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I Forgot That You Existed

Chapter Text

Kara looked around at the apartment; the lit candles, the roses (all ten dozen of them), the dinner warming in the oven that she had not burnt, thank you very much, and the gift bag sitting on the counter ready to be opened, and she sighed contentedly. It was perfect

 

Well, close to perfect. Kara was one of those people who could never quite do enough when it came to gift giving and special occasions. She always wished she had bought just one more gift, written one more line on the card, spent one more minute decorating, and so on and so forth. And it was a special occasion, after all. As of today, her and Lena had been married for two years. She smiled and laughed quietly to herself, like she always did when she took a moment to think about how they had ended up here, after everything. Who would have known? 

 

Kara smoothed her dress with anxious hands, turning to look back at her reflection in the mirror next to the front door. New dress, new perfume, new shade of lipstick. Would Lena like it? All of it? 

 

Well, of course she would, it was Lena. But...Kara just really had to know for sure that Lena would love everything tonight. At a certain point, nights like this felt more like apologies than celebrations. Every birthday, anniversary, and holiday that they got to spend together was a way to reconnect to make up for lost time. And they had lost a lot of it. 

 

Catco was always busy. The city always needed saving. L-Corp was always on the verge of a major technological breakthrough. The time Lena and Kara carved out for each other was rare and had to be cherished. Kara supposed it was like that with most married couples, but she always felt a pang of guilt about it nonetheless. More often than not all she wanted was to curl up on the couch with her wife for a long, lazy evening. She wanted to be able to come home and to shut off her phone and her DEO comm and give Lena her full attention. But she couldn’t. There was always some interruption. And Lena was much the same with her own work. But Kara wouldn’t give up being a superhero and a journalist for anything in the world, and Lena felt the same way about L-Corp. And it sometimes created a tension between them that they just couldn’t solve. If only…

 

Kara shook the thoughts out of her head. It didn’t matter tonight. Lena would be home any minute, Alex swore on her daughter’s life that she would handle anything that came up at the DEO for the night, and everything was going to be perfect.

 

As if on cue, Kara saw her phone screen light up with Lena’s name. She smiled, wondering if the fluttering in her stomach would ever go away when she thought of Lena, and picked up the phone. 

 

“Hi, I know I’m late, I’m…” Lena rushed to say.

 

“Don’t say sorry,” Kara insisted. “You’re not even late!”

 

“Well, not yet, no, but I’m seeing far too many brake lights on the highway right now. But I’m on my way, I promise.” 

 

“Okay,” Kara chuckled. “Sure you’re not just squeezing in one last lab test?”

 

“Absolutely not. In fact, I left my work phone in my desk.” 

 

Kara gasped dramatically.

 

“I don’t believe it,” she joked. 

 

“I swear I did!” Lena insisted through a laugh. “The building can burn down tonight for all I care. This is more important.” 

 

“Well I appreciate the sentiment, but you know a skyscraper on fire would then fall into my department of things that would distract from our evening, right?”

 

“Oh, well in that case, I’ll drive back to the office and tell the new interns to go home early before they nearly blow up the robotics wing again.” 

 

“Are you still mad at Bobby for that? He’s a good kid! He’s just a little clumsy. I can’t help but empathize.” 

 

Kara couldn’t help but lean her face into the phone with a giddy smile. Tonight already felt so much lighter, easier, more full of love than the rest of the week had been. 

 

“You wouldn’t say that if you paid the insurance bill. Anyway, I’ll be home as soon as I can. And Kara?” 

 

“Yes, love?” 

 

Lena paused. She always did when Kara called her that, so that she could smile, shake her head, and try to remember what she had been saying. 

 

“I wanted to let you know that…”

 

There was a strange sound then that cut Lena off mid-sentence. Like a popping sound, but with an almost metallic scrape along with it, and then a soft thudding. Kara blinked, waiting for Lena to explain the noise and then continue on with what she was saying. But she didn’t. 

 

“Lena?” Kara asked. 

 

She looked at the screen of her phone to make sure the call was still connected. It was. She put the phone back to her ear to try and hear something, anything . And then she heard it, a car horn, long and loud yet muffled and warbled like it was under water. 

 

“Lena?” Kara asked again, her voice becoming desperate.

 

The call disconnected. 

 

*

 

Kara gripped the cup of coffee in her hands as steadily as she could. But her hands shook so violently that she had to suck down half of the bitter liquid in one go just to keep it from sloshing out of the flimsy cardboard that she held onto for dear life. She didn’t remember who had given it to her, she just remembered looking down as suddenly seeing herself holding it.

 

Her eyes couldn’t focus on any one thing. Any time she tried to look at something too closely, the tears that were ever present and threatening to brim over her bottom lids would blur her vision until her eyes stung. She felt hot and cold, trembling and paralyzed, dreaming and too painfully awake, all at the same time. The nervous energy seemed to radiate out of her in a way that was palpable. Everyone that walked through this particular ward of the hospital seemed to give her a wide berth, careful not to come too close. 

 

After all, what do you say to a woman whose wife was currently fighting for her life on a surgical table after her car had been struck so violently that it flipped over the bridge barrier and into the bay below? 

 

No one asked Kara why she was there, or what had happened. Everyone knew. And in case they had missed it, not to worry, because it was all over the televisions in the waiting room, which were all turned to local news stations. And much to Kara’s dismay, there were no remotes she could find to turn the channel or turn them off altogether. 

 

“Breaking news: L-Corp CEO Lena Luthor in critical condition after drunk driver collision. More on this tragic accident after the break.”

 

Kara felt a warm sensation on her right hand. She looked down to see that she had crushed the cup in her hand, it’s contents soaking into her dress and into the beige carpet beneath her. She threw the cup aside, some small rebellion against the confines of her waking nightmare, and stood up with an exasperated sigh. She turned to storm out of the waiting room, having no idea where she was going to go, only to see Alex running down the hall towards her. 

 

“Kara?” she nearly yelled. 

 

Kara couldn’t help but crash into her sister roughly as she let herself be pulled into Alex’s embrace. Her stinging tears finally let themselves fall onto Alex’s shoulder as Kara finally started to fall apart. 

 

*

 

At some point Kara had been ushered into a more private waiting area, which was basically a large closet space with a couch and a television mounted to the wall, which was thankfully shut off. Kara didn’t know what time it was. She realized at some point that in her panic to rush to the hospital, she had left her phone at the apartment. It was probably for the better. She couldn’t talk to anyone, couldn’t even check the time every five seconds, counting the hours Lena had been in surgery. 

 

“You need to get some rest,” Alex soothed as she tried to cajole Kara into lying down on the couch. 

 

“I can’t, Alex. I...I can’t,” she said, and pointed to the most terrifying object in the room: a corded phone sitting on a small end table. 

 

It would ring when there was any news. Kara didn’t want it to ring. She didn’t want them to tell her her wife was dead. She would rather sit in this limbo for the rest of her life than get that call.  

 

“You’re not doing anyone any good making yourself sick with worry like this. If it rings, I will wake you up.”

 

“I can’t just sleep, Alex!” Kara snapped fiercely. “Would you be able to rest, if it was Kelly in there? Would you, really?”

 

Alex faltered. 

 

“No,” she said softly. 

 

“That’s what I thought. I…”

 

As if by some cruel joke, at that moment, the phone rang. It was ear piercing, and dissonant, and painfully loud. Kara thought she was ready for it when it finally rang. She thought she would be able to pick it up and listen intently as she heard the news: good or bad. But instead she froze, her heart racing, her palms sweating. She felt herself get dizzy as she tried desperately to breathe, but no breath was big enough to fill her lungs, to bring her any relief. She reached out and gripped Alex’s wrist tightly, her eyes locked on the shrill, shrieking phone. 

 

“I c-I can’t...Alex, I-” was all Kara could make her mouth utter.

 

Alex nodded, understanding, and picked up the phone, bringing it reverently to her ear. 

 

“Yes?” Alex said into the phone.

 

Kara could have heard it, if she wanted to. She could have extended her hearing enough to hear exactly what was being said on the other line. But she couldn’t bring herself to. She was too paralyzed by the fear of what she might hear. 

 

“Okay,” Alex said after listening for a moment, her voice blank and unreadable. “Yes. Okay. Thank-thank you. Yes. Right. I’ll let her know.” 

 

Alex put the phone back down with a heavy ‘click’. Kara couldn’t look at her.

 

“Kara?” Alex said, moving to crouch in front of Kara where she said on the couch. “Hey. Kara. Look at me.” 

 

Kara slowly brought her eyes to meet her sister’s. She had never felt so petrified in her life. 

 

“Lena is okay. She pulled through. You didn’t lose her. Kara. Kara, did you hear me? Kara, she’s-”

 

Alex was cut off as Kara pulled her into a near bone crushing hug, hearing her little sister wail and pray in Kryptonian that she couldn’t pretend to understand. 

 

*

 

Lena was being kept in a lavish private suite at the top floor of the hospital. It was the least they could do for their most generous donor. Extra security had been added to prevent any reporters from slipping in for an exclusive. That was, except for the reporter she was married to. That realization garnered the first laugh from Kara anyone had heard since the accident. 

 

Kara had all but moved into the place. She refused to leave the room, even for a snack. Alex had handled that, though. She made sure to bring heaps of takeout, water bottles, and regretfully healthy snacks into the room, watching Kara like a hawk to make sure she would actually eat something. She also brought her a few changes of clothes, and had all but locked Kara in the bathroom so that she would shower and put something more comfortable on. When any feeling other than worry was able to exist in Kara’s mind, she would be sure to be grateful to her sister for keeping her alive, and something akin to sane, despite the circumstances. 

 

The doctor’s had told them that Lena was okay. And that was true within the relative existence of the situation at hand. But compared to people who were actually “okay”, living and breathing and talking and laughing outside this hospital, Lena was not okay at all. She was, for now, in an induced coma while the swelling around her brain went down. 

 

Yeah, it was as bad as it sounded. 

 

Kara thought she had enough experience in human fragility in crisis to have been prepared for anything. But nothing could have prepared her for when she had first walked into Lena’s room and saw the state she was in. Her head was half shaved from the surgery, though it was hidden beneath inch thick bandages wrapped around her skull like a bad Halloween costume. Her eyes were dark and bruised, her lips cracked and dry and always parted by the ventilator that allowed her to breathe. It was horrifying. But she was alive. And that made her the most beautiful thing Kara had ever seen.

 

No one would give Kara a clear answer as to when Lena would wake up. Sometimes they said a couple weeks, sometimes over a month, most times it was “too soon to tell”. Kara hated the limits of human technology. She hated the barbaric medicine, the clunky machinery wheeled in and out to test Lena’s vitals every hour, the cars that zipped around the hospital carelessly, not caring who or what they destroyed…

 

She’d made amends with the television, however. The one in Lena’s room had been turned to the “classics” channel, which played “I Love Lucy” reruns almost exclusively. Kara could watch them for hours, laughing lightly at the slapstick comedy as the beeping of Lena’s monitors lulled her into a numb trance, her fingers permanently clasped with Lena’s limp ones.  

 

Night had fallen again. It was a Thursday, according to the marker board next to the door that the nurses wiped clean and re-wrote with their names and the date at the beginning of each shift. Lena had been in her coma for, what, eight days? That sounded about right. The novelty of the accident had worn off. Well wishers with deep pockets and curious stock holders had stopped trying to sneak their way into Kara’s good graces in hopes of an update on Lena’s condition. The news outlets had stopped talking about the story altogether. Onto the next crisis. Kara hadn’t adorned the super suit since the accident. Nothing seemed important enough to tear her attention away. Aside from Alex, Kelly, Nia, Brainy, and J’onn stopping by to check in on the two women whenever they could, a lazy hush had fallen over the hospital room. Kara sat in her usual spot in the reclining chair pressed as close to Lena’s bedside as possible. She was sitting on the edge of it, hunched over Lena’s bed, her head dipping into the thin mattress every now and then as she fought off sleep like it was an old nemesis. She just wanted to look at her wife a little longer, watch the flitting of her eyes beneath her closed eyelids as she continued to exist in an unshakeable dream. 

 

“Who would have guessed this, Lena?” Kara asked her. She had found that forcing herself to talk sometimes helped to stay awake when she stubbornly wished to avoid sleep. “All the things we’ve been through. All the things we’ve saved each other from. All the times you were almost taken away from me. Bad guys aiming guns at your chest, drones armed with missiles. Bombs. Assassins. Psychotic family members.” She paused to will her breathing to cease it’s shaking. “The lies. The heartbreak. The pain we caused each other. The fights, the tears. All of it. We got through all of it. So who would have guessed, Lena, that one drunk asshole in a rusty Civic would have gotten closer than anything else to taking you away from me?” 

 

Kara felt her chest quake as she inhaled deeply. 

 

“So that’s why you have to come back to me. Right? Because you’re Lena Luthor. It would be an insult to everything you are, everything you’ve fought for, to let something as silly as a car wreck take you out of this world. You hear me, Lena?” 

 

Maybe she was already half asleep and dreaming, maybe she had finally caved to the delirium of her troubled mind, but Kara swore she felt Lena squeeze her hand, just for a moment.

 

*

 

“I just don’t see the logic in continuing to dance around Kara’s emotions like this!”

 

“Brainy, just stop, okay?” Nia scolded.

 

“He’s not wrong. The DEO is drowning without Supergirl around to help. News outlets are starting to question Supergirl’s disappearance. The board of executives at L-Corp are all but threatening mutiny without any clear leadership.”

 

“J’onn, her wife is in a coma , what do you expect her to do?” Alex asked heatedly.

 

“I don’t know. But things can’t keep going on the way that they are.” 

 

Kara rolled her eyes. 

 

“Did you guys forget about the superhearing, or?” she said bitterly as she kept her gaze locked on the TV while flipping idly through the channels.

 

The group outside the door grew quiet. Alex was the first to step into the room.

 

“Sorry,” she said. “How’s she doing?” 

 

Kara sighed. 

 

“Better? I guess? I don’t really know. The doctor makes everything sound as positive as possible. But nothing really seems to have changed, and I don’t think anyone has the guts to tell me the truth. So,” she sat up straight, giving the group her full attention as she tried to nonchalantly wipe single tear from her cheek. “Let’s not talk about that. Now. As far as L-Corp is concerned, the board is more than capable of holding down the fort for a few more weeks as is, at least. I’ve already done a few skype calls into their meetings to smooth things over. They’re just trying to turn this into a selfish power grab. Did you know that Lillian even threw her name into the hat for CEO pro-tempore? From prison ? And as far as Supergirl is concerned. Well. If Superman can jump ship to a whole other planet for awhile, then I can certainly take a sabbatical. Last I checked, the world has not blown up yet. So...it’s fine. Right?”

 

There was a collective, uncomfortable clearing of throats.

 

“Right. Of course,” Alex said.

 

“Besides. Lena will wake up any day now. So it doesn’t matter. Everything will be fine.”

 

A very uncomfortable silence fell on the room. No one dared disturb it.

 

*

 

Kara was taking her third daily walk around the outside of the hospital. It was a relatively new routine. As hermit-like as she had become over the past three weeks, even she was starting to feel too cooped up in within the confines of the hospital. And besides, enough time had passed that no one was around outside anymore wanting updates or information. No one cared. No one even expected Lena to wake up anymore. They didn’t have to say it for it to be true. Everyone had given up hope. Except Kara. She knew Lena better than anyone. And Lena would pull through this. 

 

She would. 

 

She had to. 

 

Any doubts in the back of Kara’s mind were simply becuase of everyone else being so negative all the time. 

 

She hadn’t been gone long. 

 

Kara had only walked three or so laps around the hospital, if that. But it was just enough to miss it. 

 

*

 

Kara walked slowly, casually back into the hospital room, letting out a small, defeated sigh as she did every time she re-entered that room. Because the outcome was always the same. The same quiet emptiness. The same “I Love Lucy” re-runs on the TV that she was sick to death of. The same soft sound of Lena clearing her throat…

 

Wait, what?

 

Kara’s eyes all but bulged out of her skull as she looked over to see Lena sitting up in her bed, completely awake. 

 

“L-LEna?” she nearly whispered. 

 

“Yes?” Lena croaked, her vocal chords adjusting to their new found use. “Sorry. Um. Where am I?” 

 

Kara had perhaps pictured this moment too many times. Pictured her waking up and being so happy to be alive and with her loving wife once again that perhaps there would never have been a realistic scenario good enough to live up to Kara’s expectations. So she made herself stop, breathe, and let Lena set the pace for the reunion she had been dreaming of since the moment her life had fallen apart.

 

“You, ah...you’re in the hospital. You were in a car accident. You um…”

 

Don’t tell her how long she’s been in a coma, Kara, it will just make her panic. But she’ll hate it if you sugar coat it. So be as honest as you can. And for the love of Rao no matter how much you want to, don’t hug her right now, you’ll just hurt her…

 

Kara moved towards Lena’s bedside, hovering over it, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, trying as hard as she could to contain the urge to sob all over Lena.

 

“You have a broken nose, broken wrist,” Kara struggled, willing her breath to calm. “Three broken ribs, and a bruised collarbone. All of them are healing wonderfully. Really, they are.”

 

“Why, um…” Lena struggled, pointing with one hand to the bandages on her hand while the other hand probed them until she found the patch of fuzzy hair slowly growing back on the left side of her head. Her eyes grew wide. 

 

“Right. Um. Well, when the car went over the…” Kara cleared her throat. Don’t tell her about the bay. “When the accident happened. You um, had some fractures in your skull. A shard of your skull, ah...You know what? We can talk about all of that later. The point is you’re gonna be okay. And you’re awake. And I am... so glad, Lena. You have no idea how much I…”

Lena nodded in the way that told Kara that she didn’t want to hear any more. Kara fell silent, wondering what to do or say next. Why did talking to her feel so...foreign? 

 

“I understand. Thank you, nurse. If you could call the doctor as soon as possible, I’d appreciate it.” 

 

Kara froze. Did Lena just…

 

“Lena, I’m not...do you know who I am?” 

 

Lena’s tired eyes narrowed in confusion, looking at Kara’s face, then down at her hands, then closely into her eyes.

 

“No,” Lena said resolutely. “Should I?” 

 

Kara suddenly felt sick to her stomach. She felt the whole room shrinking, caving in on her. 

 

“Lena, I’m...I’m your wife.”

 

Lena tilted her head, considering Kara with a look Kara had never seen her give her before. It was one of complete unfamiliarity.

 

“I’m sorry...what?” Lena asked.

Chapter Text

The doctor was speaking to Kara directly. She knew she should be listening to her. And she was. But she couldn’t look at her, at Lena, or at anything but her own hands. 

 

“I know this might seem like something out of a television show, but amnesia is a real possibility for cases with brain damage like what we have seen in Mrs. Luthor.” 

 

“Luthor-Danvers,” Kara whispered. “It’s Luthor-Danvers.”

 

“Right. Of course. I apologize. Now, as I have explained, it is possible for Lena to regain her memories. And it is possible that they may never return. There is no way to know for sure. For now, we can just make Mrs...Well, Lena, as comfortable as we can in her home environment and hope for the best.” 

 

“Hope for the best?” Kara asked, a rage rising in her chest like she hadn’t felt since she was infected with red kryptonite. “Hope for the best. Seriously? My wife doesn’t know who I am , and you’re telling me to hope for the best? Are you kidding me?” 

 

“I’m sorry, Kara. But the human brain in a fragile thing. After considering the damage that was inflicted on Lena, she’s lucky to be alive. I know this must be difficult for you. But all we can do is take it one day at a time. Her memory may very well come back from even the smallest trigger of familiarity.” 

 

Kara let out a shuddering sigh. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. And yet it was. Her soulmate had no idea who she was. And the only advice she was being given was to “take it one day at a time”. 

 

Kara looked up, and could see from her vantage point in the hallway opposite the door to Lena’s hospital room that Lena was staring right at her and the doctor. Kara wondered how much of the conversation she had heard, and if it made things any better or worse if she had. 

 

Placing her thumb and pointer finger to her temple in an attempt to soothe her growing headache, Kara merely nodded at the doctor, painting on a smile because she knew this wasn’t her fault. The doctor gave Kara a consoling pat on the shoulder and left to move on to the next patient, leaving Kara alone, holding her breath, and wondering what the hell she was supposed to do now. 

 

Ever since the accident Kara had thought of one thing and one thing only: and that was how tightly she was going to hug Lena when she finally awoke, how she would tell her she loved her until her voice went hoarse, how she would never let go of her again. But she couldn’t do any of that. Becuase as she took small, tentative steps back into Lena’s room, Lena looked at Kara as if she were a complete stranger. And it broke Kara’s heart. 

 

“So…” Lena began. Thankfully, because Kara had no idea what to say. “We’re married?” 

 

Please don’t cry, Kara. Please, please don’t cry.

 

“Yes. I, um, I can run home and get our marriage certificate if you don’t...”

 

“No, no, I believe you,” Lena insisted with a half hearted smile. “I, um, I sort of took the liberty of checking online for myself. I got the impression that you and I are something of a power couple.”  

 

“Hah!” Kara laughed nervously. “That, well, I guess that’s one way of putting it.”

 

“Hmm,” Lena mused, looking Kara over in the same way she looked at budget reports or lab analytics. “I hope you don’t mind my saying that I’m, well, surprised , to say the least.” 

 

“Yeah. It um...it sort of took us both by surprise when it um, ya know when we…” Kara made a few meaningless hand gestures. “Yeah.” 

 

Lena sighed, portraying a feeling of helplessness. She then winced a bit at all the new found aches and pains she was trying to navigate. “I don’t even know what to ask you.”

 

“I mean, maybe it would help if first I asked you what your most recent memory was? We can start from the beginning, I guess?” 

 

“Right, right,” Lena said with a decisive nod, and then paused, searching through the hazy fog of her own mind for some shred of familiarity. “Okay. Well...I don’t know, I mean, everything is pretty fuzzy. We’re in National City, correct?” 

 

Kara found her way to her chair, afraid that her knees would buckle beneath her if she stood any longer.

 

“Right.”

 

“Okay. So I...I moved here to run Luthor Corp after my brother...well, I don’t know exactly what he did, but I get the feeling it was particularly evil. After that...it’s pretty much a blur.”

 

Kara swallowed past the painful lump in her throat. Lena’s had forgotten everything she knew starting from the moment they met. Kara knew that this was an accident, that none of this was something Lena had chosen or done intentionally, but she couldn’t help but feel like Lena’s mind blocked out their life together for a reason. She couldn’t help but feel like this was a personal failure somehow. 

 

“We met shortly after that,” Kara supplied, feeling both her mind and body grow numb. “I, um, I’m a journalist. I wasn’t, um, at the time but, uh, anyway, I asked you for an interview when you first came to town. And you were...sharp, and quick witted, and not at all what I expected. And, I don’t know, something about you was like...you were someone I had known my whole life and at the same time, you were this new and surprising puzzle that I just had to solve…” 

 

The reality of the situation began to sink in as Kara spoke. She realized that she would have to describe everything, their whole life together, to Lena as if she were telling a fairy tale. As of this moment, everything that had ever mattered to Kara was just a story being told by a stranger. 

 

“So,” Lena ventured. “Did we start dating after that?” 

