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There are many things on Earth that are different from Krypton.

 

The color of the sky. The vitality of the forests and grasslands. The birds.

 

There are some things that Kryptonians have naturally that humans don’t-- powers being a prime example of the difference between the two species that otherwise appear identical in form and function. Stick a Kryptonian beside a human being and at first glance, the only way to make any sort of distinction would be the odd clashing of colors and material in a human’s wardrobe in comparison to the elegant, monochrome outfits that dominated Kryptonian culture.

 

They have the same variation in hair types, color, and length; the same wonderful gradient of skin tones; the same average height and musculoskeletal structure and diverse body shapes; the same brilliant shades of eye color from blue to black to green and honey; the same arrangement of internal organs; the same sculpt of lips and noses and cheek bones put together in breathtaking mosaics of handsome features. On the surface, there was almost no distinguishable difference.

 

Except.

 

The one thing that Kryptonians don’t have is freckles.

 

Or at least, they didn’t on Krypton.

 

It had been a very bizarre and harrowing experience as a young child to suddenly notice little brown dots appearing across her skin after spending her first few days out in the glory of the sunlight. Kara had first assumed it was dirt of some kind. When they didn’t scrub off in the shower, perhaps they were a stain, or a marking Alex had sneakily left behind with one of her strange little “ink pens” to taunt her. She was annoyed, then confused, and then progressively alarmed when those little dots began to propagate across the bridge of her nose, over her cheeks, shoulders, and arms. Was she sick? Was this some Earthly disease unknown to the Kryptonian database?

 

There had been no precedent for this back on Krypton. The sunlight was not strong enough on their planet to cause the random darkening of pigment in their skin-- no tans or sunburns, either. Even at a young age, she would have known if it had been a natural occurrence. But freckles didn’t exist on Krypton or Daxam or any of the planets her father took her to visit; the skin color you were born with was the one you kept, and there was no altering that fact unless by mishap or purposeful mutilation. The closest word she could imagine might translate what she saw appearing on her skin was roughly equal to “blemish” or “scar,” both things on par with a disfigurement unbefitting of noble blood. And for a long while Kara was horrified, convinced that something had mutated her once fair and spotless complexion beyond repair.

 

For a girl born from a planet that strove to be perfect, the freckles that grew suddenly and without warning over her body was a physical reminder that her life, her people, her destroyed home, were very much not.  

 

(During this time, her relationship with Alex had been volatile, and any sort of inquiry into human skin diseases had met her with some nasty responses from a teenager too wrapped up in her own drama to care much about why a young alien was so terrified of freckles. )

 

And perhaps that was one of the root causes as to why Kara spent such a decent chunk of her childhood resenting her baby-- now older-- cousin to some deep, subconscious degree. He hadn’t known the customs of Krypton, the pressure to align oneself with perfection and the sublime; he had a Kryptonian’s blood, but the soul, the laughter, the awkward and shy energy of a human. And he had freckles.

 

When Kara had seen his for the first time, she panicked. It wasn’t just her, then, who contracted whatever mysterious affliction that cursed her with imperfection. She’d rushed to Kal, floated up to his face to grab his cheeks, and jerked his head back and forth, frantic in her study of the golden dust that coated his cheekbones and strong nose.

 

She would have cried, had he not gently set her back on the ground and explained the nature of the strange little dots. ‘The sunlight here is strong,’ he’d said, ‘The people here are sensitive to it if they stay out too long. Freckles are natural, and there is nothing wrong with you for having them.’

 

‘But the sun does not hurt us here,’ she’d argued. ‘We are different.’

 

‘Yes, which means our bodies still have to adjust. When I first got here, I was too young for freckles. Mine showed up when I was a little child and spent more time in the sunlight. Most will go away once you get older, but you’ll still have some,’ Kal had said, smiling. Kara didn’t smile back. ‘Just like me.’

 

Kara didn’t want to be just like him. He wasn’t Kryptonian enough to understand why the loss of her immaculate skin was devastating. It made her look human, and she wanted nothing of the sort when all she had left of her homeworld was the skin on her back. A skin that now would have turned heads had it been under the scrutiny of Kryptonian society. And Kal laughed it away, like it was cute she was worried, like the pain that she felt was so distant and insignificant it might as well have been fantasy.

