“What do you mean… it’s gone?” spoke an icy, feminine voice, curiously husky, as if it came from a throat long dry.
“This girl, she… she took it, ma’am, I’m sorry.”
“Girl? Power Girl? The container was lead! She couldn’t have found it, she never would have stopped her rounds to interrogate two cretins like you.”
“I… ma’am, it… it wasn’t Power Girl. I dunno who she was, she had a cape!” The man’s voice belonged to Alex Jefferson, known by his employers and associates by “Bozo” (except, ironically, for the Joker, who only called him “Puddinhead”).
“…Was it a red cape?”
“No ma’am… black. She was quiet, and she… I dunno how she did it, she was always right in front of us!” The portly fellow glanced awkwardly from side to side. The echo of his voice, the lack of any visible guards – it didn’t make him feel safe. Not with her here.
“Did she say anything? And Bozo, if I have to keep playing twenty questions with you? You’re going to end up having a lot less fun than you’re having right now.”
“She said…” the man paused. “She said ‘dark vengeance’. Das’all, ma’am, das’all I remember. Dark vengeance.”
“Dark vengeance… daaark vengeance….” A low, arctic laugh left the woman’s throat; short, but intense. “I like it. “Dark vengeance.” Haha.”
“Hehe, yeah, me an’ Chuckles kept sayin’ it afterwards, ‘dark vengeance’, hehe, it’s kinda catchy.”
“Did I say you should laugh? Do you have any reason to find anything funny?”
Bozo swallowed hard.
“You… have failed me.”
“Yeah but… but how did he do that with a… with a chocolate éclair? Wouldn’t that be totally sticky and gross?” Atlee gasped as she and Charlie walked out of the movie theatre, a look of persistent revulsion on her face.
“I know, right? I thought you, like, needed girls for that kind of thing.” Charlie giggled wickedly. “But I don’t think we should sneak into any more R-rated movies… you seem to take certain things a bit too seriously.”
“I just don’t see how eating – something like that – is supposed to be comedic! It was yucky!”
“Well you were the one who said we should go and see “American Éclair”, I would have been happy to watch “Perish Difficultly with Revenge” instead, and that was only rated PG-13.”
“Well, Kar – Kaaaaren, never used to let me watch R-rated movies, so I wanted to see what they were like. And they’re gross!”
Charlie snickered again. She had finally gotten the other girl to remove her sunglasses after she tripped when trying to find her seat, and the two were making fast friends, even if Atlee was… not exactly worldly.
“Well, you are seventeen, so you have every right to watch whatever you like. And who’s Kaaaren anyway? You keep mentioning her, she your mom or whatever?”
“No… she was my friend and my roommate, but now she’s off in – out of town, fighting stupid – um, lawyers, because of… business stuff.” Atlee chewed her cheek awkwardly and glanced over to the redhead, hoping her many slips were not noticed. Fortunately, she was already weird enough that they didn’t come across as particularly important.
“Oh, well… that’s cool. Ice cream every night or whatever?”
“No… just pizza by myself.” Atlee took a deep breath and looked at the ground ahead of her as the pair walked towards the subway. “I miss her… and her stupid business trips… stupid movies, and stupid pizza… stupid huge boobs… stupid jokes and stupid toast with butter….”
It was Charlie’s turn to stare blankly at the other girl, one thin red brow slowly rising at the mention of ‘stupid huge boobs’. “Um… look, do you… wanna come over or something--?”
“Can I?!” Atlee said excitedly, turning and lunging at the other teen, her arms folding around her waist. “Can we have a sleepover? Can I stay? Can we make toast? Do you have any romance DVD’s? Are your blankets really soft?”
“Um, jeez, uh… yes, sure, maybe, yeah, a couple, sorta…?” Charlie held her arms up awkwardly in one of those uncomfortable halfway-return-hugs.
“Yay!” the terran looked up at her new acquaintance from her vice-like grip, her big dark eyes glazed over with excitement.
“It’s a little way away though, hope you like public transportation.”
“It’s my favorite!” Atlee was desperate. She hadn’t even gone a full day without Kara and already she realized just how much she had hated being alone. She had been… angry… after she left Strata, left her mother and father deep below the earth so that she could come to the surface and help protect the world. She hadn’t even realized how much happier she was with Power Girl until the older woman was gone.
“By the way, those contacts are totally killer. Can’t believe you wear sunglasses and cover them up.” Charlie mused, in no way tuned in to Atlee’s need for companionship.
