"Standing on Common Ground."Kara Zor-El, Karen Star, Cassie Sandsmark, Diana Prince, Selene Prince-White, Wally West, Bruce Wayne.
(Takes place between "The Pirate and the Koala." and "Looking for Answers")Standing at the computer in the Batcave Wonder Woman watched the huge screen as the different teams reported in. As far as they’d been able to tell Seasoul had escaped through the sewers, but then it seemed as if she just disappeared. There were still several teams out searching, though the first wave had decided to call it a night. But she couldn’t relax, not with a godly powered weapon out there somewhere. Glancing at the markers she noticed several searchers in the Gotham area, one of which she felt the need to speak with. “Power Girl, this is Wonder Woman, call it a night out there. I could use your help here.”
"Wonder Woman, this is Power Girl, is there a problem?" Karen said into her comm-link, swooping through and heading for the Batcave.
“No,” Wonder Woman replied. “it’s just I have another pair of eyes I can send out but she needs a partner.” Since finding Kara with Wally, Diana hadn’t let the girl out of her sight. Problem was that Kara’s abilities were needed out there and with Diana being one of the few who knew how to work the Bat-tech in the cave she needed to be here.
"Affirmative, I'm approaching your position," Power Girl said. She slowed to give Wonder Woman time to lower the defenses of the Batcave then whooshed right in. She dropped right in front of the older superhero and nodded as she folded her arms under her breasts.
Turning Wonder Woman gave the younger woman a warm smile before asking, “Anything?”
"Nothing as of yet. I have my people working their way down the East Coast. We've called in all our reserves, nothing," Karen told her with a sigh. She relaxed some, pinching between her eyes.
“You’d think it would be rather easy to find a tall blonde pirate with a Koloa bear side kick in the middle of the modern world.” Wonder Woman sighed and then completely turned away from the computer. She wanted to send Kara out with Karen for several reasons. First, Karen would keep her safe and second Karen was the only other Kryptonian around with the Kents missing. She could teach Kara things that she and Selene just couldn’t. “You look battle weary, Karen. Come up stairs and have some tea, I need to speak with you and I’d rather not do it down here.”
"I'd die for one of Alfred's cookies," Karen laughed tiredly. She rubbed her eyes and wondered if Cassie felt as exhausted as she did. Then she thought about a nice long bath. Then she thought of Cassie in a nice long bath. Shaking her head firmly, she blinked at Diana and nodded. "Tea and cookies. I definitely need the sugar and caffeine."
“I understand the feeling.” The older woman laughed as she lead them up to the manor. “I’ve lost count of the number of times my mother has called to remind me that she’d said putting the horn on display was a bad idea. She’s threatened to come and “help” if we don’t find it soon.” An evil little smirk, one eerily similar to one of Bruce’s, appeared on her lips as she waited for Karen to come into the room so she could slide the clock into place. “Of course given her status as a JSA member that would make her your problem madam chairperson.”
Karen let out a long groan and scrubbed a hand through her hair. "Just tell her we have it under control? Pretty please?" she chuckled.
“That’s what I’ve been doing.” She’d even thought of having Artemis hide the plane, but then she’d have the redhead asking if they needed help. Amazons had a bad habit of thinking only they could handle such things. Walking over to the phone on the end table next to Bruce’s chair she rang Alfred to ask for tea and cookies, then she helped herself to Bruce’s chair. As she watched the tall blonde she tried to think of the best way to brooch the subject of Kara. Karen could be touchy about being displaced and losing her world and her Kal-L. “How’s things with Cassie?”
A small dappy smile grew on Karen's lips as she blushed deeply. "We're moving in together when we find the right place. It's a really big step."
That made Diana smile. “She’s happy. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen her that way.”
The smile faltered for a moment as Karen nodded. "She still misses him, you know. Her and Tim, they're still close and really careful about talking about Connor."
“We all have things like that, things that hurt when they’re mentioned no matter how much time has passed.” She’d just walked into an opening that she really wasn’t sure she wanted to take, but it had to be done. “Karen, what do you know about what happened at the old school here in Gotham? About what was found?”
Letting out a slow, sad sigh, Karen eased herself into a chair and rubbed a hand through her hair too. "Ely." It was said with the grief they all felt at the loss of the boy. "Is there news?"
“Not yet, but Oracle and Delphi are still working on it.” Diana sighed. For all her experience as Wonder Woman, when it came to her children, her protégés, her friends, it was always Diana that felt it so deeply. “We’re still going with the idea of a reality window of some kind.” She sighed again, looking up when Alfred came in as if he held the words she was looking for. “But Ely isn’t what I was asking about. There was a crash site as well.”
