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what if I never even see you ('cause we're both on a stage)

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“Vathlo…Kandor…Argo...” Kara repeated the city names over and over focusing all of her attention on forming the sounds, pushing the breath out of her mouth, through her teeth, ghosting past her lips and into the stale air surrounding her. Every time she made another cycle through she could feel herself being pulled back just a little more, the tingling in her fingers, the spottiness of her vision, and the general feeling of disassociation fading with each phoneme.

Finally, after what must have been almost twenty minutes, she slumped back, feeling her shoulders hit the cool wall. Her hands which had previously been pressed tightly against her face, heels overtop of her eyes and fingertips over her ears, came to a rest on the smooth concrete floor, fingers splayed out, feeling the small specs of dirt left behind from some agent’s boots. Her muscles started to relax, her body left feeling like a giant brick of lead, so heavy and tired, her mind in a similar state.

It had been like this for a while now.

It’d been three months since her world had fallen apart around her. She’d had the first panic attack as soon as she hit the lobby of CatCo. Headquarters. She hadn’t been all that surprised, she was overwhelmed and stressed to the point of snapping. She’d had panic attacks before, since her pod launched away from Krypton and everything she held dear.

The first time it happened had been the scariest, Clarke had left to return home to Metropolis. She’d been handling it all better than anyone had expected, until suddenly in the middle of dinner, the texture of the food so unlike her own, the fluoride in the water sharper than it was at home, her nose burning with all the new scents bombarding her airway. Suddenly she felt like she was being violently ripped away from her body, her chest felt like it would explode while the rest of her body just went numb, no noise was reaching her ears and her eyes moved too fast to pick up any visual cues. As a scared thirteen-year-old girl fresh off a Kryptonian space pod, her first thought was that her body was rejecting this new planet, it was too much too fast, especially after 24 years in a catatonic state.

It had become a pretty frequent event in the first few years as she adjusted to Earth, and then to Jeramiah’s death, followed by Alex’s move to college. It never stopped being terrifying, but she’d learned to cope, picked up tools here and there to help her move through it faster, to help her bounce back so the rest of the day wouldn’t be a waste.

As an adult, she hardly experienced them anymore. Once or twice a year. After embracing her role as Supergirl they’d picked up briefly, all the newness and stress was a lot to take in, but again, after a period of adjustment they’d dropped off.

And then the worst had come to pass. Cat Grant had confronted her about her extra-curricular activities, and had forced her hand, leading Kara to quit.

So as her knees wobbled, as she shakily found a bench, as she pressed a palm tight to her chest, rolling the ball of her hand across her sternum, as she looked up and traced the letters of Cat’s name over and over again with the index finger of her other hand as she stared at the company’s name hanging in the lobby. As the rest of the world fell apart at her feet, Kara took deep breaths and knew that this too would pass.

Except it didn’t.

She pushed herself. If Cat wouldn’t have her because she wanted Kara to be Supergirl 24/7, then she would be the best damn superhero this city or any other had ever seen.

It worked for the first month or so. She was exhausted, hardly having time to talk to anybody aside from Alex or Hank, she didn’t have the time to do anything aside from work, eat, and sleep (if 30 minute intervals when nobody needed her counted as sleep). But she couldn’t deny that she was doing good, crime rates were down, nearly every hospital in the city was seeing an all-time low in the number of emergency room visits, and Maxwell Lord seemed to be taking the hint and pulling back in his own personal brand of terrorism.

Which is why, nobody on the outside would ever guess that Supergirl was slowly unraveling. The panic attacks didn’t fall away the way Kara had predicted. Instead they had remained pretty steady, until six weeks in when she had collapsed in a corridor at the DEO. Luckily, or at least Kara thought so, it was a pretty empty area, only seeing foot traffic once or twice a day. She was out for at least ten minutes, and it took her another forty before she felt ready to get back to what she’d been doing. She wasn’t really sure what the rest of the day had been like, not making any moves without the direction of somebody else. Alex kept shooting her worried looks, noticing how zoned out she was, but Kara brushed her off.

Within the next month it only got worse. She’d collapsed four more times, and was having an average of six panic attacks a week. But she refused to slow down, trying her best to keep up appearances in front of everyone else. The corridor she’d initially collapsed in became something of a hiding place, so rarely visited by anyone else, she was able to fall apart there and tentatively piece herself back together without anybody seeing.

