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reasons not to die

Chapter Text

And when I can't get out of bed
And I see the edge I'm slipping from the ledge
And praying to gods I don't believe in for a sign
Some reasons not to die and there you are

“I’m going to leave tomorrow night by the way. In case you’ve forgotten. So you know, today would be a great day for you to finally come out of that room and give me a hug!”

Kori knew there was no way Rachel could have forgotten. She tinkered with the nail tools in front of her, looking for something to add an accent to her left ring finger. This was a regular meetup for them. She came knocking on her door, shouting it was girls time. When Rachel wouldn't open she'd proceed to have girls time by herself. Very loudly. Outside her door. Talking to her while she did her nails as if she was sitting right in front of her doing the same.

"Rachel! Did you hear that? Me, your favorite person on this galaxy. Leaving?"

She let out a puff of air, rolling her eyes at no one in particular. The happy tone of their one-sided conversation contrasting with the frustration on her face. It had been weeks since Rachel decided to isolate herself from her and she was finally running out of time to fix whatever broke between them.

“I’d really like it if you could come out for the send-off. I don't think it's going to be anything too big. But I did ask Dick to pick up some of that dark chocolate cake you love so much." She perked an ear up, dark chocolate always got a good reaction out of Rachel.

Not this time it seemed. 

Kori let her take on a more serious tone, "Or you know, maybe you can come with... part of the way? Zatanna said she’d tag along with us if you wanted to come.” A complete lie, but she was desperate. And after so many weeks of her self isolation, she didn't think Zatanna would refuse to go along with it. They both had something to gain from Rachel being in good spirits. 

“It can be a girls trip!", she offered. Silence. Her teeth caught on her lip. Nails where almost dry, she was running out of time to force a reaction out of her.

Kori started to collect the little bottles of nail polish and tools around her, stacking them neatly into a furry purple case and pushed herself off the floor.  Her freshly painted nails tapped on a tiny dome above Rachels door. She had a similar one in her room so she knew Rachel could see her and flashed her a bright and happy smile. 

“I love you! I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow.” she clutched her purple case ready to leave. Was this really the best she could do? 

“Gar’s coming.” It was a split second decision to mention him. A low blow maybe but she had to try. They were both important to her after all. Her 'earth babies' Shazam had referred to them as. She had loved the expression and they'd equally benefit from being in the same room again.

From inside she heard it. Something falling. Hard.

“Rachel, are you alright?" Kori rapped her knuckles on the door again as if it would coax a response. Nothing. At least the noise had been something.

"He’s just here for tonight. To say goodbye to me." Kori gave the door another rap. "Rachel?"

On the other side of the door, Rachel held her head from the floor. Her feet still up in the air and her chair underneath her. She had been leaning on a chair and had fallen at the news that Gar had been let out.

She heard one last little flutter, Kori drumming her fingernails on her door plate.

“Just thought you should know. Either way, don’t make me wait for you on the landing bay like an idiot!” she was yelling into her door camera now.

Her bright eyes and a happy smile took up the entire screen. It made the corners of her eyes sting. How could she be so happy after what they were doing to her? After they were sending her away.

Rachel watched her turn away, the sound of her footsteps fading into the JLA watchtower.

They had become guests of the watchtower shortly after the defeat of Trigon. Despite proof of their good intentions the team still had a lot to answer too. Jason, Donna, and Dove had been roped into the mess with them. A two-hour lecture Jason referred to as, 'the biggest bitching in history' was given to them after the invasive interrogations. 

Kori Anders, in particular, posed a huge issue when the league took them under custody. She had become a wanted criminal and was on multiple Most Wanted lists. Dick had insisted on her innocence and that his team would have no more separations after leaving Gar in a league medical facility back on earth. The Watchtower had been the only choice for them if the league wanted to avoid accusations of harboring criminals and breaking treaties. 

After an agonizing week of quarantine and questioning, they were transported to the watchtower. Batman himself had escorted them to a guest level, quickly explaining that all other levels where off limits. They had been offered indefinite housing until other arrangments could be made.

"That's code for 'until I figure out how to kill you' by the way," Jason had whispered into Rachels' ear. "The Bats kind of obsessed with contingency plans." 

She turned to tell him to shut up. But the smirk she had been expecting on his stupid boyish face wasn't there. So instead she rolled her eyes at him and thought about how upset Gar would be that he had missed a watchtower tour by Batman. 

"When are Dick and Gar getting here," she asked, her steady voice a clear front. She wasn't comfortable that they were currently separated, especially not after Jason's little comment. She had wanted to go along with Dick to pick up Gar. Kori and she hadn't even been allowed to visit him at the league's secret hospital. Patient confidentiality she had been told. Robin was the only one allowed to visit due to clearance. 

Batman cleared his throat, "About that. We've had a complication in regards to Garfield Logan. There's been a change of plan."

"Complication?" Kori's voice sliced from across the room where she had been standing, filling the room with unsettling tension. 

When Batman didn't say anything in return she made her way toward him, her long legs stalking right up to him. "I'm going to need you to elaborate on what that means."

"I'm going to let Dick explain this one." he took a step back, Kori's towering height in front of him unexpected. "He's the one that agreed to the change in arrangement."

That was almost three months ago. Dick had come back with little explanation and a few photos of Gar to justify himself.  Kori had been livid and Rachel had felt too guilty to react at all. He had disappeared shortly after for a whole week, a classic move for him neither questioned it. Now he left all the time on missions with Donna, coming back in sporadically to check on her and Kori.

Rachel rolled her head away from the door Kori had just been at and let her legs flop onto the ground. As if looking away from the door would stop her mind from looking back at the memories of the past months. The chair she had fallen from dug into her lower back -- but she didn’t move.

She let herself cry silently, too tired to hold the tears back and too accustomed to the feeling of letting her body just dump out the pain. Crying had become as easy and necessary as breathing.

Kori was finally leaving and she chided herself now at her stupidity. They could have spent the last few weeks together instead of apart. The bottom of her stomach churned at the thought she’d never see her again. 

It was quite common for her to think that way. The more she isolated herself the more she wished she didn't. But every day that went by without talking to Kori made it easier to tell herself she had to keep doing it. Even though she didn't want too. She was so stupid and broken. 

Kori would have figured out a way to leave the watchtower if she had asked her. They could have found Gar and went into hiding. They didn't need the league. Their little family would have been enough. 

Had she not been born Kori never would have left her Tamaran to come and kill her. Had she not been born Gar wouldn't be locked away. Hank. No. No thinking about Hank. That was too hard without Kori by her side. It was a selfish thought. Knowing everything that was happening to Kori was her fault and still wanting to be protected by her. 

The pressure in her stomach came without warning and suddenly she was holding her hand over her mouth and crawling to the trash can. She tried not to think about what she could possibly be vomiting, only that it definitely wasn’t food.

It was over in an instant and had been dry heaving more than anything.  As if all her body was trying to do was give her a quick slap for her delusional thoughts. She wiped at her mouth with her sleeve and pulled herself into the bed. It was close to three o’ clock. Therapy with Zatanna. 

She shut her eyes tight and tried not to think. But all she saw was Dawn refusing to look at her. Refusing to let her apologize.

Wrapping the blanket on the bed around her she buried her face into a pillow and wept her frustration into it. Two thirty-five the clock read. She could cry a little longer.