Karen tilted her head to the side, her eyes narrowed slightly. "I heard about that. Is there news about that too?"
“More then we’ve let be known” Diana admitted. “It was a small escape pod embedded in a meteorite laced with kryptonite.”
That got her attention and Karen's blue eyes snapped onto Diana. "Another Kryptonian? Who?"
Zipping into the room where he’d heard voices Wally came to a sudden stop right in Diana’s line of sight. “I want to see Kara. Please Diana, I just want to talk to her. I know you and Bruce aren’t thrilled, but I really like her and I promise I’d never hurt her, she’s so sweet and she just fits, ya know, and when she smiles the world lights up.”
Diana blinked, she always did have a hard time understanding Wally when he spoke that fast. “Not now, Wally.”
“I want to see Kara, Diana, and I’m not leaving until I do.” The speedster replied.
Kara... Gods... No... Karen stared between Flash and Diana, her head slowly spinning. "Does.. does Kara mean what I think it means? We're... we're talking about this reality's version of me, aren't we?"
Diana looked at Wally as if he were an eight year old who’d just spilled jam on a white carpet. “Wally, go wait in the kitchen. Now.”
Wally looked over, finally seeing who the other voice belonged to, and blushed. “Oh spit. PG, I didn’t see you. I’m… Crap.”
With a sigh Diana watched as Wally zipped out of the room. Then she went over and sat next to Karen. “Yes.” She answered carefully. “The girl’s our Kara Zor-El, but she isn’t you Karen.”
"I know..." Karen tried not to feel hurt or replaced. She was still the head of the JSA, she still had Cassie, and she still had a family. "Can I see her?"
“That’s why I need your help, Karen.” Diana said softly as she placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “She’s been living on Themyscira since we found her, and we’ve been helping her with her powers as best we can, but she’s Kryptonian and there are things we simply can’t teach her. She’s become family, but she could use a sister who can truly understand her better.”
"A sister?" Karen sniffed, worry flitting in her eyes for just a moment, all of her insecurity filling that look before it was gone. "She's me. I'm not her sister, I'm... I'm the mistake. But I want to meet her, to see her, me, from this reality."
Diana nodded then rose to her feet. With her hand still on the girl’s shoulder she looked into worried blue eyes, “She’s not here to replace you Karen. You’re two different people, and are cared about and loved for who you are. Kara being here changes nothing.” She gave the younger woman a soft smile before leaving the room to call Kara down from her room.
Kara was cuddling the teddy Delphi had given her. It was in a superman outfit, with the familiar S on its chest. Her fingers absently traced its shape as she stared into nothing. She wanted to go home. She wanted her parents and her aunt and uncle. She wanted Wally.
Opting to go to Kara’s room rather then calling for her Diana sighed. She wondered if she should call Cassie and have her come by for Karen and decided to see how the meeting went between the two girls first. Knocking softly she called out, “Kara, it’s Diana.”
"It's open," Kara said softly, knowing the Amazon would hear her. She smiled up though her eyes were full of her sadness. "He didn't come, did he? Bruce scared him away."
She’d missed Selene’s first love and it still bothered her. She imagined the look in Kara’s eyes now was close to what she would have seen in Selene’s eyes. She knew she saw it when Cassie looked at Karen, when Donna looked at Roy, when her mother looked at Ted. Diana sighed. “He’s in the kitchen.” Holding up her hand to stop the girl from bolting down there she added, “But there’s someone here I wish you to meet first.”
Kara was on her feet, halfway across the room before she stopped, her still sad eyes on her guardian. "Another stranger? Someone else to tell me what to do and who I can see?"
“Kara, that isn’t far.” Diana warned softly. “You’ve only been here for a short time, it’s an alien culture, you’re worried about Kal, and you’re only a little girl.” Reaching out she caressing the girl’s cheek. “Bruce and I aren’t trying to be mean, we’re just trying our best to look after you.”
She couldn't take the hurt out of her eyes as she frowned and stepped back. "I'm not a little girl. Even my parents never treated me like one. I know Bruce doesn't trust me, but I thought you did."
“I do, Kara.” She wanted to reach out and hold the girl but she didn’t want to push anything. “But we had no idea you where there. We thought you were in Metropolis with Selene. Plus, there’s other matters we need to talk about, but before we get into the whole Wally thing I need to tell you about Karen.”
"Okay." Her whole manner was guarded now. Kara kept her superman teddy in her arms, cuddling the life out of him as if he would make it better somehow.
