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Give Me Shelter (Or Show Me Heart)

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The first time Maggie sees Alex, Maggie is 28 and Alex is 30.

She’s kneeling behind a large rock. There’s debris everywhere. It’s a shroud of heavy smoke and dust and dirt and she struggles to breathe through it all, covering her nose and mouth with the collar of her shirt. She tries to inhale as deeply as she can, as quietly as she can, and limits her movements. She knows better by now, to not make noise until she knows it’s safe.

And this does not look safe.

“Maggie!”

She leans her entire body back against the rock. Someone knows her here. In a place where there’s rubble and the smell of dynamite and burnt rubber.

She reaches down for her gun, and unlocks the safety. She cranes her head slowly to find the person who’s calling out her name.

“Maggie,” the voice cries again.

She lowers her gun down. The woman’s cries are not directed at her. The woman holds a brunette on the floor, sobbing against her. Maggie squints, trying to identify who's dying in her arms, but she lowers back behind the rock when a blonde woman with a red cape appears, a mournful expression on her face.

“Please, Kara,” the woman pleads. “I don’t - do something. Please.

Kara nods somberly and scoops the woman up in her arms. Before Maggie can witness what happens next, the world in front of her suddenly blurs. It blurs until the things she see are nothing but colors with swirling shapes, and the things she hears are distorted sounds.

This is familiar - it’s how she got there, after all. And before she knows it:

“Babe?”

She’s back in her apartment bathroom, where she keeps her doggy slippers and jojoba shampoo and waterproof speakers. She looks down and her clothes are covered in dirt, her shoes, muddy. She looks up at the mirror, and her skin is covered in flecks of grey, her hair messy in her ponytail.

“Are you done changing in there, babe?”

She closes her eyes tightly, and inhales. To erase what she’d just witnessed, to pull herself back to the present.

She exhales, and opens her eyes.

“I’ll be out in a second, Amy.”

 

*

 

For the next few weeks, she thinks nothing of it. Forgets about it, actually. She forgets about it like she’s trained herself to forget that she has that power in the first place. And for a while, it works. For a while, she and her girlfriend don’t argue about Maggie disappearing in the middle of the night. She could pretend that her life is headed where it needs to be, and that she is, in fact, normal.

Until one day, she’s at a crime scene, searching for signs of alien evidence when she hears:

“Hey!”

It’s the woman, from the time she just travelled to, looking and sounding much more annoyed than Maggie last saw her. Her eyes are sharp, her arms are crossed. She stands as though she owns the place, and it makes Maggie want to push back.

She’s a detective at the NCPD. She’s worked hard at clawing her way up to where she is now, and she sure as hell is not going to back off without a fight. Maggie stands her ground and introduces herself with her teeth bared, and they spar with words.

 

*

 

In the end, Maggie relents. Not because she wants to, but because she has to.

Even so, it doesn’t mean she fails to notice the woman in the red cape hovering near Alex, the one who calls herself Supergirl, but who Alex knows as Kara.

 

*

 

She doesn’t know why she does it, but Maggie invites Alex out to the bar. Her bar, where the only group of people who she’s told about her power hang out. They look at Alex like she’s alien, and Alex looks back at them the same. Maggie plasters a smile and pulls her along, wonders if she’d made a mistake in bringing her here.

Five minutes into the conversation, and Maggie knows she didn’t. Alex relaxes and her eyes shift from wary to kind and her smile turns soft when she looks at her.

It makes Maggie’s stomach flutter, even when she tries to stomp it down.

 

*

 

She’s sleeping next to Amy when it happens again:

Maggie’s transported to the NCPD station. It’s dark, midnight if she were to guess. Her eyes are bleary with time travel and sleep, and she tries to wipe it away. She’s in her pajamas, with her phone in hand. The only sound she hears in the quiet room are the cars outside driving past. Loud revving, and tires burning against the pavement. She walk towards the window to find the source of the noise, but instead finds Amy walking across the street, laughing with her friends.

Her face falls, and her stomach fills with dread. She runs down the stairs as fast as she can, even as she hears the engines coming closer. She runs.

By the time she makes it to the front door, five bodies lay on the cement. Two cars in black smoke. She stands there, frozen. Her head feels dizzy and her eyes feel wet and she wants to scream.

She wipes her eyes. Her vision doesn’t clear from the tears she’s left to shed, but she’s back in her apartment, just as it was.

The phone in her shaking hand beeps. She turns it over to read its message.

Amy ;) [8:10 a.m., yesterday]: You left again?? Seriously??

Maggie drops her phone on the floor and crumbles onto the bed, face first.

 

*

 

They break up, two weeks later.

She tells her that Maggie is distant and cold and psychotic. What she really means is this: Time traveling is too much for anyone to handle.

“Why didn’t you just tell her?” Darla asks.

Maggie cocks an eyebrow. “Do you really think anyone can accept me, knowing that?” Maggie shakes her head. “Hey, by the way, I travel forward in time. It’s out of my control, and sometimes I’m gone for days on end. I see people die and I don’t know how to stop them, including yours. Love me anyway?” Maggie downs another shot. “Yeah, right.”

“I would’ve,” Darla says genuinely.

Maggie looks at her then, and then sighs back down at the table. “I know.”

Darla gives her a sympathetic smile, and pours her another shot.

It’s going to be a long night.

 

 

Chapter Text

They’re playing pool the next night when Maggie tells Alex what happened, between her and Amy.

“She broke up with you? Why?”

A lot of words come to mind, namely the four that she can’t say to anyone else, so Maggie settles for the rehearsed lines. Alex nods, looking at her as though she understands exactly what she’s going through, but really, she doesn’t. None of them do. Those who come closest to understanding her are the aliens, and even they are closer to each other than they are to her.

So she does what she always does when she feels this way.

She leaves.

 

*

 

She doesn’t make it back to her apartment, in the end. One minute she’s riding on her motorcycle, 5 miles below the speed limit, and the next, her ass is skidding against the hardwood floor.

Maggie hisses from the pain, and she rolls to her side. She takes her motorcycle helmet off, and stands up, assessing where she is. She’s in someone’s bedroom. Minimalistic, white walls. She scans for clues of whose home she is and she find picture frames.

Pictures of Alex and another woman, hugging each other tightly.

She goes to reach for it when she hears the front door unlock.

“Maggie, we are not watching Fight Club.”

It’s Alex.

She hears footsteps walking through the living room. Keys hit the counter and the front door closes and locks. Maggie looks around, tries to find a place to hide. It’s either under the bed, or the closet.

She opts for the closet, leaving the door slightly ajar.

“Look, Danvers,” she hears Maggie say. “All I’m saying is, I’m not sitting through another episode of Gilmore Girls. You and Baby Danvers are the real life Lorelai and Rory. I don’t need another dose of that.”

Paper bags hit the counter. “So you have been paying attention to the show!” Alex says gleefully.

“I haven’t!”

Maggie rolls her eyes at herself. She’s not fooling anyone.

Alex comes into her line of vision, leaning against the counter. “Then I guess we’ll have to watch another episode of Gilmore Girls,” Alex shrugs. “For you to prove that we are Lorelai and Rory.”

Maggie hears her own laughter in the living room.

“We have to watch Gilmore Girls for us not to watch Gilmore Girls?”

“Yup.”

Footsteps.

Maggie comes into view, pressing her body close against Alex, resting her hands on the counter, on either side of her. “You really are something, you know that?”

“I know,” Alex smiles. “But tell me anyway.”

Maggie smirks back. She leans up to kiss her, and Alex meets her halfway. It’s soft and slow, and Alex’s hands come to her waist. They melt as though they have all the time in the world, and still, would only want to spend it with each other.

Maggie feels like she’s intruding. She thanks god that her vision finally becomes hazy again.

When she comes back to the present, it’s morning, and she’s dazed and confused. She’s left sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, her helmet on her lap. She wonders what the time she travelled to means. Dating eventually leads to someone leaving, and the thought of Alex leaving making her heart uncomfortably clench.

Dating Alex is a bad idea. Dating always is. Dating means heartbreak and fallouts and loneliness. Maggie resolves for them to stay friends, even if time wants it differently.

She checks her phone and she sees 4 unread texts from Alex.

Danvers [11:12 p.m., yesterday]: Didn’t mean to press you on your breakup. Let me know that you got home safe?

Danvers [12:20 a.m., today]: Did you get home?

Danvers [12:25 a.m., today]: Heard from the NCPD your motorcycle got totaled. What happened? Are you okay?

Danvers [1:15 a.m., today]: If you don’t answer me by tomorrow morning I’m going to send out a team to come find you!!

She checks the time. It’s 5:30 a.m. She texts Alex back quickly.

Maggie [5:31 a.m., today]: I’m fine. Got into a car accident. Nothing big. Just a pain in the ass.

Maggie [5:31 a.m., today]: Literally. I have scuff marks on my ass. But other than that no harm.

Alex’s response comes back immediately.

Danvers [5:31 a.m., today]: I’m glad to hear you’re O.K. Do you mind stopping by the DEO later today?

Maggie rolls her eyes.

Maggie [5:31 a.m., today]: And if I do mind?

Danvers [5:32 a.m., today]: Tough. Doctor’s orders.

Maggie [5:32 a.m., today]: Motorcycle’s totaled, remember?

Danvers [5:32 a.m., today]: I’ll pick you up at 8.

Maggie shakes her head, amused, and starts walking back to her apartment. Alex may be protective, but Maggie can take care of herself. She has for most of her life, and she can now.

Still, it’s nice to feel like she doesn’t have to, every once in awhile.

 

*

 

They hang out more often than they should.

It starts with pool and drinks at the bar, which turns into Chinese food at Alex’s house, which turns into marathon movie nights at Maggie’s apartment, which turns into watching Alex laugh with tears in her eyes in her fuzzy onesie.

Maggie can see how she could fall in love with this girl in front of her, even when she knows she shouldn’t.

 

*

 

Maggie’s having a bad day when Alex comes out to her.

It should’ve come as more of a shock to Maggie, but it wasn’t. Even though Alex denied it, Maggie knew. She had seen them kiss weeks ago, which means Alex is just about as straight as she is. This isn’t new, or surprising.

Besides, she came to the bar to not talk. Amy is asking her to pick up the things she’d left in her apartment, her motorcycle’s still in the shop and she just got back from another trip to the future. The last thing she wanted to do was talk, let alone anything else.

But Alex looks at her so small, and frightened, and unsure, that it makes Maggie’s chest ache. To do something that would make Alex feel anything else. To make her pain go away. She only knows of two ways of how to do that, one of which is off limits.

So she orders another round of shots, and tells her she’s there for her. Alex gives her a small grateful smile, as though she’s given her everything she could’ve asked for and Maggie’s chest eases.

They’re friends, after all, Maggie tells herself. This is what friends do. This is what it means to care for friends.

They’re friends, nothing else.

 

*

 

That is, until Alex kisses her for the first time, and the word friends fails to define what this is. It’s warmth against her mouth and Alex sighing against her skin and finally she understands why time looked as though it stood still, when she’d peered through the closet, watching her and Alex kiss weeks ago. Because that’s exactly how it feels. Time, standing still.

