Sometimes, Kara wishes she just died with the rest of her planet.
She misses Krypton dearly, especially in the moments of silence between the life she has on Earth as Kara Danvers and her certain duties as Supergirl. She misses it, especially when she feels alone and lonely, despite Alex and Eliza and all her friends who are there for her. She thinks herself ungrateful, in these moments of silence, but Krypton was different (she doesn’t think she can call it home anymore, not after so many years; she doesn’t know how long it’s been, doesn't want to think about it, though everything feels like a fresh memory when they play back in her mind and she is screaming in her pod as she watches her planet and everyone she loved die).
On Krypton, she had her family, her parents, her aunt Astra, all the friends she grew up with and the people she had come to know and love through the years.
All that life, now gone, yet Kara remains—the last daughter of Krypton.
She misses everything, and she thinks without her persona as Supergirl, she would have been useless and better off floating among the stars as ashes with the rest of her planet (“If I don’t have Supergirl, what do I have?” Nothing, nothing, nothing). The thought presents itself as a bitter, harsh fact, especially when she sees Kal doing perfectly fine without her—he grew up to become a hero the House of El could be proud of, without Kara’s help, despite taking care of him being perhaps the only reason she was sent away to survive the destruction of Krypton. She is proud of him, though, and she can’t fault him for not being able to understand the grief she had gone through—the ache she still feels, in the moments of silence when she is left alone to her thoughts—because he had been a child, and he knows nothing, not of the chaotic life in Argo City, or the different stars one sees when you stand at the summit of the Jewel Mountains, or of the magnificent beauty that is the Fire Falls, or of Rao’s proud reflection on the Cogo Sea.
She cannot fault him for being unable to understand the loss she feels.
And it should be easier to deal with loss, given all this, except as she watches Mon-El kiss another woman in front of her—listens to him introduce her as his wife—she watches her world die, all over again. The pain burns like a thousand deaths and hurts like she is watching Krypton explode, all over again, all her loved ones and their loved ones to join the stars, and she wishes she had been there, with all of them—should have held her mother’s hand as they waited for Rao to take them, should have told her father she loved him.
But here she is, a god among men on Earth but entirely too human and too weak to handle emotions like this, grieving for a love she thought she had, managing a smile that she hopes doesn’t look as it feels—forced, painful.
And it hurts. It should have been easier to deal with it, but it hurts, because she had loved him beyond all his faults, loved him so much that she sent him away with the remaining reminder of Krypton, her mother’s necklace, and the seven months without him have been a torture of nightmares and uncertainty—is he safe? Is he alive? Is he dead, floating aimlessly among the stars like the ashes of Krypton and all her loved ones?
She has woken up every night she tried to sleep in those seven months, with nightmares of Mon-El and her mother and father and all the children in Krypton screaming she should have died, with them.
It has been seven months for her, she says, but it has been seven years for him. And she tries to understand—it has been too long for him, and she understands he had to move on, but that doesn’t take away the quiet ache in her chest that threatens to shatter the supposed Girl of Steel.
When Mon-El and Imra—what a beautiful name, fitting for a beautiful woman, fitting for a wife of his—return inside, Kara doesn’t wait. She flies off in her civilian clothes, her secret identity be damned, and flies and flies and flies until she is breaking the sound barrier, lungs burning with the need for air but she only screams, in hopes it would take the pain away, and she screams until she is a storm, a raging ball of fire, seen from National City.
She doesn’t know how long she stays aimlessly afloat, but a solar flare tickles her fingertips and she decides to head home, maybe grieve the human way as fitting. On her way, she hears a familiar heartbeat—one she has come to know, one she can pick out from the entire planet like she knew Alex’s.
The woman is at CatCo. Kara hovers above the building and finds her at the balcony, nursing a glass of what the blonde thinks is scotch. Lena had been in a series of disasters too, in the past week—being framed for a crime she didn’t commit, being nailed at the cross by the public for being the typical Luthor like as expected, being kidnapped, almost being killed twice. Kara’s heart aches for her, an altogether different kind of pain from the grief she currently feels, and without thinking much of it she lands on the rooftop and makes her way to the balcony floor. No one is around—too late in the evening perhaps, though Kara isn’t entirely sure what time it is—so she wonders why Lena is still at the building.
“Lena?” Kara calls out. She is glad her voice isn’t as stuffy as her throat feels. The surprise is evident in the woman’s reaction: her heartbeat races and she jumps, and Kara catches how she runs the back of her hands over her cheeks before she turns with a small smile that feels as forced as the one the blonde wears.
“Kara,” Lena breathes out. The tears are evident in her eyes and her voice. Kara aches further. “Why are you still here?” Lena asks.
Kara shrugs and joins Lena at the balcony. “I could ask you the same thing.”
Lena chuckles. It’s a soft sound, hollow at best, and Kara wonders how she is. She hadn’t been able to check up on her after she left for Alex, and she feels awful about it—it’s selfish, considering Lena is her best friend, and she hopes Lena doesn’t resent her for it. Before she could ask, Lena is speaking again.
“Are you alright?”
Kara looks at her in confusion at that. “Why wouldn’t I be?” She answers, perhaps all too quickly. The raven-haired woman smiles wistfully and turns to look at the city that bustles in front of them, glass of what Kara is sure now is scotch teetering on the ledge in front of her.
“You tell me,” Lena murmurs. Kara hears her sigh. She rests her hands on the ledge, sighing as well. Lena continues. “I may not be the kindest person there is but I am intuitive. I’d like to think so, anyway.” She sips her scotch, places her hands on the ledge, too. Kara chuckles but she doesn’t say anything, just shrugs. She feels Lena cast a sideway glance at her.
“This view is different from the one I have at L-Corp,” Lena says after a few moments. “It’s more...quiet, somehow, at the edge of the city. Here, it’s...” She purses her lips like she is searching for the right word. “It’s the heart of the city and you can hear life rush about, and it’s only when it’s this time of night, when you’re high up enough and no one’s around, that you can feel insignificant, you know?” She breathes a heavy sigh, one that sends a stab through Kara with its weight. “Everything is just distant and you don’t have to worry, even for a while.”
Kara glances at her at that. Lena laughs listlessly. “I’m sorry. I think I had too much scotch now,” the CEO says, but she still downs the amber liquid without much hesitance.
You can feel insignificant.
Kara supposes she could use that—be no one for a while. Not Kara Zor-El, last daughter of Krypton, not Kara Danvers, CatCo reporter, not Supergirl, hero of National City. No family or nightmares to think about, no ex-boyfriend from the future married to some lovely woman, no responsibility to worry about. Just...her, existing.
She and Lena are alike in some way, perhaps, women trying to make a name of themselves yet still bound by the names they are inevitably connected to.
Kara shakes her head. “Don’t be sorry,” she whispers. “I think I know what you mean.”
She hears all of National City. There is a family having dinner a few buildings north, a woman in the apartment below them who is singing, a group of friends blocks beyond who are laughing their hearts out. Life bustling and amplified in her ears, and she is no one to all of them.
It should bother her, somehow, since she is no one if she isn’t Supergirl, after all—and it might be because of the hollow ache in her chest or her desperation to feel something else aside from it—but it’s a small comfort she is thankful for in the silence between them. Lena makes a small sound of acknowledgement.
“You don’t have to tell me,” Lena says after a while. “What’s in your mind, I mean.” Her voice is soft, like she understood despite not knowing what it is Kara feels. Maybe she is intuitive. Lena has been a great friend all throughout, and guilt melds with the ache Kara feels because what has she been to Lena? She didn’t reach out to her when she left, and here she is, keeping secrets upon secrets from her supposed best friend. Kara feels the tell-tale burn of tears again. Lena sighs once more. “I’ve had my fair share of heartaches, Kara, believe it or not,” she whispers, and Kara stiffens at the implication of her words. Kara knows: Lex, Lillian, Jack, many more she probably doesn’t know. She feels Lena look at her but she doesn’t speak. A tear trails down Kara’s cheek but she makes no move to wipe it away. She hopes Lena doesn’t notice. “I may not know the depth of your grief but I am acquainted with it. I may not fully understand, but…” Lena sighs yet again and Kara wonders if she still carries with her the despair she talks about.
Maybe they had more in common than she thought.
“Know that I am here for you.” Lena hesitates then turns to Kara again. The blonde meets her gaze. “Always.”
Kara breaks again. Lena’s arms are around her after a moment, catching her as she falls on her knees with a sob. She feels the world crash around her, her all-too-human heart a dying planet in the hollow cave in her chest, but Lena carries her through like a lighthouse in a stormy sea, and her soothing words manage to calm the raging misery inside of Kara.
She is not aware of how long they have been there, Kara crying in Lena’s arms, but it’s the CEO who apologizes when Kara pulls away. Lena promises to be back in just second, then returns with a bottle of water. Kara sits on the floor, her back against the ledge as she takes the offered bottle. She stares at it for some time. Lena stands in front of her for all of five seconds before she sits on the floor beside her—a feat, considering she is wearing high heels and a too-tight pencil skirt.
“Mon-El is back,” Kara says, after a long stretch of silence. Lena is able to mask her reaction with neutrality, but Kara hears the way her heart races all over again. The woman hums and nods.
“That’s...good, isn’t it?” Lena ventures, though she is hesitant. Kara can’t blame her for being hopeful, she guesses, but she doesn’t miss the way Lena’s heart stutters, just for a beat, before it races yet again. The rhythm of it gives her something else to focus on. Kara assumes she has so many questions. She knows she can’t give them without giving away that secret, and she stays quiet for longer. Lena is patient, though, and she places a hand on Kara’s forearm. Blue gaze fixate on her pale hand, soft, warm.
“It’s...complicated,” Kara whispers. She sniffles, clenches her fist around the bottle. Exhaustion creeps in her bones; she probably needs to check with the DEO, with Alex, but she is too tired to move and she doesn’t want to leave Lena.
“You don’t have to tell me now,” Lena assures. Kara glances at her, vision blurry with tears, but she makes out the comforting smile on Lena’s lips. “You don’t have to tell me ever, actually.” Lena sits back and looks ahead, chuckles softly. “We all have our secrets.”
It’s an opening, Kara thinks. Maybe it’s the alcohol talking, too, like Lena said, but it’s almost like she is hinting towards an opportunity that Kara can easily take, should take, because it’s a small relief, to be able to tell her best friend. She stares at the bottle in her hands.
“I don’t want to have secrets between us,” Kara admits, because she doesn’t. She has held back the truth from Lena for too long, lied to her for too long, and maybe she is being selfish for deciding to tell Lena now, after so many months of not doing so, after so many possible instances she could have done so—and maybe she’ll regret it later, if Lena goes on to hate her, but she has lost him and she might not be able to survive the pain should Lena leave too, but what else is another world to lose?
She could only hope it would be easier.
“Tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine,” Lena says with a light laugh. It’s a small comfort.
Kara shrugs, rolls the bottle in her hands, then looks up at Lena. The woman is staring at her, green eyes wide and understanding despite the grief she knows resides in them, and the secret Kara has held on to for so long falls from her lips as easily as the tears come. “I’m Supergirl.”
Kara has expected Lena to react with anger. Betrayal, definitely. Some tears, maybe screaming, the Luthor name strewn about, but Lena only tilts her head, smiles tentatively, and tells her secret, too.
“I know,” Lena says softly.
The ache in Kara’s chest gives way to a sliver of hope, and tears sting her eyes but Lena reaches out, brushes Kara’s tears away with the pads of her thumbs.
Kara sniffles. “Are you mad?”
“No,” Lena whispers with a smile. Kara doesn’t think she understands. “I cannot fault you for that,” Lena continues. “You had your reasons. I think you’re brave for telling me though, so thank you.”
It’s a comfort, one that she crumbles into, and when Lena lets her rest her head against her shoulder, Kara does so with a sigh that shudders with the remnants of her tears. They settle into silence yet again. Somewhere in the city, a grandfather clock sings midnight, but Kara doesn’t move.
“He came back with- with someone else,” Kara murmurs after a while. She hears the way Lena grits her teeth, feels the way she stiffens. Kara just shrugs. “I think it’s fine, because some things happened and... And he said it’s been seven years for him, so... I guess I understand.” She laughs humorlessly. Lena squeezes her hand on her forearm again. “It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It does.” She sniffles. “A lot, unfortunately.”
Lena swallows thickly. “I’m sorry.”
Kara falls quiet again. She doesn’t know what to say to that. A part of her did love him—does? she isn’t fully sure at this point, it just hurts—and maybe her emotions are too all over the place, but right now she just doesn’t want to deal with anything. She wants to run away, from National City, from her responsibilities, from him, if only to have peace for herself for once.
“I wish I could get away,” Kara blurts out. She lets out a sound, a panicked whine at her own words, and shrugs. “I mean, I could, but...”
Lena doesn’t even hesitate. She stretches her legs in front of her, kicks off her heels with a relieved sigh. “We should,” she agrees. Kara looks at her. Lena smiles. “I think we both deserve it.”
The blonde can’t really disagree. Lena worked long hours, and after so many attempts in her life, she definitely deserves a break. “You should,” Kara says with a smile. “I can’t; Supergirl duties and all.”
Lena snorts at that. It’s uncharacteristically ungraceful that Kara turns to stare, and the woman blushes. “Surely heroes need their breaks,” Lena points out with a playful bump of their shoulders. “Let me talk to your employer. You are employed, right? By the government? Or are you really a full-on vigilante?”
That draws a small chuckle from Kara, one that does feel genuine, and Lena smiles proudly at her. “I am employed by the government, yes,” she murmurs. “They pay for my groceries,” she manages to joke. It dawns on her that now that Lena knows, she has to bring her to the DEO to sign necessary paperwork, but she doesn’t want to think about it yet.
“Labor laws allow for various leaves,” Lena explains, and she sounds entirely too serious that Kara shakes her head and smiles.
“What are we even going to do, Lena?” She asks. Running away sounds nice, if only to find her peace, but even if she manages to persuade J’onn to let her leave, surely Lena has too much on her plate considering she is running two companies.
Lena hums, as if in thought. “Road trip, probably? People still do that, right? The whole ‘get lost and find yourself’ thing I read about in books?”
A small smile makes its way on Kara’s lips at that. Trust Lena Luthor to reference such things because she read them from books—although, the realization that Lena has only read about them before makes her smile dim. Kara and Alex had done a little one of their own recently, back to Midvale, in an attempt to make Alex feel better. Kara didn’t quite find herself on that trip. Her sister and mother ended up calling Kara out on closing up on herself, after him. Eliza told her she was allowed to be a mess, but she shrugged it off, because too many people depended on her, she said. Because she had accepted the fact that she wasn’t human, and if she was to be the hero everyone deserves, then she had to walk away from certain vulnerabilities.
And yet, here she sits, high up from the city past midnight and she isn’t needed. She feels insignificant, terribly so, and it’s a comfort. Maybe running away isn’t a bad idea, after all.
“Don’t you have a company to run?” Kara asks instead.
Lena snorts again. Must be the alcohol, Kara realizes, and seeing the woman like this, somehow unrestrained, free, chips away the pain that has settled in her chest.
“I do,” Lena drawls like she is about to tell Kara a big secret. “But I do have back-up plans in place. You know me and the quarterly assassination attempts on my life.” She shrugs so easily, like the threats on her life are nothing, and Kara frowns. “Which I thank you for saving me from, by the way,” she adds quickly with a bashful smile, and Kara thinks she really is intoxicated now, because she feels breath, entirely too warm, brushing against her cheek.
Have they been sitting this closely all this time?
“Not a problem, Lena,” Kara assures.
Lena smiles at her, and she doesn’t speak for several seconds until she blinks, as if realizing she had something to say. “Right. The back-up plans include several protocols and a hierarchy of officers who would take over should an...emergency arise.” The implication in her words makes Kara frown further, but Lena just waves her concern and continues. “Now is as good as any time to test that out. Besides, should we go, I’ll just be a phone call away. You on the other hand...”
Kara sighs. “I would love to go on a roadtrip with you, Lena, but—“
“Great!” Lena interrupts with a wide grin before she pushes herself up. She stumbles a little and Kara catches her just in time—there Kara realizes that she is, in fact, inebriated. Lena chuckles an apology, mumbling that last glass was a bad idea. “As your boss at CatCo I’ll let you have an extended leave, so now all you have to do is talk to your employer about your Supergirl duties.” The blonde blinks at that, but Lena picks up her shoes and carries on. “Then... Pack a bag, and I’ll pick you up at your apartment tomorrow at, say, ten in the morning?”
The supposed glaze in Lena’s eyes from intoxication isn’t there. She just looks hopeful, so open, and a part of Kara thinks that if she isn’t going to do it for herself, she’d do it for her best friend. “Sounds good,” she smiles, and Lena beams brightly.
It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, especially with Lena smiling like that. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?” Lena confirms.
Kara nods. Lena offers to leave CatCo with her, offers to drive her home, too—she has a driver for tonight, she promises, and won’t be drunk driving—but Kara assures her she’d be fine, and that she’d see her tomorrow.
Sleep that night is fitful. At three in the morning she is still wide awake, ache swirling in her chest and the memory of Mon-El kissing Imra playing again and again in her mind every time she closes her eyes. She groans, gets out of bed, and instead begins to pack a gym bag for her supposed roadtrip with Lena. It’s a distraction, enough to help her ease the harrowing feeling, and she doesn’t sleep, just folds and unfolds some shirts and pants, a couple of underwear, shucks in toiletries in her bag until it’s ready to bring. She ends up on her couch, thinking about what to tell J’onn and Alex, and she doesn’t realize she has fallen asleep until the warm rays of the morning sun tickle her awake early that morning.
She doesn’t bother getting breakfast, which is new even for her. She changes into her Supergirl suit and flies out to the DEO, asks J’onn and Alex if they had time to talk. She ignores the way Mon-El glances at her, ignores Imra pulling him in for a kiss.
Kara gets straight to the point when she has J’onn and Alex in a room. She tells them that she just needs some time away, for a small vacation maybe, and that she would appreciate it if they could allow her, maybe even cover for her. Alex looks at her worriedly, and she hopes the real reason she is asking for this break isn’t too obvious, but even J’onn smiles sadly as he, surprisingly, agrees.
“We’ll hold down the fort,” he promises. “But keep your phone on, just in case.” She holds back her tears at the approval, and she nods, promises them that she’ll be one call away. When they leave the room, Alex walks up to her and asks what she plans on doing.
“Lena invited me for a road trip,” she answers.
“Lena,” Alex blinks. “Lena Luthor?” She asks. Kara nods. Alex looks conflicted for a moment. “I guess if anyone needs a break, it’s the two of you. Wait.” Her expression grows serious and concerned. “Does she know?”
Kara sighs. She guesses it’s better to tell now. “Yes,” she answers, and when Alex opens her mouth she continues. “And yes, I’ll bring her here to sign paperwork. After this trip, okay? I promise.”
Alex purses her lips at that but nods. Kara knows she has so much to say. “When are you leaving anyway? And where are you going?”
Kara looks around for a watch or a clock. “She’s picking me up at my apartment in half an hour,” she replies, then shrugs, laughs lightly. “And I don’t know yet. I guess wherever it takes us.”
Lena rolls to a stop in front of her apartment building. Kara knows. She can hear her heartbeat. Before Lena could call for her, she is speeding down the fire exit and making her way out of the building, now in a comfortable tee that reads break news not hearts , jeans, and sneakers, her gym bag slung over her shoulder. She is greeted by a gray Subaru Outback and a grinning Lena Luthor, hair down and in aviators, lips free from its usual blood-red tint, peeking through the open passenger window.
“Hey,” Lena greets as Kara opens the door. It’s so weird to see Lena in anything but her usual office attire, and even now, with her wearing a dark blue button-down that reminds Kara of her Supergirl suit, Kara still stares. “I was afraid you won’t come,” Lena admits with a smile, pushing her glasses up and setting it on top of her head.