Kal was so much better at these sorts of things, she thought with a sigh. “Karen Star, Power Girl, came to us years ago. She and her cousin helped save our world at the expense of their own. Kara’s the only one left from her Earth and her Krypton. I‘ve asked her to help you with your powers because she understands them more then Selene or I could. She’s waiting downstairs.”
"K... Krypton?" Even as colour drained from Kara's face a spark of hope sprang into her eyes. "Home? My home? She's from Krypton?"
“She’s from Krypton yes, but not your Krypton.” Diana explained. She was getting a multi-verse headache. “See, Karen, she’s kind of like Tom. She’s from a different reality. A place we called Earth-2. Kara, sweetie, her real name is Kara Zor-L. She’s kind of like Tom‘s parents. A form of Bruce and myself in a reality were things happened differently.”
"K... Kara... Like me? She's me?" Kara's head was spinning and she was dizzy with it. "I'm confused."
Diana managed to bit back her snit about the multi-verse, but only barely. “She’s the version of you that lived on Earth-2 with her cousin Kal-L. But she isn’t you Kara, you’re two totally different people in all the ways that really matter. In fact, she’s even older, she’s an adult.”
"And I'm a little girl..." Flopping back on her bed, she drew her knees up under her chin. "I guess you want me to see her now, don't you."
“There’s a difference between being a little girl and a child.” Diana explained as she sat on the bed next to the girl. “I know you aren’t a child, Kara, but you have become my little girl. And yes, I’d like you to come down and met her. She can help you in ways I can‘t, Kara.”
Kara rose reluctantly to her feet and dumped her toy on the bed. "Okay..."Giving in, Diana reached out and hugged the girl before leading her down to the sitting room where she’d left Karen. She was relieved to see the younger woman still there. “Karen.”
Her eyes shot up and met a pair almost exactly like her own. What she saw there sparked a memory, something she'd done her best to forget, and she was on her feet, two strides and enveloping Kara in her arms. "Shhhh," Karen whispered, rubbing Kara's back. "You're not alone. It's okay." Then in Kryptonian, she began to sing a lullaby her mother and therefore Kara's mother had sung to her.
Kara collapsed against Karen when she heard those familiar words. She began to cry as she clutched her sister-Kryptonian.
Diana watched the girls carefully and after several minutes she relaxed. Bruce owed her dinner. He’d been convinced that there would be some weird power back lash. She’d said that given Karen’s time on both Earths and Kara’s in her pod, they’re physiologies would be slightly different enough not to have a negative effect. She smiled as she continued to watch the girls, and then sighed softly. Kal was missing all of this.
"It's okay," Karen repeated as she pulled back, her hands moving to Kara's cheeks so she could brush away the tears. "Gods, you've got father's eyes..." She tucked a stray length of hair behind Kara's ear. "And mother's hair. You look... you look so much like them. And so much like me."
"You're all I have now," Kara whispered though there was a note of joy in her gasp of sorrow. "Even Kal's gone."
"But he always comes back," Karen promised.“I don’t think she’s going to believe us until he’s shown her himself.” Diana said softly, her smile sweet.
"I can understand that," Karen chuckled, happy tears in her eyes. "I was lucky, I had Kal waiting for me when I got here."
Diana’s smile brightened. “And now he’s going to have a very joyous surprise waiting for him when he gets home.”
“You buy him a softy pretzel stand all his very own?” Cassie asked from the doorway, her eyes sparkling, her long blonde hair dripping on the floor. She really hated undersea searches.
Karen's whole face lit up as she met her girlfriend's eyes. "Cassie! Come meet someone. I've been dying to do this, don't mind me kid," she said, kissing Kara's temple. "Cassie, meet me. Me, meet my girlfriend, Cassie."
Cassie smiled brightly after she was finished laughing. “Well, can’t say that’s a common introduction, but then again as much as we run into multi-verse stuff I kind of wonder why it isn’t.” She looked the girl over and could definitely seen Karen in her, but then again the girl was also clearly missing certain attributes that made Karen very uniquely Karen. “So you’re the hotshot who broke all my island records.”
Kara wiped her eyes with the heel of her hand and nodded. "I guess. I'm sorry. I just do what comes natural."
“No reason to be sorry kiddo.” Cassie replied as she reached out to wipe a tear from Karen’s cheek. “Records were made to be broken. I’m impressed.”
Karen leaned into her hand and smiled. "And that's saying something, kid. Coz if she's impressed, I'm impressed and it takes a hell of a lot to impress me."
Biting her lip, Kara started to smile. She liked these people. They were making her feel safe in a way she hadn't since... since Wally had held her. "Can I see him now?" she asked mildly.
