Lena wakes up to an empty bed. She rolls over into the empty space next to her, the sheets warm against her skin. She inhales, breathing in the familiar scent, a smile forming on her face. Laying there for a few moments, she basks in the warmth surrounding her before she slowly sits up. Lena instantly feels the cool air hit her bare skin, and she turns her head to see her balcony door ajar, a familiar figure standing just outside. Her smile grows wider as she rises from the bed, bringing the thin sheet with her. She walks towards the balcony, wrapping the sheet tightly around her, and knocks gently on the door.
Kara turns her head away from the cityscape, and she smiles at the sight of Lena. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Lena shakes her head, “No, it’s alright. Just one of those nights?”
Kara simply nods, tilting her head up to the sky. “What time is it anyway? I didn’t check before I came out here.”
Lena shrugs. “Probably around four or five,” She guesses, seeing Kara nod again.
Lena follows her gaze and stares up at the night sky. The stars are fairly visible tonight, something not too common in National City, and she imagines that is part of the reason Kara is out here tonight. A gust of wind passes over them, and Lena shivers involuntarily, feeling goosebumps rise on her skin.
“Oh my—You must be freezing,” Kara frowns, peeling her sweatshirt off and guiding it over Lena’s bare torso, leaving her in a t-shirt and sweatpants. “Though I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the view,” She finishes with a smirk.
“Oh, hush,” Lena teases, pulling her hair out from under the sweatshirt. Kara runs inside, and not even a second later she is back, sliding a pair of sweats over Lena’s legs.
They still catch her by surprise, these casual moments when Kara uses her powers. Often, it’s just the two of them, in the privacy of her or Kara’s apartment. She’s noticed that Kara has been using them less lately; the weight of the world too often rests on her shoulders as Supergirl, and sometimes Kara just needs to feel human. Or as human as she can feel.
It’s thoughts like these that bring Kara’s past to the forefront of Lena’s mind. A reminder that her girlfriend lived for thirteen years on another planet, one that ceased to exist the moment she left. She had family, friends, an entire life and culture that she left behind.
Lena thinks of herself at thirteen, living in the Luthor home, and what it might have been like to have everything stripped away. She was stripped away from her family once, after her mom’s passing, and she was forced to leave that part of her life behind, but she can’t even fathom what it must have been like to give up everything she’s ever known.
She knows it weighs heavier on Kara than she will ever be able to comprehend. But Lena tries. She learns about Krypton, both from Kara and the resources at the DEO. She asks Kara to tell her about her home planet, about her mother and father, about her school, her traditions, her favorite pastimes. She listens to Kara ramble on about her favorite foods, holidays, places to go. She mourns with Kara on the days when Kara desperately misses just the scent of her home planet, and Lena swears to herself that she will find a way to recreate the scent of Krypton to the best of her ability if it’s the last thing she ever does.
Lena has also been learning Kryptonian. Speaking, listening, reading, writing, all of it. It’s a recent endeavor, and she’s nowhere near where she wants to be with the language, but the desire to connect with Kara on this level that so few have been able to since she arrived on Earth surpasses any modicum of frustration she feels along the way.
Winn has been helping her with her reading and occasionally her writing skills, but when it comes to spoken conversation, Lena has been learning mostly through engaging with DEO holograms, the Fortress of Solitude, and, of course, Kara. Despite her many (many) errors, she takes every opportunity she has to learn from her, to speak this language with her, knowing the joy and comfort it brings her girlfriend.
“Tell me something in Kryptonian,” Lena says quietly, careful to gauge Kara’s reaction.
Kara raises her eyebrows with curiosity, a grin settling on her face as she responds, “Tagehd.”
“Tagehd,” Lena repeats, “What does that mean?”
“Something,” Kara smirks.
Rolling her eyes, Lena files the word into her brain and says, “You’re insufferable.” She watches Kara’s eyes light up with mirth, and Lena resists the urge to roll her eyes again. “Something with meaning, please.”
Kara hums in thought, and Lena moves to hold her hand just as she says, “:Zhao khap rrip.”
Lena picks up the last two words, I and you , but she’s not familiar with the first. “What’s that verb?”
“:Zhao,” Kara repeats, a certain gleam in her eye that Lena doesn’t recognize. She hums to herself again and asks, “Why don’t I quiz you on what you know already?”
“That would be nice,” Lena smiles.
“Hmm… shehd,” Kara says.
Lena grins and responds easily, “Person.”
“Gift,” Lena says, teasing her when she says, “Come on, baby, you gotta go a little harder than that.”
Kara rolls her eyes playfully. “My apologies, darling.” She pauses before she continues with, “Kavzeht.”
