Time stood still, Lena’s attention focused only on Lex. Gone was the abandoned warehouse they were in and gone were Brainy and Rama Khan punching each other. Lena could only see her brother fall.
Considering she had once been the one who killed him, it really came as a surprise to her how much watching him die hurt. She believed Brainy to be right and that the only person in the world able to stop Leviathan would be her homicidal brother. But he had fallen from a ledge, pushed by an old lady to his death, on the cold concrete floor. Of all the ways he could have died this almost seemed too mundane, but there was no mistaking the painful angle his neck was in, nor the pool of blood that was gathering under him.
Rama Khan was gaining enough ground on Brainy to be able to use his powers. The earth started shaking and the walls started cracking, the sounds it made were deafening. Lena fell onto her knees, she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t look anywhere but at her brother’s broken body. If she had known this would be how it all ended she would have never told Lex when she found out where they were hiding, she would have devised a better plan. It was too late now, Leviathan was too powerful, Gamemnae was coming her way there and they were all going to die. She was going to die.
Lena stood up trying to maintain her balance through the shocks and straightened her back, if she was going to lose today, it wouldn’t be kneeling. Gamemnae was coming straight for her, she was saying something Lena couldn’t hear, she raised her gun and Lena braced for an impact that never came. A red and blue streak had taken Gamemnae away leaving Lena where she stood, in front of her brother’s broken body. Gamemnae had been thrown a few feet away and she was now laying on the ground unconscious.
Supergirl didn’t stop there but continued her flight, in one swift motion she put herself between Brainy and Rama Khan, saving her friend from what could have easily been a deadly hit. She landed and ran towards Rama Khan, shooting lasers from her eyes before she was close enough to hit him with her fists. The earthquakes stopped, but the ringing in Lena’s ears did not.
Lena made her way towards Brainy, he was standing but he had blood coming out of his left eyebrow and by the way he was clutching his arm, Lena could guess it was probably broken. Once she was close enough to him Lena didn’t know what to do. He was hurt, her brother was dead, and Supergirl was now avoiding the large chunks of concrete Rama Khan was throwing her way.
Brainy weakly smiled at her “I called the reinforcements” he said, his breath still short from the battle.
Lena snorted, that much was obvious, Supergirl wouldn’t have had any other way to know where they were. Brainy tried to point to the far end of the warehouse before remembering his arm. Lena followed his gesture in time to see Dreamer, Alex Danvers, and J’onn J’onzz's grand entrance.
Dreamer immediately took off running towards Lex’s killer, while the green martian went on to help Supergirl.
Lena was once again focused on her brother’s body, Alex had run towards him, kneeled by his side and checked his pulse. Lena held her breath. For a moment she wondered if he could still be alive even after the fall and all that blood. He had survived worse after all.
When Alex slowly got up and made eye contact with her Lena knew, without the shadow of a doubt, that her brother was gone. Alex ran towards her sister and joined the fight, even three against one Rama Khan was a formidable foe.
“I’m sorry Lena he… well he wasn’t a good man, but he was brilliant and he was your brother”. Lena had almost forgotten Brainy was still by her side, she gave him a half smile. “I am, at the same time, sad and relieved” she said, “does that make me a bad person?”
“No, I don’t think so” Brainy looked like he was about to add something when he noticed Dreamer. She had encased the old lady in her dream-energy lasso but she was struggling with it.
“A little help please?” She screamed. Brainy didn’t even look back to Lena before he started running toward the girl, broken arm once again forgotten.
Lena looked around searching for ways to help. Supergirl was distracting Rama Khan while the green martian attacked him from above and Alex from behind. They seemed to have it covered.
With an impressive jump Alex was on his back, blocking his arms against his torso with her legs. J’onn flew in front of him and took his face between his hands, his eyes glowing red. Rama Kahn shook Alex from his shoulders but he couldn’t stop Supergirl from hitting him with full force.
Lena looked back to where Gamemnae's body had been only to find the spot empty. She frantically looked around until she spotted the woman moving a wooden crate and pressing her hand on the panel that was hidden behind it. The wall moved silently revealing a hidden door. Lena didn’t even think before running after her. Everyone else was busy fighting and she wasn’t going to let her leave. She arrived at the door as it was about to close, she squeezed in and found herself in the dark. In the moment it took for her eyes to get used to it the door shut behind her, cutting out all the sound from the battle. Lena didn’t have a gun with her and grimly realized that if she couldn’t hear outside they wouldn’t be able to hear her, if needed. She didn’t care. She took in her surroundings, besides some wiring on the wall the only notable feature of the room was a staircase that seemed to plunge into the depths of the earth.
Lena started her descent being careful to make as little sound as she could, incredibly grateful she had opted out of wearing heels in favor of some very silent boots. What seemed like an eternity later she arrived in a control room, Gamemnae nowhere to be seen. Lena felt relieved, computers she could handle, an immortal alien, not so much. She decided to stay there instead of continuing to follow the stairs down.
In front of her there was a wall of monitors, all showing the warehouse. The DEO had arrived and the agents seemed to be arguing with Alex and Brainy.
Lena’s breath caught in her throat when she noticed that in the confusion Rama Khan was trying to escape. She wanted to warn them but she didn’t know how, it seemed like everything was happening in slow motion, Lena’s eyes glued to the monitors as she watched Rama Khan free his arm and take a swing at Supergirl.
At the last moment Kara turned around and easily caught him. Lena could swear she saw a smirk.
She got back to the controls and started fidgeting with them. She put the sound on from the warehouse to be warned in case anything happened up there that needed her attention and she got to work. If only she could stop Gamemnae this would all be over. Lena found a map of the place, the only way out was the staircase. Gamemnae would probably be back soon, Lena had to move fast.
“Where’s Lena?” Lena’s eyes went back to the monitors. Supergirl was looking for her. Lena couldn’t care less.
She had more pressing matters. She knew Gamemnae was the real villain, she was the head of Leviathan and the brains behind the operation. Lena had to find a way to stop her, she went back to typing on the computer, the monitors now showed a lavish room, probably what was waiting for her on the floor below. Gamemnae was collecting files with one hand while the other swung at her side, still holding her gun.
Cold shivers ran through Lena’s back. Gamemnae was going to come back any minute now and Lena was the only one between the woman and freedom. If she were to fail, Gamemnae would have the chance to recreate Leviathan and all of Lena’s sacrifices in the past months, would be for nothing. A crazy plan started forming in the back of her mind. Lena made sure the monitors were showing her the warehouse again, Rama Khan, the old lady, J’onn, and the DEO agents were no longer there. Even her brother’s body was gone.
The only people still standing there were Brainy, with one arm in a sling and the other one around Dreamer, Alex, and Supergirl.
Dreamer had her eyes closed and a look of deep concentration.
“I’m sorry Kara, I can’t see her” She whispered looking at the ground.
“Is there any way she could have just left?” Alex asked to no one in particular.
“There’s only one way in and out, the DEO would have run into her, we have to find her Alex, please” Supergirl said, walking back and forth in front of the others.
“Please, please do something” She added, tears forming in her eyes, and just like that Lena’s decision was made. She had found the commands for the auto destruction while looking for the floor plan of the warehouse and the bunker beneath it. She had seen the multiple explosives placed inside the stairs. She knew everyone in the warehouse would be safe and the explosion contained. She checked that the door she had come through was sealed and pushed the button.
“30 SECONDS TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION” An automated voice said. So much for stealth, Lena thought.
She looked back up to the monitors, they didn’t seem to have heard the announcement, but Brainy had found the panel and was studying it.
“Can you open it?” Supergirl asked peaking over his shoulder, a deep sense of urgency in her words.
“I don’t think so” He removed the panel with his good hand and looked at the wiring.
“What do you mean you don’t think so?” Supergirl insisted, now openly breathing on his neck.
“It’s advanced technology, it would take me hours” Brainy answered. He attached a small device to some of the wires and hooked it up to a screen. Lena couldn’t see what was on that screen, but her best guess was just a whole lot of code.
“And are you sure Lena is beyond that door?” Alex piped in, she was standing just behind Supergirl, trying to calm her down with a hand over her shoulder.
“She has to be,” Brainy answered matter of factly. He didn’t waste a single moment looking away from his screen.
“Then how did she get there?” Alex's question was met with a few moments of tense silence.
“She must have followed Gamemnae” Dreamer realized.
“You mean she’s not alone?” Supergirl almost screamed “You have to open this door, Brainy”
“20 SECONDS TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION”
“I can’t open it, but I think I can see what’s on the other side. If only you let me work” Brainy scolded. No one dared interrupt his work.
Lena knew the moment she saw Supergirl’s jaw relax that he probably had been able to open a feed with the bunker. It didn’t last long, Supergirl’s eyes opened wildly looking at something on the screen “Lena, behind you!” she screamed with her eyes turning red, aimed at the door.
Lena knew what was waiting for her once she turned, Gamemnae must have heard the automated voice and found her way back to her. With one last look to the monitors, she turned around. Gamemnae was slowly approaching her, the hand with the gun causally swinging by her side.
“10 SECONDS TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION”
“What did you do?” She asked conversationally. Lena was taken aback, she had expected an immediate attack. She quickly went through the possibilities in her head, while keeping at a safe distance from the other woman. Maybe Gamemnae needed her to stop the bunker’s explosion. No, not likely, the woman was a tech wizard. She looked back at the other woman and at the gun swinging on her side. Lena realized that Gamemnae’s arm was moving the same way Brainy’s had just minutes before. The fall must have broken it. As soon as Lena realized this, their eyes met, she must have looked at her arm for too long because Gamemnae dropped the gun and any pretense and just lunged at Lena. Lena took the brunt of the hit, but was able to push back and punch her in the face. Gamemnae staggered back.
“5 SECONDS TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION”
“You know, I don’t really like being underestimated, and yet it keeps happening” Lena said, clenching her jaw. Gamemnae tried to make her way towards the stairs. Lena calmly took the gun that was laying on the floor and used it to hit her on the head. Gamemnae went down, clutching her head with her good hand. She looked up to Lena with pure hatred in her eyes.
“3 SECONDS TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION”
“You chose Andrea over me, the multiverse thought only Lex and Brainy could stop you, Supergirl never trusted me.” Lena listed, almost casually, “and yet”
“2 SECONDS TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION”
Lena paused, she looked down at the other woman and found she had no pity for her. Gamemnae was directly responsible for thousands of lives ruined, she had it coming. Lena let the silence stretch for a moment.
“1 SECOND TO AUTO-DESTRUCTION”
“It’s me who brings you down,” She said. Just as she closed her mouth all of the explosives hidden in the stairs detonated. Pieces of the ceiling came crashing down while the ground shook. Fire and smoke started to fill the room. Lena could no longer see where Gamemnae was and she didn’t really care.
She dared a last look to the monitors, she could see Alex physically restraining a frantic Supergirl. The last thing Lena heard before the feed interrupted was Kara agonizingly screaming her name.
Almost completely surrounded by flames, Lena closed her eyes, clicked on her watch and thought of home.
The title is from a song by City and Colour with the same name
Here you can find all the songs that made it impossible for me to ignore this idea.
English is not my first language so if you see a mistake/phrase that doesn't sound quite right and wonder if you should point it out: PLEASE DO! You'll probably be teaching me something I didn't know and I'll be more than happy to correct it.
Chapter 2: It's time to leave and turn to dust
Lena finds herself home. But she's not where she thought she would be.
Thank you so much for all the comments and kudos. I really hope I’m not going to disappoint!
The title of this chapter is from To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra
Lena opened her eyes only to discover that she wasn’t in her penthouse. She was in what seemed like a rustic entryway, she had two doors on her right, a staircase in front of her and a corridor to her left. Definitely not her penthouse. She noticed the faint light that was coming in from behind her. She turned around and found what seemed like the front door of the place, she opened it.
Outside it was raining and very much morning. She immediately closed the door, as if doing so would change what she had just seen.
Why was it morning?
How was it morning?
Had she traveled in time?
Lena slowly walked back from the door. No point in going outside if she didn’t know where she was. She tripped on a big envelope that was on the floor. Lena gingerly took it and opened it. Inside, between other things, there was a small black box which was currently emitting a thick dark grey smoke. She put the envelope on the small table next to her, already forgotten, and carefully inspected the box, she was incredibly relieved when she realized that she knew what that was. It was one of the receivers for her watch. So it had worked, she had teleported, not where she wanted to be, but she hadn’t exploded mid way. And considering Lena had created a copy of her brother’s watch, made it so it didn't create a portal but instead transmaterialized only the wearer, then matched it with existing receivers, linked it with obsidian tech and never tested it, the fact that it had worked at all was a big win in her eyes. Now she just had to figure out where exactly she had appeared.
She looked at the watch hoping it would have the answer. It was visibly broken, it looked like it had exploded from the inside, the case was cracked, and the hands nowhere to be seen. But that wasn’t her most pressing matter. Looking at her wrist Lena had just noticed that she had burned her arm. Her skin was an angry red and visibly blistering. She vaguely remembered one of the flames getting really close to her before she had managed to disappear from the bunker.
Why wasn’t she feeling it?
Fuck did she manage to damage her nerves?
She carefully took off the watch and inspected the burn. It didn’t seem that severe. Lena gently touched it.
“Motherfucker!” she screamed, eyes tearing up from the pain. Well, the good news was that she hadn’t noticed it because of the adrenaline flowing through her veins and that her nerves were very much intact, the bad news was that she still didn’t know where she was and was now very aware of how much the burn hurt.
This was clearly one of her safe houses, earth prime Lena, a version of her she didn’t really remember, had been nothing but provident. She had one in every continent. She probably wasn’t in America anymore considering the time change. Beside the one in her penthouse she knew of five other receivers her previous incarnation had sent across the globe.
It was raining.
It was morning.
She had thought of home.
Lena knew where she was.
She rounded the corner and found a small homey kitchen, just as she knew she would. Lena was suddenly flooded by memories of her mother opening and closing the chipped brown cabinets while cooking their meals. She was in the only place where she had ever really felt at home, the small cottage she lived in with her birth mother, before the Luthors adopted her. In her timeline, she had no idea what had happened to this house, but she had a vague, dream like, memory of earth prime Lex - the hero - finding it in their father’s will and making sure it went to her.
Her arm was now pulsating. Lena went back to the entrance and opened the first door to the right, it was incredible how much of this house she remembered. The bathroom seemed way smaller than in her memories. Lena took off her black hoodie, careful of not letting it touch the burn and gently cleaned her arm. She looked in the cabinet and found a closed package of gauze and a bottle of painkillers that had been expired since the 90’s.
She bandaged the arm and, after a moment of consideration, disregarded the pills.
Lena could hear the rain picking up outside. With the watch broken there wasn’t not much she could do. With her adrenaline rush coming down she found that she was so incredibly tired. She went upstairs and face planted on her mother’s bed. Lena immediately regretted it, it was more dust than bed. She stripped it of the bedspread and promptly fell asleep.
Lena didn’t know how much time had passed when she woke up. She could still hear the rhythmic, tapping sound of the rain outside. But from the light she could guess it was now the afternoon. Her arm still hurt and she still hadn’t thought of a way to get back home. She went downstairs and washed her face, noticing too late that she didn’t even have a towel. Lena untied her hair and passed a hand through it, looking in the mirror. She found that she didn’t look very much like herself. Her hair was messier than normal, having been in a braid for more hours than Lena cared to count, she didn’t have an ounce of makeup on and she could see the angry purple bags under her eyes. Lena thought she looked both older and younger. Maybe like a younger version of herself that has seen some tough shit. Not that different from usual then, she laughed to herself and then her stomach growled.
Lena realized, in that moment, that she didn’t know when was the last time she had eaten, she was famished. She went back to the kitchen and looked around in the hopes of finding some food, there was none, not even an old, expired can of beans. Lena wondered who had cleaned the house after her mother had died. Her father didn’t seem like the kind of person who would do something like that, maybe he had paid someone, or maybe the earth prime version of him had been more thoughtful than the one she remembered.
It was time for Lena to leave this house, find some food and make her way back to National City. She went back to the entryway and looked at the envelope she had previously abandoned. Inside there were a couple of thousands of euros, a debit card, the deed to the cottage and an Irish passport. She opened it to see her face staring back at her next to the name Lena Kieran Connor. Well, at least it wasn’t a fake passport, but just one with very outdated information, with a little bit of luck she would be able to pass customs without making a big deal out of it. Lena took the money and the passport, she grabbed two keys that were left on a bowl on the table, put her hoodie back on and faced the rain. She closed the door with one of the keys she had found and used the other to open a very rusty car that was waiting for her just outside the cottage. She wasn’t too hopeful it would work, but she still let out a string of profanities when the car didn’t even turn on.
Lena set out to walk to the village, she vaguely remembered being on a bike with her mother and going downhill, so she crossed her fingers and took the path that went down. Once she finally arrived, she was drenched. She found that she didn’t remember a single thing about the place. It was like she had never been there. From what she could see there was one square and one main road that started from it. In the square there was a newsstand and the smallest looking grocery store she had ever seen. Both closed. She started walking down the road and passed a couple of other small stores, everything was closed. It seemed that her only options were the church at the end of the road or the pub in front of her.
She went into the pub.
Her muddy boots left footprints on the sticky floor. The pub was small and dark, but not unwelcoming. All the tables were full but no one seemed to notice her. Lena hungrily eyed the food some of the customers had ordered. She had to prioritize, she rationalized, it would take her some time to get back home, she didn’t have a phone nor someone to call to help her, she had time for a burger and a pint. Afterwards she could ask the barman to call her a cab. She ordered and sat at the bar.
While she was waiting a short redheaded man, probably in his mid 20s, approached her.
“Are you a tourist?” He asked. Lena kept her eyes in front of her, she didn’t want to be rude but she also didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with another human being.
“Not exactly, no.” She kept her answer short, hoping the guy would just go away.
“Your accent says otherwise” He said with a lopsided smile. Lena thought back of all the times Lillian had berated her for how she spoke. Apparently, she had succeeded in completely erasing her accent.
“I haven't been here in a long time” She said, somehow feeling the need to let him know that she did, in fact, belong there.
“Well, I could show you around if ya want” He proposed with a wink. Lena internally groaned.
“No, thank you” she said, willing her food to arrive. She feigned interest in whatever was on the tv behind the bar, even if it appeared to be a pool game.
“Oh c'mon I bet you never dated a Jack” He tried, his only saving grace was that he had done so with a smile and not too serious a tone. Lena looked back at him, he had kept a respectable distance and inadvertently just dug his own grave.
“Sorry to tell you, my longest relationship was with a Jack” She rebutted, with a look she hoped conveyed that she was most definitely not interested.
“I knew I shoulda gone with the redheaded thing” he said laughing, Lena surprised even herself when she joined him.
“Yeah well he was dark, tall, and handsome.” She offered.
“So not a redhead, see. Was he even Irish?” Jack seemed to ignore the jab at his height.
“English actually” Lena answered with a smirk.
“Woman, you wound me” He exclaimed, putting a hand on his heart dramatically “What happened to him?” He asked.
“Don’t you think that’s a little bit too personal?” Lena’s tone was incredibly colder than just seconds before. She berated herself for letting her guard down. This wasn’t a conversation she wanted to have. Especially not today. Not with a stranger, in a dingy pub in the middle of nowhere, Ireland.
“Nah, I wanna know what I’m up against” Jack didn’t seem to be able to get a hint.
“I killed him,” Lena deadpanned.
Jack barked out a laugh, of course he would think she was joking. “You’re really not interested are you?” He said. There was hope for him yet.
“Not at all” She confirmed with a smile.
“Well, if you find yourself craving strictly platonic company, me and the lads are always here for a laugh” Jack pointed to the table in the corner, three other guys sat there, all looking at them. Lena wondered how long they had been watching. Two of the guys politely waved but the third lifted his hat in greeting, showing two very alien looking small brown antlers. Lena had never seen anything like it and was incredibly curious, but Jack seemed to be gauging her reaction so she politely smiled at the guys and looked back to Jack.
“The lads?” She repeated, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah” Jack seemed confused, but was smiling nonetheless. Even Lena didn't really know why she was nitpicking his choice of words. Was she really that starved for human connection?
“You look more like boys to me” She playfully said, immediately distracted by the food that had finally arrived. Lena was starved, she took her burger into her hands as soon as her plate touched down.
“Yeah yeah, I’ll leave you to eat. Don’t hesitate to come to our table if you get bored” Jack said, before running back to his friends.
Lena ate her burger faster than what would be considered proper. She was just starting on her beer when something on the tv behind the bar caught her attention.
It was the news.
They were showing pictures of her and Lex. For the first time since she had entered the pub she focused on the faint sound coming from the tv.
“National City PD has officially declared Lena Luthor dead, this just following the news, earlier today, of Lex Luthor passing away in the same incident. Late last night she and her brother fought and won against a terrible menace. Sources said they both died heroes. The NCPD declared that there has been no sign of life under the debris and there was no way Miss Luthor could have survived. They are now searching for a body. The Luthors...”
Lena was shocked and in desperate need of air, she left 20 euros on the bar and fled the scene. Outside the rain was still pouring, mercilessly, but the sun had set. She put her hands on her knees and tried to take a deep breath.
They thought she was dead. The entire world thought she was dead.
Jack and the boys came out of the pub.
“Hey are you ok? Do you need anything?” Jack asked.
Lena shook her head, she only wanted to be alone, to have time to think, but her heart was beating way too fast to be able to form any coherent thought let alone talk. She watched as the boys made their way towards a small car. They seemed unconcerned by the rain.
“Actually could you give me a lift?” She shouted, running towards them. She didn’t dare to think what she must have looked like. Completely drenched, fending off a panic attack, and yelling at complete strangers.
“Of course,” Jack answered, like she wasn’t completely making a fool of herself “where to?”
Fuck, Lena had no idea what her address was, “Do you by any chance know the cottage up the hill, next to all the trees?” She grimaced at her description.
Jack’s alien friend’s eyes lit up “Oh, you mean Áine and Bran’s?” He asked.
Lena had no idea who those people were, but she had seen another cottage close to hers so she tried “No, the other one?” It came out more like a question than a statement but the alien obviously knew what she was talking about.
“Of course!” He smiled opening the car. They all squeezed into it. The alien was driving and Lena found herself sandwiched between two strangers in the back of the car. It was oddly comforting, the feeling of people around her, the boys chatting amongst themselves and the sound of the rain outside the windows. Jack was in the front passenger seat, but he turned around to look at her and introduced everybody.
“This is Oscar driving, he’s the best designated driver ever, beer doesn’t affect him” he said putting a hand on Oscar’s shoulder. Lena was bewildered by how casually they talked about his alien status. Maybe it was normal when people didn’t know you were a Luthor.
“And these two are Liam and Finn, they’re brothers and you shouldn't believe a single word they say. Especially if it’s about me” Jack added.
“You should believe everything”
“We have never lied in our entire lives”
Liam and Finn said at the same time with mirror smiles on their faces.
“Sooo… what’s your name?” Jack finally asked.
“Oh, of course! I’m sorry, I’m having a really peculiar day, I’m Lena” She supplied.
“Well Lena, it was a pleasure to meet you, allow me?” Jack said while in a very fluid motion he got out of the car, folded his seat and extended his hand for Lena to take. She hadn’t even noticed they had arrived.
“Thank you boys.” She said, genuinely grateful for their help.
“That’s gonna stick isn’t it?” Jack asked.
“Probably” She replied with a smile.
The car ride had given Lena enough time to calm down. She needed a game plan. She had been declared dead, she needed to get back to National City and set things straight.
She had been declared dead.
Lex was dead.
No one was looking for her.
Lena Luthor was officially, for all intents and purposes dead.
But she was in a cottage no one knew about. With enough money to live comfortably.
Lena discarded the idea. She shouldn’t. She couldn’t.
Except she really could. It was basically already done.
And it wasn’t like she had planned it. When she thought of home she meant the penthouse, she didn’t want to be stranded in Ireland.
She hadn’t planned on faking her own death. She hadn’t planned for any of this to be honest. But she saw Lex fall and she had personally stopped Leviathan.
She could rest. She could leave Kara and her lies behind.
She didn’t have to be a Luthor anymore. There wasn’t anything but trouble and heartbreak waiting for her in National City. And maybe, just maybe this would hurt Supergirl just as much as she had hurt her.
So what if she stayed in Ireland. No one would really care.
Just like that, without even a proper send off, Lena Luthor was put to rest and Lena Connor was born again.
Chapter 3: If it weren't for second chances, we'd all be alone.
In which Lena is a mess and doesn't even know it.
The title is from Second Chances by Gregory Alan Isako
Lena sat on her couch, heedless of the cloud of dust that rose from it. Her own decision shocked her. Was she really doing this?
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and imagined going back to National City, explaining how she escaped the explosion and where she had been. And then what? Lex had died a hero, there would be no crisis to attend to at L-Corp. No friends to spend time with. Only loneliness and the crushing weight of her own inadequacies. Kara’s face intruded into her thoughts. Would she be relieved? Would she try to make amends? Would Lena be weak and let her?
Lena changed the scenario in her head. She imagined staying there, in her mother’s home, living a simpler life. She imagined hours spent cleaning the cottage and evenings at the pub with the boys. With immense displeasure on Lena's part, she thought of Kara again. Would her supposed death hurt her? and if so, how much? Would she feel like her heart had been torn from her chest? Would she feel even just a minuscule part of how Lena had been feeling for the past year?
Let it never be said that when Lena Luthor got an idea she didn’t commit. Once she was sure of her decision she got up and searched the entire house. She found her old room, with pink pastel walls and a chest of toys still full after all these years. She went to her mother's room and discovered that the wardrobe was mostly full of flowy dresses. She thanked all the gods she didn’t believe in, when she found a washing machine, towels and sheets.
Lena made a list of the things she had and the ones she needed. The next day she would buy everything and effectively start her new life. There was no food, no soap of any kind and no technology, she didn’t have a cellphone, nor a computer. She did have a car in need of at least a new battery and an old bicycle. She spent the better part of her evening putting the bike back together. Once she was finished the bike looked brand new, the basket had been put so that it would no longer wobble and the tires had been properly patched and inflated. By the time Lena had finished it was the middle of the night, she would be lying to herself if she were to blame only the jet-lag. That’s what Lena did, she found a project and she dove head first to forget anything that may have been troubling her.
When Lena woke up the next day she put on one of her mother’s old dresses, a jacket she found the day before and her boots. She had never looked so casual in her whole life. She took the bike and went back to the village. She was surprised by how many people there were actually around. All of the shops she had noticed the day before were now open. She got her breakfast and then proceeded to enter the hardware store right next door from the coffee shop. She was sipping her coffee and looking around when she heard: “Hey Lena!” She froze. Did someone recognize her already? So much for starting a new life. Lena slowly turned around and saw one of the boys from the day before.
"Hi, Finn.” She said with a smile, more due to her relief that anything else. The young man was waving at her from behind the register.
“It’s Liam” He said casually.
“I’m sorry” Lena felt embarrassed, she never forgot someone’s name, it was important in her work to always know who was who. It had been important, she mentally corrected herself. Now she was Lena Connor and she confused one brother for the other, and it wasn't a big deal.
“Don’t worry!” Liam immediately responded “it would have been bad if you had mistaken me for Jack, but my brother or Oscar are fair game” He quipped, Lena wasn’t used to people casually joking with her. She let out a tentative laugh.
“Well, I won’t make the same mistake again,” she smiled “I’ve decided to stay a little longer, but I’m gonna need some supplies.” Liam immediately jumped over the counter and offered to help her find everything. Lena bought a new battery for her car and some tools. She explained she didn’t have much and that she was going to have to work on the house. She was grateful when Liam didn’t ask any questions, but he did offer to bring the battery to her bike, promising she could leave it in the basket while she finished her shopping.
