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Hope(less)

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By the time Kara realised, by the time she reacted and swung into action… she’d already lost Lena.

The signs were all there, right in front of her, but Kara had ignored them, swept them under the rug and done her utmost to pretend they weren’t there. It should’ve been obvious in the way Lena no longer squeezed her impossibly tight when they hugged. It was present in the way her gaze dropped away from Kara’s first, when she used to out stare Kara every single time. It was blindingly apparent in how Lena tried to hide her body’s new instinct to flinch away from Kara, when she used to automatically lean into Kara’s every touch.

Kara didn’t see it.

Didn’t want to see it.

She had been desperate for the wide smiles and soft words to be real. 

She had needed her relationship with Lena to be unchanged and unaffected.

She’d lied to herself, just like she’d lied to Lena, and yet again, unfairly, Lena was the one to suffer the consequences.

She found Lena in her lab. Physically unharmed and blank-faced.

And for a few precious seconds, Kara thought she’d arrived in the nick of time despite the ominous emergency red lighting, the alarm blaring loudly, the block capital message on the screen proclaiming ‘Integration Complete’ and sprawled out, comatose figure of Eve Tessmacher on the floor nearby. 

Lena was merely stood there motionless and unreactive.

Kara appeared in front of her in the blink of an eye, her expression scrunched up with a painful array of emotions: confusion, anger, disappointment, hurt and yet the loudest of all was concern. Kara reached out and placed a gentle hand on Lena’s shoulder, staring deep into hollow green eyes, calling out her name and asking if she was okay, what had happened, what was going on and… and… why aren’t you reacting? 

Lena, can you hear me?!

Lena?!

 


 

The laboratory video files revealed everything.

Revealed what Lena had been planning to do because of being hurt by so, so, so many, being constantly betrayed, having her trust broken time and time again.

Hope, however, was a twisted and leftover creation of Lex’s, perfectly designed to torment his sister and call out to the pain that others had inflicted. Lena had gifted Hope a physical presence with Eve, putting in safeguards upon safeguards upon safeguards to preserve the woman underneath. 

(Even at her darkest point, Kara was relieved to see Lena leaving herself a way back to the light.)

Lena had gotten so close to enacting her plan to remove humanity’s ability to hurt one another (hurt each other in the exact way that Kara had hurt Lena for years, Kara thought bitterly during the debrief whilst stubbornly ignoring the sad, pity filled gazes her friends sent her). It was on this precipice that Lena had hesitated, the enormity of what she was on the edge of carrying out stopping her at the last second. That’s when Hope began to push, the manipulations becoming less subtle, shifting to overt and Hope’s language becoming stern and cruel.

Lena instantly went on high alert, her suspicions going into overdrive and Hope knew it/she (whatever was the correct term) had screwed up, gone too far, too fast. Hope tried to overwrite her programs, take full control of Eve, erase the human Eve completely, to carry out Lena’s (really Lex’s) plan all on her own. Lena worked at full speed to slow Hope down, but it was obvious from the footage that Kara watched (on endless repeat) that Lena knew she was losing.

Kara always paused the video at the next moment.

Lena’s fingers, that had been flying over her keyboard at a speed that only Kara or Barry could hope to match, twitched and froze for a second. Lena’s scared, frantic expression disappeared to be replaced by a determination Kara had witnessed numerous times when Lena was forced (though she always willingly offered) to save the world. The weight of her chosen next actions and the consequences of her failure became abundantly visible in the flex of her jaw and the sudden tension to her shoulders. 

It was the moment that Lena decided to sacrifice herself.   

Kara hated how beautiful Lena looked in those fleeting seconds. How ethereal and untouchable she appeared when she inevitably fell to the light. 

Lena couldn’t beat Hope on speed, couldn’t outmatch her in a direct race. So Lena changed tactics, she made a trap, gave Hope a shortcut… 

Lena offered Hope a new host without safe-guards on the provision that Eve would be saved. 

Hope took it without hesitation, integrating with Lena.

But whilst Lena hadn’t put in safe guards to protect herself… she’d instead left something else lying in wait.

A virus, with the sole purpose to replicate, consume and destroy.

Almost immediately, Hope and the virus battled for ground and territory in Lena’s mind. 

Kara could only watch it once. 

(She was only strong enough to watch it once.)

Lena screaming in agony as her mind was split apart, ripped to pieces whilst everything… everything that made her… her … merely became collateral damage in the war raging inside. 

It was over in the space of five minutes. 

The screaming just stopped

Lena steadily and stiffly stood up straight and then remained rooted to the spot. Utterly immobile.

She stood there for an hour, only blinking and breathing, her expression blank. Eve unconscious but unharmed a few metres away. 

Kara didn’t skip a second of that endless hour. She watched herself zoom into the frame. Watched the hope. The confusion. And finally the fear play out on her face, feeling the emotions just as sharply as she had done a mere couple of hours earlier.

Kara watched the whole video of that day. She watched the whole nightmare play out. And once the video had finished…. Once Alex, Brainy, Nia and J’onn bowed their heads, unable to meet Kara’s eye aware of the abundant shame and grief reflected on their faces… 

Kara blasted the screen to a million pieces with her heat vision.

No one reprimanded her for doing so.

 




Kara stood in the doorway to the medbay, back straight and hands clasped tightly behind her back, trying futilely to hold herself together as she stared at Lena.

Or what was left of Lena.

The raven-haired CEO was sat on the edge of the bed, palms flat against her thighs, head held high and expression utterly devoid of any emotion. She was dressed in the clothes she had been wearing earlier: black trousers and a soft v-neck cable green jumper. Alex and Brainy had been overseeing Lena’s medical care, and they had told Kara that Lena hadn’t spoken a single word, but had followed their every order when given clear direction. 

“Lena?” Kara called out, hating how her voice cracked slightly over her best friend’s name.

(She hated even more how Lena didn’t respond, didn’t even twitch at hearing her own name).

Kara grit her teeth as her fingers flexed behind her back. She didn’t want to walk into that room. She didn’t want to see Lena… like… like…

Kara shook her head, pushed her shoulders back and strode inside, walking round the bed until she was directly in front of Lena. 

Lena blinked once as Kara appeared in front of her, and Kara’s heart swooped in her chest at the hope that Lena was reacting to her in some way.

(Lena was reacting, Alex told Kara later, but only to the visual stimuli of Kara blocking the light. Not to Kara herself. Kara tried to hide the moisture gathering in her eyes at that revelation.)

“Hi…” Kara murmured, her voice coming out soft and gentle despite wanting to be confident and assured. Lena did that to her… despite everything. 

Lena stared blankly up at her, her head tilting to the side to improve her hearing though not her comprehension of the words being spoken.

“How are you feeling?” Kara asked, because… well, she just couldn’t help herself. “Right.” Kara said with a click of her tongue when Lena remained silent.

“Kara?” The sound of Alex’s voice was surprising as Kara had been so focused at looking for so much as a flicker of something familiar about Lena’s features that she hadn’t even noticed her sister’s approach.

“What’s next?” Kara demanded to know, turning sharply away from Lena, unable to look into green eyes that didn’t twinkle with affection or sharpen with deep thought.

“Brainy thinks we should wait a couple of days and then re-run the tests. See if there is any change or improvement…” Alex told Kara, her brow creased with an unpleasant mix of guilt, concern and no small amount of disappointment whenever her eyes wandered over to the CEO.

“Not if.” Kara replied tersely, her hands curling into tightly clenched fists as she rested them on her hips in her familiar pose, hoping to pull on the confidence she associated with that stance.

“Right.” Alex assured, with a simple nod of agreement.

“She just needs time.” Kara declared, “Then she’ll be…” 

Back to normal, Kara jerked at the unfinished thought, the words dying in her throat.

What was normal now? 

Lena hating her? Lena hurt and broken and alone? Their friendship in ruins?

“Then she’ll be herself again.” Kara coughed out, her gaze downcast and introspective.

“Yeah…” Alex responded, reaching out and pulling Kara into a hug that Kara had to use every last bit of her self restraint not to sink into and breakdown . “She’ll be okay.” Alex whispered into her ear.

Kara felt the first sob at the back of her throat finally break free as Alex kissed the side of her head softly and muttered promises of happy endings that Kara should know by now could never be true.

She’d seen her home burn.

Billions of souls lost, all of them worthy of a miracle in their own right.

Kara should know by now that miracles did not exist.

Not for anyone.

But hope was what Kara did best and when it came to Lena…

Kara held onto hope with every ounce of her strength, because merely considering the worst when it came to Lena in any instance or situation caused such a painful ache in Kara’s chest she struggled to breathe.

So Kara was convinced Lena would have a miracle because Kara didn’t know what she would do if Lena didn’t.

Once the tears had dried and Kara felt in control enough, she stepped back from Alex’s warm embrace and rolled her shoulders as they re-took up the weight of the world.

“We have a room set-up for her.” Alex stated.

“A room?” Kara repeated, her tone perplexed.

“For Lena. Here at the DEO.”

“She’s not staying here.” Kara asserted, with a harsh frown, the words in Lena’s defense pouring out on pure, reflexive instinct. “She didn’t do anything wrong. She stopped before it was too late. And Hope was designed by Lex. She was under duress. Manipulated. If Hope had been sent to someone else… someone not as strong or as good as Lena… they may not have stopped. Lena doesn’t deserve to be locked up!”

It wasn’t until the heavy quiet that followed her mini-speech that Kara realised she had been yelling. Her heart racing with panic and fear at the thought of letting Lena down again. 

Alex merely stared sadly back at her in response, her brown eyes sympathetic and far too knowing, “No one is locking Lena up.” 

The breath Kara had been holding left her in one big woosh and she sagged slightly as one fear lessened.

“She’s my friend too.” Alex reminded her gently. 

