J’onn surveys the disaster that he can say with 100% certainty that he never expected to happen – and that the DEO definitely was not prepared to handle such a disaster. Alien invasions, check. Terrorist attacks, check. World ending disasters that were either nature or human or alien generated, check. But having to deal with a generally small time group of wacked out villains that had a perchance for crating weapons whose effects were previously only seen in odd, retro science fiction films hadn’t even been on his radar. He watches as Agent Vasquez tries desperately to coax a tiny child out from under the operations panel – the giggly little boy just laughs and manages to craw to another out of reach space. Another couple of his agents have managed to corral a few other children into the gym – one of the rookies has found a soccer ball to keep them entertained while others are making phone calls to family and friends of the miniaturize agents.
A throb in his temple lets him know he’s going to be developing a headache rather quickly, but just as he’s thinking that’s the height of chaos her turns to see Alex rushing in from the labs with a small blonde girl in her arms – the child is nestled in one of Alex’s hoodies, bare feet kicking lightly against Alex’s stomach. Maggie, who had been granted access long ago, looks equally harried as she comes in from the parking garage carrying a small girl wrapped in a towel – only the tiny dark haired child is wailing inconsolably. When the two women see each other they stop and stare for a moment, before Maggie exclaims with wide eyes, “Kara?!”
The blonde girl perks up at her name and turns to see Maggie, beaming as she waves shyly before pressing her face against her sister’s neck. Alex rocks her tenderly, patting her back as she confirms, “Yep, Kara and a couple more at CatCo were kiddified. Who’s that?”
Maggie is desperately trying to calm the girl in her arms who hasn’t stopped crying since she and Sam managed to get her out from behind the sofa in the CFO’s office. The child has been sobbing so hard her cheeks are red and blotchy and she’s hiccupping. She also seems uncomfortable in Maggie’s arms but doesn’t dare move to pull away or squirm. Maggie rocks her softly, bouncing her on her hip as she tries to comfort her, “It’s okay, niña. You’re safe here, Lena.”
“Lena?!” Alex’s eyes widen almost comically, but her tone startles the already rattled child who whimpers as more tears fill fearful green eyes. Reaching over Alex rubs the small girl’s back tenderly, “Oh Lena, it’s okay. You’re safe with me and Maggie, I promise.”
“Perhaps you should get them upstairs to see Dr. Hamilton, we’ve already gotten most of the others checked out and contained,” J’onn suggests, smiling at Kara when she giggles and reaches out to grab his hand – letting the child put her hand in his briefly. A giggle and loud foot steps behind him make him turn to see Vasquez chasing after the now naked boy, sighing heavily he also tells them, “I’ll be up there shortly with Mr. Schott.”
Alex can’t help but snicker along with Maggie as they head upstairs to see the few small agents that are being checked out by Dr. Hamilton. The poor doctor looks like she’s had quite a busy day, a few toddler aged and older children are accompanied by DEO agents and NCPD offices. Alex finds a quiet room in the back away from the noise and commotion to set down Kara on the bed – the little blonde doesn’t seem to mind since Maggie stays next to her.
“Give me a second to check in with Hamilton, then I’ll be back and we can get the physical exams out of the way,” Alex says as she goes to exchanges words with the other physician while sending a text to her mother about what’s going on since they may need her mother’s help to figure this disaster out. As she’s getting together the things she’s going to need for the exams she sees a little boy run by followed by another who’s gotten a hold of a stethoscope and she can’t help but laugh – Jenkins from Ops and Zamora from Intel seemed to be having a field day.
She also manages to find one of the rookies that was sent out on a mission to raid the local store for baby and children’s supplies. Picking up a few pull ups – she’s not sure how old either of the girls are at the moment – a few snacks, and some clothing she heads back to find Maggie talking with the girl’s. Kara’s chattering away and playing with one of the puzzle toys that Maggie’s found. Lena however doesn’t move – which Alex finds unusual for such a young child – instead she sits still and watches Kara and Maggie carefully. Another odd behavior that has Alex concerned is Lena’s holding her arm close to her chest, as if she’s guarding it.
