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Supergirl dies on a Wednesday.

Sometimes, when she’s alone in her office in the wee hours of the morning, still in yesterday’s clothing and unsure when she’d last eaten, she thinks about that, the utter normalcy of losing National City’s hero on a Wednesday. Somehow, the death on such a boring day of the week provides a sort of stark contrast that Lena has trouble wrapping her head around. After all, surely the hero and pride of National City would fall in a blaze of glory on a Friday night, a Sunday afternoon, even a Monday morning during rush hour.

But a Wednesday? Some time between mid-morning and noon? When nothing was happening except for the drudge of the week, the tireless churning of society?

She doesn’t understand it—has tried to come to terms with it with very little success. In her weakest moments, when she’s staring down the end of a bottle of whiskey or wine (before Jess or Maggie or even James Olsen pry the bottle from her fingertips and help her get home), she thinks the very banality of Supergirl’s death is evidence of its unnecessary nature, its needless, pointless, meaningless, asinine

Supergirl dies on a Wednesday.

By Friday, the President herself comes to National City to mourn the fallen hero. She talks about the few short conversations she’s had with Supergirl, how everyone should be inspired and follow Supergirl’s wonderful example. A true hero, an exemplary citizen.

(Lena doesn’t go to the ceremony. She and Alex spend that afternoon in Kara’s apartment, sitting on Kara’s couch, Alex stoically staring at the television screen with silent tears running down her cheeks and Lena gripping her hand so tightly she thinks she’ll break fingers.  

After that, Lena doesn’t see much of Alex at all.)

The President dedicates a memorial to Supergirl, and donations come pouring in—people wanting to make it larger than life, much like the hero it’s meant to honor. People from across the country pour into National City in order to discuss how to best go about building the memorial, debating what Supergirl would’ve liked or wanted.

(Lena sits it all out though L-Corp is asked for the perspective, for their idea of what should be built—especially seeing as though the memorial would be so close to their building.

Lena has Jess allocate a sizable donation to the effort to build the memorial, claiming she only does it to get the pestering swarms off her back. She pretends not to hear Jess’s soft sigh, not to see the pitying expression.)

Supergirl dies on a Wednesday.

Not many know how. The secret is limited to a select few: Alex, who was her everything; J’onn, who was like a father; Winn, who was her best friend; James, who was her first love; and Lena—Lena who somehow stumbled into her life and never stumbled back out, now left alone and bearing more scars on her heart than she had any right to.

(Superman is there the day it happens, he is there on that dismal, ordinary, normal, Wednesday. He’s there when Supergirl gets hit, he’s there when she falls, he’s there when she doesn’t get back up. And in the cellphone footage that plays nonstop on every news outlet, Superman lifts her, tears in his eyes, and with a great heave, he shoots off into the air with Supergirl still in his arms.

What no one sees is Superman returning to the DEO. What no one hears is Superman’s toneless voice as he informs the five of them of his cousin’s death, catching Alex before she falls to her knees. What no one knows is that Lena thinks she dies that day too—that Superman meets her eyes as if he hearsthe sound of her breaking heart as it happens, that he watches her become a shell after losing yet another person she loves.)

Supergirl dies on a Wednesday, and it’s on a Wednesday two weeks later that the plans for the memorial is finally revealed. It’s to be a life-sized statue of Supergirl, the artist sketching Supergirl with her hands on her hips, smile on her lips, and it’s on a Wednesday that Lena stares at the drawing and wonders just how many people would recognize that if they placed a pair of glasses on the statue and hid the emblem on her chest with a pastel sweater that Supergirl would strongly resemble someone else.

Supergirl dies on a Wednesday, and in the days that follow the world mourns: the House of El coat of arms is everywhere, people begin quoting Supergirl left and right, and when they see Superman they avert their eyes so as to avoid the sorrow swimming in the depths of his gaze.

It makes Lena so angry.

Because Supergirl dies on a Wednesday, but more importantly, so does Kara.

 

x

 

“I hear you don’t leave the office,” Alex says without prompting as she walks into Lena’s office without any warning. Lena smiles weakly, motioning to Jess that the interruption is fine, and offers Alex a drink. (Water only. After an incident several weeks earlier, the two of them have sworn off alcohol, have been attempting to get their lives back in order—as impossible as that seems.)

“I hear you’ve been reckless.”

“Who snitched?” Alex asks, waving off the water and sitting down across from Lena, slouched heavily in the chair that Kara—

No. No. Lena isn’t about to go there.

“You tell me first,” she replies easily, shutting her laptop and giving Alex her full attention. “It was either Maggie or James. No one else comes to L-Corp late at night.”

“Winn’s been hacking into your security system,” Alex admits, shrugging when Lena’s mouth falls open in offense. “What? He’s used to keeping tabs on you. Has been since Kara—” Her mouth snaps shut, something steely appears in her gaze, and she becomes hard, her jaw clenched tight.

“Maggie told me about the alien you apprehended without backup,” Lena says, pretending as if she didn’t hear Alex’s slip, as if she didn’t witness the way Alex clammed up.

“I had it under control.”

“He was apparently three times bigger than you.” Lena eyes Alex’s leg pointedly, the ginger way Alex stretches it. “And how is nearly getting your leg torn off having anything ‘under control?’”

“He got a lucky shot in, that’s all. Also, I don’t know how I feel about my girlfriend telling you all this stuff.”

“Well I don’t know how I feel about Winn hackinginto my security system.”

“Fair enough, I’ll get him to back off if youpromise to go home and get a good’s night sleep as least twice a week.”

“I like that you know better than to ask for more than two nights a week,” Lena chuckles. When Alex merely raises an eyebrow, clearly in no mood for jokes (though none of them ever really are anymore), Lena deflates. “It still smells like her, the couch, my favorite throw. I just can’t, Alex. I can’t.”

(She doesn’t say that when she goes too long without sleep or if she forgets to eat once too often she sees Kara’s phantom presence—can see her curled up on the couch with a book, can hear her giggling over something she reads on her phone, can feel her warmth while mindlessly watching the news, can smell her perfume lingering in the air and her shampoo and something vaguely sunnyon the clothes she once borrowed when she claimed she was too tired to fly home.

Lena doesn’t say that in her darkest moments, when she’s alone and weak and feeling oh so vulnerable, she thinks that she’ll see Kara emerging from the guest bedroom, yawning even as she worriedly asks why Lena is sobbing. She doesn’t say that watching that door never open is tearing her apart.)

“It’s been a month, there’s no way—”

“So you don’t wear her favorite sweater anymore?”

