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The World Turned Upside Down

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Kara thinks that maybe the universe just doesn’t like her for some reason. Maybe the universe, however big and all-encompassing, has decided that Kara Zor-El, of all beings, is someone who is destined to suffer. She tries not to think these thoughts too often, prefers being her usual positive self. Sometimes they slip through, though, like when she’s trying to ignore the stench of burned, rotten flesh while laser-visioning a few walkers’ heads off.

Really, Kara thinks, it’s just unfair. She’s already lost one planet, she already knows how much it hurts to have everyone you love and everything you know just disappear. At least with Krypton it happened fast. There was one giant explosion and it was over. With earth, it all seems to take a little longer.

*

“How’d it go?” Maggie asks carefully, probably already having picked up on the tense silence between Kara and Alex as they walk into the apartment. Kara doesn’t respond at first as she empties her backpack onto the dining table. At least they managed to find some supplies, even if the rest of the mission was a total bust. Again.

“It went fine.” Kara hears Alex say from behind her, punctuated by the tell-tale sound of her sister kissing Maggie’s cheek. Kara turns around instantly, an angry frown on her face.

“It did not go fine. If it had gone fine it wouldn’t just be the three of us here and you know that.” Kara is not used to being so angry, so often. She doesn’t particularly like it. Most of the things that are happening in the world right now are not things that Kara particularly likes. The actual fucking zombie apocalypse being the obvious example. The small, boring apartment that somehow still feels unfamiliar even after four months is another one.

It’s not even the apartment itself, Kara supposes. It’s nice enough, with two bedrooms and a small living room. It’s just that they’re probably about the only living humans still left in the city. Everyone else has either fled or they’ve already been turned. Maggie, Alex and Kara retreated to a small, top-floor apartment instead. They boarded up the front door, which meant the only way to get in was through the balcony. Kara knows that Maggie and Alex want to leave, get out of the city and be with the rest of their friends. They want to be able to go outside again without having to ask Kara to fly them. They want to be somewhere where they don’t have to endure the groaning sounds of walking corpses beneath them all the time.

Kara can’t do it, though. She can’t get herself to move out of the city where she last saw Lena. Every time she thinks about it, entertains the idea of finding a safer, better place to live, she imagines Lena coming back to National City and not finding Kara there. She imagines the hordes of walkers Lena will encounter on the streets. She imagines them—Kara doesn’t like to think about it, really. She just knows that she can’t leave.

“There’s one more house to go.” Alex says, voice softer than it had been all day. Kara already knows this, but hearing it still makes her swallow thickly. She doesn’t respond.

*

 “Supergirl, come in. There’s an emergency at the hospital downtown.” Kara knows something is off as soon as she hears Alex’s voice. It sounds weird, a little tight, like she’s not telling her something. Kara decides to ignore it for the time being, figures that the situation at the hospital probably takes precedence. She jumps up from her desk and gets into the elevator before responding to Alex.

“Aliens?” She asks. Alex hesitates, like she’s not entirely sure how to answer the question. It throws Kara off a little. She knows it’s a little ridiculous considering Kara is an adult, but she will always look at Alex as her big sister, who knows everything. However, there are very little things that Alex Danvers can’t figure out, so Kara tries not to worry too much.

“We’re not sure, actually. Still trying to figure out what exactly is happening, to be honest.” Alex’s voice eventually sounds into Kara’s earpiece just when she reaches the top floor. She sneaks her way onto the roof before quickly changing into her Supergirl outfit and taking off in the direction of the hospital. Hovering above the place only seconds later, she can see police cars everywhere. A group of policemen are surrounding the entrance of the hospital, their bodies hidden behind cars as their eyes are trained on the door.

“What’s going on?” Kara lands next to a group of police officers and someone who looks to be in charge of the situation. The officers hardly seem surprised at the superhero’s turning up, most of them just turning around and walking away.

“There’s some sort of outbreak of something in there. We don’t know what it is and we’re not sure whether there’s still survivors inside the hospital.” The man sounds pained as he answers Kara’s question. Kara nods understandingly, places a reassuring hand on his shoulder for a second before telling him she’s going to take a look. She walks towards the double doors and enters the hospital quickly, after using her x-ray vision to check the hallway behind the doors. It’s empty, almost eerily so. Kara’s super-hearing picks up a lot of heavy, ragged breathing on the floor above her. She tries to use her x-ray vision but the floors must have been constructed with some kind of lead, because she can’t see through them. She follows the sounds her hearing pick up until she’s just around the corner from what she’s sure is a rather large group of people, if the amount of breathing sounds are any indication. Only when she’s about to round the corner does she realize that she does hear them breathing, but she hasn’t heard a single heartbeat yet. She dismisses the thought for now and walks around the corner.

There’s people. Or, well, there’s things that sort of vaguely resemble people. Dead people, to be a little more precise. There’s a large group, consisting of thirty or maybe forty, of things that look like walking corpses right in front of Kara. She lets out an involuntary gasp at the sight. The thing, person, whatever it is, closest to her (only a few feet away, something that makes even the invulnerable Supergirl’s heart beat a little faster in fear) turns his head towards her at the sound. The look in his eyes can only be described as hungry. The way Kara looks at potstickers when she hasn’t eaten in six hours, but scarier. A look that has Kara taking a step back, without even realizing what she’s doing. He takes a step closer to Kara as well, letting out a grunt that seems to alert all of his friends that something is going on as well. Then all of a sudden over thirty pairs of eyes are on Kara and the group starts shuffling awkwardly towards her. Their movements are clumsy and slow, but somehow still seem threatening. Kara uses her freeze breath to knock the first row of shuffling creatures off their feet, but besides falling to the ground they seem unbothered by it. They crawl on, dragging themselves to their feet again.

Kara stands still until the creatures get closer, then punches the first one so hard that he flies back, taking a few more of them to the ground with him. Kara hears the sound of bones breaking, but still all of them get up again to charge at Kara once more. Kara keeps punching and kicking and hitting the monsters, but nothing seems to actually bother them. She accidentally rips the leg off one of them. Instead of blood, a black sort of goo seeps out of the wound, but the thing just continues on, dragging himself forward by his arms. Kara huffs, punches another row of monsters down so she can finally manage to take a step back and fly just above them to the other side of the hallway. The things seem a little confused, so Kara takes the opportunity to close her eyes and try to find any remaining heartbeat in the building. There’s nothing. Her blood seems to run cold as she picks up on ragged breathing, coming from all floors of the building.

