“Your battle with the android drained your Kryptonian cells of their solar energy. You are now as vulnerable to your environment as any human, subject to pain, sickness, death. But have faith, Kara. Once your cells have reabsorbed sufficient radiation from Earth’s yellow star, your powers should return. Do not be afraid. And until you have fully recovered, lean on those you trust.”
“Look Kara, you’re going to get your powers back, stop worrying. You used a lot of power fighting the android and you’ve been dealing with a lot of emotional events lately. It’s understandable that you haven’t gotten them back yet.” Alex states firmly, serving her sister a couple of slices of pizza and joining her on the couch. Kara lets out a deep breath before as she takes a bite of the still hot pizza. The food was delicious and her hunger wasn’t quite as strong as it usually was but Kara doesn’t think it actually has to do with her lack of powers. She thinks the lack of hunger was more about how nervous she was to finally tell Alex the truth about her soulmate. Who he was. Keeping it a secret from Alex was getting to be too much, keeping it a secret from him was getting harder – especially when she’s felt so weak and out of it even when she wasn’t depowered.
“It’s not that, Alex. I have to tell you something… something I’ve kept a secret for the last few weeks.”
“A secret? What is it? Is this why you’ve been a bit off lately?” Alex questioned, putting her plate on the table so she could focus completely on Kara. Kara winced; she had been hoping it wasn’t so obvious.
“Do you remember when I saved Maxwell Lord from Reactron in the warehouse?”
“Do I remember? Of course I do. I was so worried – I don’t think I could ever forget.”
“Before Reactron attacked me and after I rescued him, Maxwell Lord said something to me. For the first time.” Kara said softly, hoping her sister would make the connection. It didn’t take long to know that Alex had gotten the clue. Alex raised her eyebrows in surprise.
“Your soulmates… with Maxwell Lord,” Alex said with wide eyes, she could hardly believe this was happening. The fact that her sister was soulmates with Maxwell Lord and the fact she kept the information to herself for this long. Kara nodded, even though she knew it hadn’t been a question. “Why didn’t you tell me? Does he know?”
“Honestly, there was just already so much going on at the time. And then it just got harder and harder to tell you, Alex. I’ve wanted to but I just couldn’t at the same time. It was never a good time, and then after the whole Knox thing I just didn’t want to believe it. I haven’t said anything to him… but he might know.” Kara tries to explain and Alex frowns in understanding. After everything Maxwell Lord has said to or about Supergirl, she could understand her sister’s reactions.
“Oh Kara,” Alex pulls Kara into a hug, ignoring the mess she was making of squishing her sister to her side with her food. That mess didn’t matter. Her sister was more important, and Alex knows exactly how important Kryptonians took their soulmates. The fact that Kara has barely acknowledged her soulmate outside of herself and the fact that they hadn’t even acknowledged the soulmate bond to each other yet was heartbreaking in itself, and it’s been well over month.
Alex has noticed the difference between now and then, maybe not exactly as soon as she should have and she’ll never forgive herself for not pushing. She always pushed, especially since Kara liked to keep her pains quiet but this was different. Alex knows how much Kara had been looking forward to this, a soulmate, despite her parents apprehensive feelings of one for her (not that one could blame them for it, and oh god were they right to worry). And for that soulmate to be Maxwell Lord? She has no words. Is this why he took to such extremes with testing her abilities? His biting comments on television about her? Why he suddenly decided to help them with Morrow and Red Tornado?
“What am I going to do?” Kara questioned, tears of frustration started to fall as she continues to embrace her sister. Alex pulls her closer, taking a deep breath as she tries to think of something.
“We’re just going to take it one step at a time, Kara.” Alex states finally after a few minutes, before pulling away slightly. “How long can you go between seeing him?”
“Honestly, I think it’s getting worse each time we separate.” Kara says, it’s an idea that she hasn’t been able to shake for awhile now. She doesn’t know enough about Kryptonian soulmates not immediately bonding. But if what she’s been feeling since ignoring the soulmate bond gets worse, she doesn’t expect good things.
“People need help now. This city’s a powder keg. We can’t wait around for the government to save us. Or Supergirl. Just when this city needed her the most, she’s nowhere to be found. Let this be a lesson to all of us. We need to rely on ourselves, not aliens in capes.”
