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I Promised I Would Always Protect You

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Kara grumbled as she whacked her obnoxiously loud alarm off the nightstand. Normally, the Kryptonian was chipper in the mornings and didn’t mind waking up at 8:00 am. She typically loved the fresh morning air, the smell of coffee, and taking a moment to bask in the sun. But Kara also normally had her powers, and after a particularly nasty showdown with a Fort Rozz escapee the previous night, Supergirl had unfortunately solar flared.  

 

So Kara’s body ached as she slowly sat up and shoved the covers off her body. She groaned as she rose out of bed, slid her feet into fuzzy bunny house slippers, and made her way to the kitchen. Kara was about to start the cappuccino machine, when she sneezed so horribly she could swear to Rao that kryptonite flew out of her nose.

 

“Great,” Kara sniffed.

 

Then a familiar voice filled Kara’s congested ears. “I thought you might need some chicken soup,” Alex said, waltzing into her little sister’s apartment.

 

Kara chuckled, “Just as long as you didn’t make it.”

 

“I’m genuinely offended,” Alex playfully scoffed. “But J’onn made it and I’m the delivery girl.”

 

“Slow day at the DEO already?”

 

“Yeah, and good thing because Supergirl is nowhere to be found today,” Alex replied sarcastically, raising her eyebrows.

 

Kara attempted to strike her power pose. “Well if anything does happen, I expect updates.”

 

“Kara, the stunt you pulled last time you solar flared was incredibly brave, but way too risky.” Alex shook her head. “We’re positioning a DEO van outside your apartment building to make sure you stay safe.”

 

Kara’s brow furrowed in annoyance. “You’re putting me under house arrest?!”

 

“Just think of it as a day off,” Alex sighed, “Take some time to relax. Catch up on Merlin, you’re like four episodes behind me.”

 

“Sorry to disappoint, Alex, but I won’t be staying home and I won’t be eating J’onn’s soup for lunch. Although it looks delicious–”

 

“Kara–”

 

Kara tilted her chin upwards, not allowing Alex to cut her off. “I’m having lunch with Lena today. She’s been so busy with CatCo and L Corp and we’ve been planning it for weeks. I refuse to blow her off.” The statement would have sounded much more convincing if Kara didn’t have to wipe a dribble of snot from her nose at the end.

 

“Absolutely not,” Alex firmly replied.

 

“I could use some sun!”

 

“Sit on your balcony.”

 

“But I could take Lena to that cute outdoor cafe across the street from CatCo. Fresh croissants, my best friend, and sun. What’s better medicine than that?”

 

Alex held out three fingers. “Sleep, soup, and sun.”

 

“Pleeease Alex?” Kara brought out her most lethal weapon: the puppy dog face.

 

Alex rolled her eyes, remembering how she severely lacked the argumentative skills to pull Kara away from a lunch date with her best gal pal. “Fine. Then I’ll be in the van parked outside of CatCo and you have to promise no funny business. You’ll let the DEO handle any disasters until you get your powers back and you won’t even wear you supersuit under your clothes. Deal?”

 

“Deal!” Kara excitedly squealed, before letting out another massive sneeze.

 

Alex scrunched her face in disgust. “I would bring tissues if I were you.”

 

 

Kara texted Lena at 12:06, letting her know that she finally reached Catco. She ran a few minutes late because taxis are apparently a less convenient mode of transportation than flying. Although Kara was sick, she made up for her red nose and slightly messy hair by wearing her favorite outfit: khaki green pants with a thin brown belt and her white collared button up. She strode confidently through the building’s lobby towards the elevator and smiled to herself as Lena sent a heart emoji in response to her arrival.

 

The elevator door opened to the top floor and there stood Lena, smiling in a form-fitting navy dress. “I was worried you’d cancel, since you weren’t in the office this morning.”

 

“Oh, I was just interviewing Supergirl about that alien encounter from yesterday.” Kara dismissively waved her hand.

 

Of course Lena’s known for about a year that Kara was National City’s hero, and completely understood if Kara needed the day off after taking such a beating last night. Lena always hated witnessing her best friend being thrown around like that; it made watching the news almost intolerable, yet she couldn’t bare to go to sleep without knowing Supergirl stayed safe when the battle finished.

 

“And anyway,” Kara continued, “I would never cancel on you.”

 

Lena’s smile brightened even more. “Well, then let’s be on our way.”

 

As the pair rode the elevator down to the ground floor, Kara offered, “I was thinking we could try that new cafe across the street?”

 

Lena cocked her head. “A plateful of pastries is not a proper lunch.”

 

“Hey, they have salads, I checked the menu!” Kara protested. When Lena simply raised an eyebrow in response, Kara added, “Okay the salads all have some sweet topping like carmelized bacon or glazed nuts, but I’m sure you can ask to have them removed.”

 

The elevator dinged and the pair made their way across the lobby. Lena chuckled, “When it comes to food, you never surprise me.”

 

Before Kara had the chance to defend her taste pallet, an unkempt man in a black trench coat burst through the front doors.

 

“How’s this for a surprise, Luthor?” Incidentally cliché, he pulled a gun out from the inside of his coat and pointed the barrel directly at Lena’s chest.

 

Kara didn’t need her super powers to catch the murderous glare in the assassin’s eyes. She instinctively stepped in front of Lena concurrent to when the man jeered, “Lex sends his regards.”

 

He pulled the trigger, and as the blast echoed in Lena’s ears, time seemed to slow down and speed up all at once. Thoughts raced through the brunette’s head, worried that her Kryptonian friend had just exposed her secret identity in the middle of CatCo. But when the bullet struck Kara, it didn’t ricochet off her body. She didn’t steel herself like Supergirl normally did. And Kara Danvers fell back into Lena’s arms, causing both women to collapse onto the floor. Lena’s knees buckled beneath her as she fell into a kneeling position, while Kara crumpled onto her lap. Lena’s worry swiftly turned to confusion as a wide-eyed Kara began to bleed out in her arms.

 

“Shit,” the gunman gasped as he turned on his heel and ran towards the door, only to be swiftly tackled by an incredibly enraged Agent Danvers. Alex had nearly rolled out of the DEO van parked next to CatCo when she saw the man enter the building. But she wasn’t fast enough to prevent him from pulling the trigger. Only seconds after the bullet collided with Kara’s vulnerable body, Alex had the gunman pinned to the ground. Fear, panic, and enmity flooded through Alex as she agressively cuffed the man who shot her little sister.

 

Nothing made sense to Lena. She knew that bullet was meant for her, so why would it be laced with Kryptonite? Lex would never waste any amount of the rare space rock… And then confusion turned to horror, as it dawned on Lena that Kara must not be Supergirl. Kara Danvers, a soft and fragile human, had selflessly taken a normal, lead bullet for her.



“Oh Kara,” Lena managed to choke out, leaning in closer to her bleeding friend.



“I-it’s ok-kay,” Kara trembled.



Tears burned down Lena’s cheeks as she cradled Kara’s head with one arm, and used her other hand to press down on the wound. The bullet hole was merely centimeters away from Kara’s solar plexus, so slowing the blood loss seemed an impossible task without proper medical equipment.



Lena started, “You...you didn’t have to do that.”



Kara managed a brief smile in between winces, “I promised I w-w...would always-s pro-protect you.”



“Shh...” Lena shook her head. “Stay with me, Kara.” The CEO pressed her forehead against the reporter’s paling brow. “Please don’t leave me.”



And then an aggressive voice commanded, “Get away from her.” Alex furiously sprinted towards the two distraught women while Agent Vasquez dragged the cuffed gunman into the van. “Just get back.”



Kara moved to protest Alex’s abjection, but her blue eyes rolled back and she laid limp and unconscious in Lena’s arms.



“I didn’t ask her to–I’m just trying to help,” Lena explained.



“I don’t need your help, I need you to move so I can take care of my sister,” Alex pushed Lena’s hands away and ripped open Kara’s shirt to tape down iatric gauze.



A different pair of agents ran into the building, toting a gurney that they gingerly placed Kara’s small body atop. Kara’s chest rose and lowered in odd patterns; her breathing became increasingly shallow.

 

A glassy-eyed Alex turned to follow the agents out of CatCo, but Lena called out, “Wait! I should come with, I should be there when she wakes up.”

 

Alex instantly whipped around to glare daggers into Lena. “No. You’ve done enough, Luthor. Go back to your billion dollar company and maybe invest in some actual security.”

 

Lena stood agape as Alex ran into the black van that Kara had been loaded into and drove off. The venomous words rang through her head over and over and over and–

 

“Ms. Luthor?” Eve quietly freed Lena from her downward spiral. “Would you like me to walk with you to the washroom so you can clean your hands?”

 

“My...my hands?”

 

Eve cautiously reached out and gently held Lena’s shaking hands in her own. When Lena looked down, her vision blurred as she recognized the thick, crimson liquid coating her hands. Kara’s blood. Reality truly began to sink in, and Lena found herself quite lightheaded.

 

“Hey, hey, Lena, it’s okay. How can I help? I’m right here,” Eve insisted.

 

I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere. That’s what Kara had promised. Lena was past feeling cold and calm, as she had felt when Jack died. No, this feeling surpassed all levels of emotion she had previously experienced. A heat burning in her chest so hot that it felt colder than ice. Anger melted in metaphysical flames as sheer heartbreak crystallized throughout Lena’s body.

 

“Send an email out to the entire office. Tell them to take the day off, the rest of the week if they want. I don’t care. Send the email and go home, Eve,” Lena dryly responded once she found her voice.

 

“Are you sure? I–”

 

“Just do it,” Lena snarled.

 

Eve nodded. “Okay,” then followed Lena back into the elevator, riding it back to the top floor in bitter reticence as she sent the mass email from her iPhone.

 

The elevator seemed to ding abnormally loud in the uncomfortably silent office. Lena paid no attention to the shocked gazes, fixated on her bloodstained hands as she strode towards her office.

 

Yet James blocked her path and asked, “Lena, what happened?”

 

“Go home, Mr. Olsen. CatCo is closed for the day,” Lena coolly responded, walking right past him into Kara’s cubicle, where Lena usually sat during the day. She turned her chair to face the window so none of her employees could see the tears she fought against releasing.

 

After a few minutes, the sound of scrambling employees dulled down to a quiet conversation between the only two left on the floor.

 

“So where is Kara now?” James asked Eve.

 

Eve shrugged. “I wish I knew. I saw a bunch of people in black suits put her in a van and drive off.”

 

James chewed his bottom lip. “You really should go home, Eve.”

 

“Is Ms. Luthor going to be alright?”

 

James sighed, “I’ll check on her before I go.”

 

“Please do,” she responded sincerely before leaving the office.

 

James wanted nothing more than to sprint to the DEO and make sure Kara was alive, but instead, he cleared his throat and walked towards Lena.

 

“Lena–”

 

“What part of ‘go home’ did you not understand?” Lena questioned, without even turning her chair around.

 

“I understood it well enough to recognize that I shouldn’t leave you alone right now,” James retorted.

 

Finally Lena swiveled the chair around. “Why? Because Kara getting shot was obviously all Lena Luthor’s fault because she’s exactly like her mother and brother? And now you need to babysit me?”

 

“On the contrary,” James stepped closer. “I know that it’s not your fault, but I think you’re still blaming yourself.”

 

“Is that so?” Lena attempted to sound menacing, while really, she was desperately holding back vulnerable tears.

 

“You can talk to me. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing between us, but we both care deeply about Kara. And clearly she cares about you. So can you please put your pride aside and–”

 

Lena’s eyes stung too much to hold back any longer; the typically professional, well-put-together business woman began sobbing uncontrollably. James rushed to her side and knelt in front of her, with an earnest expression on his face, waiting for her to speak.

 

“I,” Lena took a deep breath, “I don’t understand...I was so sure that...that Kara was…Of course she’s not,” Lena began laughing in a somewhat unhinged manner, “Wouldn’t you tell your best friend a secret like that? Ha! I figured she didn’t because I was a Luthor, but wow. I was so wrong.”

 

James furrowed his brow. “Hold on, I’m not following.”

 

Lena swiveled her chair back towards the window. “I’m simply laughing at myself for thinking that Kara Danvers was Supergirl.” When James didn’t respond, Lena added, “Isn’t that absolutely ridiculous? I’m an utter fool.”

 

After another moment of silence, James calmly asked, “How long have you thought that Kara was Supergirl?”

 

Lena rolled her eyes at the pointless question. “Barely a couple months after our friendship began.”

 

“Really, that long? Why didn’t you say anything?”

 

“I assumed she had her reasons. But what does it matter now? Kara’s not Supergirl. Kara’s a kind and loyal friend who’s probably dying in a hospital bed at this very moment.” Lena swallowed and looked up towards the clouds. “Of all the times I needed Supergirl to save me, this time was truly the only one that mattered. And it’s just my luck that National City’s hero didn’t show up.”

 

James inhaled and hesitantly spoke, “Lena, I think you should come with me.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

James walked around her chair and held out his hand. “Please come with me. I’m going to take you to Kara.”

 

“Thank you, but I know where the hospital is. And her older sister doesn’t want me there anyway.”

 

“I don’t care what Alex wants. I’m thinking about what Kara wants. And she’s going to want you there when she wakes up.”

 

Lena tentatively accepted James’ hand and stood up. “I still don’t need you to escort me.”

 

“Actually you do,” James asserted, “Because we’re not going to the hospital. We’re going to the DEO.”

Chapter Text

Alex held her sister’s hand as Kara laid unconscious on a yellow sun bed. She had never seen Kara so pale. So fragile. So human. She gently brought Kara’s hand to her lips and softly kissed the fallen Kryptonian’s cold knuckles.

 

“I know it’s terrible, but god Kara, sometimes I wish you’d be a little more selfish," Alex sniffed. “You’ve always been such a hero, but this? This is different.” She placed Kara’s hand back on the sun bed, but didn’t release it from her loving grasp. “This wasn’t flying Fort Rozz into space or charging a missile head on.” Alex inhaled shakily, “You took a bullet without your powers. You took a bullet as a human.” Slowly exhaling, she continued, “You took a bullet for Lena Luthor.”

 

And at the word ‘Lena,’ Alex could swear she saw Kara’s eyes flinch or the heart monitor quicken for a second. Or maybe it was only in her head.

 

“Kara, are you–can you hear me?”

 

“Alex? Yes, I’m here and awake and–”

 

“Kara?” Alex swallowed, “I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’m going to keep talking anyway because I don’t really know what else to do.”

 

“What? I just said...Oh Rao…”

 

Realization hit Kara when she finally felt the breathing tube and found her eyelids too heavy to open. The plastic tube uncomfortably occupied Kara’s mouth and throat; she’d never needed a ventilator before. She wanted to speak, to let Alex know that she heard her. Yet Kara’s tongue lazily brushed the underside of the tube then settled back down into her jaw, lacking the energy to move again.

 

Alex sighed, “I know you’d never forgive yourself if Lena got hurt. You really care about her.”

 

“Of course, she’s my best friend.”

 

“And I know I shouldn’t have yelled at her.” Alex shook her head. “I snapped into protective mode and kinda lost it.”

 

“You were so harsh, Alex.”

 

“I know I should apologize.”

 

“You bet!”

 

“I’ll work up to that, I promise.” Alex let out a quiet chuckle, “Even when you’re unconscious I can still hear you scolding me.”

 

“Maybe it’s a new power I’m developing.” Kara wanted to giggle along with her sister, but then Alex’s chuckles crumbled into controlled sobs.

 

“We can’t lose you Kara. National City can’t lose Supergirl and I…” Alex choked out, “I can’t lose my sister.”

 

“Don’t cry, Alex. Please don’t cry…”

 

“We just don’t know when or if you’re going to wake up and J’onn has been on the phone with Clark for an hour trying to figure this all out and I–” Alex attempted to steady her breath, “I hope you know how much I love you.”

 

“Oh Alex. I wish I could move my dumb mouth to let you know how much I love you, too.”

 

 

James checked his watch for the third time in ten minutes. He’d been waiting for Lena outside CatCo’s lobby bathroom for what felt like hours. Not that he was insensitive towards Lena, but damn it, how long could it possibly take to wash blood off your own hands? He needed to check on Kara at the DEO; they both did. And Winn’s text updates were certainly not enough to ease James’ worry. When his patience finally wore thin, he hesitantly leaned his ear against the washroom door. Yet, James could hear no faucets or hand driers, nor any sounds indicating movement; only silence.

 

“Lena?” James knocked on the door. “Hey, I’m gonna come in and check on you, okay?”

 

Waiting a moment to allow any noise of protest, he slowly opened the door and peered into the bathroom. And there stood Lena with outstretched hands, staring into her own reflection. Her face completely expressionless, apart from the endless tears streaking down her cheeks. James noticed how Lena wasn’t looking into her reflection's eyes, but her reflection’s still blood covered hands.

 

James cleared his throat, ready to speak, but Lena spoke first. “Part of me doesn’t want to wash it off.”

 

Assuming Lena was speaking symbolically, James began, “Like I said before, this isn’t your fault Lena.”

 

“That’s not why.” Lena readjusted her jaw, but continued to stare forward. “Kara’s blood is on my hands. Not metaphorically, but quite literally. And if she dies–”

 

“Kara’s not going to–”

 

“If she dies, then this is it. This is all I have left of her. She’ll be gone. And the last part of her that I have, I would wash down the drain as if it meant nothing to me.” then Lena added, as a chill ran up James’ spine, “You must think I’m horribly morbid, Mr. Olsen.”

 

James took a deep breath and looked down. “When I lost my dad, I wanted something tangible to help feel like he was still with me. Luckily I had his camera for a while and it brought me comfort.” He glanced back at Lena. “Honestly, I can’t even imagine how I would feel if I were in your situation. But what I do know is that just because my dad’s camera broke almost a year ago, doesn’t mean that I have nothing left of him. And when you wash Kara’s blood off your hands, you won’t have nothing left of her either.” James took a step closer to Lena, “Our memories and our emotions are what really keep loved ones alive in us.” Finally Lena tore her glassy eyes away from the mirror and looked directly into James’ determined eyes. “And one more thing I know, is that Kara Danvers is the strongest person I have ever met and she is not going to die today.”

 

Without a word, Lena’s lower lip trembled as she finally reached to turn on the faucet. After a few moments of vigorous, but precise scrubbing, Lena’s red hands returned to their normal pale coloring.

 

“Thank you,” she whispered as she dried her fingers.

 

“Of course,” James replied, opening the bathroom door and leading Lena outside to his car.

 

As James started the engine, he awkwardly fidgeted with the radio, “Umm what kind of music do you like?”

 

“Do you really think it’s a suitable time for radio tunes?” Lena retorted. But after a minute of uncomfortable silence, she sighed, “Sorry for that outburst, um, classical would be nice.”

 

And fortunately for the unfamiliar duo, Schubert’s Symphony No. 10 wasn’t even through the Allegro movement by the time James parked the car right outside the DEO building.

 

“You’re telling me that Alex took Kara to a government building instead of a proper hospital?” Lena asked skeptically.

 

“Yes and no,” James rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m telling you that Agent Danvers took Supergirl to a government building equipped to deal with alien threats and technology.”

 

Lena blinked a few times before scowling, “Is this some sort of sick joke?”

 

“No, no please trust me on this one. You were right before. Kara’s Supergirl.”

 

Lena’s mind raced with the same unanswered questions from the moment Kara fell back into her arms. “But then how–” How did that normal, lead bullet hurt Kara?

 

“I’ll have Winn explain when we get inside.”

 

As they stepped out of the car and walked into the DEO, Lena asked, “Wait, Kara’s friend Winn? He works here too?”

 

James offered a half smile. “One thing at a time, okay?”

 

Lena’s mind flooded with understanding as each little piece of the Supergirl/Kara puzzle fell into place. All the secrecy between Kara’s core group of friends, all the lame excuses they each had for popping up at weird times, everything began to make complete sense.

 

When Lena entered the building with James at her side, she immediately felt the piercing gazes of every agent in the room. Some watched her in a mistrustful manner, while others simply looked confused. Winn, the only person not donning a black combat suit, hopped out of his swivel chair and jogged over to James.

 

“Heyyy buddy. What’s going on?”

 

James snorted, “It’s alright, Winn. She knows.”

 

Winn cocked his head and scrunched his face. “Lena knows…?”

 

“I know that Kara is Supergirl,” Lena stated, finally able to admit aloud what she had always believed.

 

Winn’s jaw nearly hit the floor. “You told her?”

 

“I only confirmed what Lena already knew,” James shrugged.

 

“Alex is gonna kill you.”

 

James dismissively waved his hand. “I can handle Alex.”

 

“If Alex doesn’t kill you, Kara will,” Winn fidgeted, “She wanted to tell Lena herself.”

 

Lena raised an eyebrow. “Kara wanted to tell me?”

 

“Well yeah,” Winn laughed. “She’s been practicing her ‘big reveal’ for months. In front of me pretending to be you, or like in front of a mirror, or–”

 

“Dude. Maybe stop talking?” James interrupted.

 

And for the first time since Kara saved her life today, Lena smiled. Because Kara trusted Lena and wanted to tell her. And it was pretty adorable that Kara felt the need to practice the reveal.

 

“We need Pam to bring some forms for Lena to sign,” James added.

 

“Right,” Winn agreed, leading James and Lena back to his desk. “I’ll send her a note right now.”

 

As Lena observed Winn logging in to his DEO registered computer, she immediately recognized the high caliber system. “That’s some fancy technology you’re working with.”

 

A nerdy grin spread across his face. “Pshh I guess.”

 

“Really, it’s quite impressive,” Lena insisted, “You probably have enough surveillance technology to hack into Lex’s prison cam, yes?”

 

“Child’s play!” Winn exclaimed.

 

Lena smirked, “Since he’s been in solitary confinement for these past four months that Lillian has been untraceable–”

 

“Let’s find out how Lex hired that assassin,” Winn finished, with an impish grin.

 

“Exactly.” Lena nodded.

 

 

“–so mom won’t be here until morning,” Alex was in the middle of talking at Kara’s unresponsive body, when she glanced up to the DEO lobby security camera footage. “What the hell is Lena doing here?”

 

Kara felt her heart start to race. “Lena’s here?!” She wished she had enough strength to ask Alex out loud or look at the camera herself.

 

“Just when I’m ready to apologize to that woman, she marches herself into our secret facility. I’m losing my patience for Luthors today.”

 

“Oh Alex, you never had patience to begin with.”

