Actions

Work Header

The Rook

Chapter Text

Numb.

Lena’s not exactly sure how else to describe it.

The feeling in her chest that spreads out to her finger tips, the heavy, sinking feeling that makes her feel like she drowning.

She not unfamiliar with the feeling.

Quite the opposite, actually.

She’s spent the majority of her life near suffocation from the choking feelings of inadequacy and betrayal.

Practically from the start of her time with the Luthors, she’d been judged and ridiculed and left on the outskirts.

Maybe not overtly, but certainly purposefully.

She knows without a doubt that Lilian orchestrated most of her young life in order to maximize feelings of ‘less than’.

Whatever she had done to gain the Luthor Matron’s ire had occurred long before she set foot in the Luthor Mansion.

Regardless, of the reason, she dealt with the consequences for years - long days at various different lessons, Irish boarding school, hard pressure to get early acceptance into MIT. Even once she had graduated and was doing ground breaking experimental work with Jack, Lilian’s glare was a constant presence over her shoulder.

It became even worse once she took over L Corp - doubly so. Nothing she ever did lived up to Lex’s legend, and she certainly never bowed to the Luthor agenda.

She had finally caved to Lilian’s pressure, hoping to do something to gain her mother’s approval - an alien detection device, one that would allow regular citizens to tell if the people they were interacting with aliens disguised as humans.

She was so confident that the device would win over Lilian’s good will, that she would finally live up to the Luthor name, (without being a murdering psychopath).

But then, something had happened, something that had made her realize that maybe she didn’t need to toe the line of xenophobia to gain the approval she was seeking.

Her entire world had turned upside down the day that Kara Danvers had walked in her office, offering a kind rebuke at the alien detection device.

Suddenly, her entire world had shifted.

Her desire for Lilian’s approval wasn’t gone, but now it paled in comparison to the need for Kara’s. (Maybe that was a stupid reason to nix a million dollar project and piss off investors, but it sounds better that saying a pretty girl made her do it.)

And unlike Lilian’s approval, Kara’s was easily given.

Nearly anything she did was met with unwavering approval, and unfaltering enthusiasm.

It was like crack, honestly, having someone who supported her and believed in her like Kara. Every time something came up that she thought would finally shake Kara’s trust, it backfired in the exact opposite direction.

Evidence shows that she’s stealing Kryptonite?

Kara stands up for her.

Evidence shows that she’s poisoning little kids?

Kara stands up for her.

Even when she hides Sam’s condition from Kara’s . . . friend, Supergirl -

Kara stands up for her.

It’s intoxicating, and it has nothing to do with Kara’s perfect hair and beautiful smile.

it has nothing to do with how Kara brings her donuts during Lilian’s trial.

It has nothing to do with how she always smiles at Lena, even in the face of Supergirl’s disapproving pout.

And it definitely has nothing to do with the way Kara smells when she wraps an arm around Lena and solemnly promises to always be there for her.

It’s just nice, to be supported and believed in for once in her life.

It’s even more nice to have a self-proclaimed best friend that stands by her no matter what

(It does help that Lena has a huge, gigantic, undeniable crush on said best friend.)

But it’s not like she can say anything.

There’s no way that sweet, charming, beautiful, sometimes trips over her own words Kara would ever feel the same way about Lena.

It’s a statistical improbability,

Which is exactly why Lena suffers through lunches and game nights and a few too close to be just friendly hugs.

Kara’s friendship is enough, she shouldn’t want more. Kara is already so much better than anything she ever dreamed of having, she isn’t going to risk what they have by confessing something as inconvenient as feelings.

So she shoves her feelings away in a little box, and refuses to acknowledge them. Just like she refuses to acknowledge that her best friend looks a lot like the girl of steel.

She over compensates, almost to the point of hilarity; pushing Kara behind her in dangerous situations, insisting on being mad at her alter ego while still cozying up to her favorite reporter.

It’s stupid, but it somehow works in her brain. Allows her to ignore the fact that her best friend in the entire universe is also maybe, sort of, definitely Supergirl.

(It also allows her to ignore that Kara hasn’t told her said fact.)

It hurts, in a weird way, knowing that Kara is keeping something so important from her. But just like the facts, she puts that in a little box and ignores it too.

At least, until it all comes crashing down.

Lex, the goddamn bastard, couldn’t be good for anything, not even in death.

And if Lena feels like shit for thinking such a thing, she feels even worse knowing that what he’s telling her is true.

All of her little boxes come flying open, and they refuse to be closed again, no matter how hard she tries.

Kara’s identity, all the feelings of inadequacy and rejection, her burning desire for belonging and family - all of it comes rushing to the surface.

She tries to fight it, she does, but it feels unavoidable as it all comes crashing down around her.

Kara, her best friend, is Supergirl.

She was blind not to see it before, really.

She blames it on the little boxes.

Now though, she can’t deny it.

Kara is Supergirl.

And it hurts, somewhere deep in her chest.

Some part of her recognizes it as those feelings of inadequacy and unbelonging that belong to Lilian. Only now it’s her best friend making her feel that way. The person that promised to always be in her corner and have her back.

It’s almost debilitating.

She tries so hard to shove that in a little box too, but it doesn’t work. If anything, it backfires.

”You're with me, right?” Kara asks her on game night, and Lena stamps a foot down on the little box threatening to fly open - bile biting at the back of her throat.

“Always.”

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It all comes crashing down a week later when Kara finally confronts her.

“Lena?” Kara asks, and Lena freezes, sensing the trepidation in her voice.

“No, you don’t have anything in your teeth.” She teases, trying to belay the way her heart rate doubles.

“No, I know, I just . . . “

“What?” Lena asks, voice calm but her heart racing.

“i just . . . I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I never really had the chance. Well, I mean I did, but Alex said . . . What I’m trying to say is -“

“Don’t.” Lena tells her, surprised at the firmness in her voice.

“Lena, I have to . . .”

Their eyes lock, and Lena shivers. So much for little boxes.

“I’m . . .” Kara reaches for her glasses.

“Kara . . .”

“I’m Supergirl.” Kara finishes weakly, her hands trembling as they lower her glasses to her side.

“Kara.” she chokes out. “Don’t.”

“Lena - “ Kara starts to explain, but Lena ignores her.

Kara looks so incredibly sad, eyes welling up with tears and the muscles in her neck trembling.

“I know. I know all about your little secret.” Lena swallows hard, fighting back the tears. “You know why? Because Lex told me. I didn’t get to find out from you, or Alex; no, I got to find out from my homicidal brother. I suppose I was stupid for not seeing it before - naive to think that the most important person in my life wouldn’t hide something like that from me. I guess I was wrong, I’m just a fool.” She bites out the words, putting as much of her frustration into them as she can.

She may not be able to hurt Kara physically, but emotionally?

After a lifetime of living with Lilian?

That she can do.

“Lena, I didn’t do it to hurt you -“

“Really?” Lena scoffs, choking back tears. “Then why do I feel like you’ve taken a knife and stabbed it into my heart?”

Kara’s eyes look so full of remorse that Lena almost caves.

“I never meant to hurt you, that’s the last thing I wanted to do.”

“Oh, then what was your master plan? I’d love to hear it.”

“Lena . . .” Kara’s upper lip trembles.

“Literally everyone around you knew, except me.” Lena goads. “What exactly was your point? Other than to prove just how untrustworthy Luthors are?”

“No! I would never! Lena, I trust you more than anyone; maybe even more than Alex, that’s why I had to -“

“That’s why you had to lie to me?” Lena interjects, unwilling to let Kara finish her sentence.

“I didn’t want to lie to you!”

“Then why did you?!”

They stare at each other - an unstoppable force and an immovable object - the tension nearly crackling the air between them.