The group down the hallway seems to have realized that their afternoon snack is now behind them and they slowly turn around, groaning and grunting every few seconds. Kara takes a few steps back and jumps out of a window, flying back to the front of the building. Just as she’s about to land, she hears Alex’s voice in her ear.

“Supergirl, we have another situation. The other hospital, the one on Crescent street seems to be dealing with the same problem. We’re heading there now.” Alex sounds frazzled. Kara can relate, to be honest. She tells Alex she’ll get there as soon as possible, before landing among the policemen in front of the hospital again.

“What did you find?” The man she spoke to earlier asks. Kara shakes her head, still trying to make sense of the fact that there were—well, she’s not sure what they were, but there were a lot of them and they seemed to be pretty dangerous.

“I’m not sure.” Kara says, a deep frown on her face. Just as she’s about to say something else, the door of the hospital creaks loudly. Everyone’s attention turns towards the entrance, but before anything else can be said the door falls open and hordes of corpse-looking monsters stream onto the streets. Kara vaguely hears people screaming from behind her. The policemen immediately start firing, but none of the things are bothered by it. They come closer, only stumbling back a little bit every time a bullet hits them. Kara tells everyone to get back, orders people to get away as quickly as possible. She scans the group of shuffling bodies, tries to find a weakness that she’s afraid doesn’t exist. Until a policemen hits one of them in the head. This one drops down immediately, stops moving, doesn’t seem to be getting up. Kara’s heart skips a beat, a small glimmer of hope shining through.

“Their heads!” She notices most of the policemen perking up a bit, clearly listening although they keep their eyes and guns trained firmly on the ever-growing group of things still piling out of the hospital. “If you shoot them in the head they don’t get up again.” Kara says again, before attempting the same with her laser vision. The laser goes right through one of the monsters’ heads, leaving behind a gaping hole. The monster falls down immediately. Kara does it again, and again and again. She keeps shooting lasers, but the end is still not in sight. The police have already been forced to move backwards, the group simply too big to overpower. Kara is mid-air, deciding that maybe attacking from the air will be easier, when she hears a blood-curdling scream. Her eyes instantly gravitate towards the sound, and she’s half-way towards the source of it before she even realizes what she’s doing. The source of the sound is a young policewoman, being bitten in the shoulder by one of the monsters. Kara uses her laser vision and the thing is knocked a few feet back, but it seems like the damage is already done. The woman crumbles to the ground, groaning and sobbing in pain. Kara instantly rushes to her side, her heart squeezing together the way it only does when an innocent person is hurt.

“It’s alright, you’re going to be okay.” Kara tries to make her voice sound extra soothing, tries to find a way to help this woman without abandoning the rest of these people. Before she can find one she hears another scream. Her head whips around, eyes instantly zeroing in on a man being bitten in his leg by one of the crawling monsters. Kara starts using her laser vision to battle the stream of oncoming monsters, but every time she turns one way she hears someone else screaming beside her. The woman next to her has started shaking, arms flailing around wildly and a strange look in her eyes. Kara tries to keep her ears focused on the woman’s slowing heartbeat, but the fighting is distracting her. And then it stops. The woman next to her stills, eyes closed and foam gathered at the edges of her mouth, almost as if she has rabies. Kara kneels next to her, willing herself not to cry right now. She looks down at the woman’s dead body and thinks about the family she might’ve left behind. The life she could’ve lived if she hadn’t been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kara is about to stand up again when the woman’s eyes shoot open, a crazed and hungry look in them that Kara immediately recognizes. She stumbles back quickly as the woman lets out a guttural groan.

“Kara. They’re zombies. I’m not kidding, they’re actually zombies.” Alex’s voice comes, of course, right in that moment.

*

The next morning is quiet, a tense silence filling the air as the three women sit around the breakfast table. Another thing Kara hates about this zombie apocalypse is the fact that all the good food seems to have perished a long time ago, and she’s been living on canned food for a while now. Sometimes they get fresh vegetables from the DEO camp, but Kara’s Kryptonian metabolism is impossible to keep up with, and there are too many hungry mouths to feed to even try most of the time.

“You have to take a resting day.” Alex says eventually, after exchanging a tentative look with Maggie. Kara hates it, the reminder that they talk about her when she’s not there. They worry about her, she knows. “The last house is a very far flight, you should be well-rested.” Kara doesn’t like how it sounds, the last house, even though she knows it’s the correct term.

“We wanted to talk about something else as well, actually.” Maggie says hesitantly. There’s a small voice in the back of Kara’s mind, the one that sounds a lot like the way Kara herself used to sound before the zombie apocalypse, happy and easily excitable, telling her how good Alex and Maggie are together. Even though she doesn’t like how they mother her, act like they’re her parents, she does like seeing how they complement each other.

“Kara, if we don’t find Lena in that last house—“ Alex begins, Kara’s heart dropping even just at the thought, “we think we should retreat to the DEO camp anyway.” A  part of Kara wants to protest, but she feels too tired to put up a fight. Alex and Maggie seem to sense this, because they don’t say anything else. Kara loves them, and she wants them to be safe, so she agrees to the plan even though she feels like she shouldn’t.

*

As soon as the words register in Kara’s mind she’s in the air, already halfway to the hospital she knows Alex is at. She hears screams, not just from the direction of the hospital behind her and the hospital in front of her, but from everywhere. She doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t know where to direct her attention first so she can help as many people as possible. She instantly swoops down when she sees a mother with three children standing in the middle of the road, looking positively desperate as a growling, drooling zombie advances towards her. Kara lands in front of her, jerks her head towards the children to signal that she needs to cover their eyes and then turns back to the monster to put a laser right through its head. She turns back to the woman, instructs her to wait with one of her children behind a car, while Kara lifts the eldest two into the air. She quickly flies to the top of a building, one that has a ledge too high for any child to reach and drops the children off. After dropping off the mother and the youngest child as well, with the promise of picking them up as soon as Kara had any idea of another safe place, Kara flies the rest of the way to the hospital.

