Disclaimer & Notices: See Prologue.
by Red Hope
“You’ve been really quiet lately,” Linda Danvers noted aloud.
Kallan glanced at Linda once then refocused on her driving. “Yeah… sorry.” She sighed and slowed at the next red light.
“What’s been on your mind?”
Kallan shrugged once then a second time. She was uneasy about explaining the fact that it had been two weeks since she saw Supergirl. It had been two weeks since she and Supergirl nearly kissed on the rooftop of her parent’s house.
“I guess stress from classes,” Kallan finally answered.
Linda studied her friend’s profile and gauged the response. “Nothing else?”
“Not much sleep either,” Kallan admitted. She then grinned at Linda. “Wait ’til exams. I’ll be a real mess then.”
Linda gave a low laugh. She then considered what may help out her friend. “How about a movie tomorrow night?”
“A date,” Kallan summarized. A soft flush started over her cheeks. “I mean… I’m sorry. I didn’t-”
“It’s okay,” Linda cut off. She smiled at her friend and squeezed her knee. “I could… I could do with a date, myself.”
Kallan was startled by such a response. “Like a… date date?”
Linda now smirked and patted her friend’s knee before pulling her hand away. “Like a date date.”
“I didn’t think… you did date dates.” Kallan was further flustered and spoke in a rushed voice.
“I’m not a prude.” Linda laughed at Kallan’s further embarrassment.
Kallan gathered her courage and explained, “I meant a date date with women.”
Linda shrugged and challenged, “You never asked.”
Kallan stared in awe at Linda.
“Red light,” Linda warned.
Kallan’s attention snapped back to the road, and she slammed on the brake before it was too late. “Right… thanks.” She cleared her throat a few times and bought time to think about the news. “Wow,” she whispered.
Linda shifted in the seat, slight discomfort in her mind. “It’s been awhile,” she quietly admitted. In some regards, it was new territory even though she had dated Sam once upon a time. However, it was all new to Supergirl, who had little to no romantic experience before the merge with Linda Danvers.
“For a date date in general or a female date date?”
Linda glanced at her friend and then replied, “Both.” She never had dates with Buzz, her last romance interest. Moreover, his death wish on her ended everything pretty badly.
Kallan sensed her friend’s dismay. She covered Linda’s hand with hers and promised, “I’ll take you out on a great date.”
Linda wistfully smiled and teased, “I’ll hold you to it.”
Kallan chuckled and squeezed her friend’s hand. She kept her hand over Linda’s on the last part of the ride to the college. She only withdrew after she had to park the car. She and Linda hurried across campus before it was too late. Kallan took a seat beside her friend and pulled out her cell phone.
Linda was getting comfortable in her usual spot. She was not a master at English, but she had learned a lot so far. She also liked their professor.
“Damn,” Kallan muttered.
Linda looked over at Kallan and waited.
Kallan had turned off the phone’s ringer. However, a text message had caught her eye.
“My cousin,” Kallan replied. She turned off the phone’s screen and put it away. “Her name is Caitlin.” She shook her head and leaned closer to Linda. “She’s a part of some kind of gang here in Leesburg.”
Linda went wide eye. “Wow. Really?”
“Yeah.” Kallan rubbed her brow. “My grandmother is so upset.”
“I bet.” Linda saw the professor just arrived, but they still had another moment before class started. “How old is she?”
“Either fifteen or sixteen,” Kallan replied. She tried recalling her cousin’s birthday. It was coming up soon. “Fifteen. She’ll be sixteen next month.”
“How the Hell did she get mixed up with a gang?” Linda was baffled and worried about the teenager.
Kallan shook her head. “Her sister.” She let it go because the English professor started the class. She would have plenty of time to tell Linda more afterwards.
Linda sat there rather distraught by the news from Kallan. She put it aside and focused on class. Little could be done about it right now anyway.
After class, Kallan had a different one than Linda. However, at lunchtime they met up at the cafeteria. Linda found a seat first and waited until Kallan was across from her. They started eating and talking until they were back on the earlier topic before English class.
“So what’s up with your cousins?” Linda prompted.