 

It didn’t help that the freckles had been a source of cruelty on the part of her classmates, either; Kara had been perfect in every other sense of the word in their eyes, so the mild smattering of melanin over her nose had been the only thing they could latch onto that triggered the kind of shame they sought to inflict. She could take the jabs at her odd personality and peculiar mannerisms-- what did human children know of Kryptonian customs and eloquence, of holding one’s self in the highest esteem of the Science Guild, anyway? But it didn’t escape her notice that half of her classmates had tiny brown dots on their own faces, which made her wonder all the more what was so wrong with the ones she had.

 

She spent some nights cursing the Earth in her native tongue and its stupid little freckles.

 

It took a long time for Kara to eventually accept hers. Some faded away, but others persisted into adulthood, speckling the curve of her shoulders, her nose, and the soft skin beneath her eyes. For a while she covered them-- the magic of foundation, Alex had told her when they were young and Alex’s adolescence had brought different kinds of spots to her face--  and kept them hidden, hoping that they would disappear forever if they stayed coated in make-up long enough. Kara suspects the persistence from Eliza to love and embrace herself as she was, even through the changes she experienced since arriving on Earth, had something to do with the confidence that slowly began to trickle back into her life.

 

It wasn’t until Cat Grant had scoffed in her face, “They’re freckles, Kiera, not liver spots” that Kara stopped wearing the foundation altogether. (And maybe that was what really inspired Kara to turn to fashion, because once she started to like how she looked-- freckles-and-all-- it was like she’d discovered a new superpower.)

 

Until.

 

The night Kara Danvers became Supergirl, the night she took up the mantle of what it meant to be a super-powered alien standing on Earth soil, Kara found herself burying those freckles under tinted cream until the reflection in her mirror was sufficiently Kryptonian again.

 

Kara Danvers was human, of course. She wore jeans and brightly colored scarves and glasses and she had freckles.

 

But Supergirl-- she was a Kryptonian.

 

And Kryptonians don’t have freckles.

 

---

 

Kara doesn’t hate freckles. Not anymore, not since her thirteen-year-old memories became shrouded in a fog that feels human enough that the freckles on her face match the life she leads. They’re as much as part of her disguise as her glasses, and for the most part she even forgets she has them until it comes time to take up the Super persona. Then, the foundation becomes her disguise, hiding from the world that Supergirl was more human than she cared to admit.

 

But she doesn’t hate them.

 

Actually, now with Lena Luthor brightening her life, Kara’s come to discover that she’s starting to like them more than she originally planned. (Maybe not on herself-- they still mean something else entirely when sprinkled across the face of one that wasn’t supposed to have any.) Especially the incredibly dark one that dots the center of Lena’s throat that never fails to draw Kara’s attention. It’s a beautiful contrast to the smooth, pale skin of Lena’s neck and, as Kara finds when Lena starts to wear lower cropped shirts and plunging necklines, her shoulder and chest.  

 

She wonders at those freckles. Wonders why she finds them so intriguing, so beautiful, when she’d spent a good portion of her Earth life lamenting the appearance of her own.

 

It’s just Lena, Kara tells herself eventually. Lena makes everything beautiful.

 

---

 

“He’s a smart kid,” Lena says, and the two of them settle onto the couch in her office as the reporter on the wide-screen television chatters away about George Lockwood.

 

Kara nods as she chews on the mouthful of jelly donut she’d absconded with from Jame’s office that morning. The three dozen or so donuts that had been delivered to his desk were too tempting, and he had barely even glanced Kara’s way when she stole into his room to nab one (well… four) from the bounty. Lena has her delicate fingers wrapped around a simple glazed ring, and Kara finds it incredibly unfair that the sugar doesn’t dare stick to the corners Lena’s mouth like it likes to do to her own.

 

After sucking a little smear of jelly off the pad of her thumb, Kara adds, “He’s gonna do a lot of good things in his life, I think.” She aims a squinting smile over at Lena. “Just like you.”