Kara shakes her head at that and blinks, blushes when she realizes Lena has noticed her staring. “Sorry. It’s just weird that you’re not wearing your classy CEO outfit,” she reasons as climbs into the passenger’s seat. She turns around and dumps her gym bag in the back seat, where Lena’s own sits. “Why would you think that, though?” She asks, pulling the seatbelt across her chest. “Because you invited me while drunk?”
At that, Lena chuckles. She lowers her shades again and pulls away from the apartment driveway. “I admit last night was a little out of character for me, and I apologize. But I’m glad you agreed.” She shrugs and throws Kara a sideway smile. “I don’t think I would’ve gone on my own.”
The blonde doesn’t think she’d allow that, anyway. Her lips twitch. “That’d be lonely.”
Lena chuckles again, though it lacks mirth. “You’d be surprised how used to that I am,” Lena murmurs, as if she doesn’t mean for Kara to hear. Instead, she exhales softly, one that Kara’s ears pick up easily, then she is smiling again. “I’m glad you were able to get away from your other job, though.”
Kara nods. She is glad, too, and she tries to ignore the worry gnawing at her, the image of him creeping back into her mind. She needs this—to get away from him, to move on. Lena needs this, too, and Kara wants to be there for her. “Me too,” she murmurs softly.
The ride is quiet for the next few minutes. Kara looks out of the window. They’re still in National City, navigating through traffic. Lena hums. “Alright, how about a quick stop at a grocery store before we get out of the city?”
As if on cue, Kara’s stomach rumbles. Lena smirks at her. It’s weird, seeing her do that behind aviators. “I’ll take that as a yes,” she muses.
[Border of National City, CA]
Lena ignores Kara when she points out that the car isn’t parked straight. She just glares, huffs let it not be straight, Kara, before walking into the grocery store that they almost passed by at the outskirt of the city. She notices now that Lena is wearing jeans, and if that isn’t weird enough, she is also wearing low-cut black chucks that, from behind, she doesn’t look like Lena Luthor at all.
Which might explain why no one batted an eye when she walks in, pulls a push cart with a little grunt, and heads into the first aisle. It makes sense, all of a sudden, all this strangeness Kara sees.
“If you keep standing there, I’m going to dump salad in this cart,” Lena calls out. It serves to bring laughter from Kara’s lips and she jogs after the woman.
“What are we getting?” Kara asks as they pass by the aisle of eggs and sugar.
Lena shrugs. “I don’t know yet. We’ll see when we get to whatever aisle.”
Kara raises an eyebrow at that. “We’re going aisle to aisle?”
Lena hums and nods as they turn onto the next one. She pauses by the array of bread, takes one that’s labeled Best Buy! Cheese Bread that’s more air than actual bread. “I haven’t actually done grocery shopping like that,” she murmurs. “Mostly I do it online, because I don’t have time, and have it delivered.”
The blonde blinks, breathes out an oh, but stays quiet. Instead, she follows Lena. “Are we just picking out whatever we want?” She asks, once they walk past the aisle for baking goods. Lena just hums.
“Knock yourself out.”
“I regret saying that,” Lena mumbles as they make their way to the cashier, glancing beside her as Kara pushes the push cart that’s full of assorted chips, candies, and every possible artificial, processed, and pre-packaged food there is.
“No you don’t,” Kara says with a goofy grin. It had been easy to persuade Lena, because she has tried none of the things the blonde had picked out, and Kara has promised her that everything will be life-changing.
“If by that you mean me having diabetes,” Lena had drawled, but she did let Kara dump the various packs of chocolates and candies into the cart.
They head to the self-checkout counter, and Kara asks Lena what she’s looking for as they waited in the line.
“The cashier…?” Lena answers tentatively.
Kara tries to hold back a smile as she points out at the sign overhead. “It means we check out. By ourselves.” Lena just rolls her eyes.
Once Kara has shown Lena the ropes of the self-checkout counter, the raven-haired woman had timidly asked if she could try it out.
“Knock yourself out,” Kara says with a grin, and she steps to the side to let the CEO try it herself. It’s almost amusing how focused she looks, and when she manages to get five items punched in she seems to relax more and Kara lets herself look around.
It’s odd, almost funny, that no one really pays them attention. Lena Luthor, billionaire genius and CEO and most powerful woman in National City, and Supergirl, most powerful woman in National City, at a self-checkout counter. She remembers what Kal had said, about the whole glasses-as-disguise thing: no one realizes he’s Superman, because no one dares take a second look at someone like him—entirely too average, below average even what with his eyesight, and no one really manages to know until they look at him. Like look at him, closely, get to know him, much like Lois had.
Insignificance, then. It’s a small comfort.
Blue eyes land on a magazine rack beside the candy bar stand. Several maps are stuffed into one side. Kara gets an idea, and she takes one of the bigger road maps and hands it to Lena, who is just finishing up with their cart.
“Why are you getting a map, Kara?” Lena asks, staring pointedly at the package in Kara’s hand. The blonde blinks.
“Won’t we need it?” She asks innocently.
Lena drags her gaze from the map to stare at Kara for all of five seconds before laughing. Kara just frowns, and when Lena seems to realize she’s serious, she frowns, too. “Kara. We have modern maps. My car can literally tell us where to go and how.”
“I know.” Kara pushes the map to Lena’s hand. “But this is the classic experience,” she insists.
“Of getting lost, you mean,” Lena deadpans.
Lena just stares, again, and after a few seconds relents and shucks the map past the scanner. Kara grins and whoops in triumph, and when she catches sight of the way Lena bites her lip to hold back a smile, her own spreads wider, and it burns away the ache that is in her chest.
They load their groceries to the car, with Kara insisting she can handle it—because she can, and then some—and Lena just huffs and puffs until everything is settled in the back of the car and they are back in their respective seats.
“You have to be more careful,” Lena reminds, pulling her aviators from the collar of her shirt where she had tucked it in earlier. “It’s one thing to be able to carry a lot of bags alone, but all those in one hand?”
“Yeah, but no one really noticed,” Kara shrugs as she looks through the various bags until she finds what she’s looking for. She pulls at it with a victorious aha! Going through the contents of it, she pulls out the hot pockets they bought from the small kiosk inside the grocery and hands one to Lena. “Here. Trust me. I looked around.”
Lena stares at her, looks down at the hot pocket in her hand, then up at her again, before finally taking the pastry from the blonde. “ Still ,” Lena insists. She sniffs the sandwich and scrunches her nose. “What is this?”
“It’s a hot pocket,” Kara explains easily as she pulls away the wrapper and takes a bite of her pepperoni pizza-flavored one. She grins as she chews and Lena just stares. “Come on. Try it. It isn’t as bad.”
“It’s literally too hot to eat, Kara,” Lena drawls with an amused smile. Kara’s mouth drops open at that, for a moment, before taking the hot pocket with a sheepish grin.
“Sorry. It happens when I get too excited.” She shrugs, lightly blows on the sandwich with cool air before handing it to Lena. “Should be cool enough to eat. Try it!”
Lena laughs lightly at her enthusiasm, so the CEO does take it, pushes away at the wrapper. She meets Kara’s gaze as she takes a bite, and Kara tries her best not to bounce on her seat. Lena hums as she chews, though expressionless. Kara raises an eyebrow. “Well?”
Lena shrugs and swallows before she speaks. “I mean. I’m not dead?”
Kara laughs. “I hate your snobby face,” she jokes as she tugs on her seatbelt. “Drive.”
The raven-haired woman laughs, too, and she takes another bite of her hot pocket with a quiet hum. “Where are we going anyway?” She asks after swallowing—ever the lady, Kara supposes. She drives out of the grocery store parking and soon enough, they are on the road again.
Kara finishes her hot pocket and fishes another one from the bag. “I thought you had somewhere in mind.”
“I actually really didn’t think that far,” Lena admits with a laugh.
Kara shrugs. “Just ahead for now, I guess.” Lena looks at her at this, and the light of the late morning is high enough now to shine behind her, and despite the dark shades Lena is wearing Kara is able to see her eyes, smiling like the way her lips are quirked up—hopeful, bright.
“Ahead it is, Supergirl.”
They make it ten minutes in comfortable silence as they eat their brunch of hot pockets—Lena still on her first while Kara has already demolished five, well on her way to the sixth—when Kara glances at Lena. It takes a few moments, but the CEO finally seems to notice, and she turns to Kara with a small smile.
“Yes?” She queries.
Kara tilts her head. “Do you have music?”
Lena snorts at that, then apologizes quickly. “I should be offended you’re asking that.” She reaches over the center console. It lights up, with more screen than knobs and buttons than Kara is used to. She fishes her phone from her pocket then hands it to Kara. “Connect it via the USB,” she instructs, and Kara obeys. She notices Lena’s wallpaper—the default photo of a galaxy. “Alright, now, don’t tell anyone or I’ll get my warranty voided, but I kind of tampered with the voice command a bit.” Lena smirks. Kara just blinks. “Look. Hey Apollo. Play the radio.”
There’s a beep, and a moment later the music of Gwen Stefani’s Sweet Escape fills the car. Kara guffaws and turns to Lena. “I don’t know how to react to any of this,” she laughs.
Lena laughs, too, soft and sweet, and Kara tries to hold back her surprise when she sings along to the pop song. Her smile doesn’t leave though, not when Lena continues to hum along and tap her hand to the beat on the steering wheel.
It’s a comfort.
If I could escape
And recreate a place that's my own world
And I could be your favorite girl (forever),
Tell me boy now wouldn't that be sweet? (sweet escape)
They have been on the road, driving up north, Kara thinks, for the better part of an hour, singing or humming along to whatever song is on the radio. The sun is high up in the sky, indicating noon, and Kara has already eaten through three packs of chocolates, much to Lena’s envy and amusement.
A song about the happiest place on Earth finishes before the radio jock chimes in, reminding people of the time. Kara unwraps another one of her peanut butter cups, popping it in her mouth when Lena speaks.
“Hey Kara,” she says softly, like she isn’t quite sure of what to say. Kara watches her glance her way and she hums. “Can we go to Disneyland?”
Kara beams at that. “Can we?” She asks, momentarily forgetting her bite of chocolate. Lena scrunches her nose at that and she struggles through removing the chocolate she feels is stuck to her front teeth before speaking again. “I haven’t been there since I was sixteen and almost broke off a ride handle.”
“Somehow I’m not surprised,” Lena chuckles, then bites her lip. “I actually haven’t been there.”
The admission is soft again, almost shy, and Kara glances at Lena at it. She is focused on the road. Kara isn’t really surprised that Lena hasn’t been to Disneyland—they may be rich, but she supposes being a Luthor means as a child, Lena’s interests have been in matters that have been pre-approved by a mother figure like Lillian Luthor, as Kara has heard bits and pieces about—and a somber mood settles on her chest at the fact. “That just means I can be your guide,” Kara offers with a quirk of her lips, and when Lena glances at her, she just hopes she can see her eyes, just to confirm that they aren’t sad like she thinks they are.
There’s something that bothers her at the thought of Lena being sad about that fact, but the smile on the woman’s face tells Kara otherwise and hey, they can make up for that now, right?
“You’re not going to rip off ride handles, are you?” The raven-haired woman teases, and Kara flicks a candy wrapper to her direction.
“Whatever. Let me look for it on the map.”
Lena groans. “Apollo, navigate to—”
“Apollo, shut it.”
Lena groans again.
They arrive at Disneyland a little after lunch, only managing to get lost once because Kara missed reading a turn, and by that time they are both hungry for real food so they set their destination for a restaurant.
Except of course, Kara gets distracted by Corn Dog Castle and Award Wieners, and she manages to eat two corn dogs and two hot dog sandwiches before they even get to a proper place to eat—Kara suggests Flo’s V8 Cafe, and Lena just nods as if the reference is lost on her and when Kara asks if she knows what movie it’s from, Lena just blinks.
“It’s from a movie?”
Kara goes on to explain that yes, it is, and so are most of the rides and attractions in the theme park. Lena nods, taking it all in without more than a blink and silent contemplation, and after they eat late lunch—it wasn’t as bad as Lena expected, and Kara, well, Kara doesn’t really complain about food—they go ahead and explore the park. The blonde leads the way, guiding Lena through the crowd and various booths and stalls.
They head to the roller coaster when they are done with chill tours and interactive walkthroughs. Kara excitedly points at it and tugs on Lena’s hand, and they wait in line for half an hour before they even manage to get in. As soon as she’s strapped in to the very front of the roller coaster beside Kara, Lena lets out a heavy sigh.
“Why the fuck did I agree to this,” she mutters, and Kara catches it with a laugh.
“You’ll be fine, Lee,” Kara grins. She isn’t wearing her glasses, for safety precautions, but she keeps her hair in a ponytail for the sake of a disguise, however useless. She grip lightly on her over-the-shoulder restraints.
“You’re just saying that because you—” The ride lurches and Lena gasps, slams her eyes shut, and Kara can hear the pounding of her heartbeat. Lena grits her teeth. “Technically, if we all crash and burn, you are the only one who’d survive,” she mutters, breath catching as the roller coaster starts to pick up pace.
“We’re not going to crash and burn,” Kara promises, grinning widely as the being to ascend. She hears Lena spew curses under her breath, most of which she can’t understand. “Are you afraid of heights?” Kara asks, loudly this time just to make sure Lena hears.
“You’re fucking asking me now?” Lena yells. The ride is speeding now, goes over a small hill that makes Lena grip tightly on the metal pressed over her. Kara glances at her. Her eyes are still shut tight, lips moving as she curses and curses. The blonde grins, looks ahead, and enjoys the wind on her face. It isn’t quite the same as flying, but she guesses this is the easiest way for humans to do it.
“Open your eyes, Lena!” Kara calls out through everyone’s screams. She looks beside her to see Lena at least trying to open one eye, only to slam it shut again when the ride begins to tilt to the right. She screams yet again, and at the sharp dip Kara hears Lena’s heart stutter. Suddenly there’s a hand on hers, over where she is gripping her own metal handles, and Lena is clutching on her hand so tightly that she might as well be superhuman, too.
Lena chants fuck fuck fuck fuck breathlessly as the train slows down as it ascends to another, much higher drop, and before they fall into full speed, Kara turns to Lena. “I won’t let you fall, you know,” she yells, over all the screaming, and she hopes Lena at least hears. Her heart is still beating so fast, only to go harder as the ride tilts yet again. Her eyes are open now, though barely, and Kara grins proudly at her. “Promise!”
“I’m going to die,” Lena whines. Kara looks ahead and sees it, and before she could assure Lena that she is going to be fine, they are already going through the loop and Lena is screaming for her life.
They go through more hills and tilts, and when the ride is done Lena is panting and she is almost teary-eyed. The ride attendant helps her out of the train and Kara is by her side after a beat, helping her up.
“I’m going to fucking kill you,” Lena hisses as they make their way out of the attraction area.
Kara chuckles apologetically. “I told you I won’t let you fall,” she says with a small smile as she helps Lena to a bench just outside. Lena huffs as she sits, exhales heavily, and glares at Kara. Her eyes are red-rimmed and she’s still trembling, and the teasing lilt in Kara’s voice vanishes as she sits on her haunches, meeting Lena’s gaze. “Hey,” she murmurs, reaching out to put her hand on Lena’s knee. “Sorry if I made you ride it. I didn’t know you’d be this upset.”
Lena sighs again and shakes her head. “I’m just overreacting,” she mumbles after a while. “Paranoia, I suppose.”
Kara is a little confused at that, but she offers her friend a comforting smile. “Okay,” she whispers. At least her heart started to calm down now. “Let’s just stay here for a while?”
Lena nods gratefully. Kara stays in front of her, and after a moment she starts brushing comforting circles on Lena’s thumb until her heartbeat has relaxed to the peaceful rhythm Kara is more used to.
They spend some time just seated on that bench. Lena apologizes for overreacting, again, and Kara assures her it’s fine and it’s definitely not overreacting, especially since it’s the ride where she almost ripped the restraint off some years ago. It manages to pull a laugh from Lena, and she isn’t trembling from fear anymore. They get cotton candy, just to completely shake away her nerves, and when Lena asks if they could try the ferris wheel too, Kara readily agrees. She only realizes when they are on their way to the top that it’s already getting dark.
“I think we spent most of the time waiting in line,” Lena muses as she looks down with a shuddering breath.
“Afraid of heights?” Kara asks with a soft smile. “I won’t—”
“You won’t let me fall, I know,” Lena finishes with a small smile. “And no. Just… Paranoia, I guess.” She shrugs and looks up instead. The glass dome gives them a view of the theme park below, the distant city beyond. “I don’t want to have nightmares about this.”
At that, Kara frowns. “Nightmares?”
Lena looks at her and bites her lip, as if she hadn’t meant to let that information slip. She shrugs. “Sometimes,” she says. “Of falling. After- After the whole plane thing.” She forces a smile as she looks at Kara but the blonde can see exactly through it. Kara feels an ache in her chest, altogether different from what she feels for Mon-El, but it’s similar in the way her heart breaks. She can’t imagine how difficult everything has been for Lena, not with threat after threat in her life, and she remembers her own nightmares. Without much thinking, she reaches out for Lena’s hand and squeezes it—Lena’s hand is clammy, from nerves she supposes, and the woman doesn’t take her gaze away from where she looks ahead at the silhouette of the city far away, but she feels her squeeze back, hears her heart race for just a moment before relaxing again.
“I’ll protect you,” Kara whispers. Her words don’t exactly mean a lot. She can only do so much against Lena’s nightmares. She’ll try though, for now. Lena’s answering smile is enough to make her.
“So,” Kara says as they make their way back to the car. “Happiest place in the world, what do you think?”
A soft laugh erupts from Lena and she waves her arms in a shrug, keys jingling in her palm. “I suppose,” she says easily. Behind them, the theme park is still in full swing, and Kara can hear children laughing and excitedly screaming. She tries not to think of Krypton and all its lost children. “The company has most to do with it though,” Lena continues with a shy smile.
Kara beams. “Where to next?”
Lena glances up at the question, then tilts her head. “Hotel?” She says, gesturing to the direction of the building. “I’m tired from all the screaming and trying to stay alive,” she jokes.
Kara offers her hand to take the keys. “I can drive us?”
The raven-haired woman shakes her head. “It’s getting kind of late, Kara. Besides, I wanted to try that Cozy Cone Motel thing tomorrow.”
Kara’s eyebrows raise and she grins at the implication. “We can go back?”
Lena laughs. “Just until brunch. And no more killer rides.”
Kara insists they don’t get the Adventureland Suite “just for the experience,” as Lena said, because it’s expensive as heck and Lena already paid for, well, everything, so instead they take a room with two queen beds and a view of Downtown Disney District. Kara also insists on bringing their bags instead of asking for a bellboy, Lena demanded she carries her own, and they head to their room after dinner at the hotel steakhouse.
The room is pretty huge, at least for Kara’s standard, but Lena’s noncommittal expression means she is used to fancier ones. It’s a bit of an affluent life, perhaps, being a CEO and all, but Kara knows it isn’t all that, especially with what she has saved Lena from all this time. Kara heads to the bed near the door and collapses on it with a satisfied groan. Lena laughs lightly as she heads to the other bed.
“You sure you don’t want to take this?” She asks, gesturing to the glass window that runs from the floor to the ceiling. Kara smiles from where she lies and shakes her head.
“All yours,” she grins.
Lena sits on the bed with a soft sigh. They settle in the quiet, only the distant noises in the room—most of which Kara is sure only she can hear—and it’s many minutes later when Lena asks if she could use the shower first. Kara nods absently, watches Lena at the corner of her eye as she picks what look like satin pajamas from her gym bag. She is unable to hold back her snort. Lena looks at her with an inquisitive eyebrow and a small smirk.
“What’s wrong with satin?” She quips.
Kara chuckles. “I’m sure it’s comfortable, Lee.”
“It most definitely is,” Lena shoots back. She heads to the bathroom, clothes in tow, and minutes later Kara hears the running of the shower. She doesn’t even mean to listen in, but as she relaxes on the bed, she finds herself tuning in to Lena—the cadence of her heartbeat, the way she hums in the shower, the way the water—
She sits up quickly that she hovers off the bed for a second, hot blush on her cheeks. “Bad Kara,” she mutters, shaking her head at the thoughts that found themselves in her head. She puffs up her cheeks, trying to cool them down, and just to have something else to focus on, heads to the window to stare out at the attractions and listen to other people.
