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Title: Just Call
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Steph Brown / Kara Zor-el
Rating: Rish
Warnings: Graphic descriptions of violence. Straddles a fine line between friendship fic and femslash. Interpret it as you will.
Word Count: 1,500ish
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone's legal.
Author's Notes: Written for milleniumrex for the dc_rares_and_3s Seasonal Gift Exchange. Hope you like it, Rex!

Just Call

Steph knew the minute she rounded the curve in the train tracks that things were going to go bad.

Very, very bad.

Apparently, all the gang members who had survived the little raid Babs and she had orchestrated on their headquarters had turned out for this. The tunnel Steph had sprinted down while she chased after one of their members opened out very suddenly. The area she found herself in was lit only by a few low hanging bare bulbs. There were crates and boxes full of construction equipment and storage supplies pushed up against the walls.

In the middle of it all, about twenty or so gang members stood in a semi circle. They had weapons in their hands and grins on their faces. Pipes flashed and baseball bats gleamed under the dim light.

Steph's stomach dropped out and she felt suddenly very sick.

The man Steph had chased down onto the subway tracks stepped out from the crowd. He had a gun his hand. He lifted it, pointing the muzzle at Steph's face.

He didn't say a word, just grinned as he cocked his gun in silent warning. Steph knew better than to run. The look in that man's eyes made it clear to her that he wouldn't hesitate to shoot her in the back if she tried to run.

The other gang members started to move forward ,then. Steph could see them moving towards her out of the corner of her eye. She couldn't seem to bring herself to focus on anything but the gun, but Steph still knew the other men were just as much of a threat.

Steph knew what was coming.

She had been here before.

Static crackled on the other end of her communicator line. She was far too deep underground to get into contact with Babs.

Protocol was, five minutes with a sudden stop in communication, backup would be sent. Arrival time for that backup could be anywhere from two to five minutes.

Steph had seven to ten minutes before she could expect any sort of help.

Steph knew exactly how much could happen in seven minutes.

She'd lived through those seven minutes without any hope of help. Steph had felt her bones break, and her blood streaming hot and thick down her own skin.

Seven minutes were decades under the onslaught of fists and bats and power tools.

Steph knew what it was like to know that death was a certainty she couldn't escape, no matter how desperately she tried.

She couldn't face that again.

Not ever again.

She couldn't face it alone with a gun to her face and several pipes just waiting to shatter her ribs.

Steph was right back to the spot she had promised herself she would never be. She had sworn the next time she would know better. She had promised herself she would never get into this position. She promised herself that if she ever did, she would know enough to get away.

All of those promises felt heavy and false in her mind as Steph stared down the barrel of the gun. She swallowed hard, and could do nothing but wait for the beating to start.

Time seemed to swirl and shift. Steph was far too focused on it to accurately gauge the amount of time that had passed. She had no idea how close she was to help arriving. All she knew was that it couldn't come fast enough to save her from broken bones and blunt force trauma.

Steph opened her mouth and tried to speak, but there was no air in her lungs. She felt dizzy and she couldn't breathe.

The gunman smiled wider, and the men stepped in close.

That was when something inside of Steph broke.

Blind panic filled her, and she did the only thing she could think of.

She screamed for help from the only person she knew was always listening.

“Kara!” she shrieked. “Kara help me, please! Please, please help me!”

Steph heard her voice echo off the damp brick walls of the subway as she collapsed into a little ball. She huddled in on herself and waited for the beating she felt sure was only moments away.

Steph was hyperventilating. Black dots danced across her vision as a rushing sound roared in her ears. She couldn't think. She couldn't move.

A gust of the wind blew Steph's hair around her face. She waited for the swing of the bat or a metal pipe to come down on her back, but it never did.

There was a shout, and a shot fired. Steph heard the bullet ping off of something. Then Steph was lifted, still curled into a ball, into strong, warm arms.

Steph felt herself wrapped in strong arms as she flew through the air. She couldn't seem to process what was happening. She peeked out from over her flapping cape. She looked up to see Kara's tight and serious face as she blasted them through the subway tunnel. They hit the street with in seconds and Steph reveled at the fresh air buffeting her face.

Kara kicked up from the sidewalk and launched them into the air.

Steph uncurled enough to wrap her arms around Kara's neck. She buried her face into Kara's shoulder and tried very hard not to think.

Steph didn't even bother to try to figure out where Kara had taken her. She just hung on tight and trusted with every fiber of her being that Kara would take her some place safe.

The next thing Steph knew, Kara was holding her hand and coaxing Steph to crawl through an opened window. Steph managed it with minimal grace. She fell through the window more than climbed, but Kara was there to catch her.

When they were inside, Kara pulled her up into a standing position. She kept her hold on Steph's arms, and Steph was grateful. Her knees didn't seem to want to work and her sense of balance had completely vanished at some point.

Kara looked her over for a few long moments as she held on to Steph. She was clearly checking Steph for injuries. Steph just stood there and let it happen. She couldn't really think past her shaking knees and tight throat.

Steph shivered and clenched her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering. She wasn't cold, exactly, but she couldn't seem to stop it.

Kara's eyes went deep with worry and she reached out to tug at Steph's uniform. It came away piece by piece, and by the time Steph was down to her bike shorts and tank top the shivering intensified.

Kara pushed Steph back onto a bed that was behind her in the bedroom. Steph hit it and bounced. She looked down at it in surprise. She hadn't even noticed it.

Kara gave her a worried look, and Steph pulled Kara down next to her with a pleading tug. Kara gave her an understanding smile as she sat down on the bed next to Steph. The two of them climbed gracelessly under the thick layer of covers.

