The Chattel Girl

BY : tooshoes
Category: DC Verse Television > SuperGirl
Dragon prints: 1807
Disclaimer: I do not own Supergirl, nor the characters or any story elements from TV show. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter image:

The next hour is like a video game where random challenges block my every move.

From the night sky, every street and building looks the same, so navigating the city and finding my way home feels like an impossible task. When I finally arrive at my apartment, residents occupy both the front and rear entrance; I can’t explain my appearance, so I need to enter through the roof. I sneak down the stairwell and tip-toe through the hall towards my apartment before I realize that I’m leaving a trail of ashen footprints behind me, and then I remember the security cameras that have been watching me the whole time.

I’m not discouraged, though, because with no crime committed, nobody will likely examine the security recordings, and who will get suspicious from a few dirty footprints in the hallway?

When I’m finally at the safety of my apartment door, I start laughing at the absurdity of it all.

I don’t have my keys, but I had left the door unlocked; I am rewarded for my recklessness earlier, and I just walk inside. I’m happy to see my purse and glasses still sitting on the kitchen table.

I'm nearly naked, now. What little I did bring to my date was destroyed or lost during the rescue. My t-shirt and briefs were mostly reduced to soot, and now even the soot has blown away, but I never expected to wear those clothes again. I will miss those sandals, however, and my ID could be anywhere in the city, so I will need to replace that.

I continue the trail of footprints through my apartment right to the tub in my bathroom, and I step right in and start the shower. Within moments, hot water washes the charred remains of clothing off my body and partially clog the drain, but I don’t care. I take a long shower, reflecting happily on the rescue, as if that was all that happened today, until the tub threatens to overflow.

Then I put on some pajamas, and I sit down with a few reheated slices of pizza and begin watching TV coverage of my heroism.

I’m in such a good mood about the rescue that I can’t imagine anything negative being said about me on the news.

The first few minutes of coverage is reassuring, because the coverage is entirely positive, about how this new hero swooped in the sky and rescued the distressed plane, and the coverage includes a few low-resolution videos of the rescue in the sky. The images are extremely shaky and difficult to make out. I can’t figure out what kind of cameras took those photos, and the images are barely worth including in the broadcast, except that they are actual images of the event, and that makes them exciting no matter the quality. The images that the passengers took of the wing of the plane are much clearer, despite poor lighting conditions. All that the cell phone cameras were able to capture was the outline of my filthy body, and a brief glimpse of my face when I looked up into the spotlight from a helicopter before jumping up into the sky.

I gasp when I see my face, thinking that anybody who knows me will recognize that face, even with all of the dirt on my skin and in my hair and the glare of the light. I don’t know whether I want to be recognized or not.

The television image is split with a still shot of my face on the left of the screen, and on the right half passengers eagerly express relief and thanksgiving for the rescue.

I feel warm all over, as though embraced by the love of the world. It’s the best feeling ever!

The world doesn’t know anything about me. The world doesn’t know that I’m an emotional mess with a lot of baggage and maybe less deserving than anyone in the world of the praise they are giving me. The world only knows me as a hero who came out of nowhere, and that’s exactly what I want. I wish I had come from nowhere, with no history, and now I’m being born again as one of the good people.

But after the initial fawning coverage by the news channel, the analysis of my rescue begins, and the tone of the coverage changes. One commentator complains that the rescue was incredibly sloppy, causing excessive damage and unnecessary fear among the passengers. The rescue would have seemed routine for a REAL hero like Superman, she says. The criticism stings, because she has a point; I didn’t know what the hell I was doing out there. Being exposed as an amateur bothers me, but I still feel good about myself, because, after working in the media for a while, I know that news sources often flip scripts to add to the drama.

I can’t brush the next criticism aside so easily, though, when the news commentator complains that I didn’t assist in the rescue – I just flew away.

That catches me off guard. I had only left the scene after the helicopter arrived and after rescue teams were speeding towards the disaster site. I had told myself that my help was no longer needed. But now watching the aftermath on television, I saw how much difficulty the responders had getting everyone off the plane while it was sinking. Thankfully, everyone got off safely, but my early departure was a mistake.