 

Then Alex noticed the tall, familiar man standing beside Lena. “And James brought her in? I swear to god I’m gonna…”

 

Kara couldn’t make out the rest of what Alex grumbled as her older sister withdrew from the medical bay. “James brought Lena here? But he’s never even trusted her...Lena’s here...” she barely managed to think before drifting back into unconsciousness.

 

Unlike her motionless sister, Alex barged indignantly into the DEO’s main room and demanded, “What is Lena Luthor doing here?!”

 

Winn adjusted his posture at the sound of Alex’s voice. “James brought her, not me! Also Lena knows that Kara is Supergirl.”

 

“You told her?” Alex angrily huffed.

 

“Hey! Why do you all keep assuming that I, National City’s declared prodigy in the modern scientific revolution and youngest billionaire in the world, couldn’t figure it out on my own?” Lena whined.

 

“Genius or not, you don’t belong here,” Alex snapped at Lena. Even in the moment, Alex knew that she was treating Lena unfairly, but she couldn’t help displacing her distraught emotions onto the guilt-ridden Luthor. Right now, Alex only wanted to concentrate on healing Kara. She didn’t have the mental capacity to waste costly time worrying about Lena’s status in the Superfriend gang.

 

“Now hold on a second,” James started, “I think Lena has a right to be here now.”

 

Alex’s focused never wavered from Lena. “You need to leave.”

 

Lena defeatedly turned to James. “Thank you for trying James, but Alex is right.”

 

“No,” James argued at Alex, “You’re typically the one condemning me for not trusting Lena, so why can’t she stay? Kara trusts her.”

 

Yet Alex remained fixated on Lena, telling her to leave. While Lena begged James to just take her home. While James yelled at Alex for yelling at Lena. Eventually, their three-way quarrel became so loud that J’onn hung up on Clark and stomped into the main operations room.

 

“What in the name of H'ronmeer is going on?” J’onn sharply asked Winn.

 

Winn stammered as he attempted to answer, but J’onn just shook his head in frustration and started barking at Alex and James to calm down. They caused such a raucous that only Winn heard his computer’s download alert ring. Attempting to ignore the absurd feud occurring next to his desk, Winn quickly clicked through each of the files.

 

Winn’s eyes widened in alarm, “Guys. Guys check this out.” But the four adults continued to scream at each other like petulant children. “Hey seriously, this is important!” When they continued to ignore him, Winn projected louder, “GUYS!”

 

“WHAT?!” Alex, Lena, James, and J’onn all yelled in unison.

 

Winn cleared his throat, “It...it wasn’t Lex. I hacked into the security footage and transaction data from the past four months. He couldn’t have sent the assassin.”

 

“Are you absolutely certain?” Lena asked, feeling a wave of relief rush through her.

 

“Yeah,” Winn nodded. “It’s literally impossible.”

 

Alex furrowed her brow menacingly. “Then let’s find out who did.”

Chapter Text

Alex steeled herself and started marching towards the staircase leading to the holding cells where the captured assassin was locked. Yet before she approached the entrance, Lena timidly called after her.

 

“Wait, Alex. Would it be alright if I–could I–can I just know how Kara’s doing?”

 

Alex paused and slowly turned to face Lena. While the Luthor feared that Alex’s gaze would remain harsh and threatening, she was surprised to see the agent soften her heated glare. Without denting her fiery pride, Alex nodded.

 

“James can take you to the medbay.” Turning to James, she added, “Kara’s in sun room two.” Then Alex pivoted on her heel and disappeared down the staircase.

 

Winn swiveled around to look back at Lena. “Ya better get going before agent grumpy-pants changes her mind.”

 

“He’s got a point,” James snorted and then walked towards a hallway on the right. “The medbay is this way.”

 

Lena took a deep breath and followed James. A strange mix of emotions danced around her body. Surprised by Alex’s cordial gesture, Lena’s stomach fluttered with nervousness as the prospect of seeing Kara became a reality. What would she even do in Kara’s presence? Lena didn’t think she’d make it this far, so she felt unprepared. The spontaneity of the situation caused Lena’s head to ache. Every possibility of rejection flashed through her mind: Kara would wake up pissed that Lena had learned her secret; Kara’s awake and wants nothing to do with Lena; Kara’s unconscious and flatlines right in front of her; Kara’s awake but something’s just off; Kara...Kara… Lena felt the weight of her heavy heart anchored in her chest. Potent beats alternated between guilt over Kara’s sacrifice and longing to finally see her again.

 

And suddenly James’ hand waved up and down in front of Lena’s face. “Hellooo? Earth to Lena.”

 

“Sorry.” she shook her head, escaping the brief dissociation.

 

Examining the new corridor where she and James now stood, Lena peered through a glass window into the room labeled “Sun Room 1.” A curtain remained pulled across the windows of Kara’s room, “Sun Room 2,” so Lena quickly familiarized herself with the open room’s layout. She wanted to feel mentally prepared for whatever type of medical equipment Lena would see attached to Kara. So Lena’s glassy eyes skimmed over the typical ICU equipment (cardiac monitors, empty iv’s, etc.) and settled on the DEO medical...bed? In all honestly, the bed-like contraption looked more like a coffin. No mattress, just solid metal with a single pillow on one side. The “bed” even had a lid, unfortunately adding to the casket vibe. Lena shivered apprehensively, knowing that Kara would most likely be lying on a similar apparatus in the next room.

 

He slowly opened the door and bright yellow light leaked through the opening. Blinking rapidly to adjust to the change in luminescence, Lena followed James into Sun Room 2. As predicted, the room looked exactly like the one Lena scrutinized only moments ago, except here, Kara laid unconscious. Motionless and connected to a ventilator, the Kryptonian seemed delicate and small. Yet, much to Lena’s surprise, the casket bed actually radiated the source of golden light. It surrounded Kara, not to a goddess-like halo effect, but coruscated her in a simulated sun. As Kara’s faded skin absorbed the little flecks of light, Lena finally understood the bed’s purpose. It was the opposite of a casket; it currently sustained Kara’s Kryptonian cells.

 

James glanced at Kara’s vitals on the monitor. To a normal human, her numbers would prove fatal, yet for a Kryptonian, the numbers indicated gradual health improvement. James had spent enough days by Clark’s bedside back in Metropolis to recognize each individual body stat. Unfortunately, Lena was not as well-informed. She noticed the incredibly off the charts numbers and began to tremble.

 

“Hey, Kara’s gonna be alright, trust me,” James attempted to explain, but Lena couldn’t hear anything.

 

All of Lena’s senses were attuned to Kara’s physical state, and she froze, staring between the monitor and Kara’s stoic figure.

 

“Why don’t you sit down?” James gestured towards the chair at Kara’s bedside. Yet, Lena still didn’t show any sign of hearing him. So James lightly pressed a hand on Lena’s shoulder to ground her and pointed out the chair. “Here,” he said as Lena finally sat down, “I’ll give you some space, but you can find me right outside if you need anything.”

 

Lena’s eyes widened, finally hearing James’ words. “You’re leaving me here alone?”

 

“You’re not alone,” James offered a half smile. “You’re with Kara.”

 

Then he closed the door behind him on his way out to give Lena some privacy and headed back to Winn’s desk to keep an eye on Kara’s vitals.

 

For a few minutes, Lena sat stiller than Kara, not knowing what to say or do; she just observed her. The blonde remained in khaki green pants, yet she no longer wore a shirt. Instead of the white collared shirt Kara had worn earlier that day, lengths of gauze and bandages wrapped around the Kryptonian’s chest. The scene before Lena was very difficult to process. The overwhelming sensation of fear Lena experienced earlier transformed into an overwhelming amount of sadness. Kara was so beautiful and muscular. Lena usually felt awestruck anytime Kara entered a room; her presence was captivating. However, this situation was so devastating that Lena did not know how to act. She felt uncomfortable touching Kara, even though she craved soothing her by brushing a stray hair away or holding her hand. All Lena could do was watch the steady motion of Kara’s chest bobbing up and down with each shallow breath.

 

Finding some confidence, Lena began to speak, “Hey Kara, umm it’s me. Lena. I’ve never really visited someone in a hospital before. Well, I mean I visit kids all the time at my hospital, but I’ve never had to be there for someone I really know. You know?”

 

Lena rolled her eyes. She was speaking so inarticulately.

 

“I’m going to try this again,” she cleared her throat. “I don’t know if you can even hear me, but from most movies I’ve seen, the person in the hospital bed can always hear their friend talking to them. So, here I am. Talking. To you.”

 

Lena wanted to smack herself in the face for having absolutely no idea how to handle this situation. Before meeting Kara, she’d never sat at anyone’s bedside, not even Lionel’s. She’d never even cared about someone this deeply before.

 

“I guess I’ll start by apologizing. Kara, I’m so sorry that being my friend causes so much trouble. I knew once I bought CatCo I should have installed better security, but I just grew so used to you always swooping in and saving me. It’s really my fault–”

 

Kara slowly drifted back into consciousness and heard a familiar voice talking to her. But with the ventilator still in her mouth, she still couldn’t speak aloud, “Alex?”

 

“–and I know you hate when I apologize too much–”

 

“Lena! What’re you doing here?? It doesn’t matter. Rao I’m so happy to hear your voice.”

 

“–so I’m also going to thank you. Kara Danvers, you truly are my hero. I don’t care how many times you catch me as Supergirl–”

 

“YOU KNOW? Wait, you’re here. Duh. But who told you? Probably Winn. I’ll yell at him later.”

 

“–The way you believe in me and the way you’re willing to risk everything for me will always leave me dumbfounded.” And in that moment, Lena fiercely wished she could hold Kara, just as Kara always cuddled her when she needed it most. “I hope you’re not in any pain…”

 

“I’m okay, Lena. Please don’t feel guilty.”

 

“You didn’t need to step in front of me. Not when you didn’t have your powers.”

 

“Of course I did. Don’t be silly.”

 

Lena’s voice dropped to a slightly more serious tone. “Kara, you can’t always save everyone. Supergirl means more to National City than one poor excuse for a Luthor.”

 

“This wasn’t about saving everyone, it was about saving my best friend. Rao, I know what I mean to National City, but clearly you still don’t know what you mean to me, Lena.”

 

“You’re so good and selfless and–and you should’ve just let me go.” Lena paused to steady her breathing and silently wipe away tears. “What will it take for you to learn that it’s okay? That I care more about your well being than my own life?”


If Kara’s body could wince, she would’ve from hearing Lena’s self-condemning words. “No. No, when will you learn that I’d rather die than let anything happen to you?”

 

“I know you promised to always protect me, but I don’t care. You also promised that you were ‘right here and not going anywhere.’ And that’s all I care about.” Lena’s choked sobs finally became audible, “I don’t need your protection, Kara. I just need you."

 

Lena’s desperation and sincerity gave Kara the sharp burst of energy she needed to finally move. It wasn’t much, just a flinch in the hand nearest Lena, but noticeable enough for someone who pays such careful attention to Kara.

 

“Can...can you hear me?” Lena instinctively reached to hold Kara’s hand.

 

The barely conscious Kryptonian immediately felt the comforting sensation of Lena’s hand in hers. A warmth, unlike the yellow sun simulator, surged through her fingertips, her hand, down her forearm and bicep. All the way to her chest.

 

“Yes, Lena. I can hear everything and I–”

 

“Kara?” Lena quietly asked, still unaware.

 

Now Kara desperately needed Lena to know that right now, Lena’s presence meant the world to her. Kara mustered up all the energy she had left; all she wanted to do was give Lena’s hand a small squeeze. Just to give her something. But unfortunately, Kara poured too much energy into her arm. And instead of lightly squeezing Lena’s hand, Kara’s hand wildly jolted upwards as if to swat Lena away.

 

Lena recoiled, shifting away from Kara’s body. “I...I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

 

“No!!! That’s not what I meant to do,” Kara silently pleaded, instantly missing Lena’s touch. “It’s okay I...I..”

 

In her weak physical state, the amount of energy Kara had used in attempt to squeeze Lena’s hand had resulted in a depletion of whatever stamina she contained for the day. The Kryptonian fell back into unconsciousness, leaving a disheartened Luthor to think herself violatory and hated.

 

...

 

Alex Danvers knew she needed to keep a level head. But nothing made sense. She reviewed the hired assassin’s profile as she made her way towards the prisoner holding cells. He was a widowed father with a boring name and no criminal record. Not even a speeding ticket. Even his employment history seemed rather barren. The only two occupations on record were his current job as janitor at the building next to CatCo and a different janitorial job from about twenty years ago at a chemical company that sounded vaguely familiar to Alex. He had absolutely no connection to Lena, not even anyone in his extended family had any sort of connection to any Luthor, so the attack couldn’t have been personal. Yet, the man’s attempt at Lena’s life was incredibly sloppy and ill-rehearsed. So why would someone hire such an inexperienced, normal guy to shoot one of the most famous CEOs in National City?

 

As Alex approached the holding cell, she saw the man sitting nervously. "Greg Johnson has to be the lamest henchmen name I've ever heard."

 

"I'm nobody's henchman," Greg mumbled.

 

Alex clicked her tongue, "After what you did at CatCo? I'd say you're someone's number one disposable henchman." Alex's comment was met with silence. "Do you have anything to say for yourself? Or should I just get right to the questioning?"

 

Greg just looked down at his cuffed hands. "I can't tell you anything."

 

"Mmm, see that's the kind of answer I don't take." Alex stepped into the cell. "Who sent you to shoot Miss Luthor?"

 

"Her…her brother," Greg responded, fidgeting with his handcuffs.

 

Alex menacingly shifted her body so that she crouched inches away from Greg's face. "Wrong answer. Try again."

 

Greg gulped, "Lex Luthor."

 

Enraged by the man's uncooperativeness, Alex grabbed Greg by the collar and shoved him against the wall. "We know it wasn't Lex, so who sent you?!" Greg kept his mouth shut, although a small whimper escaped. Alex's patience had completely worn thin. "You're going to tell me who hired you to walk through those doors, aim for Lena Luthor, miss, and hit my sister!"

 

"I'm sorry," Greg surprisingly choked out as tears welled in his eyes.

 

Yet Alex felt no sympathy for the man who nearly killed her little sister. "Sorry? I don't care how sorry you are. You're going to tell me who sent you or I'm gonna––"

 

"He has my daughter!"

 

Confused, Alex paused. "What?"

 

"He-he has my daughter and he's going to kill her if I give any information."

 

"Who has your daughter?" Alex loosened her grip on the man's collar.

 

Exasperated, Greg yelled, "Aren't you listening?! If I tell you anything, even his name, he's gonna...he's gonna kill my little girl."

 

Finally, pathetic assassin Greg started to make sense. His terrible aim, his inability to flee the crime scene, his clear lack of combative training, and his eyes. When Alex looked into Greg's eyes, she didn't see the fire or dark vacancy of a murder. All she saw was a weak man scared for his daughter's life.

 

Part of Alex still wanted to beat the shit out of this guy, but then she thought about what Kara would want her to do. Changing tactics, she said, "Then your daughter is our agency's top priority. We can keep her secure in our custody, and I promise we won't engage with whoever forced your hand until her safety is definite. But you have to talk to me. Give me something to work with here, Greg."

 

“You swear?”

 

“Yes. We’re the good guys. We don’t kidnap kids and we keep our promises to keep civilians safe,” Alex affirmed.

 

“Okay,” Greg slowly exhaled. “I worked for this guy, like two decades ago. I don’t know how or why the hell he chose me. But last night he stopped by my apartment after I put Sarah to sleep and he said that if I didn’t shoot Miss Luthor today, he’d kill my kid. Then two big guys walked in and took Sarah from her bed, handed me a gun, and just left.”

 

Alex’s eyes narrowed. “Why didn’t you call the police?”

 

“Are you kidding me? He already had Sarah and no one crosses Morgan Edge,” Greg quickly covered his mouth, realizing he revealed who blackmailed him. “Look lady, you made a promise–”

 

“First of all,” Alex interrupted, “I’m a federal agent, not some lady. Second, I meant what I said. We won’t go after Edge until Sarah is safe.”

 

And with that, Alex left the holding cell area, ignoring Greg’s “Thank you.” She made her way back to Kara’s sun room, finding Lena sitting beside her, with her hands resting politely on her lap. Lena didn’t seem phased by the sunbed or any alien technology in the room. Clearly she had known Kara’s identity for a long time.

 

“You really knew Kara was Supergirl all this time?” Alex leaned against the doorway.

 

Lena jumped at the sound of the agent’s voice. “Yes.”

 

Alex stiffly walked in, but repeated that softer look in her eyes. She sat across Lena on the other side of Kara. “And Kara doesn’t know that you know?”

 

Lena solemnly smiled. “No. I didn’t have the heart to tell her.” Slowly inhaling, she added, “But I was always prepared if anything went wrong at work. Since I bought CatCo, I had a spare pair of glasses made in my lab for her.” Lena reached into her purse and pulled out a pair of glasses identical to Kara’s. “Lined with inorganic lead, right? I figured that element would be best and–” Lena paused as she noticed the amused expression on Alex’s face. “You think this is funny?”

 

“No,” Alex laughed.

 

“You think me commiserable then?”

 

“I think you care a great deal for my sister, and the rest of us haven’t been giving you enough credit.” Alex sighed, “And Lena Luthor, for that, I am sorry.”

Chapter Text

Taken aback by Alex’s sincere apology, Lena humbly replied, “I understand. Kara’s lucky to have a sister that loves and protects her as well as you do. I know my family–”

 

“Just accept the apology Lena,” Alex cut in, “I don’t give them often, so please accept it so we can move forward.”

 

“Noted.” Lena bit her lip and couldn’t help but finally feel at ease in Alex’s presence. In fact, Lena felt so much more comfortable that she worked up the courage to ask, “If you don’t mind my curiosity, why wasn’t Kara bulletproof today?”

 

Naturally Alex hesitated after years of always protecting the information surrounding her sister, but then she remembered why Lena was asking: clearly she deeply cared about Kara and had absolutely no malevolent intent. “Sometimes Kryptonians over-exert their powers and they sort of burn out. We call it ‘solar flaring,’ but it’s not permanent and usually only takes a couple days for Kara to absorb enough sunlight to recharge. Unfortunately, Kara and her cousin become almost more vulnerable than a normal human when it happens. Kara usually catches a cold, and she’s clumsy enough that she might even break something.”

 

“So when she called in sick this today, she wasn’t faking that sneeze,” Lena chuckled.

 

“I wish,” Alex snorted, “I did witness that alien snotting all over herself this morning.”

 

“Ew!” The two women laughed together for a few moments, then the mood steadily returned to somber as Lena remarked, “Well. I guess it’s just my luck that someone tried to kill me today.”

 

“No, I don’t think this was a coincidence.” Alex pursed her lips. “From what Kara’s told me before, Edge is much too calculated to try anything without certainty. He must’ve known Supergirl wouldn’t show up.”

 

“Wait. Edge?”

 

“Yeah, he orchestrated the assassination attempt,” Alex sighed.

 

“Edge,” Lena repeated, feeling her blood begin to boil and voice shake with anger. “That conniving, bottom-feeding snake! I am going to–”

 

“Hey, hey,” Alex rested a tentative hand on Lena’s shoulder. “We’ll figure out how he planned this and we won’t let him get away with it.”

 

“What hard evidence do you have?” Lena snapped, causing Alex to release Lena’s shoulder and lean back.

 

“Um, we’re working on it. The DEO–”

 

“That means you have nothing,” Lena stood up, almost unable to control the vengeful energy bursting through her skin. After a second of silence, Lena controlled her frustration and took a deep breath. “Sorry for snapping, Alex. We just really need hard evidence and without it he will get away with nearly killing Kara.”

 

Alex stood to stand eye to eye with Lena, “I promise you, we won’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen.” The burning in Lena’s cheeks seemed to subside, so Alex reached out again. “We have to be patient and handle Edge the right way.” Lena inhaled defiantly, but remained silent. Alex continued, “Nearly a year ago, Kara rescued me from this...psychotic man who kidnapped me.” Lena’s green eyes widened in surprise, unable to believe that Alex-Badass-Danvers ever needed to be saved. “And Kara had a choice to be patient and do things the right way. Or let her emotions replace rationality.” Both women glanced down at Kara’s small body. “Which choice do you think she made, Lena?”

 

Lena allowed her glance to drift across Kara’s golden hair, then the delicate frame of her jawline. “She’s a Super. Of course she waited and did the right thing.”

 

“So can we both try to be like Supergirl today? Like Kara?” Alex turned back to Lena.

 

Tearing her gaze away from Kara, Lena murmured, “Yes.” Although Lena shrewdly thought, “But I’m no Super. I’m a Luthor.

 

Before Alex had the chance to say more, James knocked on the doorframe, breaking the tension. “Hey Alex, just wanted to let you know that Eliza’s here.”

 

“Thanks James,” Alex acknowledged as he walked back out.

 

“Your mother?” Lena asked.

 

Alex cleared her throat, “Uh yeah. You’re welcome to stay–”

 

“No,” Lena interjected, “Kara should be with her family when she wakes up.”

 

Alex almost said, “But Lena, Kara considers you as family too.” Almost.

 

Instead, Lena continued, “And anyway, I have some work to finish.”

 

“You’re not going to go after Edge, right?” Alex asked skeptically.

 

“Of course not,” Lena tilted her chin upwards. “I own two multi-million dollar companies, both of which I abruptly shut down for a few hours on account of my best friend being shot. One is a science platform and one is a media empire I–”

 

“Got it. Sorry, I just had to make sure.”

 

Lena picked up her purse and walked towards the door. “Thank you again, for letting me see Kara.”

 

Alex offered a soft smile in response and watched the brunette exit the room and walk down the hallway. For a second, Alex thought she saw Lena grab something off a classified countertop, but got distracted and let it go when Eliza Danvers entered the hallway and walked passed Lena.

 

“Mom!” Alex exclaimed, greeting her mom as she entered the medbay.

 

Eliza smoothed the hair around Alex’s face.“Oh Alex, are you alright? How’s Kara doing?”

 

“She’s getting better,” Alex said, offering her mom the chair that Lena had been sitting in only minutes ago. “The sunbed is working and she’s even had some visitors.”

 

“Am I mistaken, or did I walk by the one and only Lena Luthor?”

 

Alex raised an eyebrow. “What, have you never watched the news before?”

