“I’m not saying it’s not a good plan.” Heads nodded all around the circle. “No one’s saying that. We’re just thinking it might be time to try something more….non-traditional.”
The shadowy figure of a woman steepled her fingers on the heavy wooden table in front of her, the frail light catching just enough of her profile to be menacing. If there’s anyone who appreciates drama, it’s this group.
“I see. And you’re all in agreement on this?”
Heads continued nodding, but much slower than before.
Jess sighed, pressing a hand to the bridge of her nose in a gesture unsurprisingly reminiscent of her employer.
“Fine. We’ll go ahead with the operations we already have planned, but after that, I want to hear some ideas.”
“Supergirl!” Jess’s voice was high and strained. “It’s Livewire! She’s taken Ms. Luthor hostage, and she left this note for you.” Lena’s office was surprisingly clean, the only evidence that something was amiss the broken window, faint smell of ozone, and the missing CEO.
Kara took the letter awkwardly. Should she be trying to comfort Jess? She’d be the first to admit that she didn’t know her that well - didn't even know her last name, in fact. The poor woman must be in shock; but for the slight furrow at her brow, she looked like she’d just had a run-in with a particularly unpleasant department head, not a wanted criminal.
Then again, this had been happening often enough in the last few weeks that Supergirl had given Jess a direct-contact panic button, so maybe she’s just getting used to it.
Either way, Jess was looking at her expectantly, and even Supergirl wasn't immune to Jess’s intimidation tactics.
Okay, who else did she think was going to be reading this, Batman? In National City? Honestly. Villains were so dramatic.
(And Lena was hers, dammit. If Kara needed help rescuing her friend, she’d freaking call, but it wasn’t like she went around willy-nilly rescuing Selina Kyle every time some metahuman felt like making a statement. There was such a thing as professional courtesy, after all)
‘I HAVE KIDNAPPED LENA LUTHOR’
Thanks for the pertinent information, Leslie.
‘COME ALONE TO THE ABANDONED L-CORP WAREHOUSE AT SUNDOWN OR SHE DIES.’
It was...actually kind of nice of her to refer to it as L-Corp rather than LutherCorp. Lena had been having so much trouble with the branding.
“Alex?” Kara spoke into her DEO-issue communicator.
“What? Alex, it’s me.”
“No-Supergirl, I’m Agent Danvers. Remember? We had that presentation on protocol in front of civilians? Winn used all the powerpoint animations?”
Kara remembered. It had been very impressive.
“It’s just Jess.” She flicked her eyes towards the assistant in question, who was gathering up a few stray papers that had fallen from the desk and pointedly Not Listening.
“I can’t even - What do you need, Supergirl?” Kara didn’t need super senses to hear the exasperation in her sister’s voice, that was for sure.
“It’s Lena! She’s be-”
“-en kidnapped.” Alex finished for her. “Who is it this time?”
“Livewire. She left a note.”
“Oh, uh, she wants to meet me in a warehouse. Alone.”
Now that she mentioned it, it was suspicious that Leslie wouldn’t ask for an obscene amount of money, or a secret alien weapon. The key to the city. A latte. Something.
“Well obviously it’s a trap. Bring the note to the DEO; assuming it’s not poisoned, we can-” Alex paused as there was a decidedly non-Super yelp on the line, and then silence.
“Uh. Yeah. Yes. I’m here.”
“You vaporized the note, didn’t you.”
“It’s Livewire. LIVEWIRE. Honestly, why can no one get that right? It’s not that hard!”
“Whatever you’re trying to do,” Lena pressed on. “It’s not going to work. Supergirl will stop you.”
“If only.” Livewire retorted, rolling her eyes.
“Justice will - wait, what?”
“There are some people in this town a lot scarier than Supergirl, Ms. Luthor, and that’s all I’m saying. Now hold still.” Livewire stepped back from the wall she’d chained Lena to, considering the tableau with an artist’s eye. Thick iron braces encircled Lena’s ankles, and her arms were cuffed behind her back, forcing her chest forward. In the struggle and ensuing kidnapping, somehow Lena’s clothes had become torn in a few key places, offering glimpses of pale stomach and thigh. Livewire reached forward, paused, then popped a few buttons on Lena’s blouse, tugging at the fabric until just the edge of a lacy black bra was showing.
