Supergirl fell from the sky as though she were human and with a crash in the middle of the street. She staggered, almost like she were drunk, out of the crater she’d left and gazed upon the crumbled tower with despair as the humans screamed and ran around her, away from the smoke and debris billowing away from the base of the building. Glass was falling from the buildings opposite and sirens were mingling with the shouts and cries and the barking of dogs.
‘Kara! What happened? Kara?’
There was a sound in her ear, her name she knew. It registered, and she would later be able to relay everything that was said to her, but at the moment she couldn’t hear it over the thudding of her own heart. It was strangely quiet and earth had never been this quiet, she’d always been able to hear the whisper of the wind, the rumble of the ocean, the disagreements between cats and dogs, the beating hearts of its human inhabitants. She couldn’t hear anything and the humans ran past her as though they were in slow motion, smoke roaring behind them and pieces of glass and concrete and steel raining from the sky like it were snow.
Alex’s voice broke through the silence, her sisters voice high and panicked and she answered, like she’d always answer.
“Alex,” she whispered brokenly. “She’s gone,” her voice cracked and emerged as a groan and something inside her shattered and broke.
‘Kara.’ She could hear Alex’s desperation and the sound of her thudding heart, the faint shouts of a team being deployed. ‘What’s happened? Please, what’s going on.’
“L-Corp…its, it’s gone. It’s just a pile of-of-of rubble!”
‘Supergirl, snap out of it,’ J’onn’s calm and reassuring voice came down the comms and she clung to it as though it were a life-line. ‘People need you,’ he said and she blinked, he was right and the sounds of earth came back to her in a rush. Dogs were barking, cars were screeching to a halt, sirens were blaring, people were screaming, and debris was falling to the ground.
‘We’ve dispatched a team,’ J’onn continued. ‘We’re coming, okay, Kara? We’re coming, just hang on.’
Kara staggered forward and lethargically launched herself into the air to catch pieces of falling debris. On auto pilot she identified and caught the dangerous objects and then flew around the smouldering remains of the tower with her freeze-breath until all that was left was a crumbled, smoking pile.
People were coughing and screaming and crying and staring in shock at the fallen building and a few were stumbling back towards it. Supergirl landed near the tower and fell against a street light, bending it as it struggled beneath her strength. She stared at the smoking former laboratories, offices, and storage spaces and then gazed past it and the explosion of Krypton was all she could see.
She remained as still as a statue, lost in her memories, drowning in her pain as a few police cars forced their way through the streets and to the site and the two large fire engines bullied their way through the crowds. The public servants were quick to force people away from the building, and there was a lot of shouting and screaming and hoses were cast on the wreckage to stall any further fires. An officer approached her but she didn’t hear him, didn’t even register his presence in the way a mountain would an ant, and he returned to his companion exasperated and confused. Cell-phones were already live streaming the explosion and comments and mentions on social media were soaring and people were crying in frustration as the nearby cell-towers couldn’t cope with the sudden surge in traffic.
L-Corp employees were screaming, muttering in disbelief and shaking their heads, faces pale through the soot and ash and tear trails and one woman was being held up by two security guards. Other employees from the evacuated buildings nearby joined the carnage, as well as the shoppers from the ground, and the three officers and two teams of firemen welcomed reinforcements in the form of black vans and agents.
The arrival of the ‘FBI’, led by a woman in black with brown hair and dark, worried eyes helped them gain control of the situation and she immediately went over to the Superhero.
The agents forced the crowds back and helped the police form police barriers and ensured the surrounding builds were evacuated. All of this happened while Supergirl relied on a bent street light to hold her upright.
“Supergirl,” Alex said quietly as she got closer to her sister and felt her blood turn to ice at the vacant look in her sisters usually bright eyes. She hadn’t seen Kara look so…lost…since she’d first seen her, when she’d first landed on earth and was told of everything that had happened while she’d been in the Phantom Zone.
