Chapter 1: Scurry into the Darkness
To Carry the House of El
Darkened windows made the Catco building standout among the skyscrapers that surrounded it. The seemingly ever-present logo of the worldwide media conglomerate was dimmed. From the mountains surrounding the city, the entire building seemed like one mammoth hole in National City’s skyline. Instead of a buzzing twenty-four hour news room, it was a hush on the landscape. An ambient red glow came from just above the buildings landing pad; a huge craft hovered just above the roof. Unless you were within a coins throw, the Black Op craft was invisible to the naked eye as it swirled. Even the blades cut through the air so quietly that the most trained ear wouldn't hear a thing. The attack was orchestrated with the precision of a master pianist; each move, a stroke of genius planned meticulously. The sun had set an hour prior, leaving the added cover of darkness to an already sinister plot.
When the power had gone out Winn had valiantly came to the rescue saying it was a mainframe glitch that would sort itself out within the hour. Unbeknownst to him, it was all part of the plan. Everyone went about their business, using what battery life their devices had left to get their work done. Kara found herself taking the moment and retreating to her favorite place.
Winter found them like no other ever had, with a blizzard. Normally the beauty of Southern California was that it was the same ninety percent of the time. Kara loved when things stayed the same; she loved a routine and a schedule. Predictability was comforting when so much was unknown to her. Somewhere along the line, Cat had become her favorite kind of predictable. She would never tell her this but she knew her down to the molecule. Cat arrived within 30 seconds of 8:30 every morning, was hungry at exactly 11:47, needed extra caffeine at 2:51, was her most irritable at 4:15 and rarely said a peep after 5. That was until she was suddenly gone. Somehow the snow falling on National City seemed to fit perfectly in line with her absence.
Kara knew Cat believed she was a free spirit in a sense, never to be harnessed and couldn’t be compiled into a simple routine. She was the boss that could follow her every whim. She was also a profoundly good liar. However, she needed routine just as much as Kara did but for different reasons. Cat had always fought a ‘never good enough’ complex and her way of combating it was by over working herself and all those around her. From the vantage point that her desk used to provide her, Kara could tell when Cat’s heart was elevated and if it was nearly 4:15 by the rhythm alone. She had always wanted to run to her and hand her a black coffee (given only in moments of immediate caffeine need) but it was no longer her responsibility. She loved that she had been promoted but she hated it in the same moment. Proximity to Cat was soothing, like living in the eye of the storm.
Cat’s reaction to her promotion had been a 180 from what Kara had expected. She expected Cat to terrorize her new assistant while giving Kara the cold shoulder but somehow Cat had found a modicum of peace; one Kara had never seen in her before. It wasn’t an all-encompassing peace but Kara was jealous nonetheless. She had never gotten this side of Cat when they were working in close quarters. She craved this kind of Cat but any chance of it had disappeared when she suddenly decided that her life here wasn’t enough and she left. But back to the reality of the situation, Kara found herself alone.
She stood on the balcony mesmerized as the crystals fell. Krypton knew nothing of snow and the first time she had ever seen it, was in a picture. She had thought it was from a science fiction movie; another lie, another story, something that couldn't possibly exist. But Alex had taken it upon herself to tell Kara all the wonders of snow; snowball fights, sledding in the cold and the nip of ice on your nose.
As Kara spent the better part of an hour reminiscing, a soft melody floated through the freak winter storm. Unexpected wasn't the word she'd use for it, hell even preposterous didn't quite cover it. She could hear the faint hum of Carol of the Bells coming from an open window. The song had always sounded so dreary to her. It seemed to be melancholy in its own fashion though it spoke of the joy of the season. The constant droning of the same three notes over and over again until the blessed release of the chorus made her abandon her thoughts of Cat. She breathed in the chilled air only for the melody to return to the same three notes over and over again, the ringing of a bell.
It should have been breathtaking, it should have been so filled with the holiday spirit that she could hardly breathe but instead her breath was taken away by something much heavier on her chest. Missing wasn't quite strong enough a word; it didn't quite grasp exactly what it felt like to live without Cat. It was more like an unending mirage. She could see her when she turned the corner, in her reflection in the mirror or behind her when the elevator dinged. She saw her in every corner of Catco but was disappointed each time the ruse was revealed as her mind playing the cruelest of tricks on her. That was what missing her was like, cruel.
Kara let the wicked melody overtake her and faced the sky; she let herself float ever so slightly off the ground. She could almost imagine what the cold must feel like, how it pricked at your skin and ate at your resolve. Almost. This wasn’t the first time she found herself floating on Cat's balcony. She'd spent many an hour here probably hours that had compounded into days at this point. It was a risk that helped her remember what it had been like before. She slowly lowered herself to the concrete base of the balcony.
A very distinctive thumping entered Kara's ears, her pulse quickened at the thought. The familiar rhythmic drumming that had always put her at ease now suddenly had adrenalin running through her veins. She didn't dare look back in case she was mistaken. It would hurt too much to be mistaken but then came the subtle smell of jasmine and Kara knew exactly who stood behind her. The subtle hints of jasmine came from the $1,800 bottle of Jean Patou perfume that Kara had run halfway across the country to get for her. She had always splashed it on as if on a whim despite its decadence. The scent left a subtle trace everywhere she walked.
“If I didn't know better I'd say you could catch your death out here.”
“Cat?” Kara questioned without turning around ,she didn't quite want to trust that it could be that easy. Her voice had been painfully hopeful just uttering her name. She held on tightly to the railing of the balcony, of their balcony.
“Were you expecting someone else? This is still my balcony.” Cat answered in her signature snark. Kara spun so fast she knocked a corner of molding from below the balcony's railing off.
When Kara turned she beheld the vision that was Cat Grant. She wore an understated black dress, very unlike herself, with a tiny gold chain fixed around her neck. The dress had quarter length sleeves and flowed freely around her knees, accompanied by black ankle boots. She seemed altogether back in charge even after only a moment but there was a subtle difference. Kara wasn’t sure if anyone else could tell but she could. On the outside she seemed obviously more relaxed and at ease but there was a little bit of something extra along the edge that Kara couldn't quite put her finger on.
“I see you've made yourself comfortable on my balcony. Has Snapper scared you off into hiding already?”
“Oh no… Miss Grant I just wanted some air and well to be completely honest this is one of my favorite places.” Kara stumbled over very little of her words, a vast improvement since Cat’s departure.
“Mine too.” She saddled up next to the young reporter, making herself just as comfortable as Kara looked.
“Am I allowed to ask where you've been? Did you find what you were looking for?” Kara didn't look at Cat as she asked the questions but rather looked at her fingertips as she picked the dirt out from under her nails, no doubt remnants from her latest Supergirl excursion.
“Have I made you that afraid of me that you can’t even ask me a question?” Cat was being more honest than her former self would have let her be. When it came to her emotions, she was known for being direct and snide but never quite so open. Kara turned around and put her full weight on her elbows as she leaned on the balcony.
“I wasn't sure I would see you again.” Kara looked directly at her this time.
“I said I'd be back.”
Kara didn’t answer but merely nodded her acknowledgement. She knew Cat was fishing, having only told Supergirl she would return.
“Are you staying this time?”
“I don't know. How has James performed in my absence? This blackout I’m returning to isn’t promising though the tech genius assures me it’s temporary. I expect a full honest report.” Cat looked out on the city that she loved, at the familiar skyline and the ever illuminated lights. She was avoiding the question of ‘where she'd been’ and Kara wasn't about to push her on it. Kara was just grateful to have her back at all.
“Well Miss Grant, I think James would be a better judge of that than me.”
“Always Switzerland, I'm apt to want to beat that out of you but it seems to serve you well.”
“Did you need anything from me Miss Grant?” It was beginning to get cold on the balcony or at least she assumed it was by the small formation of goose bumps along Cat's forearm.
“You're not my assistant anymore Kara you don't have to bend to my every whim. Although I would like to discuss you calling me Cat on a permanent basis.” Kara’s face scrunched up as she searched Cat’s eyes.
“Okay… Cat it is.” She said shyly but with bubbles brimming at the edge of her smile.
“What do you say we get some work done?” Cat lightly grazed Kara’s shoulder pretending to fix her attire but Kara knew it was her way of asking for physical reassurance.
“I'm really glad you're back even if it's only for a little while.” Kara smiled as Cat sniffed slightly pulling her emotions in check.
“That's enough sappiness for one day don't you think.” Cat gently bopped Kara on the nose with a single finger. Shrugging her shoulders, she walked back into her office and headed straight for the bullpen.
“Hello everyone, I expect that you were productive in my absence and that James led you to my satisfaction. I will be back for a temporary period starting today. Layouts, article proofs and other decisions should be brought to me directly. I expect the darkness won’t prove a problem for those who are serious about their work. Kara, I'd like you to work on my team for the remainder of the week as well as James, Natalie, Samantha and Winn.” It wasn’t lost on a single one of them that she used every employee's actual name. “Now chop, chop I have an empire to run.” Cat dismissed them all with a wave of her hand and sat down in the chair behind her desk. She looked like a queen returning to her throne and it was a marvelous spectacle.
There were only a few dozen employees left in the building, when every automatic door and every single lock snapped into place, locking the unlucky remaining hoards in the building. Confusion set in at a labored pace, each employee already exhausted from their many battles with the Queen herself throughout the day. As the overextended crowd began to bombard the security desk with questions, every television in the building switched on to reveal the anonymous face of a Cadamus drone.
“Employees of Catco, first let me offer my apologies for the operant environment you find yourself working in. Hell really does have a slave driver, doesn’t it?” The voice echoing from the television was a simulated tone, gender indistinguishable.
Throughout the rest of the building people began to gather in the main conference rooms trying to watch the broadcast. The screens all played the same message, except for the televisions along Cat’s office wall. The figure on her televisions was a silhouetted woman. Her voice disguised.
'The infamous Cat Grant, we meet at last, I feel as if I already know you or at least I already know what you're capable of.”
Cat slowly moved her gaze toward the televisions, keeping her body turned toward her coffee table.
“Pleasantries aside, you’re trespassing on a private network and I don’t take kindly to intrusion.” Cat scoffed.
“Let me cut to the chase, you have something I want, well …someone I want.”
Cat rose from where she'd been going over the last prints of the day. She took an extra moment to smooth her skirt, tracing the gold stitching as she did so. She gave no indication that she was impressed nor the slightest bit phased by her personal sanctum being overrun by a criminal organization. She glared as if it were only a nuisance, as most things were to her.
“Since this has been an unsavory introduction to say the least, and if you know me as you say you do then you know I do not appreciate my privacy being infringed upon; let alone anything being demanded of me. I assume you have a life to get on with as I most certainly do. This ridiculous light show that you’ve put on is tacky and migraine inducing, less theatrics more facts.” Cat showed little in the way of weakness. She stood tall with her hip slightly cocked to the side; ever aware of her physical presence.
“My intelligence tells me you know the whereabouts of Supergirl. Moreover it says you know the identity of Supergirl. Kindly hand that information over and no one dies today. As we speak, my drones are informing what's left of your employees that they can either cooperate with my request or they can die. It’s your choice, Madam CEO.”
“You're wasting your time. Not a single one of my employees knows her whereabouts. Hell I don't even know her whereabouts. She's her own woman I don't keep her on a leash.”
“Funny you should say that. She seems awfully domesticated to me; what with her running to your aid at the drop of a hat and showing up on your balcony at all hours of the night.” Cat’s always intact mask frayed slightly along the edges, knowing that her private affairs had been spied upon. However, the woman behind the screen was none the wiser to the cracks in her armor.
“Seeing as you're not opposed to spying, I'm sure you know her whereabouts better than I do. Your fight is with the girl of steel, let’s let the school children run along to play shall we.” Cat motioned to her employees. A sudden shuffle of feet turned Cat’s attention to the doorway.
“Mrs. Grant, are you..?' Kara stopped dead in her tracks with two sinister glares pointed at her, the deadlier of the two from Cat.
“Kara, leave now.” Cat’s voice gave away no emotion but her eyes pleaded for compliance.
“Who is this little mouse of a minion we have here.” The no longer disguised female voice rang from the screen.
“No-one of consequence.” Cat’s eyes were still glued to Kara motioning her to leave.
“I can’t do that.” Kara said showing just a little too much of her Supergirl confidence.
“Oh little mouse has come to play.” As the final syrupy words escaped the screen, the windows shattered all around them, shards flying from every corner. Kara was wrapped around Cat faster than she even knew she could move. Clandestine figures entered every broken window; dozens of operatives swarmed the employees and everyone else who had made their way to the CEO’s floor. Kara began to feel woozy and her grip on Cat gave way as she began to fall. As Cat looked closer she saw the hooded men wore green pendants on their wrists. The midnight soldiers had kryptonite.
The hooded figures continued to fall through every shattered portal surrounding the few employees that were left on the floor who didn't already have a detail of soldiers on them. Cat could see Winn and James in the bull pen being manhandled as Kara lay at her side looking awfully pale. The soldiers began to scan every employee with handheld devices. One’s Cat could swear she’d seen in a Star Trek film. As each employee was scanned head to toe the devices would turn green, yellow or purple. With each employee that was cleared the men would push them aside. The assailants cornered James and Winn who immediately turned to run only to be cut off by another half dozen men. The instruments flashed a white indication light when they began to scan, which turned blue as soon as James and Winn were scanned.
“Get that thing away from me!” Winn fought as the drones around him secured his hands behind his back. “Kara, do something!” He screamed as he saw the next group head toward her slumped body.
“Wi-..” Kara lost consciousness as the hoards approached her and began to scan her. Cat tried to keep herself in between the girl and her mystery guests. She was soon pushed to the side.
“That’s quite the faithful assistant you have there. Two seconds into a crisis and she faints. “
“Ma’am the device doesn’t seem to be working on her. She isn’t showing any human reading at all.”
“Hiding in plain sight, I should have known. Bring Kitty Cat with; I think she might be of some importance to our dear Superhero.” The silhouetted woman gloated. Cat’s eyes darted toward Kara as a man flung her over his shoulder.
“Kara!” Cat fought against the men surrounding her. She threw a square punch to the man on her left, clearing a few inches for her to run toward Kara. She made it to the edge of her office before she was violently swung back by the man she’d punched.
“If you hurt even a tendril of her sunny hair, I will make it my life’s mission to ruin you.”
The female voice began to cackle, a low rumbling sound that made Cat’s blood boil. James and Winn were moved to the open windows. The eerily silent night continued even though Cat knew there must be an aircraft that the assailants had come from.
“I know you're trying to portray this covert super villain persona but it’s been done and it’s been done better. Normally when you want something from me manhandling is the least opportune way to receive what you're looking for.” Cat found the ice in her voice again and let the calm eye of the raging storm inside her take over once again.
“Oh Catherine, I’m assuming it’s Catharine, that seems boring enough a name to suit you. For a woman of your age, you're awfully naive. I find it most affective to take what I want, asking was merely foreplay and a little bit of fun. Boys!” the woman yelled. “Scan the Cat for good measure. “
Three more assailants joined the hooded men already surrounding her. The crunching of broken glass below their boots was blood-curdling enough but their proximity was downright violating. The tallest of three men brought out his hand held scanner and scanned Cat. The device began to go wild, screaming a high-pitched klaxon of a scream and immediately turning a blinding red that she was not prepared for in the darkness.
“She's got the highest reading we've ever seen ma'am.” The anonymous face of one of her drones reported back.
“You have been a bad girl kitty Cat.” She sneered as Cat brought her arms around herself. “Bring her in boys. I'm sure the Caped Wonder will be easier to handle with readings like that. “
The tallest of the men grabbed Cat by her waist and threw her over his shoulder, she began to kick and scream, trying to scratch at the Kevlar he was covered in.
Just as Cat was being hauled out of the window, she saw that every other employee who had been scanned was suddenly still. Frozen in the position that they had been pushed aside in, each was surrounded by broken glass and open wounds from the flying debris, eyes staring straight ahead. One girl, a temp helping with the remodel of accounting, had a trickle of blood that was stopped in midair that fell from her forehead. Cat scanned the room one last time as she was violently pulled through her shattered windows screaming as she saw the stories of open air below her. The ground became further and further away as she was lifted into the silent vehicle.
Cat finally heard the engines of the stealth craft as she was thrown against the bulkhead hitting her shoulder into metal. A thick black cloth was pulled over her head and secured behind her neck. She could feel another body lying next to her, the faint scent of strawberries giving Kara away. Cat fought against her ties trying to maneuver herself closer to check on the still unconscious Kara. The sound of a heavy metal door slammed shut, leaving Cat in darkness once more.
The stealth craft hummed along with Cat buried in its belly. Despite the circumstances her attention was inevitably drawn to her aching shoulder which had made contact with the bulkhead after being thrown on board. The whirling memories of the attack on her office overwhelmed her senses as she tried to quiet her pounding heartbeat. She could feel the still form of Kara next to her as she struggled to sit herself upright. As soon as she knew the hooded men had left, she called out.
“James? Winn?” Cat whispered into the abyss.
“Cat, we're here. Where's Kara?” James yelled across the open space.
“I have her. Did you see them take anybody else?"
“No, but it happened too fast for me to be sure."
"They had Kryptonite beacons on them." Winn whispered in James’ direction.
"Of course they did, they're after Supergirl." Cat stated as if even while being kidnapped she was the only intelligent one in the room.
The craft came to an abrupt stop, throwing the four of them against the hull. Cat managed to grab ahold of Kara’s hand, keeping her from flying about but the jolt startled Kara awake.
“What?! Oh God, what happened…Cat?" Kara's voice was frantic.
"I’m right here.” Cat squeezed her hand firmly. "You passed out, what's the last thing you remember."
"The windows broke and there was a green light, I...oh. I must have fainted from freight." Kara inhaled sharply trying again to cover her identity in Cat’s presence. Cat said nothing but let the lie linger. Despite the hoods, Kara could feel the disappointment in the air and she let her shoulders slump. As her head stopped spinning, she began to get a small amount of her strength back and easily brook her ties as well as Cat's. She could still feel the kryptonite nearby and its emerald hue continued to bind most of her abilities. She took Cat's hood off and embraced her. "I'm so sorry."
She began to examine the room they were in, only to see that metal bars separated her and Cat from James and Winn. She may have been able to break the ties but she knew she wouldn't be able to break the bars. A loud bang echoed through the chamber as the metal door opened, a man abruptly brought Cat and Kara to their feet.
"Resourceful." He said as he saw the ties tattered on the floor. "Let's show you to your cell. You have a meeting with Madam Girard in the morning, Supergirl." Cat's face turned pale as Kara lunged for the guard. "Not so fast." The smug guard turned on his kryptonite beacon, essentially hurling Kara to the ground.
Cadamus took up over 100 acres of land just outside of area 51 in Nevada. It was a remote and well-guarded facility that was just close enough to a government strong hold that it was laughable that a conspiracy hound or a Danvers hadn’t found it. To their credit Cadamus did have exceptional cloaking capabilities but still they were next door neighbors to their greatest enemy and the army was none the wiser.
The dinge of the underground facility seeped into Cat’s pores, she could feel the stone wall against her back and the dust accumulating on the floor rubbed against her expensive pants. She was suddenly extremely grateful for the midday outfit change she’d arranged. The dress she had arrived to work in would have been utter torture now. Her bones hurt in a way no workout or physical exertion had ever affected her body. She could see better in the dark now having sat in it for god-knows-how-long. She could feel the subtle presence of Kara sitting next to her, the only thing in the room that kept her breathing normally.
They had been separated from James and Winn when the craft came to a stop some twenty minutes after they departed Catco. They could have gone in any direction and Cat was in no shape to try and pay attention to which direction they might have gone. They had been ushered to their feet in the same silent manner they had been thrown into the craft and lead into what she assumed was a Cadamus holding cell.
The masked man she had punched in her office was the one to throw her and Kara to the ground of their current lockup. He no doubt had been given directions to not harm them, as he didn’t retaliate. She figured given the grumbles that escaped his mouth, he would have loved to have returned the favor. Cat was bruised on most of her body and could feel a lump immerging on her head where she had hit into the craft’s walls as it zoomed off.
The night drudged on, if it was even still the same day. Distant screams were muffled just enough for Kara to ignore them. Cat had increased their proximity ever so slightly as the hours waned on. She was still sitting properly with posture fit for a ballerina but Kara could see her shoulders were beginning to curve with the weight of the past few hours. Kara placed a hand on Cat’s knee to draw her attention.
“Cat, are you ok? Do you want to try and rest for a while?” Kara then brushed her shoulder with her finger tips.
"I think sleep will elude me for some time." Cat lightly pushed a stray hair from her face.
“Cat, can we talk?” Kara was more tentative than usual. “I know you probably have a lot of questions about the whole Supergirl thing and I can try and answer them but I don’t know how much it’ll help.”
Cat hadn’t moved when Kara placed a hand on her, nor when she began to speak. Her eyes were trained on the 10 foot steel door that separated her from her sons. Kara droned on with apologies until Cat craned her neck to finally meet Kara’s eyes. All it ever took from Cat was her very specific ‘shut up Keira’ frown to bring the room to a standstill with a silence so heavy even Supergirl couldn’t lift it.
“I do have one question.” Cat took a pause before every word drawing her anger to a controllable level. “It’s become clear that I underestimated the level of danger an affiliation with you would put me in. I don’t want to discuss how my shy blabbering assistant Kara Danvers is Supergirl. It’s old news to me despite whatever charade you and no doubt another alien pulled in my office with that double take, twin swap parade you pulled. Oh course I have a million questions but every single one of them won’t help me get home to my sons.” Cat paused and slowly lifted her weary body to a standing position. “My one question is…how the hell are you going to get us out of here?” Cat let the words slither out of her mouth as a snarl.
“I…well I really don’t know.” Kara let her head hang embarrassed in her hands.
“We all have secrets Kara, hell I have a vault of them myself and one day I might even share a few of them with you. I will no doubt bombard you with every single question imaginable one day but dammit Kara this is unacceptable!” Cat’s mind raced as their predicament enclosed around her. “I don’t know the exact science behind your powers but shouldn’t you be able to muscle us through these walls.” Her anger defusing slightly as she spoke.
“On a normal day absolutely but the walls of the cell are lined with low grade kryptonite. It isn’t making me entirely human but it’s dampening my powers considerably. I know I can find a way out but it’ll just take some time.” Kara stood suddenly and began to pull at the fixtures looking for a weak point as she spoke.
“That’s more like it. I don't believe Madam Girard is an acquaintance I want to make.” Kara turned to smile at her .Cat reached out and rubbed a smudge of dirt from Kara’s cheek with her thumb, taking the smallest beat to finally see Kara in her full Kryptonian glory.
The dungeon office of Madam Girard served as many things, most of all a vault of hatred. She’d spent the better part of her adult life trying to rid the world of aliens. Her predecessors, the Luthors, had left her with a heap of a mess. Lillian had guided her to her current place of power before she was sent into hiding. Girard had always found Lillian to be overly sentimental especially when it came to her attachment to her children, which in the end was her undoing. A knock sounded at the door and she swatted at the air as if to clear the moment of nostalgia.
“Come in.” She hissed. A man with a collard blue shirt entered the room like he had for the last ten years, pissed off.
“We need to talk.”
“Must we?” She sneered and turned her chair so she no longer had to look at him.
“She’s never going to agree to it. We only have so much Kryptonite on hand and if we run out before she starts the transfer, we won’t be able to hold her.”
“Then kill her. If we have the head of Supergirl on a spike, I really don’t think we’ll need much else to start a revolution.”
“A revolution of her followers attacking us; don’t underestimate her appeal.”
“True, she stays alive until we get the information we need. After that I could care less, in fact I might take a little bit of pleasure in doing away with her myself.”
“How do we get her to agree?
“Cat is the key. Supergirl might not care what happens to her but we dangle the life of her damsel in her face and she’ll be putty.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Her readings were through the roof.” One of Girard’s eyebrows arched in full pleasure. She had the keys to the kingdom and she was going to level the House of El.
“If they’re as high as you say they are then we can’t harm her. All the Kryptonite in the galaxy wouldn’t keep Kara from destroying us all.”
“You’re really beginning to annoy me. Only threats then, she'll stay unharmed until I get what I want. Then all bets are off.” Her loyal servant let himself out through the door he’d entered. Madam Girard pushed the call button on the lower left corner of her phone as he exited.
“Bring her to me.”
The DEO had seen nothing of substance for over 24 hours and Alex was crawling in her skin with boredom. She had seen one piece of paper cross her desk in a day and a half. After her third consecutive heavy sighs, J’onn had pushed her to start using her mountain of vacation time that had accrued but she was reluctant to miss anything.
“Now it’s an order.” J’onn snuck up on Alex as she threw a pen at a dart board she had made out of top secret folders. She jumped but still managed to hit the bullseye.
“Oh Sir, I was just…”
“You were just leaving for a week of vacation.” He said with full authority. Alex’s shoulder slumped and she pouted like what J’onn imagined the five year old Alexandra Danvers looked like. “You’re sister is still on recuperation leave from the last attack, take the time to enjoy each other’s company without impending disaster as a distraction. Your time together isn’t unlimited. I should know.”
“Low blow,” Alex leapt from her chair as her jaw gapped open. J’onn merely smiled and left her to gather her things for her mandated vacation. Alex dialed Kara without having to look at the keypad. The phone rang once only to go to Kara’s ridiculously chipper voice mail. ‘Hey you’ve reached Kara Danvers, leave a message or don’t. Whatever you feel like; have a great day!’
“J’onn is making me take some time off, call me. I have been dying to see the new Gilmore Girls. There’ll be pot stickers in it for you.” Alex hit end and gathered her jacket, giving J’onn a very high eyebrow and a death glare as she exited.
It had taken all of four hours for Alex to realize that there must be something incredibly wrong if Kara wasn't taking her up on her offer of Chinese food and a movie marathon. Since Cat was no longer around to occupy all of her time, Kara’s schedule was rather predictable. If Alex remembered correctly she had even been given the weekend off by Snapper as well. The DEO was a non-issue and obviously neither of them were on call. All of her combat training told her not to panic but Kara was so consistent that Alex felt a slight tingle of tightness in her chest. Her fingers and toes were numb, obvious first signs of hyperventilation.
Alex checked the Loft first. She searched her sister’s closet and found her super suit hiding along the back wall. Kara's breakfast dishes were still on the table exactly where she had left them. She placed very well meaning calls to James, Winn and finally Ms. Grant; the last call being a rather desperate attempt at locating her sister. All three phones went to voicemail, escalating the already anxious state of Alex’s mind.
Alex sprinted out of the door; barely closing it behind her. Before she knew it, she was speeding down the interstate straddling her black motorcycle. Her grip was so tight around the handlebars that the leather of her gloves looked like it would give out over her knuckles. She sped in and out of cars, heading to the last place she thought Kara might be at this hour.
The Catco sky scrapper came into view as she rounded 2nd Avenue. The entire building was dark. Alex’s pulse quickened and her breathing became labored; panic finally began to take hold. She drove her bike straight up to the entrance practically throwing it to the side as she ran through the glass shards of what used to be the front door. She threw her helmet to the side and sprinted to the security desk. There were human statues everywhere. She frantically looked from side-to-side examining the dozens of people in the entryway who seemed to be frozen in place. Most of them lay along the ground , others looked like they were trying to escape. The security guard was frozen in place with his gun trained on an open space.
Alex ran up to the closest person she could find and tried to take her pulse, she was ice cold. If she didn't know better, she'd swear they were wax statues but she recognized a few of them. Alex ran to the elevator bay and was relieved to see that they were still working; she pushed the up arrow only to realize there were about a million ways to get stuck in an elevator .Instead she ran to the stairwell, sprinting up 13 flights of stairs before being forced to take a breath. She leaned over slightly and let her lungs take in a giant gulp of air. They burned from the sudden exertion coupled with the tightening of her chest as adrenaline coursed through her veins. With absolutely no worry for her own physical state, she sprinted up the other flights of stairs toward the executive floor. As she sped up the last flight, she dodged more of the ice statues that were littered along the stairwell.
She forced the door to the top floor open as the statues came crashing down around her. She didn't turn around to check if anyone had been harmed; her instinct to save her sister was too great. Instead she ran straight to Cat’s office and saw a few more familiar faces but not the one she was looking for. She searched frantically through Cat’s office running through mountains of broken glass; she went straight to the balcony knowing it was Kara’s favorite place.
As soon as she was sure that Kara wasn't there, she reached into her back pocket for her cell phone and hit her second speed dial. J’onn's baritone voice began talking before the second ring chimed.
“This better be a ‘thank you for making me go on vacation’ call.”
“J’onn,” Alex said frantically almost out of breath. “We have a problem.”
The heavy metal door creaked open letting the smallest amount of light creep through. It hit Kara straight in the eyes and she was jolted to a standing position automatically putting herself in between whatever was coming through the door and Cat.
She managed to get a couple of hours of sleep, Cat having insisted she needed all the strength she could get for whatever it was that they were about to face next. The cot in the cell was far from comfortable and her body ached from her time spent on it.
“Madame Girard has requested your presence this morning.”
Two guards outfitted in Kryptonite shields entered the room violently and pulled Kara out of the cell. She twisted and contorted trying to fight them as they secured her arms behind her, slamming the cell door shut with Cat still behind it. Overhead excessively bright swaying lights lined the stone walled hallway that Kara was being drug down. Her eyes were having trouble adjusting. The men drug her so fiercely her feet skidded along the ground behind her. As they exited the hallway, the main control room came into view. It was immaculately designed and opened up to the full height of the compound.
Dozens of men and women were running from station to station, no doubt keeping the facility running. Kara was overwhelmed by the scale of the operation, though knowing what she did of her enemies, it shouldn’t have surprised her. She was quickly whisked past the frenzy and put behind another locked door. The simple unadorned room was empty except for a comfortable lounge chair occupied by the Madam herself. The door closed leaving the two of them alone.
“Ah the notoriously good Supergirl… props on hiding in plain sight by the way. Although you're unnecessary attachment to Cat Grant confuses me and ultimately gave you away. Why someone with your considerable strength and power would align themselves with such a bottom feeder is something I'll never know. It’ll just have to be left as a question for the ages as so many things often are.”
“Did you bring me here to insult me or do you actually have demands?
“I was hoping we could work together on this one Supergirl.”
“Unlikely but let Cat, Winn and James go and I'll be more willing to listen.”
“There’s that fierce loyalty of yours again. Unfortunately that's not going to work for me. I still need a little bit of leverage what with your uncontrollable Kryptonian nature and all.
Madame Girard's voice was exactly as Kara remembered it through Cat’s TV screen the night prior. Her appearance however was what truly shocked Kara. She was a woman of average stature, thin and of Asian descent but she had chemical burns over half of her face. Kara assumed the burns were also over her body as her left hand showed the same scarring. It seems she had been through quite an accident or at least she hoped it had been an accident. Madame Girard saw Kara scan her scarred hand and quickly pulled it back to focus her attention.
“I think my demands would come much better from someone you know. Have our lead scientist give her a briefing.” She said to seemingly no one.
The guards that had escorted Kara opened the door and pulled her in the opposite direction once again. Giving her very little time to correct her balance, she smacked into the edge of the door. Kara felt woozy as they drug her body back to her cell.
“Agent Danvers, we found a clue as to where they might have taken your sister. When we looked through the data stream, Cadamus’ virtual signature left some bread crumbs. It’s not a lot to go off of but it's a start.”
“Thank you agent, have your best people on it.” Alex entered Cat’s office and saw the concentration of glass behind the couch. She took her chemical scanner and swept the room. "Damn, Kryptonite." Alex kneeled next to a small spot of blood and scanned it. It was Cat’s with a hint of a soil compound. Shit, if Cat’s back Kara is with her. Alex shut down the thought before it took hold of her emotions. "Oh baby sister where are you?"
Alex lowered her head and rubbed the bridge of her nose. The squad of DEO technicians she had assembled tirelessly bagged evidence and went over Catco with a fine toothed comb. Alex was known to be a slave driver but when it came to her sister, she was downright insufferable. After an initial sweep she’d taken the preliminary data back to headquarters, where she continued her reign of terror.
Alex barked yet another order at her subordinates. “Run the analysis again!”
“Ma’am the spectral analysis has been done 5 times. There aren’t any other samples left to test. The small bit of organic material that we could recover from the scene is too degraded now to run any through the mass spec again and it would likely corroborate our previous results.”
“Grhhh.” Alex nearly bit a hole through her lip as she stifled her almost rueful scream. “I was a lab rat for nearly a decade; I know the limitations of spectral analysis. Get me more samples.” She walked closer to the technician and whispered through her rage.
“Ma’am the site has been swept numerous times.”
“Now! What about the data stream?” Alex said loud enough for the entire room to turn their attention to her.
“Agent Danvers, my office now!” J’onn grabbed her attention as he scolded her with his tone. Alex used each step from where she stood to J’onn’s office as a protest and stomped like a child. As soon as Alex closed the door, J'onn started in.
