Libera Me a Malo

Characters: Karen Starr (Divine), America Chavez (Ms. America)
Rated: PG
Summary: Divine works up the courage to tell America the truth…but unfriendly ears are listening.
OOC Date: January 6, 2018
IC Date: January 6, 2018
Where: Outside a motel in the Bronx

It's practically the middle of the night. Or close to it. And then you hear a knock on your window. Which is interesting because you're three stories up at the time. And there's no fire escape out there.

America doesn't sleep all that often. She doesn't need to nearly as much as most people to begin with, and even when the fatigue actually does take her, she keeps it to cat naps. Call it her nature, call it a matter of trust.

Whatever the reason, it's why America Chavez is still wide awake and leveling a bland, almost blank stare at the ceiling of her dingy, small, one-room motel when she hears that knock. The TV is off, the lights are off — at the moment, the latina seems lost in her thoughts as she hears that faint *rap, rap, rap* upon the window pane. Slowly, dark chocolate eyes roll towards the source of the sound in a dispassionately curious way. A brow lifts. A frown etches itself on her lips.

Both thanks to her nature, and on purpose, America has not given away her address to many people. A small handful, at best. Even fewer who'd be scaling walls with no fire escapes. It's intentional, so she can control who comes to see her — so she knows what's coming for her. This? This, she's not sure of. Which is perhaps why she slowly lifts herself out of that bed, dressed in a blue tank top and black hotpants; why she approaches the window carefully as she grips upon the pane. And why her fist is curled, just a little, into a preparatory fist as she hefts it open to peer outside with silent curiosity. Just… in case.

Outside…Divine…Karen…hovers. She's dressed in black…black fatigue pants, combat boots. A simple canvas belt, a black vest that pushes up her full chest, revealing bare arms. Combat gloves on her fingers. And the mask, of course. Covering her lower face, sliding up the sides. Blue eyes watching you as you look out.

There she is. Just flying there. Someone who shouldn't be there. And America stares up and down the length of the woman before her as if it was just another Tuesday — if not for the decidedly steeled gleam in her eyes. The look of someone who's done this kind of dance many times before. The look of someone prepared for the worst when they see it.

"Huh. Look at you. Fancy."

Inscrutable, and defensive. Just like how that fist refuses to uncurl as she shoves that window open the rest of the way, the blast of cold air whipping at her curly brown hair and shuddering at her clothes as she stands, unperturbed. Watching. Waiting.

"Not really the type for guests I didn't invite over," she says, slowly, voice wry but detached in a ready sort of way. Her head cocks. "So maybe you start talking or walking before things get messy, eh, chica?"

"I liked your spirit. The first time I saw you." Divine says, her voice electronically changed by the mask. "You were at the mansion fire. Investigating. You pulled out the doctor who refused to leave. With her. Superwoman." She tilts her head, hands by her side. "…I saw you there. It was off mission, but I was…curious. I knew her. I didn't know you. I'd never seen you before. Never seen a briefing on you."

"So I tracked you. You never knew it was there. A tiny tracking dart, fired by a drone. I didn't tell anyone I'd ordered them to trigger the shot. Told the techs that it was out of their pay grade, to forget they'd done it."

"Yeah? Guess that's just part of my charm," says America Chavez, as if perfectly willing to carry out a casual conversation with the woman floating outside her window, who she just finished threatening. But blase words do little to dissuade the intentionally tense body language that she carries herself with as she plants one bare foot into the sill of her opened window…

… and launches herself into the air. It could be perceived as a threatening gesture. It could not. Maybe the point is simply to see how Divine interprets it, as the latina lunges into the air and comes to a sudden stop just in front of the other woman, winter winds buffeting at her tanned skin. "Yeah. I get that a lot," she says, of the other woman not knowing her, not having any briefings on her. And, given how she doesn't seem to see fit to follow it up, it seems that's exactly how she wants to keep it.

Especially when Divine mentions tracking her. A frown settles at her lips. Chocolate brown eyes narrow dangerously. "Isn't that sweet," she drones out, slowly. Flatly. "Any particular reason why I oughta be feeling flattered instead of suspicious here? You got a crush, chica?"

It's noticeable. She doesn't flinch. She doesn't move. She doesn't even stiffen or tense as you jump out to float in front of her. "A crush…" Divine says slowly. "I don't know. But I wanted to know more about you. Who you were. Why you could…say these things. Do as you wanted. It was….it was completely opposite to everything I knew. Disordered. Chaotic. But…dedicated. You felt you had a duty, even when no one told you that you did."

