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Mean Peach Mojito

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It starts with a joke.

 

One of the things Maggie comes to learn about Alex is that she’s obsessed with Halloween. She’s big on holidays in general, sure, Valentine’s Day and birthdays and, hell, even Arbor Day get more recognition than in any relationship Maggie’s ever had before. But Halloween puts the others to shame. Alex loves Halloween so much it makes it look like she’d barely noticed Valentine’s Day.

 

Around midsummer, Alex starts talk about costumes. Whenever she thinks of a pun or they see a new movie with a distinctive character, or they encounter a cool looking alien, Maggie learns that Alex’s first reaction is, “that would be a good Halloween costume.” Like the way some people say, that would be a good band name, Alex defaults to Halloween.

 

And, of course, because it’s Alex and Alex is deep, there’s a deep reason for it. Getting to pretend to be someone else, stepping out of the shadow of her brilliant parents and alien sister, shucking off expectations and just getting to be Alex, just getting to highlight her brains and her wit and her crafty skills (which, where are those the rest of the year, Maggie wonders, flipping through old photos of past Halloweens), it makes sense. In retrospect, it’s so totally Alex.

 

It’s nerdy and wonderful and quirky and unexpected and Maggie loves her for it.

 

And so Maggie gets sucked into it too. She finds herself saying, “oh yeah, that’s my Halloween costume,” but to the most random things, just to make Alex laugh. About a toddler they see in the park wearing rainbow leggings, a tutu, and no shirt (“you’d look great in that,” Alex had murmured into her ear). About a new bottle of scotch. About a weird blob they spend a month investigating and never figure out if it was a body part or an excrement from an alien.

 

So when James brings wings and mashed potatoes to game night, just for him and Maggie cause they both love pizza but like, they have it a lot, Maggie pays him the highest compliment she can think of. “You’re the best thing I’ve ever seen, James Olson. I should be you for Halloween.”

 

And Kara and Winn and Lena and James and J’onn and Alex all laugh, and Maggie looks around at them, dumbly, not understanding the joke.

 

And Alex knows that Maggie has some…issues…with being laughed at when she doesn’t get the joke, so she quickly walks over to her and slips an arm low around her waist and pulls her into her body and drops a kiss on her head. “Babe,” she says, a fond smile pulling her lips, her eyes both laughing and loving, “you can’t be James for Halloween. No one would be able to tell you were wearing a costume.” Maggie looks at her, eyebrows furrowed, she still doesn’t get it.

 

Kara tries to help, but she’s still so close to laughing. “Like, what would you want to wear, Maggie?”

 

“Um, I don’t know, like a tight grey long-sleeved henley, too-tight jeans, and maybe a black jacket?” Maggie offers, hesitantly, still not getting the joke.

 

Alex just waves a hand up and down, indicating Maggie’s body. Maggie follows the motion with her eyes, and starts to laugh too.

 

She’s wearing a tight grey long-sleeved Henley, too tight dark jeans, and her favorite black leather jacket.

 

Maggie laughs long and hard, and they all join her.

 

“Jimmy,” she says, when she has her breath back, still leaning into the warmth and comfort of Alex’s body. “I had no idea we were twinsies all this time.”

 

“And you call yourself a detective,” Winn mutters.

 


 

They have a Halloween pre-party at Kara’s. There’s a big CatCo party they’re all going to later, but they meet up at Kara’s for dinner and drinks beforehand to give Kara and James a fun Halloween before they have to network and be professional at the party.

 

Since that night, they’d all joked about it incessantly. Would Winn look funnier in a Supergirl costume or a Martian Manhunter suit? If they dressed as each other, would this Halloween prove for once and for all that Maggie and Alex really don’t have separate wardrobes anymore? Would a bowtie of Winn’s even fit around James’ neck? Alex and Maggie furtively text each other under the table when it comes up: will Lena declare her feelings by coming as Supergirl? Or as Kara? Or maybe, Maggie suggests, she’ll do a vertical split half-Kara-half-Supergirl costume to prove she’s known the truth forever.

 

It’s not like they’ve made a plan or anything, but, on October 31st, they all show up at Kara’s, and they’ve all done it.

 

It’s James who ends up dressed as Supergirl. He went all in – he’s got a long blonde wig (a very cheap, very terrible one) and the full suit, including the thigh-high boots and the skirt and the tights, which he complains about incessantly. “How do women wear these,” he whines for the third time in as many minutes, “they rip when you touch them! And this skirt is short, like, one good gust of wind and my junk is everywhere.”

 

Maggie just claps him on the shoulder. “Welcome to the patriarchy, my friend,” she says, taking his beer from his hand and drinking from it herself. “Gender norms are a bitch.”

 

Alex comes dressed as Winn, with a plaid shirt buttoned all the way up and a clashing patterned bowtie and her hair heavily gelled so it’s slicked back but also puffed up in the front like his. She manages to maintain an endearing but nervous energy all night, pressing her palms to her forehead and running her hands through her hair and saying things like “next level” “jiggery-pokey” and it’s just so Winn. And it’s not her best look aesthetically – Maggie’s into her no matter what she wears, obviously, but she’s ready to see what’s underneath the clothes more than she usually is, but Alex is having so much fun and Maggie loves it.

 

Maggie herself is dressed as Kara. She’s got a blindingly pink cardigan over a bright yellow work dress with a thin little belt around her waist, and cute black mary jane heels. Her hair is up in bun with little braids threaded through it, and she keeps offering everyone hot lattes and asking about layouts. She refuses to tell anyone where she got the clothes, even Alex. She looks good, objectively, but no one can stop gawking or laughing at her.

 

J’onn just keeps popping in as other people. First as Cat Grant, nearly giving Kara a heart attack, then as Maxwell Lord, nearly earning himself a punch to the face from Alex, then as Lucy Lane, then as Vasquez, then Eliza. He finally settles into just wearing his own face – J’onn, not Hank – and everyone whines that shapeshifters really shouldn’t be invited to costume parties.

 

Lena comes as James, wearing, of course, a tight grey henley unbuttoned one button too many, dark jeans (which definitely came from the men’s department, Maggie’s gay brain notes), black suit shoes, and an expensive camera slung across her chest. She’s got her hair pulled back into a low bun on the nape of her neck and she’s not wearing her usual bold makeup. She looks good. And gay. Alex and Maggie exchange a series of eyebrows.

 

Kara is dressed as Maggie. Skintight high-waisted jeans with a thin black belt through them, a flannel shirt tucked in, black boots, leather jacket. Her hair is down, parted in the middle, and mostly straight, with a few un-Supergirl-like curls in it, and it keeps falling down into her face. She’s got a prop gun tucked into her waistband, and she walks around asking everyone if they’ve seen her girlfriend who is so cool and wonderful and smart and pretty, has anyone seen her, she’s so great? It’s, honestly, pretty spot-on.

 

And Kara and Maggie have had their issues, so it makes everyone’s heart grow a couple sizes to see that they picked each other for this. It’s cute, and Maggie gets even more why Alex loves this holiday so much.

 

But the real prize is Winn. He’s dressed as Alex, in full DEO tactical gear. All black catsuit uniform, complete with thigh holster and tactical vest. He stands with his legs set wide, hands on his hips (in a pose most would associate with Supergirl but everyone in the room knows Kara stole from Alex), and threatens to injure everyone with his index finger. He’s parted his hair on the side, and he looks completely ridiculous. The black DEO uniform makes him look skinny and silly and gawky and gangly and young. Of all of them, even Maggie in a pink cardigan, he looks the most like he’s playing dress up. The most like a kid trying on their dad’s suit jacket with their mom’s high heels while still wearing their own footsie pajamas.

 

And it isn’t until later in the night that Alex looks over at him, squints, and says, “Wait a second, Schott. Hold up. You’re a DEO agent too.”

 

And one by one, everyone slowly gets it, and they all start to laugh.

 

“Oh my god,” Maggie says, holding onto Lena so she doesn’t fall over. “Schott, I cannot wait to see you wear that every day to work.”

 

And it seems like this never occurred to Winn, because he opens his mouth and gapes, and then blushes, and then stammers and stutters, and then squeaks, and takes him about five minutes to be able to mumble, “Shut up.”

 


 

And it was the best Halloween ever, but everyone feels a little bad, so, without discussing it, each and every one of them comes to Thanksgiving dressed as Lena.

 

Chapter Text

It’s really weird.

 

She didn’t think it would be weird, hadn’t seen it coming, but it’s really weird.

 

She’d spent what feels like years of her life in clubs like this one, moving her body to the thudding beats and pulsing lights. Throwing back shots and throwing her arms in the air and throwing her arms around someone, desperate, for just a couple of hours, to stop feeling.

 

To stop feeling so much – for Kara, for her mom, for her fucking dead dad, for her academics, for her future, for approval.

 

To stop feeling so little – for the cute guy in her lab who keeps asking her out, for the cute guy buying her drinks tonight, for the cute guy she’ll find later to dance on her and take her back to his place, for the sex they’ll invariably have that will invariably leave her cold and wanting and lonely.

 

She’d spent years of her life wearing slinky shirts and short skirts and skintight pants and fuck-me heels, with her face plastered in makeup and her hair plastered with gel and spray, her skin coated in perfume – all carefully chosen to look good under lights like these, to hold up under humidity like this, under hours of ceaseless movement like this.

 

Just like all of the girls around her.

 

She leans against the bar and looks at all the girls, in their slinky tops and short skirts and skintight pants and tiny shorts and fuck-me heels, with their made-up faces and sprayed hair and perfumed skin, moving their bodies to the pulsing beats and thudding lights, throwing their arms around some guy, any guy, desperate to find someone to take them home, to pull them close, to buy them a drink and call them sexy.

 

All these girls, some of them are just like she used to be. Some of them are probably happy, here to dance and blow off steam with their friends on a rare night off. Others are like she used to be, desperate and sad and lonely. Some are probably here for the foreplay with their boyfriends. And some may be pining for their best friends, yearning – like she yearned at every party in high school – to get drunk enough to be able to dance with her best friend, to put her arms around her best friend, to lean in and kiss her sloppily on the cheek and tell her that she loves her.

 

They all just seem so young, really. And she’d felt ancient when she was Party Girl Alex, but this must have been what she looked like. Young and desperate and alone – and a little gay. She looks around at all of them, and wonders if she was this transparent. If someone in her position now, sober and thoughtful, could have seen right through her.

 

She looks at them and she sees them and she sees her past, and it’s really weird.

 

Because, yes, she’s wearing a slinky top and a tiny skirt and fuck-me heels tonight, and she’s got make-up on and her hair is styled, but she’s drinking club soda with lime.

 

And she isn’t wearing perfume because some aliens have great senses of smell and it would be really embarrassing if she were stalking one and they got tipped off by her smell.

 

And she’s turning down free drinks right and left because she’s on the job and, yes, she loves her whiskey, but she’d never drink on the job.

 

And she isn’t dancing because she doesn’t have to yet, and she doesn’t want to, because she doesn’t want to put her arms around anyone and let them dance on her and touch her body. She will, if she has to, but she’s not looking forward to it.

 

And she isn’t trying to find someone to take her home, to pull her close, to fuck her and leave her wanting. Because she has what is possibly the most perfect and beautiful woman waiting for her at home, keeping her bed warm. Because when she’s done with this bullshit assignment she’ll get to go home, and shower the smell of this club off of herself, and climb into bed and curl up next to the softest, warmest, sweetest, most badass creature there ever was, and, if she’s lucky, she’ll get to see some sleepy dimples and hear a whispered “hey babe,” and feel the softest and gentlest hands reach for her and pull her in and shamelessly use her as a pillow.

 

So yeah, it’s weird to be here.

 

It’s weird to be here and be happy. Not to be happy to be in this club, because she isn’t (because, hello, woman in her bed) – but to be happy in her life. To have Kara. To have J’onn. To have a much better relationship with her mother than at any time since Kara landed on their porch. To have friends she can rely on.

 

To have Maggie. To be in love. To be loved the way Maggie loves her.

 

She’s never gone clubbing with Maggie. Her Party Girl phase was all about isolation and self-loathing and probably internalized homophobia, and, yeah, she was a hot dancer, and yeah it made her feel powerful to be able to pick up any guy she wanted, and yeah, there was something freeing about using her body like that, but there isn’t really anything she wants from that life in this new one she has.

 

She doesn’t need to dance anymore to feel pride in her body. She’s proud of what her body can do every day in the gym, or on the sparring floor, or in battle. She’s proud when she can best Kara (with the emitters on, sure, but whatever the girl is an alien), and when she can beat James in a push-up contest, and when she routinely beats J’onn in his human form. She’s proud of what her body can do when she’s around Maggie; not just in bed, but when she knows that she can, without a doubt, protect Maggie from anyone who would want to cause her harm (not that Maggie needs protecting, but still, it’s nice to know), or can lift her up and carry her all the way home from the bar on her back – or from the kitchen to the bed on her front while attached at the lips – or lift her from the waist to reach something on the top shelf at the grocery store.

 

And she doesn’t need to dance anymore to entice someone to touch her, to pull her close, to fuck her. Because Maggie does that on the regular, and seems to do it even more when Alex is at her shlubbiest – glasses and sweats and coffee on her breath and science on her mind honestly seems to do it the most for her girlfriend.

 

And she doesn’t need to dance to stop feeling so much, because Maggie told her that the time for pushing her feelings down is over, and it’s terrifying but also kind of wonderful to let them bubble up and to let herself feel them.

 

And she doesn’t need the shots to get her to a point where she’s willing to be fucked, or to get on her knees for someone, because she’s learned a lot of things about herself in the last year.

 

She thinks, as she nurses another club soda masquerading as a gin and tonic, that if she’d asked herself five years ago if she’d be more likely to (A) love girls, or (B) love sober sex, that she’d probably have leaned towards A. Sex was just so…blah. Option B was unimaginable. She wanted to want it, she wanted to want them, but she never did. So she drank and she danced and she tried and she tried and she tried and she failed.

 

And, looking back, she wishes she could just give herself a hug (and point her head in the direction of the hot girls gyrating all around her) and tell her to wait for it, because sex was going to become the most amazing thing ever.

 

So no, she and Maggie haven’t gone clubbing. Because she’s a trained operative and it’s hard to keep her eyes on all the entrances and exits, and there are too many people so she can’t track threats well. And it’s too loud for her comm or to communicate with a team, and the lights make surveillance hard, and all of her senses are overwhelmed in a way that makes her feel powerless.

 

And being in the middle of that crush of bodies would make her claustrophobic now – so far from an exit – and she’s not armed in the way she’d like to be because she’s wearing so fucking little, so she’s on edge.

 

So no, she and Maggie haven’t gone clubbing. They like bars, they like being able to see and hear each other. They like beer and whiskey, not so much tequila shots and vodka spritzes. And there are a couple of bars where they can dance, which is mostly about foreplay and less about the music or the movements, but she loves it and it’s about as close to dancing as Maggie’s willing to get.

 

So this is her first time in a club since J’onn plucked her out of that jail cell.

 

And it’s weird.

 

It’s like looking at her past self in the mirror. It’s weird because she’s wearing the exact same clothes she used to (because she’s a terrible pack rat and is one of those people that still keeps clothes from high school) and she’s standing in the exact same shoes in a club she’d actually liked back in the day, but she couldn’t feel more different.

 

And then she sees her target, and it gets weirder because she gets a refill of her drink and moves in, moving her body to the beat, making her way towards where he is on the floor, holding her drink up over her head, letting her steps sway and verve just a little. And it gets weirder when she lets herself lock eyes with him and her body remembers what to do to keep his eyes on her. And it gets really weird when he moves into her and puts his hands on her waist. She dances a song with him, finishing it by turning to face him and dropping low to the floor, bringing herself back up as slowly as she can. And it’s weird to make eye contact with him during that long moment, running her hands up his body before tangling them in his hair.

 

And it’s not weird to slip the tracking device into his pocket and or to rub the tracking gel from her fingers into his hair – it’s just weird to do it dressed like this, here. To do so dressed as her own past life. To do something so completely Present-Day-Dr-Dr-Special-Agent-Danvers when she’s been pretending all night to be Academic-Probation-Fuck-It-All-Party-Girl-Alex.

 

She sends him a wink over her shoulder and she disappears into the crowd and slips out the back door and is on her bike and blocks away before he can realize she’s not coming back.

 

And she goes home, and she showers the smell of the club off her skin and washes the make-up off her face and cleans the spray from her hair, and then she pads over to her bed where the most beautiful woman in the world is sleeping. And she pulls back the covers and she slides in, and god, it’s warm in there, and small hands reach for her immediately, and a soft voice makes a happy little sound, and she’s pulled down and a warm (naked!) body shamelessly pulls itself entirely on top of her, and she looks down a sees a sleepy dimple, and a soft pair of lips try their sleepy best to kiss her chest.

 

And this part, this last part, this isn’t weird. Being in bed with a woman, being in love with a woman, being happy with a woman, being a lesbian, it isn’t weird at all.

 

But clubbing, yeah. That was weird.

Chapter Text

Maggie never expected it to actually happen, but she’d thought about it sometimes, daydreamed about it. But even in her wildest dreams, in her wildest most vengeful daydreams of running into her parents again, it never happens like this.

 

She used to dream about seeing them in the crowd for her high school graduation, or her college graduation, or her academy graduation, or her ceremony when she made detective, and they’d sob with regret and shame and she’d be magnanimous but a little cold. Or she’d see them as she sauntered down the street, hand in hand with a gorgeous woman. Or she’d run into them back in Blue Springs, after she just bought the town with all the money she won in the lottery and painted every street in rainbow colors.

 

But as each occasion passed without word from her parents, without seeing her parents, without hearing that they missed her or regretted what they did to her, those types of dreams faded. Now she thinks less about them groveling and admitting their faults and begging her to forgive them and more about turning her nose up at them, fucking them up with her disinterest and casual disdain.

 

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

 

In her daydreams now she’s with Alex, and she looks great and happy, and Alex looks just as beautiful as ever, and, depending on her mood, she and Alex either make out while pointedly ignoring them, or Alex yells at them, or – and she’s never admitted this to anyone – sometimes Alex wails on them.

 

But she’s never had a daydream anything close to the way it actually turns out.

 

Because she and Alex are out in Midvale visiting Eliza, and Kara is there too but had to run off on Supergirl duties, so it’s just the three of them today. And they’ve just finished a delicious brunch at Eliza’s favorite restaurant and they’re walking along the beach, and Alex is holding Maggie’s hand and is gently keeping her thumb moving, swiping up and down Maggie’s skin at the cadence of their feet in the sand. And Alex and Eliza are nerding out about something that Maggie can’t possibly follow, and Maggie is just watching the love of her life and watching the ocean and listening to the waves and feeling the sand between her toes, wet and cool and firm, and feeling the sun on her face and listening to the birds, and she’s so perfectly content.

 

They’ve been passing other people walking the other way on the sand, and Eliza usually raises a hand or smiles in greeting, but Maggie hasn’t been paying attention. But they must be approaching a couple, and Maggie’s been looking out at the ocean or over at Alex, so she hasn’t seen the coming. So when a surprised voice from right in front of her says, “Magdalena?” her first reaction is startlement.

 

But her second is fear.

 

Deep, cold, powerful, abject fear.

 

Her third is disbelief.

 

Her fourth is fear again, harder and faster and more urgent.

 

It’s all she can do to grip Alex’s hand, her soft grip turning into a vice, holding herself up and holding herself together only through the connection of Alex’s skin on hers, Alex’s fingers up against hers.

 

“Mom?” The word slips out of her without her permission. It’s not how she wanted to open, with a painful gasp that’s as much a word as a whisper as a plea as a cry. She hates herself for how vulnerable she sounds, how young she sounds.

 

How vulnerable she feels. How young she feels.

 

But in one way it’s a good thing, because now Alex can identify the threat that’s in front of her, and she seems to grow in physical size as she turns her head away from Maggie, fury and protectiveness swelling her body. She doesn’t release her grip on Maggie’s hand – she, somehow, impossibly, tightens it – but she takes a step forward. She isn’t blocking Maggie from their sight, but she’s clearly standing between them.

 

She’s full on Agent Danvers now, and she doesn’t need her gun or her tactical vest, because when she spits, “You have some fucking nerve, speaking to her,” it’s so clearly a threat.

 

And she can so clearly follow through on it.

 

But Maggie isn’t sure her parents have even noticed Alex. Her mother is staring at her face, and her father is looking at their hands, still joined, his lip curling up in something that looks suspiciously like disgust.

 

“I see you haven’t changed,” he says, and it’s the first time Maggie’s heard his voice in over fifteen years, and it nearly shatters her.

 

Alex is raging, taking another shuffle forward, her bare feet doing nothing to temper how ready for a fight she looks. She points a finger at them, and her shoes are still hanging from her hand, but she’s still terrifying. “You don’t get to talk to her. Ever. She is fucking perfect and you don’t deserve the right to even look at her.”

 

Alex is shaking, and Maggie is genuinely concerned she’s going to get physical. Maggie drops her own shoes, using her free hand to pull on Alex’s arm, tugging her back a step, into herself, turning her to face Maggie. “Baby, it’s okay,” she says as softly as she can. “It doesn’t matter.”

 

Alex opens and closes her mouth, clearly at war with herself. She wants to throw down for Maggie, clearly, but she can see that Maggie doesn’t want her to, and she’s stuck.

 

Her desire to keep Maggie safe, to keep her out of danger, to wrap Maggie up in her arms and shield her from the world seems to be winning out. She drops her shoulders, just a centimeter, and Maggie can see her eyes starting to clear, just the smallest amount.

 

But before she’s completely disarmed, Maggie’s father opens his mouth again, his voice cold and hateful. “You continue to disgrace your family, walking around like that where anyone could see you.”

 

And Alex is whirling back around, but she’s still tethered to Maggie, so she’s not as quick as she’d usually be.

 

But Eliza isn’t tethered to anything, and Maggie had forgotten she was there, and Maggie has never thought of her as particularly combative or badass – tough, sure, with what she’s been through – but never aggressive.

 

But, it turns out, Alex may have gotten it from somewhere.

 

Because Eliza has stepped forward, and she’s made a noise that has turned everyone’s attention to her, and she’s pointing her finger at him, and her voice is commanding and sharp and furious. “You have no right to speak to my daughter that way.”

 

And everyone stops for a minute, and it seems like even the waves have stopped crashing. Maggie can hear her own heartbeat as that word settles.

 

Alex is frozen in place, still a half-step in front of Maggie, still gripping her hand. Maggie wonders if she’s going to charge in, but she seems to waiting, just like the rest of them.

 

It’s Maggie’s mother that breaks the silence. “Magdalena is our daughter,” she says. Her voice is soft but firm, and Maggie wonders if her mother still loves her.

 

But Eliza is not having it. Her finger is still pointed, but now it swivels to Maggie’s mother. “You gave up that privilege the day you abandoned her when she was a child.”

 

Maggie’s father gets aggressive right back. “Don’t talk about things you don’t understand.”

 

And Eliza laughs, actually out-loud laughs. It’s cold and angry and hard and scornful. “What don’t I understand? What’s it’s like when your child tells you that she’s gay?” She motions behind her, to where Alex is still standing, completely still, clinging to Maggie’s hand. “I love my Alexandra even more since she told me, since she brought us Maggie.”

 

He sneers at her. “This is a family matter.”

 

And Maggie hadn’t realized that Eliza had been holding anything back, but she must have been, because she shifts into another gear entirely.

 

She doesn’t take another step, she doesn’t move her body at all, but somehow she’s towering over him. The next words she says come out in a snarl, and they’re territorial and predatory as hell, and Maggie’s parents both take an involuntary step back.

 

“Maggie is mine,” Eliza snarls. “Mine, and Alexandra’s, and Kara’s. She belongs to our family.”

 

Maggie’s parents both sputter, and Maggie and Alex both seem to be holding their breath.

 

But Eliza isn’t even close to done. She speaks clearly and firmly, each word landing like a punch, leaving no room for argument or disbelief.

 

“Blood doesn’t make a family. Alexandra and I have known that since we adopted her sister when she was a teenager. Kara is just as much my daughter as Alex is, and Maggie belongs to us now. You don’t just get to claim her because of blood when you’re the ones who tried to destroy her. Maggie is perfect. She is brilliant and kind and that is despite you, not because of you. She’s a Danvers, she is my daughter, and you will never speak to a member of my family like that again, or so help you god, it will be the last thing you ever do.”

 

Maggie’s parents stand, shell-shocked.

 

Eliza turns away from them, like they don’t even matter. “Come on, girls,” she says, suddenly back to being the sweet woman Maggie’s always known. “Let’s keep going.”

 

Alex looks at Maggie searchingly, clearly trying to see if Maggie wants to stay and talk with them. But Maggie just shakes her head a little bit.

 

What else could she possibly say?

 

Even in her wildest, most private dreams, she was just trying to prove to them that she’d survived and flourished on her own, without them. That they hadn’t crushed her into dust.

 

She never even imagined that she’d have a family to show them, that she’d be claimed not just by Alex or a faceless hot woman, but by a mother who loves her and chose her and wants her.

 

So the three of them pick up their shoes and set off down the sand, this time with Maggie sandwiched in the middle. And Alex still hasn’t let go of her hand and is walking as close to her as possible, hip to hip. And Eliza wraps her arm around Maggie’s waist and just holds onto her as they walk.

 

And, for the first time in over fifteen years, Maggie lets herself lean into a mother, and she rests her head on Eliza’s shoulder, and Eliza kisses her head softly.

 

“I love you, Maggie. I am so lucky to have you as a daughter.”

 

And Maggie just nestles a little closer to them both, safe inside of her family. 

Chapter Text

“Okay, babe. You gotta relax for this, okay?”

 

Alex’s response came through gritted teeth. “Saying I have to relax makes me do the opposite, Sawyer.”

 

Maggie grinned up at her from her place between Alex’s legs, kneeling on the ground to the side of the bed, with Alex splayed out on her back on the bed in front of her. She gestured with her hands, and Alex, with a nervous puff of air, moved so that each of her heels were on one of Maggie’s shoulders, completely opening herself up.

 

“This feels so weird,” Alex muttered, dropping a hand over her face.

 

“Shh, baby. Just take a deep breath, and I’m going to come inside you when you exhale, okay?”

 

Alex let out a frustrated groan and pressed both her hands over her eyes as hard as she dared. But she took in a deep shaky breath and then, with a slight hitch, let it out and tried – really, really tried – to relax her muscles.

 

“Good girl,” Maggie muttered absently, as she used her more dexterous right hand to reach inside of her girlfriend and experiment with a type of motions Alex has never felt before.

 

“You’re doing great, baby.”

 

“Just keep breathing.”

 

“Relax, baby, you’re okay.”

 

“I got you, baby, you’re fine.”

 

“Tell me if you need a break.”

 

Alex just pressed her hands harder to her face and tried not to squirm or to cry or to accidentally kick Maggie in the head.

 


 

It wasn’t until hours later – when Alex had showered and then taken a long bath, letting herself soak, and she was in her sweatpants on the couch, and had a mug of her favorite evening tea in her hand, and Maggie was curled around her, and her favorite blanket was on her lap – that she could finally let herself fully relax.

 

She dropped her head onto Maggie’s shoulder. “That sucked,” she said.

 

Maggie didn’t need to ask. “Yeah, but you did great, babe.” She pulled Alex closer into herself.

 

Alex let out a little huffing laugh. “I did nothing.”

 

But Maggie kissed her head. “You did great,” she said again. “Really.”

 

“Thank you, Mags,” Alex said softly, into her collarbone. “I can’t imagine having anyone else do that with me. You’re an amazing girlfriend.”

 

Maggie cuddled her in even closer. “Anytime, babe. Besides, hey, remember when you told me you never liked intimacy before me? Seems like it’s my duty to do all the intimate things possible with you that you’ve been missing out on.” Maggie smirked down at Alex.

 

Alex rolled her eyes as hard as possible. “Sure, Sawyer,” she said, pushing herself off Maggie’s chest and standing. She reached out and snagged the offending diva cup – now fully washed and sanitized – off the coffee table before walking it into the kitchen and dropping it firmly right into the trash.

 

Her voice was dripping with sarcasm. “This was exactly the type of intimacy I’d been missing.”

Chapter Text

Maggie wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Sure, she's been to classes before, obviously. She went to college, she did well in college. She wasn't one of those kids who barely made it to lecture and scraped through the finals to celebrate a 1.9 GPA with a night of alcohol poisoning. She'd been diligent – she'd had to be diligent, to keep her scholarship. Without her scholarship there was no college at all, and Maggie desperately wanted that B.A. So she'd majored in criminal justice and double minored in psychology and biology - psych because it would be good for her future career and bio because it was cool – and while she hadn't made it to every class, she'd made it to most.

 

The police academy had been more classes, and she'd sure as hell gone to each and every one of those, and had shone academically. It hadn't made her any friends, but she'd earned her uniform, and, more recently, had earned her badge.

 

But now she wants to get promoted into the science division, and her minor in biology is honestly more than some other people already in the division have, but those guys are men and white and straight and baby boomers and buddies with the commissioner, so they didn't have to earn it. She has to earn it.

 

So she's here. Walking into an exo-biology course at National City University. It's not an extension course or a community college course, but she went on a couple dates with the dean a few years ago, back before the dean got back together with her now-husband, so Maggie was able to get the strings pulled to enroll. And it's been a hot minute since she's been in class, and since she's had homework, but she's excited. She honestly doesn't know much about exo-biology, other than what she's gathered anecdotally from friends and ex-girlfriends, and it seems like the kind of thing a science division detective should be up to date on.

 

So she's here.

 


 

She walks into the classroom and immediately thinks she's in the wrong room. It's small, just a 30-person room, not a big lecture hall. She's early, but there's one girl already here, and she confirms that she's there for Bio 367 too, so Maggie shrugs and takes a seat in the back. She's not really a college student, and she hates the feeling of people's eyes on her when she can't turn around and stare right back, so she's glad to have her choice of seat.

 

The room slowly fills in, mostly with dudes, a couple other girls, all so painfully young. And that makes sense, this is an undergrad class, but Maggie's 26 years feel ancient surrounded by these all bros. They all seem to be a type: the kind of bro who wears sweatpants and sports sandals and eats dry cereal from to-go coffee cups while bragging about parties and girls and fake IDs.

 

Maggie wonders if this was a mistake.

 

But then the instructor walks in. 

 

And, oh, she's gorgeous.

 

And Maggie got dumped about a month back, so she's in that spot where she no longer feels like she got kicked in the face or the gut, but she hasn't started dating again. So she's, frankly, a little keyed up. So her eyes are open, and this girl is something else.

 

She has short dark hair, cropped close to her chin, straight and serious. She's tall and muscular – fit and trim and strong but not too skinny. Her eyes are big and clear and focused and she is just...bangin'.

 

Maggie tries to close her mouth.

 


 

It turns out that having a hot professor isn't all it's cracked up to be.

 

After a couple weeks, Maggie honestly wishes that Danvers were an old dude – all warts and jowls and straining buttons – because then she could just focus on the material. And all the bros could just focus on the material. 

 

Instead, the bros are treating Danvers like shit. She's a graduate student, not a full professor, but she's the instructor of record of this course, it's her course, and they're barely even treating her like a TA. She introduced herself as Danvers – not Dr. Danvers, just Danvers – but they all call her either Miss Danvers, like this is a first-grade classroom, or Alex, like they're peers and they've earned the right to call her by her first name.

 

Maggie, firmly, calls her Danvers, even in her own head.

 

They talk about how hot she is before class starts, and don't stop when she walks in. They talk over her, they disagree with her, they tell her she's wrong about the material all the time.

 

In tonight's class, for example, one of them spent an inordinate amount of time explaining to Danvers that she obviously hadn't understood the text correctly, and was misinterpreting it, and what the author said was clearly something else.

 

And when Maggie had finally had enough, and had interrupted him – marking her first time actually speaking in the class – to tell him he was a fucking idiot because she was the author of the text they were reading, look, it says so right on the first fucking page, author: Alexandra Danvers, why don't you shut up and let her teach us – he'd just rolled his eyes. He'd shut up, obviously, because there was nothing else he could do, but he hadn't apologized, hadn't even really backed down. He'd kept up a steady grumble for the rest of the hour, and while Danvers seemed perfectly capable of ignoring him and continuing to teach like nothing had happened, it had made Maggie's blood boil.

 

Sexist, entitled, chauvinistic pieces of shit.

 

Maggie throws her notebook and pen and folder with her readings (printed out, which apparently marks her as a fossil) into her bag, and then takes a couple of deep breaths to try to bring her blood pressure back down before she leaves the classroom.

 

As she passes by the front of the room, where Danvers is also packing up her things, she nearly jumps out of her skin when a hand reaches for her forearm.

 

"Hey." Danvers' voice is soft, but firm. "It's Sawyer, right?"

 

Maggie nods, barely able to form a sentence because Danvers is so hot and so smart and so strong and so impressive and is right there and is touching her and smells good.

 

"You can't let them get to you like that," she says. Maggie has no idea what she's talking about. Her brain feels like it needs jumper cables to get started again.

 

"Huh?" She asks eloquently.

 

"Those guys." Danvers gestures toward the seats with the hand that had been on Maggie's forearm. Maggie misses it immediately.

 

"I wasn't going to just let them disrespect you like that." It comes out before Maggie has time to think about it. It's a little more aggressive than she intended.

 

Danvers gives her a soft, small smile. It's the first smile Maggie's ever seen from her. It's kind of earth shattering.

 

"I appreciate you defending me." Her voice is even softer and friendlier. "But you need to think about yourself, here. You have four years with these people, you don't need to antagonize them for my sake."

 

Maggie shakes her head as quickly as she can. "Oh, no, I don't. I don't go here."

 

Danvers furrows her brow, understandably confused.

 

"I'm a cop. I'm here for professional development, sort of."

 

Danvers looks even more confused. "This is a biology class," she says slowly, enunciating each word to display maximum concern and confusion.

 

"I'm trying to get promoted to the science division of NCPD," Maggie says, shifting her bag self-consciously on her shoulder. "That's the division that deals with alien crime and stuff, so I thought this course would look good on my application."

 

Danvers seems both satisfied and troubled by that. She looks at Maggie, really penetratingly looks at her, and Maggie feels like she's in one of those full-body scanners at the airport.

 

Danvers still has a crinkle (an adorable, sexy, beautiful, brilliant crinkle) between her eyebrows as she says, "I thought the science division was a joke."

 

Maggie gets a crinkle of her own. "What are you talking about?"

 

"I mean, no offense, Sawyer. I just thought it was where they put xenophobic old detectives who wouldn't retire. I didn't know they actually, you know, knew science."

 

And Maggie has to laugh, because it's true. "You're right," she says with a nod. "But I want to change that."

 

And Danvers gives her another look, deep and searching, before she nods briskly, almost to herself.

 

"Let's get a drink," she says. "After class next week."

 

Maggie's heart thuds and clunks in her chest.

 


 

Next week turns into three weeks. Maggie gets pulled into night-shift surveillance – she manages to get the actual class times off, but has to spend the rest of her evenings sitting in a smelly car with her shitty partner, watching the door of a warehouse that she knows is a dead end.

 

And Danvers cancels on her anyway, and she looks tired and a little harried, and she's walking with some stiffness.

 

And the bros aren’t letting up in class, but now when one of them says something idiotic or openly contradicts her, Danvers usually gives Maggie a little look. Sometimes warning her off, sometimes giving her the ghost of a knowing smile, sometimes clearly just looking at the one person in her corner. Maggie usually rolls her eyes back, but sometimes she tries to look at Danvers like she sees her, like she sees how brilliant she is, how patient she is, how generous she is.

 

She hopes it helps.

 

Finally, after the midterm – which was hard as hell, by the way, and Maggie knows most of the bros completely flunked it – they get that drink.

 

They walk together after class to a bar just down the street, which seems like it should be full of undergrads but it’s known for its craft beers and small batch whiskeys, and it’s quiet and kind of dark, and it’s divey in a way that doesn't seem to appeal to bros, and it’s notorious for having a bouncer that can spot a fake ID at 50 paces. So it's kind of a haven for grad students and younger faculty members. It's where Maggie had met the dean, back when they'd dated.

 

And they sit up at the bar, and Maggie is glad they aren't at a table because that's kind of intimate, but she also wishes they were at a table because she desperately wants to get intimate with this woman.

 

"So Danvers," she says, trying to cover up the awkwardness she just caused by moaning loudly at how good this whiskey is, "what's your life story?"

 

Danvers just raises an eyebrow. "Well," she starts, "In about 1919 my grandfather came to this country looking for a better life..."

 

Maggie laughs and faux shoves her shoulder. 

 

Danvers grins at her, really grins, and Maggie's heart flutters.

 

"Um, no, I don't know." Danvers fiddles with her glass. "What do you want to know?"

 

Danvers seems surprisingly uncomfortable talking about herself, so Maggie sets her up with a softball. "How'd you get into exo-biology?"

 

"I'm actually a bioengineer, by training," Danvers says casually, like that isn't an entirely different field. "I did a lot of work with genetics as well, as started specializing in alien populations while I was still an undergrad. And, uh, I started my PhD/MD work at Stanford but, uh..." She trails off for a second before waving her hand dismissively. "Whatever, I transferred, and I'm finishing it out here."


"Wait, wait, wait," Maggie waves her own hand in the air. "PhD/MD? Seriously?"

 

Danvers' eyes go kind of big, like she's worried. "Yeah?" Her voice is hesitant.

 

“You’re gonna be a doctor two ways?”

 

“…Yeah?” Even more hesitant.

 

Maggie grins at her. "Damn, Danvers, that's like...terrifyingly impressive."

 

And Danvers makes the cutest little sound, sort of like an amused snort, mixed with relief. "Yeah, well." And somehow she's immediately self-deprecating again. "Tell that to my mother."

 

Maggie cocks her head a little bit, and gives Danvers a searching glance of her own. "What, a double doctor isn't good enough for her?"

 

Danvers gives a little shrug, just one shoulder, and Maggie has to stop this line of inquiry immediately before she pulls Danvers into her arms and shows her just how good she is.

 

But then Danvers distracts her from that thought by tugging off her sweater, and Maggie is instantly turned on by her toned arms and the smooth expanse of chest visible above her tanktop.

 

But she's instantly on guard because of the bruises peppering her skin.

 

"Danvers," she says, her voice low and gentle but firm. 

 

Danvers makes a little sound, a hum of acknowledgement, but doesn't look up from trying to shove her sweater into the bag at her feet without getting off her barstool.

 

"Alex," Maggie says, and Danvers' head shoots up at her.

 

Maggie tries to present calmly and professionally. "You can trust me. You're safe with me, here."

 

And Danvers gets that crinkle again, and looks around the bar a little bit, clearly unsure what Maggie's supposed to be keeping her safe from.

 

But Maggie reaches out and points, and doesn't touch, but comes close, to one of the bruises on her upper arm. "Can you tell me who hurt you, Alex?"

 

Danvers looks down at her arm, and does a double take. She clearly didn't remember the bruises were there. That makes Maggie even more anxious.

 

But then Danvers just laughs. Throws her head back at laughs.

 

And it's not fucking funny. "This isn't a joke, Alex," Maggie says, trying to hold the line between firm and gentle. "No one has the right to touch you like this."

 

And Danvers stops laughing, and gives Maggie another look, one that makes all the others she's ever given her look quick and casual and disinterested.

 

She must see something she likes, because she sighs a little, gives Maggie a small smile, and then reaches down and pulls something out her bag.

 

She puts it down on the bar in front of Maggie, and her voice is still amused as she explains. "I transferred here because I was recruited by the FBI. I'm working there part-time while I finish my dissertation," she says, nudging her badge over to Maggie. "I'm being trained as a field operative, so I'll be able take care of myself when engaging directly with aliens in the line of duty."

 

Maggie stares at the FBI badge in front of her, with Danvers' picture and a shiny hologram.

 

“I’m still in training, hence the bruises, but,” she grins a little bit, eyes glinting. “You should see the other guy.”

 

Maggie just looks over at the woman next to her, strong and beautiful and fucking brilliant and, apparently, badass.

 

"Okay," she says slowly, "so you're going to be a doctor doctor special agent?"

 

Danvers gives her another adorable half-shrug.

 

Maggie just shakes her head, trying – and failing – to hide her grin. "Nerd," she says, and she hopes Danvers hears the affection in her voice.

 

She's pretty sure, from the way Danvers laughs, that she does.

 


 

They get drinks a couple more times before the semester ends. Danvers is the most captivating woman Maggie has ever met - her combination of devastatingly beautiful and devastatingly brilliant and devastatingly deadly and devastatingly brave and devastatingly soft was never going to be something Maggie could resist.

 

But Danvers is also, clearly, straight. Maggie flirts and Danvers responds but seems to think it's just friendly banter.

 

She doesn't ever mention a romantic interest, but one night the bartender might as well be a Victoria's Secret model and Danvers barely gives her a cursory glance.

 

Maggie resigns herself to not having outgrown her straight girl phase after all, and just pines quietly.

 


 

The class is hard. It got harder after the midterm, and isn’t letting up.

 

The bros are disgusted. Maggie loves it. (Not just because the bros are disgusted, although of course that helps).

 

Maggie thinks she could watch Danvers lecture every day for the rest of her life and not get bored. She’s just so fucking smart and she carries herself with such confidence and strength, and now that Maggie’s seen her out in the bar, where she’s kind of shy and awkward, it’s even more impressive.

 

And when her students genuinely challenge her, she rises to the occasion magnificently, demonstrating her brilliance and passion and compassion and she’s also drop dead gorgeous and Maggie wants.

 

And Maggie learns, because Danvers is hard but she’s good, and she’s demanding, and Maggie’s getting so much better prepared for this job that she could have ever been otherwise.

 


 

She tries to keep in touch when the semester ends. She wants to keep in touch. But thinking about Danvers distracts her at work, and she needs this promotion. And then she starts dating Jessie and she resolutely puts all thoughts of Danvers out of her head. She gets a pang every time she uses what she learned in class, or sees that line on her application, but she tries, really really tries, to forget her.

 

They don't keep in touch.

 

Maggie wonders if they'll cross paths if she ever gets this fucking promotion.

 


 

It isn't until Maggie is crouched on a tarmac several years later that she gets her answer.

 

"What the hell do you think you’re doing at my crime scene?" Danvers' voice is sharp, and Maggie's right in assuming that Danvers didn't recognize her, crouched down with her hair falling in front of her face, because Danvers' eyes flash with surprise when Maggie stands up.

 

And Maggie shows her the science division badge, and Danvers' eyes trace it, and Maggie thinks she can see a hint of pride. But then Danvers shows her own, Secret Service, this time, and Maggie doesn't ask but her mind whirls.

 

And they spar over jurisdiction, and Maggie hopes Danvers gets the joke when she lectures her about Kryptonians and Infernians having heat vision. It was, of course, Danvers who’d taught her about heat vision and about Kryptonians and about Infernians and about measuring the distance between scorch marks, so of course Maggie knows that Danvers knows. Danvers is a fucking Dr. Dr. Secret Agent Exo-biology Professor and she was just standing next to Supergirl so, yeah, she knows.

 

And she does get it – does get the reference to her class and to their shared history and to those bros who always doubted her – because she drops her professional face, just for a moment, to roll her eyes affectionately. "Nerd," she says, but she's smiling.

 


 

"You know," Maggie says, "They didn't teach me a thing about anti-gravity guns at the Academy."

 

Danvers is standing behind her, and Maggie was mostly joking, because why would the police academy have taught her about anti-gravity guns, but Danvers honestly is probably an expert in anti-gravity guns.

 

And in fact, she is. 

 

"We're analyzing thermal residue to look for any electromagnetic component to these weapons so that we can create a countermeasure."

 

And they've been working together a lot lately, and so Maggie knows that response is just so Alex, that all she can do is shake her head and grin.

 

"Nerd."

 


 

"Gotta be honest," Maggie says, standing in a jail cell with her girlfriend, "I freaking loved Leslie Willis' radio show before she went nuts."

 

And then they make a bet, and of all the things in the world Maggie could wager, she picks vegan ice cream. Because it's delicious and Alex eats like crap and Maggie doesn't want to have the real stuff in the house because she can't control herself around Chunky Monkey.

 

And Alex just rolls her eyes and says, with a smile in her voice, "Nerd."

 


 

Alex brings a gun back from space, and she (a) went to space to (b) successfully rescued her sister (c) along with dozens of other people and (d) oh and by the way her sister is Supergirl, and she was (e) in space and she (f) broke up with Maggie but then (g) used her puppy eyes to get them back together, but the thing she wants to talk about most from all of that is that she brought back a cool gun.

 

And Maggie is so fucking mad at her, but she never stood a fucking chance of resisting this woman.

 

So, as her girlfriend waxes eloquent about her gun for the umpteenth time, Maggie just shakes her head and grins.

 

"Nerd."

 

Chapter Text

“Hey, Khara!”

 

Kara looks down at her phone for a second, suspicious. The phone says it’s Maggie calling, but Kara’s never heard Maggie’s voice sound like this before.

 

“Maggie?”

 

“Kkhhara! Hey! The sister of my – my Alex’s sister! The sister of my Alex!”

 

Kara lets out a deep breath. “Hoo boy.” Maggie’s drunk. Maggie’s shitfaced. Maggie’s shitfaced and Alex is out of town and Maggie called Kara.

 

And Maggie and Alex have been together for a while now, and things have been a lot better between Maggie and Kara since Alex was kidnapped, but they don’t exactly hang out without Alex. They can chill in the living room together while Alex runs around the corner to pick up dinner or whatever, but that’s pretty much it.

 

But Maggie’s shitfaced and Alex is out of town and out of all the people in city Maggie could have called, she called Kara.

 

So Kara gets Winn to track Maggie’s phone, because Maggie keeps accidentally hanging up on her out of excitement to be on the phone with “the sister of my Alex,” and so she finds herself standing outside a sports bar in a part of town she rarely goes to.

 

And she elbows her way inside and has to use her x-ray vision to find Maggie because she’s smashed up against the bar, surrounded by tall men yelling at TV screens.

 

“Kkhara!!” Maggie’s face practically splits into pieces from the force of her grin, dimples threatening to tunnel down into her gums, and Kara understands the power this woman has over her sister. That smile, honestly. “How’d you know I was here!?” Maggie is just thrilled with this turn of events, and she’s completely off her face but so happy that Kara can’t help but grin.

 

“I came to take you home, slugger. You’re a little drunk.” Kara reaches out a hand, but Maggie instead propels her entire body into motion, throwing an arm around Kara’s shoulders and pulling her into the bar. The force of it would have knocked most humans down, and Kara spares a moment to be grateful that her sister is so physically strong.

 

“No! Khhhara! You gotta stay, we gotta watch, I’m magic, I’m helping!” Maggie gestures with her other hand to the TVs which seem to be showing a hockey game.

 

“You’re watching the hockey game?” Kara’s confused – Maggie’s never mentioned hockey before.

 

“Yeah! But you gotta take a shot every time they fight, okay, super Kara?”

 

Kara pinches the bridge of her nose. “Hoo boy,” she says again. That’s a lot of shots.

 

“How about you take shots of water for the next few?” She offers.

 

Maggie blinks at her a few times, face serious, before she cracks another huge grin. “THE SISTER OF MY ALEX IS A BABY GENIUS,” she crows, waving her arms dramatically to make sure the whole bar knows.

 

She gets literally everyone in the entire bar to take a shot of water for the next fight, which Kara’s sure the bartenders are thrilled about, and she clinks with all the people around her, and makes them all cheers “to hydration.”

 

She’s fucking hilarious. Kara’s filled her phone with photos and videos, and she sneaks Maggie’s (inputting her sister’s birthday as Maggie’s lock code, because this woman is so fucking smitten it’s ridiculous) to take more footage.

 

By the end of the game, Maggie has transferred herself entirely onto Kara’s back, holding on like a koala. And she’s so happy, and she won’t stop yelling into Kara’s ear about how much she loves Alex, and how much Alex would love shots of water because Alex is a doctor and doctors love hydrating, and how much of her body is water, and how much she loves Alex, and how being smart must be genetic in the Danvers family, and how she knows they aren’t genetic-ed together because of the big ole secret she can’t say (Kara shoves another shot of water in her mouth there), and how much she loves Alex.

 

And Maggie makes Kara walk her all around the bar like a victory lap and she shakes hands with every single person in there, and calls them all “my dude” and she tells them all “I know you love me but I’m a lesbian for my Alex and this horse is her sister” and Kara is so glad to see that not one of them seems to even blink at that information.

 

Kara doesn’t get her out of the bar until about twenty minutes after the victory lap ends because Maggie remembered she had pictures of Alex on her phone and wanted to show them to everyone because “my Alex is the most beautiful doctor of aliens in the multiverse, my dudes.”

 

But finally they’re outside on the sidewalk, Maggie still piggybacked on Kara.

 

Kara considers her options, and figures it can’t hurt.

 

She trots to a nearby alley and transfers Maggie from her back to her front, tucking her firmly underneath one arm.

 

“What are you doing, my horse of Alex? Where are you – OH MY GO—WHOOOOOOAAAAAA!” They lift off, Kara going slowly at first in case Maggie is going to freak out or get squirmy.

 

But Maggie’s eyes just get super wide and she whoops and she is clearly so fucking delighted. Kara flies her home the long way, detouring over the ocean and doing a couple loops because she’s never seen Maggie so happy, so light, so childish, so thrilled.

 

When Kara touches them down inside Maggie’s living room, Maggie looks up at her, eyes glassy with happiness. “Can we do that again with my Alex?”

 


 

 

Maggie wakes up to one of the worst headaches she’s ever had.

 

She groans, and it takes her nearly ten minutes to screw up the courage to open her eyes.

 

She rolls over – so slowly – and grabs her phone off her nightstand. She can’t believe she remembered to plug it in. She must have been off her fucking face last night – she can barely remember a thing.

 

Her face screws up in confusion – she has like a million texts in the group message with Kara, Winn, James, and Alex. She scrolls through them, realizing that they’re photos and videos from Kara documenting her whole night.

 

This is monumentally embarrassing.

 

Alex clearly woke up earlier, and has already flooded Maggie with loving texts, admiring her shots technique and confirming her medical approval of “water shots.” Alex says that she loves her and that she’ll be home tonight and she’s ordered a pizza to be delivered at 12:30pm to get Maggie through her hangover.

 

She’s the perfect woman.

 

Maggie has one more text, this one from Kara.

 

i had the BEST time last night, my dude. can’t wait for the next hockey game. xox -the sister/horse of your alex.

Chapter Text

Alex is thirteen when Kara gets her letter.

 

It comes in the mail, glittering green ink on heavy cream-colored parchment.

 

It isn’t addressed like the rest of their mail to “Eliza Danvers” or “Jeremiah Danvers” or “Dr. and Dr. Danvers” or “the Danvers Family” or even “Alex and Kara Danvers.”

 

It’s addressed just to Kara.

 

They’ve never seen a letter quite like it before, with a detailed coat of arms stamped into a real purple wax seal on the back, like in the Elizabethan times.

 

And Kara opens it, right there at the dinner table, and their lives change forever.

 

HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY  

Dear Ms. Kara Danvers,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.

 

They all immediately understand what it is. They may not be wizards, but they’re one of the few families of non-wizards who know about the wizarding world. Alex’s father is a scientist and he worked with a couple of wizards to measure their power, to try to adapt their powers for the betterment of the entire world, not just the wizarding world. He worked closely with Clark Kent before Alex was born, and Clark Kent is basically the second coming of Harry Potter, the golden boy of the contemporary wizarding world, so Alex has always known about wizards.

 

She just never thought her little sister would be one.

 

None of them really know it all works, not really.

 

Alex wonders if her letter got stuck in the mail. She wonders if kids get them at different ages. She wonders if hers is coming next year, or for college, or something.

 

She wonders about Kara’s birth parents – were they wizards? Alex’s parents had adopted her when she was six, and Kara wracks her brain, after her letter comes, but she can’t remember either of her parents using a wand or doing anything magical. If they weren’t wizards, and the Danvers’ aren’t wizards, there’s a chance for Alex, right?

 

Alex tries not to be jealous.

 

But she fails when Kara goes to Diagon Alley with Clark and Jeremiah and comes back with a magic wand and goofy looking witch robes and a live owl and textbook after textbook about doing actual, real, honest-to-god magic.

 

And she fails when Kara pulls out a ticket for a train leaving King’s Cross Station from Platform 9 ¾ on September the first.

 

And she fails when Eliza and Jeremiah can’t talk about anything but how wonderful it will be to have a witch in the family.

 

And she fails when her letter doesn’t come.

 

They all go, on September the first, to take Kara to the train. The Hogwarts Express, Clark tells them it’s called. They all stand in the station, awkwardly between platforms 9 and 10, and Clark puffs out his chest and says that probably only one of them should accompany Kara through the barrier onto the platform.

 

And Alex hates, in that moment. Hates Clark, hates her stupid parents, hates Kara, hates Hogwarts, hates Kara’s dumb owl, hates magic. It burns in her, hotter and sadder and more lonely than anything she’s ever felt before.

 

Kara refuses to be separated from Alex yet, so she insists that they all come through the barrier with her. Clark is clearly frustrated but he agrees, and they all walk briskly through the wall together. Kara and Alex go first, holding hands.

 

They walk through a wall.

 

The train is scarlet and steaming, and the crowd is wild and kids are screaming and some of them are older than Alex and she wonders if she’ll get her letter next year, or maybe the one after next.

 

Clark is immediately swarmed with fans. He’s the second-most famous wizard with black hair and glasses, after all. Alex knows all about Harry Potter from her parents and from Kara and from sneaking Kara’s new History of Magic textbook into her own bed during the night and devouring it, cover to cover.

 

Clark helps Kara get her trunk onto the train, and Alex still doesn’t understand why she couldn’t have used a rolling suitcase like a normal person (because she isn’t normal, the hateful voice in her head whispers). Kara pops back out, after stowing her owl and, knowing Kara, probably making about five new friends in the process, to give them all hugs.

 

Kara cries when she hugs Alex goodbye and promises to write her constantly until they see each other at Christmas, but Alex doesn’t cry.

 

She’s too sad and jealous and hateful and lonely and miserable to cry.

 

That waits until she’s back home again, back in the room that now feels so completely empty.

 

Back an only child again.

 


 

They all wait with baited breath for Kara’s first letter. Clark tells them it’ll come by owl post, which none of them completely understand but Eliza and Jeremiah just nod knowingly, so Alex doesn’t ask.

 

Apparently it means that Kara’s owl will swoop in Alex’s bedroom window at 3am and wake her up by pecking the bottom of her foot, scaring the shit out of her. She knows, logically, that the bird isn’t going to peck her eyes out, but she moves cautiously anyway, telling the bird out loud that she’s going to untie the envelope from it’s legs, okay?

 

And she can’t wait for her parents. She opens the letter, and when she gets to the very bottom her heart shatters.

 

“P.S.” Kara had written, “All the new students are eleven, like me.”

 

It seems casual, but it’s code. She knows what Alex has been wondering – they’d talked about it before she’d left.

 

She knew exactly what she was saying.

 

Alex’s letter is never coming.

 

She’s too old.

 

She’ll never be a wizard.

 


 

Alex tries not to think about that year.

 

Looking back, it was definitely the bleakest year of her life.

 

After Kara’s first year, Alex acclimates a little bit. Kara comes back that Christmas and that summer bursting with information and spells and a radiating happiness that makes the big sister in Alex happy.

 

Kara is just so happy.

 

And Kara wants to tell Alex all about everything, and Alex listens, and she learns. And Kara brings home her textbooks and Alex reads them all, cover to cover. And then Kara goes to Diagon Alley and gets her second year’s books and Alex reads them all before September the first.

 

And Alex doesn’t have a wand and can’t do any magic – she tries a few times, sneaking Kara’s wand in the dead of night. Nothing happens, even when she does the swish and flick so clearly diagrammed in the Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1). But she still learns everything there is to know.

 

She loves the history and theory, but her favorite books that first summer are The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection and Magical Draughts and Potions.

 

After a few years, when she gets to choose, Kara focuses on Charms and Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures and Muggle Studies and writes for the school newspaper.

 

Alex knows that if she’d ever gotten a letter, she would focus on Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts and Astronomy and Arithmancy.

 

And Kara somehow knows, so every year when she comes back from Diagon Alley, she brings back books for Alex, even for the subjects she’s never taken.

 

And Alex spends her nights and weekends pouring over the texts, learning everything she can.

 

And Alex never stops being jealous, never stops wondering why she wasn’t good enough, wasn’t special enough, wasn’t magical enough, to get a letter.

 

But she stops hating Kara. She stops hating wizards, and magic.

 

She learns and she learns and she wonders, sometimes, why she bothers.

 


 

Alex graduates from her non-magical high school and goes to her non-magical college, where she studies chemistry and biology and engineering and genetics and physics and self-defense and takes history classes and tries to match up events in the magical world with what she learns.

 

When Kara finally turns seventeen, and can do magic outside of school, Alex sneaks her into the lab and tries to measure what actually happens when she turns a gerbil into a teacup – genetically, biologically, chemically.

 

Alex does a thesis in bioengineering and easily makes honors, but she also does a second secret thesis that only she and Kara know about – one in magical studies.

 

And she and Kara have an apartment together and stay up late talking about the merits of wand-based warfare (but what if the Hogwarts Defenders had had grenades or machine guns, Alex wants to know, in overwhelming numbers? At least to take out the trolls and inferi, if not any of the wizards?). And Alex refuses to eat any of the food Kara cooks with magic until she analyzes it in the lab, and Kara just laughs. And none of Kara’s friends from Hogwarts understand why she lives with a muggle (a term that, out of respect, Kara doesn’t use for Alex), but she insists she doesn’t want to live anywhere else.

 

So they come to visit, first Winn, then James and Lucy, then Lena. At first they’re stilted when Alex is home, refusing to talk about magic or school or their jobs in the wizarding world, pretending they’re normal.

 

But Kara talks openly with all of them, Alex included, about her job as the personal assistant to the editor of the Daily Prophet, the notorious Slytherin Cat Grant, and she reminisces with the others about the disastrous day they’d tried to levitate pigs in Charms and she casually makes them all hot chocolate with her wand, and the others relax.

 

Muggle-born Winn soon learns that Alex is the best person to talk to about integrating computer games into the magical world, and James learns that Alex understands the chemistry behind making pictures move in ways that no one he’s ever met in the wizarding world does, and Alex can debate the finer points of wizard military tactics with Lucy, and Alex understands how hard it is for Lena to be a relative of Bellatrix Lestrange’s because she’s read every book there is about the rise and fall of Voldemort.

 

And so Alex is folded into the wizarding world of twenty-something’s, and sometimes they forget that she isn’t actually a witch, that she can’t actually do magic, that she never got a letter. They laugh sometimes, when they forget, when they absently ask Alex to apparate to meet them or to summon something from across the room.

 

They laugh, and Alex laughs too but it’s not funny. She’s flattered, in a way, but it’s not real.

 

She fits in well enough that they forget, sometimes. But Alex never forgets.

 

She wakes each day and walks among gods, and she never forgets that’s just a mortal.

 

Just a mortal who never got a letter.

 


 

 

Eventually someone says something to someone – maybe Lucy, maybe Kara, maybe Winn. Someone says something to the wrong person – or the right person – and Alex finds herself being recruited for a government organization she didn’t even know existed.

 

She’s having a bad night, that night. Kara and the rest are at a reunion at Hogwarts, and obviously Alex wasn’t invited, but her roommate/sister and all of her friends are wizards and wizards are a secret, so Alex doesn’t really have friends of her own. It would be too complicated.

 

So everyone she likes is gone, out of town, literally off any map in the world, and so she goes out by herself and gets hammered and tries to forget about being letterless and being wandless and about how she accidentally killed that gerbil trying to scientifically turn it into a teacup in the lab today. And she gets picked up by a cop for trying to drive home, and she can’t explain to him that Kara installed self-driving spells into the car over a year ago, so she goes to jail.

 

And a man comes to pluck her out the cell, and he tells her that he knows that her sister is extraordinary, and the way he says the word makes it clear that he doesn’t just mean that she’s pretty and sweet and smart.

 

He says he works for an organization that needs Alex’s help – needs her science and her knowledge and her connections and her strength.

 

The DEO it’s called – the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. It’s a secret federal agency that works to integrate the wizarding government and population into the general ones. They monitor the nation for wizards who mean to do harm to non-wizards or to property, as well as non-wizards who know too much and want to use that knowledge for their own gain or to create harm. Alex describes it to Kara as the muggle side of the Ministry of Magic – Aurors and diplomats and politicians and Wizengamot all kind of rolled into one.

 

And J’onn trains Alex – in anti-wizard combat, in diplomacy, in history, and lets her do her thing with all of the technology and laboratory space her heart desires.

 

And it turns out, she’s really really good.

 

A wizard pops up, a few years after she starts working for the DEO, who names himself Hellgrammite. He’s powerful, really powerful. He gets the best of J’onn and the rest of the team and abducts Alex, apparating with her to warehouse across town. And she doesn’t have a wand and she can’t do magic, but Alex defeats him using her bare hands and her brain and her strength and her wits.

 

Kara’s aunt – from her birth parents – goes bad, bringing up all the old magic is might shit that Alex can’t really believe people are still trying. Kara is desperate to try to turn her to the side of good again (“Dumbledore believed in the power of love, Alex, remember the stories about Severus Snape?”) but Alex thinks she’s naïve. And then Astra and her creepy husband try to kill Kara, to use magical mind control on every muggle in the nation, and there’s a fight, and Alex kills her with a sword of her own design.

 

And she becomes known, in the very small circles who could possibly know, as the muggle who kills wizards. Almost like a muggle Auror, they whisper. Like old Mad-Eye Moody, they say, but muggle. And she doesn’t want to be known as a killer, but it’s the first time she’s been proud of her accomplishments – really truly proud of them – since she was thirteen.

 

When Clark needs help defeating the newest iteration of the Death Eaters, who call themselves Cadmus, Alex dons a suit of her own design which repels certain spells and grants her certain powers. All made with science and technology, and not with even a single magical spell.

 

It works.

 

She fights against a powerful wizard called Metallo (why the stupid names, she wonders absently, as she punches him with her super-human strength) and he’s completely surprised by her physical attack. His eyes get wider and wider as impedimenta and stupefy and crucio have no effect on her. His gaze hardens, and he uses avada kedavra, and, as Alex javelins a metal pipe into chest, she hopes her suit holds up against the most unforgiveable of curses.

 

It does.

 

Alex gets invited to Hogwarts, and Kara apparates her to the gates and she walks through them with shaking hands. And she looks up at the castle with awe and tries not to squeak with surprise when the suits of armor at the front doors bow to her. And there are ghosts inside, and unicorns and a couple of centaurs outside, but Alex holds her head up. She tries not to act like a muggle. She tries not to shame her sister.

 

She gives lectures to the Muggle Studies classes and to the upper-level Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions students, and she meets with the faculty to talk about her work and how the DEO can be more helpful to Hogwarts.

 

And Kara takes her to the Quidditch pitch and she’s borrowed a broom and she takes Alex up on it, Alex clinging to her back with an iron grip. And Kara loops the goal posts before flying her around the castle and over the Forbidden Forest and Alex tries not to feel so much for a place that never wanted her in the first place.

 

Kara takes her to Dumbledore’s grave, and Alex places a hand on the white stone with reverence. Kara takes her to the monument for those lost in the Battle of Hogwarts and Alex salutes them like the fallen soldiers they are.

 

And later Alex is invited to speak at the Ministry of Magic, and she’s the first muggle invited inside in memory. And Kara takes her in through the guest entrance, a phone booth that stands out simply by still existing.

 

And Alex talks with the Aurors and the Wizengamot and she rides an elevator that’s filled with paper airplanes and everyone around her could kill her with a stick of wood and enough malicious intent.

 

And later Alex is invited to St. Mungo’s and she meets with the healers and helps them with several patients – both wizard and muggle – and she got into the building by talking to mannequin and she has nightmares about that for months.

 

And Alex becomes known, in her tiny circles, as That Muggle, and she guesses it’s better than being known for killing.

 

But she’s still famous for being a muggle, for how miraculous it is for a mere muggle – one of the pitiful wandless – to be able to approximate things wizards can easily do.

 

She’s still a muggle.

 

She’s still reminded, now more than ever, that her letter never came.

 


 

Alex doesn’t date, as a rule. She can’t bring herself to date a wizard – it would open so many wounds she likes to pretend are scabbed over – and dating a muggle who knows nothing about the wizarding world would require such a web of lies that Alex is exhausted just thinking about it.

 

Kara dates a lot – her boss’s son Adam, a couple guys from the wizarding version of tindr (called Lumos/Nox), James for a hot second, a bland trashcan named Mon-El from Beauxbatons.

 

And, for each one of them, Alex listens to her gush when they make romantic eye contact and reads the flirty pre-date messages and helps her pick out her outfit for their first dates and buys her ice cream when they break up.

 

But Alex doesn’t date.

 

And then a wizard attacks the muggle government, and Alex has a run in with a beautiful detective – a woman with long dark hair and a black leather jacket and a badge and an attitude and two big dimples.

 

And it turns out her name is Maggie and it turns out she knows about wizards. She invites Alex for a drink and takes her to a wizard bar – not the Cauldron but a dive Alex has never been to, which seems to cater to a much more grunge crowd than Kara’s. Maggie tells Alex that she’s dated some wizards – witches, actually – and she likes them better than most muggles. She uses the word muggle, and Alex has never heard another non-wizard use that term, but Maggie seems to carry it like a badge of honor.

 

Non-straight, non-white, non-magic muggle from Blue Springs, Nebraska.

 

She says it like it isn’t an insult.

 

Like she hasn’t been waiting for her letter since she was thirteen years old.

 

Like she’s happy with who she is, even though she doesn’t have a wand and she can’t apparate and never got to play Quidditch.

 

Like she’s good enough – for the world, for wizards. For herself.

 

And Alex wonders, for the first time since that thick envelope with the glittering green ink came through their mail slot, if, just maybe, she’s good enough just as she is.

 


 

 

Alex falls, and falls hard, for Maggie.

 

For someone who can’t do magic.

 

For someone who is wandless, who never got a letter, who can pick up a teacup in her own house without squinting at it and not recognizing it and getting into an ethical spiral about if it’s cruelty to use it for tea if it had ever been a mammal.

 

Alex thinks Maggie is perfect. Smart, and tough, and so beautiful.

 

Alex doesn’t think Maggie would be better if she were a wizard. Alex doesn’t wish Maggie were a wizard, doesn’t regret that Maggie is a muggle. Alex doesn’t wish Maggie had a wand or could apparate or remembers that time all the ghosts had a convention at Hogwarts.

 

And Maggie tells her – insists, actually – that she doesn’t wish that Alex were a wizard.

 

That she doesn’t mind that Alex never got a letter.

 

That she likes it when Alex drives her motorcycle with her own hands. That she likes when they cook by touching the stove and cutting the vegetables manually. That she likes how Alex curses when they go camping and the fire keeps trying to die on her. That she likes the technology and suits and weapons that Alex makes with her hands and her mind in her lab.

 

And Alex can’t quite believe her – still convinced that if she’d gotten a letter she’d be better, stronger, more powerful, more worthy.

 

But it’s a start.

 

It’s enough.

 

Maggie’s love is enough to soften the edges of the jealousy that have been slicing her up inside since she was thirteen. Maggie’s love and her dimples are enough to loosen the tightness around her chest that’s been slowly poisoning her since her first glimpse of cream-colored parchment and glittering green ink. Maggie’s love and her dimples and the insistent touch of her hands on Alex’s skin are enough to make Alex think that, just maybe, she’s actually loveable – even though she never got her letter and never got sorted and never found out once and for all if she would be a Gryffindor or a Slytherin.

