You need her. It's as simple and as complicated as that, because you need her and she needs you. But the universe has other plans sometimes and it doesn't matter if you belong in each other's arms or if your heart can only beat when you are with her, because the universe doesn't care.
-p.s., to demeter, from persephone
If there was anything to be said about the universe, it was that the universe was a cold and unfeeling thing. It had no regard for its inhabitants, only seeking to warp and change and destroy every chance it got, and not just physically. The people, the aliens, the animals – they were all just pawns in this unlimited expanse of a chessboard, with no endgame but sadistic enjoyment for the whoever was pulling the strings.
Kara, as a believer of Rao, very much believed in that notion. Otherwise, she wouldn't be here, hiding out on a tree branch, as the woman she loved had ignored yet another attempt to stop her from being reckless and decided to make the stupid speech anyway. Amidst the crowd, Director Alex Danvers and ten other DEO agents were disguised as citizens, scattered around every inch of the perimeter, because the director made a promise to Supergirl.
"You know she's only doing this out of spite, right?" Alex murmured in the comm unit as the people started applauding after spotting Lena exiting her limo.
Keeping her mouth shut, Kara only huffed loudly through her nostrils. Her knees were pulled up to her chest with her arms wrapped around them, her entire body teetering over the flimsy branch she was perched on. If she wasn't hidden behind the heavy foliage of leaves, her position might have been able to elicit an unwilling chuckle or two from Lena.
"She's doing a lot of things out of spite now," Alex added, adding her own clapping to the myriad of applause as Lena ascended the platform.
Kara rolled her eyes and just watched, easily seeing through the leaves with her supervision and zeroing in on the raven-haired woman. Despite the explosive argument at Lena's penthouse two months ago and mounting issues and unbidden secrecy, Kara would die before she broke this one promise: to always protect Lena no matter what.
"You're lucky I like her. Or I wouldn't be wasting DEO resources like this," Alex continued, clearly hell bent on getting a rise out of her sister.
Well, she would have to wait longer. Kara had spent 26 years asleep in a pod; this was nothing. In between pretending to be a bird – a giant bird, yes – she kept her eyes peeled for anyone or anything suspicious, using her supervision to its greatest extent to make sure she didn't miss out on anything. But always, always, her eyes would return to the woman who was launching into her speech with a smile. It was a composed smile, one for the public – Kara hadn't seen Lena's real smile in six months – but it was still a beautiful smile.
Lena had beautiful everything. Kara had long since given up on quitting the woman at all, knowing that the rest of her life would be spent quietly adoring Lena.
"God, you're so gross," Alex complained as the speech was nearing its end.
When Lena finally concluded her remarks and was met with another round of applause and cheers, Kara could hardly believe it. In her ear, the agents seemed to be surprised at this positive turn of event. Well, Lena wasn't secretly known as the Magnet of Disaster for no reason. Alex made a surprised noise and started heading towards Lena, because they were good friends and there was no reason for them to not talk.
Kara was a little jealous. To avoid allowing the jealousy from burgeoning, she was ready to float back and disappear into the sky before anyone would notice. And then Lena just looked directly at her, literally meeting her eyes, through the leaves and the branches and the people, as if she had her own supervision.
In her eyes, there was a mixture of regret and sadness and kind of a lot of resentment, but it wasn't the same kind of resentment as that of Lena finally discovering her real identity. This was completely different. This carried with it a heavy load of blame and confusion. It hit Kara in the chest all the same though, so much that she just froze where she was, looking back into Lena's eyes from a distance.
"Just talk to her," Alex hissed, almost close to Lena.
"I can't," Kara finally broke.
She groaned in frustration and broke eye contact with Lena at the same time. If they could ever repair their friendship – okay, maybe more than just a friendship – she made a note to ask Lena on how she did that. For now, she just dissolved back through the leaves and flew up so fast that no one would notice.
Lena didn't know this, but there was a period of time when Lena had been knocked out and Kara was the only one facing Lex the day they took him down.