Alex quickly opens a package of goldfish shaped crackers, laughing when Kara’s eyes light up and she reaches out for them. Maggie chuckles as she says, “Always hungry huh, mini Danvers?”
“Yes!” Kara exclaims happily, grabbing a few of the crackers and munching away greedily as Maggie strokes her fingers over Kara’s hair.
Alex opens another package and offers them to Lena, watching as the girl carefully reaches out with her left hand to shakily grab a couple of the crackers – nibbling on them. Maggie notices it too but decides to let Alex handle it – Lena Luthor has always been right handed.
“You wanna try grabbing some of the fish with your other hand?” Alex coaches gently, watching as Lena shakes her head vehemently as her eyes well with tears again. “Lena, does your arm hurt?”
Lena nods, lip trembling as a few tears trail down her cheeks looking worriedly up at Alex. When the woman moves to touch her arm Lena whimpers and starts to cry, worried that the woman is going to hurt her further. The pain in her elbow isn’t so bad when she holds still so she curls around it protectively and tries to move out of reach.
“No,” Lena wails in terror, crying so hard that her small, fragile body shakes violently as she tries to get away from them. Not realizing how close to the edge of the bed she is her hand slips from the table and Maggie barely manages to catch her before she can fall.
“Easy, little bit,” Maggie tells her tenderly, feeling sympathy well up as she adjusts the girl in his arms trying to wrap the towel around her naked body to preserve her dignity. Lena is worn out and overwhelmed as she slumps against the police detective and continues to cry miserably. Maggie motions for the others to back off as she paces the floor a bit and lets the child cry herself out. After a few minutes the sobs ease off and she pats her back tenderly as she sniffles for a little bit before finally quieting altogether. “Do you think you’ve calmed down enough to let Alex take a look at you?”
Lena shakes her head violently with a little glare and Maggie chuckles a bit at her stubbornness as she assures, “What if I promise that no one will do anything without your permission? I know this is a really scary situation and you’d much rather be back to busting balls at L-Corp, but we’ve gotta work with what we’ve got right now.”
Lena just blinks for a second, having only gotten some of what the woman was telling her – but after a moment to think about it she whispers so softly they barely hear her, “Okay.”
Maggie sets her down on the exam table, giving her an encouraging smile as he brushes away the last of her tears. Alex is quickly beside her and Lena gives her a wary look but doesn’t say anything as she reaches out a hand for Maggie. Laughing she takes her hand, “I’m not going anywhere, pequeño.”
Alex points to Lena’s arm and asks kindly, “Do you think I could look at your arm? If you let me figure out what’s wrong I’m sure I can make it feel better.”
“Alex’ll kiss it and make it better,” Kara assures with a wide, toothy grin as she continues to play a game on Maggie’s phone.
Lena shrugs non-committal, looking at Maggie for reassurance who just nods that it’s okay. Alex carefully checks Lena’s hand and wrist before seeing bruises on Lena’s arm near her elbow. Alex reaches up to feel the joint but Lena recoils violently, a small hand coming up to block the older woman’s as if to defend herself from attack. Maggie is quick to grab Lena’s free hand and assure her that everything is alright, “Hey, it’s okay, she’s just trying to help.”
Lena whimpers but holds still as Alex feels of her small elbow, frowning when she realizes the issue. Maggie’s been watching her carefully and asks, “What is it?”
“A nursemaid’s dislocation,” Alex tells her, gently taking Lena’s hand in her own and turning her palm out.
“Doesn’t that happen from picking kids up or tugging them around by the arm?” Maggie asks with concern, thinking back and realizing that neither she nor Sam had grabbed at Lena like that. The other part of her brain is wracked with guilt over carting Lena to the DEO with a dislocated arm.
“Mostly, but sometimes kids fall too. I’m not sure how she got injured in such a short amount of time,” Alex remarks as she debates whether or not to tell the child she’s about to put the dislocated radius back into place.
“Is she injured?” Hamilton asks, coming by to take out one of the x-ray machines.
“Yeah, dislocated elbow.”