 

Lena rolls her eyes. It’s a fond, good-natured gesture, followed by the flash of a pleased smile. “Let’s hope. I’ve offered to sponsor him in a STEM program if he decides to pursue that field, though it sounds like he’s more interested in political science,” she says, nodding toward the TV.

 

“Maybe I’ll sponsor him if he ever goes for the journalist route.” Kara waggles her eyebrows, to which Lena mock-sighs, as she usually does at Kara’s gentle teasing.

 

They sit comfortably as the reporter continues. When young Lockwood shows up on the screen, Kara notices that Lena shifts slightly forward on the couch cushion. The focus in her gaze is rapt, fully involved, almost to a point that she seems to forget the half-eaten donut resting atop the napkin on her knee.

 

Kara half watches the interview and half throws occasionally glances back toward Lena. They’ve been...amicable since the defeat of her brother, but since then Kara had sensed some sort of change, some underlying current that she couldn’t quite grasp, like a fish that shot through her fingers if she tried to probe for answers. Lena’s been busy, of course, so there hadn’t been much time to socialize outside of Game Night. Whatever it is settles like an itch on the back of her mind, alongside the annoying little voice that fires off daily reminders of what Kara had promised herself after Lex’s defeat.

Not yet, she dismisses. Lena is focused and determined again, now that Lex no longer looms like a shadow at their every turn. Kara wants to give Lena as much time to recover from him and Eve before she saddles the ugly truth on her shoulders.

 

And maybe Kara is a little afraid, too.

 

“He has cute freckles,” Lena suddenly comments, and Kara’s thoughts come snapping back to the present like the release of a hair tie against the skin of her inner wrist. It takes her a few blinks to realize that Lena’s still talking about George.

 

Kara looks up at the screen again and adjusts her glasses. “Uh-- yeah-- freckles,” she says, in an effort to return herself to the conversation, “Yes. He certainly... has them.”

 

The thick curve of Lena’s eyebrow raises when she turns slightly to regard Kara. “You don’t think his are cute?”

 

“He’s adorable. His-- his freckles are adorable.” She gives a small wave, then peers a little closer at the face of the boy as he speaks into the microphone. His freckles remind her more of Lena’s-- dark, separated from the rest in their own little space across his pale skin, like cute moles instead of the careless dust splattered across her own nose. “Actually, yeah. His are pretty cute.”

 

The eyebrow hikes higher.

 

“What?”

 

Lena turns fully in her seat. “Do you not like freckles?”

 

The sharp, overcompensating snort of a laugh erupts out of Kara as she gestures aimlessly away from herself. “What? No-- freckles? Love ‘em. So cute,” she says. In attempt to convince the very obviously un-convinced Lena, Kara babbles on, “I mean, you have freckles, and I love you-- r. Your freckles. Love your freckles. They’re great. I wish I had your freckles.”

 

She blinks when Lena scoots across the couch closer to where Kara’s sitting and places her donut on the coffee table in front of them, careful not to let the glaze crumbles fall into her lap. Then she reclines back against the sofa, elbow propped onto the white pleather, chin set studiously onto her palm.

 

“You don’t like freckles,” she repeats, and this time it’s not a question.

 

Kara grimaces. “I mean it when I say I like yours,” she answers, ducking her head slightly to avert her gaze from the suddenly very serious and very intent way Lena was watching her. She fiddles with her own fingers in the lap of her skirt for lack of anything else to concentrate on. “They’re really pretty.”

 

There’s a brief moment where neither of them speak, or move, aside from the faint flickering of Lena’s crystalline eyes as she examines something about Kara that feels almost incomprehensible, like she’s searching deeper than any answer her physical body might provide. Kara wants to fidget, wants to laugh away the strange electricity that hums just beneath the surface of her skin that flares hot and sudden when Lena reaches out and takes her chin between forefinger and thumb.

 

Lena tilts Kara’s face downward slightly and appraises her with a profound sweep of her gaze. It’s like she sees something that Kara doesn’t, like there’s some sort of mystic quality that escapes everyone else’s notice but hers.

 

“You don’t like your freckles,” she clarifies, softer this time, simple, like it’s no big deal that it took her precisely five seconds to zero in on one of Kara’s most deep-seated insecurities.