Apparently, Sam was back, and Alex was one of the first people to know. Kara wasn't exactly surprised; those two had always had a weird thing going since way back when they had met on the concourse – Kara even suspected that the weird thing was one of the reasons Alex had ended up breaking things off with Kelly anyway, but they stayed on good terms though, thankfully.
It was plugged in the middle of a conversation, sounding as nonchalant as the redhead could manage, but Kara could still notice the intentional plug. And then Alex added on an invitation to a reunion dinner of sorts, just between the ladies who knew Sam quite well. At that, Kara just narrowed her eyes, but her sister only continued on with her beaker things, whatever it was that she's doing.
"No, it's okay. I'll see her some other time," Kara waved away, despite the heightened interest to see an old friend once again and a longing in her chest that had tugged at the invitation.
Alex didn't say anything for a long moment, only humming in acceptance. Kara was about to leave the room when the director put down the beaker and took off the safety goggles to train her eyes on the Kryptonian, her brows raised and her lips twisted in an impatient twitch.
"You don't hide things from me, Kara."
See, this was exactly what Kara was trying to avoid when she tried to slip out early. And without even mentioning her name, they knew exactly what – or who – they were talking about. Kara would presume that even Sam had kind of gotten a grip of the situation now, the one between Kara and Lena.
After the whole Lex debacle had blown over and he was thrown back into a jail cell – one with thicker walls and stronger security and Amanda Waller – things had still been kind of fraught between Lena and the rest of their friend group. Fortunately enough, they had recognized their own hypocrisy in making solely Lena shoulder the blame, and had each apologized to Lena for the role they played and vice versa.
And it was all well and good for a good three months, where Alex had a worthy opponent on game nights and Brainy had the one Earthling who could keep up with him, until one fateful night, when everything broke loose…again.
"I'm not hiding anything," Kara defended, forcing herself to lock eyes with Alex.
"What happened between you and Lena?"
"Why aren't you guys talking?"
"Just busy, I guess."
"What did she do?"
"What did you do?"
The Kryptonian, the big and strong and bulletproof Kryptonian who was powered by the sun, sagged, noticeable only by the woman who had been by her side nearly her whole life. Blue eyes averted away from brown ones, one finger playing with the material of a cape. Something, so much, I can't, nothing – those were the correct answers to Alex's questions; they didn't really answer anything, but they were the truth.
"I fell in love with her," she sighed.
Standing up, she kissed her sister on the cheek, plastered on a smile, and walked out of the room. There were so many things she wanted to tell Alex, to tell Lena, but she didn't know what would happen if she did. It probably shouldn't surprise her, the way Lex Luthor still managed to control their lives behind bars, whether he knew it or not.
She wished she'd killed him.
Lena didn't know this, but they had come so close to losing. Because the moment she saw Lena fell, she kind of lost it – motivation, hope, strength. All she had wanted to do was make sure Lena was okay before she kept on with the fight.
But Lex had stopped her.
It was three in the morning, and it was summer, so instead of cold and biting and soothing, the air felt humid and warm and sticky, even through the special polyester of her suit – Brainy had never really divulged where he got the material from. It was three in the morning, and Kara couldn't sleep; she couldn't even be sure the last time when she had slept a full six hours. Probably two months ago after that big argument with Lena.
She couldn't sleep, so she did what she always did. She changed into her suit and flew out the fire escape, making her way to L-Corp or a certain apartment building with a set of heartbeat as her guidance. Tonight, she ended up floating twenty feet away from the apartment building, set on the same level as the penthouse. The lights in the bedroom was off, but through the window, she could see that the study was occupied.
If it was before, Kara would just fly right in admonish Lena for being stubborn with her unhealthy sleeping habits. For now, she could only keep watch from the outside – a silent watcher, if she would.
There was no telling how long she'd floated out there, but she just kept on, given that she didn't feel sleepy at all. She was content being the watcher, making sure that Lena stayed safe, making sure that Lex kept true to his promise.
Moments later, Lena emerged from the study, shutting the lights off behind her, dressed comfortably in a maroon sweater and a pair of loose shorts – Kara had to make sure she kept breathing at the sight so she didn't suddenly succumb to the woes of gravity. The woman already had one foot perched in direction of her bedroom, but she paused, gaze down on the hardwood floor, before she looked up.