But the moment breaks as quickly as it came, and she remembers. It doesn’t stand still, at least not with her. It always moves forwards.

She pulls back from Alex. She tries to explain that they can only be friends. She tries to ignore the hurt in Alex’s eyes as she walks away. But from the fact that she’s standing alone in the bar, with her chest sunken as though she’d just been broken up again, Maggie knows she’s failed at both.

 

*

 

It worsens.

Over the next two weeks, she’s pulled forward in time. Sometimes for brief moments, other times, for days.

She’s lost count of how many days she’s missed of work. She’s exhausted and sleepless and she just wants to go home.

 

*

 

One time:

She finds herself pulled into the middle of a fight, between Roulette and the aliens who serve her, and Supergirl, herself, and Alex, with DEO reinforcements. Maggie hides behind a crate as Supergirl holds them off as best as she can, as Alex pierces them with her kryptonian sword, but one by one, the DEO agents fall. She sees herself backing up, shooting rounds of bullets that aren’t of any effect on the aliens. One of them lunges at her.

“Maggie!”

Alex stabs him just in time, and their faces breathe relief. But Alex has left herself defenseless. She doesn’t see another alien coming in from behind her. By the time Maggie yells for her to turn around, it’ll be too late.

So Maggie runs. Her legs are pumped with adrenaline. She pushes herself to make it in time, just this once. She pushes, and pushes and -

she pushes Alex out of the way.

What they don’t tell you about being stabbed with sharp claws? It hurts. Like a bitch.

The next thing she feels is alien blood against the back of her neck, and the alien yelling in pain. Alex catches Maggie before the alien slumps down on the ground. She shakes her, urges her to stay awake, even though Maggie’s eyes are getting blurry.

I want to stay awake, Maggie wants to say. But her eyes are heavy, and when she looks up all she sees is a hazy face.

When she blinks again, she’s on the pavement, staring at a fuzzy night sky.

She groans in pain, tries to reach for her phone. She texts the one person who she knows would know what to do.

Maggie [9:31 p.m., today]: bledin sarp wunds hlp

Alex [9:31 p.m., today]: Where are you?

Maggie [9:31 p.m., today]: trac m

She lays her head back down, and holds onto her phone. Her head hurts, her hands feel cold, and her eyes are heavy. She just wants to fall asleep.

She closes her eyes, and for a moment, she thinks she hears Alex’s voice. She opens them and finds Alex hovering over her. Her voice sounds panicked, though she can’t make out what Alex is saying, let alone where she is. She closes her eyes again, and hears cars passing by.

 

Chapter Text

Coming out of a coma is not as peaceful as movies make them out to be. It’s pain burning throughout her body, and her mouth tasting like cotton, and her head pounding like a hammer.

But then there’s also a hand squeezed tightly in her own, and an arm wrapped loosely around her hips, and Alex sleeping in a chair beside her, her head resting near her stomach, and she thinks maybe this isn’t so bad.

She chooses not to complain, and falls back asleep.

 

*

 

When she actually wakes up, she wakes up to Alex staring at her, her hand still clasped with Maggie’s, her other arm still resting on her hips. She looks both relieved and concerned, which makes Maggie wonder:

“How long?” she rasps.

Maggie feels Alex squeeze her hand. “Two weeks.”

She looks away to the ceiling and lets out a weak breath. Her boss is going to kill her for being out of commission this long.

“Catch me up.”

Alex doesn’t answer. She’s waiting for her to explain, Maggie knows, feels Alex’s eyes on her, boring holes on the side of her cheeks. They sit in silence. For how long, Maggie isn’t sure. It’s deafening to listen to the tension and the sound of their breathes in a room that wasn’t meant for two.

While Maggie might have all the time in the world to sit through this, Alex clearly doesn’t. Which is why Alex finally starts pulling her hand away.

Maggie gripes tighter, not willing to let her go. She turns to look at Alex then, and finds her looking back with imploring eyes.

“Tell me what happened.”

Her eyes soften, looking as patient and kind as she always does when she talks to Maggie. She gives her a small smile, strokes her thumb against the back of Maggie’s hand and her heart flutters with warmth.

This is Alex, Maggie thinks to herself. Fiercely protective, and loyal, and brave. Who has done nothing but protect her and those around her, and would gladly step into the line of fire to keep them safe.

It’s Alex with her damn brown eyes, looking at her the same way she did before they'd fought a month ago, as though Alex’s world revolves around her and that she could do no wrong and it’s -

Maggie looks down at their intertwined hands, and she gives.

Alex deserves to know.

 

*

 

“So,” Maggie breathes. “What do you already know?”

“You sent me a text saying you were dying.”

Maggie vaguely recalls the phone in her hand. The blood. The rough pavement. It was cold. Her fingers were getting numb.

“Did I?”

Alex nods. “You did.” She stops, and tilts her head thoughtfully. “Well, you tried. You were texting like you were drunk. It was hard to understand.”

Maggie snorts, but immediately regrets it when she suddenly feels a jolt of pain in her abdomen. “I’ll remember to text you with proper spelling the next time I’m dying.”

Alex frowns. “Don’t joke about that.”

“I’ve got nine lives,” Maggie brushes off.

“And which one are we on now?”

Maggie thinks she’s joking, but Alex isn’t. She has a serious look on her face, the one where she thinks she knows the whole truth about a case and won’t back down until the perp admits to it. But Maggie doesn’t understand what she’s trying to get at.

“What do you mean?”

“The night you texted me,” Alex explains. “You just,” Alex stumbles for her words, trying to find the right ones to say. She lets go of Maggie’s hand to motion with her arms. Maggie tries not to frown.

“You suddenly appeared on my living room floor, bleeding,” Alex finally gets out. “When I was calling Supergirl to find you. And then you disappeared.”

That, she doesn’t remember. The confusion must show on her face, because Alex reaches for her bag, and pulls out Maggie’s phone. “I checked your coordinates. It says you were off the grid for 10 seconds.”

Maggie smiles cheekily. “You stalking me now, Danvers?”

Alex doesn’t take the bait.

“It doesn’t add up,” Alex pushes. “Unless you’re an alien. And if you are, the DEO can protect you the same way we protect Supergirl and -”

Maggie shakes her head, cutting her off. “I’m not.”

Alex leans back in her chair. “Then what are you?”

“I don’t know.” Maggie lets out a breath. “All I know is I can time travel and I had this since I was 10 when I travelled 5 years into the future and I saw -” Maggie stops then, and restarts. “I’m not an alien, Alex. I’m not.”

Alex nods like she believes her. “Can you control it?”

Maggie laughs sarcastically. “Wouldn’t that be the dream.”

Alex looks at her, waits for her to explain.

“If I could stop myself from travelling forward to moments where people almost die then trust me, Danvers. I would.”

She doesn’t mean to sound so bitter, but it comes off that way. She suddenly feels small and self-conscious, wonders if she’s said too much. But then Alex reaches for her hand and squeezes. She’s still looking at her the same way she always has, without an ounce of judgement, or fear, or disgust, and maybe, Maggie thinks, she’s said just enough.

“Let me run some blood tests in the lab. Maybe we can figure out what you are from any inconsistencies in the cell structures. I’ll talk to Supergirl if she knows anything about this.”

“My blood work is normal. I’ve checked.” She has. Multiple times throughout her life. There were no discrepancies that would explain how she is the way she is, why she travels through time the way she does. She’s given up on that dream a long time ago.

“Maybe I’ll find something you didn’t,” Alex says, hopeful. She lets go of her hand and stands up, grabbing her jacket from the back of her chair. Maggie tries to ignore how her hand is still tingling from the contact as Alex puts her jacket on.

“Interrogation’s over?”

“Looks like it,” Alex smiles. She zips up her jacket, ready to go. But instead of heading to the door, she stands there, looking down at the floor, her hands in her pockets. It looks like she wants to say something, but she isn’t. Five seconds becomes ten, becomes twenty, and Maggie realizes:

Maybe Alex doesn’t want to leave as much as Maggie doesn’t want her to go.

“You better come visit me and keep me in the loop,” Maggie finally says. “If I get demoted from Detective because I forget how to solve cases, I’m coming for you.”

It’s a subtle olive branch. To let Alex know where Maggie stands, an offering to make amends from where they’d last left it. And judging from Alex’s expression, she’s relieved for it.

“Wouldn’t dream of it. We’re a team, right?”

Maggie nods. “Right.”

Alex leaves the room, and Maggie lets herself relax on the hospital bed. Even though her body is screaming in pain and it still hurts to breathe, she feels so much lighter than she has been in the past month.

 

*

 

In the weeks that follow, Alex keeps her promise.

She comes in every day during her lunch breaks and weekends, sneaking in food that Maggie knows the nurses would disapprove. Hot dogs. Burgers and fries. Shakes. Pizza. Her personal favorite is Chinese food. Not because of the taste, though. She would trade potstickers for a good lasagna. But the way Alex’s eyes light up when she opens the take out carton and bites into a dumpling makes it a no contest. She’d gladly eat Chinese food with Alex every day, if it’ll keep her lighting up like that.

(Maggie suggested it multiple times, to which Alex refused. We need to diversify, Alex argued. We’ll get sick of it if we eat it too much.)

Alex also catches her up on her cases, on the alien activity. Maggie asks how her boss is faring, and Alex tells her not to worry: Her job will be there waiting for her when she comes back. It doesn’t sound like something Danny would do at all, but Alex sounds so sure of it, that Maggie briefly wonders if Alex threatened Danny with his job if he threatened Maggie with hers. She decides not to push.

“And anything on those blood tests?”

Alex shakes her head, swallowing the chow mein in her mouth. “Cell structures are the same. Supergirl says she doesn’t know about anything related to time travelling powers, but she knows someone who might.”

Maggie nods, staring down at her take out box, poking at her food with her chopsticks. It’s not as though not living with powers never crossed her mind. It had - a lot, in fact, when she was younger. But she’d pushed that fantasy away when she'd realized this wasn’t going away. It was part of her, whether she liked it or not. It was never a choice.

But in the past couple of weeks, Alex kept talking about it, like it’s a tangible possibility. With their technology and their resources and Supergirl, maybe they could figure it out. Reverse it. Nullify it completely. And a thought like that breeds hope. Hope for normalcy. Hope that maybe it’d be possible to be with -

“Hey,” Alex says, reaching for her forearm. “We’ll figure this out together, Maggie.”

Maggie gives her a small smile. It doesn’t reach her eyes.

“I have you, don’t I.”

“You do,” Alex says sincerely, and goes back to eating her potstickers, discussing the new evidence on Roulette’s new fight club.

Maggie stares back down at her food, wanting so badly to believe it.

 

Chapter Text

It takes her a month to recover, but when she finally does, she hits the ground running. She walks into the office, buzzing with excitement. Her boss assigns her to the Roulette case and she beams, even though he doesn’t return it.

She heads over to the DEO to start working on the case with Alex. She scans herself in, passes through security and spots Alex. She smiles, is about to call out her name when she sees this:

A woman in a suit and heels walks up to Alex and kisses her on the cheek. Alex blushes, looks around to see if anyone saw. She’s half-heartedly scolding the girl, who in turn rolls her eyes at her. Alex eventually gives in, and leans down to kiss her anyway.