“I know, but-” Kara began to reply, biting her lip to prevent a confession she wasn’t ready to face just yet from tumbling out. 

Alex nodded once, but didn’t push (she already knew what Kara wasn’t able to say), before clearing her throat, “Lena needs care, Kara. She… she’s not capable of looking after herself. She’ll just sit there unless told to do otherwise. She’ll sit there and faint out of exhaustion. She’ll sit there and let herself starve.”

Kara flinched at the bluntness of Alex’s statements but she could see the heartbreak on her sister’s face that showed how much this was hurting her too. 

“She’s not staying here.” Kara said once again, unable to bear the thought of Lena in a cell, waiting for someone she didn’t know, someone who didn’t care about her, to come along and tell her to eat and sleep before vanishing and leaving her alone.

Leaving her lonely.

Letting her feel abandoned and lost.

Unwanted.

Kara wouldn’t let that happen ever again.

“Kara-” Alex began softly.

“No, Alex.” Kara cut her off sharply, lifting her chin determinedly, having made her decision. “I’ll take care of her.”

“Kara, maybe that’s not-”

“I’ll take care of her.” Kara repeated her tone final, moving away from her sister and sitting down beside her best friend.

Tentatively Kara reached over and took Lena’s hand between hers, squeezing it lightly before rubbing her thumb soothingly over Lena’s knuckles. 

Lena’s head slowly turned, seeking out the source of the touch.

Empty green eyes met soft, watery blue.

“I’ll take care of you.” Kara breathed out gently, “I promise.”

 


 

Kara took Lena back to the CEO’s own apartment, wanting Lena to feel at home and comfortable even if she couldn’t experience those emotions. Kara guided Lena with gentle touches (interlaced fingers and a cupped elbow) and quiet murmured requests. 

Lena could follow simple orders. 

Stay.

Sit.

Lie down.

(Kara hated that the most intelligent woman she knew had been reduced to the same level of intellect as a particularly obedient dog.)

“What do you fancy to eat?” Kara inquired, fully aware that she wasn’t going to get an answer but despising the quiet that now pervaded the apartment that always used to be filled with laughter and conversation. “Pizza? Chinese? Thai?” Kara offered, holding up the three most popular takeaway menus that Lena kept on hand in her kitchen for whenever Kara came over for movie nights.

Lena was perched stiffly on one of the kitchen stools, her head slowly moving from left to right to take in the three different coloured pieces of shiny paper Kara was holding up in front of her face. Once she had examined all three with a cursory glance, Lena lifted her eyes back up to Kara with little to no interest for any of the options or even the suggestion of food.

Kara knew Lena must be hungry by now.

Lena rarely had anything resembling a decent-sized breakfast, then the events surrounding Hope had taken place around midday eliminating any chance for lunch and since then Lena had been sequestered in the DEO till Kara had finally been able to bring her home close to midnight.

“I know you say Chinese is your favourite, but I’m pretty sure you just say that so I don’t feel bad for always ordering potstickers. And the last time we had Thai food, we both got food poisoning… which wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences… then again, spending a sick day with you was probably the most fun I had this year.” Kara chuckled at the memory of them binge-watching ‘The Good Place’ whilst making outlandish commitments to avoid takeaway from that point onwards (they ordered Chinese that evening once their stomachs had settled). “So… that leaves Pizza? Veggie Supreme, right?” Kara checked, pretending that Lena’s well-timed blink was equivalent to a yes.

Kara called in the order before carrying out a few chores around the apartment. Tidying up the papers Lena had left strewn on her coffee table and putting away Lena’s laundry that had been left in the dryer from that morning. The pizza arrived quickly, the late hour meaning the pizzeria wasn’t that busy, Kara ordered Lena to eat, directing her on how to pick up a slice. 

Through it all, Kara chatted away to alleviate the silence, telling Lena in exhaustive detail about her last couple of days. She threw in cheesy puns and anecdotes Kara knew always used to guarantee a chuckle from Lena on even Lena’s most darkest days. 

The absence of her best friend’s laughter hit her harder than a super-powered punch to the gut ever could.

Lena continued to eat until Kara told her to stop; Kara proceeded to carefully wipe the grease away from Lena’s fingers and the corner of her mouth as tenderly as she could. Kara then led Lena to her bedroom where Lena’s sleepwear was laid out from that morning: plaid shorts and one of Kara’s old t-shirts (Kara refused to dissect the meaning behind that).

Once Lena was changed, Kara lifted up the corner of the quilt for Lena to mechanically climb under before lying on her back and staring up at the ceiling. 

“Sleep, Lena.” Kara whispered, sounding like she was pleading.

Lena’s eyes tracked over to Kara’s and Kara’s heart fluttered in her chest as she waited for Lena to smile, grab her hand and tug her into bed beside her, telling her she wasn’t going to relegate her best friend to a lesser guest bedroom. Kara would beam and dive in beside Lena, both of them shuffling around in the wondrously comfy bed, steadily giving into slumber but not before Lena would curl up by Kara’s side, her head on Kara’s shoulder and Kara’s arms around her waist keeping them close. Then just as Lena’s breathing would start to even out and deepen, Kara would place a sweet kiss on Lena’s forehead to ease away the creases and tension from the day, a personal promise of sweet dreams to come. 

Instead, Lena’s eyes merely snapped closed upon command and her body, for all intents and purposes, became absolute deadweight. There was no shuffling around, no curling up for warmth and no reaching out for Kara to join her. 

Still, as Lena’s breaths became heavy, Kara couldn’t stop herself from leaning down and kissing her forehead even though there was no lines dividing her brow.

How could there be? 

No thoughts, no pain, no hurt to disrupt her sleep that Kara’s previous presence and cuddles used to be relied upon to ease.

Kara retreated to the living room, and fell onto the couch, pulling the blanket along the back of the sofa around her shoulders as she opened up the laptop they had recovered from Lena’s laboratory.

Brainy had been looking through it at the DEO whilst tests were being run on Lena, he transferred all the data regarding Hope to his own computers before bringing it to Kara just as she was leaving to take Lena home.

“You should take this.” Brainy said, offering the laptop to her.

Kara arched a curious eyebrow at him, “Why? Did you find something?”

Brainy shook his head promptly, not wishing to give her false hope, “Lena made video logs, they are of a…”, Brainy hesitated, his mouth twisting into an uncomfortable frown as he added, “ personal nature.”

“Then why give it to me?” Kara questioned.

Brainy expression was sorrowful, “Because she talks to you in them.”

Kara shook her head, freeing herself from the past memory as she scrolled through the numerous video logs, each with an image of Lena in different outfits by their side showing the passage of time. She clicked one at random, mentally preparing herself for it to consist of Lena regaling Kara with how much she hated her and how she planned to hurt her.

They weren’t that. 

They were far worse.

 


 

VIDEO LOG #014

 

You brought me food for breakfast this morning. All my favourite treats from around the world. It was thoughtful and sweet. At least, that’s what I would have thought, before… or if you’d been honest with me from the start. Now… now it’s the most Luthor thing I think you could have ever done. 

They would always buy me presents, did you know that?

They would hurt me one day and then the very next day… there would be a beautifully wrapped gift waiting for me on my bed. At least that was my Father’s style. He would insult me until I cried and then hit me till I stopped. But the very next day… I would find an impeccably wrapped present waiting for me. As if to say… 

As if to say… this makes up for it, right?

As if a new teddy bar, new tablet, new car… completely erased the pain...

Lillian and Lex did the same thing… 

There was this maid at the Luthor mansion when I was a child, I had been with the Luthors for three or four years but I still hadn’t settled. This maid - I can’t even remember her name anymore, how sad is that? - she… she would sing to me when I was sad, care for me when I was sick. She was… the only person that showed me genuine care - not including Lex but we know what happened there - but Lillian did not appreciate that. I was unwelcome. A trespasser. I wasn’t meant to feel like I belonged or even worse… wanted. 

I came home one day to find a new maid that refused to meet my eyes. A maid that would stay five feet away at all times.

But… Lillian gave me a pretty new dress the same day and told me how smart and hardworking I was… Told me how proud she was of me.

Lex, on the other hand, used to buy me things whenever I started to get suspicious of him. 

I overheard a harsh conversation between him and some shady figures and the next day, my big brother swept into my lab and took me to my favourite restaurant, giving me his full attention and making me feel special and important.

Notice any similarities, Kara?

Funny, how you are more of a Luthor than I am when it comes to this, huh?

 


 

“Any update?” Kara questioned, peering over Brainy’s shoulder as he examined one of the many brain scans he had taken of Lena over the course of the day.

“No, I don’t have an update for you since you last asked... forty-five seconds ago.” Brainy huffed, turning his head to narrow a reprimanding gaze at her.

Kara pouted but didn’t accede any space, not willing to miss anything when it came to Lena’s recovery. 

“Well, get back to it then.” Kara demanded flapping her hand at him.

Brainy rolled his eyes but did exactly that.

Another forty-five seconds passed, and Kara was already beginning to buzz with the need to ask for more information yet again. 

It had been a couple of days since Lena’s ‘accident’ (at least that was what Kara had taken to calling it, even though it was not an accident in any sense of the word). After that first video, which had Kara curling up into a tight ball on the sofa and sobbing until she fell asleep from exhaustion, Kara became quiet and reflective. Now when she directed Lena to wake up, get ready and eat breakfast, Kara let the silence hang heavy between them.

It now felt to Kara like she was inflicting her presence on Lena. She couldn’t help but think that Lena would see her efforts to help and care as little more than another manipulative act. 

Would Lex take care of Lena like this?

Kara couldn’t help but think the answer was yes, if it meant Lena would feel indebted to him (which she inevitably would because she’d been raised in a world where acts of kindness were mere favours to pay back at a later date). 

Therefore, was Kara doing this with the expectation of receiving something in return?