Kallan shook her head and played with the corn on her plate. “It’s kind of complicated.” She peered across to Linda. “Their mom died on them early. Caitlin was like thirteen and her sister was eighteen at the time.”
“What about their father?”
“My uncle?” Kallan rolled her eyes. “He ran out on them a long time ago.” She barely remembered him actually. “So after their mom died of cancer, Carwen took charge.”
“The sister?” Linda checked.
Kallan nodded. “Yeah… Carwen and Caitlin.” She chuckled when Linda smirked at her. “I know. My family has a thing for ‘C’ and ‘K’ names.” She waved her fork once before she ate more of the meal. “So anyway, Carwen was already involved with this gang.” She frowned. “Now that Caitlin is getting older, I think she’s getting drawn into it too.”
Linda grew tenser because she understood gangs, or better yet, a cult. It made her skin chill. “What gang?”
“They call themselves the Red Branch.” Kallan was eating her cornbread but set it down. “You ever hear of them?” After Linda’s headshake, she continued explaining what she knew so far. “They claim to be some old clan from the Ancient Celtic days. They’re just a gang.”
Linda drank some of her water then put the glass down. “So why did your cousins get involved with them?”
“I’m not sure. I mean I know Caitlin is involved because of her sister.” Kallan shrugged and added, “To Carwen, it’s probably her family more than us.”
Linda blew out a low breath and stared at her nearly empty plate. “Gangs are trouble.”
“You can tell Carwen a lot of things… but you can’t tell her she’s wrong.” Kallan ran her fingers through her short hair. She drummed her fingers against the table a few times. “I just wish Caitlin wasn’t getting involved now. She’s not like Carwen.”
“It sounds like her sister is drawing her into it.”
Kallan nodded. “Caitlin adores her sister.” She looked at Linda again. “It’s just always been them two after my aunt died.” She grumbled and softly stated, “I should talk to my cousin.”
“Caitlin?” Linda asked.
Kallan frowned and nodded.
Linda sighed and weighed her next response. She could go either way and decided it was best to offer her help. “If you need help talking to Caitlin, I will.” She saw Kallan’s curiosity. “I’ve… I’ve been down that path.”
“The cult, you mean?” Kallan recalled how Linda was involved with a local cult. They had yet to discuss it much.
“Not my proudest moment in life.” Linda played with the dirty fork. “But I’m… alive to tell the story.” Barely alive, Linda mentally added.
“Thanks,” Kallan whispered. She was unsure what to say. “I’ll talk to her first.”
Linda understood and let it go. She decided on a different topic that usually excited Kallan. “So any news about Supergirl?” She expected Kallan to light up, but she was wrong. Inwardly, she cringed and wondered if it was such a good idea.
“It’s been pretty quiet.” Kallan was passive and seemed disinterested. “I haven’t seen anything in the news.”
“I thought as the President of her fanclub that you’d know more than the newspapers.”
Kallan chuckled then slowly lost her smile. Part of her wanted to talk to Linda about what happened between her and Supergirl on the roof of her parents’ house. However, she decided it was better to keep it private. Besides, it was impossible it could mean something when she and Supergirl lived in two different worlds.
Linda became uneasy once she sensed Kallan’s dismay. Guilt crept up in Linda’s chest, and she debated whether or not Supergirl owed Kallan a talk. How the Hell did it become so complicated?
“Have you spoken to her recently?” Kallan turned it back on Linda.
“Not really.” Linda had wrinkles across her brow. She studied Kallan’s thoughtful features.
“She’s different, ya know.” Kallan was done her lunch and pushed the tray forward. “Like… Wonder Woman different.”
Linda raised an eyebrow at her friend.
Kallan briefly grinned before she explained it. “She’s just not… godly.”
“What?” Linda softly laughed.
“She’s more human than she appears,” Kallan stated. That was bugging her, a lot.
“I thought she came from Krypton?”
Kallan pointed a finger at her friend. “Wrong.” She tapped the table once. “This is a different Supergirl.”
Linda contained a smirk. She had to give her friend credit. Kallan was perceptive and was doing research. “How many can there be?”
“Apparently one more than one.” Kallan softly laughed then stood. “I want to find out more about her.” She and Linda took their dirty trays to the return area. “If I’m lucky.”
