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Seeing Red

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Lena closes her eyes, dulling one of her fives senses to make her sense of taste more profound. She practically purrs as the dry wine washes over her tongue. It was a long day, she needed it. Hell, she earned it. National City was still reeling from the barely averted terraforming event and Lena was doing whatever she could to help the rebuilding efforts, much like she had after the Daxamite invasion. Only difference this time, no one was accusing her of trying to assuage her guilt. At least not publicly.

Lena sighs heavily, swirling the wine around the glass, pulling up another spreadsheet on her laptop. Her quick eyes study the content intensely as she idly takes another sip. She jumps a little when her personal phone rings, breaking her out of focus. The instinct to curse at the disruption flares up but then she remembers, she has friends now. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that.

“Hello Alex.”

“Lena, thank god.” Alex’s frantic tone catches Lena off guard and she immediately puts her wineglass down on the coffee table. “Lena, I know it’s late but I need your help.”

“What’s wrong?” Lena asks, lip quivering with worry. She dreads Alex’s next words, a million worst case scenarios already flooding her mind. Alex rarely called her, they had a texting relationship and it was always light conversations, GIFs and emojis. So, Alex calling her now, with that tone to her voice spells disaster.

“It’s Supergirl.” Lena’s heart calms only a little bit. Despite the differences that they’ve had recently, she still cares about the hero, even if the trust between them is broken irreparably. “Something’s happened,” Alex continues, “I, I can’t go over all the details on the phone.”

“I’ll come to you then.”

“Thank you, Lena.”

"Of course." Lena hangs up and enters her bedroom, searching for her purse. She stops in front of the mirror for a moment and wonders if she should change out of the clothes she had worn to the office today. The dark green dress and black stiletto heels certainly feel out of the way for an emergency trip to the DEO but it’s not as though she hasn’t shown up there dressed this way before. Once she locates her purse near the foot of her bed, she walks back out to the living room, grabbing her phone from the coffee table.

She makes two calls. The first, “Jess, I’m sorry to be calling you this late.”

“It’s not a problem, Ms. Luthor,” Jess chirps through the phone, already eager to do whatever Lena needs. The girl is truly a godsend. “What can I do for you?”

“I need you to clear the day for me tomorrow.” She isn’t sure what the situation with Supergirl entails but she feels the need to make sure that her duties at L-Corp don’t draw her attention away from the task.

“Consider it done, Ms. Luthor.”

“Thank you.” Lena places the next call to Alex, letting the agent know she’s leaving now but the call isn’t answered. She enters the kitchen and places her purse on the marble countertop, sliding her phone and laptop inside. For a moment, she contemplates calling her driver but ultimately decides it will be best—and quicker— to drive herself in the Royce.

When she turns, she loses her grip on the purse and it drops to the tiled floor with a faint thud. Supergirl is standing a few feet away with an unfamiliar smile on her lips. The muscles in her biceps somehow appear bigger tonight as her arms fold across her chest, straining against the mesh fabric. She leans heavily on the door frame to the balcony, perfectly at ease.

“Supergirl,” Lena breathes, confusion evident in her voice and likely on her face. Less than five minutes ago, Alex had called asking for help, saying that something had happened to the hero. But now here she is, seemingly okay. Lena can’t quite place her finger on it now but something is definitely different about Supergirl. The hero’s blue eyed gaze is always intense and bold and it is tonight as well but in a different way. There’s something almost…sensual in it. A heated gaze Lena cannot tear her eyes away from.

Lena," Supergirl smiles and it is odd, hearing her first name roll off the hero's tongue like she's tasting it. The blonde greets her with a widening grin and a glint in her dark eyes that Lena has never seen before. The usual warmth and earnestness in her smile is absent. Tonight it’s cunning, knowing, mischievous. She advances on Lena with deliberate slowness until she’s standing right in front of the shorter woman. She’s so close Lena can feel the heat radiating off her. And the power.

“What are you doing here?” Lena manages to ask the question through the sudden dryness in her mouth. She doesn’t drop her gaze from Supergirl’s dark eyes. The hero doesn’t answer as her eyes rake greedily across Lena’s body, from head to toe. Then she smiles again, clearly enjoying the view and much to her immediate horror, Lena enjoys being so figuratively undressed.