"Mind explaining to me why you’re terrorizing half of the department." He was sitting behind his desk, leaning ever so slightly back in his chair.
“They're not even trying." Alex slammed her palms down on the carved edge of the desk. "My sister is missing, along with three other civilians and no one is doing what it takes to find them!” Her tone was becoming irate.
“That's enough agent. Those are highly trained specialized agents just like yourself; each capable of performing the tasks in front of them. Are you telling me my judgment in picking my agents isn't up to par? Because it sure as hell sounds like it!” J’onn stood putting his full weight on his fingertips as they balanced on the desk and he leaned forward.
“No that's not what I'm saying, Sir but it seems to me like we should be farther along in the investigation than we are.”
“I have no doubt that everyone is doing everything they can to bring your sister home. I think you're too close to this one, you need to step back.”
“Please don't ask me to do that… I'll refuse.”
“Not if it's a direct order you won't. Take some time, go home, get some sleep and cool off. When you report back in the morning at 0800 hours we'll discuss your further involvement in this case.” Before J’onn could finish speaking, Alex was through the door, quickly slamming it behind her. As Alex exited the DEO, she took every bit of rage she had and made sure everyone around her knew it. She slammed her desk drawer and grabbed her keys. She knew somebody else who could help her, and just where to find her.
Alex aggressively sped along the interstate swerving dangerously close to other cars. When she was angry she had a way of blocking out her vision and ignoring the world. Before she knew it she was standing at the front door of National City police officer Maggie Sawyer. It was just past midnight but she rapped on the door 3 times loud enough to wake the dead. Behind the door she heard the unmistakable grumbling of someone who'd been woken up from a deep sleep. She also heard the all too familiar arming of a police-issue Glock. Maggie looked through the peephole and saw it was Alex. She quickly holstered the gun in the elastic of her PJs.
“This better be good, Danvers.” Maggie said groggily and rather pissed off.
“My sister is missing, I need your help.” Alex pleaded. Maggie's face automatically softened when she saw just how desperate Alex was.
“Let me grab my coat.”
Thank you guys so much for all of the comments, kudos and love. I plan on having a new chapter up for this story roughly every week. Hope you're still enjoying it.
Chapter 3: To Be Sure
Three cells down from where Cat struggled not to panic, James and Winn found themselves starring at a blank brick wall. They’d been thrown into an identical cell as the girls when they had arrived. The only difference being they hadn’t had a single visitor. A lone tray was slid through the port of the door twice a day with water and small portions of beige food. The small cot had only been sufficient for one of them, so they took shifts sleeping. James was content with the quiet but Winn found himself skittish with boredom.
“What do you think Cat and Kara are talking about? Being stuck in a holding cell with Cat… damn even Kara's bound to flip out.” Winn laughed to himself, he had picked up the annoying habit roughly 12 hours into their confinement.
“Honestly, being forced to face each other could be great. They have a lot of unresolved issues. It could do them some good.”
“Like what?” Winn turned to face James like an intrigued child.
“Seriously?” James turned to face Winn with a high arched brow. “Ok well first there’s their unresolved feel-“
“Shh... Do you hear that?” Winn placed a finger over James’ mouth as he stared at the ceiling. James’ face contorted as he threw his hands in the air at the sudden shushing. A cool breeze was coming in the vent right above their cell.
“I've been freezing and I couldn’t figure out why, seeing as we are in the desert.”
“How do you know we are in the desert?!”
“I calculated the relative direction of the craft at what I assumed would be its upper speed and drag by the approximate time we were in the craft and it’s a 93% possibility we are in the deserts of the Western US.” Winn smiled, delighted at his own genius.
“Sorry I asked.”
“Here give me a boost, I want to see where the hell that cold air is coming from.”
“You’re in a freaking holding cell what makes you think you're going to be able to do anything about it.”
“Come on man I'm only like 8 inches north of 5 feet here. Give me a boost.” James begrudgingly complied slowly lifting himself up to his full height as Winn begin to crawl up his back like a small monkey.
“Hey! Watch it I have bruises from head to toe at this point. I don't need a broken rib on top of it.” James reprimanded him. Winn continued to climb up the back of James and balanced himself on his shoulders barely reaching the vent. It was secured in place by screws which to Winn's delight were loose. He extracted the screws from both sides moving the panel down. It made a loud noise as it fell, smacking against the floor.
“Damn it Winn, be quiet!”
“James I can't believe it! We’re going to get out of here.” James looked up to see that there was an electrical panel underneath the vent. “Oh my God it's a sequencer! The process sequencer for entry, I cannot believe this. I feel like a superhero. Wow this must be how Kara feels all the time. This is fantastic. Give me 5 minutes and I can totally open the door.” Winn’s fingers flew across the dials trying every script decoder sequence that he knew to gain access to the security system. He had learned so much since he'd started at the DEO, it amazed him. He was briefed on security parameters he had no idea even existed and suddenly it occurred to him just how he could hack this system.
Low beeps came from the paneling as James struggled to keep him on his shoulders. Every time the slightest noise came from the front door, James would jump throwing Winn off balance and away from his work. With three more loud beeps, he heard the steel door make an uncharacteristic click. He had double enforced the cell.
“Dammit!” Winn cursed as loudly as he could without raising his voice.
“I thought you had it.”
“I thought I did too but it must have been a double binary sequence code. Damn alright I'm going to have to try to open up one of these vents. We’re going to have to crawl out of here like this is Mission Impossible. Oh my God I can't believe I get to pretend like I'm Agent Eagle.” Winn’s delight spread over his entire face. He continued to work as a new sequence of clicking unlocked the vent next to his head.
“Oh thank God.”
“I didn't know you were religious.”
“I am when I get to hack into a criminal organization mainframe and get the hell out of here!”
James boosted Winn higher up onto his shoulders and made quick work of opening the venting system right next to the processor. He stood on his tiptoes and reached through the opening to the left of his head. Using all of his strength, he pulled himself up through the vent.
“Give me your hand.” Winn laid flat in the vent shaft and reached his hands down to James. There was a good four feet between them. James tried to push the bed over to stand on but he was still a foot short even if he jumped.
“Even if I could reach you, there’s no way you could lift me. You’ve got to find a way to get the door unlocked from the outside.” James stopped trying to reach Winn’s hand. A small curl erupted on the edge of Winn’s mouth. “Could you be a little less excited about the fact that you are going to be let loose in a criminal agency?” James mocked.
“Yeah, yeah don’t spoil all my fun. Solo Mission Impossible it is.” Winn's face turned an even paler shade of white than it was on a normal day. The sweat from his brow was slowly dripping to his face and getting into his eyes and he hadn’t even begun.
“Wish me luck.”
The ventilation system was the most advanced Winn had ever seen with square tubing jetting off in tributaries in all directions. He sat for a moment with his knees to his chest; he felt a hot breeze ruffle the hair on his neck. He quickly turned and headed toward the breeze. Hoping that the hot air was either coming from a server room or the outside world. He got on his knees and slowly moved through the tubes; all the while trying his best not to make any extra noise. Below him James threw up a small reassurance to his friend.
“Crawl like the wind little man.”
The time passed by slowly. Though there wasn't a clock in the room, the ticking of a second hand could easily have been the monotonous tone that rang through the air and in Cat’s ears. She paced nervously biting at her nails, a habit she had given up in grade school but one that still served her well in times of dire stress. A state of heightened contemplation seemed to accompany the painfully slow seconds since Kara had been ripped from their cell. The moisture in the air seemed to have increased over night and Cat wondered if it had rained. She examined the walls and every dirty corner of her new accommodations. She picked at the fraying fabric of her ripped pants and finally kicked at the bricks that kept her locked away. She could feel the ache of her toes after they made contact with the wall and she slowly turned to sit, taking off her scuffed shoes.
Kara I need you to be ok.
As she rubbed at the quickly forming bruise on her baby toe, the cell door swung open and Kara was deposited in a heap on the floor. Cat immediately crawled to her side, all thoughts of her injured foot lost. Kara began to lift herself up onto her elbows, Cat’s hand firmly around her biceps helping her to her feet. They made their way to the filthy cot and Kara sat holding her arms where the men had held her.
“Kara, are you hurt?” Cat quickly examined her face, taking her chin between her thumb and index finger turning it to see every side of her.
“You’re not fine. You were just dragged out of a holding cell to God knows where for God knows what and then very unceremoniously plopped on the concrete floor. So please, I know you’re a superhero but don’t be a martyr.” Cat released Kara’s chin and sat waiting for her response. Instead Kara began to chuckle slightly. Cat pulled back from her, standing as she crossed her arms.
“I’m sorry.” Kara said as she let the laughter bleed into silence. The air felt like it did when Kara first started working for Cat. Her boss had often frozen her out after a mistake of any magnitude. Little did Kara know this time Cat felt the mistake had been her own. She had just allowed a moment of intimacy, a mere touch to get the better of her.
“For?” Cat’s distance remained intact.
“You were only supposed to be at Catco for a day to check up on us.”
“Yes, I’m failing to see the point of your apology.”
“It’s my fault you’re in here. You had this shiny new life and now you’re stuck in this cell because of me. I ruined your fresh start.” Kara shook her head in disappointment targeted only at herself.
“What makes you think it was shiny?” Cat stated with a matter of fact tone, looking at Kara for the first time since she had stood up.
“I… well. It’s you. Everything you do is a grand statement. I mean you wouldn’t settle for anything less.” Kara was now the one with the questioning tone in her voice.
“If you consider, spending two weeks in my penthouse with very little to occupy my time and then jet setting around the world without an agenda accompanied by whatever bored super star I could find, a grand statement; then by all means it was shiny.” Cat’s voice dropped off as she let the words hurl themselves at Kara. Her face wore a dejected frown and she let her eyes fall to the ground. The normally talkative Kara was left speechless. She curled her toes under the balls of her feet and lifted her knees to her chest. The single cot that occupied their cell was far too small to create distance between them without having to sit on the cold hard ground, so Cat remained standing.
“I missed you.” Kara finally spoke. Cat scoffed at the admission and lifted her shoulders to her ears in an attempt to catch a deeper breath.
“I appreciate the attempt but it’s unnecessary.” Cat walked to the small palm size panel of glass that was located on the steel door. In the past, Cat would have made up an excuse and extracted herself from the intimate setting but steel had a way of confining mere mortals rather well. She’d toed the line with Kara for enough years to know just how much closeness either of them could handle without crossing the line and they were maxed out. A witty comment or a streak of mean spirited behavior was normally enough to alleviate the affectionate atmosphere but they were trapped.
“I’m being sincere.” Kara smile slightly. Cat considered her for a moment and quickly shrugged off the light feeling in her chest and let her shoulders fall.
“I tried to find a new passion, a new reason to push the boundaries and I couldn’t. I spent time on a safari in the Serengeti. I walked for miles along the Great Wall of China. I helped orphans in Morocco. I did more things off my bucket list than ever before. I experienced opulent forms of wealth at the hands of sultans. Yet, every wondrous adventure seemed lacking; I felt hollow. I feel hollow.” Cat swallowed hard.
“If you weren't finding what you were looking for why didn't you come home?”
“Just because it's difficult and the answers aren’t right there in front of you, doesn't mean it's not worth the continued fight.”
“You know that's not what I meant. I meant why didn't you ask your friends for help? Why didn’t you come back to the people who could help you search? Did you think those random movie stars and tabloid Queens had the answers for you?”
Cat didn't respond. She refused to respond when anything she could say would lead to a reaction she didn't want. She didn't respond when she was wrong. Cat ran her fingers through her hair. The natural curls that Kara had always suspected were there had begun to emerge.
“Cat, don't push me away just because you’re going to get an answer you don't want. “ Kara always could read her like a book. She was anything but tentative when she confronted her despite the appearance of a tear in the corner of her eye. Cat swung her head back and swayed her hair to each side throwing away the ‘unwanted’ parts of the conversation with a small physical gesture. “Cat is it that you don't trust me. Because I thought we were past that.” Cat darted her gaze at Kara with severity.
“You want to talk about trust?! Alright, let me tell you a thing or two about trust. Trust isn't easy and it's earned and I earned it from you. I proved that your secrets were safe with me but I had to receive confirmation about you being Supergirl from a fanatic super villain. Yes, of course I knew but I needed you to tell me. I needed you to trust me enough to tell me. So don't ask from me what you're not willing to give.” Cat’s voice was barely below a yell. Kara was dumbfounded. The entire conversation had been about something she didn't even realize was a problem. The room fell silent for another agonizingly slow moment.
“You thought I didn't know.” Cat whisper the words into her chest. Kara watched her intently hoping she had more to say. She started to answer her, only to be tripped up by her own words and coughing them away as if she was clearing her throat, Cat filled the silence instead. “I spend more waking hours with you than anyone else. The time that helped you get to know me, worked both ways. What with Alex parading in and out of my building in her DEO gear, Supergirl magically appearing just as you disappear, really Kara. I watched the way you watched the news with a slight jump in your step, ready to fly off at any moment. You think I don't see you; the real you. I suppose there are plenty of parts that you've kept well-hidden but if we're being honest, you are not very good at secrets. It’s one of your most endearing qualities, honest to a fault.”
Kara tried to answer her again but a very well-practiced glare from Cat stopped her. Cat still had something to get off her chest.
“I was never going to tell your secret. I was never going to put you in jeopardy, giving away your identity puts you in jeopardy. I just wish you would have trusted me. For all the times that you say you can see the good in me, you never saw enough to tell me the most important thing about yourself.” Kara breathed a heavy sigh and let her head finally fall.
“Cat you're not always easy to talk to. You carry so many things on your shoulders, so many things that are not yours to carry. I didn't want to give you that too.” Cat began to pace the short length of the room. She turned with precision and came face-to-face with the wall. She crossed her arms over her chest and managed to pull her shoulders back,turning once again toward Kara.
“How is it that you can see through everything I've built up around me, all the walls that work for everyone are transparent to you. It's very unsettling.” A slight smile threatened to pull at Kara's cheeks. She looked up to see Cat staring directly at her almost like it wasn't a statement but a question that had been nagging at her for 2 years. Cat let her arms fall by her side and with them the facade of the “Queen of all media”. Suddenly she was just Cat. Kara took in the vulnerable image and let it rest in that place in her mind where she locked away all of her favorite things about Cat.
“You once told me that everyone tells you exactly who they are when you meet them. They continue to tell you every day, you just have to know how to listen to the language they speak. Somewhere along the way I became fluent in Cat Grant. You tell me every day who you are and what you believe in but what most people don't realize is you say it through your actions and rarely your words. You use direct and unmatched action to build a story so that it looks the way you want it to but the truth is it's all right there. It wasn't that I didn't trust you; it was that I trusted you too much. If I shared this part of my life with you, well… then there was nowhere to go. Nothing else to hide behind, no more pretending because you see people so fiercely and I didn't know if I could handle it.” Kara’s last words ruffle through the cracks in her voice. It was a breakdown a long time coming and Kara finally wept.
Cat stood against the wall and slowly skated down the cold brick surface; sitting on the ground. She gave Kara the space she craved but never stopped looking at her. For the first time she thought she could finally see what had always been right in front of her that she had missed.
“What did you go looking for? “ Kara whispered through her tears.
Cat sucked in a gasp of air so quickly it made her chest shutter. She made her way to the cot and sat next to Kara. She turned sideways and brought one knee onto the bed and the other dangled next to her. She looked at Kara taking in every facet. She knew the sad twinkle in her eye and how the lines at the corner of them were stained red from the tears she had caused.
“I don’t know.” Cat let the sides of her lips curl up just enough to let Kara know the conversation was over. She knew exactly what she’d gone looking for but now was not the time to share it.
The dive bar was just as seedy as it had ever been. Though it was frequented by Kara and Alex, it seemed especially over run with low lives this time of night. The place was packed with species Alex had never seen before but she was sure they were tucked away in the DEO databases somewhere. Maggie went straight to the bartender and began her inquisition. Alex took a moment to collect herself only just now beginning to breathe normally. She scanned the room for any familiar faces and found a Kartarlek that she had exchanged a few pleasantries with over the last few weeks. She knew he dealt in black market alien goods and could possible also deal in the alien trade itself. Though she doubted he was much more than a street soldier for a much larger king.
“Brian! Hey.” She added as much chipper energy to her voice as she could muster.
“Ms. Danvers, what a pleasure. Where is that delightful sister of yours this evening?” He tapped his fingers on the table next to the empty glasses that were clearly adding up. Alex stopped dead in her tracks at the automatic mention of Kara. Alex’s last bit of fabricated joy drained from her face and she charged at him.
“No, no, Agent. You touch me and all the information I have disappears.”
“You fucking low life!” She screamed. As soon as Maggie heard Alex, she ran to keep her from inevitably ripping the aliens head off. She secured Alex by her biceps and pulled her close enough to whisper in her ear.
“Don’t kill our only lead.” Maggie turned her attention to Brian, who was smugly sitting with his feet on the booth. “Let’s take this outside shall we.”
“And risk the chance of getting the shit kicked out of me by the two of you?! I think not, how about you sit down.” He motioned to the empty side of the booth. “There are lots of witnesses in here.” Alex jerked her arms from Maggie’s grasp and slid into the booth. Maggie looked to the bartender and held up two fingers then pointed them at Brian’s booth. This was a conversation that surely would call for alcohol.
“I don’t have time for your self-amusing banter!” Alex tried to say under her breath but couldn’t remove the anger from her tone. She was leaning over the wooden slab that played as a table. Each booth had a solitary light fixture against the wall situated directly in the middle of them.
“My information has a price, Agent.” He changed his posture as he turned to face her. His once slumped shoulders pulled back and his chin lifted to address her.
“Name it.” The bartender interrupted the tense moment as she set down two beers in front of Maggie who mindlessly placed one next to Alex.
“I have a shipment coming in that requires the utmost discretion and possible protection for me. You act as the hired gun and I’ll spill the information about your sister.” Brian leaned back and crossed his arms, a smug smile embracing his features.
“When’s the delivery?” Alex didn’t break their eye contact in the slightest.
“Two hours at Pier 98. If the transaction goes smoothly, you’ll get you information.”
“What’s the cargo?” Maggie chimed in. Ever the cop, she couldn’t let Alex trade favors for just anything.
“Ah, that is ‘Need to Know’. Take it or leave it.” His complacency with the entire exchange was beginning to infuriate Alex even more. Maggie gave her the look that she knew meant ‘bad idea’ but Alex rarely listened when mad.
“Deal.” Alex stuck her hand out and shook the webbed fingers of the Kartarlek.
“What a primitive custom.” He whipped his hand on his shirt and left Alex to the disappointed sights of Maggie.
Chapter 4: I'd rather you lie
She didn't hear their footsteps or the creak of the door. She barely even felt the hand on her shoulder until it pulled her backwards. Her constant exposure to the Kryptonite in the walls was weakening her beyond her powers. She could feel herself being drug across the cold concrete and the faint noise of Cat making an ungodly scream echoed in the distance. Her eyes weren't focusing and her lungs weren’t grabbing the oxygen from the air that they desperately needed. She struggled to even keep conscious. The hallway seemed endless. She didn't recognize the men holding her up by her shoulders; she could barely recognize them as men at all. The blurred hallway suddenly came to an abrupt halt as she was thrown into a chair in a room she didn't remember entering.
“Hello Kara.” The familiar voice rang in her chest; tightness gripped at her skin. She knew that voice, she knew it well but she never believed that she'd actually hear it again.
“Jeremiah?” Her dry lips parted and muttered his name.
Kara strained her vision, trying to make her blurred world come into focus. Despite the struggle, her want to see Jeremiah’s face was greater than her discomfort. She slowly began to make out the wrinkles on his face. It hit her like a ton of bricks just how long it had been since they had seen each other.
“Turn down the concentration in this room.” Jeremiah spoke to one of the guards that stood cross armed at the entrance. “Kara, take a moment to get a hold of yourself. I know the Kryptonite is taking its toll on you.” He was quickly at her side offering her a small glass of water and rubbing her shoulder.
“I don't understand…what are you doing here? What am I doing here?” Kara was still slumped in her chair but her nausea had begun to subside as the guard entered a sequence into a locked panel on the wall. “Where’s Cat?”
“She's safe. I know you must have a million questions for me right now but we really do need to get moving. You have a choice to make Kara. Do you remember what Mishidh is?”
Kara’s entire being suddenly came into full focus; any weakness that she might have felt in the moment prior was gone. A flash of memories polluted her mind as she recalled exactly what Mishidh was.
“ ‘Course I remember. What does that have to do with why we're here?” She said with more force than she intended. The confusion of the last hours was getting on her last nerve and any pleasantries that the normal Sunny Danvers would have displayed were swirling down the drain. “How do you even know about it? I never mentioned it.”
“I know a great deal more about Kryptonians then I did 10 years ago.” Jeremiah paced the small room knowing that Kara's rage would soon be pointed directly at him. He wished he could explain but there wasn’t time for that. Her trust was monumental now. Kara stood in response and crossed her arms over her chest in full Supergirl fashion, though the power stance looked out of place with her cardigan. She motioned for him to go on.
“I have the data from your pod. There was more in the buffers than the DEO could extract. I was brought here to extract it.” Jeremiah spoke with a slowed pace, letting every work sink in. The atmosphere of the room changed immediately.
“What about Eliza and Alex? How could you hide out here knowing you would be causing them so much pain!” Kara let the last sentence sting with all the venom she intended. She could no longer stand to be stagnant and began to pace the room.
“It’s true I was kidnapped by Cadmus when I went missing in the jungle. I was a prisoner for longer than I’d like to remember. They eventually offered me a deal and I couldn’t refuse it. It wasn't a decision I made lightly, it was an exchange. You, your sister and your mother's lives for mine. That was the deal and that continues to be the deal. I haven’t betrayed you, I protected you.”
“This isn’t protection, it’s imprisonment. Tell me what’s going on!” Kara’s face was a vile shade of red as a solitary vein appeared across her forehead.
“Trust me when I say, it all has a purpose. When I was going through the contents of your pod, I came across a data file about Mishidh. I tried to keep it to myself for as long as possible but all of my files and research are privy to the organization.” Jeremiah finally met her gaze. Kara’s rage sunk to despair as the memories of the precious ceremony came flooding back. When she finally spoke, her voice was horse and noticeably deeper.
“It doesn’t matter what you found, Mishidh doesn’t exist anymore.”
“That part Kara is what you need to brace yourself for. Once Madam Girard found out about the ceremony, she insisted I recreate it. I've spent the greater part of a decade combing through all of the planetary data that was available from your pod and from other alien databases. The more I researched it, the clearer it became that Mishidh was only possible because of Krypton’s environment. I was instructed to recreate an environment as close to Krypton as possible. I've been working on a project labeled New Krypton. It's a biosphere that is as close to Krypton’s environment as is humanly possible.”
“Why would Cadamus want to create another Krypton especially the Krypton I remember; the ecological disaster and dying world that I remember? I loved my home, I loved it very much but it was far from ideal. Why would she want to recreate Mishdih? There’s nothing for her to gain from it.” Kara could feel the tears welling up in her eyes as her breath was choked off at her throat. The very thought of a new Krypton made her heart ache. She'd gone through enough grief fighting the Black Mercy to last a lifetime. She wasn’t sure she would be able to handle it again.
“It came to Madame Girard's attention that your mother had a very vast knowledge of how to eradicate violent alien species, a secret that up until recently she believed was taken to her grave.” Kara's face began to contort; now she understood just why she hadn't been harmed.
“She wants me to get that information for her.”
“Yes. She wants to continue your mother’s work.”
“Never, I won’t help her. My mother’s work was despicable. Besides, this is insane there is no way it'll work. Fine, you've created the environment but I would need to have my parents not to mention a guide to complete the Mishidh. What would make her think I would be willing to help her?” Kara retorted immediately. She split her glances between the guard and Jeremiah as she argued.
“I’m afraid that’s the choice you have to make. Help Madam Girard retrieve the information or… Cat dies. You have until dawn to decide.” Kara’s mouth was agape and her eyes overwhelmed with tears as the same guards who had brought her in drug her out again as Jeremiah quickly closed the door.
Cat watched the men callously drag Kara from their cell yet again. Her growing sense of helplessness cascaded through her mind. The normal semblance of control she exuded was crumbling. The small blonde hairs on her forearms rose as an inkling of danger picked at her brain. She didn't hear it but she felt it. She turned quickly to see a movement in the shadows. There was someone in the cell with her, someone who hadn't been there the moment prior.
“Who the hell are you?” Cat moved back instinctively as she scolded the stranger .A small Asian woman picking at her nails; stared at Cat with a bored expression.
“You may not recognize my face but I know you know my voice.” Cat’s eyes grew wide with the sudden realization that she was in the presence of Madame Girard; her captor and new enemy.
“Where did you take Kara?”
“It's always the same thing with you two. Where's my other half? Are they safe? Why are you doing this?” She mocked. “Kara’s learning a hard truth at the moment.” Cat's face turned hard and she squeezed her knuckles.
“Well then let me do a very predictable thing and ask ‘Why are you here’?”
“I'm here to make a deal or isn't that obvious? Kara is learning why you are truly here right now and she will no doubt do whatever she deems to be the right thing. That most likely will not benefit me. I need a little insurance and you're more level-headed than your superhero.”
“Get on with it. I warned you about your theatrics.” Cat held her ground. Madame Girard lifted her back from its resting place on the wall and slinked forward out of the shadows.
“Kara will soon be in possession of some information that I need. It is your job to make sure she gives it to me. If she doesn’t, she dies. The question is how deep does the river run for your little superhero. I’ll call on you when the time comes.” As Cat began to protest, Madam Girard disappeared into thin air just as she had appeared. Cat slammed her white-knuckled fists against the brick walls and placed her forehead on the cold surface. Her sense of helplessness was spiraling into full-blown panic.
The pitch black night overtook the deserted docks. The smell of salt water and fish guts overwhelmed the air. Two solitary headlights slowly approached Alex, Brian and Maggie. In National City there was no such thing as a quiet hour, it had long since overshadowed Metropolis as the city that never slept. Despite the moniker it was eerily hushed tonight as the lapping of the ocean waves against the docking ports was the only constant. The overwhelming scent would normally make Alex gag but the adrenaline pumping through her system shutdown all but her fight or flight functions. Maggie had been uncharacteristically quiet since deciding the only way of getting out of this alive was if they did it together.
Alex had a small armory in her apartment that she used to outfit them each with rifles, a handgun and various other deadly fixtures. Alex was trained in hand-to-hand combat and much preferred the pure power of a punch but she knew Maggie was adept at firearms. Her face was covered with a black mask and her body was armored head to toe. She had outfitted Maddie with the same equipment. Her rifle was strapped across her back secured in place by her armor. She lived by the motto you can never be over-prepared, especially when it came to aliens.
Brian was almost overwhelmed in his greed and anticipation of the delivery and had been pacing back and forth speaking to himself in a tongue that neither of them understood for the last ten minutes. The green tint of his skin & eyes was amplified, much like the wicked witch’s envy was palpable in her tinted skin.
The headlights came across the parking lot toward them and stopped 100 feet short of their position. The sound of the car’s locks and handles being opened alerted them to a figure as it exited the car. Maggie and Alex stood at attention on either side of Brian. His eyes focused on the entity approaching them. Whoever it was took their strides overly cautious and slow, either that or overly confident. Alex was wishing for cautious. As the shadow approached, it became clear their exchange was with a woman. She was clad entirely in black; a form-fitting dress that held her rather snugly with a slit in the thigh far past the point of decency. The closer she approached, the easier it was to hear the clanking of her four inch heels against the cobblestones. She swayed her hips with each movement, enticing in their unpredictability. Alex grappled with a mixture of fear and attraction as the woman neared.
As soon as her face was visible in the light, it was clear she too was an alien but one of monstrous difference from Brian. Her eyes were a purple that belonged nowhere in nature; so deep and dark but vibrant and royal. Alex could swear they were closer to a mood ring than actual eyes. Her body was slender but clearly muscular. Her height was far beyond that of an average female human. She seemed humanoid for the most part but with a little something extra. Her skin was adorned with a small pattern which Alex could only discern as spots that trickled down the side of her temple and back around her ear. Her features were slender and skeletal having jagged edges on all aspects of her face. Brian proceeded to move towards the woman but not out of earshot or the protection of his hired hands.
The woman began to speak in a foreign tongue that Alex and Maggie’s ears had trouble discerning. If anything the words were spoken like a song with such consistency it seemed that there was never a break in what she was saying. The woman slowly reached into a small slit in the side of her dress and retrieved a little black box lined with slivers of gold. It was covered in engravings too small for Alex to read. Brian fumbled forward and put his hands out thanking her in English and gleefully accepting the small box. The woman suddenly turned her attention from the slimy small alien in front of her and studied his entourage.
“Do you trust me so little that you need to bring a guard with you?” Her English was pristine with the slightest accent that drew out every ‘s’.
“One can never be too careful these days. It's always lovely to see you. I feel you've grown another inch since the last time we spoke.
“Make sure this one doesn't end up in the wrong hands or else you'll end up in the wrong hands.” She demanded. Brian visibly quivered and cleared his throat.
“Absolutely I would never think of angering you.”
“Good, as for your guards, I know what information they seek. It's so blatantly on their minds that anyone could read it.” The woman slowly moved toward Alex, passing Brian. She was so close that Alex could feel her cold breath on her face. “You suspect who might have already taken your sister but you don't know how high it reaches or how far you'll have to go to get her, a whole new world perhaps. Do well to keep yourself in one piece.” Within a moment she vanished. She had moved with such speed that Alex was sure even Kara couldn't have reached her. The car door slammed and its wheels peel out of the parking lot.
She immediately turned to Brian and grabbed him by the throat. “Explain.” He choked and gurgled until she loosened her grip enough for him to speak. Her eyes had gone dead with a solitary concern. Maggie reached out to place a hand on her shoulder, a light reminder that dead men can’t answer questions.
“She’s a prophetic telepath. “ He managed to squeak out before Alex dropped him to the ground. She stepped on his hand and held him in place, clearly waiting for a better explanation. “She can read minds to a degree and give answers to the future, vague ones but answers none the less.”
“Is that why you brought me here? To have her give me vague information…shitty information!!”
“No, No! AHH.” He screamed out as she put more of her weight on his hand. “I have more information! There’s a place called Cadamus, run by the government. It’s so far underground that no one knows where it is."
“She’s at Cadamus!” Alex began to hyperventilate, letting the weight of how dire the situation was finally fill her chest. She let Brian’s hand go and he brought it to his chest protectively. Maggie grabbed him by the arm before he could run.
“How do we find it?” Maggie let the pure steel of rage back her tone. She was more calculating in her gaze then Alex had been. Brian knew a life or death question when he heard it.
“I don’t know but I know someone who does…William McCallister.” Brian tried to breathe through the pain as she held his arm behind his back just inches from breaking it.
“As in majority leader, Senator McCallister?” Maggie pressed for more information. He nodded frantically. Maggie released him and he ran for dear life.
Alex sat on the cold ground trying to calm her breathing, legs crossed and brought up to her chest. She placed her head on her knees. Maggie’s mind raced trying to figure out just how they could find a government facility that was purposefully hiden; especially when the only one who held the information was never going to talk.
Alex stood suddenly; having gotten her facilities in check. She threw the kickstand of her motorcycle back and turned it over.
“Alex what are you doing? Don't be irrational about this. You have one shot at this and he isn't just any one. He is a US senator and a famous one at that.” Alex looked back at her as she began to zip up her jacket and put on her helmet. “Alex what are you going to do?”
“I'm going to find my sister and I know exactly who has the information I need.”
“This goes beyond a federal offense, this goes into treason territory. They will kill you Alex. There is no good reason and no explanation that will ever get you out of this. You cross that line and it's over.”
“I’ve made up my mind, it's you who as to decide if you're helping me or not.”
“I'm a cop Alex, I can't do this; even knowing about it means I have to report it.”
“There's no right and wrong here Maggie. No black and white. They will kill my sister. You don't know what they do to people. I know what the consequences are.”
“No I really don't think you do. I think you're seeing red and I think all you know is that somebody you love is in trouble and you would do anything and everything to find her. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you!”
“If you can’t help me then I'm wasting precious time. At least give me a head start? I won't promise I won’t kill him if that's what you're saying but I will get the information that I need.”
Maggie was frozen in place. In her hesitation, Alex started her motorcycle and sped off into the distance; leaving Maggie alone with a monumental phone call to make.
Chapter 5: Guide Me...If You Can
As soon as Kara was outside of the conference room, she felt the full force of the Kryptonite again. The small reprieve had made the resurgence worse; her veins were popping out of her skin with a sickly green hue. She fought the inevitable on coming headache and tried to see where she was being taken. The guards had taken a turn down a different hallway, one leading away from her cell. She wasn’t sure why but she desperately wanted to be near Cat; somehow she knew she could make this nightmare better. With each twist and turn, it became more and more clear just what a labyrinth the compound was. A staircase winding in a spiral came into view to her left. It wound up along a large sphere easily the size of her entire apartment complex. The guards hurried pace came to an abrupt halt.