Kara knew the answer was yes. 

She wanted Lena back in her life like before. Best friends. Someone who saw every version of Kara as a hero. Someone who treated her like she was strong and brave but also someone who deserved to be protected and cared for. Kara was helping because she wanted Lena. Just Lena. Not her money, her power or her intellect. 

“Kara?” Brainy murmured, pulling Kara away from thoughts of the past silent few days and the ghosts of betrayal that had sat with the (former) best friends during that time.

Kara looked up to find Brainy watching her, his expression far too downcast for someone who had figured out how to bring Lena back. Kara had seen that expression once before on Eliza’s face when she had told Kara and Alex that Jeremiah wasn’t coming home. 

It was the expression of ‘I’m sorry, but the person you love is gone’.

“Don’t.” Kara stated, her voice far too calm for the way her heart was ripping itself apart in her chest. “Don’t tell me that there’s nothing we can do. Don’t tell me I’ve lost her before I had a chance to make amends. Don’t tell me she’s gone when I never got a chance to tell her how much I-”

Kara’s words cut out suddenly, not wanting to voice how much Lena meant to her for the first time to anyone but her. When it came to this, Kara had promised herself, Lena would be the first to know, not the last. Not this time. 

Not for this.

Brainy’s stare in return was long and solemn, “Before I came here to this time, I believed that I knew everything that was worth knowing. That I was the smartest person in every room. That there was nothing left for me to truly learn.” 

Kara exhaled shakily as she regained control of her limbs and the sharp pain in her chest began to ebb with the effect of Brainy’s determined expression. 

“Then I met you and Lena.” Brainy declared, the frown on his face disappearing to be replaced with a wistful smile. “I met you both and realised… I had so much more to learn.” Kara quirked an eyebrow, mildly taken aback at the assertive yet humble declaration from her friend. “I met Lena and realised I may not be the smartest person in every room as I once believed. It was a profound moment for me. Whereas you,” Brainy reached out slowly, building himself up to make physical contact by lightly resting a hand on her forearm, “you made me see that there was far more to life than knowing the answers to all of science’s questions. You taught me the value of friends, family and love. You taught me kindness and sacrifice.”

Kara bowed her head, shy at the sudden and sincere praise, her cheeks becoming red-tinged and hot.

“Never more so than when you were around Lena.” Brainy added after a moment’s pause. “I have learned so much from both of you… and one of those things is that when it comes to family… nothing is impossible and no one is ever truly lost.” 

Kara bit her bottom lip and nodded gratefully at Brainy’s words. 

“Thank you, Brainy.” Kara murmured.

“Anytime.” Brainy promised, before gesturing to a seat nearby. “Now, let me explain Lena’s condition, so that we may figure out the impossible and bring back our friend, yes?”

“Yes, definitely.” 

 


 

“Okay so, here is an image of Lena’s brain a couple of days ago straight after the accident.” Brainy explained, an illuminated picture of a brain filling up the left side of the screen as he spoke. “Now here’s an image of Lena’s brain from today’s scan.” Another illuminated picture appeared, now filling up the right-hand side of the screen.

Kara leaned forward in her chair, her eyes flicking between the two pictures. “They look identical.” Kara commented after completing an extensive comparison.

“That’s because they’re more or less are.” Brainy revealed with a resigned tone. “We took these pictures whilst providing Lena images meant to provoke an emotional response.” Brainy quickly minimised one of the brain scans and brought up a different one. This one was a cascade of colour throughout whereas Lena’s looked dull and practically monochromatic in comparison to the rainbow next to it. “This is Alex when exposed to the same stimuli. While everyone reacts differently and to different extents when it comes to emotions, we expect to see a reaction of some kind. Lena, however-”

“There’s nothing.” Kara acknowledged, nausea swirling in her stomach as she imagined a world without Lena’s smiles, her tears, her anger…

“Exactly.” Brainy agreed. “It’s like her emotional centre - the amygdala, select parts of the limbic system - have been toned down or utterly disconnected. But with surgical precision. She can still function-”

“Still function?” Kara scoffed bitterly, her eyes stinging with poorly repressed tears as she shook her head angrily. “She can’t eat or sleep or clean herself without someone telling her to do it. You said it yourself, Lena was the smartest person on the planet and now… now…”

“She can still comprehend instructions. The intellect is there. Just the desire to use it is gone. You just need to find the right phrase, the right prompt, the right trigger.” Brainy rationalised to her and Kara was already in the process of opening her mouth to argue in return when she suddenly froze, overcome with an idea.

“Trigger... You’re right. We need a trigger.” Kara muttered quickly, her eyes going bright with inspiration.

“Yes, that’s what I said.” Brainy replied slowly, not quite following where Kara’s hasty switch to excitement had come from.

Kara, though, was already on her feet, pacing back and forth, her entire body buzzing with potential and possibility. “Brainy what if we just need to find the right trigger for Lena’s emotions in the same way we do for her intelligence?”

“Hmmm….” Brainy pondered this question for a few seconds, whilst Kara continued to wear a track in the DEO’s floor. “I don’t know.” Brainy finally admitted, a twinkle to his eye.

Kara beamed at him in response. “Then it looks like we may have something new to learn.”

 


 

VIDEO LOG #023

 

The first time I saw you after I found out was at a game’s night.

Do you know what it felt like to walk into that room that night?

To realise everyone in that room knew something you didn’t. That your friends shared this big secret that they all talked about and discussed whenever your back was turned. 

Thing is... I can get over them lying day in and day out to me.

In all seriousness, I can.

Because it wasn’t their secret to share. 

Just like when I found out that Sam was Reign. It wasn’t my place to tell. I had been trusted by my friend and I wasn’t going to tell anyone without their express permission. 

So, I can forgive them.

I can even forget being the outsider.

I’ve been an outsider my whole life. Since my mother died and I was sent to live with a family who never let me feel like I truly belonged. 

See, what really hurt when I walked into that room… was knowing that you trusted them more than you trusted me. Knowing that I didn’t mean as much to you as they all did.

And I know that is selfish and… pathetic… but that, in all honesty, was my first thought.

What made them so much more deserving than me?

What did I do that made you think so much less of me?

I mean, I get Alex and J’onn. Even James, for pity’s sake.

I get it. 

And if it was just them… It probably wouldn’t have been my first thought. It probably wouldn’t have hurt so much.

But I was your best friend before Nia and Brainy came along, right?

So why wasn’t I good enough, Kara? 

Was it purely my last name?

Or was there something else terribly wrong with me?

In some ways… I truly hope it was just my last name. I think that would hurt less.

 


 

“Okay so… here’s the plan,” Kara lectured to a motionless Lena who was sat primly (hands on knees and back straight on the couch her eyes following Kara as she paced back and forth in the living room), “we need to find an emotional trigger for you. And I have compiled a list of things that are dead set to make you laugh, cry, aww at sheer beauty, giggle with happiness and so on and so forth.” Kara came to an abrupt stop, and banged a fist against an open palm in a decisive manner (at least she hoped it conveyed some level of confidence).

After her talk with Brainy, Kara had brought Lena back to the apartment and helped get her settled before sitting down at the kitchen counter with a cup of coffee (that she quickly forgot about), a pen, a pad of paper and her tongue sticking out in concentration. Kara had written down every potential idea that could elicit an emotional response from someone, using her own experiences and knowledge of Lena as well as extensive googling for suggestions from others.

Kara had at least fifty items on her list and she could have put down another fifty but she would have to admit that those would merely be watered down or slightly alternate versions of her original fifty. 

“So shall we begin?” Kara asked gleefully, clapping her hands together enthusiastically, hopeful that one of those fifty would bring back her Lena. 

 

#01 LAUGHTER

 

“I picked out a couple of films that I know always got you to genuinely laugh”, Kara paused momentarily before glancing at Lena’s side profile thoughtfully and adding, “- the snort laugh that you try to hide, not the weird higher than normal laugh you put on when talking to businessmen at your fancy dinners.” 

Kara remembered the warm feeling she had gotten in her chest that had stuck with her for days when she had finally managed to pull forth a ‘snort laugh’ from Lena for the first time. 

Kara blushed shyly at the memory of her performing a dramatic retelling of the awful events of her day before meeting Lena for dinner after work. It had started with her getting splashed by a passing truck that swerved to hit a huge puddle by the edge of the road (Kara did sound effects to accompany this portion). Following this magnificent start, Kara had somehow managed to break the CatCo printer so it merely spewed forth pages upon endless pages with a large bold ‘why? ’ typed on it (CatCo’s self-appointed eco-warriors reprimanded her for nearly an hour as IT were subsequently forced to remove the printer all together to try and fix the problem (the new one still occasionally prints out a lamenting ‘ why?’ for no apparent reason)). Kara’s day then ended with her walking face first into the slightly ajar door of Lena’s office (Kara didn’t tell Lena at the time what had distracted her enough to do so but it was, in fact, Lena stretching her arms over her head, revealing a slither of skin at her waist and pulling the silky red fabric taut in certain areas).

Lena had snorted through the entire story and for a further ten minutes after Kara had finished her retelling. Kara had pouted for the entirety of Lena’s giggles, but Kara’s chest had been near bursting with pride and Lena had hugged her incredibly tight once she regained control of herself.

“Then I also threw in a few films that we both said we wanted to watch but never got around to. You know just in case you’re bored of the jokes you already know.” Kara said, with a lopsided smile as she scooped up the first DVD, one of Lena’s favourites ‘Hot Fuzz’, and put it in the DVD player. She set it playing and returned to the sofa, a large distance between herself and Lena that never used to be there.