Alex was getting more and more suspicious. Both she and Hank had begun to threaten her into slowing down, but she pressed forward, saying if they wouldn’t have her then she’d just resume her solo routine. At the end of the day, they conceded, hoping that by having her close they could intervene if necessary.

She knew they weren’t happy with her, not only with how much she was working, but just how she was working in general. With so many people needing her attention, she had been forced to adapt her methods slightly, in ways one might argue were tiptoeing toward the line of illegal. So far, she’d avoided breaking any laws, but the way she was bending the rules to suit her needs had everybody at the DEO a little on edge.

Today had been particularly rough. She’d been up all night working with fire crews on a benzene factory fire. The fire burned too hot for crews to do anything other than contain it, which meant that she was the only one who could get close enough to actually attempt to put it out, something that was difficult, even for her, since anything aside from short bursts of water would cause the fire to spread.

She’d returned to the DEO at six that morning, Alex had shoved a bag of take-out from her favorite breakfast spot onto the table in front of her and demanded she eat.

She was only halfway through her stack of french toast when she heard the start of a mugging in a park uptown. With a deep breath she was off with barely a glance to the others in the room. She’d just broken up the robbery when she heard tire skids from the highway fifteen miles away. She quickly tied the suspect to a park bench for the local authorities to deal with before heading off again. It continued back to back until two in the afternoon.

She had come back to the DEO, with the hope of finishing her breakfast, which was now more of a late lunch, and maybe catching an hour in her sunbed, but just as she pushed the doors to the compound open, she felt the familiar tingle in her fingers that told her she’d be doing nothing of the sort anytime soon.

Which is how she once again found herself in an empty DEO corridor, sitting on the hard floor, shoulders slumped against the cold wall. She knew she would need to get up soon, but everything felt so heavy, all she really wanted to do was roll to her side and take a nap. She doubted that anybody would find her here, but she was also certain that Alex would be coming to look for her soon since she hadn’t heard from Kara for at least an hour. Her internal debate was interrupted when she felt her phone buzz from its compartment in her boot, she reached down to grab it, figuring she had been right about her sister.

She was moving to stand slowly, still feeling a little off balance, as she swiped her thumb across the phone’s screen, making a note to wipe down the surface, being stuck in her boot all day tended to make it a little gross. As she unlocked the screen her heart jolted as she saw the message waiting for her.

Where she had expected to see Alex’s name, she found the name of the woman who started all of this. She barely made the words of the message out before she was once again making her way back to the city, quickly tapping her earpiece to let Alex and Hank know to be on standby.

Need help…would like…this afternoon…disaster…

///

Cat was waiting on the balcony for her when she arrived, landing less gracefully than normal, but if Cat noticed, she didn’t say anything.

“What’s going on? Are you okay?” Kara rushed out, already moving toward Cat’s office in search of the emergency.

“Slow down,” Cat said, following her in, “Didn’t you read the message I sent?” She asked.

Kara turned to face her, cape billowing a little behind her. “I saw the words ‘help’ and ‘disaster’, I didn’t want to waste time on the rest.”

Cat still couldn’t get over how different Kara was when she was in her suit, all business, so ready to take down whatever stood in her way, so unlike the Kara she knew as her assistant. “Well, if you had taken the time to actually read the whole thing,” she spoke in a tone that was clearly berating, “You’d have seen that I merely wanted to meet with you to talk about everything you’ve been doing lately.”

“What I’ve been doing lately?” Kara repeated questioningly. Had Cat not seen it all, not seen how hard she’d been working. Or was it not good enough? Did she expect more from her?

“It’s wonderful, really, you’ve given us a lot to work with over here.” She promised with something of a smug smile, obviously feeling justified in her decision to let Kara go. “The problem,” she continued, “Is that every other outlet has access to the same information. Which is why I wanted to schedule a time with you to do an exclusive, hear about everything from your view.” She finished already walking toward her desk to grab her day planner. “Bear with me a moment, my new assistant is beyond incompetent…” She muttered as she flipped through the pages trying to make sense of the scribbles inside.

