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laurel, meet kara. kara, meet laurel.

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Kara’s out flying for the sheer joy of it, for the feeling of the wind in her hair, of pushing her speed to its limits and pulling her fast turns with the warmth of the sun on her shoulders. (Though she does, of course, still have one ear tuned back to National City.)

It’s the trail that first catches her attention, a tiny ribbon of dust slipping and turning in her periphery–she cuts a hard right, and the ribbon follows.

She lets go of her flight and just drops from the sky, landing with her own cloud of dust as Barry skids to a stop a few yards away.

“Fancy meeting you here,” she laughs, running a hand through windswept hair. “I wasn’t expecting you to come back and visit quite so–”

“Kara,” Barry says, pushes back his cowl, and there’s something about his face- the tenseness of his mouth, the exhaustion in his eyes- that has her snapping her mouth shut immediately. He smiles, slightly, as she zips forward to scoop him up (bridal style) and take back to the sky.

“There’s a friend of mine,” he shouts, putting his mouth near her ear and pitching his voice over the rushing air as best he can. He should probably pull his cowl back up before they get too close to the city, but at least his own powers protect his eyesight. “She needs a place to stay, possibly for quite a while.”

“In another universe?” Kara whispers, feeling her brow furrow even as the wind snatches the words from her lips before Barry can hear them. She wishes she could say that she can’t imagine what might make a person need to leave their very plane of existence–but she migrated to an entirely new planet when she was just a girl, and there’s a frantic jumble of possibilities flicking one by one through her mind.

“I was hoping that you could take her in,” Barry says, when it becomes clear that Kara’s lost in thought, and she gives her head a quick shake as if to flick every morbid musing right out of her brain.

“Of course!” she shouts. “And you should pull up your cowl!”

***

“Laurel, meet Kara,” Barry says, motioning from one of them to the other. “Kara, meet Laurel.”

“She’s gotten the alternate universe down low, right?” Kara asks, as she carefully shakes Laurel’s hand. “Not that I’m opposed to running off the ‘alien, superhero, office assistant’ spiel myself, but–”

“Barry told me everything he knew,” Laurel tells her, and the grin that she flashes, even with the dark circles under her eyes and her vaguely sickly pallor, is patently unfair. (Kara is a cutesy blonde, the bubbly, sweet type, but Laurel is gorgeous. Kara’s staring, a little bit, and trying desperately to pass it off as curious-as-to-why-she’s-here-but-doesn’t-want-to-be-rude.)

“And he told me nothing,” Kara informs her, linking her arm through Laurel’s as she shoots Barry a teasing glare. “Barry Allen, how are we supposed to have a sleepover if I don’t know whether she prefers the classic chick flick or if she’s more of an action movie kinda gal?”

Barry spreads his hands in a shrug, making a face. “It’s a little hard to have an extended conversation when you’re hurtling through the air at somewhere just under Mach 1,” Barry points out defensively.

“Action movies,” Laurel adds, squeezing at Kara’s arm. “Do you have Die Hard in this universe?”

“I’d like to believe every universe has Die Hard,” Kara informs her sagely, and Barry snorts.

“Yeah, okay. You two are going to be fine.” He runs a hand through his hair, wincing slightly. “Look, I’m sorry to impose a house guest on you and run, but…”

“No, it’s good.” Kara waves a hand, nodding her understanding. “Places to run, people to save; trust me, I get it.”

“Okay.” He nods once, decisively, then zips forward, throwing his arms tightly around Laurel–she clings back, sagging into him as he whispers fiercely into her ear. Kara politely tunes them out, focusing instead on the other side of the city, where Lucy and James and Winn are arguing good naturedly about bagels. He pulls away, and Laurel visibly drags herself back together, swiping at a tear in the corner of one eye. “Okay, I’ll be back in a week to let you know what’s happening on our side. And I’ll bring Cisco, or Thea, if… well, I mean–”

“Barry,” Laurel cuts in, gently. “I’ll see you in a week.”

“I want to meet Iris,” Kara adds, and Barry almost cracks a smile.

“A week,” he says, promises, and then he’s gone with a rush of noise and a cascade of magazines sent fluttering from Kara’s coffee table.

***

Laurel’s fingers are curled around one of Kara’s mugs, the tips just barely overlapping, and her eyes are unfocused, for all that she seems to be studying National’s midnight skyline.

There’s a feeling in the air, thick and heavy and bittersweet, like happy memories turned sour in remembrance, and Kara almost turns around and slips back into her room, nervous to break through the tension. (Scared of what might spill out.)

Instead, she clears her throat softly, catches Laurel’s attention before reaching out to brush the tips of her fingers on Laurel’s elbow. “Couldn’t sleep?” she asks, still soft, still nervous, and Laurel nods, the tug of a self-depricating smile on her lips.

“It smells different, here,” she says, just as hushed, one thumb running along the rim of the mug. “I can’t figure out if that’s because of the new city, or the new universe.”

“From what you’ve told me about Starling over the last several days, I’m inclined to say it’s the lack of smog,” Kara whispers, teasing, and Laurel laughs. Just a sharp exhale of breath, but the corners of her eyes crinkle, and when she turns slightly, leaning her hip on the windowsill and meeting Kara’s eyes, her body language is the most open Kara’s seen it.

She’s still gorgeous, even in the strange blue-ish light from the muted TV, and Kara thinks about reaching out, taking the strand of hair that’s escaped her messy bun and brushing it back behind her ear. But she licks her lips, ignores the instinct- Laurel’s hurting and scared and that isn’t what she needs- and smiles her best Supergirl smile before turning on her heel.

