Chapter Six: Supergirl Rising III
"So...you're an alien?" Sam asked, trying to keep her voice steady.
"I don't know," Carly cried, her young voice breaking as her red, puffy face lowered closer and closer to the floor. "I just...I always thought I was their actual daughter...I don't know who I am now."
"You're still Carly Shay," Melanie comforted the girl. "You're still our friend...you're still Spencer's little sister and your parents' daughter...it doesn't matter where you came from."
"Yeah, Carls," Sam added. "This box doesn't change anything...you grew up being their daughter, and you became our best friend...nothing can change that."
"Maybe this explains all that stuff you were telling us," Melanie said, trying to sound sensitive. "Like running faster, being stronger..."
"What am I?" Carly asked, her shoulders beginning to quake. "I mean, my parents looked normal, but...what if I'm some kind of freak? What's gonna happen when I grow up? And, this all means I'm not even human...oh my god." Holding her head in her hands, the young woman felt the burning tears stream down her cheeks.
"Carly, you're not a freak," Melanie sharply replied, taking her friend's hand. "You're a human to us."
"And even if you are different," Sam began. "You're still our friend...we can get through this together."
"And Spencer's here for you, too," Melanie added.
"Spencer," Carly exclaimed, shooting her head up. "He doesn't know about any of this...I've gotta tell him."
"We'll come with you," Sam volunteered. "We're in this together, bud." Letting a weak smile creep onto her face, Carly stood up with the sisters.
Leaning against a wall, Spencer admired the different paintings and sculptures surrounding him. Letting out a sigh, the young adult recounted the days he used to spend with his mother; painting, drawing, making clay sculptures. Then, when he was older, he did the same with Carly. Art was always there for the Shay family...and the Shay family was always there for one another until now. Biting back a tear, Spencer thrust his hands into his jacket pockets, and headed for the door.
"Spencer," Carly cried out, running into her brother's arms and hugging him tightly.
"Whoa, whatter you guys doing out here?" Spencer asked, trying to be the adult the world needed him to be.
"Whatter you doing here?" Sam replied. "We looked for you at law school, but they said you never showed up."
"Yeah..." the young man said, realizing he was exposed. "I...I dropped out a couple of days ago. I just...Look, I know I'm in charge of you, Carly...and I tried to be. I tried so hard, but I was never as good as Dad...and I was afraid. So, instead of looking out for you...I tried to lose myself. I'm sorry."
"Spencer, you don't have to be like Dad," Carly replied, her voice reassuring. "I don't need Dad right now...I need my big brother. Look, I opened the box...and I saw something." Spencer felt his heart sink, though he would never admit it. "I saw my parents..." Feeling a massive lump form in her throat, the young woman bit her lip. "I swear I didn't do this to hurt you...I just...I'm scared." Letting go of his own fears, Spencer held his sister tight. "It's okay," he whispered in a calm, loving voice. "It's your life...you have no reason to apologize, Carly."
With that, the night faded away, though the family stayed together through it all. When sunrise came, Carly, Sam, Melanie, and Spencer watched from atop the roof of the Bushwell Plaza. As the days passed, Carly, Sam, and Spencer found themselves waving Melanie off as she boarded the plane that would take her to Europe. Scarlet and yellow hues cascaded across the skies, and a cold breeze chilled over the land. Once her sister was out of side, Sam pressed her face into Carly's shoulder, and cried. "I'm all alone now," she sobbed.
I wish that I could cry...
Fall upon my knees...
Find a way to lie...
'Bout a home I'll never see
Sitting alone in her bedroom, the brunette played back the image of her parents again and again. "Others may fear you...they may hate you...But you must never use your powers out of anger...you have been given great gifts, Carl-El, but what is inside of you is what will prove you a savior." All the while, images of her parents and Melanie's departure flashed in her mind. Nevel was still scarred from the suicide, and Sam was depressed about Melanie. Neither were up to talking or visits, which didn't give any solace to Carly in her darker hours. Spencer was around as much as he could be while the subject of his sister's true family was in the air. Since he dropped out of law school, the young man's role changed from older brother to full-on father figure, though no one could really tell the difference.
School started all too soon; days bled into one another, hours were wished away, and silence held Carly's hand every time she walked through the hallway. Sam had missed the first week, mourning her sister's departure. Freddie and Nevel were around, but overcumbered by their own side of the tragedy. His crush unrelenting, Freddie went out of his way to talk to Carly, but he was no Sam. At last, on Friday of the second week of school, Sam showed up, her arms covered by a hoodie with BYU printed on its front. "Hey, Carls," the blond greeted, taking a seat next to her best friend. "Hey..."
"Thank you for joining us, Miss Puckett," a young woman with thick glasses declared before her class. "Shall I assume your absenses were unexcused?"
"Yeah," Sam answered, not seeming to take an interest. Once the teacher turned away, the blond handed her friend a note, then turned to the front of the room. Carefully opening up the note under her desk, Carly took in every detail; every word; every stroke of the pen Sam made...