“Kara,” she repeated and ignored her agent instincts telling her what a foolish move it was, and cupped her sister’s cheeks. She was directly in front of Kara now, and ignored the camera’s and gazes that would no doubt be turned her way. “Kara,” she cooed and ran her thumbs back and along her sister’s damp cheeks. Her eyes were unseeing, dim, but she was crying and Alex didn’t know what to do other than reassure her sister that she was here.
“Kara. I’m here, it’s gonna be okay.”
“She’s gone, Alex,” Kara croaked out and Alex wrapped her arms around her sister and pulled even as her heart split at how broken Kara looked and sounded. Her sisters eyes were dull and dark, a shadow in their normally vibrant hues and she looked defeated.
Somehow Kara let her carry her and she was quick to guide her over to one of the DEO vans and inside, shielding the super from sight. When she was sitting inside she took Kara’s hand and wrapped herself around her sister, keeping an ear out for what was going on outside, but focusing her entire attention on her sister.
‘Shsssh,” she hummed and pressed her lips to Kara’s hair, the blonde limp and unresponsive in her embrace. She ran her hand soothingly up and down Kara’s back and muted her ear-piece before starting to hum. It was one of the things that had first calmed Kara down when she first landed, one of the only things. She would curl up next to a rigid Kara (who was still afraid of her own strength and didn’t want to hurt anyone) and would hum any and every song she knew until her throat was hoarse and her voice cracked and eventually faded into silence. It grounded Kara like nothing else and was well worth the pain and sleepless nights and weird looks when she couldn’t speak the next day.
‘Agent Danvers,’ J’onn’s voice was reserved in her ear. ‘Superman is on his way.’
She knew that J’onn had either seen the footage of the broken Super, or had been told by the Agents and had called for the one person who might be able to get through to her, or at least was strong enough to deal with her if something happened.
Alex was part way through a terrible rendition of the Lion King’s ‘I just want to be King’, which was one of their favourite songs to sing together on Disney night-once a month one of their movies was a Disney Sing-along, and while her neighbours looked at her funny after a Disney night, her and Kara had bonded over Disney films, and it was one of her favourite things to do with her sister- when there was a knocking on the door and Agent Wolfe slid it open.
“Superman is here,” he told her and then pulled away and she could see the flicker of blue and red. It had been half an hour since L-Corp Tower had crumbled to the ground.
Superman poked his head in the door and his brow tightened as he saw her curled around Kara.
She glared warningly at him and held Kara tighter.
“What happened? What was she hit with?” He was quick to the point and climbed into the SUV, folding his cloak in after him and closed the door. “Why isn’t she-“ he frowned and looked Kara over again. “Why’s she like….?” He trailed off and looked back at Alex from his catatonic cousin.
“L-Corp Tower blew up and she couldn’t get there in time,” Alex said quietly still maintaining her soothing rubbing of Kara’s back, even as her muscles were starting to protest.
Clark was visibly confused and it was a curious look on Earth’s most beloved man. He hadn’t seen Kara look so defeated since Jeremiah had died, and then she had been strong, trying to hold up her fractured family even with the weight of her own grief.
“Lena was inside,” Alex reluctantly elaborated and when Clark looked like he would say something insensitive she added, “They were friends.”
‘Oh, right,” Clark deflated a little and shifted on the seat awkwardly. “Can-can you leave her with me?” He asked and Alex bared her teeth in a snarl.
“Not a chance,” she growled softly and Clark blinked confused. “I am not leaving my sister,” she said with finality to her voice and she wouldn’t, he’d have to forcibly remove her if he wanted to be alone with Kara.
“Alex,” he sighed, “It was just Lena Luthor,” and she snapped as he lifted his hands and winced, seeming to realise how what he’d just said sounded. “I didn’t mea-“.
“Don’t you dare, ‘Alex’ me,” her voice was low and dangerous and she ignored the fact that she was facing off with Superman in a cramped ‘FBI’ vehicle with an unresponsive Supergirl in her arms. “Don’t you dare, Clark,” she hissed and he recoiled a little.
