The opening night of ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway sold out within hours of the announcement and those who got tickets were thrilled with their luck, Lena Luthor among them. Since discovering that her best friend was a bit of a Disney nut Lena had been keeping an eye out on various products on the market for Kara’s birthday or, well, for any reason really. She had enough money to be able to buy Disney- Jess had to talk her out of it- and was more than willing to buy presents for the people she cared for.
When NC Little Theatre had announced their own remake of the beloved classic Lena had been one of the first to buy tickets, purchasing two for the V.I.P box and then waiting impatiently in the mail for them to be sent to her. As efficient as email was, something about receiving a letter made things seem more…. Real, or rather she had wanted to hand Kara the two tickets herself. Just printing them out seemed impersonal.
And it had been worth the extra effort when Kara had seen the envelope with the lightly engraved outline of the theatre on the front and had excitedly exclaimed, “Are we going to a show?”
Lena hadn’t hidden her smile as Kara tore the envelope open and descended on the tickets.
“The LION KING?!”
Other dinners in the café had glanced over and Lena was certain she heard a few dogs start to howl but ignored it in favour of Kara’s beaming smile.
At her nod Kara had nearly thrown herself across the table to wrap her up in her arms while squealing in her ear. Since then Lena had been met with a daily countdown in the form of numbers and increasingly excited emojis. As the weeks turned into days Kara had even started to send her pictures of her excited self. Lena found one in particular, a photo of Kara in the afternoon sunshine staring nobly into the distance with a caption of, ‘Two days to go! Can’t wait!’, the most charming, but it was followed closely by the second. Kara was peering at the camera with an eyebrow raised comically along with the text, ‘I did my waiting! 12 years of it! In Azkaban!’ while showing off her outfit for the evening.
She’d then meet Lena down town, in the same outfit, and with a bright grin that had made Lena’s breath catch. Kara was wearing grey jeans with a black, grey and white plaid shirt, which Lena noted she had rolled up to her elbows, with a set of black converse shoes.
“I’m so excited!” Lena winced a little at the loud volume but returned the embrace happily.
“I can see that,” she laughed a little as she pulled away and her fingertips did not trail over the exposed skin of Kara’s forearms.
Kara beamed at her and lifted a hand to adjust her glasses. Lena’s fingers twitched with the urge to run her hands along the warm skin again.
“This is gonna be so awesome!” Kara was beaming and her eyes were twinkling and Lena felt her heart summersault and forced it down.
Kara’s smile was slightly curled as she glanced over at her, but Lena could see her attention was on the snack vendors and rolled her eyes fondly.
“It starts at six thirty,” Lena said and gestured Kara forward. “Go and get some snacks and I’ll get the programs.”
Kara grinned at her and disappeared in between the crowd in search of snack food.
Shaking her head fondly Lena made her way to a stand selling the official program and merchandise, purchasing a program for each of them and she hesitated in front of the animal face masks. Making a note to maybe come back to them later she pocketed her change, slid her bag over her shoulder, and searched through the crowd for Kara.
She found her shortly afterwards, carrying a ridiculous amount of popcorn, several ice-creams, and a bundle of lolly bags. She was grinning above her horde and Lena had to remind herself she was in public and couldn’t smile at her best friend like a sap.
“Do they have anything left to sell? I’m surprised you haven’t eaten it all,” she teased, speaking of the full popcorn box and Kara blinked at her bashfully.
“I already ate one,” she said and her nose crinkled adorably and Lena let out a chuckle.
“Of course you did,” she reached for a few bags of lollies, hoping to ease Kara’s burden.
Kara shrugged good-naturedly, completely at ease with her appetite around Lena now. Lena had been startled with how much Kara ate, had figured that she must consume well over the normal dietary intake of a normal adult but had merely accepted that her friend needed it and moved on. She wasn’t about to judge.
They made their way to their seats, directed into the V.I.P section of the theatre, to which Kara gave a supressed squeal of delight, and almost threw her popcorn over her shoulder and into the lap of the woman they’d just passed.
