Kara shoved the key in the lock. It took her a few tries to get it to turn; when she finally got the door open, she almost fell into Alex’s apartment.
Alex was sitting at the counter, still in the Supergirl outfit, and just snorted as she watched Kara stagger inside.
“Are you okay?’ she chuckled.
Kara huffed; she blew short, brown hair out of her face, and kicked the door shut behind her. “Are you? What in Rao’s name were you thinking? You can’t just threaten to drop people from the roof of a building like that!”
“Is this the same lecture you gave to Mon-El? Which he deserved, don’t get me wrong, but…”
“Do have any idea what sort of repercussions this could have?’
“What,’ Alex bit back, ‘criminals becoming more afraid of Supergirl? Is that a bad thing? It’ll save you and the police and lot of time and effort if they’re too afraid to even commit a crime in the first place.”
Kara let out a sigh and rubbed her eyes.
“How did you even get back here?’ Alex asked.
“Lena sent me back in her town car,’ Kara said, waving a hand impatiently.
Alex looked like she wanted to say something about this, but instead just leant back against the bench. “Look, you have to admit, it was pretty effective.”
“So it talking!”
“He wasn’t talking,’ said a new voice, ‘that was the problem.”
Kara shut her mouth as Maggie walked into the living room from the bathroom. Her police shirt was entirely gone, revealing a white tank that was tied in a knot at her navel, exposing a toned midriff that was half bandaged up.
“Maggie,’ Kara breathed in surprise. ‘I didn’t realise you were here. Oh… your eye! Are you alright?’
Maggie smirked and swaggered over. “Better now you’re here.”
“Er…’ Kara stiffened as Maggie pulled her in, and tilted her head up for a kiss, hovering just millimetres from her lips.
She was surprised when Alex laughed.
“Maggie,’ she warned, ‘don’t tease her.”
“What…’ Kara frowned.
Maggie gave her a smug look. “Doesn’t feel great to be out of the loop, does it, Supergirl?’
Kara’s mouth fell open. Maggie just laughed, stepped out of her personal space, and went to collect her shirt hanging off the sofa. “I have to get back to the station.”
“Please remember to…’
“Sit down and keep hydrated, yeah yeah,’ Maggie laughed, cutting Alex off. ‘I know, I know. Text me later?’
Alex nodded. “I’ll let you know.”
With one last look of incredulity at both Danvers sisters, Maggie shook her head and left, shutting the door firmly behind her.
Kara turned back to her sister. Alex was watching her with trepidation, and Kara privately thought she should be.
“You told her?’ she hissed.
“I… confirmed,’ Alex corrected. ‘Don’t worry, I didn’t tell her the big secret. She doesn’t know who you are. That’s your secret to tell. But she’s a good detective, you know. She’s not an idiot. She could tell something wasn’t right. And she was looking at me and I just…’ she sighed and threw her hands up in the air in defeat.
Kara sat down heavily on the vacant stool beside her sister, her head spinning. Alex said nothing at first, just went to the fridge, opened a beer for her with a flick of her forefinger, and handed the bottle to her. Kara took a long mouthful, and was surprised when a soft buzz went to her head.
“I’m sorry,’ Alex finally said.
“It’s okay,’ Kara reached out and took her hand, and gave it a hard squeeze, knowing it wouldn’t hurt her in the slightest. “I’m sorry I got defensive.”
“You have every right to be,’ Alex rubbed her eyes, and Kara wondered if she always got that crinkle between her eyebrows when she was tired. ‘I should have run it by your first. But I trust Maggie.”
“I know. And I’m not mad, I promise. I’m just… tired.” As she said it, Kara rolled her shoulders back, feeling that knot beginning to tie again in her back. “Are you okay? I heard you took on thirteen guys by yourself.”
“Twelve,’ Alex smiled, ‘and Maggie helped. Actually, she helped a lot. But yes, I’m fine.”
Kara frowned at her. She was staring off into space as she spoke. “But…?’
Alex sighed. ‘Having these powers… doing what you can do… is incredible. It feels like nothing else. When I’m out in the field with you, sometimes I wish I could just do what you can do. It would make life so much easier. But taking out those thugs tonight… I had to try so hard not to hurt them. But then, I was thinking, it wasn’t just them. When I pulled those workers out of the ocean, or saved those people from that burning bus, or even just hugging Maggie earlier, I had to concentrate so hard on not accidently hurting them. And you have to do that all the time. It must be so exhausting for you…. but you never even show it.”
Kara shrugged, feeling embarrassed. ‘I’ve had years to get used to it. You’ve only been at this for a day or so.”
“Yeah, but even still…’ Alex gave Kara a look of admiration. ‘You’re amazing, you know that?’
