Superman Makes Re-Entry

February 07, 2016:

Cait and Kara are catching up a bit; then, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's… oh crap, he's—!

Bistro on 5th Ave

A charming bistro on 5th avenue

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: JLA members

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

"Anyway, it was just an awesome awesome fight," Catilin says, concluding her story. The plucky redhead had been regaling Kara with the retelling of her operation abroad with Captain America and a dozen assorted heroes. The two women are at one of the comfortable outdoor sidewalk bistros that makes this 5th Avenue shopping district so comfortable— no cars, only bikes and foot traffic. It's quiet, by New York standards. Caitlin's got several bags of clothing in hand, along with some goodies from Best Buy that she'd insisted on detouring into.

"Also, have you met the Hulk? Holy moly. I thought I was strong but… I mean, he's -monstrous-. He was tossing tanks around like they were tinkertoys. And nothing seems to hurt him! Those anti-vehicle rounds sting like heck, but he was laughing them off."

It's a day out for relaxing, something that Kara is always glad to indulge in when the chances arrise. Even rarer are the times she has a chance to socialize with someone out of costume and just hang out. And today, Kara is dressed far differntly than what her freind and teammate Caitlin is used to. With her blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, a light pink polo shirt, khaki pants, and sensible flats, the Girl of Steel is almost unrecognizable; especially with the black-framed glasses she's wearing. Kara smiles as she sips on a glass of Diet Soder Cola, remembering when she was just as excited as Caitlin to be doing the hero thing.

"Sounds like it really was a good fight," she says after setting her glass back down. "I'm sorry I missed it, but I've been so busy lately. It sounds like you're stepping up your game, though. And that's awesome. Starting to feel more comfortable with your powers and being a hero?"

Caitlin flashes a shy but proud grin. "Yeah," she says. "Carol's been pushing me a bit harder in the gym lately. We're trying to find moves that work for me. I can only punch as hard as I can get traction on the ground, so she's been showing me moves that are more based off leverage. And… I don't know, I mean— the strategy side of it, that's always been easy for me," she says with a shrug. "The little simulator games, that's how I've always viewed trouble sites, that sort of top-down perspective."

She pinks a bit and touches her headband self consciously. "I, ahh… had to move your setting on the squat rack up a bit," she says, meekly. It's clear she's proud of her achievement and also trying not to upstage Kara.

Kara raises an eyebrow with surprised amusement when Caitlin talks about the weight machine. "Really?" Rather than upset or patronizing or anything negative, Kara sounds both pleased and proud. "Well, sounds like I've got a new workout buddy now. Good job." She smiles wide, before taking another drink of her soda. The server arrives with their food orders just then, and a plate holding a pastrami sandwich thicker than either woman's arm is set down in front of Kara. After thanking the departing server, kara takes a huge bite, chewing away in bliss. "Mmmmmm….if the rest of the universe knew how good Earth food was, there'd be a lot more strange visitors from other planets…" Kara giggles a bit before putting her sandwich back down. "Well, if you want, maybe we can talk with Diana and see if you could do some training on Themyscira from time to time."

The server drops off Caitlin's salad and moves away. She picks at it hungrily, eating with manners that are almost bordering on sloppy. When Kara mentions Themyscira, Caitlin chokes a bit on her salad and swallows a wedge of tomato convulsively. "Themyscira?" she gasps. "No way," she says, shaking her head in disbelief. "That's … I've dreamed of going there but they're really hardcore about letting people in, aren't they? I mean, I like Diana, but I don't think she'd ever vouch for me like she did for you." Her green eyes widen, positively shining with appeal for the notion. "That'd be incredible. I haven't ever travelled furthur than New York when I left home."

Her eyes darken then droop, the excitement momentarily abated. Then her features light up again because the server comes back, having made a a second trip for Caitlin's order. A giant bowl of potato soup, a pair of ten-ounce burger patties on a buttered bun, a whole avocado, a creamy strawberry milkshake, and a cheesecake. Like an entire, ten-inch cheesecake.

