Best Friend To The Rescue

August 24, 2016:

After meeting one of Red Robin's new friends, Kara sends out a distress signal to her best friend

Kara's Apartment, Metropolis

Characters

NPCs:

Mentions: Red Robin, The Girl With The… (Darcy Lewis)

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The text went out around noon. Kara's had a rather emotional and difficult few hours, starting last night in Gotham. Since then, she's been flying all over the globe, stopping events ranging from purse-snatchings in Paris to an avalanche threatening Lahore. Anything to keep her from thinking about what had just happened. When she finally arrives back in her apartment in Metropolis, Kara is worn out; physically and emotionally. Before curling up in a blanket and lying on her bed, the Girl of Not-So-Tough-As-Steel sent a text to her friend and teammate Caitlyn, saying '911. My Apartment'.

Caitlin's first reaction is panic— a 911?! What's wrong? Then she stops and parses it— Kara wouldn't summon her to her apartment for a dire emergency, and it wouldn't have come over her private cell phone. The JLA would have notified them.

Caitlin puts a few things together and remembers the last thing she'd heard from Kara was looking forward to seeing Tim again. So she climbs into a thin hoodie over her yoga pants and t-shirt, grabs a half-gallon of ice cream, and hails an Uber to Kara's place. Fortunately, it's an SUV, not a small passenger car, so there's no pavement being scraped.

Caitlin's there about 25 minutes later, tromping up the stairs, and is admitted into Kara's apartment with a concerned expression on her face.

"Heeeyy," she says, in those soft tones people use around dogs, kids, and crazy people. "How're you doing?" she says, shuffling into the room and closing the door behind him. "Is it… Tim? and stuff?" she says, a bit haltingly.

Kara answers the door to let Caitlyn in still wrapped in a blanket, wearing a sleep shirt, pink pyjama bottoms, and fuzzy slippers. And she's looking bleary-eyed and disheveled, her hair a tangled mess and her face streaked with grime marked by a few tear paths. Once Caitlyn is inside, Kara wraps her arms around the tall red-head, giving her a full-strength hug. Kara nods in response to the question. "I really messed up…"

Caitlin creaks a little but hugs back, quite fiercely, and squeezes Kara back as hard as she dares, around her narrow shoulders. She rests her cheek on Kara's head, and without thinking about it, croons and little and rocks back and forth. She's a big, stalwart, reliable presence and she just hugs Kara for a while, for as long as Kara needs a hug.

"Well, I brought ice cream," Caitlin offers, holding up the slick-sided cardboard tub of Rocky Road. "If you've got two spoons, we can get to work. I'm sure you didn't mess anything up SO BAD that it can't be fixed, somehow," she tells Kara, flashing her friend her biggest, most reassuring smile. "I mean— you didn't like, knock the Tower out of orbit. Right?"

She pauses, giving Kara a sidelong look. "Er, right?"

"No…" Kara says in response to knocking the Tower out of orbit. Although the look on her face suggests an idea that she might consider now. She goes to the couch and flops (yes, *flops*) down into it. "Spoons are in the drawer to the right of the dishwasher," she tells Caitlyn, although the woman probably already knows that. It takes her a while before she speaks again, asking "Am…am I a good friend?"

It's a serious question, so Caitlin gives it some serious thought. A more flip answer would probably have been preferable, but… well, Caitlin has a hard time with being anything less than totally honest.

"Yes," she concludes. "I mean, even forgetting the… foooour times? you've saved my life. You go to movies with me, we eat meals together, you walked me through… uh, certain romance stuff," she says, pinking on the tips of her ears. She uses an ample hip to check the drawer shut and walks back to Kara, sitting (carefully) on the floor next to her, tucking her toes under her knees and resting an elbow next to Kara's seat. "You're my /best/ friend."

She takes a bite, thinking. "I mean, so there's obviously some implicit observational bias there, so it's like… possible I have bad taste in friends. But Carol likes you to, and Carol is really picky about her friends," and it goes unsaid that Caitlin thinks Carol Danvers walks on water, so, "so I think you're okay there."