Okay, yeah, maybe letting gravity take her wouldn't be such a bad idea now.
Both women regarded one another from afar, lit by either the moonlight or a Kryptonian's vision, blocked away from only a glass pane window. Kara held on to the comfort that Lena had chosen to wrap herself up in and could only hope from a distance away that she could offer another layer of comfy. Her heart ached at the difficult situation that they were caught in.
She gulped when Lena moved away from her bedroom and ambled for the balcony, resting against the balustrade. Without a prompt, Kara floated closer until it almost seemed like they were standing near each other, if not for the fact that she was literally floating. Kara inhaled shakily, gulping again, curling her fingers into fists to not reach out – she hadn't been this close in so long.
"You're beautiful," she whispered before she could help herself.
It turned out Lena didn't have as much trouble with restrain as Kara did; perhaps she just didn't care. She simply extended her hand and brushed her fingers gently against Kara's cheek, tucking some hairs behind her ear, causing Kara to close her eyes at the touch.
Lena hummed, her lips pursed in a not-smile. "And you're unfair," she replied.
Kara leaned into the warm palm and nodded gingerly. "I know."
"Just tell me."
"I love you."
"I know that," Lena scoffed, shaking her head. "We had a really big argument about that and then you left me alone," she said bitterly.
"I obviously didn't," Kara retorted, gesturing at herself. "I'm here, aren't I?"
"Are you?" the CEO shot back, drawing herself away, and Kara immediately missed their closeness. "Kara, I love you. And you love me. So I don't understand why you just won't act like it." She pinched the bridge of her nose for a second and sighed. "I just – don't make me wait for you, because I will, but I'm also exhausted." Kara could see that, noticing the dullness in Lena's usually bright green eyes and the placid façade to her cheeks. "Do you understand?"
Ever since their argument that night, Kara had been feeling this big black hole eating her up from the inside, devouring almost any smidgen of light and joy she was capable of feeling. The only comfort she got was the thought that Lena was still alive and well, being a benevolent genius at L-Corp for the rest of the world.
She wanted to be selfless and let Lena go and live her life – Lena deserved to. But Kara, the selfless Kara who was always willing to give up her life for the sake of the world, wanted – no, needed – to hold on to this one thing. She may not be able to make Lena hers completely, but it was the thought of Lena still having Kara in her heart, still belonging to Kara in some way; Kara became selfish.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." The blonde leaned forward to kiss Lena's forehead, and floated away back to a place she no longer called home.
Lena didn't know this, but Lex had come so close to winning. Somehow, he knew that Lena was the one thing that could make or break Kara. She didn't know how he got to that conclusion, but she supposed she hadn't exactly been hiding it, not since she almost blew him into nothingness during the Crisis.
Kara managed to see Sam, after all. It definitely helped that the woman had decided to move back to National City permanently, taking up the role of CFO at L-Corp again. Kara didn't exactly know what went on during Alex and Sam's reunion, but she could guess that it turned out well judging by the almost permanent smile on her sister's face when she showed at the DEO the next day.
Unlike normal people who would probably just meet up at a café, the two Kryptonians saw each other again floating in the sky, when Kara had just finished throwing another rogue alien in a DEO cell and decided some time under the moonlight was well-deserved. Sam joined her in civilian clothing, the hood of her hoodie pulled up. The two Kryptonians watched over the west side of the L-Corp building, where a certain CEO was still hard at work.
"Welcome back," Kara greeted.
Sam hummed in gratitude. "It's good to be back."
Kara crossed her arms, smiling a little when Lena ungracefully extended her arms upwards to stretch her joints. "So should I give you the shovel talk now or…?" Sam chuckled and shrugged. "Well, you know the drill – if you hurt Alex or whatever, I may not be able to throw you into the sun but I might have to actually fight you to the death."
"Been there done that, haven't we?"
"Oh, you're so funny."