“So for basic necessities there’s the grocery store” He pointed in its direction, “but for anything more you are going to need the car, there’s a mall on the N71” He looked at the battery in his hands. He seemed to be pondering about Lena’s chances of restarting the car.
“If you are in dire need Áine and Bran will probably lend you anything you might need” He added, probably questioning Lena’s skills.
“I don’t know who that is” She said, even though the names sounded familiar. They had reached her bike and Liam had carefully placed Lena’s bag in the basket.
“Oh they’re your neighbors, lovely people. Do you need any help changing the battery?”
Lena laughed. Liam looked at her surprised, the poor boy couldn't have known she had a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I think I’ll manage” She offered. Liam didn’t seem to be eager to get back to work but without anything more left to say, he made Lena promise to stop by the pub sometimes and left her to her own devices. Lena watched him awkwardly go back into the store and thought that that had probably been the nicest interaction she had had with another human being in months. She wasn’t panicking, no one’s life was in danger and there were no lies involved. Damn, she was pathetic. She needed to move on.
The grocery store was the smallest Lena had ever been in. She was immediately reminded of the one in Stars Hollow and of endless nights spent on Kara’s couch binging Gilmore Girls. Lena shook her head, she had to let go of any thought about Supergirl. The woman had lied to her for years, every single time they had to stop in the middle of an episode because of a ‘family emergency’ she was lying. She was probably flying away to save someone. Lena hated that. She was angry that Supergirl saved people. Who does that?
Lena busied herself by looking for everything she needed. She purchased food and soap and a children's backpack once she realized that her basket was full with the bag from the hardware store. With a sigh she realized she had to forgo the laundry detergent because she could only find it in 2 liters bottles. There was no way she was gonna occupy that much space of her brand new Minnie Mouse backpack when she had absolutely nothing to eat.
Lena went back to her bike, she took a moment to appreciate how she must've looked from the outside, in a flowy dress with her rain jacket and a bright pink backpack. For the first time in her adult life, no one would judge her for how she looked. Or at least it wouldn’t be all over trashy magazines the next day. The trip back was way less pleasurable than the one going in, she had to go up the hill, with the added weight and with a light rain obscuring her view. She had basically arrived when her front wheel hit a rock. She made the mistake of saving the bike instead of herself and ended up with her right leg knee deep in a mud puddle. She let out a healthy dose of profanities and inspected the damage, beside the fact that her right side was covered in mud she wasn't hurt and nothing had been broken. Once Lena was finally inside her cottage, however, she was actively daydreaming about getting in the shower. She realized her terrible oversight when she remembered that not a single towel in the house had been washed in decades, not to mention the fact that she didn’t have any clean clothes. She needed to do at least a load of laundry before she could wash herself. Lena pondered going back down to the village, but the thought alone made her skin crawl. She decided to go to her neighbors, really hoping they wouldn’t be put off by a muddy stranger knocking on their door. She walked the brief path between the two cottages, patted on her dress trying to clean it, and knocked on the door.
An old man without a single strand of hair and an intricate map of deep wrinkles opened the door. Once he saw her his jaw hit the floor. Sure, she looked like a mess, but that wasn’t the reaction Lena was expecting
“Hi, I’m your neighbor” She tentatively started.
“Lena?” Her eyes doubled in size and she took a step back from the surprise, how the hell did this man know who she was?
“Oh my god it's you!” He engulfed her in a hug. Lena’s arms remained on her sides, she had no idea how to react to the sudden contact.
“Áine!” He yelled, still hugging Lena “Áine come here” Lena grimaced at the volume and started to move away in what she hoped was a polite manner. The man seemed to have noticed because he let her go from the hug but kept both of his hands on her shoulders, intently looking at her face.
“I’m sorry I…” Lena tried to start again. She didn’t really know how to continue, she had no idea of how this man knew who she was or why his reaction had been such a positive one.
A small woman with long white hair arrived, “What are you screaming about, you old fart?” she asked jokingly.
The man moved, giving the woman a chance to take a look at Lena's face.
“Bran, Lena is here! Why didn’t you invite her in!” She said ushering them both inside.
“I’m sorry, can you tell me what is happening?” Lena finally asked.
“Of course you don’t remember us, you were so little when…” Bran started but was stopped by the woman putting a hand on his arm.
“And we didn’t even get to see you after..." He stopped for a moment, "It’s so good to have you here!” Bran tried again, looking at Áine for her approval. Lena sighed with relief, they didn’t really know what had happened to her and who she had become. They didn't know she was a Luthor.
“I’m sorry, but... how do you know me?” She asked. Bran sat her down and took the place next to her on the sofa.
“Your mum, Mary, lived in the cottage and her parents before her. We used to babysit her and Kieran when they were children and we babysat you when the time came” Bran said with a kind smile on his face.
“My… my middle name is Kieran” She had always wondered about it, she had asked Lillian once only to be told that she had come with it and they hadn’t bothered changing it, not much of a story.
“Well yes of course! They were inseparable, I’ve never seen two siblings getting along so well. They were menaces, always making trouble.” He seemed lost in his memories, his eyes fixed on a point over Lena's head. She thought about this Kieran, an uncle she never knew existed. What had happened to him? If he was that close with her mother why hadn’t he adopted her instead of sending her off with the Luthors?
“It’s amazing how much like her you look” Bran shook himself out of his memories and looked back at Lena. She didn’t know what to say. She looked at Áine for help but the woman was moving behind her, taking a photo off the wall. Áine put the framed picture in Lena’s hands. There were five people in it, younger versions of Áine and Bran next to a man Lena could only imagine was her grandfather and two teenagers. The boy, Kieran had jet black hair, the biggest smile and an arm over his sister's shoulders. Lena realized then and there that she had never seen a picture of her mother before. Mary was so young here but the similarity was undeniable, Lena had her eyes and her mouth and even the same jaw. All the things Lena liked about her appearance her mother gave to her. She could not take her eyes off the photo, every moment brought new details: her mother’s hair were lighter than hers, Kieran had the same jaw and both him and her grandfather shared the green eyes, the photo had been taken just outside the cottage, probably in the summer, her mother was wearing a dress with a floral pattern, Áine’s hair was red, Bran was already bald, her uncle had a earring, her mother was smiling, her nose somewhat smaller and a different shape than Lena’s, she was probably around sixteen, she wasn’t wearing shoes, her knee was scraped, her nails were painted.
After what felt like a lifetime and no time at all Lena remembered she had an audience. She looked back at her hosts.
“A lot of tragedy came to your family” Áine said, answering the question Lena didn’t dare to ask. So it wasn’t a Luthor thing - the losing of everyone that had ever been important in her life - it was a Lena thing, it figures.
“But now you’re here, we never thought we’d see you again...” Bran said with a trembling voice, just seconds before hugging her again.
“Bran let the poor girl go, don’t you see she’s in shock?” Áine came to her rescue. Lena was incredibly grateful. She hadn't expected to meet people that had known her before she was a Luthor and she needed some time to adjust.
“We’re very happy to see you Lena and we’d love nothing more than to talk about the past with you. But you knocked on our door and I get the feeling you weren’t expecting a reunion” Áine told her, giving her a way out. Lena looked at her hands. She felt silly to be asking for laundry detergent to people that had known her since her birth. Even if she didn’t remember them.
“Don’t worry dear.” Bran said, putting a calloused hand over hers.
“I… I just moved back to the cottage and I was wondering if you could lend me a bit of laundry detergent?” Lena could just hope her ears weren’t as red as they felt.
Áine looked at the mud stains on her dress, raised an eyebrow and then smirked. The facial expression was so familiar Lena wondered if she had picked it up from the other woman when she was just a toddler.
“Of course, dear” Áine said, already disappearing to another room.
Once she got back, the couple insisted Lena leave with an entire bottle of detergent and the promise to come visit once she settled. Lena got back to her cottage, washed everything she could and took an hour long shower. She had planned to work on her car, but she was so emotionally drained she could just muster the strength to eat before plummeting on the bed.
The next day Lena repaired the car and went to the mall Liam had told her about. She bought everything she needed, including a new cellphone. Lena had to distract herself by people watching in the food court when she realized that she had no numbers to save in her brand you phone and that that was probably the most depressing thing she had ever heard.
Once she got back, she managed to get the internet working in the cottage just in time to watch her own memorial live on Youtube.
The action to look for it in the search bar was in itself surreal. Lena imagined very few people in the world could say they had done something similar. The memorial was held in the same square where she had first announced L-Corp's new name. The camera panned on the audience, hundreds of people were present, most of them Lena didn’t really know, some were board members, politicians and other companies’ CEO whom she had despised with a passion and who had despised her in return. In the second row there were the people she had actually thought she knew, people she had considered friends for years while they lied to her face day after day. Maybe they were still lying, pretending to care that she was gone.
Brainy was there, his arm in a cast, sitting between a weeping Nia Nal and Alex Danvers, next to Alex were Kelly and James Olsen, and on the other side of Nia she could see J’onn J’onzz. She wondered if it was all a farce for them. A few rows over Sam was consoling Ruby. Did Sam know? Was she another person to add to the list of traitors in Lena’s life? She had risked everything to save her.
Lillian stood alone on the sidelines, wearing all black and an unreadable expression. Lena couldn't even imagine what her adoptive mother must've been thinking. Was she grieving or was she somewhat relieved that her murderous son and unwanted daughter were gone for good? Lena found that she didn't care much for the internal turmoil Lilian must have been going through. Her mother had long lost any right to have any kind of say in her life and for once Lena was glad she wouldn't have to deal with her ever again. She was done trying to convince people she was deserving of love.
A plethora of people she had never cared about kept following one another onto the stage talking about her and Lex’s achievements. Their voices droned on, Lena waited for every time the camera would show bits of the audience. It took her three times before she realized Kara wasn’t there. She hadn’t even bothered to show up. Lena felt a lump in her throat. Kara wasn’t there, she went to close the computer when the camera suddenly moved to show the sky. Supergirl had arrived. Lena moved her hand back as she followed with rapt attention as Supergirl landed on the stage and moved towards the microphone. The crowd had started to get bored and restless by that point, but everyone went silent once Supergirl started speaking.
“I have known loss for most of my life. I lost my family, my planet, my culture and the life I was supposed to lead. When I came out as Supergirl, I lost my anonymity and any chance of ever leading a normal life. And then I met Lena Luthor. Miss Luthor is...” Supergirl stopped, her voice wavering “was the strongest person I’ve ever known and the smartest too. I can’t say how lucky I felt that of all the planets I could have ended up in, I found myself in the same one as her. Lena Luthor saved my life more times that I can recount and I will always regret not having been able to save hers one more time. It was an honor to be able to call her a friend…”
Lena slammed her laptop shut.
Chapter 4: Nothing is as it has been, and I miss your face like hell
In which Lena is a mess and she knows it.
Lena was livid. She couldn't manage to look at the rest of her memorial. The nerve. Supergirl really had gotten on the stage and talked like things between them had been fine, like she hadn’t treated Lena as a villain for the past few months.
Lena tried to busy herself by deep cleaning the cottage, but while her hands were occupied her mind was reeling, her thoughts all over the place.
Was Kara really as heartbroken as she seemed?
Did Supergirl talk because she was expected to?
Did Kara really value their friendship that much? And if she did, why lie to her for so long?
Was Supergirl really so full of herself that she had made the entire ordeal about herself and her losses?
Lena realized she was driving herself mad. She couldn't possibly have the answers to her questions and there was no use in wondering. She was committed to her life in Ireland, she knew that she needed space and time to heal from everything that had happened with Kara. She decided to take Liam up on his invite and head down to the pub.
She hadn’t even fully entered when she heard cheers.
“Lena!” Jack, Liam and Finn were at the same table where she first saw them.
“You made it!” “We were wondering if you were going to show up”
“Hi” Lena felt shy, she didn’t really know these people. She didn’t have the armor her designer clothes and status usually provided. Here she was just a normal girl, in a 19,90 € pair of jeans, sitting with friendly strangers who knew nothing about her. What would she even talk about if her whole life was off the table?
Liam seemed to sense her discomfort to start a conversation “You never told us what brought you to our corner of the world” he said.
My best friend lied to me for years, my emotionally manipulative brother died, and I accidentally faked my own death. Somehow didn’t seem like an appropriate response.
“I was born here, left very young but I still had the cottage and I felt like I needed a change of scenery” Lena said instead.
“Bad break up, eh?” Finn nudged her with his elbow. Lena didn’t know why her cheeks were on fire, she really didn’t want to be thinking about that.
“No, not exactly.”
“It’s ok, we don’t have to talk about it” Jack offered with a smile.
“Yeah, we can talk about that time when Jack bumped face first into a lamppost because he was staring at a girl and had to get stitches” Finn said barely containing a laugh. Lena was very grateful for the subject change.
“Or we could not do that”
“Oh, ask him why he doesn’t drink Guinness anymore!” Liam took over from his brother who was now full on belly laughing. Lena raised an eyebrow in Jack’s direction.
“Don’t you dare” Jack’s tone was serious but she could see the hint of a smile on his lips.
“There was this barmaid, beautiful, maybe 4 or 5 years older than him, definitely out of his league. She turns him down the first time they see each other, like he goes to the bar, she looks at him and says no” Jack was now covering his face with his hands while Finn kept hitting his thigh and laughing. Liam continues unruffled by the others' reactions, Lena realized this must be a common occurrence.
“To recover he tells her he just wanted a beer, mind you he’s like 15 or 16.”
“Liam, I swear to god”
“So she asks what kind, he says something stupid along the lines of 'I only drink Guinness, love' and to impress the poor woman, he spends all night drinking and all the day after sh-”
Jack lounged over Liam covering his mouth. Lena was now silently giggling at their antics. Looking at that as a sign that they were on the right path, Finn took over with another story.
“I have a good one, he had such a big crush on Clare Quinn that he asked her to help him with his homework, she accepted and went to his house, where he had forgotten his mother had framed his junior cert, because he got all As. The girl got so mad she hit him with her backpack and didn’t talk to him for the whole year”
“Finn!” Jack hissed. Lena was now fully laughing.
“Jack, are you perhaps a fellow nerd?” She asked once she had caught her breath.
“If by nerd you mean, someone who’s done very well in school and has no luck with the ladies… yeah, I absolutely am”
“We’re in the same boat” Lena offered, a smile still on her lips. Once she looked around she noticed that they were all looking at her, a clear question in their eyes.
“I have a PhD” she said and left it at that.
The evening went on like that for some time, the boys joking with each other, never letting Lena feel left out, but without pushing her to share either.
“So I know Liam works in the hardware store, what about you guys?” She asked during a lull in the conversation.
“I’m a teacher,” said Jack with pride.
“They let you near children?” Quipped Lena, earning a surprised laugh.
“Guys, I like her, can we keep her?” Liam put his arm around her, almost claiming her friendship. Usually Lena would have been put out but the careless touch but she felt accepted in a way she never had.
“I got back recently, I’m filling my time with small part time gigs until I find something more permanent” Said Finn, the tone of the conversation suddenly shifted. Liam took his arm back and straightened his back.
“Got back?” Lena felt like she had to ask.
“Yeah… we kinda had a falling out.” Finn offered, looking at his brother “You know how it is between siblings. Didn’t talk for a couple of years, he stayed here and managed the shop and I moved around.”
Lex’s surprised face as he was falling to his death flashed in Lena’s mind. You know how it is between siblings. Lena wasn’t sure she did. Her biggest reaction to her own brother’s death, after the initial shock, had been relief. Relief that she wouldn’t have to deal with him, relief that the world would not be put in peril by him, relief that the Supers were finally safe from their biggest foe. She couldn’t imagine a brotherly love so strong that after years of not talking to each other they were able to put their differences aside and joke together. Her brother had always loved to play with her emotions and manipulate her into doing his bidding. He had tried to kill her multiple times. He had chosen to use his dying breath to break her heart. Would have they ever been able to behave like normal siblings had he survived for a second time? Would she have even wanted that? And what did it say about her if she did?
Lena muttered some excuse about being tired and left.
In the next few days Lena kept busy by working on the cottage and ostensibly not looking for news from home. Which was kinda hard to do when she kept googling her name, her friends' names and her city in the middle of the night. For what Lena could tell in the midst of the post-Leviathan, post Luthors' death, a couple of very important things happened in National City.
Andrea Rojas was in the midst of a PR crisis because of the obsidian lens and Cat Grant had taken that as a chance to buy CatCo back. Lena thought it was only right, the woman had created the empire and since she wasn’t working for the White House anymore, she had all the rights to take back her kingdom. Kara would probably be happy to have her mentor back, Lena thought before she could stop herself.
Sam Arias had been promoted to acting CEO of L-Corp, the article said that the woman would stay in Metropolis and manage the company from there for the foreseeable future. Lena couldn’t think of anyone she would have liked better to take her place.
Lena mindlessly moved on to the next article, her heart skipped a bit when she saw Supergirl’s face. The blurry picture showed the hero flying low over National City, Lena was so focused on Kara’s face that she didn’t notice the change in her suit until she read the title of the article.
SUPERGIRL DONNED BLACK AFTER LUTHOR’S DEATH
Lena’s eyes immediately went back to the picture. Kara’s suit was the same except for the fact that her family crest now sat on a black background, it was barely noticeable, but there nonetheless. The article speculated on their relationship and the meaning of this change. Lena was floored. She had never expected her death to affect Kara so much. She thought it would hurt her, sure, but not to the point of changing her suit, of openly showing her grief. If Kara was so devastated by her death, why did she break her trust so easily when she was still alive? Why had she lied to her? Why didn’t she try harder when things got difficult?
Lena was sure of her decision. Being in Ireland outside of the public eye was giving her time to heal and to process her feelings in a way that didn’t involve mind control.
But she still checked American news and she set up a google alert on both Supergirl and Kara Danvers. Seeing Supergirl wear black because of her death had awoken something in her. Not guilt, never guilt. But an ache at seeing her friend suffer.
Lena had no way of knowing at the time, but that blurry picture was the last time Supergirl was seen in National City. The hero was now, apparently, all over the place.
Supergirl teamed up with Superman in Metropolis and single handedly brought Bruno Mannheim down.
Lena decided to plant a garden in her front yard. She bought a shovel and spent hours working the soil.
Supergirl was then photographed with Batwoman, busting a ring of corruption in the Gotham police force.
Lena became the winner of the annual dart competition at the pub, prompting the boys to declare her their teammate in every single competition would ever happen ever again, in the words of a tipsy Jack.
Supergirl stopped a terrorist attack at Mayor Ramirez’s inauguration in Star City.
Lena asked Áine to teach her how to cook.
Supergirl was seen in Central City with the Flash stopping a metahuman Lean knew the speedster wouldn’t have needed help with.
She used some of her newfound skills to cook dinner for the boys and her neighbors, in her now spotless home.
Lena couldn’t help but notice that Supergirl seemed to be actively avoiding National City. She wondered for a moment if it was because the city reminded Kara of her, but quickly dismissed the thought, it was ludicrous.
Two months since her presumed death and Lena was thriving. She had finished cleaning out the garden around the cottage and planted flowers and vegetables she used during her cooking lessons with Áine. She spent a lot of time with the woman listening to Bran telling stories about their past and Lena’s birth family.
Her google alert for Kara still hadn't shown her any news. It had bleeped once, Lena had been alone in the cottage, reading a book. She had put it down so fast she hadn't even marked the page she was on. Her hands were shaking as she opened the email. The article was underwhelming. It wasn’t even an article, it was a Buzzfeed list:
THE PULITZER WINNERS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE READY TO FALL IN LOVE WITH
Kara wasn’t even in the first place, that was reserved for Ronan Farrow, she sat at number two with a picture of her Lena had never seen before and a small blurb on how she had been working on a new publication for CatCo. In the photo Kara was standing next to Cat Grant, smiling. Lena spent more time she would ever care to admit studying every single detail of her face, was her smile duller than usual? Had she always been that beautiful?
The lack of substantial news on Kara’s whereabouts certainly didn’t mean that Lena didn’t think about her.
Lena thought of Kara when she woke up from the nightmares in which there was fire everywhere and Supergirl was screaming her name.
She thought of Kara while showering when her playlist would suddenly play *NSYNC.
She smiled to herself thinking of the face Kara would make seeing her planting kale.
She thought of Kara while walking through the village when she saw Supergirl’s face looking at her from the newsstand.
Lena most definitely thought of Kara when she got home, checked her email and read all about Supergirl saving hundreds, if not thousands of people, by freezing a tsunami in Indonesia.
The truth was that Lena missed Kara. There was no way around it. Even if in the last year they hadn’t really talked. They still were in the same city, she still knew where Kara was and that she could reach out if she ever felt like it. Even when Kara had called her a villain and shattered once again her heart in a million pieces she was still there, just a phone call away, or even a scream, really. But now, now she just got glimpses of a Supergirl in mourning.
A week later Supergirl was seen stopping pirates in the Siam gulf. Lena listened to the news while working on transforming her old room in a lab. She briefly wondered if Kara was taking a vacation in the area. The poor girl most certainly needed one.
Two weeks from there her home lab was almost finished and furnished. Lena was waiting for the last few pieces of equipment to be delivered when she heard a knock on her door.
“Hi Lena, I’ve got your packages” Despite being in the end of the summer, it was still raining. The boy was wearing a t-shirt and a guilty face while carrying a large box that seemed to have lived to see better times. It was absolutely drenched and the cardboard seemed to be moments away from dissolving completely. Oscar himself wasn't doing much better, the hat that he always wore was a couple of shades darker because of how wet it was, clearly outlining his antlers as it clung to his skin.
“Oh, of course, you’re the delivery person! Please come in” Lena opened the door wider and let Oscar in, she gestured to him to put the box down.
“Do you want a glass of water?” Lena asked while handing him a towel. Oscar accepted while trying to dry himself. He took his hat off, knowing it was a lost cause.
They stood awkwardly in the kitchen both with full glasses of water. While Oscar drank his, Lena fixated on his antlers.
“You can ask, you know” He said with a kind smile.
“I’m sorry” Lena looked at her hands.
“Don’t be. Come on. What’s bothering that pretty head of yours?” Oscar nudged her with his shoulder.
“If you could… If people couldn’t tell you are an alien just by looking at you, would you tell them?” The question had been in Lena’s mind since she met him, but she had never found the courage to ask.
“No” Oscar answered immediately.
“Just like that?”
“Lena, I’m safe here because everyone knows me and knew my parents before I was even born, but… They are not really ok with all aliens, it’s more like I’m 'one of the good ones'... And when I leave, I need to be careful. It’s not safe for people like me out there.” Oscar put his glass down and scratched his head. “Even if it was safe. I’ve always been the alien. Before anything else, that’s what people see, I’m never just someone’s friend, I’m their alien friend.” He looked down “I'm proud of who I am and I'm proud of my heritage, but if I could not tell people and just be? I would.” His eyes went back up, looking directly into Lena’s soul “I would, Lena, without a doubt. I’m not ashamed of my people or myself or anything like that, but being visibly alien it's so tiring, I’m always performing. I can never be just me… does that make sense to you?”
“Yeah…” Lena’s mind was full of images of Kara and all the moments spent together before it all went to shit. All of the time they both carved out of their busy schedules to be together just the two of them, all the lunches and the lazy evenings. Were they a reprieve for Kara just as much as they had been for her? A time where she didn’t have to be a Luthor and Kara didn’t have to be an alien. Was that what Kara meant when she had said that she had been selfish in not telling her?
Lena was deep in her thoughts when Oscar pulled her back.
“I really do like my antlers though” he joked, passing a hand over them. Lena followed the movement.
“You can touch them if you want, you know” Lena gingerly reached out. The antlers were surprisingly warm to the touch. They felt like velvet and Lena could almost feel the single strands of brushy hair that covered them. They started out the same warm brown as Oscar's skin but got darker near their end.
“So what are they exactly?” She asked, they seem too short to be useful in combat and that was the only use Lena could think of for antlers on earth.
“Well, I know that I look mostly human but we’re very different species, they are my genitals” Lena took back her hand like she had been burned.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe you fell for that, can you imagine?” Oscar was howling with laughter. He needed a moment to collect himself and clarify.
“No, they’re like receptors for another sense we have. It’s hard to explain but the hairs on it stand up if there’s some danger nearby. Liam calls it my spidey-sense. I also kinda get vibes on people, not much, but I can sense if someone is trustworthy” Now that’s a power Lena would have loved to have. It would have made the last years of her life incredibly easier, she thought.
A few days later Lena was tinkering with a small device she had invented to help the local farmers determine the health of their stock when she received an email. She absentmindedly checked her phone, it was another google alert, about Kara Danvers. Her physical response to any news about the other woman was still there, her heart was beating fast while she opened it. Kara was literally indestructible, it couldn’t be bad news, she reasoned.
The first number of the new CatCo publication, CATgeo, had been announced and Kara Danvers was named as the editor in chief. Lena immediately subscribed.
Three days later the magazine arrived. Lena read it cover to cover multiple times. The entirety of the number was about southeast Asia. Kara had co-written an editorial with Cat Grant about the new magazine and their aim to show the entire world. She had also signed the cover story on racial cleansing in Myanmar, a story on the unexploded American bombs in Laos and a puff piece on an endemic species only found in the Malay archipelago who apparently had been seen for the first time since Darwin described it.
Lena was so incredibly proud of Kara. Each article was well researched and written. Still, she could clearly hear Kara’s voice while she read her words. Despite the incredible photos that graced the pages of the magazine, Kara’s words were the ones to actually create and maintain the atmosphere. For a moment Lena wanted nothing more than to congratulate Kara, alas, that wouldn’t have been possible even had she not faked her own death. They hadn’t been on speaking terms for a long time after all. Lena found that she had to remind herself of that fact more often than not.
In the next couple of months a new routine was created, Lena would continue to live her life in the cottage, between gardening, cooking and creating small devices that helped the villagers, she would sometimes have tea with Bran and Áine or share a pint with the boys at the pub.
Supergirl would be seen in the Gaza strip stopping a missile that would have hurt civilians and then again in Syria helping refugees escape, and the new number of CATgeo would be about the middle east, with a cover story rigorously written by Kara Danvers.
Next month Supergirl would take every single migrant off a boat that wasn’t allowed to enter the Lampedusa port, off the coast of Italy and put in their place the racist politician that had proudly chosen to let people die. While that particular move got Supergirl in some trouble with the media, Lena had to admit she was growing to like this unapologetic version of the hero. The CATgeo number was all about North African history, with articles that went from analyzing the Egyptians’ myths to the Arab spring, Kara Danvers signed the cover story and three other articles.
The month after that, with great relief on Lena’s part, Supergirl moved south and so did Kara. While Supergirl’s saves were mostly small stuff, a fire here and there, a car crash and a couple of gang related crimes stopped before they could even happen, the pieces Kara Danvers wrote about West Africa and the long term effects of brutal colonialism were award winning worthy.
For the second time in just as many years Kara Danvers won a Pulitzer.
Lena refreshed her google search every few minutes waiting for any news or pictures from the ceremony.
When the pictures finally started coming in Lena was surprised to discover that Kara had elected to have the ceremony in Metropolis. Those would be the first new pictures of Kara Danvers Lena had seen in months. Kara wasn’t actually in the first picture she saw, it was a photo of people talking. Lena could see Alex chatting with Clark Kent while holding Kelly Olsen’s hand, on the far right of the picture she was surprised to see Sam and Ruby. Lena moved onto the next photo that had been taken just after the first, Ruby had flung herself into Alex’s arms, the girl was just as tall as the other woman now. Lena moved to the next picture. It was a close up of Kara. She wasn’t expecting it. She didn’t know why she wasn’t expecting it. She was looking at pictures from a ceremony in her honor.
