Lena Luthor doesn’t have a history of having many friends.
Or any friends.
When your family is immensely powerful and wealthy, but you’re essentially the redheaded stepchild of the lot and just want to be liked, you end up with hangers-on who want something from you and jerks who want to watch you burn.
Which is why, now that she has two - more, technically, but Kara’s friends only really tolerate her for Kara’s sake, so they don’t exactly count - Lena Luthor intends to do everything in her power to be the best friend possible.
For Kara, that means brunches and flowers and smushing together on her couch to watch movies or marathon TV shows and not having to pretend she doesn’t think musicals are the absolute coolest. It means getting to eat junk food and it means cheerful squabbling over the check that doesn’t hurt anyone and it means having a home. A real one. Not her ascetic apartment with its modern furniture and stark palette and overwhelming sleekness, but Kara’s place, with warm colors and second-hand furniture and soft things everywhere, and an open invitation to be there ‘whenever you want, Lena, seriously, take the key, I like having you here.’
For Supergirl, that means assisting on the information and technology side of missions, playing bait when necessary (even though Supergirl would never ask, because it’s the safest and most efficient way to get the job done), and working on some side projects that might make the Kryptonian’s life significantly easier and safer, like a mass-produced yellow sun grenade (which meant talking to Kara’s deeply intimidating older sister and seeing her get a little misty at the offer, which was weird) or a red sun lamp (so she could have a way to power down without hurting herself if she ever wanted a day like she’d had before Krypton exploded; this also made Alex get slightly soft around the edges, though Lena would never bring it up).
Her solo project, though, was probably the most important. The one she loved the most.
There was a woman called Dr. Brenda Laster in Israel who had been working on a radiation sickness vaccine. She used hydrogen peroxide, a potential derivative of a hydrogen nuclear event, and injected it into first mice, and then herself, to test its ability to be used by the body to create - in effect - anti-nuclear antibodies.
It seemed to work.
Only problem, there was no way to lay hands on Kryptonite to manufacture a relatively bioavailable derivative, which meant Lena was flying blind by the seat of her bespoke leather pants.
It took her about three months to synthesize a theoretical Kryptonite on her lab’s private servers, which she’d secured herself with elements picked from both Jack and Winn’s best code, and then another two weeks to find a derivative analogous to hydrogen peroxide that was relatively safe in the body.
Synthetic Kryptonite was exponentially less stable than its natural counterpart - at least when Lillian threw it together - but even with her own empirically superior grasp of chemical engineering, Lena constructed a tiny sample in a lead-lined room with Manhattan Project levels of fastidiousness.
From there, she halved the sample and facilitated a tiny explosion, also contained behind so many redundancies that the Pentagon would be jealous, and then used the fallout to synthesize what she hoped would be a vaccine.
It glowed camellia-petal pink.
She ran through test after test on lab-grown tissue samples and organs, and they all turned out fine, antibodies forming and scrubbing out the Kryptonite radiation signature completely within seconds.
So she took the next step and injected herself with some of the solution.
There was, as with every injection, the cool rush of fluid under the skin, dissipating into homogeny until she couldn’t feel it anymore.
The standard vaccine takes two weeks to be metabolized and become effective, and Lena spent those two weeks totally isolated; Kara was visiting her mom in Midvale and then a cousin in Metropolis, and Supergirl was in the Arctic fighting some prehistoric alien ant farm’s ravenous population.
When the two weeks were up - to the exact second; Lena had set an alarm on her phone and then every clock she owned - Lena was waiting in her lab with a glowing green syringe of Kryptonite solution, ready to pounce.
The needle pierced the crook of her elbow, and she winced. “Shit.” Radioactive stuff tingled, just a little, and this experiment wasn’t pleasant, especially when she remembered the way Corben had sizzled around his radioactive core or how Jack had screamed when the nanobots that had consumed him twitched to a stop.
This is for Supergirl, she reminded herself, disposing of the needle and applying a bandage with more force than was strictly necessary. She’s worth far more than a little fizzing.
Lena tested her radiation levels, then drew a blood sample, made a slide, and watched.
The greenish tinge of Kryptonite was already fading. Within seconds, it was gone completely.
She ranked a zero on the Geiger counter. Her blood was totally normal.
There was, perhaps, an overindulgent stretch of celebratory, self-congratulatory dancing around her private lab, but as soon as her mental Job Well Done (You Didn’t Fuck This One Up) playlist ran itself through, Lena portioned out the remaining vaccine into four doses - two for Supergirl and two for Superman, just in case it wore off or wasn’t enough - and one batch for experiments at the D.E.O.
She packaged each test tube in a lead micromesh foam, then in individual lead cases whose locks could only be opened biometrically by its intended users, Alex Danvers, or J’onn J’onzz. After that came more lead foam, then a box to hold both (also biometrically locked), then a nuke-proof carrying case.
The resulting package was about the size of a briefcase, only three inches and a handle shy, so Lena put it inside a bulletproof briefcase, and welded it shut.
I did it. Everything Lex knew about Kryptonians finally put to good use. Supergirl will be safe now.