 

“No actually. I think after the Medusa Virus situation we all learned to have a little faith in the youngest Luthor.” Eliza smiled, “And anyway, Kara talks about Lena much more than any news anchor does.”

 

Alex chuckled, “You’re not wrong, mom.”

 

“I’m your mother, I’m never wrong.”

 

Before Alex had the chance to sarcastically respond, Kara let out a groan.

 

“She’s awake!” Alex exclaimed, quickly moving to pull the ventilator out of Kara’s mouth. Gently holding Kara’s head back, Alex eased the tube out of the Kryptonians throat and kissed her sister’s forehead. “Kara, can you hear me?”

 

“Mmhmm,” Kara moaned as she lazily opened her eyes. “Eliza?”

 

“Hi sweetie.” Eliza stroked Kara’s cheek. “How are you feeling?”

 

Somewhat perplexed by Eliza’s presence and overwhelmed with fatigue, Kara asked, “H–how long have I been out for?”

 

“Just a few hours,” Alex replied.

 

Kara squinted at Eliza, “Then how’d you get here so fast?”

 

“I called in a favor,” Eliza shrugged.

 

Alex snorted, “You mean, you canceled your plane ticket and begged J’onn to fly you over.”

 

“Well, I’d consider that a favor.” Eliza comically tilted her head. “I wanted to be here when you woke up. And, I even got here early enough to pass by Lena Luthor.”

 

“Lena?” Kara asked, then her bright blue eyes widened substantially. “Lena! Where is she?!”

 

“Oh honey, she just left,” Eliza answered.

 

“What?” That didn’t seem right to Kara.

 

“Yeah, sorry to break it to you, but Lena already knew you’re Supergirl,” Alex explained. “She was here for a while, long enough to get an update. Then she left to get some L-Corp or CatCo work done.”

 

Kara’s mind flushed into a state of worry; it seemed extremely unlike Lena to go back to work before she woke up, especially before discussing Kara’s secret. “What kind of update?”

 

“I don’t know, a standard one?” Alex said, “Look, I know you wanted to be the one to tell Lena, but given the circumstance–”

 

“Alex, answer me. What kind of update?”

 

Confused by Kara’s fixation on such a basic question, Alex furrowed her brow. “Standard. We gave Lena a brief update on your stability and informed her that Edge sent the assassin.”

 

Kara sharply sat up, wincing. “You told Lena it was Edge?!”

 

“Um, I assumed she had the right to know who tried to kill her.”

 

“And you let her leave?! Alex what have you done?”

 

Alex grabbed the cup of water from the counter and offered it to Kara. “Why are you freaking out?”

 

Kara pushed away the Alex’s hand, rejecting the water. “Lena didn’t go back to work, she went to confront Edge.”

 

“No, I specifically told her not to do that. I’m hoping your friend would listen to a government agent.”

 

“It wouldn’t matter if you were the freaking president,” Kara huffed, “You have to go to Edge’s office now. You have to stop her.”

 

“Whether Lena’s there or not, I can’t. The DEO can’t intervene yet–”

 

Kara pleaded, “Alex please.”

 

“There’s a kid’s life a stake,” Alex argued, raising her voice.

 

“LENA IS ABOUT TO PUT HER LIFE AT STAKE,” Kara yelled hysterically.

 

“Kara,” attempting to calm her sister down, Alex quietly apologized, “I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can–”

 

“Fine, if you won’t help, then I’ll go,” Kara cut Alex off.

 

Alex frantically shook her head. “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re not strong enough–”

 

“I don’t care,” Kara’s eyes began to well up. “Alex, I swear to Rao that if you don’t go after Lena right this minute, I’m going to unplug this sunbed and hobble there myself.”

 

Alex sat stunned by Kara’s drastic determination. But after further analyzing the Kryptonian’s expression, she realized that it wasn’t determination in Kara’s eyes, but fear. An emotion that Kara displayed so rarely, that it was almost impossible to recognize.

 

“Okay,” Alex slowly exhaled. “You stay here with mom, and I’ll go get Lena.”

 

“Thank you,” Kara whispered.

 

Alex offered an understanding nod, then sprinted out towards the DEO vehicle bay.

 

...

 

Although Lena wore five-inch heels, the furious CEO stomped through Edge’s nearly empty building. The security guards had gone home for the day and obviously Edge hadn’t anticipated such an immediate retaliation. Once she reached the top floor, Lena bolted towards his office and slammed open the door.

 

“If you shatter my door, Lena, you buy me a new one.” Edge didn’t even look up from his computer screen.

 

“You’re in no position to be so smug,” Lena replied through clenched teeth.

 

Finally, Edge looked up from his computer and walked up towards Lena. Now only a foot away from the visibly resentful woman, he sneered, “My sincerest apologies, I forgot to offer my condolences. I heard your girlfriend got shot this afternoon.”

 

“She’s not my–” Lena readjusted her jaw. “We both know that bullet was meant for me.”

 

“You’re surprised? What is this, attempt number seven of the year?” Edge raised his chin. “Most people think you’re just too dangerous to be kept alive.”

 

Lena scoffed, “You think I’m dangerous? Me? While you’re the one who poisons children and hires pathetic assassins.”

 

“Allegedly.”

 

“Enough.” Lena pulled out a pistol from her purse; the same pistol that Edge’s assassin had used to shoot Kara. “Recognize this? I swiped it from the evidence table on my way here.”

 

Edge snickered, “I don’t know what you’re implying, but I certainly don’t have any guns registered to my name.” Lena clicked off the safety in response. “And anyway,” he added, tongue in cheek, “If you just admitted to stealing from the police, you’re the only criminal in this room.”

 

“Oh I don’t think they’ll mind,” Lena cocked the gun towards Edge’s chest. “I’d consider it a civic duty.”

 

“Come on, Lena,” he swallowed, failing at keeping his composure. “We’ve been here before.”

 

“We have,” Lena smirked. “But this time we’re alone. And this time, I’m going to make sure that you never allegedly hurt anyone ever again.”

Chapter Text

As a last-ditch effort to save his own skin, Edge tried to inch back towards the panic button on the underside of his desk.

 

“Don’t even think about it.” Lena boldly shifted in between Edge and his desk.

 

Beads of sweat ran down Edge’s forehead. Raising his hands in surrender, he attempted to talk down the determined Luthor. “Where’s your proof?” Then through clenched teeth asked, “Did the shooter mention me or something?”

 

“Please. As if I needed your inadequate assassin to admit it was you,” Lena scoffed at his undeserving arrogance. “It’s not the first time you’ve hired someone to kill me.”

 

“No evidence? Isn’t this a bit rash?”

 

Lena rolled her eyes. “Rash was hesitating to pull the trigger. Any last words Morgan?”

 

Before Edge had the chance to plead for his life one last time, Alex Danvers burst into the scene.

 

“Stop!” Alex ordered, “Ms. Luthor drop your weapon and put your hands on your head.”

 

Lena was surprised to see Alex, but more shocked at the instructions she ordered. With Edge’s back to the office entrance, Lena’s focus shifted back and forth between him and Alex. Edge’s growing smirk was frustrating to say the least, but Alex shot her a sharp glare and eyebrow wiggle that seemed to imply something Lena couldn’t fully interpret. Although the agent’s voice sounded angry and authoritative, the corner of Alex’s lip twitched and her eyes read “Lena, please just follow along.” Unfortunately out of options, but thankful to still have Kara’s older sister on her side, Lena slowly crouched and set down the gun. Then the Luthor rose and obediently placed her hands on her head.

 

Maintaining eye contact with Lena, Alex tactfully spoke, “So sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Edge. Given this afternoon’s events, the FBI has been tracking Ms. Luthor for her security. I figured something was wrong when she entered your building so late at night.”

 

Despite her confusion, dismay, and frustration at being so close to getting her revenge on Edge, Lena trusted Alex and succumbed to whatever plan she had up her sleeves. Lena kept her face stoic and chin up as Alex holstered the stolen gun and began to handcuff her. The cuffs were loose, not meant to forcibly restrain Lena, but Edge didn’t notice.

 

“Inconvenience?” Edge feigned offense. “I’d hardly call trespassing and attempted murder an ‘inconvenience.’” Then his eyes triumphantly darkened. “My mistake, a Luthor murdering only one civilian per night is quite generous.” Staring directly at Lena, Edge taunted her with a phrase eerily similar to the one the assassin uttered before shooting Kara, “Send my regards to Lex.”

 

Almost every muscle in Lena’s body tensed at the sound of his cruel words. Her fury came not only from Edge’s sheer complacency, but from the fact that his accusations held some truth. Yet Lena maintained her cool and didn’t protest when Alex gently pushed her past the snickering man, down the hall, and into the elevator.

 

“Don’t let him get to you,” Alex discreetly whispered, “He’s vile.”

 

Once the elevator doors closed, Lena attempted to speak but Alex quickly shushed her. The elevator dinged open and Alex walked Lena outside to the DEO vehicle that Alex had driven 20mph over the speed limit to get to Edge’s building on time. The agent opened the passenger’s door and helped the handcuffed Luthor in, then walked around the car and jumped into the driver’s seat.

 

“Sorry, I had to make it believable,” Alex explained as she uncuffed Lena’s hands. “And I didn’t know if Edge had cameras hidden in his elevator. Did you drive here yourself?”

 

“No, I walked. Taking my car would leave evidence.”

 

Alex raised an eyebrow and started the engine. “Really? Vehicular evidence was what you were being careful about?”

 

“Thinking clearly when I’m upset is not my strong suit.” Lena defiantly stared out the window.

 

“Obviously,” Alex snorted. Then her tone dropped to a more serious level. “You didn’t mention anything about the assassin confessing right?”

 

“No?”

 

“Good.”

 

“Good? Alex, I went along with whatever plan you had tonight, but why did you stop me?! He’s the reason–”

 

Alex curtly cut Lena off, “He didn’t hire the assassin. Edge blackmailed the poor guy by kidnapping his daughter.”

 

“Oh my god.” Lena’s eyes widened in horror as she let the details sink in. “My impulsiveness could have–”

 

This time Alex’s interruption held a more soothing tone, “Hey, hey Lena it’s okay. You followed my lead perfectly back there so we have no reason to worry. We’ll save the kid and we’ll finally get Edge. But we’ve gotta be able to trust each other.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Lena croaked, holding back a few tears. This day had been such a whirlwind of emotions.

 

“I think I know what will cheer you up.” Alex smiled, “The DEO didn’t really track you. A certain someone actually woke up and yelled at me for a solid 5 minutes, telling me to go after you.”

 

Lena’s head whipped back to face Alex so fast, that Alex could swear her neck cracked. “Kara’s awake? She’s alright?”

 

“Yeah she’s alright,” Alex chuckled, examining Lena’s overjoyed expression. Although it was only through her peripheral vision, Alex noticed the goofy grin and blush spreading across Lena’s cheeks. “If you hadn’t stormed off with Edge’s gun, you would’ve been there when Kara woke up.”

 

“I should have stayed.” Lena’s excited blush deepened into redder embarrassment. “You must think me horribly hotheaded.”

 

“Impulsive, yes. Hotheaded? No.” Alex answered as she drove into the DEO vehicle bay. Shifting the car into Park, Alex turned off the engine and unbuckled herself. Turning her entire upper body towards Lena, she continued, “Look, if I wasn’t a government agent and I didn’t know a little girl had been kidnapped, I probably would’ve done the exact same thing. I withheld information from you, so tonight was partially my fault. And I’m sorry.” Alex stepped out of the car and walked over to open Lena’s door, but before letting her out, she added, “But if you tell anyone that I apologized to you twice in one day–”

 

“Understood, Agent Danvers,” Lena laughed, “I would never create a dent in your perfectly terrifying reputation.”

 

Alex playfully smirked and led Lena back into the DEO building. First, the pair stopped at Winn’s desk so Alex could instruct him to hack Edge’s security cameras and delete all files from tonight. Then Alex walked Lena back to the medbay, where a less-groggy Kryptonian awaited their return.

 

Kara was sitting up and still talking with Eliza when Alex and Lena reentered the room. Stopping herself mid-sentence, Kara’s eyes brightened at the sight of her sister and best friend. “Lena...hi.”

 

“Hi.” Lena exhaled.

 

“Alex, why don't we give them some time to catch up?" Eliza announced as she dragged Alex out of the medbay. Then quietly added with a nudge, "But I expect a proper introduction to Lena afterwards."

 

When the two Danvers women disappeared down the hall, Lena asked, “So that was your mom?”

 

“My adoptive mom, yeah.”

 

The Luthor and Super took a few silent moments to settle into each other’s presence. Kara noticed how Lena wore the same navy dress from the afternoon. The fabric was just dark enough that someone could only see the sparse splotches of Kara’s blood if they were searching for them. As Lena stepped closer to Kara, she noticed how the Kryptonian’s skin had returned to its normal pigment. No longer a lifeless pale shade, Kara’s skin greatly contrasted to the white of the iatric bandages wrapped around her chest. Lena found comfort in the fact that Kara also seemed to be breathing normally and tried to ignore the chiseled abdomen that tempted her gaze.

 

"So you're–"

 

"How’re you–"

 

They started at the same time, leading both women to burst into awkward laughter.

 

“You first," Kara said.

 

“No, no go ahead,” Lena insisted.

 

“I just, I just was going to ask how you’re feeling?"

 

“Me? You're the one who got shot, Kara."

 

“I know. But the guy was aiming for you and I'm..." Kara trailed off, not sure if Lena was ready for her to admit the revealed secret aloud.

 

"You're an invincible alien who can heal when put under a yellow light for a few hours." Lena finished, noticing Kara's hesitation to confirm she's Supergirl.

 

Kara bit her lower lip. "I'm sorry. I should've told you earlier, I really meant to."

 

“It's okay, no need to explain. I understand. It's a matter of security.”

 

“I never want you to think that's because of your last name.”

 

“I know it's not, because you made that very clear since the beginning of our friendship.” Lena smiled, “Really I'm just sorry that you forgot you solar flared–-or whatever it's called–-and took that bullet.”

 

Kara's brow furrowed in confusion. "You think I only stepped in front of you because I forgot my powers were gone?"

 

Lena shrugged. “I don't know, it makes sense.”

 

"Oh Lena," Kara tenderly reached out to hold Lena’s hand. "I didn't forget. I would make the same choice again and again, with or without my powers. You…your friendship...means so much to me."

 

Not quite sure how to respond to such an affectionate gesture, Lena broke eye contact and searched the room for anything to change the subject. Her gaze fell on Kara’s bloodstained collared blouse hanging on the wall. “I’m also sorry about your shirt.”

 

Following Lena’s gaze, Kara examined the ruined garment. “Aw that was one of my favorite shirts.”

 

“I’ll buy you 10 new ones, it’s the least I can do,” Lena offered.

 

“Oh Rao no, Lena,” Kara laughed, “You already bought me a $750,000,000 company.”

 

The Luthor playfully whacked the Super’s arm and insisted, “It was a business investment!”

 

“Mhmm, whatever you say.”

 

A brief, comfortable silence followed Kara’s light-hearted jests. It took Lena a second to realize that Kara was still holding her hand. A tiny amount of panic dashed around Lena’s brain as she tried to figure out what to do, what it meant, what it could mean…

 

Unfortunately, her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Alex’s annoyed voice booming down the hallway. “What part of ‘erase ALL of the files’ didn’t you understand?!”

 

“I thought I did!” Winn whined, “How was I supposed to know that he kept a hidden camera server in his office?”

 

“I don’t know, by maybe using your brain and double checking? Honestly, this is your job.”

 

Finally Alex and Winn appeared in the medbay doorway. Winn started, “I messed up, Lena. I’m really sorry–”

 

“Winn, shut up.” Alex commanded and turned to Lena. “There’s something you need to…” Alex’s gaze fell on Lena and Kara’s connected hands, causing her to pause and clear her throat. “Something you need to see in the control room.”

 

Alex and Lena helped Kara into the chair, with Lena having to regretfully let go of Kara’s hand. Noticing the warm affection between the two women, Alex dutifully walked behind the chair and began wheeling Kara down the hall with Lena walking along beside them. With Kara’s focus on Lena, Lena’s focus on Kara, and Alex’s focus on the two oblivious “friends,” the three women barely noticed Winn nervously trailing behind.

 

When they entered the control room, every agent stared at Lena. However unlike last time, these stares seemed pitiful instead of accusatory. Lena realized why when she looked towards the main monitor. Morgan Edge was front and center on the local news, while security camera footage of Lena pointing a gun at him played in the top right corner of the screen. The news banner below Edge’s face read “Lena Luthor Falls into Family Habits.”

 

Kara gave Lena’s hand a comforting squeeze, but the Luthor was petrified. Before tonight, Edge never had any tangible proof to use against Lena or frame her with. But now...now he had real footage of Lena storming into his office, pointing a gun at his chest, then being arrested by a government agent. The evidence was damning.

 

Both Alex and Kara tried to get Lena’s attention to offer some words of solace, yet Lena could only hear Edge.

 

“Tonight scared me, yes. But National City, I’m glad it happened because now you truly see who Lena Luthor really is. She’s a dangerous woman, ready to murder whomever she sees fit. Just like her mother and especially like her brother. I think it’s time we put an end to the Luthor family’s power, once and for all.”

Chapter Text

Lena’s gaze remained fixed on the screen, even after Alex turned the monitor off. Lena couldn’t hear anything besides Edge’s statement echoing over and over again through her head. Her entire world went numb and all she wanted was to let that black screen swallow her whole and disappear. She couldn’t tell if someone was calling her name or not, something sounded muffled and distant. Lena sank deep into her own mind, concluding that no matter how hard she tried, she would always be seen as a menace. As a Luthor.

 

Her senses shut down and the numbness throughout her body turned to ice. The atmosphere and her skin felt completely chilled until a warm, soft pressure touched Lena’s right cheek. Lena blinked a few times to refocus her vision and was met with a pair of worried blue eyes, only inches away from her own face. Kara stood in front of Lena, with one hand grasping the back of the wheelchair to steady herself and the other hand gently resting on Lena’s cheek.

 

“Lena?” Kara repeated for the tenth time.

 

Lena raised her right hand and laid it on top of Kara’s. “I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s okay,” Kara shook her head. “We’ll figure this out. You’ve worked too hard to let Edge get away with this, or anything else.” Then the injured Kryptonian slowly lowered her hand, allowing it to linger against Lena’s for a brief moment.

 

“Kara’s right, the entire DEO has your back,” Alex added.

 

J’onn nodded. “All our equipment is at your disposal, Miss Luthor. We’re here to support and assist you in any way possible.”

 

“Well,” Winn started, “We already have a prison cam video of Greg Johnson’s confession to Alex. Not to mention his statement on Edge kidnapping his daughter. So why don’t we have Papa Bear do his Martian thing and plant some Morgan Edge fingerprints at Greg’s house? Then I can tamper with the street cams and BAM we’ve got ourselves a solid crime scene!”

 

“I won’t pretend to know what you mean by ‘Martian thing,’ but it hardly sounds legal,” Lena sighed. “So I’m going to veto that plan. I won’t stoop to Edge’s level.”

 

Winn cocked his head. “I don’t think you really have a choice at this point.”

 

“No.” Lena said carefully, “If I’ve learned anything from my mess of a family, it’s that we always have a choice.” Then she turned her gaze to Alex after a pause. “And I’m going to make the right one.”

 

Winn opened his mouth to protest, but Kara stepped in. “So what do you have in mind?”

 

“Well, Winn’s idea wasn’t all bad. We could try and find real street cam footage from outside the assassin’s house. Video footage of his daughter being kidnapped would be a good start.”

 

“Edge is cunning...that’s a long shot.” Alex rubbed the back of her neck, “But it’s our best shot.”

 

Looking somewhat disappointed by the legal plan, Winn swiveled back around towards the computer. “I can get started now? Guardian can handle a night on his own right?”

 

“Agent Schott, under these circumstances with Supergirl still out of commission, I’d say you should join Guardian on patrol tonight,” J’onn instructed.

 

“Then we’ll start first thing tomorrow morning,” Kara agreed. Turning to Lena she asked, “Is that okay?”

 

Lena exhaled in relief, “Honestly Kara, it’s late and I’ve had one hell of a day. I’m so exhausted that the DEO floor is starting to look cozy. All I want is to go home, take a shower, and sleep in my bed.”

 

“Lena, I’m sorry but you probably shouldn’t leave the DEO. Edge still thinks you’re in federal custody, so we can’t risk you being seen outside,” Alex explained.

 

“Why don’t I just fly her home?”

 

Lena took a second register what Kara just said. It was just so strange how openly Kara referred to her powers now.

 

“Kara you’re still injured,” Alex argued, “I’m not sure you’re strong enough.”

 

“Give me another half an hour under on the sunbed and I’ll be fine. Lena are you alright waiting a little bit?”

 

Lena, still somewhat shocked, answered, “I was only joking about the floor. I don’t want you to try and fly me home if it’s a struggle for you in any way.”

 

Kara straightened her back and attempted her Supergirl pose. “I appreciate your concern, Lena. But it’s literally just a few minutes of flying. I can handle it.”

 

 

While Kara spent another thirty minutes soaking in some simulated yellow sun, Lena spent her time touring the DEO with J’onn. Alex left to monitor Kara’s vitals and spend time with their mother, and Winn headed out to join Guardian (who Lena deduced was James, due to the lack of explanation for his sudden disappearance).

 

“–and that’s what we use to power our basic systems. If we need the high-power tech for optimal surveillance and defense protocol, we have to manually turn on that sub-power converter,” J’onn explained, “It generates too much energy and it’s hard to constrain if left on for more than a few hours.”

 

Lena examined the generator, searching for weak points, and noticed that the problem rested in a destabilized core. Yet, she assumed the DEO engineers were already aware of the problem so Lena didn’t speak up. When J’onn led her through a few more labs, they finally stood in front of a glass containment room. Inside, three scientists prodded a bright green, diamond shaped material.

 

“Is...is that Kryptonite?” Lena asked.

 

“No, Superman removed our supply of Kryptonite a while ago, but I can understand the confusion. The coloring is nearly identical,” J’onn answered. “That’s Stellarium, it’s a rare compound only minable from the Vega system. We recovered it from an abandoned spacecraft only a few days ago.”

 

“Is it dangerous?”

 

“Quite the opposite actually. It’s used for stabilizing Uranium to prevent deterioration and subsequent combustion. We’ll keep it here for observation and then probably move it elsewhere.”