“Is there something you need?” Lena asks, feeling lightheaded all of a sudden.

Supergirl bites down on her lower lip, her eyes pinning Lena to the spot. “I don’t need anything,” she answers, lifting her daring gaze to Lena’s face again. Orbs filed with a dark blue collide with green marbles that are just as intense. “But there is something that I want.”

Lena’s breath comes in and out of her lungs in quick pants as she drinks in the meaning behind Supergirl’s words. “And what is that?” she asks as though she doesn’t already know.

Supergirl smirks, leans forward and whispers hotly, “I think you know.”

And just like that, Lena’s heart slams against her ribs forcefully, as if it’s trying to break free. For the first time since they’ve met, Supergirl has finally managed to make her nervous, slightly intimidated even. The hero’s smirk widens as she leans in closer, stopping so that her lips are just centimetres away from Lena’s like a bold challenge.

“W-w-what are you doing?” it stutters ineloquently out of Lena’s mouth. With Supergirl so close, so powerful, it was becoming harder and harder to think, let alone speak. The hero’s dark gaze is hypnotic, inviting, tempting Lena with the promise of sweet ecstasy.

“Nothing that you don’t want me to do.” Supergirl sounds so sure of herself and Lena can’t find the desire to object. “Just say the words.” Say the words. God, Lena wants to, she almost does but she catches them in her throat at the last second. She can’t say it, she shouldn’t say it. Something isn’t right with Supergirl. And aside from that, Lena is in a relationship with someone. And even more than that, Lena’s heart belonged to someone else entirely.

So why can’t she bring herself to move away? Why is Supergirl so appealing to her now? Lena always admired the hero of course, secretly acknowledged her beauty but she never thought she would want her the way she does right now. There was always someone else who captivated her heart, a certain blonde reporter who made her flush in the face.

“I can’t," Lena’s voice is barely a sound but she knows Supergirl can hear her. The hero doesn’t drop her brazen stare, she only jams her front against Lena and smiles, satisfied by the soft moan Lena failed to stifle.

“I like you in this dress, y’know,” she purrs and her hands slide over soft curves, lighting a fire in their wake. “It hugs you so tight in all the right places.” Lena swallows around the boulder lodged in her throat. “So say the words, Lena.” The words are so enticing, nearly irresistible. “You know you want to.” A hand moves to Lena’s neck. Fingers like steel curl around her throat but they don’t squeeze nor does Lena panic at the abrupt and unexpected action. It’s not meant to be threatening. “I know you want to.”

Lena begins to realize that Supergirl will not do anything, despite how much she seems to want to, without her permission. That is the only indication of the noble hero Lena has come to know over the last few years. Everything else is foreign, almost as if some other creature is wearing the Kryptonian’s skin. And that’s when she notices it, a faint streak of red running across Supergirl’s neck like an electric current.

“You don’t know me,” Lena says, letting her gaze drop briefly. “And I don’t know you.” Their relationship doesn’t afford them the chance to know anything about each other that one can’t find within fifteen minutes of light internet snooping. The fact that Lena is a Luthor and Supergirl wears that insufferable ‘S’ is enough of a reason why a relationship beyond uneasy allies seems unattainable.

“I do know you.” Supergirl’s voice is soft and tender, a contrast to the wildfire that blazed in her blue eyes. “And you know me. Look at me, Lena.” Lena complies, locking gazes with Supergirl. “Really look at me.”

Lena notes the pleading tone in the hero’s voice and takes a moment to look deeply into those bold, azure eyes. Even though they’re intense, even though they’re filled with an anger Lena has never seen before, they’re also familiar. Why is that? This kind of familiarity comes with knowing someone intimately. She doesn’t have that kind of relationship with Supergirl, it’s strictly business.

No, there is only one pair of blue eyes Lena has spent what feels like a lifetime staring into. And with a breathless gasp she realizes, she’s staring into them now as well. They’re darker than normal with a hint of mischief, anger and wickedness but they’re still her eyes.