Lena grinned, bouncing on her toes and beaming down at the case. She collected it and went up to her office, setting it down under her desk in relative seclusion, and turned on the news.
It took two and a half hours of paperwork to the tune of mindless chatter for someone to say This just in: the Girl of Steel has been seen in the skies above National City, back from a team up with her Metropolis-based cousin in the Arctic circle, no doubt triumphant in her battle against otherworldly evil.
Scoffing at the inaccuracy of that epithet - it grew here on Earth, Amanda Singh, ergo it is entirely earthly - Lena still couldn’t help but smile. Her friend was back, and victorious, and okay, and even if it was only by virtue of hometown heroine status, she was her own hero in the headlines.
To make things even better, she got a text from Kara saying on my way home!!!
Lena sighed, leaning back into her seat, and sent back thank goodness!! i thought i’d have to watch wynonna earp alone.
Lena laughed, fingers pressed to her lips. i’d never, i promise
♡♥︎i know. ♥︎♡
let me know when i should come over, Lena typed, cheeks pink. Then she stopped, finger hesitating over SEND, before adding one last line: can you tell alex that i have something for her? and for ms. S
Kara’s response was almost instantaneous - of course!!!! - and then Alex’s came only seconds later - she’s on her way - so all Lena had to do was wait.
Supergirl landed a minute and twelve seconds after Alex’s text, gently alighting on Lena’s balcony, eyes bright. “What’s this I hear about a surprise?”
Lena’s heart stuttered. Oh, god, the hero voice. “I’ve been working on something,” she said, crossing her legs, trying not to betray her own nerves. “A sort of side project.”
“Well. I say side project. It’s been where I spend most of my brain power.”
“That’s a lot of brain power,” Supergirl teased, leaning an elbow against the glass door and resting her temple on her hand. “Are you going to let me in, Ms. Luthor?”
“Oh! Right! Yes!” Lena sprung up from her seat and slid the door open. “Come on… in.”
Supergirl’s hand stretched languorously out to rest on the frame and she tilted in just a little, bringing herself dangerously close to Lena. “Don’t mind,” she purred, eyes flicking down (definitely not to Lena’s lips, one worried between her teeth, not even a little likely) then back up again, “if I do.”
And then she was inside the office, the hand in the doorway ghosting over the slope of Lena’s neck as she floated in, right over her jackhammering pulse.
“You had something you wanted to show me?”
Supergirl was sitting on Lena’s desk.
So that was probably something Lena’d thought about once or twice (or thirty times, who was she kidding), but she’d always pushed the thought from her head, because Supergirl was straight. Capital S - capital El - Straight.
It was the same with Kara - yes, more than a few times when they were curled up on a couch and Kara put her arm around Lena’s shoulder and pulled her closer until their heads were nestled together like flower petals, Lena had wondered what it would be like if Kara just bent down and kissed her, wondered what she would taste like, wondered if her giddy squeaks would directly translate from brunch bar to bedroom, but none of that mattered because Kara definitely did not like girls. Kara liked boys, probably tall, definitely muscly, with loud laughs and easy smiles.
Lena was short by Luthor standards and average by every other metric, and she was soft to the touch, and she’d trained herself into stoicism and silence. It was easier to be expressive and emotive and loud around Kara, but it still wasn’t easy.
She wondered, then, if the crazed thudding of her heart in her chest was loud in Supergirl’s ears.
“Right. Um.” Lena tried to stride back to her desk, but it really turned out more like a scurry, then dropped to her knees and reached for the case.
And then she looked up.
Because Supergirl had reached down and traced a finger over her hairline, down the hook of her jaw, her thumb just grazing the swell of Lena’s bottom lip as her fingers curled under her chin.
Lena’s breath caught in her throat. There was a familiar sweet, green smell to her skin beneath the lingering frostiness of her last battlefield, but her skin was warm, and her fingers were sure, and wow, I’m gay.
Calm down, Lena.
“Must be difficult, being on your knees in that tight skirt,” she said, the curve of her palm coming up to cup Lena’s cheek.
“It’s - ” Lena’s voice squeaked like a new stick of chalk. “It’s fine.”
Supergirl was smiling, and it was so soft and so inviting, and she was applying just a hint of pressure under Lena’s chin, tilting her head back so gently. “You sure?”
“Yep! 100%! So, um, what I - what I made - ” Lena gulped, throat bobbing into Supergirl’s knuckles. “Sorry. Um. Could you. Just. Your hand is very distracting.”
The hand was gone, and Lena missed it.
“Anything for you,” Supergirl murmured.
“I think I’ve made a vaccine for Kryptonite exposure,” Lena blurted, before the needy noise building in her chest could claw its way out. “I don’t know what effect it might have on Kryptonian biology, but it removed all radiation markers from my blood in seconds and if it works, it could be incredibly useful, and I really just wanted to be useful, so - um.” Lena cleared her throat, fingers flicking through her hair, shifting her part to hide her face. “There’s no one stronger than you to take this to your people, no one better suited to seeing it safely there, so I - ”
“Lena…” Supergirl slid to her knees on the floor with nary a thump, one arm braced over Lena’s thighs, and touched the box. “This is incredible.”
