Disclaimer & Notices: See Prologue.
by Red Hope
“That was an awesome movie,” Kallan praised. She and Linda were walking back to the car.
Linda patted her chest and admitted, “I’m stilling calming down.”
Kallan laughed and placed a hand on Linda’s shoulder. “It was a good thriller.”
Linda shook her head. “I don’t know what I would do if that was my child.”
Kallan squeezed her friend’s shoulder. “I don’t know either,” she admitted. She relinquished her hold. “I mean that detective would have never found his daughter in time.”
Linda blew out a breath. “Probably so.” She pointed at Kallan. “But it was his fault the kidnapper lady tried killing her.”
Kallan silently agreed too. She considered the movie, Prisoners, until she saw her car. “I liked it a lot.”
“I did too.” Linda smiled at her friend. “Thank you for the date.”
Kallan mirrored the warm smile. She clicked the unlock button and climbed into the car. “Thank you for coming with me.” She started the car. “I haven’t had a date in awhile too.”
Linda noted it was only eight o’clock. She pulled out her cell phone, but there were no missed calls or text messages. She had hoped to hear something from Diana Prince by now.
Kallan grinned at the Android phone that Linda had bought earlier this week. She drove out of the movie theatre and went first to Linda’s apartment complex.
Linda was glad to get home. She needed to check on Leesburg and Washington D.C. before the night was any later. She focused on Kallan and smiled.
“I’ll see you on Tuesday,” Kallan offered.
Linda nodded. She unhooked the seatbelt then leaned over the center console.
Kallan was startled by the soft kiss. Before she could respond to it further, Linda had pulled away and grinned at her.
“Goodnight, Kallan.” Linda winked at her blushing friend.
Kallan broke from the daze after the door slammed. “Goodnight,” she whispered. She watched Linda go inside the complex before she drove off.
Linda chuckled to herself. She could still see Kallan’s shocked look.
“Hey, Linda.” Mattie stood behind the kitchen counter, pouring ice tea into a glass.
“Hey.” Linda approached her roommate from the other side. “How are you?”
“Good.” Mattie closed the fridge and went to Linda.
“How was your day off?”
Mattie sighed and admitted, “I slept all day.”
Linda laughed, but she knew how tired Mattie was after six days straight at the ER. “You deserved it.”
“I did, but I have a lot to do.”
“You have two more days off,” Linda reminded.
Mattie agreed. She sat down at the counter, next to Linda. They chatted for a little while until Linda excused herself. Mattie knew that her roommate had a lot of schoolwork to do and the art fair was soon. Mattie went to the living room and turned on the television.
Linda locked the bedroom door and changed into her Supergirl attire. She checked her watch, which also kept track of the GPS devices when they were activated. Thankfully, Kallan had yet to use it.
In seconds, Linda Danvers transformed into Supergirl. She opened the bedroom window and climbed out into the cool evening. She closed the window and started up into the night sky. Supergirl performed her usual checks and expected more than a quiet evening. In D.C., she was indeed welcomed by the police, who had a late night bank robbery in progress. She easily dispersed the criminals and helped the police round them up.
On her flight back to Leesburg, Supergirl considered what Kallan had told her about the gang called the Red Branch. She knew nothing about them, and it concerned her. She decided there was any easy way to find out more about the gang. Once in Leesburg, Supergirl searched for a police car, which stuck out on the roads.
A local officer nearly spilled his coffee in his lap when Supergirl knocked on the car window. He put the coffee down and ignored the radar gun that beeped at him. His normal radar trap could wait for a minute.
“Good evening, officer,” Supergirl politely offered.
“G-g-good evening.” The officer gathered himself and stood in his vehicle’s open door. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, actually.” Supergirl had her hands on her hips. “I’m looking for Detective Danvers… Fred Danvers.”
The officer carefully eyed the hero, who stood inches above him. “Um…”
“Do you mind hailing him and locating him for me?” Supergirl smiled warmly at him. “It’s important I speak to him.”
