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She remembers her mother taking her to the beach.

 

Not Lillian. Her real mother. Lillian Luthor would never put her toes in the sand or search for shells or watch Lena run away from the waves as they crash onto the shore.

 

Growing up, Lena liked to imagine that her birth mother was Lillian’s opposite; where Lillian was cold and unwelcoming, her mother was sunshine and love. Where Lillian was prideful and greedy, her mother was humble and generous. She’s always wondered where she falls on a scale of fake mother to real mother, how much goodness she’s inherited from a still-nameless woman versus how much anger Lillian has bestowed upon her. And she found comfort in the fact that maybe, just maybe, there was inherent goodness somewhere in her genetic makeup, that she wasn’t destined to become consumed by the things she detested.

 

She likes to think her love for the ocean is an inherited trait.

 

She loves it because it’s powerful. Dynamic. Beautiful.

 

Some of the same reasons she loved Kara Danvers.

 

She loved Kara Danvers for her integrity, for her loyalty. She loved her for her humour and her never ending love. And, like the ocean, she loved her for the depths she held, for the multitudes she inspired, and for the way she made Lena feel in her presence: weightless and free.

 

But that was before.

 

Lena Luthor stands on her balcony. Her bare feet are shockingly cold against the concrete but it’s too late in the night to be torturing herself with high heels. The breeze - a lot more unforgiving at forty five storeys - chills her bare shoulders and arms, and on any other day, her lack of jacket would be reason enough to retire to her apartment for the night. But not today.

 

Today calls for finishing a bottle of very expensive whiskey and facing the cold long enough to feel anything other than the betrayal and heartache that’s swirling within her, a hurricane of pain that demands her attention in a ferocious manner.

 

She presses the glass tumbler against her knuckles and the still-forming bruises that pattern her skin. For a hot second she’d thought she’d broken something, but she’s better than that; if there was one thing that Lillian had taught her, it was how to throw a proper punch. And yeah, maybe punching a Kryptonian in the face wasn’t the best idea she’s ever had (and maybe punching a hero in front of a bus filled with small children wasn’t too great for the Luthor image) but god, it felt good, maybe even great. 

 

Lena doesn’t hear the landing ‘thud’ behind her, but she still knows she’s there. Learning how to sense her is a superpower she’s managed to cultivate, despite her perfectly ordinary human DNA. She doesn’t want to turn around. She wants to stay in this moment with the coldness and the bruises as she stares down at the sleeping city beneath her. She wants to exist in a world where she retains some sort of control. She decides she still can.

 

“Just go,” Lena says quietly into the wind, knowing she can hear. She places the glass of whiskey on the balcony ledge, letting it waiver precariously over the city below.

 

“I can’t.”

 

“Try.” She tries her hardest to keep her voice from breaking, the pressure of a please resting on the tip of her tongue. But she’s done with begging from Kara.

 

“I’m not leaving.”

 

Lena whirls around, ready to launch a verbal attack, but stops in her tracks. 

 

She was expecting the brilliant red and blue of Supergirl’s suit, the power of the House of El symbol staring at her, almost glowing against the midnight sky. But instead it’s Kara. Kara in a pair of slacks and a tucked in button-up. With her hair neatly pulled back and her glasses just the tiniest bit askew. Kara, whose shoulders seem broader than usual, who’s standing up straighter than Lena’s ever seen, exuding a confidence she’s never had before. It throws her for just a moment, before she straightens her own shoulders and juts out her jaw.

 

“I have nothing to say to you,” Lena says, her voice steadier, though only barely. “Now leave before I call security.”

 

Please ,” Kara begs, a desperation in her voice Lena doesn’t think she’s ever heard before. “Let me explain. I need to explain.”

 

Lena scoffs, but decides that Kara isn’t worth more words. She turns her back on Kara and heads toward the office door. But in the blink of an eye, Kara is in front of her, blocking her path.

 

“Lena--” Kara begins, but Lena tries to get around her. She blocks her again. 

 

“I said go .”

 

“You can’t just ignore me!” Kara tries to reason, blocking Lena as she tries to escape for a third time. This time, their bodies almost touch, infuriatingly close, only amplified by the rest of the space on the large balcony. “You have to listen!”