“I just wanted to make sure you were safe.” Lena wrapped an arm around herself, squeezing her bicep with white knuckles. “There aren’t many things that can hurt you, but I want to eliminate as many of them as possible, and this… my family has used Kryptonite against yours more than anyone else. It’s only fitting I fix this first.”
Supergirl let go of the box, fingers floating up and up until they were wrapped around a lock of Lena’s hair, tucking it behind her ear, trailing down her neck and her back and all those slices of skin bared by her blouse until she’d pulled Lena into a tight hug.
Lena melted into a puddle and hugged her back, fingers curling into the fabric of her cape, and let her eyes squeeze shut.
“Thank you, Lena.”
“Anything for you.”
Supergirl’s embrace lingered even when she pulled away - only enough to look Lena in the eyes. “I have to go drop this off,” she said softly, thumb sweeping soft arcs on the skin of Lena’s shoulder, “but you should go spend time with Kara. I’m sure she’s missed you just as much as I have.” She smiled, eyes soft. “Maybe more.”
Supergirl kissed her cheek and flew off fast enough Lena’s ears popped. As she recovered, she reached up and touched her cheek, feeling the faintest of traces of waxiness from the hero’s lip balm under the pads of her fingers.
There was the barest hint of warm, dark pink, the slightest scent of dahlias.
Lena definitely didn’t press her fingertips to her lips. She did not. She was a grown woman with more self control than that.
She went downstairs, got into a company car, and chatted briefly with Georgie, her driver, on her way to Kara’s apartment, still rubbing her fingertips and thumb together just to feel it.
“Lena, Lena, Lena!”
Kara basically tackled her upon arrival not at her front door, but at her building. She was in a stripy pajama set, the top unbuttoned over the kind of useless (but supposedly comfy) lacy bra that Lena couldn’t bring herself to buy but loved to look at.
(As an object. Not on Kara. And not objectifying Kara. She just liked pretty things.)
(And Kara Danvers is very pretty.)
“Hi, Kara.” Sinking into the second perfect hug in fifteen minutes, Lena burrowed in closer. “How’s your mom?”
“She’s great. Come on up! I have snacks and a show where women are actually people!”
“That’s an invitation I can’t resist.”
They raced inside, Kara closing the door behind them.
Meaning Lena was semi-trapped between her and the door, close enough to feel the heat radiating off her skin, to smell the squeaky-cleanness of her shampoo and the faint hint of florals that hung around her like a halo.
“I’ve really missed you,” Kara murmured. The knob clicked in her right hand, a reassuring little snik, but her left hand was doing what really mattered, because her left hand was holding Lena’s. “Two weeks is a long time to be away from someone you love.”
Lena may have squeaked, but it was a very dignified squeak.
“Okay. Comfy clothes?”
This, too, was part of being friends with Kara Danvers - her insistence upon comfort. It was why she had so many blankets and pillows lying around, why she doubled up on fabric softener when she did laundry but always went unscented, and why she always offered Lena some of her clothes when they hung out.
Kara’s office attire was a little uncomfortable, what with the relatively stiff fabrics and seams, but Lena’s were worse. Lena’s were skintight pencil skirts and suits tailored like restraints, and she was always thankful to be offered a Stanhope College sweatshirt about two sizes too big and fuzzy socks that felt great after a day of stilettos.
Especially because they smelled like Kara.
In the time it took for Lena to change into Kara’s clothes, Kara had brought out their standard cavalcade of snacks and cued up the first episode of the first season, nestling into the couch with enough blankets that the only space for Lena to sit was right next to her.
So she sat right next to her.
“There’s no way that’s her actual name,” Kara laughed, fingers trailing up and down Lena’s arm.
“What, Haught?” Goosebumps rippled up Lena’s spine. “Of course that’s her name. It’s too good an opportunity to miss - ha! See? She’s Haught!”
Kara gently tugged on Lena’s French braid and teased, “You’re Haught.”
Oh, my god.
Lena took a long sip of Earl Grey and tried not to burst into flames.
The show was good.
The show was, in fact, great.
The show would have been better if she’d been able to pay attention.
But with Kara’s hand on her shoulder where it hung out of the overlarge neck of her sweatshirt, her chin tucked over Lena’s head, cuddlier and more tactile than usual, that was thoroughly impossible. Lena was curled into Kara’s chest, wrapped up in her arms and a heap of fluffy blankets, and had probably never been more cozy in her life.
She’d also never been more flustered. Not even at boarding school, three years younger than everyone else her year and realizing she like-liked girls when none of them so much as garden-variety liked her as a person. At least there, she hadn’t been so certain that the object of her affections was uninterested, and she’d never had the chance or the stomach to get near one.
Here, she was cuddling with a wonderful girl whose last boyfriend she’d essentially exiled into space, cheek against collarbone - practically sprawled into her lap! - and it was deeply confusing.
“Tick, tock,” snarled the revenant barber onscreen from the bottom of a lake, and how the hell did he get there? “Forgiven, or not?”
