It began with a falling star.
(That sounds a lot more romantic than what it ultimately turned out to be, but Kara never tired of saying it like that.)
The night that set everything in motion, it was supposed to be routine. A patrol like any other. Kara was taking slow, morose loops around the sky above National City, trying hard not to acknowledge the building that housed Lena’s penthouse. Or the light streaming from those wide windows.
She was so busy not paying attention to Lena’s apartment building, in fact, that she almost didn’t see it. But then, in the corner of her eye, something flashed, and she turned her head in time to see a burning hunk of rock, hurtling towards the earth. A meteorite. Decent-sized one, too.
Kara watched the parabola arc of its trajectory with interest. It looked like the burning rock was going to bury itself in the desert just outside of the city limits, judging by the size and speed of it, and that was close enough to check out. The meteorite looked way too small to contain a pod, like Mon-El’s or her own, but Kara always liked to see what fell from the sky, anyway.
Call it a personal hobby, or perhaps just a twinge of obsession, but she never stopped looking for pieces of worlds beyond. Stars older than her own—like herself, trapped between time. It was a private thing, not something she shared with Alex, or anyone else. Alphas her age weren’t supposed to be stargazers, after all.
With some chagrin, she turned from watching the slow plummet of the burning ball, and headed out for one last loop, determined to get in a report to Alex and be done with her ‘chores’ before she satisfied her urge to examine the object. It would wait, she reasoned, until she was done. After all, it wasn’t like anyone else would be racing out to the desert to look at a burned out hulk of rock or space junk.
She didn’t, of course, see that the light in Lena’s penthouse had gone out, as she passed, and wouldn’t have thought anything remarkable of it, anyway, until much later.
Kara completed her obligations in record time, shuffling a bit in her impatience to be done with reporting to Alex. Luck was on her side, however, as the older alpha was definitely distracted herself—she kept glancing at her phone and grinning wildly, and Kara suspected that it had everything to do with Kelly’s heat pheromones, still clinging in succulent waves to her sister’s skin. That worked very well in her favor, and Alex sent Kara off with hardly more than a wave and a nod, already nose-deep in her phone by the time Kara jetted back off into the sky.
It was easy enough to follow the acrid scent of burning atmosphere to the crater site. Kara took her time, flying just above the cloud layer so as not to be seen—and thus bothered. It was a fine, balmy spring night, and the desert air smelled of blooming sagebrush and foxfire. She was enjoying herself, and not thinking too far ahead beyond just the pleasant evening, which is how she completely bypassed the bright lights of a very expensive-looking Range Rover parked at the side of the highway.
And the bobbing flashlight as a small figure made her way determinedly over the ridge to the crater.
Kara passed right by, oblivious, and landed neatly on the still-warm edge of the crater, kicking away a few lingering embers. She approached the meteorite, putting her hands out to feel the heat coming off of it in waves. It was a fairly small rock, only about the size of a softball, and as she squatted on her haunches to inspect it, she could see it had cracked on impact. Some kind of strange, blueish-grey fluid was leaking steadily from the interior.
“Don’t touch that.” The voice behind her was richly familiar, but she still jumped, startled.
The omega was peering bemusedly at her over the rim of a large LED flashlight that was rather blinding. She was dressed, improbably enough, in her usual blazer/skirt/pumps combo, and her heels were sinking heavily into the red earth, so she was sort of lopsided—but that was Lena alright. Her brow was wrinkled in consternation.
“Kara, what are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same question.” Kara stood up, feeling somewhat indignant as she brushed grains of sand off her suit. “Did you follow me?”
Lena snorted. “Certainly not. I charted the likely landing trajectory when I saw it, and followed it here.”
Kara’s alpha brain made unhappy rumbles at that. Still, Lena was standing with her chin upthrust, exposing the keen line of her lovely, unmarked throat, and her legs looked fantastic, even by flashlight, and—-Kara shook her head, a bit dazed. “Okay, but why?”
Lena leveled her with a patented ‘don’t be ridiculous’ stare. “Same as you, I’d expect. I’m interested in what came from the sky. And,” she peeked around Kara’s back to look at the glowing fluid, now puddling in the crater. “Looks like there is something to be studied, after all.”
“I don’t think you should.” Kara objected, hotly. She didn’t know why she was against it, just that she felt like she wanted to be angry at Lena over something . Anything that wouldn’t make her in the wrong over that Myriad thing. “It’s for the DEO to investigate.”
“Are you really telling me you don’t support the American right to private industry?” Lena raised a brow, archly. “And besides, there’s plenty there.” She held up a tiny phial, and wiggled it. “It’s not like we both need huge samples.”
“You sound like a Republican when you talk about industry.” Kara snapped, but it was a weak blow, and she knew it.
Lena rolled her eyes and sidestepped her, and the alpha allowed it to happen, surreptitiously breathing in the soft night perfume of the omega’s scent. “Don’t be such a boor. I’ll only be a minute, and then you can have your toy all to yourself.”
“It’s not a toy—“ Kara protested, and grabbed for Lena’s elbow. She only meant to slow her progress, not arrest it, but her strength, as always, surprised them both.
Lena stumbled, and went down, and because her knees got tangled with Kara’s shins, Kara fell too. Her hands pinwheeled, trying to avoid slamming a clumsy super-strong fist through Lena’s unwary body, and both palms made contact with the ground. And the puddle of strange, glowing fluid.
And, because Kara had a heavy impact whenever she hit anything, she made a very big splash.
Lena sucked in a very unhappy breath. Kara couldn’t see her, from the angle where she was twisted, but she cringed, anyway. The blue-green goo was all over her hands, and, as she watched, it sunk slowly into her skin, leaving a brief glowing imprint before disappearing.
“Well, it looks like the sample is going to the DEO after all.”
Alex was, plainly put, not happy to be called away from Kelly’s heat to investigate their blunder.