Alex looks stricken at the accusation, clearly upset that Maggie would confide even this to Lena. The truth, however, is that as worried as everyone has been about Lena, they are all well aware that it’s Alex who’s lost the most—Alex who’s bearing the most pain, Alex who lost her entire world. Lena isn’t stupid; she knows Maggie and James don’t only check up on her out of some vague sense of lingering loyalty to Kara (the one person who had faith in Lena, who believed inLena, who once swore she’d always stand up for Lena).  

After all, who better to understand losing a sibling than Lena Luthor?

“That’s different,” Alex says fiercely after she manages to get her shock under control.

“Alex—”

“She’s not gone. I know it, I can feel it. My sister is still out there and she’s coming back.”

Lena sighs and Alex’s shoulders stiffen.

(It’s practically a play they enact by memory at this point. It’d started a week after Clark left. Alex had stated it as a fact, had talked about how Clark hadn’t let anyone see Kara’s body, how he was keeping his distance, how there were unexplainable reports from the south about random surges and strange miracles, how she swore she heard Kara’s voice one night, just outside her window.

And Lena—heartbroken, terrified, empty Lena—refutes each of Alex’s claims one by one, keeping her voice steady and calm, trying to prevent the swell of hope in her own chest. Because she wants it to be true, she so wants it to be true, but that damn door never opens and experience is a hard teacher and Lena’s had plenty of lessons—enough that while she’s brave enough to admit what she wants she doesn’t dare give in to hope.

Lena isn’t strong enough to hope only for it all to be proved false, so she prays that Alex is strong enough for the both of them.

She wonders how long she can continue to be so unfair.)

“So it can’t be true that I still smell Kara on my things, but she’s definitely alive just because you feel it?”

“You don’t understand, I know my sister. I’ve always had a sixth sense when it came to her, when she was in trouble and needed me. And she needs me now. Lena, you have to believe me.”

(I want to, Lena doesn’t say. Show me how to hope, she doesn’t say.)

“Just like you knew Mon-El was trouble and told her to stay away from him?” Lena says instead, her voice becoming cold. (This too is a conversation she’s had many times with Alex, and every time, it’s ended the same way.)

“Fuck you, Luthor,” Alex hisses. She gets to her feet, only favoring her left leg slightly, all her pain forgotten in her anger, and she stalks out of Lena’s office without another word or a look back.

And Lena wearily reaches for her phone, dialing Maggie’s number.

“She’ll be coming to you now,” she says in lieu of a hello. “Let her know somehow that I’m sorry, okay? And thank her for looking out for me.”

“You could tell her yourself. You could tell her you don’t actually think she’s crazy,” Maggie says, her voice almost completely drowned out by some sort of commotion in the background. Lena idly wonders how the NCPD is faring without one of their greatest assets. 

“I actually don’t think she wants to hear anything from me right now,” Lena says, swallowing hard. “And I never called her crazy.”

“Look, Lena. I get it, okay? People process grief differently.” She lets out a sigh when Lena doesn’t respond. “I don’t know how little Danvers got stuck with two of the most stubborn women in the world.”

“The issue is she’s not processing her grief at all, Maggie,” Lena says, closing her eyes and ignoring the latter part of Maggie’s comment. She doesn’t wait for Maggie to convince her otherwise—she hangs up and tosses her phone aside.

After a long pause, she opens her eyes and swivels her chair around, staring out her window, somehow momentarily sure that she’ll see a flash of red and hear the light thud of boots against the balcony. But the moment is gone in a heartbeat, and Lena hurriedly wipes away the single tear that’s rolled down her cheek and returns to her work as if there’d never been an interruption in the first place.

(She doesn’t go home that night either.)

 

x

 

On the second month anniversary of Supergirl’s (and Kara’s) death, Lena decides she’ll take a lunch break and go for a walk. She tells Jess to take care of all her calls, to email her anything that’s urgent, then walks to the nearest café—barely a block away—buys Kara’s favorite sandwich and heads to memorial that’s still under construction, tentatively named Hero’s Park.

She sits on one of the wooden benches away from the bustling and the work, the sandwich going untouched as she stares at the one thing that’s already been completed: a life-size statue of Supergirl. The artist is talented, she thinks for the umpteenth time. They’d somehow captured Kara’s strength in the curve of her spine, her optimism in the uptick of her lips, her courage in the clench of her hands. Supergirl’s very essence had been distilled into stone, each inch exemplifying everything that made Kara great.

(Or perhaps that’s just what Lena sees when she looks at the statue because that was what she saw when she looked at Kara.)

“You didn’t come to game night,” she hears a deep voice rumble, and though she smiles she doesn’t turn to look at the man who’s joined her at her bench. “We all missed you.”

“Alex is upset with me, I didn’t think she’d want me there.”

“She’s sad, Lena. But she always wants you around.”

Lena sighs, turning to face James, studying his expression and his loose-fitting clothing before offering him another smile, this one self-deprecating, mirthless…broken.

“Why?”

“Because you’re something she has left of Kara. You and Winn.”

“Not you?”

“I came into Kara’s life thanks to Clark. You came into her life because she brought you into it.” He doesn’t seem sad or resentful and Lena knows why: it doesn’t matter how they came into Kara’s life, they were both just grateful that they’d ever been in her orbit at all. She stares at him a little longer then hands over the sandwich, actually letting out a laugh when he halves it and raises an eyebrow, waiting till she accepts her half and takes a bite before he begins to eat as well.

“So you tracked me down to tell me to come to the next game night?”

“Track down?” James huffs, shaking his head. “Lena, there’s no tracking with you. You’re either here or at the office.”

“But you were looking for me.”

“Yeah, but not about game night. Fair warning, though, Alex will probably call you sometime today about that.” He polishes off the last of his sandwich and leans back, his eyes on the memorial, something sad passing over his face. “Cat Grant is back,” he explains without preamble. “She feels…well, I think she’s guilty. She seems to think Kara’s—” He stops, clears his throat, and shakes his head. “She thinks it’s her fault somehow. So she wants to honor Supergirl her own way. She wants to coincide the opening of the memorial with a special issue of CatCo magazine.”

“And how does that involve me?”

“Apparently it’s ‘common knowledge’ that you and Supergirl were close. I don’t think Cat knows just how close you were, but she suspects enough. She wants to interview you, add the viewpoint of someone who knew Supergirl well.”

“And she didn’t ask you?”