"Oh man, I'm so hungry," she says happily.

"Don't sell yourself short, Caitlin," Kara replies after the red-head's spirits dampen. "You've been proving yourself over and over as a hero. You're just as powerful as I am. You're impressing everyone, even if sometimes they don't show it." Kara pauses to let that sink in, as well as to amaze at everything Caitlin is devouring for lunch. "Strictly speaking, I think you're doing much better than I was when I was at the stage you are right now."

"You've got strength, toughness," Kara continues and gives Caitlin a serious, appraising look. "More importantly, you've got heart and courage and compassion." There's a soft smile to go with the compliment. "But I think the last piece of the puzzle for you is confidence. And I know how hard that is starting out. You're surrounded by these legends that you admire and look up to. I'm related to one. It's a huge weight on your shoulders, I know. You constantly evaluate yourself compared to them, and I constantly compared myself to Kal. But if you just concentrate on being the best 'you', one day you realize that you're not a 'second stringer', a 'hanger-on', or someone's cousin. You're a hero in your own right. And believe me, you're a hero just as much as I am."

Caitlin squirms back and forth, head hanging over her food and turning progressively redder by the moment at the praise Kara lavishes on her. "Karaaaaaaaa you're killing me," she complains with a tittering groan, drumming her wedge heels on the ground under the table. She bites her lip and looks at Kara directly, then laughs merrily and loudly. "Seriously, stop, or I'll shrivel up and curl into a ball from embarassment," she says, ignoring the few curious eyes aimed their way.

"I guess as long as I don't think about it, I do OK," she concedes. "It's just… I mean, when it was just me on my own, sure, I'd be all 'Ra ra, charge!'" she says, waving her fists loosely in the air. "But it's kind of hard to tell Diana or Shay to do anything. I don't even like -asking- Shayera to do something," she admits. "She's kind of terrifying."

"Hmmmm…." Kara muses as she eats a few more bites of her sandwich. "Why are you trying to 'tell' Diana or Carol or Shayera to do something? I'm not saying that you're wrong. But it kind of goes without saying that being on a team is *way* different than going solo." Kara brings up a hand to rub her chin as she considers the situation. "What I'm asking is: what do you think you're trying to say to them that they're ignoring or not taking seriously? Even though you're a hero, in some ways you're still a new qualtity that the team has to adjust to and get used to your capabilities."

+MEET: Clark Kent has arrived via +meet.

Caitlin buries her face in her plate, thinking, then comes up for air. "Okahy-" she covers her mouth with one hand. "Okay, I don't mean like I'm being ignored. Just that if we're in a firefight or whatever, I don't feel… I don't feel right saying 'Go here' or 'do that'," she explains. "I mean Diana's been a warrior forever. So has Shayera. I guess I just feel really self-conscious around them. Even more so than with Carol— I know Carol won't take it personally if I give her an emergency instruction. I just don't know how they'd take it."

Kara's eyes brighten and she nods to Caitlin's explanation. "Got it. That makes a lot of sense, actually. And you're right. Teammates like Diana and Carol and Shayera have a lot more experience that either of us. Centuries, in some case. So, the issue is that you need to learn how to inform without making it sound like you're telling anyone what to do. That's really important in a team, becasue there has to be one person in charge so that conflicting orders and opininos don't cause the team to pause and figure out what's going on and what to do." Kara finishes off her glass of soda and waits for the server to give her a refill before continuing. "So how about this. Instead of saying 'go here', how about saying 'threat here'? You see the difference? Telling someone that you see a threat lets them make the decision. Becasue while you may see something they don't, they could also be seeing something, or a lot of somethings, that they need to weigh in their tactical analysis. And they can adjust way quicker. That's how a team operates; everyone covering each other and feeding informatin to the leader."