 

Kara couldn’t help but laugh. What else was she supposed to do? 

 

“No, it...it was a bit more complicated than that. A lot more complicated than that, actually. I know that-” Kara felt her lip begin to tremble despite all her best efforts to hide the storm within her. “I know that I should try to create some sort of cliff notes version of our life to give to you so that you could understand but I just...I don’t even know how. Look, I...I don’t…”

 

“Kara?” Lena asked softly. 

 

The way Lena said her name reminded Kara of that night. That night. Lena had a split lip and tear stained cheeks, Kara was leaning against the railing of Lena’s office balcony, all the strength in her gone. Below them was a smoldering pile of wreckage, somewhere within it was the melted remnants of Lena’s AI memory core that contained every scrap of frustrated revenge Lena had carried with her in secret. Kara knew that sometimes people you love could hurt you, but she never could have imagined...

 

“Is there any way back from this?” Lena had asked “Or have you finally lost faith in me?”

 

“Hmm?” the present Kara asked absently, pushing old memories aside.

 

“We don’t have to do this right now. I know this has to be as hard for you as it is for me. But…”

 

“Please don’t leave...” Lena had pleaded. Police choppers whizzed loudly from above. Sirens blared below. It was like the end of the world, the end of them… “Will you…”

 

“Will you stay with me?” Lena asked. 

 

Kara let her face fall into her hands, hiding herself from everything. This was just too much. But she already knew her answer.

 

“Of course,” she said, and lifted her face to meet her wife’s eyes, hoping Lena couldn’t see them shimmering with tears. “Of course I’ll stay, Lena.”

 

*

 

“So she can’t remember anything ?” Alex asked. 

 

Kara’s headache was nearly constant now. She knew what it was her own doing. Between the lack of sleep, constant refills of crappy coffee, and diet that consisted entirely of fried junk from the cafeteria and vending machine snacks, she was neglecting her health to a near dangerous degree. That and the fact that she was spending so much time cooped up that she wasn’t letting the sun recharge her as often as she should have.

 

Kara gripped her temples like she could force the headache away through strength alone. 

 

“Basically from the moment we met until now is completely gone.” 

 

“Kara,” Alex said in a consoling yet warning tone. 

 

“What?”

 

“You’ve got that look on your face that says that you’ve already found a way to make this your fault.”

 

“Well?” Kara asked incredulously. “What if it is? I mean, it seems a little too convenient, don’t you think? That everything about us is gone? What if…”

 

“Kara, stop,” Alex scolded softly, taking Kara’s hands into her own. “Lena has amnesia becuase a drunk driver threw her car off the bay. Not because of something you have done or ever could do.”

 

“She’s right,” Kelly supplied. “Repression and memory loss due to brain damage are two completely different things. Her mind didn’t just decide to purge certain memories becuase it didn’t want them for one reason or another. This isn’t your fault, or hers.” 

 

Kara let out a shaky sigh.

 

“I know. I know ,” she breathed. “I just can’t help but feel...it’s just not fair.”  

 

Alex nodded, not knowing what to say, and chose instead to pull Kara into a tight hug.

 

“What am I supposed to do?” Kara said, her voice squeaky and foreign to her. 

 

“I don’t know. But we’ll figure it out. Okay?” 

 

Kara nodded into Alex’s shoulder. But she didn’t believe her. 

 

“What about Supergirl? Does she remember her?” Kelly asked. 

 

Kara felt a little silly when the question sunk in. 

 

“I have no idea. I didn’t think to ask.”

 

“Supergirl was around before she moved to National City. She has to remember her. That’s something, isn’t it?” 

 

“Maybe. I don’t want to think about the idea of her knowing my alter ego and not me. Not right now.”

 

Alex nodded, understanding.

 

“Come on,” she said. “We’ll come in with you.”

 

“Thank you,” Kara whimpered, and pulled away from Alex, forcing herself to regain her composure. She didn’t want Lena to see just how wrecked she was.  

 

Kelly, ever the professional, walked into Lena’s room first, instinctively reaching for Lena’s chart and scanning it with a clinical eye. Lena looked like a feral cat, eyeing the new people in the room with a false casualness even though she was on high alert. 

 

“Lena, this is Alex,” Kara supplied.

 

“I’m your sister-in-law,” Alex said. “And the woman double checking the doctor’s analysis is my wife Kelly.” 

 

Lena nodded. Kara could tell there was no hint of familiarity.

 

“The rest of the gang was anxious to come see you,” Alex said. “But...I didn’t want to overwhelm you all at once.” 

 

“There’s a gang?” Lena asked curiously.

 

“Oh, uh,” Kara said. “Well, you know. Just the rest of our friends.” 

 

“Hmm,” Lena replied. “Strange. I was never the type to have a ‘gang’ of friends.” 

 

“Well Kara does have a habit of taking in friends like shelter pups. Can’t help herself. She just loves everyone,” Kelly supplied in a monotone voice as she continued to pour over the details of Lena’s chart.

 

“Ah, so they’re your friends,” Lena stated a bit coldly to Kara. 

 

“They’re both our friends, Lena. They’ve been worried sick about you. We all have.” 

 

“Right. Right, sorry,” Lena said, softening. She had been having small fits of frustration whenever she was supplied with information that didn’t fit into her view of what her life was like from what she last remembered. “Alex?” she asked.

 

“Yes?” 

 

“Are we the kind of sisters-in-law who gossip and go shopping together like close friends, or are we the kind who keep a respectful distance because we don’t always see eye to eye?” 

 

Alex blinked, blindsided by Lena’s bluntness. 

 

“I mean,” Alex struggled, “I love you becuase Kara loves you. But...I suppose there’s been a time or two that we have butted heads a bit.”

 

Lena narrowed her eyes at Alex for a moment, and then, surprisingly, smiled.

 

“Okay. Good. No offense, Kara, but you put a ridiculously positive spin on everything. I was starting to fear that I had turned into an entirely agreeable person. And that’s just not who I am.” 

 

“Oh yeah, those rose colored glasses of hers are permanently glued to her face.”

 

“Alex!” Kara scolded. 


“What? It’s true!”  

 

Lena chuckled in a way that suggested that she hadn’t meant for it to be heard. But it rippled out of her until Alex laughed too, and then Kara couldn’t help but laugh, too. 

 

“You about done, there, doc?” Alex asked Kelly. 

 

“Hmm? Oh, yeah. Sorry, I’m sort of in the profession of being nosey.” 

 

“Therapist?” Lena guessed. 

 

Kelly tilted her head at Lena.

 

“Did you remember that?” Kelly asked.

 

Kara willed herself not to be too hopeful.

 

“Probably just a good guess. Sorry,” Lena replied, her eyes flitting to meet Kara’s just for a moment. 

 

“That’s okay. Can I ask how your current memory retention is? Are you having any trouble remembering new information being given to you?” 

 

Lena shrugged. 

 

“Not that I know of. Wait, what was your name again?” 

 

The three other women in the room blinked silently.

 

“I-I know that it’s Kelly. That was supposed to be a joke,” Lena then said as she sunk into her pillows a bit. “Too soon?” 

 

“Maybe a bit,” Alex said to her quietly. 

 

*

 

The doctors had cleared Lena for discharge, and Kara knew that she should be excited, but all she felt was dread. It wasn’t so painfully obvious that they had no idea how to talk to each other under the circumstances when there were nurses and doctors and orderlies coming and going on a regular basis. But the thought of the two of them existing together in their apartment felt like a daunting task. There were half a million “what if’s” in Kara’s mind, and none of them were good “what if’s”. But she forced herself not to dwell on them, to just let herself be happy because her wife was alive and up and about and healthy enough to come home with her.  

 

“Kara?” Lena asked from behind the curtain pulled around her bed, bringing Kara’s mind back to the present. 

 

“Yes?” 

 

“Could you, uh...I’m having trouble getting this on” she said, sounding defeated. 

 

Tentatively, Kara slipped through the break in the curtains only to see Lena facing away from her with her T-shirt bunched up around her shoulders, her back exposed to Kara. Lena’s wrappings had been reduced down to an inch thick foam collar around her neck, a brace for her chest that clung to her like a binder, and a lace up wrist brace, but Lena was evidently having a fair bit of trouble getting around them on her own. Kara rushed to her wife’s aid, gripping the oversized shirt she had brought her from her own stash of PJ’s and pulling it down gently, careful not to bump any tender spots or touch Lena more than she was comfortable with. 

 

“Good?” Kara asked after she had gotten Lena sorted.

 

“Yeah,” Lena said, turning around to give Kara a meek smile. “Thanks.” 

 

“Of course.” 

 

Lena sighed, looking guilty.

 

“I know it’s silly for me to try and be modest around you, seeing as…”

 

“It’s fine, Lena.”

 

“It’s not. You’ve been really great to me and I don’t even...I wish I…”

 

“Lena,” Kara said, taking one of Lena’s hands and gripping it between her own. It was as much as she had really touched her since she had woken up. “It’s okay. Really. We’ve been through worse than this. Trust me.” 

 

“What could possibly be worse than this?” Lena asked, and with a half smile, she pulled away from Kara and re-opened the curtain.

 

Lena moved to step into her slippers, and as she gripped the side of the bed for support, she looked up at the television screen and her face scrunched up. 

 

Kara looked up at the screen. The news was running an ever familiar story: Where has Supergirl Gone? They were playing old footage of her zipping around the city, preventing catastrophes, posing with fans, and the like. 

 

“Who, her? That’s...that’s Supergirl,” Kara said carefully.

 

“Another super? Since when?” 

 

“Since...you...you’ve never heard of Supergirl?”

 

“Well, no. Why, don’t tell me I’m her mortal enemy or something. Kara, please don’t tell me I’m just as petty about powered people as my brother. I couldn’t handle the unoriginality of it all.” 

 

Back before Lena had even found out who Kara really was, back when their relationship was filled with lies and guilt and closets full of skeletons, Kara remembered feeling like there were walls put up between them, wall after wall, of her own design, keeping them apart. 

 

Kara could almost watch them being re-erected as she stared at Lena blankly.

 

“No,” Kara finally said. “Not enemies. You’re...well, we can talk about all that later, okay?” 

 

Lena seemed confused by Kara’s reluctance to talk about Supergirl, but thankfully she didn’t press the matter further.

 

“You ready to go?” Kara asked with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. 

 

“Yes, please get me out of this hospital.” 

 

*

 

The familiar sound of the lock of their apartment door clicking open filled Kara’s ears, and she pushed the door open, flicking on the light switch so that Lena could see her way inside. Lena stepped in slowly, taking in the look of the place that was so seemingly foreign to her. 

 

Kara swallowed hard. She had only been here once or twice since the accident. Alex had come by at some point to tidy up a bit, or at least to clear away the dinner that had been waiting for Lena before everything went wrong. But there were still a few candles left on the table, the wax from them burning now hardened and stuck to the marble surface. 

 

Lena took a moment to look around at what she could see of the open floor plan containing the kitchen, dining room, and living room, fingers grazing over various surfaces indiscriminately. 

 

“It’s very...warm,” she finally said.

 

“Oh, uh, do you want me to turn the heat down?”

 

“No, no I mean-” Lena said with a smile, turning back to Kara. “I mean it’s cozy. Welcoming.” 

 

“Oh. Right,” Kara said, blushing slightly from her mistake. “I think it’s a good blend of both our styles. It took you forever to let me put even a little bit of color into the decorating.” Kara smiled at a memory. “You got so frustrated with me about throw throw pillows one day, I swear you would have broken up with me right in the middle of that Ikea if you knew which way the exit was.” 

 

“God, getting lost in an Ikea is my nightmare.”

 

“I know. You were very clear about that,” Kara said with a laugh. 

 

“So, how long have we lived here?” 

 

“Uh…” Kara said, putting her bags down on the table with a dramatic thud. “Four years? Yeah. After the apartment fire...”

 

“Wait, what? What apartment fire?” 

 

“Oh, um…” 

 

I told you I loved you. You told me you hated me. The security system got hacked into by your AI when it thought you wanted to engage defensive maneuvers. A stray laser caught the rug on fire…

 

“It’s a long story,” Kara said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Do you, um, do you need anything?” 

 

Lena sunk down into the couch and slowly rotated her body towards Kara, still getting used to being unable to turn her head. 

 

“We don’t have any wine, do we?” 

 

“Um, of course we do,” Kara said, and rushed to the kitchen, only using a bit of her super speed to pop the bottle that was sitting on the counter next to the fridge and bringing a glass over to Lena. 

 

Sure, Kara knew that Lena was on a couple medications, but she wasn’t going to deny her wife a glass of wine after all she had been through.

 

Lena took the glass in her un-injured hand, smiling at the feeling of the glass in her hand as she brought it to her nose. 

 

“Is this?” she began to ask as she inhaled slowly. 

 

“Beaujolais? Mmhmm.” 

 

“From...” 

 

“The 2011 from Morgon? Yup.” 

 

“Oh my God ,” Lena hummed. “How did you know this was my favorite...oh. Right.” 

 

“It’s fine,” Kara said, for what felt like the fiftieth time that day, as she sat down on the recliner next to the couch, another purchase Kara had to advocate heavily for. She loved this chair. “We ordered a case of it awhile back for special occasions. I already had the bottle sitting out for...”

 

Kara cut herself off.

 

“For what?” Lena pressed gently.

 

“Nothing. It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it,” Kara said with a forced smile.

 

“How long are you going to keep doing that?” Lena asked as she took a sip from her glass. 

 

“Doing what?” 

 

“Pretending you’re not upset when you are? Withholding certain details about our life that you don’t think I’m ready to hear?” 

 

“I’m-”

 

“It’s not fair, is all I’m saying. It’s not fair to me that you already know everything about me but are hiding so much about yourself and about us. And it’s not fair to you that you are keeping so much bottled up when you’re probably used to being able to talk to me about whatever is on your mind.” 

 

This all felt too painfully familiar.

 

“How can I talk to you?” Kara said, far too much bubbling up in her at once. “You don’t know who I am! You may never remember anything about me, or about us! And I don’t know what to do about that!” Kara let out a slow, calming breath. “So let’s just not worry about it tonight, okay? It’s late, and we should both get some rest.”

 

Lena sighed into her wine glass, drained the remaining contents, and set the empty glass down onto the end table next to her. 

 

“You’re right. But can you just tell me the truth about one thing?” 

 

“Sure.” 

 

Lena tilted her head, considering Kara with kind but troubled eyes. 

 

“Did I make you happy?” she asked.

 

Kara felt her breath catch in the back of her throat.

 

“What?” she asked.

 

“Being with me? Did it make you happy?” 

 

Lena looked at her so seriously, as if she genuinely expected Kara to say no. 

 

“Of course you do, Lena. More so than I ever thought possible. Why do you ask?” 

 

Lena shrugged, the smallest of smiles pulling at her lips. 

 

“I guess I just wanted to hear you say it for me to believe it. From what I remember about my life, I was never all that good at making people happy. Not for long, at least.” 

 

“Well, that’s just not true. Now come on, you need some sleep.”

 

Lena shook her head at Kara as she reached a hand out to Lena to help her up off the couch. 

 

“You don’t think I’ve done enough sleeping lately?” 

 

“Not funny,” Kara said. 

 

Kara showed Lena to their room, and she could see the relief on Lena’s face when she settled into her far bigger, far more comfortable bed. And then she made a realization that she probably should have thought of earlier. 

 

“Anyhow, um, goodnight,” Kara said, turning to leave the bedroom.

 

“Oh. You don’t sleep in here?” Lena asked. 

 

“Well, I mean, normally , yeah. But I don’t expect you to be comfortable sharing a bed with someone you don’t really know.”

 

“But, Kara, I don’t want you to feel unwelcome in your own…”

 

“Lena,” Kara interrupted, leaning against the doorframe of their room. “There’s three other bedrooms for me to choose from in this apartment. It’s fine. Really. Just get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning, okay?” 

 

Lena bit her bottom lip, looking self conscious. 

 

“Okay. Thank you, Kara.” 

 

“Of course,” she said, biting her tongue as the typical “I love you” they usually said to each other at the end of the night threatened to spill out. 

 

*

 

Finally settled in the larger guest bedroom, Kara let her chest shudder with emotion a couple of times before she took out her phone and called her sister.

 

“Hey. Kara, how’s it going over there?” 

 

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this, Alex,” Kara confided softly. 

 

“You will get through this because you have to. It’s Lena, after all.”

 

“Yeah...yeah. It’s Lena. Just...having her here is better than not having her at all.” Kara sighed heavily. “I’m sleeping in the guest room, Alex.”

 

“Yikes. I mean, it makes sense, but...damn.”

 

“Yeah. I know. The whole repressed sexual tension thing? I didn’t miss this. Like, at all .”

 

“Hmm...gross,” Alex joked. “But I get what you’re saying. And, you know, there’s a good chance her memory will come back. And when it does this whole thing will just seem like a bad dream. Okay?”

 

“I guess. Oh, and Alex?”

 

“Hmm?” 

 

“She doesn’t remember Supergirl, either.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Did you...did you tell her?”

 

Kara paused.

 

“Kara,” Alex groaned. “Not again.” 

 

“I will tell her! But that’s not something you mention within five minutes of your wife waking up with amnesia! Although, honestly , I have to say the idea of her forgetting all of that...mess that we made four years ago...it’s-”

 

“Kara, don’t even say it,” Alex scolded.

 

“What? I just can’t help but think it would be nice if we could just exist as a couple without that sort of, you know, dark cloud of our past looming over things.”

 

“Kara, good or bad, you and Lena’s past is a part of your story. You can’t just erase it. Okay?”

 

“Yeah, okay,” Kara said, sounding like a child in trouble. “Talk to you tomorrow, okay?” 

 

Alex told Kara she loved her, and hung up. Kara was then left alone with nothing but her thoughts. And the more she thought about it, the more she thought that Alex might be wrong. After all, their story, the first draft of it, at least, had already been erased to one of them, at least...

Chapter Text

Kara spent the night in a fog of insomnia, the kind that left you unsure of you had slept at all, or if you had been in a sort of half waking dream the whole night. 

 

A buzzing from her phone finally forced Kara to call it quits in her pursuit of rest, and she rolled over with a dissatisfied grunt to see who insisted on calling her so early in the morning. 

 

It was a number she recognized from within L-Corp. Of course it was. Shaking her head, Kara sat up and tapped the screen to answer the call, bracing for the worst. 

 

“Yeah?” she said brusquely, too tired to put on a tone of fake cordiality. 

 

“Mrs. Danvers, good morning,” a familiar board member’s voice answered. Kara honestly couldn’t remember his name, just his nasally tone, his shiny bald head, and his clammy hands that offered unsettlingly limp handshakes. 

 

“Luthor-Danvers,” Kara corrected. 

 

“Right, of course,” he muttered, clearly not really hearing her. “So, how’s our girl?” 

 

Kara rolled her eyes, and pulled herself out of bed, eyes barely open as she bumbled her way down the hallway and towards the bathroom. Unfortunately, invasive calls from L-Corp board members were routine to Kara now. 

 

“You know that I haven’t even had the chance to speak to her family and close friends yet, right?” 

 

“To be fair, as far as family is concerned, visitation to the NC prison aren’t until Thursday, right?” he said, a bad attempt at humor.

 

Kara didn’t respond.

 

“Right, right. Not that funny,” he deferred. “Anyway! It’s just that...you know, the stockholders are concerned...”

 

Kara rounded the corner of the hallway and towards the bathroom door, which was shut, though Kara didn’t think much on it. Nor did she really think much on the fact that there was the soft sound of water running within. 

 

“If you mention stockholders one more time while my wife is recovering from a nearly fatal car wreck,” she interrupted as she opened the bathroom door, “I will come down to that office myself and-”

 

“Kara!” Lena shouted as she was, as Kara could now see, completely naked and just about to step into the shower. 

 

“Oh geez!” Kara squealed, and shut the door hurriedly. “Sorry, Lena! I-I wasn’t thinking!” she said through the door.

 

Normally, one wife walking into the bathroom while the other was showering was no big deal. It was a welcome surprise, even. There had been more than a few times that Kara had gone into the bathroom to fix her makeup or her tame the wind-blown out of her hair just for Lena to grab her and drag her into the shower with her. 

 

But the rules were different now. 

 

“It’s okay,” Lena replied, the flustered tone in her voice muffled through the door. “I’m-wait, who were you yelling at on the phone?” 

 

“Oh, um,” Kara had almost forgotten about the impatient board member on the other line. She couldn’t think of a good lie to tell in time to spare her the worry, so she resigned to tell the truth. “It’s a board member from L-Corp asking about you. I told him it’s too soon to…”

 

The door creaked open, and Lena, now wrapped in a towel, poked her head out of it. Her hair was loose around her shoulders, the shaved part looking more and more like a chic fashion choice and less like the aftermath of life-saving brain surgery. Kara thought she looked irresistibly cute, and couldn’t help but yearn, wishing she could touch her.

 

“Mute that,” Lena said, pointing to Kara’s phone, and Kara obliged as she shook herself out of her trance. “What do they know?” 

 

“What do you mean?” Kara asked.

 

“I mean, do they know I’m awake?”

 

“Well, yeah.”

 

“Do they know about…” Lena tapped the top of her head lightly. “The amnesia thing?”

 

“Oh! No, I haven’t told anyone yet. You know, besides Alex and Kelly.” 

 

“Okay,” Lena said, face scrunched up in thought. “May I?” she said, gesturing to Kara’s phone.

 

Kara handed Lena her phone, and she unmuted it, bringing to her ear and leaning against the open doorframe. It no longer seemed to bother Lena as much that Kara was so near to her while she was wrapped in nothing but a towel that was barely long enough to cover her ass. Kara tried not to get too hopeful about that, and she also tried not to stare too much at the slowly healing bruises on her neck and chest she hadn’t seen while Lena was wearing the brace. 

 

She had really gotten close to losing her, hadn’t she? 

 

“And which of the blood suckers do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” Lena spat into the phone.

 

Kara’s eyes went wide. 

 

Lena’s eyebrows furrowed. She looked to Kara and mouthed “Adams?” Kara shrugged, and Lena responded in kind. She clearly had no recollection of the name. But she had no intention of letting him know that. 

 

“Right. Why am I not surprised? Now listen, Adams. I will be back at the office when I am good and ready. And when that happens I’m sure you will all wish I was still in the hospital becuase I will be putting every decision you have made in my absence under a microscope . And if I find out that any of you have been toying with my company, I will not hesitate to clean house. Do you understand?” She paused, smiling as she seemed to be getting the reaction she was looking for. “Excellent. Oh, and one more thing? Stop pestering my wife.” 

 

Lena swiftly hung up, and handed the phone back to Kara, whose jaw was likely still hanging open. 

 

“So...we’re not telling anyone about the amnesia?” she managed to say. 

 

“God, no,” Lena said simply. “I may have no memory of my time as the L-Corp CEO, but I’ll be damned if one of those vultures tries to take the company from me. And if this memory problem gets out, I won’t have a leg to stand on. So, I guess we’ll just have to hide it for now, and hope my memory comes back soon. Is that...okay with you?” 

 

Kara bit her lower lip. She and Lena both knew that there was a real possibility that her memories would never come back. But neither of them seemed keen on bringing up that fact. 

 

“Sure, Lena. Whatever you want.”