Mouthing an apology Kara quickly settled into her seat, nearly dropping an ice-cream and rescued it with a satisfied grin. Lena just smiled at her and took her own seat.
“Which song are you most excited for?” She asked, curious about Kara’s favourite song. She’d briefly skimmed over the songs, and had listened to the soundtrack while on the treadmill, but she hadn’t actually seen any Disney movie. Lillian had never allowed it, and Lex had been far more interested in sharing Star Wars with her, and perhaps that was something the criminal phycologists would find intriguing, than talking animals and the childish stories of Disney.
“Hakuna Matata- oh! Wait, no! Can you feel the love tonight!” Kara’s face scrunched up and then brightened. “The circle of life!” Her shoulders slumped. “Even though I have no idea what they’re singing at the start. It’s a classic,” she told Lena seriously.
“I’ll take your word for it,” Lena said and handed the snacks back to Kara, who was already alternating between ice-cream and popcorn. She managed to juggle her new snacks admirably and Lena knew there was a method to it.
“Its such a good movie,” Kara nearly groaned. “And the second one is just as good! Adult Simba is such a cool dude, but Kiera is awesome!”
“There’s a sequel?” Lena asked, having no pop-culture knowledge to understand much of what Kara had explained.
Kara’s glasses nearly flew from her face with how quickly she turned. “You haven’t seen it?!”
“No?” Lena offered, bemused. “I haven’t seen any Disney movie….”
“What?!” Kara’s absolute horror was endearing, and Lena didn’t feel a prickle of unease like she would if she were discussing her childhood with anyone else.
A half smiled lifted her mouth and she gave a little shrug. “We never watched television,” she offered in explanation, wanting Kara to see where she was coming from and to not look at her with pity, she didn’t think she could stand it if she did. “And if we did, it was something educational.”
Kara met her eyes a moment, eyes grave before brightening. “That means you can watch them with me!” She grinned and seemed to swell with joy. She nearly clapped her hands together, but paused just in time to prevent her ice-cream and popcorn colliding. But knowing Kara, Lena figured the combination wouldn’t be too distasteful.
“This is gonna be great!” Kara said and was discussing the order they needed to watch the movies, which song was her favourite, and the characters she loved the most right up until the lights dimmed for the play.
Lena spent much of her time watching Kara watch the play, mouth moving to the words and a grin on her face as she occasionally blindly offered Lena a lolly or some pop-corn. Lena declined. When she did choose to watch the musical, she was very impressed. The sets and props were colourful and vibrant, and the actors were beautiful painted and their passion and skill in their craft was clear.
She was thoroughly enjoying herself and allowed a mental pat on the back for a good gift by the time the intermission came.
Kara’s joy made her breathless and she was helpless in the face of her grin.
“This is soooo cool, Lena! Thank you!” She half-launched herself from her seat to give Lena a hug, and Lena noted that there wasn’t a stray popcorn kernel or a smear of forgotten chocolate on her person. Kara was thorough when it came to food, that was for sure.
Lena was part way through her response, brushing it off as something friends did for each other, when Kara went still, sudden contained energy and with her head titled. It reminded Lena of a dog caught on a scent, all vibrating energy and coiled power.
“I’m gonna go to the bathroom,” she said rather suddenly, and Lena frowned slightly.
“Is everything okay?” She asked but Kara was already up and out of her seat.
“I might grab a snack as well,” she said, eyes looking elsewhere, “be back soon.”
A confused Lena let Kara go. Kara’s oddities were part of her and Lena was not one to judge, but she did wish Kara would talk to her a little more.
She thumbed through her phone and was checking in on her stock prices when discontent rippled through the crowd. The fine hair at her nape warned her of something… and she obeyed it. Getting to her feet she made sure both her and Kara’s belongings were with her- Kara had taken her bag, which was odd- and quickly moved towards the exit.
There was a rumble of unease the closer she got to the exit and she felt her heartrate accelerate and a slightly thick feeling in her chest.
“What’s happening,” she asked, seeing a lot of theatre goers staring out the windows and many had their phones out.
When she got her reply she felt dread fall upon her as though a bucket of ice had been poured on her.
