Rageful and war torn.
Still waters run deep.
Lena isn’t sure why the phrase keeps repeating in her head. It has been for days, and she can only deduce that there is no other way to describe Kara, this Kara. She exudes a calm that puts Lena’s anxieties to rest. Even with the red capillaries that pulse to life under her skin, creeping up the sides of her neck and into her cheeks, flashing a sort of violent delight in her eyes that is gone just as quickly as it appears.
And even though Alex had warned her about this; what Red K unlocks inside of her sister. An insidious anger, a god complex.
Yet despite it, Lena feels safe.
Kara seems... freer. Her anger and kindness; intricately woven together, strands of harmony and dissonance existing within one another, not bound by self doubt or overrun with emotion. It’s what Lena imagines peace must feel like, truly knowing all those parts of yourself.
“You could hurt someone, or worse, kill someone” Alex said curtly, turning on her heels to face her sister.
“Gods.” Kara said quietly, “Not just someone. They are gods.”
Alex stopped pacing the tower’s med bay floor, hands falling from her hips, “You can’t honestly be supporting this.” she said as her eyes moved, pleading and worried toward Lena.
“I trust Kara,” Lena said and shifted on her feet, trying to side step the heavy weight of Alex’s gaze, “and frankly, I think we are out of options when it comes to Lex and Leviathan.”
“I can’t second guess myself. You know as much as I do what needs to be done to stop them. I need to be logical. Cold.” Kara said resolutely.
“Alien.” Alex said, pulling in a deep breath, “I get it. I just-... if you do this; you need to come back to us. To me, okay?”
Kara gave a sad nod, and extended her arms for a hug, one that Alex nearly collapsed into, “I know. I will, okay?” she said, lifting a hand from her sister's shoulder and reaching towards Lena, who slipped her own hand into the warm embrace, “I promise.”
Now Lena watches as Kara leans against her balcony railing outside, staring out towards the skyline as the sun dips lower into the horizon. It has become part of her nightly routine since Lex and Leviathan; no longer bound by the DEO, or even the tower, Kara’s nightly patrols now move strictly around Lena’s building. And when she returns, she always keeps a polite distance, just outside of Lena’s periphery. They don’t discuss what happened; no mention of Lex’s death or the destruction of Leviathan, just Kara’s ever vigilant, cool eyes trained on Lena and towards the skies. Lena honestly isn’t sure if Kara even sleeps now; most nights she can hear her through the walls, the ever constant sound of soft footsteps up and down the halls, a quiet, courteous march that lulls Lena to sleep.
The dark navy and maroon of her suit soaks up the dying sunlight as she rests her gloved hands along the railing. She no longer wears a helmet, instead a hood covers her head, and while Lena has always been partial to the suit she created, she does enjoy the regal additions Kara made. Her cape is no longer hitched to her suit, but instead it wraps elegantly around her shoulders, flowing down her back and accented by a dark swatch of red fabric around her waist. Lena vaguely wonders if in another life Kara may have worn something similar; akin to a knight, showing her as the formidable warrior she is.
And Kara looks all of Earth’s champion from Lena’s balcony, brightly lit and watching the sunset over her godly conquests. And Lena can’t help but feel it, this pull. It builds, warm and curling in her chest, expanding and threatening to tumble out, clumsy and unbridled over her lips. So, she finishes the last of the amber liquid in her glass and wills her legs forward.
“Lost in thought?” Lena asks, stepping outside onto the balcony.
She can hear the hum that reverberates in the back of Kara’s throat as she lifts her hands and pushes back her hood, “No. Not lost,” she says, turning towards Lena, eyes soft and tinged with a sort of reverence that nearly pulls the breath out of her, “not anymore.”
And god, it has to be a lie, right? Because Kara, this Kara is capable of horrors. Lena witnessed it. Watched her brother die from it. Watch gods become footnotes in history because of it. And while she doesn’t mourn Lex, doesn’t grieve or forgive him, she still tries to trace it in the corners of Kara’s eyes, in the hint of the smile that pinches at her mouth, because Lena knows the preface to hurt.
But she can’t find it.
Evil, or whatever it was Alex was talking about.
Luthors carry their love in darkened shark eyes. It carves itself in the over worn, fault lines that make up the downward point of a mouth or an angry brow. She’s known it in Lillian’s face since she was a child, and how it moved to her father, and then eventually, to Lex.
She’s lived with it, nearly died for it. Killed for it.
