Epilogue: This Looks Like a Job For...!


"Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear until my dream of a world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share, I will never stop fighting! Ever!" – Superman


Four Months Later

"But since I never got the two of you a housewarming gift the first time you moved in here, I figured I'd do it this time. If that's okay, of course." Tony Stark grinned and handed Louise a package that looked professionally wrapped, with festive paper and ribbons and a trio of very small balloons.

"Thank you, Mr. Stark." Louise was a little flustered. Not by meeting Tony Stark – she had, after all, been hosted by the King and Queen of Wakanda, themselves – but by all the sudden events. She and Alex had expected it to take years to get their house back, expected it to take legal wrangling and dealing with the government, and to tell the truth it had, but the pair had been expecting years of it not months. "I'm sure it will be lovely."

"Go ahead and open it." Stark prompted.

Louise looked up at her partner, who nodded. All her life she had been a Type B present unwrapper. The Type A's were the meticulous, careful people who unfolded the paper; Type B's like herself just tore into it, and so she did. The wrapping paper tore away to reveal a comic book, sealed in a plastic case, inside a frame. Louise looked up at Alex, who smiled down at her, and then at the comic book. She was surprised to see that Alex was on the verge of crying.

The cover depicted a comics version of Alex in her Superwoman costume hoisting a green-colored automobile over her head. The front end of the car was wrecked from where the comic book Superwoman had smashed it into a large rock. Around the super-heroine, three men were fleeing in shock. A large white banner across the top of the comic book carried sharp, bright red letters.

"Action Comics #1." Louise ran her hand lightly across the title. "I thought that the sponsored comics starring the Avengers had the lead hero's name in the title." She glanced at Tony Stark with a smirk. "Like the 'Invincible Iron-Man' or 'Captain America: The First Avenger.'"

"Well, normally, but for some reason Alex insisted we use 'Action Comics' for the title of her book." The billionaire shrugged. "She also dictated what the first cover would be. I argued with her, but she stood her ground and refused anything else but that." Stark shrugged again. "But if that's what she wanted, why not give it to her, right?"

"Alex?" Louise once again looked up into the face of her partner. Alex's eyes were glistening, and they never left the cover of the book.

"It wouldn't have felt right, to me, having the first comic book ever produced based on me not have that cover, and that title." Alex grinned. "Call it... call it a family tradition..."

"I'm sure you can find some empty space on a wall to..." Stark was interrupted by the ringing of his phone. He pulled it from his pocket and flipped it open, with a glance to the number displayed. "Janet? Talk to me, beautiful! How are things in New York City?"

Stark froze in place for a moment, staring right into Alex's eyes. "You're kidding." Then he nodded. "You're not kidding." He held his phone to his chest and asked, "Is your TV hooked up, yet?"

Louise had no idea, but Alex said, "Yeah, it was one of the first things your guys installed. Why?"

"We need to turn it on and turn it to GNN, right now."

It took a minute to find the TV's remote control, but soon the set was on and tuned to Galaxy News Network, the 24-hour worldwide news network. Two men were discussing...

"Wait... Cheney's dead?" Alex asked.

"Yeah. They're calling it a heart attack, but according to the autopsy, there were no secondary signs." Stark glanced over at Alex. "What do you want to bet that..."

"Its possible. He was a dangling thread. Even if he was able to dodge the impeachment, his term as president was going to be up in another eight months or so, and you've got to know that Federal marshals would have been waiting for him at the door with arrest warrants. No way Hydra could risk that."

"Hydra." Stark confirmed with scorn. "And of course there's nothing we can do. We don't have proof. We don't even know who their leadership is now that Zemo's dead."

Alex stood up straight, and she slowly turned to Stark. "What is it, Alex? Do you know something?" Louise asked.

"Yeah. I know exactly who stepped into Zemo's shoes as the leader of Hydra." Alex said. "And I remember where she is."

"Is this some of that comic book knowledge you brought with you from the other world where you're a character in a TV show...?"