 

Lena knew it wasn’t really her place, but she couldn’t help proposing. “Why not keep the Stellarium here? Your facilities could use the compound to keep your high-powered generator on for as long as necessary without risk of nucleophilic oxidation.”

 

J’onn furrowed his brow. “I never said anything about the DEO using–”

 

“Please, I may not know much about space rocks, but I can certainly recognize nuclear power.” Lena raised an eyebrow. “Don’t worry, I know you’re a secret government agency so I’m not about to call the NRC. My lips are sealed.”

 

“That would be much appreciated, Miss Luthor.” Scratching his chin, J’onn added, “Although, I’m surprised Kara didn’t think of that usage.”

 

“Kara?” Lena repeated incredulously.

 

“Of course, she’s a Zor-El. Her parents were part of the Kryptonian Science Council and Kara remains the youngest member of the Science Guild.”

 

Lena scrunched her face in disbelief. “But the last time Kara and I discussed L-Corp projects, she didn’t even know the theory of quantum entanglement...”

 

“Quantum entanglement?” J’onn chuckled, “She could probably write a book on that.”

 

“You can’t be serious.”

 

“Kara clearly feigned ignorance in your presence,” J’onn snorted in amusement, “With all due respect Miss Luthor, if Kara spoke freely to her true knowledge, you would likely have a hard time keeping up with her.”

 

A smile spread across Lena’s face. She was thrilled at the prospect of working in L-Corp labs with her favorite person. A Luthor and a Super really changing the world. “That’s–”

 

“–Classified information,” J’onn cut Lena off, almost as if he could read her mind. “Kara Zor-El may be a brilliant scientist, but Kara Danvers is a CatCo reporter who needs to stay out of the public eye as much as possible.”

 

“I understand,” Lena dutifully agreed, although unable to hide the slight disappointment in her voice.

 

“Good.” Then J’onn pulled back his left sleeve to check the time. “Well, it’s a quarter to midnight. Shall we see if Supergirl is ready for take off?”

 

Lena nodded and followed J’onn back to the central control room. There Kara stood proudly in her Supergirl suit with Alex adjusting her bright red cape and Mrs. Danvers straightening her skirt. When Kara saw Lena approach, she quickly swatted away the Danvers women’s hands and confidently stood in her famous power pose.

 

“Miss Luthor, I hear you require some stealthy transportation?”

 

Giggling, Lena coyly answered, “Did our dear friend Kara Danvers inform you over another late night cup of coffee?”

 

“Perhaps.” Kara strived to keep a straight face, but just the sound of Lena’s voice twisted Kara’s lips into an endearing smile.

 

Lena’s gaze lingered on that smile until Mrs. Danvers cleared her throat and stepped forward. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Lena. I’ve heard only wonderful things from Kara.”

 

Lena blushed, shaking her hand. “The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Danvers.”

 

“Eliza, please,” she corrected, “No need for my daughters’ friends to be so formal.” The gesture was kind, but Lena couldn’t help noticing the strange emphasis Eliza used on the word “friend.” It wasn’t invalidating; it was as if a secret meaning laid behind the usage. “One day when you have the time,” Eliza continued, “I would love to get together and swap extended periodic table and isotope notes.”

 

“As the adoptive mother of Supergirl, you probably know much more than me,” Lena responded humbly.

 

“I highly doubt that. Back with the Medusa virus–”

 

“Ooookay we get it, you’re both super smart,” Kara interrupted Eliza, “But it’s nearly midnight and I gotta fly Lena home.”

 

“Sorry, sorry,” Eliza chuckled, “You know I get carried away with bio-chem.” Before leaving the room with J’onn at her side, Eliza turned back to Lena. “It was lovely meeting you, dear.”

 

“Please be extra safe, Kara,” Alex said, squeezing Kara’s shoulder before following her mom down the hall. Leaving Lena alone with Kara in the dimly lit DEO room.

 

Kara’s arms dropped to her sides as she awkwardly walked closer to Lena. Dropping the performative element of being Supergirl in front of Lena felt a little strange. Biting her bottom lip and gesturing to her own attire, she quietly asked, “Is...is this weird for you?”

 

“No,” Lena softly replied. Stepping even closer to Kara, she added, “In fact, I think prefer knowing that Kara Danvers has always been my hero in every way possible.”

 

“Kara Zor-El,” Kara bowed her head.

 

Lena tenderly lifted Kara’s chin and earnestly looked into her eyes. “You’ll always be Kara Danvers, National City’s best reporter, to me.” Kara’s sapphire eyes began brimming with tears, so Lena added lightheartedly, “Now we can’t have you flying with blurred vision.”

 

Kara laughed, blinking the tears away. “Can I scoop you up the usual way?”

 

“Well I’m certainly not riding piggy-back style,” Lena joked.

 

“That’s fair.” Kara smiled and literally swept Lena off her feet.

 

Once in the air, the pair took a moment to comfortably adjust. Kara’s cheeks flushed as she realized her own hand placement...Were her hands always that high up on Lena’s thighs?! But when Kara looked at Lena for any sign of discomfort, the brunette seemed quite content. In reality, Lena strained her face to keep from exposing the nervous butterflies swarming her stomach. Biting the inside of her cheeks, Lena desperately tried to focus on anything besides her less than platonic appreciation of Kara’s strong arms around her back and thighs. She placed her own arms around Kara’s neck and locked eyes.

 

“Up, up, and away?”

 

The Super’s nose wrinkled in amusement. “Up, up, and away!” she replied enthusiastically, then leapt significantly higher into the sky with the Luthor in her arms.

 

They flew at Kara’s leisurely pace above the clouds and out of sight from any wandering eyes down in the streets. A cool breeze blew through Lena’s hair, causing her press up against Kara’s warm chest.

 

“Is the altitude alright?” Kara asked, noticing the goosebumps crawling up Lena’s skin.

 

“I’m just trying not to look down.”

 

“You really don’t like flying, huh?”

 

Lena looked up at Kara, “Well, it’s the first time I’m not unconscious or falling to my death...but I have to admit, flying like this is...surprisingly pleasant. It’s quiet up here. And there’s a nice view of the stars.”

 

Kara followed Lena’s gaze towards the sky. “Yeah...When aliens aren’t attacking and the city is calm, I like to just float with the clouds and try to find familiar stars.”

 

“That sounds so peaceful.”

 

“It can be.”

 

Lena noted the wistful tone in Kara’s voice and recalled how stars weren’t just stars to Supergirl. Kara was one of the last Kryptonians and somewhere past the Earth’s atmosphere, past the stars and planets in their galaxy, laid the remnants of her blighted home. Lena had so many questions and so many words of comfort she wanted to offer, but now was not the time for such a conversation.

 

Kara slowly descended beneath the clouds and discretely landed on Lena’s balcony. When the Super set Lena down, she began to wobble in her first steps.

 

“Are you alright, Kara?” Lena asked, holding Kara’s arm to steady her.

 

Kara rubbed her eyes. “Yeah...yeah I’m just a bit lightheaded. I’m fine.”

 

“Here,” Lena slid open her balcony door. “Come sit and I’ll grab you some water.”

 

“Thanks,” Kara smiled gratefully, following Lena into her apartment.

 

As Lena filled two large glasses with water, she silently thanked herself for leaving her balcony unlocked. It seemed irrational, given the amount of assassination attempts, yet somewhere in the back of Lena’s mind, she had always hoped Supergirl would make use of it.

 

Lena handed the winded Kryptonian both glasses of water and sat on the couch beside her. “You know, you’re more than welcome to stay over tonight.”

 

“Are you sure?” Kara asked after gulping down an entire glass.

 

“Please Kara, I’ve crashed on your couch countless times. But actually, why don’t you take take the bed and I’ll take the couch.”

 

“What? I couldn’t impose!”

 

“Don’t be silly, you took a bullet for me then flew me home. If anyone deserves a bed it’s you,” Lena insisted, as Kara knocked back the rest of her water.

 

Wiping her mouth, Kara offered, “How about we both take the bed?”

 

“I suppose I can agree to that.” Lena grabbed the two empty glasses and back to her kitchen sink. Of course she wanted to refill the water for Kara, but she suddenly found herself needing a drink as well. “I’ll let Alex know you’re staying over,” Lena added, grabbing her phone from the counter.

 

Lena typed out: “Hey, Supergirl is–” but smiled to herself as she retyped: “Hey, Kara is tired from flying so she’s staying over.”

 

Expecting the overprotective Danvers to respond with an offer to pick Kara up, Lena was surprised by Alex’s placid response: “Okay. Please fly back to the DEO by 9am tomorrow morning.”

 

“Alex wants us back by 9am tomorrow,” Lena said, bringing over more water. “Your NCU sweatshirt is still here and you can borrow a pair of sweatpants. They’re on the second shelf in the bedroom wardrobe. You’re welcome to whatever you need, and I’m just going to take a quick shower.”

 

“Okay! I’ll be ready by the time you’re out.”

 

Lena watched Kara slowly rise and walk into her bedroom, then she stepped into the shower. She took a moment under the steaming water to relax her shoulders, realizing the stress from today had rendered them extremely tensed and knotted. Rolling her neck, Lena closed her eyes and exhaled, listening to the steady beat of water drenching her skin. Almost lulled to sleep, Lena sharply inhaled to keep herself awake then quickly finished rinsing off her body and changed into the pajamas she’d brought with her.

 

Allowing her hair to air dry, Lena walked into her bedroom and was surprised to find Kara sitting on her bed, still in her Supergirl suit. Normally, Kara never wasted an opportunity to change into cozy clothes. Yet, the frustration plastered across the Kryptonian’s face told Lena that it wasn’t Kara’s choice to remain in the skintight material.

 

“I can’t...um I can’t currently reach my cape,” Kara admitted.

 

“What?”

 

Kara raised her arms up perpendicular to her torso. “It umm, hurts to raise my arms any higher.”

 

Lena’s expression shifted from confusion to deep concern, as she remembered all the iatric gauze and tape wrapped around Kara’s chest underneath her supersuit. “Of course, let me help!” Lena quickly knelt beside Kara and began unfastening her cape. When she finally detached the red cape from the blue bodysuit, Lena lifted it with the intention of hanging it in the wardrobe. “Wow...”

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing,” Lena turned back to Kara. “It’s just heavier than I expected. Sometimes I forget how strong you are.” And she meant it in both the physical and emotional sense.

 

Kara’s cheeks flushed and she bowed her head. Looking up at Lena, she didn’t really know what to say. “I’m gonna change now, if that’s okay?”

 

“Oh right, yeah, you do that and I’ll wait outside,” Lena rambled, “I need to email Sam some files anyway since I clearly won’t be in the office for a while.”

 

“Okay,” Kara replied, chewing her bottom lip. And after a few minutes, she called Lena back into the room.

 

When Lena re-entered the room, she turned off the lights and crawled into bed beside Kara. “Are you comfortable? Do you need anything?”

 

Kara smiled, despite it being much too dark for Lena to see. “I’m fine, thank you Lena.”

 

“No, it’s always me who should be thanking you. For never giving up on me.”

 

“And I never will,” Kara sleepily mumbled into her pillow.

 

Lena’s heart skipped a beat. She should be used to Kara’s steadfast belief in her. However, something about hearing Kara say that while only inches away in her bed, after such an emotionally draining day, released an avalanche of emotions. Lena tried to steady her breathing, forcing herself to sleep, but her mind wouldn’t stop spinning.

 

“Lena? Are you okay?” Kara abruptly sat upright. “Your heart is racing!” Embarrassed, Lena attempted to stutter an answer, but Kara just kept talking. “Don’t be worried about tomorrow and Edge. I promise Alex and I won’t rest until he’s behind bars and you’re vindicated.”

 

Grateful for Kara’s perceived reasoning, Lena managed a “Thank you.” Unfortunately, that only made Lena more nervous, because what if Kara hadn’t given her that excuse?

 

“Rao Lena, I didn’t mean to make you more nervous,” Kara pouted and wrapped her arms around Lena. “Come here.”

 

Kara’s warmth completely surrounded Lena and for a moment, the embrace coupled with her overwhelming emotions left Lena unsure what to do. But when Kara’s nose snuggled up against the back of Lena’s right ear, Lena melted into the comfort and finally fell asleep to the rhythm of Kara’s breathing.

Chapter Text

Lena’s eyes slowly fluttered open. She stretched her arms out in front of her, only to feel the cool silk sheets that typically adorned her empty bed. Lena frowned as she immediately found herself missing Kara's warmth. At first she wondered why Kara left without a word, then thought perhaps the events of yesterday were just some nightmare her mind concocted. Yet when she peered down at the folded Supergirl suit on her bedroom lounge chair, followed by hearing a loud clang from the other room, Lena knew that the distressing past twenty-four hours had indeed occurred. She smoothed the top of her mildly tangled hair and stepped out of bed, making her way towards the aroma of burnt eggs that drifted from the kitchen.

 

Much to her amusement, Lena was greeted by the sight of a very focused Kara Danvers arranging sliced fruit beside an omelette. Small splotches of egg yolk were visible on Kara’s NCU sweatshirt, while the garbage can behind her was overflowing with failed omelette attempts. Lena bit her lip at Kara and the state of her kitchen; the fact that her Kryptonian friend simply couldn't make Earth food of any kind was comically obvious. Despite the small mess and emptied egg cartons, Lena was more than happy to see Kara so comfortable in her home. Although, something seemed different and it took Lena a good minute to realize why: Kara stood there in her typical cozy Kara Danvers attire, but she wasn’t wearing her glasses. It seemed almost bizarre to have Kara’s two identities combined into one outfit. But when the Kryptonian noticed Lena’s presence and glanced upward to meet her eyes, Lena got the clearest, unobstructed look into her bright blues and decided that it was her favorite visage.

 

“You’re awake!” Kara beamed, looking much more revitalized than she had the previous night. “I hope you don’t mind, I made breakfast.”

 

“Mind? Kara, this is absolutely wonderful,” Lena said with a smile and a genuine giggle, sitting down in a chair on the opposite side of the kitchen counter. After getting a good look at the spinach and onion egg-white omelette, Lena surmised that Kara would not be sharing this meal. “Aren’t you hungry, too?”

 

“Oh, uhh, nahh. I’m not really–” Kara started. Yet, when Lena raised her eyebrows, she admitted, “Okay, so Alex texted me earlier saying that she had a cinnabon waiting for me at the DEO.”

 

A cinnabon?”

 

“Fine, a whole box!” Kara laughed, “You know me too well.”

 

Lena ducked her head, smiling at her omelette. “I could say the same about you.”

 

When Lena raised her eyes back to Kara, she was surprised to see the blonde’s cheeks turn such a rosy shade. But the blush deepened to crimson when a burnt omelette plopped down from the ceiling and onto the counter in front of both women. Lena burst into laughter, while Kara scrambled to whisk the burnt eggs into the trash can.

 

“Sorry,” the embarrassed Kryptonian said, “I forgot about that one…It was actually my first attempt and I was a little over-excited.” Kara sheepishly rubbed the back of her neck. “I should probably start cleaning...”

 

“No, no I can clean up later, sit with me please,” Lena insisted. She wanted to take in every millisecond of this normal, warm moment with Kara.

 

They sat in comfortable silence while Lena ate her breakfast; each woman taking the opportunity to steal glances at the other. As Lena took the last bites of breakfast, she repined, "Not to spoil the mood, but I suppose we need to return to the DEO soon, yes?"

 

Kara sighed, "We've got a big day ahead of us."



"Well, it's nothing that a Super and Luthor can't handle," Lena responded, with feigned confidence. Sure, she believed in Supergirl, but believing in herself was a more challenging task. However, Kara's hopeful smile actually granted Lena a peaceful moment of optimism. “And you’re feeling better?”

 

“Oh definitely! Before you woke up, I took some time to sunbathe on your balcony. I’m super refreshed.” Then, in a blur of movement, Kara’s pajamas lay folded on the countertop and the proud Kryptonian stood in her Supergirl suit, cape and all. “See?”

 

“Impressive. Maybe I should let you clean the dishes after all,” Lena teased.

 

Kara chuckled, “How ‘bout you finish getting ready and I’ll start cleaning my mess?”

 

“That sounds manageable,” Lena concurred over her shoulder as she made her way back to the bedroom. Unsure of what to wear to a Supergirl mission, Lena settled on black slacks, a navy blue blouse, and a sensible pair of flats. She didn’t know whether Alex’s plan would involve running, so Lena decided heels and jewelry were impractical. Stepping out onto her balcony to meet the awaiting Supergirl, Lena said with conviction, “Let’s do this.”

 

Kara nodded and, in the same manner as the previous night but with a slightly deeper blush, lifted Lena and rose into the air. Carefully staying above the clouds to avoid the wandering eyes on onlookers, the pair arrived back at the DEO within a few minutes.

 

“You’re late,” Alex greeted them.

 

“It’s only 9:02!” Kara contended as she gently set Lena down. “And there was traffic.”

 

Winn laughed, “Traffic? In the sky?”

 

“Birds exist, Winn.”

 

“Right...Anyway,” Winn switched on the giant monitor in the control room. There, footage from outside Greg Johnson’s apartment showed the night that Edge kidnapped his daughter. The footage switched to a different angle, to show Edge’s office an hour later. Winn zoomed into the office to explicitly show Edge locking Sarah Johnson in a lead-lined escape room. “The street cam file was encrypted, but Edge doesn’t own National City transportation footage, so after some skillful tinkering, I hacked into it!”

 

“Excellent work, Agent Schott,” J’onn said as he waved everyone over to the hologram table. Kara, Lena, Alex, Winn, James, and J’onn circled around the table as a light blue model of National city lit up. J’onn tapped a certain area on the hologram and it zoomed in to focus on an empty parking garage two blocks West of Edge’s building. “Our entire operation will only span a three block radius, centered in this location.”

 

“There, we will base both Lena and James on separate levels.” Alex explained further, “Lena will text Edge, luring him out to meet her. While Lena is distracting him, Supergirl will break into the lead-lined room–”

 

“Using a safe, mini laser I built this morning!” Winn giddily interrupted.

 

Alex rolled her eyes. “Using Winn’s new laser, Supergirl will rescue Sarah and fly out the West-facing window, towards the parking garage. James will be stationed on the top level with his camera, where he will take the perfect photo of Supergirl saving a kid and exposing Morgan Edge’s treachery, blah blah blah, CatCo front page news. Make sense so far?”

 

Everyone around the table nodded, except Kara. Furrowing her brow, she defiantly said, “Hold on, we are not using Lena as bait!”

 

“She won’t really be alone,” Alex said. “J’onn will have eyes on her the whole time. He’ll be stationed North of the garage, I’ll be stationed one block South with a small squad, and a secondary squad will be stationed 3 blocks farther West, just in case. Lena will have a wire and earpiece, so the DEO will hear everything and I can feed Lena instructions if she needs to get out.”

 

Kara shook her head. “Why can’t J’onn just shapeshift as Supergirl and I’ll watch over Lena?”

 

“Because if something does go wrong, Supergirl can’t be in two places at once. We need the real you to save Sarah so the DEO can take down Edge.”

 

“But I’m faster than–”

 

“Kara!” Alex sternly cut her off.

 

Kara’s worried gaze darted to Lena, whose composure surprised the emotional Kryptonian. Lena calmly spoke, “It’s alright, Kara. I’m no stranger to dangerous situations and I think it’s a brilliant plan. Right now, Edge is overestimating his own intelligence, while underestimating mine. He thinks he’s already won and that’s what we’ll use to our advantage.”

 

Rubbing her temple, Kara finally capitulated. “Fine.”  As Winn led Lena away to set up the discreet wire and earpiece, Kara added, “But you have to promise me–”

 

“We won’t let anything happen to Lena.” Alex earnestly looked Kara in the eyes. “I won’t let anything happen to her.”

 

“I know, I know. I trust you, I just...I don’t..” Kara searched for the right words, “I don’t know what I’d do if Edge hurt her while I’m off rescuing someone else.”

 

Alex placed a comforting hand on Kara’s shoulder. “We’ll be watching and listening to his every move. But remember, Edge already thinks he’s ruined Lena; I doubt he’ll even bring backup.”

 

Kara fidgeted with the hem of her skirt. “Okay. Then let’s finally get that jerk.”

 

Alex amusedly smiled as she walked back towards Lena, knowing full well that everyone in the room would’ve chosen a much more abrasive word to describe Edge. After holstering her gun, adjusting her earpiece, and grabbing the van keys off the counter, Alex led Lena back into the DEO parking garage.

 

“You know you’re in good hands, right Luthor?”

 

“Of course,” Lena remarked as the women stepped into the vehicle. “I just want this to be over. It’s been a long couple of days.”

 

Alex snorted, “You can say that again.” As they neared the operation drop off point, Alex instructed, “After I leave, you’re gonna wait a couple minutes then you’ll text Edge: ‘Meet me at Lord Parking Garage. We need to talk. Alone.’ I’m hoping he’ll take the bait instantly so we don’t spend all day waiting.”

 

“Oh, he will. Edge can’t resist a victory lap.”

 

Alex shifted the gear into park. “It’s what we’re counting on. Try to stay as close as possible to the Northside opening. When J’onn has eyes on both of you, he’ll give Kara the signal to rescue Sarah. Your job is to keep Edge distracted, but not provoke him.”

 

“I’ll keep my cool,” Lena reassured. “I know how sensitive the mission is.”

 

“Good.” Alex drummed the top of the steering wheel. “Well, James and the DEO are positioned, so if you’re ready then I’ll head down to Squad 1.”

 

“I’m ready,” Lena replied simply as she exited the DEO van and stepped into the Lord parking garage. Alex offered her a quick salute, then drove off. Lena exhaled and pulled out her phone, trying not to picture the predictably smug look on Edge’s face as he receives her text. Pushing away thoughts of that vile man, Lena tried to focus on Kara’s belief in her. Despite all of Lena’s past missteps, including confronting Edge with a stolen gun, Kara’s faith never wavered; and that gave Lena all the confidence she needed to begin typing.

 

As her thumb wavered over the send button, Alex’s voice hummed through the earpiece. “Lena, can you hear me?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Just checking. Go ahead and send Edge the text if you haven’t already.”

 

Lena pressed the button. “Sent. Now we wait.”

 

After only twelve minutes, Alex reported, “J’onn said that Edge’s car is pulling into the parking lot now. It’s game time. You got this, Lena.”