 

Lena nodded, giving Kara a half smile. 

 

“Thank you, Kara. Now, um, I’m gonna…” Lena gestured towards the shower.

 

“Right! Sorry, yeah. I’ll just...yeah.” 

 

Lena shut the door, leaving Kara alone in the hallway. Kara exhaled slowly through pursed lips as she collected herself. 

 

This was getting way too complicated. 

 

*

 

“So you’re telling me there’s nothing we can do?” Kara said exasperatedly, hands trembling from anxiety and caffeine jitters. She had arrived at the coffee shop a full hour before she had asked the gang to meet her, needing some time to herself to think. She had thought her way through three cold brews already.

 

“Kara,” Nia consoled. “I think you’re looking for a quick miracle fix. And that just doesn’t exist.”

 

“Doesn’t it? J’onn, you wiped Alex’s mind before. Can’t you, I dunno, un-wipe Lena’s?” 

 

“Not unless you want to risk me accidentally erasing all of her memories,” J’onn said solemnly. “Memory retrieval is a delicate process, Kara, even for someone who hasn’t just experienced a traumatic brain injury. The risk is too high.”

 

“Well...Kelly? What about when you helped J’onn retrieve his lost memories?” 

 

“That was different. Those memories were pushed aside by design, not by accident. This is...messier. Besides, all Obsidian tech was destroyed after, well, you know. And the only person who could recreate it has no recollection of it even existing.”

 

“Ugh!” Kara exclaimed, “You guys are not helping!”

 

“Kara, don’t bite their heads off, it’s not their fault,” Alex scolded in her usual sisterly manner.

 

“I know ,” Kara groaned, burying her face in her hands as she collected herself. “I know, okay? I’m sorry. You guys just...you have no idea how hard this is.” 

 

“Have you tried sodoku?” Brainy piped up. He was met with very confused glances. “I have heard that it’s good for memory.” 

 

Nia gave him a reassuring pat on the back when he seemed to silently realize that he wasn’t really helping. 

 

“We could try hypnosis,” Kelly suggested. “Sometimes that helps people discover lost memories.”

 

“I could help with that,” Nia supplied.

 

“Yes!” Kara exclaimed. “That! Let’s do that! Can we do that right now?” 

 

“Kara,” Alex said softly. “Lena just got home. Don’t you think you should give her some time before you start troubleshooting with her brain?”

 

Kara rolled her eyes, aware that she was being impatient but not wanting to admit it. 

 

“I guess,” she said, leaning back in her chair in defeat. “It just sucks. I really missed her. And now that she’s back, I can’t even...there’s just...a lot of stuff building up in here, okay?” she said, gesturing from her head to her heart dramatically. 

 

“You know, maybe you’re looking at this the wrong way,” Nia said.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean, you’re so busy thinking about what you lost, that you aren’t able to see what you may have gained.”

 

“Which is?”

 

“Look. Lena is, as far as she is concerned, just getting to know you. And she has yet to push you away, so we have to assume that she doesn’t hate the idea of you two being together.”

 

“Well I should hope not, Nia! We’re married!”

 

“Not in her mind you’re not! But think about what that means, Kara. You have a really rare opportunity here to date your wife. To do the whole thing over. Feel all those firsts again. You’d get another first date, first kiss, first like really good kiss, first…”

 

“Okay, okay, we get it,” Alex interrupted before Nia could say anything more suggestive. 

 

“Huh,” Kara said, thrumming her fingers against the table as she considered the idea. 

 

“She has a point, though Kara,” Alex continued. “We don’t know if or when Lena’s memory will return. And if it doesn’t, God forbid, then you two will have to rebuild your relationship together. If you were her, would you just go along with waking up with a wife one day, or would you want to be reminded of why you two fell in love in the first place?” 

 

“Honestly?” Kelly interjected. “Getting the chance to get your wife to fall in love with you all over again? That sounds pretty romantic. And don’t we all miss the excitement of when our relationships were brand new?” 

 

“Excuse you!” Alex said, feigning offense.

 

“Alex, yesterday you started clipping your toenails in the living room.”

 

“So?”

“So one of them hit me in the face!” 

 

The group shared a chuckle at Alex’s expense, but Kara didn’t join them. She was too busy thinking. 

 

It was true, there was no guarantee that Lena would get her memories of Kara back. And really, Nia had a good point. Kara could get Lena to fall for her. She had done it once before.

 

And this time, she could do it better than the first time around.

 

“You guys are right,” Kara said resolutely. “I’ll just have to...woo Lena. I’ll woo the crap out of her.” 

 

Alex cleared her throat. 

 

“Aren’t we conveniently forgetting something we have to discuss?”

 

“What?” 

 

“How you haven’t told her you’re,” she glanced around to make sure no one was in earshot, “Supergirl?”

 

“Oh,” Kara replied reluctantly. “Well. I mean, technically , yeah, I haven’t.”

 

The group collectively groaned. 

 

“Not again ,” Nia said with more judgement than she usually allowed herself to show.

 

“What? That is a lot of information to process all at once!” Kara defended. “I’ll...I’ll tell her soon. I’ll just have to work my way up to it is all.”

 

“The last time you said that…” J’onn warned.

 

“Hush. This is different.” She was met with unconvinced glances. “What? It is! Just, no one tell her until I do. Please?” 

 

“Fine,” Alex said with a shake of her head. “But I’m gonna refresh the DEO on State of Emergency protocols just in case.”

 

Kara’s face deadpanned.

 

“That’s not funny.”

 

“It wasn’t supposed to be!” Alex insisted.

 

“So when can we see her?” Brainy asked, changing the subject.

 

“Mm, hopefully this weekend. I mentioned having you guys over for a little while to reconnect, but she’s kind of touchy about seeing people right now. I think she doesn’t like anyone seeing her look fragile.”

 

“Except for you,” Kelly added. “That’s a good sign, right?”

 

*

 

Despite Alex’s irritation with her sister’s secret keeping, Kara had a spring in her step as she walked towards her apartment door. She blamed it on her newfound optimism, and not the obscene amount of caffeine in her system. There was half a plan forming in her mind of how she was going to get Lena to fall for her. If she played her cards right, Lena might even let Kara hug her soon. It was gonna be awesome

 

However, when Kara let herself into their apartment, her mood dropped immediately. The first thing she saw was Lena sitting at the kitchen island counter, hunched over her laptop screen, her chest heaving like it did when she was on the brink of a panic attack.

 

“Lena?” Kara called out, voice full of worry, and crossed the entryway to the table in two or three strides. 

 

Lena didn’t turn to acknowledge Kara, she only continued to stare at the screen. Kara approached Lena gently, a million possibilities racing through her mind as she pulled the laptop screen towards her to see what Lena was looking at. 

 

It was a news article published about a day after the accident. Kara remembered it vividly becuase she had spent two days yelling at the paper’s editor to have him take down the gruesome photos of the wreck and of Lena’s limp body as it was just barely visible behind the closing doors of an ambulance. Her efforts had apparently been ineffective, becuase the pictures were still up. 

 

“Lena, what are you looking at those for?” Kara said softly, turning the screen away from her and closing the laptop.

 

“Morbid curiosity, I guess? I thought I could handle…”

 

“Those pictures should have never been put up. I’ll call the lawyers about first thing tomorrow. Okay?”

 

Lena didn’t seem to have heard her. Her eyes were somewhere else, somewhere far away.

 

“You know,” she said, “when you’re not mentally present for your own near-death experience, you think ‘it couldn’t have been all that bad, right?’. But this is…” Lena shook her head, barely able to steady her breathing. 

 

“Hey, hey,” Kara said, taking Lena’s shaking hands in her own and moving to sit in the chair next to her so they could face one another. “Look at me, Lena. Okay? You are the toughest person I know. You’ve have faced so much that would have taken anyone else down, and you got right back up, stronger than ever. You can get past this. Okay?” 

 

Lena squeezed Kara’s hands just slightly. 

 

“I can’t imagine,” she said, “how hard it was for you to see someone you care for...like that...” 

 

Kara blinked, forcing away the threat of memories that would just make her come apart.

 

“I try not to think about it,” Kara said. “It helps that I don’t look at any of that stuff. Look, Lena, I know you might be tempted to find the answers you’re looking for this way,” she said, gesturing to the computer. “But I don’t think it’s a good idea. All you’re going to find is tabloid spins and half truths and sensationalized nonsense. Reporters have never been a friend to you, you know that.”

 

“Aren’t you a reporter?” Lena asked with a smirk, eyes glancing down at their still joined hands.

 

“Well, yeah, but that’s…” Kara let out a flustered laugh. “That’s different. You were never just a story for me. You were…” she sighed. “Just promise me you won’t go down the Google rabbit hole, okay?” 

 

Lena’s face softened.

 

“Alright. You’re right. I know you are. I just couldn’t help myself. It’s frustrating to have such a gaping hole in your life like this. I just want it filled.” 

 

“I know. But let’s not worry about that right now, okay? Because,” she said in her dramatic tone, pulling her hands away from Lena’s. “I have plans for you.” 

 

Lena gave Kara a skeptical look.

 

“What plans?” she said cautiously.

 

“Don’t worry!” Kara said as she got up. “I know you don’t want to be out and about quite yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to find some way to celebrate your homecoming. So. I’m gonna go get a few things, you be ready in an hour, okay?” 

 

“Ready for what, Kara?” Lena pressed.

 

But Kara was already halfway out the door. 

 

“It’s a surprise!” she insisted, and shut the apartment door behind her, taking off into flight through the open window of the hallway and hoping Lena wouldn’t look at any more news stories about herself while she was gone.

 

There was a slight chance that Kara was kicking off her “Woo My Wife” plan as soon as possible to distract the both of them from the situation at hand. 

 

*

 

“Just a couple more steps, okay? You’re not feeling woozy or anything?”

 

“Kara, I’m fine. Why are we going up to the roof?” 

 

“You’ll see, come on!” 

 

Kara pushed open the heavy metal door at the top of the stairwell and held it open to let Lena walk out onto the roof. The sun was just starting to set and it was going to be a perfectly warm and clear evening. Lena’s eyes searched the roof curiously until they landed on what Kara had prepared for them. 

 

Just to the right of the door was a large white sheet held in place in front of a tall vent with some clothespins and twinkle lights. Facing it was a couch she had “borrowed” from the CatCo lobby (she would give it back in the morning, promise). Sitting on the couch was a big bowl of popcorn, a few boxes of takeout, and a large thermos of hot chocolate. And behind the couch was a projector. 

 

Lena stared at the setup for a moment, silent. 

 

“Better than a movie theater, right?” Kara asked expectantly. 

 

“Wh-How did you get a couch up here?” Lena finally said with a tone of bewilderment. 

 

Kara shrugged innocently. 

 

“I have my ways. Do you, um, do you like it?” 

 

Lena turned back to look at Kara with a glint in her eye and a small smile on her lips that made Kara’s heart ache. 

 

“It’s perfect.” 

 

“Okay,” Kara said with a relieved exhale. “Good. Sit, please.” 

 

“Can I ask how you managed to do all this in an hour?” Lena asked.

 

“Oh, too much caffeine, I guess,” Kara said offhandedly. 

 

She made her way to the projector, aware of the fact that Lena was watching her carefully. It made her heart flutter and also struck up a pang of guilt at knowing that she wasn’t telling her the whole truth. There just...hadn’t been a good way to tell her about the whole Supergirl thing yet.

 

Kara shook her head at herself as she pushed random buttons on the projector until she figured out how to get it running. Why was she doing this to them again ? Why was her knee jerk instinct to hide things from Lena? 

 

A picture started to appear on the sheet across from the projector, fuzzy at first until Kara dialed in the settings, revealing a purposefully old looking and black and white menu screen with eerie music playing. Proud of herself for not breaking the thing, Kara grabbed the remote and moved to sit on the couch with a triumphant plop. 

 

“Dracula?” Lena asked with an arched eyebrow cast in Kara’s direction.

 

“Yup,” she said, reaching for the hot chocolate.

 

“The original one? You know this is my…”

 

“Favorite movie? Yep. Your love of old movies is only second to your love of all things macabre. Technically this is your second favorite movie. Nosferatu is your favorite, because you really like Murnau. But I’m sorry, Lena, I love you, but I hate that creepy movie.” 

 

Kara’s mind tripped on the words she had just realized she had said. It shouldn’t feel so weird for her to tell her wife she loved her, and yet the tension from it hung over them palpably. 

 

Lena stared at Kara until it started to feel uncomfortable. Kara filled the sudden silence by shoving a mouthful of popcorn into her mouth. 

 

“Ugh, this is so weird ,” Lena finally said in an exasperated tone. 

 

Oh no, Kara had screwed it up, hadn’t she?

 

“What’s weird?” Kara mumbled through a mouthful, all but squirming under a wave of self consciousness. 

 

“I just…” Lena said after a long sigh. “The last thing I can remember is being single and planning on staying that way for as long as possible. And then suddenly I wake up with a wife who knows literally everything about me. And you’re so...considerate and doing all these nice things to try and make me feel better. And it seems like the right thing to do would be to just be happy about this. But the fact is that I just don’t know you, so I have no idea how to handle this or what to do around you. And I feel terrible for that. If only...” 

 

“Lena?” Kara interrupted. 

 

Kara putting a consoling hand of Lena’s shoulder seemed to pull her out of her verbal spiral.

 

“Yeah?” she asked.

 

“You’re worrying about this too much.” 

 

Lena let out a loud exhale as if her lungs had been bursting with all of her inner conflict.

 

“Really?” 

 

“Really,” Kara insisted. “The last thing I want is for you to feel guilty. Quite frankly I am sick to death of hearing you apologize for having completely understandable feelings and reactions to such an impossible situation. So please, Lena, stop worrying about what you think you should be doing. Can we just relax , watch this really weird movie, and eat junk food together? That’s all I want from you right now. Okay?” 

 

To emphasize her point, Kara pulled out one of the takeout boxes and thrust it towards Lena, who took it with a sheepish smile. Kara started up the movie.

 

“It doesn’t help that you got my favorite kind of sushi,” Lena said quietly. 

 

“Hey. You have amnesia. Not me,” Kara said, which elicited an honest to God laugh from Lena, something Kara had almost forgotten the sound of.

 

They ate in silence for awhile after that. Kara tried not to shovel ungodly amounts of food into her mouth like she normally would, but Lena’s occasional sideways glances hinted that she was failing to hide her endless hunger. 

 

“Is this something we’ve done before?” Lena suddenly asked. 

 

Kara swallowed through a large mouthful of potstickers so that she could answer. 

 

“Which part?” 

 

“The rooftop movie night part?” 

 

“Oh. Um…”

 

Kara was, in all honesty, recreating a very specific memory. There was a duality to her plan, after all. She wasn’t just trying to get Lena to fall back in love with her, but she was also taking her through some of what she considered to be the highlights of their relationship. You know, just in case it might spark something.  

 

“We have, actually. A few times over the years. The first time, though, was when we had just started dating.”

 

“Was it our first date?” Lena asked, turning fully towards Kara and forgetting all about the film they were watching.

 

Kara let out an involuntary chuckle at the sudden rush of memory. Of all those firsts. 

 

“No. Our first date was when you bought out a whole restaurant for the evening becuase you thought it would be romantic to have the place to ourselves. But it ended up being way too quiet, especially because we were so nervous that we didn’t know what to say to each other. And then our second date, well…”

 

I flew you to at least five different cities in one night trying to show you all your favorite places and get you all your favorite things. But then you got flight sick from all the rushing around and threw up somewhere over the Pacific Ocean…

 

“I really wanted to impress you too, but it didn’t go that well, either. So we decided we were trying entirely too hard to make things perfect, and just settled on a simple movie night. But...I still had to give it the rooftop spin, you know, because we had done half a million movie nights as friends, and I just wanted it to feel, I dunno, special .”

 

Lena smiled behind her mug of hot chocolate. 

 

Yes, technically they had wine that first time on the roof, so this wasn’t an entirely accurate recreation. But Lena’s doctor had been a bit scolding on the phone about the whole “no more alcohol until she’s off her medication” rule, so hot chocolate would have to do. 

 

“How long had we been friends before we started dating?” Lena asked. 

 

“Uh, four years, actually.”

 

Lena’s eyes went wide.

 

“Really?” she asked, biting her lower lip like she did when she was thinking through something, but she was still staring into Kara’s eyes as she did so, and it was enough to make Kara’s stomach flip. “So what changed? What made us go from friends to girlfriends?”

 

“I-” Kara shrugged helplessly as she tried to find the right words. “I don’t think anything changed. From the very beginning our friendship had been so much more...intense than any other relationship I had ever had. I just didn’t understand why. Or maybe I did, and I was afraid I was the only one that felt that way. I don’t know. There was always something getting in the way of us figuring it out. Even when it was just our own stubbornness. And then…”

 

Kara’s voice trailed off.

 

“What?” Lena pressed, voice breathier than it had been before. 

 

“We got in a fight,” Kara said reluctantly. “Like, a really big, really awful fight. And, weird as it may sound, that’s when everything suddenly made sense. We had hurt each other so badly that...there was no way we could be friends anymore. And yet somehow the realization that we couldn’t be together anymore made us realize that we couldn’t be without each other. And things just sort of...happened.” 

 

A silence fell over them, leaving Kara with a deep crimson blush in the wake of her deeply intimate confessions to someone who was hearing it all for the first time. 

 

“I don’t...I’m probably doing a terrible job of telling this story,” she started to ramble through nervous laughs.

 

“No,” Lena said. “It...it feels like you’re telling it exactly right.” 

 

Kara got a swell of hope at Lena’s words, but she didn’t let herself dwell on it. Tonight wasn’t supposed to be all about getting Lena to try and jolt her memory. It was about giving her something new to remember. 

 

“Do you ever wish it had gone differently?” Lena asked. 

 

Kara hesitated. It wasn’t a question she had ever thought to ask herself before. Or maybe it was a question she didn’t let herself ask.

 

“I’m sorry,” Lena said, sensing Kara’s discomfort. “We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”

 

“It’s okay. You know, at the end of the day, it brought us together. So, that made it worth it.” Kara cleared her throat. “Anyway, there are much better things for me to fill you in on about your life than all that negative stuff. So. What else do you want to know?” 

 

Lena tilted her head, considering Kara, deciding if she was going to let herself forget what Kara had just confessed to her or not. 

 

“Well first of all,” Lena began, “I want to know what you have against Nosferatu.”

 

“Lena!” Kara said with an exasperated laugh. “That movie is over a hundred years old!” 

 

“Exactly! It’s a classic.”

 

“It’s an antique. And a weird one at that. There have been, like, a million vampire movies since then that you can pick from as your new favorite.”

 

“It’s not about the vampire thing, it’s about the ingenuity and creativity of the first filmmakers before they had any of the technology that we have now.” 

 

“Uh huh. Sure.”

 

“Fine, then. What’s your favorite movie?”

 

“Easy. Wonder Woman.”

 

Lena’s face scrunched up, as if Kara had said something in a foreign language.

 

“You know,” Kara clarified. “The one with Gal Gadot?”

 

Lena gave her the same confused look. Kara audibly gasped.

 

“Oh my God , you don’t remember seeing Wonder Woman? That’s it, we’re watching it right now.”

 

“Wait, Kara, we just started watching this-”

 

“Not anymore! Wonder Woman is way more important. I’ll be right back!” 

 

Kara took off down the steps toward the apartment before Lena could further protest, leaving her alone on the roof with few new puzzle pieces of the picture of her and Kara’s life together.

 

*

 

Well after dark and over halfway into the film, Kara finally noticed that Lena had gone quiet. She looked over to see that Lena was struggling not to fall asleep. 

 

“Lena?” Kara asked softly.

 

Lena’s head jerked up as she forced herself awake.

 

“Huh? What?”

 

“Do you want to go to back downstairs?” 

 

“Oh, no, I’m-I’m fine.”

 

“Lena, you’re falling asleep.”

 

“I know.” Lena sighed. “I can’t help it. The medication makes me so groggy. But I really am having a good time. I am. Please, let’s stay up here a little while longer. It’s...really nice.” 

 

Lena’s eyes started to close on their own. Kara shook her head at her wife’s very on brand stubbornness. After shutting off the movie, Kara went over to Lena and gently pulled her off the couch.

 

“Come on,” she soothed.

 

Lena didn’t argue when Kara helped her off the couch. She leaned heavily into her as Kara led her towards the stairs, but soon Kara thought she might be too tired to even be able to manage the stairs with any kind of ease. Without thinking on it too much, she scooped Lena up and began a careful descent down the stairs and back towards their apartment. Lena leaned her head against Kara’s shoulder.

 

“My God, you’re strong,” Lena mumbled into Kara’s shirt. 

 

Kara shook her head amusedly.

 

“I know.”

 

“Is this something you do a lot? Carry me like this?” 

 

Kara licked her lips.

 

“Maybe,” she said quietly. 

 

“Hmm,” Lena mused, half asleep again. “It’s nice.” 

 

After a bit of juggling on Kara’s part, she managed to keep a firm grip on Lena while opening the apartment door, and guided her to the bedroom. Kara set Lena down in their bed and pulled the blanket over her, and Lena was asleep almost instantly. 

 

Kara couldn’t help but smile as she looked down at a content looking Lena. Yes, tonight had been a recreation of an old memory. And it had come with it’s hiccups. But it all felt exciting and new as well. 

 

How could her plan to make Lena fall for her again not work, when she was falling for Lena all the time? 



Chapter Text

Kara took a deep breath: in, and then slowly out. On the other side of the glass doors was a small hoard of reporters and a few photographers that chattered amongst themselves expectantly. Press statements had never bothered Kara before. She was either amongst them running a story for CatCo, or she was facing them as Supergirl. And most of the time Supergirl spoke to the press after some evil plot had been foiled, and they all wanted to hear about how she had, yet again, saved the day. 

 

That wasn’t always the case, of course. There were those few times when something had gone wrong. Terribly wrong. And Supergirl would have to face them nonetheless to try and find something to say to salvage the city’s trust in her. 

 

But even that didn’t bother her as much as this. Now, she had to speak on behalf of her wife. Lena was always great at press conferences. Even when they, more often than not, got interrupted by some new threat to the city. But right now, Lena wouldn’t let herself be seen, and despite that the world needed to believe that everything was just fine. Which meant that Kara would have to lie. 

 

Maybe that was the problem. This was the beginning of what would potentially be a long parade of dishonesty, as Kara and Lena had to step back into the spotlight they had been avoiding, and convince the world that all was well. That Lena was of sound mind, and happy to be alive and home with her doting wife who she had missed so much. 

 

All was well. 

 

It had to be. 

 

“Kara?” the press coordinator said eagerly, hand already gripping the handle of the glass door that stood between Kara and the beginning of a long and exhausting charade. “Are you ready?” 

 

Kara nodded. The doors opened. The sound of cameras clicking filled her ears.

 

Let the show begin. 

 

*

 

“Mrs. Luthor-Danvers, how soon can we expect Lena to make a statement of her own?”

 

“As you can imagine, she has plenty of business to attend to that has piled up in her absence. But as soon as Lena is able, she will make herself available for interview.” 

 

“Does she have any comment about LCorp’s free fall in the stock market in lieu of any tangible leadership in the company?”