The officer snapped his jaw shut then decided to go along with it. He reached up to the microphone hooked to his shoulder and pushed the button. He called dispatch and asked for Detective Danver’s whereabouts. It took some explaining, but he was able to tell Supergirl.
“Thank you.” Supergirl smiled again and bid goodnight to the officer. She quickly flew off and vanished into the night.
The officer stared wide eye upwards until he lost sight of her. “Wow,” he murmured.
Supergirl hurried across town to the local diner where her father often ate dinner. She should have thought of that first, but perhaps it was just as well she did not show up unannounced.
Detective Fred Danvers exited the diner after getting a call about the hero’s interests. He spotted Supergirl walking across the parking lot. He could only imagine what she wanted with him.
“Hello, Detective Danvers.”
Detective Danvers gave a small smile and nodded. “Supergirl.” He placed his hands in his jacket pockets. “I heard you were looking for me.”
“I am.” Supergirl eyed the unmarked patrol car nearby. “Do you mind if we speak in private?”
Detective Danvers nodded and pointed at his black vehicle. “Step into my office.” He ignored the tiny knot in his stomach. He misunderstood why the hero’s presence caused him to be nervous.
Supergirl entered the vehicle and became comfortable after shutting the door. “I need your assistance, if possible.” She noted his leery glance. “Can you tell me anything about the Red Branch?”
“The Red Branch?” Detective Fred Danvers had expected many things, but not this topic. He sighed and sunk into the seat. “They’re a local gang.”
“I have heard that,” Supergirl granted. “Can you tell me what they do?”
Detective Danvers had a curious stare, unsure why Supergirl was interested in a small gang. “They’ve been in Leesburg for about twenty years now.” He sighed and explained, “They’re move of a vigilante group than your traditional violence gang.”
“Are they Irish based?”
The detective gave a low nod. “To be a member, you have to have Irish heritage.”
Supergirl found it rather interesting. She knew that Kallan had her own Irish background and most likely so did Kallan’s cousins. “Do you know who the leader is?”
Detective Danvers shook his head. “We’re not really sure. But we do know they call him Morrigan.”
“You said they’re vigilante…?” Supergirl found that interesting about the gang.
“Yes, they’re known for… taking rapists, murderers, thieves, and sort off the streets when we can’t do it.” The detective frowned at the Red Branch’s unlawful methods. “They will also fight other gangs.”
“The ones selling the drugs and causing crime,” Supergirl guessed. “Has the police department tried to get rid of them?”
Detective Danvers became grim. “Let’s just say the officials are not hurrying the matter since the Red Branch is a benefit more than a hindrance.”
“A necessary evil,” Supergirl murmured.
Detective Danvers shrugged and made no comment.
Supergirl sensed her father’s displeasure about the Red Branch. She decided to test him and tempted, “I guess they’re not that far different than me.” She grabbed the door handle, but Detective Danvers’s voice stopped her.
“They weren’t there to save my daughter from the cult,” Fred Danvers softly stated.
Supergirl faltered and looked at Fred Danvers, who was Linda’s father first. She was uneasy and admitted, “I should have been there sooner.”
Detective Danvers stared at the hero and considered what she meant by it.
Supergirl climbed out of the car but peered back at Fred Danvers. “Thanks for the information.”
“Supergirl…” Fred Danvers leaned far to his left, into the passenger side. He held the hero’s blue eyes with his darker ones. “Thank you for being there for Linda.”
Supergirl clenched her jaw against the memories of finding a dying Linda Danvers.
“She’s in college now… doing better.” Detective Danvers swallowed hard. “And it’s not because her mother and I had anything to do with it.”
Supergirl brushed her hair back and argued, “Don’t sell yourself short.” She straightened up. “Stay safe, detective.” She shut the door and left before the conversation became any harder. She inhaled deeply and flew off, glad to get away from her father. Once high up enough, Supergirl was able to clear her head. She thought about the Red Branch’s motives and why they were still in Leesburg. She was unsure what to do about them and whether the city wanted them gone. She was positive about one thing; Kallan’s cousins were mixed up in a dangerous group.