“Climb.” One of them instructed.
For the first time, Kara noticed the other people scurrying around her and the sphere. Some were hooked up to harnesses connected to the large sphere. They resembled window cleaners dangling from high rises while others compared notes on clip boards and measured the immense structure. A man to her right wore a welding mask as small orange sparks escaped the metal he was working on. She tentatively moved one foot in front of the other and held tightly to the small frail railing connected to the stairs. She began to count as she lifted each foot. One, two… Eighty-nine, ninety, ninety-one. Her legs began to ache. Under normal circumstances she could have easily went up thousands of stairs without breaking a sweat but her legs were as weak as a humans now. The staircase went on for stories above her head. Where they could possibly lead, she wasn’t sure.
“Stop.” The guard commanded again. “Open the hatch.” Kara looked to her left and saw a small grey hatch along the outside of the sphere. She unlocked the hinge and with a loud creak and more effort that she thought would be necessary, she swung the door open.
“Rao…” She gasped. A thick panel of glass covered the entire opening underneath the hatch. A deep red reflected back at her. Through the small portable, stretched out as far as she could see were the deserts of Krypton. She let her fingers dance over the glass and trace the outlines of the mountains in the distance. She could see the out skirts of her hometown nestled among them. Her knees quickly gave out below her and she sat on the steps with her forehead pressed against the hot exterior of the sphere. Her tears burned when they meet the trails her previous ones had left.
“Get up!” The guard screamed. Kara didn’t respond; she couldn’t hear them over the pounding of her heart. The guards rushed up the stairs and pulled at her arms, ripping the sleeves of her cardigan as they ushered her to her feet. She didn’t feel them drag her along a familiar path. She didn’t feel much of anything. She was back in her cell, face against the smooth ground before she could get enough of her bearings to fathom what she’d seen.
The air in the ventilation shaft was becoming stifling as Winn continued to climb, perspiration dripping down his forehead. Having already found a rather safe route from the control center to his cell; he stopped to take a breather. Only a moment into resting, a muffled voice found his ears, one that carried an undeniable amount of anger in it. Careful not to draw attention to himself, he slowly crept toward the voice. The closer he edged, the more it became apparent that there were two voices; a female and a male. He laid flat along the vent and peered over the edge through the slits, careful not to create a shadow in the room below.
“I gave her all the information you wanted me too but the sites not ready yet I need at least a week.” The male speaking looked vaguely familiar to Winn, though he couldn’t place from where.
“I've given you ten years what the hell difference will a week make.”
“The ritual that we're about to put her through has to be executed precisely and the data still needs to be gone through with a fine-tooth comb. There are genetic proponents to it as well as environmental.” Jeremiah pleaded his case. The disgruntled woman finally turned to face him.
“You have six hours otherwise I'll send her in there, consequences be damned. How did she take the news?”
“She's confused and weary as to why you want her to do this. She doesn't trust you and she is hesitant with me. It's been too long.”
“Well I suggest she never finds out where your true loyalties lie or else it'll be your head on the chopping block and not Cat’s.” Winn shot up narrowly missing the back of the ventilation shaft with his head. He quickly crawled back toward his cell trying to avoid making any extra noise.
When he had surveyed the compound earlier, he had discovered each room had an independent camera system. He managed to disabled the one in his cell and replaced the live feed with a looped 30 minute recording of him and James in the cell. He was now free to come and go as he pleased. He slithered through the open air vent and almost fell directly on top of James.
“We have to find Kara! Now!” He wheezed as his lungs gulped up air from the exertion of crawling through the vents.
It was easy enough to find the Senator’s address. She still had a few government connections that were willing to help her out. Alex waited for the cover of night having staked out the home the morning prior. She'd found a secluded row of bushes two doors down from the compound, and it was certainly a compound, and she hid. The lavish home was a white three story southern style mansion with columns lining the front entrance; as well as a Secret Service detail that was parked at the front and back doors. The security gate around the outside was at least ten feet tall made up of iron bars, each with a spear head at the top.
Alex had come upon the blueprints for the mansion after calling in quite a few favors to the local county clerk’s office. There was a servant's entrance just to the south of the main dining room that had been put in in the early 20s when the building had been constructed. It was a prohibition tunnel no doubt. She knew that the entrance was most likely guarded but she could take on one Secret Service agent with no problem. After all she was trained by the same government they were; with an added bonus of alien tactics training under her belt.
Waiting in the bushes was starting to take its toll on her, she hadn't stopped to sleep or eat for what was going on 24 hours. It seemed that the Senator’s life was schedule down to the minute. Every 15 minutes, the guards would change posts; never leaving an entrance unguarded for more than 10 seconds. Surveillance cameras lined the walls as well as motion detectors that were in place at every entrance; he was a high-ranking official after all.
McAllister’s politics toward aliens had put him on top of Alex’ watch list many years prior. He was never quite as overt as others but he always had a scheming smile that she found untrustworthy. It was just past 4 a.m. and the 4:02 shift was about to take place. Alex slowly moved towards the other side of the compound using each shift change to inch closer and closer to the main house.
The final movement would take place at 4:17am. She made her way towards the servant’s entrance. It had a dilapidated wood door with an iron shackle as a knob; iron fixtures adorning the edges. She assumed the outside was for mere decoration and there was a higher-tech door behind it. The man guarding the door wasn't more than 5’10 and a buck ninety. Alex had taken on aliens three times his size successfully. She waited until he was about to turn around and take his next post. She clocked him in the back of the head with her elbow. While she had quite a few firearms on her, she always preferred doing things with her hands.
The agent didn't quite go down with the first blow and Alex plastered him with a roundhouse kick straight to the face. They created quite the commotion as he began to fight back. She had very little time to get inside and he was helping tick the seconds away. To her amusement the guard had the key right on his belt. She flung herself over his back as he groaned at a direct hit to his abdomen and snatched his keys in the process. He toppled over losing consciousness as she served a final kick to his head. She made quick work of getting past both doors.
Alex sprinted through the underground passage which was lined in brick from floor to ceiling, all clearly from the early 20th century. She continued to sprint down the corridor and creaked open the door, surprised to see it unmanned. She went straight for the master suite. A small set of stairs lead to the second landing. She hurried up them without a single creaky stair giving her away. She could feel the rising energy in the air and her pulse raced. She knew the agent she had left unconscious would be greeted by his replacement within seconds and she would need to be long gone by the time they were alerted.
According to the blue prints the master suite was on the west side of the house, facing the back yard. She found the door and light as a feather slinked through it. It was easy enough to creep up to the bedside and grab the sleeping Senator. She had planned to interrogate him on the premise but her fight with the Secret Service agent had changed her plans dramatically. She quickly put him in a choke-hold, knowing it would take him five seconds to lose consciousness. He was a large man and the house being surrounded by guards would make moving his unconscious body more difficult.
As Alex held the struggling man, she heard the distinct scream of his wife in the background having just exited the bathroom to the master bedroom. Having taken all possible precautions, Alex’s identity including her gender we're covered under piles of Kevlar and black clothing. Just as she turned her head to see the screaming wife, the Senator lost consciousness. His wife quickly barricades herself in the bathroom. Alex flung him over her back making her way down to the service entrance that she had come through. Knowing full well that it was probably swarming with agents by now, it was still a better escape than the front door.
Her breathing became heavy as the full weight of the man came down on her shoulders. Perspiration dripped down her forehead and she picked up the pace to a slow run; struggling with the extra weight. She would have to thank Kara for their ‘Monster Truck’ tire work out when she found her. Two more agents where in the servants entrance as she approached. She made easy work of the first one at the beginning of the tunnel, using the extra weight of the unconscious Senator to smack the agent into the back wall. She twirled and smacked the other agent down just long enough to get past him and into the corridor. It was just as dark as the first time she passed through it but the added physical exertion was making it difficult for her to anticipate the next attack. The lactic acid in her muscles built up so strongly that each step was painful. She had been running on fumes for nearly a day and she was reaching her breaking point.
Kara woke to the soft humming of a song she didn’t recognize. Her head ached beyond belief and she had somehow made it from the icy floor to the cot. She tried to focus her eyes but found nothing but fog. She wrestled with the thin blanket that had been wrapped around her.
“It’s not a monster; there’s no need to fight it.” Cat whispered from where she stood near the edge of the room. If Kara had been able to make out her features she would have seen a drawn frown.
Cat had always become rather contemplative when she had too much time to think and when you're locked in a cell in an impossible situation thinking was your only escape. In the past on occasion during these moments of extended contemplation, Cat would tell Kara stories about her life. Though they were few and far between they were still precious. One of Cat’s eyebrows arched as she chewed on the left corner of her lip staring off into space. This was a telltale sign that she had something on her mind that she wanted to share.
“It might be easier if you just tell me what’s going on rather than biting a hole through your lip.” Kara groggily said through her parched throat; her head turned away from Cat.
“You can’t even see me, how can you tell I’m biting my lip? What makes you think there's something on my mind?”
“You have a ‘tell’.”
“I have a ‘tell’? Well, feel free to share with the class.” Cat gestured to the empty room. Kara hesitated for a moment and squished her eyes together biting her bottom lip much like Cat just had. “Go ahead; don't be afraid not much I can do to you in here.”
“Well anytime you start to let your thoughts run wild or you have something you want to say, your face makes this very specific squint accompanied by a very audible sigh. It's cute really like there's so much going on in your head that you've got to squish your face together to keep it in.” Kara chuckled at the thought of Cat trying to keep thoughts from floating outside of her head.
“Oh well…yes. In fact my favorite time was when you first told me about Adam, I thought your eyebrows were going to squish so far down they would touch your nose.”
While Kara had been speaking, Cat had been staring off at the little bit of light that was given off by the solitary bulb that hung from the center of the room. It seemed like Kara was trying to recall everything they’d ever shared all at once. Kara had continued to give her favorite examples of ‘squishy faced Cat’ and giggled to herself as each image returned to her mind. She even tried to recreate the face that Cat made as she slowly pulled herself to a sitting position. As Kara's face began to contort, Cat couldn't help herself. She let out the smallest of laughs that stopped Kara dead in her tracks. Her entire focus turned to the mogul, smiling so genuinely at the glimpse of Cat happy that anyone else would think she was looking at a miracle.
“You really do pay attention to what I say and do, don't you?” Cat said with slight caution.
“I, well… you just as much as the next person.” Kara blushed.
“No it's more than that. You see the little things everybody else manages to overlook. The only question I have or more like the only answer I have yet to figure out is why.” Cat came to sit on the edge of the cot, crossed her legs and pivoted her body towards Kara. She let her neck sink back into her shoulders and put her weight into her hands, each placed on either side of her. Knowing her penchant for stepping back, Cat used the lack of space between them to draw the truth from an already nervous Kara.
“I, uh, I don't know what you're asking.”
“Don't play daft it's not an attractive look.” Cat paused and watched Kara's face fall. “Alright, don't give me ‘Stormy Danvers’ I don't think I can handle it right now." Cat slumped and scooted back to the wall, staring up at their solitary light again. “I have a more pressing question. Where did they take you earlier?”
Kara’s vision had begun to come into better focus as she looked at the reddened cheeks of her boss. Kara lifted her shoulders as she sucked in air; meaning to calm herself but instead eliciting worry in Cat.
“They mean to have me complete Mishidh” .The word slipped from her tongue like a forgotten song, delicate, intricate and precise. She watched as Cat’s face became inquisitive. “It’s a sacred ceremony that consists of a memory transfer. It can only be done between members of the same bloodline. It’s meant to keep all of the ancestral memories and information intact and passed down to the next generation.” Kara faltered as her voice cracked. “I’m old enough now to have received it, if I were still on Krypton. It's something I regret I never got to share with my mother and father.” Kara’s lips trembled as she let the last words slip out of her mouth. Cat could see the agony on her face that the gravity of her loss often brought to her eyes. All parties were silent as Kara reigned in her emotions.
“Madame Girard wants-“ Kara was interrupted by a knock on the cell, the oddity of asking for entry into a cell was plastered over both of their faces. Before either of them could move, Jeremiah let himself in.
“Unfortunately Kara your time to decide is up.” Jeremiah stood far enough back from them that the shadows covered his face.
“You never fully explained how this is even possible.” Kara coldly remarked.
“We don’t have time for that.”
“Make time.” Cat stood and stated on Kara’s behalf. Jeremiah sighed and made eye contact with the other occupant of the cell for the first time. Kara stood, though shaky on her legs and moved toward Jeremiah forcing him to continue.
“Your pod brought biological data with it. It stored DNA from your mother and your father in case you should ever come down with an ailment that would require access to biological information. That data was turned into a holomatrix with a DNA signature.”
“Are you saying that there's a clone of my mother and father here?!” Kara paced the small cell, smacking her fists against the wall as she let out an angry roar. Cat sat again with her spine stick straight following Kara’s every movement but never interjecting. Jeremiah gave her the comfort of silence for a moment and continued.
“Not quite that crude more like holograms but in a manner of speaking yes.”
“Fine let's put aside the fact that you seem to have gotten rid of most of the variables. I don't have a guide; it can’t be done without one.” Kara had let a small ounce of hope begin to creep into her system at the thought of being able to complete her Mishidh but as this singular realization came to her that hope came crashing down .
“You have one.” Jeremiah nodded toward Cat as he stepped into the light. Kara’s face turned a sickly shade of white. “What’s your choice?”
The room was suddenly smaller, a fraction of the already tiny space that it was as Kara’s mind tunneled. She could hear the muffled tones of Jeremiah’s voice but none of his words were clear. She felt Cat’s presence next to her but dared not reach out. Her father had explained in great detail the honor and intimacy of being someone’s guide. His low warm voice rang in her ears now decades later.
“Kara Zor-el, member of the noble House of El, the day will come where you too will be given the gift of Mishidh. It will be a journey you will have to weather with great strength. If you should find yourself lost among your ancestors you will have a guide to light the way home.”
“Who will be my guide? Have I met them before?” Kara’s adolescent voice was shocking to her. She watched the memory play out before her, invisible in the room she once called home. Her father was as regal as she had ever seen him, the white patches that would eventually litter his hair nowhere to be found.
“I cannot answer that question for you. You will in time answer it for yourself. You may be startled by what you discover but know that shovuh is never wrong.”
“Excuse me.” Cat’s words pulled Kara from her memories. “What exactly is a guide?” Her words painted in irritation.
Kara’s face was still shock white as she let her surroundings come into focus. She quickly shared a glance with Jeremiah, cautioning him not to answer. Kara ignored her question as well, something that normally would have caused her to fear for her life. She turned her attention to Jeremiah once more. “How do you know that she’s my guide?”
“What do you remember from the attack at Catco?”
“I passed out soon after your men came in the windows.” Kara let a flare of anger creep into her tone.
“Madam Girard’s men,” he emphasized, “had portable scanning devices. They were collecting data from those they knew were close to you, to see if any one might be a candidate.” For the first time, Cat let her impatience show.
“I rarely have to repeat myself. Kara, you know how it angers me. So if one of you would be so kind as to fill me in. What is a guide and what does it have to do with me?” Cat finally stood and once again dominated the room. Jeremiah looked from Kara to Cat, asking permission to share the very delicate information that he was about to give her.
“It’s not important.” Kara quickly interceded.
“The hell it isn’t.” Cat gave up no ground as she pressed her for the information. Kara let her head fall dejected and began to whisper.
“I’ve done everything you’ve ever asked me to do without complaint or wavering. I need you to understand. I don’t have an explanation. I need you to trust me. I will tell you, but not yet. Please.” Kara lifted her head and searched Cat’s eyes. The anger that she saw reflected back at her a moment prior melted. Cat suddenly realized the fear that Kara held just in asking a simple favor. It was selfish but Cat used Kara’s pleading glance to study her features. She rarely allowed herself a moment to truly see Kara. She took a step back and dropped her arms from her chest.
“Of course,” she answered in her own low tone. Jeremiah took the silent moment between them to explain the parameters of their next step and soon left them to their cell as he closed the heavy metal door behind him.
As Winn continued to explore the vents, he found himself in the one just above Kara’s cell. He listened studiously as Jeremiah explained the situation to Kara and Cat. If it hadn’t been such dire circumstances, he would have teased Kara for what he'd seen between her and Cat. As she pleaded for understanding he started to see what James had been talking about. He shook the thought from his head; he had a more pressing matter at hand.
During Winn’s hacker adventures over the last few hours, he had found out just how much Kryptonite lined the walls. It was enough to dampen almost all of Kara’s powers leaving only a slightly elevated hearing ability still intact. He positioned himself just above the cell and whispered at a level that he knew the cameras couldn't pick up but Kara could. He could barely even hear himself as he mouthed the words with almost no air behind them at all.
“Kara, it's Winn. Can you hear me?” Kara’s eyes went wide at the sudden sound of his voice. “If you can, pretend you're talking to Cat and keep your eyes on her. Answer me without saying anything out of the ordinary.” Winn gulped hoping this wasn’t a lost cause. She did exactly as he said and looked straight at Cat; nodding her head in recognition.
“I'm in the ventilation ducts right above you. If I keep my voice to this decibel, the camera’s audio detection can’t pick it up.” She shot only her eyes up to the vent without moving the position of her head. Cat looked at her with such confusion she resembled her name sake.
“I understand.” Kara was looking at Cat now. She quickly brought her into an embrace, positioning her mouth devilishly close to Cat’s ear. “Follow my lead.” She disentangled herself from Cat’s arms and continued to look her directly in the eye. Cat nodded suspiciously. “I’m glad you’re safe.” Kara’s gaze was directed at Cat but her words were meant for Winn.
“Awe thanks buddy. Listen,Kara I just overheard something. Jeremiah is not on your side or that creepy-ass old lady that he was talking to, more importantly they're going to kill Cat no matter what you do.” Tears automatically sprung to Kara’s eyes as she listened in detail to what Winn had overheard. The more she heard the closer she inched towards Cat. She instinctively took her hand in her own and squeezed it for the strength that she no longer possessed. Cat continued to look on as events she didn’t understand unfolded over Kara’s expression.
“I’ll keep us safe but with Kryptonite in the walls there’s not much I can do. I have to go to New Krypton. The ceremony will take at least 3 days and you’ll be with me every step of the way. I'll protect you.” Kara’s words sounded like a concession to the cameras but what she didn’t say told Winn everything he needed to know and he was now on the clock. Cat gripped Kara’s hand a little tighter at hearing her promise. She stared at Kara and quietly said.
“Don't tell me, I don't want to know,” and hugged her.
Winn made his way back down the ventilation system to his cell. Three days to overthrow an evil anti-alien organization from a jail cell…piece of cake. Winn frowned at the prospect and began to device a new plan.
The final agent lunged for Alex. She used the momentum of her body weight along with the Senator’s to throw him off balance and pin him against the opposite side of the tunnel. With the last bit of strength she had left, she made her way through the outside door and over to where she had hidden her motorcycle. She positioned the Senator in front of her and sped off into the night with numerous agents following her on foot; none having yet found a vehicle. She was sure that they would tail her as soon as they could. She had already chosen a spot to interrogate him not far from the crime scene. It suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks that she had in fact turned a US Senator’s home into a crime scene.
She had promised to uphold the law and protect the citizens of Earth from invaders. She never thought the invader would be her. But with the weight of a still unconscious man leaning on her chest and a skittish motorcycle underfoot, she pushed the feelings down within herself. The abandoned warehouse she planned to use was less than 10 miles from the Senator’s home. It was a run-of-the-mill clandestine criminal activities location. Alex had made an alien black market drug bust there six months prior and knew that it was still unoccupied. The location had served as such a great front for dark dealing because of its hidden location. A marsh separated it from the rest of civilization.
The Senator woke with his hands and feet securely bound to a chair. His head was pounding as if it was going to explode from the inside out; his eyes heavy. He had no memory of how he had gotten there but the memory of a black figure abducting him in the night and the screams of his wife came crashing down on him.
“I assume you know how stupid this is. I'm a government official, you might as well have killed a cop with what they're going to give you for abducting me.” He assaulted Alex with his confidence. She was standing in the shadows as he spoke having not removed her disguise. She had a computer simulated voice box ready for just this moment. With her new voice, she quickly welcomed the Senator to what could easily be his final resting place.
“That's awfully smug for a dead man.” The sinister words escaped her mouth before she realized the implications. The more fear he had the better. Alex was toeing the line between complete insanity and reality. Her reckless actions could no longer be controlled.
“I highly doubt you'll kill me. If you were going to you would have done so already.”
Alex ran at him full speed and smacked him so hard across the cheek that it flung his chair backwards, automatically drawing blood from a gash on his lip. He fell with a hard thump, the reverberation from his chair smacking against the floor echoed through the room like thunder. That was all it took to silence the Senator.
“I haven't made any demands of you, what makes you think I want you dead just yet.” The Senator replied with silence.
“Quick study, good. I don't have time for anything else. Let’s stop beating around the bush; I need to know the whereabouts of Cadamus.” The Senator’s confidence returned as the blood from his lip trickle down his chin and on to his sleeping shirt. He smiled.
“Is that all this is about. Well then, where would the government hide a facility to test aliens? Perhaps somewhere they’d already found one. I bet you already know the answer to that and I've said all I need to say because at this point I'd rather die than help you.” Alex took one more jab at him, punching him square in the ribs as he caved in on himself. She left the Senator there to sit in agony.
Alex ran from the warehouse pushing through its heavy metal doors. She stopped behind the bushes a few meters from the building; her back against a frail tree. She wasn't sure when she had started crying but she had left McAlister with tears streaming down her face. The severity of her actions hit her as soon as she crumbled onto the tree. She had crossed the line, not one drawn in the sand or one made of chalk for hopscotch but the soul crippling life ruining type of line; a line that you can never undo. She knew it wouldn't be long before the Secret Service would hunt her down. God knows Maggie had probably let her conscience win and had called the DEO already. She had gotten the information she needed but that gave her little comfort. Erasing the picture of his terrified wife would be impossible. Her only option now was to use the information and head to the desert. Surprise was still on her side but she had very little time. She jumped back onto her motorcycle. She had to talk to the last person who could help her before it was too late. Although she figured it probably already was.
She pulled her phone from her pocket and hit the second speed dial; as soon as the line connected she knew she had less than 30 seconds to talk before they would have her location. It would be the last call she would make before ditching her personal cell. J’onn picked up on the 3rd ring.
“Alex, where the hell are you? Everything I'm getting from intelligence better be a lie. I sent you on vacation and I get treason notices, start talking.”
“J’onn I don't have very long. I need you to listen carefully, Cadmus has them. They're going to kill her if we don't get there in time; if they're not already dead. I know where Cadamus is, I can explain the rest later. I need you and a team to meet me in the desert, at the spot where it all began. I don't care what you do to me after that we just have to save Kara.” She didn’t wait for his reply; she had a few mere seconds before the trace was complete. She ripped the battery from the back of her phone and let the speeding highway do away with it.
Jeremiah stood before the massive cargo doors that housed New Krypton. He methodically typed in the access code and stopped one key stroke before the sequence was complete. He turned to face Kara giving her the most sympathy that he could muster.
“This is it. The holding unit is rather immense and the holographic projections as well as the environmental factors have already been input. It will seem as if Krypton is as large as an actual planet. However the effects of the red sun with not be in affect nor will the habitat be lined with the same amount of Kryptonite as the base to ensure the transfer takes. You might experience the resurgence of some of your powers; mainly flight. I'm going to place you on the outskirts of the city. It'll be a short walk but it’ll give you a moment to get your bearings.” Jeremiah didn’t turn to see just how grave Kara’s face was. She inhaled sharply, the fear tingling at the edges of her shoulders.
“There will be many people in the city, most of whom are holograms. However, very few are actually made of the flesh components that were extracted from your pod. The version of your mother will be waiting for you at your childhood home. She'll have the most information and be able to guide you through the next several days. I don’t have to tell you that you are being monitored. There's a limited feed of what happens in New Krypton that’s directed back to Madam Girard. Most of what you do will be known. The only place that is free of any surveillance is the transfer room. It was the only way that we could actually make the transfer work.”
Kara had heard very little of what he was saying .The very thought of facing it all over again was taking its toll; her face was now seemingly permanently tear-stained. It had all been too much information to process at once. The only lingering bit of hope she had lie in the fact that she would be able to show Cat her home and have her experience a part of her life that only a very numbered few knew about. Even her cousin was oblivious to the feel of Kryptonian air and the smell of a metal city, the ambiance of it all. The rest of it however, was an avalanche she wasn't prepared for. Cat put her hand on Kara’s shoulder and gently squeezed. Jeremiah turned back to the command screen and continued inputting the activation sequence.
“Wait, if my mother has flesh components does that mean that…” Kara’s eyes glistened with implication of having a piece of her mother to keep forever.
“No. She can't survive outside of the environment. She's much like the AI that you've already interacted with. The only difference being you’ll be able to physically touch this version of Alura.” Kara bit back a new wave of tears and made the teeth marks in her lip deeper. She nodded and held out her hand for Cat’s. Jeremiah typed the final command into the computer and the bay doors opened with a deep metal clang.
“You'll be in the module for close to three days to complete the transfer. As soon as the memories have been captured, we will bring you out. If you deviate from the plan, Madame Girard will make good on her threats. There’s no easy way to say this but her life is in your hands.”
Kara refused to acknowledge that very painful reality and instead turned her full attention to the task that lay before her. The desert air smacked her forcefully in the face and stole what little breath she had been holding onto. Kara gripped Cat's hand and made her way further into the desert as the metal doors locked behind her leaving a weary Jeremiah with the consequences of his decisions.
Cat winced at the sudden temperature change and tightened her grip on Kara. Each exchanged a glance as they took the first step into Kara’s world. The first thing that drew Kara’s attention was the way her body felt against Krypton’s gravity. She could never quite explain how it was different than Earth's. It pulled at her bones differently and settled her into the ground. Most of all it settled into her heart differently. The smells were exactly as she remembered them; the fragrant air transported her into the safety she felt as a child.
Kara continued to walk into the desert with Cat close behind. Suddenly heated anger raged through her veins the further she walked and she huffed along toward the city. She had barely taken notice of her surroundings.
“Kara slow down, you’re practically dragging me.” Cat stopped and pulled her hand from the Kryptonians. Kara’s face fell immediately and her bottom lip began to quiver as she saw Cat rub her wrist in pain.
“I'm sorry I just keep thinking about the last 10 years and how much it hurt Alex not to have her dad. I don’t understand how he could do this.”
“People do ridiculous things all the time for reasons that they try to rationalize but can’t. He thought he was protecting his loved ones. Parents are especially guilty of this.” Cat let the words fill the desert air. Kara stopped dead in her tracks. It wasn't the same as the Black Mercy. It didn't have the same mental aspect to it. Her senses were filled with familiarity. This Krypton was almost real, this one she could touch. This Krypton she could fully experience but she wept instead.
Kara felt a subtle presence beside her and soon Cat’s hand was on her back as she cried. She didn't think she'd have to face it a third time. She never thought she'd have to face it at all. It was much too overwhelming for her senses and she crumpled on the ground like a small flower. For the first time she saw the red shade of the Kryptonian sand below her feet. She kneeled and let the small grains and pebbles fall between her fingers. She could feel the heat that Krypton’s sun had trapped in the granules. She wasn't sure how long she'd been sitting there but soon she found herself drawing Kryptonese into the sand; small circles and staggering lines spelling ‘little one I love you’. She suddenly sprawled out and began to roll in the sand effectively making a sand angel. Cat couldn’t help herself and laughed at the scene of Kara acting more like a child than usual.
Kara quickly bounded back up to her feet and drug Cat down into the sand with her. The pant suit that she had no doubt paid thousands for was well past ruined and attracted handfuls of sand as she lay next to Kara.
“Jeremiah said it was a short walk to the house. I’d like to stay and watch the sunset; I haven’t seen the stars from Krypton’s skies since I was a child.”
“Of course.” Cat turned on her side and watched as Kara searched the sky.
“When I was little my father would sit in the sand with me and tell me stories of all of the constellations. He knew them back and forth. Every single one had a story so unique and perfect, I couldn’t get enough.”
“Tell me one of them.” Cat asked. Kara turned a questioning eye toward her and tilted her head.
“Alright, if it were dark, there would be a constellation just to the left of you. As the story goes, a lonely soul got lost on their way home and travelled thousands of light years to find a place to land. She was among a foreign land with foreign customs. She ended up meeting the love of her life on this strange new planet. She soon realized that the home she had been looking for all along was in the eyes of her love.” Kara took a slow breath and pressed on. “When my father would tell it he would tell of the hardships she faced in space and the safety and warmth of her loves eyes. He made it sound like a grand tale. I can’t do it justice.”
“It’s lovely.” The sun began to rapidly set as Cat looked on at the sky. It was beyond anything she had ever experience. It was a single fluid motion that took only a few moments to complete and they were suddenly encapsulated in darkness. The orange hue of the sky was replaced by a wondrous array of stars, far thicker than those that crowded Earth’s night sky. Kara gently lifted Cat’s hand and used her pointer finger to trace the outline of the constellation that belonged to her story and her reason for being in New Kryton.
“Mishidh” Kara let her native tongue flow freely from her mouth; she repeated it again and continued to trace the stars with Cat’s hand. “You’ll hear it many times before we are allowed to go home.”
“Mish—I—“ Cat tried to repeat the Kryptonian word but failed miserably. She shook her head and sighed, always the perfectionist. “What does it mean?”
“Paradise.” Kara brought Cat’s hand back to her and placed it on her chest, releasing her grip as she did. In the past on the rare occasion when Kara had held Cat’s gaze, she would shy away after a moment. Normally she was far too overwhelmed to continue but tonight there was a spark that held her attention; a softness emerged behind her emerald eyes that Kara had never noticed even in their most personal moments. Kara wanted to reach out and push the stray hair from her cheek and move closer to see just how green her eyes really were. Her hand faltered by her side and she quickly scrambled to her feet.
“We should get to the house. We have to prepare for the ceremony.” She cleared her throat and put a few feet in between them.
“Yes I suppose we should. Lead the way Supergirl.” Cat nodded as Kara walked toward her lost city.
Thank you for reading! I appreciate every one of you and your kudos and comments. Have a wonderful weekend and Merry Christmas!
Chapter 7: Truth
Thank you for continuing to read this labor of love. Enjoy!
The sand whipped through the air, pelting them both in the face. It was a slow trudge to the city and by no means little, as Jeremiah had explained it. Despite the lengthy excursion, Kara was mesmerized by her surroundings. Even through the darkness she could see the small creatures native to Krypton that scurried under rocks and the odd plant. The rock formations jutted out of the land like spheres and triangles balanced between immense canyons. She knew it wasn’t real, but what made something truly real she couldn’t pinpoint in that moment. Cat had begun to complain under her breath. The moment between them had faded and with it her awe at the crimson landscape. She complained that the conditions that a woman of her stature should have to deal with even when in the custody of a vigilante organization had been exceeded. Kara tried to tune her out but found herself more often than not wanting to laugh at the implausible situation they had found themselves in.
“If it’s so terrible, I can carry you.” Kara said without a backwards glance and more than a little sarcasm.
“Don’t be ridiculous, I’m about to meet your family. The last thing I need is to show up piggy backed upon their daughter. It’ll be uncomfortable as it is. I don’t wish to add to it.” Kara stopped and turned her attention back to Cat for the first time since she’d shown her the constellations.
“I guess I didn’t even realize that was going to happen. I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to get us out of here that the little details didn’t occur to me. Are you ok with this? I know this isn’t a normal situation but I can always…” Cat cut her off with a single finger to her lips.
“I can handle meeting the parents.” Cat teased. Kara shuddered at the implication. She knew in the tradition of Mishidh what her guide was meant to represent to her, but those weren’t words she was ready to share with Cat yet.
The city appeared as if out of a heavy fog. Monstrous steepled buildings shot straight into the sky, illuminated from within. A metal city buried in the desert. Despite the magnitude of the forthcoming city, a hush lay over them; the clangs and raucous of a normal bustling metropolis nowhere to be found. Cat could feel a chill in the air as Kara stopped to marvel at her home.
“Every single time I think I've put losing my family behind me, it somehow finds its way back to the surface. “ Kara stood completely still arms wrapped around her waist. Cat extended her hand but stopped short of Kara’s shoulder, lingering with her fingers dancing in the air. It occurred to her that she wasn’t sure if Kara would even welcome her touch. Before she could ponder further, Kara was walking ahead with a fierce new stride.