“She did. But the truth is I don’t think I knew Kara in the end. We’d become so distant and I…” He stops and hangs his head, hurriedly wiping at his eyes. Lena tactfully looks away, remembering all the nights he helped her off the floor of her office and took her home, never once mentioning her weakness, never once taking advantage of the information he held over her. To see someone at their very worst and still think them strong…that was something Lena hadn’t had with anyone before James. And she likes it. She likes it enough that she surprises herself by reaching out and taking James’s hand, not looking over at him even when he squeezes back gratefully.

“I don’t know if I can survive an interview with Cat Grant,” Lena tells James softly, pulling her hand away and turning to him. To her shock, he’s grinning.

“I thought you’d say that,” he says, knocking shoulders with her. “That’s why I told Cat I’d interview you. As my last hurrah I guess before I move back to Metropolis.”

Lena frowns, filled with confusion and a terrible sense of sorrow that she’s losing someone she just found.

“You’re moving away? But—”

“I don’t belong here anymore, Lena,” he interrupts, and Lena doesn’t understand why he looks so carefree, why he’s so cheerful about that fact. “I came here to get out from under Clark’s shadow and I think somewhere along the way I lost myself. I wanted to be a hero like Kara, a hero like Clark, and I forgot that there’s more to being a hero than punching a few bad guys.” He tilts his head towards her, actually winking. “You showed me that, you know. You’re more of a hero than you know, and it’s just because you choose to do the right thing over what might be easy.”

“I think you’re giving me too much credit, James.”

“I think you give yourself too little credit,” he shoots back with good humor. “National City has been good for you. For me…well, for me I don’t think it was.”

“You met Kara here,” Lena reminds him softly, but rather than recant, James tilts his head back, staring up at the sky with a wide smile on his face, his eyes closing. She can almost see what Kara saw in him—he’s obviously conventionally attractive, but he’s also soft and gentle, kind, and patient. There’s a warmth to him that Lena appreciates, something she finds herself basking in because at times—when he’s chuckling or when he’s passionate about something—it reminds Lena so much of Kara. The very thought of losing him hurts more than she thought it would, especially now that they’ve become tentative friends, one of the many things Lena has because of Kara. “National City gave you that.”

“National City also took her away,” he says, his smile not fading and his eyes still closed. “I like to think that there’s an alternate world, another timeline that Kara is alive and happy. And maybe I met her and maybe I didn’t, but I think just knowing she’s somewhere in the world would be enough for me.”

“Yes,” Lena says without thinking, “I agree.”

“So.” James claps his hands together and sits up, finally opening his eyes and facing her. “Will you do the interview? Send me off in style?”

Lena looks over at the statue, eyes roving the intricate lines of Kara’s face. She stares into the lifeless eyes of the statue and for a moment they flash, looking blue and bright and vibrant.

Kara gave her friends, gave her a sense that she mattered, but most of all, Kara reminded her what it meant to be a hero: to do the best you could, with whatever you had. So Lena’s answer is a no-brainer.

“Of course, James. Whatever you need.”

And James’s answering grin reminds her so much of Kara that the ache in her chest—the one she hasn’t been able to escape since that Wednesday two months ago—twinges painfully, and Lena realizes that, with or without James, losing Kara is something she’ll never be able to get over.

 

x

 

Cat Grant actually cries (it’s caught on camera, a single tear rolling down her cheeks, and the photograph is tucked into the corner of the article about Supergirl and her wider influence—forever immortalizing herself as not only the person who named Supergirl, but also the person who said goodbye.)

Lena’s interview with James is everywhere the day the memorial opens. Quotes are read on news programs, social media blows up with it, shared again and again with varying opinions.

(“She’s a fake,” some say.

“She’s not like her family,” others write.

“Can you imagine, a Super and a Luthor?” some question.

“No, no, no,” many claim, “she’s in love.”)

Lena doesn’t pay attention to any of it. She goes to work, meets with her board members and investors, speaks to R&D, takes conference calls from foreign businesses, forgets to eat until Jess strongholds her into it, only going home when Winn or Maggie (or sometimes Alex, when she’s not surly, when she’s not still spouting her mad claims about Kara) drag her away from the office.

And time drags on.

They have a going away celebration for James, playing board games in Kara’s honor and eating so many potstickers that Alex feels sick. They tell stories, Winn gets drunk, and James hugs both Alex and Lena tightly, promising to stay in touch—promising to be around the second they ever need him. He tells Winn that being his partner was one of the greatest things he’s ever done in his life.

Alex stops mentioning her certainty that Kara is still alive, but bags appear beneath her eyes, Maggie claims that she doesn’t know where Alex is most times, J’onn tells Lena he’s worried and he wants her help in finally putting this all to rest.

Maggie gets a promotion and the night they celebrate almost feels normal, even if there’s a wide gaping wound, a space that they attempt to fill with music and laughter, an emptiness that is palpable and harsh.

Lena invites Alex and Winn to a symposium for technological innovations, and the three of dork out. Maggie fondly calls them her favorite nerds, and even James calls from Metropolis to tease them about it.

Before Lena knows it, another month has passed, and she wonders when it became so easy to pretend she’s just fine.

 

x

 

She dreams of Kara often.

In many respects, that statement isn’t altogether strange. She’s dreamt of Kara since the day she met the bumbling reporter. She’s dreamt of them being friends, dreamt of Kara’s laugh, dreamt of the day that Kara would trust her enough to unbutton her shirt and reveal her family’s crest.

(And these dreams weren’t just dreams—eventually they became grounded in reality.

Perhaps she should have known then, perhaps she should have realized a Luthor never would have a happy ending.)

She dreams of Kara often, that isn’t what strikes her. It’s the fact that this dream feels so real.

Kara sits on her couch, laughing as she pulls takeout containers out from a bag she’s set on the table, mumbling on about something and adjusting her glasses. And Lena can’t help it, she steps away from her desk—abandoning the work she just said she was almost done with—and approaches Kara, dropping to her knees in front of her.

“Lena?” Kara asks, looking worried, a crease appearing between her eyebrows, her glasses slipping down the bridge of her nose. She ignores it and Lena’s met with a breathtaking view of Kara’s blue eyes. “Are you okay?”

“I think I’m dreaming,” she says softly. Rather than frown or laugh like Kara usually would, Lena just gets a soft look. The crease between Kara’s eyes disappears and she tilts her head slightly to the side, actually reaching out and cupping Lena’s cheeks with her hands.

“Would it matter if it’s a dream?”

“But then you wouldn’t be real.”

Kara’s thumbs wipe at Lena’s cheeks, and it takes a moment for Lena to realize she’s dabbing away the evidence of Lena’s tears.