“No no no,’ Kara took Alex’s – her own – hands, and gave them another squeeze. ‘It’s easy to just stand there when someone’s shooting at you when you’re bulletproof, or lift a car off someone when you can bench press a million tonne. The things you can do, Alex… your body goes through so much but you never let it show. You keep walking around like there’s nothing wrong, but I can feel every ache and pain and I’m so tired…’ Kara paused, and gave her sister a smile. ‘I don’t know how you do it. You’re amazing.”
“I’m just human,’ Alex said simply.
Kara sighed and rubbed her eyes. “It’s hard.”
Alex laughed and pulled her in for a hug. Kara squeezed her tightly. They had avoided hugging much; Alex had insisted. She didn’t want to hurt Kara, nor did she want to deal with a bruised body when they finally switched back.
But it had been a long two days, and sometimes you just needed a hug from your sister.
“Ugh,’ Kara half-laughed, half groaned as they broke apart. ‘I can’t wait to go to bed.”
Alex grimaced. “Actually… I need to talk to you about that.”
Kara felt a sense of foreboding. “Why are you looking at me like that?’
After gesturing for her to sit down, Alex launched into what had happened at the station; how they had discovered who was behind the ambush, and what they had been after.
“Although it’s still speculation as to why they want the device,’ Alex continued, ‘we have a short window of opportunity to bring down this Ivory Knives gang for good. Maggie and I have devised a plan but it involves DEO assistance. Which means… you’re going to need to assemble a strike team.”
Dread settled in Kara’s chest. “Alex…”
“The police department can’t do this alone. They’re selling Alien contraband; this is DEO jurisdiction, but it will be much more effective to work collaboratively.”
“I’m not a leader. I can’t give orders. I can’t put people in dangerous positions…”
“Yes, you can. You can do it,’ Alex insisted. ‘I’ll walk you through it, I’ll tell you what to say, what to do.’
Kara bit her lip.
“You have to do this, Kara,’ Alex pushed gently. ‘Maggie’s going with or without us. I ne-… we need to help her.”
Big blue eyes stared pleadingly at her, and Kara wondered if she was about to be on the other end of The Pout she was so famous for. But it was more than that. Alex wasn’t sulking. This wasn’t like trying to get the last slice of pizza from the box. This was important to her. This was Maggie.
With more effort that it probably should have taken, Kara got to her feet. “Pass me your phone.”
“We’re in position, Agent Danvers. Awaiting your orders.’
Alex slowed to a halt, mid-air, as there was a long pause over the wire. She looked down at the cast-iron roof of the foundry beneath her, and focused her vision.
Kara was squatted down behind the fence, dressed in full tactical gear, gun cradled in her arms. She was grinding her teeth (Alex mused whether or not she always looked that way when she was focused), looking apprehensive. Six agents were behind her; the rest of the task force were spread around the perimeter, waiting for Kara to instruct them on their next move.
Maggie, who was flanking Kara, nudged her gently. Kara blinked out of her stupor and looked around. Maggie gave her a soft nod.
“Team –…’ it came out in a squeak. Kara cleared her throat and started again. ‘Team two and three, keep watch. One will infiltrate through the front, NCPD through the east entrance.”
At once, the teams did as she commanded. Alex let out the breath she had been holding.
“Supergirl?’ Kara – Alex’s voice – spoke in her ear. ‘Are you in position?”
“I’m up here,’ Alex replied, focusing her vision in on Kara and Maggie down on the ground. ‘I’ve got you. You know what to do, Agent Danvers.”
“Come on,’ Maggie nudged Kara again, and gave her another encouraging nod.
Kara squared her jaw, and adjusted the gun in her arms. “Move in.”
Alex pushed aside the swell of pride, and refocused on the task at hand. She lowered herself until touching down gently on the roof. She crouched down and focused her vision again, scoping out the layout.
“Two gunman by the entrance,’ she murmured.
“Got it,’ came Maggie’s reply.
The team moved in, now a combination of the DEO agents and the NCPD. Maggie and Kara hung back as the agents stormed in and made quick, quiet work of the two guards at the front. The squad entered the building; Maggie took a moment to gesture to Kara, to remind her to put her gun up at the ready, before they followed the squad inside.
“Three on the left,’ Alex said.
“Team two,’ Kara commanded, her voice less shaky this time, ‘move in. Take them out.”
Slowly but surely, like ink seeping into parchment, the DEO agents and the NCPD infiltrated the building. They were swift and silent for the most part. The building was as heavily guarded as they had anticipated, but Alex’s eye in the sky was getting them through relatively easy.
Maggie’s voice caught her attention.
“Do you have a visual on Hackstock?’
Alex glanced around again. She didn’t see him, but she did notice a blindspot – a room within that she couldn’t see through.
“Lead,’ Alex said.
“There’s an office on the third floor that I can’t see inside, it must be lined with lead. I’m betting he’s in-…”
There was the sudden ring of gunfire. The third team were under fire.
