The image of the fallen L-Corp Tower was the National City Headline for every news outlet in the city, and even featured on many all over the country. The crumpled building with folds of steel, wires, iron rods, and concrete and glass all thrown together in a tangled heap, ironically with the L of the tower undamaged and resting above the rubble. Supergirl was in the centre of the photo, hovering above the ground, blood-red cape fluttering behind her majestically, pulled by some unseen wind, with a woman limp in her arms, bridal style. They were both covered in soot and debris and the hero was gazing down at the woman in her arms, features too far away to make out, as ash fluttered down around them like snow. Sunlight lit the two, casting the Super and her rescuee in shadow, even as the rubble and torn buildings and broken surroundings glowed orange, red and yellow. It was a magnificent picture.
The other photo’s on the front page were of the young CEO and Supergirl at the OneLove rally (evidently they started their love affair their), and of Supergirl being comforted by an unknown brunette woman (who was obviously a home-wrecker and Alex had to delete her social media accounts to protect herself from the back lash-people loved the idea of Lena and Supergirl together, and Alex was a perceived threat to that ideal). The main story carried on for three pages, the first, and then the inside, and had eye-witness accounts, theories, and authoritative reports of the explosion. Rumours were flying about why and how the L-Corp tower had exploded; everything from terrorist attacks, alien suicides, martyrdom, her brother, insurance claims, someone wanting to kill the Luthor for her xenophobia, were being flung through all media platforms.
Supergirl had carried Lena Luthor to an awaiting stretcher and once the medical team had deemed her safe for transport Kara had torn through the air to the nearest hospital. She didn’t have a scratch, bar her already existing injuries, and the medical team were proclaiming it a miracle, even as she lay in a coma for no apparent reason-CAT scan’s and MRI’s had revealed nothing out of the ordinary, but they couldn’t give a cause for her coma. The hospital had to increase security and had moved Lena to a private room the moment she was declared stable and the police department had two uniform’s posted outside her door day and night. She didn’t have many visitors, not in the first few days, only a small reporter from CATCO-cleared by security by Federal order- though how a nobody reporter from CATCO could have FBI sway, the hospital staff didn’t know- and a woman who was identified as the CEO’s assistant.
Supergirl also was shown striding in and out of the hospital, no thought given to proper visiting hours, but no one was about to say no to the hero. Groups were lobbying left and right, insurance claims being made, accusations being thrown, employees were left leaderless, and through it all Lena Luthor slept on.
Kara sighed as she tossed the latest article about the L-Corp Tower explosion onto the bedside table next to Lena. The young CEO had curls of wires and needles and tubes all around her and a nurse had carefully combed back her long, dark hair and tied it into a braid. For all that she was clearly a patient in a hospital, Lena looked as though she were sleeping, like she could wake up at any moment and smile that special smile at Kara and or laugh with her with her eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Kara glanced up at the noise and instantly smiled a greeting at Lena’s assistant Jess. “I didn’t realise anyone would be here.” She was carrying a bundle of flowers and had a tablet under the other arm. “I’ll- I’ll come back later.”
“No. Jess, wait!” Kara half rose to her feet. “Don’t go,” she cast a glance at Lena and sighed. “I really should get back to work anyway.”
Jess came back into the room and her features twisted into a sneer. “Can you believe the shit they are writing?” She asked as she settled herself into the other guest chair, setting her bag down and Kara followed her gaze to the article on the front of one of the magazines. “No offense,” Jess added after a moment, realising she was talking to a reporter.
“None taken,” she said quietly and rose the rest of the way to her feet. “I understand. James-CATCO even- won’t allow such drivel to go to print.” She glanced over the article again and felt her ire rise. It was basically a trash piece, saying that it was all a plan by the Luthor to take the insurance money and went on to say some very nasty things about Lena, and the Luthor’s in general.
