Actions

Work Header

I Won't Give Up On Us

Chapter Text

“Their footwork is shoddy, some of them don’t know the right end of a sword, they couldn’t hit the side of a barn with an arrow if their lives depended on it and I don’t think they will ever learn the difference between a catapult and a trebuchet.” Alex ranted, counting off each failure on her right hand and holding it up as if that served as visual proof of her critique of the newest recruits currently undergoing Alex’s rigorous training schedule.

Sam, who was sat next to her wife, reached out to squeeze Alex’s forearm to soothe her. Immediately, the Knight-Commander took a deep breath and settled her hands back onto the round table that the council were seated at.

“So overall…” Alex ground her teeth together as she murmured as neutrally as she could (which wasn’t very), “training is going well.”

“Huh?” Winn muttered utterly perplexed, his brow furrowing.

“Excuse me?” James, the Head Steward, far more eloquently inquired, pursing his lips in confusion.

“The Knight-Commander is trying to have a more positive outlook on life…” Sam explained carefully; admitting with a minor wince, “It's a work in progress… But we are all very proud of the effort she is making to rein in her temper, right?” The coinmaster, with the ability to turn into an extremely powerful dragon, coolly glared at everyone, wordlessly conveying the ‘I will destroy you if you do anything to upset my wife’.

Unsurprisingly, the council were quick to voice their agreement and support.

“Right.”

“Of course.”

“Uh huh, definitely.”

J’onn cleared his throat as the compliments staggered away into silence, “Yes, well… moving on…”

Lena had always enjoyed the council meetings, they had become one of the highlights of her day, especially now without Kara around to stop by her study and keep her company for hours on end.

When Lena had first started attending the meetings, it had been a great source of pride (still was) to her. It was the ultimate sign that the sister of a traitor had proven herself loyal and useful enough to be granted a seat at the highest advisory level.

At the time of her appointment, Lena wasn’t even the Royal Researcher. Her position had been granted to her due to the critical support she had provided the Queen and her soldiers when they battled the troll all those years ago. Despite already being well-respected by the rest of the council and key members of court it did little to stop the comments and whispers.

When Kara announced her appointment, Lena heard the scoffs, the insinuations and the crude comments muttered under the other lords and ladies breaths. Alex, who had been stood by Lena’s side at the time made to retaliate on Lena’s behalf but Lena had stayed her hand and forced her to stay quiet. Alex’s intervention wouldn’t stop them, it would merely make them more subtle in their cruelty. At least this way Lena was aware of who her enemies were.

Kara, unsurprisingly, hadn’t seen or heard them. This wasn’t because Kara was blind to it or wilfully ignorant or insensitive to the troubles Lena was faced with. Instead it was because the lords and ladies had learnt rather quickly not to disparage Lady Luthor within sight or hearing of the Queen if they wished to avoid losing support, power and position swiftly and harshly by order of their monarch.

Rather than help, though, Kara’s protectiveness only inflamed the whispers that spread around court in the wake of the rumours years ago that the Queen was too close to the young Luthor. Whispers of bewitchment, poison or hypnosis, still flared up even years later despite Kara backing away from Lena upon discovering the damage their close relationship was having on Lena’s reputation and status.

Lena knew the exact moment Kara had heard the rumours.

It was the night Kara stopped coming to her room in the middle of the night.

Admittedly, the nightmares which were responsible for Kara’s initial presence had withered away to mere monthly recurrences meaning Lena no longer needed Kara there to shield her from the monsters her mind conjured.

Instead, Lena had just wanted her there. Wanted to listen to Kara’s fairytales. Wanted to fall asleep to the sounds of Kara’s light snores. Wanted to wake up feeling warm and secure in Kara’s arms.

Lena had cried herself to sleep that night.

By the morning, however, she was grateful.

She knew from that moment where she stood with regards to Kara. She was to be the Queen’s supporter, friend and confidant. And she finally understood that she would never get to curl up in bed with her again. That honour would be saved for whoever Kara eventually decided to share her crown with.

Whichever prince or hero won Kara’s golden heart.

So… Lena learnt her place and settled into her role. And from that moment on, she worked to be the best at the position she had been given.