The element of surprise was up. Alex thrust her fingers through the metal, ripped a hole in the roof and flew inside to help the team. The gang members were firing from everywhere.
“Supergirl,’ cried Kara.
“I’ll get this,’ Alex responded, swooping down on the gang. ‘Get Hackstock.”
“Er… all teams,’ Kara commanded, ‘c-converge on the third floor…”
Super speed was definitely going to be one of the powers she was going to miss the most. Alex sped around, disarming each gang member in seconds. She only had to control her strength enough to knock one out; the team descended from the rafters and had the rest under control in no time.
Alex beamed at them; her agents really were extraordinary. But they didn’t see her expression. The other team were now under fire as well, and they were already running to help. Alex coiled, ready to assist, but the yelling in her earpiece caught her attention.
“Get back! Put your hands where I can see them!”
“Hands up now!”
Alex looked around, and saw her own body fall from the window in slow motion. She rushed forward and leapt up to catch Kara just in time.
Kara coughed, the wind knocked from her. She gripped Alex shoulders. “P-put me down. Quick. He’s getting away…”
“Are you ok-…”
“Put me down!”
Alex did as she asked; she placed Kara down well out of the way, and after being told again to go, quickly flew upward. She burst through the metal roof, sending tin and shrapnel in every direction. The screech of tires caught her attention.
A black SUV was headed south. A group of agents were running along behind, Maggie leading, firing shots at the tires, sending sparks everywhere.
Alex sped off and landed hard on the road. The car didn’t have enough time to stop. Alex braced herself, and a second later the car slammed into her knees. The bonnet crumpled under the impact; the radiator blew, the windshield and mirrors smashed, sending shards of glass everywhere.
There was a moment of shock, and then the gunfire started.
She caught some, but mostly just stuck her chest out and deflected the rest. When the clips ran out, the pause between when the last bullet flew as they began to reload was when Alex put her hand under the car, and with an upward jerk, flipped the car over.
It did a backflip, and landed hard on the roof. The cries groaned out from the smashed windows, just as Maggie ran around the corner, gun up and ready.
The agents and NCPD descended on the car, while Maggie crossed over to her.
“Did you get…’
“I caught her,’ Alex nodded.
Maggie exhaled in relief. “He shot her. The bastard actually shot her, right in the chest. Thank God for the Kevlar.”
“Get off me,’ growled a voice.
Alex and Maggie looked around. A man had been pulled from the car. Three others were face down on the ground, struggling under the agents pinning them down. The one who was still on his feet was thrashing against the two officers restraining them. He had blood running from a cut above his forehead and from his nose. He glared at Maggie and Alex as the agents brought him closer.
“Mr. Hackstock,’ Maggie said, tilting her head. ‘How nice to finally meet you.”
His scowl was even uglier underneath the giant scar on his face.
“Screw you, pig,’ Marcus Hackstock growled.
And with a soft hacking sound, he then spat on Maggie.
Alex’s vision went red; her feet carried her forward before she even realised what was happening. But a hand caught her by the cape, pulling her to a stop.
Maggie shook her head at her, before turning back to Marcus. “Go check on her. I’ve got this. Mr. Hackstock, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…”
“You’ve got nothing on me!”
“… anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney…”
Alex watched for a moment as Maggie walked Marcus Hackstock away, admiring the effect of her little figure trailing along his big bulking one, before heading back inside.
Kara was sitting on a still conveyor belt, rubbing her collarbone. Two agents were standing with her; Alex recognized them as Mills and Bartlett.
“… get you to a doctor, ma’am,’ Bartlett was saying.
“I’m fine,’ Kara insisted.
“Ma’am,’ Mills began tentatively, ‘you were shot out of a window.”
“And I caught her,’ Alex said, announcing herself.
Both agents whirled around and gave her a quick salute and ‘ma’am’. Alex smiled. It was like being herself again.
“Let me make sure Agent Danvers gets the care she needs,’ Alex said kindly.
Bartlett and Mills looked at Kara.
“You’re dismissed,’ Kara sighed.
The agents nodded their respect, and hurried off.
“Are you okay?’ Alex asked, reaching out.
“I said I’m fi-… ow.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought,’
Alex undid the vest across Kara’s chest as gently as she could. She peeled it away, and Kara let out a very short sigh, and winced again. Alex squinted, and ran her eyes across Kara’s torso, smothering the little cry of surprise at seeing her own internal organs in such detail.
Kara’s eyes widened, and she put her hands over her chest instinctively.
“Oh please,’ Alex took her hands away gently. ‘You don’t have any internal injuries. You’ll just have a giant bruise tomorrow.”
“You mean you will,’
“Yeah, well…’ Alex trailed off with a shrug. Then a thought occurred to her. “How did he even get a clear shot at you? You had the gun, and you were at the back of…”
Realization hit her.
“What did you do?’ Alex sighed.