“We still need to talk about this, Kara.” Diana sighed but nodded.Cassie knew that tone. Last time she’d heard it Conner had been thrown across the bay from the roof of Titians Tower. “Oooo boyfriend.”
"Wally," Karen said conspiratorially with a wink.Kara shrugged as she went to the door and called for Wally. "Are you still here?"
Cassie’s eyes went wide and her jaw nearly hit the floor. “West?”In the blink of an eye Wally was standing in front of Kara grinning softly. “Hi. You ok?”
Kara threw her arms round him in defiance of what she knew would be a glare from Diana. "I'm fine... I'm really sorry, Wally, it's all my fault."
“No it’s not.” Wally said softly as he held her close. “It’ll be ok, you’ll see.”
She was seeing it, but she wasn’t believing it. Cassie had never seen Wally so tender, so serious and for real, and all it was was a hug.
"Woah..." Karen murmured, her eyes wide. "What've you done with our Wally and how much will it take to keep him?"
Wally smirked, keeping his arms around Kara, he looked up to see Karen and Cassie. “Hey PG. It’s me, in case you couldn’t tell from me putting my foot in my mouth before.”
“Did you make another boob joke?” Cassie asked as she fingered her lasso playfully. “Don’t make me zap you.”
Wally blushed the same color as his uniform. “No! I didn’t make a, um, joke.”
"Boob joke?" Kara asked innocently. Then she glanced over and noticed for the first time Karen's uniform, the huge hole in the front and the sheer size of her breasts. Her eyes slowly widened as she glanced down at her own and to a roar of laughter from Karen, she stared back. "Mine... mine aren't quite that big, are they?"
Even Diana laughed at that.“No,” Wally said brightly without stopping to think. “There’s an unwritten rule that no heroine can have bigger boobs then PG. It’s in her contract.”
Cassie crossed her arms, her face turning red from holding back her laughter. “And who exactly enforces this unwritten law?”
“Uncle Bruce.” Selene answered from the clock.That did it, Cassie laughed so hard she had to lean again Karen to keep on her feet.
Kara's cheeks flushed bright red and she began to giggle. "You looked!" she play-huffed. "I saw you!"
“I..I..” Wally stammered, his cheeks flushing again. “I didn’t! Really, I, I mean there hard not to notice! I mean, they‘re like there, and there‘s a hole! And the S, it’s like right there, and it’s hard not to notice, I mean bright colors, big red S shield! It‘s like ya know, the gold eagle push up corset things!”
Diana, Cassie, and Selene all looked down at their uniforms and then back up at Wally.
Kara sucked in her cheeks, her eyebrows raised, Karen doing a perfect imitation of the same expression. They both gave Wally a look of careful consideration as they folded their arms.
"Funny thing is," a deep, soft voice said from right at his shoulder, "I manage not to look just fine." Bruce nodded to the women as he rubbed a towel through his short, thin hair.
It just dawned on Selene that Wally and Kara were here together while they were meant to be at Wally’s. Oh shit, she thought as she looked at the expression on her uncle’s face.
Cassie snorted. “Yeah, believe that one. You buy that I got a three headed dog to sell ya.”
"Fluffy!" Kara crowed with a bright laugh even as Bruce snorted and padded over to the couch and dropped onto it.
"You're still here, Wally," he noted, his blue eyes like ice. "Mind actually doing what I told you to do and guarding the museum?"
Wally stared at Bruce, his hand slipping into Kara’s. “J’onn sent Warhawk to relive me. Last time I checked it was the JLA, not Batman and the JLA.”
"Last time I looked, people respected my experience enough to at least think before they dismiss what I say out of hand," Bruce replied lightly, his eyes actually sparkling for once.
Kara held Wally's hand lightly, a silly smile on her face as she looked up at him.
“I do respect your experience, I respect you a great deal.” Wally admitted. “When you’re not acting like an overprotective, over bearing father who jumps to conclusions and makes judgments before knowing all the facts.”
Both Cassie and Selene blinked, the latter standing there open mouthed. The only people Selene had ever seen stand up to her uncle was her mother, Kal, and Barbara. She was discovering a whole new respect for Wally.
"Perhaps," Bruce said in a completely relaxed and undaunted manner, "when you've brought up your own children or even raised three sons who aren't yours by blood, you'll be able to tell me I'm being over protective or over bearing. Until that day, I'd suggest you work out that I'm her legal guardian and I'm still the one who has the right to tell you, you can never see her again." Holding up a finger and a thumb close together, he added, "A little respect here goes a hell of a long way. So back off, boy-racer, and trust my judgment."