“I’m real, Lena,” she says, and Lena can feel Kara’s warm breath fanning over her face as she leans in closer. “I’m real and I’m here.”

(Dream-Kara smells like the Kara Lena knew. She smells vaguely sweet with a certain undertone that Lena doesn’t know how to describe other than bright. Dream-Kara is soft and warm. Dream-Kara is leaning dangerously close and Lena wonders if it would be wrong to give in, to close the last of that distance between them and find out what Kara tastes like—even if it’s a dream, even if it’s not real.)

“I miss you,” Lena finds herself mumbling, eyes fluttering shut, and she doesn’t have to wonder about the morals of kissing the dream-version of the woman she’s in love with because Kara takes the decision out of her hands entirely.

She kisses Lena hungrily, fingers threading into Lena’s hair and tugging her closer, and Lena isn’t quite sure if it’s her heart that’s hammering away or if it’s Kara’s. And when Kara releases her hair, when her teeth drag over Lena’s lips and her hands trace the contours of Lena’s body, Lena stops thinking about hearts. She accepts what Kara gives her, her own hands trembling as she desperately holds Kara to her, worried that if she releases her hold even for a moment the dream will dematerialize and she’ll be left alone again.

It’s a dream (and Lena dreams of Kara often) but damn it if it didn’t feel real.

“I’m here,” Kara tells her in between kisses—head spinning, heart pounding, world upturning, kisses. “I’m here and you’re gonna find me.”

 

x

 

“You were right!” Lena shouts, banging on the door with no thought at all to the time or how it must look. “You were right!” she shouts again, shocked when the door flies open before she can knock again.

“You better have a damn good reason for this racket, Luthor,” Alex hisses, putting her gun away and dragging Lena inside her apartment. She looks disheveled, a little more than half-asleep, and Lena considers for one moment that maybe she could’ve waited until the morning for this.

“You were right,” she says again, deciding this was urgent enough to justify pulling Alex out of bed. From the other side of the apartment, Maggie comes shuffling over, scratching at her cheek, squinting at the kitchen lights and Lena’s exuberance.

“What’s going on?” the detective asks.

“I don’t know, ask Lena, she’s the one who tried to ram her way in.”

“You were right,” Lena says again, not understanding how Alex still hasn’t caught on.

“I get it, I was right, but about what?”

“Kara.”

That’s it, that’s all it takes, that single word, uttered as barely a breath, barely a whisper, nothing more than a prayer. It’s one word and Alex’s eyes fill with tears, and before Lena knows it, the elder Danvers has rammed into her, engulfing her in a tight embrace, practically sobbing with relief.

“She’s alive,” Alex says, “she’s alive.”

“You were right, I’m so sorryI didn’t believe you before, I’m so sorry I didn’t trust you.” She wants to say more but Alex has pulled away and is looking at Lena like she singlehandedly saved Kara herself, while Maggie looks vaguely suspicious.

“What brought this on, Luthor?” Maggie asks, ever the detective. “What changed your mind?”

Alex steps further away from Lena, both of them turning to look at Maggie in unison, frowning at her tone. Maggie doesn’t shy away from their stares; instead, her back straightens and her arms cross her chest defensively.

“What?” she asks when Lena and Alex merely continue to stare at her. “It’s a legitimate question.”

“Except it’s not the one you’re really asking, detective,” Lena says, eyes narrowed. “Say what you mean.” She hopes Maggie will drop it, she hopes that Maggie will raise her hands in surrender and back off.

Maggie doesn’t.

“Fine. You were supposed to help Alex accept what happened, not make all this worse.” Maggie’s tone is cold and hard, slipping into the part she plays when she’s at work, and Lena thinks she can actually spot the moment that Alex’s faith in her girlfriend slips away. Because Maggie’s tone, stance, and stubborn gaze makes one thing abundantly clear: she does not believe them.

“She’s alive,” Lena insists, looking from Maggie to Alex, noticing the elder Danvers seems distracted, her eyes now on the ground, her hands shaking. “She didn’t die.”

“For fuck’s—we all saw what happened, Lena! We all saw the attack and the fall.”

“No, we only saw what they wanted us to see,” Lena says, ignoring Maggie’s scoff and focusing on Alex. “We were convinced Kara died, but what if someone wanted it that way?”

“The entire world thinks Kara’s dead, Lena!” Maggie says, her eyes on Alex as well though she steps between the two of them, as if blocking Alex from Lena’s line of sight would somehow protect her girlfriend from what Lena is saying. “You can’t tell me that there’s someone out there that can make the entire world hallucinate something simultaneously.”

“Not the entire world, actually. Just us. We were the ones that told the world she was gone.”

“That still doesn’t explain how we were tricked—”

“—that Martians can plant images or thoughts in people’s mind with their telepathy—”

“—unless you’re accusing J’onn there aren’t any other Martians to plant anything—”

“—and Martians aren’t the only alien species who have telepathic powers!” Lena finishes, throwing her hands up in the air. She knows her cheeks are likely covered in red splotches, a flush appearing on her neck and ears thanks to the combination of frustration and pale skin, and her chest is heaving, but she doesn’t back down. She can’t.

Kara is alive, and they had to find her.

“Alex,” Lena says, looking past Maggie’s disapproving face and staring at the elder Danvers who’s remained uncharacteristically silent on the matter. “I wouldn’t be standing here if I wasn’t sure. I looked into those reports—the surges and miracles you talked about. Kara’s out there, and she’s trying to get home.”

Alex looks up and Maggie’s shoulders deflate at the fire in Alex’s eyes—the determination, the vindication, the hope, shining brightly. “Finally,” she says, squaring her shoulders and nodding. “You finally believe me.

“Alex—” Lena begins, but Alex waves her off.

“Better late than never, Luthor. But we have a lot of work to do.”

“Where do we start?”

“With Clark. If anyone knows what really happened, it’s him. I’m just going to need your help.” She grins broadly and rushes off, heading towards her bedroom—to dress, to gather her things, to call Clark, Lena doesn’t know. She just wishes that Alex hadn’t left her alone with Maggie Sawyer.

“If you’re wrong, it’ll break her. If you’re wrong, I’m coming after you,” she threatens lowly, stepping into Lena’s space.

“Don’t worry, detective. If I’m wrong, it’ll be punishment enough.”