“It all happened so quick,’ Kara muttered, ensuring no one could hear them. ‘We burst into the room, and he was waiting for us, and Maggie went first… she told me to keep back… but she didn’t see…’
Dread filled Alex’s chest. She could picture it so clearly. Maggie would have told Kara to stay back, because she knew Kara was inexperienced and she would want to protect her, and not just because of the fact that she was Kara, but because she looked like Alex.
“I moved forward before I even realized,’ Kara explained. ‘It was like your body knew… and Marcus Hackstock raised his shotgun and I just leapt forward…”
“You jumped in front of a bullet… for Maggie?”
“Technically I pushed her out of the way,’ Kara chuckled nervously, ‘but yes. It was just instinct. I’m sorry, I know, you told me to be careful with your body, but I just reacted and I forgot I was you…”
“It’s okay,’ Alex looked at her earnestly, feeling more emotion well up in her chest. “You saved her. Thank you.”
Alex helped Kara down off the conveyor belt slowly. She wrapped her arm around her shoulders, and walked with her toward the exit.
“You have to call the task force out,’ Alex reminded her.
“Oh, right. Er…’ Kara put a finger to her ear. ‘All units, withdraw. Situation under control. Over and out?’
Alex smiled and shook her head.
Maggie threw a file bound with string down on the table, pulled the metal chair out with a loud scrape, and sat herself down.
“Do you know,’ she said, untying the string, ‘what’s in this file, Mr. Hackstock?”
Marcus Hackstock just glared at Maggie from the other side of the table, his hands handcuffed in front of him.
“He wouldn’t look so smug if I was in there,’ said Alex.
Kara looked around. Supergirl was standing so close to the glass, it was like she was about to press herself up against in and try to phase through.
The two of them were in the observation room, adjacent to the interview room, which is where Maggie and Marcus Hackstock were currently engaged in a very vicious stare-off. Maggie had invited them back to the station to hear the interrogation. Alex had told Kara that she should go home and rest instead, but Kara had impolitely declined.
This man had shot her. And she wanted to see what happened to him.
When he still didn’t answer, Maggie pulled sheets of paper from the file and held them up.
“This is an inventory list,’ she explained, ‘we found on your hard drive. A list of alien items that you had just gotten shipped into National City, to sell at your little black market you probably didn’t think we knew about.”
“You’re not getting me to admit anything,’ Marcus growled.
“I don’t need you to admit,’ Maggie leant forward, looking smug. ‘I have enough evidence to put you away for a very long time, Mr. Hackstock. I’m not here looking for a confession. I’m here to ask you why you went to all the trouble to break into this station to steal this device…”
Maggie held up a printed photograph. Kara recognized it. Winn had sent her the picture of the device back at the DEO, which Kara had then forwarded to Maggie.
In the room now, Marcus’s mouth turned downward. “Where did you get that?’
“I could ask you the same thing,’ Maggie replied.
“Did that swine Portland turn me in?’
Maggie clicked her pen; it hovered above the notebook. “Who’s Portland.”
“Burly idiot,’ Marcus sniffed arrogantly. ‘Big fin on the back of his head… he stands out.”
“You make a habit of employing aliens?”
“Only this one.”
“And why was that?”
Marcus pursed his lips, and turned suddenly to look at the window. Kara sat back, ignoring the pain in her chest. It was like he was looking right at her, even though she knew he couldn’t really see her. It was a two-way mirror.
He turned back to Maggie, and fixed her with another glare. “So this is the part where I confess all my plans, is it?”
“It would certainly make my night go quicker,’ Maggie sat back in her seat. ‘I’ve plans, you know. Whiskey to drink, a hot girl to see…”
“Well then I suggest you text her,’ Marcus said, ‘and get settled in. Because I’m not telling you anything until I speak to my lawyer.”
Maggie gave a tight-lipped smile, closed the file and got to her feet. “I’ll just go get started on that whiskey then.”
Kara got to her feet when Maggie walked into the room. She slammed the file down on the desk like she had in the other room, but her composure was much less calm.
“Remind me about that police brutality thing,’ she grumbled. ‘That includes punching bad guys in their stupid, smug faces, right?”
“Do you want me to go in?’ Alex asked, hands already on her hips.
Maggie’s scowl cracked, and she chuckled at Alex. “It’s fine. I didn’t expect him to talk, but I figured it was worth a try. I’ll get it out of one of his goonies, make a deal.”
“You hate making deals,’ Alex reasoned.
“I also hate not knowing what’s going on,’ Maggie countered.
Kara felt a fresh bout of guilt churn in her gut, but ignored it. Maggie was already looking through other files, trying to find another potential leak out of all the men they had brought in tonight.
“You two should go home,’ she said, not looking up. ‘I’ll probably be here for a while.”
“I’ll stay,’ Alex said automatically.