 

“Lena didn’t choose to get in a car wreck. But her focus has been on getting both her professional and personal affairs back on track as soon as possible. We can only ask for patience and understanding of such a difficult situation at this time.” 

 

“There have been rumors of a buy out of LCorp if Mrs. Luthor is unable to continue to fill the role of CEO. Do you have any comments?”

 

“It’s Luthor-Danvers. And that is simply not an option.” 

 

“What about Supergirl?” 

 

Kara looked caught off guard, only for a second.

 

“What about her?”

 

“You and Mrs. Luthor-Danvers both have relatively close ties to her. Do you know why she’s disappeared? When will she be back?” 

 

Lena snapped her laptop shut, tossing it aside on the bed. She had watched and rewatched Kara’s statement to the press three times already. She didn’t know if it was because she was so impressed with Kara’s performance, or so frustrated by her own inability to have handled it herself.  

 

Her eyes scanned the bedroom slowly. She noticed, not for the first time, just how many pictures of the two of them there were. On nightstands, atop dressers, hanging from the walls. They were everywhere

 

Lena picked up the picture on her immediate left. The silver frame was heavy in her hand and slightly tarnished around the edges. In it, Kara’s big curls were tamed to one side of her face, adorned with a diamond necklace and matching earrings Lena recognized as items from her family’s heirloom collection. Her dress was an eggshell white, with tulle under thin, delicate lace that shone with just the right amount of studded gems,had an open back that exposed down to the small of her back, and a deep sweetheart neckline. She was facing away from the camera, small smile on her red lips, body turned into Lena’s. Kara’s eyes were on her own hands that gripped the lapel of Lena’s custom off white Dolce & Gabbana tux. Lena’s lips rested softly against Kara’s forehead, eyes closed, hands in her pockets. 

 

The picture, obviously from their wedding day, had been one that Lena found herself staring at often. To say that Kara and Lena looked happy in this picture wouldn’t do it enough justice. “Happy” was the theme in the pictures of them on vacations, in family pictures on holidays, or posing together at galas and private clubs, or hell, even dive bars with their friends.

 

This was not just happy. It transcended that. It was fulfillment. It was still, quiet contentment. It was the embodiment of every poem about love Lena had ever read and privately cherished in school. Not the ones that sounded desperate and heady and overwhelming. Not the ones that referred to love as pain, as all consuming, or as infectious and uncontrollable. But the ones that found reminders of love in a gentle breeze, in quiet wooded pathways, and in bright moonlight shining through vaulted windows. 

 

And it didn’t spark anything in Lena’s mind. Nothing at all. 

 

Lena put the picture back on the nightstand with a defeated sigh. Would it be too on brand with her usual brooding to think that it was fitting that she had forgotten the only time in her life that she had ever truly been happy?

 

Perhaps not quite as on brand as Lena being so hesitant to let Kara get close to her now. 

 

But what was she supposed to do? Hop right into bed with someone who was a complete stranger to her? 

 

A stranger who was currently spending her time putting out the fires in Lena’s professional life while Lena was hesitant to even be seen outside the apartment. 

 

Lena heard the apartment door creaked open quietly and felt her hands tense in anticipation. She heard Kara walk into the apartment and sigh heavily. Then she heard quiet footsteps pad their way to the bedroom door, and then Kara knocked gently. 

 

“Hi,” Kara said softly through the door.

 

“Hey,” Lena replied, sitting up straighter in the bed. “Come on in.” 

 

The door creaked open. Kara entered wordlessly, sitting on the edge of the bed in a rigid way that suggested that she was still holding onto a lot of tension from earlier. 

 

“I saw the press release,” Lena said. “You handled those vultures wonderfully.” 

 

Kara shrugged, looking down at her fingernails. 

 

“I learned from the best,” she replied with a meek smile, glancing at Lena for just a second before returning her focus back down to her hands. “I knew it was going to be bad. But I just don’t understand how people can be so callous. You almost died . And all they care about is their corporate...crap.” 

 

“All a part of the game, unfortunately. But...you know, it really shouldn’t be something I keep putting on your shoulders.”

 

“No, no, it’s fine.” 

 

“Kara,” Lena insisted, the gentle tone of her voice causing Kara to finally look Lena in the eyes. “If I was able to drink I would turn all of your ‘it’s fine’s” into a drinking game.”

 

Kara’s chest heaved and fell in a silent laugh.

 

“You would end up on the floor.” 

 

“Yeah. I know . Listen, I still have some semblance of a secretary and a media consultant on the payroll, right?”

 

Kara nodded. 

 

“Okay, so? What are you doing throwing yourself to the sharks all the time when they can handle the media and the board members for you?” 

 

“Maybe because…” Kara began. “I kind of got a reputation for biting the heads off of anyone who tried coming around with business concerns while you were in the hospital? And now your secretary is afraid to even call?” 

 

Lena tilted her head at Kara. Defensive and intimidating was usually her signature.

 

“Well, I am out of the hospital now. And I should start the transition process back into my position sooner rather than later. So. Don’t worry about covering for me anymore, okay? It’s unfair to you how much has been put on your shoulders.”

 

Kara shrugged again.

 

“I didn’t mind it, really. It made me feel useful, I guess. It was...it’s frustrating when someone you care about is going through something like that, and there’s nothing you can do to make it better. Even now it’s-” Kara’s head tilted up, eyes finding the ceiling like they did, Lena was learning, when she didn’t want it to be so obvious that there were tears in her eyes. “It’s hard to not be able to do anything to...fix things.”

 

Lena felt an ever familiar pang of guilt in her stomach. It was hard for her, too, to not be able to fix this, to fix herself, for Kara’s sake. She didn’t know Kara well enough to know if the person Lena was at this moment was able to be in love with Kara. But she knew that she would go back to being the person who was in love with her in a heartbeat, if she could. 

 

“Hey,” Lena said in a lighter tone of voice, scooching closer to Kara on the bed. “So are we still going to see your-I mean our friends this weekend?” 

 

Kara’s eyes went wide, head turning quickly to look at Lena.

 

“I thought you didn’t know if you were up to seeing them or not?”

 

“Well, now I do know. And I would love to meet everyone. Well, re-meet them I guess.”

 

Kara’s face lit up.

 

“Oh my gosh, are you serious? Yes! They all kept their weekend free just in case! I’ll let everyone know right now! Although, one question, should we do it here or at Alex and Kelly’s place?” 

 

“Please not here. No offense, but I am sick to death of being stuck in this apartment.”

 

“Thank God , becuase honestly? Me too. Oh my gosh, Lena, you have no idea how excited I am for this! I’m gonna call Alex right now!” 

 

Kara was practically buzzing with energy. She hopped off the bed, pulling her phone out of her back pocket, before turning back to Lena. 

 

“Is it okay if I give you a hug?” she asked, arms away from her sides like they were trying to reach out for Lena already on their own accord. 

 

Lena couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that Kara reminded her of a puppy when she was excited. 

 

“Sure,” Lena said, and before she could really brace herself, Kara had crossed the distance between them and pulled Lena into an almost suffocating embrace. 

 

Lena was reminded of their movie night on the roof, that was feeling more and more, in retrospect, like a date. She remembered how Kara had scooped her up, carried her down the steps like she was practically weightless in her grip. She remembered how comforting and how familiar Kara’s touch had felt. 

 

Lena melted into Kara’s grip, just a little, before Kara finally broke off their hug and ran out of the room to call her sister, letting out a small squeak of excitement as she did so.

 

*

 

Lena frowned at her own reflection in the mirror. It was so foreign to her now. Her hair was different from the surgery, her face was thinner, paler. The dark circles under her eyes were seemingly permanent now. She no longer needed the brace on her neck, so the now light brown marks, shadows compared to the dark bruises she initially had, were almost always visible. 

 

Different apartment, different life, different face. Nothing was familiar to Lena anymore.

 

But she didn’t have time to mope about it. She and Kara were due at Alex’s in an hour. 

 

Lena saw Kara walk past the open bedroom door. 

 

“Kara?” she called after her.

 

Kara’s face popped into the doorway. 

 

“Yeah?” she asked. 

 

“Can you...can you help?” she said in a defeated tone. 

 

Kara stepped tentatively into the bathroom. 

 

“What do you need, Lena?” she asked gently.

 

“I just...I don’t know what to do with my hair. The shaved bit is pissing me off.” 

 

“Really? I think it’s cute.” 

 

Kara stepped behind Lena, grabbing the brush resting on the sink and a couple of hair ties and bobby pins. 

 

“You do?” Lena asked. 

 

“Oh yeah,” Kara insisted as she set to work pulling the uncut hair around Lena’s scar into the beginnings of a small braid. “It’s got that whole Natalie Dormer in Mockingjay vibe to it, ya know?” 

 

“Now that reference I get.” Lena looked at her reflection again. “I suppose I could see that. If it weren’t paired with the rest of this mess.” 

 

“Lena,” Kara practically groaned as her hands worked through Lena’s hair with practiced efficiency, leaving Lena wondering how often they had done this for one another. “You almost died . You can’t expect to be runway ready just yet. And anyway, I think you look beautiful. You always do.” 

 

“You’re saying that because you have to,” Lena said, feeling a slight blush on her cheeks. 

 

Kara took her eyes off of her work on Lena’s hair long enough to meet her gaze through the mirror. 

 

“No, I’m not,” she said almost sternly. “I said it becuase I mean it. Compared to seeing you with ventilator tubes and IV’s…” she crouched down so their faces were next to one another, still looking at each other through the reflective glass. “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” 

 

Lena swallowed hard, realizing a moment too late just how close they were. Kara moved as if she was going to press her forehead against Lena’s. She was reminded of the picture in the bedroom. But Kara pulled away at the last second, and stood back up, grabbing a few more bobby pins from the counter.

 

“Now, what do you think?” Kara asked, tucking final lock of hair into place behind Lena’s ear.

 

Lena cleared her throat, wondering if Kara was always this charming. She looked at Kara’s work. She had woven together a series of small braids around the scar on her head in a way that, actually, yeah, did look pretty cool. 

 

Kara had let a hand rest on Lena’s shoulder while she had stood there behind her. Lena took it with her own and squeezed it gently.

 

“It’s perfect. Thank you, Kara,” 

 

*

 

Oh, God, it was too soon to be out like this.

 

No, Lena thought, you had to show your face to someone besides Kara eventually. You were becoming a shut in, after all.  

 

Lena hoped that her anxiety wasn’t too palpable as Kara knocked on the door to her sister’s apartment. Within it she could already hear happy, boisterous conversation. Somehow that was more terrifying than any board meeting or press conference she could imagine. Within a second, the door swung open, and a small child came bursting through it, grabbing onto Lena’s waist.

 

“Aunt Lena!” the young girl gripping her said ecstatically, voice slightly lisped by the pacifier in her mouth. All Lena could see of her from her vantage point were dark brown spiral curls and pink and purple unicorn print pajamas. 

 

Lena’s eyes flew up to Kara, looking for help. 

 

“Hannah, hey!” Alex said, chasing after the girl. “Sorry,” she mouthed to Lena as she pulled Hannah away before Lena could trip over her own feet and the child’s tight grip.

 

“It’s okay,” Lena said through a laugh. “Yours?” 

 

“Yeah,” Alex said exasperatedly, and she knelt down so she was eye level with her daughter. “Hey, little lady. Pacie.”

 

Hannah frowned, and pulled the pacifier from her mouth with a wet “pop”, dropping the spit covered thing into Alex’s hand. Alex didn’t even flinch. 

 

“Now, remember what we talked about with Aunt Lena? Hmm?”

 

Hannah glanced at Lena with big glittering brown eyes, then looked back at her mother and nodded, curls bouncing from the effort. 

 

“Okay, do you want to try and say hello to her properly?” Alex asked in a calm voice.

 

Hannah nodded again, and turned towards Lena, waddling up to her.

 

“Hi, Aunt Lena. I’m glad you’re feelring better. Here, take-iss,” she said, and thrust a crumpled piece of pink construction paper at her. 

 

Lena took it, and saw it had a few scribbles of a taller stick figure with brown streaks for hair, and a shorter stick figure with wilder brown streaks for her own hair, and “Feel Better” written on the bottom in more adult looking handwriting. 

 

“Come here, booger,” Kara said, and scooped Hannah up and began spinning her around dramatically, eliciting high pitched giggles and squeals of laughter from the young girl. “What have I told you about making me jealous by making sure everyone knows that Lena is your favorite aunt?” 

 

“You’re my fav-rit too! Can we go flyring now?” she asked expectantly. 

 

Kara’s and Alex’s eyes went wide in the exact same manner, and Alex had swooped in to put Hannah on her own hip in a single fluid motion. 

 

“Not now, honey. Come on, go see you mom. I think she has some goldfish for you.”

 

Hannah didn’t need to be persuaded further at the offer of salty fish shaped crackers. 

 

“Flying?” Lena asked Kara curiously. 

 

“Oh,” Kara said with a breathy, almost anxious laugh. “It’s just a game we play. You know, I hold her up really high and run around the room. Normal aunt/niece stuff. Not, like, real flying. Obviously. You are still her favorite aunt, though.”

 

“Really?” Lena said, in genuine disbelief. “That doesn’t sound right.” 

 

“Are you kidding? You do the best voices during story time! Now come on,” she said, and stepped beyond the entryway and further into the apartment where all the voices were coming from.

 

Hannah was already attached to Kelly’s hip, the only other person in the room that Lena recognized. The second Lena emerged in the living room, she was met with the loudly enthusiastic greetings of what felt like a sea of people, only three of which she could recall ever meeting before today. She had never had more than a couple of friends, if not frenemies, at a time. Even though Kara had warned her, had given her a rough run down of who she could expect to see tonight, she was still admittedly caught off guard.  

 

One older blonde woman stepped out from the pack to hug Lena in a tight, maternal way that was entirely foreign feeling to her. 

 

“Hello, my dear. It’s so good to see you up and about. You had us all so worried.”

 

Kara stepped into Lena’s peripheral vision so she could mouth “my mom” to her for clarification. 

 

“I’ve never seen Kara so distraught in my life,” Kara’s mom continued as she released Lena from her grip. “How are you feeling?” 

 

“I-I’m doing alright, um…” Lena knew this. Kara had told her her name. “Eliza!” she remembered triumphantly. “I’m doing alright, Eliza. Thanks for asking.” 

 

Eliza’s face fell slightly, reminding herself, of course, that Lena did not remember her.

 

“Good. You look well, Lena. Really.” 

 

“Thank you. I am being well taken care of, thanks to your daughter.” 

 

“Ah, it’s nothing,” Kara interjected as she slid up next to Lena, forming almost a human shield between her and the group that was all looking at Lena expectantly. “Um, so you remember Kelly, and this is her brother James,” she pointed to a tall, built man to extended his hand out to her.

 

“Hey, Lena. Good to see you.” 

 

“Right...thanks. Kelly’s brother, huh? You guys seem to have a...close knit family, Kara.”

 

“Well, we also used to date,” James said. 

 

“Who did you used to date?” Lena asked. 

 

“Uh...both of you, actually,” James said with a wide, unassuming if not slightly embarrassed smile.

 

Lena blinked. 

 

“At the same time?” she asked. 

 

James and Kara both laughed at once, James’ laugh being warm and amused, Kara’s barking and uncomfortable.

 

“Of course not, Lena. He’s just got a crap sense of humor. Right, James?” she said pointedly.

 

“Yep. That’s me,” he said with another wide smile, and went back to nursing his drink as Kara turned Lena towards another new face.

 

“Hi, Lena. Um, I’m Nia, and this is Brainy,” the young woman said, accompanied by a somewhat twitchy man who hovered behind Nia like they were tethered together. 

 

“Lena,” he said, thrusting his hand out for her to shake. “You don’t know me. That’s fine. But for the sake of honesty I should tell you that I am not human.” 

 

“I-I’m sorry, what?” Lena asked.

 

There was a shimmering on Brainy’s skin, and in a split second he was blue with three nodes jutting from his forehead. 

 

“Oh...wow,” Lena said, and forgot the proper decorum momentarily so that she could grip Brainy’s head and examine it. “What kind of tech are you using to cloak your appearance?”

 

“Funny you should ask! You helped me make the newest version of it!” he said, allowing himself to be minorly poked and prodded.

 

“Really? Well, not to pat myself on the back, but it’s fantastic,” Lena said, stepping away.

 

“Thank you. I did most of the work. But-” Brainy seemed to shift his direction of thinking after a pointed glance from Nia. “I won’t get into the details now. Can I offer you a soda?” 

 

“Uh, sure,” Lena said, and he disappeared into the kitchen. 

 

“Any other surprises?” Lena said quietly to Kara.

 

“Uh, well…” Kara said, taking in a deep breath as she seemed to be making a decision about something. Then she nodded her head to herself, deciding something. “So Nia can see the future. J’onn over there is a psychic Martian. James is a semi-retired vigilante, and Alex is the head of a secret government task force that specializes in extra terrestrial research and crime prevention.” 

 

Lena blinked.

 

“You’re serious?” 

 

“Yep. Yeah.”

 

“Didn’t think of mentioning any of that before we got here?” 

 

Kara shrugged. 

 

“To be fair, I didn’t think Brainy would show his skin the first five minutes you were here. So…”

 

“Right. Well…” Lena looked around the room slowly, coming to terms with all the new information. “Good, then. Very diverse group...I like it.” 

 

Kara let out a big sigh, clearly relieved.

 

“Good,” Kara said, and began the long process of getting Lena reacquainted with the group.

 

*

 

Within an hour, Lena’s head was throbbing. She couldn’t focus on any one thing anyone was saying, seeing as everyone was talking all at once. Hannah, the one person in the room besides Kara she felt totally at ease with, had been put to bed, and in her absence the drinks had started flowing and Lena was feeling more and more out of place with this group of people who, though they seemed to love her dearly, she just didn’t know how to talk to. And aside from all of that, there was something tugging at the back of Lena’s mind that she couldn’t shake. 

 

“Hey, Alex?” she asked quietly as Alex was stepping over her to get off the couch and grab another bottle of wine. “Can I talk to you for a second?” 

 

“Uh,” Alex looked around at the room for a second, “yeah, sure, wanna come with me to the kitchen?” 

 

Lena nodded and followed Alex, trying not to pay any mind to the fact that she could feel Kara watching them closely. 

 

“So what’s up, Lena?” Alex said, not making much eye contact as she shuffled about, grabbing a bottle of wine from the rack next to the fridge, then the bottle opener in cabinet drawer beneath it. 

 

“I need to ask you something, and I need you to be honest with me.” 

 

Alex’s eyes shot up at Lena’s serious tone. 

 

“Okay.” 

 

“Why does Kara keep hiding things from me?” 

 

Alex rolled her lips together, let her eyes dart around the room, and then looked back at Lena.

 

“What do you think she’s hiding from you?” 

 

“Well. For example,” Lena replied, leaning against the kitchen counter. “She didn’t tell me anything about your group of friends except their names and how long you’ve known them. And there is...obviously a lot more going on here than that. And then, you know, every time I ask her about our life together, she’s forthcoming about certain details and withholding of others. And then there’s the whole Supergirl thing…”

 

Alex’s eyes almost bulged out of her head.

 

“What Supergirl thing?” she asked. 

 

Alex tensed up in the same way Kara had done at the press interview earlier. What was that?

 

“Okay. So. According to Kara, and everyone else, really, Supergirl and I are relatively close. But I have yet to hear from her since I woke up at the hospital. And I keep hearing that Supergirl is apparently missing and Kara doesn’t even seem concerned? What am I missing here?” 

 

Alex sighed. 

 

“Listen,” she began. “You have to understand that keeping secrets is sort of a...knee jerk reaction for Kara. I could try and explain why but honestly, we would be here all night. Just know that everything she does, she does because she really, truly believes that it’s the right thing to do. And in this case I think she’s afraid of overwhelming you all at once. After all, Kara is an incredibly...unique person, and so is your relationship. It’s a lot of information to try and absorb, trust me. She wants you to know everything, she’s just trying to take things one step at a time.” 

 

Lena nodded, knowing somehow that Alex was telling the truth. She didn’t know much about Alex, but she had an instinctive feeling that she could talk to her about anything and get a straight answer from her regardless of the questions. 

 

“Then just tell me this one thing,” Lena said hesitantly. 

 

“What’s that?” 

 

“Did I have an affair with Supergirl?” 

 

Alex was so startled at her question that she sent the corkscrew with the cork hanging off the end of it flying across the kitchen from yanking it out of the bottle too hard. It clattered onto the floor, causing the group to look in their direction with fresh interest. 

 

“What? Lena, no . That’s not even...no.” 

 

“You’re sure?” 

 

“Yes! I’m sure! What would make you think that?” 

 

“I don’t know! There's just always this,” she dropped her voice to a whisper, aware that they now had an audience, “ Tension in the air whenever Supergirl comes up, and I couldn’t figure out what else it could possibly be.” 

 

“Well, it’s not that. Now…” Alex cut herself short, looking off into the distance as if she were hearing something that Lena couldn’t. 

 

She looked up to the rest of the group, and many of them had similar looks on their faces, Kara included. 

 

“TV,” Alex said to Kelly, and in a moment, the news was displayed on the screen. 

 

And alien ship was hovering over National City, and was seemingly preparing some kind of attack. Lena stared at the screen in disbelief. 

 

“Wh-what do we do?” she asked. 

 

“Kara,” Alex said in a warning tone. 

 

“I know, I know, but-”

 

Kara ,” Alex said more sternly.

 

Lena was definitely missing something.

 

“Ugh!” Kara groaned. “Okay!”

 

The next thing Lena knew, Kara was standing in front of her, gripping her hands in her own with a frantic tension. 

 

“Lena, I need you to listen to me, because there's something you need to know about me. I’m sorry I didn’t find the right time to tell you this after you woke up from your coma, and I’m sorry I have to tell you this way now. But...I’m Supergirl, and I have to go take down an alien ship. Okay?”

 

“I-”

 

Before Lena could even think of a response, Kara ripped of her glasses, and in a matter of moments, a blue suit and red cape had materialized onto her. She took a moment to give Lena an apologetic look, and then took off flying through the open window. 

 

The rest of the group was already on their way to the scene. It became suddenly evident to Lena that with their combined talents, they must have been part time friends and a part time crime fighting squad. Or something like that. Suddenly the only people left in the room were Kelly and Mrs. Danvers. 

 

“So…” Mrs. Danvers said to Lena. “You need a ride home, hun?”

Chapter Text

“Well,” Eliza said resolutely, looking out over the evening cityscape as she unlocked her car with a beep from the key fob. “Looks like all the action is going on over downtown, as usual. We should be able to get back to the apartment without hitting any roadblocks.” 

 

She spoke of an attacking alien ship over National City like it was no more notable than a fender bender on the freeway. 

 

“Sweetheart? Why are you getting in the backseat? You can sit up here with me.”

 

“Um…” Lena faltered, feeling small and childish. Especially since a woman she didn’t know was referring to her by infantile pet names like “honey” and “sweetheart”. “I know I can’t remember the crash, but I still get a little nervous in cars. I’ll just...I won’t be able to relax unless I’m in the back where I can’t see the road.” 

 

“Oh, gosh, Lena, I’m sorry. I didn’t even think-”

 

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it, Mrs. Danvers,” she said, and climbed into the back seat. 