“You may be her cousin by blood, but that is all that you are,” her arms tightened around Kara and she turned the full power of her glare on the Super. He seemed confused and a little bit amused by her hostility. “You don’t even deserve that right! You- you who handed her off to the first person you could and were glad to be rid of her! Your cousin, the last of your planet, all so you could continue with your perfect life- don’t deny it!”
Clark’s brow was tight and he seemed to diminish as she spoke, even though his sheer size in his suit made him take up half the car.
“You left her,” Alex’s voice cracked and she was pretty sure she was crying. “With us, and you didn’t care. She’d lost everything and needed you, her cousin, her family, and you just threw her away!” Her voice was bitter and laden with the tears that were running down her face and into Kara’s hair.
“And she forgave you, she accepted you because that’s what she does! She loves, and that has absolutely nothing to do with you. And if she wants to love Lena-” Alex’s words caught in her throat and she saw Clark’s expression turn incredulous.
“If she wants to love Lena Luthor,” she continued carefully, trying to pin Clark with her gaze. “Like she loves me, or Winn, or James, or-or Cat, or the pizza delivery boy, or-or potstickers,” she said trying to find the words to convey how she was feeling. “And then loses it? Then you had best show your support, you owe her that, even if you don’t approve. She just lost a friend, Clark.”
Superman took a deep breath and slowly let it out, eyes grave and understanding and he gave her a little nod, before looking at Kara.
“Kara, eshnart val mel verlaree*,” he said quietly and Kara’s shoulder lifted, like she were disturbing a fly.
“Verlaree, Kara,**” Superman said quietly, a soft plea entering his voice and a shudder ran through the body in Alex’s arms.
“You can go Alex,” she rasped and Alex instinctively tightened her grip, certain she could bruise come morning but not willing to let her sister go and not knowing how to help beyond her physical touch.
“Please Alex.” Kara sounded so broken and small and Alex lowered her head to her hair and left a kiss in the blonde strands, ignoring the pieces of glass her lips touched. “I’ll be right outside. I’ll always be here, Kara.”
She unwound herself from where she’d curled around Kara, her muscles stiff and protesting at the movement and she hid her discomfort and glared warningly at Clark as she ducked out of the vehicle. There were two others parked in front of it, and she tapped her comms, “Thanks guys,” with the knowledge they would understand why she was thanking them, just as they understood why they were hiding the SUV from most peoples lines of sight.
“Give me an update,” she requested as she walked away from the van and two Super’s and saw a familiar face. It had been an hour since the explosion and there were media and emergency helicopters in the air and vans and people on scene. There were a lot more emergency personnel here now, and they had escorted the crowd back and were in the process of taking statements and seeing to the wounded. Miraculously the death count was still at one (Lena Luthor hadn’t reported in and the last to see her had said she was at the top of the tower), and the worst injury, a part from smoke inhalation and cuts from glass and debris, was a broken arm sustained as someone fled the collapsing building and fell over.
There was a disturbance over at the ambulances and a woman was struggling to get past the police and it caught Alex’s attention. “I just need to talk to Supergirl, please.” She had streaks down her face through the ash and her fine clothes had little burn marks on them and was dark with soot. “I need to tell her. I just have to tell-“
“Ma’am, if you could step back behind the-“
“Wait,” Alex said and strode across the street. It was still damp from the ice-melt from Kara’s breath and had joined with the ash and debris to form a lumped muck which sucked her boots as she walked and she knew she’d have to get another pair.
“What do you want to tell Supergirl?”
The woman blinked and narrowed her eyes at her through the held up arm of a police officer. “Agent Danvers?”
Alex gave a sharp nod, knowing the woman but unable to place her; covered in muck and soot as she was. She straightened proudly. “It’s Jess… Miss Luthor’s assistant?”
“Okay,” she looked at the officer. “Let her through.” But Jess had already ducked under his arm and was wobbling on the congealed sludge in her heels as she walked over to Alex.
“What did you want to tell her? Tell me,” she said and guided the woman away from the curious eyes of the civilians and the gaze of the cameras.