There’s too many people to save, and too little time for Kara to save them, but she repeats her earlier actions with as many people as she can find, dropping them on roofs where the zombies can’t get to them.

“Alex. We need to evacuate the ci—“ Kara begins to say, when she picks up the sound of a newscaster talking on a television in a building below her. It’s a news report, from New York City, talking about frightening human-resembling monsters overrunning the city. A news report from Madrid, from London, from Istanbul, from Sydney. Kara’s head starts spinning, her heart beating in her throat.

“Alex, it’s—it’s everywhere. They’re everywhere.”

*

Kara tries to prepare herself, somehow, for the next day. She gets fidgety when she does nothing for too long, but she knows that Alex won’t let her go outside. So she plans, studies maps of the area where the last house is located for so long she’s sure she knows them by heart. She stress-eats and tries not to notice the looks Alex and Maggie are giving each other when she burns through well over half of their supplies. It’s not dangerous, really, because with Kara’s powers finding food and supplies is easier than for most other survivors, but still.

They play a few games of settlers of Catan. It’s strange, Kara thinks, how despite all of this she still finds a way to smile sometimes, finds a way to play games and act like nothing is wrong even though the sheer amount of things that are wrong still makes her head spin when she thinks about them.

“That’s cheating, Little Danvers.” Maggie proclaims loudly when Kara very subtly peers over her glasses to see through Alex’s cards. Alex scoffs, hides her cards behind her back. Kara tries to act affronted, but lets out a giggle when Maggie sends her an unimpressed glare. It’s nice, Kara thinks, if she doesn’t try to think about all the things that are missing.

*

Alex gets J’onn to drop her on a roof as well, when the streets get too crowded. She looks around frantically, doesn’t breathe easily until J’onn sets down Maggie next to her. Kara is by their side almost instantly, carrying James in his full Guardian attire.

“What do we do?” She says, trying to ignore the screams from below her just for a few seconds. They need a plan of attack first.

“We need a safe place to bring people.” Alex says, looking towards J’onn for an answer.

“There’s a secret, abandoned DEO base out in the desert. It’s too far from civilization to be in any real danger, at least for a while.” Kara hears another, particularly piercing scream and her head whips around.

“Right. You work out this plan, I’ll go try to save more people.” Kara shoots off before she has an answer, but she doesn’t care. She tries to be a hero, tries to save every person she can without being selfish, but she still finds herself flying to the L-Corp building. She can’t help it. Most of her other friends are safe. Winn is back at the DEO, where the zombies won’t arrive for at least another hour, and the rest of them Kara left on a roof. Kara scans the building as soon as she gets close enough, her heart sinking when she sees the entire building overrun with zombies.

“No,  Rao please no.” Kara whispers to herself as she gets closer, begins to closely examine the face of every zombie she sees. There’s nothing that she recognizes, no black hair or designer clothes or anything that tells her Lena is among them. She breathes a sigh of relief, although it’s short-lived when she realizes that she has no idea where Lena is if she’s not here.

*

She tries to sleep that night, really, but it doesn’t work. There’s so many thoughts running around her head. It feels a little like it did when she just came to this planet. Everything was new and every night her mind would run rampant with thoughts of her old planet, or doom scenarios for her first day at school, her first school trip, her first birthday party, her first everything. She’s always been an over-thinker. Back on Krypton, her mother used to say it was because she was so smart, her brain so used to being active that even when she wanted it to stop, it couldn’t.

After about two hours, Kara gets up. She’s not sure where she’s going until she’s already standing in front of Alex and Maggie’s bedroom door, hand half-raised. She knocks, knows from experience that walking in without doing that isn’t a good plan, and waits for a response. She tells herself that if they don’t respond, don’t wake up from the soft knock, she has to go back to her own room.

“Little Danvers?” Maggie’s raspy, sleepy voice comes from inside and Kara opens the door, carefully. Maggie has flipped on a small, battery-powered nightlight on her bedside table, bathing the room in a soft light. Alex still looks to be asleep, but Maggie is sitting up a little bit, looking at Kara.

“I couldn’t sleep.” Kara says hesitantly. She doesn’t want to intrude or be a burden, but being around Maggie and her sister just makes Kara feel comfortable. It’s like a safety blanket, that Kara needs at moments like these. Still, Kara can understand that your girlfriend’s younger alien sister basically inviting herself into your bedroom in the middle of the night is probably annoying. She’ll understand if Maggie tells her to just go back to bed. That’s not what happens.

“Come here.” Is what Maggie whispers instead, scooching over a little bit so that there’s room between Alex and Maggie to lie down. Kara smiles, small but grateful, as she slides into the bed. It’s a huge bed, one where three people can comfortably lay without it being too awkward.

“What’s going on?” Alex’s voice grumbles a few seconds later, when Kara is still getting settled between the blankets. Her eyes are closed, but she’s clearly awake, a confused frown showing between her eyebrows.

“Little Danvers here couldn’t sleep.” Maggie teases, reaching out to poke Kara in the stomach. Kara chuckles, softly. Alex doesn’t say anything, but finds Kara’s hand between the blankets and squeezes it once, twice, before laying their joined hands back down and seemingly falling back asleep immediately.

Kara sleeps better than she has in weeks.

*

Kara finds Jess, on the street in front of the L-Corp building. She gets to her just as zombies start pouring out the front entrance, picks her up immediately and flies her to safety.

“Where’s Ms. Luthor?” She hasn’t even set Jess down yet when she asks. She can’t help herself. Jess looks a little taken aback by the sudden question, maybe just the clear desperation lacing the words.

“I don’t know. She didn’t come into work today. It’s unlike her to skip work at all, let alone without letting me know.” Jess looks thoughtful, but all Kara can think is that there’s a chance that Lena’s safe. Lena might be safe.

“I have to go. You’ll be safe here, and you’ll be picked up as soon as there’s a place for you to go.” Kara says immediately, nearly stumbling over her words in her hurry to get them out. She shoots off again, heading towards Lena’s penthouse. She’s only been there a handful of times, the two friends preferring Kara’s apartment for their hang-outs and movie-nights. Kara still knows the way. Barely even has to think about it, in fact.