 

The heat of Lena’s touch is melting most of Kara’s ability to focus. She breathes in deep, and hopes that the burn on the back of her neck isn’t visible with how close Lena leans into her space. She’s not sure Lena has ever stayed in this kind of proximity before; the length of time they spend looking at each other blazes somewhere beyond friendly and into the territory of intimate, and had they been talking about literally anything else, Kara might have combusted on the spot.

 

As it was, the question pokes at some of the historical discomfort she’d long cast into the shadows of memory. Kara exhales, quiet and long, before shutting her eyes to keep herself from drowning in the wonder that is Lena Luthor. “No,” she admits, on the edge of embarrassment for how silly it sounds to confess, “I don’t.”

 

Lena’s fingers are still gently attached to Kara’s chin. “Why not?”

 

Kara pulls the plush of her bottom lip between her teeth and notes just how dangerously close Lena’s thumb is to her mouth. Her eyes snap back open at the thought, which nearly short-circuits her brain. “It’s,” she starts, faltering when she feels the tip of Lena’s thumb press a fraction harder to her skin, as if responding to the way Kara continues to chew her lip, “It’s a long story. I-- I just… It’s... My parents. My birth parents. They didn’t have freckles.”

 

Lena stills. She doesn’t remove her hand yet, but Kara can sense the slight tension that winds up through her fingers and arm, all the way to her spine. Something flickers within Lena’s stare, fathomless to Kara that sends a foreboding sort of prickle down the length of her neck.

 

“I see,” Lena murmurs, and she finally pulls back. In the absence of her touch, Kara feels chilled. Disappointed. “I’m sorry. That must be difficult.”

 

If there’s one person on the planet that might have understood that sentiment, Kara knew it would have been Lena; but the way Lena looks at her now, hooded and distant, confuses some of her certainty. “I-- yeah,” Kara settles on, after clearing her throat and glancing back toward the interview they’d abandoned. It’s over, George Lockwood replaced now with an alien that had escaped the Children of Liberty. “It’s just a reminder, I guess. That I’m here and they’re not.”

 

Something about those words impacts Lena strangely. She moves back to her spot on the couch and looks away from Kara, a deep draw to her eyebrows. Her smile vanishes, replaced by a grim, almost melancholy purse of her lips. Within a blink, the warm, electric buzz between them collapses in on itself, and Kara is left wondering if she’d imagined the whole thing.

 

They finish their donuts quietly. Kara thinks about her family and her freckles, and tries to ignore that voice in her mind that bleats out warning after warning.

 

---

 

The next time Kara sees Lena, it’s not as Kara-- it’s as Supergirl in all of her spandex-ed glory, cape stroked back by a particularly determined gust of wind and knuckles poised on her hips like they’d been glued there. And of course, those pesky freckles are hidden beneath a neatly applied coat of foundation.

 

“Miss Luthor,” Supergirl greets as she enters the office, Lena trailing after from where she’d unlocked the balcony door.

 

“Supergirl,” Lena returns. “Thank you for coming.”

 

“Of course. You mentioned something about destabilizing an alien power core?”

 

Lena gestures toward her desk. She takes her place behind it as Supergirl treads over the carpet for the extra chairs on the other side. “Yes. Something we found in my brother’s belongings at one of his secret bases,” she says. “It’s going to take a lot more force than I am comfortable utilizing in the middle of a city.”

 

Supergirl leans closer, the ends of her curls brushing the resin surface of the desk when Lena reaches out to show her something on a tablet. “What do you need from me?”

 

There’s a small pause. When Kara glances upward, Lena’s gaze is trained squarely on her face. The piercing quality of it startles Kara, but she doesn’t have enough time to ask what it’s all about before Lena seems to find herself and look abruptly back down at the tablet.

 

“If you can take it somewhere remote and input this sequence, I think I can destroy it safely,” Lena explains. Kara doesn’t miss the sudden tightness to her voice, but decides not to comment. “Should be simple enough.”