 

“No I don’t!” Lena finally explodes, pushing Kara’s chest away from her. Kara stumbles back a few steps. Lena’s not sure if she was caught by surprise or if she’s just letting Lena feel good about herself. She doesn’t care, still relishing in the cathartic rush pushing Kara had given her. 

 

“How dare you make me feel like this!” Lena yells, pushing her again. “Why didn’t you trust me!” She pushes her again, punctuating her words. “Why couldn’t you trust me?!” Her voice is loud and sad and so unlike her, and she tries to push Kara once more, giving into her Luthor genes to cause pain of some sort.

 

This time Kara catches her wrists, holding them together. Their hands hover just above Kara’s chest, just above where that S symbol should be. For just a moment, Lena wonders if she’s wearing it underneath her clothes, yet another thing hidden away from her. But she can barely think. Her last, desperate question still hangs in the little, almost nonexistent, space between them and she fears the answer it may bring.

 

Kara looks into her eyes, ensnaring Lena with a solemn determination.

 

“Because I love you,” Kara says, her voice finally breaking. Not for the first time that night, Lena can feel just how close their bodies are. She can feel the heat and sorrow that radiates off Kara, she can see the tears that pool in her eyes. “I love you.”

 

And there it is, the final nail in Lena’s heartbreak.

 

She had never told Kara about her own feelings, her own impulses that she kept buried for so long, for those were secrets that would bury the Luthors for good. So she dated men and she pretended that was perfectly okay and when feelings for Kara sprouted deep within her, she ignored them. She ignored them as they grew into tendrils she could no longer control, as they wrapped their way around her heart and slowly tried to suffocate her. 

 

But now Kara is here in front of her with admissions of love of her own and the overwhelmingly sweet smell of her perfume, and Lena feels the blood rush to her cheeks and she feels the shame that usually comes along with thinking about love. How dare Kara try to pry that from her? Kara, whom she once dreamed of telling her deepest secret to? Kara, who rendered their friendship one completely void of trust? She has the audacity to proclaim her love?

 

Fuck Kara Danvers. 

 

“Don’t you dare--”

 

“I love you and I just couldn’t… I couldn’t break your heart like that.”

 

Lena’s veins feel like ice. “Bold of you to assume you hold any power over my heart.”

 

She knows Kara can see right through her, but she also knows it’s still enough to hurt her.

 

“I didn’t want to disappoint you like that, Lena.” Kara pleads. “I couldn’t disappoint you like that.”

 

“And yet you’ve managed to do a perfect job of it.”

 

Kara drops her wrists. They fall heavily to Lena’s sides.

 

“I want to make this right. I need to make this right.”

 

Lena fights the urge to cup Kara’s face in her hands, to hold her in whatever slight way she can muster. She fights the urge to give in and let Kara apologise and move on with their lives. But she can’t do it, and she’s not sure what’s holding her back more: the unyielding ache that consumes her, or the Luthor genes of stubborn pettiness already within her. 

 

“Goodbye,” Lena says firmly, and sidestepping her one last time, she goes into her office and locks the door behind her.

 

She watches through the reinforced glass as Kara shoots off into the night sky, leaving her alone once more. And she realises - with a swift kick to the gut - that for the first time, she had seen the Supergirl-ness of Kara that had been hidden for their entire friendship. The broadness to her shoulders, the added height that standing up straight gave her, the subtle power she radiated, that holds her above everybody else.

 

As she takes a drink directly from the bottle of whiskey, she resigns herself to the fact that her love for Kara refuses to be delegated to past tense.

 

And she thinks,

 

Kara Danvers is like the ocean.

 

A wave crashing against her, keeping her underwater, refusing to let up, and making it impossible for her to catch her breath.

 

////

 

Kara envies those who drink. She envies those who can experience the bubbly joy of a few sips, of those who can erase pain and memories with a few glasses. Those who can control and ease their emotions with liquid. To her, it feels almost superhuman. And it feels like a cosmic joke, being cursed with her past, being almost immortal, and not being able to easily forget either thing.