 

Seemingly on cue, Edge’s sleek, black Jaguar pulled up in front of Lena. He stepped out from the back seat, while two bodyguards were visible in the front. Edge loosened his tie, as if to exhibit his disdain for the Luthor.

 

“I just wanted to talk, Morgan. There’s no need for your entourage of muscle.”

 

Edge snickered, “You really think I’m dumb enough to come here alone? And how the hell did you get out of custody?”

 

“Technically, I didn’t commit any crimes.”

 

“No. Technically, you knew that agent and reaped the benefits.” Edge took a step closer. “Unfortunately, personal agendas sometimes get in the way of justice.”

 

Lena crossed her arms. “That’s rich coming from you. And speaking of justice, how did you know that Supergirl wouldn’t swoop in and save me yesterday?”

 

If  I were someone who wanted you dead,” Edge began, fastidiously cocking his head, “I would pay close attention to Supergirl’s days off. Perhaps your personal heroine has a habit of taking some vacation time after intense battles. Perhaps hiring an alien to tire her out would be a perfect idea.” Chucking maliciously, he added, “You’d be surprised what an unsightly, desperate refugee would be willing to do to feed his family.”

 

“You’re disgusting.”

 

“No, I’m smart. I understand people’s weaknesses and I make use of them.” Edge took another step closer, sneering, “But with you it’s just too easy; your Luthor genes shine through every time, without fail.”

 

Lena shook her head defiantly. “You couldn’t be more wrong.”

 

“Ha! Then what’s this charade? Another poorly-planned attempt at my life?”

 

“Exactly what you called it,” Lena’s eyes darkened. “A charade.”

 

 

Kara sat perched on the roof of the DEO, awaiting J’onn’s cue. It took every ounce of willpower for the Kryptonian to not use her x-ray vision or super hearing to check on Lena. But Kara knew herself; Kara knew that if Lena’s heartbeat seemed slightly off, she’d abandon the mission without hesitation.

 

Finally, J’onn’s voice echoed through Kara’s earpiece, “Edge’s car just pulled into the garage. Stand by, Supergirl.” After a few moments of agonizing suspense, he ordered, “Go!”

 

Kara Zor-El leapt higher into the sky and darted full-speed towards Edge’s corporation. “Don’t take your eyes off Lena. Not for a second, J’onn.”

 

Shattering Edge’s office window, Kara landed and stomped over to the lead-lined escape room. She switched on Winn’s laser and aimed the quiet white beam directly at the dense wall. The laser easily cut through the metal, forming an entryway into a dimly lit room. Inside, a scared little girl sat huddled in the far corner.

 

“Sarah? Sarah Johnson?” Kara softly asked as she stepped inside.

 

Finally recognizing the hero in front of her, Sarah shakily stood up, “S-Supergirl? Are you here to save me?”

 

“I am,” Kara smiled kindly as she knelt next to Sarah. At just four feet tall, Kara reasoned the young girl couldn’t be more than seven years old. She gently wiped the tears from Sarah’s eyes. “Will you fly somewhere safe with me, Sarah?”

 

“Do you know where my daddy is?”

 

Kara took her hand. “Yeah, I’m going to take you to where your dad is waiting. Is it okay if I pick you up now?” Receiving a timid nod in response, Supergirl gingerly cradled Sarah in her arms and drifted an inch above the floor. Kara spoke into her DEO mic, “I’ve got Sarah and I’m about to exit the building. Is everyone ready?”

 

“Camera’s in focus and I’m ready when you are,” James answered.

 

“Squad 1 is prepped for arrest on your signal,” Alex added.

 

Kara put on her best hero-face and flew out the broken window, heading West towards Lord Parking Garage. She paid attention to the number of camera flashes in the distance and when Kara was certain James had enough footage, she picked up the pace and notified Alex that it was time to corner Edge. When Kara heard the DEO sirens blaring and a very confounded Edge mutter “What the hell,” she descended to the first level of the garage to get a satisfactory look at five black DEO vehicles completely surrounding him.

 

“That’s the bad man!” Sarah yelled, pointing directly at Edge.

 

Edge’s attention snapped to Supergirl and the little girl in her arms. When he registered who Supergirl was carrying, his eyes burned with rage. There was nothing he could do except defeatedly watch the Kryptonian smirk and fly away. Turning back to Lena, he scowled, “Why, you perfidious little–”

 

“Now, now Morgan,” Lena interrupted, “Save your big words for the judge.”

 

“What happened to ‘no trial, no jury?’” Edge snarled as the DEO agents filed out of their vans and surrounded him.

 

With no escape route, Edge could do nothing but let Agent Vasquez roughly handcuff him. “Morgan Edge, you are under arrest for the kidnapping of Sarah Johnson and coercion in the first degree of Greg Johnson. You have the right to–”

 

Alex stepped out of DEO formation and cut the diligent agent off, “Hey Vasquez, allow me to read his Miranda Rights.”

 

Vasquez recognized Alex’s underhanded tone well enough to know to nod and back up. Then, Agent Danvers made direct eye contact with Edge, cracked her neck menacingly, and said, “You have the right to remain silent,” before punching him in the face so hard, that the handcuffed jackass collapsed unconscious. “That was for shooting my sister.” Alex looked up at Agent Vasquez, “Okay, now you can take him away.”

 

As Vasquez and another agent loaded Edge into a DEO van, Lena teased, “You know, you will have to read him his full rights eventually.”

 

“I suppose,” Alex shrugged. “But ‘unfortunately, personal agendas sometimes get in the way of justice.’”

Chapter Text

"We've got him for good this time. We do, right, Alex?" Kara asked as she paced around the DEO processing room.



While still filling out paperwork with her right hand, Alex used her left to grab Kara's cape. "Can you just stand still for like two seconds?" Kara crinkled her brow and looked at Alex expectantly. Rolling her eyes, Alex added, "If you stop distracting me, we've got a great shot at it."

 

"What?"

 

"Kara, don't act surprised. We have to fill out the usual paperwork, but that's not all. Edge isn't an alien, he's an American citizen, not to mention a public figure." Alex finally looked up to meet her sister's dismayed blue eyes. "He's entitled to a trial."



"It's not fair." Kara crossed her arms. "It's not fair that he has any chance at being exonerated. And it's not fair that Lena will have to sit through a trial and–"

 

Alex put the pen down and stated, "Lena has the legal support of the entire DEO and," Alex's voice softened, "She has you. Lena will be fine."

 

Kara exhaled. “She’s just been through a lot.”

 

“So have you, especially the past couple days. But I think you two can get through anything together.”

 

“As long as I have my sister, too,” Kara added, placing a quick kiss on Alex’s shoulder. “Anyway, I have a CatCo photoshoot to get to!”

 

“Are you sure this is a good idea? Having pictures of Kara Danvers and Supergirl only pages apart does not fill me with warm fuzzies.”

 

Kara shrugged, “People will only focus on Supergirl and Lena Luthor’s pictures, not on the picture of a reporter in sweats and a wheelchair.”

 

...

 

Lena absolutely despised photoshoots. The awkward poses held for much too long; the directions and touch-ups; everyone’s eyes on her. It certainly didn’t help that she had to pose, let alone be in the same room, with the man who shot Kara. Assassination attempts stopped phasing Lena a long time ago, but she couldn’t get past the fact that Kara almost died. So Lena stared into the camera lens while shaking Greg Johnson’s hand, with a faux smile and contempt in her heart.

 

After a languid half hour, Lena’s spirits lifted when she heard a familiar thud come from CatCo’s balcony. She turned around to see Supergirl standing with her hands on her hips and a cheesy smile plastered across her face.

 

“Supergirl, you’re right on time,” James greeted, from behind his camera.

 

“I would never be late for my favorite photographer,” Kara replied.

 

After a few more flashes, James finally put down the camera. “Alright, everybody take five. Greg, thanks for coming in, you can go home now.”

 

Greg silently nodded and sulked away towards a DEO agent to be taken back into protective custody. Lena knew he took an immunity deal to testify against Edge, but she could still hardly stand looking at him. So Kara’s cheery face was a welcome sight. Since they had to keep up the professional charade, it took all of Lena’s willpower not to run into Supergirl’s arms. Instead, she calmly walked up to the Kryptonian and whispered, “If only you could rescue me from this.”

 

Holding back a smile, Kara responded, “Photoshoots aren’t that bad.”

 

“You know I’m not one for the spotlight. And the results well–”

 

Kara cocked her head. “Don’t be silly. You look beautiful, Lena.”

 

And Kara meant it; Lena looked as stunning as usual. She had changed out of her practical slacks and blue blouse into a green dress which hugged her curves and dipped below her cleavage. It wasn’t a bright, violent green like kryptonite, but a darker, warm shade that accentuated Lena’s radiant eyes.

 

Lena bashfully glanced downwards. Before she could return the compliment, James called everyone back to the staging area. “Let’s get the lights adjusted. We’ll have Miss Luthor on the left and Supergirl on the right.” Once the two women stood accordingly, he added, “Okay, we’re going to do a few poses. Let’s just see which looks the most organic. Can we start with a right-handshake pose?”

 

A handshake sounded easy enough. Yet when Kara and Lena positioned themselves at arms length, it almost felt unnatural. Perhaps it was because Lena had grown accustomed to Kara’s propensity for physical affection after only weeks of friendship. And once Supergirl started bridal carrying Lena out of danger, modest handshakes seemed a little silly. So as their hands met, Lena silently wished their fingers would weave together, intertwining as they did back at the DEO. The chaste touch felt and looked empty. Noticing the awkwardness but oblivious to the reason behind it, James instructed them to try a second pose. Now the two women stood shoulder to shoulder, angled away from each other, with crossed arms. James meant for it to look empowering and reminiscent of Charlie’s Angels, but there was still something off. Kara sensed the static dancing in between her and Lena’s bodies, tugging them together. Even without using her powers, she could hear Lena's steady breathing-- it only added to Kara's slight discomfort of being so close, yet so far.

 

After unsuccessfully trying about a dozen other stereotypical power poses, James sighed, “Just for fun, can we shoot the ‘Superman and Lois?’”

 

The iconic Superman and Lois pose; there was no need for James to explain. Everyone had seen the infamous photo taken after the pair worked together to defeat General Zod nearly a decade ago. James had snapped it right after a final explosion from the Kryptonian battle. The air had just cleared and there Lois Lane and Superman proudly stood. A captivating duo. Lois pressed against Superman, with her hand resting on his El Mayarah crest and eyes glued to his chiseled face. Superman, looking off into the distance with one hand on his hip and the other wrapped around Lois. The photo remained so epochal that no one ever dared recreate it.

 

The crewman behind a spotlight leaned in toward James and whispered, “You really think they can pull it off?”

 

“I know they can,” James answered. “Also, I’m kinda running out of pose ideas.”

 

Noises of crew members adjusting lighting, fans, and props clanged in the background, yet the room seemed silent to Kara and Lena as they looked into each other’s eyes and slowly shifted their bodies. Kara had to squeeze her lips together to keep from smiling; something about how James compared her and Lena to Kal and Lois caused butterflies to swarm her stomach, and she had no idea why. Fortunately for Lena, Kara was so focused on containing her inexplicable giddiness, that she paid no attention to the Luthor’s increased heart rate. Lena inhaled slowly as she pressed her torso against Kara, and for a second, she forgot how to exhale. Yet when Kara’s arm smoothly wrapped around her waist, Lena released the air in her lungs and gently placed her hand upon Kara’s chest.

 

“Hey, Earth to the Kryptonian!” James’ voice broke through their brief bubble of silence. “I need you to look outwards. Look at the left ceiling corner.”

 

Kara didn’t want to break her mutual gaze with Lena, but she dutifully shifted her glance off into the distance. Despite the bright camera flashes, Lena barely blinked as she admired Supergirl from such a close proximity. Her jawline, her small eyebrow scar, the curvature in her lips that twitched slightly from remaining so still. Lena’s expression held so much admiration and adoration that it couldn’t be faked in any trite pose. And James captured it all on camera.

 

“Alright Lena, Supergirl, we are done for the day,” James announced. “I’m sure you have places to be, and Kara should be arriving any minute for work.”

 

Supergirl unhappily broke her embrace with Lena. “Right! Miss Danvers has an article to write and her own short photoshoot. Why don’t I walk Miss Luthor out of CatCo, and hopefully I’ll run into my journalist friend.”

 

“We should take Cat’s old private elevator, it goes straight to the ground floor,” Lena “suggested,” as they had planned earlier.

 

Once the elevator doors closed behind Supergirl and Lena, the Kryptonian pressed the red STOP button. She unfolded the wheelchair that had been leaning against the wall and speed-changed into the sweat pants and “Power to the Girls” shirt previously draped over it. Kara placed her super suit in a zippered pouch underneath the wheelchair, then began frantically patting down every other pocket.

 

“Oh Rao, I forgot my–”

 

“Glasses?” Lena finished, holding out the spare pair from her purse.

 

Kara’s fretful eyes softened into awe. “How did you…”

 

“I made these months ago, just in case.”

 

The Kryptonian lowered her head. “You knew for so long. You knew that I was lying every day.”

 

Lena didn’t respond for a few moments, then finally said, “We don’t have time to discuss this now, you have to get back up there as Kara Danvers. But I do want to talk. Perhaps over dinner tonight?” Kara lifted her head and nodded gratefully. Lena added, “And anyway, I want to take you out, as a thank you for saving me yet again.”

 

“Lena,” Kara smiled, “You don’t have to buy me dinner or flowers every time I help you. That’s what friends are for.”

 

“Right. Friends.” For just a moment, Kara thought the word “friends” resonated oddly from Lena, but she dismissed the thought as Lena continued. “Let’s at least go to your favorite Chinese restaurant?”

 

Kara’s smile stretched even farther across her face. “It’s a deal!!”

 

Despite the secrets and multifaceted tension between them, Lena couldn’t help but allow herself to melt into Kara’s arms before saying goodbye. In Supergirl’s presence, Lena felt empowered and protected, but a little sad. Yet, when it was just Kara looking back at her, Lena could only feel warmth and real security. Although paradoxical, it was true. Lena hoped that when they talked tonight, perhaps the sadness would dissolve away.

 

As the door dinged open, Lena Luthor strode into the lobby and Kara Danvers fell back into her wheelchair, ready to play the role of an injured human.

 

 

"So how're things with you and Lena?" James asked, shifting around Kara's article for the third time in the past hour.

 

Kara shifted it back, somewhat annoyed. "We were going to have dinner and talk tonight."

 

"Kara I'm sorry, but you know we need to finish this spread. Don't you want Lena vindicated as soon as possible?"

 

"Yes." Kara sighed, "But our relationship is also important. And you could've finished this without me."

 

James shrugged. "I wanted your input. It's your article and Lena's your friend."

 

"Yeah..." Kara trailed off, closing her eyes and listening to stillness of National City. It was nearly 3am and Kara had been checking in on Lena's heartbeat every hour or so. Yet this time, something seemed off. Lena's heartbeat, nor breathing were steady; in fact, they were accelerating.

 

"Kara? Everything alright?" James asked, noticing the alarm on the Kryptonian's face.

 

Ignoring the question, Kara practically ran to CatCo's balcony and listened for any sign of a struggle in Lena's home. Yet, she could only hear Lena and how her heartbeat slowed to a more steady, but still rapid pace. Not wanting to overstep, Kara decided on texting Lena instead of flying over.

 

"Hey is everything okay?? "

 

Lena, although startled by her phone's sudden vibration, was happy to see Kara's name light up her screen. She shook her head, half-smiling; of course the Kryptonian was using super hearing to check in on her. Lena decided to keep her text simple. "Yeah, just woke up from a bad dream. I’m alright. "

 

":( What was it about? "

 

Lena bit her lip at Kara's reply. She didn't want to lie, but right now it seemed like the best option. "Just some random nightmare about Edge. Not to worry."

 

"Are you sure? " Kara fidgeted before adding, "I can come over."

 

Feeling a ping of guilt, but still not ready to face the true content of her nightmare, Lena replied, "Thanks Kara, but really I'm OK. See you tomorrow? "

 

"See you tomorrow!!" Kara responded with a red heart emoji at the end. Relieved at the sound of Lena's heartbeat returning to normal speed, Kara stepped back into James' office to finish the layout.

Chapter Text

Lena cancelled lunch with Kara. Even on her busiest days, Lena always carved out time for her best friend. But not today. Her schedule was filled with department head meetings and phone calls meant to reassure investors, and she needed a moment to herself. So Lena cancelled lunch and wouldn’t reschedule for dinner. The high from clearing her name paired with Edge’s damning indictment had finally worn off. And with the adrenaline gone, all the feelings left lingering were those of hurt, anger, and disappointment. Because Kara had lied. She lied since the very moment they met and the truth only came out due to Kara's severe injury. They needed to finally talk about trust and their relationship, but Lena wasn’t quite ready to have that conversation.

 

The CEO picked at her salad, her mind focused on trying to unravel every emotion that bounced around her head. She didn't even notice Alex approach her desk until the agent cleared her throat.

 

“I thought you'd be busier.”

 

Lena set down her fork. “I'm in between meetings. I assume Kara told you I cancelled?”

 

“She may have mentioned it.” Alex squinted her eyes, not in an accusatory way, but more inquisitive.

 

Lena sighed, “You know how much Kara means to me. I don't plan on prolonging our inevitably difficult talk for long. I just need some time to process everything.”

 

“I get it.” Alex nodded, “I'm not here to push you into anything, I just wanted to drop off a copy of CatCo’s paper. Literally hot off the press– the DEO received the first copies.” Alex placed the magazine face-up on Lena’s desk, paying close attention to her reaction. “You two look good together.”

 

“You think so?” Lena softly mused, completely enthralled by the way they looked against each other. Catching a glimpse of Alex’s expression in her periphery, Lena indifferently added, “James is a talented photographer.”

 

Alex, unsure how to respond to Lena’s clear avoidance, stepped back towards the door. “Well, I should probably head back.” Lena’s lips parted slightly, almost involuntarily asking about Kara, but clenched her jaw together instead. So Alex added, “For what it’s worth, Kara has always trusted you. Everything she’s ever done has been to protect you. Even before you two became close, Kara saw something in you and was always willing to risk her life.”

 

Lena lightly scoffed. “Nothing could have been as dangerous and foolish as Kara stepping in front of me that day.”

 

“You’d be surprised. Do you remember when Lillian and Metallo kidnapped you and brought you to one of Lex’s lairs?”

 

“I wish I could forget,” Lena grumbled. She never liked recalling the times Lillian aggrieved her; specifically when Lena had been framed, kidnapped, and left to die.

 

“Well,” Alex continued, “We all knew Metallo was going to explode. We tried to stop Kara from going. But the second she realized you were in danger, she didn’t care about the Kryptonite.” Lena’s eyes widened as she realized the severity of Alex’s words; how Kara flew toward certain death for her. Alex casually shrugged. “It might be Supergirl’s job to save everyone, but Kara clearly prioritizes you. She really cares.”

 

“And I really care about her. More than I can say,” Lena thought.

 

“Anyway, I should leave before your secretary kicks me out. She seemed adamant that I scram before your 1:00 meeting.” 

 

“Jess takes my schedule quite seriously,” Lena chuckled. “It was nice seeing you, Alex.”

 

“Ditto, Luthor.”

 

 

Lena knew Alex was trying to help. Her reassurance should have helped, yet all it did was feed into Lena’s recurring nightmare. She found herself leaning against her balcony, glass of whiskey in hand and clock reading 2:24am. She’d only been outside for a few minutes when she felt a familiar “whoosh” and turned to find Kara standing behind her, red cape billowing against the night sky. 

 

“Supergirl,” Lena stated as a greeting.

 

Kara fidgeted with the edges of her cape. “Are we no longer on a first-name basis, Miss Luthor?”

 

“Sorry, old habits.” Lena rubbed her forehead and added, “I’m also a little groggy.”

 

“From another nightmare?” Kara asked. When Lena raised an eyebrow inquisitively, Kara explained, “Your heart rate spiked the same way last night.”

 

“How often do you listen to me?”

 

Realizing how intrusive she must have sounded, Kara’s cheeks flushed. “Not–not you. Just, like, your heart...And sometimes your breathing.” The Kryptonian haphazardly bit down on her lower lip to stop embarrassing herself further.

 

Yet, Lena didn’t seem fazed by Kara’s admission. Instead, the Luthor ruefully smiled. “It’s sweet how much you care, Kara.” Trying to mask the twinge of sadness in her voice, Lena asked, “Anyway, why are you awake so late?”

 

“I couldn’t sleep.”

 

“Are you alright?”

 

Kara turned toward the city and leaned against the balcony rail as Lena had stood moments ago. “Yeah, I was just thinking about you.” She reached to adjust glasses that weren’t there, no longer having access to the safe, physical barrier between Lena and her emotions. “How my lies must have hurt you. How these past few days have been horrible and traumatizing. And how it’s all giving you nightmares about Edge.”

 

“Hm.” Lena downed the rest of her glass. “You were right about most of it.”

 

Kara’s brow furrowed. “I know I hurt you. My secrets and decisions kept you in the dark, and obviously everything with Edge was terrible. But last night when you texted–”

 

“Last night I lied.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Kara respectfully didn’t ask for an explanation, but Lena gave one anyway. “Edge certainly isn’t significant enough to plague my thoughts, let alone my subconscious.” Lena set down her empty glass and locked eyes with the worried Kryptonian. “My nightmares are about you, Kara. Every time I close my eyes, I'm forced to repeat that day over and over and over. I hear the deafening gunshot, and I think my own scream. I see the color drain from your face and the tears well in your eyes. And I can feel the way your blood dampens my clothes and my hands.” Lena thickly swallowed. “But this time there’s no Alex. No DEO. No. Instead, the world melts away until it's just us. And you bleed out my arms.”

 

“Lena–”

 

“And that was just last night.” Lena quickly cut Kara off. “Tonight was so much worse. Tonight there were two scenes to watch and feel on repeat.” She gripped the balcony railing so hard that her knuckles turned white. “Alex told me about the stunt you pulled to save me from Metallo. So of course my annoyingly vivid brain formulated a scenario where we didn’t fly off in time. Where Metallo exploded right next to us, filling you with Kryptonite. And just like in the other dream, I’m sitting there helpless. While you’re writhing in pain, bright green poison laced through your veins.” Lena shook her head. “I don't even want to try sleeping anymore. Whether it’s from a lead bullet or a kryptonite explosion, you just die. Because of me.”