"... And you're a character in a comic book. Right." Alex's grin widened. "I know precisely who is responsible for this."

That statement hung in the air like a slowly leaking balloon.

"So, uh..." Stark finally asked. "What exactly are you planning? You're not going to just kill someone, are you?"


Two Weeks Later

La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, Valentina to her friends, though she has very few of those, sat at a table on her balcony, overlooking the Monegasque coastline below her. The villa in which she lived was elegant and of the standard to which she was accustomed. Much better than her last house in Sicily. While rich enough, it didn't have this magnificent view.

It was a beautiful view. It was a tranquil view. But most importantly, it was an appropriate view. Her villa was on the highest clifftop in Monaco, and she could look down on the entire principality, even upon the Royal Palace. It was her rightful place, high above the peons and the nobodies. The people she – as the leader of Hydra – could manipulate at will to her own advantage.

Far below her, on the waters of the Mediterranean, Valentina watched a large sailing vessel drop anchor almost directly below her balcony. It made he smile for just a moment. It was a good day, and all of the various affairs in which she had fingers were moving around just as they were supposed to. Still smiling, Valentina turned back to her breakfast. A poached egg, a scone made in the style common to the southern United States (where they called them "biscuits" instead of scones), a small selection of sliced cheeses, and a small bowl of strawberries. It was all accompanied by a mimosa.

She had just broken into the egg and had dipped a piece of the scone into it when her meal scattered across her lap and onto the floor. The plate and glass shattered. Her lap was covered in poached egg, mashed strawberries, and cheese. Valentina looked down at herself in disgust. Her clothing – a tailored, one of a kind Helmut Lang original white business suit that had cost her over $12,000 to have made – was ruined.

Her breakfast had been replaced with a folded newspaper – this morning's Miami Herald, from the looks of it. The headline, of which she could only see a portion, read -DENT FOUND DE-. Ridges appeared on her forehead. She knew what the headline was about, but couldn't fathom how someone had found her connection to it.

The sarcastic voice made her jump. "Good morning." Valentina looked around quickly, but couldn't find the source of the voice.

"Up here, Countess." Valentina brought her gaze up. Floating some ten feet above the balcony, hanging in mid-air, was the American superhero, Superwoman. Valentine's lips pursed as she contemplated the meaning of the other woman's sudden appearance and the rather chaotic interruption of breakfast. The two women stared at each other, neither one saying anything.

Finally, it was Valentina who broke the silence. "I will send you the bill for the replacement china, and for the suit. I assure you, neither was cheap."

"Feel free." The American woman crossed her arms over her chest, causing her already-impressive bosom to rise slightly. "Did you really think you'd get away with it?"

"And what am I getting away with?" Valentina said as she made a token attempt to wipe egg off of her abdomen. She gave up the job after two swipes. Looking back at Superwoman, she quirked an eyebrow and spoke again. "Certainly you don't think I had any hand in the murder of a sitting US president, do you?"

"It was pretty obvious to me. To anyone with any intelligence, in fact."

"And what evidence do you have to prove this outrageous hypothesis of yours?" Valentina smirked right back.

The hero landed on the edge of the balcony and stepped down to the marble floor. "I'm not a cop. I don't need evidence."

Valentina scrambled backwards, her chair knocked to the ground. "Do not touch me. There are security cameras..."

"Yes, I know about those. They don't matter." The woman – and only just now did Valentina realize how tall and imposing she was – kept approaching, and Valentina kept retreating, until finally the Contessa's back struck the wall. The American stopped when they were barely a foot apart.

Superwoman smirked again. "I came here this morning to tell you that I know who you are. Who you really are. Not the high society matron. Not the philanthropist who sponsors art galleries and museums across the globe. No, I mean the blood-soaked criminal hiding behind the pretty facade. I know who you are, Madame Hydra." The hero smiled. "I suppose on its face it was a good plan. Replace the leader of the free world with one of your agents, and then sit back as he runs the most powerful economy in the world into the ground. Maybe starts some brush fire wars in the Middle East. Curtails some human rights. Meanwhile Hydra – under your leadership now that Zemo's gone – would position itself to take advantage. The Stamford tragedy must have seemed like a miracle to you when it happened."

