“You lied to me.”
“Tell me you didn’t, Kara. Tell me you haven’t been lying to me for years. Look me in the eye and lie to me again. I dare you.”
“It seems like that’s all you’ve got to say, so how about saving us both the trouble and leaving because I don’t really want to stand and watch you lie to me anymore.”
“I’m sorry, Lena. I’ll be here when you want to talk. If you ever want to talk.”
Kara gives her space. Kara gives Lena every bit of space that she needs. She makes good on the promise she spoke to Lena months before. Two to be exact. Two months of radio silence. Two months of no office lunches, or afternoon walks, or game nights, or half drunken karaoke embarrassments. Two months of not seeing Kara.
Not in person, at least.
It seems like the less she sees Kara in person, the more her face is plastered everywhere else Lena looks. The more Lena attempts to wean herself off Kara, the more the public seem to be enamoured by her. Kara’s words in magazines and her other face in newspapers. A billboard a grand total of a hundred feet away from her office window that reads Thank You, Supergirl.
Lena can’t even seem to turn on her computer without finding something else about Kara. About Supergirl. And it’s only partially because she’s looking. Only partially because she’s avoiding Kara but she misses her face and needs something. Anything. Just a shred.
That current shred being a clip of Supergirl that’s making the rounds. Smiling face. Soot covered suit. Arms wrapped around a tiny baby, singing a lullaby that no one else understands and pressing gentle lips to its forehead until it stops sobbing. The mother - being looked after by an EMT - looking particularly smitten with the golden haired hero that’s cooing at her admittedly adorable child.
Everyone else coos at the pair too.
It’s annoying. Knowing that Kara is so perfect, so kind and loving and perfect. Knowing that, in spite of all those things, Lena can’t help but be angry at her for what she’s done. For hiding. For lying. For lying and lying and lying and lying. She feels like she’s shouting at the sun for shining and she’s just so tired of it all.
(She replays the clip fifteen times before she barricades herself in her lab where the news, or the sunlight, can’t reach her anymore).
Kara saves another child and Lena watches from the fringes. The child, older this time, sat on Supergirl’s hip like she weighs nothing. Her hands wrapped so tightly around Kara that Lena vaguely wonders how they’ll ever get her to let go. Her tear stained cheeks hidden beneath the Super’s chin. Her sobs muffled by the cape she presses into.
The mainstream media don’t get hold of the true story behind the videos circulating for a while. They’re blurry and half-captured and there’s not much to it beyond a small child with a bruised face. No one says much about it at all. They don’t explain why Supergirl was involved in something that required nothing so super. They don’t speculate, or investigate, or report. But the stories spread online - the theories and hypotheses spread like wildfire and Lena can’t help but read them all.
She finds out the truth when Alex Danvers walks into her office with an air of casualness that goes against the directed sincerity on her face and the single photo she slides across Lena’s desk.
“Her father was abusing her. Kara heard the screams, the little girl pleading for Supergirl to come save her. She knew she’d get in trouble for breaking in, knew people would question that she was listening into their homes and she put herself on the line anyway because a little girl was scared. She waited in the police station and held that little girls hand the entire time. She didn’t move. Didn’t even question it. And when she asked Kara to go with her to the hospital; she waited there too.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“She’s a good person.”
“I never questioned that.”
“You’re a good person too. Kara will wait - she will sit in her apartment and mope for as long as you want her to because that’s what she does. She waits when someone needs her too but please don’t make her wait too long. Don’t let your anger blind you.” Alex leaves the photo on Lena’s desk as she goes. It’s an expected enough picture. Kara pressing her lips to the little girl’s forehead, so gently, so carefully, like she was the one who broke her in the first place. The little girl’s eyes squeezed shut in a moment of peace that she had clearly yearned for, for longer than she ever should have.
It’s a great photo but Lena thinks that Alex may have completely missed the point. It was never Kara’s goodness that she questioned, and it wasn’t anger that she was feeling. Not anymore. She just felt resigned. Resigned to losing another person from her life, to pushing another person away when things got scary, to not being good enough for someone once again.
Because that’s what this was. The fact that it didn’t matter how much she tried to be good, or how many times Alex Danvers told her that she was, because she was never good enough - good enough to know the secret, good enough to be trusted, good enough for Kara.
Kara who she still, in spite of everything she’d done, thought was the most perfect person to ever grace the earth with her presence. That’s why it hurt. Because Kara obviously didn’t think the same about her and Lena had always stupidly hoped she might.