 

“We can upstairs until the action is over, if you like, so Kara can fly you home instead.”

 

“No,” Lena snapped unexpectedly. “I’d rather be home now. The car is fine.” 

 

Lena’s mind felt numb as Eliza started the car and drove off into the dark that was punctuated by occasional bursts of light from far off explosions overhead. Kara was Supergirl? 

 

Supergirl?

 

Lena was married to fucking Supergirl

 

“You okay back there?” she heard Eliza say from the driver’s seat, their eyes meeting for a moment through the rearview mirror.

 

“Huh? Oh. Yeah, I’m okay.”

 

“You sure you’re not just reeling a little bit from Kara telling you that she’s Supergirl?” 

 

Lena sighed, wishing she were a little less transparent.

 

“Little bit, yeah.” 

 

“You really don’t remember anything about Kara, do you?”

 

Lena clicked her tongue, wishing she had a different answer to Eliza’s question.

 

“Nothing before mistaking her for a nurse in the hospital.” 

 

“Hmm…” Eliza said thoughtfully. “So, what’s bothering you more? The fact that she’s Supergirl or the fact that she didn’t tell you about it right away?” 

 

“I don’t-” Lena took a moment to think. “I don’t have an answer for that yet.” 

 

There was a large booming sound behind the car. Far off, but close enough to make Lena jump. Eliza, however, didn’t even flinch

 

“The commotion out there really doesn’t bother you?” Lena asked, perplexed. 

 

Eliza shrugged. 

 

“I spent too many years worrying myself sick every time Kara or Alex threw themselves into dangers like that. After awhile I became immune to it. I had to. It still bothers me, to be sure, I’m not completely callous. But...I’m able to manage the anxiety in my own way. I find ways to keep myself busy. Going for a drive, for instance, helps. So does knitting, but, I didn’t bring my needles with me. Probably should have.” 

 

The car went quiet for a moment after that. Lena eventually looked up, only to see Eliza considering her closely through the rearview mirror. 

 

“You know, you and Kara have been through this before. The whole “Supergirl reveal” thing. She has to go through it with everyone she gets close to sooner or later. You can’t imagine the heartache it’s caused her through the years. And you can’t imagine the worry it can cause me, her mother, who wants nothing more than for her to be happy and safe. And that suit and cape, the powers, the whole deal, it puts both of those things in jeopardy. Every day. And sometimes, no matter how careful she is, she puts that trust that she guards so tightly, in the wrong people.”

 

There was an ominous tone to Eliza’s voice that made Lena feel like a teenager in the beginning of their dating career being given “the talk” by an overprotective parent. Lena shrunk under Eliza’s gaze that continued to penetrate through the mirror as they sat through an agonizingly long red light. 

 

“Kara has brought you closer to her heart than anyone else in this world,” Eliza continued. “Closer than me, closer than Alex. And that took a lot of courage on her part. And it didn’t come without its...challenges.” 

 

“Mrs. Danvers,” Lena said softly.

 

“Oh, Eliza, please,” she insisted with a sweetness like poison. 

 

“Okay, Eliza ,” Lena continued. “Are you trying to say that Kara made a mistake by sharing her secret with me?” 

 

Eliza put a small smile on her face. Lena had no idea if it was fake or not.

 

“I just...I want to know where your head is right now. Also Kara never let me give my ‘protective mom’ speech the first time around when you two got together, so...” 

 

Lena became aware that she was thrumming her fingers against the leather of the car’s interior anxiously.

 

“I don’t know what to tell you, Mrs. Danvers. I’m not good at relationships. I never have been. I either surround myself with people who don’t understand or trust me, or I find myself unable to trust anyone long enough to really get to know me. I don’t know which category this would fall under. Maybe it’s both. I wish it were neither. But I can’t change the facts of the situation. Kara hid something important from me, but I get the feeling she did it for the right reasons. And that should count for something. I…” she stopped herself. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be divulging all of this to Kara’s mother of all people.” 

 

“I don’t mind,” Eliza said earnestly. “You want to know the truth? My daughters both chose wonderful people to share their lives with. And I love both you and Kelly like you were my own daughters. So, if you need someone to vent to, vent away. It’s what moms are for.” 

 

Lena scoffed. 

 

“I’m sure you don’t really want to treat me like your own daughter.” 

 

“No? Why not? Becuase Lillian failed so many times to show you what a decent mother looks like?” Eliza shook her head. “Trust me, she gives a bad name to adopted moms everywhere. I have a few words saved for her if we were to ever cross paths, I can tell you that much. Okay, we’re here!” 

 

Lena stepped out of the car and allowed Eliza to lead her to the front doors of the apartment building. 

 

“Oh, and look at that,” Eliza said as she held open the door. “It looks like things are deescalating downtown. Funny how things manage to work themselves out.” 

 

“Eliza,” Lena pressed. “You never asked my question.” 

 

“Which one, dear?”

 

“Has it been safe, or wise, for Kara to put her trust in me?”

 

“Well, you two have been happily married for two years now, isn’t that evidence enough for you?”

 

“That’s not really an answer, Mrs. Danvers.” 

 

Eliza smiled, but said nothing in reply.

 

*

 

“Missile incoming at your three, Supergirl.”

 

Ugh ,” Kara groaned, and all but threw herself into the missile's trajectory so she could grab it and toss it unto the upper atmosphere with a satisfyingly glittery explosion. 

 

“You know, you don’t have to be so crabby towards me, I didn’t do anything wrong,” Alex’s voice scolded into Kara’s earpiece (It was new, she had lost track of her old ones from before Lena’s wreck. Alex had made her wear it, despite Kara’s protests).

 

“What do you mean you didn’t do anything wrong? You made me come out to Lena before I wanted to, Alex!”

 

“I didn’t make you do shit! The fucking alien invaders made you do your job for the first time in months. It’s no one’s fault but yours that you insisted on lying! Again! Agh !” 

 

Alex screeched out in pain. Kara whizzed back down to the ground, switching her comm from the private line she had with Alex to the common line. Alex and half the agents were crouching on the ground, writhing in pain, with no discernible cause.

 

“J’onn?” Kara asked. 

 

“Psychic attack. Hang on,” J’onn said, and in a moment the agents stood back up, relieved of their invisible malady. 

 

“There’s a message coming in from the ship,” Brainy said into the comm. “Translating now.” 

 

Another missile came shooting out of the ship overhead. Kara shot back off to redirect it, and again, it had the same glittery explosion. 

 

“They’re asking us to surrender,” Brainy said. 

 

“Not gonna happen!” Kara said, and bolted off closer to the ship to see if she could find an entry point. “And that was a cheap shot, Alex.” 

 

She was gonna find out at some point. At least now it’s over with and you can start to deal with it rather than twitch about it for three years and then start a freaking civil war like last time!”

 

“I don’t care that she found out! It’s good that she knows! I care that-” Kara blasted her way into a hatch on the side of what looked like the control room of the ship. “I care that her knowing might trigger memories attached to Supergirl that will upset her.” 

 

“They’re her memories to rediscover, not yours to pick and choose from. Pod incoming!” 

 

Kara rushed to the control room, only to find five octopus-like aliens rapidly approaching her. She took on her fighting stance, ready to take them down, but she stopped herself. Something about their mannerisms didn’t fit with that of an attack. They looked...relieved to see her?

 

“Cease fire, guys, hold on,” Kara said to the main line of the comms. 

 

The aliens began to chatter at her in a language that sounded almost familiar to her, like if she were to hear someone speaking french at her despite the fact that she hadn’t taken a french class since grade school. 

 

“Brainy are you sure you got that translation right?”

 

“Of course I did! I never, wait-is the species in question an average of ten feet tall with spider-like appendages?”

 

“No, uh...seven feet, and it’s more octopus-like than spider-like.”

 

“Oh…” Brainy got very quiet.

 

Kara started to be able to pick out a word here and there she could translate from her language studies back on Krypton. 

 

“Help...lost…” Kara began to say out loud as the creatures circled her, chattering excitedly. “Peaceful...need directions...oh for Rao’s sake. Have your agents stand down, Alex. This is just a star freighter that got lost and need directions.” 

 

“But what about the missiles?” Nia cut in in confusion. 

 

“They were basically road flares. They were trying to signal for help.”

 

“And the psychic attack?” J’onn asked.

 

“They were trying to tell us to stop shooting. Ugh, I revealed Supergirl to Lena for this?” 

 

Brainy materialized on the ship, and began to, correctly this time, speak to the species in their language. As he began to help fix their navigation systems so he could send them on their way, Kara took off in frustration, landing roughly down on the ground where the agents were beginning the tear down and clean up from the near disaster. Kara resisted the urge to shoulder check her sister as she walked past her to check in with the rest of the team.

“Fine. Blame everything on me if that makes you feel better,” Alex spat.

 

“Okay, I will.” 

 

“Oh, come on, Kara! Would you just talk to me about this instead of lashing out?” 

 

Kara turned towards her sister, containing her pent up frustration in the balls of her fists that rested against her hips.

 

“Fine! I guess... I guess I was afraid of what happened the last time she found out. Not that I think Lena would react that way again, I really don’t. But...it just...it took us so long to be good again after everything fell apart,” Kara gasped for breath, feeling like her lungs were crushing under all the weight of what she was confessing. “And even after we got together, hell, even after we got married, the memory of it all was always haunting us. And it killed me that I couldn’t find a way to make all of it...disappear. It killed me that I-that I knew she was always trying to make up for it no matter how many times I insisted to her that it was in the past.” 

 

Kara took a moment to compose herself, angrily wiping away tears that she had not given permission to fall. 

 

“I hate that Lena can’t remember our life together,” she continued. “I hate it. But...I realized that the one good thing that came from it was that we had a chance to start fresh. That painful part of our past was finally gone for good. At least for Lena.” 

 

“Kara,” Alex said softly.

 

“I know it’s stupid,” Kara said, turning away from her sister.

 

“It’s not stupid,” Alex insisted gently, reaching out to grasp Kara’s forearm. “I get it, okay? But you can’t hide from the truth. It’s never helped either of you to do so. Especially since Lena is very clearly seeing through what you’re doing. Hell, she asked me if the reason you were so weird about Supergirl was because she had had an affair with her.”

 

“Wait... what ?” Kara exclaimed.

 

“Yep.” 

 

Kara raked her fingers through her hair in bewilderment.

 

“Jesus,” she sighed. “God, you’re right. You were right all along. I shouldn’t have lied. God, why can’t I stop doing that?

 

Kara pinched the skin between her eyebrows, willing herself to find calm. 

 

“Okay. Okay. I can handle this. It’s good we got the Supergirl thing out of the way. Even if it may have put a wrench in the works. Things were actually going really well before tonight.”

 

“Oh yeah?” Alex asked. 

 

“Yeah. She hugged me the other day, Alex. And this morning, she let me do her hair, and she got very flustered when I told her she looked beautiful.” 

 

“Such a charmer,” Alex teased with a light shove of Kara’s shoulder. “Well, Kelly texted me to let me know that mom took Lena back to your place. So, you go back to wooing your wife, we can handle the cleanup from here.”

 

“You sure?” 

 

“I’m sure.” 

 

“Okay, come here,” Kara said, and pulled Alex into an incredibly tight hug. “Sorry I snapped at you,” she said into her hair. “It just made me remember and then...I panicked.”

 

“I’m Sorry I pulled you out of your hiatus for a false alarm. For the record, though, Supergirl is back now, isn’t she?” 

 

Kara groaned. 

 

“I guess ,” she said, and took off into the night.

 

*

 

Just open the door, Kara. 

 

Open the door. 

 

Oh come, on, Supergirl, open the damn door.

 

Kara took a breath, and let herself quietly into the apartment. She had felt so good about where they were at since the press release, so confident that they were headed in the right direction. And then everything got messed up in the blink of an eye.

 

It was Kara’s fault that exposure of the truth had messed things up. She knew that. She just couldn’t seem to stop herself from making the same mistakes again and again.

 

And again

 

“Lena?” Kara called into the apartment. 

 

“Back here,” she heard Lena say from the office. 

 

Feeling the nerves build up within her like a stomach virus, Kara walked cautiously back to where Lena was, entering the open doorway of the office. Lena was standing next to the desk with her back to the door.

 

“Everything okay?” Lena asked, tone unreadable. 

 

“Oh. Yeah. False alarm.”

 

“Didn’t look like a false alarm,” Lena replied, hands fiddling with something Kara couldn’t see.  

 

“I didn’t think so either. But, no, just some friendly passersby needing directions. Is um...Is everything okay?” 

 

Kara noticed that the closet door on the opposite side of the room was open, and looked like it had been rummaged through. Lena turned to face Kara, and her movement revealed a white cardboard box on top of the desk. Kara instantly knew what was inside of it, and she cringed. 

 

“Did you hide all of these things in here so I wouldn’t find out?” Lena asked softly, facing away from Kara with her hands resting against one of many framed awards given to Supergirl over the years. 

 

“No,” Kara said as she walked gingerly closer to Lena. “I keep them hidden so that if anyone who doesn’t know about me comes into the apartment, they won’t see that stuff hanging all over the walls and figure it out.” 

 

“Right.” Lena said, taking a moment to look around at what was on the wall, being mostly awards for Lena’s work and Kara’s writing. Then she turned to Kara. “We need to talk.” 

 

“Yeah, I know,” Kara said, the dread building inside of her as she moved to sit on the futon across from the desk. 

 

“You changed already,” Lena said, looking Kara’s outfit over. 

 

“Suit dematerializes on command,” Kara explained.

 

Lena sat down at the desk chair, facing Kara.

 

“Very cool,” she said dryly. 

 

“You’ve helped design a lot of the newer suit tech, actually.” 

 

“Seems like I do a lot to help you and your group of crime fighters out.”

 

“You do! You’re...instrumental to the team. To the DEO I mean, which is, uh, the government agency Alex, Brainy, and all of us work for.” 

 

“I see.” Lena thrummed her fingers against her knee, thinking. “Is that how we got to know one another? Through my work with the DEO?”

 

“No you-you just knew Kara Danvers the reporter first. And then you met Supergirl. And then, you know, eventually…

 

“So you kept this secret from me once before?”

 

Kara took a shaky breath.

 

“Yes.”

 

“While we were dating?”

 

“No.”

 

“But for a longer period of time than it took you to tell me this time around?”

 

“...Yes.”

 

“Did you plan on telling me at all?”

 

“Which time?”

 

“Both times.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes!” Kara said vehemently, already exhausted from the rapid fire succession of questions. 

 

And maybe from her little workout during the false alarm alien invasion. Kara didn’t realize how out of shape she was after her hiatus as Supergirl. 

 

“Kara, you have to know me well enough to know how sensitive I am to being lied to…”

 

“I know. Of course I know. And I promise you I…” she continued. “I was going to tell you, Lena. I just got so wrapped up in helping you get better that I wasn’t even putting the suit on at all. And after a while, it didn’t feel like Supergirl had any place in all of this. So I...put her away. But I shouldn’t have. I should have told you from the beginning. I just...I can’t help but keep secrets. It’s like an instinct for me, even when I know that it doesn’t make things any better between us. So…” Kara sighed. “I don’t think I should be the only one helping you fill in the gaps of your memory. I can’t trust myself not to gloss over the things that aren’t comfortable. So...if you want, I already talked to Kelly and Nia about trying to help you regain your memories. They’re happy to help, if that’s what you want.”

 

Lena tilted her head, considering Kara like she did a lab subject. Kara hated that look. It meant that she wasn’t letting herself feel anything, she was being clinical and deductive. 

 

And Kara was not one of her subjects.

 

“Okay. Thank you for telling me the truth,” Lena finally said. 

 

“That...that’s it?” Kara said in disbelief.

 

“Yeah. I mean It makes sense. I’ve been eating up a lot of your time lately, and you were worried about how I might react to this information considering my mental state and where I am cognitively in conjuncture to the last events I can remember. I wish you’d have told me a little earlier, but... I get it. It’s a big secret to keep. It comes with a lot of complications.” 

 

“So...we’re good?” Kara asked. 

 

Lena bit her lower lip. The sight of it almost sent Kara into a spiral.

 

“Only if you’re good with me asking you, like, a shit ton of questions about your powers,” Lena answered resolutely.  

 

Kara chuckled. Why couldn’t it have been this easy the last time? 

 

But wait...it had at first, hadn’t it?

 

“Okay, I just want to be sure,” Kara said. “Becuase last time we went through this you told me you were fine, and everything was great between us. But it really wasn’t great becuase you weren’t fine and you kept everything all bottled up and...just tell me the truth. Is this going to be a problem?” 

 

Lena stood up and crossed the room until she was standing right in front of Kara, and then she sat down next to Kara on the futon, taking one of Kara’s hands in her own. Kara swore Lena had to hear how her breath caught in her throat in reaction to Lena’s touch.

 

“Kara,” Lena said gently. “You have been so wonderful to me since I woke up. You have been patient, and understanding, and kind, and the best sort of friend that I could ever ask for. It would be pretty stupid of me to wreck all of that just because it turns out that you are a little more complicated than I expected, and that you’ve made a couple of mistakes here and there.” 

 

Kara let out a deep exhale, letting her head fall into her lap out of pure relief, her forehead resting against Lena’s hand for just a moment until she realized what she was doing and sat back up. 

 

“Besides,” Lena said, pressing past the awkward moment as best as she could, though she did take her hand away from Kara’s lap. “Being this close to a super? That’s a pretty cool way to bury the Luthor legacy, if I say so myself .”

 

“Oh, so is that the only reason you kept me around?” Kara said. She knew Lena was joking. Joking was good. Joking meant she hadn’t lost her again. 

 

“Who knows!” Lena said with a light laugh. “Maybe. It’s not like I can remember one way or the other, right?”  

 

Kara shook her head at Lena, and then leaned back against the back of the futon, pulling her long curls away from her face with a drag of her fingers, letting some of the anxiety fall away from her so she could feel just how exhausted she was, both physically and emotionally.

 

“But if the offer is out there,” Lena said, thinking. “I could use a little help in the memory department.” 

 

“Right,” Kara said, growing wary and fearful again at the thought of what she would remember, despite her best intentions to fight past old her old habits. 

 

Apparently she could have hidden her distress better. 

 

“Hey,” Lena said, tapping Kara’s elbow so that she would look at her. “Would you feel better if I gave you a hug?” 

 

Kara felt her chest swell with pent up emotions.

 

“It really would,” she squeaked, and let herself be pulled into Lena’s embrace.

 

This was a step in the right direction. It really was.

 

Even if it stung more than a little bit that a moment ago Lena had referred to Kara as just her “friend”.

 

Lena pulled away first, which was expected.

 

“Now,” she said, “I really do have a lot of questions to ask you about your abilities.” 

 

Ugh ,” Kara groaned, moving to lay flat on the futon. “Fine,” she mumbled into the cushion behind Lena’s back. “But I’m gonna stay like this the whole time becuase I am, like, really tired.” 

 

“Supergirl worn out from a false alarm? Who would have thought?” 

 

“Hey!” Kara said, feigning offense as she turned her face so she could see Lena looking down at her with an amused smile. “You try taking a few months off of work and see if it doesn't wear you down a little to jump right back into it.”

 

Lena’s face fell. Kara realized what she was thinking.

 

“Oh. Right,” Kara said, feeling stupid for having said anything. 

 

“Right,” Lena mused quietly. “That’s next on the to-do list.” She shook her head, waving off her thoughts on the matter of her work. “But this comes first. So,” Lena twisted around on the futon so she was facing Kara and rested an arm against the back of it so she was slightly hovering over Kara. “Tell me everything about your abilities. And don’t spare any details.”

 

*

 

They talked for what felt like hours. Kara kept stubbornly pushing past every urge to let her eyelids droop becuase it felt so good to be able to talk with and be close and open to Lena like this. At a certain point Lena’s neck had begun to cramp, so they had exited the office to make tea only to find that yes, in fact, they had been talking for hours.

 

Lena’s range of questions knew no bounds. Kara didn’t know how to answer a lot of them. She didn’t have the technical vocabulary to describe how she was what she was in the kind of detail Lena needed to satisfy her so very logical mind. 

 

When they resettled on the couch, Lena wanted to hear Kara’s stories. She wanted to know about every foe Supergirl had faced, she wanted to know about all the times Lena had assisted her, and how. 

 

Kara felt so...peaceful like this. Despite how much she tried not to think about it, she couldn’t help but compare this version of her reveal to the last one. Where there had been fear and secrecy, now there was curiosity and openness. Where there was pain and tears, now there was warmth and laughter. Where there had been destruction, now there was growth. 

 

Kara felt her chin bump against her knees that she had brought to her chest some time ago. She as starting to literally nod off.

 

“Oh, my gosh, Kara,” Lena said, glancing at the clock on the far wall, “it’s past two in the morning.” 

 

“Hmm?” Kara roused herself once again. “Oh. I guess it is.”

 

“You’re exhausted. You should get some sleep.” 

 

“No,” Kara insisted like a stubborn child, resting her head against the back of the couch. “No. I’m fine. I’d rather stay like this. It’s nice.” 

 

“Kara,” Lena breathed, reaching out to touch Kara's hand that rested on top of the blanket bunched around her ankle. 

 

Kara heard herself sigh contentedly in response to Lena’s touch and squeeze her hand in response, too tired to try and hide such feelings. 

 

“We don’t have to cover everything tonight. We have plenty of time to catch up,” Lena insisted. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

 

“Hmm…” Kara mused softly. “Promise?” 

 

Her eyes had since closed, but she heard Lena laugh in response. 

 

“Promise.” 

 

The couch cushions creaked. Lena had gotten up off the couch. Kara whined under her breath at the idea of ending their night now, but she also didn’t miss the opportunity to sprawl out on the couch as her drowsiness increased tenfold.

 

“Am I gonna have to carry you to bed?” Lena asked playfully. 

 

“Mm, I thought that was my job,” Kara murmured. 

 

She heard Lena sigh, almost regretfully. Then Kara felt a blanket being draped over her before she finally drifted off to sleep. 

Chapter Text

“You sure you’re ready to do this?” Kara whispered into Lena’s ear from where she stood close behind her. 

 

“Too late to back out now,” Lena murmured back, the melodic husk in her voice sending a shiver down Kara’s spine. She then turned to face Kara suddenly. “You’re sure I look alright?” 

 

Kara gave Lena a look over, more for Lena’s benefit of seeing her do so than anything else. It was the first time Lena had worn a suit since the accident. It was a simple three piece, dark blue with a black vest. Suits meant strength. That’s what Lena always said, at least. 

 

Lena’s secretary had brought in a makeup artist, and he had done an admittedly impressive job of hiding the remnants of Lena’s bruises and scars. If Kara hadn’t watched Lena fight to get to this point, hadn’t seen her pull herself back from the brink of death, it might be easy for her to believe based on how she looked now that none of it had even happened. 

 

But Kara, of course, knew better. If nothing had even happened, she could just close the distance between them in the privacy of the makeshift curtain put up behind the glass doors of L-Corp and kiss Lena’s anxieties away. But she could only clench her jaw, smile at Lena, and cross her hands in front of her to keep them from going anywhere else out of muscle memory. 

 

“You look perfect, Lena,” she said.