Finally, the unstoppable force causes the object to move, and Kara speaks.

“Because when I first met you . . . you were . . . are the most beautiful woman I’d ever met.”

Lena’s heart jumps in her throat at Kara’s words, because surely she doesn’t mean them like that.

And I didn’t know if it was clouding my judgment, because Clark was so sure that you were just like your brother. But I refused to judge you on your family, and the next thing I knew, you were my best friend.” Her voice chokes off, and Lena forces herself to look away.

“You are my best friend,” Kara corrects herself. “And I didn’t want to screw it up. No one’s ever wanted to be my best friend before - besides Alex, I guess, and in the beginning that was only because she had to. But you,” she laughs softly. “you were so fiercely in my corner, about everything; being a reporter, CatCo, Mon-el being a jerk . . . I’ve never had anyone stand up for me like that. And I wanted to be the same for you, because you deserve it. “

“If I deserve you standing up for me, then why couldn’t you just tell me who you really are?”

“Because - “ Kara huffs. “Because, okay, maybe for the first few weeks I was worried that you might turn on me because of your brother. But then I . . . I was selfish. Because you were the only person that I could be 'just Kara' around. I didn’t have to worry about being Supergirl. And then, the longer it went on, I knew that I should tell you, I knew you would be so upset when you found out and I couldn’t stand to hurt you like that. . . . I was afraid that you’d never forgive me.”

“Why do you even care? I’m just a Luthor, right.”

She’s prodding Kara to a more direct answer, she knows it, but she never expects what comes out of the other woman’s mouth.

“Because I love you, okay?” Kara’s eyes fill with tears as Lena’s heart jumps in her throat.

"And maybe there was some part of me that hoped that I could keep bringing you lunch and you’d keep sending me flowers and maybe I could pretend that you love me too. And I’m sorry that I hurt you, and that you found out the way you did; just know that I would take it all back if I could. I would tell you myself, even if it meant you would hate me.”

“Kara . . . “ she knows deep down that she can never hate Kara, no matter how much she wants to. “You don’t get to say that you love me just to get me to stop being mad at you.”

“I’m not.” Kara vows fiercely. “But if we’re laying all our cards out on the table, I thought that you should know. I love your passion, I love your fire. I love the fact that you always stand up for what you think is right - even if it differs from what I think. I love that you throw yourself into your work, and I hate the fact that you forget to eat. I love that you pour your heart and soul into the children’s hospital and that you refuse to let anything stop that. I love how snuggly you get after a couple of glasses of wine, but I hate how self deprecating you get. I just want you to see you the way that I see you, and I was afraid that you knowing I’m Supergirl would hurt that. I guess I hoped that deep down, you loved me too. And I don’t know what my game plan was for that, or where I hoped we would end up -“

“Kara!” Lena chokes it out, barely able to keep the tears from falling down her cheeks.

“Lena, I just -“

“Don’t.” She says for the third time that night, desperate to stop the words coming from Kara’s mouth.

“I had to let you know how I felt, I know it’s bad timing, but I had to tell you the truth. I didn’t want it to be like this.”

Tears track down Kara’s face, but still, Lena stays strong, brushing past her and heading for the exit.

“Lena -“

It takes everything Lena has to ignore her, and move to the door.

* - - - - - - - -

Ever since Lex told her about Kara’s identity, she’s been in a fog.

She thought that it would get better once she had a chance to confront Kara.

What she didn’t expect was Kara’s . . . confession. It throws her for a loop, one she hadn’t seen coming in a million years. It should have made her ecstatic, it would have made her ecstatic in any other circumstance, but now it just leaves a sour taste in her mouth.

Of course Kara would pick the middle of her Supergirl reveal to spill out her heart, of course.

It fits so well with the Kara she knows and loves. That she would be so open and vulnerable that she would decide to lay her whole heart on the line.

Lena loves it, but she hates it.

Every part of her is screaming that Kara is just manipulating her, the same way she’s been manipulated for her entire life - bribed with love and affection.

She refuses to fall into the old trap again.

She is a strong independent woman, and she doesn’t need someone else to complete her.

And it’s true, she knows it’s true.

She doesn’t need anyone.

But it doesn’t help that she wants Kara.

She ignores every text, every call; she even tells Jess to revoke Kara’s unlimited access to her office (and she’s met with a giant frown and a questioning glare that she knows she’s going to have to answer to later).

But still, when her stomach growls sometime after one, she wishes that Kara’s smiling face was bopping through her door, waving a sack of takeout.

Even minus the lunches, she misses Kara.

Which is why she finds herself stretching and heading to her office door - maybe she can ask Jess to order food and convince her that it wouldn’t be weird to eat lunch with her boss.

Only when she asks Jess to order out, the other woman looks at her . . . strangely.

“What?”

“I uh, already ate.” Jess says almost guiltily.

“Oh. Did you happen to order anything for me?” Lena tries to sound as nonchalant as possible, but it still comes out almost whiney. Before Kara, Jess always made sure to order lunch for Lena, even if she knew she wouldn’t eat it.

“Uhh, I uhh, didn’t order out.” Jess’ eyes flicker to the mini fridge under her desk.

“Oh, ok.” Lena lets it drop, obviously Jess doesn't it want to talk about it.

Maybe she has a new crush that brought her lunch and she isn’t ready to talk about it. Filing the information away for later, she shrugs.

“Could I get you to order me something then? Maybe an apple walnut salad from Noonan’s? I’ve been craving one lately.”

Jess’ eyes go back to the mini fridge, and Lena leans over the desk to stare at it as well.

“Is there something in there I should know about?” She asks, her mind immediately going to a bomb; and it’s so twisted that a bomb is the first thing she thinks of being stored in a mini fridge of all places, but it’s not the oddest -

“Kara!” Jess blurts, and Lena shifts her gaze back to her assistant.

“Kara’s in the mini fridge?”

“No.” Jess sighs. “Kara brought you lunch, and it’s in there. I know you said specifically that you didn’t want to see her or hear from her, so I didn’t want to tell you about it, but she insisted that I take it, and you know how persistent she can be!”

“So when you said you already ate . . .”

“She brought me broccoli cheddar soup, and you know that’s my favorite and I should have just ordered out but -“

“Jess - “ Lena placates her with a warm smile that’s only half forced. “Just because I’m not speaking to Kara doesn’t mean you can’t. Besides, it was broccoli cheddar soup.”

“Your lunch is still in there if you want it?” Jess offers, gesturing to the mini fridge.

“Oh, I’m not really that hungry, I forgot I had a big breakfast.” It’s a lie, she hasn’t eaten since lunch the day before; and her stomach quickly betrays her with loud growl.

Jess raises her eyebrows pointedly before reaching to the fridge and taking out a container and passing it to Lena.

It’s an apple walnut salad from Noonan’s, with a folded note taped to the front.

Of course.

“Really, I’ll just wait til dinner. . .” Lena protests weakly, her stomach fighting hard against her stubborn will.

“If she asks, I’ll tell her I threw it in the garbage and you never even saw it.”

Lena narrows her eyes.

“Fine, I’ll eat it, but if she asks, tell her you gave it to me and I threw it in the garbage.”

“Whatever you say, boss, whatever you say."

Chapter Text

After that, she starts bringing her lunch.

She’s an independent woman who doesn’t need anyone to bring her lunch.

And honestly, she would just skip the meal altogether, but she promised Kara awhile back that she would always at least try to eat lunch, and even after everything that’s happened, she can’t bring herself to break that promise.

There’s one small part of her that still believes someone cares if she skips lunch or works too late. Kara’s care for her is so ingrained that it almost feels satisfying to plop the tupperware container down on Jess’ desk.