Linda could tell the talk had helped Kallan’s mood. “You’re right… if you’re lucky.” She adjusted the backpack over her shoulders. “I’ll see you after class?”
“Yeah, meet you in the car.” Kallan waved goodbye and separated from her friend. She thought more about Supergirl and what she had learned about Supergirl’s powers. So far, they were different than Superman’s and there had to be more.
The afternoon went quickly for both students. Linda only waited ten minutes in the parking lot before Kallan arrived and unlocked the Honda Civic. They both climbed in and briefly talked about their last two classes. However, Kallan had to get home for work. Linda had projects to do for the upcoming art show.
Kallan drove directly to Linda’s place and stopped by the front door. “So a date tomorrow night?”
Linda pursed her lips and considered what she had to do tomorrow. “I think that would work.” She mirrored Kallan’s smile. “Thanks for the ride.”
“Anytime.” Kallan winked then headed off after the door shut.
Linda briefly watched her friend go then she entered the apartment building. She hurried upstairs until she came to the apartment door on the third floor. She scooped up a package in front of the door and entered after jiggling the key in the lock. Linda furrowed her brow at the package addressed to her.
Once inside, Linda set her bag down and collected a knife from the kitchen. She quickly opened the box and was greeted by a neatly written note. Linda looked from the note to the smaller box inside that contained a brand-new cell phone. It was a generous gift from Diana Prince.
“Wow,” Linda muttered. She pulled out the smaller box and carefully opened it until she had the smart phone. “Wow,” she whispered again. She turned the smart phone through her fingers and read the message from Diana.
Linda blew out a breath and started the phone. She found it was charged and that a few contacts were already loaded for her. She chuckled at seeing Clark Kent’s name, Bruce Wayne, and Diana Prince. She tapped on Diana’s name and called her.
“Well hello, Linda,” Diana warmly greeted over the phone.
“Diana, I really cannot-”
“You can,” Diana cut off.
Linda leaned against the kitchen counter. “If I really needed a cell phone then I would get one.”
“You need one,” Diana insisted. She grinned and playfully added, “The JLA is paying for it anyway.”
Linda laughed and checked, “Really?”
Diana shrugged to herself and honestly replied, “I actually billed it to Bruce.”
Linda rolled her eyes.
“Do not be concerned about it,” Diana insisted. She had the phone plan setup through her company.
Linda let out a low breath. “Alright.” She was thankful that she had such a friend as Diana Prince.
“Tomorrow I plan to go to Paradise Island.”
Linda brightened at the news.
“I had hoped to go sooner, but it has been difficult to get away.” Diana was watching the news and there was nothing about minotaur trouble in Leesburg. “I promise I will have information later this week.”
“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”
Diana smiled. “Just keep an eye on D.C. for me.”
“Of course,” Linda promised. She straightened up from the counter.
“We will talk soon.”
Linda smiled and sincerely offered, “Thank you again, Diana.”
“My pleasure.” Diana said goodbye and ended the call.
Linda looked at the smart phone in her hand. She shook her head at the fact that it was red. She then discovered a blue case inside the box meant for it. “Seriously?” She laughed at Diana’s humor. Linda snapped on the case, which gave the entire phone a patriotic look like her Supergirl attire.
The colors reminded Linda of her duty as Supergirl. She tossed the phone in the air a couple of times as she weighed what to do next. She could either work on her sculpting for the art show or go for a flight. Linda tended to sculpt better at night, which was still a few hours away.
In the bedroom, Linda pulled out the Supergirl uniform and quickly changed into them. As she approached the window, she grew taller until she became Supergirl. Her blond strands fluttered when the window opened up. It was a nice day to fly and check on the city.
Supergirl shot straight up into the sky until she reached well over eight thousand feet above the ground. She hovered in the air and gazed down upon the sprawling metropolis of Leesburg. To her left, Washington D.C. stretched out even further until it reached the Chesapeake Bay. Supergirl cut her eyes back to Leesburg and considered the town that had become her new home. It was nothing like the Kents’ area. A slight frown caressed her lips as she thought about Clark’s parents that had adopted her too. She had not seen them since her bond with Linda Danvers. Her thoughts about Jonathan and Martha Kent were slowly cut through by a low buzz.
