8

In National City, the city courthouse looked like a war zone. Half of the building had been bombed and was supported by timbers, employees were scrambling and working overtime to reorganize offices and clean-up crews were carrying out barrels of broken brick, ruined furnishings and shattered office chairs. Seventeen police officers were in the hospital, replaced by members of the local State Police. The elevators were still out, and employees and staff were left to use the stairs. Parts of the floors had holes in them, but the local citizens could finally look up and see their familiar red and blue garbed Supergirl in the sky. Sure, she didn't look like the pop-star version with the yellow belt and fuller figure, but they felt safe again knowing she was back.

Across town, ruined androids were being collected by Cross Enterprises. Five street lights were out, and volunteers were guiding traffic as employees tried to rebuild the city. FEMA had been alerted, and what passed for normalcy in a reality where everyone knew extraterrestrials were commonplace incidents was slowly coming back. At the shattered courthouse steps, thirty-two reporters from area newspapers waited for the mayor to show up and give a statement. Surrounded by his cabinet and protectors, Mayor Gary Lockwood, finally appeared. A silver-haired Liberal Democrat who had welcomed Supergirl the month after her first appearance, he grinned to the TV cameras and vans and took out his prepared speech.

"My Fellow Constituents..." He began. "It is with proud vigor that I am glad to reveal this city still thrives and will continue to exist after the debacle we have just endured. We will not kowtow to a foreign villain from any world who tries to subjugate us. The armies of Doom have been defeated, and your city is returning stronger than ever thanks to Supergirl and her friends. We will be stronger than before, we will stand firm before those who try to destroy us, and we will return to who we always were. Thank you..." He smiled and turned away as the news and media reacted to fill in the details the readers wanted to know.

"But sir!" A reporter called out. "But who are these other heroes? Where did they come from? Where did they go?"

"Is the Spider-Man another alien?"

"What do we call these people?"

"Why was there another Supergirl?"

Cat Grant turned off her television and looked to Kara now dressed in her civilian identity. A blue sweater. a white blouse and a light powder blue skirt with round glasses perched on her nose with her dark blonde locks pulled back tight into a ponytail, Kara now finally saw the damage to her place of work. The walls had to be pulled down and rebuilt. The power wasn't constantly going out, and the Internet was off-line. Computers and desks had to be replaced, many of the windows had become empty metal panes and Cat's personal elevator was going to be out for the foreseeable future, but the worst was yet to come. Sitting at her desk, the petite media mogul turned from her TV screens and glared disapprovingly up to Kara.

"You have been gone for three days." Her lips spoke with annoyed frustration. "You better have a darn good excuse for where you were while our city was entering the fifth level of hell."

"I'm sorry, Miss Grant..." Kara felt like a punished little girl. "But I was kind of stuck out of town and couldn't get a signal..."

That was basically the truth depleted of all extraneous details.

"I tried getting through to you, but the details of course were an obstacle."

Okay, that might be pushing it.

"Are you telling me you were trapped outside of city behind the roadblocks?"

Kara couldn't admit to that. She knew that would be lying.

"You do know with my contacts I can easily check your story." Cat reached for the phone. "What officer did you speak to?"

"Captain Hank Henshaw..." Kara produced a card from her fingers. Taking it from her, Cat looked at the tiny scrap of paper. It was creased, slightly worn, with the words Captain Hank Henshaw, Office of the United States Army, in bold black letters with an American border motif. She looked at it once, back to Kara and back to the phone number on the card.

"Get me a double latte with half milk and lettuce-wrapped crisp." She requested as Kara quickly jotted down the request and rushed to fulfill it. "Oh, and there will be more talk on this matter later!" She then dropped to her seat with her arm curled up before her and the tip of her finger to her bottom lip, the card still nestled in her fingers. Ever curious, she took her cell phone and called the number. The line hummed a bit.

"Captain Henshaw's office..." A voice responded, and she hung up the phone than press the debate.

She never did bring it up again. Kara spent a happy day with her normal life and normal job. She delivered Miss Grant's office and typed several papers, running several articles to print and picking up Jimmy's photos of the battle between the Four, Peter and her counterpart. She also stopped to to see Kara's adventures while briefly trapped here being televised. An errant window washer's platform caught after coming loose, teenagers in a stolen car and rescues from a house fire in the Breckinridge community. Upon seeing her big beautiful beaming face in the TV, a tear fell down her face. She missed her already. Her wit, her effervescent personality, her positive outlook... She had both found and lost a sister.

Huddled on the sofa of her apartment, Kara's eyes glanced back on the leather purse Linda had given her. It contained three outfits and a set of shoes from that other New York City, but in the bottom was something else... A small metal flash drive with the crest of the House of El on it. She wore the same insignia on her costume, so did Linda and the other Superman. Curious and intrigued, she turned off the TV and turned to her personal computer. Hoping the computer programs in each universe ran parallel, she pushed in the drive and came upon a compressed video. In the file, the image of a handsome figure of a man appeared with bright blue eyes, dark hair with a curl over the top of his forehead and a broad royal jawline. Wearing a white shirt with a loose blue tie dangling from an unbuttoned collar, he sat back in his seat and shined a big grin as if he was an overgrown boy scout.

"Hello, Kara, I'm Clark..." He introduced himself. He was certainly a taller Clark Kent than her cousin, but he was nowhere as old as that other Clark. He was dashing and handsome like a movie star, but with the vulnerable charm and humility of a young boy.

"I apologize for not getting a chance to meet you, but sometimes the responsibilities of being part of a major metropolitan newspaper have to come first. Linda can't stop talking about you. She seems to have bonded with you more than she has ever bonded with me. I'm glad she had a chance to meet you, and for the chance for you to come into her life."

Kara felt a suppressed giggle coming up from her chest.

"I'm sure my counterpart in your reality must be quite a good person too. Maybe someday all four of us can meet and learn how are similar and how we're different. You see, I've visited a few parallel timelines myself, and despite what differences we have, we all seem to be bound by one principle to lift as many others to be as great as they can be. Being a role model isn't the worst thing to be in the world, but having the realization that we have shaped someone's life can be the most positive experience one can have.

"I hope you're happy, and I hope you never take your powers for granted. You don't need to have super powers to be a hero. You don't need to fly or repel bullets to be a positive role model. Kara Danvers can be just as much a hero as someone who swings from a web over the city or wears a bat costume in a dark cave. When you're not Supergirl, take a minute to help someone who needs it, remember someone who may feel forgotten and don't forget there's always someone who needs a friendly smile. I hope you take these words to heart because there's always much more we can do to help.

"Again, I'm really sorry I didn't get the chance to see you. I'm sure you're a beautiful smart caring girl, and it would have been an honor to meet you. Give your Clark my best, and best wishes and fortunes to yourself. Hopefully we can meet again some day under the best of circumstances." He smiled and leaned back in his seat with one hand clicking off the video to the Daily Planet insignia. With that pleasant thought, Kara leaned back into her seat with her own beaming grin herself. When she turned her gaze to the window, she wondered if Linda was thinking of her as well.

END