“I wish there was a way we could tell people what actually happened,” Jess sighed and Kara’s brow tightened. She knew the employees had been asked to stay silent until the investigation was over, and the only one who knew anything, or knew the most, was Lena’s loyal assistant, and she had been ordered to keep her silence. The only reason Kara knew any different to what the media were saying, apart from her belief that Lena would never risk her employees, was because Jess had told Supergirl.
“What-“ she began, a thought entering her mind.
“I can’t-,” Jess cut her off, obviously thinking she were about to ask her what had happened, like many people already had. “I can’t tell you, not until the investigation is over…. But I wish I could,” she said and glared at the offending article.
“I wasn’t going to ask,” Kara said gently and the thought whirled around her mind. “But….” She waited until Jess looked at her properly. “If Lena’s security footage were to be ‘leaked’,” she made the bunny fingers, speaking casually. “Then you couldn’t be to blame.” Kara lifted her shoulder in a shrug, eyes serious and looked pointedly to the door where the two officers stood and saw when Jess understood.
“That would be a shame, but anonymous hackers load things to the internet all the time….” Jess said and she was smiling now. “Or are given to the press…”
Kara allowed a full blown smile to cross her face. “Any source would have to be confidential, I mean, things are sent to reporters all the time. Untraceable.”
Jess was nodding slowly and Kara quickly reached into her bag and pulled out her note-pad.
The urge to use her super-speed to get her message across to Lena’s sweet assistant tingled her fingers, but she was as careful as ever to maintain her cover as she jotted down her message.
Noonan’s? Half an hour?
She turned it to face Jess and the assistant nodded.
“I think the police would have any footage anyway, if there was any to be recovered,” Jess trailed off. “Oh, are you off?” She asked innocently and Kara smiled as she slid her messenger bag onto her shoulder.
“Yeah, I have to get back to work. Thanks for taking care of her, Jess,” she smiled and then said goodbye. The police officers outside the door nodded to her and she walked slowly down the corridor, mind racing as she thought of how she was going to convince Winn to help her hack into Lena’s servers and release the footage, if there was any, or get the files from the NNPD.
Less than half an hour later she was opening the door to Noonan’s. “I don’t know, Winn,” she complained as she held it open for him and he ducked inside, laptop bag under one arm. “I just want to try.”
“Yeah,” he sighed. “Okay, but you’re buying.”
“Deal,” she beamed and scanned the café for Jess. She saw her sitting in a booth with a broad- shouldered black guy, heads bent together and waved when she saw her. Jess waved in response and the man twisted in his seat to look at them and then looked at Jess again. Winn gave her his order and then moved through the tables over to the booth and slid into the booth next to the man.
The barristers were quick with her order and within a few minutes she was carrying them over to the booth. “Hey Jess,” she said as she slid in next to the woman with a smile.
“Kara, hi. This is Michael, he’s the head of IT, or was, he designed the L-Corp severs,” Jess explained and Kara looked him over a she slid Winn his drink. He had black curly hair and it cut down through his sideburns into a tight beard which clung to his jawline and followed the curve of his chin at the same length. His lips were full and a little chapped and his black eyes were glinting kindly beneath dark brows which were on-point. He was wearing a faded Metallica t-shirt and had a piercing in one of his lobes.
“Mike, this is Kara.”
“Hi,” she held her hand over the table and he took it in his own, warm and strong and she looked over at Jess. “Okay, so you know Winn?”
“I said ‘hi’,” Winn said from where he was setting up his computer, plugging it in as well as another black box that she didn’t recognise, though apparently Michael did by the way his eyes widened.
“Is that a-“
“Yup,” Winn said smugly.
“Does it do what they say?”
“Yup,” Winn flashed him a smile and he almost groaned and looked at the box in awe.
“How did you-“
“Classified, dude,” Winn said mysteriously and Kara rolled her eyes, knowing he was enjoying acting like a proper agent.
“Winn works with my sister for the FBI,” Kara said quickly, glaring at Winn and he bit his lip sheepishly and ducked his head into his shoulders. “I asked him to help because he’s the best hacker I know.”