 

Instead, Kara replays a highlight reel of Lena Luthor over and over again in her head, reminiscing over the time they spent together, and how everything fell apart. And it hurts , it hurts in a way that feels permanent and unfixable, because there’s nobody to blame for this but herself. 

 

Well, herself and Lex Luthor. 

 

Screw that guy.

 

She may not get to drink her sorrows away, but she does have other methods to attempt to control emotions. Which is how she finds herself in one of the many sub-basements of the DEO, in an oddly-lit training room with Alex, who is taking great pleasure in kicking her ass.

 

“Fight back,” Alex says with a slight puff, as she wipes the sweat from her brow. She offers a hand to Kara, who lies flat on her back gasping for air. Kara doesn’t take it.

 

“I’m trying,” Kara replies through gritted teeth. “I just can’t get out of my head long enough.”

 

Instead of forcing her sister back onto her feet, Alex lies down beside her, their heads almost touching and their bodies splayed out.

 

“Have you tried, like, talking about it?” Alex asks. “To some sort of professional?”

 

“Yeah, because I can just tell a therapist about how I betrayed Lena Luthor by not telling her about my secret superhero identity and how I can’t stop thinking about her face when I told her I love her. And while I’m at it, I can explain to them how I watched my home planet explode and then rediscover my mother’s been alive for all these years and it was her fault in the first place that Krypton was destroyed. I can tell them how angry I am all the time and how much I fear the day I manage to mess up just a bit too much and everybody else discovers how I’m not really a good person.”

 

Alex is silent for just a moment.

 

“Well it might take a few sessions with a DEO ther--”

 

“This isn’t a joke!” Kara exclaims, sitting straight up. “These problems, they’re not normal! I’m not normal! And I can’t just go to therapy and pretend like my problems are everyday, run of the mill ones! Why don’t you get that??”

 

Alex shrugs. “Your problems might be extraterrestrial, but, like, the things you’re feeling? Heartbreak and loss and guilt and fear? That’s about as human as you can get, Kara.”

 

The weight of Kara’s sorrow sits on her chest, making it hard to breathe or move or anything. The lump in the back of her throat refuses to budge and tears prick her eyes in the most infuriating of ways. 

 

“It doesn’t - it doesn’t feel very human,” she manages to say. “I feel like… Like I’m made of anger and-and sadness. I feel like at any second I’ll explode and hurt the people around me more than I already have.”

 

“Kara--” Alex says, sitting up. Kara cuts her off again immediately.

 

“I’ve hurt you before, Alex. I hurt James and Winn. And J’onn. And don’t even get me started on Lena. All I seem to do is make life harder for the people who love me, and then pretend that me putting on a stupid suit every day is gonna make up for it eventually.”

 

“At any given moment, all anybody’s trying to do is minimize how much bad shit we put out into the world. You are a wonderful person who does wonderful things, and the people who love you… We love you for your compassion and your kindness and because you can open jars when nobody else can.”

 

Kara lets out a curious sound, something between a laugh and a sob, as she falls into Alex’s arms and lets herself be comforted.

 

“You are not the anger inside you,” Alex says slowly. “And you are not the mistakes of your past. Got it?”

 

Kara nods her head against Alex’s shoulder. Alex disentangles herself from Kara and stands up. She offers her a hand, and this time Kara takes it and lets Alex pull her to her feet.

 

“You should still definitely see a therapist,” Alex says. “I’ll organise something for you.”

 

“I’m sure Kelly will give you a special discount,” Kara winks, clearly back to her old self.

 

Before Alex can respond with a jab of her own, Vasquez’s voice echoes in both of their earpieces.

 

“Supergirl, we’ve got a situation at L-Corp.”

 

And then, before Alex can even think about responding, Kara is gone.

 

///

 

Logically, Kara knows Lena has been in worse situations. Like, for example, being hurled from a cargo plane or exposed to a Kryptonite explosion or almost assassinated in a helicopter.

 

Or, Kara remembers, forced to kill her brother and find out she’s been betrayed by her best friend.

 

But the fact that Lena Luthor is a traumatised bitch doesn’t do anything to stave off Kara’s growing anger. And she has the right to be angry. Turning up to L-Corp to find Lena dangling from her balcony whilst her office is on fire? Watching her grip fail? Finding out that Lena had once again purposefully provoked Morgan Edge?