She can take care of herself, thank you very much.

She definitely doesn’t need Kara to remind her.

“Here’s my lunch for today, so if Kara comes by, you can let her know that it’s already taken care of.”

Jess looks from the container to Lena’s face and back again.

“Did you buy tupperware just so you could bring your own lunch?”

Lena refuses to give an answer.

“If Kara comes by, let her know I already have lunch.”

“Lovers’ quarrel?” Jess asks with a smirk.

Lena huffs.

“We’re not lovers.”

“Okay, my bad, platonic friend that brings me lunch everyday and when we fight I get super competitive and insist on brining my own lunch too. Whatever you say, boss.” Jess rolls her eyes and reaches for the container before storing it in the fridge.

"I needed new glass ware anyway, and you know I’ve been trying to learn more recipes.” Lena can’t help but point out.

“Yeah, so you could make Kara homemade potstickers.”

For a brief moment, Lena regrets hiring an assistant so willing to stand up to her.

“Well, I guess she’ll regret being difficult, won’t she? Especially considering I just perfected the soy garlic sauce.”

She desperately wants to tell Jess the whole story, but she refuses to tell more people Kara’s secret identity.

“Just let me know when you want this heated up, I’ll bring it in.”

“Thanks, Jess, you’re the best.”

“That’s what you tell me!” Jess reminds her with a wink, and Lena rolls her eyes good naturedly before heading into her office.

Some things never change.

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

It’s a week before she finally opens up the note.

A week of it sitting on her desk, Kara’s loopy scrawl calling out to her.

She ignores it on purpose - she knows the moment she lets Kara explain herself, she’s going to fold, at least a little.

She’s a sucker for Kara, there’s no denying it, and she refuses to let a soft smile and gentle word talk her out of being angry.

She deserves to be angry.

Her best friend lied to her about something huge, and she deserves the time it takes to be mad.

It’s not fair, none of this is fair.

Her best friend lying to her about her secret identity.

Falling in love with her best friend.

Her homicidal brother revealing her best friend’s identity.

Her best friend coming clean but also confessing her love.

It’s not FAIR.

And just for once, she though life might be working in her favor.

When Kara came into her life with sunny smiles and unwavering belief, she thought things had finally changed, thought she was finally getting away from Lex’s legacy.

But no, of course Kara had to be Supergirl.

Of course her visions of a life with a way too cheerful reporter were too good to be true.

She had imagined a simple life - one where Kara would text her at 4 to make sure she’d be home by 5.

One where they’d adopt a little girl, and the worst fight she and Kara would have would be about how much help was too much help on a science project. (Kara would win, obviously).

Kara would make sure she ate lunch, and Lena would make sure Kara ate vegetables.

Kara would be there at every L-Corp press conference, and Lena would be there when Kara won a Pulitzer.

They would be a perfect match, and Lena would finally feel like she had a family - even Alex would finally warm up to her.

But no, every vision dancing in her head had to come crashing down.

Because of course her best friend has to be Supergirl.

Nothing can be easy.

Ever since she was a little kid, she hoped to be adopted by a simple family and have a simple life. One where her mom would come to all her soccer games and her dad would show her how to change a tire.

But no, of course she didn’t get that, of course she was adopted into the Luthor’s, the most controversial family on the planet, where Lilian certainly didn’t support her, and the only thing Lionel taught her was how to hate aliens.

Something that definitely didn’t stick, fortunately.

Despite Lex’s constant rhetoric.

She somehow manages to make it through all of the shit that the Luthors throw at her, only to find out that her best friend is Supergirl.

Of course.

She can’t escape, it’s inevitable.

So when she finally reads the note, it’s in a moment of weakness.

She can’t resist the pull.

No matter the cost, no matter the fact that she wants to hate Kara.

She can’t help it.

Lena,
I know you’re hurt and I know that I’m the reason. I also know that you need time to process, so when you’re ready to talk, just press this button and I’ll be there. Please know that I never meant to hurt you. - Kara

She stares at it for longer than she’d like to admit.

She doesn’t know what she’s expecting.

(It’s certainly not a small button that fits in the palm of her hand, accompanied by an unwavering promise.)

It angers her, to be honest; riles up a part of her that had felt numb ever since Kara’s secret had been revealed.

How dare she, for starters.

How dare Kara try to say that she’ll be there for Lena when she’s lied to her so much over the past three years.

Like she’s some goody-two-shoes goddess and Lena is just supposed to bow to her righteousness.

Umm, no.

Lena may be a Luthor, but she’s plenty good enough on her own.

At least for Supergirl standards.

She saved the world from the Daxamite invasion; she’s saved Supergirl on numerous occasions; she helped save Sam, at one point she was working on a cure for cancer, she even killed Lex Luthor, the greatest threat to humanity for god’s sake.

So how dare Kara act holier than thou.

She’s not the one who’s been lying to her best friend for the past three years.

She drinks four glasses of Scotch that night before she can go to sleep without thinking about blue eyes.

* - - - - - - - - - -

Turns out, the more she thinks about it, the angrier she gets.

She thought that reading Kara’s note would make her cave to Kara’s point of view, when in fact it does the opposite.

She’s fueled with an anger that she doesn’t quite understand.

She’s never really believed in herself the way that she does after Kara’s betrayal. Because if Kara doesn’t believe in her, who will?

Lena will, that’s who.

She’s nothing if not determined, and she’s always been a fan of the underdog.

It just so happens that she’s the underdog.

Certainly she of all people was worthy of knowing Supergirl’s true identity.

She was Kara’s self proclaimed ‘best friend’.

Kara allegedly was in love with her.

She deserved the truth.

The truth that had been withheld from her for so long.

And now that she had the truth, she understood the saying ‘ignorance is bliss.”

But on the other hand, she was grateful for the anger, it gave her a purpose.

A purpose that came to a screeching halt at 4:45 on a Friday while she was finishing up an investor’s report.

One text message is all it took.

It had been 2 weeks and 3 days since she last heard from Kara.

And as much as she’s loathe to admit it, it hasn’t exactly been an enjoyable time.

She’s missed her friend.

No matter what happened between them; she’s missed Kara - in a way unlike she’s missed anyone else.

To never have something and to miss its existence is one thing, but to have it and it be taken away is another entirely.

So when she get’s Kara’s text as she’s finishing up donor proposals, it throws her for a loop.

She hates the way it breaks her concentration, the way it makes her glance at he phone every few minutes.

Still, she refuses to open the message; powering through the proposals before moving on to the background checks for a group of new hires.

That stings too, Alex had offered to help her with them, but she supposed that’s a moot point now.

She almost relishes skipping dinner - knowing the pout it would have brought to Kara’s face just a few weeks ago. She replaces the meal with a glass of Balvenie, and has a second for dessert,

It’s then, with the alcohol buzzing along her veins just enough to blur her judgement, that she looks at Kara’s message.

“Game night at 8, my place. I know you probably don’t want to come, but I would love to see you there. “

Glancing her watch, she sees it’s past 9:30, though she’s sure the gang is still going strong over a rousing Pictionary or the like.

Not that it matters, she wouldn’t go anyway.

The warmth of the alcohol in her stomach, settles like cold water, and another refill starts to sound like a good idea.

Kara acts like it’s an easy decision, but it’s not. As much as she craves the familiarity of game night; how is she supposed to show her face when literally everyone knew the secret but her?

It’s humiliating and degrading, and she refuses to be apart of it.

In fact, the more she thinks about it, the angrier she gets.

Not only did she get played like a fool for three years while the woman she thought was her best friend, the woman she thought she loved, lied to her face; she was just supposed to spend time with all of the people who were in on the secret?

Why?

So they could make a mockery of her?

Of her friendship?

Of her intelligence?

