She wakes to the sound of a rattling cage…or that’s what she likens it to. Might as well be a cage. There’s no amount of imagination that can make a 6 x 8 foot cell any more spacious or less stifling. The metal slides upon metal with a satisfying thunk and then the doorway is filled with his six foot frame.
“Kara, there’s someone here to see you.”
She barely moves from the stretched out position on her bunk, the heels of her feet hanging over the end of the dank mattress. Kara lifts her hands to the rails of the bunk above her and pulls, lifting her upper body off the bed, then collapsing back, the glowing green bracelets shining on her thin wrists. “There shouldn’t be,” is the only thing she bothers to say.
James shifts his feet slightly and tucks his thumbs into the heavy black belt around his waist. “Danvers,” he barks bringing her head around instantly.
She’s barely even heard him raise his voice in her time here. It must be serious for him to break out of his comfort zone. She rolls her eyes and sits up. “Yes, correctional officer Olsen? What can I help you with today?” she asks sweetly, crossing her hands in her lap in a placating gesture.
“You have a visitor, Kara. Someone who wants to help you,” he says seriously.
She barks out a laugh and leans back, her upper shoulders and head hitting the concrete wall behind her awkwardly. “There’s no one that can help me, not here,” she says as she shuffles back around, taking her previous position, this time with her arms crossed behind her head.
James huffs out a breath and takes the short steps to the end of her bunk. He reaches down and tosses her feet off the bunk. “Get up, Kara. I didn’t use every favor I have with the warden to get this meeting for you just to have you piss it away because you’re moody.”
“I’m not fucking moody, Jimmy,” she spits as she stands to her full height. “I’m in prison. For being an alien. And nobody can change that…no matter how many favors they have.”
“Follow me, please,” he smiles, crooking a finger at her as he stalks out the door.
She walks out of the cell with the indifference she’s practiced in every pitiful aspect of her life now. The telling green glow of her mandatory accessories give her away at a glance and being indifferent, well, it’s helped her keep her teeth in her weakened state.
She’s made a few friends…if you can call them that, and as she shuffles behind the tall correctional officer that’s shown her too much kindness, she looks over and catches the eyes of Winn, Vasquez and even J’onn…the only other alien she’s been able to talk to in her block. He gives her a slow nod as she passes and suddenly she’s back on a wet bridge in National City, watching as kids slowly file out of the back of a wrecked bus.
She hears the screams before she sees the wreck. She’s jogging along the river on one of the paved pathways which wind along the water and underneath the bridges and roads. The sound of crunching metal and screams hits her like a shockwave, almost making her lose her footing on the damp concrete. Kara looks around quickly before shooting ahead on the path until she’s standing underneath the dangling school bus. She’s panting and panicking, but when she focuses and hears the crying and screaming of the dozens of kids on that bus, every single reason for hiding in her life fades away.
She saves them that day. Kara uses her powers against the gravitational pull of the earth and pushes up against the weight of that bus. She lifts them up and above the mangled railing and onto the slick asphalt. The back door pops open with the weight of the bus driver’s push and as the kids start piling out, Kara looks over to see an old man seated upon a park bench, a black umbrella above his head. He nods to her, grateful for her good deed, for her exposure. And then, the authorities show up.
Kara follows James silently, never speaking, never asking what this is about…hoping beyond hope that her adoptive family has finally given up the hopeless fight that she has begged and pleaded them to do. They come to a stop outside another gray, metal door. “James, what is this?” she breathes. “Can’t they just let me be?”
He turns and looks at her, taking a full sweep from her prison issue slip in shoes, past the standard orange scrubs…stopping at the kryptonite bracelets upon her wrists. He shakes his head, “I didn’t ask for this meeting, Kara.” He sees her start to protest, but stops her with hands raised. “I just used any favors I had to make it happen, but I didn’t ask for it. She did,” he indicates with a tilt of his head. “You don’t belong here,” he whispers fiercely. “You saved children, for Christ sakes. You don’t belong in a place with murderers and rapists. A lot of you don’t,” he finishes. “If I can help even one of you get out, I will,” he resolves with a nod of his head.