“I suspect all the kids were de-aged to a certain point in their lives – no matter what condition they were in at the time. So far a few kids were de-aged to low points in their childhoods - a couple have broken bones, one is in quarantine with a case of chicken pox, and a few are sick with a stomach virus,” Hamilton says softly, giving Lena a compassionate look as she tells Alex and Maggie, “Most of the kids had healthy childhoods and the de-aging process didn’t leave them any worse for wear, but not everyone was so fortunate.”
As Hamilton leaves them Alex looks at Lena and decides it’s better to just tell her what she’s going to do, “Hey, Lena, your elbow’s out of place and I’m going to put it back – it might hurt for a second but that’s it. Okay?”
At this news Lena whimpers even though she doesn’t try to pull away, and Kara takes this moment to abandon the phone and reach over with a clumsy hand to rest it on Lena’s shoulder. The little Kryptonian moves closer and wraps an arm around Lena, telling her softly, “Don’t cry, Lena. It gonna be okay, I promise.”
Alex very gently straightens the arm out before bending it back as if to make Lena’s fingers touch her shoulder – she feels the bone click back into place. Lena shrieks and starts to sob again, but when Kara hugs her a bit clumsily she curls up to her and quiets rather quickly. Maggie soothes both children, smiling as she tells Alex, “Looks like mini-Danvers still has little Luthor wrapped around her finger? I’m taking so many pictures so they’ll never live this down.”
Alex smiles a bit as she picks up the stethoscope and sets to work – both girls are curious about what Alex is doing and giggle when she lets them listen to her and Maggie’s heartbeats too. Maggie plays along, letting Alex take her blood pressure and stick the thermometer in her ear to demonstrate for both girls that there’s nothing scary or painful about it.
However, neither girl is thrilled with the blood draw Maggie holding Lena while Alex works quickly – before having to hold Kara under the red sun lamps because she wasn’t about to use a kryptonite needle on Kara no matter her age. The prick of the needle is gone from their thoughts when Alex presents them both with a package of cookies and suggests taking them downstairs to play a bit.
Alex suggests putting them in pull ups for the time being just to prevent any accidents before helping Kara pull on a long sleeved shirt with a dog on it. Kara’s cooing over the dog and telling Lena that yellow is one of her favorite colors while Alex tries to wrestle the toddler into a pair of sweatpants. Maggie’s helped Lena into a pair of navy blue overalls and a warm green shirt – they’d have to figure out appropriate winter wear and shoes for the two kids later. Lena smiles softly when Maggie tickles her little feet while putting on her socks.
Alex has no such luck with Kara, her sister squirms and pulls the socks off as she wails, “No, no foot prisons.”
“Kara, you have to wear socks, it’s cold outside and the floor here is going to be freezing,” Alex tries to reason with her, but in the end just stuffs the socks in her pocket and lets Kara walk barefoot on the floor until the blonde asks for the socks back a bit sheepishly.
“Play! Alex play with me, please,” Kara cries enthusiastically when they get to the gym, finding one of the many plastic balls another recruit has brought in – laughing excitedly as she kicks the ball towards Alex.
“She has just as much energy now as she does as an adult, doesn’t she?” Maggie asks with a wiry smile, knowing the two of them were going to have a hell of a time chasing around two small children – especially when one of them is super powered. She can tell her wife is studying all of the kids, going into full nerd mode, “Al, chill they’re just playing could you sit down with me for a little bit before we have to wrestle them into car seats and try to figure out dinner.”
Alex sighs and sits down beside Maggie, leaning back against the wall as she watches the way Kara’s got most of her coordination down – for as good as Kara gets anyway, sometimes as an adult her sister could be a walking disaster, “I’m just trying to figure out their age and development, not that I have any comparison data for Kara or Lena.”
“You could just ask them,” Maggie states with a laugh, realizing that it’s just beginning to dawn on Alex that she could do that. Chuckling she calls over to the little blonde with a dimpled grin, “Hey, Kara, you wanna show me how old you are?”
Kara runs over, carrying a big red ball with a bright smile on her face as she holds out three fingers but then thinks about it again and holds up a fourth finger and announces rather loudly, “I’m four years old!”
“Four years old, you’re growing up quick aren’t you kid? How about you Lena?”