 

So when Kara and James and Winn and Lucy and Lena get tickets to the Quidditch World Cup (courtesy of Cat Grant, who finally forgave Kara for dumping her son), and they invite Alex and Maggie to come with them, Alex says yes without hate in her heart.

 

And she and Maggie stand together in the skybox, arms wrapped close around each other, and they cheer and yell and kiss.

 

And for the first time since she was thirteen, Alex is surrounded by wizards and she doesn’t feel lonely or powerless or sad.

 

Maggie makes her feel powerful and strong and full.

 

And sure, Alex is still jealous of how Kara holds up her wand and lights it with a thought and sways back and forth, holding it over her head, along with the hundreds of thousands of other wizards in the stadium.

 

But Alex is powerful too, and Maggie is in her arms and Maggie is taking pictures on her phone and smiling, and Alex is wearing Maggie’s ring on her finger, and she has, finally, stopped waiting for her letter.

Chapter Text

Laura knew this high school summer internship program at NCPD would look good on her resume, and she’d been rejected from the internship at the Justice Department that she’d applied for, so it was definitely her best option. She was looking forward to it, kind of, to getting a better sense of the work, to living in National City, to meeting the other interns. But she wasn’t that excited about meeting the cops. She’s about Black Lives Matter and #sayhername and she’s visibly a person of color and she’s just not that sure about cops.

 

Nat, the other high school student she’s partnered with for the program, feels kind of the same way. Nat has a nose ring and her hair is shorter on one side of her head than the other and it’s bleached and Nat just looks cool. And during their first orientation week it’s just the interns, no cops, and Laura and Nat talk about the problems with policing and the blue line and both sort of wonder why they’re there.

 

On Friday of that first week, they both find out that their detective mentor – not the person they’ll be with the most, but a person who is supposed to hang with them a couple times during the internship, and give them some career counseling, and be a good connection for them in the future – is named Detective Maggie Sawyer.

 

“At least she’s a girl,” they both say, looking up from their papers. “Jinx!” Laura calls.

 


 

 

Maggie watches her two interns for a while before she approaches them. They seem to like each other, which helps. Her two last year were indifferent to each other – and to her – and that made it much tougher.

 

But Maggie had particularly requested girls this year, and had an unofficial conversation with the director of the program about sending her the girls of color and/or the queer girls. The kids who might not feel safe with the other detectives.

 

And you can never tell from looking, but Maggie’s pretty sure that Nat’s queer – with the piercings and the combat boots and the hair and the flannel and the drawn-on sharpie tattoo on her bicep. And Laura’s brown, classically pretty with long straight hair and big eyes, but Laura seems to be looking at Nat in a way that makes Maggie ache a little bit with remembering.

 

So maybe they’re both queer, then.

 

And Maggie’s job is to be their role model and be someone they can come to at the station with problems, but if she’s going to be doing some gay mentoring as well, she needs to get them out of the station and into a safe space for their questions.

 

So she saunters over and introduces herself to them, and Laura’s eyes go wide that’s she brown too, and Maggie invites them to come over to her house for dinner tonight to get to know them better.

 

They obviously say yes.

 


 

Alex’s had the most frustrating day. Paperwork from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon without a break, and then an alien started smashing concrete out by the foundry, so she and Supergirl and her team had suited up and headed out. And it’s hot outside, unseasonably hot, so her tactical gear had made her sweaty and sluggish.

 

And it turns out that Supergirl was able to stop, subdue, and de-escalate without any of the rest of them, and the alien wasn’t breaking any laws and seemed genuinely apologetic, so Alex was 100% not needed. She got back to the DEO dripping with sweat and covered, head-to-toe, in concrete dust just to find a mountain of paperwork about the incident on her desk.

 

She wanted to scream.

 

She stayed at her desk until she was at serious risk of gouging out her own eyeballs. So around six she packed up her things, forgot she wasn’t wearing her steel toed boots, kicked her desk, and hobbled out of the building, just desperate to get home and shower and then wrap herself around Maggie and touch her skin and smell her hair and never let go.

 

As she’s standing at the door, fiddling with her keys, she hears voices inside. She wonders if Maggie has the TV on or if she invited people over.

 

She hopes for the first, but steels herself for the second.

 

She opens the door and squints a little, seeing Maggie and two teenagers standing around her counter, surrounded by mixing bowls and ingredients, and laughing.

 

They all look over at her when she comes in, and Alex doesn’t miss the way both girls’ eyes widen – the dark haired one in confusion, the blonde in disbelieving excitement.

 

Alex cautiously toes off her shoes at the door before coming in further.

 

“Hey, Al!” Maggie beams at her but doesn’t come over to greet her. “These are my interns for the summer. That’s Laura,” she points with a hand that seems to be covered in…cheese? “And that’s Nat.”

 

Alex nods at both of them, her own hands still covered in a fine layer of concrete dust.

 

“Hi,” she says, trying to sound like she had a perfectly decent day. “I’m Alex, it’s nice to meet you.”

 

They both murmur something back.

 

By this point Alex has crossed over and is standing behind the counter with Maggie, looking down at their project.

 

“Sorry for the no-warning about dinner, I know it’s usually Thai night, but we’re making enchiladas,” Maggie says, with a sheepish look in her eye. “We just put them in oven.”

 

“That explains the cheese hands,” Alex mutters.

 

“You okay?” Maggie asks her, clearly trying to check in while also acting casual in front of the girls.

 

“Yeah, no, I’m fine.” Alex lets out a little breath and smiles down at her beautiful partner. “Just a long day, but I’m fine. Nothing a beer and a shower and your enchiladas can’t fix.”

 

Alex bumps her hip against Maggie’s, and Maggie grins up at her. “Hi, by the way,” Maggie says softly, in the voice she has that just creates an intimate little bubble for just the two of them, no matter where they are or who they’re around.

 

“Hi,” Alex says back, her own voice soft and loving. And without thinking about it, because this is her home and her girlfriend and her long day, Alex leans down and gives her a little kiss. It’s fast and short, just a peck really, but Alex never really feels at home – never really feels like she’s come home, never really feels like she’s actually with Maggie – until she does it.

 

But as soon as she pulls away, she remembers the girls and she remembers that they’re from work and they’re definitely under age and she feels a little weird about it. But Maggie just grins at her again.

 

“Want me to get you that beer?” She asks.

 

“Nah, I’m gonna hop in the shower real quick first. I smell god awful.”

 

Maggie laughs, and one of the girls titters.

 

Alex heads off to the bathroom.

 

“Oh, babe,” Maggie calls, “I put the towels in the laundry so you should grab a new one from the closet.”

 

Alex turns back towards her, walking backwards now, navigating the coffee table impressively. “Always two steps ahead, Detective,” she says, with a loving smirk. God, this woman.

  


 

 

Maggie counts down from ten in her head after the bathroom door closes behind Alex. She’s guessing Nat will ask it before she gets to “three.”

 

She asks it at “five.” Maggie gives herself a mental high five.

 

“Wait,” Nat says, hesitantly but firmly. “So you’re, like, gay?”

 

Maggie can’t quite hold back her entire grin, but she manages to keep it under control. She wants to say I’m not like gay, I’m super fucking gay but she doesn’t. “Yup,” she says casually.

 

Nat tries to play it cool, but completely fails. “Cool,” she says, like her eyes aren’t bugging out of her head.

 

Laura is just blinking, looking back and forth between the two of them and the bathroom door like a tennis match.

 

“Do the other cops know?” It’s not the question Maggie expected Nat to ask next, so she really looks at the girl for minute before answering. Poor closeted baby gay.

 

“Yes,” she says clearly. “Everyone knows. It’s not how I introduce myself or anything, I don’t do like, Hi I’m Maggie I’m a lesbian detective who likes women, you know,” she pauses for them to giggle, “but I’ve never hidden my girlfriends or kept them away from the station.” She pauses for a moment, then says one more thing. “I’m not interested in being in the closet – not at work, not anywhere. I’m pretty done with that.”

 

Both girls nod, eyes wide.

 

It’s Laura who asks the next question. “Is everyone okay with it?”

 

“At work?” Maggie asks. Laura nods. “Yeah, they’re pretty good. I mean, National City in general is pretty good, that’s one of the reasons why I moved here. I mean, even Supergirl flies in the Pride Parade here, you know?” They both nod like they know a lot about Supergirl, even though they aren’t from National City, and Maggie makes a mental note to have them meet her at some point this summer. “And I’m sure there are people at the station who aren’t totally supportive, but everyone I work closely with knows and is very cool with it.”

 

“That’s awesome,” Laura says.

 

“Yeah, it really is.” Maggie gives that moment to settle. “And it helps that Alex is around a lot, she’s FBI actually so we work together quite a bit – that’s how we met – and everyone likes her.”

 

“And knows I could kick their ass if they say shit to you.” Three heads swivel to the bathroom, where a newly clean Alex is leaning against the door in a bathrobe with a smirk, steam swirling out from behind her head.

 

Maggie just rolls her eyes. “I think you mean they know that I could kick their ass if they say shit,” Maggie says.

 

Alex cracks a grin. “Tiny little badass,” she teases.

 

“I hate you,” Maggie grumbles.

 

“You love me,” Alex reminds her.

 

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

 


 

They don’t talk about it again until they’re all sitting down at the table with their enchiladas, after they’ve remembered to make a salad and Alex has had time to get dressed.

 

It’s Nat, again who asks the first question. She asks it to Maggie, trying to sound brave. “How—uh, how long have you been out?”

 

“Um…been out?” Maggie’s mind races, trying to figure out what to tell these kids. Alex reaches over and tucks a strand of Maggie’s hair behind her ear, letting her fingers linger on the dark strands. “I guess since I was fourteen, although I didn’t live openly as a lesbian until later.”

 

“You knew when you were fourteen?” It’s Laura this time, and her tone is both admiring and worried.

 

“Yeah,” Maggie says carefully. “There was this girl, you know?” She smiles and Nat laughs. “But my parents weren’t supportive and I lived in a small conservative town, so I didn’t date or anything until I went away to college.”

 

Alex squeezes her hand under the table.

 

Nat turns her head to Alex this time. “Did you know in high school too?”

 

Alex shakes her head, smiling. “No, I was pretty late to the party, actually. I didn’t know until I met this one.” She inclines her head toward Maggie, and she expects Nat’s whispered whoa, but she pays special attention to how Laura’s eyes widen and drop to her plate, her body frozen and waiting.

 

“Really?” Nat asks.

 

Alex nods, trying to be supportive, and also taking the opportunity to shovel enchilada in her mouth because it’s been a long day and she missed lunch and Maggie’s enchiladas are so fucking good.

 

“How did,” Laura’s voice comes quiet and small. “I mean, how…”

 

She loses confidence, her voice slipping into nothing.

 

Alex shares the quickest smallest look with Maggie, a tactical look, before she speaks.

 

She uses what Kara calls her gentle-sister-voice. “You can ask me anything, sweetie,” she says, soft and patient and understanding.

 

Laura looks up at her. “How did you know you were…you liked girls?”

 

“Well,” she says, trying to find the line between honest and brief, “I’d never been that happy with guys, never liked them in the way my friends did and my sister did. And then I met this mouthy detective – a total pain in my ass, by the way – “ Maggie shoves her shoulder, gently, and Alex laughs and takes the opportunity to take her hand. “And she was so beautiful and smart and I couldn’t stop thinking about her.”

 

Nat “aww”s and then immediately looks chagrined, like it was an accident.

 

“And she thought I was hitting on her, and that really made me think, because I had been, you know, without realizing it.” It’s a side-step of how Maggie’d called her out, and Maggie’s grateful. “She was actually the first person I came out to, and she was amazing.”

 

Alex tries not to get emotional as she says the next part. She wants them to hear it. “She told me that she was there for me, and that I was real, and my feelings were real, and that I deserved to live a real, full, happy life, and that I deserved to have an amazing romance with a woman who was absolutely crazy about me.”

 

And Maggie can’t help but reach over and touch Alex’s cheek gently. “All true,” she says softly.

 

And Alex smiles back at her, looking deep into her eyes. “You going crazy on me, Sawyer?”

 

“Probably,” Maggie says with a soft grin.

 

Alex leans over and kisses her head quickly before pulling back into her own seat and focusing on the girls again.

 

“I was pretty freaked out for a while,” she says, because she thinks it’s important to know. “I was almost thirty, you know, it felt ridiculous to be just to figuring it out. But Maggie was amazing, and my family was great – my sister is like, our biggest fan. And I’m so glad, you know, to know this about myself, and to be gay – I like that about myself, now. A lot. And obviously it got better once I finally convinced this one to make out with me,” she elbows Maggie in the ribs and Maggie rolls her eyes and this time both girls “aww.”

 

“But I’m glad for how everything went,” Alex says. “I wish I’d known earlier, you know, but, it’s okay. I guess I was just waiting for the right girl.”

 

Maggie rolls her eyes again. “Sap,” she says.

 

Alex nods. “Useless lesbian,” she agrees.

 


 

Kara shows up at the front door with donuts because she saw how frustrated Alex was at work this afternoon.

 

The five of them move to the living room, Kara sprawled out on the floor and the rest on the couch. The three adults spend a couple minutes talking about the logistics of Eliza’s visit to National City the next week, and Kara sets up a time to talk with Maggie about an article she’s writing.

 

She tells the girls some of her best Cat Grant stories, and they laugh in all the right places.

 

Maggie asks them about their hometowns and their high schools and their families. And neither of them comes out, not explicitly, but Maggie’s ready for whenever they do.

 

It won’t be the first bomb dropped on her.

 

So Maggie just settles her body into Alex’s – she can tell that Alex needs the physical contact tonight – and she tries to be a role model.

 

Tries to show these girls that you can be queer and brown and grown and happy and domestic and fight about who has to do the dishes and give your girlfriend a thank you kiss for moving the laundry into the drier and remembering to take out all your sports bras and hanging them up just how you like them. And you can sit in your living room with your future sister-in-law and eat donuts and have a job you love and a family who loves you and a beautiful girl snuggled into your back who just wants, after a long frustrating day, to be close to you and to smell your hair.

Chapter Text

It’s past Alex’s bedtime, but she can’t sleep. She’s squirming under her covers, restless, more excited than she’s ever been.

Tomorrow is her birthday, and birthdays are always amazing. She always gets cake and a party, and tomorrow she gets to spend the whole afternoon at the zoo with her mom and her dad and her two very best friends.

But tomorrow isn’t just any birthday. Tomorrow is her fifth birthday.

And that means tomorrow is her first Revelation.

Tomorrow, when she wakes up, when she’s finally five years old, she’ll learn something about her soulmate for the very first time.

Her mom has said it’s like Santa – he only comes after you finally go to sleep on Christmas Eve, and the Revelation will only come while you sleep.

So Alex tries to sleep, she really does, because she wants to know, she wants the Revelation, she wants to be grown up enough, big enough, to handle it. Littler kids don’t get Revelations because they aren’t mature enough, ready enough. (I am mature enough, Alex had whined on her fourth birthday, I am! And her parents had looked at each other with raised eyebrows because where did their preschooler learn the word mature and what the hell were they in for with this brilliant stubborn little child?)

But mature, big kids go to sleep the night before their Revelations, so Alex tries. And tries and tries and tries and, finally, succeeds.

 


 

She wakes up when her mom and dad come into the room in the morning. They sit on the side of her bed, her dad brushing her bangs out of her face. She blinks up at them blearily, wondering why they’re both there.

“Good morning, birthday girl!” Her mom’s singsong voice is soft and loving and happy, and Alex grins. It’s her birthday!

She reaches up to push the blankets down to her waist, and then catches sight of something dark on her arms. She gasps and rockets to sit up, holding her arms out in front of her.

She can’t believe she forgot.

Today is her birthday, and she is five years old, and so today is her first Revelation.

She knew what was coming. The first Revelation is favorite animal.

On her right arm is her own favorite animal, a representation of what her soulmate will see (had seen?) on his arm when he turns five (turned five?).

She had thought it would be small, simple, maybe a line drawing or a sketch, something like what she can draw herself with her small fingers. But she was wrong. All up and down her right arm, from wrist to armpit, is the most intricate, complex, and beautiful snake she’s ever seen. It isn’t in color, just in black, but it doesn’t need to be. There are more shapes than she knows the name for making up its strong lithe body as it wraps and weaves around and around her arm. Diamonds and spots and splotches, a distinct head and tail. It’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.

“A boa constrictor,” her father says, a little breathlessly.

Alex looks up at him, beaming. “Did you know that boa constrictors can swim? And they can get to be thirteen feet long, which is longer than two daddies on top of each other? And even though they’re reptiles they give birth to live babies like mammals!?”

Eliza shakes her head a little, but she’s happy. “My little scientist,” she says, reaching over to tousle Alex’s hair.

Alex finally tears her eyes away from her right arm and looks to her left. This is the real Revelation – while the drawing of her boa is cool, this is what she’s been waiting for.

“Sharks,” she breathes out, her little voice full of awe. “He loves sharks.”

Her left arm doesn’t have just one shark. Instead it’s covered, from wrist to armpit, with all different types of sharks. Great whites and hammerheads and tiger sharks and blue sharks and whale sharks, and a ton she doesn’t know the names of. They’re stylized too, like her snake, beautiful and intricate and somehow both delicate and deadly strong.

She’s a little relieved. She’s glad her soulmate likes a cool animal, not something dumb like a poodle or a bunny rabbit or a kitten. She knows she’s supposed to love him anyway, but it’s gonna be way easier to love someone who likes sharks than poodles. And besides, snakes and sharks go great together.

She looks up at her parents, happiness radiating out of her entire self. “Can we go to the library and get a book on sharks?”

 


 

Alex is young for her class, so she was one of the last to get her first Revelation, and now she’s one of the last to get her second. Lots of kids born in the spring got their second Revelation at the end of last year, but October baby Alex has to wait until the fall of second grade for hers. But it’s not like the excitement has worn off. Sure, maybe, by the time of her last Revelation everyone will be more relaxed about it, but Alex is only six years old, and it’s only her second ever Revelation, so she’s completely and utterly hyped up.

She somehow manages to fall asleep on her last night of being six, but it isn’t easy.

She wakes up on her own this time, remembering instantly that it’s her birthday, that she’s seven years old now, and that it’s the day of her second Revelation.

She pulls her arms toward herself, not even bothering to sit up first. On her right forearm, just below her elbow, is an intricate letter A.

A, for Alex.

Because today is the second Revelation, which means she gets to know the first letter of his name.

She barely looks at the A before she turns to her left arm where, in the exact same spot, is the letter M.

The letter is beautiful. It’s stylized like the snake and the sharks were. She remembers, because even though the mark will disappear after she goes to sleep tonight, she had her dad take about a million pictures of her arms during her first Revelation, and she’d put them right in her Revelations journal. She even got her mom to print out a couple and has them hung up in her room.

“Mmm,” she says out loud. “Matt. Mark. Mike. Michael.” There are two Michaels in her class, but she brushes off the idea immediately. They’re both really annoying, and Michael G. smells terrible all the time. No way is either of them her soulmate.

She shows everyone at school, because this year her birthday is on a Monday, so she has school. Her friends immediately start calling her soulmate Marky, because before they had called him Sharky, and that just fits so easily.

“Alex and Marky, sitting in a tree,” they tease at recess, dancing in a circle around her, “k-i-s-s-i-n-g!”

Alex blushes and laughs and grins. Revelations are so so so fun.

 


 

Her parents, and the world in general, try to make the even number birthdays exciting too, even though they never have Revelations on them. When she turns eight, Alex gets to have a slumber party birthday for the first time, where ten of her friends and their sleeping bags and pillows squish their way into her living room. And it’s really fun – they play games and watch movies and make a couple prank phone calls and gorge themselves on pizza – but Alex misses the excitement of learning something new about Marky. She thinks about him, as she drifts off to sleep on her living room floor. She hopes he’s happy tonight too.

She thinks about him a lot. She idly plans the tattoo she’ll get when they meet – it’s becoming a more and more common tradition to get a tattoo of the first Revelation after you find your soulmate. To make permanent the first thing that joined you together. Alex thinks that’s hopelessly romantic and, sometimes, when her teacher is talking about something so boring, something she learned years ago, she’ll doodle a little shark on her left arm, just under her elbow.

She can’t wait to meet him.

“See you next year,” she whispers to the ceiling.

 


 

The next year, Alex wakes up at six am. She started getting serious about surfing a couple of months ago, so even though she’s only eight, she and her dad go out before school a couple days a week to catch the smaller, glassier waves that are easier for her to learn on.

And today is Wednesday, so it’s surf day, so her alarm wakes her at six.

But this morning is her birthday, and she’s nine years old, and she’s in the fourth grade, and she’s exceptionally grown up, and today is her third Revelation.

She clicks on her light and looks at her left arm, excitement drumming through her.

The third Revelation gives the biggest clue there is. She and her friends have talked about it at length, and they all agree. The third Revelation is the best one.

It tells you where he is.

On her left arm, in the same spot as the M but bigger, is a map. It isn’t intricate this time – not at all stylized. Just a simple line drawing, no shading, no details. She has to squint at it for it to make any sense, but she realizes, tracing the bottom line carefully with her finger, that it’s a map of the middle of the United States. There is an outline and a lot of states going up vertically, with what looks like Texas at the bottom. Each state has an outline, but they’re pretty much all squares

Alex is a California girl – she can barely recognize Texas – so she darts out of bed and over to her bookshelf to pull her huge atlas off the bottom shelf. She sits on the floor, cradling the enormous book in her lap, and flips through it. It takes what feels like forever to find the US pages. Looking between her arm and the page, her lip between her teeth, she names all the states quietly to herself, starting from the top.

“North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas.” She says it over and over and over until she’s memorized the list in a little song.

She reads the heading on the page softly. “The Midwest,” she says softly. “My soulmate lives in the Midwest.”

She barely spares a glance to the map on her right arm, showing what she knows to be California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho, with little smaller disconnected pieces that are Alaska and Hawaii. She does look closely at California, at where she knows Midvale is, but there is nothing distinctive about it on the map. No clues for Marky.

After school, she goes to the public library and the librarian watches, bemused, as Alex makes a beeline for the travel section. She assumes that Alex has a school project, but the longer Alex sits right on the floor, between the shelves, paging slowly through books on Real Texas Chili and Hiking South Dakota and Hidden Gems of the Upper Midwest, the more her curiosity gets the better of her.

“What are you working on, Alex?” She asks, finally giving in and walking over to her.

Alex looks up at her. She holds out her arm, and the librarian understands. “Happy birthday,” she murmurs. “Third Revelation, hmm?”

Alex nods, a little bashfully. She’s started to learn that the Revelations are a weird combination of public and very very private.

“He lives in the Midwest,” she says softly, like that explains it.

And it does, kind of. Except that no child has ever done this before. “You know,” she says carefully, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone come in to do so much research after each of their Revelations as you do, Alex.”

Alex looks up at her, eyes completely confused. “Really?”

The librarian nods.

“But…” Alex sputters, “how else will they learn what they need to know? Don’t they care about their soulmates?

And the librarian doesn’t know how to tell Alex that not everyone demonstrates caring by learning every fact in the world. That not every child’s first instinct was to spend their entire fifth year reading about sharks, just in case their soulmate still cared that much about them as an adult. That Alex was the only child who had ever checked out books of baby names and the mythology of every culture she could get her hands on to learn about M names from every culture in the world. That Alex is the only child who seems to think that a detailed knowledge of hiking trails in South Dakota will unlock some secret key to her soulmate’s heart.

But she’s come to expect that of Alex, and she loves that about Alex. All the librarians in this branch know Alex and love Alex and talk about Alex. She’s their little Matilda, and they’ve all taken it as their full responsibility to give her the best books, the most diverse books, the hardest books and the sweetest youngest books, to expand her mind as far as they can. This particular librarian was the one who gave Alex the book Matilda, putting it on top of her towering stack one day when she was seven years old and whispering to her, “Trust me, you’ll love it.” Alex’s father had laughed and her mother had made a little face, but she hadn’t minded.

Alex had come back just days later, beaming and gushing. “I loved it,” she said. “I read it twice already.”

So she just nods, and pulls a couple of other books about the Midwest down from the top shelf that Alex couldn’t reach on her own, and then gives Alex a hand to help her stand up. “Let’s get you checked out, then, shall we?”

Chapter Text

 “So, Danvers. What are the big 4th of July plans?”

 

Alex looks over at her, startled. It’s June 30th, and Maggie’s making breakfast while Alex washes the dishes from last night’s dinner.

 

“Uh,” Alex knits her eyebrows, running her mind as quickly as possible over the last couple of weeks, trying to remember if they’d talked about making plans. She comes up blank, so she tries to stall for time. “Don’t you have to work?”

 

“Nope,” Maggie says, and her voice is casual but there’s something behind it. “Took some wrangling, but I managed to get it off.”

 

Oh, okay. Okay, shit.

 

Alex can’t figure out if they’d talked about it and she completely forgot, or if this some new curveball.

 

But Maggie’s number one pet peeve is not being heard, and most cops have to work on the 4th because the holiday turns everyone in the US into delinquent assholes, so if she managed to get the day off she must have some serious expectations for something.

 

Okay, shit.

 

If Alex were Kara, she thinks, she’d make up some elaborate story, some oh yes we’re going to ride a ferris wheel and also be in Paris—oh, but like the Paris in Las Vegas because of America, haha, totally, definitely, I for sure already bought the tickets, surprise!

 

But Alex is Alex, so instead of hijinks she goes for insecure honesty. “Uh, I, uh haven’t made any plans? Yet? But I’d be happy to make some? With you?” Her hands stutter on the dishes, making jerkily little circles on the same plate she’s been washing since Maggie first opened her mouth.

 

Maggie doesn’t look over from where she’s expertly flipping an omelet. “Oh,” is all she says.

 

Okay, fuck.

 

“Mags?” Maggie looks over, probably at the sheer panic in Alex’s voice. “Babe, I’m sorry, I didn’t—I didn’t know you wanted to do anything! But really, I—I can get the day off, I can—we can, um, I mean, I can plan something, or you can plan something, or we can go somewhere—”

 

“Alex.”

 

But Alex doesn’t hear her, continuing to babble at high speed. “I can—there must be a hotel that still has space, or a beach? Or, um, I don’t—I’m sorry, I don’t know, but I can—we can do anything, I didn’t mean to forget—“

 

“Alex!”

 

Alex hears her, finally, and quiets herself. She looks over at Maggie with eyes that are big and round and scared and a little wet.

 

“Babe, it’s fine. Relax.”

 

Alex blinks at her. This is clearly not fine. This is the opposite of fine. Alex is the worst girlfriend ever. This obviously matters to Maggie and she must have mentioned it, and Alex must have forgotten, and she’s trying to hard to be a good girlfriend, to be good at being in a relationship, but she fucked it up again, and it’s not fine.

 

“It’s not a big deal, Al. I just assumed that you all did something for it.”

 

Alex narrows her eyes, confused. “You all?”

 

“You know,” Maggie says with a little shrug as she slips the omelet out of the pan and onto the waiting plate. “You and Kara and your mom and Kara’s boy band of admirers.” Maggie starts making the second omelet, tossing the pre-cut vegetables into the pan. “I had just assumed – it was stupid, I guess – but you guys seem like an all-American family, I just thought you would have some barbeque traditions or something.”

 

Alex nods. That makes sense. It does – but it doesn’t totally account for the heaviness in Maggie’s voice, or the way she hasn’t made eye contact, or the way she’s hitting the eggs against the pan a little harder than she needs to.

 

“My parents were never really that into it,” Alex says softly, turning back to the dishes, pretending to be as casual as Maggie is. “They were a little far to the left for that kind of patriotism, I think. When I was little we used to go sit out on the beach and watch the fireworks, but we never did anything special.” Alex puts the now very clean plate in the drying rack and reaches for a mug. “But then when Kara came, the fireworks scared her – they were so loud and bright and really overwhelming for her. So she and I usually just marathoned movies and I always tried to get her into a sugar coma as early in the night as possible so she’d miss most of it.”

 

Alex sees Maggie nod out of the corner of her eye.

 

“Yeah, that makes sense,” she says, clearly still upset but clearly trying to hide it. “Poor little Kara.”

 

But Alex is in charge of this interrogation.

 

“Did you do something special when you were little?” She asks carefully. Asking about Maggie’s childhood is always delicate – Alex has learned to phrase it as when you were little rather than did your family or did your parents, but it’s still always delicate. She’s always careful.

 

She never wants to make Maggie remember her awful teenage years, and she hates the Sawyers even more for making it hard for her to get to know little kid Maggie.

 

Maggie doesn’t like to talk about herself, and Alex hates it because she wants to know every moment of Maggie’s life.

 

Maggie flips this omelet – perfectly, as always. “Yeah, it was a pretty big deal in Blue Springs. Not a lot else going on,” she adds wryly. “There was a parade with these ridiculously cheesy floats, and people would spend, like, months making them, it was ridiculous.” But her voice is fond. Alex never hears her talk like this, warmly and tenderly about Blue Springs and about her childhood. She almost holds her breath, still washing the same mug, afraid to make a sound. “We’d go stake out spots on the parade route like hours early, with coolers and chairs and shit, it was a whole thing. And then after the parade we always hosted this big barbeque in our front yard, and everyone came, basically every Mexican in Nebraska, I think. All the cousins and everyone, it was a total zoo. And then we’d all drive out to the prairie, which is like 10 minutes away, of course, because Blue Springs is nothing, and we’d lie in the beds of the pickups in just like, piles of cousins, and watch the big county fireworks.” Maggie’s smiling at the memory, still looking down at the omelet, and Alex wants to cry. “I drank my first beer in one of those pickups with my cousins, smoked my first joint. We’d set off fireworks, and the kids would have sparklers, and shit.”

 

She slips the omelet out of the pan and onto the plate. She turns off the stove, takes the first plate, and sticks it in the microwave, closing the door without starting it.

 

“I’m gonna take a shower before I eat,” she says casually. “Will you be gone when I get out?”

 

Alex knows that’s code. Maggie doesn’t shower as quickly as she does, but that’s clearly code for I’m going to take a long shower, please don’t be here when I’m done. Alex wonders if she’s going to cry in there.

 

Alex nods her head a little, hands still soapy. She wants to reach out, to hold Maggie, to tell her that she loves her, that she’s here now, that she’s here to help Maggie heal.

 

But Maggie’s already walking away, closing the door of the bathroom firmly behind her.

 

Alex leaves the rest of the dishes. She puts her omelet in a Tupperware and gets dressed as quickly as she can. She’ll brush her teeth at work.

 

She has some work to do.

 


 

Maggie’s in mile three of five of her morning run. She usually only does three, but she’s pushing herself this morning. It’s the 4th of the July, and she has the day off work, but no one else does, so she doesn’t have any plans. So she’s going for a long run, and then she’s going to take a long shower, and then she’s going to…do something else. She’s pretty sure she’ll end the night drowning her sorrows in whiskey alone in some bar where Alex can’t find her. She’s just hoping to put that off until at least after dinner.

 

She sees families already setting up for picnics in the park, even though it’s barely 11am.

 

She’s not going to make it to dinner.

 

Someone is running behind her, approaching fast. Maggie veers over to the right of the path, letting the faster person pass her. But they pull up next to her. Maggie looks over, ready to give this dickbag a piece of her mind, but stops short. It’s Kara.

 

“Hey, Maggie!” Her eyes are bright and she isn’t breathing heavily at all, right, because she has superpowers, and she’s grinning. “You’re surprisingly fast for someone with such short legs!”

 

Maggie ignores the compliment (?). “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at work right now?” She’s wearing white shorts and a loose blue tank top – definitely not CatCo material.

 

“Nah, I’m here to pick you up.”

 

Maggie blinks. “Excuse me?”

 

“Come on,” Kara says, “I’m starving.”

 

“Pick me up for what?”

 

But Kara just whines a little at her. “Maggie, I’m hungry! Come on! How far is it to your apartment?”

 

“About two mi—wait, Kara, I don’t—“

 

But Kara’s already trotting again, pulling away from her. “Come on,” she calls. “Keep up, Sawyer.”

 

Maggie’s incredibly confused, but she does what she’s told.

 


 

She wonders if those last two miles were a personal record. Kara’s a pretty great pacer, seeing that she never gets slower and is tirelessly encouraging.

 

But she’s being surprisingly close-lipped. She says nothing about her weird plan as they get to Maggie’s apartment. She just ushers Maggie into the shower, and then is eating donuts (which she clearly ran out to get) at her kitchen counter when she gets out of the shower, and then tells Maggie to get dressed.

 

“For what?” Maggie asks, holding her towel tight against herself, even though she knows Kara has x-ray vision.

 

“For summer,” Kara says nonchalantly, taking another bite of donut. “Chop chop, Sawyer, we’re gonna be late.”

 

And Maggie’s suspicious, obviously, but Kara’s been well trained by Alex, and Maggie recognizes that Girl of Steel look in her eye, so she just goes into her bedroom. She puts on shorts too, figuring that Kara knows where they’re going and is probably properly dressed.

 

A few minutes later she’s dressed – jean shorts, black tank top, blue plaid, black toms tennis shoes. She puts her wallet, sunglasses, keys, epi-pen, and phone in a bag, and quickly throws her hair up into a ponytail and puts on some eyeliner.

 

“Okay, Supergirl, I’m ready. Where are we going?”

 

Somehow in the blink of an eye Kara’s in her supersuit (she was wearing a tank top and shorts, where the hell was she hiding those long sleeves and those enormous boots, Maggie wonders idly) and she’s grabbed Maggie under her arms and she’s sailing out the window with her.

 

She plops Maggie down on a lawn out in the more suburban part of National City. Maggie looks all around, but she can’t see anything or anyone she recognizes.

 

“Where the hell are we?” There’s no heat in her voice, just confusion.

 

Kara, somehow back in her shorts and tank top (she’s not even holding the suit, Maggie notices, what the fuck how does she do that), just grins at her. “Come on,” she says, walking around the side of the house toward a high wooden gate.

 

Maggie follows her, because what else is she going to do?

 

Kara opens the gate and walks through, waiting politely to close it behind Maggie. They walk down the driveway together until it opens out onto a big grassy yard, and Maggie stops short.

 

There’s an old charcoal grill in the corner, surrounded by bags of coals. There’s a long table with a ridiculous plastic American flag tablecloth, covered in chips and soda and carrot sticks and cups and plates and a blender that’s already holding what looks like margaritas and a whole pile of hamburger buns. There are coolers and buckets scattered around the entire yard, brimming with beer and iced tea and bottles of sparkling water.

 

There’s a kiddie pool in the middle of the yard, one of the old school inflatable blue ones, with a hose stuck in the middle of it, mid-fill.

 

And standing all around the yard are Kara and Alex’s friends. James and Winn and Lyra and Lena and Vasquez and Lucy and J’onn and M’gann and Clark Kent and Lois Lane and a bunch of people from the DEO that Maggie’s vaguely friendly with. And people from Catco that Maggie recognizes from some of Kara’s things.

 

And the couple people from the station that Maggie really likes. And

Ky her kickboxing instructor and Brian and a couple of other aliens from the bar.

 

And Eliza, who walks over to them immediately, hugging Kara with a soft “Hi sweetie,” before turning to Maggie and giving her a big, full, two-armed, serious mom hug. “Welcome,” is all she says.

 

And there’s really only one explanation for all of these people being here, for the people from the station and Ky the kickboxer to be here, but Maggie’s brain can’t quite accept it as the truth.

 

It’s too much.

 

And then Alex walks out of the house, holding a big bowl of ice. And the sight of her – tall and strong and gleaming in the sunlight, gorgeous as always in her own shorts and tank top, her hair even redder than usual in the mid-day sunshine, a grin on her lips as she says something teasing to Winn – just completely knocks the air out of Maggie.

 

Kara bumps her, lightly. “Breathe,” she says, and Maggie can’t tear her eyes away from Alex but she can hear that Kara’s smiling.

 

“She’s…” Maggie can’t even finish, but Kara understands.

 

“I know,” she says with an even bigger grin. Then she turns her head and raises her voice. “Alex!”

 

Alex’s head turns, and the second she catches sight of Maggie she grins, big and open and pure. She hands the bowl of ice to Winn and breaks into a trot, coming right for them.

 

“Hey,” she says to Kara, a little more breathlessly than is warranted by her 15 foot jog.

 

Kara just reaches out and squeezes her arm before heading off to mingle, tucking a piece of ice down Winn’s shirt on her way to say hi to Lena.

 

“Al, what?” Maggie is blinking at her, unable to take it in.

 

“Happy 4th of July.” Alex’s eyes are wide and she’s just staring at Maggie, eyes darting all over her face.

 

“What—“ Maggie’s voice comes out in a croak. She clears her throat and tries again. “What is this?”

 

Alex adorably scrunches up her nose. “It’s…a barbeque? For America?”

 

And Maggie laughs, and she can see a burden lift off Alex’s shoulders at the sound.

 

“I thought you said you didn’t have plans.”

 

And Alex shifts a little from foot to foot, and that pretty much confirms it.

 

Alex did this for her.

 

Alex didn’t have plans, Alex didn’t care about this holiday, but she did it for her.

 

But no one has ever done anything like this for her, so Maggie has to ask. “Did…did you do this…did you put this together…” But saying it out loud makes it sound so selfish and self-absorbed, and Maggie’s supposed to be all about giving, not receiving, so she can’t even say it.

 

“You loved this holiday,” Alex says softly, and her eyes are so loving, and Maggie wonders if Alex might be all about giving too. “You love it, and I just want to give you everything you love.”

 

Jesus, this woman. “Alex.” Her voice cracks a little bit, and Alex reaches out and cups her cheeks, her lethal hands soft and gentle against Maggie’s skin.

 

“You deserve to be happy, Mags.” Alex has stepped forward, and Maggie’s hands come up to her waist, holding herself steady. “And if making you happy means spending a day out in the sunshine, drinking beer and eating hamburgers with my friends, well,” she gives a fake sigh, a long-suffering one, “I guess I can stand that. For one day.”

 

But she’s still holding Maggie’s face in her hands and still looking at Maggie like she’s the most precious thing in the world, and that’s completely ridiculous because there will never be anything more precious than this woman standing in front of her, with her smooth skin and red hair and beautiful smile.

 

And Maggie wants to say you didn’t have to and she wants to say I can’t believe you did this and she wants to say how the hell did you pull this off and she wants to say I don’t deserve all this work, but instead she just tugs Alex in closer.

 

“I love you,” she says. “So much, Ally.”

 

And Alex beams, and dips down, and kisses her – deep and thorough and soft and loving.

  


 

They stay in that backyard all day. It’s Vasquez’s house, Maggie learns, which surprises her because she’d been pretty sure that Vasquez lived at the DEO. But apparently Vas and their sister live there together, and they’d been more than happy to host the last-minute party.

 

They grill burgers and hot dogs and ears of corn and mushroom caps. They make their way through more beer than Maggie can fathom, standing in the sun and lounging in the shade, and pulling chairs up to the kiddie pool and sitting with their feet in the cool water. They play cornhole (Alex wins) and horseshoe (Alex wins). Around 4pm someone pulls out Twister and Maggie is more flexible but Alex is longer, and Kara is stronger but has less patience and walks away halfway through to get more chips, and Lucy has really terrible luck and has to do a plank for like five minutes and finally declares that her abs are already perfect thank you very much before giving up, and Ky the kickboxer is trying to be respectful and falls down rather than graze Alex’s boob, so it ends up a Maggie vs. Alex showdown, and Winn starts using his announcer voice to commentate, and it isn’t until Maggie’ reverses Ky’s issue and intentionally grazes Alex’s boob that Alex wavers and falls and Maggie wins.


Alex, of course, pulls Maggie down on top of her, and they kiss until someone turns the hose on them.

 

Maggie remembers, later, to her horror, that Eliza is there. Oops.

 

But it’s like a million degrees, so Vasquez turns on the sprinkler and they all run through it like children, Kara more than anyone. And they all dry off the sunshine eating seconds and thirds of burgers and drinking more beer.

 

James has his camera and is taking photo after photo, making sure to get plenty of Kara and of Alex and of Maggie. And pretty much every picture ever taken of Kara is beautiful, but today Alex and Maggie are putting her to shame. Because they’re just beaming, happiness and love and softness and affection just pouring out of them into every photo. James grins, because his job has never been easier.

 

Maggie finally can’t take it, pulling Alex inside the house with her around 6pm. The time she’d expected to be shitfaced alone in some nameless bar, lonely and devastated for the millionth year in a row.

 

“When did you plan this?”

 

Alex looks a little guilty, but she tells the truth. “After you brought it up the other morning.”

 

“Alex.” It comes out a sigh, loving and sort of disbelieving. This was a ton of work.

 

“I hadn’t realized you liked this holiday,” Alex admits. “It’s our first holiday together since Valentine’s Day, and I did such a terrible job on that one, and you did that amazing thing for me, and I just…” Alex tucks her hair behind her ear, doing that cute little twist with her lips that she does when she’s nervous. “I just wanted to make you happy.”

 

And Maggie can’t even breathe because Alex makes her so happy, and on Valentine’s Day Alex had bought lingerie and tiramisu and scotch and even though Maggie hadn’t been a place to appreciate that then she certainly is now, and Alex is absolutely leagues beyond anything she could possibly deserve.

 

But she realizes that Alex has no fucking idea, and is looking at her like she’s worried that she’s messed it up, that Maggie isn’t happy.

 

“Baby,” Maggie says, letting her emotions show on her face. “Baby,” she says again, wrapping her arms firmly around Alex’s neck and waiting until Alex’s arms come around her waist before she trust all her weight to her girlfriend and hoists herself up and wraps both legs around her back, holding on like a koala. “You. Make. Me,” she says, punctuating each word with a kiss to Alex’s face, “So. Fucking. Happy.”

 

Alex laughs under her, shifting one arm down to hold Maggie up by the ass, rather than the waist.

 

“No one has ever done anything like this for me,” Maggie says a little more seriously, looking down into Alex’s eyes. “You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”

 

Alex just rolls her eyes, and Maggie knows she’s thinking about her sister and her boss and her dad.

 

Maggie stops her by biting her cheek. “Seriously, Ally,” she whispers against her skin. “Thank you, for this. I love you so fucking much.”

 

They stay there for a few minutes, kissing softly and just breathing each other in.

 

They don’t break apart until Kara pokes her head in. “Hey guys, that’s adorable and stuff, but Alex, when you’re doing making out like a teenager, your mom wants to say goodbye.”

 


 

It isn’t until about 7:30pm that Maggie realizes people are starting to pack up. Most of them say goodbye and head to their cars, but a select few are putting beer in the more portable coolers and taking the uneaten food (Kara had been limited to the upper limits of human food consumption, so there were actually a couple leftovers) inside to the fridge. Maggie looks over at Alex. “What’s happening?”

 

Alex takes her hand. “We gotta get this show on the road, Sawyer,” she says, eyes glinting. “Can’t see the fireworks from here.”

 


 

They drive out, just the core group now, to a high school about twenty minutes away. It’s technically outside of National City proper, so Maggie hasn’t been before. They sneak onto the field, and Winn explains that this is the best place to be able to see the big city fireworks without a big crowd.

 

“And with booze,” Alex adds with a sly grin, hoisting a cooler out of the DEO van they’d borrowed for the occasion.

 

And James and Kara are pulling out blanket after blanket, and they lay them out on the grass. They all sit, a small enough group for a rough circle now, and drink more of the beer, and Lena and Winn beg Alex to help them break into the school so they can pee before the show starts.

 

As it starts to get dark, they all start lying back on the blankets. Maggie tucks herself into Alex, choosing to lie on her side and look at her beautiful girlfriend rather than the darkening sky.

 

“Kara,” Alex says, patting her other side, “come lay down.”

 

“Oh,” Kara says a little awkwardly, pushing her glasses up her nose, “No, it’s okay, I’ll sit in this chair over here.”

 

But Alex isn’t having it. “Kara.” Her voice is soft but commanding. “Come sit with me.” And Maggie’s heard them say that before, that exact phrase, come sit with me. She knows it’s what they say when they’re about to have feelings share time, when they’re going to be honest and emotional with each other.

 

Kara knows it too. She comes over and sits down, facing Alex.

 

Maggie pulls herself off Alex enough that Alex can sit up. Alex only does it halfway, propping herself up on her elbows.

 

Everyone else politely pretends that they aren’t listening.

 

“Kara,” Alex says softly, her voice fond and sweet. “Just because I love Maggie doesn’t mean that I don’t love you or want to be with you. You know that.” She pauses, but Kara doesn’t say anything. “I promise that if I think you’re third-wheeling at any time, I’ll tell you, okay? But right now, I just want to lie down on this blanket and hold onto my baby sister who is terrified of fireworks, so I can make sure she’s okay. Okay?”

 

And Kara nods softly, and Maggie marvels at how incredibly loveable this woman is.

 

“Oh, also,” Alex says, rolling over to rummage in her bag and pulling something out, “I made you something.”

 

She hands it Kara, and Maggie sees that’s a new pair of glasses.

 

“They’re double the lead of your usual ones,” Alex explains softly, “so hopefully they’ll dull the fireworks a little bit for you. They’re too strong for everyday use, but I thought they might come in handy for tonight.”

And Maggie marvels at this woman, who put this entire night together for her and still had the time to care and worry about her little sister and to invent something to help her.

 

Alex Danvers is definitely the perfect woman.

 

Kara seems to think so too.

 

She puts them on and rockets forward, wrapping Alex in a huge hug.

 

“I love you, Alex,” she says seriously.

 

“I love you too, Kar.”

 

They lay down, then, the three of them in a row. Alex’s right arm is around Kara’s shoulders, Kara’s head pillowed on Alex’s chest. Maggie is on her other side, holding Alex’s left hand in her own, her body pressed up as close as can be. Alex leans over, first to one side, then to the other, dropping a kiss on the top of Kara’s head and on Maggie’s lips.

 

The fireworks start, and Maggie is pretty sure this is the happiest she’s ever been.

 


 

After the fireworks show, Maggie’s surprised that the night still isn’t over. They all – James, Winn, Lena, Lucy, J’onn, M’gann, Vasquez, Alex, Kara, and Maggie – troop over to Kara’s apartment, and they spread the blankets back out on the floor, and they watch Independence Day. Maggie hasn’t seen the movie in forever, but it’s definitely more fun watching it with three actual aliens and several people who are personally responsible for defeating alien invaders.

 

They all snark through the whole movie (Vasquez, it turns out, is the funniest – much to Winn’s despair). Maggie and Alex join in, obviously, but every once in a while Maggie has to take a break to just burrow into Alex.

 

And Alex holds her, just as tightly as she could want, and Maggie just melts into her.

 

And Maggie wants to say I can’t believe you did this for me and she wants to say I’ve never felt so seen before in my life and she wants to say thank you for giving this holiday back to me and she wants to say I want to spend every 4th of July with you for the rest of my life and she wants to say I don’t deserve love like this.

 

But instead she just whispers, probably twenty times during the movie, how much she loves Alex.

 

And, each and every time, Alex whispers it back.

 

And the crazy thing is that Maggie believes her.

Chapter Text

Nat and Laura have been getting along pretty well all summer, so Maggie’s surprised when she walks past the conference room they’re in, and hears Laura’s voice, raised in frustration, drifting out of the open door.

 

“You can’t just keep ignoring it, Nat!”

 

“Drop it, Laura.” Nat’s voice is lower and harder, and Maggie pauses, around the corner, out of sight, to shamelessly eavesdrop.

 

“You’re hurting, I can tell! You have to do something.”

 

“I don’t have to do anything.” Nat’s voice is sullen and Maggie’s glad no one is there to see her roll her eyes. Teenagers.

 

“Nat, I’m being serious. This is a big deal.”

 

“It’s not your business, Laura, drop it.” Maggie’s eyebrows shoot up. This is getting more hostile than she expected. She’s considering walking in and handling it, but just at that moment officers start to pour into the conference room, clearly on time for the meeting Nat and Laura were setting up for.

 

Maggie walks away, for the moment, her spidey senses tingling.

 


 

She isn’t surprised when it’s Laura who comes to her, the next afternoon, tentatively knocking on her door and asking, her eyes nervous and her hands twisting, if they can talk privately.

 

Maggie invites her in, and gestures for her to close the door behind herself.

 

“What’s up, Laura?”

 

Laura takes a moment to savor the way Maggie says her name. She’s the only one at the station who says it the right way – the Spanish way – with the long diphthong and the soft R. Everyone else says it the Anglicized way, more like “Lora.” It feels a little bit like home, when Maggie says it.

 

Laura sits, perching nervously at the edge of the free chair. “I need to talk to you about Nat.”

 

“What about her?” Maggie asks, ready to listen but also ready to shut this down if it seems like something Nat wouldn’t want her to know.

 

“She’s hurt, and she’s not going to the doctor, and I don’t know what to do.”

 

Okay, that’s not what Maggie expected her to say. Maggie’s concern goes up a couple of notches.

 

“What do you mean, she’s hurt?”

 

“She hurt her wrist, and she says it’s just a sprain, but I really don’t think it is. She can barely move it! And it’s all purple and swollen, but she won’t go to the doctor, and it’s really hurting her, and I told her to go, but she won’t, and I don’t know who else to go to.” Laura says this all very fast, her eyes wide and worried.

 

“Okay,” Maggie says softly. “I’ll look into it.”

  


  

Maggie checks in on them later that afternoon. They’re setting out briefings for another meeting in the same big conference room. Maggie walks in and says hi to both of them casually. Laura shoots her concerned face, and Nat doesn’t do a great job meeting her eyes.

 

These kids aren’t exactly subtle.

 

Maggie notices immediately that Nat’s favoring her left arm. She walks over to the girl, trying to act surprised. “Hey, Nat, you’re moving a little stiffly. Is your arm okay?”

 

Nat blinks quickly, panic flashing across her face.

 

Maggie’s concern goes up many more notches. Panic shouldn’t be a reaction to a hurt wrist, days after the fact. That genuinely scares Maggie.

 

“Yeah, no, it’s fine.”

 

Maggie can’t let it go, now. “You’re favoring it pretty badly,” she says softly. “Can I take a look at it?”

 

Nat stutters, pulling back from her. “It’s just a sprain,” she says. “No biggie.” But her eyes are wide and afraid.

 

“Nat,” Maggie says, softly but incredibly firmly. “I need you to show me your arm.”

 

“Wh—“ Nat interrupts herself, swiveling her head over to Laura, her eyes narrowing, her voice turning sharp and accusatory. “You told her!”

 

And Maggie’s ready to deny it, but Laura beats her to it. “I was worried about you!” She snaps. “It’s not getting better!”

 

Nat opens her mouth to snap back, but Maggie’s faster. “Okay,” she uses her commanding cop voice. “Let’s talk about this in my office. Nat, it’s your choice if Laura comes or not – but you’re coming with me, right now.”

 

Nat manages to pull of a shrug that’s angry and resigned at the same time, clearly saying to both of them that Laura can come but she’s pissed about the entire situation. It’s, really, quite impressive.

 

Maggie closes the door behind Laura, and turns to Nat.

 

“Listen, your body is your business, but you’re underage, and you’re my responsibility, and you’re clearly hurt. So I’m sorry, but I need you to show me your arm, Nat.”

 

Nat lets out a huff of air, but she takes off her blazer, wincing as she gingerly slips it over her wrist. She’s wrapped her wrist clumsily in an ace bandage. Without looking up, she pushes up her sleeve and unwraps the bandage.

 

Her wrist is purple and distended, hugely swollen. It’s nasty looking.

 

“Ouch,” Maggie says softly.

 

Nat just shrugs again. “It’s not so bad.”

 

And Maggie’s fear spikes again. “Nat,” she says, her voice measured only from long practice, “honey, I need you to tell me how this happened.”

 

“I slipped stepping off a curb.”

 

Maggie looks at her, hard. She seems ashamed, but her shame didn’t spike when she said it. “You stepped off a curb.” Maggie repeats, her tone flat.

 

“Yeah, it was stupid.” She looks a little chagrined, and Maggie actually believes her.

 

She holds out her own hands. “May I?” She asks. Nat places her arm in Maggie’s hands, and Maggie runs her fingertips over the worst of the swelling.

 

“Well,” she says finally, “I’m afraid this isn’t a sprain. I’m pretty sure it’s broken. We need to get you to the hospital for some x-rays.” She turns her back for a moment to grab her jacket from her chair. “I’ll drive you.”

 

“No.” Nat’s voice is firm but afraid. “I’m not going to the hospital.”

 

Maggie stops and turns back. “You need an x-ray, Nat.”

 

“I’m not going to the hospital.”

 

Maggie tilts her head. “Why not?” She asks, her voice measured.

 

“I don’t…” Nat mashes her lips together, looking down at the floor uncomfortably, and Maggie is forcibly reminded of Alex.

 

“You don’t what, hon?” The pet names always help Alex.

 

They seem to help Nat too. She looks up from the floor and seems to draw herself up, steeling herself to say it right into Maggie’s eyes. “I don’t have health insurance right now. My mom lost her job, so, we don’t have it. I can’t afford an x-ray.”

 

And Maggie almost laughs with relief. Her concern drops down from high alert. This, she can easily handle.

 

“Okay, that’s fair,” she says easily. “We won’t go to the hospital.”

 

Laura makes a little squawking noise from the corner, but Maggie keeps going, blithely ignoring her. “We’ll go to Alex.”

 

Both girls stare, blinking, a little dumbfounded. “What?” Nat finally asks.

 

But Maggie’s already walked around to sit behind her desk, dialing Alex’s number into her handset from memory, and putting it on speakerphone.

 

“Hey babe,” Alex’s voice comes through, clear and sharp. “I was just thinking about you.” Her voice drops a little, turning seductive. “I’m in the armory, and—“

 

“Hey, Al,” Maggie interrupts hurriedly. “I’ve got you on speakerphone here, with Nat and Laura.”

 

Alex’s voice immediately shifts. “Oh. Hi, girls.”

 

They both say hi back. Maggie scratches the back of her neck awkwardly, hoping the girls didn’t notice.

 

“Look, babe, I was wondering if you could help us out with something.”

 

“What’s up?”

 

“Nat hurt her arm a couple days ago, and it’s a little nasty looking, but going to the hospital is sort of out of the cards for her. I was wondering if you have a portable x-ray machine laying around.”

 

There are some sounds on the other side of the line, like she’s covered the speaker and is mumbling to someone on the other side. “Sure,” she says after a moment, her voice clear again. “That’s no problem. Meet at home in about an hour? We can do it there.”

 

“That’s perfect. Thank you, babe.”

 

“Oh, well,” Alex says, and even over the phone, Maggie can tell that she’s gotten a little funny and flirty. “Anything for you, gorgeous.”

 

Maggie rolls her eyes. “Shut up.”

 

Alex drops her voice low again, this time comically so. “You know, Sawyer, if you’re asking me to play doctor later you should really be nicer to me.”

 

And Maggie knows it’s a joke, knows she did it to make Nat and Laura laugh – and they are indeed laughing – but she blushes anyway, too flustered to properly turn off the speakerphone.

 

“You’re impossible, Danvers.”

 

“I think you mean Doctor Danvers,” Alex flirts easily.

 

“Okay Doctor Danvers, I’m hanging up on you now.”

 

She can hear Alex’s grin through the phone. “See you at home.”

 

And Maggie can’t help herself. She should say the quick version, the loveyou that fills the place of okaybye, but this woman is absolutely the best thing in her life, and she deserves to hear it, long and full, even in front of these kids. “I love you, Danvers.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Maggie grins, despite herself. “Yeah.”

 

“I love you too, Mag. See you soon.”

  


 

Maggie finishes up some paperwork before driving the girls to her apartment.

 

“Sorry, but, how does Alex know how to use an x-ray machine?” It’s Laura asking from the backseat, leaning forward, her concern for Nat radiating off of her. “Do they teach that at the FBI?”

 

“Oh, uh, no, they don’t. I think they mostly just teach how to constantly act like you have a stick up your ass at the FBI.” Nat laughs. Laura doesn’t. “Just kidding. Sort of. But, uh, no, Alex is actually a medical doctor, even though she doesn’t practice. She went to medical school and everything, so she’s the real deal.”

 

“Like Dana Scully?” Nat asks, her eyebrows up, impressed and expectant.

 

“Exactly, she’s even got the red hair, you know?” Maggie grins over at her. “But, thank god, Al doesn’t wear quite as many shoulder pads.”

 

“So that makes you Mulder, right?”

 

Maggie laughs a little. “I guess so, yeah.” She pulls into her parking space under the building and looks over at Nat, as seriously as she can. “The truth is out there, Nat.”

 

Nat laughs as she climbs gingerly out of the car.

 


 

Alex shows up just a few minutes after they do.

 

This time, she’s not surprised to see them all standing around the counter, laughing with each other. She doesn’t even bother to take off her shoes, striding into the apartment with a smile.

 

“Hey, girls.”

 

“Hi, Alex.”

 

“Hey.”

 

Alex walks right up to Maggie and cups her face in her hands. “Sorry, girls,” she says, “be right with you.” She pulls Maggie into a kiss, a real one – no tongue but deep and a couple breaths long.

 

She pulls back with a soft grin, her thumbs gently passing over Maggie’s cheeks. “You left so early this morning,” Alex mumbles. “I missed you.”

 

And maybe it’s not the most appropriate thing in the world, but Maggie doesn’t care. Let them see her be happy. “I missed you too, babe,” she says, giving Alex the head tilt and the dimples that she likes so much. “I tried to kiss you goodbye this morning, but you were too grumpy.”

 

“I was asleep!”

 

“Yeah,” Maggie says dryly. “I noticed, when you accidentally smacked me across the face and said ‘I’m sleeping, Magdalena!’”

 

Alex laughs. “I didn’t!”

 

“Hand to god.”

 

“Poor baby,” Alex says, leaning in and kissing Maggie’s cheek softly. “Always in the line of fire.”

 

Maggie clears her throat a little bit, trying to snap out of it before this gets out of hand. “Speaking of the line of fire…”

 

Alex pulls back too, clearly getting it.

 

“Right,” she says. “Nat, you mind if I take a look at your arm?”

 

Nat shuffles off her blazer again and unwraps the ace bandage. She holds it out to Alex, who accepts her arm with surprisingly cool hands. She traces it with her fingers, turning Nat’s arm over to inspect the bottom and both sides.

 

“Okay, yeah, I’m pretty sure this is fractured.” Alex says, handing Nat back her arm. “Which is good, actually, because I don’t think it needs to be reset, just immobilized. But the x-ray should be here in a couple minutes so I can confirm, and then I’ve got the stuff to make you a cast in my bag, okay?”

 

“Thank you,” Nat mumbles. “Really.”

 

“Hey,” Alex says lightly. “It’s no problem, really.”

 

“Nat,” Maggie says, trying to keep her tone neutral. “You know that not having insurance is nothing to be ashamed of, right?” Nat blinks at her, like she doesn’t know that. “I didn’t have insurance for most of high school, either. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

 

“Well,” Alex interjects, “there’s something wrong with the health care system that made it so you can’t have it. But you not having it? No, nothing wrong with you. Just them.”

 

Maggie rolls her eyes, but grins. “Spoken like a true agent of the federal government,” she teases.

 

It’s Alex’s turn to roll her eyes.

 

“But seriously,” Maggie says, turning back to Nat, “no judgment here, okay? I just need you to tell me if you’re hurt or sick, so we can take care of you properly, okay?”

 

Nat nods, and everyone politely pretends they don’t notice that her eyes are filling with tears. “Okay.”

 

But the sappy moment is broken by a whooshing sound, and the arrival of Supergirl. She flies in the window and comes in for a soft landing, the setting sun behind her hitting her hair just right and making it glow.

 

Both Nat and Laura have made sounds and taken involuntary steps backwards and are staring, eyes wide and mouths dropped open.

 

Maggie wishes she had her phone out to take a picture – it’s adorable.

 

“Hi!” Supergirl says brightly, sunshine beaming out of her face. “You must be Nat and Laura! I’m Supergirl!”

 

Both girls open and close their mouths, several times, but neither manages to make a sound.

 

Supergirl doesn’t seem bothered in the slightest. “Alex told me you’d be here!” Her hands are on her hips, and she’s grinning.

 

Laura manages to make a sputtering sound.

 

Alex takes pity on them first. “Hey, Supergirl,” she says casually. “Thanks for coming. How was the fire?”

 

“Oh, it was great! I mean, stopping it was great!” Her hands fumble off her hips in her excitement. “And! Oh my god, Alex! On the way here I stopped to get a kitten out of a tree, and it was so small, it fit right in my hand! Oh Rao, it was so cute, I almost died!”

 

Alex laughs, and Maggie grins.

 

Both girls are still staring, jaws on the ground, at the superhero dancing around in excitement in their mentor’s apartment.

 

“Hey Supergirl, you gonna stay for dinner?” Maggie asks, phone in her hand, ready order three times as much.

 

“Oh, no, I can’t, I have plans with L—uh, plans.” Supergirl nods, clearly proud for catching herself.

 

Alex rolls her eyes.

 

“So, Nat,” Alex says, turning to the girls, “When I mentioned a portable x-ray, I actually meant Supergirl. She’s got x-ray vision, which doesn’t hurt at all or give you radiation like the machines in the hospital, and I’ve trained her so she knows what to look for. She can take a look at your arm and see if it’s a fracture or a break. Is that okay with you?”

 

Nat stutters. “I—Superg—you—x-ray me?”

 

“She can do it on me, first, if you’d like,” Alex offers lightly.

 

Supergirl looks over at her, squinting a little. “Alex, your bones are impeccable,” she says with a grin. “Really, A+ bones.”

 

Alex grins at her. “Drink your milk, kids,” she says with a smirk. “Oh, hey, though, can you check my cracked rib to see if it’s done knitting?”

 

Supergirl looks intently at her ribcage for a second before pulling away. “Yeah, it looks totally healed.” But she’s making a terrible face.

 

Maggie’s immediately concerned. Alex’s job is so dangerous, who knows what Supergirl might have seen. “What is it? Is something wrong?”

 

“Nope,” Supergirl says, her hand over her eyes now. “Just really didn’t need to get a close up of the lingerie she’s wearing for you, that’s all. Forgot how close ribs are to bras.”

 

And Nat barks out a laugh and Laura gasps, and Alex says “Supergirl! There are children present!” in her Big Sister Voice and Maggie just groans “Oh my god” and drops her head into her hands for a second.

 

“Can you please look at her arm and then leave and fly very far away from here?” Alex asks her, exasperated.

 

Supergirl laughs.

 

“I’m going to murder the both of you,” Maggie says lightly.

 

“No you’re not,” Supergirl says, just as lightly. “You’re not gonna murder her after you see it, and then you’re not going to murder me cause I’m the one who helped her pick it out.”

 

And Alex’s head is now in her hands, and she’s pink up to the tips of her ears, but she can still perfectly hear Nat’s snigger and Maggie’s groan and Laura’s squeak of “you go lingerie shopping with Supergirl?”

 

Maggie can’t help but laugh. “She’s a full-service kind of superhero.”

 

Supergirl turns to Nat. “Mind if I take a look at that arm?” She asks lightly.

 


 

It was, as Alex suspected, just a fracture. She puts ice on it and gives Nat some very good DEO drugs to bring down the swelling before she can put the cast on it.

 

Supergirl doesn’t stay for dinner. She takes selfies with each of the girls, then gives Maggie a quick hug goodbye before squeezing Alex to within an inch of her life, and then hops out the window and flies off into the sunset.

 

“That was…the coolest thing that will ever happen to me,” Nat says, eyes glowing.

 

Maggie and Nat go around the corner to pick up the pizza for dinner, leaving Alex alone with Laura in the apartment.

 

Laura, who has been suspiciously quiet all evening. Laura, who has been eyeing Nat with fear and affection and worry in amounts that make Alex ache with remembering. Laura, who, last time she was over for dinner, asked Alex how she knew that she liked girls.

 

Laura who is, by all reliable estimates, head over heels in puppy love with Nat.

 

Alex grabs her an iced tea from the fridge, and sits down next to her on the couch.

 

“So,” she says without preamble, “you like Nat, huh?”

 

Laura snaps her head over to Alex. “What?!”

 

“I saw how you’ve looked at her today,” Alex says softly, “like how I used to look at Maggie when she was hurt.”

 

Laura just looks down at her hands.

 

Alex keeps going. “One of the first times I met her, actually, she was hurt. A burn, and a dinged collarbone, and I patched her up but then she wouldn’t stay and rest, and I was so worried about her. And I didn’t really understand why, you know, because I thought I was straight and she was clearly someone who could take care of herself, but…” Alex shrugs a little. “I was so worried, it made me feel sick, almost.”

 

Laura sniffs a little bit. “Yeah,” she squeaks. “I was really worried about her.” And she hasn’t said it, but they both know what she meant.

 

“Hey,” Alex says softly, putting her arm around Laura’s shoulders. “Come here.”

 

And Laura just melts into her, and Alex rubs her arm soothingly.

 

“It’s okay. It’s okay to have feelings for her, for a girl. It’s okay.”

 

“I’ve never…”

 

“Yeah.” Alex says with a wry smile. “Scary, isn’t it?”

 

Laura nods into her chest.

 

Alex remembers what Kara said to her, when she came out, on a couch much like this one. “You’re not alone, Laura. Maggie and I are here for you,” she says. “I’m proud of you.”

 

Laura cries into her chest for a couple minutes before going to the bathroom and blowing her nose, surprisingly loudly. She comes back and sits down, no longer touching Alex, and sets her shoulders.

 

“Sorry,” she says. “I’ve never…”

 

She can’t finish it, but it’s obvious. “You’ve never come out to anyone before?”

 

Laura nods, blinking solemnly.

 

“Well, you’re doing much better than I did, I can tell you that right now.”

 

Laura makes a little scoffing noise, and Alex laughs. “You think I’m joking, but I was a total mess. I didn’t have any of the words for it, I just…” Alex sighs a little. “I just knew that I liked Maggie, you know? The rest of it was confusing – was I a lesbian or bisexual or queer or what – but the Maggie part, that part was clear.”

 

“What…what do you think you are now?” Laura’s voice is small and timid, but Alex is proud of her for asking questions.

 

“Oh, I’m definitely a lesbian. I had time to think about it, after Maggie turned me down, and I’m sure that I’m a lesbian.”

 

“Wait, Maggie turned you down?” Laura’s eyes are wide now, startled. “But you guys are like, perfect!”

 

Alex smiles softly at her. “Yeah, I mean, now, this is…being with her is…it’s perfect, you know? She makes me…” Alex shakes herself a little bit. This is a child, she reminds herself. “Whatever, she’s perfect, yes, it’s annoying.” Laura laughs. “But, yeah, at first she turned me down.”

 

“What…” Laura fidgets with her hands. “What happened?”

 

“Well, I realized I liked her, that I had real feelings for her. And I came out to her – well, as much as I could in that moment – and she was so supportive and sweet, and that just made me have more feelings, you know? And then I came out to my sister, and she was really wonderful about it, and she told me to, and I quote, ‘go get the girl,’ so I like,” Alex pantomimes it, “hopped on my bike and rode down to her favorite bar and I saw her, and I was meaning to talk to her, to tell her how I felt, but she just looked so…so devastatingly beautiful, and I just kissed her.”

 

Laura, clearly forgetting this story doesn’t have a happy ending, lets out a little gasp.

 

Alex raises an eyebrow. “I don’t recommend that move, by the way, if you ever decide to tell Nat. I recommend talking, but…” she shrugs, “it was like my brain had turned to mush. But, anyway, I kissed her, and she was nice about it, but she turned me down. She’d just gotten out of a relationship and I’d just come out like literally that week, and the timing was so bad. But, of course, I liked her so much, I didn’t hear any of that, I just heard the big old ‘no’ and assumed that was that.”