Sorry I haven't been around. Melanie leaving really tore me up. I know it hasn't been easy for you since you found out about your parents and everything, and I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you. Meet me after school in the AV room, and I think I might have something that will make you feel better.
On a darker note; one I don't even trust myself to tell you, check out the news. There's something happening. I know it's cruel of me to mention, but I think you're the only one who'll be able to do anything about it. TTYL
Setting down the note, the young woman took in a breath and looked back at the front of the room. Following the last bell, Carly walked towards the AV room, taking in the silence all around her. At last, she reached the closed door, gently slid it open, and looked inside to see Sam standing before Nevel and Freddie. "Hey," the brunette happily greeted. "What's up?"
"Waiting for you," Sam answered, wearing a smile on her face. "We're gonna do a web show." Carly gave her friend a slightly confused look. "It was the best way to get the gang together...even if Freddie's a part of it. Come on, we can't do this without the star." Allowing a smile to form on her face, the brunette walked up beside her friend, looked into the camera Freddie held, and whispered, "Thanks, Sam."
"Come on, girls," Freddie called out, holding the camera on his shoulder. "In 5...4...3...2..."
"I'm Carly," the brunette introduced herself. "And I'm Sam!" Sam threw in, jumping next to her friend. "And this is iCarly!" Taken back, the brunette chuckled. Carly had been on camera for school projects before, but never one that was actually about her; never as Carly Shay.
Following the random, totally improvised webisode, Carly and Sam parted from their other friends, and walked back to the Bushwell Plaza. "I can't believe you did that," Carly declared.
"Hey, I had to cheer you up somehow," the blond confidently explained. "Besides, you know how your wannabe boyfriend is about tech stuff. And, Nevel really needed a break."
"Yeah," the brunette accepted. "Thanks, Sam." Sam nodded, wearing a jokingly proud smile on her face. "But where'd you come up with iCarly?"
"Freddie's idea," Sam answered. "The I. stands for Internet. If you don't know the rest, there's a problem." The two chuckled as they continued on their way.
"You wanna stay the night?" Carly offered.
"Sure," the blond answered. "I'll call my mom. She's been really freaked out lately."
"What about?" the brunette girl asked.
"They said there's been...I don't know, people with mutations," Sam informed her friend. "They said it's because of radiation from the meteors that hit around Smallville. I guess they shipped some of 'em out, people got too close. They changed...got stronger or something. They're calling them Star Babies." Wearing a look of distress, Carly stared at her friend, and continued down the road.
As the darkness of night fell over Seattle, a feeling of peace descended on the citizens; the night was still and quiet. Suddenly, the sound of gunfire tore through the air. Glass shattered, the people screamed, and blood stained the wind. Laughter and crass jokes echoed throughout the city as a gang of five ran down the road.
"Seattle is currently in a state of panic after last night's assault," a female reporter announced. "Originally thought to be an extension of the MS13, the mysterious gang has left only gun shells and the word 'Metahumans' graffitied on the walls. We have been led to believe these individuals are, in fact, Star Babies. Effective immediately, citizens are advised to stay indoors after dark."
"My gosh," Spencer choked out, his voice just above a whisper. Holding herself, Carly gazed at the images of carnage flashing by on the television screen. Sam clenched her fist, unable to look away from the horrid spectacle that had befallen the city.
"Star Babies," Carly said to herself. "That means they have powers."
"There's no way the police can handle these guys," Sam declared, her voice filled with anger. "...Carly, can we talk in private for a second?"
"Sure," the brunette answered, her voice quivering as she followed Sam up the stairs. Passing by the wall of windows, the two young women felt the warmth of the sun glimmer on their skin. At last, the two entered Carly's room. Shutting the door, Sam turned to Carly as she took a seat on her bed.
"Okay," the blond exhaled, walking closer to her friend. "I know this sounds crazy...and I know you told me and trust me, but...those Star Babies are out of control, and...and I think you're the only one who can stop them. I mean, people were almost killed last night."
"Sam, I can't," Carly replied, her voice laced with fear and concern. "I'm just me...I can't fight them."
"You were never just you," the blond argued. "You've always been more than a friend, a sister...everything. I really think you can make a difference." Her heart beginning to race, Sam sat down beside her friend. "I know it's dangerous...I know it's stupid and selfish of me to suggest...but alot of people need a savior...super powers or not, I think you can be that."
"...I'm not strong enough," the brunette weakly replied. "Sam, I can't be what people need."
"You already are," Sam said, gently grabbing the girl's shoulders. "People just need to see it."
That night, as the sun set over the horizon of skyscrapers, painting the sky dramatic crimson colors amongst the shade, Carly lay under her sheets, wrapped in her infant blanket and holding her music box on her diaphram. Jor and Lan-El's image gazed forward, far above the young woman. Holding her hand up, Carly watched her parents slip between her fingers. You will have strength like no other, Jor-El repeated. Her throat throbbing and her eyes tearing up, the brunette was unable to look away. "What if I can't do it?" she asked herself through a trembling, hushed voice. As the hours dragged on, the young woman found herself outside, facing the street while clad in a red hoodie. The air was cool and crisp as she readied herself. Taking in a deep breath, Carly closed her eyes, and charged down the sidewalk, leaving a faint glimmer of red and blue light behind her. Watching herself move faster than ever before, the teenager felt thousands of new sensations; power, freedom, amazement. Leaping once, the young woman felt the wind course through her hair. Holding her arms out to embrace the world, the girl thrust her entire body upward, soaring roughly fifteen feet in the air. For a second, there was no fear; no battle inside. Closing her eyes, Carly breathed in the air, and let herself go.