 

Kara is seething.

 

And hours later, long after Lena is given a clean bill of health from Alex, whilst she lies in a DEO bunk, too afraid to go back to her apartment in case danger lurks there, as well, Kara is still so, so angry.

 

“Honestly, how dare you!!” Kara almost shouts as she bursts into Lena’s room.

 

Lena cracks open an eye, and glances up at a fuming Kara, who towers over where she lies.

 

She closes her eye.

 

“I’m freaking serious right now!” Kara says, her voice quivering with rage. Her hands ball into fists seemingly of their own volition, and she teeters on the edge of something she’s not quite sure of, her heart beating wildly in her chest. “It’s like you barely want to stay alive! Do you hate yourself so much you’re willing to just throw your life away??”

 

“Not all of us can be invincible, Supergirl,” Lena replies, unperturbed. She looks wholly un-Lena, in a department-issue pair of sweatpants and an oversized DEO t-shirt. “Us mere mortals, we actually understand what it means to sacrifice our lives.”

 

“You have no idea what I’ve sacrificed,” she says, her voice dangerously low. “You think you know everything, that you have everything figured out. But you do not know what I’ve been through, the things I’ve seen.” Her voice catches. “The people I’ve lost.”

 

Lena’s eyes fly open, the simmering rage within her unleashed.

 

“And who’s fault is that?” she demands, standing up from the bunk. “You think it’s my fault I know nothing about you? When you spent years lying to me! Making a fool out of me!”

 

“This isn’t about that! This is about the fact you’re turning your vendetta against me into a damn death wish!”

 

“I don’t even know why you’re still here, Kara; I don’t want you in my life!” Lena throws at her. “Why do you still fucking care about anything I do??”

 

“Because you can’t be another person I lose!” Kara explodes. “What happens when I don’t make it in time, huh? What happens when I can’t save you? Will you have finally proven your point when you’re dead and I have to live without you?”

 

She has more to say, but before she can, Lena surges forward and cuts her off with a kiss. It’s a hard, spur of the moment, I-hate-you-but-I-love-you kind of kiss and it makes Kara forget any thought she’s ever had in her entire life. It’s angry and rushed and it turns them into a tangle of breaths and beating hearts as they collapse onto Lena’s bunk. Every last nerve ending feels like it’s on fire, desperate for more of Lena’s touch, crying out for her. Kara’s hand wanders down Lena’s body, tracing over her back and hips, landing on the front of her sweatpants. She fiddles with the tied up string, refusing to quit mid-kiss. She’s aware of Lena’s own roaming hands and the power their touch commands. Lena struggles with Kara’s belt, and Kara can’t help but smile into the kiss.

 

“Get,” Lena all but growls, “this fucking suit off. Now.”

 

Kara does as she’s told. She takes off her cape and then her boots and then struggles out of the full-body design she’s still getting used to as Lena kicks off her own pants and strips off her shirt. Lena gives into her embrace, softening only the slightest bit.

 

As she fucks Lena, she thinks about the anger that still resides low in her chest, and she thinks about how much she misses her, despite the fact she’s right there, with her back arched and the breath missing from her lungs. She wishes she could forget, that she could drink away her feelings like the other people in her life.

 

But instead, she drinks in Lena, committing every inch of her body to every part of her mind. And she hopes that maybe, just for a moment, her mind will numb and she’ll forget everything.

 

God, she wishes it were that easy.

 

///

 

Lillian always told her that life offers you strange, often unwanted surprises that you never, ever see coming. Of course, in Lillian’s experience, Lena had been that strange surprise. And Lena had assumed the surprise in her own life had been the revelation that her best friend is Supergirl. She didn’t think she could handle more than that.

 

And then they fuck.

 

But it’s not just that they fuck.

 

It’s that Kara makes her cum so many times she almost blacks out. It’s that Lena’s never felt more alive, more alert, more human than she has under Kara’s weight. And dear god, there’s something to be said for superhuman speed and agility, and the fact that every part of Kara is truly Super.

 

She tells Kara it’s a one time thing. And she tells herself it’s a one time thing, a moment of lapsed judgement that’s not bound to happen again. Kara was just a warm body that was there after a long, hard day. She was a means to an end, a way to rid herself of some pent up energy.