She wound her way through the labyrinth of the city, passing industrial balconies and atriums. There was something so advanced but impersonal about the city but it felt like Kara in its strange ingenuity. Cat took in the city looking above her and walking in circles all the while trying to follow Kara’s lead. Suddenly they approached the large doors of the Kryptonian’s childhood home. Cat was a step or two behind Kara and quickly caught up as she stopped and stared at the door. She knew what was behind it but she didn't know if she was ready for it. Kara placed her hand on the panel, just to the side of the door. It quickly scanned her fingerprints. A confirmation sounded and a computerized voice said ‘Welcome Home Kara Zor’el’. Though it spoke in the same sung language that Kara had earlier, Cat had little trouble deciphering the words meanings. She watched as Kara tentatively took a step inside. She heard a noise to her left and Kara swallowed hard.
“Mom?” Kara called out.
As the words left her mouth a blinding blue light materialized in front of her. The light began on the floor and slowly built an image from the ground up, a familiar pair of shoes and the draping of a well-loved gown built themselves before her eyes. The hands that had held her face and comforted her as a child, sketched themselves into existence from nothing. The light continued and built shoulders and a silver necklace that dangled around a proud neck. Alura’s face shimmered into being in an instant. Each swatch of cloth and inch of stitching was exactly as Kara remembered it. The frame of her mother alone was a comfort to her lonely heart. Cat held her breath as the image became almost whole. She had no idea what to expect. She thought that possibly Kara’s mother would look just like her. Though she did hold some resemblance, it was a beauty that was all around very alien, very Kryptonian. Cat smiled a timid smile, one that Kara had never seen from her before.
“Kara.” Her mother’s voice rang through the air.
The dark brown waves of her mother's hair fell down her back as the blue light completed the image. Alura greeted her with a fitting grin. She opened her arms beckoning Kara into them. She made quick work of closing the space between them and diving into her mother's embrace. Cat waited at the entryway and leaned against the frame watching the happy scene unfold.
Kara buried her nose into her mother's neck and breathed in her familiar scent. Tears sprung to her eyes as the years of heartache seemed to lift off of her shoulders. She knew the weight of her pain would settle on them again eventually but she felt the feather light air of her childhood take hold of her. She knew that this was just a reflection of her mother but she could touch her. She could feel her presence and smell her perfume. She could feel the soft waves of her curly hair under her fingertips and her broad strong shoulders; whether she was real or not suddenly didn't matter. Just being able to embrace her was suddenly healing the cracks in her that she had thought long since unfixable. Alura lifted Kara off the ground as she had when she was a child and spun her.
“Mother, it's so good to see you! I don’t know where to begin.”
“There will be plenty of time for catching up but first I would like for you to introduce your friend.” Alura looked to Cat standing in the doorway. Kara untangled herself from her mother's arms and with a single glance asked Cat to come forward. She extended her hand to Alura, who looked at the gesture puzzled.
“Cat Grant, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” She stated with her hand still extended. She smiled at Alura, seeing Kara's eyes reflected back at her. Alura’s expression suddenly became very wide and she turned to her daughter.
“Is this your guide?” Kara very enthusiastically nodded her head up and down, bringing her clasped hands over her chest while leaning her chin on them. It took every ounce of restraint she possessed to resist jumping up and down with the joy she suddenly felt at introducing Cat to her mother.
“It is my great honor to meet you.” Alura stepped forward and put one hand on each side of Cat’s face. Cat flinched slightly but relaxed as she saw the proud gleam in her eyes. Alura slowly lowered her head and kissed Cat’s forehead intern bringing her into her arms and hugging her with the same joy she had expressed with Kara. “What house do you hail from?” Cat’s expression became confused. Kara quickly answered in her place.
“Mother, Cat is from Earth. They do not have the same hierarchy as Krypton but I assure you on Earth she is quite the queen.” Kara chuckled slightly at her own joke. She received a reprimanding eye roll from Cat in return. Alura released Cat from her embrace and began to trace the backs of her hands along Cat's face, slowly following her cheekbone down to her jaw. Cat suddenly felt two decades younger in Alura’s calming presence. Any misgivings or doubts that she might have had about meeting the woman vanished.
“I have long waited to meet the great love of my daughter.” Cat’s eyes went wide and she stared instantly at Kara, her face hidden from Alura as she continued to speak. “It’s a day the parents on our planet plan for extravagantly. What is your full name so that I may address you properly?” Cat was beginning to panic as she looked at Kara, her face suddenly pale.
“Catherine Lenora Grant.” Cat let the words slip out of her mouth with a slight croak as she tried to gather herself. She looked to Kara with a glare that screamed, ‘explain’. Alura caught the exchange.
“Have I missed a piece of information?” Alura questioned.
“No but I believe I have.” Cat answered her.
“May I alleviate your confusion? What has you so troubled?” Alura took Cat’s hand as she spoke to her.
“Kara has yet to explain to me what a ‘guide’ is. I’m afraid there has been some confusion as to my role in your daughter’s life.” Cat very unceremoniously dropped Alura’s hand and put a few feet in between herself and the women of the House of El. Kara’s eyes were sprinkled with tears yet to fall, as she watched the horrified look on Cat’s face grow. She crossed her arms and swallowed what was left of her pride. Alura saw her daughter’s distress and began to speak.
“The roll of the guide is a sacred duty, an honor bestowed upon the person whose heart has most affected the individual about to go through the transfer. On a more scientific level, Kryptonians give off a molecular compound, shovuh, somewhat like what you would equate to pheromones on your planet. They are particles that cannot be eradicated, even upon death. These molecules are given in concordance to the intensity of the Kryptonian’s feelings for any given individual. It’s a part of our DNA like Adenosine Triphosphate is a part of every living being on Earth. Shovuh can be seen on the light spectrum as different color level readings based on intensity. Blue levels are associated with friendship, companionship and trust. White are blood relatives, whereas red...” Alura paused checking once more with her daughter. Kara picked up the sentence where she had left off.
“Red are guide spirits.” Kara exhaled at the final omission. She let it sink in; realizing for the first time that Cat’s readings must have come up red when Madam Girard’s men scanned her. She had hoped that Jeremiah was lying and Cat had merely shown blue. James and Winn were no doubt taken for their readings as well.
“My daughter, I know you were young when you left Krypton and that the complete ceremony was not explained to you because of your years.” Alura motioned for them to move farther into the house as she spoke. Every single fixture, every chair, every table, every nuance was exactly as Kara remembered it. The small sculptures and paintings that littered the home reflected back at her dozens of childhood memories. She shuttered breathing deeply to bring the panic down. She sat on the chair behind her, giving Cat as much room as she could create. She hung her head in her hands, her elbows digging into her knees.
“During the ceremony of sense transfer, the recipient’s soul departs their body to retrieve their ancestral memories. The soul will need help to find its way back to its body. A guide is the person who calls the soul back to the living. Thus it must be done by one whose connection is true.” Alura let the details sink in. Kara looked up and made eye contact with Cat, who had yet to respond. Cat didn’t move but she did finally level her gaze with Kara’s.
“I’m sorry.” Kara mouthed. She closed her eyes for fear of how Cat would react when she knew the extent of the bond she’d created.
“The ceremony will take three days to complete, a new task for each day. First the sharing of kept secrets, then the Kilsjoah, followed by the transfer itself. Though Kara has chosen you, there's still a connection to be made for Catherine to guide you back to us.” Alura looked at her daughter and stroked her hair.
“Mrs. Zor-El. If I may I would appreciate a moment alone with your daughter.” Cat crossed her arms over her body. Her face had returned to the stern glare that most people were used to seeing from her; long gone was the soft accepting eyes Kara had barely gotten to know. Alura bowed slightly as she took her leave.
Winn had come and gone from the cell a dozen times since he’d found his way through the duct system. At this point he had the lay-of-the-land but still couldn't figure out where they were housing the power that was necessary to create New Krypton. He had spent the better part of the last hour sketching a schematic of what he had seen of the complex thus far. He had stolen a hand full of pens and paper from an unoccupied office and brought them back to his cell. He twirled the blue ink filled tube between his forefinger and thumb occasionally biting the end of it.
“Dammit, there is no way they could convert that kind of energy without a huge turbine.” He squeezed the end of the pen, breaking off the clip on its end.
“That’s the fourth pen you’ve broken, why don’t you give it a rest for a moment. Let the ‘Eureka Principle’ have a chance to work. Just focus on something else.” James paced the cell restlessly. Unlike Winn, he hadn’t left the small space since they had been kidnapped and he was becoming rather antsy.
“How can you say that!? Kara is counting on us and I don’t want Cat’s blood on my hands. You didn’t see the way Kara looked at her, it was…well I can’t believe I never noticed it before to be honest. I understand what you meant before and I won’t take another person away from her. She’s lost too much.” Winn scribbled another room into his schematic, having forgotten to add the office where he had gotten the pens.
“I’m not asking you to stop. I’m asking you to come at the problem from another angle. Not to mention, some sleep would probably clear your head. Come on Winn.”
“I know. I just don’t get it. I’ve checked in every direction, up two levels and still nothing.”
“What about down?”
“There’s nothing below us. There’s a solid five inches of steel as our base.”
“Are you sure? That kind of machinery would be ridiculously loud. They’d wanna have as much cover as they could get. Plus the depth would give them ample chance to feed off their own power grid and give the entire complex one more way to hide.”
“How did I not think of that? Of course they would have their power source be subterranean. The displacement from a power source that big would cause this place to light up like a Christmas tree, but it would have to be miles below the surface to be undetectable.” Winn was frantically scanning his schematic, looking for the most likely place for a tunnel or he hoped an elevator that could lead that far underground. “Oh those sly bastards, of course! You know James if these people weren’t inherently evil, I’d admire them.” Winn folded his map into his pocket, playfully slapped James on the shoulder and headed back into the duct system.
Adrenaline pierced through Alex's veins as she flung herself around the next closest corner to evade the black SUV that have been tailing her for the last several blocks. It had only been a few minutes since she had left the Senator. She'd expected they would begin to hunt her down but this seemed a little too quick. She skidded around the corner and found herself at a dead end with a church on one side and a residence on the other. There was an alley that she could stow her motorcycle in just up ahead but she'd have to make the rest of the journey on foot. She silenced the machine’s engine and made good use of the large trash cans littering the alley.
She craned her neck around the corner, almost making eye contact with the operatives; who were now on foot frantically searching for her. She was surrounded on all sides seemingly her only option now was the church. Did churches still offer sanctuary? She wondered to herself a quick joke to ease her panic. She scaled the stone wall that lined the alley and just as her enemies rounded the corner, she lifted herself over the balcony railing. She held her breath and lay flat on the ground.
“We lost her.” A male voice announced. “Canvas the area, she couldn't have gotten far.” He ordered. Alex breathed a sigh of relief as she heard the group stomp off. As she turned to sneak away, she smacked directly into the parishes’ priest. Her eyes widened considerably as she tried to help the old man from falling.
“I believe you have some explaining to do young lady.” The priest seemed neither frightened of her nor particularly alarmed at the sudden intrusion but rather chastised the woman for breaking in.
“I…” Before Alex could run or make up a tangible excuse , the priest was motioning with his index finger for her to come inside.
“You have nothing to fear. I will give you safe haven for the time but I would appreciate an explanation.”
Having no other options, she followed the man knowing full well a hoard of dangerous secret service members were no doubt waiting for her outside. As she stepped in the entryway, she realized she had intruded upon his personal residence. It was simple beyond belief; a small couch and two semi comfortable looking chairs surrounded a radio. The kitchen table had a few knick-knacks and adornments. A picture of the Pope and one of what Alex assumed was Jesus hung on the wall. The priest was wearing black slacks, a black button-up shirt and the white collar that signified his profession.
“Sit, I’m sure you suddenly have some time on your hands, unless you’d like to go back and see your friends in the alley.” He’d been watching through his north facing window for much of the chase. He smiled a warmer smile than she deserved, having broken into his home and all.
“Why aren’t you calling the authorities?” Alex sat on the couch farthest from the radio, letting the cushions ease a miniscule amount of her tension. “I just climbed up the wall of your church and onto your balcony.” Alex questioned a little out of breath as her adrenaline levels tapered off.
“It’s a part of my job to read people, you seem like someone in need of help, not someone I need help from.” He slowly teetered over to the stove and picked up the kettle that sat on the back burner. “Tea?” He offered lifting the pot toward her. She declined with a nod. He made busy work of turning on the tap and pulling out a wooden sleeve of tea bags, all the while letting Alex stare on in wonder at how quickly a moment could change.
The room had grown silent. Alura had been gone for almost a minute yet neither of them had spoken. Cat hadn’t taken her eyes off of Kara, though she had begun to pace the small space in front of her chair. She fought to keep her icy exterior intact and Kara witnessed as she struggled. Cat slowly came to a halt in front of her, holding her gaze unrelenting.
“Asking for an explanation seems redundant.”
“I know. You deserve one but I’m not sure my answers are going to be what you want to hear.” Kara stood and moved toward the farthest window. She opened the door to the balcony letting the winds that swept through the city blow her hair from her shoulders. She breathed in the distinct smell of Krypton and sighed. She went to the railing and put her elbows on it leaning toward Argo city and all its glory.
“This seems familiar.” Cat hummed, her anger having lessened dramatically. She had missed their talks on her balcony most when she'd left Catco. The slight wind crept into her hair as soon as she stepped on to the balcony. She was taken aback by the view. The lights danced through the air as she finally realized why Kara had seemed so at home on the Catco balcony, it housed an eerily similar view to that of her childhood home. Kara took in one more full view of the city before turning to face Cat; whose shoulders were slumped. “These molecules, how exactly do they work?” Cat seemed frantic almost panicky while asking; unlike anything Kara had ever seen. She could feel the bile rising up in her throat. Her closely guarded secret was suddenly out in the open; one of them at least. Kara stepped back, giving herself room to breathe.
“Cat, I'm sorry I tried to control it. I swear. I tried to pretend that our relationship was nothing more than a mentorship possibly a friendship but I couldn't. I didn't even know those molecules could exist on Earth. I thought I was doing a better job at keeping my feelings at bay and to myself. I don't want you to feel violated but if you do I completely understand. It was inappropriate of me to harbor these feelings. I'm sorry to have gotten you into this situation; we'll find another way to-” Kara’s hands shook.
“Stop! You’re rambling.” Cat had taken to pacing again. There was clearly too much on her mind to remain still. Cat looked at her with a very pointed question in her eyes but didn’t ask it.
“The only thing I can’t quite figure out is why the shovuh would have worked. The feelings have to be mutual. Cat, is there anyway...even the slightest possibility that I'm not crazy, that this isn't one sided.”
Kara’s vision became watered as she realized the answer to this question would truly sever any relationship that they had ever had in the past. It was all or nothing and it frightened her half to death. Cat quickly pursed her lips together as the words invaded her brain. She was aware of what an ultimatum like this could do. She had promised herself she'd never break Kara’s heart no matter the circumstances. She knew she could be cruel and unforgiving but there was a line and she wouldn't cross it. She would not decimate such a pure fountain of positivity. She had gotten as close to the edge as she could but she would never break her spirit.
She needed Kara’s sunshine in her life more than she would ever admit even to herself but here she was doing exactly what she said she would never do. She had made so many mistakes as of late but breaking one of the few promises she'd actually ever made herself was more than she could handle. She wanted to admit the truth. She wanted to be the kind of person who could clearly and concisely state their feelings with no objection or sign of fear but that wasn't her. She had years of built-up ironclad walls around her heart. Kara had managed to melt through most of that steel but she still wasn't to the most vulnerable part of Cat. She went to open her mouth and deliver a line that would save them both; but as she began to get the courage behind her words Kara interrupted her with her tears.
“Please don't lie to me. I can see it in your eyes that you’re about to and that's the one thing you've never done. I know you think I might be fragile and not be able to handle the truth but you lying to me is the only thing I can’t handle.” Cat scoffed at the very thought of Kara being able to see such a small shift in her features, a minuet moment as she steeled herself.
“The truth? I’m not sure if I know what that is anymore. It's not you I'm worried about dealing with the truth. You’ve always dealt rather well with it. I don't think I can handle it.” Cat smoothed the numerous wrinkles from her clothes, placing her hands into her pockets before looking back up at Kara’s expectant gaze. “I went looking for you.” Cat admitted. Kara scrunched her brows together. “When I left Catco, I went looking for you. I didn’t know it at the time but I do now.” Kara let her building anger over the last few days emerge.
“I was always right in front of you, always right next to you, always within earshot.” She argued.
“You don't understand. In my office on the day I left, I tucked a piece of your hair behind your ear and I brought your chin up. I was begging for your affection and you readily gave it to me. I broke my own rule and cried freely at work. I hugged you back but I did it despite myself. Even after I left, I thought about you every time I saw somewhere new. I thought ‘I wonder what Kara would say’, would she notice the small goat out on the hillside or would she be paying attention to the grains of sand in her shoes? Would she see the colors the way that I do? No matter how fast and how far I ran, you were still right there beside me. I couldn't handle it. That’s when I knew for sure.”
“Knew what Cat?” Kara’s small voice, pleading for an admission. Kara moved her hands slowly to Cat’s. She gently picked it up and examined every line and every fingerprint. She moved Cat’s hand until her palm was facing the sky and traced the lines with her fingertips. After mimicking every destiny line and every love line along her palm, Kara intertwined their fingers. Cat sighed fighting the intimacy growing between them. She didn't know when she had moved so close but she could feel the heat radiating between them. Cat cleared her throat and began again.
“When you stood up to me that first time in my office and you yelled at me, I started to see it. I suspected it every time that I talked to you on the balcony. It crept up every time you flew to me as Supergirl and needed someone to save the savior. I knew I had fallen so far and so fast the only way to spare you was to leave.”
“Spare me from what?”
“No you don't get to do that you don't get to decide that for me. I'm perfectly capable of making decisions on my own.”
“I know but you don’t know what hides behind the walls I’ve built. They aren’t their just to protect me.” Cat took her hand back and turned to face the city. Kara's nose scrunched and she bit her bottom lip. Her eyes strained at the wave of emotions that formed in the corners of her eyes. Her already chapped lips pursed. Cat bit at her own tears but continued.
“I’ve spent the better part of this last year convincing myself that the butterflies in my stomach when you smile that ‘Sunny Danvers’ smile were nothing more than appreciation for your positivity. That became more difficult when I noticed you reserved it especially for me. I've chastised myself for letting you come to mind when you're not around or for letting images of you twinkle in my dreams. I convinced myself I was a sick lonely old woman preying on the naïve.”
“Stop.” Kara begged.
“You wanted the truth. I lived with that for a while and it made perfect sense; until it didn't anymore. That's when I knew I had to push you away completely, at least I tried to. When I said we needed to be professional so that no one got hurt, I was being selfish. I meant so that ‘I’ didn’t get hurt. Somehow in my head I had created this entire fantasy but Kara it's foolish. God listen to me, I sound like a mundane overproduced Hallmark card. You reduce me to cliques.” Cat chuckled at the dramatic statement; Kara all the while frozen in place, disbelief painted on her face. “So to answer your question yes, there is absolutely a possibility but I would never put you through it.”
Chapter 8: They don't have a word for that...
A shadowed figure entered through the doors between the living room and the observatory. His presence went unnoticed for an instance. He held his head high with his arms behind his back; his foot falls nearly silent as he moved forward. The blinding light behind him made it impossible to see his face but Kara knew who it was without a doubt. The gate of his walk and the sway of his shoulders brought a brick of nostalgia to her chest.
“Hello Kara, I’ve missed you.” The familiarity of his voice stung at Kara’s eyes and ripped at her resolve. She lunged toward him and embraced him with as much strength as she could. His icy expression melted with his daughter in his arms.
“Father!!” She squealed. “I never thought I’d see your face again.” Kara continued to hug him greedily as Cat watched with wonderment at the change in her demeanor. She wondered just how much of their conversation he had overheard.
“Daughter, you are as spirited as I have ever seen you.” Kara immediately released him but began to hop in place with excitement. Zor-El in turn, faced Cat. He stood stoically, seemingly measuring her up. He had indeed heard their conversation but that was a fact he would be keeping to himself.
“I don’t believe we’ve meet. I’m Cat Grant.” She was overly cautious in her speech, a fact known only to Kara. She shifted her weight to give her best domineering stance. She wasn’t about to let a man, alien or not, intimidate her.
“I am Zor-El, it is a pleasure to meet you.” He turned to face Kara judgement in his eyes. Kara’s face turned a shade of red that could be seen even on the darkened balcony. “Shall we retire to the banquet hall; your mother has had a meal prepared.”
Kara began to question his expression but was soon silenced with the arching of his brow as she had been as a child. Both women followed him in silence through the hallway. The hall opened up to a grand dome ceiling. The feast was centered in the room but was accessible only by descending four stairs that encircled it. It was as if the focal point of the hall was placed in a valley bringing all the attention to the meal at hand. A large wood table, one of the only pieces of wood in the dominantly metal and plastic structure, was covered with linen embossed with the crest of the House of El. It was oblong and held more food than fifty people could have eaten but she saw only four place settings. The crest was also present on the wall hangings and the cutlery.
Kara motioned for Cat to come over to the table or as Kara called it ‘The communal banquet table’. She'd found Kryptonian culture to be rather primitive in its customs but highly advanced in its technology and purpose. There were no chairs only stool like backboards that supported the Kryptonian spine perfectly. Kara crossed her legs and positioned herself within the backboard. Alura followed suit and happily beckoned Cat to the table. Zor-El continued to train his eyes on Cat without a glimmer of nicety. Cat took in all the vibrant colors of the food that was arranged on the table. She scanned the decadent spread, but didn’t recognize a single piece of food that was laid out before her. Various pieces of what she assumed were fruit represented each shade of the rainbow. Some were spotted and horned while others had feather like tops and sharp edges. The muted tones of Argo city were defeated by this spread. She hadn’t sat down despite Alura’s request to but continued to scan the room.
“Do people not share meals on your world Ms. Grant? Is family not a celebrated unit?” Alura asked the question from a scientific and curious point of view but with the slightest undertone of condescension. Kara intervened on Cat’s behalf meaning only to save her from her mother's inquiry.
“Family means just as much to people on Earth, Mother. It's carried out in many different fashions, not always around the dinner table, as they call it. Most humans that I've known are too busy to sit and enjoy their food. A waste if you ask me because their cuisine is delicious!”
Cat chuckled remembering just how much of that Earth cuisine Kara could put away in one sitting. Though it didn't smell terrible, the food on this particular offering seemed rather rudimentary. She studied the display again and equated the brown squares to meat clearly from animals unknown to her. Something that she would venture was a squid lined a bowl next to it and even more slimy pasta looking dishes continued farther along the table. Despite their similar appearance, these dishes were a far cry from the pasta she craved. Kara had much of the same distasteful look on her face. Having not seen Kryptonian food for the last 12 years, it suddenly occurred to her just how unappetizing it looked; until she spotted what was placed near the far end of the table.
“Are these leackutes?!?” Kara grabbed hungrily at one of the foods Cat couldn’t place. “I haven’t had one of these since I was little.” Kara spoke with her mouth as full as possible of the Kryptonian delicacy. “I can explain what everything is as you eat it and steer you clear of the tastes I know you won't like. I'm sorry it's not the cuisine you're used to.” Kara profusely apologized trying to swallow without choking. She knew Cat was rather particular about what she let pass her lips. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Cat scoffed at the insinuation that she couldn't adapt. It also just as quickly occurred to her that she had never given Kara a reason to believe that she could. Kara caught wind of just how uncomfortable Cat was.
“Mother, Father may I have a moment with Cat please?”
“You seemed to have had plenty of a moment on the balcony.” Zor-El quipped. Alura shot him a glance universally known as ‘shut up’. Cat finally took her seat, but not before answering Zor-El.
“That was a private conversation, though I’m curious as to your disagreement with it.” Cat answered never letting her eyes leave Zor-El.
“You’re putting my daughter in danger by going through with the ceremony despite the fact that you refuse her hand. That is unacceptable; your lineage provides quite the disadvantage without your unwillingness. I knew humans were weak. Now I equate them with dishonesty.”
“That is enough Zor-El.” Alura stood knocking her stool back. “Kara, please take Catherine to the kitchen. I believe it is your father that needs a moment.” Alura’s stern tone echoed through the room. Zor-El filled his plate and began to eat, paying no mind to the anger of his wife. Kara quickly led Cat to the kitchen.
The priest allowed Alex to sit with the teacup that he finally convinced her to take. She sat in silence slowly examining his life through the belongings in his apartment. Five decades in the priesthood had shown him a thing or two about patience. He watched her deliberately swirl her tea without taking a single sip trying to see if the loose tea leaves would make an image on the bottom of the cup.
“I've offered you sanctuary here but I must say I wasn't expecting such a silent stretch.”
“I don't share your faith so a confessional is not going to help me. I don't need God to forgive me for my sins.” Alex retorted with more vitriol than she intended.
“We all need a little bit of forgiveness even if we just learn to forgive ourselves. For a moment let's just pretend I'm not a priest .I'm just a guy whose apartment you broke into; whose not pressing charges. I’m merely someone who is going to allow you to get some stuff off your chest; if you want to?” Alex chuckled at the thought; she’d never considered clergymen to possess any humor.
“Let's just say I crossed the line today to get some information that I needed.”
“So you do need some self-forgiveness after all. I find it easiest to lay out everything that brings me guilt in its full-fledged honesty. Then I can start to forgive myself despite the severity of my actions. It’s the only way to learn how to never come to that crossroads again. Since I fear the details of what is burdening you are illegal, I won't ask for specifics. I will say this; I deal with many kinds of people in many different situations and I can tell pure intentions when I see them. Find a way to forgive yourself or else you'll carry this burden for the rest of your days.” The priest got up from where he was sitting and slowly went back to pour himself another cup of tea. He turned to her and with a much quieter calm voice said. “There's a tunnel passage from when the church was originally built in the eighteen hundreds. It's still passable by night and it'll shoot out a couple of blocks from here. As soon as the sun sets, I will show you the way out.” Alex smiled and gave him a grateful nod finally taking a sip of her tea.
Night fall came sooner than Alex had anticipated, the nameless priest lead her down a steep flight of stairs composed of wood older than both of them combined. The small entryway and adjoined passage reminded her of the Senator’s servant’s entrance. She paused before taking the small metal door knob into her hand.
“Thank you.” She turned and sincerely nodded to her unlikely savior, the irony of it all a little too much for her to bare. She disappeared down the corridor and emerged four streets down from the church. She hopped on the first bus to pass by and went to retrieve what she’d need for a ride into the desert.
Alura stood staring at her husband as he continued to eat. He hadn’t taken his eyes off of his plate since Kara had ushered Cat out of the room. Alura had changed into a formal garment after letting Kara and Cat retire to the balcony earlier in the evening. Her hair was arranged at the nap of her neck in a complex knot with a few pieces of hair spiraling down the sides of her face. Her silver frock had trimmings of gold that reflected off the lights that dipped down from the ceiling in puzzle pieces.
“You’re stubborn nature will cause her to never trust you.” Alura accused him.
“That has absolutely no bearing on my reactions to that human. The Mishidh is a sacred Kryptonian ritual and she has the audacity to bring a human to our world and expects that she can fulfill the duties of a guide. If you believe this to be right then you are daft.” He had yet to meet her eyes as he insulted her.
“You act as if the connection is within Kara’s control. Rao has picked their union despite the odds. We should be so blessed that he would find us worthy of such circumstances. Look at me.” Alura pulled his chin to face her, eyes sternly warning him to stop his pension for cruelty.
“She won’t have the strength needed to bring her back. I will not give them my blessing.” Zor-El stood and pushed himself away from the table as the door to the kitchen swung open.
“Father please I must receive your blessing for the ceremony to continue.” Kara was quickly by his side and held onto his forearm. “When I was a child all I ever heard from you was that you wanted me to excel and to be happy. Cat helps me do both. You were always such an accepting understanding man. I don't understand why you will not give me your blessing.” Kara struggled to find the right words to explain her connection to Cat.
“She's human, and far beneath you.”
“So it is true; all of the horrible things you’ve been accused of. How could you believe in such misanthropy?!” Kara quickly dropped his forearm and stepped back. “When I was young I heard stories from the children at school about how the House of El bred only close minded snobs. I brushed their comments off as jealousy because I saw the good that you and mother did. Little did I know that my child's eyes could not see the truth.”
Zor-el held Kara's gaze as she let the tears brim over her eyes making no attempt to hide them or wipe them away. As a girl she never would have held her father's gaze in such opposition, far too afraid of his reign to ever question him.
“You do not know your place Kara Zor-el. Need I remind you that it is my name that you carry and I expect as a member of this house that you act in accordance to the respect it deserves.”
“I am being respectful father, of myself. One of the many things I have learned from that human you speak of is how to stick up for myself. She asks that I use my mind and speak freely from my thoughts and opinions. She would never ask that I stand still and only do as I'm told.”
“Why do you defend her? I heard with my own ears that she does not want you.” Zor-El raised his voice. Cat had been lingering in the doorway but was quickly in the midst of the conversation at that comment.
“I said no such thing. Eavesdropping rarely gets you the entire story. Trust me when I say that I will do everything I can to bring Kara safely through this.” Cat cocked her hip to the side.
“I believe her, Father.” Kara smiled assured.
Zor-El's eyes grew cold and she could see his fists clench with every word that she spoke. He turned on his heels precisely and saw Alura give their daughter a look of pride.
“If these are the kind of actions that you are proud that our daughter performs then she can be your daughter alone. I will no longer claim her.” Zor-el stormed from the room leaving Kara in tears in his wake. Alura quickly went to her daughter’s side and brought her into an embrace, smoothing her hair as she whispered reassuring words into her ear.
Alex had one final stop to make before trudging into the desert. After she and J'onn had been on the run the last time, they had made a safe house of sorts with supplies for a night like this. She exited the bus at 93rd avenue and walked west. The buildings were decorated with red and gold lanterns. Dragons and serpents of all sizes and colors covered silk banners. Chinese characters accompanied English on every sign. The streets were crowded with people shoulder to shoulder walking every which way. There was a celebration taking place. People lined the streets to watch a parade of slithering life-sized dragons roam the roads. In between an apothecary and a drycleaners, a building so small you’d walk past it if you weren’t purposely looking for it appeared. The restaurant was bustling with activity, Alex slipped in unnoticed. A small framed hostess made her way to Alex, she knew why she'd come.
Alex asked her for duck rangoon in perfect Mandarin. The young women immediately showed her to the back. Among a plethora of old take out menus and cleaning supplies Alex found a small lever. She pulled it firmly to the right; revealing a well-hidden doorway. They had made a trade of sorts with the proprietor of the restaurant for a no questions asked place to hide their gear. Alex looked directly into the small retinal scanner that locked the compartment. A vivid green light passed over her face as she stared forward. A distinct click sounded and Alex swung the door open. She grabbed a small burner phone, keys to a nearby motorcycle and enough gun power to start a small revolution. She threw a change of clothes and rations into a pack and exited out of the back of the restaurant, just as they'd designed it. She ran two blocks south and retrieved the motorcycle. She took the burner and swiftly sent a message to J'onn with coordinates and a message.
Please trust me.
Alex revved the motor and speed off for the Nevada desert. The night drug on as the vibrations of the engine made her legs go numb. The desert night was infamously cold despite the drastic heat in the day. Alex zipped up the leather jacket she had pulled from the storage locker in China town. She had not received a response from J’onn but that was protocol. The location she had given him was roughly two miles north of Cadamus’ location. She was a mere half mile from it now.
The stars were so much brighter without the interference of the city’s light. It was almost calming until she remembered why she was alone in the middle of nowhere. She pulled to the side of the highway at an abandoned rest stop and prepared to wait. As she cut the engine, a shadow caught her eye and she pulled the glock she had strapped to her hip. The distinct red glow of J’onn’s eyes as he transformed put her at ease. He slowly walked out from behind a large metal sign and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Are you alone?” Alex asked at almost a whisper, even the night had ears.
“I have a small team not far behind me.” He said stoically but Alex knew he was angry.
“Listen, J’onn I messed up. I crossed the line and I will take whatever consequences come my way but I need to make sure my sister is safe first. I will fully cooperate but please don’t turn me in until she’s safe.” Alex begged, rocking back in forth in place.
“You’re better than this Alexandra. I’ve assembled a task force of agents, ones known to keep a secret well-guarded but as soon as this mission is over; I can’t protect you from what’s coming.” He gave her a look that easily conveyed ‘understood’ without him having to say it. She quickly agreed with a nod of her head as the distinct sound of motors in the distance echoed against the large mesas that surrounded them. As the sun rose their reddish brown color reflected its rays.
“Sounds like the team is approaching, do you have a plan?” J’onn asked. Alex grinned, her answer was written all over her face.
After Zor-El had stormed off, Alura showed Kara and Cat to their sleeping quarters. Kara would be in her childhood room, while Cat slept in the adjoining guest suite. Cat reveled at the chance to shower and change into some clean clothes, even if they were Kara’s mothers. She let the water fall down her back and sooth her aching muscles. Her mind ran rampant with the developments of the day. Had she really confessed to falling for Kara? She put her face into the stream of water, hoping to wash it all away.