“Jimmy Olsen. Thank you for shooting our relief efforts.” Maxwell Lord says as shakes James’ hand.
“Of course,” James says with a small smile. Kara studies the surrounding people and the efforts her soulmate started. She wants to feel disgust at how he’s using the earthquake to promote his brand, but other than the uniforms that his workers are using and his logos on the products they were handing out, there are no other flashy promotions. The workers are handing out water, bandages, blankets and other things that the people of National City need. Besides that news interview she saw at CatCo, she doesn’t see the same Maxwell Lord standing before her.
“I’d heard you hung up your camera.” Max smiles back, settling his hands on his hip after he pulled away from James Olsen. The woman beside him, in the salmon colored sweater and glasses, draws his attention even as Jimmy speaks. The pull he usually feels to be with Supergirl has quieted for first time in days. Studying the young woman, he feels as if he knows her but he’s not sure from where.
Maxwell grins at her, unable to stop himself. “You look familiar.” At that, the younger blonde woman looks up at him and he stares into her eyes. Very familiar looking eyes, true they were hidden behind glasses and hair pulled away from her face, but he’s been picturing them for the last few weeks in his mind and memories. There was no way he was forgetting Supergirl’s eyes or ever could forget them. The sudden quietness of the pull, and the sudden strength he’s felt since the pair arrived to take photos suddenly made more sense. He had thought maybe Supergirl was around him, and he was right but not about how close. He digs his hands into his hips to keep him from taking her hand or moving closer to her.
Instead, he takes in the sight of her arm in the sling and realizes that she was still depowered. He doesn’t regret telling the city to stop relying on heroes, especially after realizing his soulmate (Supergirl) had lost her powers days ago and is still struggling without them.
“We’ve met.” She says with a wave of her hand, before she falters and must have realized what that might imply. Maxwell’s smile grows; clearly she hadn’t really thought this through. “I’m Cat Grant’s assistant, Kara Danvers.”
Kara Danvers is Supergirl. He knows it, he can hear it in her voice and he can feel it. He doesn’t know why she picked this moment to come to him, to talk to him and with Jimmy Olsen by her side. Did she really think him that thick to not realize she was one in the same? And not just that, but knowing he had met her probably a few times before even speaking to each other in that warehouse was surprising. Why did the universe pick that moment for them to speak to each other? Maxwell doesn’t know what to say, at least not in front of Jimmy Olsen. Does he know? Maxwell couldn’t help but mentally question Olsen’s presence. The last name Danvers reminds him of Agent Alex Danvers, her seemly close relationship with Supergirl – they must be related (adopted siblings?) somehow. It explains why he seemed so drawn to the Agent; she must spend a lot of time with Supergirl – Kara.
Maxwell turns away from her, and walks away. He is not shocked that his soulmate follows him, not of the little he knows of her personally. The words she speaks, however, do. Especially after the last time they stood in a room together. “I… I have to say, I think what you’re doing today is wonderful.” Maxwell tries to ignore it as James takes another picture as he poses. He can’t help but feel pleasure at her compliment, even more as Kara settles up beside him after the picture is taken, within arm’s reach if either wanted it. “But I found what you said on TV a little surprising.”
“You mean about Supergirl?” Max couldn’t help the grin that appears on his lips as he realizes what bit she was talking about. She was worried how he thought of her. He can’t help his next few words as he smiles at her before grabbing more blankets out of the box. “If you knew me, you wouldn’t be surprised.”
“Oh, I know you.” Kara chuckles with a smile as she stares at him. He keeps his hands busy as her words hit him. “But… but don’t you think that… that people need a more positive message right now? Hope instead of fear? I just think that if Supergirl could be here today, right now, she would be. Or maybe she’s already here… somewhere.” Kara cleared her throat and Maxwell couldn’t help but smile at her choice of words.
He understands why she’s saying it, and Maxwell understands why she would believe it. Cat Grant has been an excellent PR advocator for Supergirl, and he’d guess that his soulmate respects nearly everything Cat says. He can’t help but disagree with it, however. Not about Supergirl being out there helping people if she could, he’s starting to believe that she would be. But other than doing what his company is doing there wasn’t much else to do, Supergirl isn’t needed. Especially not as an injured depowered superhero. “Cat Grant slaps that S on everything just to make money.”
