SNAPSHOT (KARA, JUST KARA). Everything has a beginning, and an end—the absolutes of life. But what about that exorbitantly long middle. What was those momentary forevers? What about those quiet days? You’ve earned them—all of them. These unforgettable forgettable middles; these banal moments, and slow days. Nameless, and unburdened—you deserve it.
It’s raining—pouring really—and National City drowns.
It’s unseasonable, but that’s alright. No one’s surprised enough to be caught without an umbrella, no one’s clambering through the smoke hissing from subway grates and yellow-tinted lights from open store fronts. It’s the kind of rain the natives have gotten used to—even decades removed from living here, they’ll never forget the balmy wave of heat that permeates the wet, the dark—the everything.
The lights have long since flickered on in town, and the sky cracks open every seventh heartbeat to rumble ominously. Flash. A brilliant moment of illumination, before everything plunges into darkness once again.
The Bruised Apple sits not at the edge of a block, not beneath some bright beacon of a street light, nor anywhere one might expect to find the beating heart of a city—but it is there. Between a shoe store that’s been both a hair salon and a post office over the last decade, and a bank that’s been robbed never—despite the window that’s been broken for at least two weeks.
It’s been years since you’ve returned—decades since you’ve done any more than step through the front door for some mindless errand or another—a whole lifetime since this had been home. Even though, when your heart yearns, it’s for this place—for these walls, and these memories. The befores, and the becauses—the everythings that somehow made sense, even when they didn’t.
You wonder when your heart stopped yearning for Krypton—sometime after oblivion, and before absolution, no doubt.
Cat looks half a mess with golden hair gone dark with water, her make-up perfectly applied and untouched by seasonal storms. It’s been what feels like a forever since you’ve run fingertips over the age softened wood of the counter, and the brittle crack-snap of the display glass. There’s a warmth here you’ve only encountered at the centers of collapsing stars—a burning saturation of heat that had absolutely nothing to do with temperature, even if you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference otherwise.
It’s love—simple, complicated, timeless love.
“There’s a million-billion timelines out there, supergirl,” Cat’s saying, her fingers flipping the pages of some paperback thriller—something dark and suspenseful, something enigmatic and coy. “A thousand-thousand possibilities, an innumerable amount of wrong turns, and just as many right ones.” She’s feeling philosophical tonight, which is perfectly fine, because you’re heart’s singing with the pitter-patter of rain. It’s bleeding love, terminally.
“I don’t think million-billion is a number,” you grin, tapping fingers along spinning postcard racks and candy displays. “Thousand-thousand, either.”
“You’re so literal,” grousing has always looked good on Cat, it’s the pinch of her nose and the half-crooked slant of her lips. “I’m being profound over here, and you’re being so close-mindedly mathematical.” You like her best when she’s put upon and smiling. Well, you like her best all the time, but especially so now.
You’ve been out of this dimension for a few years now, settled down in one with no CatCo or Lorde Technologies—a world where Cat Grant never existed, and Kara Zor-El could have been any number of things an entire galaxy away. A fresh start, a new beginning—just them, and eternity.
“Okay, okay,” hands thrown up, body gravitating closer to Cat’s; always in her orbit, always drifting closer. “Go on, I’m sorry. A thousand-thousand possibilities.”
Cat fits—she’s always fit. Cheek to your shoulder, head just below your chin—the curve of her body bowing perfectly into the arch of yours. You’ll never forget how her fingers curl into the damp fabric of your shirt, or how her free hand has already made its way half-way up your spine until she can surely feel your heart through her palm even if she couldn’t feel it through the bond you share.
“All I’m saying it,” she continues, her breath hot and damp against your collarbone, her eyelashes a flutter against the side of your neck. “We could have been anyone, or anywhere. But we were here.”
“Not always,” you murmur, letting damp golden strand curl stubbornly around your fingertips until they tumbled over your shoulder.
“No, not always.” She agrees, a soft laugh making her chest expand. Cat leans back to look at you with eyes gone crystalline in the past-twilight of street lamps and lightning strikes.
It had been your justification for retirement—your children grown, your grandchildren growing, and the skip between dimension nary a concern any longer. You didn’t want to be Zor-El, or Callaghan, or the Spectre—especially not the Spectre—not anymore, not when it felt so comfortable being just Kara. So right.
“Since the day I met you, the only possible thing I could have ever done was love you, Kara.” You think about all those dimension where what ifs prevailed; where possibilities slipped away unnoticed because they were never meant to be. You think about sorrow never felt, because happiness hasn’t even been considered.
You can’t imagine meeting Cat and not loving her.
“I don’t like the idea of fate, or soulmates, or—or, kismet,” whatever word for it, whatever implication, you didn’t like thinking that choice didn’t exist. “But I would have been okay if it had meant finding you. If I could thank Rao, or God, or the universe, I would. Because I’ve told you before, Cat,” grinning, a fingertip brushing over the curve of her cheek, to the line of her jaw, “you’re it for me.”
It’s the Bruised Apple, it’s the familiar handwriting of a man decades dead scrawled along rafters and wooden walls—it’s the petrichor in the air, and the rightness of being home. It’s everything, and nothing, because it had never mattered where you were.
As long as you had her.
Cat kisses like she does everything—whole heartedly and without regret. The brush of lips grown so familiar, and teeth straight and known. You’d sink into her right here, right now, if it meant you never had to part—except…
“Ally’s going to kill us if we’re late to the rehearsal dinner, zrhueiao.” Your voice has dropped an octave, your hand already wandering down the line of her back, to the swell of her ass. “You know they’ve put bets on it.”
Your children, an incorrigible bunch of brats—your brats.
“It would serve her right for marrying a Lorde.” Cat gripes, her teeth lingering than slanting down the arch of your neck to sink teeth in—hard enough to make your heart thump, and your fingers twitch. “I was all for independence until she went and did something so ridiculous.”
You laugh, shaking your head. “You like Quincy.”
“I liked him better when my youngest child, and only daughter, wasn’t pregnant before the wedding.” Cat’s grumbling, put out enough that’s she’s stopped trying to rile you up and in just sulking in your arms.
“Cat,” you hedge, still smiling, because she’s ridiculous.
“Alright, alright,” throwing up hands gone cold from the rain, she huffs and spins out of your arms to toss her long forgotten paperback into the bin behind her. “I know, I know—hypocrisy doesn’t look good on me.”
“It does, most things do,” your skipping one gravity defying step before your floating down behind her, to scoop her up and twirl her around. “Doesn’t mean you should wear it.”
Cat yelps at first, but twists just enough to loop arms around your neck, her feet settling upon your so that she might waltz with you in mid-air. One, two, three—one, two, three. You count the tiny little flecks of age at the corner of her eyes—like lines that you cherish every night. Little proofs that time has happened, little reminders of yesterday, and promises of tomorrow.
A million-billion. A thousand-thousand.
At the end of time, when the last star has gone dark and there is no light left to be had—the universe tells you a story. Your story. It gathers moments, and forevers, and tells you every difference you’ve made. Small things like visits to the Grand Canyon, or kisses on the roof at Fourth of July. But then there are the big moments—life changing moments, world altering moments. Like pulling a toddler from traffic, or travelling to alternate realities. The universe heard you, it has always heard you, and now it whispers…
Until the stars go dark…
And after even that.