only for emergencies.” 

“Of course Dr. Danvers,” the nurse looked between the two women in confusion for a moment but kept herself from asking the numerous questions that were poised on her tongue. 

The blonde followed Alex back to her office, the other woman walking at a brisk pace, not turning to look at her at all. Kara would have said something in the elevator if she didn’t see the redhead’s hands shaking. She knew that Alex recognized her when she saved the plane but she didn’t realize the kind of effect she would have on the young woman by seeing her in person. She knew that she was an important figure in Alex’s life, she knew that, but looking through the scrapbooks with Eliza and Jeremiah, it really settled in how big of a fixture she was and then she was just gone. Kara knew that it was important, what she was doing for the lanterns, across the universe, but it’s hard to explain that to a little girl all grown up without her aunt around for eighteen years of her life. 

Alex ushered her into her office and quickly shut the door, pulling the blinds down on the windows as well. The two women stared at each other for a few minutes, Kara was unsure of what to say, if she should apologize for leaving, for being gone for so long. She opened her mouth to break the ice, but was cut off by a large grin and a loud squeal erupting from Alex’s mouth. “Auntie Ara!” She cried, wrapping her arms around Kara’s neck in a fierce hug.

Kara let out a small ‘oof’ in surprise before wrapping her arms around the younger woman, returning the hug. “I knew it was you,” Alex said, pulling back from the blonde. “As soon as I saw you standing on the plane wing, I knew it was you. And if you were saving my plane from falling out of the sky, that meant that you were back! That you were here, on Earth, and I got really excited to be able to see you again.”

“Truthfully I wasn’t sure what kind of reception I would get from you,” Kara admitted. “I mean, I did leave you during some of the most important years of your life.”

The redhead nodded and sat down at the chair behind her desk with a sigh, “I know, and I was really sad when you left and inconsolable when you lost contact with us, but I knew that you would have stayed if you could and that you would have come home earlier if you could.”

“I would have,” Kara agreed. “I didn’t mean to be gone for so long, things got… complicated…”

“I can’t even imagine.” Alex shook her head, “What about that stuff in Russia with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, was that you too?”

“Wonder Woman?” Kara mused. “Is that what they’re calling her? I have to say… it fits in a way.”

“Her…” Alex’s eyes widened in realization. “Wait, is she the one , you know, the one who broke your heart?”

“You’ve been listening to your mother too much,” Kara wagged her finger. “It is nothing so dramatic as that.”

“So she is the one, damn, she’s hot.”

“I’m definitely not talking about this with you.”

Alex’s eyes softened a bit and she got up to push Kara down into one of the seats in front of her desk. “Aunt Kara, I know this might come as a shock to you, but I’m not the little girl that you left behind. I’m a grown woman with a messy love life of my own. You’ll always be my aunt, but you don’t have to watch your words with me anymore. We can talk now, actually talk about things, as friends, or even sisters.”

“Sisters,” Kara laughed. “I could always use one more of those.”

 


 

“Alright so why did I need to fly to see you in person?” Kara asked as she watched Martha puttered around her kitchen. 

“Did you not want to come and see me?” Martha retorted, setting a mug of hot chocolate in front of the blonde. “And after I made you hot chocolate and everything, ungrateful.”

Kara let out a small smile, “I’m sorry, how have you been Martha?”

“Good good,” the woman said. “Having Clark back has been so nice, but he and Lois went back to Metropolis with a wild story of having to fake his death after the events in Metropolis last year.” She shook her head, “People really do miss the obvious.”

“Cat always says people don’t want to see the obvious, they prefer the mystery so they often miss the simple explanation.”

“She’s always had a good head on her shoulders,” Martha nodded. “If a bit on the intimidating and forceful side. I always pick up her magazine at Mike’s store.” She took a long sip of her coffee before setting down the mug with a thunk and a smack of her lips. “Now, I did call you here for a reason, your mother and I have been working on something for you. I had a lot of free time since Clark was around taking care of things for a bit and she already had parts of it done so here you go.” She handed Kara a package and settled back down at the kitchen table. “I have to say those delivery drones of yours are nice, did you know we might get packages delivered that way in the future? Amazing…”

Kara looked at the package on the table while Martha kept muttering to herself about drones and mail delivery. She thought about x-raying the cardboard to see what was inside, but reasoned it would be pretty silly when it was sitting right in front of her waiting to be opened. She pulled the box closer to her and carefully opened the flaps, revealing a deep blue fabric hidden inside. Furrowing her brow, she pulled out the fabric and was surprised by the blended Amazonian and Kryptonian design. The fabric was nothing crafted on Earth, either by humans or Amazonians, it was smooth but firm, indicating Kryptonian origin which told her it was made using information from Kex’s database. It was a tunic design with long sleeves that hooked over her thumbs, and fabric that trailed down long in the front and back, leaving her legs free. Silver accents traced along the sleeves and down through the torso of the tunic. She looked back in the box and found silver pants of the same fabric, a blue cloak with a hood that could easily attach to the tunic, and the lightweight armoured boots favored by the Kryptonians, fashioned in blue and silver. The fact that they resembled Diana’s own boots purloined from the Amazon vault crossed her mind but she instantly shook it away.

“What is this?” She asked, looking back up at Martha.

“It’s your new superhero costume suit thing,” the woman answered. “You know that I made Clark’s right? Well, I figured you were heading in the same direction with what you said in that call, but I thought I could do a better job than what you wore as the Twilight Bouncer or whatever you were called.” Martha reached into the box and dug under the pants and boots, pulling out a dark blue mask that would fit around her eyes. “The hood is optional, but pull your hair back into a low ponytail and wear the mask, no one will be able to recognize you.”

“Martha, this…”

The woman just waved off her words, “Now, I know you and Clark are family but I didn’t use the same Kryptonian glyph that I did for him because you’re more than that aren’t you? And since you’ve been a hero longer than he has, you deserve to stand without being seemingly overshadowed by a man.” Martha scoffed, “I love my son, but he still has a lot to learn if he’s going to be half the hero that you are.”

Kara couldn’t stop the barking laugh that left her mouth. “I thought the same thing too when I saw him in action dealing with Steppenwolf and others,” she admitted. “Though he is good, he relies too much on his abilities.”

“He’s gotten lazy, I knew it, I’m going to have to call him back here and insist he plant the entire field of corn by hand at normal speed,” she grubbed, a frown crossing her face. “Anyway, since I didn’t use the glyph for your family, I used something else that Pythia showed me one of the times when we were talking about raising you and Clark.” She gestured towards the center of the tunic and Kara traced the familiar design with her fingers.

“The eagle,” she murmured, her mind racing. “I think that’s what I’ll be called.”

“Eagle?”

“No,” Kara shook her head. “Aquila.”