 

“What did you do?”

 

“Well, as the mature adult that I was, I cried for basically three days straight, drank all the whiskey in my house, and ate like ten pints of ice cream. My sister stayed with me, and I was a complete mess.”

 

Laura laughs.

 

“But, of course, the happy ending is that Maggie didn’t give up on me, or on our friendship. She chased me down and told me that she really wanted to be my friend. And it took a little bit of time, and a small near-death experience, but then she came around.”

 

“What did she do?”

 

At that moment, Maggie and Nat come through the door, Maggie holding two pizzas.

 

Alex can’t help but grin at the parallel. “Well,” she says with a smile to Laura, her voice loud enough for Maggie and Nat to hear, “she came over here in the middle of the night, holding a pizza, just like now, and she told me that she was scared but that life was too short, and we should be who we are,” Alex looks over at Maggie now, saying the words directly into her eyes.

 

“Alex,” Maggie whispers, almost to herself.

 

“And we should kiss the girls we want to kiss.”

 

Laura makes another squeaking sound.

 

“And she kissed me, and I kissed her back, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

 

Laura has a little glint in her eye. “So, what you’re saying, is that if I ever want to ask a girl out, I should bring her pizza first?”

 

“Absolutely,” Alex says seriously. “That’s probably why she turned me down the first time. No pizza.”

 

And not one of them missed that Laura just said, in front of Maggie and in front of Nat, that one day she might want to ask a girl out. And Maggie and Nat don’t miss that her eyes are a little red, or that Alex’s shirt is a little wet right where a head might rest. But they don’t mention it.

 

Maggie just comes over to Alex, reaches out a hand, pulls her up to stand, and kisses her softly.

 

“Would you have said yes at the bar if I’d brought you a pizza?” Alex asks against her lips.

 

“I’d at least have considered it.”

 


 

And, two weeks later, when Maggie sees Laura nervously buying two servings of pizza in the cafeteria, and bringing one over to Nat, she just barely manages to suppress her squeal. 

Chapter Text

maggie: babe, i know i said i wasn't ready before when you asked me, but i'm ready now. i love you so much, and i'm so happy with you, and these two years have been the best of my life--

 

alex: ohhhh my god

 

maggie: so, alex danvers, would you make me the happiest person in the world, and marry me?

 

alex: oh my god, y--

 

*alex is cut off by her phone ringing with the urgent DEO sound*

 

maggie: you've got to be fucking KIDDING me

 

alex: *puts phone on speaker* someone had better be dead, i swear

 

deo: supergirl may have just lost her powers. she fell 300 feet into a national city landmark. she took down almost the whole building. all we can hear through her comms is screaming.

 

alex: *hangs up phone, frantically dials kara. no answer*

 

maggie: if she's not dead, i'm going to fucking murder your sister

 

alex: i'll help

 

*they hop on alex's motorcycle and race to the collapsed building*

 

alex*sees supergirl staggering out of the rubble* oh my god, kara, are you okay? are you hurt? what was all the screaming? did you lose your powers?

 

kara: OH MY GOD ALEX YOU'RE ENGAGED!!

 

alex: ...whaaa?

 

maggie: oh hell no

 

kara: I WAS FLYING AND I HEARD IT ALL

 

maggie: superbitch say you didn't

 

kara: I WAS SO HAPPY I FORGOT HOW TO FLY

 

maggie: NO

 

alex: you destroyed...a national city landmark...and nearly killed yourself...because you heard maggie...propose?

 

maggie: i cANNOT BELieve you

 

alex: you USELESS ALIEN

 

kara*beaming* YOU'RE GOING TO GET MARRIEDDDD

 

maggie: hey great talk, so this is like super fun and stuff, but you falling on this building actually means she hasn't answered my fucking question yet, so if you could just run along and fix the tower or some shit, alex and i need to finish our convo. cool?

 

kara*blinks twice* YOU'RE GOING TO GET MAAAAAARRIED

 

alex*to maggie* please don't divorce me

 

Chapter Text

“Hey babe?” Maggie walks, head tilted in confusion, into the bathroom where Alex is brushing her teeth. Maggie’s holding Alex’s wallet in her right hand, her eyebrows drawn together. “Why do you have all these stock photos in your wallet?”

 

Alex looks over, her mouth full of toothpaste. Just a moment before she’d called through the door for Maggie to please do her a favor and make sure the Costco card was in her wallet. Kara has a card too but she always forgets to bring hers, so Maggie knows that Alex always double checks before their big shopping trips.

 

Alex makes a questioning noise around her toothbrush.

 

Maggie opens up the wallet – not the small one that Alex uses every day, not the small black (totally gay) billfold. This is her real, larger wallet, with her frozen yogurt rewards cards and FBI business cards and a bunch of other crap.

 

In the middle, in those cheesy plastic sheets, are a series of photos. Most people have pictures of their kids or their spouses, maybe a dog. But Alex has just a series of stock photos, each encased in a little plastic sleeve to keep it safe.

 

“You’ve got a picture of a dog wearing glasses, then one of test tubes, then a telescope, and then we’ve got what looks like…the solar system? And this last one is a leather jacket. Like, I know you like dogs and science and space and leather, but, this is a little extreme, isn’t it, Danvers?”

 

Alex grins at her, and a little bit of toothpaste threatens to dribble past her lips. She holds up a finger, and Maggie waits patiently for her to spit and rinse.

 

She dries her face with a towel and turns to Maggie, resting her hip against the countertop. “It’s uh, not exactly just cause I like space,” she says, toying with her shirt a little bit.

 

Maggie tilts her head again, wondering why Alex looks so nervous all the sudden.

 

“It’s just…I can’t have pictures of my family like everyone else does, in case I get captured. I can’t have anything that will put my family in danger of being targeted, and especially not anything that would lead back to Kara.”

 

Maggie’s heart both swells and shrinks. Of course, of course if Alex were captured she’d be most concerned about everyone else. That’s so completely insane and so completely Alex, and Maggie just loves her.

 

Alex keeps going, like she hasn’t just said something so heart wrenching.

 

“But I like the idea of having pictures of my family, so…”

 

And Maggie gets it, then. “So these pictures represent them.” Her voice is soft and reverent. She flicks back to the first one, and looks at them all again with new eyes. “The golden retriever puppy with the glasses, that’s obviously Kara. And the test tubes, that’s gotta be your mom, right?”

 

Alex nods.

 

“The telescope, is that your dad?”

 

Alex nods again, her eyes softer. “He’d pull this huge one out on the porch sometimes when I was young, and we’d spend hours just looking at the stars.”

 

Maggie can’t even handle how that makes her feel, because Jeremiah is still being held by Cadmus and Alex still misses him so much and they still don’t have confirmation that he survived after Alex blew up that building before nearly being shot across the galaxy.

 

“And the solar system?”

 

Alex smiles, the trace of grief lifting from her face. “J’onn,” she says simply, and Maggie grins at her.

 

“Cute.”

 

Maggie flips to the last picture. “And the leather jacket’s gotta be you. You know, I didn’t really take you for the wallet selfie type, Danvers,” she deadpans.

 

But Alex turns redder and fidgets more and gets more nervous and doesn’t quite meet Maggie’s eye.

 

“Um, no, it’s not…me.” Her voice is hesitant, and Maggie wonders what she’s so scared of.

 

“It’s, um…” she takes a breath, then settles, looking up into Maggie’s eyes with a spark of firmness. “It’s you.”

 

And Maggie is flooded with…something. Something warm, something fierce, something possessive. She hasn’t felt like this in years; maybe not since Emily, maybe not since she was fourteen.

 

Someone loves her. Someone loves her enough to want a picture of her in their wallet. Someone loves her enough to want to carry a picture of her around with them to Costco and to the movies and to work and to the bar.

 

Alex wants to carry a piece of Maggie around with her, to keep her as close as she keeps Kara and her parents and her space dad.

 

Alex only has pictures of her family in that wallet.

 

Maggie is Alex’s family.

 

Maggie presses the wallet closed, and she presses her body into Alex’s, and she presses their lips together, and she feels wanted and she feels seen in ways she can’t even believe.

 


 

A couple months later, when Alex is having some serious cramps and Maggie is trying to find her frozen yogurt punch card, she sees that Alex has added one more picture.

 

A pool table, with all the stripes still out on the table, but all the solids in the pockets.

 

“Al,” Maggie calls into the bedroom, “babe, I know you’re hurting, and I love you more than anything, but this pool table picture in your wallet is grounds for a very messy breakup.”

 

And Alex, her family, from under the covers, just cackles.

Chapter Text

It happens not too long after they’ve started dating.

 

They decide to start their relationship slowly, actually taking each other on dates one or two times a week and not seeing each other too much between. This type of relationship – any romantic relationship, really, one where she actually cares about the other person – is new to Alex. And Maggie’s fresh off being being dumped. So they take it slow.

 

They go on real dates.

 

And if they make out against each other’s apartment doors at the end of them, well. Who can blame them, really?

 

The night it happens is their fifth date. Alex picked the place, a little ramen restaurant she’s been meaning to try over in a part of town she keeps hearing about but never really visits.

 

Neither has to work in the morning, so they take a cab so they can both enjoy the sake this place is apparently known for.

 

They have a wonderful time. It’s so easy, being together. Maggie’s long hair falls in her soup twice before Alex takes pity on her and flirts an elastic band off another girl’s wrist, offering it to Maggie with a wink and a smirk. They’re sitting up at the bar and there’s plenty of foot space but they both keep their calves pressed firmly together all night.

 

The sake makes Alex soft and pliant, and she tilts in her barstool closer and closer to Maggie, her right hand braced against the bar right in front of Maggie to catch herself, her forearm grazing Maggie’s stomach whenever Maggie leans a little forward.

 

Even though her arms are long enough, Maggie leans forward every time she goes to reach for her drink.

 

Maggie drapes her left arm over the back of Alex’s chair, and she slowly and gently rubs her fingertips up and down Alex’s side, managing to eat her ramen with only one hand.

 

And it’s only their fifth date, and they’re going slow, but the sake loosens something inside Alex’s chest and she can’t stop herself from staring at Maggie for far too long between each bite.

 

It seems to loosen something in Maggie too, because three separate times during the meal she leans in, pressing her left hand flush against Alex’s side, urging her even closer, and leaves a lingering kiss on her temple or her cheek. “You’re so beautiful,” she murmurs, three separate times.

 

Maybe it’s not the sake that’s loosening her, Alex thinks. Maybe it’s just Maggie.

 

After they’ve done the damage they can to their ramen, and they’ve finished their second round of sake – leaving both of them light and happy but nothing more than lightly buzzed – they leave the barstools and make jokes about rolling all the way home, the liquid sloshing warm and heavy in their stomachs.

 

They walk out the door and Alex reaches over without a thought and finds Maggie’s hand. And she’s so light and happy and full and warm that all of her senses are just filled with Maggie.

 

Maggie grins at her, dimples flashing even in the deep darkness, and starts to lead them to a bigger intersection to find a cab.

 

And that’s when it happens. Still nearly a block from the intersection, on a street that isn’t as brightly lit as it should be, when they aren’t wearing body armor and they’re so consumed in each other that they don’t notice him.

 

Alex’s first time being followed because she’s gay.

 

She’s been followed for a lot of other reasons. Because she’s tracking aliens, because she’s an agent of the DEO, because she’s guarding Supergirl’s back.

 

But that’s all part of the job, and this isn’t. This is personal.

 

This man isn’t a target or an enemy. He’s just a man on a dark street who wants nothing more than to follow and insult and frighten her because she’s holding Maggie’s hand.

 

And Alex isn’t physically afraid, not really. She’s got a gun tucked into her purse, and she’s quite lethal with nothing but her hands and her feet, and Maggie’s no slouch either. But it still makes the blood in her veins run cold, and all of her tactical knowledge seems to slip out of her brain and she stops walking, just for a second, as what’s happening hits her.

 

She snaps back in, after just a split second, because Maggie’s dropped her hand and has taken two steps more than Alex before she realizes Alex isn’t with her. Her voice is tight and terse. “Danvers. Walk.”

 

Alex walks, quickly, catching up, and she reaches for Maggie’s hand again.

 

Maggie shakes her off.

 

Another first.

 

Alex doesn’t say anything. Maggie doesn’t say anything.


The man behind them has plenty to say. He doesn’t seem to be closing the distance between them but he’s keeping up, and Alex almost wishes he would close so she could demolish him.

 

But Maggie is walking, her shoulders up and her face tight and blank, and Alex isn’t going to leave her alone on this dark street to wail on someone she can’t even see.

 

So they walk.

 

They make it to the main street and there aren’t any cabs right in front of them, but it’s much brighter. Maggie turns sharply and walks, and they’re about halfway down the block when the light behind them turns green and Maggie darts out into the street and hails the first cab she sees. She practically shoves Alex into it, and snaps “go” at the driver before the door is completely shut behind her.

 

She gives the driver Alex’s intersection (not the address).

 

They don’t say anything else until the cab pulls up. “Um, goodnight, I guess,” Alex mumbles, sure Maggie’s going to continue onto her place.

 

She isn’t looking, but she can tell Maggie snaps her head over. “No. I mean.” She lets out a puff of air, clearly frustrated. Alex doesn’t know if she’s mad at her or at herself or at the man on the street. “I want to…can I just walk you up? Please?”

 

Alex nods, still looking down at her knees. Maggie pays with her credit card, a frustratingly long process, as Alex tries to look anywhere but over at the person who dropped her hand when she needed it most.

 

They get out of the cab and walk the half block to Alex’s building. Alex lets them inside, and they ride the elevator in silence.

 

This had been one of the best nights they’d spent together. Alex hates him for ruining it. She hates Maggie for dropping her hand. She hates herself for letting it bother her.

 

The elevator doors open and they walk down the hallway, still silent. Alex unlocks her front door, finally turning back to Maggie, not sure why she’d sent the cab along if she’s just going to need to call another now.

 

“Can I come in?” Maggie’s voice is small and a little timid. “We should talk about it.”

 

Alex isn’t quick enough to keep an irritated scoffing sound from escaping her chest. “Now, you want to talk?” Her voice is a little more vulnerable and a little more piercing than she’d have liked.

 

Maggie rolls her eyes a little, but Alex still isn’t clear who she’s mad it. “What, you’d rather have done it in front of that guy? Or in front of the cab driver, who was in complete control of our bodies, who for all we know could be a raging homophobe too?”

 

Okay, she’s clearly mad at everyone.

 

But she’s also right, and Alex hadn’t even considered that about the cab driver, so she just shrugs and walks into the apartment, letting Maggie follow her if she wants to.

 

She does, closing the door behind her.

 

Maggie talks first, and Alex can tell that she’s trying, that she’s throttled her frustration down and is trying to speak gently. “I know you’re upset.” Alex doesn’t turn around, but she stops moving, hands planted firmly on the countertop of her kitchen island. “I know this was your first time being harassed like that, and it’s normal to be upset.”

 

Alex whirls on her. “You think I’m upset because of that asshole?”

 

Maggie takes a step back, her eyes surprised. “I—what?”

 

“I’m upset,” Alex says, overcompensating for her the tears she’s trying to force down by making her voice too harsh, too biting, “because you dropped my hand.”

 

Something happens in Maggie’s face, but she shuts it down so quickly that Alex can’t tell what it was. “What?”

 

“You dropped my hand,” Alex says again, “the second it started. Like you were ashamed of me, of us.”

 

And Maggie’s face completely falls. She takes a step forward, her arms reaching out to Alex, seemingly without knowing it. “Oh, Alex, no. No, Alex.”

 

Alex takes a step back. “Don’t,” she says, holding up her hands. She’s not interested in being touched now.

 

Maggie retreats immediately, holding her own hands up in obvious surrender. “Okay,” she says quickly. “Okay.”

 

There’s a long pause. Alex doesn’t look at Maggie, crossing her arms over her stomach and trying desperately not to feel so hurt by this one stupid moment.

 

She only looks up when she hears Maggie’s voice again, and it’s only then that she notices that Maggie’s crying, just a little bit. “Alex,” she’s saying, her voice a little thick, “I’m sorry. I didn’t…I never meant to make you feel that way. I’ve never been ashamed of you, Alex, and I never will.”

 

Alex shrugs a little, afraid if she opens her mouth she’ll cry too.

 

“I wasn’t ashamed of you. I was scared.”

 

Alex’s head snaps up. She’d have sworn that Maggie would rather die than ever admit fear.

 

“What?” She says dumbly.

 

“I…can we sit?”

 

Alex blinks a couple times. “Uh, I…sure.”

 

Maggie walks over to the couch, perching at the edge of it, her jacket still on. She’s folded in on herself and she looks so small.

 

Alex sits too, not right next to her, but not as far away as possible.

 

Maggie has her hands clasped tight in her lap, her forearms resting on her thighs. “I was scared,” she says again, and it knocks the wind out of Alex just as much the second time. She looks over at Alex, and her face is so small and pinched and most of Alex wants to throw this fight out the window and just hold her. “This was your first time with something like this, right? Something specifically because you’re gay?”

 

Alex nods, and Maggie nods back at her.

 

“It’s not my first time,” Maggie says softly. “Not even close.”

 

And Alex feels like an idiot, because she knows that thirty-year-old Maggie is a cop with a gun who can handle herself in hand-to-hand situations, but she’s only just now realizing what it means that once upon a time she was a tiny young lesbian in a small town in a red state.

 

Alex feels like an idiot, because this wasn’t actually about her at all.

 

“Maggie,” she says, and Maggie must hear the difference in her voice because she looks over, her face pulled into a wry grimace.

 

“I’m fine, Danvers. Never had anything worse happen to me than a couple bruised ribs from pissed off teenagers, and nothing physical since I left Nebraska. But every time it just…” she lets out a puff of air, and now all of Alex wants to drop the fight and take Maggie in her arms, but this doesn’t quite seem like a moment for initiating touch. “It snaps me back to when I was vulnerable and young and scared. And I know you can handle yourself, we both can, but it was dark and we couldn’t see him, and it just…scared me. So I dropped your hand to try to deescalate it and I just tried to get us out of there.”

 

Maggie looks up at her, and an apology that Alex doesn’t need anymore is all over her face. “But I never meant to make you feel worse, Alex, I’m sorry.”

 

Alex can’t take it anymore. She slides closer, taking both of Maggie’s clenched hands in her own. “Hey, hey, it’s okay. Really, I’m sorry, I’m okay, I didn’t realize, Maggie, I’m sorry.”

 

But Maggie is shaking her head and it dislodges the tears that have been hanging in her eyes, and she pulls one of her hands free of Alex’s to wipe at her face. And Alex has never seen her cry before, and she can’t decide if she’d rather throttle the man on the street or herself for making Maggie so upset.

 

“And it’s my fault it’s happening to you.”

 

Alex’s brain flips, trying in vain to compute. “Wait, what?”

 

“This never would have happened to you tonight if it weren’t for me.” Alex wants to say something, to stop her, but it’s so absurd that her brain is still buffering, stalled out, unable to respond. “You should never have heard those words, those things,” Maggie continues, her voice catching, the words tumbling out of her mouth at full speed. “You don’t deserve that, you’re new and wonderful, and you should never—" 

 

Alex’s brain finally kicks into gear. Maggie thinks Alex is going to break up with her because of tonight. She thinks Alex should break up with her because of tonight. And the idea of that is just…no. Never.

 

“Stop,” she says firmly. “Maggie, stop. That’s not true.”

 

But Maggie huffs out a bitter laugh. “Of course it’s true.”

 

“Maggie, stop.” Alex frees one hand and reaches up, tilting Maggie’s face towards herself. “I want you to look at me when I say this.” She takes a beat, and Maggie doesn’t look away. “I don’t care about being harassed if it means that I get to be with you.”

 

Maggie shakes her head immediately, like it’s impossible.

 

But Alex isn’t having it. She will not have Maggie blaming herself for all the homophobes in the world, honestly. She won’t. “No, stop it. Listen to me, Maggie. If being followed every once in while and learning how uncreative homophobic assholes are when they’re drunk is the price of getting to be with you, of getting to know myself, that’s a price I’m more than willing to pay. You’re worth that, Maggie, you’re worth so much more than that.”

 

Maggie shakes her head again. “You don’t know what you’re saying,” she says dully, and Alex doesn’t know if she means that she isn’t worth it, or that Alex doesn’t know what fresh horrors wait for her on the darkened streets of National City.

 

But Alex, honestly, doesn’t give a shit.

 

She reaches up with both hands and, slowly, giving Maggie a chance to back away, cups her face in her hands. She slides her thumbs across her cheeks softly, sort of wiping off her tears and sort of just smearing them around her face.

 

“Maggie,” she breathes, and it’s not slow and it’s definitely too much, but she can’t possibly keep the words inside her body a second longer. “I’m in love with you.”

 

The entire room seems to freeze. Maggie’s face doesn’t move a muscle inside of Alex’s hands, she doesn’t breathe. Her eyes are locked on Alex – wide and vulnerable and lost.

 

Alex says it again. “I’m in love with you, and you’re so important to me, and this is important to me.” She tightens her hands, just a little, when she says this, and Maggie blinks. “And I swear that I’ll never let anyone hurt you, ever again, and I’ll do anything you need me to do to feel safe when we’re out, I promise. But Maggie.” Alex’s voice is soft and choked and Maggie is crying again. “I’m in love with you, and no amount of street harassment is going to change that. I just want you, Maggie.”

 

And Maggie’s face is still in Alex’s hands, and she’s crying and she’s blinking and she’s shaking her head but it doesn’t feel like a no, just like awed disbelief.

 

“Alex,” she breathes.

 

And Alex has never, not once in her life, told someone that she was in love with them, and this wasn’t quite how she’d pictured doing it for the first time – after a scare and a fight, with the object of her love crying on her couch, still wearing her jacket – but she doesn’t regret it for a second.

 

“Alex,” Maggie says, and her tone is a little lighter, like maybe she’s happy that Alex said it.

 

And they’re getting closer together and Alex doesn’t know who’s doing it but she wants to be sure. “Can I kiss you?” she whispers.

 

And Maggie says “please” so quickly and so desperately that Alex is pretty sure it was Maggie moving their faces so close that she barely has to lean in at all before they’re kissing.

 

And it’s wet and desperate and a little messy but Alex doesn’t care. Maggie’s mouth is scorching hot and her breathing is a little stuttered but her one hand in Alex’s hair and her other wrapped in Alex’s shirt are gluing them together, leaving no doubt that she wants to stay as close as she can.

 

She ends up levering herself up, coming to straddle Alex’s legs and dropping herself into Alex’s lap. It’s a first for them, and even though Alex is completely shell-shocked by the emotions of the night and by confessing her love and by making Maggie cry, she still notices how amazing it feels to have this woman on top of her, in her lap, grasping at her, trying to be so close together that they just fuse into each other.

 

Maggie never breaks the kiss, and at first Alex worries about breathing but then she figures she’d rather pass out from the kiss than be the one to pull back.

 

And it’s just when she’s considering the possibility growing gills that Maggie pulls back, dropping her head into Alex’s neck. Her hair is still up in the ponytail from dinner, and Alex reaches up to cup the back of her neck, gripping as tightly as she dares.

 

“Alex,” Maggie says again, her voice muffled.

 

“Do you want me to say it again?”

 

Yes,” Maggie says in a rush, almost before the words are out of Alex’s mouth.

 

“I love you,” Alex says, as quickly and as firmly and with as much feeling as she can. “I love you. I’m in love with you. I’m right here. I love you. I love you so much.”

  


 

It’s a lot of firsts for Alex to absorb in just one night. First homophobic street harassment. First fight. First time crying together. First time having Maggie in her lap. First time saying I love you, followed quickly by the next ten or fifteen times.

 

First sleepover.

 

Maggie spends the entire night spooning Alex, pressing her body so tightly against Alex’s back, holding her so close, that there isn’t a centimeter of space for doubt to creep in, even though she hasn’t said it back yet.

 

Alex knows that she will, one of these days.

 

Another first.

Chapter Text

Elizabeth: Sawyer

Maggie: Martinez

Elizabeth: Am I or am I not your best friend?

Maggie: You’re my only friend

Elizabeth: Yeah, well, that’s because you’re pathetic

Maggie: Wow, great talking to you, Liz. Let’s never do it again.

Elizabeth: Seriously, Sawyer.

Maggie: Fine, yes, even if I had other friends I’d still like you best.

Maggie: Feeling insecure today, are we?

Elizabeth: I’ll get to that

Elizabeth: How long have we known each other, Margaret

Maggie: Long enough for you to know not to call me Margaret

Elizabeth: You know when we first met you weren’t such an asshole

Maggie: I was 18, of course I was an asshole

Elizabeth: I’ve been there for you, girl, ups and downs

Elizabeth: When anything big has happened in my life, you’ve been there for me

Elizabeth: That’s meant so much to me

Maggie: Liz

Elizabeth: And being there for you

Elizabeth: For shit good and bad

Maggie: Dude what’s going on?

Elizabeth: Has been so important to me and to my life

Elizabeth: You know?

Maggie: LIZ. Are you dying?

Maggie: Dude. Pick up your phone.

Maggie: Seriously, Liz. Call me.

Elizabeth: I’m not dying. I’m just gearing up to dramatically yell at you, but I’m in a staff meeting so I gotta do it through text.

Maggie:??

Elizabeth: WHY THE FUCK DID I HAVE FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR NEW GIRL ON FACEBOOK, YOU HEINOUS BITCH

Maggie: Oh my god

Elizabeth: I AM YOUR BEST FRIEND

Elizabeth: YOU CALL ME WHEN YOU GET A NEW GIRL

Maggie: Real housewives of Metropolis, calm down

Elizabeth: YOU CALL ME WHEN YOU GET A NEW GIRL, MARGARET

Maggie: My name isn’t even Margaret and you know that

Elizabeth: TREATING ME LIKE SOME TRASH OFF THE STREET

Elizabeth: NOT EVEN GOOD ENOUGH TO KNOW ABOUT HER

Maggie: Dude you have completely lost your chill

Elizabeth: YOU WILL TELL ME ABOUT HER RIGHT NOW, I SWEAR TO GOD

Maggie: Her name is Alex. It’s new.

Elizabeth:

Elizabeth: Seriously?

Elizabeth: Bitch, that’s it?

Elizabeth: I find out my best friend in the entire world,

Elizabeth: My former roommate,

Elizabeth: My fucking maid of honor,

Elizabeth: Is seeing a new girl

Elizabeth: And all I get to know

Elizabeth: Is

Elizabeth: Her name is Alex

Elizabeth: And

Elizabeth: It’s new

Elizabeth: ????????

Elizabeth: TRY AGAIN, MARGARET

Maggie: You know I hate texting

Maggie: I’ll call you tonight and fill you in

Elizabeth: Look I don’t mean to sound desperate here

Elizabeth: But I’m in an all-day staff meeting

Elizabeth: Do you understand how horrible that is?

Elizabeth: All day. Staff. Meeting.

Elizabeth: I will literally die of boredom if you don’t text me every detail about this girl this instant

Elizabeth: Or I will commit murder

Elizabeth: And you’ll have to arrest me

Elizabeth: And it’ll be really awkward in the interrogation room

Elizabeth: Cause I’ll wait til I’m in front of your boss

Elizabeth: And then I’ll accidentally talk about that one time we had sex in college

Maggie: Accidentally

Elizabeth: Accidentally

Maggie: Okay, fine

Maggie: What do you want to know

Elizabeth: WHAT PART OF ALL-DAY STAFF MEETING DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND

Elizabeth: I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING

Elizabeth: START FROM THE FIRST TIME YOU LAID EYES ON HER

Elizabeth: OR EYES ON HER ONLINE PROFILE

Elizabeth: #NOJUDGEMENT

Maggie: She’s a fed. She invaded one of my crime scenes.

Maggie: She’s ridiculously hot

Maggie: She kicked me off the scene, but then I saw her at another one the next day

Maggie: She was holding this giant gun on her shoulder, like a rocket launcher or something

Elizabeth: And you basically jizzed on the spot?

Maggie: Basically

Elizabeth: When was this?

Maggie: ….

Maggie: Like two months ago?

Elizabeth: TWO MONTHS

Elizabeth: YOU HORRIFYING ASSHOLE

Maggie: I love you

Elizabeth: You’re a monster

Elizabeth: Wait, were you still with Real Estate Barbie™?

Maggie: Yeah

Elizabeth: MARGARET

Maggie: I didn’t do anything when I was with her, I wouldn’t, you know me

Elizabeth: I know

Elizabeth: So what happened

Maggie: We started hanging out

Maggie: She’s a scientist

Maggie: And a field agent

Maggie: She has a phd

Maggie: And really big guns

Maggie: And, Liz, brace yourself

Maggie: She rides a ducati

Elizabeth: Oh my god, now I’M gonna jizz on the spot

Maggie: No fucking kidding

Maggie: And she’s a pool shark

Maggie: And then I got dumped

Maggie: As you remember

Elizabeth: Yeah, your dumb ass remembered to actually call me for that one

Maggie: And Alex was like, all about trying to hang out right after

Maggie: Like, randomly showing up at my crime scenes

Maggie: Following me around

Maggie: Offering to go out for drinks and tapas and shit

Elizabeth: Tapas? Gay.

Maggie: Right?

Maggie: RIGHT?

Maggie: THANK YOU

Maggie: Okay

Maggie: So I was like, this girl is gay and asking me out, and she’s hot as hell but it was like, days after being dumped

Maggie: So I was like, dude, not a great time to be asking me out?

Maggie: And she went into full on gay panic, Liz

Maggie: Like full on

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: Did she say “I’m not gay” like four times

Maggie: Yeah but she said “no offense” first?

Elizabeth: That makes no sense

Maggie: None

Maggie: So she was like, I’m straight, and I was like, okay sure

Maggie: Cause like, she was giving off 100% gay vibes

Elizabeth: I mean, the ducati and the giant gun seem like dead giveaways

Maggie: The entire time this has been happening, btw, I’d seen her in like four different leather jackets, too

Elizabeth: #gay

Maggie: Obviously

Maggie: So I was like, okay, you’re straight, you’re not gay, I get it.

Maggie: And then I remembered what worked on that girl senior year from your polisci class

Elizabeth: Which girl?

Maggie: The ginger you banged for like a week? Who lived on a farm and always smelled like straw?

Elizabeth: Oh my god I completely forgot about her

Elizabeth: Amazing

Elizabeth: She was hot

Elizabeth: Keep going, I’ll remember her more later

Maggie: You’re MARRIED

Elizabeth: Jealous?

Maggie: Want me to keep going or what?

Elizabeth: You stop, you die

Maggie: So anyway I said to her what you said to that girl

Maggie: She was like I’m straight, and I was like, yeah I know, but you wouldn’t believe how many gay women I’ve heard that from

Elizabeth: oH MY GOD

Elizabeth: YOU DIDN’T

Maggie: I did

Elizabeth: I CANNOT BELIEVE

Elizabeth: YOU DID THAT

Elizabeth: MAGGIE

Elizabeth: THAT IS SOME COLD SHIT RIGHT THERE

Elizabeth: TRUTH POTION SLAP

Elizabeth: RIGHT TO THE FACE

Maggie: I know

Maggie: I felt super bad about it after

Maggie: She was like, legit freaked out

Elizabeth: Lemme guess, you were there to comfort her?

Maggie: Kinda

Maggie: She ended up coming out to me like pretty soon after

Maggie: Like, just a couple days

Maggie: She was really sweet about it

Maggie: All earnest and nervous and a little sad

Maggie: I mean, you know I’ve had a lot of people come out to me

Elizabeth: #goldstar

Maggie: Hell yes

Maggie: But this was different

Maggie: She wasn’t like, I’ve never told anyone this but I’m gay

Maggie: She was like, I’ve never understood myself before

Maggie: But now I realize I’m gay

Maggie: And I don’t know if it was cause I liked her already or what

Maggie: But I was just like, a goner, you know?

Maggie: In that moment, I was like, this girl is fucking special

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: You caught feelings

Elizabeth: Welcome

Elizabeth: Feeling are amazing

Maggie: Feelings suck

Elizabeth: Yes

Elizabeth: They do

Elizabeth: Okay so then what

Elizabeth: Did you bang?

Maggie: No, unlike you, I’m not a total asshole

Maggie: I did not bang her the night she came out for the very first time

Elizabeth: You were the very first person she ever told?

Maggie: Yeah

Elizabeth: Heavy shit

Maggie: No kidding

Maggie: But she was okay

Maggie: The next time I saw her she asked me what it was like when I came out to my family

Elizabeth: Holy shit

Elizabeth: What did you say?

Maggie: I lied

Maggie: Obviously

Elizabeth: Jesus Christ

Elizabeth: Fuck your parents, for the record

Elizabeth: In case I haven’t said that yet this year

Elizabeth: Just like, fuck them

Maggie: Amen

Maggie: But anyway

Maggie: I lied

Maggie: Told her the usual

Maggie: And Alex is really tight with her sister

Maggie: So she came out to her

Maggie: And her sister was great about it

Maggie: Which I knew she would be

Maggie: And then she came to the bar and tracked me down to celebrate

Maggie: Cause I’d promised her a drink when she did it

Elizabeth: Oh my god this is starting to feel climactic

Maggie: Yeah no kidding

Maggie: I hugged her

Maggie: And then she just like pulled me in and kissed me

Elizabeth: !!!!

Elizabeth: ON THE MOUTH?

Maggie: No on the foot

Maggie: Yes on the mouth

Elizabeth: THE BABY GAY

Elizabeth: PULLED YOU IN

Elizabeth: AND KISSED YOU

Elizabeth: ON THE MOUTH

Elizabeth: IN PUBLIC

Elizabeth: ????

Maggie: Yes

Maggie: It was bananas

Maggie: I had no idea it was coming

Elizabeth: 100,000 swagger points to your girl

Elizabeth: That’s a baller move right there

Maggie: Seriously

Elizabeth: How was it?

Maggie: The kiss?

Elizabeth: No the foot

Maggie: It was amazing

Maggie: I had definitely caught feelings by that point

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Maggie: But I turned her down

Elizabeth: I WILL MURDER YOU THIS INSTANT

Maggie: YOU KNOW THIS STORY HAS A HAPPY ENDING ELIZABETH chill

Elizabeth: WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TURN HER DOWN

Maggie: Dude she came out like that week

Maggie: And not like, told people for the first time that week

Maggie: Like straight up realized she was gay that week

Elizabeth: You probably didn’t mean to say straight up

Maggie: No I didn’t

Maggie: But like

Maggie: That’s so intense of an experience for her

Maggie: And no one sticks with that first stop on the coming out train

Maggie: And I was still getting over being dumped

Maggie: And she was so new, you know, all shiny and shit

Maggie: And I wanted her to have a good coming out

Maggie: She’s so amazing

Maggie: And she deserved for everything to be perfect

Maggie: And jumping into something with me, especially when I was fucked up from being dumped, would definitely not have been perfect

Maggie: You know?

Elizabeth: That’s some noble shit right there

Maggie: I know

Elizabeth: Did you break her gay little heart?

Maggie: Yes I did

Maggie: Smashed it

Maggie: Completely smashed it

Maggie: We’re talking smithereens, here

Maggie: And I didn’t totally get it

Maggie: Because I was sure it was just cause I was the first lesbian she knew

Maggie: I didn’t realize she’d caught feelings too

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: I wish I had popcorn

Elizabeth: This is the best love story ever told

Elizabeth: I’m already shipping it

Elizabeth: (I can’t believe you didn’t fucking tell me, you asshole)

Elizabeth: Whatever I’m over it

Maggie: Honestly, dude, I wanted to tell you

Maggie: But I was so confused

Maggie: And I thought I didn’t want to be with her right then

Maggie: But part of me knew that I DID want her and that I was just chicken

Elizabeth: Because of the feelings

Elizabeth: A feelings chicken

Maggie: Obviously

Maggie: And I knew if I talked to you

Maggie: Or to her

Maggie: About it, then I’d get called on being a chickenshit

Maggie: And I couldn’t deal with that

Maggie: So I just didn’t

Elizabeth: Stop trying to make me forgive you by honestly sharing your feelings

Elizabeth: That’s disgusting and manipulative

Maggie: You’re impossible

Elizabeth: (I love you)

Maggie: (yeah whatever)

Maggie: (I love you too)

Maggie: But so I was worried about her

Maggie: Cause of the weight of being rejected on top of everything

Maggie: But she didn’t answer my calls or anything

Maggie: I finally ran into her

Maggie: And she was like, oh I’ve been busy with work

Elizabeth: Liar

Maggie: Totally

Maggie: But she was obviously interested in playing it cool

Maggie: So I tried too

Maggie: Which I’m usually good at, but

Elizabeth: The feelings

Elizabeth: You’d caught them

Elizabeth: They were eating your brain

Maggie: Exactly

Maggie: But I was trying

Maggie: But then she like corners me later

Elizabeth: WHERE

Maggie: In the parking deck at work

Elizabeth: WHAT WERE YOU WEARING

Maggie: We didn’t have sex

Maggie: Do you still want to know?

Elizabeth: Not in the slightest

Maggie: She tried to be all about work

Maggie: But then was like, I can’t tell you, it’s classified

Maggie: Which is bullshit

Maggie: Because she tells me all the classified shit she wants to

Elizabeth: Oh my god that’s like the perfect maggie sawyer romance

Elizabeth: Big guns and classified information

Maggie: No fucking kidding

Maggie: Add in the ducati

Maggie: I didn’t stand a chance

Elizabeth: Nope

Maggie: But so she was like, it’s classified

Maggie: And I said, come on, we’re friends

Maggie: And she said, no we aren’t

Elizabeth: SHOTS FIRED

Maggie: And then, jesus, Liz, it was so intense

Maggie: She just looked me right in the eye and said that she’d fallen for me, and I’d noticed, and I was the one who’d called her on it, and she was brave enough to admit it

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: One billion swagger points to her

Maggie: And then she said that she’d been proud to come out to her family because it was about me, not about just being gay in general

Elizabeth: Holy shit

Elizabeth: Sucker punch to the gut

Maggie: No kidding

Maggie: And then she said

Maggie: I remember it so clearly

Maggie: She said, all I feel is pain because you don’t want me

Elizabeth: HOLY

Elizabeth: SHIT

Elizabeth: SHE ACTUALLY SAID THAT?

Maggie: Yes

Elizabeth: TO YOUR FACE?

Maggie: To my face

Maggie: In a crowded parking deck, no less

Elizabeth: So okay, recap

Elizabeth: She said we’re not friends and we both know I like you and you don’t want me and all I feel is pain?

Maggie: Yup

Elizabeth: Holy shit she BROUGHT IT AND SERVED IT

Maggie: And then she just like walked away

Maggie: And I was so mad at myself

Maggie: Because I had always wanted her

Maggie: But that wasn’t even the problem, you know

Maggie: She felt like, unwantable

Maggie: Which was just so far from the truth

Maggie: There was no way I was going to let her think that

Maggie: So I went to her place to talk to her about it

Maggie: But she wasn’t there

Maggie: So I found her at her sister’s place

Elizabeth: #stalker

Maggie: And I told her I wanted to be friends

Maggie: And she said okay

Elizabeth: Uh, no

Elizabeth: I call bullshit

Elizabeth: What did you really say

Elizabeth: Tell me

Elizabeth: I’ll know if you lie

Elizabeth: I’m magic as shit

Maggie: I said that I don’t care about most people

Elizabeth: True

Maggie: And that she had become really important to me and I cared about her

Maggie: A lot

Elizabeth: I’m going to cry in the middle of this meeting, aren’t I

Maggie: It’s possible

Maggie: And I told her that I hoped we could be friends, but I’d understand if we couldn’t

Maggie: And I said that I didn’t want to imagine my life without her in it

Elizabeth: OH MY GOD

Elizabeth: PRINT THAT ON A T-SHIRT

Elizabeth: YOU FUCKING GAY UNICORN

Elizabeth: THAT’S AMAZING

Maggie: And then she said okay and offered me a round of pool the next night

Elizabeth: Oh my god, one million swagger points to you

Elizabeth: For sharing your feelings

Elizabeth: That’s swaggy as hell

Maggie: Thank you, I accept your swagger points

Maggie: Okay so anyway

Maggie: We’re like friends or whatever

Maggie: For a little while

Maggie: And then like 2 weeks ago I got hurt on the job

Maggie: Don’t freak out

Maggie: I’m fine

Maggie: I just needed a couple stitches on my shoulder

Elizabeth: DUDE

Elizabeth: WHAT THE FUCK

Elizabeth: YOU FUCKING CALL ME WHEN YOU GET HURT ON THE JOB

Elizabeth: I’M YOUR FUCKING EMERGENCY CONTACT, THE HOSPITAL SHOULD HAVE CALLED ME

Elizabeth: HOW THE HELL DID YOU NOT TELL ME

Maggie: First of all, I didn’t go to the hospital, Alex stitched me up at her work

Maggie: Second of all, I was going to call you that night

Maggie: But then

Elizabeth: If this story DOESN’T end with “but then I didn’t call you when I was mortally wounded was because I had my tongue down Alex’s throat” I will fly to national city and murder you

Maggie: Don’t buy a plane ticket

Elizabeth: OH MY GOD

Elizabeth: YES

Elizabeth: GET TO THE GOOD STUFF, SAWYER

Maggie: Okay okay

Maggie: So as she’s stitching me up, she was like, thank you for helping me realize I’m gay

Maggie: And gave me this whole, “now I realize I’m not just gay for you but I’m actually gay and I’m good with that,” speech

Elizabeth: Adorbs

Maggie: Plus she had just told her mom

Maggie: And she was really happy

Maggie: And she didn’t seem like a baby gay anymore, which I know is ridiculous cause she still was one

Maggie: But it just felt different

Elizabeth: FEELINGS everywhere

Maggie: So she stitches me up

Maggie: Thanks me for helping her realize she’s gay

Maggie: Then I go home

Maggie: And I’m like, fuck, that robot dude just almost killed me today with his laser eye

Elizabeth: WHAT IS YOUR LIFE

Elizabeth: KEEP GOING

Maggie: And I’m like, I can’t die without kissing this girl

Elizabeth: OH MY GOD PUT THAT ON A SHIRT TOO

Maggie: So I went over to her place

Maggie: And I brought pizza and beer cause I’m not stupid

Elizabeth: Good girl

Maggie: And she was wearing the cutest fucking pajamas, Liz

Maggie: Like, actual pajama pants

Maggie: I wanted to die

Maggie: They were so cute

Elizabeth: Oh my god you caught so many feelings

Maggie: No shit, Sherlock

Maggie: Since when have I ever cared about pajamas before

Elizabeth: Fucking never

Elizabeth: Keep goinggggg

Maggie: I told her that I just really needed to see her

Maggie: And I said that she’d scared me when she kissed me

Maggie: Because her coming out just for me felt like a lot of pressure

Elizabeth: Fair

Maggie: But I told her that life was too short

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Maggie: And we should be who we are

Elizabeth: !!!!!

Maggie: And we should kiss the girls that we want to kiss

Elizabeth: PUT THAT ON T-SHIRT

Elizabeth: SKYWRITE THAT SHIT

Elizabeth: WEAR THE SHIRT TO PRIDE

Elizabeth: AS YOU PROPOSE

Elizabeth: I’M DONE, I’M DEAD, YOU KILLED ME

Elizabeth: YOU GAY ASSHOLE

Elizabeth: DID YOU KISS HER THAT MINUTE     

Maggie: YES

Elizabeth: HOW WAS IT

Maggie: FUCKING AMAZING

Elizabeth: DID SHE KISS YOU BACK

Maggie: YES

Elizabeth: HOW WAS IT

Maggie: EVEN MORE FUCKING AMAZING

Maggie: Honestly, Liz, she’s like

Maggie: So…

Maggie: Jesus

Maggie: She’s perfect

Elizabeth: Okay I’m officially crying in this meeting

Maggie: No kidding

Maggie: So that’s kind of it

Maggie: We’ve been taking it slow

Maggie: Before you ask

Maggie: No, we haven’t had sex yet

Elizabeth: Thank you for reading my mind

Maggie: But she’s amazing

Maggie: She’s beautiful, Liz

Maggie: And so smart

Maggie: And just like…real. Like, genuine

Maggie: She doesn’t play games

Maggie: She’s just like…amazing

Elizabeth: You’re so gone

Elizabeth: You’re so done

Elizabeth: You’re vanished

Elizabeth: You’ve gone so deep into feelings world

Elizabeth: You’re never coming back

Elizabeth: You know that, right?

Maggie: Yeah I do

Elizabeth: How much are you freaking out?

Maggie: Honestly, not that much

Elizabeth: WHAT

Maggie: I KNOW

Maggie: It’s weird

Maggie: But she’s just

Maggie: I don’t know

Maggie: It’s so good

Maggie: We hang out with her sister

Maggie: And her sister’s dorky friends

Maggie: Those are probably the pictures you saw

Elizabeth: Yeah, you and all these beautiful white people

Elizabeth: And then one of you MAKING OUT WITH THIS HOT GIRL, captioned “get your paws off my sister #maglex”

Maggie: Yup

Elizabeth: You’re so not the hang-out-with-the-sister type

Maggie: I know

Maggie: But she is

Maggie: And for her

Maggie: Fuck, Liz

Maggie: Like

Maggie: I’d do anything

Elizabeth: You’re toast, Sawyer

Maggie: Should I make a toaster joke?

Elizabeth: Please don’t

Elizabeth: When do I meet her, you useless lesbian?

 

Chapter Text

Alex pries her eyes open. They’re stale and gummy – opening them takes an absurd amount of effort. It’s dark where she is. She can’t make out much of anything.

 

She can tell that she’s lying down on her back. On some type of hard floor. It’s cold, she realizes. She can feel the cold leeching up into her body. She, slowly, slowly, carefully, edges herself over onto her side and then levers herself up to hands and knees so that she’s making less contact with the chill.

 

The floor is smooth under her hands. Concrete, maybe.

 

She sits back on her knees and uses her hands to feel up and down her body. She’s wearing jeans and a sweater, not her DEO uniform. She’s unarmed except for her tac knife strapped to her ankle.

 

She pulls it out and puts it between her teeth for easy access.

 

She feels around herself, but there’s nothing.

 

Her eyes are slowly adjusting to the dark. She’s starting to be able to make out basic shapes.

 

She, slowly, slowly, carefully, gets to her feet. She’s stiff and sore but not injured.

 

She can’t remember what happened to her. She doesn’t know how she got here. She doesn’t know where here is.

 

Last she remembers she and Kara had been at the grocery store, picking up ingredients to make brownies for a movie night with Maggie. They were going to watch Clueless, Alex remembers.

 

She’s pretty sure she’s missed movie night.

 

She finds her way out of the building, transferring her knife from her teeth to her dominant hand. She’s in a field. The moon is up and bright, and she can see all around herself. She’s been in a big barn or warehouse or something.

 

There’s no one around. No cars. No lights.

 

She looks up at the stars and squints in confusion. She spins a little on the spot, trying to orient herself. It doesn’t make sense, but the north star is definitely in the wrong place.

 

If that’s all the way over there, then she must be…

 

“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” she mutters to herself.

 

“What’s Kansas?” The voice is curious and light, but sounds different from any voice Alex has ever heard before – both more liquid and more grating than any other sound.

 

Alex flings herself around and has the stranger in a headlock, knife pressed to his jugular, before she even blinks.

 

“Who are you,” she growls.

 

“Please,” he says, his tone surprisingly calm and even. “I mean you no harm.”

 

“You abducted me. Not sure what your deal is, but where I come from that counts as harm.”

 

“You misunderstand,” he says, and he honestly sounds more like a weary college professor than an abductor. “I haven’t abducted you. You were merely caught in a time vortex, that’s all.”

 

“Nice try,” she grits out, still pressing the knife to his neck. She’s behind him, so she hasn’t been able to get a good look at him at all.

 

“Honestly. My species can travel through time the way yours can only travel through space. When we do so, we create a vortex that does, regrettably, involve others from time to time.”

 

Alex shoves him away from her self, giving enough torque that he spins to face her. And, okay, yes, he’s definitely not human. In the sunlight his skin would probably varying shades of orange – maybe the entire spectrum from yellow to red. His whole face is deeply ridged, like a topographic map. He doesn’t have anything that she can easily identify as eyes or nose or mouth or ears.

 

She honestly isn’t sure where the voice is coming from.

 

He’s taller than her and a little stocky. He’s wearing something that looks like a toga mated with a windbreaker.

 

His skin had been cool and oily to her touch.

 

He moves a little, and she faintly notices his third leg.

 

This is definitely not a species she’s heard of.

 

“So,” she says, trying to act like she’s accidentally vortexed out her time by orange three-legged aliens every day, “if it was a mistake, fix it. Put me back.”

 

“Oh, yes! Of course I will! No collateral damage, that’s my motto!”

 

Alex waits. And waits.

 

Finally she spins the knife around in her hand in an overt threat. “Well?”

 

“Oh, my apologies! I have to carry out my task now, of course, before I can take you back. And I obviously have to let the vortex die down before I can summon another. Plus I have to submit a full report. The paperwork on taking a Linear into a vortex is extremely extensive. I’ll probably be filling it out for three or four standard cycles!”

 

And Alex knows paperwork, and she knows bureaucracy, and she is not having it.

 

She charges at him again, and he’s back in the headlock in a second. She wonders if he doesn’t know how to fight, or if he’s just humoring her. “You can deal with your paperwork after you take me back home,” she demands.

 

“Oh, no,” he demurs. “I couldn’t possibly. Protocols. I’m sure you understand.”

 

Alex thinks fast. “But if you take me home, then won’t you have another set of paperwork? Another trip with a Linear? Best to probably knock it all out after the fact, right?”

 

She pushes a little harder in with the knife, just to make sure he understands the full extent of her desire.

 

He clears his throat a little bit. “You…may have a point.” He sounds surprised.

 

She releases him again. “Excellent. So, when does this vortex die down? How long until you take me back?”

 

He pulls back the skin of his forearm and consults what honestly appears to be his ulna bone. Alex shudders. “What do you call cycles on this planet? You know, when the light comes and goes?”

 

“Days,” Alex says curtly. “Made up of hours.”

 

“Right, yes. Days. It will probably be three days.”

 

Alex sighs. That sucks.

 

“When you take me back, will it be to the exact moment I left? Will they know I was missing?”

 

“Oh, my dear, you cut me deeply! I haven’t been so sloppy since I was a Novice! It will appear as though you never went anywhere at all.”

 

Alex nods. Three days sucks, but as long as they don’t think she’s missing, she can wait it out.

 


 

It turns out they’re in the middle of nowhere in what is probably Siberia in the summer of 1921. He won’t tell her what they’re doing there, but he sets her up with food and water and pretty much leaves her to her own devices during the day. He comes back each night, but he doesn’t ever sleep.

 

Alex busies herself with improving her fire-making and hunting skills. She designs a couple of traps, and happily cooks herself a delicious rabbit.

 

If only Kara and Maggie were with her. This could, honestly, be a lovely vacation. The stars are so bright.

 

He’s pretty good company, but he’s got nothing on her girls.

 


 

On their third night, he tells her that the vortex is dying down. “However,” he says, holding up a finger, and Alex marvels at how much he reminds her of her favorite ethics professor at Stanford, even with his ridged orange face and no mouth and no eyes. “It isn’t quite small enough yet. I could only get you as far as, say, 2004. It will take one or two more light cycles before we can cross to 2017 without disturbing any other Linears.”

 

Alex is disappointed, but then something pings for her. “Okay, wait. So you could take me anywhere on Earth from 1921 until 2004 without hurting anyone?” He nods.

 

She stands and starts putting out the fire. “Pack up,” she says. “We’ve got somewhere to be.”

 


 

It isn’t raining, but she feels like it should be.

 

On a day like today, it should be sleeting, at the very least. She’s sitting out on a curb, her backpack and her duffle tossed behind her.

 

Her entire life has just come crashing down, and the universe doesn’t even care enough to throw in some dramatic weather.

 

Pretty soon it’s going to get dark. Pretty soon it’s going to get dark, and she’s still going to be sitting out here. Her Tía won’t be off work until 9:30 tonight, so she just has to wait outside on the curb until then.

 

She’s still pretty numb.

 

She hasn’t processed it yet. Not at all.

 

That she’s homeless. That she’s disowned. That she’s friendless and family-less. That, but for the grudging acquiescence of her aunt, she would be spending the rest of her teens out on the street.

 

That her life as she’s known it is over.

 

She hasn’t processed it yet, but she knows she hates herself.

 

She hates her dad, and her mom, and Eliza, and Eliza’s parents, and even her Tía for not trying to leave work early.

 

But mostly she hates herself.

 

She’s just starting to wonder if this is all worth it – if it’s worth fighting and surviving and scraping to make a life, or if she should just give up – when she hears footsteps coming up behind her.

 

She clutches her backpack tight to her chest, bracing for a cop to yell at her for loitering or for someone to try to steal her stuff.

 

She’s really not expecting an older woman to come up to her and ask, in a gentle and soft voice, “Can I sit with you for a minute?”

 

Maggie looks up at her, eyes narrowed. She might be a lesbian, okay, but she’s not into letting some strange adult touch her.

 

But the woman has a kind face, and she’s looking at Maggie like she doesn’t want to molest her or steal her stuff or yell at her, and it’s only been a couple of hours but Maggie had already started to wonder if anyone would ever look at her like that again.

 

So she nods, just the smallest amount.

 

The woman sits down next to her, leaving plenty of space between their bodies. Maggie clutches the backpack on her lap even tighter.

 

“You don’t have to be afraid of me,” the woman says softly. “I’m not here to hurt you, I promise.”

 

Maggie just shrugs.

 

“My name is Alex.”

 

Maggie doesn’t say anything. She’s really confused about what’s happening.

 

Something moves in her peripheral vision, and she looks over to see Alex holding out a sandwich wrapped in plastic and a banana.

 

She freezes, blinking at them a couple of times. They’ve got to be poisoned, right?

 

Alex holds them out for a long moment before giving up and placing them gingerly on the pavement between them.

 

“I know you’re hungry,” Alex says softly. “These are for you, for whenever.” She pauses for a moment before she adds, “I swear they’re not poisoned.”

 

Maggie shoots her a suspicious look, because how the hell did she know that was what Maggie was thinking?

 

But Alex just bursts out laughing, and Maggie decides that she’s definitely crazy. She starts to stand – she can wait for her Tía somewhere else.

 

“No, wait,” Alex says, reaching up a hand but not actually touching Maggie. “Maggie, wait.”

 

Maggie freezes. “How the fuck do you know my name?”

 

Alex sighs, and runs a hand over her eyes for a second. “Come sit,” she says, “just for a minute. It’s a bit hard to explain.”

 

And she’s probably a murderer and she’s definitely a stalker, but that sandwich looks like pastrami and that’s Maggie’s favorite, and she hasn’t eaten since breakfast. And something about Alex just makes Maggie trust her, which is completely ridiculous.

 

Maggie hopes she isn’t killed by a beautiful woman on her first official day of being a lesbian.

 

But she sits back down.

 

“I’m sorry,” Alex says, “I didn’t mean to laugh at you. You just, the look on your face, you just reminded me of someone.” Alex takes a deep breath, lets it out loudly, and then turns her body to face Maggie more fully. “You reminded me of you, actually. In the future.”

 

Okay, well, she’s definitely crazy. Maggie’s read a little bit about schizophrenia, but she’s not sure what she’s supposed to do in this situation. Play along, probably. Hope her Tía gets home soon.

 

“I know this sounds insane, but I’m from the future. Your future, actually.”

 

Maggie doesn’t bother looking over at her.

 

Of all the days, the beautiful delusional lady had to find her today?

 

But then Alex’s voice changes. It softens, like she actually cares, which is completely impossible. “I know what happened to you this afternoon, Maggie.”

 

And Maggie’s head snaps around. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she spits.

 

And for some reason Alex looks like she’s going to cry for a second. She takes a deep breath, and then she starts to talk. “When I first realized I was a lesbian, I was terrified.” Maggie blinks about five times, not daring to breathe. Did she just say?

 

Alex keeps going, but Maggie can tell that Alex is watching her reaction like a hawk. “I was terrified. I’d lived more than 25 years thinking I was one thing, and then one day, it just hit me. And I was so scared. And I turned to the only other lesbian I knew. And she was so gentle with me, so kind to me. She made me feel safe and cared for and whole, even though I was scared. She made me less afraid. She helped me find happiness in who I am.”

 

Alex clears her throat for a minute before continuing. “I didn’t learn until later why she was so gentle with me.” Alex looks over at Maggie then, and she smiles wryly. “It was because back when she was fourteen she fell in love with her friend. And on Valentine’s Day she left a note in that girl’s locker, confessing her feelings and asking her to the dance.”

 

All the blood drains from Maggie’s face.

 

What the fuck is happening.

 

“And then that girl outed her. And my friend’s parents disowned her. They kicked her out of her own home, and they only let her pack one duffle bag.”

 

Maggie’s hand twitches towards her duffle, lying on the sidewalk behind her.

 

“Her father told her that she was a disgrace, and he told her she wasn’t a Sawyer anymore.”

 

Maggie freezes again. News travels fast in Blue Springs; she could have found out from Eliza’s family what was in the letter, and she can see the duffle bag right now.

 

But how the hell could she know that, what Maggie’s father had just said to her, not three hours ago?

 

And it keeps going. “He told her that she wasn’t Maggie Sawyer anymore, because he didn’t want to sully the Sawyer name with that type of perversion.”

 

Maggie is shaking now, with fear and anger and terror. “Who the fuck are you? How the hell do you know that?”

 

“Maggie, please,” Alex holds out hands, and her face is still so soft. “I know it’s hard to believe, but, in about fifteen years, you’re going to be my best friend. I’m from the future. I got sucked into the past by this dude with an orange face and I’m on my way back home right now. But I asked him to bring me here first.”

 

And then a man steps out of the shadows, and his skin is orange and he doesn’t have a face so much as he has huge skin ripples. He does something that looks a little like a bow in Maggie’s direction before fading back into the darkness.

 

Maggie looks back at Alex, eyes wide.

 

And Alex gives her this little look, and shrugs one of her shoulders. “It’s my first time travel experience,” she says with a little smile. “I’m not really sure how it works.”

 

And, for some reason, that kind of sells Maggie on it. She figures if this weren’t real, Alex would have an explanation for everything. But admitting she doesn’t get it? And that dude who, now that Maggie thinks about it, didn’t seem to have eyes? And what she knows?

 

It’s already been the most unbelievable day of her life. Why not add more?

 

“Prove it,” Maggie says to her. “Prove you’re from the future.”

 

And Alex spreads her hands in front of her, gesturing at futility. “How?”

 

Maggie thinks. It’s hard to think of something that she can verify but no one else in town could.

 

“What’s the name of my stuffed animal?”

 

“Hoots McOwly,” Alex says without even a second of thought. “But if anyone else asks you always say Mr. Owl because you think it’s embarrassing. You made sure to pack him. He’s in that duffle right now.”

 

“Holy shit,” Maggie breathes.

 

And Alex grins at her, just grins, and Maggie realizes that she’s really pretty. “I know,” she says. “Trust me, I know. Three days ago, I woke up in Siberia in 1921. It’s been quite a trip.”

 

Maggie doesn’t quite know where to start. She looks away from Alex, trying not to look too eagerly at the only other lesbian she’s ever met.

 

Her eyes fall on the sandwich and the banana, still sitting between them.

 

“Go ahead and eat it,” Alex says softly. “You told me that you were starving, sitting out here all alone. I got pastrami. I’m not sure about now, but it’s your favorite, in the future.”

 

Maggie takes the sandwich and picks at the plastic wrap. “It’s my favorite now, too,” she says softly.

 

“Good.”

 

Maggie turns to look at Alex. “So, tell me about me in the future.”

 

Alex shakes her head a little bit. “I don’t want to mess anything up for you,” she says softly. “I’m not going to give you any details.”

 

Maggie can’t help the way her voice turns hard. “Then why are you here?” It’s more of a snarl than she’d expected.

 

But Alex doesn’t seem affected by her tone at all. “I’m here because you told me that if you’d just known, back when you were…uh.” She laughs a little bit. “God, I have no idea what tense to use.” She rubs her forehead a little, and tries again. “You’re getting set to spend the next years of your life wondering if anyone will ever really care about you again. Wondering if anyone will ever think that their life is better because you’re in it.”

 

Alex pauses and waits until Maggie looks right at her. Alex’s face is open and soft and loving, and Maggie just wants to throw herself into Alex’s arms and just let herself be held.

 

“I don’t want you to wonder that, Maggie. I want you to know, from now until when we meet, that you’re going to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. That my life is going to be so much better and brighter because you’re in it. That I care about you, so much.” Alex pauses for a second, and then shrugs again. “And I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m going to risk my own life to save you after only knowing you for like a week. You mean that much to me.”

 

Maggie’s heart is thudding in her chest.

 

This feels an awful lot like a guarantee. Like a guarantee that she’s going to survive the rest of this night, this week, this town.

 

“Am I happy?”

 

And Alex looks like she can’t help herself as she reaches out and gently tucks Maggie’s hair back behind her ear.

 

“Yeah,” she breathes. “Yeah, you’re happy.”

 

Maggie squeezes her hands together on her lap.

 

She nods a little bit.

 

She’s going to be happy. One day. She’s not great at judging ages, but Alex looks like she’s around thirty. It’s a long time to wait, to be happy. She’s only fourteen – that’s like another fourteen years before she’s guaranteed a friend and happiness.

 

Maggie looks back over at Alex, and she wonders how her future self deals with being around such a beautiful woman all the time.

 

She hears the words come out of her mouth before she’s even considered how awkward they are. “Are we dating? In the future?”

 

And Alex smiles at her, a sweet almost maternal smile. “You’re my best friend,” is all she says.

 

Maggie takes that as a no.

 

She wishes her future self would get some game.

 

“I just want to tell you one more thing,” Alex says.

 

Maggie nods, eyes wide.

 

“After I came out to you, I started to doubt myself. I wondered if maybe it was just a phase. And you said something to me, and it was so important to me, and I want you to hear it too.” She takes a breath, like she’s trying to steady herself. “You said: no, it’s not a phase. It’s real. You’re real. And you deserve to live a real, full, happy life.”

 

Alex pauses again, and Maggie realizes she hasn’t breathed in a while. “You do too, Maggie. You’re real, and your feelings are real, and how you are is real and perfect. And you deserve to have a real, full, happy life, surrounded by people who love and value you. You deserve that. Never let anyone tell you differently, okay? You matter, Maggie.”

 

And Maggie can’t help but cry then, and Alex lets her.

 


 

Alex sits with her for hours. Maggie eats the sandwich and the banana, and Alex pulls a bottle of water out of her bag and Maggie sips from it, aware she won’t have a bathroom until her Tía comes.

 

“How do we meet?” She asks around 9pm.

 

But Alex shakes her head again with a sly grin. “Oh, I’m not going to spoil the fun of that for you.”

 

And Maggie’d known she wasn’t going to tell, but she likes the look on Alex’s face when she asks.

 

“But I’ll know,” Maggie says, “the second I see you, that we’re going to become best friends.”

 

Alex screws up her face a little bit. “Yeah,” she admits, “I have no idea about any of this time travel stuff. I don’t know if my Maggie, your future self, the one I know, if I visited her? Or if things will be different? God, I hope I didn’t change enough of your timeline that we never meet! Ugh!” She drops her head in her hands, and Maggie can’t help but laugh. Her voice comes out in a little whine. “Time travel is so complicated!”

 

Maggie looks closely at what Alex is wearing. A sweater that’s striped with different shades of gray, and dark jeans, and black boots, and her hair is just a little curly, and she’s honestly kind of dirty and she has a streak of dirt on the side of her neck, starting from just below her earlobe.

 

“Were you wearing these clothes when you left your time?”

 

Alex looks down at herself and nods.

 

“Okay, so, I’ll know, when I see you wearing this, that I can ask about this visit. But not before.”

 

Alex thinks for a minute. “That makes sense,” she says slowly. She tugs at the hem of her sweater. “I did just get this like two weeks ago, so I haven’t worn it much yet.”

 

Maggie nods, committing it to memory. “I’ll remember,” she says softly.

 

The orange man steps back out of the shadows. “The other approaches,” he says softly. His voice is weird, which makes sense, because his face is orange and lumpy and he doesn’t have a mouth. His voice sounds like running water and also like metal sliding on metal, all at the same time.

 

Alex just nods and stands.

 

Maggie scrambles to her own feet.

 

“Good luck,” Alex says softly, her eyes locked on Maggie’s face. “Stay safe, okay? I promise you, you’re going to have an amazing life. Okay?”

 

Maggie nods, and she can’t help herself any longer. Sure, when she’s thirty she’ll be happy and have a best friend, but this is maybe her last chance to be hugged by someone who cares about her until then.

 

She steps forward and hugs Alex, hard.

 

Alex makes a little surprised sound, but immediately puts her arms around Maggie and squeezes her, just as hard.

 

“Thank you for coming here,” Maggie mumbles into her sweater, which, now that she’s close to it, smells a lot like campfire and pine trees.

 

Alex kisses the top of her head softly. “Stay strong, Mags,” she whispers. “I love you. Don’t forget.”

 

“I won’t.”

 

Alex pulls away then, picks up her bag, and walks over to where the orange man has been lurking. She looks back, just once, before fading into the shadows with him.

 

“I won’t,” Maggie says again. “I won’t forget.”

 


 

Maggie’s puttering around Alex’s kitchen. Alex and Kara were supposed to be back from grocery shopping like twenty minutes ago, but she showed up and they aren’t back yet, so she’s just busying herself by doing all of the dishes so they’ll be starting from a clean slate.

 

Cooking with Kara always involves more dirty dishes than Maggie can understand.

 

Luckily she’s a good sport about using her superspeed to clean them. Usually. When she’s not deep in a chocolate coma.

 

So Maggie’s hands are soapy and smell like citrus soap when the door opens and Kara and Alex walk in. And Kara’s definitely agitated. She’s carrying all the bags, and saying something to Alex about “but just explain to me the dirt, Alex!”

 

Maggie looks over, and her heart stops in her chest.

 

Alex is wearing the sweater.

 

Alex is wearing the sweater that she’s never forgotten. The one with the gray stripes.

 

She drops the mug down into the sink with a heavy clunk and wipes her hands on her pants as she walks, silent and mesmerized, over to Alex.

 

She reaches up with one damp finger, and breathlessly turns Alex’s head to the side.

 

There’s a smudge of dirt on her neck, starting from her earlobe and streaking diagonally down.

 

“Alex,” she breathes. “You just did it, didn’t you?”

 

And Alex nods, and her eyes are filling with tears, and Maggie just presses herself into Alex’s body.

 

And her sweater smells like campfire and pine trees.

 

“Mags,” Alex whispers.

 

And Maggie just clutches Alex to her, breathing her in. The woman who saved her life. The woman who broke the laws of time and space just to give her a sandwich and tell her not to give up.

 

“I love you.”

 

And Maggie pulls back just enough to kiss her, and Alex kisses her back like she’s been gone for days and days.

Chapter Text

Lexie (Five Inch Feels) - Part 1/4

 

Maggie blinks a couple of times as she turns off her car. There’s a new girl. There’s a new girl, and she doesn’t fit in with the others at all.

 

She’s blonde and white and thin and looks strong and healthy. This particular corner isn’t known for girls with any of those attributes. This corner, like most corners in the internet age, is held down by women who are a little older, more haggard. They’re exclusively women of color, women who are clearly impoverished, many of whom are battling addictions and trying to overcome serious traumas.

 

This pretty, young, unblemished white girl stands out like, well. Like a wholesome pretty white farmgirl surrounded by hardened sex workers on a dingy street corner. Which is, apparently, exactly what she is.