Valentina swallowed, and forced herself to stand up straight. She used every trick she knew to convince herself that she wasn't really intimidated by the other woman. "While that is an interesting theory, Superwoman, I'm afraid that it all that it is. A theory."

Superwoman placed a hand on the wall next to Valentina's head, and the Contessa became very aware of just how well-muscled the superhero was. The arm was like an iron girder, and seemed bigger around than her head.

"We both know better than that. You were also responsible for the deaths of multiple people." Superwoman continued as if Valentina hadn't spoken a word. "At least thirty-five that I am aware of. I'm sure they aren't the only skeletons in your closet."

"So... what... you are to become my judge and executioner?" It was said defiantly, daring Superwoman to do something about it. "Are you here to kill me?"

"No. I'm not that person anymore. Maybe once, but not anymore." Superwoman admitted with a small smile. "I am not above the law. You, on the other hand, seem to believe that you are."

Valentina smirked again. "I am La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. I hold a certain... position... in high society. I might as well be a queen, and queens are not subject to law, they make the law."

"Yes, I admit you're right. As much as I'd love to drop you into an active volcano, or maybe drown you in one of your own toilets, or..." Superwoman gripped Valentina by the throat and gave just enough gentle pressure to let Valentina feel it. "... simply snap your neck like a twig, I do have someone to whom I answer, and she wouldn't approve of me just murdering you." The superhero dropped her hand from the Contessa's neck, but leaned in, until their noses were almost touching. "I'd love to dethrone you, 'your majesty'." The honorific was dripping with sarcasm. "It would be easy. I could grab you, drop us both into the Mediterranean, and just hold you under the water until you died. The fall alone would probably kill you."

"But you wouldn't dare." Valentina's heart was racing, though she forced her face to stay emotionless.

"No. I wouldn't." Superwoman leaned back. "The day will come when you will be behind bars, like any common criminal."

Valentina stood up, defiant again. "I trust not." She straightened her ruined business suit. "But, as they say... let the games begin."

Superwoman just smiled that sardonic smile. The hero turned her back to Valentina and stepped to the edge of the balcony. Superwoman abruptly turned and looked Valentina in the eyes. "Oh, one more thing, Contessa... if you ever need to find me, all you have to do is look up."

The American woman hung in the air effortlessly, her feet just even with the Contessa's eyes. Valentina seethed at the implied insult. She took a step toward the hero, who grinned – grinned and it was somehow worse than the smirk – before flying off into the air.


Eight minutes later, Alex slowly rose from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and stepped onto the deck of the yacht, which still bore the name "STARK IV" despite Alex having bought the thing from Tony for a fair price.

Alex leaned over the side of the boat quickly and squeezed as much water out of her hair as she could. She'd been letting it grow out again. Not as long as it once was, but longer than her just-above-the-shoulder bob.

"How'd it go?" Louise stepped up to her and handed her a bottle of water and a towel. A green one-piece bathing suit was still draped over Louise's arm.

"Perfectly. Message delivered, I think." Alex paused and looked upwards, her telescopic vision zeroing in on a certain balcony far above. "Yep. I think she got the message. She seems to be screaming into her cell phone." Alex made a pass with the towel, drying herself off. She then unshouldered her costume and pulled it down to her ankles. She'd been wearing nothing underneath it.

Victor Mancha came up on deck just in time to see Alex in all her glory... and there was a lot of glory. "Oh! I am so very sorry!" He spun around quickly and closed his eyes. "I assure you, I didn't see..."