Lena hesitates, searching her brain for the translation before she remembers, “Yesterday.”
“More,” Lena blushes, watching a sly grin form on her girlfriend’s face. “Are you flirting with me through our impromptu Kryptonian lesson?”
“Maaaaybe,” Kara laughs, a pretty blush painting her cheeks. “Can you blame me?”
“Yes, I can,” Lena deadpans, “Because I am trying to learn your native language right now.”
“Alright, alright, fine,” Kara rolls her eyes, “Though technically you’re not learning anything because we’re just reviewing.”
Lena resists the urge to roll her eyes in return. “I was right. You are insufferable.”
Kara grins, shrugging nonchalantly, and continues, “Dolia.”
“Ehsh,” Kara says, her voice growing quieter.
“Sky,” Lena responds softly. She follows Kara’s gaze as her girlfriend looks up at the night sky.
“Ehl,” Kara murmurs, and Lena smiles as she replies, “Star.”
Kara is silent, lost in thought as she gazes into the night, and Lena squeezes her hand gently. The action catches Kara’s attention, and she shifts her gaze back to Lena. Her bright, blue eyes shine alluringly in the moonlight, and Lena’s heart skips a beat at the sight.
Kara is looking at her as she whispers, “:Zrhueiao.”
Lena forms the sounds softly in her mouth, not familiar with the word. “What does that mean?”
Smiling, Kara whispers, “Beautiful,” and Lena feels her cheeks grow warm. She looks out and sees the sky slowly beginning to grow brighter, the darkness being overtaken by the rising of the sun. She turns back to Kara, those piercing blue eyes locked onto her, and raises an eyebrow.
“Well, how do you say ‘kiss me’?” Lena asks, grinning as Kara sputters.
“Kaodhaikh khap,” She whispers, and Lena repeats the sounds after her. She sees Kara’s eyes tracing the movements of her lips as she forms the words, and it only spurs her on further.
“And how do you say ‘hold me’?”
“Kaotul khap,” Kara says, and Lena repeats the sounds again, committing them to memory. Kara looks out at the steadily brightening sky, exhaling as she says, “Mov ehl rrofish. At sunrise.”
“Mov ehl rrofish,” Lena repeats, a teasing lilt to her voice that brings a smile to Kara’s face. “Good to know.”
It’s silent then, the sounds of the city below filling the space between them. The noise is comforting to Lena, but she knows it can be overwhelming to her girlfriend at times. All that life beneath them, all those people potentially in danger and in need of being saved, not to mention her super-hearing and the sensory overload that still occasionally affects Kara despite her years on Earth.
“You can’t save everyone,” Lena blurts out. Seeing Kara’s confused gaze, Lena softly follows up with, “You know that, right?” Kara doesn’t respond, so Lena continues, “You were sent here to protect Clark, not the entirety of the human race.”
“I know,” Lena interrupts, rubbing her thumb soothingly over the back of Kara’s hand that is still entwined with her own. “I know. I just needed to make sure you heard that from someone.”
She hears Kara sigh, her breath just barely visible in the cool air. “There’s just… there’s so many of them, Lena. And I-I can’t…” She trails off, her voice growing frail.
“And you don’t have to,” Lena finishes for her. “You are so good, Kara. And your powers, they’re such a blessing to this city and this planet. But they don’t obligate you to take on more than you can handle. What you do is enough. More than enough.”
As she speaks, Lena knows she is saying all of the words that Kara desperately needs to hear, but she also knows her girlfriend well enough to know that her past life experiences far outweigh any words of assurance that she can provide.
“When I left—when I was forced to leave Krypton,” Kara says, correcting herself, a harsh tone in her voice, “I couldn’t… I couldn’t help any of them.”
Lena nods, attempting the most comforting voice she can when she says, “You were a child, Kara.”
“I couldn’t save them,” Kara chokes out, tears falling down her cheeks. “I saw my family… my life… and I didn’t—I couldn’t do anything,” Her voice cracks on the final word, and it takes everything in Lena not to wrap her in a hug right then, but she knows Kara needs to say this, and she’s proven right when Kara continues, “But, here, on this planet, I… I can do something. I can make a difference. I can help people. I can save them the way I couldn’t…” She trails off again, and Lena doesn’t stop herself from hugging her this time.
She holds Kara close, tight, as tight as she possibly can. Kara hugs her back, her arms loose as if she’s afraid of hurting her, which only makes Lena hug her impossibly tighter. They remain like that for a long time, until Lena feels Kara’s tears begin to subside, and still she waits for Kara to release her first. When she does, Lena tilts her head back and sees a certain gleam in Kara’s eyes, the same one she saw earlier that she still can’t quite put her finger on.