Lena blurted, “Kara, you know I like girls, right?” and really hoped it would be the former.
Inexplicably, Kara cuddled closer. “I didn’t. But, then, I didn’t know my own sister liked girls. Or that I liked girls. Heteronormativity, huh?”
Something shrilly squeaked in Lena’s throat. “Oh! Yeah! Heteronormativity! Gotta - wow, I hate it.”
“It’s the worst.”
Wynonna killed the revenant. Lena managed to focus through the bubblegum booze catharsis before her mind wandered again, led astray by Kara’s right hand.
Which was now on her knee.
Just a little above her knee, actually, pinky brushing her patella while her thumb rubbed absent patterns over the actual muscle of her thigh.
It took a whole episode for Lena to get used enough to the presence of Kara’s hand on her leg and her sudden revelation - Not Straight Kara, oh, my god, Umbrella Gay Kara, oh, my god, Likes-Girls Kara, oh, my god! - and that was just in time to watch Champ Hardy get dumped hard.
“That is deeply satisfying,” Kara groaned, fingers curling briefly into Lena’s thigh. “So long, farewell, aufweidershen, goodbye.”
Lena snorted. “She’d be better off married to that skull.”
Kara laughed, a drawn-out giggle that set Lena’s heart aflutter.
“But if we’re being completely realistic…”
“They have the makings of a Britney-Justin level ship,” Kara said with a punctuative nod.
“Your OTP!” gasped Lena, leaning back just to look up at Kara.
And her blue eyes.
And her soft pink lips.
And, wow, she is so pretty.
“Wow,” Kara murmured, tucking a strand of hair behind Lena’s ear, fingertips trailing down under her jaw. “You are so pretty.”
Lena flushed. Kara’s thumb traced along the line of her bottom lip, and her glasses slid down her nose, eyes dark and unfocused over the black rims as Lena’s mouth parted ever so slightly for her.
Kara leaned down, just a little, and in the move, tipped over Lena’s forgotten teacup.
“Oh! Oh, god, Kara, I’m so - ”
The spill was contained largely to the waist of Kara’s pajama pants, and because her shirt hadn’t been buttoned up, the spill had missed it entirely.
Kara just shifted her hips - and if there was ever a reminder that Kara Danvers was just a little ripped, there it was - and shucked her pants.
Which meant there was suddenly lots of golden, muscular leg available for viewing.
“ - sorry.”
“No need to apologize,” Kara said, waving the hand resting on Lena’s shoulder without letting go. She balled up the bergamot-scented flannel and swabbed it over her tea-streaked stomach before lobbing it across the apartment into her hamper. “All better.”
Then she sat back down properly, and it became impossible for Lena to look at Kara’s legs because she was now seated in Kara’s lap.
“Your pants do not do you justice,” she muttered, “which is saying something, because they make your ass look fantastic.”
“You think my ass is fantastic?” Kara asked, sitting suddenly taller.
“I think all of you is fantastic.”
Kara draped her arms around Lena, eschewing the blankets entirely. “Hey,” she murmured, “now neither of us are wearing pants.”
And then Lena remembered that she wasn’t wearing pants.
Kara was taller than her and preferred oversized hoodies, which meant anytime Lena borrowed one from her, she was swimming in cotton all night long. Why wear pants with what was essentially a nightgown?
Except now it was bare leg on bare leg. And Lena’s bare legs knew what Kara’s bare legs felt like.
The door swung open with a bang.
Kara sat up, Lena curled into her chest and suddenly blearily awake.
“Kara!” Alex looked shocked and a little self-satisfied. “Oh, good, you’re up.”
Lena made a small attempt to roll off and hide, but Kara anticipated her escape and gave a reassuring squeeze. “Do I smell doughnuts?”
“Only if I don’t hear season finale spoilers.”
“You and Maggie watched season one two weeks ago,” Kara yawned. In the night, her hand had found its way up under Lena’s sweatshirt to her stomach, and she was absently stroking the bottom of Lena’s ribs in a very soothing way. “You have nothing to worry about.”
“Oh, good.” Alex closed the door and set a bakery box on the countertop. “Did you get through season one?”
“Fell asleep.” Kara let out a sigh, then stood, still holding Lena to her chest in a very comfortable bridal carry. “Raspberry glazed?”
Lena tugged at the hem of her sweatshirt, cheeks heating, and said in her calmest voice, “Good morning, Alex.”
“Morning, Lena. So, how’d your, um,” she looked at Kara, whose glasses had fallen off in her sleep, “project go?”
“Did you get the chance to look it over last night?”
“No. Supes had a thing, so we were going to handle it later today, if you wanted to come.”
“That sounds nice.”
Kara leaned her hip against the kitchen table for a moment before scooting up onto it and crossing her legs kindergarten style, giving Lena a perfect divot to perch in. She reached around and opened the box, pulling out a chocolate iced and offering it to Lena.
Alex frowned. “Hey!”
“They’re her favorite,” Kara defended, shielding Lena from Alex’s admittedly impressive pout with her body.
“My favorite, too, that’s why I bought them.”
“And it’s breakfast.”