Kara looked beautiful. She was more tanned than what Lena recalled and her eyes seemed impossibly blue due to the new contrast. Lena couldn’t bear to look at her for too long, she clicked for the next picture. This photo showed Kara standing in the middle between Cat Grant and Lois Lane. Cat looked displeased by the whole ordeal while Lois seemed to be having a blast. But Lena didn’t really notice any of that. Kara was wearing a form fitting black dress and any coherent thought left Lena’s mind. She knew her friend was beautiful, she had somehow failed to realize she was also really hot. The dress left Kara's arms free, giving Lena an eyeful of well defined muscles, it clung to the blonde's body leaving almost nothing to the imagination.
Lena got up and drank a glass of water. When she got back in front of the computer she quickly checked the other photos, apparently James had made an appearance too and so did Nia and Brainy, rigorously hand in hand in every single one of the pictures. Good for them.
Lena refreshed the page once again and a video appeared. She clicked on it. Cat Grant was on the stage, talking into a microphone.
“I don’t know how many of you know this, but Kara started as my assistant. She described herself as 'nothing special' when I met her. So I must have done something right for us all to be here today” Cat stopped to give time to the audience to politely laugh “but not too much since she apparently invited Miss Lane” This time the laughs seemed more genuine.
“I love you too kitty Cat” was heard from the audience, causing an even bigger response.
“Enough with the jokes, it’s been a pleasure seeing Kara grow from a meek assistant to a self assured, two times Pulitzer winning, reporter. I would love to take some credit but she did it mainly on her own, I’m just honored I could be there to steer her and offer the occasional suggestion”
The audience clapped, Kara stepped on the stage and hugged Miss Grant. Lena stopped the video. She was about to hear Kara speak for the first time in more than a year. Sure in that time she had heard and even spoken to Supergirl, but in her head it was very different. With her heart beating fast, she gulped and pressed play once again.
“The last time I was here it was for an article I had written sitting next to my best friend and she was the one that presented me with the award.” Kara paused for a moment, to compose herself.
“Not that I don’t appreciate you Miss Grant, please don’t fire me” she added jokingly, but Lena could see it was a way to cover her emotions.
“This reportage, I wrote mostly in hotel rooms, but that didn't mean my friend wasn’t with me in every step and every word, she taught me how to be a force for good, how to do better and be better and most importantly how to demand the truth.” Kara offered a small smile to the audience “Thank you, Lena” She showed off her prize with one hand and got off the stage with tears in her eyes.
The video ended there with catchy music over the end cards. Lena couldn’t hear it because it was covered by the sound of her sobs. She hadn’t cried since she left National City, but now that Kara’s speech had opened the flood gates she let herself feel everything she had left bottled up.
She felt all of the emotions she had been feeling for the past year: her anger at Kara for not telling her the truth, her sorrow for the loss of her most important relationship and her pain caused by Kara not trusting her. Lena cried and let all of these feelings pass through her until there was nothing left to feel but her love. Her immense love for Kara, the real reason behind her anger and her pain was the fact that she had never loved anyone the way she loved Kara.
For the first time since they met, Lena let herself feel it all. Every ounce of the love she had for Kara. Years of compartmentalized emotions kept pouring out. She remembered what it felt like to be on the couch in her office and feel completely secure because she was in Kara’s arms. She remembered all the terrible days that had been turned around by a simple text, how she felt when she was in Kara’s presence, the calm that took over her and how she had never felt that way with anyone else.
She cried for hours. She didn’t think of anything beside the insurmountable feeling of loss.
When she woke up the next day she felt a new sense of resolve. She couldn't go back to National City, she was pretty sure L-Corp would have cashed in on her life insurance by now, and while all her personal assets were frozen for 15 years unless they found her body, she knew she would be accused of fraud. She also remembered that she had nobody there, not really. Everyone of her friends had lied to her and she had alienated them in response. While she may have been well on the road to forgiving Supergirl this didn’t mean that Kara would feel the same way about her.
No, she had created a life she liked in her little slice of Ireland, it was about time she committed to it.
Once she made the decision, Lena got to work. The first step was to cancel her CATgeo subscription and both of her google alerts, it did her no good to live her life in the past. She then got all of the ingredients to make a pot pie she had tried to learn how to bake for the past few weeks, and resolved to ask Áine for help. With everything they might need, plus a bottle of wine, she went to her neighbors.
Bran opened the door with half a hug and a smile “it’s so good to see you love, have you heard that one of the reporters of that fancy magazine you like has won something?”
Lena lasted five days and three hours before her curiosity on what was happening in the “real” world had the better of her. She was still firm in her decision to let Kara go, so she did the next best thing she could think of and hacked her own company’s servers. Well, maybe hacked was too strong of a word, she just made sure her IP address was untraceable and then she logged in with the maintenance codes, one of the pros of being the one who actually designed the system after Winn had been able to get into the previous one.
The first thing she did was check Sam’s emails. The acting CEO was doing an amazing job at putting board members in their place and juggling both PR and the company’s finances, but she had yet to respond to some interesting email from R&D. Lena stopped for a moment and checked all the emails between Sam and the head of the department, the man had written just as he would have had she been still in charge, for months, only receiving half responses from Sam. His emails were full of very specific jargon, abbreviations and lack of explanations on what exactly they were working on. Sam had resolved by giving him full decisional powers, clearly not understanding everything that was going on. It was clear to Lena, but it wasn’t fair to expect anyone without multiple degrees on the topic to decipher such a mess.
With a small prayer that this wasn’t how she was going to be found, Lena translated the email and tagged them as to read. She then moved on to check all projects currently open, corrected mistakes and left small suggestions anonymously. She was sure one of the scientists would take the credit believing themselves to be the genius who had solved the problem while too tired to remember it.
Lena spent her winter challenging the boys at every possible pub game they could come up with (and inexorably winning every single time), dining with Áine and Bran but most of all tinkering with L-Corp’s projects in her home lab. She would spend hours working on the L-Corp server and when that was done she would do her best to check in on Sam. Since she had chosen to stay in Metropolis, Lena had the chance to listen in on most of the meetings that happen via conference call on the company’s servers. It gave her great joy to anonymously silence the stuffy board members.
She was so engrossed in her new life, and so determined to not think about Kara that she somehow missed the news of Supergirl saving a young girl stuck on the London eye.
- according to last episode we’re not in canon anymore, should I change the tags?
- CATgeo makes me laugh every time I write it.
- On earth prime Kara has probably never won a Pulitzer since Lex was a good guy. I know this and I chose to ignore it.
Chapter 5: When you think of love, do you think of pain?
Reunited and it doesn't feel so good.
Lena shook off the rain from her jacket as she entered the pub. She knew it wasn’t a normal day, but still she was surprised at just how many people could fit in such a small place. The pub was packed, it seemed like every single person in the village was there. The television behind the bar was showing the parade in Dublin. Around her it wasn’t as green as she would have expected though, for what she could see there were just a couple of children wearing green hats. She slowly made her way inside, bumping shoulders in the crowded place when she spotted the boys at their usual table. Lena wondered how early they had arrived to be able to secure it or if maybe everyone else had just known that the spot was taken. As soon as he saw her, Jack promptly stood up, showing her a green shirt with ‘kiss me I’m a ginger’ written on it.
“Lena! You made it!” He said, hugging her.
“What’s with all these people?” Finn stood up and let Lena sit in his place, while he headed to the bar.
“It’s Saint Patrick’s”
“Is it? I would have never guessed, what with all the green and the six hundred texts you sent me to be sure I’d come” Jack’s cheeks reddened. Lena worried for a moment that she had been too harsh and that her sarcasm was just a bit too much. She had appreciated the boys’ easy friendship in the past months but sometimes she was still wary of what she said, afraid that she would do something to drive a wedge between them. Every time she made fun of one of them a small part of her expected the others to tell her off, to say that she wasn’t really part of the group and that she shouldn't dare to act like it. Thankfully, they never did and seemed to appreciate her playful jabs.
“It’s your first back in Ireland!”
“It’s tradition Lena” Oscar chimed in with a smile.
“Ok, but seriously what’s up with the children?" Lena said, eyeing two kids that were chasing each other darting between the legs of the adults, barely missing a man that was carrying a tray full of beers. In that moment Lena learned some new colorful swear words she was sure would come in handy in the future.
“Yeah, they even brought them to mass, I don’t understand that either” Liam joked.
“So how are we celebrating?” Lena asked, looking around the table. The boys shared a mischievous look.
“Oh, we are going to drink, Miss Connor” Finn said from behind her as he got back from the bar, placing a tray full of drinks on the small table.
“So like every other day?” asked Lena.
“Oh no, this time you and Oscar are gonna get drunk too, we got the good stuff and you can’t just drink a beer and be done” Finn put a shot of cheap whiskey in front of her and one full of a cloudy, bright pink, probably alien liquid in front of Oscar. Lena didn’t know what to do. She hadn’t gotten drunk since she had arrived in Ireland. Sure, she had had her fair share of beers but she had never really let go. Lena wasn’t sure if she was more afraid of what she could do if free of inhibitions or of what her thoughts would be if she wasn’t sober enough to rein them in.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want” Jack was looking at Oscar but Lena felt like it applied to her too.
“Jack!” Liam and Finn said at the same time, outraged.
“What? Peer pressure is no fun”
“You’re such a teacher” Finn looked at him in disbelief.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing. I form the minds of tomorrow, you heathen” Jack hit him on the back of his head.
“Bold of you to assume you are our peers” Oscar took a sip of his pink liquor and winked at Lena. She burst out laughing, feeling lighter than before, secure in the knowledge that they wouldn’t mind either way.
Lena took one of the beers that was still on the tray and left the whiskey alone. She was taking a sip when her attention was captured by the tv. There was some commotion at the parade, the shot changed to show a float surrounded by flames with two men trapped on it. One by one the people in the pub seemed to be sensing that something was going on and the place went quiet. Everyone was holding their breath when Supergirl suddenly appeared out of nowhere and with one swift motion extinguished the fire and saved the day. A loud cheer echoed in the pub and from the looks of it all the people at the parade had joined in.
Everyone around Lena got back to their drinks and friends but she couldn’t stop looking at the tv. Supergirl hadn’t flown away. Lena could now clearly see that the hero hadn’t changed her suit back, the family crest still sat on a patch of black. Supergirl had been surrounded by people dressed in green and was accepting high fives and shoulder pats. In the next moment, with a speed that confused Lena, the hero had been raised over their heads by a group of very drunk looking guys. Supergirl didn’t seem at ease and hovered mid air just to be able to get her feet back on the ground. To Lena’s surprise, she still didn’t leave but let herself be dragged again into the festivities, someone offered her a bottle of what looked like the same pink alien liquor Finn had bought for Oscar, and Supergirl took a swing. The television went back to showing the end of the parade, Supergirl forgotten, and Lena’s attention wandered back to the table.
The whiskey shot was still in front of her. Screw it. She drank it in one gulp, wincing at the poor quality.
“YES!” Liam offered her his hand for a high five.
“Are we drinking or are we drinking?” Said Finn with a grin, putting his arm around Lena. She smiled.
“I guess it’s time I show you how it’s done, boys” She smirked and the guys let out delighted hoots. They drank every single thing that was on the table in the matter of minutes. Lena could already tell she was a little tipsy, but she didn’t care. She wanted to have fun with her friends. To be just as carefree as Kara had looked on the tv. Drinking with strangers, letting herself be in the moment. As soon as she noticed that they were out of alcohol Lena stood up, she felt woozy for a moment, the drinks quickly catching up to her but she didn’t care. She smiled at the boys, asked for their preferences and went to the bar.
While Lena waited for the drinks to be ready, the television caught her attention once again. Supergirl was flying, making shamrocks in the skies above Dublin for the delight of the crowd below her. Lena didn’t notice when the drinks were placed in front of her, too focused on the screen. Supergirl flew lower for a moment, giving the camera the chance to get a close up of her face, her cheeks were red and in that moment Lena realized she had never seen Kara drunk. Supergirl flew up once again making what could have been either a very shaky circle or a not geographically correct rendition of the Irish island. “Oh, Kara...” Lena murmured in amused disbelief and then looked away, finally noticing the drinks in front of her.
On the tv Supergirl suddenly stopped mid air, moved her head to the side, and flew away.
Lena went back to the table and started drinking again. Her memories of the night would be spotty from that moment on.
Finn’s head was on the table, Liam was carefully stacking napkins on it. “It’s just that I’m so angry, you now? And I’m even angrier that I’m not angry anymore” Lena slurred, her vision lost focus for a moment while she tried to look Oscar in the eyes.
The pub closed. Lena and the boys found themselves just outside, sitting on a step “I just miss her so much, Jack.” Lena grabbed his shoulder, making him face her “why do I miss her?”
They were walking on the path that brought them to the cottage. The hill seemed insurmountable, Lena leaned heavily on Finn, glad the brothers had decided to walk her back. “It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about her.”
“We know!” Was the exasperated response from both of them.
“Lena, you haven’t talked about anything else in hours.” Liam explained.
Lena came back into consciousness slowly, becoming more and more aware of the pulsing in her temples and the dryness of her mouth. She opened one eye. It was too bright, she closed it immediately. She tried to stretch out only to fall from the couch. Lena sat confused on the floor. She didn’t remember getting home, but apparently her drunk self had deemed the stairs too much of a hazard and fell asleep downstairs, still in her clothes. Lena tried to recall the events of the night before but they were pretty hazy, she remembered Supergirl at the parade and was pretty sure she had dreamt of Kara, but besides that it was all a blur. Lena stood up slowly bracing herself for a possible wave of nausea that never came. Considering herself lucky she moved to the kitchen and drank three large glasses of water, one after the other. She still felt disgusting, but at least her headache had somehow diminished in its intensity and her mouth was no longer dry.
Lena went up to her room, gathered some clean clothes and hopped into the shower. The water running through her body helped her clear her mind. She thought of Supergirl while she washed the excesses of the night before from her body. The woman was in Dublin and somehow a little bit over 200 miles seemed like no distance at all.
Lena got out of the shower, she couldn’t do much about the Supergirl situation, but she could do something about herself. She got dressed and made coffee. While she waited for it to be ready she wondered about the boys, hoping they had gotten home safely and were taking care of themselves. For what she could remember they had drank at least as much as her, so they probably weren’t faring any better. Lena poured her coffee in a mug and let out a contented sigh, at the first sip, her brain was finally starting to work properly again. She drank it all and was about to get started on making breakfast when someone knocked on the door.
Lena thought it was very considerate of whomever was on the other side to show up after she had finished the coffee and felt like a human being again. She tried to remember if she should have been waiting for someone. When she couldn’t think of anyone, she surmised it was probably one of the boys, she may have forgotten something at the pub last night.
Lena opened the door without checking.
It was Kara Danvers.
“You are alive” she said, not an accusation, more of a declaration.
Lena was speechless.
Kara Danvers was standing outside the door of her cottage, in Ireland.
Kara Danvers, dressed much too lightly for the cold March morning, was standing just in front of her, with the sun shining on her hair.
Lena took a step back. She didn’t know why, she didn’t know if it was supposed to be an invitation for Kara to come in or just a way to take her in better.
Kara was the same, as always, same neatly pressed pants and shirt combo she wore at the office, same glasses, same crinkle between her eyes.
Lena took another step back and Kara moved inside the house.
Lena felt self conscious, she was wearing a pair of jeans and a hoodie with no makeup, her hair wet and limp on her shoulders. She also knew her face would still be rough from all the drinking, the day before.
Lena didn’t know how long she’d been staring at Kara, now in her house, with the door still wide open. Kara was starting to fidget, but stayed silent. Lena felt the haziness of her hangover come back with full force. Her thoughts were muddled, unable to get over the Kara is here, in her cottage , stage.
Lena shook her head, as if that would help, and sprung into action. She closed the door and motioned Kara into the kitchen. Once she stopped looking at the other woman she couldn’t bear looking back at her. She busied herself cleaning her mug.
Kara silently sat down in front of the island counter. Why wasn’t she talking? Had she nothing more to say besides ‘you are alive’ ? Lena knew full well she was. What she didn’t know was how Kara found out, nor what she was thinking at the moment.
Lena finished washing her cup, but she still couldn’t bring herself to turn around and talk to Kara. What would she even say? I’m sorry I let you believe I was dead for ten months? Was she even sorry?
“I thought you were dead, we all did.”
“How did you find me?” They both spoke at the same time. Kara’s cheeks reddened.
Lena didn’t know how to respond to Kara’s sentence. She knew they thought she was dead, that had been the point of not going back.
“I heard you.” Kara said.
Lena didn’t understand what she meant and it must have shown on her face because Kara added: “Last night, I was in Dublin and I heard your voice, it happened a couple of times before, but I thought it was wishful thinking… Last night I was just drunk enough to believe it. I started flying in the direction I thought you were in, but I couldn’t hear you anymore.” By this point Lena was pretty sure that the only reason Kara wasn’t purple from oxygen deprivation was because of her alien physiology.
“I kinda panicked for a moment but then when I was flying over Cork it happened again. You said ‘I miss her’ and I don’t know, I thought that maybe, just maybe, you were talking about me and I couldn’t stop then. There were people with you, someone said that they knew and that it was ‘time for your drunk arse to go home and sleep it off’” Kara said the last bit with an awful Irish accent, but it did sound as something Jack would say. Or apparently as something Jack did say, last night.
“Their words, not mine.” Kara continued “And they said your name. I was still too far away to be able to actually know where you were. It took me a while to be near enough to hear your heartbeat, but… that’s how I found you”
Kara rambling had now stopped, Lena stood in front of her, the kitchen island the only thing between them. Lena was grateful for the distance because a part of her brain wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch Kara, to see if she was real. She studied Kara’s face in the hopes of catching anything that would help her gauge the direction this conversation was going to take. Kara did her best not to catch her eyes.
Lena still didn’t know how to react, she didn’t have a plan. She hadn’t had a plan since the day her brother died. She just wanted to be free from the pain of it all. She wanted to go out with her friends and get drunk and have a lazy morning nurturing her hangover. She had a sudden thought.
“Did you wait for me to have my coffee before you knocked?” Lena asked, if Kara had found her around the time she had gotten home, she must have waited hours before knocking. Their eyes met for a moment and the other woman blushed without bothering to answer.
Lena didn’t know what else to say, she still couldn’t really look Kara in the eyes for more than a fleeting moment. The shock of seeing her in her space prevented Lena from forming coherent thoughts about the situation. She turned around and started looking in the fridge for something to cook for breakfast. Áine had taught her that when in doubt a full stomach was always better than an empty one.
“You must be hungry” Lena offered over her shoulder, placing a pan over the stove.
“I’ve been mourning your death for almost a year,” Kara murmured.
“You kept secrets for longer” Lena didn’t know why she said that, but it did kill any resemblance of conversation. She mixed the pancake batter in silence and risked a look towards Kara once she was finished, only to see her picking her fingers with the crinkle back in place.
Lena focused on making their breakfast and after a few minutes she put a plate full of pancakes in front of Kara, who was still looking at her hands, but now with tears in her eyes. Lena wanted to apologize but the part of her that was still hurting from Kara’s betrayal made it hard.
“In the summer the path that connects my cottage to my neighbours' is full of blueberries, I can’t wait till they’re in season, I bet they will go amazing with the pancakes” She said, instead.
“You'll have to make me some then” Kara offered, before she started eating. Lena didn’t know what to do with this new piece of information. Kara thought that they’d be seeing each other again, after whatever confrontation they were about to have. After a moment passed, Lena walked around the kitchen island, sat beside Kara and started eating, and if small smiles were on both of their lips, she most definitely would not address them.
They finished eating in silence and once the plates were in the sink, Lena took a deep breath and braced herself for the conversation she had been putting off since Kara had knocked on her door.
“Kara, why are you here?”
“You’re alive” She said, as if that alone answered the question. Kara got up and patted her pants clean of invisible crumbs.
“And on the other side of the world from National City” Lena was aware she was fishing for a reaction, pushing Kara to the limit.
“Yeah, I haven’t spent much time there either.” Kara wasn’t taking the bait but her stance had changed, her back straightened and her hands rested on her hips. She was looking Lena dead in the eyes.
“I’m also officially dead.” Kara snorted. Lena walked to the living room, the other woman close behind.
“You mean you faked your own death.”
“What if I did?” Lena clenched her jaw.
Kara exploded, “WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU DO THAT?” she screamed, her body trembling “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH IT HURT?” Kara stepped into Lena’s personal space.
“Maybe I wanted it to hurt, did you think of that?” Lena took a step forward too, they were almost touching.
“WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT, LENA” Kara’s hands were in the air, she was fuming. Lena should have been scared, after all she had a furious Super on her hands, but her brain somehow fixated on the swear word. In the years she had known Kara, she had never heard her swear. This minor detail made all the fight suddenly leave her. She took a step back. Lena knew, rationally, that she was in the wrong and taking a pause to notice Kara saying ‘fuck’ had given her the time to rein her emotions in. Kara did not get the memo.
“I DUG INTO THE CONCRETE FOR HOURS,” Kara stopped screaming, a dark shadow passed over her face. “Even when I knew I was just looking for a body.” It was barely audible, after Kara said that a shudder went through her body and she started crying, folding in on herself. Lena felt once again the sudden urge to touch her, to console her in some way. She didn’t.
Kara sniffed and looked back at Lena. The lack of a reaction on her part must have fueled her on, because she went back to her Supergirl stance, with her shoulders squared.
“You could’ve talked to me like a normal human being, you -” Kara stopped, she had noticed the four CATgeo magazines Lena had on her coffee table. She looked at them, then looked up to Lena and then back to the magazines.
“You’re missing some,” she said, confused.
“Yeah, the writing was shit.” Lena deadpanned, Kara let out a surprised laugh. Lena was glad for the mood shift, she didn’t have the strength to keep arguing. She sat down and motioned Kara to do the same. The space between them seemed insurmountable, they were at the opposite ends of the sofa and Lena thought they had never sat so far apart. She sighed, it was time to be honest.
“It wasn’t planned,” Lena pressed her right thumb on her left palm, focusing on the action more than her words or the woman sitting beside her.
“I modified Lex’s watch and matched it with some obsidian tech, when the explosion hit I just thought I wanted to be home, I opened my eyes and I was here.”
“I don’t understand” Lena clasped her hands together and looked at Kara with a sad smile.
“I didn’t either, I expected to be in my penthouse, I hadn’t been here since I was four.” She explained.
“Oh!” Kara looked around with new eyes “you mean this is...”
“My real mom’s house, yeah...” They sat in silence for a moment. Lena desperately wanted to shuffle closer to Kara but didn’t know how to motivate the action.
“But why didn't you come back?”
“The watch broke and I was injured,” Lena showed Kara the faint scars on her arm. “I was also angry, Kara. I was so angry and I felt like there was nothing, but pain for me there.” Kara was silent for a long while, probably weighing the new information. Kara moved her body so that it was facing hers. Lena mimicked the position.
“Are you still angry?” Kara asked, after taking a deep breath.
“Sometimes.” It was the best Lena could manage.
“But not always?” Kara inquired.
“No, not always.”
“Good.” Kara smiled and let herself fall back on the couch.
Lena didn’t know where they were supposed to go from there. What did it change if Kara knew she was alive? Their past was still the same. Even if she wasn’t so angry anymore it didn’t mean she could trust Kara again. It didn’t mean Kara should forgive her for letting her believe she was dead for so long. She had done that. She had voluntarily hurt her and she didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with that just yet. Lena knew she loved the other woman, but she also knew it was too late for them, there was no going back from all the hurt they had caused one other.
“Kara… you should leave now.” Lena reasoned.
“What? Why?” Kara looked back at her, her eyes wide open.
“I- listen. I’m sorry I let you believe I was dead. I wanted to hurt you and that wasn’t fair. I really am sorry. But I like my life here Kara,” Lena reached for Kara’s hand, squeezing it once. She didn’t want to hurt her anymore, but it was vital for her that Kara understood she was serious. “There’s nothing there for me and there’s nothing here for you. You know I’m alive now, you didn’t fail, you can go back to National City and forget all about me.” She took her hand back, her skin tingly from the contact and her eyes wet from the tears she would never let fall.
“I could never forget you.”
“You should still go,” Lena stood up, hoping Kara would do the same. “I have a good life and I don’t have to be a Luthor anymore. Did you know this was the longest time in my life without tragedy? When everyone who's ever known me thought I was dead.” She offered a mirthless laugh. “No homicidal brothers who die twice, no maniac mothers, no lying best friends, I didn't have to kill anyone I love and I wasn't betrayed.” Lena had a sad smile on her face. She wasn’t accusing Kara, not anymore, but she was not going to lie about how much damage the other woman had done either. This had been the most tranquil period in her life and it had a lot to do with the fact that Supergirl had no place in it.
“I’m not asking you to leave it.” Kara had followed her to the entrance, a pleading look still on her face.
“Then what are you asking?” Lena was exasperated. Kara stayed silent, eyes down cast.
“What do you want?” Lena pressed again, she didn’t know what she wanted Kara to say. I want to salvage this. I love you. Please come back.
“I don’t know, Lena.”
“I think you should leave.” Lena opened the door for her. Kara opened her mouth to say something, only to close it again after a moment. They stood facing each other, Lena’s hand on the door. All the words left unsaid were heavy between them. Lena was about to move, she didn’t know to do what, maybe to close the door or just hug Kara, but she didn't have the time. Kara left without another word.
Lena closed the door and leaned back on it. She took a shaky breath and put a hand over her mouth. She wouldn’t cry. She couldn’t cry. Kara could still hear her. Lena’s knees gave in so she sat on the floor, trembling in silence. She. Would. Not. Cry.
Lena did not know how much time she spent sitting there, willing herself to not cry. Eventually she calmed down enough to get back up and start her day. She didn’t know what to do with herself. All her habitual activities seemed empty, barren of meaning. Kara had been there. Kara knew she was alive. Her two worlds had been moments away from colliding.
Lena took a deep breath, Kara had left, she could go back to her life. She sent a couple of texts to the boys inquiring on their wellbeing after the night before and forced herself to move on with her life. After a couple of hours mindlessly wandering around the cottage she decided to go to Áine and Bran’s. She walked the short path and stopped in her tracks as soon as she reached their cottage.
Áine was sitting in the garden, enjoying the sun and keeping an eye on Bran. The man was on a ladder, cleaning the gutter. Kara, well, Kara was holding the ladder for him.
“Lena! It’s good to see you, come sit with me” Lena wordlessly did as Áine asked. Kara did not look in her direction, even if she had no doubt heard her arrival. Lena could not take her eyes off of her. Áine must have noticed because she moved closer to Lena and said: “She came out of nowhere and asked if we had a spare bedroom to rent her. She also offered to help around the house.”
Lena didn’t comment. How could she. Kara hadn’t left. She had arranged for a longer stay instead. Kara had done the exact opposite of what Lena had asked of her and she hated every single part of her that was relieved for that.
“She’s your... friend, isn’t she?” Áine stopped for a moment mid sentence, looking for the right word.
“Bran recognized the name from the magazines you were always taking with you a couple of months back.”
“and you rented her the room.” Áine looked her in the eyes and slowly raised an eyebrow.
“Yes” The traitors.
I could have ended the chapter when Kara left but I didn't. I think that should count for something.
Also I had a few images in my mind when I started this, one was of Supergirl as the Korean ambassador in this video.
Chapter 6: Can we go on like it once was?
The one where Lena is kinda happy, it freaks her out and she copes by telling everyone to shut up.