Lena keeps watching Kara surface in the media. She appears more than ever before. Usually it’s a blur here or a streak there but not now. Now it’s clear photos, and staged shots, and selfies with strangers, and, in a brief moment of complete narcissism, Lena believes it’s for her benefit, for her attention. That Kara knows there’s a brief five minute window of Lena discovering a new photo, or video, in which she debates messaging Kara - asking to meet, asking to talk. That Kara knows that brief window keeps getting less brief, no matter how much Lena tries to fight it.
And it’s stupid things.
Supergirl eating ice cream with a little boy outside of his only recently put out home - ash and strawberry smeared across both of their faces. Supergirl carrying a child’s science project to school for them to stop it getting broken, her helping fix another for a little boy with tears in his eyes and his planets in disarray. Supergirl carrying groceries for old ladies and helping them cross the street, letting them pinch her cheeks and eating all the oddly warm, definitely no longer in circulation, and never branded, candy from their purses.
Everywhere. All the time. Chipping away at Lena’s walls without even knowing.
Lena’s too busy flicking through a stream of Supergirl photos on her drive home to see the car speeding towards her. She’s sitting in the back with her tablet on her lap when the light blinds her from the side. Brighter and brighter and brighter and then it’s all just black. She feels the sharp cut of glass across her face, the weight of it settling in her hair. The sharp sting of her skin scraping across asphalt. The trickle of blood down her temple.
Then everything again but muffled.
She wasn’t targeted. That’s the first thing she gets told when she finds the police officer outside her hospital room door. That, for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t aimed at her at all. Just a drunk driver dangerously on the road that thankfully left her with nothing more than a few scratches, a couple bruises and some minor internal bleeding.
That doesn’t stop Kara rushing in. She darts into the room, wearing her suit and a frown, pushing past the nurse at such a speed that it leaves her spinning on the spot (or maybe the whole room was spinning a little bit and Lena was just having a bit of a morphine moment). She charges towards Lena’s bed purposefully and then just stops. Dead in her tracks. Completely still.
Afraid to touch. Afraid to come any closer. Kara doesn’t shift but Lena can feel the weight of her gaze on her as surely as a hand on her skin. It’s as comforting as it is suffocating. Mostly because Lena doesn’t know whether to lean into the part of her that’s touched Kara cares about her or the doubtful side that says it’s all just an act to keep Lena sweet, keep her secret safe.
“I know I promised you space but I heard about your accident and I had to see you. I just needed to know that you’re okay. Are you okay?” Kara’s hand lifts up, edges towards Lena and immediately drops back to her side. She knows she looks worse than she is, worse than she feels. There’s a sick kind of satisfaction in knowing that Kara doesn’t know that though.
“So now you care about how I feel?” Lena scoffs.
Kara flinches. “I always cared, Lena.”
“Not really. You care like you care about everyone else in the city. It’s all obligation. You’ve been burdened with these powers so you feel like you have to help. But you’re not obligated to help me any more, Supergirl, so you can leave.” Kara steps forward. Lena shifts however much she can on the bed. It’s petty, she knows that, but she feels a little less like she’ll cave when there’s distance.
“You were never an obligation, Lena. You’re a choice. I chose you. I choose you.” It’s all Lena had ever really wanted to hear for a long time. That someone chose her. That somebody would be on her side through everything. For a long time she wanted that person to be Kara. For a long time she almost let herself believe it would be. A long time she thought she knew everything there was to know about Kara.
(She was wrong to hope for a lot of things.
Wrong to believe others).
“Just like you chose to lie.”
“I didn’t know how to tell you. I didn’t want you to hate me.”
“I could never hate you, Kara,” Lena says on reflex but she means it. She’s been angry, and upset, and angry again. But she always meant it. She doesn’t hate Kara. She wishes that she did, wishes that she could. It would make everything a whole lot easier. God everything would be so simple.
She passes out before Kara can respond. Wakes up to plumerias at her beside and whispers from the nurses all over the internet about the ever good Super visiting the almighty Luthor.
At least there were no pictures of her in that stupid gown.
Kara gets closer without ever getting close, without ever actually breaking the promise she made to Lena. Always two steps forward and one step back. Never pushing it any further than she thinks she can get away with. Ever considerate. Ever Kara Danvers.