Supergirl slotted her eyes then looked over her right shoulder. About two hundred feet in front of her was a small airplane that most likely did not detect her. She hastily dove before she caused a midair collision. Supergirl used gravity to her benefit, picking up speed. A few hundred feet above the buildings, she plateaued and zipped over Leesburg. She listened for trouble and scanned for problems. However, Leesburg was quiet, if not too quiet.
Supergirl slowed down and decided she had time to handle a different situation. It was a good time as any after she had thought a lot about what Diana told her the other day. Supergirl bared to the right and went to the eastern section of Leesburg. She went slower and scanned for the store that Kallan Thompson worked at part time. She spotted it alongside the bypass.
Next was the challenge of finding Kallan, who could be at work or on her way into work. Supergirl retrieved the smartphone tucked in her skirt’s hidden pocket. She checked the time and recalled that Kallan started at five o’clock, which was in thirty minutes. A slight frown pulled against her lips. However, much to her luck, she noted a familiar sedan coming into the parking lot.
“She’s early to everything,” Supergirl muttered. She and Kallan were typically early to classes.
Kallan parked on the outskirts of the Wal-Mart parking lot. She had time to walk, and it was a nice autumn day for it. She stepped out of her car, locked it, and was adjusting her clothes as she came around the car. Kallan yelped after she nearly ran into somebody at the rear of the car.
“I’m sorry abooo…” Kallan lost her words. She stared wide eye at Supergirl. She snapped her jaw shut and smiled, weakly.
Supergirl folded her arms and smirked in return.
Kallan felt silly and uneasy. “Uh… It’s been awhile.”
Supergirl gave a firm nod, not sure where to start.
“I assume you’re not here to go shopping,” Kallan joked.
Supergirl glanced at the super center behind her then back at Kallan. “I prefer Wegman’s.”
Kallan laughed, mostly out of nervousness.
Supergirl tilted her head. “Do you have a minute?” After Kallan’s nod, she amended, “Or a few.”
“My shift doesn’t start for another thirty minutes.”
“Good.” Supergirl sensed other people were taking an interested in her and Kallan. She gave a low sigh. “Let’s go some place quieter though.” She approached Kallan and scooped her up.
Kallan muffled her next yelp and clutched a solid shoulder.
Kallan understood the fair warning. She was taken away and soon was pulling the short strands from her face.
Supergirl flew to a secluded spot. It was less than ideal, but it would suffice for their meeting. She neatly landed on the catwalk that wrapped around one of the city’s water towers. “Are you comfortable here?”
Kallan let out a breath and admired the view. “Yeah.” She held onto the handrail. Her attention drew to Supergirl. “What’s up?”
Supergirl wanted to be casual rather than overwhelming. She leaned against the rail and carefully started the conversation. “I’ve been thinking a lot.”
“That’s usually… not a good start to a conversation,” Kallan muttered. She sighed and waited to see what was on Supergirl’s mind. However, Kallan could see Supergirl struggled to say it so she stepped forward and touched the hero’s wrist. “Listen, if it’s about what happened with that minotaur then… I’ll stay out of it in the future.”
Supergirl frowned and narrowed her eyes. “That is the start of it.” Her features darkened, which worried Kallan. “That minotaur will return… for me and maybe for you.”
“Me?” Kallan challenged. “What I have to do with it?”
Supergirl mentally worked through how to explain it to Kallan without giving too much away. She moved in closer and softly revealed, “He will return, and he may use you against me.” She let out a low breath. “He may be ugly, but he’s not stupid.”
“Do you know what’s up with big ugly and hairy anyway?”
Supergirl pushed a few strands out of her face after a heavy breeze went past. “I’m working on it.” As if on cue, the smart phone chimed in her pocket.
Kallan actually laughed and looked at the hero’s waist. “That sounded like a text message.” She was dumbfounded when Supergirl fished out a cell phone.
Supergirl opened the text message from Diana, who was alerting her about leaving D.C. now. She knew that meant to keep D.C. in her surveillances until Diana returned.
“Is that an Android phone?” Kallan was on her tiptoes to get a glimpse.