Lena clears her throat gently, getting Kara’s attention, before she asks softly, “Can you promise me something?” Kara hums noncommittally, so Lena continues, “Can you promise me that you’ll come to me with this stuff? I don’t care if it’s the middle of the night or the middle of the day or whenever. I want to be there for you.”
“I don’t… I don’t want to bother you,” Kara says. “Rehashing the same stuff over and over.”
“It’s not a bother,” Lena promises. She glances down at her empty wrist and lifts her arm into their line of vision as she says, “You gave me that watch so that I could reach you whenever I need help. Let me do the same for you. Let me help you the way you help me.”
Kara looks into her eyes for a moment before she nods, “Okay.”
“Okay?” Lena asks to confirm and watches Kara nod again. A thought occurs to her, and then she asks, “How do you say ‘help me’? In Kryptonian?”
She hears the smile in Kara’s voice when she responds, “Kaovokai khap.”
“Kaovokai khap,” Lena repeats, delighting in the soft smile on her girlfriend’s face. “And how do you say ‘promise me’?”
“Kaovrreiahv khap,” Kara answers slowly. Lena repeats the words again, looking at Kara and seeing her nod in response as she continues, “Vrreiahv khap. I promise.”
Lena grins shyly, and she notices the sun just beginning to peak out over the horizon. Thinking back to earlier, she forms the words carefully, nervously, when she says, “Kaodhaikh khap mov ehl rrofish.” She’s not sure about the pronunciations, or even if these two phrases work together grammatically in a sentence like this, but the smile on Kara’s face tells her all she needs to know.
“Kiss me at sunrise,” Kara says teasingly, “How romantic.”
Lena simply raises an eyebrow, glancing out at the now steadily rising sun, before looking back to Kara. She watches the realization pass over her face, and then Kara is leaning forward, pressing her lips to Lena’s. Her eyes flutter shut as she kisses Kara back, feeling the passion in her kiss burn throughout her entire body. Lena feels the heat from the sun starting to warm her body as well, and it emboldens her to press closer, pulling Kara towards her and deepening the kiss.
Kara responds wonderfully, angling her head just so, wrapping her arms around Lena’s back, pulling their bodies flush against each other. The sensation has Lena moaning softly, a tiny sound escaping from the back of her throat and getting lost in the space between their mouths. She can feel her body heating up rather quickly, and Lena slows down their kisses until they are merely touching their lips together as they both struggle to catch their breath.
Whether it’s the early morning, the lack of sleep, or the warmth flowing through her body that encourages her to say her next words, Lena doesn’t know, but before she knows it, she’s looking into Kara’s eyes as she asks, “How do you say ‘love me’?”
She watches a dark blush instantly flood to Kara’s cheeks. She takes a deep breath before she says, “That would be, uh, Kao:zhao khap.”
A witty retort is on the tip of Lena’s tongue, but she pauses while a wave of recognition hits her. “Wait, I recognize that verb. Wasn’t that what you said earlier? :Zhao?”
“Yeah,” Kara nods, her voice nothing more than a whisper. “:Zhao khap rrip.”
“You—Oh,” Lena breathes out. She sees the (adorably) nervous expression on Kara’s face, confirming what she believes Kara just said to her, which gives her the sudden confidence to respond, “:Zhao khap rrip …… too.”
She feels dumb as she finishes, but the sound of Kara’s laughter and the smile on her face wipe away all of her concerns. Kara is looking at her again with that same gleam in her blue eyes, and—
That’s what that is, Lena realizes. It’s love.
This time, nothing can stop her from leaning in and kissing Kara. She kisses her girlfriend, who she loves, and who loves her back, and everything else fades into the background. All of Lena’s concerns, all of Kara’s fears and doubts, all of their internal turmoil disappears until there is nothing left on that balcony but the two of them and their love for each other.
Lena slides a hand through Kara’s hair, pulling her as close as she possibly can, and she feels Kara smile into the kiss. Then, the sound of sirens in the distance has Kara pulling away, and she rests her forehead against Lena’s as she looks into her eyes, breathing heavily.
Kara licks her lips and takes a step back, breaking the connection between them. Lena can’t help but miss the contact already, and it only increases when Kara starts to say, “I should probably—”
“Wait,” Lena cuts her off, reaching out a hand which Kara easily takes into her own. “I have one more question.” Seeing Kara’s raised eyebrow, Lena asks with a smile, “How do you say ‘forever’?”
A pretty blush paints Kara’s face, and she smiles knowingly as she says, “Uldif.”
“Uldif,” Lena repeats, “I like the sound of that.”