So I watched. Just you doing good. It's easy. I can see anywhere in the city if I want. So I didn't even really have to go there to watch you. Listen to you. Just…." She frowns quietly. "I just needed to…listen. And it was more confusing. The longer it went on. You were so…so normal. Like them." She gestures to the city. "You were everything I was told was…wrong. Dangerous. Uncontrollable. But…you didn't abuse what you could do."

She sighs out. "So I shorted out my tracker. I didn't' know what I wanted to do. Only that I wanted to see you up close. Like a normal person would.

America watches. It's a tribute to both her inherent cynicism and her finely honed control that she looks both on the verge of violence and yet also at ease — like bordering a fine line between prepared for the worst, and indulging in the best. Just… listening. And waiting.

With how inscrutable and impassive her expression is, it's hard to say just what she's thinking when she listens to Divine in that utter silence. Listens to how she talks about the good America has done, how much she's been watching, how counter everything she is -is- to everything Divine believes. Her head tilts, slowly. "Huh," she says after a moment. Hands relax. Just a little bit. But maybe that, in itself, is significant.

"Okay, so now you see me," says America, slowly. She says nothing about the rest — for now. Instead, she plants hands on her hips, and watches Divine for an intent, quiet moment, before she says: "So how about you let me see you, too. Up close. Like a normal person." She doesn't specify with words what she means. She lets the weight of that stare on that mask do the talking for her.

Those eyes are are quiet, meeting yours. And now…now there's nervousness. Very slight. A weakness in that fearless exterior. As she reaches that metaphorical cliff, then looks over it…and how far she might fall. Fear isn't something she feels, really. Not in a long time. There are so few things that can hurt her physically. Mentally…spiritually, they've trained her to be strong of mind. But kept her weak. She can see that now. The way she's been drilled into obeying orders, without question. And in the controlled VR environment, they could do that.

But outside…outside is a different story.

"You already did, America." Divine says as she reaches up, then unlocks the mask with a soft hiss of air equalizing, then lowers it.

Karen says. "You already did."

And she waits now. And she's never quite felt the sort of fear she has in her now. But she's always bulled her way through things. Much like America herself does. She's always been a 'rip the bandage off' sort of girl. Get it over. Don't let it linger.

She already did.

Part of her suspected, truly. She limits the amount of people she lets into her life on purpose, especially this close. Secretive by necessity as much as nature. But even if it only shows in the twitch of her lips, the touched lift of her brow, the revelation that comes with that soft hiss of air still surprises her. Learned and experienced as she may be… there's still some things America can turn a willfully blind eye to.

For a long time, all she does is stare as Karen is exposed to the open air. In that moment, it feels almost anything could happen, both good and bad. Her head tilts. Her lips, pressed into a thin line difficult to discern. They part, slowly. "… Yeah," she finally says. "Guess I did, huh?"

A moment passes. America drifts closer, and though the intent is hard to read, she doesn't seem overtly hostile. Yet. "So that's why you ran into me, yeah? You were tracking me?" Closer still, until they drift perhaps less than a foot apart. America's arms cross under her bust, her brows furrowed as she considers Karen within the intensity of that dark stare. "So why didn't you tell 'em? Your people?" She doesn't ask who those people are. Not yet. For right now? That's not as important as this, to her.

Karen's chin comes up a bit as America drifts closer. She hasn't swung at her yet. But she can't read people. Not like this, anyway. Interrogation, sure. Intimidation. Playing a role, maybe, though she's not the bed. But there are some things she just hasn't been allowed to face.

"At first…" Karen says slowly. "Because I…was going off mission. To see you. It was bending the rules, then. Just….being a bit slower returning from missions, taking a detour. Seeing how far I could push it."

She hooks the mask to her belt, then folds her arms over her chest, frowning. "I'm not stupid, I know they track me too. I had to wait until I could figure out a way to realistically break my com-piece. Then…" Her lips twitch. "I…took a moment to land near you and just…walked out." She inhales, then lets it out. "I thought you'd recognize me right away. Somehow. Even with the green contacts. The civvie clothes I bought. But you just…"

"You just…picked me up and flew me up there to talk. And I knew…I knew that if I reported it, they'd order me to stay away from you. Or…or to take you out. My handlers don't know a lot about you, they don't know where you live, where you came from, anything." she admits. "I wanted to keep it that way. They have….they have lots of weapons that could maybe take you down. Or…" She trails off, then shakes her head. "And then you invited me for…for burritos." She smiles a bit. "And it was so…normal."

"Knew something was up," America admits, after a moment. "Wasn't sure what, but it didn't really matter. I just wanted to see how it'd play out." She turns those sharp brown eyes Karen's way, considering her. "I've been a lotta places, chica. Seen a lotta things. You? The two of you got a real strong resemblance. Contacts or no, s'not really just a physical thing."

It's something more, beneath the surface.