She scans the pent house, but there’s no Lena. She doesn’t want to give up yet, looks through the rest of the building as well, but Lena’s not there.

*

“Are you sure you should go alone?” Alex asks, for what’s probably the twentieth time in the last hour. Kara sighs, chews the rest of her beans and swallows before answering,

“I am. It’s a far flight, and when I find her there I won’t be able to carry you both back at the same time.” Kara explains. Kara doesn’t like the look that Maggie and Alex exchange, but she knows commenting on it wouldn’t improve the situation. The rest of breakfast is mostly eaten in silence. When you’re around each other every day for four months, there’s little that you still have to tell each other.

When Kara is done eating she suits up. The suit is a little dirty, but still more comfortable to fly and fight in than her regular clothes. It’s not like she has to hide her secret identity anymore, what with eighty percent of the world’s population being turned into undead monsters and the other twenty percent just struggling to survive. Still, button-ups and cardigans may be fashionable, but they’re anything but efficient when it comes to fighting zombies.

“Be careful.” Alex says, placing a hand on Kara’s shoulder. Kara nods, even though she knows she’s been less and less careful with every house they were forced to check off their list. This time, she’s going alone, with no way to contact Alex and Maggie from all the way across the world.

“See you soon, Little Danvers.” Maggie yells from across the room. Kara appreciates it, appreciates the effort Maggie and Alex both put into pretending this is just like any of the other times Kara leaves the apartment.

“Yeah. See you soon.” Kara’s words get cut off by her jumping off the ledge of the balcony, but she’s sure Maggie and Alex understand anyway.

*

“Maggie, hurry. Please.” Kara tries to will Maggie to type faster, eyes focused on the horde of zombies standing in front of the NCPD station. Alex is on the other side of the desk, alien gun in her hand and a normal, DEO-issued one strapped to her thigh.

“I’m going as fast as I can, Kara. Our servers simply aren’t that fast.” Maggie sounds a little irritated, but Kara knows it’s just the situation. They’re all a little irritated.

J’onn flew over to the abandoned base twenty minutes earlier, and the DEO has been working to move people there ever since. Winn is already safe, together with about a hundred other National City citizens. The base is mostly underground, but J’onn is already working on creating a walled area above it, a legit camp for survivors to find refuge.

“Ha! Got it!” Maggie says, finally. She clicks on a few more things on the screen and Kara hears the printer whirring to life behind her. The group of zombies out front seem to have gotten the idea that something is happening inside the police station as well, though, a few of them straying towards the doors.

“Damn, Danvers. You never told me your Luthor friend has seven houses. I mean, I knew she was rich, but I didn’t realize she was seven-houses rich.” Maggie says, eyes still trained on the screen in front of her. They’d gone into the police station when Maggie said she could pull up info about Lena, a way to figure out where she was.

“Uh, Maggie. We kind of have to go right about now.” Kara whispers when her x-ray vision sees a few zombies trying to get into the police station, bumping into the door again and again even when it doesn’t budge. A few more walkers join them, until the door is straining under the weight of their bodies.

“It’s almost finished.” Maggie’s voice sounds more stressed now, as she seems to be willing the printer to go faster simply by staring at it. Alex comes to stand by Kara’s side, gun trained on the entrance of the police station. The door groans, hinges squeaking loudly. Just when Maggie lets out a loud yell, holding the piece of paper up triumphantly, the door falls off his hinges, revealing a crowd of growling zombies stumbling over each other once they catch sight of the humans inside the building.

“Let’s go!” Alex yells to Kara, running towards the backdoor. Maggie follows quickly, the piece of paper still clutched in one hand as the other reaches for her gun. Kara stays behind them, using her laser-vision to quickly eliminate any zombie that comes too close.

“Kara, come on!” Alex yells, already holding open the backdoor for her sister to run through. Kara has a better plan, lifting herself off the floor and picking Alex and Maggie up mid-flight before shooting away in the direction of the desert.

*

Kara wasn’t exaggerating when she said it was a long flight. She’s trying not to go at top speed, wants to be prepared for anything she might find at the house, but Greece is over 7000 miles away and Kara just—Kara hates that it takes so long for her to get there. She’s only going a meager 2000 miles per hour, way below her top speed, but she forces herself not to go any faster.

Eventually, after what feels like the longest time Kara has ever waited for anything, Kara finds the place she needs to be at. It’s the only house Lena had outside of the United States, a relatively small vacation home on Crete. Kara adjusts her speed when she sees the island coming closer, still looking small from her place so high up in the air. The island seems to grow in size when she comes closer, soon becoming so big it fills her entire field of vision. Kara flies around for a while, her eyes flitting around at super-human speed to find the right village, the one where Lena’s house is closest to. Her eyes settle on it not too long after, a small, abandoned village with only a few lost zombies dragging themselves around on the streets. Kara knows all she has to do now is follow the road until she gets to the beach, about a hundred miles further. She does so, keeps her eyes trained on the meandering road beneath her. Her heart starts beating faster when a small, white-walled cottage emerges. She stops herself from using her x-ray vision before she lands on the beach, a large dust-cloud of sand flying up at her landing.

She stumbles towards the door, tries to contain her excitement, tries to stomp down the hope. The place looks—it looks abandoned. Still, Kara surmises, that doesn’t have to mean anything. She comes closer, finally allows herself to use her x-ray vision and—the place is empty. There’s no one. Kara feels something, something hard and burning and painful in her chest.

“No.” She whispers, shoots forward in a quick and uncontrolled burst of power until the front door is blown off its hinges and Kara’s standing in the middle of the small living room. “NO!” She yells, louder this time, throat hurting with the effort of throwing the word out as aggressively as she does. She flies up, doesn’t care that she’s breaking through the ceiling on her way up. Suddenly she’s standing in what looks like a bedroom, clearly one that hasn’t been slept in for a while, but still Kara recognizes the familiar scent. It hurts, burns, rips through her like a kryptonite bullet until Kara can see nothing but tears, everything else blurry behind them.