It used to be that her and Lena would start on one cushion each whilst still being within arms reach of one another. Then as the film progressed, and as the bowl of popcorn grew smaller (their hands brushing more and more), they would start to gravitate closer, until their sides were pressed closely together. Eventually, Kara’s arm would move to wrap around Lena’s shoulders and encourage her to curl her body against Kara’s own. Lena would subsequently snort laugh into the crook of Kara’s neck at every joke. And finally, Lena would interlace their fingers together so that she could stroke the back of Kara’s hand whenever there was a sad moment which had Kara’s eyes watering.

Instead Kara was pressed against the arm of the sofa, holding a pillow tightly to her chest as she stared unabashedly at Lena’s profile for the entirety of the movie. Hoping and praying that she would see the tell-tale crinkles start to form at the corner of Lena’s eyes which always preempted a laugh or a smile.

None came.

Not for that first film.

Not for the second.

Third.

Fourth.

Or fifth.

Kara didn’t think the last two were very funny anyway.

 

#21 EXHILARATION

 

“Okay, so I know what you’re thinking…” Kara started cautiously, as she stared up at ‘The Death Drop’ roller coaster which, from their position on the ground right by the entrance, appeared to disappear into the clouds above. The people that were slowly being dragged to the top by the mechanical grinding of the coaster were starting to be only visible when Kara utilised her enhanced vision. 

Kara gulped as high-pitched screams of sheer terror filled the air as the figures far too high above their heads just… plummeted.

Kara turned away from the rather traumatising sight (she may have the ability to fly and be practically invincible but even she could experience secondhand the terror of those who were crazy enough to go through ‘The Death Drop’ without either of those gifts). Lena was looking up too, searching for the source of the unusual high-pitched screech from one of the female riders. 

There was no fear or trepidation on Lena’s face.

Not that Kara expected there to be.

Lena may be afraid of flying but she was a not-so-secret thrill-seeker (Lena had claimed that numerous attempts on her life had left her a bit of an adrenaline junkie). Lena usually sought out her thrills through the boardroom, outmanoeuvring her business opponents and playing the stock market for the benefit of her employees and investors. But, Lena also had a fondness for theme parks. 

Lena would heavily research the rides and the park, and once she had faith in the mechanical soundness of their creations, Lena would indulge by riding the most extreme rides almost endlessly. She had taken Kara to numerous theme parks during their friendship (Lena was always thoughtful enough to take Kara to parks that would fulfill Kara’s preference for spectacle and movie magic). 

What should have been on Lena’s face at that exact moment was a smirk.

That special cocky type of smirk that always made Kara feel weak at the knees.

A smirk that promised ‘I can handle this’ (‘ I can handle you’ ). 

There was no smirk this time (there was still a flutter in Kara’s chest when she looked at Lena but that was standard now).

Lena was wearing a cap and reflective sunglasses to make her less identifiable but it also had the added benefit of saving Kara from staring into green eyes that didn’t look like Kara’s favourite green eyes anymore.

“You’re thinking…” Kara coughed out trying to infuse her voice with bubbly enthusiasm, “that this ride is nothing. A walk in the park. Especially after your… umm…” Kara glanced round as subtly as she could (which wasn’t very) before dropping her volume to just above a whisper, “flights with yours truly.” Kara jerked two thumbs at her chest and waggled her eyebrows. 

Kara pouted when Lena’s head slowly turned back to forward facing after only a moment, barely acknowledging Kara’s words or actions.

“Anyway… I researched this ride to the nth degree. It’s super safe… but not recommended for anyone with any sort of heart condition or propensity to vomit, faint or cry excessively.” Kara frowned after listing the criteria recurrently mentioned on any/all forums surrounding this ride. 

(Maybe this wasn’t Kara’s best idea but she had burned through twenty other plans and was maybe starting to feel slightly desperate when not even ‘The Notebook’ could garner any kind of emotional response from her particularly stalwart best friend).

“How about it then? Fancy a go?” Kara questioned just as the screams of the most recent riders filled the air.

They rode it a grand total of 18 times.

Kara’s throat was hoarse from screaming (she much preferred being in control of her own death defying drops through the air, thank you very much).

Lena, meanwhile, had freaked out every single person they had shared the ride with due to what they saw as her dead-eyed expression when faced with what could be considered repeated exposure to a near-death experience. When the ride operator asked them not to ride again, as Lena’s impassiveness was beginning to creep him and the rest of the staff out, Kara was beyond relieved and flew them both home (keen to feel in control of her own ascent and descent again).



#35 PEACEFULNESS

 

“The grand canyon!” Kara yelled, her announcement reverberating between the two great walls that defined the natural landmark. 

Kara let out a sigh as she took in the sheer beauty of the home she had been gifted across the stars.

The sun was rising, visible on the horizon, creating an iridescent sky of orange, pink and red. There was no other tourists at their location since Kara had flown her and Lena to a tucked away spot only easily accessible to climbers (and those not inhibited by gravity). It felt for all intents and purposes like they were the only two people left in the world. 

Kara’s smile was soft and reverent, her heart beating out a slow rhythm as she felt utterly at peace with the world. It wasn’t until Kara left National City for any period of time that Kara was reminded of how noisy it all was. The cars, the traffic, the sheer number of people… it was overwhelming and Kara was always grateful whenever she experienced a reprieve from it all.

Going to Midvale helped as Kara could focus on the familiar crashing of the waves to drown it all out.

High altitude worked as well, but there was something uncomfortable about the stillness and looking down on everything - Kara feared that perspective could warp even the strongest moral character into something arrogant at the very least, and something truly terrible at the far worse.

Nature used to be Kara’s go to when she needed time to hear her own thoughts above the volume of the rest of the world. National City was surrounded by rolling hills and huge national parks that even a red and blue caped superhero could get totally lost in. 

Kara, however, had found that the most effective noise cancelling location was by Lena’s side.

It hadn’t been immediate.

It had happened slowly.

Over numerous lunches, dinners, whiled away moments and phone calls late at night.

Lena captured all of Kara’s attention.

When Lena spoke, Kara listened and listened only to her. When she looked at Lena, Lena was all she saw. The world didn’t disappear, it softened, it faded peacefully into the background. It was a wonderful chorus to the main show that was one Lena Luthor.

Now Lena was silent.

Now Lena’s eyes no longer sparkled, her eyebrows no longer arched and there was no smile to brighten Kara’s day.

Now the world was louder than ever for Kara.

Lena wasn’t there to take centre stage as the house lights never went down. Kara was forever sat in the raucous audience waiting for her favourite show to begin and sweep her away to another world.

Kara breathed slowly, blinking away the unshed tears thinking back on the world she had lost, the world she had gained and the friend who she was praying to Rao every morning and night to be returned to her.

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” Kara asked, turning back around to see if Lena was admiring the view, appreciating it for what it was (her home at its finest).

Lena’s hollow gaze swept away from the view to Kara, her face the epitome of unmoved and unimpressed.

Kara deflated at the lack of impact, sinking to the ground and pulling her knees to her chest as she returned to the view.

“Come and sit with me.” Kara requested, refusing to watch Lena dumbly follow her orders and sit down crossed legged next to her, their shoulders brushing. “I guess I’ll just have to enjoy the view for the both of us.” Kara murmured sadly, reaching out to entwine her fingers with Lena’s before resting her head on Lena’s far too rigid shoulder. 

Kara watched the sunrise, enjoying the familiar peace and quiet she always did when with her best friend.

(Kara promised herself when Lena was back to her full self, that she would bring her back here and they would appreciate the view together like should have done the first time).



#41 “AWWW”

 

“Look that their little faces, Lena!” Kara squealed in delight, falling to her knees as a tidal wave of puppies charged towards her. “They are so cute!

Kara lifted up a puppy with each hand, tucking them against her chest and enabling their little tongues to wipe fervently against her jaw and cheek in utter adoration. Another four puppies swarmed around her lower half, buzzing with excitement and practically yapping ‘me next, me next’ at her. 

“Lena, come on, not even a small awww …” Kara pleaded, pouting and throwing Lena her best puppy dog eyes alongside the two sets of actual puppy dog eyes she directed towards her best friend.

Lena tilted her head to the side, and surveyed the moving mass of sheer fluffiness surrounding her with a completely disinterested expression. 

Kara heaved out a disappointed sigh, thinking a trip to the shelter to see the puppies would prompt something in Lena but maybe she was just projecting. Kara couldn’t imagine any point in her life where an adorable puppy wouldn’t get her eyes to go wide and her to bounce up and down unable to contain her desire to snuggle the little creature.

“Sit down, Lena.” Kara called out, Lena immediately acquiescing to the command, “Just let me hug the other puppies then we can go.”

Kara gently put down the two puppies that she’d been holding, exchanging them for a different two. Kara focused on enjoying her time, ignoring the weight of disappointment that had been steadily growing and consuming her as she crossed more and more ideas off her list. 

As Kara picked up the final two puppies, she glanced back to make sure Lena was doing okay only to see a small black puppy with a white ear that she hadn’t noticed before nudge Lena’s knee with its head. The puppy was tiny compared to the others that were far more rambunctious, it was obvious that this was the runt of the litter and preferred a quieter approach. Lena’s blank gaze fell on the young dog, she did nothing to encourage or deter it and without much warning it hopped into Lena’s lap, curled up into a small ball and fell safely asleep.

Lena’s hands hung uselessly by her sides and after a moment she looked away from the small creature.

Kara, who had gone absolutely still, let out a quiet sigh, knowing if Lena was herself, that she would reach out with shaky hands to pet the puppy’s soft fur. That she would look up at Kara with awe in her eyes, unable to believe that any animal or person would so willingly choose her, feel safe enough to curl up in her lap. And Kara… she would slowly shuffle next to Lena’s side, wrap an arm around her waist in a protective hold and kiss her forehead, thinking to herself how Lena had no idea that Kara would chose her and had always felt safe in her company.

They stayed another hour at the shelter.