Maggie softens at the admission—said softly and reluctantly—and she takes a step back, letting out a loud sigh and rolling her eyes. “Falling for a Danvers sister. I guess you and I have more in common than I thought.” She studies Lena’s face for a moment, likely detecting something Lena has no desire to have anyone detect or understand, and without warning she steps into Lena’s space again, this time pulling her into a hug. She holds on tightly, apparently not bothered that Lena doesn’t hug her back, not bothered that Lena’s just a little stiff and more than a little awkward. “If you and Alex believe, it’s enough for me. Let’s go get our Supergirl back, shall we?”

 

x

 

“What changed your mind?” Alex asks as the elevator stops, smiling awkwardly at a frazzled looking reporter with a stack of papers in his hands, mumbling under his breath as he gets off on his floor. When the elevator doors slide shut and they’re alone, Lena leans her head back against the wall, watching the numbers light up on the panel as they pass several floors.

“I had a dream,” she answers honestly.

“Oh?”

(It sounds like an Oh?, a ‘Oh, you had that sort of dream?’ and it makes Lena blush.

Because, yes, that’s a part of it. But it was mostly Kara’s certainty that Lena would find her. It was the reminder that Kara always hoped—always had faith—and Lena owed it to her be the same way.

And to be perfectly frank, telling Kara’s sister about her feelings for the alien is a conversation she’s not keen on having.)

“Yes.”

“Not going to elaborate?”

“Kara always believed in me. And I believe in her. And by extension you.”

“Oh damn, Maggie was right,” Alex says, eyes wide. Fortunately, Lena’s spared having to think of a response when the elevator comes to a halt and the doors slide open to their floor. “After you, Luthor,” Alex says with a grin, motioning for Lena to go on ahead of her. With a huff, Lena does as she’s told, holding her head up high as they walk through the office, ignoring the looks—from shock to distrust to amusement—that follow them as they pass by cubicles. The whisperings of ‘Holy shit is that Lena Luthor?’ begin immediately, and Lena curses the entire place for the umpteenth time.

She really, really hates The Daily Planet.

They catch sight of James as they blindly walk around, and his wide smile and genuine happiness to see them puts Lena at ease despite where she is and who’s she’s surrounded by (vultures, the very vultures that destroyed her family’s name, dragging it through the mud, though admittedly, much of that dragging was deserved thanks to Lex and Lillian).

“He’s not here,” James informs them after quick greetings and a tight hug, pulling them into an empty room and closing the door behind him. “There was a fire and he went to help out, he should be back soon.”

“Thank you for this, James,” Alex says, looking relieved. “I know Clark’s your friend—”

“Don’t thank me, I looked at the footage like you said. You’re right, it’s fishy. And if tricking Clark helps us get to the bottom of it…” He trails off, clearly unwilling to state how he’s prepared to hurt his best friend in order to find Kara. “Do you think it’ll work?”

“Mr. Kent doesn’t trust me,” Lena says with an easy shrug. “I say it’ll work quite fine.”  Alex opens her mouth, almost as if she wants to reassure Lena that Clark’s alone in his reticence to trust the last remaining Luthor, but it snaps back shut when they hear a flurry and a sound of boots landing. (Lena’s sure Alex just had the same thought she did: for a moment—just a moment—they both convinced themselves they’d turn around and see Kara come in from the window, a grin in her face from the flight, her hands on her hips, hair windswept. Instead, they’re met with Clark Kent’s narrowed and suspicious eyes.)

“James? What is this?”

“We want to know where you took Kara,” Alex says before James can even open his mouth. Clark—Superman, Lena’s not really sure how to address him—stares as his best friend merely steps back and allows Alex to begin her interrogation.

“I told you the last several times you came here,” Clark begins heatedly, revealing where Alex was off to when neither Maggie or J’onn were aware of her whereabouts, “she’s gone. She’s in Rao’s light and you need to let her go.”

“My sister is not dead!”

“Alex,” Lena warns, worried they’ll be overheard. Clark seems to share the concern because he raises his hands in surrender.

“You’re sad,” he says bracingly. “I understand. I’m sad too.”

“Don’t you dare,” Alex hisses, “don’t you dare pretend you’re going through anything similar to me. I love her, I’d do anything for her. You gave her up! You sent her away! You abandoned her!”

“I loved Supergirl too—”

“Kara is not gone,” Alex interrupts, shocking Clark enough that his hands drop and his eyes flit over to Lena.

“Alex, what’re you doing—”

“I know who you are, Mr. Kent,” Lena says, rolling her eyes at the fear clear on his face. “I may not be like Lex in many respects, but neither of us are blind and glasses are not an adequate disguise.”

“Lex Luthor knows about—”

“We don’t have time for this. Tell us where you took Kara.” Lena must not sound as scary as Kara sometimes claimed she did, because Clark just groans.

“For the hundredth time, Kara is gone. I heard her heart stop.”

“Did you? Or did you just think you did?” James questions, leaning against the door. “You should listen to what they have to say, Clark. Because if they’re right, Kara’s in trouble and she needs our help.”

“And if I don’t?” Clark asks, his false bravado failing as his voice shakes even at the possibility of his cousin still being alive—at somehow having been wrong. Lena pushes aside the pity she suddenly feels for him—the sorrow that fills her at the thought that Clark has spent the last several months thinking he not only lost his only genetic relation, but one of his kind, leaving the weight of an entire civilization (not even rightly his), once on Kara’s shoulders, solely on his back—and steps forward.  

“If you don’t, Mr. Kent,” Lena says, her voice low and her tone cold, “I’ll do what my brother couldn’t bring himself to: I’ll tell the world who you really are.”

 

x

 

J’onn, Maggie, and James (as the Guardian) go over the details of the plan again, but Lena sits back, content to watch Winn argue a point, Vasquez and Lucy offering their own advice and suggestions.

It’s remarkable, really, how many people have been willing to put their hearts on the line in order to pursue this razor thin thread of hope that Alex’s faith and a bit of shaky footage has offered them. It’s remarkable how a few seconds of video—moments, mere heartbeats, really—show the relief on Clark’s face before it morphs into despair and that’s enough for all of them to practically move into the DEO and use the information Clark gave them to attempt to figure out where Kara could be.

(“I took her to the Fortress, I thought maybe Kelex could help somehow. But I had to leave—there was a plane crash over Bulgaria—and when I got back, Kara was gone and Kelex told me she’d joined her family in Rao’s light. I didn’t think to question it. I was sure I heard her heart stop.”

“If we don’t find her, it’ll be your fault.”

“I was trying to protect you, Alex. I didn’t want you to keep hoping for something that wouldn’t come true. I’m sorry. Let me help now.”

