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Defining Quiet

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Keira has always been the quiet one. She loves to study the stars and the histories. Kara loves to study the adventures and the mysteries and beg Aunt Astra to take them, because she would never leave her sister behind, on adventures across the universe. Aunt Astra always promised she would and the girls have every belief that their Aunt would have kept those promises too if Krypton hadn’t exploded.

The pod that last day was made for one but neither girl had ever been alone. They'd come into the world together, two halves of the same coin, and they were going to leave Krypton the same way. So they'd squeezed into the too small space, curled around one another and they'd left Krypton, Keira wearing her mother’s necklace and Kara clutching to her father’s cadet badge. When the explosion of the planet sent them careening off course they'd clung to one another even more, prayed to Rao to keep them safe and eventually slept.

Twenty-four years later their pod landed on Earth. The tall man who came for them look like Uncle Jor and said he was Kal-El but Kal was a baby. Soon they began to understand, their pod was knocked off course, they'd been trapped for a close to an entire lifetime in a place where time never moved. Their baby cousin had aged, had grown up, they hadn't. He goes by Clark now and he has a wife that loves them easily but the two of them can't raise two teenage girls, they're barely adults themselves. So Clark takes them to some friends of his, friends that have a teenage daughter of their own.

The three of them land soundlessly, Keira and Kara having adapted to landing as easily as they'd taken to flight itself. The two girls cling to one another, hands tangled together as an anchor. The man and woman approaching them smile, his hand resting easily on her shoulder, “Hello,” the woman says, her voice calm and soothing, it reminds Keira of their mother, “I'm Eliza.”

Keira falls into the woman’s embrace, finds that she feels safe there, but Kara remains slightly away from them, her eyes and ears drawn to a window on the second floor of the house behind the adults. She smiles at the girl there but she notes that the girl doesn't smile back. Kara decides instantly that she likes the girl and she'll just have to make the girl like her.

Eliza can't tell them apart, it bothers Keira. It shouldn't though, no one has ever really been able to tell them apart but Aunt Astra. Where everyone else looked at them and saw the Zor-El twins, Aunt Astra looked at them and saw Keira and Kara. She could tell them apart with barely a glance, even their mother couldn't do that. Only Keira knew why. Aunt Astra had been the quiet twin, the one overlooked, the one drug along on her sister’s adventures when she wanted no part of them. She promised Keira, had since before the girl could understand, that the same fate would not befall her.

But Krypton blew up and everyone they loved died. Keira sits in the window seat of the room she shares with her sister, Kara is out on the roof, walking the edge. “Kara, please come inside before Jeremiah or Eliza see you. You know people can't know about our powers.”

Kara grins over her shoulder at her sister, “You worry too much, baby sister.”

“We’re the same age, Kara, we’re twins.”

“I am exactly fifteen minutes older and you very well know it, Keira Zor-El.” The girl on the roof sticks her tongue out at the one inside the house, “Come fly with me.”

Keira shakes her head, “Kara, we can't. We’ll get in trouble.”

“Please,” Kara pouts at her sister. “What if I can get Alex to go with us?”

“You won't get Alex to go.”

“Bet I can.”

“No way,” Keira says, “Alex knows we can't. So should you by now.”

Before Keira can blink Kara has sped her way down the roof to a new window, knocking lightly against is, “Kara,” Alex’s exasperated voice demands, “what are you doing? Mom will pitch a fit of she finds you out here.”

“Come fly with me?” Kara requests quietly. Keira smiles, it would seem that her sister has become quite taken with their new “sister” though Keira doubts Kara has or ever will feel sisterly towards the slightly older human. “Ha,” Keira hears Kara suddenly cheer, “come on, bookworm, it's time to go flying. Lex is going too.”

Keira glances at the dark haired teenager by her sister’s side, “Since when do you listen to what this troublemaker says.”

Alex shrugs, “I like flying with you guys.”

Sighing Keira shakes her head, “When we get in trouble, you guys are letting me pick the movie next time we get to go.”