Kara didn’t want to move Lena with the small puppy asleep in her lap, knowing that when (not if, never if) Lena returned fully she would feel guilty for disturbing him from his slumber.

 




VIDEO LOG #037

 

For most of my life, Lex was the only good thing in it.

He was the epitome of the cool older brother. He was smarter than me, charming, funny and…. Kind. He used to be so kind. 

Getting to spend time with him was always the best part of my day. There I was an awkward young girl, who spent so long locked away in labs working on my projects that so much as five minutes in direct sunlight would burn my skin and leave me nearly blind. Lex used to joke that I was a vampire with only the negative parts of being one. 

I was a loser compared to him. I was the kid sister to a superstar.

And I loved it.

He was my idol.

He was the person I loved most in the world. 

He always made time for me. Always gave me his full attention when we talked - even though I knew he was busy. Always encouraged me in my pursuits. 

He was…

He was just always there when I needed him.

Then things… things started to change. He grew distant, quieter… Lex used to be bright and boisterous… he could walk into a room and strike up a conversation with anyone… but then he stopped talking, stopped trying, stopped…

He would spend hours upon hours sitting and thinking.

Pondering.

Planning.

That was how it started.

I lost him to silence first, then to madness.

But even at his worst, even when he was at his most maniacal… 

He still made time for me. Still gave me his full attention. 

And despite the attempts on my life, despite his cruelty, despite his manipulation…

He was still the person who played chess with me for hours without complaint when I first arrived at the Luthor mansion.

He was still the person who told me that I was family - that I mattered when I was so young and so lost.

He was still my big brother.

And I still loved him.

But I killed him anyway.

I killed him, Kara.

I killed him because of you... to protect you…

 

And I hate that after everything… I would still do it all again for you.

 


 

The steel table, that had been bolted to the floor, went flying across the room with so much force that it removed a decent chunk of the wall upon violently crashing into it.

“Kara?!” Alex shouted clearly panicked. 

Kara ignored her sister to instead focus on kicking a chair so hard that it literally snapped in half causing the two pieces of steel to clatter and bounce across the floor.

“Kara! What happened?” Alex yelled, stepping in front of Kara to prevent her from taking out another innocent assortment of table and chairs. Alex’s expression was wary but not scared (how could she be scared when she knew with absolute certainty that Kara would never hurt her?).

“Nothing!” Kara snapped viciously, her mouth twisting into a snarl of pure rage and heartbreak as she pointed accusingly at the DEO computer screen comparing two brain scans that looked near identical. “Nothing happened!” Kara threw her hands up in the air, sweeping them out wide as she proclaimed loudly, “There’s no fucking difference!” Alex flinched back, not because of the volume but because of the sheer bleakness to Kara’s declaration. “I don’t understand!” Kara ranted on, her words no longer for Alex but for a deity which had stopped listening to her long ago. “What more can I do? There has to be something.”

“Kara, maybe…” Alex murmured gently, reaching out a soothing hand to place on Kara’s shoulder, “maybe there isn’t anything you can do.”

“What’s that supposed to-” Kara’s already harsh gaze became positively deathly upon realising what Alex was implying and she proceeded to jerk her shoulder away from her sister’s touch. “No, not you too.” Kara said with a bitter shake of her head.

“Kara,” Alex winced sympathetically, “I think you might have to accept that Lena… that… this is all Lena will be from now on.”

“No.” Kara whispered, her blue eyes scrunched up to resist the flood of tears, “Do you know how much loss I’ve been forced to accept over the course of my life?!” Kara questioned, “Too much. I can’t…” She inhaled and exhaled in a final attempt to keep her emotions under control, “I can’t handle another loss, Alex.” Kara admitted, “I especially can’t handle losing her . Not when this is my fault. Not when I pushed her towards this.”

Alex pursed her lips, her heart breaking for her sister, as she tried to soothe her, “Lena made her own decisions. You can’t blame yourself for the choices she made alone.”

“Exactly!” Kara exclaimed, “She made them alone ! She believed she had no one, Alex. Her brother was dead. Her mother was in prison. All of her friends had lied and manipulated her. She was lost and all alone in the dark. And despite all that…” Kara sighed as she thought of her best friend with a heart so good and kind that even when hurt beyond measure she was still able to find the light in the dark even on her own, “despite all the pain and torment that had been inflicted on her… all she wanted was to save other people from the same pain. She wanted to make people nicer. I’m not defending how she tried to do it nor am I saying she was trying to do the right thing. But can you honestly tell me that if I had been honest with her far earlier... would she have still fallen prey to Hope?”

Alex remained quiet for a long few seconds, unable to lie into honest and vulnerable blue eyes, before muttering, “No.”

“So don’t tell me that some of the blame isn’t at my feet.” Kara’s gaze dropped to the floor.

“Kara-” Alex began only for Kara to cut her off once more with a barely audible murmur that was probably only for Kara’s own ears.

“She did the right thing. When it mattered. Lena did the right thing. She always does the right thing in the end.” Kara shook her head slowly, before lifting her eyes back up to reveal tears falling unashamedly down her face as she begged, “Don’t ask me to give up on her.”

Alex swallowed thickly, instantly stepping forward to wrap her little sister up into the tightest hug she could. She kissed Kara’s forehead, “Okay, okay… then… let’s work together on this. What have you tried so far?”

 


 

“You threw things at her?” Alex repeated, practically choking on the chinese takeaway the two sisters were sharing. After the disappointing test results, Kara, Alex and Lena had returned to Lena’s apartment (Kara by this point had practically moved into the guest bedroom next to Lena’s room to ensure she was on hand to care for Lena easily on a day to day basis). Kara had set Lena up in her room with a television show after getting her to eat a suitable meal (suitable meaning vegetables as Kara knew that was what Lena would want). Alex and Kara meanwhile were having a sister’s night in the living room and brainstorming potential ways to help Lena. 

Kara had been going through all of her various (failed) attempts so far, much to Alex’s amusement.

Kara huffed out a breath and weakly tried to defend herself, “I was trying to activate emotions of annoyance and frustration… you know like when old men on the L-Corp board repeatedly call her little lady.” Alex still didn’t look overly convinced nor impressed with plan forty seven on Kara’s list which she had referred to as ‘Extreme Irritation’. “And it was just scrunched up paper…” Kara pouted, “you make it sound worse than it is.” Alex merely arched an eyebrow at her  and Kara deflated further into the sofa cushions before confessing, “Alright, it wasn’t my finest idea, but I was running out of ideas at that point.”

“Right…” Alex replied with a click of her tongue. “Theme parks, sad movies, haunted houses and…” Alex’s forehead crinkled as she squinted at one of the items on Kara’s list, “magic mike experience?” Alex looked up at Kara curiously, cocking her head to the side as she started to ask, “What emotion were you trying to trigger with a strip sho-” Suddenly Alex’s eyes went impossibly wide and she let out a disgusted groan as Kara sunk so far down she was close to slipping off the sofa all together. “Oh, Kara, no!”

Kara coughed awkwardly, her face turning a blistering red, “Sexual arousal is a big emotional trigger for humans-”

“Nope! La la la!! Not listening.” Alex screeched, clamping her hands over head. Kara crossed her arms petulantly over her chest just as Alex muttered darkly under her breath without thinking, “You didn’t have to take Lena to a god damn show to get her going, you could have just-”

Alex’s jaw snapped shut without warning before she could finish her thought.

Kara sat up quickly with an intrigued expression, “I could have just, what?”

“Nothing. Doesn’t matter.” Alex dismissed, her gaze dashing rapidly away from Kara’s and back to the list where she latched onto the first change of topic that she could see. “You made her meditate?”

“For tranquility.” Kara responded with a slight shrug.

“More like boredom.” Alex commented drily.

Kara whacked her sister playfully on the arm, “Hey, I didn’t make this list for you, I made it for-”

Kara wouldn’t have been surprised if a literal lightbulb appeared right above her head that very instant and lit up the entire room.

“What’s that face for?” Alex asked, sitting up straighter at the slightly agape jaw and twinkling blue eyes currently taking over her sister’s expression.

“I made it personal for Lena…” Kara said slowly, getting to her feet as she began to pace, an idea forming and taking shape in her mind with every passing second.

“Yeah, so?” Alex prompted.

Kara spun back to her sister and clapped her hands together enthusiastically, “I’ve got an idea, and tell me if I’m crazy-”

“You’re crazy.” Alex interjected unable to deny herself.

“Funny.” Kara rolled her eyes dismissively, but a smile was tugging at the corner of her lips as hope began to flood through her veins like the most powerful drug imaginable. “What if I went even more personal?”

“How so?” 

“Well, I went after very abstract emotions and tried to put them in a frame I was pretty sure Lena would experience them in…” Kara explained, pointing to the list as evidence, “but what if I instead give her a frame she has already experienced emotions in…” Kara watched as Alex gradually made the same connection she had done a few seconds earlier. “Rather than putting them into a generalised context, why don’t I recreate specific memories?” Kara suggested, “Memory is one of the most powerful parts of the mind and can be triggered if the right associations are presented to it. You know like how whenever I smell lavender I always think of our first picnic in Midvale because the park we went to was filled with lavender?”

Kara bounced eagerly on the balls of her feet as her sister ran Kara’s idea through her own mind, turning it over and examining it to determine if it held potential.

Kara held her breath for the entire minute of silence, awaiting Alex’s judgement.

“Hmmm…” Ale hummed eventually, “it’s worth a try.” Alex shuffled to the edge of the sofa, turning Kara’s previous list over to a blank side as she pulled out a pen from her bag by her feet. With a lightning fast ‘click’, Alex was poised and ready to write, “I’m guessing you’ve already got a few ideas for where to start?”

Kara beamed at her sister, “A few.”

 


 

VIDEO LOG #046

 

I miss you.

Part of me thought that would be really hard to say, but it wasn’t….