 

Maggie steps out of her car, eyes narrowed. The other women are standing in a loose circle, chatting aimlessly, smoking cigarettes. The new girl is off to the side, one foot propped up against the crumbling brick building behind her. She’s wearing cutoff jean shorts, stilettos, and a black top that might be a crop top or might be a bra, but either way isn’t hiding much.

 

Maggie walks across the street and over to the circle of women. One peels off from the group to meet her. She’s one of the tallest, with a long neck and dark skin and a prominent adam’s apple. Her wig is red, tonight, but Maggie’s seen her with every color under the sun. Her makeup is expertly done, as always, and nearly hides her exhaustion.

 

“Hey, Sylvia.”

 

Sylvia nods in recognition. “Sawyer,” she says, her tone a little cautious but definitely not unfriendly.

 

Maggie instantly knows the caution is because of the new girl. She and Sylvia go way back.

 

“How’s it going?” Maggie tries to keep her tone light and her questions innocuous. She doesn’t want to lead Syl into anything she doesn’t want to be in.

 

“Oh, you know,” Sylvia says, matching Maggie’s casual tone. “Same old, pretty much.”

 

“Quiet night?” Maggie asks, her eyes skating over the group. It’s most of the faces she expects to see tonight.

 

“Pretty quiet. Not the worst,” Sylvia shrugs one lean shoulder, “but not the best.”

 

Maggie nods. Quiet nights are safer and easier, but they don’t pay the rent.

 

“Any trouble?”

 

Sylvia bites her lip for a second, hesitating. “Jasmine,” she says after a long moment, “I think she got picked up last night.”

 

Maggie lets out a long sigh, running a finger through her hair. “Shit,” she mutters. “Do you know who got her?”

 

Sylvia shakes her head. “Some white dude. A kid.”

 

Maggie sighs again. Most of the patrol cops at the station are white and most are men and many are under the age of 30. “That doesn’t really narrow it down.”

 

Sylvia rolls her eyes. “Tell me about it.”

 

“I’ll see what I can find out,” Maggie promises. She wishes she’d been told about it this morning. Sam down in booking usually calls her.

 

Maggie wracks her brain for a minute, and dread drops into her gut. “She’s got a new baby, doesn’t she? A little boy?”

 

Sylvia nods, her face sad and resigned. “Three months old,” she confirms.

 

“He with anyone?”

 

“Her ma, for now. Can’t be permanent, though.”

 

Maggie nods. Jasmine’s told her enough of her story, enough of how she came to this corner, for Maggie to worry about the welfare of any child left with Jasmine’s mother.

 

“I’ll do everything I can,” Maggie says, her voice firm.

 

Sylvia nods, her eyes clearing a little bit. “I know you will,” she says softly. “You always do.”

 

Maggie nods back, before shifting her weight and sliding her hands into her back pockets, trying her best to seem casual and unarmed. She gestures with her chin over to where the white girl is still leaning. “New girl,” is all she says.

 

Sylvia nods, her face now wary. “Yup.” She pauses for a moment before saying, in the same fake-casual tone as before, “you know her?”

 

Maggie knows exactly what she’s asking. Is she a cop?

 

Maggie shakes her head. It’s dark, but that’s not a face she’d forget in a hurry. “Never seen her before.”

 

Sylvia makes a humming noise.

 

“I’ll go introduce myself,” Maggie says, the mystery of the white girl already thrumming in her veins, eager to be solved.

 

Sylvia hums in agreement.

 

“Who brought her?”

 

Sylvia shakes her head, carefully groomed eyebrows drawn together. “No one. Just showed up a couple nights ago, asked if she could work. None of us ever saw her before.”

 

Maggie’s own eyebrows shoot up. Girls like her don’t work corners at all, but especially not without an invitation. Who is she?

 

“She get any work?”

 

Sylvia nods again. “Two jobs her first night, none her second.”

 

Maggie can’t figure out which is more surprising. That she got two on her first night on the corner, which is rare, or that an entire night went by where no one wanted her. She is, even from this distance, clearly exquisite. She could easily make a thousand dollars a job on the internet – could be living like a queen, instead of standing on this last-ditch corner in the shittiest part of town.

 

“She’s a little different taste from what most johns around here are looking for.” Sylvia says, and Maggie can’t help but snort at the understatement.

 

“I’ll go talk to her. You stay safe, Syl.”

 

Syl nods, regally. “We will.”

 

Maggie walks over to where the white girl is standing, exchanging friendly nods and murmured greetings with the other women as she passes them.

 

Maggie closes in on the white girl, now about ten feet from the rest of the women on the corner. “Hey,” she says.

 

The girl jumps a little bit in surprise, but Maggie could have sworn the girl had been watching her walk over. Interesting.

 

“Hey,” she says back after a couple seconds. Her voice is low but full. She doesn’t take her foot off the wall.

 

“You’re new around here,” Maggie says.

 

The girl just inclines her head a little bit.

 

“You’re not,” she says shrewdly, eyes narrowed, clearly trying to figure out if Maggie is a client or what.

 

“Nope.” Maggie, again, tries to keep her tone light and non-threatening. “I’m Sawyer,” she says, holding out a hand.

 

The girl eyes her hand for a long moment before tentatively reaching her own out and shaking Maggie’s for as short a time as physically possible. It’s just long enough for Maggie to feel the softness of her skin.

 

“Lexie,” she says, and it’s clearly a fake name but that doesn’t bother Maggie. She’ll only need to know a legal name if this girl ever gets booked and Maggie has to intervene. She hopes it never comes up.

 

“Nice to meet you, Lexie.”

 

Lexie just stares at her, and Maggie can’t tell if she’s smirking of if it’s a trick of the light.

 

“Sure it is,” she finally says, and oh, yes, she was smirking.

 

Maggie decides to forgo delicate, and asks her next question bluntly, her hands back in her pockets. “What brings you out tonight?”

 

“Astronomy.” Lexie deadpans. “Been a while since I’ve last stargazed; thought I’d commune with nature and all that shit.”

 

Maggie nearly chokes. Who is this girl?

 

“You too, I’m sure,” Lexie continues. “Stargazing, right?”

 

Maggie hums a little. She’d like to play along, to try to make Lexie comfortable with her, but it’s clear that Lexie thinks she’s a client and is trying to pick her up, and she doesn’t want to make it awkward later.

 

“Not quite,” she says. “I’m a detective with NCPD, I like to come by when I’m off duty to check in and make sure everyone’s okay out here.”

 

Lexie doesn’t physically react to that news at all. Something might flicker in her eyes, but her entire face and body stay completely still for a moment.

 

“So,” she says, finally pushing off from the wall and settling both feet on the cracked sidewalk, crossing her arms over her chest. “Everyone hates me because they think I’m a cop – which I’m not – but they like you even though you actually are one?” She scoffs a little. “Fantastic.”

 

“They don’t hate you,” Maggie corrects, drawing herself up as tall as she can. Now that Lexie’s standing upright in her five-inch heels, she’s got a serious height advantage, and Maggie hates to feel small. “They’re just wary of you.”

 

“I’m not a cop,” Lexie says.

 

“I know.”

 

Lexie nods her head in the direction of the other women, none of whom are looking in their direction but all of whom are listening to their conversation. “Tell them that.”

 

“I will. But you gotta admit, you don’t really fit in here. How’d you find this corner?”

 

But Lexie just shrugs. “Call it a superpower,” she deadpans.

 

Maggie can take a hint as well as anyone. She changes the subject, starting to extract herself from the conversation.

 

“Well, like I said, I work with NCPD. I’m not on this beat, but I do what I can take care of the women out here. If you ever get in trouble – with a bad john or a cop or whatever – or if you get arrested, give me a call, okay?” Maggie hands her a business card. “Use that, or Sylvia always knows how to find me. And on the back of that card is the address for a local clinic – give them my name and they’ll get you set up with condoms and blood tests and anything else you need, alright?”

 

Lexie’s toying with the card, turning it over and over in her hands. “Why?” she finally asks, her voice softer and different.

 

“There’s nothing wrong with being a sex worker,” Maggie says, her own voice soft and serious. “No one has the right to hurt you or treat you badly.”

 

Lexie narrows her eyes. “You a client?”

 

Maggie shakes her head, firmly and quickly. “No,” she says. “Not a client. Never been a client. Just a friend.”

 

Lexie makes a little humming sound, clearly in disbelief, but she tucks the card into the pocket of her tiny jean shorts.

 


 

Maggie manages to get Jasmine released the next day. The booking paperwork was sloppy and the rookie who’d booked her had done so after a couple of beers, a fact Maggie only has to threaten to mention to his captain before Jasmine is cleared of all charges.

 

Maggie goes back to the corner that night to give Sylvia and the others the news. The new girl is there, still standing outside of the group, looking disinterested.

 

Maggie swears she can feel Lexie’s eyes on her, but whenever she looks over, Lexie’s immersed in something else.

 


 

Maggie comes by about twice a week, and over the next month, there are only three visits where she doesn’t catch sight of Lexie. Twice she’s out on jobs, and once Sylvia reports that she hasn’t shown up for a couple of nights in a row.

 

Maggie starts to worry about her, but she’s back the next time Maggie comes by. She’s got a new set of bruises on her upper arms and she’s standing a little stiffly, like she might have bruised ribs. Maggie spends a long time talking to her, trying to get her to name who hurt her, trying to get her to say if it was a job or someone from her personal life, but Lexie just rolls her eyes and changes the subject to astronomy, each time.

 

She’s infuriating, and Maggie still has no idea what she’s doing out on this corner.

 

 

She slowly starts mixing in with the group. It’s a couple of weeks, but finally Maggie sees her standing in the circle, chuckling to herself at something Jasmine says.

  


 

It’s less than a week later that Cori goes missing. She took a job before 11pm on Saturday night, Sylvia reports, and she never came back.

 

Now it’s Monday, and Sylvia hasn’t heard from her, and Cori’s been crashing on Sylvia’s floor, and Syl is scared for her.

 

Cori is, Maggie knows, an alien.

 

Maggie opens an investigation, and works tirelessly for days and days, but she doesn’t get a single lead.

 

This is the second alien sex worker to go missing in National City in the last three months, and Maggie worries that there have been more disappearances that never got reported.

 

There isn’t a single piece of evidence. After two weeks, her sergeant forces her to kick it to cold cases. She grits her teeth, does as she’s told, and starts stopping by the corner more and more regularly.

 

Cori never comes back.

Chapter Text

Maggie’s new neighbor is having a party.

 

It’s Maggie’s first week in this apartment building. It’s nicer than her old one – slightly smaller in terms of square feet but with an airy open layout and it’s in good repair. She’s never really been a meet-the-neighbors type of person, but she figured it was a good omen when the girl who lives next door in 4A, a tall blonde with a cheerful smile and a firm handshake, helped her carry a few boxes up from her truck.

 

She’d chirped a welcome and was halfway through inviting Maggie over for some cookies before she’d gotten a weird look on her face, announced that she’d forgotten about a work thing, and dashed away.

 

It was 3:30pm on a Sunday, but, sure. Maggie works weird hours too. But, hey, good friendly neighbors are a boon. Someone to water her bonsai trees when she’s out of town, or check to make sure she locked her door if she left in a hurry – invaluable.

 

Maggie never learned her name. She thinks of her as Tall, Blonde, and Perky.

 

And she hasn’t heard much more than a low rumble from the TV before now, but tonight, she’s definitely having a party.

 

Turns out the walls in this apartment building are pretty thin.

 

Maggie hears a knock on Tall, Blonde, and Perky’s door, and then hears her making friendly conversation with someone who, Maggie figures out, is a pizza delivery person. He names out all the pizzas she’s ordered, and Maggie can’t hear every word but it’s at least three pies. He doesn’t seem to mention any salads, and Perky’s thin and fit, so there must be a lot of people coming over.

 

After the pizza, it’s only about ten minutes until someone else arrives, a woman, Maggie guesses by the sound of her voice. Maggie can hear the gentle hum of conversation through the walls, punctuated pretty frequently with laughter. Maggie waits for more people to come over, but no one else seems to. Just the voices of the two women, rising and falling naturally, laughing and, Maggie’s pretty sure, one of them gets socked with a pillow once.

 

As it gets later, the sounds of conversation are replaced by the unmistakable opening music of Moulin Rouge. Maggie rolls her eyes. Of course Perky likes Moulin Rouge. She’s definitely the type.

 

Turns out both Perky and her guest know all the words. To all the songs. For the whole movie. They have nice singing voices, but…it’s a lot.

 


 

It becomes clear that this is a weekly thing. Each Wednesday night Perky orders three pizzas, or so much Chinese food that two delivery people have to come (Maggie’d actually poked out her door for that one). Only one person ever comes to it, and Maggie’s pretty sure it’s the same person every time, even though she’s never seen her. They always talk for a couple of hours, usually a conversation peppered with laughter, and then watch a movie. Usually a musical.


After Moulin Rouge, it was Mamma Mia. Then Beauty and the Beast. Finally, this week it’s National Treasure, which Maggie realizes, with a puff of relief, has no singing it in.

 

Perky’s guest, however, has a lot of feelings about the inaccuracies of National Treasure.

 

“That’s not how you fire a gun, you dipshit,” she hears through the wall, clear as day.

 

Maggie decides, then and there, that she likes this guest, who apparently eats her own weight in pizza each week and has strong opinions on gun grips.

 

But later, when Maggie’s trying to fall asleep, she likes her less. “They just took the Declaration of Independence and ROLLED IT UP,” the guest is saying for the fourth time. Her words haven’t changed, but they have gotten louder. “They touched it with their HANDS. Do you KNOW what the oil on a human hand can do to an old document? DO YOU?”

 

Perky just laughs.

 

Maggie pulls a pillow over her head, but she can’t help but smile.

 


 

Tonight Maggie looks back fondly on how quiet the mystery guest was during National Treasure. Because they’re watching some action movie that Maggie can’t quite place through the wall, which is filled with explosions and shouting.

 

And, from what the woman is yelling about, there are aliens in it.

 

She is not pleased. “Are you kidding?” She screeches, and Maggie rolls her eyes. How fucking long is this movie, honestly. They’re going on hour three of her being this hyped up. “You can’t just handcuff an alien to a pipe and leave him there! What the fuck is your containment protocol? Are you NEW?”

 

Maggie wants to sleep, but she can’t help but snort. It’s a fair question.

 


 

She’s been living there for over three months when she catches a look at the mystery guest for the first time. She’s just dragging her ass home after nineteen grueling hours at the station chasing down a lead that completely disintegrated in her hands. She’s pissed, and starving, and just completely exhausted.

 

She walks in the front door just in time to see the elevator doors sliding closed. “Fucking wonderful,” she mutters, but just before the doors completely close, a hand sticks itself out and the doors bounce back open.

 

Maggie plods forward. “Thanks,” she mumbles before she gets a good look at the person attached to the hand.

 

It’s a ridiculously beautiful woman in a sexy black suit, and if she weren’t completely dead on her feet Maggie’d be flashing her dimples and seeing how susceptible this woman might be to them. As it is, she just sends an angry tendril up into the universe. Couldn’t they have sent this perfect creature to her on a day when she didn’t just want to collapse in a heap and fall asleep in this elevator?

 

“Uh, which floor?”

 

Maggie looks over as quickly as she can (which may still be in slow motion). “Oh, sorry. Right. Four. Please.” She leans her head against the wall, slipping her eyes closed and letting the cool metal soothe her. “Sorry.”

 

“Long day?” The woman sounds amused and Maggie doesn’t even have it in her to be embarrassed.

 

“The longest.”

 

The woman makes a humming sound and then Maggie hears her fiddling with her purse.

 

She feels her get physically closer. Maggie opens her eyes and blinks a couple times, wondering if she’s hallucinating, because there’s suddenly a donut floating in front of her face.

 

“I was saving this for my sister,” the woman says, “but you seem like you need it more than she does.”

 

Maggie just blinks at her.

 

The elevator stops and the doors open. Fourth floor. The woman doesn’t look back, just walks firmly out. Maggie wonders if her offer has already been revoked before she realizes this is her floor too. She follows the woman out, still not completely sure she isn’t hallucinating.

 

As soon as the doors close behind Maggie, the woman turns back to her, holding the donut out again. “Here,” she says again. “Not to be rude, but seems like you could use the sugar.”

 

Maggie reaches out and takes it. She’s definitely going in slow motion. “Thank you,” she manages to mumble. “My donut angel.”

 

And the woman laughs, pure and clear, and the tiny part of Maggie that isn’t dead on her feet is zinging. “Have a good night,” she says, and Maggie just grunts back at her.

 

The woman’s phone rings, then, and she steps away to answer it. Maggie shuffles to her door, unlocks it, and hauls herself inside. She eats the donut still standing, leaning up against the door, before stripping off everything she can on the way to her bed. She’s asleep in a second.

 

But she’s woken up by the sound of explosions coming through the wall, and the loud sounds of Perky and her guest mocking whatever it is that they’re watching. Maggie looks up at her clock. It’s only 10:30pm, but still.

 

One and half hours of sleep isn’t quite what she’d hoped for.

 

Blinking fuzzily, Maggie pulls on a pair of sweatpants she finds on her floor, and trudges out her door. She knocks on Perky’s door, nearly swaying on her feet.

 

She hates asking people to be quieter, but tonight she just can’t deal.

 

The TV sounds stop. “I got it,” she hears the mystery woman say. “No, sit. I got it.”


The door opens, and, “Oh. Hi,” says the donut angel.

 

Maggie blinks blearily at her.

 

“I’m sorry,” donut angel says. “We were being too loud, weren’t we?”

 

Maggie nods, her brain struggling to catch up. “Sorry,” she says, and her voice is much lower and raspier than usual.

 

“No, don’t be sorry, it was our fault. We were watching Battlestar Galactica, and I got a little carried away. We’ll quiet down, though, I know it’s late.”

 

Maggie finally manages to wake up a little bit. “Starbuck’s hot,” she mumbles.

 

Donut angel snorts. “I’d offer for you to come in and watch it with us, but you look like being awake for one more second might kill you.”

 

“You’re full of compliments,” Maggie manages to say even though her tongue still feels thick in her mouth.

 

Donut angel laughs, and Maggie wonders what it would be like to make out with her, really slow and sleepy.

 

Maggie, consumed with that image, hadn’t registered that she’d turned away, but suddenly Donut Angel’s back and she’s holding out two slices of pizza on a paper towel. “You should eat something,” she says softly, “and drink two glasses of water before you go back to sleep, okay?”

 

Maggie makes a confused little sound.

 

“If you die in your apartment, it’ll take forever to get the smell out of this one,” she explains, and even though she’s dead on her feet Maggie snorts with laughter. She likes how this woman’s mind works, and she likes knowing it’s the same mind that knows all the words to every song in Moulin Rouge and Mamma Mia and has strong feelings about how to imprison aliens on the go.

 

“Pinky swear,” Maggie says, reaching out to take the pizza, “I will eat this pizza for you and your nose.”

 

The woman (Donut Angel? Or, maybe pizza angel? Food angel? Maggie’s tired brain settles on Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous) nods seriously. “Good. And I promise, we’ll be quieter. Feel free to bang on the wall if we forget, though.”

 

Maggie nods, and turns to shuffle away. “Thank you,” she mumbles, lifting the pizza in acknowledgement.

 

“Sweet dreams,” Gorgeous says.

 


 

About a month later, Maggie’s enjoying a rare afternoon off at home. She’s just finished cleaning up and is in the middle of doing some pushups and planks when she hears a knock on Perky’s door.

 

“I have a conference in Geneva and I need to be on a plane in two hours,” Gorgeous says.

 

“And I have a blind date in a half an hour and I need you to help me pick out what to wear,” Perky says back. “I win.”

 

“Why do you do this to me?” Gorgeous asks, but Maggie can hear her walking into the apartment. Score one for Perky, Maggie thinks.

 

“Because I’m your sister and you love me,” Perky says, and Maggie hears the door close.

 

Ever since Maggie had met Gorgeous in the elevator and had realized they were sisters, she’s been incredibly envious of them. Weekly sister hangouts? Just the two of them, eating junky food and watching movies and talking about their lives?

 

Maggie doesn’t have any family anymore, but even if she did, she knows she and her brothers were on the path to calling each other once a year and seeing each other at Christmas. This is a type of intimacy she’d never even dreamt of. She wonders if Perky and Gorgeous know how good they have it.

 

Perky whines about her job for a while, which isn’t new. Maggie knows she works at Catco, and she’s heard her answer the phone and talk about “Ms. Grant” enough to figure out that she must be Cat Grant’s personal assistant.

 

Gorgeous isn’t letting her get away with the whining this time. “You always wanted to be normal,” she says, and Maggie wonders a little bit. “And having a crappy boss, and absolutely nothing to wear?” Gorgeous huffs out a little laugh, and Maggie chuckles cause it’s kind of mean but also exactly what she’s come to expect from her. “This is what normal looks like.”

 

And then Perky says something that makes Maggie accidentally drop herself out of her plank, nearly breaking her nose on her floor.

 

“I’m not normal! I have the same powers he does! I can lift a bus, I can stop a bullet!”

 

Hoooooly shit. Is this metaphor or is Perky an alien?

 

“Alex, I can fly!”

 

One vote for alien.

 

“At least, I think I can. I haven’t done it in years.”

 

And, yeah, that sounds pretty literal.

 

Okay. So, okay. Maggie knows aliens. Maggie’s dating one right now, actually, a Roltikkon named Darla. She can handle having an alien neighbor, it’s no problem. It’s just…those powers? Specifically? Sound a lot like…someone else’s.

 

“Kara,” Gorgeous says, her tone a little patronizing. “You’ve got a good job. You’re cute. And thanks to your alien DNA, you can’t get pimples.”

 

Houston, we have confirmation, Maggie thinks, rubbing her nose gently, still laying facedown on her floor.

 

“Life is not so bad. But, if you really wanna help someone, you’ll pick between one of these two so I can get on my plane.” Perky must pick, because Gorgeous quickly says, “Good choice. When in doubt, go with blue, it is your color.” Her tone turns businesslike. “Alright, text me every detail from your date and I will call you when I’m back from Geneva.”

 

Maggie swoons a little, because Gorgeous was just handing her life truths, one after the other, but she still wants to hear every detail from her little sister’s date, and that’s so cute it makes Maggie’s heart hurt.

 

“I love you,” Gorgeous says to her.

 

“I love you,” Perky says back.

 

Maggie keeps rubbing her nose, trying to convince herself she’s not having feelings.

 


 

And it’s not like she would have forgotten that conversation even if it had never come up again. But, just a little more than two hours later, a tall woman flies in the air and saves a plane from crashing into National City.

 

And the picture on the news is grainy, but Maggie’s sure it was Perky.

 

She hears Perky return home and take a shower. Maggie’s debating going next door and seeing if she’s okay, but then she hears Perky turn on the TV and start alternately squealing and yelling at the news about herself.

 

Maggie decides to give her a couple more minutes.

 

But then Maggie hears Perky’s door open and close.

 

“Oh my god,” Gorgeous says.

 

“I know!” Perky squeals. “It’s incredible!”

 

Maggie hears feet galloping, and then “ow” and “ohh sorry” and she can’t tell who said what but she’s got a pretty good guess.

 

“That was too hard! I’m just, I’m so excited!” Perky’s out of breath, and Maggie can’t blame her. “I still can’t believe I did it!”

 

“Yeah,” Gorgeous says, “Neither can I.” But she’s not happy. It’s the first time Maggie’s ever her take that tone with her sister. “Are you okay?”

 

“Me?! Am I okay? Are YOU okay? Were you scared?” And that’s when Maggie realizes, with a jolt, why Perky saved that plane. Her sister, the donut angel, was on it. Geneva. “I mean, I was scared too, but you? You had to be terrified because you had no idea I was coming to save you!”

 

“I need a drink,” Gorgeous says, and Maggie can’t help but agree.

 

Perky rambles for a while, but she’s clearly not reading the vibe of the room. Gorgeous finally interrupts her, and her voice is cold and sharp, even through the wall. “What were you thinking?” she demands.

 

And she keeps going. “You exposed yourself,” she scolds. “You can’t take that back.”

 

They fight about it, and Maggie’s heart hurts for them. “You can never do anything like that, ever again,” Gorgeous says, and her voice is firm and hard.

 

And Maggie can’t make out Perky’s next words but she can tell that she’s close to tears.

 

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Gorgeous says, and she leaves.

 

Maggie gives her five minutes, and then knocks on Perky’s door.

 

Perky opens it, looking adorable and sad with wet hair and a blue sweater and gray sweats. Maggie holds out a plate of brownies she’d been meaning to take into work tomorrow. “I baked too many,” she says softly, “and I never properly thanked you for helping me move in.” She holds out her free hand. “I’m Maggie Sawyer.”

 

Perky takes her hand. “Kara Danvers,” she says.

 

And she invites Maggie in, and they sit together at her kitchen island and they eat the brownies, and Maggie doesn’t mention that by the time she leaves she’s only had two but the entire plate is gone.

 


 

Kara has a bad set of days.

 

Maggie’s home, drinking a whiskey, when there’s a knock on Kara’s door.

 

“Kara, it’s me. Can we talk?” It’s Gorgeous, or, as Maggie now knows her name actually is, Alex.

 

Kara clearly doesn’t answer the door, because Alex’s voice keeps coming from the hallway, and it’s louder than usual, like she doesn’t realize that nothing that happens in this apartment building is a secret.

 

Maggie figures that Kara’s just lucky that she lives in the back corner of the building, so Maggie’s her only neighbor.

 

Maggie can tell from Alex’s tone that she’s gearing up to apologize, and she does. It’s not the best apology Maggie’s ever heard, but it’s a gesture. She mentions Kara using her powers, and Maggie wonders if either of them have ever heard of subtlety. She’s in the hallway, for crying out loud, and she’s the one who was going on and on earlier about keeping Kara’s identity a secret?

 

But, blaring obviousness notwithstanding, they seem to work out their problems, and Maggie’s glad.

 


 

That Wednesday they watch a Top Model marathon and eat Thai food.

 

Maggie starts hearing other voices through the wall – male voices. They’re obviously helping her be Supergirl, using a police radio to find minor crimes and missions for her. Maggie should confiscate the radio, but she knows Supergirl needs the practice. The men never overlap with when Alex is there, until one day, around mid-afternoon, when they do.

 

It doesn’t go great.

 

After the guys leave, Kara pointedly asks if having friends “is against DEO rules.”

 

And, oh, wait. Maggie drops onto her bed with a thunk. How does Supergirl know about the DEO? And why is she asking Alex what the DEO rules are? Maggie’s brain spins and spins.

 

“I didn’t come here to fight,” Alex says, “I came here to apologize for how I handled things back at the DEO.”

 

Maggie drops her head into her hands. These women are going to be the death of her. One, a secret superhero. The other, a secret anti-alien black-ops fed.

 

Honestly, Maggie had moved to this building for the peace and quiet.

 


 

Not as much changes over the next couple of months as Maggie would have expected. Sure, they talk a lot about classified information, and sure Kara seems to enter and exit through her window a lot more than her door, and sure the men are there more often.

 

Kara starts hosting game nights sometimes, or other movie nights with them. But Wednesday nights are always sacred, always just for her and for Alex and for too much food and a movie or junky TV.

 

They watch Mulan and Alex warns Kara not to get any ideas.


They watch GI Jane and Kara warns Alex not to get any ideas, and Maggie nearly salivates at the idea of Alex doing those one-armed chair push-ups, all sweaty and gritty and ripchord muscles.

 

Maggie follows Supergirl closely in the news, and makes it a habit of always having an extra baked good or frozen lasagna in her freezer to bring over on nights when things haven’t been going well.

 

Kara buys a bottle of Maggie’s favorite scotch and keeps it in her apartment, just for those nights. It’s incredibly sweet.

 

And then, one night, a couple weeks after being dumped, Maggie hears Kara bail on Alex in the middle of a Wednesday night to put out a fire across town.

 

And Maggie’s got a batch of cookies coming out of the oven that minute, and Alex is one of the prettiest people she’s ever seen and she heard someone say that Alex is a bioengineer, and, if the rumors about the DEO are to be believed, she could absolutely bench-press Maggie, and that’s not a combination Maggie can resist.

 

So Maggie knocks on the door, plate of cookies in hand, and Alex opens it. And this time Maggie’s awake enough to really take in how gorgeous she is, and this time Alex is the one in the sweatpants.

 

“Hungry?” Maggie asks, giving her a little head tilt.

 

Alex furrows her eyebrows and glances around quickly.

 

“Your sister often helps me eat some of my leftover baked goods,” Maggie explains. Then she gets a peek into the kitchen and sees the scotch already out on the table, a tumbler with just a finger left in it sitting in front of one of the stools. “And, oh, I see you found my thank you scotch.”

 

Alex looks even more confused. “Your what?”

 

“She bought a bottle of scotch, and we drink it together when I bring the good stuff.” She shakes the plate a little bit. “My thank you scotch.”

 

Alex softens at that. “Sorry,” she says, “I should have known when I found it. Kara never drinks scotch.”

 

“Well,” Maggie says, pressing her advantage, “since you’re already drinking it, and I’ve already made the cookies, and it seems like Kara isn’t here, whaddya say?”

 

And Alex backs up, holding the door open for Maggie, and they sit up at the counter and eat cookies and drink scotch and chat, and Maggie falls even more deeply for Alex than before.

 

Maggie only leaves after she hears a thunk outside the window. She assumes it was Kara, just stopping herself from flying in because she’s dumb enough to think Maggie doesn’t know her secret.

 

She extracts herself quickly, thanking Alex for the company.

 

She leaves the cookies.

 


 

It becomes a thing. Any Wednesday when Kara has to fly off on Supergirl duties, Alex will come knock on the wall between the apartments. “Maggie, come drink with me,” she’ll call. And Maggie will.

 


 

Maggie hears the unfamiliar sound of three sets of boots stomping down her hallway one morning.

 

“She’s not out on DEO business,” comes Alex’s voice, and she sounds stressed.

 

“There’s nothing on the news about Supergirl,” says one of the frequent male voices.

 

“I have a bad feeling about this,” says the other. “Did you bring your key?”

 

“Yeah,” Alex says, and then Maggie nearly falls off her couch in surprise, because one of them clearly just kicked in the front door. Maggie assumes, as she snatches up her gun and darts out of her own door, that it was Alex.

 

“Kara!” “What is that?” “Don’t touch it!” “She’s—she’s still breathing.”

 

Maggie skids into the room. Kara’s on her back in her supersuit, down on the ground, with a weird plant thing waving around on her chest. Her eyes are closed and she isn’t moving. Alex and the two guys are standing around her. Alex has a gun hanging limply from one hand, her phone up to her ear, ordering a med evac, but she suddenly drops the phone and swings the gun around to point it at Maggie’s head.

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” the bigger guy says.

 

“What are you doing here?” Alex snarls, but Maggie can tell she’s freaked.

 

“What the hell is that?” Maggie asks instead, gesturing to the plant. “Get it off her.”

 

But Alex is on her in a second. She’s holstered her own gun and it only takes her a second to disarm Maggie and push her up against the nearest wall.

 

Maggie hadn’t been resisting, but still. The girl’s got skills.

 

“Alex, calm down. I’m here to help.”

 

Alex’s forearm tightens on her throat. She does not seem to be calming down. “You’ve seen too much,” she hisses, and Maggie realizes she would make an amazing villain.

 

“Alex, stop it,” the bigger guy is saying, “you’ll kill her.”

 

And Alex backs off, pushing away, leaving Maggie gasping for air.

 

“Alex, it’s fine. I knew she was Supergirl, I’ve known forever.”

 

That seems only to make Alex madder. Maggie tries to backtrack, quickly. “The walls,” she says as fast as she can, “the walls here are super thin. I can hear everything you guys talk about. I’ve known since the first night, since she saved your plane.”

 

Alex is breathing hard, her chest heaving. She’s clearly terrified.

 

“You never said anything.”

 

“I figured she’d tell me if she ever wanted me to know.”

 

Alex scoffs and turns away, looking back to her sister.

 

But Maggie has more. “I heard a man in here, earlier.”

 

Alex’s head snaps back to her. “When,” she demands.

 

“About three hours ago. He had a British accent. He was with someone else, told them to ‘place it on the coffeetable.’ I thought he was a just making a delivery, but it could have been that.”

 

“Non,” Alex says to the guys, and Maggie isn’t sure if that’s a name or if she’s saying “no” in a different language. But just then a med team comes rushing in, and suddenly Maggie’s alone in Supergirl’s apartment.

 

No one comes back for days. Finally, Maggie hears people puttering around inside, and it sounds like the guys and Alex, but Maggie doesn’t hear Kara’s voice and she’s terrified. She’s about to head over and demand answers when she hears the front door open and she hears Kara say, “you guys! You did not have to do this!” Maggie lets out a huge sigh of relief and sags down on her couch. Thank god she’s okay.

 


 

Alex comes to visit her, late that night. She’s wearing a blue sweater and jeans and looks exhausted and sad and haunted. Maggie wonders what she had to do to get her sister back. She’s nearly silent as Maggie fills out the mountain of non-disclosure forms she brought with her.

 


 

The next couple Wednesdays are weird. Something definitely happened in their relationship. It’s strained on both sides. Maggie’s pretty sure Supergirl isn’t working with the DEO anymore, but it feels personal somehow.

 

Maggie bakes furiously.

 

The tension finally breaks, Maggie doesn’t know how, and things get back to normal. They watch Alien and Alex snarks her way through it. They watch How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and Kara keeps yelling at Alex for falling asleep during it. They watch Cabin in the Woods and Kara screams like a little child and Alex just laughs and laughs.

 

When Kara has to leave in the middle, Alex has started knocking on the wall again, asking for Maggie’s company. And even though Maggie knows Kara’s secret, she still always leaves when Kara comes back. They both insist she can stay, but she knows better.

 

“It’s Sister Night,” Maggie reminds them. “Wednesdays are sacred.”

 

And the Danvers sisters look at each other and they beam.

 


  

Alex makes sure it’s a Friday, then, when she knocks on Maggie’s door and asks to come in. She brings pizza and a donut, and Maggie’s heart thuds in her chest.

 

“My donut angel,” she says, flashing her dimples. She suspects Alex might be susceptible.

 

She’s pretty sure Alex starts kissing her first, but she can’t quite remember.

 

And it’s not until later, when Alex’s hand is under her shirt, and Maggie pulls her lips away just enough to mutter, “fuck, Alex,” that Maggie remembers that thin walls go both ways.

 

Kara, in her own apartment, positively screeches, and then chants “ew, ew, ew, ew, ew” until Alex, laughing, climbs off Maggie’s lap and bangs on the wall.

 

“Fine, you useless alien, shut up.”

 

And after that, they start spending a lot more time at Alex’s apartment.

Chapter Text

Her new sister is afraid of everything.

 

They don’t totally get it at first. Partly that’s because even though her pod had been exposing her to English while she was sleeping in the Phantom Zone, she’s having trouble expressing herself in their language. She hasn’t said a single thing yet. She makes sounds, and she seems to understand some of what they say. But she doesn’t talk yet, not in English.

 

So she can’t tell them what’s scaring her.

 

But the other part of it is that she’s scared of everything. She’s startled by the air and the sound of birds and the feel of grass under her feet – just things no human would think to be scared of. Thunder, sure. Tornados, definitely. Loud noises, okay. But grass?

 

Her first two days in Alex’s house are exhausting.

 

She screams, once, and that sound scares her so much that she doesn’t make another sound for hours.

 

Eliza scrambles to deal with setting up a life for her – calling a school and working with Clark to get her a birth certificate and adoption records and everything else she’ll need to become a human member of society. Jeremiah disappears into his lab to try to invent something that will help her acclimate better.

 

So it falls on Alex to try to guide this new girl, her new sister, through days and nights on Earth.

 

She tries to figure out each thing that’s scaring Kara so she can explain it.

 

At first she thinks that Kara just blinks funny, but finally Kara manages to communicate that she’s flinching against a sound that scares her. Alex is confused, because it’s such a regular interval. It gets worse when they’re out in the yard, and Alex finally realizes what it is.

 

She walks Kara down to the beach, holding onto Kara’s wrist because Kara hasn’t learned how to hold onto her without hurting her. She takes her out into the sand, and tells her about the waves. “You don’t need to be scared,” Alex says, “the waves do this all day and night, every day and night. It’s how water works on this planet. You only need to be scared if it stops, okay?”

 

Kara nods, and stops flinching each time a small wave hits the beach.

 

Alex takes her to the lawn and they sit down on the glass. Alex pulls up a couple blades of grass and even puts one in her mouth. “It’s just a small plant,” she tells Kara. “Sometimes it’s a little prickly on my skin, but it won’t hurt you.”

 

Kara, with a confused look on her face, mimes eating it.

 

“No, no, we don’t eat it. Some animals do, but people don’t. But it wouldn’t hurt you, even if you did.”

 

Kara nods, and stops flinching when she puts each foot down.

 

Alex explains the sound of wind in the trees and the smell of different human foods and shows her how to build with sand. Kara’s scared of the sound the cereal bag makes, but she gets over that on her own as, after each time she bravely plunges her hand into the box, she gets to eat a handful of frosted flakes.

 

On Kara’s third night, Alex and Kara are sitting at the dining room table after dinner. Eliza is washing the dishes and Alex is reading out loud from a book to Kara. She has a whole stack on the table of the books from her childhood – Ferdinand the Bull and Sallie Ride: America’s First Woman in Space and Koko’s Kitten and Amelia Bedelia and The Lorax and Mrs. Katz and Tush.

 

She’s halfway through her second read of Koko’s Kitten – Kara is completely enraptured by the pictures of Koko the gorilla and her little kitten, and Alex makes a note to stop by the library tomorrow and pick up more animal books – when Eliza turns on the popcorn maker.

 

Kara soundlessly screeches and catapults herself under the table.

 

Alex is surprised she didn’t break the floor with the force of her body.

 

Alex slips under the table after her and gathers Kara into her arms. “I got you,” she whispers. “It’s okay. I got you. You’re safe. You’re okay. I got you.”

 

Kara shudders in her arms and, for the first time since she came to their house three days ago, drops her head into Alex’s neck and cries.

 

“I got you,” Alex keeps whispering, gently rocking her back and forth, careful to keep her voice soft. “I got you.”

 

It’s almost half an hour before Kara calms down enough for Alex to slip out from under the table. She comes back just a moment later and shows Kara the popcorn. Alex has her taste one kernel. Kara smiles a little. She likes it. Alex raises her eyebrows, whispers “just wait!” then pours melted butter over the bowl and has her taste it again. Kara’s eyes light up. She loves it.

 

Alex grins, and shows Kara how to sprinkle salt all over it. Kara tastes it again, and her eyes roll back in her head in ecstasy.

 


 

There are still so many things Kara is scared of, but she gets better over the next week or so. She’s acclimating, adjusting. Alex is proud of her.

 

She still hasn’t said anything, but she’s understanding more and more.

 

At the end of the week, on a Sunday, Alex finds out that her best friend Vicky had a party that Alex wasn’t invited to. All of her other friends were invited, but Alex wasn’t.

 

Alex tries not to let it bother her, but it does. It does so much.

 

She goes up to her room and gets into bed and rolls to face her wall and pulls the covers up over her head and lets herself just cry and cry.

 

And when someone comes into the room and the covers are pulled back down she doesn’t roll over to see who it is. She knows it’s her mom who is just going to tell her to get over it, that it doesn’t matter what other people think of her in the long run, and Alex really doesn’t feel like getting over it just this minute.

 

But it’s not her mom.

 

A small little body climbs into bed behind her, and Alex realizes that it’s Kara.

 

She must have heard Alex crying from downstairs.

 

Kara curls up against her back and puts her little arms – so gently, so carefully – around Alex.

 

“I got you,” she whispers. “I got you.”

Chapter Text

“Uh, babe? What’s in this big-ass red box?”

 

Alex looks over at her girlfriend who is currently waist-deep in their storage unit. All she can see of Maggie is the back of her thighs and her ass – she’s nearly spread-eagled on top of some of their more sturdy boxes to be able to reach what’s in the big red box in the back.

 

“Oh, uh, don’t worry about that box.” Alex hopes she sounds nonchalant, but her voice comes out high and strained.

 

And, obviously, Maggie notices. She notices that Alex is embarrassed and, like any good girlfriend, she seizes the opportunity.

 

She pulls herself back up and turns to face Alex. “Babe, what’s in it?” She’s got a shit-eating grin on her face which only grows as Alex fidgets and mumbles something inaudible that definitely has the words “Kara” and “stupid” in it.

 

“What was that, babe?” Maggie’s eyes are twinkling now, and she’s dimpling, and Alex hates how much she loves her.

 

Alex crosses her arms over her chest and tries to resist. “It’s nothing,” she says, trying to will her voice back to a normal register. “Just some of Kara’s old crap.”

 

But Maggie isn’t a decorated detective for nothing. She knows Alex is lying, but she can also tell that whatever is in this box has crossed over from funny-embarrassing to anxious-embarrassing, and she changes tactics immediately. She clambers over another couple boxes so she can stand right next to Alex, reaching out and rubbing her arm with one hand.

 

“Babe, it’s okay,” she says, and her voice is soft and tender now. “You don’t have to tell me what’s in it. I was just messing with you. But, really, it’s fine for you to have secrets. You don’t have to show me everything.”

 

“No, I – no, it’s not a secret.” Alex rolls her eyes at herself. She’s such a drama queen sometimes, and she really doesn’t mean to be. She just isn’t used to someone who isn’t Kara watching her all the time – someone who actually cares about the nuances of her emotions. “It’s just embarrassing, but it’s not, like, bad.”

 

“Classified?”

 

Alex shakes her head. “No, not DEO-related.”

 

And Maggie just gives it a beat of silence. She tilts her head, just the way Alex likes, and smiles softly, dimpling just the way Alex likes, and holds Alex’s elbow, rubbing her thumb up and down Alex’s skin just the way she likes. If Alex doesn’t say anything else, she’ll drop it, and will leave the mystery of the big-ass red box unsolved.

 

But she has a sneaking suspicion that Alex – who is a pretty great liar when she really needs to be, and who has a propensity for wanting to show Maggie everything about herself, is going to say something. Maggie’s pretty sure that Alex wants her to know what’s in the box, and just doesn’t know how to say it.

 

So Maggie waits, with the tilt and the dimple and the soothing thumb.

 

And Alex fidgets, and then sighs heavily, and then blushes as she says, “It’s our dress-up box.”

 

Maggie had been steeling herself not to react, no matter what Alex said, but she can’t help it. Her eyebrows fly up and her jaw sags a little. She hasn’t heard those words in that sequence since she was a little kid.

 

“Your…dress-up box?”

 

Alex nods a little – her face is still pink and she’s clearly a little embarrassed but not afraid or anxious or upset. “Yeah, me and Kara’s. From when we were kids.”

 

And Maggie doesn’t mention that Kara didn’t show up until Alex was a teenager, and that most kids out-grown their dress-up boxes by the middle of elementary school. She just nods in understanding.

 

Alex hasn’t kept a lot of stuff from her life. This storage unit is mostly books and Maggie’s old furniture. Alex has just a couple of boxes from her childhood, and has functionally nothing from between college and when she’d met Maggie in the way of mementos or knick-knacks or sentimental belongings.

 

This big-ass red box – this dress-up box – is clearly something special. It’s the one big thing she’s made sure to keep as she’s moved from apartment to apartment, from city to city. She keeps it here, not in Eliza’s garage or anywhere else back in Midvale. She keeps it here, in her storage unit, with her baby blanket and her dad’s telescope and all of the books she used to read out loud to Kara.

 

It’s clearly incredibly important to her. And if Maggie met someone in bar that she didn’t really care about who mentioned still having their childhood dress-up box, that they used into their late teens, Maggie would give them so much shit for it. Or if, for example, Winn still had his, he’d never hear the end of it from her.

 

But Alex? Her sweet, tender, soft, loving girlfriend, with the huge heart and the huge wall between herself and everyone else? Her wonderful girl who would make a blanket fort just to snuggle her sister in a second, but would use her bare hands to murder anyone who looked at her sideways?

 

Maggie wouldn’t dream of making fun of her for something that obviously means so much, that she’s kept so close.

 

“Wanna take it back with us?” Maggie asks, hoping she sounds casual. “Might be fun for you and Kara to look through it together, if it’s been a while.”

 

And Alex equivocates a little, and makes dismissive little sounds, and rolls her eyes. Like it’s embarrassing. Like she hadn’t ever considered something so lame.

 

But her eyes are wide and little soft, and she, finally, after looking at Maggie and finding only love and trust and support, nods.

 

So Maggie carefully makes her way into the back corner of the unit and Alex charts a parallel course along the other wall, so they both end up on opposite sides of the big-ass red box. They heft it up together – it’s not too heavy, but it’s just too big for either of them to carry on their own, and they start the slow and awkward process of maneuvering it out to the car.

 

After dropping it twice, and Alex having to rescue Maggie from another box that nearly swallows her whole (and treating her trauma with a light make out session), they finally emerge with it. They pop it in the backseat of the car and, for the rest of the time they’re arranging the unit, Alex keeps darting her eyes over her shoulder, back to the big-ass red dress-up box.

 


 

Kara comes over for a movie night the next night, and Maggie offers to leave the apartment to let them have some old fashioned Danvers Sisters time. But Alex says she can stay and looks at her with those wide, soft eyes, and Maggie can tell that’s as close as Alex will get to asking Maggie to be a part of this. To be a part of this formerly-secret chunk of her life.

 

So Maggie orders the pizza and runs around the corner for more beer and spends the fifteen minutes before Kara arrives making out with Alex to ease her nerves – a huge sacrifice, of course.

 

Kara comes in – through the door, for once – and is halfway through a whining sentence about Snapper before she cut herself off, pulling up short and staring at the box.

 

“Oh my gosh! Is that!” She gapes over at Alex, who just nods at her.

 

Kara positively squeals. “Our dress-up box!! Oh my GOSH, Alex!”

 

And, seeing how Kara is beaming and squealing and dancing around the big-ass box, Maggie understands exactly why Alex kept this all these years.

 

“Let’s open it, let’s open it, let’s open it!”

 

“Pizza first or second?” Alex asks.

 

And Maggie’s never been as surprised as she is when Kara positively crows, “Pizza second! Pizza second! Dress-up first!”

 

Alex comes over, and they open the box, and Kara immediately starts pulling things out.

 

The first thing she grabs is a yellow and burgundy dress, something she might have worn to dress up as Queen Victoria – all lace and bodice and long puffy sleeves and heavy skirts and a low-cut top. Kara holds it up to herself with one hand and executes a pretty smooth curtsy, holding the skirt out with two dainty fingers from her other hand. “M’lady,” she murmurs to Alex.

 

She lets the dress fall to the floor, and the two of them spend the next few minutes pawing through the box. Alex seems content to just look, letting her fingertips run smoothly over the carefully folded fabrics. But Kara is pulling out items right and left – holding them up to her body at the least and pulling a couple all the way on.

 

A swirling velvet cape in a deep red. A pirate outfit, complete with stuffed parrot that attaches to the shoulder of the shirt. A fluffy pink onesie that she puts on all the way and turns out to be an enormous rabbit, looking so much like the Easter Bunny that Maggie can’t help but chortle. What looks like a series of prom dresses from the 1970s that Maggie imagines once belonged to Eliza. An orange NASA space suit. A witch costume.

 

But then the costumes start to change.

 

Maggie isn’t much a nerd for geeky TV shows, but she recognizes enough. A Starfleet uniform. A wookie costume. The white Princess Leia dress (with the hair muffs). A Battlestar Galactica flight suit. A Klingon war suit, all interlaced metal and lightweight Bat’leth. A Darth Vader costume, complete with helmet and lightsaber. A Thor costume, complete with an enormous plastic hammer. A Hulk costume with huge built-in muscles. And more and more that Maggie doesn’t recognize.

 

There are also costumes from other movies. A Dorothy and a Tin Man come out one after the other, followed by a chimney sweep and what must be a Mary Poppins. Two nuns. A Rockford Peach and a Racine Belle. A couple outfits that Maggie is pretty sure come from the Breakfast Club.

 

“Wow,” Maggie finds herself saying out loud, as the pile of costumes on the floor around Kara just continues to grow and grow. “How many costumes did you guys have?” It hasn’t escaped her attention that all of them are sized for teens and adults – none for children. It cements for Maggie that this was something they put together after Kara landed on Earth, not something Alex just hauled out of her closet to show her new alien sister.

 

“Pssh,” Kara says dismissively, most of her attention still on the box. “These are only the really good ones we wanted to keep. We had, like, four more boxes at one point.”

 

And Maggie can’t help that her face reacts to that. That’s…a lot of costumes.

 

“When Kara was new,” Alex says softly, and Maggie can tell that she’s carefully balancing not betraying Kara’s trust with wanting to let Maggie in. “She liked dressing up as other people. Especially as aliens, or people who lived in space.”

 

Oh, right. All those nerdy costumes, of course. Of course a secret alien would want to dress up as a wookie and a Klingon and a Jedi. Of course.

 

“I felt like I was always playing dress-up,” Kara adds, finally looking over at Maggie. “Every day, I was dressing up as Human Girl Kara Danvers. I was constantly pretending to be someone I wasn’t.” Maggie holds her breath. She never really hears Kara talk about that time in her life. She talks freely about Krypton, and she jokes about some of her funnier faux-pas during her first years on Earth, but she’s never felt comfortable enough with Maggie to share how hard it was for her.

 

Kara keeps going, and her tone is light and casual but Maggie knows there’s real weight behind it – weight that isn’t diluted in any way by the piles and piles of ridiculous costumes heaped around her feet. “When I played dress-up, it was the only time that I could say that I was pretending to be someone else. It was the only time people saw that I was just pretending.”

 

“It was the only time you didn’t have to worry about slipping up,” Alex adds, her face tender and open and so loving. “You could say ‘well, before I came to Earth’ and people would think you were just really in character.”

 

Kara nods. “Oh, Alex, remember when I was talking to you in Kryptonese that one time, and that girl asked us what language we were speaking and you convinced her it was Elvish?”

 

Alex laughs. “We were just lucky she didn’t actually speak Elvish. At that Con, she easily could have.”

 

“Con?” Maggie asks, “like, ComicCon, you mean?”

 

Alex blushes, and Maggie realizes this is where the embarrassment was coming from. Not that she and her sister dressed up in their own room to make her sister feel less alien, but that they did it out in public, surrounded by other nerds and geeks.

 

But Kara, apparently, has nothing but warm feelings about it. “Oh, yeah,” she chirps, back to digging through the box. “We went to a lot. It was a good motivation to get a costume together, you know? And we never really cared about the panels or anything, we just liked getting to see all the other costumes and being in character.”

 

“It helped Kara get over her fear of crowds,” Alex explains. “Because she felt so much less pressure to be a perfect human when she was dressed up as an alien or a character.”

 

Maggie worries that Alex is explaining it, that Alex thinks this is something she needs to explain away. Maggie worries that Alex is feeling judged, so is trying to justify that the costumes and the Cons were medicinal for Kara, rather than just fun.

 

And no, Cons and costumes weren’t how Maggie’d had fun as a kid and a teen, but she’d probably have liked it, around the right people. If she’d had friends for most of high school, if she hadn’t been trying to be as invisible as possible, she wouldn’t have turned up her nose at it.

 

It’s not quite the type of nerd she’s ever been, but she works for the science police and investigates things that go bump in the night. She’s no stranger to scifi.

 

So, she overcompensates. “This is amazing,” she says, and it’s nearly a gush. “I’d pay real money to go back in time and see the teenaged Danvers Sisters at a Con in full costume.”

 

And Alex rolls her eyes a little, but it’s Kara who gives her the real prize.

 

She nearly buries herself in the box before pulling herself back out, triumphantly waving something in the air over her head. “Ha!” she cries. “No need for money – although I will accept payment in potstickers!”

 

Maggie tilts her head in confusion, and Alex blushes again, achieving a shade of red Maggie hadn’t realized was possible on her. “Kara, no,” she warns.

 

“Kara, yes!” Kara crows.

 

Maggie detects. “Oh my god, are those pictures?”

 

Kara nods happily. “Heck yes.”

 

Maggie’s on her feet in a second, eyes wide. “Give them.” She does a grabby hands motion that she must have picked up from Kara.

 

“You’ll be sleeping on the couch for a week,” Alex warns, but Maggie can tell there’s no heat behind it.

 

“Worth it!” Kara chirps, dragging Maggie by the hand over to the couch.

 

Maggie snickers. “Sorry babe,” she calls over her shoulder. “I love you, but there’s no way I’m not looking at these.”

 

And Alex sighs dramatically, and mutters something about a holding cell that will make Guantanamo look like Maui, but she comes to the couch and plops herself down on Maggie’s other side. Kara opens the photo album and rests it on Maggie’s knees so they can all see.

 

They spend the next hour eating their pizza and drinking their beer and slowly paging through the book, careful not to drip sauce or condensation on the pages. At first just Kara is narrating, but Alex quickly warms to her subject and starts interjecting regularly.

 

The pictures are amazing. Their costumes are always phenomenal, and Maggie loves seeing how hard teenage Alex is trying not look like she’s having the time of her life. She, of course, always insisted on being the darker characters. She’s Darth Vader to Kara’s Leia, she’s an unbelievable Borg Queen to Kara’s flawless Klingon warrior, the tin man to Kara’s Dorothy, Rizzo to Kara’s Sandy, the Snape to Kara’s Dumbledore.

 

But she’s fucking beaming in all the pictures. They both are.

 

Maggie’s in heaven. She asks them so many questions – where did they get the costumes? How did they learn to do the makeup so well? Did Alex ever actually learn Elvish? How far did they travel? Did their friends at school know? She can’t stop squeezing Kara’s arm and slapping Alex’s thigh and, every once in a while, kissing Alex on the cheek when her teenage self is just too cute.

 

Everything she’s learning fits so well with the Alex and Kara she knows, but it also adds such a new shade to them. She knew Alex was a nerd, obviously, Dr. Dr. Bioengineer Alex Danvers who analyzes thermal residue and creates anti-venoms for fun – definitely a nerd. And Kara’s a total dork, and Maggie’s known for a while that she can appreciate a good Star Wars reference.

 

But she hadn’t quite realized that either them were this type of nerd – the type that verges on geek. That they were costume nerds, Con nerds, character nerds. Dress-up nerds.

 

Sisters who showed their love and devotion through this incredibly nerdy hobby.

 

It’s new, but it’s sweet, and it’s so completely them. So completely her Danvers girls.

 

And Maggie gets the feeling that no one else knows about this. It seems like the kind of thing Winn would mention all the time if he knew, and she’s never heard a word of it from him. So she’s incredibly honored that they chose to share this with her. That they wanted to let her in on this special secret part of themselves, of their relationship.

 

So, after the pizza is a distant memory, and Maggie’s turned each page of the photo album at least twice, and they start folding the costumes back up, when Kara stops and squeals again and starts dancing around and insists that they put one on, just for old time’s sake, Maggie doesn’t even consider saying no.

 

“You asking me to play dress-up with you?” She drawls, but she’s already stripping off her sweater.

 

Kara decides what they’ll be, of course. She tosses Maggie the Han Solo costume, and Alex shimmies into the Obi Wan cloak and vest. Kara herself jumps into the full Chewbacca costume and proceeds to scare the shit out of Maggie with her incredible wookie noise.

 

They all laugh, and Maggie and Alex get into a quick lightsaber duel, which Alex obviously wins both because she actually knows sword combat and because “Han Solo isn’t a Jedi, Mags, it’s embarrassing that you think you even stood a chance against Obi Wan Kenobi, honestly.”

 

Kara, after swearing not to post them anywhere, makes them take selfie after selfie.

 

And that night, after she’s brushed her teeth and climbed into bed, Maggie scrolls through all the pictures Kara’s just sent her.

 

She usually doesn’t like pictures of herself – although the Han Solo costume actually looks really good on her – but she’s rarely seen herself look so happy.

 

She’s rarely seen the Danvers girls look so happy.

 

She saves them all to her camera roll, and, vowing to herself that she’ll take it down if Alex doesn’t like it, sets her favorite as her lock screen image.

 

Her and her nerdy Danvers girls.

 

Chapter Text

Everyone knows that the quickest way to make Alex lose her temper, to make her throw her moral compass out the window and attack anything that moves, is to threaten Kara. Alex has imprisoned human beings without trials, killed in cold blood, and let Maxwell Lord leer at her for hours to protect her sister. She’s prepared for people to come after Supergirl, and she’s prepared to stop them.

 

She’s not prepared for today, when Kara casually mentions that she wants to move away.

 


 

Kara had been the most important person in her life since she was a teenager. Sure, it was a rough transition, going from beloved precocious only child to bodyguard for a superpowered alien sister. But, more quickly than even she had expected, Alex came to love and treasure Kara. She was Kara’s tie to Earth, to being human, to her new life. And Kara was her everything.

 

So when Alex was recruited for the DEO, after nearly flunking out of grad school, after nearly failing to finish her MD/PhD at all, it was the first real test of their relationship since they were young. Suddenly Alex had to keep secrets from Kara. Had to lie about her job and her days and her bruises and her everything.

 

She took the job to protect Kara, to protect the city and the planet, to do work that was meaningful. But it meant that, every single day for two years, she lied to her sister. To her best friend. Each day, for over 800 days, she told a lie to the person who meant the most to her the entire universe.

 

She kept her own job a secret. She kept Astra and Non a secret. She kept Alura’s job a secret. She kept Fort Rozz a secret. She kept the escapees a secret. She kept their desire for a bloody vengeance on Alura a secret.

 

But then, on that one rainy night, Alex’s plane was targeted by the escapees, and Kara used her powers to save her. And Kara said she wouldn’t go back into hiding, that she was going to make a suit and fly around the city protecting people, just like her cousin.

 

And the DEO came after her.

 

And suddenly all the secrets were out in the open. Kara learned about Astra and Non and Fort Rozz. She learned about Alura and how hundreds of violent criminals wanted to murder her to punish her long-dead mother.

 

She learned about Alex.

 

She learned about how Alex had lied to her, each and every day, for years.

 

Kara hated her for it, and said terrible things to her, and Alex was sure she’d lost her baby sister forever. That Supergirl had come and taken over Kara and the DEO had taken over Alex and their relationship was twisted out of all recognition and it would never come back.

 

Alex was sure that Supergirl had taken away her sister.

 

And Alex cried, alone in the armory, because Kara isn’t even her blood, but Kara is the best thing in her life and she just cannot lose her.

 


 

But it turned out that she didn’t lose her. It turned out that Kara and Supergirl and Alex and Agent Danvers could all coexist, could all love each other and fight for each other and hold each other together. They worked side by side for a year, and it was one of the best years of Alex’s life.

 

Supergirl didn’t take away her sister. Supergirl gave Alex her sister back. Finally she didn’t have to hold Kara at arm’s length. Finally she didn’t have to shield her from the world, from Alex’s job, from the dangers of being a Super on Earth.

 

For the very first time, they were both adults, they were both stable in their lives, they lived in the same city, and they had no secrets.

 

Supergirl had, for the first time in years, let Alex be the sister she wanted to be. Had, for the first time in years, let Alex have the sister relationship she’d been missing.

 

And Alex had never been happier.

 

And then, out of nowhere, fucking Clark Kent came into town, and he and Kara ran around saving people and rockets and buildings with huge dorky grins on their faces, and suddenly everything came crashing down on her.

 


 

Kara says it today, in her apartment, wearing a white dress and holding onto a pillow like it’s not a big deal. Like she isn’t destroying everything Alex has been working for her entire life.

 

“What if I moved to Metropolis to be with Clark?”

 

And Kara is the most important person in her life, and Alex has dedicated the last fifteen years to protecting her and taking care of her and loving her, and gave up a normal career and regular life for her, and flew into space for her, and Clark is just her blood.

 

Kara says it would be better for everyone. For J’onn, for herself, and she even has the gall to say it would be better for Alex. “And you – you’d be able to do your job at the DEO without worrying about me,” she says, like Alex doesn’t worry about her every second of every day, DEO or no. Metropolis or no.

 

And Alex has been betrayed before, and she’s lost before, and she’s been left before, but it’s never been like this. Never by her sister.

 

So when Kara asks her what she thinks, Alex tells her the truth. She rolls her eyes a little as she says it, knowing that if she makes too much eye contact she’ll cry. “I think…I’ve kept my mouth shut the entire time Clark has been here. While you…have ignored me. And now…you just want to move away?”

 

“I thought it would be good for you,” Kara says haltingly, “you wouldn’t have to take care of me anymore.”

 

And that just makes Alex furious. Because she has always taken care of Kara and Kara isn’t a burden and Kara had never worried about this before he’d come to town.


This isn’t about Alex being freed from some oppressive yoke. This is about Kara. This is about Kara wanting to skip town and have fun with her cousin.

 

This is about Kara not wanting to be around Alex anymore.

 

And Alex knows that she’s never been enough – not for Eliza, not for herself, not for any guys – but she’s always been sure that she’s a good big sister to Kara. And she has always been second best but she has always known that Kara loves her. Even though things with Eliza are complicated and Alex will probably never find romantic love, she has always thought that she had Kara’s love and devotion. It’s been the one thing she’s done right in her whole stupid life, loving Kara and being loved by Kara.

 

But now? Now she’s doubting, for what’s maybe the first time, that Kara really loves her back. That Kara loves her and needs her as much as she loves Kara.

 

Because Alex gave up her entire life for Kara, twice, and Kara’s just going to…move? To be with him?

 

To abandon her?

 

And Alex can’t help that it comes out in a snarl. “What about us taking care of each other?”

 

Alex reminds Kara of what she’s given up for her – a carefree childhood, a normal medical career. A regular life. All to protect Kara. And she doesn’t mean it like a list of what Kara owes her, or to guilt her. She just means it as proof. Things got hard for me, she means, but you were worth it. She just means it as a question. Was I worth it for you? she means. Do you still love me? she means.

 

But Kara takes it the other way. Her face falls, and Alex panics because Kara is disappointed in her, and she doesn’t know how to cope with that. Because Kara is feeling like a burden and she has that stupid noble streak that might make her want to leave more, and Alex can’t cope with that either.

 

Kara’s face is blank but her tone is frustrated. “I thought you said it was a great adventure.”

 

“Yes,” Alex says, putting as much emphasis on it as she can. It has been a great adventure. Together. But it’s been hard. “But it’s cost me a lot.” And she doesn’t mean to say it, she doesn’t want to say it, but a part of her wants to make Kara hurt the way she’s hurting. Wants to make Kara remember the stakes, here in National City. “It cost me my father.”

 

Kara steps forward at that, like she wants to comfort Alex. Like she isn’t the one who is destroying Alex. “Alex, we’re going to find him.”

 

And that just pisses her off more than anything. “Yeah? Well how are we going to do that with you in Metropolis?”

 

“Don’t do that.” Kara says, and her voice is soft and hurt, but Alex is furious. Kara is abandoning her; Kara doesn’t get to be the one upset. “This is not about one family over the other,” Kara says, and Alex knows it’s not about one family over the other. It’s about Clark over Alex. It’s about superpowers over human. It’s about blood over bonds. It’s about being with someone else who can fly.

 

“This is about not feeling alone anymore. When I’m with Clark, I feel like I’m connected to somebody who actually understands what it’s like to be me.” Like Alex hadn’t spent every night of her teens with Kara, asking her questions and learning her language and memorizing random facts about Krypton. Like Alex hadn’t spent all of her twenties with a phone pressed to her ear, listening to Kara rant and rave about this class and that job and these customers and those boys.

 

Like Alex doesn’t know Kara better than she knows herself.

 

She’s fucking furious, so she crosses a line she’s never crossed before.

 

“So, does he understand that he abandoned you, with us?” Kara’s face falls, but Alex doesn’t relent. “Do you?”

 

And then Kara’s phone rings, and she says, “It’s Clark,” in that tone that means I have to answer this, it’s more important to me than this conversation is. Than you are.

 

And all Alex can do is gesture to the phone, letting her hand fall down to slap her own thigh in frustration and futility, and try not to cry.

 

And Kara just flies off to meet him, and Alex is alone in the apartment.

 

She takes a look around, letting it sink in. she used to live in this apartment. She’d given it to Kara when she’d joined the DEO, taking the smaller one with less character and better security. This apartment had been their home, the both of them, for years.

 

Alex wonders how many more times she’ll get to stand in it.

 

She wonders if everyone will leave her, eventually.

 


 

She tries to take it out on Winn, back at the DEO, but he apparently decided to grow a backbone at some point, and gives her a little lecture on what family is, which actually just proves her point.

 

“Family is about just showing up,” he says, like Kara isn’t about to just move across the country from her. Like her relationship with Kara now isn’t about just showing up (usually holding a pizza). Like that relationship could possibly survive long-distance.

 

But then he mentions trace Kryptonite, and she hatches a plan to catch the mole inside the DEO who is diverting Kryptonite shipments to Cadmus. She finds out it’s Agent McGill, which really pisses her off because he’s brown and she really was hoping the traitor would be a white guy.

 

She sets McGill up to divert another shipment, scaring Winn in the process with her sadistic smile.

 

It’s not until she’s strapping on her weapons that Winn realizes she’s not going to be putting a team together. “Alex, no! You can’t go by yourself! Cadmus will kill you.”

 

And he’s never been in the field, and it’s like his first week at the DEO, and Alex doesn’t have time for this. “I’m making the smart tactical choice, Agent Schott.” She makes sure to use his title to remind him that she’s the second in command of this organization and he’s the newest tech monkey.

 

But Winn clearly doesn’t have respect for rank or protocol. He reaches out and grabs her arm and says it again. “Alex, no!”

 

Alex rolls her eyes. “Alex, yes,” she says as she shakes him off, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Then she turns on him, and has him backed up against the wall in a heartbeat, her forearm putting a delicious amount of pressure on his windpipe. “If you tell anyone,” she snarls, letting all of her hate and anger and self-loathing finally pour out of herself, “I’ll murder you really, really slowly. Understand?”

 

And he nods, quick and tight and terrified.


She pushes off and stalks out without looking back.

 


 

She didn’t tell Kara she was going. She didn’t tell anyone. Kara wants to see what it would be like in National City without her? Here’s a test.

 

Alex goes to the warehouse alone. She gets the drop on McGill, but then this tall, terrifyingly beautiful woman flanked by two huge goons gets the drop on her. She monologues a little, calling Alex an abused child and taunting her about Jeremiah and calling Kara a demon invader. “All I’m asking, Alex,” she says, her soft voice and her concerned face barely concealing her genocidal mania, “is for you think about what your life would be if aliens had never come. What it could be if they were no more.”

 

And today is really not the day for someone to be offering to remove all the aliens from Alex’s life.

 

Alex gets in her face and threatens her back, and the woman leaves Alex to be killed by her flunkies.

 

Alex waits until the woman is gone before turning on them, knocking them both on their asses, sprinting over to her gun, and running, shooting, and sliding her way through shelves and plastic sheeting.

 

And she’s nearly out when one of them gets a good angle on her and fires a bullet right at her.

 

And Kara stops it.

 

“You okay?” Kara asks her, after punching the lights out of the shooter, giving Alex time to pistol-whip the other into unconsciousness.

 

And Alex doesn’t know what to say. I’d be dead if you were in Metropolis, is an option. Please don’t abandon me, is another. I love you. Please don’t end this. We’re supposed to take of each other. I just want you to be happy. What can he give you that I can’t?

 

“Yeah,” she hears herself say through her panting breaths, reaching out to touch her baby sister and make sure she’s actually there. “Thanks to you.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Kara says quickly, before she even gets her own breath back. “I-I’m so sorry, for everything.” She reaches out and grabs Alex by the shoulders, looking right into her eyes. Alex’s own hand comes up to grip her elbow. “I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you were less to me than Clark. You are the only reason I have ever felt at home on this planet.”