She has managed to free her thoughts of any impropriety when Lena comes out of the bathroom wearing a pastel pink pair of satin pajamas. Lena murmurs for her to go ahead, and Kara nods, takes the shirt and sweatpants she had readied to distract herself. She uses the cold shower, not really minding it, and she’s changed and out of the bathroom in a few minutes. She finds Lena by the window.
“You know why rides like roller coasters are popular?” Lena speaks, and Kara almost jumps in surprise. She realizes Lena can see her reflection on the glass, what with the lights dimmed. Lena must have turned them off. “Because of humanity’s emotional compulsion and need for that sense of controlled fear.” She looks back at Kara. There is an almost amused smile on her face but her eyes look distant. “A dose of primal adrenaline rush without any sense of danger.”
Kara tilts her head at her, but doesn’t say the words on the tip of her tongue— you humans — because it may seem like a jab Lena would take in stride, but there’s something in the way Lena is talking about this that makes her ache all over again.
“I guess too much adrenaline rush isn’t for me anymore,” Lena continues with a shrug and a laugh. She heads to her bed, pulls the sheets back and smiles at Kara. “I’ll head to bed now, if that’s alright?”
Kara blinks slowly, then nods. For some reason, Lena’s heart is racing, and aside from her super hearing, there isn’t any indication that she is nervous or scared. Lena slides under the sheets and lies on her back, sighs softly. Kara stuffs her day clothes in a paper bag and puts it in her gym bag before doing the same. Silence envelops them. Lena’s heart is still racing, and the way she breathes is almost familiar to Kara now—the shuddering intake of air of someone controlling their breathing. Kara glances to her. She’s lying still, still no signs of any outward concern but Kara hears.
“Are you okay?” Kara asks, sitting up after a while. Lena’s heart races again and she chuckles lightly. It doesn’t sound anything particularly cheerful.
“Yeah,” Lena answers. “Just- Thinking.”
Kara stares at her for a while. She isn’t moving, and after some time Kara decides that staring might not be helping so she settles down and tries to not stare. She takes her phone from her bag and charges it, texts Alex that they’re at Disneyland and she’s fine, but her senses are trained on Lena until the calm of sleep finally takes over her.
Kara lays awake staring at the ceiling as Lena slumbered. Her ears are still fixed on her. She has memorized the slow rhythm of her breathing and her sleeping heartbeat now, and she still thinks of the distant look in Lena’s eyes, the struggle to hold back a panic attack.
She remembers Lena mentioning she has been having nightmares. Kara mentally chastises herself, regretting that stupid roller coaster suggestion, and she huffs a breath that accidentally freezes a portion of the ceiling.
Right. Maybe she should sleep. She can apologize to Lena tomorrow.
Lena isn’t on her bed when Kara wakes up. The blonde jolts in panic, sits up and quickly scans the area with her hearing in order to find her. She does, quiet easily. She seems to be making her way back to the room, and Kara can hear metal rattling. The door to their room opens and Kara sighs in relief just as Lena beams.
“You’re awake,” she says with a smile that drops at the frown on Kara’s eyebrows. “What’s wrong?”
Kara shakes her head. “Nothing,” she sighs, running her hand through her hair. “I thought you—” I thought you left too. I thought you left me , too. I thought you hated me after last night. “I thought something happened.”
Lena pauses at that. She gives Kara a comforting smile as she pushes the cart she carries. “I got us breakfast. I didn’t want to deal with people this early in the morning.”
That at least manages to get a chuckle from Kara. She hops off the bed and opens the cart Lena brings—it’s filled with waffles, pancakes, hash browns, various jams, and a pot of what Kara smells is coffee. Kara’s little smile blooms into a wider grin. “You’re the best,” Kara says.
Lena shrugs, but the smile on her own lips is proud.
They eat their breakfast in silence, the TV playing some Disney Channel show that Kara is no longer familiar with. Kara is basically stuffing her cheeks with food, finding the perfect to moment to apologize, but it’s Lena who speaks first.
“Kara,” she starts as she pokes her almost untouched hash brown on her plate. “I… I wanted to apologize, for overreacting to that stupid ride last night.” She glances up at Kara before staring at her plate again. “I didn’t mean to make you worry.”
The blonde furrows her eyebrows at that, manages to chew as quick as she can and swallows, then huffs no. “You don’t have to be sorry for that, Lena,” she insists. “If anything, I am sorry for making you ride it.”
Lena looks up at her again. The expression on her face is almost....odd, like she is surprised Kara is apologizing—which is strange, too, because she’s sure a CEO like Lena Luthor of all people would be used to people apologizing and begging —but she nods, a little later, and a small smile quirks from her lips. “Guess we’re even,” she says softly. Kara guesses it’s as close to a forgiveness they can give each other, and it’s not really a big deal, so she hopes.
She smiles at Lena, too. “Even.”
They leave the hotel an hour and a half later, after they have changed. Kara wears a black tee, printed with a UFO this time—Lena stares at her incredulously upon sight of it—and gray sweatpants, and Lena has on another button-up shirt with jeans.
“Do you only have those shirts?” Kara asks as they get into the car, unable to hold back her question anymore. Lena shrugs.
“What’s wrong with them?”
Kara takes it as a yes.
They leave Disneyland soon after, but not before Kara begs—and begs and begs —for them to stop by the entrance and take a picture with the arch. They ask a stranger to take a picture of them, and though Lena stands stiffly for the first three photos, she manages a peace sign as directed by Kara by the fourth and final one. They thank the stranger then they’re back in the car, music playing as soon as they hit the road again.
“I guess that’s one item off my bucket list,” Lena chuckles.
Kara glances back at her. “You have a bucket list?”
Lena shrugs. “I guess? Just some things I want to do before I die.”
The blonde tries to ignore the implication in that. “That’s what a bucket list is, isn’t it?” She shoots back instead.
“Just get me one of your stupid chocolates so I can check off another one,” Lena mumbles. “And decide where to go.”
Kara takes a random bag from the back seat and plucks out the first packet she feels. “Oh, these are good!” She exclaims, ripping open the bag of Swedish Fish. “And look, it says it’s fat-free, so less guilt for you,” she teases. She hands Lena the bag, and the woman blindly reaches for it and takes a piece of the gummy candy before taking it in her mouth.
“Not bad,” she hums, takes another one. “Now, where are we off to, Ms. Danvers?”
Kara takes the map she put in the glove box and stares at it. After a moment, she starts to move her index finger left to right above the page. “Okay. Say stop.”
Lena glances at her. “What?”
“Say stop,” Kara repeats.
“Stop,” the raven-haired woman parrots. Kara stops the movement of her hand and looks down at the map where her finger points.
“Huh. Las Vegas.”
Lena laughs sharply. “Ah. Sin City.” She smirks at her companion. “Do you know how to gamble, Kara?”
They are one hour into driving and singing along to pop songs when Kara’s stomach rumbles. Lena laughs heartily and when she looks at Kara with such a fond smile, the blonde finds herself pouting.
“We literally ate just an hour ago,” Lena points out.
Kara huffs. “Exactly. I have already digested whatever I ate.”
The raven-haired woman giggles and shakes her head. “Fine,” she chuckles. “We’re eating at the first restaurant we find.”
Kara grins brightly. “You’re my favorite.”
“Lena!” Kara screeches, and she realizes a second later that it was a bad idea because the driving woman slams on the breaks and Kara has to brace her strength so she doesn’t flatten the front of the car.
“What? What’s wrong?” Lena panics, looking at Kara as if she’s looking for an injury. “Are you okay? What happened? Did you hear something?”
At the worry in Lena’s features, Kara manages a sheepish smile. “I’m fine,” she promises. “No danger or anything. Just…” She points up ahead. She waits until Lena glances to it, and she’s told Lena has seen the place when she huffs.
“I’m going to kill you,” Lena mutters. Kara grins.
“No you won’t,” she quips back. “Can we eat there?”
“Starve to death,” the raven-haired woman mumbles under her breath, but she does drive the car to the direction of the grill and buffet restaurant.
“Bless Rao, ” Kara mumbles as she scans the area and the menu She feels Lena stare at her, and Kara meets her gaze with a bright grin and even brighter eyes. “Lena. They have steak, pizza, chicken, and mashed potatoes.” She pauses for dramatic effect, practically squirming as she gestures to everything in front of her. “In buffet.”
Lena snorts at that, sighs deeply like she has already accepted her fate, and points to one of the tables. “I’m going to go pay and get us a table. Please consider me when you get food.” She throws Kara a sweet smile and the blonde just nods enthusiastically. She grabs three plates she can carry at one time and piles up various meat and potatoes in one, pizza and pasta on the other, and on the third, she shuffles hesitantly to the stall labeled the greenhouse and gets Lena a fair selection of white meat and vegetables. She is proud of her choices that she grins expectantly at the CEO when she settles her plate in front of her.
“I’m impressed you didn’t throw up all over it,” Lena quips as she takes the plate. Kara puts her own almost-overflowing pair on the table as well and Lena scrunches her nose as she begins to eat. “I hate you, you know.”
Kara looks up from a spoonful of mashed potato. Lena is staring at her from where she has a broccoli on her fork. “Technically you can eat this much,” Kara mumbles.
“I’ll risk myself getting various diseases and such,” Lena drawls as she starts to eat. “And gaining weight, which god knows isn’t seen as something respectful in my line of work because old, white businessmen prefer to deal with eye candy.” She rolls her eyes. Kara’s grip on her spoon tightens, because she certainly doesn’t like the way these businessmen sound like. “Or anyone who isn’t a woman, actually.”
“They’re stupid,” Kara mumbles. At this Lena quirks up her lips.
“All the more amusing when I overtake their market share, isn’t it?”
Kara returns to their table with her fifth and sixth overflowing plate of food. She ignores the looks thrown her way by the staff, ignores Lena’s exasperated—and so very envious—expression.
“I think they’re close to awarding you a plaque,” Lena says dryly as Kara chews through a slab of steak. “Or to kicking us out.”
Kara shrugs, struggles to swallow her bite, and downs it with a shrug of her beverage—bottomless, too. If there’s anything that could make Kara instantly feel better, it’s unlimited food. “They shouldn’t have called it eat-all-you-can restaurant if I can’t do exactly just that,” she says, then shoves a spoonful of potatoes in her mouth. Grace be damned. She couldn’t really care less, especially when Lena’s eyes sparkle with such amusement.
“Don’t fill yourself up too much,” Lena points out with a smile. “We can still visit the next restaurant.”
Kara pauses mid-bite and blinks. “No,” she mumbles. “I’ll be hungry by then.”
Lena laughs. It’s almost surprising how comforting it sounds.
Kara finally finishes after her sixth plate. She takes a snap of them and sends them to Alex, captioned I stopped eating because I think Lena is judging me, though she doesn’t really think so, because Lena pauses before they leave their booth to ask if she’s sure and if she’s really full, because they can definitely still stay if she wants to eat some more.
They head back to the car. Kara stretches with a yawn before getting in. Lena chuckles at her and tells her she can definitely take a nap. The blonde dismisses the offer and tells Apollo to play some music.
“Alright Vegas,” Lena murmurs as she pulls out of the parking lot. “Here we go. Read me the map, Ms. Danvers.”
Kara grins and unfolds the map on her lap. They hit the road to the beat of an ‘N Sync tune that has Kara whooping and singing along. The lyrics do speak to her, though, but the music is upbeat enough for her to keep laughing to the song.
I live for you and me
And now I really come to see
That life would be much better
Once you're gone
A few minutes into their drive, Kara notices a sign up east.
“Hey look!” She tells Lena, gesturing to it with a grin. “It’s just around here. Can we go?”
Lena hums. “Is there an attraction there?” She asks.
Kara shrugs. “Not sure. It says Happy Trails, though, so must be something, right?”
The raven-haired woman’s lips twitch with a smile and she takes the turn.
“This doesn’t look too happy,” Kara observes as they drive into the road named Happy Trails. It’s just that—a road, in the middle of nowhere, little bushes in the desert on the sides of it. Nothing that really supports the name of the highway.
Lena chuckles as she stops the car to the side. “Don’t put too much expectation on a name, Kara,” she muses. Kara glances to her; she doesn’t know if she is being serious. There is implication in her words though, and Kara remembers the first time they met—Lena, new to National City yet already suffering the consequences of the last name she carries. The raven-haired woman is looking out her window so Kara could only really see the back of her head, and when she looks ahead, there isn’t much to gather from her expressionless face. Kara likes to think she understands. Sometimes, she is trying to escape the expectations of her name, too.
“Sorry,” Kara says with a small smile. She looks down on her map and tells Lena where to go. “Vegas up ahead!”
They take a wrong turn upon the intersection, because Kara apparently had the map upside down. Lena asks if they can use the GPS now, but Kara insists, points to the proper direction, and she hears the businesswoman mutter you’re lucky I like you under her breath. Kara beams, the ache in her chest chipping away at those words.
Kara falls asleep. She dreams of Mon-El. He kisses Kara, smiles at her, and tells her she deserved to die with the rest of Krypton.
She wakes up with a jolt. The car lurches to a stop, and Kara tries to blink away the nightmare. There’s a hand on her shoulder and when she looks to her left, Lena is looking at her worriedly.
“Are you okay?” She asks softly. There’s so much tenderness in her voice that Kara feels a little fragile, feels like curling up into her warmth and cry again because why must he still be in her dreams? What was the point of running away? “Kara?”
The blonde struggles to nod and take a deep breath. She sits up straight, nods again, mumbles I’m fine, just a bad dream, and Lena looks at her for a few more seconds before she’s focusing on the road again. She glances at Kara every now and then, though. “I’m fine,” she assures again, this time giving Lena a warm smile. Lena finally nods.
Kara realizes it’s late now, and with the sun starting to sink down the sky it’s just over by Lena’s left. Its warm rays shine on the woman, making her usual pasty skin glow a soft red orange, and her raven hair is more auburn now, in this light. It reminds Kara of how things looked like in Krypton.
“What are you thinking?” Lena asks, after a while. Her voice is soft, like she doesn’t want to break the reverie Kara is in. The blonde shakes her head and she quirks her lips shyly.
“Just that this would be how it would seem like, if we were on Krypton.” She looks ahead. “Shades of red. Not the angry one you humans are used to,” she murmurs. “Soft, like… Like we’re sitting in front of a furnace. Warm.”
Lena chuckles softly. “Except under a red star, a planet would be cooler, wouldn’t it?”
Kara looks back at Lena. She opens her mouth to refute it, tries to remember how the air felt like in Krypton. She doesn’t. She tenses, hids the way she grits her teeth, and looks ahead. “I suppose,” she mumbles. “Maybe like… Like an eternal fall.”
She can feel Lena’s gaze on her, but she’s glad she doesn’t say anything. The soft strumming of some sad pop song plays in the car. Just say you won’t let go, the lyrics go, and when Kara listens to the rest of it she realizes it’s actually some happy love song.
She thinks of him again, wonders what he’s doing, realizes a few moments later that she shouldn’t.
He’s happy now. She should let him be. Let him go.
It’s almost dusk when they drive by the famous welcome sign, brightly lit up. Kara lets her ache fall away for a moment and grins at the sight of it.
[Las Vegas, NV]
“I’ve never seen Vegas from this angle,” she says. She turns to Lena. “Always been a bird’s eye view.”
Lena chuckles. “We’ll get a good look at the human perspective for you this time,” she teases. She suggests checking into a hotel first so they could freshen up a bit before they go out and visit the area. Lena is already pressing buttons on her center console to activate Apollo again, but before she could ask him to look for possible hotels, Kara is speaking.
“Can we rent a dingy motel?”
Lena laughs at the suggestion, but when Kara keeps quiet she seems to realize she isn’t joking. “I can’t believe you’re suggesting that,” she says blankly. “We’re not renting a shady motel room when we can get a five-star, Kara.”
Kara pouts. “But it’s part of the experience! Besides, I can’t afford a five-star.”
“This is Vegas,” Lena retorts. “And I’m paying.”
“Please?” Kara begs. They drive past a two-storey red and white building with a sign that screamed MOTEL . Kara points at it. “There! Look, it doesn’t look too shady.”
Lena doesn’t even spare it a glance as she huffs. “No, Kara.”
Lena glances at her. She stares, sighs heavily, then makes a U-turn.
They walk into the motel, gym bags over their shoulders. The lobby isn’t as dingy as Kara expected—even Lena lets out a small sound of pleased surprise—and they head to the front desk where a middle-aged woman with curlers in her blonde hair sits.
“Uh, hi?” Kara greets with a nervous chuckle. The woman doesn’t seem to acknowledge them, doesn’t even glance at them. She laughs, and Kara realizes she’s watching something on her phone. The reporter looks at Lena. She has a patient smile on her face.
“Hello,” Lena tries. “We need a room.”
The front desk clerk at least glances at the this time, for just a second, before looking back at whatever she is watching. “Clearly.”
Kara sighs softly at the reply but manages to keep the polite smile on her face. “Right. We’d like to get a room, please,” she tries again, stressing the request. The woman on the counter hands them a clipboard with a form.
“Cash only,” she drones. Kara looks down at the brown piece of paper.
“No queen beds available?” She asks. Lena reaches for the form for her to sign up but Kara fills it up with her information instead.
“Isn’t that what is written?” The front desk clerk drawls. “Only twin beds, if you can’t read.”
Kara manages to force a chuckle at that. She doesn’t understand why the woman is being rude, but she doesn’t snap at her. She must have her reasons. “That’s fine, thank you,” she says politely, hands the form back. The woman hands them their keys.
“Stairs to your left,” the woman says, barely paying them any attention. Kara sighs and tells her thank you anyway, and when she sees Lena to guide her to the stairs, the raven-haired woman looks displeased.
“She didn’t have to treat you like that,” Lena points out as they make their way up the stairs that creak with every step. At least, despite what seems like an old building, the motel is kept well. Good enough in Kara’s books, with one area for improvement.
Kara shrugs. “She might have had a bad day or something,” she says. She looks at the key for their room number and once they arrive, opens the door and flicks the lights on.
Lena just hums. “You’re too nice.” As soon as Lena walks in, she lets out another pleased noise. “Well. This isn’t as terrible as I expected.” Kara chuckles as she looks around. The room is much smaller than their last; the walls are painted light gray, chipping off the corners, but overall still not sinking to that dingy status. The two twin beds are separated by a bedside table with a lamp, one of them placed right up against the wall with a window curtained with heavy dark gray drapes that are pushed to the sides. Over to their left, just two or three steps from the other bed, is the door to the bathroom. Kara checks it—it has a small shower, frosted glass panes that looked yellowish with age, but at least the towels and toiletries available look new.
“See?” Kara smiles. “Not so bad.” She laughs when Lena rolls her eyes but the woman is smiling too. “Which bed do you want?”
Lena shrugs. “I’ll get whatever you aren’t taking.”
At that, Kara nods and takes the one further from the window. Lena heads to her own bed, sits down at the foot of it and groans softly as she lies down. The blonde gives her a brief look. “Tired?”
The CEO shakes her head. “Not really. Getting to lie down after sitting for the better part of the day is just gratifying, no matter how hard the mattress is.” She chuckles.
Kara hovers over the bed and gently lowers herself on it. She bounces lightly. “It isn’t so bad.” She turns to her side and grins at Lena. “Is that why I find you standing in your office sometimes, and sometimes talking to yourself?” She teases.
Lena rolls her eyes playfully. “By find do you mean when you fly by L-Corp?”
“Supergirl duties,” Kara shoots back easily.
The raven-haired woman turns serious. “Is it because I’m a Luthor?” She asks, and at it Kara’s smile falls, a litany of reasons that debunk that stupid statement that honestly is getting too old on her tongue. Lena bursts into giggles, however, and Kara turns confused. “You looked so ready to defend my honor, there,” she teases.