“James…” Kara says.
“Just let her help you,” he pleads. “Let her help you, then we’ll help J’onn and Vas and Winn…” he trails off hopefully.
She stares down at her feet, blinking against the constant fatigue that the kryptonite brings. “We’ll see, Jimmy.”
Kara hears the all familiar clank of a mechanical lock again as the metal pieces slide against each other. “Please stop calling me Jimmy,” he pleads as he opens the door wide.
Kara smirks at him before stepping forward into the bright room. It’s more sunlight than she’s been exposed to in months and even with the kryptonite bands around her wrists, she feels a surge of energy to her cells like a shock to her system.
She closes her eyes as she feels the flood to her body and though it’s only enough to make her feel ‘not sick’ for a while, it’s a blessing. Kara hears the clank of metal behind her and her blue eyes quickly open to fall on the thin figure of a woman standing against the windows. The quick surge to her senses continues as she takes a deep breath. Perfume, soft but strong, hits her in an instant and she closes her eyes again as it overtakes her. Ten months in a prison cell will make a touch of perfume smell like heaven apparently.
Kara’s eyes pop open at the voice, too velvet and too sweet to be in a place like this. “Y…Yes, I’m Kara Danvers,” she says finally. “Who are you?”
“Cat Grant,” the blonde says as she steps closer. She holds out a hand in greeting, but Kara hesitates, staring at the bracelets upon her wrists. “I’d like to represent you, Kara.”
Kara just looks at her in confusion. She’s…gorgeous. Shoulder length blonde hair, hazel eyes and a fierce stare. “Represent me? For what?”
Cat looks at her like she’s lost her mind. “In your case, Kara. The reason you’re incarcerated. I want to help you get out…to be released.”
“I…I don’t have a case, Miss Grant. This…this is a waste of your time,” Kara says as she turns back to the thick, metal door.
“Every prisoner has a case, Kara. It’s the reason you’re here,” Cat argues. She stares at the young woman, in orange from head to toe, long blonde hair trailing down her back. “You rescued dozens of children, Kara. That’s not a reason to be locked away. That’s a reason to be celebrated…to be honored.”
“Well, I wasn’t celebrated, was I?” Kara laughs as she turns around. “I was put in handcuffs the moment they realized what I was…and even when I didn’t break out of those like they knew I could, they brought me here and locked me away,” she chuckles. “I never resisted…I never put up a fight. They snapped these around my wrists the first chance they got,” she whispers, falling into one of the two chairs in the room. She stays silent for a long time as she stares. “All my life, my family…my adoptive family, they warned me. They told me that I would be feared instead of welcomed. I just…I never understood,” she pleads as she looks up into Cat’s eyes. “I just wanted to help them,” she says, tears spilling into her eyes.
“You did,” Cat says fiercely, standing behind the metal table and spreading her hands along its length. “You helped them. You saved dozens….DOZENS of children when you saved that bus, Kara. I will not let them lock you away for that,” she swears, tears streaming down her face.
“I…I don’t think there’s a point to this, Miss Grant,” Kara sniffs as she looks out the window. She may as well get her fill of the sunshine. “It doesn’t matter what I do…what WE do. We’re not the same…we’re not human. So we’re evil, I guess,” she laughs lightly.
“You’re not evil,” Cat says sharply as she gathers her things into a dark leather satchel. “You’re alien. You’re extraordinary…and you’re innocent of any of the things they’re holding you for. That’s what I’m here for.” She stalks around the table with an air of authority that Kara has never experienced before. She watches as Cat knocks on the gray metal door.
“Why are you doing this?” Kara whispers. “Why put yourself out there for the ridicule that you know they'll bring? Miss Grant, they'll tear you apart.”
Cat steps back as James pushes the heavy metal door open. She leans her weight against it and nods at him to step back. “My son was on that bus, Kara,” she says. “I’ll get you out of this prison or I’ll die trying. I promise you that."