“Deal,” the other two girls say together. Alex clambers onto Kara’s back, arms wrapped tight around the younger girl’s neck, “Let’s go,” she says.

Kara smiles and pushes off from the roof, “Come on, Keira, a quick trip around the bay and we’re back before Eliza or Jeremiah even know we’re gone.”

Keira sighs, pushes herself out onto the roof and then up into the sky, “Alright, quick trip and then we head back, I have studying to do.” Following after her sister Keira sighs, she wishes every day that Aunt Astra had been able to keep her promise.

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They are on the beach and Kara is staring up at the seagulls, she's been fascinated with them, well any bird, since they landed. Keira is sitting on a rock out by the ocean, watching the other kids and the way the ocean crashes against the shore. Her sketch book is open on her lap, she's found that when she presses her pencil to paper and gives life to the way she sees this world things aren't so jumbled in her head.

She hears the squeal of tires and the crunch of bending metal even before her sister because Kara is talking to Alex and getting Kara’s attention when she's talking to Alex is like wounding a Kryptonian, near impossible. Without a thought she dashes up the beach, sketch pad abandoned while sand rises behind her.

“Keira!” she hears Alex call behind her but she can hear a baby crying and liquid, that she suspects is gasoline, dripping and a woman murmuring quietly while fumbling with something.

When she reaches the road its to find the car on its side, a fire already burning and gasoline leaking from the fuel tank. She races for the car, ripping the door clean off its hinges and tossing it away before pulling the woman from the car, ensuring she lands safely on the ground before Keira scrambles for the back seat. The baby there is a little boy and Keira is instantly reminded of Kal-El. He was the whole reason she was doing this to begin with. She undoes his restraints carefully.

When he’s tucked securely into her arm she jumps down from the side of the car. Her heart clenches looking at him. She wonders if he has an Aunt Astra type person in his life, if Kal had one growing up. “You’re safe now, little one,” she promises, her own childhood nickname falling easily from her lips. She tries not to think of how she’d planned to call Kal-El that, how she’d planned to be the person he could always come to, like Aunt Astra was to her.

She shuffles the baby into his mother’s arms, starts back towards the beach when she sees Alex cresting the hill, “Keira!”

Before Keira can speed to Alex’s side she hears the coming explosion behind her, “Alex!” she screams just as the car explodes and one of the car’s remaining doors flies towards Alex.

When the paramedics get there Kara has run back to the Danvers’ home, left Kara to care for Alex and climbed her way onto the roof without use of her powers. She pulls her knees up to her chest and cries. Today is the first time its really hit her, she missed Kal-El growing up the same way Aunt Astra and her parents would miss her growing up.

She’d loved her parents but they were her parents, there were some things she just couldn’t talk about with them, especially her mother. Aunt Astra was always the one she’d gone to and when she’d learned that she and Kara and Kal were being sent to Earth she’d planned to be that person for him. Except she’d never gotten a chance, she is never going to get a chance and now she’s hurt her new, human sister too.

Curling into herself and laying down on her side, Keira wishes and prays to Rao that Alex will be okay. Adjusting her hearing she finds Kara’s heartbeat, slightly faster than a human’s, and slowly falls asleep right there on the roof.

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Kara flops down onto the end of her sister’s bed, “So I have a date tonight,” she says offhandedly, like its something inconsequential. Keira looks over at her, eyebrow raised and head tilted, “Help me pick something to wear?”

For a moment Keira is shocked, her sister never asks for help when it comes to outfits. She watches Kara for a few moments, “Do I happen to know this date?” she questions quietly.

Kara blushes all the way to the roots of her hair and nods, “Yeah,” she says with a little shy smile, “it's Alex.”

Keira smiles, she's known since they were thirteen that Kara was in love with Alex and since they were fifteen that Alex was just as in love with Kara, the two never having bonded as sisters. “I'm happy for you,” she tells her sister, “both of you.”

“It won't be weird for you will it? The two of us dating? I know you see Alex as a sister.”