Across the town, Kallan Thompson had parallel parked on a side street. She walked away from her car after locking it. She went around the block then entered an aged apartment building. She hiked up to the fifth floor and went to Apartment 512. She knocked on the door and smiled when a familiar face greeted her.
“Hey, Caitlin.” Kallan was happy to see her younger cousin.
“Kallan.” Caitlin opened the door wider and let her cousin come inside the apartment. “How are you?”
“I’m good.” Kallan turned and watched Caitlin lock the door. “How you been?”
Caitlin shrugged. “Alright.” She led her cousin into the living room and sat on the sofa.
“How’s school going?” Kallan sat on the sofa too. “I heard you got into another fight.”
“Grandma tell ya?” Caitlin rolled her eyes.
“Yeah.” Kallan turned in the seat so she faced her cousin better. “She said you’ll get suspended if it happens again.” The school year had barely started a couple of months ago.
“If I get suspended, oh well.” Caitlin was clearly annoyed about the situation.
Caitlin sighed and quickly explained, “I beat up a Senior who was picking on another girl in the bathroom.” She folded her arms. “She was bullying her for being gay.”
Kallan expected many things, but not that reason for the fight. “Caitlin…” She shook her head and asked, “Why didn’t you just report her?”
“Like the principle would do anything?” Caitlin shook her head. “By the time a teacher would show up, she would have been unconscious.”
Kallan rubbed her brow. She was a mixture of pride and upset for her cousin.
“They can suspend me for doing the right thing,” Caitlin stated. “And grandma can hate me for it.”
Kallan’s attention snapped back to her cousin. “Grandma wouldn’t hate you for it.” She shifted in the seat and posed, “Where’d you learn to fight?” From Caitlin’s appearance, it was obvious that Caitlin came out unscathed. She hoped her question was an opening to the big problem.
“Carwen taught me how to defend myself,” Caitlin replied.
Kallan let out a low breath. “Where is Carwen?”
Caitlin shrugged. “Out.” She usually knew where her sister went and rarely told anybody exactly where. Her sister told her to keep it between them.
Kallan canted her head and checked, “How is her boyfriend?” She considered his name and checked, “Flinn?”
Caitlin was impressed that Kallan recalled his name. “He’s good. I see him often.”
Kallan figured it was true. She mentally shifted back to her original concern. “Did Carwen make you join the Red Branch.”
Caitlin frowned and curtly stated, “Carwen didn’t have to make me.” She studied her cousin, who was obviously concerned about her. “You don’t get it, do you?” She knew the family was clueless about her and Carwen. “The Red Branch is our family… ever since mom died.”
“It’s a gang, Cait,” Kallan insisted. She hoped the old nickname would help, somehow.
Caitlin huffed and argued, “It’s not a gang… it’s a clan.” She stood up and added, “We take care of each other.”
Kallan popped up and turned as Caitlin went around the sofa. “Don’t you think it’s dangerous?”
“Leesburg is dangerous,” Caitlin replied. She folded her arms. “We’re safe because of the clan.”
Kallan opened her mouth to argue but the apartment door opened. She looked over her shoulder and saw her older cousin coming through the door. Kallan tensed up at seeing Carwen’s cold features.
“Kallan,” Carwen greeted. She was displeased to see Caitlin alone with their cousin. She shut the door loudly and approached the pair in the living room. Her auburn hair glowed under the overhead light.
“Hey, Carwen.” Kallan remained calm on the outside. She hated how Carwen always made her nervous. It was different when they were all young and close, but those days were gone.
“It’s funny to see you here in the neighborhood,” Carwen commented. She knew her cousin was here on a specific mission that had to do with Caitlin.
“I hadn’t seen you both in awhile.” Kallan looked between the sisters. She could count the freckles on Caitlin, but Carwen had more prominent birthmarks that distinguished her. Caitlin also had strawberry blond hair while Carwen had darker red hair.