"Wait, why'dyou ask?"

Kara sighs a bit, but smiles at the reassurance. And then, as Caitlyn lists all the reason why she's a good friend, Kara frowns and slumps into the couch deeper. "So…I'm a good friend. But a lousy girlfriend." Kara looks over at Caitlyn shaking her head. "No, Robin didn't *say* that. But it's still true." Another sigh and pause. "I got too wrapped up in being Supergirl," she explains. "I kept pushing back dates, dinners…things that I should have been doing with him. Becasue people needed Supergirl, and I thought he'd understand. I kept meaning to make it up to him, but then…next thing I knew it'd been months since we'd last seen each other. And I went to Gotham last night to find him and apologize. And then…." Kara sighs and hugs herself. "He was meeting with another girl. A *really* hot girl. Like…" Kara holds out her hands away from her chest to demonstrate and also point out some body image issues of her own. "And she's a SHIELD agent and they've been on a date and uuuuuggggghhhh…" Kara lets herself fall over onto her side.

"Oh that /bitch/," Caitlin murmurs. She never swears, and she does it rather poorly, but the empathy is there, at least.

"So… I mean, did you guys break up, or… I mean, I kinda wondered if you were, together, or TOGETHER together," she admits, wincing a bit at the admission. "You never really like, codified it, did you?" she asks, her tone gentle.

"I mean— I'm not trying to excuse him," she adds, hastily. "Just like, you know, maybe it's a good thing because then you two weren't really… together, so …" She stirs her ice cream, looking down in embarrassment.

"I'm sorry. I'm not really helping," she admits, lamely, and offers Kara the ice cream. "What can I do?"

"You're here," Kara says with a smile. "That's plenty." She sighs and sits back up. "And I'm not angry at Robin. I don't even blame him. You're right that we never really codified what we had. So, I can't exactly blame him for finding…support from another woman when I wasn't able to give it to him. It's just…frustrating." Kara takes the ice cream and starts eating. "We just keep missing each other when we want to try. It's like this dogfighting term I learned from Carol, called 'scissoring'. It's where one plane tries to get behind a plane following it by swerving back and forth in wide sweeps. So, the trailing plane does the same thing in the opposite direction. So they end up going like this…" Kara weaves her hands back and forth in front of her, demonstrating. "And there's just this flash of a moment where either plane can engage the other one before, wooosh! The chance is gone."

"Well… I mean, if it makes you feel any better, at least you had something, right? Even if it was short?" Caitlin offers, a bit hesitantly, scooping up more ice cream before Kara takes it back.

"I know it sucks, you two… I mean— yeah, you're cute together. But heroing is hard. It's hard for the best of us. How many Leaguers are married? Aquaman? Maybe?" she snorts. "Clark's not, Diana's not… I don't think Batman even knows what sex is, he's so creepy," she says, shuddering. "Heck, even Carol was whinging about how she hasn't had a date in months. I went on four dates with Cindy, and then— poof, life bit her."

She wiggles a big shoulder at Kara. "But it was still fun while it lasted, and … I mean, it'd suck to get dumped for someone, but you know, things just kind of petered out. That's better than 'smell ya later', right?"

"I know what you're saying," Kara says while glumly eating another spoonfull of ice cream. "It's just…I was a normal girl on Krypton. I had dates, I had a couple of boyfriends." She realizes how that sounds and glares at Caitlyn. "Not all at the same time." Kara sticks her tongue out at Caitlyn before continuing. "And then, I'm here and I have these massive powers. And I have this incredible legacy that I have to live up to. And I don't mean that as a putdown to you. You are every bit a hero as I am. But people expect more of me. The whole world expects more of me. Because I'm Superman's cousin. And it just feels like I can never put someone that I care about, love even, ahead of that responsibility without disappointing the world."

Caitlin smiles at Kara sympathetically, nodding. "It's a lot on your shoulders. I mean— me, it's just… me. Alex is doing stuff I don't even wanna know about, and he's the only family I have in the world. And he's probably doing stuff that's illegal, frankly," Caitlin confesses.