“What?” She demanded and the patron cast her a second glance, double taking in recognition.
“Supergirl and Reign,” he said and quickly turned his attention back to the fight happening out on the street. Supergirl and Reign were facing each other down in the middle of the street, the dark Kryptonian holding a man by the throat and gesturing strongly back at the Maid of Might.
Heart thumping in her chest she glanced back behind her looking desperately for Kara and wasn’t sure what to think when she couldn’t see her. Maybe she was still in the bathroom? Surely, she wasn’t out there trying to get the scoop or even worse, trying to help Supergirl. Lena could hope.
Outside Supergirl and Reign had clearly reached an impasse and their movements were a blur as the two leapt at each other, and collided with a roar like thunder.
People started to scream and pushed back into the building, trying to get away from the fight. The collision of two gods echoed and roared as they fought in the middle of the street with the crack of thunder.
“Get away from the windows,” Lena ordered as she assessed the situation. Though there would be no stopping anything from coming through the glass if the two Kryptonian’s wanted it, at least the bystanders wouldn’t be in the direction line of it.
Other people were staring to take her advice and were fleeing back into the bowls of the building, perhaps hoping the concrete and steel would protect them, others were pressing forward, wanting to see what was happening.
The mysterious Kryptonian had only recently beaten Supergirl in a brutal fight and for some reason, probably to instil fear of her, had let Supergirl live. But now it looked like she was ready to finish the job.
To her credit Supergirl met her head on without fear, probably knowing how the fight was going to end, but facing it with her head held high. It was an acceptance Lena understood, and she was ready to help however she could.
After the first defeat she had looked into Lex’s old files, files she hadn’t seen in years, and had tried to find something that could help Supergirl and her allies. She was fortunate enough that Lex’s vault had the needed blueprints, and she had already started on the designs, but she was clearly not early enough. And she, and the government team that worked with Supergirl, weren’t going to be able to do much against the Kryptonian. She briefly wished for Kryptonite. That, at least, should be able to deal some damage to the reaper, even if Supergirl would be in danger from it.
The centre of the street was torn up, and the traffic had come to a halt at both ends, with people driving into their neighbours and abandoning their vehicles, trying to get away. It would be difficult for any aid to get through them, and to then get through the burning vehicles the fight was causing.
A sudden whip-like crack sent a figure in blue and red flying through the air and when Supergirl hit the ground she tore a great gouge in the concrete before she eventually halted.
Reign zoomed up to her as Lena’s heart pounded and she stood above the fallen hero and reached down to grab her. A blue sleeve came to paw uselessly at the unmovable grip steadily squeezing the life from her.
Lena couldn’t hear the words, but knew some were being spoken.
The people around her were silent in their terror and horror, and the fear was thick and stale in the air.
“Mommy,” a quiet voice asked, trembling, “is Supergirl gonna die?”
Lena felt sick and the feeling welled in her until it choked her throat, desperately clawing for a way out.
“I don’t know,” the mother replied quietly and her words lingered in the air.
Her feet guided her forward, desperate to get out of the building and some hands grabbed her to halt her but she pulled away, and when that didn’t persuade some of the more desperate, her glare did.
There was steam rising from the cars and street where the two had beaten each other into the ground, and the heat from burning cars fanned her face. Little embers were in the groove that Supergirl had left and Lena absently noted how pretty they were, glowing like coals, as she walked towards the two.
She wasn’t entirely sure what her plan was, but she was driven by the need to do something.
“Stop!” She shouted as she got closer, knowing that the two would be able to hear her regardless, but shouting was a way to let her emotions out. She didn’t stop to think. If she thought about it she might wonder what the fuck she was doing.
Both Kryptonian’s turned to face her. Reign, in a precise birdlike movement, every lithe line of her screaming predator, and Supergirl more slowly, forcing her head to turn against the angle.
Her lips moved, likely in a plea for her to run but Lena ignored it. She was committed now, for better or for worse, and no Luthor would kneel to an alien, not now, not ever.
