This was written for [personal profile] katarik, who asked for Amanda Waller and Kara Zor-El. It's supposed to be a gen shower ficlet, although it's a bit long for a ficlet and there's only metaphorically a shower. (And there's a brief continuity glitch. Sorry, Amanda.)

Every Star a Dragon's Eye


Kara made her report of the incident; quick, devoid of any emotional tangents, and reasonably accurate to what Amanda Waller knew from other streams of information. Then Kara took an elevator to the surface and walked through the meadow camouflaging the underground complex. Amanda watched through security screens as Kara sat on a midsized boulder and stared up at streaks of white falling from the sky.

Amanda didn't believe any human being was capable of fully understanding how a Kryptonian saw the world, but she understood well enough that Kara Zor-El could have watched the light show from nearly anywhere to no difference; back in orbit, where the battle was struck; or closer to the rays of Earth's regenerating sun; or curled up in the Metropolis apartment building she now shared with the once First Lady and secret service agents of varying subtlety. And a cat.

Or any other place without the recording devices Amanda had no illusions about her ability to hide. Which meant, Amanda considered, as Kara sighed and angled her head thoughtfully at the sky, that this display was put on special for her. The girl wanted something. Maybe an assurance that Amanda was affected by the events of that day. Maybe just to see if she was paying attention.

Amanda turned away from her screens and went up to ground level herself. The meadow grass was long and sweet smelling in the cooling air, and the first hints of dew dampened her stockings as she waded forward. Looked like it ought to be peaceful, but three frogs croaked back and forth and back and night-birds cried and tiny insects hummed around her face. The surrounding trees rustled against each other and cast fuzzy, moonlit shadows against the grass.

Amanda Waller was very certain nothing lurked in the wild to ambush her - and with a Thangarian weapon under her jacket and a Kryptonian moping twenty paces away, extremely certain nothing lurked she couldn't handle. But she never felt quite right without a city around her, too exposed outside her native habitat of high cement walls and flickering yellow bulbs. The night noises she'd grown up with were dirty engines and bad music too loud on bad radios. Baby crying two thin-walled apartments over, mother singing lullabies in a high pitched Jamaican accent, grandmother dying noisily of lung disease, every wheezed breath halfway a cough.

Sharp bang of firecracker or gunshot. Sirens building faster and faster, her breath held for a superstitious half-second until they pass, stretching into the distance.

And in this alien place, an alien teenager leaning back on a hand, pretending she was unaware of anything except the sky above.

Fuck girl, it's contagious.

Amanda closed the rest of the distance to the rock. She glanced at Kara, followed her gaze up to the sky, turned to her again with an eyebrow raised. "What you looking at?" she said.

Kara shrugged - an almost perfectly human gesture. "Same thing as you."

"Meteor shower?" Amanda said, not accurately. "That's nothing too rare, these days."

"Stars," Kara said, "burning to the earth."

Amanda quirked half a smile to herself. She knew as much about the late Krypton as anyone who hadn't been there before it exploded - less details than the academics she'd retained to argue through the wilder guesswork, but the important things... Its religion had been extremely pervasive for such a scientifically inclined society, and Rao was a jealous god. The Krypton word for star doubled as the Krypton word for monster.

Good description of the things falling from orbit, but Amanda let Kara keep her pun. She'd found it was often useful to let the metas feel a little superior to ordinary Homo sapiens, as long as they seemed inclined to a protective streak. And being underestimated made other things easier. If they became necessary.

Amanda moved to sit down beside Kara, who shifted over to make room. The stone was surprisingly warm against Amanda's legs, like leaning against a brick wall still holding the afternoon sun. "Are any of them reaching the surface?" Amanda asked.

Kara kept her eyes fixed to a point, but the corners of her lips curved in satisfaction. "Not one," she said. "So far, at least."

So that was it. The girl was keeping vigil until it was absolutely certain the threat was eradicated, every soul-eater cremated in the heat of atmospheric entry. Not the most efficient method to dispose of them - if they really were still a threat after Kara had torn them apart, which wasn't likely - but this way Amanda could appreciate her usefulness first hand.

Amanda's thoughts flashed to her second son. None of them'd had it easy in the months after her husband and eldest daughter had been murdered, but Martin had an even rougher time than her other children. While his twin had stepped smoothly into her older sister's role, helping Amanda care for what remained of the family, Martin inherited no neat new purpose. He wasn't even the man of the house, now his father was gone. That was Amanda's eldest boy, Junior... but Junior was a half presence, recovering slowly from the bullets that had nearly left Amanda with an extra grave to visit. He had no strength left for brotherly guidance.

Martin was too often confused and angry, desperate for a place to belong and a people to belong to, and Cabrini-Green bred predators that could sniff out self-doubt like it was cheap cologne. Gangs, capes, government funded bullies, all number of people who didn't have the boy's best interest in mind. 'Course, none of them was going to keep an eye very long on one of Mama Waller's babies. Not if they wanted to keep it in their head.

But who did Kara have to chase away Amanda Waller? Not a self-righteous cousin who couldn't shake the instinct that stamping something official proved the rightness of it. A cousin Kara struggled to entirely respect, his upbringing tying him more closely to Earth's people than he would ever be to her own.

Amanda said, "I'm glad to find someone I can really count on."

"It's no trouble," said Kara.

"It would have been," Amanda said. She placed a hand lightly on Kara's arm; her skin was warmer than a human's, but the way she struggled to keep her face blank was native teenager. "If there's anything you need, just let me know," Amanda said, because nothing tied people together like a favour.

For a moment the girl said nothing, pretending one of the needles of light was especially interesting. Then Kara nodded once, still not moving her gaze. "Okay," she said.
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