Kara just stared at her unbelievingly. This? This is what she was called here for? She was about to open her mouth to respond when suddenly the doors to the office flew open, and Winn came rushing in, calling out to her as soon as he heard them shut behind him.

“Kara!” He continued toward her, arms out, as though going in for a hug. She gave him a subtle nod toward the unshielded glass, where she could see almost all of her past coworkers curiously looking in. Winn stopped and his arms dropped back down, realizing that as far as everybody else knew, he was just an overexcited fanboy.

“Winn.” Kara said lightly with a small nod.

From behind her desk, Cat looked like she was about to have a conniption. How dare this little troll interrupt their meeting, barging into her office like he had any right to be there. Before she had a chance to fire him, he continued.

“We’ve been so worried, James says he hasn’t heard much from you either, and then after the whole thing with that chemical explosion and the weird dude in the mask-” He was getting worked up, hands still flying all around him 

“I sent you a text.” Kara simply replied, voice void of any emotion, face stoic.

“I’m not dead.” isn’t really the kind of thing I was talking about.” He replied.

Cat couldn’t deny that she was a little curious now, not just by the exchange but because Kara’s stance so different than that of either the assistant she knew or Supergirl.

“Not to mention the fact that I’m sure the news is only capturing about a third of what you’ve been doing lately.” He continued, “I mean, when’s the last time you slept?” His tone was joking, but as Cat saw Kara look up slightly as though she were actually considering the question she decided she’d had enough.

She dropped her planner down on her desk, the resounding thud causing the other two occupants of the room to look to her. Winn as though he hadn’t even realized she was in the room, and Kara…and Kara…Her face, which Cat could usually decipher regardless of the persona she was displaying was unreadable. She turned her attention back to Winn, who now seemed to be grasping just how much trouble he was in.

“Miss Grant, I am so sor-” He started but she cut him off.

“Out. Now.” She ground out, pointing toward the doors. If it weren’t for the fact that he was Kara’s friend, she would have fired him on the spot, but at the moment she wanted to figure out what was going on with her old assistant.

Winn scrambled back out the way he came, nervously glancing over his shoulder the entire time. As soon as he was seated back at his desk, Cat walked over and pulled the curtains that she had just had installed.

“Really Kiera? What you see in that walking mess of a man-child.” Cat said, waiting for some kind of reaction.

Kara sat back onto one of the plush couches, tilting her head back and closing her eyes. Even with how upset she was at Cat’s reason for calling, she couldn’t deny that being back in her office was still as soothing as it’d been before Cat discovered her secret. “You wanted an interview?” Kara questioned in resigned acceptance. She didn’t like it, but if it gave her a reason to come back, maybe it was worth it. She could be pissed off later.

“Kara…what’s…are you?” Cat couldn’t seem to find the right words, something that had never happened in all the years Kara had known her, but even that didn’t seem to be enough to pull Kara out of her odd little reverie. Cat sighed, not really sure how to continue. Aside from Carter, she wasn’t good at comforting others. Kara had told her that she always knew what to say to make her feel normal…but now, without some kind of lesson behind it, knowing that the girl in front of her was also Supergirl, she was struggling. 

“If you give me a time, I’ll try my best to make it.” Kara continued still not opening her eyes.

Cat was starting to get pissed now, but at least she knew how to deal with anger. “What the hell is wrong with you?!” She demanded.

Finally, Kara’s eyes opened, she straightened up and looked to Cat. “I’m sorry?” For just the briefest moment she saw a flash of the Kara she knew in her eyes, the Kara that so badly wanted approval, so she continued to push.

“It shouldn’t be surprising that I was right, you don’t take this seriously so you?” She demanded, “Honestly Kiera, you come in here and sit down for a nap? Even if you’re not my assistant anymore, I expected at least a modicum of professionalism from you.”

It seemed to be working because now Kara was back on her feet, moving with a purpose toward Cat, in a way that made Cat want to take a step back but she wasn’t ready to give Kara the upper hand, not until she figured this out.

Kara was once again preparing to speak when the doors launched open for a second time. She was about to snap and threaten that little gremlin’s life when she turned to find two very official looking strangers.

“What the fu-” Her words trailed off as the first one to enter pushed past her and went right to Kara, she looked a few years older than the young hero, hair dark and cut into a somewhat fashionable bob.