“It’s okay,” Lena protested, pushing Kara’s hand towards Alex - or, well, trying to; wow, Kara was strong. “I should probably get going, anyway.”
“No, Lena - !”
“Luthor.” Alex reached over and touched Lena’s hand. “I’m messing with you. Eat the damn doughnut.”
Lena ate the damn doughnut, parked squarely in Kara’s lap, and didn’t participate much in the conversation the Danvers sisters had. Instead, she just sort of soaked in the easy familial affection and the casual glee in Alex’s voice when she said Maggie, or girlfriend, or corrected herself and said fiancée.
Alex got called in, and Lena really did have to go at some point, so they ended up leaving around the same time.
“I’d offer you a ride, but we’re on opposite sides of the city and that skirt does not look motorcycle-apropos.”
“Also, if you hurt my little sister in any way, I’ll do things to you so horrible you’ll call take-backs on every oxygen molecule you’ve ever used.”
“We’re not dating.”
Alex’s eyebrows practically disappeared into her hair. “You were spooning pantsless on her couch while watching the rise of WayHaught. My fiancée and I did that literally two weeks ago.”
“There was a tea-related mishap,” Lena mumbled. “And I didn’t even know Kara liked girls until last night.”
“Do you like girls?”
Lena shot Alex a look.
“Just checking!” Hands up, placative, Alex let out a sigh. She palmed her helmet, then shook her head. “Goddamnit. After last night, I was sure Kara was going to handle all - this.”
“Yeah. She came to the office all… floaty and glowy and, frankly, adorable - and you will never tell her I said that.”
“Talking about you. I mean, she always talks about you, but this was like no filter, unadulterated crush babble.”
Lena fought a grin. “Really?”
“Yeah. I bet Maggie a bottle of MacCallan and an hour at the gallery with my blaster that Kara would’ve asked you out.” Alex plonked her helmet on and groaned. “Oh, man, now I have to blow eighty bucks on Scotch and drink it with stupid vegan cheese.”
“Don’t knock vegan cheese.”
“I will knock what I please.” Alex flicked the visor up and looked Lena dead in the face as she swung a leg over her motorcycle. “And my threat still stands: she cries, you die.”
Alex tipped her head back sharp enough to drop the visor hands-free in a very cool move and revved the engine before taking off. “Be there at three!”
Lena was there at three, doing her best to match the secret agent-y aesthetic of the place enough to disappear into the woodwork.
Supergirl was already there, perched on an exam bed, but she zoomed off it and right over to Lena, scooping her up in a carefully tight embrace.
Supergirl effortlessly shifted Lena into a bridal carry - and what was with that? It was great, but still - and floated back over, gently sinking back onto both feet. “This is going to be - life changing,” she murmured. “Thank you so much.”
And then Lena realized Superman was sitting next to Supergirl’s spot, and her cheeks burned for a brand new, infinitely more embarrassing reason.
Lena extended a hand to shake, as confident as she could pretend to be. “Superman. I want to assure you, I’ve done everything in my power to make certain this is as safe and effective as it can be. The last phase is testing in a Kryptonian immune system, and I couldn’t - I wouldn’t! - do that without both of your oversight and supervision.”
Supergirl snorted. “Supervision.”
Alex shot her a look - really? - but there was a hint of a smile on her face, too.
Superman smiled, the same sort of calm PR smile Lena was well accustomed to, and shook her hand. “If my cousin trusts this, I do, too.”
“Thank you. I - I hope I don’t let you down.”
“So do I.”
“We came as soon as we heard - ” Two pairs of feet came to a screeching stop. “Hey, Lena.”
Supergirl turned, and Lena with her, to see Winn and James standing in the doorway of the lab.
“Hey,” she said weakly, fighting the urge to try and spider monkey around so she could hide under Supergirl’s cape and only winning out because that would have been even more embarrassing.
“Um.” Winn blinked, the finger pointed at the two of them drifting away. “Not gonna… ask. Superman! Do you, um, do you remember me? From last time? And the time before that? It’s Winn.”
“Resident genius,” and, wow, did Superman’s voice go deep, especially in contrast to the decidedly falsetto squeak that came out of Winn when those guns of steel enveloped him. “Of course I remember you.”
“Hey, man, it’s good to see you.” James grinned, going in for a bro hug and receiving the sort of embrace usually saved for Nicholas Sparks novels’ third acts. “Oh, wow.”
“Good to see you, too.” Superman pulled out of the hug just far enough to let his hand come to rest on the side of James’ neck, thumb nestled on the soft skin behind the hook of his jaw. “It’s been too long. You been working out without me?”
“Yeah, well, you were useless at the gym anyway.”
Alex’s eyes were as wide as Lena’s, and they both just sort of looked at each other with equal levels of what the hell.
Superman’s arms were currently draped around Winn and James’ shoulders; Winn looked like total putty in his hands, and James was standing a little slouchy, basically broadcasting yes, I am three inches taller than Superman, but he cannot comfortably do this if I reach my full height, and I am all for him doing this.
“So, what we need to do…”
Supergirl’s hand on her ribs was gently stroking over the band of her bra through her shirt.
