She was helping. This is what she told herself because this is what she believed. Someone had to do it, and it might as well be her. It wasn't always easy, and it occasionally left an odd taste in her mouth, but she had dealt with worse in the past and had soldiered on to get to where she was today, so she could handle this little bit of unpleasantness now.
It was for the greater good, really.
"Did you spend the night on the docks because smell like low tide" equated to pointing out the girl had clearly been near the capsized freighter and needed to wash the smell of dead fish from her hair before rejoining the public.
"Have you heard of conditioner?" equated to pointing out the ends of her hair were clearly fried from the explosion from the night before and a trim was in order. Even her own personal stylist wouldn't have been able to fix that particular disaster.
"Please get your thrift store outfit out of my sight, it's giving me a migraine" equated to pointing out the color scheme was damn near identical to the little superhero outfit she traipsed around in and someone was going to figure it out.
If the girl wanted to keep her identity secret, she needed some pointers.
Cat Hart felt that she was the one to dole out those pointers. Oh, she could have come right out and said she knew, but what was the fun in that? Besides, Kara honestly thought she had pulled the wool over her eyes. Wool plucked from the sheep destined for the slaughterhouse down in New Brighton, but wool nonetheless. She wanted to fool others for a reason, be it a misbelief in their protection or the slightest chance at a normal life. The least Cat could do was play along until practicality argued otherwise.
She had suspected the truth when she first saw the backlit picture of the supposed hero atop the plane successfully downed in the river. Her assistant had been wearing the same affront to fashion earlier that day. It had been hard to tell with the hair though - wet and windblown versus pulled back in the usual way. It had given her the slightest sliver of doubt. Her gut had fought back against that sliver and her gut was rarely wrong.
She had known for certain when she had been granted an interview with Supergirl herself. Kara had flown about and kept her distance, but Cat was an editor and a damned good one at that - she knew her angles and how to make the obvious seem less so. Shadows and distractions could only cover for so much. The voice was far more confident and demanding than she was used to, but it gave her hope for the girl.
The glasses the next day had just been ridiculous. Yes, she had worn them before, but she had also tossed them down on her desk more than once, came running into the central office without them more than once, had glared through the explosion of toner from an old printer to find the missing negatives needed for the encroaching deadline more than once.
The girl was young.
The girl was learning.
The girl needed all the help she could get.
So Cat took it upon herself to be the one to offer the cutting jibes, the thinly veiled insults, the daily barrage of verbal abuse. It was a fraction of what could and would be thrown at her, a fraction of what she also protected her from on the same near daily basis.
Superman had it bad enough - insults and jeering and entire special editions detailing everything he had done wrong versus the lives he had saved. Supergirl was just that - a girl. Cat knew from her own experiences the extra hardships that came with that select set of chromosomes. People could and would focus on the length of her skirt, what bra she wore to keep the girls in place during flight, and how she kept her makeup from smearing when taking down six men three times her size. Brushed aside were the rescues, the captures, and the sheer amount of survival involved.
It was unfair but it was also how life on this planet worked, for better or worse. If Cat could help her thicken that bulletproof skin of hers in other ways, make her immune to the occasional snark, then maybe the young woman could look beyond it when others threw the same damn thing at her while she should have been focusing on saving the world instead.
In between the harsh realities of life, she tried to give her honest advice as well. Get her to realize she occasionally needed to take a break, that she was spreading herself too thin between her fake identity and the job she needed to do and all the other unknowns Cat had yet to figure out. That it took time to gain the skills she wanted, no matter how talented she may be.
It was a constant battle, really. She'd see the way Kara's face would fall, the way she'd bite her bottom lip or wince at herself in embarrassment for a wrong perceived to be far greater than it truly was. Cat would then rearrange her schedule for a casual heart to heart, or maybe throw an opportunity far above a simple assistant's pay grade her way knowing she really did have the talent to see it through, albeit perhaps with a little guidance.
Sometimes she gave in and even ordered cupcakes from the bakery down the street. It was in no way to assuage her own guilt. It was simply a random treat to reward one of the top-rated departments in the nation if not the world for their accomplishments. If the vast majority of said reward happened to be in a certain someone's favorite flavor, that was utter and complete chance.
Besides, she had the feeling that a few extra calories might be needed when one just flew Mach 2 with a bomb in hand.
So, really, Cat was helping the girl. It might not be in the most obvious of ways, but it was in the ways she thought worked best. And every time she did, she wondered when Kara would break and admit the truth. Hoped it would not coincide with an obituary notice. She practiced her expression of surprise and indignation nearly every night just so that she would be prepared when it finally happened.
It was the least she could do.