Author's Note:

This story was written a long time ago, in fact most of it was written shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths in the mid to late 80's. Recently a friend told me that there was something called Fan Fiction, pointed me to this site, and said I should publish it. Two problems: it was written on a typewriter, and a lot of it didn't make much sense based on twenty-plus years of stories told in the interim. "No problem" I was told. Well, ordered actually. "Re-enter it on your word processor, then fix the problems." Sounds of sighing and typing, typing and sighing. Happy sighing, I forgot how much I missed the characters.

More recently I realized I should provide an author's note with some background. And here that is.

Chapter 1 was entered with no changes, Chapter 2 had a few more, Chapter 3 quite a few, and after that there are (or will be, I'm still working on it) numerous changes of characters, events, and dialog to make it not sound so out of date. And the final two chapters have to be re-written almost entirely.

Please accept my apologies in advance if it takes awhile to get the whole thing online. It's taking much longer than it probably should since I am transcribing, and I'm finding that re-writing portions of the story is harder than writing a new story since the path is changing under my feet while the destination remains the same. Not to mention that my writing style has also changed a lot since those days. I'm trying to emulate how I wrote then so it doesn't seem too jarring, but I'm sure a discerning reader will notice the differences.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks to my friend. You showed me that Kara Zor-El was back, and convinced me to read her new adventures. As I said, I didn't realize how much I missed her.

I do not own the characters herein, nor do I make any claim in any way to own them. All characters, representations, and likenesses are owned by DC Comics and Warner Bros.


"Kara?"

Did she want to wake up? What time was it?

"Kara... Kara, please."

Odd, she didn't feel sleepy. In fact, this wasn't at all like waking from sleep.

Kara opened her eyes, and a bright blue sky dotted with slowly moving clouds greeted her. A slight breeze gently caressed her forehead, blowing her hair and tickling her neck. She could smell flowers, nothing she recognized, but the scent was lovely. Perfect, so perfect. She smiled slightly, feeling happy and content for no reason she could discern. She closed her eyes again, stretched, and felt that somehow everything was just... right somehow. There was a sense of comfort and serenity filling her that she couldn't place, a peace she hadn't felt in years. Since she was a very small child in fact. How long ago was that? She couldn't quite remember.

She stretched again and lazily rolled onto her side. Resting her head on one hand, she saw that she was on the side of a gently sloping hill that dropped away for a few miles, ending at the shore of a river. The river slowly meandered below, losing itself in either direction behind other hills, all of them covered with green grass, groves of trees, and an occasional patch of brightly colored flowers. In the distance she could see the hills continue on until they lost themselves at the bottom of a range of mountains, their facets sparkling in the sunlight like jewels. In fact, they were jewels, she remembered happily that these must be the Jewel Mountains.

Kara bolted to her feet. This couldn't be, she had never been to the Jewel Mountains, they had been destroyed with Krypton. She had only known them from the books she had seen in Argo City, and later from pictures and descriptions in the records of Kandor in Kal-El's fortress.

Wait, no! Kal was in trouble, she had to...

Oh Rao. She remembered everything now. Kal-El, bruised and bloodied, on the ground, the death blow coming. The Universe, no the Multiverse in peril, everything she loved about to end. Not just Life, but the very idea of life itself was ending. An end to all creation in its infinite forms. No good, no evil, no hope, no despair, an endless nothing for all eternity. At that moment she had experienced a clarity of purpose and vision she had never known before. Kal represented Truth and Justice, suddenly she had understood that she sided with Life and Hope. And here she had taken her stand.

She had fought the Anti-Monitor. She had thrown everything into the fight, she had never used her powers like that before. This was different from any battle she had known. She had held a desperate line against the nothingness the Anti-Monitor had brought, and for that moment she had prevailed. But only partly.

And then she died.

The last thing she remembered in life was Kal's grief stricken face. And now she realized that maybe she had failed after all, because the Hope she fought for was fading from his eyes, and the essence of Life she was defending was no longer hers to guard. She could never defend them again. The Anti-Monitor had not been defeated, only delayed, and she could no longer join the battle.

This was failure. She was failing her friends, her world. Kal. Barbara. Her parents, both adopted and Kryptonian. Kara had known setbacks in her life, but there was always hope. Always.

Kara had never been a religious person. She often used the name of Rao, but it was an empty word for her, like so many other words and phrases used casually and without meaning. She had never given an afterlife much thought. She had never thought much about death, not because it wasn't always a possibility in the life she had lived, but because it brought back the pain and loss she had tried so hard to bury after the destruction of her home. But here and now that wasn't an option. Death could not be ignored, not this time, and the fact that there was something beyond it could not be denied. It was all around her.

She didn't really know how this worked. From what she knew about Rao you didn't ask for things, you were supposed to exercise free will in your life. But she had to do something. So she spoke, but not as a prayer. She didn't know how to do that. It was a conversation, a request, with no knowledge that there would be an answer or even that she would be heard. But for Kara there was hope. There was always hope.

"Are you there? Are you listening? If you are, please help them. Guide them, grant them wisdom and strength. Give them hope, and life. I can't. I so want to, but I can't." Her voice cracked just a bit, and she swallowed hard. "I couldn't stay for Kal, but he can't give up. He can't lose hope."

Silence. Just the wind blowing through the grass. Then a voice.

"Kara, what makes you think you can't still give hope?"