The title of the chapter is from Another Story by The Head and the Heart.
Longer wait = Longer chapter
Thank you for all the comments, you guys are amazing!
I just want to remind you all that this is strictly Lena’s POV, which means that when she’s being a dumbass she may not notice certain things or just plain talk herself out of being happy, because she’s a dumbass.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lena left Áine and Bran’s and got back to her cottage. She started pacing up and down the place without knowing what to do. Kara was staying. Kara was staying and she felt light and relieved. Kara was staying and Lena couldn’t help the smile forming on her face. Why was she happy about it?
Lena had expressly asked her not to. She had told Kara to leave. Their friendship was too far gone to savage. She had let Kara believe she was dead for so long, there was no way she could make amends for it. What was the point of having Kara there if things could not go back to normal?
And why in the world wouldn’t Kara leave? Had she finally decided to fight for her? Lena’s heart grew two sizes at the idea. Kara was staying for her. There was no doubt about it. Kara wanted to mend their friendship.
Even if it was two years too late.
Even if Lena didn’t deserve it anymore.
Lena had always felt like she wasn’t worthy of Kara’s light in her life. She had been proven right when she discovered she had been lied to for years. Kara thought she didn’t deserve the truth and she was probably right. The only thing that had changed since then was that, now, Lena had intentionally hurt Kara, letting her believe she was dead.
She didn’t deserve to have Kara in her life. She was happy with her life as it was, simple and conflict free. She liked having time for herself, going out with the boys and checking in on L-Corp and Sam from a distance. She was perfectly content with her life at the moment. She didn’t need Kara in it. She didn’t need complications.
Why couldn’t Kara just follow simple instructions and leave. Now everything would change again and Lena didn’t have the emotional strength to handle it. To have Kara back in her life and still not in the way she craved.
She didn’t want to have to deal with it and with her own shortcomings. She would just avoid Áine and Bran’s cottage and Kara would eventually get the message and leave. Kara would eventually realize she wasn’t worth it and leave.
Except she was everywhere.
Kara was everywhere.
Lena took her car to go to the village and her heart skipped a beat when she saw a familiar set of broad shoulders and blonde hair. Kara was walking alone down the narrow road. Lena slowed down in order to safely pass her by. Her car was battered enough, it didn’t need a Supergirl shaped dent. She caught her eyes while passing by her and Kara waved. She fucking waved.
Lena ran into Oscar with his head in the hood of his van, she stopped to help him until she saw Kara walking and chatting with Bran down the street. Lena quickly solved the problem and fled the scene before Oscar could even thank her.
She was in line to pay at the grocery store when Kara came in and smiled at her. Lena automatically responded with a soft smile before she remembered she was ignoring her and busied herself by emptying the cart.
Lena went home to regroup and Supergirl was on the local news saving a family from the wreckage of their car crash.
Kara was everywhere, but she never tried to talk to Lena, she was just existing in the same space. Lena didn’t know how to react. Kara was too close and not close enough. Lena needed space to breathe and strong arms to hug her. She needed Kara to be angry and she needed to be forgiven.
Lena went to the pub earlier than usual. She had no intention of drinking, the hangover from St. Patrick’s was still too fresh in her mind, but she wanted company that wasn’t in the shape of the blonde alien that wouldn’t leave her thoughts and her freaking village. She immediately spotted Jack at their usual table, surrounded by papers, with his hands in his hair. Finn was sitting next to him, idly playing on his phone.
“Hi, guys” They both looked up, smiling at the sound of her voice.
“Lena, oh my god, Lena, it’s so good to see you!” Jack got up and hugged her, he then took her hands in his and looked her dead in the eyes. “I will give you whatever you want if you grade these for me. I just got over my headache from the other day. I can’t deal with them.” Finn shook his head and went back to his game.
“What do you want? Name your price, do you want something to drink? My first born?” Jack continued, still holding her hands.
“He’s bluffing Lena, don’t fall for it” Finn piped in.
“Shut up, Finn” Jack playfully shoved the other man and Lena took the opportunity of her newly freed hands to sit down.
“You shut up and hurry, so that when Liam and Oscar finish with work there’s some space for them to actually sit” Finn gave a pointed look to the papers littering the table. Jack sat down, still looking at Lena.
“You’re sure I can’t tempt you?”
“I’m not gonna do your work for you, Jack” Lena said with a laugh.
“It was worth a try,” He shrugged.
The door of the pub opened, Lena automatically turned to see if it was one of the missing boys. It wasn’t. It was Kara. Who winked at her. Winked. Lena turned back around, so fast she hurt her neck. Her eyes on the table and face as red as a tomato.
“Lena, who’s that?” Of course Jack had noticed, it wasn’t like he had work to do right in front of him.
“No one” Her voice cracked, but she still hoped he would let it go.
“Oh my god Lena, is that Kara? ” Finn was looking frantically between Lena and a point behind her shoulders, probably where Kara was approaching the bar, his eyes comically wide, apparently her drunk descriptions were detailed enough to let him guess correctly.
Why was she here? This was supposed to be a safe spot.
And why in the world did she wink?
“Now I get why you couldn't shut up about her” Finn offered, apparently Lena’s red cheeks had answered the question for her.
“Damn Lena, you hit that?” Jack was still ogling Kara, but Lena barely noticed. No, she had not hit that. That didn’t mean that certain images didn’t suddenly appear in her mind. Lena couldn’t help it and she couldn’t stop it. She imagined the weight of Kara’s body on her own. She remembered how it felt to be in her arms and fantasized about what it would feel like without clothes in the way. She could almost feel Kara’s hair in her hands, her breath on her neck...
“What is she doing here?” Finn’s voice rudely pulled her away from her reverie. She blushed once again.
That’s the million dollar question, she thought but before she could say anything an idea took over Finn, he grasped her arm and asked: “Did you drunk dial her the other night?”
“Oh my god, did she come all this way because you called?” He gasped.
“Guys!” Lena knew they were just teasing but the sudden realization that Kara could actually hear them made her want to disappear. “Please shut up.”
“I would have declined my advances too if I knew she was an option” Jack smirked, nudging her with his elbow.
“Jack, I will grade your papers if you please SHUT UP” A melodic laugh was heard in the pub. Lena turned around, Kara was looking at her, a smile still on her lips. She took a bag the barman was handing her without breaking the eye contact, waved and left the pub.
Lena let her head hit the table.
The next week saw Lena obsessively working on a prototype she built based on plans she found in the L-Corp servers. She was just moments away from a breakthrough when there was a knock on her door. This time she knew it was Kara, no doubt in her mind about it. They had been running into each other for days and Kara still hadn’t tried to talk to her. Seeing her everywhere and not being able to have a conversation was unnerving, but Lena didn’t know how to start. She didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t ready and she probably would never be.
Lena took a deep breath, steadied herself for the emotional pain it would cost her to turn Kara away once again and opened the door.
“What do you want?” She said instead of a greeting.
“Can we talk?” Kara looked troubled, her hands clasped together and her eyes hard.
“No” Lena tried to close the door but she couldn’t, Kara’s hand was in the way and it wouldn’t budge.
“Then I think I’m gonna scream at you for a while” That Lena wasn’t expecting. Kara had been so docile since they saw each other.
“Well Lena, I’m really fucking angry at you and I thought talking might help, but if you don’t want to, I’ll be equally happy to just let it all out” Here she went with the swearing again, that was a new development Lena had no way to see coming. It had a strange effect on her, it seemed out of character for a person that had used golly unironically, in her presence, but it had also awoken something deep inside of Lena, the thought of Kara using that type of language in other settings. Lena pondered her options and took a step back.
“Ok” She said.
“Ok?” Kara looked confused. Lena guided her to the kitchen. They stood in silence, one in front of the other.
“Start screaming, Supergirl” Kara was probably not expecting this, but Lena knew she deserved her anger. Kara did not, in fact, start screaming.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” She asked
“What? That I was alive? If anyone knew what would have even been the point of faking my death?” Lena turned around, she couldn’t look Kara in the eyes. Not when she was about to hurt her once again. Not when she was putting even more distance between them. She busied herself by filling two glasses of water.
“I’m not just anyone” Kara’s voice was shaking and Lena’s resolve broke. She turned around, with the two glasses trembling in her hands. Kara had tears in her eyes, and it was Lena’s fault.
“No, you’re not” She offered one of the glasses to Kara.
“You let it go on for so long. And now you won't even talk to me. And I tried to give you time and space. I really did.” Kara started to raise her voice “But you let me believe you were dead, for so long, and now you’re ignoring me,” The glass in her hand broke.
They both looked at the pieces on the ground and let the silence stretch for a moment. Lena wondered if their relationship was just as broken as the glass on the floor, if their love for one another was like the water that it once contained, lost forever.
“Have you ever gardened?” Lena interrupted her.
“Sometimes it helps to have your hands busy and I have to get rid of a lot of weeds and plant some vegetables. Now would be the perfect time and it’s sunny, would you like to help?” Kara looked at her like she had grown another head. She took a moment to answer and Lena feared it was the wrong thing to suggest.
“Yeah” It was all Kara said, offering a smile Lena immediately mirrored.
She cleaned up the broken glass and then showed Kara outside to the garden and explained to her what to do. For a while they worked together without talking about anything, besides the plants. They were kneeling one beside the other, elbow deep in dirt, moving plants from their pots into the ground when Kara finally broke the silence.
“It’s just that you were working with Lex and you were behaving like a villain. I know you don’t see it that way, but you must know what it looked like. And then you saved everyone, like the entire world probably, and then you were dead. Lena, you were dead” Kara was aggressively digging into the ground.
“I had no closure. You, my best friend, died hating me.”
“I didn’t hate you” Lena was staring at Kara, willing the other woman to look her way.
“You won’t even talk to me,” Kara kept digging.
“I don’t know what to say” Lena put her hands on Kara’s, making her stop. Their eyes met, Lena could only hope the other woman could see how honest she was being.
“And then I find out you’re alive. Can you even imagine how confusing that is? To be so happy and relieved that you’re safe and so angry. Lena I’m so angry. I heard you, what you said the other day, about not having planned it and this life being better for you. I heard you, but you let me believe I had to spend the rest of my life without ever talking to you again” Lena squeezed Kara’s hands. Tears silently falling on both of their faces.
“I know” Kara sniffed. She took out a plant from its pot and observed it.
“What even is this?” She asked, clearly trying to change the subject. Lena let out a watery laugh.
“It’s kale.” Kara let it go immediately.
“Ew! Gross!” Lena chuckled and picked it up. She gently put it in the hole Kara had dug and moved some soil back in it as well. Once she was finished she wiped her hands on her jeans and stood up. She offered a hand to Kara, she knew it wasn’t needed but she liked the casual contact.
Now that they were both standing they were closer than Lena had anticipated.
“It sucks doesn't it? When you understand the other person’s point of view, but you’re still hurt and angry for what they did,” She whispered, remaining in her spot, just in front of Kara.
“Yeah” Kara didn’t move away either, she stayed still, sharing her space, breathing the same air, just a few inches between them.
“Girls!” Lena and Kara jumped apart. Áine and Bran were walking towards them.
“I’m so glad to see that you’re spending time together!” Bran put one hand on each of their shoulders. Lena met Áine’s gaze and saw a familiar smirk on her lips. The woman seemed to always know a little bit too much for comfort.
“We were looking for you, Kara, we’re about to get started on dinner and we were wondering where you were.” Bran said, oblivious. “Lena why don’t you come too, it’s been awhile since you came around” Lena was not proud of herself, but she panicked, her heart started racing. She wasn’t ready to spend time with the thousand questions Bran would ask, nor the knowing looks Áine would give her. Not in front of Kara. Not right now. She needed an excuse, but her brain was failing her.
“I think both me and Lena need a shower and some rest after all the work she put me through this afternoon” Intervened Kara. Lena mouthed a thank you over Bran’s shoulders and watched them walk away together.
A couple of days later something caught Lena’s attention on the newsstand. It was the newest CATgeo issue.
THE FORGOTTEN WORKING CLASS
It said on the cover. Lena went to pick it up to see what it was all about when she felt a presence behind her.
“It’s a really good issue, you’ll like it” Kara was so close, her breath was tickling Lena’s ear. She could feel the warmth of Kara’s body on her back, they weren’t touching, but it sure felt like it. Lena’s mind was invaded by images of them actually touching, in ways they never had before. This was getting ridiculous. She needed space. She needed to breathe and she couldn’t do it with Kara so close.
“When are you going to leave?” Lena knew that after the last time they spoke she wouldn’t, couldn't ask Kara to leave again, they had made progress, but she needed something to make Kara take a step back and that most definitely worked. Kara looked surprised by her question, she had probably felt the shift their last conversation had brought.
“I wasn’t planning to. I’ll leave if you really want me to but... Do you know how my mother’s alive? I found out when we went to get the Harun el, she thought I was dead and I, her. So when I thought things were ok here on earth I went. We even had a going away party...” Kara was rambling, Lena had always thought she looked cute when she rambled, all broken sentences and awkward hand movements. This wasn’t helping with her enormous crush. They were just now starting on the road to recover their friendship, Lena could not get distracted.
“I had been happy in National City, but my mom was alive, so I went. But it was weird, like I kept talking to my mom about a sister she never met, we had been separated so long we didn’t know each other anymore. My surviving childhood friends are like 20 years older than me. I have my mom there and I am so happy she’s fine, but I was missing National City and once everything was resolved there and I could go back to Argo I didn’t. But now…” Kara looked deep into Lena’s eyes. This wasn’t helping.
“I haven’t been home in so long, without you there I wasn’t happy. National City didn’t feel like home anymore. The place I left the remains of my world for, it felt empty and so, so sad. So I thought that, maybe, if you let me stay I can just bask in the knowledge that you are here, alive and well. I can literally be anywhere in the world in under 30 minutes so I can work from here and I won’t talk to you if that’s what you want. But please don’t ask me to leave. I’ll leave if you really want me to. But” Kara took one of Lena’s hands in hers.
“Please don’t want me to.”
Lena knew Kara meant it in a totally platonic way, but there was no way she could distance herself from the other woman now. She was destined to spend her life next to Kara and eventually have to see her fall in love with some insipid guy and she would love every day of it because she would get to spend them with the woman she adored. She didn’t need to be loved back. Not in a romantic way, the love Kara was so kindly offering was enough. It had to be enough. It would be enough.
So Lena officially relented on her plan to have Kara leave, she was weak. And when Kara asked if they could see each other, she acquiesced. Weak. Lena didn’t think she’d have the strength to be alone with Kara yet, so she proposed an evening at the pub, hoping the boys would act as a buffer, if needed.
Lena was incredibly nervous, she got there before Kara and instead of going to the usual table where the boys were probably already sitting she went straight for the bar and ordered a whiskey.
“Are we drinking again? You sure that’s a good idea?” Oscar was just behind her.
“You can do whatever you want, I’m most definitely drinking” Lena hadn’t told them Kara was coming so she could see how her behavior could be confusing but she needed something to calm her nerves and had no desire to further explain herself.
“No need to get snappy, you drink, I drink” Oscar smiled and ordered the pink alien liquor that seemed to be the only thing that had any effect on him. Lena apologized and walked with him to the table.
Kara got there soon after. Lena immediately sensed the moment she entered the pub by Jack and Finn’s reaction, the two elbowed each other and then started to look at her and then at a point behind her comically opening their eyes, probably trying to convey who had just come in and was approaching their table.
Lena got up and awkwardly greeted Kara, she could hear whispers coming from the table and hoped Kara was distracted enough to not be listening to them, she didn’t need super hearing to know she would be embarrassed by them. Lena turned back to the table putting a hand on Kara’s back.
“Boys, this is Kara,” Four different jaws hit the floor. Liam and Oscar were probably just surprised by Kara’s presence, whereas Jack and Finn were doubtlessly shocked by Lena’s actions, she hadn’t told them anything about the newest development.
“Kara, this is Liam, Jack, Finn and Oscar. Do not believe a single word they say” Kara offered her hand to everyone, when she got to Oscar she noticed the glass right in front of him and pointed to it.
“What is with Ireland and Tamaranean whiskey? That liquor is so strong it should come with a hazard label, you’ll most definitely regret it tomorrow” She said, moving a chair for Lena to sit in, before doing so for herself. Lena barely registered the phrase when Kara’s hand grazed her shoulders, over the back of her chair. She met Jack’s eyes and saw a mischievous look she didn’t like, he was also smirking and probably about to comment on how that simple gesture had thrown Lena for a loop. Lena kicked him under the table. And hoped Kara would ignore the small “ouch” he let out.
“So Kara, do you have any embarrassing stories about Lena?” Of course, she just took care of Jack and Liam would take his place.
The rest of the night went notably well, Kara, with no surprise on Lena’s part, properly enchanted the boys and made quick friends with them. The boys went on to be on their best behavior and said nothing of Lena’s drunken confessions about the other woman. They did, however, flee the scene earlier than usual, using work the next day as an excuse. Lena could see how they were trying to give her some space with Kara, and since everything until that point had gone smoothly she couldn’t really blame them. She proposed going to her cottage and watching something, like the old times. She didn’t know what possessed her to say so, but once it was out of her mouth it was too late to backtrack and she wouldn’t have been able to deny Kara’s brilliant smile, even if she wanted to.
Lena spent the trip back willing herself to calm down. She had done this countless times. She was starting to spiral when she looked back to Kara, who was sitting on her sofa and was observing her with a smile. She felt a sense of calm wash over her. She could do this. She placed her laptop on the coffee table, turned it on and sat next to Kara. It was incredible how much closer they were compared to the last time they had sat on this very sofa. They weren’t touching, but the space between them was almost gone. Lena let her body relax and concentrated on the screen.
When the end credits came Lena could feel Kara’s eyes on her. She blushed before she even turned around. Kara looked like she was in deep thought, her eyes focused on Lena's face.
“I get it now,” She said after a beat.
“What?” Lena was confused.
“Why you stayed,” Kara said with a smile. Lena desperately wanted to know why, or what had made her come to this realization, but she didn’t have the chance to ask because Kara’s phone rang.
She took it out and looked at the screen. Kara mouthed an “I’m sorry”, stood up and answered. Lena didn’t mean to eavesdrop but the cottage was only so big and she could still hear half of the conversation.
“Hi, Alex.” Kara sounded nervous.
“Yes… No, Alex I’m… Yes, I remember I have a sister, of course. I’m sorry” There was a long pause, Kara was attentively listening to Alex on the other end of the call. Lena couldn’t help but watch her. Kara passed a hand through her hair, let out a yelp of surprise and smiled.
“Alex this is wonderful news, I’m really happy for you. But I can’t... Alex... Ok. I’ll be there soon.”
She’s going back to National City.
“I’m really sorry, I have to go.” Kara seemed apologetic but didn’t say anything more. Lena couldn’t move.
“Of course” She didn’t even walk her to the door. She just stayed where she was, berating herself for letting Kara in once again, only to have her leave.
To put it mildly, Lena was miserable. She laid on her bed and spent the whole night thinking about Kara getting back to her life in National City and forgetting about her. Whatever Alex had told her it didn’t sound like a crisis. No, Kara had left of her own volition. All that talk about not being happy there, it was just that, talk. Lena fell asleep just as the sun rose, lulled by the soothing sound of the rain outside.
She woke up in the early afternoon groggy and sad, she got downstairs and took her laptop to the kitchen counter, she put on her coffee and searched for the National City news. There was nothing on Supergirl. So it was true, there wasn’t an emergency. Lena kept the news on and prepared something to eat. She ate there, standing, still confused and saddened by Kara’s actions. She pondered going to Áine and Bran’s, but she couldn’t bear hearing about Kara leaving, she couldn't go to the pub either because she knew the boys would pester her about Kara and their relationship. She knew she shouldn’t have let her in.
Lena shut her laptop and went to her home lab to keep working on her prototype, once she was done she sent a couple of scathing emails in Sam’s name and when that still didn’t appease her she started on a new, more ambitious project that would require all of her attention. She remained hunched on her desk until the early hours of the morning when exhaustion got the best of her and forced her to go to sleep.
Lena woke up startled by the sound of thunder, she went downstairs and repeated the actions of the day before, she made coffee and checked the news from National City. She was cooking her lunch when an image caught her attention. Supergirl was visiting the children's hospital. She was still wearing the suit with the black patch under her family crest, but her smile was blinding. Supergirl was letting young children climb all over her, laughing and tickling them. The newscaster said something about the hero finally being back home, but Lena didn’t care. She was too concentrated on Kara’s arms as she flexed them under her suit, raising two of the older kids over her head. Lena was enthralled by the image of Supergirl showing her muscles to the nurses, when the image changed to show more pressing news.
She kept the news on as she let the knowledge that she probably wouldn’t see Kara for a long time wash over her. They had said it on the tv, Supergirl was back in National City, the hospital was probably the first stop in her apology tour to the city she had left in the hands of Dreamer and the new DEO.
Lena had been doing so well without Kara, but just after a few days of having her near and she couldn’t imagine going back to her normal life without continuously running into her. Kara had seamlessly fit in with Lena’s small group of friends and Lena knew she would now feel her absence every time she spent time with them. She was about to let it go and start crying when someone knocked on her door. For a fleeting moment Lena hoped it would be Kara. It wasn’t.
“Oscar, I’m not really in the mood right now” She didn’t want to be rude but she couldn’t bear to let him see her cry either.
“Yeah, I figured, I wanted to know how you’re feeling.” The question caught her by surprise, Lena couldn’t figure out how he knew she had been down.
“I’m fine, I just want to be alone” She answered, somewhat truthfully.
“Is it because Kara left?” Lena was so surprised she let him in.
“How do you know?” Oscar pointed to the laptop, the news had circled back to Supergirl and was showing her giving an ice cream to a small boy, the kid had a big smile on his face but Lena could see tear tracks on his cheeks. A fallen ice cream on the asphalt quickly answered that question. The meaning behind Oscar’s words slowly dawned on her. He was speaking of Kara and pointing at Supergirl. That was not good.
“I don’t understand” Lena feigned ignorance.
“The Tamaranean whiskey is lethal to humans, and, well, it was an educated guess that Lena Luthor doesn’t have more than one blonde alien friend.” He paused looking at Lena’s wide eyes.
“Your reaction just now also helped” Oscar finished his explanation, as if it was the most normal thing to say and not a nuke on Lena’s well built fantasy.
“Luthor?” Her voice was at least one octave higher than usual.
“I do watch the news you know, plus any self respecting alien knows what the Luthors look like” Lena sat down. This wasn’t a conversation one could have while casually standing in her kitchen. She didn’t even think to deny it, Oscar was smarter than that and most of all he deserved the truth.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” She asked, instead.
“Lena you were a mess when you got here. It seemed like you needed the time to heal, besides I always knew you're one of the good ones” He touched his antlers. Lena wondered if he got a read on her with them when they first met. Was that the real reason he showed them as soon as they saw each other for the first time?
“Do the others know?”
“I didn’t tell them. It wasn’t my place to say.” Oscar sat down next to her.
“Are you angry?” Lena had to know.
“I lied to you. I didn’t tell you who I was.” It sounded incredibly familiar and the irony wasn’t lost on Lena.
“You didn’t tell me your last name. But you did show me who you are. You’ve been a thoughtful friend from the start. You’ve always been there when we needed you, you were never afraid to show your true self to us. You just… you kept from us the part of you that was hurting, the part that came with the heavy baggage. I’m ok with being lied to if it meant that it kept your heart safe. You’re my friend Lena, but you don’t owe me anything more that what you’re willing to give”
Oh, so that was the response of a well adjusted person on the matter. Interesting.
Lena felt a rush of emotions, incredibly relieved that he knew, grateful for his reaction and upset that she couldn’t see it that way when the roles had been inverted and she was the one to discover a secret identity. Thinking of Kara again, she couldn’t help but feeling the guilt and the pain that came with the whole ordeal. Lena started to cry and hugged Oscar. It was awkward for a moment, but he immediately put his arms around her and squeezed.
After a few cathartic sobs, Lena stopped wetting Oscar’s shoulder, but he didn’t let go.
“So, you have a crush on Supergirl, eh?” He whispered in her ear.
“Shut up” Lena broke the hug and playfully shoved him.
“I mean, I get it, I too would have the hots for my superhero friend” Oscar joked.
“Shut up!” Lena hid her face in her hands.
“Do you know when she’ll be back?”
“I don’t know if she will, she got a phone call from her sister and just left” Lena looked at her hands and pressed her right thumb on her left palm, letting the familiar action ground her.
“Lena, that girl flew here the moment she found out you were alive. She’ll be back, trust me.” Lena tried to, she really tried to believe him and hang onto the hope Oscar had given her, but the more time passed the faster she felt it wither and fade away. Two days after her talk with Oscar she was absolutely sure she would never see Kara ever again.
Since it had finally stopped raining she decided to check on her garden, she put a pair of boots on and opened the door. Lena found Kara just outside her cottage, with a fist in the air, ready to knock. Kara looked good, she seemed more serene than before she left, her hair was messy, as if she had just landed after an intercontinental flight.
“I- I didn’t think you were coming back.”
“I would have told you, but I don’t have your number,” Kara grinned and Lena flew into her arms. She didn’t remember the last time they had really hugged and she wasn’t waiting a moment longer. Kara reciprocated with such enthusiasm that Lena’s feet briefly left the ground.
“Someone’s happy to see me,” She said, without letting Lena go.
“Keep dreaming, Supergirl” Lena made no move to release her. She was enjoying the contact too much to let her go just yet. Kara had come back. Kara had come back for her. She squeezed her one more time, for good measure, and let her go. Kara offered her a brilliant smile. Lena took her hand and guided her to the sofa. She took off her boots and sat with her feet tucked under her body, Kara sat next to her, their thighs touching.
“So what happened.”
“Alex got engaged and suggested I haven’t been a good sister to her lately, she might also have made some threats if I didn’t get there immediately.” Kara looked apologetic, she must have realized how much her sudden disappearance had affected Lena.
“Yes, she’s great. They had this dinner with everyone to celebrate, it was crazy, lots of people I hadn’t seen in a while,” Kara smiled, Lena regretted missing the dinner. Would have she even been invited had she stayed in National City?
There was no use in mulling over what ifs. Kara was there, in that moment, sitting next to her.
“Yeah? Who was there? What is everyone up to?”
They talked for hours. Kara told her all about their friends and life in National City. Lena appreciated all the news, but more than that she loved the light in Kara’s eyes as she talked about the people she loved, so she mostly listened only chiming in with a small comment or question here and there. She didn’t even stop her when she went to make them some tea. Kara told her that Alex was back as the DEO director and had hired Kelly as their official therapist, “it’s not nepotism, if she’s good” . She said that James was happy in his hometown, but liked to visit his sister often, J’onn had become a recognized leader of the alien population, and that even though Sam and Ruby hadn’t been able to fly over for the party, apparently Sam was in National City often enough to have semi regular lunches with Alex and Kelly.
Kara told Lena about how Nia and Brainy had gotten back together and were doing better than ever.
“Oh, I saw that” Lena piped in.
“In the photos from your Pulitzer ceremony” Lena’s tone went up at the end of the phrase, making it sound more like a question than a statement.
“Oh Lena, I didn’t know you cared” Kara joked, moving to better face Lena, her knees bumping into her thigh.
“Shut up” Lena could feel the weight of all that was left unsaid. She could see in Kara’s eyes that she was thinking about the same things. That Lena had cared for and followed Kara’s life, that she had said her name on St Patrick's, that Kara had come running and that her speech at the ceremony was for Lena.
“I always cared,” Lena whispered, basically offering her heart on a silver platter. The mood had visibly shifted. Kara tried to recover asking Lena how she met the boys.