“We’ve been doing fine.” Carwen folded her arms.
Kallan studied Carwen and noticed the strange necklace on Carwen. The necklace was a large, stiff ring made from strands of black metal twisted together. The ring was snug around Carwen’s neck and had an open front at the base of Carwen’s neck. Upon closer inspection, the ends at the front had a head of a crow, their beaks nearly touching. Kallan realized it was an old torc necklace that ancient Celts would have worn, especially warriors.
“How is Aunt Ana?”
Kallan cut her eyes up to Carwen. “Mom is good.” She bit the inside of her mouth.
Carwen looked at her sister and suggested, “You should get your homework done.” She turned back to her cousin. “I’ll walk you out.”
Kallan knew better than to argue with Carwen. She glanced once at Caitlin, who said goodbye and went to her room. Kallan went to the door with Carwen on her heels.
Carwen locked the door after she left the apartment. She escorted Kallan down to the front door of the complex. “Be careful driving home, Kal.” She held the door open.
“Yeah… sure.” Kallan went down one step then looked back at Carwen. “Glad you and Cait are doing okay.” She said nothing else then walked away.
Carwen stayed there another moment until Kallan was gone from her view around the block. She reentered the building and retrieved her cell phone. She dialed a number and waited for an answer.
“It was my cousin… no big deal.” Carwen hiked up the steps while she talked on the cell phone. “Yeah just follow her out of the neighborhood. Make sure she leaves okay.” She fished out the apartment keys. “Thanks, Flinn.” She ended the call and put the smart phone into her back pocket.
A block away, Kallan climbed into her Honda Civic and drove off. She should have known better than try to visit with Caitlin at the apartment. Carwen was protective over her young sister. It also seemed that Caitlin was becoming brain washed by Carwen and the gang. Kallan sadly sighed and considered her next attempt. If she could get alone time with Caitlin in a public spot then she stood a better chance. Perhaps tomorrow would be an opening.
The drive home took twenty minutes, and Kallan had schoolwork to do. She thought about Linda, who was probably busy with preparing for the art show. Kallan was excited to see Linda’s sculptures entered into the show. It was a chance for Linda’s name to climb in the artistic circles.
At thoughts of her friend, Kallan pulled out her phone and sent a text message. She smiled at Linda’s response after she pulled into her parents’ driveway. Kallan was texting back as she entered her bedroom. She planned to see Linda in the morning, before work.
Kallan heard her parents in their bedroom, but she left them alone. Instead, she sat at her desk and glowered at the textbook that waited for her. Minutes later, she retrieved the GPS device in her left pocket. Kallan turned the device through her fingers, tempted to turn it on. However, she had promised to use it in an emergency. Kallan sighed heavily and set the tracking device on the desk, the ‘S’ facing her.
Some part of Kallan wished she had Supergirl’s cell phone. She drummed her fingers a few times against the desk. There was no way she could focus on her homework until she cleared her head.
“The Hell with it,” Kallan muttered. She brushed aside her homework and grabbed a coat. She stole away to the house’s roof where it was quiet and cool.
The stars greeted Kallan. The moon was bright and occasionally ducked behind a cloud. A gentle breeze brought a chill across Kallan’s shoulders. However, it was a beautiful night to be outside. It also made Kallan think about Supergirl and Linda Danvers. A lot had changed over the weeks as she learned more about Supergirl and Linda. Her relationships were developing deeper, and Kallan was uneasy. What she felt for Supergirl was plain silly. Unlike Supergirl, Linda was an average person like Kallan. However, Kallan felt Supergirl was average in her own way.
Kallan sighed heavily, bowed her head, and stared at her lap. She was chilled from sitting still on the roof. She ignored it though because her thoughts were heavy.
“That was quite the sigh.”
Kallan whipped her head up to the right. She stared in awe at Supergirl, who floated a few feet beyond the roof.