“What, ah,” Lena swallowed nervously, “What are you doing?”
“Honestly? A public service.” She removed Lena’s hair from its’ updo, twisting it into loose curls down and over one of the CEO’s shoulders with only a little bit more force than necessary. Hey, she was a villain after all. And possibly a little bitter that superhuman electric power also seemed to come with permanent static frizz. There really was no justice in this world.
“Unhand her, you villain!”
Both Livewire and Lena stared at Kara in stunned silence.
Crap. She really needed to stop watching cartoons before bed.
“I mean, uh.” Kara planted her hands on her hips and tried to go for an intimidating glare, but it fell a little as the silence dragged on.
“Supergirl! You’ve come to try to rescue your friend from my evil clutches!” Livewire supplied helpfully. “But as you can see, she’s a little...tied up, at the moment.” To prove her point, she yanked on the chains connected to Lena’s arms, pulling her shoulders tight against the wall.
With great tact and graciousness, Livewire waited patiently while Kara stared slightly open-mouthed at Lena, and Lena tried not to blush and pretended that Kara wasn’t staring, and both tried not to look like they were enjoying it at all.
Well, for a few minutes, anyway. Patience had never been one of her strong suits.
“It was all a clever ruse! Now, Supergirl…”
“Supergirl?” She tried again. Maybe she shouldn’t have opened that last button.
With an annoyed huff, Livewire snapped her fingers in the direction of the unresponsive superhero.
“As I was saying, a clever ruse, you never even saw it coming, and now I will rid Natonal City of its’ annoying superhero once and for all.”
“It’s a trap!” Lena provided.
Livewire sent a frustrated glare in the general direction of her captive. There was a reason she’d been avoiding that particular phrasing. God, she hated Star Wars.
“We’ve established that, thank you.” She turned back to Kara. “As I was saying, you’ve walked into my fiendishly designed” dammit, now she couldn’t think of anything else, “trap. The only option is to surrender to our evil designs, or your girlfriend get it.”
Supergirl honest-to-God blushed. Livewire didn’t even know that was possible.
“She's not my girlfriend.” Kara mumbled.
“Seriously? That's what you’re focusing on?”
“Not to judge your nefarious plots, but have do you actually have any evil designs other than trying to get me out my clothes?” Lena asked, raising one perfectly (and expensively) arched eyebrow.
Okay, well, when you put it that way, Livewire guessed it did look a little suspicious.
Kara’s eyes flickered between the two of them in confusion, and she was beginning to look a little sick.
‘Come on,’ Livewire urged her telepathically. They were so close to a breakthrough, and she could finally put this whole sordid affair behind her and get back to proper villany. ‘You can do it. You’re almost there.’
“Is this some kind of...foreplay?”
Supergirl, Girl of Steel, nigh-indestructible protector of National City, was staring at her boots like a child who had just had her favorite toy taken away. Even her cape seemed to droop.
“I mean, I’m not going to judge...okay maybe I’d judge a little, because hello, supervillain, but really you could have told me. As long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual, right? Because consent is really important.”
Jesus fucking Christ.
It didn't even make any sense! Why the hell would she-
She didn't even-
Lena, of course, was being absolutely no help at all. She was just standing there, fidgeting - okay, to be fair she was still chained up, and Livewire knew it had to be uncomfortable but she didn’t think this would take so long - and watching Kara with a kind of tortured amusement, the way one might watch a puppy try to navigate a linoleum floor. Like you know you should pick them up, pat them on the butt, and move them to the carpet, but bless their little hearts, they’re just trying so hard.
Livewire didn't know why she thought this would be anything less than a complete and utter disaster.
She managed to cut Kara off before she could get any further into what sounded like some suspiciously well-researched opinions on sexual power dynamics between super-powered and normal individuals.