Her first council meeting had been a nerve-wracking yet exhilarating experience.

She barely spoke for the first few meetings, only choosing to speak when she had something of value to add. Gradually, her confidence increased over the months as other council members, not just Kara, J’onn or Eliza, asked for her opinion. By the time she was the Royal Researcher and had fully cemented herself a permanent, indisputable position on the council, Lena was no longer afraid of voicing her ideas on a wide range of topics, even those that weren’t overtly related to her role. Lena came to view her role as a supporter not just to the Queen but to everyone on the council, therefore she ensured her research covered a wide breadth of knowledge so she might provide aid and advice to everyone.

The meetings slowly became a gathering of not just people she respected and admired, but a gathering of her closest friends. When Kara fell into her cursed slumber the meetings became a crucial source of support to Lena during her grief and turmoil. She would forever be grateful for Alex dragging her out of her study to attend those meetings in the early days of the curse (a habit the Knight-Commander couldn’t seem to shake even two years later, still coming to retrieve Lena just beforehand).

“Any whispers or rumours running around the kingdom the council should be aware of?” J’onn asked to the members of the council in general, clearing the fog of the past from Lena’s mind and bringing her back to the discussion at hand.

Alex attuned to Lena, thanks to their years working closely together, had immediately noticed Lena’s wistful expression and raised an eyebrow in gentle concern. Lena gave her a small, yet genuine, smile to reassure the Knight-Commander who nodded in understanding before clearing her throat and turning to answer J’onn’s question.

“An old woman was accused of being a witch in Grantham village.” Alex announced with her usual brisk, gruff tone that was an obvious attempt at imitating her mentor the Master-at-Arms. “Supposedly she cursed her neighbour a couple of months ago and in that time his land has grown nothing for the harvest.”

“Any substance to this?” Winn inquired, his quill, that had been frantically moving back and forth to take meticulous notes of their meeting, pausing as he looked up with a curious quirk to his mouth.

“No. None.” Alex replied shaking her head dismissively, rolling her eyes as she explained, “A couple of my knights investigated. The neighbour lives in a bog, nothing remotely of any value has ever grown there. He’s just blustering because the old woman rightfully called him ugly. The Knights are spreading the real story and they put the man in the sheriff’s cell for a couple of days so he could think over the consequences of telling lies.”

“Well handled.” Lena complimented.

“Thank you.” Alex smirked proudly in return.

J’onn glanced around, checking that no one else had anything further to add before studying the agenda written out in front of him.

There was a long pause indicating exactly which point of discussion was next.

If there was any part of the council meetings that Lena hated… it would be this part. The part where J’onn asked about any progress regarding finding a cure for the Queen’s curse. The part where Lena had to state that she had yet again failed.

Today, however, was so much worse.

Normally, Lena would rush over her failure and quickly move onto her unending list of other possible cures. Today, however, that list had seemed filled with ideas was finally empty.

Every idea crossed though.

Every hope dashed.

Lena would be forced to state her failure and be unable to offer any hope in return.

“Hmmm… any…” J’onn coughed uncomfortably, knowing how much this part hurt Lena but also knowing that this update was crucial in ensuring the council was fully informed, “Uh… further developments with regards to the Queen’s condition?”

Lena straightened up in her chair, folding her hands delicately on the table in front of her and keeping her gaze downcast as she answered. “No. None. I…”, The words caught in her throat and she had to force out the confession of her failure. “I fear that I am running out of straws to clutch…”

Lena lifted her head to see the melancholy expressions of her close friends, eventually her gaze settled on J’onn who had sympathy in his gaze and encouraging words to share, “My Lady, the light always appears when the night is at its darkest.”

“I know.” Lena mumbled in agreement, remembering the last time he had shared that sentiment with her when Lena had feared Kara wouldn’t survive the night following her first battle with Reign.

Lena shook her head banishing the darkness creeping up on her, forcing a weak smile and an overly light-hearted tone to reassure the gloomy expressions facing towards her.

“I'm just…” Lena chuckled to herself as she waved her hand to dismiss the heavy atmosphere. “I'm getting so desperate I might even try to kiss her myself by this point.”