The sleeping suite was sparsely decorated but comfortable. Large windows stretched the entire length of the wall. The lights of Argo City shown bright but not blinding through them. She dressed slowly letting the fabric hug her body. The scent of fresh linens really was one of her favorites. As she slipped into her night dress, she traced the House of El crest embroidered into it. What had she gotten herself into? She sat silently on the corner of the bed and drug her hand along the silk blankets covering it. A light knock came to the door.
“Come in.” She straightened her posture. Kara’s head crept around the corner with a worried smile. She knew that look.
“I wanted to make sure you were ok.” Kara fidgeted as she slowly came into the room. She was dressed in an outfit similar to hers but in royal blue; her wet hair an indication of her recent shower as well.
“I should be the one checking in on you. What your father said was cruel; you shouldn’t have to hear such hate.”
“It wasn’t always like that growing up. He isn’t a monster… at least I don’t remember him being one.” She looked down at her hands as she picked at her nails. Cat motioned for her to sit next to her.
“Your mother is lovely. It's wonderful the way that you interact with her. I know it's not really her but there are parts of her there; pieces of the real her. When my father died, I was still very young and he had been the buffer between my mother and me. He was the only way that we knew how to communicate and without him; we didn't even know how to say hello to each other. It must have been nice to live with such love.” She admitted. Kara sat down next to her on the bed and placed her hands on Cat’s forearms squeezing lightly. Cat soaked up the reassuring presence and did nothing to remove it.
“It was.” Kara fought her tears.
“I don’t think I explained myself well before on the balcony. I let my surprise and confusion get the better of me and you didn’t deserve that.” Cat shifted to look at Kara as she removed her hands from her arm.
“You made it clear that you care for me but you don’t want to be with me. I understand.” Kara stood and moved to the window, watching the city go by.
“Would it ease your mind to know that I am just as vulnerable to you as you are to me? I've often thought about us being more but it's inappropriate. It’s ridiculous really and I always thought that it was one-sided so I kept it to myself.”
Kara chuckled at just how repetitive their interactions had become. She moved toward Cat and tried to place a hand on her arm again but Cat pulled back.
“You imagined us?” Kara whispered.
“Isn't it obvious? Honestly Kara you're a reporter. Shouldn't you have noticed the signs?” She waited for the words to register. Kara bit her lip as she saw the subtle change in Cat’s posture. “Kara, you make it awfully difficult to keep a secret. Maybe it’s because you’re terrible at it. Believe it or not, I’m still trying to figure this out. I’m sure you’ve noticed kindness is not my strong suite but you seem to bring it out of me.” Cat chuckled to herself. “You make me sentimental and blabbering. For God’s sake you make me cheesy. I can’t say anyone has ever made me quite so unlike myself but for the better. It's terrifying.” Cat suddenly turned to face her and began to move very quickly towards Kara, she placed her hands just below Kara’s jaw. She stilled herself for a beat and for the first time saw the sprinkle of hazel in Kara’s eyes. Before she even realized what she was doing, she had Kara impossibly close to her. Cat held her neck as she pulled her into a kiss. It was chaste and Cat pulled away just as quickly as she had moved in.
“I’m sorry.” Cat whispered.
“Don’t be.” Kara moved her fingers up to her lips and let them linger.
“I’m not what is best for you, you deserve better.” Cat raised her eyes to meet Kara’s.
“So you’ve said. I’ve never quite meet anyone who is so unaware of their goodness. All of those things that you say I make you. They are all already inside of you; sometimes you just need someone else to point them out. You’re good, Cat Grant. You’re exquisite and I’m constantly in awe of you.” Kara could barely get the words out before Cat wrapped her in her arms. She’d never initiated a hug between them before and Kara couldn’t help but smile.
“I can’t say what it is we are meant to be but know that I will do everything that I can to help you through this.” Cat said into Kara’s hair.
“I know. Goodnight, Cat.” Kara held her a moment longer before returning to her room. Leaving Cat with more than a little to think about.
Chapter 9: You Don't Have to Say Anything
The Kryptonian sun rose over the desert in the same fluid motion it had set. The light streamed in through the windows and gently stirred Kara from her sleep. She turned and opened her eyes to see the vast landscape that stretched out her window; a deep rift in her heart fought against the joy that also bubbled there. I was the first day of her Mishidh. She sat and watched the city go by as she had done thousands of times before. She stretched her arms above her head and slowly greeted the morning.
As she stood, she had an overwhelming urge to take Cat to every single corner of her planet. She wanted to show her how the sand storms came in from the East and how the perfumed wind was like nothing she'd ever experienced before. Krypton’s red sun was unmatched in its beauty and caused some of the most unusual foliage to grow. She wanted to show her the gullies and valleys and mountains and the incredible rock formations. She wanted to take her to the few preserved forests and into the middle of the city. She suddenly had a chance she thought she never would and she wanted to show Cat what her life looked like before. She didn’t want to loosen her grip on the promise of it all, even for a second. As if on cue a light rapping sounded at the door.
Cat stood with her head leaning on the open door frame dressed in another one of Alura’s robes, Kara having not shut the door when she exited the night before. It had made Cat feel secure to have her within shouting distance. Kara’s smile as she saw Cat watching her was complicated, vivid as always but contemplative.
“What do we do now?” Cat drummed her fingers on the wall.
“I’d like to show you Krypton, if you’re up for it?”
“I’d like that very much. They don’t happen to have coffee on this planet of yours do they?” Cat stood to her full height, ready to greet the mysteries of this new world.
“No.” Kara’s smile reverted to the all-out ray of sunshine she was used to and threw open her closet doors. She dressed quickly and ran for the living room Cat in tow, bidding her mother adieu with a kiss on the cheek. Before Cat could so much as ask a question they were on their way to see the lost planet of Krypton.
Unlike the night before, the streets were now bustling with activity. The sheer volume of people was greater than National City could compete with on any given day. Cat immediately seemed overwhelmed, like all of her senses were on overload and she was the ‘Queen of All Media’ she understood overload. She looked out over the landscape like it was something from a far-off dream that she was all too familiar with but at the same time was completely alien to her. This was a place she would never have imagined.
Kara took her by the hand and took off running. Whatever the consequences, she was going to show Cat Krypton. As they weaved through the bountiful number of people, Cat began to lag behind. She thought she had quite the fitness level, but keeping up with an alien was beyond her cardio abilities. Kara could hear the staggered breathing and wheezing coming from her. She suddenly remembered what Jeremiah had said about her ability to fly here and quickly whisked Cat up into her arms and left the ground.
“Are you insane!?” Cat called as the wind swooshed past her ears. She buried her head in Kara’s chest and held on for dear life. Her equilibrium told her they continued to ascend but her fear kept her eyes from confirming it. As she felt Kara’s speed slow considerably, she ventured a glance over her shoulder.
Nothing could have prepared her for the majesty of an alien planet from the comfort of a native’s arms. Kara glided slowly through the air, much slower than any pace she would have chosen for herself but Cat was grateful.
“Open your eyes, you’re missing it.” Kara whispered into her ear. Cat slowly lifted her head but held on tighter when she saw just how high up they were. The tops of Argo City’s tallest skyscrapers were dozens of feet below them. The sheen of the glass walls that built the skyline shined brightly off the desert sun, providing just enough warmth that Cat wasn’t cold despite the altitude. She could see farther into the distance than while she was on the ground. She scanned her surroundings picking out the vast canyons, which seemed deeper than even the Grand Canyon. Rock formations jutted into the air in varying sphered and angled shapes. Other cities cropped up out of nowhere much like Argo City had the previous night; each with expanses of desert between them.
Farther off into the distance than she could clearly make out was a preserve of one Krypton’s last forests. The damage done to the planet had been immense but small portions of the once fertile land still fought to grow under the watchful eyes of a few dedicated scientists.
“It’s breathtaking.” She held tightly to Kara’s neck but began to crane her own to see more of the landscape.
“If you look just past the bridge over there, that's where I was born. “ Kara beamed pointing toward a small white building lost among the modern structures.
“It's lovely. It’s unique, so very alien and it seems so comforting… much like you.” She was interrupted by a very distant ringing of bells that soon morphed into a melody.
“The ceremonial bells, we have to hurry!” Kara held her as tight to her body as she could without hurting her and took off. The ground below became a blur as she picked up speed. She lost altitude quickly and slowed to a glacial pass as she let her feet touch the ground outside of one of the glass buildings. Her mother was waiting for her at the door.
“We need to begin.” Alura reached out and wiped a smudge from her daughter’s cheek, her grin as wide as Kara had ever seen it.
“You can put me down now.” Cat fidgeted in Kara’s embrace.
“Oh sorry, yes of course.” Kara stumbled while trying to gently place Cat back on the ground. Alura and Cat shared a laugh as Kara turned beet red.
The buzz within the compound had increased tenfold. Even as Winn successfully skulked in the shadows, he could feel it. The people that littered the hallways ran with a different purpose then they had before. He had long since memorized the security camera placement throughout the structure and to his benefit; there were far too many top secret locations that fared better without video proof of their existence to warrant many. His new found time limit had caused him to be a bit more daring and he’d chosen the quicker route of the west corridor. He’d stopped to check his schematic and dodged behind a corner as two women in white lab coats walked past talking amongst themselves.
“I tried to tell him but he insisted that they proceed ahead of schedule. The dome isn’t stable enough to sustain them for this long. Supergirl better complete that transfer quickly or we’re all in for a lot of trouble.” The taller of the women clutched at her clip board pinning it to her chest with her chin. They passed just as quickly as they had appeared.
“Shit.” Winn whispered. He ran his fingers through his thoroughly greasy hair and unbuttoned the top button of his tattered plaid shirt. The crumpled piece of paper that housed the schematic shook in his hands. He triple checked where he was headed, now every second counted.
He could feel the vibration of the server room below his feet. He checked on either side of him as he used the fork from his breakfast to pry open the door. He had been slowly breaking the lock over his last few visits, just enough to not draw suspicion. The door popped open with ease and a cascade of heat hit Winn.
Small vibrant green and white lights littered the dark room from every server that lined the walls; a snow globe of fluorescents. Towers barely a body’s width apart ran down the massive room and reached the ceiling. Winn sprinted down a dozen rows and cut a quick left. He weaved his way through bunches of cables thicker than his legs. He crouched down and pushed the tower with everything he had. It was foolish seeing as the stack weighted a few hundred pounds. He barely budged the tower but saw what he was looking for, a hatch. He wiped the sweat from his brow and sat with his knees to his chest trying to catch his breath. He wouldn’t be able to do this without James. Winn climbed the tower he’d been leaning against and popped the ventilation tile above it open. He’d take the route past the dome this time.
He crawled straight down the ventilation shaft as he had done a dozen times before. He’d marked the turns in the vent with a marker on day one making his subsequent journeys easier. He followed the arrows and his version of hieroglyphs until he was near the dome. He watched as at least three dozen people worked tirelessly around the structure.
“Reinforce that wall. Reprogram the desert to only show up when Supergirl is in it. We don’t want to waste any energy on sustaining something no one is looking at.” Jeremiah directed the crowd. Winn watched the commotion for a moment and headed for the cell. However, this time he didn’t worry about the sound echoing through the vents as his knees hit the metal. There was far too much commotion already for him to be heard. Now that he’d found where the power source was housed he could code a disruption. He nearly fell through the ceiling and back into his cell as he exited the tubbing, scaring James half to death.
“I found it! I found it! Oh my God, I found it!” Winn was so excited he was nearing hyperventilation. If James didn't know better he could swear Winn’s expression looked just like Kara when she looked at an ice cream cone; practically a kid on a sugar rush.
“Okay slow down Winn. Where did you find it? Actually on second thought I want you to hold your breath for ten seconds and then slowly blow the air out.” Winn's eyes grew wide and he looked at him like he was crazy.
“Are you kidding?” He huffed out. As Winn began to breathe heavier, James gave him his newly-acquired CEO glare and Winn complied. He curved his back and began to bend over slowly putting his hands on his knees as he put his head between his legs. James began counting down slowly from ten, Winn eventually releasing the air in a slow hiss as he hit one. Winn’s color began to return to his face. “Good call.” He huffed.
“Okay, now tell me where it is but remember if you start freaking out again, I will make you do that again.” James had a new confidence about him.
“It’s underneath the server room. There’s a hatch under a tower but I can’t move it alone. I need your help. We have to figure out how to get you out of here.”
“Funny you should mention that, I’ve been working on something.” James had a sly grin on his face as he pulled a double sided metal hook from his pocket.
“What the hell is that?” Winn said a little frightened but mostly intrigued.
“I’ve been sneaking as many utensils and tray pieces as I can. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. We only have one shot at this and it won’t hold for long. I can hold it for a moment but you have to get in the vent first.” James effortlessly lifted Winn and he pulled himself up into the vent. He then lifted the cot and balanced it on its headboard. He hooked the top of the bed framing to one side of the hook. He lifted the bed as high as he could, swaying slightly.
Winn grabbed the top of the frame and placed the other end of the hook on the edge of the vent frame. James looked up once it was attached and jumped as high as he could, holding onto the cot. Pieces of the ceiling fell and he could feel the framing begin to bow. He climbed the cot as quickly as he could, grabbing onto the vent and pulling himself up. As he did the weight of the bed broke the hook and came crashing down.
“Go now!” James pushed Winn forward and they both began to crawl as fast as they could. They could hear the cell door swing open and the guards shouting. James struggled to move as efficiently as Winn, his body rather cramped in the close quarters. Hearing the hollers from the guards, they moved double time to the server room.
The building’s furnishings were simple and sparse. The main spectacle of the room they entered was against the farthest wall. Rows and columns of small locked cabinets lined every available inch of space. Each face of the cabinets had a carving of a different scene. Some were adorned with landscapes and others with crests, while a few showed intricate scenes from Krypton’s history.
“We shall start with the ritual of shared secrets.” Alura pointed them toward the cabinets. “It’s meant to create a deeper bound between you and rid you of any toxic secrets that might hinder the transfer.”
“What are we supposed to share?” Kara questioned her mother.
“That I cannot tell you. Trust the process; you’ll know what is right.”
"Where's my father? He should be here." Kara didn't keep the hurt from her voice.
"Do not concern yourself with him, I will handle him."
Alura walked to the massive wall and headed for a small cabinet directly in the middle, removing a small cedar box that was barely bigger than her palms. The House of El crest was carved into the top and a small metal latch kept it closed; it was deeper than it was wide. Alura sat the box down in front of Cat and Kara who were comfortably seated on the floor facing each other per her instructions. She slowly unlocked the box and from within it floated up an ivory globe that glowed from the inside out. It flew up to just above their eye level and split down the middle revealing five smaller spheres from within it. As they exited, the larger ivory globe closed and resealed itself. The first was a light blue sphere that resembled Kara’s eyes while a second was a deep vivid purple. The third was more orange than the Kryptonian sunrise, the fourth greener than even the deepest jungles and the fifth and finale was redder than a klaxon alarm.
All five spheres began to circle around Cat and Kara. They streaked through the air around them so quickly that the colors traced behind them. They flew in every possible direction dodging in between, underneath and behind them; creating a web of color all around Cat and Kara. The white globe floated higher than the rest and waited for the smaller ones to one by one collide with it; creating a snow like effect as they burst into a million colorful pieces. Cat let herself be awestruck so much so that Kara had to lift her jaw up with her index finger to close her mouth, though Kara was just as entranced.
“Now within the Sphere of Silence, you can tell each other anything. You can hear me but I cannot hear you. No one in the outside world can. The shield can only be broken when you ask it to be.” Alura silently stood up and blew a kiss to her daughter as she left the room.
“Go ahead Kara.” Cat conceded the first reveal to the Kryptonian.
“I’m not sure what to say.”
“I’m sure there’s something that’s been eating away at you. “ Cat glanced at the sheen bubble that encircled them and ran her finger along its glossy surface. She imagined this must be what it looked like inside a soap bubble.
“Okay, do you remember two Christmases ago? The very first party I attended at CatCo. I wore that Miss Claus outfit and handed out presents to the children.” Kara grinned from ear to ear as Cat nodded her remembrance. “You had just gotten this new perfume as a present from a ‘secret admirer’ and it smelled of mahogany, sandalwood and peonies. In the bottle it smelled like one thing but when you put it on your skin it transformed. It almost smelled like Krypton.” Kara smiled as Cat closed her eyes and relished the memory. She inhaled the air sharply as if she could smell the perfume even now.
“It’s still my favorite to this day.” She watched closely never letting her eyes leave Kara.
“It was entrancing. That night a man asked you to dance… you said yes. I was as surprised as anyone to see you spend a full hour with him. You kept all of your attention on him. It was the most attention I'd ever seen you give to anyone besides Carter.” Kara’s face fell at the unpleasant felling that accompanied the memories. Cat tried to interject but Kara continued.
“I could never figure out why you paid him so much attention. I guess that was the first time I can recall feeling jealous when it came to you.”
“I knew you were jealous. I saw you seething, that is why he received an hour of my time.” Cat smirked watching Kara’s jaw fall open with a small amount of irritation in her eyes.
“Cruel.” Kara hardly meant it. “Later that evening, I handed out presents to all of the staff members. You'd gotten one small trinket for all of them, each one perfectly picked. You warned me that if I ever told a soul that you were the one who bought them, you’d fire me. Everyone assumed I had gotten them.” Her face flushed at the fond recollection. It was one of the first times that Kara realized just how much Cat cared for others. “When you went back to your office after the party, after a few too many champagnes if I do say so myself,” Cat raised an eyebrow but let Kara continue her story, “there was a small golden box on your desk, wrapped with silver string. You thought you were alone. You looked all around for who might have sent it but there was no card. When you opened the box there was a silver charm bracelet in it. It was one exactly like the one you had when you were a little girl with a snowflake pendant. Do you remember that Cat?” Kara asked quietly. Cat’s eyes began to well , biting at her bottom lip recalling that moment all too well. She nodded slowly as Kara continued.
“When you asked me the next morning if I knew where it came from I said no. You reprimanded me for letting anyone come that close to you with a gift or anything for that matter and not know about it. You said it was my duty to protect you and that yes we had security but I should be ahead of even that curve. You said I had failed you.” Kara found it more difficult to retell this part of the story. She'd spent the better part of a week crying after she realized just how cruel Cat could be especially after having seen how vulnerable and kind she was during the Christmas party. Cat lightly placed her hand on Kara’s acknowledging just how savage she had been. Kara took Cat’s hand and turned her palm face up; looking at the lines along the center. She traced the lines up onto her fingers. “I gave it to you.” She said below her breath. She looked Cat in the eyes at her admission. “Your turn. “
Cat made no attempt to wipe the single tear that had fallen down her cheek. She looked through the other side of the sphere surrounding them; needing a reprieve from the overwhelming emotions that we're wading through the colored bubble. She let the moment pass longer and longer until she realized she didn't have a story as sweet as Kara’s. She only had what she kept to herself all these years.
“Six months ago you saw me out on my balcony staring over the edge, drunker than I've been in a long time. I don't remember much about that night but I remember you. I remember how scared you looked. I never told you why I was out there.”
Cat closed her eyes as she began to recount the night that she had spent six hours out on a freezing balcony. It had been an unseasonably cold February in National City reaching freezing temperatures on five separate occasions. Cat had spent the better part of 20 years fighting for her life. She fought tooth-and-nail for her business and for every ounce of power that she had. She fought for custody of both of her sons and lost terribly only to be reminded on the second go-around that she wouldn't be able to handle going through that again. She fought the world on the image they betrayed of her and the media on their treatment of women. She fought world leaders, overnight celebrities and every publication across the country for article space. Despite the battle vigor she showed the world, it was the silent battle that she fought that could be her undoing. It was the one only that could actually kill her.
“When I was 32, I was diagnosed with an early stage of uterine cancer.” Cat didn’t elaborate. Though what she didn’t say was that she had fought it valiantly. She had done everything short of a hysterectomy and came out on the other side still standing. “I won that battle but every year since on the same day, I go in for a checkup and each year I pass with a clean bill of health. It was two days past my 51st birthday and I received a call from my gynecologist. My test results had come back with an abnormal screening and I would need to be in the office again the next morning for additional testing.” Cat sat unflinching despite how Kara's face fought against the array of emotions that overwhelmed her. Without missing a beat, Cat continued.
“The first time I had gone through a cancer fight, I had no one to fight for. Adam was a flicker in my past and Carter was still a glimmer in my future. The only fear I had held was for myself. This time however as I stood on the balcony downing my fifth drink, I knew I wasn't the only one that would be home. I didn't know if I had the strength to do it all over again. I had nineteen years of an uphill battle under my belt. Nineteen years of fighting with everything I had and it was taking its toll. I was by no means suicidal but I looked over the edge of my balcony and wondered about the small figures that walked by stories below. I moved to the couch and for the better part of six hours I sat and lost all feeling in my extremities but numbness was what I was going for.”
With her eyes still closed, Cat remembered how the rest of the evening had played out.She hadn’t heard Kara open the door to the balcony nor did she feel her presence until there was a light tap on her shoulder. She’d turned her head around clearly frightened as Kara jumped back. Kara’s words echoed in her head.
"Miss Grant you're as cold as an ice cube. Let me grab you a coat or better yet why don't you come inside and I can grab you a mug of hot tea.” Cat had turned around to face the view completely ignoring Kara's request. She downed the last swig of scotch and threw the glass against the ground, never taking her attention off of the skyline as it shattered. Kara jumped back. “Oh my goodness Miss Grant! Are you okay?” Kara had let her general concern seep through her tone. "Please come inside or you'll catch your death out here."
“Ha, my death...wouldn't that be ironic.” Cat looked down and began to play with a single shard of glass with the tip of her high heel. She swirled it around and gathered the others around it and promptly stepped on it breaking it into even smaller fragments. “No one needs your assistance.”
“Miss Grant in these temperatures you could easily get frostbite.” Cat turned on a dime and focused despite her inebriated state.
“When I give you an order, I suggest you follow it. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. You are not wanted nor needed, leave!” Cat’s tone was chillier then the sub-zero temperatures. Kara obliged and left Cat alone with her thoughts.
Cat shook her head, bringing herself out of the unpleasant memory. It was one of the more gruesome exchanges Kara had ever had to be a part of and sitting across from her now; she clearly remembered the exchange. She had a million questions but didn't voice a single one of them; letting Cat be the one to divulge what she wanted.
“I went to the doctor the next day; they ran more tests. Thankfully the abnormality on the previous test had been a lab error. You didn't deserve my cruelty… you don't deserve it.”
“Cat, you had just received terrible news, there's nothing wrong with lashing out. I probably would have done the same thing.”
Cat snorted as she breathed in. “No you would have never done that. That's the difference between you and me. When bad things happen to me, I take it out on everyone else. When bad things happen to you, you turn it around and use it to help others. The truly valiant one here is you. Retaliation is never called for. I don't think I've ever actually said this to you but it's very overdue.” Cat looked straight in her eyes with the most sincerity Kara had ever seen across her face. “I'm sorry.”
“I uh...Cat ...I .” Kara stumbled over her words like she had every time Cat had ever directed intense emotion at her. “I'm not sure what to say.” Cat let the edges of her lips curl slightly.
“You don't have to say anything.”
Alura took a deep breath as she waited outside her husband’s study, each word she chose could mean the difference between him willingly giving Kara his blessing and continuing on like a child. She’d seen this stubborn streak in him before they married and it had increased over the years especially as he aged. She wasn’t one to take it lightly and she rarely indulged him in it but their daughter’s happiness was at stake. She had her reservations about humans like most Kryptonians but she trusted Kara’s judgement. She’d seen her interact with Cat and it reminded her of the early days when she fell in love with Zor-el. Alura took a final moment to center her breathing and wrapped lightly on the door, entering when she heard a tired grunt of approval.
“Do you plan on living in your office for the rest of your days?” Alura slid her fingers along his steel desk; she still remembered the wood furniture that littered her parent’s home as a child. Such novelties were long gone from her dying world.
“If that’s what it takes to get our daughter to see reason.”
“Your reasoning not hers.”
“Did you come in here to argue or was there another purpose?” Zor-el turned to face his wife, worry etched in the lines that had begun to litter his forehead. His words had been harsh but his posture spoke of the torment that the last hours had caused him. His back was slumped as he stood, walking toward his wife, he lost the last bit of fight he had.
Alura stood firm and gathered Zor-el into her arms, his body almost limp as he buried his face in her neck. They had been married long enough for the silence to transmit his apologies and regrets without having to voice them.
“I understand your reluctance to except a human into our family but Rao has chosen her and surely his wisdom is greater than our own.”
“Kara is the heir to all that we have worked for, I won’t have that compromised.”
“How quickly you forget that we did send her to Earth, who else was she to fall in love with?”
“Desperate measures were taken when the situation required it but my mind won’t be so easily changed; whether Rao has given his divine blessing or not.”
Alura lifted Zor-el’s head from her shoulder and placed a hand on either side of his face. Her thumbs brushed along his temples and she rose onto her toes to kiss the deepening lines along his forehead.
“Remind your mind, my darling, that the choice it makes will affect the relationship you have with your daughter… and your wife.” She ran her hands through his hair and placed her forehead onto his. “Chose wisely.” She placed a hand in the center of his chest before stepping back and leaving him to his thoughts.
The air within the bubble was devote of sound as Kara stared at Cat. She had never been given the chance to examine her as she did now. Her face no longer held the dark edges of cruelty that it once did. She didn’t shy away when Cat’s eyes held hers, she didn’t flinch when their skin touched and most of all she no longer wondered if she was truly in the woman’s heart. Kara knew Cat still needed to find that peace herself but she didn’t mind waiting. She wasn’t sure when but she’d taken Cat’s hand and was lightly rubbing her palm with her thumb.
“You know it's just now occurring to me, this bubble is the perfect place to figure out how to get out of this compound. I've been so wrapped up in learning about your life and trying to prove my apology rather than actually voicing it, I forgot our true mission here.”
“You’re right we've both been off task. My mind has been racing and all I've been thinking about is you and how to keep you safe. But I have to get Winn and James out too. After the memories are retrieved I need you to take whatever chance you can to run even if I can't come with you.”
“Kara, I won't leave you behind.”
“Yes you will. Carter needs you. Adam needs you. Hell this whole world needs you.”
“What about you, do you need me?” Cat let the selfish question linger.
“More than you'll ever know but I won't be selfish. Getting you out of here is my number one priority even if it means I have to stay behind.” During the intensity of their conversation, a single strand of hair had fallen in Kara's eyes and she's made no attempt to move it. Cat slowly bent forward and traced the edge of her hairline with a single finger moving the strand behind her ear.
“For the time being, let's be optimistic and try to get us all out of here. I'm sure that little genius hobbit is working on something. He's always been more resourceful than I gave him credit for. Remind me to thank him.” Kara leaned into Cats’ touch as she placed her hand on her cheek. They spoke at length of the possible ways they could escape after the transfer was completed. They had a tentative plan though only time would tell if it would work.
“I think it's time to leave the bubble.” Cat whispered.
“Just one more moment, we don’t know if we’ll get another quiet one before it’s over.” Kara leaned in slowly and placed her head against Cat’s swinging her legs to her side as she scooted closer. She breathed in the scent of her and exhaled audibly. “I like it here.” She motioned to the small space between them. “Can I kiss you?” Cat’s face wore a shocked expression but she nodded, moving Kara’s head in rhythm with hers. Kara’s smile erupted. She brought her hand up to Cat’s chin and fit her thumb in the small divot of her chin, slowly pulling her face up to hers. That’s where the hesitation ended. She crashed into Cat’s lips, fulfilling the longing that had been lingering on her lips since the night before. There was no haste or movement but a confidence of knowing this is where she was meant to be.
As soon as they parted, the swirl of colors that surrounded them began to rapidly move forming the spheres that they had come from. The spheres made their way back to each other, all joining together and placing themselves into the cedar box.
When Alex first joined the DEO, she was pulling double duty. Not only was she learning the ins and outs of her new position but she was using every spare second she had to learn all she could about Kara’s landing and Krypton. It didn’t take long for her to find the exact location of the pod’s landing. She’d packed up what instruments she could sneak out of the DEO and headed for the desert. Despite her best efforts, she hadn’t found much new information barring a small electrical reading that she couldn’t place at the time.
Now standing in the exact same spot more than five years later, she knew exactly what the reading had been. As J’onn had promised, a crew of three additional agents met them not long after she’d arrived. They’d used the cover of night to get as close to the location where Kara had landed as possible.
“How sure are you about this agent?” J’onn questioned her. She didn’t answer him but coyly smiled as she lined the perimeter around them with wire. She took her handheld scanner and ripped the backing off of it. She quickly uncoiled the now exposed wiring and connected it to the wiring that surrounded her team, twisting the metal pieces together.
“If I reverse the signal output to the same frequency as the electrical current, I should be able to see where it’s originating and lead us straight to Cadamus.” She let her words flow boastfully. She input the final algorithm and pressed transmit. As the command ran through the fibers of her device and through the wiring she’d set up, the plastic in her hand began to heat up. With a flicker of sparks, Alex dropped the scanner just as it caught flam. “Ouch, Damn!” They watched as the scanner burned to a charcoal black.
“We’ll find another way.” J’onn patted her on the back as she began to laugh.
“I may have set fire to the only scanner we had left but I sure as hell got the info I needed. There’s a tunnel system about a ½ a mile north of here.” She turned and patted him on the back returning the gesture with her own spark of sarcasm. She took off running in the direction of her sister as the others followed.
The tunnel was a poorly lit endless array. Each step they took down the ladder continued the illusion. The delicate skin along the pads of Winn’s hands was beginning to tear from the continued climb. The heat had increased as they grew closer to Cadamus’ power source. Sweat pooled on Winn’s brow and threatened what little he could see in the dark. To distract himself from the strenuous descent, he began thinking about the coding sequence it would take to infect the system. A few ideas had already been ruled out. First he’d thought about over loading the system but that put all of them in a hell of a lot more danger that they were already in. He’d then considered opening all of the entrances to the facility but all that did was strand them in the desert with a group of vigilantes who could easily capture them again. Then it occurred to him exactly what he had to do.
They continued to descend for what felt like hours but in all reality it had been a mere 30 minutes. Winn wrapped his leg around the latter to give his hands a break as he wiped the sweat from his brow with his sleeve. As he stared out into the darkness, a soft glow began to immerge like a star at dusk.
“I think we might almost be at the bottom.” Winn whispered to James who hung just above him.
“What’s the plan from here?”
“I need access to the Kryptonite stores, I’m afraid the rest is on Kara.”
Their feet soon found ground and they followed the distant light. A network of tunnels branched out on all sides of them but in the dark they couldn’t see the immense labyrinth they had entered. Muffled footsteps stopped them in their tracks. James had taken the lead as soon as they had meet ground and now pushed Winn against the nearest wall, his arm across his chest. Even the normally inaudible sound of their breathing bounced fiercely off the enclosed walls. A small red light blinked three times behind the yellow glow they had been following. It blinked in a pattern of three bleeps and then two, then four until the sequence repeated.
“Wait!” Winn blurted out.
“Shut up! Are you insane?!”James tried to shush him.
“No that red pattern is from a DEO mapping buffer.” Winn took off toward the light, loudly. He was suddenly thrown to the wall with a familiar elbow against his throat. “Hey Alex.” He choked out.
“Winn, what the hell are you doing down here?” She released his neck and brought him into a hug. “Where’s Kara?” Alex turned the beam up to light the entire tunnel; James came into view as she did.
“She’s with Cat in New Krypton.”
“They’re where?” Alex’s eyebrows both shot up.
“Long story but we have to get to the energy stores, they have Kryptonite and according to their files the systems are connected. If I can access them, I can shut everything down and give Kara her powers back.” Winn started off back into the darkness as J’onn pulled him back.
“Neither of you are field certified. James is a civilian. Agent Jones will take you both back to the surface and get you safely out of here.” J’onn pointed toward the direction they had come from.
“Boss, it’ll take you too long to bypass the systems on your own. I can help.”
“I won’t leave Kara.” James chimed in. “I have field experience just not on the record. If you take us out of here you not only lose an agent but two more people that could ensure that Kara and Cat are brought out of here alive. The facility houses at least a thousand people; you’re going to need every person you can get.” James stood his ground. J’onn’s gaze went back and forth between the two and it eventually fell to Alex. She gently nodded.
“If at any point you are more of a hindrance than help. I will have agent Jones escort you out. Understood?” Both nodded and they headed toward the warmth of the power source.
As soon as the glowing green panels came into view, Winn got to work. One of the agents that had come with J’onn was also a computer analysist and had been walked through the coding that Winn believed would override the built in security system. The coding it would take to slowly infect the entire system was something he didn't have that much time to create and he was grateful for the help. Alex, J’onn, James and the remaining agents left them with supplies and headed toward the dome. They were going to take down the facility from the inside out.