“I went to the pub the first day I was here and they were there.”
“That’s a terrible way to tell a story, where are the details, the pathos, the suspense” Kara punctuated each word with a hand gesture.
“Well, we can’t all have your way with words, you do it if you’re so good,” Lena crossed her arms with a not very convincing pout on her lips.
“You realize I don’t know what happened the first time you met them, don’t you?” Kara laughed.
“Well, then, tell me about the first time you met me,” Lena mirrored the position Kara was in, they were now both kneeling on the couch, one in front of the other. Lena’s hands were at her sides while Kara’s were holding her cup of tea.
“Well you weren’t on the Venture and me and Clark were sent to see if you had anything to do with it. I mean, we said we were there for an interview, but you saw right through us. You were wearing a black skirt with a red blouse and a black jacket and you seemed so honest when you talked about Lex and having nothing to do with the malfunction. I mean, you did make fun of CatCo ‘high waisted jeans yes or no’ ” Kara did a terrible imitation.
“But I did immediately believe in what you were saying, about wanting to be a force for good and make a name for yourself outside of your family,” Lena was shocked, Kara was citing her word for word.
“When I left your office I was a 100% sure you were a good person, then I tried to convince you to not go on with the naming ceremony, but you didn’t listen to me, and we both know how that turned out,” Kara smirked, the ‘told you so’ clear in her tone.
“At that time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, Cat had offered me any position I wanted in the company and I didn’t have the courage to admit I wanted to try and be a reporter, but then you asked why my name wasn’t on the byline and you said ‘you could’ve fooled me’ and my decision was made, just like that” Lena didn’t know what she had expected when she had ask Kara to recount that day, but this most definitely wasn’t it.
“You didn’t mention saving me from that helicopter” She noticed, finally understanding the duality of Kara. To her the important parts of their first few meetings weren’t when Kara was superheroing, but when they were talking, and unbeknownst to Lena, connecting on shared ambitions.
“What do you remember from when we first met?” Kara fired back, taking a sip of her probably cold tea.
“I remember thinking you were cute and how frustrating I found it that you wouldn’t pick up on my flirting.”
I'm not even sorry.
And for the English is confusing part of my notes:
I wrote blond hair. Now, English is confusing to me because it doesn’t have grammatical gender but has stolen words from french. When I’m using blond as an adjective for the hair I have no idea which one would be correct (blond or blonde). In Italian it would be the masculine because the hair itself it’s masculine (hello, grammatical gender) in English google tells me it depends on who you ask and whose hair it is. I went with the masculine because language is sexist and when in doubt the masculine is the safer option but I’m still very confused, please send help, or just like an explanation.
Chapter 7: We can stick around and see this night through
In which we establish Kara as a boob person and Lena as a thirsty idiot.
I’m sorry for the delay, living with anxiety is challenging in the best of times and these are not the best of times.
The title of the chapter is from Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John.
And since we’re all here and I haven’t talked to y’all in a while I feel like it’s important for me to say that Black Lives Matter (and if like me you’re neither Black nor American this is the perfect occasion to listen to the POC around you and learn in which way your own country perpetuates systematic racism, xenofobia and colorism. Because I can assure you that it does.)
Also trans women are women and they deserve all of our love and respect.
If you have a problem with either of those statements I really don’t care and just know that this fic wasn’t written for you✌🏻
Lena had mostly said that because Kara was drinking her tea and she wanted to see if she could make a spit take happen. She could. Unfortunately for her Kara was looking in her direction when it happened. The liquid splattered all over her shirt.
“Oh Rao! I’m so sorry” Kara was a spluttering mess, red as a tomato, and with a little bit of tea still dripping from her mouth. Lena was almost too distracted by the liquid seeping into her bra to enjoy how frustrated Kara looked. Almost.
“Well if you wanted to see me without my shirt on-” Lena stopped mid sentence, Kara had taken a napkin from the table and was trying to dry her. Meaning that she had her hands on her. Kara’s hands were on her shirt, dangerously close to her breasts. Lena suddenly didn’t feel so confident. She was sure she was as red as Kara in that moment. Lena wasn’t ready to have Kara this close, her mouth went dry and she couldn’t do anything to stop this from happening. Lena watched Kara as the realization of where her hands were hit her, she saw the blonde’s cheeks fire up with a new wave of embarrassment, and she felt the hands stop. Lena looked down, they were still in place on her chest, effectively, groping her.
For all the times Lena had fantasized about it happening, this particular set of circumstances had never even crossed her mind. Her heart was beating so fast Kara would have been able to feel it, even without her powers. Lena imagined leaning into the touch, she had, after all, just admitted to finding Kara cute and having tried to flirt with her. She imagined leaning into the touch and Kara being more purposeful with it. She fantasized about running her hands into blond locks and pulling Kara close enough to kiss her. To have a moment where their breaths mingled, so close that looking each other in the eyes became difficult, to shut them and then finally know what those lips would feel like against hers.
Kara took her hands back.
Lena looked back up, Kara was still furiously blushing, with her hands now in her lap, but her eyes weren’t cast down, no, she was looking back at Lena almost as she was waiting for something. Lena knew it would be easy to brush this whole ordeal off. She could just make a joke, raise an eyebrow, smirk a little and all would be well. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t say that her words weren’t a hundred percent true, she couldn’t act like her brain wasn’t aggressively inundating her with images of a sort of intimacy she and Kara would never share. She just couldn't lie anymore, not to herself and not to Kara, and since she couldn’t say the truth either, she just stayed silent. Lena couldn’t find it in herself to break the spell that was looking at her best friend dead in the eyes, trying to force her to say something, anything. Kara seemed to be having some sort of mental battle herself. Probably deciding if she had to explicitly turn Lena down or if she could just let it go.
Lena started to feel cold, her shirt still wet. She sighed.
“I’m gonna go change.”
They had spoken at the same time. Lena offered Kara a smile she hoped masked her internal struggle and got up from the couch. It took everything in her not to run to her room and instead keep a steady pace, fucking super hearing.
Once in her room Lena took a deep breath, willing herself to forget how Kara’s hands felt on her body and the sting of rejection that came soon afterwards. Sure, Kara was too considerate to outright tell her, but it didn’t take a genius to know she didn’t want this. Her and Kara were finally in a good place again, why did she have to go and make things awkward between them. She had always known Kara wasn’t interested in her, not the same way she was. Keeping that particular wound open was just another spectacular show of self hatred and masochism.
Lena was so fed up with herself she tore open her closet with a snort. Why couldn't she move on from this infatuation. Her eyes fell on a black silk blouse she got the first week she was there. It was the first item of clothing she had bought, before realizing that she wouldn’t have much use for it in her new life, that she was going to fly under the radar and had limited resources. She reached out with her hand and touched the smooth fabric. The blouse still had its tag, she had never worn it. It was the only item of clothing that looked like it could belong in her old closet.
Lena removed the tag and put it on. Maybe she needed to feel more like her old self, more in control of her environment, to put her armor back on. She slowly buttoned the blouse up and adjusted the collar. She looked in the mirror, she didn’t have any makeup on. She didn’t think she looked like Lena Luthor, not really. But she didn’t look like Lena Connor either.
She found her way back downstairs. Kara had cleaned up the living room, their cups nowhere to be seen. She was standing in front of the couch, with her hands clasped together in an awkward stance. Kara offered Lena a small smile that she reciprocated the best she could.
The room was filled with an uncomfortable silence, Lena didn’t know what to say, how to salvage the moment. She let the silence stretch. Kara tilted her head to the side, attentively, listening to something Lena couldn’t catch.
“There’s a fishing boat that needs some help,” Kara said, her tone unsure. She was offering her an out. Lena wasn’t sure if the boat really existed or if it was just another act of kindness from Kara. Either way she took the opportunity, glad for the diversion.
“Of course,” She said, letting Kara know it was ok to leave, that they could recover from that moment at their own times. A beat passed, Kara was still looking her in the eyes and Lena found the need to add something “I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Sure” In the fraction of second Lena had before Supergirl flew away she could see the brilliant smile Kara had offered her.
Lena had no desire to go gardening, as she had planned, before Kara showed up. She would have to change once again and she needed something to keep her mind occupied way more than her hands. She took her laptop and headed for the room that had become her home lab. The pink walls from her childhood created a funny contrast with her equipment, but she had found that she liked the messiness of it all. She didn’t need a sterile environment to tinker with the simple technology she had access to and she liked doing something she loved in a room where she had been loved. Lena shuffled some tools and put her laptop on her desk. She decided to check on the business side of things in the L-Corp servers. It may have given her an excuse to write strongly worded emails to some chauvinistic bastard on the board and let out some of her frustrations. She started from Sam’s emails, as always, and was surprised to find that apparently two new board members had been elected by the shareholders. Lena didn’t recognize their names and her quick google search wasn’t fruitful. The names were common enough to have a few results each on every social media, but unless one of them was a seventy year old dog trainer from Kentucky, there were no articles about them. She checked their corporate emails and only found a proforma letter from Sam welcoming them. Who were these people?
Lena was getting paranoid, maybe her encounter with Kara had left her more off balance that she cared to admit. She looked around the room trying to calm down, she noticed the gentle sound of a light drizzle outside and she let it lull her for a moment. Electing new board members wasn’t unheard of and there was no way it could have something to do with her. She wouldn’t let herself go down the rabbit hole that was believing that everyone was out to get her. The entire world thought she was dead. She trusted Sam’s instincts. It wasn’t that strange for people to not have an online presence. She was safe in Ireland and her company was in capable hands. She was safe.
Lena forced herself to move on and look for something else to do. She found a series of complaints against a manager of an Opal City subsidiary buried in HR emails. Lena spent the next 45 minutes crafting emails firing him, requiring HR to do a better job, and apologizing to the people he had affected with his incredibly backwards views and for the delay in L-Corp’s answer to the matter, assuring everyone that the company wouldn’t stand with someone so vile. Lena lamented the fact that she had to sign these emails as three different people, but still felt better afterwards. Working had always had the advantage of making her feel in control.
Glad they had shared phone numbers before things went south, Lena sent a text to Kara inquiring if everything was all right. She could do this. She could be Kara’s friend and bury any non platonic feelings so deep she wouldn’t even know they were there. After a few minutes Kara responded with a photo of a drenched Supergirl sandwiched between two burly men in bright orange overalls. Lena smiled at the sight, Kara's bangs were pasted on her forehead and she looked tiny in comparison to the men she had probably just saved. A couple of seconds later her phone dinged again:
I’ve never smelled so bad in my life
and then again:
Are we still on for tomorrow?
Lena could do this, having Kara in her life, as a friend, had always been better than not having her at all.
Only if you shower first.
Kara answered with a string of emojis that included a series of fishes and faces with the tongue sticking out. Lena smiled at her phone, everything was ok, they were ok.
The next day Kara showed up while Lena was still nursing her coffee, she wordlessly watched her as she entered her house and placed the box of donuts she was holding on the kitchen counter. Kara took two donuts for herself while she informed Lena that she had decided that the next issues of CATgeo wouldn’t be themed after a geographic region, so that she could stay near. If up to that point Lena hadn’t said a word because she was still half sleeping and liked watching Kara move through her place, like she belonged there, now she was speechless for a completely different reason. Kara continued talking and eating donuts, managing somehow to make it look cute and not revolting.
“We’re still working on the issue for May, so I’ll have to fly over a couple of times. I’m missing some interviews and I wanna do them in person. But I can talk with the photographers and other journalists via Zoom.” Lena was still stuck on the fact that Kara had been thinking about the next several issues of CATgeo and was ready to change the direction they had given to the magazine, just so she could stay near. At this point Kara had started mostly rambling to herself, still talking she took a third donut and moved the box towards Lena. Lena took one for herself and followed Kara as she moved towards the lab. Once they got there, Lena snickered to herself when Kara couldn’t manage to free her laptop from her messenger bag one handed but still wasn’t willing to let go of her donut.
“For the June issue we had already planned to do something about pride month and I wanted to give it a wider outlook than just the Americano-centric history. I was thinking of having a couple of articles on gay rights in the rest of the world, maybe some queer freelance journalists writing about their country and then some articles about alien societies that have a completely different understanding of sexuality. What do you think?” This was a new thought for Lena, had Krypton been one such alien society? She would have known by now, wouldn’t she? Except they never really had the chance to talk about Krypton because she had been too busy being angry at Kara for not telling her and then faking her own death.
Kara didn’t wait for an answer, she had finally gotten her laptop out of her bag, had put it on the desk and she was now looking around. She left the room and kept talking, her voice traveling through the cottage.
“I’m pretty sure Nia has been badgering Miss Grant to write an article on alien genders and how they intersect with trans identities for months. And by badgering I mean she has maybe mentioned it once to her, because that girl is terrified of Cat. It's, at the same time, fun and embarrassing to watch. But it may be a better fit for CATgeo and a good idea for this issue, I’ll have to talk to her about it.” Kara had taken a chair from the kitchen and put it in front of her laptop, the chair was now too tall for where her computer stood. Kara left once again. Lena took a bite of her donut, her head spinning from following Kara’s movements. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen Kara so enthralled by a project, the last time she had been so eager to share her excitement with her. Lena realized with horror that she had almost lost the light that Kara brought everywhere she went. It was by sheer dumb luck that she could once again be part of Kara’s life and she vowed to herself she would do anything in her power not to lose her again.
“Also, is it ok if we work for a while today? I need to send some emails to get the ball rolling on the adjustments to my travel schedule, but I was looking forward to spending the day with you.” Kara came back with a stack of books, oblivious to Lena’s internal turmoil.
“Is Cat on board with all of this?” It was the first thing Lena could think of, she wanted to be sure Kara could actually stay longer before getting her hopes up.
“Well, I spoke to her about me traveling a little bit less the other day. She says I can do whatever I want, as long as I deliver a good product and take the ‘blabbering Kiera wannabe’ out of her hands. That would be Nia by the way, but she calls her Naya, so I’m pretty sure she likes her.” Kara put her laptop over the books and sat down on her chair, looking at Lena expectantly. Lena realized she hadn’t answered her question.
“I’ve hit a roadblock on a project last night, it’ll drive me crazy until I crack it… I was looking forward to continuing to puzzle it out” Kara took it for what it was, an open invitation to stay, and offered Lena a huge, toothy smile.
Working in the same room, on different projects, quickly became a habit, Lena would work on her prototypes and creep on the L-Corp servers, while Kara wrote her articles, used her as a sounding board and sometimes left for a quick call or a not so quick Supergirl emergency.
Lena both hated and loved these instances, she hated not knowing if Kara was safe, not being able to be right where the fighting was, having her back, but she loved how Kara always hugged a little tighter and a little longer when she came back, as if she too had spent most of their time apart thinking about when they would be reunited. Lena loved Kara’s vivid recounts of her fights, the adrenaline still clearly in her body, as if Lena hadn’t scoured the news feeds for every single moment that had been captured on camera.
Lena fell everyday more and more in love with Kara, the casual domesticity of working in the same space left her feeling warm long after Kara had left. They started spending all of their time together, even after they had finished working neither of them wanted to let the other go. Sometimes they would go to the pub with the boys, other times Kara would help Bran do work around the cottage, while Lena and Àine cooked and looked at them fondly. Most of the time, though, they would just have dinner together at Lena’s and maybe watch some tv, before Kara left for the night.
Lena was amazed by how they always managed to find something to talk about. Without any more secrets between them - beside the obvious 'I'm desperately in love with you' one- they talked freely about their pasts. She would never forget Kara’s face when she had admitted that Andrea had been her first love. They had been sitting on the sofa, watching a teen movie and eating popcorn when Lena had made a comment about it without thinking. Kara promptly choked on a kernel, she sputtered for a moment while Lena paused the movie.
“Rojas?” Kara asked with a hoarse voice, Lena nodded.
“My ex boss, Andrea Rojas?” Kara seemed rattled, she had put down the bowl of popcorn she had hogged all night and was now facing Lena directly “Andrea Rojas, Obsidian North’s CEO, that Andrea Rojas?”
“Do we know other Andreas?”
“I- no, I don’t think so.”
“Yes Kara, that Andrea Rojas, do you have a problem with that?”
“A prob- No, I don’t have a problem. I just didn’t know that-” Kara stopped herself mid sentence.
“I honestly thought you knew we had a past” She didn’t. As a matter of fact, she had been pretty sure Kara hadn’t realized that, but she hadn’t known how to broach the ‘do you know I’m queer?’ subject. It wasn’t like it had ever been a secret, but in the intervening years Lena’s doubt that Kara didn’t know had become stronger. That night was as good as any other time to get it over with, especially since she had already let it slip.
“So you dated Andrea.”
“I wouldn’t say that” Lena didn’t really know how to explain her relationship with Andrea. “I had the biggest crush on her and we were each other’s person while we were in boarding school, for the longest time it felt like it wasn’t an if, but a when things would change between us.” Kara didn’t need to know of all the ‘experimenting’ Lena and Andrea had done together. “Then we went to college in different states, we still kept in touch, but it was different and not in the way I had imagined. Afterwards I met Jack, she betrayed me in the worst way possible, you know, the usual.” Lena tried to brush it off, like it hadn't broken her heart and changed her forever.
“You loved her.” Lena didn’t know if it was a question or more of a statement, but she didn’t answer either way, the way Kara had uttered the sentence made her eyes well with tears.
“ Oh Lena .” Suddenly she was engulfed by Kara’s arms. Lena felt overwhelmed by Kara’s hug, in that moment the blonde was holding her together against all the heartbreak she had ever felt. She let herself cry on Kara’s shoulder, barely feeling the gentle caresses on her back.
“I’m so sorry, Lena.” Kara gently stroked her head. “I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you.” Of course Kara would understand that her reaction hadn’t been only because of Andrea’s actions. Beautiful, sensible Kara. Lena disentangled herself from Kara’s arms.
“You didn’t know,” she looked Kara in the eyes.
“I knew you had trust issues.” Lena smiled at the euphemism.
“You had every right to your privacy, you didn’t owe me any part of yourself you weren’t ready to share.” It was important for Lena that Kara understood she now knew where she was coming from, why she hadn’t told her. She had promised herself she would do anything in her power to not lose Kara again and this was a necessary step.
“I’m still sorry I hurt you.” Kara had taken Lena’s head in her hands, making sure they were looking each other in the eyes. All Lena could see were shiny blue eyes, full of honesty.
“Thank you.” Lena was sure that if they stayed a moment longer in that position she would kiss Kara, so she opted to hug her again instead.
"I’m sorry too, you know.” Lena said after ending the hug, Kara didn’t need anything more to understand what she was talking about.
“It’s ok.” She said, not meeting Lena’s eyes.
“No, it’s not.” Kara looked up. “It’s not ok that I faked my death and it’s not ok that I did it to hurt you, you don’t have to accept my apology, but I need you to know that I am sorry.”
Kara didn’t answer, but after a bit she hugged Lena again. This hug lasted longer than the previous ones and Lena could feel her shoulder getting wet. Kara was motionless, except for her hands grasping Lena’s shirt. Had it not been for the fact that she could actually feel the tears on her skin, Lena would have never guessed she was crying. Not knowing what to do, she just held Kara in her arms, tightening the hug. She tried to convey all of her love in the action, willing Kara to sense the deepness of her feelings.
Chapter 8: I think I was blind before I met you
The one where time zones are a bitch but Lena and Kara are not.
Title from First day of my life by Bright Eyes.
I don’t know if I should tag for this or not but there is a very loose description of someone having trouble breathing because they’re panicking.
The beginning of summer saw Kara and Lena spending more and more time outside, enjoying the warmer weather. Kara would bask in the sun, whenever possible, savoring every ray of sunshine she could, while Lena usually read a book under a tree, protected by its shadow. Thanks to their combined efforts, Lena’s garden had grown lush and fruitful. When it was time to actually harvest some of the vegetables they had planted, Lena invited Áine and Bran over to take anything they wanted from the garden.
Bran was showing Kara how to properly harvest the green beans, while Lena and Áine rested in the shade with the promise that they would cook anything they brought their way and that Kara wouldn’t have to eat the kale.
Kara had somehow managed to get some leaves stuck in her hair, Lena giggled, momentarily forgetting that she was supposed to be concentrating on her book and not daydreaming while watching her work. She had read the same sentence over and over again, constantly distracted by the blonde. Every time her eyes wandered she saw defined muscles peering out of a white t-shirt, strong hands gently taking care of her plants, an easy smile on plump lips, a glint in Kara’s eyes when their gazes met...
Except this time, because this time she had been greeted by the sight of Kara with leaves stuck on her head and her forehead brown with dirt, hence the giggle.
Kara must’ve heard her because she turned around and offered a brilliant smile, before a pointed look from Lena made her aware of the state of her hair and face. Kara blushed and removed the leaves before making her way to the hose and spraying water on herself to wash her face. Lena’s body was suddenly on fire, Kara looked like every 13 year old boy’s first wet dream. She had her head tilted back, her long blond hair cascading behind her, moved by a gentle breeze. The water glistened on her skin reflecting the sun. Kara was aiming only for her face, but traitorous droplets moved down her body. Lena followed one from Kara’s cheek through the column of her neck until it disappeared in her shirt. The white fabric got progressively wetter, clinging on Kara’s skin and leaving almost nothing to the imagination. Lena would have given everything to just be the water that ran down the blonde’s body. She imagined making the same journey with feather kisses, starting from Kara’s brow down to her cheek, her jaw, her neck…
The sound of someone clearing their throat rudely shook Lena away from her fantasy. She turned to see Àine pointedly looking at her. She could do nothing to stop her whole body from blushing, she had most certainly been caught ogling Kara.
As always Àine didn’t offer a comment, but just a raised eyebrow. Lena didn’t like when the older woman did that. It made her feel insecure, like she had to explain herself, like she was ready for a bout of word vomit that would put Kara’s to shame. She bit her lip hoping that Áine would let it go and just for once she would save herself from the embarrassment of trying to talk around her feelings for Kara.
“I didn’t think she would stay this long when she first showed up” It figures she wouldn’t be so lucky.
“Yeah...” Lena was surprised by the quality of her voice, it had been a long time since it had sounded so low and breathy. She cleared her throat, willing every trace of arousal to leave her body.
Àine kept looking at her, apparently, her answer wasn’t enough. What did she want? For her to profess her undying love for Kara? She would have, if it weren’t for that damn super hearing.
“You know I asked her to leave, but she stayed... Before that, before her, no one had ever really fought for me.” Lena looked back to where Kara was standing, rinsing everything she had harvested and chatting with Bran. To the untrained eye she would have looked completely focused on the task, but Lena knew better, she could see the subtle smile on Kara’s lips and the way she stole glances out of the corner of her eye. Lena knew she was listening.
“That’s not true.” Áine said, her tone harder than before. It was Lena’s turn to raise an eyebrow. She liked Áine, she had come to think about her and Bran as family. But she didn’t know what her life had been about. She had been about to say something when the older woman started talking again.
“Your grandfather and your uncle died very close to each other... and Mary, Mary was brilliant, always looking forward to experiencing new things, we all knew she had stayed here only because they were here... We didn’t see her for years, but she always called you know, to check in on us, she didn’t really talk about her life, but we knew she had settled in Dublin and that she was working” Lena didn’t know what any of that had to do with what they were talking about.
“Either way, she came back when she got pregnant. She had the means to go to England and have an abortion if she wanted to, but she didn’t. She came back here. It wasn’t easy for her, you know, her memories here weren’t all happy, especially in the end, and people talk. But she wanted to have you and she believed this to be the best place for you to grow up in and be happy as she had been as a girl. So she fought with every small minded wench that called her names because she didn’t have a ring on her finger and then she fought with the priest to have you baptized.” Lena hadn’t known she was baptized and she wondered if any of the Luthors knew and just forgot to mention.
“I know you can’t remember it, but she fought for you from the moment she knew she was pregnant. And after she died we took her place. Or at least we tried to, we fought to have you stay with us, we tried to adopt you, but two old neighbors could do very little against your rich biological father, even if he had never even met you. And in some ways Lionel fought for you too, I can’t say I think his motivations were pure, but he did. I don’t know a lot about your life in America, but I’m sure you had a lot of people fighting for you, and even some fighting over you.” Áine smiled.
“You’ve always deserved to be fought for and Kara is a smart woman for noticing, but please don’t erase all the other people that have loved you the best they could.”
Lena was sure this was the longest she had ever heard Áine talk. She had so much information to unpack, she was speechless. They had met her father. They had tried to adopt her. Had her father somehow prevented them from keeping in touch? Or had it been Lillian? What would her life had looked like if she hadn’t been adopted by the Luthors? The Luthors. Crap.
“You know who my father was.” Lena said, resigned.
“Of course we do.” Áine offered her another smile and looked over to where Bran and Kara stood. Lena followed her gaze, Kara didn’t seem to be listening in anymore, she looked more engaged in her conversation with Bran, flailing her arms around.
“Does everyone here know who I am?”
“You know for such a smart woman you have an incredible capacity of not seeing what is right in front of your eyes.” Lena initially thought Áine was referring to the fact that they had known her since before she was born and so it stood to reason they also knew what had been of her. When she hazarded to look her way, though, the other woman raised her chin in Kara’s direction.
“So, all the jokes at Lex’s expense, I could have made about Bran’s baldness were lost for nothing?” She asked, hoping to change the subject.
Almost a month later, in the middle of July, Kara made plans to leave for a week. She had business at CatCo she had to attend to and combined with Eliza’s birthday it made sense for her to spend a few days there. Lena knew that. In fact she was the one that suggested Kara stayed a little bit longer and spent time with Alex, too. It didn’t mean she was comfortable with the prospect of spending an entire week without seeing her.
In the first day without Kara time seemed to slow down, seconds became minutes and minutes stretched into hours. Lena found herself increasingly bored, grumpy, and lonely. Mindlessly checking on the two new L-Corp board members wasn’t as fun without Kara jokingly calling her a snoop. She hadn’t realized how much she had gotten used to having Kara beside her. Even when they were working on different projects and barely talking she was still there and Lena felt like a piece of her was missing without the blonde sitting next to her. She needed a distraction. Correction, she needed a drink.
The door of the pub was left open to allow a feeble breeze to enter heedless of the light rain that was wetting the usually sticky floor. Lena walked in and immediately felt more at peace when her nose was attacked by the familiar smell of stale beer and fresh fries. She spotted the boys sitting at their usual table and let a candid smile grace her lips. The boys seemed delighted as usual to see her, even if Oscar was the only one who actually stood up to greet her.
“You guys should learn some manners from this one.” Lena quipped with her best Lillian impression.
“Meh, I only stand up if there’s at least two of you.” Joked Liam, pointing to the empty space next to Lena where Kara would usually be.
“Yeah… Where’s your better half?” Jack seemed sincerely curious.
“Like waaaay better half, the actually beatable at trivia half.” Added Finn with a smirk. Lena couldn’t believe it. She hadn’t even had the time to sit down and they had already brought Kara up. Not only that, no, they were joking about Kara and her being an item.
“Guys! How many times do I have to tell you we’re not together?” She said huffing while she sat between Oscar and Finn. All the conversations she had that were not with Kara ended up being about her, it was getting ridiculous. She used to be proud of her poker face, on how most people hadn’t been able to get a read on her and now everyone took a look and correctly guessed she was hopelessly in love with her best friend. She would have been concerned, if it hadn’t been so annoying.
“Keep telling yourself that.” Liam smirked and the ruins of the walls Lena had put around herself crumbled a little bit more.
“Actually I do keep telling myself that. Not jumping her is becoming a hassle.” She said, stealing a sip of Finn’s beer. A moment of silence stretched until she put the bottle down showing the small smirk on her face. At that point the boys erupted in boisterous laughs and congratulations on actually admitting it out loud while sober. Both Finn and Oscar patted her on her back.