 

And the Cadmus flunkies have been unconscious for a while now, but this is the first moment that Alex feels safe. Like she can breathe.

 

“I’m just better when we’re together,” she manages to say without crying or yelling or breaking down or catapulting herself into Kara’s arms and begging her to never leave.

 

And it’s true. Alex has never been better than now, when Kara and Alex and Supergirl and Agent Danvers are all together.

 

“Me too,” Kara says, like she finally sees it too.

 

“I need you,” Kara says.

 

“I’m here,” Alex says. “Always.”

Chapter Text

“You're a badass, Danvers.”

 

Maggie’s voice had cracked when she’d said it, even through the tinny speakers that were all Alex had in the tank.

 

“You’re a badass, Danvers, and you’re gonna figure out a way to get yourself out of there,” she’d said.

 

“You hold on, okay?” she’d said. “Hold on until I get to you.”

 

She’d been crying.

 

“Promise me,” she’d demanded. “Promise me.”

 

And Alex hadn’t promised – couldn’t promise, before she was cut off.

 

She’d been sure she was going to die. But Maggie had begged her to hold on, to get herself out, to survive.

 

So she’d tried, with everything she had.

 

She’d already cut herself open with a credit card and she’d already wired herself into a camera, but now she did more. She threw her body against the pipe to turn it off. She wrapped her fist and smashed it into the wall. She filled her pants with air and used them as a life jacket, and finally as an oxygen tank.

 

And she did it – in a way. She held on until Maggie got to her. Until Kara got to her. She held on.

 

But she hadn’t gotten herself out.

 

And in the weeks that followed, weeks where she could barely shower, couldn’t use her elevator, was constantly calculating the cubic volume of any room she was in, it haunted her.

 

“You’re a badass, Danvers. You’re gonna figure out a way to get yourself out of there.”

 

But she hadn’t. She had just bought herself a few more seconds, that was all.

 

She’d just been in that tank, waiting for them. Waiting to be rescued.

 

She hadn’t gotten herself out. She wasn’t a badass.

 

She was just a mortal, just a victim, and now she’s just a half-drowned weak little girl who jumps at shadows and barely sleeps and can’t decide if she needs to cling to her girlfriend and her sister or if she never wants to see them again.

 


 

J’onn keeps her out of the field as long as he can, and she knows it’s protocol but she can tell that he’s doing it because he doesn’t trust her. Because he could have gotten out of that tank – could have just morphed through the glass. And Kara could have gotten out – could have just punched her way through it in a second. And Maggie wouldn’t have been so stupid as to turn her back on Rick in the elevator, so she never would have gotten in the tank in the first place.

 

Alex failed. As an agent, as a badass, as a survivor. Alex failed.

 

And J’onn keeps her out of the field.

 

She spends time in the armory firing guns that do less damage than her sister’s eyeballs.

 

She spends time in the sparring room landing punches on a dummy that J’onn wouldn’t even feel.

 

She spends time on her computer analyzing samples that her mother could figure out in two minutes with a microscope and a typewriter.

 

She comes home and sets off the smoke alarm cooking a meal that Maggie could make perfectly with both eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back.

 

And being a badass, being a survivor, being tough as nails and impossible to kill, had been the most important part of her identity. She protected Kara. She was the human who jumped between a Super and a bullet. She was Alex Fucking Danvers. She scared baby agents with her index finger. She’d blown up buildings she’d been standing in, and she’d flown a ship into space to rescue her sister.

 

It’s who she is.

 

It’s who she was.

 

But she’s not a badass. She didn’t get herself out. And now she’s nothing.

 

Just a half-drowned weak little girl who can’t defend herself and can’t protect her family and whose only use is as a bargaining chip for people who want to use Kara, who want to use J’onn, who want to use Maggie, who want to use Jeremiah, for their own means.

 


 

Kara invites her over for Sister Night but she says no.

 

Maggie asks her out on dates but she says no.

 

Maggie sleeps in her bed and Alex holds her until she falls asleep but then rolls away. Alex doesn’t really sleep, not anymore.

 

Alex doesn’t get held, not anymore. Not since she’d come tumbling out of that tank and they’d picked her up and cradled her and she’d had to be carried around like a weak little child.

 

Kara brings her lunch at the DEO and Alex eats it with her and hums her agreement at whatever Kara says, but she doesn’t say anything about herself.

 

“Supergirl is bigger than me,” she’d said to Kara while she was in the tank, but it’s only now that she really understands the scope of that.

 

Supergirl is bigger than J’onn, and bigger than Maggie, and bigger than Jeremiah, yes. But anyone in this building, anyone fighting the good fight, anyone standing up at all is bigger than Alex. It’s not just that Supergirl is stronger than her. It’s that she’s weaker than any of them had ever known.

 

Because they’d asked her to get herself out. And she hadn’t.

 


 

They send her to therapy, even after her mandatory sessions are over. They insist – Kara and J’onn and Maggie – that she needs to keep going. That what she endured was overwhelming and that any one of them would need it too, if they’d been in the tank.

 

But she’s not fooled. None of them would have been trapped in the tank in the first place.

 

The therapist helps her get to a place where she can shower and take the elevator and not obsess over the volume of rooms and the layout of water pipes. The therapist helps her not flinch when she hears the name Rick or the word tank.

 

It’s because of the therapist that she goes swimming. Kara and Maggie take her to a public pool one sunny day and Alex gets in the water and even puts her head under, and they cheer and congratulate her and Kara hugs her and Maggie looks like she wants to hug her but doesn’t.

 

But Alex doesn’t tell the therapist that all of that makes it worse. Congratulating her for taking a shower? For using an elevator? For going in a pool? She’s regressed to being three years old. Alex was a champion surfer, was the Acting Director of a covert black-ops federal agency, killed aliens and enhanced humans with her bare hands.

 

And now she’s congratulated for blowing bubbles in the pool like a child?

 

It just shows her what she’s lost.

 

Or maybe what she never actually had.

 

She’s not a badass. She needed a therapist’s help to take a shower without crying.

 

She’s just a half-drowned weak little girl, and everyone around her is a god.

 


 

It’s two months before she comes over to Kara’s apartment one night, after a useless fruitless pointless day of doing nothing at the DEO, and sees, through the open front door, Kara crying her on her couch.

 

Kara’s crying and Maggie’s kneeling in front of her, with her arms around Kara’s back and shoulders and Kara’s head dropped into Maggie’s neck.

 

Kara’s sobbing, her whole body shuddering with it.

 

“I don’t know what to do,” Kara’s saying through her sobs. “I don’t know how to help her.”

 

“I know,” Maggie says back, her voice barely carrying across the apartment to where Alex is standing, as still and quiet as possible, mostly hidden by the door.

 

“I thought the therapy would help,” Kara sobs. “But she’s just…” Kara pulls back, sitting up, angrily wiping the tears off her face. “She’s just…sinking into herself even more.” More tears fall. “It’s like I can’t even see her anymore.”

 

“I know,” Maggie says again, and her voice is thick too. “I know.”

 

“She’s my sister,” Kara says, like it’s breaking her heart. “She’s my sister and she’s always been the strong one, and now she’s broken and I can’t do anything to help her.”

 

Alex, unseen behind the door, nods in agreement. She had always been the strong one. And now she’s broken.

 

“She’s not broken,” Maggie murmurs. “She’s just hurting.”

 

Alex shakes her head. Maggie’s blinded by the person she’d fallen in love with. The person she’d asked to get herself out.

 

But that person had died in the tank. And all that’s left is Alex.

 

A half-drowned weak little girl whose mere existence is hurting the people around her. Who used to be strong but now is broken.

 


 

Maggie starts to pull away. She spends more nights in her own apartment. She offers, each time she goes, for Alex to come with her, but Alex says no.

 

Maggie’s going to leave her, and she can’t even be upset about it because she’d leave herself, if she could. Maggie had fallen in love with a badass who’d taken over crime scenes and saved her life and fought misogynistic white Martians.

 

Maggie had fallen in love with someone who could have gotten herself out of the tank.

 

And she’s left with Alex.

 

Kara tries to fill the void – to fill the silences in the apartment on the nights when Maggie isn’t there.

 

She comes over, night after night, with bad movie after bad movie, box of pizza after container of potstickers, pint after pint of ice cream. She pulls the blankets on top of them and snuggles as close to Alex as she can, and holds her as tightly as she dares.

 

She whispers things to Alex. Things like “I love you,” and “I’m always here for you,” and “I’ve got you,” and “you’re safe.”

 

Things you say to a weak little child.

 


 

It’s another month before Kara has had enough.

 

She comes to Alex’s apartment one morning and wordlessly scoops her up and flies her out of the city. She puts her down on a beach, right onto a blanket she’d already laid out, with a picnic basket and bottles of water and sunglasses.

 

They sit on the blanket, and Kara takes her hand and Alex doesn’t look over at her but she knows that her baby sister is both glowing in the sunlight and is close to tears.

 

“Alex,” she says softly, her voice gentle and tender over the crashing of the waves. “I need you to tell me what’s going on inside your head.”

 

And Alex just shrugs. She doesn’t have much to say.

 

“I know you’re hurting,” Kara offers. “I know what it’s like to hurt—“

 

But Alex cuts her off. “You don’t.”

 

Her voice is harsher than she means. She hasn’t disagreed with anyone in a long time. “You don’t know.”

 

And Kara’s eyes are filled with tears but she just squeezes Alex’s hand even tighter. “Then tell me,” she says, and she’s nearly begging. “Please, tell me.”

 

And Alex doesn’t mean to say anything. But they’re on a beach and when Kara had first come to their family she and Alex had spent so much time on the beach, swapping stories and confessing secrets. The sound of the waves pulls Alex back to her childhood – to surfing with her dad, to walking up and down the sand trading chemical equations with Eliza, to holding Kara’s hand and whispering her deepest desires.

 

But no one is more surprised than she is when she says it. “I couldn’t get myself out of there.”

 

And Kara never lets go of her hand. “Out of where?”

 

“The tank,” Alex says dully. “I couldn’t get myself out of the tank. Maggie asked me to, and I couldn’t. I tried, but I couldn’t.”

 

And Kara lets out a breath and it sounds just like the breath she’d let out when Alex had told her that Maggie didn’t want her. “Oh, Alex,” she breathes, like she still loves her.

 

“I was supposed to get myself out,” Alex says, because now that she’s started she can’t stop. “And I used everything I had in me, but I couldn’t do it. You had to rescue me, you and Maggie.”

 

And Kara’s hand is trembling in hers, but her voice is still soft and gentle. “What do you think that means, that we rescued you?”

 

“It means I’m not strong enough, or tough enough, or smart enough. Maggie had called me a badass, but I’m not. I’m weak.”

 

Kara tries to interrupt her. “Alex, no.”

 

But Alex keeps going. “I couldn’t save myself, Kara. That’s the definition of weak.”

 

“No, it isn’t. We’re a team, Alex. Needing me, or needing Maggie, doesn’t make you weak. It makes you a part of our team.”

 

But Alex shakes her head. “You wouldn’t have needed to be rescued.”

 

Kara’s silent for a while.

 

Finally, she starts to talk, and her voice has an edge behind it that Alex rarely hears when she’s not wearing her cape. “Do you remember when I came to Midvale, and I cried every night, and you came into my room and you would sing me Earth lullabies? You told me that I was the strongest person you’d ever met because I’d been through something so horrible but I was still waking up every day and trying.”

 

Alex starts to respond, to say that’s different, to say losing your planet isn’t a fair comparison to being in a stupid tank.

 

But Kara just keeps going. “And do you remember when you taught me to surf and I kept wiping out and I got scared and I cried and I started hiding from you when it was time to go out to the beach? And you told me that sometimes the strongest thing a person can do is admit when they’re scared and ask for help.”

 

And that’s different too, because Kara was an alien and the physics of buoyancy were different on her planet.

 

But Kara doesn’t stop. “And do you remember when I came out as Supergirl and I got beat out in the field, and you took me into the training room and you turned on the kryptonite emitters and you kicked my ass? And then I asked you to teach me how to fight, and you did? And you taught me to be the strongest and best fighter I could be.”

 

And Alex doesn’t know what that has to do with anything, because Kara has always had superpowers and just needed some tactical skills.

 

But Kara has another. “And do you remember when I was taken by the Black Mercy? I would have been trapped in that hallucination forever. I would have died, and I couldn’t possibly have saved myself. But you, Alex, you did the impossible and you came and you got me and you convinced me, and you brought me back. You did that. I couldn’t bring myself back, Alex. Only you could.”

 

And Alex doesn’t try to interrupt because she doesn’t know what to say to that.

 

“Do you think that made me weak?” Kara asks, her voice even softer. “To have been taken by the Black Mercy? To have needed you to come into my mind and save me?”

 

And Alex shakes her head, hard. Because Kara has never been weak, and certainly not then. “You turned away from the perfect life to come back with me,” Alex whispers. “It was one of the strongest things I’ve ever seen.”

 

“And you kept yourself alive in that tank until I found you,” Kara says. “It was one of the strongest things I’ve ever seen.”

 

But Alex shakes her head.

 

Kara tries again. “Alex, you saved me from the Red Kyptonite. You saved me from Non and Indigo. And then, do you remember when I flew Fort Rozz into space?”

 

She waits until Alex nods.

 

“I flew Fort Rozz into space, and I said goodbye to you, because I knew I wouldn’t survive it. But you, Alex,” Kara squeezes her hand even more, bringing her other one up to wrap around it. “You got in the pod, and you flew into space, and you saved me.”

 

Alex doesn’t say anything.

 

“And there was no way you should have been able to do that, but you did. You saved me. And do you remember what you said to me, when I woke up?”

 

Alex remembers, but she shakes her head anyway.

 

“I asked what happened, and you said, ‘You saved the world. And then I saved you with your pod.’ And then you said, ‘You’re not the only badass in the family.’ And I remember that, I’ll always remember that, because I was so confused. Because I’ve always thought that you were the only badass in the family.”

 

Alex shakes her head again.

 

But Kara beats her to it, one last time. “Alex, you have always been the captain of our team. You have always been my hero. You have always been the strongest and the toughest among us. Always. And I know you can’t see it right now, but what happened in that tank only proves how strong you are. How tough. How smart. How badass.”

 

“I had to be rescued,” Alex whispers.

 

“Yeah,” Kara agrees. “You did. But you were alive when we got there because of you. Just like I had to be rescued after Fort Rozz. I saved the world, but you saved me. Just like I had to be rescued during the Black Mercy. You saved me.”

 

“You saved yourself,” Alex counters. “I just reminded you.”

 

“You saved yourself, too,” Kara says, her voice so firm and so strong. “I just broke open the glass. You kept yourself alive. You held on.”

 

And Alex shakes her head again, but then rests it down on Kara’s shoulder.

 

Kara’s arm slips around her shoulders immediately.

 

“I love you.” Her voice is firm and clear, like she’s speaking to an adult. “I know you’re having trouble believing it, but I love you. I’m proud of you.”

 

Alex shakes her head, one last time, just really moving it sideways on Kara’s shoulder.

 

But Kara says it again. “I’m so proud of you. You, right now, right here, are the strongest person I know. I’m proud of you.”

 

And Alex can’t really believe it, but once before Kara had told her that she was proud of her. And it hadn’t helped right then, but it had been something that Alex had held onto. Something that had helped her stay afloat when she’d been adrift.

 

And maybe it can be that this time too.

 

Maybe it can hold her up, until she can save herself.

 

Chapter Text

They end up going on a lot of double dates. It doesn’t seem like something they’d end up doing, when Kara first arrives, because she’s so strange and doesn’t have any friends. But as she gets older and acclimates, this sunny personality starts popping out of her, and people are drawn to her.

 

Boys are drawn to her.

 

And as Alex gets older and acclimates to having an alien sister, she gets less and less popular. She’s too smart, too overprotective, too careful about setting aside time for Vicky. People are threatened by her.

 

Boys are threatened by her.


So they end up sort of meeting each other in the middle. By their sophomore and junior years of high school, Eliza’s comfortable with Kara going on dates if Alex is there too. And, honestly both sisters prefer double dating anyway.

 

It lets Alex keep an eye on Kara. It lets her keep an eye on Kara’s date. And it lets her keep her own date at arm’s length. If Alex and her date are chaperoning, even just the smallest amount, then they can’t just make out in the car, or he can’t slip his hand under her shirt and try to get to second base, or pressure her to go further, not because she doesn’t want to, of course, but because her little sister is there.

 

She doesn’t realize for years that double dating with Kara was the most effective cock block in the world. All she knows then is that she’s more comfortable with Kara there.

 

And it’s not like any boy could hurt Kara, or overpower her, or even slip something into her drink. But Alex doesn’t want to find out how much control Kara has over her superstrength in a moment of panic. Best to be there herself, flexing her muscles from surfing and soccer and track and practicing what will later become her signature snarl.

 

And Kara likes doubling because being around Alex makes her feel safe. Alex is the only reason she has ever felt at home on this planet, and while she’s doing much better at pretending to be human, Alex is still the only one who can soothe her when she’s startled or subtly smooth over a moment when she’s said the wrong thing.

 

And when it gets to the kissing phase, Alex comforts her after she breaks the noses of two boys in a row.

 

So for the last couple years of high school, they double date as a rule. And Vicky and the other seniors commiserate with Alex (oh my god, I can’t believe you have to chaperone her again, you must be dying for some alone time with him! You’re a saint, really) and Alex just nods and hums a little.

 


 

But Alex is unprepared for college. She’s unprepared for college because suddenly she’s not at home, suddenly she can’t keep an eye on Kara and on Kara’s date.

 

And suddenly she doesn’t have a good reason for not rounding the bases with any guy she goes on dates with. She misses Kara – misses her humor and her smile and her way of relaxing Alex even if her date totally sucks – but she also really misses her easy out.

 

She puts it off for a while, and then decides to get it over with.


She sleeps with her boyfriend Rob in the spring of her first year. It’s fine.

 

He comes to visit Midvale for a week over summer break, and they go on a double date with Kara and this boy she met at the pool where they’re both working as lifeguards. His name is Kyle and he has blonde hair and nice pecs, and it’s very Sweet Valley High.

 

And it’s only when Alex sees her boyfriend Rob reflected in Kara’s eyes – sees how he isn’t generous with Kara, how he doesn’t go out of his way to make sure she likes him, how he’s constantly trying to pull Alex away from Kara to get some alone time, that Alex realizes she doesn’t actually like Rob.

 

Kyle, on the other hand, is completely sweet, trying very hard to impress the big sister Alex knows Kara goes on and on about, doing nothing more than holding Kara’s hand all night and buying her three different ice cream cones when she can’t decide what she wants.

 

It’s almost too Sweet Valley High.

 

Alex breaks up with Rob during the date.

 

Kara, in a show of incredible generosity that only Alex really understands, gives her one of her ice cream cones. Kyle sneaks away to buy Kara another one and doesn’t complain when Kara links arms with Alex instead of with him as they stroll down the street.

 

“He wasn’t good enough for you,” Kara tells her softly, around a mouthful of ice cream.

 

“I know,” Alex agrees. “Or, I mean, I guess I know now. It’s hard to tell, you know?”

 

Kara nods sagely.

 

“Kyle seems great though. You like him?”

 

And Kara just beams.

 

Alex excuses herself after she finishes her cone. Kara’s seventeen and Kyle has been nothing but sweet all night. They deserve some alone time.

 


 

Kara goes to National City University. Alex comes to visit halfway through Kara’s sophomore year – what would be Alex’s junior year if she were anyone else but is actually her last semester as an undergrad.

 

Kara’s dating a lacrosse player, and she insists on setting Alex up with one of his friends.

 

Kara’s boyfriend completely sucks. His friend is just as bad.

 

They end up having a long heart to heart talk that night, Kara in her little twin bed, Alex in a sleeping bag on the floor, the lights off and Kara’s roommate snoring away in her own little bed.

 

Kara’s only dating the lacrosse player to feel normal, she tells Alex. And boy, does Alex get that. She reminds Kara of Kyle, of other boys who will want to date her and who will treat her right. Who will respect her, who will take her needs seriously.

 

She’s beautiful and smart and lovely and kind and she can’t get pimples or get fat on this planet, and she could have her pick of any boy on this campus.

 

Kara breaks up with him while Alex is still visiting, and calls her not two weeks later to gush and squeal over this new boy who writes poetry for the school paper and has already written her four poems.

 

Alex thinks that might be too much of a pendulum swing, but she keeps her mouth shut.

 


 

Alex starts grad school and stops doing anything that resembles dating. She’s working too hard to date – she’ll have sex when she wants to, but it never does much for her. She’ll find a guy to buy her a drink or a meal when she wants to be reminded that she’s pretty, that she’s desirable. But it never does much else for her.

 

She doesn’t have time to put into anyone else.

 

And then her work starts to slip, and she can’t even put time into herself.

 

She’s spiraling, and she knows it. Kara keeps trying to set her up, to get her to go on double dates with her and whatever pretty boy she’s seeing and one of his pretty friends.

 

But Alex always says no.

 

“Please, Alex,” Kara says on the phone one night, and her voice is plaintive and worried, “we used to love double dating, remember? We haven’t done it in so long.”

 

“The last couple times we did it, one of us broke up like, on the date,” Alex reminds her.

 

And they’re on the phone but Alex can tell Kara’s flapping her hand dismissively. “Semantics, Alex.”

 

“Just because you work for a media company doesn’t mean you can just say ‘semantics’ anytime you disagree with me, you know. It’s really annoying.”

 

She can hear Kara’s pout. “Alexxxxx, please? For me?”

 

Alex sighs and tries to push down her hangover, and she says yes.

 

It turns out that the guy Kara’s dating, Glen, is actually quite nice. He’s a lawyer and they met when he sent a sticky bun over to her table at Noonan’s one morning. Alex gives him points already – he’s not an idiot.

 

His friend is Suresh, and he’s completely beautiful and he’s a sound engineer and builds his own equipment. He’s smart and funny and a complete gentleman, and he’s, after just two minutes, clearly completely smitten with Alex.

 

They have a really good time together, and Alex makes plans with him for later in the week. He’s going to rip apart one of his biggest machines to fix it up and he says she can help. She’s genuinely excited.

 

He goes in for a kiss at the end of the night – Kara and Glen are politely staring in another direction – and Alex’s heart falls.

 

She doesn’t want to kiss him.

 

She doesn’t want to kiss him, and what the fuck is wrong with her? He’s beautiful and smart and kind and passionate about his job and really nice to her sister and likes her. He’s literally the perfect guy for her. And she doesn’t want to kiss him.

 

She kisses him back to be nice.

 

And she doesn’t think he can tell that anything is wrong, but Kara can.

 

She kisses Glen goodbye, abruptly ending her own evening plans, to walk upstairs with Alex.

 

And Alex just cries.

 

What’s wrong with her?

 


 

Alex doesn’t go on another date for more than two years. She’s recruited by J’onn and joins the DEO and doesn’t have time for anything but work and training. She’s grateful, happily shucking off the expectation that a woman of her age – who looks like that – should be in a relationship, or at least should be looking for one.

 

She’s a top agent in a black-ops secret federal agency who kills aliens with her bare hands. She’s got other things to worry about.

 

She has to wine and dine Maxwell Lord for a mission, and Kara mocks her mercilessly after she gets back to the DEO. “You should have called me,” Kara teases, still in her supersuit, her booted feet propped up on the center console in the DEO’s control room. “We could have doubled!”

 

“I hate you,” Alex grumbles to her, still in her slinky black dress, her heels carelessly abandoned up on the console. But she doesn’t because Kara brought her pizza and all she had to eat tonight was snail eggs.

 

“Come on! It couldn’t have been that bad! He’s cute.”

 

Alex levels a look at her. “He’s an evil megalomaniac, Kara.”

 

Kara shrugs and takes a huge bite of pizza.

 

“The first thing he said to me was ‘where are you hiding your gun under that dress.’”

 

Kara spits out her pizza. “He! What! I—sorry, I just can’t believe he isn’t dead.”

 

Alex snorts. “Me neither.” She takes a bite of her own slice. “I mean, we pretty much were doubling anyway. All he talked about was you.”

 

Kara looks over, confused. “What?”

 

Alex sighs dramatically, deciding to have some fun tonight. “It was like high school all over again. I put on this nice slinky dress, spend all this time on my hair, and my douchebag date just wants to talk about his raging hardon for my pretty blonde superpowered sister.”

 

Kara throws a napkin at her face. “That’s disgusting.”

 

Alex laughs. “You’re telling me!” She takes another bite, then leans forward so she can talk a little softer. “But seriously, Kara, who would you have brought? James, who you work with have an enormous crush on but has a serious girlfriend? Or maybe Winn, his best friend, who is completely in love with you?”

 

Kara shifts uncomfortably, reaching up to adjust glasses that aren’t there. “It’s not like that,” she mumbles.

 

“Hey,” Alex says, reaching out a comforting hand. “I love you, you know that. But you’re in a weird place with boys right now, and we both know it. And that’s coming from someone whose first date in two years was a set-up for a covert military operation.”

 

And Kara just snickers.

 


 

Alex doesn’t get the chance to double date with Kara and James because that falls apart faster than anyone could have predicted. Alex spends hours talking with Kara about it, trying to figure out what made her sister just lose interest like that.

 

She never quite gets it.

 

And then Maggie shows up. And then Maggie shows up, and oh, it takes a while and it hurts like hell, but Alex starts to realize why none of her dates ever felt right. Why she always wanted to hang out with Kara instead of with them. Why she liked having a buffer around. Why she’d always been happy to find flaws in how they treated Kara so she could get around to dumping them.

 

Why she hadn’t liked being intimate with them.

 

And Maggie breaks her heart for the first time in her entire life, and Kara is there to hold her while she sobs.

 

And then Maggie comes over and kisses her senseless and Kara is there – a day later – to squeal and scream and jump up and down in happiness with her.

 

Alex needs a little time to be comfortable being out in front of her colleagues, so Kara never invites James or Winn to platonically double date, so she ends up spending less time with Alex than she’d like to.

 

Turns out that third-wheeling with Alex and a date who Alex is actually attracted to – one who Alex actually wants to be around, who Alex whispers soft little secrets to, who Alex can’t keep her hands off of, who Alex links arms and walks with – is way less fun for Kara than third-wheeling with Alex and a date she couldn’t give less of a shit about.

 

But Alex sees what’s happening, finally, and pulls her back in. And Kara starts inviting her new friend Lena Luthor to hang out with Alex and Maggie. And it isn’t a double date because Kara and Lena aren’t dating, but it’s so good.

 

It’s so good because it has so many shades of what was nice about it way back in high school. Cause Alex keeps an eye on Lena, never completely convinced of her motives, and keeps an eye on Kara just like in the old days. And Alex and Kara get to spend precious free time together, just like before. But now Alex also keeps an eye on her own date, on the beautiful woman who won’t have to pressure or cajole her to get around second base tonight, on the beautiful woman whose hand she wants to hold forever, on the beautiful woman who treats Kara with the same sweetness and gentle ribbing and genuine caring that she shows Alex.

 

It’s what always could have been.

 

And then Kara starts dating Mon-El, and they start doubling, and it’s awful. It’s awful. He’s awful. He treats her so badly, talking over her and making assumptions and not listening to her and disregarding everything she says she wants.

 

And Alex continues to double with them because she loves Kara and cares about Kara and it makes Kara happy to double.

 

But she and Maggie end most of those nights at the DEO firing range, where Alex can shoot really big guns and yell about him as loud as she wants.

 

It isn’t until after the Daxomite invasion, until after Mon-El leaves the planet, that Kara starts inviting Lena back to hang with Maggie and Alex. And at first Alex knows that it’s because Kara just doesn’t want to be alone right now, but Lena’s presence doesn’t taper off like Alex expects it to.

 

And Lena had proven during the invasion that she’s on the right side, so Alex fully relaxes around her. And Kara is fully relaxed around her, and it’s so good.

 

It’s so good.

 

And after Kara finally gets her head out of her ass and makes a move, and they become actual double dates, it’s even better.

 

It’s at the end of one those real double dates that Alex and Kara are standing outside a crowded ice cream shop, licking their cones happily while Lena and Maggie are finishing up inside.

 

Kara links her arm with Alex’s, and Alex leans in so that her head is resting against Kara’s.

 

“I love you, Alex,” Kara says softly.

 

“I love you too, sis.”

 

“I’m really happy,” Kara admits. “Me and Lena, and me and you? And you and Maggie? All of us, here together? It’s just…” Kara trails off, licking a drip from her cone. “It just feels like what we’ve been looking for since high school, you know?”

 

Alex nods against her head. She knows. She really, really knows. “I’m really happy too,” she says. “Although that may be an understatement.”

 

And when Maggie and Lena come out of the shop a few minutes later, they’re met with the sound of Kara’s hysterical giggles and Alex’s good natured moaning. Kara’s gesticulating wildly with her free hand, and Alex is saying no but everyone can tell she doesn’t mean it.

 

“Oh, Lena! Maggie! Good, get over here!” Kara chirps.

 

“Run,” Alex deadpans. “Save yourselves.”

 

Lena grins and walks over to Kara, slipping an arm around her waist. Maggie follows, taking Alex’s hand and planting a quick kiss on her ear.

 

“Run from what, babe?”

 

“Kara’s planning our double wedding.”

Chapter Text

She finds the first one when she’s at the DMV.

 

She’s been here for hours. She’s finished her book. She’s swiped an abandoned newspaper and solved half of the crossword before she gets stuck. She’s too proud to text Alex for help, so now she’s just opening and closing all the apps on her phone, aimlessly trying to pass the time without going ballistic about how slow this process is.

 

She opens her notes app, and about halfway down the screen, tucked between old grocery lists and weekend to-do lists and her list of books to read, she sees a note that starts with “Dear Mags.”

 

And she’d have remembered writing a note to herself. She scrunches up her face as she clicks on it.

 

Dear Mags,” it says, “I don’t know when you’re going to find this. You’re about to get on a plane to Texas for that alien policing conference.” Maggie’s eyes widen a little as her nose wrinkles in confusion. That was a couple months ago, just a few weeks after she and Alex had kissed for the first time.

 

And the only person who calls her Mags – the only person with access to her phone – is Alex.

 

Dread drops, hot and dense, into her gut. It can’t be a breakup note, right? Not a breakup note, not from months ago, not just tucked into her notes app? That would be insane, Maggie knows that, but her heart is both frozen up in her throat and roiling down in her gut as her eyes fly over the screen.

 

“I know we haven’t been together very long, but there’s something I want you to know. I’m not sure when is the right time to tell you, so I’m chickening out by writing it here. Just know, whenever you see this, that it was true when I wrote it and I know it’s true today when you’re reading it.”

 

Maggie holds her breath as her thumb moves, both too quickly and not nearly quickly enough, to scroll down the page.

 

“I love you.”

 

Maggie tries to release her air, but her breath stutters.

 

They haven’t said it yet.

 

She’s wanted to for a while, but she hasn’t had the guts to do it.

 

And fucking Alex Danvers had the guts months ago.

 

“Just wanted you to know. I love you, beautiful girl. Come back soon. I miss you already.”

 

And now Maggie’s crying in the DMV.

 

An older black woman next to her hands her a tissue. “I’m sure they’ll call your number soon, sugar,” she tells her.

 


 

She finds the next note in the middle of the grocery list Alex had typed on her phone last night, while Maggie was giving her a shoulder massage.

 

“Eggs

Milk

Sesame bagels

Amazing tortillas

Gross cheese

I love you

I wonder every day if your dimples are a gift from god

When you smile at me I feel like I can fly

You’re so amazing

Also this massage feels excellent

Frozen broccoli

Pizza dough

Baking powder

Chili powder”

 

She, trying to be a good snake person, spends the night five minutes creating the right lighting to send a picture of her dimples to Alex.

 

It turns out the frozen food aisle is the best for that, the light from the freezers dancing gently on her face.

 


 

She finds the next at least a month later. She’s at work, and a suspect just got released because she hadn’t been able to find enough evidence to arrest him. He’s rich and has a good lawyer, and she’s beyond frustrated.

 

She’s angrily swiping through her phone, and she opens her notes app just to be able to smash her thumbs on something.

 

It’s the first note, up at the top.

 

“Dear Mags, you look so beautiful and sweet when you sleep.”

 

Just the first line, and already, despite her horrible day, Maggie finds herself smiling. She leans back against the wall behind her as she keeps reading.

 

“You’re always beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But in the morning, this yellow light comes over you, and your hair is all mushed around on the pillow. And your skin is glowing and I just want to sit here and watch you breathe and hold you close to me forever.”

 

Maggie’s heart stutters. Forever. They haven’t said that yet, forever.

 

Will she ever be as brave as Alex?

 

“I love you, my sweet sleepy morning girl.”

 

Maggie closes out of the app (after reading the note about twelve more times) to make a reservation at her favorite little romantic Thai restaurant for Saturday night. And, after a moment, she makes a paintball reservation, followed by a couples massage, for earlier on Saturday.

 

Her girl deserves to feel this loved, too.

 


 

The next one she finds is just a line down underneath her frequent flier numbers.

 

“You’re incredibly sexy, Maggie Sawyer, and I’m not just saying that because I just watched you spit beer all over yourself tonight.”

 


 

Several weeks after a Julia Styles movie marathon night with Kara, Maggie finds one tucked inside her list of errands for the weekend.

 

“There’s a difference between like and love. Because I like my sketchers, but I LOVE my Prada backpack. (You are my Prada backpack).”

 

And, further down the list: “Oh my god, how did I never notice that Kat Stratford is a total lesbian?? I feel tricked!! #10ThingsI’mGayAboutYou.”

 

Maggie snorts in the middle of a staff meeting, and gets a serious reprimand from her captain.

 

That night, she uses all of her creativity to show Alex at least ten different ways to be gay.

 


 

Maggie keeps herself from looking in her notes app when she doesn’t need it. It would spoil the fun, the mystery, to see the notes as soon as Alex writes them.

 

So she trains herself not to look at that little icon unless she’s going to intentionally write herself something, or read one of her lists.

 

But every time she opens it, she gets a little flutter in her chest, just in case there’s something from Alex.

 

Last week at the grocery store, there wasn’t. Two weeks ago, when she was dropping off her dry cleaning, there wasn’t.

 

But today, after she jots down the license plate of a car that ran a stop sign, she finds one.

 

“Dear Mags, sometimes when I think about you, it feels like my heart is going to explode. Is that ever going to stop, or are you going to be slowly killing me like this forever, with how fucking unbelievably much I love you?”

 

There’s another note just below it, and it makes Maggie snort with laugher.

 

“If you weren’t so good looking, I wouldn’t be having this problem, Sawyer.”

 


 

She finds the next one at work, after she writes down the case file numbers she needs, and she fumbles her phone, nearly dropping it, because Alex has taken a new tone in this one.

 

Maggie can’t tell when it’s from, but she immediately plans to find out.

 

“Baby, you’re so fucking hot. I want to fuck you, right now, at this bar. On it, against it, I really don’t care. But the fucking, that’s like mandatory. You’re the hottest, sexiest thing I have ever seen. I fucking love your body. I’m drunk. You’re so fucking sexy. Also I love your personality and your brain and you’re a whole person and I like every bit of you and not in an objectifying way. But right now I’m drunk and I’d really really really like to fuck you.”

 

The tiny part of Maggie’s brain that isn’t on fire admires that Alex, even when drunk and horny, always types perfectly.

 


 

Maggie finds the next one a week after game night at Kara’s.

 

“I love you more than I love beating Kara at Monopoly,” it says. Maggie snickers.

 

“I love you more than I love my alien gun (but I’ll keep you posted if I’m successful making the semi-automatic version cause that would be insanely cool).” Maggie rolls her eyes. This nerd.

 

“I love you more than I love pizza and ice cream. COMBINED.” Maggie raises her eyebrows. That’s getting serious now.

 

“I love you more than I hate Mon-El.” Maggie barks out a laugh, and spares a moment to appreciate just how much love that is.

 

“I love you more than Brian loves gambling. I love you more than Winn loves hair gel. I love you more than James loves his muscles.” Maggie grins.

 

“I love you more than Kara loves food.” And Maggie opens her mouth to protest – even though she’s alone in the bathroom – but Alex already beat her to it. “I know! It seems impossible. But that’s love, babe. Google it.”

 


 

“I don’t understand how I got to be this lucky. I love you with every single part of me, with every single thing that I am. You’re the most compassionate and brave and strong and selfless person I’ve ever met. You’re the absolute best part of my life. I love you so much more than I ever thought possible. Every time I’m around you, it feels like my heart is singing. I love you, beautiful girl. I just love you so much.”

 

Maggie reads that one for what must be the hundredth time.

 

She’s in the hospital, sitting in a hard chair. She’s been here for days.

 

Alex is lying in the bed, prostrate and still on her back. She has a breathing tube in, so Maggie can barely see her face.

 

She came out of surgery two days ago, but she hasn’t woken up yet.

 

They don’t know if she’ll ever wake up.

 

Kara’s here too, flitting between the bench on the other side of Alex’s bed and the chair next to Maggie and updating everyone else who waits in cycles outside of the room.

 

Eliza sits in the armchair, reading through a stack of journals with the type of determined focus Maggie recognizes from her daughter. But Maggie isn’t fooled. This is the third time Eliza has methodically turned the pages of this same journal.

 

But Maggie can’t even pretend to work. All she can do is re-read this note, over and over, that she found tucked in the middle of a calculation of what her finances would look like if she and Alex formally moved in together.

 

“She loves writing those to you,” Kara says softly, sitting down in the chair next to Maggie’s, looking over at Maggie’s phone.

 

Maggie nods, swallowing hard. “I love finding them,” she says, and her voice is rough and gritty and cracking.

 

They both use the present tense, but Maggie hears the ghost of the past tense with every rattle of the breathing tube.

 

She tips to the side and lets her body fall into Kara’s.

 

It feels like her heart is screaming.

 


 

She finally wakes up. It takes eight days, but she finally wakes up.

 

They aren’t ready to take the breathing tube out yet, so she can’t talk, but she’s awake. Her eyes are open and she recognizes all of them, and squeezes their hands as tightly as she can.

 

Eliza fusses over her and Kara sobs and laughs and talks a mile a minute in her relief and Maggie just stands there, holding onto Alex’s hand as hard as she can.

 

After a few hours, when it’s just the two of them in the room, Alex makes a series of gestures like they’re playing charades. Pointing to Maggie, then holding a hand up to her own ear, then pointing to herself.

 

Maggie, brows furrowed, hands over her phone in confusion.

 

Alex takes it and tilts it away from Maggie, and types something quickly.

 

She hands Maggie back the phone with the screen turned off.

 

“Now, or later?” she asks Alex softly.

 

Alex taps the inside of her wrist, where her watch face would be if she were wearing it. Maggie nods. Now, then.

 

Her heart melts as she opens the phone and goes into her notes app. Her sweet girl, who has always been braver and stronger than she has, who jumped into this relationship with her whole self, who has been handing Maggie her heart every day for almost a year now. Who said I love you after just weeks, who leaves her little notes just because she can.

 

There, right at the top, is Alex’s first message to her in days and days and days.

 

“It was my jurisdiction,” it says.

 

Maggie looks up at her, jaw dropped. She can’t tell if she’s going to laugh or cry.

 

She ends up doing both. “I can’t believe,” she manages through her huffed breaths and the tears falling free, “after you nearly got yourself killed and had two major surgeries and were unconscious for eight days, this is what you have to say to me? A lie about an old case? Where’s the declaration of undying love, huh, Danvers?”

 

Alex’s eyes twinkle as she gestures for the phone back. Maggie hands it over, trying to pretend to look mad, but failing spectacularly.

 

God, this woman. Maggie loves her so much.

 

Alex doesn’t type for more than a few seconds.

 

She hands the phone back to Maggie, the notes app still open.

 

“Marry me,” it says.

 

Then, just below it: “Seriously. Marry me.”

 

“Please.”

 

 

Chapter Text

It’s been a while since she’s been in National City. Not since Supergirl showed up on the scene. Not since before Maggie was promoted to the science division, that’s for sure, because that was the last time she’d seen Maggie – when they’d celebrated at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico where the two of them had lain on a beach for a week drinking all of the rum on the entire island.

She’d had a hangover for what felt like a week after she’d come home, but Maggie was worth it. She’s always worth it.

She loves that little shit.

So Liz is excited, as she steps off the plane. She’s still wearing her suit because she came to the airport directly from a stockholder meeting, and her heels make a satisfyingly loud clicking sound on the smooth airport floor.

She hasn’t told Maggie she’s in town. She’s looking forward to just showing up at the precinct, looking all hot, and surprising the shit out of her. She’s here for work, but her first meeting isn’t until tomorrow morning and it’s just after noon now, so she has plenty of time to scare the crap out of her favorite lesbian.

Maggie’s a great detective, so it isn’t often Liz gets to genuinely surprise her best friend. She’s really looking forward to it.

She threads her way through slow-moving families and tourists gawking at the posters of Supergirl along the walls, making her way to the exit with a quick detour in the terminal bathroom to fluff up her long hair and reapply her lipstick and deodorant.

Maggie obviously doesn’t give a crap what Liz looks like, but Liz likes to make a good impression. Her wife likes to call her Narcissus, sometimes, but her wife also really likes it when she rolls up for a dinner reservation looking hot as hell, so Liz doesn’t think she can really complain about how much prep time that takes.

But as she walks past the baggage carousel and is thrown into a wall by the force of a concussive explosion, she faintly wishes that she hadn’t taken so much primping time. A minute quicker, and she’d have been out safely.

But now she’s huddled behind some debris with a group of other people, doing her best to calm them down – doing her best to calm herself down – and trying to figure out what the fuck is happening. She assumes terrorist attack, but then, as a huge blue creature floats down into the building from the brand new skylight in the roof, she realizes. It’s an alien terrorist attack.

That’s gotta be worse, right?

She shakes out her arms and legs, checking to make sure nothing was broken when she was tossed backwards. She looks down at her feet and curses, lightly. She’d always been the first to yell at women in movies, running from dinosaurs and aliens and volcanoes in high heels, and now look at her. Under alien siege in her most corporate fuck-me stilettos.

“Karma’s a bitch,” she mutters to herself as she ducks down, avoiding a blast that she hopes came from a gun but worries just came directly out of the alien’s body.

She’s lived in Metropolis long enough – and heard enough of Maggie’s stories – to be sure that a Super is probably coming the rescue, hopefully backed by a well-trained group of law enforcement. As the alien starts picking up chunks of airport and throwing them around, she hopes Supergirl lives up to the girl-power hype and shows quickly.

But Supergirl isn’t the first on the scene. A group of people, maybe a SWAT team, come pouring into what used to be the baggage claim building, and is now a pile of rubble with a baggage carousel – which is, somehow, still turning, and is, of course, completely empty of bags.

There are a lot of them, more than ten, and they’re wearing all black and thick vests and helmets and carrying big guns. They spread out, some of them engaging the alien and others moving to help evacuate people. They’re quick, silent, and deadly professional. Liz likes them already.

But their guns don’t seem to be doing much against the alien. The bullets don’t seem to be bouncing off it, like they do off the Super cousins, but they don’t seem to be bothering it either. From behind her fallen piece of ceiling, Liz desperately hopes they brought something a little more hardcore.

They did.

They brought this woman who drops down from the sky, repelling down from a helicopter. She’s wearing the same tactical vest but is sans helmet. Strapped across her chest and shoulder is what looks like the love child of an assault rifle and an anti-aircraft missile – it’s big and bulky and terrifying.

She shoots it three times, while still hanging from the rope, right down onto the crown of the alien’s head. The recoil from each shot makes her rope dramatically swing, but she somehow manages to connect with the very top of its head every time. Liz can’t help but be impressed.

She’s wearing sensible shoes.

The alien falls, approximating how a human might fall to their knees, but Liz can’t make out anything that looks at all like knees. The woman, still hanging twenty feet above the ground, tosses something down over him. It shimmers in the air, and it isn’t until it settles over the alien that Liz realizes it’s some sort of high-tech net. Liz can’t possibly imagine what it’s made of, but it seems to be anchoring the alien down to the floor.

The other SWAT members stop their (completely useless) barrage, advancing on the alien, who is starting to curl up and slow down under the weight of the net. They talk into their radios and Liz looks back up just in time to see the woman repelling all the way down to the ground. She lands lightly, removes her rope, and hands her gigantic weapon off to another agent. Now that she’s neither swinging nor shooting nor twenty feet in the air, Liz can tell that she’s gorgeous.

Supergirl does show up, then, floating in through the hole in the ceiling in an unfortunate echo of what the blue alien had done. She talks quickly with the woman from the rope, reaching out to clasp her shoulder quickly, and Liz’s spidey sense for women dating other women pings immediately.

Nice.

She can’t wait to ask Maggie if there are gay rumors about Supergirl. Liz knows they’ve met, and Maggie’s got one hell of a gaydar. Liz wonders briefly if having these thoughts in the middle of an alien terrorist attack makes her a sociopath, or just a great lesbian.

But thinking about Maggie makes her realize that Maggie will probably definitely be showing up to this alien-induced crime scene, a thought that instantly calms her. Liz stands up, brushing herself off, and miraculously finds her two bags, undamaged, not too far from where Supergirl and Helicopter Woman are still talking. She’s in the process of walking over to pick them up when Supergirl claps the woman on the shoulder again and turns away, grabbing the alien in a bear hug and taking off into the sky with him.

Okay, that’s cool.

Liz definitely hopes she’s playing for the Sapphic team.

Just as Liz is setting her bag back upright, she hears another SWAT agent walk over to the Helicopter woman. “Nicely done, Agent Danvers,” he says to her.

And, oh my god, Danvers?

Danvers?

As in Alex Danvers?

As in Maggie’s girlfriend, Alex Danvers?

As in Maggie’s federal agent girlfriend, who she met at a crime scene after the President was attacked by an alien, so it actually makes sense that she would be here, Alex Danvers?

“Holy shit!”

The Helicopter woman – Alex Danvers, her fucking best friend’s new badass girlfriend – turns around to look at her. “You okay?” she asks, her head cocked a little to the side, and Liz nearly squeals. She totally got that look from Maggie.

“Well, Alex Danvers,” Liz says, her grin both huge and sardonic, “we finally meet at last.”

And Liz had thought that was a cute way to introduce herself to the girl her best friend cannot fucking stop gushing about, but, as she finds herself slammed into another wall, with Alex’s hand around her throat and murder in Alex’s eyes, she wonders if she should have tried a different approach.

“How the hell do you know who I am,” Alex growls, low and deep and deadly.

Liz’s feet scramble for purchase on the ground. What’s the point of still wearing these ridiculous shoes if she can’t reach the ground right now, honestly.

“You’re Maggie Sawyer’s girlfriend,” she manages to choke out as her windpipe closes underneath Alex’s nearly superhuman grip.

And she’d hoped that would help, but Alex somehow tighten her grip.

“How do you know that name,” she demands. And, for the first time today, Liz wonders if she might actually die.

“I’m her best friend.” Her voice is more like a gasp now, and she reaches both hands up to try to pry Alex’s from her throat.

Alex seems to get the message that this interrogation is about to end before she’s ready, because she loosens her grip just enough for Liz to be able to suck in some air, the tips of her toes finally finding the floor.

But the interrogation certainly isn’t over. “Bullshit,” Alex snarls. “Her best friend lives in Metropolis.”

And Liz might be inches from dying but she just can’t help herself. “Aww,” she says, “she talks about me? That’s gay.”

And that seems to genuinely confuse Alex for a second. Her fingers twitch, letting Liz take another breath.

And then, like a fucking vision, Liz hears one of her favorite sounds in the world.

“Danvers?” Maggie’s voice is a little high, a little worried, and even though the girl in question is currently choking her – and not in the fun way – Liz can’t help but be happy at the way Maggie really cares about her new girl. At the way she’s willing to be vulnerable with her. It’s a new look for Maggie, and Liz is thrilled.

Or, will be thrilled, once she can breathe.

“Danvers?” Maggie’s voice is higher now, more afraid.

Liz wants to yell something to her, to reassure the tremble in her voice, but Alex beats her to it. “Sawyer,” she calls, never taking her eyes off Liz. “Here.”

Maggie strides up, and Liz has rarely gotten to see her at work. She looks great, in her favorite black jeans (if she’s not mistaken, the pair Liz had bought and sent to her for her last birthday) and a white button-up, her badge bold and shining on her belt. Her hair is back in a ponytail, and she only has eyes for Alex.

Liz would be offended if she weren’t so happy for her girl.

“Danvers, you oka—what are you doing?”

“Interrogating,” Alex says, and it’s only then that Maggie actually looks at Liz.

And Liz, still pinned against the wall, with Alex’s hand still tight around her throat, grins at her. “Nice girlfriend you got here, Margaret.”

She’s only a few steps away, but Maggie somehow runs forward. “Liz?” She bats at Alex’s hand and Liz sort of can’t believe it when Alex immediately releases her throat.

Looks like that hearteyes thing might just go both ways.

But then Maggie’s in her arms, squeezing her as tightly as she can, and Liz lets her fear and stress melt away, just for a second. Maggie’s always had that effect on her. Maggie always amps her up, challenges her, pushes her – but also makes her feel incredibly safe.

Maggie’s the best friend she’s ever had.

Maggie pulls back to look at her. “You okay?”

Liz nods, swallowing a little as an experiment. She’s definitely going to be bruised, but everything feels like it’s still in the right place and the right number of pieces. “It would take more than an alien and a vengeful girlfriend to get the best of me, Sawyer, and you know it.”

And Maggie grins at her, and it’s the first time Liz has seen those fucking dimples in more than a year (facetime just does not do them justice) and, god, Liz has missed her.

“What are you doing here?”

“Came for work. Thought I’d surprise my favorite asshole. Didn’t quite work out like I’d hoped.” Liz looks over at Alex, who is looking far more sheepish than Liz would have expected from someone who just jumped out of a helicopter, shot an anti-aircraft missile at an alien, joked with Supergirl, and then nearly asphyxiated her with one hand.

Maggie looks over at Alex too, her eyebrows knitting together. She still has a hand on Liz’s arm. “Uh, babe, care to share why exactly you were, uh, interrogating my best friend?”

She doesn’t use air quotes, but Liz can hear them anyway. She just barely swallows down her snicker. Maggie’s such a sarcastic little piece of shit, and she loves her so much.

But Alex doesn’t back down. She just shrugs one shoulder a little. “She knew my name,” she says simply. “And yours.” And Liz melts a little at how that makes Maggie melt a little. Alex liiiiikes her. “It was credible that she was involved in the attack.”

Maggie nods at her, like that makes sense. And Liz isn’t sure in what universe it’s a crime to know someone’s name, but she figures she’ll ask Maggie about it later.

“Well, seems like you both already figured this out, but, uh, Alex, meet my best friend Elizabeth Martinez. Liz, Alex Danvers. My girlfriend.”

And Liz is watching Alex, so she doesn’t miss how Alex’s mouth twitches into a soft smile and her eyes get all tender when Maggie says “girlfriend.”

And Liz had been worried about Maggie with a late-blooming baby gay, with yet another woman who’d want to keep her in the closet or who would be ashamed of her or who wouldn’t realize how good she had it. But Alex is clearly hard as nails and is still wearing her bulky tactical vest and she just jumped out of a helicopter without a helmet, and she also just fucking melted at being called Maggie’s girlfriend, out in public, at work.

And there are a lot more tests to get through before Liz gives her official stamp of approval (and there is an actual, physical stamp in her bag for just this purpose), but Alex just passed the first with flying colors.

Alex snaps out of it first and her face closes back to a blank slate. Not the aggressive snarl she’d had before, but definitely not what Liz is rapidly coming to realize is her soft-little-Maggie face. “Nice to meet you,” she says, holding out a hand. “Sorry about earlier.”

Liz definitely hadn’t expected an apology.

She likes this girl.

Liz takes her hand and shakes it, using her firmest future-CEO grip. “No problem,” she says. “Just glad to see you have my girl’s back.”

And Alex nods, fast and precise, like she’s accepting an order from a superior officer. “Always,” she says, and Liz pretends she doesn’t see Alex’s blush.

“Oookay,” Maggie says, clearly nervous to give Liz any kind of sustained contact with Alex, especially when Alex is saying nice things about her. “Danvers, gimme a couple minutes to get Liz safely out of here, and then we can work the scene together?”

But Alex shakes her head. “Sorry, detective,” she says, her voice professional now. “This is my crime scene. NCPD’s offer of help is appreciated but unnecessary.”

Liz raises her eyebrows. She’s not a cop but she’s known Maggie for over ten years, and those are fighting words if she’s ever heard them.

But Maggie’s got a look on her face – she’s not smiling but her dimples are showing and her eyes are twinkling, and oh, okay, this must be what flirting looks like when you’re dating Helicopter woman.

“The airport is within my jurisdiction,” Maggie says smugly, “as you well know.”

Alex takes a step closer, and she’s still looking professional, but Liz notices that her eyes are dancing over Maggie’s face in a way that is clearly anything but. When she speaks, her voice is pitched a little lower than before. “Your jurisdiction ends where I say it does.”

And Liz has absolutely no interest in sleeping with Alex, but she can’t help but be a little turned on. Damn, girl.

But Maggie’s always been made of sterner stuff than Liz. She doesn’t seem phased at all. She just takes one step in and turns it on too, dropping her own voice and giving Alex the look that brought the entire women’s rugby team to their knees their junior year. “That’s not what you were screaming last night.” She’s overtly looking Alex up and down and her voice is practically purring, and Liz honestly wonders if they’re going to fuck each other right here in this airport, in front of everyone.

But, before they can start ripping clothes off, a loud squeal comes from behind them. “Ewww,” Supergirl whines from across the ruins of baggage claim, her hands clapped over her ears. “Maggieeeeeeee, ewwwww.”

The spell broken, Maggie and Alex turn to look over at Supergirl, both laughing.

“Nice to see you too, Supergirl,” Maggie calls over to her.

“Stop talking about your extra-curricular activities with Alex, and it’ll be nice to see you too,” Supergirl calls back, her hands still clamped over her ears, her eyes now screwed shut too.

“Have you ever considered just not listening?” Alex calls over, and, okay, Liz obviously didn’t need to worry about Alex wanting to keep them in the closet, because now they’re literally yelling across a crime scene about how they have sex to one of the most famous people in the world.

Another A+ for Alex Danvers.

“Seriously, though, Al,” Maggie says, turning back to Alex, but Alex holds up a hand to stop her.

“No way, Sawyer. Get out of here. We’re taking this case. We already have the alien in containment.”

And Maggie looks like she might be getting genuinely upset. “What the hell, Danvers?”

But then Alex grins at her. “You’re an idiot, Sawyer,” she says lightly, and she must be really good in bed because instead of hitting her Maggie just softens a little bit. “Do you really want to work this scene until the middle of the night, or do you want to leave it to me and get to enjoy the rest of your day with your best friend who you will not shut up about missing and who came all the way here from Metropolis to surprise you?”

Maggie’s mouth hangs open for a second before she closes it and gives Alex the biggest hearteyes Liz has ever seen from her. And, like, Liz had been pretty sure from the first time they’d texted about Alex that she was just Maggie’s type, but, this? Throwing around jurisdictional weight mixed with sexual insinuation and a couple of light insults, just to give Maggie a day off to spend with her friend?

That’s like gold medal behavior. This girl was made for Maggie Sawyer.

“Now that you mention it,” Maggie says, clearly trying to look professional again but ruining it by just beaming, “it does seem like you’re better equipped for this case.”

Alex grins back at her. “I’ll be sure to send you our report.”

“See that you do,” Maggie murmurs, but she’s already closing the distance to kiss her.

And Liz can’t help herself. She’s so happy. “Gayyyyyy.”

 


 

Maggie buys her lunch to make up for the fact that an alien almost killed her and then her own girlfriend nearly choked her to death. They drop off Liz’s stuff at Maggie’s apartment and Liz finally changes out of her – now very dirty – suit and heels. Maggie mocks her mercilessly for changing into another pair of heels, but whatever. She mocks Maggie back for just being jealous that she can’t wear proper heels without falling over, and Liz is just so happy to see her.

They take a long walk on the beach, and they both swear never to let it go more than a year without seeing each other anymore. That’s dumb. Maggie fills Liz in about work and more about Alex and about the fucked up phone call she got from her brother last week that Liz only heard about through a couple of angry text messages. Liz updates Maggie about her shitty boss and how her wife is dealing with the hormone injections for their first round of IVF coming up.

And it’s not like Liz is nervous she’ll say no or anything, but she still feels a huge rush of relief when Maggie hugs her as tightly as she can and cries a little when she accepts Liz’s offer of godmother for their future baby.

And it’s not like Liz is surprised or anything, but she cries a little too when Maggie says, her voice small but fierce, “I’m gonna teach that kid to drink and ride a motorcycle and I’m gonna just love the fuck out of them and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

And they don’t have to talk about it, because they both know it, but Maggie’s godmother was the aunt who had reluctantly taken her in after her parents had kicked her out, and that it’s the kind of responsibility Maggie takes so seriously. They both know Liz would never kick her own kid out, but they both know that Maggie thinks of being an alternate parent with as much seriousness and gravity as she thinks of being a full-time parent. They both know that Maggie would never have expected, before Liz, that anyone would love and trust her enough with their kid.

They both know this is infinitely more serious and more intense for Maggie than when Liz had asked her to be her maid of honor, than when Maggie had helped Liz’s wife pick out the perfect ring, than when Liz had picked up the pieces after Maggie’s parents had tracked her down after college to try to convert her back to heterosexuality, than when Maggie had ridden in like an avenging angel when Liz was fired from her first job for not sleeping with her boss.

They both know she’ll be the best godmother ever.

 


 

After a long afternoon of food and feelings and catching up, when they’re just sitting on the sand, Maggie shyly invites her to drinks with Alex’s friends. “We totally don’t have to go,” she says, toying with her jacket in a way Liz rarely sees anymore, “but I know you didn’t exactly get the best impression of Alex this morning, and it’s like a pretty low key thing…”

Liz cuts her off. This is too cute, but she feels bad mocking Maggie when she’s this soft and vulnerable. And there’s a lot of mocking she needs to do about this morning. “Um, pretty sure the impression I got of her this morning was ‘hooooooly fuuuuuuuuck.’”

Maggie laughs at that, just like Liz had hoped.

“Seriously, dude, she jumped out of a helicopter, shot that blue dude, then, yeah, okay, she did choke me out without even establishing a safe word – which, like, I thought you were supposed to be teaching her about good sex practices? – but she did it cause she was all hearteyes about you and defending your honor and shit. Plus, she’s like, really hot.”

And Maggie blushes and dimples and she’s just so infatuated, it’s adorable.

“And then she made sure you had the day off to hang out with me? And told you that by insulting you? Amazing. Amazing. Honestly, you’re lucky I’m already taken or I’d be lining up to get at her.”

Maggie shoves her. “Asshole.”

Liz nods. “Obviously. But she liiiiikes you, Maggie Sawyer. She’s fucking all about you.”

“Shut up.”

Oh, this is fun. “She liiiiiiikes you. She wants to make out with you at crime scenes. She told Supergirl to fuck off so she could flirt with you. She liiiiiiiiikes you, girl.”

“Nevermind,” Maggie mumbles. “You aren’t allowed to hang out with her anymore.” But she’s blushing and grinning and she’s happy – genuinely, honestly, fully happy – talking about a girl, and Liz hasn’t seen her like this since…ever.

“Hey,” Liz says, and Maggie must hear the change in her tone, the way she’s just snapped into serious, cause she looks over at her, wrinkling up her forehead. “She’s good to you, right? Cause I liked her and everything, but I can tell how deep you are.”

Maggie starts to interrupt her, but Liz holds up a hand. “No, just let me say this.” Maggie nods. “You and I both know that you don’t exactly have the best track record at picking girls who treat you right. And I haven’t seen you this head over heels for someone, ever. Not even Emily, not even at the beginning.” Maggie sucks in a little breath, but doesn’t say anything. “So I gotta ask, dude, completely seriously. Is she good enough for you? Is she good to you?”

Maggie lets out a little puff of air. “Yeah,” she says, and she suddenly looks so small, and Liz remembers the girl she first met, her third week of college, all boney elbows and long hair and emotional walls that made the Great Wall of China look like legos. “Yeah, Liz. She’s…” Maggie lets out another breath, and Liz just waits.

“I told her about my parents.”

And Liz completely freezes, because Maggie hasn’t told a girl about her parents since Emily. Since Emily had thrown that in her face after Maggie had cheated.

“And she took it really seriously – she doesn’t like bring it up a lot and stuff, but I can tell that she thinks about it and knows how much it matters to me. And she’s never made me feel like less because of it, or like I shouldn’t still be letting it bother me.”

Liz reaches over and takes Maggie’s hand, just for a second. It’s such a low bar, but so many of the girls in Maggie’s life have been just belly-dragging through the mud, nowhere near treating her anything close to well.

“And then, remember I texted you that we ran into Emily?” Liz nods. Maggie swallows in that way that means that she’s ashamed of herself. “I lied to her. To Alex. A--about Emily, after we saw her. I told her that Emily dumped me, but I didn’t tell her that it was because I’d cheated on her.”

Liz is quiet, letting Maggie take all the time she needs to find the words, just listening to the crash of the waves on the beach. That was a fucked up thing to do, but Liz knows Maggie better than Maggie knows herself. She knows exactly why she did it.

“And I didn’t know but she went to go see Emily, to stick up for me, to tell Emily that she owed me better because I’d dedicated so much of my life to her. Not, like, to say she hated her or was jealous. But to say that I had loved Emily and it wasn’t fair for Emily to treat me like shit.”

That might be the most mature thing Liz has ever heard of. And from a baby gay, no less.

“And Emily told her, that I’d cheated. And Alex…she didn’t yell at me or blame me or lecture me or test me or anything. She just told me to come over, and she poured me a drink, and told me what had happened with Emily and she told me I could trust her.”

Liz can’t help how much her face reacts. If she’d found out, after months of dating, that her wife had cheated on a past partner, and had lied about it, she definitely wouldn’t have reacted like that. Not by a long shot.

“I know,” Maggie says, clearly reading her correctly. “She said that she’s thought a lot about what my parents did, and how much it hurt me. She said that she knows I don’t trust people because of that. And then – god, Liz – and then she said that she didn’t care that I cheated, she cared that I hadn’t trusted her enough to tell her the truth.” Maggie pauses, and Liz lets that sink in.

“And like, dude, she didn’t say ‘I was upset that you lied,’ she said ‘I was upset you didn’t trust me enough.’ And that was just, like, insane, you know? That after all that, what she asked me to do was trust her to care about me.”

Okay, that’s the most mature thing she’s ever heard. “Damn,” Liz murmurs.

“Yeah,” Maggie says, looking out at the ocean. “Yeah. She’s just…she’s so incredibly good to me. And I’ve…I’ve been trying, you know, to let her in, and to trust her to care about me, like she asked. It’s hard, but I’m trying. I’ve never – I’ve never felt like I could do that, with someone before, you know?”

Liz nods, because yes. She knows.

“And she’s just…she’s so good to me. And she just completely trusts me – even though she knows about what I did to Emily – and all she wants is for me to trust her with myself and my feelings and my bullshit. She just…her default state is just to be so good to me, so giving, to give me all of herself. She’s – she’s never played the game of making me wait for her text me back, or whatever. When she…” Maggie shakes her head a little bit, like it’s ridiculous, but also like she can’t believe it. “When she wants to see me, she just tells me that she wants to see me, but she’s cool if I’m too tired or busy or working to see her. She doesn’t play that game, you know? She doesn’t test me.”

Liz can’t help herself. “Are we talking about the same girl, here? Cause it seems to me like her default state is shooting guns and choking nice innocent women.”

Maggie grins at her, just like Liz had hoped she would. “Okay, you’re a lot of things, Liz, but innocent isn’t one of them.”

Liz shoves her, as expected, and rolls her eyes, as expected.

“But yeah, I mean, that’s part of what’s so crazy about it. The first time I ever got a drink with her, she nearly ripped this guy’s thumb off to get information out of him. Like, she’s so hard, in so many ways. But with me? About this? She’s just so…I don’t know. Gentle, I guess. Like, giving.”

“In bed!” Liz adds, totally unable to stop herself.

And she expects Maggie to shove her again, to say shut up Elizabeth or wouldn’t you like to know, but Maggie just flushes.

“Ohhhh, girl, spill.”

“Absolutely not.”

“Um, don’t even play that demure shit. You know literally everything about my sex life.”

“Yeah, and I haven’t been able to look Abby in the eye since your second anniversary.”

Liz snickers. God, that was a great night.

“Stop it,” Maggie warns, holding up a hand right in Liz’s face. She knows that look too well. “Can you just stop fantasizing about your wife for one fucking minute.”

“Well I wouldn’t have to fantasize about Abby if you’d tell me about Alex!”

“You realize that isn’t incentive, right?”

But Liz just rolls her eyes. “Spill, you useless piece of shit.”

“Okay, one story, and then no more.”

Liz nods in agreement, and both of them know it’s a lie. Liz will manage to wheedle just about everything out of Maggie eventually.

“So, apparently she and her family are like obsessed with Valentine’s Day?”

“That’s some white people shit.”

Maggie grins at her. “Yeah, no kidding. But so, you know, she hasn’t really been in serious relationships much, and not for a long time. So she was like, super jazzed about finally not being single and doing like, cheesy couples shit.”

“Uh oh.”

“Yup.”

“Cause not only do you hate cheesy couples shit on a regular day, but on Fuck Cupid day? That’s a recipe for a whole lotta nope.”

“Exactly. So I’d told her I didn’t like Valentine’s Day, but I hadn’t told her why, you know.”

Liz nods. She knows. She remembers their first Valentine’s Day, freshman year of college. Maggie had gotten blackout drunk and had thrown up all over campus and then had locked herself in Liz’s bathroom and spent the rest of the night crying in the fetal position.

It isn’t one of Liz’s happiest memories.

“But so I got home, and she had tried to put together a cheesy couples thing, but, like, just for me? So she had bought scotch and tiramisu and then popped out of her bathroom in this incredible fucking lingerie.”

“Get it, girl.”

“But I freaked out, of course, because I ruin things, so I yelled at her and left. And then it was fine, I fixed it later, but, like, her idea for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with me was to give me my favorite food and drink, and then fuck me wearing this amazing shit. Which, like, um, okay, yes.”

Liz decides to mess with Maggie, just a little. It’s been too long. She closes her eyes and sighs dramatically. “I bet your girl looks reeeeeeal good in lingerie.”

Maggie slaps her on the leg. “Stop picturing it.”

But Liz isn’t done. “Picturing what, Sawyer?”

“Shut up,” Maggie says, but Liz can hear that she’s grinning.

“Wait,” Liz says, opening her eyes again. “So she was in lingerie for you, ready to fuck, and you yelled at her and left instead?” Maggie nods, rolling her eyes at herself. “You’re the worst lesbian ever,” Liz tells her.

Maggie nods, fully in agreement. “She might be the best one, though.”

Liz knits her eyebrows for a second before she gets it. “Oh shit, even after all that, you got her to put it back on for you?”

And Maggie flushes again, and nods again, but Liz can tell there’s something else behind it.

“Spill,” she demands.

“Uh, well,” Maggie draws it out, and Liz knows she’s doing it just for dramatic effect. “Let’s just say…she’s got some moves.”

And Liz can’t help but cackle. “What, a lap dance?” And Maggie nods with this glint in her eye, and Liz burst out laughing. “Really? That girl I just met, who fucking jumped out of a helicopter?”

Maggie can’t help but nod again, proud as hell.

Liz holds out a fist for Maggie to bump. “Respect, girl. Mad respect.”