“I think you’ve done more than enough protecting, Clark,” Alex had hissed, and that was that.)

And though she knows it’s a waiting game at this point—already having done as much as she could by helping Winn design the program that could narrow Kara’s location—she feels useless and helpless. She wants to be moving, she wants to feel as if she’s accomplishing something, she wants Kara in her arms, wants to kiss her for real—admit how she feels for real

She just wants Kara back, in any capacity. A friend, the city’s superhero, a bumbling reporter. Kara needed to come back.

“Hungry?” Alex asks, interrupting Lena’s thoughts as she plops down in the chair next to Lena, offering an energy bar. Lena shakes her head and Alex shrugs, unwrapping the bar and taking a large bite. “You know, Luthor,” she says between chews, raising one eyebrow, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Clark scared till you threatened him. I’m impressed.”

“It was all in a day’s work,” Lena says proudly before her shoulders droop. “I just hope Kara doesn’t hate me for it.”

“If anything, Kara will be too busy hating me to hate you. So I think you’ll be fine.”

“Why would Kara hate you?”

She regrets the question as soon as she asks it because it makes Alex’s smile and her cheerful attitude slip away almost immediately.

“It was my fault.”

“No,” Lena immediately denies, shaking her head. “No it wasn’t.”

“Don’t lie, you’re not good at it,” Alex says mirthlessly. “It’s something you and my sister share.”

“You didn’t do anything.”

“That’s the issue, isn’t it? I just…stood back. Allowed it to happen. Ignored the warning signs because of a charming smile and a few excuses.” She turns her head, and Lena looks down, wanting to spare Alex the embarrassment of seeing her cry—something she thinks the agent is tired of doing in front of Lena. “I was so involved with Kara’s relationship with James,” Alex continues, voice muffled. “We talked almost every night, we joked about it, I let her cry on my shoulder when Lucy came to National City. But with Mon-El—God, I didn’t even question it. Didn’t even wonder if it was really something she wanted, but I pushed for it because I wanted her to have what I have. And when things started to fray with him, all the fights and the arguments…I just thought it was none of my business. I stayed out of it, and Lena, that’s on me.”

“You couldn’t have known he would turn out the way he did.”

“You mean violent? Aggressive? Selfish? Because I did know all that. We all knew that.”

“The only one responsible for Mon-El’s actions is Mon-El. And he got what he deserved.”

“He should’ve died. I should’ve killed him.”

“Except you’re not a killer.” Lena looks over at Alex, frowning at the strained look on her face and her tense shoulders. “Kara loves you and she wouldn’t want you to become a killer for her.”

“Technically, it wouldn’t be for her. It’d be to get rid of the worst thing to happen to this planet,” Alex says wryly, clearly attempting to joke and change the subject. But Lena’s more stubborn than Alex expects, and she doesn’t smile or even react to the comment.

“When Lex did the things he did I wondered if anything I ever accomplished would matter. After all, I’d always be tainted by Lex, his dark shadow always looming over me. In the end, it was Kara who made me see that what I do matters, that I was right in wanting to move away from Lex’s legacy.”

“Yeah?” Alex says disinterestedly, still trying to shrug this topic off. 

“Yes. Kara is living proof that regardless of all the terrible things that happen—to us or others—we still have a choice, we still have the opportunity to do as much good as we can, be as kind and accepting as possible, and change the world for the better.” Lena smiles, bumping shoulders with Alex. “You don’t pay back bad with more bad, Alex Danvers. You squash it out by overwhelming the world with good.”

“God, you’re a sap. You really love her, don’t you?” Alex says, and this time, Lena allows the subject change, ignoring the tears in Alex’s eyes.

“Yeah. I do.”

 

x

 

They get their first real break when a woman visiting family in India returns with stories of a super woman who could carry more weight than any of the men in their town, a super woman who’d single-handedly saved dozens after an earthquake caused the local hospital to collapse, reminding everyone of the fallen hero, Supergirl.

But when Lena prepares to pack, prepares to visit the area along with Alex, Lucy, J’onn, Vasquez, and others, she’s held back by Maggie.

“You and me are sitting this one out, Luthor,” Maggie tells her, leaning against the doorway to the DEO barracks where Lena’s been spending her time away from the office. She makes another mental note to give Jess a pay raise after she didn’t question why Lena asked for some of her clothes to be brought to the office—didn’t even raise an eyebrow when Lena came in every morning with yesterday’s clothing.

“Like hell we are,” Lena shoots back, resuming her packing. (Mostly it’s just essentials, a laptop to work, her phone charger to make sure she could keep up with the going-ons at L-Corp.) “I want to be there when we find Kara.”

“She might not be there.”

“Maggie—”

“I’m just being realistic. It might be a coincidence. And if it isn’t, haven’t you wondered why Kara hasn’t come back if she still has her powers? Why she’s been MIA for months?”

“Maybe she can’t. Maybe she’s hurt. Maybe she’s being threatened.”

“But she has time to help earthquake victims?”

“Dammit Maggie!” Lena shouts, at wit’s end, tired of Maggie’s endless cynicism. (And if a part of her knows it’s not cynicism but pragmatism—something Lena used to be known for, a cold logic she could apply to any situation regardless of her feelings, except apparently, when it involves Kara—she doesn’t dwell on it. She can’t.) “What do you want from me?” she asks, voice dropping to barely a whisper, collapsing onto her bunk and cradling her head in her hands.

“You’re worried. You’re scared. You’re hurt. I get it, Luthor, I do. But you’re not thinking straight. Kara’s a part of the DEO, she’s their agent, and recovering her is a mission for the DEO. Not for a lowly NCPD detective, and not for a CEO.”

“You wanted to go too, didn’t you? Who said no? J’onn? Alex?”

“Little Danvers is important to me, even if you and Alex think I’m a monster for being realistic about this whole thing.” She pauses, leaning her head against the doorway and closing her eyes briefly. “I want her to be alive too. I want her back too.” She opens her eyes and straightens, eyes determined. “I said you and Alex believing is enough for me, and I meant it. But someone has to be ready to pick up the pieces if all this goes wrong.”

“That doesn’t sound like faith, detective. It sounds like you’re waiting to play cleanup.”

“In my experience, faith doesn’t really work out.”

Lena drops her hands and finds herself smiling at Maggie, shrugging helplessly even as she resigns herself to remaining behind.

“Yes, my experience is like that too. But this is Kara. So I believe.”

Maggie snorts, shuffling over to Lena’s bunk and sitting down next to her, the two of them staring at the floor. “Like I said, how it is bubbly, happy Little Danvers attracted such stubborn people will forever be a mystery to me.”