“And what are you doing?” Kara gestures toward his logos, and he turns around to face her. This wasn’t how he wanted this meeting to go, not that he expected it to be in a middle of an earthquake relief effort. Then again, none of his meetings with Kara – with Supergirl – his soulmate – went as well as he had wanted. He’s probably made the worst first expression (or second or third) of a soulmate he’s heard of, that’s for sure.
“I want everyone to know who’s helping them in their time of need,” He says as he holds up a bottle of water with his logo on it with a smile and hands it to his soulmate. Despite himself, tips of his fingers touch Kara’s hand and the sense of tranquility nearly takes his breath away. At Kara’s shudder, he knows she feels it too. He glances away from her, and realizes that Jimmy had still been with them the whole time.
The noise around them gets louder, and he realizes how much focus he’s put on Kara – Supergirl – his soulmate. Jimmy stares at them both as if he’s trying to work out a hard puzzle and watching a drama television show, before his eyes land at where his and Kara hands were still touching. He pulls away from her.
“Look Kara, maybe your right. Maybe Supergirl would be here right now if she could be, or maybe she’s here already… in disguise. That doesn’t stop me from being right – the city needs to work without her in the instances where or when Supergirl is unavailable. The main issue is that the city needs to pull together, not just for Supergirl or the mention of her, but for themselves. Supergirl lulls us into a sense of complacency. The idea of her fools us into thinking she’ll always save us and renders us incapable of saving ourselves. Like heroin, or the welfare state.” Maxwell says before taking a sip of water.
“That’s cynical.” Kara states with a frown, and Maxwell looks away from her. He’s been called that and worse more times than he could count.
“It’s realistic.” Maxwell states before turning away from her. “If anything, Supergirl should be thanking me for what I’m not saying.”
“Which is what?” Kara questions, just a step behind him, she was reaching out to touch him but as he turned to face her she put her hand down. Maxwell wants to see her face for this next bit. How good was she at keeping her two lives separate?
“She lost her powers.” Kara’s eyes widen in disbelief, and her jaw falls open just enough to show her shock. “Explains why she’s nowhere to be found. I’m guessing she blew out her photovoltaic capabilities fighting that military android. She’s just a dead battery now.” The look on her face confirms everything he’s saying and thought.
“You can’t be sure of that.” Jimmy Olsen states, and once again Maxwell’s focus is pulled from his soulmate’s.
“I’ve studied Superman. It takes him roughly 48 hours to recharge. We’re way past that. If Supergirl hasn’t gotten her powers back by now, there’s a good chance she never will.” Maxwell studies Kara as he speaks, and he can’t help but feel bad for being this cynical to her face on the aspect of her getting her powers back. Kara glances away from him, but he could see the hopelessness in her eyes. She feared the same thing he just told them. His next words are much quieter, and he tried to be as gentle as he could. “And that means we’re on our own.”
“Help! Please! My dad needs help over there!” A young woman shouted, asking for help as she approached them. The rest of their talk would have to wait; both Maxwell and Kara followed the young woman back to her father, with Jimmy putting his stuff down on the table before following as well.
“Over here! Please, please, he’s right here.” The woman said, crying and Maxwell fell down on his knees and listened for his breathing as Kara and Jimmy joined him.
“He’s got tension pneumothorax.” Maxwell quickly diagnosed.
“You’re a doctor?” Kara asked in disbelief. Clearly she didn’t know everything about her soulmate.
“Did med school in a year. He needs to get the hospital.”
“I called 911, but they haven’t come yet.” The woman explained.
“Paramedics are swamped.” Jimmy explained, having been through several earthquakes before.
“I once saw a clip of Supergirl in the news and she flew someone over there to the hospital.” The woman said.
Maxwell looks up at the young woman, “Unless you know where she is,” he starts and he can’t help but glance at Kara as he speaks “we’re your dad’s only hope.”
Kara bites her lip as she studies the situation. She digs her fingernails into her palms, hoping against anything that she could do something. Anything. To help this man, to get her powers back and get him to the hospital… but nothing happens, except for the slight pain of her nails digging into her palms.
“Damn, it’s a venous bleed.”
“What?” She should really start pouring over some medical books after she gets her powers back. Watching various medical or police procedurals were clearly not cutting it.
