Chapter 22 - I Can Feel The Heat But I'm Not Burning

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"We got a breach," J'onn says as he summons me to the war room.

Crap. And I was about to interrogate that Jackie woman. If it's not one thing, it's another. What to prioritize when there's Luthors and a botxat and some other unknown running around this town? Well, that's why we got a general like J'onn to run this army. He's the best tactician we could have ever asked for and then some.

Still, though, that there's a "breach" - his words, not mine - has me already feeling the first pulses of adrenaline in my veins.

Wait a second, though.

Who do we know who can breach shit?

I turn to J'onn as I stand before the computer screens and tell him the conclusion I'm surprised he hasn't voiced by now. "Cisco Ramon."

J'onn stares at me for a second before giving me a facepalm. "Damn," he mutters to himself. "Why didn't I think of...but what's he even doing here? Unauthorized, no less."

"You're not gonna detain him, are you?" Winn asks. "I was gonna fly up next month and hit the Central City Fuzzy-Free Con with him and Caitlin."

J'onn smirks, as do I, and he says, "Don't be so dramatic. I'd only detain him for forty-eight hours."

"Per government regulations," I chime in. "But if it's Cisco, all I gotta do is call him and-" I pause for a second as I see Winn tapping away at his keyboard. "And you're reading my mind again. Are you sure you're not a meta, Winn?"

"I wish," says Winn. He taps the call button on the big screen with a flourish - well, he doesn't actually touch the screen, though I'm sure it has that capability if, say, I were to fly up to that level. But make the call he does, all the same.

If only it would connect.

"Are you sure of this, Kara?" asks J'onn. "If he's here, why wouldn't he-"

"He must be on some top-secret business," I say. "Of course he's gonna take that seriously enough to maintain radio silence as needed."

"This is Cisco we're talking about," J'onn reminds me. "I don't think silence is one of his primary skills."

"I'm gonna keep trying," says Winn, but even he doesn't look very faithful that he'll get ahold of Cisco. Communication, people. It's a two-way street.

Though I don't exactly communicate to anyone that I'm going to try a strategy of my own. I take my own phone out of my pocket, thankful that I'm not wearing my supersuit at the moment, and call up Barry. Logically, if anyone knows what's brought Cisco to my city, it's Barry. And he's probably here with him too, right? Which I can almost confirm just from the complete lack of answer I get from Barry too.

Actually, no, not complete. He doesn't answer my call, but he texts me. "Sorry babe, got some important business to take care of. Tried calling you from within the Speed Force but I get no service there. Talk soon? Love you kd-not-lang."

Okay, that's too cute to not smile to. But only for a second because I'm too worried about him. He may have the ability to text super fast if he wants to - like, does he step into that Speed Force of his, get out of time for a moment and type away?

No, wait. I have another person to call and maybe make myself stop worrying.

I dial another number on my phone and breathe a huge sigh of relief when its owner answers. "Caitlin? Hi, it's Kara."

"Oh hi," Caitlin says brightly. "I'm guessing you're not calling to offer advice on the best Christmas movie for the STAR Labs party?"

"The Santa Clause 2, obviously," I say.

"Not the first one?"

"Yeah, that one too. But I grew up crushing on Charlie in 2 for whatever reason."

"We can be so weird as teenagers," Caitlin says with a sageness worthy of J'onn. "But yeah, what's the urgent business? Normally you just text."

"We just got a tripped alarm here in National City. Cisco's come to town. Can you shed any light on that?"

Caitlin, to her credit, spares a few moments to choose her words carefully. "I haven't heard from him or Barry in a while. Should I check their phones and..." There's a pause while she, no doubt, does exactly that. "Damn, you're right. They're in National City. Both him and Bar. And it looks like they've, uh, hit the mall?"

"Probably not to do holiday shopping, I'm guessing."

"If they're that far from home, no way." I sigh through my nose before adding, "You think it's a good idea to confront them?"

J'onn doesn't interrupt my conversation, but he points silently at another screen, which is covered in little red dots. It's the outline of that mall where Barry and Cisco are, and, most helpfully, the screen says "FIRE ALARM ACTIVATED" above the displayed blueprint.

"Never mind," I say to Caitlin. "I gotta catch up to them. Something's gone wrong, and I need to see if they're okay."

"Call back later," she says. "Or, uh, text. If you can."

"Don't worry. Barry doesn't have a monopoly on fast fingers."

I hang up, but not before hearing the tiniest fraction of a giggle from Caitlin. Then, exchanging nods with J'onn and Winn, I leave the war room and fly down to the mall just in time to catch sight of all the evacuees.

Barry and Cisco aren't among them, but switching to X-ray vision allows me to get a glimpse of them fighting with someone inside. They have a third figure on their side, a woman who doesn't look all that familiar to me, but she's got some kind of gun that she's damn good at using.

Unable to hold back, I smash through the skylight, ready to join the fray.

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