“Basically, we need a live sample of Kryptonian tissue to inoculate with the vaccine, then expose to Kryptonite. With the technology at the D.E.O., we can drastically increase the time frame for this experiment - it should only take ten minutes or so - and if it works, we can then inoculate the two of you, and you’ll be entirely immune to Kryptonite’s effects.”
“Is she smelling your hair?” Alex asked, sotto voce.
“Not on purpose,” Supergirl murmured into Lena’s neck. “Occupational hazard. She smells really good.”
“I need to get down now, so I can work on this with Agent Danvers.”
“Oh.” Was Supergirl pouting? “Okay.”
Supergirl set Lena down and let her get to work, watching from behind leaded glass as Alex and Lena huddled over their various petri dishes in probably unnecessary HazMat suits.
“It’s been a while since I’ve met Superman when he wasn’t trying not to be murdered,” Lena said softly, locking a dish into its radiation shielded chamber and snapping on its yellow sun lamp lid. “Is he - usually - this effusive?”
“Normally he’s stoic as hell. Although he’s kind of soft on the boys.” Alex shrugged, dialing the output up to max. She looked up over Lena’s shoulder, making her look, too - currently, he was just sort of… playing with the collars of their shirts. And Winn’s bow tie. “Not this soft, though.”
“Maybe he’s just excited. I mean, with this, Ka - Kal-El will be basically invulnerable. If you were told there was some medical advancement that meant no one could ever hurt you again, you’d probably be reenacting that V-Day photograph with the first person you laid eyes on, too.”
“Yeah. You’re - you’re right.”
They watched their cheek swabs grow and swell into tiny Kryptonian microcosms with parental pride.
“So, Kara told you she liked girls?”
“She still hasn’t told me that.”
“I - oh, god.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t go telling her you spilled the beans. Besides, she’ll tell me when she’s ready.” Alex smirked. “Unless this morning was her telling me.”
Lena groaned, hiding her face in her hands. “Don’t remind me. That was the last way I wanted that to go.”
“And what was the first?”
“Fleeing before she came to her senses?”
Alex was about to say something, but then the timers on their incubators went off and it was time to inject.
“This weirded me out enough on human cultures,” Lena admitted.
“Playing interstellar Grey’s Anatomy is weirder.” Alex disposed of her syringes and leaned back into her chair. “Trust me. Until you’ve had to perform preventative dentistry on a venomous, fanged, francophone Venusian, you don’t know weird.”
It was another few minutes of silence and subtly watching Superman’s blatant, yet effective, flirting, Winn’s overeager reception, and James’ obtuseness, punctuated by Kara’s occasional - a word here meaning frequent - texts.
do you wanna come over tonight?
we can stay up late enough to finish the series
and do other fun things
“Your sister needs to stop being cute,” Lena groaned.
“She needs to stop being so damn polite. I have money and booze and self-respect on the line here.”
In went a round of Kryptonite solution injections, and careful readings, and boom. Immediate eradication of radiation.
Lena yelped, jumping to her feet, fists flung triumphantly into the air.
“Someone’s excited,” Alex drawled, eyes bright.
Lena sat down hard.
“And that someone is me. Super - ?”
“Is he kissing Winn?”
“Um.” A beat. “Yes. Yes, he is.”
“Isn’t he involved with Lois Lane?”
“Yes. Yes, he is.” Alex stood and pounded on the glass hard enough to get his attention. “Hey, Clark Bar! Does your girlfriend know what you’re doing?”
Blearily, Kal-El blinked. “Girl… friend?”
What the hell.
“Something’s wrong. Definitely wrong.”
Lena’s phone chimed with a long Kara-esque string of emoji that were basically all hearts. Supergirl leaned back, hanging off the exam bed, and waved at Lena through the glass, one hand clutched to her chest, seemingly unperturbed by her cousin making out with her coworker not two feet away.
They scanned the whole building, everyone in suits, the Supers in quarantine, and found absolutely nothing.
“All clear,” said the director, who was sometimes green, and Lena would definitely not ask about that and stay strictly in her lane.
And would not think about the double entendre of Superman not staying in his.
Everyone stepped out of their suits and suddenly Lena’s Geiger counter went off in her hand.
All eyes were on her.
Looking down at herself, Lena ran the counter up and down the length of her body and sighed, already holding her wrists behind her back.
“I didn’t know,” she said, sitting inside her interrogation cell. “This wasn’t - I was trying to help.”
Alex cocked an eyebrow. “And you thought turning yourself into a walking roofie would help?”
“No.” Miserably, Lena shook her head. “No, god, no. That was - an unforseen side effect. My brother spent so much time trying to tear her and her family down… I thought there could be no better way to seek penance than to subvert his research and use it for good. For her good.
“I tested this so rigorously on non-sentient lab-grown tissues, and he had files on the effects of Kryptonite on human physiology, so I knew the risks for myself. I walked in, eyes open. I experimented on myself, and that was stupid and unethical, but - not this kind of unethical! This - I could never have planned this, I could never want this!”