The great Lena Luthor, finally tricked into believing in found family, only to have it ripped away from her like some sort of cruel joke.

No.

She is not some pawn on a chess board to played for someone else’s agenda.

Not Lilian, not Lex, and not Supergirl.

And certainly not Kara, if that’s even her real name.

She supposes, in the chessboard of her life, that Supergirl is the most like the the King.

Almighty but one dimensional.

Always right, always lawful, always good.

Alex is the Bishop.

Right hand to the King, powerful in her own right, but willing to move in ways the King isn’t able to.

Up until recently, she would have considered Kara as the Queen, the most important - at least to her.

Kara is beautiful and talented and magnificent. She’s selfless and kindhearted and completely unwavering in her belief in Lena.

At least, Kara was all of those things.

Since she’s learned that Kara and Supergirl are one and the same, she isn’t quite sure how to reconcile the two in her mind.

It didn’t seem right now that someone as pure as Kara was is now tainted by the self-righteousness of Supergirl.

She never thought that Kara, her Kara, would keep such a massive secret from her for so long; and now that she knows the truth, it’s as if her world is shifted.

At one time, Lena would have considered herself the Rook - a handy asset to the King and more than willing to sacrifice herself for the Queen, but now . . .

She’s been in protective mode for so long, protecting herself, protecting Kara, protecting her company, protecting all the people that Lilian and Lex have tried to hurt, protecting Supergirl even; that she has to reorient herself to attack mode.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The chess game on her side table is one that she and Kara have been working on for weeks.

Kara had insisted on Lena teaching her chess about six months into their friendship, and ever since, they’ve kept a game going. The first few dozen were pitifully easy - Lena’s been playing chess since she was adopted by the Luthors, and Kara was just starting.

But still, it was fun teaching and playing a game that she’s enjoyed for so long with her best friend.

Kara was an eager learner, and her sunny disposition was a fun distraction to Lena’s usual somber playing.

Not to mention, she was good.

Lena hasn’t had much of a competitor since she stopped playing with Lex when he went to college.

Much to her surprise, Kara learns quickly and easily gives Lena a run for her money.

It would be disconcerting, but she knows Kara is smarter that she looks - that her best friend holds on to her ‘dumb blonde’ persona to throw people off.

Still, as she keeps teaching Kara chess, she quickly discovers that her best friend has a knack for the game. So much so that their current game is about to end in a draw - something Lena hasn’t experienced in years.

At first, when it became apparent that the game might be headed in that direction, Lena was excited; finally a partner who could almost beat her at chess (even Jack hadn’t been able to beat her when they’d dated.). but now, as she stares at the stalemate chess board, she gets angry.

Of course Kara is good at chess.

She’s an alien from an advanced planet that probably would find chess to be a dumb children’s game.

Her whole perception of her best friend has changed since the revelation, and everything around her reminds her of that.

In fact, the whole secret is starting to feel like a cold, calculated chess move.

Frowning, she rises from her chair and moves to the lead-lined safe under her in-office bar.

She’s been working on something for months, something she thinks will finally bring Supergirl to her knees.

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The elevator ride to the rooftop passes in a scotch induced haze, the glass in her hand lending to her already substantial buzz. She knows she shouldn’t, but alcohol seems to be the only way she can get through what she’s about to do.

The night breeze is cool as she steps out onto L-Corp’s rooftop, and it sends her curls flitting about her face.

She smirks, having her hair down has always been one of Kara’s weaknesses - all the more reason for her choice. The red lip, the cascading curls, the low neckline - all chosen to aid her cause.

Breaking Supergirl’s heart.

Slowly, she makes her way to the edge of the roof, the wind getting stronger as she goes.

She takes a deep breath, downing the rest of her glass before stepping up to the edge.

Looking down, she can see all of National City stretched out before her. She can hear the honks of cars in traffic, and the distant sounds of police sirens. She kicks off her shoes onto the roof, unwilling to let them become missiles to the bystanders below.

Taking a deep breath, she steels herself for what’s about to come.

Shakily, she lowers herself to sit on the edge of the roof. She’s never been a huge fan of heights, but for this it seems fitting; meeting Supergirl on her own turf. Setting her now empty glass down beside her, she reaches for the switch Kara had left her. After a long moment, she flips it; the hairs on her arm standing at attention - either from the cold or anticipation, she isn’t sure.

Regardless, she doesn’t have to wait long until a voice sounds behind her.

“Lena?” There’s a slight panic in Supergirl’s voice, and Lena answers her without turning around.

“Relax, Supergirl, I’m not going to jump.” She turns, a smirk twisting the right side of her face. “And even if I did, you’d catch me, wouldn’t you?”

The super hero’s shoulders visibly drop, and she steps towards Lena until her boots are even with the edge, lowering herself down so that she’s sitting on the edge next to Lena, shoulders almost touching.

“Always.” Kara whispers so softly that Lena almost misses it.

There was a time when Lena would have leaned into the touch, body begging for Kara to wrap an arm around her, but now things have changed. So much that Lena fights the urge to adjust away from her - instead sitting ramrod straight, her fingers digging into the uneven brick.

They sit in silence for a long moment before Kara finally speaks.

“I was beginning to think you’d never call for me.”

Instead of responding, Lena ignores her.

“Was game night still going?” she asks instead.

“Yeah, we were just starting charades when you called, but . . . you’re more important.”

That almost does Lena in.

Almost has her confessing her feelings to Kara and begging for them to start over; but she resists.

“Lena-“ Kara starts after a long moment of silence, but Lena cuts her off.

“No. You got your chance to speak, now it’s my turn. You can either listen or you can go back home.”

Kara studies her for a moment before nodding, gaze slinking back to her red boots that are swinging over the edge.

“You said you loved me.” She states, and Kara nods slowly.

“You wanna know what’s really fucked up about the whole thing?” she continues, but Kara stays silent. “I love you too.”

Kara straightens, her cape fluttering in the wind.

“Or, I loved the person I thought you were.”

Even from profile, she can see the way Kara’s brow crinkles.

“I’ve never had someone stick up for me the way you do. You were my absolute best friend, and I always wondered what would happen if I told you how I really felt.”

Kara’s head whips around, and even in the darkness, Lena can feel eyes on her face.

Swallowing down her fear, she turns to face Kara head on.

“Did you know how much I loved you? Did you know that every time I looked at you I saw the possibility of forever? That I saw the one person who trusted me explicitly?”

Kara’s eyes fill with tears and Lena almost caves. Instead, she rises to her feet. Kara quickly follows, and they stand face to face at the edge of the L-Corp roof.

"I loved Kara Danvers so much. But you? I don’t even know you.”

“Lena. . . “

“I loved you!” Lena shouts. “I would have died for you! But you wouldn’t even tell me who you really are! How am I supposed to trust you?! How am I supposed to build a future with someone who doesn’t even trust me?!”

“I hate -“ She chokes off, unable to finish her thought. “I hate your stupid hair and your stupid suit. I wish Supergirl had never been created.” Kara’s face falls even further, and Lena’s anger only grows.

“Lena, please don’t - “ Kara’s hands reach out for her, squeezing the air between them. “Just let me explain.”

“You had your chance to explain. These are the consequences.” She reaches into her pocket, pulling out the lead lined pouch. Kara’s eyes flick to the pouch, and she can see the other woman fight the urge to shift away.

Carefully, she reaches in and pulls out two necklaces, one laid with sapphire, and the other with ruby.

“Remember that movie night? When you said you always wanted friendship necklaces but you never had a best friend? I made us these, because you were my best friend. I was going to give them to you a few weeks ago, but then Lex told me the truth. I don’t have any use for them anymore.” She thrusts the necklaces in Kara’s direction, and the superhero looks at them for a long moment before taking them, the white gold chains dangling delicately between her fingers.