But this; this love, it is etched into every feature of Kara. Well cultivated lines that reach to corners of gentle eyes with every smile, mapping their way to her heart.
God, she may as well be wearing it on her sleeve. And if this is Kara at her truest, her most base self, then it’s been there all along. In every stolen glance and shy smile, waiting to shine back at Lena.
“I made a promise.” Kara says quietly, solemnly, “I can’t stay.”
And the beat of silence that follows feels so sinister.
“I know.” Lena hates that she agrees, hates that she knows things can’t stay like this. So she fastens the words of love perched in the back of her throat as consolation prize.
“But tomorrow, please?” she says, stepping forward and running her hand over Kara’s shoulder, feeling the warm fabric beneath her fingertips. Clear eyes never waver from Lena’s as strong arms wrap around her waist, pulling her close.
Lena melts into the contact resting her head against Kara’s crest, warm and safe. Protected. Hushed assurances flutter against her skin, and the ghost of a kiss brushes against her temple, “Of course.”
And under the final hours of a twilight sky, Lena lets her tears run, lamentations for a new dawn she never wishes to come.
Lena doesn’t fully succumb to the exhaustive pull of sleep, instead she focuses on the tiny clicks of her eyelids struggling to stay open in the dark. She can hear footsteps in the hall, and when Kara enters her room, she is no longer in her regal suit, dressed instead in DEO issued black sweat pants and a tank top. She kneels down beside the bed, resting muscular arms against the mattress. Lena already knows what she is going to say, and even in the weary, gray light of morning, she is stunning.
“Hey.” Kara rests her head on her forearms, a sad smile spreading across her lips. She smells clean, light; ozone mixed with Lena’s soap.
“Hey.” Lena echoes back, voice thick until she blinks with alarm, noticing Kara’s tear filled, bloodshot eyes.
“What’s wrong?” she pushes herself up from the bed until a warm, calming hand comes to rest on her shoulder, effectively stopping her.
“I’m okay.” Kara whispers, brushing a few errant strands of dark hair away from Lena’s face, “I’m fine.”
“I’ve just... I’ve thought about this,” Kara says reverently, her eyes trailing her finger as she runs it across Lena’s brow, down her temple, and along the curve of her jaw, “being here when you wake up, but never been brave enough to do it.”
Lena relaxes into the touch, and eases herself back down, years of anxiety and worry dissipating, lightening the weight in her chest, “Why?”
Kara shakes her head, “I guess the easiest answer would be that I’m scared. But, it’s more like.. You see me. You always have and it just makes me feel-..”
“Complete.” Lena finishes dreamily as she turns her head and presses a loving kiss to Kara’s palm, “I know.”
“You do?” Kara breathes, and Lena can hear the hitch of awe that catches in the back of her throat at the words.
“When I saw you for the first time,” Lena says, bringing her hand up and trailing her fingers across Kara’s forearm, “I had to smile because, god, there you were, and I just knew-..”
The next three words she wants to say never make it past her lips, because Kara is there, pressing a tender kiss that slants against Lena, perfect and tailormade, the tip of her tongue slipping between parted lips. Hot tears sting at Lena’s eyes, and she pushes harder into Kara, desperately trying to keep this moment and lock it away, and Kara must sense it, the cold fear taking root in her chest that once she leaves, this will be gone.
“Don’t go.” Lena pleads weakly against Kara’s mouth, “Please.”
“I have to. I can’t stay, not like this. I’ll be...” a quick flash of red moves across Kara’s face, traveling down the strong slope of her neck as she presses her forehead against Lena’s, “reckless. I’ll lose sight of myself. Of you.”
“No,-..” Lena begins, but Kara shakes her head fimly, “Lena, I’ve stayed because I promised I would always protect you, and I will. But, what I would do for-..” Kara grinds her words, the muscles in her neck straining, “What I could do, it would be unforgivable.”
“I would never ask you to do anythin-..”
“But you wouldn’t need to.” Kara says, her dark searching Lena’s face, “I just would. I spent so long curled up on the horizon of time, that I lost track of the stars. But now I have a sun,” Kara says, clasping her hands over Lena’s, and raises them to her lips, pressing a soft kiss against their star-crossed fingers, “I would crack this planet in half to keep that. To keep you.”
“That’s not love.” Kara says remorsefully, “That’s not anything I would want to give you. You deserve so much better. ī şhēşuř voṭ ī.” she murmurs, and god, Lena swears every word is intrinsically woven in her; sweet and inviting as Kara leans in, running her nose over the cupid bow of her lip, “Can you promise me something?”