“Exactly,” Keira says, “I see Alex as my sister, you never have seen her as yours. I have the same type of bond with Alex as I have with you. So no you dating Alex will not be weird for me, she and I already share the bond I would hope to have with anyone you chose as a partner.” Before she can blink Kara is wrapped in her sister’s embrace, each hugging the other just as tightly as they possibly can, something only ever accomplished when they’re hugging one another. She chuckles, “So where are the two of you going tonight?”

Grinning Kara launches into a long winded description of the date beneath the stars that she's arranged for she and Alex. She looks so happy and talks so freely Keira finds herself longing for the same feelings of happiness and love she sees pouring off of her sister.

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“What are you doing?” Keira questions while watching Alex move around the kitchen.

“Ummm,” Alex stumbles on the words she's thinking.

Studying the girl she's come to think of as another sister Keira rises and makes her way towards the kitchen. “You're doing something for Kara,” she says simply. Alex nods and looks away slightly, “Lex,” she says quietly reaching out to squeeze the slightly older woman’s arm, “what's up?”

“I'm scared.”

Those words falling from Alex’s lips take Keira completely by surprise, “Of what, Alex?”

Alex moves to the drawer by the stove and opens the drawer there, “I wasn't planning on doing this tonight. I wanted to talk to you first because I know how important your relationship with Kara is. But she got that offer at the lab in Metropolis and, Keira,” Alex meets Keira’s eyes then, “I can't lose her. I just can't let her go.”

Keira smiles, “You're gonna ask her to marry you?” Instead of responding Alex places a small jewelry box on the counter, “You want her to stay.”

“No,” Alex says simply, “not if she really wants to go. What I want is for her to know that if she goes then I'm going too.”

Smiling Keira runs her finger lightly over the diamond before her, “It's beautiful, Alex, she's going to love it.”

“I hope so,” Alex says quietly.

Moving to Alex, Keira wraps her in the tightest embrace a human can stand, “She’ll love it because you're giving it to her.” She presses a kiss to Alex’s cheek, “She's going to love it, Lexie,” she tells her, drawing up the nickname she’d given her adopted sister when she was thirteen. “I happy for you both.”

“How is it you know how to calm my fears?” Alex asks as the younger woman moves away and back to her easel in the corner.

Keira grins, “Because you're my sister, just as much as Kara is, and I love you both. I can read you both better than anyone else on this planet can but each other. You're a member of the House of El already, Lexie, and that means Kara and I and even Kal are always going to protect you and be there when you need us. We may not know what to say, especially my sister and cousin they're better with actions than words, but we're always going to be here whenever you need us.”

They both pretend that there aren't tears in both of their eyes as they turn back to their respective tasks and Keira smiles when she hears Alex humming her and Kara’s song. She's happy for them, she truly is, she's also jealous of them. She sighs and continues the painting of her Aunt Astra, she has to get the details just right.

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Keira’s sitting on the beach, feet buried beneath the sand and arms resting her knees when a voice sounds behind her, “Kara, they're waiting for you. What are you doing out here anyway.”

Turning slightly she sighs, “I'm not Kara, Eliza,” she motions to the house, “last time I saw Kara, she and Alex were sneaking into the house.” She turns back to the ocean, “I'm not using my x-ray vision to find out what's going on inside.”

Eliza sighs, “I'm sorry, darling,” she drops a kiss onto the top of Keira’s head, “you'd think after twelve years I’d be able to tell my daughters apart. Even if you are identical.”

Keira shakes her head, “It's fine,” she says, even though it's really not. She misses someone knowing the minute they see her that she's her and not Kara. Because Alex can always tell them apart but Alex is usually looking for Kara. She misses Aunt Astra, “Mom couldn't tell us apart either,” she says quietly but knows Eliza hears her when she feels a squeeze to her shoulder.

“Are you okay, sweetie?”

Nodding Keira rests her head on her folded arms across her knees, “Yeah,” she says quietly, “I just missed the ocean.”

Eliza smiles, “Okay, darling. Don't stay out here too long,” she turns, “I’m going to find your sisters.”