“Stay out of this, human,” Reign spoke and fear ran icy fingers down the length of her spine and she went cold all over.
“No,” she said firmly as she got closer, ignoring how her heart raced. “Leave her alone.”
“Female, this is no concern of yours,” the voice was eerie and foreign and rippled with malice. “I am truth. I am judgement. I am death.”
“Supergirl is a protector of this city. She defends the innocent! Why are you fighting her?” Lena demanded as she got closer, close enough to try and beseech the destroyer, but fear had paralysed her muscles and she could go no further. As it was every survival instinct she had was demanding she run away, very quickly. Her heart rate was pounding in her ears and she could almost taste her own life force coating the back of her tongue.
“She interferes,” Reign informed her and Lena had the uncomfortable resemblance to when Lillian would tell her something, the same tone and certainty that she was right and that Lena couldn’t possibly understand. “I must cleanse this world and all those who oppose me,” the dark eyes returned to Supergirl and Lena caught the weak attempts at fighting her off.
“She’s Kryptonian!” Lena said suddenly, as though kin may halt the impending murder.
The dismissive scoff was audible even to Lena’s ears and Supergirl’s head was tilted back as the muscles in Reign’s arms flexed beneath the dark material of her suit. “I am nothing like her,” she sneered. “I am stronger and faster and superior in every way! My makers made me thousands of years ago to cleanse the world of sin. I am a Worldkiller!”
“You are not superior in every way,” Lena shot back, heart pounding in her veins as though aware her time were running out. In the distance she could hear sirens and the thrum of a helicopter. If she could delay Reign then maybe Supergirl’s team could save her, or at least show up to halt the Worldkiller.
Reign’s head snapped back to her and through the sinister mask she could almost see Reigns offence.
“I am,” she declared and there was almost pride in her tone.
“No,” Lena said and shook her head and Supergirl mumbled something Lena missed and then her fingers clawed at the back of the gauntlet as Reign tightened her grip in warning.
“Why do you think this, human?” Reign spat. “I have bested your champion before, and have bested her now. How am I not superior to this phoney god?”
“You may be stronger and faster,” Lena admitted, head coming up proudly. She could defend Supergirl. Supergirl who Kara believed in so strongly, who had gone willing to a fight that may prove to be her last all in the name of the symbol on her chest. Supergirl was an inspiration. She was a guiding light for those who wanted to be better. Oh how she hoped Kara were still inside. Hopefully pressed at the back so she didn’t have to witness what was going to happen to Lena, but she couldn’t be sure of it. So Lena would face death with her head high.
“But you are not better,” Lena said firmly and shook her head.
An inhuman sound escaped Reign and she pulled her arm back and threw Supergirl away. Lena couldn’t track the movement but heard the crash and bang of Supergirl’s landing and winced in sympathy before she had more pressing matters to deal with.
Reign stood directly in front of her, head cocked to the side.
She cut a very impressive figure dressed in black, and Lena knew that was the reason for the colour scheme. The skull with its mouth open ready to devour a planet was also telling.
Her suit appeared to have a base layer to it like the Kryptonian’s did, a suit that, according to Lex’s files, all Kryptonian’s wore beneath their outer clothes as both formal wear and combat gear. On top of it she had gauntlets and a similar metal was over her shoulders, likely connecting her cape, which fell longer than Supergirl’s did. Her belt looked like it was made from the same metal as well, curving elegantly beneath an odd ripped leather on her torso, beneath her crest. The mask was a little creepy, but no less elegant, but paired with the dark eyes and lipstick her proximity made Lena recoil.
“You appear to believe what you are saying, human,” Reign said and if Lena didn’t know better she would say that Reign was confused by her defiance.
“Yes,” Lena said squarely and then Reign was right in front of her, lifting her by the throat and she could feel her heart rate picking up as it planned to go out with all it had. Fear and panic clawed at her insides and she instinctively clutched at the rigid power holding her hostage. She knew she wouldn’t be able to escape the hold, but it didn’t stop her from trying. She was also, distantly, glad that she hadn’t worn heels today. Some part of her wanted to die fully clothed thank you very much. If she was going to die, and have her death plastered all over the world by morning, she wanted to do it with as much dignity as possible.