“Wait, how would you even-” Focus, Leslie “no, no, no, I don’t want to know. This is not some kind of sex thing.” I’ll take ‘words I never thought I’d have to say to Supergirl’ for a thousand, Alex. “This is a scheme! Very serious, very evil. World-wide implications. There are lasers. Sharks. Sharks with lasers. Just waiting for my signal to flood National City, causing mayhem and mass panic.” She’d gotten a tidy settlement after suing the creators of Sharknado for that particular idea.
Livewire stared. “‘Golly?’” She mimicked holding a phone to her ear. “Yes, hello, the 1950’s called and they want their words and clothes and shitty male caricatures back.”
“Says the woman who uses ‘ruse’ unironically!”
“Ruse is a perfectly acceptable and descriptive word!” She shook her head. They were getting off-track again.
“All I have to do is give the signal, and that water main up there” she pointed to the ceiling emphatically, “will overflow the holding tank, unleashing electrified laser shark carnage the likes of which the world has never seen!”
Large, red button marked ‘Sharks’
Cue heat ray vision busting open said pipe, slowly flooding the warehouse.
“What a completely unforeseen and tragic happenstance! My plans! My beautiful, beautiful, evil plans!”
She wondered if she was laying it on a little thick, but it was Supergirl they were talking about here.
“Oh the humanity! What a world, what a world…” Keeping carefully dry, she slipped into a concealed hatch in the floor and disappeared, confident that the Super and Luthor would be too busy awkwardly flirting to wonder where she’d gone.
Supervillan disposed of, Kara splashed over to Lena, breaking through the cuffs with perhaps a bit more force than strictly necessary, but hey, she knew the suit did good things for her muscles. Things that she was not above playing up, just in case Lena had perhaps missed them. Lena stumbled slightly after being tied up for so long, catching herself on Kara’s biceps.
“My hero.” She smiled.
“Anytime.” Kara grinned back, happy to see her friend looked no worse for the wear after the admittedly strange kidnapping. “And I’m really glad you aren’t dating Livewire.”
“Oh?” Lena hadn’t moved her hands, and Kara was starting to wonder if maybe the water was conducting Livewire’s powers, because tiny shocks were pinging through her body and her heart was doing that same clench-y thing that had happened when they’d first fought. She really, really hoped she wasn’t going to faint. It wasn’t great for her Superhero cred.
“She’s not really my type.” Lena leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, and, wow, that was an interesting sensation. Like a heart attack and not being able to breathe and possibly becoming paralyzed, but in a good way.
Come on, Kara, you can do better than that.
There you go.
Kara mentally high-fived herself when Lena let out a surprised little laugh. Had her eyes always been that mesmerizing shade of green? Or, Rao, the way her cheeks dimpled when she smiled, ducking her head like she was embarrassed to be seen showing such emotion.
“You’re getting wet.”
Lena was looking at her, expectantly and then a little worriedly when she didn’t immediately respond.
Warehouse rapidly filling with water. Right.
She swept Lena up in her arms, going for suave and cool and just about tripping over her own cape. Still, she managed to keep it an almost. Nobody needed to know.
“Up, up, and away?”
“Jess? Please see if Mr. Smith is available. I’d like to go over the new security measures.”
“Mr. Smith is home sick today, Ms. Luthor. Shall I schedule a meeting in a few days?”
Lena tapped a pen to her lips. She’d really wanted to get started on the renovations, but perhaps a few days wouldn’t hurt. Especially since she couldn’t recall the hatchet-jawed head of security ever taking a sick day.
“That should be fine. And Jess-”
“You had lunch delivered to his house as a get well soon gesture.”
Lena smiled. “Thanks. I don’t know what I’d ever do without you.”
“Me either,” Jess growled under her breath. Was it so bad that she only felt a little bit guilty for calling in a few favors to give Bill a mild case of the flu? Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good, surely he’d understand that.
“Ms. Danvers is here to see you.” Jess waved Kara through without looking up from her desk. Kryptonians might not be mind readers, but she was sure the frustration of the last week would be written all over her face regardless.
“She knows she can call me Kara, right?” Kara asked as the door swung shut behind her.