Maggie glanced at her, then down at the ‘S’ on her chest. “Supergirl has more important things to be doing than hanging around here. Go. This is the boring police work portion of this case. This is my job. I’ll call you when I have something. Besides,’ Maggie glanced around at Kara, ‘you look like crap.”
Kara laughed, and winced. “Thanks,’
“Thank you,’ Maggie said, giving Kara an earnest look, ‘for saving me tonight. Even though it was stupid.”
“I’ll take her home,’ Alex moved around and put a hand on Kara’s shoulder. ‘Let me know if you get anything.”
Maggie stepped forward, like she was about to kiss Alex on the cheek. But she seemed to think better of it; she hesitated, and then just gave Alex a smile and a promise to keep her in the loop.
Later, when Kara and Alex were flying above National City, despite the fact that Kara was exhausted and felt like she could sleep for a week, she was happy to be back up in the air.
Alex had her cradled to her chest; her eyes were darting around, and her head kept tiling left and right, and Kara knew she could probably hear so much all at once. The sun was slowly coming up, throwing splashes of red, pink and gold against the horizon.
“Can we go to my apartment? I know your place is closer to the DEO, but I need to sleep in my own bed.”
“Sure,’ Alex nodded. ‘I’ll drop you off. I think there’s a fire downtown. I’ll just go help them out real quick, then I’ll come back.”
Kara looked at her big sister, feeling admiration surface from beneath her fatigue.
“If I had to go through this with anyone,’ Kara said suddenly, ‘I’m so glad it had to be you.”
Alex looked around at her, and smiled. “Me too.”
Alex woke up much earlier than Kara.
Her sister was still lying on her back, dead to the world, taking up most of the bed as usual. Alex hadn’t minded so much; she had shared a bed with Kara more times than she could count growing up. She knew Kara would always roll toward her, craving the presence of someone beside her. And normally when Alex got up before her (and she always got up before her; Kara was a night owl, and Alex liked to be up at the crack of dawn), Kara would stir and whine and tell her to come back to bed, or at least bring her breakfast.
But not this morning.
Alex only took a moment to look down at herself, sprawled out on her back, before getting dressed and flying out the window.
It was mid-morning by now. The sky was a brilliant blue, and the breeze was cool and refreshing against the blazing sun above her.
Alex flew in lazy circles, high above the skyscrapers. She focused on blocking out the chatter, the sirens, the honking horns and dogs barking. After a moment it worked, and all she could hear was the wind whooshing in her ears.
Being Supergirl had been hard. Harder than she thought. Alex had spent so much of her adolescence wishing she could do half the things her sister could do; wasted too much energy hating Kara, feeling jealous., fantasizing about what it must be like.
The past forty-eight hours had been more than enough to enlighten her.
It had taken a long time for her to move on from those feelings. To accept herself, and know that she was enough just being Alex Danvers, a regular human being. But she had accepted it. She liked her life, and her job, and her brown eyes that looked back at her every morning in the mirror, and the way her eyebrows softened when she smiled, and the sound of her voice when she gave commands to her agents, or spoke words of love to Kara.
These powers were extraordinary, but they weren’t hers. And as powerful (and enlightening) as it had been to have them, she was glad to give them back to Kara, who she knew could and would do such incredible things with them.
Well, except for flying. If she could have kept that one, she would.
It truly was amazing to soar above the city like this. Alex looked down at the streets below, trying to this moment, the way it made her feel, into her memory forever.
Alex looked at her watch. It was almost time.
She changed direction, and soared upward slightly, increasing her speed.
Just a little while longer.
Kara sighed. She never thought she’d miss hearing her own name so much.
She spun around; J’onn walked up to her, hands on his hips. He was frowning at her.
“Yes, sir?’ Kara asked.
“Shouldn’t you be at home, resting?’ He asked, gesturing at her torso. ‘You sustained a serious injury.”
“Yes,’ Kara nodded, ‘I just came in to finish this one thing, and then I’m heading back. There’s a tub of ice-cream and a Netflix queue with my name on it.”
It wasn’t a lie. She shared Alex’s Netflix account.
“Make sure you do,’ he leant in suddenly, his eyebrows riding a little in concern. ‘You’ve seemed a little off the past few days. Is there anything you need to talk about?”
She wanted to tell him everything. She wanted to beg his forgiveness for lying to him this whole time. She would even take a suspension from work as punishment. The way Kara felt, Alex’s body aching all over, she felt she would have been glad of the break.
Kara missed the simplicity of CatCo. And yes, it was simple. She answered phones, and printed copies, and got coffee and ran errands – all an easy routine. Being Alex had been like wearing a pair of shoes that was a size too big; it was uncomfortable. She had to concentrate constantly, trying not to trip up.
She was exhausted.
So when she shook her head and said, ‘No, sir, everything’s fine’, she wasn’t surprised when J’onn looked at her with an expression that implied that he didn’t entirely believe her.