Kara huffs. “I was!” She lies on her back and sees Lena turn to her side this time to face her. The blonde just crosses her arms. “You know how I feel about that whole ‘you’re a Luthor’ kind of reasoning. It’s—” It’s stupid. Illogical. Invalidates all the good things that Lena had done and continues to do, for the simple reason of her last name.
It’s the darker side of having Super in her name—that name invokes hope, even without Kara doing anything. Yet Lena, despite everything she has done to prove that she isn’t like Lex or Lillian, continues to be doubted, distrusted, feared. Kara isn’t one to get angry, not if she could help it, but the whole thing makes her mad.
“—it’s stupid,” she settles with another huff. She glances to Lena when the woman doesn’t speak, hears her heart race, and Lena is just there, arm tucked under her head, looking at her like she’s staring at a marvel. After a few seconds of silence Kara squirms. “What?”
Lena quirks up her lips into a smile. “Supergirl or not, you’re amazing, you know?”
Warmth settles on Kara’s cheeks at those words. “I’m not—” She scrunches her nose, to which Lena’s smile just widens.
“Take the compliment, darling,” Lena says easily, and if she notices the term of endearment that falls from her lips she doesn’t make an indication of it. She just stands and makes her way to the bathroom with I’ll just freshen up. Kara just nods and stays on the bed, letting her cheeks cool and Lena’s voice play back in her head.
It’s a small comfort that comes to rest on her chest, a strange warmth that thaws away the ache she feels.
They decide to stay in, mostly because after she had freshened up Lena ended up taking a nap and she looked too peaceful that Kara didn’t want to wake her up. She seems less worried, when she’s asleep, except there are moments when her eyebrows would furrow like a nightmare is building in the darker corners of her mind and Kara could just watch helplessly.
She leaves the room some time later and flies out, just to feel the wind on her skin, watches Vegas from above like she is used to. The last time she has been here was with Kal, when he asked for help on facing a criminal gang. It’s the same hustle and bustle of a city, and as she hovers over all of them, the noise consumes her. They probably don’t remember her—it’s not her city, after all—and the knowledge of her insignificance, here, is a small comfort.
She looks for a decent-looking restaurant without much people and when she finds one, she lands in the nearest alley and gets food, then returns to their room. Lena is still sleeping when she returns, but it’s well past dinnertime and Kara is hungry. She sets the food on the small table for two on the far corner of the room, then shuffles to Lena to wake her up. The raven-haired woman stirs with a small grunt, and Kara watches the way her eyelids flutter open to reveal still-dazed green eyes. They look a little different, in the harsh white lighting of the motel—instead of the soft emerald she is used to, she can see flecks of gold in her eyes now, and some sort of distant sadness dawns on her because on Krypton, she wouldn’t be able to see Lena’s eyes like this, all bright and full of life.
“What time is it?” Lena mumbles sleepily. Kara shakes away her reverie with a small smile and stands to gesture to the table.
“Time for dinner,” she says, waits for Lena to sit up. “I got you that shrimp pasta you like. Sorry it’s in a paper bowl though.”
Lena stands and runs her hand through her hair—there’s a certain novelty to it, how her dark hair is a contrast to her pale skin, that Kara finds herself staring. “Fra diavolo?” Lena asks with a shy smile. “Thank you.”
Kara pulls her chair for her and Lena murmurs another thanks, and they settle into light chatter about what Kara can expect in Vegas as they share their meal. Lena seems softer now, somehow, more relaxed, and Kara quirks up her lips as she watches the woman ever so gracefully eat her pasta, spicy that her pale cheeks flush with a lovely pink.
“Do I have something on my face?” Lena suddenly asks. Kara blinks and laughs, shakes her head as she stabs a piece of marble potato on her paper bowl.
“No, no,” the blonde says. “It’s just- It’s nice. To see you like this.” Lena raises a curious eyebrow at that, and Kara waves her fork in an attempt to find the proper words. “Light and carefree.” All the unrestrained ease of a woman without responsibilities, even just for a short while.
“You’re the only one who does,” Lena says with an almost secretive smile.
It’s a comfort.
Kara changes into her sleepwear after Lena does. She finds the woman pacing the length of the room, talking softly on her phone with her usual expression that meant business. Which makes it such a sight, considering she’s wearing another one of her satin pajamas. Kara gives her a small wave when she glances at her, and Lena manages to offer her a small smile before scowling at whatever the person on the other line said.
The blonde sits on the edge of her bed and calls Alex just to check up on things back in National City. Nothing major aside from the usual fires and robberies the NCPD can handle, but her sister lets her know that J’onn has flown a few times over the city so no one could suspect she’s gone. She tells Alex they are in Las Vegas now, and the agent makes a small noise before telling Kara to take care and have fun.
She wants to ask about him, how he is doing, but Lena finishes with her call. She bids Alex goodnight, I miss you, and she can hear the smile in her sister’s voice when she echoes it.
“Your sister?” Lena asks curiously as she settles on her bed. Kara nods as she slips under the sheets, too. “You’re- good night, Kara.”
The blonde thinks she meant to say something else, but she tries not to think about it. She lies awake, finds herself focusing on the way Lena’s heart beats instead of the city outside. The familiarity is comforting, warm.
Kara manages to sleep that night, thankfully, and without dreams of him. When she opens her eyes, her gaze settles on Lena, who is standing over her bed and folding her clothes. Her hair is damp over her shoulders and she is wearing a blue green sleeveless blouse that is slightly tucked in her dark jeans. Kara sits up, rubbing her eyes with a yawn.
“You should’ve woken me up,” she mumbles. “G’morning.”
Lena glances at her and quirks her lips. “Good morning.” She shrugs and puts her laundry in one side of her gym bag. “You looked peaceful. I didn’t want to bother you. Shower then breakfast?”
At that Kara brightens up and gets off the bed, grabbing a change of clothes.
“The hot shower isn’t working, by the way,” Lena calls out with a smirk, as if she’s trying to prove a point. Probably about how they should never get a motel room again. Kara just tilts her head in amusement. “Have fun with- ugh,” Lena huffs, as if realizing that Kara does have superhuman powers in this planet. “Does cold water even bother you?”
The blonde snickers. “No. But even if it does…” She gestures to her eyes. “I can probably heat it up. Checkmate, Luthor.”
“You’re too perky for the morning,” Lena scowls. “Hurry up. I’m hungry.”
Kara laughs as she closes the door. “I didn’t know you felt hunger!”
When they check out of the motel, the rude desk clerk from last night is replaced by a sluggish, skinny man who spoke in an almost garbled way that Kara barely understands a thing he says. They get brunch at a Thai place nearby, and before Kara could comment on Lena’s parking, the woman is glaring at her.
“Hey Lena,” Kara starts as they get back in the car. She fiddles with her glasses for a second. “Can we go visit a casino?”
Lena chuckles as she puts on her seatbelt and starts the car. “Of course. We’re in Vegas after all.” She starts the car and drives out of the parking lot, grinning at Kara. “You said you’ve never gambled before. Have you ever been in a casino?”
Kara shrugs. “When I helped Kal out with taking down a criminal gang.” When she realizes what she just said, she glances to Lena, ready to correct what she said.
“I know about Mr. Kent, don’t worry,” Lena muses. “First time for everything for you then. Been a while for me, though.”
“Do you...gamble a lot? Kara asks, unsure.
The CEO chuckles and shakes her head. “No, no. Most of our business partners like to, however, and I learned to...play by their hand, if I wanted things to go my way.”
Kara just nods and hums. It must be hard being Lena, with all the roles she has to play. It’s one thing to be Supergirl, the hero, and Kara Danvers, the reporter. Individually, they are exactly that: the heroine of National City and the bumbling junior reporter. Lena though—she is Lena Luthor, through and through, Lena the ruthless businesswoman who runs L-Corp and CatCo, Lena the meek eye candy who barrels through misogynistic, sexist nonsense, Lena who occasionally goes to casinos just to win investments.
It means so much more to her now, to see Lena like this, light and carefree.
They make their way to a huge, towering concave building, all glass of oak color. Behind it is a similar mirror image of the building. Wynn, Kara reads, and she quickly snaps a photo and sends it to Winn.
“That’s a casino?” Kara asks dumbly.
“Casino, hotel, resort,” Lena replies easily.
Kara hums and looks on. They make it to the driveway that has proud Chinese guardian lions standing proudly off the side. There’s a metal chandelier that hangs in the ceiling, designed to look like a sun. The entrance is less extravagant—just simple wooden door frames with glass that look into the interior of the building.
“Come on,” Lena says as she stops the car. Kara nods and follows her as they make their way out to the car. She lets the CEO lead the way after she hands the car keys to the valet. The lobby is a grand hallway that is well-lit and intricately designed. There are a handful of people milling about, mostly men in suits and women in dresses, and Kara feels a little self-conscious of her blue tee with a doodle of a seal and the text seal of approval.
“You look fine, Kara,” Lena assures like she has just read her mind, and the blonde flushes. “Casino is this way.” They walk past several boutique shops and restaurants until they reach their destination. The casino part is dimmer than the area they had just been in, with carpet floors and lower ceilings but still the same intricate design from the lobby. There are rows upon rows of slot machines and a whole array of different tables, lit by their own individual sun-inspired gold-plated lamps. There are a lot of people too; men and women, old and young, flocking different tables and machines and there is more noise than Kara expected. She feels a few people look her way before looking back to their game, and she tries to ignore them, tries not to hear what they are saying, and it’s only until Lena turns to her with a worried smile that she is able to do so. “Want to try the slots first?” She offers, pointing with her thumb behind her to a row of machines. “They’re pretty easy.”
Kara nods and they walk to the fourth machine in the row that Lena picks. It’s one of that looks more like the classic slot machines Kara has heard of, with the reels instead of a screen. The blonde watches curiously as the CEO hums as if inspecting it, and later Lena pats seat in front of the slot machine. “Here, you know these. Slots. You match a row, you win. Unfortunately these are modernized slots now, so it’s mostly more of permutations, probabilities, and algorithm instead of luck.” She smiles and points at the biggest button on the machine. “And it also means you don’t have a lever to pull.”
Kara pouts as she settles on the seat. “Man. I always wanted to go ‘wrong lever, Kronk.’” Lena just stares at her, confused. “No? Really, Lena?”
“You just spouted nonsense to me,” Lena drawls. She continues to explain how the betting works and how to win, points to the guide picture on the machine itself, then slips a bill into the machine to let Kara play. The blonde grins up at her and instantly presses on the button. She watches the figures roll in front of her. The first one stops at BAR, the second and third in between the two figures. Kara huffs.
“What does that even mean?”
Lena chuckles. “It means, try again.”
Kara sets her shoulders and presses the button again.
Kara doesn’t want to think about the money she managed to spend on that stupid slots game. She doesn’t even what to think about the time she has spent sitting there, growing increasingly frustrated, then hopeful because she got so close to a jackpot, only for the stupid machine to steal her rightful prize.
She doesn’t want to think about the way Lena watched her, laughed with her, amused and all smiles, soft and free, doesn’t want to think about how she exaggerated her reactions just the tiniest bit just to bring forth more laughter from her, if only to give Lena some sort of comfort, too.
Lena leads Kara away from the slots machines, laughing the whole time, after the heroine threatened to crush it with a single finger. Kara doesn’t want to think how this is the first time Lena held her hand as she drags her to one of the tables, telling her let’s play craps instead, doesn’t want to think how soft her skin is against hers. The CEO stops them in front of a large green table where several men in suits gathered, two or three of them with women in their arms, and an old couple, are already playing. Lena guides Kara’s hand on the edge of the table but keeps her own on top of it, and the raven-haired woman proceeds to explain the game. All Kara really hears are words, some numbers here and there, something about the dice, because she ends up fixating on Lena’s hand on hers.
It’s a little unsettling.
“Let’s try it,” Lena says, and finally pulls away from Kara’s hand to hand the dealer a wad of cash. Kara’s eyes bug out of their sockets when she realizes what her friend has just done.
“Lena!” She sputters. “Don’t- I already wasted your money earlier.”
Lena just shrugs at her as she takes studies her chips. “I know. We’re winning those back.” She throws Kara a grin, and the blonde just stands dumbly beside her. Lena is looking at the table, flicking her gaze occasionally to the man throwing the dice, and after his third one, she finally places her bet, at least Kara thinks—unfortunately she heard and understood nothing from Lena’s explanation—pushing her groups of her chips to various sections of the table. The man rolls the dice and Lena hisses a yes, bounces on the balls of her feet, and when she glances to Kara with such elation and high spirits, all the blonde can think is how beautiful her best friend is, when she’s soft and free and laughing without much care in the world.
Insignificance isn’t so bad then.
“Want to try it?” Lena offers, smile on her lips. Kara shakes her head, choosing to watch for now, and Lena just grins and carries on with her game. She keeps winning, surprisingly, and her stack of chips are growing and Kara notices the way the men in suits are starting to look at her, then at Kara. The blonde narrows her eyes, shuffles closer to Lena in a defensive way, and she doesn’t want to think about how her arm brushes against Lena. They have hugged many times before, after all.
Lena takes her turn to roll the dice. She places her bets—more than half of her stack that Kara swallows a little nervously—and rolls the dice in her palm, and the group around the table cheers, prays for a lucky roll. The raven-haired woman turns to her with a grin.
“Kiss for good luck?” Lena teases Kara as she lifts her outstretched palm her the dice lay. The blonde blinks at that. Oh, so that was what the women earlier were doing. She chuckles to herself, leans in to blow the dice a kiss, then grins at Lena.
“Ready to rock and roll!”
The CEO rolls her eyes. “Dork,” she laughs, then moves to throw the dice—Kara notices the measured flick of her wrists, hears Lena count under her breath, and when she reaches seven, the dice stop rolling, and she wins all her bets. There are several groans around the table but Kara could only blink, and when Lena turns to her with a proud grin, the blonde shakes her head.
“You just- you- you rolled that,” she says in disbelief. Lena tilts her head as she collects her chips.
“I did,” she drags on. The twitch in her lips mean she knows exactly what Kara is talking about. Kara laughs and shakes her head again.
“You rolled that,” Kara says again. “How- do I even want to know how you learned to roll certain numbers out of nowhere?”
“Talented hands,” Lena smirks, then she’s walking away. “And being really fidgety. Come on, let’s exchange these and go shopping to replenish your sugar stash.”
When Kara realizes what Lena has just said, she coughs, ignores the looks thrown her way again, and follows the CEO to the casino cashier.
They leave the casino after cashing out Lena’s money—much of the decision from Kara, muttering about how bitter she still is about the stupid slot machines, though she did take a picture with them and begged and begged and begged for Lena to join her for a picture at the driveway. She sends it to Alex, who tells her you better not have burned all your savings, to which she replies she most definitely did not.
Once at the car, Kara asks Apollo to play music, and they sing along to pour some sugar on me, c'mon, fire me up as Lena drives around, supposedly to look for a supermarket, but Kara’s stomach rumbles from hunger, so instead Lena promises her the first restaurant they see for lunch.
It happens to be a McDonald’s. Kara hears Lena huff before she can even say anything. She just snickers, reminds Lena that she promised the first restaurant, and muttering under her breath about unhealthy life choices and dying of heart failure, Lena takes the turn.
Kara manages to make Lena try chicken nuggets. “These are so unhealthy,” the CEO groans, but she does finish her six-piece box with a glare at her laughing companion. “I hope you know I hate you,” she mumbles around her last bite.
Kara bats her lashes. “No you don’t.”
Lena sighs dramatically. “Unfortunately.”
Lena insists they walk to the supermarket, wherever it may be—what use is your map now, Kara? can we please use my map now? , to which Kara answers nope —so she could burn all 330 calories of what she just ate—she Googled it, waved it in front of Kara, and frowned at her empty chicken nugget box—but Kara says she’s going to be fine. They head back to the car and start driving around again in search for a grocery store. They find one, two songs later, and Lena tells Kara to stop noticing my parking before they even get out of the car. Kara laughs, but the death glare Lena sent her way has her both curious and terrified, so she does keep her comment to herself.
It’s a satisfying knowledge that a perfect woman like Lena Luthor, all beauty and grace and power, isn’t so perfect after all, even if it’s just her slanted parking. Not that Kara is a better driver anyway. Alex would probably say Lena is a much better driver.
Kara volunteers to push around the cart. They go aisle to aisle again, even if they only planned on getting bread, chips, and sweets, just for the fun of it. The blonde catches Lena humming the song from the car earlier and tells her to sing it, to which Lena just pokes her tongue out and walks ahead to pick up two cans of potato chips.
“Cheese or sour cream?” She asks.
Kara grins widely. “Both.”
Lena rolls her eyes playfully but puts both in the cart.
Kara allows Lena to bring one paper bag of the goods they bought when they take them to the car. They stay at the parking lot for a couple of minutes, munching on a pack of Swedish Fish. Lena surprisingly didn’t need much coaxing.
“Have you tried those gummy bear vodka things?” Lena asks after a while. She’s leaning against her seat, pushed back at an angle, and staring at the piece of gummy fish between her fingers. She drops it in her mouth and picks another one from the pack that sits on her lap.
“I’ve heard of them,” Kara replies. She is seated sideways, back against the door, and her legs outstretched across the center console, her feet on the driver’s seat. She hasn’t noticed how long they have been in the parking lot, but it’s getting cooler outside. Probably the middle of the afternoon. They haven’t been kicked out yet, so it must not have been too long. “Where you soak gummy bears in vodka, right?”
Lena nods. “There’s probably a version with these little guys,” she mumbles. “Like an adult aquarium or something.” She pops the candy in her mouth again and chuckles around the bite. “I must sound like an alcoholic,” she adds dryly.
“Drinking brings such a funny feeling,” Kara muses as she takes the pack from Lena. The raven-haired woman yelps indignantly, and Kara just takes a few pieces before giving it back with a laugh. She nibbles on the red gummy candy and watches as Lena frowns when she discovers it’s empty.
“Have you been drunk before?” Lena asks, sitting up so she could get another pack of the Swedish Fish. Kara raises an eyebrow. “Stop judging me. I like them, okay? And they’re fat-free and this is all your fault,” Lena huffs. “Just answer my question.”
The blonde nods. “Just once. I remember laughing a lot.”
Lena snorts. “Alien alcohol, I assume? That must be your first stage.”
Kara chuckles. “I guess.” She remembers Alex, remembers her drinking a lot after her break-up with Maggie. She went from a really serious drunk, to a sad dramatic drunk, and the mean drunk came when she hung out with alcohol in her bedroom all alone and Kara took her drink away. “Hey,” Kara starts. “Let’s drink. Don’t broken-hearted people go drinking or something?”
Lena glances to her at that. Kara has tried to keep the sadness in her voice, even wears a teasing smile, but the worry in Lena’s face is still evident. “Come on,” she continues, though the ache starts barreling down at her chest, because the acknowledgement of her feelings makes it more evident and she sees him behind her eyelids. “It’s like, your responsibility as my best friend, according to popular media.”
The raven-haired woman, for her part, at least indulges her, but the worry in her eyes stays. “Sure,” she agrees. “But unless you know where we can find a bar in Vegas that serves alien alcohol, I don’t exactly know how we’ll go about drinking your heartache away.”
Kara gives her a grateful smile and pushes her glasses up. “I brought some Aldebaran rum.”
“Oh,” Lena quirks an eyebrow. “Planned on drinking all alone, Ms. Danvers?”
Kara shrugs. She doesn’t really remember what she was thinking when she put the flask that M’gann had given her when she was packing her things. Probably just that. “Yes, and that sounds super sad, so you have to drink with me.” She scrunches her nose, remembering the last time she went to a bar for one of those blind dates, way back. Her being alone somehow attracts questionable people to her table. She doesn’t really want to deal with people, especially considering that she is going to be drinking. “I don’t want to entertain people while I ‘drink my heartaches away,’” she says with air quotes.
Lena snorts, and before Kara could deflect, there’s a red gummy fish thrown her way. Kara just huffs but picks it up and eats it. “As if I’m letting you get drunk in front of strangers. Who knows what you’d do.”