Maggie laughs a little, but she bumps back.

“You gotta lock that shit down, dude. That’s a once in a lifetime kind of girl you got here.”

And she expects Maggie to push her over into the sand, or to freak out, or to change the subject.

But instead Maggie just grins at her, full dimple. “Yeah,” she says. “She is.”

And Liz expects that to be it, but Maggie says one more thing, and it makes Liz realize, for maybe the first time, that she’s going to have to tell Alex about what kinds of rings Maggie likes.

“I’ve never…” Maggie swallows, and Liz can tell this is the last deep thing she’ll say today. “I’ve never felt like this with someone before. I’ve never felt so safe with anyone, except for you, ever.”

And Liz can’t help her grin. “Put those hearteyes away, Margaret. You’re embarrassing yourself.” But she puts her arm around Maggie anyway and Maggie leans into her, and Liz is so happy that she’s here.

 


  

They go to the bar to meet up with Alex and her sister and her friends.

And Liz, fresh off her conversation with Maggie, is ready to test the shit out of Alex. Yes, she heard Maggie say she’s never been this happy, and yes, everything Maggie said on the beach makes her feel more confident. But there is no part of Liz that will leave National City without putting Alex to the test.

Her girl deserves the fucking world, and Liz is the only one there to make sure she gets it.

Of course, just as Maggie and Liz are getting out of Maggie’s car, Alex pulls up on her Ducati, looking hot as all hell in a leather jacket. She takes off her helmet and shakes out her hair and it isn’t mussed at all, and she grins and winks at Maggie, and yes, okay, Liz gets it, she’s good looking.

They all go inside together, after Maggie reaches out to kiss Alex’s cheek hello and Alex just absolutely melts into her.

Maggie introduces Liz to Winn and James while Alex grabs them all a round of beer. Alex is…interesting, here at the bar. With Winn and James she’s clearly friendly but not terribly vulnerable with them, especially with Winn. She’s mostly sarcasm and snark with them, and twice she slaps Winn upside the head. She spends most of her first beer quiet, only speaking to toss in a few insults. It seems like it’s all meant with affection and good fun, but she’s not what Liz would consider tender or kind or generous with them.

It makes Liz worry. Maggie doesn’t need to be with another cold-hearted bitch.

She’s not mean or sarcastic to Liz, like she is to the boys, but she certainly isn’t open. Liz can’t tell if she’s guarded or scared or nervous or just kind of unfriendly.

And she had been snarky but kind and loving to Maggie at the airport, and Liz isn’t sure which is the real Alex.

But then two more people come in. One Liz recognizes immediately as Lena Luthor. They work in some similar circles, and while Liz hasn’t met her in person, they’ve been on a couple of big conference calls together. Lena’s wearing a blue dress that’s probably the most casual thing in her wardrobe but is infinitely dressier than what anyone else is wearing, her hair up in a bun.

The other person is blonde. She comes over and immediately gives Alex a hug which – Liz is a little surprised to see – Alex gives back, just as tightly, with a deeply affectionate look on her face.

“That’s Alex’s sister, Kara,” Maggie tells Liz.

And Kara turns around to say hi, and oh, okay.

So Alex’s sister is Supergirl.

That’s…cool.

 


  

Liz keeps watching Alex. Now that her sister is here – her really, really super sister – Liz has more data to put together. When Alex is talking one-on-one with her sister or with Maggie, she’s soft and sweet and kind. She still mocks them, or is sarcastic, or rolls her eyes, but it’s all done with great tenderness and the clear knowledge that she’d do anything for either of them.

She treats Lena Luthor much like she treats Liz. Not particularly unfriendly, exactly, but certainly not warm or welcoming. With both of them she just seems…removed. And Liz doesn’t know if it’s nerves or maybe the burden of pretending her sibling isn’t from outer space, or what, but it makes her a little uncomfortable.

But as they get into their second round, and especially when they’re in their third, Alex seems to loosen up a little. Not just physically – although she’s leaning more into Kara and Maggie’s bodies, and she spends a good five minutes with her hand buried in Maggie’s hair, right at the nape of her neck, and Liz can tell Maggie is fucking purring – but emotionally too. She actually leans over Maggie and asks Liz a couple questions about Metropolis – which, of course, leads into a hilarious few moments where Kara asks her questions about living in the same city as Superman, and Kara’s pretending she isn’t Supergirl and Liz is pretending she doesn’t know, and it’s all quite wonderful.

Then Lena brings up a problem she’s having at work, and Winn tries to solve it, but after a few fruitless moments Alex scoffs, grabs a napkin, and starts drawing something that Liz vaguely remembers from Maggie’s organic chemistry class sophomore year. And Alex is ribbing both of them, but she’s grinning and Maggie calls her a nerd and Alex leans over and kisses her cheek in front of everyone, and Liz starts to feel better.

Maybe she’s just not good with strangers.

So Liz decides to give her the benefit of the doubt, and she extends an olive branch.

“Hey, Alex. You up for a game of pool?”

Heads swivel, and Liz wonders what she just got herself into.

There’s clearly a moment where Alex and Maggie are communicating with their eyes, and Liz just rolls hers. “Relax, Sawyer, I’ll leave your girlfriend in one fuckable piece for you.”

It’s Lena who lets out one loud burst of laughter, and it’s Kara who nearly chokes to death on her drink, while James and Winn are both gaping and gasping and giggling.

Alex has turned a truly remarkable shade of crimson.

Maggie is, of course, the only one unaffected.

Liz really is an acquired taste.

“You’d better,” is all Maggie says.

And Alex is still pink in the face but she stands anyway. “I’ll grab another round,” she offers.

And they’ve got a way to go, but Liz figures that’s an excellent start.

 


 

Alex is quite good at pool.

No – not to make a pool joke, but – scratch that, Alex is excellent at pool.

Liz is good, but Alex is wiping the table with her.

And Liz has an inkling, though of course she can’t be sure, that Alex is going a little easy on her. Normally that would piss her off, but she’s sure it’s just because Alex wants to be on her good side – because Alex cares enough about Maggie to want to make a good impression on her – so she finds it flattering.

Liz can see Maggie, over at the table with the others, shooting them concerned looks about once every five seconds. But James keeps leaning over to talk with her, pulling her back into the conversation. And Kara plays with her fingers sometimes, and Winn makes her laugh, and when she stands up to go to the bathroom Lena squeezes her shoulder for a long moment.

Alex gave her girl these friends. This family. These people who know exactly what’s happening over at this table, and are showing Maggie love because of it.

And that is certainly another point in Alex’s favor.

And the game helps; it loosens things between the two of them. Alex talks more easily over this green felt table than she had over the round wooden table just a few feet away. She shares funny stories about Maggie and gives Liz her own version of how they’d met and tells her about how she had spilled an entire glass of wine on herself during their first date.

And Liz tells her some of the tamer college stories, and Alex laughs in all the right places and shoots hearteyes over to Maggie in all the right places, and demands the less tame ones, and Liz can’t help but like her.

“I’m really glad you’re here,” Alex says, when she has just three balls left out on the table, and Liz, unfortunately, has at least double that number left to sink. “She’s really missed you.”

And this is a test, of course, so Liz goes ahead and says it. “I’m glad to hear that from you. Some people in your position would be jealous.”

Alex cocks her head at that, turning to look at Liz with pure confusion in her eyes. “Jealous? Why? Because she spent the day with you?” She’s already shaking her head. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Well, yeah, the time’s a factor. But, no, I meant, because we’re both lesbians, and we’re so close, and I was assuming I’d be crashing in her bed tonight.”

Alex’s forehead furrows even more. “That…” Her voice turns into a scoff. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Liz is a little dumbfounded, and Alex clearly sees that in her face, because she almost trips over herself to explain. “No, not that…no. I just mean, the idea of being jealous of you, that way, is stupid.”

“I’m not sure if I should be offended or pleased,” Liz muses.

“Fuck, sorry. No. I meant…” Alex lets out a puff of air, and Liz hasn’t seen her flustered before, and she quickly finds that she likes it. “I mean that if I were jealous of you like that, it would mean that I was worried that Maggie was going to cheat on me, with you. And I’m not worried she’s going to cheat on me, period. And I’m certainly not worried she’s going to cheat with you.” Alex shakes her head, like it’s preposterous. “You’re her best friend. You’re more her sibling than her actual brothers are. You’re like, her Kara. Also, you’re married.”

And Liz just coos a little to herself, because Maggie must really talk about her a lot.

“So the only reason I’d be worried she’d sleep with you is if I thought you had some magical power over her, some magical ability to overcome her entire brain with your, like, lesbian-wooing demon powers.” Alex raises one elegant eyebrow at Liz, and Liz can tell she’s transitioned to enjoying this. “And, I don’t know for sure, but that just seems like the kind of thing she’d have mentioned.”

Liz can’t help it. She snorts with laughter. Actually out loud snorts, and Alex laughs with her.

Liz leans on her cue as she struggles to get her breath back. “Lesbian-wooing demon,” she gasps. “Put that on my tombstone.”

Alex nods along. “Deal,” she says. “Deal.”

“You know,” Liz says as her breath comes back, still leaning on her cue, “there have been a lot of girls that haven’t felt that way. Girls who have been threatened by our friendship.”

But Alex just shrugs one shoulder. “People are idiots,” she is all she says.

But, after a beat, she looks back over at Liz, intently. “My sister, Kara. She’s adopted. She came to live with us when I was fourteen. She came into my life, alone, lost, orphaned, completely adrift and, just, terrified. And she’s become the most important person in my life, and I’d do anything to protect her. I’d die for her in a heartbeat. I didn’t have to love her like a sister, but I do.” And Liz wonders, just for a second, what it must have been like to have an orphaned alien show up on your doorstep when you were a teenager. “And I don’t know for sure, but I think maybe you and I have that in common. That you met Maggie when she was like Kara, orphaned and alone and terrified. And you didn’t have to love her like a sister, but you did.”

And it’s all Liz can do to nod.

And Alex nods crisply back at her, and suddenly Liz feels like she’s talking to the woman from baggage claim, the woman who jumped out of a helicopter with an anti-aircraft missile attached to her chest.

“I’m not jealous of your relationship with her,” Alex says simply, and Liz can tell this is the end of this particular conversation. “I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful that you were there, way back then, to love her. To show her what love felt like.”

 


 

Liz is almost completely sold on Alex, but that feeling doesn’t mean that she’s happy that Alex is kicking her ass at pool.

She decides to call in the big guns, even though she knows it’s a hail mary with a very low chance of success.

“Margaret! Get over here!”

Maggie sighs as she stands up. “You have to stop calling me that in public,” she says wearily, and everyone can tell this is battle she lost long ago. “It isn’t even my name.”

She walks up to the table and surveys it, standing right next to Liz. “You’re stripes?” She asks. Liz nods sadly. “You’re losing,” Maggie says, like Liz hasn’t noticed.

Liz snorts again. “That’s why you’re here, stud.”

“Oh, you don’t want her on your team,” Alex says from behind them, but Liz has been around her long enough at this point to hear the affection in her voice. “She’s much worse than you are.”

“First of all,” Maggie says, turning to look at Alex, holding up one finger, “rude. And second of all, uh…” She holds up a second finger, but pauses. When she continues, her tone is upbeat and firm, but what she says is, “nevermind about the second thing!”

Alex laughs – throws her head back and laughs, and Liz takes the opportunity to lean in and whisper her plan to Maggie.

She doesn’t expect Maggie to agree to it – when she whispers, “I need you use your feminine wiles to distract her,” she expects Maggie to mock her for saying feminine wiles – which Maggie promptly does – but she doesn’t expect for Maggie to give her a truly evil grin and a salute.

Well, this should be interesting.

But what Liz really isn’t expecting is for it to actually work.

Alex jumped out of helicopter today and shot an alien in the head with perfect aim while swinging from a rope, and Liz has heard the stories about her triumphing over infernians and gigantic bugs and alien fight clubs.

And Alex and Maggie have been having sex for a while now, so it’s not like Alex doesn’t know what’s under Maggie’s white button-down shirt.

So Liz is expecting some eye rolling and maybe some jokes, but for Alex to be completely unphased by it.

She can’t fucking believe it when it works.

Maggie stands right in Alex’s line of sight and blatantly unbuttons her shirt – just a couple of buttons – and Alex sputters and drops her cue on the table before completely fluffing her shot.

On her next shot, Maggie sidles up behind her and whispers something that must be exceptionally dirty in her ear, because Alex actually, honest-to-god squeaks and sends her ball careening in the wrong direction.

Maggie stands across the table and flips her hair, exposing one side of her long neck where, now that it’s bared, Liz can just make out the remnants of a fading hickey. Alex sinks one of Liz’s balls.

Maggie kisses Alex breathless while Liz is shooting, pulling away so abruptly that Alex’s eyes are still out of focus when she takes her shot. She wiffs. Twice.

When they each have just one ball left, Alex shakes her finger at Maggie. “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing. I’m immune to your charms, Sawyer.”

But Liz has never known Maggie to back down from a challenge, so even before Maggie advances on Alex, Liz is positively gleeful.

And when Maggie leans down, never breaking eye contact with Alex, and sucks that finger all the way into her mouth, down to the last knuckle, Liz can actually see Alex’s knees buckle. She spares a glance over to Kara, who is burying her head in her arms on the table and groaning loud enough for Liz to hear. Winn and James are wide-eyed, and Lena is chuckling to herself while she rubs comforting circles on Kara’s back.

Maggie finally pulls away from Alex’s finger. “I think it’s your turn, babe,” she whispers, making sure it’s loud enough for Liz to hear.

And Liz can only hold back her laughter until Alex takes her shot and scratches, sending the cue ball into the corner pocket.

Then, as Maggie cracks up and they high five, Liz positively cackles.

It’s official. Maggie Sawyer is the best little shit in the universe. And Alex Danvers is soft as fuck for her.

 


  

Alex is standing up at the bar, waiting for another round, when Maggie goes to the bathroom. Liz takes the opportunity as the gift it is.

Alex has passed all her tests, but there’s just one left, and it’s a big one.

It’s time for The Talk.

“Hey,” she says, standing close enough to Alex that they can talk quietly but hopefully not so close that Alex will want to choke her again. “You got a second?”

Alex looks over at her, really looks at her, before she nods. “Sure.” She quirks up one corner of her mouth. “As long as it’s not about your dirty pool tactics.”

Liz can’t help but grin. “Hey, I think a set of impartial judges will find that I did absolutely nothing wrong. Any sort of…interference that may have occurred? Well that was all your girlfriend.”

Alex chuckles into the neck of beer bottle. “Sure it was.”

But then Alex leans back, sitting on the edge of the barstool behind her. “So,” she says, gesturing to Liz, “let’s do this, shall we?”

“Do what?”

“This is the part where you give me the talk, right? I recognize that face. I’ve made it to enough of Kara’s boyfriends. This is the what-are-your-intentions-with-my-best-friend-and-you’d-better-treat-her-right talk, right?”

She’s direct, and Liz likes that about her. Liz doesn’t have a lot of patience for people who don’t say what they actually think.

“Kind of. But, also, no.”

Alex cocks her head a little bit, again like Maggie, but her face is blank. “Okay,” she says evenly.

“I care about your intentions with her. I do. But I also need you to know something.”

Alex nods, silent and waiting.

“She told you about her parents.” Liz waits for Alex to give her cautious nod. “That makes you maybe the third person in her entire life that she’s told.” Liz waits while Alex does the math, only confirming it when she sees Alex’s eyes widen. “There’s me, and there was Emily, and then there was no one until you.”

Alex swallows, taking that as seriously as Liz hoped she would.

“I know you know about Emily. About what Maggie did, why they broke up.” Alex nods again. Liz wishes she had a more expressive face. “Did she tell you what Emily said to her, when it was all going down?”

“Not really, no. She said something about, she didn’t deserve to be happy, but that’s all.”

Liz nods. “Honestly, that wasn’t even the half of it. She told her…” Liz lets out an angry breath. “Sorry, I still just…completely hate that bitch. But, okay. She basically threw it in Maggie’s face. What her parents did. She said that Maggie was a monster, that she destroyed everything she touched, blah blah, you know. But then,” Liz’s hands tighten on her beer and she’s a little worried she’ll shatter the bottle. “But then, she said that she didn’t blame Maggie’s parents for kicking her out, because she was so unloveable. That she wouldn’t wish Maggie on anyone. That she didn’t deserve to be happy and was bringing everyone around her down, all the time.”

Alex’s face is full of just as much murderous rage as Liz could want.

“That fucking piece of shit,” Alex growls, and Liz wonders if she’s going to shatter her own bottle. “I should have fucking killed her where she stood.”

And Liz doesn’t doubt for a second – and not just because of what she’d seen this morning – that Alex means it literally.

“I mean, yeah, I certainly wouldn’t have blamed you. But Emily isn’t the only one to blame, there.”

And Liz had thought Alex was at peak rage, but she’s suddenly standing, somehow towering over Liz even though Liz is taller and wearing heels, and her face is blank but her eyes are hard and Liz wonders if this what Alex looks like before she kills.

“How fucking dare you put any of that on her,” she snarls. “What she did to Emily was horrible but I can’t fucking believe you think—“

But Liz cuts her off. Because, no, Liz hadn’t meant Maggie was to blame.

And the anger and protectiveness and fight in Alex’s eyes at the idea that Maggie was to blame means she’s just passed another test.

“No, Alex. No, I don’t mean Maggie is to blame.” She pauses for a second, and then says the thing she’s only ever said out to loud to Maggie and to her wife. “I meant me. I’m to blame.”

Alex opens and closes her mouth, silently, before sitting back down on her barstool with a small plop. “Oh,” she says faintly. “What?”

“I was there, Alex. I was there when they met; I helped Maggie get dressed for their first date. I was there after all their fights. I helped them move into their first apartment together. I was the one on the other side of the phone, that entire time. For those five years, I was there. And I saw some things, I saw the red flags, and I didn’t do anything. I didn’t stop it. And then Maggie fucked up in the biggest way possible, and Emily just destroyed her.”

Liz takes a breath, because this is still the biggest regret of her life. “I could have stopped it, but I didn’t. I trusted Emily to take care of her, even when I had doubts that she could. I trusted Maggie to take care of herself, even though I knew she didn’t know how. I just…I just let it happen.”

And Alex is certainly a soldier and a hardened killer, but she reaches out to Liz and takes her hand with the kind of tenderness Liz only sees from kindergarten teachers and pediatric nurses.

“It’s not your fault, Liz,” she says softly, and Liz remembers that she’s a big sister. “It wasn’t your fault.”

Liz shakes her head, but she leaves her hand in Alex’s.

“I just, I’m not telling you this to make you feel bad for me, or to make you hate me, or whatever. I’m telling you this because I need you to understand what the stakes are here, for me.” She squeezes Alex’s hand once before she lets it go.

Alex gulps a little, but she nods. Here it comes.

“You’re never going to go home with her to meet the parents, to prove to them that you’re good enough for their little girl. You’re not going to be introduced to a huge group of friends who all spend thanksgiving together and shit. It may seem like she’s a lone wolf, like you’re only accountable to her. Like there’s no one in her corner.”

Liz is now the one whose eyes turn hard. “But that’s wrong.”

Alex nods, her face, for once, finally blissfully open. “She has you,” Alex says, and her voice is soft but it’s firm and it’s steady and it’s right.

“Fuck yes she does,” Liz agrees. And her tone is light and casual but they can both feel the weight. “I would do anything for her. I would die for that bitch in a second.”

And the corner of Alex’s mouth quirks up, but she doesn’t say anything.

“I like you, Alex, and I think you’re good for her. But if you’re not – if you hurt her, or if you even think about hurting her – I’m not going to stay quiet.” And she’s still keeping her tone breezy and chatty, like maybe they’re talking about work or shoes, but she can see Alex swallowing heavily. “I’m not going to stand by and let you fuck her up, you understand? I’ll destroy you before I let that happen.”

Alex nods firmly, like she’s taking an order. “I understand.” She takes a beat, and then she looks back up into Liz’s eyes, and her face is still open, and Liz realizes she’s doing it on purpose. “I’d want you to.”

Liz hasn’t sputtered once in her life, but she nearly does now. “What?”

“If I were hurting her. I’d want you to take her away from me. I’d want you to destroy me.”

And Liz just blinks at her, because Alex had already passed the test, and she doesn’t quite know what to do with this.

“Look, I haven’t told her this yet – I mean, I think she’s guessed – but, I love her. I’m in love with her. And it’s…I’ve never been, before, with anyone.” And up until now everything that’s come out of Alex’s mouth has been planned and precise, so this is the first time Liz hears her thinking out loud.

“But I know, that’s what this is. Because what you just said, it should scare me, right? That you’re going to make that call, that you’d destroy me, destroy us, if you thought I was hurting her. But I’m just so…I’m just so desperately in love with her – if I were hurting her…” Alex lets out a loud breath. “I just wouldn’t want to live a life, not even for a second, that wasn’t good for her. That wasn’t helping her, that wasn’t making her feel loved. So, yeah, please, I hope you do that. I hope you fucking tear me apart if I get close to that.”

And Liz, finally, finally, feels a huge weight start to slide off her shoulders. She’s been the only person in Maggie’s corner for so long, and she doesn’t regret a second of it and doesn’t begrudge Maggie for an ounce of it, but it’s felt like she’s been standing at attention, on sentry duty, every day for years and years. Now, just maybe, Alex is there with her too. Maybe they can watch out for Maggie together.

So Liz holds out a hand for Alex to shake. “Deal,” she says.

And Alex doesn’t hesitate, not even for an instant, before she puts her own in Liz’s. “Deal,” she echoes.

 


  

Liz and Kara go to the bathroom at the same time. Liz checks to make sure that they’re alone before she looks Kara dead in the eye and just says, “Can I trust you to have her back?”

Kara shifts, adjusting her glasses with both hands. “Excuse me?”

“Maggie. Can I trust you to have her back, out in the field?”

“Me?” Kara squeaks, and she’s incredibly bad at this for someone whose entire life depends on it. “I’m a--a reporter! I don’t know what you mean.”

And Liz hasn’t peed yet and she really needs to, so she just rolls her eyes. “I’m just super asking you to keep my best friend safe. Can you do that for me?”

And Kara huffs out a little breath, but then she smiles and her voice is low and conspiring. “Don’t tell Alex you know, or she’ll have you doing paperwork until dawn.” But then she smiles. “And, yes. I’ll take care of her. I promise.”

 


 

When they’re all back at the table, Liz pulls something out of her purse.

“Uh, dude, you got an art project or something?” Maggie asks her, toying with the ink pad in front of her.

“Not quite,” Liz says, her voice lofty and crisp. “Alex.”

Alex turns to face her, breaking off her conversation with Kara.

Liz holds out her hand, palm up. “Give me your arm.”

She’s pretty sure Alex is a naturally suspicious person, so she can tell that Alex’s instincts are fighting with her want to please Liz. So she just wiggles her fingers. “Chop chop, Danvers.”

“What are you doing?” Maggie asks, clearly not sure if she should be worried or not, as Alex, with one look at Kara, slowly extends her arm across the table.

Liz pushes Alex’s sleeve up past her elbow.

“Okay, if this is the part where you do a weird blood oath thing, I am out,” Winn says.

“Bye, Winn,” Liz mutters quickly, without even looking up.

Winn and James both stutter, and Maggie just laughs, elbowing Liz in the ribs.

“Seriously, dude, what are you doing to my girlfriend?”

“Oh!” Liz says, looking over at Maggie, her eyebrows up and her face a perfect mask of surprise. “Is she your girlfriend? You’ve never mentioned her.”

Maggie rolls her eyes, but Liz keeps going. “I mean, jesus Margaret. You could have at least mentioned her once! I definitely don’t know that she’s left handed or her favorite color or what pizza toppings she likes or what she had for breakfast yesterday or her taste in lingerie or anything about her.”

“Ew,” Kara whispers, and Liz wonders how everyone doesn’t know that she’s Supergirl.

“Elizabeth,” Maggie warns.

“Yes dear?”

“You’re the worst person I know.”

Liz cracks a grin. “Obviously.”

But then, still holding Alex’s arm with one hand, she pulls something off her lap.

She stamps it into the ink pad, and then presses it carefully and firmly into Alex’s upturned forearm, holding it still for a long count of five.

She pulls it back, and everyone leans in to see what it says.

APPROVED BY: ELIZABETH MARTINEZ, ESQ.

“Ooookay,” Maggie says, clearly the first to recover. “First of all, you’re not a lawyer, so that’s not even you.”

Liz rolls her eyes. She loves this girl so much.

“Second of all, when the fuck did you get that made? How long have you been carrying that around?”

And they’re still in front of Lena and James and Winn and Kara (and Supergirl), but Liz says it anyway. “I had it made our sophomore year of college.”

And Maggie’s face goes entirely blank, her jaw slack. “What?” She takes a beat. “How come I never…?”

And Liz isn’t about to get emotional in front of all these pretty strangers, so she just shrugs one shoulder and tries to keep it casual. “No one’s ever earned it before,” is all she says.

And Maggie clearly doesn’t want to cry in front of them either, so she just kind of rockets into Liz’s shoulder and Liz holds her close for a long moment.

“God,” Maggie says, as she finally pulls back. “You’re such a fucking drama queen. I can’t believe you just did that.”

Liz grins at her. “Stamp of approval, my friend. I’m nothing if not literal.”

“You’re nothing if not impossible.”

And Liz winks at her, but she hasn’t missed that Alex has just been staring down at the stamp this whole time.

Finally she looks up at Liz. “So,” she says, and even Liz can tell her voice is a little thick. “Does this mean I get to hear the rest of the stories now?”

 

Chapter Text

 

It takes a while, but Alex slowly starts to realize something is going on with Maggie. She’s retreating from conversations sometimes, but she’s doing it so subtly and so softly and so infrequently that at first Alex doesn’t even notice it happening. Which of course means that when she finally does notice, she has no idea how long it’s been going on.

 

But even once she sees it and recognizes it, Alex still can’t for the life of her figure out what’s causing it.

 

Sometimes it happens when they’re alone, and sometimes when they’re with Kara, and sometimes when they’re with the whole group. It never happens at the precinct and only happens at the DEO twice. At home, just the two of them, it happens when they’re lying in bed talking and over meals and even once during a movie.

 

When it happens, Maggie will just…pull back. She won’t ever say anything, but something behind her eyes will tighten and she’ll keep responding to questions or laughing at jokes but with a sort of delay. Like her brain is fully occupied with something else. Like she has to force herself to pretend to still be in the moment, in the conversation.

 

And like whatever her brain is occupied with isn’t entirely pleasant.

 

But she never says anything about it. Not during, not after. And certainly not before.

 

And so, after a few months of Alex noticing this happening maybe once a week, Alex is, of course, completely desperate to know what’s going on – what brings it on, how she can help, what it is in the first place. But even though she’s desperate, she’s more terrified to ask.

 

Because Maggie hates to talk about herself. Maggie has always been such a private person. Alex has had to earn every ounce of trust she’s been given, and so she’s always so careful never to pry, never to wheedle, never to ask for details that she doesn’t need, never to press Maggie to share more than she’s ready for.

 

And Maggie can always tell what Alex is thinking and what Alex wants and what Alex needs from her without asking.

 

When Alex came out to her, Maggie just somehow knew what Alex needed – both that first night and in so many of the ones that followed. When she lost her father in the woods, Maggie knew how to hold her and how to take care of her all night even though Alex herself had no idea what she wanted. When she was taken off her father’s case, Maggie went ride or die for her and just knew exactly how Alex’s heart had shattered when Kara had walked out of her apartment, right on J’onn’s heels. When she was asked to destroy the Daxomite ship with her baby sister still on board, Maggie had known. She’d known how Alex had felt and how Alex was silently screaming in agony and she had known not to give advice or orders or freak out or to ask Alex for a decision.

 

She always just knew.

 

And so Alex is desperate to figure this out – to figure out and solve what is upsetting this person that she loves so much. But Maggie always figures her out and she’s pretty sure she’s not a good girlfriend if she can’t do the same. She shouldn’t have to ask. She shouldn’t have to pry. She should just know.

 

So she tries and she tries and she tries to be like Maggie. To detect.

 

But she can’t.

 


 

Alex isn’t expecting it at all when it finally happens.

 

They’re at the DEO. Maggie is “working” the case with them, but is mostly just hanging out because things at the precinct are pretty slow and she and Alex have a date in the shooting range later.

 

Winn and J’onn and Alex and Maggie are all leaning around the central console. Everyone is mostly pretending to work while they chat and laugh. Kara flies into the building from that thing that Maggie always whines about being neither a door nor a window.

 

She joins the group, giving Alex a little hug to reassure her sister that her patrol was routine and she’s not hurt. Alex gives her a little squeeze back that she knows Kara can barely feel but always appreciates.

 

Kara, as she often does, asks Winn if his systems have detected any sign of Mon-El’s pod. He says no – his voice soft and sad and his face gentle and tender – and her face falls. She drops her head into her arms on the console and she lets out a little moaning sound.

 

“I just want him home,” she mumbles.

 

Alex reaches over and rubs her back gently, but she also looks up at Maggie at the same time – because when she’s giving her sister support Maggie is always so good about giving her support too and she loves it – and she sees it happen.

 

Maggie’s eyes tighten and she’s pulling back. Alex tries to hold eye contact and tries to tilt her head a little bit – the signal Maggie always gives her when she’s trying to subtly check-in around other people.

 

But it’s like Maggie isn’t even seeing her.

 

And this time Maggie’s eyes tighten more than they ever have, and her face almost flickers into a grimace more than it ever has, and she mutters something about the bathroom and she turns on her heel and she leaves.

 

Alex’s gut both freezes and plummets. She has no idea what just happened, but she knows that it was worse than it’s ever been.

 

She looks over at J’onn in panic, her eyebrows up and her mouth a little hung open, her hand still tracing mindless circles on her sister’s back.

 

“Go,” is all J’onn says.

 

And Alex knows he would never read Maggie’s mind without her permission but she knows that he can’t shut it out when someone he cares about is in distress.

 

She’s not sure if it’s her distress or Maggie’s he’s picking up on, but she squeezes Kara’s bicep and quickly walks away to find her girlfriend.

 


 

She finds Maggie in the locker room. She’s sitting on a bench in front of Alex’s locker. She’s completely still. Her head is bowed and both her hands are balled up in fists and she’s squeezing so hard her knuckles are white. Her shoulders are hunched and her hair is hanging down in her face and she’s always been small and she’s always looked young for her age but right now she looks smaller and younger and more vulnerable than Alex has ever seen her.

 

Smaller and younger and more vulnerable even than when they’d talked about Emily.

 

When she’d told Alex about her parents for the first time she’d been standing tall, anger and fury giving inches to her height and her breadth.

 

Alex wonders if she gets small when she thinks she’s to blame for something.

 

“Mags?” She doesn’t want to scare or startle her, but she doesn’t want to just creep in the corner either.

 

“I’m fine,” Maggie says, but she doesn’t lift up her head and she doesn’t look at Alex and her voice is completely flat and she is so obviously not fine. “Just needed something.”

 

But she hasn’t opened any of the lockers and she’s clearly in distress and J’onn told Alex to go after her, so Alex walks over and sits down on the bench next to Maggie, facing her locker just like Maggie is. Not too close, but within arm’s reach.

 

“I know,” Alex says simply. She can just make out Maggie in her peripheral vision. “I just haven’t been able to figure out what that is.”

 

Maggie doesn’t move at all, but Alex takes it as a good sign that she responds. “What are you talking about?” Her voice is still flat and toneless. It barely sounds like a question.

 

“You’ve been needing something from me for months now,” Alex says, trying desperately not to show how upset she is. How much of a failure she is. How much her heart is cracking that she hasn’t been able to give this precious girl what she needs. “And I’ve been trying to figure out what it is, but I can’t.” She takes a deep breath and turns her whole body to face Maggie.

 

“Babe, I need you tell me what’s going on.”

 

But Maggie’s response comes fast and dull. “Nothing’s going on.”

 

She still hasn’t looked up.

 

Her knuckles are getting even whiter.

 

“Hey,” Alex says softly, and she is calling on all of her willpower not to cry. “I need you to look at me for a second.”

 

And maybe it’s manipulative but Maggie never denies her the things that she needs, so Maggie, slowly and reluctantly, drags her eyes over to Alex. She keeps her head as far down as she can, but it’s enough.

 

She’s trying – for Alex – and Alex’s heart wrenches even more. This woman would do anything for her, and god, she would do anything for Maggie.

 

“You don’t have to tell me what’s going on if you don’t want to,” Alex tells her softly, trying to keep her voice as supportive and gentle and Maggie-like as she can. “But please don’t lie to me.”

 

Maggie nods – a short, jerky little nod – and even though she drops her eyes again Alex takes that as progress.

 

“Can I take you home?”

 

Maggie’s eyes flash back over to her. “No, I’m fi—“ but she stops herself. She swallows, and Alex is overwhelmed with gratitude and love and awe for this woman, who, even when she’s in such distress, is working to meet her halfway. “It’s only two o’clock,” Maggie finally says.

 

“I don’t care. It’s slow here, and J’onn can call me in if he needs me.” Maggie doesn’t say or do anything for a long moment, and so Alex presses even more. “Please? We don’t have to talk about it. I just…it smells like a locker room in here.”

 

And it’s an incredibly weak joke, but Maggie huffs out a little breath and Alex can’t help but smile.

 

“Okay, Danvers. Let’s go.”

 

She stands up and Alex doesn’t offer her a hand up or touch her as they walk out, and she wonders if she should.

 


 

They get home, and Alex makes them both tea. She asks Maggie if she wants Alex to give her some time alone and Maggie just shrugs in a very un-Maggie-like way, and so Alex stays.

 

She makes tea.

 

She brings the cups over to the couch where Maggie is sitting, staring at the flames in the fireplace. She’s still hunched in on herself – not quite as much as before – and again Alex remembers that night after she’d gone to see Emily and Maggie had sat on her couch with a glass of whiskey and had asked Alex in the smallest voice if Alex thought she was a bad person.


And at the time “fuck no” hadn’t felt like the right response, but maybe she should have said it. Maybe she should have been firmer that Maggie is one of the three kindest and best people she’s ever known.

 

“You don’t have to talk about it,” Alex tells her again. “But I just want you to know that I notice when you’re upset. That I know that you’ve been upset sometimes, recently. And that, whenever you want to talk about it, if you ever want to talk about it, I’m here for you, okay?”

 

Maggie doesn’t say anything, so Alex talks to fill the quiet.

 

“I’ve been trying to figure it out – what’s been upsetting you – but I haven’t been able to. I wanted to figure out what was triggering it, so I could stop doing it, whatever it was. But, I just…I’m sorry. I haven’t been able to.”

 

And Alex rarely can’t do something that she’s trying with her whole self to do, and she rarely can’t find the pattern or equation behind something, and it’s incredibly frustrating and scary and upsetting and she feels like such a failure.

 

And from the way Maggie’s hand twitches, it seems like maybe she knows that.

 

Maggie takes a deep breath and she says the very last thing that Alex expects to hear from her.

 

“It’s about Mon-El.”

 

Alex truly, for maybe the first time in her life, draws a complete blank.

 

“—Mon…El?”

 

She frantically tries to find a possibility that’s anything short of absurd. Maggie couldn’t have been in love with him, that’s definitely absurd. It can’t be that she misses him, not enough to act like this, because Alex had always been pretty sure that Maggie just tolerated him. She could be sad for Kara, but pulling away from Alex like this? Being distressed like this? No, that’s absurd too.

 

The options fly in and out of Alex’s brain at lightspeed and there isn’t one that sticks.

 

But then she runs it all through a different algorithm, and her eyes flutter shut with frustration and anger at herself as it becomes clear.

 

Because every single time Maggie has pulled away, the subject at hand has been Mon-El. Either explicitly, like today, or obliquely. She’s pulled away when Alex has talked about how much Kara misses him, and she’s pulled away when Kara has been reminiscing about him, and she’s pulled away when Winn and James have asked Alex how Kara’s been doing in that particular tone that means since she kicked her boyfriend off the planet.

 

So Alex still doesn’t understand the why, but at least she knows that what. It’s always been about Mon-El. And she shoves down her guilt and how much she hates herself for not figuring that out earlier – she’ll let herself really linger on that later – and tries to be present for Maggie.

 

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I hadn’t realized. I hadn’t noticed that it was always about him. I’m sorry.”

 

But Maggie just shakes her head. “You have nothing to apologize for.”

 

And Alex doesn’t mean to say it out loud, but she hears herself murmuring, “I said don’t lie to me.”

 

And that makes Maggie face her fully for the first time, a spark of fire in her now. “I’m not,” she says firmly. “You have nothing to apologize for. It’s me, I do.” She drops her head down again. “It’s stupid,” she mutters.

 

But Alex will never abide Maggie calling herself stupid.

 

“No,” she says, and she’s slipped a little bit into her Agent Danvers voice but she can’t care about that right now. “You don’t get to call yourself stupid, Maggie. You don’t have to tell me about it if you don’t want to, but anything that makes you upset is serious and important. It’s not stupid, and you’re not stupid.”

 

Maggie shakes her head a little bit and Alex wants to reach out and physically stop her but she doesn’t. She just hardens her voice even more, shaping it into an arrow and shooting it directly at Maggie. “I love you,” Alex nearly spits at her. “I love you, and I would never let anyone else call you stupid, so what the fuck makes you think I’m going to let you do it? I love you.”

 

And Maggie shakes her head again but this time it seems like disbelief, not disagreement.

 

“I don’t deserve you, Danvers,” she says, and it isn’t until she talks that Alex realizes she’s either crying or close to it.

 

“You’re right,” Alex says, and she almost takes pleasure in how Maggie’s body completely freezes. “You deserve someone perfect, and I’m a jackass workaholic baby-gay with a god for a sister and an inferiority complex a mile wide.” Maggie huffs out a little laugh, just like Alex wanted her to. “But I’m madly in love with you, Mags, and for as long as you want me, I’m here.”

 

And it comes out in a mumble but it still makes Alex’s heart sing. “I’ll always want you, Danvers.”

 

“Thank Rao for that,” Alex says lightly.

 

She’s not sure if they’re going to go back to the Mon-El conversation or if they’re going to move on. She’ll do whatever Maggie needs, but the mystery of it all is making her brain feel itchy.

 

“Have I ever mentioned Joslyn?” Maggie’s playing with the string of her teabag as she says it, and Alex wracks her brain.

 

“Uh, no. I don’t think so. Not that I can remember.”

 

“She was my girlfriend for the first year and half after college. We met while I was in the Academy in Gotham, at this old lesbian bar that closed down a couple years later.”

 

Alex is almost holding her breath. She had thought that Maggie had told her about all of her past serious relationships, and it seems like a year and a half would count as serious. And that fact that she’s bringing it up now…Alex is sure this isn’t going to be a happy story.

 

“I loved her,” Maggie says simply. “And she loved me too. But she wasn’t…” she swallows heavily, and Alex feels like she’s going to combust from the tension. Did she die? Does Maggie feel responsible, like Kara? Did Maggie send her away, like Kara?

 

“It turned out,” Maggie’s voice is a little hesitant now, like she doesn’t quite know how to word this. “That she wasn’t a very good person.”

 

And then it all clicks for Alex.

 

Mon-El is (was?) also not a very good person.

 

“She didn’t…she didn’t treat me very well. Not after a while.”

 

Mon-El didn’t treat Kara very well. Especially not at first, but even at the end after he’d really fallen in love with her he’d still left her on that Daxomite ship to die.

 

“She was the first person I loved like that – and I loved her so much – so I didn’t see it.”

 

Mon-El had felt like home, and Kara had loved him, and she hadn’t seen it.

 

“It turned out that she didn’t really care what I thought, or what I said. Not if she disagreed. And she had this habit of talking over me, but I thought it was just her personality, that she was more talkative, like the dynamic between you and Kara, you know?”

 

And fuck if that all doesn’t remind Alex of Mon-El, too.

 

“She would guilt me into doing things and then blame me for them, or for ruining her enjoyment of them if I didn’t approve.”

 

He’d blamed Kara for stopping his fun with Eve when he should never have been fucking someone at work and making her do his job for him.

 

“I had this thing happen at work, and I was suspended – because I was trying to change the department in Gotham, you know, make them less corrupt and more friendly to aliens – and I was freaking out that I was going to lose my job and she told me that at least I wasn’t losing her and that my life would still have purpose because she’d be in it. And I thought it was romantic, when she said it, but I’d worked my fucking ass off for that job and I wanted it so badly.”

 

Kara had gotten fired and Mon-El had twisted her up so much inside that she had thought maybe she didn’t need to be a reporter if she was lucky enough to be his girlfriend. And she had worked her ass off for that job and she had wanted it so badly.

 

“And I was nervous about being out at work, because of Blue Springs and everything, but she kept coming to the Academy and one day she kissed me in front of my instructor and when I yelled at her later she told me that if I’d really loved her I would have been proud to tell him about her.”

 

And Kara had asked Mon-El to keep their relationship a secret and he had announced it at the DEO in front of everyone. In front of Alex. In front of J’onn. In front of Winn, who had once been in love with her.

 

“And when people would stay stuff to us on the street I’d beg her to let it go but she’d scream at them and then when I was upset and said I could handle it, that I was handling it, she’d yell at me and make me feel badly because she had been defending me and I should have been grateful.”

 

And one time Mon-El had yelled at Kara “I’m sorry that I was defending your HONOR,” when she had never asked him to or wanted him to or thought it would be helpful in the first place. She had told him she could handle it and he had told her that she wasn’t a good judge of what she could or couldn’t handle.

 

“And she’d pulled me away from my friends and my community and so when I was worried or had questions…I didn’t have anyone to talk to. She told me they didn’t like me anymore and I believed her.”

 

And Mon-El had pulled Kara and Alex so far apart that after Jeremiah betrayed them Kara hadn’t even felt like she could come over. She had thought that Alex hated her for siding with him. And when Kara went to Slaver’s Moon she asked him to get Alex for help, but he hadn’t. He’d kept her isolated, kept himself as her only backup. And Kara had nearly died because of it.

 

“She would tell me I was making things up or imagining things or remembering things wrong all the time, and now it makes me feel insane because I honestly can’t tell what was real and what wasn’t.”

 

Mon-El lied to Kara for months about having kissed her in the med-bay. He’d lied to all of them for months about what happened when he left Daxom and who he really was. He never told any of them that he was the prince, that he had let countless others die so that he could escape, that he had owned countless enslaved people.

 

Alex’s blood is boiling. Her body is on fire. She wants to commit murder. Several, very long, very messy murders. But, with a wrench, she dials down the part of her brain that’s filling in all the completely fucked up things Mon-El had done to her sister. She’ll think about that later – she’ll obsess about that later – but right now she just fills herself up with Maggie. With Maggie’s story, with Maggie’s pain, with her love for Maggie.

 

“And when I would push back, or if I’d go out with friends without her, she’d tell me that she loved me, and that I was hurting her, and that if I loved her I wouldn’t do that. She’d tell me I just didn’t understand and if I loved her I would trust her and be more generous with her.”

 

Maggie wrings her hands, her anger and frustration with herself boiling to the surface. “And it’s so stupid, looking back, I can see it so clearly, that she wasn’t good enough to me. But I had thought, I don’t know. I had thought it didn’t happen to smart girls or to strong girls, or to feminists who knew the warning signs, and I had never heard of it happening to a lesbian; I’d thought only men did it.”

 

Kara is, empirically, the strongest woman on the planet. No one had thought it could happen to her. Not even Alex.

 

And Maggie doesn’t say the word abuse but Alex hears it just the same.

 

And Alex doesn’t know exactly what to say. She’s never been on either side of this before. She’s not trained in how to handle this. Obviously. Because if she had been she would have realized before this minute what Mon-El had been doing to her sister the entire year he was here.

 

She hadn’t been his biggest fan, but she’d been blinded by the fact that Kara had loved him, and that he had loved her, before. She had let that cloud her perception of the reality in front of her. She had just thought he was a party boy from a party planet who’d never really had a single responsibility before, but she hadn’t realized.

 

She hadn’t looked at their interactions and thought abuse before. And she should have, and she hates herself for it.

 

But she sets that aside again. She’s going to have a long talk with Kara later – probably several long talks – but right now she needs to focus on Maggie.

 

On the love of her life, who is sitting on her couch like she’s done something wrong. Who is sitting on her couch, hunched over and small and scared, like maybe she deserved it. Like if she had been smarter or stronger or more attentive she could have seen it earlier and stopped it earlier.

 

Like the way she was treated was her fault.

 

And Alex isn’t trained and she doesn’t know what to say but she knows that’s completely fucking bullshit.

 

So she just stutters out what she can.

 

“Thank you for telling me,” she says, trying to make her voice soft but not scared, firm but not hard. “That never should have happened to you, Maggie. No one should have ever treated you like that, and especially not someone who loved you.”

 

“You didn’t deserve that,” Alex tells her, and she’s glad that she’s getting angry because it means it’s getting easier to keep herself from crying. “You didn’t deserve that, not any of it.”

 

“It’s not your fault,” she says. “Not any of it. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

 

And Maggie’s shaking her head and saying something about “I should have left earlier,” and Alex just shakes her own head.

 

“The only important should,” she interrupts as gently as she can, “is that she shouldn’t have treated you that way. She shouldn’t have hurt you. Period. That’s all.”

 

And Maggie’s shaking her head again but Alex is genuinely angry now. “No, Maggie, no. You don’t get to blame yourself for this. When—look, okay, when Max Lord created Bizarro, he took this innocent girl and he brainwashed her and drugged her and made her do horrible things. He made her hurt Kara, and hurt innocent people. And it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t. It was Max Lord’s fault. He did it. He took her mind and he twisted it and warped it until she believed his sick version of the world. And do you know what he said when I confronted him?”

 

Maggie shakes her head softly.

 

“He said, she’d be dead if it weren’t for me. I saved her life.” Alex pauses to swallow down her hatred. “He was convinced he’d done the right thing, that he’d saved her, that he was saving National City by brainwashing her into killing my sister. He thought he cared about her.”

 

Alex takes a little breath and takes a little risk. “And I never met Joslyn but I’m guessing she thought that she was doing the right thing, loving you and caring about you. But it doesn’t mean that what she did was any better than what Max did. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t incredibly damaging and harmful and completely awful and fucked up and evil.”

 

And Alex doesn’t say the word abusive because she doesn’t want to scare Maggie, but they both hear it anyway.

 

“But it really fucking doesn’t mean that any of it was your fault. It wasn’t Bizarro’s fault. It wasn’t your fault.”

 

Maggie huffs out a little breath.

 

Alex plays with her own fingers as she asks it. “Does…is this about Mon-El…because how he treated Kara reminds you of how Joslyn treated you?”

 

Maggie looks up at her in something that looks like shock or surprise. Tears are hanging in her eyes. “I—I didn’t think you knew.”

 

Alex shrugs a little, trying to throttle down how fucking furious she is with herself. “I didn’t. Not until right now. But it – yeah. Yeah.”

 

And Maggie says it too. “Yeah.”

 

Alex asks the next thing as gently as she can. “Do you think it was Kara’s fault? That if she’d just been stronger, she would have stopped it?”

 

But Maggie’s shaking her head before Alex even finishes. “No,” she’s saying. “No, no, of course not.”

 

And Alex wants, so desperately, to take Maggie in her arms, but she doesn’t. “It wasn’t your fault either, Maggie. It wasn’t.”

 

“You deserve to be treated better than that, Maggie. You deserve to be treated with love and care and admiration and respect. And I…I know exactly what that looks like and feels like. Do you know how—how I know that?”

 

And she has a sneaking suspicion that Maggie knows, but Alex says it anyway.

 

“Because you show it to me every single day, Mags.”

 

Maggie lets out a puff of air, but Alex keeps going.

 

“Every single day you listen to me and value my thoughts and care about what I say, even when you disagree with me. Especially when you disagree with me. And you don’t tell me what to do – in the field or at work or at home – but you share your thoughts and feelings with me so I can make an informed decision. But you never lie to me and you never manipulate me and you never make me worry that if I do or say the wrong thing or go out in the field when you think I shouldn’t that you’ll break up with me.”

 

Maggie isn’t looking at her. She’s winding the string and label of her tea bag around and around the handle of her mug. But Alex can tell that she’s listening.

 

“And you don’t just respect my limits, but you actively ask for them and check-in about them and you have never made me feel any less loveable or good as a girlfriend for having them. That makes me feel so safe with you, Mags.”

 

Maggie rolls her shoulders, like she’s uncomfortable with the praise, but she doesn’t say anything.

 

“You don’t talk over me, Mags, or tell other people things I want to keep private, or tell me how I’m supposed to feel or what I should be doing or thinking or feeling. You always let me speak for myself and you always make me feel like you value what I have to say. Even if it comes out in technobabble, and no one has ever really done that for me before, and it makes me feel so wonderful and so cared about.”

 

And Maggie looks at her then, and gives her the cute little face she usually makes when Alex is technobabbling – this soft, affectionate, loving look with just a little bit of laughter in it – and Alex has to grip her own hands to keep from reaching out and pulling Maggie into her.

 

“And when you take some of your precious free time to go out with your college friends or other people, and I don’t go with you, it’s a good thing. When you go out drinking with them, it reminds me of how much we trust each other, because I never, not even for a second, wonder about it, and you never make me worry that you’re wondering about me, and that makes me feel so secure with you. I love how we trust each other, and how we have fun with other people, and how we have fun together.”

 

And a ghost of a smile passes across Maggie’s face, and Alex knows how hard Maggie has worked to be the type of person who can be trusted like that, and she reminds herself to say it more often.

 

“And you know how much my job means to me and when J’onn took me off my dad’s case you said ‘ride or die’ and you fucked up some evil people with me and you helped me save that whole ship of aliens. And I was grateful, beyond measure, to have you there with me and to have you as my girlfriend and my partner but you never made me feel like I had to pick between you and the job, or that I should be happy with just one.”

 

And Maggie presses her lips together like she’s remembering how they’d joked about joint custody over the alien gun and how they’d yelled at Brian and how hard they’d held each other when Kara had landed the ship.

 

“And when I wasn’t ready to come out at work, you waited for me. At your work and at mine, you waited. And you told me about how it made you feel to wait, and you checked in with me, and you promised me that if it started to make you feel shitty or ashamed that you’d tell me, but otherwise you let me go at the pace I needed. And that made me feel so cared about and so heard.”

 

And Maggie looks over and her eyes are so soft, just like they were the first night Alex came out to her, and Alex is just so in love with her.

 

“And I asked you not to take any revenge on Rick Malverne, for what he did, and I know that killed you – to turn him over without making him hurt the way he’d made us hurt – but you didn’t lay a finger on him. Because I’d asked you not to. Because I wanted to handle it myself. And I knew, when you did that – when you helped me walk out of the med bay and you stood by while I confronted him – that you trusted me and believed in me.”

 

A muscle in Maggie’s jaw tenses, like she’s gritting her teeth. Like even saying his name is enough to give her nightmares.

 

“And when you got those tickets for the concert on Kara’s earth birthday, you saw I was upset and you told me that my relationship with her really mattered and you told me to go talk to her. You’ve never, not once, made me feel like I’ve had to pick between the two of you and I’m so grateful for that, even though I know it’s still something I’m working on.”

 

And Maggie rolls her eyes a little, and Alex doesn’t mention, of course, that she never actually made it to the concert. Evil aliens do tend to ruin even the best plans they have.

 

“You’ve never once told me that if I loved you, I would do something particular. You’ve never doubted my love for you – not in that way. You’ve never asked me to prove it to you. You’ve never made it contingent – not your love for me or my love for you. You just love me, and, god, I just love you so much, Mags.”

 

Maggie starts to cry again, in earnest now.

 

“And…” Alex gives up and cries a little too because there’s no way that she can say this last part without crying – especially not when Maggie started it.

 

“I have never once, not for one second, worried that you’ll hurt me or punish me or leave me to teach me a lesson or to control me. You have never, not for one second, treated me like a hostage in this relationship. And I would do anything for you, Mags, just anything, and you know that, but you have never, not once, taken advantage of that.”

 

They take a couple moments to let that settle.

 

“Mags…” Alex swallows. This is the last thing she has to say. “Babe, all I ever want to do is treat you so well. All I want to do is make you feel loved and safe and cared about and trusted and happy. And I hope that I do that—“

 

“You do,” Maggie interrupts, softly.

 

And she reaches out and she puts her hand on top of Alex’s and Alex stifles her impulse to grab it as quickly as she can.

 

She, slowly and gently, flips her hand over so Maggie’s palm is resting on the top of hers.

 

“The most important thing in the world to me is that you feel that way. And I know that doesn’t erase what she did to you. Just like I know you and I being there for Kara isn’t going to erase what Mon-El did to her. But I just…I want to make sure you know that you deserve everything. You deserve everything you’ve ever given me, and so much more.”

 

Maggie slides her palm, slowly, up and down Alex’s, and Alex takes another little risk and she reaches up with her other hand and gently slips Maggie’s hair back behind her ear.

 

“I just want to spend forever making sure you know how it feels to be loved like this, okay?”

 

And Maggie just nods, a couple of times.

 


 

And Alex knows that they’ll need to talk more about this later.

 

About what Maggie’s triggers are, so Alex can keep away from them.

 

About what things Maggie would want or need from Alex but hasn’t felt comfortable asking for.

 

About what to say to Kara.

 

About where Alex can find Joslyn for some light murder.

 

But for tonight she just holds her precious girlfriend in her enormous bed and she scratches her scalp and rubs her back and does everything she can to show Maggie just how good love can feel.

 

  


 

 

Here are some resources that I shamelessly stole from @sapphicscholar because she’s a very smart and excellent person:

The (US) Domestic Violence Hotline is at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224 or http://www.thehotline.org

Here’s another website with a list of global resources about domestic violence and abuse: https://www.domesticshelters.org/national-global and another international list that is still being built up (so if you have info for your own home country and feel safe contributing, feel free to do so), but it has hotlines listed: https://www.7cups.com/forum/DomesticAbuseSupportCommunity_121/DomesticAbuseResourcesandMedia_1045/ListofInternationalDomesticAbuseHotlinesContribute_65972/

Chapter Text

It was October 15th, when she did it for the first time. She remembers it because she made an “Ides of October” joke to herself a couple days later, when she’d realized.

 

It was October 15, 2016, when she told someone that she was gay for the first time.

 

Or, well, she hadn’t exactly gotten the words out on October 15th. On October 15th she’d sat down across a sticky bar table from Maggie and told her maybe that she’d been right, what she’d said about Alex. That maybe her problem wasn’t with intimacy, but instead it was…that other thing.

 

And Maggie had tilted her head and she had smiled and she had understood what Alex was trying to say.

 

And even though she hadn’t said the words, she counts it. Even though she hadn’t been able to repeat back Maggie’s words either, the ones from the crime scene. Into girls and gay, Maggie had said. Alex couldn’t get there. Not quite. But still, she counts it.

 

She counts that night as the first time she came out, because even though she had just incoherently babbled, Maggie had known what she was saying. Maggie had known, and Maggie had seen her, and Maggie had taken care of her.

 

On October 22nd she’d talked about it again, with Maggie, over at the pool tables. Neither of them had said it then either. Maggie had called it “all that” (“how are you doing with all that?”) and then had said, “I came out to my family,” which, of course, turned out to be a complete and total lie. But, on October 22nd, they’d both just called it “it.”

 

“Maybe it’s a phase,” Alex had said. “Maybe it isn’t real.”

 

But Maggie had stopped her. “It’s real,” she’d said, and Alex knew exactly what she meant, even though neither of them had said it. “You’re real,” she’d said. “This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to you,” she’d said, but she, of course, hadn’t yet known about the day an alien had shown up and taken root in Alex’s bedroom. “Tell your family,” Maggie had advised, and she didn’t have to say tell them what. Because they both knew.

 

It was October 23rd when Alex had told Kara. And she still hadn’t found the word, but she’d gotten closer. “Feelings,” Alex was able to say then. “Feelings, for her.”

 

Those feelings,” she’d said, which at least seemed like a step up from it.

 

“Thoughts like this,” she’d called them.

 

But that didn’t go very well. Kara had asked her if she was gay, and she had said, “I don’t know,” even though that wasn’t true, and then she’d walked away.

 

It wasn’t until October 24th – now the third day in a row she was talking about it, that she’d confronted Kara in her apartment. They were back to calling it “it.”

 

But then Kara had called it “part of yourself,” and that seemed more true than anything else. It isn’t the biggest thing to ever happen to her – she’s an alien hunter with an alien sister whose dad is a prisoner of an anti-alien war and once Maxwell Lord fed her snails on an undercover date – but it’s something. It’s something big. It’s a part of her.

 

“I can’t do this without you,” Alex had told Kara. “This,” now. Not it. This.

 

And then Kara had asked about Maggie and Alex had gotten closer than she ever had. “I just like her so much,” she’d said.

 

“Go get the girl,” Kara had said.

 

And it was October 25th when she had done as she was told, and she had gone and she had gotten the girl, and the girl had pushed her away and said no. The girl had said she was “fresh off the boat,” and that hurt like hell but Alex still hadn’t said the words – hadn’t said gay or lesbian or even not straight – so maybe Maggie was right.

 

Maybe she was too new, too fresh.

 

But it hurt like hell anyway.

 

So it was October 25th that she’d gone back to calling it “it.” “Forget I said anything about it,” she’d spit at Kara. “Just forget it.”

 

It was October 25th that she’d called it “that.”

 

It was October 25th she’d called it “a mistake.”

 

But Kara didn’t let her believe that for long.

 

She’d taken time, just sitting with this idea. With this part of herself. She’d talked about it with Kara some, but hadn’t mentioned it to anyone else. Without Maggie – without a relationship with Maggie – she hadn’t known how to say it.

 

She hadn’t known if she wanted to, not for a while.

 

So it wasn’t until November 24th that she’d tried to tell someone else. It was Thanksgiving, and she’d tried to get drunk enough to tell her mom and Winn and James. “I feel like myself more than I ever have,” she’d said. Or, at least, she’d tried to say. The wine might have garbled it a little. But before she could get any of the words out – any of the words she’d practiced in front of the mirror and the punching bag – the air had exploded and they’d all run off to the lab.

 

Rips in the time/space continuum have a very sobering effect, it turns out.

 

It was November 25th that her mom had said the word to her. “Gay,” her mom had said. “You being gay,” she had said. Alex only managed to call herself not “regular,” but her mom had understood anyway.

 

It was the first time she hadn’t denied it, when faced with that word. She thought, from inside their hug, maybe that was progress.

 

And so, her mom knew. Alex wondered if that made her actually out.

 

And then Maggie had almost died, shot in the chest with a laser that went right through her vest.

 

And she was okay, and Alex had stitched her up and she was okay, her skin was still vibrant and glowing, her eyes were still soft and warm, her dimples were still shimmering.

 

And that had just loosened something in Alex, and so on November 25th she’d said it out loud, not to herself or to her punching bag, but to another person for the very first time. And, of course, it was fitting that she’d said it to Maggie first. Maggie, who’d been there from the start.

 

Gay,” Alex had said.

 

“When you first suggested that I was gay…well, I denied it,” she’d admitted, because she had.

 

But, in the past tense.

 

“But it’s my new normal,” she’d finally said. “And I’m happy that it is.”

 

And it was November 26th that Maggie had knocked on her door and complimented her pajamas and said that they were both girls who wanted to kiss girls. And Maggie had kissed her.

 

42 days after Alex said something like it for the first time, Maggie kissed her.

 

And so maybe it would make sense to count November 25th as the day she came out, because it was the first time she didn’t deny it, the first time her mom knew. Or maybe October 25th, because it was the first time she’d kissed a girl. Or maybe October 23rd, because it was the first time she got close to really saying it, the first time she told her family.

 

But Alex counts October 15th. Alex counts October 15th, that conversation across the sticky table in the bar, when she hadn’t even been able to say “it,” as the day she came out for the first time.

 


 

Alex thinks about it all day.

 

All week, actually.

 

It’s a busy time of year. Getting ready for the holidays, dealing with the change in the weather that always makes people do dumb stuff. Preparing for Halloween, which she and Kara love and always go all-out for.

 

Apartment hunting, because, “I love you, babe, but I really need a bedroom door, and wouldn’t it be awesome to have a workout room.” And, it turns out that “we’re gonna need a door before we can have a dog, so we can have sex in private” is very motivating logic. So they’re trying to find a place before the new year, but they’re looking to buy, not rent, so it’s a long and complicated process.

 

So there’s a lot going on, that second week of October.

 

She hasn’t mentioned it to Maggie, not since the Ides of March, when she’d off-handedly mentioned her little joke. She’d said something about “beware the Ides of October” and some poorly formed joke about a stab to the back of her heterosexuality.

 

But it’s a busy time, so she hasn’t mentioned it since.

 

October 15th is a Sunday, this year, but days of the week don’t matter so much when you’re a DEO agent and an in-demand Detective. They’re both working.

 

And all day at the DEO – a day that blissfully involves no alien attacks, so Alex can actually finish a project in the lab she’s been stuck on for weeks – Alex can’t stop remembering. Remembering what it was like, those weeks and months last year. When everything was shiny and new and terrifying. When the word “gay” was so far out of her reach.

 

When she wasn’t sure if Maggie was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen in a straight way or a gay way or just a Maggie way.

 

When the idea of being happy like this – domestic and fierce and passionate – was unfathomable. When the idea of a bigger apartment and a dog and a ring on her finger and a permanent roommate whose hair was always clogging the shower drain would have made her panic.

 

She wishes she could go back and hug that Alex – that October 15th Alex who didn’t have any words, and that October 23rd Alex who thought Kara was disappointed in her, and that October 25th Alex who Maggie so gently rejected, and that November 24th Alex who got so sloppy at Thanksgiving, and that November 25th Alex who thought being gay meant she couldn’t have the life she’d always wanted.

 

She wishes she could go back and tell herself that it’s okay. That, yes, she’s gay, and yes, that’s awesome, and yes, Maggie will come around, and fuck yes, Maggie is worth it.

 

So she’s been preoccupied all day, just remembering.

 

She manages to get home at a reasonable hour for once, and she puts her keys in the lock expecting to see Maggie crashed out on the couch or reading over case files at the table or maybe out on a run, or frantically checking real estate listings on her laptop up at the counter.

 

But instead she opens the door and is simultaneously hit with the unmistakably delicious smell of Maggie’s enchiladas and the sight of her beautiful fiancée – barefoot, her hair down, wearing that white button-down shirt tucked into her dark blue jeans – standing in the kitchen.

 

There are cheerfully burning candles on the counter and the fire is going and there’s soft music playing. The actual table –not the kitchen counter – is set with the placemats they never use and more candles and there are two vases of fresh flowers. Her favorite wine is on the table, decanting in the full-bellied glasses they’d gotten at their wedding shower.

 

“Maggie,” she says, and it comes out in almost a gasp. “Babe, what is this?”

 

It’s not that it’s crazy for Maggie to make her dinner, or treat her to a nice evening. Maggie is generous and giving and loving and effusive as hell, but sometimes she doesn’t know how to show all of that with words. They’d taken that love language quiz a couple of months ago, and Maggie had scored highly on gift-giving as the way she shows affection.

 

Sweet, quiet, unobtrusive Maggie, with her heart the size of the galaxy.

 

But this seems like more than just a nice gesture. This seems like something important.

 

And Alex is kind of obsessed with this date – with the Ides of October – so she’s pretty sure she isn’t missing a big birthday or anniversary. Maybe Maggie got a promotion? But, no, that seems like the type of thing they’d celebrate with whiskey and pool and basket after basket of fries and then a light sex marathon.

 

This is intimate. Romantic.

 

Loving.

 

“Hey, babe,” Maggie says, and she’s giving Alex that smile, the one that just makes Alex melt with love and care and affection.

 

She walks over, and Alex is still wearing her boots and Maggie is barefoot so there’s even more of a height difference than normal. Maggie floats her hands to Alex’s hips and holds on with a steady grip while she rubs her thumbs, so softly, across Alex’s hipbones. She leans in, and Alex can smell the perfume she only wears for special occasions and the hint of spice from the enchiladas.

 

She presses her lips – softly, lovingly – to Alex’s jaw.

 

“Welcome home, love,” she murmurs into Alex’s skin.

 

Alex’s hands are on her shoulders, and she can’t help that she develops the Danvers Crinkle. “Babe,” she says, worried she’s missed something, but unable to get too agitated about it because Maggie is so soft and perfect in her arms. “What is all this?”

 

And Maggie tilts her head a little, and she leans back a little to look Alex in the eye, and she’s giving Alex her confused dimpled smile. “It…it’s your anniversary, babe,” she says, and each word is so heavy with love and care that Alex nearly drowns in it. “The Ides of October, right? Your coming out anniversary.”

 

And Alex just sucks in a breath, because she’d only mentioned it once before, in a bad joke about Julius Caesar, but Maggie remembered. Maggie remembered and Maggie set this all up for her and Maggie cooked for her and cleaned for her and is wearing Alex’s favorite shirt for her.

 

Alex slides her hands up, slipping through Maggie’s silky hair to cup the back of her head.

 

Just like last year, just like last October 15th, Alex doesn’t quite have the words right now. She can’t quite find the right words to say I can’t believe you remembered and I think my heart might be stopping and this feels like a stupid thing to celebrate but I really wanted to and I can’t believe you knew that and thank you for taking care of me last year and thank you for being so beautiful and wonderful that I came out for you and thank you for wanting to kiss me.

 

So she just kisses Maggie, as deeply and fully and lovingly as she can, hoping that the softness of her lips and the pressure of her hands and the lean of her body manage to say all of that for her.

 

“I love you,” she manages to say, sometime later.

 

“Come eat, love,” Maggie tells her after a couple of long moments, when the oven starts to beep. “Come let me thank you for taking a risk on me.”

 

And Alex shakes her head, holding tight to Maggie’s hand, because she’s taken a lot of risks in her life but this just feels like coming home.

 

“Happy anniversary, love,” Maggie says to her later, curled around her in bed. “Happy one year as yourself.”

 

And Alex just burrows into her, letting Maggie’s soft body and her tender, gentle love wash over her. “I love you,” she says, and just like last October 15th, Maggie knows exactly what she means.

Chapter Text

Elizabeth: Hey bitches

Maggie: No

Alex: What is this?

Maggie: No

Elizabeth: The fuck do you mean, what is this?

Elizabeth: WEDDING PLANNING GROUP CHAT, BITCHES

Maggie: No

Kara: OH MY GODS

Kara: YES

Kara: LIZ, YOU’RE BRILLIANT

Kara: *throws glitter*

Alex: No

Maggie: No

Elizabeth: Excuse me, assholes, but as your maids of honor, we have some real shit to plan

Maggie: Who the fuck said you were my maid of honor, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: Pretty sure it was your crying face on skype ten minutes after your girl proposed

Kara: Oh snap!

Elizabeth: Check the tapes, bitch

Maggie: …that may possibly be true, yes

Alex: Hi, just want to chime in to say this group chat is my worst nightmare

Kara: Alex hates texting

Elizabeth: So does Maggie

Elizabeth: Match made in luddite heaven

Kara: Oh! Speaking of luddites! Liz, what do you think the wedding hashtag should be??