"I try." Sam shrugged again. "Did you know Alex can do that thing with her middle finger and –"
"Oh my god!" The blonde jerked and flew a few yards away from Sam, ripping a roaring laughter from her old friend. "There is a line, Sam!" she admonished.
Sam only laughed harder in the response. Thank god they were in the sky and no living being could bat an eye at the two flying figures who were too close to the clouds to the human eyes. Maybe some dogs would have noticed them by now.
It was, honestly, nice to have another Kryptonian at her side. Clark was always something like a bar for her, a standard that she had to reach – an All-American hero. Clark was never just a friend – he was the advisor, the teacher, the oddly older cousin who still knew more about being a human than she ever could. Sam was a friend, first and foremost – always a friend. Sam was the one Kryptonian who could listen to her and not have some sage advice to give and make Kara feel smaller. Sam was nice.
Sam was, perhaps, one of the few things left in the world that could connect Kara with Lena.
"She's my best friend, you know," the once-Worldkiller said, her laughter diminished and her tone replaced by seriousness. Kara sobered up too. "She's my best friend, and I feel like I should be giving you a shovel talk as well, but you're not dating. And why is that?"
At one point, Kara had wanted to go back in time to give herself a good smack in the mouth just to stop herself from being so curious all the time, because maybe this was karma. Karma for her being so nosey in the past, always poking her nose in anything that she didn't know, asking the most outlandish questions just because she didn't understand earth culture.
Everyone was asking her why and why and why, and she couldn't answer them. That was what criminals did – they gave you pain and they made sure you didn't get to share that pain. She didn't answer them because she couldn't; because an important life was on the line and she made a promise to keep it safe.
"Kryptonian to Kryptonian, Kara, just tell me what's going on," Sam pleaded.
"Kryptonian to Kryptonian, Sam, you have to trust me to know what I'm doing."
Sam only scoffed. "You sure don't seem like it."
Kara blinked. She lowered her head and closed her eyes. Sometimes, she had to agree with that.
Lena didn't know this, but it had been an impossible situation. Lex had a dose of whatever it was that he had been injecting Lena with. A fatal dose that would kill the instance it was injected into a human body, and the syringe was directed at Lena's neck.
Kara had been felled by the Kryptonite that permeated the room, and the special suit was still under repair at the DEO. So it had been just her, Lex, an unconscious Lena, and a roomful of Kryptonite. Lex Luthor had never fought fair, and he had a weird sense of ownership over Lena.
It was broad daylight. Dawn had just broken and National City citizens had just come out of their cocoons of comfort to prepare for the day ahead whichever way they wanted to – coffee, shower, newspapers, sex. Kara didn't judge. She herself had a habit: listening in on Lena and Alex's heartbeats to make sure they were still there, a warm shower, and a trip to Noonan's for two boxes of sticky buns and a cup of piping hot caramel latte.
Lena had her own habit too: watching the CatCo morning show to catch up on the news, a warm shower, a piping hot cup of black coffee, and a walk to either the L-Corp or CatCo building – she'd reacquired the media company once her dispute with Supergirl had blown over, and she'd always let her driver have his own time until noon. Kara knew, because she would always fly so far above the city that she'd be able to watch over Lena and her sister at the same time.
Alex would call her a stalker; Kara would call it a safety measure. There would only be peace in her day if she knew the two most important people in her life were safe and well.
But today was quiet. Quiet before the storm, as they would say. Kara woke up and her sister was humming under her breath and laughing with Sam, but there was no – she couldn't hear Lena. She should have already reacted at that, but all she did was frown and narrow her eyes as she concentrated more, thinking it was just the morning fuzz getting in the way of things.
And still nothing.
She was beginning to panic a little now, sitting up in bed and staring surreptitiously out the window in the general direction of Lena's penthouse. She was already ready to jump into her suit and fly over just to make sure Lena was okay, and then –
"What?" Alex's voice rang through the distance.
Kara's stomach plummeted. Her sister's call to her went unanswered. Supergirl was already up in the air, frantically searching for the most important person in her life.