Lena swallows hard, “Anything.”
“Promise to remember, because I may not. Things will be hazy for me once the red k is out of my system, but I mean it; everything I’ve said.”
“I know.” Lena nods fervently, “I promise.”
Soft, foreign words lilt and fall from Kara’s lips again and again, beautifully and crashing against the shores of Lena’s heart, they carry a familiar song, one she is sure she has known all her life, but could never sing.
“Remember, ī şhēşuř voṭ ī. Please.” Kara finishes quietly, pressing another kiss to Lena’s waiting lips and pushes herself up from the side of the bed.
“Promise me you’ll come back.” Lena says, uncaring of how desperate her words may sound, she just needs to hear it, “Come back to me.”
And then Kara is gone, leaving Lena behind in the still waters of a love deep enough to drown.
Lena drowns herself with work and waits; doing anything she can to keep her mind busy.
In quiet moments, she replays Kara’s tender words over in her head. She writes them down, phonetic spelling and crooked lines, getting only as far as she knows they are Kryptonian, but don’t carry the heavy, sharp edges of the language.
Beyond her general knowledge, and what she can gather from Lex’s journals, she is no closer to understanding what was said to her.
ī şhēşuř voṭ ī
But, god, she knows it. It plays in the static of her dreams and she repeats it when she wakes up; a mantra that follows the beat of her own heart.
Three days pass before Alex finally shows up to her door, carrying the news that Kara has recovered, and she can’t help but to wrap her arms around the older Danvers and pull her close, whispering her thanks.
“Are you okay?” Alex asks, pulling back from their embrace, “Did anything happen?”
And Lena knows that she means; did Kara do anything. Did she say anything? Did she hurt you?
She shakes her head, “No, no. Why? Did she say something did?”
Alex purses her lips and runs a hand through her hair, shaking her head, “No. She came back to the tower, took the antidote and that was it.” she shrugs, “She was in and out of it for a few days, but she’s home now, resting.”
“It’s just,” Alex takes a few steps toward, and rests a hand against the cool marble of Lena’s kitchen island, “it wasn’t like last time. I was afraid she would go AWOL, or hurt someone, but she kept her comms and her tracker on. She didn’t leave you.”
Warmth blossoms in the center of Lena’s chest and she glances down, trying to suppress her smile, “Can I ask you a question?”
"Yeah,” Alex nods, “of course.”
Lena moves around the kitchen. She removes two tumblers from the cabinet, and pulls out a bottle of scotch, motioning it towards Alex.
“God, yes , please.” Alex breathes out, pulling out a seat from the island as Lena pours out two fingers, and pushes the glass across the counter. Lena finishes pouring her own glass, and brings the tumbler to her lips, savoring the peaty burn in the back of her throat.
“Do you know any Kryptonian?” Lena asks, setting down her glass.
Alex narrows her eyes over her own glass as she takes a sip, “Some? I mean, not really enough to get by, but I’ve picked it up here and there. I would walk in on Kara praying sometimes when we were younger, or she would let a word slip out in the field during a fight.”
“So you know the curse words.” Lena says, a hint of mirth in her voice.
Alex shrugs her answer with a wry smile, “Why do you ask?”
Lena raps her fingers on the counter for a moment before leaving to retrieve her legal pad from her bedroom. When she returns, she finds warm brown eyes studying her, “Kara said something before she left, and I can’t translate it. But...” Lena closes her eyes for a moment, and presses a hand against her chest, “I feel like I know it, if that makes sense?”
Alex tilts her head, the briefest hint of understanding moving across her features and extends a hand, “Lemme see.”
Lena watches as Alex looks over her writing. She absently raises her glass and sips her drink and she mumbles the words to herself, careful eyes narrowing at certain points until she slides the pad back towards Lena.
“Did she say anything else to you?”
“Just to help her to remember.” Lena says, taking a step back from the counter as a tidal wave of anxiety swells up in her chest, “What if it’s what you said? What if all of this was just the red k? And it was Kara being cold and malicious an-..”
“Hey,” Alex cuts in, “slow down. I don’t think it’s that at all. Kara couldn’t do that, even with red k, she cares about you too much. She stayed beside you; protected you for days after Lex and Leviathan. And whatever she said,” Alex motions towards the pad in front of Lena, “it was meant for you, so help her remember.”