Lena could tell immediately. Frustrated, tense pheromones dropped off the elder alpha’s shoulders in waves, making her inner omega quiver with the desire to roll over and show throat in deference. But Luthors were made of sterner stuff, as Lillian and Lex were both so fond of reminding her, so she lifted her chin, subtly refusing to bow to Alex’s moody scent. It didn’t help, of course, but pride wouldn’t let her do anything less.
Pride was the only thing that motivated her these days. Well. Pride and spite .
“What were you thinking ?”
The blistering tirade was mostly directed at Kara, who shifted unhappily on the bench next to Lena. They were in the biohazard containment chambers, both clad only in their underwear, under plastic suits that crinkled whenever they moved. Alex paced back and forth in a full hazmat—her voice issuing from a tiny speaker at her mouth. Behind three inches of leaded glass, two terrified-looking technicians looked on, silently.
“I just wanted to check it out.” Kara huffed, plastic rustling as she moved, again, on the bench. Lena couldn’t help but notice her finely-toned legs had a dense cropping of golden-blonde hair. She looked away, quickly, when Kara sighed. “I thought it would be a quick recon.”
“You made no mention of any meteor activity on your report.” Alex wasn’t done, judging by her stance—only just winding up. Her interrupted mating hormones were no doubt the cause. “And you know you’re supposed to report everything —no matter how small—to me.”
“I know .” Kara grumbled, clearly bridling under the brunt of her sister’s frustration. “But it wasn’t a meteor . Just a little meteo rite . Hardly bigger than a softball. Nothing should have gone wrong.”
“Oh it shouldn’t?” Alex waved a clipboard in her yellow plastic mitt-hand. “Oh fantastic! I’ll tell the lab techs there’s no need to test you both for space cancer then!”
“There’s no such thing as—“ Lena started, and then closed her mouth quietly as Alex’s red face turned on her. ”Never mind. I do understand your point.”
“Oh that’s good, argue over semantics while we figure out what the hell infected the two of you.” Alex growled. “Your heart rate is off the chart, Lena, and your temperature is spiking so hard that if we didn’t keep this room at 60f, you’d both be in full brain-burn by now. Whatever you touched made both of you terribly sick, and, judging by the reaction of the first tech who tried to take a blood sample from Kara, it’s touch-transmittable.”
“I thought Kara couldn’t get sick.” Lena spared a glance at the Kryptonian, shifting next to her with a chagrined expression. Her briefs were patterned with little rainbow chameleons. The alpha shrugged at her questioning face, and the plastic crinkled with her movement.
“She can’t get human illnesses.” Alex explained, none-too-patiently. “This is clearly alien, Lena, use your brain.”
Lena rolled her eyes, irritated. “I know that . But her body’s natural ability to fight off infections was born on an alien planet. Shouldn’t she be resistant to anything like this?”
“Well, apparently not.” Alex looked at the paperwork again and grimaced deeply. “She’s just as infected as you are.”
“How’s the tech doing?” Kara asked, suddenly enough that both heads swiveled to her in a cascade of plastic crunching. “The one who tried to take my blood. He fell over and started convulsing.”
“He’s dead, Kara.” Alex told her, simply, never one to pull punches. Kara sucked in a long, unhappy breath, and Lena winced.
“He died about an hour ago. It seems this thing is ramping up its infectious ability as it ages on your skin, or Lena would be dead too, and probably even you, Kara.”
“Dead.” Alex repeated. “I had to tell his family.” She looked down, sharply, and Lena could see angry tears in her eyes. “Our only shot now is to try and contain it.”
Lena didn’t like the sound of that. “‘Contain it’.” She repeated, slowly, as Kara made anguished sounds in the background. “And what does that mean for us, exactly?”
Alex looked balefully at her, but she didn’t lower her gaze. “You know exactly what I mean, Lena. Come on. Don’t make me say it.”
“No, I think I will.” Lena fired back, anxiety sharpening her tongue like a knife. “ What does that mean, Alex?”
“Wait, what are you both talking about?” Kara asked, interrupting Lena’s desire to scream obscenitie, with wide, guilt-stricken eyes.
“Quarantine.” Alex said, heavily, as Lena muffled a curse into her plastic palm, clenching her other hand into a fist that she slammed onto the bench. “We need to quarantine you two together until we figure out a cure for this….virus or pathogen, whatever it is.”
She leveled Kara with a solid, resigned look. “And you can’t go anywhere , or touch anything or anyone , until we figure it out. Which could take days. Or months.”
“Or years .” Lena spat out. “I know exactly how long the production of a vaccine for an unknown viral agent can take, Agent Danvers. And I don’t intend to sit idly on my hands while your sub-par lab fails to find a cure.”
“Sitting idly on your hands is exactly what you should be doing!” Alex threw up her hand, gesturing with the clipboard. “Do you not see these results, Lena? It’s a 90% infection rate! And it’s seemingly growing more fatal by the minute!”
“No.” Lena was still shaking her head. “Absolutely not. Give me five hours in my lab. Alone. I’ll wear the clean suit—“
“No, Lena, that’s out of the question.” Alex was already shaking her head before the omega even finished. “The slightest failure of your suit and we expose the air ducts of L-Corp to an incredibly deadly contagion. Signs are good that it’s airborne as well as touch-based. No , the brass is coming down clear on this: you two are in lockdown from here until we get a preliminary read on the findings.”
Kara was still looking dumbfounded. “What does lockdown mean? We can’t leave here?”
“Not exactly. We can’t risk a failure at the DEO. There’s an offsite safe house, with a fifteen mile radius to the nearest civilian town.” Alex looked desperately at her sister. “It’s the best we’ve got for now, Kar.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do.” As usual, the Kryptonian alpha managed to look resolute and determined— even half-naked and covered in sheer plastic.
But Lena was not as easily convinced into patriotic subservience. “No. There is no way.” She put her foot down, firmly on the concrete floor, but the plastic only crunched with a faint, dissatisfying noise. “I am not going to be locked up for God-knows-how-long. You have to let me go to my lab.”