"But now I know you eat burritos like a champ." Her smile is faint but there, a wry thing that does wonders to express what America can't always bring herself to do in words. Body language does wonders — and the Utopian girl expresses herself the best way she knows how. By floating closer. By reaching out… and cupping Karen's cheek with that rough but confident hand. Thumb stroking cheek, she draws her hand about until her fingers hook at the back of the Kryptonian clone's neck to draw her closer… until their foreheads can bump together. Lips so very close.

"And I know you're a good person, too. Who doesn't deserve this kind of shit lot." Her head tilts. Her eyes half-lid. And she just asks one single, important question: "Do you wanna be free, Karen…?"

At the touch against her skin, Karen's lips part, inhaling softly. A tremor runs through her as she feels America's forehead brush against her own, her eyes closing for a moment. "Am I?" she murmurs. "I didn't…question any of this before. I believed it. That was I was the real heroine. The one to replace Superwoman, when she finally misused her powers. The one to bring order." She breathes out, then reaches up, running her fingers through the long dark hair that partially hides the Latina heroine's face. "It's not that easy. I'm their weapon. They won't let me go. They can't. And I can't fight them directly. They're the government. I'll just….I'll just prove everything they claim. If word got out they had a rogue Kryptonian clone…people would panic."

"You're here, yeah?" America asks. "Coulda turned me in. But you didn't." She just holds close for a moment, her voice so clear despite being barely a murmur. Carrying on the back of her confidence alone. "Listen, Karen. Everyone does dumb shit. Most people know what they're doing is wrong, an' they do it anyway. What matters is whether you own up to your shit when you realize. Whether you choose to make a difference or just take the easy way. That's never been me. Is it you?"

The words are almost a challenge if they didn't come so quietly. Her fingers lift, drifting through short raven hair. Her head tilts into Karen's grasp, but those eyes remain on the Kryptonian's that entire time. "I know. I know people like them. They're always the same. Gotta control everything. Think it's the best way. Seen what happens when they get what they want, too." Her eyes steel. Her voice comes resolute.

"Doesn't matter. Close your eyes, Karen, and answer. Don't think, just answer. Do you wanna be free?"

Those blue eyes open again, looking back into America's dark eyes, blinking slowly, then closing slowly again. It's a struggle. Years of indoctrination and conditioning, warring with a deeper, simple desire that Karen can't even put into words. She starts to tremble as the two collide in her head. "I-I…I believe in…" she stammers, stumbling over her words. "I…I want…"


here's a strange pain in her head, an oncoming migraine almost as she lets out a gasp at the feel of it, a grunt of pain escaping her lips as her hands come up to cling against America's sides.

It's difficult. But America Chavez waits, patiently, for Karen to find her way to that one, simple word amidst a sea of stumbling thoughts conflicted from years of training to be something entirely different from where she wants to be now. Yes.

And as Karen trembles, as pain escapes her lips, as those hands cling so powerfully to her sides, America wraps her own strong arms around the other woman, drawing her close in a mid-air embrace. "Okay," she murmurs into Karen's ear. "S'okay, Karen." Her head tilts, to find Karen's lips with her own in a brief, tender kiss. "S'okay. We'll get you there. I promise."

Karen leans into the embrace, sliding them around America's waist, pressing into her as she shivers against her. Her thoughts are confused. She's scared, but exhilarated at the same time. Maybe…maybe America, and….and her sister, and Foxbite…they can actually do this. They can think of something, some way she can break away and…be something other than just an asset.

When those lips touch hers, for a moment, she sighs, softly, stilling. She can believe that promise. She's never seen America ever promise something she didn't mean to do, after all. Maybe…maybe it'll be alright…


A darkened office, where two men and a woman sit around a desk. One man is dressed in paramilitary garb, weathered, with a grim expression on his face. The woman is dressed in a comfortable outfit, designed to put someone at east. Professional skirt. Lilac cardigan. Sensible heels. She scribbles away on a small pad, taking notes.

Sitting at the other side of the desk, an older mean leans back in his chair. A straight black suit, the type an undertaker would wear. No nonsense. No frills. Save for the carnation stuck through a button hole. His hair styled back in a vaguely patrician look, around widows peaks. A neatly trimmed goatee. A hand, with a class ring around the third finger, index finger tapping lightly as the speaker on the table crackles and Karen's voice comes from it.

"Alright. Alright…I believe you. What should we do?"

The older man raises his gaze to the pair, then reaches out to snag a butterscotch candy from a dish on his desk, unwrapping it with a practiced motion, then popping it in his mouth. "…Dr. Kilner…Colonel Myers." he drawls, in a thick Southern accent. "I do believe we will be accelerating Project Narcissus. Immediately."

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