 

Kara stood in shocked silence. After a moment, she delicately placed her hand atop Lena’s and spoke softly, “I’m so sorry. I never meant for you feel this way. Or to find out I was Supergirl. Not like that. I risk my life all the time, and it’s honestly one of the reasons that had stopped me from telling you who I was. I know what it does to Alex and J’onn and everyone else when they see me fall from the sky. Or when I get hit too hard and it takes extra time to get back up. I never wanted you to fear for me.”

 

“Well I do. Especially when it pertains to your reckless loyalty to me.”

 

“Lena, I promised I would always protect you.”

 

“And while that is the kindest, most genuine vow I’ve ever received, that’s not what I need. I can’t have you continuously risking your own life for me. I need you to just be here.”

 

It was Kara’s turn to scoff. “You think I’d ever sit back and just let you die?”

 

“I don’t know, Kara. Maybe you should. Maybe I couldn’t bear a world without you anyway.”

 

Kara threw her hands up in the air. “Okay, well I can’t live without you either, so we’re even.”

 

“No,” Lena woefully laughed. “We’re not even. Because the world is so much bigger than just the two of us. And what the world needs, is Supergirl. Not another Luthor.”

 

“I don’t care about the world; not when it’s between the world and you.”

 

“You need to stop choosing me,” Lena reprimanded, voice raised and eyes beginning to burn.

 

Frustrated and reaching her breaking point, Kara nearly shouted her response. “Lena, I will ALWAYS choose you!”

 

“YOU CAN’T!” Lena shouted back, voice cracking on the delivery.

 

The pair mutely stared at each other, green eyes locked to blue. The noises and lights from the city below them seemed to wash away; nothing mattered but their quiet, potent connection. As Kara stepped closer, Lena’s eyes stung with tears she tried to blink away, but a few escaped down her cheeks. She repeated in a hushed, broken voice, “You can’t.”

 

Kara gingerly wiped the tears from Lena’s face and pulled her into a hug almost too tight for a human. Yet Lena leaned into the pressure and finally allowed herself to really cry. All the tears she’d been holding back for days streamed freely as she audibly sobbed into Kara’s shoulder. Lena always hated crying and the unfair vulnerability, but she didn’t hate this moment. She ironically felt safe and protected in Supergirl’s arms, which only made her weep more. Lena’s shoulders shuddered against Kara’s chest, from both the exhausting emotions and the cold air her sobering body subsequently began to feel.

 

“I’ll stay with you tonight. If that’s okay?” Kara felt Lena nod in response and continued to hold her until the shaking subsided. When they pulled apart, Kara’s hands trailed down Lena’s arms to grasp her hands, not wanting to relinquish all contact. “You’re freezing.”

 

Lena sniffed. “A little bit, yeah.”

 

“We’re going inside now.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Still holding one of Lena’s hands, Kara led her back into the apartment. “Just rest, I’ll get you some water.”

 

Lena didn’t argue, she simply sat on the edge of her bed and waited for Kara to return with a full glass. They sat in silence as Lena sipped her drink. After a few minutes Kara cleared her throat. “So, I’ll go change into my sweatshirt and your sweatpants from last time if that’s alright?”

 

“Of course.” To defuse whatever tension remained, Lena jested, “And I’m sure you won’t need my assistance tonight?”

 

The back of Kara’s neck tingled, remembering how Lena had carefully removed her cape the last time she spent the night. It’s not that Kara wanted, nor needed, Lena to help her...It was just the sensation of Lena’s touch that the Kryptonian found herself craving.

 

“Kara?”

 

“Sorry, I spaced out,” Kara laughed and easily unclipped her cape. “See?”

 

“Very impressive,” Lena teased. “But you change here– I need to get the whiskey taste out of my mouth.”

 

As Lena rose to walk toward the bathroom, Kara draped her cape over Lena’s shoulders. When the brunette looked curiously, but fondly, back at Kara, she merely explained, “You still looked cold.”

 

The way Lena bit her lip as she smiled sent a wave of electricity through Kara, and she barely fumbled her way into cozy clothes. When Lena came back, still wrapped in the Kryptonian cape, Kara was already in bed waiting for her. Kara instinctively opened her arms for Lena to cuddle into; she laid flat on her back as Lena curled up against her. Kara’s arms and cape draped comfortingly around her best friend, who’s head fit so perfectly on Kara’s chest right below her chin. 

 

And there it was. That same static Kara felt during their photoshoot. Except, now they were alone. They were alone, lying in bed, bodies entangled. Kara dared not move her head, fearing that just one muscle twitch would cause Lena to shift away. So the Kryptonian strained her eyes downwards to steal a glance at the mesmeric face resting against her body. A question, one Kara had pushed away into her subconscious many times, fought its way to the tip of her tongue. And with everything that happened the past few days – the trauma, the relief, the poured emotions, and the words unspoken – Kara couldn’t contain her desire to progress beyond ambiguity.

 

“Hey Lena,” Kara whispered, surprised that any words came out at all.

 

“Yeah?”

 

Perhaps if Kara’s terrified mind wasn’t scrambling words and screaming warnings, she might have noticed Lena’s heartbeat tick faster. Kara might have known that Lena was equally hopeful and nervous. She might have asked what she desperately wanted to know. But instead, the superhero’s courage waned.

 

“Can you scootch down a bit, my arm is just in a weird place,” Kara muttered, defeated.

 

“Yeah, sure.” Lena shifted her body down the bed and Kara readjusted her arm. After a moment of silence, Lena spoke again. “Kara?”

 

“Mhmm?”

 

“I just thought you were going to say something else.”

 

Kara swallowed. “Like what?”

 

Another pause. Lena stared straight at the wall, averting any part of Kara. “Sometimes when we’re together,” she timidly confided, “I feel like...maybe we’re more than friends.”

 

Now Kara couldn’t tell if her heart was beating too fast to count or if it had fully stopped. Or if it had jumped out of her chest altogether. “I-I feel that way too.”

 

“Really?” Lena slowly shifted again, this time to clearly see Kara, their faces only inches apart. When Kara returned her glance, she noticed the anxious disbelief tainting the brunette’s expression. As if Kara were kidding.

 

“Yes,” Kara breathed. “It's what I actually wanted to say. My arm was fine.”

 

“Your arm was fine,” Lena repeated, still in disbelief.

 

“So–”

 

“So where do we go from here?”

 

It was Kara’s turn to lead; her turn to be brave. “Maybe we let ourselves try to be more.”

 

“You would really want that?”

 

For the first time since meeting Lena, Kara allowed herself to admit what she’d shoved down into the deepest part of her mind. The place where she had shoved her Kryptonian identity when she first landed on Earth. The place where the identities and thoughts that made Kara different were buried. But as she held Lena, those thoughts and emotions, seemed to bubble up like a previously dormant volcano. Memories fell together in a way that made sense: Kara’s instant magnetism toward Lena, her steadfast belief in the youngest Luthor, her eagerness for lunch dates, the way her face flushed throughout those lunches, her inexplicable jealousy toward Jack. Everything clicked. So Kara responded, with the utmost confidence, “Yes.”

 

Lena’s head tilted upward, brushing her nose against Kara’s. For the first time since meeting Kara, Lena allowed herself to admit what she’d shoved away as well. Because Lena was used to pushing away the things she wanted since the day she moved in with the Luthors. What she wanted never mattered to anyone, so it eventually never mattered to her. Until she met Kara. Kara cared about Lena and filled her with a warmth she had never dreamed of experiencing. All the losses Lena endured couldn’t compare to just the idea of losing her. Lena’s suppressed pining mixed with the feelings released tonight brought her to this moment, where she might finally reach for what she wanted. Who she wanted.

 

“Lena, wait.” Despite the fact that Lena had brushed her teeth, Kara’s heightened senses allowed her to smell the alcohol still hidden behind the mint. Lena clearly wasn’t even tipsy anymore, but if they were really going to kiss, Kara needed Lena to be 100% sober and 110% sure she wanted to do so. Kara gently tucked a loose strand of hair behind Lena’s ear and caressed her cheek. “You have no idea how much I want to kiss you. But it’s late and you’re emotionally vulnerable and I just want to do this thing right.”

 

Much to Kara’s relief, any brief expression of disappointment melted away and Lena smiled softly. “You’re right.” She snuggled back into the nape of Kara’s neck as Kara’s hand drifted from Lena’s cheek to her waist. Then Lena whispered even more softly than before, “Thank you.”

 

“For what?”

 

“For caring.”

 

“Always.” Kara placed a gentle kiss on the top of Lena’s head, and the pair swiftly fell asleep against one another.

Chapter Text

Morning sunlight shone through the apartment window and glowed against Lena’s eyelids, rousing her from sleep. She took a second to adjust to the brightness of the room, remembering what happened last night. For a brief moment, Lena panicked and questioned whether Kara actually meant what she said– that her feelings were reciprocated. Because how on Earth, or any planet, could someone as kind, smart, funny, and beautiful as Kara Danvers want to be with her? An empty water glass on the nightstand indicated to Lena that if she fabricated her memory, she had an out. She could blame the whiskey and pretend she didn’t recall their conversation, hoping that their friendship would remain safely undamaged. Yet, Lena could never lie to Kara about her emotions. Moreover, her mind was eased by the feeling of Kara’s strong body pressed against her back paired with the arm around her waist, proving that Lena had nothing to fear.

 

The warmth that engulfed Lena felt like nothing she'd experienced before. It wasn’t as biting as harsh sun rays, yet it was more welcoming than manufactured heating. Lena couldn’t decide if the warmth was part of Kryptonian biology or if every aspect of Kara, specifically, was designed to be the most comforting sensation in the universe. She felt calm and sleepy and wanted to never leave this bed. Lena thought that perhaps this morning was the most peaceful, perfect moment in her life.

 

Lena lazily flipped over to see the familiar pair of earnest, ocean eyes staring back at her. She bit her lip as the sunny Kryptonian whispered, “Hi.”

 

“Good morning,” Lena whispered back and tentatively placed a hand on Kara’s waist, mirroring her. “So last night…”

 

“We said some things...”

 

“We did.” Lena nervously swallowed. “I, umm, I meant those things I said.” She quickly added, “And it’s okay if you didn’t, I–”

 

“No!” Kara cut her off. “I meant everything that I said too.”

 

“Good,” Lena sighed, releasing all remaining doubt. She cautiously inched closer, until their foreheads lightly pressed against one another.

 

Kara’s thumb traced circles on the small exposed area of Lena’s waist, as soft smiles spread across their faces. Yet unfortunately for the pair, the CEO’s phone began loudly buzzing against the nightstand. 

 

“Ignore it,” Kara whispered, wanting to savor the moment.

 

“I want to.” Lena shut her eyes, willing her phone to stop. But it continued to vibrate incessantly and she groaned in annoyance. “It must be Jess. What time is it?”

 

Kara peaked over Lena’s shoulder. “Shoot, we are so late for work!”

 

Lena turned back over to see the digital clock read 10:30 and could swear she had a mini heart attack. “I have a board meeting in half an hour!” She practically flung herself out of bed and into the bathroom, leaving a giggling Kryptonian behind her. “Now is one of those times that I really wish I had your super speed powers.”

 

“I’ll fly you to L-Corp, don’t worry,” Kara laughed as she changed into her Supergirl suit.

 

“That would be quite the entrance.”

 

“Would?” Kara asked, slightly disappointed, “So is that a no?” 

 

Lena poked her head out of the bathroom, while fixing up her hair with a bobby pin in her mouth. “Well, I can’t have any ‘Luthor dating a Super’ rumors started if I’m also to be seen out with CatCo reporter Kara Danvers.”

 

Blue eyes lit up in understanding. “Oh!”

 

“So how does dinner tonight sound?”

 

“Sounds good to me! Still wanna go to Wang Foo’s like we tried a couple nights ago?”

 

“Of course, if that will make you happy,” Lena said as she stepped out of the bathroom, ready for work with the exception of her clothing.

 

Kara scrunched her face in delight, “Location doesn’t matter, I’ll just be happy being with you.”

 

“Kara,” Lena breathed. She stepped closer and slipped her hands into Kara’s. “You get cheesy much too quickly.”

 

“Must be my ‘way with words,’” Kara replied, quoting one of Lena’s first compliments back to her. Part of Kara wanted to lean in and finally press her lips to Lena’s. Yet, the hesitant, somewhat shallow part of her mind urged that their first kiss shouldn’t be tinged with her morning breath. Kara wanted everything between her and Lena to be perfect; an unrealistic goal, to be fair, but a quixotic desire nonetheless. “Speaking of which, I should head to CatCo and you need to change and get to your meeting.”

 

“Right. The meeting.” Lena stepped back, not disappointed. On the contrary, she felt almost relieved that they didn’t kiss right before an important meeting. If they had kissed, Lena knew that it would be the only thing on her mind for hours–– quite the conundrum for a CEO. “So dinner at 6:00?”

 

“I’ll make reservations for 7:00,” Kara said. When Lena playfully scoffed in response, Kara teasingly squeezed her arm. “Lena, you know you’re a workaholic!”

 

“Oh, get out of here, you silly Kryptonian,” the Luthor said with a fond smile and light push. 

 

Grinning at the flirtatious contact, Kara backed toward the balcony, then up, up, and away she flew.

 

 

Kara spent her day at CatCo writing a fluff piece on National City’s top ten ice cream parlors. She was much too nervous to think cohesively, let alone crank out an entire Pulitzer-worthy article. When the work day ended, she zipped home and began the daunting task of figuring out what to wear for her first date with Lena. After over an hour of trying on every clothing combination in her closet and subsequently flinging those clothing items across her bedroom, Kara found herself staring in the mirror. She’d settled on a pair of black dress pants and a navy blue blouse that cut off at her bicep. “This is it. This looks good, right?” As if Kara’s question had the power to summon, she heard the apartment door click open.

 

“Hey, Kara,” her sister called from the entryway.

 

“Alex?”

 

“Yeah, who else? I think I left my favorite holster here last game night. You know, the only black leather one that can hold my alien blaster?” Alex searched through the living room and kitchen, to no avail. “Maybe it’s in your room.”

 

“Wait!” Kara said, but Alex was already in the doorway, gawking at the mess.

 

“Okay, why is your entire closet on the floor?”

 

“Some of it’s on the bed,” Kara mumbled. When Alex turned around with her brows raised, she added, “I couldn’t decide what to wear.”

 

Alex examined Kara, noting her outfit, glasses, and the way her sister allowed her hair to cascade down her shoulders– a human look only allowed for special occasions. She smiled in a knowing way, reminiscent of the first time she’d seen Lena in Kara’s apartment. Then Alex stated simply, “You’re going out with Lena.”

 

“How did...” Kara nervously adjusted her glasses. She wanted to tell Alex everything, but that would be a long discussion for a time when she wasn’t running late for her first date with Lena. “It’s just dinner.”

 

“Mmhm.” Alex nodded, understanding that there would be time to talk later. “Well, we haven’t had much time to hang out since you were shot, so how ‘bout a movie night tomorrow? We can eat five pints of ice cream and you can tell me all about dinner with Lena.”

 

“Sounds perfect!”

 

“And, Kara, please just wear this outfit. You look great and I want you to show up on time.”

 

Kara gratefully exhaled, “Okay, okay, you’re right.”

 

As she marched toward her balcony window, Alex called, “Hey, wait! You’re going to fly to her?”

 

“Well, why wouldn’t I?”

 

Alex grabbed Kara’s hand and benevolently led her to the apartment door. “Even though Lena knows you’re Supergirl, she’s still just going out with Kara Danvers. Just be yourself.”

 

“Yeah,” Kara shrugged. “You’re right.”

 

“I’m always right,” Alex bragged, squeezing Kara’s hand encouragingly. “Now go catch a cab, while I try to find my holster in your closet pile.”

 

Kara beamed at her sister. “I love you,” she said, placing a quick sisterly kiss on Alex’s cheek, then bolted out the door.

 

After taking what felt like the longest taxi ride in history, Kara jumped out of the car and nearly jogged through the bustling restaurant. Even in a crowded room, her gaze easily found Lena. She wore an off the shoulder red dress with her wavy hair pooled over to one side; she looked absolutely radiant.

 

“Hi! Sorry I’m late!!”

 

“No worries.” Lena smiled. “I guess those flying buses aren’t very fast.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“You once said you ‘flew here on a bus?’” Lena’s cheeks flushed in embarrassment. “Sorry, bad joke.”

 

Kara shook her head, still recalibrating how to talk to Lena now that everything was out in the open. “No, no! I think I just forgot that slip-up.”

 

Luckily for the stumbling couple, a waiter interrupted by setting down two plates of potstickers. Kara’s furrowed brow relaxed as she eyed the delicious-smelling food before them.

 

“I had already placed two orders as an appetizer, which I’m sure you won’t complain about.”

 

“I mean, I would’ve ordered three…” Kara jested. The pair laughed and a sense of normality shortly returned.

 

With Kara’s mouth already stuffed with a potsticker, Lena restarted the conversation. “So, how was your day?”

 

“It was good. Super good, actually. You?”

 

“Is that like a Supergirl reference, or?”

 

“No, uh not everything has to do with that,” Kara stammered.

 

“Right, of course.” Lena cleared her throat. “I sometimes forget that ‘super’ is just an adjective.”

 

Kara remembered how Barry once told her that his first date with Iris was weird. Yet, the fastest man alive had never specified why. So Kara fell into the same trap by taking her sister’s advice and trying to avoid discussing her heroic identity altogether. The constant dodging left Lena feeling confused and just as awkward throughout their dinner. Finally when the waiter asked if they’d like to see a dessert menu, the disheartened Kryptonian declined. Lena paid the bill and followed Kara out of the restaurant, determined to salvage their date. She wouldn’t allow their years of pining to be all for naught.

 

Lena pulled the pouting blonde into the alleyway next to the restaurant, away from street lights and out of earshot. “Okay, what’s wrong, Kara? You never turn down dessert.”


“Me, Kara, I am what’s wrong,” Kara huffed as she pressed her back against the brick wall. “I’m just this average reporter who didn’t do anything today but write a boring fluff piece.”

 

“No, hold on–”

 

“But Supergirl is so confident and, and a literal, cool superhero. And maybe you should’ve gone out with her instead of Kara Danvers.”

 

Lena stared back, jaw agape at Kara’s absurd declaration. Closing the distance between them, she began, “I don’t want to date Supergirl or Kara Danvers.” Kara’s face filled with distress, eyebrows dancing in panic, but Lena grabbed onto her shoulders, urging Kara to relax. “I don’t understand why you think such a dichotomy is necessary.” Lena’s hands slowly moved to Kara’s neckline, up past her jaw, then to the temple tips of her glasses. She paused, giving Kara a chance to stop her, but when no protest came, Lena gingerly removed the glasses and folded them onto the collar of Kara’s blouse. “I want to date Kara Zor-El. Every part of you.”

 

The stunned Kryptonian exhaled. Without saying a word, she lifted her left hand to Lena’s cheek. Her gaze dropped to Lena’s lips then back to her heterochromatic eyes, silently asking permission. Kara slid her hand further, fingers tangling in raven hair with exception to her thumb that still grazed against Lena’s cheekbone. Her other arm wrapped around Lena’s waist as she fervently pulled the ethereal woman against her body.

 

When their lips finally met, any hesitation swiftly melted away. What started out as chaste lips pressed together, led to slight separation as Lena’s tongue wandered to Kara’s lower lip. With one hand steadied against the brick wall and the other on Kara’s hip, Lena deepened the kiss. Engulfed in the scent of expensive perfume and the taste of red wine, all Kara could think was, “Oh Rao, THIS is what it should feel like.” She didn’t completely know what “it” meant; maybe kissing? Real desire? Passion? Love? All of the above and more? Kara only knew that she never wanted this embrace to end.

 

But eventually it did, because Lena was human and needed to breathe.

 

“To be clear, I wanna date you too, Lena Luthor.”

 

Lena’s breath graced the side of Kara’s face. “Yeah, I got that from the kiss.”

 

Kara chuckled, peeling herself off the wall and taking Lena’s hands in her own. “Come home with me? We can watch something and cuddle and just be us. Plus,” Kara wiggled her eyebrows. “I do actually want dessert.”

 

The brunette coyly narrowed her eyes. “Dessert? My, aren’t we–”

 

“Nooo,” Kara interjected as her cheeks turned countless shades of red. “I meant the pints of ice cream in my freezer!”

 

“Ice cream would be lovely.”

 

In fact, Lena thought the entire rest of their evening was lovely. Something about Kara’s apartment felt like home. The warm color scheme, the photos of family and friends, the pajamas they'd changed into, and even the smell allowed Lena to easily repose. Of course, the fact that she found herself lying in Kara’s secure arms once the movie credits rolled certainly helped. 

 

The screen went blank and all they could hear were the sounds of National City’s nightlife. A few car horns beeped loudly, so Kara quietly spoke, “Sorry for the noise. It happens in the rent-controlled side of town.”

 

“I don’t mind it at all,” Lena replied as she began mindlessly tracing Kara’s collarbone.

 

“Would you mind if I kissed you again?”

 

Lena smiled, trailing her hand up to Kara’s cheek. “I would mind if you didn’t.”

 

In the true privacy of Kara’s home, the kiss they shared felt more intimate. While their first kiss evinced pent-up intensity, this one embodied pure adoration. And when Lena paused to catch her breath this time, Kara effortlessly rearranged herself atop Lena, mouth straying to her neck. 

 

“Kara…” Lena moaned as she brought eager lips back to her own. Her fingers lingered at the hem of Kara's blouse, daring to move beneath the fabric. Sensing Lena's trepidation, Kara guided Lena's hand under, across her abdomen to her breast.

 

They remained entwined on that couch, keeping their physicality at that level. Regardless of their longing for more, they adhered to their unspoken agreement to take things slow. Eventually their night ended in Kara's bed, bodies comfortably laced together.

 

...

 

Lena was getting used to the idea of always waking up in Kara’s arms, especially on a Saturday. Neither of them had to rush off to work or deal with an emergency; it was a fantastically, leisurely morning. No alarms or phone calls woke Lena. In fact, she was awoken by Kara gently kissing her temple.

 

“Last night...” Kara began.

 

“Was amazing,” Lena finished. “I mean, you're amazing.”

 

“Well, you're pretty amazing, too.”

 

Lena smiled, shaking her head, “For a journalist and CEO, we are terribly ineloquent.”

 

Kara laughed, “It’s too early for eloquence.”