Alex smiled grimly at her. “You wanna bet?”
QUARANTINE: DAY ONE
The safe house was a pleasant surprise. A large, five bedroom old farmhouse with a wrap-around porch and a sagging bench swing. The house was painted cheerful yellow with some peeling spots, rusted gutters, and a faded white trim. The drive was bumpy with potholes, but the road itself wasn’t muddy, and the front yard boasted a charming array of sunflowers. Behind it, there was a newer-looking barn, that was painted a good old country shade of firehouse red. Kara found it downright charming.
Lena, however, was much less amused.
The omega had to be hauled out of the back of the van by Kara’s hand bunched in the fabric of her DEO-issued jumpsuit, and she was spitting like a cat, hissing out curses. “How dare you manhandle me! I could fix this in a heartbeat if you would just let me go. ”
“We can’t take that chance.” Kara explained, for the fourth time that morning. It was no good. Alex had already explained, and then Brainy, through an iPad screen. Nothing had thus far calmed the omega’s fury. “And I’m sorry about this Lena, truly, I am, but we have to take every precaution.”
“Precaution wouldn’t involve you getting me infected in the first place, you clumsy—“
Kara tuned Lena’s rage out as best she could, fitting the keys to the old lock, which creaked but finally sundered to her experimental twisting. The van she’d driven there was already angled into the carport, next to a rusting old Ford pickup. The back of the van was loaded with boxes—food, household supplies, some personal effects, and entertainment options (Alex had even included Kara’s PlayStation and decently-sized flat screen). Kara would go back for those later, once she got Lena calmed down and settled.
That was definitely going to take a while.
Lena refused to even look at anything other than the porch swing, where she sat, glaring, as Kara moved steadily in and out of the front door with packages piled high on each arm. She’d found where Alex had stashed a broom and cleaning supplies, and she ignored Lena quietly, focusing on stacking their supplies in the foyer so she could clean around them. The DEO had come through earlier with a hazmat team, she knew, but there were still some cobwebs on the ceiling in the living room, and the dried mud from their boots was still tracked around the entryway.
Cleaning was settling Kara. The house was wide, airy and light, with dark wood trim interior and clean white walls. Despite its age, someone had not long ago outfitted it with a new HVAC and central air/heating, which Kara could tell was quickly going to be a necessity in the early spring heat. The kitchen had windows that looked out over the back porch to a wide field beyond, and the edge of the forest, creeping down from the mountainside. The appliances there were all old, but apparently serviceable, and someone had kindly cleaned the stove and lit the pilot already. When she checked the wide porcelain sink, the tap ran cold and clear water that tasted fresh as a stream, and Kara could easily deduce that there must be a well nearby. When she opened a door in the kitchen expecting to find a closet, she found a pantry with a set of stairs leading to a root cellar. That would do nicely, she decided, and superspeeded her way through most of putting away their food supplies.
Kara set up the TV and PlayStation in the living room, across from a cracked leather sectional that was the only thing she didn’t like so far about the house. Everything else was almost perfect. There were hand-knotted rugs on the halls, a clawfoot bathtub in the downstairs bathroom, and a big set of dark oak stairs leading up to the bedrooms.
All that remained was to put away their personal belongings upstairs, but Kara hesitated before going up there. She wanted to give Lena the chance to pick a bedroom first. It only seemed fair.
So Kara wandered back outside with the broom, ostensibly to sweep the porch clear of the remaining dried mud. She hummed softly to herself, working first in the section of the porch farthest from Lena’s sulking form, and moving steadily closer without any apparent motive. Kara, despite all their fighting lately, knew Lena like the back of her hand. The omega was a skittish as a scalded cat when she wanted to be, but if you left her alone to process, she’d come around.
“House looks pretty nice, at least.” She offered, finally, when Lena sighed behind her busily sweeping back.
“A golden cage. Fabulous.” Lena huffed, but Kara could tell there was resignation in her tone. “Tell me there’s WiFi at least.”
Kara nodded without turning around. “Just set up the router five minutes ago.”
Silence prevailed again, but for the bristles on the hardwood. Kara was brushing away invisible dirt at this point, but she kept at it, not turning. Lena shifted on the porch swing, and the chain creaked. “You did everything and I’ve just been sitting here.”
It was an apology and yet not. Sometimes Luthor apologies could feel like accusations. Kara let it roll over her shoulders like water. “I don’t mind. It makes me feel better.”
Silence again. Kara swept away more invisible dust, moving down the front steps with a molasses slowness compared to her usual efficiency. Then, Lena cleared her throat.
“I’m sorry, Kara. I know you’re stuck here too. I just feel….”
Kara turned, and caught Lena gesturing aimlessly, her eyes tight with emotion. She gave the omega a lopsided smile. “Helpless?”
“Yeah, me too.” Kara leaned on her broom. “At least the fever went away. And Alex says we can’t infect each other. They just have to figure out how to stop us from infecting anyone else. ”
Lena let out a morose laugh. Her eyes shifted over Kara almost surreptitiously. “Yes, well. I’m sure I’m the last person you’d want to be quarantined with.”
“Don’t do that, Lena.”
Kara sighed, and raked a hand through her hair. “Look, we’re all each other has right now. I don’t want to fight anymore, and I don’t want to bring up old grudges. I want us to focus on getting through this. Together.” She raised her determined eyes to Lena. “Can we do that?”
For the first time in a long time, Lena appeared to be looking at Kara like she used to—like a friend, and not like something to be wary of. She didn’t smile, but the acknowledgement in her eyes was enough. “I—yes, we can do that.”
QUARANTINE: DAY FIVE
Lena had chosen the bedroom with the window facing the barn.
Kara had been so courteous about letting her decide first, but in the end, they both won out. Kara’s room was a cozy den tucked at the back of the hall, with a skylight right over the bed for easy sun exposure, and a master bath attached. Lena’s bedroom was less large, but the bathroom was right across the hall, and there was a window seat with a built-in bookshelf. Lena had wanted exactly that kind of window seat as a child. It was an instant match for both of them.