And being Kara Danvers apparently now means helping the people of National City in the most ridiculous of ways. Lena thinks it may be some kind of self-imposed penance. That’s the only way she can explain Kara offering to put together strangers furniture in their apartment (that and the free food she seems to be scoffing down on some girls instagram with a grin and hammer in hand).
She lets kids try on her cape in the park. Wears her new stupid suit with pants that is way too attractive. Helps plant trees for the initiative Lena started in that same very park in an attempt to at least try save this stupid planet. Changes a man’s tire for him on the side of the road. Lifts the car with a single hand and slaps the tire on with the other. Paints over the graffiti on the side of L-Corp that says something nasty about Lex (and Lena just by association).
She waits with a little girl outside of school, holding her hand until her mum comes as the girl looks at her with adoration. The face of a first crush (it’s a pretty solid pick). Rebuilds a part of L-Corp that she destroys in a particularly nasty fight. Lena didn’t know she even knew how to do it, thinks she probably doesn’t when she gets someone to check out the work and has to pay to have it all redone.
(The gesture is sweet though.
Kara fixing what she broke.
The metaphor isn’t lost on her).
Lena finally decides to close the dance with distance herself after seeing her on the National City Fire Fighters account with two, notably attractive, fire fighters kissing her cheeks and a kitten she saved from a tree clutched in her arms. It’s adorable and Kara’s blushing and Lena misses causing the colour on those cheeks, misses getting to see it in person.
So she finally crumbles, finally slips, finally messages Kara ‘I’m willing to hear your reasons’.
It takes Kara fifteen minutes to show up at her door. Lena knows logistically it takes her nowhere near that long to get there, that Kara is pretending for her sake. Or maybe Kara was simply giving herself a breather, pacing outside Lena’s door like a mad man - at least that would explain why the floor outside of Lena’s apartment is so scuffed. Maybe this wasn’t the first time Kara had paced outside of her apartment. Maybe it wasn’t the first time she debated knocking.
Her knock is almost as timid as the look on her face when Lena opens the door for her. Kara. It feels like a long time since she’s seen her out of her suit. Just Kara in dark blue slacks and a lighter blue shirt. Kara in her always perfectly polished oxfords but slightly crumpled shirt.
This is what Lena missed most.
Her throat feels thick, tight. Her palms are sweaty, her legs trembling at just the sight of Kara and it feels like the first time she ever laid eyes on her. She didn’t know what to do with herself then either. Kara was the first beautiful thing in her life in a long time. She hadn’t known what Kara would mean to her then but she knows now. Has known for a long time and been afraid of it. Has avoided Kara because of it, because Lena knows she might just crumble before Kara has even had a second to attempt to grovel and Lena knows she needed time to be angry, needed a chance at true closure. Needed to do more than sweep everything under the rug and pack it up in boxes she’ll never open.
Silence hangs in the air as Lena opens the door wider for Kara to walk in. It’s heavy where their hug usually rests. Stifling in place of where Kara usually asks about her day. Suffocating in the moment in which she usually tells Lena she missed her - no matter the time between meetings.
“I missed you,” Kara says, instead of letting it hang unsaid in the air like Lena expected and it feels like a punch. A punch to Lena’s perfectly crafted boxes, spilling them messily all over the floor. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. You have every right to avoid me and I shouldn’t make you feel bad about it. But also I have missed you and this is the last time I’ll say it, and you don’t have to say it back because I’ll still mean it either way because I missed you… and that really is the last time.”
“Would you like a glass of water?” Lena asks, just to have something to do, just so she doesn’t have to look at Kara, just to stop herself from crumbling. Kara accepts and Lena thinks it might just be because Kara needs something to do too.
She doesn’t sip, just rolls the glass between her hands silently, pensively. “It’s not poisoned,” Lena adds and acts like it’s a joke but it’s not. Not fully. There’s no small part of her that’s considered maybe that is the reason. Maybe Kara doesn’t trust her. Maybe she got close to keep an eye on her. Maybe she’s been waiting for her to explode. Maybe the one person she thought saw beyond her past, really didn’t.
“I know. I didn’t- I wasn’t-“ Kara fumbles and then, as if to prove a point, downs the whole drink in a single move, placing the glass back on the table after a few more moments of fiddling with it. Lena reaches across the kitchen counter for it. The single thing that separates them. The space they never usually created. Usually they were so close. Always tactile. Kara had practically trained Lena to seek her warmth, revel in another person like she never had before and now she just felt cold.
