Bobby Jones has never had much success in life.
School didn’t work out for him. He barely finished his sophomore year of high school before dropping out and joining the street gang that ran his block. Legit jobs never lasted; he’s too mouthy and hot-headed to work in a corporate world. Hell, even his woman threatens to leave every other week if he doesn’t “get his ass together”, whatever that means. Nah, Bobby’s spent most of his twenty eight years struggling, and he can’t think of a moment where he really felt like he achieved something that mattered.
But as he looks in his rear view mirror and sees the bloody, crumpled form of Supergirl in his back seat, he feels it. Fuck yeah he feels it. This is gonna matter.
“This is fucked up, man,” Jay keeps saying, has been saying since they picked her up off the ground and threw her in the car. Jay’s always been a coward, a tweaky little man Bobby would rather kill than work with, but in his line of work you don't always get to pick your partner. “Miss Luthor’s gonna fuck us up.”
“Will you chill? We grabbed the fuckin’ golden girl herself. They’re gonna throw us a party.”
Jay tries to light a cigarette but his hands shake too hard. He keeps talking like he didn't hear.
“Recon only, that’s what they said. We ain’t supposed to mess with the alien. Ain’t supposed to hurt her.”
As if on cue, the Kryptonian in the back moans pitifully, her mind unconscious but her body needing the release. Bobby tries to laugh over the sound, but he can hear his own nerves in the sound of it. Jay must be rubbing off on him.
“Supergirl and Miss Luthor been fighting each other for half a decade, dipshit. And now we're about to bring her in, hand delivered? We’re gonna be heroes. Hey, you think we should put a bow on her? Make her a real gift.”
He laughs and looks to Jay, but the smaller man just shakes.
“I think I’m gonna be sick,” Jay says, and hand cranks his window down. Bobby recoils.
“You puke in my car and Supergirl won’t be the only person I beat the shit outta today.”
In retrospect, Eve Teschmacher waiting for them at the garage should have clued him in to the severity of the situation.
Bobby's never met her before, but he's familiar. They're all familiar with Miss Luthor's inner circle; they know who calls for respect. Eve is definitely one to respect.
"Where is she?" she’s asking the second the car is off. She doesn’t wait for an answer before pulling the back door open and half-crawling inside. He can hear her gasp, then sigh, then curse. It’s probably from all the blood, he thinks. If he’d have known aliens could bleed as much as humans he wouldn’t have hit her so many times.
Regardless, Bobby tries not to feel too cocky - you gotta play it cool in moments like this, but come on! He’s kinda got a right to gloat. After so many years as enemies, it isn't Lena Luthor who takes Supergirl out. It's Bobby fucking Jones. That's pretty fucking cool.
"What happened?" Eve asks from where she's crawled into the car to pull Supergirl out, "Help me," she calls to Jay, who has somehow managed to stop shaking enough to pull the still bleeding alien from his backseat. Bobby trails behind as they carry her over to the bench feeling like a hunter displaying his exotic trophy. He passingly realizes that what had been their work bench earlier today had been stripped of everything mechanical and now had a tarp placed over it. They lay Supergirl on top of that. There’s all kinds of shit here he’s never seen, medical looking devices and that little water bag they stick into you when you’re dying on those daytime tv medical shows.
There are men here, too. Men that aren’t in their crew, strangers in scrubs and face masks surrounded by lugs in suits with guns. Sure did bring the calvary, he thinks, guess they’re gonna try to save her. Bobby’s a little disappointed; he really liked the idea of being the one who finally killed Supergirl.
"She was trying to bust up our drug run," Bobby finally explains, straightening up tall and proud, "But she didn't know I was packing heat." He lifts his shirt to show the half-shattered kryptonite knife he'd shoved back into his pants after pulling it from the alien. He’d bought it off the market nearly a month ago. It had cost him most of his couch money but it'd clearly been worth it. Eve eyes the knife and then glances at Jay, who has resumed his cowardly shudder.
"I didn't know he had that, I swear," Jay says, "I told him not to hurt her but he went berserk. I tried to stop him."
Bobby's amazed, honestly; he thought he'd have to rat Jay out later for being a cowardly little shit, but here he is confessing like he's the victim. This might be the best day of Bobby's life. Eve is looking at them still, thoughtful, looks to Bobby for confirmation. Trying not to smirk too much, Bobby just nods.