Lena had expected a wave of tittering laughter, eye-rolls, a few teasing mumbles and then a shift back to business allowing Lena to return to desperately trying to come up with a new idea undisturbed.

None of that happened.

The heavy atmosphere turned to dead air.

The sympathetic expressions shifted to either confused or totally taken aback.

Instead of joking comments there was total silence that was finally broken by Alex who lifted up both hands, as if throwing them up in defeat, and simply asked with a sinister undertone, “What?”

Lena’s eyes went wide with horror as she realised how inappropriate what she presumed to be a harmless joke really was. She rushed to correct her mistake, her hand going to her chest and resting over her heart to emphasise her sincerity. “Oh, I’m sorry, I was joking, don't worry-”

“Oh, thank God.” Alex breathed, flopping back into her chair.

“Phew.” Winn sighed wiping his brow.

James let out a deep laugh and wagged his finger in Lena’s direction, “Really had us going there for a-”

“-I would never presume to do such a thing as kiss the Queen.” Lena quickly finished, relieved that the council seemed ready to forgive her misstep.

Yet again, however, the laughter trailed off and everyone returned to their blank, horrified stares.

“I'm sorry…” Alex began, tilting her head slowly to the side and leaning forward to scrutinise Lena closely, “Um… can you repeat that?”

Lena swallowed thickly, as she tentatively replied with what she hoped was the correct answer, “I would never dishonour or betray the Queen’s trust by kissing her.”

The entire council were no longer watching Lena, now there entire focus had shifted to Alex who seemed absolutely frozen.

Not a single muscle moved.

Her expression was totally blank.

A minute passed.

Then another.

Alex blinked.

“I don't…” Alex slowly rubbed her temple with a hand and closed her eyes as she whispered, “I don't understand…” Alex exhaled deeply and pointed at Lena, still not looking at her. “You… are you telling me that you…” Alex emphasised her words by jabbing her finger aggressively in Lena’s direction, “have not kissed the Queen?”

“Um… yes…”, Lena coughed out, still utterly confused.

“I… I… I…”, Alex repeated unable to form any sort of coherent sentence as she shook her head from side to side in disbelief.

Sam reached out and placed a gentle hand on the Knight-Commander’s back and whispered soothingly, “Alex, deep breaths.”

Alex swallowed heavily before doing as her wife ordered and returning to a more regular breathing pattern. Slowly, Alex rose to her feet, pushing herself up with her hands against the table, mumbling brokenly, “I just… one minute please…”

With that the Knight Commander quickly about-turned on her heel and marched out of the room, closing the heavy wooden door behind herself.

Lena watched her close friend up and leave, her throat feeling tight and her nerves on edge. There was a pause as the door clicked softly closed and Lena glanced around at her fellow council members as she started to ask weakly, “Is she-”

“HOW CAN SOMEONE SO SMART BE SO STUPID ?!” Alex roared, her voice not even remotely muffled by the thick walls of the corridor. “TWO YEARS?!” The Knight-Commander screamed in utter frustration causing the entire council to wince in synchronisation. “TWO GODDAMN YEARS?! KARA, YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER COWARD!” Alex berated, and Lena felt herself shrinking in her chair, unable to pull her gaze away from the door that seemed to shake with the ferocity of Alex’s every word. “WHY DO THEY BOTH HAVE TO BE SO STUPID ?! I DON’T UNDERSTAND! I AM SURROUNDED BY IDIOTS AND COWARDS!!!”

The door rattled dramatically as something hard collided it with an almighty amount of force.

Lena was unsure if Alex was banging a fist or her head against the door.

Finally, the door swept upon and in stormed the Knight-Commander, her hands balled up into tight fists by her sides and her furious glare fixed solely on Lena who’s eyes went wide as she gulped dramatically.

“Uhh…”, Lena croaked as Alex approached and gripped her shoulder tightly.

“Get up, now!” Alex barked.

“Alex.” Sam reprimanded harshly, obviously unimpressed by her wife’s tone and attitude towards their friend.

“Get up now, My Lady!” Alex corrected, her tone not changing even slightly.