Keira snorts, “Good luck,” she says without turning around. She watches the waves crashing and closes her eyes, listening to the steady beat. Usually when she needs to feel grounded she’ll listen for heartbeats, her sisters’, but tonight that isn't an option. She wonders, as she often has lately, if when Aunt Astra referred to herself and Keira as the quiet twins if maybe quiet wasn't synonymous with lonely.

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Ten fifteen, Keira reminds herself while glancing at her watch, she has a job interview with Cat Grant, CEO of CatCo Worldwide Media, at ten fifteen. She’s not as nervous as she expects to be, something at the back of her mind is telling her how good this could be for her. When she steps off the elevator she runs into someone and fumbles her way through explaining she’s there for an interview with Ms. Grant.

It’s only when Ms. Grant demands to know why she’s special that her nerves really take over. “I’m not,” she says, “I’m not special. Absolutely nothing special about me. I’m totally completely, one hundred percent normal.”

Ms. Grant nods slightly, “Yes, you are.”

“Absolutely,” Keira continues, “I’m nothing if not average. Average strength, average hearing, less than average vision,” she points to her glasses before adjusting them slightly. “There is nothing out of the ordinary about me.”

“Okay, I get it,” Ms. Grant says, her tone bored.

“Except,” Keira says, rising from the seat she’s taken, “except I’m extremely committed, I care. I’m a hard worker and I just wanna help.”

Ms. Grant hums, “That’s refreshing.”

Keira tilts her glasses down, looks at a pile of papers on the CEO’s desk, “I could, uh, I could make pharmacy runs for you, pick up prescriptions,” she says upon seeing the empty medicine bottle on the bottom of the pile.

Ms. Grant looks at her suspiciously, “Funny you should say that.”

Keira tilts her glasses down once more, looks at the older woman’s pen, clearly her favorite based on its place of honor, “I think your pen is out of ink,” she says.

“No,” the CEO says lifting it to scribble on a spare bit of paper only to stop when nothing appears. When she looks back up there’s a pen extended to her in Keira’s hand.

“I just wanna be useful, to somebody,” Keira says honestly, she hasn’t felt useful in far too long, “I wanna be worthwhile.”

“And you're both worthwhile?”

Keira shakes her head, her eyes catching one of the screens in the corner, the forest fires there blazing, “I haven't done anything to prove it,” she says, eyes glued to the bright orange blazes. Ms. Grant follows her attention, turning to look at the fires too, “Yet.”

“I think you should know that I expect complete and utter devotion to this job. Are you willing to sacrifice everything in your life to be my assistant?”

Keira stares at the forest fires, tamping down on some feeling inside her chest she can't place. “Yes,” she says with a bright smile, “yes, of course.” She glances back at the news screen and then back to Cat Grant, smile forced but bright, she's gotten good at those smiles. Twelve years of trying to make herself invisible as the quiet and lonely twin will do that.

Ms. Grant is studying her though and there's something there that Keira doesn't quite understand, “I need the new layouts from the art department. Fashion should have had that article rewrite on my desk two hours ago. And get me lunch.”

Panic overtakes Keira for a moment but the. She nods with a smile, “Yes, Ms. Grant.”

“Your desk is there,” the older woman says nodding to the desk outside her door.

“Yes, Ms. Grant,” Keira says and then hurries to complete the tasks set before her. They're a test, she knows and she intends to pass them with flying colors.

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“Keira!” the young woman is already moving before Ms. Grant has finished her name.

“Yes, Ms. Grant?”

The woman holds out some papers, “Read this.”

Keira has been the woman’s assistant for six months now, no request surprises her anymore. When she finishes the article she's already read, about the new LGBT youth center being opened in the city she looks at her boss, “It's a very good piece,” she says.

“Yes, but it needs something.” Cat’s eyes take Keira in, “What does it need?”

Keira considers her words carefully, “People,” she finally says. “It needs words from people, kids and teenagers affected by the center today, adults who would have benefited years ago.”