(An island between them.
That metaphor didn’t slip her notice either).
“Would you like another?"
“No, thank you, that was lovely. You have great taps.” Lena feels the side of her mouth tick up slightly before she can stop it but she smothers it soon after. Kara, on her part, goes quiet again, not saying anything for a long while. She just looks at her, eyes darting all over Lena’s body and Lena’s not sure what’s she’s looking for but she never seems to find it, just keeps looking and looking until the silence starts to suffocate.
“Wait, Lena, I need to say this because you deserve it and I can’t keep getting sidetracked.”
“Great because I had no idea what I was going to say.” Kara laughs and smiles so softly at Lena that it hurts. Hurts that it’s been so long since she’s seen it. Hurts that she stops her own mouth from naturally returning the gesture. Hurts that it’s so beautiful. Just hurts.
“I didn’t want to lie to you,” begins Kara’s thesis statement and Lena can’t help but scoff. Kara falters but picks back up quickly. “At first it was because I didn’t know you. I wouldn’t tell a stranger my biggest secret. Then I got to know you and you were amazing but I kept being told that it was dangerous to tell you, that it was reckless and foolish and, even if I didn’t agree, I let myself be convinced because I spend my whole life being defined by it.
I’m an alien, I’m Supergirl but with you I was free of that. I was Kara. I liked being Kara and you liked me too. I felt free and then we got so close that I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it and the longer it went on for, the more I felt like I needed to tell you but I suddenly didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to tell you without this. Without hurting you, without crushing the trust we’d built, without making you doubt everything I’ve ever told you. I didn’t want to lose you and I knew telling you would be the beginning of the end. I really don’t want the end.”
“You didn’t think I’d react well? Your big, perfect reason for not telling me is that you didn’t think I’d handle being lied to for three years by the most important person in my life well? Am I living up to your terribly small expectations, Kara?!”
“That’s not what I meant. It’s valid. Every piece of anger you feel is valid and I didn’t want to have to suffer it because I can’t live without you. I can’t do this without you but I have to because I did this. I did this. I ruined this and I’d do anything to un-ruin it but here we are.” Lena feels her anger slip into something calmer, or she doesn’t want to shout at Kara anymore at least.
“Did you even try?”
“Too many times.”
“Everyone knew but me. Alex I understand, and James you never got to decide and Brainy is from the future but you told everyone else. You chose to tell Nia after knowing her for weeks but you left me in the dark the whole time. Do you know how that makes me feel? Worthless.” She could’ve handled it if she felt like everyone else was in the dark, if she felt like she wasn’t the only one Kara didn’t trust to be honest with, if she felt like Kara was hiding from everyone to protect them.
But it wasn’t everyone.
It was just her.
“Don’t you see that it’s the exact opposite? You’re worth more than them all. Every single one of them is amazing but I was never afraid to lose them like I was you. I’ve never been more afraid to lose someone to my secret in my life because I…“
“Because you what?” Lena asks.
“Because I love you,” Kara whispers with a conviction Lena feels smack into her chest with such a force that she falls into the seat beside her. “And that is the last secret I’ll ever have to give.” Kara doesn’t shy away from Lena once the words are out there. She doesn’t look away or try to backtrack in her confession but her shoulders fall in an inch with each new second Lena doesn’t say a word.
Lena doesn’t know what words to say. She’d spent weeks thinking of all the things Kara could say to her when this moment came but she never calculated this. Never in her wildest dreams could she have considered this and she suddenly has no moves left to play. Checkmate. Plain and simple.
“I… I need some time. To think it all through.”
“I’m yours, Lena,” Kara assures, one last time as she edges towards the door. “Whenever you want me, whenever you can forgive me, whenever you can let me build trust with you again. I’m yours. Say the word and I’m yours.” And then she’s out the same door it feels like she only just walked through. The same door through which Lena always missed her once she was gone.
Kara remains the picture of perfection in that she perfect in real life and every single picture that Lena gets an alert on her phone for. She plays to Lena’s every whim and maybe Lena should feel bad but it’s kind of nice to know that when Kara says she’ll be there whenever Lena wants her, will give her space whenever she wants that too, she really means it.
Lena needs five days alone, she has them. She wants to try and make her way though a normal lunch with Kara, she gets to. She craves a silent walk in the park where she knows Kara’s by her side, even if nothing is spoken, she’s satiated. Kara never forces apologies or pushes for forgiveness. She just exists, by Lena’s side, with remorse in her eyes and pleas for forgiveness in every step.