They are jostled away from the table by the scrub-clad strangers who are quick to cut away at Supergirl’s uniform. Bobby can see the state of her knife wounds now that her skin is bare - they’re gnarly as fuck. He really laid into her. Honestly, he’s a little shocked she’s still breathing.
"Where'd you get the knife?" Eve asks, and Bobby really can't help the cockiness when he pulls it free to show off the carefully crafted blade.
"Bought it from this dealer I know. It’s not the real green stuff but it's close enough to hurt her." He makes a jabbing motion towards Supergirl on the table. The sheet beneath her is slowly soaking red.
Eve looks over her shoulder and jerks her head towards Bobby, and suddenly some military looking jughead is snatching his knife out of his hand and sprinting away. He curses and moves to chase but is blocked by another lug, and it takes him longer than it should for it to really sink in that he and Jay are the only people he recognizes in the room. This place is always full of people going in and out on jobs, and he usually knows every face. Nerves bubble for a second, but he shoves it down. These are his people; they’re higher ups but they’re still his crew. He’s fine.
Eve hands him an a notepad and pen, and they’re both stained with the blood she hasn’t realized yet is on her hands. It doesn’t matter, of course. His hands are just as bloody.
“Write down the name of your dealer,” she orders, and so he does.
Eve turns to Jay again, asks him all seriously if he did anything to help Bobby hurt the alien, and the idiot’s stuttering so much Bobby can’t help but yell,
“Fuck no he didn’t! He was fucking useless! He’s too scared of his own damn shadow to actually fight.”
Jay shrinks back under his yells, but Eve is unfazed. She goes to talk to one of the strangers real low and quiet, and for a while the only sounds are the soft murmurs of the doctors and the thunder of his pulse in his ears. Uncomfortable standing around, Bobby smacks Jay on the shoulder and grins condescendingly.
“Hope you don’t get canned, little man. You think they’ll give me a bonus for this?” Bobby asks.
Jay gets real quiet, his shakes stop for a moment.
“I think they’re gonna kill us,” Jay says in a clear and steady voice.
And that’s the first time Bobby finally recognizes that maybe something is wrong here, that maybe what he thinks is happening isn’t actually what’s happening.
His survival instinct flairs up. Fight or flight, and he sure as hell ain’t fighting his way outta this room.
“I gotta hit the head,” he says, and gets two steps towards the door only to be stopped by one of the lugs. A firm grip on his shoulder, just a bit too tight.
“Best you stay here,” he says, tugs Bobby back to where he was. Jay is shaking hard again and mumbling something under his breath he can’t quite catch, and the nerves are solid in his stomach. It’s hitting him, now, that he really might have fucked up.
"Miss Luthor will be here soon."
Late thirties with piercing eyes and sculpted features, Miss Luthor sweeps into the room like a gust of wind ruffling everyone she crosses. Bobby would almost swear the temperature dropped ten degrees the second she arrived, like the whisper of her alone brought the chill’s arrival.
She practically glides in her heels over to their makeshift hospital room and pauses for just a moment to look down at the unconscious girl of steel.
“Who brought her in?” She asks. Jay cowers back, but Bobby refuses to hide. He isn’t scared of some lady, even if she is head of the largest criminal syndicate that’s probably ever existed.
"I did,” Bobby says.
Miss Luthor’s eyes cut to him finally and it feels like all the wind in his lungs got knocked out of him, like his lungs forgot how to breathe for a minute.
He’s starting to get why Jay is so afraid.
Turns out that knife he’d bought off the market was really made of Kryptonite, or something real close to it. That’s why it slid into her chest so easy then, when she’d picked him up in a bear hug and said, “I think you two have caused enough-“ before realizing - before actually feeling the knife inside her. Before they both plummeted down ten feet.
It was cheap, though, and not pure, so when they hit the ground it shattered with half the blade still in her.
After that beating her down wasn’t too hard.
The blade’s gotta come out, the doctors are saying. If they don’t she’s dead. Bobby gets real close to saying something stupid about just letting her die, but things are a lot less funny now that Miss Luthor is here. He stays quiet. Instead, he stands with Jay and Eve, with Miss Luthor and her band of lugs, and watches them cut into the world’s most famous alien.