Lena drops the ball she’d been holding, trying to pick it up again but falling down on to her knees. She turns her attention to Maggie and holds up three fingers without saying anything. Maggie grins and hums softly, “Three huh? You’re growing into a big girl too, aren’t you Lena?”
Alex and Maggie smile encouragingly, realizing that Lena’s probably on the younger side of three and may not really recall many of her recent memories enough to come up with an accurate answer. Alex has her phone out and it making a checklist of things to get from the store, seeing a text from Sam asking how everything is going and inquiring after Lena. She snaps a few pictures and tells the CFO they’re trying to figure things out.
Alex sighs as she watches Kara talk Lena into kicking the ball back and forth with her, the two little girls playing as she thinks about how in the world she’s going to look after two children under the age of four. The first person she’d talk this out with isn’t here – not exactly. A momentary surge of panic and grief clenches Alex’s heart as she wonders how long she’s going to have to manage without her sister – if it could mean that the Kara she loved and grew up with may never come back.
“Alex?” Maggie asks softly, seeing her beloved wife’s eyes welling with tears she quickly grasps her hand and tries to get her to talk to her.
“It’s nothing,” Alex says as she hastily brushes at her eyes, the full weight of what’s happened finally setting in now that she has a moment to herself – it’d been funny at first like a practical joke you play on your friends. But as she looks at her sister, her friends and coworkers scampering around as children she barely recognizes - it’s no longer funny. These are people who have lives and families that love them and need them back the way they were.
“You wanna try again, clearly something rattling around in that beautiful brain of yours has gotten you so upset,” Maggie tells her warmly, brushing hair from Alex’s face as she watches her bite back a sob. Drawing her into an embrace she tries to help ease her through the worst it with soft words and gentle touches.
“What if…what if we never get them back,” Alex manages to ask which only makes more tears sting in her eyes and leave hot trails down her cheeks, clutching tightly at Maggie’s back as she tries to stay quiet enough to not panic the children.
“Hey, easy babe, we’re going to figure this out,” Maggie assures, she knows that Alex, Hamilton and Eliza would only be a handful of the people what would be working on figuring out how this all happened and what could be done to reverse the effects. She knows that it doesn’t matter how long it may take they’ll eventually find a way to get everyone back to their adult selves – but she knows in the meantime they’ll give these kids an amazing childhood redo, “We’ll figure this out, we will – but for right now we can give these two a caring, stable, and fun temporary childhood. Okay?”
Alex nods, calming down just in time for a blonde blur to launch itself into her middle knocking the breath out of her. Wrapping her arms around Kara she holds her tight, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head – no matter what age Alex will always love her sister unconditionally. She’s also really glad that Kara’s personality hasn’t seemed to change at all as blue eyes look up at her with concern and small, pudgy fingers wipe away the remaining tears on her cheeks. Kara twines her arms around the woman’s neck and presses a kiss Alex’s cheek, “Don’t cry sissy.”
Alex almost cries all over again, taking a shuddering breath she calms down enough to tickle Kara’s sides to make her laugh. The squirming bundle of joy is so easily entertained and showing her the least bit of affection or attention made her incredibly happy. Lena on the other hand is looking at them with a confused little look that breaks her heart, making Alex wave her over with a gentle smile, “Lena, come here kiddo.”
Lena walks over to her, giving her a confused look and squeaking when Alex picks her up and settles her in her lap right beside Kara. Kara seems to take this as the go ahead to wrap her arms around the other girl too. After a brief look of panic Lena comes to the conclusion that this is not in fact an attack and quickly settles into Kara’s arm and stops her nervous fidgeting as Alex soothes a hand over her hair.
“As soon as I make a few phone calls we’ll get out of here and go home, okay?”
“Okay!” Kara crows happily while Lena just nods with a small smile.
As Alex lets the kids get back to playing she takes out her phone and snaps a few pictures before dialing up her mother – she knows she’ll want to be here for this and will likely be useful in the labs as well. Being that currently Lena was curled up off in her world flipping through a pop-up book the DEO is already handicapped in solving this issue already. As she hangs up and texts her mom the pictures J’onn comes in with a bright eyed little Winn, setting him down so he can run off and join the others. The little boy immediately finds Vasquez who is unboxing a couple RC cars, handing him the controls.