 

They discuss the logistics for a little while longer, Kara listening as Lena describes the device in jargon that reminds her of when she’d studied under the Science Guild. The thought brings a small smile to her face, and Lena pauses for an extra beat when her attention drops down to Supergirl’s mouth. Then before Kara can blink, she resumes the explanation.

 

Their meeting draws to a close nearly twenty minutes later. Supergirl waits by the window as Lena pulls out a small, baseball-sized device from the confines of a metal safe. Veins of crystal weave neat, distinctive neon pink lines around the silvery object and pulsate with light from within the very center of it. Supergirl sees a couple rounded buttons on one of its numerous flattened sides that must have been the buttons Lena mentioned.

 

Lena presses the object into her hand. When she doesn’t let go, even once Supergirl’s fingers wrap securely around it, Kara catches her gaze again. It’s back to that significant depth that crawls across Kara’s skin and ignites static through her mind.

 

“Lena?” Supergirl manages softly.

 

Lena’s jaw clenches tight for a moment. Then her eyes flicker up and rove all along Supergirl’s face. When her gaze lands on the edge of Supergirl’s hairline, it suddenly springs back to meet Kara’s wide blue stare. “Wait,” she says, and Supergirl stays rooted to the spot as Lena moves back to her desk to rifle through it.

 

A moment later, Lena is pressing a rounded make-up sponge into Supergirl’s other palm.

 

“This will help with blending,” is all Lena says before she escorts Supergirl back onto the balcony-- and shuts the door in her face.

 

Supergirl stares through the window for a long, breathless moment.

 

Then she bolts for the desert, heart thundering with wild abandon in her chest.


---

 

Lena only manages to get her door open a few inches before Kara pushes it the rest of the way and marches into the hotel room as if she’s being chased by a swarm of bees. It’s only been a couple days since Lena asked Supergirl to help get rid of Lex’s old alien technology, but the manic energy, the anxiety, still writhes like a living creature in the center of Kara’s breast.

 

“I don’t like my freckles,” Kara proclaims loudly, at the empty room opposite of where Lena still stands beside the door. She can feel her chest heaving and ice that attempts to snake into her lungs. Her back is to Lena, and she stares at the penthouse window where the last rays of sunlight die behind the distant hills. “I’m not-- we’re not supposed to have them. They don’t exist on Krypton.”

 

The sharp hitch of breath is all the acknowledgement Kara gets.

 

“The red sun,” Kara says, struggling not to sound hysterical, “It’s not-- it’s not strong enough to cause pigmentation changes like that. When I got here, I didn’t--” she swallows, breathing hard, still staring at the window, “I didn’t know what they were. I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that-- I thought that the freckles meant I wasn’t Kryptonian any more, because I had something we weren’t supposed to.” Her fists shake at her sides, and she takes a deep, quick breath before snatching her glasses off her face.

 

When Kara turns around, Lena stands with her arms crossed, stoic and silent.

 

She had a suspicion that Lena might have known, ever since she’d given Supergirl that sponge. It was an innocent gesture, and maybe even innocuous enough that Kara could have overthought the entire exchange. But once the seed of doubt had been planted, it was all Kara could think about since, until she’d finally been roused by the fear hammering in her heart that Lena would hate her significantly more if she kept it secret any longer.

 

“I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara gushes, voice sticky and thick, “I wanted to tell you myself. I did. I didn’t want to keep it from you anymore. I was just-- I was so scared-- I don’t want you to hate me but I understand if you do, if I ruined everything, because I know I hurt you and I don’t want--”

 

She trails off with a shuddering inhale when Lena suddenly crosses from her entryway to where Kara stands in the center of her hotel room. Long, pretty fingers move upward to cup the curve of Kara’s jaw.

 

“I was beginning to wonder if you’d ever tell me,” Lena whispers. The hurt in her voice nearly splinters Kara’s heart into pieces, held together only by the touch of Lena’s hand to her cheek.

“I wanted to.” The words wobble. “I promise. I tried, once. But I-- you-- you were so upset. And I just… I wanted to give you time.” Kara sniffs slightly and rubs the wetness from her cheek with the back of her wrist; Lena’s thumb strokes away a drop or two from the other cheek. “After that, I just saw how well you were doing, and I...I don’t know. Didn’t want to be the one to make you suffer more, I guess.”

