It was cold outside; almost freezing. Joyce would be worried to death if one of her kids were out in that snow. She was sitting on the couch at eleven pm, petting Chester while watching a soap opera with El and Hopper. Will and Jonathan were in their rooms, doing homework. With less than two weeks until Christmas break, everyone was cramming for their final semester tests.
El could feel something, something different. It took her a moment to figure out what it was. She had felt it once before.
It was that feeling she had when she found her sister. The feeling that had been ripped from her when she left, running away from her screams and cries of despair. The feeling that everything had slotted perfectly into place. Kali was close to her, she could feel it.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. El jumped at the sudden sound. She had a feeling who it was. At least, she hoped.
“Were you expecting anyone?” Joyce looked at Hopper.
Hopper just shook his head.
Hopper got up from his chair. It was heavily snowing outside, it wasn’t safe to be out there. He opened the door and was not prepared for what he saw.
“You must be Jim Hopper,” said the girl. She was brushing the snow from her hair. She was small, no taller than El and certainly shorter than Will.
“Who’s asking?” Joyce walked around the corner.
The girl didn’t answer, just pulled up the sleeve of her thin black leather jacket and held out her hand. It took Hopper a second to see what he was looking for.
A small set of black numbers was tattooed onto her wrist. 008. Joyce gasped, looking from the tattoo to the girl.
“Oh sweetie, come inside please. It’s freezing out there,” Joyce said as she swept the girl inside. The girl was clearly uncomfortable as Joyce poked and prodded at her, cleaning the snow off her hair and shoulders.
El slowly rounded the corner; she was almost afraid to see her sister again. She could recognize that pretty British accent anywhere. But still, it kind of hurt to see her, so small and shivering from the cold. Her big sister, broken but putting on a strong face. That was one of the things she loved about her.
“Kali!” She exclaimed. Kali whipped her head around to face her, stepping away from Joyce. She ran forward, grabbing the girl and pulling her into a hug. She smiled; now she was at least two inches taller than Kali.
“Jane,” Kali whispered into her shoulder, hugging her close. El smiled. It felt nice when Kali called her Jane, it was different. It was something entirely Kali and she never wanted to have that feeling taken away. She felt whole again, with Kali safe in her arms. She always worried about her; out in the dangerous streets of Chicago trying to take revenge on the bad men, but now she was back with her and El was not about to let her go.
When they pulled away from each other, Kali had tears in her eyes and El was actually crying, although she hadn’t realized until Kali brushed the tears off her face for her. They turned around to face Joyce and Hopper. They could hear Will and Jonathan descending the stairs.
“Mom, Dad, This is my sister, Kali.” El wrapped her arm around Kali’s shoulders; not caring that her jacket was wet with melted snow. Kali seemed to almost cuddle into her, and El smiled
“What? The sister that tried to make you kill an innocent man and his children?” Hopper snarled, leaning down into Kali's face. She cringed at the mention of that event; trying to back away from him.
“I-” Kali started, but Hopper cut her off.
“I know about the things you’ve done; don’t think I’m stupid. I don’t know what you want but I will not let you hurt my family. Don’t think for a second that you could get away with anything.” Hopper was yelling at Kali now, and everyone could see that she was terrified. She was trying not to show it, but she was scared.
Kali took another two steps back, pulling herself away from El.
“Dad! Don’t yell at her! You don’t know anything. She’s not going to hurt anybody here!” El moved in front of her, separating the two before Hopper had the chance to do something he'd regret.
Kali didn’t say anything, just pressed herself up against the wall and waited for El to calm down.
“Hopper, calm down. She’s just a kid.” Joyce put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back before walking over to Kali on the wall.
“Here darling, let’s get you cleaned up. Come on,” Joyce told her, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. Kali had a hesitant look in her eyes, but didn’t object as the older woman led her upstairs. She didn’t want to give these people a reason to be mad at her.
Joyce found some of El’s old pajamas and took a hairdryer to her soaked hair to help her warm up. Her hands were still shaking she was so cold.
Once Kali was cleaned up, Joyce sighed. The girl was looking at herself in the mirror, taking the makeup off her face. It looked like it had been there for days. The dark eyeshadow and thick mascara giving her certainly giving her a punk look all on its own.
“Don’t be worried about what Hopper says. Legally, he would be in a lot of trouble if he tried to hurt you.” she placed a hand on Kali’s shoulder, but the girl shrugged away. Physical contact was not her thing.
“I never wanted to hurt any of you. I just wanted to find my sister again.” Kali made eye contact with her in the mirror, trying to keep herself composed.
“I’m not even going to ask how you found us, but just know that we’re going to protect you and keep you safe as long as you stay. Hopper knows people, he can give you a normal life if you show him your worthy of it. I know you can do that, can’t you?” Joyce smiled at Kali, and faintly she did too.
Kali was silent for a few moments.
“I don’t think I could ever be normal, truly. There’s no way to erase what I’ve done, but I don’t regret any of it. Does that make me a horrible person, if I have no remorse for those I killed myself?”
Joyce didn’t know how to answer that. Murder was not something she had ever really faced. She had seen her loved ones die at the hands of horrid monsters, but for a person to kill with the intention of killing, it was a dark topic that she and no idea how to tackle.
But Kali looked at her like she wanted an answer.
She didn’t know the logistics of why Kali killed. She knew that she did it out of anger, out of revenge. She wanted the bad men gone not just because of what they did to her, and so they didn’t do it to others.
And Joyce could get behind that. It made since. She didn’t just go on killing sprees, she worked hard to put an end to her pain.
“Not regretting your actions doesn’t make you a bad person, Kali. Your not like those men, you never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it. But here’s the thing, you can be normal. Maybe your past might not be completely erased, but we can give you all the same things El has now.” sh reached down and moved a strand of hair out of Kali’s face.
After Kali didn’t say anything for a few moments, Joyce spoke again.
“Is that what you want? To be safe a protected like El?” She lowered her volume to a softer tone, trying to convince Kali of something she wasn’t quite sure of herself. Four kids was a lot, but she was willing to take Kali in if she needed it.
Kali didn’t say anything, but just nodded. Joyce smiled.
“Come on, I’m sure you and El have a lot of catching up to do.” Joyce rested a hand on her back and led her downstairs.
There could be a lot of issues going forward with Kali, but she was going to protect her and keep her safe. She swore by that. And Kali, even if she didn’t say it directly, was thankful for that.