“Are you okay?” She demanded, reaching out to the girl, eyes skimming over every inch of her as though assessing for injury.

“I’m sorry,” Cat interrupted, “Who are you?” Her face was tight, and she was glaring at the woman, not liking the way she just walked over and put her hands on Kara.

“Ma’am,” The other one started, and she suddenly recognized him as the FBI agent from that little debacle with Leslie. Before he had the chance to continue Cat spoke again.

“Right, Mulder…” She watched him closely for just a minute before turning her attention back to the handsy woman. “Which means you must be Scully.”

Alex ignored her and continued her assessment of her sister. “Kara…” She breathed out.

For her part, Kara just looked confused. “What are you doing here Alex?” She asked, her brain taking a little longer to catch up than Cat’s had.

“You told us there was an emergency at CatCo. and to be on stand-by and then you never checked back in.” Alex explained firmly.

“No? I-I did.” Kara replied, face scrunched up in concentration, trying to remember. “Didn’t I?” She asked.

“Kara…” Alex breathed out again, feeling like a pod person had taken over her little sister’s body. This wasn’t really how she’d imagined this conversation going, in front of Cat Grant of all people, but she knew if she waited until they got back to the base, Kara would just brush them off again. “Enough is enough.” She said firmly, “Whatever this is,” She waved her hands over Kara, “It stops now.”

Kara’s face fell slightly before she schooled her features back into the unreadable expression that Alex had been becoming more and more familiar with in the last few months. She pulled herself to stand straight, like she might actually be able to intimidate Alex.

“I’m doing my job.” Her voice was low and gravely with a weird sort of conviction that almost knocked the wind out of Alex.

“You’re killing yourself.” Alex corrected.

Kara just scoffed and turned away, shaking her head.

“Kara! I’m being serious!” Alex’s voice was pleading now, needing Kara to understand, to listen. “You don’t eat unless I put the food right in front of your face, you’re averaging two hours of sleep every three days, your fingernails are barely even there anymore because you’ve bit them down to quick…” Alex threw her hands up feeling herself getting overwhelmed. She took a moment to compose herself, walking around to force Kara to meet her eyes. “You may be Supergirl but even you cannot continue to function like this. It. Will. Kill. You.”

Hank hung back, ready to jump in-between the sisters if necessary, while Cat stood stock still, closely observing Kara, trying to determine if the words coming out of her sister’s mouth were true. She knew the girl had been working hard, they may not have seen each other in three months but that much was obvious even without the constant news coverage. Kara’s face was pulled a little tight, her eyes were dull, lips cracked, and as she looked down she could see the girl’s fingers twitching with a nervous energy. Not to mention the fact that she nearly fell on her face when she landed on the balcony earlier, which at the time Cat had chalked up to her being in a hurry to stop the attack she thought CatCo. was under.

“I’m doing my job.” Kara insisted again, “I’m saving people!”

“You’re putting people in danger! Everybody you come into contact with!” Alex’s chest was heaving now; she was trying so hard to keep herself from grabbing Kara by the shoulders to literally shake some sense into her. “What happens if you have another power outage because you’re pushing yourself too hard?”

“Solar flare.” Kara corrected looking down.

“I DON’T CARE WHAT IT’S CALLED!” Alex screamed, causing Hank to step forward.

“Agent Danvers.” He warned, eyes clearly moving toward the curtained glass to remind her that while people may not be able to see in, they may still be listening.

She sighed heavily and scrubbed her hands over her face, trying to calm herself down. Kara on the other hand looked completely unfazed, as though the further this conversation went, the more she was detaching herself from it, not wanting nor caring to hear what Alex had to say.

“Kara.” Alex looked up finally, there were tears in her eyes now which seemed to jolt Kara a little bit, she could count on both hands the number of times she’d seen Alex cry in the past decade. “I know that things haven’t been the best lately,” She sympathized, “But that doesn’t mean that you should throw yourself into being Supergirl every minute of every day, it’s not healthy.”

“They need me.” Kara said, waving her hand toward the city just beyond Cat’s balcony. “Nobody else needs me.” She said softly, more to herself than to anybody else. Alex looked up and exchanged a worried glance with Hank.