Lena wraps her arms around her torso, and hugs herself tightly, trying to protect every tender part. She wants to believe Alex, wants to believe Kara’s words, wants to believe that she meant them and those moments, reverent and quiet, weren’t forged in self-deception and that this is just doubt.
Gnawing, cold doubt curling up deep in her chest and nestling beside her heart.
“For what it’s worth,” Alex says, slipping out of her chair and walking around the island towards Lena, “I think she told you something she’s been wanting to say for awhile.”
Hot tears spring up in Lena’s eyes, and she tries futility to blink them away as Alex comes up beside her, “How can you be sure?”
“I have eyes, for one,” Alex says dryly, “plus, I don’t just know curse words. I also know prayers, and that,” she taps a finger to the words on the pad in front of Lena, words resolute and final as she speaks, “is devout, righteous love.”
Lena turns her head and is met with a warm smile from the woman beside her, one that reaches the corner of her eyes, pushing into the gentle lines there.
A familiar trait.
“ī şhēşuř voṭ ī” Alex says, and cranes her head gently side to side, “Something like, ‘a soul beside mine’ I guess? But Kryptonian doesn’t always translate well. We can only get the simplest version of something.”
Nodding, Lena wipes away a stray tear from her cheek as Alex runs a warm hand across her back, “Kara is as good as her word, and if she gave you that, I don’t think you need much else.”
“Thank you.” Lena whispers, and Alex offers a soft smile.
“Anytime. And if you go over there,” Alex says, throwing her thumb over her shoulder as she backs up towards the front door, “pick up Chinese food on this side of town, because I think she has eaten every place out of business near her.”
And Lena can’t help the laugh the tumbles past her lips. Bright, like the sun finally cutting through the clouds.
Lena can see Kara's silhouette perched on her fire escape as she approaches the building. She is leaning back, forearms resting on the step behind her, and her head is tilted back towards the sky, the soft glow of the street light reflecting off her glasses.
The tender muscle in Lena’s chest nearly trips over itself and Kara must hear it, because suddenly cool eyes move from the cosmos and focus back to the ground.
“Special delivery.” Lena says, weakly raising the brown bag in her hand. Kara pushes herself up and smiles. She leans against the railing, glances down the street and then jumps over, freefalling until she stops instantaneously, hovering inches from the ground.
“Care for a lift?” Kara smirks, and points a foot out towards Lena, “Step on up.”
Kara offers her hand, and Lena graciously takes it as she steps up onto a slippered foot, precariously balancing herself until a strong arm wraps around her waist, and pulls her close.
“It still makes you nervous?” Kara says, glancing up as she floats effortlessly back towards the fire escape.
Lena pulls in a steadying breath, and nods, “You’d think after all this time I’d be used to it, but it always feels like-..”
“Butterflies?” Kara finishes for her as they land, “Yeah, it still feels that way for me too. Kinda like that first drop on a rollercoaster.”
Lena smiles, and steps back, studying Kara for a moment before offering her the bag in her hand. She is remarkably the same; handsome and warm and a little giddy as she takes the bag and sits. Kara removes the take-out boxes and hands Lena a pair of chopsticks. They eat quietly for a few moments before Lena nudges Kara with her shoulder playfully, and lifts her chopsticks, motioning towards the sky.
“What were you looking at?”
Kara swallows, and smiles, “Oh, Polaris. It’s bright tonight.” She pokes absently at her food, “It’s one of the only stars Krypton and this planet shared.”
Lena sets down her container and looks up, “I didn’t know that.”
Kara shrugs, “It kinda feels like an anchor between here and home. When it’s bright like this it reminds me of the constellation back on Krypton. It was set between twin stars. My mother used to tell me that they were two halves reaching for their shared soul. One was always meant to carry the other with it.”
Lena hums, and gives a small smile,“That’s beautiful,” she says, “here it marks the way due north. My mother used to tell me that if I was ever lost, to follow the north star.”.
Lena turns her head towards Kara. Light eyes remain trained towards the midnight blue sky, lost in the memories of a home she no longer has, and it hits Lena then; this familiarity. She doesn’t know the lineage, or how to trace it, but it is there in the breeze that softly lifts through Kara’s hair and in the rubbery sound of tires on the pavement below, all matching an ethereal beat in her chest.
“Because she told me it would lead me home.” And Lena can hear her voice, muddled and distant, barley floating over the sound of her heart pumping madly in her ears.
“What is the constellation called here?” Kara asks.