“Why don’t you?” Asked Liam when the moment was over.
“Why don’t I, what?”
“Jump her!” They had all answered at the same time, like it was obvious. Like it was an actual option and not some very inappropriate pipe dream.
“Because she doesn’t feel the same.” Lena said matter-of-factly, her playful mood from earlier quickly deflating.
“Have you been drinking without us?” Liam’s eyes were big with incredulity.
“Did you hit your head?” Oscar actually took her by the chin to properly look at her, checking for some invisible injury.
“Woman, that girl moved here, for you. She spends all of her time with you and she absolutely adores you.” Jack said, as if that would mean anything more than Kara being an amazing friend.
“She looks at you the same way Jack looks at every single woman he meets.” Added Finn, making an exaggerated dumbstruck face quickly followed by what was probably his impression of Kara, with his hands under his chin, his lips pouting and his best puppy eyes. It was ridiculous, but also not that far off from the face Kara would make when trying to convince Lena to do something.
“Shut up.” This time it had been Jack and Lena that had talked at the same time. Jack retaliated by jokingly pushing Finn while Lena stole his beer once again and finished it in a gulp before ordering another round for the table.
The morning after Lena woke to the incessant buzzing of her phone. Her head was pulsing and her mouth felt dryer than the Sahara, she was about to ignore the call when her eyes finally focused on the name on the screen.
“Hi” Lena croaked.
“Hey, did I wake you?” Kara’s voice was way too chipper for Lena’s condition.
“Yeah.” Lena put her hand on her forehead trying to chase her headache away.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I must have made a mistake with the time zones.” Lena heard rustling on the other side of the phone, Kara seemed to have gotten up and to be moving around.
“No, Kara it’s ok.” She said quickly, fearing the blonde would cut the call short.
“Wait. I just checked. It’s half past eight there. You are always awake at half past eight.” Lena did the math quickly, it meant it was after midnight on the West Coast. She imagined Kara tired, getting ready to go to bed, calling her just to hear her voice before she went to sleep.
“Not when I drank the day before.” Lena turned around in the bed looking for a comfortable position.
“You went out without me?” Kara asked in a whine. Lena let a smile loose, imagining the pout on her lips.
“Yes, Kara. The boys missed you.”
“I miss you.” It had been less than 24 hours since she left and yet Lena completely understood and reciprocated the feeling.
“Yeah, that too. Are you at Eliza’s?”
“No, we’ll drive there tomorrow, first thing in the morning, I’m in my apartment. You should have seen the state it was in, it took me forever to clean, even with my superspeed.”
“Ten minutes isn’t forever.”
“It sure felt like it.” Lena chuckled.
“So what have you been up too?”
“I went to the meeting with Cat. Honestly, we could have done it via conference call as usual, I think she wanted me here just because she was missing me. Then I helped a bit at the DEO, you’ll never guess who turned up.”
“No, I won’t, why don’t you tell me?”
“You’re no fun.”
“You woke me up from an alcohol coma,” Lena said, getting up, she needed some water.
“Lillian.” Oh. Lena hadn’t really looked into what had become of her adoptive mother, after her presumed death. She knew she was locked out of L-Corp, thanks to her will, but that was it.
“Really?” She asked slowly making her way downstairs.
“Yep, apparently, she’s been working on your unfinished projects.” Could be sweet, could be a massive problem. Lena thought back on what she had been working on that Lillian could have possibly gotten her hands on. She would have to check on all of her more sensitive projects, even if she thought they were well protected.
“That doesn’t bode well.”
“She brought a new suit for me, it can produce yellow sunlight energy, if needed” That explained the visit to the DEO, at least.
“You haven’t put it on, have you?” Lena was worried, her mother was as intelligent as she was unpredictable, she could have found Lena’s prototype and made it viable or just put a remote kill switch in it. Both options were equally in the realm of possibilities with Lillian.
“No, Alex made me give it to Brainy and said that even if he spends the next decade studying it and doesn’t find anything wrong with it, I still don’t have the permission to wear it.” Lena could almost see Alex standing in the DEO, with her arms crossed, saying those exact words to Kara. She suddenly missed the other woman and her no nonsense attitude. They had been friends, for a moment there, and working together had always been exhilarating.
“Were you working on a suit like that?” Lena felt her cheeks warm and she was suddenly glad Kara was on the other side of the world.
“Yes.” She had abandoned the project to focus on Leviathan when she hadn’t been able to crack how to make it safe. She wondered how Lillian had been able to solve the overheating problem. If there was a way, she could surely figure it out.
“Mhmm,” Kara yawned.
“Go to sleep.” Lena could hear the rustling of Kara’s sheets.
“Have a nice day, Lena. I’ll see you soon.” Kara’s voice had gotten softer, she was probably falling asleep as they were talking.
“Call me when you get to Eliza’s?” Lena asked.
“I’ll text you when I wake up.” Yeah, that sounded better.
Five days later Kara came back. She didn’t have the time to properly greet Lena, as right when she landed, she moved her head to the side in the tell tale sign she was listening to something.
“Oh no!” Kara said, dejected.
“What?” Lena was holding her front door open with one hand while she used all of her willpower to not touch Kara with the other. She had missed her, so much, despite the frequent calls.
“Fires in Sardinia.”
“You can hear what’s happening in Italy?” Lena was surprised, she had greatly underestimated Kara’s powers.
“No, I can hear the news on Bran’s tv.” Oh well, that made sense too.
“I’ll be back in a minute.” Kara added, left a quick peck on Lena’s cheek, and flew away.
Lena brought her hand up to her cheek, incredulous. She could feel that entire side of her face tingling. She left the door open for Kara to let herself back in and stood in a daze in the middle of her living room.
Lena’s mind was stuck on that kiss for all the 20 minutes it took Kara to come back. After a week of not seeing her in person that small gesture made her skin feel like she was on fire. Kara had never kissed her on the cheek before, it was a friendly gesture, she knew that, but, oh boy, did it feel like something more.
Kara was still in her suit when she returned, barely touching the ground before she hugged Lena, making Lena’s feet leave the floor for a moment.
“Eww, you smell!” said Lena hugging her closer, putting her nose right into Kara’s hair and breathing in the smell of ash, fire and, surprisingly, powdered sugar.
“I’ve missed you too.” answered Kara, kissing the top of her head before letting her go. So that was a thing Kara was doing now. Kissing her. Lena thought the new development might kill her at any moment, but what a way to go.
Lena put a little bit of space between them, she needed to breathe after all. She noticed that Kara was still wearing her suit, it was the first time Lena had seen Supergirl up close since before her presumed death. She fully disentangled herself from Kara’s arms. She put a hand on the suit, feeling the fabric with her fingers and gently tracing the black patch. She could see Kara was holding her breath, but instead she asked:
“Why the black?” She was pretty sure she knew why, but she wanted to hear it. She needed to hear it.
“My favorite Chinese restaurant closed” Kara joked and Lena used her hand that was still on the blonde’s suit to push her away. Kara exaggerated her reaction to the shove, she fell theatrically on the ground, flailing her legs in the air and leaving them both in a fit of giggles.
“Ok, I was joking, it was for my favorite pizzeria.” Kara said, now sitting on the floor, holding the hand that had pushed her.
“You’re an asshole.” Lena said, only half joking. She let herself fall on Kara and shoved her some more. Kara was being a coward, not giving her a straight answer, but she wouldn’t let it ruin the joy that was having her back. Kara would tell her when she was ready. Lena could let her irritation go. She could forget it for as long as she was lounging on the floor, safe in Kara’s arms.
A couple of days later, they were back working in Lena’s home lab. Both the door and the window were opened, letting a feeble breeze in, the summer day in full blaze outside. Lena was checking the numbers for a cooling system on the yellow sun suit, while Kara sat in her makeshift desk working on her laptop, on the newest CATgeo issue. For what seemed like the hundredth time that day, Lena heard Kara huff. She wrote a number down and turned to look at her. Kara was looking longingly outside, but she didn’t say anything. Lena went back to her work. She was about to start to figure out how to make a functional prototype with her limited resources when she heard Kara’s laptop close. This time she didn’t turn around.
“Leeeeena, why don’t we go to the beach?” Kara whined.
“No” Lena faked interest for the pages in front of her. She rested her back on the chair and waited for Kara’s plea. Maybe she liked when Kara tried to convince her to do something, sue her .
“Come ooon. It’s hot, we could get the boys to come too and make a day out of it” Kara had gotten up and rested her hands on the back of Lena’s chair.
“Nope” Kara bent over, bringing her head level with Lena’s.
“Tell me a valid reason why,” Kara’s tone was much softer. Lena could feel the ghost of Kara’s lips on her ear.
I know myself and I think I would spontaneously combust if I saw you in a bikini.
“I burn easily, sand gets everywhere, and the water is too cold to actually swim in it.” Lena said instead. Kara turned her chair around, making Lena face her.
“Sun cream, a beach umbrella, and a big towel,” She counted on her fingers, “and we could always go to the lake, if you’re too much of a baby to face the ocean.” Lena’s mind went immediately to her mother, a shiver ran through her spine. She had wanted to stretch it, to see what Kara would promise just to have it her way, but all the fight left her. Kara looked at her expectantly.
“The beach is fine,” Lena relented.
“Yes!” Kara pumped her fist in the air, she immediately got her phone out to invite the boys.
Lena watched her fondly while Kara sent and answered texts with a smile on her face.
“I don’t have a swimsuit,” she remembered.
“Not a problem, Liam isn’t free until Sunday, tomorrow we go shopping,” Kara said triumphantly.
“I didn’t say we could.”
“Pretty please?” Kara said with a slight pout and Lena was a goner.
She ended up having to go shopping alone, due to Supergirl being needed in Metropolis. Lena didn’t let herself sulk. She would have the entirety of the next day with Kara. She was proud of herself for not having her smile sour when Kara had told her, even if that may have had a lot to do with the kiss on the cheek that had soon followed. Kara was a hero and that was only one of the many reasons why she loved her.
Lena walked slowly through the halls of the mall, mindlessly looking through the windows when a thought struck her. After all it wasn’t a bad idea to fall back on some of her coping mechanisms. If she knew she was going to be uncomfortable at the beach, with a half naked Kryptonian, the least she could do was look devastating. She perused the mall for hours looking for everything she needed, she was going to make Kara regret having left her to her own devices to look for a swimsuit she didn’t even really want.
The next morning saw her getting ready to leave for the beach. She put on her brand new black one piece with a neckline so deep, it showed her belly button. Lena was pretty sure it would leave her completely exposed, if she ever attempted to actually swim in it. She put on a white sheer wrap dress and her matching white wedges that would bring her eye to eye with Kara. She looked at herself in the mirror, for a moment, and decided to put on some red lipstick, if she was gonna do this, she might as well do it right. She finished the look off with a hat and big sunglasses.
Lena appraised herself in the mirror once more, she would have to be careful on how she moved but it made her feel powerful, it made her feel like the Lena Luthor of old. If that wasn’t going to make Kara stutter, nothing would.
She left the cottage just in time to see Kara walking towards her. Kara was wearing a pair of beige bermudas and a blue bikini. With no shirt in sight. Lena should have not found it so attractive. But she could see abs. Honest to god, well defined, abs. Kara had exchanged her glasses for a pair of aviators and put her hair in a loose braid that was resting over one shoulder, the look in its entirety was way more casual than Lena’s and S o. Fucking. Hot.
Lena’s only saving grace was that she could be distracted by the stupid amount of stuff Kara was carrying. She had a beach umbrella under one armpit and a bag flung over the other shoulder and Lena was sure she could also see the straps of a backpack. Kara’s hands were occupied by one other bag and a cooler.
They stood in front of each other for a moment. Lena’s eyes were too focused on broad shoulders and abs to notice Kara had yet to speak. The sound of Oscar’s van plodding up the hill shook them from their stupor.
“Hey,” Kara offered with a blinding smile.
“Hi.” They felt silent once again, still taking in each other's appearances.
“You sure you packed everything?”
“Well I- I have lunch for everyone, Finn was in charge for the drinks and- well- I put in something to change into, three different kinds of sunscreens, a couple of books, a ball, an inflatable donut with pink frosting, two towels, one for sitting one to dry myself with, a-” Kara was interrupted by Lena’s laugh.
“Kara, I was joking.” She looked at the other woman with mirth in her eyes, by the amount of stuff she had with her, Lena was sure they could survive on the beach for at least a couple of days.
“Oh” Kara smiled back a little embarrassed, a light pink dusting her cheeks.
The van parked next to them and immediately Oscar and Jack jumped down to help them put everything inside. While Oscar took some of the bags from Kara, Jack moved close to Lena and offered a:
“Dayum Lena! You’re really putting yourself out there, aren’t you?” He may have also pointed to her chest area, but she didn’t notice she was too busy flushing with embarrassment.
As soon as they arrived at the beach Kara flung her shorts over her shoulders and ran into the sea. Lena was glad for the show, it was incredibly endearing to see Kara move around in the water with childlike enthusiasm. She barely noticed Oscar making a hole in the sand for the umbrella and opening it.
Lena folded her dress, spread her towel on the sand under the shade, and enjoyed the show. Liam and Finn had followed Kara and the three of them were now playing in the water splashing each other. Oscar sat next to her in the same moment as Jack joined the others bringing an inflatable ball with him.
After a while Kara left the boys to their shenanigans and slowly made her way towards them. Lena was suddenly extremely glad she had decided to come, nothing should have prevented her from seeing a half naked Supergirl calmly making her way towards her, all wet skin and defined muscles. Lena didn’t know where to look, one moment long legs had her attention, the next it was the tendon in her neck, her abs, her collarbones, her arms, her happy smile, her hands squeezing water out of her hair, her hip bones… God, entire poems could be written, just about her hip bones.
Kara arrived next to them way too soon for Lena’s taste, she plopped on the sand next to Lena letting the sun dry her. As she offered them a smile Lena didn’t miss how her eyes darted downwards following the outline of Lena’s swimsuit. Lena gulped and Kara’s eyes followed the movement on her throat. Kara’s gaze was so intense Lena could almost feel it. She imagined it being Kara’s fingers or her mouth tracing her neck and moving down. She needed to be touched. Even though she had already put it on before leaving the house, Lena was about to ask Kara if she would help her apply the sunscreen when they were distracted by a scream. They both turned their attention to the sea, where Liam was emerging from the water spluttering, while Finn laughed his ass off and Jack swam away to recover the ball.
“Oi! You fucking langer!” Liam yelled before launching himself over his brother, attempting to drown him.
“Should we go stop them?” Lena asked.
“What?” Kara seemed distracted. By her boobs? Lena would never know.
“Why?” Asked Oscar, Lena had completely forgotten he was there too.
“They’re fighting.” She said.
“They’re playing.” Corrected Kara with a smile.
“They’re brothers.” Added Oscar.
“Yeah, me and Alex were the same when we were teenagers.”
“They’re adults.” Lena wasn’t convinced, her and Lex’s idea of playing together had always involved a chessboard or, at the very least, some extremely unhealthy manipulation.
“They’re boys,” Kara pointed to where Finn was coming up for air before Liam tackled him again. The ball bounced on their heads and everyone turned to see Jack laughing triumphantly. Oscar made a short jog to join them and the four of them started forcefully throwing the ball at each other trying to do the maximum damage. Which wasn’t very much at all.
Lena watched them with a bewildered smile on her lips.
“I’m sorry” Kara said, demanding her attention, she turned around.
“The other day, when you asked me about the suit, I’m sorry I didn’t give you a straight answer.” Lena was moments away for making a gay joke when she thought better of it.
“It’s ok, I was kinda fishing for it.” She reached out and squeezed Kara’s hand.
“It’s not. You deserve to know.” Kara turned Lena’s hand in her own and started making circles with her thumb on her palm. “I mean you already know it’s for you. But Lena, your death affected me so deeply, I’m not even sure I can explain it. It’s not just that I was heartbroken, I realized I was holding back in so many ways. I was always afraid that people wouldn’t like Supergirl or they wouldn’t like me…” Kara paused, looking at their conjoined hands.
“I thought I had all the time in the world to make things right with you and, then you died, and I realized that I don’t have all the time in the world and I shouldn’t police myself when I see something wrong only because acting on it, stopping it, would make me unlikeable to someone. The black patch wasn’t only there to show the world I was mourning your death. It’s there to remind me to be brave.” Somewhere during her speech Kara had gotten closer, their hands were still clasped together but they were resting on Kara’s lap, her face, incredibly, just a few inches away from Lena’s. They were breathing the same air and Lena prayed Kara would remember to be brave.
“BALL!” Lena didn’t even notice the ball hurtling towards them until Kara caught it with her free hand. The boys started screaming at her quick reflexes and with four sets of eyes now looking at them, Lena thought it was best to put some distance between them. Had she imagined Kara’s eyes darting to her lips? Would something have happened, if the boys hadn’t been there? Lena didn’t know what to think and she didn’t have the chance to ask, she and Kara didn’t have another moment alone for the rest of the day. The boys had tired of their games and had come back, lounging on the beach, diverting their attention.
Despite the fact that her mind kept wandering to that faithfull moment, Lena had fun. Lena had more fun than she ever had at the beach and she was only marginally distracted by Kara’s body. She built a sandcastle, which was a first for her, and let herself be persuaded to go in the water. She stayed out of the sun and never once took her book out of her bag out of boredom or loneliness.
Not content after having spent all those hours together, they ended the day at the pub. The boys were sitting at the table, all of them sporting different degrees of sunburns, while Kara and Lena offered to go buy the last round. They stood closer than necessary at the bar, their shoulders and arms touching, hands grazing each other. Lena was trying to talk herself into actually taking Kara’s hand when the tv grabbed both of their attentions.
A gigantic alien was attacking National City.
Dreamer was trying to contain him, but she looked clearly overwhelmed. Kara’s eyes went big with worry. The alien easily freed himself from the dream energy string, as Alex and the DEO came into the picture, and Kara instinctively took Lena’s hand.
“Go” Lena whispered, squeezing it once. Kara looked at her, kissed her temple, and disappeared with a woosh.
Lena went back to the table and excused herself and Kara to the boys. By the time she arrived home and put the National City news on, Supergirl was on the screen.
The alien was at least 25 feet tall and he managed to destroy a building by repeatedly punching it before even noticing the lasers from Supergirl's eyes hitting him. He slapped her with one of his enormous hands and Kara went flying backwards. She left an indent on the asphalt, but got back on her feet immediately. Lena watched as she patted off her suit and went flying directly towards the alien’s arm, Supergirl took the alien and flew away still holding him, leaving the city center. The alien thrashed around so much she had to let him go in a parking area just on the outskirts of National City.
Lena didn’t like the move, she understood the need to keep civilians safe, but now Kara couldn’t count on the DEO or dreamer as a backup. The alien didn’t let the change in scenery stop him and immediately attacked Supergirl head on. He didn’t seem to have powers beside his dimensions and considerable strength. Supergirl tried to use her freeze breath to immobilize him, but he freed himself easily.
She started flying around him and quickly punching him from different directions, it seemed to work for a moment until the alien started launching cars into the air. Supergirl was surprised by the first one, and got slammed into the road. She needed a moment to shake her head and start attacking again.
Suddenly, one of the cars was coming directly towards the news helicopter that was broadcasting the images Lena was watching. It must have hit one of the helicopter's blades because their point of view started falling quickly. Lena was nauseous. The fall was stopped, abruptly, and a close-up of Supergirl appeared on the screen. She was holding the helicopter up, but the only thing Lena could focus on was the blood falling from her brow. The image disconnected. The newscasters in the studio said something about having lost the connection but Lena couldn’t hear them over the sound of her own heart.
Kara was bleeding.
Lena tried to stay calm while she searched frantically for other sources of news. It seemed like there were no other images of Supergirl. With the helicopter gone no one knew what had become of the hero and the alien she was battling.
After more than an hour of fruitless searching, dread started to seep in. Lena didn’t know what to do, she only knew she needed Kara to be safe. She tuned in on the police radio, from the few scrambled phrases she could actually hear she gathered that Supergirl had moved the alien even further from the city and that the last sighting had been close to the highway.
Lena needed more information, she quickly wrote some code and set up a program to decode the DEO communication system, she knew Brainy would eventually find it and trace it back to her, but she had more pressing matters at the moment. She needed to know Kara was ok, that she was safe. She almost started crying when her program informed her it would take almost five hours before the decoding was completed. She started to despair when she saw her phone. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of this earlier, she picked it up and tried to call Kara.
She didn’t answer.
Lena started to cry, it had been almost three hours since she had last seen news of the battle and she was exhausted and filled with worry. She rested her head on her arms and cried like children do the first time they realize life isn’t fair. The tears kept coming, wetting her sleeves. She cried so much her head started to hurt and then she cried some more. In the years that come after Lena would have never been able to explain how, but she eventually fell asleep while crying, sitting at her desk, with her head on her arms, in the middle of a crisis.
A thunder clap woke her almost two hours later. She was terribly confused for a moment, but maybe because of her nap, maybe because of all the tears she had shed, her mind was clear. She put on some coffee and checked everything again, there was nothing new in the news and even the police radio was silent.
She tried to call Kara again, this time the phone was disconnected. Her coffee was ready, she poured some in her mug and took a sip. Her eyes fell on her phone. Her cheap cellphone she had bought on her first trip to the mall on the N71, when she didn't know any number to save on it, the same cheap phone that still had a perfectly working camera on it, like all the phones nowadays.
Lena wasn’t necessarily proud of what she did next, but she started hacking the camera roll of every phone connected to National City's public Wi-Fi, near the area close to the direction Supergirl had last been seen taking.
Really, it was easier that it should have been. The rain was her only companion while she worked. She didn’t even notice when the sun rose but on the fourth phone she finally found what she had been looking for.
The person who had taken the video had stopped their car in a one lane road next to a field. The image was incredibly shaky and the person behind the camera was letting out a series of interminable curses. They moved the camera towards the sky, the image was backlight, so it was really hard to see, but there was something there, quickly getting bigger. And suddenly it was the alien, falling into the field. Lena could hear the roar he made touching the ground and judging by how the image shook the impact must’ve been intense, but the person who was holding the phone kept pointing it to the sky.
A black dot appeared, this too getting bigger, the more it approached the earth. It was Supergirl, but she wasn’t flying.
She was falling.
She seemed to have lost consciousness and was falling faster and faster towards the ground. Lena tried to will her to do something, to wake up, for fuck sake, please wake up!
But Kara didn’t, she kept falling until she hit the earth, next to the giant she had just defeated. And then the video ended.
Lena panicked. Her breaths came one after the other, increasingly faster, but it was like no oxygen could get to her brain. The video hadn’t shown Supergirl’s body on the field, but she had seen Lex’s, she knew what falling to one’s death looked like. She grasped at her throat trying to let more air in, but it didn’t work, she couldn’t breathe. Images of her brother’s body mixed with Kara’s face and Kara falling. Her hands were tingling, her ears were ringing and she could.not.breathe.
Lena’s computer pinged with a notification. Lena barely heard it, but something compelled her to check. She tried to take a steadying breath and, when that didn’t work, she just blinked away the tears and looked at her laptop either way.
Her program had decoded the DEO’s communications’ server. She was in.
Lena turned the radio on, there was some chatter on the various channels, but none on Supergirl. Had they not found her yet?
Lena checked the hour, by now it was late night in National City. The video had been old, the sun was still setting in it. The video was old. She frantically searched the server for written communications and buried deep under incidents reports, there was one for an emergency medical transport. That had to be it. Kara had to be in that transport and she had to be ok.
Lena had waited all night for any shred of news and she could not wait any longer, with trembling hands she looked for the number she needed.
“Director Danvers,” the voice on the other end of the call sounded tired, like she had just been woken up from slumber.
“Alex?” Lena croaked, her voice unrecognizable even to her own ears.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Lena.” Lena heard sudden movement and the rustling of sheets.
“Nice try, Luthor died over a year ago, who are you?”
“Alex, it’s me. I’m alive” Lena’s voice broke again, the emotions of the night threatening to come rushing back. She gulped, trying to reign them in.
“Prove it.” It had to be the one person she actually needed to know she was alive to not believe her. Lena let out a shaky breath.
“When Crisis happened, the multiverse fused into one earth, only the paragons had memories of it but they shared them with a few people. You and I included.”
“Lena wasn’t the only person to know that,” Lena groaned. Oh, for fuck’s sake! She didn’t have the time for this.
“After you and Maggie broke up, we ran into each other at the ladies’ night at the Yellow Brick Road, and we never talked about it because we were dancing together before we realized who the other person was.” It would have been funny, had it not been one of the most embarrassing moments of her life. At least both of them had jumped back repulsed.
“Does Kara know?”
“About the gay bar? Not unless you told her. That I’m alive, yes. That’s not why I called. How is she?”
“She’s alive.” She’s alive. Kara was alive. She’s alive. Alex’s words kept running through her mind. She’s alive.
Lena could breathe.
Tears started falling freely from her eyes.
“Where is she? Are you sure she’s fine? How did she survive the fall?”
“Yeah, private information is reserved for people who aren’t legally dead.”
“Alex! Please,” Alex didn’t answer but she didn’t hang up the phone either which Lena took as a win.
“Listen you have every right to be angry with me and I’m really, genuinely sorry for what I did, but I keep seeing Lex’s broken body with her face.” Lena shuddered at the image. “You saw him too and after the fall she took it’s all I can think about.”
“She broke almost every single one of her bones in the impact, but by the time we got her under the sun lamps, they were pretty much all healed,” Alex relented.
“Are you with her?”
“No, she was sleeping soundly and I went home. She’s fine Lena. She’ll be as good as new by tomorrow morning, she didn’t even solar flare.” Lena understood the words Alex was saying, but she didn’t want to imagine Kara alone in a hospital bed.
“Can you go check on her?”
“Lena, she’s fine.”
“I- I don’t want her to be alone Alex, I would come over myself but it would take me at the very least half a day.” Lena could hear Alex huff but she knew she had won her over.
“Only because I want to scream at her for not telling me you’re alive.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll call you back on this number when she wakes up.”
“Alex wait!” Lena cried out.
“Can- can you stay on the phone with me?” Lena knew Alex was a worse workaholic than her and lived just a few minutes away from the DEO but she needed the company, after the night she had she couldn’t bear to be left alone with herself. Alex didn’t comment on her request and just stayed on the phone while she quickly got dressed.
“So, how did you know about the fall?”
“I hacked every phone in a two mile radius from where she was last seen and found a video of it.”
“ Damn Luthor , glad to know you haven’t changed.” Lena heard the door close behind Alex.
“Well I wear sensible clothing now, so I wouldn’t know about that.” She was idiotically proud of the laugh she managed to get from Alex. “I mean I own flannels. ”
They stayed on the phone talking about everything besides the two huge elephants in the room until Alex reached her destination. Lena knew full well that the other woman had tried to distract her from another impending panic attack and she was grateful for it. She also knew that when things calmed down she was going to be on the receiving end of the talk down of the century, but she was optimistic on her chances of survival.
Lena was distracted from her thoughts by Alex’s sudden yell:
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE’S NOT THERE?” Lena had to move her phone away from her ear, in fear that Alex's voice would permanently damage her hearing.
“What?” She tried asking.
“HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU LOSE A HALF COMATOSE KRYPTONIAN.”
“Alex?” Lena tried again, but Alex was too busy shouting at her agents to notice her.
“WHO WAS THE ABSOLUTE MORON THAT LET HER FLY AWAY.”
Lena heard a knock on her door.
“ALEX, she’s here,” she said before even opening it.
