Okay, maybe Kara should’ve suspected something when Ra’s called his fans “shadow puppets”.
But to be fair, Kara was backstage at the time, getting to meet probably one of her favorite people ever. And it also could have been a metaphor- just part of their image. They were dark, moody, inspiring obsession. A subculture of their own, enthralled by Ra’s Al Ghul himself.
(And the rest of the band. But Ra’s was the leader for a reason. There was something about him, and his music, that spoke to Kara, outside of just the sound.)
(The sound of their music itself didn’t hurt, for the record. It was just one more thing Kara liked about them- that, along with the fact that they had always been Alex’s favorite, and now that Kara’s sister was in college, listening to them reminded her of nights with her sister, staying up late listening to those songs, learning to play them on the electric guitar, and even sometimes singing along with them together.
Which got them yelled at by Eliza and Jeremiah. But for Kara at least, it was completely worth it- until she and Alex got grounded and had their phones taken away, so they couldn’t listen to them for a while.
They always got them back, though.)
The point was that, at least until Alex left, Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows was something special that Kara and Alex shared. Something that they could both love, when they weren’t fighting over who got first dibs on using the bathroom or who took the last potsticker or other dumb stuff like that. And afterwards, it became something Kara loved outside of her friends, or fighting crime. Being a fan of their music was an unpopular opinion, judging by how everyone else in her friend group reacted to them, and that suited Kara just fine.
That, and listening to their lyrics made Kara feel… powerful. While she was listening to them, all of her insecurities and cares that she pretended she didn’t have just faded into the background, and she imagined herself on a stage, singing about how she was in control and everyone else in the world would pay attention to her, as she ruled over them.
And when she was summoned backstage (even if she later realized it was kind of weird circumstances), dragging a terrified Karen Beecher behind her, that was what she was thinking about. That feeling, and how- if she became what Ra’s referred to as an “ultimate shadow puppet”, she could have it all the time. Nobody would think of comparing her to her cousin again- Superman would have to bow to her, for once, and admit that she deserved all the praise he got. Her parents would understand her for who she really was, and not who they were trying to make her be. Her friends wouldn’t hold her back anymore, or only see her as a reckless idiot whose only use was to punch things for them.
This, as Ra’s placed the Demon’s Fang guitar pick in her hand, was her about to become uninhibited, the version of herself she was always meant to be. No more secret identity that she just barely hid behind anyway- Kara Zor-El was free.
Or at least going to be, from this point forward.
(She also probably should’ve wondered how Ra’s knew her name. But then again, she and Alex had also sent in some fan mail to the band- Ra’s must have gotten around to reading it, or at least know of those who were big enough fans of his music to write to him themselves)
She went back to the show then, and really anything could’ve happened afterwards- a supervillain attack, her cousin showing up to crash the concert, an announcement that this was their last heavy metal album and they were going to become a boy band instead.
(That probably would’ve pleased Karen.)
Okay, definitely not that last one. But if any kind of disasters happened, she wouldn’t have cared- Ra’s al Ghul thought she was worthy of his attention. That she was cool enough to have her name known by her personal hero, be singled out and receive a gift from him, and that made this whole night more than worth the price of admission.
So what if Karen was cautious?
Kara got a song dedicated to her, and as she listened, she hardly noticed how the guitar pick in her hands started to glow blood-red as she focused on the identical one in the hands of the band’s guitarist, how Karen yelling at her slowly became quieter.
Now, it felt like the rest of the crowd was no more, and it was just her and Ra’s.
Her giving in to the music, just like she always would, and Ra’s telling her that he wanted her soul.
She had been happy to be there at the concert; he was right- but she wasn’t willing to give that to him. He wanted blind devotion, which she guessed she’d given to him back when she was just a fan of his music. But this was going too far, and hearing that she was only useful to him because of her power? That she was nothing but another shadow puppet to him?
Kara was pissed, to put it mildly.
But Ra’s, and the evil guitar pick he’d given her, had other ideas, and soon she was ensnared by his song- a puppet controlled by his strings, the Demon’s Fang not letting her do anything else.
Now, she wasn’t free at all.
(Even so, there was another part of her- the part that had felt drawn to Ra’s and his music in the first place- that liked the song that she now heard in her head, and never wanted it to get out, however much her friends had other ideas.)
(No. Not friends anymore- those who refused to listen to Ra’s.
But she would make them hear his song.)