Sam let out a sigh and deflated in her seat, rolling her eyes in exasperation, “Not quite what I meant but I'll take it as a victory…”

“Where are we going?” Lena demanded to know as Alex practically dragged her from her seat and out of the council chambers, no one else daring to step in and interfere.

“Throne room.” Alex curtly explained, “You're going to kiss Kara, she’s going to wake up and then…” The Knight-Commander came to an abrupt stop and stared Lena dead in the eye as she whispered coldly, “I'm going to kill you both… slowly and painfully…” Lena’s face drained of colour, though she wasn’t sure whether that was due to the realisation she was about to kiss Kara or that she had received the most serious threat to her life in years. “Do you know what these last two years have done to me?” Alex inquired quietly. “Grey hair, My Lady. GREY HAIR!”

 


 

The throne was always eerily quiet at this particular time of day.

Kara knew it was because her friends were all attending the daily council meeting and the children were in classes, but those rationalisations never helped when she was feeling particularly melancholy like today.

Normally, in this time, Kara would think back over everything that she had heard during the day and work out a timeline of the day’s events based on whispered conversations that had been held in her vicinity. She learnt rather quickly during her cursed slumber to reconcile all of the gossip she’d heard to create her very own dramatic novel in her mind which had daily updates. It turns out life at the Castle was incredibly entertaining and dramatic.

Though, Kara was afraid of the ramifications of having developed a gossip addiction when she finally woke up.

It would probably be unbecoming for the Queen to be seen eavesdropping on the guards and castle workers in hopes of finding out if Cerys the maid ever did find the courage to reveal that her marriage was a sham and got to reunite with her actual true love Jacob, the castle cook.

Kara’s saddened state, which resulted in her skipping today’s ‘Castle Tales’ as she called it, was due to the reflective mood she’d slipped into following Lady Lena’s confession that her love for Kara was the reason she was missing out on taking Lucas in.

Lena and Lucas’ visit had, at first, brought a pleasant disruption to Kara’s usual day but their departure left her feeling even hollower than she had been before. She’d been desperate to greet the small boy and learn everything there was to know about him solely because of Lena’s tone of voice when she spoke about him, and to him. It was abundantly clear how much Lena cared for the child and it broke Kara’s heart that she hadn’t been there at the inception of their relationship.

She wanted to be there from the very start, growing to care for Lucas at the same time as Lena.

Getting to watch Lena blossom into a parental figure with Kara their by her side every step of the way.

The two of them building a close relationship with him.

A familial bond like she always secretly dreamed for herself and Lena.

But Kara had been deprived of that. Kara would actually say she deprived herself of that dream. She pushed Lena away to protect her and from the sounds of things only managed to hurt them both in doing so.

And here she was… still hurting Lena. Pushing her away from someone else who could bring her happiness.

Kara knew if she could move, react, or even slightly express herself she would be sobbing at the endless heartbreak both of them were suffering from.

“This won’t work.”

Lena’s sharp dismissal cut through Kara’s sullen thoughts sharper than any sword.

Kara was suddenly aware of the two sets of footsteps that had come to an abrupt stop at the entrance to the throne room. Kara strained to hear the conversation worried from Lena’s cool tone that she was in danger, her fears however were put to rest when she heard Alex reply curtly.

“Yes, it will.”

“You don’t even believe in true love’s kiss.” Lena huffed back, those few words grinding the whole world to a halt for Kara.

Oh my god! It’s happening! It’s happening! Stay calm! Kara ordered herself, her stasis cells readying themselves to attention as pure, potent hope flooded through her.

Alex remained silent for a long few moments and Kara imagined her to have her assessing gaze on as she carefully selected what she would say next and how she would say it. It was a habit of Alex’s whenever faced with what she deemed to be a defining moment.

Come on Alex! It’s up to you! Please don’t let me down!

“That’s only because I didn’t think it had worked for you.” Alex whispered so softly and so sincerely, Kara could hear the heavy exhale of shock from Lena that she would have emulated if she could. “If any two people could prove true love’s kiss is real… it would be you two.” Alex confessed.

Kara’s heart swelled at the revelation because even if the kiss didn’t work, even if Lena had never seen how much Kara loved her during their time together.

Alex had.