Her heart jumps at the broken look that creases Kara’s face. She shouldn’t feel excited at her friend’s broken heart, but she can’t help the satisfaction that soothes her own heartbreak.

This is exactly what she wanted.

Supergirl broken in front of her.

Feeling all of the hurt that she had inflicted on Lena.

“Which one is mine?” Kara hiccups.

“The blue one, because it matches your eyes.” Lens says softly, fighting against the emotion that threatens to break her voice.

Kara’s fingers clench around the necklaces and she starts to speak, but Lena stops her with a hand on her arm.

“I loved you so much.” She whispers. “But I can’t be with someone who doesn’t trust me.”

“Lena -“ Kara starts but Lena ignores her, stepping in to place a gentle kiss to the corner of her mouth.

“Goodbye, Kara Danvers. I’ll never forget you.” Her fingers linger against the strong bicep, but after one last squeeze, she turns away; ears deaf to Kara’s pleas as she walks back to the elevator.

When she gets back to her office, she sweeps an arm across the chessboard, sending all the pieces flying.

* - - - - - - - - -

If CatCo news helicopters were out that night, they would see a strange sight, Supergirl collapsed on the roof of L-Corp, sobs shaking her body; sapphire and ruby glinting between her fingers.

Chapter Text

She wakes on her office couch, the now empty bottle of Scotch beside her reminding her that her pounding head is her own fault. She refuses to open her eyes, even though the curtains are drawn and the room should be mostly dark.

She just wants to not think, about Kara, about Supergirl, about how stupid she was for not realizing that the woman she was in love with was hiding a whole identity from her.

So, she lays there, pondering how long she can put off getting up before someone interrupts her relative peace.

Turns out the answer is about five minutes before the door to her office swings open.

“Come on, up and at ‘em. Early bird gets the worm, yada yada yada.”

“Ugh, Jess, no.” Even behind her closed eyelids, she can tell when Jess flips the light on and she groans, throwing her arm over her eyes.

“Nope, none of that! Come on, busy day ahead.”

Lena groans again but complies, shifting into a sitting position and blinking until her eyes adjust enough that she can see the aspirin and bottle of gatorade that Jess is holding out for her. She takes them gratefully, swallowing the pills and following them with a long, slow sip of the neon colored drink.

“Gotta say, boss, the drunk on a work night look does not work on you.”

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Good, cause we have a lot to do today.” She thrusts a small bag in Lena’s direction. “Here are some toiletries, there’s a dress that just came from back from dry cleaning in your closet, oh and be sure to wear some sunglasses to cover those bags under your eyes - I called the press so there’s going to be photographers.”

Lena looks up, pressing the cool bottle of gatorade to her forehead.

“Photographers? For what?”

“Oh, right, sorry, the plane for Metropolis leaves in . . . “ Jess checks her watch. “Two hours.”

“Metropolis? I’m not going to Metropolis!”

“Yes, you are, in two hours; so chop chop.”

“Jess, what are you doing?”

Much to her surprise, her assistant kneels down so she's at eye level.

“Look, Lena, you pay me a lot of money to know . . . well, everything. And we may not exactly be friends, but I care about you, and for the past few weeks you’ve been really . . . not yourself. And I’m not going to mention any names, but we both know why. You need some space, and you’re going to get it. For a month. In Metropolis.”

“A month?!”

“And, speaking of she who shall not be named, there’s quite a list of things that you’ve been meaning to do in Metropolis that you’ve been putting off because you didn’t want to leave her. Now is the perfect time to tie up all those loose ends. Plus, my mom has been begging me to come visit, so it works out great. Three birds, one stone.”

“You’re coming with me?”

“Of course, dummy, who else is going to keep you straight!” Jess frowns. “Well, not straight, cause you like the ladies, but you know what I mean. Now come on, we gotta go.”

Jess turns for the door, and Lena watches her, stunned for a moment before calling out.

“Hey, Jess?” she waits for Jess to look back at her before continuing. “Thanks.”

“No problem, boss. Oh, and you might wanna put your hair in a bun today, it looks kinda -“ She trails off, her hands making some sort of jazz hands gesture around her head that makes Lena laugh.

“Yeah, of course. Oh and Jess? Can you make sure the plane has some hashbrowns for the ride? Preferably smothered in gravy."

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Long story short, Jess is a genius.

For starters, the photos of Lena leaving her office and getting into the SUV for the airport are stunning. She looks hot, by any standard, regardless of the fact that the sunglasses covering her face are hiding blood shot eyes and there’s a gatorade and saltine crackers tucked into her purse. All that matters is that her wine colored dress has a plunging neckline and her matching lipstick is one of Kara’s favorite shades.

It doesn’t matter that she almost breaks down on the short ride to the airport, because the Page Six spread makes her look like she’s fine.

It’s a sort of evil satisfaction, knowing that Kara will see the photos and wonder why she’s so put together.

She only wishes she really was that put together, and that her heart didn’t feel like it was shattering into a million pieces as she watches National City fade from view out the plane window.

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Metropolis is . . . refreshing.

She doesn’t see Kara in her mind’s eye every time she walks down the street or steps into a restaurant. Everywhere isn’t tainted with the memory of the best friend she thought she knew like National City is. After a few days, she can actually breathe, she can actually exist for longer than an hour without thinking of Kara’s smile.

She works pretty much from the time her eyes open until the time she falls asleep; but the exhaustion is welcome. Jess was right, she did have a lot of things to take care of in Metropolis, which is why she’s surprised when Jess leaves a break in her schedule on a Tuesday afternoon.

“Jess?” She calls over the intercom. “What am I doing from 3-4?”

“Oh, sorry, I forgot to pencil it in. You have an appointment with Dr. Fowler.”

Lena frowns.

“A doctor’s appointment? It’s not time for my yearly.”

“Dr. Fowler is a psychiatrist.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Yeah, I scheduled you an appointment with her, thought it might help with your . . . girl problems.”

“Jess, I don’t need a psychiatrist.”

“Ok, boss, noted. but it’s already booked and paid for, so you might as well go this first time.”

Unfortunately, Lena can’t find the logic to argue with her.

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She sits on the comfortable chair in Dr. Fowler’s office, staring down the woman across from her.

She seems, nice, for a psychiatrist.

Her shoulder length brown hair is tucked behind her ears, and her gray suit is non-threatening. She has a kind face, Lena thinks, unable to think of anything negative. Still, she refuses to cave, and fixes her eyes on the clock above Dr. Fowler’s head.

“My assistant made me this appointment.” She says for explanation. “I don’t really need therapy, so I’m sorry to waste your time.”

“I don’t mind.” Dr, Fowler smiles. “We can always just talk. No therapy needed. Are you from Metropolis?”

Lena debates answering her, but common manners win out.

“Well, mother was from Ireland, originally, but that’s . . . “

“A story for a therapist.” Dr. Fowler guesses, and Lena nods.

“That’s fine, we don’t have to talk about it. What brings you to Metropolis? Business? Pleasure?”

“Business.” Lena answers immediately, but guilt creeps up her spine, and she adjusts her answer. “Well, sort of. I live in National City, but . . . well, my assistant thought I could use a break from some people there so she scheduled me some time away. L-Corp has offices in both cities, so it’s convenient.”

“Ah, L-Corp. I remember when you opened up a branch in National City. I thought you were just supposed to stay there for a few months to make sure that everything was going smoothly, what made you change your mind?”

Lena hesitates, unwilling to share more than she has to, but still, she is paying for this; she might as well see what crazy advice this sham has to offer.

“I met someone.” She explains. “A friend.”

“A friend?”

“Well, sort of.”