Kara picks up the king-sized bed with ease, throws it through the window as if it’s personally the house’s fault that Lena’s not there. Kara barely even realizes what she’s doing as she burns through the entire house, ripping through walls and throwing around furniture until half the house collapses around her and she’s standing in the middle of the living room with a piece of Lena’s bathroom sink still in her hands and she’s not done yet, she’s still angry but then—then her eyes fall on a picture frame. It’s a miracle it’s still standing up, the entire house falling apart around it, but right there there’s a picture of Lena. A smiling, happy Lena standing next to a smiling, happy Lex Luthor. And Kara sinks to the ground, knees hitting the rubble with a resounding thud. She grabs the frame off the small coffee table, holds it closer to her face as she stares. After four months without seeing her face, it hits Kara like twenty pounds of kryptonite being dropped directly on her chest. She sits, in the middle of Lena Luthor’s vacation home as its walls crumble around her, and Kara knows, feels that something inside of her breaks.

*

Kara knows she has to go back, sooner rather than later. Her sister and Maggie are probably already worried sick, considering how long Kara’s been gone, and after tiring herself out by destroying the house (she refuses to think of it as Lena’s house, the name hurts too much crossing her mind) the flight back is probably going to take some extra time as well. Kara knows she can’t stay here, surrounded by the remnants of this house.

Still, it takes her a while to get up. She finds a little backpack somewhere under half a wall, stuffing the picture frame in it before strapping it around her shoulders as tightly as possible. It feels like she’s working on auto-pilot, like her body is doing things but her mind has yet to catch up. Still, she finds herself on the beach a few minutes later, eyes trained on the ocean just so she doesn’t have to look at the house again. She sighs, long and deep, wipes away the tears that accumulated in the corners of her eyes one last time, and shoots up into the air.

*

The flight back takes her over six hours, and it’s nearing midnight by the time she reaches National City. Kara flies to the apartment almost on auto-pilot, only just having the presence of mind to slow herself down enough to refrain from denting the balcony on her landing. She’s barely landed, still crouching, when the door already flies open and Alex rushes out onto the balcony, closely followed by Maggie. By the time Kara has stood up, Alex’s arms are already wrapped around her.

“I was so scared something had happened.” Alex whispers into her hair, but Kara doesn’t even have the energy to respond. She knows she should feel guilty, knows she would usually feel guilty, but right now she just feels kind of empty. Maggie must notice the look on Kara’s face (the empty, hollow, exhausted look), because she taps Alex on the shoulder until the woman lets go of Kara. She sends Maggie a confused look at first, but Kara doesn’t pay attention to it.

“She wasn’t there.” Kara says, needlessly. They’ve already seen her land on the balcony on her own, and maybe it only hurts more because neither of them looked very surprised. It feels like Kara is the only one that still believed she was out there, still believes she’s out there, somewhere. She’s not giving up. Not yet.

*

They pack up the next morning, in silence. Neither Alex nor Maggie have asked why it took Kara so long to get back to National City the day before, and Kara is thankful that she doesn’t have to explain.

Kara can’t fly all of their things, as well as Alex and Maggie, at once, so she takes a few trips. Lastly she picks up Alex, taking one last look at the apartment they spent the last four months of their lives in and taking off for the last time.

When they get to camp, the gate is opened immediately. By now the camp is pretty huge, more like a small village than a camp. There’s about seven hundred survivors inside, most of them from National City, but also a few that Kara had found during her search for Lena. They live in small, wooden huts inside the walled area. Maggie, Alex and Kara are greeted by J’onn almost immediately after they walk in. J’onn hugs Alex and Kara tightly, pats Maggie on the shoulder a little awkwardly, before escorting them into the DEO base. Winn and James immediately jump up when they enter the main room, rushing to envelop them in hugs. It’s only been a few weeks since they last saw each other, and thanks to Winn and his efforts to make sure their earpieces were still connected they could contact each other as well.

Kara smiles at her friends and her heart feels a little fuller when she sees all of them in the same room, but there’s still the distinct sense of something missing. They get assigned rooms inside the underground DEO building. Alex and Maggie get one together, of course, and Kara gets one right next to theirs.

*

It takes a few days for things to settle down, for Kara and Maggie and Alex to get used to being at the camp—camp Arkadia, as Winn calls it. The first few days they mostly get left alone, allowed to explore the camp and its people. After the first week, J’onn starts making use of the fact that Supergirl, his best agent, and a trained detective are now a part of his team again, and starts sending them on supply runs and rescue missions. Winn still mans the computers (apparently camp Arkadia has such a strong power generator that they can even keep up with Winn and his computers) and James tags along most of the time, in his Guardian get-up.

It’s two weeks into staying at camp Arkadia when Kara brings up Lena again. They’re all standing around the table in the DEO main room, one that looks suspiciously much like the one they used to stand around at the old headquarters.

“We have to start looking for Lena again.” Kara says. She sees Maggie and Alex exchanging a look out of the corner of her eye, and James looks worried, but none of them say anything at first.

“Kara, where would we even start?” Winn hesitantly starts, eventually, but Kara just grins at the question. As if she hasn’t spent the last two weeks thinking about that. As if she has been able to keep her mind off of Lena for more than ten minutes at a time ever since this apocalypse broke out.

“I’m glad you asked. We start,” Kara doesn’t immediately finish her sentence, looks at all of her friends separately for a few seconds, just to build up the tension, “with Lex Luthor.”

*

It’s not, as her friends put it, incredibly far-fetched. You see, Kara has done some thinking. The conclusion she came to is that Lena was already missing before the entire zombie apocalypse thing even started. Jess herself had said so, Lena hadn’t come into work that morning, hadn’t even called in or anything. Kara’s instincts tell her that Lex has something to do with it, because he always seems to have something to do with it in some way. That’s exactly what she tells her friends, ignoring the looks they send each other.

“Wait, there’s still one thing I’m confused about.” Winn says, after Kara finishes explaining her theory. “When did you and Lena start dating? I can’t believe I completely missed that.” He looks a little insulted and Kara can feel a blush rising to her cheeks almost immediately. Maggie, who’s sitting on the other side of the table, immediately bursts out laughing.