Kara manages an offended expression. “I’m just a giggly drunk! I was still very polite.”
“Sure,” Lena responds absently as she sits up and adjusts her car seat. “Come on, let’s go back and get some alcohol. I don’t want to have to raid a hotel’s mini-bar. God knows how expensive those drinks are.”
That is how they find themselves checking into a too elegant hotel, declining the bell boy’s help, and bringing paper bags of gummy candies, wine, scotch, and of course, vodka, on their own. They bought some take-out too, for dinner, and Kara snickers at the looks thrown their way. Lena seems amused herself, green eyes sparkling with mirth, and she almost drops the bag she carries as she tries to open the door.
“Woop, sorry,” she giggles, and Kara stares at her with a smirk.
“You didn’t manage to open that scotch on the drive here, did you?” Kara accuses.
Lena scoffs. “Please. I’m a law-abiding citizen.” She lowers her voice as the door finally opens and they walk in. “Besides. As if I’d dare do that in the presence of Supergirl.”
Kara laughs as they place their paper bags on the table in the room. Lena got them one with two queen beds, much more space, and a window with a killer view of the city. Lena takes out her package of gummy bears and Swedish Fish, too, pours them in a mason jar she bought specifically for this reason, and pours vodka into it until they are all immersed.
“Is that all I’m supposed to add?” She asks as she looks into the jar. Kara shrugs as she pops the lid off of her katsudon bowl.
“I guess? Just put it in the fridge and let’s eat, I’m starving.”
“You’re always starving,” Lena shoots back, and she hurries to the refrigerator as Kara sits on the floor with her food. She leans back against the foot of the bed and stretches her legs. Lena returns to the table and gets her own gyudon bowl then sits beside Kara. The blonde playfully bumps their shoulders as she begins to eat.
“This is pretty good,” she mumbles around a bite.
“Every food is pretty good to you, Kara,” Lena drawls as she takes a bite of her food, too, and hums in appreciation. “But I suppose you’re right. Want to taste mine?” She offers. Never one to say no, Kara picks a slice of beef and pops it in her mouth, and offers Lena some of her dinner, too, before she realizes that she has never really shared food until now.
Lena mumbles she is full and doesn’t want to get up. It’s adorable, really, and Kara knows she is using that adorableness so she could order the blonde around. Not that she is complaining, because she’s already speeding her way around the room, taking the expensive bottle of wine that Lena bought—the first of three—as well as two wine glasses they had bought and washed earlier—with a self-foaming dish sponge Lena managed to find in that supermarket. She places them on the floor beside Lena, then makes a quick fetch of her Aldebaran rum from her gym bag.
“Bless your super speed,” Lena laughs when Kara comes back, not a mere five seconds later. Lena reaches for the bottle but Kara takes it first, pops it open that Lena yelps, and she laughs show-off as Kara pours them some wine. “So, are you gonna just mix that rum in? What does that even taste like?” She scrunches her nose as she takes a sip of her wine then hums. “God. What does it contain? Is it poisonous to humans? Is it enough to make us drunk with one shot?”
Kara snorts as she opens the flask and takes a whiff, winces. “One shot is strong enough to make Kryptonians drunk. Pretty sure that’s lethal to humans.” She pours a wee bit into her glass of wine. Lena frowns.
“You’re going to ruin the taste of perfectly good wine,” she mumbles, but lets Kara anyway as she swirls the red liquid in her glass. “Also, you get drunk in one shot because you’re probably a lightweight.”
“Is mean Lena the first drunk stage?” Kara drawls as she sips her drink. She doesn’t taste the rum, but the wine is good. “Keep drinking. I don’t want this Lena,” she says with a laugh.
The raven-haired woman pouts. She is already halfway with her glass, her lips damp with the red liquid. “You’re being mean.”
“Ssh, I’m heartbroken.” The words are out before Kara actually thinks about them. Lena falls quiet for a moment and she finishes her wine, then pours herself another glassful. Kara looks down and nurses her own drink, sipping it slowly before downing the last few gulps. When she refills her glass, she mixes in more of her Aldebaran rum.
“Do you want to talk about him?” Lena asks softly. Kara turns to see the woman looking at her. The blonde shrugs.
“I’m not really sure,” she admits. On one hand, talking about it might help. She hasn’t really talked much about him, not to anyone, even Alex. On the other hand, talking about him would mean thinking about him, and she doesn’t think she can handle that. Not when all it causes is more memories of him, more images of him dying in space, him coming back with another woman, him kissing his wife.
It hurts. The ache makes itself known again—searing, painful, agonizing. She gulps the rest of her wine.
“My therapist says talking about things makes them easier,” the CEO murmurs softly. “Not that ever really worked for me, but it might, for you.” She pauses to take a sip of her wine, and before Kara could really stop her she’s pouring her third glass already. Kara frowns but doesn’t really want to stop her—Kara is starting to feel a little dizzy already, so maybe she needs to catch up. Lena pauses to refill her glass and Kara’s, and too soon their first bottle is already empty. Lena takes her glass, stares at it. “I know you loved him,” Lena whispers.
Loved him. It triggers a whole new set of memories: Him almost killing Kara, him being a stubborn jackass. Him calling Kara a selfish hero, him faulting her for the things she considered good and right, all because he doesn’t understand the way she sees things.
Alex asking her if she really loved him.
She did, didn’t she? She was understanding and patient and caring, and at times he would be, too—would be soft and sweet like a lover, would tend to her like she is his world like she saw him as.
She thinks back to the pain, lets it swirl in her gut like bitter poison that aches, thinks back to the crippling loneliness before him and how that hurt, too. Some nights, after she had sent him away after the Daxamite invasion, after she had cried her heart out with the regrets and supposed selflessness of what she has done, when she wakes up after nightmares of him dying a thousand deaths, she wonders if she loved him, or if it had just been loneliness, and all the pain that followed mere guilt.
Are the only ones allowed heartbreak those who have loved?
“In some ways,” Kara settles with, dumps more rum into her wine that it almost overflows, and takes a long gulp. It doesn’t burn like alcohol does to humans, but she feels the warmth of it spread to her chest, though not quite soothing the ache she feels.
Why do humans drink themselves to stupor then?
Silence dawns on them again. Lena pulls her knees to her chest and Kara sighs, feeling the tell-tale haze of intoxication oncoming. Maybe Lena is right, she is a lightweight.
“Kara?” Lena whispers, many minutes later. The blonde turns to her. There are hints of tears in her green eyes that Kara wants to take away, despite the way she herself drowns—after all, if anyone is deserving of redemption, of happiness, of every good thing in the world, it’s Lena, and she had promised to always protect her. She finds herself unable to move though. Lena takes a shuddering breath. “How was… How was Mon-El able to come back, if I may ask?”
Kara remembers asking him the same question, the fear she felt when she realized it’s him, because there’s lead in the air and she watched him suffocate before and she couldn’t watch him suffer again, but he said he was safe. “L-Corp invents an antidote in the future,” she tells Lena. She manages a smile, because at least this memory invokes a good feeling in her. It means Lena has succeeded in her crusade to make L-Corp a company for good—that for all the distrust and suspicion on Lena Luthor’s name, she nevertheless persisted and achieved her vision for her company. Kara is proud of her.
“I’m sorry,” Lena murmurs, however, and at the apology Kara looks at her curiously. She looks closer to tears now, looking down at and clutching her half-empty glass of wine. “For breaking your heart twice.” Her voice trembles at her words. Kara hears the way her pulse race and her breathing stagger, like an impending anxiety attack. “I never wanted—”
“Hey,” Kara cuts in, frowning and putting her glass down so she could reach out and put a comforting hand on Lena’s knee. She ducks her head, trying to catch her gaze, and when she finally does, her heart breaks at the tears in Lena’s eyes. Rao. Her best friend, crying because she thinks she has everything to do with the pain she feels, even if Kara is responsible for it. Selfless, beautiful Lena, who saves the world in ways Kara can’t yet still be vilified for a last name she tried so hard to run away from—selfless, beautiful Lena, who thinks it was her who broke Kara’s heart, and not Kara herself, not him. “Please don’t be sorry,” Kara continues. She cradles Lena’s cheek in her other hand. She feels Lena quiver with her tears and she feels the sting of them in her own behind her glasses. She smiles warmly at her. “If anything, you’re mending it now. Thank you.” She sweeps her thumb on Lena’s cheek, brushing away the tear that fell. “For running away with me. For doing this. For everything. You’re the best best friend one could ask for.”
Watery green eyes stare at her, searching, as if she is looking a trace of lie in her words, or hope, or something to hold on to, and Kara takes the glass of wine in her hand to put it down before she is pulling Lena into a hug.
“Sorry for stealing your thunder,” Lena laughs, much later, tears in her voice and on Kara’s neck, and Kara just chuckles, holds her tighter.
“Unfortunately you can’t get rid of me,” she jokes, amidst her own tears.
Maybe they are both lightweights, both heartbroken— in pain —in their own ways, but as Kara holds Lena and Lena holds her back, there’s comfort that settles in Kara’s chest because maybe, just maybe, she could start healing now, forgive herself, right alongside her best friend. Because she isn’t alone anymore—she never was, with Alex and Eliza, and Kara appreciates them greatly for all that they do and she is ashamed for brushing them off, but Lena understands her grief in better ways, because she is living it: the ache of loss, the weight of responsibility, the occasional welcome thought of death.
“That’s the complete opposite of a problem,” Lena whispers. “Thank you, too, Kara. For being here.”
Maybe this trip wasn’t a bad idea, after all, and insignificance may have the world forgetting about them, but Kara has Lena, and in some fancy hotel room high up in the middle of a foreign city Kara feels her world build back up.
They laugh and cry some more, after that. Kara would have thought that Lena, from the balcony some time ago, was only open and free because of whatever she had drank then, but she realizes now, as they share their deepest heartaches over wine and scotch and the barely-soaked gummy bears, that Lena is always open and free with her.
It brings her both great comfort and sadness.
Kara manages to go through a quarter of her rum and Lena slurs proudly, with a goofy grin that can never be associated to the Lena Luthor the world knows, that she had just worked past through her lightweight stage and has leveled up. They end up on Lena’s bed by the window, talking of the most random of things—away, away, away from the heartache—and Kara tells Lena of the things she hears, in that city, and they come up with stories: how the French sounding woman in the hotel room several floors above them is actually a con artist out to steal all the money from her American businessman guest, how the girl in a car Kara hears is overspeeding is on her way home before her curfew, how the two women giggling somewhere in Las Vegas strip are probably going to end up with the cliche got-married-in-Vegas story when they get back home.
They fall asleep some time after halfway of the last bottle of wine. At least Kara thinks she remembers that, anyway, when she wakes up in the morning. She stirs. There is a terrible taste on her tongue and a heaviness in her head, and her butt kind of aches, for some reason. She remembers almost breaking through the floor when Lena had begged to get the third bottle of wine, and she laughed as she tried to push the blonde out of bed, and Kara had indulged her by letting herself be pushed, before landing promptly on her ass and Lena laughing with such heartfelt glee that Kara doesn’t bring up almost putting a hole on their very expensive hotel room. Said third wine bottle is somewhere above Lena’s head. Lena is sprawled on her stomach beside her, lightly snoring, dark hair fanned across her pillow. Kara turns to her side to watch her. Her lips are parted slightly, her heartbeat that familiar one Kara has come to know by now, and there’s a certain furrow in her eyebrows that makes Kara want to reach out and smoothen them out, take Lena’s worries away.
When the blonde manages to tear her attention away from Lena, she takes her phone from the nightstand and checks the time. Her eyes almost fall out of their sockets when she realizes it’s already past lunch time, and as if to cruelly remind her, her stomach rumbles painfully. Groaning, she reaches out to put a hand on Lena’s back to gently shake her awake, telling her they just skipped breakfast and lunch.
“Go away,” Lena grumbles as she swats Kara’s hand. The blonde laughs and tries again. Lena only whines and turns her back to Kara. “Let me die here.”
Kara chuckles and rolls to her elbows, rests her chin on Lena’s bicep. “Stop being so dramatic,” she mutters, pokes Lena’s arm this time. “I’m hungry.”
“Call room service,” Lena mutters as she pulls the pillow from under her head and covers her face. “I’m going to die,” she mumbles from under it. Kara laughs again and rolls out of bed, deciding to just let her best friend rest. She takes the second big bottle of water they had purchased from the grocery store and chugs half of it before changing into something more presentable, and leaves their room in search for something they can eat. She uses the normal human way though—walking—and calls Alex as she goes around nearby areas. It’s their usual phone call, Alex telling her the latest in National City—still not much, thankfully, and Alex jokes about having little alien-related crimes because Kara has taken the remaining free Luthor to a vacation, and Kara just rolls her eyes and tells her it’s not funny—and Kara telling her about their night, minus the whole getting drunk part. Alex had stayed quiet for the most of it, but when she tells Kara that she’s glad she has managed to talk to someone about him, she feels her gratitude despite the distance.
“Hey, what’s a good cure for a hangover?” Kara asks, when the heavier part of their conversation is down, as she frowns over some Italian restaurant she finds. “Asking for Lena, obviously.”
Alex laughs knowingly. “Greasy food. Can you feed Lena Luthor that though.”
“Oh please,” Kara laughs as she tries to look for a McDonald’s. Or something. “I’m pretty sure I got her addicted to gummy bears at this point.”
“Don’t kill her,” Alex muses.
“YOLO and all that,” Kara shoots back. She finds a McDonald’s nearby and resists the urge to fly out.
“I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.”
When Kara comes back to their room, Lena is still unsurprisingly asleep. Kara cleans up their room a little, picking up bottles, before settling the McMuffins and hash browns on the table. Then she goes to wake Lena up again, this time setting to fly up above, parallel to the woman. She shakes her lightly, coos wake up sleepyhead until Lena stirs, and Kara doesn’t miss the way her heart jolts in surprise.
“Well if this hangover doesn’t kill me, your little surprise will,” Lena grumbles.
Kara laughs and hovers back to her feet. “I got us some food. Alex says these are surefire hangover cure.” Lena takes a moment to sit up but she does with a groan.
“I cannot believe you told your sister I got drunk,” she mutters. “How will she look at me with respect ever again? She’s probably judging me now.”
“Again with the drama,” Kara teases, hands her a McMuffin. “Eat up. Do you know it’s almost mid-afternoon?”
“Don’t yell at me,” Lena huffs.
“I’m not ye—” Kara chuckles and lowers her voice down. “Wow, hungover Lena is such a softie.”
“Hungover Lena will stab you if you keep talking.”
“I’m a Luthor.”
Kara gasps in mock horror.
When Lena has finally eaten and showered with water so hot Kara heard steam from inside and Lena came out of the bathroom all pink, the CEO isn’t ready to kill people on sight anymore. She wears another one of her button-up shirts, checkered black and white this time, still with pants, while Kara has settled for one of her sleeveless tees with a print of cat astronauts and some tight jeans. Lena had mumbled show-off while glaring at her arms as they wait in lobby to check out, and Kara had just grinned proudly.
The blonde volunteers to drive this time. Lena had insisted that she’s fine and totally not hungover anymore, but Kara asserts that it’s her turn to. She takes the can of cheese-flavored chips and places it between her thighs as she drives away from the hotel, and Lena gets her own pack of sweet potato chips that Kara doesn’t dare touch.
“You ready to go home?” Lena asks as they make it to the main road.
Kara shrugs. Is she? “I don’t know. Not yet, maybe.” She tells Apollo to play some music. Lena pulls on her aviators with a quiet sigh.
“Your call, Supergirl,” she says with a smile. “Where are we going?”
The blonde hums as she thinks. Or tries to think. She doesn’t quite have a destination in mind, just the road for now. Some electropop song ventures into the second verse and Lena hums along mindlessly to it.
“Hey, there’s our answer,” Kara laughs. “Come on. Whip out the map and read the directions to me.”
Lena groans. “Should have burned that map.”
Kara is driving on maximum highway speed, the windows down, and they are singing along to Justin Timberlake, when the dashboard screen lights up with a news notification.
Supergirl stops massive train collision
The blonde quirks up an eyebrow at that. Lena quickly closes the notification with a squeak, and Kara throws her a curious glance. The CEO breaks, too soon.
“I have notifications on Supergirl, sue me,” she mumbles with a blush.
Kara laughs. “If that’s how easy you’re giving up answers, remind me not to get you as an accomplice to a crime.”
Lena rolls her eyes and looks out the open window, resting her elbow against the door. “I just do it to make sure you’re okay, okay?” She huffs. Comfort settles on Kara’s chest and she smiles at herself. “Not because I’m a fan or whatever. Who is that, anyway? Some impostor?”
The blonde chuckles again. “That’s my boss, actually,” she shares. “He’s a Martian shapeshifter, which is cool because that, plus super strength and mind reading.”
Lena lets out a sound of awe. “Wow. What I would do for that,” she mumbles. “Are there more of his...species?” She settles with, “on Earth?”
At that, Kara’s smile falters a little. “One of the two last people of his kind,” she murmurs. “Much like me.”
Lena glances at her but doesn’t speak until several moments have passed. “It gets lonely, doesn’t it?” She asks, and Kara feels the weight of it, knows the way Lena feels.
“Sometimes,” Kara admits. She clenches her fingers lightly around the steering wheel. “You just have not to let it get to you.”
Lena probably didn’t mean to let her hear, or probably forgot that Kara has super hearing, but she murmurs, ever so softly: I’m getting better at that.
“So do I just go straight?” Kara asks an hour later.
“Yeah,” Lena answers, giving the map a quick glance. “Shouldn’t be that hard. Do we still have Swedish Fish?”
A few minutes after Kara takes a turn at the intersection, the car lurches to a stop. Kara frowns and Lena glances over the dashboard.
“Ah fuck,” she chuckles. “I knew I was forgetting something.”
Kara stares at her. “Did we just run out of gas?” At Lena’s sheepish nod, the blonde laughs. “Seriously? Of all the things you could forget.”
“I mean I could’ve forgotten you instead of that,” Lena jokes as she takes her phone from the console.
“Oh please. You couldn’t forget me if you tried,” Kara shoots back. Lena just snorts, dials something on her phone. “I can bring the car to the nearest gas station though?”
The raven-haired woman shakes her head. “No need, Supergirl. Tow vehicle should be on the way.” She leans back and adjusts her car seat back. “Now we wait for that, or the first car to allow us to hitch the car to a gas station.”
Kara blinks. “I can literally lift the car there.”
“I am well aware,” Lena hums. “Can’t risk anything though. Besides, we have such a lovely view out here.”
The blonde stares blankly at Lena before giving their surroundings a scowl. They are in the middle of nowhere, not much cars in sight, but at least it is a little sunny and windy. “Fine,” Kara mumbles. “I’m going to go soak out in the sun,” she says as she gets out of the car. Lena nods and hums and opens her car door, too, but only lifts her feet up on the dashboard as Kara leans back against the hood of the car. She faces the sky, smiling as she feels the warmth of the yellow sun tickling her skin and giving her a rush in her veins. It’s quiet all around, except Lena’s heartbeat, the wind and the far off settlements, but otherwise, it’s peaceful.
It’s a comfort.
Kara thinks she has fallen asleep on the hood of the car, and she stirs to Lena humming from inside the car. Kara yawns and turns to look at her through the windshield, only to see the raven-haired woman already looking at her. Lena blushes slightly.
“What song are you humming?” Kara asks sleepily.
Lena’s cheeks turn redder. “It’s- It’s from a musical.” Before Kara could ask what, because it sounds familiar but she can’t place what it is, Lena shrugs. “Think of Me. From Phantom—”
“Of the Opera! Yeah,” Kara says, the memory of the tune returning to her. She remembers watching every possible musical and song, when she was younger, because it had been easier for her to shut the world out when she could focus on lovelier sounds aside from the harsh noises of the world.
“You know it?” Lena asks with a small, excited smile.