“Sort of? Do I sense gay drama?” Dr. Fowler’s eyes sparkle, and Lena’s gaze catches on a picture of Dr. Fowler with her arm around another woman, a yellow lab sitting in front of them.

Of course Jess would do her research.

“She’s like . . . sunshine personified.” Lena offers as explanation. “Or at least, she was. Now, I don’t know what she is.”

Dr. Fowler shifts in her chair.

“What’s changed?”

“She . . .” Lena hesitates, reluctant to rehash her heart break. “She lied; about who she is. It turns out that she has this whole other persona that she just . . . hid from me. And you know what the worst part is?” She laughs mirthlessly. “I was friends with the other persona! and she just lied to me! Over and over again! Like I’m some kind of fool! Because I’m the idiot who can’t figure out that Kara Danvers is Supergirl!”

Her eyes flash to Dr. Fowler at her accidental revelation, but the other woman just smiles.

“Everything you say here is confidential. The secret is safe with me.”

Lena nods softly, but it seems that once the dam is broken the flow of her words can’t be stopped.

“She lied to me. For three years! I had to learn the truth from my dying brother! And then when she finally got the guts to tell me, do you know what she said?”

Dr. Fowler shakes her head.

“She said she loved me. That she wanted us to be together. Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear that?!”

“For three years?” Dr. Fowler offers, and Lena chokes back a sob.

“I’ve been in love with her for so long! And she was just oblivious. I guess like I was oblivious about her being Supergirl. But then she just tells me that she loves me. In the same conversation that she tells me the truth.”

“I’m sure that must have been devastating.” Dr. Fowler comments quietly, and Lena sets her jaw.

“I don’t know how I feel about her anymore. I don’t know if I can trust her.”

“That’s fair, you deserve to feel that way.”

Something in Lena settles at that. Up until now, she’s been berating herself for her anger. Like she was wrong for thinking bad of the great Supergirl. But now, she feels validated.

“I bought a whole company for her, you know. . . “

* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rest of her session with Dr. Fowler is cathartic, if only because she can finally air out feelings without fear of judgment, with someone who gives her constructive feedback.

On her way out, she checks in with the receptionist.

“Jess scheduled you for two sessions a week, your next appointment is Thursday at 2. Is that okay?”'

Lena can’t help but roll her eyes. She definitely owes Jess another raise.

“Sounds perfect.”

* - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

It’s surprisingly hard for her to fall into her post Kara routine. More often than not, she finds herself looking for her best friend in her downtime.

Kara’s presence has become a staple in her life, and she can’t help but mourn the loss.

Even though she knows whatever dream she had of them is lost.

It’s infuriating.

The one time she gets attached to someone, it backfires.

Dr. Fowler says that she has ‘abandonment issues’, but she doesn’t feel abandoned, just. . . lost.

Kara Danvers was her reason for existing for so long. The drive behind every decision she made.

She just wanted Kara to be happy, but it turns out that Kara is a completely different person than she thought.

Dr. Fowler challenges her, asks her how she feels about Supergirl, separate from Kara.

And honestly, she doesn’t know.

At first she felt like she had to like Supergirl, if only to combat her brother’s dangerous rhetoric with Superman.

But then . . . Supergirl was nice, and good, and she saved Lena’s life on numerous occasions.

Not to mention she was the most beautiful woman Lena had ever seen, minus Kara, of course.

Kara with her glasses and dorky blunders.

Though she supposes, now that she thinks about it, that those blunders come from less of a place of awkwardness and more from the place of an alien being unsure of earth customs. She finds it endearing, in a way that makes her uncomfortable, and Dr. Fowler smiles softly before letting the subject drop.

The good thing about being in Metropolis is that she doesn’t hear a single news story about Supergirl.

Superman, maybe, but Supergirl is noticeably absent.

It’s refreshing.

So it shocks her even more when she gets a surprise visitor.

“Ms. Luthor, I’m sorry, I tried to stop her, but she’s got a badge, and a gun, and I wasn’t sure if -“

Lena’s eyes settle on none other than Alex Danvers.

“It’s fine, Jess, don’t worry about it. “

Jess looks between them for a long moment before she heads back to her desk.

“Alex.” Lena says once Jess is through the door.

“Lena. Kara told me you know her secret.”

“Ahh, are you here to mock me?”

“Mock you?” Alex brow crinkles in a way that’s so much like Kara it almost hurts. “I’m not here to mock you, I’m here to see if you needed a friend. I know I’m not as close as you and Kara, but I thought I’d at least offer my support.”

“Support?”

Alex sighs heavily.

“Look, ever since I was 14, protecting Kara’s secret identity has been my main goal. My parents entrusted me with it, and . . . I never really got over it.”

“She never lied to you about her secret identity though.” Lena scoffs.

“No.” Alex concedes. “But I lied to her about mine.”

Lena’s head snaps up, eyeing Alex like she’s the last oracle.

"For four years, I lied to her about my job. I told her I was involved in biomedical engineering, that I was a sales rep for some company when really I worked for the DEO.”

“The Department of Extranormal Operations.” Lena clarifies.

“Exactly, and I didn’t even tell her what I was doing, because I wanted to protect her.”

“That’s still not -“

“I shot her down,” Alex continues. “I shot her down with Kryptonite arrows. Because I didn’t trust anyone else to make the shot. I shot my own sister with the one thing that hurts her, when she thought I was a sales rep.”

“What’s your point, Alex?”

“My point is that sometimes we lie to the people we love because we think it will protect them, even if it ends up hurting them in the end.”

“So you side with her then.” Lena concludes.

“No, I don’t, I . . . look, as Supergirl’s protector, I’m glad she waited to tell you, because the less people who know, the better, it’s not even because you’re a Luthor, it’s just common sense. But as your friend. . . she was wrong not to tell you, and you deserved to know the truth. It’s not always black and white, sometimes good intentions make for bad actualities. I can understand why Kara didn’t tell you, and I can also understand why you’re upset. I’m just saying, sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to, sometimes we lie to the people we love and sometimes we think we know what’s best for them, even when we don't.

“But no matter what happens between you and my sister, just know that you’re still my friend, and I still support you. I know we’re not as close as you and Kara, but I’m here for you; if you need me. “

“You’re here for me?” Lena asks incredulously.

“I’m am, and I’m sorry you got the raw end of the stick. If it were anyone but Kara, I’d go beat her up for you. In fact, I have a red sun room for training, I still can if you really want me to.”

Lena’s voice breaks in a sob, and Alex stares at her strangely.

“Oh god, don’t cry. I don’t know what to do with criers, please don’t.” she holds out her arms and Lena collapses into them. “Do you want a hug? Will a hug help? I can do a hug.” She whispers as rock solid arms close around Lena.

Are both of the Danvers sisters jacked?

“Did you really shoot Kara down with Kryptonite arrows?” Lena hiccups.

“Yeah, I did. One of the biggest regrets of my life. Just like I’m sure not telling you the truth is one of Kara’s.”

“You’re her sister, you’re supposed to say that.”

“Look, maybe I am. But I don’t have to say this - stay mad for a while, she deserves it. But I hope to see you around soon, game night just isn’t the same without you.”

Lena wants to say more, but she doesn’t, letting Alex pull away.

“I couldn’t tell you the truth, because I’ve been protecting Kara since she was 13 years old. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve to know the truth.”

“Easy for you to say. You were in on the secret.”

“I was.” Alex concedes. “And now you are too, what are you going to do with it?”

Lena doesn’t answer, and Alex backs away.

“I have to get back to National City, but call me when you come home, ok?”

Lena nods, even though she’s unsure of the details of her returning to National City.

She feels the warmth of Alex’s hug long after the other woman is gone.