“What do you mean she’s there?” Lena opened her door and let the hand that was holding her phone fall to her side, without answering the question, nor ending the call. Kara was there. She looked absolutely terrible, with a swollen eye and her suit dirty with mud and blood, but she was there.
“I almost died.” She murmured.
“I know. I was worried.” Lena answered, taking a step forward.
“I don’t want to die without having kissed you.”
Lena was pretty sure that somewhere between panicking and calling Alex she must have fallen and hit her head. Maybe she was in a coma. Or she died and she was wrong about the afterlife, it really did exist.
She didn’t care, she was kissing Kara Danvers.
The first kiss ended abruptly, Kara put a stop to it, laughing, and then she proceeded to take the phone from Lena’s hand.
“-ing gross, I was scared shitless and…” Lena heard as it passed her by.
“Hi Alex, bye Alex.” Kara said into the phone before ending the call and kissing Lena again.
For a moment they were smiling too much for it to be anything more than a messy meeting of mouths, but Lena had a plan. She put her hands in Kara’s hair pulling her closer and she, tentatively, let her tongue out, licking the blonde’s lower lip. Kara responded immediately, opening her mouth a little bit more to give her access, she seemed as enthusiastic as Lena felt about this turn of events and let her hands travel over Lena’s back, touching any skin they could find. Kara found the end of her shirt and let her hands move under it leaving a trace of fire in their wake.
Lena moaned and pulled Kara even closer, without breaking the kiss. This wasn’t enough, she needed more contact. After having waited so long for it, Lena was almost sure she would need to actually melt into Kara for it to be enough, for her need to be fulfilled. Always in tune with her needs, Kara pushed her against the wall and started trailing kisses along her neck. Lena felt a new spike of desire run through her body.
Kara’s hands moved down to Lena’s ass, without having to be told twice she jumped, hooking her knees on Kara’s hips. The immediate response came in the form of a bite on her neck and a squeeze of her ass. Lena nearly choked, startling against her body and digging her fingers into Kara’s suit, looking desperately for just an inch of skin.
Lena threw her head back against the wall, grinding against Kara, and Kara kissed her again, thoroughly exploring her mouth, with her hands still firmly on Lena’s ass. Lena’s hands moved back into her hair, keeping Kara close, while she mindlessly looked for some kind of friction.
Her mind in a haze, Lena couldn’t believe what was happening.
She was kissing Kara.
Kara was kissing her.
Kara wanted her back.
Lena stopped for a moment, overwhelmed, and Kara immediately put an end to her conquering of Lena’s lips. Lena’s hands were still in her hair and Kara’s on her ass but they were looking into each other's eyes, their chests rising quickly in tandem. Their ragged breaths the only sound in the sunlit room.
Lena tried reading Kara’s expression, looking for doubt or regret and she saw nothing but love in Kara’s eyes. A smile escaped her swollen lips and Kara’s hands moved up, gently moving her hair from her face, thumbs stroking her cheekbones. She put her forehead against Lena’s, smiling and holding her close. Lena felt like her heart might bust at any moment.
They didn’t talk, but their hands soon started exploring one another’s bodies. Kara moved one hand under Lena’s shirt and left a warm palm on her back, while caressing a thigh still wrapped around her with the other. Lena’s hands found purpose on Kara’s arms, finally getting acquainted with her muscles. She slowly ran them down Kara’s biceps and then grabbed Kara’s hips, bringing her closer. Lena swallowed Kara’s whimper with a kiss.
Kara’s hand moved down on her back again and lightly squeezed Lena’s ass. Suddenly they started kissing again with fervor, the tender moment forgotten. Kara moved her from the wall and suddenly all of Lena’s weight was on the hero’s arms and she didn’t even seem to notice. The show of strength only turned Lena on, she started grinding against the blonde’s abs, aware of the wetness between her legs.
“Kara,” Lena said breathlessly, mindlessly, a hand snaking out between them to cup Kara’s breast over the suit. Kara groaned, long and loud, and sucked on Lena’s pulse point until Lena choked out her name again.
“Take me to bed,” she managed and Kara started making her way to the stairs, her lips never leaving Lena’s skin. Lena’s hands were frantic, desperately looking for purpose on the unforgiving fabric of the superhero’s suit.
“How the hell do you take this thing off?”
Chapter 9: Please know that I'm yours to keep
The one were I wonder if I can still say the morning after if technically it’s the afternoon, and then morning again because time zones are still a bitch
Lena must’ve dozed off, for a moment, because she came back to her senses slowly, regaining feeling over every single muscle in her body and finding them completely relaxed. Everything felt soft and warm. She lazily took notice of her body and position. She was laying on her back, a sheet mindlessly thrown on her hips and a soft weight on her belly.
The sun was shining in the room, she had never closed the shutters the day before, and she suddenly remembered soft touches in the warmth of broad daylight. Lena knew she was naked, a gentle ache between her thighs confirmed that everything she remembered had not been a dream.
If her body and her memories wouldn’t have been enough to convince her of what had transpired between her and Kara, the soft snores coming from her right certainly would. Lena slowly turned, being careful not to move the arm that was on her stomach. Kara was sprawled face down on the bed, her naked back in full view for Lena to appreciate it. Kara looked relaxed, all the signs of the battle from the night before completely erased from her skin. Lena smiled at the sounds coming from her bedmate and wondered if she was spent because she almost died or because of their activities. Maybe a little bit of both.
Thinking about how they had spent their time together before falling asleep, Lena could feel doubts slither in her mind. They hadn't done much talking besides right there, harder and more please . What if it was only physical for Kara? What if she just had to get her out of her system and would now leave her and go back to her life?
What if Lena had finally gotten what she most desired only to have it taken away from her?
Lena knew she could never get back to her life in Ireland, as it was before Kara showed up. Not after experiencing the breathy sounds she made while coming. Not after she had felt their naked bodies melt together, strong muscles dedicated only to her pleasure. Not now that she knew what Kara tasted like. She kept still, observing the vast expanse of Kara’s back, how it rose and fell with her breathing. If she couldn’t have Kara again, if this was all it could ever be between them, if exploring each other’s body was just an itch that Kara had finally scratched, she would commit every detail to memory. Lena had never thought she would have gotten the privilege to see her naked, she had already had more than she could’ve dreamed of.
Lena’s momentary doubt was put to an end, when a still asleep Kara pulled her closer. Kara put her nose in her hair and let out a contented sigh, Lena could feel her lips forming a smile against her neck. Lena’s worries melted away. She had today and it was all she could ask for. She and Kara had forgiven each other for all their faults, whatever may come, whatever Kara may want to do, she still smiled while holding her, she still flew while injured just to see her or - Lena blushed at the thought - just to kiss her.
Lena’s stomach growled; she must have missed lunch while she and Kara were occupied. She pondered her options, but after she saw Kara was still fast asleep, she carefully disentangled herself and padded around the room looking for clothes. She found a pair of clean underwear and a hoodie Kara had left there during one of their work sessions, she put them on and made her way downstairs to the kitchen.
Lena munched on an apple, while her coffee brewed. Never one to have a silent mind, she decided to check the L-Corp servers to avoid thinking about how she had left what was probably the love of her life naked in her bedroom. As always her first stop was checking on Sam’s emails, when nothing of interest was to be found there, she checked the new board members’. They had a conversation going back and forth at length. Lena read, with growing worry, misogynistic comments about Sam turn into veiled threats toward the acting CEO. They seemed to be viciously opposed to her policies with L-Corp. Lena kept reading, sitting on the edge of her chair, her coffee completely forgotten. And then she made it to the last message.
The bitch is gonna pay. We’ll talk in person, but mark my words, by this time next week L-Corp is gonna be in the hands of someone who actually cares about our bottom line.
Lena was shocked. What were they going to do? Did they plan a vote to remove Samantha as acting CEO? After all, her role still hadn’t been made permanent. Lena tried to imagine her company in the hands of anyone else but Sam, no one would care about her vision as much as her friend did. No one would pay the factory workers as much or do so much research in renewable energy, the company wide policy to hire aliens would probably be one of the first things to go, soon followed by the equal pay for all. Lena shuddered, her legacy would be completely destroyed. She reread the emails looking for clues, nowhere had they written about an upcoming vote, but they did make reference to bodily harm against Sam and the various horrific ways they would like to inflict it. Lena panicked, what if they wanted to get rid of Samantha in a more literal way? She checked the date and the emails were a few days old. It was Monday afternoon, did she still have time to warn Sam?
The threat wasn’t clear.
She needed to tell Sam.
Was there time?
Should she call?
Would Sam even believe her?
Lena decided that she needed to go. To be there to not only warn Sam, but also protect her, if needed, by any means necessary. She wouldn’t leave her friend to fend for herself. Lena started thinking about the fastest way to get to Metropolis. It was an eight hour flight from Dublin and over a three hour drive to even get there, if her car could even make it that far. It would probably be quicker if she just fixed her watch and hoped that the receiver in the Luthor mansion was still there.
While Lena thought about the best course of action, she went back upstairs to get properly dressed. She tiptoed inside her room and was immediately distracted by Kara’s sleeping form. Because Kara was in her bed, hugging Lena’s pillow, still face down with the sheet barely covering her ass.
Kara had flown across an ocean, while injured.
She had kissed her.
She had done a lot more than kissing her.
Lena stopped in her tracks, a pair of shorts halfway up her legs, she couldn’t leave Kara to wake up alone in her bed. Kara deserved far better than that. She finished putting the pants on and gingerly approached the bed. She gently shook Kara’s shoulder.
“Kara,” Lena said, in a soft voice, when the gesture didn’t work.
“Five more minutes.” The blonde mumbled before pulling Lena into the bed.
“Kara!” Lena squealed, suddenly finding herself in Kara's arms. Kara’s legs, automatically, intertwined with hers.
“Darling, wake up.” She tried again, moving some hair out of Kara’s face.
“Why?” Kara had opened her eyes, at least.
“I need to go see Sam,” Lena explained, trying her best not to be distracted by how good it felt to be back in those arms.
“What do you mean?” Kara’s confused face looked adorable.
“I’ve been checking L-Corp emails, she’s in danger,” Kara jumped out of the bed, still naked. Lena did her best to keep her eyes on Kara’s face. She failed. She knew how Kara’s alien physiology worked, but she was still disappointed when she couldn't see any of the marks she knew she had left.
“Let’s go.” Kara seemed ready to fly out of the window, except for the small detail of her still very naked and distracting body.
“You’re coming with me?”
“Of course I am.”
“Well you may want to get dressed before,” Lena said with a smirk, she couldn’t help herself. Kara’s cheeks reddened more than Lena thought humanly possible. Then again, Kara was very much not human. In a flash, she was back in her suit. Lena was dying to know the inner workings of Brainy’s invention. As soon as her friend entered her mind, Lena remembered that he would probably realize, in a short time, that the DEO communication system had been compromised. It wouldn’t take him long to trace it back to her. Lena thought about it, for a moment, Alex already knew she was alive and if all went well Sam soon would too, there was no point in trying to hide it from Brainy, she could just - “Come on, let’s go!” Her train of thought was interrupted by Kara who was looking at her expectantly.
“We don’t all have super speed and high tech suits.” She rebutted, ashamed that she had let herself get distracted. “I need to finish getting dressed, give me a moment.”
“What’s wrong with what you have on now?” Lena looked down, if the combo of short jeans and old sweatshirt wasn’t enough, she was also extremely aware she had nothing on under it.
“I don’t even have a bra on.'' She mumbled, mostly to herself. Kara's eyes darted downwards and Lena hoped she hadn’t been as obvious with her ogling, just minutes before.
“I- ” Kara took a moment to decide if she wanted to go forward with her words. “Maybe I like you like that.”
Lena was surprised and relieved by her forwardness.
“I’ve noticed.” She smirked, reminded of all the attention Kara had paid to her breasts. “But if we’re flying I have the time to not give a show to Samantha.” Lena looked Kara dead in the eyes and deliberately took her hoodie off. She had always felt confident about her body, but Kara’s hungry gaze certainly helped. Lena got into a bra and a T-shirt before pulling Kara’s sweatshirt back on.
“Well, what are we waiting- KARA!” Lena didn't’ have the time to finish her phrase, before Kara had taken her into her arms and started flying. The movement was so quick that when her brain caught up they were already in the clouds, the cottage long gone from the view.
Lena didn’t have time to feel apprehensive about flying or to realize it had been almost two years since she had last been in Supergirl's arms like this. Maybe because of her quip, or maybe because they did have pressing matters to attend to in Metropolis, Kara seemed to be going at her top speed, instead of her human-on-board speed.
Before she knew it, they were in the suburbs of the city, next to a white house. Kara, slowly, let her down and Lena walked the path on shaky legs, barely avoiding a red bike. She stood in front of Sam’s door questioning the very decision to come there, she could have just sent Supergirl, what could she even say to explain herself? She hesitated, her hand down her side but already closed in a fist. Kara was standing a foot behind her in her civilian clothes, Lena hadn’t even noticed when she had changed. The other woman must have sensed her doubt, she put a calming hand on her shoulder and knocked with the other, taking the decision out of Lena’s hands.
They heard the sound of someone running down the stairs and a second later Ruby tore the door open. The teenager froze and looked Lena dead in the eyes. Ruby studied Lena’s face, her expression unreadable. After a beat her eyes moved past her and focused on Kara, she moved her face over her shoulder and yelled: “Moooooom, I got the car this weekend!” Before hugging Lena with all her might and, after a beat, pulling Kara into the hug as well.
“What?” Lena and Kara asked, confused. They were starting to disentangle themselves from the hug.
“Oh my god!” Sam appeared and joined in on the hug effectively trapping Ruby in the middle.
“Mom, air!” She muffled. Sam let go, but took Lena by the arm and ushered them all inside. She looked Lena over from head to toe, mirroring the expression Ruby had just moments before.
“I knew it!” She said before hugging Lena again and moving them both to the couch. Lena noticed that Sam had still to let go of her arm.
“More like I knew it, you lost the bet.” Ruby piped in.
“Uhm, guys? What are you talking about?” Kara asked, while awkwardly standing in the middle of the room.
“We had a bet going as to, whether or not, Kara knew you were alive,” explained Ruby, plopping down on the recliner.
“Wait, how did you know she’s alive?” Asked Kara her eyes moving from one woman to the other.
“She’s been meddling on the L-Corp servers for months now.” Sam said matter of factly, Lena turned to face her and took her free hand in hers.
“Yes, that’s why we’re here,” she said, looking Samantha in the eyes, she had to convene the seriousness of the situation. With the corner of her eye, she spotted Kara doing a quick sweep of the house with her x-ray vision.
“Oh, the villainous messages, don’t worry. It was me. Also, took you long enough !” Sam swatted her arm away jokingly.
“What do you mean it was you?”
“Well, I got bored of waiting, I was missing you, I decided to mess around and role play as two disgusting dudes... I could be dead, Luthor!” Sam was laughing and Kara and Lena soon followed with disbelief.
“There’s not even a real threat!”
“What if I wasn’t ready for people to know I am alive and that slowed me?” Lena asked while her posture relaxed. On the other side of the coffee table, Kara sat on the arm of the recliner Ruby was already on, gently messing with her hair. Lena had a passing thought about Kara keeping her distance from her, but immediately dismissed it to focus on the conversation.
“Ruby was sure Kara knew and I know she’s all the people you really care about.” That shut Lena up. She felt her face redden and looked at the floor. Rude.
“How did you know I knew?” Kara asked to defuse the awkwardness, shifting her body to look directly towards Ruby.
“Easy, when you went back to National City you smiled for the cameras, you even went in front of L-Corp and the children’s hospital.” It took a moment for it to sink in for Lena. The only time in the past few months Kara had been in front of the cameras she had been in her super suit.
“THEY KNOW? ” She asked, outraged, standing up. How was it possible that Ruby and Sam knew of Kara’s other identity? Had she told them before she even thought to tell her?
“I didn’t tell them, I swear.” Kara stood up, as well, and grabbed her hand, inconspicuously caressing its back with her thumb. Lena believed her immediately.
“That wasn’t even a bet, her disguise is glasses.'' The Arias women were looking at them with matching expressions of disbelief. As if they believed it was obvious that anyone that had seen both Kara and Supergirl up close would know her secret.
“It’s a good disguise.” Kara and Lena said at the same time, they looked at each other and smiled.
“Cute” “Gross” Sam and Ruby replied simultaneously, but neither of them commented on their still clasped together hands, so Lena was gonna get any win she could.
“So… You don’t need me,” she said after a beat.
“Well, the company has been doing great and there’s no threat to your wellbeing… You don’t need me.” Lena repeated, matter of factly. She had dropped Kara’s hand to gesticulate while she talked, to better bring home her point. Sam looked absolutely appalled. She gave an angry look to Lena and then went to her bag, took five dollars out of it and wordlessly gave it to Ruby.
The teenager stood up only to whisper in Kara’s ear: “This is gonna be great”
In the meantime Sam had gotten back in front of Lena and put her hand up, all five fingers spread apart.
“Lena, you fucking idiot”
She folded her thumb in her hand.
“You are one of my best friends. I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for you and you think I don’t fucking need you in my life?”
Her little finger went down.
“Of all the stupid shit I’ve heard in my life this takes the motherfucking cake.” Two more fingers down. Lena heard sniggering behind her.
“Yes, oh.” Lena smiled and watched the slight upturn in Sam’s mouth. Sam looked at her index, still standing and then back at Lena. She pointed the finger in her direction.
“Also faking your death was a dick move on your part. Just be glad I was your CFO and didn’t cash in on the insurance.” Sam said stressing every word with a movement of her hand, before she plopped back on the couch.
“What?” Lena had not seen that coming.
“Well, I oversaw your personal assets and liked what you had done in your will with the clause about your body being found. For a while, I was holding out hope that you were somehow still alive under the debris,” she explained.
Lena barely noticed Ruby whispering into Kara’s ear once again. “I have some homework on the extraterrestrial history module to do, can you help me?” The duo left the room together without much fanfare.
“Then I was just too sad to deal with it and then you started messing with my emails.” Samantha continued, as if she had never been interrupted. She walked to her bookcase and took a big tome from it. She showed it to Lena, who immediately recognized the title, it was one of her old college textbooks on quantum mechanics.
“Thank you, by the way, it took me a week just to read the introduction.” Sam looked around the room to make sure they were alone. “This shit is boooring.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes it is, but don’t tell Ruby I said so. Either way, L-Corp never cashed in on your life insurance, I’m still just acting CEO, even if the board wanted to make my position permanent and legally you could come back at any moment without any repercussions on our end.”
“Really?” Her life in National City had been in the back of her mind since she had left it. She had never thought she could really get back to it, but as time passed, more and more pieces fell together to give her the opportunity to do so. She wasn’t ready, but she could. Lena had kept herself from imagining getting back, from getting emotionally ready to do so, held back by her conviction that it wouldn’t be possible. First it was because she’d have to face Kara. Then she didn’t think she could be loved as a Luthor. Oscar, Áine and Bran proved her wrong on that front. Listening to Sam, Lena realized that it wasn’t just that she didn’t think she could have the company back that was left holding her back until a moment ago, but also the fact that she would have never imagined a friend from her old life would still root for her. Well, no one except Kara, but she was pretty sure she didn’t count as just a friend anymore.
“Yes Lena, I missed you and I want you back.” At these words a dam broke in Lena and she started crying from the relief. Sam got mistied eyed too, so Lena hugged the other woman, grounding themselves in each other's arms.
“I missed you too.” The sound of the words were muffled by Sam’s shoulder. Lena didn’t comment on the ‘I want you back’ statement, she knew she wasn’t ready to get back just yet, but she was happy it was finally a viable option.
Kara’s melodic laugh traveled down from the floor above. Lena turned her head and smiled at the sound, thinking how glad she was to have all of them in her life. How happy she was to see Sam and Ruby, after so long and how incredible it was to have Kara. She really did have her, they may have yet to talk, but Kara had given her her affection freely and without reserve. After the morning they had together and her constant support, Lena didn’t have it in herself to keep doubting it. They had each other and it was all she could ask for.
“So, how’s the sex?” Lena’s daydream was abruptly interrupted.
“Sam!” She sputtered.
“What? You really want to tell me she’s known you were alive, for months, and you two are still not fucking?” Lena felt her whole body flushing, the temperature of the room seemed to have suddenly risen a couple of degrees. Her mouth parted, but she didn’t know what to say. It was too soon to talk about it, too precious and too fragile to actually admit out loud what it had meant to her.
“OH MY GOD!” Her reaction must have betrayed her.
“Shhh!” Lena tried to actually put her hand on Sam’s mouth, but she was easily avoided.
“She has super hearing, if she’s listening, the volume really doesn’t matter.” Sam said, swatting her hand.
“Maybe it’s Ruby I worry about. You remember her? Your daughter?”
“I’m way too young to be a grandma, I gave that girl the sex talk to end all sex talks. And you and Kara are definitely too vanilla to have done anything she hasn’t already heard from me.”
“Sam!” Samantha did not look guilty for embarrassing her, at all. She looked a little bit smug, if Lena did say so herself.
“So? How was it?” Lena flushed again. How could she explain wanting something for so long, imagining it so many times and then when it actually happened, having it be better than expected? How could she describe how being with Kara felt both like coming home and making the most groundbreaking discovery all at once? How could she tell her that she had never felt more in tune with a partner ever, let alone the first time? How could she do all that when it had been just a couple of hours since it happened and she didn’t have the time to fully process it?
Lena took a moment and chose her words carefully.
“Life changing.” She said.
Sam smiled, happy for her friends. “That’s my girl!” She commented, offering her hand for a high five. Lena obliged and let the dopey smile she could feel forming on her face show. Kara came down the stairs, she was floating a couple of inches above the steps and giving a piggyback ride to a delighted Ruby.
“Kara show them!” The teenager asked, with a childlike joy in her voice. Kara smiled and did a somersault in the air, with Ruby still on her back.
“It’s better than a roller coaster!” Ruby squealed. Lena and Sam smiled at them, the happiness of the moment not lost to either one of them. With Ruby and Kara back in the room they all chatted about lighter topics, mostly Ruby’s experiences in high school and Lena’s in Ireland. At one point, Sam stopped mid sentence while recounting their most recent trip to National City.
“Does Alex know? I can’t even imagine her face” She asked, her eyes wide. Lena and Kara looked at each other uncomfortably. They had to talk to Alex and after last night they both knew she had every right to be royally pissed. Kara looked, particularly, guilty and Lena knew her expression probably matched.
“What have you done?” Ruby’s tone was conspiratorial, as if she was talking to someone her age who had just landed themselves in detention.
“I- it’s nothing, really. It’s just that Alex probably won’t be very happy with me.” Kara looked at her feet. Presumably she didn’t want to explain how she had left, what was basically a hospital bed, to fly over an ocean just to kiss the girl.
“Aunt Alex loves you. She’ll try to be angry, but we all know she can’t resist a puppy face.” It sounded like Ruby knew this from direct experience.
“You have to leave and make it right. I understand that.” Ruby finished for Kara and they all moved towards the door. After they said their goodbyes Sam ran out of the door to hug Lena once more.
“Don’t you dare disappear again.” She whispered in her ear.
Kara and Lena walked to the place where they had landed, they rounded a corner and were suddenly in each other's space.
“Hi,” Kara smiled sheepishly.
“Hi,” Lena bit her lip, it wasn’t a planned gesture, just her body’s response to Kara's sudden vicinity and embarrassment.
“So… what do you want to do now?” Lena asked when Kara seemed too distracted by her lips to actually talk.
“Well, I really have to go see Alex.” Kara answered. Lena was suddenly sad she wasn’t included. Of course, Kara would want to see her sister alone. “You could come with- or I could bring you back home- or wherever you want. You don’t have to come with me, if you don’t want to. But you can if you want. I’d love for you to come with me... and she already knows you’re alive so it’s not like I’m asking you to blow your cover, I would never. You can do whatever you want.” Kara babbled. “Ok, I’ll shut up now.”
“I can come with you.” Lena smiled, relieved. She found that she really did want to see Alex, she had missed the other woman and wanted the chance to apologize in person.
“Really?” Kara's dopey smile didn’t hurt either.
“Yes, but it’s very early in National City now and Alex will be very angry at the both of us so I need you to do something first.”
“Anything.” Lena put her hand in her pocket and got her house key out.
“I need you to go back home, in my study there’s a safe. The combination is 787374475.” She put her key in Kara’s hand and kept her own hand there, basking in the casual contact. She caressed Kara’s skin with her thumb.
“Just a casual number, huh?” Lena turned bright red and took her hand back just to use it to cover her face.
“Shut up.” She said, but the smile was clear in her voice, she glanced at Kara and saw the gentle expression the woman was wearing. Lena took half a step forward and hugged her feeling the need to touch her and ascertain that she was indeed here and real and looking at her with so much love in her eyes. She put her nose in Kara’s hair and was suddenly reminded how, in the midst of passion, they had been distracted by said hair getting into her mouth. Lena thought her cheeks might hurt at the end of the day because of how much she was smiling. She, reluctantly, ended the hug when Kara inquired about the safe.
“The first thing you are going to see is a gun-” Kara interrupted her, with both her hands on Lena’s shoulder.
“Alex is mad, but you don’t need a gun, I mean she’s not gonna shoot you and besides I’ll be there.” Kara unquestioningly taking Lena’s side was cute, but not needed. It didn’t mean that images of Kara defending her from even her own sister didn’t flood Lena’s mind. She knew it wouldn’t be the first time.
“Darling, I don’t need the gun, behind it there’s a watch and I need you to take it. You should also bring the pen drive that’s plugged into my laptop. You can leave the gun, it’s cool but not as cool as the one you told me Alex already has.”
“Of course, anything else?”
“Well, since you’ll be going you should also stop and buy something for breakfast. Enough for everyone.” Lena warned as Kara nodded her enthusiastic assent at the bare mention of food.
“Wait!” She said, taking Kara’s hand as she moved to leave. The woman smiled and turned back.
“What?” Kara asked while getting closer, a smile on her lips. Lena waited to see how it was going to play out. Kara moved until her nose was just a few inches away from Lena’s. She thought I wanted a kiss. Lena realized, dazed. She waited until Kara’s lips were almost on her own.
“Isn’t it more convenient if you fly me to National City first and then go?” She asked, startling Kara.
“Oh yes, of course.” Kara was visibly flustered, but tried to hide it by literally swiping Lena off her feet. A bridal carry might not have been the best way to fly someone across the country but Lena would not complain. She hadn’t had the occasion to appreciate being in Kara's arms on the way over to Sam’s house, but now that they weren’t in a hurry she certainly would. She put one hand on the nape of Kara’s neck and enjoyed the ride, taking notice of the focused look on Kara’s face, of how her biceps pressed to her body, how soft her hair was under her hand and how warm she felt despite the cold air around them.
Way too soon they landed in a dark alley, next to a coffee shop. Kara, reluctantly, let Lena go, but she didn’t leave immediately, opting to just stand there and fidget with her hands instead. Lena moved closer until they were, once again, standing toe to toe.
“You know you can kiss me, right?” Lena finally said.
“I can?” Kara was awed by the fact, as if they hadn’t been, deliciously debauching each other, just a few hours before.
“Yes, darling.” Kara, delicately, caressed her cheek before moving closer. First, she let their noses touch, then she pressed her entire body to Lena’s and, finally, ever so slowly, she angled her head without making contact, as if to savor the moment, for as long as possible. Lena stood on her tiptoes and Kara, finally, sweetly, kissed her. The kisses they had shared before had been awe inducing, full of fire and want they had electrified Lena. This one was nothing like that, it was slow, barely there, and it ended way too soon. It left Lena ready to melt onto the pavement. Her knees were weak and the only movement that her body seemed to be able to produce was the one made by the butterflies in her stomach. Kara pecked her lips once more before, wordlessly, flying away.