I need you, Mom needs you. And yes, they need you too, but not like this.” She was stressing her words carefully, hoping that Kara was really listening. “I don’t know where you got this idea from, that you have to be on alert all the time…”

At the words Kara’s eyes involuntarily flicked to Cat, it lasted less than a second, but they all caught it. Alex and Hank both turned to look at the older blonde. Cat herself gasped out slightly, horrified as she started to piece it all together.

She remembered the words she spoke to Kara the day after discovering her secret. “Every minute you waste playing assistant in here, is a minute out there that someone is not getting saved.”

She hadn’t meant that Kara should sacrifice everything she had to be Supergirl all the time, she just wanted Kara to realize her full potential. Even if she wasn’t Supergirl, it was clear that she was destined for more than just being Cat Grant’s assistant. And it was selfish for her to keep the girl to herself when other people needed her too. She thought letting Kara go would mean she’d be less stressed, not having to be pulled in two different directions constantly.

She was just about to step forward to say just that when Kara’s head jerked toward the balcony, focused on something only she could hear.

After a moment, she started to stride toward the doors. “I have to go.” She said not glancing back.

“Kara wait!” Alex demanded.

“He’s going to kill her.” Kara replied without stopping.

Alex moved to grab for her, but she was out and stepping over the edge before she had the chance.

///

Kara flew at a breakneck speed toward the voice, still calling out for help. There was a feeling in her stomach that was urging her to slow down to take just a minute to regain her bearings. She was admittedly rattled after the showdown in Cat’s office, not to mention she could still feel the last tendrils of unease rattling through her veins after this afternoon’s panic attack. Which is why, as she got closer and the feeling grew stronger, she pushed it down, not wanting to compromise an innocent’s safety because of her own inability to compartmentalize.

As her feet touched down outside a house that looked like it’d seen better days, she paused, taking in the paint flaking off the siding, and the porch steps that looked as though they’d crumble the minute her feet landed on them, far enough from the other homes in the neighborhood that no human would be able to detect the chaos occurring inside. The feeling of unease surged through her once more, bubbling up from her stomach and bursting from her chest. Her fingers itched to reach up and hit her comm to request back-up but the screams she’d detected in Cat’s office 40 seconds ago flooded her ears once more, spurring her into action.

She jumped the steps and pushed her way through the front door, eyes already scanning the house trying to detect the location of the occupants. For some reason, all she could see were disorienting splotches, and she wondered if this is what her vision would be like if she actually needed her glasses. After a few seconds she realized that the house, in its old and rundown state, must still have walls covered in a lead based paint. Not enough to truly block her but making her scan useless nonetheless.

She continued to move further in, letting her ears guide her toward the source of the attack, but as she reached the room that she was sure would contain a terrified child and a drunk father, she found nothing but cracked drywall and soiled carpet. She was confused, knowing that the noise was coming from this room. Her eyes scanned the space once more, this time coming to land on a closet, the doors hanging precariously off the hinges. Just inside, she finally spotted the source of the noise, a small docking station connected to an mp3 player that played the calls of distress on a loop.

Which is when she realized the gut feeling telling her to turn and run wasn’t because of the day’s earlier events. Before, with eyes unseeing, she’d missed it, but now with her gaze locked onto the speakers, her ears suddenly picked up the crackling of the recording and the pattern to the words being sent out through them.

This was a trap.

A trap set up by somebody who obviously knew she’d miss these details in favor of focusing on the bigger picture, somebody who very likely knew how close she was to burning out, somebody who’d been keeping tabs on her.

She turned, ready to leave, hoping she’d be fast enough to avoid whatever she’d been brought here for. Her hands were just reaching toward the window, when she heard heavy footsteps land in the doorway behind her. Her brain screamed to go anyway, don’t look back, just go, get Alex and Hank, return with the Calvary at her back. A twisted curiosity and desire to prove herself took hold instead and she turned once more.

The confusion she’d felt since discovering the docking station grew as her eyes landed on what looked like an improved version of the Red Tornado. This one was bigger, the armor more impressive, with a chest plate of blue and sterling silver. It took a step forward, and she backed up, feeling her heels hit the wall, and realizing she was literally being backed into a corner. Another step forward and she realized that this was no droid, but rather a suit of armor fitted to a real person based on the Red Tornado’s design.

“Hello, Ms. Danvers.”