And she had to admit, whoever had furnished the bedrooms did seem to have decent, if rather pastoral, tastes. The bed was made of sturdy black walnut, and the mattress was new. From the right side she could look out across the fields, over to the mountain. The white walls would fairly glow in the sunrise and sunset, and Lena often found herself waiting for those moments.
On the left was a night stand with a little lamp and a drawer just big enough for her vibrator. She thanked god she’d had the foresight to toss that in with her supplies when she’d been given an hour to pack up her things. A lot of other more practical items had been left behind, but the vibrator was a necessity.
Especially because Kara insisted on parading around the house in sleeveless shirts, sweating and drinking tall glasses of water in thirsty gulps before bounding back outside for another project. The alpha had taken to country life with a zeal that bordered on the obscene, and she had decided to weed and re-landscape the whole front yard with tools she’d found in a leaning shed behind the greenhouse. The back of Kara’s arched neck, dense with damp golden curls, and the sifting, bunching muscles of her shoulders were a constant sight for Lena when she looked out over the living room couch, over the edge of one of her books. And even in the air conditioning, she felt heat spring between her legs.
So yes, the vibrator was a necessity. As were the heat suppressants she kept by the bathroom sink. God help her if either of those failed.
She was going stir-crazy, anyway. Books and Netflix could only carry her so far throughout the day—she was itching to be more involved with her company, but so far her emails mostly returned with her VPs calmly assuring her that yes, they were fine, and to enjoy her ‘sabbatical’ for as long as she wanted. Which was, conversely, not assuring at all. In business speak, that was code for yes, please stay away, as we’ve become accustomed to the power and prestige of your position and will gladly steal your contacts to supersede your authority . She knew she’d have a hard road back to the top when she returned.
If she returned.
Desperate to distract herself from loneliness-driven-lust and frustrated ambition, Lena decided to put her book down and take a walk around the property. Her morose thoughts kept her out in the woods for a while, looking at trees until the silence calmed her. On the way back, her path led her past the barn, and it was strangely well kept. The first thing she noticed was the newness of the paint. Big brass hardware on the doors. There was even fresh gravel in the drive. Curiosity got the better of her, and she yanked open one of the doors, surprised to find it unlocked.
But what awaited her inside was even more surprising. And welcomed.
“Kara!” She yelled over one shoulder. “Come quick! Look at this!”
Kara apparently had no qualms about using her powers out of sight of the public eye, because the alpha arrived a half-second later, air whooshing to indicate her speed. “What is it? Are you okay?”
In her excitement, Lena had somehow forgotten that Kara spent most of her normal life responding to calls for help at that speed, so she did feel a guilty twinge, but stuffed it down. She pushed the barn door the rest of the way open, and swung her arm at the interior. “Look!”
Behind her, Kara sucked in an awed breath. “Oh, wow.”
Someone (Lena suspected strongly now it was Alex) had outfitted the unassuming barn into a makeshift lab. The walls were hung with wires, and equipment gleamed from a row of stainless steel tables, humming with electricity. Lena could see a bank of computers in the back, and a small, but serviceable, isolation chamber. Even an electron microscope. It was very basic, and very simple, not much more than what Lena had used as a child in boarding school—but it was there.
A note was folded upright on the first table, bearing her name in Alex’s sturdy block printing. Next to it—and Lena almost jumped when she saw it—was a small sample of the meteorite they’d found, floating in a suspended force field. Not much, but just enough to work with. Enough to start .
She picked up the note with shaking fingers.
I know this isn’t much. It’s all we could spare at the DEO, and mostly secondhand. But I know you want to help, and maybe you can do better than any of us. You usually do. Be kind to my sister—she means well.
Lena dropped the note and felt like she might start crying. After days of feeling bridled by uncertainty beyond her control, this was almost like being patted on the back. The gesture was so excessively kind, so emphatically Danvers, that Lena was almost moved to tears. And she would have been, if not for the steady boil of excitement in her core.
With this equipment, what little it may be, she could do something about their predicament. No more sitting around on her hands. Lena Luthor was always best when she was doing .
“Is it enough?” Kara was watching her quietly from the doorway, where she leaned with her arms across her chest.
Lena let out a high, happy laugh, and the sound appeared to startle Kara into a slow smile. “Oh, I think so. For me, anyway.”
QUARANTINE: DAY FOURTEEN
They had settled into something of a routine.
In the morning, when the sun painted the walls, Kara was up almost instantly. She tried to avoid creaking the stairs after she’d brushed her teeth and showered, but Lena was almost always awake anyway. Kara would go down to the big kitchen, chilly from the morning air coming in from the window over the sink, and start a big pot of coffee in the old Honeywell pot. The smell usually brought Lena drifting down not long after, stretching and yawning.
Sometimes the edge of her sleep shirt would ride up, revealing the sweet valley between her hipbones, edges of dark hair curling up, and Kara would look away, quickly, guiltily.
Then, Lena would retreat with her coffee mug to the window nook in her room for anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour, until she went into the lab, where she would stay, without breaks—unless Kara forced her—until lunchtime, and then again until dinner. Kara could sometimes convince her to accept a snack, but some other days she wouldn’t even come out for lunch. Every time Kara peeked in, she was hunched over a microscope, frowning.
Kara would begin her day right after her coffee. She liked to start by training in the woods, swooping in and out of the trees, lifting one or two fallen logs at a time and moving them into various positions. Sometimes she’d look at the house and Lena would be watching her from the window, eyes burning intently. But, every time she waved, the omega would look away or get up.
After that, Kara was busy with home projects til at least noon. The gutters needed repair, the roof had some patchwork that was failing, and the root cellar needed a refreshening. She’d found plenty of tools in the little side shed that indicated whoever had owned this place before the DEO had known exactly what the house would need, over time. Kara marveled at their foresight and ingenuity all the time, and through learning the many foibles and quirks of the house, she began to appreciate the former owner in a familial way, like one might an old aunt or a crazy-but-endearing uncle.