Lena needed a moment to steady herself before she was ready to move, once she was sure she wouldn’t trip over her feet, she walked towards the coffee shop. It was just opening and no one would notice Lena, she reasoned. She was in casual clothes and everyone was too busy being sleepy to really look anyone else in the eyes. Lena wandered inside and got a black coffee, before sitting down, hoping she wouldn’t be spotted. Kara was back not even ten minutes later.
They made their way to Alex’s apartment and Kara didn’t wait around before knocking on the door. Kelly opened it, already dressed for work.
“Hi, Lena, Kara. You’re in big trouble.” She said immediately, opening the door wider to let them in.
“Hi. Hi- uhm you are not surprised to see me.” Lena said while passing her by.
“Nope” Kelly didn’t hug her but she did pat her on her back. Lena was floored.
“Is there like a single person on this earth that doesn’t know I’m alive?” She asked.
“You called in the middle of the night. Alex and I share a bed. What were you expecting?” Kelly reasoned while moving them both to the kitchen. Kara trailed slowly behind her and Lena realized she had yet to say anything. Maybe she was more anxious that she had let on.
“So… Where is she?”
“In the shower, you have approximately 5 minutes before your untimely demise.”
“We brought breakfast?” Kara finally said showing the big bag she was still carrying.
“Maybe 10 then.” Kelly amended and they all laughed, but Lena could hear the nervousness in Kara’s voice. She moved closer to her, enough for their shoulders to touch, in a show of silent support. Lena felt the need to say something, maybe make polite conversation with Kelly or just offer some words of comfort to Kara. She opened her mouth, but felt Kara stiffen next to her. She was about to ask what was wrong when Alex appeared, fully dressed and with a towel in her hair.
The first person Alex spotted was, clearly, Kara. She let the towel fall from her hands to better gesticulate her anger.
“What the hell were you thinking? Your powers were depleted! I watched you fall from the sky and what do you do? You leave the fucking DEO, which mind you is the only place in the world that has the lights to properly heal you, and you fly across the fucking ocean without telling me.” Kara shrank under her sister’s reprimand.
“I… Lena.” She tried to explain, feeling too guilty about her actions to add more.
“Yes, you and Lena I heard that, thank you very much for telling me by the way.” Lena knew that Kara had visited Alex only twice after finding out and wondered if that was the reason why. She also remembered how both times she had to be pushed into it. She honestly hoped their sisterly bond wasn’t something else she had ruined with her actions.
“We brought food?” Lena tried to defuse the situation, Kara would surely feel better with a full stomach. Alex’s head whipped in her direction.
“Oh don’t you think, for even a moment, I’m not angry with you too, do you know how much of a mess she was? No, of course, you don’t, you were gallivanting in Ireland, while I was here watching my sister cry until she couldn’t breathe. Do you know how hard it is for a Kryptonian to be breathless?” Alex was pointing her finger towards Lena. She and Kara had talked about the aftermath of her death, but having it described so concisely by Alex certainly hit a soft spot. Lena got a lump in her throat, her heart beating faster than a moment before. Kara’s hand gently bumped hers and it tethered her to this moment, allowing her to concentrate on the conversation, instead of imagining Kara crying until she was breathless because of her.
“And don’t you dare believe that she was the only one who was heartbroken by your supposed death. We all were, but you don’t care, do you?” Kara squeezed her hand, but Lena barely felt it, she was more distracted by the wetness on her face. She brought her free hand to her cheeks and discovered that tears had started falling on her face. Kelly put a hand on Alex’s still pointing arm.
“Alex, that’s enough.” Said Kara gently, once again taking Lena’s side, even if she didn’t deserve it.
“I mean you two really found each other, of all the selfish things you could have done, faking your own death and disappearing after you almost died…” Alex continued, but this Lena couldn’t take. She squeezed Kara’s hand repeating the show of support.
“These two things are not equal.” She said. “Kara was feeling fine and she made it in one piece, she already had a couple of hours under the sunlamps, before she even attempted to come.”
“She was unconscious, that’s why she had time under the laps.” Alex rebutted.
“I thought you were sleeping, I would have called you to not make you worry.” Kara finally spoke, she was now resting both of her hands on her hips.
“You also didn’t tell me she was alive.” Alex pointed at Lena. That was the real point of contention between the two and every person in the room knew it. Kara had never kept such secrets from her sister.
“It wasn’t my place to tell.” Kara tried, but her voice went up on the last syllable making it seem more like a question than a statement. They weren’t going anywhere with this, not when the sisters had an audience.
“Why don’t you show us what’s in that bag?” Kelly must’ve agreed with her. Kara started opening the bag and Lena put her hand palm up in front of her. Her gesture was immediately understood, as the pen drive and the watch were placed on it. After that Kara started piling take out containers on the kitchen’s island.
“What’s that?” Alex took a step towards them.
“Scones from Dublin, croissants from Paris, and bacon and eggs from Noonan’s,” answered Kara passing a box to Kelly and taking a couple of forks from the drawer behind her.
“No, that.” Alex was looking at the objects still in Lena’s hand.
“It’s for you.” Lena said and she passed the watch to her. Alex looked it over, noticing the burnt strap and cracked case.
“What am I supposed to do with a broken watch?”
“It’s a new version of Lex’s watch, instead of creating a portal, it transports every atom of the wearer wherever the receivers are, making it impossible for anyone to follow, even if they are touching the person with the watch.” Lena showed her a small button on the side. “If you press this, it will link with the closest pair of obsidian lenses, making it so you just have to think on where you want to go.” Alex’s eyes grew big and she began examining the watch closer. Lena gave her the pen drive.
“On there are the specs for the watch, Brainy should be able to fix it and create new receivers. And I’ll repair the one in my new home, so that you can come kick my ass whenever you want. You’ll also find everything I have on the yellow sun suit. I think it may be easier to try to build a new one from my calculations, instead of trusting Lillian’s. I did eventually solve the overheating problem on my own.” Lena took a big breath, she knew what she had to say next.
“Also, I see now how my actions have hurt you and all the people I care about and who cared about me. I could stand here and tell you all about how it wasn’t planned but I don’t think it should make a difference. I was deeply hurt and I didn’t have the tools to properly deal with it. I made the wrong decision time and time again just to try to protect myself and I ended up convincing myself it was for the best. I won’t ask you to forgive me or try and understand why I acted the way I did, but I will ask you for a second chance. I care about you and your sister a whole lot, Alex. Last night you were able to put your justified rage aside because I needed you and-” Lena stopped to collect herself “I think I still do. I mean I faked my own death while I wasn’t talking to you, I clearly need you in my life.” For a while the only sounds in the room were the ones of Kara eating her food. Had it been anyone else Lena would have found it deeply disrespectful, but the poor woman had flown back and forth from two continents 5 times since the last time she had a full meal, not counting a fight with an alien, sex with Lena, and the emotional toll this confrontation was probably demanding of her.
“What do we say Alex?” Kelly probed, Kara stopped munching for a moment just to snicker at her sister’s face. Alex looked absolutely stunned. It wasn’t clear if it was from Lena’s words or her inventions, but the woman had yet to talk.
“Ok, I guess she’s not so bad.” Kelly playfully shoved her towards Lena. In a moment, Lena found herself in a bear hug. “Thank you for saying that Lena. I’m glad you’re alive,” was whispered in her ear. After, Alex went to Kara and hugged her too, she said something that was lost to Lena’s ears, but when the sisters parted, Kara said: “I’m sorry I left yesterday, but you knew I was safe and she didn’t I… I had to get back home to her.”
“Home?” Alex asked. Lena, too, was surprised by Kara’s choice of words, she had, after all, been sleeping at Áine and Bran’s, but, maybe, spending every waking moment in Lena’s company and most of them in her cottage had left a mark. Lena didn’t hate the idea. She didn’t hate it at all, her home also being Kara’s. It sounded better than anything in her wildest dreams, if she was being honest with herself.
“I’ve been staying there for a while now.” Lena realized they really needed to talk to each other. No time like the present.
“Why don’t you and Alex go for a walk? There’s something private I want to talk to Kelly about and I would prefer not to be spotted.” Kara looked at her, curiously, but didn’t question her choice, opting to push her sister out of the apartment.
Lena and Kelly stood awkwardly staring at each other. Lena didn't know what to say to her, they had never really spent any time just the two of them.
“Sooo, how you doin’?” Kelly started laughing.
“Really? That’s the best you can do? Alex gets the speech and I get the Joey Tribbiani impression?” Lena joined Kelly in her laughter.
“Well, I’m a bit drained and all out of impassioned speeches and I wanted to give them some privacy, but it doesn’t mean we have to sit here in silence.” Lena said, placing a hand on Kelly’s arm. She noticed the sparkly ring on her finger “Congrats on the engagement, by the way.”
“Thank you. You better find a way to make it to the wedding, because if you’re not there Kara will probably sulk in every photo and I’m not gonna stop Alex when she decides to actually kick your ass.” She knew Kelly was joking, but the simple fact that she was invited to the wedding made Lena’s heart swell with joy. She vowed that she would find a way to attend and give them the best gift ever. Maybe they would enjoy a honeymoon on a private island, or a jet, or she could start working on a new suit for Alex, maybe Kelly would want one too. They talked about the wedding, for a while, until Kelly mentioned she was going to ask her brother to walk her down the aisle.
“How is he?”
“He’s fine. He and Lucy are back together. She helped him with a case early on and then she went to visit him once and after a week she had quit her job and started working there, mostly pro bono. James swore they were just friends, but that didn’t last long. They make quite the pair, two ex big city big shots, in a small town, but they’re happy.” Lena had never met Lucy but she had heard so much about her from James - and, surprisingly, Kara - that she was sure they would be a good match. Surely better than her and James ever were. She had always felt guilty in that relationship, her love for Kara always a barrier between them. Knowing now that James might have still harbored some feelings for his ex made it somewhat better.
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“I’m sure he would be happy for you, too, if he knew you were alive.” Ouch.
“I always say that every person in National City would do well with some therapy, but I’m pretty sure you’re the first on that list.” Lena chuckled.
“Harsh.“ She swatted Kelly’s arm, but was laughing while doing so, the gentle teasing reminded her so much of the boys. How was it only yesterday that they were all playing on the beach?
“You faked your own death because you were mad at your best friend for lying to you. It's like you have the emotional maturity of a 12 year old.”
“I’m pretty sure a therapist shouldn’t say that to their patients.”
“You’re not a patient, you’re my friend and I can tell you when you did something stupid.” Kelly considered her a friend, what a strange concept. Yes, they had spent some time together, especially during game nights, but was that all it took? Was Kelly another person that had been touched by her presumed death? She hadn’t even thought about her.
A phone rang and Kelly answered immediately, after a moment she put it in on speaker and Alex’s voice filled the room.
“-with an alien gun shooting on 23rd, Supergirl’s already there and I’m in route with the DEO. I think our guest might want to use my spare earpiece.” The call ended without a goodbye. Lena had forgotten how hectic things could be in National City, but she greatly appreciated Alex’s thoughtfulness. Kelly passed her the comms and put a pair of her own in her ear. The glance they exchanged said more than a thousand words. It didn’t matter how capable they were, having the women they loved in the midst of the action would always be terrifying. Kelly turned the tv on, leaving it muted, but the news station hadn’t picked up on it yet.
“Lena are you there?” Alex said in her ear.
“You’re on a private line, only Kara and I can hear you, but you should be able to hear everything.” As Alex finished talking she heard the sound of an explosion and Kara’s subsequent grunts. Lena wracked her brain thinking on how she could help. Maybe if she knew the kind of gun this man had she could figure out how to neutralize it. What had Alex said? Alien gun on 23rd.
“Kelly, isn’t that where they were yesterday?”
“Yes, it’s where it started.”
“ON YOUR LEFT.” She heard Alex shout in her ear, followed by another explosion and the sound of concrete disintegrating.
“I’M FINE!” Kara answered immediately, Lena really wished she could see what was happening, but she had more pressing matters on her hands. She had a theory and she needed to see if it had any shred of truth in it. She looked around the room until she found what she was looking for.
“Can I use that?” Lena said gesturing to Kelly’s laptop, after she got a nod of approval she started googling things. She tried her best not to be distracted by the sound coming from her earpiece, every explosion made her jump on her chair, but the constant chatter of the DEO agents assured her of Kara’s safety. Lena fingers flew over the keyboard and the names of the owners of all the buildings in the area were in front of her, surprisingly, fast.
“Alex,” She said in her comms “Morgan Edge is out of prison and he recently bought half the buildings on that block, none of them were damaged yesterday.”
“I’m sure he’s behind this. He probably wants to buy the damaged buildings and that is a fast way to drive prices down. Having the whole block would be a sure way to start rebuilding his real estate empire.” Lena explained.
“You’re a genius” Kara breathed out in the comms. Lena hadn’t been able to really follow the fight while she was following her hunch and she was happy to hear her voice. She glanced at the tv and saw Supergirl deliver a man to a black van. All the action had been over surprisingly fast.
“Thank you Lena, we have the man in custody, you have probably saved me a couple of hours.” Alex said. Lena stayed on the comms for a little bit longer listening to Alex barking out orders and Supergirl greeting different DEO agents. Once she was sure they were safe and back to base she took her earpiece out and resumed her conversation with Kelly. She could get used to this, to helping from the sidelines, always keeping a direct line of contact with Kara, not having to rely on the news to know what was happening. Lena basked in the knowledge that her presence had actually changed things. Sure they would have probably found a connection between Edge and the mercenaries, but it could have taken them days, now that they already knew about it their line of questioning would be more precise. It felt good to be back in the action and not just a distant spectator.
Kara got back not much later and it was time for them to go. Kelly had to work and they both needed rest after two very eventful days. Kara was happy, Lena noticed. A different kind of happy than she’d been in Ireland, more serene. That was what making things right with her sister did to her.
On the flight back home Lena couldn’t tear her eyes away from the blonde’s face, the soft smile that had taken permanent residence there was probably the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Without much thought she started gently caressing her cheek. Kara looked down to her only when her thumb moved over her lips. Lena couldn’t help herself and went in for a kiss. Because that was what something they did now. Kara and her. They kissed.
Lena thought she was redefining the saying being on cloud nine, there, above the ocean, in the arms of the woman she loved, kissing without a care in the world, surrounded by actual clouds. She moved in Kara’s arms to have better access to her mouth, Lena put her hands in her hair and pulled a little just to have Kara where she wanted her. She ran her tongue on Kara’s lips before plunging it in her mouth. The kiss grew hotter and hotter, Lena’s body came alive with sensations. She realized she wanted some kind of friction and tried to move once again in Kara’s arms. This time though Kara was distracted by the kiss and had forgotten for a moment where they were.
Lena plummeted towards the Atlantic Ocean.
For one agonizing second she thought that this was how she was going to die, killed by her own lust, the universe giving her the biggest cold shoulder imaginable.
Kara caught her easily, shouting apologies over the sound of the wind. Lena hid her face in the crook of her neck and didn’t try anything else until they were on solid ground. Only then did she risk a look over the blonde’s shoulder. They were clearly in Ireland, but not in a place she had seen before. They were in a field surrounded by trees, it was beautiful and so green it almost hurt Lena's eyes. Kara explained it was where she landed when she spotted Áine or Bran outside. Despite being quite late in the afternoon, the sun was still out in all its glory, the summer day, apparently, as beautiful as the one before. They sat on the ground to appreciate the beauty of it all. Lena soon ended up on Kara’s lap, “because the ground is cold” she said “don’t get any ideas.” Lena let her back fully press into Kara’s front, while the other woman hugged from behind and rested her chin on her shoulder.
They sat like that for a while, cuddling in the sun. “So what do we do now?” Lena found herself asking, eventually. She turned around to see Kara’s face, they were so close she could see all the different hues of blue in her eyes.
“Lena, I can fly.”
“I hadn’t noticed.” She smirked, the recent mishap still fresh in her mind. Kara laughed and moved some hair from her face before answering.
“I mean I can be wherever I want in the world in under 30 minutes, I can live anywhere. I just know that I want to be near you, but it’s your choice really.”
“But you’ve been missing Alex.”
“Yes I have, and I will visit her more often and when they’ll eventually have a child I’ll want to live nearer. But for now it’s up to you.” Lena remained silent for a long while, the ease with which Kara was making plans for their future together gave her a lot to ponder. They hadn’t talked about the state of their relationship, yet here Kara was planning her next moves with Lena in mind. The same Kara who had changed the way she worked to stay near her and who had forgiven her and stood next to her through it all. Lena felt her heart fill with love.
“I- I do want to go back to National City eventually.” She admitted.
“You do?” Kara’s goofy smile was as bright as the sun shining in her hair and Lena couldn’t do anything else, if not respond with a smile on her own. Lena didn’t know who moved closer but suddenly they were kissing. Kara fell back onto the green grass without breaking the kiss until she was laying on the ground with Lena on top of her. Lena moved her legs and straddled her, she deepened the kiss, pressing into Kara’s mouth with her tongue. Kara fisted her fingers into Lena’s hoodie. Lena let the sweet press of Kara’s lips steal the rest of the breath from her lungs in a whimper. She was buzzing, all she wanted was to grind on Kara’s abs and see where that would lead them, but she also knew it was important to finish this conversation. She didn’t let her hands wander and, eventually, let the kisses wind down.
Lena created some distance between them and smiled when Kara wined at the action. She put a hand on her chest and rested her body next to Kara’s. The blonde circled her shoulders with her arms and kept her close.
“I can admit this wasn’t my best thought out plan.” Lena said, tracing patterns on Kara’s chest, over the emblem of her suit.
“As opposed to what? The time you tried to mind control the world so that no one would hurt you again?” Lena playfully shoved her.
“Or maybe one of the multiple times you used yourself as bait.”
“Make me.” Lena kissed her with a smile still on her face, she couldn’t believe they could joke about it, but there they were, cuddling together on a field with no more secrets between them. Lena got distracted by Kara’s lips once more, each kiss sweeter than the one before. Frustratingly enough Kara was being very mindful of the boundaries she had set before and didn’t let the kiss deepen, her hands remained in respectful places and so did Lena’s.
“I miss my life in National City, or at least some aspects of it.” She said. “Like having an actual lab and proper facilities at my disposal.” Lena joked and kissed Kara some more.
“And I know you’ll want to get back.”
“I can fly.” Kara repeated, effortlessly, running her hand through Lena’s hair.
“Yeah, but you shouldn’t have to just to see your family.”
“You don’t have to. I- Lena, I want to be wherever you are. I don’t care if it’s Ireland, National City, or another planet. I can make it work.”
“I’m not ready to leave Ireland just yet.”
“And things will have to change when we move back here.”
“We?” Kara's hand halted in her hair.
“Yes, you have to keep me in the loop and-” Lena stopped, embarrassed. “Well, I guess I have to do that as well. Would it be ok for you if we stayed in Ireland a little bit longer?” She finally asked.
“Of course it’s fine, I love you, if you haven’t noticed, I want to be with you. You are my home.”
“I love you too.”
@chtozanah thank you for the cheerleading, I really needed it and this chapter wouldn’t have been finished without you.
I also want to thank everyone who left a kind comment or kudos, they mean the world to me.
This story is finished, the next chapter will be just a short epilogue.
Lena checked her closet to make sure she had taken everything she might need. Most of the clothes would remain there, for they were not suitable to her life in National City, but some she couldn’t bear to part with. She took one more of her mother’s floral dresses, before moving on to the rest of the room. Lena straightened the cover she had put on the bed to save it from the dust, took the little lead box that was resting on her bedside table and left, closing the door of her room.
Their room, she amended. Kara had moved in over a year ago.
Even if it had taken them some time to take notice. They had gone from spending all of their days together to some of their days and most of their nights. After the confrontation with her sister, Kara had made an effort to be more present in Alex’s life, but even that couldn't keep her away from Lena’s bed. Lena smiled thinking about how Áine had been the one to call them out on it, requesting that Kara free her rented room, since she was no longer using it.
She went downstairs to put the dress in her bag and she shivered at the cold, she rubbed her arms questioning her decision to turn the heating off as she waited for Kara to get back. With the holidays quickly approaching, Kara had gone back to CatCo to make sure the January issue was ready and bring back the final proof she got from the printer, for Lena to approve. At the thought of her girlfriend, Lena patted her pocket to make sure the lead box was still there.
Kara would be back any moment now and they would use Lena’s new and improved watch to go to Midvale to celebrate Hanukkah with Eliza. From there they would move back to National City. The boys had been tasked to use the portal created by the new watches to send them the boxes once they would be there to receive them.
Lena went to her home lab to check that everything was in order there too, this was the room with the most boxes in it. Lena wouldn’t miss her rudimentary equipment, as a matter of fact, that was one of the things she was most excited for about getting back to National City. Getting to play with her big girl toys. But she would miss the pink walls, she laughed at the thought of what her employees' reaction would be if she went to paint the L-corp labs a lively color. Maybe a mint green would work.
She checked that all the boxes had been properly labeled and looked around the room. She hadn't had the heart to throw away the broken chair that was now standing sadly in a corner. It had been utterly destroyed by Finn’s scientific question of “how many people do you think this can hold?”. The answer was Kara, Nia, Finn and Liam, but not Jack, because as soon as he had tried to sit on top of them, the chair had given up leaving them all in a heap on the floor. Jack had all but banned them all from making jokes about his weight, but Lena, Oscar and Brainy hadn’t felt the least bit bad at laughing at their friends' antics and the chair had sat there since, a memory of the faithful day in which Lena had realized her two groups of friends had effectively merged.
After getting together with Kara, she had very slowly started to come clean with everyone she had held dear about her true identity and the fact that she was still very much alive. Some had taken it better than others, but it had taken a long time after her apology tour before she had felt comfortable introducing her two lives to each other. Under Kara’s suggestion they had done so very slowly.
What she couldn’t have imagined were Jack and Nia getting along so well they had to be separated at times, or Ruby asking Áine and Bran if they could be her honorary grandparents since she had none. If Lena had ever taken any time to really think about it, as if it were a real possibility and not some vague dream, she wouldn’t have been surprised by Alex’s competitiveness fitting so well with Liam’s and Finn’s, but alas that hadn’t been the case and one of her windows hadn’t survived their impromptu soccer match. All of the amazing people in her life got along so well together that she knew they would love to see each other, even if Lena and Kara were otherwise engaged.
It had taken some time, but Lena and Brainy had made a special watch for every single one of the members of their extended family, they had even insisted J’onn and Kara had one, just in case. Kara still preferred the incredible feeling of freedom flight gave her, but she always wore it nonetheless, if only because Lena had given it to her.
Lena shook her head as she had gotten lost in her thoughts. She went to the kitchen to check there wasn’t any perishable food she had forgotten, but living with Kara, she had found it very difficult for any kind food to last for more than a couple of days in the house. She felt a wave of calm washing over her. She knew what her future would look like, she could imagine vacations and weekends in the cottage, family dinners with the Danvers and Áine and Bran. She thought with a smile of game nights in her penthouse and the absolute terrors Nia and Jack would be, if paired together.
That had been mostly what her life had been like for the past year. After she had told everyone the truth her weekends were spent between rambunctious get togethers with her friends and family and quiet nights with Kara, infused by a deep, profound love she had never even dreamt she could have shared with another person.
The real difference between what her life had been for the past 18 months and what it would be was that she would be able to show her face in National City. To go back to her work. To do more than weekly calls with Sam over what they wanted the future of the company to be and endless hours spent bent over her desk tinkering over prototypes cursing her lack of proper equipment.
She would be able to do anything she could ever dream of and it was all for the gift Alex had given her on her own wedding day.
Lena automatically moved to the living room, where everything had been left more or less the same and plucked the photo that was standing on the mantle. James had captured the exact moment when Alex had told her what she had done for her. She had been radiant in her white wedding tux but the laugh that could be seen in her face was all because of Lena’s reaction to her words. They had been dancing together, in the background Kara and Kelly were visible doing the same. Lena had been suspicious when Alex had asked to do so, but in the photo one could see she had settled in, her arms loosely around the other woman’s shoulders and her expression of pure shock at the words that had just been uttered. Lena knew there were two other photos in the series. One where her expression had turned into a smile and in the background Kelly was whispering something in Kara’s ear. That photo was in Alex and Kelly's home. And the third, where Lena had flung herself into Alex's arms, while Kara had lifted Kelly from the ground with a crushing hug, was in Eliza’s house.
It wasn’t everyday her future sister in law, if everything went according to plan, told her she had overcome the last impediment to getting back into the land of the, legally, living people. Lena smiled at the picture and put it in her bag. She could make a copy to keep in the cottage, but this one belonged to the place of honor in her home, wherever that might be.
Lena heard Kara landing just outside the cottage. She had a quick moment to check that the small lead box she’d been carrying around was safe and hidden in her pocket before the door opened.
Kara had one hand on the door handle and the other on her glasses, her civilian clothes had probably just finished appearing. Lena was pretty sure that by now Áine and Bran had figured out her identity, if they hadn't somehow always known.
Kara sweetly kissed her as a greeting. “I’ve got it.” She said.
She had the proof of the newest CATgeo issue in her hands. Lena knew what was in it, they had decided together and she had even given an interview to Nia. Her hands still shook when she took the magazine, once it was out it would change everything and she knew it.
She looked at her face on the cover. James had, as always, done a wonderful job, there was no one else they would have trusted for it. It wasn’t the first time she had been on the cover of a magazine, but after so many years it surely felt like it.
“THE LIFE, DEATH AND REBIRTH OF LENA LUTHOR”
It said on the cover. She had talked at length with Kara about this. She knew what kind of articles were going to be there. Still, she opened it.
Kara’s editorial was on the first page. She looked at her girlfriend, surprised, she didn’t know she had personally written anything for this issue. Kara was looking at her expectantly, silently urging her to start reading.
“For the first time in CATgeo’s history this issue is not about a geographical area, nor a set topic, but a person. A very important one. Lena Luthor is a remarkable woman and in this issue you’ll have the pleasure of reading about her past and what is in store for her future. Despite what you read almost three years ago, Dr. Luthor is very much still alive. Yet another act of selfless heroism put her in danger’s way and she had to be in the witness protection program, selling the world the fake news of her death.”
Lena scowled at the lie, but it was the gift Alex had given her, the last piece of the puzzle that gave her the opportunity to get back to her life. Even if said life had been greatly improved. Both the FBI and the DEO would confirm and back the lie, if anyone went looking. Papers had been forged and a trail of legal documents approving her deception to the world had been left in the databases of those agencies. Lena knew she hadn’t earned such kindness, but had accepted it nonetheless. Kara deserved to be able to get back to her life and there was no way Lena was going to let her do so alone. She kept reading.
"In the next pages we are going to show you her work and how her genius has changed our world for the better. It will come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed my career, but this is the only article I’ve written for this issue. It’s widely known that my first article was about Dr. Luthor, what less people know is that she was the one who encouraged me to pursue a career as a reporter and that a deep friendship blossomed between us after that. I’ve had the pleasure to report on her and her work multiple times since, but my journalistic integrity prevents me from doing so now. While I had no problem writing about her when the ties between us were just those of friendship and mutual respect, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the preferential treatment I would now, unconsciously, award her. Especially if one takes into consideration that the first time Lena will be reading these words, I’ll be down on one knee behind her, with a ring, and a very important question.”
As soon as I have the time I'm going to edit this fic, correcting every mistake/typo. If you see one and wonder if you should point it out: PLEASE DO! You'd be saving me a lot of time. Thank you!
Any other form of comment is greatly appreciated too.