Kara’s eyes.

Kara is Supergirl.

As the revelation dawns, Lena barely registers her hand travelling up to Kara’s. She traces the shape of Kara’s hard knuckles and beckons the blonde to tighten her grip. With a soft moan, Kara obliges and curls her fingers more closely. The circulation of blood quickly slows and lightheadedness soon follows. It’s erotic, knowing that this is only a small taste of the power Kara possesses.

Lena is more turned on than ever before, feeling a desire for the blonde unlike anything she’s ever experienced. She wants Kara to fuck her, right there on the countertop she’s trapped against. The blonde seems to sense Lena’s need as she effortlessly lifts her to sit on the marble slab behind them. She inserts herself between Lena’s thighs and dives in for the long awaited kiss. Their lips graze each other and Lena trembles with hot, unrelenting desire.

The kicking down of Lena’s front door and the accompanying sound of jack boots marching across her floor, jerk them out of their moment. Kara’s hand leaves Lena’s neck as she turns and finds him there, standing in front of the door with his ridiculous shield up.

“Get away from her Supergirl!” Even with the voice modulator and impractical helmet, Lena recognizes James’ deep voice. H steps further into the room.

Kara moves and places herself between Lena and James. Her stance is territorial, her eyes wild, her lips curled back into a sinister snarl. "James, you have shitty timing,” she growls, placing a frustrated hand down on the countertop, causing Lena to jump. Lena can tell that the impact didn’t take much effort on Kara’s part but it’s enough to leave a spiderweb of cracks under her hand.

“Get away from her,” James repeats, less forcefully this time. Though he’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect Lena and help Kara, he’d be lying if he said the way the Kryptonian is looking at him right now doesn’t send a shiver down his spine. Kara doesn’t just look ready to hurt him, she looks ready to kill him.

“Why? Worried she might want me more than she wants you?” Kara chuckles as she whips her head around and winks at Lena. “We both know you’re undeserving of her, James.”

James tenses and resists the impulse to snap back at Kara. “You need help, Supergirl,” he entreats, “Let me help you.”

Kara rolls her eyes dramatically. “Why don’t I help you out the door?” Without warning, she claps her hands once, releasing a sonic wave that flings James across the room and into the wall. Lena lets out a tiny scream and covers her ears as all the glass around them shatters, furniture turns over, paper and books fly. James’ impact with the wall is so great that he can feel the pain, despite the armour of his suit.

As Kara closes the distance with a menacing slowness, he scrambles to his feet, leaning up against the wall for support. “Oops, my bad,” she says insincerely. “I guess my aim was a bit off.”

“Kara, stop,” James whispers, looking over the blonde’s shoulder for any sign that Lena heard him use that name. “I don’t want to fight you.”

Kara chuckles cruelly and icy fear crawls down James’ spine. “You say that like it’ll be much of a fight.” James holds his shield up when Kara advances with a powerful blow. The shield can’t absorb the impact as it travels up the length of James’s arm, shattering the bone in its wake. The shield breaks apart instantly as he falls to the floor, writhing in shock more than pain. With no where to go, James backs up against the wall again and lifts his fearfully widen eyes to the Kryptonian’s glowing face.

She places a red clad boot down on his injured arm carelessly. “Kara!” James wheezes but she only smiles, relishing the fear that emanates from him and fills her ears with every heart beat.

“Stop!” Lena cries out, jumping down from her ruined kitchen island. Kara’s turns and catches her taking an unsure step forward. Lena’s heart is racing and her hands shake as she reaches out slightly. “You’re hurting him.”

“That’s the idea.” The cold response is like a pang to Lena’s chest. It’s hard enough to believe that Supergirl is capable of this but knowing that it’s also her sweet Kara is just too much to bear. She doesn’t even know what’s going on, what has caused such a drastic change in behaviour but she pushes herself to believe that the Kara she knows— that she loves—is still in there.

“Please,” Lena begs quietly. Kara looks back at her and the hardness dissipates from her face for a brief moment.