Kara pulled Steph into her arms, and held her close. Steph pressed her face in Kara's neck, breathing deep. Kara smelled like fresh air and the body wash that Steph had given Kara for her birthday. Clean and sweet and bright.

That was when Steph started to shake. Not just shivers, but uncontrollable full body shudders. Steph whimpered and sobbed, as she pressed as close to Kara as she could. She tried hard not to think, not to feel. She tried not to process anything at all as she shook and sobbed and clung to Kara.

Kara ran her fingers through Steph's hair and pressed a soft kiss to Steph's temple. Soft words whispered in Kryptonian ghosted across Steph's ear. Steph couldn't understand a bit of it, but the tone was soothing and gentle.

It calmed her.

The shaking and the sobs and the tears she didn't even realize she had cried all stopped. Steph's breathing evened out, and the death grip she had on Kara's sports bra loosened fractionally.

Steph took a deep breath and felt herself relax. Her muscles loosened and her body went lax as she felt herself sink into Kara's arms.

Kara must have felt the change in her as well. Steph could feel Kara's body soften under hers. The hand Kara had on Steph's hip lifted. Her arm came up to wrap gently around the small of Steph's back. She kissed the top of Steph's head, and nuzzled Steph's hair with her nose.

“Better?” Kara asked, in English this time.

Steph nodded and sniffled in response. They held each other for a few long, quiet moments. Kara's hand ran soothingly through Steph's hair. It was soothing and gentle.

It made Steph think that maybe she could speak without breaking down again.

“Thank you for coming,” Steph said, her voice tight and rough even to her own ears.

Kara's hand paused in her hair, just for a brief moment before she resumed.

“I'll always come,” Kara whispered back as she tucked Steph's hair behind her ear. “Just call.”


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
OMG I love you so much. :DDDDDDDDD

I am such a sucker for Steph/Kara, femslash or friendship. They're adorable and rapidly challenging Cassie/Kara in my heart. :D

I love that Steph basically has her own guardian angel to look after her. A pretty blonde guardian angel, at that. And the opening of the fic was really intense. The mood was perfect, from grim terror to sweet relief.

I loved it. I didn't even see that you had signed up for this exchange, but I am so glad you did. <3
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! I was worried that it was a touch TOO dark for you. I'm relieved that you enjoyed it. <3
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
I don't mind the dark as long as it ends cute and fluffy. <<'

Thanks again! And since you posted yours, I went ahead and posted mine for Glor. I was wondering what was going on with this exchange, since we didn't get any updates.
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
That's what I figured. <3

It said to post between the 25th and the 7th of January. I bet everyone has other fic exchanges they're still working on and doing this last because the deadline is so late.

I know WFGE needs to be in by the end of the week.
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, I finished all my others (I did five this year!) besides one that's due on the 29th.
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
I only did two, but you know how my stuff gets insane. My WFGE fic is 16,000 words. It's at the beta now. Hopefully she'll be done with it before Friday. I know it took me a good eight hours to edit that stupid monster.

Five is intense. Which did you do?
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
Yuletide, 3 Ships, JBBS, Young Marvel Gift Exchange, and this one.

Fortunately, all of them except 3 Ships gave me pairings or requests that were right up my alley. :D

Wow, 16K. I've never had a fic hit that mark.
Dec. 28th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
That's good. It's always rough when you have to struggle through an exchange fic. I KNEW when I signed up for this one that I'd probably get you. :DD

I also knew this was what I would write you right away.

16K isn't that bad. The thing is that I usually write and post in about 5,000 word chapters. So it's in easily manageable chunks. But I wanted to finish this one all at once. I promised myself I wouldn't let it get over 8 or 10k. It just kept getting longer. Editing 36 pages all at once is just awful. :(
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Have I told you how much i love the way your mind works lately?
This wss wonderful. The dnger and fear in Steph as she fould herself trapped, her call for Kara, was so World's Finest.
Supergirl saving Batgirl then conforting her was so very loving and WF and damn, I loved this.
Thank you for sharing. Now I want to read/write about a triple date between Bruce, Tim and Steph with Clark, Kon and Kara. (hit hint-nudge nudge)

Having icon love for you Primeval lizard-thingy
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! Steph needs someone who's always there to watch her back.

I don't think I could EVER write a triple date. It would end in tears. And possibly yelling.

Oh man, I loved Primeval up until they killed off Stephen. Those fuckers. It broke my heart and not even DINOSAURS could make me watch the third season.

So much love for Rex and Abby though. That chick is super fucking hot.
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
Wow, so intense. I like it. I like Kara and Steph more in the way of friendship, but this was so subtle and sweet that I quite enjoyed it. Wasn't sure about Steph breaking down like she did, but once it's mentioned that she's pretty much having a Black Mask flash back it totally makes sense. Even Batgirl has a breaking point. Very nicely done, as usual.
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it. I like Steph and Kara as friends too. I can't QUITE see them hooking up. Friendly snuggles, totally. I'm not sold on all the rest. Maybe I'm just an old Cassie/Kara shipper at heart. <3

And Tim/Steph, of course. :D

Yeah, I think Steph would only freak in a VERY specific set of circumstances. I mean, she's pretty much engineered herself to prevent ever being in a situation like that ever again. She only went DOWN into the subway because she was sure the dude was alone. She wasn't expecting an ambush. It just goes to show no matter how much planning you do, shit can always go wrong and it pays to have a back up plan. I like that Kara's Steph's back up plan.
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)

That was awesome, lovely, fantastic, and even so much more. Great piece!

Dec. 28th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
*High Five* Glad you liked it. <3
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Absolutely enjoyed this one!
Feb. 28th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you liked it!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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