 

Which is also how she excuses it the second time it happens.

 

An old anti-alien quote from Lex starts making the rounds again and the L-Corp stocks take a bit of a hit. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the meetings she has to sit through go until the early morning. Some of the board members are making it harder and harder for Lena to pretend that she isn’t related to her family, accusing her of carrying the same sentiments. She wants to laugh when she hears that; she wishes she could hate aliens. She wishes she could hate one specific alien.

 

Amidst calls for her removal and avoiding calls from her mother, Lena decides that what she needs is a walk to clear her head at three in the morning. A long walk, followed very closely by one of her security guards. A walk that takes her right near Kara’s building.

 

It’s been a really long day, she reasons as she locates the spare key and opens the main doors.

 

She’s really damn stressed, she tells herself as she gets into the elevator and pressed the button for the sixth floor.

 

And by the time she’s knocking on Kara’s door at close to one in the morning, she’s muttering I deserve this under her breath, a mantra keeping her convinced that she’s not fucking up.

 

Kara opens the door, and Lena’s breath catches in her chest for just a second.

 

“Hi,” she says with a small frown. “Is everything okay? It’s late.”

 

Somehow, so utterly distracted by how blue Kara’s eyes look, Lena’s I deserve this comes out as,

 

“You owe me this.”

 

And despite the late hour, despite a lot of things, she knows Kara understands her. She owes her no questions asked. Silence. Just a bit more time to hate her. Kara nods slowly, stepping forward. She holds Lena’s cheek ever so slightly in her hand and Lena can already feel everything that isn’t the two of them start to melt away. Lena closes her eyes, and she waits for Kara to kiss her.

 

She can feel her hovering, Kara’s lips just above her own, the promise of a kiss burning wildly between them, and her breath hitches in the back of her throat.

 

It’s as though time slows, waiting for the kiss. Time slows and the world melts away and Lena thinks her atoms are made of yearning - deep, unwavering yearning - for Kara. She can’t breathe. She can’t think. She can’t do anything, but wait for the release that Kara’s touch promises to bring.

 

And then, when - finally - Kara closes that tiny gap and kisses her, everything that has been raging within her since time immemorial comes racing out. The gates of heaven open and the clouds part to unleash the sun and the earth stops spinning on its axis and--

 

And Kara kisses her. 

 

And Kara leads her to her bed.

 

And Kara reminds her of what it means to feel full and content.

 

Which is why, when Lena turns up on her doorstep a third time, a fourth, a fifth, neither of them are surprised. They spend more and more nights together, entranced by each other, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Words barely pass between them, their actions speak louder than their words ever could; their movements are poetry and their bodies storytellers, desperate to call out to one another over and over and over again. This is their agreement. It is silent and it is enough.

 

She had thought that sleeping with Kara had been surprise enough, and then, months into their precarious arrangement, the hurt slips away, and the only thing left is Luthor spite and stubbornness. It’s strange; her feelings of anger and hurt and humiliation had felt so big and unconquerable that she thought they’d last forever. But they’ve managed to disappear so much quicker than she anticipated, and she’s left wondering when Kara Danvers began to feel like home again, safe and familiar and warm.

 

“Lena? Are you asleep?”

 

Lena can’t remember at what point during their arrangement the sleepovers began, but at this point they’re standard practice. She lies with her back to Kara, a silhouette against the moon’s light. She feels Kara run her fingers down the small of her back, so softly it feels like a breeze. She’s always so desperate for the feeling of Kara against her skin, and she feels herself burn hot underneath the touch.

 

“Lena?” she whispers again, and again, Lena doesn’t respond. She waits in the darkness, for the secrets she can sense are about to spill forth from Kara.

 

“I wanted to tell you I was Su-- who I was so many times,” Kara whispers. “Every lunch date, every game night, every second of every day. I wanted you to know every part of me. But at the same time… I found great comfort in being just Kara Danvers to you. There was no expectation of something more, no pity about my past or disappointment when I failed to be the symbol of hope or whatever that everybody needs me to be.