“Only because you asked so nicely.” Kara doesn’t take her eyes off Lena as she removes her foot from James’s broken arm. Lena jolts a little when the blonde suddenly appears in front of her. She reaches out, gently brushing Lena’s cheek with her knuckles. It’s such a stark contrast to the unrestrained violence she had shown James mere seconds ago.

“I know I’ve given you a lot to process,” she says softly. “So I’ll give you some time.” She leans forward and places a delicate kiss on Lena’s forehead, aching to go further but she pulls herself back before disappearing in the wind.

Lena lets out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding. It takes her a moment to regain control over her muscles, the feeling of Kara’s touch lingers on her face. A dry cough breaks her out of her trance.

“James.” Lena rushes over to him and falls on her knees at his side. Her eyes drift down to the fractured bone sticking out of his arm with a mess of blood dripping from the break. “James,” she repeats but his answer is only a shallow breath. “You’re going to be okay.” Lena turns when her home is swarmed with NCPD officers.

Alex is the only federal agent with them, the only officer to lower her gun when she sees her friends. She deposits herself next to Lena on the floor. “Oh my God, James.” Alex looks to Lena who nods at the silent question in her eyes. She bits her lower lip and motions over the paramedics. They lift an unconscious James onto the stretcher and wheel him out.

Alex helps Lena to her feet, eyes narrowing in on the five, faint pink marks on Lena’s neck. “Did she hurt you?” she asks softly, seeming terrified of the response.

Lena quickly places a hand over her throat. “No.”

Alex is unconvinced. “Lena, you can tell me what happened.”

“I…I should ride to the hospital with James,” Lena finds herself saying. She’s not even sure why, perhaps because it’s protocol for the girlfriend to do so. In all honesty, all she wants is to be left alone, to pretend that today hadn’t even happened. To forget that her best friend has been lying to her for years. To ignore the pathetic desire to see her again.

“Hold on, Lena,” Alex says, moving to block her path. “We need to talk.”

“What is going on?”

“Supergirl’s been…compromised,” Alex begins slowly, struggling to find the words. She’s not sure what happened here, how much Lena now knows about her sister. When Kara is like this, she’s erratic and it’s that unpredictability that makes her so dangerous.

“Compromised?” Lena repeats, impatiently prompting Alex to go on.

“It’s happened before. Before you moved to National City.” The dots connect themselves in Lena’s mind. Kara’s strange new behaviour, her callous attack on James, the red streaks that danced across her neck. It’s all making sense now.

“Red kryptonite.”

Alex raises an eyebrow in cautious surprise. “You know about it?”

“Of course. It was on the front page of every major newspaper for weeks.” Lena was still living in Metropolis but she can remember quite vividly the video of Kara throwing Cat Grant off of CatCo’s balcony, only to catch the screaming woman at the very last second. It was a terrifying yet purposeful show of power.

“Didn’t the DEO develop an antidote?” Lena asks as she mentally recalls how the last adventure with red kryptonite had ended.

Alex nods. “Yes with Maxwell Lord’s help but it didn’t work this time. I don’t know how but, this version is different, more potent. The last time she was exposed for days before she did anything this violent.” She gestures to where James was slumped on the floor.

Lena nods. “How long has it been this time?”

“Our best guess? 24 hours. But we’re still not sure how she even got exposed to it. Or who made it.” Kryptonite in its natural form was a rare find on earth. Most of it was either gathered up by Lex or the DEO. Lena had figured out how to make it, something she only resorted to in order to keep Reign contained whenever she took control of Sam’s body. Now, as she lifts her eyes to Alex’s, she can’t help wondering if the agent thought that she had something to do with this.

“I know it wasn’t you, Lena,” Alex says before Lena can give voice to anything. “But I need your help to fix this.” The tears rimming Alex’s brown saucers take Lena by surprise. The older Danvers sister is usually measured and in control of her emotions, rarely showing any signs of vulnerability. She’s a lot like Lena in that regard, both wearing armours when they go out into the world but for different reasons. However, the reason why they take the armour off is the same.

Kara.

Kara’s warmth and laughter melted away the ice that had built up around Lena’s heart. She made Lena feel safe and at home. Oddly enough, despite the tinge of mania in Kara’s eyes tonight, she still felt like that.