Cat nods, her eyes sparkling, “You are absolutely right, Keira,” she smiles, slow and easy, genuine. “Good work.”

The younger woman returns the smile, “Thank you, Ms. Grant.”

She holds out the article to Keira once more, “Take that down to Lifestyles and have them find those people, give them a list of at least six you think should be in there.”

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Keira places the CatCo onesie and pacifier on her desk as she reaches for her purse. She's excited to be an aunt and when she'd remembered that CatCo sold onesies as a part of the small shop downstairs she hadn't been able to resist the idea.

She runs her fingers over the soft fabric and wonders quietly if she’ll ever have the life her sisters have. “Something I should know, Keira?” Cat Grant questions, having stepped onto the floor while Keira was lost in thought.

“No, Ms. Grant,” Keira says hastily, she bundles the baby things together and stashes them in her purse as she’d planned, “just a few gifts for my sister and her wife, they just found out they’re expecting.”

Ms. Grant tilts her head, “I didn't know you had a sister.”

Keira smiles, “Yes, ma'am, a twin actually, identical.”

The older woman smirks, “There's two Sunny Danvers running around this world?”

Grinning at the nickname Keira shakes her head, “Not exactly, Ms. Grant, but close.”

“We have a busy day ahead of us,” Cat says, sensing Keira’s need for the subject to change. “Carter will be coming by this afternoon, his father cancelled again and Elena has the day off.”

Keira smiles, “Of course, Ms. Grant, I'll have something for him prepared.”

Cat nods, mutters a quiet, “Thank you, Keira.”

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Keira cradles the baby carefully, like she's glass, “Hello, sweetie,” she says quietly. She glances up to where Kara is sitting with Alex and then over to where Eliza is holding her grandson. “You and your brother are so very loved, little one,” and she thinks the name may suit her niece better than any other child she's ever used it on. “And I will always be here for you.” She presses a kiss to the girl’s temple, “Always.”

“What are their names?” Eliza questions.

Kara smiles, she and Alex have kept the baby’s names closely guarded secrets. “Our son’s name is Jeremiah Elliott,” Alex tells her mother, “after his grandfathers’.” Keira knows what her niece’s name will be, “And our daughter’s name is Alura Elizabeth after her grandmothers.”

Kara smiles around the lump in her throat, “They're beautiful, guys,” she says quietly.

Kara smiles as she takes her daughter from her sister, “Thanks, Keira,” she says.

“Take care of them,” she whispers, pressing a kiss to Kara’s cheek. “I love you.”

Keira nods, “Of course.” She moves to Alex in the bed and presses a kiss to her cheek as well, “You did good, Lexie.”

Alex smiles, “Thanks, Keira.”

She moves to Eliza, dropping a kiss to her cheek and the top of baby Jeremiah’s head before she heads out of the house. Outside the front door she drops back against the side of the house and bites back a sob. Her sister has a family and all Keira wants is something to make her feel even the least bit complete.

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Jeremiah and Alura have taken over her desk, she realizes with a grin. There’s the picture of them when they were six days old, hands tangled together in their shared crib. There was a similar one of her and Kara on their Aunt Astra’s desk on Krypton. Another shows their first birthday, both covered in cake with big smiles. The newest one is by far her favorite. Alura sits on one side of a chalkboard and Jeremiah on the other. The chalkboard holds a Christmas list with cars and trucks and dolls and books but at the bottom, the last item is baby brother or sister. Keira loves it, can’t believe she’s going to be an aunt again. At the same time its like a stab to her heart.

“We’ve just received word,” an anchor woman’s voice cuts through her thoughts when someone turns the TV up, “that the plane whose engine has failed was headed for Geneva.”

Keira stares at the TV, Alex was flying to Geneva today. Some conference to do with her job. She’d come over that morning to help Kara pick out an outfit for her date tonight. Keira’s hand tightens around her pen until it snaps. She prays Alex isn’t on that flight as she looks up through the CatCo building with her x-ray vision, trying to spot the distressed plane.