Maggie’s face falls. She dashes for the nearest hallway to find the closest empty room, hoping none of the other agents see the tears in her eyes.

 

*

 

Thankfully, they don’t. Out of all the times she’s cursed her time travelling, this is the one time she considers it her saving grace. Instead of standing in an empty room, praying Alex doesn’t see her, she finds herself wiping away her tears in her own apartment.

In front of herself and Alex.

“Told you I’d showed up,” her older self says smugly. “Pay up.”

“Is this really a fair bet when you knew this was going to happen?” Alex asks, even though she’s she reaching for her own wallet.

Her older self grins, gleefully taking the money. “You shouldn’t have accepted the wager if you thought it wasn’t, Danvers.”

“Enjoy it while you can,” Alex says, taking a swig of her beer as her arm comes around her older self's shoulders. “I’ll just win it back when we play pool tomorrow.”

Her older self sticks her tongue at her, pocketing the money in her jeans, and Alex kisses her on the cheek. Maggie stands there uncomfortably, her chest tight.

They look and act like a married couple, and while it must be great to be them, it only serves as a painful reminder of what she can’t have.

“So, Little Sawyer.” Maggie cringes at that nickname. “Where are we in your timeline?”

“Just got discharged from the hospital. I was assigned Roulette’s case and was heading to the DEO to meet, well,” Maggie pauses, and nods towards Alex. “You.”

Alex scrunches her face. “I don’t remember you coming in that day.”

“Because I came here,” her older self says.

“And you didn’t tell me?”

Her older self shrugs. “You were with Lucy.”

Alex’s face visible falls at the mention of her name, like a bad memory. “I’m still apologizing to Lucy for what happened.”

Her older self nods, trying to appear sympathetic, but fails. “She’ll move on. And besides.” She leans in towards Alex like it’s a secret, even though what she says next is loud enough for all of them to hear. “Lucy has a big crush on Kara.”

Alex’s eyes widen. “You’re kidding.”

Her older self grins with mischief. “I swear, Danvers. Hand to heart.”

“Right,” Maggie interrupts, and their attention turns back to her. She taps her hands on the front of her pockets nervously, rocking her feet back and forth. “If you two are fine with it, I’ll just wait this out in there,” she says, motioning to the bedroom.

Alex’s face looks concerned. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather sit out here with us?”

Maggie looks at her, and all she can see in her head is Alex and Lucy kissing.

She shifts her eyes to her older self and silently pleads with her eyes, trying to explain why she can’t be in the same room as Alex right now.

“I’m sure.”

Her older self gives her a strange look, but Alex nods, conceding. “Okay. Let us know if you need anything.”

“Thanks,” Maggie says, and quickly turns around, fast walks to the bedroom. She closes the door behind her. She turns on the lights.

Her room looks different. The color of the walls is still grey, and the sheets on her bed are still the same, but there are stuffed animals she doesn’t remember having, more clothes in the closet than she can ever wear in her lifetime, and picture frames covering her nightstand. Some are of those she has now - the photos of her mom and dad, of the dog they once had. But the newer ones…

She picks one up. It’s of her and Alex. Kissing under the mistletoe. She’s wearing a santa hat, and Alex, reindeer antlers. Their eyes are closed - they look like they’re laughing into the kiss, happy and content.

It makes her heart clench with jealousy.

The door opens and she quickly sets the photo back down.

“Hey,” her older self says softly, closing the door behind her. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Don’t worry about it. It’s your house.”

Her older self rolls her eyes at her. “It’s yours too.”

Maggie hums as she looks around the room. She doesn’t fully agree, but she lets it go.

Her older self moves towards the bed and sits on it. “Come on,” she says, patting the bed. “Sit with me.”

She sits, crossing her legs on the bed. She looks at her older self, tries to guess where she is in time. She doesn’t look much different from herself - there aren’t any major lines on her face, and her hair hasn’t changed. The only difference is that the woman in front of her is radiating, from her smile to her dimples to her eyes. She’s lit up as though she’s finally seen the Sun and it's -

Maggie realizes she’s staring.

“It doesn’t ever stop feeling weird,” her older self finally says, like she knew what Maggie was thinking. “To see yourself. It gets me every time."

Maggie tilts her head, suddenly interested. “You still time travel?”

Her older self purses her lips. “Maybe.”

Right. This again. She never reveals anything about herself when she gets visits from her younger self, for fear of changing her future.

It’s a stupid rule, Maggie thinks, slumping onto the bed, her head towards the ceiling. “You’re so helpful, Sawyer.”

Her older self hums. She leans her body back onto her elbows, but doesn’t say anything else. When Maggie looks at her again, she finds her staring at her, looking at her with pensive eyes, almost regretful. It doesn’t sit well with Maggie.

“What?”

“I remember, you know,” her older self says. “I remember how I felt when I saw Alex with Lucy.”

Maggie smiles deprecatingly. “Which was what? Years ago?”

“It feels that way,” her older self admits. “Sometimes I look at her and I think - God, why didn’t I let it happen sooner?”

“You say it like it’s so simple.”

Older Maggie gives her a sad smile. “It really is.”

Maggie shakes her head. She doesn’t believe her.

“She’s with Lucy now.”

“And if she weren’t?”

Maggie pauses, biting her lower lip.

“She wouldn’t want me,” she mumbles.

“She would.”

“No,” Maggie says. “She wouldn’t. Just like the rest of them.” She thinks of Amy, and Melissa, and Jess, and how her relationships with them all fell apart. How they left her because she always leaves.

She sighs, covering her face with her hands. This isn’t the conversation she wanted to get into with herself. Not now. Not here.

She feels a hand on her arm, shaking her. “She’s not like them, Maggie. Aren’t I proof enough that it’ll work out?”

“Fool me once,” Maggie says bitterly. Seeing her older herself with someone doesn’t mean anything. Not anymore. Because she’s seen it before: Herself with Amy, with Jess - she’s seen herself with them all. Each time hoping that it meant something, that they were the one, convincing herself that she had nothing to be worried about, only for them to leave her. She won’t let herself fall for it again.

Maggie lays there, waiting for a response, for her older self to say that Maggie’s wrong. But nothing comes. She opens her eyes and sits up on the bed.

She’s back in her own apartment. Her older self is gone.

Her chest feels heavier at that realization. She doesn’t know why.

She feels her phone vibrate in her pocket, and takes it out. They're texts from Alex.

Alex [7:35 p.m., today]: Heard you got the Roulette case! :) Let me know when you’re free tomorrow so we can compare notes and check on some leads.

Alex [7:40 p.m., today]: There’s also someone I want you to meet. Her name’s Lucy. She’s the head of the DEO. I think you’re going to like her.

Maggie puts the face to the name and the rank and she already knows that she can’t compare herself to Lucy. She’s out of her league.

She types out a response, hoping to sound cheerful, even if she doesn’t feel that way.

Maggie [10:20 p.m., today]: Sure! Excited to meet her and work on the case with you. I’ll come in at 9.

 

*

 

She meets Lucy the next day.

She’s so much more beautiful up close. She carries herself with confidence and grace, and has a sharp wit to match. She’s perfect for Alex, and from the way Lucy looks at Alex when Alex isn’t looking, she’d guess that Lucy feels the same way.

So when they part at the end of the night, Maggie tells them they look great together, even though it hurts her to say it out loud. Alex deserves someone who makes her happy, even if it’s not with her.

And that someone is Lucy. She's perceptive enough to know that.

(But what Maggie fails to notice is one thing:

The way Alex still looks at her, when she’s not looking.)

 

Chapter Text

It’s subtle, but expected.

Lucy becomes all Alex talks about, and Maggie sees Alex less and less. They talk at the DEO, they greet in passing. They make promises for pool and drinks, which by now Maggie knows Alex will break for date nights with Lucy.

She gets it. She knows how this works. She’s been here before.

And by now she knows that while drinking at the alien bar alone won’t make her feel any better, going home with Darla will. And that if she closes her eyes hard enough, she can imagine that it’s not Darla underneath her, but Alex, screaming her name when she comes.

 

*

 

It’s been a long day at work.

Someone bumped into her this morning in a rush, spilling her coffee on her favorite leather jacket. Danny’s been up her ass about finishing the backlogged case reports, and to top it off, Maggie hit another dead end on the Roulette case. She’s no closer to finding Roulette than she was three weeks ago.

Maggie sighs, rubbing her temples. It’s late. She should go home.

She shuts off her computer, polishes off the beer on her desk. She grabs her jacket from the back of her chair, is about to leave the office when she sees Alex fast walking towards her, oddly panicked.

“You alright, Danvers?”

Alex bites her lip.

“Can I ask you for a really big favor?”

Maggie knows better than to say yes. Anxious eyes and nervous hands are never good signs, especially when they’re coming from someone asking for favors. They usually mean taking over a graveyard shift, or babysitting a crying child - things that feel more like torture than they do favors. Maggie knows that she should say no.

But these anxious eyes and nervous hands are coming Alex, who’s also giving her a shy smile and her best impression of a puppy face, and although Maggie knows that she’s going to regret it if she says yes, she also knows that she’s going to agree to it anyway.

 

*

 

Which is how Maggie finds herself here the next day, standing in front of Alex’s little sister’s door, mentally preparing herself to spend her Thanksgiving at the Danvers residence instead of at the alien bar.

Maggie knocks on the door. It immediately opens on the second knock.

“Maggie,” Alex says, looking relieved. She steps aside to let Maggie in. “I’m so glad you showed up.”

She walks through the door. “Well, you did beg me to come.”

“I did not beg,” Alex counters, even though they both know it’s true. She closes the door behind her. “Do you want something to drink? Everyone went out to buy things for Thanksgiving.”

“Beer would be great.”

“Okay. Feel free to make yourself at home while I grab you one from the fridge.”

Maggie nods, and Alex heads to the kitchen. She walks towards the living room, looking around her - at the walls, the drapes, the rustic furniture. Pastel blues and yellows color all the decorations she sees, and small knick knacks and ceramic animal figurines are sat on cabinets and countertops.

“Your sister’s taste is very…” Maggie pauses, trying to think of the right word to describe it.

“Fun,” she finally settles for.

Alex snorts. “That’s one way to put it. Her taste is inspired by the sitcoms we used to watch when we were younger.”

Maggie turns. “Kara?”

“Yeah,” Alex says, handing her a beer. “My sister’s name is Kara. I’ve never told you?”

Kara. Maggie furrows her eyebrows. Alex called Supergirl Kara, in the future she travelled to, but Kara is Alex’s little sister. Which means...

Supergirl is Alex’s little sister?

“Hey,” Alex says. “Are you okay? You just zoned out for a second there.”

“Yeah,” Maggie lies. “I’m fine.”

Alex gives her a strange look, as though she doesn’t believe her. “Alright. But if you want to talk about it -”

The door opens. It’s a blonde girl with braids and glasses, carrying 10 grocery bags in one hand and 10 in the other.