Supergirl had her arms tightly folded against her chest. She drifted through the air, closer to Kallan. “You must be deep in thought.”
Kallan curiously stared up at Supergirl. “I’m actually ignoring my schoolwork.”
“I see.” Supergirl drifted over and lowered until she was seated next to Kallan. “You seem to be succeeding.”
Kallan huffed and gave a small grin.
Supergirl considered the sky above them.
“Any news from Wonder Woman?” Kallan canted her head.
Supergirl continued studying the stars. She wondered when she and Kallan so easily discussed such topics as if they were a team. “Not yet,” she whispered after a long moment. “I imagine tomorrow.”
Kallan nodded then stared at her lap again. She softly asked, “Have you been there?” She found curious blue eyes on her. “Paradise Island.”
“I haven’t been there.” Supergirl grinned and countered, “You?”
Kallan laughed and replied, “Not yet.”
Supergirl returned the grin then looked at the heavens again.
Kallan inwardly sighed and tempted a different conversation. “So am I suppose to call you Mae now that I know that’s your name?”
Supergirl raised an eyebrow at Kallan. She considered the few people that called her Mae, which was basically the Kents. She was use to Kallan, and many others, calling her Linda. However, that was not an option right now.
“You can if you want,” Supergirl granted. She surprised herself with the response.
Kallan was wide eye. “Wow. Really?” She eased into a smile. “Thanks.” Slowly her smile shifted into a grin. “You can call me Kal.”
Supergirl chuckled and shook her head. “Thanks too.” She was unsure if Kallan was serious.
Kallan ran her fingers through her short strands. She tilted her head to one side and asked, “Aren’t you suppose to be stopping a crime or two rather than visiting me?”
“I just came from a house fire,” Supergirl replied. She shrugged and added, “It wasn’t far from here.”
“Just flying by then.” Kallan smirked.
Supergirl gave a low shrug and left it alone.
Kallan withdrew from the teasing and looked upwards again. She considered things of lately and decided to pick Supergirl’s brain on something. “Have you heard of the Red Branch?”
Supergirl carefully considered her answer and simply answered, “I have.”
Kallan bit her bottom lip for a beat. She looked at the hero. “Do you… do you fight against them?” She sensed Supergirl was uncertain how to reply so Kallan explained, “I have two cousins that are in the Red Branch and…”
Supergirl realized where Kallan might be going with the conversation. “I recently learned about the Red Branch.” She placed her hands on her knees. “I haven’t decided what to do about them.”
Kallan lowered her head and weighed her next words, but Supergirl beat her to the punch.
“I would only capture them and hand them over to the police, Kallan.” Supergirl found concerned eyes on her. “I won’t hurt them.”
Kallan sighed and nodded once. She cleared her throat. “Their names are Caitlin and Carwen.”
“Are you close to them?”
“I was.” Kallan nibbled on her lip then added, “Once Carwen got involved with the Red Branch, the three of us hardly hung out anymore.”
Supergirl considered it and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“It sucks.” Kallan shook her head. “I’m going to try to talk to Caitlin tomorrow.” She looked at the hero. “I tried today but Carwen interrupted us.”
“You can’t talk to Carwen too?”
Kallan grumbled. “No.” She stared at her lap. “Carwen is so far deep into the gang. She’s more loyal to them than her family.”
“I don’t know.” Kallan peered up at the hero. “At least, I’m not sure yet. Cait is very close to her sister… so it is possible she won’t listen at all. But I still have to try.” She shrugged.
“I understand.” Supergirl was quiet for a second then softly offered, “Just be careful.”
Kallan gave a small smile. “Don’t worry.”
Supergirl huffed and teased, “I gave you that tracking device so I’d worry less.” However, she and Kallan did not laugh.
Kallan bit her lip again and admitted, “I almost turned it on tonight.”
Supergirl clicked her tongue once.
“What?” Kallan jerked her head up. “I don’t have your phone number to text you.”