“Alex, could you come upstairs for a minute?” J’onn asks, keeping his voice down as he explains, “We just found Drew and she’s giving Hamilton trouble.”
“Drew? My Drew from logistics?” Alex asks, thinking back to when she’d gotten here that she didn’t see the wiry, serious young woman amidst the chaos. If Alex was alpha teams Jack of all trades, she considered Drew their ace in the hole – always calm, collected, and thinking three or four steps ahead of a situation. However, she was almost as notorious as Alex for skipping out of medical and being even more private.
“Yes,” J’onn says, and the tension in his tone and the way he’s looking to Alex a bit desperately both Alex and Maggie figure it must be important as well as something that shouldn’t be spoken about publicly.
“Go on, I’ve got them – we’ll be up in a bit,” Maggie says squeezing Alex’s hand gently, watching as Kara chases around a few of the bigger kids on the mini-soccer field the other agents have set up to try and keep the gaggle of children entertained. Kara’s not doing too bad for how small she is, getting up and clamoring after the ball like it’s no big deal when she falls down. Lena however is curled up against the wall, a book propped up on her knees as she flips through it. Moving over Maggie sits next to her, looking at the pages she asks softly, “Would you like me to read to you?”
Lena looks up at her wide, doe eyes that speak of awe at such an offer, nodding her little head as she hands another one of the books to Maggie and smiles at the cover as she reads, “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, huh? I figured that would be more Kara’s thing but here we go.”
Carefully she lifts the child into her lap, opening the book to the first page and pointing to the words as she reads. She takes her time and enunciates the words clearly like she used to do for her younger siblings when she would read to them over a decade ago. Maggie also keeps a careful eye out on Kara to make sure the small blonde child is having fun with her shrunken teammates.
After a few minutes a couple more kids gather around, Winn cuddling up to her side with the RC car in his lap and a few other miniature DEO agents – one little boy handing her another book when she’s finished with the first one. Moving around the children she pulls Winn into her lap beside Lena so the other children can gather around and see the pages.
After she goes through a couple books other adults have come to pick up the children – Maggie wonders just how J’onn and Lucy had explained this to the family of all the agents. She can’t help but chuckle at the surreal sights and sounds, thinking that it’s odd that the DEO has turned into a veritable daycare. Lena’s curled up to Maggie, tiny fingers threaded in the police detective’s shirt and clinging tightly. J’onn has returned with M’gann and the two of them come over, both of them shooting Maggie warm smiles so she doesn’t protest when J’onn snaps a photo.
“Winn, buddy, it looks like you’re coming with us,” J’onn says as gently as possible, kneeling down to get on the little boy’s level – M’gann following suit so she can greet the boy. “This is M’gann, we’re going to be looking after you, okay?”
Winn looks a little bashful, but Maggie encourages him gently and smiles as he goes over and reaches for J’onn to pick him up. The Martian looks rather uncomfortable for a moment, but very carefully he lifts the boy into his arms at M’gann’s urging. After a few moments of M’gann talking to Winn the little boy is back to smiling and giggling as J’onn explains, “Alex is upstairs – I’ve already given her the keys to an unused safe house so you two will have room for two toddlers and Dr. Danvers.”
“Oh, yeah I didn’t even think about that,” Maggie says a bit sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck as Kara comes flying over and jumping right into the middle of her knocking the wind out of her. “Oh fu…. Ouch, Kara be careful okay?”
Kara just giggles and hugs Maggie while apologizing, “Sorry Maggie, are you hurted?”
“No, not exactly just a little surprised,” Maggie says, trying not to wince as she gets up while suggesting, “What do you say we go get Alex and then get out of here.”
“Can we get food?!” Kara asks quickly, flashing Maggie a hopeful grin with bright, pleading eyes, as she practically bounces up the steps – holding onto the hand rail while hopping up every single step, “Please, pretty please? I’m a lot hungry.”