 

* - - — - - - - - - - -

She stays in Metropolis for a month and a half, a fact she’s sure Jess and Dr. Fowler are conspiring together towards.

She can’t deny that she feels exceptionally better on the plane ride to National City than she did on her trip to Metropolis.

She hates to admit it, but therapy really has helped her, and she has Dr. Fowler’s number stored in her phone and ready for face time sessions.

She doesn’t exactly forgive Kara, but she maybe understands where she was coming from - even if she doesn’t agree with it.

Still, she doesn’t expect what she finds when she comes back to National City.

Supergirl is no where to be found.

According to all reports that she can find, Supergirl disappeared two weeks after she did. It makes sense, she supposes, but what she doesn’t understand is where Kara is now.

Lena's back now, so where is Supergirl?

She tempted to text Kara and ask, but she holds out, unwilling to give in like that. Curiosity isn’t enough to send her crawling back. The anger has faded, but the hurt still lingers. She misses the Kara that she used to know, but she still isn’t sure where she stands now.

A few days after she comes back, she meets Alex for lunch - at a craft beer bar, because Dr. Fowler says it’s important for her be around people who care and she figures Alex is the closest she’s got. But still, she refuses to ask about Kara, and Alex doesn’t offer any information; though she does insist on meeting up again soon.

Despite the million other things she has to do, one question overtakes her mind.

Where is Kara?

A look at CatCo records reveals that she’s been clocking in to work as scheduled, so maybe the question she should really be asking is ‘where is Supergirl?’

Later, back at her apartment, she pulls out the switch that Kara sent her and sets it on her coffee table. An hour of staring at it doesn’t give her anymore answers than she had before.

* - - - - - — - - - - -

 

She finally gets her answer a week later when a school bus is locked up in a battle with a few aliens. The bus stop is on her walk to get coffee, so she gets an unintentional front row view.

Her mind is racing, trying to think of some way to help in this post-Supergirl world that they're apparently in. Luckily the DEO vans show up just as she’s debating how weaponize a fire hydrant, and she breathes a sigh of relief.

She breathes an even bigger sigh when Supergirl shows up out of nowhere to join the fight, and all of National City + Lena is enthralled. Especially when she sees Kara’s new suit.

It’s an all blue, skin tight number that Lena definitely hasn’t seen before, and the missing skirt adds to the attractiveness.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to distract Lena from the fight, especially when Kara puts herself in unnecessary danger.

The anger she thought she was over is back, only this time, it’s for Kara.

How dare Supergirl put her friend in danger like that, by fighting that horribly! Her speed is definitely slowed, and some of her movements are jerky and uncoordinated. Frankly, she looks like a prize fighter that took an extended leave of absence and showed up to the championship match without even a warm-up.

Which, Lena supposes, is exactly what happened.

She holds her breath for what feels like hours, refusing to exhale until the hostile alien is deposited with the waiting DEO agents nearby and Kara is safely on the ground.

She knows the exact moment that Kara spots her, shoulders tensing and her forehead crinkling.

Grinding her teeth, she watches as Kara takes a tentative step in her direction.

“Kara."

“Lena, I -"

If Kara had gotten hurt because Supergirl was on some hare-brained, self righteous mission to just jump back into action without even making sure she’s ready, Lena’s going to . . .

Well, she doesn’t really know what she’s going to do.

In fact, she barely realizes she’s made a decision until her fist is halfway to Supergirl’s face.

Bad move.

Stupid brain.

Thankfully, Kara shifts with the punch, but it still feels like she laid a haymaker into a brick wall.

“Shit! Shit! Fuck!” she doubles over, clutching at her hand, but soft fingers pry her hands apart and cold air leaves a frosty mist over her bruised knuckles as Kara uses her freeze breath to soothe the sting.

“Nothing’s broken, thankfully. Damn it, Lena, you really could have hurt yourself, you have to be careful -“

“I have to be careful?! I have to be careful?! I’m not the one who’s going around fighting aliens when it looks like I barely remember how to fly!”

To her surprise, Kara actually looks remorseful.

“I tried, Lena, I tried so hard, not to be Supergirl, but I -“ she gestures at the school bus. “- the kids, Lena, I couldn’t let them die just because -“

Lena interrupts her.

“You tried to stop being Supergirl?” That would certainly explain things, but it’s a concept Lena has a hard time wrapping her head around. “Why?”

Even as she towers over Lena in her cape and boots, Kara still somehow looks so small.

“Because you hate Supergirl, and I didn’t want you to hate me. I thought maybe if I could stop being Supergirl then maybe - well, I don’t know what I thought, but . . .”

Kara continues to speak, but Lena stops listening.

Instead, her eyes settle on something glinting in the sunlight.

A white gold chain around Kara’s neck, the sapphire of the pendant nearly hidden in the blue of her suit.

Suddenly, everything is too much.

Horns are honking, people are talking, and there’s a stupid bird that just won’t SHUT UP. Almost before she can make out what’s happening, Lena finds herself at the brink of a panic attack.

“Kara,” she fights to stay upright, holding up a hand to stop the flow of the other woman’s words. “Get me out of here.”

“What?”

“Get me out of here, please.”

“Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere, please, just - “

Before she can blink, Kara’s scoops her up and they’re flying off. She has no idea where Kara is taking her, but it takes long enough that by the time they touch down, her panic attack is mostly over; Kara’s strong grip and the white noise of the wind working wonders.

They land on a deserted beach, and Lena looks out over the ocean for a long moment, trying to place where they are.

Until Kara clears her throat.

“Umm, should I like . . . put you down? I mean if you want me to hold you that’s fine, you’re really light, I just umm, well I didn’t know if you wanted to -“

“Kara.” she squeezes the shoulder under her hand, bringing the adorable rambling to a stop. “It’s fine, you can put me down, thank you.”

“Right, umm, here.” Kara bends, lowering her arm so that Lena’s feet can reach the ground, and she uses Kara’s for balance before stepping away.

“You know if I would have known it was really Kara Danvers holding me all those times you saved me, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.” Lena says without thinking, and Kara blushes all the way to the tips of her ears.

“Sorry!” she immediately backtracks. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that, it was just awkward, and I thought ‘why not make it more awkward?’”

“No, it’s fine! I mean I like holding you.”

The awkward tension lingers between them for a long moment before Lena breaks it, turning to stare out over the ocean. She waits until Kara steps up beside her to speak.

“Where are we?”

"Somewhere in the Caribbean? I don’t know the exact coordinates, just a little place I found when I was looking for a place to think and look at the stars after you . . . after you left.”

“It’s beautiful.” Lena observes, and she can feel Kara’s eyes studying her profile. After a moment, she turns to look at Kara too, taking in the face she used to know so well.

“You cut your bangs.” she finally says, and Kara blinks at her from beneath the fringe.

“Well, you said you hated my ‘stupid hair’, so . . . “ Kara shrugs, and Lena holds back a smile.

“Is that why you changed your suit too?”

“No!” Kara’s forehead crinkles. “Maybe. Yes. I just didn’t want you to hate me anymore.”

“I don’t hate you.”

“You hate Supergirl.” Kara counters.

Lena turns back to the ocean with a sigh.

“A while back, my therapist asked me how I felt about Supergirl, apart from you. And when she asked, I didn’t know what to say, because I wasn’t sure. But I’ve had some time to think about it, and I’ve come to some conclusions.”

She faces Kara before continuing.

“Supergirl is . . . she is kind, and she is good, and she's saved my life on numerous occasions. But she is also self-righteous, and arrogant, and stubborn - almost to the point of being foolhardy on occasion. . . She broke my heart once.”

Lena’s voice cracks, and her eyes fill with tears as Kara’s head drops to look at her boots.