Lena gets incredibly drunk after seeing the newest video of Supergirl circulating, after seeing how many watermelons she can apparently crush with her thighs in a minute for charity makes Lena’s entire body short circuit and she decides the best way to fix that is alcohol. Kara is there too. Wrapping Lena up in a jacket that smells like juniper and dried ink. Quietly walking beside her. Her hand close enough that it brushes Lena’s with every few steps, though never invasive enough to actually hold.
Waiting with the patience of a saint and the caution of a superhero that learned she could break things long before she ever knew how to fix them.
“You can hold it,” Lena says because her drunken mind has no filter and her drunken hand really wants to be held. She expects Kara to question her. To throw out a ‘what’ and pretend she has no idea what Lena might mean but she doesn’t hesitate. She just gently takes hold and smiles at the darkening sky that still threatens to rain on them in spite of the sunshine Kara throws its way.
Lena only ignores Kara for a day after that.
She thinks she’s getting better.
She thinks they’re getting better.
Supergirl is photographed feeding pigeons and playing chess with an old man in the park and Lena finds herself boldly messaging Kara that she’ll agree to attend game night if she plays a round with her. Kara responds to her acquiescence with a single heart. Lena stares at it for five minutes before turning her phone over so she can’t look (she flips it back over a minute later to peek again).
There’s not a cheer when Lena walks through the door but there’s a visible shift. She opens it herself like she usually would after a too long moment of deliberation and it’s like a weight is lifted when she finds smiling faces on the other side. Alex swiftly hands her a drink that she’d already pre-poured with a faint touch to her arm and a quick disappearance. Brainy offers her a nod as he sits with Nia who is doing the most obscenely over the top thumbs up that makes Lena find her own smile.
Her whole world seems lighter in a split second but that could really be down to how much weight she places on Kara’s mood. Kara doesn’t rush towards her like she once might. She doesn’t swagger or charge. She walks slowly, slower than even your average human. Her steps are cautious, careful not to spook as she stops just shorter than an arms length away, tilting her body just so in a silent offering that Lena doesn’t feel obliged to take in the slightest but does anyway.
Kara’s hug isn’t as tight as usual. It’s light, gentle, almost grateful in a way. It feels like Kara revels in it just as much as Lena does, like she too wasn’t sure they’d ever hold each other like this again. Lena wonders what it would be like if they never had to let go, if they could just maybe keep hugging in Kara’s doorway for the rest of the evening (or their lives). She thinks there might be some questions.
The looks exchanged around the room about this hug are already more knowing than she’d like.
Lena questions what Kara admitted to her friends. If those three words she shared with Lena had been passed anywhere else. If any of them knew the Girl of Steel was at the mercy of a Luthor and never in the way any of them would have expected.
“Now that the family’s all here, we can finally start,” Alex states when they finally let go and then comes the cheer that makes Lena feel a little stupid. Stupid for spending months thinking they were all laughing behind her back, for thinking they didn’t care about her because they did.
The drink in her hand was her favourite and Alex had handed it to her without question. No one was sat in the chair Lena always claimed because she had worked out the perfect way to sit on it to avoid that one annoying lump right in the middle. In fact, the blanket she always ends up wrapped in because she runs perpetually cold sits on the seat in place holder. Brainy understands her ridiculous drawings like he always does and Kara guesses her charades performances approximately two seconds after she starts doing them and she feels like she’s home. Feels like she’s with her family. Even if it was somewhat of a dysfunctional one. Even if it hurt a little to get here.
Lena stays behind as the others leave. Allows them all to wrap her up in hugs as they go, whisper kind words in her ear. She knows it’ll all go back to normal next week. But they need this now, they all need this now because it wasn’t just her relationship with Kara that broke down when the Supergirl secret was revealed and that wasn’t quite fair. To any of them.
Kara pulls the chessboard from her shelf with a grand smile. It’s covered in dust and missing a Rook that is quickly replaced with a Cheeto that fell on the floor a little earlier and was promptly slapped out of Kara’s hand when she tried to argue the five second rule and Alex quickly shut her down. It’s the most spectacularly Kara thing Lena has ever experienced.
“Thank you for having me,” Lena says as she sits down at the board because she feels like she should acknowledge it. The unspoken thing in the room. Lena’s avoidance and sudden reappearance at these things. Her hot and cold attitude to everything that made her feel like she had power again but that arguably wasn’t all that healthy for either of them.