The walk back to Kara’s parents house was made in silence. The afternoon had turned to evening and the strange Kryptonian sky was now a deep purple with a dotting of stars. Her time in the bubble had given Cat too much to think about. So she chose not to. Instead she walked the halls of Kara’s home absorbing as much as she could of the woman’s life before she knew her. Kara was fast asleep, her chest rising and falling as her arms dangled off the sofa in the family room. Her eyes had become heavy as soon as they had come back to the house. Cat had covered her with a nearby blanket and ventured off.
As she looked at the family pictures and artifacts; a tune danced through her mind and she sang under her breath. It wasn’t a song she was aware she knew but the words escaped her mouth nonetheless. She looked through the monstrous windows lining the walls and dreamed for just a moment as the song caused her to sway.
“Shiljah tiljah qutz essalav” The words escaped her mouth but didn’t register to her ears as strange. She continued to sing as she watched the stars that she could see through the glow of Argo City’s lights.
“You have a lovely voice, Kryptonian suits you.” Alura’s breathy voice startled her in the otherwise quiet room.
“Kryptonian?” Cat’s perplexed expression showed through the darkness.
“Iztxlist eselat tilajsah ex.” Alura said asking for her hand in her mother tongue. Cat complied.
“How can I understand you?”
“Mishidh has many benefits, one of which is learning the language of your partners heart. It’s a good sign.” Alura smiled, Kara’s eyes refleced back at Cat for a moment. She turned back to the city before her.
“I've never been very good at anything that involved mothers so please forgive me if I don't know how to react.”
“You assume I don't like you. Why?”
“I have a feeling that the guide is in most circumstances equated to a soulmate and I don't quite know what to do with that information. If you had survived the crippling of Krypton, you would be close to my age now and I know how I would feel if my son were with a women my age and he was Kara's age.”
“Kara was born based on your star charts roughly three years after you is that such a significant age difference on Earth?”
“How is that possible? Kara seems to be many decades younger than me.” Cat didn’t turn to face Alura.
“Rao has many things that we will never understand and reasons for doing such that are beyond our comprehension. I don't question him in this nor would I put any significance on anything as trivial as age. No one can tell you how to go through this journey but there are people along the way that can help you. It seems that you have taken much of it alone. We are stronger together. El Mayara. Kara believes in you so I believe in you.” Alura placed her hand on Cat’s shoulder and lightly squeezed it before retiring to her room.
The time continued to pass in quiet swatches. Cat’s mind drifted back to a visitor she had had in her cell before coming to New Krypton. The more time Cat spent here the more she was sure Madame Girard wanted something more from Kara than Cat knew . As much as she tried to shake off the feeling, her intentions felt sinister on every occasion they had crossed paths. Cat had seen a communication console when she first arrived and with her newfound Kryptonian skill she could now access it. She let her fingers fly over the screen and rang Madame Girard’s office.
“To what do I owe this late-night call Catherine? We have a deal, pleasantries are not included.”
“I know Kara wants to believe you. She has to believe you for her own sanity.”
“But you're still a skeptic.”
“I'm a journalist and every single ‘spidey’ sense I have is going off with rapid alarm. You want to eradicate aliens, Kara is an alien. I want a guarantee that you will hold up your end of the bargain. Kara may not be willing to negotiate for her life but I am.” Cat stood up straight and let the silence envelop Madame Girard.
“What did you have in mind?
“A trade, one Kara must never know of. Secrecy is a commodity that I'm sure you've learned to trade in and I'm about to offer you some of the greatest currency you'll ever see.” Madame Girard’s face contorted into what most would call a snarl but by now Cat knew it was pleasure.
“I look forward to our next discussion. The observation room 0600.” Madam Girard ended the transmission. Cat stared at her reflection on the screen with her own snide smile intact. She tiptoed back toward Kara and covered her shoulders with the blanket that lay next to her. She walked to her room without a regret in the world.
I want to thank you guys for your kind words and insightful comments. I know it's been slow going with updates but I appreciate that you guys have taken the time to read my story. I've hit some snags with the story over the last month and it hasn't gotten the attention it deserves but it's back on track now. This chapter is shorter but the next promises to be much longer. Thanks again.
Cat was restless, even more so then her usual state. Her overactive brain spun around every word Madame Girard had spoken. After ending the communication, she paced back and forth from Kara to the communication bay, wearing a rut in the floor of the hallway. She watched as Kara slumbered peacefully, unaware of the shady deal Cat was constructing on her behalf. The same thoughts continued to circle in her mind, gnawing at her. It had to be nearly dawn as she kneeled down and pressed a light kiss to Kara’s forehead, sure of what she had to do.
“I’ll fix this.” She whispered, making sure not to rouse the sleeping woman. She quickly moved to the deck door that led to the observation room. As she turned to close the door behind her, a gust of air blew her hair array. Madame Girard moved from the shadows starling Cat as she did.
“I don’t have the slightest idea what you think you can offer me but I’m intrigued. Make your pitch worthwhile, I bore easily.” Madam Girard didn’t move as Cat came near her. Instead she sneered and drummed her fingers against each other in the steeple they formed.
“I know you need a friend on the inside. I know of a man in the extraterrestrial unit of the NSA that has a very specific fetish and I have proof. I was going to take it to print but I could part with that information if Kara, Winn, James and myself are given safe passage home.” Cat leaned against the railing that separated the edge of the observation deck and Krypton’s desert expanse.
Madame Girard didn’t speak; she mulled over the prospect of this new found black mail and smiled to herself. Her eyebrow arched as she ran her tongue over her teeth. She moved glacially toward Cat. She came impossibly close before extending her hand toward the journalist. With a firm shake, the deal was sealed and Madam Girard disappeared into the shadows she had appeared from.
Cat waltzed back toward the house, exceedingly pleased with herself. She hadn’t noticed the Kryptonian frame that stood between her and the door. Cat nearly ran straight into the golden curls that draped over Kara’s shoulder, stopping only with the help of her hand on the door frame.
“Kara, you scared me half to death.” Cat heaved, taking in a large amount of air attempting to quiet her rapid heartbeat.
“How could you do that?” Kara spoke just above a whisper as not to wake her slumbering parents. Looking up into her eyes, the rage Cat saw there was foreign to her. She’d been watching as Cat bargained for their lives at the expense of every alien that might step foot on Earth. Her chest tightened and she slammed her fist against the door frame just above Cat’s hand. “I’m not more important than the people Madam Girard will have killed if she has that information.”
“You are to me!” Cat raised her voice.
Kara starred at her but couldn’t form the words needed to rebuff her. Cat watched as Kara’s thoughts displayed through her features, a constant fight between her better half and the strength that coursed through her alien blood. Cat stopped the bubbling rage by offering her hand. The gesture took Kara by surprise smoldering her anger; she took it and was led into the living room. Cat sat them unceremoniously down where Kara had fallen asleep.
“There are very few things I am willing to cooperate with evil for. You, my dear, are one of them.” Cat felt Kara’s hand tense in her own, the anger having not fully receded. Kara’s brows furrowed as she chose her words carefully.
“You were worried that you were not good enough for me, I’ve never seen it until now.” The words bit Cat like the frost in winter, unrelenting. “The lives of possibly thousands of people outweigh my own. It’s what I fight for as Supergirl every day. If we differ on that…then there is no hope for us.” Kara ripped her hand from Cat’s. “We have a ceremony to attend in a few hours; I’d prefer not to see you before then.” Kara stormed out of the room, leaving Cat in pieces in her wake.
Alura watched as Kara paced her bedroom, having worked herself up to the point of implosion. She watched as the lower corner of her daughters lip screamed red at her incessant chewing. Kara’s eyes were strained and red from the ire inspired tears she fought. She had charged into Alura’s bed chambers, first looking to see if her father was present. Upon seeing that he had risen early as per his custom and was in his study, she let an avalanche of words pour over her mother; recounting Cat’s actions from that morning.
“How am I supposed to go through with the Mishidh, put my life in her hands, if I can’t trust her? How am I supposed to forgive her?” Kara was pleading for an answer.
“Kara if you keep fighting against what your heart wants you'll end up in pieces. You don't have to be honest with me but you do have to be honest with yourself.” Alura stopped her pacing, sat her in front of the vanity and lithe hands began to braid her hair as Kara continued.
“Fighting? What are you talking about? She lied to me! She’s willing to sacrifice thousands of lives just to get us home.” Kara abruptly stopped talking. Alura let the hurt of Krypton not being her daughter’s home wash over her. She quickly forced a smile to cover the hurt.
“Love is sacrifice. I would worry if she wasn’t willing to let the entire planet implode before she let harm come to you. Her concern is for your safety. Did you allow her to explain?” Alura fastened her hair and let it fall down her back.
“What’s to explain? She said she was willing to work with evil to help me. I can’t trust someone who can so easily throw their morals out the window. I don’t understand. This isn’t the Cat Grant that I know.” Kara turned and made eye contact with her mother, whose face had erupted in a genuine smile.
“You still have so much to learn about love, my dear. Forgiveness of your partner’s weaknesses will be your greatest asset when you learn to embrace it. You’re still fighting your heart; you are using this argument with Catherine as a means to escape your future. The transfer will bring the truth out of both of you whether you're ready or not. Take a moment to collect yourself; the rest of the day is sure to be trying.” Alura placed a kiss on the top of Kara’s head and left her at the vanity. Kara didn’t notice as her mother exited the room and nearly ran straight into Cat.
“I assume you heard our conversation.” Alura bowed her head slightly.
“I'm not one for lying so yes I did.” Cat answered, looking in on Kara as she examined her reflection in the mirror. “Before this mess, Kara thought that we should have a moment together. I have quite a few questions for you.”
“I assumed you would, it is much to take on.” Alura stood stoically and looked at the eyes of the alien woman before her, looping her hand through Cat’s elbow and walking her out of earshot of Kara. “Ask anything you like of me Catherine, you have captured the heart of my daughter. You have my full attention.”
“That's actually where the questions begin. How do you know that? I see admiration in her eyes but love seems unrealistic. I'm not sure how the customs work on Krypton but on Earth, Kara and I have many obstacles.”
“Then it seems there are parts of Kara’s story that you do not yet know. She has faced many obstacles but I know love will not be one of them.”
“I don’t doubt there are a great many things I don’t know about Kara, which is what worries me. As her guide what are my responsibilities?”
“It is your job to bring her soul back from the journey that she will be embarking upon. She will find guidance in your voice and in your love but you must have full faith that you can do this.”
“What happens if I can't get her back?” Cat questioned with a tint of panic to her voice. “What happens to Kara?” Cat’s pulse pounded as her anxiety rose; she was nearing the level of no return on her nerves.
“You will. You have traveled across galaxies to find each other; nothing will keep you apart now.” Alura’s words sounded like an unsung melody. Cat nervously wrung her hands. “Kara will experience a euphoric moment in Rao's light that can be very intriguing, intoxicating even and as her guide it is your job to give her a reason to come back. To show her that she has something on this side that is more important.” Alura placed her hands on Cat’s shoulders and squeezed them lightly.
“I wish I had your faith.”
“If you believe in Kara, then you do. Each of you has what the other lacks. She will receive memories from our past. Most importantly, she will receive one moment from the future. Once she knows a piece of her destiny, she cannot escape it. Do not be mistaken, what you are about to engage in is the riskiest of Kryptonian ceremonies. You need to be prepared to voice the things that you have kept to yourself. You’ll need to make acknowledgments of things that you insist don't exist; I can see them as clear as I see you sitting before me, you will need to as well. Kara’s life will hang in the balance and she cannot be lost because you are afraid to face the truth.”
Cat swallowed hard and studied Alura’s face, so pristine yet so forceful. If only Cat could learn how to be as direct and honest as her without being cruel. Her eyes glistened with the beginnings of tears. Clearing her throat she smoothed out non-existent wrinkles in her clothes and broke eye contact with Alura.
“I would never let harm come to Kara.”
“I know yet you still seem unsure. What is causing you such reservations?”
“How do you tell someone that you’d give anything to protect and love them but they'd be better off without you?”
“Is that what you really believe?” Alura took Cat by the arm and lead her down a hallway she hadn’t yet explored.
“Do I believe that Kara has been given a great destiny and that I could keep her from it? Yes. She has more to do in this life than guard my heart.” Cat followed Alura into a greenhouse, paneled to the sky in brilliant windows that gave rise to more exotic species of plants than Cat could have imagined.
“You sell her short. You assume she is incapable of leading her life to its fulfillment and loving another at the same time.” Alura smiled gently. Cat felt like a child in front of her.
“I know Kara is more than capable, my doubt lies with me. She deserves a full uncompromising love, one I'm not sure I'm capable of.”
“We all have doubts as far as the stars range but I know what I have seen between you and my daughter and I know the wisdom of the shovuh under Rao’s light.”
“You still haven’t answered my question, what happens if I can’t get Kara back?”
“She’ll be lost forever .In limbo, Purgatory as you would say it.” Alura pivoted and circled her body around to smell the purple belled flowers that hung near her head. The words that left her mouth were morose but she smiled as the scent overtook her.
“How can you be so flippant about that possibility?”
“Catherine Grant of Earth, you have asked the same question in many forms and I have given you the same answer. I can see the string between you and my daughter even from here. There is no doubt in my mind that you are the only person who could possibly get her back from the brink.” Alura lead Cat back into the house. “It’s time to prepare for the transfer ceremony.”
“I thought there were three tasks to complete. I thought the transfer was the final task?”
“It is, you just completed the second. The essence of the Kilsjosh is to express any impending fear that might keep you from completing the transfer. You were brave enough to be honest with me. Look at your left index finger.” Alura smiled lifting Cat’s hand for her to examine. As Cat studied her finger prints, she noticed a small geometric design etched among the pattern. “You are ready.”
Zor-el watched as Kara fastened small flowers into her flowing braid. He’d disappeared to his study at the rising of the sun but had been unable to concentrate as guilt swam in his chest. He had always been rather close with his daughter and the growing canyon between them was unacceptable. He stood with his hands securely placed behind his back and watched as Kara readied herself for the Mishidh. He recalled the dreams Alura and he had had about this day and the joy that accompanied such memories. He wouldn’t be the reason that was poisoned.
“Do you love her?” Zor-el inquired, stepping into the room. Kara jumped at the sudden intrusion into her quiet moment. He met her eyes with fierce determination. Zor-el was never one to beat around a subject. She bit at her lip trying to give herself a moment to think, her phrasing of such a thing would be a delicate matter.
“Silence is its own answer, my dear daughter. Why do you run from your fate?”
“I'm not running. What makes you think I’m running? Mother said the same thing. You don't just pick who you’re going to be with for the rest of your life because the molecules told you to. There’s another person to consider in all of this. Cat is not Kryptonian. She's my boss and my friend but forever is too much to ask of her.” Zor-el positioned his index finger under her daughter's chin and raised it to his sights.
“It might take time to understand but shovuh is never wrong. I want to give you my blessing but I need to hear the words directly from you. What is causing you such fear?” Zor-el placed his hand on his daughter’s shoulder. Kara bit her lip harder as the edges of her eyes crinkled. Her shoulders rounded and she brought her hands to cover her eyes.
“What if she doesn’t want me?” Kara’s voice was muffled. “She’s Cat Grant, I know that doesn’t mean anything here but on Earth, I don’t compare in the least to her.” As Kara’s words continued to spill out, the same small shape that etched itself into Cat’s finger appeared on hers. Seeing it appear, Zor-el kneeled and leveled his gaze with his daughter’s. He embraced her.
“You are ready.” Zor-el stood, smiled at his daughter and left her to dress for the ceremony.
Cat was instructed to wait in the living area. She sat on a chair nearest the window; she was still surprised that the view outside them was Krypton. She’d wondered on occasion what Supergirl’s planet must have looked like but had rarely given her mind time for in-depth dalliances. However, one late night while writing her first Supergirl article, Cat gave herself permission to think of what other worlds might have dotted her galaxy. She had imagined a lush landscape with forests and exotic plants, nothing like what she saw today. Krypton had been stricter than she expected, a very hierarchy driven society that she doubted would have given much to Kara’s strengths of creativity and light. She was quite lost in her own thoughts when a clearing of Alura’s throat brought her back to the present.
“May I present Kara Zor-El, Nobel member of the House of El; the only living remembrance of our planet and the soul to carry on the House of El.” Alura presented her daughter like she was about to be crowned Queen. Cat knew the Alura she saw was only a figment of the actual woman, but she liked her. She had a softness to her that was shown in the way she looked at Kara. How a virtual recreation of a person could do that was beyond her. It didn’t change the fact that Cat had very much wished for Kara’s sake that the hologram was real.
Alura moved to the side to reveal Kara as she turned the corner. She moved with a regality Cat had never seen her display; even as Supergirl. She was adorned in deep purple, a shade set aside for royalty both on Krypton and Earth. Her hair had been fashioned into a twisted braid and pinned back, loose stray curls framing her face. Her cheeks were brushed with the lightest of pinks and her eyes were darkened with liner. Cat had never seen Kara this dolled up. It caused her pulse to leap at the beauty before her.
“Wow.” She let slip. Kara’s hands were adorned with jewels and golden chains that snaked through her fingers and around her wrists. Her hair was interwoven with pieces of fine metals known only to Krypton, tinged in turquoise. The usually unadorned Kryptonians had one exception, their sense transfer ceremonies and they were elaborate.
“It’s not too much is it?” Kara asked coyly. Alura interceded with a light kiss to her daughter’s forehead.
“You look radiant my child.” Alura whispered, Kara stiffened slightly under her affections.
“Thank you Mother. May I have a moment alone with Cat?”
“Of course. I’ll be in the bay preparing for the transfer. We must leave shortly, be brief.” Kara acknowledged her mother’s request with a nod. Alura looked to Cat before leaving, smiling she nodded with a knowing glance. As soon as Alura was out of ear shot, Kara moved to Cat’s side. The air became heavy as soon as they were alone. Cat searched Kara’s eyes and saw only ice. The Kryptonian struggled, washes of emotions flickering over her face. Finally Kara’s shoulders slumped.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t give you a chance to explain before I stormed out.” She didn’t raise her gaze.
“No you didn’t, but I should have expected it. I tried to fix everything on my own. If there’s anything you’ve taught me it’s that we are stronger together. You are forgiven.” Cat reached out and examined the finery that adorned Kara’s hands.
“It’s too much. I feel beautiful but like my skin isn’t actually mine anymore. Is it alright?” Kara looked down at the heavily embroidered dress she was wearing.
“You look stunning.” Cat took full stock of the image before her and grinned. “Who knew there was a fashionista underneath all the poly blend you wear.” Cat teased to a bemused Kara.
“There you go again, knowing exactly what I need. There’s still time to back out. We don’t have to do this.”
“I’ll admit I’m not thrilled about solely being responsible for your well-being but I’m willing none the less.” A slight knock on the entry door alerted them to Alura’s presence again.
“Catherine, it's your turn. Come along.” Alura beckoned Cat into the dressing room. Her eyes opened wide while looking at Kara. Zor-el stood outside of the entry with his arms crossed, watching as his daughter spoke to her guide.
“I'm sorry I know it's not what you would normally wear but it's part of the ceremony.”
“I'm actually more frightened to be alone with your father and find that he disapproves of me being your guide.”
“It's traditional for the guide and the parents to bond before the ceremony. They would normally take weeks to get to know you and build a bond but we only have a couple of hours. I know this is a lot to ask and I wouldn't ask unless I knew it was the only way. This is something that I've wanted since I was a little girl and I thought I would never get it. This is my second chance and you're a big part of that.” Kara pleaded. Cat’s eyes softened and she lowered her hand not realizing she had begun to play with the embroidered beads on Kara's dress.
“If you asked me to jump off a building, I would. I'm going to have to work on that, you have far too much pull with me Miss Zor-El.” She took a deep breath and brought her shoulder up to her ears, releasing the breath she had been holding. She looked from Kara to Alura and Zor-el and walked into the dressing room.
Alura went to the closet and retrieved a purple flowing dress. She handed it to Cat as she slipped behind the silk dressing partition and slipped into the dress. It fit her as if it had been tailored to her body. It had the same filigree pattern of embroidery along the arms as Kara’s but a very different pattern just over the heart. Alura guided Cat back to the vanity and sat her in front of it. Uncomfortable silence fell over both of them as she began to gather Cat’s blonde locks and pin them to the side with jewels similar to Kara’s. The golden metals and gems glistened in the light that filtered through the room’s skylight. They twinkled with an intensity that shouldn't have been possible from a gem. She watched Alura transform her appearance into a softer tone before her eyes. All the while Zor-el stood silently on the far end of the room.
“If this had been under normal circumstances, what would our bonding time have looked like?” Cat was much more comfortable with awkward conversation than silence. She directed the question to Zor-el.
“We would meet your family, share meals and a home for seven solar days. Our time together would allow for both parties to see what the lives of the others are like. Do you have a family on Earth?” Zor-El moved from his position along the wall and took a few steps toward the woman.
“My father died when I was a child, my mother is more of an acquaintance than family but I do have my sons.” Cat smiled despite herself. Her thoughts had often wondered to Carter with worry over the last few days. For all he knew, she was dead. A shutter escaped her at the pain he must be in. She hadn’t seen as Kara’s parents’ faces fell at the revelation that she had children.
“You have children?” Zor-el stood to his full height again, agitated.
“Yes, is there a problem?” Cat turned from her reflection and faced him. Alura stepped toward her husband and placed her hands on his chest, speaking before he could.
“No it’s wonderful.” Alura’s eyes glistened as her hands moved to the side of Zor-El’s face. “We would very much like to meet them someday.” Cat nodded knowing that would never actually be a possibility.
“Tell me how you meet our daughter and about her life on Earth. She has been rather close lipped about it.” Zor-El spoke with more caution as his wife wrapped her fingers in his.
“You would be very proud of her. She spends her days as a writer but every free moment she has, she spends saving the people of my world. Though we did spent most of the day together for years, I’m afraid I was too selfish to get to know her during that period. She has an adopted sister and family that she speaks of fondly and very loyal friends but anything further you will have to ask her yourself.”
“We will.” Alura kissed her husband’s temple, moved toward Cat and extended her hand. Cat took it and squeezed gently.
“Were you each other’s guides?” Cat asked tentatively.
“Yes.” Zor-El chimed in.
“How did you get her back from Rao’s light?”
“When the time comes you'll find the words that need to be spoken.” He walked to his wife brushed her cheek with his thumb and exited the dressing room. Alura set the last pin in Cat’s hair and slowly leaned down placing a kiss on the top of her head. “It’s time.”
The door opened and Kara entered, a smile as bright as Krypton’s suns across her face. She stopped dead in her tracks and mouthed ‘wow’. She didn’t hide it as her eyes trailed up and down Cat. Alura’s face beamed at Kara’s reaction.
“I’ll leave you alone before we begin. I will be waiting on the observation deck.” Alura lightly bopped her index finger on Kara’s nose and closed the door behind her.
“When I was little I only ever saw one sense transfer. The girl was 27 at the time and I felt like she was a million years older than me but now I know she must have been just as frightened as I am. I could possibly have all of the secrets that my parents have ever kept from me but at what cost?”
“If it helps, my terror levels are rather maxed out as well.” Cat took Kara in her arms and placed the woman’s head on her shoulder. “I won’t let you fall.”
Rustic wooden doors engraved from top to bottom were the entryway to what Cat normally would have called a chapel but she had no idea what this particular building would be called on Krypton. All of the materials she’d seen used for building had been any and all forms of metal up until now. Besides the singular piece in Kara’s parent’s house, she hadn't seen any wooden structures. The doors presence gave an alien feel amongst an already alien world. Cat rarely felt as unprepared for something as she did now. The doors swung open, all 10 feet creaking as they did.
“We are ready for you.”
Cat took calming deep breaths and walked forward into a room that was much smaller than she had anticipated. It was no bigger than the small office that she had given Kara. Adornments hung from every wall more colorful than anything she's ever seen on Krypton, all of which up until now had conveyed a rather ‘beige’ feel. The only sources of light were the candles that lined the walls as well as a large candle sitting in the middle of the room. There were wooden stools that stood only inches above the ground. They were shaped like the curve of a Kryptonian spine clearly meant for long periods of sitting. Surrounding the large candle in the middle of the room, was a sea of white sand. It reminded Cat very much of something she'd seen in a Zen Garden in New York City but these pebbles of sand were a shade of ivory that even the most tropical coasts of Earth couldn't replicate. There were words drawn into the sand ones that she could now recognize as Kryptonian.
Alura and Zor-El stood next to the open door, Zor-El offered his hand to Cat and she tentatively placed her fingers in his palm. Alura offered her hand to Kara in the same manner and ushered them into the transfer room. The door closed behind them and with the sealing of the door a silence fell over the room. Kara sat on one edge of the circular sea of white sand and Cat on the other. The circle was small enough that Kara could reach across it and she held out her hands to Cat, who immediately took them. Alura and Zor-El stood above them and pulled a cord attached to a curtain on the farthest wall. A tapestry of vivid blue reeled out along the walls with the crest of the House of El.
“The House of El goes back to the birth of Krypton, many nobles and great minds have come from our lineage. Today they welcome Kara Zor-El into their midst. Who will guide her along this journey?” Kara looked as her parents did to Cat.
“I will.” Cat answered. Kara smiled softly, feeling the slight nervous tremor in Cat's hands.
“Kara will be entering Rao’s light just long enough to retrieve the memories of her ancestors. Along the journey, she will receive one moment from the future. It will be known only to her and remain a cherished source of joy that she can carry with her until it becomes reality. Now you must both take a piece of Rao's light.” Zor-El spoke regally and slowly as he watched them closely. He motioned toward the candle that sat between them.
“Hold the flame in your hand that stands between you. If your heart is true and the bond between you is real, it will not burn you.” Alura continued. Cat’s fear was palpable as Kara squeezed tightly to both of her hands. She nodded slightly and touched the flame, Cat soon followed suit. The flames licked at Cat's hand but they held only heat not pain. She could feel it warming your fingers and her hand. Every vein, muscle and bone in her body slowly warmed as if the fire had engulfed her.
“Now close your eyes. The journey begins.” Alura’s words became softer and seemed farther and farther away as the heat of the flame entered her heart. She could sense Kara but not in a physical manner. She felt weightless. Had she not had her eyes closed, she could have sworn that Kara was directly beside her. The darkness covered her vision and began to morph into colors, shades of which she had only seen in dreams. She could hear Kara’s voice, like dust among a heavy breeze. The colors violently created a landscape before her that seemed all too real. Kara stood across a meadow on the edge of a cliff, a blazing green razors edge of a cliff. She was looking over an ocean of purple with calming waves. Yellow sprite like bursts of smoke lingered on all sides of her, emanating from thin air. They moved farther and farther up into the sky each creating a moving picture in the air. She saw faces that looked eerily like a younger Alura and Zor-el.
Simultaneously numerous yellow smoke pictures played scenes above their heads, one of a young man and woman meeting, another of a valiant battlefield, many of children being born, yet another and then suddenly hundreds. All were different depictions of moments in the lives of Kara’s ancestors; some happy, some devastatingly sad .Kara spun trying to absorb as much as she possibly could until finally she stood and threw her hands up in the air closing her eyes. Rapidly each puff of smoke seemed to dissolve into her. Then one singular thread played only for Kara’s eyes as it entered her mind. Cat couldn’t speak though she tried to cry out. Kara began weeping with a joy so profound Cat could feel the emotion radiating off of her. Cat felt the lingering presence of Alura and Zor-El behind her.
She knew her moment was almost upon them. Kara turned suddenly to face her. She seemed wiser, older and heavier in her new found knowledge. She began to walk backwards ever so slowly but clearly to the edge of the cliff. She raised her hands as if she were choosing to fly off the edge backwards. Cat threw her arm out trying to touch Kara but her fingers meet a wall of electricity that crackled through her and threw her back. Wherever Kara was Cat was not allowed in.
“Kara look at me. It's time to go home. Give me your hand.” Cat stated. Kara smiled at her softly and shook her head.
“I can feel everyone who ever was and everyone that will ever be. I can feel Rao's light, why would I ever leave?” Kara questioned with an edge to her voice.
“People need you back on Earth. Kara, there is so much you haven't done yet, so many things you haven't accomplished. People need you.”
“What people Cat?”
“Your family, your sister and your foster mother.”
“Who else Cat?”
“Your friends and the people you save as Supergirl.” Kara stepped closer to the edge. Cat screamed as small rocks fell from below Kara’s feet the closer she got to the edge.
I know it has been far too long since I have updated this. My sincere apologies, just know this story WILL be finished. I currently have three chapters besides this one that will be ready to go shortly. I spent the summer trying to finish this so I could make sure as soon as I started to post again I could do so with some frequency. Let me know if you're enjoying it!
Winn wiped the sweat from his brow and continued to type as his fingers cramped from the exertion. The first three attempts he had made at reversing the Kryptonite being pumped into the walls had almost lead to his and Agent Dawes detection. They had moved locations numerous time but were running out of options.
“Come on…dammit. That sequence is almost fool proof, who the hell designed this?” Winn snapped.
“I could give you my best guess but it’s not going to go over well.” Kerry answered. Somewhere during the last few hours, Winn had learned his companion’s name, but was having a hard time committing it to memory.
“Don’t hold out on me now.”
“I worked on the data analysis of Alex’s father’s work with Kryptonians and the signature matches, at least from what I can see here.”
“Seriously, I’m working against a Danvers! Crap, we have to hurry. Alex doesn’t know what she’s walking into.”
Winn found a small spot behind one of the generators that housed a control patch that could be accessed just out of sight of one of the security cameras. He hauled up there and began building a string of sequences. Ideally the sequence would cause the particle generators controlling New Krypton to create enough led that it would backtrack through the system and into the walls; in effect causing the Kryptonite to become useless. Just as Winn was about to lose his battle with fatigue, he stumbled upon an entry known as Mitus. It was anything but a genius title but it was well encrypted. He quickly copied the file and moved it to a location that even the greatest hacker wouldn’t venture into; a garbage file for temperature regulation. The bruises on Winn’s knees from crawling through the ducts were beginning to ache.
“I can access the shutdown remotely but we have to find Alex first.”
The wind whipped Cat in the face as she watched Kara creep closer to the edge. Her screams were hollow much like her chest felt. She couldn’t go past the barrier; all she had now were her words. They had served her well her entire life but this time she had to let her heart have a say. She watched the yellow wisps of smoke continued to circle Kara and pebbles tumble over the edge were her heels hung over the cliff. She tapped her finger to her lips and put caution to the wind.
“Do you remember the day after my mother first visited?” Kara cocked her head toward Cat’s words. “Oh course you do, you seem to remember everything. I sat in my office and I felt sorry for myself, everyone had gone for the night and the sky was already dark. I had begged you to leave hours before. Can you imagine me begging?” Cat chuckled to herself. “I asked you why you stayed. I asked you why you were always around. I know you thought I was drunk; I certainly acted it. I know you think I don't remember this but you shrugged and under your breath you said ‘because I need to be near you.’
“Then about a month later, we were in the back of the company car on our way to god-knows-what meeting about something completely frivolous. I had gotten a call from Carter’s school; another boy had made fun of him, made fun of our life and me so Carter punched him. I was so torn between feeling the pain that another child had put my precious boy through and being proud of him. I let a chuckle and a tear out. You put your hand on my shoulder and you absorbed that emotion with me. I remember something in my chest giving way.
“For the next 6 months every time you touched me, said something kind or were resilient when I was cruel another brick fell. I need you Kara. I have done everything and tried in every single way to push you away to keep you at arm's length but you and your sunny disposition broke every single wall that I ever built. No matter the tower I had locked myself away in, you found a way in. No one; not my family, not my ex-husbands, no one has ever known me like you know me. I still keep secrets from you and you still trust me. You love my children and they love you back. Kara Danvers Zor-El, I could not imagine living on this planet one day without you; let alone the rest of my life.” Cat’s hands hung at her side, her chest open and head up. There were no lies in the words that left her mouth for the first time in a long time.
“I don't know what that means in the grand scheme of things but I know I feel more for you than I have for anyone. I need you here, to figure it out with me but mostly I just need you with me.” Cat’s voice shook as she let it all come pouring out of her. Kara’s eyes closed.
“Cat, I can see it. I can feel eternity. There’s nothing like it.” She began to lift her arms.
“I don't know what you saw. I can’t understand the depth of the agony that you have faced by losing your entire planet; by having everyone you've ever known and loved die. But I have seen how capable of love you are and the passion that you bring to everyday. I adore that you readily share that enthusiasm with anyone who is willing to accept it. I want nothing more than to accept it. Please Kara come home.” In that moment it felt as if Kara was sinfully close to her; as if there were no barriers in between them and the space that she took up consisted of Kara as well. She saw the image of the cliff begin to crumb into nothingness, Kara along with it. She felt Kara’s hand graze hers and slip past. Suddenly her vision turned to black.
The humidity of the tunnels gave way to a gust of wind as Alex, John and James managed to get above ground rather quickly after leaving Winn and Kerry’s sides. They followed his instructions to the tee and found themselves right outside of New Krypton. As they exited the server room Alex found a rack of white lab coats. She grabbed one and quickly tossed another to J’onn and James. She grabbed a clipboard that was nearby. They would need all the help they could get to blend in.