Caitlin's eyes light up at Kara's suggestion. "Oh. Oh! I never thought of it like that!" she says, enthusiastically. "I'm used to dealing with… well, I mean whoever pitched in," she says with a wiggle of her shoulders. Her t-shirt, a bright green color, has a 20-sided die with the 20 on the topmost trapezoid. "So I kind of yell a lot so people hear me. I guess it never occured to me that I could just relate it like that. I'll give it a try next time it happens," she assures Kara, reaching for the cheesecake. She cuts off a generous slice and … slides that slice onto Kara's plate, then brings the entire plate over to herself with a ravenous glee.

Sometimes a lunch is simply just a relaxed lunch. The waiters bring food, with a slight watchful, judging appraisal to determine what tip might be likely from this group or that — in fact, a few people celebrate a birthday not far from where the girls sit, and with a laugh, one of the birthday balloons brought is lost. They cheer anyway, enjoying the brief song and well-wishes.

The balloon, now floating with the string twisting in a bright red spiral, drifts upwards. There is a little bell on it, tinkling softly, originally meant to weigh it down, but the balloon seems to say "no, little bell: today I fly."

And there is another sound, beyond it. Something very few will hear, or make note of as anything. An object entering the atmosphere at an extreme speed. Which can mean a variety of things, often threatening in nature these days. But there's always hope it could be something more, or something lost.

"Hey, what else are freinds for if not for pointing out where you're screwing up?" Kara gives Caitlin a playful wink and a laugh, indicating that she's not serious about the 'screwing up' part. The offered piece of cheesecake is sampled, with another smile and sigh of bliss from Kara. "Have I mentioned how awesome Earth food is? Becasue it is. Seriously."

And that's when Kara's super hearing picks up the distant sound in the upper atmosphere.

"Looks like lunch is over," Kara murmurs to Caitlin as the look up into the sky at the source of the sound. The Girl of Steel focuses her eyes to pinpoint the sound, then gasps at what she sees. She scrambles out of her chair, an expression of near-panic on her face. "Get the area clear," she says to Caitlin in an urgent, but still low tone, before taking off towards an alley. Once out of sight, Kara whips off her glasses, shakes off her hair, and opens up her shirt to reveal the blue costume with the 'S' shield she's wearing underneath. And in the enxt moment, the blue and red-clad form of Supergirl shoots off into the sky on an intercept course with the falling object.

"I— wait wait waiiiit," she groans, getting awkwardly to her feet and trying not to flip the table over. "Dangit, at least tell me what it is!" she says, too late.

She looks around the area frantically, trying to figure out how to get the popular shopping center cleared out. Then she spots it— a backpack on the ground not far away, unattended. She winces. She's not a New York native, but it's become home for her, and… well, you gotta do what you gotta do.

She inhales as much air as she can, and for her and Kara, that's a lot.

"BOMB!" she screams, as loudly as she dares. It's enough that people nearby wince away and cover their ears. Caitlin leaps onto a brightly-painted transformer and points at the backpack. "I SAW A GUY DROP A BOMB IN THAT BACKPACK! RUN!" she shrieks, again.

People start scrambling for the exits as fast as they can, herded by Caitlin's repeated, insistent cries of terror.

With how graceless this fall is, it's perhaps a good thing only Kara is witnessing it at this moment. The falling male, in a tattered disarray of red and blue with hints of the grandness that this costume ususally is — seems to have been through a meat grinder of some intergalactic type. The damage is unsettling, but the man isn't entirely out of it. In fact, as Kara reaches him, the exhausted request that greets her proves he's down but not out:

"….Save them from the bomb…"

Superman's voice is disconnected and battered, but the message is clear. Always the innocent first. Even if he's going to create a really deep hole in a moment or splatter. Supergirl can do a lot to slow him if she wishes, even though he's putting a lot of force into his own forward momentum, which indicates strongly that he's not in as good a shape as he'd likely prefer her to think.