Kara tilts her head, humming back the start of the song as she tries to recall it. “Remember me once in a while, please promise me you'll try,” she sings, bobbing her head to the metre. Inevitably, she supposes, she thinks of him, and Lena seems to notice because her smile turns into one of understanding.
“Are you fond of musicals?” She asks instead, and Kara is thankful for the distraction. She stands straight and beams.
“Are you kidding? I love musicals,” Kara says with excited flail of her arms. “I’ve made Alex suffer through them because she hates it when they break into song.”
Lena smirks. “To be fair, I do too,” she admits, and Kara’s jaw drops with a gasp. “There are exemptions, however.”
“But breaking into song is the best!”
The businesswoman tuts Kara. “Hardly,” she muses. “Economy of words and all. Some could be forgiven. I Believe from The Book of Mormon, for example.”
Kara blinks. “I hardly believe that’s your taste.”
“A blasphemous scientist is hardly news,” Lena laughs. “And what did you think is my taste?”
“I don’t know. My Fair Lady, Les Miserables, exactly like Phantom of the Opera.”
“Where the lead is forced to fit into a persona by someone else? Where a character is trying to change but his past keeps coming back to haunt him? Where the title character is an obsessed genius?” Lena smirks. “I feel like you’re trying to tell me something here.”
Kara stares. She parts her lips and pokes the inside of her cheek with her tongue as she crosses her arms. “You are so annoying.”
Lena laughs. It’s a lovely sound, in the silence, and Kara finds herself taken in. She wonders if this is how sailors feel in the sea when sirens tempt them. “Maybe we should set a destination now,” the raven-haired woman continues, mirth still tugging on her pink lips, “Broadway, New York, perhaps?”
“That’s literally on the other side of the country,” Kara frowns.
“It’s at least a direction,” Lena argues with a grin. “Eastward.”
The blonde laughs at that. Her ears perk up when she hears a vehicle closing in, and she glances to the direction of it. “Eastward it is,” she says with a smile. “That’s the tow truck, I think.”
Lena hums and sits up at that. Kara yawns and stretches, arms up into the air as she took in more of the afternoon sun. She felt warm and refreshed. A racing heartbeat draws her attention and when she finds the source, it’s Lena looking down as she settled into the car. Kara hurries to return on the driver’s seat and checks on her. The woman’s cheeks are a little pink. “Are you okay?” Kara asks.
Lena doesn’t look up for a while, just fiddles with her phone, but nods. “Yeah,” she murmurs. Kara’s focus stays on her for a few more moments, just to make sure she really is okay, until the tow truck drives past the car and parks in front of them. A bulky man in uniform gets out of the car with a clipboard.
“Tess Mercer?” He says in a gruff voice. Kara looks at him in confusion, but before she could tell him that they might have the wrong car, Lena is calling out that’s me! and waving out the car window. The man walks to her and hands the clipboard. Lena fills it up easily, and Kara could just stare, wondering why Lena was just called Tess Mercer. Soon enough, the man is hooking the car to his truck. Kara gets in and they are pulled to their destination. Kara turns to Lena, still confused.
“Tess Mercer?” She inquires. Lena chuckles.
“Four minutes, fifty-two seconds,” she muses. “That’s how long you waited to ask. That must’ve killed you.”
The woman raises her hands in mock surrender and laughs. “It’s a fake name I use for when I don’t want to be a Luthor,” she explains. “Not to say I use it often. Just on the rare trips when I don’t want to be traced.”
Kara nods slowly in understanding. There’s a question on her tongue on why that name, if it’s her real mother’s name, but she bites it back, just gives Lena a playful smile. “I cannot believe you counted the time. You are so annoying.”
Lena giggles as she reaches to back seat to grab some of her sweet potato chips. Kara glances to her, meets her smiling green eyes. There’s warmth that settles in her chest, like the way the sun’s rays seeped into her bones. “You love me anyway,” Lena says with that adorable scrunching of her nose, as she rips open the packaging of her chips the way Kara taught her to.
Kara smiles fondly. “I do.”
Their car is towed to the nearest gas station. Kara has the tank filled up by the gangly, freckled boy manning the station, who is staring at her so intensely she had to push her glasses up several times to make sure she is indeed wearing them. Lena has excused herself to use the bathroom, and Kara drives the car right in front of the shabby cubicle on the far-side of the station.
“Oy Lena!” Kara calls out with a honk. “Did the toilet eat you?”
The door crashes open and Lena comes out, scowling. “This toilet is a disaster. I’m not even exaggerating. It took all of five minutes to flush.”
“You’re being dramatic again,” Kara reminds, and Lena just glares and walks to the other side of the car to open the driver’s door. “Hey!”
“Get out,” the CEO demands. “I need some semblance of control in my life back.”
The blonde quirks up an eyebrow, mostly amused at Lena’s frustration, but she does hover off of the seat to easily slide to the passenger’s side. “So dramatic.”
“I have units completed from the national theatre school of Ireland,” Lena drawls. She looks entirely too serious that Kara could only blink at her, and she stays quiet while she drives away from the bus station—away from that gangly boy with beady eyes.
“Did you really study acting?”
“Just nod if you really did.”
Lena stares at her.
“I don’t like this sarcastic Lena.”
“For the most part, she is amusing me, if only by confusing you.”
“Ugh, you’re so annoying.”
“I was joking, Kara.”
“...I knew that.”
Kara is humming along to the song on the radio— your beauty is beyond compare, with flaming locks of auburn hair —when she glances to Lena. She wonders how many days they have been on the road now, but it must have been a few—she’s lost count, or didn’t really care enough about time to do so—but it’s enough for Lena to get used to Kara glancing at her, because a slow smile blooms on her red lips before she is looking back at the blonde.
“What?” Lena chuckles before she is turning her attention back on the road.
Kara shrugs. “Nothing.” She sits up on her seat, tugs the seat belt, and looks ahead as well. “Want to play I Spy?”
Lena hums. “What’s that?”
Kara’s jaw unhinges itself and she stares incredulously at the raven-haired woman. “You’re kidding me.”
Lena laughs. It’s one of the things Kara is slowly getting used to, too—the unrestrained, hearty laughter that escapes her lips that makes happiness bubble in Kara’s own chest—and she thinks there aren’t many sounds that could compare to how lovely Lena’s laugh sounds. “At this point, Kara, do you really think I’d joke about these absurd things I haven’t experienced or done?”
The blonde snorts. Lena has a point. “Fine. I Spy is a guessing game,” she explains. “Simply put, I say ‘I spy’ and make you guess something that I see.”
Lena throws her a grin. “Sounds easy enough. You start.”
Kara nods and looks around, setting her vision on something easy enough. “Okay. I spy with my little eye—”
“With your what?” Lena butts in, amused. Kara huffs.
“It’s part of the game,” she shoots back. “I spy with my little eye, something blue.” She glances at Lena to see her staring ahead, then glance at Kara again.
“What, that’s it?” Lena demands. “That’s...vague.”
Kara smirks. “You’re a genius aren’t you?”
Lena rolls her eyes. “I’m a genius, not a mind reader.”
The blonde giggles, tilts her head in amusement, and pushes her glasses up her nose. “Really, Lena, how many blue things can you see?” At this, the CEO glares at Kara, huffs, and returns her focus on the road.
“The sky?” Lena finally settles with. Kara beams.
“See? Easy as pie,” she grins. “Let’s try again.”
It’s well into the night when Lena yawns. She shrugs away Kara’s concern, but she does agree to check-in at the first accomodation they find. It turns out to be some three-star hotel, much to Lena’s appreciation, and Kara rolls her eyes when the raven-haired woman smirks at her and tells her luck’s on my side tonight, Danvers.
Lena gets them two queen beds again—notices only then that Lena does use Tess Mercer when she fills up forms. They get room service for dinner and the CEO raids the mini-bar for a wine that she swears is worth thrice its supposed price.
They drink again, on the floor as they leaned against the bed, without drama this time. Lena tells her stories from her boarding school days, about how she sneaked in alcohol, swears she isn’t an alcoholic, and laughs and laughs and laughs when Kara snorts her wine through her nose at the particular story of Lena kissing Veronica Sinclair while drunk, during some clandestine party.
Kara stays awake for an hour or two, the image of a younger Lena kissing a younger Veronica—not a criminal yet, then, Lena assures—searing behind her eyelids the best it can, what with Kara struggling to imagine it. Not that she is actively doing so. It’s just a curious thing.
It’s a comfort, perhaps, from the image of him and his wife.
Or is it?
They are back on the road early, after grabbing breakfast buffet that Kara took full advantage of. Lena’s expression is amused as she sat across her on the table, nibbling on her French toast, as Kara demolished a plate of waffles and hash browns. Kara volunteers to drive this time and Lena lets her, content to just sit back and hum through various songs in the random playlist they had Apollo play.
As they speed through the sights and sounds of the previous town, Kara barely realizes that she keeps glancing back at Lena. The raven-haired woman has chin tucked in the crook of her arm resting on the open car window, singing along to the piano-heavy song on the radio. Every now and then she would stretch her hand out of the car, as if trying to touch wind itself, and the strange familiarity of it all settles on Kara's chest like welcome warmth.
'Cause it's frightening to be
Swimming in this strange sea
But I'd rather be here than on land
They arrive at Tucson before lunch. Kara already suggested looking for a place to eat, to which Lena laughed but agreed anyway. The blonde drives through the unfamiliar road but slows to a stop at a turn.
“Hey look,” Kara starts, turning to Lena to get her attention, except the raven-haired woman is looking at her already. “It’s a pretty church.”
Lena ducks her head to see what Kara is pertaining to. The church stands a few meters away from the main road. It stands tall with two cream-colored towers, joined in the middle by an almost wooden-like building with intricate designs as far as Kara could see. It gives off a very archaic vibe, the architecture of it proud and humbling at the same time. Lena hums in her agreement. “Do you want to go in?”
Kara shrugs. “Why not?”
As beautiful as the church is on the outside, it had absolutely nothing to its interior. The interior is a warm oak color, the walls and columns adorned with antiquated, sophisticated of adornment of carvings of saints, angels, and what Kara assumes are biblical depictions. The pews are old, some of the wood chipped off in places. The ceilings are painted with more people and stories, and in every column are more statues and carvings of saints. Kara can hear murmured prayers of people inside, praying to them. It’s an awe to take it in, despite being from an advanced civilization. It reminds her of Krypton, somehow.
“It really is beautiful,” Lena murmurs from behind her. Kara turns to face her; she has her arms crossed, looking up at the altar with a contemplative look on her face. “Do you have churches in Krypton?”
Kara smiles wistfully at the question. “We do. Built in the name of Rao the Father.”
Lena hums. They stand in silence, Kara tuning out the prayers hushed within the walls.
“Do you think,” Lena muses after a while, “that if there’s a god, he would allow such evil to fester?”
Kara returns her attention to the altar. She had asked similar questions before, especially when she landed on a foreign planet with nothing but her grief and her name. Why would Rao let his beloved Krypton die? If it was his children’s doing, why did he do nothing to stop it? What sins did Kara have to pay for, to suffer through the death of her planet, of all she loved? Is it for the sins of her parents? Kara grew up thinking of Rao as a loving god, and yet...
“I don’t know,” Kara murmurs with a shake of her head. “I suppose everything happens for a reason and all that.” She takes a deep breath and meets Lena’s gaze again. “But faith is a beautiful thing, too, I suppose.”
Lena hums in thought. “Isn’t complete confidence in someone or something you can’t see...difficult?”
“Is that from a scientific perspective?” Kara asks with a small smile. Lena chuckles. “I guess so. But isn’t that better than not believing at all?”
Lena seems to think about that. “Do you pray?”
The blonde nods slightly. “More so recently.” She sighs and lifts her head, closes her eyes. “For Rao sees all, feels all,” she whispers. “His love eternal. Rao, protect us, so that we might protect others. And we shall rise, a fire in his heart, burning and free.” She takes a shuddering breath, remembers her mother, remembers Krypton, remembers it burning in front of her eyes. “From Rao's fire you are born.”
Lena seems to sense her distress. A warm hand settles on the small of her back and Kara turns to find green eyes anchoring her back down, hope and life in her eyes that is a contrast to the eternal flames of Krypton and its death. Lena smiles.
“You are a sun.”
They eat lunch before Kara could complain about her hunger. It’s almost strange to Kara, how they still eased into casual conversation as they eat their selection of hotdogs and their different sauces on table in a trailer park, despite the strain during their visit at the church, but it’s comforting nonetheless.
“There’s an air and space museum nearby,” Lena says after she finishes her hotdog. “Want to visit?”
Kara’s first thought of the question is a memory of a crashing plane, the weight of its two halves in her hands; Lena, telling her to let go, and Kara screaming for Lena to climb up. The memory isn’t one that is remotely nice.
“Are you sure?” Kara asks . Lena chuckles at her.
“I'll live,” she muses. “So long as the planes on display don't fly up and crash.”
Kara manages a smile at that, but she is worried. She remembers Lena mentioning that she has been having nightmares—though thankfully, Kara hasn't witnessed any of them during the night—and that she is somehow anxious of heights now. It screams of trauma, and Kara doesn't think visiting a plane museum would be of any help, but she realizes that this is Lena she is talking about. Lena, who is ready to face uncertainty, just to save lives of many. Lena, who can look her greatest fear in the eye and tell it to fuck off.
“If the planes on display suddenly fly up, I'd be very scared,” she answers instead with a laugh. Lena laughs, too, and it's comforting, and if this is what Lena wants, in order to be comforted too, then she'd be there for her.
“So this is Tucson,” Kara exclaims when they get back in the car. “Hey Apollo, play I Miss You by Blink-182!”
The main hangar is mostly quiet when they walk in. Their footsteps echo in the grand hall, various actual planes lined up across the length of it. They walk in the quiet, side by side, Kara only able to focus on one of the echoing heartbeats of the few people about.
“Kara?” Lena whispers from beside her. The blonde glances to her. She is looking at the proud planes in front of them, metallic birds of calculated flight, and looks far too contemplative to be thinking of the speeds they are able to reach. Lena sighs. “Have I thanked you yet for saving me on that plane?”
Kara chuckles at that and shakes her head even if Lena isn't looking. “You don’t have to.”
The raven-haired woman turns to meet her gaze. She pauses in her steps, tilts her head with a small smile. “I know,” she whispers, and there’s something in her eyes that makes Kara’s heart race. “But thank you.”
The blonde accepts it anyway, because she thinks Lena won’t really stop thanking her if she doesn’t. They continue walking; there are multiple vintage aircraft in the hangar, many of which Kara thinks are predecessors of the military planes she has flown alongside before. “I can’t imagine how terrified you might have been,” she whispers.
Lena chuckles. “I wasn’t,” she admits. “When I woke up in the plane I was angry. At Edge, for doing that. Angry at myself for letting it happen. When the plane started crashing I was just… hoping it ends soon, but there was just anger.” She laughs sadly and looks down at her hands, now trembling, Kara notices. Her heart rate is racing, and Kara stands on the edge, hands itching to reach out for Lena just to offer some sort of comfort. “Until you screamed at me to climb I had accepted my death, because I was so exhausted of everything and ending it just seemed so…enticing, you know? But you- you were there. You amazing, selfless hero. You could’ve so easily dropped me then, save more people, but you held on to me and saved me.” She turns to Kara with a smile, her eyes glassy with tears now. Kara swallows thickly. “I realized how selfish I had been when we got back. For all my lack of belief in a benevolent god I had readied myself to burn in hell for all eternity for risking the lives of thousands and thousands of people.” Lena takes a shuddering breath. “So thank you, for saving me in more ways than one. I plan on repaying it by being- well. A hero in my own right, I suppose.”
Kara remembers that night, at the balcony. Lena had been crying, talking about insignificance, and the blonde realizes it all stems from that incident. Because insignificance means she doesn’t carry the burden of her last name. Insignificance means she could disappear today and no one would bat an eye—and maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe it’s the last nail in the coffin to the Luthor name, and the world would thank their higher beings for ridding them of that evil. Insignificance means she doesn’t have to work so hard to win the trust and approval of many, that she doesn’t have to prove she’s good.
But Lena Luthor is good, and Kara would insist and believe she is for all of time. And Lena Luthor is far from insignificant. She commands the respect of her employees, carries on her shoulders the responsibility of paying for the sins of her family by doing good things that are bound to change the history of mankind. And Kara knows she will succeed—four hundred years in the future and L-Corp is well and alive and the legacy Lena dreams of leaving lives.
And for all the differences everyone thinks there are between a Super like Kara and a Luthor like Lena, they are essentially the same—the hero the people see in Kara because of the symbol she wears is the same hero the blonde sees in Lena. Lena the selfless, Lena the brave, Lena the good.
“You already are a hero, Lena,” Kara whispers. Lena chuckles at that, a dismissal on her lips, and Kara pulls her into her arms to embrace her. “You are my hero,” she tells her, and Kara feels her tremble with the onslaught of tears. There are arms around Kara, after a moment, and Lena sinks into her warmth.
“Those words mean the world to me,” Lena whispers. “Thank you.”
They spend a few more quiet minutes in the hangar, not even doing anything, just walking around side by side, close enough that Kara’s hand brushes with Lena’s every once in a while. The woman’s tears have subsided, though her eyes are red-rimmed. Kara throws her a glance every once in a while, wondering what Lena thinks.
J’onn’s mind reading skills would be so awesome.
“Are you ready to go back?” Lena asks, much later, when they have circled the hangar thrice. “To National City, I mean.”
Kara blinks at that. It was out of nowhere for Lena to ask, but she just shrugs. She doesn’t know if it’s a matter of readiness, or of want . Going back would mean returning to her responsibilities, to the DEO, to the sight of him. She is ready to go back. Always is. She doesn’t think she wants to, not yet. Maybe just a little longer. “Are you?” She asks Lena anyway.
The woman sighs softly, turns to Kara with an almost apologetic smile. “Not yet, if that’s alright.”
“Of course,” Kara agrees. “Whenever you’re ready.”
Before they leave the museum, Lena excuses herself to use the bathroom. Kara promises to wait for her outside, where she finds the souvenir shop. A few people are busy milling about, looking for some shirts or other souvenirs to remember their visit by. The brown stuffed bear takes Kara’s attention from where she is checking out some of the shirts. One look at it and she smiles, picks it up, and proceeds to the cashier. She returns to where she promised Lena she would wait, holds the bear behind her when the woman walks up to her.
“Let’s go?” Lena says. Kara nods but doesn’t move, instead hands Lena the stuffed bear. It's a small, huggable light brown bear with an aviator hat, goggles, and a leather jacket. The raven-haired woman looks at Kara with a surprised smile, then down at the bear, then back at Kara. “What—”
“It’s yours,” Kara grins. “I know you hate flying, but he looks very capable of piloting your planes.” She pushes it to Lena’s hands again, and the woman takes it tentatively. “He’ll defend you from your nightmares, too.”
Lena looks up at her again, almost looking like she is ready to cry, but she laughs, hugs the bear to her chest. Kara hears her heartbeat—racing, alive, soothing. Lena tilts her head at her. “What should we name him?”
Kara beams. “A name has expectations. We should think about it in the car.”
Kara is on the steering wheel again. Lena is humming to the catchy strumming of the song on the radio, the stuffed bear on her lap. She seems to be petting its head; Lena sheepishly smiles at Kara when she catches her looking, and the blonde smiles back.
“How about Superbear?” She suggests with a laugh.
Lena scrunches her nose. “How vain,” she teases, giggles as she thinks of something. “How about… Fuzzy Wuzzy Snuggabear?”
Kara frowns. “How unfitting of such a cool teddy bear pilot.”
“We can call him Brownie,” Lena says. “Or Teddy.”
Lena laughs. “Fine. How about Callisto?” She offers. She lifts the stuffed bear up, making it dance just beside Kara’s field of vision. The blonde giggles. “Ursa Major. Named after the nymph who attracted Zeus, who then pretended to be Artemis in order to seduce her.” She snorts.
“You sold me on the Ursa Major part,” Kara muses. “I don’t think knowing the latter is helpful in making me agree to it.”