 

Lena is quiet for a while. Kara doesn’t expect her to speak-- if anything she expects that the fragile contact they share will break and then the full force of Lena’s fury will erupt-- so she startles when, after a few contemplative moments, Lena slowly draws her hand down from Kara’s face and pulls her into a tight, almost clinging embrace.

 

Kara immediately tucks her face into Lena’s neck and breathes deep, careless that her tears dampen the collar of Lena’s shirt.

 

“It’s going to be a problem,” Lena says. “And I won’t pretend that I’m not upset that you didn’t tell me before. It’s going to take me a while to be okay. For us to be okay.”

 

Kara’s eyes pinch shut. “Is there anything I can do?”

 

She can feel the sigh that pulls deep into Lena’s chest, and reluctantly lets Lena move back until they’re face to face again. Lena’s eyes are glossy and reddened, but she still doesn’t look angry, at least. “This is a start,” Lena says quietly, brushing back some of Kara’s hair that sticks to the wet of her skin. “I can’t promise it’ll be easy.”

 

“That’s okay,” Kara says. “Whatever needs to happen, I will be there for you.”

 

Lena’s head tilts slightly as she watches Kara. That electric hum from the day in her office is back, but it’s pleasant this time, effusing languid heat from the center of Kara’s chest and outward until she’s certain Lena can feel the warmth of it. The fear that had plagued her over the last few days recedes into a low tide so she can breathe a little easier again.

 

“There is one thing you can do for me.”

 

Kara blinks. “Of course. What is it?”

 

The tip of Lena’s finger drags softly over the skin of Kara’s cheek and crests the bridge of her nose. “Stop covering up your freckles,” Lena says. From anyone else it might have sounded silly, lighthearted; but she says it with such rich sincerity that it feels like the bottom of Kara’s stomach opens up, and she has to swallow back the hot swell in her throat that presents itself under the intense weight of Lena’s gaze.

 

“Okay,” she answers, hoarse.

 

Lena is still watching her, and for a moment it’s like she can see everything about Kara laid out and raw, pulled part by the seams until every little filament is plucked free under her stare. “Don’t hide yourself anymore,” she says. “Not from me. Don’t make me wonder what else you’ve got locked away. Don’t make me,”-- she takes a strained breath and closes her eyes momentarily, “--doubt.”

 

Kara shakes her head when Lena glances back up at her. The anxiety rolls in her stomach, spiked and painful. “I won’t. I can’t. You are… everything, Lena. I will do everything I can to prove it to you.”

 

Lena hums slightly and focuses on a spot just below Kara’s eye level. She touches her thumb pad there again, as if she’s petting the gentle spackling of freckles over Kara’s face. “You know,” she starts, “My mother… before she died, I remember her telling me that freckles were marks left behind from an angel’s kiss. She had dark ones, like me, but much more than I do. I remember I used to think that she must have been really loved by an angel to have so many.”

 

When her gaze flickers back up to meet Kara’s, it’s like the world stops.

 

“An angel must really love you too, then,” Kara hears herself say, so soft it’s barely even a breath. She glances to the dark spot on Lena’s throat.

 

“Yes,” Lena says simply. “I think she does.”

 

Kara feels the gentle tug on her face, feels the air between them grow thin and charged, but she doesn’t believe it-- doesn’t even register anything beyond the aching arrest of her heart-- until Lena’s mouth is pressed against her lips, soft and warm and moving and wonderful. The salt and sweet draws a shaky inhale into her lungs and Kara nudges closer, tentatively taking whatever Lena gives with as much tender reverence she could possibly exude, and nearly falling apart when the faint slip of tongue brushes into her own mouth.

 

They stand for what seems like forever while Kara drinks in the panting breath and heady taste of Lena, one hand slipped into the dark hairs on the back of Lena’s head and the other cupped around her ribcage.