 

“And then I tried to tell you and by then… it was too late. You didn’t deserve to find out the way you did. And you didn’t deserve to feel the way I made you feel. You don’t deserve so much of what the world throws at you, Lena. And the fact I became a part of that? It kills me.”

 

Lena feels her eyes water, and she fights the urge to wipe away her tears, and she fights the urge to turn around and face Kara as she speaks. Kara is already to genuine for Lena sometimes; her smile is so real, her eyes so bright and filled with optimism, it’s almost too hard for Lena to look at.

 

“You said. You said I owed you this. What I really owe you is safety and trust and the promise that I want you to feel like I can be in your life again, properly. And your stubbornness. Your tenacity. That's only partly why I lo-- why you’re you.”

 

It’s as though she’s floating, as though the bed is no longer there and gravity no longer works. Lena is floating on Kara’s almost admission, one that feels so different to the full one that had come months earlier. Where that one had weighed heavily on Lena, this one is light and freeing and almost spectacular. 

 

“Goodnight, Lena.”

 

And Lena realises, as Kara rolls over to go to sleep, that like most angers usually do, hers seems to have run its course. She realises that she has been on the road to forgiveness for a while now, and maybe she’s almost at the end. And she realises that a life where betrayal is just a distant memory is almost within reach.

 

She dresses quickly the next morning, and passes Kara making coffee in the kitchen. She pauses, her hand on the door handle, her body almost fully out the door. She turns back to Kara and clears her voice.

 

(Years later, Kara will admit to knowing that Lena was awake and Lena will feel mortified and Kara will tell her that those were the things Awake Lena wasn’t ready to hear just yet.)

 

She hesitates. “Have a good day, Kara.”

 

She’s gone before she can see the shock on Kara’s face bloom into a smile, before she succumbs to the urge to stay and learn absolutely everything there is to know about Kara Danvers.

 

///

 

“When I first got to earth, I was afraid of the dark,” Kara whispers into the night. “I think spending twenty four years staring into deep space might do that to a person. It took me a while before I could trust light switches and Alex got really good at sleeping with the light on for the first couple of months. Now it’s not so bad. Night time means I get to see you and be with you. But sometimes… I don’t like stargazing. Can’t stand it. A lot of people find it freeing to look up into space and be reminded of how big the universe is, but it doesn’t feel so big when you’re up there. It feels small and cramped and horribly suffocating. And… yeah. Seeing light again, feeling the sun on my skin… I’ll never forget what that was like.”

 

///

 

“I mean, she was on Argo, alive this whole time. Sure, she had reasons and excuses for why she didn’t find me, but when it’s something like that, you lose the ability to be rational. She’s my mom, y’know? She’s supposed to know I’m alive. She’s supposed to try and find me and fight for me and want me to be with her. And she just let me go back to Earth? Just like that? It’s not fair. And it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forgive her for. But what really sucks is that I don’t think she even realises forgiveness is something she should be looking for. She just thinks everything’s fine. And I can’t get mad because, what, I’m gonna ruin every reunion we have from now on? That’s ridiculous.”

 

///

 

“I mean obviously my favourite is JT, but I can’t just ignore Lance Bass and what he brought to the table, y’know? And then there’s the fact that Chris Kirkpatrick is literally Chip Skylark, I can’t overlook that either. This is a very complicated and delicate thing to decide.”

 

///

 

“Red kryptonite was the worst thing I’ve ever had to encounter. Every bad thought I’ve ever had just… bubbling to the surface. Things I could never take back. And it’s not even like I was possessed or anything. That’s the worst part of it. It was horrible, but it was completely me . I did those things. And then I woke up from it, and I… I hadn’t ever realised how hard I work at keeping all that stuff down. And it’s exhausting, trying to be good and happy and shiny all the time. But that’s who I want to be. I want to be good. I just wish it wasn’t so totally draining to be like this. You… You help. You make me wanna fight harder for this. For us. Because you try to be so tough and stubborn and badass. But you are made of nothing but goodness. Despite everything, who you are is Good. And that’s what I wanna be.”