Bobby’s seen his fair share of guts, even saw his first dead body when he was eleven. Blood isn’t something that’s ever made him feel squeamish, but there is something unsettling about watching the celebrated state figurehead with her chest half cut open in a rundown auto shop.
He and Jay keep getting shoved about as people stream in and out with blood bags, tools, what’s gotta be some killer pain meds. For a minute he thinks they might have lost focus on him and that he could bounce, but every time he even thinks about making a run for it that hand comes down hard on his shoulder. He isn’t going anywhere they don’t want him to go.
It feels slow, the surgery, but whatever shit they shot into her seemed to keep her knocked out the whole time, and that pained look she’d had since he first attacked has finally smoothed out. Within the hour they’re done, though, and sewing her back up. They carefully pull a blanket that they must have brought to cover her, and just like that it’s over.
Bobby wonders what’s gonna happen now.
What happens is Supergirl wakes up, gasping and flinging her arm out.
It’s crazy; they had to have given her some hardcore drugs so she should be out for hours if not days, yet here she is blinking up at them with a pained, terrified look. Bobby vaguely remembers hearing about how the aliens can heal themselves fast when they’re away from the green stuff. She doesn’t look that healed.
He thinks Miss Luthor’s gonna interrogate her, maybe, or gloat. He expects pretty much anything else other than what actually happens.
“It’s okay,” Miss Luthor says in a voice so gentle Bobby isn’t sure he hearing it right, “you’re okay, my darling.”
And Supergirl? She’s laying there on a hard metal bench in pain, half-naked, and she hears the voice of her greatest public enemy - and immediately relaxes.
“Lena,” she says like a sigh, a soft slip from her lips in this grit-filled garage. “What happened?”
“You were stabbed with black market Kryptonite. I had no idea this even existed.”
Supergirl pulls herself up then with the soft touching help of Miss Luthor.
“There’s been a surge of fake alien tech hitting the streets. We’ve been trying to clean it up."
“I’ll have my people look into it.”
Supergirl laughs, looks at Lena through her bruised eye.
“You look good.”
Miss Luthor smiles, soft. She looks ten years younger and it’s fucking Bobby over hard to see it.
“Wish I could say the same to you.”
Supergirl laughs, then coughs, then grabs her ribs in pain. Miss Luthor immediately moves to support her weight, which Supergirl leans against her without any hesitation.
“It’s been a while,” Supergirl says. “You never call.”
Now it's Miss Luthor's turn to laugh.
“Sorry I never call your obviously traced government issued phone number. It’s not my fault you got rid of your personal plan.”
“In my defense, that number would have been traced too, if you’d called.”
They’re smiling sad smiles.
She shifts and again feels the pain. Supergirl pulls back the blanket to look down at her blood covered half naked body.
“Did you guys cut me open in a repair shop?” she asks, incredulous. Miss Luthor gives her a resigned shrug.
“We’re in Sector 7. It would’ve taken too long to drive you to 4 or 8.”
This confuses Bobby. He knows what the Sectors are but he doesn’t know why it matters.
A few years ago when he was still a stupid teenager, the anti-alien folks went a little too crazy. Practically nuked most of National City off the map. After that, the country locked down hard on alien and anti-alien bullshit and sliced the counties all up into Sectors. This Sector is run by some asshat military stiff named Sam Lane. Guy’s a control freak, locks the city down so tight nobody can breathe without him knowing.
Except them, of course. They know how to work a system, and the tighter government squeezes a city the higher demand is for illegal shit, which is how they stay in business. They sure as hell don’t make money saving aliens.
“It would have been fine,” Supergirl says, pulling him back to the moment. “I know Lane kind of hates me, but he wouldn’t - he wouldn’t just let me die.”
Miss Luthor stares into her eyes, intense in a way he’s never seen.
“You die, he gets rid of you and gets a martyr against us all at once. Sounds like a good bet to me. I wasn’t willing to take that risk.”
They stare at each other like that for who knows how long, and Bobby’s hyper aware of his sweating and Jay’s shaking and the amount of guns in this room he doesn’t control and Supergirl seems to realize, then, that they are not the only two people in the world, and her eyes track around carefully scanning every person in the room before stopping on Bobby.
