Title: Lessons
Disclaimer: not mine.
Warning: non-graphic mentions of child abuse
Written for the prompt "learning to drive" at the livejournal community karathracelives.


The first time Kara got behind the wheel of a car, she was twelve years old and she had to sink low into the seat and stretch all the way out just to reach the pedals.

She ran the car into a tree not twenty feet from the house, and her momma laughed before smacking her. Not too bad. She didn't need a doctor or anything, mostly she thought 'cause the car was okay and her momma liked to have a good chuckle.

The second time she took the wheel, she was thirteen, legs a little longer, and she made it a little farther. This time it wasn't a tree that arrested her progress, but her own inattention and too-slow reflexes (she knew that wasn't true though, knew her reflexes were the sharpest around, and she could've hit those brakes at any time).

When she stopped the car in the middle of the road and tumbled out the door, propelled by some force unknown, it was already too late for the creature lying crumpled on the pavement. She'd never seen a deer inside the city limits before, but there it was. There was a bit of blood on the bumper, plus a dent that she knew she'd better hammer out if she didn't want more trouble.

She stood in front of the animal for a long moment before crouching beside the thing. She watched as its chest stopped heaving but the black eyes stayed open and fixed. When she stood up, she noticed that she'd gotten blood on her pants from resting on her knees. Frak. It would be hard to get rid of that stain.

That night, her momma really took her to task. There wasn't much point in lying about the whole thing.

"Always having accidents," Momma had muttered, lighting another cigarette.

Kara scowled and rubbed at her sore jaw. "Wasn't an accident," she said. Under her mother's slow scrutiny, she recalled the moment when she saw the animal and her hands held steady on the wheel.

Her mother's mouth twisted to the side and she eyed her daughter carefully. Then she nodded and turned away.

Kara didn't really know what to make of the incident, and soon enough it slipped from her mind.

But when she was fourteen, her mother walked into the room and told Kara it was time for her first driving lesson. When she slipped into the driver's seat and glanced sidelong at her mother, she saw something in Momma's eyes that she couldn't place. It might have been approval.