Standing in the shadowy corner, the director was extra intimidating, considering his resemblance to her mother’s henchman-slash-science-project-gone-wrong, and Lena didn’t have the will to put up a front of pride or resistance. “Ms. Luthor - ”
“I thought I could help!” She wiped her eyes, raked her fingers through her hair. “I thought I was helping her.”
“Ms. Luthor, I believe you.”
“Why?” Lena looked up, sniffling just the once. “This is exactly what any other Luthor would do.”
“Because I can see into your mind.”
“Alex, the two of you need to go over everything involving this mess. Ms. Luthor, do you trust Agent Schott to handle your files on the matter?”
Lena gave a stilted nod. Why was he asking? Co-opting her research, breaching her private servers - who cared? She would gladly play Orvin Scrivello D.D.S. with a Venusian if it meant Supergirl was okay again.
“He should have digital copies within five minutes. Ten, if he can stop talking about kissing Superman.”
It took about eight minutes to get the files into Lena’s own little quarantine box, and she and Alex leafed through them in relative silence.
“I really didn’t do this on purpose,” Lena murmured after a while, not daring to look at her.
“I know. I did know.” Alex sighed, looking up from the display. “Look, Supergirl is - a sore spot for me. So is Kara. Hell, so is Kal-El. And I trust Kara’s judgement about a lot of things, but less so on people, because for all the goodness and generosity in her, she is terrible at being good and generous with herself. That guy? She dated him because she wanted to help him and he liked her, he was aggressive about liking her, and I trusted her judgement on him because I didn’t see that coming.
“And then he was horrible, and you know what? I’m glad this planet is inhospitable for him, and I’m glad you made it that way, because he was manipulative and he hurt her, and she mourned that asshole, and I held her through it, and the whole time, I just thought, I will never let someone slip past her defenses again.”
Lena bit her lip and nodded.
“So I’m suspicious around people who show interest in her, and if you were willing to hurt Supergirl, who’s to say you wouldn’t try to hurt Kara? Especially something like this. Especially something like this.”
“You have every right to mistrust me. I - I fucked up. My family has done nothing but cause harm.” Lena’s voice shook. “And I’m sorry for all of it. This was supposed to be me fixing things, and I can’t even do that right.”
“Are you kidding?”
Lena shook her head.
“Lena, look at me.”
“You saved the entire goddamn world in May. You’ve been fighting the good fight right alongside us, and you’ve been doing it alone. You don’t have to apologize or make reparations, okay?” Alex gestured futilely, then sighed. “Look. You fucked up. We all fuck up. And now you’re cleaning up the mess, so as far as I’m concerned? We’re cool. You’re cool.”
“Don’t thank me, keep researching.”
They found it.
The vaccine, when metabolized in the human body and reintroduced to pure Kryptonite, tainted it.
Alex explained it as similar to Red Kryptonite, which brought all the anger and resentment and negativity in a person boiling to the surface - it altered brain and biochemistry to create a new baseline for emotions and behaviors.
This shimmering pink compound, currently thriving in Lena’s blood, didn’t make people act on everything wrathful or cruel inside them.
It just made them act on some of the love inside them.
“Did I turn the Big Blue Boy Scout gay?” Lena asked, watching him send a wink at Winn through the glass.
Winn promptly dropped and broke his tablet, entire face bright red.
“Well, if it is like Red K, then no. He already wanted to make out with Winn, or comment on James’ powerlifting butt, before you walked into the room all sapphic and radioactive. The Pink Kryptonite just made that more immediately available.”
“Oh. So Pink K is to normal behavior as folic acid is to folate.”
“So this was… I didn’t…”
“Rob Supergirl of her ability to consent to fawning all over you like a lovesick schoolgirl?” Alex smirked. “No, you’re fine. She’s usually pretty gushy about you.”
Lena normally would have had a truly stupid grin plastered on her face for that revelation, but today, it didn’t quite reach the surface.
“Am I going to have to go into permanent quarantine?” she asked, voice microscopic.
Lena gave a halfhearted shrug.
“God, Lena - no. No, you’re not going into hiding. We’re going to purge the Pink K from your system, and then you can go back to mooning after my sister and making scientific breakthroughs. No big.”
“Oh. Good. Thank you.”
“So, we’re thinking a full lineup of radiation sickness treatments, to get rid of the radioactivity in your body. And you may have to burn everything you’ve worn or touched since you injected yourself.” Alex watched Lena’s face for a moment, brow furrowed. “It’s not fun to mess with you. You have an impressively neutral face when my sister isn’t wearing a tank top.”
“Or being mentioned. Wow, Luthor. You got it bad.”
Lena hid her face in her hands. “Yeah. Yeah, I do, and it’s a real problem.”
“Well, not for much longer. We have these marrow-scrubbing nanites that will handle the whole thing. Swallow this,” said Alex as she extended her hand with a little metallic capsule, still encased in a transparent and apparently indestructible glass-like egg, resting in her palm, “and you’ll be clean in twenty four hours.”
“How do I open it?”