“When you make s’mores in the microwave,” she says, voice bright enough to shatter the moment, “you don’t get the caramelization on the marshmallow, but it gets soft and fluffy and you can stick the chocolate straight into the center of it to let it melt. Guaranteed to put a smile on any sugar lover’s mouth.”

Laurel gives that not-laugh once more and rises, trailing after her. “You know what we should do tomorrow that would really cheer me up?” she asks, flicking a light on as she goes.

“Um, sightseeing?” Kara asks, glancing over her shoulder, and Laurel laughs.

“I was thinking a Supergirl/Black Canary team up, actually.” She hops onto the counter, setting the mug aside, and her smile is just a little sly as she winks. “The criminals of National City won’t know what hit them.”

“That sounds incredible,” Kara tells her, earnest and enthusiastic. “I’ve actually kind of been wanting to suggest it since you told me you were a hero, too, but I didn’t want to press. I can’t wait to see you in action, wow, I bet you’re just–um.” she clears her throat, presses her hand over her mouth and scrunches her face in apology. “That’d be really cool?” she finishes weakly.

Laurel’s cheeks turn the slightest bit pink.

Chapter Text

The thing about a team-up with Supergirl is that everything is Supergirl’s job. Kittens in trees, runaway strollers, runaway trains, runaway dogs, even, because apparently Kara can locate them by ear, assuming that she heard the dog get loose in the first place and kept an ear on them as she flew in to help.

Laurel can’t actually do a whole lot to help in any of those cases, and so she’s awkwardly hovering (though not in the literal sense, which she feels the need to specify given that Kara is actually capable of flight) at the edges, feeling more out of place than she has since she first came to this universe. (And she’s felt a sense of disbelonging crawling beneath her skin since the first moment she and Barry fell out of warp.)

(Or whatever it is you call it when the speedster carrying you piggyback slows down enough for you to pick out individual objects again.)

Still, watching Kara work is… nice. Kara has a bright, heartwarming smile, and she’s kind and selfless and always willing to pose for a selfie or two–Laurel even pulled out her phone to surreptitiously snap a picture when Kara let one twelve-year-old hang off of each bicep as she flexed and tried to look menacing. (She failed pretty utterly. It was adorable.)

And flying is way, way cooler than running; sorry, Barry.

Laurel extends her fists in front of her, trusting the tight circle of Kara’s arms, and grins into the whipping wind. Kara’s taking it slow for her and the goggles let her keep her eyes open to watch the city stretch below her, glittering and metallic and bright.

Her stomach swoops as Kara catches a thermal, and she can almost imagine for a moment- up high enough that cars are beetles and people are dots and all the tiny subtle differences between her world and this one are hidden frmo view- that she’s within driving distance of home, that this is just another adventure to share with Thea and Felicity over ice cream and bad movies.

She wants so badly to be able to enjoy this that she almost asks Kara to turn around and go back to her place, asks for another of the quiet nights in that ease the tightness in her chest more and more each time. With enough of them, maybe she can forget why she’s here and just–

“We’ve got trouble,” Kara calls, moving her lips close to Laurel’s ear, and that tightness in Laurel’s chest decides that a real chance to kick some ass is just as good as hanging out on the couch in a pair of Kara’s sweats. Kara sounds just the slightest bit questioning as she adds, “Bank robbery on the other side of town!”

Laurel turns her head enough for Kara to see her wild grin. “Punch it, Girl of Steel!”

Kara grins back, and they change courses abruptly, putting on a burst of speed that makes the skin feel tight on Laurel’s face, whips a strand of hair across her cheek hard enough to sting, and morphs the city into a single grey-blue blur. Laurel squeezes her eyes shut, feels the thrum of anticipation in her chest, thinks–

I can’t believe I ever thought I could give up being the Black Canary.

And then she feels them decelerate sharply, snaps her eyes back open just before her feet touch the ground. Through a wall of windows she can see the backs of a pair of criminals- easily picked out by their oh-so-cliche ski masks and their less charming possession of machine guns- and a crowd of hostages whose darting eyes will give away their presence any second.

Not that Supergirl and Black Canary have time to hesitate anyway; there’s a woman near the middle of the room, eyes locked on a machine gun and muscles coiling to spring.

“Distraction,” Kara hisses, and Laurel’s shattering the windows with a long, shrieking cry before the word is fully formed.

The robbers and hostages alike are thrown off-guard–Kara’s there, shoving the muzzles of the guns towards the roof even as they begin to turn around. She rips them both out of the men’s grips, and Laurel vaults through an empty window, catching them easily when Kara tosses them to her. Thank god for overzealous assassin trainers, she thinks idly, disassembling them in less than twenty seconds a piece, operating on muscle memory alone.

Kara’s hands are on her hips as Laurel idly tosses the second magazine over her shoulder and smirks at the robbers; they (almost literally) shake in their boots, twisted awkwardly in an attempt to keep both women in their line of sight.

“We can do this the hard way–”

“Supergirl, you’re bullet proof; I don’t think there is a hard way,” Laurel drawls.

Kara’s lips twitch. “–or the easy way,” she finishes.

Both men throw their hands in the air without hesitation or even an exchange of glances, and the hostages cheer with shaky voices as Laurel pulls zip ties from a pocket on her suit. Kara adds her voice, smile wide and blue eyes all crinkly at the corners, and Laurel ducks her head just enough to hide the tears in her eyes as she tugs the first man’s hands down behind his back.

National City is the best.