“Hey, I know you,” she says, and Bobby has no fucking clue how to respond.
Nothing about this is what he expected and his brain just can’t quite figure how to get out of this. Jay’s still shaking next to him and Bobby fucking gets it now. Miss Luthor stares at them as well, piercing and rigid once more now that she’s not looking at Supergirl.
“Yes. These two are very sorry for this incident. It will not happen again.”
Jay nods fast and terrified, and Bobby’s pretty sure he’s started crying. Bobby can’t really do anything more than one sharp nod. Supergirl looks at Miss Luthor now, her face sad and pleading.
“Don’t kill them,” she says, “they were just doing their job.”
“Their job didn’t include trying to kill you.”
“They’re overachievers, then,” she smiles, but the exhaustion of it makes it more a grimace, “Please. Enough people have died today.”
For the first time since Supergirl woke up, Miss Luthor pulls away. She stands tall and proud, looking down on the alien with confidence Bobby does not feel.
“I saved lives today, actually,” Miss Luthor says.
They are talking about the pier bombing half his crew was on, Bobby realizes. They’d saved a ship load of alien refugees who had been kidnapped by Children of Liberty for god knows what. They’re always helping aliens, this crew, in between their drug runs and petty larceny.
“You killed fifteen people.”
“I killed fifteen genocidal terrorists, there’s a difference. I did the world a service.”
“Lena,” Supergirl says softly, looking as emotionally hurt as she is physical, “There were other ways to handle that that wouldn’t end lives. Those were people. They deserved a second chance.”
Miss Luthor scoffs.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned from being a Luthor it’s that you can’t give genocidal maniacs second chances.”
Supergirl shifts on the table, wincing at the pain and causing Miss Luthor to step forward to brace her.
“Last week we had two of them come forward and renounce the Children of Liberty. They’re working with our agents to catch more. We really can change people if we give them a chance.”
“There’s that girl I love,” she says, and it sounds teasing but her eyes hold pure affection, “changing hearts, one monster at a time,” her smile drops. “All the while aliens and humans alike are being terrorized by these mobs.”
“I know my way isn’t the fastest or easiest, but doing what’s right never is.”
“You and I have always had such different definitions of what ‘right’ really means.”
"How you justify murder I'll never understand."
"If I have to kill someone to protect others I will. How is it not murder to sit back and let people commit genocide?"
"It's a lot more nuanced than that and you know it!"
"I know that the DEO has just as bad a history as the Children of Liberty, I know that they hurt as much as they help! We both know the DEO is just a puppet for the military - Stop hiding in your own delusions."
Supergirl flinches away at her tone and then groans, pressing her hands against her ribs again. Miss Luthor softens at the sight.
“I know you believe everything is good and kind,” Miss Luthor says, and she’s smiling like it’s a familiar saying, “and that is one of the things I will always love about you. But that’s not the real world. In the real world, sometimes you have to kill to save lives.”
Supergirl stays hunched forward, pain clear on her face.
“I’m too tired to have this fight again,” Supergirl says in a quiet, watery voice, and her face seems older than it usually appears, colorless and fading. Miss Luthor’s rigged demeanor drops into a swooping movement of gentle touches and comfort.
“I’m sorry, my love, I’m sorry,” she says, pushing a strand of hair behind Supergirl’s ear, “you need to rest.”
Miss Luthor gestures towards the doctors still standing nearby, and one steps forward to inject something into the IV still in Supergirl’s arms.
“I’m fine, I don’t-” she pauses and her eyes seem to go out of focus, “woah.”
“Am I drunk?” she asks, slow, dragging her mouth through clicks, “I feel drunk all of a sudden.”
“It’s a pain killer. We had to get here fast so it’s not the best. You’ll feel loopy for a little while.”
“Jeez I haven’t been drunk in so long. Hey! Remember that time we got drunk and you stole a boat?”
Miss Luthor gasps in feigned insult, sounding more like a pissy sorority girl than the almost forty year old head of a clandestine, vigilante criminal organization.
“I didn’t steal a boat,” she insists, “I bought the boat!”
“Sure, after we stole it and the cops came.”