While Kara is concentrating on Kal's uncontrolled descent, one of the advantages of her super hearing is the ability to still keep track of lots of situations at once. "It's not a bomb!" Supergirl shouts back to Caitlin via her communicator. "How can it be a bomb on the ground when I'm flying away *from* the ground?" She pours on some speed to intercept Superman and catch him with a bit of a 'umph'. "It's okay…I've got you, Kal," she says quietly as she cradles him.

"It's my cousin," Kara relays back to Caitlin as she starts to fly back down with Kal. "It's Superman. He's back. And he's hurt…"

"I DON'T KNOW! I PANICKED!" Caitlin bellows back up at Kara. She doesn't have super-hearing, so she doesn't pick up on the rest of it until her phone *chirrups* in her pocket. It's not the nice 'You have a text!' noise— it's the angry 'LOCAL EMERGENCY ALERT' noise. She whips her phone out and removes the little clipped-in earpiece, and jams it into her left ear. Someone on the other end demands a status report as everything from Twitter to NOAA goes on alarm all at once.

"This is Fairchild, I'm with Supergirl and she's… I think she's catching something," she says, squinting. "We're just above 5th Avenue in New York. I mean, -she- is just above 5th. I'm on the ground. Oh, and there's no bomb, sorry, I had to clear the area of civilians."

"Oh. Well. I knew you'd take care of things," Superman observes to Kara quietly. Hard to say if he's talking about right now, or the bomb that she must have defused suddenly, or what. But, the forceful effort into bearing himself towards the planet tapers off, and ends, leaving Kara to direct them as she needs to, without any interference from him.

As Kara flies down, she looks over at Kal and smiles at him. "So now you admit I can handle things while you take vacations?" she quips, trying to lighten the mood. She also looks him over, relieved that the injuries seem to be just superficial; nothing that a good couple hours out in the sun won't heal. At first, Kara think of bringing him down to the street, but thinks better of that idea. The last think Kal needs is to have hundreds of cell phone pictures of him looking beat up like this. Instead, Kara lands them both onto a nearby roof. "Be right back," Kara says to her cousin as she sets him down. Then, in a blur, Supergirl flies down, lands. And holds up her hands to try and calm down the crowd. "Everyone, it's okay. Keep calm, it was a false alarm. There is no bomb. You're all safe. Sorry about that, we got some bad intel."

"I'll handle the cops," Caitlin tells Kara, hearing the distant wail of sirens showing up. She fishes in her pocket for her Justice League identification and clutches it in one hand. "You go… take care of that," she tells her friend, still a bit unsure of what's going on. "Can you talk to Oracle and wave off the big guns, and I'll handle things here?" she offers. "And I'll meet you back at the Lakehouse in a bit," she suggests. She flashes Kara a winning smile and then turns to wave at the first cop cars pulling around the corner.

"Mmmmmmmmm, I wouldn't go that far…. and this — vacation? …it would be the /worst/ vacation," Superman answers slowly with a smile in the tone if not on his face, which, more than the other commentary, will possibly assure Kara that he'll be okay. And is aware of who she is, at least now. He doesn't go anywhere on the roof, but does shift to lean up against part of a vent.
And so, he'll be there for a time, quiety taking stock of the landing, his location, and that it's best to relax a moment as opposed to doing something that could put himself or others in danger due to his dizziness.

"Are you sure?" Kara asks Caitlin. But it looks like the red head does indeed have things under control. "Okay. We'll meet you there in a while. There's a stop that Superman and I need to take first." She smiles and gives Caitlin a clap on the shoulder. She then flies back up to the roof to help Kal get to his feet. "Come on. Let's get you recharged. Quick trip in the stratosphere should get you feeling better."

Upon Kara's return, Superman is getting to his feet. Will of Steel, this one. "You've done more than enough. I have a few things …. long overdue, that I won't let wait any longer," the tough man says, not unkindly, to his cousin. "I'll make it," he assures her, with a show of straightening up, stretching his shoulders, head up and back. For that moment, battered and wounded or not, at least one thing is clear: Superman has returned.

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