Maggie: No

Elizabeth: How about #MaggieGetsLaidForever

Maggie: No

Kara: Please no

Elizabeth: #IStanSanvers

Maggie: What does that even mean

Maggie: Nevermind, I don’t want to know

Kara: #Maglex

Elizabeth: #GalPals

Kara: #TrueLove

Elizabeth: #GetARoom

Kara: #SanversForever

Elizabeth: #DidItOnAMotorcycle

Kara: #MaggieGoesDanvers

Elizabeth: #ForeverFuckBuddies

Kara: #DimplesAndRayGuns

Elizabeth: #WeFuckedInATacticalHelicopter

Kara: Okay that’s just unsafe, don’t encourage them

Elizabeth: No encouragement needed, my innocent little friend

Kara: EW, no please

Maggie: Elizabeth

Elizabeth: What! I’M not the one who fucked in a tactical helicopter

Kara: Please say you’re joking

Alex: Okay it was ONE time

Kara: Oh gods

Kara: Why, Rao

Maggie: Elizabeth Martinez, our wedding hashtag is not going to be about sex

Elizabeth: THEN WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING ONE, YOU USELESS ASSHOLE

Maggie: I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW DUDE

Maggie: Seems like people got married just fine without them for centuries

Elizabeth: Kara, help me out here

Elizabeth: How the FUCK are we supposed to plan the biggest, gayest wedding in the history of National City without a hashtag??

Kara: Impossible!

Elizabeth: ^^ I respect MY president

Maggie: Oh my god, stop

Alex: What is happening right now

Maggie: Babe, run

Maggie: Get out

Maggie: This is not a drill

Kara: #TwoGunsOneHome

Alex: Kara, we have so many more than two guns in our house

Elizabeth: #FourTitsOneBed

Maggie: Delete my number

 


 

Elizabeth: Okay, let’s talk about entrance logistics

Alex: Agents form up behind Trap Leader, engage on my signal, clear Warehouse 1 ground floor before proceeding to basement. Silencers on, bayonet attachments in use, full tac equipment, backup standing by to engage on my word

Elizabeth:

Elizabeth: Well, the wedding guests won’t see it coming, which I guess is a plus

Maggie: Al, babe, you’re in the wrong text

Alex: Oh, shit

Alex: Sorry

Alex: …although

Maggie: No

Kara: No

Maggie: Al, no

Elizabeth: FUCK YES

Elizabeth: ROLL UP TO YOUR WEDDING WITH A FULL TACTICAL TEAM

Elizabeth: SOMMERSAULT DOWN THE AISLE LIKE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

Elizabeth: SHOOT YOUR RAY GUN INTO THE AIR

Elizabeth: DREAM BIG, BITCH, THIS IS YOUR WEDDING

Kara: Alexandra Danvers, if you show up to your wedding in your work uniform and tactical vest I will throw you into the sun

Kara: Which of course is an exaggeration

Kara: Because I do not have the ability to do something like that

Kara: Ha ha ha

Elizabeth: I mean, I was imagining Supergirl flying you in, or some shit, but this works too

Alex: I barely know Supergirl

Alex: She’s not even invited

Elizabeth: Wow, Kara, what do you think about that

Kara: Oh! What? Me?

Kara: Seems fine

Kara: I’ve heard she’s nice though

Maggie: Elizabeth, what do you know

Elizabeth: Nothing, bitch

Elizabeth: Or should I say

Elizabeth: SUPER BITCH’S SISTER-IN-LAW

Maggie: Oh fuck

Maggie: Okay, Liz? When the people in suits show up to your office in five minutes, do not make jokes

Maggie: Do not threaten them

Maggie: Do exactly as they say and sign all the paperwork

Maggie: It will take hours. Do not shirk off.

Alex: Two minutes, actually

Alex: and thirteen seconds

Elizabeth: What the fuck?

Alex: Kara, did you know she knew?

Kara:

Kara: Oopsies

Alex: Come join me in the green sparring room

Kara: Yikes

 


 

Elizabeth: Hi everyone, it’s literally been seven hours since I’ve had access to my phone or computer

Elizabeth: For the record, fuck all of you

Kara: *throws glitter*

Kara: WELCOME TO THE SUPERFRIENDS

Maggie: No

 


 

Kara: Okay, time to talk maid of honor dresses!

Elizabeth: Oh hell yes

Maggie: Save me from this, lesbian jesus

Elizabeth: Lesbian jesus can’t help you now, girl

Kara: Who is lesbian jesus?

Elizabeth: Queen Latifah

Kara: Oh, I was gonna guess Ellen, but…

Kara: That sounds about right

Elizabeth: Kara, you have that alabaster skin and blonde Aryan thing going, right

Elizabeth: What colors look good on you?

Kara: Alex says blue is my color

Maggie: Blue is Alex’s favorite color

Elizabeth: That’s gay

Elizabeth: That you know that

Elizabeth: And that you saw fit to say it right now

Alex: I love you, babe

Elizabeth: Disgusting

Kara: What colors look good on you?

Elizabeth: Blue works. Especially light blue. Makes me look tan.

Maggie: You’re Latina, not tan

Elizabeth: Whatever, bitch, I’m hot and light blue knows it

Maggie: You’re insane

Elizabeth: You love me

Maggie: Lord knows why

Alex: Would that be the heterosexual lord or Queen Latifah? Just trying to keep the theology straight, here.

Elizabeth: Hon, nothing about this group chat is straight

Kara: I am!

Elizabeth: Aww, that’s cute, muffin

Maggie: Elizabeth

Elizabeth: What! A girl can dream!

Elizabeth: Gay sisters are worth so many points

Maggie: Only if you fuck both of them

Maggie: Which

Maggie: You’re. Not. Going. To.

Alex: Seconded

Elizabeth: Rude

Maggie: This group text is literally to plan Alex’s wedding. To me.

Elizabeth: OMG BITCH ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED??

Elizabeth: That’s tight!

Maggie: Your 90’s slang is embarrassing

Kara: Nothing about the 90’s is embarrassing!

Alex: Incorrect

Kara: Omg though this group text is what the 90’s were ABOUT

Kara: ahem

Kara: IF YOU WANNA BE MY LOVER

Alex: No

Elizabeth: YOU GOTTA GET WITH MY FRIENDS

Alex: No

Kara: MAKE IT LAST FOREVER

Alex: Fuck

Elizabeth: FRIENDSHIP NEVER EEEEEEENDS

Maggie: Delete my number

 


 

Elizabeth: Kara, I like this dress you sent me

Elizabeth: But you’ll barely be able to see my boobs at all

Maggie: To clarify, she means that as a bad thing

Elizabeth: Dude, these boobs are fucking works of art

Elizabeth: And art was made to be displayed

Elizabeth: You don’t see the Louvre covering up the Mona Lisa, do you?

Maggie:

Maggie: Elizabeth Martinez, everybody

Elizabeth: Your favorite person in the world

Elizabeth: So what does that say about YOU, Margaret

Alex: ahem

Elizabeth: YOUR FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD

Alex: Honestly, seems fair

Maggie: Not after this group chat

Maggie: Liz, don’t pick a dress that’s going to embarrass your kid later

Elizabeth: What the fuck is the point of ANY of this if it’s not going to embarrass my kid later?

Elizabeth: This kid is making Abby throw up five times a day, the least I can do is make them ashamed of me

Kara: WAIT

Kara: WHAT

Kara: OH MY GOD

Kara: IS YOUR WIFE PREGNANT

Kara: ARE YOU HAVING A BABY????

Elizabeth: FUCK YES WE ARE

Kara: OH MY GOD I’M CRYING

Elizabeth: Hi everyone, just for a quick update, Kara just flew here and hugged me

Kara: I’M STILL CRYING

Kara: THERE IS LOVE AND BEAUTY IN THE WORLD

Alex: Kara, you’re literally planning my wedding right now

Alex: That doesn’t say “love and beauty” to you but prenatal vomit does?

Alex: And, for another quick update, Kara just flew here and hugged me too

Maggie: Bitch, what? Where the fuc

Maggie: Oh, yup, got my hug too. Thanks, Supergirl

Maggie: Oh god

Maggie: She’s hugging everyone in the squad room

Maggie: Alex

Maggie: Come get your girl

Maggie: She’s doing loop-de-loops in the squad room

Maggie: Everyone’s papers are everywhere

Alex: On it

Elizabeth: I fucking love this group chat

 


 

Elizabeth: So am I being ordained to officiate this wedding or what

Maggie: No

Alex: No

Maggie: God no

Elizabeth: RUDE

Maggie: I DON’T NEED YOU MAKING SEX JOKES IN FRONT OF EVERYONE AT MY WEDDING

Elizabeth: You know that’s unstoppable, right? Like, inevitable.

Elizabeth: Like, even if you uninvite me

Elizabeth: I’ll be there

Elizabeth: Making sex jokes

Kara: Oh Rao

Alex: Mags, babe, wanna elope?

Elizabeth: Nope

Maggie: Absolutely yes

Kara: I will throw you both into the sun

Elizabeth: Kara and I will plan a wedding without any of your input or restraint, and then kidnap you and force you to be there

Alex: Nevermind

Alex: Wedding is on

Maggie: Fuck you, Elizabeth

Elizabeth: I love you, bitch

Maggie: I love you too but lord knows why

Kara: Queen Latifah knows all things

 


 

Alex: Babe, are you there? I’m in the lab and this experiment isn’t working, and it’s the fourth time I’m running it, and I don’t know what’s wrong and I’m so fucking pissed at it and I just want to scream and I’m trying not to cry at work but fuck

Alex: Can you just come here and hold me for a minute please

Kara: *squeals*

Kara: Oh my god this is so cute

Alex: Oh fuck

Alex: Fuck

Alex: Fuck me

Alex: Sorry

Alex: How do I delete that

Alex: Fuck

Maggie: Aw, babe

Maggie: Didn’t know you were in the group thread, did you

Alex: No I did not

Maggie: I’m on my way, okay? Be there in 15, okay love?

Elizabeth: WOW

Alex: Oh god

Elizabeth: WOW WOW WOW

Elizabeth: I’ve been a lesbian my whole life

Elizabeth: And that’s the gayest shit I have ever seen

Elizabeth: That is some next level lesbian shit

Alex: This is Maggie, I left my phone on my desk by accident. Leave my girl alone, Elizabeth

Elizabeth: Welp, okay

Elizabeth: I stand corrected

Elizabeth: THAT was the gayest shit I’ve ever seen

Elizabeth: You both are disgusting, btw

Elizabeth: But I love you anyway

Alex: I love you too, Liz

Elizabeth: Oh my god, Alex, this is such a milestone for us

Alex: Shut up dude

Elizabeth: Oh, hello, Margaret

Kara: Liz, check your email. Just sent you a high res picture of them snuggling in Alex’s lab

Alex: Kara!

Elizabeth: FUCK YES

Elizabeth: I LOVE YOU KARA

Elizabeth: This is the best day of my life

Elizabeth: This is SO GAY

 


 

Elizabeth: *whispers* hey Kara

Maggie: *whispers* you can’t whisper in a text

Elizabeth: KARA WAKE UP

Kara: What’s up? Are you okay? Is it an emergency? Do you need me to save you?

Elizabeth: Aww that’s cute

Elizabeth: No I’m good

Elizabeth: I just wanted to know what you’re doing with your hair

Kara: Oh, I have to wear it up

Kara: So people don’t know I’m Supergirl

Elizabeth: Oh, right

Elizabeth: Your disguise

Elizabeth: It works so well

Elizabeth: No one can tell it’s you

Elizabeth: When one third of your hair is pulled back

Elizabeth: Was that decision YOUR tactical brilliance, Alex?

Elizabeth: Alex?

Elizabeth: Helloooooooo

Elizabeth: Kara is your sister dead

Kara: OH RAO

Elizabeth: What??

Kara: I went to check on them

Kara: I should not have

Kara: There are many reasons people may not respond to a text

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: Were they banging??

Kara: Yes

Elizabeth: Get it, girls

Elizabeth: Oh, but you have xray vision don’t you

Kara: And superhearing

Elizabeth: You traumatized for life, hon?

Kara: Yes

Elizabeth: Who was going down on who?

Kara: I think…everyone

Elizabeth: BAHAHAHA

Elizabeth: GET IT, GIRLS

Maggie: We’re moving to lead-lined box in Antarctica

Maggie: Just fyi

Alex: Kill me now

Elizabeth: Well it IS called “the little death,” so

Elizabeth: Hopefully Margaret just did

Maggie: Stop it

Alex: Delete my number

 


 

Elizabeth: Okay so my flight lands at 2

Elizabeth: Abby is still nauseous as fuck, can she crash at one of your places while we Get Shit Done in the afternoon?

Kara: Of course! She can come here!

Elizabeth: Awesome

Kara: Just come here right from the airport, and then Lena will swing by to pick us up on the way to Getting Things Done

Elizabeth: That’s cute

Elizabeth: What’s the deal between you and Lena?

Kara: She’s my best friend

Alex: ahem

Kara: She’s my second best friend

Elizabeth: That’s some middle school level shit

Elizabeth: But like, are you banging her?

Kara: LENA?

Kara: What

Kara: No

Kara: I would not

Kara: Do that

Kara: With my friend!

Elizabeth: Oh

Elizabeth: Wow

Elizabeth: Okay

Elizabeth: That was…

Elizabeth: Vehement

Maggie: Liz

Elizabeth: MAGGIE

Maggie: I know, dude. I know.

 


 

Elizabeth: IT IS TODAY

Elizabeth: IT IS TODAY

Elizabeth: HAPPY WEDDING DAY BITCH

Elizabeth: I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

Kara: *throws glitter*

Kara: THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE

Kara: I’M SO HAPPY

Kara: #TWOGUNSONEHOME

Elizabeth: #69TILAGE69

Alex: Is it too late to elope?

Maggie: I hope not

Kara: Uh, Mags, you REALLY are gonna want to see her in this dress

Maggie: Oh, fuck

Maggie: Yes

Maggie: I am

Maggie: Babe

Maggie: I love you

Alex: God, Mags

Alex: I love you too

Alex: See you soon, babe

Maggie: Oh, do we have a meeting set? My schedule is pretttttttty full today but I’ll see what I can do

Maggie: ;)

Alex: You’re ridiculous

Maggie: You love me

Alex: I really do

Elizabeth: GAY

Elizabeth: GAY

Elizabeth: THAT’S GAY

Kara: *throws glitter* 

Chapter Text

Maggie doesn’t quite know what to expect. She’s done her reading, of course. She knows the legend and she knows some of the most common modern ways of celebrating.

 

She went with Alex to the small, informal Passover seder at Kara’s last April, when she and Alex had been together for only about six months, and she’d been in awe of the rituals and the traditions and the dedication to justice and freedom. And, of course, the Rugrats Passover Special that they’d watched afterwards had been truly fantastic.

 

But Maggie has gotten the sense that Chanukah with the Danvers family is an even bigger deal than Passover was. Maggie knows, from her reading, that Chanukah is a more minor holiday, religiously, but from the way Alex talks about it, it seems like that religious ranking doesn’t matter much to the Danvers girls.

 

Maggie had been invited over for Christmas, last year, even though she and Alex had only been together for a month, but she hadn’t been invited to Chanukah.

 

She knows they did something for it, Alex and Kara and Eliza, but she hadn’t been invited.

 

So she’s nervous, this year.

 

She has Alex’s ring on her finger, and they’re planning their wedding for the spring, and Eliza loves her, and things with Kara are better than ever, and they’d all been so generous with her at Passover, so she’s not entirely sure why she’s so nervous.

 

But she is.

 


 

She arrives to Kara’s at 4:15pm. It’s a Tuesday. She had to get special dispensation from her captain to leave work early, but it turns out his sister married a Jewish guy, so he had just nodded knowingly and said “Gotta beat sundown, huh?” before shooing her out of the office even earlier than she’d asked.

 

She stops by the little store a couple blocks from Kara’s to pick up two bottles of red wine and a bouquet of flowers, because she honestly has no idea what to bring to a Chanukah…thing. Party? Gathering? Ceremony? But she figures wine and flowers can’t be too wrong of a choice.

 

She knocks on the door, and it’s Winn who answers it. He grins and gives her a quick hug, leading her into the warm, bright apartment, and she takes a deep breath.

 

She hates feeling out her depth.

 

She looks around, taking it in. It’s not a big group, like she’s seen here for birthdays or celebrations before. James and Kara are chatting over by the stove, and Eliza and J’onn are looking out the window together.

 

Maggie and Winn take a couple steps inside, and Maggie’s about to drop the wine on the counter when Alex strides out of the bathroom.

 

And Maggie is nervous but the sight of Alex immediately calms her.

 

The sight of Alex always calms her. No matter how fucked her day is, or how badly her case is going, or how frazzled she is. All she has to do is see Alex and it’s like she can breathe clearly.

 

And, of course, the hug and the kiss and the squeeze Alex gives her, and the way Alex’s eyes light up, and the way Alex looks at her like she’s the most precious thing in the world – those help too.

 

Alex takes the wine, placing the bottles on the counter with an appreciative raise of her eyebrows, and Maggie hands the flowers to Kara, who comes over to hug her hello. Eliza and J’onn come over too, and Maggie gets hugs from both of them. Eliza says, “It’s so good to see you, sweetie,” right in her ear. And Maggie has never really liked being called “sweetie,” but it’s what Eliza has called her since the beginning, and every single time it makes Maggie feel ridiculously cared about and safe.

 

James opens two bottles of wine, and passes out glasses. They all cheers, glasses tinkling softly against each other. It’s warm in the apartment, and the light is a little dim, and the sun is just starting to set. Maggie leans into Alex’s body, her arm low around Alex’s waist and Alex’s arm draped over her shoulders, her hand coming down to press tight against Maggie’s ribs.

 

Maggie takes a sip of her wine and then lets her head tip over, just for a second, to rest against Alex.

 

Alex, midsentence, turns her head enough to drop a kiss to Maggie’s hair.

 

Every single day with Alex is an experiment in have I ever felt this loved before? And today is no exception. Maggie wiggles the fingers holding her wine glass just enough so she can see the glint of the simple ring on her finger.

 

She thinks she’s done it subtly, but Alex pulls her in even tighter – without looking away from her conversation with James, on her other side – and Maggie can’t help but grin.


God, she loves this woman.

 


 

At 4:40, the tone in the room changes. The Danvers women smoothly spring into action, but the mood is suddenly quiet and a little solemn. James, J’onn, Winn, and Maggie clear the snacks and bottles of wine from the dining room table, and the Danvers women all disappear for a moment. Alex and Kara come back with a tablecloth that Maggie’s never seen. It’s blue and white and it looks old and delicate and foreign in a way Maggie can’t quite pinpoint. Alex and Kara spread it out on the table like it’s delicate and precious.

 

Eliza brings over a menorah, holding it carefully with both hands.

 

It looks really old.

 

It’s silver, and tall, and ornate. It’s clearly well cared for – recently polished – but there are tarnished and aged spots on it that even the best polish can’t take off. Each of the nine branches are twisted and designed, and the center branch is the tallest and most intricate of all. The base has something written on it, in blocky Hebrew letters over the ornate design, but Maggie has no idea what it says.

 

She has a million questions, but there’s a reverent hush in the room, so she swallows them back.

 

Eliza places the menorah on top of a small plain white cloth that Kara has set on top of the tablecloth, in the center of the table. Alex has two candles in her hand, and she places them, carefully and delicately, in the menorah. She puts one in the taller center branch and the other in the furthest right branch, leaving a gap between the two. Maggie knows from her research the center candle, in the tallest branch, is called the shamash.

 

The three of them stand, then, in a line facing the menorah. Alex is in the middle – Kara on her left and Eliza on her right. Maggie is standing with the boys over to the side, able to see the faces of the Danvers women and the menorah and the city outside the windows.

 

Just as the sun slips all the way into the ocean, Eliza strikes a match and holds the flame to the shamash in the middle.

 

The candle catches, and she holds the lit match out to Kara, who grins as she puts out the match with her bare fingers. Alex reaches out, then, picks up the lighted shamash, and uses it to light the other candle on the right side of the menorah.

 

Once that catches and ignites, she passes the shamash to Kara, who gently puts it back in its spot at the top of the menorah.

 

The two candles burn, several inches apart, bright yellow and steady in the darkening apartment.

 

The three of them join hands, then, and close their eyes.

 

Maggie wonders if she should close her eyes too.

 

But she notices that James is watching, and she can’t tear her eyes away from these women. These women that she loves so fiercely, who have given her a family she never could have imagined. These women who are so practical, so scientific, so grounded in their daily lives, but who have, in just a few moments, created a moment that is more spiritual and reverent than any church Maggie has ever been in.

 

So Maggie keeps her eyes open, and she watches.

 

Eliza starts singing, her eyes still closed. “Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah.”

 

Maggie doesn’t know what it means, but she’s done enough research to know this is the traditional Hebrew blessing over the Chanukah candles.

 

Eliza’s voice is strong and steady, and she sings each word slowly and carefully. She doesn’t shy away from the intervals or the language. She sings it with the practiced air of someone who has done it a million times. Someone who has watched their mother and their grandmother do it a million times before them.

 

Eliza breathes, for a minute, and then begins again. And this time Alex and Kara start to hum along. Maggie isn’t very musical, but she’s pretty sure Alex is humming the melody with Eliza, and Kara is humming a slightly higher harmony. “Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh.”

 

After another breath, Eliza begins again, singing the final prayer. Alex and Kara, again, hum underneath her, their eyes still closed. “Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh.”

 

Maggie hadn’t even known that Alex knew any of the prayers, because she knows Alex doesn’t consider herself to be a religious person, and Alex hasn’t ever mentioned going to temple.

 

But she clearly knows the melody, and this is clearly a tradition that’s important to all of them, and Maggie just wants to know everything.

 

She almost steps forward after Eliza finishes – knowing, from her research, that three prayers are the maximum, but James’ hand on her arm stops her.

 

She looks back over, and realizes that Kara is taking a deep breath.

 

All three of them still have their eyes closed.

 

Kara opens her mouth, and she starts to sing.

 

Maggie can tell, immediately, that she’s singing in Kryptonese. She has no idea what it means, but it’s incredibly beautiful. The melody isn’t entirely unlike what Eliza had just sung, and it also seems to be in three stanzas. Kara’s voice is beautiful, and she soars through the song, high and clear and pure and low and deep and mournful.

 

On the third stanza, Alex and Eliza hum, following Kara’s voice as it dips and weaves.

 

Maggie can see that Alex is squeezing Kara’s hand.

 

Maggie realizes, as she watches, that this is why she wasn’t invited last year. They celebrate Chanukah in a way that’s completely intertwined with the Kryptonian festival of light. Maggie doesn’t know much about Kara’s religion, but she knows that Rao is the god of light. She knows that pretty much every religion has a celebration in honor of light, and it only makes sense Krypton would’ve had one too. That, in the winter, when the light was weakest, and it had seemed like Rao might never be returning, all of Krypton would have lit candles and sung songs and asked him to come back.

 

And Maggie is taken aback, again, at how these beautiful, wonderful, amazing Danvers women so fully integrated Kara’s religion in with theirs. At how her celebration is so integral to theirs that only people who know about Kara Zor-El can celebrate the festival of lights with them, now.

 

It explains why Lena and Sam aren’t here. It explains why Maggie had come to Christmas but not to Chanukah last year.

 

Because this isn’t just about how Jews hope for the light to return after the solstice. It’s about how Kryptonians do, too.

 

Kara finishes her song, the last note low and long and meaningful, and Maggie hastily wipes a tear from her face. She forgets, sometimes, what Kara has lost. Not just her family but her culture. Her religion. Her traditions. Wiped out of the sky.

 

And Maggie loves Alex and Eliza even more for creating space, not just in their home and their hearts, but in their religion and their holidays and their traditions, for hers.

 

And Maggie waits again, because she can see that James is looking at Alex now.

 

She looks to her other side and sees that Winn and J’onn are both wiping tears away too.

 

The three women are still holding hands, their eyes still closed.

 

And then Alex opens her mouth, and she starts to speak.

 

“Together, we create combustion. By lighting these candles, we create a self-perpetuating cycle. Melted hydrocarbons turn to vapor, and create for us heat and light, H2O and CO2. This chemical reaction will continue, unaided, until the last hydrocarbon is melted or the heat is extinguished from an outside force.”

 

And Maggie sort of can’t believe it, but Alex is clearly doing her own scientific blessing of the Chanukah candles, and that is so nerdy and so completely Alex, and Maggie just loves her more than her body can handle. She feels her heart and her lungs squeezing together, unable to fit all that she feels inside of her body.


But Alex isn’t done. She continues to recite, her eyes still closed, still pressed close between her mother and her sister, still holding tight to their hands.

 

“This family is a combustion process of our own. We are self-perpetuating. We, together, create the light and heat that we need to keep going. It is not always an easy process. Things must be deconstructed – melted and vaporized – to create this heat. Challenges must be overcome. But all we need is one outside spark (here Alex nudges Kara’s shoulder with her own, and Kara, eyes still closed, beams) and our flame will burn and burn. We cannot be extinguished, we cannot run out.”

 

And Eliza and Kara join in, saying the last line along with her. “We create the light we need in this world, together.”

 

Maggie wipes another set of tears from her face, wondering faintly how she got in so deep that she’s crying over hydrocarbons.

 

They take a beat, the three of them, before their eyes flutter open, and their line melts into a strong, long, tight hug.

 

Maggie swallows, hard, overcome not just by their reverence and blessings but by how much they love each other. By how much of a family they are.

 

But then she feels an arm slip over her shoulders, and she’s pulled into James’ body for a serious hug. “Happy Chanukah, Maggie,” he says softly, his voice low and quiet in her ear, and she squeezes him back, hoping he can feel how grateful she is. For him, and for Winn and J’onn, who have walked over for their own hugs.

 

J’onn presses a little kiss to the top of her head, like he knows that she is both desperately happy that Alex has this family, and is desperately sad that her own doesn’t want her.

 

Maggie drops her forehead to his chest for a second, and lets herself feel what it’s like for a father to love you for exactly who you are. To welcome back the light surrounded by someone who sees and hears all of you – literally – and wants you by their side.

 

As she and J’onn pull apart, she sees that the Danvers women have separated too. James is hugging Eliza, and Winn is bounding over to Kara, who is still squeezing Alex’s hands but is grinning over at him.

 

Suddenly, Maggie realizes that it’s no longer quiet and soft and spiritual in the apartment. Eliza is laughing, and Winn is making a joke to Kara, and J’onn and Alex are hugging, and it still feels special and it still feels like a precious ritual and it still feels like it links back centuries and centuries, but it feels like Kara’s apartment again.

 

Eliza comes over then, and wraps Maggie in a hug. “I’m so glad you could be here with us, sweetie. It means the world to us to have you in our family.”

 

And Maggie can’t quite manage to say anything back, but the way Eliza squeezes her arms and smiles at her in parting tells her that she doesn’t need to.

 

And then Alex is there, and Maggie can’t stop herself from taking Alex’s face into her hands and kissing her softly and gently and thoroughly.

 

She can feel Alex smile into the kiss, and Alex mumbles, “Happy Chanukah, Mags,” against her lips, and Maggie has never liked a holiday so much.

 


 

The quiet, solumn, almost worshipful atmosphere evaporates the second Kara walks over to the wall and flips a switch.

 

Suddenly the dimly lit apartment is flooded with light from string after string of white twinkle lights. They’re around every window and latticed across the ceiling and suddenly the whole apartment is filled with a holiday glow. She puts on music, and Maggie vaguely recognizes from the minor key and excessive use of clarinet that it’s klezmer music. She sends a tendril of gratitude to that one Jewish girl she’d dated for minute in college who’d been in a klezmer band – although sitting through that concert had been one of the reasons Maggie had wanted to break up with her – for the knowledge.

 

Then everyone is pulling ingredients out of the fridge and washing their hands. Maggie watches, in awe, as Kara uses her superspeed to peel and grate what looks like a mountain of potatoes and onions. Maggie digs in, following Winn’s instructions to form the gloppy mess into pancakes. Alex and Eliza woman the frying pans, slipping each pancake into what looks like a good inch of oil and frying them until crispy.

 

The apartment smells like heaven.

 

After about half an hour of cooking, Kara changes the music, launching into what seems like a cappella Chanukah songs. When one particular one comes up, clearly rewritten to the tune of Dynamite by Taio Cruz, Kara, Winn, and Alex pause their cooking to thoroughly and intensely sing along, dramatically pantomiming spinning dreidels and flipping latkes, and just generally making fools out of themselves.

 

It’s the dorkiest thing in the world, but when Alex looks right at Maggie as she sings, “we’re gonna celebrate for all eight nights,” and she winks with that particular smug look on her face, well. There are worse things than celebrating for eight nights with a beautiful, nerdy, happy girlfriend, Maggie reasons, that’s for sure.

 

Even with the a cappella break, the latke assembly line is a surprisingly efficient system, and they’re ready to eat the in less than an hour. Winn pulls the sour cream and applesauce out of the fridge, and Alex refills all the wine glasses, and they feast at the table.

 

The latkes are, without question, completely delicious.

 

After completely stuffing herself, Maggie expects that things will wind down.

 

But, oh, she’s wrong.

 

Everyone troops back to the kitchen, and Maggie realizes they’re starting a whole other cooking project.

 

“Uh, Danvers?” she asks after a moment of confused watching. “Are we making…jelly donuts?”

 

Because latkes and candles she was prepared for, but donuts hadn’t come up in her reading.

 

But Alex just grins. “Yup,” she says. “So the thing with Chanukah is it’s the miracle of the oil, right?”

 

Maggie nods. “The oil was only supposed to last for one night, but it lasted for eight,” she recites, eager to show that she cares enough to have learned.

 

“Right,” Alex nods, hooking her index finger around Maggie’s pinky, “so the traditional foods are all cooked in oil, cause we’re all about that this week.” She grins, and Maggie doofily smiles back at her. This nerd. “So, latkes are fried, obviously, and so are donuts, which kind of makes them the traditional dessert. Not sure why jelly in particular, but, they are. Covered in powered sugar, which I’m pretty sure is just so you can recognize the other Jews on the street by the powdered sugar on their shirts this time of year.”

 

Alex takes a small moment to run her finger through the cooling jelly, earning herself a good-natured smack on the hand from Eliza as she licks it off her finger. “But, so, basically, Chanukah is the perfect holiday for Kara. Fried pancakes and sugar-covered donuts as the two required food groups? Like, just imagine how excited she was her first year with us.”

 

Maggie takes a second to picture it, and she can’t help but snicker.

 

Alex is laughing too, pitching her voice up in what Maggie knows is her over-the-top impression of young Kara. “But Alexxxx, if I don’t eat another donut, your God will be mad at me! I haaaave to, it says in your big Toro book!”

 

Kara throws a piece of latke at her head.

 

Maggie is still lovingly picking pieces of it out of Alex’s hair hours later.

 


 

Frying the donuts is slightly harrowing. Maggie eventually gets used to the sight of Kara sticking her bare hand into a vat of boiling oil to flip the donuts over, sort of, but each time Kara goes to do it, Maggie’s stomach flips.

 

J’onn, bless him, must hear her thoughts, because he puts her in charge of sifting the powered sugar over the tops of the cooled donuts, all the way over at the dining room table.

 

She’s immensely grateful.

 

And then once the donuts are all fried, and cooled, and dusted, they all take one, and cheers with it, and bite into them.

 

Winn’s jelly splats out the back of his donut, but Kara catches it in her hand before it hits the floor. She licks it off her hand, beaming, and makes some joke about Supergirl always serving the greater good.

 

Maggie rolls her eyes, laughing. Alex reaches up and brushes the powdered sugar off the tip of her nose.

 


 

The tablecloth is cleared off, then, so they can play driedel. Alex tells Maggie, as James and Eliza carefully fold the tablecloth, that Eliza’s grandmother had brought it over from Poland with her.

 

The menorah was Jeremiah’s great-grandmother’s, Alex tells her.

 

Maggie squeezes her hand and goes up on her tiptoes to kiss Alex’s cheek.

 

Kara pulls out a tin box and brings it over to the table. Wine glasses are topped up, seconds of donuts are passed around, and Alex distributes little baggies of candies to each seat around the table. Winn cuts open a blue mesh bag, holding it high above the table, and turns it over, letting the gold coins inside of it spill out all over the table.

 

“Make it raaaaaaain,” he calls out. “Challah!”

 

“You’re embarrassing yourself,” Alex deadpans, and even J’onn laughs.

 

Maggie takes one of the coins, knowing immediately from the weight it’s not actually metal.

 

“Iffs gelt. Schho-co-late,” Kara advises, which Maggie had already figured out from the fact that Kara is currently chewing on three of them at once.

 

Eliza opens the tin, and pulls out four driedels. One is purple plastic, two are a light-colored wood, and one is bigger and heavier and a darker wood. Maggie leans forward, ready. Her research absolutely covered this – she even played a virtual dreidel game that scored you on how fast you could recognize each result.

 

Eliza quickly runs through the rules as a refresher for the boys. Each person spins, and whichever side lands up tells the person what to do. The nun, what looks like the backwards L, means do nothing. The gimel, which is the nun with a tail, means take all the candy in the center pot. The hey, what Alex loving refers to as the pi sign, means take half the candy, and the unfortunate shin, which looks like a W, means put one of your own precious candies into the center.

 

Maggie nods. She’s ready.

 

But, and she should have expected this, the Danvers family have more complex rules.

 

Anyone who spins a gimel gets a prize from the bucket at Eliza’s feet. If you get two gimels, you get to create a rule for the rest of the group to follow for the rest of the game, like “announce before each sip you take,” or “sing a Chanukah song for each shin,” or “everyone who spins a nun has to talk in a different accent until their next spin.”

 

Once Eliza runs out of prizes, you can steal a prize from someone else if you spin a gimel.

 

You can take out one candy loan from the Bank of J’onzz. Kara just goes ahead and takes hers before the game even starts, because she’s already eaten half of her candy.

 

Maggie steels herself. She’s ready.

 


 

She was not ready. This game is intense. And never having practiced on a non-virtual driedel is certainly a disadvantage. But, with a couple of helpful suggestions from Alex, Maggie gets the hang of it by the second round.

 

Alex, of course, is only spinning it upside down, with this cocky smirk that’s both infuriating and strangely attractive.

 

Winn, Alex, and J’onn spin gimels in the first round. Winn gets a plastic Barbie, Alex gets menorah socks, and J’onn gets a Supergirl action figure.

 

Winn spins a gimel on his second round too, so he gets to create a rule. “Alright!” he crows, clearly having prepared in advance for this moment. “The rule is, you have to call everyone by a different name each time you talk to them,” he says. “No repeat names.”

 

Maggie rolls her eyes. No way is she going to be able to remember that.

 

“Any rule violations and you have to put a piece of candy in the pot,” Winn warns. “And also Maggie will arrest you.”

 

It isn’t until the third round that Maggie finally spins her first gimel. Her prize is a rubber ducky with a yarmulke on its head, and she loves him immediately.

 

Alex cuddles him, names him Gertrude Jr., and won’t give him back.

 

“Babe, we don’t even have Gertrude Senior yet. How can we have Gertrude Jr.?”

 

But Alex won’t be dissuaded.

 


 

About forty-five minutes later, and the game is a frenzied mess. James pulled the latkes out of the fridge, and people are eating them with their hands, dipping them in the sour cream and applesauce and gesticulating with them.

 

Back in the third round Eliza instituted a rule about singing Chanukah songs, and Maggie has quickly learned that there are very few Chanukah songs. They repeat them enough times that even she can sort of sing along to them by the end. She’s pretty sure she’s going to have “sevivon, sov sov sov” in her head for weeks.

 

Kara has eaten seven donuts and spun what feels like a million gimels and has a small toy collection at her side of the table, which she’s started using to put in the pot like candy, because she’s eaten all of her original allotment, plus her bank loan, plus two other bank loans she got through Alex agreeing to act as a co-signer.

 

“Babe,” Maggie whines the third time Alex offers to co-sign, “you’re gonna tank our credit score.”

 

Alex, however, makes a very persuasive argument, taking Maggie’s face in her hands and kissing her to within an inch of her life.

 

“Come on, guys,” Kara whines, “why do you have to do that at the table?”

 

“HAROLD,” Winn screeches, addressing Kara with a new name for the tenth time, “THEY’RE LESBIANS.”

 


 

After driedel, they troop over to the couch. They play a few rounds of charades, but everyone is so full of oil and chocolate that it doesn’t last long.

 

Kara turns on the tv, and Alex goes on a very long and well researched rant about the dearth of Chanukah movies, despite the fact that Hollywood is overpopulated with powerful Jews, and it seems like Kara puts on Home Alone just to end the rant.

 

Maggie makes a solid effort to both respect Eliza and J’onn and also to kiss it better. She’s pretty sure, from the way Alex melts into her arms and the loving smile Eliza sends to her, that she’s nailed it.

 

Eliza and J’onn are in the armchairs, Kara and the boys are on the couch, and Alex and Maggie are curled up the floor, a blanket under them and another over their laps. Maggie’s arms are wrapped around Alex, with Alex’s head heavy and comforting on her chest. Maggie lets her own head drop over to rest on Kara’s knee.

 

They all pretend not to notice Kara sneaking gelt out of her sleeve and into her mouth during the entire movie.

  


 

Eliza and J’onn leave about an hour into the movie. Eliza presses kisses to the tops of everyone’s heads, even the boys, but she takes a moment to tuck Maggie’s hair behind her ear, and the “happy Chanukah,” she whispers has a lot of meaning behind it.

 

After the movie ends, Kara pulls out pillows and blankets for James and Winn. Maggie assumes she’ll be going home, but Alex just sleepily pulls her into the bedroom. Alex climbs into the middle of the bed, with Kara on one side and Maggie on the other.

 

“I love you so much, Kara,” she mumbles. “Happy Chanukah. May you always walk in Rao’s light.”

 

“Love you, Alex. May Rao always guide you home.”

 

There’s a quiet pause, and then Kara says one more thing. “I love you, Maggie.”

 

Maggie feels her breath stutter in her chest. She’s never had a sister before. “I love you too, Kara,” she says, and her voice is thick, and it’s so true. “Happy Chanukah.”

 

Alex rolls over, spooning Maggie easily. “I love you, beautiful girl,” Alex says softly, not bothering to whisper. “You’re a miracle to me, every day.”

 

“Alex,” Maggie breathes. “I love you a million nights worth of oil.”

 

“Oh, Rao,” Kara squeaks. “Put that in your wedding vows.”

 

Maggie can feel Alex’s chuckle through her whole body. She snuggles back, letting herself sink into her beautiful fiancée, this incredible person who said a blessing to science and trash-talked her way through an hour and half of dreidel and fell asleep talking a young Macaulay Culkin through how to improvise more efficient traps made out of household materials.

 

This beautiful woman who has given her a family, and a sense of belonging, and a new favorite holiday.

 

So, belly full of latkes and donuts and chocolate and oil, Maggie drifts off to sleep, happy and sated and warm and ready for the light to come back.

 

Chapter Text

Everyone around her is grumbling, and she’s been doing some grumbling of her own. It’s a Friday night, and there’s a lecture that all everyone in her exobio class has to attend. Like, have to swipe your ID card when you enter, have to attend. And they only found out about it yesterday.

 

And she’s still just a freshman, but she’s seriously considering majoring in bio, and she doesn’t want to fuck her chances this early in the game because she wanted to go to the Dirty Dancing movie marathon happening in her res hall.

 

So she’s here, in the lecture hall, and it’s bursting at the seams with disgruntled, sleep-deprived science majors. It looks like a lot of classes required attendance; she hears people grumbling about their genetics professors, and bio professors, and even bioengineering classes.

 

She checks her phone as she follows the sluggish stream of people down the aisle, and is happy to see that Cam texted that he saved her a seat, about halfway down the hall, over on the right.

 

She tries to keep her blush from taking over. Fucking pale-ass white girl genes. But Cam is cute, and he’s smart, and he can keep up with her in study sessions, and she really likes looking at him and hanging out with him and sometimes she thinks about kissing him and almost dies.

 

She’s never felt like that about anyone before, not even the couple of guys she went on dates with in high school, or the boy she went to prom with.

 

And sometimes Cam looks at her like he thinks about kissing her, too, like he’s awed by how smart she is, too, and she just…blushes.

 

It’s embarrassing.

 

She definitely wants him to be her boyfriend, but he hasn’t made a move yet. She wonders if he’s the type of guy to be emasculated if she asks him out first. She doesn’t think so, but she’s learned that even great guys can be really stupid about gender stuff sometimes.


But she finds him, and she slides into the seat he’s clearly been guarding for her, and he grins at her, and she grins back, and fuuuuuck, she’s blushing. A lot.

 

She and Cam shoot the shit for a couple minutes, talking about their shared bio class, and Cam’s big econ project coming up, and laughing at the live-update texts she’s been getting from her sister’s tryouts for the musical at her old high school.

 

“Do you have any idea what this lecture is about?” Cam whispers to her, as the clock ticks to seven o’clock exactly.

 

“No clue,” she whispers back, something humming in her chest at how they’re leaning in, so close to each other, and how they definitely don’t need to be whispering yet.

 

“Well, I brought old school paper and pen to take notes,” he says, and she thinks even her toes are blushing. “So we can doodle or whatever if it’s boring.”

 

And that’s incredibly high school, but she likes him, so she just grins. “Deal,” she says, as the lights start to go down.

 

The head of the bio department comes up to the podium, which is over on the right side, so right in her line of sight. He spends a while talking about other upcoming lectures and presentations from senior bio majors, and other stuff that she should really be paying attention to, but Cam’s started that game where you draw lines connecting a grid of dots, and she’s really focused on winning.

 

She’s so focused, in fact, that it takes her a good while for his introduction of the speaker to sink into her brain.

 

It isn’t until he’s saying “prolific research in exobiology” and “personally responsible for engineering the most important vaccines against alien diseases in the last ten years” that she realizes he’s also said “bioengineer” and “geneticist.”

 

It’s when he says “Stanford alum” that her head snaps up, and it’s when he says “friend of the Cardinal, and friend of Supergirl!” that she rolls her eyes and groans loud enough that the people in the row in front of her turn around and glare.

 

“What?” Cam whispers to her, but she just shakes her head.

 

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” she mumbles, dropping her head into her hands for a second.

 

“Folks, please join me in welcoming our esteemed lecturer, Doctor Alex Danvers.”

 

The whole room claps, even Cam, but she just throws herself, a little petulantly, back in her seat.

 

“Dude, Miah,” Cam says, nudging her with his shoulder. “What’s wrong? You know her or something?”

 

And she just huffs out a breath as the tall, strong, brunette woman marches up the podium.

 

“You could say that,” she groans.

 

And she doesn’t say it out loud, because she has a crush on Cam, and it’s about to get very embarrassing, but, yes. She knows her.

 

She’s her fucking mom.

 


 

The lecture is nearly indecipherably complex. Miah manages to understand quite a bit of it because her mom has never shied away from talking about the nuances of her work at the dinner table. And, of course, having an aunt with alien physiology who basically lives with you and comes to your mom for all of her medical needs helps with jargon familiarity.

 

But Miah can tell that Cam and most of the other students in the hall are completely lost. She can see a lot of the grad students taking furious notes, like they understand enough to know they’d never figure this out on their own, and a couple seniors doing the same, shooting furtive looks at the grad students as they do, probably just because they think they should.

 

Even Miah’s exobiology professor looks a little lost, like maybe if her mom would just say every sentence four times, slowly, she’d get it.

 

Miah doesn’t know if she should be proud or horrified.

 

The lecture finally comes to an end – blissfully, her mom was kind enough to make it just fifty minutes, instead of the several hours Miah knows she could have produced at the drop of a hat. The head of the department comes back and thanks “Dr. Danvers for that…invigoratingly challenging lecture,” and then the lights come back up.

 

It takes a while to get out of the lecture hall. Everyone seems to be torn between their shell-shock at how dumb they feel and their need to leave the room immediately.

 

She’s only 18, but Miah is pretty sure the bars are going to be full of confused scientists tonight.

 

But, of course, her own plans to be fashionably late to the Dirty Dancing marathon – or, possibly, to scrap the marathon all together and go out for late night food and intense lingering gazes with Cam – are in the toilet now. Because, apparently, she’s going to be seeing her mom tonight.

 

She and Cam finally make their way out of the hall, Miah mostly just making affirming noises back as Cam tries to process that he understood maybe one out of every twenty words that was spoken in his language of origin – in his major field – when Miah sees something that stops her short.

 

A woman, leaning against the wall, her leather jacket glowing in the light from the phone she’s holding just a little too close to her face.

 

She honestly should have known. Where one mom goes, can the other be far behind?

 

She looks up from her phone, like her mom-sense was tingling, and she sees Miah, and her face splits into the biggest grin. And yeah, it’s cheesy, and Miah’s not supposed to miss her parents – she just saw them over winter break not even two months ago – but that smile just makes her so happy.

 

“Miah!”

 

And before she knows it, she’s enveloped in a hug, and even though she’s taller than her ma, now, it still makes her feel so safe. “Hi, Mama,” she says softly, just into her ma’s ear.

 

She gets one more squeeze before her ma backs up, holding her at arms length and looking her up and down, completely ignoring the way the rest of the crowd has to ooze around them.

 

“Well, my god,” she’s saying, and her dimples are flashing in the crappy lobby lighting. “Aren’t you gorgeous? Who made you?”

 

Miah rolls her eyes. “Shut up,” she mumbles, but her ma just laughs.

 

“Uh,” says a confused voice from behind her. “Uh, Miah?”

 

Oh, fuck. Cam! Miah blushes, turning quickly towards him, but of course her ma notices, because her ma notices everything, and she makes a speculative little sound that makes Miah want to sink into the ground.

 

“Cam, sorry,” she says, and her voice is a little squeaky, and she hears her ma try to hide a laugh behind a cough. She snaps her head over, giving her ma a Very Danvers Glare, and her ma, openly laughing now, holds both of her hands up in surrender.

 

Cameron, ever the polite southern boy and always good in awkward social situations, simply steps forward and extends his hand. “Hi, I’m Cameron,” he says, giving her that little smile that always makes Miah wonder if all her organs are rupturing.

 

Her ma manages to swallow down her laugh long enough to shake his hand, although Miah can tell from the way his eyes bug out a little bit that she gave him the Very Danvers Handshake. “Nice to meet you, Cameron,” she says, and the glint in her eye tells Miah to be extremely afraid of how often she’s mentioned his name in the past few months. “I’m Maggie.”

 

She waits for a beat, checking his face for signs of recognition of what’s happening here, but when he continues to give her a bland, slightly confused smile, she clarifies. “I’m Miah’s mom.”

 

There it is, Miah thinks, as Cam properly freaks out, sputtering a little at the presence of a parent.

 

And the glint in her ma’s eye tells Miah neither of them will ever live this down. Miah wonders if the sputtering means maybe he does like her back.

 

But before she can send him along without her, the worst happens.

 

“Hey babe,” comes a happy voice from around the corner, and Miah groans as her ma turns around, an excited smile already flashing onto her face.

 

Honestly, it’s gross how much her parents like each other after all this time.

 

“Hey, Danvers,” her ma is saying, and Miah decides to look at Cam rather than watch her parents lightly make out in the building where she takes most of her classes.

 

She watches as Cam’s jaw drops, down to the floor, as the scary lecture lady makes out with Miah’s mom. And Miah hadn’t gotten around to telling him she had two moms yet, so she sees that slot into place slowly, as he processes it all at once: Miah has gay moms, the woman he just met is one of Miah’s gay moms, the scary lecture lady is gay, the scary lecture lady is married to this woman he just touched, and the scary lecture lady is one of Miah’s moms.

 

“Miah!”

 

And Miah knows her mom is scary. She’s known that since the day Haylen Beckenfield pushed her down and ripped her dress and forced her to kiss him in kindergarten. Her ma had gotten to school first, and was holding her tightly in the principal’s office and rubbing her back, when her mom had come in. And her mom had proceeded to terrify the pants off of Miah’s teacher, and the woman who was supposed to be watching them at recess, and the principal, and Haylen’s parents. Miah’s memory is a little fuzzy, because she was only five, but she’s pretty sure at one point her mom might have pulled a gun and threatened them all with secret prison.

 

And one time in middle school, Miah was there when an alien attack happened, and had seen her mom turn an alien from an armed menace into a crying ball of fear just with her eyes and voice alone.

 

So, yeah, she knows her mom is terrifying.

 

But, right now, her mom is pulling herself free of her wife – who she likes to make muffins for, and sings little songs about, and whose hair she braids, and who she calls love bug – and she’s saying “Miah!” and her eyes are lighting up and her face is melting, and she’s gathering Miah up into her arms, and Miah has never felt anything but safe and loved (and smothered, sometimes) in those arms.

 

And it’s been almost two months since Miah’s seen her in the flesh, and it is just her first year away from home, so Miah thinks she can be forgiven when she whispers, “Hi, Mommy,” into her mom’s neck.

 

And if the kiss her mom presses to the side of her head is any indication, her mom doesn’t mind at all.

 


 

They insist on taking her out for late night breakfast, and Cam is too stupid to tell from Miah’s jerky head motions that he should lie about which direction he’s walking, so the four of them head across campus together.

 

“So, Cameron,” her ma says lightly. “How did you like the lecture?”

 

“Oh, um, it was great. Ma’am.”

 

Miah’s mom chokes, but her ma manages to keep a straight face. “No need to call me ma’am, kid,” she says.

 

But her mom ruins it. “You can call her Lieutenant,” she advises, leaning across Miah’s body to make just a little bit of Very Danvers Aggressive Eye Contact.


Cam swallows. “Yes, um, okay. Lieutenant.”

 

“Moooom,” Miah whines, giving her a little shove that her mom is gracious enough to pretend unbalanced her. “Stop it.”

 

“My wife is fucking with you,” her ma says, and Miah likes how Cam’s little southern eyes go wide at the idea a mom is cursing in front of him. “You can just call me Maggie.” She quirks an eyebrow. “You might want to keep calling her Dr. Danvers, though.”

 

“Uh, yes, ma’am. Uh, Lieutenant Maggie, ma’am.”

 

Miah’s mom actually out-loud snorts, and Miah shoves her again. “Ignore them,” she says to Cam, trying not to laugh herself at how freaked he looks. “They have brain damage.”

 

Cam gives a pained sort of smile, like he knows that anything he says can and will be used against him.

 

“So,” her ma says, clearly trying to help while also enjoying what’s happening. “You liked the lecture?”

 

“Oh, absolutely,” Cam says, his eyes resolutely not flicking over to where Miah and her mom are walking.

 

Her ma makes a little humming noise. “That makes one of us, then. I couldn’t understand a fucking word of it, myself.”

 

“Excuse me,” Miah says, holding up a hand. “I understood it.”

 

But her ma just turns to her with a wicked little grin on her face. “That, mija, is because you are an enormous nerd, like your mother.”

 

The mother in question simply drapes her arm over Miah’s shoulder and tugs her in. And all three of them know that Miah is way more like her ma than she is like her mom, even if she probably is going to be a bio major. But her mom just tugs her in, and grins, and teases her wife with a loving, “you work for the nerd police, and you married a nerd and made a nerd, so what does that make you, Sawyer?” and even though she’s not watching Patrick Swayze’s butt in those tight pants, and the boy she’s desperately crushing on clearly wishes he were dead, Miah is having a fabulous night.

 


 

They finally, blissfully, drop off Cam at his dorm, and they head over to the diner her mom had frequented as an undergrad, which is still somehow standing.

 

They all order pancakes for dinner, and her ma sits next to her in the booth, and she isn’t surprised at all when her aunt comes whooshing in to join them for the meal, settling next to her mom on the other side of the table like it’s totally normal to pop in on your family for dinner 400 miles from your house.

 

And they spend most of dinner ribbing Miah about Cam, joking about how much he likes her, and taking bets on when they’ll kiss for the first time (it will be in two weeks, after he’s sufficiently recovered from the whole ma’am situation).

 

And her ma keeps reaching over and squeezing her hand or patting her shoulder and, when it gets late, putting her arm around Miah and letting Miah drop her head onto her chest. And Miah and her aunt tell her parents off for playing footsie under the table, and her parents tease each other about work and tease her aunt about if she’ll get home in time to take their dog for a walk like a good dog sitter would, and Miah berates them all for the lack of care packages since winter break.

 

And she knows her mom strong-armed the head of the bio department into giving her a lecture, which worked because she’s famous and brilliant and terrifying, just because she’d wanted an excuse to see her kid. And she knows her ma took a day off work, even though she has so much responsibility now, just because she’d wanted to see her kid.

 

Over dessert, when her mom and her aunt are deep in a conversation about something only the two of them understand, her ma presses a kiss to her head, and whispers to her in Spanish about how proud she is of her, and how much they love her, and how her mom can’t stop talking about her accomplishments at work.

 

And she’s spending a Friday night out with her parents and her aunt, totally sober, after a bio lecture, but she can’t help but think that this college thing is going pretty damn well so far.

Chapter Text

Alex can’t help herself. She knows it’s creepy, but she just…can’t stop herself from doing it.

 

She’s sitting inside this coffee shop, the one just a few blocks from her apartment, and she’s drinking coffee and reading through some files she brought home. And her table is just inside the front window, with a full view of the courtyard, so it’s not like she can avoid seeing all the dogs who are flopped under the outdoor tables, their sweet tongues lolling out as their owners sip very expensive lattes.

 

She comes here when she can – it’s nice to get out the house, sometimes, without going directly to work or Kara’s apartment. And she always tries to get this table, simply for the dogs. There’s always a bit of a chill radiating off the window, but she doesn’t mind, as long as she can see some – as Kara calls them – fluffers.

 

But today she’s a little more distracted than usual, because there’s a beautiful dog – big and sturdy and strong – sitting next to this small little woman. And the culture outside this coffee shop is for people to pet each other’s dogs, but this small woman has turned away everyone who has tried to make friends with hers. The other dogs don’t seem to bother it, she lets them come up and sniff, but she’s keeping people at a distance.

 

Alex is intrigued.

 

And the dog is just so beautiful. It looks like a mix between a German shepherd and a lab, maybe? It’s big and has the shepherd coloring, but with sweet floppy ears and a slightly rounder muzzle and fur that looks impossibly soft. It’s got a barrel chest that Alex just wants to wrap her arms around, and big juicy paws, and the most tender little look in its eyes when it looks up at its person.

 

Alex can’t help herself. The woman turns away a set of girl scouts from saying hi to her dog, and Alex accepts that she’s not going to get to pet the fuzzmonster, or even say hi to it. So she pulls out her phone, opens her camera app, zooms in, and takes a picture of the dog, sitting so sweetly, staring up at its person, her hand resting softly on its back.

 

But Alex is distracted by the dog, so she’s not stealth. Her flash goes off.

 

The woman looks over, sharply, and Alex immediately drops her phone onto her lap and buries herself in her file, the tops of her cheeks a blazing red, trying, for all the world, to pretend like nothing happened.

 

She doesn’t look up for half an hour, but it takes her a good five minutes to remember how to read. She’s so embarrassed.

 

She’s such a creep.

 


 

Alex packs her bag, but heads to the counter instead of leaving. Kara’s had a rough week, and Alex is on her way over, and Kara loves the pastries from this place. So Alex waits in the short line before she orders three croissants and two muffins, throwing in another coffee for herself. And, when she spies them on the counter, one dog biscuit.

 

Pastries tucked safely in her bag, and coffee in one hand, Alex walks out of the shop. She takes a deep breath, reminds herself that she’s a complete and utter badass and is scared of literally nothing in the world, and walks over to the woman with the beautiful dog.

 

“Hey,” Alex says, making sure to keep her distance.

 

The woman looks up, her hand going immediately to her dog’s neck. “Hey,” she says back, her whole vibe a little cautious.

 

“I’m, um, sorry, for earlier. For taking a picture of your dog. I know that’s a super creepy thing to do.”

 

But the woman just smiles at her, and Alex had been pretty distracted by the dog, but, oh. The human is gorgeous.

 

And those dimples, jesus god.

 

“Nah,” the woman says, and Alex notices that she’s giving the dog a gentle scratch. “He’s a good looking guy, I get it.”

 

And now that Alex has belatedly noticed how good looking his person is, she doesn’t quite know how to respond to that. “Um, well, I noticed you don’t want other people around him, so to say sorry, I got you this little bone biscuit thing. For you to give to him, I mean.” Alex is aware that she usually uses far fewer words to get things across, but she’s a little flustered.

 

She holds out the biscuit, and the woman tilts her head a little bit. “You didn’t have to do that,” she says softly.

 

Alex shakes her head. “I creeped,” she says. “Plus, you should take it, because I already bought it, and I don’t have a dog, and knowing my sister, she’d absolutely eat it first and ask questions later.”

 

The woman nods, her face serious. “So it’s a public health hazard not to take it.”

 

Alex nods back, trying to stay serious too. “Exactly.”

 

“Well, we can’t have that,” she says, her head still tilted, but a soft smiling showing up. She reaches out her hand and takes the biscuit from Alex. “Thank you.”

 

“Yeah, no problem. And sorry, again.”

 

And Alex assumes that’s it, but before she can turn to go, the woman says something else. “Hey, do you, um…do you have a couple of minutes?”

 

Alex checks her watch. She’s already five minutes late.

 

“Yeah, definitely.”

 

“Could you do me a favor?”

 

Alex narrows her eyes. The woman is gorgeous and the dog is spectacular, but she’s not a sucker.

 

“What type of favor?”

 

But the woman just laughs a little at the suddenly suspicious look on Alex’s face. “No, sorry, nothing weird. I just…I’m trying to socialize him, and he doesn’t seem to be scared of you, so I was wondering if you’d sit here with me for a couple minutes. Just to get him used to another person so close.”

 

And that’s the best invitation Alex has gotten in a long time. “Oh, yeah. Sure.” She’s about to take a step forward and swing her bag off her shoulder before she freezes. “Any rules for how I approach?”

 

And a look of confusion, surprise, and pleasure comes over the woman’s face, like she can’t quite believe that Alex knew to ask that question. “Just walk slowly. Hold your bag on your lap. Don’t try to touch him or talk directly to him.”

 

Alex nods, and does as she’s told.

 

“Good boy, Kahlo,” the woman murmurs down to her dog. “Thank you,” she says, looking up at Alex. “I really appreciate it.”

 

“Oh, no, really,” Alex says, deciding at the last second not to wave a dismissive hand and instead shaking her head a little. “It’s no problem. Always happy to help out a dog in need.”

 

The woman smiles, and her eyes twinkle a little bit, and Alex’s skin hums. “You’re a regular knight in kibble armor.”

 

Alex laughs and the woman grins, and this is so worth being late to Kara’s for.

 

“Do you mind if I ask what he’s recovering from, or, I guess, uh, maybe why he’s so scared of people?” Alex asks after a relatively quiet minute, gesturing with her head to the dog. He’s leaning against the woman’s leg, but he doesn’t seem particularly upset.

 

“He was a military dog. Served in Afghanistan,” she woman says softly, her fingers winding through the fur at the back of his neck. “He was in the thick of it for a long time, and then his handler was killed in action, from a bomb blast. And poor Kahlo was there when it happened.”

 

“Oh, no,” Alex breathes. “Poor thing.”

 

The woman nods. “So he’s got PTSD pretty bad. He’s scared of anything that reminds him of what it was like over there, and anything that reminds him of bombs, and most people. But,” she tilts her head again, like she’s taking Alex in for the first time, “he’s not too scared of you. He must be able to tell you’re not a solider.”

 

Alex wrinkles up her nose a little, and she responds before she’s thought it through. “I’m not…not a solider.” The woman frowns, clearly confused, and Alex takes a full second to sharply reprimand herself for both disclosing that and also for being so fucking awkward. “I’m FBI,” she clarifies.

 

The woman’s eyebrows shoot up. “Oh, really? I’m NCPD, myself.”

 

And Alex has never had great relations with NCPD, but she finds herself smiling.

 

“Pretty sure we’re supposed to hate each other,” the woman says, her smile now more of a smirk.

 

“Eh,” Alex says, and this time she doesn’t stop the wave of her hand. “Your dog’s cute, so I’ll let it go. This time.”

 

And the woman gives her a little look, like she thinks Alex might have meant she’s cute, and Alex wonders just how unsubtle she’s being right now.

 

Alex tries to change the subject. “What did you say his name was? Kalto?”

 

“Kahlo,” the woman clarifies. “After Frida Kahlo.”

 

“Oh,” Alex says, finally with a small smirk of her own, “Of course. I should have assumed that your military veteran dog was named after a lady painter.”

 

“A bisexual, Mexican, trauma-survivor, disabled, misunderstood, underappreciated, Latina lady painter,” the woman corrects, with enough jaunt in her smile that Alex wonders how many of those identities she shares with Frida.

 

“I didn’t know she was bisexual,” Alex says dumbly, and the woman smirks at her again, clearly noticing that Alex had honed in on the one gay part. Useless lesbian, Alex chides herself. Obvious, useless lesbian.

 

“Oh, yeah,” the woman is saying. “She totally fucked Josephine Baker. And Leon Trotsky. Not at the same time.”

 

And Alex just laughs, because that’s quite a pedigree.

 

“I had no idea the military was in the habit of naming their working dogs after such impressive women.”

 

The woman laughs, just like Alex had hoped. “Sadly, no.” And Alex had obviously known the military hadn’t named the dog after Frida Kahlo, but the woman’s eyes light up when she laughs, and the dog is getting more comfortable with her there, and Alex doesn’t really ever want to leave.

 

She assumes the pastries in her bag are starting to bleed through their bags to leave grease stains on her files, and she doesn’t care even a little bit.

 

“The military named him Killer, which apparently was kind of a joke because he was always the sweetheart of his litter, but there’s no way I was going to call him that. Especially not after what happened to him over there.” The woman shrugs a little, “And I’ve always wanted a dog named Kahlo, and it starts with the same sound, so his therapist said it would be fine.”

 

Alex starts a little bit at the idea that a dog has a therapist, but she can immediately tell that her companion is a little defensive about it, like maybe she’d hadn’t meant to say it. “He’s lucky to have you,” is what Alex ends up saying, and she thinks, from the way it makes the woman look at her like she’s given her a Nobel Prize, that it must have been the right thing to say.

 

“You know,” the woman says, clearing her throat a little bit. “I think you can give him the treat, if you want.”

 

Alex’s eyebrows fly up. “Really? I don’t want to freak him out.”

 

And the woman smiles at that, like Alex’s careful concern for her dog is shooting right into her heart. “Just put it on the ground, really slowly. Then let him come get it whenever he’s ready.”

 

Alex does as she’s told, and it’s a couple of long minutes before Kahlo starts sniffing at the treat, and another few before he takes a tentative lick. The woman is making little affirming noises, and when he finally takes it in his mouth, she’s quick to give him a scratch and tell him what a good boy he is.

 

And Alex can’t tell if she wants to be the woman, or the dog, but she knows she wishes she were involved in the interaction, somehow.

 

She’s kept from doing something stupid when her phone buzzes in her pocket. She pulls it out, careful to move slowly, and winces when she sees that she’s now fifteen minutes late, and that it’s Kara calling.

 

“Danvers.”

 

“Okay,” Kara’s voice says through the phone, “a, I hate it when you answer like that when you know it’s me, and b, you’re late and I thought you were dead.”

 

Alex rolls her eyes, and her phone volume is up pretty loudly and she could swear the woman is laughing to herself. “Sorry, I’m hanging out with a super cute dog. But I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

 

“Oh! A dog! Where! I wanna see!”

 

“No, no, stay there. He’s got some PTSD and stranger danger going on, so I don’t think he’s ready for the full-on Kara Danvers Experience.” She looks over at the woman, mouthing sorry. But Kara would, if not stopped, fly over immediately, probably scaring the shit out of poor Kahlo.

 

But now Kara is making all kinds of sad, concerned noises into the phone, and Alex can’t help but roll her eyes again. “Okay, Kara, I’m hanging up on you…yes, okay, I’ll tell him hi from you. Sure. Yes. Okay. See you in like a minute. Okay. Yes. I promise, I’ll tell him he’s a good boy. Bye.”

 

She hangs up and rolls her eyes a third time. “Sorry,” she says. “My sister is one of those people who can’t even go near a pound or rescue shelter, otherwise she’d come home with literally every dog in the city.”

 

But the woman just grins. “That’s cute.”

 

Alex huffs. “Yeah, well. Not so cute when you have to be the one to tell a recently traumatized pre-teen that the raccoon she’s keeping in her room, who she’s named and is trying to get to sleep in her bed, is not a pet.”

 

The woman lets out a bark of laughter, and Kahlo looks up in concern before determining there’s nothing wrong with his person.

 

“I should go,” Alex says, but her reluctance is keeping her weighed down in her chair. “Or she really will come to meet him, and there’s no way she could keep her hands off of him.”

 

“Thank you for this,” the woman says quickly, before Alex can move. “Honestly, I seriously appreciate it. I think this was really good for him.”

 

“No problem,” Alex says, finally rising to stand. She makes sure to pick up her coffee before she slowly backs away from the table. “It was great meeting you. Both.” But she knits her eyebrows, quickly, rewinding this whole conversation quickly. “Or, wait. I guess, we didn’t?”

 

The woman looks confused for a second before she gets it. “I’m Maggie,” she says, her smile soft and a little teasing.

 

“Alex.”

 

“Nice to meet you, Alex.”

 

Alex takes the final step. “You too, Frida.”

 


 

About a week later, on Sunday, Alex notices Maggie and Kahlo walk up to the coffee shop, sitting down at one of the outside tables.

 

Alex spends about ten minutes running a cost/benefit analysis before gathering her work up, taking her coffee firmly in her hand, and heading outside.

 

“Hey,” she says, her voice a little nervous.

 

Maggie’s head cranes around, and she breaks out into a huge smile – her dimples popping – and Alex feels something in her chest give way. “Alex! Hey! I was hoping I might see you here.”

 

Alex lets those words warm her from the inside.

 

But Maggie is gesturing to the other chair. “Come sit,” she’s offering.

 

And so Alex does.

 

She opens her files, and works quietly, drinking her coffee, while Maggie reads her novel and murmurs softly to Kahlo, and keeps all the other people away.

 


 

It becomes something of a ritual. They don’t exchange numbers, or even last names, and Alex has a pretty unpredictable schedule, so it’s not a guarantee that she’ll be able to make it every Sunday.

 

But, when she can, Maggie and Kahlo are usually there.

 

And it takes almost two months, but then, one cloudy Sunday, Alex looks up from her work with a gasp that she tries to swallow. “Maggie,” she hisses. “He’s leaning on me!”

 

Maggie quickly darts her eyes under the table, to where her dog is leaning, his eyes closed in sleepy bliss, against Alex’s legs. “Holy shit,” she breathes, and Alex smiles until her cheeks hurt.

 


 

A few weeks later, Maggie invites Alex to join them on their walk after coffee. She’s trying to introduce him to the dog park, she tells Alex, and she thinks another friendly face might help.

 

And Alex is obviously a complete sucker for helping someone overcome trauma, and for beautiful dogs, and for gorgeous women who make her laugh.

 

So they go to the dog park.

 

And Kahlo plays fetch with Alex, and licks her hands, and lets her scratch not only his chest and above his tail, but also his head and behind his ears.

 

And Maggie takes a picture of the inaugural head scratch, and she shows it to Alex, and Alex has rarely ever seen herself look so blissful.

 

They end up exchanging phone numbers so she can text Alex the picture.

 


 

Alex starts getting pictures of Kahlo, or little updates about him, or funny bits of his day, texted to her on a regular basis.

 

She starts sending back photos of Kara, posed and doctored to make them look as much like the ones of Kahlo as possible.

 

Then Maggie, of course, manages to find an argyle dog sweater, and she sends a picture of him wearing it, and the caption says your sister has very impressive body hair, and it’s absurd but that’s when Alex knows she’s in serious trouble here.

 


 

Kara does finally meet him, and she’s so tender and careful and gentle around him, and Alex can’t tell Maggie that Kara too knows what it’s like to have lost every single person in her life except for Alex in a series of violent explosions and bloody battles, but Maggie seems to get it.


And so does Kahlo. He takes to her immediately, and Alex would be jealous if it weren’t for the fact that Maggie comes up behind her and slips her hand softly into Alex’s.