 

“Kara,” Lena half-whispers, half-breathes against her skin, and Kara has to gather every last scrap of her willpower to not hungrily chase after the touch of Lena’s lips again. But it’s not until Lena moves a hand onto Kara’s chest that she pulls back completely.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

It takes a moment for Lena to answer. Her expression shifts to something less open, less overtaken by the heat that had coiled between them. “I don’t know,” is what Lena says, but she doesn’t break from Kara’s contact, though her gaze has slipped elsewhere, pensive. Her hand remains against Kara’s sternum and doesn’t move. Kara wonders if she can feel the rapid-fire of the heartbeat just beneath her fingertips. “I don’t-- I don’t really know what I feel, right now.”

 

“That’s okay,” Kara says, “You don’t have to. You can take as much time as you need to figure it out. I’ll wait for you.”

 

She can see Lena swallow, can feel the way Lena sags slightly at the words.

 

“Sometimes I’m angry,” Lena tells her suddenly, nails digging into Kara’s skin as she flexes her hand against Kara’s chest, “Sometimes-- sometimes I want nothing to do with you, sometimes I just want to leave this all behind and forget. My brother, he… he called me a fool for trusting you, and sometimes I believe him.” Then she takes a breath, deep and trembling, before her fist closes completely over Kara’s shirt, some of the fabric caught inside of it. “I think about what you-- Supergirl-- did, about the Kryptonite. And also everything you’ve ever done for me, Kara or Supergirl. All the time. It’s all I can think about.”

 

“I don’t expect you to forgive me, Lena,” Kara says. “If… if you need space--”

 

“No,” Lena interrupts, so forcefully that Kara inhales whatever other words might have come tumbling out of her, “No. I just-- I know if I spend too much time alone, if I let myself spiral too much into my own thoughts, I might not… I might not want to come back.”

 

Kara can’t help the slight tightening of her grip. Lena notices, for the gesture elicits a small, almost sad smile to her pretty mouth.

 

“So…” Kara tilts her head, considering the words. “You want me to… stick around?”

 

A wet chuckle rises from Lena. “More or less, I suppose.” She clears her throat, and adds, “Just-- just help me believe that you’ll be there for me. Truthfully. Don’t leave me behind. Don’t let me think I’m not good enough.”

 

If it had been the appropriate thing to do, Kara would have swept her up into another barrage of melting kisses, each one punctuated with praises of devotion and heartfelt affection. Instead, she gently thumbs the soft skin of Lena’s jaw and tries not to let her smile get too watery. “I will do whatever it takes,” Kara says, “to be good enough for you , Lena Luthor.”

 

The shadowed smile on Lena’s face grows slightly brighter as she leans up to press a quick, chaste kiss to Kara’s mouth. “We’ll see, Supergirl.”

 

---

 

As Lena had said, it takes a while before everything settles into place. There are arguments, both valid and random, cold anger and explosive, tears and kisses and promises and all sorts of roller coasters that they conquer before they’re okay again. The therapy helps significantly, but it’s still some time before Lena decides that the past is forgiven, that she accepts fully what happens between them going forward.

 

Kara, to her credit, is there every step of the way as she said she would be; she waits for that moment, waits for those scars to heal over and for Lena to take the final step in the recovery effort for their relationship-- whatever it is, now.

 

And like she promised, Supergirl stops wearing make-up. She gives the sponge back to Lena almost immediately, and ditches her foundation in the trash like the belongings of a jilted ex-lover. The news outlets don’t notice for months-- almost half a year-- before someone eventually points out the faint pigmentation over Supergirl’s scrunchy-nosed grin during an alien rights interview. It’s freeing, in a way, to be seen this way; Kryptonian and human in body and spirit, simultaneously, like the two halves of her whole have finally blended into one being. The way she was meant to be.

 

She is Kara Zor-El, a Kryptonian, and she has freckles.

 

(And maybe it helps that Lena peppers her face in kisses, so whenever Kara sees the constellations across her skin she thinks of angels and the blessings left behind. She thinks of Lena, and of love, and of family and stars and laughter and beauty and hope.)

 

(And maybe it also helps that Kara’s absolute favorite spot in the world is that dark little freckle on Lena’s throat, and she ravishes it with kisses and teeth whenever she gets the chance to show just how much she appreciates that freckle in particular.

 

Maybe she loves freckles, just a little.)