“Alex, we’re home!” The blonde girl announces, with the widest smile she’s ever seen. She walks over to the kitchen and drops the bags onto the counter, as though they don’t actually weigh 60 pounds.

Maggie squints at her. How has Kara fooled anyone she wasn’t Supergirl?

An older woman enters through the door. “Honey, you were supposed to let me help carry the bags up.”

“Here we go,” Alex mutters to Maggie, taking another gulp from her beer. She takes a deep breath, shakes out her body. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to them,” she says, taking Maggie’s hand and pulling her towards the kitchen.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Kara says, taking the items out of the bag.

“Kara,” Alex cuts in. “This is Maggie. Maggie, this is Kara, my sister.”

If there was ever such a thing as a glare so cold and a smile so deceptively sweet that it could actually kill you, Maggie’s sure that the look Kara’s giving her would fit the description. She’s almost positive that Kara hates her based on that look, and genuinely wonders if she’s actually planning on killing her with kindness or with brute force.

Considering that Kara’s Supergirl, she could very well do the latter.

(Maggie makes a mental note to confront Alex about her sister later, if she survives the day.)

“So nice to meet you,” Kara says with a fake smile. She shakes her hand. “Alex’s told me everything about you.”

Maggie returns a small smile. “Only good things, I hope.”

Kara nods politely, even though the face Kara gives her tells her that they haven’t been.

“You’re not going to introduce your mother, Alex?”

Alex tenses. “Right.” She takes another drink of her beer, finishing it off. “Maggie, this is my mom, Eliza.”

“Hi,” Maggie says.

“Nice to meet you, Mag -”

“We’ve got the turkey,” Winn shouts, walking through the door.

“Two, actually,” another man says, following in behind him.

“I’ve got us four pumpkin pies,” Lucy says.

“You already know Winn, Lucy. That’s Jimmy,” Alex says. They all greet her as they put their things down on the counter.

Kara claps excitedly. “It’s time for Thanksgiving!”

Maggie looks around at the people in the room. Kara looks like she’s having the best day of her life. Winn’s eyeing the turkey as though he hasn’t eaten meat in years. Jimmy and Eliza are arguing who gets to wear the apron and lead the kitchen. Lucy’s back is towards her, washing her hands in the sink, and Alex?

Alex is staring at her with a thoughtful look in her eyes. Her heart stutters, and she forces herself to look away.

She really should have thought it through when she said yes to this.

 

*

 

Three hours in, and Maggie watches Alex move onto her fifth bottle of beer.

“Slow down, Danvers,” Maggie says. “You’re not gonna remember the night if you keep this up.”

They’re sat on the floor, their backs against the wall. Everyone is cooking in the kitchen, but both Alex and Maggie opted out to help cook. While she doesn’t know why Alex isn’t participating, Maggie has a good reason not to. Between Kara’s death glares and Lucy’s presence, she thought it’d be best for her own sake to sit this one out.

Alex ignores Maggie’s comment, and brings the bottle to her lips. “How did you come out to your mom again?”

Maggie looks at her, trying to understand why Alex is asking her this for the second time.

“I told her and my dad one night, during dinner. I was fourteen. We were having lasagna. They were asking me how my day went and I told them about my classes and my friends and then I just...” Maggie shrugs. “I ended up telling them I kissed a girl I really liked.”

Alex takes a deep breath and nods. She swallows the rest of her beer and puts the bottle down on the floor. “I’m gonna,” Alex starts, letting out a small hiccup. “I’m gonna tell her tonight.”

Maggie frowns. “I thought you already told your sister.”

“I did. But I haven’t - I haven’t told my mom yet.” Alex looks at her then. “But I’m gonna tell her tonight.”

“Alex,” Maggie says. “Do you really think this is a good idea?”

Alex gives her a confused look. “I thought you would support me on this.”

“I do, but you’re drunk. Do you really want to come out to your mom this way?”

“You sound just like Lucy.” Alex stands up, wobbling. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my entire life,” Alex slurs, stumbling her way into the kitchen. She watches as Alex opens the fridge to grab another beer, only for Kara to take it from her, pulling her away from the kitchen. Alex pouts and Kara softens. She looks as though she’s actually going to let Alex grab the bottle, until Alex opens her mouth and starts talking, gesturing wildly, pointing at Eliza then at Maggie, and Kara shakes her head emphatically. Kara pulls Alex back into the kitchen, tells Eliza not to let Alex have any more alcohol, and starts heading towards Maggie with angry look on her face.

Maggie’s eyes widen. Oh no. What’s Kara mad at her about now?

“We need to talk.”

“Does it have to be now, Little Danvers?” Maggie asks, hoping to avoid confrontation with Kara. “Because I’m really comfortable where I’m sitting.”

Kara clenches her jaw. “Yes, now.

Maggie hesitates, tries to quickly think of a way to get herself out of this situation. But one look at Kara’s face, and Maggie knows that Kara’s going to make this conversation happen, whether Maggie likes it or not. She has no choice but to say:

“Okay.” Maggie stands up, and follows Kara to the other room.

 

*

 

“You need to stop what you’re doing with Alex.”

Maggie looks at her, confused.

“I’m not doing anything.”

“You are,” Kara says accusingly. “I’ve seen the looks you’ve been giving Alex."

Maggie's eyes widen. She hadn't realize she'd been so obvious.

"Lucy may not notice, but I do.” Kara crosses her arms. “You look at her like you want her and it’s giving her hope.”

Maggie scrunches her face. Hope? Alex still wants to be with her? But she has Lucy -

“She wants to come out to our mom right now because of you even though she’s drunk -”

“Hey,” Maggie counters, feeling defensive. “I suggested her not to do it but she wouldn’t lis -”

“You’re the one who turned her down,” Kara says, poking her shoulder. “And now she’s with Lucy and she’s happy . They both are. They deserve to be. So.” Kara pokes her again. “Stop it.”

Maggie pushes Kara’s hand away from her. “Look, I get it. I just -” Maggie sighs. She closes her eyes and rubs her temples. She’s confused, her head hurts, and she really shouldn’t have drank that fourth bottle of beer in an effort to catch up with Alex.

But even in her haze, Maggie knows that Kara’s right. Alex deserve to be happy, and Maggie giving her these looks - albeit unintentional - and giving her false hope that something could happen between the two of them isn’t fair to Alex. Because even though it hurts her to see Alex with someone else, she can’t be the one to stand in Alex’s way of happiness. She has to move on, and let Alex go.

Maggie takes a deep breath. “You’re right, Kara.” Maggie says, opening her eyes. “I’ll stop and I’ll -”

Maggie looks around. Kara’s not in the room with her anymore.

“Kara?”

She walks outside to the living room, and sees that it’s empty of people. She checks her pocket and takes out her phone.

Alex [7:15 p.m., two days ago]: Kar ssaays u disppeard wen u tw were talkin

Alex [7:15 p.m., two days ago]: wat were u two talking abot??

Alex [7:15 p.m., two days ago]: txt me when u get bck in our tim

Alex [6:15 a.m., yesterday]: Never let me drink that much ever again, Sawyer. You were supposed to keep an eye on me!!

Alex [5:15 p.m., yesterday]: I know you’re not back yet because your phone still says you’re off the grid but please text me back when you get this text.

Alex [5:15 p.m., yesterday]: I know what you’re already thinking and no I’m not being a stalker, no matter what you say.

Maggie snorts at the last message, and responds with:

Maggie [8:15 a.m., today] : Hi stalker. Just got back.

Alex [8:15 a.m., today]: I’m not a stalker! Just a concerned friend.

Alex [8:15a.m., today]: Glad to know you’re alive.

Alex [8:15 a.m., today]: Where’d you go?

Maggie’s stomach grumbles. She looks over to the countertop in the kitchen, where a bowl of fruit sits. She debates whether or not to take one, if it’s worth a scolding from Kara to take without permission.

(Maggie reminds herself that Kara’s Supergirl, and thinks the better of it.)

Maggie [8:15 a.m., today] : These types of questions aren’t helping your case of not being a stalker, Danvers.

Maggie [8:16 a.m., today] : And I don’t know where I went. Closed my eyes for a minute while I was with Kara and then I ended up back here when I opened them.

Alex [8:16 a.m., today]: At Kara’s place?

Maggie [8:16 a.m., today]: Yes.

Alex [8:16 a.m., today]: And yet I’m being accused of being the stalker?

Maggie rolls her eyes, a playful smile tugging on her lips.

Maggie [8:17 a.m., today] : I don’t control where I come back from time travelling, Danvers.

Alex [8:17 a.m., today]: Right, forgot. Sorry.

Alex [8:17 a.m., today]: Need a ride to work?

Maggie considers it. Thinks about texting her yes, thinks about her body pressed against her own as they ride on Alex’s motorcycle, thinks about the warmth of Alex’s clothed abdomen against her hands -

Maggie thinks about Kara’s words, and resolves on no.

She’s about to type it into a message when she feels a gust of wind hit the side of her face. She looks up, and finds a man with a red costume in front of her.

“You’re not Supergirl,” he says. He touches his ear. “Cisco, I think this is the wrong universe.”

Maggie steps back, quickly pulls out her sidearm and aims it at him. “Who the hell are you?”

“Whoa.” He puts his hands out, meaning no harm. “I’m the Flash. Who are you?”

She eyes him suspiciously. “Maggie.”

“Oh!” the Flash says, with a tone of recognition. His demeanor changes instantly, from cautious to friendly. He smiles widely at her. “You’re the girl with the time travelling powers. Supergirl told me to run some tests on you to help figure out what you are.”

Supergirl contacted him? Is this the guy Alex was talking about a month ago?

Maggie still has her gun pointed at him, skeptical. “How do I know that’s true?”

He pauses, holding out a finger. “Let me prove it to you.”

In an instant he’s gone, and in an instant he’s back, this time, with Supergirl.

“Flash, I was in the middle of someth -”

“Could you tell her that you were the one who asked me to help her?”

She turns to see who the Flash is pointing to. When her eyes land on Maggie, she looks surprised. She recovers quickly, though, and Maggie gives an unsure wave with her unoccupied hand, her conversation with Kara still fresh on her mind.

“I asked for the Flash’s help,” Supergirl finally says. “He might be able to figure out why you have your powers. Maybe even reverse it.” She turns to him. “Thanks for helping, by the way.”

He grins. “Anything for a friend.”

Maggie looks at the both of them then, suddenly feeling anxious. She’s been hoping for this moment her entire life - she’d been dreaming about this ever since she got these powers. But now that it’s becoming real, she’s having second thoughts. Of what she might learn about herself. Of the realization that there is no way of nullifying her powers.

(Of the possibility that there may be a way to live a life without powers.)

The reality of it is setting in, and it’s heavier than she could have ever anticipated.

Her eyes settle on Supergirl. She’s looking back at her with guarded eyes, her face, stoic. It’s a look that Maggie’s sure evolved from Alex’s frequent conversations about her with her little sister, and while it’s a look Maggie’s grown accustomed to and has come to associate with Supergirl, it’s not a look that Maggie needs right now. What she needs is a friend, what she needs is Alex but Alex is off-limits and -

The conflict waging inside her mind must show on her face, because the look on Supergirl’s face suddenly softens. Maggie tilts her head, suddenly wonders why Supergirl is showing her kindness, why she wants to help her. She thinks about the aliens who come to Earth alone, without a family, without a home, without an understanding of their new world or how to fit in. She thinks about how they must’ve felt, and she thinks of Supergirl, and she realizes:

How she feels right now isn’t so different from how Supergirl felt when she landed here. Lonely. Nervous. Hopeful. Scared.