“Probably because she’s the most stubborn of all of us.”

(And if it’s said almost like a prayer—a hope that Kara’s stubbornness gets her through this latest threat, this latest obstacle in her life as a superhero—neither Maggie nor Lena show any indication they notice it. They can’t.)

 

x

 

She spends her lunch walking in Hero’s Park.

The memorial is finished now, nearly six months after Supergirl fell to her supposed death, and it truly is breathtaking. The statue stands near a fountain that’s shaped like the House of El crest, a massive ‘S’ standing in the center, covered in words people have used to describe Supergirl. (Things like hero, brave, gentle, kind, friend, and even love.) It’s become somewhat of a tourist destination, especially after Superman came one afternoon to brush his hand over Kara’s likeness, as if he thought if he stared hard enough or hoped hard enough, the stone would dematerialize and leave a very real and very alive Kara in its place.

(He uses that visit to also come by the DEO and apologize again, offering his help again, and Lena wishes she could’ve seen Alex’s scathing response, even if J’onn accepted the aid—stating they’d need all the help they could get.)

James, Winn, and Maggie are with her, the four of them left behind, banding together in this moment, breathlessly waiting for news—for Alex’s return, if all goes right, with Kara. James keeps staring at the statue, Winn chatters nervously, and Maggie’s texting, her brows furrowed at whatever she’s reading.

Lena doesn’t ask—she worries it involves Kara and she isn’t sure she wants to know if anything’s gone wrong.

“We should have a game night to celebrate her return,” James says suddenly. “All you can eat pizza and potstickers and ice cream. Maybe some of that alien alcohol that can get Kara drunk.”

“And Monopoly,” Winn adds. “If she’s getting drunk we should play Monopoly, it’s always more fun that way.”

“And karaoke,” Maggie laughs, slipping her phone into her pocket and grinning. “Have you heard Kara sing? There’s a reason she’s called super.”

“We should invite everybody,” Winn continues. “From the DEO, Metropolis—drag Cat Grant into it if we have to. Maybe we could even get into contact with her inter-dimensional friends, Barry and Cisco and the others.” He smiles dreamily. “I can talk about the multiverse with them.” 

“The first thing I’m going to do when Kara’s back is give her a hug,” Maggie says. “I miss Little Danvers’ hugs.”

“I’m going to spoil every single TV show she follows. It’s going to make her so mad,” Winn says happily, rubbing his hands together.

“I’ll just tell her that Cat’s back in charge and that Kara’s job is waiting for her if she wants it.”

“Lena?” Maggie question, coming to a halt and pulling Lena to a stop as well. “What about you?”

“I think I’ll just be happy she’s back,” Lena says, not meeting Maggie’s eyes and ignoring Winn’s blatant amusement and James’s raised eyebrows.

“Come on, Luthor,” Maggie presses.

“Yeah, Lena. There’s nothing you want to tell Kara?” Winn adds, holding back a smile.

“You know, the one obvious thing throughout all this, something you’d think one would want to confess if they got a second chance?” James asks, his eyebrows still comically raised.

“I don’t know what any of you mean,” Lena says resolutely, her chin jutting out even as she avoids all their eyes. “Kara being back would be more than enough for me.”

“Kara being back would be more than enough for all of us,” James says, actually letting out a laugh. “But take it from someone who’s been where you are—if you don’t tell her, you’ll regret it forever.”

 

x

 

Supergirl returns to National City on a Saturday.

It makes her wonder sometimes, this sole fact. Because Supergirl returns quietly, without fanfare, without buzz, rolled into the DEO on a bed, injured and unconscious, Alex gripping her hand so tightly that Lena is almost sure she’s impending blood flow.

(Over the next few days, the story—the truth—begins to come out. There’s talk of spores from a starfish-like alien named Starro. How this alien has hated Superman since he and others locked Starro away, how the spores were able to not mind-control entirely but suggest certain thoughts, how Supergirl had been trying to get back for months, resisting the spore’s effects as best she could. There’s explanations as to how Superman was exposed to the spores in the first place, how he came to be so sure that Kara died in his arms, how Kara managed to leave the Fortress of Solitude as weak as she was, as confused as she was.

And the strangest thing of all, Kara’s last words before she passes out after Alex removes the spores: where’s Lena?)

Supergirl returns to National City on a Saturday and it’s extraordinary in its simplicity, its easiness, the utter sense of rightness. She slips in as if she never left, as if she was never gone, as if no time has passed at all, and even though she’s laying on a bed underneath several sun lamps, Alex never straying too far from her side, she feels so permanent—so unmovable and untouchable.

Supergirl returns to National City on a Saturday, and by Monday the entire world becomes aware of it as well when she saves a school bus from getting hit by a man running a red light.

(It’s as if the world is upturned again, as if they entered some sort of alternate realty. The President returns to National City for a photo op with Supergirl, shaking her hand and exclaiming how glad she is to have Supergirl back. The memorial remains in place but is called a celebratory monument. People swarm into the park, hoping to get a photo with the statue and maybe even a flash of red as Supergirl flies by overhead.

Alex calls Lena at work and tells her that Superman comes to the DEO not even a day after Supergirl wakes up, exclaiming how grateful he is to have her back, and how much they need to watch ‘that Luthor,’ much to Alex’s amusement.

James visits and admits Cat offered his job back and he thinks he might take it, realizing after some time away that the distance from his friends wasn’t something he could live with.)

(Lena doesn’t see Supergirl after that first Saturday she’s back. She wishes she could stay by Kara’s side like Alex, but she manages little more than brief visits when she has the time, and after Kara wakes up, Lena’s assaulted by reporters asking her how she feels about Supergirl’s return, embroiling L-Corp in a conversation her company shouldn’t be involved in. She’s busyand Supergirl is busy—making up for all the lost time, zooming about all hours of the day and night, no job too large or too small for her help—and it’s okay.

After all, all she needs to do when she feels overwhelmed or sad or worried is close her eyes and listen to the superhero speeding about the city, or turn on the news and witness it for herself, for her heart to settle and her mind to ease.)

And while James, Alex, Maggie, and even J’onn ask if Lena’s seen Kara yet—ask if she wants help tracking Kara down, getting her alone, admitting the truth. But they don’t understand, Lena doesn’t need anything other than knowing Supergirl is around. They don’t understand that for Lena, Supergirl’s presence in National City is enough.

Because Supergirl returns to National City on a Saturday, but more importantly, so does Kara.  