 

“Early? It’s practically 11:00am!”

 

“Well,” Kara happily sighed, “I’m gonna make us some coffee.”

 

The cheerful blonde kissed the tip of Lena’s nose, hopped out of bed, and made her way to the kitchen. As the scent of caffeine wafted into the bedroom, Lena couldn’t help but follow Kara.

 

“There’s a bag of donuts on the counter,” Kara said as she set two full mugs on the counter. When she noticed Lena’s playful eyeroll, she added, “There’s also some fruit in the fridge. No kale, I’m afraid.”

 

“Pfft. I don’t eat kale for breakfast!”

 

“Good, ‘cause I don’t think I could handle dating someone who did.”

 

The apartment echoed with their giggles. Then Lena placed a hand atop Kara’s. “We’re really doing this, aren’t we?”

 

“We really are.”

 

Around noon and after the pair had finished breakfast, Kara announced, “I should probably check-in with the DEO soon and do my usual sweeps of the city.”

 

“I suppose criminals don't take weekends off?”

 

“Surprisingly, no,” Kara joked. “I'm hanging out with Alex tonight, but if she doesn't sleep over can I fly to you?”

 

Lena beamed. “I would love that. But I don't want to cut into your sister time, so only come over if it's okay with her.”

 

“I doubt she’ll mind, especially when I tell her we’re dating. Anyway…” In a flash, Kara was dressed in her super suit. “I’ll leave now, but you’re welcome to stay here for a bit if you’d like, no rush.” 

 

Lena walked her Kryptonian to the balcony door. “I’ll probably check-in on L-Corp and CatCo at some point– you did call me a workaholic after all.” She leaned in and kissed Kara. “See you later, darling.”

 

She spent a few moments watching Supergirl glide through the sky, then changed into her dress from the previous night. She planned to head to L-Corp after first stopping at home, until her phone received a call from an unknown number. When Lena answered, she immediately recognized the automated tone asking if she would accept an inmate collect call. Lena rolled her eyes; there were only three people in the world who would call her from prison and she disliked each option. Yet, if Lex, Lillian, or Edge was planning something nefarious, she'd at least appreciate a heads up on who’s the weekly villain. “Accept.”

 

“Good afternoon, Lena,” Edge’s voice snaked through the phone.

 

“Oh, it's you.”

 

“Who else?”

 

“Well, you are the third hateful person I've rightfully sent to prison,” Lena smugly replied.

 

Matching her tone, Edge said, “I don't think that will last long.”

 

“You're awfully optimistic for a man with the evidence stacked against him.”

 

“I suppose that's what I'd like to discuss with you in person. Come during visiting hours today, and let's have a chat about a witness. Namely, Kara Danvers. I hear your little girlfriend is super into ‘truth, justice, and the American way.’ Or maybe that's her cousin.”

 

Lena paled, thankful that Edge couldn't see her face; she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of knowing he caught her off guard. “Of course, she’s a reporter. I'd be vexed if those ideals were not her primary concern.”

 

“Right,” Edge hissed through clenched teeth. Clearly Lena's composure disappointed him. “You still might want to hear my proposal. Or things could get quite...messy…for Miss Danvers.”

 

The threat struck Lena into silence. If Edge was implying that he knew Supergirl’s secret identity, then where did he find the gall to threaten Kara? Lena’s mind raced, trying to think of a witty retort, but came up short. 

 

“Visiting hours start at 2:00, Lena. Don't be late,” he said and hung up. 

 

“Shit.” She grabbed her purse and dutifully marched out the door.

 

Lena took a breath, preparing herself for whatever last trick Edge had up his slimy sleeve and walked through the highly secured entrance. She sat across from Edge at a table much too small for her liking, not to mention the fact that the guard had removed his handcuffs.

 

“It’s funny how if one were to draw out the hair on Kara Danvers and a pair of glasses on Supergirl, they look exactly the same.” He held up the two separate pages of the CatCo article with the noted differences drawn on with a black sharpie marker. 

 

Lena quickly snatched the pages and crumpled them. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

 

Edge snorted, knowing full well that he could simply get more copies to draw on. “Get her to blow off my trial as both identities and permanently stay out of my way, or you’ll lose more than I will.”

 

“You’re a C-list villain in jail. You can’t do anything to me, Edge.”

 

“Not to you, but maybe to your girlfriend. You forget my friends, Lena.”

 

Lena scoffed, “What are you talking about?”

 

“Maxwell Lord. He made the formula for Red Kryptonite–– particularly nasty if I remember correctly.” When Edge noticed the look of confusion on Lena’s face, he sneered, “Right, you weren’t in National City yet. I’m surprised the bumbling Kryptonian hasn’t told you what happened herself. Since that ridiculous excuse for a federal agency pushed my trial to Tuesday, you have three days to make sure she stays out of it. Or I’ll ruin Supergirl’s life for good.” Edge rose from his chair and motioned towards a guard. “We’re done here.” As the guard placed handcuffs around his wrists and led him back towards the cells, Edge’s smirk never faded. “Oh, and I'll know if you tell Supergirl or ask the DEO for help. Don't even try it. Three days, Luthor.”

 

Lena sat there alone, just ruminating, until she was asked to leave. So she did what any practical CEO would: compartmentalized her emotions and spent the rest of the day checking on her multimillion dollar companies. She only allowed herself to reflect on her meeting with Edge once she had returned home. Lena didn’t even bother pouring herself a glass of whiskey; she brought the entire bottle to her desk. Because of course, she could never be happy for long. Lena should have known her life had turned too good to be true. 

 

She apprehensively opened her laptop and Googled “Supergirl Red Kryptonite.” The screen lit up with hundreds of results, most of which were articles that dragged Supergirl’s name through the mud. Videos played of Supergirl tossing Cat Grant off a balcony, beating up aliens for fun, fighting DEO agents, and breaking Alex’s arm. Lena covered her mouth in horror. This black and red clad “Supergirl” was not her Kara, and Lena refused to let Edge (or any of his associates) poison her with red kryptonite again. 

 

As liquid amber scorched her throat, the Luthor knew it was now her turn to protect Kara.

Chapter Text

“So you’re telling me,” Alex began, “That you didn’t realize you liked Lena like that , until you took a bullet for her?”

 

“Yes! Why is that so surprising?”

 

“Look, I just think that the way you defended her against all evidence, especially at the beginning of your relationship was kind of a hint.” Alex held up her hands. “You like, punched a slab of concrete for an hour after demanding Winn find proof of her innocence.”

 

“It was frustrating!”

 

Alex clutched her chest and dramatically mocked, “I looked into Lena’s eyes!”

 

“Shut up,” Kara laughed, lightly punching her sister’s shoulder. Both siblings took a few bites of their pizza. Then Kara asked, “Why didn’t you say anything?”

 

“About?”

 

“You thought I liked Lena, so why didn’t you talk to me about it?”

 

The older Danvers sighed. “Well, for one thing, I thought it was a fluke. It was around the same time that I met Maggie and everything was so new. So new and so gay, and I thought I was seeing things through my newly rainbow-tinted glasses. Retrospectively, I wish I’d taken those signs more seriously. But the other thing that really threw me off was your reaction to me coming out.”

 

“Wait, when you came out to me–”

 

“You were so freaked out.”

 

“I was not, I was so okay with it!” Kara exclaimed. “I just…I just didn’t realize it was an option.” Alex’s eyes softened, giving Kara the silent space she needed to continue. Kara’s gaze dropped to the piece of pizza that she was methodically tearing apart. “I spent my whole life trying to fit in as a human. I was so focused on making my entire being fit the mold, that I never stopped to think about what other aspects of me were also...you know...”

 

“Different?” Alex craned her neck to Kara’s eyeline and offered an empathetic smile. “So what? Kara, you becoming Supergirl was a gift to the world. And you bringing light to Lena’s life, someone who has faced nothing but rejection and judgment from everyone else, is a whole other type of heroism.”

 

Kara scrunched her face, smiling. “James said something similar to that first part a while back.” She slowly inhaled, taking a second to collect her thoughts. “I really wanted it to work out with him. I felt like I wanted to be with him for so long, but once we got together– I don’t know. I had this ‘wapow’ moment the instant I met Lena and everything felt different. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I knew I had to end things with James. But then Mon-el came into my life and I tried to force that ‘wapow’ feeling with him because I thought maybe that’s who I should be with. He was an alien who lost his world, too. It should’ve been cosmic and you seemed to think it was a good idea–”

 

“And Kara, I am so sorry for that.”

 

Kara shook her head. “It’s okay, I–”

 

“No, seriously, let me apologize.” Alex placed her hand atop Kara’s. “I was so caught up in being happy with Maggie that I didn’t pay enough attention to what was really going on in your life. I wanted you to be happy like I was, so I ignorantly pushed you towards him.” Alex paused and sighed remorsefully. “By the time I finally realized how terrible he was, it seemed too late. And I can’t help but feel responsible for all of it. No one can force happiness and the fact that I pushed you towards anyone, let alone him, makes me feel awful. I’m truly sorry. ”

 

When Kara was certain Alex finished, she squeezed her sister’s hand. “That whole mess of a relationship was not your fault. And it wasn’t mine. The only person I blame is Mon-el for the way he treated me. I gave him so many chances. I used to blame myself for the way he walked all over me, but I realized that the way someone demeans me is because of who they are, and I refuse to let it happen again.”

 

“I am so proud of you.”

 

“I’m proud of me, too.”

 

As they finished their pizza and moved on to ice cream, Alex scooched closer on the couch to Kara. “So, knowing how compulsory your last relationship was, I just have to ask...how does this thing with Lena feel?” 

 

The Kryptonian blushed into her oreo pint and replied, “Being with Lena is the most natural relationship I’ve ever built. I feel so comfortable, like she sees me for me . And I can talk to her for hours about literally anything, no matter how serious or trite. Like about our work, what we really want in life, music we like, our OTPs, or just whatever we’re craving for dinner. If anything,” Kara chuckled, “It seems like the world’s against us, a Super and a Luthor. But I once told Winn that I’d fight for love and I think that’s what I’ve been doing since the day I stumbled into L-Corp with Clark.”

 

“Defying the odds and the universe for each other. I guess that’s pretty epic.”

 

“Yeah...I really think we’re meant for each other, you know?” Noticing Alex’s unreadable expression and worried it seemed as though she was falling too hard too fast, Kara couldn’t resist adding with deadpan delivery, “Not to mention, Lena has really great boobs.”

 

Alex let out a groan and flung a pillow into her sister’s face.

 

… 

 

After the credits rolled and both sisters felt full and happy, Alex left for the night. The minute the door shut behind her, Kara whipped out her phone and sent an eager text to Lena, asking if she was still awake. When she didn’t see an immediate response, Kara casually shrugged it off and decided she might as well patrol National City before heading to bed.

 

The city was quiet, only needing its hero for a moment to safely walk an intoxicated woman home. So Kara floated blissfully among the clouds. Yet on her way back, a light in a familiar building caught her eye. 

 

Lena’s apartment was alight with the glow of her computer screen and there sat the Luthor, wide awake. At first Kara abstained from snooping, assuming that the dedicated CEO was working on something L-Corp related. But then she caught a glimpse of a Supergirl picture flashing  across the monitor and she couldn’t turn away.

 

Upon further inspection, Kara noticed that it was actually a picture from when she was infected with red kryptonite and her stomach churned. Sure, Lena wasn’t around National City then, but what sparked her sudden interest in those horrible few days? Why now? Then the panic set in. Were these articles why Lena still hadn’t responded to her texts? Although part of Kara wanted to fly down to Lena’s balcony and talk about it, she knew that would be using her powers to cross a boundary. She instead resigned herself to wait for Lena to broach the subject on her own and to act completely normal in the morning.

 

 

Despite it being a Sunday, Lena spent the better half of the next day at her L-Corp desk, calculating her options. She wanted to tell Kara the truth, but she knew the Kryptonian wasn’t exactly the most subtle hero. Even if she found where the red kryptonite was hidden before time ran out, Kara couldn’t go anywhere near it or she’d risk infection. 

 

She weighed the option of reaching out to Alex, but decided against it. In all fairness, Lena didn’t know the agent well enough to predict her reaction. Would Alex stay discreet like when Sarah Johnson’s life was on the line, or would she act recklessly on behalf of her sister and alert the DEO? If Edge was so certain he would know if Lena disregarded his ultimatum, they couldn’t be sure there wasn’t a mole.

 

She briefly considered telling James. He’d been rather supportive lately, but Guardian was more useful as a sidekick in a fight, as opposed to the lead on a delicate mission. So per usual, Lena felt the need to handle things alone. Since Edge was her enemy anyway, it seemed fitting. The clock ticked with no room for carelessness. To keep Kara safe, Lena would have to push her away.

 

As if on cue, she heard the recognizable thud of superboots hitting her balcony floor. Next thing she knew, a pair of warm arms wrapped over her shoulders and Kara kissed Lena’s cheek in greeting. For a moment, Lena forgot herself and leaned into the embrace. Part of her wished that Kara’s lips would’ve lingered longer; wished she knew their kiss from the previous day would be their last. She had to let Kara go, and her body tensed in reaction to remembering that fact.

 

Feeling the brunette’s muscles stiffen beneath her hands, Kara immediately dropped her arms and stepped around the chair. “Everything okay?”

 

For all of Lena's calculating, she still didn’t have the words.

 

“Lena?”

 

“We need to break up,” she flatly responded. Like ripping off a bandaid.

 

“What?” Kara’s brow furrowed in confusion. “We literally just got together–”

 

“I know it’s sudden, but we need to stop. And I need space.” She took a breath and steadied her voice, trying not to sound hesitant or suspicious. “I don’t even want you at Edge’s trial.”

 

“Hold on, what do you mean you don’t want me there? That’s ridiculous, I’m the main witness.”

 

Lena swiveled her chair and stood, facing the city, rather than the woman in her office. “No, it’s rational. I’ve realized I don’t feel the way you do, and it would be best if we took some time away from each other.”

 

Silence filled the room, and Lena prayed that Kara would just give up and walk away. But of course, Kara would never.

 

“You’re lying,” she stated, point blank.

 

“I’m not.”

 

“You are,” the Kryptonian argued. “I can hear it in your heartbeat.”

 

Lena squeezed her eyes shut as hard as she could, as if she were trying to will the whole world away. “Maybe you don’t know my heart as well as you think.”

 

“No.” Kara shook her head in disbelief. “I know you, Lena. I’ve known you since the first day I walked into this office. So I don’t understand how you could’ve changed your opinion of me this drastically in less than a day. What happened?” 

 

It took all of Lena’s strength to not crumple back into her chair. To stand tall and firm, and do what had to be done for Kara’s safety. She crossed her arms and said nothing, exactly the way Lillian used to coldly withhold affection from her as a child.

 

“Please,” Kara softly said, almost begging. “Tell me what’s going on. Let me in, let me help you.”

 

“I don’t need help. I need you to leave.”

 

“Why won’t you even look at me?” Kara’s thoughts drifted back to last night when she saw Lena reading about how red kryptonite poisoned Supergirl. She was no longer just the kind symbol of hope and light that Lena wanted to date. She’d seen the darkness that lingered deep down, and that side of her must have disgusted Lena so much that she couldn’t even face her. “Then it is me.” Kara’s voice cracked on delivery. “There is something about me that’s wrong.”

 

Lena’s fingernails dug into her bicep. She didn’t want to hurt Kara. But god, if this pain would prevent Kara from a worse fate, then Lena was willing to sacrifice her own heart. She figured Kara could quickly get over their relationship anyway; Kara was loved by so many people and surely she would have no trouble finding a new partner. Probably a better suited one, without a besmirched name and parade of enemies.

 

“Yes. It’s you. As in you, plural. The dual identity...it’s too much to reconcile. You’re two people who treated me completely differently, but rolled into one person and I thought I was fine with it, but I’m not.” It was the most realistic fake reason she could come up with.

 

“Lena–”

 

“Just go, Kara. Or Supergirl. Whichever you prefer now.”

 

Kara bowed her head. She knew deep down that Lena was lying, but respected her wishes and walked out. She made a point to use the human exit, rather than leaping off the balcony, showing Lena that she was still Kara underneath it all. However, unbeknownst to Kara, she was right about the break up really being about red kryptonite. Sadly, she just assumed the wrong reason.

 

When Lena heard the door shut behind the Kryptonian, she finally collapsed. She choked back sobs, not wanting any super hearing to pick up on the burst of emotion. But she couldn’t contain the tears that streamed down her cheeks. Edge won. Lena may have her life and her company, yet none of it really mattered without the one person who actually gave a damn about her. The person that she’d willingly give everything for.

 

All that was left to do was visit the prison once again, to let Edge know his ultimatum was fulfilled. And then Lena would have to move on with her hollowed life.

Chapter Text

Since her devastating conversation with Lena, Kara had locked herself in her apartment with a mountain of potstickers, refusing to answer her phone. She spent the rest of Sunday wallowing in terrible Netflix rom-coms, then spent Monday morning sleeping in and ditching CatCo and her DEO rounds. By noon, Kara could hear her sister stomping up the apartment complex stairs even before she began banging on her door. 

 

“It’s unlocked, come in,” Kara called half-heartedly from the couch.

 

“Are your Kryptonian fingers broken? Why haven't you been answering my--” Alex cut herself off, noticing the state of Kara and her apartment. Stepping over piles of empty take-out boxes, she sat beside Kara and softened her tone, “What happened?”

 

The tears flowed once again as Kara relayed the events of the previous afternoon to Alex. 

 

“I don’t know how I’m gonna get over this.” Kara shook her head. “I don’t know if I can just be friends now after– after being so much more. Rao, if only I could forget what it’s like to kiss her. Now there’s always going to be a part of me that wants Lena. Like that .”

 

After a pause, Alex began, “You know I wasn't always the biggest fan of Lena. But when I saw her at your DEO bedside, something shifted for me. I saw it in her eyes, Kara. She loves you and--”

 

“No, please don’t say that. If she loved me, she wouldn’t be so upset by my presence that she’s basically banning me from Edge’s trial.”

 

“What? That doesn’t make any sense; then Edge won’t go down.”

 

Kara’s distressed expression lifted slightly. “Right, the trial would be blown and Lena would never want that! Which means, there’s something wrong.” Kara leapt off the couch and sped-changed into her super suit. “She’s probably in danger and I need to go right now.”

 

Before her sister could speed off, Alex stepped between Kara and her apartment window. “Hey, slow your roll for a second.”

 

“Why?”

 

“What’s the very sweet, but dangerously stupid thing that both you and Lena do when either of you think the other person is in danger?”

 

Kara shrugged, annoyed to be wasting precious seconds that Lena might need.

 

“You both run into things heart-first, leaving logic at the door.” Alex sighed. “Look, I had a pretty frank conversation about communication and trust with Lena while you were still unconscious. If there’s something wrong, maybe there’s a reason she wanted you away from the situation. I need you to think like a hero and not like Lena's girlfriend right now.”

 

Kara exhaled. “You're right. Clearly I can't be the one to help her right now, so you have to go.”

 

“Go…?”

 

“You go see Lena at L-Corp to find out what's going on and how we can help. And I'll just...hang around the DEO in case I'm needed?”

 

“Now that sounds like a smarter plan than immediately zooming out the window.” Alex placed a hand on Kara’s shoulder. “We’ll get to the bottom of this, don't worry.”

 

Kara placed her hand atop Alex’s. “I know. Thank you.”

 

As Alex exited the apartment, she jocularly mumbled, “This is the gayest recon mission ever.”

 

Which, of course, led to Kara calling out, “I heard that!” before flying to the DEO.

 

Lena was spending her Monday doing menial tasks at L-Corp to keep her mind distracted from thinking about the past 24 hours. It was working decently, until her office doors were flung open by a woman she desperately wished would still consider her a friend. Yet, Alex’s steely expression told her that friendship might be off the table.

 

“Agent Danvers.”

 

“Do not ‘Agent Danvers’ me.” Alex crossed her arms. 

 

“Are you here to arrest me for ending things with your sister?”

 

“Ending things? That’s a nice way of sugarcoating the way you broke Kara’s heart.”

 

Lena sighed. Why couldn’t the Danvers just let this go? Let her protect Kara in painful peace? 

 

“I’m sorry Alex, but I have a company to run and a trial to prepare for. If you’d like to berate me, I’m sure Jess can schedule you in for Wednesday afternoon.”

 

“Wednesday?” Alex cocked an eyebrow. “Do you want me to bail on tomorrow’s trial too?”

 

Finally Lena stood up and mirrored Alex’s strong, but closed off stance. “Don’t be ridiculous. The DEO needs to be there.”

 

“But not Supergirl? Or Kara Danvers?” Alex stepped closer. “The two star witnesses?”

 

Lena tilted her chin, clenching her jaw. “No.”

 

“You’re going to throw this case and get Edge cleared.”

 

“Believe me, that is not my intention.”

 

“Then what is your intention?” Alex asked, raising her voice.

 

“To protect Kara,” Lena fired back. Then added in a softer tone, “It’s always to protect Kara.”

 

Alex dropped her arms to her sides and shook her head. “So we’re back to square one, where you don’t trust anyone and suck at problem-solving.”

 

“This wasn’t some rash decision, I spent hours weighing my options and thought pushing her away was the safest one,” Lena explained. “If Supergirl or anyone at the DEO made a move against Edge’s last effort to save his slimy skin, it’d be a checkmate for both of Kara’s identities.”

 

“Look, last time when Kara was hurt and I knew the full scope of Edge’s plan and didn’t give you all the details, it was a mistake. And now you’ve done the same. So can we just call it even and work together?”

 

Lena thought for a moment. After realizing that Alex had a solid point, she held out her hand as a peace offering. “We’ll work together, and keep Kara out of it for her safety?”

 

“Deal,” Alex agreed, clasping Lena’s hand.

 

Lena recounted every conversation she’d had with Edge, making sure to emphasize how deep his corrupted roots stretched. Alex’s brow heavily furrowed at the sound of red kryptonite and a possible mole in the DEO. She agreed with Lena that they needed to stay out of the DEO, but they still needed access to a program Winn created to track synthetic kryptonite signatures back from when Kara was first infected with it.

 

“Can’t I just recreate the program at L-Corp?”

 

“No, it took Winn days even with a sample. We somehow need to just get into Winn’s classified computer files.”

 

“You're giving me permission to hack your secret federal agency?” Lena asked, incredulously.