Come sunrise, the five gangsters filled the streets, firing their guns into open air. People screamed and ran for comfort while others hid their heads. "This town belongs to the metahumans!" one of the Star Babies declared, looking for a target.
"They're out there in broad daylight," Spencer exclaimed.
Standing among the crowds, Sam formed a scowl on her face; looking in disgust at those who would take the lives of so many innocent people. Clenching her fists and gritting her teeth, the blond girl realized she could do nothing. Images of the Columbine shooting flashed through her burning mind. I'm powerless, she snarled, knowing her muscles and ruthless attitude no longer had meaning.
"Everyone off the streets," a metahuman woman ordered. "This town's done putting us down." Watching the scene from her apartment, Carly gazed down at the fear, the pain, and the wickedness reigning supreme on the city.
I can't...but I can't let them just die, the young woman thought. Even if I am weak, I can still try... "I have to go," Carly declared. Spencer looked over at his sister.
"What?" the young man replied, his heart pounding. "Carly, you can't just...I mean, what if..."
"If I just sit here, people die," Carly argued. "...Can I use your mask from Halloween?"
Firing off another round into the air, one of the metahumans faced the crowds. "Ten seconds, then blood gets spilled," he declared. Aiming their weapons at the bystanders, the gang listened for the countdown. Scrambling to their homes or cars, citizens collided, trampled one another, and prayed for a way out. "One..." the gunman called out. Suddenly, in a flash of red and blue light, each member of the gang felt their guns part from their hands. "What the..."
Coming to a stop in the center of the road, a female clad in a blue shirt and red hoodie blocked her face while holding the guns. Clenching her fists, the young woman snapped the weapons over her knee, then dropped their halves onto the street. "Now'd be a good time to turn yourselves in," she declared, showing no fear in her voice.
"Who the hell 'er you supposed to be?" a woman gangster cried out.
"...Supergirl," Carly answered, looking forward to reveal the black domino mask from under her hood. Looking up from the wreckage of an alley, Sam recognized the face before her, and let out a sigh of relief. Others gathered around the scene, staring at the heroic figure.
"Mommy," a child said, tugging on her mother's sleeve. "Is she an angel?"
From a distance, the sound of a car's tires screeching down the road broke through what was left of the silence. Turning to her side, Supergirl saw one of the gang members behind the wheel of the speeding vehicle. The people hid their eyes as the sound of a collision erupted into the air. However, when they chose to face the scene before them, the young woman was holding the car up with her bare hands, her hoodie blowing in the breeze behind her. The metahumans threw their arms into the air, giving up the hopeless fight.
"Six members of the Star Baby gang were taken into custody today, following a confrontation with a masked figure," the anchorwoman announced. "Little is known about the young woman, but based on her ability to lift a speeding car, we know she is a Star Baby herself. Unlike her fellow super powered people, however, she proves to be a mystery; hero or powerful new vigilante?" With that, Spencer shut off the television.
Sitting atop the Bushwell Plaza, Carly watched the lights of cars speed down the highway, leaving flashes and trails of red and yellow beams behind. Walking across the roof over to her friend, Sam took a seat near the edge of the building. "Nice job," she said.
"Thanks," Carly replied. "I can hear people talking...some people are saying I'm a hero...a miracle. Others are calling me a threat. "
"It doesn't matter what they say, Carls," Sam said. "They saw what you did...you are a hero."
"I don't think so," the brunette playfully disagreed. "I'm more like a...defender."
Accepting her friend's decision, the blond lept up onto her feet. "Hey, why don't you come down to your apartment? It's cold out here."
"Sure," Carly replied, following Sam down the stairs. Once the two entered the Shays' apartment, Spencer made room on the couch for his sister, who gratefully accepted his offering. "Good job, kiddo," the young man declared, giving his sister a hug.
"So, what pushed you over the edge?" Sam asked, leaning forward in the Shays' chair.
"Something my mother told me," Carly answered.
"Lan-El?" Spencer asked. Shaking her head, Carly looked down at the floor with a smile iced onto her face.
"No...not Lan-El," the brunette answered. "Mom...our mom. And something a friend told me." Sam smiled warmly. "Maybe we made a difference today...maybe some of the other Star Babies saw me today."
"I think they need a hero," Spencer added.
"Maybe one with a face," Sam said.
"I don't know," Carly replied. "I think I need the mask."
"With all that power," Sam argued. "The mask seems kind of...intimidating, don't you think?"
"I don't know," the brunette answered. "Once I figure out who I am to people...then I'll make that choice."