Lena laughs and laughs and laughs. It’s a comfort, and Kara could only hope she can offer the same to her, too.
“Wait a second,” Lena grumbles much, much later. She turns over the teddy bear and pulls out a tag. “He already has a name.”
“What?” Kara asks. Lena practically shoves the tag towards her.
“Theodore? I suggested such cool names and his name is Theodore?”
Lena smacks Kara’s arm—tries to, anyway—with the stuffed bear’s arm. “You’re hurting my feelings, Ms. Danvers.”
“I’m sorry,” Kara says, trying to hold back her laughter. “I just can’t imagine that your name is, essentially, Teddy. ”
“But Ms. Danvers,” Lena continues, biting her lip and failing to hold back a smile. “Expectation of my name meets reality.”
“You’re a smartass.”
“I’m a stuffed bear.”
“I will stuff you in the glovebox.”
Lena gasps, pulls the bear—Teddy —protectively against her chest. “You wouldn’t.”
Kara smirks and glances at Lena. She looks so carefree and warm in the soft orange light of the setting sun that Kara thinks she forgets to breathe, for a moment. It’s odd. She catches herself though, rolls her eyes playfully at Lena. “Don’t test me.”
“I’m so scared,” Lena deadpans, but she’s grinning widely and Kara almost swerves because of staring too long. “Don’t kill us,” the raven-haired woman laughs.
“There was a possum!”
And I've got all that I need
Right here in the passenger seat
I can't keep my eyes on the road
Knowing that she's inches from me
It’s well into the night and the radio’s venture into a jockless hour that they decide to check in to the first accomodation they find. It’s a quaint bed-and-breakfast place owned by a nice old lady who fussed over them as they carried their things to their room. Lena had thanked her profusely, over and over, until the old lady—Aunt Daisy, she had introduced herself—bid them good night.
“She’s so nice,” Lena smiles as she digs into her gym bag for a change of clothes. Kara nods and says that yes, she is, but Lena’s smile turns into a frown.
“You okay?” Kara asks. Lena nods hesitantly.
“Yeah, just—” She huffs. “I think I miscalculated or have forgotten a sleep shirt.” She sighs and pulls out one of her button-ups. Kara pulls out one of her well-worn shirts instead and throws it to Lena’s direction. She catches it with her face. Kara laughs when Lena takes it with a scowl.
“That’s more comfortable than your button-up,” she promises. “Maybe we should get our laundry done, do you think Aunt Daisy would allow us?”
Lena takes her clothes and pads to the bathroom. “We can just buy—”
“Yep, asking her tomorrow!” Kara cuts in, and Lena just rolls her eyes playfully.
Kara gives Alex a call while Lena is freshening up in the bathroom. It’s the usual updates of National City, but when Alex is done talking Kara finds herself asking her sister what she thinks of Lena.
“I mean, do you still think she’s like her brother?” Kara clarifies. She hears Alex sigh softly.
“I’m not that close-minded anymore,” the agent mumbles. “Benefit of the doubt, I guess. She’s fine, for now. You will never know.”
But Kara does. Lena is good and kind, and as she glances to her bed on her side of the room later that night, Lena curled up under her sheets and Teddy in her arms, Kara knows she knows Lena—the brave, the selfless, and the good, but also Lena the lovely and the free.
The knowledge of it is a far greater comfort than she expected, and she welcomes it with a small sigh and a night of a dreamless sleep—the closest she had to good dreams.
The next morning, Aunt Daisy lets them used her washing machine and dryer. Kara hides her surprise when Lena takes the lead in separating their clothes into whites, colors, and delicates. She does blush, however, when Lena gets to her underwears and she squeaks, takes her gym bag and separates her own clothes herself.
“Stop looking at me like that,” Lena mumbles while she dumps liquid detergent in the slot before running the washing machine. “I did my laundry in boarding school.”
Kara raises her hands in defense. “I wasn’t going to say anything,” she smiles.
“You were thinking it.”
Lena teaches Kara how to fold clothes the KonMari way. Kara doesn’t ask but Lena explains that her methods are efficient and save a lot of space. They fold their clothes while their next batch dries, and the domesticity of it is almost familiar, definitely comforting.
She tries to hide her blush when Lena asks if she wants to teach her how to fold underwear, too, but Kara does agree. She doesn’t miss the flush on Lena’s pale cheeks or the way her heart races.
They are back on the road after breakfast, prepared personally by Aunt Daisy that Kara missed Eliza’s cooking. Lena had thanked her over and over again and Kara is sure the woman almost had a heart attack with the amount of tip the CEO left, but Lena barely bat an eyelash.
“I might want to come back there,” Lena admits later, when they’re going a hundred miles an hour on the road. “She’s nice.”
Kara smiles from behind the steering wheel. “Yeah, she is. She reminds me of Eliza. She’s my adoptive mom.”
Lena glances at her and smiles wistfully at that. “I’m sure she’s lovely.”
“You should meet her, when we get back,” Kara offers. Eliza would love Lena. She’s smart and polite, could definitely catch up point per point with all three Danvers women if they argue about science. She hears Lena’s heartbeat spike, hears the breathy laughter she lets escape.
“I’m not really good with mothers.”
Kara snorts. “You’re good with everyone. Your mother is just a- well, a bad person.”
“You can say she’s evil incarnate, I don’t mind,” Lena muses. “She’ll probably prove you right.”
Kara glances at the raven-haired woman. Her expression betrays nothing, but she is still running her fingers through the top of Teddy’s head as she sits on her lap. Kara shrugs. “I’ll bring you to Midvale anyway.”
Lena laughs sharply, but she does relent later on.
They pass by a gasoline station and had the car refilled. Kara also hoards most of the chips and chocolates the shop had, and she hears Lena mutter I don’t know her even as she paid for all the things she just took.
Kara grins brightly at Lena as she walks beside her. The blonde adjusts the huge paper bag in her arm as she rips open a toffee nut bar and takes a bite of it. She looks back at the shop, where the cashier is still staring at them with amusement. “I’m her best friend!” She yells, and Lena rolls her eyes and yells back I still don’t know her!
Lena drives when they get back on the road. They spend most of the day driving, stopping over only for lunch break and bathroom breaks. Kara doesn’t really know where they are headed, but the changing landscapes they drive past, the shifting sky above them, all of it is a comfort that distracts her from thinking too much, despite the almost silence. They share the chips and candies they had just bought—Lena has no other choice but to take the potato chips, and she takes them muttering calories under her breath.
The music cuts off as Lena’s phone rings. The raven-haired woman glances to it and groans but answers the call. “Hey Jess,” she says as she puts the phone on speaker. Kara says hello, too, before she can stop herself, and she grins apologetically at Lena.
“Hello, Ms. Luthor, Ms. Danvers, sorry to bother you on your vacation,” Jess starts. “But a couple of investors from Atos have been looking for you, saying they aren’t pleased with the acting CEO.”
Lena sighs lightly. “Alright. Do they want to talk now?” Jess seems to muffle the phone and she comes back with an affirmative. “Alright. Set them up in the boardroom and I’ll take their call. Make sure Amelia is there, okay?”
Jess thanks Lena and ends the call with a promise to return soon. “I need to take this call, sorry.”
Kara waves a hand in dismissal. “It’s fine. Do you want me to drive?”
The CEO shakes her head. “It’s fine. I need to distract myself or I might yell at them or something,” she jokes. Jess is calling again, and Kara watches Lena steel herself with a sigh before she’s answering the call.
“Bonjour messieurs,” she greets, and Kara quirks up an eyebrow. “Je m'excuse pour mon absence.” There are answering voices to her, three that Kara could count, all French, and the next forty-five minutes are intense discussions in fluent French that has the blonde almost unable to stop staring. Lena is fluent in French, the Rs rolling out of her tongue easily that it’s clear this isn’t her first rodeo. Somehow, Kara isn’t really surprised, but seeing and hearing the woman talk—argue—in a foreign language is amusing, attractive, almost, and Kara finds herself thinking how Lena would speak Kryptonian if she could.
Lena thanks the gentlemen and apologizes to Jess when the call is over. When the music of the radio is back in the car, the raven-haired woman smiles at Kara. “Sorry about that.”
Kara snorts. “It’s totally fine,” she says simply, bites her lip and asks anyway. “I didn’t know you were fluent in French.”
“There are some necessary skills I had to learn,” Lena says with a chuckle.
Kara blinks. “How many languages do you know?”
Lena bites her lip at that, like she’s ashamed. “Twelve,” she mumbles. “Eleven, if you don’t include Elvish.”
Kara has so many questions. Twelve? That’s pretty impressive, even if Kara knows a handful of languages herself. Which languages? Why? “Elvish?” She settles with. “Like… Lord of the Rings Elvish?”
Lena flushes and nods. “Gave me something to do when I wasn’t in school.”
The blonde imagines a younger Lena, hunched up over a book that most people wouldn’t dare touch, and she smiles. “That’s cute.”
Lena laughs. “It’s helpful when I want to talk shit about rude businessmen.”
“One of them might be a nerd like you,” Kara jokes. Lena scowls at her but laughs anyway. “You know what you should learn? Kryptonian. You can talk shit to anyone. Except Superman of course.”
“And Lois Lane, probably,” Lena laughs. “You’ll have to teach me, though.”
Kara pauses at that. She had been teasing, but the way Lena sounds thrilled at the prospect of learning an actual alien language has Kara brimming with hope. “You want to learn Kryptonian?”
Lena shrugs, so easily like it isn’t a big deal, when the mere idea of it means the world to Kara already. “What’s yes in Kryptonian?” She asks with a smile.
Kara beams. Hope finds home in her chest, chips away at the ache that has settled there. “Zhi,” she answers.
“Zhi,” Lena echoes, perfect at the first try. It’s a greater comfort than Kara had expected.
They drive through the afternoon and grab dinner at a busy diner when dusk falls. The place had great fries that Kara made full advantage of, even buying another bucket to go when they leave. It’s well into the night when they find the first accommodation—a gasoline station motel, parking lot almost filled up with several trucks. Fabens Inn , the neon lights read, and Kara assures Lena it’s fine and they really should get some rest.
They park the car beside a big truck. Kara sees the driver still in his seat, smoking, and she tries to ignore the way he leers as they walk to the lobby, but Lena’s nervousness is hard to not hear when Kara’s senses tend to fixate on her these days. “You’re fine, Lee,” she tells her, and Lena nods stiffly as they make it to the front desk, manned by a redheaded guy with buck teeth.
“Good evening ladies,” he greets with a grin. “We only have one room left, sorry.”
Kara smiles at him politely. “That’s fine, we’ll take it.” He busies himself with exaggerated movements while he gets the keys, and Kara takes them with a curt nod before taking his directions to the room.
“Do you need a dental dam?” He calls out to them. Lena squeaks at blushes furiously, stomps away to the direction of their room, and Kara follows her, yelling back no thanks! to the man.
“Lena? Why would we need a dental dam?” Kara asks as she walks into the room, only to find Lena standing in the middle of it. It’s small. Smaller than she had expected. There’s only one full bed at the corner of the room, a dresser across it, then the bathroom.
“I think there’s been a mistake,” Lena says, and Kara shakes her head.
“It’s fine, Lena,” she assures. “It’s pretty late and you’re tired. I can just sleep on the floor if you’re uncomfortable with company.”
Lena squirms and turns to Kara, opening and closing her mouth, but then sighs and relents. Her cheeks are flushed pink, but Kara doesn’t say anything, just smiles. “I’m not going to let you sleep on the floor,” Lena mutters. “Just- We’ll share. I’m going to apologize in advance if I kick you out of bed in the middle of the night.”
Kara laughs softly and waves a hand as she puts her gym bag down on the creaky floor. “That’s fine. I’m a blanket hog though, so Alex says.”
That seems to ease Lena’s tension. She smiles at Kara and asks if she could use the bathroom first to freshen up. Kara calls Alex while she does so, and the blonde hears the yelp and foreign curse at what she guesses is cold water. She confirms it, later when it’s her turn, and when they’re both laying on the bed, on their backs, close enough that the hairs on Lena’s arm tickle Kara’s, she offers to heat it up for her in the morning.
Lena’s heart races at her suggestion, and Kara doesn’t realize why until she imagines the logistics of it. It means she’d have to be in the bathroom, while Lena is in the shower, and she’d have to—
“Or- Or you know, just—” Kara stammers, squeaks, squirms on her back. “Nevermind.”
Lena at least manages a chuckle. “Thanks for the offer anyway.”
“Anytime,” Kara mumbles dumbly, and she winces when it dawns on her that it’s another wrong answer. Lena laughs, though, soft and melodic, and with only the lights of the lamps from the window behind Lena to illuminate their small, dark room, Kara thinks the shame is well worth it to hear Lena laugh like that.
When they have checked out and paid, Lena runs back to their room to get the phone charger she had left. While Kara waits, the truck driver from last night checks out too. Kara gives him a curious look.
Lena returns with a smile. “Got it,” she says breathlessly. “Let’s go? Breakfast?”
Kara nods as they make their way out of the motel. “So I asked the trucker where we could eat and—”
The blonde shrugs. “He was pretty nice. He says there’s a nearby steakhouse with really good T-bone steaks.” Kara pushes her glasses up and blinks demurely. “Can we go, please?” She beams.
Lena just sighs.
It was the best T-bone Kara has ever tasted. Lena promises to bring her to Italy, because there’s a restaurant there that serves a better one.
It’s a great comfort, this familiarity they have found themselves in.
They make another grocery stop before they leave the town. They go aisle to aisle again. Lena indulges her and picks out her own choices of chips and candies—the ones she had come to favor from Kara’s previous hoard. She exclaims in triumph when she finds some Swedish Fish, too, and she munches on them while she drives them, somewhere, Kara doesn’t really care.
Just her and Lena for now. The rest of the world is insignificant.
“I Spy with my little eye,” Kara says, “something gray and metallic.”
Lena huffs. “Stop using your x-ray vision.”
“But there’s only shrubs and sky that I see!”
“Find another game then.”
Kara mentions learning calculus at age four. It opens the floodgates of fiery discussions that even Alex blanks out from sometimes—how do quarks and gluons carry the spin of protons? Do black holes produce thermal radiation, as expected on theoretical grounds? How did the most distant quasars grow their supermassive black holes up to 1010 solar masses so early in the history of the universe? Your theory is flawed; no it’s not, it’s based on Kryptonian science. Why do you call it locality?
“Okay okay,” Lena laughs, coming down from Kara’s lengthy explanation about KIC 8462852’s dipping luminosity. “How about this for an argument: the buttered cat paradox.”
Kara shakes her head and laughs and laughs and laughs. “You are so annoying and I hate you.”
Lena smiles. “No, you don’t.”
She definitely doesn’t.
Kara hears a heartbeat some miles away, and when she finally sees the source it’s a bearded man in layers despite the afternoon heat. A small backpack rests on the ground next to him. He throws his hand out and sticks his thumb in the air. Kara points at him. “Hey, a hitchhiker.”
Lena squints at him but she does slow down to a stop. Kara lowers the windows and greets him with a grin. “Get in! Just push aside all the groceries. Sorry, I get hungry a lot.”
The man tells them his name is Gerard, and that they can drop him off to the nearest gas station or parking lot available so he can hitch another ride. He tells them that he’s from Arizona, trying to get across the state through the sheer kindness of strangers.
“That takes guts and a lot of faith,” Lena muses. Gerard just grins, his toothy smile pearly white behind his scruffy beard.
“Ah, there’s still some good people out there, ma’am,” he says with a nod. “Like the two of you. Might I ask where you two’re going?”
Kara looks back at him and shrugs. “Wherever the road takes us, or however the cliche goes,” she chuckles. “No destination for now, just—”
“Out to find yourselves?” Gerard continues with a knowing smile. “That’s all well and fine. My old man told me you can take all the time and visit all the places you need to find yourself, so long as you come home. I don’t think home is a place though, is it?” He leans forward, claps his large hands on the shoulders of their seats. “Home is a person, I’d like to think. Hey, can I have some of ya chips?”
Kara grins at him and amusement and tells him to knock himself out. She points to the bag of chips they still haven’t touched, and when she returns her attention to the road ahead with the daylight slowly turning orange, she catches sight of Lena looking at her. She smiles at the raven-haired woman and, like a child caught with his hand in a cookie jar, Lena whips her gaze back on the road, the pink on her cheeks visible despite the color of sunset basking her in a warm glow.
If home is a person, Kara thinks it would be Alex. Eliza.
Lena. Home would be Lena.
I'm on top of the world,
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
They part ways with Gerard at a one-star motel when they reach a new state. They wish him the best of luck, and he tells them to take care, always, before he goes off to walk to the man in the parking lot who was loading his bags to the car. Kara and Lena spend the night there, and when the front desk offers them a room with a king-sized bed, Lena accepts it without much question.
They sleep side by side, close enough for their arms to touch despite the size of the bed they lie on. Kara is lulled to sleep by Lena’s heartbeat, and when she wakes that heartbeat is much closer; she blinks away the remnants of her dreamless sleep to focus on Lena, lying on her side, lips parted and looking so at peace while she slept. Kara’s fingers twitch with a foreign urge to reach out to her, brush away the stray dark hair that covers her face, but thankfully, before she could give in, Lena’s eyelids flutter open. Green gaze greet her good morning. Lena smiles, warm like the rays of the sun that gleams into the almost ancient room.
“Ehrosh :bem,” she whispers. Kara feels the sun bloom in her chest, like she is being born again.
Home, home, home.
“Hey Apollo,” Kara mumbles around a mouthful of chips. Lena glares at her but Kara just grins. “Play some Disney songs or something.” The console beeps, changes the pop song into the familiar guitar and beat of a familiar favorite of Kara’s. The blonde bounces lightly on her seat. “Seven am, the usual morning line-up,” she sings along as she leans her head towards Lena.
The CEO laughs from the driver’s seat. “Disney, really?”
“I remember all my failed references when we were at Disneyland, yes,” Kara says. Lena shakes her head.
“I do know some Disney movies,” she defends. “Pocahontas, and- oh wait, Anastasia isn’t Disney, is she?”
Kara grins widely. “Technically, she is now, since Disney acquired Fox.”
“Oh?” Lena smirks. “Thank you for my entertainment update, Ms. Danvers. But go ahead, educate me in your Disney ways.”
Kara beams, closes her canister of chips, and uses it as a mic. “I'll play guitar and knit and cook and basically, just wonder when will my life begin?”
“Oh oh oh! I love this,” Kara flails, “No man is worth the aggravation, that's ancient history; been there, done that!”
Lena smiles at her fondly, and if Kara begins to sing exaggeratedly if only to bring forth more laughter from her lips, she doesn’t notice nor does she mind.
Check the grin; you're in love
This scene won't play
I won't say I'm in love
They grab lunch at a diner that doesn’t look too busy. Lena is humming A Whole New World, and Kara grins secretly because she knows if Lena knows she noticed, she would stop. She only barely sang, but from what Kara heard, her voice is lovely. They take their seats at a booth and a brunette waitress in a pastel teal and orange uniform, with her hair in lovely curls, approaches them.
“Hi, I’m Angie,” she greets with a smile. She hands them menus that the two women take with a murmur of thanks. “Today’s special is the California Turkey Wrap and Smothered Chicken and Potatoes.”
Lena doesn’t even look at her menu. “I’ll have the turkey,” she says. Angie jots it down and turns to Kara.
“I’ll have the chicken and potatoes special. Also…” The blonde breezes through the menu. She gasps. “You have chocolate pecan pie. Two slices of that please, for later.”
“Sure thing, sweetie,” Angie says as she writes down their order with a promise of ten minutes. She takes their menus and leaves. Kara beams at Lena.
“Chocolate pecan pie is the best dessert in the universe,” she says excitedly. “And that’s coming from someone who has been to a handful of galaxies.”
Lena quirks up an eyebrow. “You shouldn’t go around talking about that,” she warns. “But I’ll take your word for it. If it disappoints, I’m never trusting you again.”
Kara’s jaw drops at that and she presses a hand against her chest. “When did I ever give bad recommendations?”