The words suddenly weigh down Lena’s tongue, and she knows what Kara is going to say; those starry words, beautiful and left to grow, taking root into the walls of her heart and anchoring her to Kara.
She knows them. Lena swears she does.
“Mine was called ī şhēşuř voṭ ī ''
Lena whispers along prayerfully over Kara’s bright pronunciation, and realizes that perhaps home has never been a place, but a person.
And god, it’s all there, like a fog being lifted, etched into every delicate feature of Kara’s face. Lena shifts, pushing in closer to her side as Kara drops her head and removes her glasses, sweeping a few strands of hair behind her ear.
“Do you remember?” Lena ventures cautiously.
“Everything.” Kara breathes, turning her head, “All of it.”
Lena reaches out, tracing her thumb down Kara’s cheek and along the curve of her jaw. Searching eyes moving together until Lena dips her head, pressing a soft kiss to Kara’s lips, and when she moves to pull away, Kara surges forward, hands tangling into her dark hair, and pulling Lena back, back, back where she knows she belongs.
And Kara is air, breathing her love into Lena with each kiss; they trail across her jawline, press into her temple, and capture the tears mapping down her cheek. Those insidious voices, born of blood and carried in a name fade away; dissipating into the ether, replaced by hymns of tender love with each fiery kiss pressing against her skin.
Lena doesn’t protest when Kara’s wandering hands move to her waist and guide her gently into her lap; trembling thighs straddling warm steel as lips, tongue and teeth move across her collarbone. She doesn’t care when their food is left forgotten and they laugh against each other's mouths as Kara awkwardly carries her through the fire escape window, Lena’s legs wrapping tightly around Kara’s waist as she marches proudly towards her bedroom.
Kara is the sun welcoming Lena out of the shadows, warm and humid against her skin. Unrelenting in its affection and billowing over her body in hot waves, until Lena collapses into waiting arms that pull her close. Kara’s lips press against her damp brow, kiss after kiss carrying whispered assurances of love as Lena cuddles in closer, her head resting against Kara’s chest. She listens to the strong, thrumming heart beneath her until it begins to slow, evening out along with Kara’s breaths, and Lena closes her eyes, resting alongside promises kept.
The midday sun cuts through the blinds, warm against the exposed skin of Lena’s back. She opens one eye as the body beneath hers shifts, and Kara’s hand comes up to rest on her back, fingertips tracing abstract patterns through the golden ultraviolet.
Lena trails her fingers over Kara’s side, tracing each valley between her ribs and turns her head, pressing a gentle kiss to the underside of her jaw. She can feel the smile that pulls across Kara’s lips and the content hum that rumbles in her chest.
“What does it mean?” Lena asks, rolling her shoulders when Kara’s fingers trace over a particularly sensitive spot.
Lena smiles at the sleepy reply, “Your constellation. You said the same thing to me before you left that night.”
“Our constellation.” Kara corrects, and then pulls in a deep breath, “I think the simplest way to say it would be ‘ you carry my soul in your soul.’ ”
“Like, I love you .” Lena says, surprised how easily the words fall from her lips.
Kara chuckles, light and airy, “Yeah. Like, I love you, too. ” she says, carding her fingers through Lena’s hair, “But it’s more than that. It’s like saying ‘ in every life I have known your voice, and followed it's call, because it's home .’ It is love quantified to a singularity through the remnants of celestial bodies, split apart and brought back together, sharing the same immutable elements that once forged us in its core. We are bound to the other. Perennial and transcendent of time.”
Lena turns in Kara’s arms, propping herself up on her elbow, and dips her head, pressing a lingering kiss to Kara’s shoulder as she continues.
“It’s saying, ‘I pledge my soul in earnest to be carried along with yours as one, willingly given and accepted in kind .’”
“Absolute.” Kara finishes, and clears her throat from the unfastened confession.
And all those words Lena didn’t know suddenly come into focus, each carrying a familiar knowledge that this is how it has always been and how it always will be. A love traversing the cosmos, defined by a star hung above different worlds, but now anchoring them under the same sky.
“ ī şhēşuř voṭ ī .” Lena says, dipping her head and pressing another kiss to Kara’s bare shoulder.
Kara’s eyes grow wide as a smile begins to pinch at the corner of her mouth, “Yeah?”
Lena hums agreeably and lifts her head, chasing Kara’s lips for another kiss, “If we are talking in absolutes,” she says, feeling Kara’s smile grow against her lips, “then, yeah.” Lena whispers.