I just… I really miss you.

I miss hugging you and feeling like there was no one else in the world but us.

I miss holding your hand, it always made me feel like I could fly.

I miss your blue eyes, they always made me feel seen and worthy.

I miss how one smile from you could brighten my entire day.

I miss my best friend.

Do you miss me I wonder? 

Then again… how can you miss someone who probably never really mattered to you in the first place?

 


 

“Miss Danvers, are you sure you don’t need a hand with that?” Jess questioned, half-stood up from her desk and her hands obviously twitching with the desire to grab her phone and call… someone who could help her understand what was exactly going on.

“No, not at all.” Kara reassured with a cheery wave as she pulled the sofa out of Lena’s office (only just remembering to add a pant here and there to make it look less like she could lift the entire couch over her head with one hand). Kara dragged the comfy grey sofa past Jess’ desk and towards the stairs, deeply regretting that she couldn’t come up with a valid reason (excuse) for why Supergirl needed to take Lena’s office couch so that she could carry it without theatrics and fly it back to Lena’s apartment, avoiding the issue of getting it down the hundreds of stairs leading down from the top floor of L-Corp. Jess, however, was very aware that her boss had been in an ‘accident’ (she was professional enough not to pry) and that Kara (her best friend) had stepped up to take care of her over the three months. Issue was, Jess was far too astute in Kara’s opinion, she was starting to connect the dots regarding Kara’s secret identity (mostly because Supergirl and Kara both shared the exact same look of awe and adoration whilst staring at Jess’ boss that was very easily identifiable). Therefore, Kara had taken the decision to limit Jess’ exposure to both identities hence why Kara was currently responsible for getting Lena’s emotional support couch during her recovery back to her.

“Miss Danvers!” Jess squeaked just as Kara pushed open the door to the stairwell with her shoulder. “We are on the 90th floor.”

“I am well aware.” Kara sighed dismally, not concerned about the exertion of getting the couch downstairs but having to pivot it safely around corners without scratching it up too bad (Kara was more than aware that this single piece of furniture probably cost more than she made in a year). “Don’t worry, though, I work out.” 

“But Miss Danvers-”

Kara didn’t wait to hear anymore of Jess’ incredulity instead hurrying through the door, her prize in tow, eager to kick off another plan that could be the one that brings back Lena.

 


 

“Just another minute...” Kara called out, as she blitzed around the living room at superspeed, placing the donuts on the coffee table alongside the bouquet of plumerias that she hurriedly tweaked to make sure they were arranged absolutely perfectly. “Okay, come on in!” Kara yelled once she was fully satisfied with her work, practically vibrating on the spot with excitement.

Lena walked into the room a few steps before stopping, her gaze sweeping to survey the room.

Kara held her breath expectantly, biting her bottom lip as she watched Lena’s expression intensely as it swept over the new arrangement featuring the couch from her office, praying that there would be some minuscule reaction, some hint of familiarity or interest.

There was none.

Kara shook off the disappointment quickly (she had to otherwise she would still only be on attempt twelve of her very first plan).

“Come and sit down with me.” Kara insisted gently, dashing over to the sofa and sitting down in her usual spot, patting the space next to her so Lena knew were to sit. Kara waited until Lena had settled stiffly next to her, “So…” Kara began shyly, “I was thinking that maybe I could remind you of how this all started… as in you and me that is…. Our friendship.” Kara added quickly, brow crinkling with disappointment at the term, knowing it wasn’t the descriptor she wanted to use. “And… umm… well, it all started when you inspired me to become a reporter. Our friendship can be tracked through the articles I’ve written, and I know that sounds big-headed but I also know you kept them all. It became a routine that the day after one of my articles was published, we would meet for lunch and talk through them. You would read out your favourite lines, tease me, compliment me. We bonded over them. I love being a reporter but in all honesty, meeting up with you to dissect them is my favourite part of it.” Kara blushed self-consciously, fiddling with her glasses as she pulled a folder she had found in Lena’s room onto her lap.

Kara took a deep breath and opened it to the first page which featured a copy of Clark’s article exonerating Lena all those years ago.

“Therefore, I was thinking… we could do it again. Go through our history, article by article. One every lunch time?” Kara smiled softly at Lena, her blue eyes radiant with hope and optimism as Lena stared unaffectedly back at her. “Grab a donut and let’s get started.” 

 


 

“Can I have five Big Belly Burger meals, with two extra sides of fries, a chocolate milkshake and a strawberry milkshake, please?” Kara rattled off with a wide grin, earning her a mildly stunned expression from the rather gormless teenager on the other side of the counter.

“Did you say five Big Belly Burger meals?” The teenager repeated looking over at the table where Lena was sat to see if another three people or so had arrived.

“Yep.” Kara replied with a pop. “Thank you.” She said as she handed over the cash before returning to sit across from Lena at the table. “Food shouldn’t be long.” Kara reassured unnecessarily.

Kara sighed, looking out the window as she remembered her first visit to the fast food chain with Lena. 

It had been Lena’s birthday, not that she had told Kara that. 

Kara had come to visit Lena after work with the hope of enticing her into a movie night (and then a slumber party (Kara never slept better than when she was cuddled up next to Lena)). Lena agreed after extended exposure to Kara’s puppy dog eyes and pout, while Lena was packing up to leave, Kara spied a card with gold script on it tucked under a pile of documents. Unable to resist her curious nature, Kara pulled it out to inspect it only to find a large Happy Birthday printed on the front complete with stars and a birthday cake design. Opening it up revealed a sweet message from Sam and Ruby promising to come and visit Lena soon to celebrate.

Kara stared down at the card dumbly, utterly devastated that she had done nothing for Lena’s birthday despite not even knowing when it was. 

Lena finally noticed what had caught Kara’s attention and attempted to brush off the event with a simple, ‘it’s not really something I celebrate’. 

Kara didn't reply for a long time, not trusting her voice to not come out shaky and croaky. 

This wasn’t what Kara wanted for Lena. She wanted Lena to feel special. She wanted to have brought the absolute perfect, most thoughtful gift like Lena had done for her birthday (she had gotten Kara an experience day at the zoo where she could feed and interact with the animals). She wanted to have texted her ‘happy birthday’ at exactly 12:01. She wanted to have taken the time to bake Lena’s favourite cake (chocolate and raspberry) for her. She wanted to then have a massive games night with the rest of the super friends where they played all the games Lena enjoyed and made her feel wanted, special and lov-

(Kara promised herself that she would do all that next year).

This year, however, Kara forced herself to look up at her best friend with watery blue eyes and say as sincerely and meaningfully as she could, ‘happy birthday’.

Kara had subsequently ditched the plan for movie night, intent on taking Lena out for a nice meal. Unfortunately, everywhere was fully booked that late on a Friday night and Kara’s stomach was beginning to roar. Lena had tugged Kara to the nearest food place (a slightly rundown Big Belly Burger) and ordered an overwhelming amount of food. The two of them had spent a happy evening laughing as they ate burgers and fries, Kara rushing out at one point to buy Lena a cupcake, party hat and birthday badge that Lena put on with only mild resistance (Lena also made Kara eat half the cupcake).

As they headed back to Lena’s apartment to kick-off their movie night, hand in hand, Lena murmured to Kara that this was the best birthday she had ever had.

Kara promised her that next year would be even better.

Kara shook her head fervently, clearing her mind of the past as she looked back at Lena who was staring blankly at her. The milkshakes had arrived without Kara realising and she quickly inhaled hers to stop her lingering on everything she had lost. 

Kara smiled wanly at her best friend, “I don’t know if it means much… but… I felt incredibly honoured to be the person you spent your birthday with last year. I understand if… once you’re back to yourself… you might not want to spend it with me again, but… I’ll always be there, ready and waiting if you do.” Gradually, as if she was afraid of spooking Lena, Kara reached out to rest her hand over Lena’s still one on the table, “I am so grateful that you exist, that you were and are in my life, no matter what happens, please don’t forget that.” Kara beseeched, tenderly squeezing Lena’s hand.

Kara kept their hands linked until their food arrived, which Kara kindly laid out for Lena and directed her to eat. 

Once all the food was gone, Kara pulled out a small cupcake that she cut perfectly in half to give to Lena whilst singing happy birthday under her breath so only Lena could hear. 

When the song finished and Kara was left in silence once again with her best friend who barely acknowledged her existence, she merely dropped her head into her hands and ignored the pitiful gaze of the teenager behind the counter.

 


 

By this point, Kara was starting to get slightly perturbed  by how big a part food played in her relationship with Lena, but then again it was well said that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.

Kara, however, was convinced that food was a key element to their friendship because it was what allowed them to bond in the first place. Lena’s hesitant invitation for Kara to join her and eat her extraordinary volume of food she’d ordered together was the kick-off, the starting gun which set everything in motion. 

 At first, Lena had teased her over her appetite and Kara had taken it good-naturedly, used to it from so many others but once the minor shock had worn off, Lena had never teased her about it again. In fact, she had encouraged Kara, offering her suggestions from the menu and always reaching to pay for the bill, insisting that the company was well worth the price of footing the bill. It had warmed Kara’s heart in a way she had never experienced before. It made her feel accepted and whole in a way that she never had before. It was the first sign of what was to come. How important Lena would be to her.

From then on, Kara would bring Lena lunch, meet her for dinner and help her cook a feast for breakfast when she stayed over night.

Their friendship could be chartered in takeaway boxes, dirty plates, strange cuisine, home-cooked meals, dinner reservations and an over-abundance of potstickers at galas just as much as it could be traced with news articles charting Lena’s fight to escape her family’s dark shadow. 