Once, when she was replacing a length of gutter—and swearing over the process—Lena came to watch her and asked, with some interest, why she was so determined to fix the house up.
Kara had shrugged, and replied: “Well, I figure we might be here a while, so we may as well make it our home.”
The look on Lena’s face after she said that had been impossible to read.
Kara had kept working, but she felt Lena’s eyes on her all the rest of that afternoon, and it made her itch between her shoulders. There was something about the way Lena looked when she said the words our home that stayed with her all day, and well past dinner.
Finally, that night, Kara took hold of the matter by spitting on her hand and slicking it up and down her cock, closing her eyes. She tried to picture something vague and impersonal, body parts instead of faces, but her mind stubbornly lured her back again and again to the flash of heat in Lena’s green-blue eyes. The way she’d clenched her fingers on her book when Kara wiped the sweat from her brow. The rise of breath in the curve of her breast at the edge of her camisole, through her open plaid shirt.
Kara grunted when she came, spurting over her belly in a hot, relieved rush that quickly turned into shame. She bit her lip, hips still jerking, and promised herself not to objectify Lena like that again. After all, they were quarantined together. It wouldn’t be good to make things...complicated.
More than they already were, that was.
QUARANTINE: DAY TWENTY
Lena frowned over her work. She ran the figures again. And again.
“That can’t possibly be right.”
She said aloud to no one in the echoing emptiness of the barn. Behind her, the spectrometer beeped as it cycled for a fourth time, almost cheerfully. On the table closest the door, the sandwich Kara had brought her—cut at a careful diagonal with a delicate precision that belied her strength—sat cold and forgotten, only one bite taken from the pillowy white surface of the bread.
Lena looked again at the printout in her hand. “Can’t be right.” She said again, softly.
The open barn door whooshed, a bit, and the hinges rattled. “Hey Lena! I brought some flowers to lighten it up a bit in here and—-“ Kara fixed her with an aggrieved stare, a bundle of peonies drooping in one fist. “You didn’t eat your lunch.”
Lena hurriedly dropped the reading behind her and gave Kara her best harried smile. “I’m sorry. The flowers look nice, though.”
“You need to eat your lunch.” Kara announced, gravely. She produced a large pickle jar from the root cellar and filled it with Lena’s untouched glass of water, the peonies almost sighing as she set them into it, falling into a natural halo. The alpha locked eyes with her and pushed it onto the center of Lena’s worktable like a threat. “Eating is important, Lena. So is drinking water.”
“You just used my water for the flowers.” Lena pointed out, mildly, but she rolled her eyes affectionately. “I know, Kara. I’ll come in for dinner in a bit, okay? And I promise to eat.”
“Good.” Kara appeared pleased. She leaned over, and kissed Lena’s head, near the top of her ear. It was swift, and sudden, and just as quickly, she retreated, edging out the door. “Uh, see you then.”
“See you then.” Lena croaked back, but the barn door was already swinging, empty.
Reflexively, she reached a hand up to her head, touching where Kara’s lips had brushed.
QUARANTINE: DAY TWENTY-SEVEN
Alex and Kara had decided on Sundays as their day of choice for weekly FaceTime sessions. On Fridays they tried to do game night through Zoom, with middling success, but Nia’s connection kept breaking up because Brainy insisted on fiddling with the signal to ‘improve it’. Saturdays were for Kara’s check-ins with J’onn and Eliza. Sundays were all about the Danvers alphas, though.
“So, how’s it going with a cure?” Kara asked, munching on a Twizzler. She knew the answer by the grimace in Alex’s face, but it was the perfunctory ‘get it out of the way’ question.
“Not great, as usual.” Alex sighed and leaned on an elbow. “I need Lena here, frankly. We all do. Everyone feels it. Brainy’s the only one saying it a bunch, though.”
Kara snorted. “That sounds about right. But you’re working on it?”
“Yeah, we’re working on it.” Alex poked a finger at the screen. “How’s Lena’s work going? Is she any closer than we are?”
Kara shrugged. “Hard to tell. She doesn’t talk about it much. She hardly eats when she’s working, though. I worry about her, she keeps saying her equipment can’t be right.”
“Well, tell her we can’t send her anymore, and she can’t go looking for it, either. You two have to stay far away from any social contact.” Alex admonished, but gently. “Sounds like she’s stressing about it as much as we are, though.”
“I wish she would talk to me about it. She seems like she doesn’t want to worry me, but I keep telling her—it’s just us out here. We have to be able to share our feelings.”
“Well, what do you talk about? Or do you two just sit in silence and mope all day?”
“No, we definitely talk a lot, just not always about how we feel.” Kara explained. “We talk about stuff we’re watching at night, mostly. Schitt’s Creek . The new Animal Crossing game I downloaded. Sometimes we play hearts. She’s terrible at it, but she won’t admit it.”
“God, Kara.” Alex laughed, shaking her head. “You two sound like an old married couple.”
“We’re not, though.” Kara insisted, too quickly. “We’re not.”
QUARANTINE: DAY THIRTY-FIVE
“Lena, wake up!”
The omega came awake with an ungrateful snort and a flail. “Whas’it? Are w’under attack?
Instead of Lex, however, Kara was beaming over her, one hand on her shoulder, still gently shaking. The sky was still very dark, and the air was still, but sunrise was starting to peak over the mountain with grey light. “No, no, silly, just come quick before they leave.”
She followed Kara’s bare padding feet, still yawning and making mild complaints, until they stopped by the picture window in the living room. Kara took hold of her shoulders and pivoted them, pointing. “Look. There.”
“ Oh .” Lena held her breath.