 

///

 

“Alex was right when she said I should speak about this stuff more. I think it’s helping. I mean, granted, I think she was thinking more along the lines of me seeing a therapist, but maybe this is enough. Whispering to you in the dark so I don’t wake you up. I’m excited for the day I can tell you this stuff for real. All I want from this life is to be able to share it with you. And you don’t know it yet, but we’re meant to be together, you and me. It’s one of those inevitable things that just makes sense in a world filled with chaos and bad things… We make sense on some cosmic sorta level, I think. We’re meant to be.”

 

///

 

And Lena falls deeper and deeper with each passing night. With Kara Danvers. With Kara Zor-El. With Kara.

 

///

 

She finishes work early, around five. It’s an anomaly, almost a once-in-a-lifetime event.

 

She’s also not sure what to do with the miracle she’s been handed. Her scheduled-but-we-pretend-this-is-non-chalant night with Kara is only at ten, so that’s five whole hours Lena has to spend by herself.

 

She asks her driver to stop at Lush on the way home, and she doesn’t even care that ‘Lena Luthor Bought Two Bath Bombs - Is Drama Afoot?’ headlines that are bound to circulate tomorrow. She just really wants a bath.

 

All her best thinking is done in the bath. Maybe if she analysed it, it’s because the bath reminds her of the ocean and the ocean reminds her of her carefree early childhood and of Kara Danvers and of uncontrollable mayhem.

 

Or maybe it’s because it’s the only time she can fully switch off and relax.

 

She’s almost impatient as she takes the elevator to her penthouse apartment, desperate to try and stop thinking for a while.

 

The smell of garlic is the first sign that something is different.

 

The second sign is the pair of Birkenstock that lie abandoned in the foyer.

 

And the third sign is the annoyingly gorgeous singing coming from the kitchen.

 

Lena slides into the kitchen unnoticed, an overwhelming mixture of exhausted, confused, and utterly thrilled to see Kara. She’s wearing a basketball jersey and an apron and her hair is in a messy bun and her glasses are perched on the top of her head like sunglasses. She sings along to something she barely knows the words to as she stirs something Lena can’t really see, but god does it smells amazing.

 

And there’s something about it, the domesticity of it all, that frightens Lena. Sure, they’ve been fucking for months and Kara tells her her deepest secrets in the dead of night, but this is a level of intimacy she hasn’t experienced before. Someone in her kitchen, making something wonderful. 

 

“I’m too tired for this, Kara,” Lena says, turning off the speakers from her phone. “Whatever this is.”

 

Kara whirls around and the smile on her face is enough to incapacitate Lena, who immediately feels the need to lie down.

 

“You’re home!” Kara exclaims, as though it’s her home, too, and she’s been waiting for hours. “Good.”

 

She puts down the wooden spoon and turns off the stove. 

 

“I’ve decided we like each other again,” she says, matter-of-factly. “In fact, I’ve decided I’m in love with you and I want to spend a very long time with you. Now, before you say anything, you should know that I’m willing to wait as long as I need for you to finish forgiving me, and for you to realise.”

 

“Realise?” Lena repeats, raising an eyebrow, ignoring the way her heart pounds wildly in her chest.

 

Kara smiles and nods, just once. “That you’re in love with me, too.”

 

“I’m not--” Lena starts to defend, but there’s no point. Kara just keeps smiling at her and Lena knows it’s useless to fight anymore. Being stubborn is a lot of work, and being angry is much too tiring. And maybe she’s not yet ready to admit her love, but she feels it glowing warm and comforting in her chest, waiting to be nurtured and grown.

 

Lena sighs, returning Kara’s beaming smile with a small one of her own. 

 

Even the ocean gives in sometimes, she thinks.

 

“Do I have any wine?”

 

“In the decanter, waiting to be poured.”

 

Lena walks to the pantry, and pulls out an apron for herself. 

 

“You can chop those tomatoes, if you’d like,” Kara says. And if she’s surprised when Lena approaches her, leans up just slightly, and plants a kiss on her cheek, she doesn’t say anything. And Lena doesn’t say anything, either, when Kara dips her like some damn casanova and kisses her properly, deeply, passionately.

 

And as she chops the tomatoes as per Kara’s instructions, Lena thinks that maybe it’s easier to ride the waves than fight against them. And maybe the easiest thing in the world is letting Kara love her.