 

“You’re still my favorite,” she says, her voice pitched low and intimate. “Even if my dog is a traitor for your sister.”

 

And Alex squeezes her hand back to keep herself from doing something stupid like kissing Maggie or covering herself with bacon to lure Kahlo away from her sister.

 


 

Maggie calls Alex from the hospital, and Alex’s blood runs cold until Maggie manages to convince her that she’s fine. She has a light concussion, she tells Alex, and she’s totally fine but she has to stay for observation, and Kahlo’s never been alone overnight.

 

Alex is offering to watch him before Maggie even finishes her sentence.

 

So Alex finds herself in Maggie’s apartment for the first time, and Kahlo is a little skittish but he relaxes, eventually curling up in her lap on the couch, for all the world like he weighs eight pounds and wants to be carried around in a purse.

 

Alex just settles his sixty-pound body more comfortably on her lap, and sends selfie after selfie to Maggie.

 

He falls asleep, and Alex doesn’t want to disturb him.

 

She falls asleep too.

 


 

Maggie wakes her up in the morning with a hand on her shoulder and a smile and she says thank you more times than she should.

 

And Alex doesn’t want to leave – not for a second. All she wants to do is stay here, in this apartment, with this incredible woman and this brave, heavy snugglemonster forever.

 

So she fusses over Maggie’s head for a little while, and Maggie indulges her and lets Alex give her a quick exam, even though the doctors cleared her to leave the hospital less than an hour ago. And she lets Alex force her to sit on the couch while Alex takes Kahlo out for a walk, even though she’s fine.

 

And she lets Alex brush Kahlo when they get back, even though Maggie had brushed him a couple days ago. And Maggie watches as her dog – her skittish, nervous, fearful, traumatized dog – leans into the brushstrokes, his eyes closed, his entire body radiating trust and bliss. And Maggie doesn’t know if she wants to be the dog or the woman, but she knows she wants to be part of the interaction.

 

So she goes to the bathroom, and she brushes her teeth, and she changes her clothes, and she washes her face, and then she comes back out to the living room, to see Alex sitting on the ground and singing the periodic table song to her dog, who is staring, loving and mesmerized, into her face.

 

Maggie walks over, and folds herself down onto the ground too. Alex stops singing, tripping over the word Tungsten when Maggie puts her hand on Alex’s thigh.

 

And, in slow motion, Maggie reaches up with her other hand, cupping Alex’s face. She stays there for a long moment, hoping and waiting for Alex to do anything that will be a yes.

 

“Please,” Alex whispers, one of her hand still buried in the warm fur of Kahlo’s neck.

 

And Maggie leans in, and she kisses Alex, and it’s soft, and long, and so careful, and Alex wants to float in it forever.

 

And it isn’t until Kahlo – who might want to be Alex or might want to be Maggie, but certainly wants to be part of the interaction – makes a little whining sound and licks Alex’s face, from her jaw to her forehead, that they break apart. Maggie’s laughing as she uses her sleeve to wipe off Alex’s face, and Alex is just grinning at her.

 

And Maggie worries that the moment is over, but Alex just pats her lap encouragingly, and Kahlo circles around a few times before folding himself up and lying himself down on her lap, completely covering her lower body. And Alex uses one hand to scratch him behind the ears and the other to pull Maggie back into her.

 

And they stay there, kissing and scratching and breathing, long past the time her legs fall asleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

Elizabeth: Hey, lesbian

Maggie: Hey lesbian

Maggie: Wassup

Elizabeth: That’s super 90’s, Margaret

Elizabeth: WAZZAAAAAAAP

Maggie: Oh my god

Maggie: You know, I had managed to forget about that

Maggie: And now it’s back with perfect clarity and I’m displeased

Elizabeth: You’re welcome

Elizabeth: Okay so, it’s your girl’s 30th soon, right?

Maggie: Right

Maggie: Next month

Elizabeth: What are you doing for it?

Elizabeth: Sex vacation?

Elizabeth: Sex party?

Elizabeth: Sex classes?

Elizabeth: Sex swing installation?

Elizabeth: Sex marathon?

Elizabeth: Sex list?

Elizabeth: Wow, you’re really not stopping me here

Maggie: I wanted to see how many things you could think of

Elizabeth: I CAN KEEP GOING

Elizabeth: Don’t test my sex-related creativity

Maggie: Lucky Abby

Elizabeth: Fuck yes

Elizabeth: Salacious wink

Maggie: You know you could just use an emoji like a normal person

Elizabeth: They’re so small! I can’t see them

Maggie: OLD LADY ALERT

Elizabeth: Shut up

Maggie: Need help with your walker?

Elizabeth: I am three months older than you

Maggie: And yet…I still get carded

Elizabeth: Shut up

Maggie: Suck it, Elizabeth

Elizabeth: I hate you

Maggie: You love me

Elizabeth: Whatever

Elizabeth: Okay, if it’s not a sex swing installation…

Elizabeth:

Elizabeth: Oh my god MARGARET is it??

Maggie: No! Jesus Liz!

Elizabeth: WHY NOT

Maggie: You know I get motion sick

Elizabeth: Oh, yeah. Okay fair

Elizabeth: So what ARE you doing for it?

Maggie: Honestly?

Elizabeth: Oh fuck

Maggie: I’m not sure

Elizabeth: MARGARET!!

Maggie: I know

Elizabeth: IT IS IN ONE MONTH

Maggie: Six weeks!

Elizabeth: WOW OKAY

Elizabeth: THIS IS DEFINITELY A GREAT TIME FOR SEMANTICS

Elizabeth: MARAGARET SAWYER!!!

Maggie: I know

Elizabeth: YOUR GIRL IS TURNING 30

Maggie: I know

Elizabeth: IN ONE MONTH AND TWO WEEKS

Maggie: I KNOW

Elizabeth: AND YOU HAVE NO PLANS?????

Maggie: Shit, okay, I KNOW, I’m horrible

Elizabeth: WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU????

Maggie: A BUSY ONE

Elizabeth: Oh fuck that

Elizabeth: Stop deflecting

Maggie: Okay! Fine! I’m just

Maggie: Fuck

Maggie: I’m not good at this

Maggie: You know that

Elizabeth: Oh, really?

Elizabeth: Well

Elizabeth: Now that you mention it

Maggie: Liz

Elizabeth: I guess maybe one or two of the presents you’ve given me

Elizabeth: For birthdays

Maggie: OKAY

Elizabeth: Graduations

Maggie: STOP IT

Elizabeth: My wedding

Maggie: LIZ

Elizabeth: Have been /fucking/ horrible

Maggie: What is that slash?

Elizabeth: It means italics or some shit, I don’t know

Elizabeth: The interns use it

Maggie: (geriatric alert)

Elizabeth: BAD WIFE ALERT

Maggie: Noooo don’t say that

Elizabeth: MARGARET

Elizabeth: You’re the worst gift giver ever

Maggie: I get anxious! I panic!

Elizabeth: You got me the same book on botany THREE TIMES

Elizabeth: I HAVE NEVER GIVEN A SHIT ABOUT BOTANY

Maggie: I’m just…I don’t know

Maggie: Giving gifts stresses me out

Maggie: Like, I don’t want to be judged on that one day, you know

Maggie: I want to be judged on how I feel about you and treat you all the time

Maggie: And by you, I obviously mean Alex

Maggie: I don’t give a shit about you

Elizabeth: Obviously

Elizabeth: Okay that’s like super sweet

Elizabeth: But like

Elizabeth: THIS IS HER 30TH BIRTHDAY

Elizabeth: YOU HAVE DO SOMETHING

Elizabeth: BIG

Maggie: I KNOW, OKAY

Maggie: I KNOW

Maggie: I’m just

Maggie: Fuck!

Maggie: Liz

Maggie: Help me

Elizabeth: I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK

 


 

*Elizabeth has added Kara Danvers to the conversation*

 

Kara: Hey guys!

Kara: Oh wait, Alex isn’t in here?

Elizabeth: Hey superbitch

Kara: Is that…oh, that’s me?

Elizabeth: That’s you

Elizabeth: What’s up, slugger?

Elizabeth: Punched any aliens lately?

Kara: Oh, you know! Just a couple! But only the ones who deserve it

Kara: I believe in redemption

Elizabeth: That’s cute

Maggie: Hey Kara

Kara: Hi Maggie!!

Kara: What’s up?

Kara: Oh wait, Maggie

Kara: Thank you for giving me those leftovers!

Kara: I was so happy this morning

Maggie: Oh good

Maggie: Glad you like them

Elizabeth: Wow okay

Elizabeth: That’s cute but like very boring

Elizabeth: KARA this is an emergency

Kara: Where? What?

Kara: I can be there in under three minutes

Maggie: No

Elizabeth: Oh shit sorry

Elizabeth: I forgot

Elizabeth: Not a Supergirl emergency

Kara: Oh, okay

Maggie: Liz, jesus, be careful

Elizabeth: Sorry!

Elizabeth: Kara, here’s the deal

Elizabeth: Your sister turns 30 next month

Kara: In six weeks

Elizabeth: Wtf

Elizabeth: Yes

Elizabeth: Okay

Elizabeth: In six weeks

Elizabeth: And SOMEONE

Elizabeth: (her wife)

Elizabeth: (Maggie Sawyer)

Elizabeth: Hasn’t planned anything yet

Kara: WHAT?

Kara: You told me you had it under control!

Maggie: I LIED OKAY

Maggie: I panicked

Elizabeth: WHAT

Maggie: Alex’s mom asked me last month when she was here and I panicked

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: You lied to the mom!

Elizabeth: One million bad wife points to you

Maggie: Okay but like

Maggie: I think I got so many good wife points last night, that loss barely matters

Kara: EW

Elizabeth: YES

Elizabeth: GET IT

Kara: NO PLEASE DON’T

Elizabeth: FUCK HER TIL SHE PASSES OUT

Kara: Oh Rao

Kara: Please no

Maggie: I MEANT I COOKED FOR HER

Maggie: And rubbed her feet

Maggie: And did the laundry and shit

Maggie: Jesus Elizabeth

Elizabeth: GERIATRIC ALERT

Maggie: Okay fine

Maggie: Kara, look away

Maggie: (and then I went down on her for a good hour and gave her like four orgasms)

Elizabeth: YES

Maggie: Say it

Elizabeth: YOU’RE A GOOD WIFE

Maggie: Thank you

Kara: Csn Ii luk yit?

Maggie: Yes

Maggie: You can look

Kara: Oh Rao

Kara: Okay

Kara: Not that this isn’t super fun

Kara: But why am I here exactly?

Elizabeth: We’re helping Maggie be a good wife

Kara: …gross?

Maggie: I need help figuring out what to do for Alex’s birthday

Kara: Oh! Great!

Kara: Oh my gosh

Kara: This is going to be so fun!!

Elizabeth: FUCK YES IT IS

Maggie: No, I can tell it really isn’t

Kara: Okay. Let’s start with the classics.

Kara: Vacation?

Maggie: We already have that trip to Greece scheduled for spring

Maggie: And I can’t take another one between now and then

Maggie: We could do like a weekend?

Elizabeth: Nah, that’s boring

Elizabeth: It’s her 30th

Elizabeth: Go big or go home

Elizabeth: A weekend away is like, the lesbian equivalent of bringing flowers

Elizabeth: Basic

Maggie: Yeah, true

Elizabeth: Surprise party?

Maggie: Honestly Alex would shoot everyone at a surprise party

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Kara: She would

Kara: It would not be safe

Maggie: A bunch of people in the dark, jumping and screaming at her?

Kara: It would be a massacre

Kara: Even I couldn’t stop it

Elizabeth: What if you made sure she wasn’t armed?

Maggie: She’d have to be completely naked and probably mid-orgasm not to hurt anyone

Maggie: She has excellent reflexes

Kara: WHY, MAGGIE?? WHY.

Maggie: Sorry

Elizabeth: Amazing

Elizabeth: Amazing

Kara: Okay, let’s get creative.

Kara: Go karts? Bumper cars? Batting cages? Like a day at the amusement park?

Elizabeth: Motocross classes. Monster truck shows.

Elizabeth: Oh my god, let her drive a monster truck

Elizabeth: On top of other trucks

Elizabeth: I bet she’d love that

Kara: I think once you’ve shot a missile out of helicopter and flown two different ships into space, driving a truck over a smaller truck might not be as exciting anymore

Elizabeth: Holy fuck

Elizabeth: Damn Margaret

Elizabeth: Your girl is a legit badass

Maggie: Fuck yes

Elizabeth: Kara, don’t look

Kara: Oh Rao

Elizabeth: Scale of 1-10 though, how soft is she in bed?

Maggie: Is 10 the softest

Elizabeth: Yeah

Maggie: 12

Elizabeth: OMG

Maggie: I mean like

Maggie: She can turn it the fuck on

Maggie: And I mean, there was that time she fucked me in the tactical helicopter

Maggie: So that was like a -5

Maggie: But other times

Maggie: 12

Kara: I LOOKED

Kara: I LOOKED TOO SOON

Maggie: Sorry Kara

Elizabeth: Sorry babe

Kara: brb just have to go scrub my brain

Kara: AGAIN

Maggie: Sorry! Really

Kara: Okay, MOVING ON

Kara: New ideas!

Elizabeth: Strip club

Elizabeth: No! strip classes!

Elizabeth: Pole dance classes!

Elizabeth: Aerial silk stripping classes!

Elizabeth: She’s strong as fuck, that would be great

Kara: No thank you

Kara: Spa day!

Elizabeth: Lap dance classes

Kara: Cooking classes

Maggie: Oh she needs those

Elizabeth: LAP DANCE CLASSES?

Maggie: No!

Maggie: Cooking

Elizabeth: So…you’re saying she /doesn’t/ need lap dance classes?

Maggie: Are you sure you’re using those slashes right?

Elizabeth: No

Elizabeth: But answer the question

Maggie: …Yes I’m sure

Elizabeth: HEY OHHHHHHH

Elizabeth: GET IT ALEXANDRA

Kara: Oh my god you guys

Kara: WHY

Kara: Massage classes?

Elizabeth: Tantric massage classes?

Kara: PASS

Kara: Sign both of you up for a tough mudder? Or a rugby team?

Elizabeth: GAYYYYY

Kara: Oh, take her to meet puppies!!

Elizabeth: Buy her a baby tiger to raise as her own

Kara: Get both of you matching jogging suits! That would be cute as a part of something else

Elizabeth: Get both of you matching lingerie with appropriately placed gun holsters

Kara: Oh! Trapeze classes!

Maggie: To remind her she can’t fly?

Kara: Oops, yeah

Kara: No

Kara: A bounce house! For all of us!

Elizabeth: Fuck her with a strap on in a bounce house

Elizabeth: Excellent leverage

Kara: LIZ

Maggie: ELIZABETH

Elizabeth: An important part of brainstorming is working with the ideas of others, not just with your own ideas

Elizabeth: I’m being HELPFUL

Maggie: You definitely are not

Kara: Skydiving!

Kara: Bungee humping!

Elizabeth: WHOA

Maggie: KARA?!

Kara: Oh my god

Kara: No

Kara: Jumping!!

Kara: Bungee jumping!!

Elizabeth: Too bad, you said it

Elizabeth: No take backsies

Elizabeth: Maggie, take her bungee humping

Elizabeth: Fuck her while you repel down from a bridge

Maggie: That sounds so painful

Elizabeth: It’s a /challenge/

Maggie: You’re /insane/

Kara: I can’t believe I did that

Maggie: ME NEITHER

Kara: I’m so sorry

Maggie: You should be

Elizabeth: Naked whirly ball

Maggie: What the fuck is whirly ball?

Elizabeth: It’s like lacrosse in bumper cars

Kara: What!

Kara: That sounds amazing

Kara: Do that

Kara: But with clothes

Elizabeth: Ruined it

 


 

Maggie: Okay, I spent a long time brainstorming today

Maggie: Here are my ideas:

Maggie: Take ATVs out from the desert base and shoot stuff in the desert

Maggie: Followed by

Maggie: Whiskey distillery tour

Maggie: Followed by a small non-surprise party

Maggie: And then the next night a barenaked ladies concert

Maggie: They’ll be in town

Maggie: And we never made it to the other one

Kara: Oh right

Kara: That was the night she was impersonated by the white martian

Maggie: Yup

Kara: That night sucked

Maggie: Yup

Elizabeth: What??

Elizabeth: What are your lives???

Maggie: I don’t even fucking know

Kara: That all sounds really cute, Maggie!

Kara: I like that a lot!

Elizabeth: I dunno

Elizabeth: Something is missing

Maggie: What if I promise to fuck her in the desert?

Kara: NO PLEASE

Elizabeth: GETTING BETTER

Elizabeth: But honestly

Elizabeth: I think it needs a little bit more zing

Elizabeth: One more action sequence, you know?

Maggie: Yeah, I agree

Elizabeth: What about those things that let you drive race cars?

Maggie: Oh yeah maybe

Elizabeth: Or wait!

Elizabeth: Take her down the coast to where they have those really good waves

Elizabeth: Pay for her to get towed out

Elizabeth: To where the big ones are

Maggie: Oh my god

Maggie: Yes

Kara: She’d LOVE that

Maggie: Liz, that’s amazing

Kara: Yes

Kara: Great idea

 


 

 

Maggie: Okay, everything on my end is set

Maggie: How about with you two?

Elizabeth: Food – ordered

Elizabeth: Music – playlists created

Kara: Decorations – bought

Kara: Winn and I will decorate the apartment in the morning

Kara: RSVPS – collected

Kara: Eliza is arriving tonight, I’m tracking her flight

Elizabeth: We’re on the plane right now

Elizabeth: Love this inflight wifi sitch

Kara: Lucy and the group from the desert base are all coming in tomorrow

Maggie: So, Kara to make sure we’re keeping out story straight

Maggie: We’re having a gathering at your apartment, just small

Kara: Yes

Elizabeth: But in reality

Elizabeth: IT’S BIG AS FUCK

Elizabeth: #SAFETYFIRSTSURPRISE

Kara: Exactly

Maggie: Okay

Maggie: Perfect

Maggie: We should get there around 8

Maggie: But Liz you have my location tracked

Kara: And I can monitor the tracking device in Alex’s shoulder

Elizabeth: Her WHAT

Maggie: Oh yeah, she has one

Maggie: So do I

Elizabeth: What the fuck??

Elizabeth: Maggie what the fuck kind of secret agent are you

Maggie: Don’t worry about it

Elizabeth: Fat chance

Maggie: We’ll talk later

Elizabeth: Uh, yeah, we fucking will

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: Margo just spilled her juice all over my pants

Elizabeth: I am sticky and disgusting now

Elizabeth: Only 3 hours left on this flight

Elizabeth: MOTHERHOOD IS SO BEAUTIFUL

Maggie: Oh my god I can’t fucking wait to see her

Elizabeth: She’s very excited to see her Auntie Mags

Elizabeth: And honestly at this point

Elizabeth: After this travel day?

Elizabeth: You can HAVE her

Elizabeth: Me and Abby are done

Maggie: DEAL

Kara: OH MY GOD YES PLEASE

Kara: Alex is going to lose her mind when she sees Margo

Kara: And when she sees them together

Kara: BIG MAGGIE AND LITTLE MAGGIE

Kara: Oh Rao I’m already tearing up

Maggie: Oh my god Kara

Kara: I love this party so much already

 


 

Kara: WE DID IT

Kara: #SAFETYFIRSTSURPRISE

Kara: WE DID IT

Kara: She looks so happy

Elizabeth: She really does

Elizabeth: Nice job, Supergirl

Elizabeth: Do you think Alex is going to ever put Margo down?

Kara: No way

Kara: Maybe hand her to Maggie

Kara: MAYBE

Kara: But probably not

Elizabeth: I like how she’s still drinking scotch with her other hand though

Elizabeth: Very talented woman, your sister

 


 

Maggie: ELIZABETH

Elizabeth: Yes dear?

Elizabeth: You don’t want to just walk across the room and come talk to me?

Maggie: WHY THE FUCK IS THIS SONG PLAYING

Elizabeth: Oh sorry

Elizabeth: Do you not like this song?

Maggie: Fuck you

Elizabeth: Um I think

Elizabeth: You’re confused

Elizabeth: About who it is that likes to give you lap dances to this song??

Elizabeth: Cause it’s not me

Maggie: Shut up

Elizabeth: A little horny now, Margaret?

Maggie: YES

Maggie: I just watched her shoot a fucking crossbow from a moving ATV

Maggie: And then watched her school the tour guide on the chemistry of whiskey distillation?

Maggie: And now you’re playing her lap dance song???

Maggie: Of COURSE I’m horny

Kara: PLEASE STOP

Elizabeth: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Elizabeth: Not sorry

 


 

Elizabeth: Hey Kara?

Kara: Yeah?

Elizabeth: Maybe don’t listen near the bathroom for a while

Kara: Why? Is someone pooping?

Elizabeth: That’s cute

Elizabeth: No

Kara: Oh

Kara: OH

Kara: Rao

Kara: WHY

Elizabeth: Happy 30th, Alex! Ringing in the new year like a champ.

Kara: I want to die

 


 

Maggie: Love you both

Maggie: Thank you for helping me with this

Elizabeth: Margaret it’s 2pm

Elizabeth: Did you just wake up?

Maggie: Yeah

Maggie: The concert went really late

Elizabeth: The concert

Elizabeth: Is that what they’re calling it these days

Maggie: Liz…just

Maggie: Okay??

Elizabeth: Okay

Maggie: But seriously

Maggie: Thank you both

Maggie: Couldn’t have done it without you

Maggie: She was really really happy

Kara: Of course!

Kara: I’m so glad we got to help

Elizabeth: It’s literally my job as your best friend to keep you from fucking up your marriage

Maggie: And you’re wonderful at that job

Elizabeth: Oh my god

Elizabeth: A compliment

Elizabeth: I’m never going to let you live that down

Elizabeth: Not ever

Maggie: Nevermind. I hate you.

Elizabeth: Atta girl

Kara: I LOVE YOU BOTH

Elizabeth: I LOVE YOU TOO SUPERGIRL

Maggie: Love you a ton, Kara

Kara: Give Alex a big happy birthday hug for me

Maggie: Will do!

Elizabeth: Pinch her ass for me

Kara: Oh Rao

Maggie: ELIZABETH

 

Chapter Text

It all happens because Reign breaks her leg. Although, of course, “breaks her leg” is a pretty casual way of putting it. People break their legs all the time and are still able to do her their jobs.

 

More accurately, it all happens because Reign shatters her tibia in four places, and she ends up with enough screws and plates and hardware in her leg to set off every metal detector she encounters for the rest of her life.


Which, honestly, isn’t that bad of a thing. Having the excuse of oh, the metal detector must be going off because of the titanium in my leg from an injury I suffered risking my life in the line of duty for my country, when the reality is that she always has at least four tactical knives strapped to her body that she's trying to sneak through security – it’s kind of a godsend. Doesn’t quite make the multiple surgeries, intense pain, and hours of physical therapy worth it but…it’s a perk, for sure.

 

But so, it all happens because Reign shatters her tibia in four places and she’s on desk duty for at least six months. She has some work to do in her lab, but not being able to walk around and examine her own shit really pisses her off. So J’onn gives her another task.

 

He gives her a dossier of thirty people who all know more about alien life than they should. Alex’s job is to simply monitor their internet use and alert someone if they start to tip from too-well-informed to actively dangerous.

 

It’s pretty standard surveillance – since the Patriot Act even the non-covert government agencies are doing it. But because these folks know too much about aliens in particular, even some of what they know is above the clearance level of your standard FBI, DHS, or CIA agent.

 

Cue the DEO’s finest.

 

Alex is assigned a dossier of twenty-nine scientists – folks who might be pushing the envelope between what is academic research and what is proto-terrorism – because she can understand their work better and faster than anyone else. And she’s also assigned to the person J’onn is currently most concerned about.

 

That target is an alien lover – literally. The history of surveillance on this particular target has clocked several romantic relationships with different aliens over the last couple of years. That’s fine in and of itself (Alex is, herself, in quite an intense 15-year platonic relationship with an alien), but it’s a fine line between being devoted to someone and being devoted to their cause. And a couple of the people this target has dated haven’t exactly been the most law-abiding folks.

 

Which is extra complicated because the target is a fucking cop. With the science division. The target's job is literally to stop aliens from committing crimes, and here they are, sleeping their way through National City’s alien criminal population.

 

Couple that with the knowledge that the target has from work – and a lot of knowledge they should not have at all – and it's no wonder this one is J'onn's top priority.

 


 

Alex has a lot of options at her fingertips. She can passively browse internet history and hard drives and text logs and keystrokes from anytime in the past. That’s what she does with most of the scientists – simply skims their history and their word documents and what they’ve typed to make sure that all of it is legit. Or, at least, not not legit.

 

If it seems like something is going down, she can also initiate a screen share, where she sees exactly what they see, in real time. Most of the time it’s wildly boring – real time is so slow – but every once in a while it’s necessary.

 

And any screen share is automatically recorded, so she can watch it back later. Faster.

 

She’s tapped into not only work computers but personal computers and tablets and smart phones. She can read texts, she can listen in on phone calls, she can watch a facetime conversation if she wants to.

 

It’s a lot of power, but the secret of it all is that people – even those who might be on their way towards becoming genocidal murderers – are so boring.

 

Except for that one target, the cop. M. Sawyer. M. Sawyer is never boring. M. Sawyer is always doing something. M. Sawyer lives alone, which Alex learned from her dossier but has confirmed by sneaking looks through the laptop's webcam when M. Sawyer is clearly out of the house. M. Sawyer watches a lot of tv on the computer – Hulu and Netflix are the two most visited sites in the browser history. Sometimes, late at night, M. Sawyer watches lesbian porn which Alex, having dated many men over the course of her life, just rolls her eyes at. Classic.

 

M. Sawyer googles a lot of recipes but is a vegetarian. M. Sawyer has a lot going on with a lot of different women. They call or text or email or swipe at all times of the day, and M. Sawyer seems to juggle them all flawlessly.

 

Or, at least, M. Sawyer doesn’t miss any dates or call anyone by the wrong name, or anything else someone might send a follow-up text about.

 

M. Sawyer doesn’t have any contact with family, which is honestly one of the things that most concerns Alex. Many radicals are isolated from their families, and M. Sawyer’s dating life seems to prove a certain desire for human connection, in one way or another. But no family contact. Alex wonders if the family cut M. Sawyer out after learning about some of the more radical viewpoints.

 

M. Sawyer is a workaholic. Emails go in and out at all times of the day, and sometimes the work computer is active until midnight on a weekend. M. Sawyer closes a lot of cases, and, Alex has figured out, does some really solid police work.

 

Alex entertains herself, sometimes, by following along with the progress of a current case. And, in three of the four times that she’s done it – reading autopsy reports and witness statements and forensic analyses – M. Sawyer has solved it before her.

 

So M. Sawyer is clearly impressive – a smart, strong cop, with a real way with the ladies.

 

But, also, M. Sawyer is on some very questionable message boards and listservs. M. Sawyer is obsessed with the DEO. With proving it exists, with finding it, with meeting an agent, with breaking innocent aliens out of its prison.

 

Which just makes Alex want to smack M. Sawyer across the probably good-looking face, because she doesn’t have any innocent aliens in her prison, and all of the ones she does have would kill National City’s finest in a heartbeat the second M. Sawyer unlocked their cells, rescue mission or no.

 

M. Sawyer supports not only alien amnesty but full, immediate citizenship for alien residents of the US (which, Alex grumbles to herself, even human refugees don’t get). M. Sawyer supports non-discrimination ordinances and marriage rights and letting aliens adopt human children and alien culture museums and teaching their languages and a federal civil rights commission.

 

M. Sawyer also supports a lot of things Alex is absolutely not behind, like, for example, the full and free use of powers, in any public space, no matter the power. Alex only has to think about Livewire, about Scorch, fuck, about Astra, to know that’s a fucking terrible idea. Human buildings, human bodies, human beings, can’t withstand that type of law.

 

M. Sawyer is persistent. M. Sawyer is militant. M. Sawyer is dangerous.

 


 

 

M. Sawyer is a woman.

 

Alex sort of can’t believe she missed it. Sure, it was marked in the dossier, clear as day (she went back and checked). But everyone just calls her Sawyer, and she doesn’t have an email signature, and even on the dating apps she doesn’t use a first name and she doesn’t have a picture of anything other than a badge and a (very nice) motorcycle.

 

And what with the endless parade of women and the porn…Alex had just assumed.

 

But, M. Sawyer is a woman. And a lesbian.

 

Alex learns this, not from the dossier or any type of research she should have been doing, of course. No, she learns it from turning on the webcam for the first time and nearly falling over with shock as a woman – a small, possibly Latina, extremely fit, definitely beautiful woman – in black jeans and a white t-shirt, is standing in front of it, biting her lip and frowning down at the screen.

 

Roast broccoli how long, the keystrokes log. And Alex watches as her eyes run over the screen before she turns to the oven and sets the timer.

 

And Alex isn’t totally sure it’s M. Sawyer – anyone could have been on a date in that apartment – but then the woman comes back to the computer and deftly clicks over to Netflix and starts watching the episode of The Walking Dead M. Sawyer had been watching this morning.

 

It’s her, alright.

 

That night, M. Sawyer – Maggie, Alex reminds herself – watches porn again, and it makes Alex feel incredibly weird. She didn’t know women watched porn. She didn’t know women watched lesbian porn. And she’s a little slower to close out of the browser than she usually is, so she notices that these lesbians don’t look at all like the ones she was used to seeing on her ex-boyfriends’ laptops. They have tattoos and short hair and one is kind of…masculine?

 

Alex sees the flash of something big and purple and she closes the screen share as quickly as she can.

 

M. Sawyer is a woman.

 


 

M. Sawyer – Maggie Sawyer – is here. Here in this conference room, part of a task force working to get the distributors of a very dangerous alien toxin off the street. Alex is there as an FBI agent, because she doesn’t trust anyone else to properly trace the substance back to the alien it’s coming from.

 

Although, as she stares at Maggie Sawyer from across the chipped conference table, she wonders if maybe she should. Maggie has proven to be a better detective than Alex is.

 

Well, three times out of four.

 

Although she is possibly also being groomed to be a terrorist, so. Some pluses and some minuses there.

 

Maggie corners Alex after the meeting, introducing herself and holding out her hand for Alex to shake. Alex can’t help but notice how small she is and, absurdly, how good she smells.

 

The handshake lingers, and Maggie gives Alex this little look Alex can’t possible decipher.

 

It’s possible that Alex is not a very good detective at all.

 

That night, Alex watches the keystroke log as Maggie googles her. Alex Danvers, she types first, and she gets all the standard FBI scientific articles. Alex sends a silent thank you to Winn, who meticulously alters her google results for every different cover.

 

Alex Danvers not FBI, Maggie types next, and Alex sits up, immediately starting a screen share to record what’s happening. If her cover was blown, this is a seriously big deal.

 

But, of course, nothing useful to Maggie comes up. Alex turns on the webcam.

 

Maggie is frowning at her screen, her eyebrows pulled tight. Her eyes are flying over the screen incredibly quickly, and Alex keeps having to remind herself – every single time it looks like Maggie is staring right at her – that Maggie is just looking at the text up near the camera.

 

But still, every time Maggie looks into the webcam – even for just a millisecond – Alex’s gut jolts.

 

Alex Danvers DEO, Maggie types. Alex holds her breath, even though she’s across the city and she hasn’t enabled the one-way audio.

 

Winn has done his job flawlessly. Did you mean ‘Alex Danvers doe,’ it asks Maggie, showing results from a (fake) local news article of a young Alex saving an injured doe back when she was nine years old.

 

Maggie huffs, and Alex turns on the one-way audio just in time to hear her growl, “No, I did not fucking mean ‘Alex Danvers doe,’ you piece of shit.”

 

Alex can’t help but laugh.

 

Maggie stalks away from the computer not too long after, humming “Doe a Deer” over and over until Alex, sure she’s going to lose her own mind, shuts off the audio.

 


 

Maggie Sawyer is fucking gorgeous.

 

Alex had thought she’d outgrown being jealous of other women’s bodies, but, as Maggie walks around her living room in just a sports bra and a pair of running shorts, she can’t take her eyes off Maggie’s abs.

 

Although, every once in a while, her eyes slip to Maggie’s chest, just for a second.

 


 

“Alex, come on. Come out. You haven’t talked to anyone all day.”

 

Kara is whining into the phone, and she can’t see Alex, so Alex feels comfortable rolling her eyes as hard as she can.

 

“Yes, I have, Kara.”

 

“Who.”

 

“Who what?”

 

“Who have you talked to today?”

 

And Alex is halfway through saying Maggie when she realizes that she hasn’t actually talked to anyone today. She’s been with Maggie all day – tracking her phone and her work computer and watching through her webcam and her phone’s camera. Maggie had a mysterious meeting set up for today, and Alex did everything she could to get strong intel on it.

 

And if that meant she watched Maggie walk around in a towel, humming the theme song along with The Office rerun she was watching, then, so be it.

 

It’s her job.

 


 

It’s gotten to the point where Alex always has a screen share of Maggie’s computer or phone up on her second monitor or second computer. She only closes it when it’s porn, or when she’s rewatching Bend It Like Beckham for the second time in a week.

 


 

“Have a good night last night?” Maggie’s looking up at Alex, her eyes twinkling, and she’s standing a little too close, and Alex can’t breathe.

 

“Uh…” Alex stutters a little. Last night had been…interesting.

 

Last night Maggie had watched what was clearly her favorite porn video, and this time, in the comfort of her own home, Alex hadn’t closed the screen share.

 

She hadn’t used the webcam or anything, but part of her was suspicious that there were messages encoded in the video, or in the audio track.

 

And another part of her was just curious.

 

So, for twenty minutes, Alex co-watched porn with Maggie, last night.

 

And now Maggie is standing so close, glancing up at her with this very confusing look on her face, and Alex is nearly choking with embarrassment.

 

“No,” she manages. “I mean, fine. I mean, nothing happened.”

 

Alex walks away, as quickly as she can with this lingering limp, and she could swear she hears Maggie chuckling behind her.

 


 

Sawyer: Dude

 

Alex watches Maggie send a text with vague disinterest, more concerned with scrolling through the latest results on her new vaccine.

 

Sawyer: I'm in so much trouble

 

Alex perks up a little at that. She sits up, maximizing this view of Maggie's phone as she types in real time. She's texting someone whose contact name is just 'That Bitch,' and it's basically Surveillance 101 that the use of codenames is highly suspicious.

 

That Bitch: ???

 

Alex feels the same way.

 

Sawyer: I need you to kill me

Sawyer: I'm in so far over my head here

 

Alex's fingers fly into motion. She doesn't know what this is about, but it's the best lead she's had in a while.

 

That Bitch: Dude what happened?

 

Alex holds her breath. Is Maggie about to finally admit, on the record, to terrorism?

 

Sawyer: I broke the cardinal rule

Sawyer: Maybe

Sawyer: Not sure?

Sawyer: Fuck dude I don’t know

 

Alex quickly searches through her database. "The cardinal rule" doesn't pull up anything of use. That doesn't mean it isn't code, of course, it just means that she's still in the dark as she turns her attention back to the screen share.

 

That Bitch: Dude back it up. Wtf are you talking about

That Bitch: Which cardinal rule?

That Bitch: There are so many

 

Alex sends a silent thank you to That Bitch for the clarifying question.

 

Sawyer: I have a fucking crush

Sawyer: Like a child

 

Alex huffs. If she stopped working on her vaccine for fucking girl talk, she's going to punch something. Probably that rookie at the next console who keeps breathing like he's scuba diving or Darth Vader or something.

 

That Bitch: OOOOOH GIRL SPILL

That Bitch: WHO IS IT

 

Alex loses all interest, but before she can close the screen share, Maggie's response pops up.

 

Sawyer: We just started working together

 

Alex stops, her mouse hovering over the Exit button. This could possibly be a lead, because Alex knows for a fact there haven't been any new hires in the science division lately. So if they work together, it might be something off the books.

 

Sawyer: She's FBI, apparently

 

Alex's heart stops for a long, long second. The first thing she lets herself focus on – even though her mind is screaming that Maggie just admitted to someone named That Bitch that she has a crush on Alex – is that Maggie is still clearly unconvinced that Alex is FBI.

 

It bugs her, because she's always meticulous about keeping her cover.

 

But, as that thought slides out of the forefront, the rest of the information blares into Alex's mind.

 

Maggie has a crush on her.

 

Maggie has a lesbian crush. On Alex.

 

Sawyer: I thought she was straight but, I don't know

Sawyer: She gives me serious vibes

 

Well that's just preposterous. Giving vibes is not a thing.

 

Sawyer: But I'm not convinced that she knows that she's giving them

That Bitch: Just ask her out, dude

That Bitch: See what happens

That Bitch: If she's straight she'll freak out about it and it'll be super fucking awkward

That Bitch: And then she'll probably end up sleeping with you anyway

That Bitch: And if she's not

That Bitch: Then it'll be super fucking awesome

That Bitch: And then she'll sleep with you

That Bitch: Win win, Margaret

 

Alex rapidly flicks through the dossier. Her legal name is Margarita, not Margaret. Alex wonders how well she knows this person.

 

Sawyer: You know that's not what straight people do, right?

That Bitch: You said YOURSELF she could be leaning our direction

That Bitch: Why not find out?

Sawyer: Cause she's a fed! She wears leather jackets to meetings! She rides a ducati!

 

That Bitch then sends a gif of some woman Alex doesn't recognize saying 'she gay dude stop it lol.'

 

Sawyer: You're not as funny as you think you are

That Bitch: Seriously. Fed? Gun? Leather? Motorcycle? Intimidates the hell out you?

That Bitch: That girl likes girls and not in the gal pal way

That Bitch: That girl wants to smash her face on your face

That Bitch: And your other parts

That Bitch: Pinky promise

 

Alex can't quite suck in enough oxygen. She is straight, though. She doesn't want to smash her face on anyone's face. It sounds entirely unpleasant, first of all, and she already has a shattered tibia. She doesn't need to add a broken nose to her list of injuries.

 

And, if she were to want to gently press her face against someone else's face, it would totally be a man.

 

Although, Maggie's skin does look really soft.

 

And that one time they stood super close together and the wind was blowing, Maggie had smelled really good.

 

And those two times Alex had seen her in a towel through the webcam, she had noticed herself battling a strange urge to see what was underneath.

 

And that one time Maggie had been searching for a recipe and wearing a tank top and her hair had been dripping down onto her shoulders, Alex had – now that she thinks about it – wanted to lick the water droplets off her shoulders.

 

And Alex did co-watch that porno with her that one time, and it had been lesbians and it had...worked?

 

Ohhhh my fuck, Alex thinks, leaning back in her chair and barely noticing the apparent gif war now escalating between Maggie and That Bitch.

 


 

Alex does some googling of her own, the next afternoon, on a public library computer that she lightly hacks into.

 

Now that she basically is the surveillance state, she's even more careful with what she types on her personal devices.

 

How do you know if you're gay, she types into the search bar.

 

She scans the results, then quickly types something else. How do you know if you're a lesbian.

 

She spends about an hour reading and taking dumb quizzes.

 

The internet is much less helpful than she would have expected – and why the fuck isn't there a blood test or something conclusive – but she learns a lot.

 

That night, back in her apartment, she opens the webcams on all her other twenty-nine targets. Two of them are very attractive men. She watches them for a while. She has no urges, no flutters, no desire to know what's underneath their clothes.

 

One of them starts watching porn. Alex watches it with him for a while until she feels like her eyeballs need a shower.

 

She switches over, watching an episode of Planet Earth with Maggie. She clicks the webcam on just long enough to see Maggie in bed, the blue light from her laptop dancing on her face. She looks soft and young and tired and beautiful.

 

"Oh shit," Alex whispers to herself, closing down her computer.

 


 

Alex invites Darth Rookie into the sparring room and, even with the full use of only one leg, kicks his ass until she's happier than she's been in weeks.

 


 

So, it's bad that Alex has a crush on a girl.

 

It's bad that Alex has a crush on a co-worker.

 

It's bad that Alex has a crush on someone suspected of being on the path to terrorism.

 

It's bad that Alex has a crush on someone who she's been surveilling for the past three months.

 

But all that pales in comparison to how bad it is when Alex realizes she has a crush on someone who is definitely an integral part of a plot to blow up city hall.

 


 

A new person had started contacting Maggie by email about a week ago, and it was definitely shady. Maggie had been cautious but responsive, agreeing to meet in person. Maggie was careful enough to keep most of the contact between herself and "Steve" verbal, but enough got through to make Alex seriously concerned.

 

Alex flagged it to J'onn, and he made it her top priority.

 

It was tough, but Alex managed to piece it together. She decoded emails. She turned on the webcam and one-way audio on Maggie's laptop or cell so she could overhear the calls Maggie was making on her burner flip phone. Finally, Alex managed to get into the text records from the burner phone, but Maggie and her contact were both super twitchy so there wasn't much there.

 

Maggie didn't bring her real phone with her to the meetings, so Alex couldn't watch or listen in.

 

But, after a long meeting under a bridge, Alex had lucked out. Maggie had gotten back in her car, and she mounted her real phone to the holder on her windshield, so Alex could see her perfectly. "Fucking idiot," Maggie had grumbled. "Blowing up city hall. Brilliant plan my ass."

 

Alex had, immediately, called J'onn. They set up a series of bugs, they tailed Steve, they tapped everything of his they could. And they, just today, figured out the plan.

 

Steve is going to blow up city hall, during a city council meeting. Steve is going to kill everyone inside of it.

 

And Maggie is going to help him.

 


 

The plan is to blow up city hall at 5pm on Thursday. At 3pm all the parties gather in a nearby parking lot. Thanks to a few sleepless nights, Alex had finally cracked Maggie's email and calendar code, so she knows the exact time and location of the meeting.

 

Alex watches through the webcams until about 1pm, when she loads herself and her equipment into the DEO’s tactical van. Maggie looks nervous. She runs through her morning routine as best she can, and does her best to appear normal at work, but Alex can tell – when the phone camera is pointing at Maggie instead of at the ceiling – that she's incredibly worried.

 

Alex desperately hopes she doesn't go through with it.

 

It's not just that Alex has a crush. She genuinely likes Maggie, as a person and as a cop, and this is a really shitty way to go.

 

But, at 2pm, Steve texts the burner phone, and Maggie confirms that she'll be there at 3.

 

Alex and her team form up and move out. She's stuck in the tactical van, technically, but she has a vest on anyway because everyone knows that once things start going down, she'll be out of the van in a second, weapons or no weapons. So she has her gun and her vest and J'onn's instructions to "not do anything too stupid."

 

Alex listens as Maggie sings along to the radio in her car, her voice a little tighter than usual.

 

Alex listens as Maggie gives herself a little pep talk. It would be cute, her whole “You can do this, Sawyer. You’re a badass,” thing, if what she were trying to pump up for wasn’t a terrorist assassination of every civil leader in National City.

 

Alex listens, and flicks to the feed of the cameras the DEO had planted all around the meeting spot in advance, as Maggie gets out of her car. Maggie leaves her real phone in the car, but they also hid mics and audio receivers all over this parking lot, so Alex can still hear her loud and clear.

 

Maggie greets Steve and the others, careful to introduce herself to everyone and shake their hands. Alex assumes most, if not all, are giving her fake names, but it’s still a lot of information for the DEO to go on, and even though Alex is pissed as hell at Maggie, she can’t help but silently thank her for all the great intel she’s unknowingly passing on.

 

They start talking through the plan. Steve is showing everyone some blueprints, but Alex can’t get a good look at them from the cameras.

 

“Okay,” Maggie finally says. “So you’re planting the bomb here, along this retaining wall?”

 

“Yeah,” Steve grunts.

 

Alex tenses. It’s the clearest confession she’s heard so far. He’s usually so careful not to use the word ‘bomb.’

 

“Are you sure that’s a good enough spot? I’m worried that won’t bring down the entire floor.” Maggie’s voice hardens a little bit, like she’s sneering in disbelief. “It’s almost like you’re not actually trying for mass casualties. Like maybe you’re looking to make a big ass cloud in the sky so Supergirl comes swooping in, saving everyone at the last minute.”

 

The challenge in her voice is clear – she’s being derisive and dismissive and cold, and Alex wonders if Steve is going to pull out a gun and shoot her on sight.

 

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Steve barks, and he isn’t pulling a gun but he’s physically pushing her a little bit to get her to stand down. “That’s exactly the spot. It’ll kill everyone inside, just like it’s supposed to. Now shut up and do your job.”

 

That’s it. That’s the confession. Alex couldn’t have asked him to say it more clearly if she’d tried. It’s not like Steve is going to be going through the normal criminal justice system – not with the DEO here to make the arrest – but it’s still nice to have incontrovertible proof.

 

But before J’onn can order the raid, fucking Maggie Sawyer forces their hand.

 

“NCPD!” Maggie’s voice blares incredibly loudly in the van, and Alex jumps in surprise. “HANDS ON YOUR HEAD,” she’s shouting. “YOU’RE UNDER ARREST. DOWN ON THE GROUND. HANDS ON YOUR HEAD.” And Alex can see in the monitors that Maggie is pointing her gun at the five men around her, but none of them are on the ground yet, and they’re all armed too.

 

Alex growls into the comms, barely resisting the urge to smack her head on something in anger. What the fuck.

 

DEO agents pour out of the surrounding area – some hopping out of trunks, some popping out of a nearby manhole, and some rushing in from strategic spots hidden in trees or behind trucks. Alex runs, as fast as she can on her still-shitty leg, from the tactical van.

 

With the help of the DEO, Maggie gets all the criminals on the ground without a single shot being fired.

 

Alex slows her run, falling into a limping walk for the last fifty or so feet, once she sees that her agents have it under control.

 

Maggie cuffs all five of the men, reading them their rights in meticulous fashion.

 

 “Danvers!” Maggie says as Alex finally approaches, grinning up at her as she adds a second pair of cuffs to one of the stronger aliens. “I was hoping you’d turn up.”

 

Alex can’t help but sputter. “What? Me?”

 

Maggie hands the alien off to one of the DEO agents before she puts her hands on her hips, running her eyes up and down Alex’s body.

 

“Yeah, you’ve been the one surveilling me, right? I was pretty sure I’d left you enough breadcrumbs for this bust, but, uh…” she makes a dramatic show of looking at her watch. “Kind of left it down to the wire there, huh?”

 

Alex gapes. She has one of the fastest minds in the world, and yet all she can do is stand and stare.

 

She finally manages just a few words. “You…you knew?”

 

Maggie rolls her eyes, reaching out to pull Alex a couple of yards away from where J’onn and her newly arrived captain are starting to argue over jurisdiction. “Of course I knew. I’ve known the DEO has been watching me for over a year now, and I knew you were DEO the second I met you.”

 

And Alex can’t refute that, because literally the first thing Maggie did after their first meeting was google Alex Danvers DEO.

 

“Why do you think I was watching you?” Alex asks, and she knows it’s weak – her own voice calling out you knew just a few traitorous seconds ago is still ringing pathetically in her ears – but she can’t help but deny it.

 

But Maggie just laughs.

 

Her hand is still on Alex’s arm.

 

“Come on, Alex. Don’t even pretend it wasn’t you. You knew what my order from Big Jack’s was without me telling you. And the night after I watched that BDSM clip, you couldn’t stop staring at my handcuffs like they were going to come to life and bite your hand off.”

 

Alex flushes a spectacular scarlet. That video had been…intense.

 

“There’s no point denying it now,” Maggie says lightly, and her eyes are twinkling with something, and Alex wonders if this is what it looks like when someone is giving you vibes. “You’re here, so the cat’s out of the bag.”

 

“It…” Alex can’t even form words. Maggie’s hand is still on her arm. “It’s actually not that hard to put a cat back in a bag.”

 

Maggie tilts her head, and suddenly she’s showing Alex both her dimples, and yes, this would be a vibe. “Didn’t really think the abrupt transition to a pussy joke was gonna be your style of flirting, Danvers.” Maggie winks, and Alex actually chokes.

 

“No! Oh my god! I wasn’t…no.”

 

And that just makes Maggie laugh – loud and beautiful and full – and Alex just wants to touch her.

 

And, for once, Maggie isn’t behind a screen, and for once Maggie isn’t plotting a terrorist attack, and for once Alex has undeniable proof that Maggie was on her side all along.

 

So Alex reaches out and folds down the collar of Maggie’s leather jacket, careful to let her fingers brush against the skin of Maggie’s neck.

 

“When I want to flirt with you,” Alex murmurs, her fingers lingering for just another few seconds. “You’ll know it.”

 

Maggie swallows, and her throat is so close to Alex’s fingertips.

 

“When…uh, when do you think that’s gonna be?” she asks, and Alex floods with pleasure that Maggie’s voice is little more breathless than she’d probably have liked it to be.

 

And Maggie isn’t a terrorist and she makes Alex laugh and Alex just wants to make out and then curl up and watch Planet Earth together. So Alex lets her fingers slip around the back of Maggie’s neck as she takes a step in. They’re only a breath away, now, and Maggie hasn’t blinked for a long time.

 

“Now,” is all Alex says.

 

It’s Maggie who starts the kiss, maybe, but it’s Alex who doesn’t let her finish it for a long moment. Maggie tastes and feels and smells and sounds even better than Alex had imagined, all those hours through the webcam and the browser histories and the text logs.

 

“By the way,” Alex mumbles against Maggie’s lips, “I was definitely giving you serious vibes.”

 

Maggie pulls back a little bit, her eyes wide as it hits her. “You, uh, you saw…those texts?”

 

Alex kisses her again, because she has too. She hums her affirmative answer against Maggie’s lips.

 

They have to stop kissing after a minute because Maggie is laughing. She drops her head to Alex’s chest, and Alex’s arms – without bothering to consult her brain – come around her back, pulling her all the way in.

 

“That’s embarrassing,” Maggie mumbles.

 

“Not as embarrassing as the number of times you googled how to roast broccoli,” Alex says lightly, and she’s pretty sure she absolutely deserves the hard pinch she gets in return.

 

“Shut up,” Maggie grumbles, not bothering to leave Alex’s arms. “Just cause you’re an enormous creep.”

 

“You had a crush on an enormous creep, so what does that say about you?”

 

Maggie lifts her head enough to kiss Alex’s jaw, and Alex nearly faints with the intimacy of it.

 

“You had a crush on a surveillance subject. What does that say about you?”

 

Alex tightens her arms around Maggie, faintly wishing they weren’t wearing leather jackets and bulky tactical vests. “That I’ve always been better at hands-on evidence gathering.”

 

Maggie pulls back enough to look into Alex’s eyes, and this time her face is wicked and teasing and Alex has never seen this look before.

 

“You planning on getting your hands on me, Danvers?”

 

And Alex wants to blush and part of her is deeply insecure, but Maggie is in her arms and Maggie is looking at her like she wants to devour her, and honestly Alex can’t think of a better way to die.

 

“God, yes,” Alex breathes, and she didn’t mean to say it out loud, but she has no regrets after Maggie sucks in a sharp breath.

 

Alex sees, out of the corner of her eye, that J’onn and the police captain are done arguing back across the parking lot. “Come home with me after debrief,” Alex says, reluctantly starting to peel her arms off of Maggie’s body. “I’ll show you just how meticulous my methods can be.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Angst 7: “you should’ve said that yesterday.”

 

 “You should’ve said that yesterday.”

 

Alex’s jaw drops, just a little bit. “Excuse me?”

 

“You should’ve said you wanted go to the formal with me yesterday.”

 

Alex huffs. “I didn’t know you yesterday.”

 

“But I said I’d go with Emily Lewis this morning.”

 

Alex’s stomach – from one breath to the next – flips from agitated fluttering to an achingly frozen disappointment. “Oh,” she manages. “Oh, okay.”

 

“But I’d rather go with you.”

 

Something, deep inside of her, wriggles to life. “I – what?”

 

Maggie raises two beautiful, perfect, challenging eyebrows. “You blew up the lab just now, Danvers, and you look amazing in my extra shirt. Obviously I’d rather go with you.”

 

Alex stutters. “So…does that…” She clears her throat. “So, will you…”

 

Maggie looks her up and down. “I’m not the type of girl who goes back on my word.”

 

Alex wants to die.

 

“But I’m also not the type of girl who’d take someone to the senior ball while wishing I were with someone else.”

 

Alex wants to scream. What is happening. She’d had a better grip on what was happening when her lab was an actual inferno.

 

“So, how about this?” Maggie tilts her head to the side, and Alex’s internal screaming only intensifies. “We skip the dance all together, and I take you to my favorite dive bar. We celebrate being seniors the old-fashioned way.”

 

She’s standing so close now, so Alex’s voice is more of a gasp than anything. “What’s the old fashioned way?”

 

Maggie grins, and the edges of her hair still smell like smoke from the lab accident. “Why, getting legally drunk, of course. I’ll even buy you a beer for getting lab cancelled for the rest of the week.”

 

And Alex is pretty sure she’s already drunk so she just nods, as hard as she can.

Chapter Text

Fluff 24: “that was, by far, the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.”

 

“That was, by far, the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.”

 

Alex tilts her head a bit. “Uh, you sure?”

 

Maggie nods, leaning heavily into Alex as they make their way down the sidewalk. She’s very much super drunk. “Definitely.”

 

“Because once I flew a pod into space without knowing if it could survive re-entry into the atmosphere.”

 

She hoists Maggie up a little higher.

 

“And once I blew up a building I was still standing in, and then got in a ship that didn’t have brakes and was set for light-speed.”

 

She presses the button for the crosswalk.

 

“And once I jumped off a building instead of going down the stairs, without any knowledge that Kara was close enough to catch me.”

 

“Nope,” Maggie mumbles softly, her head now lolling on Alex’s shoulder. “This was it. The stupidest.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

“Because now everyone knows you liiiiike me.” She singsongs it, like they’re in third grade.

 

“It was our fifth anniversary party, Mags. Pretty sure they already knew that I liked you.”

Chapter Text

Fluff 14. “how did you fail a survey?”

 

Maggie walks into the apartment, and immediately panics. Alex is on the couch, curled up, crying lightly as she stares at her phone. Maggie nearly sprints over to her, her footsteps quick and worried. “Babe, what happened? What’s wrong?” Her mind is running a very unhelpful spool of everything that can go wrong – Kara hurt, Jeremiah back, Jeremiah not back, J’onn hurt, more political bullshit.

 

Alex looks up from her phone, the blue light reflecting off her cheeks. “I failed.” Her voice is soft and completely pitiful, and Maggie has no idea what’s going on, but she sinks down on the couch and wraps her arms around Alex anyway.

 

Alex’s self-esteem issues – her perfectionism, never measuring up to Kara, the fact that she never gets it through her thick fucking skull that she’s a god damned human superhero – leave a lot of gnarly possibilities here for what she could have failed at.

 

“Failed what, love?”

 

Alex sniffs, not even bothering to wipe her tears.

 

“This…this stupid thing!” She waves her phone around, and Maggie does a quick check. Yep, there’s rum on the coffee table, and rum always makes Alex weepy. She does the math quickly – yep, it’s probably just a few days before their periods. She looks across the room – yep, Gertrude is looking grumpily over from her bed, clearly not in the mood to cuddle.

 

And that combination can be…intense.

 

She squeezes Alex’s arms. “What thing, babe?”

 

“This survey thing!”

 

Maggie can’t help the way her eyebrows knit. “A survey? How did you fail a survey?”

 

Alex gasps, like she’s trying to inhale through a hiccup. “It said pick some desserts and it’ll tell me which Disney princess I am!” She rolls her head, looking over at Maggie with legitimate tears hanging in her beautiful, wet eyelashes. “And I did it, Mags, I did it so right. But it…ugh!”

 

She actually throws her phone on the ground. It lands harmlessly on the rug, and Maggie does everything she can not to laugh.

 

“And what?”

 

“It said I’m fucking Sleeping Beauty!” Alex is getting mad now, which Maggie honestly finds even cuter. “She’s! She’s not even! She doesn’t…UGH!” Maggie can’t help but laugh, but she tries to make it silent, and Alex isn’t exactly in top observational shape right now so it seems to be under the radar. “There’s…all the ones, Belle who like saves her dad with books, and Jasmine’s best friend is a fucking tiger, and even Rapunzel makes her hair into stairs, and fucking MULAN who saves all of China! All of it! But it…Sleeping Beauty?? She doesn’t…even Cinderella rides a fucking pumpkin to party, Maggie!”

 

Maggie can’t help it. She snorts.

 

But Alex has worked herself up into such a state she doesn’t notice. “She just sleeps! That’s not me, Maggie! I would…I would fucking kill that sorceress with her own fucking needle, you know? Just like…BLAM.”

 

She mimes stabbing Maggie in the neck with what Maggie can only imagine is a spindle.

 

Maggie can barely speak. “You’re right babe,” she gasps. “You’d absolutely have done that.”

 

“You’re damn right,” Alex grumbles, finally settling down, relaxing back into Maggie’s arms. “Would have brought the whole Chinese army to just like, set off fireworks in her castle. Show her.”

 

And Maggie just tightens her arms around her wife and laughs until she cries.

 

Chapter Text

Fluff 28: “well, i’m pretty irresistible.”

 

“Maggie. I’ve had a lot of big surprises in my life. Getting a super-powered alien for a sister when I was fourteen, just for starters. The job I have, taking over the agency. But you, Mags.” Alex takes a shuddering breath. “You’re the best, most surprising, most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. You walked into my life and just…shattered everything I’d ever thought I wanted. And I’ve never been so happy. I know I lived twenty-six years without knowing you, but now I can’t imagine living a single second without you.”

 

She has more to say, but Maggie opens her mouth and interrupts. “Well, I am pretty irresistible.” She winks to the crowd.

 

Unaffected, Alex smacks her in the arm with her bouquet. “Maggie! Stop fucking interrupting my vows! I’m trying to marry you, you smug piece of shit!”

 

In the first row, Eliza drops her head into her hands. She can’t take her daughters anywhere.

 

Chapter Text

Fluff 17: “you promised me a cookie!”

 

“You promised me a cookie!”

 

“…Excuse me?”

 

“You said, and I quote,” Alex dramatically pulls her phone out of her back pocket, reading the receipts verbatim. “When you get home I’ll have a special treat waiting for you. And I said, a cookie? And you said, and I quote, yeah babe, a cookie.”

 

She puts the phone back in her pocket, glaring over at Maggie in clear challenge.

 

“Alex, oh my fucking god. There was never any cookie. I’m the special treat.” Maggie gestures up and down her body, clearly indicating her lingerie, leather jacket, and her most uncomfortable pair of heels.

 

Alex just narrows her eyes again. “So…just to clarify…there is no cookie?”

 

Maggie abandons all attempts to be sexy, flopping ungracefully down on the couch. “Why the fuck did I marry you, again?”

 

Alex, finally emerging from her cookie monster haze, quickly sits next to her, placing a placating hand on her thigh. “No, babe, I mean, you’re beautiful, and I’m definitely pumped to have sex with you! Definitely! But like…for the future…”

 

Maggie shakes her head, but it’s fond. She did willingly choose to marry this woman; she should have known better. “I know. For the future, never lie to a Danvers about a dessert.”

Chapter Text

Angst 14: “you say you’ll stop, but then you keep doing it!”

 

It’s been a rough day. Maggie’s worked over 16 hours, and Alex has clearly been blowing off her texts. Her responses have been late, and curt, and she’s clearly mad about something but Maggie doesn’t for the life of her know what it is.

 

She’s exhausted – nights have been late with work, and mornings have been horribly early and awful lately. She’s really, really not in the mood for a fight. But she drags her ass home, mentally preparing to fight about whatever it is that’s pissing off her wife today.

 

And, oh boy, do they fight.

 


 

“You say you’ll stop, but then you keep doing it!”

 

They’re spiraling into their second hour of fighting, and Alex’s voice is nearly hysterical with anger. She’s had just as long of day, and just as little sleep.

 

And her mornings have been even worse than Maggie’s.

 

“Well excuse me for trying to help!”

 

“It’s not helping, Maggie, it’s lying! Just stop lying to me!”

 

Maggie wants to tear her hair out. “But if I don’t lie, you won’t do it!”

 

“Because I don’t want to!” Alex is nearly shrieking, and Maggie just wants to lay down.

 

She tries to slow this down, to bring them both back from the brink of actual yelling. “Alex.”

 

But Alex won’t be pulled back. “It’s disgusting, Maggie. It makes me physically sick.”

 

“You can’t even taste it!”

 

Alex looks horrified. “It’s spinach, Mags. In my smoothie. For breakfast. It’s all I can taste.”

 

“Okay!” Maggie actually throws up her hands in frustration. “Fine! I won’t do it anymore. Happy?”

 

Alex crosses her arms. “You won’t put it in my smoothies anymore? Or you won’t sneak it into pancakes, or cookies, or those granola bars you make, or eggs, or anything? You act like I don’t know what you’re doing, but I fucking do, Mags.”

 

“Jesus Christ, Alex, forgive me for trying to give you some essential nutrients.”

 

“Which one of us is the doctor? I have fucking plenty of nutrients.”

 

But Maggie isn’t backing down. She points at Alex’s stomach, her face just shy of being a full-on snarl. “Well she doesn’t. And excuse me, but I don’t really care how much you hate spinach right now. If Little Dink needs it, you have to give it to her. That’s how this works.”

 

And Maggie’s expecting Alex’s fury to just swell and grow, but somehow instead she’s softening. “Is that…babe, is that what this is about?” She reaches out, like she wants to touch Maggie, but her hands hover just halfway between them. “You’re worried about her?”

 

Maggie runs her hands through her hair, pulling hard at her scalp. “Of course I’m worried about her! I’m always worried about her.”

 

“Oh, babe.” Alex just melts, opening her arms. “Come here. Come here. Come be with us.”

 

Maggie, still shaking with emotion, lets herself be pulled in. She rests her head on her wife’s shoulder, letting one hand come up to rest on Alex’s barely swelling stomach.

 

“I just…you’re throwing up all the time, and you don’t eat enough vegetables, and I just…we have to take care of her. That’s our whole job now.”

 

Alex kisses the top of her head. “I know, love. And we are taking care of her. You’re taking great care of her, and of us.” Alex doesn’t say it, but she knows that the throwing up has been completely freaking Maggie out. Maggie’s made Alex try a million anti-nausea cures, and when each one hasn’t worked – when Alex has catapulted out of bed at 3, 4, 5 in the morning and vomited for the next six or so hours – each time Maggie’s taken it as a personal failing. Sweet, soft, anxious mama Maggie is adorable, but Alex can already tell there’s going to be a lot of feelings to manage.

 

“But, love, sneaking spinach into my food isn’t the solution. If Dr. Rasminijar says I need to eat more spinach, or whatever, then I will. But right now, everything is okay. We’re okay. She’s okay. She’s great.” Alex pauses for a second, but then she says it.

 

“And spinach is disgusting and absolutely does not belong in any breakfast food, pregnant or not.”

 

Maggie moves her head, looking down at Alex’s stomach. She gives it a little rub. “What do you think, Dinks? No more spinach for a while?”

 

I hate spinach, mama,” Alex says out of the corner of her mouth, in a ridiculous high voice, and Maggie snorts into her shoulder.

Chapter Text

Fluff/Gen 23: “well the probability of that is 0, but you go ahead.”

 

“Okay new bet. If I win the next game--”

 

Alex snorts. “Of pool?”

 

Maggie continues, acting like she wasn’t so rudely interrupted. “If I win the next game of pool--”

 

“Well, the probability of that is 0, but you go ahead.”

 

“You’ll owe me a flash grenade. For real this time.”

 

Alex rolls her eyes. “Fine, you fucking pyromaniac. Yes, okay. Just break already.”

 

[20 minutes later]

 

“Fuck.”

 

Chapter Text

Fluff 29: “how much money would you give me to flip this table, right here, right now, in the middle of class?”

 

“How much money would you give me to flip this table, right here, right now, in the middle of class?” Maggie whispers it out of the corner of her mouth, leaning as close to Alex’s ear as she dares.

 

But Alex isn’t sarcastically known in their house as the Queen of Subtlety for nothing. She audibly gasps, turning to Maggie with something that looks like pure horror.

 

“Maggie!”

 

“What! This is the most painful class I’ve ever been in. These presentations are going on forever.”

 

Alex looks scandalized. “They worked hard on them!”

 

“They’re all useless! This one is taking ten whole minutes to say, ‘aliens have different abilities than humans!’ Come on, do you think anyone would miss us if we slipped out the back?”

 

Alex’s hiss is so loud that students start craning their heads. “WE’RE THE FUCKING INSTRUCTORS, MAGGIE!

 

Chapter Text

Fluff 11: “you owe me a kiss”

 

It was just…it was just a joke.

 

Well, not a joke, joke. Not like a haha, that’s funny, type of joke. More like a, wouldn’t it be…well, not funny, but wild, or like, interesting, if I did it, type of joke.

 

And it’s for charity, and Alex is nothing if not charitable. I mean, she spends most of her paycheck on her sister’s insatiable sweet tooth, so it’s not like she has a lot left over for actual charity, but that’s a form of donation, right? So, like, this being charity totally matches her brand.

 

So it’s both the Right Thing To Do and also a cool joke, so it would have been weirder not to, right?

 

And it’s not like Alex tells anyone she’s doing it – Kara’s off shoving a fifth serving of cotton candy in her mouth, and James is photographing her, and Winn is prancing around somewhere or other. So it’s not like she needs to explain why she’s doing it, because no one will ever even know.

 

She nods, resolutely. It’s the Right Thing To Do and it’s a cool joke and also no one could possibly find out, ever.

 

So she stands tall as she buys herself one ticket for the kissing booth.

 

For the kissing booth with the girl sitting in it.

 

Well, woman.

 

The woman with the eyes, and the dimples, and the tan skin, and that amazing hair. The woman who is currently – oh fuck. Smirking at her.

 

But it turns out buying a ticket is Right and cool and secret, but when Kara pops up out of fucking nowhere, chirping about hot dogs and rides and carnival games and she’s dragging Lena Luthor behind her, who looks impossibly put together for a fucking carnival – well, it’s not just secret anymore. And Lena makes everything else seem less cool. And Alex isn’t really known for her sense of humor. And she already bought the ticket so she’s already supporting charity.

 

So Alex leaves without her kiss.

 

She looks back, twice, and each time the woman in the booth is watching her go.

 


 

She’s standing outside of the bathrooms, waiting for Kara and Lena. The line was impossibly long and slow, so she’s checking her phone, leaning against a gate, just far away enough to not be able to smell the building.

 

“You owe me a kiss.”

 

Alex snaps around, her hand going automatically to the gun in her waistband. But she stops short, because right in front of her is the Kissing Booth Woman. Uncaged.

 

Alex can feel her ears catch fire with the force of her blush. “It…what?”

 

Kissing Booth Woman smiles, and her dimples are fucking everywhere, and she’s tilting her head to the side and her hair is god damned perfect. “You owe me a kiss.”

 

Alex tries to talk but all she does is squeak a little bit.

 

The woman looks her over, before her face softens. She reaches into her pocket, and pulls out a piece of paper. “Well, if you change your mind,” she says as she hands it over.

 

Alex reaches out for it, robotically, her brain moving impossibly slowly. She doesn’t even realize it’s the woman’s phone number until Kissing Booth Woman has turned and is already a few steps away.

 

Alex’s brain is stuck, but her body isn’t. She closes the distance, reaching out and catching the woman’s arm. She spins her around with the momentum of her catch, and the woman spins directly into Alex’s chest.

 

And it’s not for charity and it’s certainly not funny and Kara will be out of the bathroom any second. But Alex touches the woman’s face, gently but with demand, and she more than repays her debts.