“What are you—I’m not—Lena and I aren’t dating.” At these words, James seems to perk up as well, looking incredibly confused. J’onn is sporting some sort of confused frown as well, Kara thinks, but it’s always so hard to tell with him. It might just be a regular frown. “I—Lena and—We’re just friends. Lena’s straight.” Kara’s not sure why she feels the need to add the last part, but it certainly has its effects. Maggie goes from chuckling a little in the corner, back to full-bellowed laughing, tears accumulating in the corners of her eyes as she grabs the table to keep from keeling over, as Alex immediately yells out,

“Kara—What—Aren’t you straight?” Kara’s face goes even redder than before, a fierce blush adorning her cheeks.

“I—Well, you know it wasn’t—It’s not like anyone on Krypton really cared and—“ Kara stumbles over her words a little bit, not even sure what she wanted to say. Maggie was still laughing, almost wheezing by now. Alex threw her an exasperated glare, but the detective didn’t even seem to notice.

“We’re going to talk about this later.” Alex said, fixing Kara with a pointed look. There was a little upturn to her lips, though, letting Kara know that she was just confused, not upset.

“Okay, but let’s just—“ Maggie’s words are a little stilted, as she still seems to be having a lot of trouble holding back her laughs, “let’s get one thing straight. Lena’s not.” Maggie finishes with a giant smirk on her face. Alex just rolls her eyes affectionately, but doesn’t protest.

“Wait, but you’re not together with Lena?” Winn asks, even though Kara would say that’s pretty obvious by now. She kind of wants to glare at him, but she’s not wearing her glasses and with the burning feeling of embarrassment high in her cheeks right now she’s not entirely sure she won’t actually laser him in the face. Luckily, Alex is always happy to take any glaring duties away from Kara, and the one she sends Winn in that moment is particularly impressive.

After that, Winn just slinks back to his computer. It takes a while for everyone to settle down after that, but when most of the awkwardness has ebbed away, Winn twists around in his chair with a grin and  says,

“Alright, so how do we find Lex Luthor?”

*

They don’t make much progress that day, but Kara is still feeling a bit too embarrassed to complain about it. They all agreed that the best course of action right now is for Winn to try and hack into the prison where Lex was being held. None of them really know what happened to the prisons after the beginning of the apocalypse, but it’s the only starting point any of them can think of. Winn had declared that it might take them a while, and after that most of them had gone their own ways, deciding to wait patiently until Winn was finished. Kara, of course, wasn’t so patient. She’d tried pacing behind him for a while, hoping her insistent huffs every few seconds would speed him up, but all that had happened was Winn sending her to her room thirty minutes earlier.

Now Kara’s not sure what to do. She hates it, hates sitting still when she could be out looking for Lena. A knock on her door interrupts her moping after a while. She looks up, uses her x-ray vision to see Alex standing awkwardly in front of her door.

“Come in.” Kara mumbles, barely loud enough for Alex to hear her through the door. The door slides open almost immediately. Alex strides in, her walk seeming more comfortable than Kara knows she’s feeling. She settles on the bed next to Kara, pulling up her feet so that they can face each other.

“So…” Alex starts, looking down at their feet. Kara kind of just wants her to say something, anything, but she can’t do anything except wait. “We could’ve been talking about girls together this entire time?” It’s not exactly what Kara was expecting. She’s visibly taken aback, but the easy grin on Alex’s face puts her at ease almost immediately.  

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier.” Kara mumbles, but Alex waves away the apology almost immediately.

“It’s okay, Kara. Did you even know earlier?” It’s a valid question, and one that Kara definitely has the answer for. It’s just—Kara doesn’t know if she wants to admit it out loud just yet. But this is Alex and Kara tells her things, she’s always told her things. It’s easier, with Alex, than it ever is with anyone else.

“Like I said, on Krypton it wasn’t really a thing, but then I came here and everything with boys just came so easily that I didn’t even—I didn’t even question it at first. I like boys, too, and I thought some girls were pretty, of course, like Lucy or Cat.” Kara definitely sees Alex pulling a face at the mention of her old boss, but she decides to just move on, albeit with a slightly redder face than before, “But I didn’t really—I didn’t feel anything. Not like—I don’t know.” She can feel her face scrunching up at the end there, the words not coming out the way she wants to.

“Not like with Lena.” Alex finishes for her. Kara nods, eyes fixed somewhere on the bedsheets they’re sitting on.  Alex brings a finger to her chin, lifting Kara’s face so that their eyes can meet. Alex’s are full of understanding, a look that Kara knows to mean you’re my sister and I love you so much. It’s her favourite look of Alex’s.

“Does she know?” She asks eventually, voice soft and calm, as if talking too loudly would scare Kara back into silence. Kara appreciates it, actually prefers it when people don’t talk so loudly so that she doesn’t have to control her super hearing so much all the time.

“I—Well, no. I hadn’t really—I tried not to think about it too much. I haven’t even told her about the Supergirl thing yet.” She mumbles, trying to ignore the tiny voice in the back of her mind, saying that she might never be able to tell her now. She’s so stuck in her own thoughts that she misses the shocked look Alex is giving her.

“Wait, she doesn’t know you’re Supergirl?” Kara looks up at the surprise in Alex’s voice.

“Well, I was going to. I was planning to, actually, but then—“ She gestures around vaguely, waving her arms around in a manner that she hopes Alex means to understand then the world went to shit. Then I lost her, is what Kara means as well. Then she went missing and now I might never find her again, might never get to tell her, is what Kara wants to say.

“We’ll find her.” Alex says, with more resolution in her voice than in any previous conversations on the topic of Lena’s disappearance. Kara doesn’t answer, but allows herself to lean into Alex’s space until she can put her head on her sister’s shoulder. They stay like that for a while, Kara safely cuddled into Alex’s side.

“We’ll find her.” She whispers back, just before she falls asleep.

*

It’s two entire days later when Winn finally, finally, manages to get his hands on the security footage of the prison. It takes half of another day for Winn to look through all of it, until he finds something. And when he does, it’s something good.