As they walked out among the others, they surveyed just how large the New Krypton sphere was. Alex began reading through the specs of the dome that were hung from nearby charts. A voice came booming down from the catwalk above that quickly sent chills like knives through Alex's skin.
“Kara has just entered the transfer, be ready to retrieve her as soon as the memories are intact.”
“Dad?” Alex whispered below her breath, trying with everything she had not to burst into tears and run to his side. J’onn put a hand on her forearm bringing her back to the moment. She stared as her father made his way towards the base of New Krypton where she was.
“Alex you can't. We have to stay hidden for as long as possible. We shouldn’t even be in the same vicinity as Jeremiah. It’s too great a risk. We don't know whose side he's on or how involved he is.”
“That's my father he wouldn't do anything to hurt Kara, he might even be able to help us. It's been a decade since I've seen him. Don't make me wait any longer.” Alex twisted her arm away from J’onn as the corners of her eyes pinched the tears that formed.
“Are you willing to bet Kara’s life on that?” J’onn spoke to her telepathically. Alex hesitated.
“Yes.” She sprinted up the side stairs that lead to the upper catwalk just as Jeremiah was about to enter Madame Girard’s office. He felt a tap on his shoulder and quickly whipped around to find himself face to face with his oldest daughter.
“Alex? What are you doing here? You can't be here. They'll kill you.” He pushed her to a more concealed corner. “If Madame Girard sees you there's nothing I can do to save you .Did you come alone?” His words were forceful and cutting, as his hand dug into her shoulders.
“Yes.” Alex lied, trying not to turn her gaze toward J'onn, who was still below with the others.
“Then I suggest you leave the way you came in?” He released her.
“Dad please don't do this. I won’t leave without Kara.”
“Then you won’t be leaving at all.” His eyes were cold as he looked right through her.
J’onn watched from below as Alex’s face fell. He wanted nothing more than to rescue her but some lessons were meant to be learned alone. As he watched Jeremiah push his daughter away, he heard heavy breathing coming toward him. He turned to see Winn bent over trying to catch his breath, he and Kerry had made use of the rack of lab coats as well. It was a momentary disgust but a necessary one.
“Boss!” Winn huffed out his words as he neared J’onn. “The coding is… ready to go on… your call but Jeremiah he is ….involved. I gotta up my cardio.” Winn bent over again opening up his lungs as he gulped in air.
“Good to see you buddy.” James clapped Winn on the back, as he continued to catch his breath; he also caught the attention of the scientists around him. They began to whisper among themselves as Winn instinctively stood taller and moved toward J’onn.
“It’s them, the escaped prisoners.” A voice rang from near the dome. J’onn looked to either side of them as people began to close in on them.
“Now Winn! Time to go, we’ve worn out our welcome.” J’onn directed. Winn pressed three keys on the panel next to him and initiated the sequence. “Alex!” He called up to her and began to run for the nearest exit with James and Winn on his tail. Jeremiah looked distraught as saw the running hoard.
“You lied to me.” His eyes rang with rage.
“I learned it from you. I always thought the point of your research was to create understanding, I thought I was your daughter. I thought wrong.” Alex ollied over the railing onto the nearest tower and barely caught the side of the stairs as she ran after the others. They were being pursued almost immediately.
“Split up.” J’onn called behind him. Winn and James followed him as Kerry headed toward Alex. Each group turned the corner and made their way to the ducts. The floor beneath them began to rumble. “Winn what’s happening?”
“I don’t know the structural integrity of the dome shouldn’t be connected to the Kryptonite stores unless…oh my God. The pressure valves are gonna blow! Run!”
Cat could still feel Kara ingrained in her skin but the darkness was overwhelming. They hadn’t left the transfer, instead she could feel Kara’s turmoil as it enveloped them. The vivid dream world that had built itself around them was now a void and the heat of entering it was now lingering at her fingertips again.
“Focus on me, don’t let the darkness swallow you. You’re coming home. There’s a whole life you’ve built that’s waiting for you. I won’t let you pass that up. Focus on how incredible having your parent’s memories is going to be. The only way you get to have that is if you come home, please, come home.”
“Why?” Kara whispered above the overwhelming fray. “Tell me, Cat. Give me one good reason to abandon everything I have just found. Tell me why?”
“Do you want me to scream if from the rooftops, because I will. I will climb up every mountain that ever threatens to destroy you and scream until my voice is gone and my lungs are raw. I love you Kara Danvers Zor-el! I will spend every moment I have left in this life proving that to you. I love you.” Cat could feel the white hot tears spill down her face as she tried to control her heavy breathing. Her heart beat pounded in her temples as every molecule in her pleaded for her love to be enough.
Suddenly the air began to lift in its heaviness. The overwhelming light of Rao was abruptly less intoxicating. Kara had something that she wanted more, something that still had so much promise and life left in it. She suddenly couldn't wait to see what would happen. In the very back of her mind she had a dwindling doubt, a single thought, a single secret that she still hadn’t had the courage to share with Cat or anyone. It would be another mountain they would have to climb, one with a ticking clock on it. She could suddenly feel the entire presence of Cat and the presence of her future take over her body. It was all she needed to come back to this world. The darkness along with the dream world came crumbling down around her and she felt Cat hold her hand, pulling her closer. All around her she felt like the ground was quaking and suddenly her soul was extremely heavy. The reassuring presence of Cat was the only thing that kept her from panicking.
A deafening sound echoed through her ears and she was ripped from the spirit world. She was back in the quiet dark room with her mother on one side and Cat across from her. Her eyes opened suddenly and she smelled Jasmine.
All the sound around her was replaced by a palpable quiet, it was replaced by the draperies on the walls and the candles that encircled them. They were alone.
“I can feel you here but I can't see you.” Cat’s voice was panicked as if her eyes weren’t quite working and she was not taking in the fact that Kara was sitting right in front of her.
“I'm right here. I haven't left your side. I'm home.” Kara reached out and touched her hand, Cat flinched at the contact.
Cat’s vision went in and out as she adjusted to the physical world. Her vision went blank numerous times as she tried to focus on Kara face. Her eyes finally began to adjust and she released the air she had been holding in her lungs.
Kara lifted a towel to her face and sprinkled water onto her skin, she wasn't sure if it was more refreshing to her body or to her soul but either way she lapped up the renewal. Cat watched as Kara stared off into space letting all of her new memories take hold of her mind. Through her sparse attention, she kept mentioning a particular one about her future. There had been something lingering in the air between them since Cat had returned from her sabbatical, before that if she was honest. But all of it seemed to burn brighter under the suns of Krypton’s sky. She'd seen the inner demons that Kara wrestled with. They didn’t frighten her but she wouldn't be the first one to make a move; she had already made that mistake. It was too delicate a process. She needed Kara to say something first.
“I saw you on a cliff. I saw all of the things that your parents were passing down to you. It felt more real than anything I have yet to experience but there was one thing that I couldn't see.” Kara nodded her head slowly.
“That was a vision of my future and I would love to share it with you but not here not while we're under Cadamus’ control. I still don't know if sharing the vision means it doesn't come true because it would rip my soul out if it didn't.” Cat jumped the small distance between them and engulfed Kara in an embrace. She clutched her as if she needed a physical reminder that the girl was actually in front of her and wasn't lost over that cliff. Kara looked at her and traced Cat’s lips with her finger. She began to calm in Kara’s embrace and looked around the room realizing that they were alone.
“Kara I don't know what it is but something isn't right. We have to find a way out.” Just as she said the words the quiet room rumbled. The door swung open and Alura rushed to Kara's side.
“Mom what’s going on? What's happening?” Kara looked at her hands and the low grade of sickness she had been feeling since her arrival was gone. She slowly allowed herself to hover above the group and tested her ability to fly. She looked toward the wooden doors and tested her heat vision accidently setting one of the drapes on fire. She quickly blew a breath of ice and put out the flames.
“I'm sorry my child but this is where we must part. You must leave now; this was always part of the plan.” As she looked at the image of her mother, wrinkles began to line her lips and forehead, her hair begin to grey along the temples until the color overwhelmed her chestnut locks. Her father entered the room with much of the same age having crept onto his face. “You have to leave now it's the only way you'll survive.” Alura took her daughters hands in hers and, embraced her, kissing her forehead. Kara’s father moved forward to embrace her as well.
“I don’t know if I can do this again. I need you still, especially now.” Kara pulled at the hair on either side of her temples tucking the strands behind her ears.
“You are no longer alone in keeping our memory alive; Catharine shares this with you now. Burdens are easier to bare when you do not carry them alone.” She turned to her mother and quickly whispered something into her ear. Alura pulled back with tears in her eyes and placed hands on either side of her face. “You have been very blessed Kara Zor-el. Your story does not end here.” Kara, could feel a slight rumbling in her chest as her powers continued to resurface. The walls around her were beginning to crumble and the outlines of her parents were becoming harder to see.
“Do you trust me?” Kara asked Cat with fear behind her own eyes.
“With my life.”
“Then hold on.”
Kara grabbed Cat and cradled her to her body, lifting her with ease off the ground. She flew upward through the ceiling of the room bracing Cat so that she received none of the blow. Kara was suddenly flying through New Krypton, watching as it dissolved all around her. A few thousand feet in the distance she could see the sliding doors where they had entered the dome, she gripped Cat closer to her.
“Are you okay ?”
“Yes, take us home.” She flew to the open doors. Kara saw the slight smile on Cat’s face but realized that she was suddenly becoming paler. She noticed a slight trickle of blood coming down from her head.
“Cat, why didn't you tell me you got hit?” She didn't answer her but quickly lost consciousness. “No ,Cat you can't leave me, not now. We're almost home there's so much for us left to do there's so much left.” She cradled Cat’s head into the nook of her shoulder and flew as fast as she could toward the doors. As she flew through the doors into Cadamus she saw the chaos that was erupting within the compound.
“Winn, James!!” She screamed through the fray, as Cat’s blood stained her shirt, panic drawn across her face. She landed and saw Alex racing toward her. She had heard her sister’s screams from the hall as she ran from the inevitable implosion of New Krypton.
“Alex! She’s unconscious and bleeding please help me! I don't care if you get anyone else out of here you have to save her.” Alex stopped dead in her tracks. She had never heard Kara choice anyone over the greater good and she was choosing Cat. “Get me a doctor, get me someone now. I’ll give them what they want. I have the information they need.” As Kara screamed, she felt an object smack into her back. She fell forward and Alex was suddenly face to face with her father; the baton in his hand glowing green.
“This is the only way.” Jeremiah whispered as he put a hood over Kara’s face and drug her down the closest corridor.
I told you I'd have an update sooner rather than later. Have an excellent weekend all! xoxo
The pounding in her head woke her before her eyes could. The light around her was minimal which she was grateful for. She slid her body up, barely balancing on her hands and sat slumped over trying to clear her vision. She could hear distant sounds but not much more than muffled clanging. She rubbed her eyes fiercely finally making out a shape in the darkness.
“Not so fast, lean back. You took a blow to the head. My apologies for that but there wasn’t another way.” Jeremiah handed her a cup of water and helped her lean back against the wall. Kara looked down to see a Kryptonite bracelet around her right wrist.
“You won’t be surprised if I don’t believe you.” Kara croaked out, lifting her wrist as proof of her distrust. It was even painful to talk.
“The bracelet is just to insure you’ll listen to what I have to say. Madam Girard will kill you and all of your friends when you give her your memories. With them intact you still have a bargaining chip.” Jeremiah took the cup from her and leaned against the tunnel wall. “It was never supposed to be like this. I thought if I helped Cadamus, I could keep an eye on them and away from Eliza and your sister. I know it’s too late but I’m sorry.”
“All I care about is getting everyone I love out of here safely. If you can guarantee that, I’ll follow along with whatever you have planned even though everything is screaming at me not to trust you.” She took a small sip of water, grunting as her head leaned back against the stone wall. “What do we do now?”
Just as Jeramiah was about to tell her his plan, a hand snaked out of the dark and pulled Jeremiah to his feet. As Kara tried to scurry back, J’onn stepped into the light; Winn bent down and began to help Kara to her feet as Kerry checked the growing bump on her head.
“Wait, I want to hear what he has to say.” Kara said placing a hand on J’onn’s arm.
Chaos had ensued after Kara had been knocked unconscious. Some of the same men who had abducted them in the first place had swarmed the group. The impending explosion had been averted but James, Alex and Cat however were not so lucky. They now found themselves staring down the barrels of three guns that closely guarded the glass holding cell they sat in. Madam Girard parted the men that stood guard and moved close enough to the glass for her hot breath to fog the enclosure. She tapped the glass tauntingly.
“I hear captured animals hate when you tap on the glass. We won’t be letting you out of our sights this time and as for your friends, well, they won’t be far behind.” She began to walk away but turned sharply with a sinister smile. “Oh and make no mistake Kitty Cat, I will make you watch as I kill your precious superhero.”
Madame Girard’s face contorted into sheer glee, while Cat’s fell. She blew a kiss toward the glass prison and the wall of guards reconnected while she disappeared behind them.
Alex rushed the glass and slammed her fists against it. “If even one hair on her head is harmed, I will kill you.” She screamed after her. The cell fell silent as the three of them tried to distance themselves from one another. Alex crossed her arms tightly around herself and paced. Cat stared off into space unconcerned with appearances for the first time in decades. She smoothed the bandage that covered the gash on her head.
“How long?” James broke the icy silence as he looked at Cat.
“Now is not the time to be vague James, how long what?”
“How long have you been in love with Kara?” James said the words boldly knowing that they would shock her, he had very rarely been that forthright with her. Cat let the words sink in. She knew the answer. She breathed so deeply it seemed as if she was sighing.
“Since the very first moment. It was only an inkling, maybe a dash of recognition when it started but she won me over with her uncrushable optimism. She saw things in me that I thought were long gone. I didn't fully realize how I felt until I left Catco. I went searching for, at the time what I thought was, a new challenge or a new milestone when really I was just looking for her. It seems so silly now.”
Cat didn’t elaborate, though she desperately wanted to; she knew it would only hurt him. She let a small semblance of vulnerability seep through her mask, it was only the second time she’d ever let James see that she was capable of failure. He remembered all too well the first one, the night that she had told him about the actress she couldn’t save. He kept it as a reminder that even the tallest pillars have cracks.
“Listen Cat, I need you to know that there’s no competition. I’ve seen the way she looks at you. I’m not a threat.” James paused and realized just how much she was divulging by the slight glisten in her eyes. Cat worked her lower lip between her teeth.
“Thank you.” She whispered.
Winn’s brow was dripping sweat as he ran as fast as his legs could take him through the tunnel system and toward the panel he wished he didn’t have to see again. Jeremiah had given each of them instructions about how they could take down all the kryptonite stores from the mainframe. J’onn, and Kerry were both ahead of him and seemed to be fairing much better than him physically. The small light from J’onn’s flashlight was all he saw bobbing ahead of him. As he turned the corner, he saw Kerry already inputting commands into the panel, not a drop of sweat on her.
“Are you kidding me? How are you not out of breath?!”
“Physical conditioning is a requirement of the DEO.” She smirked at him. “For whatever reason the levels we inputted weren’t enough to take down the entire system but with the information Jeremiah gave us, there shouldn’t be a problem this time.”
“Yeah and the Kryptonite hardware they took Kara out with isn’t too shabby either. We could take down every operation they have and it won’t help us with those.”
“ We need to emit something that will render it useless but nontoxic to us. How’s your chemistry?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” He smirked and brushed a nonexistent crumb off of his shoulder. They had exactly one hour before they were to rendezvous with Jeremiah. He hoped it was enough time to save them.
Madame Girard had a balcony that overlooked the rest of her Command Center. As she looked out at the men and women who had done her bidding for years now she knew all it would take would be a small flick of her fingers and someone would wring Cat Grant’s neck for her. She wrapped her grip around the cold steel of the railing that she stood over. She was two hundred feet up from the bottom of the cavern. She tightened then loosened her grip in a pattern that calmed her nerves as the white of her knuckles shown through her skin.
Her mission had been simple and constant since day one: eradicate alien life forms from Earth to protect her family. While some might say that was a lost cause and not all aliens were built the same, she knew better. She'd watched the invaders take the life of her father. She’d watched them rip him limb from limb in front of his family, for no other reason than to incite fear. She was only a girl at the time but the memories were burned into her. Later as a young woman with her two small children at her side, another alien held up the bank that she was in. The green scaled monster took her youngest son as a hostage. He didn’t escape with his life and she walked out with a plan for vengeance. Many would say she was deranged and her constant pursuit was psychotic but she had a purpose and one day they would all see the veracity of her claims.
She turned with military precision on the balls of her feet and looked behind her to see Cat tied to her interrogation chair. She had grown tired of waiting for Supergirl to reemerge and there was only one surefire way to have the love struck girl resurface.
“Shall we begin Ms. Grant or would you prefer Cat?” Madame Girard leaned over the table that separated them and removed the gag from her mouth.
“I have nothing to say.”
“I have a feeling you'll change your tune after some persuading.” She stepped back on her right foot putting all of her weight on her back leg. She wound up her arm and her fist collided with Cat’s face. She made contact with her pinky and ring finger knuckles, essentially cracking both bones. She hissed as the pain radiated up her arm; blood trickling down Cat’s face. Madame Girard nodded to her left to the two men waiting in the wings.
“You're a journalist so I assume all of your fingers are important to you. What with typing out stories and whatever else it is you do every day. Which one would you like to lose?” Cat’s eyes became as wide as the expansive cave behind them. Madame Girard seated herself on the table inches from Cat as she stroked her fingers along Cat’s hand.
“Eenie meenie miney moe. Catch a Cat by its tail oh the mysteries she'll wail.” Madame Girard picked up Cat’s pointer finger. Cat fought against her bindings and began to scream.
“Supergirl! Supergirl!” Cat screamed. Madame Girard once again silenced her by replacing the gag in her mouth.
“Seems your girlfriend’s not going to save you; I’m not certain that’s what you call each other but I assume the affection is of a sexual nature.” She teased. “I must admit it’s intriguing the thought of being with a superhero but not enough for me to not finish what I started. You know on second thought you might need those fingers. Maybe we'll just break the pinky.” She looked to the large balding man with a goatee to her left. He was dressed as if he were a member of the Secret Service; a secret he serviced indeed. He made no qualms of swiftly breaking Cat’s finger. Her scream was muffled by the cloth in her mouth, but tears escaped her eyes none the less.
“What a pity I thought our super friend would have been here by now. All of this messy violence isn't really my style. We could have easily settled this without bloodshed. But alas I guess some things can only be solved with violence. Do you have anything to say for yourself now kitty Cat?
Cat’s expression turned to pure rage as she ripped at her restraints, intern ripping her skin along the edges of the tape. She shook the floor as she pulled against the chair she was attached to.
“Come out ,come out where ever you are Supergirl.“ Madam Girard’s voice echoed through the chamber. She looked to Cat. “Explain to me why you're so special. Why Supergirl looks at you like you have all the secrets in the world and you're going to reveal them all to her? How is it that you’ve become the savior to a superhero? I know you think I'm weak and my intentions based solely on prejudice. Maybe you're right but there’s one thing I know, this planet survived long before the existence of aliens on it and it will thrive after, only this time under new leadership.” Madam Girard removed the gag waiting for Cat’s answer.
“Is that what this is really all about, your struggle for power? Well as someone who's actually held some, let me tell you it won't fix those cracks in your soul. It won’t fix the cracks that an endless vendetta has created and a million mistakes upon a million bad decisions. Trust me, Supergirl might love the light that she sees in me but she knows nothing of the darkness.
“I've thrown many a soul to the wind to get what I wanted. But somewhere along the way I realized everything I accomplished that way was tainted. It created wounds so deep that I thought nothing could heal them. You know what finally did? A girl of steel. I’ve always found it so funny when life makes little jokes. The Girl of Steel is made of butterflies and rainbows, the softest clouds and the gentlest soul. I've seen what you've taken from her, what this life has taken from her and yet she still smiles. But you know what I've learned above all of that?” Madame Gerard nodded for her to continue.
“Never let them monologue.” Cat’s face shown with glee despite her pain. Madame Girard turned to see the girl of steel stepping through the door behind her. The guards that surrounded them were suddenly on the ground in a heap before her eyes.
“You're kind of sexy when you play the villain.” Kara’s super speed carried her to Cat’s side almost immediately pushing Madam Girard to the side. Kara captured her mouth in a hungrily forceful kiss strong enough to bruise lips. Cat cried out in pain as Kara’s hand brushed hers. Kara pulled back and felt her chest cave in on itself as she saw just how badly Cat had been hurt. Blood trickled from the cut above her eye and from where her restrains cut into her wrists. Her entire hand was swollen and purple, her pinky dangling. Kara felt the rage boil in her chest as it took what little control she had left not to cry and scream out in rage. She took three small deliberate steps toward Madame Girard.
“Flirting in the middle of a crisis and they call me the sick one.” Madame Girard leaned against the back wall, not affected in the least by her guards unconscious at her feet.
“Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill you now.”
“I’ll give you two and they’re sitting in a secured cell at the moment. I told you what I wanted and you disobeyed me, this is your fault. Every moment of pain your beloved has experience is your fault. You don’t wanna do that to your sister and the father of your child now do you?” Madame Girard stood triumphant as she watched the realization hit Kara.
“How do you know that?” Kara’s face went blank. The shock on Cat’s face was unmistakable.
“You didn’t think you could keep a secret like that did you?”
“I think if you check you’ll see those prisoners have recently been released.”
“Oh you mean by your super squad?” Madame Girard motioned toward the door behind her. Which quickly filled with more of her guards, they unceremoniously threw Winn, Jeremiah & Kerry on the floor. “That wasn’t a very well planned escaped, but kudos for trying.”
“I’ll do whatever you ask.”
“Of course you will.” Madame Girard motioned to a man waiting in the doorway. He grabbed Kara’s arm and swiftly punctured her skin with a neon needle.
Her eyes fluttered open, taking in small doses of her new environment. Sounds went in and out as her ears adjusted to her waking state. The corridor reminded her of the set of an old horror movie, leaking pipes slowly drumming a monotonous tone as she was escorted farther into the belly of Cadamus. They came upon a desolate room that looked like it could belong to a mad scientist. The walls were covered in green tile that resembled the seventies; the throwback era décor was only out done by the demented dentist’s chair that was placed in the middle of the room. A petite woman of advanced years slowly came out of the shadows. Despite the crevices in her skin, it was hard to believe that she could have easily been 85 years old. She walked with a spry spring in her step, she could have been mistaken for someone decades younger. Her hair was chalk white while her eyes were almost completely black. The veins on her hands looked excruciating though; the movement of her wrists had a clear indication of carpal tunnel. She entered with a tray of pristine steel instruments. Kara suddenly understood the fear of an animal as it was thrown into a slaughterhouse.
“Such a pretty little alien. Don't worry, for your service I'm sure Madame Girard will spare you from the fate of the others.” Frail hands gripped her upper arm as she felt the Kryptonite needle puncture her pale skin.
The woman moved swiftly through the lab grabbing trinkets from drawers in each corner. Kara was beginning to feel whoozy, whatever they had put in her veins was taking effect. The woman placed an electrode on each side of Kara’s head directly over her temples. She moved with the fluidity of a surgeon, under her breath she hummed Mozart’s Sonata in D. Kara pictured the orchestra Eliza had taken her to when she was 14. The sonata required two pianos yet the woman seemed to follow the melody as she hummed. She remembered the purple dress that she wore, the tights and her little buckle shoes. She remembered Alex making jokes throughout the performance despite the scolding glares of Eliza.
Music floated from her memory encouraging her to drift to sleep though her veins felt like they were on fire. She felt like she was being eaten from the inside out and every image of the orchestra was replaced by the memories that she had been given on New Krypton. They were being ripped from her mind and she felt every agonizing second of it. She tried to scream out to alert someone, anyone but her body refused to comply.
“Don't fight it dear. It's a rather quick process but the more you fight it the longer it takes.”
Kara continued to fight the assault nonetheless; she pictured Cat sleeping under the Kryptonian sun, the face of her mother and how happy she had been at getting the chance to meet Cat. Her mind felt like it was being ripped in a million different directions, scenes whipping through her consciousness as if on a fast loop. The woman increased the tempo at which she was humming and with that so did the draining of Kara’s memories. She witnessed generations of the House of El live and die. Noble houses fell and were rebuilt. Her ancestors had been scientists and musicians. They told her of their great loves and even greater losses until finally she saw only Cat and heard the creaking of a rocking chair. She experienced it all over again and whether she was physically crying or not, she couldn't tell but her soul wept. The elderly woman produced a small vial from her pocket. She brought it up to Kara’s lips and let the liquid run down her throat as it made its way into her system.
“A little something to take the edge off, it’s a concoction all my own. Shh… don't tell. ”
Kara’s mind suddenly found itself back in the Kryptonian desert, high winds spewing sand into her face. She wore the crest of El stitched into a dressing gown of her mother’s. There were no landmarks, no people to be seen just an endless desert of wind and then only darkness.
The darkness began to fade from her eyes as a siren overtook her ears. The room she lost consciousness in was washed in a blaze of red flashing lights. Her eyes hadn’t quite adjusted to the chaos as a hand pulled her to her feet. The grogginess passed quicker than it had before and she could feel the lack of Kryptonite in the air. She stood on her own two feet and nodded to Winn.
“Yeah Jeremiah was right as soon as they had us in custody they activated the new security codes and the virus we wrote into them. It only took a few minutes for the guards to run out as the sirens began to blare and by then the doors had unlocked themselves.” He smiled and Kara hugged him fiercely though she was still a little uncertain on her feet. “The Kryptonite in the walls has been deactivated but the hand beacons aren’t yet. We’re working on it but we have a bigger problem. Jeremiah has Alex and James but Cat is nowhere to be found. When we took down the system Madam Girard grabbed her and ran.” Kara took one look at Winn and immediately closed her eyes, searching for a distinct heartbeat. The normally strong thumping of Cat’s heart was weak and grabbed at her chest. There was something very wrong; the erratic beat echoed in her ears and coated her in fear. Without so much as a backwards glance, she shot up into the sky and followed the beat of the heart she desired most.
She landed with a thud as her feet broke the cement below them. She stood to her full height and cracked her knuckles as she saw Madame Girard dragging Cat behind her.
“Unhand her and no one else gets hurt.”
Madame Girard turned quickly and sneered with a bubbling twinkle behind her perfectly placed makeup. The giggle began to erupt across her face before her throat even made a sound. It was then that she saw just how badly Cat had been beaten. Her left eye was swollen shut as a trickle of blood ran down her cheek bone. She limped as she was being pulled to stand. Numerous bruises and lacerations littered her body. Kara clenched her fists with such power the base of her knuckles turned white and began to tear. She screamed at the top of her lungs surprising even herself. As she began to step forward a pain in her chest stopped her. Madame Girard snapped her fingers and a sickly glow beamed from the Kryptonite daggers that lifted from the floor creating a circle around them. As Kara wished for a way out, Winn desperately typed at the keyboard in front of him as fast as his fingers could move but still humanely slow.
“All I needed were your memories and we could have avoided this but you never seem to learn. We were this close.” She brought her fingers together, dropping Cat in the process. “You didn’t give me what you promised. I however will deliver on mine.” A flicker of light bounced off the silver knife that she pulled from her pocket.
As Kara exhaled, the Kryptonite barrier began to flicker. She could feel the led flow into the walls. She could feel her strength flow through her veins again. The smirk that Madam Girard wore was now plastered across Kara’s face. She had nothing left to say to her. She had nothing left to say at all and with more rage than she'd ever had to harness she could feel the familiar tingle of her heat vision bubble to life. Cat watched Kara’s face transform. She let the tears fall freely across her cheeks, absolutely nothing left to hide from her superhero. She knew the split second decision Kara had made and she was begging, pleading with Kara not to use her strength for what she knew was inevitable. Cat managed to move the slightest bit and prop herself up on one elbow so that she could be heard
“Kara, please. There’s no coming back from this. There's no turning around once you make that choice." Kara turned to Cat and let her own tears fall. They stung with a million regrets and this time with more pain than she ever thought she could feel again. They stung with pain for Krypton, for the pain that Cat was in. They stung for Kara's bleeding and broken heart but there was only one way out of this and Kara had already made up her mind.
“I'm so sorry, there's no other way.”
Madame Girard continued to laugh but unbeknownst to her the small circle that protected her and all of her Kryptonite reinforcements were seconds away from fully collapsing. Kara took one more beat to truly look Madam Girard in the eyes. There was a millisecond during which Madame Girard realized what was happening, she pulled a syringe from her pocket, stabbed Cat in the neck and released its neon green contents into Cat’s blood stream.
“NO!” That was all it took for Kara to take one step forward and let her heat vision fill her entire face. Burning through her skin like it never had before; she let every ounce of her rage point directly at Madame Girard's heart.
Kara flinched but the heat continued to pummel through Madam Girard’s chest and threw her against the back wall. She was dead before her body made contact with the floor. Kara flew to Cat, her first priority; her eyes red and puckered from the sudden release of heat. Kara tried to pick her up but the kryptonite flowed through her veins. Thick green lines were etched along her arms where her blood mixed with Madam Girard’s last weapon.
Kara fought the overwhelming darkness that her action was already taking. She could never take it back. She knew the smell that lingered in the room would never leave her and the acid in her chest would continue to burn. She would see Madam Girard’s terror filled eyes every time she would close hers but she also knew it was the only way to insure her family’s safety. She didn’t know it then but one day she would mourn the death of Madame Girard, not for the loss of the woman but for the part of herself that went with her.
She rushed at Cat despite the almost debilitating pain, her proximity to the kryptonite caused. She was forced to her knees and made to crawl the closer she got. She finally cradled Cat's body in her arms gritting her teeth and trying not to scream as Cat passed out. She could hear Cat’s heartbeat weakening.
Winn suddenly entered the room and took survey of the destruction. He was overwhelmed by the charred smell that struck him and he saw a body crumpled along the back wall. He soon noticed the sickly green color of Cat’s skin.
“Is she alright?” He moved closer toward her and noticed why Cat glowed green. “Kara what are you doing? Being that close will kill you!” Winn glanced at Cat, her head resting in the crook of Kara’s shoulder.
“She needs medical attention. Her heartbeat is slowing down.” Kara scooped Cat up and mustered every ounce of strength she had and flew off toward the DEO.
“You’ll never make it being that close to Kryptonite.” He screamed toward the sky. She heard him but didn’t care.
The air stung Kara’s skin as she whipped through the sky. She could see Cat’s veins begin to bulge as they filled with Kryptonite; her grip slipping as the substance ate away at her powers. She flew as fast and low as she could stand, should she lose control and crash. National City peeked over the horizon, as Kara dipped closer and closer to the Earth. Every muscle, tendon and bone in her body screamed for her to put space between her and Cat; to distance herself from the potion that coursed through her veins.
Thank you for sticking with me and Merry Christmas!
The ground came at her faster than a bullet, she reacted and rolled into a ball protecting Cat as she crashed into the concrete of the front steps of the DEO. Kara didn’t feel the impact; she didn’t hear the screams of bystanders or feel the agents pry Cat from her arms. She could barely see the commotion through blurred vision like a silent movie in her mind. She didn’t feel a handful of agents pickup her broken body from the ground and rush her inside the facility.
Alex and J’onn landed at the crash site soon after, Alex jumped from J’onn’s arms before his feet had even touched the ground. She sprinted toward the medical ward, shoving everyone and everything in her way to the side as she ran. Her chest heaved and her pulse fought the skin it pounded against as she frantically searched.
“Where is she?!” Alex demanded.
“She’s in surgery; she has a collapsed lung and internal bleeding”. The agent answered tentatively. Before he could even finish, Alex was pounding on the glass between the hall & the surgical bay, trying to get the doctor’s attention. Kara lay unconscious on the operation table under sun lamps, pieces of her supersuit shredded from the impact.
“Stop! She’s pregnant!” Alex continued to bang on the glass. The doctor left the room and removed her mask and gloves.
“She’s pregnant.” She had been keeping that secret since she had searched Kara’s apartment right after her disappearance and seen the pregnancy test in her bathroom trash. This was the first time she had thought about Kara being pregnant since this ordeal had begun.
“Ok well that explains a few things. That baby is probably the only reason she is still alive. I can’t be sure but the small amount of human DNA she is carrying must have been just enough to keep the Kryptonite from killing her. We’ll do everything we can to save the baby but Supergirl is our first priority.” She lightly placed a hand on Alex’s arm and squeezed tightly. Alex nodded in return and watched Kara’s unconscious form.
She registered the loud pounding of boots that came at her but she refused to take her eyes off of Kara. Two large hands wrapped around her biceps and began to drag her back, she kicked and pulled at the arms but she still kept her eyes fixed on her sister. She was no doubt being dragged to her court martial.