But, ever the gentleman, J’onn was too polite to press the issue. Instead, he nodded, gave her shoulder a very quick, light squeeze and headed off down to the armoury.
Kara found Winn already in the lab. He was making small talk with Livingston, the lab assistant who had helped her with the bloodwork the day before. She was giggling, and tucked hair red hair behind her ear with a flirtatious flick of her wrist as Winn told her about some party he’d been to when he was in college.
“And you’ve never played beer pong since?’ she asked incredulously.
“I’m quite happy to remain a spectator,’ Winn grinned.
“Ahem,’ Kara cleared her throat loudly.
Winn and Livingston both looked around in surprise. Livingston stuttered awkwardly, blushing as brightly as her hair. She excused herself, gathered up a clipboard and rushed from the lab.
“Sorry,’ Kara apologized sincerely, ‘I didn’t mean to…’
“It’s all good,’ Winn waved a hand dismissively. ‘I’ll catch up with her later in the cafeteria. Are you ready?’
Kara sat down heavily on the nearest stool. “I was ready two days ago.”
Winn fetched the device. “I gotta say, I’m impressed. You actually pulled this off.”
“I’m too sore,’ Kara growled, ‘to punch you right now.”
“You’ll feel better soon,’ Winn smiled, and then looked around curiously, ‘if you sister ever gets here. Maybe you should call her?’
“She was gone when I woke up,’ Kara pulled Alex’s phone from her pocket. ‘I thought she’d come in early, but nobody’s seen her.”
As if on cue, a flash of red and blue passed by the window. Kara let out a sigh of relief as Supergirl walked into the lab, checking over her shoulder to make sure no-one was in line of sight of the lab.
Alex jerked her head at Winn. “Are you sure it’s ready?’
Winn held the device up. There was a soft, green light flashing where there hadn’t been one before.
“Green means go,’ he said simply.
Winn placed the device gently down on the bench beside Kara, like it would explode if he moved too fast. Kara picked it up; it weighed heavier than she remembered. The metal surface was smooth underneath her fingertips.
Kara pressed her thumb to the scanner, and held it out for Alex. “Moment of truth.”
Alex let out a slow, deep breath through her lips. She held her hand out, hesitated, and then wrapped her fingers around the other end.
She made eye contact with Kara, and held it, blue locked onto brown.
Then Alex pressed her thumb to the plate.
It was that feeling again, like being pitched forward from her seat, as if she were on a rollercoaster. Kara squeezed her eyes shut and forced herself not to throw up. The room spun around her, the world tilted on an axis…
And then it was over.
Kara waited a long moment before opening her eyes. When she did, the world took a moment to come back into focus.
Alex was standing in front of her – short, brown hair, black uniform and utility belt, big brown eyes and a pretty smile.
Kara’s chest exploded with happiness. She looked down at herself; blonde hair fell around her face; her peripheral vision was coated with gold. She ran a hand over the ‘S’ emblazoned on her chest. The physical relief was instant. She was no longer sore, or tired. She felt re-energized, like she’d spent hours under one of the solar lamps in the infirmary.
“Did it work?’ Winn asked quickly, loudly, unable to control himself.
Alex reached out, and Kara met her half way in a hug. She wanted to squeeze her tightly, but she knew she couldn’t, because she was Supergirl again, and Supergirl couldn’t give back-breaking hugs because it would have literally ended that way.
Besides, she knew first hand just how much pain Alex was in, and didn’t want to make it worse.
And indeed, when Kara pulled away, Alex winced.
“Yes,’ Alex nodded at Winn, ‘it’s us.”
Kara put a stool beside her. Alex sat down gratefully.
“How does it feel?’ Winn asked, looking at them both curiously. ‘Anything not feel right? I timed this perfectly, it should have worked…”
“Everything’s fine,’ Kara reached out and patted him on the shoulder. ‘Thank you, Winn”
She smiled at him, and his eyes widened, and then he was grinning too.
“It is you,’ was all he said.
Alex chuckled suddenly, and then winced again. “I really do need a massage, don’t I?”
Kara laughed and went to comment, when the door to the lab opened. Livingston was back, accompanied by two other lab technicians.
“I’m sorry, Agent Danvers? I know you’re about to go home, but… we need you to come look at this blood analysis.”
It took a split second longer than usual for Alex look around.
“Yes,’ she nodded, giving a small smile, ‘I’ll be there in a minute.”
After exchanging a quick look, the technicians left, looking utterly relieved.
“That’s the first time Agent Danvers hadn’t avoided them in two days,’ Kara chuckled.
“You better not have turned my lab into a shitstorm,’ Alex warned playfully.
“This is so great,’ Winn smiled, standing still as Alex put a hand on his shoulder so she could get to her feet. ‘I mean, it was hilarious seeing this all go down, but it so great to have you both back to normal. I’ve had to avoid eye contact with J’onn this entire time, ‘cause I thought he was going to read my mind and bust me for helping you. Do you know how hard it is to avoid eye contact with that man? He has such pretty eyes!”