Kara took Lena back to that very first restaurant, booked the table Lena had been sat at, wore the same clothes she’d been wearing that day, ordered the same food and murmured to Lena over the table of how much this singular event had changed (drastically improved) her life. She held Lena’s hand like she wished she’d been brave enough to do the first time around. She told dorky jokes and whispered secrets that she should have shared long ago.

Kara, in other words, pretended it was their first date.

The first date they should have had long ago.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end with Lena giving Kara a sweet kiss on the cheek at the end.

Nor did it end in a smile. 

Kara got them both home, ensured Lena was comfortably in bed then went back to the sofa where she crossed another item off the list she had made with Alex and did her utmost to avoid crying in despair.

 


 

Kara set Lena carefully down on the ground just outside the iron gates of the Luthor Mansion. The blonde stared at the dark ominous building, barely managing to suppress the shiver that ran down her spine as the wind whistled mournfully through the nearby trees.

Kara had heard enough about Lena’s previous home to know that whatever few good memories Lena had once had of the place had been obliterated by Lex’s twisted crimes and cruel machinations. 

She hadn’t wanted to bring Lena to this place but Alex had pointed out, rightly so, that Lena’s home would house a lot of memories and even more emotions for the youngest Luthor. It was as Kara was starting to run out of straws to grasp that she had relented to bring Lena back to her childhood home. 

So far Kara had focused on what she hoped were positive memories with the desire to evoke pleasant emotions and bring Lena back to the world in a joyous frame of mind. Whilst, admittedly, a large number of Kara’s attempts were from their shared history this was partly due to Kara’s lack of resources, she had taken a leave of absence from CatCo to care for Lena and work on bringing back her emotions which allowed her the time to recreate their shared experiences without recurrently having to try to wrangle other people for support. 

This does not mean that Kara worked solely alone and that no one else had stepped into help.

Kara had managed to get Sam and Ruby to visit for a long weekend (Kara’s faith in everything working out alright in the end had been incredibly shaken when a teary eyed Ruby begging for Lena to come back hadn’t pulled even a minute reaction). Kara had then taken Lena to Jack’s grave the following weekend and whispered to Lena stories of the man who had been the keeper of Lena’s heart for longer than any other. All of the Superfriends had also had a go at bringing Lena back (Kara had been particularly moved by the soft supplicating attempt made by Brainy and impressed by her sister’s sincere words when she had personally tried to bring back their friend). 

A selfish part of Kara wanted to be the sole catalyst for Lena’s return but Kara pushed that part of her down as far as she could and refused to even acknowledge it (no matter how much she wanted it). 

All Kara wanted was for Lena to come back.

She didn’t care how or what caused that.

At least, that is what she told herself as she pushed the creaky gate open and guided Lena up the drive, one hand in Lena’s and the other placed protectively at the small of Lena’s back. The mansion grew larger and larger as the two women moved closer, their steps slowing until they were brought to a complete stop.

Lena hadn’t resisted Kara’s guiding hands or encouraging touch, she had moved towards her old home without hesitation and her expression blank. 

It was Kara who brought them to a stop. It was Kara who was worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. It was Kara who’s heart felt leaden and stuttering in her chest. It was Kara who slowed them to a stop a handful of metres away from the steps leading up to the mansion. 

Kara didn’t want to take Lena there.

She didn’t want to bring back dark, painful memories.

She didn’t want to callously dig into Lena’s trauma in the hopes of bringing her back.

She had promised to always be there for Lena. To be her friend and protector.

There was nothing kind in bringing Lena back to her childhood home.

Kara didn’t want Lena to remember how to feel because of pain. She wanted to kickstart Lena’s emotions with something positive. Something that would make her want to keep feeling. She wanted to set a precedent for Lena and herself. Kara wanted everything to restart with something good .

“You know what?” Kara asked, shifting to stand in front of Lena and blocking her view of the mansion. “I kind of think we should have a chilled day today. Just a couple of cheesy films and pizza, how does that sound?” 

Kara waited a beat for a reply (a custom she had taken up over the last few weeks in the hope that one day… just one day… Lena would say something in return).

Kara nodded to herself upon receiving the now standard silence from her best friend. With great care and respectfulness, Kara swooped Lena up into arms and flew them away promising herself to never take Lena back there ever again. 

 


 

Kara let out a shaky breath as she ushered Lena up the stairs, towards the balcony overlooking the theatre. 

This was it.

Kara’s hail mary.

It had been six months since Lena’s accident. Six months since Lena had arched an eyebrow at her. Six months since she had smiled at her. Six months since she had spoken. Six months without sound or anything other than a blank expression.

And Kara… well, her heart couldn’t take it anymore.

Kara’s hope was being drained with every brain scan that showed absolutely no difference. Her hope was decreasing every time one of her friends took her to one side to suggest long term care for Lena and moving on with her own life. Her hope was receding to something small and insignificant with every crossed through plan or idea. Her hope was vanishing into nothingness whenever she intertwined her fingers with Lena’s and Lena didn’t squeeze her hand in return like she used to.

Now Kara was bringing them to the place where she had laid herself bare to Lena.

The place where she had been honest ( truly, truly honest ) with Lena for the first time.

(The place where she’d tried to save something that she didn’t know was already broken beyond repair to begin with).

Kara had dressed for the occasion. She was wearing the dress she’d worn that night and it felt just as tight and restrictive as it did then. (Though, that had nothing to do with the dress and everything to do with the weight of years of lies and half-truths pressing cruelly down on her).

Lena stared at her disinterestedly as Kara fidgeted nervously with her glasses and paced back and forth, going over everything she wanted to say. She wanted to get it just right. To get it perfect .

“It should never have happened here” Kara eventually declared coming to a sudden stop as the words that had been craving freedom came pouring forth. “Me telling you who I really was.” Kara clarified before moving to stand directly in front of Lena, barely a foot of space between them, Kara’s hands curled into fists by her side trying keep a fragile hold on her emotions. 

“It should have happened in your office whilst we ate lunch together after you asked me what I had done that morning. I should have told you I was Supergirl and then I would have been able to tell you about my day honestly. I would have told you about the fire I put out two streets away, I would have told you about the car robber I chased downtown that drove through an indoor mall, I would have told you how after I had finished fighting a particularly nasty alien that I listened to your heartbeat for comfort and to remind me what it was I was fighting so hard to protect. But…” Kara paused, deflating as she admitted quietly, “I tell everyone about that. Whenever I speak to anyone who knows I’m Supergirl… that’s all they want to hear about. No one wants to listen to me complain about my latest work drama or the writer’s block I’m struggling with or the next story that has captured my attention. No one wants to hear about Kara Danvers…” Kara stared directly into green eyes, her expression beseeching and vulnerable, “Except for you. You listened to me, encouraged me, you made Kara Danvers special and important in such a normal, day to day way that I…” Kara shook her head and confessed, “I was scared of losing it. I was scared of only ever being Supergirl in your eyes.”

“I should have told you in my apartment after that very first games night,” Kara continued, “that you stayed behind to help me clean up after. You admonished my friends and sister for not helping me clean after being the ones to make the mess. I liked how you made me feel cared for, how you made me feel… less alone.” Kara shrugged helplessly, tears starting to build and build at the corner of her eyes, “I didn’t want to tell you that the reason they left a mess was because they all knew that with my superspeed I could clean it all up in a matter of seconds. I didn’t tell you because I liked that you stayed whilst they all left. I wanted you to stay forever.”

Kara’s voice was rough and cracking now, and she had to pause every now and again to swallow a sob.

“I should have told you that first night I stayed over at yours, you held me close and insisted on making me comfortable. I know you bought blankets ahead of me staying over because you knew I liked to curl up with one wrapped around me. You held me and ran your fingers through my hair so, so, so carefully as if you were afraid that you might hurt me. You let me be vulnerable and made me feel utterly cared for and cherished. I didn’t want to be Supergirl because…” Kara gasped, as the tears finally broke free. “I didn’t want to be invulnerable in your eyes. I didn’t want you to treat me differently - not because of your last name and what stupid, narrow-minded people expect from it - I just… I wanted to be Kara and for that to be enough. You’re the first person - not including Alex - who made me feel that dorky, somewhat naive and easily flustered Kara was enough . In fact, you made me feel special and not because of powers or my alien origins. You made me feel special for who I am.”

“I hate that I told you here!” Kara announced, finally unable to stop herself from reaching out for Lena’s hand and hoping, desperately, to feel Lena squeeze her hand back in return. “This impersonal place with no meaning to it. I should have told you years ago. And I am so sorry that you had to hear it from Lex rather than me. But me not telling you had nothing to do with you. It was my fault, I was a coward. I was terrified that if I told you I would lose you in some way and it was that fear which made it so I lost you in the first place.”

“I don’t know if you’ll ever forgive me.” Kara whispered as she futilely attempted to wipe away the rapidly forming tears with the back of her free hand. “If you can ever forgive me… especially when you were hurting so badly and I didn’t… I didn’t see it. And I know you were trying to tell me in your own way. You were treating me differently and I didn’t pick up on the signs because I didn’t want there to be anything wrong. I pushed you to the very darkness I swore I would protect you from. I should have been there when you needed me. I should have-”

Kara’s voice broke off and she curled forward as the pain of absolutely unnecessary heartbreak rocked her to her core.

Kara hated that her heart had been broken because of a misunderstanding.

Because of a miscommunication on both their parts.

Kara was too cowardly to voice her concerns, to ask how Lena was, if she was okay (afraid of losing something she had already lost).

Whilst Lena faced the pain on her own. She twisted the pain into something dark and tortured because she was also too cowardly to face her anger and anguish.

Why couldn’t the two of them have just talked?

Why couldn’t they ever just say how they really feel?!

“Rao, Lena!” Kara bellowed brokenly, “Why didn’t you tell me how bad it was?! Why didn’t you say something?! I would have helped! I would have been there! Now, look at where we are!” Kara demanded gesturing between them accusingly, “Look at what happened to us!” 