“Hey.” Lena reaches out and takes Alex’s hand. “It’s going to be okay.”

Alex regards her for a moment. “You know, don’t you?” Lena’s response is a simple nod. She’s still processing it and all the heady feelings surrounding Kara’s callous display of power. “I’m sorry you had to find out like this.”

“Better now than never I guess.” The words come out more bitterly than Lena intended. She shakes her head when Alex opens her mouth to apologize again. “That doesn’t matter right now anyway.”

“You’re right.” Alex wipes her eyes with her free hand and squeeze Lena’s. “I should get you to a safe house and we’ll start working on a cure tomorrow.”

Lena frowns. “That’s not necessary.”

“Well you can’t stay here, Lena. It’s a crime scene now and I’d feel a lot better about your safety.” Lena wrestles with the urge to argue. She’s no stranger to danger, she carries the Luthor name like a bullseye on her back. She may have been confused and nervous tonight but she didn’t feel unsafe. She’s never felt that way with Kara. Or Supergirl.

“You think I need to be protected from her?” The question hangs in the air for what feels like an eternity. Alex is unsure of how to answer, the events at the DEO not too long ago still fresh in her mind.

A mission involving a disturbance at an Nth metal factory had taken a terrifying turn when Supergirl brutally severed the arm of one of the human attackers with her heat vision. Alex didn’t hesitate, she quickly reached for the kryptonite dart she carried around for emergencies.

Forgive me, Kara.

Alex then transported the unconscious Kryptonian back to the DEO, desperate to free her from the influence of red kryptonite. This was supposed to be over with quickly. The first time was hard because no one knew the signs or that such a thing could even be made. This time was supposed to be better. They knew what they were up against and they had a fix for it. Or so they thought.

Kara merely chuckled when she was shot with the supposed antidote, as though she already knew it wasn’t going to work. The power dampeners and red sun lamps in the holding cell didn’t work to restrain her either. With a simple tap of her index finger, Kara shattered the impenetrable glass and flashed a threatening grin to the shocked agents guarding her.

She tore through the DEO, moving so quickly that the kryptonite bullets had no chance of hitting her. Agents were flung with excessive force against the walls, leaving behind sticky trails of blood. Concentrated blasts of solar energy burned them alive, reducing some to ash. The stench of death and burning flesh filled Alex’s nostrils as Kara continued her brutal assault with unparalleled speed. The blonde didn’t stay long, seemingly more interested in other destinations, but was still able to inflict devastating damage.

She slowed down to hover in front of Alex after purposefully attacking everyone else. Alex knew better than to think it’s due to any affection her sister may still hold for her. It was a game for Kara, a show of power and how she can now wield it as she pleased. A wicked smile played on Kara’s lips, a maniac wave of red flashed over her blue eyes. That’s when Alex knew things were going to be different this time. Kara’s behaviour was escalating much more quickly.

“I don’t know what to think,” Alex admits, not meeting Lena’s gaze. “All I know is that last time, it took all of J’onn’s power to stop her and she’s gotten so much stronger than that since then.” One of the scariest things about the whole ordeal is the fact that no one truly knows the limits of Kara’s power. The Kryptonian never let herself go, she practiced restraint even when up against powerful enemies. Now that she had let go, there really is no telling what she’s capable of doing.

“Okay,” Lena says, noting the slight panic in Alex’s voice. “I have a place I can go to. It’s off the grid and has everything I’ll need. I can text you the coordinates and—”

“No,” Alex interjects, shaking her head vigorously. “Don’t tell me or anyone else where you’re going.”

Lena opens her mouth to protest but decides against it, nodding instead. “Okay. I should see James before I go.”

“Of course. And Lena?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for still standing by us.” Lena only nods again, she can’t form any words because if she’s being honest with herself, something she rarely does, she’s not entirely sure where she stands. If she stands with Alex and the DEO, then that will pit her against Kara and she can’t even tolerate the idea of that. But if she stands with Kara, what would that mean for her? Or the rest of the world at that? Will she be able to convince her best friend that she needed help?

Does Kara actually need it at all?