“I know what they’re saying,” she said suddenly, voice hoarse from crying, and smoke. She was referring, Alex knew, to the harsh comments about Lena and L-Corp that were being thrown around on social media; martyrdom, insurance fraud, an experiment gone wrong, some alien deciding to take the xenophobe out. Jess was shaking her head. “It’s not true,” she emphasised. “Miss Luthor-Lena, saved us.”
Ales went still and grabbed Jess by the shoulders, heart thumping and looked her in the eye.
“What do you mean? How did she save you?”
“I-I, she told me to pull the fire alarm,” Jess croaked and brought her hand up to her mouth to smother a sob, which quickly turned into a hack.
“Have you seen the doctors?” Alex asked concerned, but also interested to know about what had happened. The general consensus was that someone set the fire alarm off and then the explosion had happened, but so far the employees had no idea of who or what had caused it.
Coughing a little again Jess shook her head and spat out a great clump of black goo onto the street and whipped her mouth with the back of her hand, smearing soot over her face again.
“Yes, but I needed to tell Supergirl first.”
“Tell me what?” Kara croaked and Alex glanced up to see Kara and Clark standing near them. Kara didn’t look like she belonged in her suit, like a toddler on Halloween, even as it fit her perfectly.
“Supergirl,” Jess breathed, whites of her eyes stark against the grime on her skin. “I-I wanted to tell you, because I know you were kind of friends or whatever….” She trailed off confused, unsure what to call the odd relationship between her boss and the Super.
“What was it Miss Luthor did?” Clark enquired and Jess’ eyes widened at him as though she hadn’t seen him there and she quickly glanced back to Supergirl.
“It’s for Supergirl….” She seemed startled at her own nerve and Superman snorted quietly, flashing his teeth but obediently respected her wishes and wandered over to stand near the fallen building, Jess wasn’t to know he’d be able to hear every word she said.
“I just, I wanted to tell you that it wasn’t an alien weaponry-a weapon to kill aliens that backfired,” Jess said awkwardly, now clearly starting to question her decision to speak to the Super, wondering if what she knew was actually worth Supergirl’s time.
“She-she’d just had a doctor go in to see her.”
“What doctor?” Alex interrupted and flicked her hand for a DEO Agent to come closer. She had a computer out and was communicating back with HQ.
“Um, Dr Rowden, he worked in engineering?” Jess blinked.
“Anyway… he said it was urgent and went in to talk to her…. A few minutes later she calls me over the intercom and tells me to flick the fire-alarm…” Jess trailed off as Alex rattled off Dr Rowden’s name to the Agent.
“James, I think,” she said, brow tightening in thought. “James Rowden.”
“Bring him up,” Alex demanded of the Agent and then turned to look back at Jess.
Kara was still looking defeated and broken, like she’d lost her entire world again, and Alex made a mental note to discern just how her sister had felt about the Luthor. She and Maggie had picked it up when she’d come to her apartment after her not-date with Lena, and had discussed it a little and decided that maybe Kara felt something more than friendship for the brilliant scientist. But Kara was obviously completely unware of it, and they didn’t want to push as she seemed uncomfortable with the idea of feeling more than friendship for Lena, so they had decided Alex should keep her mouth shut on it, no teasing or asking about it.
“So this engineer goes in to see her and then she asks you to pull the fire alarm? That’s it?”
Jess blinked and hesitated. “No… I asked her if she was alright, she sounded stressed. But she told me not to come into her office, to not let anyone into her office, and demanded I evacuate the building, that I get out… I’ve never heard her sound like that.”
Kara’s eyes flickered with interest, even as her features were a blank mask and it reminded her of when she retreated into herself, thinking of her home, desperately homesick with no cure.