“I think she’s still mad about the time you used your powers to break into my office.” Lena was seated at her desk, papers strewn before her and the sun streaming in through the wide windows, catching highlights of blonde and copper in her dark hair. Kara’s hands itched for oils and a brush, the colors already mixing themselves in her mind. Skin pale as the dawn over the Jewel Mountains. Lips deep and red and dangerous as the Scarlet Jungle.
Eyes a color Kara had never had a word for, until she came to this planet with it’s yellow-hot sun, and experienced the riot of a red-absorbing world.
“Are you pouting because of my assistant?” Lena teased gently, and Kara shook herself out of her daze enough to grin back. It had been happening too often, this spacing out around Lena. She needed to focus. If she didn’t, if she allowed herself time to get lost in these thoughts, someone could get hurt. Lena could get hurt.
“So. How are you doing?”
“After the fourth kidnapping attempt? I’m beginning to wonder what’s wrong every day I don’t get threatened by a supervillain.”
“Don’t - it’s not a joke, Lena.”
“Not even the woman who was yelling about destroying Australia? She didn’t even get past the front door before her girlfriend showed up and threatened to leave her if she didn’t, quote, ‘stop getting involved in other people’s business just because she missed stealing shit.’”
Still, Kara was not reassured. Yes, the attempts had had varying levels of professionalism, ranging from ‘actually successful’ to ‘possibly a drunken dare.’ But that wasn’t the point. Lena was in danger, and she seemed bent on treating it all like some elaborate game. Kara had lost more than a few nights sleep hovering just out of sight of Lena’s apartment, because the alternative was nightmares where she was a second too late, a step too slow, and…
No. Lena was safe, and alive, and here.
“I know.” Lena smiled at her reassuringly. “I promise, I am taking this seriously. I have my head of security working on new measures. Or, I will as soon as he’s back to work. And,” she widened her smile to a teasing grin, looking so young it made Kara’s heart ache. “I still have Supergirl.”
Yes, yes she did. More than she knew.
Lena was working late.
That wasn’t really a surprise. She’d moved her company’s entire base of operations and was attempting to completely change its’ branding and direction. That was the kind of thing that took more than a few working lunches.
She spun her chair around to take in the National City skyline, absently chewing on a pen. It was a bad habit, a tic left over from her college days and too much time spent in the lab. But then, she had plenty of bad habits. She had learned - was still learning - that about herself; how to manage them, how to minimize them, picking the battles to fight with her own mind. A pack of cheap plastic pens in her desk drawer was worth more than the few aborted therapy sessions she’d attended.
Bad habits, like falling in love with her best friend.
God, she was so stupid.
It had been so easy, with Kara, and she’d needed a friend so badly, that she was already half in love with her by the time she looked up at her one day, into those clear blue eyes and broad smile, and felt herself melt. Recognized the feeling from those first days with Jack, when everything was exciting and new and world-changing.
She hadn’t known then just how ‘world-changing’ it would be.
She works late, because she meets Kara for lunch and ignores the time.
She works late, because she spends a half-hour daydreaming about what it would be like to wake up next to Kara in the morning, to integrate the little things she knows about her into a fuller whole. Pancakes instead of fruit and yogurt. Juice instead of coffee.
She works late, because her apartment doesn’t have a balcony and the growing part of her that cares about these things remembers how Kara had swept in that first time, coming just because Lena had asked.
She’s coping. Not well, perhaps, not enough to offset the hopeless longing and cold, empty nights, but it’s something.
And even if it’s not enough…
She’s safe, here in this limbo. She thinks of Shrodenger’s cat, caught in a superposition, both alive and dead until someone opens the box and takes a look. She feels like that, when she’s with Kara. She’s too afraid to open the box, to admit her feelings, because then there is the chance of rejection. But she’s not strong enough to abandon the addicting feelings either.
So she sends flowers, and she arranges lunches, and chews on the ends of cheap pens, and she works late.
“I’ll admit, there have been a few set-backs. So let’s open up the floor. Who’s got something they want to try?”
Two hands immediately flew up in the air, but they both belonged to the same person, and Jess streadfastly refused to look in that direction.
“Oh, me! Pick me!”
With a long-suffering sigh and a quick prayer, Jess did.
“What’ve you got, Harley?”