Supergirl smirked. She knew better than to give the number to Kallan, who would figure out it was the same number as Linda Danvers. Even if it was a different number, Supergirl refused to be at Kallan’s disposal.
“I’m not your BFF that’ll just swing by for girl talk,” Supergirl reminded. Her tone was light but the seriousness in her eyes.
“You could have fooled me,” Kallan teased. She stiffened at the slight warning on Supergirl’s features. “I’m sorry.” She could tell she had hit a spot under Supergirl’s thick skin.
Supergirl sucked in a deep breath and tucked away her annoyance.
“Sorry,” Kallan offered once more. “I didn’t mean-”
“It’s alright,” Supergirl assured. She stood up suddenly and looked down at Kallan. “I should go.” She hesitated because of Kallan’s dismay. “But would you like a flight before I go?” She hoped it would bury the bad feelings between them.
Kallan smiled and nodded. She popped up and zipped her jacket closed. “Where to?”
“Have you seen D.C. from the sky?”
Kallan grew excited. “Not yet.”
Supergirl took her opening and picked up Kallan. “Then you will now.” She launched off the roof after she secured Kallan in her arms. She figured it would only take twenty minutes or so.
Kallan was grateful that Supergirl held her close so she was warmer. Her jacket also helped a great deal. She was only able to talk when Supergirl slowed down near D.C.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Supergirl loved the lights of the large city that spread north into Annapolis and Baltimore.
“Wow,” Kallan whispered. The city lights dazzled her. Then a low whistle caught her ear and drew her eyes to the left. Off in the distance an airliner was descending towards a major airport. “Oh my god.”
Supergirl tightened her hold after Kallan’s startle. “Don’t worry.”
“I guess I didn’t think about that part… the planes.” Kallan nervously watched the Boeing 757 descending to the ground.
“There’s a lot more air traffic closer to the cities,” Supergirl explained.
Kallan looked at Supergirl and teased, “You don’t exactly have flashing green and red lights on you.”
“No,” Supergirl softly agreed. She started flying again, closer to the central location of D.C. She grew cautious as she neared center city of the Capital. It was a restricted airspace for aircrafts. Even though she was not one, it did not mean she was special. However, she hoped her powers kept her cloaked from the government’s detection systems.
“That’s the White House,” Kallan declared and pointed.
Supergirl then adjusted her direction and flew past the White House.
“Wow,” Kallan repeated. “Now that’s awesome.” She stared in awe at the Washington Monument, which was beautifully lit up at night.
Supergirl smiled to herself, glad she had attempted the flight. She beared to the left and headed west, back to Leesburg.
Kallan watched the city sweep past her from below. She recognized the major highway that connected Leesburg and D.C. She could tell Supergirl was using it as a landmark guide to take them back.
Supergirl went directly to Kallan’s home and slowed as she approached the development.
“Do you mind putting me on the ground?” Kallan pointed at her home. “I don’t feel like climbing down.”
Supergirl obliged and landed alongside the house.
“Thank you for showing me D.C.”
“You’re welcome.” Supergirl had a smile and took a step back.
Kallan reached out and hooked the hero’s arm before she was gone. “Will you let me know what Wonder Woman says?”
Supergirl was curious why Kallan wanted to be involved in the problem. “Kallan, I…”
Kallan squeezed the solid arm under her hand. “I know I can’t fight him but I just… want to help.”
Supergirl had a frown, but she understood Kallan’s concerns. She gave a nod finally.
Kallan accepted the silent answer. She released Supergirl and smiled. “Thanks.”
“Goodnight… Kal.” Supergirl enjoyed Kallan’s soft blush from using the nickname. She lifted into the air.
Kallan refused to be beat and called, “See ya, Mae.”
Supergirl gave a low laugh before she vanished into the night sky.
Kallan sighed loudly and stated, “What a woman.” She cringed and wondered if Supergirl had super hearing. She shrugged it off and went inside. Now she felt like she could focus on her homework before it was any later.