As she was dragged along the hall, she continued to fight the men holding her without really looking at them. One of them threw open a door and she was thrown against a chair into a dimly lit room. She finally made eye contact with the soldiers that left bruises on her arms but didn’t say a word. The burley men stood shoulders together but soon parted and revealed General Lane standing behind them.
“Leave us.” He waved to his personal guards and closed the door behind him.
The giant bay doors of the facility opened onto the hot air of the desert. Smoke from the fried computers bellowed out of the entry way. Through the fray James, Winn and Jeremiah stepped out. The wind swatted their hair in every direction as the smoke began to clear. A hoard of at least three dozen agents swarmed the door; J’onn had certainly meant it when he said the cavalry was coming. The few operatives that we're still left standing after the explosion were quickly brought into custody and rounded up. After Cadamus had for all intents and purposes crumbled and they had been thoroughly debriefed, Winn and James were released.
As soon as they were cleared, they ran to DEO to check on Kara. When they arrived, the medical ward was frantic. Doctors and nurses ran from one end of the hall to the other carrying supplies and medication and a few items Winn couldn’t identify even if you asked him too. What he saw through the observation window outside of Kara’s room wasn’t pretty and he felt a bout of panic rise in his chest. Despite her dire circumstances, he found himself worrying about Cat more than his steel plated friend. He left James looking through over Kara as he snuck off to check on Cat. She was unconscious with monitors and tubing attached to her in droves. He watched as her skin became a sickly green and her heart beat spiked on the monitors and dropped. Alarms went out as a doctor and a nurse ran in with a crash cart and quickly placed two defibrillator pads on her small chest and yelled ‘clear’. Cat’s body shook under the voltage but her heart did not respond.
“Charge to 200 & one of Epi.” The doctor barked. “Clear.” The room fell silent and everyone put their focus on the heart monitor. For a moment nothing changed but Winn released a sigh of relief as a normal rhythm returned to the monitor and the doctor returned the paddles to their hooks. Winn rested his head against the window, breathing heavily enough to fog the glass.
“Hold on Boss.” He whispered to the still form before him.
A single light bulb swayed on its frayed wiring. The silence extended as General Lane held Alex’s gaze; crossing his arms over her chest. He had quite literally thrown Alex into a broom closet and now stared her down like she was in a CIA confinement tank. She had already decided she wouldn’t be the first to speak and she held tight to that decision.
“If this were a hundred years ago, you would have already been hanged for treason. Though as it is, we find ourselves in a very different situation.” He waited for her to speak, but she kept her neutral face. “You must be wondering why I have you in such an unsanctioned place for such a serious crime. All I can say is that I, we, the United States actually possibly the world owe you a bid of gratitude.” He began to reach his hand out and Alex flinched, moving back further; her mask finally breaking with a slacked jawed expression.
“The government isn’t one to admit to its own mistakes, let alone wrong doing. So it goes without saying that this meeting never happened. As far as anyone is concerned you have been working undercover trying to bring Senator McAllister to justice and the DEO as well as all the intelligence burrows had full knowledge of his double life and our assignment. Without you going rogue we would have never known we had a mole that high in the government. This will be the only thanks or mentions of the events of the last few days that you will ever get. I suggest you take this hand shake and count your lucky stars that this is how this particular indiscretion ended.” He extended his hand again, this time Alex shook it.
The normal buzz of the DEO was silenced as Alex sat on the cold concrete in the hallway. She had brought her knees to her chest and rested her head on them, shielding her face. Hours had passed and she hadn’t heard a word about Kara. She’d pestered the medical staff to no end and was eventually booted from the surgical wing. She tapped her toes against the ground and tried to quiet the swirling thoughts in her mind. She nearly jumped out of her skin when a hand rested on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.” James knelt next to Alex. He was in a DEO issued sweat suit, his eyes just as drawn and tired as hers. He turned and sat against the wall in much the same fashion as Alex.
“Aren’t you supposed to be with the extradition crew right about now?”
“Probably.” They sat in silence for a moment and Alex extended her legs in front of her as she let her head roll back and rest on the wall behind her.
“I got kicked out for being intrusive. This is basically me in time out.” Alex chuckled to herself quickly followed by James’s laughter. Distracted by their momentary levity neither saw the doctor round the corner.
“I’m glad you’re in good spirits, Kara is going to need that.” She moved to the opposite wall and faced them; crossing her arms. “She’s out of surgery and stable. The Kryptonite’s effect was severe and she might have some long term damage but only time will tell.”
“And the baby?” Alex whispered. James’ head shot back in surprise as he choked on the questions trying to form on his lips. She looked to him and mouthed ‘later’.
“We have a heartbeat, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Got a little fighter on our hands, just like her mom.”
“Her?” Alex’s voice showed affection for a child she didn’t even know yet.
“Yes. Kara is resting now but you should be able to visit her in a few hours.”
“What about Cat?” James chimed in. The doctor’s face fell as she struggled to place a smile over her grimace. She leaned against the wall once more and bowed her head.
“She hasn’t fared nearly as well. Though Kryptonite isn’t lethal to humans, a foreign material in the blood stream is almost always fatal. She was already in bad shape before it entered her system. She has been placed in a medically induced coma for the time being. Keep the laughter going; they are both going to need it.” The doctor lifted herself off the wall and slowly walked down the hallway. James and Alex sat in silence as they waited for Kara to wake up; neither wanting to be the one to break the news to her about Cat.
Kara’s fog laden brain swirled with memories of New Krypton. The familiar buildings and faces soothed her while her body fought to live and give life. She flashed back to a moment from days earlier.
“I have news.” She said having just glanced at her reflection, she applied the minimal amount of makeup she could to appease her mother. Alura stood behind her and placed a hand over each of her daughter’s shoulders. She wore the soft smile that Kara had always associated with her. Motherly understanding gave Kara reason to swallow her panic. “Mother, I’m pregnant.” Alura’s sweet expression turned to elation as she scooped her daughter into her arms.
“Oh my sweet girl that is wonderful news.” She broke the embrace to see her daughter’s eyes; cupping her cheeks as she did. She noticed a tinge of sadness in her face and paused slowly stroking her cheeks with her thumbs. “A child is a joyous event why do you seem so torn?”
“The child's father is a good man but not the love of my life. Cat doesn't know. I'm afraid she'll leave.”
“You underestimate Catherine's heart; I've seen the devotion in her eyes. She will love you as she always has but you must be honest with her.”
“She doesn't want more children. She has said so herself.”
“Hearts and minds change when the situation warrants. Give her the benefit of the doubt and tell her.”
The memory began to fade as small flashes of pain hit Kara through her sedation. Her eyes flickered and let in small bits of light. She could feel a hand on hers but could not make out the person holding it. She struggled against the medicine flowing through her veins but eventually managed to open her eyes. Alex’s smile reached her ears as Kara’s eyes focused.
“Hey.” Kara’s eyes flickered and she moved her neck side to side. “Where am I?” Kara’s words were cut off by her dry throat. Alex promptly held a straw to her lips and instructed her to sip slowly. “Where’s Cat?” She choked out as the water both soothed and irritated her throat. Alex quickly turned and placed the cup on the night stand next to the bed. She took the extra moment to school her expression before meeting Kara’s gaze again.
“We’re at the DEO and Cat is here. The doctor’s have placed her in a medically induced coma while they try to extract the Kryptonite from her blood.” Alex rubbed a soothing hand along her sister’s arm. Kara’s face was drawn and she stared off into space as another anvil hit her chest.
“I can’t lose her. So much as happened Alex and I wish I could explain but I just can’t.”
“They’re doing everything they can for her. I promise.”
“What about everyone else?” Kara’s heavy voice fought the tears that threatened its clarity.
“Winn and James have been cleared to go home but both are refusing to leave until they see you. Cadamus is being scanned extensively and their computers downloaded. J’onn said Winn found a file called Mitus and he believes it has your memories in it. You’ll have to explain that one to me later as well. Oh and most importantly Mom is here and she has quite a few questions for you, so brace for that.” Alex’s nose scrunched as she delivered the news about Eliza. Kara chuckled despite herself. “I suggest as much sleep as possible before that conversation.” Alex winked as she pulled up a chair next to her bed and turned on the TV in the corner.
“I need to see Cat, Alex.” Kara pleaded. Alex pulled her feet down from the side of the bed she had rested them on and turned to face Kara; elbows leaning on the bed.
“She hasn’t been cleared for visitors yet.”
“Please Alex, she has to know I’m with her.”
“She’s in a coma Kara.”
Alex had found a wheelchair and snuck Kara to the window overlooking Cat’s room leaving her to watch as Cat lay unconscious. As long as Cat’s blood flowed with Kryptonite this was as close as Kara could get. She wished she could be pacing the hallways of the DEO but she was still too weak for the time being. She had flown away from Cadamus with such purpose, but now everything was out of her hands. She knew the doctors at the DEO were more than capable of taking care of Cat. As they prepped her for surgery, she was reminded of just that and her hands trembled. She reached out and placed her palm on the glass that separated them. For the first time, her other hand dropped to her waist and she let her thumb rub her abdomen. She hadn’t allowed herself to think about it or even accept it but now with endless silent minutes passing by, her future overtook her thoughts.
Kara was dragged back to the current moment by her sister’s hand on her shoulder. She still had to tell them all that she was going to bring another member of the House of El into the world but this morning she felt a weight on her chest that wouldn’t let her.
“Hey, how is she?” Alex asked kindly, rubbing her sister’s shoulder.
“Hi. No word yet.” Kara reached over her shoulder and held her sister’s hand. “How’s the Cadamus cleanup going?”
“Slow, the tunnel systems alone are crazy elaborate, while we’re on the subject…” Alex turned Kara’s chair to face her. “We tried to save as much as we could of the New Krypton program but it’s badly damaged. We could try-“
“Don’t bother, Earth is my home now and going back and forth would just make it too painful.” Madam Girard’s face flashed before Kara's eyes. In slow motion she watched the life slip from her body again and it smacked Kara straight in the chest. Her face went pale at the memory of what she had done. Alex immediately kneeled and placed her hands on Kara’s thighs.
“Woah, breathe for me, I’m gonna call the doctor.”
“No I just…I did something and I’m not sure how I’m going to live with myself once all of this is over." She hated the choice she made. She told herself that there was no other way but had there been? Knowing that another person's life was ended solely because of her would stay with her for many years to come; it would be a burden that she would have to learn to bear. Alex took her sister into her arms and rubbed her back, whispering encouragement as she did. Kara suddenly felt her courage swell in her sister‘s embrace. “Alex, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“About the baby, I already know.” Alex released Kara from her tight embrace but kept her hands on her shoulders.
“I saw the test in your apartment. How are you feeling?” Alex’s thumbs rubbed a soothing pattern into her skin.
“I’m terrified… but I want to be excited. I haven’t really been able to think about it. I found out the same day we were kidnapped. James doesn’t even know.”
“Actually he does.”
“The gift that keeps on giving, how did he react?” Kara was not drumming her fingers on the armrest of her wheelchair.
“He was surprised, to say the least.”
“I should be more worried about how he is but I can’t stop giving all my worry to Cat. There have been some developments between us and…”
“I’m not blind, ‘developments’ is an understatement.” Alex made air quotes and shook her head playfully.
“You should have seen her face when she found out. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get past it. She seemed so betrayed and before I could say anything, all hell broke loose.”
“The only way to know how she is feeling is to talk to her. She’s gonna pull through this and then you can have a lifetime worth of talks. If you’re excited, be excited! I mean come on; this kid is already a winner. I’m seeing a greatest aunt ever mug in my future.” Alex nudged her and Kara let out a soft chuckle; sighing away a pound of stress. “Not to darken the mood but Mom doesn’t know, so you have that to look forward to.”
“Great.” Her sarcasm was clear from across the room. “It doesn’t even seem real.”
“Well let’s fix that then.” Alex grabbed the handles of her wheelchair firmly and wheeled her down the hall toward an empty medical bay. She helped Kara up onto the exam bed as she disappeared around the corner. She quickly emmerged with an ultrasound machine and a frightened technician in tow. Alex released the startled man’s hand and motioned toward Kara. He quickly plugged in the machine and gloved his hands.
“May I?” He asked as he pointed to her abdomen. Kara nodded and lifted her shirt, rolling it under itself. He covered her stomach with a cold gel and began to move the wand along her abdomen. The grainy black and white picture was illegible to most. The tech stopped moving the wand and the room erupted with a steady beat. “Without knowing more about Kryptonian gestation, I’d say you are roughly 10 weeks along. The fetus has a strong heartbeat and is measuring within a healthy range for a human fetus of the same gestational age. Congratulations.” The tech removed the wand and began to take off his gloves, when Kara stopped him.
“Can I have a picture please?” Her hand stayed on his arm for a moment as he nodded a confirmation.
The buzz of nearby machinery echoed through the otherwise eerie silence. Her heartbeat in her ears, as she crumpled the edges of the photograph in her hands. She’d traced the oblong shape with her fingers a hundred times since the tech had handed her the picture. There was still no word from the surgeons and Alex had been called out into the field. There were people Kara could have called to spend these lonely hours with her , but she never picked up the phone. She had begun to doze off when a familiar heartbeat startled her. She caught herself against the bed railing as if she had begun to slip off of it. She opened her eyes to see James standing in the doorway.
“Hi, sorry I didn’t mean to wake you. I know you need your rest.” He motioned to the door. “I can come back later.”
“No please, I would love the company. Also we should probably talk.” Kara looked at her nails as she picked at them. James pulled a chair from the corner of the room and slid it next to the bed. Kara reached for his hands. “I don’t want you to think I kept the news about the baby from you. I didn’t find out I was pregnant until the day we were kidnapped. I wouldn’t do that to you. “
“I know. There were quite a few things I had to learn the hard way while we were in there.” James held Kara’s gaze kindly but hurt nonetheless. He placed his palms face down on the bed and stood. He paced next to the bed for a moment before gathering his words. “I don’t know what your decision with this preg-“
“I’m keeping the baby.” Kara interrupted him. She couldn’t hide the smile that accompanied her revelation. James quickly leaned in and wrapped his arms around her fiercely. She winced slightly at the embrace and he loosened his arms with a sincere sorry leaving his lips. Kara was unaccustomed to being as fragile as a human.
“I’m going to be a father.” He sat back and let the news truly sink into his skin. His smile was vibrant, contagious. He reached for her hand again and squeezed it. They sat for a moment; hands intertwined reveling in the news of their daughter.
“I feel like there’s more I need to apologize for. Alex told me about Madam Girard taunting you about Cat. You didn’t deserve to find out that way.”
“If I’m being honest, I already knew. You can’t really hide something like that, well you can’t hide anything but that’s beside the point.” He snickered as she playfully swatted at his arm. “I’d seen the longing gazes between you. Cat was so enamored I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone knows.”
“A little heads up would have been nice. I had no idea. I thought I was living on a little unrequited island all by myself. Ugh.” She pulled the ultra sound picture from beside her and handed it to James.
“Wow. She’s already amazing isn’t she.”
“Yeah. I’ve had a chance to talk to the doctor and she seems to think that she’ll be here a lot sooner than we think. She is already growing at an accelerated rate. Apparently it has something to do with Kryptonian cells under Earth’s sun. She should be born in a few months. Look.” Kara lifted her shirt to reveal an already enlarged abdomen when they heard a knock at the door.
“Hello, sweetheart.” Eliza entered the room. Kara had used every possible excuse to keep her foster mother at bay; she wasn’t ready to deal with her new memories from Alura especially in the face of Eliza just yet. Eliza froze when she saw Kara’s bump.
“I seem to have missed something important.” Eliza looked from James to Kara. Her mouth gaped with a question that never came; her eyes asked instead. James quickly got up and offered his seat to her.
“I’m going to head out.” James waved but Eliza never took her eyes off her daughter. She reached out and smoothed Kara’s hair as her thumb rubbed against her temple.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Kara frowned and bit at her lip as her eyes began to tear. Eliza quickly gathered Kara in her arms and rubbed soothing circles into her back. “Alex told me about seeing your mother again. Honey you don’t have to explain a thing, I understand.” As Eliza leaned back she caught a glimpse of the ultra sound picture in Kara’s hand. “Can we at least discuss what this little one is going to call me? I’d like to take Granny off the table.” Kara chuckled and rested her head on Eliza’s shoulder, grateful for her love.
Kara spent the better part of the afternoon with Eliza, reminiscing and even eventually discussing Cat. Her foster mother wasn’t surprised, though she hardly fully approved of the relationship. Kara knew it was only a matter of time before Eliza would love Cat for how happy she made Kara but that was a step for another day. Alex, Winn and James soon joined them for the afternoon. As the sun began to set, Kara heard a commotion down the hall and saw a slew of medical staff ran by.
“She’s coding.” A doctor’s voice echoed down the hallways. Kara began to panic, knowing Cat was the only other patient in the ward. She began to lift herself despite the pain.
“Kara, stop!” Alex placed her hands on her shoulders. She continued to fight her sister and rose from the bed.
“Either you take me to her or I’ll walk myself; consequences be damned.” Kara spit out. Alex lowered her into her wheelchair and exchanged looks with her mother as she brought her sister down the hall. Kara arrived just in time to see Cat stabilize once again. A doctor exited the room and walked toward Kara, kneeling so she was eye to eye with her.
“We have removed the Kryptonite but the only way we will know how she will react is if we bring her out of the sedation. It could either be the thing that saves her or the thing that kills her but it’s our only remaining option.” Kara nodded and gave her approval. “She should be conscious rather quickly, it can only help for you to be near her.”
Alex wheeled Kara into the room as the doctors slowly brought Cat out of her sedation. Kara's hand wove into Cat’s as she wished it could have been been since the crisis had ended. She brought Cat’s soft small hand to her lips and kissed her knuckles.
“I can’t lose you.” Kara said as she held Cat’s hand tightly to her.
“Why’s that?” Cat managed to whisper out. Kara’s eyes sprung open as she met Cat’s eyes for the first time in what felt like forever.
“I…don’t think my heart could take it.”
“You’ll manage.” Cat fluttered in her best self-deprecating tone, her voice horse and weak.
“Don’t do that. Please. Not now.” Kara gave up the fight of appearing strong. Cat turned her head and managed to smile; kissing Kara’s fingers that were intertwined with her own.
“It just occurred to me that…” Cat’s voice was weaker than it had been even moments before and she began to cough uncontrollably. Kara immediately looked to the doctor.
“She’s stable for now, there’s not much more I can do.” The doctor spoke to Kara directly as she began to panic, the overwhelming weight of the past days crushing her steel chest. Just as Kara was beginning to calm down, Cat lost consciousness once again; setting off numerous alarms.
Kara’s face fell and she turned to face her sister behind her. She could say goodbye to her parents. She could say goodbye to her planet a million times over but she wouldn’t say goodbye to Cat. Winn, James and Eliza watched helplessly as Alex brought her sister into her arms; Kara’s hand still firmly gripping Cat’s. Winn paced the back of the room biting on his finger nails.
“I can’t lose her Alex. She’s my everything. I saw it, while I was with my mother. She’s my future. She can’t die not when I just found her.” The words were barely coherent as Kara let a gut wrenching sob escape her throat. She turned to look at Cat still holding onto Alex, staining her shirt with her tears.
“I know. It’s going to be ok. She’s a fighter. I’ve never seen anyone be as hardheaded as Cat Grant. She’s too stubborn to die.” Alex reassured her. Kara laughed through her tears at her attempted joke. “For now you need to stay calm. She would want you to breathe and believe in her.”
“How?” Kara gripped at the plaid square of her shirt and ripped the stitches despite her best effort to control her strength.
“Tell her how you fell in love with her. She can still hear you, tell her.” Alex squeezed her sister’s shoulders tightly before turning her toward Cat. Kara began to draw circles on the back of Cat’s hand with her thumb. Wiping feverishly at the tears that fell down her face, she shuttered through the panic.
“Go ahead, tell her.” Winn added as he placed a hand on Kara’s back. Kara looked at Cat with the warmest eyes either of her friends had ever seen.
“Oh Cat. I still have a hard time calling you that. I tried for so long to keep a wall between us but it was no use. You had me from the very first time you really smiled at me. Do you remember it? You were getting ready for the spring launch of a new line by Carolina Herrera and you were giving her a full spread in Catco magazine. I had never seen you so on edge.” Kara turned quickly to Winn. “Remember she threw a shoe at your desk and broke your Optimus Prime collector piece. I thought you were going to cry.” Kara managed a small smile.
“I did. I went to the storage closet and cried with a bottle of super glue as I tried to fix him. Cat saw my face and she gave me this confused guilty look for a millisecond before she told me to suck it up.” Winn had his hands in his pockets as he rocked back and forth. They both looked back to Cat.
“You were so consumed with having everything be perfect that you forgot to eat lunch three days in a row, I basically had to force feed you.” Kara was pushing Cat’s fallen bangs from her eyes as she recited the story. “That was the same week you threw a burrito at my head.” Kara genuinely smiled this time. “Everyone thought you had been so careless with everyone’s feelings but the morning after you broke Winn’s toy-”
“Action figure.” Winn interjected. Kara lightly placed her hand on his forearm and nodded an ‘ok.’ Giving her full attention back to Cat.
“You came in at 5:30am, before anyone else. You seemed like you were completely lost in thought. You were standing at my desk, well leaning on it really and I saw you place a brand new Optimus Prime on Winn’s desk. We were the only ones in the building and when you saw me lurking around the corner you smiled. It was the brightest smile I had ever experienced. I could feel it warming my heart from across the room. When I went to speak you placed a finger over your lips emitting a small shush, swearing me to secrecy. You walked into your office and we never spoke of it again. That was the first time I felt you make my heart skip a beat. ” Kara began to sob again, this time letting the tears fall on Cat’s chest. Neither Winn nor James faces were dry, both realizing how caring Cat really was. “It was a million little moments like that and a few very big ones that made it impossible for me not to fall for you.”
Winn cleared his throat. “When I asked you if you knew who gave me the action figure, you said you had no idea. I always just assumed it was you.” Winn added, a hush laying over his comment. The machines attached to Cat stopped beating frantically and the green line representing her heartbeat displayed a steady rhythm again.
Cat began to regain consciousness again and through her groggy state she felt strong arms around her. She looked up at Kara whose face reflected her relief. To her surprise both Winn, James as well as Kara’s sister and foster mom Eliza where now in the room with them.
“I didn't expect an audience.” Cat stated. Kara laughed through the lump she had been holding in her throat.
“Leave it to you to try to be sarcastic when you're dying.” Cat slowly lifted her arm and caught the tear that was falling from Kara's face.
“I'm not going anywhere and I can't believe you remember that damn toy.”
“You heard that!”
“When it comes to you, I hear everything.” Kara leaned in and kissed Cats lips more gently than she ever had.
“Is that all you've got ? I almost died, I deserve a better kiss than that.”Cat teased. Kara smiled into her lips and kissed her again without an ounce of hesitation.
“OK too much PDA for me. I think J'onn needs help.” Alex said as she scurried off, dragging her mother with her.
“Yes I think he will want to be debriefed on what I saw in the computer systems.” Winn added following Alex
“I just gotta go.” James admitted “Wait up Winn!”
Kara leaned into Cat and rested her forehead to hers. She inhaled the peace of being in Cat’s arms. They stood in silence, letting the quiet pick up all of the broken pieces the last three days had created.
Kara’s pregnancy progressed at the rapid rate the doctor had assumed it would. Cat had spent the better part of two months recovering in the DEO ward and she did so with Kara by her side, often rubbing Kara’s stomach and talking to the growing child. Supergirl was officially on maternity leave, though the city had been told she was recovering from a nasty fight with another alien. Jeremiah had been cleared of all charges and was spending his time repairing his relationship with his family and helping the DEO fight against what was left of Cadamus. The ‘Mitus’ file Winn had found did indeed house all of Kara’s Mishidh memories.
Cat had finally been cleared to leave the DEO. As they packed, Kara leaned forward nudging Cat toward Winn, with her signature smile. Cat fidgeted with her collar but quickly straightened her posture before approaching Winn.
“Winn.” She caught his attention in much the same way she had in the office, with a little swagger and a lot of sarcasm. Kara leaned her head slightly to the side and arched her eyebrow at Cat. Cat simultaneously mouthed ‘Sorry’. She cleared her throat and tried again. Winn had slowly begun to move closer to her.“.
"I never properly thanked you for all that you've done for me…for us.” Cat moved towards Winn, causing him to gently move away, skepticism painted all over his face. His throat began to scratch, dry from the terror she so often brought up in him. “Thank you.” She leaned in and quickly hugged him, uncomfortable for every moment of it.
“Umm…I…well. You're welcome...” He managed to get out. She smiled at him genuinely as she released him and he straightened his shoulders, coming up to his full height again. As Cat began to turn, Winn’s face immediately turned into a delighted 5 year olds, he began to slightly jump up and down as he looked at Kara. He moved his lips for only her to see ‘Wow, oh my God, did you hear that?’ She slowly nodded her head trying not to tip off Cat at the incognito conversation they were having.
As Kara stifled a laugh,a searing pain ripped through Kara’s lower back. She grabbed the closest railing and it collapsed in her grip, leaving the outlines of her fingers in the metal. Her free hand went to her abdomen and cradled her ever growing bump.
"I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that was a contraction. Aghhh.” Kara screamed as another one made the first pale in comparison. Cat rushed to her side and began to rub circles into her back. Kara fell to her knees as she felt the baby move under the pressure. “I’ve been flung against a building and it hurt less than this. “Agh, where’s Alex? Alex!”At the sound of her name, Alex turned the corner and saw Kara on the ground and on all fours.
“Woah, ok baby’s on the way. Let me get the doc.” Alex sprinted down the corridor, grabbed the doctor by the arm and dragged her to Kara’s room. The doctor kneeled next to Kara and spoke calmly to her.
“We’re going to help you to the bed, so I can check on your progress.” Cat and the doctor each took one of Kara’s arms and helped her to the bed. The doctor quickly checked over Kara as Alex nervously chewed on her nails in the corner. “This is my first Kryptonian delivery so I’m not sure what to expect as far as the length of labor but you’re already five centimeters dilated so I’m guessing its going to be a quick ride. Let’s let gravity do some of the work for you and get you standing. You should walk for as long as you possibly can.” Kara nodded and they helped her slowly stand.
“I’m going to get James.” Winn stuttered.
“Doc, would you mind staying with Kara for a moment?” Cat asked.
“What you’re leaving?!?” Kara protested.
“Just for a moment, love.” Cat nodded at the doctor and grabbed Alex by the arm dragging her into the hallway.
“Would I be correct to guess, that if either of us try to hold her hands during this labor, they’ll be smashed?” Cat released Alex’s arm and crossed hers over her body.
“Yes but I’ve devised a system that I think will work.” Alex tapped the watch on her wrist and a fellow agent wheeled a sun lamp around the corner. “It’s made to mimic Krypton’s sun, it should dull her powers just enough for us to be able to comfort her and the baby to be delivered safely.”
“I take back all the bad things I’ve ever said about you.” Cat drew Alex in for a hug, surprising them both.
“Wait, what bad thin-“ Alex said into Cat’s embrace.
“Shhh, that’s not important. Are you ready for this? I’m willing to admit it will take both of us to get her through this.” Cat released Alex.
“Yes, although a small secret between us. This scares me more than any of the aliens I’ve ever gone up against…times ten!”
“Me too.” Cat grinned as she patted her on the shoulder. She led them both back into the room, where Kara was doing her best to mimic the breathing the doctor was walking her through but still looked panicked.
“Don’t go too far again, Mom. This little one is in a hurry to get here.” The doctor directed her words toward Cat. She quickly took her place at Kara’s side as another contraction ripped through her body. Cat took her hand and Kara leaned into it as she tried to breathe through the pain.
“Don’t think I didn’t see you smile, when she called you Mom.” Kara whispered, kissing the top of Cat’s hand. Cat quickly shot an eyebrow up.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to meet our daughter.” Cat kissed her forehead. Kara began to chuckle as her abdomen tightened and she couldn’t focus on anything but getting through the pain.
“It- feels -different -now.” Kara managed to squeak out between breathes.
“You’re in active labor now. It just means the baby is on its way.” The doctor tried to soothe the fear that crept onto Kara’s face but her expression began to change as she closed her eyes.
A flash ran through her mind like warm water over her body. It was intoxicating and inviting. Her vision cleared as she searched through the blinding white light for a solid figure. The outlines of a room she'd never visited came into view. Pale inviting colors swirled around her. Kryptonian scroll lined the walls. She was seeing the future memory her parents had given her. She walked closer and read her mother tongue out loud 'Though stars shine brightest at night, they shine warmest beside those you love.' The Kryptonian lullaby floated off her lips. A large tapestry hung above a child’s crib with the House of El’s crest. Her musings at the designs were interrupted by the wailing of an infant. She turned shocked to find she wasn't alone in the room. A rocking chair creaked in the corner. Kara was hit with a sense of familiarity; a presence that she knew strictly belonged to Cat. Her beaming face smiled back at her.
“Darling, you have to work early. I'll take this round.” Cat cooed at the fussy infant; her eyes reflecting a peace that glowed through her entire body. “Alright, my love, come and say goodnight to the baby and then go get some rest of your own." Cat lifted the child up but Kara could not see her. "Say goodnight to Mommy, El." Kara felt a tear begin to prick at the delicate skin of her eyes.
As she leaned in to kiss the child's forehead, Cat captured her lips. “I love you.” She whispered. Kara fought a faint pulling sensation in her chest. Her vision began to blur again. She screamed as the pain in her abdomen charged to the surface again. She was being pulled between her present and the soothing future she was witnessing. She tried to hold on to anything tangible but her fingers floated right through everything she grabbed for. She looked up just as her view began to disintegrate. Her mother’s sweet face smiled at her .
“You have to experience this pain to get to this moment. You can do it. I love you my sweet girl and I will be watching over El.” Alura leaned forward and as her lips touched Kara's forehead, her eyes fluttered open and she was right back in the thick of labor, her own screaming voice echoing in her ears.
“Breathe Kara, you can do this. Just one more push.” The doctor reassured her. Cat sat to her right cradling her arm and helping her balance. Alex was her mirror image on Kara’s left. Kara’s head swayed as she tried to center herself. She took a deep breath and put her sole focus on pushing; being able to see her child’s face was her only concern. Everyone around her spoke words of encouragement, though they were all blurred into background noise. She counted in her head and released the breath she had been holding.
The hum of the voices around her stopped abruptly as an infant’s cry brought Kara fully into the moment. A set of brand new lungs rang as clear as a bell, Kara watched as the small form she had yet to meet was being swaddled and cleaned before ceremoniously being placed on her chest. Kara gently pushed back the blanket that covered her daughter’s face from view. Upon seeing the baby’s face, she sucked in breath so rapidly her head began to spin. Every ounce of pain from the moment prior dissolved into the past as if it had never really existed.
“Hello, little one.” Kara whispered into the child’s ears. Cat rubbed her hand along Kara’s arm as she leaned in and met the girl. She lightly traced the baby’s cheeks with her finger.
“She looks like your mother.” Cat beamed, kissing Kara’s temple.
“She does.” Kara sniffled, laughing at the same time. “Do you want to hold her?” Kara looked up at Cat who was already fiercely shaking her head yes. Kara lifted her arms and gave the infant to Cat. Alex watched in shock unable to control her emotions. She took Kara’s hand and uncharacteristically let the tears fall freely. “Alex, are you crying?!”
“No, yes… of course I am, look at her! She’s magical.” Alex grabbed for a tissue and laughed. Kara pulled her into a hug and watched Cat sway from leg to leg, rocking their daughter. James knocked on the door as he entered the room, his smile infectious at the scene that played out before him.
“Hey Dad.” Cat greeted him and handed him the now sleeping baby. Kara brought the tissue in her hand to her eyes and marveled at her family. Cat leaned into capture Kara’s lips before sitting at Kara’s bedside.
“Are you happy?” Cat whispered only for her to hear.
“Yes.” Kara said and she meant it.
“Kara, the story your father told you about the constellations...Mishidh.” The Kryptonian slipped off Cat’s tongue with ease. “It’s our story.” She grinned as the lifted her hand to cup Kara’s face. Kara smiled and kissed the palm of Cat’s hand.
There are moments, few and far between but moments none the less that can take your breath away with their utter joy and overwhelming peace. Kara was experiencing the first of many that her life would give her. It would take some time but the pain that they had endured would subside and the great House of El would welcome a new member. A squirming 7 pound 8 ounce bundle of half Kryptonian, half human joy, just waiting for the world to need another superhero but that’s a story for another time.
The time has finally come to say goodbye to this story. I cant believe it has been nearly two years since I started posting it and three since I started working on it. You have been endlessly patient with me. Thank you and I hope it was worth the wait.
On a side note, I'm starting a new story for The Bold Type (Jacqueline /Jane). It's called In The Days That Follow. I should have the first chapter up soon. I'd be delighted if you'd come and take a look.