In their front yard, a family of foxes was enjoying the early morning rise of the cicadas. The parents, each a lovely auburn red with inky-black tail tips, were leaping and grasping fat bugs in their jaws, crunching happily away, while the kits—three in all—whined and scampered around, mostly failing to leap high enough. As Lena watched, however, the male deposited a squirming cicada from his jaws and stepped back, watching with unmitigated pride, as his brood pounced upon it.
“They’re beautiful.” Lena whispered, unintentionally leaning back. She met the solid warmth of the alpha’s chest behind her, and startled a bit, but Kara didn’t back away.
Instead, warm arms wrapped briefly around her own, and Kara squeezed her close for a quick, tight hug, that released just as suddenly as it appeared. “I know.” She said softly, as she stepped back. “I knew you’d want to see.”
Lena’s skin tingled, and every nerve ending in her body was suddenly wide awake. She wanted to kiss Kara then, as much as she’d ever wanted it, and she almost did, looking back over her shoulder into those glacial blue eyes. But one of the foxes yipped, high and plaintive like a warning, and she ducked her head, turning back to the window.
There was an air of promise, though, in the grey light of dawn, and it lingered between them for the rest of the day.
QUARANTINE: DAY FORTY
“How long are you going to play that Animal Crossing game?”
“Just a little longer. I need to catch all the tarantulas, but they keep knocking me out. I’ve gotta fill my inventory because I won’t get back to this island again for a while.”
“You said that an hour ago.”
“Well then you should be very understanding of the difficulty, then!”
QUARANTINE: DAY FORTY-EIGHT
“What price are your turnips right now?”
“Ohhh how the mighty have fallen. Remember when you said you didn’t need my help to manage ‘investments’? Look upon Ozymandius—mocker of Animal Crossing—and beware the hubris.”
“Just shut up or I won’t give you any of my blue roses.”
“Oh, crap. Okay, yes ma’am .”
QUARANTINE: DAY FIFTY-ONE
Kara couldn’t take anymore of it.
No, it wasn’t the quarantine. Or the lack of friends. Or the house, with it’s never ending fix-it list. Or the silence of the woods.
It was Lena. Or rather, not really Lena. Just….her….noises. At night.
Kara had super hearing, of course. In National City, it was practically a burden—trying to tone out all that excess of noise and make some kind of sense of it enough to find anything, or anyone, was a massive amount of her daily effort. She couldn’t explain to anyone how much effort it took, in fact. It was something so ingrained, so relentless, that the first day she’d stepped into the wide, silent air of the country from the van, she’d almost cried with relief.
All she could hear was bird song, running water, faintly whispering grass. Squirrels in the trees, deer in the woods, skunks in their hollows, coyotes at the edge of the field. Everything was swift and almost silent, padding on light feet or fluttering. The owls were almost-but-not-quite soundless to her Kryptonian ears. The foxes she and Lena had seen that morning had been the loudest things she’d heard in weeks, aside from the TV or Lena’s voice calling for her.
About that. The calling for her. Lena didn’t need to yell, but she didn’t tell her that. It would sound….creepy, how easy it was for her to hear Lena, even far into the fields. She could hear the omega’s heartbeat—a soothing, thrumming noise, as pleasant as the sea—without hardly pausing to think about it. It was just always there, a second away from her own. She felt Lena all the time, through her lungs, her ventricles, her veins. It was a strange and intimate connection, out here in the silence of the woods, where she could only focus on the rushing of blood inside of Lena’s body, the pumping of her sacred, delicate organs.
And at night, it was significantly more intimate.
She could hear it all. The rustling of the sheets. The way Lena would toss and twist for a bit before reaching for her drawer. The rough wood rattling and scraping with protest. Then the sigh as Lena lay back. The whisper of her clothing moving aside or away. And then, the buzzing.
Oh Rao, the buzzing and the wet sounds. The way the buzzing was sometimes muffled , as if Lena was putting it in… ..It was enough to make a good alpha go bad.
And the way she moaned . The way her noises were sweet and whimpering and entirely too submissive for Daytime Lena. The smell of her desire wafting down the hallway, right into Kara’s hungry, greedy nose, which inhaled lungful after lungful without a second thought working herself into a lather. The way the bed creaked and rocked with Lena’s movements always seemed to be calling to her like a come-hither song—saying don’t you want to hear what noises I’ll make when you’re inside me?
But she couldn’t give in to it. That was alpha talk. All cock and no brain. No matter how hard her erection wailed for relief in her shorts, she gritted her teeth and refused to give in, ignoring the aching that came with every movement. Lena was her friend, her friend, her friend. She chanted the word over and over again until it lost all meaning, but she knew she had a tenuous hold on it, anyway. There was so much to be gained from how well they were living together—they’d never been more close. And now all Kara could think about was breaking down Lena’s bedroom door and bringing them even closer .
In the daylight, she tried her best to give no sign that her nights were sleepless and wrought with frustration, but it was starting to show, despite her best efforts. One day Lena put a hand on her leg to lean over to grab the sugar bowl from the counter, and Kara nearly jumped six feet into the air. She’d blinked like a startled deer and had to stutter excused and run off to the tool shed, face flaming and cock at flagstaff-ready.
During her FaceTime with Alex, the other alpha noticed right away. “You’re not sleeping. Are you getting close to rut? You look awful.”
“Thanks.” Kara snapped out, irritated. “And no, I take suppressants, thanks.”
“Well, what’s going on? You look like you’re about ready to pop.”
Kara put her head down on the table. “I am.” She admitted, shamefully. “I—-I can hear Lena masturbate every night. And it’s killing me.”
Alex let out a bark of laughter that had Kara raising an accusatory glance. “Oh don’t give me that. It’s funny. So what, you can hear her orgasm? Get over it, it’s normal for humans to masturbate. And Kryptonians, from what I remember from room-sharing in high school.” Alex grinned wickedly.
“I know that! And ew, gross!” Kara countered, albeit not very maturely. “I just—-it’s...different hearing her do it.”