“But she also made the decision to put on that suit and help people - people who don’t always deserve it - at great risk to herself. She could just hide away her powers and be a reporter and spend her Thursday nights playing scrabble with her friends instead of putting out factory fires. And I would love that person, because that person is enough. But instead she chooses to use her powers for good, she puts her life on the line to protect people. And for some reason she has this deeply rooted belief that people are good; even when I know for a fact that she’s seen some of the worst that humanity has to offer.”

“Lena -“

“Let me finish.” she says gently and Kara nods, tears streaking down her face.

“I don’t hate you, Kara. I could never hate you. And it’s taken a lot of therapy, and a lot of long talks with Alex, but . . .” She takes a moment to put her words in order.

“The way I see it, I have two options. I can move to a new city. I can work at a different office in a different state where nothing will be tainted with your memory and I can pretend like Kara Danvers never existed. But I don’t like that option.”

Kara’s face lightens marginally, but her eyes are still wary.

“What’s option two?”

“Option two is that I forgive you, and we start over. This time with no secrets - not about our identities, or our feelings, or our pasts. I want it all out on the table, and I want us to try. And it may not work and it won’t be easy, and I want you to see Dr. Fowler with me. But my heart has been shattered, regardless, and I can either fix it with you or without you, and I want to do it with you; because life is so much better with you in it. Even the bad parts.” The tears spill over now, and she chokes out a sob, Kara’s face crumpling.

“Lena, I am so sorry. And I never in a million years meant to hurt you. You’re my red sun. You make me feel so grounded, and home. And I realize now that I was using you as crutch to deal with this double life I lead, and I thought maybe somehow if I kept you separate then things would be different. But I was so wrong to do that to you. I should have told you the truth years ago, and I promise I will never keep secrets from you again. I will do whatever I have to, to make this work. I’ll go to therapy, I’ll communicate, I’ll literally fly to the moon if I have to.”

“Will you share your potstickers?” Lena can’t help asking, desperate to lighten the mood, if only for a second.

Kara sobs a laugh.

“You can have all the potstickers. I would never eat a potsticker again if it would make you happy. I would do anything you asked of me and not give it a second thought to show you how sorry I am.”

Lena studies her for long moment.

“Would you really give up being Supergirl for me?”

“Lena . . . I don’t think you understand. You’ve made me indestructible. Whatever weakness I still have under this yellow sun, you’ve come up with the technology to fix it. Nothing from earth can hurt me. But that day on the rooftop, when you walked away . . . it was like watching Krypton explode all over again. And there’s some sort of poetic justice about the person who made me indestructible also being the only one who can bring me to my knees. But would I give up Supergirl for you. I think showed today that I’m not very good at giving it up, but I would try again, for you.”

Lena can see the sincerity in her eyes, in the way that her arms are halfway outstretched as if just waiting for an invitation to pull Lena into a hug.

“I would never ask you to give up a part of who you are. In fact the reason that I was so upset when I found out was because you felt like you had to hide it from me in the first place. I want you to be yourself, and Supergirl is part of you; I just need you to share her with me.”

Kara nods slowly.

“I can do that.”

They stand there, staring at each other on the beach, the waves lapping against the shore, and for the first time since Lex told her the truth, Lena feels at peace.

“I know this is kind of awkward but . . . can I have a hug? I really missed your hugs.” Lena shifts awkwardly in the sand, but she shouldn’t have worried, because Kara’s eyes light up and her mouth twists into the soft smile that Lena loves so much.

“Of course, get in here, bring it in.” Kara’s arms widen even further, and she takes a step towards Lena before wrapping her up in a bear hug.

“I’ve missed you so much.” Kara whispers against her hair. “I was afraid that I’d never get you back.”

For a few long minutes, Lena just lets herself breathe, content in the way that Kara’s arms are just slightly too tight around her, her fingers clutching at Kara’s cape.

“It’s kind of weird, hugging you in the suit.” She says, finally breaking the silence.

“I can change?" Kara offers, starting to pull away, but Lena holds her in place.

“No, I wanna get used to it. I can’t limit my hug time to just when you’re not in the suit.”

Kara settles at that, and Lena waits another minute before she pulls away, unable to stop the smile that’s spreading across her face.

As much as it hurts, it’s good to have Kara back.

“So what now?” Kara asks, seemingly nervous in the aftermath of their hug.

“Now we’re going to get dinner. I’m picking,” she clarifies, “and paying, because it’s going to be fancy, and I’m going to make you eat vegetables.”

Kara’s nose scrunches.

“Fancy just means smaller portions.”

“Perks of being a billionaire, I can buy you as much food as you can eat.”

Kara’s nose stays scrunched, but she doesn’t complain further, so Lena continues.

“Then we’re going to talk, we’re going to lay everything out in the open, and we’re going to start this off right.”

“Your place? Or Mine?"

“Yours please, I left my NCU sweatshirt there last time I was over, and I want to get it back.”

“I’m sorry, your NCU sweatshirt?” Kara scoffs.

Lena raises an eyebrow.

I went to NCU and I’m the one who bought that shirt!”

Lena’s eyebrow gets even closer to her hairline.

“You went to MIT!” Kara insists, and they face off for a moment before Kara finally caves.

“Fine, it’s your sweatshirt. That you sometimes let me borrow when it stops smelling like me and you don’t want to wear it anymore.”

Lena blushes at being caught in her scheme, and Kara grins.

“Ha! I knew it! It was always suspicious when it would randomly show back up.”

The glare Lena gives her is withering, but it does little to shrink Kara’s grin.

“Will you please take me home? Before I decide to add a plate of Brussel sprouts to our order just for you.”

“Geez, I was just joking, you didn’t have to bring Brussel sprouts into this!” Kara says with a laugh before stepping forward.

For the second time that day, Kara bends to scoop Lena up into her arms, but before she can, a thought strikes Lena and she taps Kara on the shoulder.

“Kara, before we go, I just have one more question.”

“Anything.”

“Why are you wearing the necklace?”

“Oh.” Kara’s hand reaches up to grip the pendant between her fingers. "That’s easy, because my best friend gave it to me, and then she disappeared, so this was the best way I had to keep her close.”

And Lena knows that they should probably take this slow, and they still have so much to talk about, but something about those blue eyes makes her lose all self control.

She leans forward, one hand on Kara’s crest and the other on her cheek, and brings their lips together. She’s imagined kissing Kara more times than she’d like to admit, and she’s envisioned so many different possibilities for how it would be, but reality?

Reality is positively mind blowing.

For a moment, Kara seems stunned, but then she steps into the kiss; arms wrapping around Lena’s back and pulling her in.

It’s the best kiss of Lena’s entire existence, and as Kara’s lips move under hers, she can’t help but think that some things are worth fighting for, no matter the cost. Because not everyone is out to hurt her, and some people really do have good intentions - at least that’s Dr. Fowler tells her. And maybe, she can start believing it too.

All too soon, Kara’s lips pull away, though her hands stay where they are - inching dangerously close to Lena’s backside.

“So just to clarify -“ Kara starts, and Lena takes a little pleasure in the way her cheeks are flushed and her breath is coming in puffs.

“Are we at the kissing stage now? Or this a one time thing? It’s cool either way, I just don’t want to overstep -“

“Kara Danvers!” Lena cuts her off with a laugh. “Shut up and kiss me.”

“Oh, wait, cause while we’re being open and honest -“

Lena’s heart rate spikes.

“- My real name is Kara Zor-El.”

“Zor-El, huh?”

Kara nods, a contented smile on her face.

“It sounds nice when you say it.”

“Well then, Kara Zor-el, shut up and kiss me."

And if she thought kissing Kara the first time was good, the second time?

Even better.