“Alright, I’ll see what I can do,” Maggie tells her with a chuckle, amused that even in miniature Kara Danvers was going to break the bank with her dietary habits. Bouncing Lena on her hip gently as she guides them upstairs she asks Lena, “What about you, little bit, you hungry too?”
Lena nods before tucking her face shyly against Maggie’s neck, clearly still rather hesitant and anxious so Maggie doesn’t press her further. Instead she rubs her back tenderly as she waits patiently for Kara to get out the last of her energy on the steps, worried that they may be up with the small Kryptonian all night long at this rate since she hasn’t shown any signs of tiring.
As they reach the medical bay Maggie spots Alex, Lucy and Hamilton looking rather pensive so she sets the two children down with a game on her phone and the book Lena’s absconded from the playroom. Going over to the other women she quickly finds out what has them looking so grim and upset, as Alex moves over to snuggle into Maggie’s embrace the police detective gets a good look at a tiny, battered child on the bed.
Pressing a kiss to Alex’s temple she studies the very clearly neglected and abused child – her delicate face is marred with a couple bruises under her eye and along her cheek, small lip puffy and split. The little girl’s arm is in a new cast but her other is mottled with bruises of various colors that the police detective knows mean various bruises at different stages of healing. Maggie feels like she might cry, wondering who on earth could do such a heinous thing to a child – gently she rubs Alex’s shoulders trying to soothe her girlfriend.
At the head of the bed Lucy stands looking at the small child tenderly, brushing her fingers softly through short brown hair as she looks over to Alex, nodding a somber greeting to Maggie, “Go on Danvers, you’ve got two toddlers already and knowing Kara she’s probably hungry.”
“Are you sure?” Alex asks quickly, her voice high with concern and filled with the empathy Maggie’s gotten used to hearing.
“Yeah, I’m going to stay here with Drew until she can be released,” Lucy assures with a small smile, “I mean, I think two kids is your limit right now Alex.”
Alex snorts as she moves over to hug Lucy, assuring her softly, “Drew’s going to heal, and if you need anything don’t hesitate to call me, okay?”
“Yeah, I know she healed the first go around but I – I just never knew it was this bad for her,” Lucy remarks, feeling a pang of guilt in her chest that she didn’t recognize how bad the abuse had been for her West Point roommate and friend.
“Well, she’s got you to look after her for now, Lane,” Maggie encourages, offering her a genuine smile as she suggests honestly, “Let us know when she’s well enough for a play date.”
Lucy can’t help but smile at Maggie’s antics, wondering if Drew would get along with the other children – looking over she sees that Kara’s roped Lena into trying to sneak lollipops out the container on Hamilton’s desk. Smirking she nods towards the two girls – Lena climbing up to stand on Kara who’s directing the mission from all fours on the floor – to give Maggie and Alex a heads up, “Sure thing, but right now you’ve already got your hands full!”
“Kara no!” Alex exclaims in exasperation, wondering how she’s going to keep her little sister from raiding the cabinets and refrigerator at all hours of the day and night. Maggie’s already picked up Lena before she can grab the glass jar and Alex quickly scoops Kara up while scolding, “Kara you’re supposed to ask first.”
“But I’m hungry,” Kara pouts adorably, her bottom lip sticking out as she looks up at Alex pleadingly, “Can we eat now?”
“Do you think you can manage shopping if I give you another package of goldfish?” Alex asks with a tired smile, hoping that the child will take the bait without fussing.
“Cookies?” Kara asks with a mischievous little smile as she tries to negotiate her way into a sweeter snack. She knows she’s got something going for her when Maggie starts to genuinely laugh and ruffles her hair and murmurs teasingly to Alex.
“Okay, but you split them with Lena,” Alex says seriously, pointing her finger at Kara and wondering how much of a scolding she’s going to get from their mother when Eliza founds out just how much junk food she’s given the little alien. Picking up the package of cookies she opens them and splits them evenly between the girls, rubbing Lena’s shoulders tenderly as she tells her soon-to-be wife, “My mother is going to kill me if we keep giving them junk food.”
Maggie snorts, “She’s going to kill you, she loves me – but seriously, even she’s going to have a hard time saying no to that angelic little face.”
“Hopefully, now let’s get out of here while these two are distracted.”