Kara gave him a look. “I’m so glad your suffering is over, Winn.”
Winn nodded and ran a hand through his hair. “I need a drink. You both in?”
Alex gave some answer, but Kara didn’t hear what she said. She heard a siren, and birds chirping, and horns honking and traffic, and it was so sudden it made her flinch in surprise.
After focusing on one particular sound, she turned her attention back to the room. Both Alex and Winn were watching her.
“Something’s wrong,’ Kara said.
“Go,’ Alex urged.
“I’m fine,’ Alex insisted. ‘They need you.”
“Don’t stay here all day,’ Kara asserted, giving her a stern look as she backed toward the door. ‘You need to rest. Winn…”
“I’ll make sure that she - ….’ He stopped when Alex gave him a look, ‘…er… that she does what she wants because she’s in charge. But your stern looks can’t stop me from reminding you to hydrate at least.”
Kara could hear the sirens again, this time accompanied with cries. She squared her shoulders and ran from the lab. As soon as she was in range, she shot off from the ground and zoomed out the open window at the top of the building.
The wind was in her hair, rushing in her ears, sending her cape flapping out behind her. Kara realised she would have looked like a loony to anyone else, wearing a smile so big.
She arrived at the scene all too soon. There was a four car pile-up on the entrance to the bridge, and two cars were on fire. One, Kara could see, still had people trapped inside.
“Supergirl!” someone from the crowd called, ‘the firefighters won’t get here in time! Hurry!”
Kara floated down toward the cars, and took a very long, deep breath.
Alex pressed the play button, and settled further into the couch as the opening titles of “3rd Rock from the Sun” began to play.
This was one of her favourite shows. It never failed to make her laugh, no matter how many times she’d watched it. Not only was it just plain funny, but it also reminded her of some of the awkward situations Kara had gotten into when she’d first arrived on Earth.
Like the time someone had wished her luck for giving her first oral presentation in class by saying ‘Break a leg’, and it had taken all of lunch for Alex, sitting in the stall next to her, to convince Kara that it wasn’t meant to be taken literally, and that she didn’t have to hide in the girl’s bathroom all day.
Alex adjusted the angle of her laptop, so that the heat from beneath it soaked into her stomach, easing her muscles like the heat pack she had in her bathroom cabinet, but couldn’t be bothered going to get.
Ten minutes into the episode, she heard a key in the front door.
“You know you can just come in through the window,’ she called.
The door opened. Maggie walked in, carrying a large, and very full, paper bag in her arms.
“The window? What am I, Peter Pan?’ she smiled. Maggie put the bag down on the counter, and turned to her. ‘It is you, right?”
Alex smiled at her. “Yes, it’s me.”
In four, quick strides, Maggie crossed over to the couch, sat herself down beside Alex, and swooped in for a kiss.
Alex couldn’t help it; she moaned. It was better than flying, better than super speed and the ability to carry a submarine on her shoulders. Maggie’s thumb was stroking her cheek softly; she smelt like coffee and leather, and she tasted even more amazing.
“Thank god,’ Maggie murmured after they broke apart, ‘because I’ve been dying to do that ever since I saw you in that marron dress. Hmm,’ she added, a sudden thought occurring to her, ‘but it wasn’t you, was it? But it was…”
“Stop,’ Alex laughed, putting a hand over hers.
Maggie groaned. “My head hurts.”
“My everything hurts.”
“I figured,’ Maggie kissed her again quickly, and leapt up from the couch. ‘Which is why I stopped by the grocery store on the way here and picked up a few things.”
Alex sat up a little and watched as Maggie reached into the bag. She pulled out a box of cookies, a giant bag of chips, four bottles of Gatorade, beef jerky, a bucket of mixed M&M’s, and a bottle of single malt whiskey.
“Oh,’ Alex crooned at the last one, ‘yes. That first. And tell me what happened after I left last night.”
Maggie poured them both a drink, and carried over the bag of chips between her teeth. Once they were both settled, Maggie started her recount.
“He didn’t talk,’ she rolled her eyes, ‘like I knew he wouldn’t. But we got lucky with one of the other guys who works for him. Turns out Hackstock had been blackmailing him, so he didn’t really mind giving us as much information as he could to help put Hackstock away.
‘Anyway, turns out Hackstock had bought that body changer device thing, from the Librerian, because the Liberian was desperate for money and it was the only thing he had left to barter with. But once he realised what Hackstock was going to do with it, he tried to buy it back. Hackstock told him to get lost, the Liberian stole it back and ran for it.”
“Which is how he ended up under the truck,’ Alex added with a nod. ‘So what did Hackstock want with it? He wanted to body swap with someone?’