Alex paused for a moment before emitting a careful, tiny trill. The case opened slowly, halves parting like the fresh-sliced triangles of a grilled cheese sandwich, and she dumped the nanite pod into Lena’s hand. “Like that.”
Lena swallowed it, cringing at the dirty penny-adjacent taste, and sighed once it had gone down. “Twenty four hours?”
“Yep.” Alex crossed her arms, leaning into the wall with a grin. “One day, and then you’re cootie free.”
“Radiation is nothing to joke about.”
“Radiation is everything to joke about,” corrected Alex, “when no one is dying from it.”
“Can I, um.” Lena squeezed her upper arm, trying not to sound horribly needy. “Can I say goodbye to her?”
“You’ll see her in a day, but…” Alex smiled, clapped her on the shoulder. “Yeah. Go for it.”
Lena padded into the cell, and Supergirl beamed - all sunlight.
“Lena! I’m so glad to see you!”
“You - I - me, too.” Lena cleared her throat. “I’m sorry about all this.”
“All what?” Supergirl was playing with her hair, knuckles grazing the column of her throat. “Did something happen? Is it your mother? Are you okay?”
Lena looked away, biting her lip. “I’m messing with your head.”
“You always mess with my head, Lena,” Supergirl said, voice overflowing with fond exasperation. “You’re smart and ferocious and funny and kind and so, so pretty. I mean, you could cut diamonds with that jawline.”
Speaking of, her fingers were tracing along it, tilting Lena’s head up. Outright caressing her skin. Lena’s heart pounded.
“I think about you a lot,” she continued. “Because I like you a lot.”
“Supergirl - ”
She was leaning down, close enough that Lena could almost taste her lip balm, and Lena would have probably climbed her like a tree under other circumstances, but right then was not other circumstances.
Right then, Lena put a hand out, the splay of her fingers spread across Supergirl’s ribs, the heel of her hand resting against her diaphragm, and stopped her.
Supergirl blinked, and waited. “Are you okay? Should I not kiss you?”
“Not until I’m sure you can consent,” Lena murmured, finding herself incapable of looking away from Supergirl’s deep blue eyes. “Okay?”
“That sounds good.” Supergirl’s hand slid to cup the nape of Lena’s neck, thumb brushing over her hairline. “And it’s going to be even better next time I see you, because I’m going to kiss you, with all the consent. It’s gonna be great.”
Lena swallowed hard, and watched a slow, easy smile spread across Supergirl’s face, watched her perfect teeth sink into her bottom lip in a familiar gesture that made her heart flutter.
“If you still want to,” she said, fingers curling as she pulled away. “I’d be happy to kiss you.”
“You make me really happy, Lena,” said Supergirl in lieu of a goodbye.
Lena could only hope that would still be true once the Kryptonite had worn off.
Even though her apartment was free of Pink K’s radiation signature - she’d checked with three separate Geiger counters and a new test of her own devising that she immediately sent specs for to the D.E.O. - Lena fought the urge to throw everything out.
Or burn it.
Instead, she just put all her furniture in a decontamination chamber and hid it in storage, pacing around an empty apartment in bare feet.
It was almost like college, eating leftovers cold on a bare floor and feeling both peaceful and anxious beyond belief, watching the clock for a deadline.
At twenty four hours exactly, Lena turned her phone on for the first time since she’d left the city office and was bombarded by a barrage of texts from Kara that she couldn’t bring herself to look at just yet. As she set her phone down, there was a knock on her door that made her jump, and she actually dropped it from the shock.
After ascertaining that the thing wasn’t broken, she went to the door.
There, a bouquet in one hand and a paper bag in the other, was Kara Danvers.
Her cheeks were pink. Her eyes were piercing.
She offered pink, white, and red carnations mixed with violets - pure, deep, undying love (between women) and a resounding yes - and, by the smell of it, doughnuts.
Also, Lena was acutely aware of the smell of her lip balm, the dark pink sheen on her lips.
“Can I kiss you?” Kara asked, and Lena didn’t even 100% process the statement before blurting out a solid-colored carnation of a yes.
It was about seventeen times better than Lena had anticipated. Kara kissed her like there was music swelling, like this was the resolution of some great epic’s third act, like the desire to do so had consumed every cell of her body for aeons.
When they finally stopped kissing, if only for a second, their foreheads still rested together, so close Lena’s reflection in Kara’s useless glasses was a blur.
“So, Supergirl is you, right?” Lena asked, breathless.
“Same chapstick - Burt’s Bees. Same shampoo. You touch me the same. You both started being touchier when I - ”
“White carnations mean innocence, Lena,” Kara said softly, brow furrowed intently. “As in, you are innocent of all wrongdoing and I still like you.”
“Oh.” Lena grinned. “Okay.”
Kara let out a giggle, then pulled Lena closer and kissed her again - even better.
“We should, um.” Lena blushed, remembering her lack of furniture. “I don’t have anywhere to sit at the moment.”
They built a blanket fort. They curled up in it, Lena lazily braiding Kara’s hair and Kara absently rubbing Lena's back as they tried to get through the last half of season one.
They got distracted ten minutes into the next episode and had to rewatch all over again.
(Totally worth it.)