Kara tried to keep her shock to herself, not only at the sound of her actual name, but at the voice coming from behind the unmoving face mask.

“I’m sorry Mr. Lord, but I think you have the wrong person.” She responded as confidently as she could, moving herself along the wall, hoping he’d move with her so she could circle around and slip out the doorway.

“Please, Ms. Danvers, don’t insult either of our intelligences by denying it, we have more important matters to discuss.” He replied unfazed and unmoving.

She decided to acquiesce, deciding instead to try to stall him, until she could either escape or call for help. When all of this was done, Hank would just wipe his memory.

“How’d you find out?” She asked.

“Hmm, well, you haven’t exactly been the best at covering your tracks.” He tsked, and she could picture the smug look of satisfaction on his face when she didn’t deny it again.

“To start, Cat Grant somehow manages to get the first exclusive with you, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think much of it then, at least not beyond a simple curiosity, she did name you after all.” He admitted in a faux self-depreciating tone.

“But then there was the incident with the train-” He started.

“Incident? Don’t you mean the terrorist attacks that you yourself perpetrated?”  She was trying to throw him, wanting him to falter so she could use it to her advantage and escape.

“Hmm, I suppose we still have differing opinions on that.” He merely replied. “As you know, it was a good starting point for me. Who on that train was so important?” He repeated his question from their meeting all those months ago.

“So I compiled a list, but none of the passengers made sense. Nobody from any of their lives fit the profile. And then I remembered - the boy. He said he’d gotten separated from his parents, but after checking the roaster I saw that he wasn’t ever supposed to be on my train to begin with. I’m a little ashamed to tell you that it took me longer than it should have to connect those dots. My fling with Cat was very brief, but I remember seeing a photo of her son, who was much younger at the time, just once. The boy from the train had the same eyes, and I realized he and Carter Grant were one-in-the-same. Yet another connection to Cat.” He was drawing his words out in that way that very clearly spoke to his own image of self-importance.

“Still, it just seemed like another piece to my puzzle. Until, I remembered the name of the oh so lovely federal agent that had called Supergirl herself when we couldn’t disarm the bomb at Lord Industries. Agent Alex Danvers, big sister to Kara Danvers, Cat Grant’s mousy and adorkable assistant who Cat has sworn up and down is the most reliable employee in all of National City. The same woman I’d met, later, during the earthquake, with her arm in a sling and a runny nose on the very same day Supergirl was revealed to have blown out her powers; who of course would care if her boss’s son was blown to red mist.”

Kara cringed at the crude words and the image it elicited. “That was months ago.”

“Yes, well, I may find you overrated but I’m not arrogant enough to think I could take you on alone. I started to use the data I’d compiled though my tests of your abilities to put together a plan. Your sister was also a big help, giving me that severed arm from the military drone you unleashed on the city.”

Despite the stillness of the mask that covered his face, Kara had no doubt he was smiling, the idea that all of the people Kara cared about had been the ones to bring her this point, obviously bringing him some sort of sick joy.

“I used the technology to create this suit, to level the playing field so my real plans for you can take effect. Although, I will admit, your own efforts to destroy yourself these past few months have been incredibly helpful as well.”

“Your plans for me?” She questioned, reaching up with one hand, as though to scratch her ear, tapping her comm, trying to think of ways she could keep him talking until back-up arrived.

“Don’t bother, this house is lined with more than just lead paint, no signals will make it out.” He told her with a dismissive flick of his hand.

It was in this moment, Kara realized she’d overplayed her hand. No help was coming, she would have to hope that she could take him on herself, that whatever he had set out to do here wouldn’t come to fruition.

With that thought in mind, she decided to stop playing defense and to make a move. She pulled herself to her full height and rushed at him in super-speed, taking them both through a wall and landing in what she thought to be the living room.

As they both righted themselves, she wasted no time in throwing punches, wanting to crack the armor and pull at the wiring inside.

“Sorry Supergirl,” Lord said, as he caught one of her punches in his own hand, “this suit is made of titanium and coated in lonsdaelite, it would take you a week to break through.”

“I have nowhere else to be.” She responded in a grunt as he clamped down on her hand, actually doing some damage.

She threw her weight further into him and twisted her arm at the same time to free herself, bringing her arm back down with an elbow to his head. Even through the metal, she could hear the crack of his neck as he stumbled away from her.