Lena didn't know this, but her brother had given Kara an impossible ultimatum. It was the hardest choice she had to make; she made it anyway.
"You know the kind of reach I have, even behind bars and beyond concrete walls," Lex had sneered, the syringe only a few millimeters away Lena's fragile skin, thumb ready on the plunger. "I know what my sister is to you – who she is to you."
"You know, Lena's always talked about how loving of a brother you'd been to her as kids. I guess even the smart ones can be blinded," she replied, forcing her words willfully despite the lashing pains the Kryptonite was sending through her body, pretending to be brave.
But she knew the truth. She knew that he was right. Lex had reach, fingers in every imaginable – and unimaginable – illegal pie. Hell, she probably wouldn't be wrong in assuming that he had some sort of connection with Joker as well.
"What do you want, Lex?" Clark would be disappointed in her, but if it were Lois, he'd probably do the same.
"Leave my sister alone, and I'll leave her untouched. You so much as look at her the wrong way, and I'll make sure she goes somewhere you'll never find her again."
Her heart cracked behind the chest, but she mustered a sarcastic chuckle anyway. "You really hate us that much, huh?"
"You are parasites!" he yelled, more like bellowed, his voice echoing in the empty room. "I will not let you taint the Luthor bloodline, despite how disappointing my sister has been in reaching our goal."
Well, like she said, it was hard choice. She made it anyway. She nodded.
"I kept my promise!" she bellowed as soon as she plowed through the seven-inch thick steel and twenty-inch thick concrete roof that trapped one Lex Luthor, moving so quick to push him into the wall that the concrete formed a shape around his person.
He looked apathetic, save for the slight wince at the force she used on him. Humming, he only tilted his head and rolled his eyes.
"Where. Is. She." To prove her point, she pushed him harder into the wall.
Behind her, Amanda Waller and an army of officers and soldiers had already gathered on the other side of the bars. They had been so careful with their security that they needed ten minutes to even get the bars unlocked. Well, even they had managed to come through, they wouldn't be able to stop her anyway.
Above her, Clark, Sam, and J'onn had already arrived and were hovering over her, not a word was spoken, but their eyes were begging her to not be reckless, to not do anything she would regret. Even her cousin knew that talking to her would be pointless. Well, joke's on them, because the regret was already palpable – regret at thinking that Lex Luthor would keep his end of the deal, regret at all the wasted time, regret, regret, regret.
In her ear, Alex was crying and shouting and cursing all at the same time, pleading with her to think about what she was doing and not forget her principles. Well, Alex wouldn't understand anyway. How could she, all snuggled up with her little family of three.
A Kryptonian was already strong. But a Kryptonian hellbent on love – that was another story.
"Lena killed you once. I'll make sure you stay dead if you don't tell me where she is," she hissed, low and menacing in his ear because she wanted him to know exactly how honest she was being.
To make sure he truly did understand, she tightened her fingers around his neck and clawed her other hand on his chest, penetrating through skin. She was glad, truly, to hear him whimper at the action. He deserved all the pain she so wanted to give him.
But in his eyes, there was pride. Haughtiness. The look of a victor.
"I made sure she went somewhere you'll never find her again."
Lena didn't know this, but Lex won anyway. Kara did as she promised – she clawed right into Lex's chest and tore his heart right out, blood splattering all over that the blue of her suit became insipidly black. Along with the blue of her suit, Kara Danvers ceased to exist as well.
Supergirl flew up, up, and away. And she claimed her right to be a god. What she had always been; what she had always denied herself of; what she would now become to prove to the rest of the universe that it would not do to wrong Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, the Kryptonian who was once lucky enough to be thoroughly loved by Lena Luthor.
Or perhaps this was what the universe was planning all along. After all, the universe was cold and unfeeling thing.
Supergirl certainly didn't know anything about that. She tore out Lex Luthor's heart, she didn't cry, and she became…the Chancellor.
Lena was smart – the smartest person on the planet, as Mr. Mxyzptlk had once told them – she would probably be able to figure out in a second; why things had happened the way they did. But Lena was somewhere Supergirl could never find her, so Lena would never know this.