“So I pulled the fire alarm,” Jess shrugged. “Normally she is the last out of the building. It’s her policy,” she added seeing Alex’s confusion. “Each floor has a warden who checks everything is okay, everyone is out, and they sign off as they go downstairs, ensuring everyone is out of the building. Lena was always last, she said she never wanted to leave anyone behind, but when I realised she wasn’t coming down after me… it was too late for me to go back upstairs. Liam, one of her security, had to drag me down, he wouldn’t let me go back up…and then it-” she cut off, not needing the words to say what had happened to L-Corp Tower.
She wiped at her eyes, “I was the last person to hear her ali-” her throat went tight and she cleared it harshly.
“I-I just wanted you to know,” she said to Kara. “That it wasn’t because of Aliens….” She trailed off and looked apologetic and gave a little nod before slipping and sliding back across to the police line where she was going to give a statement.
Superman sighed as he heard her story and wondered how accurate it was. Jess’ heart rate was steady and strong indicating she was telling the truth, or the truth as she saw it, but the reporter in him knew that sometimes what you saw wasn’t the entire story.
He wasn’t sure why he did it, maybe to hear the resounding silence and confirm the last troublesome Luthor was no longer a potential problem, and it was then that he heard it. Far beneath the pile of rubble there was a steady but faint thud. Going as still as a cat about to pounce with all restrained energy, he strained with his senses and sent his x-ray vision into the ruins of L-Corp.
There was nothing there, only mangled and bowed pieces of steel and chunks of concrete and wood and broken vehicles, equipment, and supplies. But….there was something steady about the thud that bothered him. It could, he reasoned to himself, be one of the pipelines, trickling steadily, but….it didn’t echo the way water would, and it was too steady and controlled to belong to water. He blinked a few times to clear his vision and then looked again, he couldn’t see any sign of life… but ah, there. There was the water source he sighed quietly, it didn’t seem like Lena had somehow defied logic and survived. Drip….drip…drip…., he watched the water fall down and matched it to the thud, only to go deadly still. The drip and the thud didn’t match. The thud belonged to something else. The thud belonged to a heart. Lena Luthor.
“She’s alive,” he said to himself in shock. “She’s-she’s alive?”
It took Kara a moment to register his words and her head shot up and she stumbled towards him, hand beseeching and eyes wide, faster than any human could see.
“I can hear a heartbeat,” he said and spun her around to face the rubble. “I can hear her!”
Kara hesitated for a moment and then she was abruptly animated, full of energy, driven with purpose and she appeared at the base of the Tower and started to throw chunks of concrete and beams of steal and debris over her shoulder. Clark winced and then raced into the air, catching the debris and lowering it to the ground before Kara could cause any more damage to the buildings around the fallen tower.
“Supergirl, what is it?” Alex yelped as she got closer and reflectively ducked at seeing a large chunk of concrete flying at her the size of a car. Clark flashed her a smile as he caught it a foot from her face and moved it along, catching the pieces as Kara dove determinedly into the ruins.
“We believe Miss Luthor may still be alive,” Superman paused to inform Alex and then he moved around the rubble stabilising it as Kara dug her way inside like some sort of burrowing mammal.
“Alive?” Alex whispered to herself, feeling her heart mis-step and then she was turning and bellowing for a medical team.
Agents jumped and signalled for the ambulance team to come over. She knew the abrupt movement and noise drew the attention of the police and the citizens and knew that soon Lena Luthor’s body would be broadcast to the world, whether she were broken or not.
“Supergirl,” she spoke into her comms, slipping into work mode and taking charge. “We have a medical team getting ready and will inform N.C General of the situation.”
Kara didn’t reply, but a few seconds later there was an explosion of rubble and the superhero burst from the ashes of the tower and into the afternoon sun, cape billowing behind her, a woman limp in her arms.
* Kara, talk to me. Please
The extraction team roared from the compound leaving it silent and eerie with more dead than living in its concrete and steel halls. The alarm’s heralded their exit and when the authorities arrived later, all that remained was silent halls, empty guard rooms, and fallen soldiers, with one top-security prisoner missing. The world knew by day-break; Lex Luthor had escaped from prison.
And yes, yes I did that :) But you'll have to wait a few dozen K before we get there :D I almost feel guilty. Almost.