“He must’ve lacerated another vessel.” Maxwell explains.
“So we find… We find the vessel, stop the bleeding, right?”
Maxwell glances up at her, he did not look hopeful. “He’s got 100,000 miles of vessels. We’ll never find the right one. Unless you have an X-ray machine.” He says pointedly, before focusing back on the man. Kara stared at Jimmy, as the woman started crying. She could’ve helped him! Breaking eye contact with Jimmy, Kara tries to focus everything on her x-ray ability but to no avail. “He exsanguinating into his chest. He’ll bleed out, and go into shock and die in a few minutes.”
He gets up and walks away, hoping to give Kara a few moments alone with the man incase her ability suddenly appeared. He hated to rely on a superhero in this moment, but he didn’t want this man to die anymore than he knows she would either. The crying woman follows him, begging him to help her father. He takes the young woman into his arms and tries to comfort her and distract her from watching Kara and her father.
Kara takes of her glasses and refocuses on her powers. “Come on. Come on. Come on. Please. Come on, come on. Come on!”
“No. No, no, no!” Kara groans and moves closer.
“Kara, look.” Jimmy says, sirens sounding off in the distance. “Kara, please stop.”
Kara puts her glasses back on in disbelief. She pulls away from Jimmy and turns to face Maxwell. “Just… Do something! Come on! This can’t be it!”
“We can’t save him.” Maxwell says, flinching as the crying woman in his arms pulls away. Jimmy steps away from Kara and goes to comfort the daughter. Seeing the tears of frustration in Kara’s eyes, Maxwell can’t help his arms reaching out to her. Before learning Supergirl was his soulmate, there would have been no way in hell, he’d ever think he’d feel sorry for her – or even wish she had her powers back. In this instant, all he wanted was her powers to return so she could save this man. The pull to be with Supergirl – Kara – grows stronger, and he’s afraid she wasn’t going to allow him to wrap his arms around her. Not after his actions or comments, and the fear of rejection hurts. She surprises him by allowing him to pull her into a tight embrace, she buries her head in his shirt as she wraps her arms around him and the utter relief he feels at her embrace causes guilt appear alongside it. Knowing that he should not feel as good as he does right now because he’s losing a patient right next to him.
Within moments of embracing Maxwell, Kara can feel the strength returning – the kickstart of her superhearing ability managed to distract her grief of the man and the relief of being in Maxwell’s arms. She can hear everything, including what was probably the man’s last few moments of life. She pulls away, breaking out of Maxwell’s embrace despite her desire to stay there. That doesn’t matter right now – she has to save this man’s life. Within seconds, with little fear of her secret identity being discovered, she quickly flew away, changed and came to land beside the man. The daughter pulls away from Jimmy and goes to stand beside her, her words are lost as Kara does exactly what Maxwell had suggested doing that could save the man and manages to stabilize him. She can feel Maxwell’s presence beside her but she tries to ignore it.
“Get him into an E.R., Supergirl.” Maxwell says, and she finally glances at him and for what feels like the first time since she met him – he smiled. Not smirked or some other snobby motion. He has to know who she was. There was no doubt about it, and now that she revealed who she actually was to him – she has every right to fear that notion. However she finds peace with that knowledge, finds peace in being with him. She nods silently, and gently picks up the man and flies them out of there.
She doesn’t know what Jimmy or Maxwell comes up with telling the daughter, she flies to the closest hospital and stays just long enough to know that the man was going to be ok before taking off. The rest of the day she takes care of the various citizens of National City needing her help – stopping robberies, fires, and lifting heavy objects off people or items. She feels stronger than she has since before the fight against Red Tornado, and she knows exactly why.
She was with her soulmate, she was accepted by her soulmate and he was accepted by her. It was only an embrace, an embrace to give and take comfort, but it was apparently exactly what she needed. Her powers got jumpstarted like a battery brought to life and she can’t help but feel thankful towards Maxwell. He helped her save that man’s life.
Kara knows that their relationship will be in no way a conventional one. It’s going to rocky, there is no doubt about that… but for the first time since learning about the tests and truth behind Knox’s actions she’s feeling hopeful for him and for them. His eyes had been gentle when he last spoke to her, and she can’t help wish to know that part of him.
Now all she has to do was talk to him.
There was no more hiding.