somehow, the vital connection is made.
Living publically hasn’t ever really been a thing; not the way Cara Davies thinks it is, anyway. Wyatt Wu is the son of a powerhouse in the UN, and has a sizable internet following of his own. He’s the pro. She’s a witty blonde that publishes food photos, science facts, and videos of her dog to a few thousand people a few times a week. Every once in a while, when they get stopped on the street, it’s usually so Wyatt can take a selfie with an SNTV fan that’s even shyer than he is. These are things that make her smile, the things that feel natural and she takes in stride.

It’s when a girl -- no more than sixteen -- approaches her while she’s exiting a hair salon that she’s caught off-guard.

Hey, uh.. Hey. Hi. You’re Captain Marvel, the girl says, hushed, hopeful, and cautious. I mean, you’re her, aren’t you? I saw you on TV. It.. She gestures. It’s a whooshing sound as she flings her hair back, and to Cara.. It’s not that bad of a Binary impression.

The girl’s got a Hala star patch carefully sewn on her backpack, and the kind of shine in her eyes that makes Cara ache -- it’s the kind of shine in someone, she realizes, that Carol Danvers stokes and protects; after all, the Captain’s seen it in Cara herself, hasn’t she? The sentimental smile that tugs at her face, lopsided and smudged with chapstick, effectively answers both questions hanging in the ether.

That smile is warm, knowing, and just a little bit cheeky.. And it happens before Cara really realizes she’s doing it.

And technically on, like, SNTV, but.. Like, in the old Ms. Marvel suit like back from when Claremont wrote the books. Kinda weird throwback, but I mean, like.. The rest of that sentence gets swallowed up in the girl’s attempt to be nonchalant. Despite the looming threat of imposter syndrome, Cara holds the space before her.. Patient, authoritative, and encouraging. It’s Carol, she realizes, zipping over synapses and bleeding through her emotional responses; thoroughly adjusted to being someone’s hero made tangible. Her eyebrows dip, both entertained and thoughtful as the girl catches her breath.

What’s your name?

The girl is fidgeting, pushing her glasses up on her nose and switching dizzily between looking at the plastic bottle of Coca Cola in her hands and Cara’s eyes. Cara, in all honesty, isn’t sure if she wants to answer. It’s with the intuition of someone that’s done this before that she extends her hand -- no sparks, just deep red nail polish in need of a refresh.


No ‘doctor’, no ‘ms.’, nor ‘captain’.. Just Cara.

There’s a certain risk in what she’s done, in connecting her name to the identity that the world knows, if only to one stranger. It isn’t a grand gesture at all.. But it’s enough to speak to the men and women that’d thought of her as a threat and an ally all rolled into one being. In shaking the girl’s hand, in owning all parts of who she’s become, she’s declared herself all of the above before the world can do it for her. There’s something about this whole decision that surprises no one on planet Earth.

Cara Davies is Carol Danvers are Captain Marvel is Cara Davies. That’s just what it is, cyclical, the way the world works, at least to these two people in this single moment; in this single moment, Cara accepts that simple and unifying truth, hoists it onto her shoulders and steadies it while the girl bites down on her lip.

I know this is super weird, and I’ll leave you alone, I swear.. But.. Can I take a selfie with you or something?

The taller woman with the longer arms takes charge, smiling warmly into the camera before handing it back to her first fan. There is no hiding anymore, she concludes, for better and for worse.