All too soon, he righted himself again. They began to circle each other then, her eyes searching the suit for a weak point. He had to have some way of getting it on, some seam that was exploitable. Before she had a chance to act again, he came barreling toward her, once again sending them crashing through a wall and into another bedroom. It continued this way for a good ten minutes, one of them would move to attack, the other blocking it as best they could. They were lucky neither of them had managed to hit a support beam yet.

As they got up again after what had to have been the seventh or eighth time, Kara shook bits of porcelain from the bathroom sink out of her hair, eyes finally catching what they’d been looking for. Right under his sternum, was a hairline dip, which she’d originally mistaken for being part of the design.

She set her sights on it, using her heat vision to try to take advantage of the weak point, still fending off his punches. She was just starting to see some progress being made when suddenly her heat vision sputtered out. 

Shaking her head, she was about to go at it again, when she put an arm up defensively, in front of her face, only to hear the same sickening crack that accompanied her broken arm the day of the earthquake, she immediately felt nauseous.

“And now, the real fun begins.” Lord said, grabbing her by the throat and lifting her so he feet dangled just so slightly. Her good hand coming to claw at the metal out of instinct.

“Now, the whole world will see just what a fraud you are. After we’re done here, whether you’re alive or not, I will send the video of this to every news agency from here to Bangladesh. Not even the great Cat Grant will be able to convince the masses of your usefulness after they see how easily you were beat by some fancy wiring.” He punctuated the last word by throwing her aside, through one of the only remaining walls.

The landing knocked the breath out of her, and something felt wet against her tights, she looked down to see a piece of rebar sticking through her thigh, gushing blood and keeping her rooted in place.

He came over slowly, moving to stand right over her. “Open.” He commanded, and the front of his mask pulled away, helmet still secure over his head, but his face exposed.

He met her eyes, a twisted smile in place. “I hope your sister is the one to find you.” He told her, his eyes shifting as though lost in a vision of just that happening.

She so badly wanted to use his distraction to her advantage, finally, partially exposed, she may be able to harm him, but her leg was still all but nailed down to the floor, and she was losing blood too fast to form a good plan anyway.

The only thoughts coming to her head were questions about what was going to happen next. Would she see her parents again? She’d heard of people having near-death experiences seeing loved ones. Would she, when she’d left them half a galaxy away? Would Jeramiah be there with them? All three of them waiting for her, happy to see her?

The coldness that she’d felt when her body first hit was starting to fade away, instead replaced by an odd warmth, and at first she wondered if this was it. Until she turned her head to see Maxwell Lord laying lifeless next to her, a jagged hole in his forehead, just above his eyebrows. And she realized that the warmth she felt was his blood as it fell upon her after the bullet had impacted his skull.

The only sound she could make out was a high pitched screaming that echoed over and over again, she searched desperately for its source, wanting to assure them that it was safe now, the threat had been eliminated.

She continued to look until a set of hands cupped her cheeks and held her head in place. Looking up, she saw Alex, her mouth was moving but Kara couldn’t hear her over the screaming. She was starting to get frustrated, wanting whoever that was to shut-up so she could hear her sister.

She settled for watching Alex’s lips carefully, trying to make out the words. Another agent was coming around to wrap a c-collar around her neck.

Kara – Okay so that was her name, that was an easy one. Kara, it’s okay. – Then why all the screaming? Calm down, baby – I am calm, you’re here now, I’m calm. Kara, stop screaming, it’s okay. – Wait, was that her? Suddenly the noise stopped.

“Good girl,” Alex whispered, running her through Kara’s hair. “It’s okay, sweet girl, I’ve got you. We’re going to get you all fixed up. It’s okay.” Alex’s words were like a mantra, and the longer they continued the more soothing they were, until Kara felt her eyes start to droop, suddenly feeling so tired. It’d been such a long day, such a long year.

“No, no! Stay awake, Kara! Stay with me!” Alex demanded.

“’s’okay.” Kara promised, “’s’okay. They’re here now.” Her words were slurred. “Your dad’s here too. I knew he’d come. They look so happy, so happy.”

Her eyelids finally slipped shut, for the first time in three months, Kara Danvers was going to rest.