 

“They’re ready for you, Mrs. Luthor,” one of the security guards called from his post next to the curtain. 

 

Kara had never noticed how frequently Lena had to correct the use of her old name until she noticed that Lena failed to do so this time.  

 

Luthor-Danvers , Kara thought to herself regretfully.

 

Lena’s eyes widened in a panic as she realized she had no more time to stall the inevitable. 

 

“You’re with me, right?” Lena said. “I can’t face that crowd alone.” 

 

Kara smiled past the miserable yearning within her that was all but commonplace now. She had really thought that she and Lena were finally getting closer, finally building towards something. And then Kara found out that Lena had not been exaggerating when she said that getting back to work was next on her to-do list. The morning after their night talking and filling in the blanks about Supergirl, Lena was barreling ahead with planning meetings and conferences and all but leaving Kara to her own devices. 

 

“Always,” Kara said. “Besides, press conferences with Lena Luthor have a 5:1 chance of ending in chaos, so it’s better I’m here in case Supergirl needs to make an appearance.”

 

“Well that’s comforting,” Lena sighed regretfully. 

 

“You wanted honesty,” Kara replied with a chuckle.

 

“Yeah…” Lena said with a good-humored sigh. “Yeah I did.”

 

The guard pulled the curtain open for them. Cameras flashed, restless chatter filled their ears, the crowd all clamored to be the first to see a glimpse of Lena. All this was suddenly familiar again to Kara. 

 

The public figures aspect of their relationship had been practically routine for Lena and Kara before, especially when they had first started dating and had been the gossip of the town for months . Kara and Lena couldn’t even hold hands without pictures of it being splashed all over the internet. 

 

Well, that wasn’t quite true. Online rumors about their relationship had existed well before they started dating. They had even been a trending hashtag once or twice, if Kara remembered correctly. But it had taken a few months of increasing PDA and blush worthy commentary from Lena herself to more conservatie reporters before people had stopped referring to them as “really good friends” and had actually figured out that there was more to it than that. 

 

Now, Lena reached a hand back to Kara instinctively, either because she knew they had to sell that their relationship was as strong as ever, or becuase she needed Kara’s touch for support.

 

Kara told herself it was the latter as she took Lena’s outstretched hand in her own. Lena used their joined hands to pull Kara closer behind her, and turned to face her as nonchalantly as she could manage, but Kara could see a painstricken look on her face as the clamor of the media rose to feverish levels.

 

“The flashes of light are like knives to my brain,” Lena admitted to Kara quietly with a wince. 

 

“Do you need me to get you some sunglasses? Or do you want your press secretary to kick out the photographers?” Kara replied quickly. 

 

“No,” Lena insisted sharply. “No. It will show that something is amiss. I don’t want to look weak.”

 

“Lena,” Kara murmured regretfully.

 

“I have to get through this, Kara. I have to.”

 

“Okay,” Kara breathed, looking out at the crowd and their incessant pictures, trying to think of a solution. “Then just-keep your eyes on the podium as much as you can, and squeeze my hand twice if you need me to wrap it up early.”

 

Lena nodded, and in the blink of an eye she had painted on her signature Luthor Smile, and was leading Kara up with her to the podium waiting for her as if nothing was amiss. 

 

“Good morning,” Lena said meekly, before she cleared her throat, summoning for her long unused public speaking voice. “Thank you all for being here today,” she said with more confidence. “I want to take a moment to thank everyone who reached out to my wife and I while I was recovering from what proved to be a uniquely challenging time in both our lives.”

 

Once Kara heard Lena call her her ‘wife’, she felt herself sliding into that numb place in the back of her mind, the one she had slowly constructed since Lena awoke. It was a place to retreat to whenever she needed to be there for Lena, but not in the way Kara needed to feel whole. 

 

“In all honesty,” Lena continued, “It is nothing short of a miracle that I am even standing here in front of you today. I know I’ve had my fair share of close calls, but this was a little ridiculous.” 

 

The crowd chuckled. This was going well, Lena and Kara could both feel it. 

 

“I wanted to address some rumours that have been floating around in my absence about the future of LCorp. Rest assured, that I am not going anywhere.”

 

The camera flashes picked up at her statement. Lena flinched, and looked down at the podium, squeezing Kara’s hand, but only once. Kara could almost hear Lena’s inner thoughts telling her to push through no matter how severe the pain. 

 

“In fact,” Lena continued, her voice faltering only slightly. “This whole experience has reinvigorated my passion for advancing medical and emergency response technologies both in National City and abroad. I am hoping to have some exciting reveals at this year’s LCorp Expo.”

 

“Mrs. Luthor-Danvers!” a reporter called, despite the floor not being open to questions yet. However, Lena let the faux pas slide, likely because the sooner she got through questions, the sooner she could wrap things up. “Do you have anything to say to the man who caused the wreck?” 

 

Lena blinked. 

 

“No, I do not,” she said brusquely, flinching again from the flashing lights. 

 

“Do you think your shareholders should have any reason to worry about the future of the company with you at the helm after such a long time away from your post?” another reporter asked. 

 

“If I believed I was no longer qualified to run this company, I would have given my resignation already,” Lena said coldly. 

 

He had struck a nerve, Kara could tell. 

 

“How are you and Kara doing?” 

 

Lena and Kara both looked in the same direction towards the voice that had asked the question. Kara recognized them as a reporter named Skai that worked for a local LGBT online publication. Skai, in particular, had written quite a few stories about Lena and Kara’s relationship that Kara had made a point to save because she had thought they were very well written and touching. 

 

Lena, however, froze. Evidently she hadn’t expected such a question, or she would have prepped for it, like she always does. Or maybe she had, but was thrown off nonetheless.

 

“It’s just,” Skai said. “I would have been a mess if my spouse had gone through something like that. Especially since the wreck was the night of your wedding anniversary. So, how are you two doing now that you’re in good health?” 

 

Lena’s eyes flickered to Kara’s only for a moment. She squeezed Kara’s hand twice. 

 

Time to go. 

 

Kara stepped into the microphone, and Lena stepped aside with a large smile to the audience as if she had no problem letting Kara field that particular question. 

 

“Thank you for that question, Skai,” Kara said. “You’re right, seeing your wife go through something like that is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. It felt like derailed our whole lives. But…”

 

Kara couldn’t think fast enough to form a positive spin to put on the end. Shit. Shit

 

“But I think our relationship is stronger than ever because of it,” Lena cut in suddenly, standing directly next to Kara at the mic and snaking an arm around Kara’s waist. “For better or worse, right?” Lena leaned her forehead against Kara’s for a moment for dramatic emphasis. Kara felt her breath hitch in her throat. “Now, if that’s all the questions, I-”

 

“What about Supergirl?” a reporter to the right asked.

 

Now it was Kara who froze. 

 

“She’s finally emerged after being missing for months around the same time that you are back on your feet. Any connection?” 

 

Lena’s eyes found Kara’s for a second, before she cleared her throat.

 

“If there is, I have no knowledge of it. I’ve been a little too busy not dying to keep tabs on what Supergirl has been up to.” Laughter from the crowd again. “Now, that really is the last question I can take. Thank you all again for your time.” 

 

The reporters tried to shout out their unanswered questions after Lena stepped away from the podium, but it was of no use. Lena was pulling herself away from the stage, arm still gripping Kara’s waist, either for show or to anchor herself, as she rushed to the safety of the other side of the curtain just as casually as she could make herself appear. The second they were alone again, Lena released Kara from her grip, and she turned away from her to hold her aching head and groan audibly. 

 

“Lena?” Kara asked softly. “What do you need? Should I call the doctor?” 

 

“No,” Lena said, turning back to face Kara and straightening. “I’m fine now. The lights just...really got to me.” 

 

“Okay. Next time we’ll make sure the press secretary ensures that there will be no flash photography.”

 

Lena scoffed. 

 

“Next time? I never want to do that again . You forget, Kara, I’m not used to being the face of this company yet. I don’t remember-” at that moment, one of the security guards walked past. Lena smiled tightly in his direction, holding her tongue until he was out of earshot. “I don’t remember any experience I may have amassed. I’m still used to being the person behind the person at the mic.”

 

“Right, of course,” Kara replied.

 

Lena leaned against a marble pillar to her left, her perfect silhouette distracting Kara only for a second.

 

“Maybe they’re right,” she said. “Maybe I’m not qualified to do this job anymore.” 

 

And just like that, Kara was kicked back in time to when she was a young, would-be reporter tagging along behind her cousin only to find herself suddenly transfixed by a woman who just wanted to be given a chance. 

 

“Lena, come on,” Kara said, moving to stand in front of Lena. “There is no one else who can do what you do. You are so smart and so talented. LCorp would be lost without you. It’s just going to take a little time to get used to things, that’s all. But you’ve done it before, and I know you can do it again.” 

 

Lena was silent for a moment, looking Kara over slowly, eyes hovering over Kara’s face like she was searching for it’s earnestness.

 

“Well, when you put it that way,” Lena finally said, and gave Kara a small smile. “Thank you for helping me today, Kara. I know I said this shouldn’t be your responsibility, and I don’t mean to lean on you so heavily like this. But seeing as no one at the company, not even my secretary, can know about my amnesia, I was afraid to do this alone. So...really, thank you.” 

 

“Of course.” 

 

Lena sighed, looking Kara over with a suddenly pained expression on her face. 

 

“So...the night of the crash was our wedding anniversary?” 

 

Kara swallowed hard, silently pleading with herself not to show what she was feeling. 

 

“Uh. Yeah,” she said softly, looking at everything in the room but Lena. “Two years.”

 

“God...just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

 

“It’s-”

 

Don’t say it’s fine, Kara. It’s not. That’s just...fucking tragic. I’m sorry, but it is. Between that and my being hot and cold with you lately...and then touching you in front of the crowd like that without checking with you first just to keep up appearances regardless of-”

 

“It was something you had to do,” Kara interrupted, reciting the justification of it all that she had already told herself over and over again. “If we act distant, then the rumors start flying. And we can’t have people thinking you’re on the outs with your wife at the same time that you’re trying to put your company back together after a long time away. They’d devour you. I...I can play the part if you can. So...can you?”

 

Lena laughed in the helpless kind of way. 

 

“You know,” she said, pushing herself away from the pillar and taking a step closer to Kara. “I keep finding myself wondering if I’m not still on that plane from Metropolis, and this isn’t just some really elaborate dream I’m going to wake up from at any second. And not becuase of the amnesia or any of that. But because there is no form of reality in which someone as wonderful and selfless as you actually exists.” 

 

Oh, the yearning was going to kill Kara soon. 

 

“Well if you do wake up on that plane, be sure to befriend the first female reporter that shows up at your office when you settle into National City. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.” 

 

Lena clasped her hands in front of her, watching Kara closely, biting her lower lip for just a second. 

 

Just as Kara felt her chest tighten in anticipation that something, anything might happen, a bright flash erupted from behind her. A photographer had stuck around too long outside LCorp, desperate to get an exclusive shot. Lena flinched instantly. 

 

“Hey!” Kara barked protectively. “Get him out of here!” 

 

One of the guards rushed out the door to *gently* escort the photographer off the premises.

 

“Are you okay?” Kara asked gently. 

 

“Fine. Fine. Thank you...Look. Let me do something for you to make up for today,” she insisted suddenly. “Lunch?” 

 

Kara narrowed her eyes at Lena, wondering how she was supposed to read this.

 

“You sure you’re ready for a casual public outing?” she asked. “There’s bound to be more press.” 

 

Lena shrugged. 

 

“I can make sure it’s not a problem. Besides, if they get to be too much, I can always call my pal Supergirl and ask her to take care of them for me.”

 

“Ahaha, right,” Kara said with a nervous laugh. “Supergirl.” 

 

“Is just as hesitant about the press as I am, apparently.”

 

“Yeah…” Kara admitted, fidgeting with her glasses. “You aren’t the only one dreading being back in the public eye after some time away. Especially when so many people count on me to be there when they need help and I just...disappeared. It was reckless and selfish to stay away so long.” 

 

“Hey,” Lena said softly, stepping even closer to Kara so she could clasp her hands in her own. That was happening more and more often. Kara didn’t know how to take it other than with swelling hope. “You needed time away, too. Just becuase I have scars to prove what happened to me doesn’t mean my pain was any more real than yours.” 

 

Kara found herself tracing patterns onto Lena’s hands with her thumbs. It had been an old habit of hers, the repetition of the motion and the reassurance of Lena’s touch serving as a way to calm her thoughts

 

“Well I can’t go explaining that to people now, can I?” Kara said, her eyes fixated on their joined hands. “Not without revealing my identity.” 

 

“Hmm, I suppose you’re right.” Lena paused. “I guess just tell them you got sucked into an alternate dimension. That happens to people like you all the time, right?” 

 

“That’s...that’s actually not a bad idea,” Kara admitted, finally looking up at Lena with a smile.

 

“Exactly! Now, come on, I know you’re starving.”

 

“I’m not…”

 

“Kara,” Lena said with an amused lightness in her tone. “Your stomach was growling so loud during the press conference I’m surprised the mic’s didn’t pick it up.” 

 

*

 

“You’re moping.”

 

“I am not,” Kara spat.

 

“You really are.”

 

“How would you even know that? It’s pitch black down here!” 

 

Kara tried stubbornly to wriggle herself free again, but to no avail. She and Alex were currently hanging from the ceiling of a cave that neither of them knew the location of, encased in a crystalline substance with strong paralytic qualities that had been, as gross as it sounded, shot at them from the mouth of a large lizard-like creature that had dragged them down here in the first place. 

 

“I’m your sister. I can sense these things.” 

 

Kara groaned in a loud, frustrated way that made it sound almost like a bark.

 

“Fine!” she spat. “I’m moping! And whose fault is that?”

 

“Once again!” Alex shot back, grunting as she tried to test the movement in her limbs, to no avail. “I am not creating these alien conflicts as some way of keeping you from being with Lena!”

 

“I know! I know,” Kara sighed, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness to see if there was anything down here that she could use to free herself. “I would have had this thing locked up already if it weren’t for all those reporters and photographers distracting me. It’s bad enough they almost ruined out date by crowding around the restaurant.”

 

“So we’re calling it a date now?” Alex asked.

 

“Hey. I know her, Alex. I know what her friend hangouts look like, and I know what her dates look like. And that was a date .” 

 

“It was just lunch, Kara.”

 

“Yeah. Lunch date . Why else did she reserve the whole restaurant and bring security to keep the press at bay just so we could be alone? Especially considering that I told her that’s what she did on our first first date? Hmm? Date .”

 

“Oh my God, fine , I’m sorry that I interrupted your lunch date . But this was kind of important!” 

 

Hanging from the ceiling, Kara did not have gravity on her side in order to laser beam something loose to knock them free. The creature had also been smart enough to encase Kara’s head up to the ears so she had no range of motion in order to freeze the substance. Not that she could move her head if she wanted to. 

 

“I would just like to say,” Kara spat. “That if we die before I even get Lena to make out with me again, I am going to be such a pain in your ass in the afterlife.”

 

“Make out, Kara? Seriously? Are you fourteen?” 

 

“Shut up! You can do whatever you want with your wife, she hasn’t suddenly hit the reset button on your relationship like my wife has!” 

 

“Are you kidding? I have a three year old. Do you even know the last time me and Kelly had a chance to fool around without Hannah interrupting somehow? Don’t lecture me about blue balls, Kara.”

 

“Hey! You-” Kara went suddenly silent. 

 

They both had heard it. A loud rumbling noise from deep within the cave. 

 

“Why does this feel exactly like that scene from Star Wars with that big snow monster?” Alex asked dryly. 

 

“Shh!” Kara insisted, and tried to breathe as quietly as possible as she used her X-ray vision to see just how far away this thing was from them. 

 

“Fifty yards and gaining.”

 

“Okay,” Alex said with a huff of breath. “Let’s just...evaluate our options. Weapons?” 

 

“Stuck in the goo. Trackers?”

 

“I don’t know how many feet down we are. The DEO loses signal at anything greater than thirty feet below ground. So...someone might know we are and come rescue us. Or might not. I have no way of knowing. Powers?” 

 

“Freeze breath is useless. Strength is null and void with the paralytic.” Kara checked for the creature again. “Thirty yards and gaining...the only thing that I can do is laser beam this thing once it gets close enough, but I would only have one shot before it figured me out and gooed my eyes shut or something else equally gross.” 

 

Both the girls groaned in frustration.

 

“If only I could refract the light of the beam somehow to hit this stuff we’re stuck in…wait…” 

 

On the opposite wall of the cave was a natural metal deposit. Kara didn’t know what it was, but it was shiny and, under the right circumstances, might be reflective enough…

 

Without the time to weigh her options, Kara melted the metal with her heat vision until it formed a puddle of shiny liquid on the ground, then froze it until it was one solid, metallic hunk. Unable to cross her fingers, she could only pray to Rao that her plan would work, as she shot the metal with her laser vision. The light bounced off the metal and hit just above her shoulder. Kara cried out in pain, but it freed her left arm, which dangled uselessly in front of her as the paralytic slowly, too slowly, wore off. She shifted her sight and hit the metal again with a laser, again, and then again, until she had carved about 80% of the crystals away from her body, which was more than a little worse for wear from all the refracted beams that had missed their mark. 

 

10 yards. 

 

She screamed out, motivating herself as best as she could to make her almost useless limbs propel her out of the substance until she fell to the ground with a hard thud. She had just enough time to free Alex with a more calculated laser fire before she was sent flying by the strike of a strong reptilian arm into a large stalagmite on the opposite side of the cave. Kara fell limp against it, still barely able to make use of her limbs. 

 

Alex laid motionless on the ground below where she had been suspended. The creature made its way to her, large club-like feet making the ground shake with each step. 

 

“Hey Lizard Lips!” Kara called in an attempt at a diversion. “Over here!” 

 

The creature turned. Kara’s limbs shook as she pushed herself into a crouching position. 

 

“Don’t you know Kryptonians taste way better than humans?” 

 

“Kara,” Alex warned. 

 

“Just focus on trying to grab your gun!” Kara hissed as the thing started to barrel towards her. 

 

Kara shot a beam of heat at it, but it had learned from their last scuffle that got them here to duck out of the way any time she focused her sight on him. Kara rolled herself backwards ungracefully like a three year old learning to tumble in gymnastics. She could see Alex in the corner of her vision trying again and again to get her arms to work long enough to pull her gun out of its holster. Kara tried to fry the creature again, and then again, but it ducked the beams every time. Then Kara tried to use her freeze breath, and nailed it in the arm. The creature screeched in two distinct, dissonant tones. It glared at her through slit, all black eyes, and with it’s non-frozen arm, sent kara flying again into another wall of the cave before she could pull her body away from the assault.

 

“Alex, you got it, right?” Kara asked exasperatedly, rolling over onto her chest with a grunt, knowing the sun was too far away to help her heal. 

 

“Almost,” Alex said, the gun now out of the holster but she could barely get her hands to grip it. 

 

Disoriented, Kara didn’t even have a chance to counter the next hit that sent her rocketing so hard into the ceiling of the cave that it rumbled like it might collapse. 

 

“Alex!” she croaked, feeling like she might have a broken rib. 

 

The lizard picked Kara up by the ankle. She threw everything she could at it, but it tossed her around like a ragdoll so aggressively that none of her shots landed where they should have and missed it every time. The creature whacked her around the walls of the cave like she was something stuck to it’s hand and it was desperate to be rid of. With each hit she felt her consciousness slipping from her.

 

“Got it, got it, got it,” Alex yelled desperately. “ DROP !” 

 

With the last of her energy she had, Kara used her free leg to kick away from the arm of the creature that was gripping her ankle, and she pushed off of it until she broke free, clattering to the ground and crouching low to avoid Alex’s onslaught of shots from her gun that barraged into the reptile until it finally collapsed to the ground, lifeless.

 

“Supergirl?” Alex said desperately, crawling as best as she could over to her sister to try and care for her. 

 

“That...sucked,” Kara panted, struggling to stay awake. “I really...was fine with...being retired.” 

 

“I know,” Alex replied into the dirt.

 

The ceiling quaked and rumbled. Too much damage had been done to the cave. It was going to collapse. 

 

“Grab on,” Kara said as she wiped the blood from her lip.

 

“But you can barely move.” 

 

“I said grab on! We don’t have time to argue!” 

 

Alex pulled herself closer to Kara until she could grip her waist, and with a self-motivating shout, Kara punched her way up through the ceiling with Alex in tow until they reached the surface, where Kara deposited Alex safely and rolled onto her back, promptly blacking out. 

 

When she came to, she was being held up by J’onn as they touched down outside the DEO. 

 

“Let's get you taken care of, Supergirl,” he said, but it was almost instantly drowned out by an aggravatingly familiar sound. 

 

“Supergirl! Supergirl!” shouted a couple of reporters to her left. “What brought you out of hiding? Where have you been? Supergirl! What happened today?” 

 

“Oh, I have had enough of this crap today,” she moaned, shrugging J’onn off so she wouldn’t look weak in front of them, though there probably were already a few choice shots of her looking haggard and half conscious. 

 

“Supergirl,” J’onn said caringly. “Just come inside. Don’t worry about them.” 

 

“No,” she insisted stubbornly. “I’m fine. I have to go.”

 

“But-” 

 

She didn’t take the time to listen to J’onn’s coercions or pleadings. She was already taking off towards her apartment to get away from the press.

 

And to make sure Lena wasn’t upset with her for bailing on their date.

Chapter Text



Lena was sitting at the kitchen table, chewing on her thumbnail, pretending to read some spreadsheets of the last quarter’s numbers from LCorp to get caught up before facing the wolves on the board tomorrow morning. But she wasn’t absorbing any of what she was reading. She was too preoccupied with being a nervous wreck wondering if Kara was okay. 

 

Was this what it had been like before the accident? Lena dragging Kara to public events neither of them wanted to go to, offset only by Kara dashing off to risk her life in the face of some new foe? 

 

How had the stress not killed them yet? 

 

Lena was jumpy and unable to relax. Every noise that she heard, every creak in the floor or every gust of wind, was Kara coming back to the apartment safe and sound. Until, of course, it wasn’t, and she’d go right back to worrying.

 

The whole superhero gig had sounded so exciting in theory. When Kara had told Lena the details of her heroics that one long night, it was like listening to a great story teller. The tales were rich and detailed enough to feel real but fantastical enough to feel like fiction. But now Lena had to accept that this was, in fact, all very real. The stories were real. The monsters, villains, and dozens of near death experiences were all real. 

 

And Lena had to decide if she could handle that.

 

Lena tried flipping through several news channels hoping for some sort of update on how things had gone. But as she was beginning to realize, the media either didn’t know or didn’t care what had happened to the Girl Of Steel unless it was a big enough news story to interrupt all the gossip and politics. Evidently, if the world wasn’t ending, or if Supergirl hadn’t had a wardrobe mishap, it didn’t matter. Talk about under appreciated.

 

Lena conceded to her anxieties, and picked up her phone to call Alex and find out just what the hell was going on, seeing as Kara had left the restaurant in such a flustered hurry that she had forgotten her phone. Just before Lena hit the call button, she heard the window behind her opening, and she spun around to see Kara leaning against the windowsill as if she didn’t have the strength to hold herself up. She saw the bruises. Then she saw Kara collapse into the apartment.