Or maybe it wasn’t a mistake at all. Maybe I was scared that my good feelings would crash down around me, so I hurried away before that could happen.

I feel a little of that self-doubt creeping back in. Maybe I’m a pretender, not a real hero.

But I shrug it off. It’s a learning experience. Overall, the rescue was a big success.  I had never believed I was capable of even that much, so I won’t let it get me down.

I’m so distracted by the onscreen analysis of the greatest moment in my life that I don’t hear my sister sneaking into my apartment.

“Oh my god,” Alex breathes upon seeing me bouncing around in pajamas in a confused but giddy state.

I spin to face her, startled, but I’m so happy that I think Alex is feeling the same way, and we are sharing a moment. “I know! It’s unbelievable! I didn’t know it could be like this! I still can’t believe I did it!”

“Yeah,” Alex replies, looking more shocked than excited. “Neither can I. Are you feeling okay?”

Alex sounds concerned, and that doesn’t make sense to me. “Me? Am I feeling okay? Are YOU feeling okay? I can’t even imagine what it must have been like on that plane. Were you scared? I mean, yeah, I was scared, but you must have been terrified because you didn’t know I was coming to save you!”

I can’t read Alex’s expression. She appears to be in shock. She opens one of my kitchen cabinets and pulls out a glass and some vodka. She takes a quick hit.

I feel giddy and I can’t stop talking nonsense. “It's so lucky I saw that news broadcast! I don’t want to think about what would have happened if I missed it. I don't even know how I did it. I just jumped up and I was flying! I was really scared! But everyone seems so excited, and I'm excited, now that everything turned out okay! I don’t know what to do next! Yeah, I know it’s a big responsibility, and all that, but…”

Alex interrupts forcefully, “What were you thinking, Kara?”

Her tone stops me cold. Maybe I was talking so fast because I know Alex will never be excited for me or approve anything I do.

Alex walks to the television, which continues to show video of the rescue like it’s on a loop. Alex points at the screen, accusing, “You exposed yourself to the world, and you’ve been lying to me the whole time. You can’t take that back!”

I swallow, having been crushed many times by Alex’s judgments of me, but I feel defiant when I say, “I don’t want to take it back!”

Alex points at me. “Everyone will know about you, Kara. What if people figure out who you are? --what you are? You have to go back on your medication right away, before you ruin all of our lives. We can't go back to those days!”

I wince, but I’m not going to just take it this time. “You don’t know what it’s like, Alex, hearing that all of my life. Everyone wants me to be ashamed of who I am and expects me to accept my fate, but I don’t want to believe that. Maybe I can be someone better.”

Alex hits back with, “This is an offense against Rao, Kara, and you know it.”

That’s a low blow, and I feel like I’m going to choke. I’m crying before I can stop myself, but I’m as angry as I am hurt. “Rao gave up on Krypton and me a long time ago. Maybe the gods of Earth have better plans for me.”

“Ha! You don't know what you are saying!" Alex ridicules me. "The world doesn’t need you, Kara."

I fight back with, “It needed me tonight! You needed me!”

Alex laughs. “You really believe that, just because you see it on the news? The media loves the drama, but your little stunt just made matters worse. The plane was in danger, sure, but the pilots had things under control and were prepared to make an emergency landing, until you broke the rudder. Then you nearly drove us into the bridge and crashed us into the river, and to top it off, you left before help even arrived. We were in much better hands with the pilots than we were with you.”

I look away. I don’t feel any fight left in me. All of the good feelings of tonight have washed away, replaced by the dull pain of her insults. “I’m tired, Alex. It was a long day, and I was just carrying a plane on my back. You should go.”

Alex gasps, shocked that I'd take that tone of voice with her. “Fine. You are a liar, Kara!" She spits back while she shuffles towards the door. “You are a disgrace, and you are out of control! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

I flop on the sofa and takes several deep breaths. Then I continue watching the news coverage.

It’s soothing to hear kind words. I want to believe what everyone is saying on TV and tune out all of this negativity. But Alex’s words carry more weight than anyone else’s.


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