|A Plea For Compromise|
|What: Kara goes to the Kent Farm to talk to Kal and try to reach some compromise in their argument|
It's late in the morning in Smallville, and it's a beautiful, clear, summer day. It's the kind of day that would make a character in a musical break out in song. But singing is the last thing on Kara's mind right now. Instead, she's idly doing chores around the farm to help Jonathan and Martha, dressed in a t-shirt and sturdy jeans rather than her usual costume. Earlier it was repairing a fence that was knocked over by a loose bull. Now, she's finishing up acting as a hydraulic lift for Jonathan so he can get under the tractor to do some maintenance. While the elder Kent goes back inside, Kara washes her hands at the water pump out in the yard, looking up to the sky yet again and wondering when her cousin would be stopping by. Or even 'if'. She called his phone when she arrived in the morning, letting him know that she was in Smallville and would be there, waiting to talk to him if he had the chance. Given how the past week has been for the cousins, Kara's getting a sinking feeling that Kal showing up isn't all that likely.
He does show up, eventually, however. But as he walks out onto the fields where Kara's working, the look on Clark Kent's face lets her know he's not pleased. It's stone cold and emotionless. It says nothing.
And the look isn't lost on Kara, either. Her heart sinks a little more at the stony expression. But she tries to keep a serious, but still pleasant look on her own, face. "Hello, Kal. I'm glad that you came."
Clark folds his arms across his chest. "I'm somewhat surprised your here. With the complete disregard of my directions, masquerading for lunch with my coworkers and putting the secrecy of my family in jeopardy, and gallivanting with strange teen heroes...I'm surprised you had time for chores, frankly."
Yeah, this isn't going to be pleasant. Kara takes a deep breath, keeping her tone even. “I am happy to help out, your parents have been overwhelmingly kind to me. And even if we are disagreeing, I was hoping that I am still your cousin.”
"You are. But you've got a mighty hill to climb. Because I don't want to break their hearts I haven't told my parents about what you did to Lor. But I'm going to. And if you're going to stick around here, you're going to go grounded a while until I say you're ready. And if you continue to misbehave, then you're going to go on your own. In all ways."
"You don't have to tell them. I already did." Kara's rather honest about that. "Kal, when we talked last, I wasn't trying to excuse what I did. I was trying to explain what happened. Because what I did *was* inexcusable. I gave into this anger and grief inside me and did something that I regret. Something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life. And I'm glad you were there to keep me from making that mistake even worse. I said as much to Lor when I saw him at the Fortress and apologized for what I did."
"Well, it was a mistake, and something to learn from for certain. I'm sorry, though. You have way too much training to do before you go out again. And then how you defied me and went to New York, Gotham, and Metropolis? Against my wishes? What do you have to say about that?"
"I do need training, I've always accepted that." Kara dares to move closer towards her cousin. "But I thought it was going to be 'on the job'. Like we had been doing. What I couldn't find acceptable was being inactive." She takes a deep breath, trying to keep everything under control still. "Kal, making me sit out until you say I'm ready...how many live could be lost in that time? How many lives could I have saved? How many serious crimes could I have stopped? Grounding me only takes away one more guardian of the people we're trying to protect. I can't accept that, Kal. I'm sorry, but I can't. I was powerless as I watched billions of people die. Our parents included. Now that I have the power to make a difference, I owe it to those billions not to sit idly by when I can prevent more deaths. I owe it to our parents to honor the sacrifice they made by doing everything I can to preserve life." Kara hugs herself and turns away looking at the ground. "That’s why what i tried to do to Lor was so wrong. It ignoring everything I believe in, dishonoring our parents. What I did...the things we've said to each other with that argument...there's a voice inside me now that says 'Kal's right. You're a disgrace. You're not worthy to be a hero. You're not worthy to be his family; Lor-Zod's the one he should be related to. You're not even worthy of being a survivor.'" Kara stops speaking as her voice trails off. She sniffles and rubs at her eyes, trying to regain control. "But giving into that voice isn't going to make things better. It won't do anyone any good. So I have to keep going. I have to show that even though I made a horrible mistake, I understand and respect what our House has come to represent here. And that I like up to the expectations that come with that." Another few sniffles, then Kara looks back at Kal, quiet determination in her eyes. "I am getting trained. I'm staying with Wonder Woman at the Embassy she's established in New York. She’s training me and the girl that I've been staying with. The one that showed up to help us with that apartment fire in New York."
"While I respect Wonder Woman, my decision is final. I can't trust that you won't do what you've done again. You've shown nothing but talk. You've done nothing but deceive and disregard guidelines. I'm sorry, but if you're going on your own, it's going to be on your own."
Kara blinks in confusion. "Kal...when have I deceived you? When have I lied? Other than to maintain the secret identity."
"It was clear you understood the rules we'd set down. Instead of following them, you ran off to Gotham and New York and continued going out behind my back. Perhaps deception is too strong a word. But devious nonetheless."
Kara shakes her head. She's still calm, not getting upset. "No. We didn't agree on those rules, of me being grounded after what happened. You stated them, but we didn't agree. I never said that I agreed to those terms."
"You're a child. You don't get a vote." Clark sighs, "And when left to your own devices, you're an attempted murderer. If you're unwilling to listen, then I think you'd better go."
"Kal, I am wiling to listen. I am wiling to talk." Kara's dying inside, trying to hold back her tears. "That's why I'm here. For us to talk. To come to an agreement."
"And that's what you don't understand. You don't really get the climate here. You don't get that you don't make the rules. You follow them. It's not a negotiation. It's fact finding. The fact is you're grounded from heroing indefinitely. If that's a problem for you, then you haven't really learned your lesson."
Breathe. Breath and stay calm. Doesn't matter that everything is crumbling around you. "Kal, I do understand the law. I understand that we have to follow the law, not take it into our own hands. And I know that none of us are above the law. What I did was wrong, and I know it. It was a mistake I learned from and one that I'm never going to repeat." She takes another few breathes. "In New York, there was a man in armor and a hammer blocking traffic. He was threatening cars, thinking they were some kind of monster. I was the first hero on the scene. I didn't go in eyes blazing or fists raised. I talked. I calmed things down. I resolved the situation without violence." Kara closes her eyes, a last attempt to hold back the tears. "There was a man there, Steve Rogers. He said he knew you and that he was pleased to see that I was turning out like you..."
"I really need to be going. The decision is clear. You can stay here, Metropolis, or at the Fortress, but you will do so under my conditions. If you choose to leave, that's on you and I'll wish you the best of luck. But this conversation isn't going anywhere." Clark gives her a nod and then turns to walk away.
Kara stands there, clenching her fists, trying not to break down completely. "Kal!...." She takes another breath. "If I stay with you in Metropolis...then I go out with you on your patrols and go to New York to also train with Wonder Woman. Otherwise, no heroics from me until you declare I can work solo. No leaving Metropolis unless its to go to the training."
"This isn't a negotiation." Clark turns fully now, and heads into the house.
And Kara just can't hold it back any more. In the middle of the yard, she slumps to her knees, crying.