“Apparently he was going to use so his goonies could force a swap with the guards of armoured cars, and security at National City Bank, and try and steal a whole lot of cash. He probably would have got away with it too. It sounds like a pretty full proof plan. Even when the guards either got caught or came forward, how would you ever prove their story?”
Alex blew air out through her lips. “Suppose that’s one good thing that came from all of this, preventing a massive crime from happening.”
Maggie looked at her then. “Yeah, well… don’t think you can get away with pulling crap like that on me ever again, Danvers.”
“I’m sorry,’ Alex said for what felt the fiftieth time.
“Relax,’ Maggie smiled, and held the bag of chips for her to take some. ‘I’m not mad. What I am, is glad to have you back to normal… even if you’re not.”
“What makes you think I’m not glad?’
“Well, for starters, you… your body… got shot out of a window. I know that sort of thing doesn’t tickle.” Maggie considered her for a long moment. ‘You need and ice pack? You should have one on your chest, it’ll help.”
Alex told her where it was, and watched as Maggie got up and went to the kitchen to fetch it. Alex’s gaze didn’t waver as she watched Maggie get an ice pack from the freezer, and put a few blocks of ice in her whiskey, all the while listening to Maggie talk about how she’d seen Alex do amazing things only the television over the past two days, and how much more impressed she was now that she knew it was actually her this whole time.
“I bet you’re going to miss being able to lift a crane,’ Maggie chuckled as she sat back down.
Maggie put a hand on Alex’s shoulder, and pushed her back slowly and softly into the sofa. Alex didn’t complain as Maggie placed the ice pack on her chest. The cold and weight was amazing, and the whiskey now going to her head was making her feel like she had when she’d been Kara – painless.
“Not really,’ Alex let her eyes close, and relaxed into the cushions on the couch.
“Are you kidding? You were Supergirl.”
“Being Supergirl was an incredible experience,’ Alex said, ‘but I’m happy to be back in my own body.”
“Because you like being in pain?’
“Because it means I get to have you back.”
When Maggie didn’t say anything, Alex opened one eye. Maggie was looking at her with an expression that made Alex’s chest clench.
Finally, Maggie just laughed, leant in and kissed her.
“Do you have a first aid kit nearby?’ Maggie chuckled. ‘I need a barf bag. All this mushy crap is making me nauseous…”
“Oh shut up,’ Alex sighed, and pulled her back in again.
“Do you want to know one thing I noticed about being you?’
Kara looked up from the punnet of ice-cream, at her sister next to her on the couch. “Hmm?’
“You could get a date whenever the hell you wanted.”
She almost choked on her spoonful of choc-chip.
A week later, Alex all better from her injury, the two Danvers sisters were keeping up with tradition and enjoying movie night. Tonight’s choice was Freaky Friday, because Kara had thought it would be hilarious, and Alex hadn’t been able to find any way to talk her out of it.
Kara swallowed hard, accepting the claps on the back from Alex. “Excuse me?’
“So many people are looking at you, all the time,’ Alex explained. ‘And not in a ‘Oh, there’s Supergirl’ kind of way. All I had do was toss your hair over your shoulder and people did double takes.”
“They are not!’ Kara laughed nervously. ‘And if they are, its probably just because the suit is so eye catching. Blue is a lot of people’s favourite colour, you know.”
Alex raised her eyebrows. “Whatever you say.”
“Well,’ Kara huffed, swapping punnets with Alex, ‘want to know what I learned about you?”
“That I’m the preferred Danvers sister?’
“That my mattress is way better than yours, because I’m not cheap and spent the extra five hundred bucks for a higher quality one?’
“There’s nothing wrong with having a budget…”
“Oh, no, I know,’ Alex pointed at her, ‘you finally know what it feels like to dress in something other than argyle.”
Kara threw her a look. “I’m trying to compliment you.”
Alex laughed, the sound muffled because of her mouth full of ice-cream. “Mkay, m’sowwy,’ she swallowed hard and turned to face Kara. ‘I’m listening. What was your realization?’
Her irritation evaporated, and as Kara remembered what she was originally going to say, she nudged Alex playfully with her elbow.
“You’re as much a superhero as I am,’ she beamed. ‘Maybe even more so. You keep up with us, no matter what. And people think I’m strong lifting trucks over my head? If they could see how strong you really are, they wouldn’t look twice at me.”
Alex sighed, put her ice-cream down on Kara’s coffee table, and pulled her in for a hug.
“I’m so glad you’re my sister,’ Kara closed her eyes and melted into her sister’s embrace. ‘I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“But I’m even more glad that this is all over.”
“Oh, my God,’ Alex half-grunted, half-laughed, and pulled away, ‘I have never been more glad of anything in my life. Never let me hand you anything ever again.”
“Except that,’ Kara wriggled her fingers at the little bucket of brownie flavoured ice-cream.
Alex sighed, and with a smile and an eye-roll, passed her the punnet.