Supergirl gives her a small encouraging smile, and Maggie’s heart slows. Even though she and Supergirl aren’t on the best of terms, at least Supergirl understands her in this respect. And if Supergirl is hopeful that the Flash can help her, then maybe the Flash actually can.

Maggie lowers her gun. “Sorry for pointing the gun at you.”

“Happens all the time.” He shrugs as though it’s no big deal.

“I’ll let you two talk.” Supergirl heads towards the window. “Let me know if you two need anything from me,” she says, and flies away.

“So,” Flash begins, holding out his hand. “Ready to find out who you are?”

She looks down at his hand, thinks about all the things that could go wrong and all the disappointment and regret she’ll feel. She thinks about them and and she pushes those thoughts away, and lets herself hope. 

Maggie takes his hand.

“Let’s do it.”

 

Chapter Text

The Flash takes her to his universe, and Maggie soon realizes that it’s not just the Flash who’s going to help her, but a team of three: him, Cisco Ramon, and Caitlin Snow. They ask her what she knows about her own powers, and she tells them: how they manifested when she was ten; how she not only travels through her own timeline, but those close to her; how she can’t control when she time travels, or which time period she travels to, or how long she stays.

She goes on and on and on, and they studiously take notes, discussing hypotheses to test and solutions to try.

Maggie nods as though she understands, and they begin their first experiment.

 

*

 

They poke her, and they prod her, and still, they have yet to find the cause. They murmur terms between each other, of words she’s never heard. Flashpoint. Meta-human. She asks them once, what it all means, but they tell her that until they’re sure, these terms shouldn’t mean a thing to her.

So she sits, and she waits, and she wonders how long she’s been in this universe while being away from her own.

(She wonders if Alex has noticed she’s been gone, or if she even misses her at all, but she knows it’s not her place to wonder that.)

 

*

 

She’s sitting at the conference table one day, resting her head on her hand, kicking her feet up and down out of boredom, when she hears Cisco shout:

“I’ve got it!”

Caitlin hovers over to his desk where he’s built yet another prototype, and Maggie looks over to them, unamused. “Should I be excited? Or is this another false alarm?”

Cisco gives her a pointed look. “Don’t take away my thunder, Sawyer.”

“Hard to take away your thunder when you never had one, Cisco.”

Caitlin shrugs, looks as though she agrees with Maggie. “She’s right about that.”

He frowns, pointing at Caitlin accusingly. “You’re supposed to be on my side, and you, ” he says, pointing at Maggie. “Is this any kind of way to speak to someone who could help you control your powers?”

“We haven’t even figured out how they work yet.”

At that, Cisco grins, as though he knows something she doesn’t. “We’re about to.”

Maggie tilts her head, suddenly interested.

“The reason why all the other hypotheses we tested turned out to be busts was because we were making too many assumptions. So,” Cisco says, holding up his prototype to show her. “I built this bracelet to track your movements, brainwaves, body signatures. That way we’ll know if you’re time travelling by tearing a hole in time, or warping space, or linking psychically to future versions of yourself and others around you, or doing something else entirely. We can iterate on this prototype from there and learn the limitations of your powers, and then we can create a model that can regulate them!”

Maggie rushes off her seat to get a better look at the device, while Caitlin stares at him, impressed. “I know we were talking about it in theory, but I can’t believe you built it in four days.”

Cisco looks pleased with himself as he hands over the device to Maggie. “Thank you.”

“Alright,” Maggie says skeptically, putting it on. “How do we get this thing to work?”

“It only works when you time travel.”

Maggie groans. Yet another game of waiting.

She grudgingly goes back to her seat at the conference table, and rests her head against the table.

Waiting is going to be the death of her.

 

*

 

It seems as though luck is on her side, because she doesn’t have to wait long:

She’s heading towards the vending machine, driven by the growls of her stomach and the impatience of her mind, when she sees the room begin to shift. By now, she knows what this means, but out of habit, tries to blink to get her vision to clear.

Where she finds herself standing instead is in a hospital wing, with an older version of herself, crouched against a cot, crying hysterically. A million questions run through her mind, but she only has time to ask herself one:

“Who is it?”

Her older self looks up at her with glassy eyes, swirling with depths of sadness and pain and guilt. She’s drowning in an ocean of grief, and Maggie doesn’t know what to do. She’s never been here before, she’s never seen this before.

And just like that, the scene in front of her vanishes, replaced by the presence of the Flash and Cisco and Caitlin at Star Labs. They stare at her with intrigue, speak excitedly of the breakthrough that’s to come, and while Maggie should feel the same way, she can barely bring herself to smile. The memory of herself crying and breaking is hardly a cause for celebration.

(Because she knows it can only mean one thing, and she dreads who that will be.)

 

*

 

She waits.

She waits as they stare at screen and give out high-fives. She watches as their smiles become wide, and their scribbles on whiteboards continue to grow.

She waits, and she waits, and she waits, until finally, they tell her:

“We’ve got it.”

She inhales deeply and exhales. This is the moment she’s been waiting for, she tells herself. The answer to the question she’s been asking her entire life. This is it.

She shakes out the nerves in her body, and nods for them to explain.

 

*

 

She’s tearing a hole through time.

She’s tearing a hole through time, being pulled in multiple directions, in different extents.

Imagine it as a vortex, they tell her. Multiple vortices with differing degrees of pressure, determined by how important the event is to her timeline and those closest to her. The more important the event, the more pressure it exerts. The strongest vortex will ultimately pull her in, becoming the event she time travels to.

It’s a lot to take in all at once, and Maggie’s head swirls.

 

*

 

“Okay,” Maggie nods, finally understanding what they’ve been telling her. “But that still doesn’t explain why I have these powers in the first place. I didn’t fall in a vat of waste, I didn’t get struck by lightning, so why do I have them?”

Cisco’s and Caitlin’s eyes go straight to the Flash, and Maggie turns to him. He looks back at her guiltily.

“It’s because of me.”

Maggie doesn’t follow.

“I changed my timestream, once. I went back in time and I change something I shouldn’t have and created an alternate timeline. And even though I tried to fix it, I couldn’t undo it completely. It’s why you have your powers. It’s why you’re meta-human,” the Flash admits. “I’m so sorry.”

It sinks in, slowly. The realization that this person who’s been helping her, this person who’s spent all this time and all this effort and all these resources to try and understand her powers has been the very person who’d caused it in the first place. She thinks of all the things that could’ve been avoided had she not had powers, of all the people gone from her life, and that realization sinks into betrayal. It sinks into hurt. And finally, it settles, and what she feels is anger, flashing through her body, hot.

Maggie grabs her jacket from the back of chair. “Take me back home,” she seethes.

“Maggie,” Cisco says, trying to stop her. “We haven’t modified the bracelet yet to help contr-”

“I don’t care. I can’t be here right now. I can’t be near him right now,” she says, eyeing the Flash with disgust. “Just take me home.”

The Flash nods. His eyes are filled with regret and guilt, but he does as she asks.

 

*

 

They arrive back in her universe as quiet as they’d left it, at the front door of Maggie’s apartment.

“It’s still two days after Thanksgiving here,” the Flash informs her.

She says nothing, and instead, fishes her pocket for her keys and takes them out.

“We’re going to figure out some way to reverse your powers,” he promises. “I won’t let you be another person who has to shoulder my mistake.”

She ignores him, opening the door. She feels a gust of wind against her face. She doesn’t need to turn around to know that he’s gone.

Maggie enters her apartment, and closes the door behind her. She throws her keys on the counter, and heads to her bedroom. She searches for pajama tops and bottoms, and changes out of her clothes. She stands in front of the mirror, and she stares.

She’d expected to feel differently. She’d expected to feel lighter somehow, to finally know. But as she’s standing in her apartment alone, staring at the girl in front of her, all she feels is the heavy weight of knowing and the crushing burden of helplessness.

She's standing in her apartment alone and she wonders how she’s supposed to feel now.

 

*

 

She’s brushing her teeth, getting ready to go to bed, when she hears a knock on the door.

She checks the time. It’s 10 at night. Who’s visiting her this late?

She rinses her mouth and hears a knock again. She pads over to the front door, and checks the peep hole.

It’s Alex.

Maggie quickly tries to fix her hair as best as she can, smooths out her pajamas, and opens the door.

“Danvers,” Maggie greets.

“Hey,” Alex says, holding a grocery bag in one hand and a pizza box in the other. “Heard you met with the Flash.” Maggie tilts her head at that, wonders how she’s heard that information already. “Supergirl told me,” Alex clarifies. “And also he came by the DEO earlier to apologize, which means something not so great must’ve happened while you were over there. So…” Alex lifts both hands. “I came prepared.”

Maggie stares at her then, looks at her worried eyes and her small smile and the bags she’s carrying in her hands, and Maggie’s heart can’t help but swell with fondness. It’s a warmth deep within her chest that kindles quietly, steadily - a soothing warmth that blooms whenever Alex is around. It’s a feeling Maggie wants to hold onto for as long as she can, for as tightly as she can. And even though Maggie knows she should stomp the feeling away and tell Alex to go home, even though her conversation with Kara still nags in the back of her mind, Alex is staring back at her, with an unconditional offer to be her friend.

And what Maggie really needs right now is a friend.

“So can I come in?” Alex asks, unsure.

“Yeah,” Maggie says, moving to the side of the door. “You can come in.”

 

Chapter Text

Maggie tells her everything:

About Caitlin, about Cisco. About the things they’d built for her, the discoveries they’d made. She tells her about the hope she’d felt, the brief sense of control and freedom, to finally know how her powers actually work. She tells her about the Flash and Flashpoint, how he’d been the one who’d caused this all, how he gets walks away from his own mistake, while she’s left bearing it for a lifetime.

Alex nods patiently through it all, and by the end of it, Maggie realizes she’s crying. It’s then that Alex leans in, across the distance set between them, and wraps her arms around her tightly. Maggie tenses, but only for a second: When she feels Alex’s hand rub circles on her back, realizes that Alex is solid and warm and safe, she slumps against her.

Maggie finally lets go, and she cries.

 

*

 

When Maggie’s sobs turn into quiet sniffles, Alex mumbles:

“Want me to kick his ass for you?”

Maggie lets out a laugh, wiping her eyes. “I don’t think you can take on the fastest guy alive.”

“I would for you.”

Alex looks at her, genuinely meaning it, and something about that tugs hard in Maggie’s chest. It feels something like comfort, but warmer. Something like gratitude, but softer. Something like adoration, but bigger.

It feels like something, and Maggie can’t quite figure it out.

So instead of mulling over it, she goes with instinct. She does what feels right. She wraps her arms around Alex and says:

“Thank you.”

She feels Alex nod against her shoulder and a hand come around her waist. “Anytime.”

