Lena stepped into her apartment with a smile on her face. Though exhausted, she felt lighter than she had in a long time. Finally, Morgan Edge was finished. Months of plotting, and planning, and careful maneuvering had Edge right where she wanted him-- on the verge of arrest, with his assets and holdings seized by multiple federal agencies and Lena poised to testify against him, presenting all of the damning evidence she'd painstakingly collected with the assistance of the FBI. Now all that was left was locating him and slapping him in handcuffs. Lena relished the thought.
She noticed the rush of motion in the dark too late.
The heavy weight of a body slammed her against the door. Lena froze, in a single, heart-stopping moment of panic before training took over.
She opened her mouth to scream, but a gloved hand covered her mouth, muffling her before she could even draw breath. Lena snapped her teeth down, crunching against skin and bone until something groaned and snapped under the pressure. Rewarded with a sharp yelp of pain, the hand over her mouth was yanked away. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Lena slammed her head back.
Stars danced behind her eyes when her skull connected with something harder than the fleshy cartilage of nose, but the body pressing her against the door suddenly disappeared. Lena turned in a flash and elbowed him in the ribs, before slamming her foot into the inside of his knee, sending him to the ground. Before he could recover, Lena slugged him in the temple with all her might before dashing back towards the door.
Blinded by the darkness, Lena didn’t see the fist swinging in to meet her. It glanced off her cheek, as sloppy and blind as she was, but it made her stumble, and in the second of hesitation another arm slung around her waist and hauled her backwards.
She hit the ground hard. The force drove the air from her lungs, leaving her gasping. As Lena choked, a tiny corner of her mind puzzled at the angle of the fist, and the direction she'd been flung. More than two, registered briefly in her mind before hands grabbed her roughly and flipped her onto her stomach.
In moments her wrists were seized, and twisted sharply behind her back. When the first cuff snapped around her wrists, Lena swung her leg out and caught somebody across the ankles, sweeping their legs out from under them. Not the right someone-- the hands on her wrists didn’t relent until the second cuff closed around her left wrist.
As soon as the weight lifted, Lena lunged forward, managing to gather one knee under her. Before she could gain her feet, a booted foot knocked her leg out from under her, and the weight of multiple bodies flattened her to the ground once more. Lena opened her mouth to scream, but this time a cloth was shoved in her mouth and rough tape slapped over it, muffling her cry.
The weight on her back lifted slightly, only to be replaced by a sharp knee pressing next to her spine. Between the knee and the gag in her mouth Lena could barely draw breath, and she stilled.
"Hurry up and do her feet," a rough voice snarled over head. A hand pressed against her neck, pinning her head to the floor, and multiple arms squeezed her legs together before she heard the rip of duct tape coming off the roll. In moments, her feet were bound as securely as her wrists. They had her.
Just as the realization of Lena’s situation hit home, a slow, methodical clapping sounded behind her. In the dark, she couldn't see its source, only heard it from the vicinity of her bedroom, edging closer.
"Get her up."
The knee pressing against Lena’s spine disappeared. Hands hooked under her arms and pulled her upright until she was on her knees. The hands remained clamped around her biceps, and a new set of fingers twisted into her hair, keeping her head still.
"Welcome home, Lena," Morgan Edge greeted. The light snapped on, and Lena flinched at the sight of Edge's face mere inches from her own.
In an instant, Lena’s fear abated into rage. She lunged towards him, only to be caught by the hand in her hair. Edge rose with a chuckle.
"You're quicker than I anticipated," he observed, waving towards the door. "Almost slipped away there. Good thing I hired professionals, right?" Edge turned his head to look at the black-clad man only now climbing to his feet. "How's the face, Marco?"
"Shut the fuck up," came the answering growl, accompanied by a glare directed at Lena through the slit of a balaclava. Marco slowly moved to lock the deadbolt, sealing them all inside the apartment.
Edge smiled, watching the man limp back to the rest of his buddies. In all, Lena counted five men besides Edge. Those she could see were armed. No one ever accused Morgan Edge of subtlety.
Turning back to Lena, Edge tilted his head as though to speak.
At the last moment, his fist flashed towards her face instead, and the next thing Lena knew she was sagging against the grips on her arms. When her eyes refocused, the pain hit, radiating across her cheek from temple to jaw.
His second hit drew a muffled groan from her. When he pulled out a hanky to clean the ring on his finger, the white square came away bloody.
"Wow." Edge’s grin widened into a laugh. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that."
Lena glared at him, recovering enough of her senses to keep her head up on her own. Edge squatted next to her, peering at her.
"You knew this was coming, Lena. I mean, on some level, you had to know I wouldn't take this lying down.”
Sure. She'd expected slander and stall tactics. Lena would have taken both gladly, because nothing he tried would have let him wiggle out of the charges filed against him. She'd expected come half-assed attempt to turn it all back on her, a possibility she'd prepared for. But even though she was set to be a key witness, Lena hadn't expected murder.
As though reading her thoughts, Edge rose with a wave of his hand. "Oh, I'm not gonna kill you."
Lena glared at him.
"See, that'd be too easy,” Edge elaborated. “You and I have played this chess game far too long for that. I'm ruined, thanks to you. I’m man enough to admit it. But I’m making damn sure to take you with me.”
Blood tickled Lena’s skin as it trailed down her cheek. Her face throbbed in time to her heartbeat, and fingers dug bruises into her biceps. Still, she fought the urge to smirk. L-Corp was clean, as was CatCo. She’d made sure of it before approaching the FBI with what she had on him. Nothing Edge thought he found would damage either company, or her.
Edge grabbed her by the chin, twisting her head against the painful grip on her hair.
“So what’s going to happen is that you and I will sit here, all night. And then tomorrow morning, we’re going to see how long it takes your little reporter friend to notice something’s wrong.”
Lena’s heart lurched. Her sudden alarm must have shown in her eyes, because Edge grinned.
“Oh, yes," he confirmed, "and when Kara Danvers comes to check on her very best friend… I’m going to put a bullet through her skull.”
He was bluffing. He was trying to get under her skin. That was all it was. Except Edge hadn’t killed her yet, and Lena couldn’t find any other reason why he wouldn’t. Edge looked her dead in the eye, unflinching.
“You make the mistake of wearing your heart on your sleeve, Lena. Your businesses are important, true, but you can rebuild those. You’ve done it before. And they don’t quite make you go weak in the knees, do they? But Kara Danvers does. In fact, I bet she came running to you for help when I announced my plans to buy CatCo. And you-- you just couldn’t resist the opportunity to play hero.”
Ice poured down Lena’s spine. No.
Edge smiled, relishing the fear finally creeping into her expression. “So, Lena, you will survive our final encounter,” he promised. “And then you’ll spend the rest of your life knowing that you’re the reason the world lost a soul as kind and as good as Miss Danvers.”
Edge shot her another grin, then rose and gave the men behind her a passing glance.
"Settle in, boys. It’s going to be a long night."