“Oh, different how? Does this ‘difference’ have something to do with your very-obvious-and-consistent-crush on Lena?” Alex leaned forward on one palm, making a faux expression of surprise. “Pray tell.”
“Stop that.” Kara groaned. But then relented. Quarantine was taking its toll on her honesty filter. “But yes , and you know it.”
“Well, I mean, I would think that what you’re hearing every night would be a feature, and not a bug, of your current situation then, Kar—-“
“That’s so gross .” Kara hissed at her sister. “I’m not going to jerk off to Lena when she doesn’t know what’s happening. That’s creepy.”
“Okay, so you’re saying you’d be okay jerking off to Lena while she knows it’s happening, then?” Alex was grinning insufferably. “Like, for example, if she were to watch… ?”
“Okay, goodbye Alex.” Kara ferociously ended the FaceTime call, finger shaking in either righteous sibling indignation….or deep-seeded guilt at her sister’s rightness.
Either way, she definitely needed to put an end to it. One way or another. And soon, because it seemed Lena was no closer to finding a cure in her lab then she was finding an end to a need for nightly orgasms.
QUARANTINE: DAY SIXTY
Lena had come to a conclusion: she was not going crazy.
The tests all said the same thing. The charts and readings were clear. The only thing left to do was to check with, well, the ‘local’ knowledge.
“Kara?” She asked, over dinner, trying her best not to have her voice shake. “I...um...wanted to ask you if you knew anything about other planetary mating rituals?”
It was a very not-normal question, but, thanks to two months worth of causality, Kara took it well in stride. She laughed, forking up another mouthful of crispy Parmesan chicken—turned out, Kara was a very capable chef. “Um, I’m guessing you want to know for personal reasons?”
“No, stop it.” Lena gave her a light shove, but her heart was racing. Kara was looking at her intently, too, like she knew. “It’s….because of the meteorite.”
“The meteorite?” Kara cocked her head to one side. “You think the killer blue glowy goo was for an alien mating ritual?”
That’s not even half of it. Lena nodded, obligingly. “I think so. I don’t know if it was meant for humans, clearly. Can you think of any planets that use...I don’t know...a spore-like reproductive system to choose mates?”
Kara’s brow furrowed and she leaned on her chin, fork idling on her plate. “Um, yeah a couple. Xenians, Gorgonites, The Dresta. There’s probably others I can’t think of.” She looked at Lena more closely. “But I’ve never heard of any with, like, a liquid. Spores, yes.”
Lena ignored her thudding heart. “Well, say such a planet exploded. One with those spores. Over time, as that spore floated through space, if it was surrounded in a layer of rock or ash, might form ice crystals. And those ice crystals, if they melt….”
“Could make a weird glowing blue goo?” Kara finished. She put down her fork. “I mean, yeah, probably but why would you think it was a mating—-“
“Think about it.” Lena interrupted, hoping her voice was smoother than she felt. “An alien spore might be able to be absorbed by the pores on our skin. Not all species have such a porous organ on their outer body. If it isn’t inhaled, it could be absorbed.”
She took a deep breath. “And if it were absorbed in the system of someone, say an alpha, who was later touched by a non-desirable, mate, like….for example, another alpha….”
She could see Kara was following her logic by the alpha’s widening eyes, but she finished anyway. “It might be toxic to a rejected mate. Even fatal. Especially if it was floating around in space for god-knows-how-long, becoming more or less potent over time?”
“The tech who touched me was an alpha.” Kara put both hands on the table. It shook, a bit. “Rao, Lena. You did it. You figured it out.”
“It at least explains why you and I weren’t fatal to each other immediately.” Lena gave her a crooked, apologetic smile. “As an omega, I was a safe match.”
“You’re a genius.” Kara told her, with all the solemn sincerity of someone who has no stigma attached to giving or receiving genuine compliments. Lena blushed. “No, I mean it.”
“There is...one more thing.” Lena admitted, slowly. Her breath was tight now, and her heart felt like it was going to explode. “It’s um...about who can be infected.”
“Yeah, it’s interesting it was both of us.” Kara was nodding along, all smiles. “I wondered about what could possibly infect both an alien and a human, but—“
“Kara, have you ever heard of a planet using spores to find, um, soulmates?” Lena squeaked out, her voice breaking and quavering at the last second.
Kara blinked at her, both at the interruption and her question. “Um. Yes.” She looked down, as if considering. “Yeah. The Styricans do that. Um. Oh right, there’s a heart tree at their planet’s core, and it releases these blossoms. They all gather to receive a brush from the petal from their elders. Once it touches you, you’re safe from unwanted advances because anyone not your soulmate touching you will die, and the whole culture knows that. They stand in a circle, and they say you will find your soul’s partner, by the glowing mark when the petals….touch….”
Kara trailed off. Her jaw had dropped, slightly. Lena gave her a guilty half-smile. “Lena. Your skin. When that stuff touched you.”
“What else do you know about the Styricans?” Lena asked, quickly. “Is their planet still...um...intact?”
“No.” Kara’s eyes hadn’t left hers. The alpha’s face was open in slow understanding. “It was a dead white dwarf, not a planet. It broke apart when it got close to a black hole. The Styricans are refugees now.”
“Does anyone know what the petals looked like?” Lena asked. Kara had pushed away from the table and her heart was going to vibrate out of her chest, it felt like. “Kara?”
“Yeah.” Kara had come around to her side of the dining room table. She took Lena’s hands. Knelt by her feet. “They were blue. Blue and white.”
Lena didn’t know why she kept talking, looking into Kara’s eyes. It felt like babbling. “And do you think maybe that white would get sort of grey over time if it was—“
Thankfully, Kara’s kiss shut her right up.
“All this time.” The alpha murmured against her lips, when they broke apart to breathe. “I knew it, but I didn’t see it.”
“I definitely saw. Things.” Lena laughed into the kiss, tongue flickering against Kara’s teeth. “God. I saw you. But I wanted to pretend I didn’t.”