The pizza’s gone cold and the ice cream’s all but melted, but neither of them seem to mind.

Between the two of them, they have all the time in the world.

 

*

 

They fall back into conversation, as though their friendship hadn’t stilted in the past three weeks. It flows easily. They talk about what Maggie had missed after she’d disappeared from Thanksgiving, about James and Winn playing pretend as Guardian, and her attempts at trying to come out to her mother, which then led to:

“Wait, that’s how your mom found out you’re gay?” Maggie asks, her mouth full of cold pizza.

Alex’s cheeks turn a brighter shade of red, and Maggie laughs.

“I can’t believe your mom caught you and Lucy making out at the DEO. For an agent you sure are-”

Alex throws a pillow at her, and even though it hits Maggie square in the face, it only serves to make her laugh harder.

 

*

 

“It’s getting late.”

Maggie looks at the clock. It’s 4 a.m.

“I guess it is.”

Neither of them make a move to get off the couch.

Alex looks around the floor at the mess they made. “I should probably help clean up.”

Maggie shrugs. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll do it later.”

“No, no. I should -” Alex spots the coffee table, and frowns. “We didn’t get to the ice cream.”

“I’ll eat it tonight.”

Alex scrunches her face. “You’re going to eat melted ice cream?”

“It’s soup now.”

Alex shaking her head in disbelief. “You sound just like Kara.”

“Hm, your sister sounds smart.”

“Hah,” Alex says, taking out her phone. “I’ll be sure to tell her you said that.”

Maggie takes that moment to rests her head on the back of the couch while Alex types out a text to Kara. She stares at Alex then, scanning across her features, sees the hinting smile on her lips, to the small freckles dotted on her cheeks, to her sharp, sharp jawline, to her eyes, and how they shine bright from the light of the phone.

She’s beautiful, Maggie thinks, but even that word fails to capture what Alex is. She’s beautiful and smart and kind and loyal and brave and if there was a word that could come close to describe everything that Alex is, it’s this:

Perfect.

It’s a thought that brings with it a desperate plea, thumping against her chest and clawing its way up her throat to make itself be heard. To tell Alex not to go.

She’s about to draw up the courage to ask her this, but then she sees Alex’s face fall.

“Oh,” Alex says. “Lucy’s wondering where I am.”

And just like that, her question dies in the back of her throat.

Right. Lucy.

Alex isn’t hers. Not to keep, and not to stay.

Maggie stands up, trying to avoid eye contact with Alex. “You should get going, Danvers.”

She sees Alex nod in the corner of her eye, and she leads her to the door.

“Talk to you tomorrow?”

She nods halfheartedly.

“Maggie,” Alex says softly, and Maggie looks up.

“I promise,” she says, and tries to mean it.

Alex thinks it’s good enough and hugs her goodnight. When she leaves, Maggie closes the door, and leans her head against it. She sighs.

She has to find another girl and move on.

 

*

 

She tries dating for exactly two weeks. Tries being the operative word.

That night, after Alex left, Maggie made herself a Tinder profile and skimmed through all the profiles. For every time she swiped right, she swiped left 50 times, and by the time she falls asleep, she’s lined herself up 14 dates. One for each night.

(She should’ve known that would be a start of a disaster).

It starts like this:

They agree to meet at a bar for drinks. She’s sitting alone, nursing a glass of scotch, when she feels a tap on the shoulder.

“Hi, you must be Maggie. I’m Lane.”

The first thought that runs through her mind is She’s too blonde. She tries to push it away and give her a chance. Maggie buys her a glass of whatever she likes and they spend the entire night making out at the back of the bar. They leave separately, and Maggie doesn’t call her the next morning.

She was too blonde, Maggie tells herself, and moves on to the next.

On her second date, they decide to meet at a club. She’s a brunette this time, and Maggie thinks they’re going to hit it off until the woman leans in to greet her with a hug and then she thinks she’s too tall. When they move to the dance floor and she feels her body pressed against her own, Maggie thinks that this doesn’t feel right at all.

Maggie decides to go home early, thanks her for a good night, and walks home alone.

It becomes a pattern, then. The third woman she goes on a date with, too muscular. The fourth, too curvy. The fifth, too thin. The list goes on and on and on of all the things that were wrong with them, and by the end of the fourteen date, she falls onto her bed, exhausted.

Fourteen dates, and she’s no closer to getting over Alex.

 

*

 

“How’d your date last night go?”

Maggie shrugs. “Wasn’t the best.”

She and Alex have been speaking more often. Not as much as they had been before Lucy and Alex started dating, but enough. Enough to banter without feeling awkward, enough to have conversations like this.

Alex looks at her, curious. “What’s wrong with her this time?”

She wasn’t you , Maggie wants to say, but opts instead for: “Just didn’t feel it.”

Alex rolls her eyes. “I guess no one can meet your standards huh, Sawyer.”

“That’s not true,” Maggie says, tries not to look at her when she says it. Alex gives her a strange look that she doesn’t catch, too preoccupied with ordering another round of beer for the both of them and hoping Alex drops this conversation.

She does, thankfully. Alex ends up talking about Kara and the trouble she’s gotten herself into at work, and Maggie sighs heavily with relief.

When they part ways and say goodbye, Maggie doesn’t feel half as miserable as she has been the past two weeks.

But, oddly enough, tonight, she feels twice as empty.



Chapter Text

They fall back into a routine.

On Wednesdays they meet at Noonan’s for lunch, discuss the recent cases and update each other on the new things that are happening in their lives (“Kara’s put up two Christmas trees in her apartment already.” “Two?” “Yeah, she’s planning to put two more in mine.” “Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me at all, Danvers.”).

On Saturdays, they grab a quick drink at the alien bar, play pool until Maggie goes for broke and loses all her money. Alex always offers to drink until she sees double, to give Maggie an advantage and actually win, but it only makes Maggie more determined to beat Alex sober.

On Mondays, sometimes, they hang out at Alex’s apartment. When they’re working late on a case and Lucy is away, and Alex decides that it’s time for them to catch a break. They head over with a bag full of processed food and alcohol and terrible movies and they sit on a couch together. Just the two of them.

It’s Mondays Maggie prefers the most, when she gets to sit on the couch, opposite from Alex, and watch another bad action movie with poor CGI and terrible acting, curled under a blanket with her legs propped up on Alex’s lap.

It’s days like these that remind her how grateful she is to have Alex in her life, even if it’s days like these that make her struggle the most with the line between being friends, and wanting more.

 

*

 

She’s watching the Terminator with Alex when it happens:

One minute she’s laying on the couch, doing a bad impersonation of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Alex halfheartedly throws popcorn at her, and the next she feels herself land on concrete.

She groans from the pain. Her tailbone’s going to be sore in the morning.

She rolls on her hands and stands up, dusts her pants off. She looks around. It’s dark. There aren’t any streetlights for miles. There’s nothing but warehouses that surround her. They’re empty from the looks of it, except -

She hears cheers. Shouts. Boos. Bells, ringing.

She heads towards the sound, careful not to make any noise. The cheers become louder and louder as she keeps walking, but the warehouses she’s coming across are pitch black. For a brief moment, she thinks that it’s all in her mind, that maybe she’s hallucinating the sounds, but then she sees it:

One of the warehouses, lit up like a beacon.

“You have a ticket to be here?”

Maggie freezes. She looks down at her holster. It’s empty. She must’ve left her gun at Alex’s apartment.

Damn it.

Maggie looks around her. Run out of here, or reason with him?

She hears a gun cock behind her.

“Last time I’m asking.”

She runs.

Rocks crunch against the sole of her boots as shots fire behind her. They ring against her ears. She pushes her legs to go as fast as they can. Her lungs are burning by the time she makes it to the side of the wall. She tries to catch her breath, her body humming with adrenaline.

“Oh come on,” he goads, reloading his gun. “Come out here so I can make this quick.”

She looks around for an exit. She needs to get out of here, fast.

“Are you ready for the next battle?”

She turns her head. That sounded like -

She feels a wave of bullets pummel against the wall, hears a roar of cheers emanating through the air. She bolts to the next warehouse, seeking cover.

“Nowhere to run, little lady.”

She hears his footsteps come toward her. Her heart is beating out of her chest, but she tries to keep calm. She leans near the edge of the wall, crouched on the ground, and waits. Waits until his footsteps come closer, waits until she sees his shadow on the concrete. She waits until she can almost feel him on the other side of the wall, and the she pounces, propelling all of her weight from her feet. She feels her shoulder make direct impact against their torso, pushing both of them onto the floor.

“Ooph. Maggie!”

She blinks.

It’s Alex.

She leans back onto her hands, looks around. She’s back at Alex’s apartment. In her living room. Laying on top of Alex. Who’s currently blushing.

Maggie scrambles to get off of her. “Sorry,” she says.

“It’s okay,” Alex says, sounding slightly winded. She sits up, watches as Maggie grabs her jacket from the back of the chair, heading towards the door. “Care to explain to me what just happened?”

“I’ll tell you on the way to the DEO.”

Alex looks at her, confused. “Wait, why?”

“Because I know where to find Roulette.”

 

*

 

Warehouses, Maggie tells her.

Somewhere in National City, full of warehouses. That’s where Roulette is hosting her fight club. That’s where they’ll get her.

Alex nods with full conviction and rallies up the troops. J’onn, Supergirl - everyone. Half of them don’t seem convinced that they should be doing this, but they have faith in Alex, and Alex has faith in her, which means:

They suit themselves up with armor, and drive to the only location that fits Maggie’s description: desolate, remote, and abundant with warehouses.

 

*

 

She’s been here before. Two months ago, she remembers.

She was behind those crates, watching them struggle against the aliens. She remembers Alex saving her, remembers running into the crossfire and pushing Alex out of harms way, being stabbed right through her abdomen, bleeding through her clothes -

Except she’s not. She’s right here behind Alex, watching her urging her younger self to stay awake.

“Don’t close your eyes,” Alex begs, shaking her shoulders.

Maggie walks up to her. “Alex.”

“Don’t you dare close your -”

“Alex,” she says softly.

Her younger self vanishes from Alex’s arms, and Alex’s face turns frighteningly blank. Maggie puts a hand on her shoulder.

“Alex, I’m right here.”

Alex looks at her then, her eyes swirling with a mixture of emotions that Maggie can't decipher. She watches as they dart from her eyes to her lips and back to her eyes, and before Maggie can process what’s happening, Alex kisses her. It’s hurried and desperate and not at all what Maggie expected their second kiss to be, and just like that, it’s over, as quickly as it came.

Alex pulls away from her. It’s the look that’s etched on Alex’s face that tells Maggie everything she needs to know.

“I should - we should get Roulette,” Alex stutters out, hurriedly walking the other way.

When Maggie turns around to grab her gun, she spots Supergirl, looking at her darkly.

 

*

 

To their chagrin, Roulette escapes again.

They sweep the scene for clean-up, for evidence. It’s an eventful night with an uneventful end - a night full of paperwork to be done tomorrow morning, and no one to apprehend. They make plans to meet at the DEO in the coming days, to go over what they know and where they think Roulette will be at next. When they say their goodbyes, it’s curt and awkward, and they walk away without the light banter they used to have.