 

x

 

A week passes before Lena hears that oh-so-telling thud of boots against her balcony. It’s years of lessons drilled into her head about not reacting—never showing her hand—that stops her from turning around immediately, not rushing to Kara immediately, not gushing immediately. Instead she slowly shuts her laptop and smiles as Kara steps into view, her hands on her hips, her head tilted to the side.

“Are you avoiding me, Lena Luthor?” Kara asks, the first thing she’s said to Lena since before the fall, since before the world turned upside down at the loss of their greatest hero. She’s smiling as she moves to stand in front of Lena’s desk, arms crossing over her chest, covering up her House’s coat of arms. There’s an odd sense of tension between them, a silence filled with so much going unsaid, an awkwardness that only time and distance can ever really bring about.

“I could ask you the same thing, Supergirl,” Lena says as she stares at the woman who’s her best friend, the woman she’s fallen in love with, the woman she felt so lost without. She wanted Kara back, and now that she is, it’s frustrating that it feels so strange.

“Apparently disappearing for months on end is not a good idea,” Kara says, leaning back onto the heels of her feet. “Means a lot of work when you finally get back.”

“Something to remember the next time you decide to make the entire world think you’re dead, I’m sure,” Lena says, unable to keep her eyes off Kara, roving over the curls of her hair, the blue of her eyes, the lift of her lips, the tap of her fingers, even the set of her shoulders. Lena drinks her in, storing up for another potential drought, never wanting to forget the strength of Kara’s back, the crinkles at the corners of her eyes. She’s back, Lena reminds herself. This was what she wanted. This was the thing she hoped for.

“I’m sorry about that by the way,” Kara says, dropping her gaze. “I hadn’t meant—”

“To get betrayed by someone we all trusted and then be subjected to one of Superman’s enemies? You’re not the only one who didn’t mean for that to happen, Kara. And none of it is your fault.”

“I should’ve known better,” she says, hanging her head. “I did know better but somehow he…” Lena watches as Kara trails off, struggling to find the words to explain what went wrong, and Lena finds that enough is enough. Awkwardness and tension be damned, she gets up quickly, rounds the desk, and pulls Kara into a hug (the first hug since before the fall, since before losing her best friend, since before her world turned upside down at the loss of the woman she’s in love with).

“I missed you so much,” Lena says, wanting nothing but to show Kara how amazing she is, how wonderful she is, how utterly needed she is. “And I’m so glad you’re here.”

“I knew, you know,” Kara mutters into Lena’s neck, her arms wrapping around Lena’s waist pulling her closer. “I knew you and Alex wouldn’t give up on me. I knew you two would find me.”

And Lena knows that one day she and Alex will have to tell Kara about the drinking, about how everyone ignored Alex for months, about how it took a very real dream about Kara for Lena to believe as well. And she knows that one day—not today, but soon—Kara will have to talk about what happened to her, explain how it was that she fought off the spores that had so completely convinced Clark of her death.

But today, the first time Lena has seen Kara since the fall, since her supposed death, all that can wait. Today, Lena just holds on tighter to Kara, revels in her warmth, and lets out a laugh.

“I suppose Alex and I are just stubborn that way.”

 

x

 

The next time she visits Hero’s Park and the monument dedicated to Supergirl, it’s with Kara, the two of them arm in arm, Kara enjoying an ice cream cone.

“Lucy and James got back together,” Kara informs Lena suddenly, releasing Lena’s arm and turning around to walk backwards, one sticky hand holding onto Lena’s hand. “Lucy says they’re pretty happy.”

“I’m glad. James and Lucy deserve that.”

“They do. Honestly, I’m not surprised. James has been different these past few months, spending so much time at the DEO and with Lucy—it was obvious he wanted to try again.”

“I’m just glad James decided to stay in National City. I don’t think anyone would be able to control Winn’s cheating at game night otherwise.”

“I don’t think Clark’s quite forgiven James yet for what you and Alex did,” Kara says with a laugh, squeezing Lena’s hand when she looks away at the reminder. “I doubt James wants to go back to Metropolis anytime soon.”

“It’s not like I would’ve actually given away his secret. It’s not my fault he doesn’t see past my last name.”

“Exactly.”

“And I—wait. What?”

“I said exactly. I love Clark, but the man needs to relax a little bit more. All that stress probably isn’t very healthy.” Kara grins and motions towards Lena’s bench—the one she spent so much time on nearly a year ago. They sit down together, arms brushing, and like always, Lena’s heart rate spikes at merely the proximity.

“Alex says I traumatized him.”

Pfft. Alex is the one who traumatizes people. You’re too…you for that.”

“What? What does that mean?”

“You know,” Kara gestures wildly over at Lena, her eyes wide. “You’re you.”

“I’m sorry, Kara, I don’t know what you mean—”

“—you’re aloof but really warm and kind behind all that standoffishness and it’s just…you. An oxymoron personified.” 

“If you say so…” Lena mumbles, not at all sure if she should be insulted or not. She’s not even quite sure if she wants to be her, as Kara puts it. Mostly, she wishes she was anyone but herself.

“James told me to wait for you,” Kara says, making Lena lose her train of thought and turn to her in confusion, “but I’m sort of tired of waiting because, well, I’m not the most patient person ever.”

“No, you’re really not.”

“And the thing is, I’ve told Alex, but I haven’t told you because I was scared, but you being you…I mean, that’s what saved me.”

Lena laughs, rolling her eyes and bumping shoulders with Kara. “Are you talking about that attack on L-Corp earlier this week? For the last time, Kara, I didn’t save you, I just did what I had to do to. Besides, he was my former employee, if anything it’s my fault that—”

“I’m talking about last year, Lena. About the spores and being stranded at the Fortress of Solitude.” That shuts Lena up, her mouth snapping close, her eyes somehow fixed on Kara’s uncharacteristically serious face. “I’d get these flashes of you,” she continues. “Of something you said, something you did, and I’d realize that whatever was happening wasn’t real. Because of you. Because you felt real.” She laughs, returning to her normal, bumbling self, her hands adjusting her glasses awkwardly, her lips twisted into a wry smile. “You saved me from my own thoughts and I guess—”

This time, it’s Lena’s turn to interrupt Kara. Not with words, not with a look, but by leaning in and pressing their lips together in a kiss remarkably similar to the one she dreamed about, momentarily making Lena question whether what’s happening is real or not.

And when she pulls away to see Kara’s eyes flutter open, a thrilled grin on her lips, Lena finds herself falling yet again.

But in a good way—in the only way that matters.