Kara’s in her room when it happens, reading her dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice. She hears Winn’s yell of excitement, immediately recognizes what it means and is by his side not even two seconds later. Winn barely even looks surprised at her sudden arrival, simply throwing Kara a huge smile.

“You’re going to want to see this.” He turns back to the computer, and Kara wordlessly does the same. She watches as Winn fiddles with the keyboard for a while until the security footage in front of them starts playing. At first she just sees guards, standing by the gates, the timestamp at the bottom of the video showing that it’s around the same time as the outburst in National City. Winn skips forward for a little bit, until the guards seem to hear something in their earpieces, shooting each other panicked looks and abandoning the gate to go into the prison building. Winn fast-forwards another ten minutes, until a bright red pick-up truck pulls up to the prison gate and a man jumps out. There’s still one guard left by the gate, and he stands up when the other man approaches. He seems to yell something, but the man seems unbothered by this. He walks closer to the guard, before whipping out a gun and shooting before the guard even has time to react. The guard immediately crumples to the ground.

The man opens the gate for himself and walks in, all in an almost excruciatingly calm way, as if he doesn’t even worry about trying to enter a high security prison after just shooting one of the guards. The man walks towards the entrance of the prison, but doesn’t enter. He seems to be waiting for something, although Kara’s not sure what. Winn fast-forward again, until something seems to be happening on the other side of the door. Kara recognizes it now, the straining of the doors against their hinges. Surely, not soon after the doors swing open, a horde of zombies streaming out. The man seems unbothered, shooting one after the other with clean shots through their heads.

“He already knows about their weakness.” Kara whispers, trying to understand what the hell it is that she’s looking at. Soon the man enters the building, stepping over a bunch of dead zombies like it’s nothing. Winn fast-forwards again wordlessly. Soon after the man seems to come back out, supporting the weight of—

“Lex!” Kara gasps, eyes fixed on the recognizable figure on the screen. Winn pauses the video, a shit-eating grin on his face as he leans back with his hands behind his head.

“Lex Luthor. Right there. He escaped the prison with the help of someone else. In a red pick-up truck.” Kara’s heart jumps. Both at the possibility that she might still find Lena and at the possibility Lex has kidnapped her, is holding her, the possibility that Lena might be in danger.

“Lex’s accomplice may have kidnapped Lena before he got Lex out of jail.” Kara says, leaning forward to press play on the video again. Her eyes focus on the pick-up truck, trying to figure out the license plate. All of a sudden Winn sits up, places his hand atop her arm.

“Wait.” Kara pulls her hand away from the keyboard, allowing Winn to rewind the video a little bit. He points at the screen, “Look here,” and presses play again. Kara does as Winn says, keeps her eyes focused on the window of the back-seat of the car. There’s a flash, just for a fraction of a second, but Kara gasps loudly when she sees it. She instantly leans forward again, rewinds the video again. It’s unmistakable. There, through the window of the car, Kara sees a flash of dark hair.

*

“Kara, will you just—wait a second, Kara—“ The words barely register in Kara’s mind as she fastens her cape to her suit, not even turning around to look her sister in the eye. Her heart is still beating wildly in her chest, her mind telling her over and over again Lena might be alive, Lena might be alive, Lena might be—

“Kara!” Her head snaps around, eyes focusing on Alex, who’s looking positively exasperated. “Where are you going.” It’s a question, but her voice doesn’t tilt up at the end. It sounds more like a demand. It’s the tone of voice that makes Kara forget she’s an actual Kryptonian, super strength and all, and makes her feel like she’s just a little kid, being scolded by her big sister.

“I—Well, you heard Winn!” Kara gestures wildly to the boy standing a few feet behind her sister. He’s watching the entire scene unfold with a mix of fear and wide-eyed confusion on his face. “We know where Lex’s house is. Let’s go!” Kara tries to turn around towards the exit, but the glare Alex gives her kind of fixes her in place.

“In fact, I heard Winn say that Lex has twelve houses registered to his name. On top of that, we know that he has secret hide-outs hidden in all sorts of places. Going out there right now without any kind of plan isn’t going to save Lena.” Kara knows Alex is right. Of course she knows that Alex is right. It doesn’t change the fact that Lena is out there, somewhere, possibly in danger, but she still realizes that everything Alex is saying makes sense.

“We’ll find her, Kara. But not like this.” Alex has stepped closer, the authoritative glare in her eyes replaced by something much softer.  Kara wants to hug her, needs the reassurance that only Alex’s hugs can give her, but there’s too many people standing around them, pretending not to listen to their conversation.

“Okay.” Kara says anyway. Her voice, she knows, mostly just sounds exhausted. She nods slowly, body slumping a little bit under the weight of the knowledge that she’ll have to wait to find Lena, “Alright.”

*

So they devise a plan. First, Winn will make a list of all the possible places Lex could be keeping Lena. There are a few places that they immediately dismiss, although a little voice in the back of Kara’s mind keeps telling her that’s where they might be. Still, Kara reasons, even Lex Luthor wouldn’t risk living in the middle of London or New York City right now, both places completely overrun with walkers.

Kara spends the five days until they can finally go on their first field mission for the Lena Luthor Liberation Operation, as Winn had dubbed it, fidgety and constantly on edge. She accidentally breaks two desks before Alex is forcing her to go outside, telling her go fly for a bit, we’ve got this handled. She does, shoots up high into the air until she’s above the clouds.

Kara thinks it’s kind of like a never-ending cycle. They find something, a tip, a hint, something that could, theoretically, help them find Lena. Kara gets impatient, everyone around her tells her to relax, and eventually Lena turns out not to be where everyone thought she was, and the whole thing starts over again. It’s exhausting, makes everything constantly feel heavier. Kara’s constantly reminded of the fact that she hasn’t seen Lena in over six months, and that every passing day means finding her is a little less likely. And Kara would probably continue searching for the rest of her life, if that’s what it takes, but still there’s a part of her that feels like she’s holding onto something that she shouldn’t be holding onto. There’s a part of her, however quick she is to dismiss it whenever it rears its head, that keeps whispering that there is no more hope.