When Maggie finally gets back to her apartment and lies in her bed, she replays their kiss over and over in her head.

The kiss didn't mean anything. Not from the way Alex pulled away, and certainly not from the way she looked at her after: with deep regret, as though she shouldn't have done it in the first place. Which is fine. The aches in her chest are nothing more than an afterthought, of wanting something she knows she can't have and Alex doesn't want.

The kiss shouldn't mean anything. They're meant to be friends, nothing more.

(She falls asleep convincing herself that, even though her heart disagrees, hurting far more than she would ever admit.)

 

*

 

They don't talk.

Maggie doesn't call her, and Alex doesn't text her. Maggie avoids every opportunity of running into Alex, and she assumes Alex is doing the same.

It's a week of this when she hears through Vasquez that Lucy broke up with Alex. For a moment, her finger hovers over Alex's name in her contacts, debating whether or not to press it. In the end, she thinks the better of it.

If Alex wanted to talk to her, she'd call.

 

Chapter Text

She’s in the middle of sleeping when she gets woken up by a loud banging on the door.

“Maggie,” she hears, all muffled. “It’s Kara. Open up the door.”

Maggie groans, pulling a pillow over her head. It’s too early for this.

The bangs continue.

“I know you’re in there!”

She burrows deeper under the covers, hoping Kara will go away.

“If you don’t open this door,” Kara warns. “I’ll tell Supergirl to break it down.”

That gets Maggie to sit up. She can’t afford to ask the landlord to replace the door - again. He’d already given her a hard time about that once before, when Darla came through her apartment and knocked it down after they’d broken up. Telling him that it was an alien that did it once - that’s a rarity. Telling him that an alien did it twice? He might as well blame it on her, foot her the entire bill and kick her out of her apartment.

Maggie gets out of the bed reluctantly and pads through her living room.

“Hurry up!”

“Hold on,” she mumbles, knowing full well Kara can hear her. She opens the door, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.

“Alex locked herself in her apartment,” Kara says in lieu of a greeting. “She won’t talk to me.”

Maggie scrunches her face, not sure where Kara’s going with this. “And you want me to…?”

Kara’s eyebrows furrow, her face all huffy, like she wants to say something she knows she’ll regret but has better self-control than that.

“Fix this. Talk to her.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m the last person she’d want to see right now.”

“Try,” Kara pushes, not taking no for an answer. “You’re the only other person she talks to about this stuff.”

“Okay, okay,” Maggie says. She runs a hand through her hair, leans against the door. “Can I at least get ready first? Or do you want me to go to her place looking like this?”

Kara gives her a once over, finally noticing the state Maggie’s in: her hair wild and unbrushed, her eyes squinting from the lack of caffeine, and her body outfitted with a large sleep shirt and polka dot pajama boxers.

Maggie arches an eyebrow at her and Kara’s expression turns sheepish. “Yes, of course. I, um, sorry for barging in so early in the morning. I just - I’m worried about my sister.”

“I get it. I’ll come by later today.”

Kara nods. “Let me know how it goes.” It sounds more like an order than it does a friendly goodbye, but Maggie lets it go.

“See you,” she says, and closes the door behind her. She heads back to her room and falls onto bed, front first.

Her head swirls in the morning haze, jumbled with the words Kara’s said and the rampant thoughts she wants to put to rest. They twist and tangle in her mind, slowly melding into one single thing, and her stomach lurches.

(She wants Alex, even when she shouldn’t. Even when she claims she doesn’t.

It's that thought alone that weighs on her the most, more so than anything else.)

She pulls the covers back over her head, resolving to stay in bed for as long as she can.

 

*

 

That resolve doesn’t last long, but not for her lack of trying.

Danny calls her in to finish her reports, only to tell her to take the day off when she steps foot in the office. So she goes to the nearest Chinese restaurant she and Alex used to frequent, seeking comfort in food and fond memories, only to end up ordering Alex’s favorite dish out of habit. She grabs a hold of the extra containers that were meant to feed more than one of her, heads to the grocery store to stock up on beer, but absentmindedly leaves with Alex’s choice of whiskey instead.

By then, Maggie takes it as a sign for something she can’t avoid facing, and heads to the one place all roads are leading her to:

Alex.

 

*

 

She’s been standing in front of Alex’s door for quite some time.

Long enough for her to notice that the paint is chipped at the tiniest corners of the hallway. For her to count all the slabs of hardwood on the floor, twice. For Alex’s neighbors to greet her tentatively with a wave, and eye her suspiciously when they still find her standing in the same place.

She’s been standing here for too damn long and she knows it.

Maggie takes a deep breath, and knocks on the door.

“I don’t want to talk about it, Kara.”

“I’m not Kara.”

A pause.

“Maggie?”

She hears footsteps pad towards the door. After a few moments, it opens.

“Hey,” Alex says, her voice hoarse.

She looks like she’s been crying.

“Hey,” Maggie says softly. “Your sister told me you needed a pick-me-up, so I, um, brought some supplies.” She lifts the bag full of alcohol and Chinese take-out as proof, and offers it to her, to which Alex accepts.

“Thanks.” Alex smiles at her, but it feels half-hearted and done out of politeness.

They stand there in silence.

“So, um,” Maggie starts. She rubs the back of her neck out of nervousness. “I…” She lets out a heavy sigh. “I’m not good at this, Danvers. With break-ups and all of that. But if you need someone to listen, I’m here.”

Alex looks down at the contents in the bag, purses her lips. When she looks back up at her, it’s with tired eyes and slump shoulders. Maggie feels her chest tighten for the girl in front of her.

Alex looks miserable.

“Can you help me finish this bottle?” she asks, taking out the handle of whiskey.

“Yeah,” Maggie nods. “Of course, Danvers.”

“Okay.”

She moves aside, and lets Maggie pass through.

 

*

 

She’s drunk with Alex before, and this time is no different:

Three shots and Alex loosens. Her smile becomes lazy, and her shoulders relax. Her eyes drift from her and to the floor, and Maggie can tell Alex is burrowed in her own mind, quiet and contemplative. She watches her dwell, lets the alcohol slither down both their throats, burning their mouth, and letting it settle.

Five shots and Alex starts talking, speaks easily about the little things she adores. Like the Christmas trees Kara put up and laboured over. How the snow falls on Christmas day. Kara’s nervous laugh, when she’s caught in a lie and tries so hard to deny it. The way Maggie smiles, and how it always seems to brighten up the room.

(Maggie blushes at her last remark, but Alex doesn’t see it.

Alex is drunk. That’s what Maggie reasons, against the fluttering in her chest.)

She fills up her own glass, lets Alex talk until she’s left with the words she means to say.

 

*

 

It takes seven shots.

Seven shots until Alex’s face shifts from soft to serious. When she stares quietly at her glass and finally admits:

“She said she wanted someone who was committed in a relationship, that she deserved someone who puts her first.”

She pauses then, swirling the contents in her glass. Maggie lets her take her time, watches as Alex’s expression becomes somber, and downs another shot.

“She said that I didn’t,” Alex continues, pouring herself another glass. “She’s right. She deserves someone better.”

Maggie tries to think of words of comfort, but none of them seem good enough. None of them capture what she really wants to say, which is this:

There’s no one better than you. You’re it.

But they feel too much like words of honesty and not at all words said out of sympathy. So instead, she settles for:

“She doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.”

Alex gives her a small smile, though her eyes seem unconvinced.

“Thanks, Maggie,” Alex says, and clinks their glasses together.

She looks down at her own drink, her chest tightening with the eight words she still wants to say.

She takes another shot, hoping those words will wash away.

 

*

 

They run out of whiskey not long after.

Alex tips the bottle over, frowns when no more liquid drips out of it. Maggie offers to run out and buy more, even though she’s laying on the floor with her vision seeing twos. Alex shakes her head, standing up from the couch.

“I have work tomorrow, and so do you.”

It’s her cue to leave. Maggie knows this, but her body won’t move and her head’s still spinning. She closes her eyes to get it to stop, tries to focus on the calmness of her breath and breathes, in and out.

She feels a hand lift her head and cushion a pillow beneath.

“Hold on,” Maggie mumbles, her eyes still closed. She half-heartedly tries to get up. “Let me just get some water and I can walk back to my ap-”

Alex pushes her shoulder back down. “You can sleep over, it’s fine.” Maggie wants to protest, but words won’t form in her mouth. She feels a blanket cover the length of her body, and immediately relax from the warmth it offers.

“I’ll leave an Advil and some water on the table.”

Maggie nods, burrowing herself deeper under the blanket.

“Thank you for tonight, Maggie,” Alex says softly. “I really needed it.”

She feels a hand squeeze her shoulder, hears footsteps pad away from her. It’s a moment later that she hears the door close, the shower turn on, and the soft pitter patters of water falling in the background.

Her mind begins to drift, slipping out of consciousness. She submits herself to sleep, to the sound of what her life with Alex could’ve been, if things between them had began differently.

 

Chapter Text

Maggie wakes up with a splitting headache.

She groans, rubbing her temples. She rolls to her side, trying to find a comfortable position and ease the throbbing in her head, only to frown when she feels how hard the surface is on her shoulder.

She’s not in her own bed.

Maggie opens her eyes grudgingly, squints from the brightness of the sunlight. White lamps. Chandeliers. Marble tables. Grey walls.

Alex’s apartment. Right. She slept over.

She sits up slowly, leans her back against the couch. She reaches for the end table behind her, for the glass of water and Advil that Alex had left last night, and finds a note perched underneath them. She pops the pill in her mouth, washes it down with water, and reads the note.

Had to leave for a case.

You can borrow a toothbrush in the bathroom. It’s under the sink. There are donuts on the counter if you’re hungry. I also left some clothes out on the couch for you to change into, if you want.

Thanks again for coming over last night. I’m really grateful to have you as my friend.

-Alex.

A smile tugs at her lips, her heart swelling at Alex’s thoughtfulness. She stands up to grab the clothes off the couch and changes into them - leather jacket and all. Her hands barely reach the ends of the sleeves, and the band of the jeans hugs too high around her hips, but she looks in the mirror and she thinks:

They fit perfectly.

She heads to the bathroom to brush her teeth, quickly grabs a donut from the kitchen counter, and runs out the door to head to work.

 

*

 

Danny assigns her to the Project Cadmus case.

A government facility gone rogue, he tells her. A lab with the sole purpose of protecting humans through the means of researching aliens. At least, it did. Now It’s defected, becoming an anti-alien organization they never intended it to be. He tells her this with a straight face, as though what Cadmus had been doing before was through ethical means, but Maggie’s read the classified intel and she knows better than that:

What they did was experiment. What they did was torture. Tortured until they learned what they wanted to know, threw them aside when they’d lost interest, and waited for them to die.

It was an anti-alien organization from the start, and Maggie feels her blood boil.

“The DEO will be partnering up with us for this case.”

Maggie mutters in acknowledgement, swiftly grabbing her keys off her desk.

“Don’t make us look bad, Maggie.”

She gives him the deuces, and heads for the door.

He shouldn’t worry about that. She’s going to take Cadmus down, one way or another.