“Your protector is powerless to protect you,” Reign told her. “She cannot even protect herself. She is powerless. I will reign!”
“You claim you are better,” Lena choked out, and science was something she could get behind. “But evolution always wins and she is better than you will ever be.”
The head tilted again, sharp and predatory, and Lena wondered if, maybe, the Kryptonain’s were descended from birds.
“What do you speak of, female?”
Lena tapped the arm slightly, asking for a looser hold as it was getting hot and hard to breathe. Reign’s fingers twitched and Lena gasped hurriedly, pulling air thick with smoke and blood, Supergirl’s, into her lungs.
“Thank you,” she wheezed and panted heavily.
“Answer me, human!”
It took Lena a moment to gather her thoughts, and she could see emergency vehicles at the end of the road, lights flashing on top of black vehicles. The thud of a helicopter had merged into the baseline of the city and Lena hoped they were getting ready to do something. She was getting tired of continuously saving the day.
“She’s not weaker because she helps people,” Lena rasped out and idly wondered if she was going to grow a few inches though knew it was highly unlikely. Still, it felt like she was being stretched, pulled by her own weight and gravity towards the ground.
“She’s better because she has learnt more-“
“I have the entirety of Krypton’s knowledge at my disposal,” Reign interrupted and there was something else lacing her tone, was that uncertainty?
“And yet you resort to violence to get what you want,” Lena shot back, adrenaline rushing through her system. Part of her cursed at her defiance, the other parts of her clung to her own belief in the human spirit, the hope that she had for what humanity could be. “Wasn’t that bred out of Krpytonian’s because it was considered archaic? Doesn’t that make you primitive?”
The grip around her throat tightened in warning and Lena winced and rasped. She could feel her own pulse against the oddly warm skin of the fingers around her neck.
“Look at them, human,” Reign said, and Lena tried to squirm her way out of the vice-like grip on her. She was going to bruise tomorrow damnit, if she survived. “They do not care for your plight. They only care for themselves.”
Reign’s dark eyes turned back to her. “Will you not beg for your life like so many others? They will not beg for you.”
Lena knew that were true. Knew that they were probably watching with fear and horror and probably with phones out, ready to catch the moment an alien finally killed the only Luthor that gave a damn about everyone.
“Its not apathy, its fear,” Lena told her, firm in her belief. If she was going to die, she was going to have her say. Nothing could stop Reign, not the police, not the military, not even Supergirl, if Reign decided to kill Lena then she was as good as dead. “Those without fear, those with power, can and will help each other. Even powerless, Supergirl is more than you can ever be.”
“Humans are weak and pathetic for putting their faith in a fallen god,” Reign sneered, and Lena tried to nod.
“That’s the funny thing about humans,” she said dryly thinking of her own family and what they had believed and why they had done what they had. Then she thought of other people, people who fought for those who couldn’t, people who risked everything every day for others. Lena believed in that. “They believe in things they cannot see. They believe in things that aren’t real.”
“We strive to be better,” she rasped, and spared a brief thought for what she looked like now, probably as red as a tomato and with as much drool as a bloodhound. “We keep learning and evolving, trying to understand ourselves and others. Supergirl will always be better than you,” Lena said and the arm lifted in warning but she wouldn’t stop until she were dead, that much she wanted Reign to know. She couldn’t squish the life out of humans, couldn’t crush the fire and hope out of them. Lena would impart that on Reign if it were the last thing she did.
“How can you be better if you don’t try to evolve? If you are unwilling to learn? You can’t rule humanity if you don’t understand us. Love and hope fight fear and hate,” Lena told her, forcing the words out with the last vestiges of her breath over the bands of steel around her throat. “And we will never kneel because of it.”
Her vision was greying, the street lights and fire burning behind reign fading until only the dark mask remained. Dark eyes were keeping her conscious as pain flared behind her eyes and her heart thumped sluggishly. They held her, trying to pry her open and see her darkest secrets.
It was the last thing she saw.