 

“Kara?” Lena exclaimed, rushing over to the blonde hold her up as she let go of her tight grip on the windowsill, which now had a hand sized chunk broken out of it. “Jesus Christ, what happened to you?” 

 

“Picture the monster from the beginning of Empire Strikes Back,” she said, out of breath. “But a giant lizard.” 

 

“You’re kidding, right?” 

 

“I wish I was!” Kara said with a hollow laugh, leaning on Lena heavily as she guided Kara to the couch. 

 

The sun had just gone down, so she was healing slower than normal. If Lena understood the science right, that is. Either way, the result was that the bruises that covered almost every visible inch of her skin, along with her busted lip, were not quick to heal.

 

Lena sat Kara down gingerly on the couch, noticing the way she flinched when she bent down. Broken ribs, probably.   

 

“What do you need?” Lena asked, trying to hide the high pitched panic in her voice. 

 

“Uh...there’s some ice packs in the freezer. And the medicine bottle in the fridge that looks like it’s glowing? Grab that, too.” 

 

Lena got up to retrieve the items as quickly as she could, grimacing at the eerie yellow glow from the bottle in the fridge, and wondering how she hadn’t noticed it before. She picked it up gingerly, as if it might burn her hand.

 

“Thanks,” Kara said when Lena had returned with the items.

 

With shaking hands, Kara opened the pill bottle, tapping in against her palm until two of the iridescent capsules plopped into her hand. Then she hastily swallowed them faster than Lena could get her to notice that she was holding out a glass of water to wash them down with, which Kara gulped down greedily after the fact. 

 

Kara then took the ice packs, placing them on the back of her neck, lower back, and then her chest, grimacing over the last one. Definitely broken ribs. Kara looked to Lena, saw how carefully she was watching her, how disturbed she seemed by her condition, and tried to plaster on a smile. 

 

“Just give it a second to kick in,” Kara said. 

 

And she was right. Within a moment, Lena could see Kara’s wounds fading and beginning to heal; her breathing went from jagged and short to long and deep as her ribs began to mend.

 

“Dare I ask?” Lena asked, gesturing to the pill bottle. 

 

“Hmm,” Kara murmured as laid her head against the back against the couch, utterly exhausted. “Sun caps. LCorp specialty.”

 

“I designed these?” Lena said in surprise, picking up the bottle to look at them more closely.

 

“Well, yeah. They give me a little heartburn, but it definitely beats being stuck under the sun lamps at the DEO for hours at a time.” 

 

“And we’re not accidentally leaking radiation into the apartment by keeping them in the fridge?” 

 

Kara chuckled, shaking her head. 

 

“No. You tested them extensively.” Her face faltered in reaction to Lena’s persisting dismay over the scene she had created with her entrance. “Sorry,” Kara said, wincing as she moved to make room for Lena to sit next to her on the couch. “I was hoping to ease you into this part.”

 

“You mean the part where you almost get killed on a daily basis?” Lena said, sitting on the arm of the couch like a perched bird, her anxieties keeping her from daring to come any closer to Kara.

 

Kara shrugged meekly. 

 

“Not exactly on a daily basis,” she said. “Alex always described it to Kelly like being married to a cop or a firefighter. You just never know what you’re going to get into from one day to the next.” 

 

“And Kelly is fine with that? Considering their daughter and everything?”

 

Kara frowned.

 

“They manage. Alex takes a back seat on the action a lot more than she used to. But she tends to jump in when she thinks I’m in danger. Which. Is silly. Because I can handle myself just fine.”

 

“Clearly,” Lena said, giving Kara a once over look that was more like a silent reprimand. 

 

“Oh, come on. Look,” Kara said, initiating some unseen sequence that caused the suit to collapse into itself and condense into nothingness, revealing a pair of black boy shorts and a form fitting white tank top beneath it. The bruises truly had covered her whole body, but as Lena watched the suit dissapear, she also watched the bruises yellow and then fade as if they had never even been there. “See?” Kara said, sitting up with fresh vigor and showing off her nearly healed biceps. “All good.”

 

“Kara,” Lena said warily.

 

Kara sighed, realizing that her sunny optimism wasn’t going to be enough to wash the concern away from Lena’s mind.

 

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I should have stayed at the DEO and healed up there instead of bursting in like that and making a scene. I wasn’t thinking. I guess I was so preoccupied wondering if you were mad at me for skipping out on you earlier that coming home was the only thing on my mind.”

 

Lena shook her head, and then she watched herself let a daring hand reach out and rest a hand on Kara’s knee. She couldn’t help it. Something about Kara in that tank top and shorts, and how Lena knew that if she wanted to touch Kara that she would eagerly let her, made it hard for Lena to keep her hands in her own lap where they ought to be.

 

“Well I’d hate to think that you worrying about our date allowed for some big lizard to get in a couple extra shots,” she said.

 

“Uh, lizard with paralytic spit,” Kara replied. “So, no I was sort of screwed no matter what. But hey, at least I was right.”

 

“About what?” 

 

“About lunch being a date?” Kara said, scooching closer to Lena with a smile that was so genuine and charming that Lena could barely look her in the eye without becoming overwhelmed. She became even more so when she realized that Kara’s movements had caused Lena’s hand to shift from Kara’s knee to further up her thigh.  

 

Lena felt her cheeks suddenly flush, silently damning her own fair complexion for always giving her emotions away. Not knowing what else to do with herself and too many emotions at once, Lena got up off the couch, grabbing her water glass so she could refill it for Kara. 

 

Lena stared at the running water for a moment, collecting herself. She could feel Kara’s gaze on her. And she wasn’t surprised when Kara got up to follow Lena.

 

“Okay,” Kara said. “What happened? What did I do?” 

 

Lena shook her head with a perplexed laugh.

 

“You didn’t do anything, Kara, except be this...perfect, world saving, charming…” she cut herself off before she could divulge any more of what she was feeling deep down, shutting off the tap with a hard thunk against the knob. “I just  wonder how I’ve lived with this all this time. This...fear.”

 

“What are you afraid of, Lena?” Kara asked gently, sitting in a bar stool across from the kitchen island where Lena was isolating herself, bringing herself back into Lena’s field of vision so she was forced to look at her. 

 

Of myself, Lena thought. Of this. Of you

 

“Are you kidding, Kara?” Lena burst out all at once, succumbing to a sudden wave of frustration. “I’m afraid of what you are. Of what it means for you to be you . I’m afraid of what you put yourself through out of some duty you feel you have to the city, the world even, becuase of these abilities that you have.” 

 

“Lena…” Kara said carefully. “Would you have me just ignore it all? Would you rather I don’t do anything to help anyone just becuase I might get hurt?” 

 

“I don’t know! Maybe!” Lena sighed, plopping into a kitchen island chair across from Kara. “Doesn’t it bother you to feel so obligated all the time? Don’t you wish you didn’t have to risk your life on a regular basis just to make other people happy?”

 

Kara blinked, silent for a moment. 

 

“Not as much as it bothers you, apparently,” she finally said.

 

“Apparently,” Lena breathed in reply.

 

“Is it any different than your sense of obligation to make the world a better place becuase you have the brains to make it possible?” 

 

“That’s not fair,” Lena spat. 

 

“Yes, it is,” Kara said with a slump of her shoulders that seemed so common and familiar that Lena couldn’t help but wonder just how many times they had had this exact argument. “Look, Lena. You and I both have the ability to make the world better and safer. And that comes with drawbacks on both ends. But that’s why this does, did , work. It’s...it’s supposed to be what helps us understand each other. It’s what brings us closer, not what pulls us apart.” 

 

“I’m not trying to...” Lena took a deep breath. “It was just a shock to see you like that.” 

 

“Yeah, I know the feeling.” 

 

Lena swallowed hard, reminded once again that she had no idea what Kara went through after Lena’s accident. But if this was even a fraction of what she felt right now, she didn’t know how Kara got through it. 

 

“That’s the point, I guess, isn’t it?” Kara asked, more to herself than to Lena. “I know what it’s like to lose people I care about. To watch them get hurt and not be able to do anything about it. I know far too well. And I don’t want anyone to have to feel that kind of grief. Ever. So, if getting roughed up a little here and there means I can keep that from happening to other people, then it’s worth it.” 

 

Lena felt her eyes mist over, finally understanding something so tragic about Kara that she had only ever seen before in herself.

 

“You can’t save everyone, Kara. You know that, right?” 

 

“I can try,” she said without hesitation. 

 

Lena shook her head helplessly, knowing despite her efforts that you can’t use logic to talk someone out of their beliefs. It’s what made Lex evil, and it was evidently what made Kara so good.

 

Biting her lower lip, Kara got up and walked to the other side of the kitchen island, standing a pace away from Lena, resting her hip against the counter. Lena found herself staring, first at Kara’s broad shoulders, then at the way the fabric of her tank top clung to her toned stomach, then to her hips, then her thighs… “Look I-” Kara said, pulling Lena out of her trance. “I’m not going to sugar coat this for you. What I do...it isn’t easy or safe. I can handle myself, most of the time, but there are times that I wonder if I’ve finally pushed myself too far. And it’s not easy to care about someone with a life like that. I’ve seen what it’s done to Alex, how it’s made her so protective of me. I’ve seen what it’s done to Kelly. And I...I feel like we’ve been making progress in our relationship these past few days. But that doesn’t mean I expect you to just get over your anxieties about my job. If it’s something you can’t handle...I’ll understand. But I hope you can, becuase being able to come home to you...it’s what has kept me fighting, even on the worst days.” 

 

Lena could see Kara’s eyes begin to glisten, and then she watched her lower her eyes to her hands that fidgeted together as a way to distract from her swell of emotion Kara was failing to hide.

 

Lena felt like the wind had been knocked out of her lungs.

 

*

 

“So you’re...psychic?” 

 

Nia shrugged. 

 

“Close enough. So. Are you comfortable with me poking around in your memories?” 

 

“I’m not even comfortable poking around my own memories. But I can try to be after you sign that.” 

 

Nia sighed heavily, looking down to the non-disclosure agreement Lena had set on the coffee table of her apartment in front of Nia for her to sign.  

 

“Is this really necessary?” 

 

“It absolutely is, yes,” Lena replied without missing a beat. 

 

Shaking her head, Nia took the pen in her hand and signed the NDA. Lena snatched it up as soon as it was signed, looked it over, and then nodded resolutely at it.

 

“Good. Kelly?” 

 

“Mmhmm,” Kelly said, dropping her signed form on top of Nia’s without hesitation. 

 

She liked Kelly.

 

“Perfect. Okay,” Lena said, and brought her hands together in her lap, closing her eyes expectantly and leaning against the back of her couch. “Do your worst.” 

 

“You might be more comfortable if you lie down,” Nia said. 

 

“Key word being ‘might’ ,” Lena replied.

 

“Humor is a great defense mechanism, isn’t it?” Kelly said dryly. 

 

Lena blinked, surprised at Kelly’s quick and efficient ability to disarm her. She always did like sharp ones, didn’t she? Still, Lena resigned to lay back as instructed, sinking into the couch uneasily. 

 

“There you go,” Kelly said. “So. Just to give you a quick summary of how this will work. We are going to do what is called regression therapy. I will assist you into a more suggestive state of hypnosis. The reason for bringing you to this point is to relax your mind and body enough that we can get to a kind of ‘clean slate’ point of consciousness that gives you the freedom to look for memories that as of right now are lost. It is important for me to note that memory is not simply files you can play like old home videos. Memory is…”

 

“The parts of your brain in charge of smell, sight, sound, and emotion separately recreating what was experienced during the event that became coded as a memory.”

 

“Right,” Kelly said with an ease that suggested that she was used to Lena being just as knowledgeable as herself on whatever topic she was speaking about. “So. Think of it as your brain performing a play. We just have to find the script.” 

 

Lena heard Nia clear her throat loudly.

 

“Sorry,” Nia said blankly, “You guys are just, like, way too technical for me.” 

 

“Oh, hush,” Kelly said jokingly. “Now. Once we get you to the point of a more suggestible state, I will continue to be your guide through your subconscious, however Nia here will assist by doing some looking around to see if any memory can’t be more easily coaxed out of hiding. Do you have any questions?” 

 

“Yeah,” Lena said, “can’t you just give me a healthy dose of electroshock therapy and be done with it?” 

 

“That or lobotomy. Dealer’s choice,” Nia replied nonchalantly as she settled into her chair behind Lena’s head. 

 

“Ha!” Lena replied with a dry bark of a laugh at Nia’s joke. “I’m sure there’s plenty of people who’d like to see that happen.”

 

“Girls,” Kelly scolded. 

 

“Right, right, sorry,” Nia said, closing her eyes and resting a gentle hand on each of Lena’s temples. Lena flinched at the touch for a moment. She couldn’t help it, she was never good at being touched by anyone. 

 

Except Kara, apparently. Which was an interesting development. 

 

Was that why Lena was doing this? For Kara? Was wanting to go back to being someone who could care for Kara without being held back by fear and hesitation what drove her to finally call Kelly and ask for her help? 

 

“Okay, Lena,” Kelly said in a suddenly soothing tone. “I am going to count back from ten…” 

 

*

 

Kara thrummed her fingers nervously against her desk. Yes, her desk. She was back at work for the first time since the accident. Lena had insisted on it. Her exact words were “You need to stop prioritizing my life over yours and get out of the apartment already.” 

 

So Kara did. She went back to CatCo. And while she knew she was bound to be a little rusty, she was still frustrated with herself. She barely had any clue what everyone was talking about when they did a run down of current events that morning. Life just kept chugging along, with or without you, Kara supposed.

 

So, Kara volunteered to copy edit for awhile until she felt confident enough to do some of her own reporting. But she could barely even manage that. Not when she was desperately anxious waiting for an update on how Lena’s hypnosis had gone. In a perfect world, Lena would show up at the office, tell her that she was back, she remembered it all, and that she loved her and had missed her. They’d have a big romantic kiss. Everyone would clap...

 

But this world was anything but perfect. And Kara just hoped they could bring back even one small something, anything, out of the fog of Lena’s mind. 

 

Kara’s phone buzzed next to her keyboard. She nearly jumped out of her chair when she heard it. She grabbed it, tapping the “answer call” icon so hard that she cracked the screen. 

 

“Damn it, not again,” she muttered to herself, and brought the phone to her ear. “Kelly? How’d it go?” 

 

“Uh…” 

 

Kara’s heart sank. 

 

There was a tapping on the end of Kara’s desk. She turned, and saw Nia standing there with an apprehensive expression. 

 

“Nia? Hey.” 

 

“Oh good, she can tell you then. Bye!”

 

Kelly hung up abruptly. Kara grimaced at the phone, and put it, shattered-screen facing down, onto the desk.

 

“Did she remember anything ?” Kara asked Nia desperately. 

 

Ugh , Kelly promised she would tell you!” Nia paused to compose herself. “Okay. Well. I mean...no, she didn’t...but! That doesn’t mean that she won’t…”

 

Kara let her head fall against her desk, feeling defeated. 

 

“Kara. Just listen, okay?” Nia consoled, crouching down beside Kara so she was at eye level. “It’s not that the memories are gone. I can feel them in her mind, somewhere. But trying to find them...it’s like trying to navigate through a thick fog. One minute we were in her past before National City, and everything was clear, and the next I felt like I was suddenly blind. I think there’s a chance that we can still get her memories back but...it’s not going to be quick or easy. It’s going to take time. More time than I can even try to guess.”



Kara was putting all of her focus into steadying her breathing so Nia couldn’t hear it trembling. 

 

“Is she okay?” Kara asked softly.

 

“I don’t know. She sort of left the apartment in a hurry after we pulled her out of the hypnosis. Said something about having work to do.” 

 

“Alright,” Kara breathed. “Thank you, both of you, for all your help.”

 

“Just,” Nia said, touching Kara’s shoulder reassuringly. “Don’t lose hope, okay?”

 

“I won’t,” Kara said, unsure if she was lying or not.

 

*

 

It was eight o’clock in the evening before Kara had finally had enough. Lena was hiding out, burying herself in her work, like she always did when she didn’t want to deal with whatever was on her mind. 

 

But Kara had never been good at giving Lena her space when she was hurting. 

 

Kara touched down on the balcony of Lena’s office, eyes fixed on Lena as she sat in front of her computer with her head in her hands, a glass of water next to her where a glass of scotch normally would be. At least she was still following the doctor’s orders. 

 

Kara approached the glass door, remembering that her impromptu arrivals were not commonplace to Lena yet before just entering unannounced. Instead, she tapped against the glass as softly as she could. Lena jumped at the unexpected noise, spinning her chair around to see Kara standing there. Lena’s face fell for just a fraction of a second before Lena managed to conjure an empty smile. Kara opened the glass door and entered the office. 

 

“Hi,” she said softly. 

 

“Hey,” Lena replied, turning back towards her computer and away from Kara. 

 

“Long day?” 

 

“You could say that.” Lena’s jaw visibly clenched. “You?” 

 

“Hmm, I’m not writing anything Pulitzer worthy yet, that’s for sure.”

 

“It will come back to you, I’m sure. And, um, what about your other job? Any new evil foes to fight?”

 

Kara shrugged. 

 

“No. It’s been pretty quiet, actually. Quiet enough that I thought I’d swing by and see what you were up to. It’s getting late, you know.”  

 

She was working towards something. Lena could feel it. 

 

“Let me guess,” she said, not wanting to avoid the inevitable any longer. “Nia or Kelly told you what happened?” 

 

“Well...”

 

“Despite the fact that I had them sign NDA’s?” 

 

“Those don’t count towards spouses.” 

 

“It does if the spouse hasn’t signed an NDA of her own.” 

 

“Good thing I have signed one, then. It’s been a few years since I looked at it, but I’m pretty sure it’s valid for another couple of years.” 

 

Lena laughed darkly. 

 

“Of course it is.” She sighed, and clicked off the screen of her computer, turning back to Kara. “Fine. Then you know that it’s hopeless.”

 

“It’s not hopeless.” 

 

“No? Then what would you call it?” 

 

Kara frowned, and moved to sit on the edge of Lena’s desk, looking down at her sympathetically. 

 

“Lena. What do you call the first serious test of an experimental treatment or tech?”

 

“A trial.”

 

“Right. So? This was trial 1. And it didn’t work. So. We just regroup and work towards the second trial. And if that doesn’t work, we go to trial 3. And we keep going. For as long as we need to.”

 

“And if the results are always the same?” 

 

“Then...we record the results, and create a different theory to test.” 

 

Lena shook her head. 

 

“Guess I rubbed off a little on you over the years.”

 

Kara smiled in a way that made her nose scrunch up. It was cute, and entirely unfair. 

 

“Maybe a little,” Kara teased. 

 

Lena leaned back in her office chair, bringing a hand to hear aching head.

 

“I’m sorry, Kara.” 

 

“You have nothing to apologize for,” she said.

 

Lena nodded, acknowledging that Kara was, in her own way, working towards accepting the current situation. The fact that Kara was still so kind and unassuming made this somehow hurt more than if she would finally give up on Lena. Lena focused her gaze past the glass wall behind her desk to the cityscape outside that was still largely unfamiliar to her. 

 

“I know it was foolish to think everything would come back on the first try. But I couldn’t help but be hopeful. I couldn’t help but think how much easier things would be if you had your wife back.” 

 

“Lena,” Kara murmured.

 

“It’s not just forgetting you, or us, that’s getting to me,” Lena vented, still looking out at the city lights beyond them, avoiding eye contact with Kara. “I tried my hardest today to act like I knew what was going on with this company. I tried to play the part. But it just feels like I’m failing at everything. I’m so busy trying to fake it that I can’t even be good at what I do. And I know I can be. But not when I have so much to juggle at once.” 

 

“What do you need to help?” 

 

Lena looked at Kara finally, but only through the reflection of the glass. Without really thinking about it, Lena extended a hand out to her. Kara took it, and they both silently considered the reflection of their conjoined hands hanging casually between them. 

 

“If I just had someone at LCorp that I could trust,” Lena thought out loud. “Someone who understands the business enough to help me navigate through all of the things I’ve missed without causing any suspicion.”

 

Kara thought a moment, biting her lower lip. And then an idea popped into her head. One that she wished hadn’t, becuase it was about to make things a lot more complicated.

 

“I know who can help you,” she said. “But I’m not gonna like it.”   

 

“You mean I’m not gonna like it?”

 

“Nope,” Kara said, releasing Lena’s hand from her grip. “I meant me.” 

Chapter Text

Lena’s palms were sweating. God, why were her palms sweating? It’s not like she had anything to be nervous about. 

 

“Mrs. Luthor-Danvers?” 

 

“God!” Lena exclaimed, nearly jumping out of her skin as her secretary paged her through the phone. “Don’t do that!”

 

“Sorry. But, uh, Ms. Arias is here.” 

 

Lena felt her stomach flip, but she tried to ignore it. 

 

“Right. Okay. Send her in,” she said as neutrally as she could manage, smoothing out the wrinkles on her blouse. 

 

The last time Lena had seen Sam, that she could remember, was when she was gathering up her clothes off the floor of Sam’s bedroom. She had decided to end their barely-in-control affair before it ruined both of their careers. And she decided that while sneaking off in the night wasn’t the most mature way to go about it, it was probably for the best. But the thought of walking away from the best fuck she’d ever had made Lena question her devotion to her work for the first time in her life. She allowed herself one last look at Sam’s face, in a deep serene sleep, before Lena snuck out of the apartment and never spoke of their relationship to anyone. Not even Sam. 

 

Now, the door handle clicked open softly, and Sam stepped into the office, looking around a bit before finally letting her eyes land on Lena, who realized she was holding her breath. 

 

“Hi, Lena,” Sam said casually, slipping her hands into the pockets of her dress pants. Her stance and demeanor more confident than was fair.

 

“Hi,” Lena replied, wishing she could pour herself a glass of scotch, even if only to hold it and let the familiar weight and feel of the glass in her hand soothe her nerves. 

 

Sam took a single, tentative step towards Lena’s desk, knowing her well enough to know when she needed distance.

 

“I suppose,” Sam began, “That I should start by apologizing. I should have come to National City sooner to see how you were doing. I mean, I visited when you were still in the hospital, but...you obviously wouldn’t know that.”

 

Lena shrugged, finding it hard to look Sam in the eye.

 

“That’s alright,” she said. “I didn’t expect anything.” 

 

“Right. Why would someone expect one of their closest friends to stay in touch or even visit on occasion?” 

 

Lena bristled in response to Sam’s words. Okay. She probably deserved that. 

 

“So I haven’t gotten any better at that?”

 

“Not really, no.”

 

“Noted,” Lena said with a nod.

 

A painful silence fell over them. Lena was desperate to fill it before the memories did. 

 

“So,” Lena finally said, swiveling her chair back and forth anxiously. “Kara filled you in on the situation?” 

 

“Oh.” Sam said, perhaps regretful that Lena wanted to move so swiftly into business talk. She moved to sit in the chair across Lena’s desk. “Yeah. She did. And I’m sorry, Lena, for what you’re going through. I can’t imagine…” 

 

Lena put up a hand, a silent request for Sam not to start in with the pity. Lena wouldn’t be able to stand it. 