 

*

 

The room is tense when she enters it.

“Man am I glad to see you,” Winn greets. The look on his face tells her that she should brace herself for what’s to come, but she doesn’t know why. She looks around the room, sees Alex’s nervous expression and Supergirl's concerned features, and wonders what she’d just walked into.

“Maggie,” Hank says. He nods towards the open chairs. “Grab a seat. We’ve been briefing on the Cadmus case and our next steps. I’ll start from what you already know.”

She does as he asks and sits down next to Alex. Alex gives her a small smile, and immediately turns back to face Hank.

“Alright,” Hank says. “Let’s go over what we know so far.”

 

*

 

He starts her briefing with this:

They have a lead.

Some of the Cadmus members are holding an invitation-only convention in National City. About what, the DEO isn’t sure, but this convention could give them intel on who’s involved with Cadmus, what they’re planning on doing, and why.

The DEO’s plan is simple: Winn will hack into their system and insert the aliases of two agents who will take on this undercover mission. One for Alex, and the other for -

“So...you want me to do it?” Maggie asks.

“Yes,” Hank says.

“Wait, why can't I do this mission with Alex,” Supergirl whines.

Everyone gives her a pointed look.

“You’re not exactly the undercover type,” Winn says, as though he’s trying to break the truth to her lightly.

Supergirl glares at him, but no one in the room disagrees.

“If no one else has any questions with what we discussed,” Hank says, breaking the silence, “we’ll move forward with the mission.” He looks at Alex and Maggie then. “I trust you two can work with Winn to develop your covers?”

They nod.

“Right then, the rest of us will remain here.”

Supergirl crosses her arms. “They always get all the fun,” she sulks.

“Ready for another undercover mission, Danvers?” Maggie asks teasingly. She elbows Alex’s side and feels her stiffen slightly.

Alex gives her a tentative smile. “Of course. We’ve done it before. This should be a walk in the park.”

“Alright, we’ve got two hours to get your covers hammered out and for me to hack into their system. Let's go," Winn says, motioning them to follow him.

"After you," Maggie says to Alex, and they exit the room with Winn leading the way.

Chapter Text

“But don’t you think this dress is too tight for what this mission calls for?” Alex asks, pulling down the ends of her dress.

Maggie gives her another once-over.

“First of all,” she says, raising her index finger. “You’re supposed to look like a rich CEO. And two.” She raises her second finger. “Sex appeal is the key to espionage. You’re hot, Danvers. Own it.”

Alex looks down shyly. “Thanks,” she mumbles, blushing, and for a second, it feels as though the past few weeks never happened and nothing’s changed. When their friendship wasn’t as fraught as it is, when things between them weren’t so complicated.

“I agree with Maggie,” Winn suddenly says in their comm, startling them. “You look hot.”

“Winn,” she says, looking annoyed at the nearest security camera. “Stop creeping up on us like that.”

“Hey, maybe leave your comms off until after your girl talk,” Winn mocks.

Maggie walks towards the security camera, arches her brow. “Do I not look hot enough for you to compliment, Winn?”

“Course you do, Maggie. That dress,” he says, making a clicking sound with his mouth. “You look great.”

“If you’re done, can you refocus and let us know if everything’s in position?”

“Sour mood today, Alex?”

Alex rolls her eyes. “Winn.

“Okay, okay. They are. Your covers have been added onto the invite list - Alex, you’re Sam, Maggie, you’re Brooke, and you two are the power couple from Wisconsin. I’ll be on the comm the entire time leading you through the place. And remember, reinforcements are surrounding the perimeter if you need them -”

“Which we won’t,” Maggie says confidently.

“But if you do,” Hank interjects in the comm, “we’ll be there.”

“Got it,” Alex says. She looks at Maggie. “Ready?”

Maggie smirks. “Born ready.”

 

*

 

They pass through the entrance in a breeze. They head towards the crowd of people, assessing their surroundings. What find is the typical: recognizable mayors, senators and billionaires scattered throughout the room; security guards flanking every exit. There’s a corridor to their right, which leads up a set of stairs.

“Split up?”

Maggie nods. “You take the crowd, see what you can find. I’ll take wherever that leads me.”

“I’ll see you back here in an hour.”

Maggie discreetly makes her way towards the right side of the room, vaguely hears Alex say, “Hi, I’m Sam” as she heads up the stairs.

 

*

 

The set of stairs leads her to a hallway of rooms, and the rooms, surprisingly, have been full of nothing but -

“Junk,” Maggie sighs, rummaging through drawers littered with scribbled paper.

“There must be something in one of those rooms.”

“I’m having less faith by the second, Alex,” Maggie says, standing up. “I passed by a room earlier dedicated to all the volumes of the encyclopedia.”

A pause.

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope.”

“But, why?”

“Who knows?” Maggie walks towards the wall of books. “Because whoever does, I’d like to ask them why this room has so many copies of the same book.” She pulls one from the middle row, skims through the pages.

“At least you’re not having married men hit on you.”

Jealousy run sharply down her spine and she pushes the feeling away.

She has no right to feel this way, she reminds herself.

“You should’ve worn a ring,” she tsks jokingly. She hears Alex greet someone on the other side of the comm.

“Not like it deters them anyway,” Alex says under her breath.

Maggie hums in agreement. She’s tried that before too, and it never works.

She flips the book over and shakes it for loose pages.

Nothing.

She sighs. Another dead end.

She goes to put the book back in its place, but as she does so, she notices something off about the lining of the shelf. Curious, she runs her fingers across it.

It’s uneven.

She takes all of the books off the middle shelf to expose the lining, dumping them on the floor. She uses her nails to peel the edges off, and what she finds underneath is a piece of paper, written in a coded language.

She purses her lips. This might be something.

She folds the paper and puts it inside her left boot. She places the books back on the shelf and leaves the room, heading back down the stairs to find Alex.

 

*

 

She hears a loud applause as she makes her way out of the corridor.

“Thank you all for coming here tonight,” she hears as she approaches the threshold. She turns to face the stage, to see who’s speaking. To her surprise, it’s Lillian Luthor.

“You may know me as Lillian Luthor, mother of Lex Luthor, wife of the late Lionel Luthor. But tonight, I’d like to see me as this: protector of the human race.”

The crowd goes silent, but it doesn’t deter her.

“Our world has been overrun by aliens.”

The room mumbles in agreement, and Maggie’s brows furrow in confusion.

“You know this,” she continues. “I know this - the world can see this with each passing day, as headlines report more and more crimes committed by aliens. But I,” she says emphatically. “Want to change all of that. I want to create a world where these parasites no longer exist. I want to create a world where Earth is home to humans and only humans, like it was meant to be.” Lillian raises her glass. “Who’s with me?”

The crowd cheers, raising their glasses along with her, and Maggie clenches her fists. This room is full of anti-alien sympathizers. She shouldn’t have expected anything different, but still, it makes her seethe with anger.

“Glad to hear it,” Lillian says with a smile. “We’ll be contacting you in the coming months on how you can help. For now, enjoy the rest of your evening - we have plenty of drinks and food to go around.” They clap for her one more time as she descends from the stage.

She looks around the room to find Alex - there’s nothing left for them here. As she scans for Alex’s face, her eyes are met with another’s across the room, and her face falls.

It’s Roulette.

“Hey,” she hears Alex say, nudging her. “Did you get everything you needed up there?”

She sees Roulette head towards the security guards.

They need to go, she thinks. Now.

“We need to leave,” Maggie says hurriedly, pulling Alex along with her. Alex gives her a confused look. “Roulette’s here,” she explains, before talking to her comm. “Winn, we need the fastest route out of here.”

“Head to the restroom on your right. On the last stall there’s a vent that leads to the back of the house. We’ll get a car to meet you there.”

They walk as fast as they can to the restroom, looking behind them every so often to check if they’re being trailed.

“Why’s Roulette at an anti-alien convention? Doesn’t she need aliens on Earth to exploit?”

“She follows where the money goes,” Maggie suggests, opening the door to the restroom. She locks the door behind them as Alex pulls the metal frame off the vent. “Knowing her, she’d traffic aliens here just to get paid to get rid of them.”

She feels someone slam the door against her back.

“Go, go,” Maggie rushes, and Alex begins crawling through the vents. Maggie follows suit.

Of all the ways she'd expected this mission to go, none of them accounted for this: getting caught by someone they’ve met before and being forced to wriggle through the narrow space to make their escape.

 

*

 

They debrief on the mission the next day, about Lillian’s speech, Roulette’s surprising attendance, and their observations.

As Maggie hands over the piece of paper she'd taken from the event, Hank tells them that their mission was successful. She doesn’t know if she’d consider it that: It raised more questions than it did answers, and they've risked exposure to the Cadmus members.

 

*

 

Each person on the case is assigned a different task, to decode the cryptic paper, to gather intel on Lillian Luthor, to find the connection between all the attendees of the event. And while she and Alex are working on different parts of the case, oddly enough, she finds herself spending more time at Alex’s apartment than she ever has before. Most of the time it’s to work on the case, but other times it’s to take breaks playing board games and watching reruns of whatever’s on tv.

But even with all that time spent together, the one thing they don’t do is talk about the kiss. Maggie doesn’t mind, though - she’s not sure she even wants to. They’re in a good place now, and talking about it might change what they have.

She looks across the table, at Alex pursing her lips as she looks between the Scrabble board and the letters she has.

Talking about it might mean losing Alex, and she can’t afford to risk that.

 

*

 

“She’s been eyeing you all night, Danvers.”

Alex doesn't look up, instead remaining focused on the cue ball in front of her. “I'm sure she's looking at you instead of me,” she says, sinking a pool ball in the corner pocket.

“I'm pretty sure she's not,” Maggie says. She nods in the girl’s direction and the girl smiles politely at her. She looks down at her glass then, feels dread begin to wallow in the pit of her stomach, at the thought what she’s about to do. Every muscle in her body is telling her not to, but she swallows her pride and says it anyway.

“You should go talk to her.”

“Worry less about my love life and more about this game you're losing, Sawyer,” Alex goads, knocking another pool ball down the pocket. “Unless you want to buy another round of drinks again.”

“I just don't want you to be hung up on Lucy,” Maggie pushes. “You're a catch, Alex.”

Alex stands up straight, then. “I’m not ready,” she admits, and Maggie feels her body loosen from tension, letting out a sigh of relief. “After what happened with Lucy, I’m not in a rush to jump in another relationship. And besides,” she adds, leaning forward against the pool table with her pool stick. “Right here is where I want to be,” she says, before knocking down the black pool ball down the pocket.

Her heart skips a beat.

“Looks like I win, Sawyer,” Alex says, bringing the beer to her lips. “Next round’s on you.”

Her eyes linger on Alex’s body, the sound of her heart pounding against her ears. Her head runs rampant at what Alex just said, at what she’s implying.

She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“Yeah,” Maggie says, trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach. “It’s on me.”

Alex doesn’t mean what Maggie thinks she means, Maggie tells herself, and goes to order another round of beer. As she heads back to their table, glasses in hand, she tries to not think too much into it.

They’re friends. Just friends.