“Yeah, but I don’t know how we’re gonna get the footage you were after, it should have been destroyed.”
Michael shook his head and Jess was smiling as she sipped her latte. “No, Miss Luthor was very, ah, strict with how she wanted things done,” he said quickly, quietly, flicking his eyes around the café. “We had intense protocols with regards to the servers and the information on them, but they are relayed back to a second site and stored there. We never knew where, physically or digitally, but I designed the system to back-up to the other server every twenty-four hours, and everything went there, and I mean everything. I would have looked myself, but I-,” he ducked his head and winced a little and everyone understood. He didn’t want to break any laws, and may not have had the skill or equipment to hack into the back-up server.
Winn’s drink was forgotten as he tapped away at his keyboard and Michael was leaning close and checking out his processes. He did a bit more tapping and then handed the keyboard over. “All right, give it a go. This baby has the juice to get you into the FBI, NSA, CIA and Whitehouse at the same time.” His fingers pay have lingered loving on the laptop as he passed it over and Kara lifted her brows at him and he shrugged.
“Okay,” Michael was saying. “If I somehow replicated the data and send it back to the server and then,”
“And then follow it in and it should give you the digital location and then we can hack into it,” Winn finished excitedly and he and Michael shared a look before turning back to the screen, eyes narrowed in concentration.
Kara had half-drunk her cocoa-nut hot chocolate-for some reason she’d been wanting one, maybe to remind her of her friend stuck in a coma- when Michael crowed happily.
“All right, we’re in… wait, no we aren’t. Hm,” he said and rubbed his fingers together, seemingly eager for the challenge. Winn was leaning right in his personal space, almost leaning on him and was pointing to the screen.
“Yup,” Michael responded and they both shared a look and Michael whistled in awe.
Kara and Jess shared a bemused look and then looked back at the two men nerding out.
“I’ve seen code like this before,” Winn was frowning. “But I don’t know where….”
Kara cleared her throat politely and Winn and Michael were wearing matching sheepish expressions. “Boys, can you geek out later?”
“Mh hm,” Winn pressed his lips together. “Gimmie,” he said and gestured for his computer back.
“Okay, let’s have a look at you,” he was murmuring to himself as Michael slid the computer back. “Come to daddy,” he whispered and his hands flew over the keys. Michael’s eyes were sharp as they followed him and occasionally he offered his own advice.
They were half an hour in and Kara tapped her fingers on the table impatiently and two glares rose to look at her and she halted, offering her palms apologetically.
Jess was doing something on tablet while Kara had given up on trolling Tumblr and re-blogging cute animal gifs.
“This is some serious tech, Kara,” Winn didn’t even look up from where his gaze was intense on the laptop. “Any door is a trap and we’ve had to defend against heaps of attacks. Just, let us do our thing.”
Kara huffed and leant her head on her hand and waited. It took another half hour, eight muffins (four for her) and six coffees until Winn launched his hands in the air with a cry of victory.
“Nice!” Michael was saying appreciatively. “May I?”
Winn handed the laptop back and took a sip of his now cold coffee and winced before cracking his hands.
“Alright, if I go in as Admin I could….” He mumbled off to himself and to be honest, Kara had no idea what he was saying as he talked himself through the process.
It took another fifteen minutes before he nodded to himself. “Got it. I’m in,” he said and looked over at Kara and then at Jess. “What is it you’re after?”
“I want the video feed of Miss Luthor’s office,” Jess replied quietly, putting her phone down.
“She doesn’t have camera’s in her office,” Michael said confused.
“Yes, she does,” Jess, Kara and Winn said in unison and then Winn winced and Kara looked awkwardly at the far wall.
“And you know that how?” Jess drawled, suspicious and not trying to hide it.
“Um, Lena, um Lena told me. Yup, she told me one time…..” Kara trailed off and fiddled with her glasses and then smiled encouragingly at Michael. “So can you find it then?”
Michael blinked slowly and then looked back at the computer screen. “If she backs it up to her own sever, but uses the L-Corp one as a base, I should be able to track it back through to where she keeps her own data…..”