"But I don't have a big S on my chest, or family, or a legacy to hold up to. I'm just… I've just got me, and maybe not making Carol totally embarrassed in public," she says, quietly. "I can't imagine doing all that you do, plus trying to look cool next to Clark, /plus/ dating someone like Tim. I mean, I couldn't even make it work with Cindy, and I'm just moonlighting at the Baxter Building between heroing jobs for the League. I don't know how you guys did it for so long."

"We couldn't," Kara admits with a heavy sigh. "I have to accept it. Friendships are all I'm going to have in this life. Love is…just not going to work out for me." Kara stirs her ice cream absent-mindedly. "The responsibility of being Supergirl means I can't put someone else ahead of the world, and that's what love requires. Sacrificing yourself for the benefit of someone else."

Caitlin's kind of quiet for a moment, spoon in her mouth long past the point where there's any cream left on the spoon. She nods, finally, and gives Kara a sympathetic look.

"Maybe that'll change someday," Caitlin tells Kara, shaking her head. "I mean— don't say never. Never's a bad constant and you'll walk right past a golden opportunity when it flies up and smacks you in the face," she tells her friend, brushing her thick red hair back and absently adjusting the black headband holding it in place.

"But you know, I mean— there's love, and there's romance, and there's… hanky panky," she says, unable to stop herself from giggling a little bit. "You can still go on dates or whatever, hang out, do movies. Just like… you know, tell the boys up front, 'I'm not looking for something serious'. So you might not ever get married, but you aren't alone."

Kara giggles and gives Caitlyn an astonished look. "Oh, I can just see how Kal would react to that! All the tabloids with front page pictures of me dating a different guy every month! 'Supergirl shacked up with Harry Styles! Exclusive photos!' 'My Super Fling With Supergirl: A Journalist's Wild Night' Next thing you know, I'm stumbling out of a hotel with nothing but my cape wrapped around me." Kara gigglesnorts and looks a little more relaxed. "You know, it would just be so much easier if I were evil. Some woman moves in on my man and…just fly up and 'zap!'" She pokes a finger in her ice cream for emphasis. "You know I'm just joking, right?" Kara asks Caitlyn with a sigh.

"I know," Caitlin says sympathetically, patting Kara's knee. "I mean, I get it, but yeah— I know." She smiles encouragingly up at the much more petite blonde, digging for more ice cream. "And I think I've got plenty of lead time on you in terms of flashy tabloid photos. Oh my god—" She shudders violently. "Carol showed me this website where someone did something with photoshop and… I …" She shudders again, turning bright pink. "See, this is why I stay away from 4chan and other websites. Did not need to know there were pictures of me out there."

"You'll learn to put it out of your mind," Kara says with a sigh. "It was just as hard for me finding out about pictures like that made to feature me." She sighs again and shrugs. "We can't control others’ actions; we can only control our own reactions to others." Another few bites of ice cream, and Kara takes a deep breath. "Okay. No more moping about. What is, is. I just need to deal with it and move on."

"Outstanding, that's all five stages of grief in…" Caitlin scrapes the bottom of her ice cream container. "Less than a half-gallon of ice cream," she says, beaming at Kara. "You did great, well done. So, we should go do something. D'you wanna go to Themyscira or something?" she asks, brightening a bit. "Diana said I can go back anytime I like, and it'd be good for us— work out, eat some food, go race Artemis up the mountain a bit. Fresh air would do you very well," she says. "And I wanna go back and mess around with those javelins some more. I Was getting /really good/ at them," she says, proudly.

"Sounds good, but I think what I really need right now are some training robots to smash." Kara nods to herself and smiles. "Yeah, a couple hours of robot bashing sounds just right to me. So, training sims for a while? And maybe a weekend in Themyscira starting Friday?"

"Works for me," Caitlin says, dimpling as she shifts to put away the empty container. "Meanwhile— wanna watch some bad cartoons and veg? I can order a pizza," she offers, her phone already out and punching in an order. "I'm kinda hungry."

Says the girl who just ate a quart of ice cream…

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