*

They don’t find her at the first place, or the second, or the third. They drive out to these places, fully geared up and ready for the worst possible scenario, but they’re all empty. Kara keeps telling herself the next one, she’ll be at the next one, but the more empty, Lena-less places she finds, the harder it becomes to believe herself. At least, Kara tells herself, none of her other friends have gotten hurt in the process.

On that one, she unfortunately speaks too soon.

They go on a supply run. Just Kara, Maggie and Alex going to some small village a few miles south from their base. There shouldn’t have been any problems. There wouldn’t have been any problems, if Kara had been paying attention to the mission. She doesn’t even hear the heartbeat of the person who shoots until after Maggie’s scream. Alex is by her side almost immediately, crouching down and inspecting the gunshot wound in Maggie’s upper left leg. Kara catches a flash of a tanned man, followed by a few other men, crouching behind the cars down the street.

“It’s a through-and-through. We—“ Alex’s shaky voice is interrupted by the sound of another gunshot, and Kara snaps into movement.

“We need to get out of here. “ She yells as she moves to stand in front of Alex and Maggie. She quickly, but carefully picks up Maggie’s body from the ground. Running back to the car would mean running towards the gunshots, so Alex leads them the other way, towards the desert. Kara tries to jostle Maggie as little as possible, but it’s not an easy feat when you’re also trying to run from a bunch of people who are trying to shoot you. Kara tries to focus on the heartbeat of their assailant, but she can hear it fading behind them. They’re not coming after them. Alex soon slows, turning back around and giving Maggie a watery smile.

“I should probably wrap your wound somehow, just to make sure you don’t bleed out.” Alex’s voice is shaky, but determined. It’s the voice she uses with Kara when she’s hurt as well. Maggie nods, only wincing a little bit when Kara places her on the ground. Alex busies herself with preparing a bandage as best as she can, Kara busies herself with listening to Maggie’s heartbeat, just to make sure she’s okay. Both of them are, of course, too busy to notice the group of zombies dragging themselves towards the three women. By the time Kara picks up on the sound of heavy, ragged breathing they’re already too close.

After that, everything happens too fast. Kara is shooting down zombie after zombie with her laser vision, but they just keep coming. Alex is standing a few feet away from her, using her beloved alien gun. The thought that maybe they’re going to be okay, maybe the end is in sight since Kara is pretty sure there’s only about ten zombies left, is just popping into Kara’s head when she hears a quick and sudden uptick in Maggie’s heartbeat. She whips around immediately, sees a zombie stumbling over towards her. Kara uses a quick burst of super speed and laser vision to take care of the situation. She turns around, ready to fight the last remaining zombies and then—then Alex is on the ground, a mean-looking walker nearly lying on top of her, baring his teeth. Maggie screams, scrambles to get up even though her leg won’t allow it and Kara is just. Kara’s just frozen. Her sister is lying helplessly on the ground not even thirty feet away from her and just when the zombie leans down, Kara hears a gunshot. The zombie goes limp, Alex pushing his rotting body off of herself almost immediately, but Kara barely realizes it. She turns around towards the sound of the gunshot and—it’s like the whole world fades. It’s like everything freezes in place and Kara thinks she might be dreaming. Kara thinks she has to be dreaming, because she’s seeing Lena Luthor standing not even twenty feet away from her. She doesn’t even realize her legs are moving (later Maggie and Alex will tell her that they weren’t, that she basically just flung herself through the sky, more like jumping than flying), but she has her arms wrapped around Lena’s frame not even three seconds later. Lena’s body feels warm and soft and real underneath her palms. She’s so caught up in it, feeling Lena in her arms, that she barely even notices Lena isn’t returning the hug. But then Lena sucks in a sudden, deep breath of air.

“K-Kara?” She whispers, voice raspy and broken and beautiful, arms slowly coming up to wrap around Kara’s body. Kara nods against her neck, only then realizing that she was still in her Supergirl outfit, without her usual glasses or ponytail. Still, she doesn’t want to let go, doesn’t dare to let go just in case this is a dream. She’s had them before, she doesn’t want to wake up with empty arms again. “Kara.” Lena’s voice sounds a little surer this time, less like she’s asking a question, more like she’s just confirming what she already knows. Kara nods again anyway, still holding onto Lena’s frame as tightly as she can without hurting the other woman. She can feel tears leaking onto Lena’s shirt, feels wetness on her own shoulder as well. Kara’s hands can’t stay still, they touch Lena’s hips, back, shoulder blades, neck, everywhere they can reach without Kara having to move away from the hug. She just—she just wants—needs to feel Lena to know that she’s okay.

Eventually Kara pulls away, if only to see Lena’s face, to make sure that it’s really her, but one of her hands slides down Lena’s arm to take her hand in a loose grip. Lena’s looking back at her, staring deeply as if she can’t believe it either. They stand there for a while, just staring at each other silently, until Alex awkwardly clears her throat from behind Kara.

“Hello Lena. Nice to see you again.” It’s such an understatement. It just—Nice to see her again doesn’t even begin to cover it and the absurdity of it somehow makes Kara burst out laughing. Lena looks at her and the amusement in her eyes is so much—it’s a look Lena used to give her a lot. Kara always thought it meant something like you’re so ridiculous, but I like you anyway. It was one of Kara’s favourite looks and now she’s seeing it, right in front of her.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the reunion of Little Danvers and Little Luthor, but my leg is really starting to hurt, so maybe we could wrap this up a little bit?” Kara didn’t even realize that Maggie was standing next to Alex, leaning heavily on her girlfriend. Maggie’s voice is teasing, but there’s an undercurrent of emotion that Kara knows she’s trying to hide.

“Yes. Yes, of course. There’s—I have medical supplies just a little way further.” Lena’s still holding Kara’s hand, using her free one to gesture towards the vast emptiness of the desert behind them. Kara’s not sure what she’s referring to, but she would probably follow Lena anywhere right now. Alex and Maggie seem content to trust Lena as well, although the look in Alex’s eyes is a little wary. Still, they both step forward to give Lena a quick hug. It’s not really made any easier by the fact that Lena still hasn’t let go of Kara’s hand, but no one comments on it. Kara’s not sure she could go without it right now, needing the physical contact to ground her. There’s only one thought going through her mind right now. She’s here, she’s back, Lena’s back.