He gave it a few goes and then handed it to Winn, rolling his fingers together and letting the more rested tech expert give it a go.
“Oooh, I know where I’ve seen this before!” His face was lit and she could see the metaphorical lightbulb above his head. “It’s similar to the code that was on that footage that-” he cut himself off quickly and looked meaningfully at Kara as Jess and Michael looked at them confused. “That Miss Luthor sent to your sister at the FBI.”
Kara nodded slowly, just once, to show she understood, feeling a flicker of betrayal flare into life in her chest.
“Give me a second,” Winn continued and after a few minutes he tapped a button finally and moved the laptop to the edge of the table and angled it to face the four. It was from a high corner in Lena’s office and showed the entrance and up to her desk, in very, very impressive definition. “I found the feed and got the date and the time. The alarm went off at one thirty-five so if we just scroll back…” He trailed off and clicked a few buttons and a man was seen entering the room. Winn pressed play.
“Check the volume,” Jess suggested and after casting her a glance he obeyed and they leant forward to listen.
The news broke on CatCo’s platforms first and within an hour all media outlets in the city were running the ‘leaked’ footage and Lena Luthor standing before her would-be murderer with her hands raised pleading for her employees’ lives was the headlining photo.
In her friends room Kara muted the television as another channel played the footage for what felt like the hundredth time and she closed her eyes, just a moment, to rest them. People all over the city and the world were commenting on Lena’s bravery and courage and the tone of social media had changed and they were all wishing her a speedy recovery. Most of the protesting groups, the anti-Luthor’s- had fallen silent at the chilling footage, but one or two still maintained that this proved what a bad person all Luthor’s were and how many would have died if James didn’t have the compassion to wait until the building was evacuated.
Kara was exhausted, even for a Super. She had cried when she’d seen the footage, so had Jess, finally being able to see what little she had heard and realised what her boss had offered for her employees. Winn and Michael had seemed shaken and even the tech expert had come away from the small, illegal activity meeting, with respect for Lena that he hadn’t before. Of course he did go on to tell the DEO who had hacked them, which, had actually been expected, but they couldn’t do much about it. Kara had warned them off her and for the moment they obeyed. She’d taken a flash drive of the footage, after making sure Winn and Michael closed the gaps they made in Lena’s firewalls, and had delivered it immediately to James. He’d understood her silent request the moment he saw the footage and had put the entire thing online, and Snapper had written the accompanying article himself, hailing Lena as a hero.
But now Kara was just tired, it had been a long afternoon and week without Lena, and so she was enjoying the quiet in her hospital room. Her phone vibrated and she checked it to see a message from Alex and sighed, rising to her feet and forgetting that she had pulled the trolley closer to her. She sent it reeling into the side of the bed and winced at the loud sound it made and the rattle that shook Lena’s bed when they collided.
Lena’s heart rate, which had been steady and reassuring up til that point, spiked and Kara froze.
“Lena?” She asked curiously and pushed the trolley away, maybe with a bit too much force at it went rolling towards the door( a burst of super-speed caught it before it could smash against something else).
The heart rate continued to rise and she stood carefully over the bed and watched as Lena’s breathing quickened and her eyelids started to flicker.
“Lena,” she asked again, taking the hand that lay next to her. Lena’s skin was warm and soft and smooth, with delicate blue veins and soft palm lines and she ran the tip of her thumb over them and Lena’s fingers twitched.
Kara’s eyes flashed to her face and she watched as her lids flickered and bright green eyes slowly blinked open. Lena was awake.
“So… she threatened Supergirl, huh?” He asked cheekily as they exited the elevator and walked across the lobby.
“Argh! Shut up, Clark!” She gave him a playful shove, one that would have tossed a human several feet.
“Aw, has my liddle widdle couzy got a crush?” He teased her lightly and she glared at him as he threw and arm around her shoulder and gave her a squeeze. “Come on. I’ll buy you lunch and you can tell me all about it.”