“Contacts?” the terran inquired.
“Um… your eyes are totally purple? It’s cool, I think they’re rad.”
“What do contacts have to do with purple eyes?”
“…I guess… nothing?” the redhead peeled herself out of Atlee’s embrace and awkwardly folded her arm around her shoulder, walking towards the nearest subway she knew of.
Atlee was weird in a consistent manner. People had told Charlie that she was a goofball (or a complete idiot, irresponsible child, or walking disaster) but she at least knew not to wear a trenchcoat in the middle of august.
“So, romance movies huh? I don’t have a ton, just what I brought with me in my CD case. I think I might have The Princess Bride.” She attempted as the pair of them trotted down the steps into the station below.
“The Princess Bride? I like the sound of that a lot… I assume it has princesses and brides?”
“Not only does it? They are totally the same person.”
“…I want my father back, you son of a bitch.”
Charlie sat in awe, casually taking a bite out of toast and leaning forward on the couch. It was a good thing Babs let her bounce over and borrow the TV – seemed eager just to get her out of there, some business with a green ring – because it would have been really awkward to remember that she didn’t even own a television set. She was in her pajamas now, white with black sleeves and pants, her green-nailed feet bare. Atlee had insisted that she make toast with butter, and two loaves of bread were already accounted for.
“This is true love. You think this happens every day?”
Atlee sniffled wetly, tears beginning to stream down her face as she leaned to the side, resting her head on Charlie’s shoulder and taking an extra-big bite of toast. She was out of her trenchcoat, finally, and had borrowed one of her new friend’s nightshirts (light red, with a panda on the front), which was… a bit ill-fitting, considering her figure in comparison to the redhead’s. But, despite some constriction around the breasts and hips, she was comfortable on the couch. “This is the best movie ever.”
“I know. I’m so glad we watched it.”
“Hah! ‘As you wish’. You see? The grandpa said it at the end, ‘cause it means ‘I love you’! That’s why he said it, right?”
“That’s probably what I’d go with.”
“Ooh, it’s based on a book!” Atlee squealed as the credits began to roll, showing images of the characters one by one. “Can we get the book? Is it good?”
“I’d actually suggest you don’t read the book. It isn’t really very good unless you get the abridged version, in which case you might as well just be watching the movie.”
“Well… can I come and watch it again sometime?” the raven-haired terran said excitedly, turning to face Charlie and nearly pouncing her.
“Hehe, as you wish,” she snickered evilly.
“Yay! Kara said I’d make new friends and I didn’t believe her, but we’re friends, right?”
Charlie arched a brow again… Atlee was kind of fun, but she couldn’t think of anyone she called a friend. Even Babs hated her most of the time. “Well… I mean, I guess, but we’ve only really known each other for like a day. I think we’d have to bond over a shopping spree before I could really – wait, who’s Kara?” the name rang a bell. Oracle’s computer had two Karas in its database. One was Kara Zor-El, Supergirl. The other was Kara Zor-L, who also went by the name of—
“Holy crap! Stinky! I forgot to feed him!” Atlee suddenly exclaimed, leaping up from the couch. “I have to get back home right away!” the look of despair on her face was already apparent; she had been hoping for a sleepover.
“Wait, um, where do you live?” Charlie spoke up, sitting up on the couch. “I may be able to call a… friend… who can go there and feed him, if it’s okay.”
“But the door is lo—“
“—That won’t be a big problem. My friend is very resourceful.”
“Why do you have to go to the bathroom to make a call…?”
“My… friend… is very private. And he doesn’t want anyone to ever hear his voice that doesn’t… um… know him already….” Charlie pulled the bathroom door shut behind her, leaving Atlee standing, confused, on the outside.
Misfit found herself outside the modest apartment, glancing from side to side to make sure nobody saw her ‘port in. It was night… not many people around, and she’d found that people usually saw what they wanted to see, which helped her a great deal. She stepped up to the front door, and saw the mailbox just before bouncing inside and filling Stinky’s food and water bowls, much to the delight of the usually smelly orange cat.
The mailbox read “Karen Starr”.
Karen Starr, as in Kara Zor-L, as in Power Girl.
Which made Atlee….
“Terra.” Charlie stated proudly, flinging the bathroom door open. “You’re Terra! The Terra! I should have known I’d run into the only other good-aligned meta in the city. Wanna fight and then team up?”