Supergirl rolled her eyes and shut off the screen after sending the response to Diana. “Off topic.” She tucked the phone away again.
“I hope you have phone insurance for that thing,” Kallan teased. She bit her lip when Supergirl glared at her. “So you were saying about big ugly?”
Supergirl sighed and answered, “I have Wonder Woman working on it.”
“Wonder Woman?” Kallan brightened at the name. “You’re friends with her?” She held up her hand after Supergirl nearly teased her. “I’ll drop it.” She placed her hand back on the rail. “So what do you want me to do anyway if big ugly comes after me?”
Supergirl folded her arms and smiled, devilishly.
Kallan suspiciously glared at the hero. “What?”
“I just happen to have a tracking device.”
Kallan quickly followed and shook her head. “Oh no.” She pointed a finger at Supergirl. “I’m not carrying that around with me.”
“Kallan, you don’t know-”
“N-n-no,” Kallan cut off. She placed her hands on her hips. “I’m not playing big brother.”
“More like big sister,” Supergirl corrected.
Kallan glared, darkly. “Just give me your cell phone number instead.” She indicated the hidden smart phone in Supergirl’s skirt.
Supergirl chuckled and shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
“Well I’m not going to carry,” Kallan ranted, “Some kind of GPS tracking device on me because you think that-”
“Wait.” Supergirl held up her hands for a second until Kallan gave her a chance. “The device only works if it’s turned on.” She reached into her skirt’s pocket again and pulled out the small device. She kept one with her all the time while the others remained at home. “You push the center.” She demonstrated it.
Kallan watched a LED turn on in the center of the ‘S’ insignia. Supergirl placed it in Kallan’s palm and allowed her to look at it.
“I can’t track you otherwise.”
Kallan peered up at hero. “Alright.” She pushed on the device and turned off the tracking feature. “I’ll carry it with me then.”
“Thank you,” Supergirl sincerely replied.
Kallan put the device into her pant pocket, for now. “You’re sure he’ll be back?” After Supergirl’s nod, she sighed and looked at the town. “What’s he want?”
“I don’t know,” Supergirl softly replied.
Kallan frowned at the hero. “Does Wonder Woman know?”
“No… maybe later.” Supergirl was anxious to hear news from Wonder Woman.
Kallan read the concern on Supergirl’s face. “I’m sure if he shows up, you can handle it.”
Supergirl held her silence. Parts of her were worried about what could happen to the city. A large part of her feared for Kallan, who could be in danger the most.
Kallan pulled out her phone and checked the time. She had to go.
Supergirl figured as much but wanted to tell Kallan one last thing. “That device…”
Kallan looked at the hero after shoving the phone back in her pocket.
“You can turn it on for any emergency… if you need me.”
Kallan opened and closed her mouth a few times. She sadly smiled and honestly replied, “I hope I never have to use it.”
Supergirl’s attention drifted to the busy city. “Me too,” she whispered. But instead, she would be waiting for the alert to go off. She inwardly sighed and looked at Kallan. “Come on.”
Kallan approached the hero and was gently lifted up. She enjoyed being close to Supergirl, even if it was unrealistic in many ways.
Supergirl focused on the short flight to Wal-Mart. She landed beside Kallan’s car.
Kallan faced the hero and decided she needed to lighten the mood before Supergirl left. “Is your real name really Supergirl?”
After a smirk, Supergirl debated whether to play the game or not. “No.” She pursed her lips then offered, “My real name is Matrix.”
“Matrix?” Kallan had saucer eyes. “You’re kidding.”
“Some call me Mae, for short.” Supergirl still had the same grin.
Kallan shook her head and argued, “You don’t look like a… Mae.”
“What do I look like then?” Supergirl placed her hands on her hips and patiently waited.
“Not a Mae,” Kallan whispered. She shook a finger at the hero. “You’re not Superman’s cousin.”
“I never advertised that I was.” Supergirl took one step back after she lowered her arms. “Be safe.”
Kallan nodded. “You too. I’ll see you around,” she offered. “And thanks.”
Supergirl nodded at the gratitude, unsure about it. She simply replied, “See ya.” She took off quickly.
Kallan looked up and watched Supergirl fade into the sunset.