The raven-haired woman chuckles. “First time for everything.”
Angie returns with a pitcher of water, just as Lena’s phone rings. The raven-haired woman curses and excuses herself from the table to go out and answer the call. Angie follows her with her gaze as she pours water into Kara’s glass.
“You two look great together,” the waitress says with a smile as she turns her attention back to Kara. The blonde furrows her eyebrows.
“What do you- do you mean—” Kara blushes furiously. “Oh no, no, we’re just friends.”
Angie pauses from pouring into Lena’s glass. “Just friends?”
Kara squirms at her gaze. “Best friends.”
“Oh,” the waitress murmurs. “Sorry for assuming, it’s just…” She shrugs, stands straight and smiles politely at Kara. “Nevermind. Sorry.”
Kara smiles. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
“I mean it though,” Angie adds. “You do look great together.”
The blonde laughs nervously and glances at Lena, on her phone just outside. Her lips are pulled into a frown and she is speaking in another language—Japanese, Kara realizes. “Thanks, I guess?”
Angie leaves with a smile, returns with their plates of food. Lena comes back, too, an apology on her lips. She thanks Angie and they dig into their food. Kara notices their waitress talking to another brunette a few booths away—in a blouse and pencil skirt that reminds Kara of Lena in her work attire, and her blood red lips certainly aren’t helping. Kara hears them talking, blushes when she realizes they are talking about them, and looks away but not before Angie catches her looking.
“Are you okay?” Lena asks. Kara squeaks in answer. “You look a little red.”
Kara is unable to stop herself from flicking her gaze to the two brunettes before nodding. Lena looks to their direction, and Kara hears her heartbeat race before she turns back to the blonde.
“Pretty woman got you blushing, Ms. Danvers?” Lena teases, though the smile on her lips doesn’t look as cheerful as her usual. “You should- you should go talk to her.”
Kara blushes further and glares at Lena. “I’m not- I don’t- It’s not—” She huffs. “I was looking because I heard them talking about us,” she mutters. Lena raises an eyebrow.
“Do they recognize you? Me?” She asks curiously.
Kara puffs out her cheeks and stabs on her chicken. “No, no, just that…” She sighs. Maybe it would have been easier if Angie just recognized them. “They think we look good together.”
“Oh.” Lena tilts her head and chuckles. Kara thinks she’s offended for one full minute, but there’s a light flush that settles on pale cheeks that makes Kara’s pounding heartbeat relax. “That is a very nice compliment.”
A compliment, yes. A very nice one, too, and the reiteration of it makes Kara imagine, just for a moment, of her and Lena as a couple. Like a couple, couple. On dates. Holding hands. Kissing.
Kara blushes. She blinks away the images that accumulated themselves like distant memories in the back of her mind, not because they aren’t welcome—but because it’s almost like they’re too welcome, so much so that Kara feels a strange fluttering in her stomach that certainly isn’t hunger, and there’s warmth in her chest that tides over the supposed ache she feels.
“I guess,” she mumbles, shoves a chunk of chicken in her mouth.
Kara volunteers to drive, if only to keep her mind away from the still-flickering images of her and Lena in the back of her mind. It’s inappropriate to be thinking of her best friend like this, she thinks, and even at the pretense of driving as distraction, Kara still finds her gaze returning to Lena, like the woman is a planet constantly pulling Kara into her orbit. Their Disney playlist is playing, Lena humming along as she learns the songs that Kara had put on repeat as part of her Disneyfication. She has made Kara promise for them to watch some of the movies with songs she found catchy, as if Kara needed persuasion to do just that.
“I like this one,” Lena murmurs, pulling away from where she curled up by the window where she tries to touch the breeze. She runs her hand through her hair, bares her features lit up with a smile to Kara, and all the distraction in the world couldn’t take her gaze away from Lena, not when she smiles like that, like Kara is all she can see. “We’ll watch this first, okay?”
Kara manages a shaky grin. “Promise.”
All at once
Everything is different
Now that I see you
(Kara doesn’t realize she hasn’t thought of him in a while.)
That night, in a three-star hotel in the outskirts of New York, Kara falls asleep to the staccato of Lena’s heartbeat and wakes beside the raven-haired woman, who welcomes her with bright green eyes and a greeting in Kara’s native tongue.
It’s the first night Kara dreams again, and it’s of Lena.
[New York City, NY]
“So we did make it to New York City,” Lena muses as she drives. The hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps reaches Kara’s ears, and she chuckles. “We can still watch something on Broadway, if you’d like,” Lena offers.
Kara drags her gaze away from outside, where the buildings begin to line the side of the road. She distractedly hums. “Whatever you want,” she replies. Lena’s eyebrows furrow with concern as she glances at the blonde.
“Are you alright, Kara?” She asks. “You’ve been a little distracted today.” She looks back at the road, opens her mouth to say something, but stays quiet instead. Kara wonders what she was supposed to say.
“Yeah,” the blonde replies quickly, smiling just to make sure Lena knows she is fine, but she can probably see through it. She shrugs. “What’s that really famous musical again?” She tries.
“Yeah, that.” Kara hums. “Can we watch it if we get tickets?”
“I can get us—”
Kara tuts her. “The normal way, Lee,” she says with a smile. “Even if we have to line up for like, seven hours, so I’ve read.”
Lena puffs her cheeks with air but relents anyway, like she knows she can’t win an argument with Kara. The blonde just beams. “You’re my favorite.”
“I damn better be,” Lena mutters.
They end up lining for five hours. They take turns in the line while the other buys food; they try pizza and chicken wings, eating them while they wait on the line. When they finally get tickets, they are so overpriced that Kara almost says no, but Lena glares at her, says we did not wait for five hours for nothing and pays for them without even blinking.
Lena cries at the final song. Kara has to admit that it was good, a masterpiece even, and if human history was taught like that, Kara would probably have paid attention in school way back.
“Kara?” Lena murmurs as they make their way back to the parking lot to the car. “You said- I’m sorry for bringing it up again, but you said that in the future, L-Corp is—”
“A force for good,” Kara supplies with a proud smile. “Like you’ve always wanted, Lena.”
The raven-haired woman nods. A shuddering breath escapes her as relief seems to tide her over, and warmth embraces Kara as Lena pulls her into a hug, one that has every nerve in the blonde’s body screaming for closeness.
She’s home, she thinks.
“Thank you,” Lena whispers. “Thank you.”
The sky is dark but the city is wide awake. They drive around New York, parking at random spots so they could try food, much to Kara’s pleasure, and it’s well past midnight when Lena yawns and Kara suggests they check in to a hotel. Kara and Lena meet halfway at the choice, settling for a three-star high-rise one and getting the penthouse so Lena could enjoy the view.
“I could fly you up, you know,” Kara offers, when they have settled and Lena walks out into the balcony.
Lena smiles at her. “I know,” she murmurs. “And I trust you more than I trust the architecture of this building, to be honest.” At that admission, Kara’s heart pounds in her chest again, and the life in all of the world falls away as Lena leans her elbows against the railing and looks back at Kara like—
Like she’s looking at her, for the first time.
“Maybe next time, Supergirl,” Lena says with a twitch of her lips. “I’m sure there’s trouble afoot for me when we get back, and you’d be off to fly me up into the sky in no time.”
Kara laughs, though the hint of reality in her words do bother her. Lena Luthor deserves only the good things in the world. Kara would go to hell and back if only to ensure that. “I’ll always protect you,” she whispers. “I promise.”
Kara wakes up the next morning to Lena, already awake, quietly watching her. A shy smile spreads on her lips and Kara’s gaze flickers to them, before she drags them back up to meet green eyes.
“Good morning,” Kara greets, sleep still lacing her voice. Lena licks her lips.
“Sorry for staring, just—” Lena scrunches her nose and gestures to Kara’s cheeks. “I’ve never been close enough to notice your freckles. They’re…” She trails off. Kara isn’t sure if she’s still dreaming, or maybe it’s the haze of sleepiness, but Lena reaches for her, cups her jaw and brushes her thumb across her cheek. “Like an artwork, you know? When you hold a brush from the perfect distance in front of a canvas and you run your thumb across the bristles and,” at this, Kara flushes now, as Lena caresses her cheek with the pad of her thumb again. “And well, you get a lovely masterpiece like this.”
Kara’s heart threatens to burst forth from her chest now, and gone is the ache from him, replaced with the ache to reach out to Lena, to hold her. The raven-haired woman pulls away, however, and cold takes over the warmth on Kara’s cheek as Lena shakes her head, almost self-deprecatingly. “Sorry,” she murmurs with an apologetic smile. “I get weird moments like this.”
“I don’t mind,” Kara assures, because she doesn’t. The only thing she does mind is the way her fingertips burn with the need to touch the woman, as if to assure herself that she isn't dreaming. Lena gets up and Kara follows at the promise of breakfast, and the blonde tries to ignore the pull she feels that has her gravitating towards the woman.
Her best friend.
“Are you ready to go home?” Lena asks while she takes clothes from her bag. Kara chews on her lip. Is she ready? Yes. Does she want to?
Not yet, if only to have more time with Lena. But being only with Lena makes her overthink—makes her close in on herself with thoughts of how she can’t fall for Lena, not her best friend, not when she has just come from a relationship with a man she doesn’t really know she loved, not when falling for Lena could potentially destroy their relationship, which would in turn destroy both of them—and she doesn’t want the woman to worry, not when she has already began to pick herself up.
“Are you?” She asks her instead. Lena pauses, shirt in hand, and smiles at Kara.
“I think so, yeah.”
She’ll think about her feelings later.
Lena suggests they catch a flight back to San Diego. Kara doesn’t disagree because she doesn’t think she can sit through more days in a car, in a confined space with Lena, not with all the thoughts in her head and the warmth and fluttering butterflies that threaten to burst forth from her. Lena tells her to not worry about the car or the tickets, instead invites her for lunch while they wait for their scheduled flight.
They get lunch from an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant near the hotel. Kara shamelessly eats with her hands, and Lena has to remind her multiple times to Kara, please, use the crab cracker because the blonde finds herself easily breaking and cracking the shells in her hands. The couple the table over seems to be impressed with the speed and amount of food Kara eats, and Lena just watches her, ever so amused, and there are some moments that she catches her staring. Kara feels self-conscious, what with her clumsy way of eating and Rao, probably all the crab fat on her lips, but Lena just smiles fondly, and Kara has forgotten all about the boy from Daxam because Lena Luthor keeps looking at her like that.
“Do I have something on my face?” Kara mumbles, unable to stop herself.
Lena chuckles, picks up the slice of tuna on her plate. “Your face,” she says with a quirk of her lips. “I like it.”
Kara huffs and rolls her eyes. “You should. I’m stuck with it.”
The raven-haired woman smiles. “Perfect.”
The butterflies quiver forth, breaks the cage in her chest, and warmth blooms all over Kara as she looks at Lena—stares, like she’s seeing her again for the first time, and it doesn’t help that Lena is smiling at her like that.
“Is there something on my face?” Lena shoots back.
Kara sighs, almost dreamily, mindlessly breaks the lobster claw in her hand. “Your face,” she mumbles. “I like it too.”
Lena lets out a shuddering sigh when she settles on her seat on the plane—they got economy seats, like Kara had reminded Lena to get multiple times—beside Kara. The blonde is seated beside the window, just to enjoy the view, but she focuses her attention on Lena. Placing her arm on their shared armrest, she offers her hand, palm up.
“You can squeeze my hand when we ascend,” Kara offers with a smile. “You won’t hurt me.”
Lena gives her a grateful smile. “Thank you.” She sighs. “I hate flying.”
Kara tilts her head and gives her a teasing smile. “I love flying,” she says conspiratorially. “Maybe I can change your mind?”
The seat belt lights turn on and Lena grabs Kara’s hand. The blonde threads their fingers and Lena squeezes as the plane takes off. Kara actually winces at the sheer strength of it, but all she could really focus on is Lena’s racing heartbeat.
“Hey,” Kara murmurs. “I got you. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
When the plane stabilizes mid-air and the seat belt light turns off, Lena sighs shakily and loosens her grip on Kara’s hand. “Sorry,” she mumbles. She runs her free hand through her hair and pushes it back with another sigh. “I’d like to see you try changing my mind about flying after that,” Lena chuckles.
Kara glances at her, pushes her glasses up with her free hand. “As long as you let me try.”
Lena doesn’t let go. Kara doesn’t either.
Lena falls asleep. Kara turns to her, pulls her head to her shoulder, and Lena sinks into her warmth like she’s home.
[San Diego, CA]
Kara takes Lena’s hand when they land, before the raven-haired woman could even panic, and Lena whispers thank you in her ear that has shudders crawling down Kara’s spine to the tips of her fingertips. She doesn’t let go, not until they have to get up to get off the plane, and even when the walk out of the airport to get into the car that Lena had rented, Kara finds herself being pulled into Lena’s orbit.
They get lunch at a quaint Italian restaurant just outside of the city. It’s odd, almost frustrating, how she somehow dreads coming back to National City, and not because of him, but because of the thought of being without Lena. Not that they would be apart for too long, anyway; they would probably catch brunch the next day, after they get home, maybe even get coffee together in the morning.
“I’ll miss this,” Lena says, while they wait for their bill. She smiles. “Just the two of us, not minding much of the world.”
Kara sighs softly. “Me too,” she murmurs, glancing down at her right hand, the one Lena had held on to so tightly in the flight. The hand that aches to hold Lena again.
“We’re practically in the same office,” Lena assures with a tilt of her head and a laugh. “Aren’t you sick of my face, anyway?”
Kara looks up and laughs. “Please,” she smiles. “Of you? Never.”
Lena drives them along the harbor. The smell of the sea waltzes into their open car windows, the sound of waves washing over the shore overlapping with the faint song playing in the radio. The stupid song is almost like the universe mocking her, and she can’t help but glance over and over at Lena, as if memorizing the profile of her face like this, hair blowing with the wind, the sharpness of her jaw, the way her lips curl into the slowest of smiles when she notices Kara looking.
“Is there something on my face?” Lena chuckles.
Kara smiles. “Sorry,” she murmurs and glances away. “It’s just weird. I feel like just yesterday we were running away and here we are, making our way back.”
Lena laughs. “I’ll miss the road, that’s for sure,” she replies, glances back at Kara that the blonde feels her looking. “But you’re still with me, so that’s what counts.”
Hold our cellphones up in the air
And just be glad that we made it here alive
On a spinning ball in the middle of space
I love you from your toes to your face
Kara is royally fucked.
They enter National City by late afternoon. Kara texts Alex she’s back. The sounds of the city come to her, like a song long forgotten, and it’s like reliving a memory, being back—she doesn’t quite know how long they’ve been gone, but everything is the same, the place, the life, and well, Kara takes it all in with a small smile.
Insignificance. She could use it every once in a while.
“Did you miss it?” Lena asks.
Kara breaths a laugh. “The familiarity of it all, I suppose.”
“Familiarity is comfortable,” Lena murmurs. “I guess that’s what home is.”
Home. Kara glances at Lena at that. “Yeah.”
Lena insists on dropping Kara off to her apartment. They spend the ride back in quiet, except for the Disney songs playing from the speakers connected to Lena’s phone. Seeing the building from a distance, after being away for some time, brings a wistful smile on Kara’s lips. So maybe she did miss some things here and there.
“Here we are,” Lena sighs as she rolls to a stop on the side of the road in front of the building. She grins at Kara. The blonde takes her gym bag the backseat, where Theodore the teddy bear pilot is tucked behind a seat belt, and Lena gasps and reaches back, too, to take the paper bag of leftover chips and candies they still have. “Some souvenirs to remember our trip by,” she says, handing it to Kara. The heroine takes it with a slight laugh.
“It’s weird,” she murmurs, taking the bag to her lap. “How it only seems yesterday you were picking me up.”
“Theory of relativity and all that?” Lena suggests. Kara laughs.
“Don’t start another debate,” she warns, but reaches for the handle of the car door. She pushes it open but hesitates. Lena is looking at her with a soft smile, and the only thing Kara could think of is how beautiful she looks, like this, still so light and carefree like she shed all her worries and left them across the country to come back to their city anew. “I’ll- I’ll see you tomorrow at work?”
Lena nods, a stray of dark hair falling to the front of her face, and she pushes it back behind her ear. “Don’t be late,” she teases.
There’s a voice in Kara’s mind that screams kiss her, kiss her, kiss her, but the blonde could only smile again. She finally pushes the car door wider. “Tomorrow then,” she finally says, turns to the side to make a move to go out.
And maybe she’ll regret it later, if Lena goes on to hate her, but she has lost him and survived that when she thought it was the end of her, so maybe this would be easier, if it comes to it. Inevitably, though, a part of her is terrified—because what would be left of whoever she is, if she loses Lena this time around?
She could only hope it would be easier.
At the last moment, she turns in her seat, hope in her chest and her heart on her sleeve, but there is a hand on her cheek and another on the back of her neck and Lena is pulling her in, kissing her.
And it’s like everything makes sense now, like all those months she had suffered through heartache had only forged her to be stronger, for this moment, because she falters against the slightest touch of Lena’s lips on hers, and she thanks Rao for her strength on this planet, because she melts into Lena’s hands, helpless, and everything falls into insignificance and there’s only her and Lena, in this moment.
Lena pulls away with wide eyes and a racing heart, but Kara breathlessly stops her with hands around her wrists and a plea in blue eyes meeting green. “Don’t go,” Kara whispers. Lena lets out a shuddering breath, like that simple request has renewed the life in her veins, and the blonde rests her forehead against Lena’s. “I’ve been wanting to do that for some time now,” Kara admits.
Lena lets out a relieved laugh that sounds distantly of unshed tears. “Good, because I thought I just destroyed the most important thing in my life right now.”
Kara smiles, cups Lena’s cheek with her hands too. “You are to me, too,” she whispers. The ache in her chest is gone now, almost anyway, but it’s the good kind of ache that remains—like she has walked through fire and ice and hell and back, to find home only to discover that it’s been with her all this time. “I’m glad I managed to see that.”
They share a laugh. Kara closes her eyes, lets the warmth of Lena’s hands on her cheeks and the rhythm of her heartbeat anchor her. She kisses Lena again, and again, and again, and Lena’s lips find hers easily like she’s home.
She doesn’t know how long they stay there, but Lena pulls away after some time, almost regretfully. The sun is setting in the distance. “See you tomorrow?” She asks.
Kara smiles, catches Lena’s hand in hers and threads their fingers together. It’s warm familiarity, one she has come to know over and over again. “Tonight, if you’re free,” she smiles sheepishly. “Seven thirty, your balcony? Bring a coat.”
Lena chuckles. “I didn’t know you plan on changing my mind about flying this soon.”
“We don’t have to,” Kara assures. “We’ll take as much time as you need.” It’s odd that she’s saying this, considering it was her who was trying to mend her broken heart before, but she had realized that it wasn’t broken, just...misplaced.
Lena ducks her head and smiles. “I hope you don’t plan on going anywhere, because that might take a while.”
Kara meets her gaze, if only to tell her she means every word. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Lena pulls her into another kiss.
They stay seated in the car, just parked there outside Kara’s building, until it’s dark. Kara sighs and tells her she should probably go and get some rest. “Go,” she says through the open window as she stands by the curb. “I want to watch you drive away.”
“And I want to watch you walk up,” Lena shoots back with a laugh.
Kara smirks. “To stare at my ass?”
Lena blushes furiously at that and starts the car. “Fine, I’m leaving.” She laughs and bites her lip. She smiles at Kara, so soft and warm and full of promise that Kara’s chest flutters with butterflies and there it is—her world, building itself back up again. “Hey,” Lena says as she pulls her seat belt across her. “I’m glad you went to that trip with me.”
Kara smiles and tears up. She’s glad, too, and so beyond thankful that she’s found home. “Go before I make you stay.”
Lena opens her mouth to say something, but just laughs, shakes her head, and drives away. Kara hears her heart race, hears her tap her phone open to pick up where their playlist left off.
Just her and Lena now, Kara thinks. The rest of the world is insignificant.
I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you