 

“Right,” Sam said with a resolute nod. “Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I’m here to help with whatever you need.” 

 

“Look, I don’t want you to feel obligated, I would hate to think that you dropped everything just to come out here.”

 

“Not at all. There’s nothing to drop. Not really. I cashed out a lot of my stock in the company I work for and have been sort of enjoying a semi-retirement lately.” 

 

Lena blinked, bewildered. 

 

“Semi-retirement? Seriously?” 

 

“Yeah. What’s wrong with that?” Sam asked.

 

“Nothing. I just…I suppose I’m wondering what happened to the Sam Arias I met who was the only person in a boardroom more cutthroat and married to her work than I was?” 

 

Sam shrugged.

 

“She changed. People do that from time to time, you know. Especially when life changing, or in my case, near-life ending events occur. I decided after Ruby went to college that I would start doing what I wanted to do instead of what I felt I had to do. Too strong a sense of duty can be a miserable thing.” 

 

Lena knew that Sam was shooting another pointed statement at her, but she was too distracted to really let it sink in.

 

“Holy shit, Ruby is in college ?” Lena said in bewilderment.

 

Sam beamed proudly. 

 

“Yep. Top of her class, unsurprisingly.” 

 

“God,” Lena said, leaning back into her chair. “The last time I saw her she was...well, last time I remember seeing her…”

 

“She was just a little thing. Yeah, I know.” 

 

“Fuck,” Lena said, indulging in swearing more than she usually did because it had always come naturally to her when Sam was around. Either in casual conversation or when they had been wrapped around each other…

 

Stop it, Lena, she scolded herself. 

 

“You know,” Lena said, pushing past her own ridiculous hang ups. “Of all the things I’ve had to grapple with when it comes to this whole amnesia thing, I think it’s the passage of time that gets to me the most. It’s not just that I missed things. It’s that one day I was twenty-something and both me and all my friends were young and desperate to find their place in the world, and suddenly I’m in my thirties and I’m running the family company. My fucking thirties, Sam. Like...that is not fair. At all .” 

 

“So you really don’t remember anything from the past seven years?” Sam asked.

 

“Not a thing,” Lena admitted with a sigh, her mind clicking back into focus of why Sam was here in the first place. “If anyone found out I’d be ruined.” 

 

“That’s a bit pessimistic, don’t you think?” 

 

Lena shrugged.

 

“Pessimism never failed me before,” she said.

 

Sam gave Lena an unimpressed look. 

 

“Whatever you say,” Sam said. 

 

“Okay, fine ,” Lena replied, feeling her shoulders slump as the familiarity of their conversation began to loose the tension she had been holding within them. “Maybe I wouldn’t be ruined . But it certainly wouldn’t make regaining my grip on this company any easier. I’d take a tank full of hungry sharks over that board room upstairs any day.” 

 

“Please,” Sam said. “If all the PR disasters you’ve had since you took over haven’t dethroned you from LCorp yet, I don’t think anything will.” 

 

Lena raised a suspicious eyebrow at Sam, wondering what exactly she meant by that. Sam’s eyes widened, realizing she did not want to say what she had said. 

 

“Nevermind. Anyway,” Sam rushed, “Like I said. I’m here for you. I handled this beast of a company once before, and I will gladly do it again.”

 

“Right. Kara said that I asked you to help run LCorp a few years ago?” 

 

“You did.” 

 

“No offense, but why did I think that was a good idea?” 

 

Sam laughed, used to Lena’s bluntness enough to not be phased by it anymore. 

 

“Well, you had recently bought CatCo and didn’t want to try and split your time between two CEO roles.” 

 

“Right. Yeah. Kara mentioned that CatCo thing. Why, um, why would I do that? Prioritize a tabloid magazine over LCorp, I mean?” 

 

Sam chuckled, more to herself than at Lena.

 

“Well, if anyone asked you, you’d say it was a good way to put your influence into the media for the benefit of LCorp. But, if you ask me, you did it to impress a girl.”

 

“You mean Kara?” Lena asked cooly.

 

Sam leaned forward, picking up a picture frame at the corner of Lena’s desk and pushing it towards Lena. Contained in the frame was a picture of Lena and Kara, another wedding photo, this one with Kara seemingly whispering something into Lena’s ear, and Lena laughing with a deep blush on her cheeks as the result of whatever she had said.

 

“Yes, I obviously mean Kara,” Sam said blankly.

 

“Hmm…” Lena said, swiveling slightly away from Sam, and the picture, as she thought on things.

 

“So how has that been going?” Sam asked

 

“How’s what been going?”

 

“Oh, I don’t know. Waking up from a coma with a super hot wife who is completely head over heels for you? If I remember right, before you two met, you were never the committed relationship type. Or the open and honest about your sexuality type, for that matter.” 

 

Lena bit the inside of her cheek, glancing at Sam and trying to decide if she was going to scold her for that comment or not. Instead she only rested heavily against the back of her chair. 

 

“You’re right,” Lena said. “I’m not. You know I nearly had a panic attack right before doing a press conference with Kara? I kept expecting, I don’t know, someone in the crowd to lash out at us for just existing together. And when no one did, it was perplexing but...empowering at the same time.” 

 

Lena paused, glancing at the picture again, wondering if she had ever seen a picture of herself where she had looked so...carefree. 

 

“I finally have enough sway in the world to be who I always was,” she continued. “I don’t have to hide anymore.” She finally looked away from the picture and back at Sam. “It would probably feel more like a personal victory if I was actually with Kara.” 

 

Sam blinked. 

 

“Excuse me? You’re not?”

 

Lena sighed, looking at Sam directly for the first time since she’d walked into the room. 

 

“Sam...I don’t know Kara. As far as I know, we just met a few weeks ago.” 

 

Sam stared at Lena incredulously, and then shook her head. 

 

God , this is so weird ,” Sam said exasperatedly. “One second you two are like something out of a fucking Hallmark movie, and the next...I mean, you have to understand by now, Lena, how in love you two were before all of this happened. No one else existed to you when she was around. Not even…” 

 

Sam stopped herself short. Lena felt like her chest was weighed down; deep under water. They both knew without having to say it that she was going to finish that sentence with “me”. 

 

“Yeah. It seems so,” Lena said softly.

 

She saw Sam’s jaw muscles tense as she swallowed past things unsaid.

 

“And you don’t feel that way now?” Sam asked.

 

Lena rolled her eyes, unwittingly showing annoyance with the question that she had been asking herself so many times in her mind that it was beginning to make her crazy. 

 

“Kara is…” she began, “sweet. And impossibly kind. And she understands me in a way that I am honestly blindsided by at least ten times a day. And she...she’s been so amazingly supportive throughout this whole thing no matter how I reacted to or rejected her affections. And she has this way of looking at me with those big blue eyes that…” 

 

Just as Lena felt her breath catching in her throat, she looked over at Sam, who was looking back at her with a smirk. 

 

“What?” Lena asked. 

 

“You’re gushing,” Sam said. 

 

“I am not .”

 

“Oh. Okay, you’re not. My mistake.” 

 

“Oh-” Lena punctuated her frustration by tossing a pen in the direction of Sam’s face. Sam swatted it away with a playful laugh. 

 

This was good. This was easy. This was the first thing that had felt truly familiar, had truly sparked memory to Lena since she had woken up. She wanted to cling to their light banter like a life jacket and let all the other complications fall away. 

 

“Okay. So,” Sam inquired. “What’s the problem, then? You clearly feel something for her. So why not-”

 

“What? Just be her wife ? Jesus, Sam. Is that something you’d be okay with? If you met someone you thought that maybe you could have feelings for, would you just go ahead and dive into the happily ever after right then and there?” 

 

“Are you the person I’d be happily ever after with in this hypothetical?” 

 

Lena’s eyes snapped up at Sam, who took a selfish moment to let her own gaze hover over Lena’s lips. 

 

“Don’t, Sam.” 

 

Sam shrugged in a way that inferred that she knew Lena was going to be unhappy with her comment and that she had chosen to say it anyway.

 

“Sorry,” she said. “Old habits and all.” Sam paused. “Can I just say one thing, though?” 

 

“What?” Lena asked.

 

“I understand your hesitation. Kara is so in love with you. If you got involved with her without being sure about it...and if you changed your mind...it would crush her." 

 

Lena’s mind felt like it was splitting in two. One train of thought going down the path of memories with Sam from when Lena had been indulgent enough to be honest about who she was and how she felt. She wondered how much of Sam’s understanding of Kara’s potential heartbreak was from personal experience. The other thought tiptoed down a path that wondered if Kara’s hesitation to recommend Sam’s assistance had been for reasons more concrete than causal jealousy. 

 

“Sam, we haven’t...since I’ve been married to Kara…have we?”

 

“Are you asking if you’ve ever cheated on Kara with me?” Sam asked. “No. Hell no. Kara was... the end all be all for you once you two got together. But, to be fair, before you two were done pretending you weren’t pathetically in love with each other, there was one other time that we…”

 

Sam let out a slow, purposeful exhale, looking beyond Lena to some old memory. 

 

“I shouldn’t even be talking about this,” Sam said, bringing herself back to reality. “It not going to do any good and it’s not why I’m here.”

 

“No…” Lena said gently. “It could actually help. You never know which memory might be the one that helps break up the fog. That’s what everyone keeps telling me, anyway.” 


Sam bit her lower lip, looking at Lena as she decided what to do. Lena wished she wouldn’t bite her lip like that...

 

“Fine,” Sam said, getting up from her chair and moving away from Lena and towards the dry bar like she needed as much space and as much liquor as she could get  in order to talk about this specific chapter of their past. “It was a year after you’d moved to National City,” Sam said as she poured herself a drink. “And I had agreed to help you run L-Corp…”

 

*

 

Kara tapped her pen against her desk rapidly, not really noticing that she was doing it as she stared at a blank screen on her computer. She was supposed to be writing something, anything , to distract her from wondering how Sam and Lena’s meeting was going. She was clearly failing.

 

“Kara?” a voice to her right asked. She looked up to see Nia leaning away from her own computer to look at Kara and her tapping pen. “That’s super annoying.” 

 

“Right,” Kara said, dropping the pen from her grip. “Sorry.”

 

“Everything alright?” Nia asked. 

 

“Yeah,” Kara sighed. “I just...I don’t know if I made the right decision asking Sam to come help with Lena.”

 

“Hmm, yeah,” Nia mused. “I mean, if I were you, the last thing I would want to do is ask my wife’s ex to come work closely alongside her while you’re still trying to mend your marriage.”

 

Kara swiveled her chair to look Nia straight on, glaring at her. 

 

“Sorry,” Nia said, shrinking under Kara’s gaze. “I’m sure it will be fine!” 

 

“Uh huh,” Kara said coldly, and turned slowly back to her computer. 

 

“Are you really that worried about it?” 

 

“I don’t know,” Kara said as she tapped out a byline, as if that would magically make her article write itself. “Maybe? I mean, I never had a reason to be jealous of Sam. She never tried to get between Lena and I. And we are friends. But...Lena remembers their relationship and not ours. So. It’s maybe a little concerning. At the end of the day, I can’t make Lena love me just because she did before. She can love whoever she wants,” she picked up the pen to start tapping it again. “Even if it’s not me.”

 

Nia groaned. Loudly. 

 

“What?” Kara asked. 

 

“You are so dramatic ,” she said in a very fed up tone. “Look. It doesn’t take an idiot to see that Lena cares about you. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t be trying so hard to keep you close.”

 

“She’s just doing that because of the press...”

 

Bullshit ,” Nia snapped. “As far as I’m concerned, she wants it to be you she ends up with at the end of this story of yours. But instead of doing something about that, you’re moping and surrendering to silly jealousies. And the Kara I know does not surrender. Now, you’re not kidding anyone with that empty word document. So why don’t you get out of here and go back to showing that woman exactly who she fell for. Huh? I’ll cover for you.” 

 

Kara tilted her head, considering Nia and her suggestion. 

 

“You sure?” she asked, looking around to see everyone doing real work while she, yes, admittedly, moped. 

 

“I’m sure. Get out of here.” 

 

Kara bit her lip in thought, then let the pen in her hand fall uselessly on the desk before she got up and gave Nia a painfully tight hug.

 

“Thank you,” Kara said into Nia’s hair.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Nia said, sputtering past the tightness of Kara’s embrace. “Get going, Supergirl.”

 

*

 

A moment later, Kara was touching down on the balcony of Lena’s office. Neither Lena nor Sam saw or heard her arrive. If they had, maybe they wouldn’t have been sitting so close looking down over a spread out paperwork they were pouring over, Sam with her arm slung carelessly on the back of Lena’s chair, Lena tilting her head back to laugh at some joke Sam had said. Her neck exposed from the high collar of her suit jacket. Sam took a moment to admire it, leaning closer like she was being pulled in by Lena’s gravity. 

 

She picked me, huh? Kara thought bitterly to herself before she opened the balcony door and let herself into the office. Lena jumped and turned to see Kara. Sam barely flinched. 

 

“Uh...Supergirl! Hi!” she struggled, looking between Kara in her super suit and Sam, who casually shut the report book she was looking at and turned to smile at Kara. “What, uh, brings you by?” Her eyes seemed to fill with dread at the sight of Kara in her suit, likely remembering the last time. “Is everything okay? Are you okay?”

 

“Me? Oh! Yeah. I’m fine. I just can’t fly around without the suit on. Secret identity and all. I just, uh, wanted to see how you two were faring.”

 

“Oh, um…” Lena looked back at Sam. “Well I don’t know why you, uh, Supergirl, would be concerned with, um…”

 

“Lena,” Sam said gently. “It’s okay. I know that’s Kara.”

 

“Wait, what? What do you…” Lena looked between the two of them, and dropped the act. “Since when?”

 

Kara felt her cheeks go hot for a multitude of reasons, but mainly becuase she felt bad that she had neglected to mention that Sam was aware of her identity.

 

“Hiding things from friends never ended well for me,” Kara said. “So I don’t do it anymore.”

 

“Really?” Lena said, bristling slightly. “So you don’t count hiding the fact that Sam was possessed by some megalomaniacal parasite while she was interim CEO of LCorp?” she said, tone neutral and unreadable.

 

Kara blinked, caught off guard. Sam gave Kara an apologetic look, realizing too late that she had made a false step in the minefield of their precarious relationship. 

 

“It wasn’t my secret to tell,” Kara said earnestly. “I didn’t want to bring up painful parts of Sam’s past that she wanted to forget. Some things are...better left forgotten.” 

 

“Not when they involve me, Kara. Not when it could help me remember.” 

 

God, if only Lena knew the extent of what Kara was keeping hidden about her past…

 

The look on Sam’s face said that she was thinking the same thing. Kara had been clear about her wish to leave that ugly chapter of their lives unopened. She could only hope that Sam would keep her word. 

 

“Don’t be mad at Kara, Lena, please,” Sam insisted suddenly. “She was just trying to be a good friend. I’m glad she left it to me to control the narrative of that part of my past.”

 

Lena looked Sam in the eye for a long moment, and then softened. Sam had wasted no time reclaiming her pull on Lena’s emotions, Kara noted silently…

 

“I actually just stopped by to see if you wanted to join me for lunch, Lena,” Kara said. “Take a breather, ya know?” 

 

“Oh, well…” Lena said, faltering. “It’s just...Sam and I are making a lot of progress. I don’t want to break our concentration.”

 

Kara swallowed visibly. Sam made a show of looking busy with the paperwork, clearly uncomfortable at being in the middle of the tension between the two wives. 

 

“I see.” She cleared her throat, feeling wholly unwelcome in her wife’s office. “No problem,” she said with a forced smile. “I get it. Work comes first. I’ll just see what Alex is up to, I guess.” 

 

She turned to leave before she said or did anything to make this any worse. 

 

“Wait, Kara!” Lena called after her as she got out of her chair and walked towards her. Kara spun around far too eagerly. “Look, I-”

 

Sam cleared her throat behind them.

 

“You know what?” Sam said, inching towards the door. “I’m gonna go grab some some coffee. You two stay here and...yeah.”

 

The sound of the door clicking behind Sam was the only sound that broke up the now intensely quiet office.

 

“I get it, you know,” Lena said, breaking the silence between them. “Why you didn’t want to tell me about Reign. Besides trying to be respectful of Sam.” 

 

Lena reached out and placed a hand on Kara’s forearm. Kara watched her delicate fingers trace their way up and down the pattern of the suit, like she was trying to memorize the feel of it. 

 

“Sam and I were...close during that time. And I get why that would bother you.”

 

“It doesn’t,” Kara insisted. “But like I said, it wasn’t my story to tell.” 

 

Lena gave her a look that said that she wasn’t buying it.

 

“Alright,” Kara conceded. “I guess a part of me didn’t want to tell you about your history with Sam. For the record, though, I’ve never had to be jealous of Sam. She’s your friend. She’s my friend. And I’ve always respected the connection you two have. But...things are different now. And I guess I felt insecure.” Kara sighed. “I find myself feeling insecure about a lot of things recently.”

 

“Okay,” Lena said, understanding. “Can I say something that might help?” she asked. 

 

“Sure.” 

 

“You did a good and unselfish thing by asking Sam to help, knowing everything you know,” Lena said, squeezing Kara’s arm affectionately for good measure. “And I admire you for that; for your ability to put the needs of the people you care about above everything else.” 

 

Kara smiled. 

 

“Okay. That helps. You can keep saying things like that.” 

 

Lena laughed softly, raising her hand to brush against Kara’s chin, lifting Kara’s face so she would look Lena in the eye. “I will. Over dinner tonight? There are some things I really need to get done today, but after that, I want us to spend some time together. We can go wherever you want. My treat. As a thank you for everything you’ve done.”

 

“That’s not necessary, Lena.”

 

“Yes, it is,” Lena insisted firmly. Her hand had not left Kara’s face. Lena’s thumb and pointer finger cradled Kara’s chin with a soft sense of possession and purpose. Kara felt her cheeks go hot again. “You are a truly wonderful person, Kara. And I would be lost without your help. So. I’ll meet you at seven. Okay?” 

 

Kiss her, Kara, she thought. Just kiss her. Kiss her before you explode…

 

“Okay. Seven it is, then,” Kara said, her voice a croak as her nerves got the best of her.

 

*

 

Kara sat at the bar of the restaurant they had decided on, nursing a glass of wine as she waited for Lena to arrive. As if alcohol was able to still her nerves like it did for humans. Still, it was something to do other than fidget and watch the door anxiously. 

 

Someone cleared their throat next to her. Kara looked over and saw some unimpressive man in an ill-fitting suit watching her closely. 

 

“You here alone?” he asked. 

 

“No,” she snapped. 

 

The man raised a hand in submission.

 

“Alright. Point taken. You just looked alone, is all. And I thought I might be nice enough to offer you some company. But...wait, you look familiar.” 

 

“I should hope she does,” a familiar voice said behind her. 

 

The man turned to see Lena glaring at him. 

 

“She is a pulitzer prize winning journalist, after all. And my wife .” 

 

A mixture of realization and embarrassment washed over the man’s face as he realized who was addressing him.

 

“Right. Sorry,” he said, getting up and all but fleeing the scene as Lena continued to bore into him with unforgiving eyes. 

 

That was satisfying,” she said with a smug smirk as she leaned against the bar next to Kara. “Hello, by the way.” 

 

“Hi,” Kara replied, hiding a silly grin behind her wine glass. 

 

“You look beautiful,” Lena said in that low tone of voice that sent a shiver up Kara’s spine. 

 

“Oh, please.” she said through a nervous laugh, waving Lena’s comment off as if she hadn’t spent an hour in her closet looking for the perfect dress. 

 

“Oh, take the compliment, Danvers,” another voice said from behind them.

 

Kara turned, and her smile fell. 

 

“Sam?” she asked. “I didn’t...uh…”

 

“She’s right. You look phenomenal,” Sam said with that effortless confidence she always seemed to have. Kara envied it to no end. 

 

“Are you...planning on joining us?” 

 

“What? No. I’ve taken up enough of Lena’s time today,” she said casually. “Lena’s driver had to leave early becuase his daughter got sent home for school with the flu. And she told me about her anxiety about driving, so I offered to give her a ride here.” 

 

“Lena, you could have called me…” Kara said, sounding disappointed. 

 

“No, no, this is good, anyhow,” Lena insisted. “Now Sam can pitch you her idea. Right Sam?” 

 

“I don’t want to intrude…” Sam said uneasily. 

 

“It’s not an intrusion. It will just take a minute. Right?” 

 

“Uh,” Sam said, seeming just as uncomfortable as Kara. “Okay, yeah. Sure. So um, not to be blunt but…” she said, sitting down at the barstool next to Kara. 

 

Lena remained standing, beaming down at both of them. Kara couldn’t tell if she was clueless to the tense vibes being given off, or if she was just stubbornly playing dumb to get Sam and Kara on the same team again. 

 

“So the only thing the public has seen of Lena since the accident was that press conference. Which, no offense, but if you were looking to convince people that you were your same old self? You failed.”

 

“I thought it went great,” Kara said stubbornly.

 

“Kara, she barely looked at the crowd. She looked like a hostage.” 

 

“Okay, well, Sam ,” Kara could hear the defensive tone of her voice. But she couldn’t help it when it came to Lena. “She couldn’t help that the flashing lights bothered her. People can learn to be a little more sympathetic.” 

 

“And they will. After you two throw this gala.” 

 

“What gala?”

 

“Sam thought we should host a charity gala for the local EMS services. As a thank you for saving my life. Isn’t that a great idea? Think of how much money we could raise!”

 

“Or you could just write them a check...save yourself the stress of a public appearance. It’s not like you haven’t done it before.” 

 

“That’s not gonna be enough, Kara,” Sam said carefully. “Look, I know you might not like it, but people need to see Lena back to her old self. They need to the old Luthor spectacle Lena is so renowned for. And besides, this would be a totally controlled environment. Exclusive guest list, limited reporters, whatever kind of menu you want, which I know you’ll appreciate, Kara.” 

 

“It’s a good idea, Kara,” Lena urged. 

 

Kara bit her lower lip. She probably would have been fine with the idea, if it hadn’t been Sam’s, and if it wasn’t being propositioned to her while she was supposed to be on a date with her wife. 

 

“Alright,” Kara conceded. “Let’s do it.” 

 

“Great. I’ll get the ball rolling then. See you tomorrow, Lena.” 

 

“You sure you don’t want to stick around, Sam?” Kara asked, smile too wide to be genuine. “Maybe you should join us for dinner. You must be starved after all the work you two got done today.” 

 

Kara heard Sam’s heartbeat pick up slightly. She wasn’t necessarily going out of her way to intimidate Sam, but she was also fine with the fact that it was working. 

 

“No, I’m good,” Sam said, getting up from her stool at the bar. “Have a nice evening, ladies.” 

 

After she had left, Lena gave Kara a pointed look, but she didn’t voice whatever it was she was thinking.

 

“Kara?” she asked after a moment.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“You can come to that gala, right?” 

 

Kara sighed heavily, wanting so badly to be able to see past her insecurity long enough to see that Lena really was trying.

 

“Of course,” Kara said.

 

“Good. Becuase I can’t do this without you, you know.” 

 

Kara smiled. 


“Come on,” she said, getting up to lead them to their table. “I’m starving .”