Grief that had been on the precipice of switching from denial to anger finally fell to the second stage with blinding, uncontrollable fury and it came roaring out of Kara with all the venom she was capable of.

“You are nothing more than a shell of the once great Lena Luthor and I’m your pathetic caregiver who is so desperate for a miracle, for a second chance that I have become a slave to false hope and lies of happy endings!”

Kara breathed out heavily following her outburst, the ringing in her ears subsiding as she stared into unemotive green eyes and silence smothered the last tiny spark of hope that had been left within Kara, extinguishing so that there was nothing left.

“Let’s… let’s just go home…” Kara murmured despondently, her spirit finally broken, “I’m done for the day…”

Kara didn’t say it but she was probably done for good.

 


 

VIDEO LOG #052

 

Kara… I…

I love you.

I wish…

Nevermind… it doesn’t matter.

 


 

“Just wait here, I won’t be long, I promise.” Kara assured purely out of habit before adjusting the scarf she had tenderly wrapped around Lena’s neck to ensure she stayed warm against the sharp coldness of the fortress of solitude.

It was two days after Kara had broken down at the theatre in her last ditch attempt to pull forth an emotional reaction from Lena. She had taken them both home, took care of Lena and settled her in bed before calling Alex over. The second Alex arrived, she had taken one look at Kara and pulled her into a hug - the never before seen despair and hopelessness was starkly apparent in Kara’s empty, hollowed out expression.

The two days had passed with Alex and the rest of Kara’s friends supporting Kara as she came gradually to the realisation that Lena was unlikely to ever be how she once was. Kara was then left to face what that meant for her and Lena’s future. 

What was Kara to do now?

What did someone do after all hope was lost?

Kara interacted with the holographic interface of the Kryptonian computer system, selecting the correct settings and running the program with familiar ease, refusing to glance back at Lena who stood motionless, awaiting direction in the cavernous room behind her.

The lights in the fortress dimmed momentarily as the virtual reality system kicked in and beamed out an image that filled and replaced the icy walls. Red light illuminated the entire space, green plants with purple and white petals that twisted around each other to create unique shapes rose from the floor, whilst sweeping structures shot up in the background and the sound of water running from a nearby stream played through the speaker system.

“This is Krypton, or at least what it once was…” Kara murmured as she walked back over to Lena who was steadily looking around at the new stimuli, not really taking any of it in. Kara sighed as she guided Lena over to a nearby ledge disguised as a bench with an intricate kryptonian design carved into its shape “It’s an almost perfect replica of my home.” Kara explained, her free hand that was not carefully placed on the small of Lena’s back reaching out to caress a flower shaped almost like a snowflake as they passed it by, her fingers going right through the petals and the hologram blurring slightly with the action. “Like how you are an almost perfect replica of my best friend.” Kara whispered quietly, before sitting down on the ledge/bench and nodding her head at the empty spot left beside her. “Sit down with me, Lena.” Kara requested kindly, Lena acquiescing immediately and without complaint.

Kara stared out at the garden that had replaced the cold void of the fortress.

“It’s the ‘ almost’ part that’s the worst.” Kara muttered darkly, shaking her head bitterly as her forehead creased with distaste and disillusionment. “It’s the ‘ almost’ part that makes me hate this whole thing. Kal-El loves it because he doesn’t know. He doesn’t see the thousands of tiny ways it isn’t perfect.” Kara closed her eyes and curled her hands into fists in her lap. “But I do.” 

“This hologram can’t replicate that slightly spicy scent that would pervade through the open air when Rao’s light first rose and illuminated the planet at the start of a new day.” Kara revealed, inhaling deeply yet merely smelling the cold crispness of the ice and snow hidden below the surface. “This hologram can’t replicate the constant buzz and hum sound that came from the science guild that was somehow always audible wherever you were if you listened closely enough.” Kara opened her eyes and stared out at the faux buildings in the background, one shaped like the imperial majesty of what was once to be her future. “It can’t get the correct shade for my mother’s favourite flowers. It can’t recreate my father’s favourite meal.” Kara’s jaw clenched noticeably as she glared harshly at the peaceful setting she had created. “It can’t even get the warmth that Rao would give us right.”

Kara refused to look at Lena whilst she spoke, unsure which hurt her the most anymore - this reminder of her long lost home or the blank, emotionless expression of her long lost best friend.

“I know my home and this… this is a shadow of what it really was. I hate this thing so damn much…” Kara confessed, having told no one else this truth, “but I can’t stop myself from coming here every month and sitting in this fake garden because whilst it isn’t my home in thousands of ways… it’s still the closest damn thing I’ve got.” 

Kara finally found the strength to turn away from one lie and face the one sat next to her. “Just like you’re the closest thing I’ve got to Lena.”

Lena wasn’t even looking at her, her eyes were fixed towards Rao’s fraudulent light.

A part of Kara was glad that she didn’t have to look Lena in the eyes for this. (Lena’s green eyes not being the green eyes Kara knew so well hurt more than anything).

“I have lost hope that I will ever bring back my best friend, the woman that I-” Kara choked on the words and exhaled harshly at her sudden failure. “I don’t know what to do anymore. I hate that you are not my Lena, but I can’t stop myself from holding your hand even though I know you will never squeeze it back in return.” Kara admitted as she lovingly lifted one of Lena’s hands out of her lap and interlaced their fingers together. Kara stared down at their joined hands, for once not feeling that minor flare of disappointment that came whenever Lena didn’t react - she had no hope left to dash.

“I promised you that I would never give up on you.” Kara said softly and earnestly, “That I would never let you be alone. But I failed, didn’t I? I made you feel like I had given up on you, I made you feel alone and isolated and unworthy by not telling you the truth. I let you down… and for that I will never, ever forgive myself.” Kara fell quiet for a few moments, allowing the weight of the past and all its mistakes (on both their parts) to weigh down on them before lifting her head back up and straightening up as she declared fervently, “But I am here now. I will always be here. I am not giving up on you and I will never let you feel alone ever again.”

Kara had spent two days not deciding what she would do next. Not deciding what to do for herself. 

See… Kara had made that decision the second she had said ‘I’ll take care of you’ to Lena in the DEO medbay all those months ago.

She had made a commitment and Kara had no intention of reneging on that.

Admittedly, her view of what that would entail had changed as she had come to accept that her Lena would never return but she was still as devoted to that goal as she had been when she’d made that promise. Kara hadn’t spent two days deciding... she had spent two days adjusting and accepting.

And finally, Kara had.

And that is why she had brought Lena here to tell her in person that she would always be by Lena’s side.

And that Kara would never give up on her.

“I have lost my family, my home and my entire planet.” Kara stated as she studied the flowers that weren’t really flowers moving to a wind that wasn’t there. “I have lost so much I love that I can’t bear to lose you either. I couldn’t…” Kara swallowed thickly as tears stung in a bid to gain freedom from the corners of her eyes, “I couldn’t survive that… because I do…” Kara took a deep breath and said, “I do love you, Lena.”

And just like that, the final truth that Kara had been clinging onto and burying deep within herself was set loose. And all the hidden away emotions attached to that piece of honesty chased after it and poured out of Kara without any chance of stopping them. 

“I love you so much.” Kara gasped, the tears trickling down her cheeks and landing on their joined hands. “And I know I didn’t say it before. I know I didn’t say it when I should have, when there was a chance that me and you could have… become something even greater than what we were. But I was scared. I was scared of loving someone as much as I love you. I was scared of making it real, because the second it became real…” Kara shook her head despondently, “is the second I could lose it. And… I thought if it didn’t become real, then… I could survive if anything happened but I was wrong. I was so wrong.” Kara confessed, “Because now? All I have is regrets and what ifs and all these emotions that I never let out and I…”

Kara wished the words that were escaping with barely any conscious effort had sprung forth so easily two years ago or a year ago… when it had mattered… when it could have made a difference ...

“I love you and I should have told you years ago.” Kara breathed out as she stared up into Rao’s light who she no longer asked for help from anymore. “I should have told you at the same time that I should have told you I was Supergirl because I was keeping two secrets from you. I was keeping my identity and my feelings hidden from you. And hiding both of those was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. Because you should have felt trusted and loved everyday.” 

Kara smiled wistfully as she remembered every moment of her wondrous friendship with Lena. All the good times and the bad and everything in between. With a soft, reverent voice, Kara added, “Because that’s how you make me feel. I love you Lena Luthor. I always will. That is my promise to you now and I intend to keep it for the rest of our lives.”

With a final assertive nod, Kara closed her eyes as a sense of inner peace washed over her.

She had gotten everything off her chest and out of her heart. 

She knew what her future held and was ready to face it.

Then Kara felt it.

An almost imperceptible squeeze of her hand.

Kara exhaled sharply and her eyes snapped open as she gazed down in shock at her hand that was interlocked with Lena’s where she could visible see Lena’s muscles tightening to increase their grip on Kara’s hand. 

“Lena? Did you just?” Kara muttered in disbelief.

Unable to fully comprehend what she was experiencing, Kara glanced to her right to examine Lena’s profile where she instantly saw the glittering shards of moisture rolling down Lena’s cheek. “Oh Rao, Lena!” Kara shouted in confusion and concern upon witnessing tears spill from Lena’s eyes.

Kara slipped off her seat, falling to her knees in front of her best friend so she could peer directly up at Lena’s face.

What Kara saw took her breath away and reignited the spark of hope that she had thought was forever lost.

Bright, tearful green eyes, full of life and vibrancy stared straight back into Kara’s blue ones even though Kara was not blocking the light even slightly.

 “You’re still in there?” Kara called out joyfully, her heart steadily re-stitching itself back together in her chest as tears of grief and loss became tears of wonder and awe. “You’re still in there!!!” Kara cheered as a wide grin lit up her face.