 

“Unofficially, I am heavily implying that it might be a good idea. Can you do it?”

 

Lena cocked an eyebrow. “Give me fifteen minutes.”

 

In actuality, it took Lena only eleven minutes and eighteen seconds. Winn’s program locked onto a large warehouse located on the outskirts of National City. A warehouse they could safely assume was heavily guarded and full of traps.

 

“We’re gonna need a bigger team to pull this off,” Alex noted. “We’ll still keep it small and discreet, so obviously no J’onn or Supergirl. I know just the two to call.”

 

Half an hour later, two recognizable figures walked through the same door that Alex had. With less aggression, of course. Winn was empty handed, wearing a neon blue superman shirt and bright yellow pants, while Agent Vasquez wore a basic, plain black outfit with a concealed weapon that only the trained eye of Alex would be able to clock.

 

“Winn, where’s your computer?” Alex asked, rather annoyed.

 

“You said be discreet, my computer is not discreet!”

 

Alex wildly gestured to his flamboyant ensemble. “But this outfit is discreet?

 

“Hellooo, haven’t you heard of reverse psychology?”

 

Alex pinched the bridge of her nose and turned to Vasquez. “What’s your excuse?”

 

Vasquez shrugged. “I always wear black.”

 

Using Lena’s computer and some blank graphing papers, the team was able to map out the entire warehouse and the storage area for the red kryptonite. Alex and Vasquez noted the best entry points, and the most accessible exits. Meanwhile, Lena and Winn hacked into street cameras to observe the typical guard patterns from the past three days. They realized patrol was lightest during the first few hours after sunrise, making the opportune mission time 7:00am. Three guards on the exterior and four in the interior would be no problem with strategic evasion and combat. Together they formulated a foolproof plan that would have the team in and out of the warehouse by Edge’s 9:00am trial. The red kryptonite would be secured and the formula would be destroyed.

 

“There’s still one loose end,” Lena said, “Even with the threat of red kryptonite gone, Edge can still easily expose Supergirl’s identity.”

 

“We’ll have J’onn take care of that while we’re in the warehouse,” Alex responded. When Lena’s head tilted for an explanation, Alex added, “Martians can read minds and mindwipe.”

 

“Well that’s incredibly useful. But try to avoid conversations through technology if possible; we don’t know if anything’s bugged,” Lena responded.

 

Winn shifted his phone to airplane mode. “Whew, you are pretty paranoid, huh?”

 

“She’s not paranoid, she’s careful,” Vasquez bluntly said. 

 

To prevent suspicious optics of the group coming and going from L-Corp, they decided to  all camp out overnight in Lena’s office, with exception of two quick, asynchronized supply runs: Lena’s run was for food and a more practical outfit and Alex’s was for specific DEO gear that wouldn’t be noticed as missing from the facility. 


Before settling down beside Winn on what could barely be called a makeshift bed, she sent a quick text to Kara. “Everything’s fine. Be ready to take the stand as both Kara and Supergirl tomorrow. Love you.” All she received back was a thumbs up. Alex knew her text was vague and Kara was probably stressed, but she’d agreed with Lena that the less Kara knew, the better. Then Alex texted J’onn to zero in and listen to her mind. When he responded “I’m listening,” she linearly thought through the basics of the situation, letting J’onn know that he needed to be on standby in the morning to wipe Edge’s mind of anything related to red kryptonite and Supergirl’s identity. Alex also noted that she’d taped an extra set of comms underneath his desk, so he’d be linked to the mission and know exactly when to go.

 

 

In the morning, Lena, Alex, and Vasquez geared up for the warehouse, while Winn was entrusted as tech support on Lena’s computer. Each woman wore their own covert black outfit, comms, and other basic tools Alex snagged from the DEO the previous night. Both agents strapped on their typical firearms, while Lena favored a modified Lexosuit gauntlet she’d been toying with in her prototype lab. As the three women walked out the door, Lena locked eyes with Winn and gave a stern, “Don’t even think about snooping through L-Corp files.”


Yet, once Winn knew they were safely enroute, he couldn’t help taking a quick peek at Lena’s recent google search history. Just two image searches down the list read “supergirl muscles,” leading Winn to loudly snort, “I knew it!”

 

“Knew what?” rang back through the comms in Lena’s voice.

 

His face turned bright red, realizing they were already online, “Knew that we would all make a great team...Yay superfriends?”

 

Alex rolled her eyes. “Focus, Winn.”

 

When they arrived at Edge’s warehouse, they made sure J’onn was also on comms. Then Winn guided them into the building undetected. The team knew that the red kryptonite was located in a different area than the computer room, where the synthetic formula was likely stored, so they split up as planned. Vasquez went to the left with a flash drive that could remotely connect to Lena’s computer, while Alex and Lena went to the right, headed directly for the substance. 

 

“I’ve got your back,” Alex assured Lena, as Winn guided Vasquez through comms. 

 

The duo slowly made their way through the corridor. They dodged into closets and behind pieces of furniture, mentally keeping track of the two guard routes they’d memorized. Eventually, they ended up in front of the last door standing between them and the substance that could poison Kara. 

 

“Winn, we’re in place.”

 

“Perfect timing,” Vasquez whispered from her side of the warehouse. “I’ve got one unconscious guard and the flash drive in the main computer system.”

 

“Great, one step left,” Alex said. “J’onn, time for some cell block tango.”

 

“Noted. Leaving now,” J’onn responded. 

 

Suddenly, a realization dawned on Lena and she asked, “Wait, where’s the fourth guard?”

 

But it was too late, Alex had already swung open the door. Standing beside a lead encased box was the fourth guard, who promptly raised his gun and yelled for help. 

 

Alex and Lena dodged to opposite sides of the room, as the two still-conscious interior guards approached the red kryptonite holding room.

 

“Shit.” Alex charged towards the two guards at the door, leaving Lena to defend against the one standing near the lead box.

 

Lena was quick to fire two charges from her Lexosuit, the first one missing, but the second landing directly into the guards chest. He flew backwards into the wall and crumpled to the ground, completely knocked out. 

 

Alex had luck sweeping one guard to the floor, but the second one dodged and knocked Alex’s gun from her hand. For a brief moment, Alex thought that might be the end of her. Until that guard was blasted off his feet by a very pissed-off Luthor.

 

Through clenched teeth, Lena stated, “I've had enough of pathetic men using Danvers women as target practice.”

 

Alex blinked as she watched the gauntlet and its wearer cool down. “That was...impressive. If you ever get bored of CEO’ing, you’d make a promising field agent.”

 

“I appreciate the offer, but I face plenty of life-threatening excitement without making a career of it,” Lena laughed. “You can, however, always count on me when Kara or the world is at stake.” Two things that were synonymous to Lena. Yet, of course she kept that part to herself.

 

 

Kara couldn’t sleep all night. Although Alex’s text message was meant to be reassuring, all Kara could do was worry more. So she poured that stress into reviewing her notes for the trial, until the sun rose and she decided that moping at the DEO was better than going crazy at home.

 

She paced and wandered around the facility before finding J’onn in the training room. The first thing Kara noticed was his body language; he was clearly waiting for something. The second thing she noticed was the dark blue earpiece he wore, different from the standard black comms for DEO missions.

 

“So you’re in on it too?”

 

Feigning ignorance, J’onn replied, “In on what?”

 

“Come on, I’m losing it here.”

 

“That’s exactly what your sister and Miss Luthor are trying to prevent.”

 

“Fine,” Kara huffed. “Don’t tell me the details, but at least let me come with you for whatever your part in this mission is.”

 

J’onn weighed his options and came to the conclusion that there couldn’t be much harm in Kara accompanying him for a clean Martian-fix. But if Kara was going to be in the presence of Edge, J’onn knew she needed to know why. “We’ll be visiting Morgan Edge for a mindwipe. He knows your identity and has red kryptonite. The latter is being taken care of.”

 

With those three sentences, everything finally made sense to Kara. Lena didn’t think she was a monster for how she once acted on red kryptonite; Lena was being blackmailed into pushing her away. That conniving snake gave her girlfriend no other choice.

 

“Noted. Leaving now,” J’onn spoke into the comms, as Kara had her realization. “Ready?”

 

“I need the comms,” she flatly stated.

 

“Kara--”

 

“I won’t say anything to jeopardize their mission, I’ll even put myself on mute. I just need to know they’re doing okay.”

 

Too tired to argue with the determined Kryptonian, J’onn silently handed over the earpiece and the pair sped out of the DEO and into the sky.

 

J’onn phased them through the prison’s wall and they were met with the sight of Edge, sitting calmly in his private jail cell, reading the morning paper. 

 

“Edge.” Kara stomped closer to him. “I know what you did, what you’re planning to do.”

 

“What, no ‘good morning?’” Edge made a point to look Supergirl up and down. “Where are your manners, Kara Danvers?”

 

“I should’ve flung you into the sun when I had the chance.”

 

“Aw, now what happened to ‘hope, help, and compassion for all?’”

 

Kara’s nostrils flared, “I hope that you’re able to redeem yourself. I’m sure some time in prison will help you think about what you’ve done. And I do have compassion for you. For how difficult it must be to move through life with such a cold, dark heart.”

 

Edge scoffed and attempted to get one last jab in. “Who knew aliens were so dramatic. You want a dark heart? Go crawling back to your Luthor. She’s the real villain.”

 

“Last time I checked, Lena didn’t threaten a little girl, blackmail an innocent man to commit murder, or threaten the use of red kryptonite. You don’t even know what it does.”

 

“Oh, I know exactly what it does. I read Maxwell’s notes.” He smirked. “You hurt your sister, so I can only imagine what you’d do to Lena. I bet you’d finish my job and take her out for me--”

 

“I would never.”

 

“How do you know?

 

“Supergirl…” J’onn placed a comforting hand on Kara’s shoulder, but she batted it away, accidentally nicking her earpiece and pressing the unmute button.

 

“Maybe the worst version of myself does have things to work out with my sister and we’ve both accepted that, but I know in my heart that Lena is the one person I could never hurt.” 

 

Edge chuckled. “What a shame. If you won’t do it, I suppose I’ll just have to hire a more effective, albeit expensive, hitman next time.”

 

Kara’s eyes glowed, literally burning in rage, “Shut up!”

 

“You’re angry, I get it. You know you and your little super friends were outmatched. You lost.”

 

“No, you lost. In every way.” She sharply inhaled. “You’re going to jail, Lena is going to stay successful, the red kryptonite and it’s formula is being destroyed as we speak, and you could never get between Lena and me. Together, we’re stronger than you, we’re stronger than anything. And I--” Kara cut herself off in hesitation, as her eyes powered down. 

 

“You what?” He sneered.

 

Kara decided her impulse reaction was exactly what that jerk needed to hear, not because he deserved to know anything about her, but because she felt so compelled to say it aloud. She let her voice soften, but stayed firm. “I love her. I love Lena Kieran Luthor and not even Rao himself could change that.”

 

As if on cue, J’onn stepped in between Kara and Edge and wiped his memory of the last ten minutes, his knowledge of Supergirl’s identity, and anything even remotely related to red kryptonite. “Let’s go.” Then J’onn and Kara zipped outside the prison.

 

“Kara,” J’onn began.

 

“I’m fine.”

 

“Whoa.” Winn’s shocked voice rang in Kara’s ear.

 

“Winn?”

 

“Yeah, hey uhh, did you know you were on comms for that last bit?”

 

Kara paled. “How much did you hear?”

 

“Well,” Winn cleared his throat. “We heard all about Edge losing.”

 

Every Kryptonian cuss word ran through Kara’s mind as she asked a question she already knew the answer to: “Who’s we?”

 

After a moment of silence, Lena's voice meekly echoed through. “Hi, Kara.”

Chapter Text

Lena and Alex were in the process of carefully stepping around unconscious guards with the secured box of red kryptonite when Kara’s voice rang through their comms. It took both women a second to understand what was happening.

 

Kara went with J’onn to see Edge. 

 

Kara somehow convinced J’onn to give her the earpiece. 

 

Kara consequently started yelling at Edge without knowing she was broadcasting to the team. 

 

Lena and Alex awkwardly inched toward the exit, each holding one side of the heavy lead encased box. It was uncomfortable for them to say the least, hearing Kara’s words and knowing they weren’t  meant for their ears. Words full of anger and passion about Lena. Alex’s mouth opened and closed several times as she debated whether to interrupt or not , while Lena’s cheeks flushed more crimson with every passing second. Lena wasn’t focused on whatever empty threats Edge was making against her, all she could hear was Kara. And when the Kryptonian made her declaration of love, Lena was so stunned she dropped her side of the box. Without Lena’s help, Alex also lost her grip and it fell squarely on the agent’s foot. Alex winced and silently glared up at Lena, her eyes saying “ Fuck that hurt, but considering what we just heard I’ll forgive you for this one ,” but Lena was too distracted to even notice.


When Winn cut in, alerting Kara that she was on comms, Lena’s heartbeat ticked up. She had to say something. Yet all she could muster was, “Hi, Kara.”

 

The group was met with silence. No response came from Kara’s end.

 

Until a deeper voice cleared his throat. “Supergirl flew to the courthouse. Said she needed to finish preparing her testimonies.”

 

The second silence was increasingly more mortifying for Lena.

 

Thankfully, Winn was on to break the tension, “Oookay, I’m gonna pretend that didn’t happen and give some good news. The red kryptonite formula is totally wiped, gone from existence, never to be recreated again! Also, some other fun stuff was on the computer.”

 

“Fun stuff?” Vasquez asked as she rejoined Lena and Alex.

 

“Yup!” Winn exclaimed. “I’ve got names of moles in the DEO and NCPD, Edge’s entire list of people he can blackmail, and extra canon fodder for today’s trial. For a guy who thinks he’s so smart, he sure put all his illegal eggs in one basket.”

 

“Great work,” J’onn said. “Forward all the information to my personal email and I will delegate at the DEO. Alex, you’ll take the stand as the DEO representative as planned. Winn, you should prepare to take the stand as well, seeing as you uncovered more evidence.”

 

“You got it, Papa Bear!” Winn responded, leading J’onn to grumble and turn his earpiece off.

 

Before Lena could help lift the box again, Alex tilted her head towards the other agent in the room. “Vasquez can help me get the red kryptonite to a safe location. You should get a head start to the courthouse. There’s still time to talk to Kara before the trial.”

 

The Luthor nodded in thanks, responding only with, “I’ll see you there.”

 

 

Half an hour was hardly enough time to change into a court-appropriate dress and get to Kara with time to spare. Yet, nothing was impossible for an enamored Luthor on a mission. Lena managed to arrive and find Kara with twelve minutes left until they were supposed to take the stand. She knocked on the door that the nice DEO-hired lawyer had led her to.

 

“Come in,” Kara called from inside.

 

Lena slowly opened the door, as if to give Kara the option to turn her away. 

 

“Lena,” Kara said with trepidation, but still endearing. 

 

It had only been two days, but god Lena missed hearing Kara say her name like that. She entered the room, closing the door behind her. Kara was dressed in her typical Danvers attire: slacks, a blue button down shirt, and glasses. Lena wanted to address the “love” elephant in the room, but her feelings of guilt won out.

 

“I am...so sorry. I know what I said was the only way to keep you away from this trial and I didn’t mean it. But if my words stung too much to forgive, I wouldn’t blame you.”

 

Kara shook her head. “It’s okay, I understand why you--”

 

“No, it’s not okay. I never wanted to hurt you.”

 

“You could never hurt me.” Kara wistfully smiled, “I’m invincible remember?”

 

Lena let out a breathy laugh, but stoned her face once more. “I’m serious.”

 

“Listen, I know I made things hard with my dual identities, but I’ll always trust you. All I need is for you to trust me back.”

 

“I do trust you.” Lena moved closer to Kara, as if it would aid her point. “I trust and care for you more than anyone in this world.” Her gaze dropped to the floor in embarrassment. “I thought you were in danger and that I was the only one who could stop it. I lied in order to protect you, but now I know how wrong I was to do so.”

 

“Hey,” Kara began, stepping closer than an arm’s length apart. “We’ve both lied for the sake of protecting each other. But I think it’s a habit we need to break. We’re a team and so much stronger together, El Mayarah, it’s what my family crest means.”

 

“El Mayarah,” Lena repeated in reverence, understanding both the importance it held to Kara’s identity and the implication that Kara viewed her as family.

 

A knock resounded off the opposite side of the door as the voice of the DEO lawyer called, “Five minutes ladies.”

 

Lena noticed Kara’s shirt collar was twisted. She slowly raised a hand to fix it, fingers gracing Kara’s neck and lingering.

 

From Lena’s touch, Kara found her courage. “So about what you overheard on comms...”

 

“What you said about me to Edge.”

 

“I meant every word,” Kara assured. She took Lena’s hand into her own. “I’m just...upset it came out like that. Much like how you finding out I was Supergirl didn’t go as planned.”

 

“I think we’ll find that life rarely sticks to a certain plan, particularly when heroics are involved.”

 

Kara bowed her head. “I just feel like he’s taken two huge moments away from us.”

 

“Then don’t let him take this one.” Lena gently lifted Kara’s chin and smiled. “Try it again.”

 

The Kryptonian inhaled deeply, wanting to get it right this time. “I don’t think I ever told you why I became a reporter. It was because of you. The day we met, I walked into your office unsure of myself and my place in the world as Kara Danvers. But then you came into my life and suddenly everything made sense. I finally had a real purpose beyond being Supergirl or just an alien trying to hide. You inspired me to find myself as Kara Zor-El. I can actually reconcile every piece of myself to just be me. And in doing so, I realized that I want you here with me always. You’re brilliant and kind, and you ground me in a way no else can, and that’s why I love you.” She held Lena’s hand against her chest. “I’m in love with you, Lena Kieran Luthor.”

 

Tears welled in Lena’s eyes as she listened to Kara’s confession. For the first time in days, she felt the calming sensations of hope and relief wash over her. “And I’m in love with you, Kara Zor-El.”

 

Ignoring the lawyer calling for them to come out, the couple rushed to embrace. Arms wrapped around waists and lips crashed against each other. It felt as if their lungs were filling with the oxygen they didn’t even realize was missing, breathing all of life’s goodness and warmth back into their bodies. Their declarations of love and unabashed carnality confirmed that neither woman would run away from their deserved happiness again.

 

“I don’t want to be away from you,” Kara softly began.

 

“Not ever again,” Lena finished.

 

The incessant knocking of their responsibilities pulled them apart, but they knew it would only be temporary. Their eyes met with a silent promise that they would continue what they’d started as soon as possible. They dutifully readjusted their clothes and exited the room.

 


Morgan Edge’s trial went on without a hitch. Not only was he charged with the kidnapping of Sarah Johnson and coercion in the first degree of her father, but the evidence Winn found on his computer made sure that Edge would also go down for bribery, extortion, and fraud. Kara Danvers was the first witness to speak. While she was able to stay focused during her own testimony, concentrating became more difficult when Lena took the stand. The Kryptonian was acutely aware of just how low cut and form fitting the Luthor’s black dress was, and even more aware of how badly she wanted to pull it off her.

 

They shamelessly stole glances throughout Alex and Winn’s testimonies, and missed each other’s presence when Kara had to quickly change into her super suit during Edge’s weak defense. J’onn made it back in time to pose as Kara Danvers sitting beside Alex, as Supergirl gave the last witness testimony of the trial. There was hardly a recess, since the jury only needed ten minutes to deliberate and unanimously reach a verdict. They found Edge guilty on all accounts and the judge struck her gavel, announcing, “You’re going away for a very long time Morgan Edge.”

 

The room emptied and congratulations were passed among the superfriends. The reality of justice sunk in for everyone, now knowing that it was finally over. Edge could never hurt anyone again.

 

As the others became preoccupied with discussing the details of what transpired that day, Kara and Lena found their moment to slip away. They sped-walked past reporters and back to the room they’d previously been in. Their hands itched to hold each other, but they held off until the door firmly closed behind them.

 

The second the lock clicked, Lena found her back pressed against the door with Kara’s hands on her waist and lips urged against her own. Lena wrapped her arms around the blonde’s neck and deepened the kiss. The air around them felt electrified. No one else in that courthouse, or the universe, mattered anymore. There was a desperation to the way they grasped for each other, as though their pretrial kiss had edged them to this point.

 

Kara’s hand slid lower, down to Lena’s ass and then upper thigh. She easily hoisted Lena, whose legs wrapped around her hips, and carried her to the conference table. Kara kept one arm around Lena and her other hand on the table for stability. Yet, that stability didn’t last long in the hand of a very turned on Kryptonian. When Lena moaned as her hands traveled to the Super’s chest, the table loudly splintered beneath Kara’s grasp. 

 

Lena realized the entire table would likely collapse if they didn’t change venues. She pulled back from the kiss to nod her head towards the open window. “Bed?” 

 

Remembering the takeout box-covered state of her own apartment, Kara responded, “Yours?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Kara immediately flew them out through the window and straight into Lena’s apartment, carefully landing on her bed. Lena laid beneath Kara’s straddled legs, coaxing the blonde’s lips back hers with a gentle tug to the collar of her super suit. After a couple minutes, Lena almost impatiently began guiding Kara’s lips down to her chin, then neck, collar, and cleavage.

 

“I don’t care about this dress,” Lena implored, “Just rip it off."

 

Kara excitedly raised her eyebrows and did as she was told. She took just a moment to marvel at Lena’s beauty, before taking one of the brunette’s hands in hers and continuing to trail kisses down her torso. And then another realization dawned on her.

 

“Wait, hold on,” Kara conscientiously pulled back a little, “I don’t wanna hurt you.”

 

“Kara, we just talked about this.”

 

“No, no I know. I didn’t mean hurt you emotionally, I meant like...your body.”

 

“Oh.” Lena bit her bottom lip, smiling. She sat up to level with Kara and stared into her bright blue eyes. Lena placed her free hand against the Kryptonian’s strong jaw. “I happen to fully trust you with that, too.” She closed the small gap between their bodies and nuzzled her nose against Kara’s. Then Lena whispered in the most confident, yet tender tone, “I trust you with all of me.”

 

In that moment, they knew nothing nor anyone could ever come between them again. That they had each found their Person. Kara was the love and home that Lena had always yearned for, but hadn’t believed she deserved until now. And Lena was Kara’s perfect partner, her equal in every way that mattered and someone that she chose to build a fulfilling relationship with. Today wasn’t just the end of an incredibly arduous adventure; it was the beginning of the rest of their lives together.