Supergirl bites her lip trying to contain the goofy smile and giggle that erupts, but the giggles only gain intensity the more she tries to resist. She’s got that drugged up kind of laugh that’s all kinds of contagious, and even Miss Luthor giggles along with her. They sit there smiling like idiots at each other until the giggling subsides.
“Hey,” Supergirl finally says, voice slurring heavily now from pain killers. “Am I gonna have to keep getting stabbed for you to talk to me again?”
Miss Luthor gives her that same look, like her body is filled to the tip with sorrow and love and guilt, and says,
“I’ll be around.”
Supergirl nods, like that’s what she expected.
“I miss you,” she says, real quiet like no one else should hear it. Miss Luthor doesn’t respond at first beyond the clinch of her fists, the slow shuddery blink of her eyes.
“You too,” she finally says. “Now close your eyes, darling, and this will all be a dream.”
It was an unnecessary request, of course, as Supergirl had already slumped fully against her, knocked out. Miss Luthor presses a soft kiss to her forehead, then carefully lays her back down on to the table, rearranging the blankets around her as if to tuck her in. Miss Luthor looks to Eve and they seem to have a silent exchange before Eve scurries off to do who knows what. Some of the lugs start to gently lift Supergirl off the table and carry her away. Part of Bobby wants to know where they're taking her, but most of Bobby wants to know if he's gonna be alive five minutes from now.
Miss Luthor turns to look at them, and any residual softness from Supergirl has vanished.
"Now," she says, voice cold, "you two."
Bobby at least tries to make a run for it. He swings at a lug and tries to tackle his way through, but he's beaten down so fast his head spins. Jay didn't even try - just shook and shook and shook.
"Hey, hey! I didn't see nothing," Bobby says, words fast and uncontrollable, "I won't tell anyone I swear! I don't-" the lugs force them both on to their knees in front of her. He can hear the sound of a handgun racking. "She said not to kill us! She said that! You don't wanna disappoint her, do you?"
He can't tell if this was the right or wrong thing to say. Miss Luthor just continues to silently stare down at them, menacing and powerful and oh God, he's gonna die.
“Supergirl would sacrifice everything if it meant saving one person, even if that person is scum. Even if saving them hurts others. She is noble to a fault, and she suffers for it," Miss Luthor says slowly, almost sadly.
"I don’t have that issue.”
And that’s the last thing Bobby hears before he’s knocked out.
It's been a long twenty four hours for Detective Johnson of the National City Science Police, and at this point all she really wants is a hot bath and some shut-eye.
But yet again mass murderer/terrorist extraordinaire Lena fuckin' Luthor has delayed these dreams. At least something good is coming from it - they've apparently found one of her bigger drug den thanks to Supergirl. This should at least get the Captain off her back for the rest of the week.
Supergirl hadn't been seen for a while, since a few hours after what is being called the NC Pier Massacre. Luthor's band of loony tunes opened fire on some civilian protestors at their rally and stole a cargo ship. They tried to spread propaganda that there were trafficking victims onboard, but that sounds like a load of shit to her. Besides, the Captain told them that there were no aliens on board the vessel, and Johnson didn't get paid enough to question beyond that.
Anyway, Supergirl had been off radar, Supergirl suddenly came back on the radar and knew where a Luthor garage was, yada yada, now Detective Johnson's bath is delayed four hours so she can go investigate some drug den. All in all a pretty shitty night.
They go in guns drawn and Johnson half hopes somebody does try something just so she can get out some of that anger. But as they clear room after room of the den, they find no one. There are definite signs of drug distribution, though, and they have probably thirty grand's worth of stuff. Johnson makes a mental note to pocket some before she leaves.
They reach the main garage and find it painted in blood, far more blood than any one person could produce. It's on the table, the floor, the half-built cars. On the two bodies laid out on the hard cement floor. Both victims of gunshot wounds to the head, one of them still has the gun hanging off his hand. Perfectly laid out for them to find.
"Seems like a cut and dry murder-suicide, don't you think, Johnson?" the Captain asks, looking at her a particular way, and she knows the truth.
There's no doubt in her mind; it's the most convenient neatly wrapped crime scene she's seen in a while. But it's late, and she's tired, and does it really matter why these bastards are dead or should she just be happy there're less scumbags on the street?
"Sure does, sir," she says. "Cut and dry."