Wally was getting really sick of being treated like the kid on the team. Just because he had an easy going way about him, and because he enjoyed the more humorous and easy things in life, they all seen him as immature.
“Respect goes both ways, Uncle Bruce.” Selene said before Wally could explode. “You can’t have it both ways, either he’s a man you see as a threat or a little boy who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Either way, it seems you don‘t respect or trust him.”
"True, I don't. I respect him as a member of the JLA and I trust him on that team. Outside... No, he has neither my respect nor my trust with my little girl," Bruce said with complete honesty. Rising to his feet in one fluid motion, he stalked up to Wally, his blue eyes like fiery ice. "You took her away from where she was safe, not one word to me. You led her into a dangerous situation and you proceeded to lose control of that situation. She is sixteen, Wally, not twenty six. You had her in your home. She slept there. Without my permission."
“Nothing happened.” Wally said without backing away. “I would have never taken advantage of her. We were just going to watch movies and eat crap food while Selene was gone. I didn’t plan on Seasoul showing up, I was just showing Kara the museum. She wanted to know more about us, about the people who came before us. She has questions you and Diana won’t answer.”
“I said it was alright.” Selene added in. “I knew where she was, who she was with. I trust Wally, I’ve spent time with him. We don’t all hide from each other when we’re out of customs, ya know.”
“Selene.” Diana warned."You had no right." It was meant as an all-encompassing judgment on them all. Bruce turned his back on Wally in clear dismissal. "Kara, go to your room. Wally, go home. I'll call you in the morning to discuss how I intend dealing with this. Good night, everyone, Wayne Manor is now closed for business." Then he stomped out of the room, the door slamming violently behind him.
The silence lingered in the room like a wet blanket until Cassie couldn’t take it anymore. “Well someone forgot to drink his prune juice.”
“Cassandra.” Diana scolded before following after Bruce. Cassie blinked. “Whoa, make that two people.”Kara bit her lip so hard she tasted blood. It was all she could do not to cry but she promised herself she was going to be strong, going to be an adult and show how mature she was. Lifting onto her toes, she kissed Wally's cheek then whispered in his ear, "It'll be okay."
A frown creased Karen's brow as she listened to her sort of cousin assure Wally. "Stuck up, grumpy old bastard," she growled. "What kind of pole has he got stuck up his ass this time?"
“I’m starting to think that just because he’s chosen to live without love he expects everyone too.” Selene replied as she looked between Wally and Kara and Karen and Cassie.
Cassie slipped her hand into Karen’s holding it tightly.“I’m sorry, Kara.” Wally said softly as he stroked her cheek. “I could have handled that better.”
Kara shook her head, total trust shining in her baby blue eyes. "No, you were amazing! You stood up to him!" Then she flew up and kissed him firmly, wrapping her arms around his neck.
He was pretty sure that when what just happen really sank in, he was going to sick, but for now he just smiled his dappy little boy’s smile. “I’d take on Darkseid for you.”
“Aww that’s so cute!” Cassie squeaked.Karen let out a deep bellied laugh and wrapped her arms around her girlfriend. "Hey hey, Red, don't be stealing the cuteness. Spread it around a little!" Then she winked and kissed Cassie firmly.
“I somehow find it hard to think of Power Girl as cute.” Wally teased as he held Kara to him. At this point he didn’t really care if Bruce came back and shot him. “It just doesn’t fit your image, PG.”
“I’ll have you know she’s very cute and very sweet.” Cassie replied as their kissed ended. She smiled at Karen, not even bothering to look at the others.
Selene watched them for a moment longer before slipping out of the room with a sigh.
"Don't go spoiling my image, Cass," Karen snorted, laying her head on top of Cassie's and cuddling her tightly. "Got yourself a pretty cute girl there, Wally, you take care of her."
“I wouldn’t hurt her, PG.” Wally said, a little defectively. “I really do care about her. I’m not just a huge jerk ya know.”
"Never thought you ever were a jerk, Red," Karen shrugged. "Just tellin' you like it is. Old grumps may not be able to catch you but me and the Amazons, you really think you can outrun us all?"
Wally shrugged. “Probably not, though I’d take my chances with you and the wonders, it’s that redhead that scared the heck outta me.”
"She scares the hell out of most people," Karen laughed. "I like her," Kara said softly.Cassie laughed. “Hey, no picking on Artemis she’s cool. Isn’t she Selene?” Cassie looked over to where the dark haired girl had been and then scanned the room. “Where’d she go?”