And Kara knew, without a shadow of a doubt that Alex would do everything in her power to convince Lena of the truth.

The single greatest regret of Kara’s life would now be rectified.

Someone knew how truly and deeply she loved Lena and she trusted that person to tell Lena everything she had been too afraid to do..

“When…” Alex’s voice cracked and she coughed in a failed bid to regain something resembling her normal brusque tone. “When I found Kara in your arms that night the curse came into effect…”

Kara fought back against the flashback to that night with everything she had. The sleep claiming her as she was so, so close to telling Lena the truth about her feelings. Lena’s tears falling on her as the Lady cradled her unresponsive body. Screaming inside her now eternal prison, fighting bitterly to regain control of her immobile body so that she could offer comfort to Lena.

“I thought… you said you ‘did everything you could’.” Alex explained slowly, and the sharp inhale from Lena revealed that she now comprehended where the misunderstanding had come from. “I thought you’d tried. That Kara had told you how she felt that night like she promised me she would.”

Kara wanted to wince at her own personal failure and the simmering fury obvious under Alex’s tone.

“I told her if she truly believed in true love’s kiss that…” Alex sighed, and there was a short sound of shuffling feet as the Knight-Commander presumably stepped closer to Lena to offer support and emphasise her next statement. “It had to be you. No one else. I didn’t think it had worked so… I never brought it up. I didn’t want to hurt you by reminding you of it not working.” Kara heard a creak and a rustle of clothing as Alex straightened up to her full height like she was often to do when making a declaration. “I didn’t believe because if didn’t work for you two… it won’t work for anyone.”

“I don’t… You’re wr...” Lena croaked, “Kara doesn’t… she’s far too…” Lena’s voice was shaky and Kara imagined her entire body trembling with disbelief at the information she’d just been given.

Kara knew Lena wouldn’t believe immediately.

There wasn’t proof.

There wasn’t physical evidence.

But if… just if… Lena kissed her and every fairytale her father told her before bed was true… Kara would spend every day of her life gathering meticulous evidence to convince her.  

“Kara loves you. She has loved you since the day you met.” Alex bluntly stated, and though Kara knew she should simply be grateful that Lena finally knew, that it had finally been spoken out loud to her, Kara couldn’t help but wish she’d been the one to tell her.

She, at least, would have done it far more romantically...

“Why didn’t she-” Lena began to ask.

“Tell you?” Alex finished, her exasperation obvious by the rhythmic tapping of her foot. “For all the exact same reasons you didn’t tell her.”

Lena didn’t respond immediately and Kara began to fear Lena had stealthily escaped the throne room intent on never returning.

“Alex…” Lena whispered brokenly revealing that a silent conversation had taken place between the researcher and the Knight-Commander.

Kara’s heart cracked at the obvious pain in Lena’s single word.

Kara wanted to see Lena’s expression, her eyes always gave a hint of what was going on below the surface and without them it was like trying to translate a language she’d never heard before.

“Yes?” Alex prompted gently.

“What if it doesn’t work now?”

“Then we move onto attempt 326.” Alex announced. “It doesn’t change anything. Kara’s love for you won’t diminish if this doesn’t work, I promise.”

It was in that moment Kara was reminded of every reason she loved and admired Alex. Alex was reliable and matter of fact. A stable support in every situation. She didn’t beat around the bush when it came to the people she loved and she never abandoned them in their time of need. She would always be there for Kara and Lena. A steady sword and shield to protect them, a helping hand when they stumbled and a shoulder to cry on when it was all too much.

“Alright…” Lena affirmed, a strength and courage that was uniquely Lena audible in that singular declaration.

That’s when Kara heard the sound of measured, controlled footsteps coming towards her.

Kara’s heart leapt into her throat as she counted down the seconds until Lena would be at her side.

A soft, comforting hand wrapped around her own.

The effect of Lena’s touch was as instantaneous as always. It felt like her body was humming with unreleased energy, her lungs were burning with the desire to quicken the inhale and exhale of air and her skin bristled with static electricity.

“Please come back to me, Kara.” Lena whispered close to Kara’s ear and Kara felt a shiver descend from her head to her toes hidden below the surface.

Lena’s breath was warm on Kara’s face as she positioned herself so she was hovering just above Kara’s lips.