”Do you want to pretend now?”
”No.” Lena admitted, shaking her head, and whimpered when Kara followed the husky words up with her teeth scraping Lena’s neck. “God, no.”
”That’s good. I’m tired of pretending I don’t want this.” Kara’s hand cupped her breast, tender and rough at once. “Or that I don’t want you. I always have.”
And that was just going to make Lena lose it, so she clung to Kara as hard as she could and whispered the only words that made any sense to her right then: “Take me to bed, please.”
The stairs creaked as Kara carried her up them, but neither noticed. The kiss had turned hot and wet, sloppy with movement and spiced by little nips and sighs. When they passed by Lena’s bedroom, Kara whispered hotly into her neck. “I could hear you, you know, when you touched yourself. Always wondered if you were thinking of me.”
Arousal had stripped her bare, looking into Kara’s darkening blue eyes. All she was left with was honesty. “I was.” She confessed. “Every night.”
Kara’s answer to that was to pin her to the wall, sucking and growling at her neck. And god—that just about drenched her. Her legs were held open by the alpha’s body, moving with intent against the wall, and when her knees crooked up to lock around Kara’s waist, her simple dress rolled up her hips, exposing her panties to rub against Kara’s midsection. She was smearing her wet all over Kara’s stained t-shirt, and she didn’t care. The cold of the alpha’s belt buckle touched the underside of her rear, and she shuddered in delight, arching back against the wall and kicking her legs out.
Neither of them minded a lack of foreplay. Kara kept kissing her, and she had managed to wrangle one of Lena’s breasts out of her bra to suckle and bite, but Lena was already busy with her buckle, kissing Kara deeply and greedily and falling off to bite at her shoulders when the alpha’s mouth was occupied with her breast. She pushed the zipper down, tugging the teeth apart, and her wrist slipped into the slit of Kara’s Levi’s, cupping the warm meat of her through her plain cotton briefs. The alpha grunted, and whined when Lena stroked along the ridge under the head, and her hips stuttered forward.
“We’re getting there.” She promised those wild, dark eyes, and kissed the side of Kara’s sweaty head. “You want me here? Against the wall?”
“Yeah.” Kara groaned out, rattling Lena’s rib cage with the baritone. “Pull your panties aside.”
“God.” Lena choked back a whine, and did just that, hurriedly adjusting with her free hand. She rubbed with the other, stroking Kara to full hardness, pounding under palm, until the alpha grunted and pull her hand away, nipping kisses along her wrist.
“Let me.” Kara’s breath was hot on her temple, her eye, at the corner of her mouth. Lena could feel her cock, and the silken heat of the head, probing at her wetness, splitting open her labia. She cried out and flexed, lifting her hips eagerly, and the tip slipped inside her, wrenching a groan from both of them.
Kara waited until she was fully inside, pinning Lena against the wall with her hips, to say it: “I love you, Lena.”
Then she surged forward, locked their lips together in a messy tangle, and swallowed Lena’s spiraling cry with the force of her thrusts.
Kara fucked with aching tenderness, precision, and ferocity. She never tired, or ceased in her rut, once she fell into it. Her breath panted out in puffs, and she growled when Lena moaned in helpless, breathless crescendos, but she didn’t stop. Not even when Lena came with a sudden, surprised cry that shuddered through them both.
Lena was pinned to the wall, gasping for air, but she didn’t want to be anywhere else. Couldn’t imagine it. Kara was looking down into her eyes for consent and communication with the kind of sober attentiveness that belied her charging, ravaging thrusts. She fucked Lena into the wall while whispering that she looked beautiful. That Kara loved her.
And Lena was helpless to do anything other than look back, as her pleasure spilled from her very core, crying out in a kind of agony. But she thought Kara probably understood that she felt it too.
Finally, when Lena had come twice, and the alpha was still shaking with need, she managed to convince Kara to carry her into the bedroom. There, on Lena’s bed, Kara knotted her, while the omega locked her legs around her waist and whispered I love you I do I do love you Kara oh yes please into her rutting, mindless ear.
Kara cried when she came. Big tears spilling from her eyes as Lena gasped at the shock of being filled in thick, startling spurts—she was sure she’d never get used to the heat of it, the weight. But she did her best to kiss away Kara’s tears and guide the alpha back to life with all the same tenderness that Kara had shown her, and eventually, there was laughter, and some sniffling.
Later, when Lena was on her knees, accepting Kara’s cock as it sunk into her from behind, the alpha covered her back and nosed against her pulse, asking without asking. And Lena, who had never before wanted to be claimed, but now couldn’t imagine living without it, closed her eyes. Nodded tightly. The mark burned at the back of her neck, but it was blissful. She cried.
After Kara was done, she rolled the alpha over, and left her own mark. Right over the alpha’s heart. Right where the symbol of the House of El stood. Just so she wouldn’t forget it.
Although, she doubted the alpha ever would.
QUARANTINE: DAY SIXTY-ONE (barely)
It was one in the morning when Kara’s phone rang. She reached for it, blearily, and dislodged Lena from her chest, rolling away with a murmur of unhappiness. Kara scooted around her mate’s back, shushing her gently, and picked up the phone.
“Kara? Are you awake?” Alex sounded frantic on the other end, as if she’d had too much coffee. “We figured it out! Finally! Brainy had to do some serious alien culture research, but we fond this society called the Styricans and—“
“Mmmhmm.” Kara blinked. Lena let out a soft little laugh. “Yeah, um, Alex—“
“No, seriously! I know it’s late but it’s important! This is the cure! But...uh...you may not like what you have to do.”
Lena took the phone from Kara’s grasp, smoothly. “Alex? She liked it. Don’t worry.”
Kara rolled her eyes at her mate, but Lena only smugly grinned back at her, over the sound of Alex’s sharply inhaled breath. “Oh. I see you two. Uh. Figured it out.”
“Oh yes.” Lena replied, succinctly. “We figured it out.”