I love Alex Danvers from Supergirl—and why wouldn’t I? Not only does she have a healthy and supportive relationship with her sister Kara, Alex is also a badass alien-crime fighter who helps save the day on multiple occasions due to her quick thinking and ingenuity. Then of course, I also love hero-villain team-ups, which the show gives us numerous times through the antagonistic character Maxwell Lord. He’s someone who genuinely wants to do the right thing, but he’s always worried that Supergirl could easily become corrupt. It’s only a double bonus that Maxwell and Alex have something of a romance in the earlier episodes.
The two characters eventually break up in the show once Alex realizes what an awful douchebag Maxwell really is—also, he tries to kill her sister, so of course their relationship was doomed to fail. Normally, while I like hero-villain fics a lot, I tend to stay away from the ones with romance, if only because they have a habit of being creepy, non-consensual, and lacking any kind of self-awareness. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I happened upon Buried Alive by youmeandthehurricane.
In this fic, when the DEO realizes that Astra and Non might be about to attack a Lord Technology building, Alex, J’onn, and Supergirl go to check everything out. However, they’re attacked shortly after arriving and in all the chaos, Alex and Maxwell get trapped underneath some rubble and have to wait for rescue together.
Alex shifted restlessly as she woke causing tears to spring into her eyes from the pain of moving her leg. Her breath caught in her chest as she remembered where she was. She heaved herself up from the floor, wincing, and gasped as her senses awoke to the cold. Goosebumps covered her arms and legs despite her close fitting combat blacks. She noticed Max, curled up in the same position he had been in before she’d fallen asleep, watching her.
‘It must be the middle of the night,’ she said absently. ‘Was I asleep for long?’
‘A while,’ he replied. Peering through the torchlight she saw that he was shivering, his face pale and tired.
‘Have you even moved?’
He shook his head. ‘Thought I’d keep watch. Lions and tigers and bears and all that.’ He attempted a grin, but it looked more to Alex like a grimace. He must be freezing, she thought, glancing at his thin shirt, the cuffs dirty and torn. With a sigh, she dragged herself slowly over to sit next to him, huddling shoulder to shoulder. Max watched her with a look of puzzlement on his face. ‘Is this Alex Danvers asking for a hug? Or should I be worried you’ve got a knife somewhere in that suit?’
‘You’d be dead before you saw where it was anyway,’ Alex quipped.
Max laughed softly. ‘Nothing like death threats to cheer you up.’
They lapsed into silence, both of them rubbing their hands together every so often to keep warm. Max was very aware of Alex huddled beside him, her elbow poking slightly into his side. He was exhausted, but the cold was biting into him, keeping him awake.
What I like about this oneshot is that it tackles just about everything I love in stories. Due to the situation, a hero and villain have to work together, and not only that, they grow closer as a result. What I also really love about this fic is that it goes about a potential romance between Alex and Maxwell without being creepy as all get out, and also without being overly sexual. The story doesn’t forgive Maxwell’s crimes so much as it simply expands on his motives, and though their relationship could be read as romantic, it mostly ends up more about being supportive to each other in order to get through a tough situation. The fic ends with the two of them being rescued and then they curl up together on a couch.
I normally hate hero-villain romances because of how easily they fall into destructive traps and send unhealthy messages. Buried Alive manages to avoid those fairly well, so for anyone who wants to ship Alex/Maxwell, you can check out this fic here on AO3.