Please Lena. Have faith in the intangible.

I love you.

I always have and I always will.

Kara had seen spells, curses and dark magic numerous times in her adventures and quests. She would always associate those acts of ancient power used for malevolent purposes with a chill running sinisterly down her spine, a nervous tremble taking control of her limbs and the faint taste of blood in her mouth.

Whereas, Lena kissing her was simply magical.

The real sort of magic.

The kind of magic we promise to children in stories.

The kind of magic that made the world brighter, more fantastical and wondrous.

Life thundered back into Kara the second Lena’s soft lips brushed against her own, and swept through every cell shocking them out of stasis one by one.

Lena captured Kara’s lips and brought every fairytale Kara believed in to life..

Kara finally… finally… was able to react. To move. To do everything she always wanted to in that moment.

Without hesitation, her movements still slightly stiff and unsteady as she sluggishly remembered how to coordinate herself, Kara was able to smile into the soft kiss.

Lena feeling the movement jolted slightly and made to pull away but Kara had waited years for this.

Not just two years of slumber.

Years of knowing Lena. Years of loving Lena. Years of restraining and holding back from being with the woman she loved.

Kara’s hand instinctively lifted up to curl around Lena’s jaw, keeping her close at the same time as she slowly sat up desperately chasing after Lena’s lips.

Lena gasped in amazement allowing Kara to deepen the kiss and wrap her other arm around Lena’s waist pressing her against Kara’s chest, intent on never letting her go ever again.

It was the drops of moisture that Kara felt drip past her cheek which prompted her to pull away, fearful that she had pushed Lena too much, too quickly.

The tremulous smile and the bright shining green eyes were the perfect first sight to see after two years of darkness.

Kara beamed in response to the awed expression on the Lady’s face, fully aware that after everything there was a good chance she might smile for the rest of her life, especially if she got to kiss Lena as much as she wanted to from now on.

“Took you long enough.” Kara teased, her blue eyes twinkling with delight.

“Kara?” Lena murmured still in disbelief, her hands lifting up to carefully cradle Kara’s face, her thumbs shakily tracing the broad grin she’d been deprived of for too long.

“Mmhmm…”, Kara hummed proudly, turning her head from left to right to place a reverent kiss on either of Lena’s palms.

“SO STUPID!” Alex shouted from the other end of the throne room.

Kara laughed heartily in response, glancing over to her best friend and hero who was slumped against a wall banging her head against the stone in frustration. “Love you too, Alex!” Kara called out gleefully, before switching her attention back to green eyes and the softest lips in the world.

“You love me?” Lena asked tentatively, “Truly love me?”

Kara quirked her head to the side and hugged Lena closer to herself.

“Yes.” Kara said simply. “I love you. I’ve loved you for years now and I’m sorry.” Kara tipped her head forward and buried her face in Lena’s neck, breathing her in deeply as she whispered, “I’m sorry I didn’t say it before. I should have told you that very first night you fell asleep in my arms all those years ago.”

Lena’s breath caught in her throat at that and her fingers threaded themselves through Kara’s hair, keeping the Queen pressed against her.

“I should have told you every day.” Kara breathed.

“I should have too…”, Lena murmured in reply, and Kara placed a grateful kiss over her pulse point causing Lena to sink further into their shared embrace. “What happens now?” Lena inquired, the uncertainty for their future obvious in the way her fingers flexed their grip on Kara’s hair as if she was afraid Kara would slip away from her any second now.

Kara knew that fear was partially her fault.

Every time they had gotten close, reached a point where their relationship was on the brink of something… more … something real . Kara had pulled away. Put distance between them.

She stopped their nighttime meetups.

She stopped reaching for Lena’s hand in public.

She nearly sent Lena away.

Kara gradually leaned back, her entire body tense and rigid with the need to put those fears to rest anyway she could, allowing  Lena’s green eyes to stare anxiously into Kara’s sincere blue ones.

Kara took a deep breath and said seriously, “Next? Next comes the happy ever after. And my happy ever after includes you.” Kara drifted forward until her lips were brushing against Lena’s before she whispered honestly. “My happy ever after is you.