“I would’ve invited you every week but I didn’t want to pressure you. That didn’t stop me from thinking about you though. James sat in your chair without thought the first week and I burned a hole in his shirt by accident.”
Lena smirks, brow cocked. “Accident? Are you sure he wasn’t wearing that hideous silk one and you just did the entire world a solid by eradicating it?”
Kara’s eyes sparkle. “Maybe that was a factor too.” It feels good to laugh. Even better to laugh with Kara. And just that little bit better when she finds herself winning at the end of an incredibly long game, especially because Kara made Lena work for it, made smart moves and calculated plays that showcased a mind far beyond the act Kara presented to the world every day.
For the first time she doesn’t feel resentment in the secret. For the first time she was looking forward to unlocking more of Kara and revealing herself a little more in return.
Lena stops being so… aloof.
She finally stops sticking them in one place, decides that they should actually move forward. Forward meaning that Lena decides to tell Kara she’s going on a business trip before she goes, rather than disappearing and forcing Jess to inform a forlorn looking Kara when she appears at her office door.
Forward meaning that she lets Kara come round to help her pack a bag. Forward meaning that Lena quickly empties her already packed bag to let Kara help her pack it again because she didn’t want to say no to the offer or company, because she was just glad Kara had started offering again instead of always waiting for Lena to take the initiative.
Kara’s question comes when Lena’s bag is packed the exact same way as it was an hour before. It comes with nervous hands and an unsure smile. “Could I maybe, like, call you whilst you’re away?”
“Call me?” Lena repeats, confused for a reason she can’t explain. It wouldn’t be the first time Kara had called when they were apart. They’d spent hours when she was in Midvale telling each other the trivialities of their days. Maybe it was because Kara had never asked before, had never been nervous to dial Lena’s number on her phone, had never thought twice about calling Lena up to tell her what she ate for breakfast or ask Lena what she ate for lunch (it was often about food).
“Yeah, you know, just to hear your voice. Any time you’re free is good. I can work around your schedule. I’m up all times at night any way because of the whole Super thing and my hearings really good so even if I’m asleep I’ll wake up if you call my phone and we can-“
“Okay,” Lena cuts in because she doesn’t think either of them knows where Kara plans to end her train of thought. If she ever does. “I’d like that. If you called me.” Kara nods with a relieved sigh.
It’s that relieved sigh that has Lena committing the time difference to memory in that very moment. The same relieved sigh that makes her call Kara at two in the morning when she’s finished with her business meetings (and the less official business meetings in the hotel bar that always wielded better results and amazing gossip about her competitors).
She’s exhausted but she clicks the only contact on her speed dial anyway.
Kara picks up on the first ring, speaks with awe, “You called.”
“I didn’t want to miss it if I left it up to you,” Lena admits, a yawn punctuating her words. Not everyone had super-hearing to wake up for calls. Not everyone could slip away from their work with so much ease. Some people were trapped by obligation and handshakes until the second they finally slipped into their sheets at two in the morning.
“You’re tired,” Kara points out needlessly.
Lena hums in response, pushes forward before Kara can assert her better judgement when it comes to Lena’s bad health habits and tell her to go to sleep. “What are you doing right now? I want to hear all about a day in the life of Kara Danvers.”
“Well I ate pancakes in the shower because I woke up late. It was kind of amazing and also terrible.” Kara makes a gagging sound that Lena knows is paired with an overacted shudder. Lena also knows that it’s definitely more adorable than it should be. Kara continues her ridiculous stories for a while. A Supergirl save here, a coffee break there, the latest office gossip and rumours.
Lena likes to imagine her spinning in her desk chair the whole time, pen balanced on her upper lip in a stupid pout. “Now I’m at the office writing an article but it kind of sucks because there’s usually this really beautiful woman that walks through to inspire me to be better but she’s in China right now helping other people. It’s really rude.”
Lena grins broadly, smothers it in her pillow. Kara misreads and speaks in the silence her minor freak-out creates, “I’m sorry, was that too much? I can dial it down. Or back off entirely.”
“No I- I liked it. It was incredibly cheesy and you’re a dork but I liked it.” More than she’d care to admit. More than her reputation could handle her admitting. She was supposed to be a badass, not some school girl grinning into her phone and feeling her heart swell three sizes when Kara whispers a gentle “okay” with an obvious smile in her tone.