"Victor, calm down. I'm not the shy type." Alex said. She'd taken the bathing suit from Louise and put it on almost as quickly as she took off her costume. As far as anyone could see now, she was just another wealthy tourist with her own yacht, sunning herself in a bathing suit. "Fine. Victor," she said with a huff. "I'm all dressed now."

Victor turned around. His eyes kept dropping to her chest, and he would not meet her glance. "The distraction worked. I was able to penetrate La Contessa's systems. I have all of her personal banking information."

"Okay, good." Alex looked around. "So where's Nico and the gang?"

Victor shrugged. "They took a launch into the city. Wanted to do some sight-seeing."

"Nifty. Tell you what... when the rest of the gang gets back, how about we totally wreck the Contessa's shit, and then we can head into town ourselves? I'm thinking there are likely a lot of good causes and charities who can use the donation of a few million dollars each."

"Sounds like a plan." Louise leaned into her. "Can we go shopping while we're at it? I need some clothes and I want to get something fancy."

"I will take you to the nicest boutique in Monaco if you want. Maybe take in a show at one of the theaters later. Or we could stop off at a casino. Sky is the limit." She took Louise in her arms and gave her a steamy kiss that had Victor looking away again.

The couple's passion was interrupted as Alex pulled away. "Damn it." She cocked her head to the side, shook her head in frustration, and picked up her costume. As a gesture to Victor, Alex stepped toward the hatchway to the lower deck to change.

"Alex?" Louise asked, suspecting what was going on.

"Sorry, love, but duty calls." She listened for a few more moments. "Sounds like a police chase of some kind."

It took Alex only a moment to get into her still-wet costume. She gave Louise another quick kiss. "Duty calls. Be back as soon as I can."

Louise just nodded. "I really wish we weren't interrupted all the time."

"I know love. " Alex said as she rose into the air. "But you know how it is. This..."

The wind captured Alex's last words, but Louise knew them by heart anyway, and finished the sentence. "... looks like a job for..." Louise followed Alex through the air with her eyes until she lost sight of her partner, then turned back to the boat. "I love you," she whispered into the Mediterranean breeze.


"18 Across: Fourteen letter phrase meaning 'hope.' From the comics." – The New York Times Crossword Puzzle, September 16, 2009. (The answer was "Look! Up in the Sky...")


Author's Notes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the property of Warner Brothers in conjunction with Mutant Enemy productions. The Marvel Universe is the property of the Walt Disney Company. Power Girl is the property of DC Comics, which itself is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers.

I am constantly making edits to this story, correcting some grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, including adding missing words, correcting whatever misspellings I find that escaped the editing process, and so on. I also occasionally tinker with the language I used. In any case, its slow going and gradual because I don't have any sort of beta reader helping me with it and because of my physical situation. So, if anyone spots any errors, please feel free to let me know. I need all the help I can get.

This story has its own page on TV Tropes. Due to my long-standing argument with the people who run that site, I am not allowed to update it myself. If someone wants to go over there are tinker with it, please do.

Just to issue the usual warnings, there is explicit language in this story, but no explicit sex. The lead character is a gay woman, so if the idea of two women getting together offends you, sorry, but there are other stories out there you might enjoy more than this one.

For those who are wondering just when the Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine became Madame Hydra, it was revealed in 2009 that she had always been a Hydra agent. Her mission was to infiltrate SHIELD, get close to Nick Fury, and then pass information from Fury directly to Hydra, a mission that she succeeded at beyond Hydra's expectations. After Helmut Zemo's death (yes, I know, it didn't stick) she took up the mantle of "Madame Hydra" and became the organization's sole leader.

And that's it. The story has ended. I left it with an open ending because I feel like I might return to this universe again sometime and tell the further adventures of Alex and Louise Harris. Thank you to those of you who stuck with me through thick and thin, over the course of eight years while I struggled to complete the story. Eight years. Almost a decade. Where did the time go.

Special thanks goes out to CrossoverKittyCat, who may well be my biggest fan. The thought that I have a biggest fan is one that makes me smile.