“How was your day?” She presses and Lena sighs exaggeratedly.
“Long. Usually I take a stroll through one of my offices to get a glimpse of this incredibly pretty woman to take the edge off but even I couldn’t walk that far in these shoes. It’s rather rude.”
“Well played, Miss Luthor,” Kara says and Lena’s responding laugh peters off into a yawn quickly.
“Could you read your article for me until I fall asleep?”
“It’s not that boring, but I’d love to.”
(Lena falls asleep to the sound of Kara’s voice.
It’s the best night’s sleep she’s had in a long time).
Sometimes she holds Kara’s hand. Sometimes she falls asleep on Kara’s couch and wakes up tucked in her bed with Kara asleep on the chair beside her - always so close, always too far. Sometimes Kara leaves cute notes on her desk and Lena delivers sweet treats to Kara’s when she’s having a bad day.
They fall into what they had again.
Except it’s not quite the same because there’s something new there, or something old but finally acknowledged. There’s something in the way Kara intertwines their fingers, something in the way Lena catches her looking at her. There’s something in the way Alex smiles when she sees them together and how she scoffs when Kara lets Lena eat fries off her plate without a second glance or the hand slap she delivers everyone else.
There’s something and Lena can’t stop thinking about the acknowledgement of that something. The confession she’d been steadfastly attempting to ignore since she heard it but kept failing at. The declaration she was so very tired of avoiding. The one that flipped her world on its head.
She invites Kara round for a movie. It’s the first excuse she could think of. Not that she ever really needed one - Kara would have come whatever the request. Kara also wouldn’t have cared if Lena didn’t clean her apartment three times before she arrived but she does that anyway also. Just like she also changes her outfit six times before she settles on Kara’s jumper she stole long ago just to have something to do, just to try and calm the beating of her heart.
(It doesn’t help.
It’s still slamming in her chest when Kara knocks).
Lena had a plan. It was flawed, and half-baked, and kind of uncharacteristically stupid but it was a plan. Was. It all goes out of the window when Kara appears in her doorway with a ridiculously perfect messy bun and so many snacks in her arms that a lone bag of chips hangs from her mouth. Just like that she forgets it all. Forgets that she didn’t want to spring it all on her. Forgets to remember anything beyond this moment, forgets to remember anything beyond Kara.
“What’s the word?” She asks suddenly.
“What?” Kara replies with a crinkled brow and a laugh that has the bag slipping from her mouth.
“What’s the- oh fuck it.” Plan B goes out the window just as quickly as Plan A and Plan C is a little more reckless than them both. Plan C being tugging Kara in by the lapels of her coat and kissing her in place of actually attempting to string a sentence together. It’s sharp, and nervous, and accompanied by the sound of chips snapping and bags popping in between their bodies and then Lena whips back as quickly as she shifted forward. Kara just stares.
“You just kissed me,” Kara mumbles obviously, dropping a few of the bags absentmindedly as she lifts her fingertips to her lips. Lena knows the feeling. “I thought- y-you said- I would’ve waited longer. I meant it when I said I wasn’t going anywhere.”
“I know, Kara. I didn’t kiss you because I thought you’d give up. I did it because I wanted to, because I’ve wanted to since you told me you loved me that night but I was stubborn, and scared, and because I needed to heal. We needed to heal.” Lena knew she would forgive Kara the second she found out. She also knew that she needed to be angry. That she deserved to be angry. But this is all she wanted now and everything that they both deserved after all of the chaos.
“I’m glad you waited. I like where we are now.”
Lena grins, “I like it too.”
“Although,” Kara begins, stepping fully inside Lena’s apartment, closing the door behind her with her foot as she keeps her eyes on Lena. “I liked where we were about a minute ago a little bit more.”
“Smooth, Danvers.” The words are paired with an eye roll but Lena leans back in anyway. Kara meets her halfway. It’s a stronger kiss now. Fuller. Happier. Kara smiles against her lips and Lena can’t stop the grin from spreading across her face either. It makes the kiss a little difficult but it doesn’t stop either of them from trying again. And again. And again.
It feels healing - there's still a way to go but it feels like they're working towards something. It feels right. It feels like a long time coming. It feels like Kara’s hand is most definitely on her ass and Lena can’t fathom a life without this. She’s glad Kara never gave up on her. She’s glad she never gave up on Kara.
(She’s infinitely gladder there was no more space between them.
Space was overrated anyway).